Google withdrew from the Chinese market this week, claiming censorship led the corporation to do so – and not its failure to conduct successful business in a culturally vastly different part of the world. Westerners are happy to hypocritically lash out at the obvious and clear censorship of China, yet oversee censorship is commonplace in democratic countries as well, albeit through backdoors and loopholes of various legal systems. Wikileaks is the best example in regards to democratic states wanting to keep information deemed to be not fit for the public behind closed doors.
Wikileaks says it has been subject to an increasing amount of surveillance in the last few weeks, hitting the website at a sensitive time, as it is in the process of gathering funds to continue its work and is also involved in creating a new media law in Iceland. “Some of the new interest is related to a film exposing a U.S. massacre we will release at the US National Press Club on April 5,” stated Julian Assange today in an editorial on Wikileaks.org.
“The spying includes attempted covert following, photographing, filming and the overt detention & questioning of a WikiLeaks’ volunteer in Iceland on Monday night,” the editorial continues. Wikileaks sees four possible “triggers” for the surveillance – a video showing the slaughter of civilians by the US military, a leaked US intelligence document oh how to attack Wikileaks, a fax from the US Embassy concerning loan guarantees for Iceland and bank documents concerning dealings leading to the economic collapse of Iceland.
“We have discovered half a dozen attempts at covert surveillance in Reykjavik both by native English speakers and Icelanders. On the occasions where these individuals were approached, they ran away. One had marked police equipment and the license plates for another suspicious vehicle track back to the Icelandic private VIP bodyguard firm Terr.”
Not only that, but Icelandic authorities questioned the detained Wikileaks volunteer on a production meeting which found place in a backroom, where the video was discussed. Icelandic police showed surveillance photos, asked about attending journalists and the video itself – not only did Iceland’s police apparatus keep tabs on journalists, but they also eavesdropped on a conversation between journalists. Wikileaks believes Icelandic police to be collaborating with the US, which is more than just likely. Not only that, but “Iceland oligarchs” seem to be so worried about the content of pending releases they pay a private security firm to spy on Wikileaks staff.
One thing is for certain – by releasing secret documents Wikileaks is stepping on the toes of people and institutions who believe they have a right to step on those of the general public. This is something which cannot be appreciated enough, especially if it changes the rules of the game – which Wikileaks is doing.