Sun, Sep 04, 2011 - Page 1 News List

Unredacted cable release sparks fury at WikiLeaks

AFP, LONDON

Anti-secrecy Web site WikiLeaks on Friday dumped its full unredacted archive of more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables online, drawing a furious response from its media partners.

The Web site confirmed in a message on Twitter that all 251,287 of the US embassy cables had been posted on the Internet and posted a link to a site containing the documents that can be accessed without a password.

Five media groups that worked with WikiLeaks on the first release last year — The Guardian, the New York Times, German news magazine Der Spiegel, Spanish daily El Pais and France’s Le Monde — condemned the decision to publish the cables without first deleting the names of sources who spoke to US diplomats.

“We deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted [US] State Department cables, which may put sources at risk,” they said in a joint statement published in The Guardian.

“Our previous dealings with WikiLeaks were on the clear basis that we would only publish cables which had been subjected to a thorough editing and clearance process,” the statement said.

WikiLeaks had been slowly releasing the leaked documents since November and had largely worked with the media organizations, which trawled through the information to erase the names of potentially vulnerable sources.

The decision to dump the remaining documents will also anger the US, which has warned the move could endanger the lives of its sources and was irate last week when some of the cables were published with names unprotected.

“Shining a light on 45 years of US ‘diplomacy,’ it is time to open the archives forever,” WikiLeaks said in a tweet announcing the release on Friday.

Previous releases revealed the often candid views of US diplomats about foreign governments around the world and caused huge embarrassment to the US.

The Guardian said the newly published archives contained more than 1,000 cables identifying individual activists, as well as some labeled with a tag used by the US to mark sources it believed could be in danger if identified.

Meanwhile, Iraq said it would open an investigation into the alleged summary execution of 10 Iraqis, including four women and five children, by US forces in 2006, disclosed in an April 2006 US diplomatic cable released last week.

The document release came amid a row between WikiLeaks and The Guardian over who was behind last week’s release of thousands of unredacted cables.

WikiLeaks accused The Guardian of leaking the password to the archive, but the newspaper denied the allegation.

The joint statement by the five media partners on Friday said the decision to publish the full archive was the decision of WikiLeaks’ Australian frontman Julian Assange, “and his alone.”

Assange is currently living under stringent bail conditions in Britain, fighting extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over alleged rape and sexual assault.

The US Department of State said on Thursday that WikiLeaks had informed it in advance of the document releases, but ignored US appeals that making them public could endanger lives and put US national security at risk.

WikiLeaks has defended the release of the diplomatic cables as the journalistic exposure of official deception.

US soldier Bradley Manning is suspected of leaking the cables and other military documents to WikiLeaks. He was arrested in June last year while deployed in Iraq and is being held in a US military prison.

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