WikiLeaks is an  international non-profit  media organization that  publishes submissions of  otherwise unavailable  documents from  anonymous sources and leaks. Its website, launched in 2006, is run by The Sunshine Press.[1] Within a year of its launch, the site claimed a database that had grown to more than 1.2 million documents.[3]

The organization has described itself as having been founded by Chinese dissidents, as well as journalists, mathematicians, and start-up company technologists from the U.S., Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa.Newspaper articles and The New Yorker magazine (7 June 2010) describe Julian Assange, an Australian journalist and Internet activist, as its director.

WikiLeaks has won a number of awards, including the 2008 Economist magazine New Media Award. In June 2009, WikiLeaks and Julian Assange won Amnesty International’s UK Media Award (in the category “New Media”) for the 2008 publication of “Kenya: The Cry of Blood – Extra Judicial Killings and Disappearances”, a report by the Kenya National Commission on Human Rights about police killings in Kenya. In May 2010, the New York Daily News listed WikiLeaks first in a ranking of “websites that could totally change the news”.

In April 2010, WikiLeaks posted video from a 2007 incident in which Iraqi civilians were killed by U.S. forces, on a website called Collateral Murder. In July of the same year, WikiLeaks releasedAfghan War Diary, a compilation of more than 76,900 documents about the War in Afghanistannot previously available for public review. In October the group released a package of almost 400,000 documents called the Iraq War Logs in coordination with major commercial media organisation.

WikiLeaks first appeared in public on the Internet in January 2007. The site states that it was “founded by Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and start-up company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa”.The creators of WikiLeaks have not been formally identified. It has been represented in public since January 2007 by Julian Assange and others. Assange describes himself as a member of WikiLeaks’ advisory board. News reports in The Australian have called Assange the “founder of Wikileaks”.According to Wired magazine, a volunteer said that Assange described himself in a private conversation as “the heart and soul of this organization, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder, organizer, financier, and all the rest”. As of June 2009, the site had over 1,200 registered volunteers and listed an advisory board comprising Assange, Phillip Adams, Wang Dan, C. J. Hinke, Ben Laurie, Tashi Namgyal Khamsitsang, Xiao Qiang, Chico Whitaker and Wang Youcai. Despite appearing on the list, when contacted by Mother Jones magazine in 2010, Khamsitsang said that while he received an e-mail from WikiLeaks, he had never agreed to be an advisor.

WikiLeaks states that its “primary interest is in exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to people of all regions who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their governments and corporations.”

In January 2007, the website stated that it had over 1.2 million leaked documents that it was preparing to publish. An article in The New Yorker said

One of the WikiLeaks activists owned a server that was being used as a node for the Tor network. Millions of secret transmissions passed through it. The activist noticed that hackers from China were using the network to gather foreign governments’ information, and began to record this traffic. Only a small fraction has ever been posted on WikiLeaks, but the initial tranche served as the site’s foundation, and Assange was able to say, “[w]e have received over one million documents from thirteen countries.”

Assange responded to the suggestion that eavesdropping on Chinese hackers played a crucial part in the early days of WikiLeaks by saying “the imputation is incorrect. The facts concern a 2006 investigation into Chinese espionage one of our contacts were involved in. Somewhere between none and handful of those documents were ever released on WikiLeaks. Non-government targets of the Chinese espionage, such as Tibetan associations were informed (by us)”. The group has subsequently released a number of other significant documents which have become front-page news items, ranging from documentation of equipment expenditures and holdings in the Afghanistan war to corruption in Kenya.

The organization’s stated goal is to ensure that whistle-blowers and journalists are not jailed for emailing sensitive or classified documents, as happened to Chinese journalist Shi Tao, who was sentenced to 10 years in 2005 after publicising an email from Chinese officials about the anniversary of the Tiananmen Square massacre.

The project has drawn comparisons to Daniel Ellsberg’s leaking of the Pentagon Papers in 1971. In the United States, the leaking of some documents may be legally protected. The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the Constitution guarantees anonymity, at least in the area ofpolitical discourse. Author and journalist Whitley Strieber has spoken about the benefits of the WikiLeaks project, noting that “Leaking a government document can mean jail, but jail sentences for this can be fairly short. However, there are many places where it means long incarceration or even death, such as China and parts of Africa and the Middle East.”

On 24 December 2009, WikiLeaks announced that it was experiencing a shortage of funds and suspended all access to its website except for a form to submit new material. Material that was previously published was no longer available, although some could still be accessed on unofficial mirrors.WikiLeaks stated on its website that it would resume full operation once the operational costs were covered. WikiLeaks saw this as a kind of strike “to ensure that everyone who is involved stops normal work and actually spends time raising revenue”. While it was initially hoped that funds could be secured by 6 January 2010, it was only on 3 February 2010 that WikiLeaks announced that its minimum fundraising goal had been achieved.

On 22 January 2010, PayPal suspended WikiLeaks’ donation account and froze its assets. WikiLeaks said that this had happened before, and was done for “no obvious reason”. The account was restored on 25 January 2010.

On 18 May 2010, WikiLeaks announced that its website and archive were back up.

As of June 2010, WikiLeaks was a finalist for a grant of more than half a million dollars from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation,but did not make the cut. WikiLeaks commented, “Wikileaks was highest rated project in the Knight challenge, strongly recommended to the board but gets no funding. Go figure”. WikiLeaks said that the Knight foundation announced the award to “’12 Grantees who will impact future of news’ – but not WikiLeaks” and questioned whether Knight foundation was “really looking for impact”. A spokesman of the Knight Foundation disputed parts of WikiLeaks’ statement, saying “WikiLeaks was not recommended by Knight staff to the board.”However, he declined to say whether WikiLeaks was the project rated highest by the Knight advisory panel, which consists of non-staffers, among them journalist Jennifer 8. Lee, who has done PR work for WikiLeaks with the press and on social networking sites.

On 17 July Jacob Appelbaum spoke on behalf of WikiLeaks at the 2010 Hackers on Planet Earth conference in New York City, replacing Assange due to the presence of federal agents at the conference. He announced that the WikiLeaks submission system was again up and running, after it had been temporarily suspended. Assange was a surprise speaker at a TED conference on 19 July 2010 in Oxford, and confirmed that WikiLeaks was now accepting submissions again.

Upon returning to the U.S. from Holland, on 29 July, Appelbaum was detained for three hours at the airport by U.S. agents, according to anonymous sources. The sources told Cnet that Appelbaum’s bag was searched, receipts from his bag were photocopied, his laptop was inspected, although in what manner was unclear. Appelbaum reportedly refused to answer questions without a lawyer present, and was not allowed to make a phone call. His three mobile phones were reportedly taken and not returned.On 31 July, he spoke at a Defconconference and mentioned his phone being “seized”. After speaking, he was approached by two FBI agents and questioned.

Administration

According to a January 2010 interview, the WikiLeaks team then consisted of five people working full-time and about 800 people who worked occasionally, none of whom were compensated. WikiLeaks has no official headquarters. The expenses per year are about €200,000, mainly for servers and bureaucracy, but would reach €600,000 if work currently done by volunteers were paid for. WikiLeaks does not pay for lawyers, as hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal support have been donated by media organisations such as the Associated Press,The Los Angeles Times, and the National Newspaper Publishers Association. Its only revenue stream is donations, but WikiLeaks is planning to add an auction model to sell early access to documents.According to the Wau Holland Foundation, WikiLeaks receives no money for personnel costs, only for hardware, travelling and bandwidth. An article in TechEYE.net wrote

As a charity accountable under German law, donations for Wikileaks can be made to the foundation. Funds are held in escrow and are given to Wikileaks after the whistleblower website files an application containing a statement with proof of payment. The foundation does not pay any sort of salary nor give any renumeration [sic] to Wikileaks’ personnel, corroborating the statement of the site’s German representative Daniel Schmitt (real name Daniel Domscheit-Berg) on national television that all personnel works [sic] voluntarily, even its speakers.

Site management issues

There has been public disagreement between Julian Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who was suspended by Assange and on 28 September announced he would leave the company. In October 2010, it was reported that Moneybookers, which collected donations for WikiLeaks, had ended its relationship with the site. Moneybookers stated that its decision had been made “to comply with money laundering or other investigations conducted by government authorities, agencies or commissions.

Hosting

WikiLeaks describes itself as “an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking”. WikiLeaks is hosted by PRQ, a Sweden-based company providing “highly secure, no-questions-asked hosting services.” PRQ is said to have “almost no information about its clientele and maintains few if any of its own logs.” The servers are spread around the world with the central server located in Sweden. Julian Assange has said that the servers are located in Sweden (and the other countries) “specifically because those nations offer legal protection to the disclosures made on the site”. He talks about the Swedish constitution, which gives the information providers total legal protection.It is forbidden according to Swedish law for any administrative authority to make inquiries about the sources of any type of newspaper.These laws, and the hosting by PRQ, make it difficult to take WikiLeaks offline. Furthermore, “Wikileaks maintains its own servers at undisclosed locations, keeps no logs and uses military-grade encryption to protect sources and other confidential information.” Such arrangements have been called “bulletproof hosting.

On 17 August 2010, it was announced that the Swedish Pirate Party will be hosting and managing many of WikiLeaks’ new servers. The party donates servers and bandwidth to WikiLeaks without charge. Technicians of the party will make sure that the servers are maintained and working. Some servers are hosted in underground cold war era nuclear shelters. The physical security layer is 30m White Mountains solid bedrock.

WikiLeaks is based on several software packages, including MediaWiki, Freenet, Tor, and PGP. WikiLeaks strongly encouraged postings via Tor due to the strong privacy needs of its users.

Policies

The “about” page originally read: “To the user, Wikileaks will look very much like Wikipedia. Anybody can post to it, anybody can edit it. No technical knowledge is required. Leakers can post documents anonymously and untraceably. Users can publicly discuss documents and analyze their credibility and veracity. Users can discuss interpretations and context and collaboratively formulate collective publications. Users can read and write explanatory articles on leaks along with background material and context. The political relevance of documents and their verisimilitude will be revealed by a cast of thousands.”

However, WikiLeaks established an editorial policy that accepted only documents that were “of political, diplomatic, historical or ethical interest” (and excluded “material that is already publicly available”). This coincided with early criticism that having no editorial policy would drive out good material with spam and promote “automated or indiscriminate publication of confidential records. It is no longer possible for anybody to post to it or edit it, as the original FAQ promised. Instead, submissions are regulated by an internal review process and some are published, while documents not fitting the editorial criteria are rejected by anonymous WikiLeaks reviewers. By 2008, the revised FAQ stated that “Anybody can post comments to it. Users can publicly discuss documents and analyze their credibility and veracity. After the 2010 relaunch, posting new comments to leaks was no longer possible.

WikiLeaks states that it has never released a misattributed document. Documents are assessed before release. In response to concerns about the possibility of misleading or fraudulent leaks, WikiLeaks has stated that misleading leaks “are already well-placed in the mainstream media. [Wikileaks] is of no additional assistance. The FAQ states that: “The simplest and most effective countermeasure is a worldwide community of informed users and editors who can scrutinize and discuss leaked documents.

According to statements by Assange in 2010, submitted documents are vetted by a group of five reviewers, with expertise in different fields such as language or programming, who also investigate the background of the leaker if his or her identity is known. In that group, Assange has the final decision about the assessment of a document.

Investigations, censorship and harassment

Police raid on German WikiLeaks domain holder’s home

The home of Theodor Reppe, registrant of the German WikiLeaks domain name, wikileaks.de, was raided on 24 March 2009 after WikiLeaks released the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) censorship blacklist. The site was not affected.

Chinese (PRC) censorship

The Chinese (PRC) government uses its Golden Shield Project to attempt to censor every web site with “wikileaks” in the URL, including the primary .org site and the regional variations .cn and .uk. However, the site is still accessible from behind the Chinese firewall through one of the many alternative names used by the project, such as “secure.sunshinepress.org”. The alternate sites change frequently, and WikiLeaks encourages users to search “wikileaks cover names” outside mainland China for the latest alternative names. Mainland search engines, including Baidu and Yahoo!, also censor references to “wikileaks”

On 16 March 2009, the Australian Communications and Media Authority added WikiLeaks to their proposed blacklist of sites that will be blocked for all Australians if the mandatory internet filtering censorship scheme is implemented as planned.

Thai censorship

The Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) is currently censoring the website WikiLeaks in Thailand and more than 40,000 other webpages due to the emergency decree in Thailand imposed because of political instabilities (Emergency decree declared beginning of April 2010). When trying to access the WikiLeaks website, internet users are redirected to this webpage.

Harassment and surveillance

According to The Times, WikiLeaks and its members have complained about continuing harassment and surveillance by law enforcement and intelligence organizations, including extended detention, seizure of computers, veiled threats, “covert following and hidden photography.”

After the release of the 2007 airstrikes video and as they prepared to release film of the Granai airstrike, Julian Assange has said that his group of volunteers came under intense surveillance. In an interview and Twitter posts he said that a restaurant in Reykjavik where his group of volunteers met came under surveillance in March; there was “covert following and hidden photography” by police and foreign intelligence services; that an apparent British intelligence agent made thinly veiled threats in a Luxembourg car park; and that one of the volunteers was detained by police for 21 hours. Another volunteer posted that computers were seized, saying “If anything happens to us, you know why … and you know who is responsible. According to the Columbia Journalism Review, “the Icelandic press took a look at Assange’s charges of being surveilled in Iceland  and, at best, have found nothing to substantiate them.

WikiLeaks has claimed that Facebook deleted their fan page, which had 30,000 fans.

UK censorship

On 25 November 2010, the UK Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee sent DA-Notices to UK newspapers regarding an expected major publication by WikiLeaks of a “huge cache” of US diplomatic cables.According to Index on Censorship, “DA-notices point to a set of guidelines, agreed by the government departments and the media”, and compliance is voluntary.According to the information technology journal Thinq, DA-Notices “are generally adhered to.

Icelandic Modern Media Initiative

In August 2009, Kaupthing, a large bank, succeeded in obtaining a court order gagging Iceland’s national broadcaster, RUV, from broadcasting a risk analysis report showing the bank’s substantial exposure to debt default risk. This information had been leaked by a whistleblower to WikiLeaks and remained available on the WikiLeaks site; faced with an injunction minutes before broadcast the channel ran with a screen grab of the WikiLeaks site instead of the scheduled piece on the bank. Citizens of Iceland felt outraged that RUV was prevented from broadcasting news of relevance. Therefore, WikiLeaks has been credited with inspiring the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a bill meant to reclaim Iceland’s 2007 Reporters Sans Frontieres ranking as first in the world for free speech. It aims to enact a range of protections for sources, journalists, and publishers. Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a former volunteer for WikiLeaks and member the Icelandic parliament, is the chief sponsor of the proposal.

Possible move to Switzerland

On 4 November 2010, Julian Assange told Swiss public television TSR that he is seriously considering seeking political asylum in neutral Switzerland and setting up a Wikileaks foundation in the country to move the operation there. According to Assange, Switzerland and Iceland are the only countries where WikiLeaks would feel safe to operate.

Notable leaks

Pre-2009

Apparent Somali assassination order

WikiLeaks posted its first document in December 2006, a decision to assassinate government officials signed by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys. The New Yorker has reported that

[Julian] Assange and the others were uncertain of its authenticity, but they thought that readers, using Wikipedia-like features of the site, would help analyze it. They published the decision with a lengthy commentary, which asked, “Is it a bold manifesto by a flamboyant Islamic militant with links to Bin Laden? Or is it a clever smear by US intelligence, designed to discredit the Union, fracture Somali alliances and manipulate China?” … The document’s authenticity was never determined, and news about WikiLeaks quickly superseded the leak itself.

Daniel arap Moi family corruption

On 31 August 2007, The Guardian (Britain) featured on its front page a story about corruption by the family of the former Kenyan leader Daniel arap Moi. The newspaper stated that the source of the information was WikiLeaks.

Bank Julius Baer lawsuit

Main article: Bank Julius Baer vs. Wikileaks lawsuit

In February 2008, the wikileaks.org domain name was taken offline after the Swiss Bank Julius Baer sued WikiLeaks and the wikileaks.orgdomain registrar, Dynadot, in a court in California, United States, and obtained a permanent injunction ordering the shutdown.WikiLeaks had hosted allegations of illegal activities at the bank’s Cayman Island branch. WikiLeaks’ U.S. Registrar, Dynadot, complied with the order by removing its DNS entries. However, the website remained accessible via its numeric IP address, and online activists immediately mirrored WikiLeaks at dozens of alternative websites worldwide.

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a motion protesting the censorship of WikiLeaks. TheReporters Committee for Freedom of the Press assembled a coalition of media and press that filed an amicus curiae brief on WikiLeaks’ behalf. The coalition included major U.S. newspaper publishers and press organisations, such as the American Society of Newspaper Editors, The Associated Press, the Citizen Media Law Project, The E.W. Scripps Company, the Gannett Company, The Hearst Corporation, the Los Angeles Times, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the Newspaper Association of America, The Radio-Television News Directors Association, and The Society of Professional Journalists. The coalition requested to be heard as a friend of the court to call attention to relevant points of law that it believed the court had overlooked (on the grounds that WikiLeaks had not appeared in court to defend itself, and that no First Amendment issues had yet been raised before the court). Amongst other things, the coalition argued that:

“Wikileaks provides a forum for dissidents and whistleblowers across the globe to post documents, but the Dynadot injunction imposes a prior restraint that drastically curtails access to Wikileaks from the Internet based on a limited number of postings challenged by Plaintiffs. The Dynadot injunction therefore violates the bedrock principle that an injunction cannot enjoin all communication by a publisher or other speaker.

The same judge, Judge Jeffrey White, who issued the injunction vacated it on 29 February 2008, citing First Amendment concerns and questions about legal jurisdiction. WikiLeaks was thus able to bring its site online again. The bank dropped the case on 5 March 2008. The judge also denied the bank’s request for an order prohibiting the website’s publication.

The Executive Director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Lucy Dalglish, commented:

“It’s not very often a federal judge does a 180 degree turn in a case and dissolves an order. But we’re very pleased the judge recognized the constitutional implications in this prior restraint.

Guantánamo Bay procedures

A copy of Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta–the protocol of the U.S. Army at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp–dated March 2003 was released on the WikiLeaks website on 7 November 2007. The document, named “gitmo-sop.pdf”, is also mirrored at The Guardian. Its release revealed some of the restrictions placed over detainees at the camp, including the designation of some prisoners as off-limits to the International Committee of the Red Cross, something that the U.S. military had in the past repeatedly denied.

On 3 December 2007, WikiLeaks released a copy of the 2004 edition of the manual, together with a detailed analysis of the changes.

Scientology

On 7 April 2008, WikiLeaks reported receiving a letter (dated 27 March) from the Religious Technology Centre claiming ownership of several recently leaked documents pertaining to OT Levels within the Church of Scientology. These same documents were at the center of a 1994 scandal. The email stated:

The Advanced Technology materials are unpublished, copyrighted works. Please be advised that your customer’s action in this regard violates United States copyright law. Accordingly, we ask for your help in removing these works immediately from your service.– Moxon and Kobrin[108]

The letter continued on to request the release of the logs of the uploader, which would remove their anonymity. WikiLeaks responded with a statement released on Wikinews stating: “in response to the attempted suppression, Wikileaks will release several thousand additional pages of Scientology material next week”,[109] and did so.

Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email account contents

Main article: Sarah Palin email hack

In September 2008, during the 2008 United States presidential election campaigns, the contents of a Yahoo account belonging to Sarah Palin(the running mate of Republican presidential nominee John McCain) were posted on WikiLeaks after being hacked into by members ofAnonymous.[110] It has been alleged by Wired that contents of the mailbox indicate that she used the private Yahoo account to send work-related messages, in violation of public record laws.[111] The hacking of the account was widely reported in mainstream news outlets.[112][113][114] Although WikiLeaks was able to conceal the hacker’s identity, the source of the Palin emails was eventually publicly identified as David Kernell, a 20-year-old economics student at the University of Tennessee and the son of Democratic Tennessee State Representative Mike Kernell from Memphis,[115] whose email address (as listed on various social networking sites) was linked to the hacker’s identity on Anonymous.[116] Kernell attempted to conceal his identity by using the anonymous proxy service ctunnel.com, but, because of the illegal nature of the access, ctunnel website administrator Gabriel Ramuglia assisted the FBI in tracking down the source of the hack.[117]

BNP membership list

After briefly appearing on a blog, the membership list of the far-right British National Party was posted to WikiLeaks on 18 November 2008. The name, address, age and occupation of many of the 13,500 members were given, including several police officers, two solicitors, four ministers of religion, at least one doctor, and a number of primary and secondary school teachers. In Britain, police officers are banned from joining or promoting the BNP, and at least one officer was dismissed for being a member.[118] The BNP was known for going to considerable lengths to conceal the identities of members. On 19 November, BNP leader Nick Griffin stated that he knew the identity of the person who initially leaked the list on 17 November, describing him as a “hardliner” senior employee who left the party in 2007.[119][120][121] On 20 October 2009, a list of BNP members from April 2009 was leaked. This list contained 11,811 members.[122]

2009

In January 2009, over 600 internal United Nations reports (60 of them marked “strictly confidential”) were leaked.[123]

On 7 February 2009, WikiLeaks released 6,780 Congressional Research Service reports.[124]

In March 2009, WikiLeaks published a list of contributors to the Norm Coleman senatorial campaign[125] and a set of documents belonging toBarclays Bank that had been ordered removed from the website of The Guardian.[126]

Climatic Research Unit emails

Main article: Climatic Research Unit email controversy

In November 2009, controversial documents, including e-mail correspondence between climate scientists, were illegally released[127] from theUniversity of East Anglia’s (UEA) Climatic Research Unit (CRU). According to the university, the emails and documents were obtained through a server hacking; one prominent host of the full 120MB archive was WikiLeaks.[128][129]

Internet censorship lists

WikiLeaks has published the lists of forbidden or illegal web addresses for several countries.

On 19 March 2009, WikiLeaks published what was alleged to be the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s blacklist of sites to be banned under Australia’s proposed laws on Internet censorship.[130] Reactions to the publication of the list by the Australian media and politicians were varied. Particular note was made by journalistic outlets of the type of websites on the list; while the Internet censorship scheme submitted by the Australian Labor Party in 2008 was proposed with the stated intention of preventing access to child pornographyand sites related to terrorism,[131] the list leaked on WikiLeaks contains a number of sites unrelated to sex crimes involving minors.[132][133]When questioned about the leak, Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy in Australia’s Rudd Labor Government, responded by claiming that the list was not the actual list, yet threatening to prosecute anyone involved in distributing it.[134] On 20 March 2009, WikiLeaks published an updated list, dated 18 March 2009; it more closely matches the claimed size of the ACMA blacklist, and contains two pages which have been independently confirmed to be blacklisted by ACMA.

WikiLeaks also contains details of Internet censorship in Thailand, including lists of censored sites dating back to May 2006.[135]

Bilderberg Group meeting reports

Since May 2009, WikiLeaks has made available reports of several meetings of the Bilderberg Group.[136] It includes the group’s history[137]and meeting reports from the years 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1963 and 1980.

2008 Peru oil scandal

On 28 January 2009, WikiLeaks released 86 telephone intercept recordings of Peruvian politicians and businessmen involved in the”Petrogate” oil scandal. The release of the tapes led the front pages of five Peruvian newspapers.[138]

Nuclear accident in Iran

On 16 July 2009, Iranian news agencies reported that the head of Iran’s atomic energy organization Gholam Reza Aghazadeh had abruptly resigned for unknown reasons after twelve years in office.[139] Shortly afterwards WikiLeaks released a report disclosing a “serious nuclear accident” at the Iranian Natanz nuclear facility in 2009.[140] The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) released statistics according to which the number of enriched centrifuges operational in Iran mysteriously declined from about 4,700 to about 3,900 beginning around the time the nuclear incident WikiLeaks mentioned would have occurred.[141][142]

According to media reports the accident may have been the direct result of a cyberattack at Iran’s nuclear program, carried out with theStuxnet computer worm.[143][144]

Toxic dumping in Africa: The Minton report

In September 2006, commodities giant Trafigura commissioned an internal report about a toxic dumping incident in the Ivory Coast,[145] which (according to the United Nations) affected 108,000 people. The document, called the Minton Report, names various harmful chemicals “likely to be present” in the waste — sodium hydroxide, cobalt phthalocyanine sulfonate, coker naphtha, thiols, sodium alkanethiolate, sodium hydrosulfide, sodium sulfide, dialkyl disulfides, hydrogen sulfide — and notes that some of them “may cause harm at some distance”. The report states that potential health effects include “burns to the skin, eyes and lungs, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of consciousness and death”, and suggests that the high number of reported casualties is “consistent with there having been a significant release of hydrogen sulphide gas”.

On 11 September 2009, Trafigura’s lawyers, Carter-Ruck, obtained a secret “super-injunction”[146] against The Guardian, banning that newspaper from publishing the contents of the document. Trafigura also threatened a number of other media organizations with legal action if they published the report’s contents, including the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation[145] and The Chemical Engineer magazine.[147] On 14 September 2009, WikiLeaks posted the report.[148]

On 12 October, Carter-Ruck warned The Guardian against mentioning the content of a parliamentary question that was due to be asked about the report. Instead, the paper published an article stating that they were unable to report on an unspecified question and claiming that the situation appeared to “call into question privileges guaranteeing free speech established under the 1689 Bill of Rights”.[149] The suppressed details rapidly circulated via the internet and Twitter[150][151][152] and, amid uproar, Carter-Ruck agreed the next day to the modification of the injunction before it was challenged in court, permitting The Guardian to reveal the existence of the question and the injunction.[153] The injunction was lifted on 16 October.[154]

Kaupthing Bank

WikiLeaks has made available an internal document[155] from Kaupthing Bank from just prior to the collapse of Iceland’s banking sector, which led to the 2008–2009 Icelandic financial crisis. The document shows that suspiciously large sums of money were loaned to various owners of the bank, and large debts written off. Kaupthing’s lawyers have threatened WikiLeaks with legal action, citing banking privacy laws. The leak has caused an uproar in Iceland.[156] Criminal charges relating to the multibillion euro loans to Exista and other major shareholders are being investigated. The bank is seeking to recover loans taken out by former bank employees before its collapse.[157]

Joint Services Protocol 440

Joint Services Protocol 440 (“JSP 440”) is the name of a British 2001 Ministry of Defense 2,400-page restricted document for security containing instructions for avoiding leaks in the information flow due to hackers, journalists, and foreign spies.[158][159] The protocol was posted on WikiLeaks on 3 October 2009.

9/11 pager messages

On 25 November 2009, WikiLeaks released 570,000 intercepts of pager messages sent on the day of the September 11 attacks.[160][161][162]Bradley Manning (see below) commented that those were obvious NSA intercepts.[163] Among the released messages are communications between Pentagon officials and New York City Police Department.[164]

2010

U.S. Intelligence report on WikiLeaks

On 15 March 2010, WikiLeaks released a secret 32-page U.S. Department of Defense Counterintelligence Analysis Report from March 2008. The document described some prominent reports leaked on the website which related to U.S. security interests and described potential methods of marginalizing the organization. WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange said that some details in the Army report were inaccurate and its recommendations flawed,[165] and also that the concerns of the US Army raised by the report were hypothetical.[166] The report discussed deterring potential whistleblowers via termination of employment and criminal prosecution of any existing or former insiders, leakers or whistleblowers. Reasons for the report include notable leaks such as U.S. equipment expenditure, human rights violations in Guantanamo Bay and the battle over the Iraqi town of Fallujah.[167]

Baghdad airstrike video

Main article: July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike

On 5 April 2010, WikiLeaks released classified U.S. military footage from a series of attacks on 12 July 2007 in Baghdad by a U.S. helicopter that killed 12, including two Reuters news staff, Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen, on a website called “Collateral Murder”. The footage consisted of a 39-minute unedited version and an 18-minute version which had been edited and annotated. Analysis of the video indicates that the pilots thought the men were carrying weapons (which were actually camera equipment). When asked if they were sure that the men were carrying weapons, they answered in the affirmative.[168] The military conducted an “informal” investigation into the incident, but has yet to release the investigative materials (such as the sworn statements of the soldiers involved or the battle damage assessment) that were used, causing the report to be criticized as “sloppy.”[169]

In the week following the release, “Wikileaks” was the search term with the most significant growth worldwide in the last seven days as measured by Google Insights.[170]

Arrest of Bradley Manning
Main article: Bradley Manning

A 22-year-old US Army intelligence analyst, PFC (formerly SPC) Bradley Manning, was arrested after alleged chat logs were turned in to the authorities by former hacker Adrian Lamo, in whom he had confided. Manning reportedly told Lamo he had leaked the “Collateral Murder” video, in addition to a video of the Granai airstrike and around 260,000 diplomatic cables, to WikiLeaks.[171][172] WikiLeaks said “allegations in Wired that we have been sent 260,000 classified US embassy cables are, as far as we can tell, incorrect.”[173] WikiLeaks have said that they are unable as yet to confirm whether or not Manning was actually the source of the video, stating “we never collect personal information on our sources”, but that they have nonetheless “taken steps to arrange for his protection and legal defence.”[172][174] On 21 June Julian Assange told The Guardian that WikiLeaks had hired three US criminal lawyers to defend Manning but that they had not been given access to him.[175]

Manning reportedly wrote, “Everywhere there’s a U.S. post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed.”[176] According to the Washington Post, he also described the cables as “explaining how the first world exploits the third, in detail, from an internal perspective.”[177]

Afghan War Diary

Main article: Afghan War documents leak

On 25 July 2010,[178] WikiLeaks released to The GuardianThe New York Times, and Der Spiegel over 92,000 documents related to thewar in Afghanistan between 2004 and the end of 2009. The documents detail individual incidents including friendly fire and civilian casualties.[179] The scale of leak was described by Julian Assange as comparable to that of the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s. The documents were released to the public on 25 July 2010. On 29 July 2010 WikiLeaks added a 1.4 GB “Insurance File” to the Afghan War Diary page. The file is AES encrypted and has been speculated to serve as insurance in case the WikiLeaks website or its spokesman Julian Assange are incapacitated, upon which the passphrase could be published (q.v.).[180]

About 15,000 of the 92,000 documents have not yet been released on WikiLeaks, as the group is currently reviewing the documents to remove some of the sources of the information. Speaking to a group in London in August 2010, Assange said that the group will “absolutely” release the remaining documents. He stated that WikiLeaks has requested help from the Pentagon and human-rights groups to help redact the names, but has not received any assistance. He also stated that WikiLeaks is “not obligated to protect other people’s sources…unless it is from unjust retribution.”[181]

According to a report on the Daily Beast website, the Obama administration has asked Britain, Germany and Australia among others to consider bringing criminal charges against Assange for the Afghan war leaks and to help limit Assange’s travels across international borders.[182] In the United States, a joint investigation by the Army and the Federal Bureau of Investigation may try to prosecute “Mr. Assange and others involved on grounds they encouraged the theft of government property”.[183]

The Australia Defence Association (ADA) stated that WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange “could have committed a serious criminal offence in helping an enemy of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).”[184] Neil James, the executive director of ADA, states: “Put bluntly, Wikileaks is not authorised in international or Australian law, nor equipped morally or operationally, to judge whether open publication of such material risks the safety, security, morale and legitimate objectives of Australian and allied troops fighting in a UN-endorsed military operation.”[184]

WikiLeaks’ recent leaking of classified US intelligence has been described by commentator of The Wall Street Journal as having “endangered the lives of Afghan informants” and “the dozens of Afghan civilians named in the document dump as U.S. military informants. Their lives, as well as those of their entire families, are now at terrible risk of Taliban reprisal.”[185] When interviewed, Assange stated that WikiLeaks has withheld some 15,000 documents that identify informants to avoid putting their lives at risk. Specifically, Voice of America reported in August 2010 that Assange, responding to such criticisms, stated that the 15,000 still held documents are being reviewed “line by line,” and that the names of “innocent parties who are under reasonable threat” will be removed.[186] Greg Gutfeld of Fox News described the leaking as “WikiLeaks’ Crusade Against the U.S. Military.”[187] John Pilger has reported that prior to the release of the Afghan War Diaries in July, WikiLeaks contacted the White House in writing, asking that it identify names that might draw reprisals, but received no response.[188][189]

According to the New York Times, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders criticized WikiLeaks for what they saw as risking people’s lives by identifying Afghans acting as informers.[190] A Taliban spokesman said that the Taliban had formed a nine-member “commission” to review the documents “to find about people who are spying.”[190] He said the Taliban had a “wanted” list of 1,800 Afghans and was comparing that with names WikiLeaks provided, stating “after the process is completed, our Taliban court will decide about such people.”[190]

Love Parade documents

Sometime after the Love Parade stampede in Duisburg, Germany on 24 July 2010, the local news blog Xtranews published internal documents of the city administration regarding Love Parade planning and actions by the authorities. The city government reacted by acquiring a court order on 16 August forcing Xtranews to remove the documents from its blog.[191] Two days later, however, after the documents had surfaced on other websites as well, the government stated that it would not conduct any further legal actions against the publication of the documents.[192] On 20 August WikiLeaks released a publication titled Loveparade 2010 Duisburg planning documents, 2007-2010, which comprised 43 internal documents regarding the Love Parade 2010.[193][194]

 

Icelandic Modern Media Initiative

In August 2009, Kaupthing, a large bank, succeeded in obtaining a court order gagging Iceland’s national broadcaster, RUV, from broadcasting a risk analysis report showing the bank’s substantial exposure to debt default risk. This information had been leaked by a whistleblower to WikiLeaks and remained available on the WikiLeaks site; faced with an injunction minutes before broadcast the channel ran with a screen grab of the WikiLeaks site instead of the scheduled piece on the bank. Citizens of Iceland felt outraged that RUV was prevented from broadcasting news of relevance.[90] Therefore, WikiLeaks has been credited with inspiring the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a bill meant to reclaim Iceland’s 2007 Reporters Sans Frontieres ranking as first in the world for free speech. It aims to enact a range of protections for sources, journalists, and publishers.[91][92] Birgitta Jónsdóttir, a former volunteer for WikiLeaks and member the Icelandic parliament, is the chief sponsor of the proposal.

Possible move to Switzerland

On 4 November 2010, Julian Assange told Swiss public television TSR that he is seriously considering seeking political asylum in neutral Switzerland and setting up a Wikileaks foundation in the country to move the operation there.[93][94] According to Assange, Switzerland and Iceland are the only countries where WikiLeaks would feel safe to operate.[95][96]

Notable leaks

Pre-2009

Apparent Somali assassination order

WikiLeaks posted its first document in December 2006, a decision to assassinate government officials signed by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys.[19] The New Yorker has reported that

[Julian] Assange and the others were uncertain of its authenticity, but they thought that readers, using Wikipedia-like features of the site, would help analyze it. They published the decision with a lengthy commentary, which asked, “Is it a bold manifesto by a flamboyant Islamic militant with links to Bin Laden? Or is it a clever smear by US intelligence, designed to discredit the Union, fracture Somali alliances and manipulate China?” … The document’s authenticity was never determined, and news about WikiLeaks quickly superseded the leak itself.[19]

Daniel arap Moi family corruption

On 31 August 2007, The Guardian (Britain) featured on its front page a story about corruption by the family of the former Kenyan leader Daniel arap Moi. The newspaper stated that the source of the information was WikiLeaks.[97]

Bank Julius Baer lawsuit

Main article: Bank Julius Baer vs. Wikileaks lawsuit

In February 2008, the wikileaks.org domain name was taken offline after the Swiss Bank Julius Baer sued WikiLeaks and the wikileaks.orgdomain registrar, Dynadot, in a court in California, United States, and obtained a permanent injunction ordering the shutdown.[98][99]WikiLeaks had hosted allegations of illegal activities at the bank’s Cayman Island branch.[98] WikiLeaks’ U.S. Registrar, Dynadot, complied with the order by removing its DNS entries. However, the website remained accessible via its numeric IP address, and online activists immediately mirrored WikiLeaks at dozens of alternative websites worldwide.[100]

The American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Frontier Foundation filed a motion protesting the censorship of WikiLeaks. TheReporters Committee for Freedom of the Press assembled a coalition of media and press that filed an amicus curiae brief on WikiLeaks’ behalf. The coalition included major U.S. newspaper publishers and press organisations, such as the American Society of Newspaper Editors, The Associated Press, the Citizen Media Law Project, The E.W. Scripps Company, the Gannett Company, The Hearst Corporation, the Los Angeles Times, the National Newspaper Publishers Association, the Newspaper Association of America, The Radio-Television News Directors Association, and The Society of Professional Journalists. The coalition requested to be heard as a friend of the court to call attention to relevant points of law that it believed the court had overlooked (on the grounds that WikiLeaks had not appeared in court to defend itself, and that no First Amendment issues had yet been raised before the court). Amongst other things, the coalition argued that:[100]

“Wikileaks provides a forum for dissidents and whistleblowers across the globe to post documents, but the Dynadot injunction imposes a prior restraint that drastically curtails access to Wikileaks from the Internet based on a limited number of postings challenged by Plaintiffs. The Dynadot injunction therefore violates the bedrock principle that an injunction cannot enjoin all communication by a publisher or other speaker.”[100]

The same judge, Judge Jeffrey White, who issued the injunction vacated it on 29 February 2008, citing First Amendment concerns and questions about legal jurisdiction.[101] WikiLeaks was thus able to bring its site online again. The bank dropped the case on 5 March 2008.[102] The judge also denied the bank’s request for an order prohibiting the website’s publication.[100]

The Executive Director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, Lucy Dalglish, commented:

“It’s not very often a federal judge does a 180 degree turn in a case and dissolves an order. But we’re very pleased the judge recognized the constitutional implications in this prior restraint.”[100]

Guantánamo Bay procedures

A copy of Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta–the protocol of the U.S. Army at the Guantánamo Bay detention camp–dated March 2003 was released on the WikiLeaks website on 7 November 2007.[103] The document, named “gitmo-sop.pdf”, is also mirrored at The Guardian.[104] Its release revealed some of the restrictions placed over detainees at the camp, including the designation of some prisoners as off-limits to the International Committee of the Red Cross, something that the U.S. military had in the past repeatedly denied.[105]

On 3 December 2007, WikiLeaks released a copy of the 2004 edition of the manual,[106] together with a detailed analysis of the changes.[107]

Scientology

On 7 April 2008, WikiLeaks reported receiving a letter (dated 27 March) from the Religious Technology Centre claiming ownership of several recently leaked documents pertaining to OT Levels within the Church of Scientology. These same documents were at the center of a 1994 scandal. The email stated:

The Advanced Technology materials are unpublished, copyrighted works. Please be advised that your customer’s action in this regard violates United States copyright law. Accordingly, we ask for your help in removing these works immediately from your service.– Moxon and Kobrin[108]

The letter continued on to request the release of the logs of the uploader, which would remove their anonymity. WikiLeaks responded with a statement released on Wikinews stating: “in response to the attempted suppression, Wikileaks will release several thousand additional pages of Scientology material next week”,[109] and did so.

Sarah Palin’s Yahoo email account contents

Main article: Sarah Palin email hack

In September 2008, during the 2008 United States presidential election campaigns, the contents of a Yahoo account belonging to Sarah Palin(the running mate of Republican presidential nominee John McCain) were posted on WikiLeaks after being hacked into by members ofAnonymous.[110] It has been alleged by Wired that contents of the mailbox indicate that she used the private Yahoo account to send work-related messages, in violation of public record laws.[111] The hacking of the account was widely reported in mainstream news outlets.[112][113][114] Although WikiLeaks was able to conceal the hacker’s identity, the source of the Palin emails was eventually publicly identified as David Kernell, a 20-year-old economics student at the University of Tennessee and the son of Democratic Tennessee State Representative Mike Kernell from Memphis,[115] whose email address (as listed on various social networking sites) was linked to the hacker’s identity on Anonymous.[116] Kernell attempted to conceal his identity by using the anonymous proxy service ctunnel.com, but, because of the illegal nature of the access, ctunnel website administrator Gabriel Ramuglia assisted the FBI in tracking down the source of the hack.[117]

BNP membership list

After briefly appearing on a blog, the membership list of the far-right British National Party was posted to WikiLeaks on 18 November 2008. The name, address, age and occupation of many of the 13,500 members were given, including several police officers, two solicitors, four ministers of religion, at least one doctor, and a number of primary and secondary school teachers. In Britain, police officers are banned from joining or promoting the BNP, and at least one officer was dismissed for being a member.[118] The BNP was known for going to considerable lengths to conceal the identities of members. On 19 November, BNP leader Nick Griffin stated that he knew the identity of the person who initially leaked the list on 17 November, describing him as a “hardliner” senior employee who left the party in 2007.[119][120][121] On 20 October 2009, a list of BNP members from April 2009 was leaked. This list contained 11,811 members.[122]

2009

In January 2009, over 600 internal United Nations reports (60 of them marked “strictly confidential”) were leaked.[123]

On 7 February 2009, WikiLeaks released 6,780 Congressional Research Service reports.[124]

In March 2009, WikiLeaks published a list of contributors to the Norm Coleman senatorial campaign[125] and a set of documents belonging toBarclays Bank that had been ordered removed from the website of The Guardian.[126]

Climatic Research Unit emails

Main article: Climatic Research Unit email controversy

In November 2009, controversial documents, including e-mail correspondence between climate scientists, were illegally released[127] from theUniversity of East Anglia’s (UEA) Climatic Research Unit (CRU). According to the university, the emails and documents were obtained through a server hacking; one prominent host of the full 120MB archive was WikiLeaks.[128][129]

Internet censorship lists

WikiLeaks has published the lists of forbidden or illegal web addresses for several countries.

On 19 March 2009, WikiLeaks published what was alleged to be the Australian Communications and Media Authority’s blacklist of sites to be banned under Australia’s proposed laws on Internet censorship.[130] Reactions to the publication of the list by the Australian media and politicians were varied. Particular note was made by journalistic outlets of the type of websites on the list; while the Internet censorship scheme submitted by the Australian Labor Party in 2008 was proposed with the stated intention of preventing access to child pornographyand sites related to terrorism,[131] the list leaked on WikiLeaks contains a number of sites unrelated to sex crimes involving minors.[132][133]When questioned about the leak, Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy in Australia’s Rudd Labor Government, responded by claiming that the list was not the actual list, yet threatening to prosecute anyone involved in distributing it.[134] On 20 March 2009, WikiLeaks published an updated list, dated 18 March 2009; it more closely matches the claimed size of the ACMA blacklist, and contains two pages which have been independently confirmed to be blacklisted by ACMA.

WikiLeaks also contains details of Internet censorship in Thailand, including lists of censored sites dating back to May 2006.[135]

Bilderberg Group meeting reports

Since May 2009, WikiLeaks has made available reports of several meetings of the Bilderberg Group.[136] It includes the group’s history[137]and meeting reports from the years 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1963 and 1980.

2008 Peru oil scandal

On 28 January 2009, WikiLeaks released 86 telephone intercept recordings of Peruvian politicians and businessmen involved in the”Petrogate” oil scandal. The release of the tapes led the front pages of five Peruvian newspapers.[138]

Nuclear accident in Iran

On 16 July 2009, Iranian news agencies reported that the head of Iran’s atomic energy organization Gholam Reza Aghazadeh had abruptly resigned for unknown reasons after twelve years in office.[139] Shortly afterwards WikiLeaks released a report disclosing a “serious nuclear accident” at the Iranian Natanz nuclear facility in 2009.[140] The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) released statistics according to which the number of enriched centrifuges operational in Iran mysteriously declined from about 4,700 to about 3,900 beginning around the time the nuclear incident WikiLeaks mentioned would have occurred.[141][142]

According to media reports the accident may have been the direct result of a cyberattack at Iran’s nuclear program, carried out with theStuxnet computer worm.[143][144]

Toxic dumping in Africa: The Minton report

In September 2006, commodities giant Trafigura commissioned an internal report about a toxic dumping incident in the Ivory Coast,[145] which (according to the United Nations) affected 108,000 people. The document, called the Minton Report, names various harmful chemicals “likely to be present” in the waste — sodium hydroxide, cobalt phthalocyanine sulfonate, coker naphtha, thiols, sodium alkanethiolate, sodium hydrosulfide, sodium sulfide, dialkyl disulfides, hydrogen sulfide — and notes that some of them “may cause harm at some distance”. The report states that potential health effects include “burns to the skin, eyes and lungs, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of consciousness and death”, and suggests that the high number of reported casualties is “consistent with there having been a significant release of hydrogen sulphide gas”.

On 11 September 2009, Trafigura’s lawyers, Carter-Ruck, obtained a secret “super-injunction”[146] against The Guardian, banning that newspaper from publishing the contents of the document. Trafigura also threatened a number of other media organizations with legal action if they published the report’s contents, including the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation[145] and The Chemical Engineer magazine.[147] On 14 September 2009, WikiLeaks posted the report.[148]

On 12 October, Carter-Ruck warned The Guardian against mentioning the content of a parliamentary question that was due to be asked about the report. Instead, the paper published an article stating that they were unable to report on an unspecified question and claiming that the situation appeared to “call into question privileges guaranteeing free speech established under the 1689 Bill of Rights”.[149] The suppressed details rapidly circulated via the internet and Twitter[150][151][152] and, amid uproar, Carter-Ruck agreed the next day to the modification of the injunction before it was challenged in court, permitting The Guardian to reveal the existence of the question and the injunction.[153] The injunction was lifted on 16 October.[154]

Kaupthing Bank

WikiLeaks has made available an internal document[155] from Kaupthing Bank from just prior to the collapse of Iceland’s banking sector, which led to the 2008–2009 Icelandic financial crisis. The document shows that suspiciously large sums of money were loaned to various owners of the bank, and large debts written off. Kaupthing’s lawyers have threatened WikiLeaks with legal action, citing banking privacy laws. The leak has caused an uproar in Iceland.[156] Criminal charges relating to the multibillion euro loans to Exista and other major shareholders are being investigated. The bank is seeking to recover loans taken out by former bank employees before its collapse.[157]

Joint Services Protocol 440

Joint Services Protocol 440 (“JSP 440”) is the name of a British 2001 Ministry of Defense 2,400-page restricted document for security containing instructions for avoiding leaks in the information flow due to hackers, journalists, and foreign spies.[158][159] The protocol was posted on WikiLeaks on 3 October 2009.

9/11 pager messages

On 25 November 2009, WikiLeaks released 570,000 intercepts of pager messages sent on the day of the September 11 attacks.[160][161][162]Bradley Manning (see below) commented that those were obvious NSA intercepts.[163] Among the released messages are communications between Pentagon officials and New York City Police Department.[164]

2010

U.S. Intelligence report on WikiLeaks

On 15 March 2010, WikiLeaks released a secret 32-page U.S. Department of Defense Counterintelligence Analysis Report from March 2008. The document described some prominent reports leaked on the website which related to U.S. security interests and described potential methods of marginalizing the organization. WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange said that some details in the Army report were inaccurate and its recommendations flawed,[165] and also that the concerns of the US Army raised by the report were hypothetical.[166] The report discussed deterring potential whistleblowers via termination of employment and criminal prosecution of any existing or former insiders, leakers or whistleblowers. Reasons for the report include notable leaks such as U.S. equipment expenditure, human rights violations in Guantanamo Bay and the battle over the Iraqi town of Fallujah.[167]

Baghdad airstrike video

Main article: July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike

On 5 April 2010, WikiLeaks released classified U.S. military footage from a series of attacks on 12 July 2007 in Baghdad by a U.S. helicopter that killed 12, including two Reuters news staff, Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen, on a website called “Collateral Murder”. The footage consisted of a 39-minute unedited version and an 18-minute version which had been edited and annotated. Analysis of the video indicates that the pilots thought the men were carrying weapons (which were actually camera equipment). When asked if they were sure that the men were carrying weapons, they answered in the affirmative.[168] The military conducted an “informal” investigation into the incident, but has yet to release the investigative materials (such as the sworn statements of the soldiers involved or the battle damage assessment) that were used, causing the report to be criticized as “sloppy.”[169]

In the week following the release, “Wikileaks” was the search term with the most significant growth worldwide in the last seven days as measured by Google Insights.[170]

Arrest of Bradley Manning
Main article: Bradley Manning

A 22-year-old US Army intelligence analyst, PFC (formerly SPC) Bradley Manning, was arrested after alleged chat logs were turned in to the authorities by former hacker Adrian Lamo, in whom he had confided. Manning reportedly told Lamo he had leaked the “Collateral Murder” video, in addition to a video of the Granai airstrike and around 260,000 diplomatic cables, to WikiLeaks.[171][172] WikiLeaks said “allegations in Wired that we have been sent 260,000 classified US embassy cables are, as far as we can tell, incorrect.”[173] WikiLeaks have said that they are unable as yet to confirm whether or not Manning was actually the source of the video, stating “we never collect personal information on our sources”, but that they have nonetheless “taken steps to arrange for his protection and legal defence.”[172][174] On 21 June Julian Assange told The Guardian that WikiLeaks had hired three US criminal lawyers to defend Manning but that they had not been given access to him.[175]

Manning reportedly wrote, “Everywhere there’s a U.S. post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed.”[176] According to the Washington Post, he also described the cables as “explaining how the first world exploits the third, in detail, from an internal perspective.”[177]

Afghan War Diary

Main article: Afghan War documents leak

On 25 July 2010,[178] WikiLeaks released to The GuardianThe New York Times, and Der Spiegel over 92,000 documents related to thewar in Afghanistan between 2004 and the end of 2009. The documents detail individual incidents including friendly fire and civilian casualties.[179] The scale of leak was described by Julian Assange as comparable to that of the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s. The documents were released to the public on 25 July 2010. On 29 July 2010 WikiLeaks added a 1.4 GB “Insurance File” to the Afghan War Diary page. The file is AES encrypted and has been speculated to serve as insurance in case the WikiLeaks website or its spokesman Julian Assange are incapacitated, upon which the passphrase could be published (q.v.).[180]

About 15,000 of the 92,000 documents have not yet been released on WikiLeaks, as the group is currently reviewing the documents to remove some of the sources of the information. Speaking to a group in London in August 2010, Assange said that the group will “absolutely” release the remaining documents. He stated that WikiLeaks has requested help from the Pentagon and human-rights groups to help redact the names, but has not received any assistance. He also stated that WikiLeaks is “not obligated to protect other people’s sources…unless it is from unjust retribution.”[181]

According to a report on the Daily Beast website, the Obama administration has asked Britain, Germany and Australia among others to consider bringing criminal charges against Assange for the Afghan war leaks and to help limit Assange’s travels across international borders.[182] In the United States, a joint investigation by the Army and the Federal Bureau of Investigation may try to prosecute “Mr. Assange and others involved on grounds they encouraged the theft of government property”.[183]

The Australia Defence Association (ADA) stated that WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange “could have committed a serious criminal offence in helping an enemy of the Australian Defence Force (ADF).”[184] Neil James, the executive director of ADA, states: “Put bluntly, Wikileaks is not authorised in international or Australian law, nor equipped morally or operationally, to judge whether open publication of such material risks the safety, security, morale and legitimate objectives of Australian and allied troops fighting in a UN-endorsed military operation.”[184]

WikiLeaks’ recent leaking of classified US intelligence has been described by commentator of The Wall Street Journal as having “endangered the lives of Afghan informants” and “the dozens of Afghan civilians named in the document dump as U.S. military informants. Their lives, as well as those of their entire families, are now at terrible risk of Taliban reprisal.”[185] When interviewed, Assange stated that WikiLeaks has withheld some 15,000 documents that identify informants to avoid putting their lives at risk. Specifically, Voice of America reported in August 2010 that Assange, responding to such criticisms, stated that the 15,000 still held documents are being reviewed “line by line,” and that the names of “innocent parties who are under reasonable threat” will be removed.[186] Greg Gutfeld of Fox News described the leaking as “WikiLeaks’ Crusade Against the U.S. Military.”[187] John Pilger has reported that prior to the release of the Afghan War Diaries in July, WikiLeaks contacted the White House in writing, asking that it identify names that might draw reprisals, but received no response.[188][189]

According to the New York Times, Amnesty International and Reporters Without Borders criticized WikiLeaks for what they saw as risking people’s lives by identifying Afghans acting as informers.[190] A Taliban spokesman said that the Taliban had formed a nine-member “commission” to review the documents “to find about people who are spying.”[190] He said the Taliban had a “wanted” list of 1,800 Afghans and was comparing that with names WikiLeaks provided, stating “after the process is completed, our Taliban court will decide about such people.”[190]

Love Parade documents

Sometime after the Love Parade stampede in Duisburg, Germany on 24 July 2010, the local news blog Xtranews published internal documents of the city administration regarding Love Parade planning and actions by the authorities. The city government reacted by acquiring a court order on 16 August forcing Xtranews to remove the documents from its blog.[191] Two days later, however, after the documents had surfaced on other websites as well, the government stated that it would not conduct any further legal actions against the publication of the documents.[192] On 20 August WikiLeaks released a publication titled Loveparade 2010 Duisburg planning documents, 2007-2010, which comprised 43 internal documents regarding the Love Parade 2010.

In October 2010, it was reported that WikiLeaks was planning to release up to 400,000 documents relating to the Iraq War.[195] Julian Assange initially denied the reports, stating: “WikiLeaks does not speak about upcoming releases dates, indeed, with very rare exceptions we do not communicate any specific information about upcoming releases, since that simply provides fodder for abusive organizations to get their spin machines ready.”[196] The Guardian reported on 21 October 2010 that it had received almost 400,000 Iraq war documents from WikiLeaks.[197] On 22 October 2010, Al Jazeera was the first to release analyses of the leak, dubbed The War Logs. WikiLeaks posted a tweet that “Al Jazeera have broken our embargo by 30 minutes. We release everyone from their Iraq War Logs embargoes.” This prompted other news organizations to release their articles based on the source material. The release of the documents coincided with a return of the main wikileaks.org website, which had been offering no content since 30 September 2010.

The BBC quoted the Pentagon referring to the Iraq War Logs as “the largest leak of classified documents in its history.” Media coverage of the leaked documents focused on claims that the US government had ignored reports of torture by the Iraqi authorities during the period after the 2003 war.[198]

Announcements on upcoming leaks

In May 2010, WikiLeaks said they had video footage of a massacre of civilians in Afghanistan by the US military which they were preparing to release.[199][200]

In an interview with Chris Anderson on 19 July 2010, Assange showed a document WikiLeaks had on an Albanian oil well blowout, and said they also had material from inside BP,[201] and that they were “getting enormous quantity of whistle-blower disclosures of a very high caliber”[202] but added that they have not been able to verify and release the material because they do not have enough volunteer journalists.[203]

At a press conference on 23 October, Assange announced that they would soon leak classified documents that WikiLeaks claimed would expose the “despotic” regime of the Russian government.[204][205]

Diplomatic cables release

On 22 November an announcement was made by the WikiLeaks twitter feed that the next release would be “7x the size of the Iraq War Logs.”[206][207] US authorities and the media have speculated that they may contain diplomatic cables.[208] Prior to the expected leak, the government of the United Kingdom (UK) sent a DA-Notice to UK newspapers, which requests advance notice from the newspapers regarding the expected publication.[88] According to Index on Censorship, “there is no obligation on media to comply”. “Newspaper editors would speak to [the] Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee prior to publication.”[88] The Pakistani newspaper Dawn stated that the US newspapers The New York Times and The Washington Post were expected to publish parts of the diplomatic cables on Sunday 28 November, including 94 Pakistan-related documents.[209]

On 26 November, via his lawyer Jennifer Robinson, Assange sent a letter to the US Department of State, asking for information regarding people who could be placed at “significant risk of harm” by the diplomatic cables release.[210][211] Harold Koh, Legal Adviser of the Department of State, refused the proposal, stating, “We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. Government classified materials.”[211]

On 28 November, Wikileaks announced it was undergoing a massive Distributed Denial-of-service attack,[212] but vowed to still leak the cables and documents via prominent media outlets including El PaísLe MondeDer SpiegelThe Guardian, and The New York Times.[213]The announcement was shortly thereafter followed by the online publication, by The Guardian, of some of the purported diplomatic cables including one in which United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apparently orders diplomats to obtain credit card and frequent flier numbers of the French, British, Russian and Chinese delegations to the United Nations Security Council.

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