The truth shall set you free, but not this truth

As the drama surrounding Julian Assange escalates, it is worth momentarily distinguishing WikiLeaks from its mercurial founder, and instead asking what WikiLeaks itself means today. Thus far, the story has been cast as a struggle between WikiLeaks and the United States empire. The central issue, then, is whether the publishing of confidential state documents is an act in support of the freedom of information, of the people’s right to know, or an act of terrorism[ …]

Good Manners in the Age of WikiLeaks

In one of the diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks Putin and Medvedev are compared to Batman and Robin. It’s a useful analogy: isn’t Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’s organiser, a real-life counterpart to the Joker in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight? In the film, the district attorney, Harvey Dent, an obsessive vigilante who is corrupted and himself commits murders, is killed by Batman. Batman and his friend police commissioner Gordon realise that the city’s morale would suffer[ …]

A Letter Which Did Arrive at its Destination

It was already Franz Kafka who articulated this crisis of paternal authority in all its ambiguity; no wonder that the first impression one gets in reading Kafka’s letter to his father is that there is something missing in it – the final twist along the lines of the parable on the Door of the Law (“This door was here only for you…”): the father’s display of terror and rage is here only for you, you[ …]

Against the Double Blackmail

[Extract. Appeared in New Left Review I/234, March-April 1999] The prize-winner in the contest for the greatest blunder of 1998 was a Latin American patriotic terrorist who sent a letter-bomb to a US consulate in order to protest against the Americans interfering in local politics. As a conscientious citizen, he wrote on the envelope his return address; however, he did not put enough stamps on it, so that the post office returned the letter to[ …]