Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Wikileaks and Its Relationship to ALA

Wikileaks and Its Relationship to ALA.

What is the Mission of WikiLeaks?

Here we enter controversial territory because some say that WikiLeaks’ stated mission and the outcome differ. The WikiLeaks web site bases the mission on Article 19 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which asserts the human right of expression and receipt of information regardless of frontiers. Assange’s biography makes it clear that even as a teenager he was interested in making information transparent for everyone, and, some would argue, regardless of the consequences. The web site goes on to explain the concept of “principled leaking,” (web site 3.2) necessary to fight government, individual, and corporate corruption. Assange cites the actions of Daniel Ellsburg and the Pentagon Papers case as an example of why principled leaking is essential for good government. The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in the Pentagon Papers case is online at the Cornell law site and other online sources. Commentators,including Todd Gltlin, differ on whether that parallel is accurate.

Ellsburg himself has publicly supported Wikileaks in this controversy. Ellsberg is slated to be a speaker at the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans in June, 2010 (arranged well before the current WikiLeaks controversy).

WikiLeaks views itself as an intermediary to help whistleblowers, who can “drop” the info at WikiLeaks to protect themselves.

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