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GLOBAL-L  October 2010

GLOBAL-L October 2010

Subject:

Re: Gavin McFadyen on Wikileaks

From:

HUNTER Mark <[log in to unmask]>

Reply-To:

[log in to unmask]

Date:

Fri, 29 Oct 2010 07:34:38 +0200

Content-Type:

text/plain

Parts/Attachments:

Parts/Attachments

text/plain (69 lines)

Hello, Nicky Hager of this list wrote the following.  I cut a few words from the first version.  You all can suggest further cuts/changes.  Comments welcome.

"Julian Assange, founder of the whistle-blowing organisation Wikileaks, 
is being angrily criticised and threatened for his part in huge leaks 
of military documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (the ‘War 
Diaries’). He is being accused of irresponsibly releasing confidential 
military information, of endangering lives of people named in the 
leaked military reports and even of espionage. Some media 
organisations have joined in this criticism.

We, journalists and journalist organisations from many countries, 
express our support for Mr Assange and Wikileaks. We believe that Mr Assange has made an outstanding contribution to transparency and accountability on 
the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, subjects where transparency and 
accountability has been severely restricted by government secrecy and 
media control. He is being attacked for releasing information that 
should never have been withheld from the public.

Was Wikileaks doing something wrong by releasing confidential military 
documents? Not at all. There is a fundamental difference between 
legitimately private information, such as between a patient and 
doctor, and secret information about the mass killing of civilians and 
handing over prisoners to be tortured.

Has Wikileaks endangered lives? There was legitimate criticism of 
Wikileaks for not vetting the Afghanistan documents fully enough, with 
some names such as informers being released. Fortunately there is no 
evidence that anyone has been injured or killed as a result. We note 
that Wikileaks learned from that mistake and has been much more 
careful with the Iraq documents. Overall, Wikileaks’ factual reporting 
of numerous undisputed abuses and crimes is of far greater 
significance than the widely criticised mistakes over inadequate 
redacting.

Is Mr Assange guilty of crimes? No, it is some of his loudest accusers 
who appear to be guilty of crimes, which may explain their campaign of 
denigration against him. E ABOVE

I SUGGEST WE CUT TH

This campaign now includes suggestions of  
espionage charges against Mr Assange. If it is espionage to publish 
documents provided by whistle blowers, then every journalist will eventually be guilty of that crime. Mr Assange deserves our support and 
encouragement in the face of the attacks.

Since it was launched in 2006, Wikileaks has been an extraordinary 
resource for journalists around the world, furthering transparency at 
a time when governments are reducing it. Although it is not part of 
the media, and does not purport to be, its mission of informing the 
public and reducing unjustified secrecy complements and assists our 
work. As grateful beneficiaries of Wikileaks and Mr Assange’s work, we 
stand in support of them at this time."

Best to all

Mark Lee Hunter
Adjunct Professor and Senior Research Fellow, INSEAD
Docteur en Sciences de l'Information de l'Université de Paris 2
Portable: (+33) [0]6 27 81 00 87

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