WikiLeaks, a not-for-profit, US-based media organisation, celebrates its 11th anniversary today. The organisation, that facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information, was founded on October 4, 2006, by Julian Assange
WikiLeaks, a not-for-profit, US-based media organisation, celebrates its 11th anniversary today. The organisation, that facilitates the anonymous leaking of secret information, was founded on October 4, 2006, by Julian Assange, who is a social activist, computer programmer and even a hacker. WikiLeaks specializes in the analysis and publication of large datasets of censored or otherwise restricted official materials that involve war, spying, corruption and almost everything that affects public in a major way. It has so far published more than 10 million documents and associated analyses. The organisation champions itself as the “new model of journalism” through its whistleblowing activities, so, here are the 10 most controversial cases that WikiLeaks has brought into light:-
Soldiers Manual for Guantanamo Bay (2007)
The United States has been leasing 45 square miles in southeastern Cuba, called Guantanamo Bay and using it as a soldier’s base. As per the WikiLeaks report, prisoners kept there were subjected to inhuman torture. Prisoners were denied access to the Red Cross for up to four weeks and they were not even given toilet paper if the authorities felt their behaviour wasn’t fine.
Killing of two Reuters journalists
The organisation leaked a video footage showing 15 people including two Reuters journalists being shot dead by a US Army Apache helicopter gunman, taken from the helicopter’s gun camera. In response, the military men said that they weren’t able to differentiate between a camera and a rocket launcher.
The Secret Bibles
In 2008, Wikileaks leaked the collected secret ‘Bibles’ of Scientology, including some of internal workings and strange practices of the controversial Church. As per a Telegraph report, the lawyers for the Church of Scientology attempted to force Wikileaks to take the information down, calling it the “Advanced Technology of the Scientology religion”, but the site refused.
Dragon’s fury on Tibet
On 24 March 2008, WikiLeaks made 35 uncensored videos of civil unrest in Tibet available for viewing, to get around official Chinese censorship during the worst of the unrest.
The Kenya Killings
WikiLeaks publicised the reports on extrajudicial executions by Kenyan police for one week starting on its home page. In 2009, Amnesty International UK gave WikiLeaks and Julian Assange an award for bringing the matter into light.
Sarah Palin Mails
Two emails, her contact list and various family photos were posted by Wikileaks. It was found that Palin had been using the private account for official business ahead of 2008 Presidential elections, and the organisation alleged that this was to avoid American public record laws.
The Bubble of Climate Change
More than 1,000 emails sent over 10 years by staff at the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit were posted on Wikileaks. WikiLeaks claimed that scientists engage in “tricks” to help bolster arguments that global warming is real and man-made.
The List of Blacklisted
WikiLeaks released a list of sites that the Australian government had blacklisted for the Internet users of the country. The list included some YouTube videos, fringe religious sites, fetish, straight and gay pornography, and even a travel agent’s website.
Iran’s Nuclear Accident
On 16 July 2009, Iranian state news agency 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. According to the report, the accident was the cause of Aghazadeh’s resignation
The pager messages during 9/11
On 25 November 2009, WikiLeaks released 570,000 intercepts of pager messages sent on the day of the September 11 attacks. Among the released messages were communications between Pentagon officials and New York City Police Department.
WikiLeaks and its journalists have won many accolades since the inception of the organisation. The list of awards include The Economist New Media Award (2008), The Amnesty New Media Award (2009), TIME Magazine Person of the Year, People’s Choice (highest global vote) (2010) and many more. The organisation has also been nominated for six consecutive years for the Nobel Peace Prize (2010-2015) and for the UN Mandela Prize (2015) as well.