A history of WikiLeaks and their releases compiled from information on Wikipedia and other various news sources.
Created by dipity on Dec 8, 2010
Last updated: 03/07/11 at 01:02 PM
Julian Assange is arrested by the London Metropolitan Police.
At the request of the International Public Prosecution Office in Gothenburg, Sweden, Interpol placed Assange on its red notice list of wanted persons; he was wanted for questioning about alleged sexual offenses.
WikiLeaks announced it was undergoing a massive Distributed Denial-of-service attack, but vowed to still leak the cables and documents via prominent media outlets including El País, Le Monde, Der Spiegel, The Guardian, and The New York Times. The announcement was shortly thereafter followed by the online publication, by The Guardian, of some of the purported diplomatic cables including one in which United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apparently orders diplomats to obtain credit card and frequent flier numbers of the French, British, Russian and Chinese delegations to the United Nations Security Council. Other revelations reportedly include that several Arab nations urged the U.S. to launch a first strike on Iran, that the Chinese government was directly involved in computer hacking, and that the U.S. is pressuring Pakistan to turn over nuclear material to prevent it from falling into the wrong hands. The cables also include unflattering appraisals of world leaders. Despite the steps taken by United States Government forbidding all unauthorized federal government employees and contractors from accessing classified documents publicly available on WikiLeaks, in the week following the release (28 November – 5 December 2010), "Wikileaks" remained the top search term in United States as measured by Google Insights.
The United States government has urged Wikileaks not to publish new files because they will risk "countless" lives. In a letter to Julian Assange, founder of the whistle-blowing website, the Obama administration said that releasing the documents, rumoured to be seven times the size of the Iraq War Logs, would be in breach of U.S. law, and would result in "grave consequences." Assange replied by stating that the U.S. did not want to be held to account.
An announcement was made by the WikiLeaks twitter feed that the next release would be "7x the size of the Iraq War Logs." U.S. authorities and the media have speculated that they may contain diplomatic cables. Prior to the expected leak, the government of the United Kingdom (UK) sent a DA-Notice to UK newspapers, which requests advance notice from the newspapers regarding the expected publication. According to Index on Censorship, "there is no obligation on media to comply". "Newspaper editors would speak to Defence, Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee prior to publication." The Pakistani newspaper Dawn stated that the U.S. newspapers The New York Times and The Washington Post were expected to publish parts of the diplomatic cables on Sunday 28 November, including 94 Pakistan-related documents.
In October 2010, it was reported that WikiLeaks was planning to release up to 400,000 documents relating to the Iraq War. Julian Assange initially denied the reports, stating: "WikiLeaks does not speak about upcoming releases dates, indeed, with very rare exceptions we do not communicate any specific information about upcoming releases, since that simply provides fodder for abusive organizations to get their spin machines ready." The Guardian reported on 21 October 2010 that it had received almost 400,000 Iraq war documents from WikiLeaks. On 22 October 2010, Al Jazeera was the first to release analyses of the leak, dubbed The War Logs. WikiLeaks posted a tweet that "Al Jazeera have broken our embargo by 30 minutes. We release everyone from their Iraq War Logs embargoes." This prompted other news organizations to release their articles based on the source material. The release of the documents coincided with a return of the main wikileaks.org website, which had been offering no content since 30 September 2010. The BBC quoted The Pentagon referring to the Iraq War Logs as "the largest leak of classified documents in its history." Media coverage of the leaked documents focused on claims that the U.S. government had ignored reports of torture by the Iraqi authorities during the period after the 2003 war.
Following the Love Parade stampede in Duisburg, Germany on 24 July 2010, the local news blog Xtranews published internal documents of the city administration regarding Love Parade planning and actions by the authorities. The city government reacted by acquiring a court order on 16 August forcing Xtranews to remove the documents from its blog. Two days later, however, after the documents had surfaced on other websites as well, the government stated that it would not conduct any further legal actions against the publication of the documents. On 20 August WikiLeaks released a publication titled Loveparade 2010 Duisburg planning documents, 2007–2010, which comprised 43 internal documents regarding the Love Parade 2010.
WikiLeaks added a 1.4 GB "insurance file" to the Afghan War Diary page, whose decryption details would be released if WikiLeaks or Assange were harmed.
WikiLeaks released to The Guardian, The New York Times, and Der Spiegel over 92,000 documents related to the war in Afghanistan between 2004 and the end of 2009. The documents detail individual incidents including friendly fire and civilian casualties. The scale of leak was described by Julian Assange as comparable to that of the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s. The documents were released to the public on 25 July 2010. About 15,000 of the 92,000 documents have not yet been released on WikiLeaks, as the group is currently reviewing the documents to remove some of the sources of the information.
WikiLeaks released classified U.S. military footage from a series of attacks on 12 July 2007 in Baghdad by a U.S. helicopter that killed 12, including two Reuters news staff, Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen, on a website called "Collateral Murder". The footage consisted of a 39-minute unedited version and an 18-minute version which had been edited and annotated. Analysis of the video indicates that the pilots thought the men were carrying weapons (which were actually camera equipment). When asked if they were sure that the men were carrying weapons, they answered in the affirmative. The military conducted an "informal" investigation into the incident, but has yet to release the investigative materials (such as the sworn statements of the soldiers involved or the battle damage assessment) that were used, causing the report to be criticized as "sloppy." In the week following the release, "Wikileaks" was the search term with the most significant growth worldwide in the last seven days as measured by Google Insights.
WikiLeaks released a secret 32-page U.S. Department of Defense Counterintelligence Analysis Report from March 2008. The document described some prominent reports leaked on the website which related to U.S. security interests and described potential methods of marginalizing the organization. WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange said that some details in the Army report were inaccurate and its recommendations flawed, and also that the concerns of the U.S. Army raised by the report were hypothetical. The report discussed deterring potential whistleblowers via termination of employment and criminal prosecution of any existing or former insiders, leakers or whistleblowers. Reasons for the report include notable leaks such as U.S. equipment expenditure, human rights violations in Guantanamo Bay and the battle over the Iraqi town of Fallujah.
WikiLeaks released 570,000 intercepts of pager messages sent on the day of the September 11 attacks. Bradley Manning (see below) commented that those were obvious NSA intercepts. Among the released messages are communications between Pentagon officials and New York City Police Department.
In September 2006, commodities giant Trafigura commissioned an internal report about a toxic dumping incident in the Ivory Coast, which (according to the United Nations) affected 108,000 people. The document, called the Minton Report, names various harmful chemicals "likely to be present" in the waste and notes that some of them "may cause harm at some distance". The report states that potential health effects include "burns to the skin, eyes and lungs, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of consciousness and death", and suggests that the high number of reported casualties is "consistent with there having been a significant release of hydrogen sulphide gas". On 11 September 2009, Trafigura's lawyers, Carter-Ruck, obtained a secret "super-injunction" against The Guardian, banning that newspaper from publishing the contents of the document. Trafigura also threatened a number of other media organizations with legal action if they published the report's contents, including the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation and The Chemical Engineer magazine. On 14 September 2009, WikiLeaks posted the report. On 12 October, Carter-Ruck warned The Guardian against mentioning the content of a parliamentary question that was due to be asked about the report. Instead, the paper published an article stating that they were unable to report on an unspecified question and claiming that the situation appeared to "call into question privileges guaranteeing free speech established under the 1689 Bill of Rights". The suppressed details rapidly circulated via the internet and Twitter and, amid uproar, Carter-Ruck agreed the next day to the modification of the injunction before it was challenged in court, permitting The Guardian to reveal the existence of the question and the injunction. The injunction was lifted on 16 October.
In November 2009, controversial documents, including e-mail correspondence between climate scientists, were released (allegedly after being illegally obtained) from the University of East Anglia's (UEA) Climatic Research Unit (CRU). According to the university, the emails and documents were obtained through a server hacking; one prominent host of the full 120 MB archive was WikiLeaks.
A list of BNP members from April 2009 was leaked. This list contained 11,811 members.
In October 2009, Joint Services Protocol 440, a 2,400-page restricted document written in 2001 by the British Ministry of Defense was leaked. It containing instructions for the security services on how to avoid leaks of information by hackers, journalists, and foreign spies.
WikiLeaks has made available an internal document from Kaupthing Bank from just prior to the collapse of Iceland's banking sector, which led to the 2008–2010 Icelandic financial crisis. The document shows that suspiciously large sums of money were loaned to various owners of the bank, and large debts written off. Kaupthing's lawyers have threatened WikiLeaks with legal action, citing banking privacy laws. The leak has caused an uproar in Iceland. Criminal charges relating to the multibillion euro loans to Exista and other major shareholders are being investigated. The bank is seeking to recover loans taken out by former bank employees before its collapse.
Iranian news agencies reported that the head of Iran's atomic energy organization Gholam Reza Aghazadeh had abruptly resigned for unknown reasons after twelve years in office. Shortly afterwards WikiLeaks released a report disclosing a "serious nuclear accident" at the Iranian Natanz nuclear facility in 2009. The Federation of American Scientists (FAS) released statistics according to which the number of enriched centrifuges operational in Iran mysteriously declined from about 4,700 to about 3,900 beginning around the time the nuclear incident WikiLeaks mentioned would have occurred. According to media reports the accident may have been the direct result of a cyberattack at Iran's nuclear program, carried out with the Stuxnet computer worm.
Since May 2009, WikiLeaks has made available reports of several meetings of the Bilderberg Group. It includes the group's history and meeting reports from the years 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1960, 1962, 1963 and 1980.
WikiLeaks published an updated list, dated 18 March 2009; it more closely matches the claimed size of the ACMA blacklist, and contains two pages which have been independently confirmed to be blacklisted by ACMA.
WikiLeaks has published the lists of forbidden or illegal web addresses for several countries. WikiLeaks published what was alleged to be the Australian Communications and Media Authority's blacklist of sites to be banned under Australia's proposed laws on Internet censorship. Reactions to the publication of the list by the Australian media and politicians were varied. Particular note was made by journalistic outlets of the type of websites on the list; while the Internet censorship scheme submitted by the Australian Labor Party in 2008 was proposed with the stated intention of preventing access to child pornography and sites related to terrorism, the list leaked on WikiLeaks contains a number of sites unrelated to sex crimes involving minors. When questioned about the leak, Stephen Conroy, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy in Australia's Rudd Labor Government, responded by claiming that the list was not the actual list, yet threatening to prosecute anyone involved in distributing it.
WikiLeaks published 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.
WikiLeaks released 86 telephone intercept recordings of Peruvian politicians and businessmen involved in the "Petrogate" oil scandal. The release of the tapes featured on the front pages of five Peruvian newspapers.
BNP leader Nick Griffin stated that he knew the identity of the person who initially leaked the list on 17 November, describing him as a "hardliner" senior employee who left the party in 2007.
After briefly appearing on a blog on 17 November, the membership list of the far-right British National Party was posted to WikiLeaks. The name, address, age and occupation of many of the 13,500 members were given, including several police officers, two solicitors, four ministers of religion, at least one doctor, and a number of primary and secondary school teachers. In Britain, police officers are banned from joining or promoting the BNP, and at least one officer was dismissed for being a member. The BNP was known for going to considerable lengths to conceal the identities of members.
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 Anonymous. It has been alleged by Wired that contents of the mailbox indicate that she used the private Yahoo account to send work-related messages, in violation of public record laws. The hacking of the account was widely reported in mainstream news outlets. Although WikiLeaks was able to conceal the hacker's identity, the source of the Palin emails was eventually publicly identified as David Kernell, a 20-year-old economics student at the University of Tennessee and the son of Democratic Tennessee State Representative Mike Kernell from Memphis, whose email address (as listed on various social networking sites) was linked to the hacker's identity on Anonymous. Kernell attempted to conceal his identity by using the anonymous proxy service ctunnel.com, but, because of the illegal nature of the access, ctunnel website administrator Gabriel Ramuglia assisted the FBI in tracking down the source of the hack.
WikiLeaks reported receiving a letter (dated 27 March) from the Religious Technology Center claiming ownership of the several documents pertaining to OT Levels within the Church of Scientology. These same documents were at the center of a 1994 scandal. The email stated: "The Advanced Technology materials are unpublished, copyrighted works. Please be advised that your customer's action in this regard violates United States copyright law. Accordingly, we ask for your help in removing these works immediately from your service." – Moxon & Kobrin The letter continued on to request the release of the logs of the uploader, which would remove their anonymity. WikiLeaks responded with a statement released on Wikinews stating: ""in response to the attempted suppression, WikiLeaks will release several thousand additional pages of Scientology material next week", and did so.
WikiLeaks published what they referred to as "the collected secret 'bibles' of Scientology."
the wikileaks.org domain name was taken offline after the Swiss Bank Julius Baer sued WikiLeaks and the wikileaks.org domain registrar, Dynadot, in a court in California, United States, and obtained a permanent injunction ordering the shutdown. WikiLeaks had hosted allegations of illegal activities at the bank's Cayman Islands branch. WikiLeaks' U.S. Registrar, Dynadot, complied with the order by removing its DNS entries. However, the website remained accessible via its numeric IP address, and online activists immediately mirrored WikiLeaks at dozens of alternative websites worldwide. The same judge, Judge Jeffrey White, who issued the injunction vacated it on 29 February 2008, citing First Amendment concerns and questions about legal jurisdiction. WikiLeaks was thus able to bring its site online again.
WikiLeaks released a copy of the 2004 edition of the manual, together with a detailed analysis of the changes.
A copy of Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta–the protocol of the U.S. Army at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp–dated March 2003 was released on the WikiLeaks website on 7 November 2007. The document, named "gitmo-sop.pdf", is also mirrored at The Guardian. Its release revealed some of the restrictions placed over detainees at the camp, including the designation of some prisoners as off-limits to the International Committee of the Red Cross, something that the U.S. military had in the past repeatedly denied.
The Guardian (Britain) featured on its front page a story about corruption by the family of the former Kenyan leader Daniel arap Moi. The newspaper stated that the source of the information was WikiLeaks.
Wikileaks Releases its First Document about a decision to assassinate government officials signed by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys. The New Yorker has reported that Assange and the others were uncertain of its authenticity, but they thought that readers, using Wikipedia-like features of the site, would help analyze it. They published the decision with a lengthy commentary, which asked, “Is it a bold manifesto by a flamboyant Islamic militant with links to Bin Laden? Or is it a clever smear by US intelligence, designed to discredit the Union, fracture Somali alliances and manipulate China?” ... The document’s authenticity was never determined, and news about WikiLeaks quickly superseded the leak itself.