Monday, November 29, 2010

OFF-TOPIC: Interesting Tidbits On Fringe Of Latest Wikileaks Hubbub

I am NOT going to wade into the latest Wikileaks document dump about U.S. diplomatic cables.  However, I will note that I am very interested in many of the angles of this news event.  And, I wanted to quickly share these two items that you may not have seen yet.

1) The Wikileaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange has apparently been in communication with the U.S. State Department over the past several days, apparently through the U.S. Embassy in London.  Assange apparently asked what additional specific redactions the U.S. thought necessary to protect individuals.  After the U.S. said it would "not engage in a negotiation", Assange responded with this yesterday:

"You have chosen to respond in a manner which leads me to conclude that the supposed risks are entirely fanciful and you are instead concerned to suppress evidence of human rights abuse and other criminal behaviour."
I have not (yet) seen anything that would justify the comment that the U.S. was (attempting) to suppress human rights abuses and/or criminal behavior.  Not even hints that such was on  the way.

2) Likely related, I found this appeal today to Assange from the U.S.-based human rights group Human Rights First.  HRF President/CEO Elisa Massimino believes the released documents may identify human rights activists and organizations that have received assistance from the U.S., and that that may put those persons/organizations at risk.  She appeals that such information be redacted.

Concluding thought: Wikileaks certainly sees itself as exposing and preventing human rights abuses.  It will be interesting to see what documents come out over the next several days.  Especially as the New York Times has already noted that it received the documents NOT from Wikileaks, but from the Guardian (U.K.) - and that it does not consider itself constrained by Assange/Wikileaks.  Several different, interesting scenarios could play out.  Stay tuned.

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