Morten Morland @ The Times

So, the American government is worried that: a failing Pakistani government may lead to the release of sensitive materials onto the black market, Angela Merkel lacks creativity, the Brits did a poor job in Sangin, Gordon Brown lacks social skills and the Saudis do not wish for a nuclear Iran.

All of this ‘secret’ information thrust upon us over the past 48 hours by an apathetic US Marine via Wikileaks and a handful of international newspapers is supposed to be ‘in the public interest.’ Avoiding the arduous subject as to what is and what isn’t in the public interest, here is why I disagree with the files’ release.

Diplomats are the sensory perceptors of any government. They are sent about the globe to listen to the voice of nations and report back that which they’ve heard. Their job is to give the central policymaking and governing body of a country – democratic, dictatorship, communist or otherwise – the best tools with which to decide a course of action. They feed information in return for further instruction.

Central to any nation’s ability to course its own path, to make an objective or ideological stance, is the quality and candour of the information it receives, its ability to keep that information secret and for the information collected on its behalf to supersede that of its friends and foes.

In releasing these apparent ‘US embassy cables’, Wikileaks have undermined the diplomatic process worldwide. They have ripped from the mouths of diplomats their assumption of privacy, their ability to talk openly to both superiors and contacts alike and, fundamentally, it has brought into the public domain something the public should not be privy to.

In order for a government to function to the best of its ability, the windows through which the general public observe and keep it to account should be, at best, opaque. In order for the a country to prosper and remain in the international zeitgeist, it must pass judgement and make decisions with the entirety of the country in mind, not to satisfy public opinion.

For these reasons Wikileaks should not have released the stolen information they received. It is not because of any collateral damage it may cause the US, UK or any other government; it is because every government bugs the UN, every government think Silvo Berlusconi is in Putin’s pocket and because every government thinks China is hacking into its computer systems. They all know it and they all say it but it isn’t for us, the average citizen, to know they know it and, more importantly, to know they’re saying it.

UPDATE 04/12

It is delightfully Promethean, however, the idea of a digital anarchist puddle dashing the globe opening the back doors of nations. Irony is, dastardly readers, he’s Australian.

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