Efforts to understand, improve, or do less harm to the world around me.


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wikileaks defense

After the release of diplomatic cables that didn't seem to have anything to do with anything apart from embarrassing the US, I was under the impression that Wikileaks was dedicated simply anti-US sentiment.  The question of how to rebuke or prevent Wikileaks from doing this came up.  However:
  1. Wikileaks itself has not so far broken any laws.  Although laws may have been broken by individuals who leaked the information, Wikileaks has exposed secrets to all, including those who were keeping the secret.  This is journalism, not warfare.
  2. Embarrassing those in power is all leaks have ever done.  Attacks against leaks have always centered around an anti-nation or anti-those-in-power bias.  Wikileaks and its activities are nothing new or unique.
  3. A leak does not have to contain incriminating information.  Ostensibly, the point of leaking information that's subversive, criminal, or immoral is to prevent it or seek justice from who have committed these acts.  Those who are glad that Deep Throat leaked information about Nixon or Daniel Ellis leaked information about the Vietnam War would say those were justified and important leaks.  However, in legal and journalistic terms, its difficult to define a justified or unjustified leak. 
Assage himself has said that he believes he is being separated from association with the press, despite membership in press organizations for many years.  The real danger is that Wikileaks is successfully censored or its members assassinated and that, in the future, terrible crimes will go unreported.

Some have come to the organization's defense:
Others have not.  Possible 2012 Presidential candidates have called Wikileaks director a terrorist (Mike Huckabee) and flip-flopped on his status as good or evil (Sarah Palin).


Note that one of the diplomatic leaks has been about Monsanto's dangerous products, so the issue more than just about embarrassment.  However, the point still stands.

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