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Supporter response to @AnonymousIRC's Statement on WikiLeaks

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  1.     Supporter response to @AnonymousIRC's statement on WikiLeaks: http://pastebin.com/Juxb5M26
  2.      
  3. AnonymousIRC's stated position on WikiLeaks is based on a set of false premises.
  4.      
  5.     "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."
  6.      
  7. False. According to this Forbes article, the banner can also be removed by tweeting/posting to facebook/emailing a link to the donate page to your friends. It is, then, not a paywall.
  8.  
  9. cite: http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2012/10/10/wikileaks-angers-supporters-with-donation-paywall-for-leaked-material
  10.      
  11.     "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."
  12.      
  13. False. A glance at the Twitter feed going back the last month shows that WikiLeaks has been making almost weekly releases of documents from the GI Files and SyriaFiles caches. These releases have apparently been coordinated with its various media partners - a task no doubt requiring ongoing expense and effort. That events concerning Julian Assange's specific situation have occurred during this period - and have drawn more attention from a fickle press more interested in controversy than substance - is not to be blamed on WikiLeaks.
  14.      
  15.     "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."
  16.      
  17. If we only hear about Julian Assange, perhaps that is the fault of a media that prefers to focus on personalities and not on leaks.
  18.      
  19.     "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."
  20.      
  21. In 2009, WikiLeaks shut down completely, its pages black, its reappearance contingent on receiving a target figure in donations. Tactics like this are not historically unusual for WikiLeaks. Any perception that "WikiLeaks has changed, man" probably has more to do with short memories and partial comprehension of WikiLeaks' mandate. As WikiLeaks used to say, "Freedom of Speech is not Free." If WikiLeaks' content becomes hard to access because of the need to impress on supporters how dire financial circumstances are, that should be seen as the result of financial censorship, and should not be taken out on the organization itself.
  22.      
  23.     "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**, 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)."
  24.      
  25. @AnonymousIRC derives (fallaciously) from the fact that a large sum of euro was spent that "the overall situation cannot be that bad." Is the situation "not that bad"? An answer can be sought in one of Wau Holland Transparency Reports: http://www.wau-holland-stiftung.de/files/2012-1_Transparenzbericht-Projekt04_en.pdf
  26.      
  27. This document shows that WikiLeaks' funds leaped in the few days after Cablegate began, and have decreased steadily ever since.
  28.      
  29.     2010 November           < €400,000
  30.     2010 December           > €800,000
  31.     2011 January            > €800,000
  32.     2011 February           > €750,000
  33.     2011 March              > €700,000
  34.     2011 April              > €650,000
  35.     2011 May                > €600,000
  36.     2011 June               > €550,000
  37.     2011 July               > €500,000
  38.     2011 August             > €450,000
  39.     2011 September          > €400,000
  40.     2011 October            < €400,000
  41.     2011 November           > €350,000
  42.     2011 December           > €300,000
  43.     2012 January            < €300,000
  44.     2012 February           < €250,000
  45.     2012 March              = €200,000
  46.     2012 April              > €150,000
  47.     2012 May                = €100,000
  48.     2012 June               < €100,000
  49.      
  50. As of the end of June, WikiLeaks' funds were short of €100,000. Any projection based on the above would predict that WikiLeaks would be going under, oh, right about now. But "the overall situation cannot be that bad," according to the diligent fact-checkers who tweet assiduously from the @AnonymousIRC twitter account.
  51.      
  52. Anyone who has been paying attention will also remember this statement from July this year, which basically made this point: http://wikileaks.org/Press-Release-WikiLeaks-opens-path.html
  53.      
  54. @AnonymousIRC also seems to imply that "campaigns" - as listed in the cited transparency report - is an illegitimate cause of expense. The Transparency Report mentioned is this one: http://wauland.de/files/2011_Transparenzbericht-Projekt04_en.pdf. An attentive reader will see that, under "Campaigns," listed are:
  55.      
  56.     1) Content review / processing
  57.     2) Journalist Contextualization
  58.     3) Technical Processing
  59.     4) External Communications
  60.      
  61. These are all activities that could pertain only to WikiLeaks' releases. In other words, "campaigns" - in the translated-from-german Wau Holland Transparency Report - means "Releases". The bulk of WikiLeaks funds over the period specified have been spent on WikiLeaks core activity: publication of releases. This is what is eating up WikiLeaks' money. So WikiLeaks has been spending itself into the ground to deliver the releases to the public that it promises its sources, and now that it is about to go under AnonymousIRC declares a vendetta because it finds WikiLeaks' final SOS irritating.
  62.      
  63. In sum, all of the conclusions made in the following paragraph are based on false premises:
  64.      
  65.     "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."
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