Wikileaks Under Fire

After revealing classified American state secrets, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange faces a heap of trouble.

He was asked to resign from his job at the Pentagon. A Swiss bank froze his assets and bank account. And this morning he was arrested on allegations of rape, which Assange insists is part of a smear campaign. “I have been accused of treason, even though I am an Australian, not a US citizen.”

In his article from The Australian, Assange says that democratic societies need strong media and that Wikileaks is part of this media. He coins the term ‘scientific journalism.’ Assange writes, ‘Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?’

I wrote about this concept for my final report in a journalism class. My research pointed to a future of journalistic transparency where news stories would be linked to original documents, interviews etc. In this way, readers could see the hard facts for themselves.

Wikileaks has been a forerunner in this concept. But the world’s governments and corporate powers that be have exercised their power and influence in an attempt to curtail Wikileaks.

The public outcry that springs from its periodic leaks has embarrassed politicians and demonized the American military. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the leaks put “people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems.”

Now, some are biting back at Wikileaks. Amazon.com banned Wikileaks from its servers while Mastercard and Paypal have withdrawn their financial services. China moved to block Wikileaks from its servers and governments across the globe have engaged in distributed denial of service attacks – cyber attacks that  prevent access to Wikileaks.org.

Wikileaks fans have swarmed to support the controversial site, agreeing to host Wikileaks with a slew of mirrors. Essentially, they are providing their personal servers to run Wikileaks and keep it accessible to the public.

Information wants to be free. Should governments have the right to hide information from its people? Should they try to squash whistleblowers? Was it right for the media to edit and redact leaks before revealing them to the public?

~I’ll try to post a video with further commentary soon.

‎”If a war is justified, then tell the truth and the people will decide whether to support it.” Julian Assange, Dec 7 2010


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One Response to Wikileaks Under Fire

  1. Nick says:

    An excellent post, Bryan. I think this provides a succinct summary of situation. It occurred to me that although Assange speaks and writes quite a bit about his motivations and philosophies, the media rarely conveys them. That quote you finished with is powerful. Funny that it should be so controversial of an opinion, though.

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