Disclosures and leaks have featured in all eras, but never before has a non-state or non- corporately affiliated group done anything like WikiLeaks.*1 *( 1 ) Founded in late 2006, WikiLeaks gained global notoriety throughout 2010 in four waves: the first in April was the release of a video from a US helicopter’s cockpit recording the killing of Iraqis (entitled Collateral Murder), followed by the Afghan War Logs (91,000 documents) and then the Iraq War Logs (391,000 files), all of which were finally eclipsed in the fourth wave by the publication of 250,000 United States diplomatic cables. With “Cablegate” posting millions of documents online morphed from a quantitative into a qualitative one. Never before has a net activist initiative been able to sack ambassadors and ministers, worldwide.
When WikiLeaks hit the mainstream in April 2010 there was little knowledge of things to come. Its network, composed of a handful of core members surrounded by dozens of loosely connected supporters was without a brick and mortar office. It had just recovered from major internal restructuring in late 2009 when it had to take servers offline and face near bankruptcy. During this growth spurt, or perhaps we should say crisis, the “wiki” aspect was dropped and WikiLeaks started to centralise around the personality of its founder, the Australian hacker and internet activist Julian Assange. This chapter examines the organisational implications of decisions made at this moment, in the calm just before the media storm, arguing, to rephrase the anti-globilization movement’s slogan, that Another WikiLeaks is Possible. By way of digging into strategic issues concerning Wikileaks in particular, I will present a techno-materialist reading of leaking electronic documents in the late Web 2.0 era.