The Crescendo of Corporations and the Inertia of Power: Wikileaks Thoughts from Spain and the Middle East

Posted: January 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

Nightschool" General Idea 1989 "Hidden Knowledge for Some in the Dark"

Javier Moreno the editor of EL PAÍS lays out his perceptions of what may be gleaned from the third wikileaks dump. I must admit, given the vastness of the number of documents in the release, I did not have any of his items on my list of 10 important things about the leaks which you will find him mulling over in this analysis.  You can read his shrewd and interesting reasoning in his editorial “Why EL PAÍS chose to publish the leaks”. It gives insight to the action of the leak for democracies in general and contextualizes the Spanish example specifically. However this insight caught my eye, and it is one which is of overarching concern:

“Political classes on both sides of the Atlantic convey a simple message that is tailored to their advantage: trust us, don’t try to reveal our secrets; in exchange, we offer you security.

But just how much security do they really offer in exchange for this moral blackmail? Little or none, since we face the sad paradox that this is the same political elite that was incapable of properly supervising the international financial system, whose implosion triggered the biggest crisis since 1929, ruining entire countries and condemning millions of workers to unemployment and poverty. These are the same people responsible for the deteriorating quality of life of their populations, the uncertain future of the euro, the lack of a viable European project and the global governance crisis that has gripped the world in recent years, and which elites in Washington and Brussels are not oblivious to. I doubt that keeping embassy secrets under wraps is any kind of guarantee of better diplomacy or that such an approach offers us better answers to the problems we face.

The incompetence of Western governments and their inability to deal with the economic crisis, climate change, corruption, or the illegal war in Iraq and other countries has been eloquently exposed in recent years. Now, thanks to WikiLeaks, we also know that our leaders are all too aware of their shameful fallibility, and that it is only thanks to the inertia of the machinery of power that they have been able to fulfill their democratic responsibility and answer to the electorate.

The powerful machinery of state is designed to suppress the flow of truth and to keep secrets secret. We have seen in recent weeks how that machine has been put into action to try to limit the damage caused by the WikiLeaks revelations.”

Robert Boyd Conspiracy Theory 2006

But it is not merely the machinery of governments as Moreno is arguing here.  Now the Corporate sector have come to help out and they are applying varied and numerous means to limit the leaks and their possibilities. Purely political pressures (calling wikileaks a terrorist organization, threatening to revoke Julian Assange’s passport, etc.) haven’t stemmed the flow so how does one close down the leaks:

“When your Swiss banker throws you overboard, you know you’ve made some very powerful enemies.

Long famed for hiding money for everyone from Nazis and drug lords to spies and dictators, the Swiss government’s banking arm has decided that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are just too hot even for it to handle.

And so the PostFinance, which runs the country’s banks, declared in early December that it had “ended its business relationship with WikiLeaks founder Julian Paul Assange” after accusing Mr. Assange of – gasp! – providing false information about his place of residence.

This move followed similar moves by credit card companies MasterCard and Visa, as well as PayPal and Amazon.com, to no longer process WikiLeaks payments and, in Amazon.com’s case, to cease hosting its data.

As I write this, Bank of America has joined the crescendo of corporations taking aim at WikiLeaks, refusing to process payments for it any longer because of “our reasonable belief that WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments.”

And soon after, none other than Apple joined the chorus, pulling the plug on a WikiLeaks app only days after it went on sale on its iTunes website. Every sector of the corporate economy, it seems, is out to get WikiLeaks.”

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