Monday, December 6, 2010

Julian Assange: Scarlett Pimpernel or Pretentious Prig?

Julian Assange: Scarlett Pimpernel or Pretentious Prig?
Paul E. Rondeau

   How courageous of Julian Assange to fight for open government as he braves the radiation from his laptop.  We can now all feel safe as WikiLeaks exposes the failures and foibles of the human condition from those in high office to the front lines of the battlefield.
    Gadzooks!  NATO has expanded contingency plans should Russia invade Poland (again) or enslave the Baltics (again).  OK, so the timing of this revelation may be deleterious for relations between the two nations that could turn Earth into nuclear ash.  And, it is probably not that helpful to the security of NATO's 24 democratic nation members.  Julian has calculated that this is a small price to pay.
   Julian Assange imagines himself as Scarlett Pimpernel of the information age bent upon ending the reign of secrets.  But, just what is being exposed?
   WikiLeaks could help dissidents expose terrorists, religious persecution, ethnic cleansing, drug cartels, weapons proliferation, or human trafficking.  But alas, apparently Assange's 'media outlet' never receives secrets about governments or organizations that might violently act to silence him permanently.
However, this self-appointed arbiter of the greater good will enlighten us ignorants to sensitive conversations, duplicity, double dealings, and governments who play both sides against the middle.
   Assange assumes we are surprised that in many places around the world that much -- both good and bad -- can only be accomplished in the shadows? Assange's solution is to undermine the tenuous trust between officials and governments upon which diplomacy and alliances rely.
   Of course, the rest of us never heard of the tragedy and the horror of soldiers mistakenly killing friendlies...including children.  Or, of machete wielding cutting of hands, raping women, and intentionally killing their own people or neighbors over food, territory, or just plain power.   Sir Julian will end such things by undermining diplomacy and trust between the longest running continuous democracy mankind has ever seen and other nations.  Yes, that's the ticket!
   Knowing nothing of personal sacrifice in defending freedom beyond a hard drive crashing, Assange endeavors to enlighten us that innocents are killed in war, sometimes by a soldier surrounded by death and destruction who becomes indifferent to causing death and destruction.  His contribution is to portray the tragic exception as the rule without context.
  Of course, should he be detained or arrested, Assange threatens to release the cyber equivalent of a 'thermonuclear device' of unexpurgated classified files sure to endanger the lives of innocents   When it comes to his noble fight for open government and a better world the sacrifice of innocent life is justified in defending his personal life from legal threat.
   Perhaps Mr. Assange imagines himself as the Robert Redford character in the movie Sneakers.  I see no similar courage nor character. I see no cyber-Robin Hood, Scarlet Pimpernell, nor Zorro.   I do see a crippled intellect blind to any negative consequences of his actions.  Meanwhile, media elites give 'journalism awards' to a convicted computer hacker.
  If Assange offered a solution rather than just further mucking up the works, he might amount to more than a self-aggrandized pretentious prig.

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