Some years ago, Pavel Stroilov was able to "liberate" between 50,000 and 100,000 pages of top secret Communist Party documents from the Gorbachev Foundation, some of which he put to good use in his book Behind the Desert Storm, some of which Vladimir Bukovsky has put to good use in his forthcoming book Judgment in Moscow.
After Julian Assange was seized today in London, I asked Pavel, who lives in the UK, for his thoughts.
He emailed me the following.
I think it's been pretty treacherous; and he [Assange] is indisputably a political prisoner.
Left-wing as he is, my sympathies are on the side of a rebel for the freedom of information, not on the side of protecting state secrecy.
If those secrets could be entrusted to people like Obama, there is no case for keeping them from the public.