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WikiLeaks founder warns of huge leak as last resort
Washington, Jan 31 (Agencies):
Published on 1 Feb. 2011 12:11 AM IST
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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on Sunday detailed a plan to release a deluge of secret documents should the whistleblower website be permanently shut down. In an exclusive interview with CBS News’s ‘60 Minutes’, Assange said his group had a “system whereby we distribute encrypted backups of things we have yet to publish”.
“There are backups distributed amongst many, many people, 100,000 people, and all we need to do is give them an encrypted key and they will be able to continue on,” he said.
The WikiLeaks founder, who is currently under US criminal investigation over the leaking of hundreds of thousands of secret military reports and diplomatic cables, said the key would only be released as a last resort.
“If a number of people were imprisoned or assassinated, then we would feel that we could not go on, and other people would have to take over our work, and we would release the keys,” he said. In the same interview, the 39-year-old Australian denied he was motivated by anti-Americanism or other political agendas, describing his group as “free press activists”.
“It’s not about saving the whales. It’s about giving people the information they need to support whaling or not support whaling,” he said. “That is the raw ingredient that is needed to make a just and civil society. And without that you’re just sailing in the dark.”
Assange refused to discuss the Swedish sex crimes allegations that have him largely confined to a house in the British countryside on bail pending extradition proceedings, and he refused to discuss future publishing plans.
He chuckled when asked about possible plans to release information on Bank of America, refusing to confirm or deny them. “We have all these banks squirming, thinking maybe it’s them,” he said.
“When you see abusive organisations suffer the consequences as a result of their abuse, and you see victims elevated... that’s a very pleasurable activity to be involved in.”
Assange claimed in an interview with Forbes magazine in late November that a “megaleak” by the website would target a major US bank early this year.
He has previously said that he has a treasure trove of documents on Bank of America, the largest US bank, whose shares tumbled more than three percent on November 30 shortly after the Forbes interview was released.
Peace Prize for WikiLeaks founder?
Oslo, Jan 31 (Agencies): The vibrant protest movements across the Arab world, Russian human rights activists and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will all likely be in the running for the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize, observers say as the deadline for nominating candidates approaches.
According to existing rules, the Norwegian Nobel Committee will only consider candidate proposals sent by February 01 for its pick, to be announced in October.
Since news events often influence nominations, this year’s list of candidates could be coloured by the recent waves of protests against authoritarian Arab regimes, including in Tunisia and Egypt. “That’s a possibility,” explained Nobel expert and historian Asle Sveen.
“But no name really stands out. In Egypt, the (opposition) movement seems very spontaneous. And (the most visible opposition leader) Mohamed ElBaradei already received a Nobel prize” in 2005, he pointed out.
The nature of the protests, which appear more motivated by socio-economic factors than ideological, could also complicate finding an obvious candidate.
The names of nominees are kept secret for 50 years, and although those entitled to nominate candidates are allowed to reveal their picks, Nobel observers are basically condemned to making educated guesses as to who will figure on the list.
Thousands of people are eligible to submit nominations, including members of Parliament and government worldwide, university professors, previous laureates and members of several international institutes.
The five-member Nobel Committee that awards the prize is also eligible to add to the list during its first meeting of the year, scheduled for February 28.

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