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Wikileaks and State Department correspondence

By Index on Censorship / 28 November, 2010

Index on Censorship has obtained copies of correspondence between whistleblowing website Wikileaks and the US embassy in the United Kingdom, which took place between Friday and Sunday. They reveal Wikileaks editor in chief’s last-minute attempt to seek the cooperation of the United States government in redacting information from the latest controversial release of documents.

Mark Stephens of Finers Stephens Innocent, who represents Julian Assange in the UK, is a trustee of Index of Censorship.

26 November
Julian Assange, Editor in Chief, WikiLeaks
US Ambassador to London, Louis Susman

Subject to the general objective of ensuring maximum disclosure of information in the public interest, WikiLeaks would be grateful for the United States Government to privately nominate any specific instances (record numbers or names) where it considers the publication of information would put individual persons at significant risk of harm that has not already been addressed. PDF

27 November
Harold Hongju Koh, Legal Adviser, United States Department of State
Julian Assange, Editor in Chief, WikiLeaks

We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. Government classified materials. PDF

28 November
Julian Assange, Editor in Chief, WikiLeaks
US Ambassador to London, Louis Susman

I understand that the United States government would prefer not to have the information that will be published in the public domain and is not in favour of openness. That said, either there is a risk or there is not. You have chosen to respond in a manner which leads me to conclude that the supposed risks are entirely fanciful and you are instead concerned to suppress evidence of human rights abuse and other criminal behaviour. PDF

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