Wikileaks: Terrorists or Freedom Fighters?


Wikileaks continues to make almost daily headlines.  Aside from the various revelations, there are also two widely told stories that are supposed to help us put these leaks into context.

The first story is that the leaks are nothing more than gossip.  They are stories about Gaddafi’s nurse and what an ambassador thinks of David Cameron.  Anyone who isn’t a tabloid reader or nosey-parker should be disinterested in the content.

The other story is that the world is soon going to be brought inexorably towards conflict, possibly even World War III because of the terrorist activities of Julian Assange. In this narrative we have the kingpin of the worlds most powerful information terrorist organisation running roughshod over the US and it’s allies.
Both of these stories, while almost entirely contradictory, have at least two things in common.  They’re both convenient for the US establishment and they’re both complete rubbish.

The revelations of the cables are in fact extremely important and amazingly far-reaching.  In Spain we see the US used it’s state power to engage in industrial corruption and espionage.  They additionally dictated what laws should be passed, in this case Spain’s copyright law.  The leaks detail the US successfully forcing European democracies to engage in illegal cover-ups of criminal activity, such as kidnapping, torture and murder; a fact which is detailed clearly in the cables with Spain and Germany.  We now know that the US spies not only on its enemies, but also on its allies. In the case of Sweden, leaks show “informal cooperation” of security services intended explicitly to avoid democratic oversight; a measure that the US ambassador deemed would be necessary as it was probably “unconstitutional” and might cease if the Swedish parliament noticed.

Such revelations might not be surprising to people who tend towards the conspiratorial.  However, now we have proof that the US acts very cynically and completely without regard to the law and with a complete disdain for jurisprudence or democracy.

A state, which functions with such haughty contempt for democracy and justice, can hardly be deemed anything but a rogue state.  Which brings us to the second narrative.  The mission statement of WikiLeaks reveals that they hope to provide an atmosphere in which society can function without being overwhelmed with corruption, conspiracy, exploitation and oppression.  These cables at least put into the public domain current instances of the above.

Calling the leak an act of terrorism really calls into question what the word terrorism can possibly mean.  Does it mean perverting justice, or revealing such perversion? Is it murdering and torturing the innocent, or the disclosure of those crimes? Is it attempts to bypass democracy entirely, or making conspiracies to do so plain?
When the rhetoric is removed and the facts made available, hopefully it will be obvious who is on the side of justice and who is not.