Why the World Needs WikiLeaks

by | Nov 17, 2016

Why the World Needs WikiLeaks

by | Nov 17, 2016

Berlin — My organization, WikiLeaks, took a lot of heat during the run-up to the recent presidential election. We have been accused of abetting the candidacy of Donald J. Trump by publishing cryptographically authenticated information about Hillary Clinton’s campaign and its influence over the Democratic National Committee, the implication being that a news organization should have withheld accurate, newsworthy information from the public.

The Obama Justice Department continues to pursue its six-year criminal investigation of WikiLeaks, the largest known of its kind, into the publishing of classified documents and articles about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Guantánamo Bay and Mrs. Clinton’s first year as secretary of state. According to the trial testimony of one F.B.I. agent, the investigation includes several of WikiLeaks founders, owners and managers. And last month our editor, Julian Assange, who has asylum at Ecuador’s London embassy, had his internet connection severed.

I can understand the frustration, however misplaced, from Clinton supporters. But the WikiLeaks staff is committed to the mandate set by Mr. Assange, and we are not going to go away, no matter how much he is abused. That’s something that Democrats, along with everyone who believes in the accountability of governments, should be happy about.

Despite the mounting legal and political pressure coming from Washington, we continue to publish valuable material, and submissions keep pouring in. There is a desperate need for our work: The world is connected by largely unaccountable networks of power that span industries and countries, political parties, corporations and institutions; WikiLeaks shines a light on these by revealing not just individual incidents, but information about entire structures of power.

While a single document might give a picture of a particular event, the best way to shed light on a whole system is to fully uncover the mechanisms around it — the hierarchy, ideology, habits and economic forces that sustain it. It is the trends and details visible in the large archives we are committed to publishing that reveal the details that tell us about the nature of these structures. It is the constellations, not stars alone, that allow us to read the night sky.

There are two contradictory myths about how we operate: on one hand, that we simply dump whatever comes to us into the public’s arms; and on the other, that we pick and choose material to harm our alleged political enemies.

We do neither. Yes, we believe in the integrity of source material, in the value of conserving pristine collections of documents, and we strive to make this historical record accessible to the public. We publish in full, in an uncensored and uncensorable fashion. But we also research, validate and contextualize the submissions we receive. While it can be difficult to balance the needs of the public to have timely access to large archives with individual privacy, such concerns have mostly been disingenuous.

Read the rest at the New York Times.

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