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Why I support Wikileaks

This started off as a reply to a comment on Samizdata but by the time I reached the fifth paragraph, I realised it might as well be a full blown blog post. Below is the remark to which I was replying but this article is now really about explaining why I have moved from tentative opposition to inescapable support for Wikileaks.

When the Saudi diplomat expressed concern about Iran – something that he would not have done without the presumption of secrecy – that information was intended for the American government and no one else.

This is actually the very core of the ‘systemic attack’ that Assange has made on nation-states. It is precisely by attacking their ability to informally and easily exchange casual and often banal information that has such remarkable implications on the ability of states to act the way states act.

It does not need to be “the date of D-Day” kind of revelations (the kind I too want to remain secret) that can significantly interfere with a state’s ability to act as a ‘conspiracy’ (and not in the “Grassy Knoll” or “Bilderburg” or similar gonzo conspiracy theory sense)… indeed I wish Assange had never used the word ‘conspiracy’… I have long described the Green movement ‘Warmists’ as a ‘confluence of interests’ rather than a ‘conspiracy’… but I actually mean the exact same thing when discussing the Greens as Assange means when he describes Government as a ‘conspiracy’…

But if you are someone of the view that the modern regulatory welfare state has vastly too much power over its subjects, and that these states are unreformable from within the ‘democratic’ systems… the very systems that have been in place during the growth of this overweening state power, then a valid way to oppose that power is to carry out systemic attacks on the very networks that allow that ‘confluence of interests’ to express what those interests are and to thereby find ways to achieve that confluence. And thus making even the banal gossip-like ruminations of functionaries and statesmen public is far more damaging than it might seem as it undermines the very ability to form informal yet secure relationships. By forcing the state to lock down their internal modes of communication, making them less accessible to everyone, not just Julian Assange, Wikileaks deals a more profound blow to states than a half century of earnest pro-liberty pamphleteers and people in good faith trying to work the system to roll back western panoptic regulatory statism.

If you think the state is too powerful, yet you do not want to see the state damaged by systemic attacks like Assange’s Wikileaks, then presumably you think the state’s power can be trimmed back significantly within the system. Indeed this was long my hope as I am a minarchist and thus see some role for the state in keeping barbarian hordes at bay, preventing plagues and putting out fires (the ‘nightwatchman state’)… but I think now that the idea this roll back of modern pervasive regulatory statism could ever be achieved via democratic politics is not just naive but verges on delusional.

If you actually want a less powerful state, then how do you think it will be weakened and rolled back? By what process? And at what cost?

If like me, you are not an anarchist who wants to see the complete collapse of the nation-state, but rather are someone who actually supports some of what the state does, i.e. you are a classical liberal conservative or minarchist of some ilk, then you need to accept that there will be costs and casualties in the process getting to where you want to go. And if you ever want to make enemies, try actually changing something that other people benefit from.

That is why this process of rolling back the state has to be something which, with great linguistic trepidation, I am forced to describe as nothing less than a ‘revolutionary’ process… and in any revolutionary process some of what you value will be damaged or destroyed. That is simply unavoidable if you are serious about rolling back the state… a carefully targeted campaign just against the ‘bad stuff’ is exactly what working within the system has long tried to do, and it is impossible to look at the last fifty years and not conclude it has largely failed to prevent the inexorable growth of vast and increasingly transnational panoptic regulatory states.

And that is what leaves us with the choice of supporting systemic attacks on the state to weaken it, or the alternative… being acquiescence with the status quo because we are not willing to see our particular sacred cows get gored in the conflict.

In my case, as an uncompromising anti-communist cold warrior and then a broad supporter of military action against Yugoslavia/Serbia and then against Al Qaeda and Ba’athist Socialism, my area of acute pain is seeing the ability of the military to operate get caught in the crossfire. That is the state function I value and what torments me when I find myself nevertheless forced to support what Assange has done regardless.

The only reason I can make this final leap is that in our post-Cold War era where systemic opposition to western regulatory states is no longer tantamount to support for Soviet Communism regardless of one’s ostensible motivation (the ‘useful idiot’ syndrome’… Rothbard was a ‘useful idiot’ for this reason and that is why I refuse to lionise him).

But in 2010 there is simply no longer an overarching justification for tolerating powerful state institutions. Context changes everything. Indeed the Cold War mental ‘legacy meta-context’ of many of liberty’s friends needs to update to sync with the context of this post Cold War era. I have been as guilty here as any.

So given that the military threat posed to the Western world, namely Islamic fundamentalist terrorism, is a small yapping but rabid toy poodle compared to the threat of, say the Soviets or before them the Nazis, Imperial Germany, Napoleon or Ottoman Turks… and modern threats like China, North Korea or Iran are regional threats rather than global ones… I just cannot see how, if I want to see a growth in liberty and reduction in the over-mighty state, that I can justify not supporting what Assange is doing, however much I might wish to ring fence ‘my’ favourite bits of the state from the hale of incendiary fire falling from the internet. I might see it differently if I was living in Israel or South Korea, but I do not and moreover I do not see Wikileaks as posing a major threat to Israel’s or South Korea’s existence even if their functionaries might prefer their off-the-record remarks to various US diplomats to have stayed secret.

The brutal truth is if you are not willing to take casualties, both figuratively and literally, then you are not actually serious about seeking a future with a significantly smaller role for the state vis a vis civil society. The fact that a great many far left groups also support Assange is a telling measure of how few people truly understand the long term implications of what would happen if Assange was able to achieve the perfect end-state… i.e. one where states were more or less unable to informally communicate the way they currently do in order to establish the highly effective networks from which their confluences of interest spring.

146 comments to Why I support Wikileaks

  • John B

    There are so many factors.
    Margaret Thatcher’s lot (with Reagan and other world figures) did not bring liberty, okay, but they did roll back a massive amount of state apparatus so the Cold War was ended, collectivist Union power was defeated for a few decades, and prosperity was able to rise from the ashes of the 1970s. That prosperity is again on the skids and we are heading back to something a lot worse. I can see the similarities, the tactics, and that is where it is heading.
    Another factor is that the big bad world is a lot more hazardous, unreliable and inconsistent than a person brought up in the West might imagine. We have grown up in a luxury of liberty and I know that it does not take too much to knock things into chaos.
    Uttering words like “take casualties” does not come easy when the madness gets close to you and reason seems to evaporate. The only people who can utter those words then are those protected from the action.

    Other factors include the reality that what is happening on the ground is not just poodles.
    Venezuela is getting Iranian missiles.
    Iran is going nuclear.
    North Korea is taking out South Korean targets with impunity.
    The “hate the west” power bloc is growing by the day.
    What happens to Israel will happen to the rest of the West, the day after.
    Madness slips in almost un-noticed until the lynching starts. And then it’s normal.
    China is mining Africa’s resources and its global domination is increasing as a result.
    Russia is rising to dominance again.
    States that tend to use people who disagree with them too much as body part reserves are taking control.
    Welcome to the future care of “Anonymous”?

    The way to roll the state back is to push back the madness, not to manufacture more of it.
    Destructive anarchy can only survive when it has a pre-existing system to feed on.

  • Mister Snitch

    I too support Wiki-Leaks, for one simple reason: I see bitter, vicious attacks on it from BOTH the left and right.

    You gotta be doing something right to achieve that kind of balance.

  • Jacob

    The way to roll the state back is to push back the madness, not to manufacture more of it.

    I second that.

  • geTaylor

    You argue in the manner of a “progressive” collectivist.

    “If you think the state is too powerful, yet you do not want to see the state damaged by systemic attacks like Assange’s Wikileaks, then presumably you think the state’s power can be trimmed back significantly within the system.”

    Skipping over the well-worn aphorism concerning the perils of “ass uming”; the state’s power can be trimmed back significantly by the exercise of individual integrity. Everything else is playing their game.

  • The way to roll the state back is to push back the madness, not to manufacture more of it.

    Sorry but there is no easy or gentle option. The alternative is either tacit acquiescence or more usually from conservatives, ineffective action… i.e. working within a system that has evolved to contain and limit all attempts to roll it back. Reagan and Thatcher were blips because they did *not* damage the roots of the system, they just trimmed the bush.

    So yes, to smash systems that needs smashing you do indeed need to manufacture more ‘madness’. You need to attack systemically the networks they use to spread and infiltrate themselves into every aspect of life.

    And if you will not countenance that, do not kid yourself that your commitment to seeing a less intrusive state is anything more than a posture that, when push came to shove, did not survive contact with the first action we have seen in a long time that might actually damage the system you think you oppose.

  • Oh and…

    The “hate the west” power bloc is growing by the day.

    So what? Let them hate. Do they have 10,000 tanks facing the Fulda Gap? Are they are the Gates of Vienna? Are they massed on the Channel Coast waiting for air superiority?

    No.

    The main threat to liberty now are the people whose power and influence shape the entire world, and they do not live in the Middle East. They live in Washington, London, Paris and Brussels. Cutting them down to size will be a great deal harder than Allah’s pissant clowns or the moron running Venezuela into the ground with breathtaking speed.

  • Dom

    Assange and the people surrounding him — Pirate Bay, Jonsdottir, and others — seem like a sick bunch to me, a sad assortment of neo-nazis, nutcases, conspiracy freaks. Assange himself is a crank, you can see what I mean if you look at some of the postings that Peter Risdon has downloaded (since deleted — he believes in privacy for himself) . I’m sorry Perry, but you will be sorry that you supported him.

  • Lou

    Assange wrote the following in an article explaining his position: “Wikileaks deserves protection, not threats and attacks.”

    Since many of Assange’s follower have been busy trying to shut down Internet businesses (such as Amazon), I’m wondering if Assange will give the following instruction to his followers: “Amazon (and the other institutions being attacked) deserve protection, not threats and attacks.”

    I suspect Assange won’t.

  • Brad Miner

    I have a son serving in Iraq, so I think your comments are callous, heartless.

  • Dom

    I’ve been looking for a good opportunity to bring this up, and I hope I’m not hijacking the thread here, but I think it is a point worth making. The most interesting documents in the WL cache are the documents that don’t exist. Like the documents describing the explosives planted in the Twin Towers on September 10th. Or the documents expressing a need to build a gas pipe-line across Afghanistan. Or the plans for an American base in Iraq to control the flow of Gulf oil. Shouldn’t someone be a little surprised by these (non-existing) documents?

  • I’m sorry Perry, but you will be sorry that you supported him.

    I doubt it. His motives do not matter as much as what the likely outcome with be of messing with the state’s ability to keep secrets… and his supporters are utterly irrelevant. I could care less if the KKK and the Mafia love him and the Mass Bands of the Gordon Highlanders follow him around. If you think that matters you are looking at the wrong things.

  • Barry Sheridan

    It is difficult to see those who make up the ruling classes of the either the supra-power bloc, the EU, or any other single advanced organised modern State losing their affection and limpet like hold on power. If it is to happen then it will stem from the chaos unleashed by the destructive policies pursued by those who govern. Sadly that is all too apparent today, the destruction that is. The consequences in the longer term of course will hit the ordinary first and hardest. What Mr Assange is doing will make no difference to this fact.

  • Andy

    Intrinsic to Wikileaks is hatred of America but you don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater, for example the willingness to allow fanatics additional info on vulnerable strike targets or exploit sentiment toward further recruitment. So when you want transparency and accountability there needs to be balance and a dividing line and that, is not Wikileaks.

  • Elam Bend

    I think it’s instructive that the revelations that are most embarrassing are those for authoritarian countries.

  • tim maguire

    One can agree that nation states keep too many secrets and still consider Wikileaks a tool of espionage and a serious threat. Even you agree that states have some legitimate need for secrets. We cannot allow every Tom, Dick and Julian to appoint himself the judge of what secrets are important and which are not.

    BTW, Anarchists also believe in fire departments and universities and keeping the Barbarians at bay. Anarchy as a political theory is not bored middle class white kids who like to break things.

  • Rich

    [New to this blog, maybe you've already worked through this:] What is the difference between what the New York Times has done and what Wikileaks has done with respect to communicating words obtained by others illegally?

  • Assange appears to be something of a crackpot. I don’t see any real evidence that his declared strategy will or could succeed. Forcing states to be more secretive, to use better encryption and vet its operatives more closely is not a “systemic attack”. It’s more akin to a mild vaccine that merely serves to build up antibody defences against the disease of transparency. Assange is merely making sure that those secrets that really matter will, in future, stay secret. The State Department one day will be thanking him. I doubt anyone else will.

  • Kolya

    Perry,

    Given that you support some state activities (the war in Afghanistan, perhaps?) why not support selective leaking that undermines unwarranted state conspiracies without damaging the legitimate ones?

  • James

    Isn’t it more likely that Wikileaks will harm rather than help the cause of free speech and the dissemination of truths? If everyone in government and big business is afraid that their emails may be published by Assange and Co, isn’t that rather a strong compulsion towards insincerity and guardedness?

    As so often, I think Anthony Daniels say it best:

    The dissolution of the distinction between the private and public spheres was one of the great aims of totalitarianism. Opening and reading other people’s e-mails is not different in principle from opening and reading other people’s letters. In effect, WikiLeaks has assumed the role of censor to the world, a role that requires an astonishing moral grandiosity and arrogance to have assumed. Even if some evils are exposed by it, or some necessary truths aired, the end does not justify the means.

  • Given that you support some state activities (the war in Afghanistan, perhaps?) why not support selective leaking that undermines unwarranted state conspiracies without damaging the legitimate ones?

    Well if I was Assange I would never leak operational military information, but for the ‘systemic’ attack to be effective it needs to be as widespread as indiscriminate as possible.

  • Isn’t it more likely that Wikileaks will harm rather than help the cause of free speech and the dissemination of truths? If everyone in government and big business is afraid that their emails may be published by Assange and Co, isn’t that rather a strong compulsion towards insincerity and guardedness?

    Anthony Daniels has no idea what Assange is actually doing. But as for your point, it is not a bug, it is a feature. The precise objective is to make communication between the various ‘conspirators’ (damn I hate that loaded word) harder. By being insincere and guarded, the people involved have at a stroke made the value of their formal and inform communications less accurate and valuable. The whole idea of systemic attack is to attack the network of communication used to express ‘interest’ and establish ‘confluence’. *THAT* is the whole point of the exercise.

    And often the ends do indeed justify the means. Do we complain when a SWAT team rescues a hostage by putting a bullet in a hostage taker’s head? No, because the ends do indeed justify the means.

  • You argue in the manner of a “progressive” collectivist.

    Indeed I do. I refer you to an article I wrote the day I founded Samizdata.

    Individual integrity is essential but it is a prerequisite for taking action to change things, not a substitute for it. Deluding yourself that democratic party politics is going to cause meaningful change is playing the state’s game… that is not what Assange is doing.

  • Jackthesmilingblack

    Let the truth be known, though the Heavens fall.

  • John B

    There were a few terrorists who did some, in reality, very limited but high profile actions.
    As a result air travel has become extremely tedious, spy cameras on every street normal, extended security forces powers normal and acceptable. Any form of travel is subject to routine close surveillance.
    Looking suspicious has become a dangerous thing to do. Any form of eccentricity is regarded with suspicion, and one can only survive so much suspicion. One begins to go lu lu.
    Financial transactions are fairly closely monitored and any transactions over a few thousand pounds have to be explained. All bank accounts have to be identity verified.
    That and far more is the legacy the control-orientated have managed to extract from a few attacks on civil life.

    Any chaos, resulting from Assagne’s activities or for any other reason, is playing into the hands of those that would control.
    To see liberty resulting from chaos one has to go to the post-apocalyptic phase. And I think those scenarios have been grossly over romanticised!
    Not saying that no good things have come from the leaks but this is not playing with fire – it is playing with fissile material in a reactor that is already partly out of control.

  • Laird

    I’m glad to see that Perry has taken up this point, which I’ve also tried to raise in a few other threads. Apparently it’s a very sophisticated argument (although I can’t see why), since with the exception of Endivio R no one else on this thread seems to grasp it. In any event, no one else has really responded to it; everyone else is hung up on specifics (e.g., bemoaning the dissemination of sensitive military information or questioning whether Wikileaks advances the cause of “freedom of speech”). Neither is on point.

    The point of the wholesale release of “secret” documents, the banal as well as the truly sensitive, is to hamper the government’s ability to operate in secret. The hope is that this type of “systemic attack on the network” will lead to the “revolutionary” outcome Perry envisions. Clearly, reform within the system is not working (and, in my opinion, no longer can succeed) in reducing the power of government. We’re well past that point (if it was ever really possible after WW2). Thatcher and Reagan were, in Perry’s word, just “blips”. Not only did they fail to reverse the direction of governmental growth (they merely stopped it briefly, functioning as a mere ratchet), by permitting our economies to, as it were, “catch their breath” and recapture some of their robustness, one can plausibly argue that they were in fact unwitting enablers of the Leviathan State. Another Thatcher won’t help today; wholesale destruction of large portions of the governmental apparatus is necessary, and that will never happen within the system, regardless of who the titular head of government might be.

    So it comes back to Endivio’s point. At the end of the day, will the Wikileaks papers (and, hopefully, others like them) actually help to weaken the communications infrastructure of the “confluence of interests” and thus lead to meaningful shrinkage of government, as Perry hopes, or will it lead to the “hardening” of those systems and even more repressive government, as Endivio posits? Personally, I’m with Perry on this, but I recognize the significant risk that Endivio is correct. At this point it’s just a guess.

    Still, how can we not try? What is the alternative? It’s quite clear where the path we are now on is going, and that nothing short of a revolutionary approach will change the course. The Wikileaks strategy may end up merely accellerating the rate at which our freedoms are lost, but since that’s where we’re headed anyway it’s merely a timing issue. The upside is a chance for meaningful reform. A high-stakes game, to be sure, but in my opinion the potential benefits outweigh the risks.

  • AndyJ

    I am glad to see such support for the release of all private information. When the items become personal, wages, medical history, debt history are all released, I sincerely hope that everyone will take the same positions.

    Negotiating requires lots of private conversations to determine positions. Negotiators seldom have the authority to complete the transactions. Therefore, there must be lost of to-and-fro about things in offering and things accepted… BUT since the trend is for everyone to become a journalist-then it follows that everyone and everything is also a subject for public scrutiny…

    Just as Assange has withheld some things as his “Doomsday” release… Then surely some things are not for public consumption… But if the trend is that One-Size-Fits-All… then will these same voices feel the same when their world is revealed in all it’s details-?

    Somehow, I think not. Attacking the USA is fun. It’s everybody’s favorite “Evil Empire”… altho few can imagine a world without the USA as a strong nation… But again, if that is the trend, then we shall let the problems fall where they may… America has a strong isolationist streak. The only problem with that is every time America withdraws back home, The World breeds monsters that begin the wholesale slaughter of innocents… Since the trend is also for the innocent to be punished and condemned along with the guilty… It’s gonna be a harsh world…

  • Exellent comment from Laird to an excellent post by Perry. I’m sold. Or I buy it. Whatever the phrase is.

  • I am glad to see such support for the release of all private information. When the items become personal, wages, medical history, debt history are all released, I sincerely hope that everyone will take the same positions.

    I’m not so sure that’s much of an argument. The people who can do the most damage to you with that information already have it and use it against you. For instance, if you were hospitalised for depression and self harm as a teenager, you may be embarrassed if your neighbours were to know. But it’s the State that will use it to snatch your children away.

  • Seems like an excellent place to shill briefly for David Brin’s The Transparent Society. It’s twelve years old now and therefore a bit dated, but still one of the best treatments of the implications of a government without secrets.

    I can’t tell whether the fact that Assange’s intentions–to degrade the operation of organizations relying on secrets–are so corrosive as to invalidate the undertaking, or whether the public good that accrues from maximum transparency is worth putting up with such a loathsome saboteur.

    My biggest problem with Assange, though, is the “insurance file”. Here is, purportedly, a big fat wad of secrets that Assange is holding back for his own purposes. He is using those secrets as a tool for enhancing his power. As a result, he has become his very own secret organization, just like the ones that he wants to degrade. It’s more than a little ironic.

  • I am glad to see such support for the release of all private information. When the items become personal, wages, medical history, debt history are all released, I sincerely hope that everyone will take the same positions.

    Getting most state information out in the public domain is just fine by me, likewise for information of people who suckle off the state’s teat… but I must have missed the bit were Wilileaks started putting out “everyone wages, medical history, debt history”…

    Attacking the USA is fun. It’s everybody’s favorite “Evil Empire”… altho few can imagine a world without the USA as a strong nation.

    As the USA is by far the most influential state, if the nature of powerful nation states is what you want to do something about, you pretty much have to attack the USA and its web of contacts. It make give you warm fuzzies leaking details about North Korea and Iran but so what? They only matter if you live near North Korea or Iran. What the USA does has global impact however. I think the American state is far far far too intrusive both domestically and in terms of many of its foreign entanglements… but then I think the same about every regulatory welfare state, so why treat the Biggest Boy any different?

    But in this post cold war world, I do not think it is hard to imagine a world where the USA mostly minds its own business: it would certainly lead to some problems whilst obviating a great many others.

    US is not an “evil Empire” but its influence is also far from universally benign, to say the least. Oh don’t get me wrong, there is an upside to the Yanks blowing up the Milosevic’s and Saddam’s of this world, but unlike the era of super power confrontation between the USA and the Soviets, if the USA said “screw this” in 2010 and decided to spend 1/4 as much on its military, guess what… the world would still keep turning.

  • One other point: I don’t think that this requires a revolution. I do think that it requires a sober, categorical, concerted review of the nature and uses of secrecy within the government, and intense lobbying for statutory limitations on what can and can’t be secret.

    Here’s my favorite: all conversations by a member of Congress, with the exception of unofficial conversations with immediate family, are on the record. Every last word. Want to have real reform to reduce the influence of lobbyists in politics? This will do it.

  • Ian F4

    I see Perry’s yappy little Poodle and his pissant clown owner have been busy in Stockholm tonight, never mind, it’s only “hatred” after all, and not a tank in sight, nothing to be too concerned about (unless you’re a cartoonist that is).

  • Harry

    The people we hold accountable for our secrets should be accountable to us. For our government to work, it requires honorable people of good intention. Wikileaks or Private Manning don’t fit the bill.

  • I am all for shooting Islamic nut jobs, but presumably are you going to use them justify the vast global panoptic security apparatus? Perhaps we need a US carrier group off the Swedish coast, yes?

  • AndyJ

    Not trying to make an argument. Just observing that -most- anti-establishment acts are deemed evil and wrong when committed against those who committed the original act. Lots of hypocrisy among those who do things in the name of “Saving the Planet/People/Nation/freedoms”

    None are willing to grant the same absence of secrecy and silence to themselves as they advocate for others.

    And knowing the personal history, mental, physical, social, financial of Assange and his cohorts might affect the validity of their releases… He and his supporters support, demand, freedom from all secrecy and govt interference, but dislike it intensely when those same freedoms are applied to them.

    Just as Lenin and Stalin overthrew the royalty and culture of aristocrats only to become themselves the new royalty and Nomenkultura aristocracy… So too do these anti-govt forces simply wish for a revolution and they-themselves to become the new masters and arbitrators of what is and shall be done in secrecy.

    None of his supporters have taken the position that his right to purloin and disseminate secret information that results in deaths of people at some distance can and should be applied to them. None of his Rights-advocates will submit to all of their own details being published in the public domain for the use of their opponents.

    Blatant generality, from the American perspective, those who cannot defend an argument presented on the principles of right and duty against their position usually attack the messenger. Their charge that the opponent lacks credibility based upon physical appearance, personal history or personal preferences ignores the ideas and focuses it al on the personal…

    Why is it not good for the opponents of Assange & co. to use his personal details, history as a basis for refuting their ideological stance-?

    If it is an argument based on principle then the principle should apply to all. If the response against the principle is to challenge the personal, then why is it not good to receive a response in the personal-?

  • If Assange was running a government, well sure, but he ain’t, so you are making a category error. In no way would I accept states have privacy rights the way individuals do.

    You are the one claiming “one size fits all”, not me and certainly not Julian Assange, who is, after all, a crypto-geek.

  • John Campbell

    Thank you for expressing the ideas that were percolating in my own mind. The elites – the nation states and the pressure groups and large businesses that harness their destructive power – must see that their power is crumbling with the chaos of modern technology. The 99% of us, largely on the outside, must embrace this disruption – not in a nihilistic way.

    I think we are entering a period of creative destruction of large institutions, unprecedented in its depth and breadth. It will not be easy, but the only alternative is greater control by the elites. Wikileaks is a small part of this – one wave in a huge storm. Overall I support the storm and I have to accept the waves that come with it. Humanity will be much better off with this cleansing. I chose not to fight the future and for the foreseeable future, WIkileaks will be part of that.

  • Dr. Zharkov

    Perry, rather than using ‘conspirators’ with discomfort, aren’t you arguing that ‘elitists’ are inhibited by the airing of State laundry from mutually supporting each other? And therefore State power is inhibited where elites have lost both confidence in each other and moral suasion over the hoi polloi who know what they really think? That Wikileaks’ prime effectiveness is the breakdown of clergy-laity distinction between elites and everyone else?

  • Ted

    Perry is right that the smaller state just isn’t going to happen within the ordinary democratic process. But I fear Barry Sheridan gets it right with his earlier comment — Wikileaks isn’t going to make even a dent in the armour of the modern state.

  • AndyJ

    Perry;

    If people wish to stop American intervention, then stop the killing of ones own citizens… America would gladly stop “interfering” but as we saw in Kosovo and Rwanda…If America doesn’t act then the rest of the world stands by and wrings its hands…

    The American military budget get so much press because it is one of the -FEW- bits that can be cut. Most of the other big spending programmes are on autopilot and get annual increases without any votes. Supposedly, no Congress can be forced to follow the dictates of a previous Congress and the Budget is for one-year-only… Yet, cooked into the legislation are increases in coverage and stipends… Changing those would engender opposition cries of “Taking Food From The Mouths Of The Needy”… Older citizens vote far out of proportion to their share of population… What has been done is to remove factors that comprise the Consumer Price Index.

    The result is that the US is borrowing $.37 of every dollar it spends in our rush to become a European nation.

    If American Culture is irritating, why not create your own-? It would seem that with a marketplace filled with opponents to American Culture there would be a huge opportunity to create something new, vibrant and extremely profitable.

    Most Americans are very provincial. We wish to be left alone and not be involved in the disputes that *pop* up around the world. So, Why not put some backbone into the U.N. or your own national forces and leaders-? Why does the US have to respond to disaster when others, closer and much more knowledgeable are at hand-? Surely, America is not alone in valuing the life of each individual. Surely there are others willing to risk life and treasure to save others from their own homegrown killers and tyrants.

    We do not need to exert ourselves in Pakistan floods, Pakistan/Kashmir earthquakes, SE Asian tsunamis, Kosovo/Serbia, Iraq, Kuwait, Panama, etc… We would gladly let others lead and provide assistance or simply stand back… Yet, when we do, as with Kosovo/Serbia we saw the Europeans and the UN doing nothing. Even the Danish UN troops let killers into their sanctuary to take away victims… In Rwanda, nobody acted. In Chad the French acted alone. In Africa we have seem more independent force applied with less reports of rape and theft by the French than by the UN.

    The US does not need to act everywhere. But what is the alternative-? How many shall be killed in “Ethnic Cleansing” before others act-?

  • Jacob

    Assange is no fool, he is a standard-issue commie.
    He didn’t publish the whole lot of secret documents. He only handed some lots of them(Link) to his ideological fellow travelers – the Guardian, the New York Times and Le Monde.
    He relied on their staff to read the documents and publish what is 1. not too harmful (endangering lives) and 2. serving the “cause” – i.e. not publishing material detrimental to the leftist cause of a bright communist future.
    Only material whetted by these establishment leftists got published.
    Assange has a clear ideological axe to grind, and it’s not the libertarian or minarchist ideology of Perry that he is pursuing.
    Perry, if you want to start a revolution, fine, start your own, keep away from Assange.

  • monster

    I support what wikileaks is doing, if it infuriates state powers, it has to be a good thing in my book.

    What I have been thinking is what should Assange – or any potential leakist (?) leak and what should they hold back?
    My thinking has evolved rapidly since this affair started.

    Initially I thought that anything between public servants or taxpayer paid state officials was fine to be leaked – it is in our interests that they are operating, paid for by us and I personally don’t want those discussions hidden from me. But I drew the line at anything that involved private interests.

    My thinking then progressed to – what about the corporatists and the dirty deals they continually make with the state! – I don’t want that hidden from me either, we the public have a right to know about those conversations too. I now moved to a position of thinking its fine to leak if it involves corporations talking to state officials, but not private citizens.

    Finally I have just reconsidered my position yet again, and concluded that even those discussions between private individuals and any public servant should also be leaked! – what better way to bring total distrust and pointlessness to the state machine – if nothing can be kept confidential, it would seize to work at every level.

    The only downside is, apart form a few insightful libertarians, the whole world would want Assanges, or whoever facilitated such a things, head on a platter!

  • Janine McA

    The people we hold accountable for our secrets should be accountable to us. For our government to work, it requires honorable people of good intention. Wikileaks or Private Manning don’t fit the bill.

    Given there obviously aren’t a whole lot of honorable people of good intention working for the government I guess that mean you reckon we just accept the wisdom of the establishment and trust them?

  • Assange has a clear ideological axe to grind, and it’s not the libertarian or minarchist ideology of Perry that he is pursuing.

    It really does not matter to me what Assange’s personal politics are (that said, he clearly ain’t “a commie”), just what are the likely effects of him doing what he is doing.

  • veryretired

    There are multiple issues involved in this situation, and they are being mushed together as if there are no clear distinctions to be made, but I’m afraid I believe there must be.

    First of all, the character and personality of Assange and his supporters or opponents are immaterial. Personally, I find him to be the typical anti-American hypocrite and coward that so many are. I won’t hold my breath waiting for him to have the courage to release anything leaked from the Russians or Chinese, or the Iranians—they would just find him and kill him and he knows it.

    So, like those courageous modern artists who make mockeries of Jesus out of dung but wouldn’t dare do the same for mo, he releases a bunch of mostly banal documents from the US, pilfered by some disgruntled adolescent soldier with a broken heart, and then goes and “hides” in the TV studios of Europe where he expects to be lionized.

    I could care less about this rape business, and whether he rots in jail because of it or walks out the door. The fact that he’s a perverted little freak doesn’t surprise me in the least. Since he believes everything should be public, then his sex life along with everything else about him is fair game.

    Which brings me to the second point. It has become increasingly clear over the past few decades that the definition of privacy is now in a complete state of flux. The exponential use of computers and electronic media for everything and anything we do has rendered the old idea that a person’s “papers” are secret completely non-functional.

    Whether state secrets, or your bank accounts, or your commercial activities, or your love letters, if it’s on a hard drive, it’s now fair game. There is no use protesting about privacy—it no longer exists, and the more you approve of this little weasel’s activities, and the media which colludes with him, the more you expose yourself, and everyone else, to the next crank who comes along with an axe to grind.

    Finally, although there are certainly more aspects than these three, the poster above has it exactly right. We are in the first crude stages of a world-wide cyberwar, much like the first aerial battles of the 1st world war.

    The leaks were only the impetus, as now there are continuing attacks and counterattacks being waged by persons, groups, commercial entities, and political structures on a global basis.

    This is the beginning of the 5th world war. Good luck keeping your diaries secret if someone decides they want to splash them across the web.

    As for the state, the campaign to protect privacy is the perfect vehicle for pols to violate it in every possible way.

    It is not the state, with its massive resources, which will become transparent or suffer any embarassment over these leaks or any number of other sensational exposes. The targets will quickly become any individuals or private groups who “get in the way” of the coming nirvana.

    Thinking this weasel and his friends will bring down any part of the leviathon state is what’s delusional, and unfortunate.

    If you wish to swoon in admiration of someone, I suggest the quiet man now residing in a Chinese jail cell while the world honors his courage, and one of the great powers on the globe quakes with fear that his words and ideas might become widely known among his fellow citizens.

    It is dignity demanded, and honor upheld, which will defeat the indignities and dishonor of collectivism.

    This Australian dingo has neither.

  • Midwesterner

    When did the global warming cabal come unglued? When their emails were published.

    When did the Legacy Media narrative flounder and get bypassed? When the JournoList emails were leaked.

    Prior to these events people who claimed those conspiracies were happening were wacko nut jobs. Now people who deny those conspiracies are ostriches or partisans. I’m optimistic that whatever the intent, the consequences of WikiLeaks will be in the direction of recognizing truth and against the trusting acceptance of the narrative.

  • He has leaked loads of information about the Russians, Chinese and Iranians. More importantly veryretired, you seem real keen to defend the state from any pesky inconvenience. Why? You really trust ‘em that much? If Assange is a “crank” I guess you think there is nothing that needs to be revealed and so what does it matter?

    But if you think there is a problem with the security state, how are you doing to do something about it? You think boosting for Sarah Palin is gonna do the trick? Got any plans to share with us?

    And why is Assange a “pervert”? Because he has sex with women?

    Sure they aren’t going to “bring down” Leviathan but if they get Leviathan to lock what they do down hard and tight, the only secrets they’re really going to be keeping are the biggies, not the day to day crap that actually makes the machine tick over. If Wikileaks does that, they’ve won a big one and planted a nice kick in their collective daddy bags.

    And if you can’t figure out why, you haven’t been paying attention.

  • bryan

    It seems that the reason given for supporting wikileaks is that it provides a means to roll back big government.

    Who gives wikileaks the authority for such a responsibility? Who holds them accountable? To what standard?

    It seems that there is a disdain for what was called here “personal integrity” – but isn’t that just the problem with wikileaks, a lack of personal integrity?

    If I recall history right, delegating the individual’s responsibilities in a government ‘of the people, by the people, and for the people’ – especially to someone who just wants to assume that role because the people are stupid or whatever, that process has never ended well.

    For me, I’ll take the Tea Party approach as being something more worth supporting. That is an effort to bring out the people to stand for the government they seek. Definitely better than a small group of folks who think they know better than anyone else the way it should be in my book.

  • Robert Speirs

    Why does anyone believe a word of the documents assange released? What proof is there that they are what he says they are? The reaction of the governments involved? They could be dissembling. I don’t get it. If assange ever gets into a position of power, he would distort and propagandize. Maybe that’s what he’s doing now. Again, what makes him believable? I just don’t see it.

  • JB

    So the argument hinges on the premise that things ARE REALLY desperate, so it’s time for a really stupid and futile gesture.

    I suggest that things may be desperate, but not THAT desperate.

    How about getting us another Reaganite/Thatcherite breather to allow the Singularity to solve some of the problems?

    After all, it is The Internet – a technology – which is enabling Assangeism.

    I posit that the breathers ARE working. Perry is seeing the cup as half empty, I as half full. A decade breather in this decade will be roughly equivalent to several Reaganite breathers in the advances that take place. My basic theory is that the pace of technology increase has been greater than the pace of social engineering roughly since the Soviet Union fell (iow just before the Internet went critical mass.)

    To early to go for the Hail Mary. Let’s not give them an easy bogeyman to sell to the public (and he IS an easy bogeyman, both to the left AND right.)

  • I. Torablokov

    Who gives wikileaks the authority for such a responsibility? Who holds them accountable? To what standard?

    What?? You mean Assange doesn’t have a stamped and official licence to annoy governments? Streuth! I’m shocked! Shocked I tell you!

    Who ever gives any revolutionary “authority”?

  • newrouter

    You mean Assange doesn’t have a stamped and official licence to annoy governments?

    what device is there to hold assange accountable?

  • So the argument hinges on the premise that things ARE REALLY desperate, so it’s time for a really stupid and futile gesture.

    I suspect it is far from futile. It is not going to roll back the state but it is going to greatly complicate things for how the The Powers That Be do things and that is very useful indeed.

  • Hmm

    Perry, one all-encompassing problem with wikileaks is:
    How can anyone tell what leak is truth and what is manufactured *truth*?

    They can’t.

    Anyone can sell anything to a hungry audience via wikileaks. Its propaganda fireworked out and spread right wherever you would like it. Step right up and choose your hate of the day…wikileaks will supply all the fuel you require for whatever fire you wish ignited. The only payment required is a nudge and a wink (Shh.., don’t tell anyone – its a secret. )

  • veryretired

    I hesitated to comment at all because I figured someone would manage to miss the point entirely, and get humg up on this word or that phrase, while the main point went flashing past.

    But the extinct reptile has exceeded expectations.

    In case I was too subtle, the point was not Assange, his proclivities, or the alleged scandalous content of a pile of crap.

    The point was the end of privacy as we have known it, and the beginning in earnest of a cyberwar.

    If anyone with a really small brain and a big stubby tail is still wondering what I’m on about, google “stuxnet” and see what you get.

    Oh, and list all the secret cables and other classified information from the Russian, Chinese, and Iranian, governments that wiki has released, not references in the US stuff. Good luck.

    Watch out for asteroids. Apparently they land about as often as you catch on.

  • One wonders what the criteria are for Assange’s determining which information to withhold for use as his Doomsday release. In general, his ability to select what to release and what not to release biases what he does
    release.

  • One wonders what the criteria are for Assange’s determining which information to withhold for use as his Doomsday release. In general, his ability to select what to release and what not to release biases what he does
    release.

  • what device is there to hold assange accountable?

    What kind of device do you have in mind?

  • The US does not need to act everywhere. But what is the alternative-? How many shall be killed in “Ethnic Cleansing” before others act-?

    Oh dear, White Man’s Burden eh? Bad things will always happen but who deputised the US taxpayer’s camo’ed employees as world police, naturally acting out of the goodness of their hearts without any selfish nationalistic geo-strategic objectives in mind? Hahahaha.

  • Alex

    Mr. De Havilland — I find two key, and related, problems with your argument.

    First, you fail to distinguish between the power of the state with respect to its citizens and the power of the nation-state with respect to dealing with other nation-states. And second, you do not explain how undermining the latter — which is what Wikileaks is currently doing — has any effect on the former. You seem to contend that by undermining American foreign policy, Wikileaks is striking blows against the socialist welfare-state, but as you’ve stated it so far, that strikes me as a non sequitur.

  • norar

    When Assage uses C-word he is actually projecting. If Wikileaks were making available to public all documents they have, I would not have a problem with them. However, the way Wikileaks operates, they themselves form “confluence of interests” with a bunch of very partisan media outlets handpicked by Assage, which feed the public only selected documents that they think public should know with context provided by the media narrative as well. What public good comes from Wikileaks in reality, except talking points for the media and vehicle for one egomaniac to blow up his ego even further?

  • Stephen Walker

    Would you buy property that had been stolen? How is that different from publishing information (property?) that has been stolen? Do you believe in property rights or do you choose to make a distinction that I think demarks no difference?

  • First, you fail to distinguish between the power of the state with respect to its citizens and the power of the nation-state with respect to dealing with other nation-states.

    The two are not unrelated. Moreover the effect of causing states to restrict their internal communications has profound effects on the ability of the state to act domestically as well as externally.

    I am all for seeing widespread publication of domestic state information too… indeed I think that is even more important and throwing people who obstruct Freedom of Information requests in jail would be a great idea, ideally starting with Bernanke.

  • Simon Just

    Would you buy property that had been stolen? How is that different from publishing information (property?) that has been stolen? Do you believe in property rights or do you choose to make a distinction that I think demarks no difference?

    So I guess you’d like to see all investigative journalism made a crime too? This has nothing to do with property rights and in any case, I’ll respect the state’s “property rights” when they start respecting mind. Fat chance of that.

  • Actually, sowing international distrust is extremely useful, since our primary problem these days is the growth of transnational “governance”, as we see with the Cancun jamboree.

  • I’m seeing a lot of false dilemmas here.

    You can “support” Wikileaks without believing it will significantly weaken “the State” on a global or even national scale (going by current form, it won’t, for all the rhetoric gaily squirted about). You can also selectively support what Wikileaks is (or appears to be) doing while simultaneously entertaining (as I do) the same opinion of Assange as Lennon did of Sir Walter Raleigh.

    I think that each leak, depending on its source, content and consequences, should be treated as a separate issue – even from the ethical standpoint. We don’t have to choose between fulminating against Assange or giving him a permanent nihil obstat. We can pick and choose, according to our own understanding of the issues at stake. The latest leaks I would consider broadly positive, from the little I’ve read. They give the lie to the paranoid leftist accusation that the State Dept was behind the Micheletti coup in Honduras. They show the disgusting perversion of Spanish justice re the Couso case. But mostly, they show that the intelligence-gathering role of US diplomats scarcely extends, most of the time, much beyond what a few linguistically able people could get from a few hours daily browsing the world’s press online in an office in Washington. Needless to say, this is unlikely to have been Assange’s intention. It is also unlikely to go any way at all towards “rolling back the Leviathan state”. That’s not to say that some really shattering revelations may not come later, from other sources. (Personally, I’m still hoping for the incriminating evidence about Correa’s FARC and/or Chavez funding. That would make my day).

    I reject categorically any suggestion of moral equivalence between the leaking of government information in the field of low-level espionage and, say, publishing people’s private diaries. The difference is simple: governments are not people. They don’t have the right to privacy that people have. They may, as a matter of practicality, need to have official secrets, but that’s a different question. Any democratic government is theoretically wedded to some degree of transparency; no private individual has any duty to be transparent about his affairs. There is no possible analogy there.

    Having said all this, it seems likely that various governments will use this to move fast in the direction of imposing various forms of media censorship and other attacks on civil liberties beyond what we already have. In that sense, the US State Dept will, as I said before, likely be thanking Assange in due course. For the rest of us, well, all we can do is try to be prepared for what is very shortly to happen.

  • Wikileaks is what journalism of the future should be.

  • Alex

    The two are not unrelated. Moreover the effect of causing states to restrict their internal communications has profound effects on the ability of the state to act domestically as well as externally.

    The two are not necessarily correlated either. Plenty of governments that have been severely weakened with regard to international influence and power in recent decades still manage to keep an iron grip on their own populations and keep squeezing it ever tighter. Much of Europe, Africa, and Central America come to mind as examples.

    I’m still not seeing the causal links here. Yes, Wikileaks’ vandalism could have “profound effects” in a number of ways. That’s a very broad statement. What makes you think those effects would likely be desirable in the domestic sphere; what’s the mechanism by which such desirable effects might come about, and what makes you so sure that undesirable, though no less “profound,” effects would not be a more likely result?

  • Seerak

    Translation: you think that the battle for ideas is lost, and it’s too late for it to matter anyhow — so it’s time to begin preparing for *active, physical rebellion*, i.e. violence. Do not fool yourself, sir: that’s what “literal” casualties means.

    I can understand how you might find yourself reaching such a conclusion. Not because it’s too late for such an effort — it isn’t, not by a long shot — but because I too doubt your capabilities on that battlefield, in light of this post.

    First, do you really think Assange and his ilk are helping the cause of liberty by this action? You are tragically and horribly wrong.
    The idea that such as Assange can prevent the State from operating reliable secret networks is utterly laughable, for the same reason that Assange cannot prevent you or me from doing the same thing. PGP or its successor works just as well for government as it does for us, as do all the other security options available to us (not to mention the ones that are only available to them).

    Instead of indulging in such wankery, consider the likely aftermath. Watch as Assange’s little spot of vandalism — and it is no more than that — is used to justify further steps in locking up government behind more and more layers of obfuscation. Look for potential gutting of FOI laws. Watch as the State becomes more and more of a black box, becoming more opaque to the oversight of the people, ever the less accountable — and more difficult to constrain — all under color of “security”. Establishing networks for “confluence of interests” outside the reach of such as Julian Assange is trivial, and that will happen.

    As has been pointed out by many experts, the problem with a defensive-preventative approach to terrorism is that each successful “stop” trains the enemy, eliminating another approach that won’t work and offering clues to what might work. Assange just “trained” the U.S. government — not to mention provided more “bogeyman” fodder that will be used for years to justify further steps towards sealing off the government from the people.

    In other words, Assange will achieve the opposite of his putative intentions … as will your “casualties” declaration. Nice going, pal; you just lumped the advocates of liberty in with an Internet vandal, and a dismissal of non-violent advocates of liberty as “unserious”. It will be easy for enemies of liberty on the Left and Right to exploit:

    “Libertarians? Oh, you mean like that wingnut de Havilland who says that the only ‘serious’ defenders of liberty at the ones prepared for actual ‘casualties’, as in violence? No thanks.”

    The joke’s on you, pal. Assange and his Internet forum and hacker cohorts never expect things to ever lead to “casualties”, and don’t have the first clue about how to handle it if it did. If things really got as bad as “casualties”, people like Assange would disappear into their parents’ basements to never be heard from again, cowering with their Guy Fawkes masks as the jackboots walk by, muttering “I never expected this!”. If that’s who you want next to you in the trenches, you are in for a surprise once it’s clear that the enemy means business.

    Speaking of battles: the conditions under which we advocate for liberty now are arguably much less arduous than those faced by the original Enlightenment intellectuals who labored under monarchy and active Church hegemony — not to mention the Sons of Liberty operating under a monarchy — and nevertheless they succeeded. If you’re going to give up the ideological battle for liberty in favor of Assangean acts of vandalism, that’s fine by me; most of you libertarians get in the way of that battle more often than not.

    So go ahead. Repeat history. Shoot that Archduke, set those little fires, and see where it gets you. It’s so much easier to just be part of history than to deal with what actually drives it.

  • In the Independent on Sunday:

    US may pass new law to prosecute Assange

    That looks a bit retrospective to me: is it really the desire of the USA citizenry to do that sort of thing?

    Best regards

  • “Establishing networks for “confluence of interests” outside the reach of such as Julian Assange is trivial…”

    Oh is it? IIUC, the point of Wikileaks is that it undermines the trust among the members of a network, rather than undermining the security of the network in any technological sense.

  • John B

    Bastiat tried to implement the truth and got bits wrong, to an extent. But at least he could retire to his country estate. Can you? And if you can, what gives you the right to approve what could be a firestorm on the “peasants”.
    (I detect some of our uni-inspired elitism here. But the firestorm does not differentiate between those who are learned and those who are not.)
    We know that to the powers-that-be a few civilian deaths don’t count. What would we put the 20th Century’s tally at – 500 million?
    Just a few eggs.

    And then perhaps it’s just been a pantomime enabled by the powers-that-be to deflect from something we have been conditioned not to see? Yes, a reason to crank up the obscurity of their power and the nakedness of you!

    In practical terms Seerak (above) is stating sense.

  • “Establishing networks for “confluence of interests” outside the reach of such as Julian Assange is trivial, and that will happen.”

    Oh is it? IIUC, Wikileaks undermines trust within a network, rather than the technology per se which the network relies on.

  • John B

    An oops.
    I meant Alexis de Tocqueville, not Bastiat.

  • Thank you, Perry, for helping me find an argument to support Wikileaks. My error was to look at the people cheering it and having trouble joining their ranks. You are right in saying they do not matter, however, and if what you say turns out to be the case, I think it’ll have been a worthy cause.

    One of the important side-effects of this for me is how it exposed the tyrannical nature of the so-called “democratic states” but not just the government entities but also their willing helpers from “Big Business” (Amazon, Visa, Mastercard, etc.). To witness this massive attempt at destroying an individual and his support network should send chills into the minds of many who’ve previously lived thinking the modern (Western) state is a benevolent entity.

    I don’t see a change or revolution happening overnight but throw in a couple of state bankruptcies (unrelated) and we might actually live to see a freer world.

  • Simon Just

    IIUC, the point of Wikileaks is that it undermines the trust among the members of a network, rather than undermining the security of the network in any technological sense.

    That is exactly correct.

  • I’m still not seeing the causal links here. Yes, Wikileaks’ vandalism could have “profound effects” in a number of ways. That’s a very broad statement. What makes you think those effects would likely be desirable in the domestic sphere; what’s the mechanism by which such desirable effects might come about, and what makes you so sure that undesirable, though no less “profound,” effects would not be a more likely result?

    To see what can happen when networks of communication gets disrupted, look at ‘Climategate’.

    Revealing large numbers of often banal but overall highly unflattering communications has profoundly damaged the Warmist narrative of both “near universal consensus” and trustworthiness.

    The Warmist cause will never really recover from the fact large numbers of people are now convinced they cook the books… moreover people seeking to conspire with others to cook the books in pursuit of more grants to fund their Skies Are Falling studies will be much more wary, reducing the radius of their Circle of Trust and hence their ability to network and establish these confluences of interest.

    *This* is the dynamic in action.

  • Jacob

    “I think it’s instructive that the revelations that are most embarrassing are those for authoritarian countries.”
    False.
    I think it’s instructive that the revelations that are most embarrassing are those for the US.
    As far as authoritarianism goes, I think there are better examples than the US, unless you are a progressive-tranzi US hater.
    Assange si not just any crank, he’s an anti-US crank.

  • Jacob

    Perry,
    Well if I was Assange I would never leak operational military information

    Well, he has.
    He has revealed that Lebanon’s defense minister and an Afghan war lord have passed info to the US against their enemies (Hizbollah and Taliban, respectively).
    Now these fine SOB’s are in danger of being murdered.
    Other “friends” will now hesitate and abstain from passing useful military info.
    Assange is helping the islamist nuts.
    You don’t want to encourage that.

  • Jacob

    Laird,
    “Apparently it’s a very sophisticated argument ”
    False.
    It’s old, standard commie argument (propaganda).

    The Soviet propaganda line went like this: The US and western “democracies” (scare quotes by the Soviets) are just authoritarian oppressors (Assange’s terminology is borrowed from Soviet propaganda). They oppress the poor proles. Government in the West is a tool in the hands of the Capitalists, for oppressing the “working class”.
    Any means of toppling these capitalist stooges serves the goal of liberation of the masses. All means are fine – disrupting life by strikes, protests, violent demonstrations -these are “revolutionary, progressive methods”. Red terror (Red Brigades, Bader-Meinhof, tupamaros, MIR, etc.) – also serve the cause.

    So, there is nothing sophisticated, and nothing new in Assange’s demented ramblings.
    Strange that someone would fall for that.

  • Jacob

    “…and concluded that even those discussions between private individuals and any public servant should also be leaked!”

    Assange hasn’t leaked documents showing the corruption of government officials in granting favors to their cronies at the public’s expense.
    Assange has leaked documents that pertain to foreign relations and war, i.e. – exactly the documents that we would not want leaked.
    He has an agenda, and it’s not what Perry has in mind.

  • Jacob

    “So go ahead. Repeat history. Shoot that Archduke, set those little fires, and see where it gets you. “

    I applaud this brilliant phrase and the sentiment it expresses.

  • Well, I agree, let’s have nothing risky that might lead to unforeseen consequences. Far better to keep giving the same talks on fractional reserve banking to the same few dozen people. That’s been such a spectacularly successful strategy so far, after all.

  • What Ian just said.

    In practical terms Seerak (above) is stating sense.

    He would be, under different circumstances. What he is saying is ‘don’t rock the boat, or we’ll all drown’. The point he is missing is that the captain is drunk on power and is headed straight on towards an iceberg. What do you do in a situation like that? You try to harm the captain – yes, at a very high risk of drowning the whole thing. But do you have a better alternative? I doubt it, because it’s going to get very ugly very soon either way. So yes, this is a war, with all which that implies. Which leads me to a question: how much interest, if any, do the PtB have in the Internet continuing to exist in its current form and shape?

    BTW, I don’t yet have a formed opinion on Assange as a person, but the Swedish accusations seem to be very fishy – I’ll try to find that link again, where his lawyer makes the case.

  • Found it. Not that it matters to the larger point.

  • Well, I agree, let’s have nothing risky that might lead to unforeseen consequences.

    Indeed. I find it interesting how many people who are keen on grimacing at the excesses of modern regulatory statism suddenly grab their sheet covers in terror when someone actually does something damaging to said states. Oh my, someone has done something other than talk!

    Far better to keep giving the same talks on fractional reserve banking to the same few dozen people. That’s been such a spectacularly successful strategy so far, after all.

    Amen. You have no idea how loud I LOL’ed when I read that :-)

  • PeterT

    I agree with Perry and Laird. Its exciting to see some resistance to the State finally.

    Sure, many Wikileaks defenders are merely ‘civil libertarians’, but we can’t be picky about our allies.

  • Let us see how it pans out. I doubt wikileaks is infallible and is not here for the money, fame or power. http://goo.gl/6jxXU

  • Jacob

    “What he is saying is ‘don’t rock the boat, or we’ll all drown’.”
    What he’s saying is that this revolutionary zeal is nonsense. A purely nihilistic and destructive strategy doesn’t take you where you want. It’s just mindless romanticism.
    We are supposed to be rationalist!
    Next thing, Perry will embrace that symbol of eternal Revolution, Che Guevara, who was also a self proclaimed anti-authoritarian, engaged in subversion of the “corrupt” system. And he’ll boast about the “new” approach.
    Aux barricades, citoyennes(Link)!”

  • What we really need here is the sort of universal access to all information provided by the “worm” in John Brunner’s SHOCKWAVE RIDER.
    If governments, banks, corporations etc. can keep no secrets it would make it a lot easier for the rest of us to keep them under control, or at least less likely to be victimized by them
    Wikileaks may be a start, but so far simply seems mostly anti-anglospheric.

    Brunner was a real prophet. The book, written around 1975, predicted the internet, worms and the sort of psychotic informational overload common these days.

  • Revolutions are not necessarily “nihilistic and destructive” although they inherently require a destructive element. The American one didn’t work out too badly, and Ceaucescu on his weenie balcony is an enduring image with good reason.

    I think people need to grasp that the system as it has become is beyond incremental reform. If we want liberty, we have to accept that that is going to have to be some kind of step change. There are all kinds of discontinuity, but there has to be one.

  • Jacob, take a deep breath and put that Che strawman back where it belongs. I mean, really.

  • Jacob

    Alisa,
    Actually I don’t think there is much difference in the rhetoric or ideology or purported aims, or personality between Che and Assange.
    Sure, Assange hasn’t yet murdered many people (at least not directly), but in the rest there is no difference.

  • Next thing, Perry will embrace that symbol of eternal Revolution, Che Guevara, who was also a self proclaimed anti-authoritarian, engaged in subversion of the “corrupt” system. And he’ll boast about the “new” approach.

    Say something that suggests higher brain functions rather than emotions or get lost. That is not a request.

  • Jacob

    If governments, banks, corporations etc. can keep no secrets it would make it a lot easier for the rest of us to keep them under control

    Here you have your “genuine” revolutionaries who want to keep “banks and corporations” under their control.

    Mr Hunt Johnsen, if you want to control a bank, go build yourself one.

  • John B

    “Indeed. I find it interesting how many people who are keen on grimacing at the excesses of modern regulatory statism suddenly grab their sheet covers in terror when someone actually does something damaging to said states. Oh my, someone has done something other than talk!”
    As long as you seriously don’t mind being among the casualties then I suppose you are being consistent.
    But I really don’t think you begin to understand the implications of what you seem to advocate.
    As someone said: Be careful what you wish for.
    There are many other possible ways to tackle this but I don’t think you’d really go for them.
    You had your development phase courtesy of that blip you mentioned earlier in this thread.
    I hope your children enjoy your revolution.
    One of the things that really saddens me is that so few politicians, media pundits and activists are ever held accountable for what they have said.
    Things just move on.
    Perhaps it’s the “celebrity” and instant gratification culture that has been so successfully developed.

  • Be careful what you wish for.

    John, you say this as if it is obvious to you that the alternative is any less unpleasant – it is not obvious to me. In fact, the more I think about it, quite the opposite is. So I actually say, yes, do it for the children.

  • RW

    There is going to be a version of Godwin’s Law saying that all discussions of whistleblowing eventually refer to Climategate.

    Since I think the unsung and unidentified heroes/heroines of Climategate deserve medals for their services to peoplekind, I am admitting that I find whistleblowing in some circumstances a positive factor. My objections to Wikileaks are therefore a form of moral relativism.

    As regards Wikileaks, Assange is among other things an egocentric attention seeker. As such, he has fallen into the journalistic trap of failing to distinguish between “need to know” and “public interest” – in the UK at least a synonym for gossip disguised as morally valiant but actually intended just to sell newspapers (and other MSMs).

    Despite all the wide ranging comments above, I do feel there are various state data – personal impressions etc – which are essentially “private” or “confidential” in the sense understood in the ordinary world, as opposed to the spook hierarchy of classification of secrets. As in all human relations.

    All in all, I feel that Wikileaks was promising but has sacrificed its integrity.

  • John B

    Alisa. It seems to me that there are constructive alternatives that can be pursued that heal and repair without ripping off the bandage in a blood let.
    The Taxpayer’s Alliance is working to reduce the state and tax rip-off.
    That sort of thing needs to go ahead.
    Back in the 1970s John Gouriet got things challenged and exposed. He was undermined from within but that will happen. The enemy tries to zap you from within.
    Thatcher also.
    Compromise slithers under the door. Robespierre happened to the French Revolution.
    I don’t think the self absorbed action of the wikileaks will bear any worthwhile fruit beyond the flash of some revelations.
    Human nature is just too utterly fallible.
    Compromise will always happen.
    One needs a system (or absence of one!) that can survive compromise.

  • joe

    I really do not see Wikileaks in this heroic patina that many of y’all seem to entertain. Far from being an organization that exists outside of the statist system, Assange and co appear to desire to be a recognized international organization under current public international law, or at least act as such to the public.

    Assange’s language is not communist or socialist as someone mentioned above; it is the bog prattle of the NGO and tranzi community. Wikileaks want to be a Human Rights Watch for the international community
    or the part that wont send hit squads after them. The importance of the NYT, Spiegel, Le Monde and the Guardian agreeing to work as the clearing house for Wikileaks is not that they are all leftist, fellow travelers, but they, as largely legally insulated conduits of information, are solidifying Wikileak’s position and strength within the existing international system.

  • Jacob

    Too much has been made of Wikileaks. It isn’t the Revolution that is going to destroy the leviathan state. It is, indeed, an ego trip for Assange, whatever his garbled nonsense of an ideological justification means.

    No crime has been committed so far, neither has anything been “achieved”. I don’t mind having some State Department wires leaked.
    He could yet cause serious damage, in which case he should be prosecuted for espionage. He has caused so far only minor damage if at all.
    Of course, Assange hides behind the broad shoulders of MSM, they would know how to avoid the trap of bringing upon themselves an espionage charge – the grown-ups are filtering for him the wires disclosed.

    I’m amazed by the misplaced revolutionary zeal and enthusiasm of many well known and respected people here. You are seeing in him something which he isn’t.

  • I find it interesting how everyone keeps banging on about the man’s personality. Who cares if it’s an ego trip? So is most rock’n'roll, and that’s pretty damned good. It’s the effect that matters, not some psychoanalysis of character.

  • PeterT

    One of the main problems with (violent) revolution is that targets chosen will out of necessity be much more specific and less well spread out than are the victims of the system against which the revolution is being fought. Apart from being a public relations disaster it also makes it a much less attractive option morally, although at some level of oppression it is still presumably justifiable. The best kind of resistance is likely to be low level ‘warfare’. This would include actions such as disrupting the communications of the state, and leaking embarrassing information. It is a pleasant surprise that somebody has come up with a peaceful way of fighting back. If an institution were to spring up with the means and independence to keep the state in check that would be a very welcome development. This is supposed to be the role of the press but as we know they are part of the problem (Fox notwithstanding).

  • The people who fixate on Assange’s personality can be safely ignored. Irrelevant. The people who fixate on who supports Assange can also be ignored. All it proves is statists of various ilk who laud Assange do not actually understand the implications of attacking state networks of communication, the networks they themselves seek to use… which is fine by me.

    But one of the best things about Wikileaks is it shows how timid many of liberty’s purported friends really are.

    For me, Alisa’s comment sums things up rather well:

    Be careful what you wish for.

    John, you say this as if it is obvious to you that the alternative is any less unpleasant – it is not obvious to me. In fact, the more I think about it, quite the opposite is. So I actually say, yes, do it for the children.

    Quite.

  • Kim du Toit

    Hey, Perry:

    Welcome to the brave new world, where everything is open to everyone, and organizations “depend on the goodwill of hackers” for survival.

    Enjoy the anarchy, and say hi to the criminals for me.

  • Welcome to the brave new world, where everything is open to everyone, and organizations “depend on the goodwill of hackers” for survival.

    Enjoy the anarchy, and say hi to the criminals for me.

    And how is this different to the way it is now? Seems to me that ‘criminals’ already have access to just about everything about me. And you too, yet strangely you don’t seem to care. They work for the government of course.

  • Kim du Toit

    “Seems to me that ‘criminals’ already have access to just about everything about me. And you too, yet strangely you don’t seem to care. They work for the government of course.”

    Right. Government officials are criminals. Got it. As I said, enjoy the anarchy, when it comes.

    Remember, though, that almost all the repressive legislation in Britain (most especially, gun control laws) began as a reaction to the Russian anarchists.

    I hear the sounds of history about to repeat itself.

  • Right. Government officials are criminals. Got it.

    No, government officials are our wise friends of course and must be protected from prying eyes. We all trust the government, right?

  • “…almost all the repressive legislation in Britain… began as a reaction to the Russian anarchists.”

    Oh so that’s how we ended up with the National Debt, the National Health Service, the National Curriculum, the National Identity Register, the National DNA Database, the Nationalized Steel, Coal, Rail, Road and Telecoms industries, oh and TV Licensing too!

    It was ‘cos of some drunken Russians. Cheers Kim!

  • MlR

    The main threat to liberty now are the people whose power and influence shape the entire world, and they do not live in the Middle East. They live in Washington, London, Paris and Brussels. Cutting them down to size will be a great deal harder than Allah’s pissant clowns or the moron running Venezuela into the ground with breathtaking speed.

    Bingo, the greatest threats to liberty, the people who have the most power over our lives on an everyday basis, are our own politicians. Not fanatics and clowns hundreds or thousands of miles away.

    That may change, but for now it is quite clear.

  • Kim du Toit

    Mike and IanB, grow up and read some history. ALL the legislation you mention came about after 1930. And ALL of it was made possible by a population which had been systematically disarmed and weakened by successive waves of statist legislation introduced to combat anarchists (feel free to study, as I have, the legislation which was passed right after the Siege of Sidney Street).

    But hey: I’ve got no dog in the British fight, other than in the fact that it serves as a useful model for what NOT to do, over here.

    That’s all I’m going to say on the topic.

  • It’s interesting how we all see the trends in history based on our special interests. If you’re a rootin’ tootin’ frontiersmanny mericcun, you care a lot about guns, so you see the rot starting with gun legislation.

    If you’re an opium wasted libertine, weakly sipping a goblet of absynthe, like what I am, you see it all starting with the moral reforms of the Victorian Era.

    There are many histories.

    The population had been psychologically disarmed long before Sidney Street. The waves of statism were already crashing on the British shore with the “new” liberalism (i.e. socialism) of Joseph Chamberlain, for example. A nation that accepted nationalisation of the pubs in 1914 without a murmur- like the Americans accepted Prohibition- is already psychologically on its knees. GK Chesterton wrote excellently about this; about how this tyranny was one that begins with the most private, not the public, that controls the most intimate things before those things traditionally associated with tyranny.

    Those who reply to any plea for freedom invariably fall into a certain trap. I have debated with numberless different people on these matters, and I confess I find it amusing to see them tumbling into it one after another. I remember discussing it before a club of very active and intelligent Suffragists, and I cast it here for convenience in the form which it there assumed. Suppose, for the sake of argument, that I say that to take away a poor man’s pot of beer is to take away a poor man’s personal liberty, it is very vital to note what is the usual or almost universal reply. People hardly ever do reply, for some reason or other, by saying that a man’s liberty consists of such and such things, but that beer is an exception that cannot be classed among them, for such and such reasons. What they almost in variably do say is something like this. “After all, what is liberty? Man must live as a member of a society, and must obey those laws which, etc., etc.” In other words, they collapse into a complete confession that they are attacking all liberty and any liberty; that they do deny the very existence or the very possibility of liberty. In the very form of the answer they admit the full scope of the accusation against them. In trying to rebut the smaller accusation, they plead guilty to the larger one.

    He published that in 1922, in an essay he began before the Great War. The collapse of liberty was well underway before the “Russian anarchists”. The same is true of America. Liberty died there a very very long time ago. The lurch forward of the State in our nations between the wars was a culmination, not a beginning. The western mind had already changed.

  • Or to take the argument back to your side of the Atlantic, Kim, have you ever heard of the Kentucky and Virginia Resolutions? Were they written in response to a bunch of drunken Russians too?

  • John B

    “Drunken Russians” is a straw man. Please can people not simply use reason?
    It is a tactic that when people want to clamp down on something they stir it up first and then claim it to be unmanageable.
    As I mentioned way back, current airport procedures including what would be ridiculous groping were it not for the invasiveness they constitute and which is no doubt the true purpose, have been enabled by security threats that never would have happened had it been the genuine intent to stop them.
    Likewise the invasion of your day to day financial transactions. In the 1980s/90s I could open a bank account in any name I chose, with no address or ID!
    Your every freedom is being stripped away in the name of protecting your security from the likes of those that would seem to cause chaos.
    It’s a set up!
    Whether Julian knows it or not. He’s part of it.
    Watch for the clamp down on ISPs.
    There are far more effective ways to disable the controls being placed on your life than international posturing. Far less glamorous, of course.

  • Ok, let’s not talk about Assange.
    The debate is about the state.
    In order to be able to protect you from external enemies or internal criminals – the state needs to keep some secrets.
    It may be trying to keep much more than it needs, but it surely needs the ability to act in secret and run an intelligence agency, agains internal and external threats.
    Denying this makes you an anarchist, not a minarchist.
    Anarchy has it’s attractions, sure, but it does not lead to liberty.

  • David Hatton

    In order to be able to protect you from external enemies or internal criminals – the state needs to keep some secrets.

    In the western world we’re well past the point where external enemies were the main threat to our safety, prosperity and liberty.

  • “Drunken Russians” is a straw man. Please can people not simply use reason? It is a tactic that when people want to clamp down on something they stir it up first and then claim it to be unmanageable.”

    John – please can you not just use the comment preview function; unlike the State, it is your friend. That little passage was unintelligible.

    Kim ignored a confluence of other possible historical causes behind current repressive legislation. To claim that it was all brought about in response to Russian anarchists, as Kim did, is just seven shades of chocolate.

    “There are far more effective ways to disable the controls being placed on your life than international posturing.”

    Such as?

  • ragingnick

    assage is an anti American creep and his supporters
    Useful idiots. Keeping certain things secret is vital to national security and assage knows what he is doing by weakening our national security he is aiding the enemies of the west and putting not just soldiers, but mine and your life at risk.

  • John, you note the fact that governments use external threats as a pretext to clamp down on our liberty, which is of course very true. Problem is, there is a blind spot in the way you use this fact to reach the operative conclusion you do: the threats are real (and yes, Assange is a real threat), and governments do use them as pretext for its other agenda. But by indiscriminately disassociating yourself from all all those threats, you are not going to eliminate them – they will continue to exist and to be used as a pretext, as noted above. IOW, there are threats, and there are threats. No one here is advocating support for the Islamics in our midst, for example. The reason for that, I think, is that, because of their very nature, we cannot use them as a tool for our own purposes. Assange and his likes are different in that respect, both because of the nature of the threat, of its magnitude, of its targets and, I suspect, of its motives. All that while keeping in mind that the governments in question are a major, if not the main, threat of its own. And, if Assange is in fact the unsavory character he is purported to be, our support for him is tactical, not strategic – but support nonetheless.

  • The reason for that, I think, is that, because of their [i.e. Islamists] very nature, we cannot use them as a tool for our own purposes.

    Which the lefty tranzies are very keen on doing – more fool to them.

    (I just quoted myself – how lame is that?)

  • Well ragingnick, we need rather less “national security” and a rather more liberty… or what exactly is it that you think is worth protecting? The Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan fell in 1945 and the Turks were last at the gates of Vienna in 1683… so if the security-state is not going to get seriously rolled back now, then when exactly?

  • assage is an anti American creep

    He may well be, depends on what you mean by ‘anti-American’ – or, more precisely, what you mean by ‘American’?

  • Jacob, please…

    He has revealed that Lebanon’s defense minister and an Afghan war lord have passed info to the US against their enemies (Hizbollah and Taliban, respectively).
    Now these fine SOB’s are in danger of being murdered.

    You mean they had no threats before? You mean Syrian intelligence services and the Taliban thought those guys were buddies of theirs?
    Grow up, man!

  • John B

    Mike.
    Apologies. I take too much for granted.
    1. Stating that a few drunken Russians was the reason for a state clamp down is a straw man. It was a far wider social action.
    2. So, can one not simply use logic rather than intellectual posturing. We are presumably looking for the sense and reality of the situation.
    3. The reality, from what I can see, is that when a controlling group (and I call it a controlling group, because it is not simply “the state”, but those who seem to operate the state as somewhat of an ‘unseen hand in plain sight’) when those who exercise real power wish to clamp down on something, it seems they allow and/or stimulate chaos, or at least a problem, in it first.
    “They” wished to control the flow of funds, because as Marx noted, if you control that, you control everything human. Therefore they allowed situations to develop (mainly drug trafficking and terrorism) that made it imperative that they control financial transactions.
    They wish to control travel so they allow situations to develop that make it necessary and reasonable that they do so.
    Likewise street activity. Allow situations to develop that lead to violent or destructive behaviour and bring in the solution of street cameras.
    “They” wish to conform the children to their agenda so they take away parental control, and/or educate the parents to conform the children to the state agenda.

    The list can go on and on, state health care, and on.

    The point being that Assange seems very much what I have heard described as a ‘Bangalore Torpedo’, lots of sound and fury signifying very little, but a sound and fury that can be used to justify restricting the internet to regulatory control.
    And what will you do then?
    They have been trying very hard via IP law but have not had too much success so far.
    Assagne looks like an internet version of what the pants bomber was for full body scanners.

  • MlR

    Posted by John B at December 13, 2010 11:42 AM

    All you’re doing is elaborating why Assange isn’t the primary problem, but rather those screaming about him.

    Classical liberals and conservatives spent much of the last century sacrificing their domestic agenda to do (sometimes necessary and sometimes not) dirty work abroad. In many cases, it was actually the dirty work of the Left, even when the Left had abandoned it and used it against its new supporters (most clearly in Vietnam). I don’t plan on playing the patsy again in the 21st.

  • “I take too much for granted.”

    So do I apparently.

    “Assange seems very much what I have heard described as a ‘Bangalore Torpedo’, lots of sound and fury signifying very little, but a sound and fury that can be used to justify restricting the internet to regulatory control.”

    The size and scope of what Wikileaks may signify is still partly conjectural – but it is undoubtedly along the lines of Stalin’s “intensification of struggle”. The ultimate question here is continual evasion or resolution? You cannot keep evading the State forever.

    And bear in mind that attempts at regulatory control over inter-networking protocols already had ample pretext prior to Wikileaks.

  • Jacob

    “Lebanon’s defense minister and an Afghan war lord…”
    Maybe in these cases Syrian intelligence and the taliban already knew about their men, so Assange didn’t cause much harm.
    I’m not speaking of particular cases – but about the principle.
    Suppose there are some inside informers (aka spies), passing on information about Al Quaeda or the Sicilian Mafia. Would you want their identity revealed by Assange? How do you know he won’t do it ?

    I think WikiLeaks should be subject to counter-espionage measures, whatever they are.

  • Tedd

    I doubt that WikiLeaks will undermine trust in the way Mike described. The people whose communication is susceptible to being leaked will quickly learn what WikiLeaks will make public and what they will not, and so WikiLeaks will simply become another player in the state game, wielding the stick of unwanted publicity the way corporate players wield the carrot of campaign contributions.

    The only way a leak-enhancing mechanism could result in the kind of disruption of the state network that Mike and Perry envision is if it were unpredictable; that is, if it were truly a wiki and not subject to any one person’s (or group’s) control. But WikiLeaks is strictly controlled and highly predictable. So, at this point, I think Perry has the right argument applied to the wrong object.

  • How do you know he won’t do it?

    So now you dislike him for things he might do, or maybe did?

    I think WikiLeaks should be subject to counter-espionage measures, whatever they are.

    I don’t think anyone said he shouldn’t. If he has secrets, he has the right and should have the sense to protect them – just like everyone else.

  • Tedd: you may be right, in which case WL will have done the service of providing an example to others with a more effective operational model.

  • Tedd

    Alisa:

    Tedd: you may be right, in which case WL will have done the service of providing an example to others with a more effective operational model.

    I agree.

    I was going to talk about that a bit but left it off my post in the interest of brevity. It seems likely to me that others will follow a similar path to WikiLeaks, perhaps some with substantially different objectives. If there were a variety of WikiLeaks-like entities each pursuing its own agenda then the cumulative effect could be to produce the kind of unpredictability that I proposed. In that case, the network would be disrupted as Perry and Mike have proposed. In that case we should certainly give credit to WikiLeaks for starting the ball rolling, even if it went in a completely different direction than they intended.

    However, it has just occurred to me that there’s a risk this sort of thing might only succeed to the point of creating an integrity “race to the bottom,” where the key to success in government is to overtly build alliances while covertly stabbing allies in the back through source-protected leaks. (Not that that doesn’t happen already, but it could become much more common.) And then there’s the risk of source-protected sock puppetry and other such tactics. It seems to me there’s a genuine risk of wide-open, source-protected leaks make things worse.

    I wouldn’t want anyone to think I’m arguing against transparency in government as a general principle. But there could be babies in the bathwater.

  • So now you dislike him for things he might do, or maybe did?

    I very much dislike bin Laden for the things he might do, or maybe did. Assange is orders of magnitude less consequential than Osama, but still more harmful than not, on balance.

    Perry: I find your support of Wikileaks incredibly naive. Rather, your yardstick of Big, Bad Oppressive State. If all large states are necessarily evil, then mere support of Wikileaks is not enough. Pop a petty bureaucrat, meter maid, or for extra points, an unsuspecting cop. Then come back and lecture me about how I am not doing enough to roll back the all-encroaching State. Do it for the children.

    There is a difference between flinging mud on traffic cams, and espionage.

  • Jacob

    “counter-espionage measures”
    I mean: if he obtains or disseminates information in an illegal way (that’s what spys do) he should be prosecuted.

    For example: if a spy obtains plans of some secret weapon from an engineer that stole them, both the spy and the engineer-thief are prosecuted.

    So, depending on the material that he leaks, Assange should be prosecuted for espionage. I’m not sure that what he published so far qualifies, but what he boasts that he posseses seems to qualify. They might prove to be empty boasts.

  • Paul Marks

    I have been asked to give my opinion of this matter.

    Actually the opinion I share has been given (several times) on a television programme that is broadcast at 2200 British time (yes the Glenn Beck programme – I am going to violate the “Glenn rule” the man HATES anyone saying “I agree with Glenn Beck” or “I got this from the Glenn Beck show” as he wants people to go off and do their own research, although the latter line “I got this from the Glenn Beck show” would NOT be true my case).

    The details of what has been leaked are not of primary importance.

    What is important is that chaos has been spread (everyone has been led to fear that diplomatic conversations will be leaked to the entire planet) – leading to demands that the government “do something” to “stop the chaos”.

    Anyone who has studied the left can see what this is.

    “Bottom up” – disruption and chaos from below (often by “rebels” who, oddly enough, have links to powerful people and groups) leading to demands from ordinary people (including conservatives) that the government “do something” to “stop the chaos”.

    The government then turns out to have a detailed plan (which can not possibly have been worked out since the crises hit – but can have only have been worked out some time BEFORE) to indeed “do something” – in this case to hit internet dissent (but NOT just the internet). The “top comes down” on civil society.

    “But Paul – we will always be able to get round government measures”.

    “We” are not 51% of the voters – and that is what matters. If it becomes difficult for most ordinary people to hear dissent (real dissent not “Obama is not active enough” fake “dissent”) then we lose and they win – civil society (or what is left of it) gets destroyed, gets turned “inside out”.

    I repeat:

    Bottom up – chaos from below (even if not really “from below”).

    Top down – the government comes in to “do something” to “stop the chaos” (in this case to stop private conversations being told to the whole planet).

    And INSIDE OUT – the transformation of society (the death of civil society – and the victory of creeping totalitarianism).

    Bottom up, top down, inside out – standard leftist operating procedure (and has been for very many decades).

    “Paranoid, Paranoid, Paranoid”.

    Then explain (for example) why the ironically named “Free Press” organization (a Marxist outfit founded and controlled by University of Wisconsin academics) has people working in the present Administration – including the F.C.C.

    The “Free Press” supports Wikileaks – and its people ALSO are working on how to “stop the chaos” (indeed they wrote up their plans ages ago – long before Wikileaks was even heard of).

    To have total power one must control BOTH sides of the law – the “rebels” (for example Wikileaks, or so many other organization such as the vast number of ACORN style “community groups” that just happen to be funded by the government and by wealthy organizations such as the Tides Foundation). And the “forces of law”.

    The left control the “rebels” (who just turn out to be demanding MORE government – for “social justice”) AND the forces in government entrusted with “stop the chaos” from these “rebels”.

    Heads they win – tails we lose. The game is rigged.

    Unless we learn to no longer fear the charge of “paranoia” and say the following.

    “Yes national security stuff is being leaked – and it is your friends who are doing the leaking (in this case Private Manning is a hero of the left, the very groups who put Obama in power), so NO we will not give you any more power to prevent people spreading information, and we will not do so for two reasons…..”

    “Firstly NO ONE SHOULD HAVE THE POWERS YOU DEMAND – and secondly YOU ARE THE LAST PEOPLE ON EARTH WHO SHOULD HAVE MORE POWER”.

  • Non sequitur, Daryl. Meaningless gibberish in fact. If I think the state keeps too many secrets, how does it follow I think shooting an ‘unsuspecting cop’ advances the cause of liberty?

  • Johnathan Pearce

    I am coming to this debate very late, but I’d like to throw out the following: how much “collateral damage” (as in the leaking of key military/other secrets) is acceptable?

  • Paul, I have no argument with you re the points you raise. But be specific re Assange: what do you propose?

  • John B

    Paul.
    Yes, indeed. My thoughts entirely. The game is rigged.
    Get the people to make a mess (it applies as you say to so many things – ’24 hour drinking’ is a previously mentioned example), enact laws and measures to clean up the mess, and another aspect of human activity is controlled.

  • Non sequitur, Daryl. Meaningless gibberish in fact. If I think the state keeps too many secrets, how does it follow I think shooting an ‘unsuspecting cop’ advances the cause of liberty?

    It isnt meaningless gibberish. Wikileaks, as an organization, intentionally received data which, if someone like you or I had gotten from Manning, we could reasonably be prosecuted as engaging in espionage. So you are stating support for an organization which knowingly uses criminal methods. It just so happens that it somewhat inconveniences and embarrasses that which you hate, the Leviathan State.

    My comment, which, admittedly, is meant to shock, merely takes the idea of willingness to commit crime against your enemy, to its logical conclusion.

    If you are willing to engage in illegal means to drag the State back to, say, pre-20th-century size (because, as you say, the civilized methods of doing that arent working), then why not go open season on government workers?

    Are our respective States too big? Yes. Do we need to do something about it? Yes. What to do? All sort of things, and it will be a never-ending battle. Will there be casualties? Of course.

  • Paul Marks

    Alisa – be specific Paul in relation to Mr Assange.

    Very well I will be specific.

    We should do NOTHING AT ALL TO HIM – nothing what so ever.

    And we should take NO MEASURES AT ALL AGAINST THE INTERNET IN GENERAL.

    Is that specific enough?

    “But Paul – the leaks…..”

    Then do not put private diplomatic conversations on a system to which millions of people have access.

    Stop the leaks at source – do not use them as a excuse for clamping down on the internet.

    As for Assange himself – his membership of the leftist elite is obvious, and not just because of his own words (about international “justice” and so on).

    His own lawyer has done work, pro bono, for George Soros front organizations (the same George Soros who funds the Tides Foundation – and this funds every leftist group in the United States) the commander of Soros’s own directly controlled American operations is the ex commander of the S.D.S. (and, no, he has not changed his political ideology).

    George Soros is not a Marxist (indeed he spent money on post Marxist groups in Eastern Europe), but he is quite happy to work with them (indeed to fund them) for theic common objective.

    A Progressive World Community – translation is surely not needed. The very thing Mr Assange supports himself.

    Of course they would still hang him out to dry the second he is no longer useful.

    Remember the left have no moral code other than “the cause” – they have no honour.

  • Thanks Paul, much better now:-)

  • Paul Marks

    I listened to Mr Assange (as did so many other people) after his release from prison.

    The United Nations and specifically its leftist Sec Gen (Korea is so much better off without this man) as the force of “law” (Progressive law of course) for the world.

    He also takes for granted that the “American people” would oppose any disrespect for the holy U.N. (such as spying on its anti American activities).

    If he is correct (i.e. that the American people think the U.N. and “international law” are lovely things) then it is truly “game over” for freedom.

    However, I suspect that Mr Assange is mistaken.

    By the way “Bottom Up” activities continue – with activist groups targeting private companies with cyber attacks for the “crime” of not trading with Wikileaks.

    These private companies (and their customers) will demand that the government “do something”.

    And various government people will be only to happen to do so.

    “Oddly enough” these government people have the same basic political phillosophy as the activists.

    “Paranoid”.

    No – I did not say that they were having conference calls (or anything like that), I said they have the same basic political philosophy (they are Progessive World Community people) and THEY ARE.

  • I’m not against the idea of something like Wikileaks. I think we need more like them. However, I am specifically against them. I think they let the wrong cat out of the leviathan’s Bag of Secrets (which are Cats), at the wrong time. Said cat is not particularly useful to us at large (did it really reveal anything one with a brain couldn’t figure out from the usual sources?), and isn’t terribly hurtful to the leviathan – but it was hurtful to U.S. interests abroad, which is why that cat was chosen. And I think this actually helps the leviathan – it will close it’s Bag even tighter, and keep a better watch on it, with more protections.

    And not only that, but Assange and his supporters seriously annoy The People, who still hold some chains keeping the leviathan in check. When Anon strikes out against institutions, it seems he doesn’t realize that those institutions are used by The People, who don’t like getting inconvenienced like that. So they are more likely to allow the leviathan to do more to protect its interests against those of Anon, Assange, etc. (This, by the way, is why we have to take into consideration all the nasty folks that accompany the whole Wikileaks thing – not because they make the ideal itself any weaker through their association with it, but they do tend to hide the ideal itself through their actions from The People, who are really who we need to get to.)

  • Howard

    I support Wiki Leaks government is corrupt , they lie and abuse power everyday. The people need to take back this country.