WikiLeaks: Websites Continues To Reveal Classified Information

The activist organization has angered governments and corporations by leaking documents in an effort to expose what it believes are examples of corruption. Here are significant events in the history of Wikileaks:

Julian Assange, a former computer hacker, sets up his website from a house outside the University of Melbourne, Australia. Since then it has published everything from Church of Scientology documents to U.S. Embassy cables, and passed along transcripts, secret videos and more. Its enemies have included everyone from British bankers to Kenyan politicians. The team behind WikiLeaks is small, reportedly just a half-dozen people and casual volunteers who offer their services as needed. Assange has no permanent address and travels frequently — jumping from one friend's place to the next, occasionally disappearing from public view for months at a time.
Aug. 31, 2007
WikiLeaks posts a 2004 report by Kroll Associates, an international security and investigations firm the Kenyan government hired to help find assets stolen or spirited abroad during the tenure of Kenya's former president, Daniel arap Moi.

December 2007
WikiLeaks posts a manual with details of the daily schedule at the U.S. military detention facility on Guantánamo Bay, Cuba. The  238-page "Camp Delta Standard Operating Procedures" document, dated March 28, 2003, was not classified but had been labeled: "For Official Use Only."

Feb. 19, 2008
Judge Jeffrey S. White of Federal District Court in San Francisco, orders the shutdown of for posting internal documents accusing a Cayman Islands' branch of Swiss Bank Julius Baer of money laundering and tax evasion schemes. Julius Baer & Co. said in court papers that an executive fired for "misconduct" stole the document and illegally posted online. The decision to disable the entire site sparked protests by major U.S. news organizations and free-speech advocates.

March 1, 2008
Judge Jeffrey S. White, reverses his decision and allows back online.

Jan. 14, 2009
WikiLeaks posts a U.N. report alleging the abuse of girls and women by peacekeepers in eastern Congo. The report had previously been referred to by human rights organizations and the U.N. itself, but not made public.

March 12, 2009
A WikiLeaks e-mail to Sen. Norm Coleman, R-Minn., supporters says: "Your name, address and other details appear on a membership list leaked to us from the Norm Coleman Senate campaign." At the time, Coleman is involved in an extended battle with Democrat Al Franken. Franken eventually is declared winner.

May 6, 2009
WikiLeaks reports an alleged security breach of Virginia's prescription drug datatbase, which includes 8 million patients records and 35 million prescriptions. The state-run program allows medical professionals and pharmacies statewide to track powerful narcotics and painkillers to reduce abuse, theft and illegal sale. Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine says the state won't pay a $10 million ransom to the hacker or hackers.

Nov. 26, 2009
WikiLeaks begins posting 573,000 messages from pagers — purportedly sent on Sept. 11, 2001 — which range from messages such as,  "Second World Trade Center tower collapses" to "I'm ok & love you.
The group says most of the messages appear to be from people trying to reach loved ones in and around the World Trade Center.

April 5, 2010
WikiLeaks posts a classified military video shot from the cockpit of an Apache helicopter showing a group of men being gunned down in Baghdad by American airmen. The gunners can be heard laughing and referring to the men as "dead bastards."  The explosive video raises questions about the military's rules of engagement and whether more should be done to prevent civilian casualties. 

But the title Assange's group gives it — "Collateral Murder" — raises questions about his group's impartiality.

July 7, 2010
An American soldier, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, suspected of leaking classified video taken from the cockpit during a 2007 firefight on unarmed men in Iraq, is charged with multiple counts of mishandling and leaking classified data and putting national security at risk.

July 25, 2010
WikiLeaks posts 76,000 classified documents covering the in war Afghanistan from 2004 to 2010. The documents are described as battlefield reports compiled by various military units that provide an unvarnished look at six years of combat, including U.S. frustration over reports Pakistan secretly aided insurgents and civilian casualties at the hand of U.S. troops. The New York Times, London's Guardian newspaper and the German weekly Der Spiegel were given early access to the documents.
The White House condemns the document disclosure, saying it "put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk."

July 30, 2010
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs says the Afghanistan leak has jeopardized the lives of Afghans working with the U.S. and its war allies. Gibbs says the Taliban spokesman have declared they will comb the documents for the names of people who have cooperated with international forces in Afghanistan.

Aug. 5, 2010
WikiLeaks posts to its website a huge encrypted file named "insurance," sparking speculation that those behind the organization may be prepared to release more classified information if authorities interfere with them.

Sept. 1, 2010
A senior Swedish prosecutor reopens a rape investigation against Julian Assange, the latest twist to a puzzling case in which prosecutors of different ranks have overruled each other. Assange has denied the allegations and suggested they are part of a smear campaign by opponents of WikiLeaks. On Aug. 20, a Stockholm prosecutor issued an arrest warrant for Assange, saying he was suspected of rape and molestation in two separate case. The warrant was withdrawn within 24 hours amid the back-and-forth between prosecutors.

Oct. 22, 2010
U.S. forces often failed to follow up on credible evidence that Iraqi forces mistreated, tortured and killed their captives as they battled a violent insurgency, according to accounts contained in what was purportedly the largest leak of secret information in U.S. history. The documents are among nearly 400,000 released by the WikiLeaks website in defiance of Pentagon insistence that the action puts the lives of U.S. troops and their coalition partners at risk. Although the documents appear to be authentic, their origin could not be independently confirmed, and WikiLeaks declined to offer any details about them. The Pentagon has previously declined to confirm the authenticity of  WikiLeaks-released records, but it has employed more than 100 U.S. analysts to review what was previously released and has never indicated that any past WikiLeaks releases were inaccurate. The 391,831 documents date from the start of 2004 to Jan. 1, 2010, mostly by low-ranking officers in the field. In terse, dry language, they catalog thousands of battles with insurgents and roadside bomb attacks, along with equipment failures and shootings by civilian contractors.

Nov. 28, 2010
WikiLeaks releases hundreds of thousands of classified State Department documents revealing a hidden world of backstage international diplomacy. It discloses candid comments from world leaders and occasional U.S. pressure tactics aimed at hot spots in Afghanistan, Iran and North  Korea. The documents also contain new revelations about long-simmering nuclear trouble spots, detailing fears of Iran's growing nuclear program and U.S. discussions about a united Korean peninsula as a long-term solution to North Korean aggression.

Nov. 29, 2010
The Obama administration moves forcefully to contain damage from the release of more than a quarter-million classified diplomatic files, branding the action as an attack on the United States and raising the prospect of legal action against WikiLeaks. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton says that WikiLeaks acted illegally in posting the material. She says the leak "puts people's lives in danger, threatens our national security and undermines our efforts to work with other countries."
The White House orders a government-wide review of how agencies safeguard sensitive information. Clinton says steps are already being taken to tighten oversight of diplomatic files. That action would follow a similar move by the Pentagon after leaks of military files.
“This disclosure is not just an attack on America's foreign policy interests," Clinton says. "It is an attack on the international community: the alliances and partnerships, the conversations and negotiations that safeguard global security and advance economic prosperity."

Nov. 30, 2010
Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables show China's frustration with communist ally North Korea and speculate Beijing would accept a future Korean peninsula unified under South Korean rule, according to the documents released by whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks.

China "would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the U.S. in a 'benign alliance' as long as Korea was not hostile towards China," South Korea's then-vice foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, is quoted as telling U.S. ambassador to South Korea, Kathleen Stephens, in February. Economic opportunities in a reunified Korea could further induce Chinese acquiescence, Chun says.

The diplomatic cables warn, however, that China - which fought on North Korea's side in the 1950-53 Korean War - would not accept the presence of U.S. troops north of the demilitarized zone that currently forms the North-South border.

Nov. 30, 2010
The State Department severs its computer files from the government's classified network as U.S. and world leaders try to clean up from sensitive leaked documents. Meanwhile, Interpol places website founder Julian Assange on its most-wanted list after Sweden issues an arrest warrant against him as part of a drawn-out rape probe - involving allegations Assange has denied. The Interpol alert is likely to make international travel more difficult for Assange, whose whereabouts are publicly unknown.

Dec. 1, 2010
Freelance computer hackers apparently aid the U.S. government in taking WikiLeaks off Inc.'s computer network, temporarily stopping the leak of embarrassing diplomatic documents. But within hours, the website is back online, publishing from its previous host, Bahnhof, where servers are housed in a fortified bunker in Sweden. 

A secret diplomatic memo shows that Eric John, the American ambassador to Thailand, warned Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva in February 2009 that associates of suspected Russian arms merchant Viktor Bout tried to prevent his extradition from Thailand to the U.S. by bribery schemes and a plot to arrest two U.S. federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents who were assigned to the Bout investigation.

Dec. 3, 2010
Wikileaks is forced to switch over to a Swiss domain name,, after a new round of hacker attacks on its system prompted its American domain name provider, EveryDNS, to withdraw service.

Dec. 4, 2010
The online payment service provider PayPal cut the account used by WikiLeaks to collect donations. PayPal said in a blog posting that the move was prompted by a violation of its policy, "which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity."

Dec. 5, 2010
The website releases a secret 2009 cable listing sites worldwide that the U.S. considers critical to its national security. The locations cited in the diplomatic cable from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton range from undersea communications lines to suppliers of food, medicine and manufacturing materials.  In the message, marked "secret," Clinton asked U.S. diplomatic posts to help update a list of sites around the world "which, if destroyed, disrupted or exploited, would likely have an immediate and deleterious effect on the United States."  The list was considered so confidential, the posts were advised to come up with it on their own: "Posts are not/not being asked to consult with host governments in respect to this request," Clinton wrote.
Attached to Clinton's message was a rundown of sites included in the 2008 "Critical Foreign Dependencies Initiative" list. Some of the sites, such as border crossings, hydroelectric dams and shipping lanes, could hardly be considered secret. But other locations, such as mines, manufacturers of components used in weapons systems, and vaccine and antivenom factories, likely were not widely known. The Associated Press has decided against publishing their names due to the sensitive nature of the information.

Dec. 6, 2010
WikiLeaks' Swedish servers come under suspected attack again. And the Swiss postal system strips Julian Assange of a key fundraising tool, accusing him of lying and immediately shutting down one of his bank accounts. The action by Postfinance, the financial arm of Swiss Post, comes after it determines the "Australian citizen provided false information regarding his place of residence during the account opening process."  Assange had told Postfinance he lived in Geneva but could offer no proof that he was a Swiss resident, a requirement of opening such an account.

The setback leaves the WikiLeaks founder with only a few options for raising money for his secret-spilling site through a Swiss-Icelandic credit card processing center and accounts in Iceland and Germany. A Swiss website,, has been handling much of the traffic from WikiLeaks after other Internet service and online payment providers began severing ties with the organization.

Dec. 7, 2010
A British judge jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, ordering the leader of secret-spilling website behind bars as his organization's finances came under increasing pressure. Judge Howard Riddle denied him bail in an extradition case that could see him sent to Sweden to face allegations of rape, molestation and unlawful  coercion. Assange denies the accusations and has pledged to fight the extradition, while a spokesman for his organization said the U.S. diplomatic secrets would keep on flowing -- regardless of what happened to the group's founder. "This will not change our operation," Kristinn Hrafnsson told The Associated Press ahead of Assange's hearing. As if to underline the point, WikiLeaks released a cache of a dozen new diplomatic cables, its first publication in more than 24 hours.

Assange appeared before City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in London after turning himself in to Scotland Yard earlier in the day, capping months of speculation over an investigation into alleged sex crimes committed in Sweden over the summer. Assange and his lawyers claim that the accusations stem from a "dispute over consensual but unprotected sex" in Sweden in August, and have claimed the case has taken on political overtones. Swedish prosecutor Marianne Ny has rejected those claims. The decision to fight the extradition could be difficult. Extradition experts say that European arrest warrants like the one issued by Sweden can be tough to beat, barring mental or physical incapacity. Even if the warrant was defeated on a technicality, Sweden could simply issue a new one.
Assange's website, meanwhile, came under increasing financial pressure, with both Visa and MasterCard saying they would block payments to the controversial website.

Dec. 8, 2010
Newly released cables showed the British government feared a furious Libyan reaction if the convicted Lockerbie bomber wasn't set free and expressed relief when they learned he would be released in 2009 on compassionate grounds.  
And Hackers rushed to the defense of WikiLeaks, launching attacks on MasterCard, Visa, Swedish prosecutors, a Swiss bank and others who have acted against the site and its jailed founder. Internet "hacktivists" operating under the label "Operation Payback" claimed responsibility in a Twitter message for causing severe technological problems at the websites for the credit card companies -- MasterCard and Visa -- which had pulled the plug on their relationship with WikiLeaks.[source]


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