World Braces For Next WikiLeaks Document Dump: UK Media Asked to Call Govt Before Publishing

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WikiLeaks announced that Britain's government issued a "D-notice"--a sort of prior restraint--to UK media outlets over any WikiLeaks stories. (Credit: Twitter)

While Sweden’s international search is on for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, U.S. diplomats are reportedly preparing allies for the so-called whistleblower site’s next document dump.

The next document dump is eminent and set to be the site’s largest ever, as 2.7 million confidential documents from diplomatic cables will reportedly be published.

As defined by the Associated Press, “Diplomatic cables are internal documents that would include a range of secret communications between U.S. diplomatic outposts and State Department headquarters in Washington.”

In preparation, U.S. envoys have consulted with officials from allied countries.  Notably, Britain’s Defense Ministry issued a “D-notice” to media outlets, CNN reported.

The “D-notice” is “rarely used” and instructs the media that “before they publish potentially sensitive stories of a national security nature, they should seek the advice of a senior military official to avoid breaking the order.”

WikiLeaks likewise tweeted Nov. 26 about the “D-notice” but remains mum on Sweden’s efforts to arrest Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange. As iMediaEthics reported last week, Sweden’s government is seeking an international arrest warrant for Assange for sexual molestation and rape charges involving two Swedish women. WikiLeaks tweet stated:

“UK Government has issued a ‘D-notice’ warning to all UK news editors, asking to be briefed on upcoming WikiLeaks stories.”

The AP reported Nov. 26 that the governments of Britain, Italy, Canada and Norway all confirmed that they “have been briefed by American diplomats” about the release.  Israeli and Swedish governments have also been contacted, CNN added.

And, WikiLeaks’ Twitter reported that the governments of Australia, Iraq, and Turkey have also been “briefed.”

The U.S. government has also “alerted Congress” regarding the leak, according to the AP.

“These revelations are harmful to the United States and our interests,” the AP reported U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said. “They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world.”

ABC News reports “In an effort to limit the damage, the administration is working with news organizations to whom WikiLeaks has given the documents to redact sensitive names, but there is no guarantee that WikiLeaks won’t simply publish unredacted documents.”

ABC News cites “The big worry among U.S. authorities is that the documents would reveal names and detailed discussions” with confidential sources including “dissidents in oppressive countries”–thus putting their lives in danger.

Like the previous WikiLeaks war document dumps, ABC reports that 22 year-old Army Intelligence Spc. Bradley Manning is the likely suspect as he had “access to hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables through military computers.”  Manning was arrested in July for stealing classified documents.

Bloomberg News reported that specifically, Italy’s foreign minister, Franco Frattini, said the leaked cable could lead to “negative repercussions” for Italy.

Likewise, former U.S. ambassador to Russia, James F. Collins, called the expected document dump “detrimental,” according to CNN.

“Leaking information of this kind will be detrimental to building the trust among officials necessary to conduct effective and productive diplomacy. It will impede doing things in a normal, civilized way,” CNN reported that Collins said.

“I would think the information they will leak is likely to contain analysis, records of discussions or reporting on confidential conversations between officials or official policy recommendations or suggestions about policy or diplomatic actions,” he said.

As the Index on Censorship reported, U.S. State Dept. spokesperson reportedly told the foreign wire service the AFP Nov. 24 the United States has been “gearing up for the worst-case scenario, that leaked cables will touch on a wide range of issues and countries.”

Bloomberg News reported that  the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel are again working under embargo with WikiLeaks to publish reports on the WikiLeaks dump concurrently with the WikiLeaks leak.  The three newspapers have worked similarly for the previous high-profile Afghan War Diaries and Iraq War Diaries leaks.

UPDATE: 11/28/2010 12:11 PM EST: The U.S. State Dept. sent a letter to WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange asking him to not publish its forthcoming leak of diplomatic cables, CBS News reported. In the letter, the State Dept. lawyer Harold Koh reportedly stated that “the U.S. government would not cooperate with WikiLeaks in trying to scrub the cables of information that might put sources and methods of intelligence gathering and diplomatic reporting at risk.” Koh, CBS reports, “is considered to be one of the world’s top experts in international law and was reportedly considered for a seat on the Supreme Court.”

Further, CBS reported Koh wrote:  “We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. government classified materials.”

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World Braces For Next WikiLeaks Document Dump

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