• Germany edition
 
Ex-Wikileaks spokesman blasts Assange
Photo: DPA

Ex-Wikileaks spokesman blasts Assange

Published: 09 Feb 2011 16:55 GMT+01:00
Updated: 09 Feb 2011 16:55 GMT+01:00

Once Wikileaks’ number two man, Domscheit-Berg fell out with Assange last year.

Domscheit-Berg has said he wants his book, “Inside Wikileaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website,” to expose both the good and the bad aspects of the now famous site, which has sent ripples around the world with its publication of secret documents regarding the Iraq war and US diplomatic communications.

But in an interview with the German news magazine Stern published Wednesday, the focus was often on the darker side of the organisation founded by Assange. Domscheit-Berg and several other former Wikileaks employees broke with the enigmatic Australian last August over disagreements about the website’s future course.

Domscheit-Berg, who as the organisation’s top programmer was nicknamed “the architect,” told Stern he took with him essential parts of the Wikileaks platform software along with a sensitive trove of information because he did not feel Assange could protect it or its sources from potential harm.

But he rejected accusations of sabotage, calling his actions a “recovery of intellectual property.”

He also insisted he has no interest in using the information for his own purposes, but will only return it to Assange when Wikileaks can ensure it will be secure.

“Children shouldn’t play with guns,” wrote Domscheit-Berg in the book, portions of which were posted before publication on the website Cryptome.

“We just decided to take away these dangerous toys so that Julian could not do harm to anyone else. We were and are primarily bound to our duty vis-à-vis our sources’ security.”

That information does not include documents related to Bank of America, which Assange has announced will be the next big revelation from Wikileaks. According to Domscheit-Berg, the bank data are old and “completely unspectacular.”

In talking about his former boss, Domscheit-Berg describes a personality with very light and very dark sides. On the one hand, he calls Assange “freethinking,” “energetic” and “brilliant.” Yet, he is also “paranoid,” “power-obsessed” and “monomaniacal.”

“I’ve never experienced such an extreme personality before,” he said.

“Inside Wikileaks” talks about the many pseudonyms used by Assange, and that often Wikileaks employees were never sure whether they were communicating with a real person or yet another of Assange’s aliases.

Domscheit-Berg also disputed claims by Assange that the decryption of an infamous video showing air-to-ground strikes by US troops in Baghdad in July 2007 cost $50,000. Assange said he wanted to recoup that sum for the video, which showed the killing of at least 18 people, including two civilian reporters.

That was not true, Domscheit-Berg wrote, saying Assange's only expenses were rent for his house in Iceland and his plane ticket.

Regarding his attitude toward women, Domscheit-Berg wrote that Assange had simple criteria, namely, that they be young, preferably under 22, that didn't question what he said. He wrote that Assange often said: “She has to be aware of her role as a woman.”

His feelings of superiority appeared to extend to his entire circle. Domscheit-Berg wrote that discussions with Assange were often cut off with the statement: “Do not challenge leadership in times of crisis.”

Domscheit-Berg and other former Wikileaks colleagues have not followed that directive. After breaking with Assange, they decided to launch their own whistleblower site called OpenLeaks.

It is meant to be more neutral that the site that inspired it, not influenced by the personal politics or the preferences of its programmers. Domscheit-Berg also said he wanted to pull back the curtain of secrecy that Assange had drawn over Wikileaks.

At a gathering of the Chaos Computer Club, a hacker community in Berlin, Domscheit-Berg said those who want transparency should “stand in the sunlight ourselves and enjoy that we are creating a more transparent society, not create a transparent society while sneaking around in the shadows.”

The Local/kdj

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:35 February 9, 2011 by Kayak
And Dumb-sh*t-Berg is giving the profits of his telltale book to Dumb-sh*t-Berg. Go figure!
16:52 February 9, 2011 by LiberalGuy
I just want to get my say in. Before the inevitable name calling that will take place in the comment section in regards to this story. Prepare for it to get heated.

My comment: 'No comment'
17:34 February 9, 2011 by elboertjie
So, when will Domscheit-Berg stand in the sunlight?
19:08 February 9, 2011 by duckys
I am surprised that there has not been an assassination...
22:50 February 9, 2011 by ngwanem
Daniel thanks but of what importance and relevance has your recent open leak done? i'm sniffing some envy in the air... sniff sniff
08:46 February 10, 2011 by catjones
Assange is a data pimp who's way over his head. The world's governments have one thing he doesn't and that's infinite time.
17:47 February 11, 2011 by Kennneth Ingle
It sounds like somebody has been bought off to give Wikileaks a bad name. Whether Openleaks is just as honest is something to be judged in the future.
Today's headlines
North braces for storms and floods
Cars waiting to be loaded onto the ferry at Bremerhaven, Lower Saxony, were caught in flooding on Wendnesday. Photo: DPA

North braces for storms and floods

UPDATE: The remnants of hurricane Gonzalo have drifted across the Atlantic and are now threatening North German cities with flooding, forecasters warned on Wednesday. The news followed a night of accidents caused by heavy winds in southern Germany. READ  

Kerry's challenge to Russia at Berlin Wall
US Secretary of State John Kerry at the Berlin Wall. Photo: DPA

Kerry's challenge to Russia at Berlin Wall

US Secretary of State John Kerry visited remnants of the Berlin Wall on Wednesday and warned that East-West tensions again threaten freedom in Europe, 25 years after its collapse. READ  

Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train
Sonneborn in the EU Parliament. Photo: DPA

Satirist lives the dream on EU gravy train

Martin Sonneborn can’t believe his luck. The German comedian, leader of the political party “Die Partei”, managed to get elected to the European Parliament in May, and has found himself overwhelmed with fresh material. READ  

The Local List
Which high school cliche is your city?
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock

Which high school cliche is your city?

This week's Local List takes a leap of imagination and finds German cities fit perfectly into high school cliche categories. Who's the class clown? Who's the nerd? READ  

'German' hand grenades paraded by Isis in Syria
A screen grab from a jihadist video showing the grenades. Photo: DPA

'German' hand grenades paraded by Isis in Syria

The German military was on Wednesday investigating reports that Bundeswehr hand grenades have fallen into the hands of the Islamic State (Isis) terrorist group after a video appearing to show captured weapons surfaced on the Internet. READ  

Indian schools drop German teaching
Indian pupils enrolled in German classes prepare for Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier's visit to their school. Photo: DPA

Indian schools drop German teaching

Thousands of children in India will no longer be taught German after the country's education ministry allowed a contract to lapse. READ  

Syria-bound US teens stopped in Frankfurt
A passenger plane landing at Frankfurt airport. Photo: DPA

Syria-bound US teens stopped in Frankfurt

Three teenage girls from Colorado were arrested by German police at Frankfurt airport after running away from home, reportedly on their way to join Isis in Syria. READ  

Tourists stranded on cable car over Rhine
Tuesday night's rescue operation Photo: DPA

Tourists stranded on cable car over Rhine

Six people, including a family and two American tourists, were left dangling 40 metres in the air over the Rhine for hours late on Tuesday after Cologne's cable car came to a halt. READ  

7:1! Bayern celebrate record in Rome
Arjen Robben celebrates the first goal against AS Roma. Photo: DPA

7:1! Bayern celebrate record in Rome

Bayern Munich were elated on Tuesday night after securing a 7-1 victory against Roma in their group stage Champions League clash. READ  

Nazi U-boat wreck found off US coast
A preserved World War II U-Boat on the beach near Kiel, Germany. Photo: DPA

Nazi U-boat wreck found off US coast

A World War II German U-boat and an American merchant vessel it sank in battle have been found deep in the ocean off the coast of North Carolina, officials said on Tuesday. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
An international school unlike any other : School on the Rhine
Photo: Fitzpatrick family
Society
'We still don't know what happened to Matthew'
Photo: Mariana Schroeder
Munich
Special Report: Hope and chaos at Munich's refugee shelters
Photo: DPA
Berlin
Robbers blow up Berlin bank
Photo: DPA
Culture
Can you top our history quiz leaderboard?
Photo: Facebook
Society
German motorcycle gang joins Isis fight
Photo: DPA
Politics
UKIP ‘seeks EU pact’ with German satirical party
Photo: DPA
Gallery
PHOTOS: World's biggest erotic fair opens in Berlin
Photo: DPA/Shutterstock
Gallery
11 things Germans are afraid of...
Photo: DPA
Gallery
The ten richest people in Germany
Photo: DPA
Business & Money
JobTalk: All you need to know about working in Germany
National
Share news tips with The Local Germany
Sponsored Article
Bilingual education from nursery to graduation at Phorms
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

3,490
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd