|By Alan Hall, originally published in the June 2011 Socionomist|
The financial markets have rallied. But in keeping with the larger-degree negative trend in social mood that began in 2000, authoritarianism and the backlash against it continue to grow.
On May 11, a federal grand jury in Virginia began hearing testimony against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange for disclosing diplomatic and military secrets. Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists and a national security expert says the case is a part of a much broader crackdown by the Obama administration. He writes, “By every available measure, the level of domestic intelligence surveillance activity in 2010 increased from the year before, according to a new Justice Department report to Congress on the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act.”1
In an ironic twist, even WikiLeaks—the whistleblower-in-chief—has joined the movement to suppress information flow. The site now requires associates to sign a non-disclosure agreement that “imposes a penalty of 12 million British pounds—nearly $20 million—on anyone responsible for a significant leak of the organization’s unpublished material.”2
This month, on the 40-year anniversary of their initial release, the National Archives published the full 47-volume Pentagon Papers for the first time. The media cited obvious parallels between the 1971 whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg and WikiLeaks founder Assange. However, pundits missed the fact that both episodes occurred early in large-degree bear markets, indicating social-mood declines. One needs the socionomic insight to see that parallel—and the deepening conflict that it implies.■
1Aftergood, S. (2011, May 6). Domestic intelligence surveillance grew in 2010. Secrecy News, Retrieved from http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2011/05/2010_fisa.html on May 24, 2011.
2Poulsen, K. (2011, May 11). Wikileaks threatens its own leaders with $20 million penalty. Wired.com, Retrieved from http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2011/05/nda-wikileaks/ on May 24, 2011.
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