26 July 2010

The first casualty

The increasing intention of western and non-western governments to censor the internet is usually put in terms of "child protection", although it is very unlikely to be affected by censorship, merely by using uncensorable techniques like Torrents. But one has to wonder if the real reason is more to do with preventing this sort of thing. It turns out that we have been lied to about civilian casualties and targeted assassinations in Afghanistan, two things that any civilised society should repudiate. Aeschylus is supposed to have said that in war, truth is the first casualty. Governments and militaries who prosecute wars do so for their own reasons, which are almost never the reason they give to their populace. Controlling information is crucial. We went into Iraq on a lie, and it looks like we are behaving in Afghanistan in ways that are contrary to what we are being told. This is not the fault of those on the ground, but it is the fault of governments. Without services like Wikilinks, we would never know these lies until it was too late to act on them. So, of course, governments wish to block access to information about the lies. I note also that Wikileaks is providing a service for whistleblowers to notify the media securely. Whistleblowers are usually well motivated individuals with a civil conscience, and so they are usually the only ones blamed and punished for the things they blow the whistle on, despite supposed protection laws. This is a marvellous idea. Media outlets can put a form to notify them on their own websites, and Wikileaks will anonymise the posts. Wikileaks is available from here. It's under a heavy strain right now, for obvious reasons, but I wouldn't put a DDoS attack out of the question either. In any even I expect that the Australian internet filter will include Wikileaks. If it does, I'll post a way around it. Think about why people are criticising Wikileaks: they are providing us, the people, with the truth about things that governments and vested interests do not want exposed. Why would anyone think that was wrong? Nobody who is open and honest could. Yes, I mean you Conroy, you weasel.

1 comment:

Eric Michael Johnson said...

Very nicely stated John. I think it's a testament to how the United States is a one party system in the way Democrats and Republicans have unified to condemn Wikileaks. Furthermore, the so called journalists who have framed this leak as "whether or not the material should have been leaked" rather than the substance in the documents exposes them as enablers of unjustified power. Wikileaks should be celebrated for their courageous work.