Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Leaks, Secrecy, and the Kingdom

It seems like the last month has been dominated by the flood of classified and leaked documents pouring out of Wikileaks.  This odd little internet entity has sprung into the limelight based on what appears to be the sole premise of its founder, Julian Assange: We should know what our governments and the leadership of corporations are saying and doing.  Thanks to the ability of most human institutions to cause deep disgruntlement among people who have access to privileged information, Assange appears to have struck the motherlode.

Depending on what media outlet you rely upon for your information, this is either a fascinating source of inside information or a treasonous betrayal of our security.  Given Assange's recent releases, he now finds himself in a British prison, charged with being...well...a "person of interest" in a sexual assault trial in Sweden.  I don't know definitively about Assange, but for some reason, my gut responds to him in the same way that it responded to Mikhael Blomkvist in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.  He's in trouble because he's messed with powers and principalities.  He's likely not a saint.  But dang, is his story both real and compelling.

Assange isn't just in trouble because he's cheesed off some Russian mobsters, though he has.  In this country, fulminators on the right have gone as far as calling for his assassination.  Palin has, of course, but she's hardly the most pungent.  That award goes to columnist and commentator Charles Krauthammer, who in an article about Assange recalled fondly how the Soviets murdered Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov in the late 1970s with a poison ball shot from the tip of an umbrella.

He's not saying.  He's just saying.  Nudge nudge.

Amazing how consistently evil far right wingers can be, be they Soviet or neocon.

The Wikileaks phenomenon leaves me wondering a bit.  I understand the place of secrets in geopolitics, and in the dynamics of corporate life.  Nation states and profit-driven entities depend on secrecy to maintain advantage.  Lies and obscurity and deception are necessary aspects of every system of power, be it sociopolitical power or socioeconomic power.  That's reality.  It's really easy to understand.

But as I look at WikiLeaks through the lens of Christianity, I find it rather harder to condemn it or the actions of Assange.  Secrets and darkness and shadows are not the stuff of the Kingdom.  The Reign of God that we Jesus people proclaim has no place for the whispering machinations of geopolitics.  It has no place for the deceptive platitudes that mask predatory profiteering.

Children of light have nothing to fear from the truth.  We recognize that whispering obfuscation is a methodology of the Enemy.

However you spin it, that WikiLeaks should be so problematic to so many people is a sign of just how far we are from being close to the Kingdom.


  1. "...a methodology of the Enemy"

    I've always meant to ask you this, but in your understanding, who is "the Enemy"?

  2. Well, I can't agree with some of your statements, but one thing seems too proper... there were leaks about Iraq, and the right shook its head. Leaks about Afghanistan, some groaning and moaning, talk of treason. Leaks about geopolitics and the left got all self-righteous. Leaks about the credit card companies and threatened leaks about the banks...

    and all the funding for the organization is cut off by the corporations, J.A. is arrested for consensual sexual activity by the international police force, and the countries are talking about extradition here and there.

    Wow. Just look at what gets a response.

  3. Fine, then give me your credit card information.

  4. @ Anonymous: Actually, a surprisingly valid point is implicit in there. State systems of coercion demand self-serving secrecy. So do economic systems, within which wealth is just a proxy for power.

    Were we in the Kingdom of God, I'd be perfectly comfortable just pitching that number out there. And the expiration date. And the three number security code, you know, on the back. Were we all living according to the Gospel, that'd be utterly doable.