In a joint statement they put out Friday, the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Der Spiegel, and Le Monde condemned WikiLeaks for releasing via Twitter the unedited versions of all 251,000 of the secret U.S. diplomatic cables in its possession. “We deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted state department cables, which may put sources at risk,” the news organizations said in the statement, which was published in the Guardian.
The Guardian also notes that “Julian Assange could face prosecution in Australia after publishing sensitive information about government officials amongst the 251,000 unredacted cables released this week. WikiLeaks published its entire cache of US diplomatic cables without redactions to protect those named within, a move condemned by all five of the whistleblowing website’s original media partners.”
The fact that the New York Times, the Guardian, El Pais, Der Spiegel, and Le Monde now condemn Wikileaks is tantamount to a confession the true character of their “partner”. Why did they believe Wikileaks was a crusading source if they do not believe it now? If in fact they believe the opposite now?
A cynical person might conclude they’ve issued a joint statement distancing themselves from Julian Assange, not from sudden qualms of conscience about revealing confidential intelligence sources and methods, exposing informers to enemy reprisal or ruining confidences, but because their lawyers have alerted them to the possibility of real financial and criminal liability.
Well there’s just no way to completely escape the contagion. An old Spanish saying which seems particularly apt in this situation comes to mind. Quien con perros se echa, con pulgas se levanta. If you lie down with dogs, you’ll get up with fleas.