18 December 2016

Wikileaks: Greenwald v. Klein

I listened to this friendly debate when it was first released back in October. The argument is essentially between the Naomi Klein approach to activist journalism vs. the Julian Assange approach of what can be almost described as indiscriminate leaking of information.

Assange wants to make the data available and let the readers and public sift through it, decipher it and attach meaning to it.

Klein in one respect follows an older journalistic model which some view as paternalistic. The journalists are professionals and managers of the narrative, release what the public needs to know and yet at the same time take great pains to protect the existing system.

Klein wants to reform the system. Assange believes the system cannot be reformed, it has to be broken.

Another way of putting it is... reform or revolution?

Greenwald is somewhat caught in the middle because his journalistic impulse has been to get the information out and he definitely has felt the antagonism vis-à-vis the Empire. And yet he also seems to realise there's a danger to be found in the Assange approach.

To me this was the only valid point made by Klein. If everyone's personal data is available then is nothing sacred?

Klein seemed disturbed by the Podesta email leaks and with Wikileaks in general. She seems to believe a great deal of the attention and activity has more to do with Assange and his ego than the actual issues. The level of damage and the nature of the leaked information were too personal and to her crossed a line. In her mind, Assange is just trying to burn it all down, bring down the whole Western System.

Assange might agree and in fact might argue that's the only way to effect change.

I think Klein is rather deceived if she thinks that her often pseudo-Leftist activism will actually break the power structure or that the head of the serpent can be cut off while keeping the serpent alive.

While the loss of all privacy is a cause for concern as well as the potential for attacks on journalists, the truth is that when you're running for political office, let alone the presidency of the United States, you and your aides are fair game. The public has a right to know because the stakes are that high.

Will these leaks lead to an abandonment of email and a push for even greater secrecy? Probably.

Will it result in journalists and others being targeted? Most definitely.

Of course Klein must realise Assange, Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden have all paid a price... one she's not willing to pay, nor would she have to. She's operating wholly within the framework of the system.

As an activist it must be said she's a failure.

That said, I have enjoyed some of her work.

I was pleased to hear a reiteration of the point that Assange and Wikileaks were never about support for Trump. Assange himself made that very clear. Donald Trump represents everything he would be personally against but that doesn't mean that the Clinton machine and its larger connections to the Establishment should somehow get a free pass.

Trump has won and Assange is unlikely to benefit from it. Trump's cabinet picks would happily assassinate both Assange and Snowden, that is if they couldn't get a hold of them and torture them first.

If Trump breaks the system and brings it down on his head, then yes, I think Assange and many others would celebrate. If he weakens the system and fragments the monolith of American dominated Western power, many will celebrate. There's a potential for war but there's also the potential for an end of US aggression, proxy wars and bombing. That would indeed be a wonderful thing to behold.

With Trump there was and is a risk. With Clinton you had a guarantee, the Empire and its wars would continue and escalate.

I'm afraid in the end Trump will probably prove to be no different either. And though the public has been exposed to the depths of corruption they are likely to be fooled again and again.

Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

Perhaps some of the wisest words to come out of the 20th century, certainly greater than any of the hot air that was emitted from the many great political icons and 'heroes' of either the Left or the Right.

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