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Some Wikileaks Contributions to Public Discourse

pickens (49171) writes | more than 3 years ago

The Media 3

Hugh Pickens writes "EFF reports that regardless of the heated debate over the propriety of Wikileaks actions, some of the cables have contributed significantly to public and political conversations around the world. The Guardian reported on a cable describing an incident in Afghanistan in which employees of DynCorp, a US military contractor, hired a "dancing boy," an underaged boy dressed as women, who dance for gatherings of men and is then prostituted — an incident that contributed important information to the debate over the use of private military contractors. A cable released by Wikileaks showed that Pfizer allegedly sought to blackmail a Nigerian regulator to stop a lawsuit against drug trials on children. A Wikileaks revelation that the United States used bullying tactics to attempt to push Spain into adopting copyright laws even more stringent than those in the US came just in time to save Spain from the kind of misguided copyright laws that cripple innovation and facilitate online censorship. An article by the New York Times analyzed cables released which indicated the US is having difficulties in fulfilling Obama's promise to close the Guantánamo Bay detention camp and is now considering incentives in return for accepting detainees, including a one-on-one meeting with Obama or assistance obtaining IMF assistance. "These examples make clear that Wikileaks has brought much-needed light to government operations and private actions," writes Rainey Reitman, "which, while veiled in secrecy, profoundly affect the lives of people around the world and can play an important role in a democracy that chooses its leaders.""

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3 comments

An additional example: torture flights (1)

amorsen (7485) | more than 3 years ago | (#34815956)

After it was revealed in 2008 that the US torture flights had used Danish airspace and even Danish airports, the Danish Parliament told the government to ask the US for an explanation. The cables reveal that the government secretly asked the US to not answer, in the hope that the whole affair would blow over. When later questioned in Parliament about why there was no answer from the US, the government did not reveal that it had not followed the orders from Parliament.

A government Minister lying to Parliament is an offence which is usually punished by jail time when the court system gets involved. Unfortunately Danish members of Parliament as well as Ministers enjoy immunity from prosecution -- a much wider reaching immunity than what Silvio Berlusconi is widely derided for trying to get in Italy. This has over the last decade or so led to high levels of corruption among members of the Danish government.

Unfortunately Danish voters do not apparently care about being complicit in torture; at least voters in the US managed to vote in a president who promised to curb some of the abuses.

Huge contributions, imo (1)

tkprit (8581) | more than 3 years ago | (#34819830)

ICAM; I mean, nobody wants to endanger soldiers or anything, and I'm not sure how wikileaks can 'responsibly' disseminate the leaked docs, but most of what's been released has been little more than embarrassing; and most importantly it's been EYE-OPENING for the gen. public. The U.S. isn't a monarchy or totalitarian state; our elected officials and their appointees need to be accountable for what they're wiring in our name.

Good grief, not again! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34820274)

Pretty much everything in this story has been repeatedly rehashed in story after story about the Wikileaks saga. The only positive that I see in posting this story with these explicit subjects would be that it might allow some corrections to be made where facts have been omitted, but I'm not holding my breath.

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