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The Wright Perspective℠

Social Commentary from the C-Suite to Main Street℠

A Blog by Gary Wright II

Can't hide love for and volunteer detained

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Tonight I ran across two interesting articles about that I wanted to share with you.

The first article was written by Ross Cameron. I am only posting excerpts from the article, but I am also posting a link to the complete story.

Can't hide love for WikiLeaks - article by Ross Cameron (a former federal Liberal Party Member of Parliament of Australia)

I recently put the proposition, to a senior frontbencher in Federal Parliament, that the WikiLeaks horse had bolted, and that shutting down Julian Assange could not reverse a fundamental shift in the balance of power towards the citizens and away from the institutions that govern them.

His response was: "The Catholic Church shut down Galileo for a hundred years. I think we can shut down Julian Assange."

I do regret that this unquestionably gutsy Queenslander is being required to take on the entire global "establishment" with one hand tied behind his back.

Assange is forcing us to rethink our assumptions about how much protection the ordinary person needs from the truth. He is arguing that the democratic project was founded on the principles of transparency and trust but has been overtaken by a culture of secrecy and spin.

Assange has formed the view that the powerful institutions that guide our destiny will not change unless they are forced to change. He is playing what he calls "the forced move" in chess, when there is no other move left to make.

Assange is committed to closing the gap between what our leaders say and what they mean by holding up a mirror and saying, "this is what you look like in private."

This is a moment in history. I say the WikiLeaks horse has bolted because Assange represents something much bigger than WikiLeaks. For 1500 of the past 2000 years, knowledge was tightly held by a tiny elite who had access to higher learning. The invention of the printing press, and the explosion of literacy that followed the Reformation, saw that circle of knowledge expand rapidly.

The arrival of the internet, with its ability not just to reach a wider audience instantly, but to recruit millions of people to the task of collecting, correcting and disseminating knowledge (Wikipedia) has seen an irreversible shift and devolution in power.

While I have these and other concerns about elements of the Assange "forced move", I also believe it gives us a chance to reflect on some of our assumptions about the need for secrecy. Let's not miss this opportunity because of momentary embarrassment or because it was forced on us by a source we don't control.

The democratic project needs constant renewal. We should give the WikiLeaks critique the time and respect it deserves.


The second story is about a WikiLeaks volunteer who was "detained," searched, and questioned by US authorities upon his return from a vacation in Iceland.

Jacob Appelbaum is a security researcher and a computer genius. Most computer geeks always travel with a laptop and a smartphone. The authorities were hoping to seize his computer (with sensitive data) and his cell phone (which might have contacts that might be "of interest"). All that Jacob had on him was a few USB thumb drives.

Jacob had a similar incident last year at the Newark airport so he wasn't surprised to be a victim of another unlawful search in Seattle. When he requested an attorney, he was told that since he was being "detained" and not arrested that he had no right to a lawyer.

When the forensic specialist searched the thumb drive - guess what they found? The information stored on the drive was the Bill of Rights. I would love to have seen the look on their faces at that moment!


I wonder how history books in the future will describe this chapter of American history.... Wait, make thatWorld history.

Best regards,

-- Gary Wright II

I've written several blog entries on this topic. To read more, visit our page devoted to PFC Bradley Manning .

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