We dismiss Wikileaks at our intellectual peril

Last night here in Sydney I helped launch – MC really alongside author Andrew Fowler and journalist Kerry O’Brien – a wonderful new book on Wikileaks and Julian Assange, The Most Dangerous Man in the World. Go buy immediately!

What was clear during the discussion was the significance of Wikileaks challenging the media class in general, forcing them to question (well, the good ones, anyway) how they relate to those in positions of power. Skepticism should be order of the day but alas often is not.

In a new interview with Assange published in India’s The Hindu, the Wikileaks founder discusses the world that exists away from the embedded media mindset:

There is a basic structure to geopolitics, which is not often mentioned. One way to think about it is that every country that is not very isolated has to sign up to one provider of intelligence or another. And there are a number of providers in the market. The U.S. is the market leader. And then you have really Russia and China and the U.K. providing a little bit. If you don’t sign up to one of these, then you can’t see what’s happening around you in your borders — because you don’t have geo-spatial intelligence. Information about individuals who may be coming into your territory or conspiring, you do not have; and that’s something that military groups and intelligence groups in various countries want to have. It increases their relative power within their own nations.

That doesn’t mean the nation needs it but rather that, for Indian intelligence, they can, for example, tremendously increase their influence within India by being signed up to all that intelligence product that the United States produces. Similarly, the Indian military can increase its power by having all these relationships with the U.S. military. And those relationships are not just pushed by the U.S. military or by the U.S. intelligence services. Nowadays, most of the economic activity involving intelligence and military in the United States occurs in private companies.

So there’s a blurring out in the United States between what is part of government and what is part of private industry. And these private industry groups, Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and so on, and many thousands of smaller companies, lobby and push the U.S. State Department, Congress, and other countries directly to sign up as part of this system — so they can get more power and influence within the United States and have a greater ability to suck money out of the U.S. tax base and out of the tax bases of other countries.