5 thoughts on “Why is WikiLeaks doing what it’s doing?”

  1. Am glad shivam posted this, as we need a larger discussion on the issue of freedom and free speech in a time like this.
    Am posting the first few paras of an excellent article by Seumas Milne, read the rest here.

    Official America’s reaction to the largest leak of confidential government files in history is tipping over towards derangement. What the White House initially denounced as a life-threatening “criminal” act and Hillary Clinton branded an “attack on the international community” has been taken a menacing stage further by the newly emboldened Republican right.

    WikiLeaks’ release of 250,000 United States embassy cables – shared with the Guardian and other international newspapers – was an act of terrorism, Senator Peter King declared. Sarah Palin called for its founder Julian Assange to be hunted down as an “anti-American operative with blood on his hands”, while former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has demanded that whoever leaked the files should be executed for treason.

    Not much truck with freedom of information, then, in the land of the free. In reality, most of the leaked material is fairly low-level diplomatic gossip, which naturally reflects the US government’s view of the world, and crucially doesn’t include reports with the highest security classification.

    When it comes to actual criminality and blood, nothing quite matches WikiLeaks’ earlier revelations about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with their chilling records of US collusion with industrial-scale torture and death squads, and killings of Afghan civilians by rampaging Nato troops.
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/01/wikileaks-embassy-cables-us-global-power

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  2. While I will hold my judgement till the last cable has been released – so far the stuff has been anything but earth-shattering. It’s mostly insider talk, embarrassing as it maybe for the diplomats, is not far from the general public perception of things. Actually, the biggest surprise is that how well the world of journalism covers world-politics as it is.

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  3. You have to start these comments with a disclaimer so mine goes that I think that the WikiLeaks release is a good thing and we should have more exposures in the interest of openness. None of us wants to live in an Orwellian nightmare which the world more and more resembles everyday.

    However, the first point to be careful about is that the data leaked is raw data. It is people’s views, commentary and should be taken as such. Not as truth or fact. The same goes for the Afghanistan war logs.

    The second and more important point, which relates to this post, is about WikiLeaks itself. I quote here –
    The second thing that makes me uneasy is WikiLeaks itself. I know this will probably sound terribly conspiratorial, but I cannot say with 100 percent surety that it is not all part of some grand psy-ops strategy: you know, build up an institution with calculated cred boosters (e.g. the leaked Iraq helicopter footage) and then use it to release info you want to release. It’s not like it has never been done before, although of course never on a global level. Okay, I know I’m probably sounding like a nutter now but bear with me. Yes, I’ve read the wonderful profile of maverick Julian Assange (the driving force behind WikiLeaks) in The New Yorker, but I never quite understood the over-dramatized cloak and dagger stuff. Are we really being asked to believe that a man as publicly recognizable as Assange, who jets from continent to continent, can escape being tracked by international security agencies? Or that WikiLeaks, which claims to run entirely on donations (including credit card donations), does not have a single bank account or money transfer that is trace-able? Really?

    Ok, forget my questions about WikiLeaks. Is it really beyond the realm of possibility for WikiLeaks and Assange, no matter how pure of heart they are, to be used by psy-op warriors wanting to put certain things out in the public realm? Are we really being asked to believe that 92,000 plus secret documents can be easily smuggled out of the Pentagon (on a Lady GaGa CD, no less, if some reports are to be believed) without anyone having any inkling? Anything is possible I guess but the probability on the other hand is a different matter.

    The entire post at
    http://cafepyala.blogspot.com/2010/07/going-for-leak.html

    And no, its not me who wrote that.

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  4. See this:

    http://cablesearch.org/

    For searching cables through keywords..Now that the Americans have taken the website’s DNS off the air

    An older report but first rate in the New Yorker:

    http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/06/07/100607fa_fact_khatchadourian

    And on theory of wikileaks: Geert Lovink’s

    Ten Theses on Wikileaks (written after the first leak)

    http://mail.kein.org/pipermail/nettime-l/2010-August/002337.html

    The complexity of this situation is a bit like info-war, where even the info guerillas -wikileaks, have to militarise(secrecy, hierarchy, moving all the time) themselves to fight (not unlike land based armed rebels)…

    Ravi

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