Of course, Wikileaks supporters will tell you that the repressive apparatus of the government is bothered by being exposed. And Wikileaks foes will tell you that finally they're doing something about it!
As usual, the truth is more complex. Mr Assante had, in the past, published documents that jeopardized lives by revealing military secrets. At that point, he was considered a nuisance and dangerous, but not to the point of provoking coordinated action. Assante claims that he is exposing the secrets in order to promote transparency and accountability in government. Interesting enough however, all his exposes were mostly of western, and specifically American military and diplomatic secrets. Yet some believe that this last time he crossed a red line.
Countries around the world will always have conflicting interests because resources are limited and each government wants control of them. Because of that, Human Civilization invented Diplomacy. What is Diplomacy? War by peaceful means - a War of words, based on sharing only the amount and type of information each country wishes to share to advance their own agenda. But part of an effective Diplomacy is also to know the people you talk with. Generally speaking, Diplomatic representatives of Country "A" in Country "B" will send cables to their government evaluating the government, society, and leaders of Country "B", so those in charge of developing the Diplomatic startegy can take that into account. Many times, the rulers of Country "B" will tell some things to Diplomats of Country "A" that they cannot say publicly but they want the leaders of Country "A" to know. It is a game of smoke and mirrors, truths, half truths and lies that keep countries engaged in a relationship.
So what happens if the rules of Diplomacy don't work anymore? Like in any other game, when the rules are made nule and void, the players get antsy and tend to distrust the other players. If we are talking about Football or Baseball is one things, but when we talk about Diplomacy the consequences can be daunting.
If the Diplomatic game between governments breaks down, what's left to protect each contry's interests? - Force, up to and including open Warfare with all its ugly consequences of death and destruction. Diplomacy exists to keep the confrontation of interests in the level of War of Words instead of War of Swords (or bombs).
In its latest release, Mr Assante released a large number of documents in which some leaders made frank comments about other leaders, thus by releasing them generated offense and distrust and seriously disrupted the ability of those leaders to talk to each other.
There are also consequences for leaders who shared information they don't want to be public, like the Saudi King calling for military intervention in Iran. The release of that information puts the Monarch in a very difficult domestic position and damages his position in the Arab world.
Mr Assante would like all deals to be open and frank, but some degree of deception and secrecy helps to keep countries away from their weapons and keeps the game of international relations working as an oiled (albeit sometimes not too well-oiled) machine. Take away the Diplomatic game and you get chaos and anarchy on the international level. And Anarchy is not good for anybody's bussines...
So the leader of the world for the first time in a very long time were united in implementing measures to stop WikiLeaks in order to keeping international relationships from deteriorating, and private companies such as PayPal, Visa and Mastercard joined in the action to protect their own bussiness (war can be disruptive, in case you didn't know)
But those who support Mr Assante mounted a concerted attack on Paypal, Visa and Mastercard to force them to change their policies and again start processing payments and donations to Mr Assante, with short-lived relatively successful attacks.
I'm all for transparency and accountability, but I believe we need to respect some boundaries that prevent the slide into open violence; and that is truth not only in the international level but also in interpersonal relations. What if somebody could read our minds and share with those we work or those we live with every single thing we think? How many marriages would survive? How many partnerships? How many organizations?
If Mr Assante would have focused on exposing malpractice of government and abuse of power or violations of individual rights, he would have had my support. As it is, I'm siding with the "powerful individuals" who wants to preserve Peace...Sorry, I think I'm just being practical...:)