Over the last 10days, my Facebook wall had several posts regarding to developments on the mighty Wikileaks. Just in case you haven't been reading news, I am talking about the organization that describes itself as a "not-for-profit media organization" that has made headlines in the recent weeks for publishing secret diplomatic documents.
It is very interesting to read different opinions Wikileaks, especially from the point of view of what could have happened if we had a Wikileaks in 2001.
On his Facebook wall, Samuel Tettner wrote, "You might have the money, weapons and armies, but we have the information. If you can torrent, you are powerful. Wikileaks: As close to destabilizing the power structure as I've seen in my short lifetime."
We are yet to see real effects of the leaked secrets, but with just about 1% of the cables released, we have had people in different corridors of power reacting.
In her own words, Sarah Palin refers to Julian Assange as "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands whom we should pursue with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders."
Uganda learnt (and those implicated denied that) a top government minister (arguably the most powerful man in the cabinet), Amama Mbabazi probably received a bribe to favour Italian oil group, Eni, in its bid to buy Heritage Oil’s exploration assets in Uganda.
We also read comments by Ugandan president, Yoweri Museveni, which I believe he wouldn't have wished to have out on the public domain.
But such revelations leave me wondering which side I am. For or against. There is an old saying in my language, that where the folks point a finger is where the (most affected part of the) wound might be. I have seen the way the general public have responded to the leaks, and opinions shared, especially online, and it appears most of the people responding are for rather than against the Whistle-blowing website - consider the over 600,000 people from allover the world that signed the wikileaks petition or the readers of TIME magazine who think he should be named TIME's person of the year in a poll on the TIME website.
Still on TIME, I read this essay by former FBI Agent Coleen Rowley, Time's 2002 co-Person of the Year, about her belief that had WikiLeaks been around in 2001, 9/11 might have been prevented.
I believe Openness and transparency are among the few weapons the citizenry has to protect itself from the powerful and the corrupt.
Over to you!