Posts Tagged ‘Steven Aftergood’

LÄCKOR: WikiLeaks och dess grundare Julian Assange har släppt 90 000 hemliga dokument om kriget i Afghanistan.

För många – och kanske de allra flesta – är Assange en klassisk whistleblower som via WikiLeaks skapat möjlighet även för andra att kunna avslöja obekväma sanningar utan att riskera avslöjande.

Men det finns också en rad märkligheter i hur WikiLeaks arbetar som är mindre smickrande.

Innan den senaste raden av dokument släpptes skrev David Kushner på tidskriften Mother Jones om Assange och WikiLeaks historia.

When I contacted the impressive figures who’d been listed on WikiLeaks’ advisory board, some didn’t know exactly why they were named. Tashi Namgyal Khamsitsang, a former representative of the Dalai Lama, recalls getting a cryptic email from WikiLeaks a few years ago, but says he’s never been asked for advice. Xiao Qiang, a Chinese democracy activist, says he exchanged emails with Assange but little more. (After this article was originally published, WikiLeaks removed its advisory board from an updated version of its website.) 

Digital security expert Ben Laurie laughs when I ask why he’s named on the site. ”WikiLeaks allegedly has an advisory board, and allegedly I’m a member of it,” he says. ”I don’t know who runs it. One of the things I’ve tried to avoid is knowing what’s going on there, because that’s probably safest for all concerned.” Laurie says his only substantive interaction with the group was when Assange approached him to help design a system that would protect leakers’ anonymity. […] 

When asked about his supposed advisors’ denials, Assange downplays the board as ”pretty informal.” But can WikiLeaks be trusted with sensitive documents when it is less than transparent itself? […] 

At first, WikiLeaks was conceived as an open and ”completely neutral” conduit for forbidden information. ”WikiLeaks does not pass judgment on the authenticity of documents. That’s up to the readers, editors and communities to do,” a 2008 version of the site explained. It has since moved away from crowdsourcing the analysis of leaks and has even publicly toyed with the idea of selling its juiciest material to the highest bidder. It also no longer claims to be a neutral messenger: It created a site called CollateralMurder.com to host the Iraq helicopter footage; WikiLeaks and Assange were quick to call out those who offered differing interpretations of the video.

När vem som helst har möjlighet att lägga upp dokument på sajten blir det också ganska uppenbart att det finns goda möjligheter att fabricera läckor. Finns det inte finns tillräckliga resurser eller intresse av att kontrollera dessa dokument uppstår en rad olika spörsmål kring WikiLeaks.

På WikiLeaks finns t.ex. ett dokument som påstås avslöja John McCains strategi för hur man planerade att bemöta Barack Obamas kampanj om presidentposten. Dokumentet är troligen fejkat.

Möjligheterna att använda WikiLeaks för propaganda och desinformation är något många kritiker har påtalat.

Ett annat problem är de etiska och moraliska aspekterna kring hela konceptet WikiLeaks.

”It’s a good thing that there’s a channel for getting information out that’s reliable and can’t be compromised,” says Harvard law professor and online transparency pioneer Lawrence Lessig. But, he adds, ”There’s a difference between what you can legally do, what you can technically do, and what you ought to do.” […]

Steven Aftergood, who writes the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy News blog and has published thousands of leaked or classified documents, says he wasn’t impressed with WikiLeaks’ ”conveyor-belt approach” to publishing confidential material. ”To me, transparency is a means to an end, and that end is an invigorated political life, accountable institutions, opportunities for public engagement. For them, transparency and exposure seem to be ends in themselves,” says Aftergood. He declined to get involved.

Läs mer: WikiLeaks senaste publicerade dokument relaterade till kriget i Afghanistan släpptes först till The Guardian, The New York Times och Der Spiegel.

Read Full Post »