Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is reported as saying that he’s got loads of files on Rupert Murdoch and News Corporation. According to the Guardian:
Assange refers to these specific cables as “insurance files” that will be released “if something happens to me or to WikiLeaks”.
Frankly, that’s bollocks. If the material is in the public interest, then it needs to be released. By hanging on to it, Assange is just coming across as the silly little kid in the playground who goes around saying “I know a secret and I’m not going to tell you, nah nah nah”. On the other hand, if releasing the material isn’t in the public interest, then threatening to release it “if anything happens to me” is just plain blackmail.
Not for the first time, Julian Assange comes across in this incident as totally self-centred and self-serving. Wikileaks was (and still is) a good idea. But the value of Wikileaks is being lost behind the mountain of his ego.
At the heart of this is the fact that Julian Assange’s credibility is fading fast. If he wants to be taken seriously as a journalist and whistleblower, he needs to stop treating the material he holds as if it were his private property and start thinking about why people gave it to him in the first place. If he can’t do that, then he needs to stand down from Wikileaks and let someone with a better grasp of the public interest than he has. Or, to put it another way, it’s time for Assange to piss or get off the pot.