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Wikileaks opens Public Library of US Diplomacy (PLUSD) with large cache of 1970s US diplomatic and intel documents

Wikileaks today announced the launch of the Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD), a searchable database with the release of Special Project K: the Kissinger cables — ostensibly, PlusD will include other records in the future. WikiLeaks has published more than 1.7 million U.S. diplomatic records — including cables from previously released Cablegate cables, intelligence reports, and congressional correspondence — from January 1, 1973 to December 31, 1976, the period during which Henry Kissinger was secretary of state and national security advisor. The documents were formerly confidential, classified, or labeled “NODIS” (“no distribution”) or “Eyes Only”. The database can be accessed at http://search.wikileaks.org/plusd/.

According to Wikileaks:

…Most of the records were reviewed by the United States Department of State’s systematic 25-year declassification process. At review, the records were assessed and either declassified or kept classified with some or all of the metadata records declassified. Both sets of records were then subject to an additional review by the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA). Once believed to be releasable, they were placed as individual PDFs at the National Archives as part of their Central Foreign Policy Files collection. Despite the review process supposedly assessing documents after 25 years there are no diplomatic records later than 1976. The formal declassification and review process of these extremely valuable historical documents is therefore currently running 12 years late.

According to the Guardian:

The data, which has not been leaked, comprises diplomatic records from the beginning of 1973 to the end of 1976, covering a variety of diplomatic traffic including cables, intelligence reports and congressional correspondence.

Julian Assange said WikiLeaks had been working for the past year to analyse and assess a vast amount of data held at the US national archives before releasing it in a searchable form.

WikiLeaks has called the collection the Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD), describing it as the world’s largest searchable collection of US confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications.

Assange told Press Association the information showed the vast range and scope of US diplomatic and intelligence activity around the world.

Henry Kissinger was US secretary of state and national security adviser during the period covered by the collection, and many of the reports were written by him or were sent to him. Thousands of the documents are marked NODIS (no distribution) or Eyes Only, as well as cables originally classed as secret or confidential.

Assange said WikiLeaks had undertaken a detailed analysis of the communications, adding that the information eclipsed Cablegate, a set of more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks from November 2010 and over the following year. He said WikiLeaks had developed sophisticated technical systems to deal with complex and voluminous data.

Top secret documents were not available, while some others were lost or irreversibly corrupted for periods including December 1975 and March and June 1976, said Assange.

Freedom of the Press Foundation launched! @FreedomofPress

Freedom of the press foundation This is exciting news. The Freedom of the Press Foundation has just been launched! Their goal is to help the public “donate to journalism organizations dedicated to transparency and accountability.” The goal is simple really: raise funds and help promote public-interest journalism. So far, they’re supporting Wikileaks, MuckRock News, National Security Archive, and the UpTake. I hope they’ll add other fine journalistic organizations like ProPublica and DemocracyNow.

Their board consists of Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) co-founder John Perry Barlow, Glenn Greenwald, and several other journalists and activists. Early news coverage: New York Times, Huffington Post, Firedoglake.

You can receive updates from their site and/or follow them on twitter too (@FreedomofPress).

Please consider donating to support a free press!

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The Freedom of the Press Foundation is dedicated to helping promote and fund aggressive, public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government. We accept tax-deductible donations to a variety of journalism organizations dedicated to government transparency and accountability.

The Freedom of the Press Foundation is built on the recognition that this kind of transparency journalism — from publishing the Pentagon Papers and exposing Watergate, to uncovering the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program and CIA secret prisons — doesn’t just happen. It requires dogged work by journalists, and often, the courage of whistleblowers and others who work to ensure that the public actually learns what it has a right to know.

Restrictions on WikiLeaks Documents Challenged in Court

Restrictions on WikiLeaks Documents Challenged in Court, by Steven Aftergood, Secrecy News (May 22, 2012).

The publication of leaked classified documents by WikiLeaks continues to confound government officials and to generate some unusual legal tangles. Last month, attorneys for a Guantanamo prisoner asked a federal court to nullify the restrictions that the government has imposed on access to and dissemination of the leaked records, so that the prisoner can prepare a response to the disclosures contained in them.

Also see A librarian reacts to “A librarian reacts to wikileaks”, by James R. Jacobs. (Feb 13, 2011).

#Wikileaks releases new batch of US State Department diplomatic cables. Follow #wlfind for details

Wikileaks announced via twitter that they are releasing 35,000 U.S. diplomatic cables today. The current count of US Diplomatic cables released is 51,122 out of a total of 251,287 total. Check out the Twitter hashtag #wlfind for crowdsourced finds. That thread is quite an interesting read.

Wikileaks: U.S. Cables Concerning Pakistan in Pakistan Newspaper

Dawn Presents Wikileaks’ Pakistan Papers, Dawn, Karachi, Pakistan.

The Dawn Media Group and Julian Assange, Chief Executive of Sunshine Press Productions, the publishing arm of WikiLeaks, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding for the exclusive first use in Pakistan of all the secret US diplomatic cables related to political and other developments in the country.

…On May 20, 2011, Dawn carried the first set from a huge cache of cables, and will continue to publish them in the following days. Dawn’s extensive coverage will include publication of the actual cables as well as specially commissioned stories around them. All cables referenced are available for viewing in their original form on Dawn.com.

Newspaper in Pakistan Publishes WikiLeaks Cables, By JANE PERLEZ, New York Times, (May 20, 2011).

The leading English-language newspaper, Dawn, and its Web site on Friday began publishing a selection of more than 4,000 American diplomatic cables obtained from WikiLeaks that are devoted to Pakistan, opening a window onto the American-Pakistani relationship and domestic politics never before seen here.