Thinking About Insurance

It looks very much like Julian Assange is going to walking into the teeth of the legal system. Judging by what we’ve seen thus far, with respect to due process and the rule of law, there is a very good chance that he’s about to disappear. Given that he has already hinted at taking refuge in Ecuador or Switzerland, it seems likely that he’ll not be granted bail, and will be held on remand. Those prison steps are notoriously slippery…

If that is indeed the case, then it’s worth thinking about what might be in the famed ‘insurance file‘. Assuming that said file does contain more damaging revelations than the current crop of diplomatic cables, it becomes a matter of how you’d organise such a file for maximum leverage. The ‘nuclear option’ of unleashing everything all at once is rather blunt. Instead it would be better to have employed a matryoshka doll approach, the initial decryption would reveal more encrypted files, and only reveal enough to get across the seriousness of the material.

Given that current fragile state of the US economy it would make more sense to go after financial institutions than the government – in a corporatist / fascist system the distinction is academic, and it only makes sense to attack the weakest link if you’re at a massive disadvantage. Based on the reaction to current batch of diplomatic disclosures there is very little that could be said that would incite the population of consumerland into direct action.

However, my feeling is that the protection offered by this type of insurance is going to be limited. It all feels too much like the plot of a James Bond movie. When it comes down to it, a member of the judiciary is just not going to be blackmailed – which is effectively what we’re talking about here. Even when the full extent of the potential damage is revealed it doesn’t seem possible that a politician would risk tampering in the legal system in an attempt at limitation.

All of which suggests that unless people start to tread very carefully, things are going to get out of hand really quickly. I’m sure someone in the US realised the value of having this Swedish case, but they are getting really close to overplaying their hand…