#wikileaks #cablegate #assange
Regardless of whether you agree with Assange’s actions and his loose lipped approach to global politics we have encountered a very systematic and damaging attack on free speech this week. If a man can be arrested for an alleged and highly ambiguous crime four months after it occurred and was subsequently thrown out by prosecutors due to a comprehensive lack of evidence in a climate of international outcry from the very highest levels, you don’t have to be wearing a tin foil hat and be eating out of a dustbin to be able to smell the horse shit.
Assange has been arrested for ‘sex by surprise’, molestation and exposing himself, alleged by two women with whom he was having consensual sexual relations. The grey area, or surprise element if you will, is that he removed the condom he was wearing and then ‘put it back in’ on the sly. Three arrest warrants were sent to the Metropolitan Police who promptly rejected them on the basis that they were too unclear. All of this paints a picture of legality in fluctuation and a frantic search to find a way to get this notoriously elusive character back on the radar.
The story takes another unimaginable turn when Assange gives himself up immediately after his arrest warrant is issued. He surrenders his passport and offers up £180,000 (raised by a collection of high profile supporters) of bail which is flatly refused. The judge decided that Assange was a ‘flight risk’, which may in itself be a real enough risk, however once you consider that neither he nor his organisation has any way of collecting income after many financial vendors, including Visa, Mastercard and Paypal, blacklisted WikiLeaks over the past week. It is officially far easier to financially support violent extremism than it is to support Assange and WikiLeaks. Furthermore, Assange has been denied access to his lawyer until six days after his detention, which will be only one day before his extradition hearing.
Even more shocking than the legal assault on Assange was the level of censorship dealt to the entire WikiLeaks organisation; servers refused to host their content and they were pushed all over the globe to find a replacement after being blacklisted in the USA and Australia. This statement by Amazon gives their (entirely misguided) reason for withdrawing hosting of WikiLeaks content, “it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren’t putting innocent people in jeopardy.” Amazon, as well as the larger news media, continuously suggest that WikiLeaks is indiscriminately publishing the entirety of the 250,000 diplomatic cables in their possession. This is untrue. Of the 250,000 documents in question they have so far published only 960 with advice from a whole host of international news partners which includes The Guardian, the NYT, El Pais, Le Monde and Der Speige (many of whom actually published these cables BEFORE WikiLeaks) to comprehensively ensure that no person is put in danger by the information released. Not to mention that WikiLeaks directly approached the US embassy in London to seek guidance on the release of certain documents.
The level of political force weighed against WikiLeaks is entirely disproportionate given that no law has been broken in any country and the information was released in an effort to add more transparency to the murky and deceptive nature of international relations. WikiLeaks is an extremely important tool for the safety of whistleblowers; it gives them a place to anonymously ‘donate’ information that they feel is of concern to their moral compass. Unlike a journalist who can be forced to reveal his or her source by a court ruling, as we tragically saw with Dr David Kelly, WikiLeaks as an organisation can not be forced to reveal its sources. Assange is merely a scapegoat as the head of a much larger and more or less untouchable organisation.
Assange is fast becoming a martyr for free speech and WikiLeaks is solidifying its position as force for ethical journalism all over the world; its existence highlights the fact that a small group of dedicated people can have a great impact on international politics and unify a huge number of people in one common cause; knowledge.
Typical Fox News reaction:
wikileaks static IP http://184.108.40.206