Friday, 3 December 2010

Shooting the messenger - Wikileaks and Julian Assange

All the kerfuffle about the release of diplomatic cables boils down to one thing. Shoot the messenger. Wikileaks doesn't make shit up. They just publish the sort of stuff that once upon a time may have been published by the New York Times or the Washington Post. If the leaks had been initially been published in the newspapers the leaks and the source of the leaks would have been the news. Now the corporations than run the newspapers are the same lobbyists that "run" government so it isn't part of their business plan to publish inflammatory leaks. The call is to shut down Wikileaks and call for Julian Assange to be executed. Shoot the messenger.

Democracy requires a certain amount transparency to work. Otherwise what have you got to hide? Governments are not private individuals. They're beholding to the people. Not the other way round. Governments forget that and start to think that it isn't the secret that is the point it is the keeping of that secret. Lets face it. What has been the major revelations so far? Country A thinks country B is corrupt. Or a certain Prime Minister, let's call him Mr Brown, is considered by some to be feckless and vain. No shit Sherlock. All we're seeing is what we already knew. The emperor is naked.

As I said the point is keeping the secrets. Openness leads to accountability. If we the people are kept in the dark to whom are our governments accountable? They can and do get away with any old shit. They don't like being caught out in a lie. Most of the releases might embarrass the authors in the short term but in the long term we'll all forget and it will be Business As Usual. Responsibility and accountability are what the politicians and beauracracy fear the most. Well that and keeping us from finding out where the money comes from. Keep the bastards honest. That used to be the slogan for the Australian Democrats. Maybe Wikileaks is the true successor to that motto.

It is far from certain that Julian Assange and Wikilieaks have done anything illegal. But this is where the shoot-the-messenger part comes in. Some politicians and media are calling for the ex-judicial murder of Assange. WTF? Assange and Wikileaks may be doing more for open government and democracy than, well, just about anybody in decades. And for that some are calling for Assange to tried for treason or shot. It is typical of these reactionaries. Government does something illegal. Whistleblower blows whistle on illegality. Whistleblower is charged and silenced. Government goes back to BAU.

Assange and Wikileaks aren't traitors. They're heroes.

1 comment:

  1. I'm loving the work of Assange, thankfully Wikileaks is too big to just 'disappear' and hopefully he can continue to expose the dirty secrets of governments and big business.

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