From Wikileaks to Wikileaks World

Now that most of the mainstream media have finally figured out who Anonymous is and that Wikileaks is not “one lone hacker”, some seem to think it is an organization populated by 16 year old boys shouting “Pew! Pew! Pewpewpew!” at their computer screens. And by “Wikileaks” they mean this whole movement we are watching.

We had a look at the origins of Wikileaks. It is possible to follow a shadowy tale from there to last summer, and watch journalists, IT people of all sorts, activists and politicians get involved. But the last three weeks have seen an absolute explosion in the numbers of people in this movement, and solidly in the movement, not just watching.

All of the support from people like EFF, Anonymous, the Pirate Party, etc., was pretty predictable, there is a lot of idealistic crossover and most people were already quiet supporters. But this is so much bigger. Last summer, there were really only a scant handful of people who were vocal supporters of Wikileaks. So scant that media could talk about a “microcosmic organization” and commenters could say “It’s always the same three names.” or “They’re like a cult”. It was truly scary on November 28th when Peter King decided he wanted the organization declared a terrorist organization like Al Qaeda and all of its supporters hunted down. Just 11 days later, that seems a laughable idea. Since the release of the cables, the Wikileaks twitter went from less than 200,000 followers to almost 500,000 and Wikileaks facebook went from 147,015 on November 23 to almost 1.2 million right now.

Who are all these people? Besides the usual internet suspects, all of the best journalists in the world have figured out which side they want to be standing on. Idealistic young people who want a job so righteous that it deserves to be protected by constitutions and laws. Also, journalists who want to work for Wikileaks, the new coolest media outlet in the world. And journalists who are just afraid of being shown up for the hypocrites they have been so far. But these were also the people we expected to join, sooner or later. It is still so much bigger.

One of the most wonderful additions I have seen is the amount of people from the legal profession getting on board. Possibly the world’s most hated profession is actually populated by a lot of very intelligent people of deep integrity and high ideals. People who believe in the law and everything it stands for, and people who have been horrified by the attitudes of politicians who think if something they don’t like isn’t against the law, then they’ll just change the law. The law is supposed to be above politics, it is not a political tool. When Assange said “It’s very important to remember the law is not what … powerful people would want others to believe it is. The law is not what a general says it is. The law is not what Hillary Clinton says it is.” it seems to have struck a chord with many people in the legal profession who have been feeling that way for some time.

The other professionals that I have seen in overwhelming numbers are professors and others associated with academia. Again, this is probably something born of frustration, people who love knowledge and the transmission of knowledge who have had their profession, like the legal profession, curtailed and under attack. To suddenly be of use again, to find a movement that values truth and intelligence, is like finally coming home for a great many people who have been so frustrated with the anti-intellectual feeling of the last several decades. Academia has also been on the front lines of the attack from the US government, with students at Columbia University told by the US State Dept that discussing Wikileaks on Facebook or Twitter would hurt their chances of a job in the future. Joe McCarthy could not have said it better.

With the arrest of Assange, we are seeing human rights activists around the world, sympathetic and hopeful before, but genuinely concerned now. Today the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights said “I am concerned about reports of pressure exerted on private companies including banks, credit card companies and Internet service providers to close down credit lines for donations to Wikileaks, as well as to stop hosting the website,” pointing out that this could be interpreted as an attempt to prevent Wikileaks from publishing, in violation of its right to freedom of expression.

We are at the point now where any petition in support of Wikileaks looks like a Who’s Who of intelligent thoughtful professionals the world over, while people of all ages around the world are engaged in any way they can. As the battle lines are being drawn, look around at who is standing where. It is a very interesting and telling thing to observe.

29 thoughts on “From Wikileaks to Wikileaks World

  1. It’s everything you say and much more, it’s also simple people being fed up with all this pressure, always more money and more difficult to get while those delightful people come and lie to us thinking we can’t see it, we don’t understand it. Life isn’t only a money matter, one single human life matters so much that they should do everything they can to make their people happy; do they ? Of course not. How long are they going to treat us like fool ? Until we look at them straight in the eyes and tell us” stop it” now or we’re going to get angry.

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  2. “Possibly the world’s most hated profession …”

    well before the Law profession ( lawyers ) our list starts with

    Parasites and Leeches ( which are populated by )

    Speculators ( i.e., Oil, Precious Metals, Land, etc ) that drive up prices and make us all poorer

    Hedge Funders

    Wall Street types

    Big Bank types

    Lobbyists

    Revolving Door between private and public sector

    any and all that do not contribute anything to civilization / society but siphon off – the totally amoral and sociopathic

    all of these well before Law Profession and Lawyers

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  3. Indeed these are exciting times! Though it’s not surprizing me at all to see Amazon, Paypal/Ebay, some banks, Mastercard and Visa on the wrong side of the fence. Who didn’t already know how money-addicted and power-hungry these corpoliticals were?

    What amazes me is how blunt and foolishly emotional many well-known public figures from the US are responding, as well as some here in The Netherlands. Which, for me, resulted in Unfollowing already 9 twitter-accounts the last few days, and dumping a couple of facebook friends. If they’re on the other side, I’m no longer interested in their opinions and lives in general, they’ve sunken too low for my taste to continue being there for them..

    And, ending this on a positive note, it is also exciting how bonding this all is to so many of us. I’ve also reunited with old acquaintances and befriended formerly unknown good guys, which feels great and gives me hope in a good future worldwide.

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    • Julius, most people on the other side have some very good reasons for being there. I’m going to get around to researching more of them for the Ghoul Directory, feel free to help any of you. For now, check out Peter King who would like us all declared a terrorist organization so we don’t expose his background as a prominent supporter of the IRA terrorist organization. Paypal/Mastercard/Visa have a completely symbiotic relationship with the US government which will be unravelled very soon. All of what we always knew, but now we have proof. And much more importantly, people paying attention.

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  4. The panic fascists have shown by reacting so hysterically has a lot to do with another megaleak that is coming: that related to the Financial Crime Cartel. Once the people realize that 9/11 workers in NYC cannot get health care (because it is “expensive” only a day after the fascists have given $800 billion to the rich), or that students in England have to pay higher tuition and that the world goes to hell because the bankers have stolen world’s wealth the game might change.

    That’s why they panic. That’s why they call Assange to be killed, WikiLeaks to be destroyed. But I hope they have opened a Pandora box and the people will rise and never hunker back to subservience…

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  5. thank God there are intelligent people in this world of ours. So many Americans seem to be brainwashed. Freedom of Speach is written in their Constitution but they don’t seem to realise this is for all humanity, not just them. Thank you for a great site and good luck to all of us who realise WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are for the good of all of us.

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  6. It’s both a blessing and a curse, that this fight is not a 1 on 1. We might be at loss in the face of size disparities, but the social surroundings got so chaotic so fast that every enemy move in the info war is being reinterpreted.

    Like the first day minimization strategy (still used, as in the mute emperor of the US who wouldn’t aknowledge anything going on) which just isn’t credible with so many people agitating the waters around the case. Or the hysterical calls for lynching which eroded the legal, high ground approach of the authorities and their credibility.
    (check the flags in the other post!)

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  7. Great, now I can’t get this vision out of my head when I see your blog…

    “…organization populated by 16 year old boys shouting “Pew! Pew! Pewpewpew!” at their computer screens..”

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  8. You’ve got a great site going here geogiebc and it’s not just for the ‘young people’ or those not into current world affairs. There’s a legion of older people out there who have been beating their heads against brick wall for years but aren’t willing to give up.
    With luck – no; that’s not what’s needed – with perseverance and committment – wikileaks can turn into the spark that will ignite a bushfire against the idiocracy of Afghanistan, Iraq and the US imperialism. Maybe people will eventually get some justice against those war criminals, Bush, Cheney, Rice, Blair, Howard and every other politician who supported the “Coalition of the willing” and continues to do so.

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    • Thanks Graham! When I started this blog it was because everything written about w/l was either mainstream and completely false, or written either by internet geeks or people writing at a postgrad level so not attractive to an idly interested person. There is a lot more accurate and well written stuff out there now, that could be read by either the disinterested or high school level, and you are correct, the huge majority of my readers are neither, so I should probably take another look at what I want to do here. I may refine it a bit in the new year, depending on how things look then …

      But these posts have always had two reading levels anyway, I don’t pull in the quotes and references to keep it simple, but for those that click the links there is a lot more background. And I have noticed a LOT more link clicking lately. 🙂

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  9. First of all, “thanks” to all you anonymous sources, you whistleblowers, and all of you participants in the wikileaks movement, Julian Assange et al. My own rather anonymous existence has taken on another persona for a while, if not any real substance.

    (signed) Daniel Claverie
    DOB: 17 November 1946
    Durham, North Carolina, USA

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  10. Hi there. I very much enjoy your writing and felt like you were a good person to pose this question to. I say this as a wholehearted supporter of both Julian Assange and the WL project in general. (Sorry if this is a bit misplaced but I was not sure which of your posts this was most relevant to.)

    However, a fundamental question I have about the way Wikileaks functions. They make it very clear that they do not know the identities of any of their sources and that this is a deliberate decision. Without being able to identify the authenticity of the source, what is preventing Wikileaks from being used as a vehicle to disseminate disinformation? Couldn’t any individual simply formulate false documents, submit them anonymously and have them published without question over their credibility or motivations?

    Things like this worry me, that they will derail what I feel is otherwise a vital, exciting and fascinating movement.

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    • Very good question. Wikileaks’ position is that even the most trusted source can, wittingly or unwittingly, be used to disseminate misinformation, and that misinformation is reproduced constantly in the mainstream press, as we have seen. That is why Wikileaks will only accept actual documents instead of testimonials. The documents are then subjected to forensic analysis by experts in whatever field they relate to.

      There has been quite a bit of discussion on this, JA describes a few examples in his TED interview last summer, and Kristinn Hrafnsson tells somewhere how he went to Iraq to find the families of the people in the Collateral Murder video.

      What also needs to be discussed, especially with the state cables, is the medium itself, even if verified. For instance, the US media largely reported that the cables showed widespread support in the middle east for a US attack on Iran, but Democracy Now had an excellent interview with Noam Chomsky pointing out that what was really being reflected was the US state department’s disregard for public opinion. According to Chomsky, civilians in the middle east put their greatest threat as being Israel (80%), the US (77%) and Iran only (10%), the state department cables only reveal what the leaders of these countries are telling the US.

      So the answer is, they start with the documents and do the best they can, but never forget that even a genuine document does not necessarily contain truth, or context. The message for this year is that we all need to grow up and start doing our own thinking, Wikileaks will help to the best of their ability, but they can never do it all on their own. That’s why we have the internet. 😉

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      • Agreed in all that you’ve said. I still have a couple questions though…

        “That is why Wikileaks will only accept actual documents instead of testimonials.”

        But, would it not be possible to just FAKE actual, official documents? Would they (Wikileaks) actually be able to tell the difference? Am I just being dumb?…

        “The documents are then subjected to forensic analysis by experts in whatever field they relate to. ”

        ALL of them? ALL of the thousands and thousands of documents are subject to analysis?

        I’m not trying to poke holes in their case mind, I’m genuinely just trying to shore up my own argument in favor of the cause. I FEEL like it’s right, I just want to be able to argue it analytically as well…

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  11. Keep in mind that huge document caches of the sort we’ve recently seen would be enormously (prohibitively) expensive to fake, particularly since they absolutely must conform to all other publicly available facts. Could someone obtain originals, make a few selective edits, and then release them? Probably, but why would anyone do this? Any alterations would be caught by other insiders (leakers?), and a government or corporation wanting to sow disinformation would just send the compliant media an anonymous source to quote at zero cost, as they do every day.

    Many professionals other than investigative journalists deal with document authentication regularly, such as lawyers and accountants. Various methods are used and it can be difficult, but it’s a very common problem.

    A few days prior to the release of the Iraq warlogs, the Pentagon released an index through a FOIA request. The cables, so far, actually are being studied individually before release with redaction.

    Umberto Eco’s observations may also be helpful. It’s not the details, it’s the aggregate and the secondary effects of disclosure.
    http://www.presseurop.eu/en/content/article/414871-not-such-wicked-leaks

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  12. I would just like to thank you for this excellent website.For far too long I have felt that my back was to the wall.The quality comments of the author…refreshingly…Are being backed up,by quality comments from respondents!May it continue unabated!

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  13. The worm..It is safe to say, has definitely turned.But now is not the time for complacency…The advantage must continue to be pressed home.The backs of those representing true freedom continue to be pressed to the wall…But there is now a growing awareness..An increasing willingness.by the people,to overcome their fear.And join the fray.It is heartening!
    about a minute ago · LikeUnlike.

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  14. Am writing a thesis on Public Trust in WikiLeaks, the Media and the Government and need to know what your opinions are. The online survey is multiple choice and will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Please follow the link: http://www.kwiksurveys.com/?s=ILLLML_9669e09d. Would be great if you would encourage others to do the survey also.

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