Key Libyan Cities
Muammar al-Gaddafi – the world’s current longest serving non-monarchical leader in the world, having ruled Libya since seizing power in a 1969 coup – vowed on Feb. 15 to fight anti-government demonstrations with his “last drop” of blood, intending to “die a martyr.”
With the dictator ordering both the military and police to quash protests within Libya, the full-scale war against reformists began.
Illustration by Jess Baker
On Friday, February 12, Egyptians took their country back. After 18 days of revolt, it was the first in 30 years without Hosni Mubarak, one of the most powerful dictators in the region, and a man who just hours before resigning had defiantly declared he would see out the rest of his term. With his resignation, Mubarak met protesters’ demands to dissolve Parliament on February 13th, promising to return authority to civilian, democratically elected rule. As of this writing, The Supreme Council of the Armed Forces holds authority.
WikiLeaks is publishing documents, opening governments, changing the world.
In early 2007, Australia native Julian Assange launched the polarizing website along with other activists, dissidents, mathematicians, and computer experts from six different continents.
WikiLeaks vows to accept “restricted or censored material of political, ethical, diplomatic or historical significance,” but reject “rumor, opinion, other kinds of first hand accounts, or material that is publicly available elsewhere.” Assange and his colleagues then review and edit submissions, attained via secure online uploading applications and a discreet postal network, to publish documents that generate “maximum political impact.”Assange has pithily summarized WikiLeaks’ philosophy: “The method is transparency; the goal is justice.”
How Free is our Press?
WikiLeaks promises their anonymous, whistle-blowing sources that they will work for “maximum political impact.” Like them or not, they keep their word. The transnational transparency-advocating journalists stormed American and international discourse by publishing secret diplomatic cables. America responded. Some consider WikiLeaks heroic, daring to speak truth to power, and some consider the organization terroristic, threatening to undermine American diplomacy worldwide.
Constitutional lawyer and civil liberties writer Glenn Greenwald, for Salon.com, finds public reactions quite disturbing.
Interview with Steve Rendall, Senior Analyst for Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting (FAIR) on WikiLeaks and American reactions to the U.S. diplomatic cable release.
Is WikiLeaks a journalistic entity?
Well of course it is, because it receives information, it collects information, it publishes information, it edits it. If you look at its website, information is edited, it’s commented upon. Of course it’s a journalistic outfit.