Wikileaks, the website that helps whistleblowers make their info public whilst remaining anonymous, is in trouble again. I guess it’s inevitable that anyone who releases onto the internet hundreds of thousands of classified US government documents is going to face hardship in one way or another – the USA is not a nice enemy to have. First they got Amazon to stop their Wikileaks-based business (the 250,000 US embassy cables recently leaked were stored on servers owned by Amazon) and now they’ve got Everydns, the American-owned company that provided DNS service to Wikileaks, to drop the wikileaks.org site. Tell your browser to go to “wikileaks.org” and it’ll tell you that there’s no server at that address.
Everydns, the company involved, say they had to drop wikileaks.org because the denial-of-service and other cyber attacks aimed at the Wikileaks site were also affecting the internet company’s other customers. And that’s a plausible explanation. Plausible deniability, anyone? Because it seems to me that a more likely explanation is that the US government leaned on Everydns and told them: “Drop Wikileaks or we’ll drop you!” And there’s the fact that Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate’s committee on homeland security, called for a boycott of Wikileaks-related business by all American companies. Amazon have admitted that they acted under pressure from the government – so why are Everydns being so shy? Are they ashamed of what they’ve done? I know that I would be ashamed of myself if I did anything like that.
While this has harmed Wikileaks, it wasn’t fatal. Wikileaks quickly got themselves a Swiss URL – wikileaks.ch – and there’s also the IP address 188.8.131.52 – type that into your browser’s address bar and it’ll take you to the site that makes the US government so scared!!
I think that Wikileaks are providing a much-needed service. If democracy is to be taken seriously, there needs to be transparency of government. And the constant refrain we hear from politicians – that these leaks put the lives of service men and women in danger – is complete BS. The government put its troops’ lives in ganger when it sent them off to war. Also, Wikileaks have collaborated with experienced journalists from the New York Times, the Guardian and others) to ensure that individual identities are not revealed needlessly. The plain truth is that Wikileaks has exposed the politicians’ unethical greed and war-mongering. Good work, Wikileaks… but watch your back.
One Wikileaks-related figure, Julian Assange, has more reason than most to watch his back. Wikileaks works best as an anonymous network of activists and truth-seekers. But Assange has put himself into the story. Go to front of the current Wikileaks site (184.108.40.206) and you’ll find a photo of the man, looking rather contemplative and honest (the direct eye-contact between the man and the camera lens screams “Trust me!” Maybe he’s deliberately hogging the limelight, to distract attention away from the men and women in the shadows doing the actual work. Or maybe he’s a narcissistic sexual predator. I don’t know. But I do know that Wikileaks is incredibly important. Don’t let your government take them down!
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