The Brave New World of Wikileaks- the "most dangerous website in the world," the website that brought down dictatorships, that was responsible for what was then the biggest US national security leak in history- I had thought Wikileaks represented an army of hackers dedicated to ending secrecy.
I was wrong. Wikileaks was a peanut army all along, it was run for peanuts, and it brought down some of the greatest world tyrants- without even a slingshot!
Incredibly- "The Fifth Estate" shows the work was done mainly by only two people Julian Assange and his partner Daniel Domscheit-Berg. Further, they put the whole thing together with a few servers and the entire operation cost peanuts!
Peanuts! Talk about changing the world with a gang of two. Surrounding themselves with fake aliases and digital gimmicks to make the world think they were an army. Just as wooden soldiers ruse have been used to confound the enemy in battle.
Anyone could have put Wikileaks together. Why didn't anyone? Why don't the good government groups of the world do it now? The good can be done at a fraction of what we spend on lobbying etc. For example, why does the world whistleblower community represented by the Make It Safe Coalition (MISC) not immediately copy Wikileaks to topple fraudsters at home and abroad?
But that would require the MISC to agree on what the greater good is. That is the rub! History shows that any two whistleblowers will soon disagree on what the greater good is- just as in the film.
The heart of the film is the escalating fight between Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg . The two started together as true believers. The mission was simple. Expose secrets and topple tyrants. Worked great. Then the two fought staunch allies broke down into a bitter feud. Assange wanted all secrets published. Daniel wanted to protect innocents, and to carefully redact and respect privacy.
The clash of the two electronic whistleblower prophets greatly degraded Wikileaks capability. Together, Assange and Daniel could do anything. Apart, the mission degraded.
That is the divergence time and again inside of good government groups. I don't think it can be resolved. The civil rights movement was so divided. MLK took a far different approach than Malcolm X.
Unquestionably, the world needs Wikileaks to expose what the mainstream media can't or won't expose. Wikileaks holds a mirror for all countries to see their reflection. And now it is up to the citizens who want a better world- how can we harness and expand Wikileak-type exposure of tyrants?
But who watches the watchers? In "All the Presidents Men," there were very strict lines of accountability and processes to get the story right. Every fact was double checked, double sourced. And even when everything was done right, the story could still go wrong.
Wikileaks, was not able to find accountability. One man makes the decision to go public. And when one man arguably has more power than all the world's press put together, that power goes to the head.
We really need a Wikileaks with accountability. How could such an instrument be built? I'm not sure how, since almost every whistleblower would have a different idea of accountability. In today's society, any one person with a website can anoint himself the supreme Inquisitor.
It is argued that Wikileaks is the electronic equivalent of a few men on an airplane with box cutters. We can't take box cutters away from everyone in the world. Nor can we stop two dedicated men from setting up more Wikileaks.
The film dramatizes the real dilemma of a need for an ethical Wikileaks. The grassroots potential of Wikileaks is beyond staggering. But can greased lightening be controlled and harnessed?
The year 2013 has rightly been dubbed the year of the whistleblower by advocate Dr. Don Soeken. America is a thousand times better off now that we know the astonishing degree of electronic surveillance we are all subject to.