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Sunday, December 5, 2010


I’m watching both the fallout over WikiLeaks’ latest info bomb but also the latest *threat* by the site’s villian slash First Amendment hero Julian Assange to release an insurance policy, one that supposedly has damning information on BP and Bank of America. (Like BP could have any more damning info against it.) One thing jumped out in the article though relative to the Swiss government’s support of the troubled site (emphasis mine):

“Some of the contingency plans were revealed when the site re-emerged on Friday with a Swiss address, The new name was provided by the Swiss Pirate party, which champions internet freedom. Assange has also set up contingency servers in Sweden.”

Is internet freedom is the same as personal freedom and someone’s right to secrecy though? I don’t think you can have a *right* to both.

I keep going back to the right of people to know what it is a government does in the course of preserving their country, and how much of it ultimately is evil or good. In other words, when does it become an ends justify the means/anything goes argument? Knowing that every country has secrets, is WikiLeaks really doing good? Doesn’t every company, let alone country, have operational secrets, both good and bad?

Looking at all the journalists in America (and around the world) who have attempted to speak truth to power, there’s another dynamic at work that I’m trying to wrap my head around. Is it necessary to hide the way Assange has? In some countries that don’t support a free press, yes. A reporter’s life might depend on it. But he’s on a world stage right now. How much safer could he be?

I don’t mind finding out the things the U.S. has had to do, and I don’t care that WikiLeaks is rewriting the idea of what *investigative* journalism means anymore. I do think it undermines his case as the bastion of free speech though when he seems to only target the U.S. government. More than that, it’s just the being on the run and holding governments hostage part that bugs me.

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