Assange places his site above governments

April 10, 2011 at 4:50 PM

LONDON, April 10 (UPI) -- WikiLeaks is more transparent than governments because it takes voluntary donations, Julian Assange said in his first public forum since his arrest.

At a London debate sponsored by the New Statesman magazine and the Frontline Club Saturday, Assange said: "We are directly supported on a week-to-week basis by you. You vote with your wallets every week if you believe that our work is worthwhile or not. …

"That dynamic feedback, I say, is more responsive than a government that is elected after sourcing money from big business every four years."

The WikiLeaks founder was arrested in December on rape charges and is fighting extradition to Sweden.

Citing the wars in Vietnam and Iraq, Assange said, "The only way we can know whether information is legitimately kept secret is when it is revealed," The Guardian reported.

Douglas Murray, director of the Center for Social Cohesion, challenged Assange over his funding sources and employment of a Holocaust denier, Israel Shamir.

"What gives you the right to decide what should be known or not? Governments are elected. You, Mr. Assange, are not," Murray said.

Assange again denied telling Guardian reporters that if informants died from publication of leaks, they "had it coming to them."

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