Some stuff which makes WikiLeaks look bad

I’m definitely pro-WikiLeaks, as anyone who’s read what I’ve written on the subject would definitely know. But like any other issue, it’s not entirely black and white. And since I already know I’m biased in one direction, I’m definitely at risk for ignoring information which doesn’t fit with said bias. So in order to try to correct that, here are some recent reports which might make one think twice before unconditionally supporting WL:

  1. ARS Technica: Some former WikiLeaks workers are starting up an alternative whistleblowing website called OpenLeaks. Their chief complaints seem to be that WL has become too America-centric and politically ideological, and that it relies too much on one person – presumably Julian Assange – instead of operating more democratically.
  2. The Guardian: In an interview, Julian Assange claimed that a leak involving corruption in Kenyan politics led to the death of 1,300 people and the displacement of 350,000. The context was the tough moral questions the organization faces in dealing with such sensitive information. Assange referred to it as a “chilling statistic.”
  3. Threat Level: WikiLeaks had pledged to assist in the defense fund of Pfc. Bradley Manning who’s been accused of leaking the Afghan War Diaries months ago, but has not yet made good on that pledge. WL spokesman┬áKristinn Hrafnsson claims the payment is currently being processed.
  4. Threat Level: The Wired blog is reporting based on an anonymous source that the organization is now “in chaos” and that “the organization will most likely start to fall apart now.” Time Magazine, however, disagrees.
  5. Reporters Without Borders: The free press advocacy group tries to convince Assange that WL is setting a bad precedent for free speech on the internet.

Despite all this, I’m still definitely on WL’s side. It’s not reasonable to expect every single thing an organization does to be either completely good or completely evil. There’s always going to be nuances when it comes to these really big issues like war and the law and the conflict between transparency and secrecy. But at the same time it’s important to keep all this in perspective.

UPDATE: WikiLeaks has transferred $15,000 to Bradley Manning’s defense fund as of January 13, 2011.

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