WikiLeaks, media last bastions of trust for US

Underground author, Suelette Dreyfus, defends release of diplomat documents

The release of diplomatic documents by WikiLeaks last year has given people more insight into how the US government works according to Suelette Dreyfus.

Dreyfus is the author of Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier, the 1997 book that featured the exploits of Mendax — the hacker handle of WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange.

Dreyfus told this week's Q&A show that people in the US now understand how their government worked behind "closed mahogany doors." She said that WikiLeaks has also shown that governments don't always act in the interests of their own people. "In that sense, it's a true whistle blower," Dreyfus said.

According to Dreyfus, WikiLeaks said the regulators of democracy have "failed" people and WikiLeaks, together with the media, was the last safeguard.

"I would say that the US is at a crisis point because it has become a surveillance state and the [National Security Agency] is intercepting 1.7 billion emails and telephone calls," Dreyfus said.

"People don't have the privacy they had 10 years ago. The reason that WikiLeaks has resonated with the population is because people are saying that the regulators of democracy have failed us and you do have corporate collapses because the regulators have failed us."

She also said that she was sad to see the US entering a period of decline with the second financial down turn. "That's a bad thing for the world."

Australian human rights advocate, Hanifa Deen, backed Dreyfus and said WikiLeaks was right to release Australian documents too.

"We are not good at political education in Australia so to lift the veil and see what is the reason behind decisions demystifies the whole process. We need to wake up and realise that this goes on and it's not in a diplomatic sphere," she said.

Former Coalition Senator ,Nick Minchin, disagreed with the rest of the panel and said it was "dreadful" that WikiLeaks exposed those diplomatic cables because diplomacy was how countries avoid war.

"For nations to remain at peace requires artful diplomacy," he said.

"If ambassadors and foreign embassy officials can't honestly report back to their governments on what is happening on the ground in those countries, which they now can't do because of the fear that the things they write will be exposed in the public arena, I think that will set back the course for diplomacy and I think that is bad for world peace," Minchin said.

Got a security tip-off? Contact Hamish Barwick at hamish_barwick at idg.com.au

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU

Tags wikileaks

More about National Security Agency

7 Comments

AnotherBird

1

Sorry, but I have to respectively disagree with Dreyfus. The words of Cameron has to considered seriously. Wikileaks existence is not about being "bastion of trust," but as another media source. It's existence comes at the cost of someone providing it with information, and not on it doing the actual work required to be a "bastion of trust."

Mimi

2

This article is incorrect.

Senator Cameron of the Labor Party said that Wikileaks shouldn’t be blamed and that the Americans only have themselves to blame for the leaking of the information.

The quotes the article attributed to Doug Cameron actually came from former Coalition Senator Nick Minchin. It was he who described Wikileaks’ actions as dreadful.

This author should have reviewed the QandA transcript and video before posting the story: http://www.abc.net.au/tv/qanda/txt/s3294021.htm

Hamish Barwick

3

Hi Mimi

Thanks for spotting the incorrect name, it's now been fixed.

Michael

4

Governments insist that we expose our private life and affairs to the government with the statement of, "if you have nothing yo hide you have nothing to Fear", lets call it karma!

LegionUnknown

5

The only problem is, the US doesn't avoid wars, they create them. After that, they use secrecy to keep the worlds public confused and brainwashed. These cables are a revelation!

Liberty

6

Former Coalition Senator, Nick Minchin, disagreed with the rest of the panel and said it was "dreadful" that WikiLeaks exposed those diplomatic cables because diplomacy was how countries avoid war.

"For nations to remain at peace requires artful diplomacy," he said.

-----

If diplomacy was how countries avoid war and is needed "For nations to remain at peace", then why didn't the United States use it to avoid these wars, I would love an answer :

2003 invasion of Iraq by United States-led coalition
2001 invasion of Afghanistan by United States-led coalition
1994 invasion of Haiti by a multinational force (MNF) led by the United States
1991 invasion of Kuwait and southern Iraq by a coalition force of 34 nations led by the United States
1989 invasion of Panama by the United States
1983 invasion of Grenada by the United States and allied Caribbean nations
1970 invasion of Cambodia by the United States and South Vietnam
1965 invasion of Dominican Republic by United States and OAS
1962 invasions of South Vietnam by the United States
1950 invasion of North Korea by United Nations

Guy Fawkes

7

People should not be afraid of their governments. Governments need to be afraid of their people

Comments are now closed

Australia backs copyright crackdown in TPP

READ THIS ARTICLE
DO NOT SHOW THIS BOX AGAIN [ x ]