As a number of people are reporting, Julian Assange told John Pilger Wednesday that WikiLeaks has files on some media companies. Thanks to a PDF link made available by The Nation (see 12:05 update), here’s the exact quote from the New Statesman article in question.
If something happens to me or to WikiLeaks, ‘insurance’ files will be released. They speak more of the same truth to power, including the media. There are 504 US embassy cables on one broadcasting organization and there are cables on Murdoch and News Corp.”
I wanted to look at the exact quote, because coverage of this claim has been conflated into “insurance files = 504 cables = Murdoch, News Corp, and Fox.” That is, the assumption is that some of the insurance files pertain to a subset of 504 cables that pertain to a broadcasting organization that given the mention of Murdoch and News Corp, must be Fox.
That’s not necessarily the case: after all, Assange appears to have talked about insurance files, some of which pertain to the media, and then discussed 504 cables on one broadcasting entity, and then mentioned Murdoch and News Corp. It is possible that there are 504 cables on a broadcast outlet — something like ABC, which has a habit of laundering intelligence leaks, or NBC, owned by a defense contractor. These cables might reveal something like the Rent-A-General’s program, first exposed by NYT. And there are files on Murdoch and News Corp. generally (which could include any of his properties worldwide).
Mind you, in its coverage of the issue, the Guardian (which as it points out, has access to all the cables) doesn’t exactly correct such a misimpression, if it is one.
WikiLeaks: Julian Assange claims to have Rupert Murdoch ‘insurance files’
Founder claims WikiLeaks has more than 500 US diplomatic cables on one broadcasting organisation
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, claimed today he was in possession of “insurance” files on Rupert Murdoch and his global media company, News Corporation.
Assange also claimed that WikiLeaks holds more than 500 confidential US diplomatic cables on one broadcasting organisation.
Speaking to journalist John Pilger for an interview to be published tomorrow in the latest edition of the New Statesman, Assange said: “There are 504 US embassy cables on one broadcasting organisation and there are cables on Murdoch and News Corp.”
Assange refers to these specific cables as “insurance files” that will be released “if something happens to me or to WikiLeaks”.
The Guardian has published stories based on more than 700 of the cables and has access to all 250,000.
Which I find all the more interesting, in that it suggests the media involved — including the Guardian, NYT, and Norway’s Aftenposten (which obtained its own complete set of the cables) — all have seen what Assange considers the insurance files relating to Murdoch, if not Fox.
So what would be shocking enough about Fox and or Murdoch to consider it part of an “insurance” file?