From the NY Times explanation of their decision to post material related to the correspondence and their later elaboration in response to reader questions (and condemnations):
- The U.S. government did have the opportunity to review this material and make a case that parts of it shouldn't be shared. Where there was a disagreement between the Times and the government, the Times made a decision about what to share.
- This information is part of the larger trove of information believed to have been stolen by U.S. intelligence analyst Bradley Manning.
- There are revelations within the correspondence, but it largely has to do with how sausage is made. That is, there are few Earth-shattering pieces of news, but the material provides a look into the interior of U.S. diplomacy that many may not enjoy.
- Assange has been charged with failing to stop sex with two women after condoms came off or broke, despite requests of the women. This differs from statements made by the Australian attorney who represented Wikileak's Assange in the sex-crimes charges (whose teeth I'd like to kick in after reading this post) in the important detail that Assange is alleged to have continued having sex despite consent being clearly revoked.
- The legal situation regarding a hosting company's responsibilities for material hosted on their site is not clear.
- Nonetheless, Amazon was not hosting any of the correspondence. They were hosting a list of pointers to the files on torrent sites. Yes, they're not just for piracy anymore.
- This makes it unclear whether Wikileaks violated Amazon's terms of service, as Amazon claims, by posting information they didn't have a right to post.
- Amazon did not violate anyone's First Amendment rights. It's possible that the government did, but that would require Amazon to have waited to get a notice from the government before taking material down.
- You're not necessarily in any better position with your hosts if you post anything online than Wikileaks was.