The World

Dec 1, 2010

Rundle: the GFC, Wikileaks collide … and the world just shifted

Two massive processes have come into collision -- the second wave of the global financial crisis, breaking strongly in Europe, hitting WikiLeaks' rolling wave of information storms, changing the relationship between state and power.

Guy Rundle — Correspondent-at-large

Guy Rundle


As the WikiLeaks cablegate (WL-CG) revelations continue to roll out, the mood of defiance grows in Ireland, with calls for “default”, for an immediate election, or for a citizens assembly coming from ever wider quarters. The euro has failed to lift on the market, suggesting that the vicious austerity package, has failed to convince. Down the road in Trafalgar Square, in the first snow of the year, the students are fighting a running battle with the cops, who are trying to kettle them around Nelson’s column. Interpol has issued a warrant for Julian Assange, based on the warrant issued by the Swedish courts on r-pe allegations.

The European Commission is investigating monopoly price fixing practices by Google, showing surprising backbone. The spotlight is on China, after WL-CG revelations that China had expressed the wish that Korea be reunified under Seoul. Now, joining revelations that the Arab world wants a strike on Iran, is confirmation that the US knows of official Saudi funding links to al-Qaeda, and that the US feels that Pakistan is a larger problem than Afghanistan in the propagation of terror.

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25 thoughts on “Rundle: the GFC, Wikileaks collide … and the world just shifted

  1. nicolino

    The alacrity with which the Washington branch office in Canberra pursues Assange will indicate the sensitivity of the issue. The AFP/ASIO plods will be working overtime to pin something on him.We just can’t keep offending the Empire with one of our passport holders can we!

  2. Meski

    He hasn’t leaked anything embarrassing about Australia… Very wise. Good column, too, Guy.

  3. John Boyd

    Surely we grown-ups can do without the moronic use of the suffix ‘-gate’ to refer to some perceived shonkiness. The nature of the offence in this case is not remotely the same as the original case, whihc was not even a suffix.

  4. Peter Bayley

    Haven’t you heard – WikiLeaks has now been (practically) declared a terrorist organisation. Actually, with Wikipedia’s definition of terrorism as “The systematic use of terror as a means of coercion” I think I understand the connection – they’re terrified that this WikiLeaks thingy might become popular.

    I agree we are at an interesting cusp in history – what with the developing nations now hearing a range of opinions, and gradually getting a voice, whether their governments agree or not. I predict a huge push by the Big End to try and grab control of the Internet – something similar to RIAA / DRM arguments will come into play and it will be a bitter and drawn-out fight. The US government is, for all practical purposes, now owned by Corporate America so I would predict initial moves to control the Internet to come from there.

    Now I’m hoping some leakers in countries other than the US have a go at sending WikiLeaks the good oil – of course, they will typically have more on the line in doing so – including their lives.

    In the mean time, I am eagerly look forward to the belated Christmas present that WikiLeaks will be giving some largish Wall St corporation in the New Year

  5. CML

    Are we witnessing the beginning of the ”little people’s” revolution – Mark 2? Especially if Wiki-leaks is going to tell us what really went on in Wall Street during 2007/08. Sort of the second coming of Bastille Day? Or how to get your own back without peeing against the wind!!!
    Can’t wait!

  6. MichaelT

    I like the way Guy has linked the latest wave of the GFC and the anarchist assault on the nation state by Wikileaks and the WWW community.

    At the same time, I don’t think we should underestimate the power of the nation state to strike back via terrorist laws and internal restrcition of information. The US will obviously refrain from sending sensitive diplomatic cables to everyone on the payroll of the whole US govenrment is future.

    The Chinese have rolled back the power of the net quite successfully so far, and other countries may follow suit.

  7. Moving to Paraguay

    It’s a powerful argument, and I’m very grateful that there’s someone like Guy to articulate the bigger picture. So the picture is that in recent times the state became a purely economic venture, detaching itself from the business of articulating any collective identity. And now Wikileaks arises as a way of opening the secret halls of state business to the people, just at the time that the weakness of the economy has de-legitimised the neoliberal state.

    Or is this just a transitional phase of a new style of transnational capitalism, Empire 2.0, that operates independently of the state. Its legitimacy is found in the kind of Wikileaks anarcho-hacker mentality which sits neatly with the contemporary consumer, seeking a world unmediated by specialists, like editors, journalists or professors. From this emerges the über info-corporations of Google, Fox and Apple.

    Rather than abandoning the state, the only solution seems to be strengthening inter-governmental structures, like the UN and Kyoto Protocol, that maintain a sense of global cooperation. With that, it’s just rock’n roll. It’s fun for a while to dance on the wall, but wouldn’t it be better to build a bridge?

  8. Richard Wilson

    Without Wikileaks and the other brave independent journos around the world, the public would know even less than they presently do about what is really going on.

    As for Ireland listen here to Jim Corrs (Corrs pop group) speaking from the heart and pleading with his people to rise up against the global banking cartel that has put his country into penury (lifetime debt serrcvitude in other words) with not so much as a whimper from most of their representatives. Don’t expect any more from our lot by the way.

    If Wikileaks receives the support it deserves the people responsible for this global mess will have to go back into their holes for a while and let the public get on with rebuilding their lives without fearing every cent they have is being stolen from them without their even being aware.
    Anyway here is Jim Corrs:

  9. Tim nash

    Wiki-Leaks.. is nice but it never seems to give you the kinda leak that is a ground breaking suprise.
    Theres corruption in Afganistan.. mm not really a big suprise.
    China wants peace in korea… well why not..I wouldent want a kid with a hand full of nuclear missles and a bad temper on my doorstep either..even if he was a friend back in the day.
    Second wave of gfc….well it was hard to see how shoveling a truck load of money from country to country to save debt laden contries was really going to do anything besides make more problems for everyone.

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