Wiki Leaks is an international non-profit organization that publishes submissions of private, secret, and or classified documents
from anonymous news sources and news leaks. Launched in 2006 under the sponsorship of The Sunshine Press organization has
made it mission statement to expose and bring to light the various secrets and unknown information of governments and big
corporations. It’s adherence to whistleblowing and full disclosure has turned the site into a conduit for all forms of information
leaks. This has caused the site to come under attack from many sides like DDoS attacks, cease and desist orders and forced server
shutdowns. Wiki Leaks describes its founders as a mix of Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians, and start-up company
technologists from the United States, Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. However, Julian Assange, an Australian Internet
activist, is generally credited as its creator and director.
Julian Assange (New York Daily News)
Julian Assange is an Australian publisher, journalist, software developer and Internet activist. He is the spokesperson, editor in
chief and founder of Wiki Leaks, at the age of 16 Assange and two other hackers formed a group which they named. ”International
Subversives” They were some of the first and most famous examples of “ethical hackers” as in, they undermined corporate and
government secrets, stating that people had the right to freedom of information and there should be no secrets. He in fact wrote
the first rules of ethical hacking which are "Don’t damage computer systems you break into (including crashing them); don’t
change the information in those systems (except for altering logs to cover your tracks); and share information" Assange was self-
taught, and by 1991 he gained access to computers inside Australian universities, telecommunications companies, and the
pentagon. This resulted in Australian authorities raiding his home and taking him into custody. He pleaded guilty for 24 charges of
hacking and breach of privacy and was released for good behavior.
Wiki Leaks has made itself many enemies since its birth. This has resulted in it coming under a number of “denial of service”
attacks and banning from “several domain name system” providers. As a result, Wiki Leaks has been hosted on a number of
hosting services. Wiki Leaks is currently hosted on “PRQ”, a Sweden based web hosting company. PRQ has gone on record,
defending Wiki Leaks and refusing to hand over any information regarding Wiki Leaks, stating it would violate it’s no question
asked policy. Wiki Leaks is hosted on a many servers across the world. The main server is located in Sweden. Assange has stated
the reason being Sweden’s complete protection on information providers from any and all forms legal action and or inquiry.
Wiki Leaks also has over 1400 mirror websites. A mirror website is an exact copy of that website. This is a safety measure to
ensure the survival of Wiki Leaks. The stated purpose is to redirect the user to the mirror in case the site has been taken down or
blocked by government filters. For example, the mirror for Saudi Arabia is “22.214.171.124”. The Sweden based hosting and mirror
websites have made it impossible for Wiki Leaks to be taken of the internet.
The website itself started as an editable wiki site. Allowing user generated content and edits to its pages. However, since the
public outcry directed at Wiki Leaks, it has since removed any and all forms of editing. It has also archived all of its content as a
direct download zip files and torrents.
Picture of mirror websites (from wiki leaks)
A video of a 2007 US military Apache helicopter airstrike that killed
around a dozen Iraqi civilians, including two Reuter’s staff, has been
posted by Wiki Leaks and confirmed by army officials as authentic. The
video, which reveals startling images and audio of US military firing
ammunition at a group of men and their rescuers from the vantage
point of a helicopter hovering over Baghdad, was also made public at a
press conference Wiki Leaks held at National Press Club in Washington.
Wiki Leaks said it had acquired encrypted video of the July 12, 2007
attack and had been able to view and investigate it after breaking the
encryption code. The military encrypted the video so it could be
exchanged on classified networks. Wiki Leaks analyzed the information
about this incident from a variety of source material and spoke to
witnesses and journalists directly involved in the incident. Wiki Leaks Footage form the helicoptor
has also stated on its website that a U.S. defense official, speaking
anonymously, confirmed that the video and audio were authentic; the news agency Reuters (which has lost two photographers
during the incident) has been trying to attain the video through the Freedom of Information Act. The black and white video shows
how the helicopter circles a group of men, and is accompanied by the audio recordings of the pilots. The pilots identify the men on
the ground as insurgents, mistaking the cameras and equipment carried by Reuter’s photographer, for guns and grenade
launchers. The helicopter opens fire, immediately killing several people and wounding others. Minutes later, when a van arrives to
assist the wounded, the pilots become concerned that the vehicle contains more militants trying to collect weapons and help
survivors escape. The pilots get permission to shoot at the van and begin a new wave of gunfire, apparently killing several people
in and around the vehicle. Two children wounded in the van are later seen being evacuated by US ground forces as the Apache
helicopters continued to circle overhead. “Well it’s their fault for bringing their kids into a battle,” one of the pilots says.
The Afghan War Diary leak is the publication of a number of U.S. military logs of the afghan war that were published by Wiki Leaks
on 25 July 2010. The logs consist of over Ninety Thousand documents, detailing the period of time 2004 and 2009. The leak, which
is one the largest in U.S. military history revealed information on unnecessary civilian casualties, increased Taliban activity,
involvement by Pakistan and Iran in the insurgency, Military misconduct, drug and alcohol smuggling, misuse of military
equipment and generally inappropriate acts . Wiki Leaks say it does not know the source of the leaked data. The three outlets
which had received the documents in advance, The New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel, have all concluded that they
are genuine when compared to independent reports.
Cable gate was the publishing of more than 250000 top secret documents regarding correspondence between the U.S. Diplomats
and governments around the world. Wiki Leaks forwarded diplomatic cables to five major newspapers around the world, which
have been publishing articles by agreement with Wiki Leaks. The contents of the cables describe international relations from over
300 embassies around the world, dated from 1966–2010, containing diplomatic analysis of world leaders, an assessment of host
countries, and discussions about international and domestic issues. The diplomatic cables exposed many off-color comments and
thoughts: critiques and praise regarding the countries hosting the various U.S. embassies. This has caused Wiki Leaks to come
under fire from multiple sources, such as the United States government, which has accused Wiki Leaks of theft and putting
international relationships at risk.
Some of the contents of the documents are
The United States Spying on Ban Ki-moon( Secretary-General of the United Nations)
Listing United States infrastructure and safe houses against terrorism, across the world.
The Pope wanting Muslim turkey to be kept out of the European Union.
The Direction of the Afghan War.
Gulf Countries Requesting America to bomb Iran.
External political relations 145,451
Internal government affairs 122,896
Human rights 55,211
Economic conditions 49,044
Terrorists and terrorism 28,801
UN Security Council 6,532
When analyzing wiki leaks we find a persistent conflict, should freedom of information come at the expense of safety? That is the
crux of the problem in nearly all these cases. In the first case, we find that nearly two dozen individuals were mistakenly killed by
the American military. Does the United States military’s cover up constitute a breach of ethics? Absolutely. The pilot’s negligence
and eagerness to shoot the civilians, the pilot can be heard saying “c’mon let us shoot” in the video, and the assumption that the
van in question contains other insurgents without any proof has directly led to the death of innocents and injury of children,
neither of which should ever be tolerated , at all. Also in the video, is the clear refusal to take the children to a hospital located on
a military base, instead taking them to an Iraqi run hospital. This could endanger the lives of the children as a result of an inferior
medical environment. Also of note, the soldiers callous disregard of protocol. They did not in any way, shape or form conform that
the individuals in question were carrying weapons of any kind. Therefore America was at fault for covering this incident up, not
wiki leaks, because the pointless death of human beings must always be brought to light.
In Case 2, we find the leak of information regarding the afghan war diaries. The information disclosed in the documents shed and
interesting light on the ongoing conflict in the region. When analyzing the information, we come to a realization. So what? How
are supposed to do about this information? We can’t influence the American government at all, and nor can we affect any change.
This is not a single isolated event, such as in case number 1, these are thousands upon thousands upon thousands of cases. To
effectively deal with them, there needs to be a complete overhaul of the Afghani war effort. Which, to be quite honest, America
simply won’t do. The American economy is still recovering from near collapse and an emerging anti-government spending sentient
prevailing in the United States. The American people will not tolerate any expenditure that doesn’t suit its interests. So at the end
of the day, we have the right to know, but it is not worth it, if any effort to act on it would ultimately be futile.
And finally in case 3 we see cable gate. The impact of the incident remains to be seen. Most of the outcry from government comes
from simple embarrassment. Nothing particularly new or exciting comes from these documents. The leak itself amounts to
internal gossip. Nothing more nothing less. Although, to be fair, the argument can be made that the leak would strain, already
strenuous, international relation. However, one should make government transparency the most important goal at all times. This
untimely quells suspicion and gives the populous more power and control. However, governments should be allowed some
secrets. We can’t (and don’t need) to have everyone knowing where the president is having lunch at.