The Emperor’s New Clothes
James WF Roberts
As my time with Loop is now ending, I thought it was about time I got stuck into one of the biggest international stories of recent times. Of course, I am referring to the Wikileaks circus that has intrigued, befuddled, entertained and outraged many people across the globe. Of course at the time of writing this Julian Assange had just been denied bail and was looking at extradition. With whatever happens between now and that result in the approaching weeks, perhaps we should discuss what really has been damaged—or in particular not what has been recently damaged—but rather finally realised; that no matter what you say online, in a text message, in a memo or whispered on the sly in a dark hallway in a government building—it will always come back to burn you. No matter who you are.
It really is time to ask what else is the government scared of us finding out? What deep dark confession will turn us into rioters on the streets? recently, the Federal Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the “unauthorised obtaining” of classified US files might, in itself, have been an offence—how is that offence unless Assange, and indeed most of us in Australia are living in and citizens of “United States?”
“Certainly to release that sort of information by an officer of the commonwealth, if it were Australian material, would in my view certainly involve criminality,” Mr McClelland told a book launch in Sydney.
This odd legal interpretation came out the same time that WikiLeaks supplied Fairfax newspapers with information revealing how Labor powerbroker Mark Arbib gave US officials inside knowledge about former prime minister Kevin Rudd’s bid to contain the leadership ambitions of his eventual successor, Julia Gillard. In October 2009, Senator Mark Arbib told US diplomats Mr Rudd wanted to “ensure that there are viable alternatives to Gillard within the Labor Party to forestall a challenge”. The publication came a day after WikiLeaks released cables suggesting Mr Rudd had been a “control freak’ leader—which to anyone paying attention was obvious anyway.
But what was said in any of these leaks is not really the important issue here. What the important issue here is that we are watching a toothless tiger still trying to roar in the dark jungle to show he is on the prowl—only to realize that no-one cares. All these wild claims made by our own—Australian, left-wing Labor government against this one individual Julian Assanage is down right repugnant.
Before us all now is a very, very old game. Don’t screw with the people in charge—unless you are prepared to get screwed over yourself.
So how do we nail a guy who hasn’t done really anything wrong except make us all look stupid? Hmmn! Ah! I got it. Say he is a rapist! Charge him in Sweden—that should be far enough away from Washington or Canberra—shouldn’t it?
I mean, hell the ancient Athenians did it to Socrates when he protested the state execution of army generals who failed to succeed. Socrates raged against the STATE and what was he accused of? Introducing new Gods. Corrupting Children (which can mean anything you want it to) and a whole of list of other absurd charges. Socrates the father of modern Western thought—education, in some ways political action and himself a war veteran. Demanded at his trial free bread and wine for life—instead was imprisoned and forced to drink hemlock—a rather lethal an particularly nasty poison (won’t go into details but not pretty way to go) that was in 399 BC ( he was an old man. Well into his seventies)
But that is an aside. What is the most frightening in all of this circus—is a question that hasn’t been looked at much in the press—the repercussions of posting things online. In essence this is a struggle about censorship on the internet. And the ingenious ambiguity of Politicians everywhere is almost saying to us, “ the internet doesn’t need censorship. Go ahead do what you want on there. If we don’t like it. You’re gone”. What I am getting to here friends is that we are now have proof positive that the internet is not sovereign territory at all which many in the media have claimed over the last few years—but merely a longer rope for us all to hang ourselves with. Ironically , drug-dealer, drug mules and alike are actually treated better by the Federal Australian government than someone who is using his ethical and moral judgment to show Dorothy and Toto and friends what is really going on behind the curtain. ‘
But, let’s forget the history lesson for a minute. While WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange (at the time of writing) now in custody in London, awaiting deportation to Sweden on rape charges, federal independent MP Andrew Wilkie accused Ms Gillard of showing contempt for the rule of law.
“I’m absolutely disgusted at the behaviour of the federal government and of the prime minister personally at the moment,” the former whistleblower told reporters in Hobart on Thursday.
“The prime minister is showing a contempt for the rule of law the way she has ruled out the presumption of innocence.”
Opposition Leader Tony Abbott echoed those sentiments.
“I guess even people who’ve done the wrong thing have to be given the benefit of the doubt, the presumption of innocence, and there doesn’t appear to have been an enormous amount of that from the government,” Mr Abbott told Darwin radio.
Independent MP Rob Oakeshott said Mr Assange deserved the Australian government’s support as he faced the Swedish legal system.
Activist group GetUp is buying advertisements in The New York Times and The Washington Times newspapers defending WikiLeaks.
From the outside looking into this there is only really one thing I can see…The US, Australian/NATO alliances (well basically the old guard of the world) is terrified of their real thoughts, their opinions being known in public. What’s the line from the Godfather about people being afraid if they don’t know what you’re thinking.
WikiLeaks and its founder Mr. Asssange have done nothing more than being that little boy in the street pointing out and shouting to the crowd that in face the Emperor has no clothes on—America has no power left and they don’t want the rest of the world to know—but the world has known for a long time. they just rather not let the world know that they know the world knows—that super powers don’t exist. We are all slaves to the free market and they great big wheel of fate.
*** Sources: AAP. ABC.com. the Age.
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