Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Wikileaks



Yesterday the world was shown footage that not only opened peoples eyes but also changed the outlook on a war every American taxpayer has helped fund. I did some research into the group that decrypted the video, known as Wikileaks, these guys put their lives and reputations on the line to release info they believe the public should have. It's a very dangerous game playing with sensitive documents, especially when it concerns the most powerful and frightening military force on the planet. Even with that being said, the people at Wikileaks obviously care enough about the cause to take that risk, in doing that they have helped spark a revolution, not fought with sticks and garbage can tops but with information and knowledge. Here is a bit of info on Wikileaks and the brave folks that keep it's heart beating.


Wikileaks went public in January 2007, when it first appeared on the web. The site states that it was "founded by Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and start-up company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa". The creators of Wikileaks were unidentified as of January 2007, although it has been represented in public since January 2007 by non-anonymous speakers such as Julian Assange, who had described himself as a member of Wikileaks' advisory board and was later referred to as the "founder of Wikileaks". As of June 2009, the site had over 1,200 registered volunteers and the advisory board consisted of Assange, Phillip Adams, Wang Dan, CJ Hinke, Ben Laurie, Tashi Namgyal Khamsitsang, Xiao Qiang, Chico Whitaker, and Wang Youcai.
Wikileaks states that its "primary interest is in exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations."
In January 2007, the website stated that it had over 1.2 million leaked documents that it was preparing to publish.[16] The group has subsequently released a number of other significant documents which have become front-page news items, ranging from documentation of equipment expenditures and holdings in the Afghanistan war to corruption in Kenya.
Their stated goal is to ensure that whistle-blowers and journalists are not jailed for emailing sensitive or classified documents, as happened to Chinese journalist Shi Tao, who was sentenced to 10 years in 2005 after publicising an email from Chinese officials about the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.
The project has drawn comparisons to Daniel Ellsberg's leaking of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. In the United States, the leaking of some documents may be legally protected. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution guarantees anonymity, at least in the area of political discourse. Author and journalist Whitley Strieber has spoken about the benefits of the Wikileaks project, noting that "Leaking a government document can mean jail, but jail sentences for this can be fairly short. However, there are many places where it means long incarceration or even death, such as China and parts of Africa and the Middle East."
The Wikileaks team consists of five people who work full-time and about 800 people who work occasionally. None are paid. Wikileaks has no official headquarters. The expenses per year are about €200,000, mainly for servers and bureaucracy, but would reach €600,000 if work currently done by volunteers was paid for. Wikileaks does not pay for lawyers, as hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal support have been donated by media organisations such as the Associated Press, The Los Angeles Times, and the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Its only revenue stream is donations, but Wikileaks is planning to add an auction model.

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