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December 2010

WikiLeaks reveals an even greater truth

I want to thank Julian Assange and WikiLeaks for being brave enough to do its part in setting the truth free.  What we have seen in these past weeks is one of the most blatant acts of authoritarianism and overt censorship this century has seen. 

In fact, I'm not sure exactly how significant the information that WikiLeaks released was, but what is even more interesting and revealing is the way that some of the world's most powerful corporations such as Mastercard and Paypal are attempting to govern our lives in order to protect their own power.   It is just as interesting as it is terrifying to watch corporations and governments working in lock-step around the world to silence a small organization that is only trying to fight the highest levels of corruption by letting the people see occassional fragments of truth.

Do they not think we see what is going on here? It is important to first understand the genious of the WikiLeaks model.  In the past, any whistleblower who was courageous enough to attempt to expose scandal and corruption only had one way to get the truth out.  If he wanted to reach a large, mainstream audience, he had to approach the mainstream media with the story.  The problem, of course, is that the mainsteam media is owned by and run by corporations who don't want certain information out (such as the information about Bank of America that WikiLeaks was threatening to share next).  In the past, the mainstream media would simply refuse to run the story (at best) or (at worst) likely report the whistleblower to the offended authorities to have him silence or killed.

The genious of WikiLeaks, the very purpose of WikiLeaks, was that the mainstream media could not ignore it.  Assange would post the information to the website while simultaneously alerting all of the media.  Because he revealed the leaks in such a public and transparent way, they could not burry it and were forced to do at least some basic reporting if they wished to appear as an actual news source.  He gave them little choice.

I can't help wondering whether this, what is happening now, is exactly what Assange planned.  He must have known that the media would over-react and reveal itself as the corporate / government mouthpiece it really is.  He must have known that the world's most powerful governments, after being embarrassed by the information that was leaked, would eagerly work with the world's most powerful corporations to respond in just the clumsy, obvious, and revealing ways they have.  And now, rather than arresting him on actual charges having anything to do with what he actually has done, the UK government is cooking up some kind of bullshit sex-scandal in an attempt to smear him.  This sex-scandal playbook is getting really tiresome.

So I wonder whether the population will be fooled by authority, as it always has been historically.  Or I wonder whether Assange will go down as the bravest person in the world in 2010...somebody who followed in the tradition of the greatest political activists before him.  As we watch him turn himself in to the British police, let us remember that in doing so he is becoming nothing other than a political prisoner.  Like the political prisoners of the USSR, the only thing he has done wrong is that he dared to challenge power.

Posted by Mark Manney (mark.manney@infobeing.com).