Everything You Need To Know About Wikileaks

in Wikileaks
Two experts lay out the facts surrounding the controversy.

Wikileaks Everything You Need to Know About Wikileaks

What is Wikileaks?

Wikileaks is a self-described not-for-profit media organization, launched in 2006 for the purposes of disseminating original documents from anonymous sources and leakers. Its website says: Wikileaks will accept restricted or censored material of political, ethical, diplomatic or historical significance. We do not accept rumor, opinion, other kinds of first hand accounts or material that is publicly available elsewhere.

More-detailed information about the history of the organization can be found on Wikipedia (with all the caveats that apply to a rapidly changing Wiki topic). Wikipedia incidentally has nothing to do with Wikileaksboth share the word Wiki in the title, but theyre not affiliated.

Who is Julian Assange, and what is his role in the Wikileaks organization?

Julian Assange is an Australian citizen who is said to have served as the editor-in-chief and spokesperson for Wikileaks since its founding in 2006. Before that, he was described as an advisor. Sometimes he is cited as its founder. The media and popular imagination currently equate him with Wikileaks itself, with uncertain accuracy.

In 2006, Assange wrote a series of essays that have recently been tapped as an explanation of his political philosophy. A close reading of these essays shows that Assanges personal philosophy is in opposition to what he calls secrecy-based, authoritarian conspiracy governments, in which category he includes the US government and many others not conventionally thought of as authoritarian. Thus, as opposed to espousing a philosophy of radical transparency, Assange is not about letting sunlight into the room so much as about throwing grit in the machine. For further analysis, check out Aaron Badys original blog post.

Why is Wikileaks so much in the public eye right now?

At the end of November 2010, Wikileaks began to slowly release a trove of what it says are 251,287 diplomatic cables acquired from an anonymous source. These documents came on the heels of the release of the Collateral Murder video in April 2010, and Afghan and Iraq War logs in July 2010 and October 2010, which totaled 466,743 documents. The combined 718,030 are said to originate from a single source, thought to be U.S. Army intelligence analyst Pfc. Bradley Manning, who was arrested in May 2010, but thats not confirmed.

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This article was published on 2010/12/11