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Wiki Leaks - Cablegate: Journalists in support of WikiLeaks, part 6 [Update 1]
By Admin (from 04/12/2010 @ 09:00:10, in en - Global Observatory, read 2181 times)

Martin Kettle, The Guardian: WikiLeaks: Openness against secrecy has a rich history of struggle

"Why WikiLeaks? Or, why these leaked documents and not other ones, and why these documents now? The answers may seem obvious. Because we can. Because they're there. Because we want to. Because it is in the public interest, or at least of interest to the public, even though that's not the same thing. All these are parts of the larger answer. But they aren't the full explanation.[...]

The broad parallels with today are very strong. A war that was widely opposed; a traumatic generational experience; a collective belief that the people were deceived; a conviction that public inquiries and the opening up of documents would reveal the incriminating evidence, and a desire to change the rules, above all by making them more democratically accountable, to avoid the same thing happening again. All these were present in the generation that lived through the first world war. All are present today in the generation that has lived through the Iraq and Afghan conflicts.[...]

Why WikiLeaks? Partly because we can. But, now as in the past, it is about a needless war and the governments that chose to fight it."
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David Samuels, The Atlantic: The Shameful Attacks on Julian Assange

"It is dispiriting and upsetting for anyone who cares about the American tradition of a free press to see Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Robert Gibbs turn into H.R. Haldeman, John Erlichman and John Dean. We can only pray that we won't soon be hit with secret White House tapes of Obama drinking scotch and slurring his words while calling Assange bad names.[...]

But the truly scandalous and shocking response to the Wikileaks documents has been that of other journalists, who make the Obama Administration sound like the ACLU.[...] It is a fact of the current media landscape that the chilling effect of threatened legal action routinely stops reporters and editors from pursuing stories that might serve the public interest - and anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or lying. Every honest reporter and editor in America knows that the fact that most news organizations are broke, combined with the increasing threat of aggressive legal action by deep-pocketed entities, private and public, has made it much harder for good reporters to do their jobs, and ripped a hole in the delicate fabric that holds our democracy together.

In a memorandum entitled "Transparency and Open Government" addressed to the heads of Federal departments and agencies and posted on WhiteHouse.gov, President Obama instructed that "Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing." The Administration would be wise to heed his words -- and to remember how badly the vindictive prosecution of Daniel Ellsberg ended for the Nixon Administration. And American reporters, Pulitzer Prizes and all, should be ashamed for joining in the outraged chorus that defends a burgeoning secret world whose existence is a threat to democracy."
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Editorial, The Guardian: US embassy cables: Wiki witch-hunt

"There have been various suggestions as to what to do to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, after a week in which his revelations have severely embarrassed US diplomacy. Tom Flanagan, a former aide to the Canadian prime minister, called for his assassination, and then regretted his glib remark. Mike Huckabee said that those found guilty of leaking the cables should be executed for putting national security at risk. You would expect a future Republican presidential candidate to say that. But a Democrat administration is close behind. A team from the justice department and the Pentagon are exploring whether to charge Mr Assange under the Espionage Act. The US attorney general, Eric Holder, has said this is not sabre-rattling. Are they all about to turn into minions of which Richard Nixon would have been proud?

More insidious than that was the complacent yawn emanating from from sections of the liberal commentariat for which freedom of information is a given. So what's new about the Gulf Arab Sunnis wanting America or Israel to bomb Iran, or Colonel Gaddafi's taste for blonde Ukrainian nurses, or Nicolas Sarkozy being described as mercurial and authoritarian, they sneer. Maybe for them, nothing is new. Would that we all could be so wise. But for large areas of the world which do not have the luxury of being able to criticise their governments, the revelations about the private thoughts of their own leaders are important."
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Simon Jenkins, The Guardian: In this World Cup sewer, we reptiles of British journalism hold our heads high

"Yet journalism's stock-in-trade is disclosure. As we have seen this week with WikiLeaks, power loathes truth revealed. Disclosure is messy and tests moral and legal boundaries. It is often irresponsible and usually embarrassing. But it is all that is left when regulation does nothing, politicians are cowed, lawyers fall silent and audit is polluted. Accountability can only default to disclosure. As Jefferson remarked, the press is the last best hope when democratic oversight fails, as it does in the case of most international bodies.

I found myself chastised this week for my defence of WikiLeaks, on the ground that thieves should not revel in their crime by demanding that victims be more careful with their property. But in matters of public policy who is thieving what from whom? The WikiLeaks material was left by a public body, the US state department, like a wallet open on a park bench, except that in this case the wallet was full of home truths about the mendacity of public policy.[...]

What is intriguing is the hysteria of power at seeing its inner beliefs and processes revealed. The denunciation of WikiLeaks as an "attack on America" from the political right is similar to the attitude of Britain's football authorities towards the Sunday Times and the BBC. Someone had broken wind in church. Truth briefly swept aside the deceptions of public form and left reality exposed. The players in a once subtle game that had fallen to lying and cat-calling were suddenly told to stop, pull themselves together and look each other in the eye. As the great Donald Rumsfeld said, stuff happens. The air is cleared.[...]

So thank goodness for disclosure. Thank goodness for journalism."
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Robert Niles, Online Journalism Review: Wikileaks challenges journalists: Whose side are you on?

"I hope that Wikileaks, at the very least, encourages reporters to be more aggressive in challenging authority and working with sources to get information that officials, in government or industry, would prefer to keep from the public's eyes.

Sources with government and industry want the truth to get to the public. If journalists do not provide the means to make that happen, alternate media such as Wikileaks will do it instead. Personally, as a citizen, I'm thankful for that.[...]

Reporters' reaction to Wikileaks divides us into two camps: Those who want to see information get to the public, by whatever means, and those who want to control the means by which information flows. While it's fine to want to be the reporter who always gets the scoop, I can't support journalists who imply that the public's better served by having stories go unreported than going through "Journalism-approved" channels.

If you're upset with the way that Wikileaks is getting information to the public, then you'd better try harder to gather and publish that information yourself. (As Rosen suggested yesterday, we wouldn't have Wikileaks if we had a functioning watchdog press.) And if you think that the public shouldn't have information that the government wishes to withhold, might I suggest that you are in the wrong line of work?"
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Nikki Usher, Nieman Journalism Lab: Why WikiLeaks’ latest document dump makes everyone in journalism — and the public — a winner

"Imagine this: Look at what happens when mainstream news and whatever we want to call WikiLeaks work together. The forces are not in opposition but are united with a common goal — again, informing the public — and the result is that mainstream news can do what it does best thanks to the help of the information WikiLeaks provides. (But, of course, it couldn’t do it without WikiLeaks.) This is a moment of glory for all those who talk about crowdsourcing, user-generated content, and the like. Perhaps this is the ultimate form of users helping to create and shape the news. And the result is a better-informed public.

The takeaway here: Everyone in journalism — from its practitioners to its recipients — emerges from this data drop as a winner."
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Dominique Cardon, Le Monde: En finir avec le culte du secret et de la raison d'Etat (End the cult of secrecy and reasons of state)

(Translation forthcoming)
"Au prétexte de la tyrannie de la transparence, l'affaire WikiLeaks a ranimé chez certains le culte du secret et de la raison d'Etat. Une révélation de plus, et ce sont les vertus de la politique machiavélienne qui seront réhabilitées et, avec elles, cette habitude de protéger n'importe quel agissement du pouvoir du discrétionnaire "secret défense".

C'est pourtant moins le risque de la transparence que celui de l'opacité qui menace aujourd'hui la communication des pouvoirs économique et politique. La demande d'informations issues des coulisses apparaît alors comme un contre-feu face à l'hypertrophie des stratégies de communication qui cadenassent dans une langue de plus en plus artificielle les discours du pouvoir.[...]

Quelle qu'en soit l'origine, l'abondance des données ne fait pas une "contre-démocratie" sans la mobilisation de communautés d'interprètes susceptibles de leur donner un contexte, du sens, une narration et une visibilité. La mise en conversation de la société réclame un accès plus large et plus facile aux données, mais demande avant tout que la politique suscite un désir de conversation."
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Rebecca MacKinnon, CNN: WikiLeaks, Amazon and the new threat to internet speech

"While Amazon was within its legal rights, the company has nonetheless sent a clear signal to its users: If you engage in controversial speech that some individual members of the U.S. government don't like -- even if there is a strong case to be made that your speech is constitutionally protected -- Amazon is going to dump you at the first sign of trouble.

Let's hope that there will always be other companies willing to stand up for our rights as enshrined both in the U.S. Constitution and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights -- and by extension their right to do business with us.

The future of freedom in the internet age may well depend on whether we the people can succeed in holding companies that now act as arbiters of the public discourse accountable to the public interest."
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Sofia Mirjamsdotter, Metro: Bara en diktatur kan förbjuda Wikileaks (Only a dictatorship would ban WikiLeaks)

(Translation forthcoming)
"Antingen tror man på demokrati och yttrandefrihet, eller också gör man det inte. Det finns inget mellanläge.

Internet möjliggör insamling och spridning inte endast av oskyldiga statusuppdateringar från privatpersoner, utan även som i fallet Wikileaks av dokument som behandlar frågor direkt kopplade till världsfred och krig.

Varje vän av demokrati måste älska detta. Varje person som tror på och förespråkar yttrandefrihet bör uppmuntra och heja på den sortens användande av internet.

Demokratin har baksidor. En är att man måste rätta sig efter majoriteten, även när majoriteten har fel. "
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Source: www.WLcentral.org

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