“There are some people who don’t like change. For everyone else, there’s WikiLeaks.” A viral YouTube ad produced by WikiLeaks and featuring Julian Assange is using guerrilla advertising techniques to raise the funds it needs to continue operating. The ad targets MasterCard’s globally-successful “Priceless” campaign to draw attention to the banking blockade that has prevented WikiLeaks from receiving some US$15 million of donations.
“Censorship, like everything else in the West, has been privatized,” began a media release WikiLeaks published in late June to coincide with the launch of the campaign. “For six months now,” it continued, “five major US financial institutions, VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union and the Bank of America have tried to economically strangle WikiLeaks as a result of political pressure from Washington… The attack is entirely outside of any due process or rule of law.”
Last week, we published an excerpt of an op-ed originally published in The Atlantic by Lowy Institute scholar Mark Fullilove. Fullilove’s op-ed claimed the News of the World phone-hacking scandal was morally comparable with WikiLeaks. Whatever the merits of his argument, financially, there is no comparison between the two: while WikiLeaks is a non-profit organisation, News International can rely on bottomless pockets to defend its interests in the courtroom, as explained by John Dean (a former White House lawyer) in The Guardian this weekend.
In a video/podcast of the recent Wheeler Centre event, ‘Does WikiLeaks Matter?’ published today, Guy Rundle argues that WikiLeaks does indeed matter. WikiLeaks, Rundle says, is “one way of doing something in an era in which the whole constellation of power, information and the state is changing as epochally as it did in the 17th century, when the modern state and political systems were born.” [Click on the link below to watch the video.]
As we recently reported, last month Julian Assange was the keynote speaker at the Splendour in the Grass music festival. Delivered on Skype due to his house arrest, Assange’s address claimed that, among other things, “This generation is burning the mass media to the ground.“ Assange will be a guest at the Sydney Opera House’s Festival of Dangerous Ideas in October, arguing that WikiLeaks has not gone far enough.
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