Nothing that has been revealed is particularly important, but the U.S. government´s reaction to it has been shocking. They seem to be doing their best impersonation of the Chinese Communist Party.
Keep in mind three things:
1. The cables so far have been redacted
2. The cables so far revealed are a tiny fraction of the total cable cache (and so there well may be something pretty bad in there)
3. If the US were acting anything like a totalitarian regime, Assange would be very, very dead right now.
It is unreasonable to expect a government to not defend its own interests, and the fact that Assange isn't dead speaks fairly highly of the comparative restraint of the US government in retaliating. This is not by any means to say that what the US has done (or allegedly done, in the case of the convenient sex crime charges) are right and proper, but just to say that it is a great deal more right and proper than the behavior of basically any other country in a similar situation. I doubt that Assange was naive of the risks he was incurring by doing what he did; that he did it anyway (and acted to protect himself afterward) speaks to some level of acknowledgment that this is a normalized response to such an act.
Good point Ursa. Things ebb and flow. Heck, even Abraham Lincoln suspended Habeas Corpus. I don't think we should view this as a sign that were headed towards a fascist dictatorship, I think we should view it as a sign that we need to call our representatives and let them know they will be out of a job if they try to squelch free speech.
Lovely sentiment, but it clashes with political reality in America. My sense is that the majority of Americans are more than willing to trade freedom for perceived security, so libertarian threats to vote politicians out of office are not taken seriously.
It's actually pretty hard to read the level of libertarian (vs. vanilla conservative) foment in US politics these days. At some point, the "don't touch my junk" and "my country right or wrong" impulses are going to generate some epic, brain-breaking cognitive dissonance. Also, politician's sensitivities to those concerns ebbs and flows; sometimes they are responsive to complaints about such policies, and sometimes they aren't. It depends a great deal on surrounding conditions; if the press starts canonizing Assange, that will give them cover for supporting him. If they don't, no politician will stand next to him or his cause.