I am very concerned for Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks. His website used to be an amusing outlet valve for delicious little secrets that organisations had tried to keep hidden. But now he’s releasing information about major world governments, and they are pissed.
Granted, I haven’t read anything so far that has really surprised me. The latest news explosion, where U.S. diplomats think that Mexico’s armed forces are bureaucratic, corrupt, untrained and unfit to take on sophisticated drug trafficking organisations (DTOs), won’t be news to anyone in Mexico. And remember, the army was sent in because the police are even worse.
All the Wikileaks cables are releasing is information that is already known, or at least suspected, but is just not talked about in offical government circles. To show that such things ARE talked about in non-official government circles is apparently a big deal.
The U.S. has been most strident in its condemnation of Wikileaks. Crazy Tea Party Lady Sarah Palin has called for his blood to run, as have government officials and leaders. They’ve been putting pressure on other governments and agencies to do their part in cornering Julian Assange, with the hope that this particular snake won’t be a Hydra.
I know there are some concerns that Wikileaks is harming diplomacy and putting lives at risk. That may have been a problem with previous releases of Iraq war information and details of informants, but I understand that since the first contentious release Wikileaks has been very careful to edit out details that would risk combatants lives. It is sadly amusing however to see that the greatest outbusts of condemnation have not come after publishing accurate war data, but after revealing the words of world leaders to their subjects.
I believe that on balance Wikileaks is supporting democracy, and the right of citizens to find out the truth of what their governments are actually doing behind their back, the better to hold them to account. We can applaud the governments who are actually doing in private what they said they’d do in public, and shame those who are doing the opposite.
Yet the self-righteous, hypocritical politicians appear to be very thin-skinned. They have schemes to take down the public face of Wikileaks, and hopefully the organisation with it. Julian is a brave man. He has done what many of us would dare not. And he will probably pay a major price for it, beyond being forced into hiding. I just hope that he’s set up his organisation to survive and thrive after he’s gone. Our world is more open and just with Wikileaks around, however much it hurts the pride of national leaders.
I’m rooting for Julian.