You no doubt remember the video released by WikiLeaks in April which showed American soldiers in Iraq killing civilians from a helicopter — including members of the press.
A couple days ago the New Yorker published a lengthy article profiling the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and telling the story of how he and his volunteer staff got the clip online. To be honest, the piece is so long that I haven’t finished reading it as of this posting, but I’m multiple pages in and so far it’s definitely worth your time.
Half a dozen computers were set up in a starkly decorated, white-walled living space. Icelandic activists arrived, and they began to work, more or less at Assange’s direction, around the clock. Their focus was Project B — Assange’s code name for a thirty-eight-minute video taken from the cockpit of an Apache military helicopter in Iraq in 2007. The video depicted American soldiers killing at least eighteen people, including two Reuters journalists; it later became the subject of widespread controversy, but at this early stage it was still a closely guarded military secret.
Assange is an international trafficker, of sorts…. [Wikileaks] has no paid staff, no copiers, no desks, no office. Assange does not even have a home. He travels from country to country, staying with supporters, or friends of friends-as he once put it to me, “I’m living in airports these days.” ….The secretiveness stems from the belief that a populist intelligence operation with virtually no resources, designed to publicize information that powerful institutions do not want public, will have serious adversaries.