It began as a drip feed, it’s now been reduced to Chinese water torture. Just 165 US government cables have been published on the WikiLeaks website this year.

The total now sits at just 2444 cables released out of the enormous cache of 251,287 documents. That’s an average of 47 cables a day. At this rate the full database of cables will not made be available until July 18, 2025.

But despite intensifying pressure from the US government and an extradition battle with Swedish prosecutors, founder Julian Assange says his organisation will continue its pursuit of open government. “Our work with WikiLeaks continues unabated and we are stepping up our publishing for matters related to Cablegate,” he said last week outside a London court.

But while WikiLeaks’ media partners have continued to release the sensitive cables, they have done so at a much slower rate than they did last year. According to The Guardian, cable operations were scaled back over Christmas, while in Australia Fairfax journo Phillip Dorling’s daily WikiLeaks extravaganza has been put on hold while the media covers the ongoing flood disaster.

So with a limited amount of cables available to the media, much of the WikiLeaks focus has instead centered around the influence leaked cables have had on protests in North Africa and the legal woes of Assange.

In Tunisia, president Zine El Abidine Ben Ali was forced to flee to Saudi Arabia after a month of violent protests against his regime led to a new government being formed. Much has been made of the effect US government cables released by WikiLeaks (which show the US clearly believes the Tunisian government to be corrupt) may have had on the protests. As Bernard Keane wrote yesterday, this offers a simplistic explanation of the events in Tunisia and underplays the fact that many in the North African dictatorship have known about government corruption for years:

“To talk about a Twitter revolution, or a WikiLeaks revolution, I think, does a very great disservice to the hundreds of thousands of Tunisians who risked their lives standing up to Ben Ali’s forces, and particularly to the scores who died at the hands of Tunisian police, and their families, and most especially to the memory of Mohamed Bouazizi. It smacks of infantilising Tunisians, as though they were incapable of acting themselves until cool Western technology or Julian Assange enabled them to throw off their chains.”

Last Wednesday, Assange faced a London Magistrates Court as part of his fight against attempts to have him extradited to Sweden on sexual assault charges. As part of the hearing, Assange’s legal team was granted permission to allow the media to publish its 35-page legal argument.

Greg Barns wrote in Crikey last week that he thought Assange’s legal team was on strong ground, commenting that it would be a “surprise” if the Australian was handed over to Swedish prosecutors. The hearing also decided on a date for Assange’s extradition hearing, which is set for February 7-8.

But far from forcing Assange underground, the legal pressure on WikiLeaks appears to have brought more whisteblowers out of the woodwork. Today it was reported Assange now plans to publish another leak, this time revealing the details of at least 2000 alleged tax cheats. Former Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer, who worked for eight years in the Cayman Islands, personally gave Assange two CDs of data at a London press conference.

The ongoing media interest in the background of the enigmatic frontman for WikiLeaks also seems to be growing. Last week, a suppression order was handed down by the County Court of Victoria in relation to a matter regarding Assange (or “J A” as his name was listed in the crime and appeals list).

The matter, brought about by a media outlet, was an application for information about a hacking charge brought against Assange in 1996. Just one day later that suppression order was lifted, leading to The Age and The Australian publishing information released by the County Court about the case.