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Zack Whittaker

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Zack Whittaker (origin of the recurring epithet 'zackwit') writes for ZD. For now. He claims he's at work on an 'undergraduate dissertation'. Evidently they let anyone 'dissertate' these days. And ZD allow 'wet-eared' 'undergraduates' to write works of fiction and pass them off as 'research'. Fear for academia.

Whittaker's undergraduate project is ambitious. It carries a burdensome title.

'An empirical analysis of Wikileaks, pre- and post- the 2010 diplomatic cables release'

That's what he's reporting on at ZD.

Wikileaks: How the organization functions and operates

But it's bullshit, it's all bullshit, as Julian Assange himself says. And what's wrong here isn't the opinions expressed - it's the zackwitted inability to do the research and get the facts right. One source - and a questionable one at that? No second source?

Undergraduate indeed.

Almost everyone online knows twice what the whitless Whittaker knows and knows it three times more accurately. But Zack's got the job, he gets the grants and cash from the institutes and the 'Old Media' - so what does he care?

So some of Zack's gems. The 'Top Gun' - the 'best of the best' - of something right painful to read. Brace yourselves.

[Forgive Whittaker for being such a dilettante he still hasn't noticed 'WikiLeaks' is a CamelCase word. His source hasn't either.]

The release (actually there were two, Zack boy) of the BNP membership list was 'more defamatory than for general public consumption'.

'Little is known of absolute fact about the Wikileaks' operations and definitive circumstances of how the site actually started.'

'Daniel Schmitt, real name Daniel Bullscheit-Berg, was the official spokesperson before Assange and helped assemble Wikileaks in the very beginning.'

'Wired magazine, in an extensive interview with some numerous, now high-profile members of Wikileaks in October 2009, offered a previously unseen insight into the structure of the organisation. Though some details may have changed since, it gave an unprecedented insight into a highly secretive group.'

[Note: the above 'interview' was with the mythomaniac Daniel Bullscheit-Berg who claims all of the above in addition to claiming he launched the WikiLeaks website back in 2006, this in ridiculous contrast to his later account in his humorous book. Caveat reader. And three cheers for investigative journalism of the undergraduate dissertation kind.]

'John Young, founder of cryptome.org, was also an original member of Wikileaks serving on its advisory board.'

'This leads to the consideration that the decentralised nature of Wikileaks led to a potential lack of management structure shown by this dispute.'

'The advisory board intended to lend credibility and structure to the organisation while providing exposure for Wikileaks - though even members are described as 'not clear' exactly what the advisory board is for; suggesting there could be a further 'inner sanctum' of co-founders only, Assange included.'

'It is claimed in the Wired UK article that along with Assange, Suelette Dreyfus co-founded the site but now serves as a member of the on advisory board [sic] similarly to Bullscheit-Berg.'

'It is also believed that Assange controls the trajectory of Wikileaks and controls the advisory board in some capacity, leading to an understanding of a high, if not the highest position, hence the legal battles in present day.'

And so forth. A cornucopia. Zack Whittaker is dumber than the people at HPGary. Zack's parent or guardian should try to keep Zack indoors as much as possible.

But worse still is the sole article all this 'academic research' is based on. You mean you doubted Daniel Bullscheit-Berg was full of Leberkäse? Meet Germany's answer to 007. From 1 September 2009.

But who is behind Wikileaks? The site claims to have been founded by a concerned group of journalists, political dissidents and hackers. Curious to learn more, Wired travelled across Europe to track down the people behind the organisation.'

With a slow, lilting walk, weighed down by a laptop bag that is rarely out of his sight, Daniel 'Schmitt' - he won't give his real surname - sits down at a table in the rear of a café in central Italy. He got involved with Wikileaks prior to its launch in December 2006, he says, giving up his career, and salary, to work for the group. Born Daniel, he adopted the nom de plume 'Schmitt' after his cat, Mr Schmitt. His background is in computer security: he worked as a network engineer at an international technology-services company. He is cagey about his previous life and says it isn't relevant.

Dressed in his signature black shirt, combats and Doc Martens boots, he begins his explanation of what Wikileaks is. His words are guarded, almost rehearsed, and the more he talks, the more the syntax of his native German permeates his English.

'When we started, we thought we'd become the Intelligence Agency of the People', says Schmitt. 'There would be thousands of people involved, digging out the dirt on their governments. It would create a revolutionary spirit.'

From the above, the astute reader notices Daniel Bullscheit-Berg already possessed an impeccable taste for the chic and fashionable - and, as he repeats ad nauseam in his 'book', for every revolutionary's essential: designer clothes.

Fear for research. Fear for academia. Fear for the truth. Fear for yourselves. Cheers.

zackwit: n. When dimwit/fuckwit aren't adequate, use zackwit. Thanks to Zack Whittaker, it's a universal concept today that everyone understands.
 - Urban Dictionary

Anything I'd do differently? Yes. One staff hire.
 - Julian Assange

See Also
The eXiled: Revenge of the Second Banana
Rixstep's Red Hat Diaries: Jules & The Amateurs
Rixstep Industry Watch: Schmitt Leaves WikiLeaks?
Rixstep Industry Watch: Schmitt Suspended from WikiLeaks
The Technological: The Life and Times of the Leberkäse Kid

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