Assange and Wikileaks, the Walmart of whistleblowing?

Sometimes it useful to go back to when a story first broke to get some perspective on where it is now. This snapshot is from the BBC’s Newsnight edition from the day after it ‘escaped’ to the Ecudorian Embassy earlier in the summer: Julian Assange is not worried so much about going to Sweden as being inducted into a legal process that could see him end up in the US to face trial for espionage, or worse. Fair enough, I …

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Wikileaks, hacking and the effect of fear on open government…

Tom Watson (not the politician) has a very perceptive piece on Julian Assange, and how hacking into government systems to free information has, in the short term at least, has created a fear factor that’s made the system less open: Slapping up stolen emails in partnership with hackers was supposed to be the early life Assange left behind when he got religion for government reform; providing a mechanism for legitimate whistleblowers to get their stories to journalists and the public …

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Anonymous: freedom is #TangoDown

Their bio simply states: We are Anonymous. We are legion. We never forgive, We never forget, Expect us.  Location: Right behind you. [You can find a longer backstory on the wired website.] There is something epic and fascinating in the current battles between Anonymous (and others) and the US government and, by proxy, various arms of the western capitalist system revolving around issues pertaining to the balance between freedom of speech, perceived encroachments on civil liberties, intellectual property and commercial rights. …

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Is Assange just super briefing the public in what it already knows?

I recall a few years ago being berated in Slugger’s comment zone by Julian Assange for daring to suggest that some decisions were best discussed behind closed doors. Despite our heavy duty investigation of Northern Ireland Water last year, I still don’t believe that everything in government automatically benefits from the transparency of the public square. But reading the Irish Independent’s batch of Ireland cables from the State Department, begs the question: is Assange simply super briefing the public in …

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What do we think about Wikileaks?

I don’t know about you but I’ve been changing my mind about Wikileaks on an hourly basis. On the one hand, the team behind the whole thing have done us a huge service and deserve a medal. On the other, they’re a threat to civilisation as we know it and should be locked up. Thankfully, Debategraph offers all sides to the story (and you can get in there add new strands or weight existing ones). Paul EvansLiving in London, working …

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Mitchell Reiss: “Governments often have information about illegal activities that they decide not to prosecute…”

The Irish Echo reports comments from then-US Special Envoy to Northern Ireland, Mitchell Reiss, on the Wikileaked US Embassy cables from 2005.  From the Irish Echo report “I believe the taoiseach believed what he told me,” recalled Reiss in the interview. “This was the taoiseach speaking. The cable doesn’t give you my opinion. I certainly had no evidence whether these men were complicit or not. “Governments often have information about illegal activities that they decide not to prosecute for a …

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Four US views on whether Wikileaks is a force for good?

Four American views on Wikileaks from Reason TV… Mostly sceptical… Mick FealtyMick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

Wikileaks: “Another idea sporadically under consideration…”

It’s an idea that has, probably, been overtaken by events… for now…  But there is one more section from the US Embassy cables released by Wikileaks worth highlighting.  A short note on the possibility of Fianna Fáil contesting elections in Northern Ireland from a cable dated 04 February 2005 8. (C) Another idea sporadically under consideration is that Fianna Fail could start competing in elections in Northern Ireland. The argument is that Fianna Fail’s best way of confronting Sinn Fein in …

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Wikileaks: “What [Sinn Féin] cannot stand, he said, is skepticism.”

The Guardian has a good round-up of most of the significant Process™ related sections of the US Embassy cables released by Wikileaks.  But there are a few sections worth highlighting in that they corroborate elements of other accounts that have been published previously.  In particular the account by Mary-Alice Clancy. From a US Embassy cable dated 04 February 2005 5. (C) XXXXXXXXXXXX said that the GOI’s approach to the peace process was to “sit tight” and let Sinn Fein find its way back. Equally, …

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Clinton: “I think I’ll serve as secretary of state as my last public position”

As noted by the Telegraph’s Nile Gardiner, US Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, has told an audience in Bahrain that the post will likely be her last in public office. Clinton was speaking at a town hall meeting in Bahrain, where she’s attending a Gulf security summit hosted by Bahrain’s International Institute for Strategic Studies, where Yemen and Iran are expected to dominate the agenda. “I think I’ll serve as secretary of state as my last public position, and then probably …

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Julian Assange and the story of the talking cat…

Whilst I think Daniel may be right about Julian Assange being anti American, that doesn’t really speak to whether his revelations were useful or not. These revelations were more interesting than previous tranches, possibly because the involvement of mainstream journalists teed them up better, but also it passingly lifts the skirts on workings of private life of international diplomacy, and turned it into a public affair. But no one describes the problem better than Henry Farrell, turning to his collection …

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