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You’re Done, Wikileaks

Remember those diplomatic cables Julian Assange colluded with several reputable news organizations to vet and redact the names of those who would be made vulnerable? Seems Assange just unloaded all 251K cables with the names unredacted.

Everyone from the State Department to diplomats to human rights organizations did what they could to talk him out of this but it wasn’t enough to stop this batshit lunatic. These cables are estimated to contain, if you want to take the State Department’s word for it, several thousand names of people who would be placed in danger by this action and to refresh your memory some of these cables involve government persecution, locations of government assets, rape victims, whistleblowers, the whole deal, and now anyone who’s interested can not only get their names but do it in a convenient search system.

Why, other than the boundless voraciousness of one man’s ego and the fact that the public sort of lost interest in the slow release of these cables, would Wikileaks do this? I’m still trying to find a better answer for you than this, but Wikileaks conducted a poll, sort of a referendum, of their Twitter followers which according to Wikileaks predominantly believed this would be, you know, something to do, making these names public. Information wants to be free, right?

Meanwhile, with possible exception to his Twitter followers and some Bittorrent sites, it looks like the blowback from this is costing Assange, though not yet his life, all his friends. He won’t be receiving many Christmas cards any longer from newspapers who had him on their buddy lists including the NYTimes, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and the Guardian. Hopefully these organizations, all now on defense over this, learned their lesson about dealing with a man packing a heavily-encrypted “insurance” file grenade with a dead man’s switch, which ended up getting triggered by apparent incompetence between Assange and the Guardian, or some sort of deliberate accident.

And his book guys too (he wrote a book), he lost their support. Here’s part of a statement from Reporters Without Borders, some free speech trumpeting outfit who published Assange’s book, putting it softly about their moneymaker’s latest stunt:

Some of the new cables have reportedly not been redacted and show the names of informants in various countries, including Israel, Jordan, Iran and Afghanistan. While it has not been demonstrated that lives have so far been put in danger by these revelations, the repercussions they could have for informants, such as dismissal, physical attacks and other reprisals, cannot be neglected.

I don’t know how many people will be killed or just get ulcers as a result of this reckless and defiant exposure (and to what end?), maybe a bunch, maybe a small handful, maybe – hopefully — none, but I still want to think that this will doom Wikileaks for good. Maybe it’ll blow over like it did every other time he made the news as if we’re used to the steady escalation of his flagrance. That said, if any of you can come up with a way to defend what Assange did this time, this massive unredacted and unvetted dump of confidential and sensitive communications between and within many governments, I’ll bust out the popcorn.

Doug Simmons