Every kind of publishing needs ethical side rails. Sure. You could not forget, as any newspaper article or TV interview these days about the danger of Wikileaks has one main argument of attack: Wikileaks would not check the published documents first, does not take responsibility for its information put out and thus brings people’s lives at risk.
Why this argument is wrong
- Wikileaks has a clean record in this subject in the past years. No collateral damage of the leaks to innocent people are known until today. Be assured that the enemies of Wikileaks would pick any indication of such like hungry wolves.
- Wikileaks DOES process documents first. At this very moment there are only 1’947 of the 250’000 diplomatic US cables published. Other example: Julian Assange’s insurance file: 1.4 gigabyte of unpublished documents. If they would be without responsibility they could publish all of this immediately.
- Wikileaks does not fabricate documents. Any state or company that creates potentially harmful information has its own duty to protect it. If it leaks, there is most often a reason, and most of the time it is not an act of revenge by the whistleblower but of personal relief.
Why this argument is hypocritical
Wikileaks has already brought to public some catastrophic crimes (just see the collateral murder video) by the governments and the military-industrial complex. We are dealing here with covered, officially conducted murder, torture, fraud, lying to the public and so on. If you put these crimes in relation to any irresponsibility Wikileaks might have done or will ever do, the argument is not only disproportional but hypocritical. Information does not kill, people kill.
There are others who think that international relationships need secrecy. These people should really ask themselves why they need secrecy and what they have to hide. There is no reason why honesty and trueness should be limited to the private. If you cannot stand by your opinion and actions, don’t do them! You call this a naive position because the outer circumstances of human interactions needs deceitfulness? Then mainstream brainwash has done its effect. We are humans, we can achieve almost everything we can imagine.
Julian Assange is not a saint…
…but nevertheless a gift to humanity as a whole. There are voices who say that he does not live up to his own ideals, being egomanic and running Wikileaks in an absolutistic and completely intransparent way. After having followed many interviews with him my intuition tells me that he is very intelligent and real, but also very uncompromising on the subject and possibly quite self-opinionated. But Wikileaks as an organisation as well as an idea, is not quite equal to the person Julian Assange. Undoubtedly, Wikileaks could do better in regards of self-transparency, but that’s still no argument about if its work is valuable or not. With the resources and abilities Wikileaks and Julian Assange have had until now, they definitely did a great job. There does almost not pass one single day without disclosures of the non-transparent, ego-driven and manipulative ways of the powerful and rich. Julian Assange has already changed the world to be a better place. Stay tuned as the really big disclosures are surely up to come!
To go deeper into the ethics question, see also Decency and Disclosure: The Ethics of Wikileaks on the “Lippmann Would Roll Blog”
Julian Assange Interview – The Guardian – Wikileaks:
Ron Paul Defends WikiLeaks “Killing The Messenger For Bad News”:
Jay Rockefeller: Internet should have never existed: