Felix Stalder on Wed, 27 Apr 2011 20:16:40 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> Wikileaks and Gitmo files

I wonder why there as been no echo here on nettime of the release of  
the Guantanamo Files by a host of newspaper directly, or indirectly   
associated with WikiLeaks in the last couple of days.                 

In some ways, it's a testimony to the fact that WikiLeaks as an
organization is not only still capable of operating efficiently, but
of learning substantially. After being accused of pulling too much
limelight into itself, Assange and his associates now remain much more
in the background. It's main public communication channel is twitter.

WikiLeaks has lost control, to some degree, of the information, as
several newspapers, such as the Guardian and the NYT, have published
information prior to the "official" release schedule. They claim to
have received the same material independently. This loss of control
does not, however, impact negatively on its mission to maximize the
impact of its material, as Yochai Benkler points out, it might even
contribute to it (by increasing competition among news outlets)
[1]. It also has changed WikiLeaks commitment to publishing the raw
material. In this case, it is relatively easy to do, since there is no
information that needs to be redacted. So little editing is needed.

So, since WikiLeaks is now operating more discreetly in the           
background letting the focus rest on the material itself, there is    
simply not so much to say about WikiLeaks anymore.                    

Which would mean, theoretically, that there is more room to talk      
about the material released and its implication. But that does        
not happen. While nettime is not particularly important a venue,      
I still think it's indicative of a larger problem with the kinds      
of transparency that WikiLeaks provides. Put simply, information      
does speak for itself. Cue in the media partners, which turn it       
into stories. But, and here is the important point, stories are not   
political in themselves. They are stories that lead nowhere unless    
they are carried somewhere, which the media don't do. Political       
actors need to do this, and, right now, there are no political        
organizations that can work with this material and WikiLeaks is,      
despite all its media partner, current and past, politically          
relatively isolated. This has nothing to do with it being radical or  
breaking the law. There are plenty of radical organizations which     
are organically connected to political movements, or other capable    
actors. But WikiLeaks is not, and this, it turns out, is a major      
limitation. Without a way to act on it, information of limited value, 
and shocking, scandalous information simply leads to cynicism. Ah,    
Obama is just another Bush.                                           

[1] http://tinyurl.com/64g34oh

--- http://felix.openflows.com ----------------------- books out now:
*|Deep Search.The Politics of Search Beyond Google.Studienverlag 2009
*|Mediale Kunst/Media Arts Zurich.13 Positions.Scheidegger&Spiess2008
*|Manuel Castells and the Theory of the Network Society. Polity, 2006 
*|Open Cultures and the Nature of Networks. Ed. Futura/Revolver, 2005 

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