This subject is somewhat complicated, but I need to blog about it anyway. Let’s start from the beginning. Wikileaks is a website that publishes highly sensitive material that has been leaked from govevernent sources or other types of organizations. The sources are always kept confidential and the website never reveals how documents are leaked (by accident or intentionally by an inside source.) The site is kept afloat by personal donations alone, that is, by people sending money to their website or developing open source software pro bono for the website.
Now that we are caught up on that, let’s move on to current events. On Monday April 5, Wikileaks revealed a video showing an air attack on Baghdad that killed 12 Iraqi civilians and 2 Reuters journalists that were said to be killed due to combat of “hostile forces”. The video shows US military initiating an airstrike on these people because they mistook their video cameras for AK-47s. Hostile forces indeed. I will not link directly to this video, but you are more than welcome to seek it out yourself. It should not be hard to find (especially considering that it is the first thing on the Wikileaks site).
There are obviously several ethical questions we need to ask.
1. Is it ethical to show these gruesome and unnecesarry murders to the public? Should this video be broadcast on television?
2. Is it unethical to keep the public in the dark about this issue. Is it our duty to promote justice?
3. Is it ethical for Wikileaks to host such material on their website? Is it ethical to have a site dedicated to “outting” people and in some cases shame them?
4. Is it ethical for Wikileaks to be requesting money and labor from their devotees? Even when they host classified government documents?
5. Is is ethical for people to create mirrors of the Baghdad video in case it gets taken down from the internet?