Week 9: Julian Assange let the cat out of the bag.

WikiLeaks Blog
So my first question for this week was “what exactly is a whistle-blower?” I had heard of this term a few times before but I had not come to grasp it until now. Here I have found it is “one who reveals something covert or who informs against another” (Merriam-Webster Definition). This brings me to my next point of who is Julian Assange? Well my friends, if you have not heard of this guy then you probably should catch up on some current affairs. As the founder of the website WikiLeaks, Assange has gained worldwide publicity since releasing footage of American soldiers killing 18 people including 2 Reuters journalists (Khatchadourian, 2010). Therefore Assange is a whistler-blower…he also is a computer hacker but that is another story.
WikiLeaks webpage says this:

 

WikiLeaks is a not-for-profit media organisation. Our goal is to bring important news and information to the public. We provide an innovative, secure and anonymous way for sources to leak information to our journalists (our electronic drop box). One of our most important activities is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth. We are a young organisation that has grown very quickly, relying on a network of dedicated volunteers around the globe. Since 2007, when the organisation was officially launched, WikiLeaks has worked to report on and publish important information. We also develop and adapt technologies to support these activities.

 

So where does this bring us to? This free flow of information opened a whole world of possibilities and headaches for governments around the world as they struggled to keep confidential documents just that. The power battle between the US Government and Julian Assange is intriguing. At current time  it is believed he is residing in the UK at the Ecuadorian embassy. He claimed asylum to avoid extradition to Sweden after after allegations of rape and sexual assault. In short, if he is extradited then he could be moved to US and faces the death penalty for releasing classified information from the US Government. (Alalya & Neuman, 2012)

 

The US Government isn’t happy. They tried hiding the reality of war from the world but Assange came in and ruined all that hard work. Is it right that this information was released? Classified information. Apparently nothing is completely safe and classified online. I believe that the world deserves to see the harsh reality of war, it is naive to sit there and think that only those on the front line are directly involved in war. Millions of civilians have the unfortunate situation of residing in war torn countries. Just because the US is fighting for their freedom, where is the freedom for the civilians caught up? WikiLeaks draws attention to this and raises awareness, hopefully it helps to shape opinions surrounding war.

 

References:

Alalya, M & Neuman, W 2012, ‘Ecuador Grants Asylum to Assange, Defying Britain’,  The New York Times, 16 Aug, accessed 30/09/2012, http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/17/world/americas/ecuador-to-let-assange-stay-in-its-embassy.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0
http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/whistle-blower
http://wikileaks.org/
Khatchadourian, R. (2010) ‘No Secrets: Julian Assange’s mission for total transparency’ The New Yorker, June 7. [URL: http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/06/07/100607fa_fact_khatchadourian%5D
Advertisements

2 responses to “Week 9: Julian Assange let the cat out of the bag.

  1. I think this is a tricky topic. I agree with you though that this video hopefully shapes the opinions of war. Unfortunately I think it will also shape the opinions of the locals, who will be more hostile towards the soldiers. Is it worth having an informed public at the expense of putting more soldiers in danger? That’s an extremely difficult moral dilemma that I trust Assange has thought about long and hard.

  2. I believe the public has the right to know, what activities their country is or isn’t participating in and this right should not be taken away or have the ability to be persecuted for realeasing the real truths of events, like it is apparently trying to be with Julian Assange. The fact of the matter is, he did commit a crime but the intentions behind it, weren’t malicious, he was voicing the harsh realities of what was happening in the world because he thought people deserved the truth. I personally like what Wikileaks stand for, in regard to the fact, they create stories and provide the evidence to back these stories up, i feel that events like war or protests would never be as violent as they are, if the true realities of the outcomes of them, are shown to the public, so everyone knows what they are supporting. I do however, still believe that many people, would choose to be uninformed on these matters whether it be because of guilt or sheer laziness, so im undecided as to how good Wikileaks is for society, i would like to believe it is beneficial but history has told me a different story.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s