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Wed Aug 22, 2012, 12:22 AM

The Man Who Spilled the Secrets (Vanity Fair | February 2011)

By Sarah Ellison

On the afternoon of November 1, 2010, Julian Assange, the Australian-born founder of WikiLeaks.org, marched with his lawyer into the London office of Alan Rusbridger, the editor of The Guardian ... He was .. angry, and his message was simple: he would sue the newspaper if it went ahead and published stories based on the quarter of a million documents that he had handed over to The Guardian just three months earlier ...

An unwavering advocate of full, unfettered disclosure of primary-source material, Assange was now seeking to keep highly sensitive information from reaching a broader audience. He had become the victim of his own methods: someone at WikiLeaks, where there was no shortage of disgruntled volunteers, had leaked the last big segment of the documents, and they ended up at The Guardian in such a way that the paper was released from its previous agreement with Assange—that The Guardian would publish its stories only when Assange gave his permission. 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 ...


I assume that a February 2011 Vanity Fair is an acceptable source to you, since Jemima Khan, who put up a large chunk of Assange's bail money in December 2010, is European editor-at-large of Vanity Fair -- and this article was written well before Assange jumped bail in June 2012

Now, there are several striking peculiarities here

First, Assange trades in stolen documents, over which he sometimes claims ownership, and he is arguing that it is for him, as owner of the stolen documents, to decide when and where and whether he releases them in order to claim yet again his self-awarded mantle as The Great Protector of Transparency

Second, Assange believes that other people ought to be subject to the rule of law and the decisions of the courts, but he doesn't not believe he himself ought to be subject to the rule of law and the decisions of the courts

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