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Wikileaks.org

Wikileaks.org is an uncensorable version of Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. It combines the protection and anonymity of cutting-edge cryptographic technologies with the transparency and simplicity of a wiki interface.”

Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interests are oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations.

According to their FAQ page
Wikileaks expects to go live sometime in February or March 2007.

Read more on their Media reports page.

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23 Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    That’s the problem with security – who decides what is and is not a matter thereof? Yes, Lewinsky polishing Clinton’s knob is no matter of security and names and identities of CIA agents are. But, unfortunately, it is not always so clear – cut.

    Knowledge is a weapon, true, but like any weapon, it can be used against us. Of course, government accountability is the paramount issue of the day, but looking at some of the recently leaked “classified” documents, the relevance to government transparency or transparency of any organization is nonexistent. Citizens of America have no need for knowing the nature of our equipment in Iraq beyond a certain extent of the number of people and a general understanding of the magnitude of the conflict. This knowledge can be used as a weapon against government corruption. However, it is irresponsible to report on the exact nature of our deployments. This knowledge is an even more powerful weapon, and its only target is our soldier’s lives.

    Don’t take this as a political standpoint. All I am saying is that knowledge is necessary, but not when it puts people’s lives at risk.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think moderation is in order on both sides of this debate.

    First, I will say that secrecy is usually unsafe. Especially for governments like ours where the people are supposed to be ruling themselves. If we really are the bosses, how the heck are we supposed to make intelligent decisions when all of the information is kept from us? Sure, we elect people to do that, right? But these same people we elect pretty much get to decide what we know and what we don’t. It’s like sending a kid to school, and letting him write his own report card. The media is suppose to be doing this kind of thing folks.

    Unfortunately, for the past 50 years they haven’t been doing their job. Most of the networks are consolodated and owned by a few powerful people who are easy for the government to passify. That’s why the constitution was written the way it was. The media’s job is to keep us informed so that we can make informed decisions when we go back to the voting booths. Sure, on occation they are annoying, but my gosh, why are they spending all of their time stocking movie stars? It’s because they aren’t stocking and digging where they should be. Way too much stuff is classified. In my view, it’s classified to keep the citizens in the dark, not our enemies. Politicians and military nuts (OK so I’m a veteran myself so no one take offense here) would rather not explain, even when they do something they KNOW is wrong.

    Secondly, sure…there are times for secrecy. Usually though these kinds of secrets are strategic, and of very little concern to the world at large. Yeah, I don’t think we should be posting nuclear weapon locations, or military asset movements. That should be obvious – then you start getting into a Borne Identity Universe where government start to take down the journalists, and that’s just a bad place to be. If they have a brain they won’t be posting stuff like this anyway – even if they could.

    Also, you have to keep in mind that the people leaking these documents are doing so at very high risk to themselves. Most of them will be prosecuted or worse depending on the country they come from. So,…my view is that most people are not going to take that kind of risk, unless some is going on that shouldn’t be. In my view…we need a forumn where things like Abu Gharib, fraud, government sponsored genocide, corruption and other things can be exposed. Sure if the government wants…they can prosecute. I don’t have a problem with that either. It keeps people who shouldn’t be posting stuff from posting stuff just to get attention.

    But come on people, have you watched the news recently? How much do we really learn from a sixty second repeating campaigne commercial? To me, the news has certainly been bought off…and to me Wikileaks feels like a breath of fresh air. Hah…let those talking head compete with that. :)

  3. dcornwall says:

    Secrecy News had concerned about the largely automated posting of classified documents. While they feel that way too much information is classified, some of it is classified for legitimate national security concerns.

    Speaking for myself, I have the same worry. It would be nice if they had an editing team that could try to decide what had likely been classified so that the government wouldn’t be embarrassed (i.e. Taguba Report) vs something that could enable bad actors to do serious harm (i.e. publishing a set of nuclear weapons access codes for a nuclear power).

    I firmly believe that the government should operate at about five percent of the current level of secrecy it had in 2000, but even I think there a few legitimate government secrets, as long as they are of limited duration.

    ————————————
    “And besides all that, what we need is a decentralized, distributed system of depositing electronic files to local libraries willing to host them.” — Daniel Cornwall, tipping his hat to Cato the Elder for the original quote.

  4. Steve Butcher says:

    There is no such thing as a "legitimate national security concern."  I could care less about weapon access codes, bad actors or anyone else.  Knowledge trumps paranoia any day of the week.   The key to exposing greedy, malevolent and covetous people–whether their names are George Bush, or John D. Rockefeller–is to shine a light on their beds.  You can be certain that such people will have their own accolytes working many sleepless hours to shroud their actions.  A free press was listed as the first amendment to the United States Constitution, and no wonder; cold exposure and transparency are even more vital today.

  5. Anonymous says:

    Wikileaks is just *one* avenue for leaking of material. If you listen to the interview on the Colbert Report with Julian Assange, Colbert asks the very question that’s at the heart of your concern: “do you believe that all information should be available to the public?” Assange isn’t naive, he understands that there is no public interest in some information being available and that harm can also result if the wrong information is released.

    http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/270711/april-12-2010/wikileaks-military-video

  6. daliptak says:

    Daniel:

    Thank you for the thoughful analysis of Wikileaks. I absolutely believe in keeping documents classified for legitimate National Security reasons. It is unfortunate that so much information is unnecessarily classified. Wikileaks is still in its infancy, and it will be interesting to see how it develops.

  7. Anonymous says:

    The site is already unaccessible from China.

    Psiphon, which was/is an attempt at reaching virtual private server network to act as sort of proxies… also is unaccessible from China.

    Contact points seem to be blocked almost as quickly as they are created…

  8. thought one
    presumably the documents themselves won’t be editable otherwise the first wiki vandal who comes by can censor them; how you stop comments and analysis on a wiki being censored is another matter – or will it be non-editable too?

    thought two
    sources? authenticity? I could put together a dossier on Company X and Government Y and dodgy deal Z – will wikileaks have any process to check that it’s legitimate other than audience scrutiny? How would the faked Hitler Diaries have stood up? This is an issue not just of pranks but propaganda and misinformation – I worry that partisans of one regime may try posting fake information detrimental to another…

  9. Anonymous says:

    Wikileaks verifies material before it is posted.

  10. Anonymous says:

    For the greater good there is always a price. While some documents may be posted that contain information a government may consider," Top Secret " it is not the job of Wikileaks or any other site to censor postings. If information is "Top Secret " it is the governments job to keep it "Top Secret". As for sending a posting and secrecy of donor, common sense is called for. Never send information from your personal or work computers. No one,, no one can assure anonymity. So be it. the Bunkerman

  11. truthlover says:

    I remeber during the days of Viet Nam that top secret documents called the Pentagon Papers were leaked to the NY Times by Daniel Ellsburg.  That is when the Times did investigative journalism and was not the house organ for the White House.  Ellsburg’s psychiatrists files were rifled by our Constitution loathing White House.  But the Pentagon Papers were the beginning of the end of that war.  Now another Constitution loathing White House has chained the media lapdogs and classified most of what the government does.  Unless there are Daniel Ellsburgs out there and a forum for their leaks we can kiss the Constitution and any remnants of America goodbye.

  12. jrjacobs says:

    According to Daniel Ellsberg’s own site, he is still very much alive and is currently working on a "nuclear memoir on the dangers of the nuclear policies of the U.S. and other nuclear states and a call for worldwide nuclear glasnost." 

    Please see some of these sites for whistleblower news and information:

    The Whistleblower Protection Act of 2007 (H.R. 985 and S. 274) are winding their way through Congress to strengthen whistleblower protection.

  13. truthlover says:

    It would please me to no end to hear that I am incorrect regarding Mr. Ellsburg’s status, especially if he is still active and holding our  government accountable.  He would not be alone, however.  The good work of Greg Palast, Amy Goodman, and others, whether it has been marginalized by the mainstream media is a testimonial that the truth somehow sees the light of day.  That being said, censorship is certainly more the norm in today’s America where the media has consolodated and become profit centers for mega-corporations whose currency is money, not truth.  The fact that wiki has been ordered shut down by a US federal court judge is very scary and maddening.  That it was not a major news story is a further testimonial to the weakened state of the First Amendment.  As Upton Sinclair once wrote, "When facism comes to America it will be cloaked in the American flag and carrying a bible."  Its entrance in 2000 has barely been noticed even in that patriotic garb thanks to the entertainews world we live in where American Idol is covered and consumed as if it were news.

  14. jrjacobs says:

    Hi truthlover, I wholeheartedly agree with you. Palast and Goodman are definitely examples of some of the more substantative journalism that’s coming out today. Olbermann is definitely bringing those marginalized voices to the mainstream, and has even called a spade a spade by calling this administration fascist. I am heartened by these examples, but know that it will take A LOT more than an election to turn this country around — although that’s a good start!

  15. Dick Beldin says:

    Automation should not be applied to tasks that morally require human judgment and human accountability. The name of the person or authority who asserts the need for secrecy should always be publicly available to allow challenges. Clearly, to automate that which should never be automated is an attempt to preserve anonymity where it is inappropriate. Government officials who attempt to hide their actions behind a computer shield are guilty of a crime against humanity., the crime of irresponsibility.

  16. Nathan says:

    I like to think that the government still has the ability to keep whatever they want to secret, through whatever means they have to use. A totally open and instant media such as the internet is really the only way to provide a forum in which to bring government and large corporations actions to the light of day. Television, newspapers, and radio are all censored to the point they are no real help to anyone. What people have to understand is that the information is really only half the answer. Once I know something I must choose to act on it or not. Just as an example, nuclear weapons codes, you could tell me the launch codes, what safe guards are in place, and how to direct it at a target of my choosing but I still couldn’t launch it if I wanted to because I don’t access to it. The down side to an uncensored forum has always been the fact you can libel someone or something without having to prove your case. That is where the intellegence of the public comes into play or not in some cases.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Quote: "There is no such thing as a ‘legitimate national security concern.’"

    That’s incredibly shortsighted and narrow minded. I’m not talking about nuclear launch codes or things of that nature, but operational security issues. You can’t ambush a convoy if you don’t know it exists. Whether that convoy is a supply convey in Iraq, or the transportation of nuclear waste here at home, do you want everyone and his brother knowing their route ans schedule?

    From an intelligence standpoint: Let’s say we’ve tapped Bin Laden’s phone: do we immediately capture him, do we try to discover his intentions, the size of his organization, etc?  Do we expect him to continue using that phone and giving us information when he reads wikileaks and sees a transcript of his conversation?

    Even the paranoid can have real enemies.

     

  18. dcornwall says:

    I do believe in some legitimate national security concerns, but I’ve never heard of a real world example of where disclosure led to a diaster for this country. Almost always, whether it was our participation in coups against Iran and Guatemala in 1954, our secret bombings in Cambodia during the 1970s, getting Iran to buy the Contras arms in the 1980s, Clinton boffing Lewinsky in the 1990s or the torture coverup at Abu Gharib government secrets have usually served to protect the reputations of the secret-keepers, rather than the security of the people.

    I’d suspect that thanks to insurgent penetration of the Iraqi security forces, the convoy schedules are well known. And in the case of nuclear waste, the route could be findable by someone willing to pay bribes to underpaid contractors or government officials. Security by secrecy is the most elusive of all.

    ————————————

    "And besides all that, what we need is a decentralized, distributed system of depositing electronic files to local libraries willing to host them." — Daniel Cornwall, tipping his hat to Cato the Elder for the original quote.

  19. dcornwall says:

    I agree with you that caring about the well being of our country and its citizens is legitimate national security. But I think more harm comes from secrecy and lack of governmental accountability. I also question what really has the greatest potential to harm innocent people who are doing nothing more than trying to make a living.

    When you say, "We have real cause to be concerned about people trying to kill us and giving them information that helps them is actively aiding them in their effort.", I’m assuming you are referring to terrorists. If not, let me know who you are thinking about.

    According to the US gov’t funded Terrorism Knowledge Base, 55,758 people WORLDWIDE have lost their lives as a result of terrorist incidents between 1/1/1968 and 3/2/2008. Over fifty five thousand dead over four decades sounds like a lot, until you examine who is dying from what in our country each and every year.

    According to the National Center for Health Statistics, in 2004, 112,012 Americans died from unintentional accidents. That’s almost twice as more as everyone worldwide who has died from terrorism incidents in 40 years. Also in 2004, Cancer (553,888) killed nearly ten times as many people than have been killed by terrorists in the last four decades. Even diabetes is a more efficient killer than terror organizations, as that disease sent 73,188 people to an early grave in 2004. Interestingly, homicide of any kind failed to make the top ten causes of death for 2004, the latest year available.

    Without a doubt, people are plotting against us to kill us. No matter what kind of society we have — traditional liberty and openness or secret and oppressive like Russia or China — they will succeed in attacking us again. As Condeleeza Rice once said, "We have to be right every time. They only have to be right once." I’d rather live in a open and free society, especially since my chances of being killed in an accident are still way higher than dying through terrorism.

    There’s a book on the human tendency to misperceive risks and give disproportionate attention to less likely things, it’s called The Culture of fear: why Americans are afraid of the wrong things by Barry Glassner. I recommend it to you and any other reader interested in realistic risk assessment.

    And once we and our leaders do get a handle on what things are likeliest to cause our society most harm, then we can define what legitimate national security is and approportion our resources in a more balanced way. But we won’t be able to do this unless Congress and the American people have good information that isn’t choked by secrecy.

    ————————————

    "And besides all that, what we need is a decentralized, distributed system of depositing electronic files to local libraries willing to host them." — Daniel Cornwall, tipping his hat to Cato the Elder for the original quote.

  20. Peter Moulton says:

    Not caring about legitimate national security is caring not about the well being of our country and its citizens. You worry more about greed than about innocent people who are doing nothing more than trying to make a living. We have real cause to be concerned about people trying to kill us and giving them information that helps them is actively aiding them in their effort. Freedom of information does not mean people are freed from the responsibility of the consequences of their actions. If you give malevolent people the means to do harm they will use it and you will be a participant in that harm. Your claiming you were fighting greed does not absolve you from the death and destruction you bring to our country by aiding our enemies. If you want to fight greed be generous and help people who are struggling, don’t make their lives harder by bringing violence into their home.

  21. Anonymous says:

    So simply because unintentional deaths and cancer-related deaths are more prevalent in the United States, the fact that terrorists are still responsible for lives lost each year shouldn’t be considered a big deal? ONE life lost to acts of terrorism is too many. There’s a reason that there is a war on terrorism, it’s because it SHOULDN’T HAPPEN. If there’s even a chance that terrorists would gain any leverage over the United States because of some published information, it should be kept a secret indefinitely.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Quote: "Once I know something I must choose to act on it or not. Just as an example, nuclear weapons codes, you could tell me the launch codes, what safe guards are in place, and how to direct it at a target of my choosing but I still couldn’t launch it if I wanted to because I don’t access to it."

    Information is as much a weapon as a gun or an ICBM. You might not have access to those nuclear weapons, but do you trust every 18-year-old "BB-stacker" (ordinance troop) with that code? What happens when this kid’s high-school sweetheart dumps him and he loses his mind – with access to nuclear ordinance AND launch codes for the same?

    Or, what about an insider in these oppressive governments, reporting to friendly intelligence services. What happens when a report by this friendly service is released and the insider is exposed?

    Embarassing documents should be released to the public to effect policy change. These documents shouldn’t be classified in the first place, and improperly classifying them is in itself harmful. How can we fix these embarassments if we can’t know about them?

    Properly classified information should NOT be released. We must err on the side of caution: improperly releasing classified information can literally cost people their lives.

     

  23. jrjacobs says:

    Yesterday I live-blogged the talk given by Daniel Ellsberg at the Stanford Law School. While he didn’t specifically mention wikileaks, he talked at great length about the absolute need for government employees to inform on their employers and to be willing even to go to jail for the rest of their lives in order that our government not abuse its power. He said one of his deepest regrets was that he didn’t leak the pentagon papers earlier so as to save hundreds of thousands of lives. Ellsberg is a man of high moral conviction and should be seen as an American hero. He’s certainly that in my eyes!

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