WikiLeaks is an organisation that posts information on its website that has been leaked (published without permission) by anonymous sources. Over the past few years WikiLeaks has leaked documents from governments around the world, including emails, as well as data from private organisations. Their most high-profile releases have come from within the US government, including classified reports on the Iraq War that suggested American forces had allowed the torture of Iraqi prisoners.
WikiLeaks claims that their actions are in the public interest, and that the US government was wrong to keep such documents secret. The government has said that the leaks were a risk to national security that could interfere with its military operations and put lives in danger. They also said that leaking private emails between government staff, including private conversations about US and foreign officials, could possibly damage the country’s relationships with other nations.
The US, and other governments around the world, have tried to shut down WikiLeaks - including using cyber-attacks - and have arrested the people responsible for posting the leaked documents. One high-profile leaker, the US soldier Bradley Manning, faces life in prison if found guilty. Wikileaks have now said that due to financial pressures and boycotts by large organisations in the US they may stop releasing files for a while.
• Documents showing the corruption of former Tunisian president Ben Ali, which led to protests in Tunisia that forced the President to step down.
• Details of over 150 cases where US or UK troops had accidentally killed or injured innocent people in Afghanistan.
• Emails from the US describing then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown as having ‘an abysmal track record’ that caused him to go from ‘disaster to disaster’.
• US diplomats called Hamid Karzai, President of Afghanistan, ‘paranoid’ and ‘an extremely weak man who does not listen to facts’.
• Criticism of the Iraqi Prime Minister Mouri al-Maliki by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, who called him a ‘liar’ and an ‘Iranian agent.’
• A membership list for the British National Party, including people’s addresses.
Is the government’s response fair? Or do you agree with WikiLeaks that the public has a right to know this information?