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(Un)Classified: WikiLeaks, Der Spiegel, and U.S. Foreign Policy

Panel Discussion on December 14, 2010, at Freie Universität Berlin

№ 382/2010 from Dec 09, 2010

A week after the arrest of the Internet activist Julian Assange, Freie Universität Berlin is hosting a panel discussion on the role of WikiLeaks, the web platform founded by Assange, in international politics. The discussion will be held on December 14, 2010, in the Henry Ford Building. The panelists will include Mitchell Moss, the press attache at the U.S. Embassy in Germany, and Holger Stark, head of the office of Der Spiegel, a German weekly news magazine, and co-author of the article Der Spiegel published about the U.S. dispatches published by WikiLeaks and the documents on the Iraq war that were made accessible to the public via the Internet. Other panelists will be Dr. Constanze Stelzenmüller, Senior Transatlantic Fellow of the German Marshall Fund in Berlin and chair of the Scientific Advisory Board of the German Foundation for Peace Research; and Markus Kienscherf, who wrote his doctoral thesis dealing with U.S. security policy at the Graduate School of North American Studies, John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität. The discussion will be moderated by Dr. Andreas Etges, a professor of North American history at the John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin. The event is public and free of charge.

During the past summer the publication by WikiLeaks of secret American documents about the Afghanistan war caused a political storm. In recent weeks, WikiLeaks also made documents on the Iraq war as well as American diplomatic dispatches widely available to the public. Selected major international newspapers and magazines – in Germany, Der Spiegel – had the opportunity to view and evaluate the documents before their publication in the Internet. Almost as much as the often explosive revelations, the question was discussed whether WikiLeaks and the media had crossed a problematic border, making major problems for future foreign policy actions, not just for the United States. The international debate was made more heated by the arrest of WikiLeaks-founder Julian Assange on December 7, 2010, in London, as well as by newly published revelations of the platform, such as the evaluation of China’s African policy by the United States.

The panel discussion will focus on the content and novelty of the WikiLeaks documents and the possible political consequences of their publication. The issue of whether such disclosures are problematic and whether the documents were evaluated with due care will also be included.

Time and Place:

  • Henry Ford Building, Freie Universität Berlin, Max Kade Auditorium, Garystraße 35, 14195 Berlin; subway station: Thielplatz (U3)
  • Tuesday, December 14, 2010, 7:00 p.m.

For further information, please contact:

Dr. Andreas Etges, John F. Kennedy Institute, Freie Universität Berlin
Tel.: +49 (0)30 / 838-52474, Email: or