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Whistleblowing websites > WikiLeaks




Ed Stein

Editorial cartoon

Denver, Colorado


27 October 2010















WikiLeaks and Julian Assange

The Guardian    Playlist





WikiLeaks and Julian Assange

Video        Playlist        Guardian








































antisecrecy group /

electronic whistleblowers' platform WikiLeaks




















































































































































































blow the whistle on N


















Edward Snowden in exile:

‘you have to be ready to stand for something’

G    September 2019





Edward Snowden in exile:

‘you have to be ready to stand for something’

Video    G    13 September 2019


Edward Snowden

has spent the last six years living in exile in Russia

and has now decided to publish his memoirs,

Permanent Record.


In the book he reflects on his life

leading up to the biggest leak

of top secret documents in history,

and the impact this had

on his relationship with his partner,

Lindsay Mills.


The Guardian's Ewen MacAskill,

who helped break Snowden's story in 2013,

has been given exclusive access to meet him


















WikiLeaks > Edward J. Snowden        UK / USA
















video - G - 13 September 2019







































whistleblowing site        UK










whistleblower        UK / USA














cartoons > Cagle > Santa and Wikileaks





cartoons > Cagle > WikiLeaks        December 2010






cartoons > Cagle > WikiLeaks        October 2010



















‘When you’ve been through the things I’ve been through,

most things don’t seem that insurmountable.’


Photograph: Camila Falquez

The Guardian.


Chelsea Manning:

‘I struggle with the so-called free world

compared with life in prison’

Nihilist, anarchist, idealist,

troubled young transperson crying out for help:

when a 22-year-old US military analyst leaked

hundreds of thousands of classified documents,

everyone thought they knew why.

They were wrong, she says.

This is what really happened


Sat 22 Oct 2022    08.00 BST
























USA > Chelsea Manning        UK / USA










































































USA > Bradley Manning        UK / USA


US soldier accused of downloading

and leaking classified cables to WikiLeaks












































































































Wikileaks        18 December 2010

















Aired: 05/24/2011        53:40        Rating: NR

FRONTLINE reveals the inside story

of Julian Assange, Bradley Manning

and the biggest intelligence breach

in U.S. history.



















The Sony Archives


a searchable archive

of more than 170,000 emails

and 30,000 private documents

belonging to Sony Pictures Entertainment.




The data was hacked

in November of last year (2014),

revealing multiple embarrassing

e-mail exchanges

between Sony executives

and personal information

from thousands of employees,

including social security numbers.
























August 2011


Confidential American diplomatic cables


State Department documents
























April 2011


Guantanamo detention facility documents


Classified information

about current and former

GTMO detainees





























































November  2010


Confidential American diplomatic cables



A cache of a quarter-million

confidential American diplomatic cables,

most of them from the past three years,

provides an unprecedented

look at backroom bargaining

by embassies around the world,

brutally candid views of foreign leaders

and frank assessments

of nuclear and terrorist threats.





















































































































































































































































































October 2010


The War Logs


An archive

of classified military documents

offers views of the wars

in Iraq and Afghanistan



The Iraq Documents


The archive is the second cache obtained

by the independent organization WikiLeaks

and made available

to several news organizations.


The Iraq documents shed new light

on such fraught subjects as civilian deaths,

detainee abuse and the involvement of Iran.


http://warlogs.owni.fr/ - broken link


















































July 2010


War in Afghanistan


The Afghan War Diary

Sunday, July 26 5pm EST, 2010



WikiLeaks today released

over 75,000 secret US military reports

covering the war in Afghanistan.


The Afghan War Diary


an extraordinary secret

compendium of over 91,000 reports

covering the war in Afghanistan

from 2004 to 2010.


The reports describe

the majority of lethal military actions

involving the United States military.


They include

the number of persons internally stated

to be killed, wounded,

or detained during each action,

together with the precise

geographical location of each event,

and the military units involved

and major weapon systems used.


The Afghan War Diary

is the most significant archive

about the reality of war

to have ever been released

during the course of a war.


The deaths of tens of thousands

is normally only a statistic

but the archive reveals the locations

and the key events

behind each most of these deaths.


We hope its release will lead

to a comprehensive understanding

of the war in Afghanistan

and provide the raw ingredients

necessary to change its course.


Most entries have been written

by soldiers and intelligence officers

listening to reports radioed in

from front line deployments.


However the reports also contain

related information

from Marines intelligence,

US Embassies,

and reports about corruption

and development activity

across Afghanistan.




























April 2010


Classified US military video

depicting the indiscriminate slaying

of over a dozen people

in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad

- including two Reuters news staff -

in July 2007


warning: graphic / distressing






Collateral Murder

Video    Overview    5th April 2010    10:44 EST


WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video

depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people

in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad

-- including two Reuters news staff.


Reuters has been trying to obtain the video

through the Freedom of Information Act,

without success since the time of the attack.


The video,

shot from an Apache helicopter gun-site,

clearly shows the unprovoked slaying

of a wounded Reuters employee

and his rescuers.


Two young children involved in the rescue

were also seriously wounded.






















Corpus of news articles


Technology > Internet


Whistleblowing websites > WikiLeaks




In WikiLeaks Case,

Defense Puts the Jailers on Trial


December 7, 2012

The New York Times




FORT MEADE, Md. — In a half-empty courtroom here, with a crew of fervent supporters in attendance, Pfc. Bradley Manning and his lawyer have spent the last two weeks turning the tables on the government.

Private Manning faces a potential life sentence if convicted on charges that he gave WikiLeaks, the antisecrecy organization, hundreds of thousands of confidential military and diplomatic documents. But for now, he has been effectively putting on trial his former jailers at the Quantico, Va., Marine Corps base. His lawyer, David E. Coombs, has grilled one Quantico official after another, demanding to know why his client was kept in isolation and stripped of his clothing at night as part of suicide-prevention measures.

Mr. Coombs, a polite but relentless interrogator who stands a foot taller than his client, has laid bare deep disagreements inside the military: psychiatrists thought the special measures unnecessary, while jail commanders ignored their advice and kept the suicide restrictions in place. In a long day of testimony last week, Private Manning of the Army, vilified as a dangerous traitor by some members of Congress but lauded as a war-crimes whistle-blower on the political left, heartened his sympathizers with an eloquent and even humorous performance on the stand.

“He was engaged, chipper, optimistic,” said Bill Wagner, 74, a retired NASA solar physicist who is a courtroom regular, dressed in the black “Truth” T-shirt favored by Private Manning’s supporters.

Private Manning, who turns 25 on Dec. 17 and looks much younger, was quietly attentive during Friday’s court session, in a dress uniform, crew-cut blond hair and wire-rimmed glasses. If his face were not already familiar from television news, he might have been mistaken for a first-year law student assisting the defense team.

It seemed incongruous that he has essentially acknowledged responsibility for the largest leak of classified material in history. The material included a quarter-million State Department cables whose release may have chilled diplomats’ ability to do their work discreetly but also helped fuel the Arab Spring; video of American helicopter crews shooting people on the ground in Baghdad who they thought were enemy fighters but were actually Reuters journalists; field reports on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and confidential assessments of the detainees locked up at Guantánamo Bay, Cuba.

As the military pursues the case against Private Manning, the Justice Department continues to explore the possibility of charging WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, or other activists with the group, possibly as conspirators in Private Manning’s alleged offense. Federal prosecutors in Alexandria, Va., are still assigned to that investigation, according to law enforcement officials, but it is not clear how active they have been lately in presenting evidence to a grand jury.

The current tone of the legal proceedings against Private Manning is most likely temporary. His lawyer is asking the judge overseeing the case to throw out the charges on the ground that his pretrial treatment was unlawful, but that outcome appears unlikely.

As a fallback, Mr. Coombs is hoping the court will at least give Private Manning extra credit against any ultimate sentence for the time he spent held under harsh conditions at Quantico and earlier in Kuwait, where he was kept in what he described as “an animal cage.” After the uproar about his treatment, including public criticism from the State Department’s top spokesman and the United Nations’ top torture expert, military officials moved Private Manning in April 2011 from Quantico to a new prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kan., where he has not faced the same restrictions on clothing, sleeping conditions and conversation with other inmates.

As if to underscore the gravity of his legal predicament, Private Manning offered last month to plead guilty to lesser charges that could send him to prison for 16 years. Prosecutors have not said whether they are interested in such a deal, which would mean they would have to give up seeking a life sentence for the most serious charges: aiding the enemy and violating the Espionage Act.

Friday’s court session was attended by a dozen Manning loyalists, including Thomas A. Drake, the former National Security Agency official who was accused of leaking documents and pleaded guilty to a minor charge last year. They heard the commander of the Quantico brig, or military jail, explain why she refused Private Manning’s request to be taken off “prevention of injury” status.

Chief Warrant Officer Denise Barnes, who was in charge of the brig for the last four months of Private Manning’s time there, said that the soldier declined her many requests to describe his emotional state in detail. Because of some odd behavior and two previous statements he had made that flagged him as a suicide risk, she said she was unwilling to change his status — despite the advice of military psychiatrists — until he opened up to her about how he was feeling.

Over the months she spent with him, speaking briefly with him each day, he grew less communicative and more monosyllabic, Ms. Barnes said.

“He did not clearly communicate to me, ‘I don’t want to kill myself,’ ” she said. “There was never an intent to punish Pfc. Manning.”

Ms. Barnes referred in passing to online attacks on her earlier this year by activists, one of whom called her a “sexual sadist.” She said she had no ill will against Private Manning “even though I was threatened and my family’s information was put out on the Internet.”

As Private Manning awaits a court-martial, now scheduled for March, Mr. Assange is holed up at Ecuador’s embassy in London, where he has lived since Ecuador granted him asylum in August. British officials have refused to grant him safe passage out of the country.

Mr. Assange faces no charges in connection with WikiLeaks but is wanted for questioning in Sweden in connection with allegations of sexual assault. He has expressed concern that Swedish authorities might extradite him to the United States.

From his embassy refuge, Mr. Assange has recently conducted a series of often-contentious television interviews with CNN, BBC and other news outlets, accusing the United States of torturing Private Manning. WikiLeaks supporters have theorized that the tough treatment of the soldier may have been designed to pressure him to testify against Mr. Assange.

No evidence has surfaced to support that theory. But if Private Manning’s offer to admit to reduced charges leads to serious plea negotiations, his cooperation in any future prosecution against WikiLeaks could conceivably be part of a deal.


Scott Shane reported from Fort Meade,

and Charlie Savage from Washington.

In WikiLeaks Case, Defense Puts the Jailers on Trial,






WikiLeaks, a Postscript


February 19, 2012

The New York Times



THIS is apparently the revenge of Julian Assange: everyone who runs afoul of the rock-star leaker is condemned to spend eternity discussing the cosmic meaning of WikiLeaks. As the editor of The Times during our publication of many articles based on that treasury of military and diplomatic secrets, and as the lucky man the WikiLeaks founder singled out as his Least Favorite Journalist, I have participated in half a dozen panel discussions, and turned down at least that many. I can’t complain about the one in Madrid, where, after holding forth in a packed auditorium, the American, British, German, French and Spanish editors who broke news based on WikiLeaks commemorated the collaboration with an after-hours prowl through the Prado Museum and a 27-course meal cooked by master chef Ferran Adrià. (If Europe is dying, Spain is where I plan to go for the wake.) Unforgettable in a different way was the retrospective in Berkeley, where Assange himself, then as now awaiting an extradition ruling in England, was Skyped in on a giant screen, like the mighty Oz, to pontificate on Western media’s failure to turn the files into a kind of Nuremberg trial of American imperialism. About half the audience seemed on the verge of tossing their underwear at the screen.

Add to that the three or four documentaries on the WikiLeaks adventure, the dozen books — including, weirdly, Assange’s unauthorized autobiography — and a couple speculative Hollywood projects, in which I have a twofold interest. (1. The very slight possibility that I might make some money for my small piece of the story. 2. The exceedingly remote chance that a director will take up my wife’s brilliant idea that Assange be played by Tilda Swinton.)

It’s amazing they keep inviting me to these things, since I’m a bit of a spoilsport. My consistent answer to the ponderous question of how WikiLeaks transformed our world has been: really, not all that much. It was a hell of a story and a wild collaboration, but it did not herald, as the documentarians yearn to believe, some new digital age of transparency. In fact, if there is a larger point, it is quite the contrary.

With the subject showing no signs of going away — one more documentary melodrama of our WikiLeaks adventure will be featured at next month’s South by Southwest festival — I decided to check up on the lingering fallout from what may be the nation’s all-time greatest cascade of blown secrets.

Assange himself, who gave a handful of journalists early access to the pilfered data, has moved from a supporter’s country mansion to much more modest digs while he fights extradition to Sweden on sexual abuse charges. An American grand jury is believed to still be mulling an indictment for his role in the leaks. He compiled many hours of interviews for an autobiography, then backed out of the project, but his publisher — in the proper anarchist spirit of WikiLeaks — published it over his objections. (Evidently not for profit. It is No. 1,288,313 on the Amazon list of best-selling titles.) Assange’s newest project, announced last month, is a television talk show in which he will interview “iconoclasts, visionaries and power insiders.” So says the proud buyer of this series, RT (formerly Russia Today), the Kremlin’s English-language propaganda arm and keeper of the cult of Putin. No, not kidding.

Kremlin TV aside, Assange has declined from global notoriety to B-list celebrity: he lacks enough star power for a hosting gig on “Saturday Night Live,” but he did have a cameo in Sunday’s episode of “The Simpsons.”

Bart: “How ya doin’, Mr. Assange?”

Julian: “That’s my personal information, and you have no right to know about it.”


The Army private accused of divulging three-quarters of a million secret documents to WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning — who was at first kept in such inhumane custody that the State Department spokesman quit in protest — is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday on charges that could mean life in prison. You don’t have to excuse his alleged crime to think the original sin in the whole drama is that this tormented soul had access to so many secrets in the first place.

What we cannot know for sure is the fate of the many informants, dissidents, activists and bystanders quoted in the American cables. Assange published source names over the strong objections of the journalists who had access to the data (we expunged the names from our reports) and to the horror of human rights groups and some of his WikiLeaks colleagues. I’ve been told that a few exposed sources fled their countries with American help, a few others were detained by authorities, and none are known to have been killed. But would we even know? When I read stories like the Reuters account last week of the three men beheaded in Yemen for giving information to Americans, I worry anew about the many innocent witnesses named in the WikiLeaks cables.

The publication of so many confidences and indiscretions did not bring U.S. foreign policy to a halt. But it did, at least temporarily, complicate the lives of U.S. diplomats. American officials say that foreign counterparts are sometimes more squeamish about speaking candidly, and that it is harder to recruit and retain informants around the world.

As raw material for journalists, the cache of secrets has had a phenomenal afterlife. It’s been 10 months since The Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel and the other partners in this project filed their last major extracts from the files. And still, literally every day, stories based on the trove appear somewhere in the world, either because local news organizations are catching up with morsels of scandal that did not attract major newsrooms, or because new events cast the cables in a more interesting light. Notably, State Department dispatches reporting on the dissolute lifestyles of Mideast autocrats provided a little extra kindling for the bonfires of the Arab Spring.

But the idea that this was the opening of a floodgate has proved exactly wrong. In the immediate aftermath of the breach, several news organizations (including this one) considered creating secure online drop-boxes for would-be leakers, imagining that new digital Deep Throats would arise. But it now seems clear that the WikiLeaks breach was one of a kind — and that even lesser leaks are harder than ever to come by.

Steven Aftergood, who monitors secrecy issues for the Federation of American Scientists, said that since WikiLeaks the government has elevated the “insider threat” as a priority, and tightened access to classified material. Nudged by an irate Congress, the intelligence agencies are at work on an electronic auditing program that would make illicit transfer of secrets much more difficult and make tracking the leaker much easier.

“A lot of attention has been focused on WikiLeaks and its colorful proprietors,” Aftergood told me. “But the real action, it turns out, is not at the publisher level; it’s at the source level. And there aren’t a lot of sources as prolific or as reckless as Bradley Manning allegedly was.”

For good reason. The Obama administration has been much more aggressive than its predecessors in pursuing and punishing leakers. The latest case, the arrest last month of John Kiriakou, a former C.I.A. terrorist-hunter accused of telling journalists the names of colleagues who participated in the waterboarding of Qaeda suspects, is symptomatic of the crackdown. It is this administration’s sixth criminal case against an official for confiding to the media, more than all previous presidents combined. The message is chilling for those entrusted with keeping legitimate secrets and for whistleblowers or officials who want the public to understand how our national security is or is not protected.

Here’s the paradox the documentaries have overlooked so far: The most palpable legacy of the WikiLeaks campaign for transparency is that the U.S. government is more secretive than ever.

WikiLeaks, a Postscript,
NYT, 19.2.2012,






WikiLeaks’ Founder,

in a Gilded British Cage


September 25, 2011
The New York Times



The man in the rubber boots and a thick coat to protect against the evening chill walked purposefully about a farm here, scattering pheasants as he went. He could have been an English gentleman out for a bit of hunting, except he carried no gun.

In his current circumstance, the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is more hunted than hunter, fighting extradition to Sweden on accusations of sexual misconduct while struggling to maintain the influence of WikiLeaks even as he remains here at Ellingham Hall, the country manor house of Vaughan Smith, a former soldier and journalist who runs a restaurant and club for journalists in London.

Mr. Assange and a few WikiLeaks staff members who are staying at the farm joined some friends of Mr. Smith on Saturday for an outdoor lunch. I took the train up from London to get a first-hand look at Mr. Assange’s gilded, remote sanctuary.

In December, Mr. Assange was unable to meet the terms of bail because he had no permanent address — he is an itinerant who leads a stateless organization that operates in an online world without borders. Mr. Smith, after consulting his wife, Pranvera Shema, decided they would provide Mr. Assange with an address, a roof over his head and a place to manage his legal case.

“None of us knew it would go on this long,” Mr. Smith said, “but I think that Julian deserves justice in the same way as anyone else, so we have found a way to make it work.”

It has not all been rural bliss. There have been times when as many of 20 people from WikiLeaks stayed at the house. “I’d open a cupboard and another one would fall out,” Mr. Smith said. And then there is the matter of the farm animals. “Julian messed with my pigs,” Mr. Smith said, smiling.

Ellingham Hall, 130 miles north of London, is a working farm, and Mr. Assange decided to use the pigs to make a film about the credit card companies that have denied him the means to raise donations. Mr. Smith said Mr. Assange induced the pigs to break through an electric fence and make themselves at home in a nearby berry patch, a bit of porcine anarchy that did not amuse the farm manager.

Standing near the pig pen at dusk, Mr. Assange said it was not his fault, pointing to two young males. “They hacked the fence,” he said, deploying the terminology that has made WikiLeaks and its founder household names.

Mr. Assange, who has become “Uncle Julian” to Mr. Smith’s young children, seems less international man of mystery than a person frozen in the odd circumstance of the moment. He wears an electronic bracelet, reports to the local police every day and, to the extent he can, continues to push the WikiLeaks agenda.

Even here he sees enemies everywhere, suggesting helicopters have swooped in for occasional reconnaissance, and at one point backing me out of a kind of war room near the kitchen. “You can’t be in here,” he said, closing the door with a wan smile.

But if Mr. Assange is in compliance with the conditions of his bail, he remains at the margins of the law. Federal authorities in the United States and Australia continue to investigate whether the release of classified information by WikiLeaks constitutes criminal behavior that has endangered various operatives. And Swedish prosecutors are seeking his extradition for questioning — he has yet to be charged — on accusations of sexual misconduct with two women.

As the controversy has grown, some WikiLeaks staff members have left, saying Mr. Assange runs the organization less transparently than he should. In his view, he is guilty of nothing more than challenging powerful elites, but his current isolation, in acute relief in the English countryside, is a consequence of his choices.

After a week in which his autobiography was published against his wishes, he was not much in the mood for another media moment, but he was friendly in an argumentative way as long as I did not take out a notebook.

Mr. Assange was willing to say on the record that he was “very grateful” for the refuge provided by Mr. Smith, and then spent time after lunch chatting about his long list of enemies: The New York Times, The Guardian, the governments of Britain, Sweden and the United States. He sees his tendency to end up at cross-purposes with almost everyone who does business with him as a measure of the threat he presents to the status quo, and not, as some have said, as a byproduct of his habit of acting unilaterally according to rules only he knows.

He has, however, not worn out the patience of Mr. Smith. Now 48, Mr. Smith has done a fair amount of brave — and perhaps foolhardy — things in his life. He was an officer in the British Army’s Grenadier Guards, serving in Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Germany.

In the 1990s, he worked as a freelance video journalist, covering conflicts in Iraq, Afghanistan, Bosnia, Chechnya, Kosovo and elsewhere. He was shot twice, and in one instance was saved by a cellphone and a wad of cash tucked into his waist. The wad is on display in the Frontline Club, a hangout for journalists that Mr. Smith runs in the London neighborhood of Paddington. It is financed in part by a restaurant of the same name that sits beneath the club and serves some of the food grown at Ellingham.

His decision to house Mr. Assange, who is not especially popular in the British press circles of which Mr. Smith is very much a part, carries its own kind of risks. A member of the Frontline Club, who asked not to be identified because he and Mr. Smith are friendly, said he thought Mr. Smith meant well, but was leaving himself exposed. “He has been a very visible supporter of Julian and has no control over what he does while he is free on bail. It’s worrisome at the very least,” the man said.

While no one, including Mr. Smith, thought Mr. Assange would still be at Ellingham 10 months later, Mr. Smith says he “made a commitment and I plan on keeping it. People support WikiLeaks, but they don’t seem to have much in the way of support for Julian.”

“Look,” he added, “you can see Julian as a kind of Bond villain, stroking a white cat and contemplating his next evil act, or you can see him as a complicated and interesting person who has really altered journalism in a historic way. I think many people in our business took an immediate dislike to him, and there has been a lot of lazy and unfair coverage.”

Mr. Smith is something of a libertarian in his political beliefs, and a bit of a renegade. As a freelance videographer, he obtained unauthorized footage of the Persian Gulf war by impersonating a British officer and bluffing his way into an active duty unit. He organized Frontline News TV as a press agency during the 1990s because he felt that video freelancers were not being credited for their work, much of it obtained at great personal risk.

“We have 1,500 dues paying members of the Frontline Club and there has been a fair amount of debate about it, but at this point, he is staying at my home, not the club,” Mr. Smith said. “I wouldn’t say that having anybody stay at your house for almost a year is a prescription for domestic tranquility, but I’m proud of the fact that we’ve worked our way through a difficult situation.”

I suggested that it was an odd move for someone who was literally “to the manor born.” Ellingham Hall has been in Mr. Smith’s family for hundreds of years.

“I was taught from a very young age that you need to stand up for the weaker party,” Mr. Smith said. “If Julian had ended up at a flat in London, it would have just been another sort of prison because of the press coverage of the case.”

The distance keeps Mr. Assange safe from the prying eyes of the press, give or take my visit, but it also means that someone who has remained in motion for many years is now fixed in place, left to operate a shadowy global enterprise from a country farm north of London.

Mr. Smith is proud of the place, but sees work to be done everywhere he looks. Mr. Assange sees Ellingham Hall through a different lens. When we step into a walled garden that would thwart any directional microphones, he looks around and suggests, “This the only place you can have a really secure conversation.”

For the time being, it will have to do.

    WikiLeaks’ Founder, in a Gilded British Cage, NYT, 25.9. 2011,






WikiLeaks Leaves

Names of Diplomatic Sources

in Cables


August 29, 2011
The New York Times


WASHINGTON — In a shift of tactics that has alarmed American officials, the antisecrecy organization WikiLeaks has published on the Web nearly 134,000 leaked diplomatic cables in recent days, more than six times the total disclosed publicly since the posting of the leaked State Department documents began last November.

A sampling of the documents showed that the newly published cables included the names of some people who had spoken confidentially to American diplomats and whose identities were marked in the cables with the warning “strictly protect.”

State Department officials and human rights activists have been concerned that such diplomatic sources, including activists, journalists and academics in authoritarian countries, could face reprisals, including dismissal from their jobs, prosecution or violence.

Since late 2010, The New York Times and several other news organizations have had access to more than 250,000 State Department cables originally obtained by WikiLeaks, citing them in news articles and publishing a relatively small number of cables deemed newsworthy. But The Times and other publications that had access to the documents removed the names of people judged vulnerable to retaliation.

WikiLeaks published some cables on its own Web site, but until the latest release, the group had also provided versions of the cables that had been edited to protect low-level diplomatic sources.

Government officials and journalists were poring over the newly released cables on Monday to assess whether people named in them might face repercussions. A quick sampling found at least one cable posted on Monday, from the American Embassy in Australia, had a name removed, but several others left in the identities of people whom diplomats had flagged for protection.

Among those named, despite diplomats’ warnings, were a United Nations official in West Africa and a foreign human rights activist working in Cambodia. They had spoken candidly to American Embassy officials on the understanding that they would not be publicly identified.

The new disclosures are likely to reignite a debate over the virtues and perils of making public the confidential views of American diplomats, some of whom have complained that the leaks have made their work more difficult. The disclosures take place as a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., continues to hear evidence in a criminal investigation of WikiLeaks for disclosing classified information.

WikiLeaks said in a statement on Monday that the acceleration in disclosing the cables was “in accordance with WikiLeaks’s commitment to maximizing impact and making information available to all.” The statement suggested that it was intended to counter the “misperception” that the organization “has been less active in recent months.”

The statement said that “crowdsourcing” the documents by posting them will allow people of different backgrounds and nationalities to interpret the cables. It was unsigned, but WikiLeaks’s founder, Julian Assange, generally drafts or approves the group’s statements.

Even as WikiLeaks made its new postings, a German publication reported that an encrypted file containing all of the 251,287 diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks last year had been posted months ago on the Web, and that the password was also available on the Internet. It was unclear on Monday whether anyone had cracked the encrypted file described by the publication, Der Freitag, a small Berlin-based, left-leaning weekly, and had made public previously unpublished material.

A State Department spokesman, Michael A. Hammer, said the department would not comment on the authenticity of the documents released. He said the United States “strongly condemns any illegal disclosure of classified information.”

Last year, WikiLeaks was sharply criticized by human rights activists for disclosing the names of Afghan citizens who had provided information on the Taliban to the American military. It was far more cautious in subsequent releases, using software to strip proper names out of Iraq war documents and publishing versions of the cables after they had been edited by The New York Times and other publications.

The publication of cables began slowly last year, with only 2,500 made public by year’s end, often with redactions. As of last week, the total had reached about 20,000.

But the State Department has always acted on the assumption that all quarter-million cables might become public. A department task force worked with American embassies to review all the leaked cables, quietly warning people named in the cables that they might be in jeopardy. Some especially vulnerable people were given help to move, usually outside their home countries.

Steven Aftergood, an expert on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, said he had reviewed several dozen cables from the new batch — all among those classified “secret” by the State Department — and found only one redaction. He said the volume of the new release made it unlikely that all the information that might endanger diplomatic sources had been removed.

“If these cables have not been carefully reviewed, it’s likely to be problematic for any number of people named in the cables,” Mr. Aftergood said.


Ravi Somaiya contributed reporting from London.

WikiLeaks Leaves Names of Diplomatic Sources in Cables,
    NYT, 29.8.2011,






A Statement

by the United States Government


April 24, 2011
The New York Times


“It is unfortunate that The New York Times and other news organizations have made the decision to publish numerous documents obtained illegally by Wikileaks concerning the Guantanamo detention facility. These documents contain classified information about current and former GTMO detainees, and we strongly condemn the leaking of this sensitive information.

“The Wikileaks releases include Detainee Assessment Briefs (DABs) written by the Department of Defense between 2002 and early 2009. These DABs were written based on a range of information available then.

“The Guantanamo Review Task Force, established in January 2009, considered the DABs during its review of detainee information. In some cases, the Task Force came to the same conclusions as the DABs. In other instances the Review Task Force came to different conclusions, based on updated or other available information. The assessments of the Guantanamo Review Task Force have not been compromised to Wikileaks. Thus, any given DAB illegally obtained and released by Wikileaks may or may not represent the current view of a given detainee.

“Both the previous and the current Administrations have made every effort to act with the utmost care and diligence in transferring detainees from Guantanamo. The previous Administration transferred 537 detainees; to date, the current Administration has transferred 67. Both Administrations have made the protection of American citizens the top priority and we are concerned that the disclosure of these documents could be damaging to those efforts. That said, we will continue to work with allies and partners around the world to mitigate threats to the U.S. and other countries and to work toward the ultimate closure of the Guantanamo detention facility, consistent with good security practices and our values as a nation.”

Geoff Morrell

Pentagon Press Secretary

Ambassador Dan Fried

Special Envoy for Closure

of the Guantanamo Detention Facility

    A Statement by the United States Government, NYT, 24.4.2011,






Julian Assange

to be extradited to Sweden

WikiLeaks founder handed verdict
at Belmarsh magistrates court

Share Esther Addley and Alexandra Topping
Thursday 24 February 2011
11.23 GMT
This article was published on guardian.co.uk
at 11.23 GMT on Thursday 24 February 2011.


WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is to be extradited to Sweden to face allegations of rape and sexual assault.

Assange has been fighting extradition since he was arrested and bailed in December. He has consistently denied the allegations, made by two women in August last year.

Howard Riddle, the chief magistrate, delivered his ruling at a hearing at Belmarsh magistrates court in London. It is unlikely to be the end of the matter, however, because an appeal is expected, which would delay the final decision until the summer at the latest.

At a two-day hearing earlier this month, his legal team argued that Assange would not receive a fair trial in Sweden. They said the European arrest warrant (EAW) issued by Sweden was invalid because the Australian had not been charged with any offence and that the alleged assaults would not be legitimate extraditable offences.

Assange fears that an extradition to Sweden would make it easier for Washington to extradite him to the US on possible charges relating to the release by WikiLeaks of leaked US embassy cables.

If this was to happen, Sweden would have to ask permission from the UK for the onward extradition. No such charges have been laid, though the website's activities are under investigation in the US.

The Swedish prosecutor, represented in court by the British Crown Prosecution Service, argued that despite the lack of charge, Assange was being sought for prosecution rather than merely for questioning, which meant the warrant was valid.

The most serious of the four allegations relates to an accusation that Assange, during a visit to Stockholm in August, had sex with a woman, Miss B, while she was sleeping and without a condom, and without her consent. Three counts of sexual assault are also alleged against another woman, Miss A. If found guilty of the rape charge he could face up to four years in prison.

Assange will now be detained in custody, because there is no system of bail in Sweden, until a possible trial or release.

The Australian ambassador to Sweden, Paul Stephens, wrote to the country's justice minister last week to insist that, if extradited, any possible case against Assange "would proceed in accordance with due process and the provisions prescribed under Swedish law, as well as applicable European and international laws, including relevant human rights norms".

EAWs were introduced in 2003 with the aim of making extradition swifter and easier between European member states. But campaigners have raised concerns about the application of the warrants, arguing that they are sometimes applied before a case is ready to prosecute, and that while they were originally intended to counter terrorism, their use has greatly increased. Seven hundred people were extradited from the UK under the system last year.

Julian Assange to be extradited to Sweden, G, 24.2.2011,






Ex-Swiss Banker

Gives Data to WikiLeaks


January 17, 2011
The New York Times


LONDON — A former Swiss bank executive said on Monday that he had given the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, details of more than 2,000 prominent individuals and companies that he contends engaged in tax evasion and other possible criminal activity.

Rudolf M. Elmer, the former head of the Cayman Islands office of the prominent Swiss bank Julius Baer, refused to identify any of the individuals or companies, but told reporters at a press conference that about 40 politicians and “pillars of society” worldwide are among them.

He told The Observer newspaper over the weekend that those named in the documents come from “the U.S., Britain, Germany, Austria and Asia — from all over,” and include “business people, politicians, people who have made their living in the arts and multinational conglomerates — from both sides of the Atlantic.”

Mr. Assange said that WikiLeaks would verify and release the information, including the names, in as little as two weeks. He suggested possible partnerships with financial news organizations and said he would consider turning the information over to Britain’s Serious Fraud Office, a government agency that investigates financial corruption.

Mr. Elmer said he had turned to WikiLeaks to educate society about what he considers an unfair system designed to serve the rich and aid money launderers after his offers to provide the data to universities and governments were spurned and, in his opinion, the Swiss media failed to cover the substance of his allegations. “The man in the street needs to know how this system works,” he said, referring to the offshore trusts that many “high net worth individuals” across the world use to evade taxes.

His former employers released a statement on Friday denying all wrongdoing and suggesting that Mr. Elmer’s aim was to “discredit Julius Baer as well as clients in the eyes of the public.” It accused him of using falsified documents and spreading “baseless accusations” and passing on “unlawfully acquired, respectively retained, documents to the media, and later also to WikiLeaks.”

On Monday, Mr. Elmer declined say how he had obtained the documents, which were on two CDs. He faces trial in Switzerland on Wednesday on charges of stealing the information from the bank. He was held for 30 days in 2005 over allegations that he violated Swiss banking secrecy laws, falsified documents and sent threatening messages to two people at the bank.

WikiLeaks and Bank Julius Baer previously clashed in early 2008 when the anti-secrecy organization published hundreds of documents pertaining to its offshore activities. On that occasion, it did not identify the 15 individuals concerned. But the bank succeeded, briefly, in gaining a court order to shut down the WikiLeaks.org Web site anyway. The injunction was subsequently overturned and the case was dropped.

The offshore banking industry has come under increasing pressure from whistle-blowers like Mr. Elmer over the last two years. In 2009, Bradley Birkenfeld, a former private banker for UBS, was sentenced to more than three years in prison after refusing to admit his own role in the Swiss bank’s efforts to help American clients evade taxes.

Prosecutors did, however, credit Mr. Birkenfeld for helping to disclose some illegal tactics in the industry. As a result of Mr. Birkenfeld’s disclosures, UBS agreed to turn over details of several thousand client accounts to the Internal Revenue Service as part of a legal settlement. UBS agreed to pay a $780 million fine and admitted criminal wrongdoing.

In London on Monday, Mr. Assange said that financial institutions “operate outside the rule of law” because of their economic power. WikiLeaks itself had, he said, been “economically censored” by companies like Visa and MasterCard, which stopped processing donations to it late last year in response to its release of hundreds of thousands of classified United States documents on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and thousands of State Department cables.

WikiLeaks has also said it would release information from an American bank, thought to be the contents of a Bank of America executive’s hard drive, early this year. But, Mr. Assange said, the site is not fully “open for public business” owing to the weight of the existing leaks it is struggling to process.

He would not comment on continuing proceedings to extradite him from Britain to Sweden to face allegations of sexual wrongdoing brought by two women in Stockholm last summer. He will next appear in a London court on Feb. 7 and 8.

The United States is also widely thought to be conducting an investigation into Mr. Assange and WikiLeaks, in connection with the release of the classified United States government and military information.

Ex-Swiss Banker Gives Data to WikiLeaks, NYT, 17.1.2011,






Accused Soldier in Brig

as WikiLeaks Link Is Sought


January 13, 2011
The New York Times


WASHINGTON — Julian Assange, the flamboyant founder of WikiLeaks, is living on a supporter’s 600-acre estate outside London, where he has negotiated $1.7 million in book deals and regularly issues defiant statements about the antisecrecy group’s plans.

Meanwhile, the young soldier accused of leaking the secret documents that brought WikiLeaks and Mr. Assange to fame and notoriety is locked in a tiny cell at the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia. The soldier, Pfc. Bradley Manning, who turned 23 last month in the military prison, is accused of the biggest leak of classified documents in American history. He awaits trial on charges that could put him in prison for 52 years, according to the Army.

Even as members of Congress denounce both men’s actions as criminal, the Justice Department is still looking for a charge it can press against Mr. Assange, demanding from Twitter the account records, credit card numbers and bank account information of several of his associates. Legal experts say there are many obstacles to a prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder, but one approach under consideration is to link the two men in a conspiracy to disclose classified material.

Accusations from supporters that Private Manning is being mistreated, perhaps to pressure him to testify against Mr. Assange, have rallied many on the political left to his defense. The assertions have even drawn the attention of the United Nations’ special rapporteur on torture, Juan E. Mendez, who said he had submitted a formal inquiry about the soldier’s treatment to the State Department.

Private Manning’s cause has been taken up by the nation’s best-known leaker of classified secrets, Daniel Ellsberg, who gave the Pentagon Papers to the press in 1971. He denounces Private Manning’s seven months in custody and media coverage that has emphasized the soldier’s sexual orientation (he is gay) and personal troubles. Mr. Ellsberg, 79, calls him a courageous patriot.

“I identify with him very much,” Mr. Ellsberg said. “He sees the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, I’d say correctly, as I saw Vietnam — as hopeless ventures that are wrong and involve a great deal of atrocities.”

The military rejects accusations that Private Manning has been mistreated. “Poppycock,” said Col. T. V. Johnson, a Quantico spokesman. He insisted that the conditions of confinement were dictated by brig rules for a pretrial detainee like Private Manning. The soldier has been designated for “maximum custody” — applied because his escape would pose a national security risk — and placed on “prevention-of-injury watch,” restrictions imposed so that he does not injure himself.

That status is based on the judgment of military medical experts and the observations of brig guards, Colonel Johnson said. Guards check Private Manning every five minutes but allow him to sleep without interruption from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m., when only dim night lights are on, unless they need to wake him to be certain he is breathing.

Colonel Johnson denied that Private Manning was in solitary confinement, as has been widely claimed, saying that he could talk with guards and with prisoners in nearby cells, though he could not see them. He leaves his 6-by-12-foot cell for a daily hour of exercise, and for showers, phone calls, meetings with his lawyer and weekend visits by friends and relatives, the colonel said.

The prisoner can read and watch television and correspond with people on an approved list. He is not permitted to speak to the media.

“Pfc. Manning is being treated just like every other detainee in the brig,” said an internal military review concluded on Dec. 27 and read to a reporter by Colonel Johnson. “His treatment is firm, fair and respectful.”

The soldier’s lawyer, David E. Coombs, declined to comment for this article, and two people who have visited him at Quantico — Private Manning’s aunt, Debra Van Alstyne, and a friend who is an M.I.T. graduate student, David M. House — did not respond to queries.

In an interview with MSNBC last month, Mr. House said of his friend that he had “noticed a remarkable decline in his psychological state and his physical well-being.” He said that Private Manning appeared “very weak from a lack of exercise” and that “psychologically, he has difficulty keeping up with some conversational topics.”

In an account on Mr. Coombs’s Web site of his client’s “typical day,” he detailed the restrictions on the soldier but called the guards’ conduct “professional.”

“At no time have they tried to bully, harass or embarrass Pfc. Manning,” he wrote.

Asked why the case appears to be moving so slowly, an Army spokeswoman, Shaunteh Kelly, said that the defense had requested a delay in July and that a “706 board,” or mental health evaluation, was not complete.

She added in an e-mail that “Cases involving computers and classified information are very complex and require methodical investigation,” and that all lawyers, members of the 706 board and military investigators needed to get proper clearances.

Mr. Assange, with his provocative statements, his recognizable shock of white hair and the accusations of sexual misconduct he faces in Sweden, has become WikiLeaks’s public face. But while he began WikiLeaks in 2006, overseeing a steady trickle of revelations, the site drew broad attention for the first time only when it began to release the material that Private Manning is accused of downloading from his computer in Iraq, where he was a low-level intelligence analyst.

The material includes a video showing two American helicopters shooting at people in Baghdad in 2007, two of them Reuters journalists who were killed; thousands of field reports on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan; and 251,287 cables sent between American embassies and the State Department.

If Private Manning was indeed the source of the documents, as he suggested in online chat logs made public by Wired magazine, it is he who is largely responsible for making WikiLeaks a household name and the target of fury from the Pentagon, the State Department and members of Congress of both parties.

He is the only person charged in the WikiLeaks case so far. And despite his supporters’ suspicions that he will be pressured to testify against Mr. Assange, the Army spokeswoman, Ms. Kelly, said that to date, Private Manning had not spoken with civilian investigators or prosecutors.

Mr. Assange has often spoken highly of the soldier, to whose defense fund WikiLeaks has donated more than $100,000. In an article in the British magazine New Statesman on Thursday that called Private Manning “the world’s pre-eminent prisoner of conscience,” Mr. Assange said he believed the Justice Department’s goal was to force the soldier to confess “that he somehow conspired with me to harm the security of the United States.”

“Cracking Bradley Manning is the first step,” Mr. Assange said.

Accused Soldier in Brig as WikiLeaks Link Is Sought,






Web Attackers

Find a Cause in WikiLeaks


December 9, 2010
The New York Times


They got their start years ago as cyberpranksters, an online community of tech-savvy kids more interested in making mischief than political statements.

But the coordinated attacks on major corporate and government Web sites in defense of WikiLeaks, which began on Wednesday and continued on Thursday, suggested that the loosely organized group called Anonymous might have come of age, evolving into one focused on more serious matters: in this case, the definition of Internet freedom.

While the attacks on such behemoths as MasterCard, Visa and PayPal were not nearly as sophisticated as some less publicized assaults, they were a step forward in the group’s larger battle against what it sees as increasing control of the Internet by corporations and governments. This week they found a cause and an icon: Julian Assange, the former hacker who founded WikiLeaks and is now in a London jail at the request of the Swedish authorities investigating him on accusations of rape.

“This is kind of the shot heard round the world — this is Lexington,” said John Perry Barlow, a co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a civil liberties organization that advocates for a freer Internet.

On Thursday, the police in the Netherlands took the first official action against the campaign, detaining a 16-year-old student in his parents’ home in The Hague who they said admitted to participating in attacks on MasterCard and Visa. The precise nature of his involvement was unclear, but in past investigations, the authorities have sometimes arrested those unsophisticated enough not to cover their tracks on the Web.

Meanwhile, a lawyer for Mr. Assange, 39, said he strongly denied that he had encouraged any attacks on behalf of WikiLeaks.

“It is absolutely false,” the lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation in London on Thursday. “He did not make any such instruction, and indeed he sees that as a deliberate attempt to conflate hacking organizations” with “WikiLeaks, which is not a hacking organization. It is a news organization and a publisher.”

Although Anonymous remains shadowy and without public leaders, it developed a loose hierarchy in recent years as it took on groups as diverse as the Church of Scientology and the Motion Picture Association of America.

The coordination and the tactics developed in those campaigns appeared to make this week’s attacks more powerful, allowing what analysts believe is a small group to enlist thousands of activists to bombard Web sites with traffic, making them at least temporarily inaccessible. Experts say the group appears to have used more sophisticated software this time that allowed supporters to repeatedly visit the sites at a specific time when the command was given.

The Twitter account identified with the Anonymous movement contained messages with little more than the words “Fire now.”

The attacks thus far have been of limited effect, shutting down the MasterCard Web site, not its online transactions.

But to security experts and people who have tracked or participated in the Anonymous movement, they indicated a step forward for cyberanarchists railing against the “elites” — corporations and governments with power over both the machinery and, critics increasingly argue, the content on the Web.

“In the past, Anonymous made quite a lot of noise but did little damage,” said Amichai Shulman, chief technology officer at Imperva, a California-based security technology company. “It’s different this time around. They are starting to use the same tools that industrial hackers are using.”

Despite the name, Anonymous can be found in many locations and formats. Members converse in online forums and chat rooms where friendships and alliances often build.

“It’s the first place I go when I turn on my computer,” said one Anonymous activist, reached on an online chat service, who did not want to be named discussing the structure of the organization.

Groups of these friends, who form new conversations, or threads, sometimes decide on a topic or an issue that they feel is deserving of more attention, the activist said.

“You post things, discuss ideas and that leads to putting out a video or a document” for a campaign. In the case of WikiLeaks, the activist said, it appears that two groups decided almost simultaneously to mount a concerted effort against the site’s enemies.

“I got e-mailed these two links on Sunday or Monday,” he said. Denouncing “what’s being done to Julian and WikiLeaks,” he said, he decided to join in.

These ideas bubble up, but ultimately a small group decides exactly what affiliated site should be attacked and when, according to a Dutch writer on the Anonymous movement, who writes a blog under the name Ernesto Van der Sar. There is a chat room “that is invite only, with a dozen or so people,” he said, that pick the targets and the time of attack.

He described the typical Anonymous member as young; he guessed 18 to 24 years old.

While Anonymous has recently had success with attacks on sites related to copyright infringement cases, the WikiLeaks cause has brought a much greater intensity to its efforts.

The campaigns are part of Operation Payback, created in the summer to defend a file-sharing site in Sweden that counts itself part of the mission of keeping the Internet unfettered and unfiltered and that was singled out by the authorities.

“We could move against enemies of WikiLeaks so easily because there was already a network up and running, there was already a chat room for people to meet in,” said Gregg Housh, an activist who has been involved in Anonymous campaigns but disavows a personal role in any illegal online activity.

The software used to coordinate the attacks is being downloaded about 1,000 times per hour, with about one-third of those downloads coming from the United States. Recently the software was improved so that a command could be sent to a supporter’s computers and the attack would begin — no human needed.

But even Mr. Barlow of the Electronic Frontier Foundation appeared to have second thoughts about where such escalation could lead: On Thursday, he said that the Anonymous group members represented “a stunning force in the world.

“But still,” he said, it is “better used to open, not to close.” He added that he opposed denial-of-service attacks on principle: “It’s like the poison gas of cyberspace. The fundamental principle should be to open things up and not close them.”

Things were hardly so serious when Anonymous first made a name for itself. The group grew out of online message boards like 4chan, an unfiltered meeting place with more than its share of misanthropic behavior and schemes.

Mr. Housh said of Anonymous: “It was deliberately not for any good. We kind of took pride in it.”

That changed when Mr. Housh and a few dozen others were incensed by the Church of Scientology’s attempt to use copyright law to remove a long video in which the actor Tom Cruise had spoken about church beliefs.

With its work on behalf of WikiLeaks, Anonymous has found a much more high-profile cause. As the campaign expands, many fear a more contentious Internet as governments and businesses respond to more serious attacks by activists who benefit from improvements in bandwidth and readily available hacking tools.

“Home field advantage goes to the attacker,” said Gunter Ollmann, vice president of research at Damballa, an Atlanta-based firm that specializes in Internet protection. “With a little bit of coordination and growing numbers of participants, these things will continue to happen regularly.”


Reporting was contributed by John Markoff

and Ashlee Vance from San Francisco,

Ravi Somaiya from London

and Marlise Simons from Paris.

Web Attackers Find a Cause in WikiLeaks, NYT, 9.12.2010,






WikiLeaks Struggles to Stay Online

After Cyberattacks


December 3, 2010

The New York Times




LONDON — An American provider of Internet domain names withdrew its service to the WikiLeaks Web site late Thursday after a barrage of attacks by hackers threatened to destabilize its entire system. But within hours, WikiLeaks had registered its domain name in Switzerland, and it was back online by early Friday morning.

Shortly after the action by EveryDNS.net, which provides domain names for about 500,000 Web sites, the French government began seeking measures to keep the whistle blowing organization from being hosted in France. The moves follow a decision on Wednesday by Amazon.com Inc. to expel WikiLeaks from its servers. The organization remains on the servers of a Swedish host, Bahnhof.

WikiLeaks appears increasingly engaged in a game of digital Whac-A-Mole as it struggles to stay online after publicizing a huge array of some 250,000 leaked State Department documents relating to American foreign policy around the globe.

The Web infrastructure that supports WikiLeaks is deliberately diffuse and difficult to track, with servers spread through many countries in order to insulate the site from hostile states or companies. But cyberattacks and problems with service providers have kept the site and its founder, Julian Assange, moving.

“Since April of this year, our timetable has not been our own; rather it has been one that has centered on the moves of abusive elements of the United States government against us,” Mr. Assange wrote in a discussion on Friday on the Web site of the British newspaper The Guardian. “The threats against our lives are a matter of public record,” he added later, saying he and others who work on WikiLeaks were taking “appropriate precautions.” Mr. Assange is being sought for questioning in connection to alleged sex crimes in Sweden, which he has denied the allegations, and his location was not disclosed.

In a statement on its Web site, EveryDNS.net said it terminated WikiLeaks’ domain name at around 10 p.m., Eastern time for violating its terms of service.

The old domain, WikiLeaks.org, “has become the target of multiple distributed denial of service (DDOS) attacks,” the company said. Such attacks usually involve bombarding a Web site with requests for access, effectively blocking legitimate users, and are designed to make a targeted Web site unavailable. When questioned about similar cyberattacks on Sunday against WikiLeaks, American officials vigorously denied any involvement.

According to WhoIs.com, the new domain, WikiLeaks.ch, is registered to the Swiss branch of the Swedish Pirate Party, a political organization that has previously worked with Mr. Assange.

In an interview with The New York Times earlier this year, the Pirate Party’s leader, Rickard Falkvinge, expressed an open offer to host the WikiLeaks site because “our organizations generally share the same values — we value privacy, transparency, democracy and knowledge.” Mr. Falkvinge added that any sharing of Web services between the two organizations would offer “heightened political protection.”

“Any prosecutors will have to target a political party in us, and the price for doing that is much higher,” he said.

WikiLeaks reacted to the domain name switch on its Twitter feed, writing just after midnight on Friday morning: “WikiLeaks.org domain killed by U.S. EveryDNS.net after claimed mass attacks.”

It implored supporters to “keep us strong” and provided a link for financial donations. Hours later, a message on the WikiLeaks Twitter feed said: “WikiLeaks moved to Switzerland” and provided the new Web address.

In France, Industry Minister Eric Besson asked the French government on Friday to explore measures to “ensure that it is no longer hosted in France” after reports surfaced that WikiLeaks has servers there, according to a letter seen by Reuters. “France cannot host an internet site that violates the secrecy of diplomatic relations and endangers people,” Mr. Besson said.

Earlier this week, Amazon — which rents server space to companies in addition to its online retail business — canceled its relationship with WikiLeaks after inquiries from an aide to Senator Joseph I. Lieberman, independent of Connecticut. The company said the organization was violating the terms of service for the program.

“When companies or people go about securing and storing large quantities of data that isn’t rightfully theirs, and publishing this data without ensuring it won’t injure others, it’s a violation of our terms of service, and folks need to go operate elsewhere,” the company said.

Anna Mossberg, Bahnhof’s chief executive, said her company held “two physical WikiLeaks servers in our data hall in Stockholm.” Those servers, she said, have been attacked in recent weeks, though Bahnhof has come under no overt government pressure to abandon them. “But I know we are not the only provider of WikiLeaks’ servers — they are everywhere.”


Ravi Somaiya reported from London,

J. David Goodman from New York.

Eric Schmitt contributed reporting from Washington,

and Alan Cowell from Paris.

WikiLeaks Struggles to Stay Online After Cyberattacks,






Cables Obtained by WikiLeaks

Shine Light Into

Secret Diplomatic Channels


November 28, 2010

The New York Times




WASHINGTON — A cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at back-room bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.

Some of the cables, made available to The New York Times and several other news organizations, were written as recently as late February, revealing the Obama administration’s exchanges over crises and conflicts. The material was originally obtained by WikiLeaks, an organization devoted to revealing secret documents. WikiLeaks posted 220 cables, some redacted to protect diplomatic sources, in the first installment of the archive on its Web site on Sunday.

The disclosure of the cables is sending shudders through the diplomatic establishment, and could strain relations with some countries, influencing international affairs in ways that are impossible to predict.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and American ambassadors around the world have been contacting foreign officials in recent days to alert them to the expected disclosures. A statement from the White House on Sunday said: “We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.”

The White House said the release of what it called “stolen cables” to several publications was a “reckless and dangerous action” and warned that some cables, if released in full, could disrupt American operations abroad and put the work and even lives of confidential sources of American diplomats at risk. The statement noted that reports often include “candid and often incomplete information” whose disclosure could “deeply impact not only U.S. foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world.”

The cables, a huge sampling of the daily traffic between the State Department and some 270 embassies and consulates, amount to a secret chronicle of the United States’ relations with the world in an age of war and terrorism. Among their revelations, to be detailed in The Times in coming days:

¶ A dangerous standoff with Pakistan over nuclear fuel: Since 2007, the United States has mounted a highly secret effort, so far unsuccessful, to remove from a Pakistani research reactor highly enriched uranium that American officials fear could be diverted for use in an illicit nuclear device. In May 2009, Ambassador Anne W. Patterson reported that Pakistan was refusing to schedule a visit by American technical experts because, as a Pakistani official said, “if the local media got word of the fuel removal, ‘they certainly would portray it as the United States taking Pakistan’s nuclear weapons,’ he argued.”

¶ Thinking about an eventual collapse of North Korea: American and South Korean officials have discussed the prospects for a unified Korea, should the North’s economic troubles and political transition lead the state to implode. The South Koreans even considered commercial inducements to China, according to the American ambassador to Seoul. She told Washington in February that South Korean officials believe that the right business deals would “help salve” China’s “concerns about living with a reunified Korea” that is in a “benign alliance” with the United States.

¶ Bargaining to empty the Guantánamo Bay prison: When American diplomats pressed other countries to resettle detainees, they became reluctant players in a State Department version of “Let’s Make a Deal.” Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if it wanted to meet with President Obama, while the island nation of Kiribati was offered incentives worth millions of dollars to take in Chinese Muslim detainees, cables from diplomats recounted. The Americans, meanwhile, suggested that accepting more prisoners would be “a low-cost way for Belgium to attain prominence in Europe.”

¶ Suspicions of corruption in the Afghan government: When Afghanistan’s vice president visited the United Arab Emirates last year, local authorities working with the Drug Enforcement Administration discovered that he was carrying $52 million in cash. With wry understatement, a cable from the American Embassy in Kabul called the money “a significant amount” that the official, Ahmed Zia Massoud, “was ultimately allowed to keep without revealing the money’s origin or destination.” (Mr. Massoud denies taking any money out of Afghanistan.)

¶ A global computer hacking effort: China’s Politburo directed the intrusion into Google’s computer systems in that country, a Chinese contact told the American Embassy in Beijing in January, one cable reported. The Google hacking was part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government. They have broken into American government computers and those of Western allies, the Dalai Lama and American businesses since 2002, cables said.

¶ Mixed records against terrorism: Saudi donors remain the chief financiers of Sunni militant groups like Al Qaeda, and the tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar, a generous host to the American military for years, was the “worst in the region” in counterterrorism efforts, according to a State Department cable last December. Qatar’s security service was “hesitant to act against known terrorists out of concern for appearing to be aligned with the U.S. and provoking reprisals,” the cable said.

¶ An intriguing alliance: American diplomats in Rome reported in 2009 on what their Italian contacts described as an extraordinarily close relationship between Vladimir V. Putin, the Russian prime minister, and Silvio Berlusconi, the Italian prime minister and business magnate, including “lavish gifts,” lucrative energy contracts and a “shadowy” Russian-speaking Italian go-between. They wrote that Mr. Berlusconi “appears increasingly to be the mouthpiece of Putin” in Europe. The diplomats also noted that while Mr. Putin enjoyed supremacy over all other public figures in Russia, he was undermined by an unmanageable bureaucracy that often ignored his edicts.

¶ Arms deliveries to militants: Cables describe the United States’ failing struggle to prevent Syria from supplying arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon, which has amassed a huge stockpile since its 2006 war with Israel. One week after President Bashar al-Assad promised a top State Department official that he would not send “new” arms to Hezbollah, the United States complained that it had information that Syria was providing increasingly sophisticated weapons to the group.

¶ Clashes with Europe over human rights: American officials sharply warned Germany in 2007 not to enforce arrest warrants for Central Intelligence Agency officers involved in a bungled operation in which an innocent German citizen with the same name as a suspected militant was mistakenly kidnapped and held for months in Afghanistan. A senior American diplomat told a German official “that our intention was not to threaten Germany, but rather to urge that the German government weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the U.S.”

The 251,287 cables, first acquired by WikiLeaks, were provided to The Times by an intermediary on the condition of anonymity. Many are unclassified, and none are marked “top secret,” the government’s most secure communications status. But some 11,000 are classified “secret,” 9,000 are labeled “noforn,” shorthand for material considered too delicate to be shared with any foreign government, and 4,000 are designated both secret and noforn.

Many more cables name diplomats’ confidential sources, from foreign legislators and military officers to human rights activists and journalists, often with a warning to Washington: “Please protect” or “Strictly protect.”

The Times, after consultations with the State Department, has withheld from articles and removed from documents it is posting online the names of some people who spoke privately to diplomats and might be at risk if they were publicly identified. The Times is also withholding some passages or entire cables whose disclosure could compromise American intelligence efforts. While the White House said it anticipated WikiLeaks would make public “several hundred thousand” cables Sunday night, the organization posted only 220 released and redacted by The Times and several European publications.

The cables show that nearly a decade after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the dark shadow of terrorism still dominates the United States’ relations with the world. They depict the Obama administration struggling to sort out which Pakistanis are trustworthy partners against Al Qaeda, adding Australians who have disappeared in the Middle East to terrorist watch lists, and assessing whether a lurking rickshaw driver in Lahore, Pakistan, was awaiting fares or conducting surveillance of the road to the American Consulate.

They show officials managing relations with a China on the rise and a Russia retreating from democracy. They document years of effort to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon — and of worry about a possible Israeli strike on Iran with the same goal.

Even when they recount events that are already known, the cables offer remarkable details.

For instance, it has been previously reported that the Yemeni government has sought to cover up the American role in missile strikes against the local branch of Al Qaeda. But a cable’s fly-on-the-wall account of a January meeting between the Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Gen. David H. Petraeus, then the American commander in the Middle East, is breathtaking.

“We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours,” Mr. Saleh said, according to the cable sent by the American ambassador, prompting Yemen’s deputy prime minister to “joke that he had just ‘lied’ by telling Parliament” that Yemen had carried out the strikes.

Mr. Saleh, who at other times resisted American counterterrorism requests, was in a lighthearted mood. The authoritarian ruler of a conservative Muslim country, Mr. Saleh complains of smuggling from nearby Djibouti, but tells General Petraeus that his concerns are drugs and weapons, not whiskey, “provided it’s good whiskey.”

Likewise, press reports detailed the unhappiness of the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, when he was not permitted to set up his tent in Manhattan or to visit ground zero during a United Nations session last year.

But the cables add a touch of scandal and alarm to the tale. They describe the volatile Libyan leader as rarely without the companionship of “his senior Ukrainian nurse,” described as “a voluptuous blonde.” They reveal that Colonel Qaddafi was so upset by his reception in New York that he balked at carrying out a promise to return dangerous enriched uranium to Russia. The American ambassador to Libya told Colonel Qaddafi’s son “that the Libyan government had chosen a very dangerous venue to express its pique,” a cable reported to Washington.

The cables also disclose frank comments behind closed doors. Dispatches from early this year, for instance, quote the aging monarch of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, as speaking scathingly about the leaders of Iraq and Pakistan.

Speaking to another Iraqi official about Nuri Kamal al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, King Abdullah said, “You and Iraq are in my heart, but that man is not.” The king called President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan the greatest obstacle to that country’s progress. “When the head is rotten,” he said, “it affects the whole body.”

The American ambassador to Eritrea reported last year that “Eritrean officials are ignorant or lying” in denying that they were supporting the Shabab, a militant Islamist group in Somalia. The cable then mused about which seemed more likely.

As he left Zimbabwe in 2007 after three years as ambassador, Christopher W. Dell wrote a sardonic account of Robert Mugabe, that country’s aging and erratic leader. The cable called him “a brilliant tactician” but mocked “his deep ignorance on economic issues (coupled with the belief that his 18 doctorates give him the authority to suspend the laws of economics).”

The possibility that a large number of diplomatic cables might become public has been discussed in government and media circles since May. That was when, in an online chat, an Army intelligence analyst, Pfc. Bradley Manning, described having downloaded from a military computer system many classified documents, including “260,000 State Department cables from embassies and consulates all over the world.” In an online discussion with Adrian Lamo, a computer hacker, Private Manning said he had delivered the cables and other documents to WikiLeaks.

Mr. Lamo reported Private Manning’s disclosures to federal authorities, and Private Manning was arrested. He has been charged with illegally leaking classified information and faces a possible court-martial and, if convicted, a lengthy prison term.

In July and October, The Times, the British newspaper The Guardian and the German magazine Der Spiegel published articles based on documents about Afghanistan and Iraq. Those collections were placed online by WikiLeaks, with selective redactions of the Afghan documents and much heavier redactions of the Iraq reports.


Fodder for Historians

Traditionally, most diplomatic cables remain secret for decades, providing fodder for historians only when the participants are long retired or dead. The State Department’s unclassified history series, titled “Foreign Relations of the United States,” has reached only 1972.

While an overwhelming majority of the quarter-million cables provided to The Times are from the post-9/11 era, several hundred date from 1966 to the 1990s. Some show diplomats struggling to make sense of major events whose future course they could not guess.

In a 1979 cable to Washington, Bruce Laingen, an American diplomat in Tehran, mused with a knowing tone about the Iranian revolution that had just occurred: “Perhaps the single dominant aspect of the Persian psyche is an overriding egoism,” Mr. Laingen wrote, offering tips on exploiting this psyche in negotiations with the new government. Less than three months later, Mr. Laingen and his colleagues would be taken hostage by radical Iranian students, hurling the Carter administration into crisis and, perhaps, demonstrating the hazards of diplomatic hubris.

In 1989, an American diplomat in Panama City mulled over the options open to Gen. Manuel Noriega, the Panamanian leader, who was facing narcotics charges in the United States and intense domestic and international political pressure to step down. The cable called General Noriega “a master of survival”; its author appeared to have no inkling that one week later, the United States would invade Panama to unseat General Noriega and arrest him.

In 1990, an American diplomat sent an excited dispatch from Cape Town: he had just learned from a lawyer for Nelson Mandela that Mr. Mandela’s 27-year imprisonment was to end. The cable conveys the momentous changes about to begin for South Africa, even as it discusses preparations for an impending visit from the Rev. Jesse L. Jackson.

The voluminous traffic of more recent years — well over half of the quarter-million cables date from 2007 or later — show American officials struggling with events whose outcomes are far from sure. To read through them is to become a global voyeur, immersed in the jawboning, inducements and penalties the United States wields in trying to have its way with a recalcitrant world.

In an era of satellites and fiber-optic links, the cable retains the archaic name of an earlier technological era. It has long been the tool for the secretary of state to send orders to the field and for ambassadors and political officers to send their analyses to Washington.

The cables have their own lexicon: “codel,” for a Congressional delegation; “visas viper,” for a report on a person considered dangerous; “démarche,” an official message to a foreign government, often a protest or warning.

But the drama in the cables often comes from diplomats’ narratives of meetings with foreign figures, games of diplomatic poker in which each side is sizing up the other and neither is showing all its cards.

Among the most fascinating examples recount American officials’ meetings in September 2009 and February 2010 with Ahmed Wali Karzai, the half brother of the Afghan president and a power broker in the Taliban’s home turf of Kandahar.

They describe Mr. Karzai, “dressed in a crisp white shalwar kameez,” the traditional dress of loose tunic and trousers, appearing “nervous, though eager to express his views on the international presence in Kandahar,” and trying to win over the Americans with nostalgic tales about his years running a Chicago restaurant near Wrigley Field.

But in midnarrative there is a stark alert for anyone reading the cable in Washington: “Note: While we must deal with AWK as the head of the Provincial Council, he is widely understood to be corrupt and a narcotics trafficker.” (Mr. Karzai has denied such charges.) And the cables note statements by Mr. Karzai that the Americans, informed by a steady flow of eavesdropping and agents’ reports, believe to be false.

A cable written after the February meeting coolly took note of the deceit on both sides.

Mr. Karzai “demonstrated that he will dissemble when it suits his needs,” the cable said. “He appears not to understand the level of our knowledge of his activities. We will need to monitor his activity closely, and deliver a recurring, transparent message to him” about the limits of American tolerance.


Not All Business

Even in places far from war zones and international crises, where the stakes for the United States are not as high, curious diplomats can turn out to be accomplished reporters, sending vivid dispatches to deepen the government’s understanding of exotic places.

In a 2006 account, a wide-eyed American diplomat describes the lavish wedding of a well-connected couple in Dagestan, in Russia’s Caucasus, where one guest is the strongman who runs the war-ravaged Russian republic of Chechnya, Ramzan Kadyrov.

The diplomat tells of drunken guests throwing $100 bills at child dancers, and nighttime water-scooter jaunts on the Caspian Sea.

“The dancers probably picked upwards of USD 5000 off the cobblestones,” the diplomat wrote. The host later tells him that Ramzan Kadyrov “had brought the happy couple ‘a five-kilo lump of gold’ as his wedding present.”

“After the dancing and a quick tour of the premises, Ramzan and his army drove off back to Chechnya,” the diplomat reported to Washington. “We asked why Ramzan did not spend the night in Makhachkala, and were told, ‘Ramzan never spends the night anywhere.’ ”


Scott Shane reported from Washington,

and Andrew W. Lehren from New York.

Reporting was contributed by Jo Becker,

C. J. Chivers and James Glanz from New York;

Eric Lichtblau, Michael R. Gordon, David E. Sanger,

Charlie Savage,

Eric Schmitt and Ginger Thompson from Washington;

and Jane Perlez from Islamabad, Pakistan.

Cables Obtained by WikiLeaks Shine Light
Into Secret Diplomatic Channels,
NYT, 28.11.2010,










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