WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange defended his whistleblowing website last night claiming it was accountable to the public that financed it through donations.
Speaking at an Index on Censorship debate at the City University, London, Assange was challenged by Times columnist David Aaronovitch, who asked him: "What kind of accountability exists for you?"
Assange said: "The public decides whether to fund us. All our funding is from the public . The public votes on our behaviour on a week to week basis."
Assange told the audience WikiLeaks does not know who its donors are because they are deliberately kept anonymous in a blind trust, but he did say the largest donation the organisation had received was 20,000 Euros.
He said the Pentagon had produced no evidence that anyone had been harmed by its leak of the Afghan War Logs and dismissed reports of rifts in his organisation as being "false" or "lies". He added: "Propaganda is spread by superpowers to crush a small organisation."
Aaronovitch said those who opposed the war in Afghanistan probably supported the leaking of the Afghan War Logs and those whose priority was to defeat the Taliban did not. He accepted that the established media also has "accountability problems" but said the issue with WikiLeaks was "who guards the guards?"
- In an aside on the leaking of the MPs' expenses to the Daily Telegraph, Aaronovitch said the editor of The Times had turned down the story because he believed it was "unethical to buy information that had been stolen."