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Summary:

Wikileaks, the crusading non-profit web site that publishes documents companies and governments don’t want released, is alleging that the U.S. State Department and possibly the CIA have been spying on the group, following them on airplanes and even monitoring their meetings in an Icelandic fish-and-chip restaurant.

Wikileaks, the crusading non-profit web site that publishes documents companies and governments don’t want released, is alleging that the U.S. State Department and possibly the CIA have been spying on the group and its volunteers, following them on airplanes and even monitoring their production meetings in an Icelandic fish-and-chip restaurant. In a blog post on the Wikileaks site, the group’s co-founder, Julian Assange, asserts that the spying “includes attempted covert following, photographing, filming and the overt detention & questioning of a WikiLeaks’ volunteer in Iceland.”

Wikileaks believes the surveillance campaign is driven in part by the fact that it has obtained “a classified military video showing civilian kills by U.S. pilots” in Afghanistan. The group has said that it plans to release details about the video in a press briefing on April 5. In the blog post, Assange alleges that a Wikileaks volunteer was recently detained by police on a “wholly insignificant matter” and was shown photos of Assange outside the Icelandic Fish & Chips shop in Reykjavik, where a production meeting had been held to review the bombing-run video. Wikileaks later described this incident on its Twitter feed, saying, “We have been shown secret photos of our production meetings and been asked specific questions during detention related to the airstrike.”

In another Twitter message, the group said, “If anything happens to us, you know why: it is our Apr 5 film.” Assange also says in the blog post that after taking a flight from Reykjavik to Copenhagen to speak at an investigative journalism conference, the group got a tip that they were under surveillance and checked the records for the flight (he doesn’t say how this was accomplished) to find “two individuals, recorded as brandishing diplomatic credentials, checked in for my flight…under the name of ‘US State Department.’ The two are not recorded as having any luggage.”

According to the Wikileaks blog post, there are a number of possible reasons for the U.S. government to be spying on the group, including:

  • the classified film “revealing civilian casualties occurring under the command of the U.S. general, David Petraeus.”
  • the release of “a classified 32 page U.S. intelligence report on how to fatally marginalize WikiLeaks”
  • the release of “a classified cable from the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik reporting on contact between the U.S. and the UK over billions of euros in claimed loan guarantees.”
  • pending releases related to the collapse of the Icelandic banks and Icelandic “oligarchs”

Assange says that Wikileaks has been the subject of a number of suspicious government-related spying attempts, intimidation and harassment over the years, including what he describes as the assassination of two human rights lawyers in Nairobi last March and an “armed attack on my compound there in 2007,” as well as an attack by Chinese computers on Wikileaks servers in Stockholm after the site published photos of murders in Tibet. He also says that a Wikileaks member was “ambushed” in a Luxembourg parking garage by a “James Bond” character.

Wikileaks has recently been raising money to continue its efforts, and has also been working with members of the Icelandic government to try and create an “information haven” in that country.

Post photo courtesy of Flickr user alancleaver_2000, thumbnail photo courtesy of Flickr user practical owl

  1. Anonymous Coward Friday, March 26, 2010

    I honestly think that Wikileaks is a bunch of publicity whores. And honestly, they can’t be surprised by the harassment by the things that they’ve leaked.

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    1. Sounds like you’re honestly surprised. And a little dim.

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  2. One of, the veryr rare, cases of investigative journalism in 2010.

    Wikileaks are warriors for democratic principles.

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  3. Whatever it is that they’re doing, if any of the above mentioned happenings is true, then this group is in serious trouble. It’s not just the CIA but probably some other spy agency of another country as well.

    Is this a profit-based organization?

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  4. They are probably the only real journalists left.
    at least someone really covers the news, and not censor it.

    I can relate to being stalked by government agents, believe me it happens to a lot of people out there.

    They don’t mess around, they threaten you, harass you on the road, harass you at home. Scare your friends, pose as ‘tradesmen’ to infiltrate your workplace (badge fell out of pocket worse secret agent ever).

    No one in Australia or the USA is ‘free’, its corrupt as a rotten apple. I have been ambushed on more than one occasion.

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  5. [...] [as] a center of gravity" for whisteblowing activity. Meanwhile, the Wikileaks founder has alleged that his organization is being intimidated and spied on by American intelligence [...]

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  6. [...] [as] a center of gravity” for whisteblowing activity. Meanwhile, the Wikileaks founder has alleged that his organization is being intimidated and spied on by American intelligence [...]

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  7. [...] [as] a center of gravity” for whisteblowing activity. Meanwhile, the Wikileaks founder has alleged that his organization is being intimidated and spied on by American intelligence [...]

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  8. [...] put together from the video leaked to Wikileaks (for which, apparently, US intelligence officials investigated some of the Wikileaks folks). While there’s a lot of ongoing back-and-forth over what the [...]

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  9. Stephen Conroy Wednesday, April 7, 2010

    I think what they do is terrible and I can’t wait till my internet is filtered so I can’t stumble upon their stuff.

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    1. to bad you don’t like real journalism go back to fox

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      1. ROFL at “real journalism”

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  10. “real journalism”… what they do ain’t journalism anyway. They just leak what whistleblowers give them. And they “investigate” nothing neither.
    They just leak what whistleblowers give them… which may be true, may be disinformation, may be to the benefit of them or the others.
    REAL journalists doing a far, far other job, there’s more than just spreading any infos…

    Don’t get me wrong, I praise the internet and leakers (wikileaks ain’t the only one, there is cryptome etc), for giving us opportunities for information like it never was before, and less chances for the gov’s foolin us.
    But you have to stay critic. Now more than ever before.

    And yes, specially WIKILEAKS, they got a real strong attitude loving the public & being pathetic.

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