(’76 Contributor) As the latest Wikileaks saga unfolded I couldn’t help but recall the scene in the film Sneakers where Martin “Marty” Bishop (Robert Redford) and Cosmo (Ben Kingsley) discuss the “code breaker.”
Cosmo: There’s a war out there, old friend. A world war. And It’s not about who’s got the most bullets. It’s about who controls the information. What we see and hear, how we work, what we think … It’s all about the information! [http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKprr3tEBew]
There is another scene in the movie where Marty utters the phrase “no more secrets.” And that is increasingly what we are approaching as the global pseudo–anarchist organization Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange wage their own private war against the United States and its allies.
By their own deeds and actions this band of internet information warriors have taken it upon themselves to enact that creed of “no more secrets” and have set about to deliberately undermine the US government as well as a large number of other organizations, corporations, and even individuals. When it comes to the United States of America, this is what happens when people begin to believe their own propaganda that those who dare to confront and militarily engage rogue regimes, mass murderers, and blood–splattered Islamic barbarians are somehow evil and worthy of defeat. It is a twisted view of the world that defends genocidal regimes like that of the Husseins or the fundamentalist berserkers who seek to re–establish the caliphate and offer the infidel West the three choices submission, conversion, or death. All while viewing those who oppose such monsters as worthy of humiliation and defeat.
“On Sunday 28th November 2010, Wikileaks began publishing 251,287 leaked United States embassy cables, the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain. The documents will give people around the world an unprecedented insight into the US Government’s foreign activities.” (Wikileaks homepage)
“WikiLeaks has released more classified intelligence documents than the rest of the world press combined.” (Wikileaks homepage)
Many in academia and the media have tried to defend Wikileaks as a journalistic organization merely engaging in “freedom of speech.” To obscure the truth of what has occurred by attempting to hide behind the skirts of legitimate newsgathering is pathetic and a poor excuse at best. Someone who purposely solicits and then publishes stolen secrets is no more a journalist than the street thug who pushes stolen goods is a legitimate and valued entrepreneur. Wikileaks does little more than engage in subversion of all it decides is unfit and wage full–scale, cyber warfare against all those who dare to oppose its efforts.
They may call themselves “journalists” but they have an agenda and political motives. This makes them not members of the media, but subversives waging a war of information obtained through espionage and the utilization of traitors to purposefully harm a country. One may agree or disagree with their goals, but let’s define them for what they really are instead of trying to pretend they are no different than the editor of a small town newspaper.
Assange and Wikileaks have no problem with harming innocent people by their behavior “collateral damage, if you will” and though they proclaim to have a “harm–minimization policy,” they have published what amounts to death sentences for over a hundred US Afghan allies.
I may be a conservative who believes in limited and constitutional government, but I still believe in government. I also believe that my government’s ability to strategize, for example, about the fall of North Korea and engage in private conversations with Chinese officials about such possibilities does not need to be posted on every blog on the net for the psychotic paranoids running North Korea to read. Believe it or not, there are some secrets we don’t all need to know about. But thanks to Wikileaks, we do.
We cannot be sure who Julian Assange thinks he really is. Spartacus leading slaves in revolt against their masters? An Alexander the Great conquering cyberspace? Napolean defeating his enemies on the newest field of battle? A Lenin leading the proletariat to defeat the bourgeoisie?
Or perhaps just a glorified hacker and his worshipful, anarchistic cabal waging their own private war against all forms of authority and capitalism?
“With its anonymous drop box, WikiLeaks provides an avenue for every government official, every bureaucrat, and every corporate worker, who becomes privy to damning information that their institution wants to hide but the public needs to know. What conscience cannot contain, and institutional secrecy unjustly conceals, WikiLeaks can broadcast to the world.” (Wikipedia homepage)
We are currently witnessing the wholesale dumping of over 250,000 classified State Department cables onto the web with apparently very little discretion at all. Just dumping raw information no matter what it is, is hardly heroic. And it is certainly not revealing ‘damning information’ that the ‘public needs to know.’ Quite the contrary, in fact. The idea that the whole world needs to be privy of every private conversation a diplomat partakes in is utterly ridiculous and illogical. It makes no sense. The concept that a world with no privacy, and no secrets, is necessarily a better one is a significant gamble based on theory, not fact. Some would even say fantasy.
This is a form of warfare. Some see it as a war for freedom of the press, but it is really a war of sabotage, espionage, compromise, and betrayal. There is no justice or honor in that.
There are secrets that should be made public, and some things public that should be secret, but it certainly should not be up to Julian Assange and the malcontents of Wikileaks to cast themselves as the ultimate god–of–information and make those decisions for the rest of us.
The problem is probably less about the secrets that have been revealed (though Yemen, Saudi Arabia etc. are not very happy about it at all) but that absolutely no one can trust that anything they ever say in confidence to an American diplomat in the future won’t be splashed across the Internet by some vengeful, arrogant Aussie. And therein lies the evil of Wikileaks. No more secrets means no more trust, no more honesty, and no more candor. And that makes for a more dangerous world.
David Huntwork is a conservative activist and independent columnist in Northern Colorado, where he lives with his wife and three daughters. You may view his bio and past columns at http://DavidHuntwork.tripod.com. Contact him at Davehuntwork@juno.com.