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On the Politics of Moving Trains (Part One)

I think it’s clear to anyone that actually pays attention to the news that WikiLeaks</a> has managed through the actions of Julian Assange, for good or ill, a household name.  Furthermore, it’s interesting to see all the different factions in various groups split themselves, with some declaring themselves “not political” and others who understand the old saying that everything is political.  What I find interesting is that people are saying that technology should be neutral, and that WikiLeaks</a> is not a media organization because it is political.  This can be echoed by its new competition, a site called OpenLeaks</a>, which is run by Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who until August this year was himself a part of Wikileaks</a>, and presents Openleaks as follows, based on this twitter post </a>from their account:

Priorities: technical infrastructure, neutrality and a strong relationship with journalists.</em>

And because every article talks about Daniel slinging piles of shit at Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks project,  and because of the sheer and utter lack of good articles  about this, I’m going to only quote their twitter account, and the fact that Daniel decided to take the low road and write a book about WikiLeaks.  Another thing that I find bizzare is this comment</a>:

To constrain the power of the site, we’re splitting submission from the publication part. We won’t publish any docs ourselves.</em>

Really?  I don’t understand why someone would want to constrain the power of their site.  Of course this makes sense if you’re not actually trying to change anything.  I don’t know what the point of having a site for leakers if it won’t release to the public at large what they leaks.  I can understand the need to redact to protect innocent people in the crossfire (and others may not agree with their being innocents), but to say that you’re going to constrain  your power by not publishing and by helping media organizations is somewhat ridiculous.

Every publisher, NGO,and journalist can get a free decentralized, secure digital mailbox. Whistleblowers can send without risk.</em>

So, this sounds like a dropbox, like Cryptbin.  What’s the point of setting this up for just journalists, NGOs and publishers?  Who will vet these organizations.  Will mainstream publications like the New York Times and the Globe and Mail get an account, but other groups such as the MediaCoop</a> not get an account?  Also, we know that many NGOs are total shill groups who are a far cry from their former selves (I’m looking at you, Greenpeace</a>).

There is also a common theme throughout history that is best illustrated by this quote by Winston Churchill:

“History is written by the victors.”</em>

There are clear winners and losers in history, and the dominant force in society is generally the group that gets to write the history.  This is illustrated in fiction in George Orwell’s 1984 with this statement:

“He who controls the present controls the past, he who controls the past, controls the future”</em>

This is almost unquestionably proven when you look at the United States, and the work of Howard Zinn.  Howard Zinn was a radical historian who wrote “The People’s History of the United States”, which has a unique look at history and tells it from the view of the average oppressed person during that time.  This directly confronts the myths and talks about more facts that actually happened in history.

I unfortunately have to go by second-hand experience since I was born and raised in Canada,  and have Canadian citizenship,  but the Canadian History classes are similar.  For example, if you were to look at a modern Grade 11 Social Studies Curriculum</a>, you will notice that Canadians are fed a sanitized version of their history.  If you search for the acronymn FLQ, or Front de Liberation du Quebec</a>, you find nothing in the curriculum, and furthermore if you search for October Crisis, you will find only ONE mention in the teaching resources pointing to the CBC Archives.  The thing you can give the British Columbia Education System credit for is that people should know what the Charter of Rights and Freedoms </a>are.  However,  if you look at other provinces, who have a Canadian History component, they fare little better with a single paragraph cramming in the October Crisis with Oka</a>.  (Note:  Gustafasen Lake</a> is not taught in school in British Columbia)</em>

What is interesting about how history is  recorded is the fact that it’s recorded by the media at the time, and despite the myth of an fair and unbiased media, we know that this isn’t the case due to the fact that only some stories make it into the official history.  Unless you do some reading, or are told stories by your grandparents, chances are that if you were born after 1950, you probably have no idea who the Industrial Workers of the World</a> are.

Only the people involved told these stories.  They are folk stories,  spread by word of mouth.  Later these stories are in text files, and now with leaked documents.  The difference between then and now is the fact that people for the first time can now have the source documents that indicate how history actually happened, and people can finally verify it.  People can’t do that if you leave those documents locked up, only to be accessed by major publications and by corrupt NGOs such as Greenpeace, the Sierra Club and others</a>.

The fact is that journalists tell the stories,  then the historians grep those stories and they become parts of history.  The myth of the unbiased journalist is a fallacy, since the stories from journalists form the current narrative,  and since the current historical narrative is clearly biased, as is proven by the work of Howard Zinn and others, therefore mainstream journalism currently has and always had bias.

The power that WikiLeaks has is the fact that they are releasing these documents to the public, and that then public can verify these documents for themselves if they are so inclined.  Of course, the public seems to be more content in following every mundane aspect of Julian Assange’s legal problems in Sweden, which appear to be overshadowing the real evidence in these diplomatic cables, which is unfortunate.  In my opinion, Wikileaks is to journalism what A People’s History of the United States is to History.

I support WikiLeaks because of what it does.  I do not like Julian Assange, and while I do hope that he can get a fair trial, and while I currently believe he is innocent of the rape charges, I do think that he is an irresponsible human being who shows others very little of the respect and dignity that they deserve and that his problems stem entirely from that lack of respect.  Furthermore, there are other things that bother me about the WikiLeaks operation,  namely the fact that they haven’t donated money to Bradley Manning, despite the fact that they used his unfortunate circumstances to get money for themselves.  I can understand the reluctancy, given the fact that the United States Anti-War movement is just as full of Self-Serving Leftist Factions as the Canadian one is, I do think the Courage to Resist group is fairly solid.  This is one thing that I can agree with Daniel Domscheit-Berg and the Openleaks crew</a> about:

If you preach transparency to everyone else you have to be transparent yourself.</em>

These are big words to say for someone who didn’t tweet that they are publishing a tell-all book about WikiLeaks</a>.  Stay classy, Daniel.  And don’t worry, I’ll probably donate money to your cause, but only because Visa, Mastercard, Paypal and the Bank of America have made it next to impossible to donate to WikiLeaks.