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Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wikileaks founded by Chinese dissidents; China blocks access

My belief is that when the corporate and banking shit starts to leak out in 2011, all this government crap will seem like child's play. Still, as I've recently had feelings where I wished wikileaks would release info about the Chinese government or oppression in the Middle East, I was fascinated to learn that it was created to do exactly that!

Here are some explanations of the origin of Wikileaks:

A) From Wikipedia:

The organisation describes its founders as a mix of Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians, and start-up company technologists from the United States, Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa.

B) From Wikileaks:

Wikileaks was founded by Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and startup company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa.

Our public Advisory Board, which is still in formation, includes courageous journalists, representatives from refugee communities, ethics and anti-corruption campaigners, including a former national head of Transparency International, human rights campaigners, lawyers and cryptographers.

C) From US Intelligence (source: wikileaks report on US Army Counterilligence plan to destroy wikileaks): was founded by Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians, and technologists from the United States, China, Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. Its Web site became operational in early 2007. The advisory board for includes journalists, cryptographers, a ―former US intelligence analyst,‖ and expatriates from Chinese, Russian, and Tibetan refugee communities. The ACIC does not have any information to associate or link the ―former US intelligence analyst‖ on the advisory board with the leakage of sensitive or classified DoD documents posted to the Web site.

Again according to this US Army intelligence report, not all countries are as open to wikileaks info as Canada and the United States.

The governments of China, Israel, North Korea, Russia, Thailand, Zimbabwe, and several other countries have blocked access to Web sites, claimed they have the right to investigate and prosecute and associated whistleblowers, or insisted they remove false, sensitive, or classified government information, propaganda, or malicious content from the Internet. The governments of China, Israel, and Russia claim the right to remove objectionable content from, block access to, and investigate crimes related to the posting of documents or comments to Web sites such as The governments of these countries most likely have the technical skills to take such action should they choose to do so.

VERY interesting is the stated purpose of the website:

A) From Wikileaks:

Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interest is in exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact. Our interface is identical to Wikipedia and usable by all types of people. We have received over 1.2 million documents so far from dissident communities and anonymous sources.

B) From the US Counterintelligence report on wikileaks:

The stated intent of the Web site is to expose unethical practices, illegal behavior, and wrongdoing within corrupt corporations and oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East. To do so, the developers of the Web site want to provide a secure forum to where leakers, contributors, or whistleblowers from any country can anonymously post or send documentation and other information that exposes corruption or wrongdoing by governments or corporations. The developers believe that the disclosure of sensitive or classified information involving a foreign government or corporation will eventually result in the increased accountability of a democratic, oppressive, or corrupt the government to its citizens.

With the recent focus on the USA, has wikileaks strayed from its stated purpose? Or is it merely a pipe for information, with little control over what goes into the pipe?

The US Army had plans to hurt wikileaks by prosecuting the leakers, and though the strategy on paper seems to make some sense, this is a tap that may be extremely difficult to turn off (I like the emergence of wikileaks to the publishing of the complete Dead Sea Scrolls on the Internet in 1998, each a watershed event):

Web sites such as have trust as their most important center of gravity by protecting the anonymity and identity of the insider, leaker, or whistleblower. Successful identification, prosecution, termination of employment, and exposure of persons leaking the information by the governments and businesses affected by information posted to would damage and potentially destroy this center of gravity and deter others from taking similar actions.

Let's give wikileaks the last word. In response to the question, "Is wikileaks concerned about legal consequences?", here is the reply on the wikileaks website:

Our roots are in dissident communities and our focus is on non-Western authoritarian regimes. Consequently we believe a politically motivated legal attack on us would be seen as a grave error in Western administrations. However, we are prepared, structurally and technically, to deal with all legal attacks. We design the software, and promote its human rights agenda, but the servers are run by anonymous volunteers. Because we have no commercial interest in the software, there is no need to restrict its distribution. In the very unlikely event that we were to face coercion to make the software censorship friendly, there are many others who will continue the work in other jurisdictions.

Peace 2 All

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