Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

Summary: This self-styled media organization leaked the largest cache of classified intelligence in U.S. history. But who are these guys anyway? Our special report takes a closer look at the inner workings of Wikileaks and its connection to the hactivists known as 'Anonymous'.

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This series explores in empirical detail the U.S. diplomatic cables release by Wikileaks -- a self-styled media organisation -- where over 250,000 classified communiques were published in the public domain.

To understand the nature of the work Wikileaks performs, this series, formed out of my undergraduate dissertation, analyses their organisational structure, capabilities and its technological advantages.

The consequences of Wikileaks' work ultimately led to allegations made towards founder, Julian Assange, and his organisation became a worldwide target for intelligence agencies, governments and journalists alike.

As the largest cache of classified intelligence leaked in United States' history, the wide ranging ramifications of the release raised questions about governmental transparency, openness and trust.

Wikileaks is an organisation -- decentralised in structure and with no fixed headquarters or abode. The internal dialogue of the organisation has been blended and distorted by the media, with claims of inner corruption and conflicts of power, arrogance and self-seeking hedonism by Assange.

Yet a more pragmatic and objective view of the goals and objectives of Wikileaks, shows it to be a not-for-profit organisation acting in a capacity to bring news and information into the public domain. Similar in style to that of a broadcasting or media company, Wikileaks is famed for publishing leaked documents; some highly classified in nature.

The magnitude of the diplomatic cable release is said to have triggered the 2011 revolutions in the Middle East and North Africa; toppling regimes and bringing down dictatorships, making politicians and governments forcibly accountable for the first time in generations.

It allowed the media to dissect and to scrutinise the decisions made by our executives and shed light on a side to government never seen before.

Wikileaks, though has been operational since 2007, has recently had extreme media attention with the release of U.S. diplomatic cables, some classified as 'SECRET' noting their sensitivity, and released seemingly indiscriminately into the public domain. Since this release, extradition hearings have been underway in England to deport Assange to Sweden to face allegations of sexual assault.

Yet before the explosion of media interest in 2010, Wikileaks was lesser known and fought for different motives. The transformation of the organisation resulted through the varying level of information leaked to Wikileaks, from low level private industry whistle-blowing leaks to full transnational governmental releases.

The themes noted in this work explore empirically how the self-styled media organisation operates and notes its organisational structure.

Also, this work will critically examine in empirical detail how 'hactivist' group Anonymous have defended Wikileaks in paramilitary style, and will uncover how the cables came to be in the public light.

Read in full:

Part 1: The diplomatic cables release and media reactions Introducing the work of Wikileaks during the U.S. diplomatic cables release in 2010, and how this impacted the world of journalism.

Part 2: A brief history of Wikileaks, pre-2010 Going back to pre-2010 before the cables were released to discover the roots of the whistleblowing organisation.

Part 3: How the organization functions and operates Examining the operations of Wikileaks and how it functions, amid the vast media preoccupation with its values of secrecy.

Part 4: How 'Anonymous' subverted the most powerful governments How does anonymity prevail on the web? Examining the connection between Wikileaks and online 'hactivist' group, Anonymous.

Part 5: How Wikileaks leaked the diplomatic cables Detailing how U.S. Army officer Bradley Manning allegedly leaked the largest cache of secret data in U.S. history.

Part 6: How the diplomatic cables sparked the 2011 Arab Spring How the release of the diplomatic cables sparked revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East, and the wider effect on international relations.

Topics: Mobility, Government, Government US, Hardware, Networking, Telcos

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27 comments
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  • A bit of both.

    If run by someone responsible, WikiLeaks could do some real good. However, when run by a vendetta seeking individual with a deep political agenda that also shows signs of a messiah complex, WikiLeaks has potential to do great damage.
    Bruizer
    • RE: Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

      @Bruizer

      The content of the leaks doesn't change, regardless of who is credited as the leader.
      rtk
      • RE: Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

        Wikileaks is the Washington Displace for the miniscule fill. No rotation, somebody introduction of facts. No enquire it hurts.<br>The sex allegations chortle me tho', what in Sverige? Didn't the Swedes 'excogitate' sex as we cognise it? And since when is claim an extraditable operation? ...Now, if we exclusive didn't hit sheep with voting rights... <strong><a href=http://www.zlatibor-apartmani.org>zlatibor apartmani </a></strong>
        tzartzar
    • RE: Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

      @Bruizer ahh always drama surrounding wikileaks <a href="http://seobacklinks4u.com">SEO Hobart</a>
      casper01
    • RE: Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

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      Mclooney10
  • RE: Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

    we all know there are closed door deals, comments, plots and schemes that go in within and outside the governments offices. Right or wrong this is what keep international politics in check. To exploit these activities creates a global instability in the political arena and is an act of irresponsibility.
    I vote TERRORIST.
    kfortner51
    • RE: Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

      @kfortner51
      The globe had become increasingly unstable, even before wikileaks. Iran, North Korea, Libya, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Congo, Sudan, Ivory Coast, Greece, Egypt, Japan, Algeria, Bahrain, Syria, and even the US are all increasingly unstable. There are a number of factors and wikileaks and Manning are not even close to the top of the list. Corruption and other nefarious situations are, but god forbid someone telling us about it.
      hoaxoner
    • RE: Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

      @kfortner51

      When has this globe ever been stable? Governments have been rising and falling since before recorded history. Are you going to blame Wikileaks for the fall of the Roman Empire? Or the two world wars. How about just the first Gulf war, then.

      I am not necessarily defending Wikileaks, but blaming it for global instability is like blaming the swaying palm trees for the hurricane.
      mlashinsky@...
    • RE: Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

      @kfortner51 You make an interesting point and it's highly debatable but I tend to lean towards your side.
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      krtinberg
      • RE: Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

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        casper01
  • &quot;doubleplusgood&quot;

    "And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." -King James Bible
    ..."but first it will make you miserable." -Attributed to James A. Garfield
    jncurotto
  • RE: Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

    Is the purpose of goverment to serve the people. Or is government the master of the people?

    If you believe than government owns you. Then if will be reasonable to asume that whoever exposes your master should be punish.

    But if you believe that government is there to serve the people. Then it follows that government should be held accountable on there actions.

    The only way for government to be held accountable is if the people know what government is doing. And, since government is not willingly going to give information about their actions, the people need outside of government information.

    So, is the people the master of government or its government the master of the people. Your choice.
    rxantos
    • RE: Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

      @rxantos If you believe than government owns you. Then if will be reasonable to asume that whoever exposes your master should be punish.

      But if you believe that government is there to serve the people. Then it follows that government should be held accountable on there actions. [url=http://www.bellevuedental.net]bellevue dentist[/url]

      The only way for government to be held accountable is if the people know what government is doing. And, since government is not willingly going to give information about their actions, the people need outside of government information.

      Censoring or withholding of information damaging to the reputation of the subject is not in accordance with good ethical journalism, nor is it in accordance with the 1st amendment of the U.S. Constitution. I can find the recipes for how to make all kinds of illegal drugs or explosives on-line. Yet I don't see even an underwhelming number of self-made druggies or bombers out there. [url=http://www.landscape-houston.com]landscaping houston[/url]

      Democracy in America is predicated on an informed, caring, and therefore actively voting citizenry. What WikiLeaks did was expose the lies the U.S. government had been telling its citizens, and the rest of the world. Many of those lies had been revealed previously, but had inadequate amounts of proof to gain much traction. [url=http://www.thephoenixroofer.com]roofing phoenix[/url]

      Granted that Julian Assange is a bit of a narcissist and just as highly sexed at Bill Clinton; the vendetta isn't him against the U.S. It's rather the U.S. using its entire legal and political might to try to squash an individual who's not even a citizen, and hasn't actually attacked the country. Revelation of a country's actions, even if those actions were taken in secret, is never an attack. But since the U.S DID take that action against Assange, he's certainly within his rights to us whatever means he has to embarrass the U.S. into at least acting in a fair and legal fashion.
      baconman84
  • Whistleblower = WikiLeaks &quot;&lt;&gt;&quot; Terrorist

    The ONLY responsibility WikiLeaks, or any other news media, has is to accurately report what they find. Dumping of the entire files obtained onto the internet strikes me as being the most responsible means of dissemination. And before you claim that their failure to redact personal information was irresponsible, please remember that they offered to do just that if other news media or the U.S. chose to help them in it. The U.S. turned them down. <br><br>Censoring or withholding of information damaging to the reputation of the subject is not in accordance with good ethical journalism, nor is it in accordance with the 1st amendment of the U.S. Constitution. I can find the recipes for how to make all kinds of illegal drugs or explosives on-line. Yet I don't see even an underwhelming number of self-made druggies or bombers out there.<br><br>Democracy in America is predicated on an informed, caring, and therefore actively voting citizenry. What WikiLeaks did was expose the lies the U.S. government had been telling its citizens, and the rest of the world. Many of those lies had been revealed previously, but had inadequate amounts of proof to gain much traction.<br><br>Granted that Julian Assange is a bit of a narcissist and just as highly sexed at Bill Clinton; the vendetta isn't him against the U.S. It's rather the U.S. using its entire legal and political might to try to squash an individual who's not even a citizen, and hasn't actually attacked the country. Revelation of a country's actions, even if those actions were taken in secret, is never an attack. But since the U.S DID take that action against Assange, he's certainly within his rights to us whatever means he has to embarrass the U.S. into at least acting in a fair and legal fashion. <br><br>As long as WikiLeaks continues to reveal nothing but the truth, in a timely basis, none of their actions will ever be damaging. The damage was caused by those who committed the misdeeds. If the U.S. government and other countries had dealt fairly with everyone, then WikiLeaks wouldn't have any story to tell.<br><br>People shouldn't fear their government. If your government is afraid you'll find out something, it means they're doing something they shouldn't. And if it's top secret information, then they didn't do a satisfactory job keeping it a secret, and that itself is something their citizens need to know.
    Dr_Zinj
  • RE: Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

    This is no different than if someone broke into your house took personal documents, like tax returns, bank statements, personal letter and put them on the internet. To read or take classified documents without the proper clearance or NEED TO KNOW is against the law.
    weatherwarrior
    • RE: Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

      Yes... there is a HUGE difference between stealing/violating PERSONAL rights/property... and exposing government lies and corruption (both... legally, AND morally). The idea that "our government" (the politicians, and agencies that work FOR the citizenry) should have the ability to hide their (at this point, well-established) corruption, duplicity, and lies... and that such mis-use of power, in any way, supersedes the citizens "RIGHT to KNOW" (what THEIR government is doing) ...AND that the government can simply by-pass The Constitution (whenever they find it convenient, for their-own purposes), is what is actually ignorant, UN-American, and truly-dangerous. Some people should try actually understanding "...the law"... and not, just parroting-back the party-line.

      But, hey... these days... we don't really seem to have to worry about anyone using "free speech", or "personal-liberty", to disagree with "the U.S. government"... do we..? If such individuals become a real annoyance (to the wishes of those in power), they will just be charged with some concocted "sex-charge", and go-away.
      Raife_1
  • Well meaning but dangerously naive

    Assange only came out with accelerated releases when he was caught with his pants down in Sweden. If he had been rational, he would have learned the lesson of Daniel Elsberg who tried to push the Pentagon papers into the public domain and when he did, no one listened. Using the information from a leaked document does not give you an authoritative or balanced understanding of the decisions being taken on any given subject. As to the 'Arabic Spring' my understanding is social media sites and prolonged oppression had more influence in those events than Wikileaks.

    You don't give a fully loaded gun to a two year old, in the same way media releases of many credibility should not be controlled by gossip. The authorities mistake was to give Assange any credibility. He should be constrained to protect himself and the public.
    DOSlover
  • RE: Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

    Wikileaks is the Washington Post for the small people. No spin, simple presentation of facts. No wonder it hurts.
    The sex allegations chuckle me though, what in Sweden? Didn't the Swedes 'invent' sex as we know it? And since when is allegation an extraditable offence? ...Now, if we only didn't have sheep with voting rights...
    Phil689
  • RE: Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

    Are that many Yanks that blindly patriotic, that because their government says Wikileaks are criminal, then they must be? In my opinion freedom of speech (Yes that term is known elsewhere) and transparent government far outweigh official secrets. In Australia (where Julian and I are from), most of us think politicians are lying bastards, is the US different. Most media seems biased, anyone seen FOX or anything else owned by Murdoch (yes, sadly another Aussie). To me seeing raw documents (without filtering) is refreshing, don't shoot the messenger.
    glennmcc64
  • RE: Whistleblowers or terrorists? The Wikileaks story

    If wikileaks would have acted as a conduit for information flowing to the right places instead <a href="http://www.tassiehospitality.com.au">Chef Jobs</a> of essentially threatening organisations with their own website perhaps they may be seen as a more legitimate organisation themselves
    casper01