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Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Wikileaks, continued

I don't think I can say anything different than last time, when Afghanistan, not Iraq was in the frame:
"This is a whistleblow outside any legal framework, and raises the issue of criminal liability for whoever was involved....In the court of public opinion we will hear a lot about the public interest and the right to know generally the details of a war involving loss of life and billions of dollars, about what is happening on the ground... And specifically about civilian casualties not previously revealed, and any lies, deceptions and cover up that may have been involved.... On the other hand you can't run a war or any system where anyone can reveal whatever they like. The questions-ethical as much as legal, and never asked in the Kessing case-come down to whether disclosure causes real harm to an identifiable public interest such as the protection of national security that is not outweighed by the public interest (benefit to the community as a whole) in disclosure."

Andrew Wilkie has reservations as reported in the Sydney Morning Herald:
Photo Gary Schafer
"I have a high level of confidence that this is fair dinkum material," said Wilkie, a former army officer and intelligence analyst who resigned from his position at the Office of National Assessments (ONA) in 2003 over concerns that the Howard government invaded Iraq for political purposes. "I'm a whistleblower myself, I support whistleblowers, I support the role WikiLeaks has generally to publicise official misconduct, but if they have crossed the line and if they are genuinely putting people at risk then I think that's unacceptable." "I do have a certain restlessness here. I find it a bit hard to be confident that they have not put someone at risk or perhaps exposed some sort of operational procedures," he said, adding he could have walked out of the ONA in 2003 with "a brief case full of incriminating documents" but chose not to. "I think even if you're a whistleblower you do have an obligation not to be reckless, to not put lives at risk, to not disclose genuine secrets, to not disclose operational capabilities or technical capabilities."
Crossing the line and calling the shots on genuine secrets will never be for the fainthearted.

Wilkie told Tim Lester in the video interview on that link of his commitment to legislation to provide whistleblower protection but added:
"I don't encourage whistleblowers. But if you are absolutely sure you have seen official misconduct you have to follow your heart and accept the consequences."

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