Bad boys. Bad boys. Whatcha gonna do?

Five cent tours in Bablion:

The failure of a U.S. federal judge to stop wikileaks.org reminds us that the democratization of communication and information channels are powerful tools in the struggle for human freedom.

Information Democracy

The democratization of communication and information channels provides as much promise as threat to the way politics and business is done.

Romanian politicans beware! Shady managers and company owners too. There’s terrabytes and terrabytes of disk space waiting for leaking files and documents about you on wikileaks.org. And there’s no way to stop this juggernaut that exposes all the corruption and lies that come into its great path. Whatcha gonna do?

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A Can of Whoop Ass

Wikileaks.org is becoming a serious problem to closet authoritarians, oligarchs, shady bankers and dirty politicians; it has even outsmarted a U.S. Court- all the King’s men and all the King’s horses too.

Last week, U.S. Federal District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White ordered Dynadot to shut down wikileaks.org. Immediately, mirror sites sprouted in Belgium, Germany and the Christmas islands among other places. Fans of the website helped too. In fact, the mighty everywhere have been served with a notice, http://www.wikileaks.org is a juggernaut of democratic proportion that can’t be stopped- at least, not easily.

Wikileaks.org provides an online forum for document and secret leaking, allowing anonymous users to expose the unethical and questionable actions of organizations, institutions, and governments. Action to silence Wikileaks was recently taken when wikileaks published several hundred documents from a Swiss banking whistleblower that exposed tax evasion and money laundering of wealthy clients of The Julius Baer Bank. These clients included well known US, European and Chinese persons.

Lawyers for the Swiss bank successfully persuaded U.S. Federal Judge Jeffrey White to make an injunction that shuts down the website for whistle-blowers. However, Internet users disagreed with the court order and the website remains accessible from many locations around the world.

Unstoppable Juggernaut

Although the US and some Western European countries could reduce general access to the website at a very high financial and political cost; they can not stop the juggernaut 100 percent without cutting off the internet.

“African, Eastern European and Middle East countries cannot afford to consider such countermeasures,” explained an instant message from an anonymous whistleblower in Romania.

“Businessmen and politicians may be able to control the print, radio and tv media in these regions, but multi-billionaires cannot hope to censor the internet. The prolific number of online channels for information dissemination are innumerable.”

The Romanian Problem

Can http://www.wikileaks.org help solve the problem of corruption and business misconduct in Romania?

Romanian politicians and oligarchs are often summoned to the Directia Nationala Anticoruptie (DNA or anti-corruption court) on Stirbei Voda Street, but most get off without any apparent slap on the wrist. Critics say the DNA merely provides the smoke and mirrors that Romania is doing something about corruption- smoke and mirrors for the EU and foreign observers.

Apparently, the smoke and mirrors are working. EU Justice Commissioner Franco Frattini seems convinced- even if only tentatively.

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Disinformation experts in the media suggest that the accusations are all trumped up by political rivals and this is why the trials rarely end in prosecution. But most know that the corruption is so widespread that it reaches into the pockets of judges and the media. If overwhelming evidence was made public as opposed to being kept secret in the courtroom, the justice system might find it difficult not to pursue prosecution. And the media might find their credibility questioned further if they fail to follow up on the quick dismissals.

The greater and more urgent danger posed by wikileaks.org is to businesses- disaffected employees will have little reason to fear the consequences of anonymous whistle-blowing. Tax evasion is a real issue for most large and medium companies regardless of whether or not they are managed by Romanian or foreign managers. Outrageous salary taxes, for example, are avoided by use of intellectual property contracts. But what intellectual property is actually being compensated when included among the contractees are accountants, janitors and secretaries?

Ironically, the television stations and big publishers are often just as guilty as anyone else. It’s no surprise, then that it is not in their interest to expose corruption.

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Two Cents

Things will get interesting.

For some, wikileaks.org is considered to be more important than the freedom of information policies across the world. Certainly, it is more useful as a democratic tool for discovery and analysis of wrong-doing. Whether or not, such public discoveries lead to prosecution in the short term and political change in the long term, however, remains to be seen.

Until then… John Ofizeru (see video below) and others will remain lonely voices crying out in the wilderness.

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Stan Faryna
February 25, 2008
Bucharest, Romania

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FEED UPON other popular posts by Stan Faryna:

>> Outsourcing
>> Great Websites
>> IAB Europe
>> Online Strategy
>> Open Source

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About Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna is the founder and co-founder of several technology, design and communication companies in the United States and Europe including Faryna & Associates, Inc., Halo Interactive, and others.

His political, scholarly, social and technical opinions have appeared in The Chicago Defender, Jurnalul National, The Washington Times, Sagar, Saptamana Financiara, Social Justice Review, and other publications.

Mr. Faryna is editor-in-chief of Black and Right (Praeger Press, 1996), a landmark collection of socio-political essays by important American thinkers including U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas.

Copyright

Copyright 1996 to 2008 by Stan Faryna.

Here’s my fair use policy for my content:

If you want to share my content with your own audience, you may quote a brief excerpt, if and only if, you provide proper attribution (Source: The unofficial blog of Stan Faryna) with a direct link to the source. You may not republish or translate the entire article without my written permission. Send your request for permission by inmail through the linkedin professional network at www.linkedin.com.

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