Assange dumps Guardian, inks deal with Telegraph

Julian Assange, the founder of whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks, has agreed a deal with the UK's Telegraph newspaper to publish future Cablegate secrets, after relations broke down between the site and former media partner The Guardian.

According to a report in the Financial Times, Assange agreed the deal with the Telegraph after falling out with Guardian editor-in-chief, Alan Rusbridger.

The Guardian had been the whistle-blowing site's first media partner, brokering further deals with US paper the New York Times, France's Le Monde and German daily Der Spiegel.

Through a series of deals with the international media outlets, WikiLeaks oversaw the release of classified documents concerning the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the outing of more than 250,000 sensitive US diplomatic cables, causing grave embarrassment in US government circles.

But in a book published this week, Guardian journalists revealed the turbulent course of the Australian's relationship with the press.

At one point, Assange is alleged to have threatened to sue The Guardian for endangering WikiLeaks' financial assets, after the paper obtained the same classified information from an independent source.

In another account published this week, journalists at the New York Times claim that Assange arrived at the paper's offices smelling as if he hadn't bathed in days. A former WikiLeaks worker alleges that Assange dressed as an old woman to avoid detection by US intelligence.

WikiLeaks founder Assange has hinted that the organisation's next targets will be in the corporate world, with reports suggesting the whistle-blower has got its hands on a hard drive belonging to an executive at financial giant Bank of America.

Assange recently appeared at a press conference in London with Rudolf Elmer, a former Swiss banker, who handed over computer discs said to containing the names of 2,000 high-profile companies and individuals, and which Elmer alleges provides evidence of massive tax evasion.

The Telegraph has declined to comment on any deal with WikiLeaks.

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