Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wiki, Wiki, Wiki, Who's Got The Wiki, And Why President Obama Should Be A One Term President, but Probably Won't

Julian Assange

Baghdad Shootout

Next Target

"A whistleblower is a person who raises a concern about alleged wrongdoing occurring in an organization or body of people. Usually this person would be from that same organization. The alleged misconduct may be classified in many ways; for example, a violation of a law, rule, regulation and/or a direct threat to public interest, such as fraud, health/safety violations, and corruption. Whistleblowers may make their allegations internally (for example, to other people within the accused organization) or externally (to regulators, law enforcement agencies, to the media or to groups concerned with the issues).

Whistleblowers frequently face reprisal, sometimes at the hands of the organization or group which they have accused, sometimes from related organizations, and sometimes under law.

The term whistleblower derives from the practice of British police officers, who would blow their whistles when they noticed the commission of a crime. The whistle would alert other law enforcement officers and the general public of danger." Wikipedia

Wikileaks* is a international non-profit archival Internet entity that releases documents and videos, and other forms of information that would not normally be available to the world at large because they are often registered as being "classified," by the issuing government or business, or agency, or are embarrassing to the issuing source, in either case they would not normally wish these forms of information given up to the world for scrutiny. These documents and other forms of data are usually supplied to Wikileaks by anonymous sources, leaks, and whistleblowers, and the organization itself is considered a whistleblower web-site, its internal organization hidden from view, its computer servers switched from one location to another when needed, itself attempting to be as anonymous as possible.
Its web-site ( ) launched in December of 2006, claims to have been "founded by Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and start-up company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa". A month later Julian Paul Assange emerged as the public face of Wikileaks, a former mathematics, physics student, and computer programmer, he has become a journalist, publisher, and of course Internet activist. He is Australian and he is on the run.,8599,2033887,00.html
When asked about being the representative of the whistleblower web-site he had this to say: "I originally tried hard for the organisation to have no face, because I wanted egos to play no part in our activities. ... (But) in the end, someone must be responsible to the public and only a leadership that is willing to be publicly courageous can genuinely suggest that sources take risks for the greater good. In that process, I have become the lightening rod. I get undue attacks on every aspect of my life, but then I also get undue credit as some kind of balancing force."
Wikileaks posted its first document in 2006, a decision to assassinate government officials signed by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, a Somali political figure . Since then the site has been very busy.
In 2007 a March 2003 copy of Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta detailing the protocol of the U.S. Army at the Guantanamo Bay prison was published, disclosing that some prisoners were denied visits by the Red Cross. In February 2008, WikiLeaks released allegations of illegal activities at the Cayman Islands branch of Bank Julius Baer of Switzerland, which led to a lawsuit and an injunction which temporarily shut down the site. in 2008 they published "the collected secret 'bibles' of Scientology." The bank account of Sarah Palin was published during the election of 2008, which had been hacked into (no wonder her heated response below).
In March 2010, WikiLeaks released a secret 32-page U.S. Department of Defense Counterintelligence Analysis Report written in 2008 discussing the leaking of material by WikiLeaks itself and how it could be deterred.
Last April, a classified video of a July 12th, 2007 Baghdad airstrike was released, showing two Reuters employees being fired at, after the pilots mistakenly thought the men were carrying weapons, which were in fact cameras. In the week following the release, "Wikileaks" was the search term with the most significant growth worldwide in the last seven days as measured by Google Insights.
That's when I first heard of them, and I thought to myself, wow, an organization devoted to unmasking government bullshit, dirty tricks, and egregious behavior. Cool.
Of course I think it's safe to say the governments and entities that Wikileaks shines it's spotlight on doesn't like them at all!
But some others did.
The organization won The Economist's New Media Award in 2008, and Amnesty International's UK Media Award in 2009. And just last week Julian Assange was named the Reader's Choice for Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2010, but lost out to Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook, who Time must have considered more politically palatable.
The recent outrage directed against the whistleblower site stems from WikiLeaks' decision in late November to publish a trove of more than 250,000 confidential diplomatic cables. The cables contain correspondence between American embassies throughout the world and the U.S. State Department. Embarrassing disclosures, such as unflattering remarks concerning world leaders by senior U.S. officials such as: the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is compared to Adolf Hitler, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev as Batman and Robin, respectively. Italy's Prime Minister, Silvio Berlusconi was called "feckless, vain and ineffective as a modern European leader," while French President Nicolas Sarkozy is "an emperor with no clothes."
The cables "reveal an assessment of Mr. Putin’s Russia as highly centralized, occasionally brutal and all but irretrievably cynical and corrupt."
Disclosed were Secretary Clinton's private instructions to have members of the foreign service gather biometric and personal details of foreign diplomats, including U.S. allies and members of the United Nations.
Cables tell of many leaders of Arab countries concerned about the growing Influence of Iran in the region, including that country's purported nuclear threat, some insisting the United States preemptively attack Iran to quell their fears.
On, and on, and on, and on... from China ready to abandon North Korea, to documents indicating Iran has obtained 19 missiles from North Korea thereby increasing the range from which it can strike. From bargaining to empty the Guantánamo Bay prison to foreign countries in exchange for time with President Obama, to documentation on the amount and pervasiveness of corruption in the Afghan government. On and on and on. 250,000 cables worth of information the countries involved would have liked to never have seen the light of day.
Accordingly world leaders and governments are pissed off. I can't say as I blame them. If I were trying to get away with a whole bunch of crap I wasn't supposed to be doing, some of which was probably illegal, and someone ratted me out, I'd be pissed off too.
Many prominent American political figures, almost exclusively conservative, or right wingers, have called Julian Assange a "terrorist," and some call for his immediate execution. Sarah Palin, who I hope runs for President in 2012, wants Assange “hunted down in the way armed forces are targeting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.” Mitch "Turtle Boy" McConnell, calls him a "high tech terrorist," and prosecuted to the full extent of the law, and if that doesn't work, change the law! Vice President Joe Biden calls him the same thing. Bill O'Reilly wants to send a drone after him. Lunatic Newt (Newt) Gingrich says Assange has committed "information warfare" and that he is engaged in terrorism, and should be treated as an enemy combatant (apparently Newt didn't get the memo issued by the Attorney General on March 13th of last year, that the United States will not use the term, "enemy combatant" anymore).
My, my. They are upset.
Assange has promised to release a "vast" amount of documents concerning "Bank of America," early next year. "We don't want the bank to suffer unless it's called for," Assange told The Times. "But if its management is operating in a responsive way there will be resignations," he said."
It couldn't happen to a nicer bank.
Hopefully they've got something on Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and Citibank as well.
Shares in Bank of America have fallen since it has become WikiLeaks next target.
Don't worry. They can afford it.

To be continued.

*The word "wiki" is an Hawaiian word for "quick." The prefix "Wiki," usually denotes a website, or software that when utilized on a website, allows users to collaboratively create and edit web pages using a web browser. Wikipedia for instance allows anyone to submit entries, or edit existing entries. Hopefully their is a governing entity that oversees what material is submitted or edited which maintains accuracy and authenticity in it's entries, guaranteeing some standard of reliability. As far as Wikileaks is concerned I believe the prefix refers to the ability of anyone to submit documents. Again, hopefully all submitted documents are vetted for authenticity.

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