Wikileaks, Media, Freedom of Speech, & Legitmacy of Government

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From The Guardian – Julian Assange answers your questions:

Julian Assange:

The west has fiscalised its basic power relationships through a web of contracts, loans, shareholdings, bank holdings and so on. In such an environment it is easy for speech to be “free” because a change in political will rarely leads to any change in these basic instruments. Western speech, as something that rarely has any effect on power, is, like badgers and birds, free. In states like China, there is pervasive censorship, because speech still has power and power is scared of it. We should always look at censorship as an economic signal that reveals the potential power of speech in that jurisdiction.

Via The American Conservative blog‘s Jim Bovard – WikiLeaks: Best Thumbnail Retort to Govt. Officials; from The Guardian – Letters: Fallout from the WikiLeaks files;

• If all our emails, however personal, are to become subject to the scrutiny of the government, why shouldn’t all the government’s emails, however sensitive, become subject to the scrutiny of us? If we can’t plot to blow up the Houses of Parliament without their knowledge, why can they and Saudi Arabia plot to blow up Iran without ours?
Allan Baker
Kettering, Northamptonshire

From The Atlantic’s David Samuels – The Shameful Attacks on Julian Assange:

The true importance of Wikileaks — and the key to understanding the motivations and behavior of its founder — lies not in the contents of the latest document dump but in the technology that made it possible, which has already shown itself to be a potent weapon to undermine official lies and defend human rights.

… an estimated 854,000 people now hold top secret clearance – more than 1.5 times the population of Washington, D.C. “The top-secret world the government created in response to the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, has become so large, so unwieldy and so secretive,” the Post concluded, “that no one knows how much money it costs, how many people it employs, how many programs exist within it or exactly how many agencies do the same work.”

The result of this classification mania is the division of the public into two distinct groups: those who are privy to the actual conduct of American policy, but are forbidden to write or talk about it, and the uninformed public, which becomes easy prey for the official lies exposed in the Wikileaks documents…

It is a fact of the current media landscape that the chilling effect of threatened legal action routinely stops reporters and editors from pursuing stories that might serve the public interest – and anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or lying…

Even as he criticizes the evident failures of the mainstream press, Assange insists that Wikileaks should facilitate traditional reporting and analysis. “We’re the step before the first person (investigates),” he explained, when accepting Amnesty International’s award for exposing police killings in Kenya. “Then someone who is familiar with that material needs to step forward to investigate it and put it in political context. Once that is done, then it becomes of public interest.”

Wikileaks is a powerful new way for reporters and human rights advocates to leverage global information technology systems to break the heavy veil of government and corporate secrecy that is slowly suffocating the American press. The likely arrest of Assange in Britain on dubious Swedish sex crimes charges has nothing to do with the importance of the system he has built, and which the US government seems intent on destroying with tactics more appropriate to the Communist Party of China

From Patrick J. Buchanan at The American Conservative blog

Not since Leon Trotsky began publishing the secrets of the Romanov archives in 1918 has there been a more devastating leak of diplomatic documents than this week’s WikiLeaks dump…

How is it that, thus far, only PFC Bradley Manning has been apprehended?

Who vetted Manning? Is it possible one 22-year-old with a computer and disks can get access to, download and transfer to anti-Americans the entire correspondence of the Department of State with U.S. embassies?

Some 250,000 documents — thousands classified as confidential, secret and “no foreign” distribution — were thieved.

Who was in charge of securing those secrets? Why have heads not rolled? What has happened to the idea of accountability?

Via Mish; Salon’s Glen Greenwald – The Moral Standards of WikLeaks Critics:

What about the most destructive “anarchic exercise in ‘freedom'” the planet has known for at least a generation:  the “human disaster” known as the attack on Iraq, which [critic] Klein supported?  That didn’t result in the imprisonment of “a single foreign national,” but rather the deaths of more than 100,000 innocent human beings, the displacement of millions more, and the destruction of a country of 26 million people.  Are those who supported that “anarchic exercise in ‘freedom'” — or at least those responsible for its execution — also “criminals who should be in jail”?

From Mike “Mish” Shedlock’s Global Economic Analysis blog – Why We Have Leaks:

No one has bothered to tackle the question why we have security problems and leaks.

I will tell you why: The US has troops in 140 countries around the world, we arrogantly go where we have no vested interest going, we support corrupt regimes when it suits our purposes, we follow the asinine creed “the enemy of our enemy is our friend”, and we believe we – and we alone – act as the moral authority to be the world’s policeman.

When you do that you make enemies. When you make enemies you create security problems.

Instead of addressing WHY we make enemies, we setup sham terrorist organizations like the Department of Homeland Security whose efforts make us less secure.
Instead of addressing fundamental problems we want to stop leaks.

I will tell you how to stop leaks: Don’t do stupid things! Stop trying to be the world’s policeman. Prosecute fraud. – list of WikiLeaks mirror sites

This entry was posted in Accountability, Civil Disobedience, Civil Rights & Liberties, Culture & Entertainment, Media, Solutions. Bookmark the permalink.

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