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The Guardian's Complicated Relationship With Julian Assange

timothy posted more than 3 years ago | from the it's-complicated dept.

The Media 237

Sonny Yatsen writes "Vanity Fair has published an interesting behind-the-scenes look at the unlikely and tumultuous working relationship between WikiLeaks' Julian Assange and The Guardian as the Iraq War Logs were being published. The piece highlights the differences and conflicts between the Guardian's journalistic standards and WikiLeaks' transparency. Particularly interesting is the revelation that Julian Assange threatened to sue The Guardian if they publish a portion of Iraq War Logs leaked to them by a disgruntled WikiLeaks volunteer, claiming 'he owned the information and had a financial interest in how and when it was released.'"

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Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (5, Insightful)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#34785614)

What was he thinking? Threatening to sue? Did he really say he "owned" the documents?

This is exactly the problem everyone has with Assange and why Openleaks will replace Wikileaks.

Wikileaks no longer acts as a leak facilitator, it is not a political organization which selects what to leak, when, how. It's no longer a technology that acts like a dumb pipe, it's no longer functioning under network neutrality, it's now controlled top down by God aka Julian Assange.

Wikileaks will be buried a year from now. Openleaks and many other organizations far superior will replace Wikieaks. Assange over estimated his importance.

And I'm not someone who likes leaking in general, but if they are going to facilitate leaks then it has to be a dumb pipe which has no ability of the facilitator to decide what does or does not get leaked, how, or any of that. It should pass through the facilitator technology directly to the news organization, and there should be no interaction between the facilitator organization or it's technology and the sources EVER.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (4, Interesting)

Snotman (767894) | more than 3 years ago | (#34785910)

Oh where, oh where, oh where is Shangri-la? Give me a break. They have breast pads for leaking. I listened to Julian the other night on Democracy Now, but he did not sound like God. But then again, I do not believe in fairy tales. He sounded like a man that developed a product that he knows how to sell.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (5, Insightful)

peragrin (659227) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786110)

If he is selling your secrets, what stops him from selling them to someone else when he is getting a little low on funds?

What happens when he stops selling to keep himself out of jail?

Transparency isn't a product

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (5, Interesting)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786158)

Transparency isn't a product

No, it's a commodity. To be bought and sold like everything else.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (2)

glebovitz (202712) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787250)

I think you miss the parents point. Transparency is an ideal like democracy and communism. Its the political corruption that distorts it into something unrecognizable. These are valid and important points. Transparency is not a product or commodity. If treated as such, then become a political tool. (you know, "absolute power corrupts absolutely", or something to that effect.)

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (5, Insightful)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786350)

If he is selling your secrets, what stops him from selling them to someone else when he is getting a little low on funds?

That sentence is redundant. Wikileaks cares only about big players and governments, the same ones that are the dirty rotten voyeurs data-mining the hell out of you -- the little guy -- sucking up your voice and data traffic like James Brown sucked the crack smoke from his glass dick*. The governments are the schoolyard bully who literally cries foul when that one brave kid mans up and finally hits him back. That brave kid is Assange.

So Assange is a douchebag -- so what? Do you damsels in distress want the perfect, innocent, lovable Aquaman to come to your rescue and stand up for truth and justice? Do you guys want Jesus Christ(TM) to come kiss them on their crooked foreheads?

Assange has what many of you don't -- a spine. No, he's not perfect. But he's done more in a few years than most of us will do in our entire lifetimes. Lighten the hell up, grab a bag of popcorn, and enjoy the fireworks.

* For those of you who grew up in a plastic bubble, "glass dick" is slang for crackpipe

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (0)

flyneye (84093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787024)

Don't forget the part about where we are just thankful to get leaks in spite of whose money goes to who, because we want to know who is endangering us with incompetence, stealing from us, lying to us, selling us out, throwing us under the wheels, poisoning us, baiting and switching us or talking shit on us behind our backs.
        We're human and claim the right to sustain our survival by besting the predators among us.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (0, Troll)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787138)

Of course. We idealistic geeks like to say that the enemy of our enemy is not necessarily our friend.

We live in a world of information warfare. Watch CNN or Foxnews if you require proof. Until we are able to summon the being of Aquaman or Jesus Christ(TM) to dig up the ultimate truths, we should be thankful for the illumination we can get. When events are manipulated to the point when our hero Assange(more importantly, Wikileaks itself) disappears or is otherwise subdued, we can only hope for a successor (the money seems to be on openleaks) and more unfortunate truths being released into our hands. Voyeurism, the desire to know, is a sword that cuts both ways.

Anybody calling for open-source and open-everything-else would hope for that. Everybody else is just a consultant or contractor profiting from their own secrecy.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (-1, Troll)

KingFrog (1888802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34785914)

Assange is, as best I can tell, a moron. I rank this right up there with his saying that the decision to publish his incriminating police files is "disgusting." Sauce for the goose, Mr. Saavik...

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (0)

Stormwatch (703920) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786112)

Sauce for the goose, Mr. Saavik...

What the hell? You can debate Saavik's species, but she was definitely a female!

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (0)

JonBuck (112195) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786218)

Geek Hat On: They use "Mister" in Starfleet no matter the gender.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (1, Informative)

fishbowl (7759) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786220)

Junior Starfleet officers may properly be addressed by superior officers as "Mister" regardless of their gender.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786602)

I don't want to be one of those [citation needed] assholes, but could you provide proof?

I'm asking because I thought they were both called sir, but not mister.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (1)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786800)

Watch The Wrath of Kahn. I don't even like Star Trek and I remember this.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786834)

Yea, I know a better source would have been helpful but here...

Junior Naval Officers

(Ensign to Lt.) Junior officers are addressed either by their ranks or as 'Mister Smith'. They should refer to each other in this manner. At the pleasure of senior officers, female junior officers may be called 'Ms. Smith.' Officers with the rank Lt.JG are addressed as 'Lieutenant' when addressed by their rank.

http://wiki.starbase118.net/wiki/index.php?title=Starfleet_Rank_Index#Forms_of_Address [starbase118.net]

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (1)

queequeg1 (180099) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786246)

Getting off topic, but I seem to recall that this is one of a few instances in which female Star Fleet personnel were referred to as "Mr." I don't know if this was some reference to the way certain ranks are referred to in the US armed forces now or in the past but that was the line Spock used and similar gender references have been used in other Star Trek scenes.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (1)

KingFrog (1888802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787590)

As has been mentioned, in this case "Mister" is a title, not a gender marker. I am quoting. Hmmmm...perhaps I should have use quotation marks and an attribution, but I really thought this quote would be universally recognizable to the /. crowd. Sorry!

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (3, Insightful)

netsharc (195805) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786192)

A democratic government has to be made accountable, a government run in secret makes getting that accountability harder.

A private person, on the other hand, should have the right to keep things private from the public, for example the police file on him.

Otherwise, you might as well support AT&T wire-tapping your phones and selling your secrets to the highest bidders ("Hello KingFrog, I'm calling from Ford. I hear you mentioned interest in our 2011 Focuse to your friend on the phone just a few minutes ago? Can I interest you in our attractive financing deal?").

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34786388)

Otherwise, you might as well support AT&T wire-tapping your phones and selling your secrets to the highest bidders ("Hello KingFrog, I'm calling from Ford. I hear you mentioned interest in our 2011 Focuse to your friend on the phone just a few minutes ago? Can I interest you in our attractive financing deal?").

Hm... this is exactly Goggle does with our email!

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (1)

Archades54 (925582) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786826)

That is one very scary prospect.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (1)

Chakra5 (1417951) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786970)

What a rationalization. You simply can't obtain info under the guise of making that information free and then restrict it yourself. It's hypocrisy incarnate. ATT Wiretapping?? Could ya pick a more loaded example? And ATT didn't sell my info, Asange is.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (1)

KingFrog (1888802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787608)

Did Mark Twain actually say that? Whether he did or not, that's a pretty cool sig. I may borrow that somewhere...

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (2)

Phil06 (877749) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787002)

I for one welcome our... Shsshhhshhshshhshhshhhshshhshhsh Hello, Juilan Assange here, I have copies of all the text messages you have ever sent and I am ready to leak them. Because I have them I own them. I will sue you if you try to prevent me from releasing them. Don't like that? Wait until I release your grade school transcripts; C minus in sex education I see. These are mine too as well as your proctoscope records. Information wants to be free as long as I own it. Shsshhhshhshshhshhshhhshshhshhsh ...new whistleblowing overlords.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (1)

_Sprocket_ (42527) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787266)

A democratic government has to be made accountable, a government run in secret makes getting that accountability harder.

A private person, on the other hand, should have the right to keep things private from the public, for example the police file on him.

Which perfectly explains how Wikileaks handles documents for private clubs.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (2)

KingFrog (1888802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787582)

Even a democratic government needs its secrets. Example: A Middle-Eastern leader doesn't think that Iran is a safe neighbor, but for reasons of domestic stability dares not say that publically, nor act against Iran itself. It describes Iran as a "snake" that needs to be beheaded to an American diplomat. Did this need to be made public? No. It helped no-one, and serves only to add to the region's instability. Someone in the State Department thinks the government of North Korea is unstable. Does this need to be made public for accountability? Again, no. It only serves to add to the problems with diplomacy in the region. Wikileaks isn't engaged in an assault on dangerous secrecy - it's engaged in an assault on American policy. Where are the Chinese leaks? The North Korean leaks? Oh, yeah. There aren't any.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (1)

KingFrog (1888802) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787552)

Marked "Troll"? Really? It's a true statement of my feelings, and not trolling at all.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (2, Interesting)

Jeek Elemental (976426) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786320)

New years resolution was to stop caring about wrongs on the internet but what the hell:

How is this bullshit modded insightful?

The only reason anyone dares leak to wikileaks is Assange.

You think anyone is stupid enough to send sensitive material to some anonymous "me toos" that might crack after 2 seconds of government pressure?
Well OP might be I guess.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (1)

rm999 (775449) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786512)

Yeah, Assange is the only person in the World that can do that :/

Also, why do you even need a single person in that role? Surely there must be a way for people to leak documents to the entire internet anonymously?

I agree with GP, Assange has too much power in his role, and his politics and methods are at odds with what people assume his mission is. Many people believe wikileaks' mission is about openness and disclosure, but sometimes it feels like the opposite.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (4, Insightful)

timeOday (582209) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786808)

Yeah, Assange is the only person in the World that can do that :/

Also, why do you even need a single person in that role? Surely there must be a way for people to leak documents to the entire internet anonymously?

Well, you tell me. Why didn't wikileaks happen until Assange made it happen? Why do strong-willed people like Richard Stallman, Jimmy Wales, and Mark Zuckerberg make history while most of us inoffensive types fail to make an impact at all? Must be coincidence.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (1, Interesting)

rm999 (775449) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786958)

Leaks happen all the time. Wikileaks has lasted for four years and most people hadn't heard of it until a few months ago. Yeah, this leak was big, but we have no proof the leak wouldn't have happened without Assange. Given that the leaker was showing off to a stranger (and hence basically turned himself in) lends evidence that it *would* have happened without Assange. Either way, we're working with a sample size of 1 here.

I dunno (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786588)

I dunno. Will people instead risk their job and freedom... just to make some dickweed richer?

I mean, as long as it was some rhetoric about government transparency and accountability and all, sure, I can see how it would resonate right with a lot of people. But if that information just ends up "owned" by Assange and used to make some money for _him_, then wth, those people leaking stuff are just some unpaid sharecroppers.

And really, the right idea is that the government and information about the government belongs to the _people_. And, wth, at what point does that become "owned by Assange" or "for sale to the highest bidder"?

Disclaimer: I'm not entirely unbiased there. I've had the brief misfortune of being a coder on a MUD whose admins and all were very heavy on the OSS, openness and whatnot rhetoric. Then it turns out they're only for openness when it isn't about "their" code, meaning actually the code contributed by idealistic peons like yours truly. In fact, it was a whole surrealistic paranoia where everyone is out to steal "their" files and you had to jump through hoops and be treated like a spy to even get the headers you need to contribute such code. Now the situation isn't entirely similar, and it doesn't make me a freedom fighter or anything. But just saying that I happen to know first hand how it feels to contribute something in the name of some idealistic noble goal, and see it turned into someone else's property and glory. And it's a very bitter pill.

And I can't help think how the guy who risked losing his job or going to jail to contribute those documents must feel when he reads that they're now Assange's private property, and that it's about making Assange money rather than any idealistic noble goal. I mean, wth, I didn't risk anything and still felt majorly shafted. How does it feel to think "I might go to jail if found out and/or be the guy nobody hires any more because of that, but damn, I made Assange some money"? Probably not fun.

Re:I dunno (1)

Kernel Krumpit (1912708) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787112)

I dunno either but... i read something on /. or ars yesterday (can't remember which one) about how it ain't the do-re-mi going to the farces that's bringing ALL the US infrastructure down but - the medical bills. IMHO, people ain't riskin' "..their job and freedom..." but people sell their souls, their personal development and their individual potential all for a mental and dental plan. Sad but imho true. And i talk to people. They tell me this is so from banking employees to SMB employees. It's a sad sad world... ..Business is great, life's terrific and people are wonderful.... How frail we are. Go Julian. All the way!

Re:I dunno (1)

shadowofwind (1209890) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787212)

That sounds about right, based on my experience in other analogous situations.

It seems like all you can do is take that all into account, then still try to do what you think is right anyway. Otherwise its a weasel race to the bottom, which doesn't really work either.

Re:I dunno (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787444)

afraid of a whistleblowing site owning their leaks? cry me a river, every site you upload stuff to owns it thereafter, it's in practically ever EULA/TOS

slashdot isn't working (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34786476)

Can't see my posts.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786542)

It should pass through the facilitator technology directly to the public, and there should be no interaction between the facilitator organization or it's technology and the sources EVER.

FTFY. There's no point in leaking to news organizations, they are just middle men who censor and massage the information any way they like to make a buck.

We now have the technology to reach the masses directly, newspapers are so 20th century.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (1)

Reaperducer (871695) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787184)

1998 called. It would like you to return its cliches.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (3, Insightful)

williamhb (758070) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786832)

What was he thinking? Threatening to sue? Did he really say he "owned" the documents?

Oh dear, I have a nasty feeling this will come back to bite him if the US prosecutes. "Responsible whistleblower", "acting in the public interest", "public right to know", all those usual defences for publishing classified information tend go get a teensy bit undermined if you've been caught saying that really your motivation in publishing this classified information is personal financial gain.

A pity, because personally I thought the take-home message from this whole saga so far was that it seemed actually governments could operate much more openly without the world crashing to its knees after all -- the much-feared releases, as published in The Guardian etc, had been very interesting and informative but had been received by the world at large in a very calm and reasonable manner, without disastrous consequences after all.

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34786908)

Guess what volume of semen Assange took in his rectum while he was in prison. The person who guesses the closest without going over wins!

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34786960)

1 Liter?

Re:Aww poor Assange has to deal with leakers. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787086)

1.1 Liters?

Re:Ohhh rich Assange takes a leak and pens a deal. (0)

flyneye (84093) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786928)

I would've entitled this "why I think you're rong" or something else slapped off clever but, I think if I could add to your viewpoint some history (which repeats ad nauseum) you may edit your view a bit.

            P.T.Barnum
            Malcom McLaren
            Rev. Jesse Jackson
            Maury Povich
            Karl Marx
            Bill Gates
            Julian Assange
  Who?
              Try Wikipedia or just google them.
What do these men have in common?
          They all got their fame/fortune from creating chaos and havoc from bubblegum and bullshit, then hanging ten on the crest the rest of the way to the beach.
What is my point in that?
          They have market recognition built to a fever pitch which is why any Johnny-come-lately may have to wait a season or few before he gets his shot on " So You Think You Can Leak" , "Leaking with the Stars", or "Hells Leakers".
            Sad as I am to think it , I don't think this is Openleaks year.

          I am someone who loves leaking in general. If you can't conduct yourself in the world honestly, we all need to know because we have a vested interest in perpetuating the higher values in mankind and starving dishonest hoodlums out lest we lose our asses, nay, our lives to your viral greed.
Yes, fuck whining from governments, Megacorporations and the News Media. They are ,after all, among mankinds biggest enemies right after the plague, famine and Hillary Clintons ever growing cellulite saddlebags.
Leak away.
Come whisper in my ear.
What did they do to steal from me today?

         

Re:Ohhh rich Assange takes a leak and pens a deal. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787380)

"Instead of publishing the documents, OpenLeaks will send the leaked documents to various news entities"

on that it will never be 'Open'(hah)Leaks year

And the rumor of Assange being an informant (3, Interesting)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#34785656)

is being spread through Cryptome. The rumor that he is an informant for the Austrlian Federal Police does seem to be backed up by the story about him receiving warnings from Austrlian intelligence about dirty tricks.

This is something worth looking into. Whether or not there is any truth to it or not, it's worth looking into for that reason but also to determine whether or not it is a smear campaign or global conspiracy to break Assange.

Re:And the rumor of Assange being an informant (5, Funny)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#34785868)

The AFP aren't that complex. Besides, if they were involved, any smear campaign would have been slightly different:

"Assange charged with 'being a dickhead' and 'drinking light beer'"

As such, Australia would actually have grounds to arrest him - both are prosecutable here.

Re:And the rumor of Assange being an informant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34786890)

The AFP aren't that complex. Besides, if they were involved, any smear campaign would have been slightly different:

"Assange charged with 'being a dickhead' and 'drinking light beer'"

As such, Australia would actually have grounds to arrest him - both are prosecutable here.

There's a big difference between the AFP Computer Crime Unit back in the day when Julian Assange was pursued and arrested by Alistair MacGibbon and the AFP of today who can't secure a simple database *while* trying to monitor script-kiddies. Mind you back then Alistair (advised by the Americans) thought the NASA incursions was a worm - and was quite happy to arrest Julian and his mates - knowing full well the main players were (and still are) laughing. Julian Assange most probably did assist the AFP *at the time* - as did all the kids that were arrested for those offenses (using RMIT lines). There's a difference between *assisting* and *informing*. If JA was, as is claimed, an informant - others (cough) would have also been arrested - at the very least for breaching Telecom (as it was then) rules and "borrowing" equipment. The AFP Computer Crime unit is a joke these days - run by technically challenged right-wing Christians - *who will not work with "hackers"* and have done *nothing* of note in the last 10 years. Unless you count stripping funding from areas dedicated to detecting and prosecuting child pornography - to allocate funds for the war on Nigerian spammers and to argue for internet censorship at ISP level. [/rant]

Don't confuse a healthy level of distrust and dislike for American policy and policing within the AFP and other government department (FA) with "protecting informants".

Those that criticize do so with the freedom allowed them by an aversion to facts - a la JA's ego, poor people skills, ownership of things not of his making. They also demonstrate the sort of insecurities borne of incompetence that causes them to see everything as a comparison that shows them unworthy of their inflated self-opinion.

Re:And the rumor of Assange being an informant (1)

mug funky (910186) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786160)

couldn't have anything to do with him being an Australian citizen, could it?

my hope for Assange is he fade back into the shadows and learn some people skills (not the same as skills with the ladies, apparently, though by all reports he's pretty crap in bed as well). that's not to say i want him to stop with wikileaks - rather just that he grow up, keep up the good work and not try to own this amazing thing he's created.

the "information wants to be free" mantra does not discriminate. it's all or nothing, and what happens on the internet stays on the internet.

Re:And the rumor of Assange being an informant (2)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787484)

couldn't have anything to do with him being an Australian citizen, could it?

my hope for Assange is he fade back into the shadows and learn some people skills (not the same as skills with the ladies, apparently, though by all reports he's pretty crap in bed as well). that's not to say i want him to stop with wikileaks - rather just that he grow up, keep up the good work and not try to own this amazing thing he's created.

the "information wants to be free" mantra does not discriminate. it's all or nothing, and what happens on the internet stays on the internet.

The CIA and FBI does not warn American citizens about honeytraps.

Re:And the rumor of Assange being an informant (3, Informative)

AHuxley (892839) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786212)

Think back to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron_(computer_hacker) [wikipedia.org]
He was offered community service (we caught you) and not seem to get a clandestine service offer (we need your skills?).
Australia has its own banking network to watch all large cash flows and is part of the NSA 'network'. Every packet is mirrored ie room 641A for all.
Australia had massive state and clandestine service efforts to track and discredit anyone of interest in the community well into the 1970's.
The idea that that all stopped int he 1980's and 1990 with law reform is ... cute.
So enjoy the outed Australian politician who likes to chat to the US embassy, the Russia/Intel offer but be aware of the geographic 'filtering' and other meetings.
http://www.salon.com/news/politics/war_room/2010/07/26/times_wikileaks_white_house_meeting [salon.com]
Enjoy the gems, but have a feel for the larger picture of useful leaks and new cyber laws.

Re:And the rumor of Assange being an informant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34786558)

You are discounting the role of the United States in Australia during that time period. When the apparatus became mature enough there began a distinct backlash against the covert U.S. funding flowing into Australia. I believe some of the more important parties felt that such meddling equated to their fair Nation still being considered a penal colony by the West.

How would you feel if violent labor unions were being mobilized with foreign cash leading up to elections? Not so good, huh?

Re:And the rumor of Assange being an informant (1)

elucido (870205) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787500)

You are discounting the role of the United States in Australia during that time period. When the apparatus became mature enough there began a distinct backlash against the covert U.S. funding flowing into Australia. I believe some of the more important parties felt that such meddling equated to their fair Nation still being considered a penal colony by the West.

How would you feel if violent labor unions were being mobilized with foreign cash leading up to elections? Not so good, huh?

Foreign cash is influencing US elections too.

Re:And the rumor of Assange being an informant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34786308)

2 words about that; "puh" and "leez". He's not an informant. That's conspiracy theorist spin.

School kids know that if you piss off the kid bigger & stronger than you, he's going to retaliate, usually with escalating force. Step on the bully's toes, he's going to kick you in the knees. Punch the bully in the crotch, and he's going to choke you out to show others that he's more powerful.

Here we go again ... (1)

dbIII (701233) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786996)

There's a view that governments are so powerful and omniscient that only a government can defeat itself. This view gives us things like some 9/11 conspiracies and sadly things like where the post above is leading.
Exposure to how many of these groups are nowhere as effective as they are on TV helps cure some of this. For instance in Australia we nearly had a bloodbath with ASIS operatives in a botched training mission carrying unloaded submachine guns versus armed Victorian State Police at a time when they almost had a weekly body count.
We also know that the CIA didn't kill Kennedy because whoever did it actually managed to do the job properly.

Re:And the rumor of Assange being an informant (5, Insightful)

grcumb (781340) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787604)

is being spread through Cryptome. The rumor that he is an informant for the Austrlian Federal Police does seem to be backed up by the story about him receiving warnings from Austrlian intelligence about dirty tricks.

That's the funniest thing I've heard so far this year. Congratulations!

Seriously: Could you provide even the slightest corroboration for this?

And while you're at it, I'd appreciate if you could respond to the stories floating around here lately that you're just making these accusations to draw attention away from the fact that you're a serial killer who stuffs live puppies and kittens into the gutted corpses of your victims and then burns them alive in a satanic death cult ritual.

... I'm not saying you actually did that, but now that people are talking, perhaps you could respond to the accusations.

I think... (1, Troll)

Lord_of_the_nerf (895604) | more than 3 years ago | (#34785730)

....we've heard enough about Julian's complicated relationships, thank you very much CIA.

Read this before judging... (5, Interesting)

BlackSabbath (118110) | more than 3 years ago | (#34785802)

http://wlcentral.org/node/839 [wlcentral.org]

The Guardian do not have clean hands in this matter.

Re:Read this before judging... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34786466)

Counterpunch? They publish anything that's controversial whether factual or not. Usually not. I'd take The Guardian any day over that crap.

Re:Read this before judging... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34786488)

mod up.

Vanity Fair? (2)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34785812)

Hardly a disinterested party. Reads more like a novel. And damn near as long.. In the meantime, all the "confidential" gossip is a nice side story.

"See you in court threats" are limp... (1)

Snotman (767894) | more than 3 years ago | (#34785850)

Wouldn't it be better to threaten the guardian with not revealing any more info ever to the Guardian if they published something not sanctioned in the relationship? That has a lot more punch then, "I will try to persuade a judge to side with me in an argument and you will rue the day." Let the Guardian decide how important it is to get the scoop from Wikileaks. I bet they don't publish so they can keep their relationship and get the early scoop. The business decision will be whether the Guardian can make enough revenue on the ill-gotten info to justify breaking the relationship.

Re:"See you in court threats" are limp... (1)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786402)

Umm.. doesn't that go without saying they knew that was a distinct and likely possibility when they made the decision to not go along with the deal? Or, they figured they could get more rouge persons to leak more info. to them.

Correct me if I'm wrong (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34785884)

But I thought information wanted to be free? Isn't that what Julie has been telling us all along? Is it possible he is using all of this for his own personal gain?

And "The Guardian" is not plural. It is a newspaper. It DOES not have clean hands.

Re:Correct me if I'm wrong (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34786260)

And "The Guardian" is not plural. It is a newspaper. It DOES not have clean hands.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_and_British_English_differences#Formal_and_notional_agreement

perhaps Mr A is not so open after all (4, Insightful)

evanism (600676) | more than 3 years ago | (#34785960)

Well well well.

BIG difference if this was all a "for the public/good/mankind" effort.... making money from this stuff makes him look like a bloody spy/traitor/commercial scumbag.

This really changes the tenor, doesn't it?

It will be interesting to read the spin now. This act alone may be the unravelling.

Re:perhaps Mr A is not so open after all (1)

Aldenissin (976329) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786420)

Well, sometimes you have to fight fire with fire. Giving a reason is always spin? I do not wish to live in the world you live in, where even you seem likely to want to spin, and yet call others on it.

Re:perhaps Mr A is not so open after all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34786748)

Nobody ever said Assange had clean hands here.

Anything pertaining to Assange himself is a distraction; say what you want about the person but don't let it influence you in any direction regarding the leaks. If the issue gets buried under noise then all of the exposed mistakes will be forgotten and then repeated.

pot, meet kettle (0)

phlegmofdiscontent (459470) | more than 3 years ago | (#34785984)

'nuff said

Lived down to my expectations (4, Informative)

david.emery (127135) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786068)

Assange had a financial inerest in how and when it was released.
No surprises here! I'd respect Assange if he lived up to his hype about "open access." Now we know why there are alternatives to WikiLeaks.
(and yes, I did read the WLCentral.org item before posting. Shamir himself is not without controversy: http://www.indymedia.org.uk/en/2005/04/309818.html [indymedia.org.uk]

Reason (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34786078)

I have a feeling the financial interests he was referring to could potentially be money given to him by other media outlets so they too can print the cables.
Wikileaks requires funding and with paypal etc cutting it he could well be using the media as a substitute to donations, which isn't necessarily bad.

If the Guardian was to publish documents before he was able to get them to other paying outlets that would cause them to get stroppy as they are no longer able to be first equal to print highly sought after information. This could then be viewed as favorite to one media outlet hurting not only relations with outlets but Wikileaks reputation.

The way he said it could be easily misconstrued but it really sounds more like sheer anger and bad wording rather then anything else.

TL;DR: Guardian printing out of turn would cause a Charlie Foxtrot situation in many ways and Julian was angry at the thought.

"The way he said it" (5, Insightful)

Andy Smith (55346) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786364)

"The way he said it"

We don't know _how_ he said it. All we how is how the reporter paraphrased it. And it isn't even a paraphrased quote as such, it's merely a summary of something that was allegedly said.

Re:"The way he said it" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34786428)

Exactly. More of the smear campaign.
When reading anything in the media, one must always remember what's at stake, and why they write what they write. If it's grandmas amazing cat w00t, if it's something like this you need to take it with a grain of salt.

Say what? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34786136)

I'm sorry, did somebody use the phrase "journalistic standards" and "The Guardian" in the same sentence?

Like, really?!? (3, Interesting)

angus77 (1520151) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786184)

I mean, even if he thought so, what are the chances that he actually said.

Smells of bullshit to me.

Is it really that complicated? (2)

joeflies (529536) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786404)

Guardian makes money selling advertising. The longer they string out the release of documents, the more times people come to visit the web site. Sure they might have gotten some additional documents and the potential for a scoop, but then they came back to their senses and decided that they can make more money with Assenage than without him.

Re:Is it really that complicated? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34786738)

I beg to differ. The Guardian loses money selling advertising. Not sure if they have experienced solvency all that much.

Did you know gullible isn't in the dictionary? (1)

guspasho (941623) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786478)

Oh look, yet more character assassination of Julian Assange.

At this point everything about him should be taken with a giant fucking grain of salt.

Either that (4, Insightful)

alvinrod (889928) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786782)

Either that or he really is a douche bag.

I'm more interested in the message, but good or bad it doesn't stop the messenger from being an asshole.

This never should have been about him, but it seems he wanted his name and self out there. Smear campaign or not, he brought this shit on himself. Seems we can't have a Wikileaks story that doesn't mention or completely focus on the prick/saint. If Wikileaks were faceless, then the media would have to choose between focusing on the story or ignoring it. Assange has let them cop out and focus on the man.

Re:Either that (3, Informative)

guspasho (941623) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787190)

They started out that way. He did an interview and explained that the media just focused on who mystery of anonymous people behind Wikileaks rather than talking about the information they were trying to expose. They also thought that it was cowardly of them to hide behind anonymity when their sources were taking big personal risks by leaking secrets to them. "If they believe information is meant to be free then why won't they reveal who they are?"

Do you see how the situation can be easily be manipulated by demagogues no matter what you do?

So Wikileaks are either cowards or opportunists, or both simultaneously. Much like how the media tells us the recent leaks of US secrets are "nothing new" and "incredibly reckless and damaging" at the same time. It's all spin and bullshit. Which is why you should disbelieve what you hear about Assange being an egotistical maniac. It's all meant to distract from the far more important point of the content of the leaks, and it's probably all untrue.

Re:Did you know gullible isn't in the dictionary? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34786980)

Oh look, yet more character assassination of Julian Assange.

At this point everything about him should be taken with a giant fucking grain of salt.

So you're salting his dick before you suck it?

Re:Did you know gullible isn't in the dictionary? (1)

guspasho (941623) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787248)

Funny, I always thought that ad hominem applied to people who believe whatever they were told, as opposed to the skeptics.

Re:Did you know gullible isn't in the dictionary? (2)

nomadic (141991) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787080)

At this point everything about him should be taken with a giant fucking grain of salt

This is slashdot, though, we're supposed to worship Assange with no critical thought or doubt I thought.

Why you don't do it then ? (1)

geekymachoman (1261484) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786682)

.If you think the guy's doing this for financial interest ?

I mean.. what he's doing and how, requires money anyway. If he gets the documents and spends whole lot of cash in the process of living that way and doing what he does, of course he needs money. It's how the system works. He isn't stupid.

Successful censor is successful. (3, Interesting)

GNUALMAFUERTE (697061) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786842)

Do you see what's going on here?

The Character assassination plot on Assange was a major success. He's been in jail not so long, and the story is slowly going cold. Nobody is discussing it so eagerly anymore. Also, Julian's public image went down. Regardless of whether what The Guardian is saying is true or not, 30 days ago virtually nobody on /. would have bought the Guardian's story. Or we would've at least questioned it, not taking it as fact.

Julian is in jail. Nobody believes in him anymore. Wikileaks is dead, and nobody even noticed. The CIA pulled yet another successful operation on its own people and the world, and the press took care of cleaning up after them. And nobody gives a fuck.

I see very few people here that understand this. As usual, we are a minority, but when even in /., when everybody here is a minority, you can only see a minority of the minority display any kind of reasoning skills, you can tell something's fucked up.

Re:Successful censor is successful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787120)

I know it's so much easier to just subscribe to conspiracy theories and assume everything is the result of evil forces beyond your control, but try to think critically, ok?

Re:Successful censor is successful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787280)

It so much easier to be a sheeple and assume everything TPB says is truth.

If you want critical thinking you are a conspiracy theorist and that is not easy since you are a minority.

Did you not understand what the parent wrote?

Re:Successful censor is successful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787284)

"Critical thinking" is a mind-control program begun by communist elements in the CIA during the 1970s. PhD candidates were recruited to infiltrate universities and indoctrinate the bourgeoisie elite, reducing them to impotent skepticism.

Re:Successful censor is successful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787156)

ITS A CONSPIRACY!11

Re:Successful censor is successful. (2)

guspasho (941623) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787302)

Wikileaks is not dead. Their website is still up. They are still reprinting the leaks that the Guardian and others are publishing even now. Bank of America is so nervous about impending leaks about them that they are buying up domains like "bankofamericasucks.com". Wikileaks is far bigger than just Julian Assange. He is just the public face.

Re:Successful censor is successful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787328)

Ridiculous. It's not being discussed as eagerly for the same reason every other popular topic is not discussed eagerly after a while - people get bored.

However, the slow pace that Wikileaks is releasing information is certainly going to keep his name in the media for many years to come. I'm sure this was a deliberate choice on Assange's part.

Re:Successful censor is successful. (2)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787332)

Do you see what's going on here?

The Character assassination plot on Assange was a major success. He's been in jail not so long, and the story is slowly going cold. Nobody is discussing it so eagerly anymore. Also, Julian's public image went down. Regardless of whether what The Guardian is saying is true or not, 30 days ago virtually nobody on /. would have bought the Guardian's story. Or we would've at least questioned it, not taking it as fact.

It is entirely possible for Assange to be both a) a champion of truth and a wonderful threat to the establishment and b) a douche. There are many examples of people throughout history who are important, who have made contributions, who you nevertheless would never want to have a beer with. Wagner, great music but nasty jew-hating. Henry Ford, could run an assembly line like nobody's business but again with the jew-hating. Harlan Ellison is a great writer but makes Sheldon Cooper appear warm and down-to-earth. OJ Simpson was a great football player and a very affable television personality but also happened to murder some people. FDR did great things for this country but was supposed to be a cold bastard of a person, no real warmth.

I'm skeptical regarding media stories about Assange the man because he is the subject of a massive disinformation and character assassination campaign. But even if he does turn out to be douchy or an asshole, that's irrelevant with regards to his organization's mission. It doesn't matter if he's serving his own vanity while also doing the right thing -- the problem is if he's compromising his mission in order to service his own self-interest. If he's just trying to monetize the leaks, trying to cash out, that's a bad thing. But to play the advocate here, just look at the media circus around the leaks. He's managed to get some attention here. Yeah, he's making a spectacle but that's what it takes to get the media and public to pay attention. Being respectable and leaking things in a predictable way is the most likely way to be ignored. So by maintaining the drama and suspense, each new release keeps the story alive. Just dumping all the cables at once would see the important things ignored. Why do you think the powers that be love the Friday news dumps? Get the story out right before the weekend and it might be dead before Monday rolls around and people are paying attention again.

So the justification for Assange being pissed about this is that a leak from inside Wikileaks is harmful to sustaining the notoriety campaign that's keeping the story alive. If he doesn't manage the leaks right, he falls off the frontpage just like all the other major stories ignored by our vapid media.

Re:Successful censor is successful. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787414)

Do you see what's going on here?

The Character assassination plot on Assange was a major success. He's been in jail not so long, and the story is slowly going cold. Nobody is discussing it so eagerly anymore. Also, Julian's public image went down. Regardless of whether what The Guardian is saying is true or not, 30 days ago virtually nobody on /. would have bought the Guardian's story. Or we would've at least questioned it, not taking it as fact.

Julian is in jail. Nobody believes in him anymore. Wikileaks is dead, and nobody even noticed. The CIA pulled yet another successful operation on its own people and the world, and the press took care of cleaning up after them. And nobody gives a fuck.

I see very few people here that understand this. As usual, we are a minority, but when even in /., when everybody here is a minority, you can only see a minority of the minority display any kind of reasoning skills, you can tell something's fucked up.

It's cute to think that the CIA or anyone else could do this, but the reality is that Julian did it to himself. Instead of releasing cables showing corruption and evil deeds, he shot his publicity wad on parlor gossip. The guy is a useless douche.

Assange is the weak link. (1)

rahvin112 (446269) | more than 3 years ago | (#34786966)

I supported the goals of WikiLeaks, supported the war diary releases and the believe openness in government is essential. But Assange is the weak leak. While he was in jail little to nothing was posted. All the Money donated is donated directly to him, not some foundation. He's claimed it's so he can be the lighting rod the face of wikileaks. But what I really see is an egotistical asshole that's motivated more by self interest that anything else. There is a very noble goal in trying to give the public access to government secrets with care taken not to reveal irrelevant information that can only be used to harm. And I support anyone trying to do that.

But Assange has put himself in the position of gatekeeper for the whole organization. He's essential to releases, access to funds and websites. He thinks his little insurance packet he released will protect him. But ask yourself this: what good is his insurance package if he's the only one that knows the key and no one can talk to him because he's dead or in solitary confinement with no access to any living person. That gives the governments of the world motivation to hit the organization at it's weak point, Assange himself. He's also demonstrated a significant lack of judgement and if this story is true he thinks he personally has sole control of the material which he doesn't own and the US government labels as stolen.

Ever since the decision to release all the diplomatic cables without any kind of filter on information that might be sensible to just let drop I've personally felt he's a danger to this cause. This was exacerbated by his conduct in promiscuous (and irresponsible, god who has unprotected sex these days and then refuses to be tested for STD's) conduct in Sweden, his lack of foresight to line up the press credentials before he decided to piss off every western government and his general actions limiting himself to the only one with control or access to donated money, his reaction to his own police report leaking and now this belief that he is the owner of this material.

Assange is the weak point at wiki-leaks. Make no mistake there are people that know this and will use it, as other posters have said other organizations will take over once this one is destroyed and it will be. I also think he's the type to take others down with him, so if you've worked with him at nefarious purposes you better be very afraid because he will spill the beans on you.

Re:Assange is the weak link. (2)

guspasho (941623) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787416)

They did not release all the cables. Only about 1-2% have been published so far, and not by Wikileaks but papers like the Guardian.Wikileaks is just their source. Wikileaks only provided the cables to a few papers, the New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, and two others whose names I forget. If any cable has been published at all, it was by one of those papers. Wikileaks only gave the information to them, and only them. They are the filter.

And where do you get your information that Assange is the only person who knows the "key"? Assange has said himself that cables in the hands of hundreds of thousands of supporters, encrypted, and if something were to happen to him the cables would all be automatically released. I've no reason to doubt their ability to set up a system like the one they say they have. Do you have reason to believe it's infeasible, or that they are incapable of it?

I suggest you reconsider your other assumptions.

Assange is the weak point because he has exposed himself as the head of the organization. This makes him vulnerable to attacks like people publishing smears about him being a rapist and an egotistical maniac and only interested in personal profit, etc etc. I don't see any reason to believe he has endangered the operation at all, but only enhanced it by sticking his own neck out and not remaining hidden and anonymous - which would only have led to other demagogic charges, "Only hypocrites and cowards would ask people to take personal risks to provide them with leaks and expose such secrets but not reveal their own identities."

Yeah, Assange is a complicated guy (2)

Dr. Spork (142693) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787032)

First read this article:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/06/07/100607fa_fact_khatchadourian?currentPage=all [newyorker.com]

I think it will paint for you a picture of a very unusual person, clearly flawed but also clearly motivated by a quest for righteousness. I think he wants to stop wars more even than he wants to release information. He is certainly not doing this for money or comfort, though I hope he eventually finds both. He wants desperately to make an impact, and he was enraged at the Guardian for wanting to release the leaks on a different schedule because he wanted to optimize the timing for the sake of maximum impact. Yeah, it was stupid to threaten to sue and claim "ownership" - but even the article says that he later backed down from this, after a great deal of coffee and wine. Haven't we all said stupid things while overworked, stressed and sleep deprived? I don't think this episode should be taken to reveal too much about Assange. The article linked above is more informative, though also not exactly flattering.

Re:Yeah, Assange is a complicated guy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787286)

However complicated, large egos are, unfortunately, not unusual.

Re:Yeah, Assange is a complicated guy (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787310)

So he's a liar. He talks all about openness and such, but then wants to release information so that it has the greatest political impact? That is completely against what he claims he's for. What kind of info does he sit on? If it doesn't support his pet projects, it doesn't get released? Or gets quietly released and buried? The vocal self-righteous turn out to be the biggest hypocrites. They all are assured of their superior moral position and always feel that the end justifies the means, which begins the slippery slope. You get "defenders of life" going around killing abortion doctors, or "True Americans" throwing away civil liberties and stomping on the Constitution because they don't like what someone else says or how they say it.

So many around here who spew bullshit about the great service he's doing to keep governments open show themselves to be complete tools. Until there are big massive leaks of secrets from countries that can and would cause him personal harm if such a release was done, he's just spewing a bunch of bullshit. Or one of his pet projects is simply to be anti-American, which given the profile you paint of him I don't think is far from the truth. "Openness" is just his convenient lie, or if he really believes it, it is WAY down his priority list.

Financial interest (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787068)

According to Wired, back in 2008 Wikileaks had a plan to sell exclusivity to certain documents [wired.com] to the highest bidder. These documents were embargoed, which meant eventually they'd be fully released, but until then the lucky winner would be able to report on them without competition.

Which does make me wonder about the "financial interest" angle mentioned in the Vanity Fair piece... are any of these media outlets paying for access to the current set of leaked documents?

Evidence? I don't buy it. it is a smear campain. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34787102)

What Julian Assanage has done is put a face to an organization. There is a reason companies release press releases. When no face exists nobody can be punished or blamed. With Jullian Assangage representing the organization we have some one to smear. Allot of people are out to get him and want him taken down. It isn't even him really that matters. If the organization hadn't had someone to smear it wouldn't distract us from the real issues. The problem with Julian is not that he did or not do any of the things people are claiming The problem is that some one is representing the organization. Stop accepting these things people say who disagree and a single organization will not fall. My opinion is we should ignore this. We don't know that any of the things claimed are true.

attack the messenger (2)

Dan667 (564390) | more than 3 years ago | (#34787470)

love it how Wikileaks is doing Big Media's Job and all they have time for is to try and stop him.
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