The new project, “Openleaks,” has been under way for some time and will be launched Monday. DN.se has spoken to individuals behind the new site and the message is clear.
“Our long term goal is to build a strong, transparent platform to support whistleblowers--both in terms of technology and politics--while at the same time encouraging others to start similar projects,” says a colleague wishing to remain anonymous.
”As a short-term goal, this is about completing the technical infrastructure and ensuring that the organization continues to be democratically governed by all its members, rather than limited to one group or individual.”
The news comes in turbulent times for WikiLeaks. Thousands of documents infuriating global leaders and policy-makers have been unveiled to the public via Cablegate. Meanwhile, Julian Assange has been arrested in Great Britain on suspected rape charges based in Sweden. News about WikiLeaks has been over-shadowed by Assange's personal problems.
Earlier this year, WikiLeaks experienced accessibility issues. According to information revealed to DN.se, the problem was not linked to outsiders trying to sabotage, but came from the inside as a signal to Julian Assange to step down. The colleagues were dissatisfied with the operation's association with Assange's personal problems and how he used the organization in his explanation of the criminal charges.
It is the top-down management style which is under critique.
On the other hand, the DN.se source emphasizes the fact that the new website is supportive of WikiLeaks purpose and goal.
“The two organizations are similar in that aspect that both are focusing on providing means for whistleblowers to anonymously provide the public with information,” one insider says.
Unlike WikiLeaks, Openleaks will not receive and publish information directly for the public eye. Instead, other organizations will access the Openleaks system and in turn, present their audience with the material. Documents will be processed and published by various collaborating organizations.
“We intend to split the work in a way where we handle only the anonymity and receiving end of the information,” says another colleague.
According to the internal documents shared with DN.se, Openleaks intends to establish itself as a neutral intermediary ”without a political agenda except from the dissemination of information to the media, the public, non-profit organizations, trade- and union organizations and other participating groups.”
“All editorial control and responsibility rests with the publishing organization. We will, as far as possible, take the role of the messenger between the whistleblower and the organization the whistleblower is trying to cooperate with,” says one anonymous informant.
Another intended consequence is to avoid the pressure from world leaders that WikiLeaks has experienced.
“As a result of our intention not to publish any document directly and in our own name, we do not expect to experience the kind of political pressure which WikiLeaks is under at this time. In that aspect, it is quite interesting to see how little of politicians' anger seems directed at the newspapers using WikiLeaks sources.”
Translation: Majsan Boström.