WikiLeaks says latest leak covers 'every major issue'
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said today the imminent release of classified US documents by the whistle-blower website will cover "every major issue" in the world today.india Updated: Nov 29, 2010 16:50 IST
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange said on Sunday the imminent release of classified US documents by the whistle-blower website will cover "every major issue" in the world today.
"The material that we are about to release covers essentially every major issue in every country in the world," he told reporters in Jordan by video link when asked if the new leaks again focused on US wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Assange told the conference of investigative journalists that he was speaking to them by video link because "Jordan's not the best place to be with the CIA on your tail." It was unclear from where he was speaking.
WikiLeaks was reportedly hours away today from releasing hundreds of thousands of confidential US diplomatic cables, with several governments fearing damaging revelations.
Assange put the number of documents to be released at more than a quarter of a million.
"Over this last month much of my energy and activities have been spent preparing for the upcoming release of a diplomatic history of the United States," he said.
"Over 250,000 classified cables from US embassies all around the world, and we can see already in the past week or so that the United States has made movements to try to disarm the effect that this could have," Assange said.
Senior US officials have raced to contain the potential damage by warning more than a dozen countries, including its key allies Australia, Britain, Canada, Israel and Turkey.
Late yesterday Washington rejected talks with WikiLeaks, saying the website was holding the cables in violation of US law.
In a letter to Assange and his lawyer that was released to the media, the US State Department said the planned leak would endanger the lives of "countless innocent individuals."
Assange today rejected that view.
"This is an organisation with a four-year publication history," he told the conference organised by Arab Reporters for Investigative Journalists (ARIJ).
"As far as we are aware, and as far as anyone has ever alleged in any credible manner whatsoever, no single individual has even come to harm as a result of anything that we have ever published," he said.
Assange said Washington had "contacted the governments of almost every nation on earth to brief them about what some of these embarrassing revelations will do.
"They're in a rather unusual difficult position where it is not sure precisely what is going to be revealed," he added.
"So it has been treading this rather thin line on briefing its allies on what it thinks we are going to reveal."
He said WikiLeaks has made public leaked documents from more than 100 countries over the past four years, "from assassinations in East Timor to the behaviour of some of the biggest United States private banks, so we cover everything."