Adam Elkus has a smart piece up at Rethinking Security that deserves wider readership:
….WikiLeaks represents the idea that states have no inherent authority to hold onto vital national secrets. Because information is fundamentally boundless and unlimited by the “oldthink” of national borders and politics, state control over proprietary information is irrelevant. WikiLeaks and other radical transparency advocates believe that they-an unelected, transnational elite-can pick and choose which states are good and bad and whose secrets deserve exposure. And if information deserves to be free-and the only people who would keep it from being so are those with something to hide-then it is fine for non-state networks to arrogate themselves the right to receive and expose state secrets.
….While WikiLeaks is often positioned as a champion of digital democracy, it is actually wholly anti-democratic. It transfers power and security from national governments and their publics to unelected international activist organizations and bureaucrats. While this may seem like a harsh interpretation, there is no check on the likes of Julian Assange. Governments-even autocratic ones-still must contend on a day-to-day basis with the people. Even China had to face a reckoning after the Wenzhou train crash. WikiLeaks and other radical transparency organizations mean to replace one group of elites-which at least nominally can be called to court-with another who are accountable only to their own consciences.
Read the whole thing here.
Let me add a few comments to Adam’s excellent analysis.
Wikileaks and Julian Assange were not and have never been, lone wolves or information-must-be-free martyrs. They are allied with important institutions and individuals within the Western progressive elite, not least major media heavyweights like The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel, but also sympathizers within Western governments. Unless you think that Pvt. Bradley Manning was a hacker wunderkind with an intuitive grasp of which files that could be swept up to further a sophisticated political agenda, the man had some inside help from further up the food chain.
Adam is correct to describe these political factions as anti-democratic because they are and while leaking has been going on as long as there have been governments, we now have the emergence of a transnational generational clique that see themselves as entitled to rule and impose policies that comport with their social prejudices, economic self-aggrandizement and ideological fetishes, whether the people support them or not. A vanguard attitude, if not an organizational vanguard.
Wikileaks and other devices operating in shadowy undercurrents are their form of liberum veto against the rest of us in the instances where they are not completely in control, thus migrating political power from responsible state institutions to the social class that currently fills most of the offices and appointments. So far, their actions have been largely cost-free because their peers in government, however irritated they may be at the effects of Wikileaks, are loath to cross the Rubicon and hammer these influential conspirators with whom they went to school, intermarry, do business, live amongst and look out for the careers of each other’s children the way they have hammered Bradley Manning.
The same oligarchical class indulgence is seen in the financial crisis where almost none of the people responsible for massive criminal fraud in the banking and investment sectors that melted the global economy have faced prosecution, unlike previous financial scandals like the S&L crisis or BCCI where even iconic figures faced grand juries. Instead of indictments, the new class received subsidies, bonuses and sweetheart, secret deals from their alumni chums running central banks and national governments.
Carl Prine, commenting on a much narrower and wholly American slice of this corrupt camarilla, described this new class very well:
Let me be blunt. A late Baby Boomer generation of politicians, bankers, reporters and generals has formed into a cancer inside this democracy, and their tumorous leadership won’t be kind to your future.
Unfortunately, this cancer is not limited to our democracy, it is the root of the decline of the West.