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WikiLeaks founder proves there's no such thing as privacy

December 06, 2010|By Tim Rowland

By all accounts, this WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, is a real — well, see last name, first syllable. Which is probably why I like him.
I don’t quite believe the contention that he’s about to bring down the civilized world as we know it. To my mind, he’s just kind of extending into government circles the same realities all of us peons are dealing with, to wit: There is no right of privacy anymore; get over it.
If you are going to e-mail the bleach-blond honey you met outside the coin-operated Laundromat and tell her that you honestly, honestly are planning to leave your wife and marry her — well, might as well go home and paint it on the living room wall. And if you are going to cable Langley and tell your boss that the Norwegian prime minister is a chucklehead who builds miniature brothels out of his own boogers, well, you might as well broadcast it on Voice of America because it’s not going to be a secret for long.
So can you blame a guy for leaking something that we’re all going to find out anyway?
I also have ever so much fun watching the traditional media deal with WikiLeaks. Day 1 coverage is all about the horror and outrage and downright treason of so much covert intelligence being compromised. Day 2 coverage involves disseminating and publicizing as much of this covert intelligence to the world at large as fast as reporters can paw their way through the thousands of documents involved.
It sort of reminds me of a beauty parlor: It’s a horrible sin to gossip and all, but … did you hear who went home from the office Christmas party wearing someone else’s pants?
And how much of this “news” is really news is difficult to say. Things in the Middle East are not going exactly as we’d planned? My stars, how did I miss that one? And all the world leaders think all the other world leaders are stooges — there’s another shock. I was pretty sure they thought Kim Jong Il was another Charlemagne.
They go on to warn that these leaks might compromise our troops. Maybe. But I think they are more likely to compromise our leaders’ perceived intelligence.
Of course these mighty leaders do not like to be embarrassed, so all of the nations of the world have been ordered by Interpol to arrest Assange as soon as he can be found, wherever he can be found. Great. Put the same team on him that’s been looking for Osama bin Laden.
They’d better hurry, though, because by the looks of him, he might not live that long. He’s got that countenance going where his complexion takes on the same blue/white tint as the computer screen he’s been staring at for the last decade. He makes a vampire look like George Clooney. If he ever gets an errant dose of natural sunlight, the effect is likely to be the same as a bucket of water had on the wicked witch in “The Wizard of Oz.”
But notice that this worldwide pursuit didn’t really get ginned up until he announced that his next target of embarrassing leaks was going to be a major bank, thought to be Bank of America.
It was ever thus. We can embarrass Teddy Roosevelt, but not J.P. Morgan.
I really, really, really hope they don’t nail the little ferret before he has a chance to drop a dime on one of those immoral banking behemoths. Except that, again, I don’t know what he could really reveal that would shame a bank beyond what we already know. It’s like saying, “Hey, everybody, I’ve got some secret dirt on John Wayne Gacy that will really rock your world.”
If it comes out that bank executives eat fattened orphans for tea, will anyone really be that surprised? We can at least hope. So all I can say to Assange at this point is, go ahead, make my day.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via e-mail at timr@herald-mail.com. Tune in to the Rowland Rant video under opinion@herald-mail.com, on antpod.com or on Antietam Cable’s WCL-TV Channel 30 at 6:30 p.m. New episodes are released every Wednesday.

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