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Notes for article on Wikileaks and transparency in government

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Most source material can be found at delicious.com/robdaleworks. This article is being produced for http://www.dontpaniconline.com/.

Here’s the brief I have been given by my Editor – Something to discuss could be Wikileaks – with the outing of the founder and the recent bill passed in Iceland, there’s mileage to be got out of it. Part discussion of what it achieved through leaking material, part forecast of the future of information freedom given these two related events.

There are 4 elements that need to be discussed here I feel. The first is the currently secretive political climate that exists – this can be highlighted from drawing on Heather Brooke’s five year battle that eventually clawed out the information needed for the ‘Expense’s Scandal’ to ever exist. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2009/may/15/mps-expenses-heather-brooke-foi. Insight from her wonferful book ‘Then Silent State’ also needs to be brought out.

This data would have never come out though had it not been for a whistleblower. A discussion about the value of these people , who they are and what they have given society over the years will set a nice context for an overview of Wikileaks. http://www.worldwidewhistleblowers.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=section&layout=blog&id=6&Itemid=58

Wikileaks is currently in the news quite a bit with a recent U.S. intelligence officer handing over a reported 260,000 cables to the site. This included video footage of a U.S. air strike that reportedly killed 100 civilians.The officer, Bradley Manning, is also believed to have handed over this astonishingly disturbing video of  a US Army attack in Iraq in 2007 that left 12 people dead (including two employees of Reuters). http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/apr/05/wikileaks-us-army-iraq-attack – I strongly recommend you watching this video.

Manning has since been removed from Afghanistan and is currently being held at a military base in Kuwait, whilst Julian Assange, the creator of Wikileaks, is keeping a low profile in a hideout in Belgium. http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-06-21/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange-speaks-his-outreach-to-the-pentagon/?cid=hp:mainpromo8

Assange has been in Iceland over recent months assisting politicians there with the planning of a bill that would see the country become a ‘freedom of expression haven.’ It’ll become like what Belize or the Bahamas are to billionaires basically. http://www.countercurrents.org/assange170610.htm

So a round-up of these plans and what they say about the future of transparent government will hopefully be a nice ending to the piece.

If you have any ideas, thoughts or tit-bits of information, or if you would like to mull over any of the issues then please get in touch. Email me at robdaleworks@gmail or call me on 07854 138517.


Written by Robert Dale

June 27, 2010 at 9:35 am