Taking a wiki-leak

Posted: September 2, 2010 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

Holy mackerel batman, it’s been a month since my last blogpost! And that was a video.

I have been busier than a one-legged guy at an ass-kicking contest but I’m finally getting around to typing a blog that I have been wanting to put up for weeks. What’s it about? In one sentence; Wikileaks or more precisely how the egomaniac Julian Assange has single-handedly taken something that could be a huge assets in the fight for freedom of speech and with one fell swoop destroyed any shred of credibility that it had or will ever have. How? Well let me give you the two main points on which they failed:

  1. You do *not* publish classified military documents EVER. Especially if the war generating these documents is still going on. Doing so breaches OPSEC and puts people’s lives at risk. Publishing documents like this either shows a clear disregards or complete ignorance of the consequences of your actions.
  2. Making political statements connected to information released shows a bias. Assange’s statements put him and Wikeleaks squarely in the left field of politics. Assanges choice of words such as “assasination”, “war crimes” etc are sensationalist. All this puts any past, present & future information that Wikileaks releases in a questionable light. What could be a great new horizon of access to information has been destroyed. Gone. What happened to releasing leaked information and letting people draw their own conclusions? Are we not smart enough to understand the information you are releasing to us Julian?

By its recent actions Wikileaks has put itself under intense and more scrutiny than ever before and you know what? It doesn’t stand up to this scrutiny. Ask yourself this question “who is behind Wikileaks”? Is it Julian Assange? Obviously not, he’s just the face of whatever organisation lies behind Wikileaks. To quote Assange:

“Our advisory board, which is still forming, includes representatives from expatriate Russian and Tibetan refugee communities, reporters, a former U.S. intelligence analyst and cryptographers,”

However when Wired magazine contacted these people in 2009 most of them were unsure of what Wikileaks really was: “most of the members of the advisory board to whom Wired spoke admitted that they had little involvement with Wikileaks, and have not done much “advising”.

“I’m not really sure what the advisory board means,” says Ben Laurie, a computer- security expert and member of the board “since before the beginning”. “It’s as mysterious as the rest of Wikileaks.”

So now that is has become clear to it’s unclear (to paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld) wo runs this organisation let’s see what is known about who funds it. As Wikileaks creates a lot of enemies with their actions they have:

“established a complex system for collecting and disbursing its donations to obscure their origin and use”

The linchpin of WikiLeaks’s financial network is Germany’s Wau Holland Foundation. WikiLeaks encourages donors to contribute to its account at the foundation, which under German law can’t publicly disclose the names of donors. Because the foundation “is not an operational concern, it can’t be sued for doing anything. So the donors’ money is protected, in other words, from lawsuits,”

So we are supposed to believe that an organisation the size of Wikileaks which proclaims to be a “multi-jurisdictional public service” with a wide network of distributed servers and sufficient bandwidth can be maintained by anonymous donations? I sincerely doubt that. Wikileak.org (not connected to WikileakS.org) has an excellent article on the funding of the organisation.

Now we have an organisation which proclaims that they: “believe that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies” yet it fails to shed any light on who runs the organisation or who funds it?! Smells like a case of double standards to me. The big question we should ask ourselves is “who benefits from the actions of Wikileaks?” Who benefits from the large-scale release of informations that is presented with a clear anti-US, anti-capitalism slant?

The discussion that Wikileaks presents the new wave of journalism also doesn’t hold water. A true journalist researches a story (or even uncovers one) researches it, finds information and collates that information into an article. Wikileaks calls their actions “Principled leaking”. They proclaim to receive, verify & publish leaked documents. Hence it’s not journalism. Off course the leaked information will serve as the basis for a lot of journalistic articles but that does not make Wikileaks the new wave in journalism. It makes it a significant resources of previously inaccessible and allegedly verified information.

Believe me if I say that I am a great supporter of the existence of what Wikileaks proclaims to be. Irrespective of my political leaning I am hugely intolerant of hypocrisy, lies and subterfuge. The existence of an unbiased medium to leak information to about actions, plans, evil deeds and whatever else cannot stand the light of day is something that should be applauded. To use a quote by Evelyn Beatrice Hall (which is often wrongly accredited to Voltaire):

“I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it”

Unfortunately I fear that Wikileaks is none of the above…..

  1. griffithinsider says:

    Am writing a thesis on Public Trust in WikiLeaks, the Media and the Government and need to know what your opinions are. The online survey is multiple choice and will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Please follow the link: http://www.kwiksurveys.com/?s=ILLLML_9669e09d. Would be great if you would encourage others to do the survey also.

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