Former WikiLeaks insider says CBC stymied in attempt to obtain leaked documents
A former WikiLeaks spokesperson has revealed in a new book that the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation wanted to analyze and release secret government files obtained by the whistle-blowing website.
However, the Canadian public broadcaster was stymied by other English-language media outlets that were already doing this.
Daniel Domscheit-Berg, author of Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website (Crown Publishers), writes that CBC investigative journalist and author Harvey Cashore "insisted on meeting me in person" in August 2010.
In addition to working for CBC for many years, Cashore wrote The Truth Shows Up: A Reporter's Fifteen-year Odyssey Tracking Down the Truth about Mulroney, Schreiber and the Airbus (Key Porter, 2010).
Domscheit-Berg was on holiday in Iceland at the time, and they met in the town of Isafjodor.
"Cashore suggested we team up," he reveals. "The CBC wanted to be involved in our next publication and was prepared to put several editors at our disposal to help us process the material."
The next big dump of documents by WikiLeaks concerned the war in Iraq. The website published 391,832 reports between 2004 and 2009 from U.S. military files.
According to Domscheit-Berg, he spoke to Cashore for two hours in a fish restaurant, but the CBC's attempt to get access to the documents failed.
"Our other media partners refused to give CBC a slice of the cake," Domscheit-Berg writes. "The people from Der Spiegel were relaxed about the idea, but our English-language partners flat-out refused. Julian told me they had ratcheted up the pressure."
Those two English-language partners are the Guardian and the New York Times, which have both been the beneficiaries of enormous amounts of positive exposure for many years on CBC Radio.
Later in the book, Domscheit-Berg writes that he has concerns about the role of exclusive media partners of WikiLeaks.
"Confidential information once kept under wraps by the US State Department and the American military is now in the hands of five large media companies and Julian Assange," he notes. "They decide what is of public interest and what is not. The recent Cablegate publications are a far cry from the original ideas behind WikiLeaks. I think they stray much too far from those basic principles."
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