The arrest of Wikileaks founder mr Assange has sparked much debate about freedom of speech and the way governments run their business. Now the fact that mr Assange has been arrested (and is likely to be extradited to Sweden on an alleged rape charge) we can see that rumors do not just spark, opinions are very much divided and many people have stong feelings about this case. Is the rape charge not just simply a cover up to stop Wikileaks and make readers believe they are baddies? Is Wikileaks not just another form of terrorism? What is it really that needs protecting?
Only the ignorant believe that military and political groups are there to protect our safety. Think about this carefully. Does anything really need protecting at all? If there's nothing to hide then there should be no problems in the information coming to the surface, so why have this existing system anyway. Who does it really benefit?
(Note: I'm not advocating going on a rampage of deliberately releasing information without thinking through what the impact will be. The debate here is not so much politics or individuals/idealistic groups but very much Ethics.)
It looks that the way Politics have been run is changing: with online media available to practically everyone on the planet, news spreads like wild fire. Trying to control this would be a mistake and only leads to one action: either severe conflict to try and gain control again (a very old school approach) or perhaps it would be novelty to start afresh by being transparent. This openness could mean that we all could accept that we are indeed all earthlings instead of sticking to our little individual agendas. Short term thinking and ego driven actions are simply on the way out. The new flavor of the day is a strong desire for genuine behavior build on mutual respect and trust.
The danger today is that all of us are still looked upon as potential terrorists. At airports we are screened, soon iris photos will be taken to identify everyone and unless we say no you can bet on it they will come up with a way to convince us all that having a chip injected under your skin would be so beneficial to your health and protection. (Flu injections anyone?) More and more people wake up and clue in on the fact what is really happening around us. We have started to realize how things work: what we are told daily (what we are fed) and we get an idea on the vast enormity on what we are not.
We are choosing a new way to look at things, a new way to run our own lives and do this respectfully and transparently. Wikileaks may have done this in a very controversial manner. The fact it touches so many nerves should tell us something. Perhaps one day in the future we can say that the reason this happened because it sparked the debate that was needed to move forward and clean up our act. Governments will find they will have to change tack, as their people simply do not wish to participate in the old ways anymore. The world has become too small for that.
From today's 'the New York Times':
"Mr. Assange depicted WikiLeaks as a proponent of what he termed scientific journalism, which “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?” he wrote. “Democratic societies need a strong media, and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The media helps keep government honest.” (...)
As of Monday night, the group had released fewer than 1,000 of the quarter-million State Department cables it had obtained, reportedly from a low-ranking Army intelligence analyst.
So far, the group has moved cautiously. The whole archive was made available to five news organizations, including The New York Times. (...)
Justice Department prosecutors have been struggling to find a way to indict Mr. Assange since July, when WikiLeaks made public documents on the war in Afghanistan. But while it is clearly illegal for a government official with a security clearance to give a classified document to WikiLeaks, it is far from clear that it is illegal for the organization to make it public. (...)
In recent months, WikiLeaks gave the entire collection of cables to four European publications — Der Spiegel in Germany, El País in Spain, Le Monde in France and The Guardian. The Guardian shared the cable collection with The New York Times. (...) The five publications have announced no plans to make public all the documents. WikiLeaks’ intentions remain unclear."
From excellent shirky.com:
"Over the long haul, we will need new checks and balances for newly increased transparency — Wikileaks shouldn’t be able to operate as a law unto itself anymore than the US should be able to. In the short haul, though, Wikileaks is our Amsterdam. Whatever restrictions we eventually end up enacting, we need to keep Wikileaks alive today, while we work through the process democracies always go through to react to change. If it’s OK for a democracy to just decide to run someone off the internet for doing something they wouldn’t prosecute a newspaper for doing, the idea of an internet that further democratizes the public sphere will have taken a mortal blow."
Further news on this story: 10th Dec:
Great read on Wired.com:
- About EasyDNS, a company accused and backlashed for supporting Wikileaks and then pulling the plug; alas they were confused with a similarly named company. Now they do support Wikileaks. The story: click here
- Dutch teen of 16 arrested for aiding Wikileaks. About how Wikileaks is organized and who works for them: groupforming. Read more here.
Further news: Reuters: 15th December: