Freedom of Information

A Crusader For Open Information - Except For His Own

Unfortunately I can’t get worked up about Wikileaks, the leaks themselves and the celebrity posturing around Julian Assange are just too amusing.

The leaks are hardly the stuff of vital public interest which might cause empires to topple. Nations spy on each other, diplomats think Ghadaffi is a few sandwiches short of a picnic, this is news? If so it has about the same impact as the rumours that Benedict XVI is thinking of coming out in support of the Roman Catholic church.

The bail hearing for Assange on Thursday produced one of the classics of unintentional satire when his lawyers asked that when released on bail his address be kept secret. This is hardly surprising given that it is also an attitude prevalent amongst his supporters. Jemima Khan who put up part of his bail, is no stranger to the courts. She has been there demanding a gagging order to prevent release of information regarding her own private life.

The Wikileakers and their celebrity supporters believe in the completely free availability of information, except when it is information regarding themselves. If Assange thinks that information which keeps him secure should be kept confidential then why does he think that information which the American government thinks keeps their nation and its people secure should be broadcast to the world?

Even Alastair Campbell has been moved to point out how the Wikileaks team have ‘spun’ the release of their stolen information. How bad do you have to be before Alastair Campbell notices the hypocrisy of tightly controlling the release of information with regard to the tight control of the release of information?

The barely veiled threat last night from Assange that he has only released about 2000 of the quarter million stolen documents does little to help his reputation for openness. “Back off or I’ll release even more of the material I’m keeping secret.”

Then there is a group currently hacking into those corporations denying services to Wikileaks because “We now know that Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and others are instruments of US foreign policy.” And what do these crusaders for freedom of information call themselves? “Anonymous.”

There is something about their attachment to conspiracy theories which makes me suspect that the Wikileakers own a lot of anoraks. Even Assange’s solicitor claimed in court that the charges of sexual assault were the result of a “vendetta by the Swedes.”

Perhaps all this is why the star struck Jemima Khan sees Assange as “the new Jason Bourne.” That’s it, our boy is now hiding out in a safe house in a Suffolk mansion checking the action of his .4 calibre Glock 24, and making sure his numerous passports are in order as he prepares to go back into deadly danger to face the evil machinations of those dastardly freedom hating Swedes.

Assange and his celebrity supporters such as Ken Loach, John Pilger and Michael Moore have one thing in common, an anti-American animus. Wikileaks have not mounted an assault on closed government they have mounted an assault on the American government and its foreign policy. If that is their position fine, that is their perrogative and it is a view shared by many, but why not be open and honest about it. Or is that demanding too much freedom of information?

Their basic anti-American stance has led to the distorted response of his supporters with regard to the sexual assault charges; any opponent of the American government cannot possibly be guilty of wrongdoing. Mostly we would be appalled if someone was declared guilty of any criminal charge merely because of his or her political opinions. Why then do so many declare Assange innocent of the charges basically because of his political opinions? Ultimately because he is fashionably anti-American.

I have no idea whether Assange is guilty of the charges or innocent, although I do suspect that at most he is guilty of sexual adventurism and callous disregard for women whom he apparently sees as sexual objects to be used and discarded. However, to witness the parade of feminist celebrities such as Naomi Wolf proclaiming that she “has a hunch” that he didn’t do it does go a long way to tarnish the amusement factor. Was it not such feminists who redefined messy sexual encounters as sexual assault or rape by ever predatory men? The sight of feminist icons now dismissing sexual assault charges as false based on the political views of the accused is somewhat unappealing.

I suppose I have to come to a conclusion. It is simply that if Wikileaks and their celebrity supporters claim to be championing an open society they should practice openness. Fighting for truth takes you wherever truth leads and demands that wrong be confronted, especially when that wrong is your own.

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About Campbell

Now retired but once upon a time a parish minister in Glasgow, before that the South West and initially the Black Isle. Been a prison chaplain and lecturer. Still am constantly bemused by the weird world around me.
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