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Daniel Domscheit-Berg [right] used to be Wikileaks second-in-command. Disillusioned he left the site. Now he's founded OpenLeaks and is calling out Wikileaks' recent questionable behavior.  (Source: AFP)

OpenLeaks, Wikileaks' new rival, promises greater transparency and discretion.
Who's watching the watchmen?

Most would agree that there is a need for whistleblowing outlets in the media.  Without the scrutiny of exposé reporting, there are serious questions concerning whether the civilian government, military, and corporate businesses would exchange integrity for potential foul gains. 

With media shifting online, the web seems a natural home for a whistleblowing endeavor.  But the real question is -- who should be entrusted with such a vital mantle 

Criticism From Within 

Daniel Domscheit-Berg, like Wikileaks' notorious founder, Julian Assange, was a member of a high-profile early hacking community.  Whereas Mr. Assange frequented the Zen/Pacific Island servers in Australia, Mr. Domscheit-Berg was a member of the Chaos Computer Club (CCC) in Germany.  

When Mr. Assange looked to open Wikileaks, Mr. Domscheit-Berg was already familiar with famous Australian who had committed cyber-crimes under the named "Mendax".  He agreed to participate in the project, and for a time assumed the position of both spokesperson for the site and its number-two commander behind Mr. Assange. 

But in recent months, the German technology expert became troubled with Mr. Assange's leadership and Wikileaks’ lack of transparency.  He also indicates that recent leaks were badly botched and questionable. 

In response he has created a new site, with firm ethics guidelines, dubbed OpenLeaks. 

Leaks:  Who to Trust? 

When it comes to whistle blowing, the question of who to trust is a critical one.  After all, it's far too easy for international cyberespionage to masquerade under the guise of "whistle blowing" as some have accused Wikileaks of intentionally or unintentionally doing. 

Ideally a whistleblower must have a certain degree of respect for the government or institution he's exposing.  Or perhaps more aptly, they should desire to improve it through their actions, rather than destroy it. 

Mr. Assange in recent interviews espouses such morals, but his writings from the 1990s reveal a man who's firmly anti-government, to the point of advocating anarchy.  In a 1997 book, Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier, which Mr. Assange did research for, he voices such opinions. 

In the book, he and the author Suelette Dreyfus write:

As he quietly backed out of the system, wiping away his footprints as he tip-toed away, Mendax [Assange] thought about what he had seen. He was deeply disturbed that any hacker would work for the US military.

Hackers, he thought, should be anarchists, not hawks.

Such a statement could be construed as off-the-cuff, but at least one source who was a member of Mr. Assange's Australian hacking circle, who did not want to be named, confirmed that Mr. Assange had advocated such anarchic ideals.

And the recent leaks from Wikileaks certainly seemed more of a bid to destabilize U.S. foreign policy, rather than merely call it out for wrongdoing.  While the blame for the publication of recent leaks like a list of top targets for terrorists to harm U.S. national security rests partly on cooperating publishing organizations, such as The New York Times, one has to question why Wikileaks published them in the first place. 

If its goal was merely to report wrongdoing, why was it releasing loads of cables, many of which contained embarrassing or dangerous secrets (vulnerable locations, undisclosed illnesses of world leaders, or political tensions) but seemingly had little to do with wrongdoing? 

OpenLeaks: New Leaks Site, New Perspective

Mr. Domscheit-Berg left Wikileaks some time ago -- and he is not alone.  In the last year or two, particularly after the recent round of leaks, many of the site's top volunteers have abandoned it, questioning whether the site is abandoning its morals for a darker agenda. 

Mr. Domscheit-Berg sums up the sentiments of these former volunteers, stating, "In these last months, the organization [Wikileaks] has not been open any more, it lost its open-source promise." 

When asked about Mr. Assange's leadership in a recent interview, he comments, "It has weakened the organization.  [T]oo much focused on one person, and one person is always much weaker than an organization." 

He and his fellow volunteers have launched a new site OpenLeaks website, which is now live (  The site has not yet published any leaked information, but plans to begin by writing short essays analyzing information it has obtained. 

For his part, Mr. Domscheit-Berg promises more transparency and discretion.  Whereas Wikileaks does not disclose details on its leadership structure or finances, OpenLeaks plans on publishing reports detailing its procedures.  

Similarly, Mr. Domscheit-Berg says that if he happens upon a treasure trove of information, like the illegally obtained U.S. State Department cables that were recently published by Wikileaks, that he would be more selective about what is passed to the media. 

He says that by carefully reviewing the material, you kill two birds with one stone.  First, you ensure that each leaked document really necessitates publication under whistle-blowing grounds, allowing extraneous documents to be eliminated.  And secondly, by taking a slower, more considered approach, OpenLeaks hopes to not burn through its supply of leaked info as Wikileaks is thought to have.

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RE: What's Next?
By sprockkets on 12/13/2010 5:42:02 PM , Rating: 5
conservativeleaks? Already exists.

It's called Fox News.

RE: What's Next?
By michal1980 on 12/13/10, Rating: -1
RE: What's Next?
By phantom505 on 12/13/2010 10:51:21 PM , Rating: 3
You just think they're bias because you're a wing nut. The only one with slant is MSNBC. The rest are basically something in between Fox and MSNBC and may favor who had the better PR guy (more like best PR guy with network hook ups).

Get over it. It's not actually liberal. Fox is certainly neocon though, by their own admission.

RE: What's Next?
By michal1980 on 12/13/2010 11:56:08 PM , Rating: 1
cnn isn't slanted?

I can use the same logic you just used

"you think fox news is slanted cause your a wing nut"

fact is most news people are liberal hacks.

as confimred by donations.

RE: What's Next?
By Zoridon on 12/14/10, Rating: 0
RE: What's Next?
By wordsworm on 12/14/2010 5:49:36 AM , Rating: 3
What left sided media are you talking about? There's a right side, a centre, and no left side in the American media. The left side was taken out decades ago during the routing of communists in the US.

Left is about responsibility and freedom. Right is about Jesus and killing or imprisoning everyone else.

You don't have the truth. You have a Bible. Ironically, Christianity has nothing to do with the Bible and a lot more to do with the Roman Paganism from two thousand years ago. Hard to imagine folks still believe in all that junk and want to force it and the belief system on everyone.

RE: What's Next?
By michal1980 on 12/14/2010 6:43:07 AM , Rating: 1
except for foxnews, what other media isn't lefty?

Theres a reason you lefty's have your panties in a bunch over fox news, and no other outlet, they are the only ones that think differnt

RE: What's Next?
By Paj on 12/14/2010 12:36:04 PM , Rating: 2
Can you name one US paper that is left wing? As in Guardian left wing?

RE: What's Next?
By bug77 on 12/14/2010 7:14:59 AM , Rating: 2
And pigs fly.

RE: What's Next?
By bug77 on 12/14/2010 4:20:39 AM , Rating: 2
The only one with slant is MSNBC. The rest are basically something in between Fox and MSNBC and may favor who had the better PR guy

Remind me, how many Republican candidates were endorsed by New York Times in the past 50 years?

RE: What's Next?
By karielash on 12/13/2010 11:54:50 PM , Rating: 1

Fox 'News'. No such thing.

Fox Pseudo religious extreme right wing BS channel.... yes that exists.

RE: What's Next?
By Zoridon on 12/14/2010 2:48:42 AM , Rating: 2
See another fox news bashing lefty, thanks for proving my point. You are religious you know... you worship yourself and havent realized it yet. Self delusion.

RE: What's Next?
By R3T4rd on 12/14/2010 4:48:18 AM , Rating: 3
LOL. Exactly. I am in my mid thirties. I grew up with all the mumbo jumbo liberal educational teachings of the US public school systems. For a long time my views of the world and politics were very slanted and narrow mindedly left. I wore the "Liberal" tag like a Superman ensignia. If you are not a Liberal Lefty like me, you are the enemy. It wasn't until my late twenties when my brain really started working and I questioned my stance - why I am so hateful towards non-liberals and leftys and why am I so just, hateful? I started researching and finding answers for myself that I learned, what I was taught and brainwashed in school, was not the truth but a perspective into the truth. Now when I look back at it all, I acted exactly like these Fox News bashers and misguided liberals nowadays - granted I do not ever watch Fox News nor any news outlet anymore. And no, I am not a republican. It is sad to see the kids of the US and the US's future leaders, having to go through all the liberal media institutions and get brainwashed.

On topic, as I have stated and others have before, "Wikileaks" has and always been Assange's revenge tool against the US from the begining. You cannot circumvent that stance on Assange and Wikileaks with these latest events.

RE: What's Next?
By Schrag4 on 12/14/2010 10:02:43 AM , Rating: 2
I'm a pretty committed right-winger. I think the value in Fox News is their willingness (drive?) to run stories that the other outlets won't run. However, every time I turn on Fox News, it seems that's ALL they run. I know that's not really true - they run most of the 'regular' news stories too.

Does that mean I prefer CNN or MSNBC? No. But I think anyone who only gets their news from only one source isn't doing themselves any favors. Usually it doesn't matter what news is on - I end up yelling at the TV because it's so obvious they're trying to deceive us with misleading statistics and emotion-driven stories that mean jack-squat. All the while I can't help but wonder what the real news is that they're trying to hide from us by running this crap. That goes for pretty much all news organizations, in my book.

I really believe what makes a news outlet slanted is less about what they will run and more about what they won't run. And I think Fox News is just as bad as the left-leaning news orgs (and yes, I also believe the majority are left-leaning). My advice would be to watch a good mix and decide for yourself when they're being straight and when they're bending the truth or hiding info from you. You may not like Fox but if you ignore Fox entirely you're probably missing something. Just like if you watch nothing BUT fox, you're missing stuff too.

RE: What's Next?
By karielash on 12/14/2010 3:50:23 PM , Rating: 1
lol.. oh really. Your naivety is showing.

"The Space Elevator will be built about 50 years after everyone stops laughing" -- Sir Arthur C. Clarke

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