Anonymous breaks up with Wikileaks

There’s a paywall between them now

Screengrab: http://wikileaks.org/donate2012/

From time to time I’ve argued that Julian Assange is an epic donkey whose ego, personal agenda, and lust for celebrity infamy supersede Wikileaks’ stated goal to “open governments.” Each time I’ve done so, I’ve been labelled an MSM (mainstream media) shill, an establishment hack working to discredit a disruptive but crucial voice. Whether these sentiments are expressed in comment sections or in emails to me, some invariably contain the phrase “We are Legion” and are signed, Anonymous.

Now, Anonymous (the amorphous Internet culture/movement often described as a “hacker group” ) has broken off with Wikileaks. Why? Because Julian Assange has opted to monetize the data he leaks.  Millions of documents have been shoved behind a Wikileaks paywall. To see them, users are asked to whip out their credit cards and donate to Wikileaks (a.k.a. the Julian Assange legal defense fund). Another option is to tweet the donation form or post it to Facebook, in an attempt to take the fundraising campaign viral. It’s very tacky, it betrays Wikileaks’ mission, and it has pissed off Anonymous.

No one voice speaks for all of Anonymous, but the collective does have certain influential channels that dictate the mood of the horde. One of these, AnonymousIRC, broke with Wikileaks in a public statement:

[The Wikileaks mission] 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….The conclusion for us is that we cannot support anymore what Wikileaks has become – the One Man Julian Assange show.

An unattributed post to AnonPaste  goes even further, basically declaring war on Wikileaks:

To this day, not ONE single WikiLeaks staff are charged or incarcerated. However, Anonymous has 14 indicted (facing 15 years) for online protests defending WikiLeaks – and one [Jeremy Hammond] in prison and facing 20 years for allegedly supplying the Stratfor GI Files… Despite that fact, WikiLeaks has chosen to dishonor and insult Anonymous and all information activists by prostituting the Stratfor Files…Anonymous has had enough.

… No longer will Anonymous risk prison to defend WikiLeaks or Julian Assange from their enemies… Anonymous turns it’s back on WikiLeaks.  We are preparing for the media a detailed dossier of all the un-ethical actions perpetrated by WikiLeaks that we have ignored for so long. 

The problem with Anonymous being a faceless mass of unknown operatives is that there’s nobody to whom I can say “I told you so.”

Follow Jesse on Twitter @JesseBrown

 




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Anonymous breaks up with Wikileaks

  1. Of course you could have published some of the 13,000 docs Wikileaks just released on Obama, Romney and both political parties.

    Then it would have been a news story.

  2. It’s not a paywall if all you have to do to get rid of the pop-up page is either tweet or facebook the campaign. Or wait, as Wikileaks explained… ooohhh about 24 hours ago…

    AnonymousIRC now making sheepish noises, now that someone’s pointed out how many basic errors their ‘official’ statement made:

    https://twitter.com/AnonymousIRC/status/256740465066524672

    Oh, and this: “From time to time I’ve argued that Julian Assange is an epic donkey whose ego, personal agenda, and lust for celebrity infamy”. I take it that means you know him personally? Must be so seeing as how you can talk with such authority about his personality. When’s your kiss n’ tell book coming out then, Jason?

    • Anonymous has no official statement or official position on anything… there is no leadership…

      Anyone who tells you that is lying.

  3. For what it’s worth Mr Brown I wholeheartedly agree with you: Assange is a megalomaniac who will endanger people to satisfy his ego. He got people to vouch for the cash for his bail in the UK and he goes ahead and violates it thus forcing his followers to pony up serious cash;’ and for what? To get to be on TV some more.

    • And you know his motivations, how……… exactly?

  4. Well you can say I told you so to me, but I’m not reading much above to back that up. For one thing, a few Anonymous hackers mounting a protest, as many acquainted with Anonymous know, is not really an indication of the point of view of all Anons. You have made a logical leap there that I know that you know better than to make, Jesse.

    Secondly, even if this were representative of all Anons, the supporters of WikiLeaks/Assange are not the same group of people as Anonymous. There is some overlap but the number of supporters of WikiLeaks far overshadows the number of self-proclaimed Anonymous, so your conflation of these two groups and substituting the judgement of one for the judgement of both is similarly specious. But I guess you really had to pull out all the stops in order to connect enough dots to get yourself to ‘I told you so.’

    I don’t really see anything wrong with WikiLeaks so-called ‘paywall’. You don’t have to pay to access the data, and if you don’t wish to tweet into your usual profile, you can always create a dummy account. It’s almost the most intentionally circumventable ‘paywall’ possible.

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