Sunday, June 27, 2010

WikiLeaks - Collateral Murder

`Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind`  - George Orwell

This is the quote that introduces you to WikiLeaks "Collateral Murder". The rest of the video shows you how a US Army Apache crew mistook a journalist's camera for an RPG launcher and then went on to kill more than a dozen civilians. It is, of course, an armed conflict out there and mistakes happen. But instead of admitting the mistake the generals and politicians tried to cover it up with "language designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable." -- until WikiLeaks called their bluff.

 I always thought WikiLeaks was some kind of short-lived gimmick; another in the Wiki series that anybody could edit and spin to their convenience. Turns out that I was seriously mistaken.

An article titled "No Secrets" in the New Yorker,  describes the life of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, and of his mission to expose injustice; to enforce total transparency using the power of the internet. An Australian hacker now based in Iceland (for legal protection), Assange wants to ensure than once a video was posted online, it would be impossible to remove.

Using donations from well-wishers, WikiLeaks maintains its content on more than 20 computers  around  the world and on hundreds of domains. The site is "an uncensorable system for untracable mass document leaking and public analysis",  and a government or company that wanted to remove content from WikiLeaks would have to dismantle the Internet itself!

So far even though the site has received more than a hundred legal threats, it refuses to "comply with legally abusive requests from Scientology any more than similar demands from Swiss Banks, Russian offshore stem-cell centers, former African kleptocrats or the Pentagon".

This sounds like such an amazing initiative! But one concern is whether WikiLeaks can grow beyond its dependence on one individual...


No Secrets - Julian Assange’s mission for total transparency - Raffi Khatchadourian, New Yorker


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