Nameless hackers with the online protest movement “Anonymous” have turned on longtime ally WikiLeaks for deploying a paywall on its website that blocks access to the site’s trove of formerly secret files unless users donate or tell their friends about WikiLeaks via social media.
Calling the tactic “filthy and rotten,” a post to the “AnonPaste” website Thursday night said that WikiLeaks has gone too far for the hacker community to abide, so they’re taking matters into their own hands and plotting revenge.
“To this day, not ONE single WikiLeaks staff are charged or incarcerated,” the Anonymous post explains. “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. Not to mention the heroic Bradley Manning who now rots in Ft. Leavenworth Prison facing life.”
They add: “Despite that fact, 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.”
Hackers with Anonymous launched an all-out cyber war in the wake of the WikiLeaks banking blockade, taking down the PayPal, Visa and MasterCard websites amid “Operation Payback.” Since then, the freeze on WikiLeaks’ funds by Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and Bank of America has devastated the site’s financials.
Organizations participating in the blockade said they’re doing it voluntarily and were not asked by the U.S. government. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was quick to point out that the same companies still allow donations to hate groups like the Ku Klux Klan. He also pleaded with supporters near the end of 2011 to help break the blockade, or else WikiLeaks would be strangled to death within the year.
The launch of WikiLeaks’ paywall appears to confirm that Assange’s prediction is slowly coming true. A video on the site’s new overlay (watch below) features clips of President Barack Obama’s “Yes We Can” speech in 2008, with Assange summarizing the administration’s worst abuses of power. “Cast the only vote that matters,” Assange says as the video concludes. “Vote with your wallet. Vote WikiLeaks.”
“The obvious intention is to force donations in exchange for access,” the Anonymous post explains. “This is a filthy and rotten, wholly un-ethical action – and Anonymous is enraged.”
“We have been worried about the direction Wikileaks is going for sometime now,” they continue. “In the past year the focus has moved away from actual leaks and the fight for freedom of information and concentrated more and more on Julian Assange and a rabid scrounging for money.”
The post goes on to explain that Anonymous has developed their own secret disclosure platforms and won’t be working with WikiLeaks any further. The hackers added that they’re preparing a little bit of revenge, too.
“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 post concludes. “A Dox if you will, on WikiLeaks. We will deliver it to the media in a few days, not for vengeance – but as justice for our fallen Anons whom WikiLeaks has chosen by this action to dishonor and disgrace.”
Assange remains inside the Ecuadorian embassy in London, having been granted diplomatic asylum there. He’s wanted in Sweden for questioning in a sexual assault investigation, but fears that Swedish authorities will hand him over to the U.S.
This video was published to YouTube on October 3, 2012.
Photo: Flickr user Stephen C. Webster, creative commons licensed.