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WikiLeaks – Good to be bad

FansOfWikiLeaksI never thought that I would be writing on this topic. Its a no-brainer why governments across the world are pissed at WikiLeaks. And I naively assumed that every ordinary citizen would automatically see the potential benefits of WikiLeaks. My belief was cemented by the presence of 600,000+ fans of WikiLeaks on Facebook.  But I have come across people and watched shows on TV which basically debate whether WikiLeaks has done a good thing  by leaking the embassy cables or whether they are essentially an anarchist. Some people have argued that it leads to an erosion of privacy as the cables are private conversations between two individuals. The leaks are nothing but voyeurism on WikiLeaks part which may even lead to deaths of human rights activists across the world. Another argument that is put forth is that WikiLeaks is specifically targeting United States as all the cables are US embassy cables and not of any other country. While all these are good arguments, I will try to show you how these don’t hold much water.

If WikiLeaks were following the approach of telling-Harry-what-Susan-told-Sally, I would also say that it is an invasion of privacy. But these leaks are not bedtime conversations between a couple but between diplomats of nations who are answerable to the people of that nation. These diplomats are part of the government which is elected by its people, for its people and is of its people. If the people don’t know what their government is saying or doing about them, then its better to get rid of that government. A fine example of governments behaving like private corporation is in the cable regarding Yemeni president in which he tells the Americans that “We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours”. If you still think that the leaks are an invasion of privacy, then I would embrace that invasion any day. After all isn’t your privacy violated everyday when you are searched/scanned/fondled at every shopping mall/airport/metro station?

A leak from WikiLeaks has showed that in one incident western troops reported killing 30 Taliban fighters, but a UN investigation found 90 civilian deaths including 60 children. Who will account for deaths of these people? If not for WikiLeaks, we would still be believing the US propaganda. So in fact, WikiLeaks aims at exposing these very acts which may even one day lead to prevention of deaths of innocent civilians rather than causing any more deaths. If you read the cables yourselves, the sensitive names are carefully redacted. Probably this might be one of the reasons that they are leaking them slowly and not all at one go.

The leaks expose governments from every part of the world from Pakistan, Afgahnistan to Saudi Arabia and Zimbabwe. It is therefore a misconception that WikiLeaks primary aim is to destabilise the US government. If there is no fundamental difference between what a government does and what it tells its people, it would have nothing to be embarrassed about. Sadly this is not true in the case of US and that’s the primary reason it is the most embarrassed.

Predictably, the US government is applying all its pressure to crush WikiLeaks. It was ousted from Amazon servers, kicked out by its DNS host. It is due the distributed nature of the internet that it is able to resurface every time it goes down. I hope that US government would stop its whack-a-mole policy and let the world know. In the meantime the least we can do is “Like” WikiLeaks on Facebook.

Comments

  1. you picked one argument of Yemen and one argument of the old war diary section to justify the release of of over a million documents in public domain. if wikileaks is so interested in bringing out the truth why doesnt it tell from whom it got the files of its sources. that is also a truth that i am interested in knowing.
    What a crap that assange fellow is. This release is nothing compared to washington diaries that actually showed some level of crime done by the gov. These release is what the american government is calling it - digital anarchists. The idiots are turning over all the trash cans hoping some of them will show what kind of garbage people throw out.

    ReplyDelete
  2. @Anonymous No offence, but you are sounding like Joe Lieberman/Sarah Palin (pick whatever suits you). I picked those documents as they are the best ones that show why WikiLeaks is needed. If you want to read it all, go to WikiLeaks website.

    WikiLeaks is just not exposing crimes done by governments (Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, Zimbabwe) but also those done by corporations (Shell, Pfizer). How much more dirt do you want? :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. @ anonymous : Not disclosing the source is the first and foremost foundations of fourth estate. I ask what good is it if I disclose my source to you.

    You would dig into my past, go through my garbage, find a broken condom and arrest me. So even if the documents I provide are authentic, it is not credible because I broke a condom.

    Shame on me.Right monsieur?

    ReplyDelete

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