The Wikileaks story continues apace and it gets weirder, more ironic, and possibly very destructive. But not in the ways that I think Julian Assange and his followers ever intended. Assange is behind bars on some crazy charges. Free speech advocates all over are decrying efforts to shut down Wikileaks. The media seems to be in a tizzy and taking hits from those who say they should be defending Wikileaks. Joe Lieberman is taking credit for having Amazon take Wikileaks off line (only to surface elsewhere) and talking like the press should be tried for espionage. And as of today, fans of Wikileaks are attacking and threatening to attack organizations like MasterCard, Visa, PayPal, etc.... that used to provide business services for Wikileaks but are cutting the organization of at the knees to protect their own skins (profits.) There's even talk that Time might make Assange Man of the Year.
It's going to make a great book some day and possibly a movie.
But in the meantime, I find it ironic that those wreaking havoc on behalf of Wikileaks are potentially threatening that which gave Wikileaks its power: the Internet. Anyone following this closely can already correctly surmise that Wikileaks' attempts to provide transparency by leaking the information it gathered will only lead to less transparency as government officials and corporations just find other ways to communicate that which they deem secret.
Likewise, the latest big move by hackers will more than likely give ammunition to those who want more regulation on the Internet, and my guess is that since commerce is being threatened, they'll have a pretty good chance at succeeding. Assange created a stir with his earlier document drops and nothing much happened of consequence. (Many argue because there wasn't any real news contained in the leaks.) But this time, I think the threat that has seemingly every government on the planet hopping mad is the threat to bring down a large bank. Politics is politics and power is power, but neither exist if there isn't any money or the financial system is in disarray.
Some might call what is going on the beginning of anarchy. Some will continue to play the core values game when it comes to big concepts like free speech and secrecy. Those debates do need to continue and are important. (Keep in mind though this bit of irony: Wikileaks has to engage in similar secretive methods as those that it is trying to expose in order to do what it does.) I'm not saying the sky is falling here, but I think this is one of those instances when the myth of Pandora's Box might apply.