Three cheers to Wikileaks! That is what journalism was supposed to be before it became News Incorporated.
According to the New York Times, “The French government joined others in condemning the disclosure of diplomatic documents. Paris would stand with the United States and against the publication, which threaten “democratic sovereignty and authority.”
So giving information to the people undermines democracy? Authority, I get, clearly it does. But democracy? “A popular government without popular information or the means of acquiring it is but a Prologue to a Farce or a Tragedy or perhaps both.” ~ James Madison
We are way way past the prologue. Something like chapter 42 now…
It’s surprising…should it be surprising?… to see all the reactions coming in on the side of “national security,” “protect the troops,” “think of the children,” etc. Yes, this will undermine some diplomacy, but dictatorships are always more efficient than democracies. Getting this upset that some information actually leaked to the people shows how far we are from a democracy. Our governments put on that name tag in order to legitimize their assertions of power over the people, but these are only names. Unfortunately, names have immense power, far more power than substances.
Leaks are “an attack against the international community” (Secretary of State Hillary Clinton).
Arrest of Assange on rape charges is “good news.” (Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates…)
“Assange is not a “journalist,” any more than the “editor” of al Qaeda’s new English-language magazine Inspire is a “journalist.” He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands. Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders?” (Sarah Palin)
“Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason. I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty.” (Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor and Republican presidential candidate — said in the middle of a book signing for his new children’s book “Can’t Wait Till Christmas!”)
But best of all is that, at the exact same time the US government is trying to silence Wikileaks, they put out a press release (Dec. 7th) that the US is to host Press Freedom Day in 2011, saying, “The theme for next year’s commemoration will be 21st Century Media…[W]e are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information.”
And today, December 14th, the New York Times reported that the terms of Assange’s bail will require him to use a glass-walled toilet in the middle of Times Square whenever he needs to take a shit (with apologies to Cory Doctorow, I meant “to be electronically tagged”), because the powers that be are outraged at his opening up a little peephole into their business dealings.
“For freedom of speech, there’s Wikileaks. For everything else, there’s Mastercard. And Visa. And, um, Paypal. And Amazon.”
I’ve also been watching the Republicans’ reaction to Wikileaks, especially the Tea Party Republicans who keep going on about small government and liberty. With the exception of Ron Paul, they are proving themselves to be simply authoritarians, fascists, communists. With good PR. Does it really make a difference whether a small elite group rules the state which rules commerce, or whether a small elite group rules commerce which rules the state? Are health care and the Fed really a scarier precursor of Big Brother than the Patriot Act, warrantless wiretapping, and now blatant attempts to silence the last real journalist
As a libertarian/anarchist, I just don’t see how any self-respecting libertarian can support the Republican Party. Not unless the bundle of rights that constitutes their libertarianism is 90% economic.
We are watching the world’s first infowar, friends, and it’s the governments vs the people. Liu Xiaobo’s empty chair, Assange’s electronic tag, we the people are losing. We are losing so badly that most of us don’t even realize there’s a war on.
It came out this week that Army Private Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of sensitive documents to WikiLeaks, has been held in solitary confinement in a military prison for seven months without criminal charges. Of course.
I have seen the error of my ways and now think that the Department of Homeland Security is the bestest organization in the world, doing a very tough job of keeping us civilians safe and worry free. I’m sure that by monitoring our internet activity, emails, blogs and FB status updates they will find all the evil supporters of Wikileaks and government transparency in general and lock them up where they belong.