WikiLeaks’ media partners blast release of US cables

(AFP) – WikiLeaks’ media partners on Friday blasted the anti-secrecy website’s decision to publish unredacted its full cache of more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables, saying it was the decision of Julian Assange alone.

“We deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted State Department cables, which may put sources at risk,” said a joint statement from the Guardian, the New York Times, Der Spiegel and El Pais.

The news organisations said: “Our previous dealings with WikiLeaks were on the clear basis that we would only publish cables which had been subjected to a thorough editing and clearance process.”

They said they would “continue to defend our collaborative publishing endeavour”, but added: “We cannot defend the needless publication of the complete data — indeed, we are united in condemning it.

“Today’s decision to publish by Julian Assange was his, and his alone.”

Assange, the Australian who founded WikiLeaks, is living under stringent bail conditions in Britain while he fights extradition to Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over allegations of rape and sexual assault.

WikiLeaks said on Friday it had published its full archive of more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables, accessible through an Internet link without a password.

It said it took the action after claiming the Guardian had leaked the passwords to the full cache of cables. The British newspaper denies the claim.

The Guardian, the New York Times, Der Spiegel of Germany and Spain’s El Pais as well as French newspaper Le Monde were WikiLeaks’ original media partners and published selected cables, although with names of sources redacted.

The Guardian broke off its cooperation with WikiLeaks in December over concerns about the security of sources.

The United States and human rights groups have warned that releasing unredacted cables could endanger the lives of the people who had spoken in confidence to US diplomats.