Wikileaks: The Pros and Cons Scandal

Originally Published Through Yahoo Voices

The Good, Bad and Ugly for Wikileaks

Timeline of Recent events for Wikileaks
22nd November – Wikileaks tweets that it has a release 7x the size of the Iraqi War Logs
26th November – Julian Assange, Wikileaks Founder, sends a letter to the US State Department requesting a list of Names or Record Numbers within which information that would put persons at risk would be exposed. The State Department refused.
28th November – Wikileaks suffers a reported massive Denial-Of-Service attack upon it’s servers an hour before the release time. According to Arbor Networks, the DDOS attack was only slightly larger than other DDOS attacks, nothing on the scale of the truly massive attacks that had occurred against other websites.
28th November – Wikileaks begins release of US Diplomatic Cables
1st December – Amazon.com ends Wikileaks hosting on the Amazon Cloud due to the release of illegal US government information
2nd December – EveryDNS takes down hosting for Wikileaks after repeated focused cyberattacks threatened to destabilize the entire network.
3rd December – The Guardian newspaper ends a live Q & A chat with Julian Assange after their servers get overloaded with requests to view the chat live. It is now on as a remote Q & A with no live component.

Wikileaks has been embroiled in controversy since it was founded in 2006. It prides itself on being a whistleblower website that knows no borders and relies upon the Free Speech articles of the Swedish Constitution, under whose flag the Wikileaks primary hosting provider PRQ resides.

Among the whistleblower articles released by Wikileaks are:

Guantánamo Bay procedures
Scientology
Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email account contents
Internet censorship lists
Baghdad airstrike video
Afghan War Diary
Iraqi War Logs

Although Wikileaks has said it focuses on international events, it’s main focus for the past few years has been primarily upon the US and it’s involvement in the War in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Various sources both within and outside the US government has condemned the Wikileaks website and Julian Assange for what they feel is a callous disregard for government control over internal government documents. Mostly relating to the Iraqi war logs and the Diplomatic Cable release.

The critical response both for and against Wikileaks and Julian Assange is loud and ferocious. Most US journalists either love or hate him, depending on their political affiliations and motivational support. The website is both praised and criticized by agencies such as Amnesty International and Reporters without Borders. Praised for the disclosure, but criticized because of the lack of controlled censorship to hide names within the disclosures.

Julian Assange himself is currently under an Interpol Red Notice, which is a request to any member state to issue an arrest warrant and extradition order to transport Mr. Assange back to Sweden to face sex assault charges. The charges themselves are a raging debate about possible government corruption, cover up, and pressure from the US to capture Mr. Assange.

Overall, Wikileaks has very much established itself in a very short time as a website that knows how to make a big noise; with factual articles revealing massive amounts of corruption, mishandling of affairs, and many errors within government bodies, military operations and much more.

This begs the question … Is this much information too much? Does Wikileaks or any 3rd party have the right to release information that is supposed to be classified or held within government organizations? The Whistleblower concept was primarily to reduce corruption and allow for better transparency in business or government without reprisals.

Wikileaks defends it’s position by stating that any information received by itself is posted anonymously and all will be treated as factual. They do not confirm their sources, nor do they allow for independent verification. In fact, Julian Assange has the final say as to whether an article is released or not. This position is what offends a lot of professional journalists as they feel Wikileaks is a rogue element operating without rules or regard for integrity. What do you think?

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Source
NYTimes.com http://documents.nytimes.com/letters-between-wikileaks-and-gov#text/p1 US State Dept, Julian Assange
Wired.com http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/11/wikileaks-attack/ Kevin Poulson
senate.gov http://lieberman.senate.gov/index.cfm/news-events/news/2010/12/amazon-severs-ties-with-wikileaks Senator Joe Lieberman
CNN.com http://www.cnn.com/2010/TECH/web/12/03/wikileaks.domain.name/index.html?section=cnn_latest CNN Staff
thelocal.se http://www.thelocal.se/30574/20101202/ AFP/Thelocal
motherjones.com http://motherjones.com/politics/2010/04/wikileaks-julian-assange-iraq-video?page=3 David Kushner