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France ­ April 2011

scientific journalism and open data ‐ is a publication of sandalias.produzioni@gmail.com

The truth will always win

In
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Ten Theses on Wikileaks
Why WikiLeaks Is Good for America
Price: Free
Dossier WIKILEAKS
Julian Assange ‐ Geert Lovink and Patrice Riemens ‐ Evan Hansen
David Leight and Luke Harding
Wikileaks is a self-described "not-for-profit media organization," launched in 2006 for the
purposes of disseminating original documents from anonymous sources and leakers. Its
website says: "Wikileaks will accept restricted or censored material of political, ethical,
diplomatic or historical significance. We do not accept rumor, opinion, other kinds of first
hand accounts or material that is publicly available elsewhere."
Julian Assange is an Australian citizen who is said to have served as the editor-in-chief and
spokesperson for Wikileaks since its founding in 2006. Before that, he was described as an
advisor. Sometimes he is cited as its founder. The media and popular imagination currently
equate him with Wikileaks itself, with uncertain accuracy.
Wikileaks has moved through three phases since its founding in 2006.
In its first phase, during which it released several substantial troves of documents related to
Kenya in 2008, Wikileaks operated very much with a standard wiki model: the public
readership could actively post and edit materials, and it had a say in the types of materials
that were accepted and how such materials were vetted. The documents released in that first
phase were more or less a straight dump to the Web: very little organized redacting occurred
on the part of Wikileaks.
Wikileaks's second phase was exemplified with the release of the "Collateral Murder" video
in April 2010. The video was a highly curated, produced and packaged political statement. It
was meant to illustrate a political point of view, not merely to inform.
The third phase is the one we currently see with the release of the diplomatic cables:
Wikileaks working in close conjunction with a select group of news organizations to
analyze, redact and release the cables in a curated manner, rather than dumping them on the
Internet or using them to illustrate a singular political point of view.
After this we cannot be ignored Wikileaks and their influence in our behavior for to read the
news. With this edition we can to put the elements for this reflections.
Photo Cover : Tristana Rey for CameraPress / Ojo de Agua

HumouraroundWikileaks ...................................................................... 4p.


WhyWikileaks is goodforAmerica ...................................................... 6p
The truth willallways win ....................................................................... 8p
Wikileaks ................................................................................................... 12p
Ten theses on Wikileaks ......................................................................... 13p
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A truly free press - one unfettered by
concerns of nationalism - is apparently a
terrifying problem for elected
governments and tyrannies alike. It shouldn't be.
The greatest threat we face right now from
WikiLeaks is not the information it has spilled
and may spill in the future, but the reactionary
response to it that's building in the United States
that promises to repudiate the rule of law and our
In the past week, after publishing secret U.S. free speech traditions, if left unchecked.
diplomatic cables, secret-spilling site WikiLeaks
has been hit with denial-of-service attacks on its Secrecy is routinely posited as a critical
servers by unknown parties; its backup hosting component for effective governance, a premise
provider, Amazon, booted WikiLeaks off its that's so widely accepted that even some
hosting service; and PayPal has suspended its journalists, whose job is to reveal the secret
donation-collecting account, damaging workings of governments, have declared
WikiLeaks' ability to raise funds. MasterCard WikiLeaks' efforts to be out of bounds.
announced Monday it was blocking credit card
payments to WikiLeaks, saying the site was We should embrace the site as an expression of
engaged in illegal activities, despite the fact it has the fundamental freedom that is at the core of our
never been charged with a crime. Bill of Rights.
Meanwhile, U.S. politicians have ramped up the Transparency, and its value, look very different
rhetoric against the nonprofit, calling for the arrest inside the corridors of power than outside. On the
and prosecution and even assassination of its most campaign trail, Barack Obama vowed to roll back
visible spokesman, Julian Assange. Questions the secrecy apparatus that had been dramatically
about whether current laws are adequate to expanded under his predecessor, but his
prosecute him have prompted lawmakers to administration has largely abandoned those
propose amending the espionage statute to bring promises and instead doubled-down on secrecy.
Assange to heel or even to declare WikiLeaks a
terrorist organization. One of the core complaints against WikiLeaks is a
lack of accountability. It has set up shop in
WikiLeaks is not perfect, and we have highlighted multiple countries with liberal press protections in
many of its shortcomings on this website. an apparent bid to stand above the law. It owes
Nevertheless, it's time to make a clear statement allegiance to no one government, and its interests
about the value of the site and take sides: do not align neatly with authorities'. Compare
WikiLeaks stands to improve our democracy, not this, for example, to what happened when the
weaken it. U.S. government pressured The New York Times
in 2004 to drop its story about warrantless
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wiretapping on grounds that it would harm WikiLeaks does not automatically bring radical
national security. transparency in its wake. Sites like WikiLeaks
work because sources, more often than not
The paper withheld the story for a year-and-a- pricked by conscience, come forward with
half.WikiLeaks' role is not the same as the press', information in the public interest.
since it does not always endeavor to vet
information prior to publication. But it operates WikiLeaks is a distributor of this information, if
within what one might call the media ecosystem, an extraordinarily prolific one. It helps guarantee
feeding publications with original documents that the information won't be hidden by editors and
are found nowhere else and insulating them publishers who are afraid of lawsuits or the
against pressures from governments seeking to government.
suppress information.
WikiLeaks has beaten back the attacks against it
Instead of encouraging online service providers to with the help of hundreds of mirror sites that will
blacklist sites and writing new espionage laws that keep its content available, despite the best efforts
would further criminalize the publication of of opponents. Blocking WikiLeaks, even if it
government secrets, we should regard WikiLeaks were possible, could never be effective.
as subject to the same first amendment rights that
protect The New York Times. And as a society, A government's best and only defense against
we should embrace the site as an expression of the damaging spills is to act justly and fairly. By
fundamental freedom that is at the core of our Bill seeking to quell WikiLeaks, its U.S. political
of Rights, not react like Chinese corporations that opponents are only priming the pump for more
are happy to censor information on behalf of their embarrassing revelations down the road.
government to curry favor.
wilikeaks.org

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Kaycircle
IN 1958 a young Rupert Murdoch, then These things have stayed with me.
owner and editor of Adelaide's The News, WikiLeaks was created around these core
wrote: ìIn the race between secrecy and values. The idea, conceived in Australia ,
truth, it seems inevitable that truth will was to use internet technologies in new
always win.î His observation perhaps ways to report the truth. WikiLeaks
reflected his father Keith Murdoch's coined a new type of journalism:
expose that Australian troops were being scientific journalism. We work with other
needlessly sacrificed by incompetent media outlets to bring people the news,
British commanders on the shores of but also to prove it is true. Scientific
Gallipoli. journalism allows you to read a news
story, then to click online to see the
The British tried to shut him up but Keith original document it is based on.
Murdoch would not be silenced and his
efforts led to the termination of the That way you can judge for yourself: Is
disastrous Gallipoli campaign. Nearly a the story true? Did the journalist report it
century later, WikiLeaks is also fearlessly accurately?
publishing facts that need to be made
public. I grew up in a Queensland country Democratic societies need a strong media
town where people spoke their minds and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The
bluntly. media helps keep government honest.
WikiLeaks has revealed some hard truths
They distrusted big government as about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and
something that could be corrupted if not broken stories about corporate corruption.
watched carefully. The dark days of People have said I am anti-war: for the
corruption in the Queensland government record, I am not. Sometimes nations need
before the Fitzgerald inquiry are to go to war, and there are just wars. But
testimony to what happens when the there is nothing more wrong than a
politicians gag the media from reporting government lying to its people about
the truth. those wars, then asking these same
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citizens to put their lives and their taxes on the line That is because The Guardian, The New York
for those lies. If a war is justified, then tell the truth Times and Der Spiegel are old and large, while
and the people will decide whether to support it. WikiLeaks is as yet young and small. We are the
underdogs. The Gillard government is trying to
If you have read any of the Afghan or Iraq war logs, shoot the messenger because it doesn't want the
any of the US embassy cables or any of the stories truth revealed, including information about its own
about the things WikiLeaks has reported, consider diplomatic and political dealings.
how important it is for all media to be able to report
these things freely. WikiLeaks is not the only Has there been any response from the Australian
publisher of the US embassy cables. government to the numerous public threats of
violence against me and other WikiLeaks
Other media outlets, including Britain 's The personnel? One might have thought an Australian
Guardian, The New York Times, El Pais in Spain prime minister would be defending her citizens
and Der Spiegel in Germany have published the against such things, but there have only been
same redacted cables. Yet it is WikiLeaks, as the wholly unsubstantiated claims of illegality.
co-ordinator of these other groups, that has copped
the most vicious attacks and accusations from the The Prime Minister and especially the Attorney-
US government and its General are meant to carry
acolytes. out their duties with dignity
and above the fray. Rest
I have been accused of assured, these two mean to
treason, even though I am an save their own skins. They
Australian, not a US, citizen. will not. Every time
There have been dozens of WikiLeaks publishes the
serious calls in the US for me truth about abuses
to be ìtaken outî by US committed by US agencies,
special forces. Sarah Palin Australian politicians chant
says I should be ìhunted a provably false chorus with
down like Osama bin Ladenî, the State Department:
a Republican bill sits before “You'll risk lives! National
the US Senate seeking to have me declared a security! You'll endanger troops!” Then they say
ìtransnational threatî and disposed of accordingly. there is nothing of importance in what WikiLeaks
publishes. It can't be both. Which is it?
An adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister's office
has called on national television for me to be It is neither. WikiLeaks has a four-year publishing
assassinated. history. During that time we have changed whole
governments, but not a single person, as far as
An American blogger has called for my 20-year-old anyone is aware, has been harmed. But the US ,
son, here in Australia, to be kidnapped and harmed with Australian government connivance, has killed
for no other reason than to get at me. And thousands in the past few months alone. US
Australians should observe with no pride the Secretary of Defence Robert Gates admitted in a
disgraceful pandering to these sentiments by Prime letter to the US congress that no sensitive
Minister Gillard and US Secretary of State Hillary intelligence sources or methods had been
Clinton have not had a word of criticism for the compromised by the Afghan war logs disclosure.
other media organisations.
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The Pentagon stated there was no evidence the Officials in Jordan and Bahrain want Iran ‘s nuclear
WikiLeaks reports had led to anyone being harmed program stopped by any means available. Britain’s
in Afghanistan. NATO in Kabul told CNN it Iraq inquiry was fixed to protect “US interests”.
couldn’t find a single person who needed Sweden is a covert member of NATO and US
protecting. The Australian Department of Defence intelligence sharing is kept from parliament.
said the same. No Australian troops or sources have
been hurt by anything we have published. The US is playing hardball to get other countries to
take freed detainees from Guantanamo Bay .
But our publications have been far from Barack Obama agreed to meet the Slovenian
unimportant. The US diplomatic cables reveal some President only if Slovenia took a prisoner. Our
startling facts: The US asked its diplomats to steal Pacific neighbour Kiribati was offered millions of
personal human material and information from UN dollars to accept detainees.
officials and human rights groups, including DNA,
fingerprints, iris scans, credit card numbers, internet
In its landmark ruling in the Pentagon Papers case,
passwords and ID photos, in violation of the US Supreme Court said “only a free and
international treaties. Presumably Australian UN
unrestrained press can effectively expose deception
diplomats may be targeted, too. in government”. The swirling storm around
WikiLeaks today reinforces the need to defend the
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia asked the US right of all media to reveal the truth.

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While travelling through Serbia in August 1991, prevalent mistrust of government, notably in the
the US secretary of state, James Baker, learned United States and Britain, did not appear from
that Gorbachev had been overthrown – not from nowhere. It arose from the war in Iraq, the
secret intelligence but from watching CNN. elaborate lies told to justify it and the lack of
Similarly the first news of the terrorist outrage at accountability of the Bush and Blair
Domodedovo airport in Moscow in January this administrations to the broader public, whose
year came to the Kremlin not from intelligence soldiers died for the cause and whose purse paid
sources but from Twitter. Through technological
progress the exclusive rights of the great powers to
keep their most sensitive information secret appear
to have been summarily withdrawn.
Hillary Clinton's diplomatic pillow talk is no
longer privileged information, and her fury knows
no limits. The man found to have been the
ultimate culprit is kept naked in an American
military facility with President Obama's explicit
support. The recipient of a quarter of a million
classified US documents and the purveyor of these
indiscretions, Julian Assange, fears the possibility
of extradition to the United States after indictment
in Sweden for rape.
US Representative Peter King, once a notoriously
firm and open backer of IRA terrorism but now
chair of the homeland security committee, wants
to designate WikiLeaks "a foreign terrorist
organisation". Sarah Palin unthinkingly asserts
that Assange has "blood on his hands". She argues
that he should be pursued like the Taliban and al-
Qaida (ie executed without trial). Yet even the
Pentagon admits that there is no evidence that his
revelations have resulted in bloodshed.
It is therefore worth asking why Assange has
found widespread support for his actions. The
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And the US government itself is responsible for the governments act ambitiously their results often
insecure communication system that made release bear no relation to their intentions, this is it.
not just possible but inevitable. One wonders
whether foreign intelligence services were not Two of the three books under review – David
already purloining its contents for some time prior Leigh and Luke Harding's WikiLeaks: Inside Julian
to the WikiLeaks revelations and are feeling even Assange's War on Secrecy (Guardian Books,
more aggrieved at Assange than Washington that £9.99) and Daniel Domscheit-Berg's Inside
the system is now terminated. WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the
World's Most Dangerous Website (Jonathan Cape,
Ironically it was due to the US government's £9.99) – give us a breathless and informative
determination to mobilise cyberspace to enhance narrative. The third, Micah Sifry's WikiLeaks and
security after 9/11 that WikiLeaks was able to the Age of Transparency (Yale, £9.99), focuses
expose American diplomacy across the board. If instead on the politics from a high moral plane.
ever there were a good argument that when Sifry's core point is that "If we promote the use of

guardian.co.uk

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the internet to overturn repressive regimes around then they would be released under the normal
the world, then we have to either accept the fact archival schedule. Second, the documents were at
that these same methods may be used against our the lowest level of secrecy: confidential, not top
own regime – or make sure our own policies are secret. One can access confidential documents in
beyond reproach." some archives up to the very recent past (at the
Brazilian Foreign Ministry, for instance).
Domscheit-Berg, in contrast, relates the history of
WikiLeaks as a disillusioned former assistant. It is Third, diplomats continue to write assessments that
unquestionably enlightening. are indiscreet; otherwise what
But accounts of Assange else would they do? Fourth, since
"bumbling" with microphones, the Americans are so powerful,
not washing his socks and however much they insult Putin
acting the office dictator is or Berlusconi it will really make
what might appear in a nasty no significant difference to the
divorce case in a legal drama state of relations with Russia or
on TV. I am not convinced we Italy. Far worse has been done in
need to know all this unless the past with no result. (And it is
considering future employment impossible to embarrass
at WikiLeaks or, worse still, Berlusconi.)
sharing an apartment with the
great man. Leigh and Harding, These foreign statesmen
on the other hand, have no axe themselves know very well that
to grind and combine an their own services spill the beans
objective history of events about their counterparts. It is a
with sufficient personal little embarrassing to have dirty
illustration to be convincing. linen washed in public, but no
more than that. Politicians are,
That said, WikiLeaks might after all, focused on interests, not
be, as they claim, the "biggest feelings. Moreover, the White
leak in history", but is it really House has as a result of the
the most important? Seymour scandal rolled back on
Hersh wrote a whole book on information sharing; so it is no
Henry Kissinger based entirely longer possible to access
on such leakage and Daniel confidential State Department
Ellsberg got into hot water for communications via the military
leaking volumes of the network. We are unlikely to see a
Pentagon papers at a time repetition of these events.
when the war in Vietnam was
still in progress. One should not forget Watergate, Lastly, the state of trauma evidently suffered by
either. Clinton will ensure less rather than more openness
with respect to releasing diplomatic records in
And what exactly are the consequences of the future. Her predecessor did not want anything
WikiLeaks? At the present rate of release it will released. Let us hope a more enlightened view will
take over two decades to see all the documents. By take hold and ultimately prevail.

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These 0.
"What do I think of Wikileaks? I think it would be a good idea!”
These 1. Disclosures and leaks have been of all times, but never before has a non state -or non-
corporate affiliated group done this at the scale Wikileaks managed to with the 'Afghan War
Logs'. In a certain sense, these 'colossal' Wikileaks disclosures can simply be explained as a
consequence of the dramatic spread of IT usage, together with a dramatic drop in its costs,
including those for the storage of millions of documents.
These 2. For better or for worse, Wikileaks has skyrocketed itself into the realm of high-level
international politics. Out of the blue, Wikileaks has briefly become a full-blown player both on
the world scene, as well as in the national sphere of some countries.
These 3. In the ongoing saga termed "The Decline of the US Empire", Wikileaks enters the stage
as the slayer of a soft target. It would be difficult to imagine it doing quite the same to the
Russian or Chinese government, or even to that of Singapore - not to speak of their ... err ...
'corporate' affiliates.
These 4. One of the main difficulty with explaining Wikileaks arises from the fact it is unclear -
and also unclear to the Wikileaks people themselves - whether it sees itself and operates as a
content provider or as a simple carrier of leaked data (whichever one, as predicated by context
and circumstances, is the impression)
These 5. The steady decline of investigative journalism due to diminishing support and funding
is an undeniable fact. The ever-ongoing acceleration and over-crowding in the so-called attention
economy makes that there is no longer enough room for complicated stories.
These 6. Wikileaks is a typical SPO (Single Person Organization). This means that initiative-
taking, decision making, and the execution process is largely centralized in the hands of one
single person. Much like small and medium-size businesses the founder cannot be voted out and
unlike many collectives leadership is not rotating.
These 7. Wikileaks is also an organization deeply shaped by 1980s hacker culture combined
with the political values of techno-libertarianism which emerged in the 1990s. The fact that
Wikileaks has been founded, and is still to a large extent run by hard core geeks, forms an
essential frame of reference to understand its values and moves.
These 8. Lack of commonality with congenial 'another world is possible' movements forces
Wikileaks to seek public attention by way of increasingly spectacular - and risky - disclosures,
while gathering a constituency of often wildly enthusiastic, but totally passive supporters.
These 9. Wikileaks displays a stunning lack of transparancy in its internal organization. Its
excuse that "Wikileaks needs to be completely opaque in order to force others to be totally
transparent." amounts to little more than Mad Magazine's famous Spy vs Spy cartoons.
These 10. We do not think that taking a stand in favor or against Wikileaks is what matters
most. Wikileaks is there, and there to stay till it either scuttles itself or is destroyed by the forces
opposing its operation. Wikileaks has rendered a sterling service to the cause of transparency,
democracy and openness. aks' or not.
Kate Smile