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Julian Assange and Ricardo Patiño, Ecuador’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Integration at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London case. That’s why no one person or group should be entitled to make a judgement on it. Are there any leaks that, in hindsight, you think WikiLeaks should have handled differently? In hindsight I think we made too many concessions to liberal hangups about the release of information during the releases of 2010. We are not against the idea that redactions for a period of time are necessary in extreme cases, but traditionally we have set a very high bar for this. During 2010, we allowed ourselves to be persuaded to lower this bar. In part we felt this was distasteful, but politically necessary, since we were engaged in a co-operative endeavour with traditional media organisations, which were skittish and easily-pressured. But I think it was a mistake. In practice, nobody took any notice of our meticulous, systematised, global redaction process. We were accused of just ‘dumping’ even though it wasn’t true – we were going to extreme lengths and burning up huge resources, over months and months, to orchestrate a global redaction process involving over 100 media organisations. This was entirely eclipsed by a false mainstream media narrative. It didn’t matter what we did, they were going to write that anyway. And we put ourselves at the mercy of the editorial bias of newspapers like The Guardian, which, in violation of our agreement with it, censored material for all sorts of reasons that had nothing to do with the safety of individuals. And of course, as soon as you start censoring material you are on a slippery slope and the whole purpose of giving back to the public its own history falls by the wayside. Arena Big Interview Cancillería Ecuador Creative Commons by SA 2.0 In hindsight, we shouldn’t have done this. It was too much of a compromise and for months our core supporters – members of the public – were crying out for full access, so that they could no longer be in the hands of journalists. I regret that we asked them to wait and wait. We should have held on more firmly to our values. The dangers of publication were exaggerated – I’ve always said this. Nobody was harmed. We made a concession to a neurotic liberal consensus that censorship is in the public interest. In the end, that is a conservative – even a reactionary – place to be. We still disclosed more than the Western establishment newspapers – in fact, more than 1,000 times more. But we should have been more confident in our founding principles. We have learned from the experience, unredacted all previous redactions and never censored anything subsequently. If WikiLeaks did not censor the names of informers in Afghanistan, thus invading their privacy and possibly endangering their lives, is this action morally different to that of the NSA, exposed by Edward Snowden? Even if the premises of this question were correct, of course they would be morally different actions. However, the premises of the question are not correct. The ‘informants’ controversy with Afghanistan was started up by the Murdoch press, The Times of London. They were looking for an angle on the WikiLeak story of 2010, which at the time they perceived as being in the hands of their UK competitor, The Guardian. The Pentagon, meanwhile, was looking for a way to distract from the real issue: the destruction of tens of thousands of lives by the war in Afghanistan, documented in detail by our material. They global second quar ter 2014 www.global -br ief ing.org l 37 


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