The WikiLeaks website has announced it plans to publish nearly three million more secret US documents in its next mass release of confidential material.
It would be seven times larger than its release last month, when it posted some 400,000 secret documents about the war in Iraq on its site.
“Next release is 7x the size of the Iraq War Logs. Intense pressure over it for months. Keep us strong,” WikiLeaks said on its Twitter feed, adding a link to a donations website.
“The coming months will see a new world, where global history is redefined.” it added in a later message.
It would be WikiLeaks’ third mass release of classified documents after it published 77,000 secret US files on the Afghan conflict in July.
The US authorities fear that a substantial amount of the next leak could include cables prepared by ambassadors and diplomats in the Middle East that could prove more damaging than the earlier releases.
The State Department has previously expressed concerns that the material could reveal the “source and methods” used by the US to gather intelligence overseas.
Foreign leaders could be able to read what American diplomats have written about them in secret cables sent to Washington, such as appraisals of their leaders’ personalities, competence and honesty.
Earlier this year Bradley Manning, the soldier suspected of providing the material for the first two leaks, boasted about providing 260,000 stolen cables to WikiLeaks, according to a former computer hacker who chatted with him online.
“Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public,” Manning wrote at the time.
However, analysts said the announcement by WikiLeaks, which gave no details of the contents of the documents and said only that the release would be in “coming months”, could be designed to relieve pressure on Julian Assange, the website’s Australian head. He is wanted in Sweden for questioning related to rape and sexual molestation accusations.
Mr Assange has been in England since leaving Sweden, where the website is based, in August after publicity surrounding the allegations made by two women.
Mark Stephens, a London lawyer working for Mr Assange, said the allegations were “false and without basis”. He also said Mr Assange has repeatedly offered to be interviewed by the Swedish authorities.
“All of these offers have been flatly refused by a prosecutor who is abusing her powers by insisting that he return to Sweden at his own expense to be subjected to another media circus that she will orchestrate,” he said.
WikiLeaks has defended it earlier releases, saying they have shed light on the two wars.
The Iraq files contained allegations of torture by Iraqi forces which were routinely ignored by the Americans and suggested that there has been 15,000 more civilian deaths in Iraq than previously thought.
Incident reports told how a helicopter gunship involved in the shooting of journalists also shot insurgents after they tried to surrender.
The Afghan logs detailed cooperation by local informers with the US forces, raising fears that Taliban insurgents would exact revenge. A subsequent Pentagon investigation however found there had been no such reprisals.
By Alex Spillius in Washington 7:00PM GMT 22 Nov 2010
Source: The Telegraph