I watched most of the congressional hearing about WikiLeaks and the whole Official Secret affair.
I was very impressed by the quality of the guys who were testifying, all pretty learned men, with the “Let’s Nail Assange” party being slightly outnumbered by the “Relax, Guys” party.
The congressmen and women didn’t impress me much but then, politicians don’t really do it for me in any country.
The amazing thing, I found, is that it is gradually becoming obvious, even to congressmen that some spotty 20 year old clerk is responsible for stamping anything he’s given with the TOP SECRET stamp, on a ‘better to be safe than sorry’ basis.
It is also obvious that their best chance of being informed about vital information is via the press rather than via official requests for information.
America has an immense pile of ‘secrets’, most of it complete crap, that no-one is ever going to be able to work their way through, many million documents more than 30 years old, and that shit pile is growing daily.
There were those that pointed out that secrecy had cost many more lives than leaks and the hatred that those secret lies have engendered have done far more to endanger national security than anything WikiLeaks could ever do. Those politicians claiming that Assange has blood on his hands should take a look at their own.
Now, it seems like the New York Times, Julian Assange and I are all journalists, and as such are protected by the first amendment, Whistle-blower legislation and the hypocrisy that allows the White House to leak secrets but no-one else. So, he’s gonna be difficult to nail. Trying to get Manning to testify against Assange to prove Assange solicited the information, or colluded, hasn’t gone that well, as Manning refuses to co-operate, so far.
This, maybe, is the reason why it was the British Prosecution wanted to keep him locked up.. the US is buying time by calling in a few favours. The Swedish prosecution is mainly using Assange to boost their own political careers as there is a major problem with rape incidents in Sweden. Local politicians want to show that they are championing the cause.
So, it seems that congress will have a very interesting debate or two .... one, about the overclassification of every bit of crap that those in power want to hide... and secondly, about whether they want to intimidate all journalists and thereby alienate their own electorate.
That means, for me, that Assange has already changed US ( and other nations’) politics for the better.
When WikiMania finally subsides, maybe Time magazine will grow some balls and give Assange the recognition he deserves (which the public already recognises)... before he wins the Noble Peace Prize.
As I wrote in my last post on this topic... the weak are being spotlighted.