Julian Assange was
investigated by the
U.S. gov after leaking
on his website. Courtesy of Wikimedia
Website owner under fire after releasing top-secret government papers
By Taylor McGilvray
On November 28, 2010, WikiLeaks, a website dedicated to making
government and corporate information public, leaked 220 diplomatic cables to newspapers such as The Guardian and The New
York Times, in an event the media quickly labeled cablegate.
A diplomatic cable is a confidential message between foreign
embassies and their parent country.
"The purpose of WikiLeaks is to promote justice by opening
governments and powerful corporations," founder of WikiLeaks
Julian Assange said in an email to Ecuador's El Comercio newspaper. "There is too much work done by these entities to hide information; information that should be known to the public."
Days after the leak, the domain name wikileaks.org was prevented from linking to its server, forcing the website to switch to a
Swedish host under the domain name wikileaks.ch.
One after the other Paypal, Visa, Mastercard, and Bank of
America all stop allowing transfers of money to Wikileaks.
The online hacking group Anonymous retaliated and showed
their support for Wikileaks by cyber attacking the websites of these
and other companies inhibiting the support of Wikileaks.
The country and the world quickly became divided on whether
Assange should be applauded or arrested.
"If there is democracy, it must be a full one. Why did they jail
Mr. Assange? Is that democracy?" Russian President Vladimir
Putin said to ABC news. "You know what our villagers say: while
someone's cow is mooing, yours better be silent."
Others were not as supportive, like Tom Flanagan, former adviser to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper
"I think Assange should be assassinated, actually," Flanagan
said. "I think Obama should put out a contract or use a drone or
Supporters view Assange as a hero, fighting for true democracy and freedom of speech.
"So why is WikiLeaks, after performing such an important public service, under such vicious attack? Because they have ousted
and embarrassed those who have covered up the truth," notorious filmmaker Michael Moore wrote in his blog. "WikiLeaks exists,
in part, because the mainstream media has failed to live up to its
responsibility. The corporate owners have decimated newsrooms,
making it impossible for good journalists to do their job."
His opponents, however, have gone as far as labeling him a
"Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of
treason, and I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty," former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee said to Politico.
"They've put American lives at risk. They put relationships that
will take decades to rebuild at risk... Any lives they endangered,
they're personally responsible for and the blood is on their hands."
Bradley Manning, a United States Army soldier, was charged
with transferring classified information to his personal computer and relaying the information to an unauthorized source
Manning was recently removed from solitary confinement, according to the New York Daily News. He faces the death penalty
for aiding the enemy.
Assange is currently being charged with sexual assault charges
in Sweden, and cables continue to be released.
"If the truth we reveal mobilizes people to react against illegitimate government, then this is their choice," Assange said to El
Comercio. "How the people chose to react to what they discover
about their governments is up to them."