With and without WikiLeaks

Assessing the recent times, if one has to identify an epoch that brought with it important consequences that shook up the world, for good, then the arrival of WikiLeaks undoubtedly must be deemed as a crucial occurrence.

Until before WikiLeaks, media, diplomacy, war and government policies were perceived in a different light. Today, a tinge of necessary skepticism has been ushered in with the arrival of WikiLeaks. This is a quintessential improvement in the public perception, that of endorsing skeptical outlook at the decisions showered upon them, much needed to question the bureaucracies across the globe.

So, what has been WikiLeaks' role in this paradigm alteration?

WikiLeaks has certainly not refined the system, nor has it made any notable structural changes, but it has instilled a sense of caution amongst the wrongdoers, for, they know their guilt might sometime get 'leaked'. WikiLeaks has only unveiled a facade that the bureaucracies have been perpetuating since the advent of sophisticated communication technologies, beginning from the end of the World War II.

With the end of the World War II, a huge displacement of dominance occurred. The colonial empires like the Great Britain, while trying to recover from the impact of the war, were still bootstrapping, the United States of America was well prepared to unleash its “global dominance” ideology, and this time not as blunt colonial regimes as demonstrated by the Great Britain, but more subtly and more viciously.

John Perkins in his book “Confessions of an Economic Hitman”, gives an insight into the subtleties claimed above. "Economic hit men," John Perkins writes, "are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe off trillions of dollars. Their tools include fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder." And this is just one of the new tricks in the basket.

In the name of world peace, global solidarity and prosperity, the “developed” countries led by Uncle Sam have been percolating hegemony and exploitation.

Before WikiLeaks, although the intent and motive of this hegemony seeking states were known, the mechanisms and the extent of infiltration these seemingly 'good samaritans' had accomplished remained guesswork. The magnitude of these 'people spying machines' were not known to the fullest.

WikiLeaks, if not entire revolutions, it did bring about important revelations.

WikiLeaks with its assimilated leaks, safeguarding the whistleblowers has given insight into the various layers of operations of Governments, Corporations and the nexus between the two. This understanding has at least to some extent increased the consciousness of people, and one hopes that this would have instilled some necessary skepticism when faced with their own Government's decisions.

The role of WikiLeaks, both directly in creating a global anti-war reaction by releasing the Afghan and Iraq war logs, and indirectly in the Arab springs by manifesting a stand against the hegemonic dominance of the US and its allies did instigate people to mobilize and confront their respective oligarchies.

It is not mere coincidence that the Arab springs, Anti-corruption movement in India and the Occupy Together movements globe across have happened in a span of two years. These two years unleashed something really important, which hadn't been possible hitherto -Information; all the information in the forms of leaks, reports, extensive journalistic coverage, online discussions, coalesced to such tangible outbursts from the sections of the very population who were the victims of the system they are now standing up against. WikiLeaks has played a crucial role, by acting the catalyst in this process.

The grave threat, in their perspective obviously, WikiLeaks posed to the powerful corporations and governments had to be tackled somehow, and they resorted to suppression and threat tactics. The actions taken by the US and Australian Governments in their own exchanges has been “unprecedented both in its nature and scale”.

With the banking blockade, house arrest of Julian Assange and captivity of the alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning, today WikiLeaks stands crippled. Nonetheless, its efforts are ongoing relentlessly.

The latest “Spyfiles” released by WikiLeaks reveal abundant information about the “Global surveillance supermarket offered to dictators, to help them create their dystopia”. A systematic market to sell dictatorships packaged with spying products!

Uncle Sam, a common personification of the Govt of USA. Credits: Wikipedia

From the Amesys documents obtained by WikiLeaks we have a good idea of just what the technology allowed Libya to do. Eagle, Amesys' core technology, consists of four elements: passive, undetectable probes which can be plugged in to capture internet and voice traffic; a data-system built around multi-core processors to analyse it; A monitoring centre with an easy-to-use graphical user interface that allows operators to search through the data; and, finally, modules that allow for automatic identification of particular speakers, and even transcription or translation from multiple languages.(Source: The Hindu)

With all this sophistication and powerful intervention, the notion of “freedom of speech and expression” tend to appear fictitious. In India, we are not very far behind and are quickly endorsing these “surveillance clamps”.

Software Freedom Law Center - India, has taken up a campaign for the freedom of the Internet against the new IT policy's Intermediary guidelines, which would clamp down the freedom of speech and expression, and adversely affect the right to privacy of citizens.

WikiLeaks has set the precedent. Although the actions of WikiLeaks have been greeted with cynicism by certain sect of thinkers, calling it to a disruption in the system, comparing it to “throwing a bomb and hoping for a change”, it represents a lot more than mere impulsive disruption. WikiLeaks is an encapsulated fight for the freedom of speech, freedom of expression and transparency in governance.

It is now our responsibility to un-hibernate, and stand up for our rights and freedom, before they become oblivious in these changing times.

We have it in our power to begin the world over again. - Thomas Paine