Thursday, May 13, 2010

Wikileaks Founder Assange Decries Abusive Information Burying in the West



Wikileaks launched in late 2006 with the mission of bringing to light hidden information. In this talk, Assange describes how this burying of intelligence by the West sets precedent for other countries. This tactic by the West provides justification for other countries to hide abuses in power.


Wikileaks became well known after its recent leak capturing a helicopter shooting into a crowd of people in Iraq (above). The video shows two Reuters journalists being gunned down in a crowd. There is some evidence that individuals may have had AK-47s but at this point in time this was common in Iraq. The calm demeanor shows the lack of hostility. There was also never any return in gunfire. The begging by the helicopter pilot for the wounded reporter to touch a gun to justify shooting him is telling. The pilot then guns him down along with his rescuer. Two school children in the vehicle are hit with bullets in the exchange.

Another note is that YouTube initially froze the counter of the Collateral Murder video, though it is clearly unfrozen now (over 6.6M views). YouTube also refused to give Sunshine Press (Wikileaks) any of the awards popular videos normally get. These accolades help videos get more views. This abusive treatment was obvious because while the original video rose in popularity, it was the copied and re-uploaded videos that were making the top videos page. Viewers were clearly afraid the original video was going to be taken down and wanted it to be preserved. Obviously, YouTube's attempts to stifle the video were not enough. Its contents quickly became too large for even the mainstream press to ignore. Though, they did do their best to rationalize the military's actions.

The organization is planning the video release of a larger attack against a crowd of people in Afghanistan. The talk by Assange mentions a few other examples of the releases by Wikileaks. The organization also released a CIA report aiming to raise support in Europe for the Afghanistan war  and a report by the US government to undermine Wikileak's integrity and shut it down. The US report sites for justification the many stories embarrassing to the US government that the organization leaked.

Wikileaks does not accept support from government or corporations in order to maintain its integrity. It provides a service that few if any other outlets are able. If you are interested in supporting their cause, please donate.

Update! 5/18/10: Excellent Video interview with Assange on SBS Dateline here.

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