THE WHISTLEBLOWER WEB SITE Wikileaks has had a rather unfortunate part of its inner workings exposed in a confidentially gag that imposes a fine of £12m on any of its staff that leaks information out of it.
The exposé comes from the New Statesman, which has followed the organisation closely enough to gain some information about its inner workings.
David Allen Green at the New Statesman wrote that while the group is happy to expose information about other organisations, Julian Assange is much less keen to see it go in the other direction.
"Today, the New Statesman can reveal the extent of this legal eccentricity as we publish a copy of the draconian and extraordinary legal gag that WikiLeaks imposes on its own staff," said Green.
"Clause 5 of this 'Confidentiality Agreement' imposes a penalty of '£12,000,000 - twelve million pounds sterling' on anyone who breaches this legal gag."
The agreement suggests that the penalty, which meant as something of a deterrent, is based on the open market value for information, he added, describing it as unenforceable.
There is a lot of legalese in the document, and on inspection it is very business-like. The gag, which is compared to the super injunctions that are dominating the UK press, even prevents workers from talking about any news that relates to the organisation.
"On the basis of this legal gag alone, it would be fair to take the view that WikiLeaks is nothing other [than] a highly commercially charged enterprise, seeking to protect and maximise its earnings from selling information that has been leaked to it," said Green.
"If so, WikiLeaks is nothing other than a business. One suspects that the various brave and well-intentioned people who have provided the leaked information would be quite unaware of - and perhaps horrified by - the express commercial intentions of WikiLeaks, as evidenced by this document." µ
Privacy of the ballot box
See how you don't get to like them Apples
Who do Yahoo think you are
Out to Glassture