Why You Should Support Wikileaks

The basis of our government being the opinion of the people, the very first object should be to keep that right; and were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.

– Thomas Jefferson

Even as the worldwide media are going insane with lies and distortions about Wikileaks and Julian Assange, governments are executing cyber attacks on the Wikileaks website and threatening to assassinate a man over publishing information about the crimes they committed.

“But aren’t Wikileaks criminals?” some people may ask. The answer to that comes in two parts:

  1. Legally speaking, they are not. And it makes sense, too. In a healthy democracy, whisteblowers are protected, because they are the only way a democracy can protect itself from conspiratorial behaviour. These are people who are exposing crimes, after all, and how else are you going to expose crime in high places?
  2. What about the moral side of it? If you knew that the mayor of your town was working with organized crime, and had committed murder, would it not be your duty to bring these news to light? And would a newspaper (which is all that Wikileaks is, essentially) not be morally right, in the democratic tradition, to publish these news?

“But this is going to endanger people! Human lives are at risk!” someone else will say, echoing the most popular government lie. Again, an answer in two parts:

  1. Despite the constant repetition of this lie, no-one has been able to find the slightest shred of evidence that anyone has been harmed by the Wikileaks revelations. No-one affected by Wikileaks? Yes, according to U.S. officials.
  2. Who puts people’s lives in real danger? Illegal wars fought by supposedly democratic governments who see fit to conceal important facts from their electorates, or Wikileaks? If you want to protect human lives, stopping the wars and revealing as much information as possible about the crimes against humanity committed is the only way.

One of the most basic concepts of democracy is that a democracy cannot function without an informed electorate. The government is not supposed to be making decisions on its own, or based on the secret opinions of a small elite: a democratic government is meant to represent the will of the people. If vital facts are being withheld from public scrutiny, democracy is being seriously undermined, and those who help to expose those facts are champions of democratic values.

If you believe in democracy, do you not think that the following facts should not be hidden from the people?

This is just a tiny selection of facts revealed by the lastest Wikileaks leak. The only people endangered by these facts are corrupt politicians, immoral intelligence agencies and various gangsters. Wikileaks has not attacked governments; it has exposed government corruption and anti-democratic behaviour.

And that’s why we must support Wikileaks; because without government transparency there can be no democracy. And governments are not by nature transparent – because no accumulation of power is. When the built-in safeguards against conspiracy and corruption fail, it is up to the press and the public to make sure that there is not a small, unaccountable elite that makes decisions without asking or informing the people.

Why do you think Hillary Clinton is fuming? Because her crimes have been exposed. It’s not the life of some soldier she’s worried about, she has no problem sending people to their deaths; it’s her political career, her ability to make money by obeying the commands of more powerful entities, that she is worried about. Why do the New York Times attack Wikileaks and distort the facts? Because they are complicit in these crimes, as are the Republicans, as are the Democrats, as are most of the media. They claim that the leaks endanger “security,” whatever that is supposed to mean; but what they do is expose criminals… and they are those criminals.

Think about this for a moment: politicians and media figures are calling for Julian Assange to be assassinated. Assassinated. Who assassinates people? Dictatorships do. Criminals do. An assassin is not a hero – an assassin is a paid murderer. Aren’t democracies supposed to stand against such tactics? Are the United States really so weak, so paranoid, that they must murder someone for exposing a crime? Or are we just seeing a group of criminals wanting to clean up their own tracks?

Assassination and fake rape charges? Is this the level on which a great democracy operates? What happened to principles?

If the United States government, and all the other governments exposed, have nothing to hide, then why the fuss?

Wikileaks has become the focal point of the great struggle for democratic values that is taking place in the world. Their actions are legal, courageous and deeply democratic, and the methods used to opposed them are cowardly, immoral and profoundly anti-democratic.

If you believe in democracy, in human rights, in freedom, in justice: support Wikileaks now. Not tomorrow. Not some day in the far future when maybe you might be in a better position than today.

Now.

Now is the time to stand. Now is the time to do something meaningful, to support a movement that really can change the world for the better. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a socialist like me, or a libertarian, or a Democrat, or a Republican, or a Green, or a Social Democrat, or whatever. It only matters that you believe in democracy, in government of the people, by the people, for the people.

History is being made as you read this. Heroes – everyone at Wikileaks, Bradley Manning, everyone who endangers their life by speaking truth to power – are being persecuted, secrets are being revealed, democracy is under attack. These days will be remembered… but how? As another step towards authoritarianism, the days of the final destruction of that great American achievement, the First Amendment, or as the first step towards the light of freedom and truth?

You can make a difference. Right now.

(Edit: Paypal has shut down the Wikileaks account, proving once again that power is power, whether it’s a corporation or a government that holds it, and right now there is no meaningful difference between governments and corporations. But there are alternate means of donating, so please choose one of those instead.)

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18 Comments

  1. Excellent piece. Fully agree.

  2. I’m especially amused (read: depressed) by the argument that Wikileaks is putting people at risk. Well, yes, exposing field operatives might put them in danger, but the US government was the one who put them at risk of that danger. The covert operatives, informants, and so on understood the risk of being exposed when they took up their jobs. And it was the US’s shoddy security policy that made it so easy for these documents to be exposed.

    Wikileaks contacted the government before release, asking for a list of redactions that would save lives. The government refused to help, because “not negotiating” and demanding nothing at all be released was more important to them than minimizing risk to their operatives.

    (Incidentally, it would be awesome if you installed a plugin like “Subscribe To Comments” so that I can follow comment threads via e-mail.)

  3. Excellent article.
    The only problem is of course if a government is going to go to war with other people and spy on other countries then obviously it does need secretes, but then if all the important info is kept secrete then how can a democracy function?

    The only answer I can come up with is it cannot, A firmly believe that a democracy cannot function correctly and compete on a global scale in the same way that it has up to now. Can true democracy work on any scale close to what the USA currently is, I do not know (but I know would look a lot different then it does now).

    And hiding information from its people is not the only hurtle democracy has seemed to stumble over.
    When we say that the entire nation gets to elect a leader to follow, what we really mean is that a small group of mostly white rich men have voted for two or three candidates and now we get to choose between them.
    And does any nation of people have the needed maturity to make the hard decisions, if everyone had a vote would taxes ever be raised? would Justin Bieber be elected to the presidency and arnold schwarzenegger be elected to the office of governor of California? Oh wait that last one actually happened.

    And say what you will about Communism, but thousands of years ago the best and the brightest people of the entire nation were chosen to govern China, and what do we have now? a popularity contest where the richest and most charismatic win, anyone with intelligence, compassion, and the needed skills need not apply.

    Which leads me to my closing point, as far as I know their is no course or required education (over anything very basic) required to make the decisions that guide the entire nation. If you want to be a doctor and operate on people you need to work your butt off for years and years, if you want to design buildings you have to go to school for years and learn many things, but if you want to outlaw anonymity on the Internet or unpasteurized milk all you need to be good at is looking good at parties and making good speeches; And if you want to teach children then you better have some intelligence and a degree meaning you went to school to learn how to and learn more your self (and you better be more then mildly intelligent if you actually want the children to learn anything you are teaching them), but if you want to decide what the children will be taught and how they will be taught then again you do not need any education in anything that would help you make an informed choice.
    Personally I think this is the biggest problem of politics today, the politicians were never taught how to govern properly.

  4. I wholeheartedly agree and am somewhat ashamed to admit my Polish government spoke through the mouth of Radek Sikorski, its extremely pro-american minister, and reproached Assange. It is one of the first times when I am considering making donation to a politically involved organization, since that is probably the only way I can help them.

  5. I’m poor, but I wish I could support them financially. In the meantime, I’m gonna be posting a link to this over on my Facebook page. People ought to know that the governments pitching a fit are NOT looking out for our best interests, but rather their own financial and political interests.

  6. byth

     /  December 4, 2010

    Are these new rape charges, or are the ones that turned out to be a hoax back again (or did those never go away)? Either way, the paranoia over Wikileaks is insane. If anything, we should be cheering Assange on–if any of these scandals were released one at a time, we’d be glad we knew and there would be a big kerfluffle against the criminals. But all of a sudden it’s dangerous to know about corrupt officials? Then again, the corrupt officials are probably pushing a lot of this anti-wikileaks stuff.

  7. On Monday, I’mma print this out and read it alongside the morning announcements in school.

  8. @gnome: Thank you. BTW, if anyone wants to share/use this, I hereby officially release the entire post into the public domain.

    @Gregory: What you recently retweeted about how many people die every day from lack of healthcare (over 100) and how many die because of Wikileaks (0) sums it up perfectly.

    @Jonathon: The problem is that we don’t need leaders, we need an informed and educated electorate that can make its own decisions. This is actually more feasible today than ever before. A perfect system is impossible, of course – utopian thinking is useless – but a considerably better system is not out of reach.

    @Wolfgang: This is, in part, an information war, so anything done to fight the distortions of the press and the governments is good.

    @byth: These are the old rape charges, but by now even the prosecutor admits that any sex that may have happened was consensual. The prosecutor is making it up as she goes along, and according to her logic a man should go to jail for 2 years if his condom breaks during sex. (Once again, radical feminists are cooperating with the extreme right. Equality under the law? Not a chance.)

    @Evil Roda: What I said to Wolfgang. Spread the truth in any form and way that you can. Just remember that there will be personal consequences.

  9. The morning announcements aren’t what you’re thinking of, Jonas. In my school, as of about a week ago, teachers have to print out the announcements and read them to the class. I volunteered to read them for the teacher in the period in which we have announcements. It won’t be broadcast to the whole school, unfortunately. However, I also won’t have to deal with very great personal consequences. Ah, well. If the teacher likes it, though, he might post it on his bulletin board. It’ll probably go unread there, but even if it catches the eye of a single person who is then persuaded by your arguments, that’s good enough for me.

  10. I didn’t really think it would be broadcast to the whole school (not that that wouldn’t be cool). But taking any unpopular position, even in random situations, can have personal consequences. That’s all I meant.

  11. Thyll

     /  December 6, 2010

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one. I know there’s probably going to be a huge amount of supporters on the internet, but in life there seems to be no one who can think of a reasonable action. Just the other day I watched some Republican (or maybe a tea party member) call Assange a terrorist. I’m so ashamed to be human and disgusted at the hypocrisy.
    Even if it does endanger lives (which it doesn’t) it’s the truth. It’s not propaganda of any kind. And because of this he deserves assassination? I can only help think future generations will look back at us and see what we see in the past: Ignorance. And worse, we faced — we had– the truth and rejected it…

  12. The new propaganda line is that if Wikileaks had existed in the 1940s Hitler would have won the Second World War. I’m not even making this up.

    If Wikileaks had been around for the Reichstag Fire and the Munich Conference, there wouldn’t have been a Second World War.

  13. Sigh.

    I’ve been reading some feminist blogs on the topic of Julian Assange and the rape accusations. Apparently equality before the law, people being innocent until proven guilty, or the importance of evidence don’t really count for anything. All the information we have is unimportant next to the fact that Julian Assange is a man, and men are evil.

  14. As if things aren’t bad enough, Julian Assange is in a British prison fighting extradition to Sweden, my country has been blinded by propaganda, and Anonymous is attacking the major credit card companies.

    Ladies and gentlemen, this is the world’s first Cyber War.

  15. April

     /  December 14, 2010

    Very well written. I support.

  16. More skeptical than the Skeptics

     /  January 18, 2011

    So how come Wikileaks doesn’t seem to be interested in printing the foibles of any country but the USA?

    Well, probably because Assange doesn’t want to wake up some morning with a chunk of polonium embedded in his butt cheek, or a fatwa on his head.

    But possibly because the latest releases seem to be far less about “whistleblowing” than they do “attempting to blackmail the West into giving Assange his own ‘get out of jail free’ card.”

    The scurrilous attacks on the accusers bear this out. It doesn’t matter how hard you’re going at it, if the condom breaks and the lady says “that’s it,” Then THAT IS IT.

  17. So how come Wikileaks doesn’t seem to be interested in printing the foibles of any country but the USA?

    Wikileaks have repeatedly stated that they have no problem doing so, and will do so as soon as they get their hands on such information. And if they’re so worried about offending these groups, why have the published cables with extremely negative information about them?

    Well, probably because Assange doesn’t want to wake up some morning with a chunk of polonium embedded in his butt cheek, or a fatwa on his head.

    Oh, but he’s OK with the threats of assassination from the US.

    But possibly because the latest releases seem to be far less about “whistleblowing” than they do “attempting to blackmail the West into giving Assange his own ‘get out of jail free’ card.”

    You obviously haven’t read any of the actual leaks, have you? And what the hell does that last sentence mean? Assange is in more trouble because of these leaks, not less.

    The scurrilous attacks on the accusers bear this out. It doesn’t matter how hard you’re going at it, if the condom breaks and the lady says “that’s it,” Then THAT IS IT.

    Yes. Which is completely irrelevant to the Assange case. I’m sure you’d love to make this about evil rapist Assange, but the facts are the facts, and you’re not using any of them. Did you know the prosecution refused to even state what Assange was supposedly guilty of? Or to present evidence? Or that Assange isn’t even charged with anything, and only wanted for “interviewing” (i.e. extradition to the United States)? Did you know Assange did not flee from Sweden but stayed there for weeks after the accusations (which were originally dismissed as groundless after one day) and only left with official permission? Did you know he’s being accused not by the so-called “victims” but by a Swedish politician whose party gets off rather badly in the leaks?

    Even if you disagree with Wikileaks, as long as you believe in the rule of law, you cannot consider this case to be legal.

  18. Besides, how is “they only expose American crimes” an argument against Wikileaks? They are still crimes.