Entries in WikiLeaks (59)


WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Plans to Launch Talk Show

BERTIL ERICSON/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Julian Assange, the mastermind behind WikiLeaks, the controversial website that has leaked secret government documents, plans to launch his own talk show.

A statement posted on WikiLeaks says the goal of the show is to, "draw together controversial voices from across the political spectrum -- iconoclasts, visionaries and power insiders -- each to offer a window on the world tomorrow and their ideas on how to secure a brighter future."

The site says the program will air 10 weekly half-hour episodes, beginning in March, and that it has licensing agreements in place that will, "cover over 600 million viewers across cable, satellite and terrestrial broadcast networks."  The show will air on Russia Today, the Russian network confirmed on Wednesday.

Assange's website made the announcement despite the fact that he's currently fighting extradition from the U.K. to Sweden over sexual assault allegations.  It's also possible that he'll eventually face espionage charges in the U.S.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange Denied Bid to Block Extradition

BERTIL ERICSON/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Julian Assange, the founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, has lost his bid to prevent being extradited to Sweden, where he is accused of committing sex crimes.

Judges at London's High Court ruled on Wednesday that the 40-year-old should leave the United Kingdom to be questioned over the allegations.  His lawyers say they will appeal to the Supreme Court.

Assange is accused of sexually assaulting two women in Sweden in August of 2010.  He faces one count of rape, one count of unlawful coercion and two counts of sexual molestation.

He has denied the allegations and insists the sex with both women was consensual.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


WikiLeaks Founder Claims Whistleblowing Website May Shut Down Soon

LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Money problems have appeared to sink the website WikiLeaks, according to founder Julian Assange.

The charismatic whistleblower, who is facing sexual assault charges in Sweden, blames a "financial blockade" for the possibility that WikiLeaks might have to shut down by year’s end.

Assange says those leading this "blockade" are Bank of America, Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Western Union.  He contends that 95 percent of WikiLeaks' revenue has gone by the wayside because the institutions have refused to process contributor transactions.

In 2010, WikiLeaks allegedly got hold of a treasure trove of classified documents from an Army private stationed in Iraq, which detailed both war strategies in Iraq and Afghanistan as well as State Department cables that proved embarrassing to both the Bush and Obama administrations.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


WikiLeaks Book: Julian Assange Unauthorizes His Own Autobiography

LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has a history of falling out with his confederates. He has turned on the newspapers who helped him leak U.S. government documents to the world, accusing them of ingratitude and cowardice. The colleagues with whom he started WikiLeaks, meanwhile, have soured on him and launched their own competing clearinghouse for state secrets called OpenLeaks.

Now the publishing house that cut a deal with Assange last winter for an autobiography has released the book over Assange's objections, leaving the world's leaker-in-chief to object to the public disclosure of personal data that he would apparently prefer to keep private.

Canongate books published Julian Assange: The Unauthorized Autobiography in the U.K. on Thursday. In a column published in the Guardian newspaper, Canongate exec Nick Davies explained that the company published the book despite Assange's opposition because of the quality and importance of the material, and because Canongate needed the money.

For a reported advance of $1 million, Canongate made a deal with Assange for a memoir at the end of 2010, as he fought extradition to Sweden from the comfort of a mansion in the English countryside. A ghostwriter interviewed Assange for 50 hours, and then prepared a draft by late March.

"We read it and loved it," wrote Davies. "Julian didn't... It was an extraordinary reaction to a manuscript he should have been grateful for and immensely proud of."

According to Davies, Assange then took six weeks to edit and rewrite the draft himself, but failed to deliver any copy. He tried to cancel the contract, but couldn't repay the advance, having already used it to pay legal bills. Canongate was left without money or an approved manuscript, and elected to print the original draft.

"As for that much commented-upon subtitle, 'The Unauthorized Autobiography,' it is definitely a publishing first," wrote Davies. "And given we're talking about Julian Assange and WikiLeaks there is, of course, a sweet irony to it too."

Canongate had also made 38 subsidiary deals with publishers around the globe to republish the autobiography. In the United States, Alfred Knopf has decided against issuing the American version of the book.

In the book, Assange repeats his claims about yet another "misunderstanding" with former friends. Two Swedish women have accused him of sexual assault, and British authorities have ordered him extradited to Sweden to face charges.

Though British authorities have ordered that Assange be extradited to Sweden, he has appealed the order, and the court has not yet ruled on his appeal.

WikiLeaks was founded in 2006 and began releasing confidential and sensational information, including battle footage, Scientology manuals, government documents and Sarah Palin's private emails. In early 2010, it released a video of a 2007 U.S. helicopter strike that killed Iraqi civilians and two Reuters employees. In late 2010, it began releasing 250,000 classified U.S. State Department cables.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Claims 'Dramatic Increase' in Whistle-Blowers

LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Wednesday called the nearly year-long detention and forthcoming government prosecution of Army Pvt. Bradley Manning an attempt to "terrorize whistle-blowers," but that it has failed to have a chilling effect.

The Pentagon has accused Manning, who has been held in a military brig since May 26, 2010, of supplying hundreds of thousands of secret government documents to WikiLeaks. He is expected to be formally charged this summer and possibly tried in the fall.

"There is no doubt the U.S. government has tried to terrorize whistle-blowers into not revealing important information to the public," Assange told reporters on a conference call from his house arrest in the United Kingdom, where he's awaiting trial on sex-crimes charges.

Asked by ABC News if that effort had scared off potential sources from sharing materials, Assange said the opposite was true.

"Courage is contagious. We have seen a dramatic increase in the number of sources willing to come forward," he said without elaborating. "Fear no doubt is also restraining their activities...But there is an increased supply of materials coming to us."

While Assange denies knowing the source behind the controversial WikiLeaks documents, he has defended Manning as a victim of alleged government repression and mistreatment.

Assange said Manning's case and U.S. government threats to prosecute WikiLeaks have not slowed expansion of the organization. WikiLeaks now has partnerships with more than 73 media organizations worldwide to disseminate and publish controversial information from secret government cables in more than 50 countries, Assange said.

"In the last month in English alone there have been over 8,700 articles written about our materials," said Assange. "We're expanding our network of cooperative institutions by approximately four per week and going into publishing."

The website, which was founded in 2006, has so far selectively released around 12,000 of more than 250,000 secret documents in its possession.

Assange also credited WikiLeaks work with triggering a "year of miracles for journalism" that has enhanced the transparency of the U.S. and foreign governments and contributed to the democratic revolutions sweeping across the Arab world.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Leaked U.S. Cables Pushing US-Pakistan Relations to the Brink

George Doyle/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- The relationship between the U.S. and Pakistan -- already fragile following America's mission to kill Osama bin Laden and further strained by the release of a new cache of leaked U.S. diplomatic cables -- has been pushed to such an unprecedented low that, as one senior U.S. official put it, "we are communicating by fax."

In the same week U.S. envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan Marc Grossman and CIA Deputy Director Michael Morrell traveled to Pakistan to revive the near-frozen relationship, a local Pakistani news outlet, Dawn, began publishing last week more than 4,000 never-before-seen U.S. diplomatic cables it obtained from the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks concerning America's operations in the region, prompting strong rebuttals from the military establishment there.

In one of dispatches published over the weekend, U.S. officials say that U.S. special forces were deployed in Pakistan's tribal areas alongside the Pakistan military and carried out joint operations in September 2009.

Shortly after the report was published, a Pakistan Army spokesman responded, saying the army "categorically denies the presence of U.S. troops in North and South Waziristan agencies as reported by WikiLeaks. No U.S. troops are involved in any military operations in FATA [the Federally Administered Tribal Areas]."

Published a day before, another cable revealed that Pakistan's top Army chief Gen. Ashfaq Kiyani asked the U.S. for "continuous Predator [drone] coverage" during Pakistani military operations in South Waziristan, Pakistan. Again the Pakistan Army was swift to issue a statement contradicting the leak.

Sunday, Dawn published a note from Bryan Hunt of the U.S. consulate in Lahore, Pakistan, which shone light on a past issue known to Pakistani authorities, but which routinely goes unpublicized: wealth flowing to extremists in Pakistan from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

In the 2008 cable, Hunt writes that "financial support estimated at nearly $100 million USD annually was making its way" to radical Islamic schools that back militancy, "ostensibly with the direct support of those [Saudi Arabia and UAE] governments."

Such support to militants dates back to when Islamists were battling the Soviet invasion in the 1980s and has continued relatively unchecked for almost two decades since.

In the same cable, Hunt writes, "Local economic conditions coupled with foreign financing appear to be transforming a traditionally moderate area of the country into a fertile recruiting ground for terrorist organizations."

"This growing recruitment network poses a direct threat to [U.S.] counter-terrorism and counter-extremism efforts in Pakistan," he says.

The breakdown in relations between the U.S. and Pakistan comes at a particularly difficult time for the two countries as the U.S. is spearheading a desperate race to track down al Qaeda and Taliban leaders both in and out of Pakistan based on leads discovered in bin Laden's compound. Despite public condemnation of the U.S. May 2 operation by Pakistani officials, since the raid the U.S. has conducted several drone strikes against militants in the country.

At the same time, Pakistan on Monday suffered what officials called the most serious assault on a military installation when a group of militants stormed a Navy base and held it for about 15 hours before Pakistani authorities regained control.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


WikiLeaks: Pakistan Asked for More, Not Fewer Drones

AFPI/US AIR FORCE(WASHINGTON) -- At the same time the Pakistani public was decrying the CIA's use of drone strikes in their country, Pakistan's top army general was asking a top U.S. official in behind-the-scenes meetings for more drones to help during military operations, according to a leaked U.S. State Department cable published online Friday.

"Referring to the situation in Waziristan, [Pakistani General Ashfaq] Kayani asked if [U.S. Admiral William] Fallon could assist in providing continuous Predator coverage of the conflict area. Fallon regretted that he did not have the assets to support this request," says the February 2008 cable posted by the anti-secrecy website WikiLeaks. Waziristan is a mountainous region in northwest Pakistan that borders Afghanistan.

While the U.S. State Department by policy does not verify the contents of leaked secret cables, the Pakistani military responded to news reports on the drone request, saying Pakistan has never asked for armed drone attack support "for our operations which have been conducted using our own resources." There has only been sharing of technical intelligence in some areas, the spokesperson said.

During the specific operation to which the cable refers -- a military operation in Waziristan from 2008 to 2010 -- "not even outside technical support was asked for," the spokesperson said.

The cable does not make it clear if Pakistan was requesting the drones for surveillance or direct strikes. In 2008, U.S. Gen. David McKiernan revealed that the U.S. military does at times share direct video links from drones with its Afghan and Pakistani counterparts.

However, in the exchange directly following the denied drone request from Kayani, Fallon and Kayani discuss other options including using American training to help Pakistan build a "night-capable, air-to-ground capability in the Pakistani Army." When the U.S. Air Force discusses "air-to-ground capability," it generally refers to the ability to attack surface targets.

At the time of the operations, the Pakistani government was thought to have only given the controversial drone program tacit approval behind closed doors due to the public outcry that often followed deadly strikes. In November 2008, Pakistan summoned then U.S. ambassador to Pakistan Anne Patterson to protest drone strikes that killed at least 20 in the three months prior.

Despite continued public protests, the Agency has kept up the program which was started under former President Bush and continues today -- including an attack that reportedly killed three militants in North Waziristan earlier today.

Also included in the new batch of leaked cables is an alleged 2008 admission by Pakistani National Security Advisor Mahmood Durrani that the Pakistani government, while not involved directly in the 2008 bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan, did "have some contacts with bad guys and perhaps one of them did it."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


WikiLeaks Releases Documents on Gitmo Detainees, Al Qaeda 

John Moore/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- WikiLeaks’ latest document dump has again infuriated the Obama administration and will likely raise the ire of former President Bush and his one-time senior advisers.

The website has passed along materials to The New York Times, Washington Post and National Public Radio that concerns formerly classified information about current and past detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, as well as new details about how al Qaeda leader Osama Bin Laden and second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri escaped from coalition forces in Afghanistan in late 2001 and have managed to keep the terrorist operation going.

Among the 700 internal U.S. military documents about the Gitmo detainees are details about schemes designed by admitted 9/11 plotter Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, along with intelligence gathered by interrogators from their interviews with other detainees.

The New York Times says the documents reveal that most of the remaining detainees of the 600 that have been released over the past eight years are considered “high risk” to American interests if they were freed. There’s also a speculation that 200 of the detainees previously released, most under the watch of the Bush White House, were deemed "high risk."

Among one of the more explosive pieces of information made public is the alleged treatment of Mohammed Qanhati, who was believed to have been prepared to take part in the hijackings on Sept. 11, 2001 that killed nearly 3,000 people in New York, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania.

Qahanti, a Saudi held at Gitmo, was reportedly leashed like a dog, made to urinate on himself and sexually humiliated. According to his file, “Although publicly released records allege detainee was subject to harsh interrogation techniques in the early stages of detention,” his confessions “appear to be true and are corroborated in reporting from other sources.”

“It is unfortunate that several news organizations have made the decision to publish numerous documents obtained illegally by Wikileaks [sic] concerning the Guantanamo detention facility," Defense Department spokesmen Dan Fried and Geoff Morrell said in a joint statement. "These documents contain classified information about current and former GTMO detainees, and we strongly condemn the leaking of this sensitive information.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Ecuador Expells US Ambassador over WikiLeaks Cable

RODRIGO BUENDIA/ AFP (WASHINGTON) -- Ecuador asked U.S. ambassador Heather Hodges to leave the country as soon as possible on Tuesday, making her the most recent diplomat to become involved in a diplomatic dispute generated by a WikiLeaks disclosure.

Ecuador Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino said Hodges was expelled for accusing national police commander Jaime Hurtado Vaco of corruption and for speculating that President Rafael Correa was well aware of the commander's wrongdoings.

The grounds from expulsion evolved on Monday when the Madrid newspaper El Pais published a WikiLeaks cable dated July 10, 2009. The cable quoted Hodges as saying Vaco used his position as commander "to extort cash and property, misappropriate public funds, facilitate human trafficking, and obstruct the investigation and prosecution of corrupt colleagues."

The U.S. State Department has called the expulsion "unjustified." There is no word on how else the department plans to act.

The WikiLeaks website began releasing confidential U.S. diplomatic cables in November resulting in a string of diplomatic turmoil for U.S. ambassadors. Since January, ambassadors in Libya and Mexico were asked to leave and a former ambassador to Turkey was threatened with a lawsuit from the Turkish prime minister.

Copyright 2011 ABC Radio News


Judge Rules Assange can be Extradited to Sweden

Photo Courtesy - LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- A judge ruled Thursday that WikiLeaks whistleblower Julian Assange can be extradited to Sweden on sexual assault charges.

Assange faces seperate charges of unlawful coercion and rape; Swedish prosecutors also claim Assange eluded justice last September by leaving the country.

Today's verdict gives the 39-year-old Australian a week to file an appeal.

Assange has been staying in a friend's country house outside of London after spending nine days in jail. He was arrested on Dec. 7 on a European warrant stemming from the sex charges.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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