Of Wikileaks, Whistleblowers and Whipping Boys

Published on IPSnew, by William Fisher, Dec 10, 2010.

NEW YORK, Dec 10, 2010 (IPS) – As pro- and anti-Wikileaks forces draw their battle lines, and Wikileaks’ impresario Julian Assange marks time in storied, overcrowded and very Victorian Wandsworth Prison in southwest London, a group of his supporters are taking a different tack.

No, they’re not hacking MasterCard or Sarah Palin. Instead they’re speaking out in no uncertain terms. Their message: On balance, the staggered release by Wikileaks of some 250,000 diplomatic cables from U.S. embassies around the world is providing a valuable public service for which some believe Assange is being persecuted with trumped up sex charges. 

These champions of transparency and enemies of government secrecy are the small but vocal community known as the human rights and press freedom constituencies.

Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, told IPS, “Wikileaks has played a critical role in giving the American people the truth about the lies the U.S. government has told about its wars, especially those in the Middle East and Central Asia.”

Regarding Assange’s arrest, he added, “Yes, the charges for which he is being investigated need to be investigated. Yet the irregularities in the proceeding are glaring. Why was the case dropped originally? Why was he allowed to leave Sweden?” … //

… As Assange’s supporters rally to his side, one thing is clear – the genie is out of the bottle and can’t be put back, regardless of the pressures exerted on the whistleblower organisation by corporations and government authorities.

Chip Pitts, past president and current member of the executive committee of the Bill of Rights Defence Committee, told IPS, “Assange’s arrest now further complicates and escalates the situation.”

“The ferocity with which the establishment has targeted Assange reveals its profound concern over the historic new trend toward global transparency Wikileaks exemplifies: if the big thieves can’t keep their thievery secret, what will they do?” END. (full text).

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