Heroism is being retailed quite easily. What you see about such sensitive information is the probability factor designed to create fear and comply with the filibustering by a few big nations.
Julian Assange gets arrested in London for a crime he says he has not committed and not for a crime he proudly admits to. Is it a diplomatic coup? We have to be naive if we think Assange is working in his individual capacity. The man starts getting sensitive information, without being a full-fledged spy, leaks it out selectively, is slapped with charges of rape and sexual impropriety in Sweden, which he denies. An Australian, he has managed a global conglomerate and reports refer to him as an ‘internet activist’ when he is hacking websites and should be tried for cyber crimes. The accusation of sexual crimes is a diversionary tactic.
With perfect timing, we get to hear of other countries hacking websites of their enemy nations or getting out sensitive information. Isn’t this commonplace? I read a report that even us common folks have our internet activity monitored so that we can be bombarded with information or get blackmailed because of what we surf. There was a case a while ago of a man who was arrested only because he was looking up some sites for information on jihad.
Coming back to Assange, what will his arrest mean? Nothing. He might not get invited to the royal wedding because of that little leak about Prince William, but otherwise it’s all kosher. And I mean kosher!
Heroism is being retailed quite easily; in fact, it is outsourced. What you see about such sensitive information is the probability factor. Such theories are designed to create fear and comply with the filibustering by a few big nations. As soon as the information was out, it was the United States that took a moral stand. Hillary Clinton went on to apologise as a détente tactic. Does this not sound ridiculous? Has any country gone into a sulk because of the revelations?
The information is grist for the gossip mills and it is pertinent to note how such banter about leaders is suffixed with the underlying thesis of paranoia. Such fears merely give another reason for the western establishment to make cyber exposure seem like a homey industry where, by default, their own security is seen to be at risk. The White House had issued a statement: "Such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government. President Obama supports responsible, accountable, and open government at home and around the world, but this reckless and dangerous action runs counter to that goal."
The US Ambassador Anne Patterson saying that they had asked Pakistan to return fuel from a nuclear reactor confirms the support it gives the country based entirely on expediency. This really is a replication of what had happened during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. The US created a counter-movement in the Taliban and then began to imagine how it was biting America from the caves.
Karzai’s paranoia is a precious little gem. It gives the west one more reason to protect his poor people. So protective are they that Ms. Clinton even told the Afghan leader what to expect. Is this a leak or did they know what would be revealed? Karzai blaming the British and US governments for the drugs trade is the cry of a man denied his booty. Obviously, he does not get to cash in on what would be a natural mafia that is protected by several nations.
We already know that some countries manipulate others. Since the current global scenario circumambulates round the Islamist principle, one needs to be a bit cynical regarding the information on how to deal with Pakistan. Most of the cables released are not direct quotes but in the words of the western diplomats. How is one to believe the then US ambassador, Anne Patterson, when she says that the Director General of the Inter Services Intelligence had been in touch with the Israelis on possible threats against Israeli targets in India? He had asked her to convey to Washington that he had followed up on such information.
A cable signed off by her states, “He said he would meet his Indian counterpart any time, noting that it was critically important that any threat information be shared with him. He emphasised that ISI was doing everything possible to reduce the possibility of an attack on India.”
The ISI virtually runs the country and has knowledge of, if it is not in collusion with, terrorist groups. Why was Pasha particularly keen on passing on information about possible Israeli targets in India? It undermines the rest of the Indian citizens as well as the intelligence authorities.
This works beautifully for the projectionist principle fed by paranoia. In another assault, she states, “India’s defence readiness strikes fear in Pak.” Senator John Kerry, who chairs the foreign relations committee, came into the picture and talked about the need to “‘challenge old suspicions”. However, according to him, “He (PM Yousaf Raza Gilani) was amenable to the idea of a rapprochement in the India-Pakistan relation, but expressed concern that the public would not support the idea.”
Since when have government policies, especially foreign policies, been based on a hand count of its citizens? Patterson quotes President Asif Ali Zardari as saying: “Capability creates a fear.” Just as the Taliban’s capability makes the West afraid?
The Saudi king called President Zardari the greatest obstacle to Pakistan's progress. The person least surprised would be Zardari himself. Saudi Arabia is known to be a supporter of the Opposition leader Nawaz Sharif.
The attack on Iran is again not something that should be seen as out of the ordinary. Today, Iran is the biggest bugbear for western policy-makers. With its chest-thumping declaration of nuclear self-sufficiency, it has really put its hands in the lion’s mouth. That too is a strategic warfare where you push buttons without pushing any real buttons.
India has been pretty much left out of the damaging leaks, so with some complacency the spokesperson of the Indian ministry of external affairs announced, “We have a multi-faceted and forward-looking strategic partnership with the United States and there is a regular, open and candid dialogue between the two countries, on a number of matters of mutual interest.” He added that even if some dirt on India showed up, the Indian government would not get into a verbal duel on the issue.
Interestingly, no one has. Is the world really a cohesive corporation of back-scratching interests or is this a canny con job? Given the exposures of what might be deemed classified data, one ought to be applauding such disclosures.
There is a small problem here besides the dubious designs mentioned already: How can such information help people, which is being touted as the motive? If knowledge about political machinations empowered the populace, then there would be no wars.
Assange has written, “WikiLeaks coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism. We work with other media outlets to bring people the news, but also to prove it is true. Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?”
Is it only about a story? This ‘let’s click and know the truth’ helps a small number of people in the world. Besides, politicians are not fools. They are aware of espionage and hacking and will not put up the real stuff for scrutiny unless there are ulterior motives. This scientific journalism can be misused by the scientific politician who will make certain to reveal misleading information. How authentic is the story then?
Assange has also called himself an underdog because although many mainstream publications have carried the cable leaks, he is being targeted. It is unfortunate, but then people who draw cartoons, make films, write books are targeted as well. The underdog persona undermines the scientific sturdiness. It is again a delusional paradigm. He says there is a lot more to come out and that the cable archive "has been spread, along with significant material from the US and other countries to over 100,000 people in encrypted form. If anything happens to us, the key parts will be released automatically. Further, the Cable Gate archives is in the hands of multiple news organisations”.
He voluntarily submitted himself to the authorities because of an arrest warrant for rape charges knowing that he could be tried for his damning exposes. Why did he do it? Britain plays the Pentagon game and he knows that. This works well as drama. But the questions remain: How does exposing deception realise into counteracting it? Are the people who have received the encrypted leaks likely to fudge them? Why are the other news sources not releasing any further information?
And, most important of all: Is Julian Assange the outsider or the insider?
- - -
(c) Farzana Versey December 8, 2010