Sat Aug 20 23:41:31 2011 GMT
Five days short of a year ago, on 25 August 2010, WikiLeaks suspended former employee “Daniel Domscheit-Berg”. Over the last 11 months, we have tried to negotiate the return of various materials taken by Mr. Domscheit-Berg, including internal communications and over 3000 unpublished, private whistleblower communications to WikiLeaks. Mr. Domscheit-Berg has repeatedly attempted to blackmail WikiLeaks by threatening to make available, to forces that oppose WikiLeaks, these private communications and to which Mr. Domscheit-Berg is not a party. He has stated he will commit this action, should WikiLeaks move to charge him with sabotage or theft. Mr. Domscheit-Berg has refused to return the various materials he has stolen, saying he needs them, solely, to carry out this threat. Mr. Domscheit-Berg has already, secretly, and with malicious intent, disclosed portions of the private communications content to other parties, to the harm of WikiLeaks.
The negotiations have now been terminated by the mediator, Andy Müller-Maguhn, who has stated that he doubts Mr. Domscheit-Berg’s integrity and claimed willingness to return the material and that under those circumstances Müller-Maguhn cannot meaningfully continue to mediate. In response, Mr. Domscheit-Berg has stated that he has, or is about to, destroy thousands of unpublished whistleblowers disclosures sent to WikiLeaks. The material is irreplaceable and includes substantial information on many issues of public importance, human rights abuses, mass telecommunications interception, banking and the planning of dozens of neo-nazi groups. Our sources have in some cases risked their lives or freedom attempting to convey these disclosures to WikiLeaks and to the public.
As a matter of policy and implementation WikiLeaks does not collect or retain source identifying information, so fortunately, source identities for this material are not significantly at risk.
WikiLeaks has only made one prior formal statement regarding Mr. Domscheit-Berg, which we issued in February and repeat here:
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-Berg’s book.
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 sabotage and concern over motives led to an overhaul of the entire submission system, an ongoing project that is not being expedited due to its complex nature and the organization´s need to focus its resources on publication and defense.
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.
Domscheit-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.
In order to provide an environment which would encourage Mr. Domscheit-Berg to return what he has stolen and not to use it for malicious purposes, we have made no further statements until today.
This diplomatic silence has been difficult for us, and, is perhaps a warning lesson about secret diplomacy. While we have been silent in order to maximize the chances of regaining the material that was entrusted to us, Mr. Domscheit-Berg has issued dozens of legally harmful falsehoods including during our ongoing legal conflict with the Pentagon, during the imprisonment and investigation of two alleged sources, Bradley Manning and Rudolf Elmer and during the imprisonment and extradition hearings of our founder Julian Assange.
Mr. Manning is imprisoned pending trial, Mr. Assange is under house arrest pending extradition. Over 100 WikiLeaks supporters have been arrested or raided by the FBI, Scotland Yard and other police or intelligence services. Publicly declared task forces into WikiLeaks over the last year include the Pentagon (120 personnel), the State Department, the FBI, the US Department of Justice and the CIA. Concurrently, a “secret” Grand Jury in Washington (Alexandria) has been considering whether to indict Julian Assange with espionage as a result of Wikileaks’ publishing.
Mr. Domscheit-Berg has acted dishonestly, he has admitted to stealing WikiLeaks property, and has admitted to the deliberate sabotage of Wikileaks’ operations, impeding it from carrying out the will of its sources. He has lied, constantly, and flagrantly, to the public, to us, to our lawyers, and to the mediator, Andy Müller-Maguhn.
We are making this public statement in a final attempt to make Mr. Domscheit-Berg return the data he has stolen, before he destroys it. This material was entrusted to WikiLeaks specifically by our sources, who often go to significant risks to bring us materials under the basis that we will bring their revelations to the public and defend them from censorship. Every day that passes compromises the will of these sources and the efforts they have undertaken.
Mr. Domscheit-Berg has illegitimately taken this data along with Wikileaks’ secure online submissions system, funds and internal documentation. He has sabotaged years of work, none of which was his own. We have had to recreate this work under difficult circumstances. This rebuilding comes at a significant cost to Wikileaks, which is under an unlawful Washington instigated financial blockade enforced by the big US financial companies. This cost is ultimately borne by the public, who fight to keep our operations afloat with contributions of twenty dollars a month or less.