2 August 2016

Garrison Center takes WikiLeaks side

The Blog

Director of the Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism Thomas Knapp took the side of WikiLeaks, in a recent small disagreement over Twitter between WikiLeaks and NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.

Penning a tweet on 28 July, Edward Snowden had commented WikiLeaks should be more vigilant at withholding damaging information when leaking sensitive material relating to world events. "Their hostility to even modest curation is a mistake", Snowden wrote.

WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange had in the past talked of WikiLeaks' curation in terms such as his remark "It disturbs me that we are redacting at all" (When Google Met WikiLeaks). Assange has believed control of information, for good or ill, should be completely stripped from states or large publishing houses and restored to the public.

Edward Snowden, by contrast, has tended to rely more on large publishers such as the Guardian and famous journalist Glenn Greenwald to carefully redact anything damaging. Snowden himself was the arbiter of what data would be harmful and what would legitimately benefit the public during his own leak of the NSA's PRISM mass surveillance programs.

The Garrison Center director, for his part, rejected the idea that any curation is necessary. Siding with WikiLeaks, Knapp pointed out that any type of redaction manifests state-like power to pull the wool over the public's eyes. He wrote on 29 July, "They [Snowden and friends]’re merely parceling out the information THEY’VE decided it’s OK for the public to have. But the the NSA and the US State Department do the same thing. Snowden and friends differ from those organizations merely on content selection criteria, not on the principles involved."

Knapp declared continued support to Edward Snowden as an exile persecuted by the US regime, but concluded, "Wikileaks is right and Snowden is wrong here".

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