Sunday, 02 October 2011 00:00
Written by Jayachandran Kesavan
Wikileaks is an international organization based out of Sweden which became online in 2006.
WikiLeaks provides a forum for an individual to publish sensitive or leaked documents while maintaining the anonymity of the source.According to the mission statement of the organization, they have a larger agenda of exposing the many oppressive regimes of Asia, be it the Soviet Bloc or the middle eastern countries.
Some of the famous leaks include Sarah Palin’s personal emails and the sensitive documents from the Church of Scientology. In July 2010, WikiLeaks released a document named “Afghan Warm Diary” which published controversial information about the War in Afghanistan. Many of the documents are not exactly flattering to the US Government. Examples include the US military protocols for Guantanamo Bay detainees and the video of US airstrike in Baghdad. The volunteers working for WikiLeaks try to authenticate the documents submitted by individuals before publishing it.
The people behind it
The idea was relatively simple: given the viral nature of the Internet - and the ease of duplicating digital documents - once secret information was published, it could never become secret again.The organization does not operate in an open manner; the only reports include the statements from its founder Julian Assange who says that WikiLeaks have hundreds of volunteers who are scattered around the world. But information about the location of these volunteers are not provided.
The primary host of the website is the Swedish ISP PeRiQuito (PRQ), which is otherwise famous for hosting file-sharing website The Pirate Bay. Even though the website is immensely popular, it did face some financial issues in February and had to be suspended since it could not afford the operational costs. However, donations from individuals and organizations from across the world saved the site.
According to Assange, the website is now trying to don the role of a middle-man between the various sources and the media.
Bouquets and Brickbats
WikiLeaks have got both praise and harsh criticism. There are many activists around the world who praise the organization for its commitment to free speech. But, there are others who says that the organization is a threat to national interests. Many lawsuits have been filed against the organization. Interestingly, they have won all of them. In Germany, they have faced police harassment and many a time, it has come under hack attacks.
Very recently, WikiLeaks have been attacked by the White House and the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan for the thousands of documents which gives controversial details of US military activity in Afghanistan. Most recently Autralia and The Palestinian Authauroty have been exposed via WikiLeaks.