This Day in History: WikiLeaks Begins Marking Its Place in History
by M.C. Millman
WikiLeaks.org was registered as a domain name on October 4, 2006.
In December of the same year, the anti-secrecy site published its first revealing document after making the website a secure location for whistleblowers' postings.
The site's Australian founder, Julian Assange, strongly believes in the free movement of information. WikiLeaks' self-stated purpose is "to bring important news and information to the public... so readers and historians alike can see evidence of the truth."
This mission is not one that governments, and defense, and intelligence officials feel is responsible. Given that computer servers host the site in several countries worldwide, including Iceland and Sweden, local laws continue to prevent U.S. law enforcement from being able to close it down.
In 2010, Assange sought asylum in Ecuador's London embassy after disclosing a massive amount of U.S. government and military information on WikiLeaks. He then spent seven years in asylum in London's Ecuadorian Embassy to avoid being extradited to Sweden.
Currently, Assange is being held at Belmarsh Prison in London, where he has been imprisoned for the past four years, facing extradition to the United States. The U.S. charged Assange in absence with espionage and "one of the largest compromises of classified information in the history of the U.S.". for publishing classified materials on WikiLeaks. Assange could face a prison sentence of 175 if extradited and found guilty.
Just last month, a group of Australian lawmakers working to secure their countryman's freedom lobbied the U.S. to abandon all efforts to extradite Assange.