posted by Thom Holwerda on Wed 1st Dec 2010 22:45 UTC
IconAnd so the Wikileaks saga continues - with politics once again crossing with the technology side of things. After several DDoS attacks on Wikileaks' website, the organisation decided to move their website over to Amazon's cloud service yesterday. Today, Amazon kicked Wikileaks out of its cloud after being pressured by US Congress. Update: [Kroc] In a Q&A on the Guardian website, Julian Assange drops the bomb--Amazon failed the test: "Since 2007 we have been deliberately placing some of our servers in jurisdictions that we suspected suffered a free speech deficit inorder to separate rhetoric from reality. Amazon was one of these cases.". Stunning.

By now, most of you will be familiar with Wikileaks. The organisation shines lights where governments generally don't want to have them shine - in other words, it's an organisation fighting for freedom of speech, government transparency, and since a free press is the cornerstone of democracy, it's also an organisation fighting for democracy.

Of course, if you've got something to hide - like the US government or any other government in the world has - you're going to get into trouble. Stuff like the video of American soldiers gunning down several innocent civilians and journalists isn't something you want out in the open if you're part of such a crime.

As such, several people high up the political spectrum in the world, and the US in particular, want Wikileaks, and Assange in particular, taken out - like US Senator Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

"WikiLeaks' illegal, outrageous, and reckless acts have compromised our national security and put lives at risk around the world," Lieberman said, "No responsible company - whether American or foreign - should assist WikiLeaks in its efforts to disseminate these stolen materials. I will be asking Amazon about the extent of its relationship with WikiLeaks and what it and other Web service providers will do in the future to ensure that their services are not used to distribute stolen, classified information."

It's an utterly crazy argument - it's the murderer asking witnesses not to report him to the police because the family of the victim might target him. If you don't want incriminating information out on the street, don't commit the illegal acts covered by such information.

Still, Amazon, most likely afraid of more pressure from the US government, gave in. It has booted Wikileaks from its cloud service, as reported by Wikileaks' Twitter feed. "WikiLeaks servers at Amazon ousted. Free speech the land of the free -- fine our dollars are now spent to employ people in Europe."

Politics and technology mingle once again, and as long as they do, I will report on these matters for OSNews - even though I know some people might not like it. It's not my job to tell you what you want to hear - it's my job to tell you what I believe to be important. As you may have guessed from my tone so far, I'm a proponent of the kind of work Wikileaks does, for the simple reason that I am an advocate of transparency, freedom of speech, and democracy.

Governments, military personell, and large companies should not be exempt from scrutiny, and if they commit acts that appear to be illegal, than they should not be able to pull a 180 and say "yes, we done bad, but don't tell anyone because those who did the bad might get in trouble!"

As a result of my position, it's quite clear to me that there's currently a smear campaign going on against Wikileaks' founder and prime spokesperson Julian Assange. There are so many fishy things here it ceases to make any sense. First, the two Swedish women flip-flop on whether or not to press any charges. Then, the Swedish courts retract the case - Assange was even explicitly allowed to leave Sweden. Then, right after the latest Wikileaks reveal, the case is taken out of the freezer again, and Assange is put on Interpol's list for something you normally would not end up on this list for.

On top of that, Assange has always stated he wants to cooperate with the Swedish courts. He has offered to answer any questions the Swedish courts might have, and has offered his full cooperation. If you add all these things up, it becomes clear this is nothing but a smear campaign. While I'm obviously not going to say anything about whether or not something actually transpired between Assange and the two women, it is clear that the way the case has been handled is fishy.

All of this ties in with a theme I've been trying to bring to the forefront on OSNews: the internet is not just about porn, Facebook, Twitter, cat videos, and porn. The internet is changing the very distribution of power in the world, the same way the printing press did before it. This doesn't just cover the shift of power from 'big content' to the individual consumer, but also from governments to us, the people.

And just like 'big content' can't handle this loss of power, nor can our governments. In a kneejerk response, both of them are trying to take our freedoms away in order to retain the power they used to have - and this is exactly what we must be wary of, what we must fight against.

I don't have the means to do what people like Assange do - but I do have this website. In the meantime, "Pulitzer for Assange. He deserves it more than anyone. His and his organisation's struggle for transparency and justice makes him my man of the year. It doesn't matter if you're a beggar or a general - if you commit a crime, you must be punished, and the people have a right to know." (I posted this on Facebook earlier today).

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