Tuesday, December 21, 2010

'We are an Organisation That Does Not Promote Leaking'

Get the popcorn out, kids, we have a slapfight on our hands.
WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange slammed the New York Times in October for the paper's critical front-page profile of him.

That's presumably one of the reasons that the Times -- which received hundreds of thousands of secret Afghanistan and Iraq documents from WikiLeaks -- was shut out when WikiLeaks provided 250,000 State Department cables to several news outlets for publication in November. The Times ended up getting its documents from The Guardian.

But now Assange is taking issue with The Guardian's coverage of him. So could the British paper be shut out next?

David Leigh, The Guardian's investigations editor, told The Cutline that he doesn't want "to be too critical of Julian because he's been under a lot of strain lately."

However, Leigh added that "it seems he's going to war with just about everyone at the moment."

Assange's "war" with The Guardian landed on the front page of Tuesday's Times of London (shown above), a Rupert Murdoch-owned paper that, so far, hasn't been on the receiving end of any of WikiLeaks' trove of classified documents. (The Times of London article is behind a paywall, but many of the details have already leaked out.)

In the article, Assange claims that The Guardian tarnished his reputation by publishing new details Friday about the rape and sexual assault allegations made against him in Sweden, based on a leaked police report.
As for Assange, I think the hypocrisy meter has been permanently shattered.
Q: Can't you see that it's a bit rum for you to be sitting there under these circumstances. You, Julian Assange, the Wikileaks man, who's become terribly famous, as has your organisation, for leaking material that other people didn't want to see published and here you are saying: "They've leaked something about me."

JA: Not at all. We are an organisation that does not promote leaking. We're an organisation that promotes justice…

Q: You hardly discourage it when you print a couple of million private cables.

JA: … that promotes justice through the mechanism of transparency and journalism.
Thanks for clearing that up.

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