Today we learn (via Buzzfeed’s Rosie Gray) that Qatari news network Al Jazeera offered Julian Assange more than a million dollars for access to the diplomatic cables Wikileaks acquired in 2010.
And that’s not all; they also offered sexual favors.
In “Ghosted,” a story by Andrew O’Hagan in the London Review of Books about his experience ghostwriting an autobiography of Assange that was never published, he alleges that Al Jazeera offered Assange $1.3 million in exchange for WikiLeaks data.
“That night, a guy from al-Jazeera was talking to the group,” O’Hagan wrote of a night in January 2011. “The group was usually just Sarah, who lived there, and Joseph Farrell, a pleasant twenty-something whizz kid who came and went. Another guy, an activist and academic from Canberra University, was drinking wine and talking about how to mobilise the world. It turned out that the guy from al-Jazeera was hoping to strike a deal with WikiLeaks - that’s to say, with Julian. He was offering $1.3 million to get access (via encryption keys) to the data. He also wanted to organise a conference in Qatar on press freedom.”
According to James Ball, a former WikiLeaks employee, another meeting with Al Jazeera executives took place in December 2010 in the office of Mark Stephens, then Assange’s lawyer. Ball and WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson represented Assange’s side, while two high-level Al Jazeera employees, one described as the “third-in-charge” and one introduced as the head of investigations, represented Al Jazeera, according to Ball.
According to Ball, the Al Jazeera executives offered to fly the pair to Doha and “make us comfortable.” They offered other things too: “I remember a remark along the lines of noting the women there were very lovely, and very friendly,” Ball said.
At the end, one of the executives asked the men, “What would it take to make you happy?” Ball said.
Just another example of how this libertarian/anarchist ideology corrupts everything it touches.