Monday, April 25, 2011


Julian Assange is a peculiar sort of whistleblower -- or maybe I'm just an old fart who doesn't understand his importance and brilliance. A whistleblower of the old-fashioned variety releases documents that are specifically incriminating -- that confirm allegations of a particular outrage. Assange just throws document caches against a wall, which would be understandable if their release generally helped bring malfeasors to justice, or even to accountability. But they don't, really -- I'm looking at this morning's stories on Assange's Gitmo leaks, and what am I learning? That innocent people were held for years and dangerous people let go? That the imprisoned have included the very old, the very young, and the clinically insane? That the Obama administration has failed to clean up the Bush administration's mess? What does this tell me that I didn't already know?

But, of course, Assange is out to bring a crime to light only in the sense that he believes secrecy itself is the crime -- "information wants to be free" and all that. If you agree that secrecy is the #1 crime, then this is just the ticket. If not, not.

And yeah, I know that Wikileaks is credited with starting the wave of uprisings in the Arab-Muslim world by exposing Tunisian corruption -- but that's not a view that was necessarily shared by people actually on the ground in Tunisia. And even if it's so, it seems like a decidedly mixed blessing, especially if you live in, say, Misrata right now -- and it hardly seems like comeuppance for the First World secret-holders who were presumably Assange's primary targets. And that poor bastard Bradley Manning -- is that what he's been in a hell of incarceration for? His life was effectively sacrificed in order to avenge the crimes of the Ben Ali family?

Wake me when a buccaneer document-leaker seriously threatens our financial overlords (those Bank of America leaks by Assange's Anonymous pals went down a damp squib, didn't they?), or, say, posts the documents that actually shock the national conscience and thus make the continued existence of Guantanamo politically impossible in America. I'm not holding my breath.

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