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If Only WikiLeaks Existed Before the Iraq War Began

By Ulrich Ladurner

Worldmeets.US, January 1, 2011

Germany - Die Zeit - Original Article (German)


Julian Assange has been much reviled for his dogma that everything should be transparent. That's childish - and indecent, some say. There is, of course, something to these accusations. But just imagine for a moment if Assange's WikiLeaks made public White House documents prior to the Iraq War. We could have read how George W. Bush's men shamelessly manipulated information, and how they would stop at nothing to pick a fight with the hated Saddam Hussein. In light of such revelations, would the Iraq War have even happened? Probably not. The much-derided "silly-boy" Assange would have prevented a war that cost hundreds of thousands of lives. He would have been a candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize.

This is all speculation, certainly. But it's a strong argument against accusing Assange of being childish. Of course, no one wants children in power! Nor Assange. But - and who isn't aware of it - children have magical powers. They're the ones who, in their naive innocence, exclaim: "The emperor has no clothes!" Everyone knows just how liberating that sentence can be.

This is precisely the benefit of Assange's anarchical act: it is liberating. Only for a moment, but it is a moment capable of forever changing the lives of those who have consciously experienced it. Even [former East German official] Guenter Schabowski, back in November [of 1989], acted quite literally anarchic, when, out of the blue, he allowed citizens of East Germany to leave the country. The wall fell as a result. The world had changed forever.

Sure, Assange must be assessed in way one measures an adult life. Confidentiality and taking responsibility is part of that. But that's not the point.

Of real interest are the reactions Assange elicits. How quickly he was condemned out of hand! Admittedly, he's the man who peed in the best kept garden the world has to offer: diplomacy. Someone like him needs a good kick, and ideally, should be kept out. That's completely understandable.

But one lives in hope that every now and then, someone runs berserk, tears down the fence and forces his way into this world of "blow-dried confidentiality" - because this is a fact: Behind that fence, crimes are also being concocted.

Even if by looking behind the fence one learns that people are rather civilized and respectful of one another, it would be pleasantly reassuring. At least then, we would know that the world of diplomats and statesmen are just like ours: boringly normal.











:: Article nr. 73494 sent on 02-jan-2011 16:04 ECT

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