Today marks the 10th anniversary of international whistleblowing website, WikiLeaks.
Steeped in controversy, WikiLeaks has alerted, informed, and walked along the precipice of legality since it first published classified documents in December 2006, and continues to operate from secure servers that cannot be shut down by standard denial-of-service attacks.
WikiLeaks has published 10 million documents, including top secret US State Department cables, saying they revealed “covert operations and cover-ups”.
Its founder Julian Assange is seeking to avoid extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over a sex allegation, which he denies.
Here are some of WikiLeaks’ major contributions (and controversies), to international journalism.
1. The Iraq War Logs
In October 2010, WikiLeaks made its most fundamental and arguably most devastating revelations about the Iraq War publicly available, in the form of 391,832 classified US military documents.
The act represented the largest such leak in US military history, and revealed instances of detainee abuse being ignored by Iraqi allies, and a heavily-revised civilian casualty count of 15,000.
2. Reykjavik 13
Thought to be the first of a series of diplomatic cables and classified documents to be leaked by US Army Private Chelsea Manning (then known as Bradley), the Reykjavik 13 cable exposed a series of failings associated with the management of online savings account brand IceSave.
Systemic collapse of the Icelandic banking system led to foreign account holders in the Netherlands and UK losing millions of pounds worth of deposits, despite a series of interventions and orders from regulatory bodies such as the British Financial Services Authority.
3. Baghdad airstrike footage
In April 2010, WikiLeaks distributed a classified video of an airstrike in Baghdad, which killed two journalists after troops mistakenly thought they were carrying weapons, which later turned out to be cameras.
The video goes on to show US forces firing on a van that stopped to pick up the bodies, leading to widespread condemnation and some branding the act a war crime.
4. The Afghanistan War Logs
In July 2010, the group released 92,000 documents relating to the 2004-2009 war in Afghanistan to The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel newspapers.
Among the documents’ revelations included detailed figures on friendly fire incidents between allied forces and civilian casualty rates. Around 15,000 of the 92,000 documents have not been made publicly available by the group, who are seeking to protect the identity of their sources.
5. The Clinton Email Leaks
Timed to coincide with the publication of Sir John Chilcot’s Inquiry into the Iraq War, WikiLeaks’ July tweet exposed 1,258 classified emails sent by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, using private email servers.
The emails were selected with respect to their relevance concerning the Iraq War and exposed poor security practices from the presidential nominee, leading to panic in her campaign.
6. Edward Snowden
Although WikiLeaks was not responsible for the release of former CIA and NSA employee Edward Snowden’s 2013 dissemination of around 10,000 classified documents exposing widespread domestic surveillance by government bodies, it did assist in his escape from Hong Kong once the story broke.