Feeds

Assange 'threatened to sue' Grauniad over leak of WikiLeak

Irony, thy name is Julian

Security for virtualized datacentres

Julian Assange threatened to sue The Guardian last year when he learned it planned to publish stories based on leaked US diplomatic cables without his permission, it's claimed today.

The Wikileaks founder's gripe: That the paper had obtained the documents it intended to use not via him, but from a leaker within his organisation.

In November, Assange stormed into the office of editor Alan Rusbridger with lawyer in tow, a new Vanity Fair article says. The Australian had previously had the newspaper sign an undertaking that no stories based on the cables would be published until he gave the go-ahead.

However, The Guardian has subsequently obtained a second copy of the 1.6GB cache of 250,000 documents (only a few hundred have been published to date) via Heather Brooke*, a freelance journalist with contacts inside Wikileaks. The newspaper believed this separate, "unofficial" source released it from any confidentiality covenants with Assange.

He disagreed. According to Vanity Fair he was "enraged that he had lost control... arguing that he owned the information and had a financial interest in how and when it was released".

Assange was eventually calmed by the promise of a short delay to allow him to brief French and Spanish newspapers that the release was imminent, plus "a great deal of coffee followed by a great deal of wine".

"Much to come on the Wikileaks story," Brooke wrote on Twitter this morning. "Vanity Fair article is just the tip."

Like Assange, and his former colleague Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who left Wikileaks last year criticising his leadership, Brooke is preparing a book covering the organisation's year in the spotlight.

Nevertheless, today's story casts new light on the breakdown of relations between Wikileaks and The Guardian, the newspaper associated most closely with its mega-releases of intelligence reports from Afghanistan and Iraq, and the US diplomatic cables. The antipathy was first exposed before Christmas, when Assange complained to other newspapers about how his erstwhile primary media partner had reported on a leaked document relating to the sex charges he faces in Sweden.

It has been widely noted that both disputes suggest Assange has a rather a weak grasp of irony.

Nick Davies, the journalist who obtained the Swedish file, and brokered the original deal between Wikileaks and The Guardian, fell out with Assange long before his legal threat, Vanity Fair also reports. The pair have not spoken since late July, it's claimed, after Assange told Davies he had given the Afghan files to Channel 4, which the latter believed broke their exclusivity agreement.

Davies has since accused Assange and his lawyers of issuing misleading statements over the sex allegations against him. The Wikileaker-in-chief is due in court next Tuesday for the preliminary hearing in Sweden's attempt to extradite him over the sex allegations made against him by two women. ®

*Though she said on Twitter this morning the article is "not exactly correct" regarding her role.

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
Ex-US Navy fighter pilot MIT prof: Drones beat humans - I should know
'Missy' Cummings on UAVs, smartcars and dying from boredom
Facebook, Apple: LADIES! Why not FREEZE your EGGS? It's on the company!
No biological clockwatching when you work in Silicon Valley
The 'fun-nification' of computer education – good idea?
Compulsory code schools, luvvies love it, but what about Maths and Physics?
Doctor Who's Flatline: Cool monsters, yes, but utterly limp subplots
We know what the Doctor does, stop going on about it already
'Cowardly, venomous trolls' threatened with TWO-YEAR sentences for menacing posts
UK government: 'Taking a stand against a baying cyber-mob'
Happiness economics is bollocks. Oh, UK.gov just adopted it? Er ...
Opportunity doesn't knock; it costs us instead
Sysadmin with EBOLA? Gartner's issued advice to debug your biz
Start hoarding cleaning supplies, analyst firm says, and assume your team will scatter
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.