Assange slams paper for breaking agreement

By Kate Ausburn (Green Left Weekly – Originally published 20 Feb 2011)

Following revelations that The New York Times liaised with the White House before publishing information supplied to it by WikiLeaks, the website’s editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, has revealed the British Guardian edited out “all sorts” of information before publishing US diplomatic cables.

Assange told SBS’s Dateline on February 13 how WikiLeaks’ relationship with the two papers, with which it had worked, had soured.

Assange explained: “Our agreement with them was that they would redact information for ‘Cablegate’, based on just one criteria, which was the protection of individuals from unfair incarceration, or any type of execution … and for no other reasons.”

He said: “The Guardian has been redacting all sorts of things … for very different reasons. For instance, the Guardian has been redacting claims about particular companies who are corrupt.

“Also redacted from the cables published by the Guardian was information about corruption and bribery within Kazahkstan’s elite.

“Now this is presumably to do with their paranoia about libel suits in the UK being made by these rich and powerful.”

Assange said the paper had breached a written commitment it had with WikiLeaks in regards to “sharing, storing and publishing source documents”.

Assange said WikiLeaks “still have a very good relationship with Der Speigel”, the third paper with which it had come to an agreement to publish the information provided by WikiLeaks. “Der Speigel never crossed us.”

Assange said: “The Guardian has good people in it, it also has … people at the top who have other interests.

“What drives a paper like the Guardian or the New York Times is not their inner moral values, it is simply that they have a market. In the United Kingdom, there is a market called educated liberals, educated liberals want to buy a newspaper, they buy the Guardian.

“What is in the newspaper is not a reflection of the values of the people in that institution. It is a reflection of the market demand for particular material. Not a reflection of good values.”

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