Original video clips
Interviewer: Your servers are in position in Sweden today because of the protection that the Swedish legislation offers sources. But, if you want to benefit from these protections even need to have a legally responsible publisher. You don’t have that. Is there a risk that you have jeopardized the anonymity of your sources?
JA: We structure things in a number of ways to protect sources. The first protection is a technical one. That is, information is encrypted, no logs are ever kept. The second is legal. So, we pass information through Belgium and Sweden to take advantage of the laws there. Now, there has been a recent claim that the protection in Sweden is dependent upon a publishing certificate. So, that’s one of the reasons I am here to sort that out. Our legal advice at that time and I spoke again a week ago to our people that reviewed this legislation, is that the source protection component is not dependent on that, The protection from a prior restraint, so the publishing protection is dependent. Anyway, I am here to sort this out.
Int: But, is there a risk that you have been jeopardizing your sources
JA: No. There is no risk.
Int: You can promise your sources that they are secure?
JA: We can promise that we have engaged in a number of mechanisms that are independent of each other to protect them, to protect them technically, to protect them legally, and to protect them to some degree politically where we have an influence. We don’t keep information about sources in the first place. So these extra legal steps are something that is quite handy to protect the people involved, the staff involved and is not as important for our sources. Remember, we deal with organizations that do not follow rule of law, so we deal with intelligence agencies. So, we have a default assumption that the law will only get us so far and that’s why we have other techniques in addition to legal one.
Int: What do you think of the future of WikiLeaks? Now you’ve been publishing very controversial material that has been spread all over the world. What do you think is coming next? How will you develop?
JA: I think we will continue doing what we did and doing for the past four years. As time goes by, the level of material were publishing is increasing, the volume is increasing, and the trust that the public has in us to provide accurate information is also increasing. Our big problem now is that we’re growing too fast the demand by the public and the demand by whistleblowers exceeds our capacity to provide them with information as fast as we are getting it.
JA: What was reported was that amnesty was the leading organization of that. The spokesperson for amnesty has come out and said that that isn’t true, but that there was one person in amnesty who sent one e-mail. This was then subsequently leaked out through the Wall Street Journal. So there is something a little bit unusual going on here. Now, that said, there is a genuine issue. Whenever you release an enormous quantity of records, in this case 76,000 to 90,000, there is a chance that there will be extraneous information. Now, we asked I SAF, the International Security Assistance Force to assist us to review via a White House contact. That request is still open to the Pentagon to assist us with a 15,000. The Pentagon said that they are not interested in harm minimization.
Int: But still, you are the one that have been publishing these documents. Are you not responsible for what you have been publishing?
JA: It is simply not economically feasible if an organization such as the Pentagon does not assist us to go through every single line of an enormous compendium like that. So we are in a difficult position where if we understand the publication of such extraordinary material which reveals the deaths of 20,000 people and how they died. If we understand and believe that that brings justice and we also understand that the delay in publication is a delay in justice and a delay in justice is justice denied. So, there are no easy choices for this organization.
Int: But still now you are accused of risking more lives. And if they don’t want to help you if the Pentagon doesn’t want to help you, is that then right to risk those lives if they don’t want to help you?
JA: Well, what we have to do is just do what we can, with the money we can with the resources that we can.
Int: But if you don’t have the money, and then you don’t have the resources then it’s all right to risk new lives.
JA: Well, we are not pushed to that position. We’re pushed to the position that we have some resources we have some money and we ask other people for some assistance.
Int: Well, what is your possibility?
JA: Well our responsibility is to do that, is to make the best effort that we can, but we also have other responsibilities and other duties. We have the responsibility to all the people that can benefit from the release of that information. We are talking about information that derives from a war, a war that is killing hundreds of people per week. So, so far the Pentagon has stated that no one has been affected by the release of this information. Now, just in the past few weeks we have seen hundreds of people killed.
Int: US officials, they say that you have already might have blood on your hands and the Taliban confirm that they will read these documents thoroughly to see if they can find persons that collaborated with international forces. What is your opinion on that that you are actually helping the Taliban?
JA: My opinion is that we should be careful about what we are talking about. This information reveals the deaths of 20,000 people. Last week over 100 people died as a result of this war. This information contains crucial ingredients about the management of war and the management of civilians and how they died. So, looking at the media review in the past week I see that there has been a lot of talk about this subject but there has been less talk just recently about how there are hundreds of people that are dying per week are going to be preserved. These are real deaths that we are talking about, not hypothetical deaths. In relation to the statement by the Taliban, this statement by the Taliban was actually if you read it in detail, quite reasonable. Now, we have to be careful because the Taliban is actually differing groups of Afghan rebels that are given that one name. Anyway, what they say is they will use this information with their intelligence and they will check if there is proof that someone is a spy, not this information because they don’t trust it because it’s from the United States, and they will engage in the regular sort of prosecution or persecution. That’s what happens in war. That in a time of war, spies are tried in war. It’s not okay, and of course were not happy if we contributed to that in any way that we could avoid. But, if we look at this in a larger philosophical context, this information is so valuable that if it was a choice, unfortunately it’s not, but if it was a choice between publishing all of it without any sort of harm minimization review which we have engaged in, or publishing none of it, of course we would publish all of it, because the number of lives potentially saved by this information is in the thousands, tens of thousands, whereas so far two weeks after the publication, the Pentagon states that as far as it knows no one has been killed by it.
JA: We don’t take that sort of position. What we say is war should only be there as a way to stop war. Now, sometimes one country has to defend themselves or defend against some some other kind of abuse is occurring at a severe. But, war should only occur to stop war.
Int: If you ask for US they would say that that’s what’s happening.
JA: Were not seeing that. What we’re seeing over the past nine years as an escalation of war. We are seeing a war that is becoming more and more out of control. So it can’t keep going the way it has been going. Something must change. The way the war’s is being prosecuted must change and this archive provides evidence for both how it is going how it is going worse, and the ways in which it must change. It is not our role to prescribe how a war should be prosecuted, it is our role to reveal information that our sources tell us about the concerns and their concerns and these people presumably are within the US military, is that they leave there are too many casualties and the war’s going out of control.
Int: What I hear is that you want the international forces to leave Afghanistan. Is that correct?
JA: This is not a role our organization has. We don’t have a pro-war antiwar. We are an organization that represents what confidential sources want to say to the world. In this particular case what our confidential sources wanted to say to the world is that the war is going very badly. Something needs to change. And there are too many civilian casualties. That is our role to communicate that information. And so what is done with that information is something else. I mean, I am not an expert on how the Afghanistan war should be fought. That is not my role. Of course a personal opinion and my personal opinion is that you cannot have a western force in Afghanistan forever and that steps must be taken to plan for an exit strategy. Now actually, everyone agrees with that, that is nothing new. The United States has said for many years that it must have an exit strategy and is trying to work out what that is. But, this hopefully provides some greater impetus. According to Pew research, a conservative research body, that analyzes the media, as a result of the release of Afghan diary, this archive about the war, total war reportage in the United States has increased three times, so it has gone from 6% to 18% as a result of the release of our material. So, what we’re doing is bringing up the war into discussion in a way that had never been heard before.