Opponents of Assange, like those of my father, downplay his revelations while demanding his arrest for high crimes
By Patrick Cockburn
"One of the more satisfactory aspects of being a journalist is the discovery that the powerful are hyper-sensitive to any revelation about their activities. The degree of venom and hysteria expressed by the US government in attacking Julian Assange and WikiLeaks reflects this acute sense of vulnerability.
My father, Claud Cockburn, discovered this in 1933 when he left The Times and set up a radical newsletter called The Week, which was a sort of early precursor of Private Eye. His calculation was that there was plenty of information freely circulating in political and diplomatic circles that was hidden from the general public.....
WikiLeaks' publication of diplomatic cables and frontline military reports does not disclose many real secrets, but this should not obscure the vast importance of its revelations. It discloses to everybody, as my father had sought to do in the 1930s, facts and opinions that were previously only known to a few. Over the last six months its revelations have painted a unique picture of the world from the American point of view at a moment when US political, economic and military leadership is under stress as never before.
The embarrassment of the US government is not that it has lost any real secrets but that it can no longer pretend that it does not know about the often criminal actions of its own forces, or the unsavoury actions of its allies."