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back to article Assange 'threatened to sue' Grauniad over leak of WikiLeak

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 …

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Pint

oh the ironing

whether or not releasing the cables is a blow for against our freedom, the man himself seems an absolute gothical nutter.

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Extra Starch?

Seems that the veneer of Assange is starting to crumble?

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@Ian Michael Gumby

There was a veneer? I never liked the man; his approach to whistleblowing has always been (in my books) sensationalised and horribly, horribly wrong. You and I will disagree a great deal I think on the necessity of whistleblowing itself (I am a staunch supporter of /properly vetted/ document leaking; see Cryptome) but only the most simple individuals could ever have actually seen The Man Himself as some form of Hero.

I can almost understand the people who support Wikileaks whilst being sceptical of Assange. Though I am honestly not sure how one disentangles the two, I do reserve the possibility that others are able to make the mental separation of “the organisation” and “the individual” where I am not. So for those people championing Wikileaks whilst wishing Assange would shut up and go away I have a grudging respect.

For those who champion Assange himself, I have for them now the only thing I have ever had: a great big “WTF?!?”

Whilstleblowing (so long as the documentation released does not cost lives or honestly and truly endanger a nation’s security) is in my mind a truly vital part of any functioning democracy. It is our only way of keeping politicians honest. That said, incidents /exactly like the one in this article/ demonstrate why an idea is not necessarily cognate with the media darling associated with said ideal.

The individual is – in my opinion, and my opinion only – corrupt, narcissistic and a little too much of a control freak. It never made the goals he espoused wrong. Merely his approach to said goals, as well as his attempts to profit from them.

That rant done: veneer? Honestly…how many people didn’t see this right from day one? Are you trying to imply here that the people on El Reg’s forums worshipping the man as a Hero were actually SCINCERE? I absolutely refuse to believe that. El Reg’s readership is smarter than that. We’re more cynical than that. Damn it, we’re more WORLDLY than that. Now…that a bunch of readers were /trolling the piss out of everyone/ by claiming Assange as a Hero (and madly downvoting anyone who ever spoke out against him)…this I can accept.

It is the Internet, after all.

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Anonymous Coward

"Seems an absolute gothical nutter"

I would almost agree with you, apart from the use of the word "almost". If Wikileaks ever had an original cause, it has disappeared against the "support my ego" work of Assange, who seems to have a strange take on disclosure. If you disclose secrets that aren't yours to start with, you should expect your life to be opened as well, and the guy isn't exactly spotless - and an idiot to boot.

He would not have to face Swedish rape charges if he had done the decent thing and had himself tested. All these women wanted was assurance that the unprotected sex had not harmed them, and it seems that his total lack of interest to do the decent allowed this quite legally to escalate into rape charges.

As I said - an idiot..

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@thecakeis(not)alie

>>"Honestly…how many people didn’t see this right from day one? Are you trying to imply here that the people on El Reg’s forums worshipping the man as a Hero were actually SCINCERE? I absolutely refuse to believe that.

El Reg’s readership is smarter than that. "

But we're not necessarily talking about some representative cross-section of the readership, but about people who can be bothered to post, some of whom may be here not because they're a reader, but more because the Reg comes up fairly high on Google.

Possibly the entire readership is grown-up and well-balanced, and any Assange/Anonymous/TPB worship, or paranoid rantings about Big Brother every time the slightest opportunity arises is all just part of a huge wind-up.

Thing is, if it actually was just a wind up, I'd have thought the /true/ Reg readers, fine and brilliant folk that they are, could have done a far better job at making it amusing.

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@thecakeis(not)alie

I don't think we disagree on whistle blowing...

But Wikileaks isn't about whistle blowing but Assange and his personality. He's a twisted bloke who has a stiffy for embarrassing the US.

What I think we do disagree on is that I believe that there are some things we the public shouldn't know. The world isn't a clean and friendly place. Sometimes governments have to do bad things to protect us. Even vetted information that is released out of context can be misinterpreted and dangerous. Thats why certain information is classified (Top Secret) and not released. Other information is released well after the fact. (This has been a long standing practice since the dawn of civilization.)

But with respect to Assange, yes there were a lot of El Reg's readers who didn't see through him.

I and others were down voted because we saw him for what he was and thought his actions irresponsible and dangerous. In fact criminal.

Many El Reg posters are in fact far left on the spectrum and makes a centralist like me look like a right wing nutter. So yeah. They were duped by a sociopath.

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>Ian Michael Gumby

--"I and others were down voted because we saw him for what he was..."

I think the downvoting was principally just for failing to agree with or daring to doubt the worshippers.

Even people who were just not sure Assange was a saint seemed fair game to the black/white with-us-or-against-us hivetard.

I'm sure I got downvoted on at least one occasion for the thoughtcrime of suggesting that there was sometimes such a thing as grey somewhere between black and white.

--"Many El Reg posters are in fact far left on the spectrum..."

Possibly, but I'm not sure this is really a left/right thing.

There seems to be something more like teenage anarchism behind the more rabid posters and knee-jerk downvoters.

More a case of Rebel Without a Clue than anything else.

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@Ian michael Gumby

Define "centrist." The American definition of "center on the political spectrum" is still deep into the right wing byt he definition of a lot of the rest of the world. By your definition, I probably qualify as a total left-wing headcase.

A quote from Bill Maher (not that I am exactly a fan) still sticks out as relevant:

"The Democrats of today are essentially the Republicans you'd find in the '50s and '60s while the Republicans have moved into the nut house."

Besides which, I don't think where you are on the political spectrum has /anything/ to do with your support (or lack thereof) for Assange. I think he's a putz, and yet I am likely far more "left" than 99%+ of USians. (Heck, I'm probably still more left than 60% of Canadians.) Doesn't change that the message is right while the man is wrong.

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Re: @Ian Michael Gumby

"It is the Internet, after all."

Indeed. I've been online for about 20 years and I've seen 'heroes' emerge in Usenet many times, and I've almost always watched them fall. It's very hard to stand up and maintain a credible, honest, clean front without a clean background, especially now that almost everyone who can afford computing facilities or has access to them can also go online.

I'm still waiting for the mother of his son (who says she describes him as a 'monster, leading me to speculate if the son is like its father) to be outed. I'm also waiting for the first leaf of speculation that the leak of Wikileaks material was fostered/plotted by someone in an executive arm of some government, somewhere. For those who say this is unlikely there needs to be some remembrance, perhaps of what happened to Litvinenko and even Yushchenko. That was not self inflicted, nor was it wild speculation.

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Ownership?

"...arguing that he owned the information and had a financial interest in how and when it was released"

Surely, the point is that the documents being released belong to the US government - unless Assange is now claiming they are his creation and therefore, forgeries?

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Losing his grip

If Assange is blathering on about suing because he lost control of 'his' information and because he has a financial interest in it, then he should lose control over this information completely.

He should never have had control over any of the leaked information in the first place, and as for having a financial interest in it...shouldn't Wikileaks be above that? Shouldn't Assange be as well?

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Yep

Just goes to show how WikiLeaks is simply a substitute for Assange's gob. It's all about him and his towering ego, and has been for some time.

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Black Helicopters

it appears

that a sneaky consipracy spear campaign and trumped up rape charges, all orchestrated by a shadowy figure in the US administration was not required at all, assange has been given enough rope (publicity) and hung himself with it..

either that or somehow the US really IS behind all of this . and somehow drugged assange to give him delusions of grandeur

anon obviously.. with a tin hat on..

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Anonymous Coward

oops

no so anon

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Anonymous Coward

Say, what?

You say the US must have drugged Assange to make him this egotistical.

Perhaps he was this egotistical all along, but because of your blind hatred of the US, you couldn't see it.

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please..

try not to take things so seriously.

I know this is the internet but it still shouldn't be that hard to spot the sarcasm and tounge in cheek nature of my orignial post.

To make it clear..

I do NOT believe that the US somehow drugged assange to make him egotisctical. The suggestion is a sartirical comment on all the conspiracy theorists out there.

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It's a joke, Joyce

@Anonymous Coward

http://everything2.com/title/It%2527s+a+Joke%252C+Joyce

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Boffin

Um....

I don't think he was being serious when he suggested it. Your deep-seated need to see hatred everywhere irrespective of reality may be intefering with your sense of humour.

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@ttuk

I don't know if English (Brit, Aussie, US, Canadian) is the first language for many of the readers so sarcasm may be lost.

At the same time, there are also a lot of nutters so even when you are being sarcastic, it may be lost on those for whom your sarcastic opinion appears to be real.

I personally think that such a plot that you suggested is beyond the capabilities of the US spy agencies. (Look at the botched rendition in Italy as an example...)

Now if you had said the Mossad? Maybe.

KGB? Naw, they'd have just killed him outright with some rare nuke pellet.

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Re: it appears

"trumped up rape charges" [...] "shadowy figure in the US administration"

A mixture of techniques in argument here, not least of which is a form of cultural relativism, that is to say the truth of the matter is slanted by things on which you supposedly proceed to enlighten us, only you do no such thing.

He only had to submit to a test for STDs. Scandinavian sexual health policy has a strong theme of safe, responsible sex. Scandinavian law dovetails neatly with this, inasmuch that as soon as a man has sex with no protection and consent does not extend to that form of sex, the matter changes to one of rape (I do not know if the corollary applies, but do note the case of Nadja Benaissa in Germany for having unprotected sex when infected by HIV).

Tying this in to a shadowy figure in the US administration - you'll pony up the proof in support of your allegations now, won't you? - is a technique designed to evoke needless paranoia, simply because you only need to chain back to one item of alleged evidence; the man did not submit to sexual health tests and this triggered the rape allegation, which allegation is founded on articles in Swedish law to the effect that unprotected sex without consent is rape.

Now kindly do us the honour of producing evidence in support of your "shadowy figure".

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@AC

>>"At the same time, there are also a lot of nutters so even when you are being sarcastic, it may be lost on those for whom your sarcastic opinion appears to be real."

Certainly, but surely the point of *some* humour is that not everyone *is* going to get the joke.

>>"I personally think that such a plot that you suggested is beyond the capabilities of the US spy agencies. (Look at the botched rendition in Italy as an example...)"

Though no doubt the conspiracy nuts would dismiss that as deliberate bungling, with the *real* work almost always done professionally, etc, and spin it into evidence *for* a massive Talented Conspiracy.

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Happy

Ironic Drama Llama...

is Ironic!

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Troll

Problem, WikiLeaks?

But is the story True As Reported?

Anyway, where's the Trollface icon? A troll shall do.

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WTF?

Wrong site...

Back to 4chan with you! (waves his wand)

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Hmm

This is all 'According to Vanity Fair' so it's best not to get too judgmental about this.

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Higher Ideals

For all the talk of holding governments to account, and it being in the public interest, and doing this for the good of everyone else, not himself, Assange basically seems to be nothing but a money-grabbing attention whore, in it for himself and his own gain.

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This post has been deleted by its author

WTF?

What.

What a load of sensationalist rubbish. Disagreement during a business transaction? Why, let's whack that on the front page. How unprecedented and newsworthy - surely this serves the public interest much more than continuting to report on mass government corruption.

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Talking of serving the Public Interest

Seeing as you mentioned it, lets take a quick look at the basics of whistleblowing;

The release of confidential information in the public interest

NOT

The release of confidential information for financial gain.

Now if what the article has said is true (note: it did come from Vanity fair so who knows!) Assange was angry because he had a financial interest in controlling the documents. That's not whistleblowing, frankly it's almost commercial espionage.

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Whistle launderers

Wikileaks are not whistleblowers. The people who supply them with information are the whistleblowers. Wikileaks are merely a distribution channel for documents; just another step in the chain to publication, over the traditional straight-to-newspaper route.

Newspapers are releasing this information for financial gain as well, so do you blithely rail against them as well?

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Stop

Kind of

I think technically in the case of The Guardian, the newspaper is releasing the information for financial loss.

Newspapers don't make any money really, almost all of them - certainly all the serious ones - have to be subsidised by someone.

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@AC

"The release of confidential information in the public interest" ... "NOT" ... "The release of confidential information for financial gain."

Do you think Wikileaks costs nothing to run? ... No? Well then, as its not free to run, its a fact of life Wikileaks needs to negotiate to raise money (and like it or not, legal threats are part of negotiating in business) and lets face it The Guardian and all news papers (including even The Reg) are profiting from publishing news about the leaks. That's simply a fact of life, news organisations need money and so money is also required to keep Wikileaks going so money games are going to be used to negotiate ways to release the leaked info. (Hence the US going after all sources of money which allows people to support Wikileaks). Money is needed.

What gets me are the morons who are blinded and distracted by this.

Frankly I don't care that the media are earning a living from these leaks. I don't even care how much they earn, (good luck to them earning a lot). What I do care about is what the leaks are showing us about how we are being lied to endlessly by our political leaders, the people who are suppose to represent us and it is this news which is getting distracted away from, with all this false money & attention controversy (which is basically a giant straw man argument used against Wikileaks).

The big news for me is why the hell has all the leaks apparently gone quiet. Also why the hell haven't charges been brought left, right and centre against the people and organisations highlighted in the leaks so far. Plus is that all the leaks. Is that really it? ... is that all we will learn?. I want to hear more especially about WTF the banks have been up to. I want to hear about the money behind the political leaders. Now that would be news worthy.

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Anonymous Coward

@MinionZero & Others

Perhaps I wasn't entirely clear in what I meant. Yes, the papers are making money off the leaks, and yes Wikileaks costs money to run.

BUT

If you'll recall, John Young of Cryptome stated that Wikileaks had aimed to raise something like $50m in the first year. That's not funding your running costs, thats making a business out of publishing stolen documents.

I'm not saying that those exposed in the leaks shouldn't be punished, I'm saying that Assange's Wikileaks doesn't seem to be what you guys think it is. Other sites manage to publish leaked documents without the need for dramatics that Assange seems to crave.

I've still yet to see anything in the cables that constitutes whistleblowing. What in there is so serious that it's in the public interest to release? There may be some round the corner, but so far there's nothing that qualifies as true whistleblowing.

Why not pull your heads away from Assange, use some logical thought and check out how other whistleblowing sites operate. Assange is not what he claims to be, and however well intentioned the Wikileaks staff may be, his ego will prevent them from doing the right thing.

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@RaumKraut

Papers may be profiting from the release of these documents, but they aren't claiming to be doing it for some higher cause.

They're also not the ones claiming the public have a right to see the information, but then trying to restrict the release for financial reasons.

And FWIW if the leaks had gone direct to Newspaper A (i.e. cut Wikileaks out) and they behaved the way that Assange has, then yeah I would. In fact, I did when the big gobbed GCHQ girl decided she had the right to sell operational information to a paper.

I've no problem with transparency, but become very suspicious of motives when large sums are involved. If it's that important the public knows, there should be no fee payable. Unless, of course, its not about the public interest and more about the bank manager

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WTF?

@AC:

@AC: "Other sites manage to publish leaked documents without the need for dramatics that Assange seems to crave."

… “dramatics that Assange seems to crave”?! ... WTF ... Repeat after me, it was the US government who made Wikileaks high profile. It was the US government who made Wikileaks high profile due to them seeking to find out who was behind Wikileaks and then attacking them in the media. They seeked to find out who was behind Wikileaks to then bring them down.

By the way, the only people who condemn others for seeking attention are other attention seekers, as attention seekers are motivated by their need for attention, so endlessly seek to remove attention from others, even if it has nothing directly to do with them, they still secretly despise other attention seekers. Assange is high profile thanks to the US government. He has a lot of attention. Wikileaks is high profile, get over it!

"John Young of Cryptome stated that Wikileaks had aimed to raise something like $50m in the first year."

Two points. Point 1, "John Young of Cryptome" is pissed at Wikileaks. Its stealing his thunder. His site could and should have been Wikileaks, but that’s the nature of the media, the one that gets into the news is the high profile one, as simple as that.

As for point 2, say just 2000 people globally are working on and with Wikileaks, that’s $25000 each (That’s just £16192). Can you live on just £16192 a year. That’s low money. Now add in the costs of all the infrastructure of Wikileaks and then add on top all the many high paid lawyers and law firms and other advisor’s in dozens of countries, and you will find that money goes bloody quickly. Wikileaks needs money, get over it!

@AC: I get that you are pissed at Assange's high profile attention. He has got a huge amount of attention and that clearly pisses you off no end. So you seek to put down Wikileaks and Assange and you want to incite others to put them down.

As for "I've still yet to see anything in the cables that constitutes whistleblowing. What in there is so serious that it's in the public interest to release?" ... that just goes to prove how you seek to put down Wikileaks and Assange.

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@MinionZero

>>"As for point 2, say just 2000 people globally are working on and with Wikileaks, that’s $25000 each (That’s just £16192). Can you live on just £16192 a year. That’s low money. Now add in the costs of all the infrastructure of Wikileaks and then add on top all the many high paid lawyers and law firms and other advisor’s in dozens of countries, and you will find that money goes bloody quickly. Wikileaks needs money, get over it!"

So you know these numbers are accurate, or did you just make them up?

2000 people working full time to do *what*?

To filter and prioritise stories so we get to read a whole string of bears-shit-in-woods diplomatic cables when we've actually been promised Earth-shattering revelations?

That's not worth 50 million Lira.

And as for all the 'highly paid lawyers and law firms', if collectively they couldn't manage to either advise Wikileaks to get its Swedish accreditation sorted out, or advise Julian to keep his dick in his pants and not to conspire with someone in advance to acquire US documents, if they'd worked for free it'd seem like they were overpaid.

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Dear Assange Supporters

How many of you still take this guy seriously? I guess the downvote count will be a good indicator...

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Troll

Dear Bilgepipe

After your recent posts, how many of us take your ludicrous bilge seriously? I guess the upvote count will be a good indicator...

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Dear Bilgepipe

The sound you hear is more high-fives being exchanged in the USA because the story is now about Assange instead of what the US Government has been up to behind people's backs...

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Happy

RE: Dear Assange Supporters

Hehehe! :D

I suppose, as "wikisqueak" got such a rapturous reception, we need a new word to describe the sound a lawyered-up leaker makes when his leaks get leaked. How about "wikisqueal"? "Wikishriek"? I was going to suggest "Assrage" but thought some might take that in the wrong context.

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RE: Dear Bilgepipe

"The sound you hear...." The sound that preceded it was the yawning of the public at the complete non-news contained in the leaks. What, the Saudis alledgedly don't like Iran? The Kremlin is alledgedly full of dodgy types? Hardly news. Bradley Manning could get fifty years in return for what, a little primetime ego-fluffing for Assange?

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Black Helicopters

High Fives...

"the story is now about Assange instead of what the US Government has been up to behind people's backs..."

The story of what the USa has done behind people's back's has been done its old now.

So after it all what has the USA been up to behind our backs? Not much judging by the leaks.

I expected them to leak some data worth leaking not just the shock horror of people spying on each other in the UN (which was widely known anyway), and Gadaffi having a rather tasty Nurse...

Oh well back to dodging black helicopters...

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Anonymous Coward

Dear Marsden

Another poster with a blind hatred of the United States. People rumbled Assange as a flake and egomaniac from the start. Are you saying you and your Guardian reading pals were the only people who couldn't see it?

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@AC

"Blind hatred of the United States"? Err, no. Just a dislike of policies promulgated by a country that calls itself "The Land of the Free" when that should really be "The Land of the Free to Say Stuff We Approve of".

"Assange a flake and egomaniac"? Doesn't mean that the stuff Wikileaks was publishing is wrong or that people shouldn't have a right to know it.

"Guardian reading"? Nope, don't read it any more than I watch Fox News. Do you?

Epic Fail.

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Re: Dear Assange Supporters

"How many of you still take this guy seriously? I guess the downvote count will be a good indicator..."

Let's see now; 'memoirs', a couple of million; salary, about £80,000; pay wall, about £50 million? And for those special moments when making babies with 16 year old girls there's always Mastercard. ;-)

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re: Dear Marsden

I have a nuanced, informed and thoroughly well researched hatred of the United States government and of its terrifying Tea Party members. I also think Assange is an asshat.

Very (very!) simply put: I am staunchly libertarian and am simultaneously a strong socialist. (Closer to a Social Democrat, if you are raised in the American tradition of political science, but political nomenclature is out of bounds for this discussion. My exact political stance does not currently have an accepted label.) I strongly support whistleblowing (especially Cryptome) and have donated to the Manning defence fund. I believe that the US.gov screws its own people as well as those around the world. The Tea Party want to sell everyone everywhere into corporate indentured servitude (if not actually sell certain segments of the population into outright slavery...). I believe that Assange caused diplomatic incidents (if not worse) largely in order to pump his ego.

I would be okay is someone ended (kill -9) all those various processes (US.gov, Tea Party, Assange and similar personalities (selfish and self-serving) individuals and organisations the world over.) This would free the system resources for actually useful sentient and sapient organisms. So where does that put me on your black and white view of the world?

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Big Brother

Graham, got a question for you.

Suppose there exists a cable from some mid level government flunky in the foreign service saying that he was talking with his Brit counterpart.

Your name Graham Marsden came up. The Brit flunky said to his counterpart "What a silly git he is."...

Note: I don't know why your name came up and clearly you're not someone of national importance, right?

Of course the US Government flunky does his due diligence and sends it off back to his superiors. After all they want to know everything he and his counterpart talk about. (Being paranoid, if they don't hear anything, they will get nervous and think state sekrets are being shared....)

Now that comment which describes you is leaked via Wikileaks. They publish it.

Clearly there is no need or care by anyone in the free world to know that some Brit government flunky thinks you're a silly git.

So how do you feel about this leak?

The only one making money from it is Wikileaks because the more docs they dump, the more people who spend time sifting through the leaks on their site, means more eyes on their site and more ad revenue generated.

So only Assange makes money because someone reported someone else saying that they thought in their opinion you were a silly git.

So I guess you feel that its justifiable and right that the rest of the free world should know that people think you're a silly git.

Moi? Now while I do think you're a bit of a windmill charger, I believe that the free world doesn't need to know that some flunky thinks you're a silly git. I personally think that there are some things said and done by the government we don't need to know.

So tell me how do you really feel?

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@Graham Marsden

Like I said, a blind hatred of the US means you equally blindly stick up for Assange.

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The scores on the doors

"After your recent posts, how many of us take your ludicrous bilge seriously? I guess the upvote count will be a good indicator..."

Bilge? Where do you think I got the name from? Anyway, it looks like 28 versus 8, and I freely post with my handle rather than hiding behind A/C. Have a nice day.

Now, how about on with the topic at hand rather than the personal attacks, whatwhatwhat?

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Grenade

kill -9

OMG somebody please gimme root access!

Just one small issue; Heuristics for identifying the PIDs anyone?

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