Thursday, December 09, 2010

What is next for Julian Assange?

We could be spectators for the start of the cyber Great War – and they’ve just knocked over Franz Ferdinand.(...) The difference now is that this battle is extra-national; it isn’t one country against another, so much as an establishment of nations fighting a global insurgency – with the soul of the Internet as the spoils.  Tom Mendelsohn -Independent

Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said on Monday that American officials were conducting “a very serious, active, ongoing investigation that is criminal in nature” into the WikiLeaks releases.  New York Times

"This is a country where a good prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich."  Charles Krauthammer -  WaPost
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Julian Assange has been arrested in the UK and is being held without bail.

Whatever the merits or demerits of the Swedish rape case against him, Julian Assange has been effectively immobilized and cut off from communicating with his organization. This situation could go on for weeks as Assange lawyers attempt to delay his extradition.

In my opinion that, not the extradition to Sweden, is the true object of the exercise.

He is fine in the UK as far as the US government is concerned: I can't think why he ever decided to go to ground in England. The UK is America's closest ally and as far as intelligence gathering and sharing, since World War Two, they have been "of one flesh". If I had made an attack on America's military and diplomatic interests the last place I would want to hide is in Great Britain. So it seems clear to me that the Swedish extradition measure is a ploy to keep him pinned down in Britain, while the US government plans how to crush him and his organization, which is going to be a complex operation, with simultaneous arrests in several countries.

The United States' legal machinery is ominously quiet right now. My impression is that they are very, very busy.  I have no doubt that NSC, Defense, State and the Justice Department have constituted some sort of "War Room" together with the FBI and the CIA and they are planning their next moves. I doubt that Wikileaks will receive any information about their plans.

The USA possesses some amazingly sophisticated electronic surveillance systems, which is why Osama bin Laden doesn't use a cellphone, even in a cave in Pakistan. It is doubtful if the Wikileaks activists or the people that are organizing the attacks on Amazon, PayPal and MasterCard are as prudent as bin Laden is. Fighting a war in the mountains of Afghanistan against the USA can be a winning proposition, because Americans don't like to spend much time where you can get diarrhea, but, you've got to be crazy to get into an electronic war with the US.

Make no mistake, the retribution is going to be severe. As Tom Mendelsohn writes in the Independent, this is "an establishment of nations fighting a global insurgency". As I have said before, it is like going up to a mafia hit-man and squirting him with a water pistol, while shouting "bang, bang you're dead"... the reaction will be totally out of proportion to the damage done. This is the excuse that the US government (and all the rest of them together) need to put tighter a control on the Internet. Attacking MasterCard and PayPal (and possibly Bank of America) guarantees it. This is the sort of thing that Lenin called "left-wing infantilism". A better definition then that would be hard to find.

I would think that the objective now, with Assange out of play for a while, is to keep a close electronic and perhaps "humint" surveillance on Assange's closest associates in order to discover, which of them has the "key" to the encrypted, "insurance policy" file and then arrest them all simultaneously before they can release the key. If the Wikileaks files prove anything, they show that America's allies tend to cooperate with the USA. Stay tuned. DS


S. Robinson said...

Getting back to bare basics, as I said in a post awhile back:

Let us assume for a moment that the United States of America is a democracy and it's officials represent the American people and that its institutions genuinely represent, define and defend the interests of the American people.

That is the assumption, that we, as American citizens must question and no other. Is the government of the USA legitimately empowered to govern its citizens and to define and defend their interests? Then, that being so, I repeat, the diplomatic corp is merely an instrument for that. If that isn't so, we should fix it urgently, but not, I think by damaging America's diplomatic capabilities.

The whole of your disagreement with Wikileaks rests on this assumption, that the US is legitimate, and representative of its people.

I think it a bad assumption. The US government represents Wall Street and the Pentagon, but certainly not 'the people'.

As to a better way of reforming a broken system, I don't know. What I do know, though, is that Wikileaks is doing the job the press is supposed to.

Jay said...

There is so much I would like to say but, time will not let me. First of all I appreciate all your insights on Wikileaks.
I also like how you acknowledged what most people don't like to acknowledge about conspiracies...they are not as elaborate as many think they are. Anyway for now I think I like Assange, the way the U.S government is tryin to shut him down makes me think that they have lots to hide so...ride on assange!!!