Extremely smart questions about the Wikileaks #cablegate

Dan Gillmor’s commentary on the Wikileaks #cablegate release takes the form of a series of questions — questions for governments, for Julian Assange, for the media, and even for Sarah Palin. The questions form a thought-provoking analysis of the larger context of Wikileaks — is the US government right to stamp “Secret” on every bit of gossip it sees? Is Wikileaks prepared for disinformation leaks? When will Wikileaks dump the diplomatic cables of a secretive, totalitarian state like China or Syria? Why hasn’t the press been getting at this stuff on its own, and what kind of deals are news outlets cutting with Wikileaks in exchange for access? Will the Wikileaks organization ever be as transparent as it is forcing the US government to become?

For journalists who get the documents directly from WikiLeaks:

* You are treating WikiLeaks as much as a partner as a source, no matter how much you might deny this. How comfortable are you in this bargain?
* Why does it take WikiLeaks to get the information you agree is so worthy of public exposure? Why aren’t you doing your own jobs better in the first place?
* Why aren’t you stressing, in your voluminous coverage, that these cables are not the final word on what has happened. They are often pure gossip. Do you have an obligation to provide more context for the material you’re publishing and discussing?

(Update) For Sarah Palin, who (or, perhaps, a staffer) tweeted today: “Inexplicable: I recently won in court to stop my book “America by Heart” from being leaked,but US Govt can’t stop Wikileaks’ treasonous act?”:

* Treason is an act against one’s own country. Are you aware that WikiLeaks is not based in the United States, and that Assange is not a U.S. citizen?
* Are you saying you could have stopped Web and newspaper reports from other countries with U.S. court order? Can you find even one lawyer who agrees?

A few questions about the WikiLeaks release

(Image: Wikileaks #cablegate Process Documentation, a Creative Commons Attribution (2.0) image from blprnt’s photostream)

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