December 11, 2010
On Friday, BoingBoing reported on the CIA hosting a server that has the Wikileaks cables.
“Looks like the CIA created a ‘honeypot’ wikileaks mirror at wikileaks.psytek.net, presumably to see who is downloading the leaks – but they screwed up the anonymization,” writes Xeni Jardin. “A quick Google reveals who’s behind psytek.net. Wonder what other mirrors they set up, but with better cloaking?”
The tech community is abuzz with speculation today. Techdirt mentions a thread on Reddit pointing to a Google heatmap showing the locations people searching for the term wikileaks. “Not surprisingly, the hottest spot on the heatmap is the Northern Virginia, Washington DC area. Shocking, I know.” Northern Virginia is home to the CIA. Heat maps are a graphical representation of data.
On the psytek.net website we find the following: “I am the admin of psytek.net and I have just come online to tell you what I have found, after receiving a phonecall from a close friend when he saw my domain was linked to the CIA via Wikileaks.”
Yes, I decided to run a Wikileaks mirror last weekend as way of participating and helping keep information free and ultimately human freedom.
Upon closer analysis over the last few hours it appears my site has been compromised by CIA operatives who have attempted to discover the source of the Wikileaks mirror source.
I do not know how successful they were, only that they did manage to log all incoming traffic. Including inbound web traffic of users inside the United States trying to view the Wikileaks mirror.
Meanwhile, the Breaking the Calm blog and others claim there is no evidence the CIA has used the site to snoop on people looking for Wikileaks data. “This rumor lacked any real evidence, yet was reported by many in the hacker/hacktivist community as fact.”
Breaking the Calm has a point – there is scant evidence psytek.net is a CIA operation. On the other hand, it should be noted that the CIA is notorious for setting up front companies and operations.
History is replete with examples of the CIA not only snooping on people, but also staging violent coups, engineering bloody and genocidal wars, and torturing patsies and innocent people that had nothing to do with government-sponsored terrorism.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear programme, according to leaked US diplomatic cables that describe how other Arab allies have secretly agitated for military action against Tehran.
The US State Department gave its diplomats instructions to spy on other countries’ representatives at the United Nations, according to a directive signed by Hillary Clinton. Diplomats were told to collect information about e-mail accounts, credit cards and passwords, among other things.
Washington’s biggest state secrets – from Arab leaders privately begging for air strikes on Iran to American diplomats spying on UN officials – were laid bare Sunday in a massive online document dump.
When Defense Secretary Robert Gates sat down with French Minister of Defense Herve Morin Feb. 8 in Paris, he had a harsh assessment of the Russian government and some severe differences with his French counterpart on several issues of international security.
From African leaders’ credit card numbers to the friendships of British politicians, the WikiLeaks cables show U.S. diplomats left no stone unturned in efforts to gather information on friends as well as foes.
The disclosure of the cables is already sending shudders through the diplomatic establishment, and could conceivably strain relations with some countries, influencing international affairs in ways that are impossible to predict.
Nov. 28, 2010: Through several mainstream media partners, WikiLeaks releases confidential U.S. diplomatic cables, frank assessment of various American allies, with some incriminating information about U.S. foreign activities. WikiLeaks says the information, to be followed by further releases later in the week, will contain “seven times” as many documents as October release
A number of startling revelations quickly emerged:
The controversial whistle-blowing site Wilileaks has released a cache of 250,000 secret messages sent by US diplomatic staff. Here are some of the key issues the documents reveal, as reported by the New York Times and Guardian newspapers.
The cables show US concern over radioactive material in nuclear power stations in Pakistan, with fears it could be used in terror attacks. They reveal the US has been attempting to remove highly enriched uranium from a research reactor in Pakistan since 2007.
In a May 2009 cable, US ambassador Anne W Patterson says Pakistan had refused a visit from US experts. She quotes a Pakistani officials as saying removing the fuel would be seen in Pakistan "as the United States taking Pakistan's nuclear weapons".
There is concern over the alleged growing use of large scale computer hacking by the Chinese government. Cables reports claims that a network of hackers and private security experts has been employed by China since 2002and that it has hacked into US government and business computers, those of Western allies and the Dalai Lama.
The cables quote a Chinese contact telling the US embassy in Beijing that the Chinese government had been behind the hacking of Google's computer systems in the country in January.
Several Arab leaders and their representatives are quoted as urging the US to carry out an attack on Iran to bring an end to its suspected nuclear weapons programme.
King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is reported to have "frequently exhorted" the US to attack Iran in order to bring an end to its nuclear programme.
In a report of a 2008 meeting with US General David Petraeus, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, said King Abdullah wanted the US to "to cut the head off the snake".
King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain is reported to have told the US to stop Iran "by whatever means necessary", while the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed, told the US he believed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was "going to take us to war".
A cable to US diplomats issued under US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's name tells them to collect "biographic and biometric" information - including iris scans, DNA samples and fingerprints - on key officials at the UN. They are also ordered to find credit card details, email addresses and passwords and encryption keys used for computer networks and in official communications.
The officials covered include "undersecretaries, heads of specialised agencies and their chief advisers, top SYG [secretary general] aides, heads of peace operations and political field missions, including force commanders".
At least nine similar directives covering various countries are included in the Wikileaks release, both under the name of Mrs Clinton and her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice.
US and South Korean officials have discussed plans for a united Korea, should North Korea collapse.
The US ambassador to Seoul said South Korea would consider offering commercial incentives to China to "help salve" Beijing "concerns about living with a reunified Korea".
The cables appear to reveal discussions between various countries on whether they would take prisoners released from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.
Slovenia is offered the chance to meet President Barack Obama if it takes a prisoner, while Kiribati, in the South Pacific, is offered millions of dollars of incentives. Brussels is told taking prisoners could be "a low-cost way for Belgium to attain prominence in Europe".
Various world leaders are covered by the documents - showing the diplomats' less than flattering views of them.
Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is referred to as "feckless, vain, and ineffective as a modern European leader" by a US diplomat in Rome.
In 2008, the Moscow embassy describes Russian President Dmitry Medvedev as playing "Robin to (Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's) Batman.
The cables also comment on the extremely close relationship between Mr Berlusconi and Mr Putin.
North Korea's Kim Jong-il is a "flabby old chap" suffering from trauma from a stroke, while Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is referred to as "Hitler".
South Africa's international relations and cooperation minister refers to President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe as "the crazy old man".
Arab leaders privately urging an air strike on Iran, US officials being instructed to spy on the United Nation's leadership, alleged links between the Russian government and organized crime, “devastating criticism” of British military operations in Afghanistan, and claims of “inappropriate behavior” by a member of the British royal family.
• King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia has urged the United States on several occasions to launch military strikes against Iran to destroy its nuclear facilities. Citing one diplomatic cable, Abdullah told U.S. Gen. David Petraeus in April 2008 that the U.S. needed to “cut off the head of the snake” by attacking Iran. The cable said the Saudi king had “frequently exhorted the U.S. to attack Iran to put an end to its nuclear weapons program.”
• U.S. intelligence believes Iran has obtained advanced missiles from North Korea capable of striking Europe. A diplomatic cable dated Feb. 24, said "secret American intelligence assessments have concluded that Iran has obtained a cache of advanced missiles, based on a Russian design." Iran obtained 19 of the North Korean missiles, an improved version of Russia’s R-27, from North Korea, the cable said, and was "taking pains to master the technology in an attempt to build a new generation of missiles."
• details of a tense standoff with Pakistan over nuclear fuel, plans to reunite the Korean Peninsula after the North’s eventual collapse, bazaar-like bargaining over the repatriation of Guantanamo Bay detainees and a Chinese government bid to hack into Google;
• The cables detailed fresh suspicions about Afghan corruption, Saudi donors financing al-Qaida, and the U.S. failure to prevent Syria from providing a massive stockpile of weapons to the Hezbollah militia in Lebanon since 2006;
• Germany’s Der Spiegel said the U.S. had referred to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as "Hitler" while President Nicolas Sarkozy of France was called a "naked emperor" in U.S. documents released by WikiLeaks; and
• Washington is running a “secret intelligence campaign” aimed at United Nations leaders, including the secretary general, Ban Ki-moon and the permanent security council representatives from China, Russia, France and the U.K.
There were 2,421 cables from U.S. diplomats in Canada, including 1,948 from the American embassy in Ottawa, according to the WikiLeaks documents. Other than from the embassy in Ottawa, cables from U.S. diplomats in Canada included 145 from Toronto, 136 from Halifax, 82 from Montreal, 52 from Quebec, 44 from Vancouver and 14 from Calgary.
Some of the major topics included:
-- Pressure from U.S. allies in the Middle East for decisive action to neutralize Iran's nuclear program. According to one cable, King Hamad of Bahrain told the Commander of the U.S. Central Command, Gen. David Petraeus, that the United States must curb Iran's nuclear program by whatever means necessary. "The danger of letting it go on is greater than the danger of stopping it," the king is quoted as saying. Similarly, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia implored Washington to "cut off the head of the snake" while there was still time, according to a cable cited by the Guardian newspaper.
-- Washington's efforts to have highly enriched uranium removed from a Pakistani research reactor. In a cable sent in May 2009, the U.S. ambassador in Islamabad said Pakistan was refusing to schedule a visit by American technical experts. The ambassador said that a Pakistani official had told her: "If the local media got word of the fuel removal, 'they certainly would portray it as the United States taking Pakistan's nuclear weapons.' "
-- Negotiations with governments over the transfer of prisoners held at Guantanamo Bay. According to The New York Times, "Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if it wanted to meet with President (Barack) Obama, while the island nation of Kiribati was offered incentives worth millions of dollars to take in a group of detainees."
-- Concern that the Chinese government was involved in global computer hacking. One cable cited by the New York Times said a Chinese contact had told the U.S. Embassy in Beijing that the Politburo had directed "the intrusion into Google's computer system" earlier this year. The Google hacking was part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government. They have broken into American government computers and those of Western allies, the Dalai Lama and American businesses since 2002, the cables said.
-- The daily said the cables give a laundry list of instructions for how State Department employees can fulfill the demands of a "National Humint Collection Directive" in specific countries. Humint being a spy-world jargon for human intelligence collection.
-- One cable asks officers overseas to gather information about "office and organisational titles; names, position titles and other information on business cards; numbers of telephones, cellphones, pagers and faxes," as well as "internet and intranet 'handles', internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs; credit card account numbers; frequent-flier account numbers; work schedules, and other relevant biographical information".
-- But some 11,000 are classified "secret," 9,000 are labeled "noforn," shorthand for material considered too delicate to be shared with any foreign government, and 4,000 are designated both secret and noforn.
-- The cables say that Iran not only obtained the BM-25, but also saw the advanced technology as a way to learn how to design and build a new class of more powerful engines," Since 2007, the US has mounted a highly secret effort, so far unsuccessful, to remove from a Pakistani research reactor highly enriched uranium that American officials fear could be diverted for use in an illicit nuclear device.
-- Quotes from the more than 250,000 cables obtained by the Wikileaks website were also circulating on the Twitter web service in advance.
-- The confidential assessments by US diplomats said for example that Afghan President Hamid Karzai was a "weak personality" who was "driven by paranoia" and "conspiracy theories".
-- The accounts of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan were suspicious of him, while remarks about Kenya's leadership were contemptuous.
-- One exchange indicated the State Department in Washington asked the US embassy in Rome to check rumours that Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi had private property dealings with Putin. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was termed "pale, hesitant".
-- In an assessment of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, a diplomat marked her: "Avoids risk, not very creative."
-- Spiegel said 90 percent of the material involved the period from 2005 onwards. Only six percent was labelled "secret". Other media which had sifted and edited the material and were set to publish it included the New York Times and the London newspaper The Guardian.
Classified embassy dispatches reveal Saudi king pressed US for military action on Iran and Washington used diplomats to spy on UN
WikiLeaks documents go live online
By Sheldon Alberts, Postmedia News Washington Correspondent November 28, 2010 10:51 AM
Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, holds a news conference at the Geneva Press Club in Geneva, November 4, 2010.
Photograph by: Valentin Flauraud, Reuters
WASHINGTON — Confidential U.S. diplomatic cables were splayed over the Internet for all to see Sunday, as the WikiLeaks website fulfilled its promise to make public candid and embarrassing American assessments of key allies.
The U.K.’s Guardian newspaper posted a searchable database of the information on its website, a short time after WikiLeaks said its own website had come under attack “a mass distributed denial of service attack.”
It was unclear whether the apparent hacking was in fact a last-ditch attempt to stop the website from releasing the information, but it had already supplied advance copies of the materials to several major media outlets, including the Guardian.
The Obama administration had made a last-ditch appeal to the founder of WikiLeaks to abandon plans to release the millions of diplomatic cables, expected to contain frank views about allies, including Canada.
In a letter Saturday to WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange, U.S. State Department legal adviser Harold Koh warned publication of the documents will “place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals.”
The State Department was responding to a letter Assange sent to Louis Susman, the U.S. ambassador to Great Britain, indicating the plan to release classified U.S. documents.
“As you know, if any of the materials you intend to publish were provided by any government officials, or any intermediary without proper authorization, they were provided in violation of U.S. law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action,” Koh wrote.
“As long as WikiLeaks holds such material, the violation of the law is ongoing.”
Senior U.S. diplomats have spent the past several days scrambling to limit damage in advance of the release, delivering personal warnings to foreign leaders.
Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon was briefed this week by U.S. Ambassador David Jacobson about the classified diplomatic messages that could “create tensions” among U.S. allies, a spokesman confirmed.
In his letter, Koh appealed to the WikiLeaks founder in stark terms about the potential consequences of the release.
“Publication of documents of this nature at a minimum would: Place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals — from journalists to human rights activists and bloggers to soldiers to individuals providing information to further peace and security,” Koh wrote.
Moreover, he said publication will “place at risk ongoing cooperation between countries — partners, allies and common stakeholders — to confront common challenges from terrorism to pandemic diseases to nuclear proliferation that threaten global stability.”
U.S. officials have been pouring over tens of thousands of diplomatic cables to try and determine the exact nature of the leak, but foreign governments have reportedly only been told in general terms that many of them may be highly embarrassing at a minimum.
The documents are thought to include candid, and recent, U.S. assessments of foreign leaders and internal U.S. discussions about allied participation in the war in Afghanistan.
“We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. Government classified materials,” Koh wrote to Assange.
“If you are genuinely interested in seeking to stop the damage from your actions, you should: 1) ensure WikiLeaks ceases publishing any and all such materials; 2) ensure WikiLeaks returns any and all classified U.S. government material in its possession; and 3) remove and destroy all records of this material from WikiLeaks’ databases.”
WikiLeaks has said there would be “seven times” as many secret documents as the 400,000 Iraq war logs released last month.
The top U.S. military commander, Admiral Mike Mullen, also urged WikiLeaks to stop its “extremely dangerous” release of documents, according to a transcript of a CNN interview.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has meanwhile contacted leaders in Germany, France, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan over the issue, he said.
Officials in Russia, Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden said they were also contacted by U.S. diplomats regarding the release.
In London, the government urged British newspaper editors to “bear in mind” the national security implications of publishing any of the files.
British officials said some information may be subject to voluntary agreements between the government and the media to withhold sensitive data governing military operations and the intelligence services.
Russia’s respected Kommersant newspaper said the documents included U.S. diplomats’ conversations with Russian politicians and “unflattering” assessments of some of them.
Turkish media said they include papers suggesting that Ankara helped al-Qaida militants in Iraq and that the United States helped Iraq-based Kurdish rebels fighting against Turkey — potentially explosive revelations for the two allies.
The U.S. embassy “gave us information on the issue, just as other countries have been informed,” a senior diplomat in Ankara told AFP.
with files from Agence France-Presse
Leaked Afghan war files condemned
US, Britain and Pakistan condemn release of thousands of secret military documents
The White House, Britain and Pakistan have all condemned the release of thousands of secret US military documents on the Afghan war, one of the largest unauthorised disclosures in military history.
The White House, Britain and Pakistan have all condemned the release of thousands of secret US military documents on the Afghan war, one of the largest unauthorised disclosures in military history.
Julian Assange, founder of the whistle-blowing website, Wikileaks, said that this was just the beginning and that he still has thousands more Afghan files to release.
Speaking at a news conference in London on Monday, Assange said that the documents contain evidence of possible war crimes that must be urgently investigated.
"It is up to a court to decide, clearly, whether something is in the end a crime," Assange said.
"That said, prima facie, there does appear to be evidence of war crimes in this material."
The US government criticised the publication of the material and said it could threaten national security.
The Pentagon said that the documents would be reviewed in order to "determine the potential damage" to the lives of troops and coalition partners.
However, the review is expected to take "days, if not weeks" to complete.
Nato's European members said they hoped the leaked documents would not negatively affect the current war effort.
"We are working hard with our allies on improving security on the ground and increasing ... the capacity of the Afghan government, so we are not going to spend our time looking at leaks," William Hague, the British foreign secretary, said.
Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) agency lashed out against allegations that close connections existed between it and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
The ISI said the allegations, which have been repeated for years, are unsubstantiated.
The documents raised new questions about whether the US can succeed in convincing Pakistan to sever historical links to the Taliban and deny them sanctuary along the Afghan border.
They appeared to show Pakistan collaborated with the Taliban while accepting US aid.
A senior ISI official denied the allegations and said that they were from raw intelligence reports that had not been verified.
Assange said the power of the material lay in its accumulation of small, previously unknown details from the war in Afghanistan, rather than any disclosure of one large event.
He did not however reveal the source of the leak.
"The real story of this material is that it is war, it is one damn thing after another. It is the continuous small events, the continuous deaths of children," Assange said.
Haroun Mir, a director with Afghanistan's Centre for Research and Policy Studies, told Al Jazeera that "is not a big surprise".
"When it comes to the Pakistani support for the insurgents in Afghanistan, we Afghans have been talking about this for a long time."
Mir said that Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan, "raised this issue several times with US and Pakistani officials, but unfortunately we never had any positive feedback from the US".
"I think its time for the US administration to explain to their own public and the US congress about why they tried to hide these reports for such a long time."
Ability of Afghan forces questioned
Evidence of drug use, corruption and desertion among those protecting Afghans. Afghan security forces are valued by foreign forces for their local knowledge, but there is also widespread evidence of drug use, corruption and desertion among their ranks. Despite a $27 bn international investment programme, in many cases, the Afghan National Police remain unfit for duty.
Clayton Swisher is embedded with US soldiers from the 82nd Airborne Division, which is patrolling with members of the local police force. He sent this report from the Arghandab River Valley.
Wikileaks: Hillary Clinton ordered U.S. diplomats to spy on UN leaders
By Gerri Peev
Last updated at 10:09 PM on 28th November 2010
Hillary Clinton ordered American officials to spy on high ranking UN diplomats, including British representatives.
Top secret cables revealed that Mrs Clinton, the Secretary of State, even ordered diplomats to obtain DNA data – including iris scans and fingerprints - as well as credit card and frequent flier numbers.
All permanent members of the security council – including Russia, China, France and the UK – were targeted by the secret spying mission, as well as the Secretary General of the UN, Ban Ki-Moon.
Secret spy mission: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton ordered diplomats to spy on UN leaders, including Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon
Work schedules, email addresses, fax numbers, website identifiers and mobile numbers were also demanded by Washington.
The U.S. also wanted ‘biographic and biometric information on UN Security Council permanent representatives’.
The request could break international law and threatens to derail any trust between the U.S. and other powerful nations.
Requests for IT related information – such as details of passwords, personal encryption keys and network upgrades - could also raise suspicions that the U.S. was preparing to mount a hacking operation.
It is set to lead to international calls for Mrs Clinton to resign.
The fishing expedition was ordered by Mrs Clinton in July 2009, but followed similar demands made by her predecessor, Condoleeza Rice.
Mrs Clinton called for biometric details ‘on key UN officials, to include undersecretaries, heads of specialised agencies and their chief advisers, top SYG [secretary general] aides, heads of peace operations and political field missions, including force commanders’.
Mrs Clinton's orders followed on from those given by former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, shown here with former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan in Rome in 2006
She also wanted intelligence on Ban Ki-Moon’s ‘management and decision-making style and his influence on the secretariat’.
Cables were sent to U.S. embassies in the UN, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Latin America.
America has always handed over information about top foreign officials to the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
But the request by Mrs Clinton paves the way for officials to be more closely spied upon, with even their travel plans tracked by U.S. diplomats.
In what could discredit the U.S.’s role in the Middle East peace process, missions in Israel, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia and Egypt were asked to gather biometric information ‘on key Palestinian Authority and Hamas leaders and representatives, to include the young guard inside Gaza, the West Bank’.
Details of the US spying mission were sent to the CIA, the U.S. Secret Service and the FBI under the heading ‘collection requirements and tasking’.
International treaties ban spying at the UN.
The 1946 UN convention on privileges and immunities states: ‘The premises of the United Nations shall be inviolable. The property and assets of the United Nations, wherever located and by whomsoever held, shall be immune from search, requisition, confiscation, expropriation and any other form of interference, whether by executive, administrative, judicial or legislative action.’
The American ambassador to Britain, Louis Susman said he ‘condemned’ the disclosures and that the U.S. government was ‘taking steps to prevent future security breaches’.
He also claimed the disclosures had 'the very real potential to harm innocent people" but insisted the cables ‘should not be seen as representing U.S. policy on their own’.
He said the leaks were ‘harmful to the U.S. and our interests’ adding, ‘However, I am confident that our uniquely productive relationship with the UK will remain close and strong, focused on promoting our shared objectives and values.
U.S. State Department spokesman PJ Crowley said Mrs Clinton had warned leaders in Britain, France, Germany, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and China about the cables, revealed by investigators at the Wikileaks website.
Canada, Denmark, Norway and Poland hade also been warned.
WikiLeaks: US referred to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as 'Hitler'
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is referred to as "Hitler" while President Nicolas Sarkozy of France is called a "naked emperor" in US documents released by Wikilieaks on Sunday.
Pages from the German newspaper Der Spiegel were leaked early, before a mass publication of thousands of secret cables by the whiste-blowing website.
The documents also say that North Korean leader Kim Jong -il suffers from epilepsy, Libyan leader Muammar Gaddhafi's full-time nurse is a "hot blond".
The German Chancellor is referred to as Angela "Teflon" Merkel and Afghan President Hamid Karzai is "driven by paranoia", the documents claim.
US officials referred to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin as an "Alpha Male," while President Dmitry Medvedev is "afraid, hesitant."
Der Spiegel also quoteed the State Department as saying that President Barack Obama "prefers to look East rather than West," and "has no feelings for Europe".
The leak came minutes after Wikileaks claimed that it was under cyber attack on Sunday ahead of the expected release of thousands of secret documents.
On its Twitter feed Wikileaks said: "We are currently under a mass distributed denial of service attack."
Wikileaks added that several newspapers would go ahead and publish secret United States documents even if the website crashed.
The latest leak is expected to publish US embassy reports on other countries and the website said it would be bigger than recent leaks on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The US state department has claimed that the release would put lives at risk but Mr Assange said America was afraid of being held to account.
Spain's El Pais, France's Le Monde, Germany's Der Speigel, The Guardian. and the New York Times are set to publish the material.
Details of the documents were first released on Twitter after a member of the public in Germany purchases a copy of Der Spiegel which had been put on the news-stand too early.
The Foreign Office condemned the leak of the State Department cables but insisted that it would not damage British-US relations.
"We condemn any unauthorised release of this classified information, just as we condemn leaks of classified material in the UK," a spokesman said.
"They can damage national security, are not in the national interest and, as the US have said, may put lives at risk.
"We have a very strong relationship with the US Government. That will continue."
British officials fear that the confidential cables will reveal details of a secret operation to disrupt Iranian smuggling of nuclear materials through the Gulf and Turkey.
Officials involved in overseeing British policy in the region say that diplomatic materials compiled between 2008 and 2010 on Iran contained sensational information that could jeopardise efforts to disrupt the nuclear programme if unveiled on WikiLeaks.
The Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi's "close relationship" with Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, is also said to be among WikiLeaks documents due to be released.
Mr Berlusconi has been friends with former KGB agent Mr Putin, for more than five years and the two have held numerous bilateral meetings as well as entertained each other on holiday.
Of concern to Washington was said to be the deal between Italian energy firm ENI and Russian gas giant Gazprom, over the South Stream pipeline as well as the "very cordial relationship between Mr Putin and Mr Berlusconi".