When it comes to uncovering secrets, Wikileaks spares no one. Hollywood celebrities, the Kenyan police and the Church of Scientology have all endured embarrassing disclosures and now it is the US military�s turn.
Set up in January 2007, the Wikileaks website publishes anonymously sourced confidential documents from governments, corporations and powerful organisations.
It prides itself on being an �uncensorable version of Wikipedia�, sharing the online encyclopaedia�s ethos, design and processes without the two sites having a formal relationship.
Founded by Julian Assange, described by Wikileaks as �Australia�s most famous ethical computer hacker�, it also credits mathematicians, journalists, Chinese dissidents and other technologically minded types for its creation.
The not-for-profit site relies on small donations from the public. As a results taying in the media spotlight is crucial. This year it had to shut for several weeks because it ran out of money.
Its operations are shrouded in secrecy. The site deliberately has no headquarters. It is believed to be run by five investigators who are employed to assess and verify the authenticity of documents. These are thought to be uploaded to computers in Sweden, with servers around the world �mirroring� the site. This decentralised structure makes Wikileaks hard to shut down.
Wikileaks said that it had to break through encryption by the American military to view the video of the US air crew shooting Iraqi journalists and civilians. It remains unclear if the group received an encrypted video from an anonymous source, or whether it hacked through the Pentagon�s firewalls to obtain the footage.
Mr Assange says that the site will soon publish another secret US military video showing the deaths of civilians in Afghanistan. These activities have lead the Pentagon to explore criminal sanctions to prevent it publishing more classified documents.
Last month Mr Assange posted a letter detailing the alleged attempts of US intelligence and law enforcement agencies to spy on his organisation.
After giving a speech in Iceland, Mr Assange wrote: �We have discovered half a dozen attempts at covert surveillance in Reykjavik both by native English speakers and Icelanders. On the occasions where these individuals were approached, they ran away.�
In a leaked report published last month the US Army, in effect, called Wikileaks a threat to its operations and information.
The US joins a long list of states to take issue with the site. China, North Korea, Thailand, Zimbabwe and Russia, have tried to block access to Wikileaks after disclosures on the site.