In a July 20 interview, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange spoke about the resurgence of the platform, and the release of new evidence proving U.S. Secret Service surveillance of the German government on an unprecedented peacetime scale.
‘Drowning in Material’
Talking about the increase in published material over the last few months, Assange stressed that the site never stopped posting documents, but that some of these (regarding Syria, for example) had not been of great interest to Western media. In addition, the conflict since 2010 with the U.S. government lead to a banking blockade that cut WikiLeaks off from more than 90% of its finances and required creative measures to overcome, including a (now successful) challenge in the courts.
Assange has long been a fervent advocate of Bitcoin, and in particular the blockchain technology on which it is founded — although WikiLeaks did not initially accept bitcoin donations, allegedly at the behest of Satoshi Nakamoto, who believed that the level of unwanted government interest such a link would generate could destroy the fledgling community in its early stages. Nakamoto wrote in 2010:
“The project needs to grow gradually so the software can be strengthened along the way. I make this appeal to WikiLeaks not to try to use Bitcoin.”
WikiLeaks started accepting Bitcoin donations in June 2011, however, after the currency's first major boom.
Donations that were collected during the banking blockade enabled the site to implement a next-generation submission system that was just launched in beta in May. The system is cryptographically, operationally and legally secured, with national security sourcing in mind. This in turn has led to the current surge in submitted material, causing Assange to claim the organization is “drowning in material now.” He added:
“Economically, the challenge for WikiLeaks is whether we can scale up our income in proportion to the amount of material we have to process.”
German Government Surveillance
The most recent significant release of such material is the evidence that American intelligence agencies have intensively been collecting data on 125 top-level German politicians and officials for decades. Assange suggests that portions of this information, if leaked to journalists, could be used to take down the Merkel cabinet at any time.
The areas targeted in the material published so far are German political affairs, European policies and economic affairs. Assange asserts that by observing how the information (and which information) is passed up through the intelligence food chain, one can understand the political priorities of the U.S. government.
The intercepts so far published have been from the “Executive Edition” of the Global Signals Intelligence Highlights, which show, for example, the level of U.S. interest in the idea that Germany would propose a greater role for China in the International Monetary Fund. Based on this information, a decision could be made to nix the idea because the U.S. saw China’s help of Europe as a threat to its dominance. — although China buying U.S. debt to support the dollar is of course perfectly acceptable. Assange:
“An executive decision can be taken: Kill that idea of Merkel's before it learns to crawl.”
Thai Police Denial
Thai police have also this week denied using surveillance software, revealed by WikiLeaks to have been purchased for 10 million THB in 2013. A police spokesman did not deny buying the software, which he accepted could be used to spy on people. However, he claimed that it could not be used to spy on citizens in Thailand because to do so would be illegal and counter to national police policy.
As previously reported by Cointelegraph, the software, supplied by Italian firm Hacking Team, can be used to hack into Bitcoin and other private digital currency accounts.
By Barry Dolphin