zizek20_Jack TaylorGetty Images_assange Jack Taylor/Getty Images

Without Whistleblowers, the West Is Lost

The biggest threat to Western democracies is not Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and the transparency that he represents. It is the nihilism and self-indulgence that have come to characterize their politics.

LJUBLJANA – Earlier this month, CNN reported that a British court has denied Wikileaks founder Julian Assange “permission to appeal an order to extradite him to the United States, where he faces criminal charges under the Espionage Act.” Although Assange’s legal team will continue to explore its options, the snare around his neck is clearly tightening. Time is not on his side. The US and British authorities who are pursuing him can afford to wait for any remaining public interest in his case to dwindle in the face of wars, climate change, anxiety about artificial intelligence, and other global issues.

But if we want to manage such challenges, we will need people like Assange. Who else will expose all the abuses and inconvenient truths that those in power want to keep secret – be it war crimes or social-media companies’ internal findings about what their platforms are doing to teen girls?

The recent small-scale drone attack on the Kremlin is a case in point. While the Ukrainian government denied any involvement (attributing it to the Russian opposition forces), Russian President Vladimir Putin promptly denounced it as a “terrorist act,” and some Western observers complained that the Ukrainians were pushing the war too far. But what actually happened? The fact that we do not know means that events are playing out under a dangerous fog of war.

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