If Assange Were In China, US Politicians Would Be Cheering Him On

from the transparency-means-different-things-when-it's-about-you dept

We've pointed out the general hypocrisy of US politicians calling for an end to internet censorship, while threatening Wikileaks at the same time. If you want to see some real irony, check out the fact that Senator Joe Lieberman, who has been the loudest voice in pushing for censorship of Wikileaks and of others in the press, just so happens to be a member of the "Global Internet Freedom Caucus." Yeah, except here in the US.

Along those lines, Martin Varsavsky points out the obvious: if Julian Assange were a Chinese citizen, publishing Chinese government documents, the US would likely be cheering him on:
Lately I have a strong feeling that the Chinese must be rejoicing at all the "retroactive law invention" that is going on in the West to put one man in jail. Because if Assange had been a Chinese citizen promoting transparency in China we would be lining up to give him the Nobel Prize. We can't demand transparency from others and censorship for ourselves.
In fact, as Evgeny Morozov notes, Russia's Ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin is already using the US's reaction to Wikileaks to say what a joke "freedom of the press" is in America. That tweet is in Russian, but the Google translation is:
In my opinion, the fate of Assange says the lack of media freedom in the West, the presence of political persecution and human rights violations.
What's really stunning, beyond just the sheer uselessness and impotence of the US government's response to Wikileaks, is the fact that it's inevitably destroying any moral high ground on claims of freedom and support of free speech we might have once had. In the end, I would expect that to have a much bigger impact than anything that's in the actual leaked cables.
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Filed Under: china, free speech, governments, julian assange, russia, transparency, wikileaks
Companies: wikileaks


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  1. icon
    Hulser (profile), 9 Dec 2010 @ 11:50am

    Pragmatism

    This might be a bit of a stretch, but I see a parallel between the US government's reaction to Wikileaks and big media's reaction to illegal file sharing. In both cases, they're choosing to spend their energies fighting something that can't be stopped instead of being pragmatic and finding ways to deal with the issue.

    Unless the world changes to some type of 1984-like dystopia, both are going to just have to face reality and deal with it. Big media should accept the fact that they're not going to make as much money as they used to selling their wares and figure out ways to make what money they can. And governments should accept that they aren't going to be able to keep secrets the way they used to and figure out how to function in an open rather than a closed environment.

    The lesson is deal with the world that is, not the world as you want it to be or as it used to be.

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