Do not let the bullies scare us into giving up democracy
“And because sunlight is the best disinfectant, we will bring the operation of government out into the open so that everyone can see whether we are delivering good value for money.”
GovMonitor: David Cameron Lays Out Open Government And Transparency Plan
It gets better, because this is not an original comment from Cameron: it is a quite deliberate quote from US Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis, who said “Sunlight is the best disinfectant” when referring to openness and transparency in public policy as a condition of democracy.
So here we have both the USA and the UK (and the UK most recently, of course) stressing the value of openness in government. But what it really means is that government should be open about what it wants us to know, and secretive and dishonest about the rest.
At the moment, both the UK and USA would like us to believe that Wikileaks is endangering national security and threatening lives. Note that it is not the respective but hardly respectable governments that endanger lives by engaging in illegal wars, by furtively trying to play one country off against another, by lying to and deceiving its own electorate. No, it is not governments but Wikileaks – which, remember, has done nothing, absolutely nothing, other than tell us the truth – that is the criminal.
And on the same day that MasterCard and Visa refuse to process donations to Wikileaks; after Amazon and eBay sever ties with WikiLeaks; following the Swiss Bank closure of Assange’s account; and on the day that Assange is arrested on charges that have already been abandoned by one Swedish judge; so the US state department announces: “The United States is pleased to announce that it will host Unesco’s World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, from 1-3 May in Washington, DC.”
This is absolutely blatant bullying, probably orchestrated by the Obama Administration but with cowardice aforethought support from other toadying governments throughout the world, including I am ashamed to add, that of the United Kingdom. And we must not allow it to succeed, because it is not just Wikileaks that is at stake, it is not just Julian Assange – it is democracy that is on trial.