This post was originally posted on Freedom4All, you can view the original in the Freedom4all archive
WikiLeaks continue to dump more classified material into the Public Domain on a daily basis. There’s still nothing of real interest contained within, but the various reactions to this disclosure is quite interesting.
Spokesman Julian Assange has an outstanding Interpol Warrant in relation to accusations of rape. Amazon have once again booted Wikileaks from their cloud, Wikileak’s DNS provider has outed them and PayPal have suspended the account used to receive donations.
So, what effect has this had on Wikileaks right to Free Speech?
In reality, very little. Wikileaks was quickly moved to new servers in Sweden following Amazon’s decision, and the loss of EveryDNS’s service caused disruption for no more than a few hours.
Loss of their PayPal account may cause a few issues further down the line, but the reality is that there’s always a way to receive donations.
Even if Assange were to be convicted and imprisoned for the alleged rapes, the Wikileaks train would continue to roll on. The huge amount of publicity generated recently is sure to have enlisted a great deal of support, especially with conspiracy theories circulating that the US Government is behind the DDoS attacks targeting the whistleblowing site.
Whats it all about?
There’s an awful lot of fuss going on about Wikileak’s disclosure, but it’s not entirely clear why. So far, the content published to Wikileaks (in this latest tranche) contains very little useful information. There’s a few embarrassing facts in there, but nothing of real interest.
The Internet is rife with speculation that perhaps Wikileaks have yet to publish the truly earth shattering content, especially given the fuss the US Government is making. Whilst it is a possibility, it seems unlikely that anything of that gravity would be contained within a Diplomatic cable.
Until all the documents have been published, there’s no way to know whether Wikileaks are bluffing or if they truly have an ace up their sleeve. One thing’s for certain however; nothing is likely to stop publication.
Is there any point?
Whilst much of the world gets excited about the banalities of these cables, we here at Freedom4All cannot help but think that this wasted effort could be better used elsewhere. With numerous abusive regimes around the world, why are we not seeing leaked documents from these countries? Why are Wikileaks not leaking documents showing the abuses that happen in China, Somalia, North Korea and the many other Humanitarian bombsites around the world?
We cannot be the only ones who find it difficult to find excitement in a document describing Putin as ‘Batman‘ when we know that elsewhere in the world people are being mistreated for daring to speak their minds.
Wikileaks have shown a willingness to publish classified documents, but yet they fail to focus their efforts on areas that require these efforts most. Worse, Wikileaks do not always take the care to redact identifiable information (we gather the latest tranche are well redacted however) and so put the lives of informants at direct risk.
Supporters of Wikileaks often dismiss this as ‘collateral damage’, as if this somehow makes it OK. The ability to read a classified document should never, ever, be worth more than a single human life. Effort should be maintained to protect the identities of those who seek to help our forces/Government.
Until Wikileaks can begin to redress these issues, they’ll continue to become less and less relevant to the world we live in. Even the ‘name’ assigned to this latest tranche of disclosure does nothing more than highlight the egotistical nature of the site: cablegate. The very name pre-supposes that this will be a scandal of huge proportion, yet all we here can see is some waffle with a bit of name calling.
Should they be taken down?
We quite strongly believe that some of Wikileaks’ actions and policies could endanger the lives of people around the world. However, we are also avid supporters of Freedom of Speech which conflicts quite drastically with any call to take Wikileaks offline.
The reality is, we’ve never had full Freedom of Speech, there are some things which you are just not permitted to say. As much as we value Freedom of Speech, human life is worth more. If Wikileaks are unable to exercise their right to Freedom of Speech without endangering lives then perhaps they do need to be taken offline (not that it’s actually possible).
It’s a pity, because with the right focus and motivation, Wikileaks could become a force for good around the world (and they have done in the past). Unfortunately, they seem to be playing the Public Relations game instead of focusing on the bigger picture.
Not that we’re advocating actual disconnection of Wikileaks, simply hoping that they may start to take more care to protect the identities of those named in their leaked documents.