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Assange blasted by expenses whistle-blower

By Wells Journal  |  Posted: October 18, 2012

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WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was bitterly criticised by a fellow freedom of information campaigner on Friday night.

Heather Brooke said of the man who used the website to release thousands of secret documents: "I can not think of a more crazed and irrational person.

"He could have changed the whole way we look at government secrecy.

"Tragically he threw that opportunity away."

She was referring to the Afghanistan war logs which Mr Assange insisted on releasing on WikiLeaks without withholding the name of people who became Taliban targets as a result of publication.

"Assange did not respect his sources, which every journalist knows you should," said Heather Brooke.

"He was seduced by power and anyone who challenged him in WikiLeaks was summarily dismissed."

We need transparency in government, the security services, police and military, but "transparency also requires responsibility", she told the audience.

Heather Brooke respected her sources when someone within the Houses of Parliament offered a computer disk of MPs' expenses claims to the press.

This followed her five-year campaign to have details of how MPs spent public money made public.

The resulting scandal was one reason why Wells MP David Heathcoat-Amory lost his seat in the 2010 General Election.

As an American-trained journalist Heather Brooke was amazed how much secrecy surrounded politics in Britain, unlike the USA.

But the digital revolution, in particular the internet, now made checking on those in power much easier because it allowed huge numbers of ordinary people in different places to connect at great speed and form groups.

Freedom of information requests can be made by citizens of authority bodies and such information put on the web.

People in power liked to keep inconvenient facts to themselves and felt that the public could not be trusted.

Information is power "and decisions to restrict information should be challenged," said Heather Brooke.

"We need an Official Disclosure Act so people can be punished for withholding information."

Philip Welch

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  • EmmaGoldstein  |  October 19 2012, 5:45PM

    "Let's become loony Assange cultists," said Gertie. The girls were gathered in Lincolnshire to bring in the harvest and sing traditional songs of the season. "Pass the scissors," said Maud. "My fingers are covered with goo," said Sophie. "Would we need special t-shirts?" "Lick them," suggested Maud. "She'll get snockered. We could get naked and dance under the full moon. Cast protection spells for Julian." "We already do."

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  • Bob_RD  |  October 19 2012, 9:03AM

    And here come the loony Assange cultists...

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  • AustinHook  |  October 19 2012, 8:27AM

    Heather Brooke, please don't let some of the good work that you have done go to your head. You need not feel yourself in competition with Assange, nor ride his coattails to fame or fortune. Resist the temptation to such self-serving statements. There is lots of good work that you can just do on your own.

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  • alexandersson  |  October 19 2012, 1:55AM

    What does publishing the names of US soldiers and diplomats have to do with respecting the source of the material? Bradley Manning was the source of that material and Julian Assange did everything he could to respect the source by not making an attempt to discover or reveal who the source was. Mr Assange himself claims he never knew who the source of the material was. He does, however, acknowledge Bradley Manning's involvement and still respects the source by not making any presumption of guilt over Manning. In fact Mr Assange still refers to Bradley Manning as the 'alleged source' of the material. Publishing the material without redaction has nothing to do with respecting the source of the material. Wikileaks made repeated attempts with the US Government to verify the accuracy of the material and to request the proper procedure to redact names. Each time they were met with an apparent lack of interest from officials so they had every right to believe that there was no concern from the US Government over names being published. Once the names were published, however, the US Government spoke out and heavily criticized Wikileaks for publishing them, so with whom did the responsibility really lie with? Isn't the US Government at least partly responsible for carelessly allowing Wikileaks to publish the material unredacted through sheer arrogance and incredulity? I strongly suspect Heather has her own agenda for harboring such a changed attitude towards all the good work that Julian Assange and his Wikileaks website has done over the years.

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  • EmmaGoldstein  |  October 19 2012, 1:02AM

    "Gertie, where's the Heather doll? " Maud flung her clothes around the bedroom as Nosferatu the black cockatoo shrieked and flapped his wings. "In the broom closet with Shrillary and the one who trips over her own feet. What'd she do now?" "She said of Julian, 'I can not think of a more crazed and irrational person.' " "Not terribly self-aware, is she?" "She still feels guilty for not bringing him chicken soup when he had flu." "Shouldn't we be lenient?" Gertie asked, dunking a scone in her tea. "She did give us the name for the band." It was Heather Brooke who coined the term assangistas for Julian's women supporters. Gertie and Maud, along with my great-aunt Sophie, subsequently formed Las Assangistas del Norte, Yorkshire's premiere Andean band. "Where's my hatpin?" "In your hat," replied Gertie. "Alas, poor Heather," said Maud, as she contemplated the dusty, moth-eaten poppet.

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  • EmmaGoldstein  |  October 19 2012, 12:58AM

    "Gertie, where's the Heather doll? " Maud flung her clothes around the bedroom as Nosferatu the black cockatoo shrieked and flapped his wings. "In the broom closet with Shrillary and the one who trips over her own feet. What'd she do now?" "She said of Julian, 'I can not think of a more crazed and irrational person.' " "Not terribly self-aware, is she?" "She still feels guilty for not bringing him chicken soup when he had flu." "Shouldn't we be lenient?" Gertie asked, dunking a scone in her tea. "She did give us the name for the band." It was Heather Brooke who coined the term 'assangistas' for Julian's women supporters. Gertie and Maud, along with my great-aunt Sophie, subsequently formed Las Assangistas del Norte, Yorkshire's premiere Andean band. "Where's my hatpin?" "In your hat," replied Gertie. "Alas, poor Heather," said Maud, as she contemplated the dusty, moth-eaten poppet.

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