Vanity Fair profiles Julian Assange: Wikileaks threatened to sue Guardian over leaked cables


VF's feature on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is now available online. Snip:

The partnership between The Guardian and WikiLeaks brought together two desperately ambitious organizations that happen to be diametric opposites in their approach to reporting the news. One of the oldest newspapers in the world, with strict and established journalistic standards, joined up with one of the newest in a breed of online muckrakers, with no standards at all except fealty to an ideal of "transparency"--that is, dumping raw material into the public square for people to pick over as they will. It is very likely that neither Alan Rusbridger nor Julian Assange fully understood the nature of the other's organization when they joined forces. The Guardian, like other media outlets, would come to see Assange as someone to be handled with kid gloves, or perhaps latex ones--too alluring to ignore, too tainted to unequivocally embrace.

No standards at all!

But among the more interesting revelations in this piece: at one point, VF reports that Assange threatened to sue The Guardian because he was upset that the newspaper secured an unauthorized copy of one leak "package" from a Wikileaks volunteer, and was considering breaking the embargo.

In other words: Wikileaks was going to sue The Guardian over a leak, because Assange believed he owned the content which had been leaked to him.

Enraged that he had lost control, Assange unleashed his threat, arguing that he owned the information and had a financial interest in how and when it was released.
Go ahead and let that one sink in a minute.

Related: Some guy named Graydon Carter wrote some stuffs about hackers. "It has all been quite a circus, these serial acts of aggression, reaction, and revenge." Hurr hurr! Hackers.


  1. That photo is just screaming to be turned into an authentic oil painting on black velvet.

  2. One of the oldest newspapers in the world, with strict and established journalistic standards, joined up with one of the newest in a breed of online muckrakers, with no standards at all

    Eat a square meal of bagged dicks, dearest, inaccurate Vanity Fair bullshatters.

  3. Agree with Cowicide. Will everyone please please PLEASE stop spreading the lie that Wikileaks ‘dumps’ stuff unedited into the ‘public square’. Part of the reason that Wikileaks partnered with other publishers was to get assistance in redacting personal sensitive information from the cables. Also, they have released a very small percentage of the total number of cables they have access to.

    1. Will everyone please please PLEASE stop spreading the lie that Wikileaks ‘dumps’ stuff unedited into the ‘public square’. Part of the reason that Wikileaks partnered with other publishers was to get assistance in redacting personal sensitive information from the cables. Also, they have released a very small percentage of the total number of cables they have access to.

      I’d like to second this VERY important point.

      It’s not that Assange thinks all people should know everything, or that governments should never be able to keep secrets. Heavens no, that’d be silly.

      It’s just that he doesn’t think governments should be able to keep secrets from HIM, or those people or institutions he deputizes. (Some of whom he doesn’t think very highly of, but never mind–when you’re the volunteer regent, appearances must be kept up.)

      You might think that hastily skimming 250,000+ documents, which amount to a single piece of the giant jigsaw puzzle of what a government knows about its own business, wouldn’t be enough for these journalists and self-appointed overseers to make confident decisions about what should be “unsecret” and what should be “secret except to Julian Assange and whatever paper printed something flattering about him last week.”

      But apparently you’re wrong and there will be no bad consequences, direct or indirect, foreseeable or unforseeable, intended or unintended. This, I’m given to understand, follows directly on from the premise that Assange is “better” somehow than the evil oligarchies he’ll tell you he’s fighting.

  4. I love how Assange’s supporters jump right in to argue fine points on how Wikileaks operates, while ignoring the fact that Assange, as it turns out, WAS TRYING TO EMBARGO LEAKS. AND THREATENING LAWSUITS ON A NEWS ORGANIZATION TO ENFORCE THE EMBARGO. That’s how a giant dickhead corporation acts. Actually, much as they’d like to, few of them even do that.

    1. You must misunderstand what an embargo is. An embargo is simply a promise to a source (or, more often, a precondition from a source) that a story won’t be published until a certain time. In journalism, there’s nothing unethical or bad about an embargo. They’re perfectly normal, legitimate and ethical.

      In fact, it’s a breach of journalistic ethics to break an embargo. It’s not as bad as violating a promise of anonymity, but it’s still frowned upon.

      So why, James Au, are we Wikileaks supporters supposed to be mad about Assange using embargoes?

    2. The leaks are embargoed because Wikileaks makes its operating money by selling journalistic organizations early access to the materials so they can write stories. They sell it to multiple papers who are all under an embargo, and that has to be enforced (as you’d imagine, that data you paid to look at early is worthless if a paper cheats and publishes the scoop first). After the embargo Wikileaks releases the same info on their site for everyone to see.

      Otherwise, Wikileaks wouldn’t have the money to pay for the people/bandwidth it needs to get this info out. It’s a very very tiny and very very nessisary “evil” that this organization needs to survive. If you remember, last year WL was offline for a time because they had SO much info and SO little staff to sift through it. They had to do this to even function.

      Also, how do I know it? Because Assange said so!


      SCREAMING hearsay doesn’t magically turn it into fact.

      So… where’s the audio of this exchange? Maybe an admission from Assange?

      [citations sorely needed]

      Or are we still going with that whole guilty-until-proven-innocent bullshit? I have no idea if Assange is guilty of this or not and neither do you… at all. So please quit pontificating hearsay as solid fact; it only degrades your own validity.

      And, if Vanity Fair’s other inaccuracies within its article are any indication, this accusation could very well be out-of-context bullshit.

      I guess before we launch attacks against Assange and his supporters we could wait until we find out if this accusation is accurate, but I guess that wouldn’t fit into your predefined agenda, now would it, sugar-pie?

  5. “[Why] are we Wikileaks supporters supposed to be mad about Assange using embargoes?”

    You’re forgetting the whole threatening to sue a news organization to prevent disclosure part. Oh, and it gets worse. Assange threatened the lawsuit for proprietary, financial reasons:

    “Enraged that he had lost control, Assange unleashed his threat, arguing that he owned the information and had a financial interest in how and when it was released.”

    Owned! Financial interest! The irony just keeps getting richer.

  6. Meh.

    First, the lawsuit isn’t an issue. Why would it be? The whole point of an embargo is to prevent disclosure prior to the agreed-upon time. If embargoes get broken with impunity, they’d be pointless.

    And second, the “financial interest” claim sounds like a legal claim, not a philosophical/moral one. In other words, claiming a financial interest is a necessary step to a potential lawsuit; likewise, failing to make that claim would disqualify a lawsuit.

    And I would add that VF’s claim that Assange/Wikileaks advocates “full, unfettered disclosure of primary-source material” and Assange’s goals (if the story is correct) are to “keep highly sensitive information from reaching a broader audience” are strawmen. The position of Wikileaks (articulated by Assange and others) is quite a bit more nuanced; also, there’s a lot of difference between hiding documents for years with secrecy laws to prevent citizens from knowing things and hiding documents for weeks with an embargo in preparation for publication.

    tl;dr: VF engages in trite misstatements and oversimplifications in order to vilify Wikileaks and Assange.

    1. Oh Christ, that’s the weakest defense I’ve ever read.

      Change the names. Apple or Microsoft, both organizations release information under embargo routinely. Let’s say Apple offers Gizmodo something under embargo, then threatens to sue Gizmodo for breaking embargo, after Gizmodo received identical info from a third party not beholden to the embargo. Nothing wrong with that! Bullshit. Apple would be roundly criticized online, and rightly so.

      Defending the principles of Wikileaks, and the positive results of Assange’s work, is one thing. Defending every dumb move Assange makes (and he’s human, and he’s gonna make dumb moves from time to time) is another.

      1. To clarify, like with the hypothetical Giz, to threaten to sue the Guardian probably wasn’t too smart for Assange either. I don’t mean to defend this in particular as a “good” move, but merely not one that violates principles.

        Also: Your comment changed significantly between now and when I submitted my last response. So, grain of salt for my last response. (And of sand — I’m going to sleep.)

      2. “Oh Christ, that’s the weakest defense I’ve ever read.”

        Weakest defense you’ve EVER read? Bullshit. Exaggerating the other way doesn’t help matters.

        Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think it is a great defense. But I am sure that Xeni has read some truly repugnant defenses in her time, and this can’t be the weakest ever. That’s just silly.

        Fess up, Xeni.

  7. Well, that’s genuinely disappointing. But from me it prompts only a reiteration of what I’ve said all along: I don’t know what kind of a person this Assange is, but regardless of the character and motivations, what his organization is doing is an important thing, something that needs to be done.

  8. I don’t blindly defend Julian Assange or the Guardian, but the Vanity Fair piece discredits itself by relying on this stupid good/conservative/reliable newspaper vs reckless/conniving/selfish/hacker wikiliaks storyline. I’m not bothering to click through. I’ll just read the leaks for myself thanks.

    1. The VF piece and the Carter editorial suffer from a conspicuous point of view I don’t share, but that doesn’t mean the feature is devoid of news.

      1. Well I did read both pieces and I’m glad I did, because it’s not as sensational as suggested here, notwithstanding the accurate sampling of ad hominem attacks on Assange. According to the VF telling the threat of a lawsuit was basically designed to ensure that other international media partners had a chance to publish too, on the same embargo as the Guardian. The Guardian was acting purely out of suspicion and self interest, while Assange became unhinged no doubt because the Guardian was about to ruin the deals he made with other media partners. Aside from the unsubtle personal attacks on Assange (handle this guy with latex gloves, two women think he has AIDS, maybe), I actually found the story fairly exculpatory of Assange’s actions. What’s worst about this news is that it’s devoid of Assange’s perspective and doesn’t explain why – the standard line that the party didn’t reply to repeated requests for comment isn’t even included in the story, which is suspicious. Did the author try?

        1. Excellent reading emdubya. I have similar feelings – there is so much hear say and conjecture being pushed around (and furthered in some cases in some well knows blogs…) as fact. It is pick-and-choose journalism at best.

  9. I don’t see much wrong with Apple suing Gizmodo for breaking an embargo. Probably not very productive for Apple, but if they wanted to, I wouldn’t cry. Giz (hypothetically) promised not to break that embargo; then they went ahead and broke it.

    Generally in journalism/PR, the way embargo-breakers get punished is easy: they don’t get access/leaks/press releases anymore. When you’re Wikileaks and have a different model (a few huge items [in this case the 250k cables], not a lot of small things), that doesn’t work…

    1. “I don’t see much wrong with Apple suing Gizmodo for breaking an embargo”

      Very silly indeed.

      An embargo can take various forms, but it’s usually an agreement not to disclose what you’ve learned from the source with whom the agreement was undertaken. If you learn the same information independently from another source, the embargo doesn’t usually cover that. The need to cover such circumstances (and because embargos are legally meaningless) is why NDAs exist.

      The fact that embargoes operate on a flexible honor system is why they’re effective and make inflexible NDAs only rarely necessary. The journalist is expected not to release the information until a certain time, and the source is expected to not make a fool of themselves trying to control coverage after the cat is out of the bag.

  10. VF piling on for wikileaks doing what journalists used to do, actually try and shed light on things.

    Now they just parrot government lies.

  11. So let me get this right, Assange-devotees, Wikileaks (Assange) is justified in seeking a legal avenue to punish/suppress the Guardian for leaking..ah, “breaking the embargo”..because Wikileaks is unable to be as effective as it could be as an organization (fewer funds than potential) if the embargo is broken.

    Now, please split hairs here and explain to me how the US State Department isn’t just as justified in being po’ed and investigating legal avenues to punish/suppress Assange from leaking documents that make it less effective than it could be.

    Nb. I’m totally against illegal, non-human rights way of suppressing (such as possibly influencing foreign countries to jail him on totally different alleged crimes).

    Bonus Points Question: Why does Wikileaks need to suppress leaks from its own org for funds? Couldn’t it instead support its operating costs through donations like Wikipedia does? Assange obvs. has supporters who are willing to put him up in mansions and buy him jaunty hunting caps — wouldn’t those same supporters also be willing to throw a euro or two into the Wikipedia coffers?

  12. “…dumping raw material into the public square for people to pick over as they will”

    Why does BB, of all places, repeat garbage such as this? Why is BB so biased against Wikileaks and what it is doing? I honestly don’t understand. In so many other areas BB does a fine job highlighting hypocrisy, horror and malfeasance. When it comes to Wikileaks, not so much. What have they done to upset you all?

    1. Why is BB so biased against Wikileaks and what it is doing? I honestly don’t understand.

      The views and content of the links that Boing Boing posts does not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Boing Boing posters.

      You have entered a critical thinking terror dome. Proceed with caution.

  13. Agreed Cowicide, BB and the opinions in clippings posted here are of course sometimes at odds but whilst there is often an irony in cuttings chosen (“look at the way smoking was advertised as healthy in the ’50’s”-type of thing), the posting of the cutting in this case is of a piece with other postings on BB elsewhere that appear to be suggesting that Assange is not to be trusted ergo, Wikileaks is also unreliable. I don’t know him, I don’t know what he got up to in Sweden, and I hope the justice system sorts it out. But I recognise sordid (latex / HIV link anyone?) politically-driven bogus attacks when I see them (I have, after all, occasionally seen copies of the UKs Daily Mail – my eyes! my eyes!) and don’t want to be driven to them by the likes of BB. I know Xeni points out the absurdity of someone in VF suggesting someone else has no standards, but to then go on to suggest that there is something wrong in an organisation such as Wikileaks trying to enforce what (caveat:) appears to be (end caveat) a previously agreed arrangement … well, it doesn’t sit well with what BB generally manages to achieve elsewhere.
    Of course BB is free-thinking and provocative – that’s why I’m here – but there nonetheless appears to be something of a bias against Assange. In some ways, I wish he’d get out of the way and let Wikileaks go on without him until matters in Sweden are dealt with but, in his position, would I step aside after all he has been through? I have no idea – I like to think I would but who can say? In the meantime, whilst I’m not suggesting he is cut any slack, I would suggest that biased assasination-by-poor-journalism isn’t encouraged.

  14. “Embargoed” works like “off the record.” Both parties have to agree to it beforehand and it only covers what you’re told by that source, not other sources who might also tell you the same thing.

    What’s interesting is that inexperienced reporters (lots of those on the information superhighway!) often allow PR people to bully them around over embargoes after they’ve been broken by others. More the fool them. It’s to the point where PR people in enthusiast markets (where reporters’ best interests tend to be served acting like vicarious PR) will release information to you first and then declare, unilaterally, that it is ’embargoed.’

    Just as with “by the way, all that was off the record,” rude awakenings are not infrequent.

    1. And that’s why, whenever I get an embargoed press release, it goes right in the trash. I refuse to be a cog in the pr machine, and I wish other reporters would do the same.

      I do respect a source’s request that I sit on information until they’ve finished negotiating a lease/contract/whatever, because I like keeping my sources.

  15. The fallacy displayed in this B!B! item, assuming all the VF allegations hold up (which I most strongly doubt), is called: tu quoque. (Hint: keep googling until you figure it out.)

    I imagine Assange would behave differently if his efforts to change the system succeed. Until then, he is stuck with the same system and points of leverage as the rest of us.

  16. I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure you can’t sue someone for breaking an embargo. You can never, ever as long as you live send them a press release again for the rest of recorded history (and I believe you can call them a poopyhead or something), but unless there was a signing of some super-secret contract in the blood of a virgin, an embargo is just a gentleman’s (lady’s?) agreement.

    Also, can we just agree that WikiLeaks is doing great, historically important things AND Julian Assange is an Class A USDA approved asshat?

    I’m also looking forward to OpenLeaks getting it’s leak on. The more leak distributers the merrier!

  17. For all the behind-the-scenes drama, which Assange is perfectly capable of feeding, the partnership between Wikileaks and the Guardian is working well enough. Wikileaks really did try just throwing the secrets out on the street (such as with Scientology), and almost nobody cared unless they were directly involved or it was their hobbyhorse. So, what Graydon Carter said was true, as far as it went, if a bit out of date.

  18. Wikileaks needs to dump this douchebag before he does irreparable damage to what they’re doing.

  19. Some of the comments have been alleging an anti-WL sentiment on this site. I have to disagree with that.

    This particular item is not flattering to Assange (or WL?), but in general this blog is very favorable to WL; and against much of the agitprop coming from more conservative institutions.

    Give credit where credit is due.

  20. What nobody has mentioned yet, is that by the Guardian finally agreeing with Assange and so delaying publication, it gave him time to bring on board other publishers like El País and Le Monde and make sure that the other publishers all had the third release on time. It was this wider publication base that caused the 3rd package release to have such a big impact. So Julian’s gut reactions did indeed prove right and wasn’t that the whole point of seeking partnership to the press. It go the message out, even to those people that normally don’t take an interest in such issues. Even I was surprised by those around me that suddenly woke up and started to question what they had presumed to be gospel.

    Just proves the politicians are right when they say – the public have very short memories -and readers of VF even shorter.

  21. I really hope that I never have anything really important to tell the world. People might just dig up dirt on me personally and ignore everything else I had to say.

    Sometimes people who are against what Wikileaks is trying to do will use the lazy way out and call supporters “Assange fanboys/fangirls”, just like some lazy Wikileaks supporters think that the best way to support Wikileaks is to support the bashing of potential rape victims.

    It bears repeating: You can be for Wikileaks and its ideals and not be fond of Assange. Furthermore, you can be a Wikileaks supporter without reinforcing rape culture.

    If you are against Wikileaks and its methods, you too can express this sentiment without relying on ad hominem and accusing its supporters of blindly following some cult of personality. No one likes to be accused of not thinking over one’s opinions, so stop pretending you’re not insulting them.

    Can we please pay more attention to what horrible things are being done in my name with my tax dollars? I don’t really care who Julian Assange put his penis in.

  22. I’m sure, given the widely-reported fact that Guardian Media is losing millions a day, they would have happily gone ahead & published ahead of the embargo dates if the could have thus boosting sales figures as they’d have the scoop. wouldn’t you, if you were running a paper at a loss? Unless someone stopped you?

  23. Boy oh boy these cables make for great reading!

    IGNORE the tawdry paltry and frankly un-important personal stories about Mr. Assange – ANY reporting about him, as a matter of fact – and READ the cables!

    Thanks to Naked Capitalism for the link – after all, it’s not as if the majority of US media cares to report any actual news in these cables, if such reporting may interfere with the unknown plans of our operating-in-strictly-enforced-secrecy, not-responsible-to-the-public-in-any-way, “Official social betters”.

  24. Just a thought, and one that will likely throw gas on the fire, but if Assange expressed such a close financial interest in the information, that could be used against him. On one extreme, it could be seen as proof he was fencing stolen information. Or at a minimum, it could be used at trial to paint him as greedy (motive?).

    “Loose lips sink ships.”

  25. It would seem that the Guardian is confirming pretty much all that was written in the VF piece. Link to article here. The Guardian has backed off quite a bit from the whole Wikileaks saga over the past few weeks. Maybe there is quite a bit of tension there.

  26. Xeni,
    The citations are very, very weak in that article.

    I also find it amusing that anyone would take seriously an article appearing in a magazine that went to press with Justin F-ing Bieber on the cover.

    Come on!

  27. The “some guy named Graydon Carter” is a pretty influential dude in NY’s upper social strata (and THE editor of VF). You should have a chat with him next time you’re in NY, Xeni. You’d probably be the only among the BB gang savvy enough to handle him. It’d be a great BB story.

    (Although I’m not sure whether your “some guy named Graydon Carter” phrase was sarcastic or not. Who knows, you might already know him. I always assume that Media people were like a family where everybody was somebody’s first, second, third, fourth, or long lost cousin.)

    It seems like Julian “I’m busy, there are two wars I have to end” Assange is walking toward a balcony facing a plaza filled to its rim with screaming and fainting teenage boys who watch “V for Vendetta” for inspiration. And with that cougar Bianca Jagger by his side watching him with those hungry eyes. RAWR. *clawing*

    By then even Michael Moore will have realized that if magazines like VF decides to poop on you, EVERYTHING is lost.

  28. So Joolian thinks he owns the stolen info, huh?

    A nasty lawyer would take him at his word. Which could prove – uncomfortable.

  29. In the church of Wikileaks, God may make “errors” or produce “contradictions” to us simpleton mortals but he is acting out of higher goals, reasons that you or I will never understand since the ends justify the means.

    1. I take it that by “god”, you are referring to the US Government, with its unquestioned power to put its enemies to death, right?

      1. No, I wasn’t but very witty and original reply though.

        I bet that Libertarian multi-millionaire benefactor guy that everyone knows the address of now who is housing Julian hired a plethora mercenaries and rent-a-cops to protect Julian since CIA agents are lurking everywhere. He already encountered two of them in Sweden.

        1. If you say so….personally, I enjoy reading the productions of the US Government, regardless of the conduit by which I may receive such.

  30. In other news: It looks like El Pais, Guardian, NYT, and Der Spiegel do not have the Wikipedia hype box anymore (cables! cables! and more sensational ground shaking bureaucrat reports!). Those same cables that “put enemies to death” as some would say.

    1. Wikipedia!? I’m such a moron. At least Wikipedia produces non-biased and useful information.

  31. Semiotix: “what a government knows about its own business”. Yeah coz sure, it is none of the people’s business to know what is done in their name is it? Course not.

    1. Honestly, if you’re trying to goad me into saying that governments should be able to keep some things hidden from public view, you just have to ask. Of course I think so. Secrets aren’t inherently bad, and you couldn’t run a two-horse village without the ability to keep some information private.

      Wikileaks isn’t being fueled, funded, or otherwise supported by people who have no other solution to the problem of “secrecy creep.” It’s being supported by people who prefer to believe that that problem can be solved by having a third party stage a single commando raid against the hard drives of the Evil Government that they themselves voted in.

      If you accept the Assange premise that an impenetrable, impervious network of evil oligarchies runs the puppet governments of the world behind the scenes, then what Assange did is the equivalent of Roosevelt going on the radio and saying, “Great news, my fellow Americans! Last night we broke the Germans’ top-secret Enigma cipher! Now we’ll be able to read their secret orders to their submarine fleet.”

      It’s already a lot harder for the PFC Mannings of the world to do what he did. I’m not sure what would count as good news for someone who adopted that kind of fashionable geopolitical nihilism, but it wouldn’t be this. Ask a John Bircher–it’s pretty much the same mindset.

      On the other hand, if you think that, say, the American government is not yet entirely gone over to the Dark Side, and might still be held accountable in some fashion by Us The People if we ever decide to take action ourselves, then Wikileaks is just a depressing reminder of how easily it is to game any sufficiently complex political situation, and how the people who do so are almost always doing it for the most straightforwardly venal reasons, like money and attention.

      But no, our government is flawed in some way, and this guy says he knows better, so let’s turn over a few basic functions of government to him. Or rather, ratify his decision to do so after the fact.

  32. So, it appears that it is fine for established Newspapers to try and make a profit through charging for Ads and through selling that information to a reading audience. It is fine, for them, to put off putting out a story because of either a desire to make the readership to access the publication more times, you don’t want to put everything in one issue, or necessarily put it up on your website before you print it in an ink and paper format. It is also okay for those members of the press to get book deals, along with heads of major corporations, and political figures. It is okay for governments and businesses to use embargoes and release dates to try to accomplish a broader effect. It is also apparently okay, if you have a non-profit status to accept donations to accomplish your goals.

    Apparently, Wikileaks and Assange have to do this out of the goodness of their hearts with no access to funding or where they get paid for their work. They also have to be right and pure in everything they say and do. With no ambition for recognition or personal gain of any sort.

    Xeni is right that Wikileaks has a more nuanced stance on the release of information. They do not just take what people give them and publish it online with no human judgment in between. How would they ever be overwhelmed with information if that were the case. Sometimes, their judgment, as humans, might amazingly be wrong.

    If you set up Assange as Jesus Christ who can do no wrong, you will be disappointed. If he is an occasional asshole who has ambitions of personal success through trying to make the world a better place you might not. Of course, at this point, no one not the Swedes, not the Americans, and not Wikileaks have really made any charges in a court of law. I guess Wikileaks realized that if the Guardian broke the embargo they could chose whether to work with them in the future…

    Assange might be an asshole, but VF is asinine.

  33. Assange THREATENED to sue. He didn’t actually sue. To me, that suggests one of two things: either he realized that suing The Guardian over leaking information was completely in opposition to what Wikileaks stands for and thus the lawsuit was untenable for ethical and/or legal reasons, or he just used the threat as a scare tactic to get The Guardian to respect the journalistic convention that is the embargo.

    And I agree, f— Justin Bieber.

  34. The nasty asshat in me wants to accuse some parties of trying to prove to the mainstream that they aren’t a radical outcast.

    I do not understand the rage and hate that Assange inspires. Yeah, someone in his position has to be strong and unafraid, that includes yelling *gasp* at people that are about to fuck you over. Assange simply can’t be the big soft cuddly guy next door, he would have never been able to pull any of this off if he was.

    Why is everyone discussing the merits of a lawsuit? Assange got pissed off and to emphasize his point he shouted I’d oughtta sue you—is that a crucify-ible offense? Which one of us hasn’t behaved in that way? Did he actually file one? And even if he did, why is he not allowed to use the democratic process that he has given his life to protect?

    I do not trust VF or the Guardian, or another contemporary “journalistic” organization. I don’t know why we are more willing to give them our trust to them.

    @Anon #19: The difference is the public has a right to know what their government is doing. The government works for us. And Wikileaks wasn’t “suppressing” leaks, it was ensuring that the leaks were publicized and were released with as much impact as possible—in order that the public would know what the fuck the government was up to.

    The government can be as pissed-off as it wants to be. But having other governments detain Assange, extradite him to another country on quite silly charges (a la Naomi Wolf) is dastardly and underhanded—just what one would expect from governments that operate above their own law.

    I’m amazed by how many people back the traditional media—which have lost the nack, and balls, for investigative journalism while disparaging strong people that do.

    Have we really turned into a bunch of sissy-ass-sheep running around trying to be the first to lick mans boot?

    1. I do not trust VF or the Guardian, or another contemporary “journalistic” organization. I don’t know why we are more willing to give them our trust to them.


      I’m amazed by how many people back the traditional media—which have lost the nack, and balls, for investigative journalism while disparaging strong people that do.

      Who did Wikileaks give the cables to?

      1. Oh, come the fuck on. Investigative journalism by the mainstream, salaried press—print, web and radio—is growing like mad, fueled by new tools and emboldened sources. Anyone who says you can’t trust the newspapers to do reporting (News Corp rags excepted) isn’t reading them.

        Of course I wish the NYT had been more skeptical of the Iraq war, and that newspapers everywhere would question the status quo more aggressively. But run down the list of Pulitzer prize winners, and tell me how many of those investigations would have happened in a world made up only of armchair reporters and Assange-style crusaders. Writing these stories is really hard work, and costs a lot of money. The growth in amateur (I mean no disrespect by the word) journalism is undeniably good for the world, but you can’t undertake a year-long investigation of police corruption without funding.

        1. Of course I wish the NYT had been more skeptical of the Iraq war

          “More skeptical”….? What a joke. They were the very opposite of skeptical.

          If you were paying attention, you’d know they were absolutely cheerleading for war like most of the rest of the mainstream media that has failed the American public.

          And as you apologists do your part, the massively expensive war machine grinds on…. and on… and on…

        2. I agree with you. It was a rhetorical question. Why send the leaks to the mass media if you don’t trust them? The Guardian was “the bastion of true journalism” for the Assangists until Guardian “leaked” the Swedish police report. VF is evil because they didn’t portray him as Cyberjesus. That’s how Assangists determine Good and Evil. As I wrote earlier, at the rate he/they’re dismissing his/their “allies”, Assange will end up with having supporters consisting of only white male teenagers between ages 10-16 whose favorite pastime online is to /b/ully people. And Bianca Jagger. And possibly Al Jazeera, unless they too decide to dump him. They guy has no social skills, just like the supporters he’ll end up with.

    2. I wasn’t defending The Guardian, NYT, or other media in my original comment: Please don’t inflate my question to a defense of traditional media.

      And while I expect as a citizen to generally know what’s going on in government, I’m not so woefully innocent as to expect it’s practical to know all the details. I expect to know if our country is breaking laws and torturing people/killing civilians (good leaks), because those activities are all contra to benefit of our republic. I DON’T expect the day-to-day minutae of our diplomats. So far, the diplomatic leaks have all been contra to our republic (by undermining other countries’ willingness to work with us) and not illuminated any wrong-doing. So, our diplomats help Boeing against Airbus — well, I expect and want them to — and if you think that France isn’t more blatant in its pro-Airbus activities, I’ve got a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you. So, Japan is against the anti-whaling activists — shocker! And our diplomats are too diplomatic to tell Japan that we’re not going to send our military to rush to their whalers’ aid? Another shocker.

      Look, Wikileaks has an admirable goal and there SHOULD be a role for an organization that publishes leaks, but the current Wikileaks has absolutely horrible implementation, distasteful cohorts and a blowhard patron saint. And poor naive PFC Manning is a victim.

  35. I call Spin Doctors. Hard Facts? Someone says Assange said something. Evidence? None.

    What’s next, does Wikileaks have ties to Al Quaida? Or maybe Julian Assange has WoMD? Did he sell leaked plans for the bomb to Iran?

  36. Enough already. Focus on the content for crying out loud!

    Damn straight!

    Without Assange, how would I know that Vladimir Putin, is the “Batman” to the Dmitri Medvedev´s “Robin”?
    And how am I supposed to get a full understanding of the world news without detailed knowlege of Gaddafi’s botox injections?

    Seriously though, the increasing heat on Assange is fueled more than anything from the poor quality of the content in the latest “batch” of embargoed releases.

    Is this the best they´ve got left, or are they holidng out on more important information for a later release? Both alternatives actually speak unfavorably for Assanges embargo system.

  37. Yes. Let’s not forget that one of the most regular cries from Assange, wikileaks, various supporters, etc. in recent weeks has been, essentially, “You can’t release that information! It’s private!”

    This doesn’t change the ethics of what wikileaks does. I generally don’t support it, many do. But it DOES say something about wikileaks, Assange, etc. in general. They’re not necessarily the idealistic mavens of peace and enlightenment many make them out to be. They’re out to make a buck.

      1. Dunno, cow. I’m pretty sure that I very specifically argued that being hypocrites did NOT invalidate (or validate) their mission, but rather that it simply said a bit about the people and their organization.

        As for being out to make a buck, selling snake oil in the old west wasn’t a healthy profession either, if you got caught, but a whole lot of people did it anyways. Danger is not a huge barrier to financial gain for a lot of people, and the news has being annoying the rich and powerful for ages, and making money doing it. Don’t see why Assange couldn’t, especially when he’s professed to being worried about the money he’d lose.

        1. “… it simply said a bit about the people and their organization.”

          That they are stuck with the same system and points of leverage as the rest of us?

          Also, “cow”?

    1. They’re out to make a buck.

      Ah yes, one of the most time honored, easiest ways to make a buck… by having the most feared, powerful and deadly forces the world has ever seen… out to destroy you.

      How do you make a buck? By selling all your internal organs? I heard the money is great….

  38. What?? So Julian is in it for $money and $hoes after all?

    I thought he was the albino Martin Luther King Jr, Solzhenitsyn, Daniel Ellsberg, Nelson Mandela, and Jesus all wrapped into one :(

  39. Someone wisely commented a few weeks ago that ange = hole in Australian.

    As for private Manning, kudos for reporting *war crimes*. That’s his duty as a human being, and indeed unlawful if kept silent (Nurnberg). However, once he moved on to *gossip* (ie. diplomatic cables, war logs exposing legitimate tactics), he is guilty for treason: JAIL (after trial and in humane conditions, not what is going on now).

    Assange conspired? Hope he gets caught by US and spend a good time in jail. I’m Latin American, live in Latin America, and have no business with US at all. However, I still prefer an US-centered world over a Russian or Chinese, so it’s against my interests (and I suspect BB readers’ as well) to undermine American diplomacy.

    I’m very liberal and consider crimes many of W’s moves (Iraq, Patriot Act, anything Cheney touched, “renditions”, …). However, I don’t mind US bullying around mildly, if that’s the price for keeping pax-Americana.

    Unfortunately, W pretty much fucked up US in ways that they will not recover before China takes over.

    Hey, where are the BofA cables anyway?

    1. “Someone wisely commented a few weeks ago that ange = hole in Australian.”

      Good on the Aussies for finally ditching the English language in favor of their own queer and colourful lingo.

      Can you recommend a good Australian-to-English translation dictionary?

      1. Protip: a 6-pack of VBs and you’ll start to understand the Australian dialect. Or do you call that just a heavy accent?

    2. So: direct war leaks = okay, things related to war = TREEZON!!1

      How many of your conflicting personalities did it take to bring this comment together?

    3. Oh, also:

      However, I don’t mind US bullying around mildly, if that’s the price for keeping up a continous state of genocide against brown and poor people.

      I fixed your typo for you.

  40. A giant, shitty, trite magazine is telling me that new media is naughty and lacks standards. In other news, the RIAA says that downloading music can give your computer viruses.

      1. Then why are the “actual leaks” caught up in this mess with Assange and the Guardian? Are you sure that you’re ok with Assange’s admission that he is, for his own purposes, holding back on the leaks? If content is what matters then you should be after Assange for the contents of the as of yet unreleased material. Why is that not the case?

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