Governments and Corporations Attempt to Repress WikiLeaks: Holding Up Mirrors
WikiLeaks has struggled to stay online after initiating the slow release of over 250,000 leaked US diplomatic cables on 28th November 2010. The releases, dubbed “Cablegate,” have been carried in newspapers around the world. The four-year-old WikiLeaks organisation has been under constant political attack, especially from the conservative side of politics, whilst its website has been subjected to a series of sophisticated cyber-attacks. Reporters Without Borders condemned this hounding of WikiLeaks.
Spokesperson for WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, was put on Interpol's most wanted list for detention and extradition to Sweden in relation to two allegations of sexual abuse against him which had previously been dropped. The Swedish prosecutor is described as “overzealous” in the mainstream German weekly, Die Zeit. Assange surrendered his passport to British police and offered sureties of £180,000, but a Westminster Court denied his bail application. The courts later reversed this decision, allowing Assange out on £200,000 bail on the condition that he stay at a known residence, observe a curfew, be tagged, and report daily to police.Global resistance in support of WikiLeaks and Assange is taking the form of over 1,200 websites mirroring WikiLeaks and street protests in Australia. The Indymedia Network is hosting one of these Mirrors. Noam Chomsky, Professor Peter Singer and other prominent people in Australia have released an open letter to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard calling for Julian Assange to be given full support as an Australian citizen and urged a statement of Australia’s commitment to freedom of political communication.
In retaliation against corporate censorship action against WikiLeaks, anonymous hackers working as Operation Payback have taken down a bank website that froze Julian Assange’s defence fund and the MasterCard site was subjected to massive attacks after WikiLeaks donations were banned.
US constitutional lawyer Glenn Greenwald said on Democracy Now that the freedom of the whole internet is now at stake.
The manner of these revelations has been described as “holding a mirror” to the mainstream press and their friends in governments. The governments clearly don't like to see the ugliness of their own depravity, which is usually hidden from view by the press. Will we allow WikiLeaks and Julian Assange to be destroyed for daring to tell the world the truth about wars and the criminal deeds of governments around the world? Or will we support the upholding of mirrors - both technical and journalistic - in the struggle for openness?