Friday, February 04, 2011

Wikileaks threatens the Guardian

A former partner in leakage draws the wrath of Wikileaks:
The Guardian book serialization contains malicious libels. We will be taking action.
David Allen Green, legal correspondent at the Left-wing New Statesman, points out the absurdity of the apparent legal threat:
  • First, the use of "we" suggests that the (presumably legal) "action" is threatened by WikiLeaks as an entity, rather than by any particular individual such as its founder Julian Assange. This suggestion is supported by the fact it was sent on the official Wikileaks Twitter feed. If this is the case, then WikiLeaks may be following the unhappy example of the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) and other organizations in making libel threats in respect of unwelcome scrutiny and comment.
  • Second, the alleged libels are not just your normal libels but "malicious" libels. This may be careless verbiage, but presumably this tweet was checked by a legal adviser before publication. If the invocation of "malice" was deliberate, this would be a serious (indeed defamatory) accusation against the Guardian: not only is the serialization defaming Wikileaks, it is doing so with the wrongful motive of doing damage to WikiLeaks. However, WikiLeaks has presented no evidence of such malice.
  • Furthermore, WikiLeaks has not even specified the alleged libels. It has instead made a bare and vague threat, the very sort of corporate attempt to deter public scrutiny which has led many to support the libel reform campaign.

    But, as the founder of WikiLeaks himself recently signed the Libel Reform petition, there is the question as to whether there is a lack of consistency with this threat to bring a libel claim against the Guardian.
The bottom line:
But whether the threat was made in earnest or not, it is another troubling indication of the increasingly muddled and paranoid world of WikiLeaks.
Assange sets the rules and expects the MSM to follow them, or else. The guy's massive ego will be his downfall.

The New Statesman article is worth reading in full, so hit the link and read it.


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