Frankly speaking, I am not sure whether to love Julian Assange or not to love him. Yesterday, website of Julian Assange, WikiLeaks, made public a stash of a quarter million confidential cables from the US embassies around the world. I was eagerly waiting for this release and checked WikiLeaks a number of times yesterday to see if they have made their promised sensational release. Obviously it was not easy for Julian to get his way when the entire US machinery was working in overdrive against him. WikiLeaks was attacked with distributed denial of service (DDOS) technique and was taken out of service (any guess whodunit?!). But Julian, a seasoned computer hacker, managed to fox USA by releasing the cables via another website and also by sending them directly to a few select newspapers.
That’s the story of the release. But what does the cables contain? Well, this is the part where I am a bit disappointed. Julian has done a great job as the big-daddy of all whistle-blowers but in the latest cache of documents he has included a number of unnecessary revelations. His previous releases on Afghan and Iraq wars were significant and eye-opening but this time not all the documents are of equal importance. These cables include the secret messages in candid language from US diplomats. And obviously, in private, we all have different views of people from what we show in public. Many people paint image of their boss on the punching bags —but that does not mean they hit their bosses in real too. If a neighbor happens to see the punching bag with face of boss on it and informs the boss about it —what good would it make to the employee or to the boss?
I am not really interested in knowing that in private US diplomats call Kim Jong-Li a “flabby old chap” or Robert Mugabe a “crazy old man” or Hamid Karzai “an extremely weak man” or Nicholas Sarkozy a “thick-skinned authoritarian” or Ali Abdullah Saleh a “dismissive, bored and impatient man” or Muammar Gaddafi “strange” or Silvio Berlusconi a “feckless, vain, and ineffective as a modern European leader”… These kind of remarks we all make depending upon our views of other people. We must agree that world runs in channels —an overt channel and a covert one. If you have seen Jim Carrey’s Liar Liar —you would know what I mean.
In my view, the latest release of confidential documents is both good and reckless. Julian and party should have removed useless stuff from the release but apparently they made it public to add some spice and to get more ears than just that of the governments. I have respect for Julian for he is a smart techie, hacker par excellence and also because he is now the front leader for the freedom of information movement. However, as I have always said, too much of freedom is destructive —it causes anarchism. We are social animals and we can not afford to have anarchy. Therefore, freedom is good but also we all have some obligations to follow.
It is too early to judge the effect of these documents coming into public but for sure it is going to be a huge embarrassment for the US government. I am convinced that all the US diplomats are on phones at the moment clarifying to their counterparts in world governments that they did not mean what they meant… er… no… they did not mean what they said 🙂