Computer hackers, thought to be affiliated with the Anonymous group, have organised a campaign to upload unpublished Wikileaks cables all over the internet.
Under a plan called Operation Leakspin, the hackers will attempt to access all of the Wikileaks cables, sift through them and publish the most dramatic ones across the web.
The move may mark a shift in tactics, after hackers reportedly abandoned a planned denial of service attack on Amazon, due to a lack of resources. Amazon became a planned target after it refused to offer cloud services to Wikileaks.
On the social news site reddit.com, Operation Leakspin is the most popular topic, only five hours after its inception. The users of the site have already dedicated a page to the rafts of cables being exposed by the hour.
Many of the most damning cables have already been revealed by newspapers, whose editors have co-ordinated the release with Wikileaks. But the majority of the over 250,000 cables are not yet public.
The cables were sent by US ambassors, and those published so far cover topics ranging from the authorities encouraging spies to track UN delegates, to Middle Eastern nations encouraging military action against Iran.
Major companies have also been targeted this week, with oil giant Shell recorded as boasting it had staff in every major ministry of the Nigerian government, where its business has come under criticism, and drugs firm Pfizer reportedly hiring private investigators to run a smear campagin that could help block a serious court case about trials of its drugs on African children.
Both companies deny the accusations.
A poster for the plan urges hackers to “post snippets of the leaks everywhere”, including on fan forums, news sites and YouTube videos. Anonymous spokespeople have not officially claimed responsibility for the plan.
The poster urges hackers to use “misleading tags”, including ‘Tea Party’ and ‘Justin Bieber’, to make sure people click on the links and access the stories.
“We have, at best, given them a black eye,” said the campaigners, referring to steps that hit Visa and Mastercard payments, and to the hacking of websites run by vocal opponents to Wikileaks including US politicians Sarah Palin and Joe Lieberman.
The campaigners added that “the game has changed... so too must our strategies”.
Disruption caused to businesses such as Visa and PayPal who have refused to work with Wikileaks has received extensive media coverage, although some have argued that the campaign has acheived little besides causing annoyance.
Wikileaks’ founder, Julian Assange, who is currently held in custody in Wandsworth prison, has sought to publicly distance the organisation from the attacks. However, a Wikileaks spokesperson said yesterday: “We believe [the attacks] are a reflection of public opinion on the actions of the targets.”