Wikileaks: Good, Bad, and Everything Else

“Stop telling lies about me, and I’ll stop telling the truth about you,” was the humorous advice from a fan to Julian Assange (regarding the Interpol arrest warrant) on the Wikileaks facebook page which inspired me to post something on TMMF about the Wikileaks saga.  That and the fact that Wikileaks is now undergoing a DDOS (Distributed Denial of Service) attack (at 10 gigabits per second!), which is disabling the site, and some Canadian guy on TV is calling for Julian Assange’s assassination, and Assange is on Interpol’s most wanted list… well, the list goes on and on.  There’s even a guy who thinks Assange looks like Lucius Malfoy.  I happen to find that pretty funny.  One can forget even getting into all the crazy documents released (and one can’t with the site under attack), the external goings-on are enough to keep one busy on the internet.  Wikileaks may be out of commission due to attack, but this thing won’t quiet down any time soon.

But is all this stuff good? Moral?  Right? Or bad, immoral, and wrong?  All of the above.  Assange seems to be an anarchist with a broad paintbrush: he’s making everybody look bad.  No doubt lots of people deserve to look bad, but he is also endangering a lot of stuff which might actually be good, like hunting down terrorists. Because his indiscriminacy is a giant “double-effect” (in Catholic parlance), it is the proportionality of the effects that determine its morality. And I think that waits to be seen.

Of course double-effect reasoning does not permit acts which are intrinsically evil (like murder), but I’m not sure how to characterize Assange’s actions so I’ll have to think more about the possibility that any of them may be intrinsic evils. At the very least all these document dumps can be seen as gossip, though much with admittedly sinister implications.

Gossip is fascinating, and when organizations, such as governments, gossip about each other and conspire to say, bomb Iran and so on, the gossip takes on a moral quality.  Wikileaks is only one cause of these interesting releases of information, there are deeper causes at work here, and of course the existence of the information in the first place is the fault of the governments and individuals who created it as text and policy.

This situation is still developing, obviously.  I’m reserving judgment on the overall moral quality of it.

Oh, and I forgot: there are even leaked documents about the Vatican coming out soon… if the site ever comes back on line.


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