Whatever we all have to say about Wikileaks and Julian Assange, any lingering question marks about their credibility should be blown out of the water by the fact that they just unleashed a supervolcano of data — the entire unredacted Cablegate archive. Certainly, it seemed like they had run out of steam — ostensibly holding back information as a bargaining chip on Assange’s embattled head. From the Independent:
The contrast between what is happening within the WikiLeaks of today compared with this time last year could hardly be more stark. Last summer, Julian Assange was on the cusp of becoming one of the world’s most recognised faces. Now, he is waging a battle to secure his own freedom as the organisation he founded struggles to replicate its past successes.
Even before last year’s string of exposés, the Australian’s whistleblowing platform had been up and running for the best part of four years and boasted a string of successful scoops that it was rightly proud of.
But in July, WikiLeaks monumentally upped its game when it released a database of 76,000 war logs from Afghanistan, sending its fortunes (both literally and figuratively) soaring. In October, it followed up with a further 400,000 war logs from Iraq and then, as the year came to a close, came the coup de grâce – an enormous tranche of secret cables from US embassies across the globe that allowed us all to take a peek into the often bitchy, snide, corrupt and double-dealing world of international diplomacy.
And there were promises of more to come. Assange said he had access to the hard drive of a major banking executive – thought to be someone high up in Bank of America. A famous whistleblower from Switzerland even flew over to London to hand over CDs containing, we were informed, damning details of tax dodging within Switzerland’s notoriously secretive financial system. There were also promises of a further video showing a missile strike on the Afghan village of Granai which killed scores of civilians. When would the leaks end, we asked?
Fast-forward six months and to all intents and purposes the leaks have indeed stopped. If you discount the ongoing publication of the State Department cables, which until this week were trickling out in dribs and drabs, we have seen no major new exposés published by WikiLeaks so far this year. No Bank of America scandals, no dodgy tax dossiers, no missile-strike videos.
But a Guardian leak seems to have changed all that, and Assange has gone for broke. Full political ramifications? Perhaps a black swan clusterflock.