• Germany's news in English
 

Former Assange cohort says WikiLeaks is broken

Marc Young · 10 Feb 2011, 17:56

Published: 10 Feb 2011 17:56 GMT+01:00

Presenting his new book in Berlin about his time working with Assange, the German programmer said WikiLeaks now lacked the infrastructure to handle data that could lead to new earthshaking revelations.

“WikiLeaks is no longer functioning, you cannot submit anything and there’s no mail server,” he said at a press conference. “It’s definitely not dead, but where is it headed?”

Domscheit-Berg also admitted he and others took with him essential parts of the WikiLeaks platform software along with a small trove of information because he did not feel Assange could protect it or its sources from potential harm.

Though he has since offered to return should WikiLeaks prove it can ensure proper security measures, the website’s lawyers are now threatening to sue him.

His book, “Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website,” offers a personal account of his experiences with the charismatic Australian at the head of the organization responsible for leaking US diplomatic cables and secret Pentagon files on the war in Iraq.

Styling himself as the anti-Assange – a buttoned-down Teuton versus an anarchic Aussie – Domscheit-Berg said he hoped to set the record straight after falling out with Assange and leaving WikiLeaks last autumn, along with others.

“Assange is distorting our departure,” he said. “Anyone who criticizes him is discredited and receives a letter from a lawyer.”

Often going into trivial detail about his time with Assange, Domscheit-Berg paints an ultimately unflattering portrait of the WikiLeaks mastermind. He even claims Assange tormented his pet cat.

But Domscheit-Berg denied the book was about getting “payback” against his former friend and colleague: “Julian started this mudslinging.”

While admitting Assange was “courageous” and “brilliant,” Domscheit-Berg said he and other former WikiLeaks collaborators were disturbed by his need for secrecy and lack of transparency.

Domscheit-Berg also said Assange had worrying ties to people of dubious character, such as the Sweden-based Holocaust denier Israel Shamir, whom Assange allegedly wanted to let work with WikiLeaks under a false name so as to not attract unwanted attention.

He said he eventually decided he could not go along with Assange’s credo of “preaching transparency for others but disguising yourself.” Domscheit-Berg said though he still believed in WikiLeaks' aims, there was no reason “to make everything like a James Bond film” like Assange tended to do.

Domscheit-Berg said Assange frequently showed megalomaniac tendencies and attempted to concentrate all power at WikiLeaks with himself. He also resisted making the group’s finances transparent and accountable.

“He claimed I was in a ‘Germanic bubble’ and that I need too much structure and organization,” Domscheit-Berg said. “I was told (finances) were none of my business.”

The programmer said his new project OpenLeaks intended to learn from WikiLeaks’ mistakes.

Besides working with established media partners, the new website plans to cooperate with non-governmental organizations.

“We’re just going to be a service provider,” he said, promising the 12-person group would not be shrouded in secrecy.

Marc Young (marc.young@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

16:45 February 10, 2011 by freechoice
Wikileaks is basically over-rated...claims to have 200,000 documents, only 1,000 been released so far....
19:20 February 10, 2011 by Gretl
"Assange frequently showed megalomaniac tendencies and attempted to concentrate all power at WikiLeaks with himself. He also resisted making the group¦#39;s finances transparent and accountable."

Shocking....not
22:35 February 10, 2011 by maxbrando
Comment removed by The Local for breach of our terms.
22:38 February 10, 2011 by pepsionice
After you read up on the accusations by the two women, and Berg's comments....Assange is the least likely candidate that any organization would want to have in a leadership role. His entire vision is around taking big governments and big people. There's nothing worthwhile in his life over the past fifteen years except WikiLeaks and as a person....I doubt that anyone would call him a 'friend'.

WikiLeaks will be around for a while....but after the courts wrap up the case and he gets a year or two in a Swedish prison....I suspect his value to the organization will rapidly decrease. What does he do after jail? That might an interesting question to ask.
08:48 February 11, 2011 by catjones
All data has a shelf-life and each day the wiki docs lose value. Apply the 'so what?' test to this batch and they come up short.
08:49 February 11, 2011 by Kayak
But Daniel, the story is still about Julian! No one cares about what YOU do Daniel. Ok, so your mom will be interested in you but not so Julian's mom! If you continue to obey Daniel, then they may give you a program on RTL next year but only if you remain nice and polite to them.
09:25 February 11, 2011 by tallady
He comes across as an arrogant, self-serving publicity-seeker, rather than the principled fighter for justice . He is no modern day Robin Hood.
10:32 February 11, 2011 by dcgi
So Daniel and Julian had a break-up of course he's going to be releasing a "tell all story" or book (coerced or not), he'll make a pot-load of cash releasing this book.

No as to whether this is good or bad, I don't honestly think it will hurt Wikileaks all that much, Julian and his team strive for openness and they've had to leak their own documents before now.

Loads more cables to come, Wikileaks is far from dead.
16:25 February 13, 2011 by ngwanem
"oh i cared about julian but he dumped me for the two swedish girls. oh that hurts... i'm distraught and i'm going to write a book about it" - daniel?
Today's headlines
Footballers gone wild
Neuer's 'glass palace' angers idyllic village
Tegernsee is a famous beauty sport. Photo: DPA

Neuer's 'glass palace' angers idyllic village

4 hours ago

Villagers in the picturesque Bavarian region of Tegernsee are bristling at World Cup-winning Germany goalkeeper and Bayern Munich star Manuel Neuer's plan to build a huge glass villa on the shores of their beautiful lake.

Interview
'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'
Canadian composer and performer Owen Pallett. Photo: Brian Vu

'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'

4 hours ago

The Local speaks with Oscar-nominated Canadian musician Owen Pallett about performing at legendary Berlin club Berghain - and just why the world's artists are so fascinated with the German capital.

Germany name squad for crunch Scotland match
Liverpool's Emre can has been called up to the Germany squad to face Scotland and Poland. Photo: DPA

Germany name squad for crunch Scotland match

6 hours ago

Liverpool's uncapped defender Emre Can was on Friday called up to the Germany squad for the world champions' forthcoming key Euro 2016 qualifiers against Poland and Scotland.

How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears
How will life for Brits in Germany change if the Brexit happens? Photo: DPA

How Brits in Germany are facing Brexit fears

8 hours ago

Greece is the talk of the town this year. But in 2016, it will be Britain questioning its EU membership. The referendum outcome could be life altering for many Brits living in Germany.

Honest senior rewarded for handing in €12,000
An 87-year-old pensioner found the cash in the bin. Photo: DPA

Honest senior rewarded for handing in €12,000

6 hours ago

After throwing away €12,000 this week, a landlord in North Rhine-Westfalia thought he'd made one of the most expensive blunders of his life. But the money made it home safely, police said on Friday – and all thanks to an honest pensioner.

Refugee party against far-right CAN go ahead
Anti-refugee demonstrators carry a sign accusing Chancellor Angela Merkel of being a "traitor to the nation" this week in Heidenau. Photo: DPA

Refugee party against far-right CAN go ahead

10 hours ago

Update: A court in Dresden has ruled that refugees and their supporters can go ahead with a party to demonstrate against this week's displays of far-right hatred in Heidenau.

Elite cops' hazing ritual: eat ice cream off thighs
A Cologne SEK unit on deployment in 2013. Photo: DPA

Elite cops' hazing ritual: eat ice cream off thighs

9 hours ago

Officers from Cologne's elite Spezialeinsatzkommando (SEK) police unit should be punished for hazing practices they inflicted on new members, an official in North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) said on Thursday.

Knut autopsy could help human disease sufferers
Knut died in front of visitors at Berlin Zoo in 2011. Photo: DPA

Knut autopsy could help human disease sufferers

10 hours ago

Four years after Berlin's celebrity polar bear Knut died, a neuroscientist has discovered the cause of death - an autoimmune disorder which affected his brain.

Army buys in new guns to replace defective G36
A German soldier armed with a G36 rifle during training exercises in Poland. Photo: DPA

Army buys in new guns to replace defective G36

11 hours ago

Some German soldiers will be carrying different weapons within a year as the Defence Ministry scrambles to replace standard rifle which loses accuracy under hot temperatures.

Climate change
Sweltering summer has climatologists sweating
Dried out soil in Bavaria. Photo: DPA

Sweltering summer has climatologists sweating

11 hours ago

Heat over 40 degrees, weeks without rain, sudden storms and flash floods – in the summer of 2015 Germany experienced all these things. Are these extremes set to become the norm?

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Weekend of anti-refugee violence shocks Germany
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
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

7,117
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd