Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Wikileaks and the misuse of Power ... past, present and future

There are currently few stories exposing more Poweromics (i.e. the misuse of 'Power') than the saga surrounding Wikileaks ... from the leaked content itself ... through to the response of those in 'Power' ...

The hidden 'hands on power' have pressurised Governments to put in place international arrest/extradition warrants for its leader (Julian Assange) for an alleged and unrelated rape charge (nb not for releasing information), and subjected Wikileaks web sites/facilities to concerted cyber-attacks in an attempt to shut them down ... 

Assange has stated that website deserves protection and has not cost a single life despite the claims of critics.  Writing for The Australian newspaper, Mr Assange quoted its founder, Rupert Murdoch, as once saying the truth will inevitably win over secrecy.

He said: "Nearly a century later, WikiLeaks is also fearlessly publishing facts that need to be made public."  Mr Assange said WikiLeaks has coined "scientific journalism" that allows readers to study the original evidence for themselves.

He added: "Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The media helps keep government honest.  "WikiLeaks has revealed some hard truths about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and broken stories about corporate corruption."

The campaigner denied he is anti-war, but said Governments must tell the truth about their reasons for fighting.  He claimed the United States, supported by its "acolytes", has attacked WikiLeaks instead of other media groups because it is "young and small".

Branding the website "underdogs", he accused Australia Prime Minister Julia Gillard of "disgraceful pandering" to the Americans.  He said: "The Gillard government is trying to shoot the messenger because it doesn't want the truth revealed, including information about its own diplomatic and political dealings."

Mr Assange highlighted some of the most high-profile revelations made by his website over the last week.  He added: "The swirling storm around WikiLeaks today reinforces the need to defend the right of all media to reveal the truth."

Wikileaks has been operational for some time ... so why is it only now that it is fighting for survival ... ?

Well the some leaks have exposed the misuse of Power, to the embarrassment of those who wield 'Power' (e.g. politicians, corrupt 'leaders', bankers, landowners) but a number of people have been quick to point towards a different event ... when, at the tail-end of last month, Assange indicated to a journalist that he had information about a major US bank that would cause a scandal to rival Enron ... now every financial institution is severing the ability to finance Wikileaks in an attempt to stop it doing this (nb such relevations could indeed start to expose the real 'hands of power', as well as all the corrupt/unethical banking practices still operating in banks today).

For all the mirrors around the internet replicating Wikileaks's content, the organisation is going to find it difficult to continue without the financial resources necessary to sift through its vast repository of documents.  Corporate America has swung into action against Wikileaks, acting swiftly and brutally. PayPal and MasterCard have now withdrawn their services and Assange's Swiss bank account has been frozen. The cost to Wikileaks in lost donations is already significant, and while this isn't the first time Wikileaks has had its income threatened (nb Moneybookers, a British payments company, shut down its account back in October), this time the financial services companies are acting as one, which makes survival more difficult for a site that operates on donations from the public.

... the small minority in Power (and who misuse Power) want this to continue, and don't want anyone to see (or interfere with) what they are doing ... however the vast majority of people would like to see more openness, honesty, transparency and facts, to make sure that those in 'Power' act honorably and responsibly, and in their collective best interests (and not simply their own).

... which is what "Scientific Journalism" should be about ... 

Indeed given this definition, the world arguably needs much more "Scientific Journalism" and far less ignorance, apathy and "Popularist Journalism" (which is what prevails right now)! 

... and thanks to the internet this will continue to be the case - the Genie's out the Bottle and it will not be put back ... i.e. the internet will change everything - including the balance/nature of Power ...