Tuesday, April 23, 2019
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Five cases that revealed WikiLeaks

Julian Assange, founder of the WikiLeaks platform, was arrested on Thursday morning, while he had been a refugee at the Ecuadorian embassy for nearly seven years. The "Cyber-warrior" created its platform in 2006, with the aim of "Release the press" and of "Unmask secrets and state abuse". WikiLeaks, which defines itself as a "multinational media organization and associated bookstore", has published, since its inception, more than ten million documents and hundreds of cases, dealing with military, diplomatic, economic and more. Back on five of them.

"September 9th Pagers" – 2009

The site became known in 2009 thanks to the broadcast of 570 000 messages of pagers intercepted on September 11, 2001 in the United States. They are published chronologically and cover a period of twenty-four hours around the attacks. Among the shippers, there are US citizens but also the Pentagon, the FBI, the Federal Agency for Emergencies or the New York police, as well as computer messages from banks inside the World. Trade Center. The origin of the recording and the manner in which the organization procured it remains unknown.

"The War Logs" – 2010

Between April 5 and October 22, 2010, more than 500,000 classified documents of the US Army concerning the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are disclosed on the WikiLeaks platform. Bradley Manning (now Chelsea Manning), then an analyst of the US military, is at the source of this leak. In particular, these notes show numerous smears of the coalition army, which resulted in the deaths of civilians, but also torture of prisoners. These documents call into question the official figures on the number of civilians killed. Following these revelations, an investigation into the US military is underway and several foreign governments denounce these leaks as they endanger the agents collaborating with the army.

"Cablegate" – 2010

On November 28, 2010, WikiLeaks publishes 250,000 diplomatic telegrams retrieved from the State Department in Washington. These documents, which notably show the contradiction between the official positions of the US state and what is said behind the scenes, were also sent to the organization by Bradley Manning, which earned him a 35-year jail term for espionage. (for War Logs and Cablegate). White House condemns publication "Irresponsible and dangerous" of these documents, believing that they could put mortal risks to individuals. These publications mark the beginning of legal troubles for Julian Assange, pursued by the United States and forced to go into exile, but are notorious for the platform.

Listening to Presidents – 2015

On June 23, 2015, Release and Mediapart publish in collaboration with WikiLeaks documents proving that the NSA (National Security Agency) spied on three former French presidents: Jacques Chirac, Nicolas Sarkozy and François Hollande. The recordings concern the former heads of state but also some of their collaborators and were made between 2006 and May 22, 2012 (last record disclosed). These "top secret" documents were intended for officials of the NSA and the American intelligence community. Two days after the publication of these documents, François Hollande condemns these practices, which he describes as "Assaults" but ensures that the case is closed after obtaining US commitments.

The mails of the Democrats – 2016

This is probably the episode that has hurt the most image of WikiLeaks and its founder. In the final stretch of the 2016 US presidential campaign, which pits Democratic Hillary Clinton against Republican Donald Trump, the website publishes tens of thousands of hacked e-mails from the Democratic Party and the team of the former secretary of state. State, including its campaign manager John Podesta. Broadcast at key moments (just before the Democratic convention in July, just after a video featuring Trump's sexist comments in October), these messages are aimed at discrediting the Democratic candidate. For the US intelligence services as for the special prosecutor Robert Mueller, there is no doubt: the mails in question were hacked by Russian agents before being transmitted to WikiLeaks. "I love WikiLeaks," said Donald Trump at a meeting in Pennsylvania three weeks before the vote.

Frédéric Autran


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Lucie Lespinasse


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Clementine Rigot

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