Anonymous “Turns Its Back” On WikiLeaks
WikiLeaks has been trying to force readers to donate and Anonymous “is enraged”
Hacktivist collective Anonymous appears to have officially severed ties with WikiLeaks, after the whistleblower website decided to put some of its content behind a paywall to encourage donations.
During the last few years, Anonymous has fought for the interests of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, carrying out attacks on MasterCard, Visa and PayPal, among others. It has described the fundraising efforts as “betrayal”, and promised to publish a list of unethical actions taken by the website.
It seems that the controversial paywall feature has now been removed, but this is unlikely to change the stance of Anonymous.
On Wednesday, most WikiLeaks pages started displaying a pop-up banner urging readers to donate to the organisation. The banner would disappear after a certain period of time, but the readers also had the option to remove it instantly by either donating, or sharing information about the campaign on Facebook or Twitter.
After sharp criticism on social networks, the “paywall” was removed, but reappeared again on Thursday. That was when Anonymous published a statement, disassociating itself from the website.
In the statement, the group noted that 14 members of Anonymous have been indicted in the US for attacks in support of WikiLeaks, including Jeremy Hammond, who is accused of leaking the infamous Stratfor files. It also brought up the case of Private Bradley Manning, who is facing life for leaking data that came to be called the “Iraq War logs” and “Afghan War logs”.
WikiLeaks has played an important part in the history of Anonymous. After an assault on financial platforms which were blocking donations to the website, Anonymous launched its first ever DDoS attack against Swedish Prosecutors Office, which was threatening Assange with extradition to the US.
“WikiLeaks has chosen to dishonor and insult Anonymous and all information activists by prostituting the Stratfor Files and other disclosures that Hammond and Manning stand accused of supplying,” read a statement on AnonPaste.
It’s not about the money
Earlier this month, Assange defended the fundraising campaign, saying that the banking blockade has stripped the organisation of 95 percent of its funding. Anonymous responded that it is not concerned with the donations itself, but the way in which they are collected.
And members of Anonymous aren’t the only ones upset by the new campaign. The move was described as “extortion” by Jason Safoutin, a long time contributor to WikiNews.
“Regardless of any workarounds, the fact remains that a meretricious page is placed for the majority of visitors that cannot be closed. The obvious intention is to force donations in exchange for access. This is a filthy and rotten, wholly unethical action – and Anonymous is enraged,” wrote the group.
“We do not attack media. Any future attack on the WikiLeaks servers attributed to Anonymous is a lie. But what we will do is cease from this day all support of any kind for WikiLeaks or Julian Assange,” adds the statement.
In conclusion, Anonymous says that it will no longer supply any kind of information to the website, instead promoting its own secret-busting platforms, such as AnonLeaks, HackerLeaks and LocalLeaks. The hacktivists have also promised to publish a “detailed dossier of all the unethical actions perpetrated by WikiLeaks” over the next few days.
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