At the moment, due to the actions of Wikileaks concerning the activities of the U.S. government in particular, Julian Assange is holed up in an Ecuadorian embassy in London, seeking asylum*. The Swedish government wants him for questioning on a sexual assault accusation, though he has not actually been charged with it, meanwhile a leak obtained from the “private” intelligence company Stratfor earlier this year exposed — among other things — the existence of a U.S. secret indictment against Assange. His thought process is clearly informed by this revelation, as well as the frequent public threats by U.S. political figures to have him killed: basically, he doesn’t want to go back to Sweden because he fears they will happily hand him over to the U.S. to be executed as a supposed spy.
That espionage charges imply that information is sought through falsehoods and for the benefit of a rival has conveniently been forgotten here by “our” authorities. Also ignored is the hypocrisy behind screaming about those leaks while the practice of leaking information beneficial to ones agenda is so commonplace virtually no one raises an eyebrow about it. As usual, the rules are relative, and power is what really matters.
Despite this, Wikileaks has not been resting on their laurels. In fact, a new set of documents was released today. This set, in what’s probably an ironic relief to the U.S. government, consists of communications from within the political establishment of Syria. Check out the list of partners in disseminating this information though, as quoted directly from the intro page:
Over the next two months, ground-breaking stories derived from the files will appear in WikiLeaks (global), Al Akhbar (Lebanon), Al Masry Al Youm (Egypt), ARD (Germany), Associated Press (US), L’Espresso (Italy), Owni (France) and Publico.es (Spain). Other publications will announce themselves closer to their publishing date. (emphasis mine)
According to the political establishment of the U.S., the Associated Press is now a spying organization to be targeted for termination. The comparison I previously made could not be more obvious now, as even distinction between information sources has collapsed. If Wikileaks is criminal, so is any organization of the press that disseminates their material. Result: the 1st Amendment is swiss cheese, as any actual reporting which may cross the powerful is pretty much illegal. To think among this logic we’re puzzled as to why so much media consists of unquestioning stenography of talking points…
I’ve long found it a quite telling contradiction that there is such an overlap stateside between those indulging the frothing-at-the-mouth reaction towards Assange and Wikileaks and the shallow defense of whatever the hell the government carries out as somehow being the public interest. Patrick Cockburn today was able to boil that problem down to a single line (though the whole thing is worth reading):
State control of information and the ability to manipulate it makes the right to vote largely meaningless.
Exactly. The People cannot have decided if The People did not know, what is being claimed is a cheap veneer to what the authorities wanted to do anyway. We must pull as many cloaks off as we can, if our voices are to mean anything.
(* – Not that Ecuador doesn’t have its own issues with freedom of the press, of course. However, his asylum claim there fits in with how dL described his strategy, pointing legal regime competitors at each other so they cancel out. If seeing his example inspires “hey waitaminute, what about our freedom of speech?” from the Ecuadorian populace in a manner that actually expands it for them, even better.)