Wikileaks

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The word WikiLeaks has been added to our everyday vocabulary only a couple of years ago. Yet, it has surged in its usage in perfunctory conversation with astounding pace. The organisation created by Australian hacker Julian Assange and a few of his close associates, the closest being fellow German hacker Daniel Domscheit-Berg, has captured the rapt attention of the world media by its activities. WikiLeaks has been an influential organisation and has created waves, whether beneficial or detrimental, across the international community. The intent of writing this term paper is to explore the origination of the organisation with its set of goals, ideals and methodologies, and assessing the impact that it has had on the contemporary global and domestic scenarios. This assessment is further validated by a detailed case study on the specific impact of WikiLeaks on the diplomatic relations between the United States and Pakistan. The paper tries to establish a link between WikiLeaks and a change in the international structure, as it were. Issues relating to the tyranny of a uni-polar world and future prospects of change (in facilitating which WikiLeaks plays a part) are discussed. WikiLeaks has been at the wrong end of many a pointing finger with regard to the kind of work it does. Towards the end, the paper discusses the ethical questions raised about WikiLeaks and presents arguments both for and against the correctness or wrongness of the objectives of and the means used by WikiLeaks. The term wiki came into popular internet usage after the conception of Wikipedia by Jimmy Wales and Larry Sanger in 2001. The term, in fact, was anointed with a new meaning in the parlance into which it was introduced. Any wiki website is one where the content is user generated and relies completely on contributions, both intellectual and financial, from internet users sitting in any remote corner of the earth. WikiLeaks was started as a wiki but could not serve the purpose it was meant for in this format due to lack of enthusiasm from contributors. Assange thus opted for the organisation to change its way of functioning to one where a small trusted group of people passionate behind the cause filtered and disseminated information gathered from a wide array of sources. In this vein, it is essential to establish right at the outset that WikiLeaks is in no way affiliated to or associated with Wikipedia or the Wikimedia Foundation. The mistake of this automatic mental association is an easy one to make and the aim of this assertion is to bring clarity on the subject.

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The aim of WikiLeaks is, in its own words, to ‘bring important news and information to the public’. Assange created the organisation with the seemingly noble intention of bringing complete transparency in the circulation of any kind of information. He wanted to bridge the gap between the layman and the hidden goings-on in corporate and political circles. The need was felt for the news consumer to get an unbiased picture of things and get access to original sensitive documents of national and international importance. Assange cited the freedom of the press as granted to news organisations under Swedish law, where no news agency can be asked for the source(s) of its published facts and opinions. It is to this broad moral ideal that WikiLeaks owes its origin to. Its role as a mediator between the troubled gentleman who wants to blow the whistle on some corruption or embezzlement can be aptly explained through what transpires in the movie Green Zone. The movie traces how a soldier in the US Army on duty in Iraq digs around and discovers that the intelligence about there being weapons of mass destruction (WMDs) in Iraq was fabricated. He however has no way of letting the world know of this grave misappropriation of territorial and political sovereignty without putting himself in mortal danger. It is this gap that WikiLeaks tries to bridge by becoming a medium through which the...
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