WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson’s exclusive interview to Mediamax
Kristinn Hrafnsson is an Icelandic investigative journalist and frontman for the WikiLeaks organization. Kristinn was named Icelandic Journalist of the Year three times, in 2004, 2007 and 2010.
- What’s the average percentage of Armenian content in WikiLeaks exposures?
- All in all we published more than 1700 cables from Armenia and about half of them were classified in one way or the other. That is a small portion of all the diplomatic cables that numbered more than 250 000. “Armenia” is mentioned in over 5000 cables and there is probably more content related to Armenian interests if you search by keywords, such as personalities in government and business or firms that have interest in the country.
It is best to use searchable databases that have been put together on the WikiLeaks content. One of the best is http://www.cablegatesearch.net.
- Have any of Armenian officials ever tried to contact WikiLeaks complaining against the materials you published about them?
- I am not aware of any attempt by Armenian officials or anyone that has relations to Armenia or interests in the country to contact WikiLeaks for such purposes. I think it was pretty well known that we would not bow to any outside pressure and that our publishing policy was, and is, known.
WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson
- Should the Armenian society expect new exposures on Armenian issues in the nearest future?
- As we have stated before, we do not pick targets, be it a country, a firm or any other entity. However, if there is information that people with good sense of civic duty believe should be exposed, it is certainly possible that materials with Armenian links will come through our organization and will be published by us.
- Are there any ethnic Armenians currently working for WikiLeaks and does WikiLeaks have its “own” people in Armenia?
- I cannot discuss the origin or the identity of people who work for us for security reasons. Only a few people have been identified publicly as working for the organization. We have people working for us all over the world.
- What are WikiLeaks’ biggest and most important exposures?
- There are too many to choose from. From earlier times, WikiLeaks has exposed corruption in Kenya, illegal and devastating toxic waste dumping in the Ivory Coast, corruption among Icelandic bankers - just to name a few. The Collateral murder video showing the killing of civilians in Iraq was a crucial publication as it showed the true nature of the evil war. It was not a singular event as we showed in the publications of The Iraq War Logs in October 2010. All of these publications and projects were very important but the major one was probably the Cablegate project, and in terms of size and scope it is undoubtedly the biggest leak in history.
WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson
- You are Julian Assange’s close friend. Assange is still under home arrest though even it didn’t stop his public activities. What do you think, how long will he be persecuted and what will the outcome be?
- UK Court will announce its verdict on Julian Assange’s long-running fight against extradition to Sweden on May 30th. But in that case, there is a threat of an attempt to extradite him to the U.S. where we have all the reasons to believe that there exists already a sealed indictment against him and possibly some others associated with the WL project. There is no end in sight to the persecution of the WikiLeaks, its founder, staff and friends.
- What influence did WikiLeaks exposures have during processes of the Arab Spring?
- It is universally known that Tunisia was the first domino to fall and become a trigger in the chain of events and it is clear that WikiLeaks played a role there. Exposures about the corruption of the Ben-Ali dictatorship infuriated people in the country. According to former opposition leaders, incumbent president and activists, WikiLeaks played a role of a catalyst in the dramatic events in Tunisia in December 2010- January 2011.
Narine Daneghyan spoke to Kristinn Hrafnsson specially for Mediamax.