Wikileaks: All Leaks are being Plugged
As the U.S. government-led covert attacks continue on the whistleblowing site Wikileaks, its major corporate partners have cut off the site’s oxygen. While it’s still breathing on temporary support, leading media companies and donors can help it regain normal life.
By Rakesh Raman
The web phenomenon Wikileaks that had stepped up the intensity of its crusade a week ago against the top-level corruption by releasing secret U.S. communications is facing a serious disruption of service threat.
Leading web hosting company Amazon was the first to betray Wikileaks by throwing it out of its servers last week. It’s believed Amazon took this step under pressure from the U.S. authorities.
However, Amazon’s web information service Alexa kept showing Wikileaks’ performance. At the time of publishing this article today, Wikileaks.org was at No. 944 in Alexa’s global traffic rank and at No. 497 in the U.S., with a 7-day increase in its reach by a phenomenal 1331 percent.
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But after Amazon discontinued its support to Wikileaks, the site’s reach percentage dropped yesterday by 44 percent, according to Alexa.
Next, on Thursday the web naming company [in tech language: Domain Name Service (DNS) provider] in the U.S. decided to strip Wikileaks of its name, denying users access to the original site Wikileaks.org.
Although the whistleblowing site reacted instantly and shifted its information to a Swedish host and changed the site name to Wikileaks.ch, most regular users didn’t know about this abrupt change, which affected traffic on the site. So its new Alexa ranks: 19,225 in the world and 8,086 in the U.S.
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As all this was not enough, on Saturday PayPal, Wikileaks’ major channel to receive online payments from consumers and supporters, cut the cord while leaving its famous customer in the lurch. However, people can still donate through credit cards and bank transfers, though these are not considered popular modes in comparison to online donations through PayPal.
Now comes the big question. Why these vendor organizations are behaving like slaves to the government bosses? Their excuses range from denial of service attacks from unknown intruders on the Wikileaks site to the site being engaged in illegal activities.
These are strange excuses considering the fact that Wikileaks, since its inception in 2006, has been working to release secret information for public consumption. Even its name suggests that it will leak information supplied by the general communities on its website. And that’s what it has been doing.
Then what has suddenly inspired these tainted organizations – which have stabbed their own customer on the back – to act or react now?
It clearly shows that they are just following state diktats – mostly unofficial – that are coming to them in the form of veiled threats. Customers of all types should condemn such weird companies and try to sever their relations with them.
Now Google-owned YouTube has also hosted plenty of content related to Wikileaks. It includes videos that show how U.S. military killed civilians – including news agency Reuters’ staff – in Iraq.
Government pressure is expected on Google/YouTube also. Let’s see how this company handles the situation.
One can understand that the weak-hearted companies can succumb to government threats. But why should democratic governments like in the U.S. feel embarrassed from such leaks?
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It’s a known fact that the U.S. administration always supports free speech. But the way Washington is handling Wikileaks’ case suggests that the government’s ostensible support is only for free speech that is aimed to attack governments in other countries. America can support what Liu Xiaobo says against Chinese authorities or what Suu Kyi says against Myanmar’s authoritarian rulers.
But the U.S. government changes its dipstick when the similar attacks are directed toward its own misdeeds that include turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse, as the cables released by Wikileaks reveal.
All governments and their rules are supposed to serve people in their countries in the most transparent manner. If people are comfortable with the leaks, governments must change the rules to make such leaks legitimate that expose even the governments’ wrongdoings. Killings or corruption can’t enjoy immunity under the so-called diplomatic covers.
Now the Swedish government is trying to arrest Wikileaks’ founder Julian Assange with charges of sex crimes against him. The move is said to be a political frame-up at the insistence of the U.S. government.
Otherwise, what crime Assange has committed? As any other investigative journalist, he received some secret documents from his sources, the documents were vetted by Wikileaks and released through its online media site. What’s wrong in this?
In journalism, nothing is good or bad and nothing is negative or positive. Rather, it can be either true or false. If the information that Assange or his site is releasing is false, you can hold him responsible. But you can’t accuse him simply because you don’t like what he’s writing on the site.
As mentioned above, now the whistleblowing site is operating from a new web home, Wikileaks.ch. But there is a big likelihood that it will be attacked here also by the U.S. government forcing it to shutter its service.
In that case, till the time Wikileaks gets stable, all established media companies that believe in journalistic ethics and freedom of expression should support Wikileaks’ campaign by publishing its information regularly and opposing the vindictive governments.
Let it be a worldwide war between right-thinking media and wrong-doing authorities.
By Rakesh Raman, the managing editor of Raman Media Network.