Thursday, February 10, 2011

WikiLeaks Defector Claims To Control The WikiLeaks Submitting System : WikiLeaks Response

By Jerry Smith Feb 10 2011

In an excerpt leaked to the document repository site Cryptome, of Daniel Domscheit-Berg's new book 'Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website', he claims that when he and a few others left WikiLeaks in September of last year that he and an architect of WikiLeaks' submissions platform took control away from Assange of the system for submitting documents to WikiLeaks and took some of the leaked material WikiLeaks had received, to ensure the site’s sources are secure.

Other excerpts chastise Assange's character and his handling of various matters related to the release of 'Collateral Murder', the video showing U.S. soldiers in an Apache helicopter killing Iraqi civilians and two Reuters reporters.

Since leaving WikiLeaks Domscheit-Berg and some of the other defectors have started OpenLeaks, a website they claim will provide secure drop boxes for NGOs, trade unions and other media sites.

Domscheit-Berg has said that OpenLeaks will act as a conduit between the leaker and the media and will not publish anything themselves.

In an interview with the German magazine Stern, Domscheit-Berg said that the Bank of America data was not among the files taken when he left and that the bank data was old and “completely unspectacular”.

Domscheit-Berg claims that the WikiLeaks submission system had security flaws that persuaded him to take control of the system until WikiLeaks can ensure the security of the leaking sources.

Another excerpt states:
"Julian would later claim that the work on "Collateral Murder" had cost $50,000 and say that he wanted to recoup that sum in donations. He also asserted that a lot of work had gone into decrypting the videos. I knew for a fact that this was not entirely true. We did occasionally receive encrypted videos, but with this one we had the password. The resolution only had to be augmented to improve the video quality and that was done mostly by volunteers. In essence, Julian's only costs would have been rent for the house in Iceland and for the price of his place ticket. Others provided the capacity for the servers free of charge."
The excerpt goes on to say:
Julian sent Ingi and Kristinn to Iraq to talk to eyewitnesses and do background research. They later contacted me, while I was on a private vacation in Iceland, and asked me to reimburse the cost of their flights to Baghdad. They had paid for them themselves, and Julian had promised to refund the costs. But he turned around and told them they just should set up their own foundation in Iceland. He said it would be child's play to earn back the money."

Kristinn Hrafnsson said that Domscheit-Berg’s account of the 'Collateral Murder' video, including Hrafnsson’s own involvement, is a “fabrication,” but refrained from commenting further until the group’s statement is released. “This has to be handled carefully,” he added.

In the comments on a German website Domscheit-Berg writes that the excerpt posted on Cyptome is not the final version and that he attempted to give the leaked materials he left with back to WikiLeaks, but they have been uncooperative.

He also wrote:
“We have never wanted to take away any of those documents, but no one cared to tell us where to put them. Specifically not Julian. We have on numerous occasions after we left reconfirmed that we want this handover to happen — to no avail."

A statement by WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson said that:
"WikiLeaks has been taking legal action against former employee, Daniel Domscheit-Berg who was suspended from the organization in September. The reasons for these actions will gradually become clear, but some are hinted at by extracts from Domscheit-Bergs book."
The statement also said:
“In the book Domscheit-Berg confesses to various acts of sabotage against the organization. The former WikiLeaks staffer admits to having damaged the sites primary submission system and stolen material.”
The statement goes on to minimize Domscheit-Berg’s role in WikiLeaks and reads:
“It should be noted that Domscheit-Berg´s roles within WikiLeaks were limited and started to diminish almost a year ago as his integrity and stability were questioned. He has falsely misrepresented himself in the press as a programmer, computer-scientist, security expert, architect, editor, founder, director and spokesman. He is not a founder or co-founder and nor was there any contact with him during the founding years. He did not even have an email address with the organization until 2008 (we launched in December 2006). He cannot program and wrote not a single program for the organization, at any time.”

"Domschiet-Berg was never an architect for the organization, technically, or in matters of policy. He was a spokesperson for WikiLeaks in Germany at various times, but he was never the spokesman for WikiLeaks, nor was he ever WikiLeaks editor, although he subedited some articles. He was also never a computer scientist, or computer security expert, although he was a computer science student many years ago. His accounts of the crucial times in WikiLeaks history since April last year are therefore based upon limited information or malicious falsifications."

Domschiet-Berg replied to the WikiLeaks statement by saying:
"WikiLeaks has not taken legal action. I have received a letter from German attorney Johannes Eisenberg representing Julian that does not mention any law or regulation I have implicated, violated or whatever."

"I have never sabotaged WikiLeaks, including its 'primary submission system'."

"I have never claimed to be a programmer, director, founder or architect. I was _a_ spokesperson for the project, not _the_ spokesperson, and have never claimed otherwise. You can check international media that I have handled if you feel my role was restricted to Germany only."

"I hold two degrees in computer science and worked for around 6 years as a network security engineer."

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