Tuesday, December 7, 2010

The Internet Unabomber

Those arrayed against Assange are numerous and powerful enough to bring him down via any number of methods from the complex to the straightforward. He may be a decent person; he may not. But he's also involved in perhaps the world's greatest threat to that lack of accountability so central to the way the powerful operate. And, too, he's demonstrated the relative ease with which anyone could do what he's doing. So, if he's brought down, if Wikileaks is discredited, if the Internet is understood as enabling of cyberterrorists and intrinsically dangerous to Our Way Of Life in its free, unregulated state, well, that wouldn't surprise any of us a whole heck of a lot.

It wouldn't do to simply blow him away. It'd make a martyr of him. Cries of, 'I am Assange!', of 'One, two, three, many Wikileaks!' would arise, in a world where the Internet is central to commerce. So, to my paranoid way of thinking, the better way to do it would be to recast him as a sort of Unabomber of the Net, and such enterprises as Wikileaks as paranoid excesses which any number of methods used to suppress them would be legitimate. I'd suggest that Assange's guilt/innocence isn't a trivial question, but impossible to separate from all of that.

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