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The Whistleblower: Julian Assange

Julian Assange is one of the most famous whistleblowers since 2006. Assange is an Australian citizen and the leader of a group that attacks the secret documents of governments by leaking them. In fact, he managed to leak confidential information and data about global financial transactions between different countries and organizations as well as secret operations regarding military and policies. He also founded WikiLeaks as a website where whistleblowers and hackers could have the ability to put stolen information about organizations without having to mention their real identities. The website as well as Assange started to gain fame in most of the houses all over the world since Chelsea Manning contributed in the leakage of data about the American army. Furthermore, hackers were able to put on WikiLeaks a video about shooting Iraqi citizens, who were not armed, by helicopters that belonged to the United States. This video was named Collateral Murder. Since then, the name of Julian was mentioned in many fields including poisonous wastes thrown near Cote d’Ivoire along with operations and procedures regarding detention in Guantanamo Bay. Christodoulou, holly. (2017, February 8).

In 2010, whistleblowers on WikiLeaks were able to release more than two thousand documents regarding diplomatic cables. They managed to get these documents from a source without an identity. In addition, these documents were leaked and released after the spread of Collateral Murder video and the documents related to Iraqi and Afghani Wars in 2010. Both documents exceeded more than four thousand documents. It is said that the leakage of such information and data came from a source that belonged to Bradley Manning. As a matter of fact, Manning is an analyst who used to work in the American Army Intelligence. However, he was imprisoned later. A lot of people ask about whether WikiLeaks was able to release confidential documents before or not. In fact, the answer for such question is yes.  In order to succeed in leaking all these amounts of information, WikiLeaks has passed through three stages directly after being created. It is worth mentioning that the first stage involved the release of documents regarding Kenya about eight years ago. During this period, the responsible persons of the website and its management worked according to a wiki model. This model provided readers and loggers with the ability to put information on the website no matter what this information is or these documents are. On the contrary, the website had the authority to determine the kind of documents and whether to accept them or not. The second stage, through which WikiLeaks moved, included the release of Collateral Murder seven years ago. As a matter of fact, a lot of political organization took that video really seriously since it was considered as a political declaration of the brutality of the United States’ policies. This video was released in order to show and clarify a certain opinion, not in order to inform public about such point of view. Finally, the third stage included the release of diplomatic documents and labels. This stage is happening right now. WikiLeaks managed to have connections and strong relationships with organizations in the field of media and news to be able to collect, analyze and publish political documents through using organized ways instead of throwing such diplomatic cables on the internet or implementing them as a source to show a certain opinion. Zittrain, J. (2010).

While Julian and other whistleblowers believe that people all over the world are in deep need of WikiLeaks, the governmental authorities and organizations think the opposite. In fact, Assange thinks that these leakages of documents force the governments to be more open and not to hide any secrets. In addition, they encourage those political organizations to respect the public and their privacy along with showing that they are clear and honest. It has to be taken into consideration the fact that WikiLeaks was an anonymous unknown website unless it succeeded in the release of videos like Collateral Murder and Baghdad Airstrike videos. Unfortunately, Baghdad video was released by the website seven years ago and talked about the murder of two reporters, who used to work in Reuters, by American military forces. On the other side, the case is different for the United States. Officials in the American government had the desire to accuse Assange of betrayal and espionage since he has released private confidential diplomatic cables regarding Pentagon. Actually, the American government believed in the idea that these documents have resulted in the destruction of its national security and foreign affairs with other powerful countries. The WikiLeaks impact – the American business journal. (2016).

As for how the United States responded to these leakages, it resorted to the policy of power in order to force WikiLeaks and Assange to return back the hacked documents just after the release of diplomatic cables regarding the Afghani War. Moreover, it started along with the British government to condemn these actions because they thought they could lead to the destruction of peoples’ lives and their privacy. Moreover, a lot of authorities thought these documents to be very sensitive since it touched a lot of top secret political problems and situations. Universities also in the United States have warned their students not to enter WikiLeaks, read any document or put any data in order not to expose their lives to danger. Finally, it is worth mentioning that governments must be very careful while dealing with confidential documents and secure them well so that they could be able to avoid any kind of hacking or any whistleblower who might think of leaking them. Karhula, P. (2012).

References:

Karhula, P. (2012). What is the effect of WikiLeaks for freedom of information? Retrieved February 15, 2017, from IFLA, http://www.ifla.org/publications/what-is-the-effect-of-wikileaks-for-freedom-of-information

The WikiLeaks impact – the American business journal. (2016). Retrieved February 15, 2017, from The American Business Journal, http://www.abjusa.com/features/features_apr_may_11/the_wikileaks_impact_don_t_shoot_the_messenger.html

Zittrain, J. (2010). Everything you need to know about Wikileaks. Retrieved February 15, 2017, from https://www.technologyreview.com/s/421949/everything-you-need-to-know-about-wikileaks/

Christodoulou, holly. (2017, February 8). Who is Julian Assange and why is the WikiLeaks founder wanted by Sweden? Retrieved February 15, 2017, from THE SUN, https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/2188164/who-is-julian-assange/

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