Wikileaks created a global precedent, who’s positive and negative effects have yet to be realized and analyzed. Think what can happen when the secrets of world diplomacy are exposed. Who wins and who loses?
The Media Pirate?
I’ll start with something simple. Wikileaks is a project which can basically be defined as a media pirate. Essentially, information which they have no right to is acquired illegally and then distributed. As the world just learned, Wikileaks procured secret internal documents (cables) which were the property of the U.S. State Department and uploaded them for the public to read.
The Media pirate come out to defend public interest and, in general, is supported by the concept of rights inspired by the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution which protects the freedom of religion, speech and the press. Of course, such constitutional principles and practices exist in many other countries worldwide.
However Wikileaks is not a media and does not employee any real journalists. The theft of information, illegal posting of classified or proprietary information on a website with no stable presence or tradition in any country in the world is not journalism. This is the opposite of journalism! That’s why it is very important to ask ourselves the question:
Does Wikileaks protect the public interest?
The organization could possibly justify convincingly the leakage and dissemination of classified information through its website to the media regarding the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Why?
First, nobody likes war, even those who lead them. Secondly, even in times of war, people have rights! Therefore when the military uses the imbalance of civilian-military relations, which is natural during the war, to violate human rights and they are exposed, this is good for democracy and the rule of law. In this case, the answer to the question, “was it helpful to oust classified information on Wikileaks concerning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?” is more like “Yes!”
Privacy and privileged communications against the public interest!
The latest situation of the disclosure of internal communications between the diplomatic services of the U.S. State Department is far different from the leaks related to Iraqi and Afghani wars. Whatever diplomats of a country discuss in their internal correspondence is a matter of national security for that country. The right to a closed correspondence of any institution such as a foreign ministry (in this case the State Department) is essential and in the national interest of any country. This is just one of the things that made publishing stolen inside information so egregious.
Any “public interest” disclosure that violates the right of an individual or a legitimate entity to conduct secure and private correspondence cannot be supported! Catering to this type of public interest we must be especially sensitive, we being the people of Eastern Europe, at the very least because some of us have “lost” part of our lives in a system in which “public interest” was taken hostage by the constitutions of our countries.
Support for Wikileaks in connection with the completely illegal and improper disclosure of diplomatic correspondence, I think is absurd. It is another example of poorly defined and confused anti-Americanism. You do not have to like America. However, what has happened needs to be placed on a rational plane because what has happened with the diplomatic correspondence of the United States today has set a precedent and tomorrow can more easily become a practice that affects every country in the world.
The publication of private foreign documents, such as diplomatic correspondence which are not of a matter which relates to democracy, human rights or other high political value does not benefit the public interest. On the contrary, it is a criminal act.
What is clear from the leak of Wikileaks?
Normally the U.S. and especially the State Department are nervous of “leakages” of information. It is normal for other countries such as Israel, China, Great Britain to also be upset by what has happened as well. Countries with stable democracies, free media, and which have a balance of powers along with strong societies will learn from this Wikileaks incident and will use this difficult situation to find new ways to impede the dissemination of sensitive information if for no other reason than to keep diplomatic relationships in good standing.
Nation-states and individual societies should now be aware that international security and global stability may, at any time, be endangered by private interests. It is necessary, now more than ever, to achieve lasting and effective balance between individual national interests and the greater global society which in many ways is its own multinational character.
Is Wikileaks acting on behalf of any strong private interests, or just the particular interest of its founder to earn money from publishing classified information, I do not know. I only know it is bad for a major country and a member of the Security Council of the United Nations, like France, to become a sanctuary for Wikileaks.