WikiLeaks /’w?kili?ks/ is an international non-profit organization that publishes secret information, news leaks, and classified media from anonymous sources. Its website, initiated in 2006 in Iceland by the organization Sunshine Press, claims a database of 10 million documents in 10 years since its launch. Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist, is generally described as its founder, editor-in-chief, and director.
The group has released a number of significant documents that have become front-page news items. Early releases included documentation of equipment expenditures and holdings in the Afghanistan war and a report informing a corruption investigation in Kenya. In April 2010, WikiLeaks published gunsight footage from the 12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike in which Iraqi journalists were among those killed by an AH-64 Apache helicopter, known as the Collateral Murder video.
By July_12,_2007_Baghdad_airstrike_unedited_part1.ogv: US Apache helicopter
derivative work: Wnt (talk) – July_12,_2007_Baghdad_airstrike_unedited_part1.ogv, Public Domain, Link
In July of the same year, WikiLeaks released Afghan War Diary, a compilation of more than 76,900 documents about the War in Afghanistan not previously available to the public. In October 2010, the group released a set of almost 400,000 documents called the “Iraq War Logs” in coordination with major commercial media organizations. This allowed the mapping of 109,032 deaths in “significant” attacks by insurgents in Iraq that had been reported to Multi-National Force – Iraq, including about 15,000 that had not been previously published. In April 2011, WikiLeaks began publishing 779 secret files relating to prisoners detained in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp. In November 2010, WikiLeaks collaborated with major global media organizations to release U.S. State Department diplomatic “cables” in redacted format.
By David G Silvers. – https://www.flickr.com/photos/dgcomsoc/14770416197/, CC BY-SA 2.0, Link
During the 2016 US presidential election campaign, Wikileaks released e-mails and other documents from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton’s campaign manager, John Podesta. These releases caused significant damage to the DNC, as they proved that Hillary Clinton beat Bernie Sanders by cheating. Those on the left claimed the release of the Wikileaks hurt Hillary Clinton’s campaign and may have contributed to the Democratic Party’s loss, however the Wikileaks only proved what most people already believed about her, as the number of reasons why she actually lost, are too extensive to mention. The U.S. intelligence community, still under Barrack Obama’s justice department expressed “high confidence” that the leaked e-mails had been hacked by Russia and supplied to Wikileaks, while Wikileaks denied their source was Russia or any other state. The Mainstream Media would continue to push the lie that Russia had hacked the election, and demanded that the masses believe the conspiracy theory with no proof. When newly sworn in President Donald Trump refused to believe the false claim until the intelligence agencies could provide proof of the hacking, a document was produced, which cited the explosive proof as being unfavorable news stories about Hillary Clinton that ran during the campaign on Russia Today’s TV Network. They claimed that since these unfavorable stories aired, that this could only mean that the Kremlin wanted Trump to win, therefore that meant the election was hacked. Despite the fact that the report was so laughable, the Democratic Party and Mainstream Media would treat it as rock solid evidence.
During the campaign, Wikileaks and Assange regularly exposed glaring truths and daily scandals about Clinton and the Democratic Party. While Mainstream Media continued to push the narrative that Wikileaks was attempting to help Donald Trump win the election, the majority of Americans already knew that Wikileaks had been dumping documents since long before Donald Trump ran for President, and anyone following Wikileaks during the election knew that the organization actually supported Green Party candidate Jill Stein.
WikiLeaks posted its first document in December 2006, a decision to assassinate government officials signed by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys. In August 2007, the UK newspaper The Guardian published a story about corruption by the family of the former Kenyan leader Daniel arap Moi based on information provided via WikiLeaks. In November 2007, a March 2003 copy of Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta detailing the protocol of the U.S. Army at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp was released. The document revealed that some prisoners were off-limits to the International Committee of the Red Cross, something that the U.S. military had in the past denied repeatedly. In February 2008, WikiLeaks released allegations of illegal activities at the Cayman Islands branch of the Swiss Bank Julius Baer, which resulted in the bank suing WikiLeaks and obtaining an injunction which temporarily suspended the operation of wikileaks.org. The California judge had the service provider of WikiLeaks block the site’s domain (wikileaks.org) on 18 February 2008, although the bank only wanted the documents to be removed but WikiLeaks had failed to name a contact. The website was instantly mirrored by supporters, and later that month the judge overturned his previous decision citing First Amendment concerns and questions about legal jurisdiction. In March 2008, WikiLeaks published what they referred to as “the collected secret ‘bibles’ of Scientology”, and three days later received letters threatening to sue them for breach of copyright. 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 of a group known as Anonymous. In November 2008, the membership list of the far-right British National Party was posted to WikiLeaks, after appearing briefly on a weblog. A year later, in October 2009, another list of BNP members was leaked.
In January 2009, WikiLeaks released 86 telephone intercept recordings of Peruvian politicians and businessmen involved in the 2008 Peru oil scandal. During February, WikiLeaks released 6,780 Congressional Research Service reports followed in March by a list of contributors to the Norm Coleman senatorial campaign and a set of documents belonging to Barclays Bank that had been ordered removed from the website of The Guardian. In July, it released a report relating to a serious nuclear accident that had occurred at the Iranian Natanz nuclear facility in 2009. Later media reports have suggested that the accident was related to the Stuxnet computer worm. In September, internal documents from Kaupthing Bank were leaked, from shortly before the collapse of Iceland’s banking sector, which caused the 2008–2012 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. In October, Joint Services Protocol 440, a British document advising the security services on how to avoid documents being leaked, was published by WikiLeaks. Later that month, it announced that a super-injunction was being used by the commodities company Trafigura to stop The Guardian (London) from reporting on a leaked internal document regarding a toxic dumping incident in Côte d’Ivoire. In November, it hosted copies of e-mail correspondence between climate scientists, although they were not leaked originally to WikiLeaks. It also released 570,000 intercepts of pager messages sent on the day of the 11 September attacks. During 2008 and 2009, WikiLeaks published the alleged lists of forbidden or illegal web addresses for Australia, Denmark and Thailand. These were originally created to prevent access to child pornography and terrorism, but the leaks revealed that other sites featuring unrelated subjects were also listed.
Main articles: Iraq War documents leak and Afghan War documents leak
Gun camera footage of the airstrike of 12 July 2007 in Baghdad, showing the slaying of Namir Noor-Eldeen and a dozen other civilians by an US helicopter.
In mid-February 2010, WikiLeaks received a leaked diplomatic cable from the US Embassy in Reykjavik relating to the Icesave scandal, which they published on 18 February. The cable, known as Reykjavik 13, was the first of the classified documents WikiLeaks published among those allegedly provided to them by US Army Private Chelsea Manning (then known as Bradley). In March 2010, WikiLeaks released a secret 32-page U.S. Department of Defense Counterintelligence Analysis Report written in March 2008 discussing the leaking of material by WikiLeaks and how it could be deterred. In April, a classified video of the 12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike was released, showing two Reuters employees being fired at, after the pilots mistakenly thought the men were carrying weapons, which were in fact cameras. After the mistaken killing, the video shows U.S. forces firing on a family van that stopped to pick up the bodies, constituting a war crime. In the week after the release, “wikileaks” was the search term with the most significant growth worldwide during the last seven days as measured by Google Insights. In June 2010, Manning was arrested after alleged chat logs were given to US authorities by former hacker Adrian Lamo, in whom she had confided. Manning reportedly told Lamo she had leaked the “Collateral Murder” video, in addition to a video of the Granai airstrike and about 260,000 diplomatic cables, to WikiLeaks.
In July, WikiLeaks released 92,000 documents related to the war in Afghanistan between 2004 and the end of 2009 to the publications The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel. The documents detail individual incidents including “friendly fire” and civilian casualties. At the end of July, a 1.4 GB “insurance file” was added to the Afghan War Diary page, whose decryption details would be released if WikiLeaks or Assange were harmed. About 15,000 of the 92,000 documents have not yet been released by WikiLeaks, as the group is currently reviewing the documents to remove some of the sources of the information. WikiLeaks asked the Pentagon and human-rights groups to help remove names from the documents to reduce the potential harm caused by their release, but did not receive assistance. After the Love Parade stampede in Duisburg, Germany, on 24 July 2010, a local resident published internal documents of the city administration regarding the planning of Love Parade. The city government reacted by securing a court order on 16 August forcing the removal of the documents from the website on which it was hosted. On 20 August 2010, WikiLeaks released a publication entitled Loveparade 2010 Duisburg planning documents, 2007–2010, which comprised 43 internal documents regarding the Love Parade 2010. After the leak of information concerning the Afghan War, in October 2010, around 400,000 documents relating to the Iraq War were released. The BBC quoted the US Dept. of Defense referring to the Iraq War Logs as “the largest leak of classified documents in its history”. Media coverage of the leaked documents emphasised claims that the U.S. government had ignored reports of torture by the Iraqi authorities during the period after the 2003 war.
Diplomatic cables release
Main articles: United States diplomatic cables leak, contents, and reactions
On 28 November 2010, WikiLeaks and five major newspapers from Spain (El País), France (Le Monde), Germany (Der Spiegel), the United Kingdom (The Guardian), and the United States (The New York Times) started simultaneously to publish the first 220 of 251,287 leaked documents labelled confidential – but not top-secret – and dated from 28 December 1966 to 28 February 2010. WikiLeaks planned to release the entirety of the cables in phases over several months.
WikiLeaks supporters protest in front of the British Embassy in Madrid, 11 December 2010
The contents of the diplomatic cables include numerous unguarded comments and revelations regarding: critiques and praises about the host countries of various US embassies; political manoeuvring regarding climate change; discussion and resolutions towards ending ongoing tension in the Middle East; efforts and resistance towards nuclear disarmament; actions in the War on Terror; assessments of other threats around the world; dealings between various countries; US intelligence and counterintelligence efforts; and other diplomatic actions. Reactions to the United States diplomatic cables leak varied. On 14 December 2010 the United States Department of Justice issued a subpoena directing Twitter to provide information for accounts registered to or associated with WikiLeaks. Twitter decided to notify its users. The overthrow of the presidency in Tunisia of 2011 has been attributed partly to reaction against the corruption revealed by leaked cables.
Main articles: Guantanamo Bay files leak, Global Intelligence Files leak, Syria Files, and 2012–13 Stratfor email leak
In late April 2011, files related to the Guantanamo prison were released. In December 2011, WikiLeaks started to release the Spy Files. On 27 February 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered “global intelligence” company Stratfor.
On 1 September 2011, it became public that an encrypted version of WikiLeaks’ huge archive of unredacted U.S. State Department cables had been available via BitTorrent for months and that the decryption key (similar to a password) was available to those who knew where to find it. Guardian newspaper editor David Leigh had just published the decryption key in his book, so the files were now publicly available to anyone. Rather than let malicious actors publish selected data, WikiLeaks decided to publish the entire, unredacted archive in searchable form on its website.
A truck bearing a slogan and WikiLeaks logo as a prop at the Occupy Wall Street protest in New York on 25 September 2011
On 5 July 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing the Syria Files, more than two million emails from Syrian political figures, ministries and associated companies, dating from August 2006 to March 2012.
Placard in front of Embassy of Ecuador, London, 22 August 2012
On Thursday, 25 October 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing The Detainee Policies, more than 100 classified or otherwise restricted files from the United States Department of Defense covering the rules and procedures for detainees in U.S. military custody.
In April 2013 WikiLeaks published more than 1.7 million U.S. diplomatic and intelligence documents from the 1970s. These documents included the Kissinger cables.
In September 2013 Dagens Næringsliv said that WikiLeaks, on the previous evening, had published on its website “the whereabouts of 20 chiefs of European surveillance technology companies, during the last year”. This was part of WikiLeaks Spy Files 3 project, which was a release of close to 250 documents from more than 90 surveillance companies.
On 13 November 2013 a complete draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Intellectual Property Rights chapter was published by WikiLeaks.
In 2013, the organisation assisted Edward Snowden (who is responsible for the 2013 mass surveillance disclosures) in leaving Hong Kong. Sarah Harrison, a WikiLeaks activist, accompanied Snowden on the flight.
On 10 June 2015, WikiLeaks published the complete draft on the Trans-Pacific Partnership’s Transparency for Healthcare Annex, along with each country’s negotiating position. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the text of the agreement regulates state schemes for medicines and medical devices and gives big multinational pharmaceutical companies more information and control over national decisions about the health sector.
On 19 June 2015 WikiLeaks began publishing The Saudi Cables: more than half a million cables and other documents from the Saudi Foreign Ministry that contain secret communications from various Saudi Embassies around the world.
On 23 June 2015, WikiLeaks published documents under the name of “Espionnage Élysée”, which showed that NSA spied on French government, including but not limited to the current President Francois Hollande and his predecessors Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac. Oh 29 June 2015, WikiLeaks published more NSA top secrets intercepts regarding France, detailing an economic espionage against French companies and associations.
In July 2015, WikiLeaks published documents which showed that the NSA had tapped the telephones of many German federal ministries, including that of the Chancellor Angela Merkel, for years since the 1990s.
On 4 July 2015, WikiLeaks published documents which showed that 29 Brazilian government numbers were selected for secret espionage by the NSA. Among the targets there were also the President Dilma Rousseff, many assistants and advisors, her presidential jet and other key figures in the Brazilian government.
On 29 July 2015, WikiLeaks published a top secret letter from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Ministerial Meeting in December 2013 which illustrated the position of negotiating countries on “state-owned enterprises” (SOEs), and the set of restrictions and regulations against them, aiming to favour the transnational corporations.
On 31 July 2015, WikiLeaks published secret intercepts and the related target list showing that the NSA spied on Japanese government, including the Cabinet and Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi and Mitsui. The documents revealed that US espionage against Japan concerned broad sections of communications about the US-Japan diplomatic relationship and Japan’s position on climate change issues, other than an extensive monitoring of the Japanese economy.
On 21 October 2015 WikiLeaks published some of John O. Brennan’s emails, including a draft security clearance application which contained personal information.
Main articles: 2016 Democratic National Committee email leak and Podesta emails
On 4 July 2016, WikiLeaks tweeted a link to a trove of emails sent or received by then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and released under the Freedom of Information Act. The link contained 1258 emails sent from Clinton’s personal mail server which were selected in terms of their relevance to the Iraq War and were apparently timed to precede the release of the UK government’s Iraq Inquiry report.
On 19 July 2016, WikiLeaks released 294,548 emails from Turkey’s ruling Justice and Development party (AKP). According to WikiLeaks, the material, which they claim to be the first batch from the “AKP Emails”, was obtained a week before the attempted coup in the country and “is not connected, in any way, to the elements behind the attempted coup, or to a rival political party or state”. After WikiLeaks announced that they would release the emails, the organization stayed for over 24 hours under a “sustained attack”. Following the leak, the Turkish government ordered the site to be blocked nationwide. WikiLeaks had posted a link to a database of nearly every female voter in Turkey, including for many their Turkish Identification Number. This information was not in the files uploaded directly by WikiLeaks, but in files posted by Michael Best who then removed it when the personal data was discovered.
On 22 July 2016, WikiLeaks released approximately 20,000 emails and 8,000 files sent from or received by Democratic National Committee (DNC) personnel. Some of the emails contained personal information of donors, including home addresses and Social Security numbers. Other emails appeared to criticize Bernie Sanders and showed apparent favouritism towards Clinton.
On 7 October 2016, WikiLeaks started releasing series of emails and documents sent from or received by Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, including Hillary Clinton’s paid speeches to banks. According to a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, “By dribbling these out every day WikiLeaks is proving they are nothing but a propaganda arm of the Kremlin with a political agenda doing Putin’s dirty work to help elect Donald Trump.” The New York Times reported that when asked, president Vladimir Putin replied that Russia was being falsely accused. “The hysteria is merely caused by the fact that somebody needs to divert the attention of the American people from the essence of what was exposed by the hackers.”
On 17 October 2016 WikiLeaks announced that a “state party” had severed the internet connection of Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy. WikiLeaks blamed United States Secretary of State John Kerry of pressuring the Ecuadorian government in severing Assange’s internet, an accusation which the United States State Department denied. The Ecuadorian government stated that it had “temporarily” severed Assange’s internet connection because of WikiLeaks’ release of documents “impacting on the U.S. election campaign,” although it also stated that this was not meant to prevent WikiLeaks from operating.