HomeLatest ThreadsGreatest ThreadsForums & GroupsMy SubscriptionsMy Posts
DU Home » Latest Threads » Forums & Groups » Main » General Discussion (Forum) » Wikileaks and Money

Thu Aug 9, 2012, 04:34 PM

Wikileaks and Money

By now, quite a few people have some doubts about money and Wikileaks

An early doubter was John Young, who runs a document-leak website called Cryptome. The Wikileaks domain was originally registered under Young's name. Young says that he quickly resigned from the organization due to their obsession with money. In particular, Young has wondered about money raised by Wikileaks for Bradley Manning's defense

The Manning defense question is interesting. Wikileaks seems to have originally promised to pay half of Coombs flat $100K fee to defend Manning. And at one time, as Wikileaks announcied they had already pulled in a million dollars in donations, Assange was stumping for another $200K for Manning's defense. But by December 2010, Wikileaks was in the news for not providing promised funds for Manning. Wikileaks then promised to deliver $20K for Manning (somewhat less than the $50K expected). In the end, they actually delivered only $15K. Wikileaks also promised to a complete and transparent accounting of their funds by the end of 2010: the report, which finally appeared in April 2011, indicated that Wikileaks had taken at least $1.9 million in 2010 but provided less information than originally promised, by not revealing how much was paid to Assange, for example

The question simply must be asked: if we doesn't really know much about who runs Wikileaks and the standards by which Wikileaks is run, why should we trust them to handle money and disclosed documents appropriately? And the behavior of the organization, in this respect, has raised eyebrows for some time. In 2008, Wikileaks attempted to auction off 7,000 emails from the Venezuela's ambassador in Argentina. That's hard to reconcile with the idea that Wikileaks is a public-interest nonprofit, supported by donations and dedicated to the free flow of information. Perhaps we ought to be willing to entertain nasty suspicions about Wikileaks. The case of the Venezuelan ambassador's emails might suggest (say) that Wikileaks would like to reposition itself as yet another private intelligence agency -- or even that it imagines it can find economic opportunities by skating along the grey edges of blackmail

Such organizational history might help interpret the curious Belarusian affair, involving a holocaust-denier, who uses various names such as "Israel Shamir" and who has been a Wikileaks agent in Russia (while his son served as a Wikileaks agent in Sweden). Shortly after "Israel Shamir" met with Belarusian officials, the state newspaper announced that it would be publishing documents about the Belarusian opposition. Because further information is not readily available, we can merely wonder: what are the actual limits of Assange's willingness to sell information to the highest bidder?

The possibility -- that Wikileaks might be providing repressive regimes with the names of dissidents or might be informing paramilitary groups which civilians oppose them -- remains. In the case of the Afghan material, Wikileaks released unredacted material with a search tool that could (for example) help the Taliban find opponents by name. For the cables, the issue could be regarded as moot, because the entire unredacted collection of diplomatic cables became available after both the encrypted file and password separately leaked. Several human rights organizations eventually complained in writing to Wikileaks about the critical need for redaction. The characteristic Wikileaks' response has been to use the issue for publicity and fundraising. The organization made a great show of asking the Pentagon to help redact the Afghan war materials; the Pentagon, of course, had no interest in cooperating with Wikileaks. So next Wikileaks complained it needed $700K for "harm-minimization review" and that neither the Pentagon nor Amnesty International would help

... WikiLeaks ... was registered under the names of ... John Shipton ... and ... John Young, ... who ran the intelligence leak website Cryptome, which could be seen as WikiLeaks’ predecessor ...
The Cypherpunk Revolutionary: Julian Assange
Robert Manne
The Monthly | The Monthly Essays | March 2011

John Young..., a 74-year-old architect who lives in Manhattan, publishes a document-leaking Web site called Cryptome.org that predates Wikileaks by over a decade ... Operating a Web site to post leaked documents isn't very expensive (Young estimates he spends a little over $100 a month for Cryptome's server space). So when other Wikileaks founders started to talk about the need to raise $5 million and complained that an initial round of publicity had affected "our delicate negotiations with the Open Society Institute and other funding bodies," Young says, he resigned from the effort ... Young has been trying to trace Wikileaks' money flows. On July 17 <2010>, Wikileaks asked supporters for $200,000 to pay for Mannings' attorneys, even though co-founder Julian Assange said a few days earlier that the organization had already raised $1 million ...
Wikileaks' estranged co-founder becomes a critic (Q&A)
John Young, editor of document-leaking site Cryptome.org, has switched from being one of Wikileaks biggest fans to one of its prominent critics.
by Declan McCullagh
July 20, 2010 1:40 PM PDT

... Another of WikiLeaks' early leaders said Assange's goal from the beginning was to make a lot of money and seek personal fame. "No question," said John Young. "All the signs are there. It's a well-known aspect of underground hacking. Much money to be made here" ... Young said Assange had always hoped to be put behind bars, as a way to further establish his fame, like a marketing tool. Said Young, "He was trained as an actor and he has a wonderful speaking voice. He works on his appearance, he works on his slow speaking thing. He loves to provoke people, he loves to make dramatic statements. He loves to be thrown in jail. He'll love to have a show trial" ...
Former Friends Ask WikiLeaks Founder: Where's the Money?
Dec. 15, 2010

WikiLeaks is threatening to take legal action against a former employee whose book chronicling his time with the organisation characterises its founder, Julian Assange, as obsessed by power and money and with a fondness for young women ...
WikiLeaks threatens legal action against Daniel Domscheit-Berg
Julian Assange characterised as being obsessed by power in former WikiLeaks employee's account of his time with website

Peter Walker
Thursday 10 February 2011 07.54 EST

... The report, if complete, should also detail what money WikiLeaks has paid out to date for the defense fund of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning ... Courage to Resist director Jeff Paterson said Manning's legal defense was expected to cost about $100,000 and WikiLeaks was expected to cover "about half" ... Julian Assange ... recently declined to publicly comment on any payment for Manning's defense, despite soliciting donations for the cause. Assange said ... his group had been advised not to talk about it ...
WikiLeaks salaries to be revealed in new report
By Kim Zetter, WIRED
December 2, 2010 4:42 p.m. EST

... According to Paterson, Courage to Resist corresponded with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in July and on subsequent occasions confirming that WikiLeaks would cover about half of the expected fees, or $50,000, for Manning's defense. On its Twitter page, WikiLeaks frequently solicited donations for the defense fund through a German charity, the Wau Holland Foundation ... Foundation Vice President Hendrik Fulda said it was his understanding that 15,000 euros, about $20,000, would be set aside for the defense fund but he still needed to confirm that with WikiLeaks ...
WikiLeaks hasn't fulfilled financial-aid pledge for suspect in leaks, group says
By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, December 7, 2010; 10:36 PM

... A spokesman for the Bradley Manning Support Network said Wednesday that the group had still not received money that WikiLeaks pledged in July and was supposed to release to the group back in September ... WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said last week at a panel discussion in London that WikiLeaks had contributed “a substantial amount of money” to Manning’s defense. But upon learning Tuesday that the money had actually not been paid yet, Hrafnsson told The Washington Post that there was a misunderstanding and that $20,000 would be distributed to Manning’s defense immediately by the nonprofit Wau Holland Foundation, which manages the majority of WikiLeaks donations ... The figure, however, falls short of the $50,000 that the Bradley Manning Support Network was expecting from WikiLeaks. Manning’s defense attorney, David E. Coombs, has agreed to defend the soldier for a flat fee of $100,000, and WikiLeaks was expected to pay half of this, Paterson said ...
WikiLeaks’ Cash Pledge Hasn’t Reached Bradley Manning’s Support Fund
By Kim Zetter

WikiLeaks has finally made good on a months-old pledge to contribute financially to the defense of 23-year-old Bradley Manning, according to a group raising money for the imprisoned Army private suspected of providing WikiLeaks its most important U.S. releases. But the sum, $15,100, is less than half the $50,000 WikiLeaks originally promised. It’s also less than the group pledged in December, when WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson said WikiLeaks would immediately transfer $20,000 to Manning’s defense fund ...
WikiLeaks Contributes $15,000 to Bradley Manning’s Defense
By Kim Zetter

... In August 2008, to sustain Assange's press-release theory, Wikileaks tried to auction a leak containing over 7,000 emails from the Venezuelan ambassador to Argentina, Freddy Balzan ... The venture failed ... "There were then 50 stories about the fact we were auctioning the material," says Assange. "But none about the Venezuelan documents in hand" ...
Exposed: Wikileaks' secrets
By Annabel Symington
01 September 09

A German nonprofit that processes most of the donations submitted to the secret-spilling site WikiLeaks has finally made good on a nearly year-old promise to release a report detailing how those donations are spent — though the report remains silent on how much money was paid to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange ... According to the report, the foundation received about $1.9 million on behalf of WikiLeaks in 2010. More than half ... came in November and December, after WikiLeaks and several newspapers began publishing a trove of U.S. diplomatic cables allegedly received from Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning. A $15,100 contribution WikiLeaks made to Manning’s defense in January of this year is not reflected in the report, which only covers expenses and contributions through December of 2010 ...
WikiLeaks Donations Topped $1.9 Million in 2010
By Kim Zetter

... Let's put it this way: some diplomatic cables from United States embassies will have concerned American interventions on behalf of dissidents in authoritarian countries. Release of such cables would endanger any future such American intervention, since authoritarian governments would fear that concessions to secret American requests would eventually embarrass them if the requests were made public. They might endanger the dissidents themselves, or their families ... What is the basis for those editorial decisions? Who makes them? ... WikiLeaks ... like other human-rights and humanitarian organisations ... needs to lay down some clear, public ethical guidelines about how and why it does what it does. And it needs to bring in a board of directors of people from a wide range of countries, backgrounds and institutions to review the organisation's conduct on ethical and other grounds. For example, here's Human Rights Watch's board of directors. HRW deals with information that's every bit as secret and potentially damaging as the material WikiLeaks gets. But I trust the way they handle it, in part because I know who they are. Who's WikiLeaks? Besides Mr Assange, I don't know, and they're not really telling ...
Releasing, reporting, or dumping?
Nov 30th 2010, 15:50 by M.S.

It has been reported that an “accredited” journalist for Wikileaks, Israel Shamir, met with Uladzimri Makei, the Head of the Presidential administration in Belarus. Subsequently, it was reported in the Belarus Telegraf that a state newspaper would be publishing documents about the Belarusian opposition ...
Wikileaks, Belarus, and Israel Shamir
05 Feb 2011

... The KLE reports, organised into 16 easily searchable pages by WikiLeaks volunteers, allow anyone with an internet connection to browse six years’ worth of minutely detailed individual acts of co-operation, or what the Taliban would call ‘collaboration’, with no names or other details redacted. The potentially herculean task of trawling through the main archive is made infinitely easier by a convenient browse function ... The risk to the security of the Afghans named in the documents ... was beyond dispute ...
The Man Who Fell to Earth: Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks
John Birmingham
The Monthly | The Monthly Essays | October 2010

... The uncensored cables are contained in a 1.73-GB password-protected file named “cables.csv,” which is reportedly circulating somewhere on the internet, according to Steffen Kraft, editor of the German paper Der Freitag. Kraft announced last week that his paper had found the file, and easily obtained the password to unlock it ... “The story is that a series of lapses, as far as I can see on behalf of WikiLeaks and its affiliates, has led to the possibility a file becoming generally available which it never should have been available,” confirmed former WikiLeaks staffer Herbert Snorrason, of Iceland, who left the organization as part of a staff revolt last year ... “The issue is double: On one hand there is the availability of the encrypted file, and on the other the release of the password to the encrypted file,” Snorrason told Threat Level on Monday. “And those two publications happened separately” ...
WikiLeaks Springs a Leak: Full Database of Diplomatic Cables Appears Online
By Kim Zetter and Kevin Poulsen

... In a statement Thursday, the newspaper said: "The Guardian was told that the file to which it was given access in July 2010 would only be on a secure server for a few hours and then taken off. It appears that two versions of this file were subsequently posted to a peer-to-peer file sharing network using the same password." The newspaper said one version of the file was posted by WikiLeaks on December 7 last year, just hours before the site's founder Julian Assange was arrested in London on an extradition request from Sweden where he is wanted for questioning over alleged sexual assault. But the newspaper added: "The unencrypted version of the cables published on the web... (on Wednesday) was not the one accessed by the Guardian last year" ...
Sep, 2011, 07.36PM IST, AFP
British newspaper Guardian hits back in WikiLeaks row on password leak of US diplomatic cables

... “We deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted State Department cables, which may put sources at risk,” it reads. “Our previous dealings with WikiLeaks were on the clear basis that we would only publish cables which had been subjected to a thorough editing and clearance process. We will continue to defend our collaborative publishing endeavor" ... WikiLeaks published the entire cache after polling its readers on Twitter. It did not disclose how many of its more than one million followers had voted in favor of releasing the unredacted documents and how many had voted against ...
WikiLeaks Publishes Full Catalog of U.S. Cables With Names of Sources
By Leslie Horn
September 2, 2011 10:04am EST

... Organisations including Amnesty International wrote to the site's spokesman Julian Assange urging better redaction of Secret files, both already public and planned to be released, according to the Wall Street Journal ... "We strongly urge your volunteers and staff to analyse all documents to ensure that those containing identifying information are taken down or redacted" ... Following the exchange, yesterday a message was posted on Wikileaks' Twitter feed saying the site, which claims it has 800 volunteers, needs $700,000 to conduct a "harm-minimization review". A later post added: "Pentagon wants to bankrupt us by refusing to assist review. Media won't take responsibility. Amnesty won't. What to do?" ...
Wikileaks falls out with human rights groups
Exposing Taliban informants not cool, says Amnesty
By Christopher Williams
10th August 2010 11:01 GMT

... Assange told the wire service that the Department of Defense had responded to the WikiLeaks request. According to the wire service, he said "the Pentagon has expressed willingness to discuss the online whistleblower's request for help in reviewing classified documents from the Afghan war and removing information that could harm civilians." A more-recent AP story tells a different story: "The Pentagon is denying it had direct contact with WikiLeaks and says the military is not interested in helping the website review classified war documents to post online" ...
Pentagon Says It Will Not Cooperate With WikiLeaks Request For Help, AP Reports
02:22 pm
August 18, 2010
by David Gura

The Pentagon has contacted a lawyer purporting to represent WikiLeaks but said it would not negotiate a "sanitised" release of a huge cache of classified documents held by the whistleblower's website, a letter released on Wednesday shows ... Jeh Charles Johnson, the Defense Department general counsel, sent the letter dated August 16 to a post office box in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in the name of Timothy J Matusheski ... "Thus, the Department of Defense will not negotiate some 'minimised' or 'sanitised' version of a release by WikiLeaks of additional US government classified documents. The Department demands that nothing further be released by WikiLeaks," the letter said ...
US rejects 'sanitised' WikiLeaks release
August 19, 2010
Karl Ritter

2 replies, 1706 views

Reply to this thread

Back to top Alert abuse

Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
Arrow 2 replies Author Time Post
Reply Wikileaks and Money (Original post)
struggle4progress Aug 2012 OP
struggle4progress Aug 2012 #1
struggle4progress Aug 2012 #2

Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Thu Aug 9, 2012, 06:45 PM

1. Julian Assange Spent Wikileaks’ Money Doing Nothing

At a press conference this morning, Julian Assange—whom we imagine was wearing nothing but a barrel and suspenders—announced Wikileaks was so broke it might have to shut down in a matter of months. Even more than it already has shut down, that is ...So, Assange said, Wikileaks is now "temporarily suspending" their publication of leaks to focus on fundraising. This suggests that Wikileaks has actually been publishing leaks. In fact, besides slowly, painfully, dribbling out the diplomatic cable stash that ended up being leaked anyways after Assange reused his password, Wikileaks hasn't released anything of note since the end of 2010, besides a line of official merchandise.

What has Assange been spending all his money on? He's been living rent free under house arrest in a wealthy British journalist's country estate for eight months, so living expenses haven't been a huge concern. Assange says his group is launching a "new generation submission system" at the end of November, finally replacing the system that has been broken for more than a year. That probably cost some dough. The group kicked in $15,000 of a promised $50,000 to the defense fund for Bradley Manning.

But it doesn't add up. Consider these numbers: In 2010, Wikileaks spent about $550,000, according to its official financial report. During that time, it published the Collateral Murder video, the Iraq War Logs, the Afghan War Diary and the diplomatic cables. Wikileaks entered 2011 with about $1.3 million in the bank—and now it's broke? This means the group spent close to twice its 2010 expenditures this year while publishing essentially no new leaks ...


Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Response to struggle4progress (Original post)

Fri Aug 10, 2012, 01:43 AM

2. The Bank of America email dud may also deserve careful re-examination:

In this case, Mr Assange promised revelations that "could take down a bank or two." In December 2010, Wikileaks warned people that Bank of America might not be safe and continued to promote rumors about the release. Bank stock prices were affected. BoA launched an internal investigation. In January 2011, Assange snickered about how much fun he had watching the banks squirm. By February 2011, he was indicating that he did hold a large trove of BoA documents but that they might not actually be very interesting. In August 2011, a Wikileaks defector reported destroying a number of BoA emails. By then, of course, Assange was complaining loudly about "an extrajudicial financial blockade by Bank of America"

That story is passing strange: one can perhaps only try to make sense of it by asking unpleasant questions. Was the whole BoA story merely a childish game by which Assange could enjoy watching the banks squirm? Was it just a crude stock-price manipulation? How did the BoA documents suddenly became so dull and uninteresting that they could finally be deleted without consequence from the system? Are these simple power games? Were documents being sold quietly instead of being released? Was there some borderline blackmail here?

... Wikileaks honcho Julian Assange told Andy Greenberg at Forbes that he was in possession of a trove of documents that "could take down a bank or two" ... Wikileaks would release it "early next year." Although Assange declined to name the bank or banks involved during the interview last November, he had mentioned having a hard drive of a Bank of America executive in an interview he gave a year earlier. Bank of America became so concerned that it could be the target of the leak that it formed an internal task force to investigate. The interview took place on November 11, 2010. And since then we've had nothing ...
The Great Wikileaks Bank of America Hoax
Published: Tuesday, 26 Apr 2011 | 9:49 AM ET
By: John Carney
Senior Editor, CNBC.com

Wikileaks Warns on Bank Of America: ‘Place Your Funds Somewhere Safer’
Mac Slavo
December 18th, 2010

On Tuesday, the Times of London published the first newspaper interview with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange ... Assange elaborates slightly on the planned release in 2011 of a trove of documents from a major U.S. bank ... “We don’t want the bank to suffer unless it’s called for,” Assange told the Times‘ Alexi Mostrous. “But if its management is operating in a responsive way there will be resignations.” The Times only briefly mentions rumors that Bank of America might be that target ...
12/22/2010 @ 7:15AM
No, WikiLeaks Has Not 'Confirmed' It Will Target Bank Of America

Bank Of America Stock Takes Hit After WikiLeaks Rumors, Then Rebounds
The Huffington Post
William Alden
12/01/10 08:56 AM ET

... a team of 15 to 20 top Bank of America officials, led by the chief risk officer, Bruce R. Thompson, has been overseeing a broad internal investigation — scouring thousands of documents in the event that they become public, reviewing every case where a computer has gone missing and hunting for any sign that its systems might have been compromised ...
Facing Threat From WikiLeaks, Bank Plays Defense
Published: January 2, 2011

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange says he enjoys watching US banks "squirm" as he threatens to expose them with a "megaleak" of confidential documents. "I think it's great," Assange told the venerable US television news magazine 60 Minutes on Sunday evening. "We have all these banks squirming, thinking maybe it's them" ...
Assange relishes US banks 'squirming' over 'megaleak'
Accuses America of chucking free speech in rubbish bin

By Cade Metz in San Francisco
31st January 2011 05:06 GMT

... KROFT: So it it might not be Bank of America BofA and you're just going to let them squirm until you get ready too -
ASSANGE: - I think it's great to have all these banks squirming thinking maybe it's them ...

Assange Tells 60 Minutes He Likes Watching Banks Squirm As They Prep For His Next Leak
By Ben Popken on January 31, 2011 11:00 AM

WikiLeaks has data from Bank of America Corp., but founder Julian Assange isn't sure whether it holds any big news and it may be difficult to interpret, according to a Reuters report this week. The information consists of e-mails from an executive's computer hard drive, according to Reuters, which cited people familiar with Assange's private discussions. The most recent messages are from 2006, which would preclude information about the bank's 2008 Countrywide Financial Corp. and Merrill Lynch & Co. acquisitions. "Assange privately acknowledged the material was not self-explanatory and that he personally was unable to make much sense of it," the Reuters story Wednesday stated, citing the sources. "Assange indicated it would require a substantial amount of effort by financial experts to determine whether any of the material was newsworthy" ...
Posted on Friday, February 11, 2011
WikiLeaks: Assange doubts value of Bank of America e-mails
Rick Rothacker | Charlotte Observer

... In an email to Reuters, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, who last year was fired by Assange as WikiLeaks' co-spokesman, confirmed that he had destroyed "roundabout" 3,000 submissions WikiLeaks received related to Bank of America. Domscheit-Berg said that he had decided to destroy the material "in the interest of the security of sources" ...
Some of WikiLeaks' Bank of America data destroyed
By Mark Hosenball
WASHINGTON | Mon Aug 22, 2011 1:53pm EDT

... WikiLeaks is able to succeed because, unlike many of its forebears, it does not rely on advertisers, he continues ... WikiLeaks has other problems, however, writes Assange: "How do we deal with an extrajudicial financial blockade by Bank of America, Visa (including Visa Europe, registered in London), MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union, the Swiss PostFinance, Moneybookers and other finance companies, all keen to curry favour with Washington?" ...
Assange: “WikiLeaks is the intelligence agency of the people”

Reply to this post

Back to top Alert abuse Link here Permalink

Reply to this thread