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Hypo-ethical

On The Drum, Jonathan Holmes has broached the Fairfax vessel and uncovered its seedy motives for ignoring the ‘scientific journalism’ process made possible by Wikileaks and extolled by Assange.

Third, Julian Assange has made another claim for WikiLeaks, which he says sets it apart from other media organisations. According to this op-ed in The Australian last week:

WikiLeaks coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism. We work with other media outlets to bring people the news, but also to prove it is true. Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately?

Well, WikiLeaks clearly doesn’t insist on ‘scientific journalism’ being practised by all the media outlets with which it’s working. The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald are still publishing story after story by Philip Dorling – stories that have deeply embarrassed or compromised Kevin Rudd, Mark Arbib, Joel Fitzgibbon, and Stephen Gumley, to name just a few, not to mention the US Embassy in Canberra. But we can’t judge for ourselves if Dorling has reported accurately or fairly, because Fairfax hasn’t posted a single cable online.

On Monday I sent an email to SMH editor-in-chief Peter Fray, asking him why not. His response (read it in full here) makes it clear that the primary reason is to protect not the public, but Fairfax’s commercial, interest:

…the volume of material in The Australian referenced cables means we are still mining the source documents. There are, for instance, several potential stories in each cable; to put the material online would be to give access to our competitors in the local market.

That’s not a line of reasoning that has prevented The Guardian, the New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde or any other of WikiLeaks’s collaborators from posting cables online to support their stories; and it would seem to be in direct contravention of the principles espoused by Julian Assange. Perhaps he’s been too preoccupied by other matters recently to have noticed.

Philip Dorling has undoubtedly scored a major scoop for Fairfax. Most of the stories he’s writing – and there are goodness knows how many to come – are fascinating, especially to politics and foreign policy junkies. But we’re having to take them on trust, and we shouldn’t have to. And very few are telling us stuff we didn’t already know (Kevin Rudd’s a control freak; Defence Procurement is a mess; China doesn’t like the Defence White Paper): what they are telling us is that the US Embassy knew it too, often before we did. Surprise, surprise.


Vid of Melbourne rally courtesy of @Asher_Wolf

The Australian puts in its bib bleating “We would have loved the leaks given to Fairfax papers but we note the problems they have had sieving wheat from chaff”, patting itself and the rest of the mainstream media on the back for raising Wikileak’s circulation, and filtering the information on behalf of an inept public. This is the sort of contemptuous attitude which further encourages one to distrust Australian dead wood media generally. The UK Guardian has managed to keep its pact with its readers, while Australians are deemed inadequate.

Geoffrey Robertson, QC is to defend Julian Assange tonight in old Blighty, and this will not be televised but live-blogged at the Guardian. Around the globe, demonstrations for Wikileaks and Julian Assange proliferate, and ‘all-out cyberwar’ is presaged following the trial.

Hearing

@newsbrooke Heather Brooke
In an amazing nod to the fact we live in digital age, judge has said we can tweet #assange. So I will be along w @AlexiMostrous #

Today’s Wikilinks

Julian Assange to appear in court to appeal for release
RBS chairman said directors ‘failed to live up to their duties’
Mervyn King plotted banks bailout by four cash-rich nations
Wikileaks Events and protests
In Defense of DDoS
Iceland may ban MasterCard, Visa over WikiLeaks censorship
A brilliant fan-made video
J’Accuse: Sweden, Britain, and Interpol Insult Rape Victims Worldwide
The US Government’s pursuit of WikiLeaks could be its undoing
‘Draconian’ whistleblowing laws need an overhaul, says academic
George Monbiot: These astroturf libertarians are the real threat to internet democracy
Why Wikileaks is now splitting the liberal elite
Criminal Prohibitions on the Publication of Classified Defense Information
Wikiriver – wikileaks newsfeed

Today’s Australian Wikilinks

‘Defend Wikileaks’ Australian rallies & meetings
More than 1000 WikiLeaks protesters have vowed to march through Sydney today despite being refused permission by police.
Julian Assange’s overdue library book
WikiLeaks ‘a risk’: Defence Minister Smith

Rallies defend Wikileaks and the ‘right to know’
Lowy Institute Rory Medcalf “The website is bad for diplomacy and encourages voyeurism”. Newspeak for public scrutiny of politicians?
Sydney rally – http://yfrog.com/h2spfuj, http://yfrog.com/gyqxnnj, http://yfrog.com/h05m8aj, http://yfrog.com/h03k2jgj, http://yfrog.com/gy29tjj, http://yfrog.com/h0hz6hj, http://yfrog.com/h34yxnj, http://yfrog.com/h4w6otj, http://twitpic.com/3fsstd, http://twitpic.com/3fsoon, http://twitpic.com/3fsr4k, http://twitpic.com/3fsrl4

WikiLeaks protesters stopped by riot police – Sydney
Defending Wikileaks faces Oprah-obsessed police force

Melbourne rally – http://yfrog.com/h2oy3bnj, http://yfrog.com/h3nc7apj, http://yfrog.com/h4mgqbtj, http://yfrog.com/h2lm8nj, http://yfrog.com/h3si1lj, http://yfrog.com/h3wcmjj, http://yfrog.com/h37ioaj, http://yfrog.com/h05m8aj, http://yfrog.com/0cv2bz, http://yfrog.com/gyty5bj, http://yfrog.com/gy8qvuj, http://yfrog.com/h0qlngj, http://yfrog.com/h0kxqtj, http://yfrog.com/h4xksdj
LCA reins in profession over WikiLeaks outrage

Today’s Palestine / Israel Links

Rescuing Zionism at Palestinian expense – Ali Abunimah shows how the US has chosen racism and Israel over Palestinian human rights and justice.
Gaza Health Ministry: 137 of required medicines out of stock
Stormy weather adds to plight of Gaza’s refugees
US editorial says Israel similar to North Korea
Knesset Approves New Law Preventing Detainees From Meeting Lawyers For Six Month
EU shelves recognition of Palestine
Chances of two-state solution in Palestine seen fading away – sorry, already gone
Internal pressure on Netanyahu mounts over prospect of apology to Turkey
Hamas reiterates all of Palestine claim
2011 ‘difficult’ for Mideast peace: Rudd – ‘Israel’s “settlement activity should cease and it must cease”‘.
Rudd: “What we need to see is not another peace process. What we need to see is a peace outcome.” Let’s have a justice outcome, please Kev. Equal rights, an end to occupation and recognition of right of return.
Israel’s War On Jerusalem Children
Scott Horton Interviews Max Blumenthal
Two more leftwing activists summoned to a meeting with Israel’s General Security Service
Asia2Gaza protest against Israel at Palestine square in Tehran
Israel and the Misrule of Law
Israel refuses entry to Palestinian firefighters being honored for Carmel fire assistance
Arab actor: Boycott Israeli cinema
Tourists in Washington: anatomy of an European Mideast failure
The Internet Goes to War

Other Links

Richard Holbrooke Dead: Diplomat Dies At 69
Police drag protester from wheelchair – the Beeb outdoes itself for squalid interviewing.
Jody McIntyre’s inspired reporting on Electronic Intifada.
How Holbrooke Lied His Way into a War
Tony Blair’s ex-roommate shut down inquest into death of David Kelly

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