People are always quick to blame WikiLeaks for any innocent blood spilled as a result of publishing secret documents that include names of informants and double agents and other such compromising information. But as this letter [PDF, 29 KB] demonstrates – and keep in mind that it’s one of many that have been sent over the months since WikiLeaks attained heightened notoriety – the blame is, as it usually is, squarely on the shoulders of the US Government who refused to provide any assistance despite WikiLeaks practically begging it to.
Editor in Chief, WikiLeaks
Ambassador Louis B. Susman
24 Grosvenor Square
London, W1A 1AE
26 November 2010
Dear Ambassador Susman,
I refer to recent public statements by United States Government officials expressing concern about the possible publication by WikiLeaks and other media organisations of information allegedly derived from United States Government records. I understand that the United States Government has recently devoted substantial resources to examination of these records over many months.Subject to the general objective of ensuring maximum disclosure of information in the public interest, WikiLeaks would be grateful for the United States Government to privately nominate any specific instances (record numbers or names) where it considers the publication of information would put individual persons at significant risk of harm that has not already been addressed.
WikiLeaks will respect the confidentiality of advice provided by the United States Government and is prepared to consider any such submissions made without delay.
It may seem like the responsibility falls upon WikiLeaks to keep these documents hidden if they pose such threats to innocent individuals, but that would be against what the media is supposed to be. Real journalism is not about shielding inconvenient or dangerous truths, but instead, exposing them far and wide to reveal just what sort of skulduggery is going on behind closed doors. The only way people can be expected to make informed choices is if they know just what’s going on, and WikiLeaks has played a bigger part in keeping us informed of things that the mainstream media should’ve been keeping tabs on than anyone else in the last half-decade or so.
Julian Assange is not a reckless anarchist (or, even more stupidly, a “terrorist”) out to destroy everything and put innocent lives in danger. Whatever his ideological motives may be (and I see no reason to suspect they may be shadowy), he is doing the job that should have been done by every other journalist worth their salt, no matter how dirty or dangerous it may be. The fault for anyone being harmed as a result of sensitive information being released is plainly the government’s, and the fact that Assange has become the prime target for people’s (mostly right-wingers’) outrage and threats serves only to prove how fragile they really are in their delusions of security and stability.
If one man doing his job correctly and honestly is enough to raise your blood pressure, I suggest the problem almost certainly lies with you.