I am not sure if I stumbled upon a tool for fighting corruption or a conspiracy theorist’s dream. Either way, I will report and leave the judgments and interpretations to you, the reader. Before you begin reading this particular blog post, I would recommend that you close your door, pull down the shades and close all other browser windows; after all, you never know who could be watching.
WikiLeaks says they have a “history of breaking major stories in every major media outlet and robustly protecting sources and press freedoms.” They claim that “no source has ever been exposed and no material has ever been censored since their formation in 2007.” WikiLeaks claims they have been “victorious over every legal (and illegal) attack, including those from the Pentagon, the Chinese Public Security Bureau, the Former president of Kenya, the Premier of Bermuda, Scientology, the Catholic & Mormon Church, the largest Swiss private bank, and Russian companies.” And, as if that is not enough of a soap box on which to stand, WikiLeaks claims to have “released more classified intelligence documents than the rest of the world press combined.” If you do not believe WikiLeaks, perhaps you might trust another source, Time Magazine who suggests that WikiLeaks “...could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act.”
The good folks at WikiLeaks have “worked across the globe to obtain, publish and defend whistleblowers, journalists, and activist who have sensitive materials to communicate to the public.” WikiLeaks believes in leveling the playing field through “principled leaking,” a term that may be hard to digest, at least initially, until you consider their aforementioned results. Their website includes leaked videos, pictures, manuals, memos on topics such as:
· War, killings, torture and detention;
· Government, trade and corporate transparency;
· Suppression of free speech and a free press
· Diplomacy, spying and (counter-)intelligence
· Ecology, climate, nature and sciences
· Corruption, finance, taxes, trading
· Censorship technology and internet filtering
· Cults and other religious organizations
· Abuse, violence, violation
To help the user traverse the site, "leaks” can be sorted by things like country, organization, offense type, date, and number of times linked to. To guarantee document authenticity, all documents are “closely examined based on forensic analysis, means, motive and opportunity cost of forgery.” In addition to stringent checks, WikiLeaks puts limits on casual users; unlike Wikipedia where WikiLeaks gets its namesake, users cannot edit uploaded information.
In addition to hard journalism and breaking news on needed reforms and corruption, the site also includes secrets of “Cults and Religious Organizations (sic)” such as the Birthday game for the Church of Scientology, the secret ceremonies of sororities like Alpha Kappa Alpha Inc., and the Mormon manual of female beauty; items that seem to lean more towards shock and show paparazzi techniques than serious anti corruption work. Also questionable is information on tactical strategies for military outfits and listings of where military units reside, information that could pose a danger to military personnel in those units.
With the best intentions, WikiLeaks believes that “it is only when the people know the true plans and behavior of their governments that they can meaningfully choose to support them.” In the absence of “resilient forms of open government…where publication is protected…where that protection does not exist, it is their mission to provide it.” With a stifling number of governments and organizations, blocking WikiLeaks or its document upload function, it is probably a good thing that they do exist.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user: Jovike
- Russian Federation
- Urban Development
- Labor and Social Protection
- Social Development
- Science and Technology Development
- Public Sector and Governance
- Private Sector Development
- Macroeconomics and Economic Growth
- Law and Regulation
- Information and Communication Technologies
- Time Magazine
- leaking information
- Catholic Church
- Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc