Inspired by my friend and blogging partner Birgit Nazarian's article about Hacker Vigilantes and Cyber Warriors I’ve been looking into the issues of the current war on WikiLeaks and journalistic freedom.
The recent shutdown of WikiLeaks' main site (wikileaks.org), the refusal by Amazon and others to host the site, credit card companies blocking contributions, Paypal (an eBay company) cancelling their account and refusing to allow more payments, and the calls from some “democratic” politicians to “hunt down WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange” with some going so far as to suggest he should be assassinated, make me wonder how far some governments and organizations are willing to go to protect their "secrets."
Coming from a country that endured 40 years of military rule, Spain, I have to admit my aversion to any kind of government secrecy, and especially abuse. In 1983 the Socialist-led government of Spain initiated black-ops operations to hunt and kill some of ETA’s high-profile members. The operations lasted for about five years. Later it was proven that they were financed using “reserved funds” by important officials of the Spanish Interior Ministry. After the involvement of government officials was exposed, mostly by the investigation and reporting of the Spanish daily newspaper El Mundo, several officials were prosecuted for kidnapping, murder, abuse of government position, and illegal appropriation of funds from the Ministry. The Interior Minister, and the head of National Security, José Barrionuevo and Rafael Vera, respectively, were convicted of several charges, together with other members of their administration.
Was it right for El Mundo to disclose secret government documents, and to investigate the “dirty war” against a terrorist organization? Absolutely, it is their right and their obligation as journalists in a free society. If a news organization comes into possession of confidential documents that prove wrongdoing by government or private organizations they need to disclose them.