How quickly a global manhunt began for Assange once he announced Bank of America leaks would be next. Leaks of redacted State Department cables, back-channel discussions, characterizations of foreign leaders got nothing but a lot of bad press from the corporate newsmedia. But once he threatened the BoA’s vampires with some sunlight, he was arrested on obviously trumped up charges, Visa, MC, and PayPal froze or otherwise disabled Wikileaks’ accounts, and internet providers who depend on these financial services attempted to erase Wikileaks — and even listserve and bloggers’ discussions of Wikileaks — from the internet.
The man is dangerous because he is a publisher who is off the reservation and not controlled by those who write and maintain the dream narrative we ingest via what passes for journalism.
This is precisely what we decry when the Chinese do it: prevent the people from access to information that would lead to their questioning the narrative they are spoon-fed. Or the North Koreans. Or the Iranians. Or the government of Myanmar.
Journalists who decry Wikileaks as out-of-bounds, as irresponsible, as a violator of journalistic ethics, might well remember that Wikileaks’ first story was the leak of the wanton murder of two Reuters’ journalists by a US helicopter crew. If “traditional” journalism had been fulfilling its function, unintimidated by corporate owners and military murderers, Wikileaks would be unnecessary. So instead of vilifying Assange, reporters ought to start looking for the stories buried in the relatively few documents so far released, and put a process in place for digesting and understanding the political and economic meanings of the Bank of America revelations that are imminent.
And read the Salon article noted above. It is a lie that Wikileaks indiscriminately dumped 250,000 documents onto the net.
We have a publisher now in prison who has not been charged with a crime and whose news organization has also not been charged. What’s next for him? Gitmo? Extraordinary rendition?