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Here are five things you should know about WikiLeaks

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WikiLeaks has been making headlines for more than a decade by releasing millions of classified documents, embarrassing governments while also raising fears that its activities may have put lives in danger.

Controversy also swirls around its founder Julian Assange, who was arrested on Thursday after being holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London for nearly seven years.

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Here are five things to know about WikiLeaks.

– 10 million leaks –

WikiLeaks was founded in 2006 by Australian-born Assange, who said it would use encryption and a censorship-proof website to publish secret information and protect sources.

It first caught the world’s attention in 2007 with the release of manuals for US prison guards at Guantanamo Bay.

But it really hit its stride in 2010 when it worked with The New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde and El Pais to publish millions of classified diplomatic cables.

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It has published more than 10 million leaked documents and associated analyses, to the dismay of politicians, governments and corporations.

– Controversy strikes –

In its early days, WikiLeaks worked with dissidents worldwide to expose government secrets from the United States to Europe, China, Africa and the Middle East.

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But over time it has increasingly set its sights on the US. Assange has denied claims that it might be working with Russia.

WikiLeaks raised a storm in July 2016 by releasing emails showing US Democratic Party officials favouring Hillary Clinton over left-winger Bernie Sanders in the presidential primary elections, forcing high-ranking party members to resign.

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WikiLeaks was also accused of revealing the identity of a gay man in ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia. Again, the group denied the accusation.

– Arrest warrant –

The worst scandals to affect WikiLeaks have been those involving Assange.

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Hailed as a hero by supporters and reviled as a manipulator by critics, the white-haired Australian was holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since 2012, when he was facing rape allegations in Sweden.

Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation in 2017 but Assange remained in the embassy, fearing the US would extradite him for revealing state secrets.

– Snowden and Manning –

The mass exposure in 2010 of US diplomatic cables, which embarrassed governments worldwide, would not have been possible had it not been for US soldier Chelsea Manning, who handed WikiLeaks 700,000 classified documents.

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She was given a 35-year prison sentence in 2013 and served more than three years before being freed in 2017.

In March 2019 she was jailed again for refusing to testify in a grand jury investigation targeting WikiLeaks.

Former US intelligence contractor Edward Snowden has also received WikiLeaks’s backing, though he did not use the group’s site to publish his leaks about the National Security Agency.

Assange recommended he quickly flee to Moscow to evade prosecution in the US — advice he heeded.

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– In the movies –

Two major films have been made about WikiLeaks — “The Fifth Estate” (2013) and “Risk”, a documentary that was screened at the Cannes film festival in 2016.

Assange meanwhile guest-starred as himself in an episode of “The Simpsons” in 2012, recording his lines over the phone from the Ecuadoran embassy.


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Indiana Republican senator agrees Trump did it — he just won’t vote to convict

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Republican Sen. Mike Braun of Indiana is the latest to admit that what President Donald Trump has done was wrong, but he still won't vote to kick the president out of office.

Speaking to Fox News congressional reporter Chad Pergram, Braun made his conclusions after the House spent a little over one day making their case. No witnesses have been called nor has evidence been subpoenaed from the White House. But Braun already agrees Trump is guilty of what the House is accusing him.

"Where I am coming from, is that, probably the discussion of all of this wasn't appropriate, it's obviously gotten the president into an entanglement," he said. "It is just not impeachable. And the sentences either you're gone. You don't get off. You know, for probation."

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Trump’s intel chief illegally missed deadline to turn in report on Khashoggi killing

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Acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire was required to turn over a report on the killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi to four congressional committees, but that report never came, according to a report from BuzzFeed News.

Maguire's failure to turn over the report was a direct violation of a law passed last month "that included a provision ordering the Director of National Intelligence to send Congress an unclassified report identifying those responsible for Khashoggi’s death at a Saudi Arabian consulate in 2018," according to BuzzFeed News.

"Though the CIA has reportedly concluded that Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman ordered Khashoggi’s killing at the consulate in Istanbul, Turkey, Saudi officials have denied his involvement — something President Donald Trump seemed willing to believe," writes BuzzFeed's Emma Loop. "The unclassified report, if Congress receives and releases it, could provide the administration’s first public acknowledgement of the crown prince’s role, or that of other Saudi officials, in Khashoggi’s brutal death."

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MSNBC’s Nicolle Wallace nails Trump’s defenders: ‘Not only has no one said he wouldn’t do this — no one has said he didn’t do this’

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As the impeachment trial took an afternoon break, MSNBC host Nicolle Wallace made the point that neither the White House legal team nor the president's Republican allies are defending what he did.

Typically, when someone is the defendant in a trial they work to defend themselves. That is different in President Donald Trump's impeachment.

"It is amazing. This is where this is. Not only has no one said he wouldn't do this, no one said he didn't do this," noted Wallace.

Maya Wiley, a legal analyst and professor at The New School for Social Research, explained that the president's White House team of lawyers seems to have decided on that spin as their argument.

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