Julian Assange: The Ultimate Anarchist?

Julian Assange has lost the plot—or has he?  The answer depends on what the founder of Wikileaks is truly hoping to achieve with his online whistle-blowing website.     If it is as he declares ‘…to enable and empower citizens to bring feared and corrupt governments and corporations to justice,’ then Assange has strayed very far from his original mission.  The only people ‘empowered’ by Wikileaks’ latest publication of facilities vital to US security are terrorists who can now access a list of strategic targets at a keystroke.    

I am a passionate proponent of free speech, especially when it aims to expose corporate fraud and government lies.  But far from strengthening democratic institutions through transparency, Wikileaks’ publication of classified US State Department and military communications threatens to tear them down.   That is not, as Assange would put it ‘principled leaking’ to ‘lead us to a better future’.  It is anarchism.  

Anarchists do not care if they endanger individuals such as soldiers serving on the frontlines of Afghanistan. They don’t care if they threaten global security by castrating diplomacy and forcing nations into potentially violent confrontations.   The anarchist cares about one thing only; unleashing political and social chaos by abolishing all forms of government.

It is entirely possible that Julian Assange does not fully understand the information he’s been given (military documents are often misinterpreted by laymen).  He may not appreciate the potential fallout of his actions.  But whether deliberate or not, Assange is now, in my view, the ultimate anarchist.  We’ve come to think of anarchist as trouble-makers who infiltrate peaceful social demonstrations, overturn cars, light tyres on fire and hurl Molotov cocktails at riot police.   Migrate the scenario online however and you come up with something that looks an awful lot like Assange.  A provocateur infiltrates the peaceful world of activist journalism and proceeds to lob eMolotovs in the form of indiscriminate document dumps.  

So how do you deal with online anarchists?  First of all, you do not give them what they want by cracking down on free speech—the cornerstone of every functioning democracy.   Legitimate journalists, like legitimate peace activists should not be tarred with the Wikileaks brush.  Instead of crippling institutions, law makers would be wise to strengthen security protocols surrounding the handling and movement of classified material.   Vastly improving the vetting and management of all persons with access to sensitive documents would be a good start.  Sooner or later though, governments will have to come to terms with the fact that anything written or stored in digital form is vulnerable to wide-scale dissemination.  If you don’t want the likes of Assange stirring up trouble, dust off the old typewriters and carbon paper and start making hardcopies in triplicate.

10 thoughts on “Julian Assange: The Ultimate Anarchist?

  1. Just a Fact: Secrets are hard to keep. Cork out of the bottle. post-it-all 1-to:world. Yous school or corporate emails? Problem ? Just as much the printed book once was. Main question: what’s next: E-Power to the people. Maybe it is good thing, because together we can control what no government can (ie. the global society we need to survive) Technology is a thread, it always was.. it always was unstoppable. However we NEED tech to survive. So live with this and let’s discuss it

  2. It’s our governments, corporations and corrupt individuals who threaten our lives, not Wikileaks. Your conclusion of Assenge is entirely misinformed so I would suggest you do a little more research.

  3. I haven’t been able to Make up my mind about Assange. On one hand I agree 0 that it puts at risk coalition lives. The men and women from our own countries and certainly Afghan’s, Iraqis and such who have chosen to help and this is a terrible, terrible thing.

    On the flipside though future government actions may be determined by how they want things seen. Ie “how’s it going to look on wikileak, if we invade that country for one reason and tell our population another”

    One perspective though I hadn’t thought of is That (fellow Aussie) Assange is an Anarchist. Previously no one had ever heard of Julian Assange but now he is the most discussed man in any worldwide news service and this publicity drawcard alone will mean that many more just like him ready to come out of the woodwork. So governments will need to work on securing information rather than solely focus on Assange,

  4. — “US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates admitted in a letter to the US congress that no sensitive intelligence sources or methods had been compromised by the Afghan war logs disclosure. The Pentagon stated there was no evidence the WikiLeaks reports had led to anyone being harmed in Afghanistan. NATO in Kabul told CNN it couldn’t find a single person who needed protecting. The Australian Department of Defence said the same. No Australian troops or sources have been hurt by anything we have published.”

    http://www.theaustralian.com.au/in-depth/wikileaks/dont-shoot-messenger-for-revealing-uncomfortable-truths/story-fn775xjq-1225967241332

    1. Hi Jim,

      Firstly the thought of this taking place makes me want to vomit!

      We (the west) sadly can’t really do anything about the social actions of Afghans. Especially if western security companies are seen to being complicit in the scenario. It could be that the company provided money to set up a party and were not aware that it included dancing boys? Who knows?

      I’m a believer that if we get involved with training people of a different culture from ourselves, then we remain on professional terms only, with no social events. That way no harm can be done on our watch.

      Would there have been a similar scenario if the Afghan National Police were trained by NATO troops? If the answer is no, then that says something about involving private security companies within an unregulated industry to take on military type taskings.
      Bob.

  5. Having read some of the leaked cables I must say that not all sources have been redacted as Wikileaks states.

    Here is my main problem with Wikileaks; if people do get hurt as a result of the leaked information Wikileaks will not take responsiblity.
    Thankfully nobody has come to harm as a direct result of the leaks that we know of; but it is still early days.

    Most of the leaked information from the cables is sensationalised to sell papers.
    The actual cables (that I have read) seem to be fairly mundane and contain information that one would assume widely known in diplomatic circles.
    Leaders of Arab nations must be a little embarrased as it does tend to show how duplicitous they can be with regard to containing would be and actual terrorists within their own boarders.
    Western leaders may also be shown in this light, but this is not really surprising and by and large most people have a very sceptical view of US foreign policy.

  6. Wiki leaks is not getting are boys killed, its the clowns in government that send them overseas on false pretexts on their quest for regional control. If the areas no.1 export was bananas do you think we’d be there in the first place?

    Egypt achieved what we have failed to do in 10years in a matter of weeks. (whether a government run by generals is any better remains to be seen… my guess is not.)The cold hard fact is we cannot achieve ‘victory’ as you yourself pointed out in your book, we are not wanted and are unable to provide the security needed for the people of Iraq, Afghanistan, etc etc as that is not, and was not and the reason we invaded.

    Your views no archaists are ridiculous. Apologies if that seems harsh, but they make as much sense as me with zero military experience blogging about the SAS. Anarchism is opposed to Capitalism, Communism, and all the other -isms. It is not some clown in a hoody throwing a molotov at the police with a born to loose tattoo.

    Some variants are completely opposed to violence others less so. One of their core beliefs and oppositions to government and centralised state control as in a democracy no matter who you vote for the government always gets in. If you interested check out George Orwells (he was an anarchist and fought against the Franco in Spain) 1894 as a introduction to what anarchists are against.

    Heres a history of it.

    cheers,

    Tim

  7. What is really sad is that nobody talks or even mentions Bradley manning that is now rotting in prison for the rest of his life… He might have leaked the cables for a good purpose thinking that he was doing the right thing as a human being not a soldier the video showing US trigger happy military in the apache helicopter firing indiscriminantly and as a result killing journos and civilians.

  8. I think your line of argument holds up, it’s just a shame you misrepresent anarchism like so many others. Anarchists do not believe in “chaos”, but that communities are more than capable of organising themselves on a smaller scale without the need for national governments. You can disagree with this for all kinds of reasons, but at least let’s be clear what we are talking about.

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