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Di seguito gli interventi pubblicati in questa sezione, in ordine cronologico.

Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, explains why he decided to publish thousands of secret US military files on the war in Afghanistan.

But who is Julian Assange?

Wikileaks Director & Founder.

Co-invented "Rubberhose deniable encryption" in 1997 intended to be "as a tool for human rights workers who needed to protect sensitive data in the field".

Attended 37 schools and 6 universities in Australia during his early life.

Researcher of the book Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier.

Lived in Melbourne as a programmer and a developer of freeware.

Described himself as "president of an NGO and Australia's most infamous former computer hacker" in 2006.

Unpaid volunteer as of January 2010; being able to self-finance his work because of money he made earlier with internet-related activities.

Winner of the 2009 Amnesty International Media Award (New Media), awarded for exposing extra-judicial assassinations; the 2008 Economist Index on censorship Award; and various other media awards.


By Admin (from 09/09/2010 @ 15:30:08, in en - Global Observatory, read 2707 times)

Lady Greenfield, former head of the Royal Institution and current professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln College, Oxford, criticised the "smugness" of scientists who claim to “have all the answers”.

She made the comments in a BBC Radio 4 Today programme discussion about Professor Hawking’s views.

Last week he angered many religious believers by saying science “can explain the universe without the need for a creator”.

"Baroness" Greenfield tries to criticise Stephen Hawking. Lady Greenfield, former head of the Royal Institution and current professor of synaptic pharmacology at Lincoln College, Oxford, criticised the "smugness" of scientists who claim to "have all the answers".In his latest book, The Grand Design, he said: “Because there is a law such as gravity, the Universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the Universe exists, why we exist.”

He also atttacked philosophers for failing to keep up with modern developments in physics and biology so that “their discussions seem increasingly outdated and irrelevant”.

Lady Greenfield said: “Science can often suffer from a certain smugness and complacency. Michael Faraday, one of the greatest scientists, had a wonderful quote, he said: ‘There’s nothing quite as frightening as someone who knows they are right’
“What we need to preserve in science is a curiosity and an open-mindedness rather than a complacency and a sort of arrogance where we attack people who come at the big truths and the big questions albeit using different strategies.”

Asked whether she was uncomfortable about scientists making comments about God, she said: “Yes I am. Of course they can make whatever comments they like but when they assume, rather in a Taliban-like way, that they have all the answers then I do feel uncomfortable. I think that doesn’t necessarily do science a service.”

She was also critical of Prof Hawking's comments about philosophy, saying: “Scientists have a duty, if they want to have people who aren’t scientists to appreciate that value of what they are doing, if they want to place it into a wider social and moral context, the duty is on the scientist to explain in words ordinary human being can understand. What is dangerous…is to make sweeping assertions about a whole category of academia.”

She later claimed her Taliban remarks were "not intended to be personal", saying she "admired Stephen Hawking greatly" and "had no wish to compare him in particular to the Taliban".

However, she added that his statement that God was not needed was "surprising".

She said: "All science is provisional and therefore to claim to have the definitive answer to anything is a hardline view. It would be very great shame if young people think that to be a scientist you must be an atheist. There are plenty of scientists, such as genome researcher Francis Collins, who also have Christian faith."

Her remarks are likely to be interpreted as a criticism of Professor Richard Dawkins, the prominent atheist and bestselling author of The God Delusion who helped to pay for buses emblazoned with adverts declaring "there's probably no God".

Lady Greenfield, a distinguished neuroscientist who was appointed director of the Royal Institution in 1998, has launched legal proceedings against it claiming she was the victim of sexual discrimination and unfairly dismissed in January.

Rebel members at the organisation failed in their bid to oust its ruling body and reinstate her as the head of the organisation.

Professor Dawkins opposed the moves to reinstate Lady Greenfield, saying: Somebody who is threatening to sue the institution is not someone I would want to be the director.”

Source:; Author: Alastair Jamieson


The US is marking nine years since 9/11 amid controversy over plans for an Islamic centre near Ground Zero and a threat to burn the Koran.

The biggest event is in New York, where relatives are reading out the names of those who died when planes hit the twin towers of the World Trade Center.

President Barack Obama has urged respect for other religious faiths.

US Vice President Joe Biden and others at Ground Zero commemorations - 11 Sept 2010

US Vice President Joe Biden and New York mayor Michael Bloomberg paid their respects.

Meanwhile, the pastor behind the threat to burn Korans in Florida has said the event has been cancelled permanently.

"We will definitely not burn the Koran, no," the Reverend Terry Jones told NBC's Today show.

"Not today, not ever," he said when pressed about whether his planned demonstration might happen at a later date.

Speaking at a memorial event at the Pentagon - which was also hit by an airliner on 11 September 2001 - President Obama paid tribute to those who died in the attacks, saying America's greatest weapon was to stay true to itself.

America would never be at war with Islam, Mr Obama declared.

"We will not sacrifice the liberties we cherish or hunker down behind walls of suspicion and mistrust," he said.


US Vice-President Joe Biden and his wife were among the dignitaries who attended the commemoration in New York, where the names of all the victims are being read out.

For the first time, relatives reading out the names have been joined by people working to build the Ground Zero memorial.

"No other public tragedy has cut our city so deeply, no other place is as filled with our compassion, our love and our solidarity," said New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

"It is with the strength of these emotions, as well as the concrete, glass and steel that is brought in day by day that we will build on the footprints of the past, the foundation of the future."

Bells tolled across the city to mark the moment at 0846 (1346 GMT) when the first hijacked plane struck the North Tower of the World Trade Center nine years ago.

This year's anniversary is likely to be the most contentious and fraught yet, says the BBC's Laura Trevelyan.

Once the city's official commemorations are over, rallies will be held both for and against the proposed Islamic community centre and mosque near Ground Zero.

Both sides want to use the emotion of the day to highlight their causes, our correspondent says.

Four airliners were hijacked during the attacks in 2001, which claimed the lives of 2,975 people, as well as the 19 hijackers.

Planes were crashed into each of the Twin Towers in New York and the Pentagon near Washington, while the fourth crashed into a field in Pennsylvania after passengers fought back against hijackers.

President Obama's wife Michelle, the First Lady, will be present at the event in Shanksville, Pennsylvania, along with former First Lady Laura Bush.

Sensitivity issue

Some relatives of the 9/11 victims oppose the Muslim centre in New York because they say it disrespectful to have a reminder of Islam by the place where so many died.

However, other families support the project as an expression of America's commitment to freedom of religion.

Stephanie Parker, daughter of 9/11 victim Philip L Parker, attended a vigil in support of the Islamic centre near the site on Friday.

She said she had come to the vigil, which gathered about 2,000 people, because she was troubled by what she saw as people wrongly equating all of Islam with the hijackers.

"I think the anniversary is being overshadowed," she told the Associated Press news agency.

Sally Regenhard, who lost her firefighter son Christian Regenhard on 9/11, planned to attend both the ceremony in New York and the anti-mosque protest.

"The purpose is to speak out and express our feelings that this mosque, the location of it, is a grievous offence to the sensitivity of 9/11 families," she said.

The anti-mosque rally is expected to hear taped messages from Bush-era diplomat John Bolton and conservative blogger Andrew Breitbart.

Dutch anti-Islam politician Geert Wilders, who advocates banning the Koran, plans to address the rally in person, as do a handful of Republican congressional candidates.

Pressure on pastor

Saturday saw new protests in mainly Muslim countries over the Koran-burning proposal, with rallies reported in Somalia and Afghanistan.

Pastor Terry Jones had said he hoped to meet a leading imam to discuss the proposal for the Islamic centre, to be located a short distance from Ground Zero, the WTC site.

He said he had suspended the book-burning only because he had received a guarantee, from an imam in Florida, that the centre would be moved.

Terry Jones arrives in New York's La Guardia airport, 10 September

Police escorted Mr Jones after his arrival in New York's Laguardia airport.

But the planners of the Islamic centre have said they did not speak to the Florida imam, and would not be moving their project.

Mr Abdul Rauf said on Friday that he was "prepared to consider meeting with anyone who is seriously committed to pursuing peace" but added that he had no current plans to meet Mr Jones.

Mr Jones is the pastor of the tiny and previously little-known Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, Florida, and author of a book entitled Islam is of the Devil.

He had planned to stage an International Burn a Koran Day on Saturday, saying the book was "evil".

But pressure was put on the pastor to cancel the burning. The FBI visited Mr Jones to urge him to reconsider his plans and he was telephoned by US Defence Secretary Robert Gates.

Image of the Ground Zero layout

In his remarks on Friday, Mr Obama denied that his administration's intervention in the affair had elevated it to greater prominence.

He appealed to Americans to respect the "inalienable" right of religious freedom and said he hoped the preacher would abandon his plan to burn the Koran, as it could add to the dangers facing US soldiers serving abroad.

"This is a way of endangering our troops, our sons and daughters... you don't play games with that," he told reporters.

Source: British Broadcasting Corporation


By Admin (from 14/09/2010 @ 11:59:24, in en - Global Observatory, read 2173 times)

Italian Premier Silvio Berlusconi says young women should follow the money when looking for a partner, noting that women seem to like him and "I'm loaded."

Berlusconi, who was embroiled in a sex scandal last year and is known for his gaffes, also raised eyebrows with a joke about Hitler's followers urging him to return to power.

The billionaire businessman appeared at a convention Sunday of the youth wing of his People of Freedom party. When questioned by one of his Cabinet ministers -- a woman -- he joked about marriages of convenience, saying women were lining up for him because "I'm a nice guy" and "I'm loaded."

He also recalled a much-criticized TV interview he once gave, when "I said to a girl to look for a wealthy boyfriend. This suggestion is not unrealistic."

He also claimed women favor older men, thinking that "he's old. He dies and I inherit."

The 73-year-old Berlusconi was engulfed in a sex scandal last year centering on his purported dalliances with young women, including an escort. Berlusconi's wife Veronica Lario said last year she was seeking a divorce. They are now separated.

The media baron has said he is "no saint" but denied ever paying for sex.

In Italy, a divorce can only be sought after three years of separation. Media reports this summer suggested that Berlusconi's wife has rejected his early proposals for a financial settlement.

Berlusconi often gets criticized for his earthy sense of humor, and this time an opposition political demanded he apologize to Italy's Jewish community for his Hitler joke.

Before telling it, he said "I already know I am going to be criticized."

Berlusconi, who claims prosecutors have led corruption investigations against him because they are left-wing, also appeared to be poking fun at himself when commenting on the loss of his AC Milan soccer team on Saturday. He contended the referee robbed the team of three goals and that Milan often gets "leftist referees."

Source: ; Author: VICTOR L. SIMPSON


Faced with a tottering economy and a crumbling coalition government,Silvio Berlusconi has chosen to woo a youth rally with jokes about Adolf Hitler and his own sexual prowess.

Appearing relaxed, if a little pale, before a crowd of cheering supporters yesterday, the frequently outspoken and gaffe-prone Italian prime minister promised to see out the end of his term, despite losing his guaranteed majority after a split with an ally, Gianfranco Fini.

Putting politics aside, he then launched into a series of anecdotes and apparent jokes that promptly drew accusations of anti-Semitism and even mental instability from opposition politicians.

The former cruise ship entertainer told a joke in which Adolf Hitler is begged by his supporters to return to power after they discover he is still alive. After resisting, Hitler says: "I'll come back, but on one condition ... next time I'm going to be evil."

Fabio Evangelisti, a member of parliament for the opposition Italy of Values party, demanded Berlusconi apologise to Israel and the Italian Jewish community. The party's leader, Antonio Di Pietro, said: "At this point the problem is not political or judicial, but psychiatric."

Turning his attention to the economy, Berlusconi jokingly advised young Italians to marry into money, adding: "I have a daughter who is free to marry."

Now separated from his wife following the scandal over his friendship with the teenage model Noemi Letizia, Berlusconi said he was also an eligible candidate for four reasons: "I am friendly, I have money, legend has it I know how to do 'it', and lastly because girls think: 'He's old and rich, he will die soon and I will inherit everything.'"

The poor performance over the weekend of AC Milan, the football club he controls, was down to a leftwing referee disallowing goals, Berlusconi joked.

The impromptu speech followed a visit to Russia on Friday, where he surprised the audience at a conference on democracy with a fierce attack on Italian magistrates he claims are hounding him. He said of Vladimir Putin: "I have never had any doubts that he is anything less than democratically minded." Putin and Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, Berlusconi added, were "a gift from God" to Russia.

Last month, Berlusconi took time to defend Muammar Gaddafi after the Libyan leader told an invited audience of 200 women in Rome that Islam should be "Europe's religion". When the speech prompted outcry from the Vatican, Berlusconi dismissed Gaddafi's behaviour as merely "folkloric".

Berlusconi, 73, has previously been criticised for calling Barack Obama "young, handsome and tanned", and last year for leaving Angela Merkel waiting to greet him at a conference while he made a call on his mobile phone.

Despite the criticism today, Berlusconi claimed he was "a respected statesman who is praised at international summits for his background as a tycoon, his 16 years of political experience and the content of his proposals."

He said he had learned from Margaret Thatcher not to waste time reading negative coverage of himself in newspapers. The former British prime minister, he said, had told him that her press secretary only showed her positive articles about her.

Reign of error: Berlusconi's gaffes in office

 April 2009: Shortly after an earthquake hit the city of L'Aquila, Berlusconi told the 17,000 Italians made homeless by the quake that, "they should see it like a weekend of camping"

 January 2009: Dismissed the idea that increasing the number of troops on Italian streets would help stop a surge in rape cases arguing that, "we would need as many soldiers as there are beautiful girls in Italy – which we will never manage"

 November 2008: At a news conference in Moscow with the Russian president, Dmitry Medvedev, Berlusconi described Barack Obama as "young, handsome, and tanned"

 April 2008: Berlusconi caused outrage after saying "Zapatero [Spain's prime minister] has formed a government that is too pink, something that we cannot do in Italy because there is a prevalence of men in politics and it isn't easy to find women who are qualified ... He will have problems leading them"

 April 2006: On welcoming the then newly elected female MP Mara Carfagna to parliament he joked: "I am obliged to remind you of a rule in the Forza Italia group, the jus primae noctis" (a Latin reference to the medieval "law of the first night" which gave the lord of an estate the right to "deflower" new brides)

 June 2005: He claimed he had "brushed up" all his "playboy skills" to persuade Finland's president, Tarja Halonen, to agree to host the European Food Safety Authority in Italy

 July 2003: Berlusconi caused uproar at the European parliament after replying to a heckling German MEP with the comment, "Mr Schulz, I know there is in Italy a man producing a film on the Nazi concentration camps. I would like to suggest you for the role of leader. You'd be perfect"

Source: ; Author: Tom Kington

By Admin (from 16/09/2010 @ 13:00:40, in en - Global Observatory, read 1828 times)

Anti-Islam protesters in the US have desecrated the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks -- a move bound to stir up strong feelings in the Muslim world.

Anti-Islam protesters in the US have desecrated the Quran on the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks -- a move bound to stir up strong feelings in the Muslim world.

The streets near Ground Zero in New York, where a memorial service was held for the victims of the September 11, 2001 attacks, became the scene of opposing demonstrations Saturday night.

Over 1,000 people marched in favor of a proposed construction of an Islamic center near Ground Zero, the site of the World Trade Center prior to the 9/11 attacks, while a block away, other groups rallied against its construction.

In the opposition's rally, a man burned pages from the Muslim holy book in front of press photographers.

Two evangelical preachers in Tennessee also set copies of the Quran on fire and members of the group Operation Rescue tore pages from Islam's holy book.

In another incident, a man ripped out pages from the holy Quran and made vulgar gestures with them. The police did not try to stop any of the incidents.

This comes after a Florida preacher called off plans to burn copies of the Quran on the anniversary of 9/11 attacks.

The pastor's plans sparked criticism by the international community, particularly the Muslim world, and led to protests in several countries including Iran, Afghanistan and India.



Becca | Ariel | Inga
By Admin (from 20/09/2010 @ 09:15:24, in en - Global Observatory, read 1760 times)

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is free to leave Sweden, after prosecutors said there was no arrest warrant against him for an alleged case of rape, one of his lawyers said Saturday.

Bjorn Hurtig said an investigation was still under way but the head of the whistleblowing website had been given no summons for questioning.

"I have been told that there is no arrest warrant against him," meaning Assange could do what he liked, including going abroad, Hurtig said.

Sweden's director of prosecutions Marianne Ny said on September 1 she was reopening a rape probe against the Australian, who had an arrest warrant against him issued on August 20 but saw it withdrawn by another prosecutor the following day.

Assange, 39, has said the allegations against him are part of a "smear campaign" aimed at discrediting his website, which is locked in a row with the Pentagon over the release of secret US documents about the war in Afghanistan.

A source familiar with the case said one of Assange's two alleged victims had been questioned on Friday and the other would be seen on Monday.

In a telephone interview with AFP on September 8 Assange said the charges against him were part of "a clear set-up," and had caused damage to WikiLeaks.

He said that he had decided to stay in Sweden to prove his innocence.

"This entire rape investigation has been conducted without my input," he said, adding that the police refused to say if there was a warrant out for him or not.

Assange has admitted that he had met both women in question, but refused to say if had had sex with either of them, calling it "a private matter."

In his interview with AFP he would not point a direct finger at US intelligence services, which have expressed alarm at WikiLeaks' publishing of thousands of confidential documents.

But he said his website had "two reliable intelligence sources that state that Swedish intelligence was approached last month by the United States and told that Sweden must not be a safe haven for WikiLeaks."

Two days before the allegations against Assange were made public, he had applied for a Swedish work and residency permit.

Some of the servers hosting the WikiLeaks website are kept in a basement in the Stockholm suburb of Solna.

WikiLeaks published nearly 77,000 classified US military documents on the war in Afghanistan on July 23, and intends to publish another 15,000.

Newsweek magazine said last week that WikiLeaks was teaming up with news outlets to release a "massive cache" of classified US military field reports on the conflict in Iraq.



U.S. officials said BP Plc killed its Macondo well in the Gulf of Mexico after creating another cement seal, plugging the source of the largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history.

BP Plugs Gulf Well

“The Macondo 252 well is effectively dead,” said National Incident Commander Thad Allen in a statement today (Sep 19, 2010 - n.d.R. TA). BP completed its last pressure test on the plugs at 5:54 a.m. local time before declaring the well sealed, according to the statement.

The 87-day spill, triggered by an April 20 rig explosion that killed 11 workers, tainted hundreds of miles of U.S. coastline. It also wiped out more than $70 billion of BP’s market value, brought new drilling in the Gulf to a standstill and cost Chief Executive Officer Tony Hayward his job. About 400 lawsuits are pending, and the trial judge overseeing those predicted hundreds more will be filed.

“The whole industry is terrified it could happen to them,” Peter Hitchens, an analyst for Panmure Gordon UK Ltd. in London, said in an interview. “The whole way we drill wells could actually change. They’re going to take a lot longer. They’re going to be a lot more scrutinized.”

Another series of plugs probably will be required by the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, Regulation and Enforcement before BP can abandon the well, Daren Beaudo, a company spokesman, said in an interview before today’s announcement.

BP Response

BP has spent at least $8 billion responding to the spill. The well, about 40 miles (64 kilometers) off the Louisiana coast, gushed more than 4 million barrels of oil into the Gulf. No crude or gas has leaked since BP capped the well July 15.

The disaster revealed that BP was unprepared to stanch a gusher 5,000 feet (1,524 meters) below the ocean surface, where pressure turns natural gas into pipe-clogging slush. BP took 87 days to design, build and deploy a 75-ton cap that stopped the flow after a series of failures.

Exxon Mobil Corp., Chevron Corp., ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell Plc have pledged $1 billion to create a system to capture oil from underwater blowouts.

Weather slowed BP’s efforts to intercept the well. On June 25, the company said it would take a few weeks for the relief drilling to reach the level where it would enter Macondo.

Interception occurred Sept. 16, at 17,997 feet (5,485 meters) below the sea surface, BP said a day later.

Blaming Transocean

The well’s blowout preventer, a stack of valves designed to stop the sort of surge of oil and gas that led to the rig explosion, is at a government site in New Orleans for testing and inspection by the U.S. Justice Department and others.

BP expects to demobilize a fleet of drilling rigs and other ships that have been stationed at the well for months now that the well is permanently plugged, Beaudo said. That fleet has included two drillships, three drilling rigs, production vessels, tankers and ships that operated underwater robots.

BP on Sept. 8 published a 234-page report on the causes of the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig, saying that its own managers and contractors involved with the well made mistakes that contributed to the disaster. The company blamed many of the errors onTransocean Ltd., which owned the Deepwater Horizon, and on service providers such as Halliburton Co.

BP’s report concealed the well’s “fatally flawed” design, which “set the stage” for the explosion, Geneva-based Transocean said Sept. 8. The driller cited a series of cost- savings decisions by BP that added risk.

Cathy Mann, a spokeswoman for Houston-based Halliburton, said the report had “substantial omissions and inaccuracies” and that BP dictated design and testing procedures for the well.

Anadarko Petroleum Corp., based near Houston, has a 25 percent stake in Macondo. A unit of Mitsui Oil Exploration Co., which is 70 percent owned by Japan’s Mitsui & Co., holds a 10 percent interest. BP was operator and held a 65 percent stake.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jim Polson in New York at;Christian Schmollinger in Singapore at;


By Admin (from 23/09/2010 @ 15:07:35, in en - Global Observatory, read 1743 times)

Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates has been named as the wealthiest person in the US for the 17th year in a row.

Bill Gates

Forbes magazine put his fortune at $54bn (£34.5bn), with investment guru Warren Buffet second with $45bn.

Software tycoon Larry Ellison was in third place, while Wal-Mart heir Christy Walton was fourth on Forbes' list of the 400 richest Americans.

It took a net worth of at least $1bn to earn a spot in the rankings - up from $950m in 2009.

The collective net worth of the 400 billionaires rose by 8% from 2009, totalling $1.37 trillion - approximately the same as the GDP of Spain or Canada.

Social network trend

Those gaining wealth in the list included Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, whose wealth grew by 245% to $6.4bn, the report said, putting him at 35 in the list.

His fellow co-founder Dustin Moskovitz is the youngest to make the top 400. The 26-year-old is eight days younger than Mr Zuckerberg and one of 16 new entrants to the list, which also includes another Facebook figure, Eduardo Saverin.

Another gainer was Manchester United owner Malcolm Glazer and family, while among those losing ground were the family behind confectionery giant Mars.

And there were 34 dropping off the list, including real estate mogul Tamir Sapir.

The 18 people returning to the list after a period of absence included Sidney Kimmel, at number 365, who made his fortune in the clothes business before producing films including The Kite Runner.

The report also found that among the 400 members of the list, 231 had donated to the Democratic Party between 2006 and 2010 - giving a total of $6.2bn. This compared with the 247 people who donated $7.3bn between them to the Republican Party.


RankNameWealthSourceChange from 2009



Bill Gates



+ $4bn


Warren Buffett


Berkshire Hathaway

+ $5bn


Lawrence Ellison



No change


Christy Walton & family





Charles Koch





David Koch





Jim C Walton



+ $500m


Alice Walton



+ $700m


S Robson Walton



+ $700m


Michael Bloomberg



+ $500m


By Admin (from 24/09/2010 @ 10:00:16, in en - Global Observatory, read 2435 times)

The Internet age has spawned a culture in which information is rapidly assimilated and distributed around the world every second of every day. WikiLeaks, an organization that exposes classified information, has caused much controversy in recent months.

The documents that WikiLeaks publishes are leaked by individuals in corporate, religious, and government organizations.

The WikiLeaks organization states on its website that its mission is "to protect whistleblowers, journalists, and activists who have sensitive materials to communicate to the public." In effect, it is a site dedicated to the exposure of classified information and asserts a message that advocates for "better accountability by governments and other institutions."

"The Internet is wonderful but increasingly problematic. Sometimes we are kept in the dark for a reason. I would not want retaliation against innocent people due to the release of such information," said Stephanie Howell, a communications professor.

"While I do appreciate exposure of government, implications can be problematic and people can be hurt when the whole story isn't told."

In late July 2010 WikiLeaks released 77,000 documents pertaining to U.S. military operations in Afghanistan, followed by an additional 15,000 classified reports leaked illegally by Private Bradley Manning. Entitled the "Afghan War Diaries," this collection of highly sensitive military information paints a comprehensive picture of past and ongoing efforts of the war, including possible evidence of war crimes and military misconduct.

This included the release of a 2007 video entitled "Collateral Murder," filmed from the cockpit of a U.S. Army Apache helicopter. The video displays a lethal airstrike resulting in the deaths of a group of Afghan citizens and two Reuters news journalists, allegedly based on the premise of one man's possession of an artillery weapon. Various human rights groups and media organizations have lodged their support for the site, and despite some initial criticism surrounding the leak of names of Afghani informants, organizations such as Reporters Without Borders have pledged "support for WikiLeaks, its work, and its founding principles."

Critics have argued that the indiscriminate disclosure of intimate details on the war threatens both ongoing military operations in Afghanistan and the safety of its Afghani informants.

Opinions are sharply divided along ideological lines in the U.S., outlying the struggle to balance national security interests with First Amendment rights.

Benjamin Cosic, a senior majoring in communications and business, is in favor of WikiLeaks as long as it does not put peoples' lives or well-being in danger.

"WikiLeaks must take into account the ethical consequences of releasing such information to the public. However, websites like WikiLeaks could be revolutionary in terms of contributing to a more neutral, informed public," said Cosic.

"Most major news outlets are for profit corporations and possess a bias based on the need to present information in a way that turns a profit."

This debate has intensified with the Internet's capability of providing an anonymous forum for opinion and a venue in which to share information. With the rise of such technology, the notion of privacy and confidentiality, in the traditional sense, is rapidly changing.

WikiLeaks reflects a struggle between the right to free speech and the necessity to protect information critical to corporate, government, and organizational security. The question posed to modern-day society is how to draw the line between Internet freedom and necessary secrecy.

"If an open society means that people have to censor themselves, I believe people will be more cautious about what they put online," said Paul Booth, an assistant professor in the College of Communications who specializes in technology and new media.

"It's hard to say if the majority of people have a favorable opinion of WikiLeaks, but I think most people are in favor of open dialogue and debate. They don't want to compromise the safety of others, but they want to have as much information as possible."


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