You can’t seem to move to a blog or news page for the last week and not see something about Wikileaks. I thought I would add to the noise 🙂
The files being shown to the world are embarrassing to the US and to some of its allies. It also gives us direct information about a lot of topics we could only speculate on before but now we have data from a reliable source for things like who really was behind the Google hack in January. And our suspicion of China was indeed well placed. (But that is for a new blog post.)
I have been thinking about what happened, who has done anything wrong and who to blame for the whole mess in the first place. Obviously the guy who leaked the data is in trouble. He took US data and without permission gave that to a third party to leak. But is he the only one to blame and is it Wikileaks who has broken the law?
The largest blame for all of this should not be the young man who stole the data. He was already in trouble, apparently Manning had been investigated for something else and was going to be kicked out of the army, so they moved him from what he was doing to some desk job and they left him with his security clearance intact. From his chat with Lamo “im self medicating like crazy when im not toiling in the supply office (my new location, since im being discharged, im not offically intel anymore)”
So you have a guy who is being discharged from the army and he knows it and is self medicating, depressed and pissed off at the army and so you leave him with full access to everything and stick him in an office with nothing to do? And then you are surprised he takes everything he can? To me the officer who did that should be in the cell next to him. Don’t get me wrong manning screwed up and needs to be prosecuted, but also needs to be defended.
AT the same time do we blame Wikileaks for this? Did Wikileaks recruit Manning or did Manning go to them. It seems Manning went to them and Wikileaks is a press organization. AND the US and its allies have benefited before from Wikileaks in the past. Freedom of the press is a basic democratic right. Without a free press there is no democracy. And that freedom must include being able to criticize the government, protect its sources and be able to use leaks if it gets them. In a democracy if the government is able to control the press and take away its freedom then the democracy is doomed. Without whistle blowers and places like Wikileaks we would not have things like Watergate.
Has leaking these papers put people in danger? No more than they were in before for being spies or soldiers. Wikileaks has been redacting names. And from the evidence of the first to sets of files there have been no reprisals, no attacks because of the leaks. AND we have learned so much as citizens of the inner workings of our democracies and we will be able to learn and make our countries better places.
So what Wikileaks has done while embarrassing for the US and its allies is completely legal and fair. If what has leaked has embarrassed our governments then maybe they should not do such things that would embarrass them.