السبت، 18 ديسمبر، 2010

Wikileaks: Antidote to Government Lies and Misinformation

by Bill Koehnlein
According to Julian Assange, the founder and director
of Wikileaks, he was told by Australian intelligence
services, prior to the release by Wikileaks several
months ago of secret US government documents relating
to the war against Iraq, that all manner of smears and
personal attacks will be made against him, as
punishment for the work he is doing. The charge of
rape, for which Sweden has issued an arrest warrant for
Assange, appears to be bogus, an attempt to discredit
him and take attention away from the damning and
incriminating content of the hundreds of thousands of
documents made public by him and Wikileaks.
As expected, virtually every member of the upper
echelons of the US government is screaming for blood,
along with yahoos both liberal and conservative. Two
notable pimps, Peter King, the congressman from Nassau
County, and Joseph Lieberman, the senator from Tel
Aviv, have tried to outdo each other when it comes to
rhetorical venom. King accused Assange and Wikileaks of
"engag[ing] in terrorist activity" and said that
Wikileaks is "enabling terrorists to kill Americans.?€?
Lieberman, concluding a hysterical rant said, "Let
there be no doubt: the individuals responsible [for
disseminating the leaks] are going to have blood on
their hands.?€?
Most government hacks, elected and appointed, who have
commented so far droned on in a similar vein, and the
thrust of much media coverage as well is a variation on
the same theme. Nonetheless, the US press *is*
reporting on some juicy details contained in a few of
the leaked documents, but compared to coverage by the
European press (The Guardian's Simon Jenkins said
"[t]he job of the media is not to protect the powerful
from embarrassment") US media is giving the actual
contents short shrift while focusing instead on
national security lapses, potential "endangerment" of
unspecified persons, and damage control in the realm of
foreign diplomacy.
Ironically, the documents leaked to the media do not
contain much that is particularly revealing to anyone
with an ounce of brains, common sense and an ability to
think critically. This is quite reminiscent of the
Pentagon Papers, made public by Daniel Ellsberg in 1971
and published in The New York Times, which, for the
most part, confirmed what everyone in the peace and
antiwar movement already knew. Additionally, none of
the documents released yesterday, or those which will
be made public in the coming weeks, have been
classified as "top secret"; indeed, though
"classified", they were freely available to more than
three million people who have access to something
called Siprnet, a "miniature" internet--or, more
accurately, an intranet--maintained by the United
States government as a repository for classified
documents, diplomatic correspondence, and internal
governmental memoranda.
Nonetheless, the US government has gone into deep
frantic mode after getting caught with its pants down.
The greatest damage, perhaps, has to do with political
and diplomatic embarrassment, yet the official refrain
accuses Assange and Wikileaks of nothing short of
imperiling civilization itself. Demagogues like King,
Lieberman, and all the other dutiful political hacks
scream loudly, but with no proof or substantiation at
all, that innocent people will be killed as a result of
the leaks; Assange the terrorist has blood on his
hands, they say. But Assange is not responsible for the
murders of millions of innocent people in Iraq,
Afghanistan, Pakistan and just about everywhere else in
the world. The United States is. Assange didn't launch
invasions, wars and occupations in the Middle East and
Asia. The United States did. Assange has gained
possession of documents, but he has never gained
possession of depleted uranium, cluster bombs, deadly
drones and all manner of weapons of mass destruction.
It is the United States which possesses those, and it
is the United States which has used them. Public
embarrassment is small penance to pay for committing
the worst crimes against humanity since the Nazis tore
Europe asunder seven decades ago.
What will become of Julian Assange? The only thing the
United States government can do is to kill him, and I'm
convinced this is what will happen. The US has no other
recourse. The release of these documents is of
historical importance, and that importance should not
be underestimated; nor, can any remedial action by the
US undo the shame that was made even more shameful by
making it public (to quote the famous Situationist
manifesto from the 1960s). His assassination will be
retribution for daring to take on and challenge the
most awesome, belligerent and aggressive superpower in
recent history; beyond that, it will be a clear signal
to other people who are inclined to defend
truthfulness, openness and free societies to be
considerably less adamant in their demands for freedom
and justice. I think that on some level Assange must
know that he is doomed. I wish him a long life but I
fear this is not something he will have.
Bill Koehnlein November 29, 2010
What is Wikileaks, actually? The media refers to it,
often labeling it a "whistle-blower website".
For the curious, this is what Wikileaks says about
itself: http://www.wikileaks.org/media/about.html