Tuesday, August 30, 2011

WikiLeaks does it again

Cambodia: Menu offering Fried Crap
For the second time in as many months (see 'WikiLeaks') WikiLeaks has released US embassy cables including some from the embassy in Phnom Penh. And like last time, WikiLeaks has failed to scour the confidential sources from those cables, this time revealing the name of a foreign human rights activist in Cambodia who had spoken candidly with the US embassy (see NYT: 'WikiLeaks Leaves Names of Diplomatic Sources in Cables.') At a time when human rights abuses are on the rise and NGOs in Cambodia are under fire from the government for their human rights activities (see PPP: 'NGO 'Incitement'') WikiLeaks may have exposed this human rights activist to serious repercussions.

Unlike the WikiLeaks cable release of two months ago, this time they claim that publishing the names was 'accidental' (see here,) though that is likely of little help to those they have exposed. And while this time may not have been intentional, it is unsurprising that such an 'accident' could occur as WikiLeaks puts very little weight on protecting the names of informants. Mr. Assange stated earlier this year:
Well they’re informants…So if they get killed, they’ve got it coming to them. They deserve it.” (see here)
Whether due to a political agenda that WikiLeaks feels outweighs the possible human costs, or to a dogmatic adherence to some deontological ethics, or to just plain unprofessionalism, WikiLeaks' repeated disregard for the human consequences of their actions is at the very least incredibly irresponsible, perhaps worse.

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