WikiLeaks releases searchable database of mid-70s diplomatic files

04/08/13 Seán Kinane
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More than 1.7 million diplomatic documents are now online in a searchable database thanks to the document-leaking website WikiLeaks. They have merged those declassified U.S. state department documents from the mid 1970s with a quarter of a million previously leaked diplomatic cables known as Cablegate.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange announced the release by video conference from inside the Ecuadorean embassy in London this morning.

"Orwell famously said that he who controls the present, controls the past. And he who controls the past controls the future. That is because of the vital role that history plays in deciding our interpretation of what is happening in the world. The US National Archives censored all searches to the word 'Wikileaks'. Following that revelation we looked closely at what else was going on and in fact, as Kristinn said, from 2006 it became apparent that the US National Archives had reversed classification for over 55,000 pages of material, that a great analysis done by the National Security Archives, a group run out of George Washington University. We have pulled together 2 million documents. 250,000 documents from our previously released Cablegate. 1.7 million documents pulled from the National Archives and put them together into an integrated format, a search system that we are very proud of."

Assange says the newly-collated documents known as PlusD, are already available at the U.S. National Archives -- but not in a very usable format. That’s why WikiLeaks has made them searchable. They’re from 1973-1976, when Henry Kissinger was Secretary of State.

"There are over 200,000 individual documents referencing Henry Kissinger. This is a meeting between Henry Kissinger and the Turkish foreign minister in 1975 looking at the arms embargo that was placed around Turkey. Concerning it's conflict with Greece and Cyprus, the Turks are concerned about the embargo and they want US weapons parts to come into Turkey and there's a suggestion that it be sent and that the Turks say well that is illegal. Kissinger's response is a joke, but it's not really a joke and a fantastic quote: 'The illegal we do immediately, the unconstitutional takes a little longer. We'll make a major effort in order to somehow get around the arms embargo.'"

Assange says there are about 400 cables that reference Britain’s former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, who died Monday.

"Unfortunately for her prospects of becoming a national, as opposed to distinct from a party leader, she has over the years acquired a distinctively upper middle class personal image. Her immaculate grooming, her imperious manner, her conventional and somewhat forced charm and above all her funny voice stamp her as the quintessential suburban matron and frighteningly English to boot. None of this goes down well with the working class of England, one third of which used to vote Conservative, to say nothing of all classes in the Celtic fringes of this island."

Assange is in the Ecuadorean embassy in London because he anticipates he will be extradited to the U.S. if he goes to Sweden to face questioning about sex allegations. A reporter at the video press conference in Washington asked WikiLeaks spokesperson, Kristinn Hrafnsson, for a status update in the investigation of Wikileaks.

"We know, of course, that there's an ongoing investigation into the alleged difficulties of Wiki's action. It has been revealed by information acquired under the Freedom of Information Act in Australia that the Australian diplomats have been told by the state department officials and officials here in Washington that the scale and scope of the Wikileaks investigation is unprecedented. A year ago it was known that the pages of documents at Galraith, England investigation numbered 42,135 so it gives you an idea what kind of a persecution is going on and is still ongoing and of course it's very worrying. A lot of people have been supporting us, working with us, have been harassed at the borders here in the US and they've been under surveillance, we have confirmation of that and they're information twitter accounts et cetera have been supbeoenaed so that is, of course, of a great worry."

You can search the WikiLeaks database is called PlusD – or Public Library of U.S. Diplomacy.

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