Julian Assange does not seem to be waiting for any alleged US government plot against WikiLeakS.org to succeed - he is managing to destroy any public trust or credibility which the WikiLeakS.org project used to have, all on his own.
The "Confidentiality Agreement" with which he has bullied his gullible staff of "young activist" in the UK looks like the evil scheme of a bureaucratic control freak, who could easily be working for a repressive dictatorship.
Julian Assange's attempt to gag his cult followers, even against revealing the existence of the Confidentiality Agreement itself, makes it impossible to trust him when he hypocritically utters words like "transparency" or "public accountability".
I refused to sign Julian Assange's confidentiality agreement because it would have been not just ironic, but dangerous
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 12 May 2011 17.43 BST
Yesterday, media lawyer and legal blogger David Allen Green published the full text of the gagging order signed by almost all WikiLeaks employees earlier this year.
It's an extraordinary document. WikiLeaks staffers face a £12m penalty if they reveal any information about WikiLeaks' day-to-day operations, let alone any documents given to the whistleblowing organisation.
In a move reminiscent of the UK's reviled superinjunctions, even revealing the existence of the gagging order is itself a breach.
Yes, it was my copy of the agreement that was published.
But this document deserves to be in the public domain. Having worked for several media organisations, both print and broadcast, I'm used to confidentiality provisions.
The WikiLeaks document is by orders of magnitude the most restrictive I have ever encountered. Legal experts consulted about the document agree.
WikiLeaks is not democratically accountable. Julian's argument that it is accountable because it is funded by donations could just as equally be made of KKK, or the BNP. It has no board, or no oversight. If any organisation in the world relies on whistleblowers to keep it honest, it is WikiLeaks.
In such circumstances, silencing dissent is not just ironic, it's dangerous. WikiLeaks needs to get out of the gagging game.
The New Statesman article:
Posted by David Allen Green - 11 May 2011 15:31
Clause 5 of this "Confidentiality Agreement" (PDF) imposes a penalty of "£12,000,000 - twelve million pounds sterling" on anyone who breaches this legal gag.
Other parts of the legal gag are just as extraordinary. The second recital paragraph, "B", provides that - like a superinjunction - the fact of the legal gag itself is subject to the gag.
So is "all newsworthy information relating to the workings of WikiLeaks". On the face of it, even revealing one is under this agreement could result in a £12m penalty, as would sharing information on how the directors conduct the organisation.
The fifth recital paragraph, "E", is just as astonishing. It purports to extend what WikiLeaks can sue for beyond any direct loss that it might suffer if the gag is breached. WikiLeaks says it can sue for both "loss of opportunity to sell the information to other news broadcasters and publishers" and "loss of value of the information".
However, for some time it has been apparent that WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange have had a "pick'n'mix" attitude to legal obligations. They seem to feel free from any restrictions in respect of confidentiality and official secrecy; but on the other hand they make routine legal threats, especially against the Guardian, so as to uphold their perceived rights to their supposed commercial "property" - leaked, sensitive information. Abidance by the law is, it would seem, something for other people.
The document can be downloaded from the New Statesman website:
The confidentiality Agreement is headed: Wikileaks ITC Ltd.
- Who, apart from Julian Assange, are the directors and shareholders of this company ?
- Where is it actually legally registered ? (not in the United Kingdom, according to Companies House)
- What financial assets does it have ?
- What intellectual property is it claiming to own ?