It really has been remarkable how Julian Assange (aka "Goldstein") has been able to dominate so much of the "news" this year, given especially the rather tepid interest in most of the Secrets Revealed that has been his stock in trade.
The key understanding here is "stock in trade." Julian Assange/Emmanuel Goldstein is no dilettante anarchist by any means. He is a very savvy businessman who acquired -- shall we say -- purloined commodities (ie: "secrets") from the US Government, apparently through the agency of a low-level military intelligence drone, one PFC Bradley Manning, who is now being held in solitary at Quantico on various charges of violating the UCMJ.
The way this is supposed to have worked is that Manning surreptitiously downloaded a huge trove of military and diplomatic reports that had been made available to an extraordinary number of individuals with security clearances (some 3 million) through the essentially unsecured SIPRnet System used by the DoD and State Department to "share" timely and pertinent information on what's going on in the world.
Once downloaded, Manning then cast about for what to do with the information, and finally he gave it over to Julian's business enterprise, WikiLeaks. Then, supposedly, he bragged about it to one Adrian Lamo, an FBI informant, online, and by and bye Manning was arrested and charged with violations of UCMJ Article 92 and 134. He languishes in pretrial confinement awaiting an Article 32 hearing preliminary to court-martial.
According to his lawyer, David Coombs, the defense (ie: Coombs) made a number of unspecified pretrial motions which caused the prosecution to request a delay in the Article 32 hearing until the classification level of the case can be determined. Granted. Article 32 is likely to be sometime after the New Year, Court-martial to follow likely in the spring.
Manning's conditions of confinement have been loudly protested by members of the Libertarian online commentariat -- not so much because of what they are (loudly claimed to be "torture"), but because of who are being applied to, ie: Manning, who, as a Hero, should neither be held at all nor prosecuted.
Meanwhile Julian's antics have been widely covered all over the world, especially the Sex Crimes he is accused of in Sweden, in many ways largely obscuring the content of the purloined materials he received (apparently from Manning) and distributed through his Media Partners (in the United States, exclusively through the New York Times... well, except for the State Department cables, which he withheld from the Times in "retaliation"* for an insufficiently flattering profile of himself by the redoubtable John Burns... well, except, the State Department cables are being released in the United States "exclusively" though the New York Times, as the Guardian UK provided the trove to the NYT, no charge, when Julian refused to.)
Chasing Goldstein/Assange became a huge story for a while, until that is, he was run to ground in England. Well, as the story is told, he contacted Scotland Yard (or was it his attorney) and said he would present himself at the local station after breakfast, on the basis of the INTERPOL warrant, issued by Sweden regarding those Sex Crimes, if that was all right with everyone, pip-pip, cheerio. It was, he did, the law in its majesty took its course, and he his now free on bail, confined, however, to a British supporter's country mansion, forced to wear an ankle bracelet so that his location may be monitored more easily from afar.
While there has been plenty of huffing and puffing from the Inner Party that Goldstein/Assange is some kind of rogue anarchist/nihilist intent on blowing everything up just to see it burn, the evidence is strikingly otherwise.
What we learn from his interviews and statements is that Assange/Goldstein is essentially a standard-issue (if somewhat naive) Anglo neo-colonialist/neo-imperialist who believes, apparently sincerely, that the current course of regenerating the British Empire as a New Anglo-American Empire is being done wrong -- and for the wrong reasons -- largely because of American incompetence, greed, brutality and folly. In other words, the New Empire is not the problem, the Americans are the problem.
In order to hamstring further American troublemaking in the world, Assange/Goldstein and his sponsors apparently believe that their form of "transparency" -- by releasing purloined American documents through selected Media Partners -- will minimize the threat they feel America represents to "getting on with it." Ie: remaking the world the way it should be.
The British, especially, have long complained of American corruption, greed, brutality and incompetence in the Imperial Project that has been under way since 2001. Australians have had their own complaints. What it boils down to is that Americans are "doing it wrong" and if they would just desist, those who know how to do these things would be able to bring peace, light, harmony and democracy to all the benighted peoples of the world, as it is their mission from On High.
The focus on Julian, of course, makes all this high-mindedness of Empire vanish. And we see that though Julian himself is an expert at raising his own profile, he is eagerly collaborated with by nearly the entire global mainstream media. They love this character, and at this point, they will do almost anything to continue to boost his profile.
Meanwhile, whether his efforts are effective in any way -- except for boosting his own profile -- remains to be seen. The Imperial Project continues, under American control and authority, as brutal as ever if not actually more so. The Powers That Be still rule us with a rod and a staff, and if these PTBs are replaced with others, there is no indication whatsoever that the burden on the masses would be in any way ameliorated.
The "knowledge" that supposedly comes from the purloined documents is being used and massaged by the Media Partners to advance particular agendas -- in the case of the NYT, an even more bloodthirsty future than the past. And in the United States, the NYT's spin on the docs, all of them, is the standard narrative for almost all mainstream media.
From the beginning, I've suspected that WikiLeaks being used as a factional player -- if it isn't actually a factional player -- by a segment of our government to force a certain (and not very pretty) future on all of us. So far, nothing has suggested to me anything else. It still has all the trappings of a factional fight within the government for power and control.
Meanwhile, Michael Chossudovsky has an interesting take:
Who is Behind WikiLeaks?
Especially interesting is his notion of "Manufacturing Dissent." I'd go farther. It's not just the manufacturing of dissent, it is the careful manipulation and managing of dissent.
In addition, some people are beginning to realize that not everything in the cables and the other documents dumped by WikiLeaks is factually true. In fact, a substantial proportion is false. Now what is one supposed to do with that bit of knowledge?
Nevertheless, this has been the Year of Julian Goldstein. Will we get a New Goldstein next year? Or has the Permanent Enemy of the State now been settled on?
*This is how Greenwald put it:
They're [WikiLeaks] trying to train these newspapers with their favors - that's why the NYT was frozen out this time: in retaliation for that Burns article, and it's why the WashPost will never get anything, but they still feel like they need those papers to make a big impact.
To say the least, I laughed out loud. This is exactly what the Government does with its super abundance of "secrets" that are traded as commodities with favored reporters and outlets. In this case, stolen "secrets" are now being traded as commodities by Julian Goldstein and are being used as "training devices" to punish those whose reports on Julian are insufficiently laudatory. Exactly the way the Busheviks treated the press.