By: Nathan Traini
Wikileaks is a organization which receives censored or restricted information, verifies it, and releases it in a searchable format. Whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing seems to depend on what end of the leak you find yourself on.
In the aftermath of the Iraq War, Wikileaks dumped a trove of information that showed the US Military knowingly allowed Iraqi soldiers to use torture and even execute people without trial. In the same leak it showed a US airship with the call sign Crazyhorse 18 killed two journalists and two other individuals after they surrendered, according to the BBC.
What many people don’t know is that international law is the supreme law and applies to every single country. We helped to create the laws to make sure things like the holocaust don’t happen again and if it does people are punished severely. Some of the international laws prevent war crimes. Examples of war crimes are the use of torture and killing soldiers who have surrendered. War crimes are punishable by two methods, death, or long term imprisonment according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The Wikileaks’ release of documents from private Chelsea Manning showed that the US didn’t and continues to not follow the international laws it helped create. One example of the US breaking international law is its use of torture. The documents released by Manning showed how Egyptian torturers were trained by the FBI, and that the US used spying and threats to get its way at a climate conference in Copenhagen, according to The Nation. Another example is the one just referenced, talking about killing combatants after they have surrendered.
When the government finds itself in a difficult position because they were exposed for some war crime or domestic crime, they say the information that was leaked will put lives at risk. They never provide any factual claims to back that statement up. Any person looking at the government’s response to leaks such as these can see that they’re trying to frighten people into thinking the information is false and if not false, dangerous, and shouldn’t be look at.
In the case of the leaks of the Democratic National Committee emails, their response to it is similar to what the government does all the time. People from the DNC started a rumor that Russia hacked the DNC to help Donald Trump. This would be a huge deal and the FBI would be given full access to their serves to substantiate the DNC’s claim, right? Wrong, instead the DNC never gave the FBI access to their servers and had a third party, with no accountability, look into it according to The Hill. The information contained in the emails from the DNC was quickly forgotten and red scare fever replaced the real issues the DNC didn’t wish to discuss, which was its bias behavior to Bernie Sanders. Similar to what the government does all the time.
Recently, Wikileaks published a collection of documents called Vault 7. This release showed that the CIA has been able to bypass encryption on any device, Apple or Android. The CIA also has a huge collection of highly advanced malware (viruses, trojans, spyware) that they have lost control of and anyone with the correct amount of money can ascertain. In addition to that troubling fact, the CIA is also able to hack vehicle computer systems.
Whether it be war crimes committed by the US government, the DNC breaking its own bylaws, or the CIA’s big-brother-like hacking arsenal of which they’ve lost control, Wikileaks is the one informing us about it. Wikileaks has allowed the people of the United States to know what their employees, the people in power, are doing at our expense. It doesn’t matter if you’re liberal or conservative you cannot deny the role Wikileaks has played in creating a more informed and concerned citizenry which is the beating heart of democracy.