If I ask you the question “what ever happened to Wikileaks” – would you respond with “well, Assange is in the media constantly preparing for his legal defence and occasionally Bradley Manning is mentioned” ?
I’ve supported the purpose of Wikileaks since day one, hell, even WordswithMeaning! hosts an authorized mirror (and we will continue to do so for as long as it’s needed) but lately I’ve been questioning where Wikileaks is going in 2012
The inventive qualities of Wikileaks have been lost in its transformation into a promotional and fund-raising vehicle for Julian Assange as shown in the restructured website which billboards him.
Its once irreplaceable, steady stream of documents, packaged in its own, generic format, is now a tiny trickle of official papers apparently regulated by a compact with a few mainstream media outlets which augment the material well beyond its worth. Days go by when nothing new is offered except outpouring of manufactured news about Assange, his legal issues and the future he endeavors as a talk show host, political candidate and fight against what he is known for. It’s important to note that Julian Assange was only one piece of Wikileaks.
Supposedly there was a back-log of submissions to Wikileaks? Assange claimed to have had thousands of world-changing leaks, but as of yet – we see miniscule portions released. There has been nothing too thrilling since (with the exception of the slightly interesting Stratfor files.)
The backlog of daily leaks (20 per day were supposed to be released) has been stalled. Julian Assange has said there aren’t enough staff members available to process the cables.
The official Wikileaks.org site has lost its Wikimedia styled appearance which makes the original mirrors appear easier to use. The site itself has lost touch and can be considerably frustrating to navigate. Not to mention the constant begging for cash. Don’t get me wrong, I realize how hard it can be to pay for servers, resources and legal defense especially after PayPal banned Wikileaks from using their services and the banking blockades came into place – but one does ponder the financial facilities required to operate the site.
Assange (amongst the other Wikileaks faces like Kristinn Hrafnsson and Bradley Manning) are going to be releasing books as fund-raisers. Most of which, will most likely be “an inside look” with dramatic samples of what will be "revealed for the first time."
Bradley Manning is a distance-friend of mine, and although he has been cast as the one who was “aiding the enemy” for releasing intricate and confidential proof that soldiers were causing harm to civilians in Iraq, he actually contributed more to Wikileaks than most acknowledge. – Bradley Manning is unfortunately facing a life sentence for his intelligence leaks that included details of cover ups and a civilians’ newborn baby shot in the head by American soldiers. Take a look at our friends at the Bradley Manning Support Network for the complete background and updates.
Money is what Wikileaks needs to survive, but how much of this money is ACTUALLY for Julian Assange. How much money is being spent on legal representation to fight the claims that Assange is the perpetrator of sexual assault? I believe Assange is innocent, but I get a clouded view when it comes to the self-serving nature behind Wikileaks – take for instance the recent fundraiser in which Assange was auctioning off signed photographs of his model-like portraits. Celebrity Net Worth estimates that Assange is worth $1.3 million.
For the pure curiosity of it – Here’s a Screen capture of Assange’s profile on Couchsurfing.com
I truly regret to say that I think the original purpose of Wikileaks is fading.
Wikileaks was once a substitute to conventional birthplaces of information but that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. There will be those who linger to milk the potential of Wikileaks, arguing passionately for its fortification and persistence.
Wikileaks’ core structure has slowly and steadily become as private as the corporations they set out to disclose. What truly concerns me is the increased absence of bookkeeping in regards to the donations received from contributors. There is without question no accounting in terms of duties received and expenses. In addition to this, Assange is the only person with direct access to Wikileaks funds. The deficiency of large donations is starting to expose Wikileaks to uninvited political influence. Wikileaks is accepting keep-alive donations from the Movement Party in Iceland – This is a small assembly of left wing office-bearers in the Icelandic parliament. Eventually, this committee could acknowledge that they scratched Wikileaks’ back and so in return, politically biased leaks?
An eternal advantage of Wikileaks’ downfall is that other initiatives will have learned from the experience. Assange, a man I once admired and looked up to is now comfortably committed to the high life. Once his trial is over and he is found not guilty, I think he’ll spend the rest of his life in a nice calming villa, away from the daunting government officials. Who would blame him? But on balance, wasn’t Wikileaks thought to be the opposite of that? Didn’t we expect the site to force a revolution in freedom-to-know-information even if journalists would die trying?