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Julian Assange publishes the first WikiLeak
The following is a dramatized interpretation of a real event.
I’m sitting in front of my laptop, staring endlessly at the screen. My index finger hovers over the return key.
For months, I’ve worked with a team of independent journalists to uncover far-reaching government secrets. We sifted through thousands of documents, piecing together a portrait of corruption so vast, it would make the staunchest skeptic question their reality.
And now, we have the first verified leak. A message from a Somali rebel leader encouraging the use of a hired gunman to assassinate a key government official. This will be the first of many smoking guns.
I hesitate, thinking over the consequences of what I’m about to do. Will this cause societal breakdown? Mass protest? State sanctioned massacre?
I know we will face severe backlash, perhaps even imprisonment, for exposing the truth. But our duty as journalists is to shine a light on injustice, no matter the cost. World governments have never been transparent with their citizens. After what I’m about to show them, how will anyone believe state propaganda again?
Every time we consume information, we are being exposed to some form of propaganda. The question is not whether propaganda exists, but how it operates, who controls it, and to what end. It's not just what you say, but what you don't say. It's not just the words you use, but the images, the sounds, the emotions you evoke. It shapes our perceptions, our beliefs, our values, our behavior. It justifies our illegal wars and demonizes our invented enemies. It is used to create a false sense of consensus, to erase history, to control the future.
With Wikileaks, all that changes. We will flex our right to communicate, our right to speak what we believe, our right to receive information from others.
Many will paint us as just another disinformation racket. A clever gimmick to scare the elderly into buying more gold bars. A doom and gloom website with a two-bit conspiracy theorist at the helm.
But for those who are able to see through the propaganda, we will serve as an invaluable tool for truth. They may silence us, but they’ll never be able to stop what we’ve started. Our foundations are fiber optic cable lines stretching across the ocean floor, satellites spinning above our heads, computer servers housed in cities from New York to Nairobi.
Like the soldier who slew Archimedes with a mere sword, so too could we redirect the course of Western civilization.
We must use this tool to articulate the choice that is before the government of the United States of America. Will it return to and reaffirm the values it was founded on, or will it lurch off the precipice dragging us all into an oppressive world, in which journalists fall silent under the fear of prosecution and citizens must whisper in the dark?
I exhale and click “publish.”
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