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August 23, 2011 "The Age" --- WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's former right-hand man has irrevocably destroyed 3500 unpublished files leaked to the whistleblower site including the complete US no-fly list, five gigabytes of Bank of America documents and detailed information about 20 neo-Nazi groups.
Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who left WikiLeaks last year after a falling out with Assange, revealed the document destruction in an interview with Der Spiegel.
WikiLeaks has hit back, accusing Domscheit-Berg of being in bed with US intelligence agencies and of jeopardising the leaking of “many issues of public importance, human rights abuses, mass telecommunications interception, banking and the planning of dozens of neo-nazi groups”.
One Guatemalan human rights lawyer, Renata Avila, published an open letter earlier this month asking what happened to the material she submitted to WikiLeaks.
In a lengthy further statement, WikiLeaks reveals how it spent the past 11 months unsuccessfully trying to negotiate the return of the unpublished leaks and internal communications taken by Domscheit-Berg.
“Mr. Domscheit-Berg has repeatedly attempted to blackmail WikiLeaks by threatening to make available, to forces that oppose WikiLeaks, these private communications and to which Mr. Domscheit-Berg is not a party,” the statement reads.
“He has stated he will commit this action, should WikiLeaks move to charge him with sabotage or theft.”
The statement claims the negotiations were terminated by the mediator who had “doubts” about Domscheit-Berg's “integrity and claimed willingness to return the material”.
In response Domscheit-Berg threatened to destroy the files, WikiLeaks claimed. He now appears to have followed through on that threat.
“The material is irreplaceable and includes substantial information on many issues of public importance, human rights abuses, mass telecommunications interception, banking and the planning of dozens of neo-nazi groups. Our sources have in some cases risked their lives or freedom attempting to convey these disclosures to WikiLeaks and to the public,” the statement reads.
WikiLeaks says that because it does not collect or retain source identifying information, sources are not significantly at risk.
In a separate statement, Assange accuses Domscheit-Berg of being in contact with the FBI, implying that he is helping out the US investigation into WikiLeaks and Assange. He also links Domscheit-Berg's wife, Anke, to the CIA.