December 13th, 2010 16:16 EST
Why is The Press Lining Up With The Government Against WikiLeaks?
How about the Internet itself?
The government that can`t find Osama bin Laden has twisted Sweden`s arm to arrest Julian Assange for publishing gossip and drivel for which, incredibly, American diplomats and intelligence officers are paid.
Poker-faced and solemn, the pundits are lining up behind the government and its flabby whopper that Assange`s WikiLeaks has precipitated a security crisis by releasing thousands of secret communiquÃ©s.
The real security crisis is such incompetence "highly paid suits writing tabloid gossip. Putin is a bad guy, oh me oh my. Berlusconi is naughty, gee whiz. Were there some embarrassments? Of course. But governments ought to be embarrassed on a regular basis. There is no other way for freedom to live and breathe.
What is really going on? Could it be that Washington doesn`t give a fig about Assange or WikiLeaks or even the embarrassments? Could it be that this just happens to be tailor-made to build a national security case for controlling the Internet and limiting access to it?
But far from playing into an opportunistic government`s hands, Assange has called our attention to the power of the Internet to do more for real democracy than blathering diplomats and sunshine patriots could ever do. The very fact that Washington is so het up is suspect. Wasn`t it Secretary of State Hillary Clinton who recently called for equal and unlimited access to the Internet? Governments always talk about rescuing freedom from some threat or another when they themselves are the threat.
And why, we might ask, are the mainstream media lining up behind the high-alert tactics of President Obama`s administration and his suddenly friendly Republican critics? Could it be because the media stand to be the direct beneficiary of a controlled and limited Internet? Is that too conspiratorial for you? Well, how about this: the media slurped up all the predatory lenders` advertising during the housing bubble and then professed that its loud pop was a surprise. Only the victims were surprised, not the press and not the culprits who had been feeding it.
The privitization of national security is already a huge business. Handing over the Internet to profiteers would be a bonanza to media corporations and would stuff the pockets of politicians. There is every reason to fear such an eventuality. Successive administrations, whether Democrat or Republican, have already justified the worst nightmares of James Madison and Thomas Jefferson who foresaw the federal government becoming a giant brokerage for a rich elite.
The WikiLeaks issue is the perfect excuse for the government to attack net neutrality and to turn the Internet over to the media moguls who will institute multitiered charges to users, thereby ending our perfect freedom to communicate with each other around the world. There is nothing the politicians wouldn`t privatize for a buck. If you don`t believe that, consider the United Kingdom, where the government has decided that only the very rich deserve an education, thereby cutting the nation`s throat.
Washington`s indignation about WikiLeaks is the clearest clue that it regards the Internet as a game changer, a technology with the power to bring down liars, cheaters, predators and oligarchs. And the government is clearly telling us on which side it stands. The Swedes, who resisted the blandishments and threats of their Nazi neighbors and the Allies in World War II, could not resist American pressure to seize Assange. That shows us how high the stakes are.
Nothing is of more value "not Afghanistan`s emeralds, opium and precious metals or the Arabs` oil "than the Internet, because it raises the pure question of whether oppressive governments can withstand the world`s peoples talking to each other and exchanging ideas and information.
The government has shown its hand. And who is applauding? You can bet that China and Russia and Myanmar and North Korea and every other government that chooses to oppress and harass its people are all applauding. Today Washington, for a change, has many friends. Its bitterest enemies are on its side because it has joined them.
Djelloul Marbrook is a retired newspaperman. His second book of poems, Brushstrokes and Glances, will be published by Deerbrook Editions on December 20, 2010. His first book of poems, Far From Algiers, won the Stan and Tom Wick Poetry Prize from Kent State University in 2007 and was published in 2008. It won the International Book Award in 2010. His novella, Artemisia`s Wolf, will be published by Prakash Books of India in December. His novella, Saraceno, was recently published as an e-book. His story, Artists Hill, adapted from the second novel of an unpublished trilogy, won the Literal LattÃ© first prize in fiction in 2008. The pioneering e-book publisher, Online Originals (UK), published his novella, Alice MIller`s Room, in 1999.
Del`s book, Far From Algiers: http://upress.kent.edu/books/Marbrook_D.htm
New review of Far from Algiers: http://www.rattle.com/blog/2009/05/far-from-algiers-by-djelloul-marbrook/
Artists Hill, Literal LattÃ©`s fiction first prize: http://www.literal-latte.com/author/djelloulmarbrook/
His blog: http://www.djelloulmarbrook.com
His mother`s art: http://www.juanitaguccione.com
His aunt`s art: http://www.irenericepereira.com