Is WikiLeaks a News Organization?

The more I think about WikiLeaks the more convinced I become that this is an organization trying to do good. I believe that in releasing the Iraqi War Papers or the latest dump of State Department Cables Wikileaks is shedding light into the inner workings of our own government. While I do believe there is need for secrecy and confidentiality in many government operations I believe this capability is given by mandate of the people. If the government is operating counter to the will, or in a way detrimental to the well-being of the people, this capability can and should be taken away. The government operating in secrecy, without proper oversight, and accountability to the people becomes a government that is prone to wrong-doing, deceit, and in severe cases treason. When the government operates this way its every citizens duty to repeal the mandate of power by means granted to us in the constitution. That includes whistle-blowing and leaking information to the press.
Whistle-blowing helped bring an end to the Viet-nam War, the corrupt Nixon administration, and were instrumental in breaking down the power of tobacco companies. So how different is Daniel Ellsberg leaking the Pentagon Papers to the New York Times from someone in the military leaking the Iraq War papers to Julian Assange? Not much if you think about it.

Is WikiLeaks a News Organization?

Black Ops Activism

Like a lot of gamers out there I’ve been logging my fair share of hours (and kills) in Treyarch’s Call of Duty: Black Ops. You know, the game that recently grossed about 650 million the weekend it was released? The game where you join in hours of endless, deadly, pretend combat, in savage team death matches. Yeah, that one.
You can imagine how fascinated I was when I came across the article Moral Relativism in a Black Ops World, and being better humans by Jeffrey MacCormack. The first half of the article read like criticism of the typical players behavior in multiplayer online combat. I think most people would be somewhat shocked by the behavior of some of my in-game compadres. I mean how do you explain to a normal person that your opponent is heaping on generous helpings of humiliation on you by pretending to tea-bag your now bullet riddled body? Kind of hard to wrap your mind around if you don’t play, but the second half of the article is a bit more interesting.
MacCormack suggests that all the attention Call of Duty (CoD) is garnering these days may be co-opted to change the real world for the better. What’s the cause he wants my fellow couch-bound war fighters to tackle? Child soldiers. More specifically, helping to reduce the types of weapons that make child soldiers even possible.
I had never considered that it wouldn’t really be impractical to use a child as a soldier without a weapon that a small person could fire. It turns out that small machine guns (SMGs) are the weapon of choice dictators and warlords use to equip these poor children and they are pretty common in CoD. MacCormack would like CoD players to contact Treyarch support and ask them to remove SMGs from the next version of CoD. An in game embargo won’t change the real world situation but it might draw big media attention to the problem. I would suggest that even a half step might help. Just ban the use of SMGs in the game for a week. I know a lot of players would bitch about that but it would be for a good cause. It might just cause a minor media frenzy. I can visualize Wolf Blitzer covering the story on the Situation Room.
It’s a great article. Read it and if you feel so inclined, take action.

Black Ops Activism