Sunday, May 15, 2011

From leak to waterfall

Shawna Polivka

Although WikiLeaks is a great tool for uncovering injustices and wrongdoings, I can’t help but to be frightened by the idea that Julian Assange, editor in chief of WikiLeaks, controls the unveiling of secret information to the world.

I understand that many people are losing faith in the government, especially due to what seems like a never-ending war. But, I believe the government hides things from us for a reason. I personally don’t want to see dead photos of Osama bin Laden. If we were to ever find out that bin Laden was never truly killed, OK, then I would lose faith in the United States government. I simply think the government is trying to lessen outrage and protect the public from the gruesome ways of the world.

I feel like Assange is going to drop the ball one of these days and bombs are going to start flying. He recently swore his staff to secrecy. A recent Washington Post blog by Melissa Bell states that Assange asked that confidentiality agreements be signed by his workers, which, “requires employees to pay the huge sum of $19.8 million if they disclose personal or professional information about WikiLeaks and its staff.” Another article interviewed Daniel Domscheit-Berg, pictured right, who leaked the information. An ex-associate for WikiLeaks, Domscheit-Berg broke the news of the agreement and stated that he felt, “‘sorry ... for all those new staffers that had no idea what they were getting into’” when they came to work at WikiLeaks.

The founder of WikiLeaks is making his workers swear to not leak any information on the side to save the accountability of the website. That freaks me out.

I simply cannot trust a man who thinks he has the power to go through documents and pick out appropriate pieces of information to be shared with the world. How many lives could be put on the line by releasing information about soldiers and the military personnel in the war zones? The information leaked could make people angry.

I’m not saying that what our government does is morally right all the time. Its workers have made mistakes and done some inhumane things, but Assange has so much power. In an unstable world full of war, it’s only a matter of time before the leak becomes a waterfall.

Photograph by Thomas Peter for Reuters

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