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OpenLeaks in bid to rival WikiLeaks

Former WikiLeaks supporters at odds with founder Julian Assange will shortly launch OpenLeaks, a rival project aiming to get secret documents directly to media, one of them said Friday.

“I can confirm that we will be operating under the name ‘OpenLeaks’,” said former Icelandic WikiLeaks member Herbert Snorrason.

Unlike WikiLeaks, OpenLeaks will not publish leaked documents directly online but instead make leaks available to partner media.

“This is not a single website that would gather material and publish it but rather a system provider to which people can upload information anonymously,” Snorrason said.

The domain name openleaks.org on Friday redirected to a blank page with a circular arrow logo and the mention “Coming soon!”.

“OpenLeaks is a technology project that is aiming to be a service provider for third parties that want to be able to accept material from anonymous sources,” Daniel Domscheit-Berg, WikiLeaks’ former spokesman in Germany, added in a Swedish public television (SVT) documentary.

“We will be partnering up with organisations that will have a receiving ‘drop box’ on their sites operated by them. We will not be receiving nor distributing information directly,” Snorrason, a 25 year old history student, said.

The Icelander, who quit WikiLeaks after a public feud with Assange, had already in November told media about the rival project.

“If ‘Newspaper X’ is one of our partners, that paper will have a ‘Send us anonymous information’ link on their site. People can then click on that link and forward their information without the risk of the information being traced back to them,” he explained.

“If ‘Newspaper X’ does not want to leak the information they have received, a system will be in place for other partner media to review the information and share it if they choose to do so,” he added.

In SVT’s “WikiRebels — The Documentary” to be broadcast Sunday, Daniel Domscheit-Berg and Herbert Snorrason explain how they quit WikiLeaks because of disagreements with Assange on how to run the site and because of personal conflict with the 39-year-old Australian.

“If you preach transparency to everyone else, you have to be transparent yourself. You have to fulfill the same standards you expect of others,” Domscheit-Berg says.

“Eventually it ended with me arguing with Julian about basically his dictatorial behavior, which ended with Julian saying to me that if I had problems with him I could just piss off, I quote,” says Snorrason.

Founded in 2006, whistle blowing website WikiLeaks emerged into the media spotlight this year with major document leaks on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

It unleashed a major diplomatic storm this month by releasing thousands of secret US embassy cables.

One of the WikiLeaks founders, former hacker Julian Assange, is now in jail in London pending a hearing on extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted for questioning over sexual assault allegations. – AFP

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