Monday, September 05, 2011

Assange shows himself up to be a shallow attention seeker

The concept of Wikileaks has some appeal for a libertarian.  Government secrets can hide criminal behaviour, breaches of individual rights and can show up corruption.  It can also show up things that governments don't want you to know, because they are embarrassed or think they know best.

However, it is one thing to be concerned about governments misusing their power, and engaging in criminal activity.  It is another to think that absolutely everything governments do should be in the public domain.

Some time ago I wrote the post "What is the motive of Julian Assange?" where I noted that Assange tends to leak one side of the story on most things.  Relatively little has been revealed from Russian, Chinese or Iranian sources.  Probably because language is a barrier, possibly because Assange would rather not be in the firing line of authoritarian regimes who are known to not be too fussed about using murder to deal with opponents.    

I later noted:

As interesting as it is for Wikileaks to publish stolen communications from US diplomatic sources, are there not similar communications being made available for Wikileaks to publish from countries that are not Western liberal democracies?


Will it receive such uncritical coverage if it publishes British diplomatic communications regarding strategy with the European Union? How about New Zealand's diplomatic communications on trade access issues?  How about South Korea's diplomatic communications about north Korea defectors?


Would it not be at least as interesting, and indeed more valuable if Wikileaks also gained access to material from Russia, China, Iran, North Korea, Syria, Zimbabwe, Burma, Cuba etc?

Now we have seen things have gone down that path.  Wikileaks has inadvertently published quarter of a million stolen US diplomatic despatches, which includes names of informants in China, Iran and Afghanistan.  People who now have their lives in jeopardy because Assange wanted attention.  The story behind it is complex and described in Der Spiegel, but it has since caused one former Wikileak's staff member to resign, explaining it in the Guardian as follows:

By drawing attention to, and then publishing in full, the unredacted cache of documents, WikiLeaks has done the cause of internet freedom – and of whistleblowers – more harm than US government crackdowns ever could.
Before the first publication of carefully redacted cables, human rights activists, NGOs, and organisations working with victims of horrific crimes contacted WikiLeaks begging us to take steps not to publish any names. To be able to assure them details would be protected was an immeasurable relief.

These cables contain details of activists, opposition politicians, bloggers in autocratic regimes and their real identities, victims of crime and political coercion, and others driven by conscience to speak to the US government. They should never have had to fear being exposed by a self-proclaimed human rights organisation.

Wikileaks is no human rights organisation.  It is an activist organisation, driven by the political agenda of Assange, which is to undermine Western governments' interests and embarrass them. 
Wikileaks is no friend of freedom, as Kyle Wingfield writes:

This is not a studied neutrality, or allegiance only to truth. It is for all intents and purposes making a value judgment in favor of authoritarian regimes over democratic ones. To deny this is to deny reality. And second, Assange and his co-conspirators, rather than proving the merits of transparency, have simply demonstrated the danger of letting a small group of unaccountable people wield control over information. They are guilty of everything they accuse governments (but mostly the U.S. government) of doing, and more.

The road to hell is paved ... and all that.  Pardon my language, but Assange is an attention seeking little cunt.  He hasn't a clue about international diplomacy, international relations, human rights or politics.  His own egomaniacal belief in his own genius has been his undoing, as he acts outside the laws of countries and effectively writes his own.  Brave people under totalitarian regimes, that he doesn't dare visit, have their lives at risk, because he knew best in dealing with stolen documents.

He makes the allegations about phone hacking within News International look like a misdemeanor, for that didn't put lives at risk.  His leftwing mates should do some soul-searching before implying that somehow it is a set up (nice bit of wilful blindness you smug little man).  I can only hope no one is hurt by this, but I suspect this has just effectively made any dissidents or activists for political freedom in many countries fearful of ever working with the USA (or any Western governments).  A situation I expect most Wikileaks supporters probably didn't want, but which the cloyingly cliche'd anti-Western agenda of Assange created as an inevitability.

You see, most of the things embassies and consulates do are mundane, some are sensitive, and a few are about providing outposts of support and comfort for dissidents and others.   Over many years thousands of north Koreans have defected from their own embassies or from work, sport or artistic groups, or by simply escaping, through south Korean embassies.  In many authoritarian countries, embassies provide a place for privacy or implicitly providing support and security for political dissidents, or even just ordinary people who want to use a library, open internet access or to learn about a country more openly.   It isn't something Assange and his sycophants understand, because they have never lived somewhere like that.

There are plenty of organisations, from Reporters without Borders to the Global Internet Freedom Consortium and Freedom House, who work hard to promote free and open media across the world.  They know what they are talking about, they have freedom and openness as core values, not banners for publicity, and they believe in individual freedom, not that everything every says should be open to the world.

It is time to turn one's back on Wikileaks and Julian Assange as an experiment led by someone whose primary interest was not freedom of speech, but publishing diarrhoea.  He didn't have the values he purported to represent, but a political partisan agenda, that has picked favours, and has shown that he isn't the god and saviour he'd really like to imagine himself to be.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

assange is a little cunt fuck him