Sarah Harrison: Why the World Needs WikiLeaks

A worthy read, even for the critics of WikiLeaks. The biggest problem at WikiLeaks is that they no longer curate the important details (SSNs, for instance) of innocent people that has basically no relevance to the public interest, but on the positive side, WikiLeaks has done a lot to raise awareness about certain corruptions in society.

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.

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.

WikiLeaks has transformed more than 10 million documents into a unique searchable archive, not only making our website the world’s largest online library for suppressed information, but also enabling greater contextualization through relationships across publications.

Some have accused us of being pawns of the Russian government, but this misrepresents our principles and basic operations. WikiLeaks relies on our editor’s invention of a secure anonymous online submission system to protect sources’ identities. This technology has become a standard for many media outlets around the world. We prefer not to know who our sources are; we do not want to, and usually do not need to. What matters to us is the authenticity of the documents.

This has always been our position and approach, whether we were publishing material about the George W. Bush administration’s wars or corruption within the Democratic Party. The establishment media was happy to work with us on the former, but turned against us when it came to the latter, calling into question our intentions and those of Mr. Assange. CNN has even suggested, wrongly, that readers may have legal troubles if they download documents from our site.

We publish without fear or favor, bringing transparency to powerful factions and secretive institutions, not taking any sides except that of the truth. We believe in the democratization of information and the power that knowledge gives to people to further peace, accountability and self-determination.

WikiLeaks will continue publishing, enforcing transparency where secrecy is the norm. While threats against our editor are mounting, Mr. Assange is not alone, and his ideas continue to inspire us and people around the world.