WikiLeaks reveals all, media groups criticize move

September 2, 2011 By RAPHAEL G. SATTER , Associated Press
In this July 14, 2011 photo, Wikileaks founder Julian Assange talks to members of the media during a news conference in central London. Anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks said Thursday that its massive archive of unredacted U.S. State Department cables had been exposed in a security breach which it blamed on its one-time partner, Britain's Guardian newspaper. (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

(AP) -- WikiLeaks disclosed its entire archive of U.S. State Department cables Friday, much if not all of it uncensored - a move that drew stinging condemnation from major newspapers who in the past collaborated with the anti-secrecy group's efforts to expose corruption and double-dealing.

Many media outlets, including The Associated Press, previously had access to all or part of the uncensored tome. But Wikileaks' decision to post the 251,287 cables on its website makes potentially sensitive diplomatic sources available to anyone, anywhere at the stroke of a key. American officials have warned that the disclosures could jeopardize vulnerable people such as opposition figures or human rights campaigners.

A joint statement published on the Guardian's website said that the British publication and its international counterparts - The New York Times, Spanish daily El Pais and German newspaper Der Spiegel - "deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted State Department cables, which may put sources at risk."

Le Monde, the French daily which also published some of WikiLeaks' documents, will join other media partners in signing the statement, according to executive editor Sylvie Kauffmann.

Previously international media outlets - and WikiLeaks itself - had redacted the names of potentially vulnerable sources, although the standard has varied and some experts warned that even people whose names had been kept out of the cables were still at risk.

But now many, and possibly even all, of the cables posted to the WikiLeaks website carried unredacted names, making it easy to identify dissidents in authoritarian countries such as Russia, China or Myanmar.

WikiLeaks staff members have not returned repeated requests for comment sent in the past two days. But in a series of messages on Twitter, the group seemed to suggest that it had no choice but to publish the archive because copies of the document were already circulating online following a security breach.

WikiLeaks has blamed the Guardian for the blunder, pointing out that a sensitive password used to decrypt the files was published in a book put out by David Leigh, one of the paper's investigative reporters and a collaborator-turned-critic of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

But the Guardian, Leigh and others have rejected the claim. Although the password was in fact published in Leigh's book about seven months ago, Guardian journalists have suggested that the real problem was that WikiLeaks posted the encrypted file to the Web by accident and that Assange never bothered to change the password needed to unlock it.

In their statement, the Guardian's international partners lined up to slam the 40-year-old former computer hacker.

"We cannot defend the needless publication of the complete data - indeed, we are united in condemning it," the statement read, before adding: "The decision to publish by Julian Assange was his, and his alone."

The media organizations' rejection is a further blow to WikiLeaks, whose site is under financial embargo and whose leader remains under virtual house arrest in an English country mansion pending extradition proceedings to Sweden on unrelated sexual assault allegations.

WikiLeaks, an anti-secrecy site devoted to unveiling corruption and conspiracy, has in the past relied on mainstream partners to organize and promote its spectacular leaks of classified information - including U.S. intelligence documents detailing the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Amid the latest controversy, the press freedom group Reporters Without Borders said it had temporarily suspended its WikiLeaks "mirror site." Such sites act as carbon-copies of their originals, relieving pressure due to heavy traffic and preserving data in case of attack.

In a statement, Reporters Without Borders said it had "neither the technical, human or financial resources to check each cable" for information that could harm innocent people and thus "has to play safe."

The U.S. State Department has also condemned the latest release.

Explore further: Exposed: Uncensored WikiLeaks cables posted to Web


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2.5 / 5 (8) Sep 02, 2011
I discounted conspiracy theories before writing the forty-year (1971-2011) history of Climategate:


1. President Eisenhower warned of the danger in 1961, ten years before Henry Kissinger met Chairman Mao in 1971:

2. NASA Administrator Dr. Dan Goldin confirmed the problem in space sciences in 1998:

3. Three decades of deception were discovered when secret climate e-mails were released in 2009:

4. See our papers on global climate before the scandal broke:

a.) "Super-fluidity in the solar interior: Implications for solar eruptions and climate" JFE 21, 193 (2002)

b.) "Earth's Heat Source - The Sun", E & E 20, 131 (2009)

With kind regards,
Oliver K Manuel
Former NASA Apollo PI
2.3 / 5 (6) Sep 02, 2011
Thank you, thank you Wikileaks founder Julian Assange and PhysOrg editors for exposing the deception that has almost destroyed government science and confidence in the world leaders who manipulated science.

Now a face-saving exit strategy to harmony and basic democratic values is needed for those who have had all the political power, but only useless propaganda with little or no scientific value.

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
Former NASA Principal
Investigator for Apollo
3 / 5 (2) Sep 02, 2011
but only useless propaganda with little or no scientific value.

you mean like the crap you claim and your conspiracy theory?
1 / 5 (4) Sep 02, 2011
Someone has been deceiving the public.

Who? Time will tell.

5 / 5 (1) Sep 03, 2011
Hmm "authoritarian countries such as Russia?" And yes the USA JSOP special forces commit 70 clandestine assaults murders EVERY DAY as mercinaries. No wonder Russia feels more free.
not rated yet Sep 03, 2011
Fifty Americans leave their country for presumably more "authoritarian" shores every minute. Such free country it is.
not rated yet Sep 03, 2011
making it easy to identify dissidents in authoritarian countries such as Russia, China or Myanmar.

No mentioning of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Bahrain, of course.

Reporters without Borders has close ties to Western intelligence (as does the German "Spiegel"). They don't care for media workers killed or tortured by Western forces. Their secretary general for 20 years, Robert Menard, was implicitly promoting torture.

Endangering lives: People who help to cover up the killing of children and unarmed innocent civilians ought to be prosecuted instead of being rewarded with impunity. The killers and their willful helpers, not the people exposing the crimes, are endangering lives.

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