Julian Assange (ah-SAHN-zh) is the creep behind, and the face of, Wikileaks.
The word "wiki," as it applies to web sites, has only been in existence since 1995 and is a term used to on a site which, "invites all users to edit any page or to create new pages within the wiki Web site."
Prior to the emergence of Wikileaks (which does not fit the definition) the Wiki-something with which most people were familiar was Wikipedia (which does).
Assange is not a digital Robin Hood. He is a hacker, a thug, and an accused rapist. That last is a charge leveled, not by the U.S. Department of State, but by Sweden which has a pretty liberal view of such things, so if they have asked INTERPOL to help hunt Assange down to answer a rape charge it may well be legit.
Here's the thing about what Assange is doing: He has decided that he, among the 6.7 billion humans on the Earth, is solely qualified to decide what should be held secret and what should be made public.
News outlets worldwide have taken to describing Wikipedia as a "whistleblower website." That's like saying the Central and South American cocaine drug cartels are "entertainment entrepreneurs."
Anyone who has ever held any security clearance knows there are documents which are classified which have no reason to be, other than someone had the authority to have it classified, and so they did.
Anyone who has had a very high security clearance (of whom I am not one) has seen documents which appear to have been classified at that very high level only to avoid any potential embarrassment to the writer.
Nevertheless, I have never run into any person who had access to anything classified higher than the instruction booklet to the office coffee-maker who thought they had the right - much less an obligation - to decide what should be classified and what should be in the public domain.
Forget about secret government cables covering sweeping international events. Go back through your emails from the past 30 days. Do you want some misfit from Sweden deciding which of them should be sent to the Washington Post, your employer, or your spouse, and which should not?
Sweden? How about Toby Flenderson from H.R. making that decision?
I didn't think so.
Now that he is being hunted like the dog he is, Assange has made it known that he has posted a file containing more than a gigabyte (one billion characters, more or less) containing many secret documents not previously released.
That file has been sent to cohorts around the world, but it is password protected. His threat is: Arrest me (and/or knock Wikileaks.com off the internet) and the password will be made public, the files will be unlocked, and massive harm will be done to the United States government and at least one major U.S. bank.
Am I the first English speaking person since Samuel Johnson -- of the 1.4 billion people who speak English -- to point out that only one letter separates the word "threat" from the word "treat?"
Assange is blackmailing the world to allow him to continue to play his part in this international game of Russian roulette. Like every megalomaniac from Napoleon to Lex Luthar he believes only he knows the path to truth.
The international community has determined that communications between diplomatic outposts and their home governments are inviolate. Diplomatic pouches - as arcane as that term has become in the age of the internet - are not to be inspected, challenged, or opened by security, customs or immigration personnel at any border in the world.
Embassies themselves are considered the soil of the country the Ambassador within represents. You walk into the Saudi Arabian Embassy next to the Kennedy Center in Washington and you are IN Saudi Arabia.
I understand that the spy services of those very same countries are doing everything in their power to discover what those very same foreign diplomats are saying to their masters at home, but that's the way this complex international waltz is danced.
Agree or not, that's the way the system has evolved. It is not for Julian Assange to decide, not just that the system is flawed, but that he has the right to put thousands of people at risk of physical harm because he doesn't like it.
Wiki … this.
On the Secret Decoder Ring today: Links to everything from Assange's bio to Lex Luthor and from the origin of the term "wiki" to Toby Flenderson. Also a pretty good license plate Mullfoto and a Catchy Caption of the Day.