The United States government is attempting to physically destroy the Wikileaks organization. The ‘Cablegate’ release of diplomatic communications has begun to reveal that Western democracies maintain shadow governments that are outside the reach of their electorates. They appear to have a system in place that is not subject to the outcomes of elections. For me, that is the main thing suggested by the leaks.
The Obama administration is fully engaged in a very serious information war that threatens to turn the public eye toward the inner workings of a government sliding very quickly toward a new form of corporate/government fascism. The obvious connection between government, corporations, and the military is now under public scrutiny as we watch officials tell companies like Amazon and Paypal to cut off the Wikileaks operations. A democratic superpower is influencing, through threats or friendly suggestion, the behavior of companies that are enormously powerful on the Internet. It has become clear that we absolutely cannot expect any form of free expression to exist where Amazon or Paypal are concerned. The fact that Amazon controls most of the book trade in the U.S. is an emergency and should ultimately result in a move toward a more open source form of book selling. I would not want to be in the position of trying to sell a book on Amazon that contained thorough investigative reporting on U.S. government secrets or corruption. One call from Joseph Lieberman could shut everything down for my book.
The important thing about the Wikileaks is that they change journalism. They open a deep wound in the side of government that bleeds secrets, incompetence and corruption. The wound will continue to bleed because there will always be someone willing to leak the information. It’s simple human nature. There will always be a place to send that information and there will always be journalists to sift through it and print it for us to read. If this Wikileaks is killed, another will pop up.
Wikileaks is nothing more than a reporter sitting at a desk answering the phone and taking notes from a confidential source. Wikileaks is a reporter. President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have openly declared themselves to be extremely dangerous enemies of a free press. They have already begun threatening university students who try to download or link to the Wikileaks data (the data is here, by the way). They will stop at nothing to end Wikileaks. We should be prepared for this. They will stop at absolutely nothing. Just wait for the leak. Then you’ll know.
Here’s an excellent article by John Naughton at the Guardian Newspaper about how governments now must either live with open access to information or try to shut down the net.