Wednesday, 5 January 2011

Wikileaks is a Contradiction

As result of Wikileaks currently releasing more than 250,000 classified US diplomatic cables, The White House is reportedly telling agencies to create 'insider threat' programmes to ferret out disgruntled workers who may leak state secrets.

US Agency officials are being urged to find ways to "detect behavioural changes" among those employees who might have access to secret documents. The memo suggests the use of psychiatrists and sociologists to measure the "relative happiness" of workers or their "despondence and grumpiness" as a way to assess their trustworthiness. It also asks whether agencies are using lie-detector tests or are trying to identify "unusually high occurrences of foreign travel, contacts or foreign preference" by members of staff. Clearly, Julian Assange, founder of Wikileaks, and the US Government, have very different 'perspectives' on Wikileaks.

In this Southbeach model, these differences of opinion are illustrated. What is useful to the US Government - additional secrecy and monitoring, would be regarded as harmful by Assange. Clearly this counteracts the goals of his company as illustrated in the second model.

Wikileaks cannot be good and bad at the same time. Everything is useful and harmful. It is useful because it helps create an open and just society. It is harmful because, inevitably, secrecy will increase as a result of its existence. Taken to extremes, the effects of Wikileaks in the world may have unforeseen, and highly undesirable consequences. An analogy:  suppose that all members of a family, or a business, had the ability to read each other's thoughts? Would the family or business survive for long? This contradiction at the heart of Wikileaks raises the issue of what Assange's goals may be?

This powerful use of Southbeach could be further developed, based on analysis of his and US Government statements and news coverage. Is there a hidden truth behind this?