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.
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
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