Saturday, 4 December 2010

Freedom of speech, freedom of information, always. No exceptions.

Logo used by WikileaksImage via Wikipedia
So it would be foolish of me to assume that everyone knows what’s going on at the moment with WikiLeaks, so here's an incredibly brief summary.

Julian Assange, Australian, has published leaked diplomatic cables that have embarrassed to say the least, diplomats around the world. Chief suspect for passing the quarter of a million documents to WikiLeaks is Pembrokeshire born American Pvt, Bradley Manning.

Congressman Mike Rogers has called for Pvt Manning to be put to death as a traitor, as have former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and ex-Pentagon official KT McFarland. They claim that this release of documents have put American lives at risk and have damaged national security.

I am yet to see any evidence that any lives have been lost because of these leaks, though it is far too early to say that none will be.

I have seen evidence of corruption, torture and heinous mistakes.

There are also calls for Julian Assange to be assassinated from the Washington Times Jeffrey Kuhner and from Canadian official Tom Flanagan (even if Flanagan claims his remarks were in jest - we all remember Gareth Compton don't we?).

I am outraged by this.

Information should be freely available to all. On any subject, no matter how embarrassing it may be to the diplomats and government officials involved.

Now before you call me naive, I recognise that these documents contain very sensitive information that will have a direct impact on world politics and could potentially lead to awful situations.

That does not negate the fact that contained within these documents is information that the public have a right to be aware of.

We should know what our governments are doing in our name and we have an absolute right to decide given all available information, whether we are going to support our leaders in their actions.

If the governments don't want events like WikiLeaks to happen, they should take pre-emptive measures and either release this information themselves or not undertake activities which they fear the public finding out about.

This is a very hastily written post. And yes, I am an idealist. But surely if governments aren't hiding things that the public will want to know about then people like Julian Assange wouldn't need to release, en mass sensitive documents that risk national security.

I have no interest in what diplomats think about each other or the stupid things they say and do at dinner parties.

I have no interested in military operations that are secret but legal.

I AM interested in illegal, amoral and devious activities undertaken by our governments in our name, for our safety but without our consent our knowledge, and if the only way I can find out about them is through mass releases of sensitive documents like this, then so be it.

As for anyone who tries to assassinate Julian Assange or execute Pvt Manning, they'll have to come through me and the hundreds of thousands of supporters that they have.

The world is watching.
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