German face of Wikileaks steps down in anger

German face of Wikileaks steps down in anger
Photo: DPA
The German spokesman for whistle-blowing journalism site Wikileaks, Daniel Schmitt, has resigned his post following internal problems in the organisation and arguments with the founder Julian Assange.

Schmitt, who recently described to The Local in an exclusive interview how the site was changing the journalism and investigations game, told Der Spiegel over the weekend that he’d had enough and was leaving.

“We all had crazy stress over the last months. Mistakes happened, which is ok as long as one learns from them. But to do that one has to admit them. Above all, it seems the trust that we are all pulling in the same direction has been lost,” he said.

The website created headlines over the summer when it published 92,000 classified US documents concerning the Afghanistan war, which provided insight into what is actually happening there.

Schmitt says he is unhappy that such large international projects have taken priority over smaller national documents – and blames Assange for this change in emphasis.

“I have tried several times to talk about it but Julian Assange reacted to all criticism with the allegation that I am not obeying him and have become disloyal to the project,” said Schmitt.

He said he would not be the only one to leave the group. “There is a lot of discontent and some will leave like me,” he said.

Schmitt also revealed his real identity in the magazine, saying his name was actually Daniel Domscheit-Berg and that he had previously worked in the IT security sector. He said he was recruited to Wikileaks via personal contacts and gave up his regular work to devote himself full time to the project.

Assange has been increasingly under attack since the publication of the US documents, with allegations of sexual attacks made against him in Sweden, which he said were part of a campaign against him.

The Local/hc


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