He was Assange's companion until he left Wikileaks. Talking to stern magazine, Daniel Domscheit-Berg looks back critically on the platform and its founder Julian Assange.
Daniel Domscheit-Berg: Left Wikileaks in August 2010© Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Wikileaks cannot reliably protect its secret documents and sources anymore. That's why former staff "secured" a large part of the data collected, says the former German spokesman of the organisation, Daniel Domscheit-Berg as revealed in an exclusive interview with stern magazine.
Furthermore, a first-rate computer programmer - internally dubbed "The Architect" - has left with large parts of software written for Wikileaks. Vital functions of the platform "have therefore not been active" since September 2010. Domscheit-Berg and other activists left the organisation last August after falling out with Wikileaks-founder Assange during discussions over how to go forward.
Bank of America's internal documents, whose impending publication Assange has announced repeatedly, were not part of the data secured by Domscheit-Berg. But these datasets are quite old and, according to Domscheit-Berg's estimate "quite completely unspectacular." In talking to stern, he rejected accusations of sabotage: The software the defectors took with them was "intellectual property" that was made available to Wikileaks.
He had to take unpublished datasets to secure the informants' safety: "Wikileaks was not able to guarantee their security." The platform currently does not even have a coded website anymore, he says. Obviously, Assange is too busy "exploiting" data treasures at hand. When Assange can guarantee once again that he can keep the documents secure, Domscheit-Berg will transfer the kidnapped data sets back to him.
He never before "had live to see such a flagrantly extreme personality as Assange's", stern quotes from Domscheit-Berg's book "Inside Wikileaks". The German, who worked almost three years for "the world's most dangerous website", describes the Australian on the one hand as very "freethinking", "energetic" and "ingenious". On the other hand he found him "paranoid", "obsessed by power" and "megalomaniac".
Domscheit-Berg calls the early successes of Wikileaks a major blag: "If our enemies had known that we were only two extremely loud-mouthed young men working with just one single ancient machine - they would have had the chance to stop our ascent."
Domscheit-Berg alleges that without the software taken by him, the platform fell back to its former technical standard, a "chaos", that was "botchedly assembled", with "wildly proliferating programme lines" and "much too vulnerable".