WikiLeaks: The emperor wears no clothes

Now WikiLeaks has laid bare the lies and collusion, we pledge to not just witness but actively participate in its fight for democracy

By John Pilger, et al.
Open Letter posted at The Guardian

We are writing this statement in support of democracy.

Since Sunday, 28 November, WikiLeaks and five major newspapers from around the world (the Guardian, the New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, El Pais) have been publishing redacted versions of leaked US diplomatic cables in an ongoing story that has become known as “Cablegate”. The identity of the original leaker is – as yet – unconfirmed.

This is not the first leak of confidential documentation that exposes governmental lies – and it won’t be the last. Secret information has long been used by elites to build and maintain power over huge populations of citizens, workers, armed forces and others. But when the secrets of the elite are revealed, the power they represent can be confronted and reversed.

Nor is this the first time that state (and other) forces of power have acted to prevent dissemination of information on the internet – and it won’t be the last.

Sites have been removed by their hosting companies, servers seized by police or other governmental authorities, take-down requests issued under the rule of law: none of these prevented information spreading.

But the issues run deeper than this. As former US president Thomas Jefferson once stated, “information is the currency of democracy”. Democracy – the rule of the people – as currently understood and practiced is, and has long been, severely restricted.

Power is abused in our name by governments and transnational corporations around the world: they fight illegal wars; abuse and kill people; pillage property and planet. The powerful accumulate wealth and force the majority – the rest of us – to pay for it: with our health, our freedom, our time, our money and with our lives. For a long time, we have been deceived about the reasons for this: it is our right for the truth to be known. Without that right, democracy cannot and does not exist. The current assault on WikiLeaks is yet another instance of democracy-hating by elites.

Now, we find we are witnessing a new level of info-struggle. We are witnessing how the emperor wears no clothes. We can see the lies made bare, we can see the posturing and propositioning that our governments participate in. We can see the collusion that occurs with transnational corporations and with global media giants. WikiLeaks and others are battling against powerful institutions bent on curtailing our knowledge of and influence over policies and structures that impact our lives: they are information heroes, not information villains. We see all this being done in our name, and we condemn it.

Thus, we pledge to not simply bear witness but to actively participate in this fight – for freedom of speech, for real democracy and for justice. We know this is only the beginning: de-masking the puppeteers facilitates action towards fairer and more just societies. We demand that the truth be heard. We stand at the doorway to a new, just and democratic world: a doorway we pledge to keep open and to march through. We stand with all the inhabitants of this world who are affected daily by governments that oppress the right to free speech and obstruct the path to true democracy.


Andrei Morgan
Michael Albert
Jamie McClelland
Daniel Kahn Gillmor
Tachanka! collective
London Indymedia
John Pilger
Donnacha Delong, vice-president, National Union of Journalists
Yvonne Ridley, founder, Women In Journalism
Hessom Razavi
Mike Holderness, freelance journalist
Pennie Quinton, freelance journalist and human rights campaigner
May First/People Link
Phil Edwards
Sheffield Indymedia
Chris Grollman
Chris Anderson
David Graeber, reader in social anthropology, Goldsmiths, University of London
Plentyfact collective
Koumbit Worker’s Committee
Sasha Costanza-Chock, fellow, Berkman Centre for Internet & Society, Harvard University



Rady Ananda
William Whitten

4 responses to “WikiLeaks: The emperor wears no clothes

  1. Add to the list: TheOncomingStorm – Power to the People.

  2. I am a democratic socialist who believes in the preservation and continued enforcement of the original Bill of Rights, Amendments 1- 10.

    I do support simple majority rule, nor do I support simple minority rule. I believe that special consideration should be given to minority opinion and belief, but I believe in moving a society forward, together, as a single unit.

    A minority grabbed control of reigns of power with the Industrial Revolution, or thereabouts, and this minority was given all the wealth and power available from the human collective. They have failed and that failure began and continues with the fascist collective among the global elites.

    Globalization is a lie, a ponsi scheme designed to fleece a strong and vibrant middle class of all the tools needed to properly self-govern. These individuals like to point at the radicalization that took place during the 1960’s as evidence and cause for the centralization of governmental authority. But what these myopic oligarchs refuse to acknowledge is that the radicalization of the middle class was due in large part to the murder by assassination of a well-liked, appreciated and democratically elected President of the US. A cursory review of the history up to and including this Great Crime clearly shows a growing radicalization not of the middle class but of the oligarchs who supported the growth and maintenance of the Nazi fascist membership even after their defeat at the hands of Allied forces.

    Becoming radicalized was the absolute least middle class children could do as a response to not only the Great Crime, but the companion crimes of the assassination of Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Jr, Robert F. Kennedy and Che Guevara. One can readily see the escalation in the use of force to dictate governmental policy by the United States from the murder of Fort Deitrich scientist Frank Olson through the assassinations of the 1960’s.

    What I object to in the tone of the statement is the assumption that I would fail to agree with the judgments of the global elites given the knowledge that they, alone, possess. I do not know that that is true. It is likely, given the manner history has become prologue to the present day, that I would be in sharp disagreement with many globalist policies. But it is premature to suggest that well-educated, thinking people could fail to agree on goals that should serve to secure mutual survival.

  3. That was, “I do NOT support simple majority rule.” Sorry.

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