Over the past weeks, I have been watching the demonisation of Wikileaks and its public face Julian Assange with growing incredulity. Enough even to write this blog post, even though I have barely enough time to breathe.
Wikileaks, the course of leaked documents embarrassing to governments, is a media organization. Like the New York Times. And in free countries like the USA, it is legal to publish leaked documents. It may not be legal to steal them, but it is legal to receive and publish them. That is why we were able to have Watergate. Our media depend on such leaks, every single day. This is one of our fundamental freedoms.
Or it was until now. It seems to me that free speech in the west is a shambles - it is free only as long as it does not threaten the established order in any way. The moment is does, it apparently stops being allowed.
Wikileaks has been treated shamefully. Its servers are down. DOS attacks (which, unlike publishing leaks, ARE illegal) are happening - these are, one may well imagine, probably government-based. But no public outrage there that I see. Paypal has stopped handling its payments. Amazon and many other organisations have kicked Wikileaks off their servers after being “asked” to do so by the government, without any legal process. Just like the East German government used to “ask” people to do things. Entirely Kafkaesque.
And Julian Assange, the public face of Wikileaks, is under attack for being a megalomaniac. Whether or not he is (and I do not see evidence): how many of you refuse to buy Apple products, and how often do governments try to destroy Apple, because Steve Jobs has a big ego?
I fear Julian will probably “disappear” into a secret CIA prison - or worse. Sarah Palin and other leading American figures have called for his assassination. Where is the outrage over this? If anyone else called for someone’s assassination they would quite rightly go to jail.
But all the usual laws and rules seem to have gone overboard here. Calls for assassination. Mysterious attacks on domains and web sites. Government destroying by simply “asking” companies to to its thing. We seem to be suddenly living in a Kafkaesque world of secret police running things, with the law being reduced to apparent irrelevancy.
And let’s see why. Because of embarrassment.
And where is the outrage there?
Wikileaks publishes the evidence, for instance, that Hillary Clinton has been asking American UN diplomats to collect the UN Secretary General’s (and others’) DNA. And instead of outrage at this apparent act of clear illegality, we get outrage at… the whistleblower? Shameful.
Most of the world is outraged not at the illegality, immorality and dishonesty of their governments, but at the people who dare point this out? When I see this, I think the world has turned upside down and there is clear danger we will end up with more holocausts down the road.
And not far down the road, either: when I see how quickly we appear to be ready to abandon all legal process, I am utterly astonished.
I would take a good look at Wikileaks via its mirrors (list on http://wikileaks.ch/mirrors.html) while you can.