(WMR)—Wikipedia lauds itself in its own entry in the on-line encyclopedia as a “collaboratively edited, multilingual, free Internet encyclopedia that is supported by the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation. Volunteers worldwide collaboratively write Wikipedia’s 30 million articles in 287 languages, including over 4.4 million in the English Wikipedia. Anyone who can access the site can edit almost any of its articles, which on the Internet comprise the largest and most popular general reference work.”
However, Wikipedia is also a stated weapons platform for National Security Agency’s and British Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) offensive information warfare operations that target individuals and groups in cyber disinformation campaigns. This strategy is part of a program known as Computer Network Information Operations (CNIO).
Wikipedia is jammed full of erroneous information, intelligence agency-generated and otherwise, which has burned more than one person who dared use it as a primary source. That includes journalists, including this one who regretfully relied on a Wikipedia entry on the late banker Edmond Safra. Also burned by Wikipedia were NBC’s Brian Williams and the managing editors of the Arizona Republic, Flint Journal, and Las Vegas Review-Journal.
The latest Wikipedia outrage is a personal one. After a painstaking re-edit of the Wikipedia entry on Wayne Madsen, an effort that involved myself and three other people working for several hours on multiple days, two registered “anonymous” editors with the handles “Capitalismojo” and “W L Ross” restored the erroneous, libelous, and incorrect entry hours after changes were made to the first paragraph of the entry. Since the libelous attacks on this editor last July by the Daily Beast, CNN, the Poynter Institute, Business Insider.com, and The Daily Telegraph, “Capitalismojo” and “W L Ross” have made hundreds of erroneous and libelous alterations to this editor’s Wikipedia entry even the date of birth. Although the editor was born on April 28, 1954, “Capitalismojo” and “W L Ross” changed it back to the erroneous date of April 25, 1954.
Corrected and full-referenced changes to first three paragraphs of Wayne Madsen Wikipedia entry. Anonymous Wikipedia editors “Capitalismojo” and “W L Ross” violated Wikipedia’s stated policies and standards for references by restoring original Wikipedia page, which, also in violation of Wikipedia’s claimed “standards” contains dead links to websites.
The incorrect Wikipedia entry, with its dead links, re-appeared on Wikipedia after a few hours. “Online investigative journalist” is incorrect as referenced by the numerous print newspapers and magazines that have carried the editor’s op ed columns, respectively. The birth date of April 25, 1954 is incorrect and many of the references in this entry go to broken links. All of this is in violation of Wikipedia’s stated standards and policies. But self-proclaimed founder of Wikipedia Jimmy Wales, an Ayn Rand fan, can’t be bothered by his creation, which is now used by NSA and GCHQ in their cyber-attack operations.
The fact that Wikipedia permits any hoaxer, disinformation artist, propaganda sock puppet, or 40-year old delinquent who still lives in his mom’s basement to make changes to Wikipedia entries means that no one should use the website for research. Encyclopedia Britannica has scoffed at claims that Wikipedia approximates Britannica’s level of accuracy. Of course, any serious researcher understands that Britannica pays for its researched entries and does not allow any idiot or malcontent with a computer and Internet access to edit Britannica articles.
One such malcontent is the one who defaced the biographical entry of John Siegenthaler, the former editor and publisher of Nashville’s Tennessean newspaper. In 2005, a cyber-delinquent named Brian Chase, the manager of a Nashville delivery service, altered Siegenthaler’s Wikipedia entry to claim that the one-time adviser to and close friend of Robert F. Kennedy was thought to have been directly involved in the Kennedy assassinations of both John, and his brother, Bobby.” Wikipedia changed the false entry and Chase resigned from his job after claiming that he only pulled a prank.
But with millions of people accessing Wikipedia on a daily basis, such pranks have long term effects and show the importance of balanced laws that protect individuals from tortuous and defamatory libel. A website devoted to critically monitoring Wikipedia, www.wikipedia-watch.org, is no longer functioning, itself a testament to the influence of Wikipedia to deflect criticisms from those who have called it to account for its massive amount of erroneous and libelous information.
In 2005, The Guardian found that Wikipedia’s biggest fault was in giving less important areas more prominence than more important ones and vice versa. Wikipedia’s entry titled “Reliability of Wikipedia” unsurprisingly contains more praises for the website than criticisms.
Wikipedia falsely claims that “a large number of well-intentioned editors” can delete erroneous information. However, it is the alleged minority of not well-intentioned editors, who obviously include NSA and GCHQ CNIO personnel who have targeted Wikipedia, as cited in a TOP SECRET//COMINT///REL TO USA, AUS, CAN, GBR, NZL PowerPoint slide revealed by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden. The slide includes Wikipedia as a cyber-warfare operations target along with Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, Google, Gmail, Yahoo, CNN.com, and @mail.ru.
In 2007, a tool called WikiScanner discovered that the Central Intelligence Agency was routinely making “questionable and opinionated” changes to Wikipedia entries.
In addition, Wikipedia’s claim that only registered users can edit entries or post new articles is meaningless. Registered users’ identities remain unverified and Wikipedia has tightened controls that would today prevent Siegenthaler and Wikipedia Daniel Brandt from tracking down Chase’s IP address.
Registered Wikipedia editors are also problematic. A salaried Wikipedia editor by the name of “Essjay” claimed to be a tenured professor and the holder of PhDs in theology and canon law. However, Cornell University professor Ross Brann discovered that “Essjay” was a 24-year old community college dropout.
Former Norwegian Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg found that his Wikipedia entry had been defaced to falsely claim he was a pedophile and served a prison term. Turkish Professor Taner Akcam was wrongfully detained at Montreal airport in 2006 and at the U.S. border because cyber vandals changed his Wikipedia entry to describe him as a terrorist.
Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales, a typical wealthy Ayn Rand sycophant and libertarian who accepts no blame for the cesspool of defamatory and incorrect content he created and the tort liability problems his brainchild has created, avoids all litigation and shifts responsibility to the non-profit Wikimedia Foundation, Inc. . However, non-profit does not mean that the Wikimedia Foundation is immune from lawsuits. After a brief affair with Canadian conservative columnist Rachel Marsden, who originally contacted Wales about her own erroneous Wikipedia entry, Wales married Kate Garvey in 2012. Wales met Garvey, the former diary secretary for former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, at the elitist Davos Economic Forum, an annual conclave that draws its fair share of Western intelligence agency officials.
Wales disputes Larry Sanger and independent sources like The New York Times that Sanger was a co-founder of Wikipedia. However, based on Wikipedia’s first press release in 2002 describing Sanger as a co-founder it is provable that Wales is just as much a rank liar and fabulist as his Wikipedia creation.
Previously published in the Wayne Madsen Report.
Copyright © 2014 WayneMadenReport.com
Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist and nationally-distributed columnist. He is the editor and publisher of the Wayne Madsen Report (subscription required).