Assange’s disservice to transparency

I have not been blogging for a while, because I have been starting a new – wholly unrelated – business; I am only able to devote a minute or two to this post because I have been laid low with a recurrence of my recurrent back problem. Enough of the organ recital: the transparency issue of the day is obviously Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

I have revised my opinion of Mr Assange. I used to think he was a hero, but now I see that he is a vainglorious mercenary self-publicist. His incarceration is a minor inconvenience set against his position at the top of every news bulletin.

Providing a service for whistleblowers is wholly laudable; if Wikileaks didn’t do it, someone else would have to do so. Oh, they do.

But Wikileaks has secured the headlines by revealing nothing of interest – and by sacrificing Bradley Manning. If Assange had a shred of honour, he would not have published unless he could be sure that Bradley Manning would not be caught. It matters not that Wikileaks were not directly involved in Manning’s being discovered; had they not decided to go ahead and publish, he would not be in prison. And for what has this  naive young man sacrificed his freedom?  Is there anything in that pile of guff that is remotely interesting? So, diplomats use undiplomatic language in private. Should we be surprised? That China seems to be losing interest in its Korean client state seemed mildly interesting at first, but again, hardly surprising. North Korea is hardly a good advertisement for China’s ideology.

The only surprise is that in this vast haul of data, there has been no sign of more egregious wrongdoing.  Nothing is revealed that will cause guilty heads to roll.  No whistles have been blown.

Really, what was the point?  The biggest scandal exposed is the State Department’s ineptitude with computer security.

And to answer my own question, the point was simply Assange’s vainglory.

Assange should not go to prison for revealing these “secrets”. If he is guilty of rape, he should go to prison for rape: I will not comment on the merits of that case.

But – though there is no crime to fit it – he should go to prison for profiting, whether in pride or in money, from Bradley Manning’s incarceration.

 

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