WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, in an interview published on Sunday, said the goal of releasing secret documents is not to undermine governments but to “promote justice.”
“It is not our aim to destabilise any government per se. Rather, we work for the public’s right to information about and from their governments,” Assange said in interview answers emailed to Ecuador’s El Comercio newspaper.
The Australian, a former computer hacker, currently is in Britain fighting extradition to Sweden over allegations of sexual assault.
WikiLeaks has published thousands of cables in which US diplomats give their often candid views on world leaders. It has also leaked thousands of secret documents about the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.
“The purpose of WikiLeaks is to promote justice by opening governments and powerful corporations,” he told the newspaper. “There is too much work done by these entities to hide information, information that should be known to the public.
“In some instances this had had a rightfully destabilising effect,” he continued, “but this is a byproduct of our larger aim.
“If the truth we reveal mobilises people to react against illegitimate government then this is their choice,” he said. “How the people chose to react to what they discover about their governments is up to them.”
One of the leaked diplomatic cables caused a flap in US-Ecuador relations.
Ecuador expelled the US ambassador, Heather Hodges, in April after the publication of a 2009 cable in which Hodges said Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa appointed a police chief despite knowing he was corrupt.
In response, the US State Department expelled Quito’s envoy to Washington, Luis Gallegos.
“We work to fight this censorship by actively revealing information these organisations hide,” Assange wrote.
The leaked cables, he argued, have “shown the public all over the world what their governments are doing and what the US thinks of key people in their country. This is important information that the public in each country should know.”
The US government is prosecuting one of its soldiers, Bradley Manning, on charges of leaking classified cables to WikiLeaks.
Manning, a 23-year-old Welsh-born army intelligence officer, allegedly provided WikiLeaks with a trove of hundreds of thousands of sensitive US military and diplomatic documents. Agencies