We live in an increasingly Panopticonic world and the number of eyes watching us just grows by the day. However, when the eyes are turned the other way around the handcuffs come out and arrests start getting made.
Take, for example, the case of Bradley Manning. For over seven months he has been in solitary confinement, completely alone in his cell for nearly twenty four hours a day, seven days a week. What did he do to deserve this kind of imprisonment?
Manning, who has not been convicted of a crime, has been imprisoned since May at the Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia. Prior to that the 22-year-old intelligence specialist was held in a military prison in Kuwait, where he was also kept in solitary confinement.
…Manning was detained after WikiLeaks released the “Collateral Murder” video last April. The video contains footage shot by a US attack helicopter of a massacre of civilians and journalists carried out in Baghdad in 2007. The Army private is accused of leaking hundreds of thousands of documents and other material that show the massive scale of civilian casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, expose corruption and lies, and document war crimes.
Were it not for Wikileaks and Bradley Manning, we would have not learned of these massacres for many years to come. Was the bigger crime exposing the massacre to the public, or the massacre itself? I can’t imagine how a person would think that the exposure is so much worse than what was exposed.
Then there is the case of the BP Oil Leak — not the one that occurred in the Gulf of Mexico, but the one that took place nineteen months earlier in Azerbaijan.
There are uncanny echoes of the Azerbaijan incident in the Deepwater Horizon tragedy, including the likely cause — a faulty cement job. But there was one marked difference: While the Gulf explosion created an ongoing political firestorm, the Azerbaijan leak remained almost forgotten until last week, when another leak — this time of diplomatic cables, released by WikiLeaks — showed just how close BP had come to a major disaster in the Caspian.
A series of cables by then U.S. Ambassador in Baku, Anne E. Derse, chronicled a growing testiness between BP and the government of Azerbaijan, whose long borders with Russia and Iran and vast Caspian energy reserves give it strategic importance way beyond its small size. BP commands enormous clout in Azerbaijan, having invested $4 billion in gas and oil pipelines from Baku, which travel through Georgia to the Turkish port of Ceyhan, giving energy-hungry Western Europe a supply channel that bypasses Russia.
The same circumstances — an incredible revelation that certainly would not have come about were it not for Wikileaks. We must ask ourselves in our Panopticonic World where the lines are drawn between where we are being watched and where we are forbidden to poke and prod.
Now let us turn our attention to the head of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, who seems to be in a bit more trouble than the average person who is being accused of sexual misconduct.
Mr. Assange has denied the sex allegations, and his attorney, Mark Stephens, has suggested that the Swedish criminal case is a ruse to keep Mr. Assange in custody while U.S. prosecutors consider whether to bring a criminal case against him or WikiLeaks.
Meanwhile, our very own vice president has pretty much admitted that they are seeking retribution against Mr. Assange for his actions.
Mr Biden said that officials in the US Justice Department were actively exploring ways to prosecute Mr Assange in America over his website’s leaks.
It is the first admission from a senior member of the US administration that efforts are already underway in Washington to bring charges against Mr Assange, who is currently on bail in Britain facing extradition to Sweden on unrelated sexual assault charges.
Trumped up accusations against a journalist who is trying to get out information that would otherwise be buried. ABC News, which is probably threatened by the freedom of information flowing freely from WikiLeaks, attempted a pathetic interview with Assange but he ended it quickly when the questions were, as Assange put it, too much like those asked by a tabloid and not enough like those from a serious news organization.