As the United States and Britain look for an excuse to invade another oil-rich Arab country, the hypocrisy is familiar. Libyan leader Colonel Muammar Gaddafi is “delusional” and “blood-drenched”, while the authors of an invasion that killed a million Iraqis, who have kidnapped and tortured in our name, are entirely sane, never blood-drenched and once again the arbiters of “stability”. But something has changed. Reality is no longer what the powerful say it is. Of all the spectacular revolts across the world, the most exciting is the insurrection of knowledge sparked by WikiLeaks.
In a July 2010 interview with WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange, TED.com’s Chris Anderson said WikiLeaks had released in just a few years more classified state and military documents than every other media outlet combined. “It’s a worry isn’t it,” Assange said. “That the rest of the world’s media is doing such a bad job that a little group of activists is able to reveal more of that sort of information than the rest of the world’s media.”
WikiLeaks has announced it will pursue legal action against disgruntled former employee Daniel Domscheit-Berg, whose recently released book, Inside WikiLeaks, slams Julian Assange's leadership and character in a series of allegations. Some of the allegations appear serious. Others are hopelessly trivial.
Leaked emails have revealed a plot by private internet security firms to bring down WikiLeaks. The plot was allegedly created on behalf of the Bank of America — the largest bank in the US. WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange has said Bank of America will be the subject of future leaks. Computer-hacker group Anonymous revealed the plot after stealing 50,000 internal emails from internet security company HBGary Federal.
Following revelations that The New York Times liaised with the White House before publishing information supplied to it by WikiLeaks, the website’s editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, has revealed the British Guardian edited out “all sorts” of information before publishing US diplomatic cables. Assange told SBS’s Dateline on February 13 how WikiLeaks’ relationship with the two papers, with which it had worked, had soured.
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange delivered a pre-recorded video address to a public meeting at Melbourne’s Federation Square on February 4. Below is the transcript of Assange’s speech. ***** Thank you so much for coming to this rally. Your presence here and your support, in homes, workplaces, online and elsewhere is exactly what is needed to keep us strong.
See also: US, Israel oppose Arab democracy Papers leaked to Al-Jazeera, as well as secret US cables published by WikiLeaks, have exposed how Israel and the United States have used the Middle East “peace process” to push total capitulation on the Palestinian side. This merely confirms what many Palestinians already knew.
There are more revelations than you can count in the now-infamous Wikileaks cables — a fact highlighted by the arrest and extradition attempts against Wikileaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange. But here’s another one that’s been buried, and it definitely hammers home the need to defend not just Wikileaks, but freedom of speech in general.
Lawyers for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange have accused Swedish authorities of secretly planning to extradite him to the US as soon as it has built a criminal case against him. Lawyer Mark Stephens told the media on January 12: “We are hearing that the Swedish are prepared to drop the rape charges against Julian as soon as the Americans demand his extradition.”
Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said that over the next six months, Wikileaks will be releasing more files related to Israel. “There are 3,700 files related to Israel and the source of 2,700 files is Israel,” he told Al-Jazeera on December 22. “The Guardian, El Pais and Le Monde have published only two percent of the files related to Israel due to the sensitive relations between Germany, France and Israel.”
The December 14 rally for Wikileaks in Sydney was a success, apart from the excessively brutal police force seemingly determined to not allow citizens the right to protest in the streets. Before the event itself, the Sydney Morning Herald reported under the misleading headline, “We’ll march anyway; Wikileaks protesters to defy police”.
Supporters of whistleblowing website Wikileaks rallied in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide on December 14, as Wikileaks editor-in chief Julian Assange faced a bail hearing at Westminster magistrates court in London that day. Protesters opposed attempts by governments and corporations to shut down and harrass the site. About 800 people gathered in Sydney to call for Assange to be granted a fair trial and to defend Wikileaks. About 1000 marched in Melbourne and 300 in Adelaide.
Further rallies and meetings More than 1000 people rallied at Sydney’s Town Hall at 1pm on December 10 to show their support for Wikileaks and its founder Julian Assange. Rallies also occurred in Brisbane, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide and Perth. The rally, held to coincide with International Human Rights Day, highlighted the importance of freedom of information and the need for transparency in government.
In the US Army manual on counterinsurgency, the American commander General David Petraeus describes Afghanistan as a “war of perception... conducted continuously using the news media”. What really matters is not so much the day-to-day battles against the Taliban as the way the adventure is sold in America where “the media directly influence the attitude of key audiences”. Reading this, I was reminded of the Venezuelan general who led a coup against the democratic government in 2002. “We had a secret weapon,” he boasted. “We had the media, especially TV. You got to have the media.”
This year marks the 30th anniversary of rock star John Lennon’s assassination. Lennon was also an anti-war activist and, in the most radical period of his life in the early 1970s, an unashamed socialist. (You can read an interview given by Lennon and his partner Yoko Ono to British revolutionary socialist magazine Red Mole in 1971 here.)