Street Justice for Journalists

Posted: March 16, 2011 by shanefowler2 in #8 Wikileaks

The big deal about wikileaks is that it is not that big a deal, not in the public’s mind, at least not anymore. The biggest information leak concerning government behavior since the Pentagon papers and it has already slipped to the back burner. Granted, there is only so much available interest. Wikileaks really does have to compete in the news right now. Earthquakes, middle-east uprisings every second week, and union wars in the states all vie for attention. Wikileaks effects all these issues, pulling back the curtain and allowing us access to what is going on and how these things are handled, but is doesn’t seem to be a pressing issue anymore.

It is already an accepted fact that knowledge is power, and wikileaks represents a lot of power. Some would argue that this power is simply looking to bring the scales back to a balance. Also on the line, along with access to information, is free speech and the ability to criticize the government, to keep it in check. It’ s disheartening to see, that with Americans especially, who are usually so feverish about their freedom of speech, so many individuals on the fence concerning this issue.

A silver lining to this cloud is that it is here that journalists really shine. This incident draws a distinct line between the professionals and those that are not. Education is necessary to evaluate and decide what is publishable. This service to the public is something that often goes unnoticed in the field of journalism, the picking and choosing of what is relevant and what should be revealed. This editing has come to the forefront of the issue, and is a quality that has been finally publicly recognized.

A story that caught my attention revolved around an anti-hacker Aaron Barr from the states who was hired by his company HBGary Federal to manipulate wikileaks information, INCLUDING discrediting journalists who seemed to be in support of the wikileaks. This casual attitude towards, not only trying to circumvent information freedom, but also ruining the careers of individuals is mind-blowing.  Also stunning is the lack of action by any recognized authority to DO something about this. Enter Anonymous, a vigilante group of internet tweekers raised on the ethics of video-games and Star-Trek. This group seemed to be the only ones concerned with exactly what was going on and did something about it. All of Barr’s e-mails were published, revealing the dastardly plans, information by the gigs lifted from HBGary, and Barr’s iPad was remotely wiped. They even went as far as trashing the mans ‘World of Warcraft’ account. In this cyber-war, it seems that street justice is the ONLY justice that journalists have gotten here so far. But it is comforting to know that even if the government doesn’t care about free-speech or protecting those that dedicate their lives to delivering it, that the faceless hordes roaming the internets do!

  1. sharonfawcett says:

    Shane, that’s an interesting story you referred to (Aaron Barr and HB Gary Federal). I hadn’t heard about it, specifically, but HBGary Federal’s name came up in something I found yesterday: Palantir Technologies’ Power Point presentation on its plan to bring Wikileaks down. (

    Slide 19 mentions Palantir working with HBGary Federal and Berico Technologies. Slide 14 lists “Potential Proactive Tactics” to discredit Wikileaks, including: “Feed the fuel between the feuding groups. Disinformation. Create messages around actions to sabotage or discredit the opposing organization. Submit fake documents and then call out the error.”

    Seems Wikileaks is on to them, since their plan is posted on its site.

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