WikiLeaks

international organization which publishes secret information


WikiLeaks is an international non-profit public service organisation that believes "that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies" and that the only way deception in government is effectively exposed, is by a free and unrestrained press. They publish secret information, news leaks, and classified media provided by anonymous whistleblowers, while working to preserve the anonymity and untraceability of its contributors. None of their published information has ever been proven to be false.

WikiLeaks is a multi-jurisdictional public service...We believe that transparency in government activities leads to reduced corruption, better government and stronger democracies... In its landmark ruling on the Pentagon Papers, the US Supreme Court ruled that "only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government." We agree. We believe...the time has come for... disseminating documents the public should see. ~ Wikileaks:About
No newspaper has come close to matching the secrets and lies of power... disclosed... WikiLeaks revelations have told us, with 100 per cent accuracy, how and why much of the world is divided and run. ~John Pilger
Wikileaks is becoming, as planned, although unexpectedly early, an international movement of people who facilitate ethical leaking and open government. ~James Chen
In 2010, WikiLeaks posted a graphic [which was at the time, a classified U.S. military] video depicting the killing of perhaps a dozen [unarmed] Iraqis, including two Reuters journalists... ~The Atlantic
Many of the benefits from keeping Terrorism [or War] fear levels high are obvious. Private corporations suck up massive amounts of Homeland Security cash as long as that fear persists, while government officials...can claim unlimited powers, and operate with unlimited secrecy and no accountability. ~Glenn Greenwald
The secret of freedom lies in educating people, whereas the secret of tyranny is in keeping them ignorant. ~Maximilien Robespierre

Quotes

Alphabetized by author
  • Wikileaks is becoming, as planned, although unexpectedly early, an international movement of people who facilitate ethical leaking and open government.
    • James Chen, Wikileaks organizer — reported in Williamson, Elizabeth (January 15, 2007). "Freedom of Information, the Wiki Way - Site to Allow Anonymous Posts of Government Documents". The Washington Post (The Washington Post Company): p. A13. 
  • We live in a world of secrecy by government, corporations and other institutions which don't want the accountability that comes from transparency. The minute you shine a bright light on their activities, the ethical standards by which they act will rise."
    • Sue Dreyfus, Wikileaks advisory board member — reported in Carr, Rebecca (January 22, 2007). "Leak Game Hits Net". Atlanta Journal-Constitution: p. A3. 
  • I'm really quite surprised at Wikileaks' success. They've done a lot of interesting stuff. It seems people are prepared to take the risk.
    • Ben Laurie, member of Wikileaks advisory board — reported in David Leigh and Jonathan Franklin (February 23, 2008). "Whistle while you work: From government to big business, if you have a dirty secret, Wikileaks is your worst nightmare. David Leigh and Jonathan Franklin on the site a US court has tried to muzzle". The Guardian (Guardian Newspapers Ltd). 

About

Alphabetized by author
  • Anonymous leaking is an ancient art and many websites publish documents from sources they cannot identify. What Wikileaks has done is to professionalise the operation. They have created a standard procedure for receiving, processing and publishing leaks.
    • Steven Aftergood of the Federation of American Scientists' (FAS) Project on Government Secrecy — reported in Marks, Paul (May 10, 2008). "A fail-safe way to embarrass people in high places: Whistle-blowers can tell all without being traced, thanks to websites that anonymise their details". New Scientist (Reed Business Information): p. 28, Volume 198; Issue 2655. 
  • Assange and WikiLeaks revealed the American military’s war crimes, the American government’s corruption and the American corporate media’s pathetic servile flattery to the power elite... if you’re a member of our ruling class, you would view those as textbook examples of dickery.... In an evolved and fully realized society, the oligarchy would see Assange as a dangerous criminal (which they do), and the average working men and women would view him as justice personified (which they don’t). We would celebrate him even as the mass media told us to hope for his downfall—like a Batman or a Robin Hood... But we are not evolved and this is not Gotham City and average Americans don’t root for the truth. Many Americans cheer for Assange’s imprisonment. They believe the corporate plutocratic talking points and yearn for the days when we no longer have to hear about our country’s crimes against humanity or our bankers’ crimes against the economy.
  • You won’t see the following list of WikiLeaks’ accomplishments anywhere on your corporate airwaves—in the same way the mainstream media did not begin every report about Chelsea Manning’s trial with a rundown of the war crimes she helped reveal.... And Chelsea Manning’s most famous leak is arguably also WikiLeaks’ most famous leak, so it’ll top this list: 1) That would be the notorious Collateral Murder video, showing U.S. air crew gunning down unarmed Iraqi civilians with an enthusiasm that couldn’t be matched by an eight year-old winning a five-foot-tall stuffed animal at the county fair. They murdered between 12 and 18 innocent people, two of them Reuters journalists. Zero people have been arrested for the collateral murders. Yet Julian Assange has been arrested for revealing them. 2) WikiLeaks brought us the Guantanamo Bay “Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures”—showing that many of the prisoners held on the U.S. military detention facility were completely innocent, and that some were hidden from Red Cross officials... Because when you’re torturing innocent people, you kinda want to do that in peace and quiet, away from prying eyes... None of the soldiers torturing innocent people at Gitmo have been arrested for it. Yet Julian Assange has been arrested for revealing it. WikiLeaks has upped the level of transparency around the world.
  • If Wikileaks were a print publication, the injunction would be unthinkable. … What distinguishes this case is that the allegedly intolerable materials were published on the Internet instead of on paper. But that's a poor reason to abandon the principles that protect those who want to publish -- as well as those who want to read. Censorship is censorship, no matter the medium.
    • Editorial (February 26, 2008). "Electronic censorship". Chicago Tribune (Chicago Tribune Company): p. 14. 
  • The real purpose of state secrecy is to enable governments to establish their own self-interested and often mendacious version of the truth by the careful selection of “facts” to be passed on to the public. They feel enraged by any revelation of what they really know, or by any alternative source of information. Such threats to their control of the news agenda must be suppressed where possible and, where not, those responsible must be pursued and punished.
    Revealing important information about the Yemen war – in which at least 70,000 people have been killed – is the reason why the US government is persecuting both Assange and Zikry.
  • I was in Kabul a decade ago when WikiLeaks released a massive tranche of US government documents about the conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen. On the day of the release, I was arranging by phone to meet an American official... He was intensely interested and asked me what was known about the degree of classification of the files. When I told him, he said in a relieved tone: “No real secrets, then.” ...I asked him why he was so dismissive of the revelations that were causing such uproar in the world. He explained that the US government was not so naive that it did not realise that making these documents available to such a wide range of civilian and military officials meant that they were likely to leak. Any information really damaging to US security had been weeded out...
    he said: “We are not going to learn the biggest secrets from WikiLeaks because these have already been leaked by the White House, Pentagon or State Department.”
    ...However, it was the friendly US official and I who were being naive, forgetting that the real purpose of state secrecy is to enable governments to establish their own self-interested and often mendacious version of the truth by the careful selection of “facts” to be passed on to the public. They feel enraged by any revelation of what they really know, or by any alternative source of information. Such threats to their control of the news agenda must be suppressed where possible and, where not, those responsible must be pursued and punished.
  • I have just watched We Steal Secrets, Alex Gibney’s documentary about Wikileaks and Julian Assange. One useful thing I learnt is the difference between a hatchet job and character assassination. Gibney is too clever for a hatchet job, and his propaganda is all the more effective for it. The film’s contention is that Assange is a natural-born egotist... This could have made for an intriguing, and possibly plausible, thesis had Gibney approached the subject-matter more honestly and fairly. But two major flaws discredit the whole enterprise... The first is that he grievously misrepresents the facts in the Swedish case against Assange... to the point that his motives in making the film are brought into question... So the question is why would he choose to mislead the audience?... his dishonesty relates not to an avoidance of facts and evidence but to his choice of emphasis...This documentary could have been a fascinating study of the moral quandaries faced by whistleblowers in the age of the surveillance super-state. Instead Gibney chose the easy course and made a film that sides with the problem rather than the solution.
  • The Trump administration is seeking extradition of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange to the United States for trial on charges carrying 175 years in prison... The treaty between the U.S. and the U.K. prohibits extradition for a “political offense.” Assange was indicted for exposing U.S. war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan. That is a classic political offense. Moreover, Assange’s extradition would violate the legal prohibition against sending a person to a country where he is in danger of being tortured.
  • WikiLeaks... published nearly 400,000 field reports about the Iraq War, which contained evidence of U.S. war crimes, over 15,000 previously unreported deaths of Iraqi civilians, and the systematic murder, torture, rape and abuse by the Iraqi army and authorities that were ignored by U.S. forces.
    In addition, WikiLeaks published the Guantánamo Files, 779 secret reports that revealed the U.S. government’s systematic violation of the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment, by abusing nearly 800 men and boys, ages 14 to 89.
    One of the most notorious releases by WikiLeaks was the 2007 “Collateral Murder” video, which showed a U.S. Army Apache helicopter target and fire on unarmed civilians in Baghdad. More than 12 civilians were killed, including two Reuters reporters and a man who came to rescue the wounded. Two children were injured. Then a U.S. Army tank drove over one of the bodies, severing it in half. Those acts constitute three separate war crimes prohibited by the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Army Field Manual.
  • As an initial matter, there is no doubt that WikiLeaks is in an unpopular position right now. Many feel their publication was offensive. But unpopularity is not a crime, and publishing offensive information isn't either. And the repeated calls from Members of Congress, the government, journalists, and other experts crying out for criminal prosecutions or other extreme measures cause me some consternation.
  • Indeed, when everyone in this town is joined together calling for someone's head, it is a pretty sure sign that we might want to slow down and take a closer look... I find myself agreeing with those who think Assange is being unduly vilified. I certainly do not support or like his disclosure of secrets... But as all the handwringing over the 1917 Espionage Act shows, it is not obvious what law he has violated.
  • Our country was founded on the belief that speech is sacrosanct, and that the answer to bad speech is not censorship or prosecution, but more speech. And so whatever one thinks about this controversy, it is clear that prosecuting WikiLeaks would raise the most fundamental questions about freedom of speech about who is a journalist and about what the public can know about the actions of their own government.
  • Indeed, while there's agreement that sometimes secrecy is necessary, the real problem today is not too little secrecy, but too much secrecy... Furthermore, we are too quick to accept government claims that risk the national security...
  • While journalists should view Wikileaks with some skepticism, it cannot be ignored. Welcome to the brave new world of investigative reporting.
  • Several weeks ago, I wrote about the steps taken by the US government to pressure large corporations to choke off the finances and other means of support for WikiLeaks in retaliation for the group's exposure of substantial government deceit, wrongdoing and illegality. Because WikiLeaks has never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime, I wrote: "that the US government largely succeeded in using extra-legal and extra-judicial means to cripple an adverse journalistic outlet is a truly consequential episode."
  • I disclosed that I had been involved in discussions "regarding the formation of a new organization designed to support independent journalists and groups such as WikiLeaks under attack by the US and other governments."... Its name is Freedom of the Press Foundation...The primary impetus for the formation of this group was to block the US government from ever again being able to attack and suffocate an independent journalistic enterprise the way it did with WikiLeaks. Government pressure and the eager compliance of large financial corporations (such as Visa, Master Card, Bank of America, etc.) has - by design - made it extremely difficult for anyone to donate to WikiLeaks, while many people are simply afraid to directly support the group (for reasons I explained here).
  • A brown paper envelope for the digital age, Wikileaks.org is now home to more than 1m documents that governments and big business would rather the public did not see. The site – similar to Wikipedia in style, but otherwise independent of it – serves as an uncensorable and untraceable depository for the truth, able to publish documents that the courts may prevent newspapers and broadcasters from being able to touch.
  • [It] is not and has never been Julius Baer's intention to stifle anyone's right to free speech. Julius Baer's sole objective has always been limited to the removal of these private and legally protected documents from the website," the company said in its statement. However, Julius Baer denies the authenticity of this material and wholly rejects the serious and defamatory allegations which it contains.
  • I nominated Julian Assange on the 8th January 2019 for the Nobel Peace Prize. I issued a press release hoping to bring attention to his nomination, which seemed to have been widely ignored, by Western media. By Julian’s courageous actions and others like him, we could see full well the atrocities of war. The release of the files brought to our doors the atrocities our governments carried out through media. It is my strong belief that this is the true essence of an activist and it is my great shame I live in an era where people like Julian Assange, Edward Snowden, Chelsea Manning and anyone willing to open our eyes to the atrocities of war, is likely to be hunted like an animal by governments, punished and silenced.
    Therefore, I believe that the British government should oppose the extradition of Assange as it sets a dangerous precedent for journalists, whistleblowers and other sources of truth the US may wish to pressure in the future. This man is paying a high price to end war and for peace and nonviolence and we should all remember that.”
  • WikiLeaks has achieved far more than what The New York Times and The Washington Post in their celebrated incarnations did. No newspaper has come close to matching the secrets and lies of power that Assange and Snowden have disclosed. That both men are fugitives is indicative of the retreat of liberal democracies from principles of freedom and justice. Why is WikiLeaks a landmark in journalism? Because its revelations have told us, with 100 per cent accuracy, how and why much of the world is divided and run.
  • WikiLeaks is possibly the most exciting development in journalism in my lifetime. As an investigative journalist, I have often had to rely on the courageous, principled acts of whistle-blowers. The truth about the Vietnam War was told when Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers. The truth about Iraq and Afghanistan, and Saudi Arabia and many other flashpoints was told when WikiLeaks published the revelations of whistle-blowers.
  • When you consider that 100 percent of WikiLeaks leaks are authentic and accurate, you can understand the impact, as well as the fury generated among secretive powerful forces. Julian Assange is a political refugee in London for one reason only: WikiLeaks told the truth about the greatest crimes of the 21st century. He is not forgiven for that, and he should be supported by journalists and by people everywhere.
  • Federal District Court Judge Jeffrey White ordered Wikileaks's domain name registrar to disable its Web address. That was akin to shutting down a newspaper because of objections to one article. The First Amendment requires the government to act only in the most dire circumstances when it regulates free expression.
  • It is unlawful to reproduce or distribute someone else's copyrighted work without that person's authorization. Indeed, courts have entered numerous permanent injunctions and awarded statutory damages and attorneys' fees regarding infringement of these and similar works. … preserve any and all documents pertaining to this matter...including, but not limited to, logs, data entry sheets, applications - electronic or otherwise, registrations forms, billings statements or invoices, computer print-outs, disks, hard drives, etc.
  • Wikileaks' silencing was sought by antidemocratic governments worldwide - including China, whose censors work mightily to block all access to the site. Wikileaks' plug was pulled, ironically, (not in China) but by a federal judge in San Francisco.
  • [Wikileaks] could become as important a journalistic tool as the Freedom of Information Act.
  • We're very pleased that Judge White recognized the serious constitutional concerns raised by his earlier orders. Attempting to interfere with the operation of an entire website because you have a dispute over some of its content is never the right approach. Disabling access to an Internet domain in an effort to prevent the world from accessing a handful of widely-discussed documents is not only unconstitutional it simply won't work.

See also

External links

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