Saturday, 23 October 2010

Wikileaks - with power comes responsibility

The second tranche of Wikileaks documents relating to US military activity in Afghanistan and Iraq have been released overnight. Wikileaks, for the uninitaited, is an internet based organisation that publishes previously undisclosed, often sensitive, information online to protect the identity of the whistleblower.

It seems as if these latest leaks suggest that the US turned a blind eye to torture in Iraq and also detail the true extent of civilian deaths in the conflict.

When the initial US government files were released there was significant criticism that these leaks hadn't been edited thoroughly enough; meaning the documents could have been a rich source of information for terrorist organisations. The latest files seem less open to this criticism.

Once again this is a victory for a new form of journalism, a collaboration between a collection of international media - including The Guardian in the UK - which points the way towards modern investigative journalism. The US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has once again claimed these leaks are deeply irresponsible and that the US has nothing to answer.

This response is short sighted and shows a disappointing arrogance by the US. Whether you think these leaks are the right way of raising concerns about US military activities they are once again a demonstration of how the internet has democratised the media. For that reason alone, the US, who often claim to be the torch-bearer of democracy, would be short-sighted to ignore this story. With great power comes great responsibility for Wikileaks and the United States.


  1. From the MOD's response today, it seems that arrogance is shared by our own government.

  2. Do you know anything about Wikileaks?

    Like how it was originally put up to allow people to securely and anonymously post any leaks they wish? Like how all those leaks disappeared, and it is no longer possible to use it to actually, you know, securely leak anything? Like that the only leaks are now those sanctioned by the founder, who won't answer any questions on the issue, or on his funding?

    This is a really weird organisation, totally at odds with its own claimed purpose.

    Surely I am not the only one concerned that they intentionally threatened the lives of innocent people for political reasons when information of no value beyond news headlines was leaked (none of the information in the first set of leaks was surprising to anyone who had kept up with the publicly-available sources; many names of people helping their own country by co-operating with the Americans were published unnecessarily) yet are themselves completely obscure.


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