It seems Julian Paul Assange from Australia is in race with none other than Osama bin Laden as the biggest threat to the United States authority. This 39 year old Aussie has become a terrorist of sorts for America without exploding a single bomb or WMDs. US embassies known for its gunboat diplomacy throughout the world are feeling the tremors, if they are to be believed.
Still wondering as to what am i talking about? Then you might not be following the series of leaks of confidential cache of US cables and may be you are better off not following.
Julian Assange is the founder of WikiLeaks, the whistle-blower website with a slogan -"We Open Governments." Let us first delve into the quantitative dimension of this inconvenient truth.
On the 28th of November, 2010, WikiLeaks began publishing 251,287 leaked US embassy cables dating from 1966 to the end of February this year. This is the largest volume of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain. 15,652 of the cables are classified 'secret'. The leaks contain communication between 274 embassies and 3,038 cables are from New Delhi.
Huh! enough of statistics.
Now, qualitatively analysing the vast tranche of secret diplomatic communiques published till i write this column, in no way do i find the revelations shocking. In fact, most of the releases are merely a material proof of what we always knew and the press continuously asserted. No secret uncovered up till now by WikiLeaks seems to have any far reaching repercussions over international relations. However, the one-liners and candid views of foreign leaders are quite interesting but obvious. Witty remarks about Putin, Sarkozy, Berlusconi, Karzai, Ahamadinejad, Zardari, Merkel, Kim Jong-il, etc are no more than sarcastic humour. These quips can not influence international relations because relationships between the countries concerned encompass much wider issues than the personalities involved. Though, mild ripples in diplomatic circles particularly for the bad-mouthing ambassadors can not be ruled out.
In the field of diplomacy, as distinct from military operations, leaks, indiscretions and premature publication of opinions are often no more than embarrassing, sometimes even hilarious. Real danger can, however, be caused only when personal trust, honour or national security are involved.
The United States of America in particular is very jittery over what WikiLeaks has next in store. The White House has aggressively condemned WikiLeaks, saying that the publication could "deeply impact" US interests abroad and put lives "at risk." Interpol has even issued a public 'Red Notice' against Julian Assange on behalf of Sweden, where he faces an arrest warrant.
The paranoia of world community over WikiLeaks and its creator, to some extent, is unfounded. Newspapers worldwide from New York Times to the Guardian are buoyed by the leaks and the international media is gung ho over these old wines. Julian Assange, to me, is less of a threat and more of a media material.
However, we must be ready for more leaks and other inconvenient truths. May be this is the first time the general public finds it better not to fix a leakage. Let it Leak!