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I’ve been watching the whole Wikileaks fiasco with interest. The contents of the fat bundles of information released, of late, don’t actually interest me at all, but the process of what is going on is fascinating to watch.

The folks at Wikileaks are in an interesting and unenviable position. They’re the publishers, and if The State vs New York Times has taught us anything, it’s that they’re legally in the clear by USA law and precedent, however much all sorts of official organisations consider the publication to be tantamount to treason and terrorism.

More interesting is the fact that dozens, hundreds, perhaps thousands of serving military officers (some apparently at very high levels), government officials, ambassadors and embassy staff have leaked these documents; that they somehow felt it was in the best interests in their respective oaths of service to their nations to have this information made public. So, it’s likely that whatever happens to Wikileaks, these people will do it again.

Now, newspapers everywhere are running with information from these various leaked documents. Probably every news journalist on the planet has already downloaded a complete copy of all of it. Shut the site down today, and it will still be coming out in newspapers and on television for years to come – nobody seems to be interested in standing on the necks of news journalists. Get rid of the Wikileaks people and the leakers will still leak, but they’ll find another avenue. Probably, they’ll use any and every avenue available to them.

It’s a genie that cannot be restored to the bottle. Thousands or millions of copies of the information now probably exist. If Wikileaks vanishes, boxes of files will doubtless turn up on the doorsteps of journalists, or arrive by some electronic equivalent.

As for the content itself – from what I’ve seen – I cannot see what benefit there might be to anyone in many of the documents being recently leaked, which makes it difficult to divine the motivations of the leakers. It’s hard to see the point of so many officers and officials making some of this information public.

Nevertheless, the whole “shoot the messenger” strategy looks like an increasingly pointless exercise as well as a major minefield. I wonder how much private information and communications about various government responses to Wikileaks and its people will be leaked to the press and become public record in the weeks and months to come.

Judging by the sort of information that has already been leaked, it would seem that “all of it” is the safe way to bet, so the government people involved had better be certain that they’re being scrupulously legal and correct even in their most private conversations and communications, yes?

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Categories: Opinion.



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