Tuesday, December 7, 2010

WikiLeaks and the Freedom of Expression

One of the fundamental values that USA and the West propounded in its sustained campaign against the erstwhile USSR was the fact that dissent and freedom of expression is regarded as sacrosant in Western society. Now the fact that the Chinese dissedent who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize this year is regarded as a hero by large sections of world public opinion is a tribute to the propaganda machinery that worked overtime to impress upon the world that dissent is not tolerated in the People's Republic of China and all totalitarian regimes stifle dissent using state power and the administrrative machinery.

Now compare the plight of Julian Assange the whistle blower who has exposed a large number of US diplomatic cables on his website. I do not think that the US foreign policy has been in any way undermined by the disclosures made by WiliLeaks. On the contrary, the world has only learnt to appreciate US statecraft in a difficult period in international, affairs. The fact that the Sunnis of Saudi Arabia are edginmg the USA to bomb the Iranians does not come as a surprise to anyone as the Saudis are known for their duplicity and perfidy. The fact that Saudis are finacing terror networks wedded to the Sunni cause is again no great revalationmmas the we were aware of this all through. Yes, the fact that the Yemenis are willing to lie to their Parliament about the USA bombing and taking "credit" for using the airforce against their own people, came as a nig surprise even by the street smart logic of the Middle East. So far it was Israel which aws held up as the sole reason for all the unrest in the region. WikiLeaks has abundantly exposed the fact that the Sunni rtegimes of the region are also contributing in no small measure to the destablisation in the Middle East. Cynicism is OK provided it is backed by realpolitik.

Julian Assange has exposed the cables from the field and no more. Like the Pentagon Papers he has put into public domain certain facts and those facts in no way compromise the safety or security of USA. The US right wing aided by some Democrats like Joe Libberman want to impose limits on whitle blowing using the outdated Espionage Act which does not cover the situation being discussed. The US Government has issued a diorective that federal staff cannot even see the wikileak site and some Universities have even blocked access to the site. When the Chinese do such uncivilised things the cry goes up that dissent is not tolerated. Why practice double standards in such fundamental matters as freedom of expression. The USA has mounted a world wide campaign to cut off funding for the site. In what matter is this different from what the Chinese Government did vis a vis Google. Sweden has even filed a case of sexual,assault on Julian Assange. It seems for the USA public enemy number UNO is not OSAMA but Assange