The Departments of Justice from all the most developed countries in the world worked together in the most coordinated way to capture him. Interpol started a manhunt and released his picture to over 100 nations. His assets were frozen and all the hackers working for government intelligence chased his communications and disabled any server used to host his domain. All of that for not using a condom!
How do you stop an Australian citizen who represents a website now hosted in Switzerland, which was also hiding probably somewhere in the United Kingdom and that has uncovered lots of secretes belonging to American diplomacy?
Does it really matter? Unless you are part of the offended Americans, the real question is: What sense is there, even before uncovering a secret, to hide it? What is the real purpose of classifying all those cables, if later on, more than three million people will have access to them? What is the US government looking into all of the obtained information about other countries for? Who will conspire against the USA with the little or much information obtained by the cablegate publications?
Let’s remember that last year, during the Iranian elections, the American government asked Twitter to stop their scheduled maintenance work that would have temporarily prevented information about society, military, and government actions there from coming through. How can we forget when US government officials condemned China’s request to Google asking to remove access to certain content? Even though Google complied for some time, in 2010 they decided to stop censoring keywords and finally decided to stop serving the China market due to their beliefs in democracy and freedom of internet. But when that information is about American affairs, the government seems to enjoy doing all possible moves to remove the content from the net. In the virtual world, for the American government it is easier to kidnap/hack the wikileaks domain than put Julian Assage behind bars for the cablegates publications.
How can the WhiteHouse or American senators, governors, majors, loser presidential candidates (Palin), bloggers, and regular citizens label Julian Assage as a Traitor? Assage is not even American! All dictionaries defined the word “Traitor” as a “person who betrays another, a cause, or any trust.” “A person who commits treason by betraying his or her country.” Where in this definition can Assage fit?
How many times have we heard the American government spokesperson saying “If you have nothing to hide, you have nothing to fear.” Should this apply now to the USA? Senator Joe Lieberman, Chairman of the Senate Home Land Security and Governmental Affairs condemned the wikileaks actions and published on his website (qt) “It is also outrageous for Wikileaks and its enablers to hide their conduct behind the ideal of ‘transparency.’ As a democracy, our nation has always believed the American people should have access to as much information as possible. But we have also long recognized that — to keep our country safe — some information must be kept secret.” It is clear that the line that separates diplomacy with espionage is really thin, and unscrupulous American officials are willing to cross that line with no regards, at any cost.
Amazon got scared when they were questioned by the government and literally kicked wikileaks domain out of their servers. PayPal has suspended wikileaks’ account used to collect donations, which was their main source of revenue, because they also felt the government pressure and declared that wikileaks has been using the PayPal services to engage in illegal activities; although they never clarified or provided details on what kind of illegal activities. Visa and Mastercard followed the same path.
Wikileaks literally put US diplomacy in chaos. All news around the world reported that the whole department of state has been placing calls to all the countries and embassies affected by the release of the private cables apologizing for them. How would you feel if somebody calls you and says: We have been secretively spying and following you for some time, but we have a leak of information and we want you to know that all your personal life will be read by the whole world in the coming days. We never intended that to happen, all your personal information was collected to use against you in our favor. But don’t worry, we already scared the beJesus out of all the companies that helped publishing that, and have initiated and international man-hunt for the one man responsible for the whole world to know that we have been spying on you.
For the most powerful country in the world, to have most of their dirty secrets revealed, must be one of the biggest embarrassments in their history, probably even worse than walking around the office with toilet paper stuck on your shoe, or standing in front of a crowd with an open zipper, or even worse than President Bush vomiting on Japanese Prime Minister’s lap. I wonder if Hillary Clinton had the red face and was feeling the cold sweat, or had knots in the stomach when she was making those calls. People with common sense know that when you find yourself in an embarrassing moment, you only have two options. One, apologize and promise it won’t happen again. Two, if it was beyond your control, just grin and bear the moment, but you still have to apologize no matter what.
How is the American media approaching the cablegate phenomena? Media in the USA seems to be divided between the one that have all the exclusivity rights (NYT) and the others. Some news seems to be Jealous for not been chosen by wikileaks to distribute the information. But I wonder if they actually eliminate themselves knowing that the government will question and check them with magnify lenses. Something is true; this event will pass to history along with the Pentagon Papers filtration event from 1971 as the biggest embarrassment in American Diplomacy. I think that by publishing all those secrets, Assage is representing all those voices outside the American media; alternative voices using the web 2 world to ask what American journalist won’t dare to ask on conference press hosted by the Department of State.
If traditional media is working to give context to the revelations hidden in the cables, then the internet is definitely part of this context. The great filtration thru papers, internet, and social networks allows society to see the true colors of their government. The land of the free, who portrays itself as the paladin of justice and free speech to the world has engaged in an international crusade trying to silence anyone who raised his voice against them. They are definitely engaged in stopping the freedom of speech and press they have “protected” since the birth of this nation because this time is not beneficial for them.
Is this the right time to put a stop to the abuse of power and create restrictions on the concealment of secrets that should not be secrets at all? Wikileaks has started a new revolution, and is not going to end soon; transparency, clarity, and interpretation are required for a real and deep democracy, and the internet is part of it now. Obama should step forward and apologize for ALL, yes, ALL the dirty work the American government has done to the entire world. He portrayed himself as the change this country needed and won the elections. This is the perfect frame for him to portray to the whole world as the change this planet has been expecting. After all, he cannot go back in time to recover his mojo and the website who shagged this country is not Dr Evil.
I’m not a journalist, but I’m sure all people in this field are now debating Assage’s manifest and are digesting the future of this profession. It is no longer the same field they learned at school. But something is clear, no matter what side of the story you are on, “please don’t shoot the messenger.” It seems funny that the man behind all of this information would be the kind of person to forget wearing a condom, but maybe it’s again all that he stands for. After all, a condom is designed to stop filtrations, right?