WikiLeaks has focused a huge amount of attention on America’s enormous military and diplomatic apparatus. The massive presence of the US across the globe is not news, but hundreds of thousands of leaked secret documents have provided graphic and detailed examples of the role of US imperialism.
The US has hundreds of thousands of soldiers in military bases all across the globe. They even have a secret ‘Joint Defence Facility’ at Pine Gap, not far from Alice Springs in central Australia. Last year the US spent over $650 billion on military spending with the aim of using this machine to defend US capitalism’s global power and profits.
This war machine is accompanied by a huge diplomatic staff. WikiLeaks have provided countless examples of military involvement in domestic and international politics purely for the benefit of the US and their corporations.
In Australia it has been revealed that senior Labor Party figures and even some right wing trade union leaders regularly meet with US diplomats. In response to this information being made public Julia Gillard has declared WikiLeaks activities illegal, despite being unable to actually explain which specific laws WikiLeaks has broken.
WikiLeaks’ recent publishing of diplomatic cables has sent representatives of the ruling class into a frenzy. US President Obama has condemned WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange, while prominent members of the Republican Party have called for Assange to face the death penalty.
Now on the counterattack, The US government has rallied support from big business, including finance companies like Paypal, Visa and Mastercard who have stopped all transactions to WikiLeaks. Other multinational corporations, such as Amazon, have also have withdrawn services to WikiLeaks.
Twitter has been ordered to hand over all information they have about WikiLeaks, its staff and associates. A prominent Republican congressman is also attempting to have WikiLeaks and Assange put on a financial black list alongside drug cartels and terrorist organisations. All of these attacks demonstrate the parallel interests of capitalist governments and multinational corporations in keeping their dirty secrets hidden from public view.
Many of the leaks that have been made public reveal the double standards and blatant lies of world governments and so called “democratic” leaders. What they are desperately trying to hide is the fact that they do not act in the interests of ordinary people. Instead, capitalist governments defend and support big business interests which are directly opposed to the interests of the vast majority of society.
While some politicians and the mass media have called the leaks acts of “espionage” or “terrorism”, on the contrary it should be a basic democratic right to reveal the lies and crimes of imperialism. On this basis all attempts to stop WikiLeaks or persecute and jail whistleblowers should be condemned.
It is not WikiLeaks which is endangering lives. It is US imperialism and their allies that are the ones responsible for the blood baths in Afghanistan and Iraq, not to mention their horrific role in countless other conflicts.
Much speculation has surrounded the allegations of sexual assault against Julian Assange. While there are clearly political motivations behind many of the calls to extradite him to the US, rape and sexual assault allegations are serious and if there is any basis to them they need to be properly investigated.
In a society that often ignores and trivialises crimes against women, it would be a mistake to dismiss these allegations prematurely. At the same time Assange should be afforded the full right to defend himself against any allegations and WikiLeaks should be staunchly defended regardless of the personal conduct of its editor.
The political and media hysteria over Assange and WikiLeaks have gone someway to push the actual content of the leaks into the background. Further to defending WikiLeaks, we need to highlight the crimes of capitalist governments detailed in the leaks to build a movement capable of opposing the forces of imperialism.
Unravelling the complexities of capitalism requires a Marxist analysis, and to defeat it requires a mass movement of ordinary people fighting for a just world. The only system that truly guarantees freedom of speech, full accountability and openness is a democratic socialist system. Such a system would bring an end to imperialist wars and place power and decision making in the hands of ordinary people instead of unelected multinational corporations.
By SP reporters