WikiLeaks: The Burn Book of International Relations

It’s been ages since I wanted to know what WikiLeaks was all about but I hadn’t been able to force my slothful rear end to do research. But now, thanks to Anaya and Lauren’s intriguing presentation, I feel capable of having a say in this current universal topic.

For those of you who (like myself a day ago) do not know what WikiLeaks is: it’s a non-profit organization of bean-spillers that (very gutsily) share private media with the public. The site’s published leaks have been significant enough to fill front-page news and have even faced potential criminal charges from the U.S. Department of Justice.

WikiLeaks, is to international politics what the vandalized bathroom stall in high school is to adolescent relations. They’re both full of secrets provided by anonymous sources that make those in power squirm in mortification as they watch their reputation burn. Instead of the prom Kings and Queens, we’ve got the likes of Vladimir Putin and Hillary Clinton having their soup spilled by others.

“Raise your hand if you have ever felt personally victimized by WikiLeaks.”

There has been a lot of backlash against WikiLeaks, especially from American politicians. The U.S. secretary of state, Hillary Clinton (pictured above), has previously been busted by the site as it published evidence that she had ordered diplomats to spy on the United Nations. Hence, it is not suprising that she would bitterly express her opinions towards the site. She has publicly stated that WikiLeaks is “an attack on the international community” and that the United States “deeply regrets” the disclosure of these confidential documents. Clinton speaks for all American politicians, as their reaction to the leaks is nothing short of fury. They’ve called on the site to be labeled as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, and have been trying to convince President Obama to take WikiLeaks to court.

But is WikiLeaks really so immoral? It is sort of amusing to see that these important people, who were once believed to be paragons of their country, are repeatedly being caught in the act. It is also ironic that the U.S. government can freely reveal private information belonging to other governments, or carelessly spy on them yet, when the tables are turned, it become so frail.

What we see here is yet another case of state vs. freedom of speech. In my opinion, I do believe that citizens deserve to know what is really being done by their governments, and are completely entitled to discuss their opinions.

What do YOU think though? Should WikiLeaks be permitted? Or should it be ran over by a school bus?

- Marko Kundicevic

 

 

 

Where is Raed? and Photo Journalism

Citizen journalism is a concept that is constantly being brought up in our CAP courses. From reading Riverbend’s whiny, yet very inisighful confessions in Baghdad Burning, to  writing our very own blogging entries, we are undoubtedly becoming more and more familiar with this impactful movement in the media. Lissy and Alec’s elucidative presentation described the impact of Where is Raed? on the political blogosphere, and the ever-developing practice of journalism. In their project, they highlighted some very significant aspects of this democratized broadcasting form:

  • The first-hand account of events
  • The ability to rapidly update a report
  • The sincerity of personal experience
  • The freedom to go in full detail

Sam Palax’s blog was catapulted to politcal blogoshpere fame as it effectively takes advantages of these four liberties. It constructs a very enticing and informational source for all aspects of the Iraq war. Perhaps his most absorbing medium of reportage is his self-taken real photographs.

In his February 25th, 2004 post, he documents a procession in Baghdad with an array of colourful images. I was particularly interested in this entry as its depiction of Baghdad was very different of the ones usually made by news TV footage. Iraq is usually shown as a gloomy, deserted dystopia. However, Palax’s images remind the viewer that this war-conflicted nation is also home to rich culture and traditions.

The fact that these photos were not staged but rather taken at that precise moment of the procession, makes the viewer feel as if they were present too. It is a truly innovative form of photo journalism, which before, in many occasions, was made up of dated and manipulated photos. Now anyone with a camera phone can be a photo journalist as it provides a quick and effective way to depict crucial information on any event.

 Also, check out how B.A. these kids look.

Talk about swagga goin’ swell.

 

- Marko Kundicevic