On Wikileaks, anarchism, Assange’s motives

From The Oracle on Lockergnome, who is a member of a military family

The more the governmental authorities work to squash the information, the more sites that seem to spring up with the information. It will be a losing game, and all is proceeding as the inventors of the internet envisioned – a method of communication that was so redundant that nothing, or no one, would be able to keep the information from flowing. Its original intent was the ability to survive a nuclear blast.

Indeed, there are already numerous mirror sites updating in real time. “The Net interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.”

I have felt, since I was a teen, that it was our duty to be loyal, but also be the the loyal opposition to things not in the tradition of being the best nation on Earth. If we believe that the nation is perfect, we are deluding ourselves, and if we act as if it is perfect in the company of other nations, we show ourselves as buffoons.

Well, right now the US government is going on a panic-driven rampage to stop Wikileaks. And hey, big props to all the Democratic poodles in Congress who stand by mute and let Lieberman do whatever he wants.

The other thing made known is that Assange is not hiding in a cave in some desert location. He is in England, and Scotland Yard knows exactly where he is. They simply are not violating his rights and taking him into custody because the U.K. no longer has a PM that is the lap dog of George Bush.

That he hasn’t been arrested is bizarre. Perhaps the governments of Britain and in Europe see no real need to arrest him, assume the sex charges are bogus, and realize that whichever government arrests him is in for a huge amount of probably unwanted publicity and the charges will probably be dropped anyway. As for extradition on as yet unspecified charges here, they don’t appear interested in that either.

I also think there are whole levels here we aren’t seeing, including what Assange is doing. It is however, a classic example of asymmetrical warfare, where a tiny player has huge impact against a state power. I mentioned that on our podcast, and Josh Mull replied, that means he’s at war with the US, then. Yes, but his writings clearly show he thinks all governments are corrupt which by most any criteria makes him an anarchist, and the digital equivalent of a bomb-thrower.

Click to listen to podcast

Yes, I know that in Europe and Britain that anarchism is understood to encompass much more that just bomb-throwing,and that such acts would be advocated only by small factions of anarchists. But in the US, anarchists are generally seen as the Black Bloc smashing Starbucks windows (the Empire trembles in response) and our historical memory includes multiple car bombings by anarchists on Wall Street in the 1920’s. In fact, the very first car bomb as terrorism was in 1920 by an anarchist outside JP Morgan’s office. The only political impact it had was to piss off most people. (BTW, the IRA invented car bombs a decade before that but only used them against British military. Terrorism is when car bombs deliberately target innocents.)

Why is Wikileaks only publishing a mere sixteen cables a day when they have 250,000+? Who is choosing them and what criteria is used? Why did Assange announce in advance he has info that could take down major banks? Because that’s just begging for retaliation both from banks and the federal government. Why not just publish all the data at once? He may be lobbing digital bombs at governments, but his methods seem unfocused and he a bit megomaniacal. The cables have already had a profound effect, and this indeed is the first real infowar, but I’m guessing he will be smoking rubble soon, even as the leaks continue.

I mean, mobster John Giotti publicly thumbed his nose at the FBI for years, mocking them. That didn’t end well for him. He died in Supermax. “If you wish to shoot at a king, do not wound him.”

  • dave

    Normally I’d screech into my “You don’t know what anarchism is” mode, but I know you get it, and I understand where you’re coming from. And it’s funny because even officialdom is comparing him to an anarchist. It even seems many anarchists are happy about the “good” publicity. All in all it seems an apt comparison. The scale of this is a little hard to comprehend and you raise some great questions. The notion that the president of Palestine knew about Operation Cast Lead and said nothing is mind boggling and has some wondering if this is some Israeli conspiracy. I think this is going to take some time to figure out.

    But I also wonder if information can really have a decisive impact anymore. It seems like most folks are impervious to anything that doesn’t conform to their preconceived notions of how the world works. Will Assange really bring down a US bank in 2011 or will people read whatever it is and yawn? I really don’t know and I’m reluctant to jump on any of the bandwagons.

    Great post.

    • If the banks leaks show real corruption, then the feds wouldn’t really have much choice. (I hope.)

      But why preannounce that you have such data then wait a month to release it?

      Circles within circles here.

      • The only way they wouldn’t have a choice is if there was massive demand for action. There’s been torture, there’s been illegal wars, there’s been massive financial fraud…and still little to no action (and nothing fundamental, of course).

        I think Americans might just be lazy and “broken,” to quote Bruce Levine. I think, but of course I don’t know, that that might be the answer to a lot of our questions.

  • Perhaps they don’t want to make him a martyr?

    And if you think about it, whoever called this “the 9/11 of leaks” might very well have been prescient. What bin Laden did was to just give our nation the little shove it needed to go completely over the edge, engaging in two (now really four) wars and creating an ever larger and more redundant and authoritarian security state, speeding up our implosion. Without killing anyone, Assange might very well be doing the same thing…I think I read something that he wrote that had a similar idea (that you can induce a “conspiracy,” as he calls it, to destroy itself by leaking information), but I can’t seem to find it.

  • As for Assange’s personality…well, I’d rather have a slightly off-kilter man doing this (and perhaps it takes a slightly off-kilter man to do this) than no one at all.

    And I think leaking the documents slowly and announcing these things in advance could possibly (of course this is just a guess) once again be part of the strategy of inducing the state to self-implode and reveal its authoritarianism in the process (I feel like I first read that idea at polizeros, but can’t find it anywhere…).

    • Marxists sometimes theorize that too. That by violence / direct action they will force the State to over-react, at which point (big leap here) the people will rise up and smite them.

      Could be. Could also be that the State jails, tortures, and executes a bunch of people first too.

  • Recalling what you said later in the day about incompetence being a good cover for culpability… substitute just about anything for incompetence.

    It is all rather illuminating.

Powered by WordPress. Designed by WooThemes