Wikileaks: an overview

“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 behaviour in their own governments and corporations,” read a statement on the WikiLreaks’ website in a letter to potential investors.

The Wikileaks website was launched in 2006. According to Australian the Age, the site stated 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 have however not been formally identified.

Wikileaks is run by The Sunshine Press. The publisher is an international non-profit organization funded by human rights campaigners,

investigative journalists, technologists, lawyers and the general public, according to the CyberPlayGround.

Since 2007 Wikileaks was represented by Julian Assange, who has often been referred to as the founder of the website. But Assange described his position as a cryptographer and member of the advisory board.

“Our advisory board, which is still forming, includes representatives from expatriate Russian and Tibetan refugee communities, reporters, a former US intelligence analyst and cryptographers,” read another statement from Wikileaks website according the Age report.

According to the Xaldop website, in June 2009, the site had over 1,200 registered volunteers and listed an advisory board comprising Assange, Phillip Adams, Wang Dan, C. J. Hinke, Ben Laurie, Tashi Namgyal Khamsitsang, Xiao Qiang, Chico Whitaker and Wang Youcai. Despite appearing on the list, when contacted by Mother Jones magazine in 2010, Khamsitsang said that while he received an e-mail from Wikileaks, he had never agreed to be an advisor.

Wikileaks is “an international collaboration, primarily of mathematicians of various backgrounds, some Chinese,” said Assange. The Chinese were not people living in China but expatriates, he added.

Claiming that the oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc are the main target of the organization, so far they have predominantly published data affecting only the NATO and U.S. foreign policies.

The U.S. has probably never been the real target. The released data about Iraq and Afghanistan just stirred discussions but caused no harm to strategic interests of the country in the region, according to the Washington Post.

Wikileaks representative, Kristinn Hrafnsson, recently announced that the site is finally planning to switch to releasing the secret data about Russia and China.

“We have [compromising materials] about Russia, about your government and businessmen,” Assange told Russian daily Izvestia recently. “But not as much as we’d like… We will publish these materials soon… We are helped by the Americans, who pass on a lot of material about Russia,” to WikiLeaks, he said.

But the experts in Russian Federal Security Service believe that Wikileaks’ secret documents have been fabricated and are of no threat to the country, according to Russian Life News. They said that more than 40 percent of the data provided by Wikileaks could be easily found in the Internet with the help of any search engine. Experts also pointed out that the seals indicating documents’ secrecy were put on their surface by the Wikileaks team. That indicates a high possibility for documents falsification. Wikileaks was recently proclaimed by the New York Daily News as one of five pioneering Web sites that could totally change the news. In fact, every bit of information related to the site usually produces gusts of comments.

The idea for WikiLeaks came from one of the most notorious leaks of all, David Kushner wrote in his article, Inside Wikileaks’ Leak Factory. In 1969, Daniel Ellsberg, a disillusioned military analyst, made copies of the Department of Defense’s official history of the Vietnam War. After unsuccessfully trying to pass what became known as the Pentagon Papers to members of Congress, he eventually leaked them to the New York Times and Washington Post, where they sat while the Nixon White House tried to block their publication. The Pentagon Papers finally hit the press more than two years after Ellsberg obtained them.

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