It is a marriage of convenience, but a powerful one. Wikileaks’ internet exposure of confidential documents on the Afghan war gained added weight through the alliance with traditional newspapers such as the Guardian.
Its Australian founder says he enjoys “helping people who are vulnerable, and crushing the bastards”.
Julian Assange dismisses the White House’s claim that Wikileaks is not an objective information website, but an organisation opposed to American policy on Afghanistan.
“We’re familiar with groups whose abuse we expose, attempting to criticise the messenger to distract from the power of the message,” he said. “We don’t see any difference in the White House’s response to this case, to the other groups that we have exposed.”
Wikileaks says it relies on internet servers in countries such as Sweden and Belgium where laws give its disclosures more protection.
In 2007 it posted a video of a US helicopter attack in Iraq which killed several civilians. A young American soldier is suspected of passing it on. Those behind the latest leak may be harder to detect: the documents were reportedly accessible to the entire US army in Afghanistan.