Feeds

Assange 'threatened to sue' Grauniad over leak of WikiLeak

Irony, thy name is Julian

The Power of One eBook: Top reasons to choose HP BladeSystem

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.

Top three mobile application threats

More from The Register

next story
BBC goes offline in MASSIVE COCKUP: Stephen Fry partly muzzled
Auntie tight-lipped as major outage rolls on
iPad? More like iFAD: We reveal why Apple fell into IBM's arms
But never fear fanbois, you're still lapping up iPhones, Macs
Stick a 4K in them: Super high-res TVs are DONE
4,000 pixels is niche now... Don't say we didn't warn you
Philip K Dick 'Nazi alternate reality' story to be made into TV series
Amazon Studios, Ridley Scott firm to produce The Man in the High Castle
Sonos AXES support for Apple's iOS4 and 5
Want to use your iThing? You can't - it's too old
There's NOTHING on TV in Europe – American video DOMINATES
Even France's mega subsidies don't stop US content onslaught
You! Pirate! Stop pirating, or we shall admonish you politely. Repeatedly, if necessary
And we shall go about telling people you smell. No, not really
Too many IT conferences to cover? MICROSOFT to the RESCUE!
Yet more word of cuts emerges from Redmond
Joe Average isn't worth $10 a year to Mark Zuckerberg
The Social Network deflates the PC resurgence with mobile-only usage prediction
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Consolidation: The Foundation for IT Business Transformation
In this whitepaper learn how effective consolidation of IT and business resources can enable multiple, meaningful business benefits.
Application security programs and practises
Follow a few strategies and your organization can gain the full benefits of open source and the cloud without compromising the security of your applications.
How modern custom applications can spur business growth
Learn how to create, deploy and manage custom applications without consuming or expanding the need for scarce, expensive IT resources.
Securing Web Applications Made Simple and Scalable
Learn how automated security testing can provide a simple and scalable way to protect your web applications.