WikiLeaks makes its archives available for download

WikiLeaks, the website infuriating Washington for releasing hundreds of restricted US diplomatic cables, was making all its archives so far available for download as pressure mounted to close it down entirely.

The site has already been forced to change its domain name and hop-scotch to servers around the globe as successive companies and countries bent to US arguments branding its divulgations over the past week “illegal.”

It has also come under repeated cyber-attack, through a tactic known as distributed denial of service (DDoS) in which thousands of computers connect to its servers in a concerted attempt to knock them off-line.

With options progressively being closed off, and its founder, 39-year-old Australian Julian Assange, under an Interpol wanted persons alert for alleged “sexual offenses” in Sweden, the website has taken steps to ensure its information remains available.

Mirror websites, which replicate WikiLeaks’s data, have sprung up on servers in various countries.

And in the past few days, WikiLeaks has been offering its archives for download through torrent peer-to-peer sharing — a move that could allow any user around the world to post them or share them.

The files include previous WikiLeaks scoops, such as information on US military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the more than 800 US diplomatic cables released so far.

“Due to recent attacks on our infrastructure, we’ve decided to make sure everyone can reach our content. As part of this process we’re releasing archived copy of all files we ever released,” WikiLeaks said in a message on its site.

WikiLeaks says it has another 250,000 cables it plans to gradually release over coming months — if it can.

Anticipating the US attempts to block it though, WikiLeaks has taken the precaution of posting a big, 1.4-gigabyte file encrypted with a 256-digit key said to be unbreakable.

Titled “insurance.aes256”, the file was big enough to contain all the US cables said to be in WikiLeaks’s possession.

The encryption makes it unreadable until the key is supplied — at which time all its contents would be available to those who downloaded it from torrent-feeding sites such as

Assange, communicating online Friday through The Guardian, Britain’s newspaper that is one of several dailies around the world cooperating with WikiLeaks in releasing the cables, said people all around the planet had already put the insurance file on their computers.

“The Cable Gate archive has been spread, along with significant material from the US and other countries to over 100 000 people in encrypted form. If something happens to us, the key parts will be released automatically. Further, the Cable Gate archives is in the hands of multiple news organisations. History will win. The world will be elevated to a better place,” he wrote.

Assange accused “abusive elements of the United States government” of forcing WikiLeaks’s hand and said “we are taking the appropriate precautions to the degree that we are able when dealing with a super power.”

The Australian also said Australia’s government was working with the United States against him, and that he was not welcome back in his home country.

Australia’s Attorney-general Robert McClelland said Saturday the government had considered canceling Assange’s passport but was stymied because of “issues in respect of serving a notice of cancellation.”

Assange is in hiding somewhere in the world, believed to be Europe, and thus not easily served by an official notice from Australia.

Interpol, however, has issued a “red notice” against him alerting all police forces that he is a wanted person in Sweden, which wants to question him “in connection with a number of sexual offenses.”

Leading US lawmakers meanwhile continued to call for Assange’s arrest, with top Senate Republican Mitch McConnell slamming him Sunday as a “high-tech terrorist.”

“He has done enormous damage to our country, and I think he needs to be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” McConnell told US television. – AFP



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