We’re witnessing right now one of the most significant wrestling matches of our lifetime from a “what will be in history books someday” perspective. If you haven’t been following the developments with Wikileaks you really should, if for no other reason than failing to do so is like sitting court-side at the NCAA championship with your eyes closed. Take a moment and read about it (and preferably seek out multiple angles via non-mainstream channels). The short of it is this:
Guy gets pissed about quiet abuses of power from governments and multi-nationals but instead of talking about it he architects a plan to dismantle the problem. Guy creates the ultimate equalizer: an anonymous, objective collection bucket that enables whistleblowers to safely leak incriminating evidence and expose it for public scrutiny. Guy starts systematically airing out the nasty laundry. Guy becomes understandably hated by the entrenched interests whose behavior and existence has been predicated on the ability to operate in the dark.
That’s an oversimplification but it’s the gist of what’s happened so far. There’s been a ton written on what’s happening (this is the most thoughtful analysis I’ve seen so far) so I won’t rehash things that have already been said. But here’s some food for thought:
- To the people in positions of power who historically have used the argument “if you’re doing nothing wrong then you shouldn’t be concerned about privacy:” how quickly you change your tune now that your privacy has been compromised.
- Sarah Palin has called for Julian Assange to be hunted down like Osama, reaaally?? The guy who has broken no laws so far and instead created the ultimate check & balance device for the betterment of humanity? A device that enables people with a conscience to act without threat of persecution when they discover an atrocity in progress so they can help thwart it… If Wikileaks had existed when the Bush administration was fabricating the WMD story and instigating not one but two unjust wars, one has to think this whole f’d up situation might have been averted. Would massive scandals like Enron ever have been allowed to fester to that catastrophic level if a device like Wikileaks had existed? Why are we persecuting the people who bring accountability to government and corporations? This guy should get a Nobel Prize if anything for risking his life fighting global bullies and for exposing injustices from every corner of the world. Sorry Ms. Palin but Bush and Cheney are the ones that should be tried for warcrimes. Julian Assange represents the American spirit far more than those two cowards.
- Amazon caves to Lieberman and they kick Wikileaks off their servers. Paypal, Mastercard and Visa then all follow suit. Wikileak’s Swiss bank caves. Then the authorities trump up these red herring sex charges against him because he broke a condom while having consensual sex and that’s enough to put him on Interpol’s most wanted list?? And he’s now being held without bail… unbelievable. He’s done nothing but make an anonymous wikipedia for whistleblowers. Take a breath and assess the real situation given all the facts: the guy is a fricking visionary whose worst crime is having rough sex.
It must be unnerving indeed to be an entity with a history of dark secrets and a conscientious workforce who might now expose them thanks to this new tool. This site is the journalistic executioner that is doing what no other entity has been capable of: enforcing accountability upon powers which have been untouchable and mucking up the gears of the ones that insist on continuing their nefarious practices. That’s obviously going to suck from their perspective but it’s unassailable transparency (or the threat of it) that makes the world a better place. If you know whistleblowers have a refuge you’ll think twice next time before conducting shady activities. That or you’ll be forced to restructure and clamp down your operation so securely that it cripples you to inoperability. And either way it’s a net win for humanity.
Sadly we can expect Wikileaks to soon be added to the SDN list. At that point in the US it will be a criminal offense to donate to their cause (if it isn’t already). The powers that be have already used defamation & character assassination, strangulation of financial resources, DDOS attacks and will likely resort to whatever means necessary to squelch this thing. Julian seems to be a smart guy so I’m sure he’s architected a dead man’s switch as insurance but I wouldn’t be surprised to soon read that he “slipped” and died from a skullfracture in his cell.
This is an epic collision of good ole boy network opaqueness meeting accountability & transparency. Fortnately at least for the time being there are 500 mirrors for the Wikileaks site keeping the information available while the powers in control are hard at work to suffocate it. Here’s a parting thought though: rather than shutting down Wikileaks how about instead Zynga bakes into their Farmville game the ability for players to earn virtual currency by vetting documents submitted to Wikileaks? Let’s harness some of those kajillion hours of human cognition that are currently frittered away growing virtual tomatoes and put those mental cycles towards a crowd-sourced effort to ensure global accountability? Now that would be a game worth playing and a currency worth earning.