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Wikileaks exposes sensitive US material

LONDON — Wikileaks has published more than 1.7 million US diplomatic and intelligence reports from the 1970s.

They include allegations that former Indian PM Rajiv Gandhi was a middleman in an arms deal and the first impressions of eventual British PM Margaret Thatcher.

The documents have not been leaked and are available to view at the US national archives.

Wikileaks says it is releasing the documents in searchable form.

Much of the work has been carried out by the website’s founder Julian Assange while he has been holed up at the Ecuadorean embassy in London.

Assange took refuge in the embassy last June to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over allegations that he sexually assaulted two female ex-Wikileaks supporters in 2010.

He denies the allegations, and has said they are politically motivated and part of a smear campaign against him and his whistle-blowing website.

Wikileaks made headlines around the world in 2010 after it released more than 250,000 leaked US cables.

Assange told Britain’s Press Association that the latest collection, titled the Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD), reveal the “vast range and scope” of US diplomatic activity around the world.

The data comprises diplomatic cables, intelligence reports and congressional correspondence running from the beginning of 1973 to the end of 1976.

Much of the correspondence is either written by or sent to Henry Kissinger, who was US Secretary of State and National Security Adviser during that period.

It includes claims, being widely reported by the Indian media, that Rajiv Gandhi – of India’s most famous political family – was employed by the Swedish firm Saab-Scandia as it tried to sell its Viggen fighter jet to India.

Gandhi was working as a commercial pilot and not in politics himself at the time. (BBC)

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