WikiLeaks has been on my mind lately. I have discussed it with college professors at cocktail parties, 4chan hackers, and I’ve read pretty much every news article there is on the matter. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert… though I’m certainly a fan.
However, I have come to an uncomfortable conclusion: the government isn’t the one whose scared. Let that sink in for a second. Savor it, roll it around on your tongue, and while you’re doing so, allow me to elaborate.
There was an almost sudden knee-jerk reaction in the past couple weeks, but why? The diplomatic cables are just not that bad. All this noise isn’t about the most recent release. It’s also not about the release of information pertaining to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which were storms far worse than the cables that blew over long ago.
Then it hit me: the charges against Assange, the calls from politicians like Joe Lieberman to cut their financial strings… it came after perhaps the least publicized revelation: the government isn’t the only entity that WikiLeaks has dirt on.
Frankly, I was kind of underwhelmed by what has been released so far. I imagined we were up to much worse things than was revealed by WikiLeaks. If this is it, I’m beginning to think we aren’t even half bad. Yeah, some government officials should be tried as war criminals and our army is guilty of some horrible atrocities, but nothing on a scale so spectacular that it warrants this kind of reaction.
We’ve had a lot of time to comb through everything, and the worst is out there… and it’s just not that horrible. Bad, yes, but we aren’t the new Nazis.
However, on rumors that WikiLeaks has damning documents on Bank of America, their stock took a tumble. And I asked myself: who really holds the keys to this country? Is it the politicians we elect, or the companies who buy them?
I don’t think it’s any coincidence that the government stoically took it on the chin when it was their ass on the line, yet they sic the dogs on Julian Assange at the first scent of danger for the private interests… because it’s the wealthy elite of this country that really hold the leash.
While the idea of WikiLeaks exposing the crimes of the government is awfully romantic, I think the real fireworks will occur when the dirty little secrets of America’s captains of industry are revealed.
Don’t get me wrong, I hope the flow of info on government secrets continues. In fact, it most certainly will. Today, Monday December 13th, a new leak site will go online: OpenLinks. Just as Napster gave way to numerous other sources of open source media and applications, WikiLeaks is merely the trailblazer in what will likely be an endless series of sites exposing the truth for all to see.
But I suspect it’s not the government who is worried. The stakes are just too low. No one is going to jail for any of the government’s revealed secrets (assuming they don’t get too big), and I get the feeling elected office isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The billionaires who plunder the American people… they’re the ones who are shitting themselves.
Frankly, I can’t wait.