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WikiLeaks is a wiki that hosts leaked confidential documents, while preserving the anonymity of its contributors and staff. It operates as a news site, reviewing and commenting on documents it puts up.

It has aroused the ire of many governments and businesses - the Pentagon is out to get editor in chief Julian Assange personally - and shown the populace what effect journalism is supposed to have.


[edit] Name

WikiLeaks uses the MediaWiki software developed for Wikipedia. It used to allow public comments on talk pages, but doesn't now, and just uses the software as a content management system. That said, it's probably stuck with the famous name.

[edit] Operation

WikiLeaks' stated aim is to expose the official corruption in repressive governments, but their door is open to almost any kind of leaked documents.

Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interest is in exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact. Our interface is identical to Wikipedia and usable by all types of people. We have received over 1.2 million documents so far from dissident communities and anonymous sources.

We believe that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies. All governments can benefit from increased scrutiny by the world community, as well as their own people. We believe this scrutiny requires information. Historically that information has been costly - in terms of human life and human rights. But with technological advances - the internet, and cryptography - the risks of conveying important information can be lowered.

Assange formed his free speech ideals running a free speech ISP, (still extant) in the 1990s.[1] He published a document in 2002, State and Terrorist Conspiracies,[2] setting out his aims in detail: to increase the friction in the mechanisms by which authoritarian governments conspire against their citizens, thus changing the lay of the land and forcing them to more open communication mechanisms. It's the inchoate hacker (as in cracker) free speech ideal of the 1980s developed into a coherent philosophy. Which is quite an achievement in itself.

[edit] Staff

The Editor In Chief is still Australian computer hacker Julian Assange, who has had a long history of pissing off the thoroughly deserving. He has balls of titanium.[3]

He is remarkably disliked by many governments and some newspaper journalists. Sarah Palin has called for him to be "hunted down" and Canadian Tom Flanagan has called for him to be executed.[4] Mike Huckabee has called for the execution of the individual who leaked the 250,000 US diplomatic cables.[5]

[edit] Notable leaks

[edit] Afghanistan War logs

On July 25th, 2010, Wikileaks released tens of thousands of classified military field reports in relation to the Afghanistan War. It provided the New York Times,[11] The Guardian,[12] and Der Spiegel[13] with over 90,000 classified military documents in what is being described as one of the biggest leaks in the history of the United States military.[14] The documents show that:

  • There have been hundreds of unreported civilian deaths and soldiers frequently fudge the numbers in their field reports in counting dead civilians as 'insurgents'.
  • The Taliban apparently use heat-seeking missiles against allied aircraft, something the US has glossed over. Possibly because the US sold the technology their precursor groups during the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan in the 80s. Oops.
  • The CIA pretty much runs their own paramilitary in Afghanistan, launching raids and ambushes, and even has the ability to call in airstrikes. Letting the CIA have such free roam is, of course, a great idea, since they are so well-known for respecting human rights. And the Afghanistan spy agency is essentially their bitch.
  • It basically confirms what we knew already: that the US gives millions of dollars to Pakistan only for that money to be funneled to insurgents killing American soldiers.

NYT says the military never really lied - just made misleading statements; however, saying aircraft have been brought down by conventional weapons when in fact they are using heat-seeking technology we sold them sounds an awful lot like an untrue statement — in other words, a lie, or crediting Afghan forces with victories when they really had nothing to do with it. The parallel to the leaking of the Pentagon Papers (a US Department of Defense study that pretty much proved three consecutive US administrations had made a habit of lying straight in the face of the American people about the Vietnam War) is evident.

The reports paint a clear picture of Afghanistan and the war. Despite almost a decade of war and billions of dollars spent on it, the insurgency is not dying down, and is in fact getting stronger. The Taliban have a network of spies, informers and double agents working against the Afghan government and NATO forces. The Afghan National Army and police force are in disarray, plagued by corruption and abuse, and many defect to the Taliban while the ones who stick it out become reviled by Afghan citizens. In fact, the population now actually thinks the Taliban was better than what they have now. Large portions of the country are controlled by warlords who are above the law, and the government is hopelessly corrupt.

With poverty, corruption on every level, citizens under threat of constant violence, untrained soldiers and police officers and everything else detailed in the documents, it is hard to imagine the war could ever be won.

[edit] December 2009 inactivity

Wikileaks ran out of money in December 2009. The release of the "Collateral Murder" video sufficiently demonstrated to a jaded public what actual journalism looks like. The donations started coming in again for a time, until PayPal, MasterCard, Visa, and Bank of America cut them off in reaction to the 2010 U.S. embassy leaks.

[edit] Dubious ethics

Wikileaks released a document giving the names and details about the last remaining Jews in Baghdad, Iraq, thereby jeopardizing their safety.[15][16] Other critics have made more general complaints about Wikileaks jeopardizing the safety of individuals.[17]

[edit] Funding

In 2011, Wikileaks is funded by public donations. Send them some fucking money (after you've made a contribution to RationalWiki, of course). In response to donations being blocked by PayPal and the major credit cards, Wikileaks has sought out alternative means of accepting donations.

Currently available methods are listed on their donations page. Thankfully, you can still donate by credit card and paypal, with Wikileaks making use of various loopholes to make this possible. Hell, if you are in the US of A you can make a tax deductible donation via the Freedom of the Press Foundation (which can also pitch to three other journalistic organizations). So send them some fucking money.

You can donate directly and anonymously using Bitcoin or Litecoin. Did we say you should send them some fucking money?

Donating directly by PayPal was cut off on December 4 2010.[18] PayPal can still be used to donate direclty to the Julian Assange defense fund, just not to Wikileaks itself. Send the legal defense fund some fucking money.

[edit] External links

[edit] Footnotes

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