The odd thing about Wikileaks is that their success has been assured, not by what they leaked, though there is some important information there, but by their enemies.
The massive and indiscriminate overreaction by both government and powerful corporate actors has ensured this, and includes but is not nearly limited to:
- Shutting down Wikileaks servers, starting with the Amazon server
- Stopping domain name server propagation
- Paypal refusing to send payments
- VISA and Mastercard refusing to process payments
- The Swiss Bank PostFinance shutting down Assange's account
- Senator Lieberman pressuring firms over Wikileaks
- The odd behavior of prosecutors in the Assange rape accusations/case
Wikileaks and Assange have now been made in to cause celebres. If corporations and governments can destroy someone's access to the modern economy as they have Wikileaks, without even pretending due process of the law (Paypal, VISA, Mastercard, Amazon, etc... were not ordered by any court to cut Wikileaks) then we simply do not live in a free society of law, let alone a society of justice.
Ironically the Wikileaks files reveal that the British fixed their inquiry into the war, and that the US pressured the Spanish government to stop a war crimes court case against ex-members of the Bush administration. Assange and Wikileaks are subject to extreme judicial and extrajudicial sanctions, but people who engaged in aggressive war based on lies, tortured people and are responsible for deaths well into the six figures, walk free.
To be just, law must be applied to both the big and the small. Thousands of executives at banks who engaged in systematic fraud were never charged, out and out war criminals are actively protected, and Wikileaks and Assange are hunted like animals?
This has enraged, in particular, the Hacktivist community, with Anonymous forming Operation Payback and shutting down both Mastercard servers and the Swiss Bank PostFinance's website. As they themselves say, what enraged them was multiple companies attempting to shut Wikileaks down, both on the web, and financially.
While there is no comparison between what Assange has done and what happened on 9/11 (his actions are those of a free press), the rabid and indiscriminate overreaction of the the US in particular and the West in general is similar. And what it has done is make Assange into a martyr, an icon for freedom of speech and a symbol of politically motivated repression. It has done the same for Wikileaks and made Wikileaks a cause celebre.
It has proved that the West is run by authoritarian thugs with completely twisted priorities. Kill hundreds of thousands of people and engage in aggressive war? No big deal. Cause the greatest economic collapse of the post-war period sending millions into poverty? We couldn't possibly prosecute the people who did that, but we will give them trillions! Reveal our petty secrets and lies, and that we know the war in Afghanistan is lost, have known for years and continue to kill both Afghanis and our own soldiers pointlessly? We WILL destroy you, no matter what we have to do.
Which leads us to the rape charges against Assange. Given what we know right now about the case against him, it appears that is going to come down to he said/she said. Unless the Swedish prosecutors have a smoking gun, even if Assange is convicted, most of his supporters will never believe the case wasn't at the least heavily tainted by political pressure, and at worst, a set up. And if he is extradited from Sweden to the US to face some sort of charges, the howling will reach the high heavens. He will be a martyr for the cause. The more he is persecuted, the more many will rally around both him, and his child, Wikileaks.
Because of the massive overreaction to Wikileaks, the case against him is completely tainted. He might be guilty as sin, but justice can no longer be seen to be done, because it is far too evident that too many powerful people, corporations and governments want him taken out.
And so he has won. Whether he winds up free, in prison in Sweden or the US, or winds up dead, he has won this round. He will be a martyr and an icon, and his child, Wikileaks, whether it lives or dies, will become a rallying point and a symbol of how corrupt and unjust western society is.