Despite facing constant skepticism from mainstream media and government officials, whistleblower website WikiLeaks has managed to maintain a record of 100 percent accuracy over its 12-year history — and has never lost a lawsuit.
With much of the media now focusing on trivialities, like whether its recently arrested founder Julian Assange spent enough time washing dishes during his nearly seven-year exile at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, here’s a look back at some of WikiLeaks’ most famous document dumps.
1. ‘Collateral Murder’ — Iraq/Afghanistan war logs (2010)
To this day, WikiLeaks’ publishing of the Iraq War footage showing a US Apache helicopter shooting dead 12 people, including two Reuters staff, is one of its most significant and talked-about exposures.
Released as part of the biggest leak in US military history, containing hundreds of thousands of Iraq and Afghanistan war documents, the footage was provided to Assange by former US Army Soldier Chelsea Manning. Manning served seven years of a 35-year sentence for providing WikiLeaks with the classified information, before having her sentence commuted by Barack Obama in 2017.
Assange is now facing charges of engaging in a “conspiracy” to help Manning hack government computers in 2010 — specifically, “conspiracy to commit computer intrusion for agreeing to break a password to a classified U.S. government computer” — while Manning is back in prison for refusing to testify in a case related to WikiLeaks.
2. Embarrassing US State Department Cables (2010-11)
WikiLeaks caused serious embarrassment to the US government with another of its most-remembered document dumps in 2010, dropping more than 250,000 US State Department cables from embassies around the world.
Among other things, the cables revealed that the US was spying on then-UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and other top UN Security Council representatives.
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Diplomatic cables described German Chancellor Angela Merkel as “rarely creative,” while then-French President Nicolas Sarkozy was described as “susceptible and authoritarian.” President Barack Obama was advised that Sarkozy’s support for the war in Afghanistan could be secured using “flattery.” Canadians were said to have a “chip on their shoulder” because they are “condemned to always play Robin to the US Batman.”
The UK Conservative Party was also embarrassed by the cable leaks,