Mike Reyes, aka Mr. Controversy, has considered himself a writer ever since he was a child. He wrote for various school publications from about 1995 until 2006, and currently runs both The Bookish Kind and Mr. Controversy, which is an offshoot of the regular column he wrote in High School. He's also authored several short stories such as "The Devil's Comedian", "The Devil v. George W. Bush", and most recently "Wait Until Tomorrow". He resides in New Jersey. Any inquiries for reprinting, writing services, or general contact, should be forwarded to: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is my first attempt at serious Political/Media discourse in a while, and as such I feel a bit rusty. Forgive me if I'm not understanding the situation properly. If I'm found to be completely off the mark, I'll gladly remove this post to avoid further embarrassment.
Julian Assange was arrested in the U.K. today after surrendering to British authorities. According to MSN's latest report, he was rejected bail, faces possible extradition to Sweden due to charges involving "sex offenses", and to some this is all good news. Why would one man earn such hatred, schadenfreude, and general ill will? Simply put: he's blabbing everyone's secrets. But those "secrets" may not even be secrets in some cases, and in other cases those "secrets" have cost people their lives and could compromise the way nations (particularly the U.S.) carry themselves diplomatically. This naturally has hurt some people's feelings...some enough that they would want to do personal harm to Mr. Assange.
Though, to play Paranoid's Advocate, maybe his incarceration, his extradition, maybe even the charges leveled against him, are exactly what is being done to undermine his/their credibility. Realistically, would you kill someone like Julian Assange if he posed a threat to you? Of course you wouldn't! World governments all around know that assassinations are messy, costly, and generally not looked upon favorably. Throwing a man in jail, violating his credibility and convicting him of a heinous criminal offense is more cost effective, no one dies, and it works even better as a method of psychological warfare against your target. It might sound like I've seen too many Bourne films, but this is EXACTLY what this is starting to sound like! For God's sake, the man has an "insurance file" just waiting to be released upon his death that could potentially incriminate the U.S. and their efforts in the Afghan War.
Assange's entire story, as well as his organization, sound like something out of a cross between a classic Sci Fi dystopia and a Robert Ludlum blockbuster novel. Mega powers of the world feel threatened by the "voice of truth", who works from the shadows, can never be physically found (because he/they are always on the move), and operate under a unified symbol. All that's missing are pirated television broadcasts, a Guy Falkes mask, and Natalie Portman shaving her head; and we've achieved surreality. Apparently in Wikileaks' case, they picked the wrong symbol and he's looking to be heading down the river for a little while. Let's face it, if Assange gets the book thrown at him, Wikileaks will suffer until they choose a new figurehead. And even then, they will still be give less benefit of the doubt when it comes to credibility, simply because they chose so poorly the first time.
What do I think of Wikileaks? Personally, if these were/are documents of a less sensitive nature that would not harm anyone by their release, I would think nothing of it. But if you are going to sit there and tell me that this is all in the name of "transparency", then I'm going to tell you that you are full of shit. This isn't being done to encourage transparency, it's being done to scare the nations of the world into looking over their shoulders just a little more. Whether Assange's intent is to directly do so, no one knows. But directly or indirectly, that's exactly what's happening.
According to Wikipedia, "he has been involved in the publication of material documenting extrajudicial killings in Kenya, a report of toxic waste dumping on the African coast, Church of Scientology manuals, Guantanamo Bay procedures, and material involving large banks such as Kaupthing and Julius Baer among other documents." So he's taken on religion, vicious unstable governments, GitMo, and the banking world. Even I'll admit, I can kinda get on board with that. But forgive my hypocrisy when I say that his efforts with the U.S. do not even approach the "good natured" level that these other reports have exhibited. Leaking the above is one thing, leaking war/state department intel that could cost soliders their lives and throw us into even more chaos and strife in the fields of combat and diplomacy are kind of a bigger deal. To put it crudely: everything's fun and games until someone's compromised.
Though really, what business is it of ours? If anything Wikileaks is the US Weekly for the "thinking person". Instead of tuning in to see what's going on with Jessica Simpson or which Teen Mom was caught rolling a joint, we can see what the U.S. had to say about Putin's work habits, or what exactly is going on in Afghanistan. Some might say we deserve to know what's going on since we're funding the war with our taxes, but I truly ask you, do we really have a right to know? I'm not trying to protect the Government, they can do that themselves pretty easily. What I'm trying to say is that perhaps leaking War Intel is not exactly the best idea while the god damned war is still going on. You want to leak Bush and Cheney's efforts in the past? Fine! That could land those idiots in jail where they belong, but don't forget to screen it and make sure it won't compromise our current position in the region.
Julian Assange may seem like a voice of truth to some, but personally I think he's a petulant child that's throwing bombs just for the sake of throwing bombs. And if he's getting people killed while throwing his bombs, is he really that surprised that people are gunning for him? Transparency is fine, but make sure that your glass house doesn't shatter and kill innocent lives when you throw the first stone.