Navigating the Wikileaks leak, from the man himself

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on ABC TV Lateline last night:

TONY JONES: You said in your press conference that you and the conventional journalists you’d worked with had only managed to read between one and 2,000 of the reports properly. Is that correct?

JULIAN ASSANGE: Yeah, that is true. To read and to read them in detail and that, there is just so much material we maybe had 20 people across the four organisations working on this full time and only for about a month for the other organisations and about six weeks for us.

TONY JONES: So, how many of the reports that you put on Wikileaks went onto the site without you actually knowing the detail of what was in them?

JULIAN ASSANGE: It’s fair to say that only two per cent have been read in precise detail and the rest have been hived off using these classification systems.

TONY JONES: It’s interesting that some conventional journalists, like for example the editor of the New York Times, have been prepared to work with you on these leaked documents, but they still want to distance themselves from you and from Wikileaks and from your methods. What do you think is going on there?

JULIAN ASSANGE: That’s quite interesting the well the Spiegel and the Guardian were not really like that. They really did come properly to the table, but you know, the sort of the environment in the United States, the publishing environment I presume is just a really quite difficult when saying anything strongly against the war.

In previous cases, what we’ve seen is you can actually get important stories into the New York Times and into other mainstream press outlets like CNN. We did that with the collateral murder tape which exposed the murders of two Reuters’ journalists in Baghdad and the slaying of 16 to 24 other people.

But then what happens is editorial space is opened up for apologists who simply have opinion. So to get story in about the war, it has to be hard fact, and you have to have the hard facts, but to get a pro war story in all you need is opinion, and I think that really represents just a sheer scope of the war industry in the United States.

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