Assange and Wikileaks

Harry’s Place responds to my posing the question, would they (and other left blogs) support Wikileaks publishing data from major US banks, even as they harrumph about the current Wikileaks possibly endangering lives?

While I appreciate Morris recognizing that we are indeed a “left blog,” I don’t think that’s what we’re harrumphing about. It’s more about the recklessness of Wikileaks in indiscriminately publishing leaked secret documents without concern for how their publication might, say, endanger lives.

I’ll presume to speak for Harry’s Place by answering: No [we would not object to bank data being published). I hope Morris can understand the difference.

US Defense Secretary Gates: Wikileaks “are embarrassing and awkward, but adds the consequences would be modest.” Now he could just be putting on a happy face, but perhaps it’s also true. The point is, we don’t know and may never know if any of the Wikileaks created danger for some. And if you think about it, some of the current leaked cables seem to bolster US aims, especially towards taking out Iran and North Korea.

So what is Assange up to? For the answer, go no further than his own writings.

Julian Assange, “State and Terrorist Conspiracies”

Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul this unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of statesmanship. (President Theodore Roosevelt)

To radically shift regime behavior we must think clearly and boldly for if we have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed. We must think beyond those who have gone before us, and discover technological changes that embolden us with ways to act in which our forebears could not.

Firstly we must understand what aspect of government or neocorporatist behavior we wish to change or remove. Secondly we must develop a way of thinking about this behavior that is strong enough carry us through the mire of politically distorted language, and into a position of clarity. Finally must use these insights to inspire within us and others a course of ennobling, and effective action.

Zunguzungu delves into Assange’s writings.

To summarize, Assange begins by describing a state like the US as essentially an authoritarian conspiracy, and then reasons that the practical strategy for combating that conspiracy is to degrade its ability to conspire, to hinder its ability to “think” as a conspiratorial mind. The metaphor of a computing network is mostly implicit, but utterly crucial: he seeks to oppose the power of the state by treating it like a computer and tossing sand in its diodes.

That’s crucial. Assange didn’t publish those cables just to make the US government look bad. He opposes the entire corrupt, interconnected nexus. What he’s doing sounds quite a lot like asymetrical warfare and 4GW. Clearly, he’s given all this much thought and is capable of high-level analytic thinking, tactics, and strategy.

Julian Assange says document dump targets ‘lying, corrupt and murderous leadership’

He was undaunted by vows from the U.S. and Australia to prosecute him and said the forthcoming diplomatic cables are aimed at “lying, corrupt and murderous leadership from Bahrain to Brazil.”

Again, he’s aiming at corrupt governments everywhere, not just the US.

By the way, the “sex crimes” Interpol wants Assange arrested for genuinely seem bogus.

There’s not much in the stories about forced sex or “molestation” or politically-driven hit jobs. Mostly it’s about two Julian Assange fans annoyed that the rock star Wikileaks founder charmed their pants off and then bolted.

One thing I don’t get, why did he move Wikileaks to the Amazon cloud after the DDOS attack, as this would appear to put the site within the grasp of the US government.

What’s your take on Assange? I think we’re living in a pivot point moment now. The corruption of governments and the financial system is so obvious now that they can no longer lie about it convincingly. Thus, what Assange is doing is crucial.


  1. My take at my place last night: As I read through the ‘cables’ I’m struck by just how Israel and South Korea friendly the whole thing is – Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran, Bomb Bomb Bomb North Korea, China is not our friend (which I’ll not argue with), those damned Urpeans are so {insert adjective here – feckless, thin-skinned, narcissist… French}. More and more I’m coming to think the whole thing is psyops propaganda to further distract us from the shithole we’ve become, flame fuels to feed the Israeli War Machine and send our kids to die for no tangible benefit.

    • Noam Chomsky’s take sums it up a bit more diplomatically. Take exceptional note of the polling data in pp1 [emphasis mine]:

      “That essentially reinforces what I said before, that the main significance of the cables that are being released so far is what they tell us about Western leadership. So Hillary Clinton and Benjamin Netanyahu surely know of the careful polls of Arab public opinion. The Brookings Institute just a few months ago released extensive polls of what Arabs think about Iran. The results are rather striking. They show the Arab opinion holds that the major threat in the region is Israel — that’s 80. The second major threat is the United States — that’s 77. Iran is listed as a threat by 10%.

      With regard to nuclear weapons, rather remarkably, a majority — in fact, 57 — say that the region would have a positive effect in the region if Iran had nuclear weapons. Now, these are not small numbers. Eighty, 77, say the U.S. and Israel are the major threat. Ten say Iran is the major threat.

      This may not be reported in the newspapers here — it is in England — but it’s certainly familiar to the Israeli and U.S. governments, and to the ambassadors. But there is not a word about it anywhere. What that reveals is the profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership and the Israeli political leadership. These things aren’t even to be mentioned. This seeps its way all through the diplomatic service.

      The cables do not have any indication of that. When they talk about Arabs, they mean the Arab dictators, not the population, which is overwhelmingly opposed to the conclusions that the analysts here — Clinton and the media — have drawn.”

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