World Bulletin / News Desk
WikiLeaks has been making headlines for more than a decade by releasing millions of classified documents, embarrassing governments worldwide while also raising fears that its activities may have put lives in danger.
Swedish prosecutors on Friday dropped their investigation, but Assange still faces the risk of arrest in Britain, and he fears he will be extradited to the United States and tried over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret US military and diplomatic documents.
Here are five things to know about WikiLeaks.
- 10 million leaks -
While the WikiLeaks website was registered in 2006, the group began its operations in 2007, with Assange saying it would use encryption and a censorship-proof website to protect sources and publicise secret information.
WikiLeaks first caught the world's attention when it released 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.
It has published more than 10 million leaked documents, 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.
But over time, it has increasingly set its sights on the US, and even come under suspicion that it might be working with Russia, claims that Assange has denied.
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.
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.
Hailed as a hero by supporters and reviled as a manipulator by critics, the white-haired Australian has been holed up in the Ecuadoran embassy in London since 2012 to avoid extradition to Sweden over rape allegations.
Swedish prosecutors dropped their investigation on May 19, 2017.
British police, however, said they would still have to arrest Assange if he left the embassy, on the grounds that he had breached his bail.
- Snowden and Manning -
The huge release of memos known as "cablegate", 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.
She was given a 35-year prison sentence, which former US president Barack Obama commuted in January. Manning was freed on May 17, 2017.
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.
- 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 last year.
Assange meanwhile guest-starred as himself in an episode of "The Simpsons", recording his lines over the phone from the Ecuadoran embassy.
Obama, who met with Mandela in 2005 and who made an emotional address at his funeral, will speak at the lecture marking 100 years since the anti-apartheid icon was born.
A total of 41 Gazans have been martyred by Israeli gunfire since March 30
On Thursday, Iraqi F-16 fighter jets struck ISIL positions in Syria
On Thursday, Iraqi F-16 fighter jets struck ISIL locations in neighboring Syria
Turkish Historical Society head cites research from past wars
Palestinian president stresses on 2-state solution to conflict, calls East Jerusalem capital
Israeli snipers have killed 39 protesters and injured thousands who posed no threat, says Swiss-based group
Foreign Minister Cavusoglu to address UN General Assembly on Turkey’s contributions, approach to UN efforts
At least 39 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli gunfire near Gaza border
Serbia's ambassador to Ankara says 5 government ministers will accompany Serbian president
He acted quickly -- just a day after decades of Castro rule ended and long time party loyalist Miguel Diaz-Canel assumed power as president.
Multimillion-dollar lawsuit raises issue of hacking of Democratic National Committee’s servers
Syrian regime would be 'ill-advised' to ignore message sent by last week’s allied missile strike, says US Defense Secretary
At least 39 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli interventions since border rallies began March 30
Thursday’s vote make Diaz-Canel first person outside Castro family to rule country in almost 60 years