As many of you may have realised I am a huge fan of Wikileaks.org. It is a website dedicated to transparency, real journalism and freedom of speech.
Naturally, many governments and corporations hate them with a passion that burns like flame. Whereas journalists worship the binary on which its code is written.
Wikileaks has recently been in the news a lot more than usual because they leaked a massive storehouse of classified US Army reports on the war in Afghanistan (the so-called ‘Afghan War Diary’).
The Pentagon, after a few days, demanded that the information be “returned” which prompted many people to ask exactly how the fuck one even does that, in a digital age.
Next, Wikileaks placed two large, encrypted files on their servers. One of the files was labelled “insurance” which makes one wonder whether this is some document about the insurance industry, or a blatant attempt at intimidating the US government.
I hope it’s not the latter. Judging by history such things never go well.
But I wanted to talk about the latest developments in the “Afghan War Diary” saga. An article on the ‘Danger Room‘ (a part of Wired magazine’s online service) contains a graphic representation of the war in Afghanistan, as expressed in those leaked reports.
I advise you to check out the article. But if you don’t feel like it here is the graphic:
Every dot on that map represents an attack by insurgents, or Taliban and I don’t think it’s a controversial statement to say that it makes it look as if things are getting much worse.
The map was created by a political science student named Drew Conway with the intention of showing ordinary people just how important the Wikileaks information is, and how bad the war in Afghanistan is going.
Protip: it’s going very, very badly.
Of course it’s unlikely that the US government is going to let Wikileaks get away with this, if it can help it. In fact the more effective Wikileaks becomes the more likely it is that the US is going to try and shut them down.
In fact they recently detained a Wikileaks volunteer and demanded that he decrypt the contents of his laptop. He said “uh uh” and thus, frustrated, they let him go.
But rest assured friends: a battle is coming. Whenever those in power find something powerful that they cannot control they always seek to take it away from others. I’ve already said that I am afraid of how Internet freedom is being slowly eroded and the attacks on Wikileaks are a part of that. This is a battle between freedom and control and the biggest obstacle we face is the fact that most people don’t think it’s important.
But it is.
The fact that the US’s response is not to reassure people that things are getting better, but rather to try and make sure that the truth never gets out again is deeply disturbing, and it’s hardly an isolated case.
“They” meaning those in power, believe that they are better than “us”, and have the right to make our decisions for us. It has been this way throughout human history but that doesn’t mean it must remain this way.
Stay informed, and never forget how important people like Wikileaks are. Especially when they are fighting our battles for us.
[Standard Disclaimer: this post was entirely my own opinion and was not paid for in any way, directly or otherwise, by anyone or anything that stands to gain in any way from the ideas expressed herein.]