WikiLeaks

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The group has released a number of prominent document dumps. Early releases included documentation of equipment expenditures and holdings in the Afghanistan war and a report informing a corruption investigation in Kenya. In April 2010, WikiLeaks released the so-called Collateral Murder footage from the 12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike in which Iraqi journalists were among those killed. Other releases in 2010 included the Afghan War Diary and the "Iraq War Logs". The latter allowed the mapping of 109,032 deaths in "significant" attacks by insurgents in Iraq that had been reported to Multi-National Force – Iraq, including about 15,000 that had not been previously published. In 2010, Wikileaks also released the US State Department diplomatic "cables", classified cables that had been sent to the US State Department. In April 2011, WikiLeaks began publishing 779 secret files relating to prisoners detained in the Guantanamo Bay detention camp.

During the 2016 US presidential election campaign, WikiLeaks released emails and other documents from the Democratic National Committee and from Hillary Clinton's campaign manager, John Podesta suggesting impropriety against fellow Democratic Party candidate senator Bernie Sanders, among other issues. These releases caused significant embarrassment to the Clinton campaign, and to Hillary Clinton, and is speculated to have contributed to the Democratic Party's loss. The US intelligence community expressed "high confidence" that the leaked emails had been hacked by Russia and supplied to WikiLeaks, while WikiLeaks denied their source was Russia or any other state. During the campaign, WikiLeaks promoted conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. In secret correspondence with the Trump campaign, Wikileaks also encouraged the Trump campaign to contest the election results in case they lost. WikiLeaks has also been criticised for inadequately curating its content and violating the personal privacy of individuals. WikiLeaks has, for instance, revealed Social Security numbers, medical information, credit card numbers, details of suicide attempts, and other sensitive personal informat

History[edit]

Staff, name and founding[edit]

The wikileaks.org domain name was registered on 4 October 2006. The website was established and published its first document in December 2006. WikiLeaks is usually represented in public by Julian Assange, who has been described as "the heart and soul of this organisation, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder, organiser, financier, and all the rest". Sarah Harrison, Kristinn Hrafnsson and Joseph Farrell are the only other publicly known and acknowledged associates of Assange. Harrison is also a member of Sunshine Press Productions along with Assange and Ingi Ragnar Ingason.

WikiLeaks was originally established with a "wiki" communal publication method, which was terminated by May 2010. Original volunteers and founders were once described as a mixture of Asian dissidents, journalists, mathematicians, and start-up company technologists from the United States, Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Afri, the website had more than 1,200 registered volunteers.

Despite some popular confusion, related to the fact both sites use the "wiki" name and website design templ WikiLeaks and Wikipedia are not affilia Wikia, a for-profit corporation affiliated loosely with the Wikimedia Foundation, did purchase several WikiLeaks-related domain names as a "protective brand measure" in 2007.

Purpose[edit]

According to the WikiLeaks website, its goal is "to bring important news and information to the public... One of our most important activities is to publish original source material alongside our news stories so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth." Another of the organisation's goals is to ensure that journalists and whistleblowers are not prosecuted for emailing sensitive or classified documents. The online "drop box" is described by the WikiLeaks website as "an innovative, secure and anonymous way for sources to leak information to [WikiLeaks] journalists".

Some describe Wikileaks as a media or journalistic organisation. For example, in a 2013 resolution, the International Federation of Journalists, a trade union of journalists, called Wikileaks a "new breed of media organisation" that "offers important opportunities for media organisations." Harvard professor Yochai Benkler has praised WikiLeaks as a new form of journalistic enterprise, testifying at the court-martial of Chelsea Manning (then Bradley Manning) that "WikiLeaks did serve a particular journalistic function" although "It's a hard line to draw." Others do not consider WikiLeaks to be journalistic in nature. Media ethicist Kelly McBride of the Poynter Institute for Media Studies wrote in 2011 that "Wikileaks might grow into a journalist endeavor. But it's not there yet." Bill Keller of The New York Times considers WikiLeaks to be a "complicated source" rather than a journalistic partner. Noting Assange's statements that he and his colleagues read only a small fraction of information before deciding to publish it, Abrams writes that "No journalistic entity I have ever heard of—none—simply releases to the world an elephantine amount of material it has not read." news and activism site WikiLeaks Central was initiated and was administrated by editor Heather Marsh who oversaw 70+ writers and volunteers. She resigned on 8 March 2012.

WikiLeaks describes itself as "an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking". The website is available on multiple servers, different domain names and has an official Darkweb version(available on the Tor Network) as a result of a number of denial-of-service attacks and its elimination from different Domain Name System (DNS) providers.

Until August 2010, WikiLeaks was hosted by PRQ, a Sweden-based company providing "highly secure, no-questions-asked hosting services". PRQ is said to have "almost no information about its clientele and maintains few if any of its own logs". Currently, WikiLeaks is hosted mainly by the Swedish Internet service provider Bahnhof in the Pionen facility, a former nuclear bunker in Sweden. Other servers are spread around the world with the main server located in Sweden. Julian Assange has said that the servers are located in Sweden (and the other countries) "specifically because those nations offer legal protection to the disclosures made on the site". He talks about the Swedish constitution, which gives the information providers total legal protection. These laws, and the hosting by PRQ, make it difficult for any authorities to eliminate WikiLeaks; they place an onus of proof upon any complainant whose suit would circumscribe WikiLeaks' liberty, e.g. its rights to exercise free speech online. Furthermore, "WikiLeaks maintains its own servers at undisclosed locations, keeps no logs and uses military-grade encryption to protect sources and other confidential information." Such arrangements have been called "bulletproof hosting".

After the site became the target of a denial-of-service attack on its old servers, WikiLeaks moved its website to Amazon's servers. Later, however, the website was "ousted" from the Amazon servers. WikiLeaks was then moved to servers at OVH, a private web-hosting service in France. After criticism from the French government, the company sought two court rulings about the legality of hosting WikiLeaks. While the court in Lille immediately refused to force OVH to deactivate the WikiLeaks website, the court in Paris stated it would need more time to examine the complex technical issue.

WikiLeaks had been using EveryDNS's Domain Name System (DNS). Distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks against WikiLeaks hurt DNS quality of service for other EveryDNS customers; as a result, the company dropped WikiLeaks. Supporters of WikiLeaks waged verbal and DDoS attacks on EveryDNS. Because of a typographical error in blogs mistaking EveryDNS for competitor EasyDNS, that sizeable Internet backlash hit EasyDNS. Despite that, EasyDNS (upon request of a customer who was setting up new WikiLeaks hosting) began providing WikiLeaks with DNS service on "two 'battle hardened' servers" to protect quality of service for its other customers.

WikiLeaks restructured its process for contributions after its first document leaks did not gain much attention. Assange stated this was part of an attempt to take the voluntary efforts typically seen in "Wiki" projects, and "redirect it to...material that has real potential for change." Some sympathisers were unh when WikiLeaks ended a community-based wiki format in favour of a more centralised organisation. The "about" page originally rea

However, WikiLeaks established an editorial policy that accepted only documents that were "of political, diplomatic, historical or ethical interest" (and excluded "material that is already publicly available"). This coincided with early criticism that having no editorial policy would drive out good material with spam and promote "automated or indiscriminate publication of confidential records". The original FAQ is no longer in effect, and no one can post or edit documents on WikiLeaks. Now, submissions to WikiLeaks are reviewed by anonymous WikiLeaks reviewers, and documents that do not meet the editorial criteria are rejected. By 2008, the revised FAQ stated that "Anybody can post comments to it. [...] Users can publicly discuss documents and analyse their credibility and veracity." After the 2010 reorganisation, posting new comments on leaks was no longer possible. Its servers are located throughout Europe and are accessible from any uncensored web connection. The group located its headquarters in Sweden because it has one of the world's strongest laws to protect confidential source-journalist relationships. WikiLeaks has stated it does not solicit any information.

Potential criminal prosecution[edit]

The US Justice Department began a criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange soon after the leak of diplomatic cables began. Attorney General Eric Holder affirmed the investigation was "not saber-rattling", but was "an active, ongoing criminal investigation". Several Supreme Court cases (e.g. Bartnicki v. Vopper) have established previously that the American Constitution protects the re-publication of illegally gained information provided the publishers did not themselves violate any laws in acquiring it. Federal prosecutors have also considered prosecuting Assange for trafficking in stolen government property, but since the diplomatic cables are intellectual rather than physical property, that method is also difficult. Any prosecution of Assange would require extraditing him to the United States, a procedure made more complicated and potentially delayed by any preceding extradition to Sweden. One of Assange's lawyers, however, says they are fighting extradition to Sweden because it might result in his extradition to the United States. Assange's attorney, Mark Stephens, has "heard from Swedish authorities there has been a secretly empanelled grand jury in Alexandria [Virginia]" meeting to consider criminal charges for the WikiLeaks case.

In Australia, the government and the Australian Federal Police have not stated what Australian laws may have been violated by WikiLeaks, but then Prime Minister Julia Gillard has stated that the foundation of WikiLeaks and the stealing of classified documents from the United States administration is illegal in foreign countries. Gillard later clarified her statement as referring to "the original theft of the material by a junior U.S. serviceman rather than any action by Mr Assange." Spencer Zifcak, president of Liberty Victoria, an Australian civil liberties group, notes that without a charge or a trial completed, it is inappropriate to state that WikiLeaks is guilty of illegal activities.

On threats by various governments towards Julian Assange, legal expert Ben Saul argues that Assange is the target of a global smear campaign to demonise him as a criminal or as a terrorist, without any legal basis. The US Center for Constitutional Rights has issued a statement emphasising its alarm at the "multiple examples of legal overreach and irregularities" in his arrest.

Financing[edit]

The US Justice Department began a criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange soon after the leak of diplomatic cables began. Attorney General Eric Holder affirmed the investigation was "not saber-rattling", but was "an active, ongoing criminal investigation". Several Supreme Court cases (e.g. Bartnicki v. Vopper) have established previously that the American Constitution protects the re-publication of illegally gained information provided the publishers did not themselves violate any laws in acquiring it. Federal prosecutors have also considered prosecuting Assange for trafficking in stolen government property, but since the diplomatic cables are intellectual rather than physical property, that method is also difficult. Any prosecution of Assange would require extraditing him to the United States, a procedure made more complicated and potentially delayed by any preceding extradition to Sweden. One of Assange's lawyers, however, says they are fighting extradition to Sweden because it might result in his extradition to the United States. Assange's attorney, Mark Stephens, has "heard from Swedish authorities there has been a secretly empanelled grand jury in Alexandria [Virginia]" meeting to consider criminal charges for the WikiLeaks case.

In Australia, the government and the Australian Federal Police have not stated what Australian laws may have been violated by WikiLeaks, but then Prime Minister Julia Gillard has stated that the foundation of WikiLeaks and the stealing of classified documents from the United States administration is illegal in foreign countries. Gillard later clarified her statement as referring to "the original theft of the material by a junior U.S. serviceman rather than any action by Mr Assange." Spencer Zifcak, president of Liberty Victoria, an Australian civil liberties group, notes that without a charge or a trial completed, it is inappropriate to state that WikiLeaks is guilty of illegal activities.

On threats by various governments towards Julian Assange, legal expert Ben Saul argues that Assange is the target of a global smear campaign to demonise him as a criminal or as a terrorist, without any legal basis. The US Center for Constitutional Rights has issued a statement emphasising its alarm at the "multiple examples of legal overreach and irregularities" in his arrest.

Leaks[edit]

2006–08

WikiLeaks posted its first document in December 2006, a decision to assassinate government officials signed by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys. In November 2007, a March 2003 copy of Standard Operating Procedures for Camp Delta detailing the protocol of the US Army at the Guantanamo Bay detention camp was released. The document revealed that some prisoners were off-limits to the International Committee of the Red Cross, something that the US military had in the past denied repeatedly. In February 2008, WikiLeaks released allegations of illegal activities at the Cayman Islands branch of the Swiss Bank Julius Baer, which resulted in the bank suing WikiLeaks and obtaining an injunction which temporarily suspended the operation of wikileaks.org. The California judge had the service provider of WikiLeaks block the site's domain (wikileaks.org) on 18 February 2008, although the bank only wanted the documents to be removed but WikiLeaks had failed to name a contact. The website was instantly mirrored by supporters, and later that month the judge overturned his previous decision citing First Amendment concerns and questions about legal jurisdiction. In March 2008, WikiLeaks published what they referred to as "the collected secret 'bibles' of Scientology", and three days later received letters threatening to sue them for breach of copyright. In September 2008, during the 2008 United States presidential election campaigns, the contents of a Yahoo account belonging to Sarah Palin (the running mate of Republican presidential nominee John McCain) were posted on WikiLeaks after being hacked into by members of a group known as Anonymous. In November 2008, the membership list of the far-right British National Party was posted to WikiLeaks, after appearing briefly on a weblog. A year later, in October 2009, another list of BNP members was leaked.

2009

In January 2009, WikiLeaks released 86 telephone intercept recordings of Peruvian politicians and businessmen involved in the 2008 Peru oil scandal. During February, WikiLeaks released 6,780 Congressional Research Service reports followed in March by a list of contributors to the Norm Coleman senatorial campaign and a set of documents belonging to Barclays Bank that had been ordered removed from the website of The Guardian. In July, it released a report relating to a serious nuclear accident that had occurred at the Iranian Natanz nuclear facility in 2009. Later media reports have suggested that the accident was related to the Stuxnet computer worm. In September, internal documents from Kaupthing Bank were leaked, from shortly before the collapse of Iceland's banking sector, which caused the 2008–2012 Icelandic financial crisis. The document shows that suspiciously large sums of money were loaned to various owners of the bank, and large debts written off. In October, Joint Services Protocol 440, a British document advising the security services on how to avoid documents being leaked, was published by WikiLeaks. Later that month, it announced that a super-injunction was being used by the commodities company Trafigura to stop The Guardian (London) from reporting on a leaked internal document regarding a toxic dumping incident in Côte d'Ivoire. In November, it hosted copies of e-mail correspondence between climate scientists, although they were not leaked originally to WikiLeaks. It also released 570,000 intercepts of pager messages sent on the day of the 11 September attacks. During 2008 and 2009, WikiLeaks published the alleged lists of forbidden or illegal web addresses for Australia, Denmark and Thailand. These were originally created to prevent access to child pornography and terrorism, but the leaks revealed that other sites featuring unrelated subjects were also listed.

2010

In mid-February 2010, WikiLeaks received a leaked diplomatic cable from the United States Embassy in Reykjavik relating to the Icesave scandal, which they published on 18 February. The cable, known as Reykjavik 13, was the first of the classified documents WikiLeaks published among those allegedly provided to them by United States Army Private Chelsea Manning (then known as Bradley). In March 2010, WikiLeaks released a secret 32-page US Department of Defense Counterintelligence Analysis Report written in March 2008 discussing the leaking of material by WikiLeaks and how it could be deterred. In April, a classified video of the 12 July 2007 Baghdad airstrike was released, showing two Reuters employees being fired at, after the pilots mistakenly thought the men were carrying weapons, which were in fact cameras. After the mistaken killing, the video shows US forces firing on a family van that stopped to pick up the bodies. In the week after the release, "wikileaks" was the search term with the most significant growth worldwide during the last seven days as measured by Google Insights. In June 2010, Manning was arrested after alleged chat logs were given to United States authorities by former hacker Adrian Lamo, in whom she had confided. Manning reportedly told Lamo she had leaked the "Collateral Murder" video, in addition to a video of the Granai airstrike and about 260,000 diplomatic cables, to WikiLeaks. In July, WikiLeaks released 92,000 documents related to the war in Afghanistan between 2004 and the end of 2009 to the publications The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel The documents detail individual incidents including "friendly fire" and civilian casualties. At the end of July, a 1.4 GB "insurance file" was added to the Afghan War Diary page, whose decryption details would be released if WikiLeaks or Assange were harmed. About 15,000 of the 92,000 documents have not yet been released by WikiLeaks, as the group is currently reviewing the documents to remove some of the sources of the information. WikiLeaks asked the Pentagon and human-rights groups to help remove names from the documents to reduce the potential harm caused by their release, but did not receive assistance. After the Love Parade stampede in Duisburg, Germany, on 24 July 2010, a local resident published internal documents of the city administration regarding the planning of Love Parade. The city government reacted by securing a court order on 16 August forcing the removal of the documents from the website on which it was hosted. On 20 August 2010, WikiLeaks released a publication entitled Loveparade 2010 Duisburg planning documents, 2007–2010, which comprised 43 internal documents regarding the Love Parade 2010. After the leak of information concerning the Afghan War, in October 2010, around 400,000 documents relating to the Iraq War were released. The BBC quoted the US Department of Defense referring to the Iraq War Logs as "the largest leak of classified documents in its history". Media coverage of the leaked documents emphasised claims that the US government had ignored reports of torture by the Iraqi authorities during the period after the 2003 war.



On 29 July 2010 WikiLeaks added an "Insurance file" to the Afghan War Diary page. The file is AES encryp There has been speculation that it was intended to serve as insurance in case the WikiLeaks website or its spokesman Julian Assange are incapacitated, upon which the passphrase could be published. After the first few days' release of the US diplomatic cables starting 28 November 2010, the US television broadcasting company CBS predicted that "If anything happens to Assange or the website, a key will go out to unlock the files. There would then be no way to stop the information from spreading like wildfire because so many people already have copies." CBS correspondent Declan McCullagh stated, "What most folks are speculating is that the insurance file contains unreleased information that would be especially embarrassing to the US government if it were released." WikiLeaks planned to release the entirety of the cables in phases over several mon Twitter decided to notify its users. The overthrow of the presidency in Tunisia of 2011 has been attributed partly to reaction against the corruption revealed by leaked cables.

On 1 September 2011, it became public that an encrypted version of WikiLeaks' huge archive of unredacted US State Department cables had been available via BitTorrent for months and that the decryption key (similar to a password) was available to those who knew where to find it. Guardian newspaper editor David Leigh had just published the decryption key in his book, so the files were now publicly available to anyone. Rather than let malicious actors publish selected data, WikiLeaks decided to publish the entire, unredacted archive in searchable form on its webs


2011–2015

In late April 2011, files related to the Guantanamo prison were released. In December 2011, WikiLeaks started to release the Spy Files. On 27 February 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing more than five million emails from the Texas-headquartered "global intelligence" company Stratfor. On 5 July 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing the Syria Files (emails from Syrian political figures 2006–2012). On 25 October 2012, WikiLeaks began publishing The Detainee Policies, files covering the rules and procedures for detainees in US military custody. In April 2013 WikiLeaks published more than 1.7 million US diplomatic and intelligence documents from the 1970s, including the Kissinger cables.

In 2013, the organisation assisted Edward Snowden (who is responsible for the 2013 mass surveillance disclosures) in leaving Hong Kong. Sarah Harrison, a WikiLeaks activist, accompanied Snowden on the flight. Scott Shane of The New York Times stated that the WikiLeaks involvement "shows that despite its shoestring staff, limited fund-raising from a boycott by major financial firms, and defections prompted by Mr. Assange's personal troubles and abrasive style, it remains a force to be reckoned with on the global stage."

In September 2013, WikiLeaks published "Spy Files 3", 250 documents from more than 90 surveillance companies. On 13 November 2013, a draft of the Trans-Pacific Partnership's Intellectual Property Rights chapter was published by WikiLeaks. On 10 June 2015, WikiLeaks published the draft on the Trans-Pacific Partnership's Transparency for Healthcare Annex, along with each country's negotiating position. On 19 June 2015 WikiLeaks began publishing The Saudi Cables: more than half a million cables and other documents from the Saudi Foreign Ministry that contain secret communications from various Saudi Embassies around the world.

On 23 June 2015, WikiLeaks published documents under the name of "Espionnage Élysée", which showed that NSA spied on French government, including but not limited to the current President Francois Hollande and his predecessors Nicolas Sarkozy and Jacques Chirac. Oh 29 June 2015, WikiLeaks published more NSA top secrets intercepts regarding France, detailing an economic espionage against French companies and associations. In July 2015, WikiLeaks published documents which showed that the NSA had tapped the telephones of many German federal ministries, including that of the Chancellor Angela Merkel, for years since the 1990s. On 4 July 2015, WikiLeaks published documents which showed that 29 Brazilian government numbers were selected for secret espionage by the NSA. Among the targets there were also the President Dilma Rousseff, many assistants and advisors, her presidential jet and other key figures in the Brazilian government.

On 29 July 2015, WikiLeaks published a top secret letter from the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) Ministerial Meeting in December 2013 which illustrated the position of negotiating countries on "state-owned enterprises" (SOEs). On 31 July 2015, WikiLeaks published secret intercepts and the related target list showing that the NSA spied on Japanese government, including the Cabinet and Japanese companies such as Mitsubishi and Mitsui. The documents revealed that United States espionage against Japan concerned broad sections of communications about the US-Japan diplomatic relationship and Japan's position on climate change issues, other than an extensive monitoring of the Japanese economy. On 21 October 2015 WikiLeaks published some of John O. Brennan's emails, including a draft security clearance application which contained personal information.

2016 On 4 July 2016, WikiLeaks tweeted a link to a trove of emails sent or received by then-US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and released under the Freedom of Information Act. The link contained 1258 emails sent from Clinton's personal mail server which were selected in terms of their relevance to the Iraq War and were apparently timed to precede the release of the UK government's Iraq Inquiry report.

On 19 July 2016, WikiLeaks released 294,548 emails from Turkey's ruling Justice and Development party (AKP). According to WikiLeaks, the material, which they claim to be the first batch from the "AKP Emails", was obtained a week before the attempted coup in the country and "is not connected, in any way, to the elements behind the attempted coup, or to a rival political party or state". After WikiLeaks announced that they would release the emails, the organisation stayed for over 24 hours under a "sustained atta Following the leak, the Turkish government ordered the site to be blocked nationwide. WikiLeaks had also tweeted a link to a database which contained sensitive information, such as the Turkish Identification Number, of approximately 50 million Turkish citizens, including nearly every female voter in Turkey. This information first appeared online in April of the same year and was not in the files uploaded by WikiLeaks, but in files archived by Michael Best, who then removed it when the personal data was discovered.

On 22 July 2016, WikiLeaks released approximately 20,000 emails and 8,000 files sent from or received by Democratic National Committee (DNC) personnel. Some of the emails contained personal information of donors, including home addresses and Social Security numbers. Other emails appeared to criticise Bernie Sanders and showed apparent favouritism towards Clinton.

On 7 October 2016, WikiLeaks started releasing series of emails and documents sent from or received by Hillary Clinton campaign manager John Podesta, including Hillary Clinton's paid speeches to banks. According to a spokesman for the Clinton campaign, "By dribbling these out every day WikiLeaks is proving they are nothing but a propaganda arm of the Kremlin with a political agenda doing Vladimir Putin's dirty work to help elect Donald Trump." The New York Times reported that when asked, president Vladimir Putin replied that Russia was being falsely accused. "The hysteria is merely caused by the fact that somebody needs to divert the attention of the American people from the essence of what was exposed by the hackers."

On 17 October 2016 WikiLeaks announced that a "state party" had severed the Internet connection of Julian Assange at the Ecuadorian embassy. WikiLeaks blamed United States Secretary of State John Kerry of pressuring the Ecuadorian government in severing Assange's Internet, an accusation which the United States State Department denied. The Ecuadorian government stated that it had "temporarily" severed Assange's Internet connection because of WikiLeaks' release of documents "impacting on the U.S. election campaign," although it also stated that this was not meant to prevent WikiLeaks from operating.

2017

On 16 February 2017, WikiLeaks released a purported report on CIA espionage orders (marked as NOFORN) for the 2012 French presidential election. The order called for details of party funding, internal rivalries and future attitudes toward the United States. The Associated Press noted that "the orders seemed to represent standard intelligence-gathering."

On 7 March 2017, WikiLeaks started publishing content code-named "Vault 7". In a series of tweets and a Facebook Live + Periscope press conference, WikiLeaks announced these documents contain CIA internal documentation of their "massive arsenal" of hacking tools including malware, viruses trojects, weaponised "zero day" exploits and remote control systems to name a few.

On 5 May 2017, Wikileaks posted links to e-mails purported to be from Emmanuel Macron's campaign in the French 2017 presidential election. Experts have asserted that the Wikileaks Twitter account played a key role in publicising the leaks through the hashtag #MacronLeaks just some three-and-a-half hours after the first tweet with hashtag appeared. The campaign stated that false documents were mixed in with real ones, and that "the ambition of the authors of this leak is obviously to harm the movement En Marche! in the final hours before the second round of the French presidential election". France's Electoral Commission described the action as a "massive and coordinated piracy action". The head of the French cyber-security agency, ANSSI, later said that they did not have evidence connecting the hack with Russia, saying that the attack was so simple, that "we can imagine that it was a person who did this alone. They could be in any country."

In September 2017, WikiLeaks released "Spy Files Russia," revealing "how a St. Petersburg-based technology company called Peter-Service helped state entities gather detailed data on Russian cellphone users, part of a national system of online surveillance called System for Operative Investigative Activities (SORM)." Claims of upcoming leaks

In January 2011, Rudolf Elmer, a former Swiss banker, passed data containing account details of 2,000 prominent people to Assange, who stated that the information will be vetted before being made publicly available at a later date. In May 2010, WikiLeaks said it had video footage of a massacre of civilians in Afghanistan by the US military which they were preparing to release. In an interview with Chris Anderson on 19 July 2010, Assange showed a document WikiLeaks had on an Albanian oil-well blowout, and said they also had material from inside British Petroleum, and that they were "getting enormous quantity of whistle-blower disclosures of a very high calibre" but added that they had not been able to verify and release the material because they did not have enough volunteer journalists. In December 2010, Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens, told The Andrew Marr Show on BBC Television that WikiLeaks had information it considered to be a "thermo-nuclear device" which it would release if the organisation needs to defend itself against the authorities.

In a 2009 interview by the magazine Computerworld, Assange claimed to be in possession of "5GB from Bank of America". In 2010, he told Forbes magazine that WikiLeaks was planning another "megaleak" early in 2011, from the private sector, involving "a big U.S. bank" and revealing an "ecosystem of corruption". Bank of America's stock price decreased by 3%, apparently as a result of this announcement. Assange commented on the possible effect of the release that "it could take down a bank or two". In August 2011, Reuters announced that Daniel Domscheit-Berg had destroyed approximately 5GB of data cache from Bank of America, that Assange had under his control.

In October 2010, Assange told a major Moscow newspaper that "The Kremlin had better brace itself for a coming wave of WikiLeaks disclosures about Russia". Assange later clarified: "we have material on many businesses and governments, including in Russia. It's not right to say there's going to be a particular focus on Russia".

Authenticity[edit]

WikiLeaks has contended that it has never released a misattributed document and that documents are assessed before release. In response to concerns about the possibility of misleading or fraudulent leaks, WikiLeaks has stated that misleading leaks "are already well-placed in the mainstream media. WikiLeaks is of no additional assistance." The FAQ states that: "The simplest and most effective countermeasure is a worldwide community of informed users and editors who can scrutinise and discuss leaked documents." According to statements by Assange in 2010, submitted documents are vetted by a group of five reviewers, with expertise in different topics such as language or programming, who also investigate the background of the leaker if his or her identity is known. In that group, Assange has the final decision about the assessment of a document. (Writer Glenn Greenwald goes further, asserting that WikiLeaks has a "perfect, long-standing record of only publishing authentic documents.") However, cybersecurity experts agree that it is trivially easy for a person to fabricate an email or alter it, as by changing headers and metadata.

In July 2016, the Aspen Institute's Homeland Security Group, a bipartisan counterterrorism organisation, warned that hackers who stole authentic data might "salt the files they release with plausible forgeries."

Promotion of conspiracy theories[edit]

Murder of Seth Rich[edit]

Wikileaks has promoted conspiracy theories about the murder of Seth Rich. Unfounded conspiracy theories, spread by some right-wing figures and media outlets, hold that Rich was the source of leaked emails and was killed for working with Wikileaks. Wikileaks fuelled the conspiracy theories by offering a reward of $20,000 for information leading to the capture of Rich's killer and hinting that Rich may have been the source of the leaked emails. No evidence supports the claim that Rich was the source of the leaks.

The Guardian wrote that WikiLeaks, had along with individuals and groups on the hard right, been involved in the "ruthless exploitation of [Rich's] death for political purposes". The executive director of the Sunlight Foundation, an organisation that advocates for open government, was critical of Wikileaks' fuelling of conspiracy theories surrounding the murder of Seth Rich: "On the death of staffer, that's just to me so far over the line... If they feel like they have a link to the staffer's death, they should say it and be responsible about it. The insinuations, to me, are just disgusting."

Promotion of conspiracy theories about the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton[edit]

Wikileaks has popularised conspiracies about the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton, such as tweeting an article which suggested Clinton campaign chairperson John Podesta engaged in satanic rituals (which was later revealed to be false), claiming that Hillary Clinton wanted to drone strike Assange, promoting conspiracy theories about Clinton's health,

It was revealed in October 2017 that during the 2016 US Presidential election, Cambridge Analytica funder and GOP mega-donor Rebekah Mercer had proposed creating a searchable data base for Hillary Clinton emails in the public domain and then forwarded this suggestion to several people, including Cambridge Analytica CEO Alexander Nix, who personally emailed a request to Julian Assange for Clinton's emails. Assange responded to the report by saying he denied Nix's request.

Controversy[edit]

Allegations of anti-Americanism[edit]

Short of simply disclosing information in the public interest, WikiLeaks has been accused of purposely targeting certain states and people, and presenting its disclosures in misleading and conspiratorial ways to harm those people.

Allegations of anti-Clinton and pro-Trump bias[edit]

Having released information that exposed the inner working of a broad range of organisations and politicians, WikiLeaks started by 2016 to focus almost exclusively on Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. In the 2016 US presidential election, WikiLeaks only exposed material damaging to the Democratic National Committee and Hillary Clinton. WikiLeaks even rejected the opportunity to publish unrelated leaks, because it dedicated all its resources to Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. According to the New York Times, Wikileaks timed one of its large leaks so that it would happen on the eve of the Democratic Convention. The Washington Post noted that the leaks came at an important sensitive moment in the Clinton campaign, as she was preparing to announce her vice-presidential pick and unite the party behind her. The Sunlight Foundation, an organisation that advocates for open government, said that such actions meant that Wikileaks was no longer striving to be transparent but rather sought to achieve political goals: "It's become something else. It’s not striving for objectivity. It’s more careless. When they publish information it appears to be in service of some specific goal, of retribution, at the expense of the individual." CNN notes that due to extensive coverage of the Trump tapes, the leaks were an "afterthought" in news coverage. Trump made many references to Wikileaks during the course of the campaign; by one estimate, he referenced disclosures by Wikileaks over 160 times in speeches during the last 30 days of the campaign.


Correspondence between Trump Jr. and Assange[edit]

In November 2017, it was revealed that Julian Assange via the Wikileaks Twitter account corresponded with Donald Trump Jr. during the 2016 presidential election. The long correspondence shows how Wikileaks actively solicited the co-operation of Trump Jr., a campaign surrogate and advisor in the campaign of his father. WikiLeaks urged the Trump campaign to reject the results of the 2016 presidential election at a time when it looked as if the Trump campaign would lose. In October 2016, the US intelligence community announced that it was "confident that the Russian Government directed the recent compromises of e-mails from U.S. persons and institutions, including from U.S. political organizations". WikiLeaks has denied any connection to or co-operation with Russia. The Focus report followed a New York Times story that suggested that WikiLeaks may be a laundering machine for compromising material about Western countries gathered by Russian spies.

On 10 December 2016, several news outlets, including The Guardian and The Washington Post, reported that the Central Intelligence Agency concluded that Russia intelligence operatives provided materials to WikiLeaks in an effort to help Donald Trump's election bid. The Washington Post article stated: "The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter." The Guardian article reported, "individuals linked to the Russian government had provided WikiLeaks with thousands of confidential emails stolen from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and others." WikiLeaks has frequently been criticised for its absence of whistleblowing on or criticism of Russia.

In April 2016, WikiLeaks tweeted criticism of the Panama Papers, which had among other things revealed Russian businesses and individuals linked with offshore ties (Vladimir Putin's associates had as much as $2 billion in offshore accounts). Assange also falsely asserted that the Panama Papers gave Western figures a free pass, when the leaks in fact reported on a number of high-profile Western politicians, including UK Prime Minister David Cameron. Assange has never disclosed how much he or WikiLeaks were paid for his tv-show.

In April 2017, the WikiLeaks Twitter account suggested that the Khan Shaykhun chemical attack, which international human rights organisations and governments of the United States, United Kingdom, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, France, and Israel attributed to the Syrian government, was a false flag attack. WikiLeaks stated that "while western establishment media beat the drum for more war in Syria the matter is far from clear", and shared a video by a Syrian activist who claimed that Islamist extremists were probably behind the chemical attack, not the Syrian government.

In August 2017, Foreign Policy reported that WikiLeaks had in the summer of 2016 turned down a large cache of documents containing information damaging to the Russian government. WikiLeaks justified this by saying "As far as we recall these are already public...WikiLeaks rejects all information that it cannot verify. WikiLeaks rejects submissions that have already been published elsewhere". After this was reported, Assange confirmed that Wikileaks had been approached by Cambridge Analytica but had rejected the approach.

Allegations of anti-semitism[edit]

Wikileaks has been accused of anti-semitism. The Wikileaks Twitter account tweeted anti-semitic jibes. In July 2016, Wikileaks suggested that triple parentheses, or (((echoes))) – a tool used by neo-Nazis to identify Jews on Twitter, appropriated by Jews across the Twittersphere – had been used as a way for "establishment climbers" to identify one another. Media outlets have also been criticised for reporting on Wikileaks' claims about the CIA leak, which were later retracted.

Wikileaks' publishing of Sony's hacked e-mails drew criticism for violating the privacy of Sony's employees and for failing to be in the public interest. Michael A. Cohen, a fellow at the Century Foundation, argues that "data dumps like these represent a threat to our already shrinking zone of privacy." The manner in which Wikileaks publishes content can have the effect of censoring political enemies: "Wikileaks' indiscriminate disclosure in this case is perhaps the closest we’ve seen in reality to the bogeyman projected by enemies to reform — that transparency is just a Trojan Horse for chilling speech and silencing political enemies." proposed the creation of a database to track verified Twitter users, including sensitive personal information on individuals' homes, families and finances. According to the Chicago Tribune, "the proposal faced a sharp and swift backlash as technologists, journalists and security researchers slammed the idea as a 'sinister' and dangerous abuse of power and privacy."

On 25 September 2010, after being suspended by Assange for "disloyalty, insubordination and destabilisation", Daniel Domscheit-Berg, the German spokesman for WikiLeaks, told Der Spiegel that he was resigning, saying "WikiLeaks has a structural problem. I no longer want to take responsibility for it, and that's why I am leaving the project." Assange accused Domscheit-Berg of leaking information to Newsweek, claiming the WikiLeaks team was unhappy with Assange's management and handling of the Afghan war document releases. Domscheit-Berg left with a small group to start OpenLeaks, a new leak organisation and website with a different management and distribution philosophy.

While leaving, Daniel Domscheit-Berg copied and then deleted roughly 3,500 unpublished documents from the WikiLeaks servers, including information on the US government's 'no-fly list' and inside information from 20 right-wing organisations, and according to a WikiLeaks statement, 5 gigabytes of data relating to Bank of America, the internal communications of 20 neo-Nazi organisations and US intercept information for "over a hundred Internet companies". In Domscheit-Berg's book he wrote: "To this day, we are waiting for Julian to restore security, so that we can return the material to him, which was on the submission platform." In August 2011, Domscheit-Berg claims he permanently deleted the files "in order to ensure that the sources are not compromised."

Herbert Snorrason, a 25-year-old Icelandic university student, resigned after he challenged Assange on his decision to suspend Domscheit-Berg and was bluntly rebuked. According to the periodical The Independent (London), at least a dozen key supporters of WikiLeaks left the website during 2010.

Non-disclosure agreements[edit]

Those working for Wikileaks are reportedly required to sign sweeping non-disclosure agreements covering all conversations, conduct, and material, with Assange having sole power over disclosure. The penalty for non-compliance in one such agreement was reportedly £12 million.

Reception[edit]

WikiLeaks has received praise as well as criticism. The organisation won a number of awards in its early years, including The Economist's New Media Award in 2008 at the Index on Censorship Awards and Amnesty International's UK Media Award in 2009. In 2010, the New York Daily News listed WikiLeaks first among websites "that could totally change the news," and Julian Assange received the Sam Adams Award and was named the Readers' Choice for TIME's Person of the Year in 2010. The UK Information Commissioner has stated that "WikiLeaks is part of the phenomenon of the online, empowered citizen." During its first days, an Internet petition in support of WikiLeaks attracted more than six hundred thousand signatures. Sympathisers of WikiLeaks in the media and academia commended it during its early tears for exposing state and corporate secrets, increasing transparency, assisting freedom of the press, and enhancing democratic discourse while challenging powerful institutions. In 2010, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights expressed concern over the "cyber war" being led at the time against WikiLeaks, and in a joint statement with the Organization of American States the UN Special Rapporteur called on states and other people to keep international legal principles in mind.

Several Republicans who had once been highly critical of Wikileaks and Julian Assange began to speak fondly of him after Wikileaks published the DNC leaks and started to regularly criticise Hillary Clinton and the Democratic Party. Having called Wikileaks "disgraceful" in 2010, President-Elect Donald Trump praised Wikileaks in October 2016, saying, "I love Wikileaks." Newt Gingrich, who called for Assange to be "treated as an enemy combatant" in 2010, praised him as a "down to Earth, straight forward interviewee" in 2017. Ann Coulter called for Assange to be awarded the presidential medal of freedom. Several human rights organisations requested with respect to earlier document releases that WikiLeaks adequately redact the names of civilians working with international forces, to prevent repercussions. Some journalists have likewise criticised a perceived lack of editorial discretion when releasing thousands of documents at once and without sufficient analysis. In 2016, Harvard law professor and Electronic Frontier Foundation board member Jonathan Zittrain argued that a culture in which one constantly risks being "outed" as a result of virtual Watergate-like break-ins (or 4th amendment violations) could lead people to hesitate to speak their minds.

In April 2017, CIA Director Mike Pompeo called WikiLeaks "a non-state hostile intelligence service often abetted by state actors like Russia."

In 2011, hacktivist group Anonymous published a secret proposal presented by a Palantir Technologies employee to Hunton & Williams, a Washington, D.C. law firm, to attempt to discredit WikiLeaks and supporters such as Glenn Greenwald with disinformation and cyberattacks. Two other private security firms, Berico Technologies and HBGary, were also involved in the proposal. Palantir temporarily suspended the employee, its CEO Alex Karp apologised to Greenwald, and a spokesperson said the company would have collapsed if it had carried out the proposal.

  • OpenLeaks was created by a former WikiLeaks spokesperson. Daniel Domscheit-Berg said the intention was to be more transparent than WikiLeaks. OpenLeaks was supposed to start public operations in early 2011 but despite much media covera it is not operat
  • In December 2011, WikiLeaks launched Friends of WikiLeaks, a social network for supporters and founders of the website.
  • On 9 September 2013 a number of major Dutch media outlets supported the launch of Publeaks, which provides a secure website for people to leak documents to the media using the GlobaLeaks whistleblowing software.
  • RuLeaks is aimed at being a Russian equivalent to WikiLeaks. It was initiated originally to provide translated versions of the WikiLeaks cables but the Moscow Times reports it has started to publish its own content as well.
  • Leakymails is a project designed to obtain and publish relevant documents exposing corruption of the political class and the powerful in Argentina.
  • Honest Appalachia, initiated in January 2012, is a website based in the United States intended to appeal to potential "whistleblowers" in West Virginia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Kentucky, Tennessee and North Carolina, and serve as a replicable model for similar projects elsewhere.

In popular culture[edit]

A thriller about WikiLeaks was released in the United States on 18 October 2013. The documentary We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks by director Alex Gibney premiered at the 2013 Sundance Film Festival. War, lies and videotape is a documentary by French directors Paul Moreira and Luc Hermann from press agency Premieres Lignes. The film was first released in France, in 2011 and then broadcast worldwide. The Source is a 2014 oratorio by Ted Hearne, with a libretto by Mark Doten that features WikiLeaks document disclosures by Chelsea Manning.

Source[edit]

http://wikipedia.org/

See Also on BitcoinWiki[edit]