Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have announced the release of 1.7 million US Department of State diplomatic communications by the whistleblower website, dubbed "Project K." Updated with Q&A video.
Calling it “the single most significant geopolitical publication that has ever existed” Assange spoke via Skype from the Ecuadorian Embassy to a group of journalists at the National Press Club in Washington, DC.
The video above is introduced by WikiLeaks spokesman, Kristinn Hrafnsson.
It is almost three years to the day that Assange spoke at the Press Club in person to debut the video “Collateral Murder,” showing US soldiers firing at Iraqi civilians and Reuters journalists, that has since become one of WikiLeaks’ most well-recognized contributions to journalism.
Since the release of that video, WikiLeaks has become a target of a number of government investigations, including the fact that Assange himself is holed up in the Ecuadorian embassy in London to avoid being sent to Sweden for questioning on sexual assault charges, which could then lead to him being sent on to the US to face espionage charges for the release of this video and other diplomatic cables.
Despite this, WikiLeaks and Assange have continued their work and have now announced Project K, which contains roughly 1.7 million files composed of US Department of State diplomatic communications. This material has been classified, declassified, and in some instances, re-classified, but the access to these documents has been difficult for the general public until now.
Hrafnsson said in his introduction, “One form of secrecy is the complexity and the accessibility of documents.”
“You could say that the government cannot be trusted with these documents,” he added.
Assange starts his speech by quoting George Orwell's novel "1984", "He who controls the past controls the future, and he who controls the present controls the past.”
“The US administration cannot be trusted with its control of its past,” he said. “That is the result of this information being hidden by secrecy, but more often being hidden in the borderline between secrecy and complexity.”
The documents involved in the release span the period between 1973 and 1976 when Henry Kissinger sat at the head the State Department under Presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford.
These documents are being combined with the previously-released State Department diplomatic cables published starting in 2010 after US Army Private first class Bradley Manning gained access to military intelligence servers and sent over 250,000 documents to the site, along with “Collateral Murder” and a trove of other documents.
WikiLeaks has created an easily searchable database which gives journalists access to roughly 2 million documents on the subject of United States’ relationships with foreign nations during a number of presidential administrations.
Assange said the infrastructure, dubbed the WikiLeaks Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD), “is what Google should be like."
“This is a search system that investigative journalists can use effectively,” he said.
“The period of the 1970s in diplomacy is referred to as the ‘Big Bang.’ This is when the modern international order came to be,” Assange said at the press conference. “There is really only two periods: post-World War Two and the 1970s.”
“To understand all of that complexity, the US State Dept. put together a system to harvest intelligence from its diplomats across the world,” Assange said of Project K.
The video above is the first fifteen minutes of the press conference. Once a fuller version is available this article will be updated.
More details can be found on the WikiLeaks press release for Project K.
Q&A session after press conference:
In the video below, RT News interviews WikiLeaks representative Kristinn Hrafnsson about Project K: