Jacques Mattheij

Technology, Coding and Business

Everybody please calm down regarding WikiLeaks and Julian Assange

The last couple of days have been quite a roller-coaster ride for those following the news, I just read an article about a 16 year old kid that got arrested and that’s what is prompting me to write this article.

I understand the sentiments about ‘cablegate’, Assanges arrest and the way governments deal with those they deem to be thorns in their sides are running very high, possibly to the boiling point.


WikiLeaks is not benefiting at all from the kind of activity that the Anon group, however well intentioned is currently employing.

Besides dragging well meaning but totally clueless kids in to the fray there is a chance for irreparable damage to the good parts of the whole WikiLeaks saga.

Obviously, (at least, to me) it is good to have some force that pushes back against the powers that be, if only to put up some form of check against this power. Unchecked powers tend to spiral out of control over time, that’s something that I hope we can all agree on.

The problem that we have at the moment is a complicated one, and what the story really is hinges on the fact that we do not actually have proof that something more than a stupid move by a stupid Swedish prosecutor without a case is actually happening.

No matter whether PayPal, Amazon, Mastercard and any of a whole bunch of other companies that have decided to cave in to pressure from politicians are all going to be out of business next week, the only thing that attacks like these will cause is that nobody will ever want to have anything to do with WikiLeaks at all for fear that if they ever boot them out their businesses will be destroyed.

I do not speak for WikiLeaks or for Julian Assange, but it would seem to me that the best way to deal with the cutting of off funding routes is to create alternatives that are not so easily shut down.

I don’t speak for the American government either (that much is clear) but I would suggest to those that speak loudly and stupidly there that they would be in better shape the world over if America learned from all this that we look down on countries that hijack people off the streets to throw them in jail without due process and that we think that if you start a war that you should do so on hard actionable info, and not on a pre-text. We also think that suppressing the voices of those that dissent is a thing that belongs in China, not in the free (as long as I can still write these words I stand by that) West. What little bit of respect the US still has in the rest of the world would benefit from separating fact from fiction and to see that in order to be able to export your ‘system’ you have to get your own house in order first. And that will take some doing. It also means that you should probably realize that you’re playing on the world stage and on that stage the calling for extra-judicial killings is not looked upon in a friendly way. Plenty of people think that nation states should not perpetrate such injustices.

Stick to the facts as they are known, direct your energies towards solving things in a positive way.

For the WikiLeaks supporters that means to find ways to support WikiLeaks without hurting the interests of others. Both for the good of WikiLeaks as well as to be able to retain the moral highground in what follows. If you want to build a powerbase then you would do well to not alienate a large chunk of those that will eventually form that base.

If and when Julian Assange is extradited to Sweden, if and when the Swedish prosecution loses their case, if and when the American government then applies to have him extradited that will be the right time to apply maximum pressure through all the available channels. Until then - unless someone has hard proof that this is a set-up - you are just making us all - us WikiLeaks supporters - look very bad indeed.

And trust me, if that time should come I know on which side I will stand, but until that time comes ironically, the only entity that could conceivably receive this information and credibly disseminate it, is wikileaks. Don’t destroy that credibility.

So, everybody, please calm down. Don’t do illegal stuff in order to show your support until you are out of options and the need is clear, keep your powder dry until it is needed lest innocent bystanders get hurt by your well intentioned, but ultimately destructive actions.