Monday, December 6, 2010

WikiLeaks: Whistleblower – or Terrorist?

WikiLeaks, who recently released a tsunami of classified documents, now finds itself running for cover as it a web host shut them down and even a Swiss bank appears to have frozen WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s legal defense fund. WikiLeaks has found others to help them keep the classified information out there by the use of mirror sites.

Is this a case of a whistleblower being persecuted – or a case of a terrorist being shut off from those tools he uses to inflict harm on others? Newspapers in the past have covered controversial stories that involve classified information. The difference with the news media is that they don’t encourage the theft of classified documents in order to further their stories. In the case of WikiLeaks, it seems that Assange gets his information from documents that are not obtained legally. It seems that Assange has no concern for the fall out to military forces or the people that could be harmed by the release of government secrets.

While I would love to have a government that is completely transparent, I also live in a real world where sometimes people don’t have – or need - to know every single detail of what their government, and key elected or appointed officials, are doing

It’s important to note that Assange is also wanted to Sweden for alleged sex crimes and, as a result, has been in hiding. For someone who expects he can expose government confidential documents to make government officials look bad, as of this writing he hasn’t himself been able to step up to face the accusations being made against him. According to "He has also said he believes that the sex-crime accusations — which, media reports in Sweden suggest, are not violent in nature — are politically motivated." The whole mess is complicated, to be sure. In my opinion, Assange is the one who looks guilty of politically motivated attacks. Let’s not forget his stunt when, in 2008 WikiLeaks posted emails that were obtained by hacking into Sarah Palin’s email account. Despite the fact that I have a low opinion of Palin, I thought that it was pretty low for WikiLeaks to publish her private email information. Now really, what value did that have? That should have been the first indication that Assange’s motives were not a squeaky clean as he may want others to think.

Right now, I’m of the opinion that Assange is more terrorist than whistleblower, more troublemaker than problem solver. Should WikiLeaks be shut down? If it is publishing documents obtained illegally and/or through espionage, yes WikiLeaks should be shut down. If Assange can uncover information using legal or ethical methods, then sure, I think he should be allowed to post whatever he wants. Somehow, I don’t think he has the ability to do the latter.

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1 comment:

Akshay Laddhad said...

I dont agree with u.. let me give u example : I am bribing a politican, it is a know fact for only 2 ppl.. but it should be known to the world, that this politican is a criminal.. and to bring this out we need hidden camera, though its attack on privacy of 2 ppl... Assange is acting like a Cop on criminals.