WikiLeaks founder recently hinted at ‘anarchistic’ leaking of documents relating to a deadly 2009 U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan and the future leaking of wide-reaching detailed spying ‘affecting many people and organizations.
Julian Assange—the co-founder of WikiLeaks, a site that publicizes confidential documents provided by anonymous sources—alluded in an interview with the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that its current project exposes surveillance of the largest previously known scale. (h/t: John Goodman)
Bradley Mannning, a U.S. Army analyst stationed in Baghdad, made contact last month with hacker Adrian Lamo, who informed the U.S. government that Pfc. Manning leaked secret information to the whistleblowing site. He handed over chat logs where Pfc. Manning claimed that he had access to a wealth of confidential U.S. government documents and media; also, that he leaked media and over a quarter-million diplomatic cables.
Mr. Assange said that he can’t confirm that the site is has these cables, Ellen Nakashima reported today at The Washington Post. “We have tried hard to understand whether we have that material,” he said
In an interview with the Australian network, “Mr Assange said cryptically of WikiLeaks’ current project”, Andrew Fowler reported today:
“I can give an analogy. If there had been mass spying that had affected many, many people and organisations and the details of that mass spying were released then that is something that would reveal that the interests of many people had been abused.” He agreed it would be of the “calibre” of publishing information about the way the top secret Echelon system—the U.S.-U.K. electronic spying network which eavesdrops on worldwide communications traffic—had been used.
Mr. Assange also confirmed he possesses video Pfc. Manning claimed to leak detailing a May 2009 airstrike, during which U.S. warplanes repeatedly dropped bombs, killing up to 147 civilians—including up to 95 children. The operation has been dubbed the “Garani Massacre”. Also among the media was the 2007 video of what’s been dubbed as the “West Baghdad Massacre”, where well over a dozen civilians—including a Reuters photojournalist—were gunned down from a helicopter, firing “indiscriminately”. Wikileaks released the video in April, under the title, Collateral Murder.
WikiLeaks has yet to confirm whether or not Pfc. Manning is their source. Statements imply those affiliated with the site are not privy to the detailed identities of all of their sources, though would honor confidentiality if they were.
The U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Division kidnapped Pfc. Manning last month and re-located him to Kuwait, where it is widely believed he is currently held captive. Mr. Assange has coordinated three lawyers to represent him pro-bono, Ms. Nakashima reported, but the team has yet to have the captive soldier made available to them.
Mr. Assange was reportedly being “hunted by the Pentagon”, according to a report by Philip Shenon at The Daily Beast. After canceling appearance in the U.S. and keeping his whereabouts unknown, as advised by his legal counsel, the BBC reported today that he appeared “as a panelist at a seminar on free speech held in the European Parliament and organised by the Alliance of Liberals And Democrats for Europe”.
He told the BBC that his legal team has attempted to make contact with the U.S. government, “but that neither the Department of State nor the Department of Defense had made any attempt to approach the site”.
The report added: “U.S. state department spokesperson P.J. Crowley has said that the Bureau of Diplomatic Security was examining one or more hard drives used by Mr. Manning in Iraq.”
Mr. Assange discussed the aim of his work much further with the Australian network. “What we want to create is a system where there is guaranteed free press across the world, the entire world, that every individual in the world has the ability to publish materials that is meaningful,” he said.
He told an New York audience via Skype: “Leaking is inherently an anti-authoritarian act. It’s inherently an anarchist act.”
Glenn Greenwald at Salon wrote an extremely detailed article last Friday on the “strange and consequential case of Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo and WikiLeaks”, which includes an hour-long recording of his conversation with Mr. Lamo. I highly suggest reading it and listening to the interview here.
The heroic stateless anarchist Mike Gogulski started BradleyManning.org and is an administrator of the “savebradley” group on Facebook for supporters to follow this case, which Ms. Nakashima reported is scaring the U.S. State Department:
According to U.S. officials, the cables Manning purportedly leaked would amount to about half a year’s worth. The cables would include political reporting, much of which would probably be fairly innocuous. But State Department officials have expressed concerned about the disclosure of sources, which could be embarrassing or could chill normal diplomatic relations.