activism current affairs politics

In support of Wikileaks

Over the last ten days, we’ve learned that the US has instructed its ambassadors to spy on UN personnel. On the other hand, the US has been a moderating voice in the Middle East, amidst calls for attacks on Iran. We know that the CIA snatched a German ‘terror suspect’ in Macedonia, and that the US had to lean on Germany not to go public and issue international arrest warrants against the CIA operatives. We know that China has recruited a large cyber-warfare unit. (BBC summary of Wikileaks revelations here)

Are we better off knowing these things? Undoubtedly.

We’ve also heard all kinds of pointless tittle-tattle about what politicians think of each other. This isn’t so useful, although we do now know that Prince Andrew is soft on corruption and should be sacked as a trade envoy.

In return for this public service, Wikileaks has lost its servers in the US. Its DNS address has been withdrawn, meaning it can no longer be found at wikileaks.org, and all links to it are nullified. US government employees have been banned from viewing the site, and international relations students at Colombia University have been warned that discussing Wikileaks online could harm their job prospects.

Over the weekend Wikileaks lawyers said that they were being followed and had people watching them from cars in the street. Things were worse for the public face of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, as right wing politicians call for him to be executed or even assassinated.

All of this confirms the need for Wikileaks in the first place. Theirs is an important and urgent task, unmasking vested interests, exposing corruption and war crime, bringing truth into the public domain. It keeps politicians honest, and gives us a line of accountability on the political elite. It’s not hard to see why so many people want it shut down, and I hope it survives 2011.

Wikileaks isn’t perfect. It’s scrappy and too open to interpretation, releasing vital information and trivia side by side. I’d much rather see good investigative journalism, where each story can be told in its full context. But that takes time and dedication, and most news networks are unwilling to invest in it. I also think Assange has made a mis-step in going public. This year he has become an international figure, hero to some and pariah to others. By becoming the ‘face’ of Wikileaks, he becomes a very human target. If he is discredited, the Wikileaks network will be too.

One day Wikileaks won’t be necessary. But until government is transparent and the media is independent, Wikileaks have my support.

15 comments

  1. WikiLeaks

    What brilliant work, they and you have my full support. We go to war on lies, kill thousands of innocent people and then wonder why there are terrorists.
    I know what I’d become if someone did that to my family.

    The more we know about the idiots that run our countries the better.

  2. Jeremy,

    I agree entirely! It is a pity that we need such a site, but it has served the public well and hopefully can continue to do so. The price of freedom is eternal vigilance, so it is utterly required that a free society have a means such as this to keep it’s representative government honest.

    Cheers,
    Joshua

  3. I often wondered what it would be like to live during witch-hunt’s like McCarthyism and now it seems I know. I’m actually waiting for the first green ‘terrorist’ to sabotage a coal power station and then everyone who supports social justice or environmental causes will become green Nazi terrorists. I wonder as things get bad from climate, Peak Oil and GFC’s it won’t so much be a war of civilizations but one between Liberals and Conservatives & Libertarians in the US with some spill over elsewhere.

    1. I’m actually waiting for the first green ‘terrorist’ to sabotage a coal power station
      You haven’t been following news in the UK for the last couple of years then?

    2. I don’t live there and even though I do check the BBC news regularly and sometimes the Guardian I cannot catch everything.

    3. Fair enough. The short version is that at least two attempts to close down coal power stations have occurred over the last couple of years. The first was at Kingsnorth and the protesters ended up being acquitted after expert testimony from James Hansen and various others. The second group were all arrested the day before the action was to occur since there was a police spy amongst them. The trials that came out of this incident have been much more confusing, largely because they revealed the presence and actions of the spy, who may well have been acting as an agent provocateur, and who has since fled the police and it is somewhat ambiguous as to whether he may have “gone native” after he offered to testify on behalf of some of those accused. Some in the media have indeed sought to demonise the activists and their supporters in just the way you have mentioned.

  4. It’s kinda true that Assange seems like a witch hunted by the western governments to be burned later. I just hope wikileaks continues its great work.

  5. Maybe a good thing ….

    We NEED proper steering mechanism to survive the global society we created with technology. Transparancy/involvism is needed. It’s urgend, at this moment our society has an obsolete 200 years old steering mechanism. How can a few wise people understand these complex global issues pending ?

    Would we have gone to Iraq over Weapons of mass destruction is we were part of the diplomatic cable discussion ?
    Better of with more transparency ? Credit Crises / Cable gate shows governments are not so much in control of the global society.
    Wasn’t it work of the press to tell us the truth ?

    At least the cork out of the bottle. Fact is that secrets are harder to keep anno 2010.
    Shutting down is naive. Discuss it is the only option.. Come on free press, have vision ..take the lead.

  6. I am conflicted over this. The anarcho-libertarian in me delights to see the usual control by the state disintegrate in the connected age. But part f me wonders if there is just too much self-righteousness here. How would I feel if my private correspondence was given to the people I was discussing? Am I pure in this area?

    Also, who judges what is in the public interest? Why should stolen information not be subject to the same morality as everything else? Is it moral to take this information and publish it?

    What if a so-called site of interest, in which entirely innocent people are working is bombed by those opposed to US policy because it is now in the public domain and is an easier target than a US military one? Is having that information in the public domain justified?

    I honestly don’t know if this is right or not.

    1. True, I don’t know what WikiLeaks were doing publishing the list of sites. They maintain that they are all in the public domain already, but then why publish them? Not sure what they were playing at there.

  7. Wikileaks billboard going up in Los Angeles via supporters’ pledges…Wikileaks billboard going up in Los Angeles via supporters’ pledges…

    I have been following your page and articles for quite a while and really respect what you are doing for the Wikileaks/Julian Assange cause. I recently found and donated $20 to Wikileaks campaign where a group of supporters such as myself are trying to raise money to put up a billboard in Los Angeles…

    http://epicstep.com/campaign/95/support-wikileaks/

    Wikileaks apparently really liked the campaign as they have already promoted the campaign on their twitter and facebook page, with a direct link for supporters to pledge to the billboard.

    I wasn’t sure if you guys had already heard about this, so I wanted to reach out to you to try to push the movement even further. I know you have a ton of dedicated readers and subscribers, and I assume it would be of much interest to expose them to this campaign if they have not already read or heard about it. Thank you in advance for taking the time to read this. Keep rockin’ guys! Your unwavering support of the Wikileaks cause inspires us all.

    – Cynthia Hawtin

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