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Assange: "This disclosure is about the truth"

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange describes the Iraqi War Logs as being an effort to “correct an attack on the truth”.

THE FOLLOWING are some slightly redacted remarks given by WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange at a press conference this morning, in the aftermath of the release of almost 400,000 classified documents detailing the reality of the War in Iraq.

This disclosure is about the truth.

[Australian whistleblowing journalist Philip Knightley said:] “The first casualty of war is the truth but the attack on the truth by war begins long before war starts and continues long after a war ends.”

In our release – the intimate detail of that war from the US perspective – we hope to correct some of that attack on the truth that occurred before the war, during the war, and which has continued on during the war offically concluded.

In that material, the details of some 109,000 people are documented. Internally [are] declared [the deaths of] 66,000 civilians. Working with the Iraq Body Count, we have seen that there are approx 15,000 never-previously-documented or known cases of civlians who have been killed by violence in Iraq.

That tremendous scale should not make us blind to the small human scale that occurs in this material. In fact, it is the deaths of one and two people per event that [contribute to] the overwhelming number of people [killed] in Iraq.

Folloowing our release of the Afghan War Diaries, we thought we would try and pull together a broader coaition – not just involving print, but one that had the emotionality of TV [...]

We structured a collaboration with The Guardian, Der Spiegel, and the New York Times, our previous print partners, and new groups – the Bureau of Investigative Journalism, IraqBodyCount – whose knowledge of deaths in Iraq is unsurpassed, Swedish TV station SVT, al-Jazeera, Channel 4, BBC Radio, and I’m sure I’ve missed some others. Yes – Le Monde.

That collaboration seems to have worked. We will see over the next few days what’s to be made of it. So far we can see a fairly strong response – as of 3am this morning, 1500 articles, according to Google News – and of course all around the world we can see the result.

We make a promise to our forces, who go through incredible risks sometimes to get our material, that we will do justice for their efforts and get the maximum political impact possible.

While I’m not sure we have achieved the maximum possible [impact], we are getting pretty close.

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Gavan Reilly

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