US Public Enemy #2 (Wikileaks) protected by Public Enemy #3 (internet pirates)

You can’t get much more prominent representatives of what might be referred to with that now laughably undergraduate term “US imperialism” than that nation’s labyrinthine security apparatus, and that nation’s corporate media-led “intellectual property” industry. The two arms of US corporate power as projected internationally – military and cultural – that can and do steamroller over almost anything that gets in their way.

And, apart from the terrorists, there are probably few entities higher up in their list of hated targets than the present bane of the US military, Wikileaks, and the present bane of the copyright profiteers and their representatives in the US State Department, the internet pirates and their representatives in the Swedish Pirate Party. To some extent, they probably loathe them more, because unlike the terrorists, they are directly challenging the corruption of those systems and, also unlike the terrorists, they don’t actually pose any kind of threat to ordinary people. It’s them against the corporate world, them against the “military industrial complex”, and many ordinary Americans sympathise with them.


Public enemy #2: Why should the US public know when their own soldiers are so badly supported that they’re shooting civilians?

Which is why it’s kind of heartening to see Wikileaks and the Swedish Pirate Party joining forces. Those who would release undeserved and dangerous secrets for public scrutiny to be sheltered by those who would demolish undeserved and destructive content monopolies. The people who fight for Americans’ right to know, finding allies in the people who fight for Americans’ right to regain access to their own culture. Campaigners for the rights of ordinary people against those who would deceive and control them.


Public enemy #3: Scraggly young people contradicting the beautifully self-serving copyright system the corporate world has bought and paid for from the US Congress, to enforce its total control for ridiculous periods of time over almost all the world’s cultural output.

I’m sure there’d be some in America who’d view this as villains flocking together – a slightly smaller and non-violent Axis of Evil – but there are many more, I suspect, who would see it as something noble, and inspiring.

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11 responses to “US Public Enemy #2 (Wikileaks) protected by Public Enemy #3 (internet pirates)

  1. Sorry Jeremy,

    But I don’t see the publishing of illegally obtained documents identifying Afghanis who have helped the Alliance forces in that country to the Taliban as either noble or inspiring — in fact I’d say treasonous is a more accurate word for Assange and his crew at Wikileaks

  2. Oh, is that how the leaks are being characterised now? Good work from the US military picking the least powerful and most sympathetic potential victims and using them as a shield to hide behind.

    I agree that that particular material ought not to have been leaked.

    Do you agree that the material like the “collateral murder” video should’ve been made public, or do you think the US military should’ve got to cover it up?

  3. I have no issue with the release of the video — although I have some issues with an organisation claiming to be unbiased highlighting aspects of that video to bring attention to those parts that villified the chopper crew whilst ignoring other aspects of it that would have explained that crew’s actions, for example the guy in the group carrying the RPG and the 2 others carrying assault rifles.

    I would also take issue with the title of the video “collateral murder” — wrong, it was a mistake made in the heat of a battle that was going on in the surrounding area, possibly and quite probably, caused by inadequate training in the situation currently confronting coalition troops in Iraq…This is particularly relevant to the shooting of the van driver, better training would have dictated a wait and see approach.

    The problem with people like Assange is that they get so bloated with their own sense of self-righteousness that they lose sight of the consequences of their actions — now, as a result of his actions, there are individuals and families in Afghanistan facing the very real prospect of being tortured and murdered by the Taliban.

    And Assange’s reaction to the news that his actions have placed these people in real danger ?
    He had the gall to blame the US government for not assisting his organisation to edit their stolen files — the man is a disgrace.

  4. ‘whilst ignoring other aspects of it that would have explained that crew’s actions, for example the guy in the group carrying the RPG and the 2 others carrying assault rifles.”

    You reckon that “explains” the crew’s actions, in the sense of justifying them? That “RPG”, if it was an RPG, was never pointed at them, and they had their guns trained on the group the whole time. There was no need to fire.

    “I would also take issue with the title of the video “collateral murder” — wrong, it was a mistake made in the heat of a battle that was going on in the surrounding area”

    You should watch the whole thing. Seen the other bit where a guy’s walking down the street with nothing in his hands and they fire on the building next to him, killing him, without bothering to wait for him to pass?

    “He had the gall to blame the US government for not assisting his organisation to edit their stolen files — the man is a disgrace.”

    Sounds a fair defence, actually. Sounds like the US preferred to have those Afghans “tortured and killed”, as you say, as a means to make the release of all the other information easier to attack.

  5. Wikileaks document showing local Afghani “good guys” attempting to extort money from coalition troops and support vehicles on the road to Tarin Kowt:

    http://wardiary.wikileaks.org/afg/event/2009/11/AFG20091122n2337.html

    These people were ultimately under the control of the local warlord who works with Australian troops based at Tarin Kowt.

    So one of the consequences of the wikileaks wardiary is the exposure of corruption that puts Australian forces at risk. No wonder the Pentagon is upset about this. The overwhelming impression given is that they are incompetent. And that their war is in support of corrupt warlords (probably also drug lords, rumours are thats the case with “whoever it is” Khan – the guy responsible for the people who stood over the US convoy in question.

    Here’s another take on Assange, one that places him in the context of the times. Its an interesting assessment – not just an emotional, inaccurate scream of “traitor”.

    http://globalguerrillas.typepad.com/globalguerrillas/2010/08/global-guerrilla-julian-assange.html

  6. [The problem with people like Assange is that they get so bloated with their own sense of self-righteousness that they lose sight of the consequences of their actions]

    You might be right about Assange but the REAL problem with this entire situation is launching a war with no clear objectives, no post bomb the shit out of the terrorist camps planning, in a nutshell whilst Assange may be acting irresponsibly it’s not like he created the awful situation in Afghanistan, that responsibility lies with the Bush admin and their sycophantic admirers.

    I lifted this post from another blog which I think describes the folly of the Bush Admin perfectly:

    “Spending $1M per pair of boots on the ground in the 9th year of an unpopular and bungled campaign with no clear objective in a part of the world that most of your own citizens can’t find on a map and don’t care about during a brutal recession where 18% of them are unemployed or underemployed is not going to impress that electorate. Win or lose, for what we spent on Afghanistan we could have resettled the whole population someplace nicer.”

    Credit to a bloke who calls himself Facekhan and posts at Ars Technica’s Soap box

  7. “You reckon that “explains” the crew’s actions, in the sense of justifying them? That “RPG”, if it was an RPG, was never pointed at them, and they had their guns trained on the group the whole time. There was no need to fire.”

    Yes I do — the helicopter was circling, which meant, (and we saw), that the group wasn’t in sight for the whole time, that means the RPG in particular was a threat.

    The other factor here was that the group didn’t have to be an immediate threat to be a legitimate target — the chopper was performing a suppression role for the ground forces, as such its job was to eliminate any potential threat to those forces.

    Please let me be clear here though Jeremy, I do think the attack on the van and its driver was definitely unnecessary and should be investigated.

    “Sounds a fair defence, actually. Sounds like the US preferred to have those Afghans “tortured and killed”, as you say, as a means to make the release of all the other information easier to attack.”

    Umm no — it sounds like the US refused to co-operate with a criminal who was in possession of stolen property and who should have been offering to return it to its rightful owners, but instead used it for his own purposes.

    Youre exactly right Rob,

    The Americans have always been pretty good at winning the various shooting matches they’ve got into, but unfortuneately their record at winning the hearts and minds of the civilian populations has always been dismal.

    Jules

    “Here’s another take on Assange, one that places him in the context of the times. Its an interesting assessment – not just an emotional, inaccurate scream of “traitor”.”

    Perhaps you could explain that to those Afghans that have been identified by Assange, I’m sure it will come as a great comfort to them as the Taliban are sawing their heads off with butcher’s knives.

  8. I haven’t seen much “gall” from Assange in the media (as opposed to the some of the media’s representation of Assange). My impression of him is that he’s seriously aware of the dangers and has considered them and is sad that Wikileaks (and this particular leak) may be putting people in danger, but that in the weighing up, it’s worth it. I think this is reasonable – all “leakers” make this decision, whether a leak is worth the personal and public cost, and this will always be subjective. Apropos, I just came across this:
    How Many Lives Will WikiLeaks Save?.

  9. Also, re the “Afghans that have been identified by Assange, […] as the Taliban are sawing their heads off with butcher’s knives.

    How many innocent Afghans are being killed daily (and covered up) by both US and Taliban troops and how many of these will be saved by a more accurate perspective of the war?

  10. maybe the “Alliance” can invade Sweden now for harbouring and aiding terrorists?

    the original invasion had less credibility or evidence

  11. Gav

    “Perhaps you could explain that to those Afghans that have been identified by Assange, I’m sure it will come as a great comfort to them as the Taliban are sawing their heads off with butcher’s knives.”

    What Afghanis are these?

    Can you identify them (you should be able to after all they are supposedly in the public domain)???

    Go on then.

    Of course wikileaks delayed the release of 15, 000 documents on request of the source in the interests of preventing the sort of thing you are talking about, but that doesn’t stop the bleating about “endangering innocent Afghanis”. Ironic that wikileaks war diary documents the actual incidents where the assassination squads fucked up and killed innocent Afghanis.

    So we have “may pose a risk to Afghani informers” to “sawing their heads off with buthcher’s knives” in the media despite wikileaks withholding documents to prevent that happening, and despite the fact that you’d assume these battlefield coms would maintain some information security.

    After all they wouldn’t want to identify their assets in the event of any security breach…

    As of yet I’m unaware of any names in the leaks. Tho I’m not looking through them all myself.

    Mind you all of this is one small part of the role wikileaks has played in the fight for freedom of information over the last 3 or 4 years.

    The documents that they have released have resulted in successful prosecutions for corruption around the world.

    As for the whole betrayal of Afghanis thing …

    If the west had backed the Afghanis up after the Soviet withdrawal then perhaps we could take this concern with individual Afghanis well being seriously, but since we (ie the west) didn’t then it sounds kind of hollow and self serving in this context.

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