US Govt et al v. Wikileaks

Things are heating up for Wikileaks after the most recent release of diplomatic cables. The uproar is far and away the most intense pressure the Wikileaks gang has come under. Weird when you think about it. Not only is Wikileaks comparable in status and function to any mainstream newsmedia – and therefore almost certainly legally protected from attempts at censorship – but it has made far more damning releases this year about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It seems that for the powers-that-be it is somehow tolerable that whistlblowers should expose potential war crimes in Iraq (after seeing the Crazy Horse video, LoR’s Mark Taylor told Al Jazeera English that there is “a case to be made that a war crime may have been committed”) or shed light on the inner workings of counter-insurgency in Afghanistan – as previous Wikileaks have done – but god forbid they should embarrass diplomats. There are clear public interest justifications to what we have heard so far, although some of it does run over the line into diplomatic equivalent of gossip (who hates who, hissy fits, crass expressions of cynical politics…all illuminating in a general way).

Al Jazeera English asked LoR what we thought about claims the US was looking into ways to pursue legal action. We didn’t think much of it. Nor for that matter do many U.S. lawyers. For some background, have a look at Article 19’s Septbember 2010 press release on Wikileaks.