Free 800 words essay on Wikileaks for school and college students.
In the end of year 2006, a revolution started circulating the corridors of media and Internet. Classified documents, audios, and videos were being leaked online by an apparently rogue organization or individual. The scale of leaks was unprecedented and unfathomable, as the targets were some of the most high-profile individuals, governments, or enterprises. A flurry of events followed and spiraled into world’s biggest hunt for some of the world’s biggest secrets. This was Wikileaks, an international non-profit organization that publishes secret information from anonymous sources and claims to have some of the most scandalizing and damaging data of the world. One person behind the complete mission, rather syndicate is Julian Assange who is an Australian Internet activist and perhaps the most dreaded hacker of the world. Wikileaks has caused disruptions, upheaval, and pandemonium in the world, giving jitters even to some of the most powerful people ever.
Wikileaks released a shocking video of how American soldiers casually killed 15 civilians including 2 journalists of Reuters from an Apache helicopter. The truth was appalling and hugely embarrassing for the US Army who unashamedly denied allegations. The next shocker was Guantanamo Bay operating procedures, world’s most reprehensible and lethal detention camp operated by Central Intelligence Agency of the United States. The scale of torture and methods used was deeply disturbing and received a backlash from human rights groups.
The leaks about “Collected bibles of Scientology” published documents about the strangest Church practices of the world, to wich some prominent Hollywood celebrities are conspicuously associated. In another political disarray, personal information of thousands of members of far-right British National Party was released online by Wikileaks in 2008. It even hacked private emails of 2008 Republican Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. There was a successful attempt of exposing the cronyism between Sony Corporation and political circles through release of thousands of leaked data.
Perhaps some of the most damaging leaks were of War logs, that is, thousands of documents on American invasion of Iraq and Afghanistan. It consisted of local intelligence, civilian casualties, and clashes. Wikileaks had received a diplomatic cable from the US embassy in Reykjavik provided by US Army Private Chelsea Manning. November 2010, saw another onslaught of released diplomatic cables in collaboration with some of the top newspapers of the world. The releases were abhorrent such as discussions over tensions in the Middle East, political manipulation over climate change, resistance to nuclear disarmament, dealing between countries, operations of War on terror, etc.
World’s most wanted man Edward Snowden, former CIA analyst who turned whistleblower and led to US Government’s mass surveillance disclosures, was helped by Wikileaks to escape Hong Kong. This information about US-led espionage even on other world leaders damaged the government’s image to a great extent. Julian Assange undoubtedly was on the target list of the US government. Wikileaks even released the chapter on Intellectual Property Rights of the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership.
Most recently in the much-hyped US elections, Wikileaks released hacked emails of Democratic National Committee, former Secretary of State and Presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, and her election campaign manager John Podesta. This was amidst speculations and investigations of illicit Russian intervention in the US elections. Another major scandal was release of content coded as “Vault 7”, that CIA internal documentation of their “massive arsenal” of hacking tools including malware, viruses, weaponized “zero day” exploits and remote-control systems. It exposes a sinister TV surveillance program. They didn’t even spare the new French President Emmanuel Macron whose emails were leaked online.
Wikileaks is represented most prominently by Julian Assange who is currently under asylum at the Ecuadorian embassy in the UK. Other than him, Sarah Harrison, Kristinn Hrafnsson and Joseph Farrell are the only publicly known associates of Assange. This organization has no permanent employees, consisting of multiple untraceable anonymous journalists, dissidents, volunteers, and hackers. Their servers are spread across the world, and was hosted mainly by Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof in the Pionen facility. It moved to Amazon’s servers after massive denial of service attacks. Their legal status gets complicated as it is headquartered in Sweden, which has one of the world’s strongest laws to protect confidential source-journalist relationships. It is mostly self-financed and received massive donations from volunteers.
Wikileaks is not bereft of allegations on itself. Accusations of collusion with Donald Trump Jr. in the release of classified documents against Hillary Clinton are doing rounds of late. There are also reports of correspondence with Russians by collaborating with their propaganda outlet RT. Besides there are allegations of anti-Semitism, propagation and promotion of false, exaggeration of information, violations of personal privacy, internal conflicts, and dubious lack of transparency.
Most governments across the world abhors Wikileaks which is quite obvious. It however creates a pressure on them to be more accountable towards their global citizens, by exposing unwarranted incarcerations, damaging maneuvers, political gambling, and mass surveillance. With Julian Assange under arrest warrant for accusations of “rape”, and the incessant leaks even in these circumstances make the future of Wikileaks complex and difficult to speculate.