Wikileaks undermines the case for transparency

Berlusconi corrupt? With his reputation?
Berlusconi corrupt? With his reputation?

So, Wikileaks has been in the news this week. The media would have us believe that Wikileaks are releasing thousands of massive secrets which will undermine security for the whole world. However, the drivel that has dribbled out so far is hardly Earth shattering. Russia is corrupt, Angela Merkel is risk averse, Berlusconi is on the take. Yawn yawn yawn. We know all this. The yanks think that Cameron is a lightweight. Ho hum.

What the media seem not to be taking into account is that these are just a lot of internal memos. U.S. Policy is not that Merkel is cautious and Berlusconi corrupt. These are just opinions expressed by diplomats and the opinions are very diplomatic. Prior to the details emerging the media would have had us believe that we were in for a deluge of state secrets. If the leaks show anything they show that the Americans are fairly straight and fairly astute in their judgement.

Normally I am in favour of complete transparency. Publish everything. Certainly the United Kingdom keeps too much information secret and the recent MPs expenses scandal shows that secrecy feeds corruption.

However, the information currently being leaked by Wikileaks is nothing specific. It is just a lot of emails. If the Emails released shed light on some government fraud or illegal activity then there would be some point in releasing it but just embarrassing diplomats because they expressed opinions that were critical provides no benefit to anyone and damages the cause of transparency and freedom of information.

Having said that, it seems odd that just as Wikileaks really hits the news the Swedish government issue an arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange for alleged “sex crimes”. Probably the real story is that the Swedish government, whether unwittingly or not, are colluding in a stitch up


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