Statement on Wikileaks

Oct 11th, 2012
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  1. Tweets are not a good way to explain why we are angry about the recent developments in Wikileaks, so here is a summary of the situation and an explanation why we are so appalled.
  3. Since yesterday visitors of the Wikileaks site are presented a red overlay banner that asks them to donate money. This banner cannot be closed and unless a donation is made, the content like GIFiles and the Syria emails are not displayed.
  5. We are aware that the donation advertisment can be circumvented by disabling Javascript. However, this is not the point. Neither that Wikileaks is asking for donations. However, we do see a serious problem in the way Wikileaks is implementing this for several reasons. First of all, the casual user (which is the majority) usually has Javascript enabled and thus will be blocked by the donation banner and denied the content. Additionally, the casual user does not know that he needs to disable javascript to get to the content without paying - sorry, donating. He may not even know what javascript is, let alone how to disable it. Lastly, regardless of any workarounds, the fact remains that a meretricious banner is placed for the majority of visitors that cannot be closed. The obvious intention is to increase donations.
  7. We have been worried about the direction Wikileaks is going for a while. In the recent month the focus moved away from actual leaks and the fight for freedom of information further and further while it concentrated more and more on Julian Assange. It goes without saying that we oppose any plans of extraditing Julian to the USA. He is a content provider and publisher, not a criminal.
  9. But Wikileaks is not - or should not be - about Julian Assange alone. The idea behind Wikileaks was to provide the public with information that would otherwise being kept secret by industries and governments. Information we strongly believe the public has a right to know. But this has been pushed more and more into the background, instead we only hear about Julian Assange, like he had dinner last night with Lady Gaga. That's great for him but not much of our interest. We are more interested in transparent governments and bringing out documents and information they want to hide from the public.
  11. As far as money is concerned, we understand that Wikileaks lives from donations. And it is fine to ask for them as long as this is done in an unostentatious manner. This is clearly not the case anymore, even though the overall situation cannot be that bad: According to the Transparency Report of the Wau Holland Stiftung**[1], Julian received 72.000 Euros only for project coordination in 2011 - this does not include travel costs. And 265.000 Euros were spent on "campaigns". (Note that the 139.000 Euro in donations only accounts for the funds that went through the Wau Holland Stiftung, it does not include any donation to Wikileaks directly).
  13. The conclusion for us is that we cannot support anymore what Wikileaks has become - the One Man Julian Assange show. But we also want to make clear that we still support the original idea behind Wikileaks: Freedom of information and transparent governments. Sadly we realize that Wikileaks does not stand for this idea anymore.
  15. We also like to point out that of course we cannot speak in the name of Anonymous. This is merely one of many twitter accounts, albeit an established one over the recent years. But we know that we are certainly not alone within the Anonymous collective with this assessment of the situation. We have talked with many people on twitter, IRC and other communication platforms and the vast majority was appalled by this intrusive form of solicitation.
  17. We will continue to fight for free information and support anyone who pursues the same ideal.
  19. ~~ Anonymous
  21. [1]
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