Wikileaks: 8 biggest leaks in its history
29th Nov 2010 | 12:33
From BNP lists to the Iraq War documents
BNP, Scientology and Sarah Palin
The most important website in the world right now isn't Facebook, Google or Twitter but one that's lifting the lid on the machinations of governments the world over. It's also shining a light on racist political parties and trying to out those who are actively censoring the web.
Wikileaks, for good or bad, is offering up the truth in a way that's not been seen before.
Its motto is "to publish fact-based stories without fear or favour" and it's a site run by volunteers who seemingly seek nothing but fact.
This week saw the biggest leak yet for the site. A total of 251,287 United States embassy cables were put onto torrents for anyone to download.
According to Wikileaks, it's "the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain."
The documents go as far back as 1966 and offering them up to the public has seen the US and many other countries go into diplomatic crisis overload.
But this isn't the first time Wikileaks has managed to deliver documents that have embarrassed whole countries and it certainly won't be the last.
Below are 8 of the biggest leaks from a website that's only been around for four short years, but has already left a legacy that will last for decades to come.
1. Scientology exposed
It's one of the most secretive religions in the world. Founded by sci-fi author L Ron Hubbard in 1952 and now seen as the religion of choice by the Hollywood elite, the methods of the Church of Scientology have been shrouded in secrecy for a long time.
Wikileaks changed all this by posting "the collected secret 'bibles' of Scientology" – a whole host of documents that explained the hierarchy within Scientology.
The religion and its lawyers were not best pleased.
2. BNP membership list released
For some reason, not everybody in the British National Party is happy to have their name associated with the BNP.
This became apparent when Wikileaks (and other blogs) published details of every member of the far-right political part, including addresses and what they did for a living.
The document meant that anybody who downloaded the information could CTRL+F their way to finding out who in their hometown was paying the BNP to pedal its non-immigration stance.
Teachers were exposed, as were members of the UK police force, which was bad news for the officers – it's illegal to be in the police and support the party.
3. Afghan War logs
The leaking of the Afghan War Logs put Wikileaks firmly in the public conscience, mainly due to the US government publicly condemning the information that was made available to the public.
Talk of torture, the death of civilians and a multitude of cover-ups did not make for light reading, but did show off the true horror of what was seen by many as an unwinnable war.
4. Sarah Palin's email account gets hacked
Palin's latest slip of the tongue made her North Korea's latest fan recently, but it was her outed Yahoo email accounts that caused even more embarrassment back in 2008.
According to information given to Wikileaks, Palin was using her private Yahoo account to send work messages – a minor faux pas, but one that is strictly forbidden when you're part of the US government.
Considering she may well be running for President in the near future, we really hope she doesn't make the same mistake again. Or at least updates her personal email to something a bit hipper, like Gmail.
Web censorship, climate and the Bilderbergers
5. Diplomatic crisis
Over 250,000 documents were released this week that detail what the world already new – government diplomats say one thing to the press and another when they think it is in secret.
The new documents are yet to be fully sifted but this is a monumental leak at it is the biggest ever of its kind.
The leaked information includes everything from Arab nations pleading with the US to bomb Iran, China cosying ever closer to North Korea and even stuff about Prince Andrew and Bank of England head honcho Mervin King.
6. Climate 'research'
UK climate researches were put out to dry in 2009 after amore than 1,000 emails and 2,000 documents were leaked about climate change.
The documents apparently showed that information which didn't fit with current climate change theories (that it is bad) was suppressed.
Quotes such as: "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't" appeared in mainstream media and began tarnishing the reputation of a number of scientists.
7. Web censorship lists
Wikileaks found itself on an Australia blacklist back in May 2009, all because it released details of sites banned by various countries around the world.
While Wikileaks is no longer banned in Australia, its publishing of the Australian Communications and Media Authority's list did cause outcry Down Under.
The list was interesting because Oz's stance on banned sites was meant to be to be ones that advocated child porn and terrorism. However, Wikileaks found a number of sites banned that did not fall under these banners.
8. Revealing the Bilderberg Group
Ah, the Bilderberg Group – up there with the Stone Cutters in terms of secret organisations you can't help but be interested in.
While we are not suggesting that the biggest leaders, celebrities and people of influence in the world meeting up once in a while to exchange pleasantries is in the least bit shady, it was interesting to see the Wikileaks posting a number of meeting reports from the group.
Unfortunately, while this was a monumental leak since it was one of the first times the lid had been lifted on the Bilderbergers, the minutes weren't actually very exciting. This was because all the names had been omitted (even Steve Guttenberg's) and the Bilderberg Group decided to post the information on its own website anyway.