February 2009 Archives

Another WikiLeakS.org press release raises even more Questions about their lack of financial transparency, something that has worried us from the very start of this project:

The Sunshine Press (Wikileaks) is in a dire financial position.

We need your letter of support.

Although we expect to receive some $2M in funding later this year, there has been no formal funding since last year.

  • Who exactly was "formally funding" WikiLeakS.org last year ?
  • Who exactly is expected to be "formally funding" WikiLeakS.org to the tune of 2 million dollars later this year ?
  • Is that $2million just for one year, or is it to be spread over a longer period ?
  • If they have a firm commitment for $2million of funding, from a reputable source, then why is there a problem in getting a bank overdraft or short term loan ?
  • How much money, if any, has been raised by selling "privileged media access" to leaks and scoops ?

This organization's positive world impact has never been higher, but it is, as a consequence, also more expensive run and ran out of formal funding four months ago. Since that time our staff and lawyers have funded the entire organization from their modest personal savings and anyone else they can find to assist.

The reason that impartial, revelatory investigative journalism has been traditionally funded by readers is that governments and billionaires alike will not support groups which are tasked to expose and reform them.

Despite being universally recognized as being the most important stimulus of democratic reforms, government funding for such organizations is non-existent. At the same time organizations which are guaranteed to have no domestic political impact are well funded.

On-line donations, an important buttress to our ability to take on all governments and companies with total independence, have amounted to around $10,000 since the beginning of the year. Costs outside of court actions are almost $400,000 per year.

  • What exactly are they spending $400,000 a year on ?? .
  • How much tax are they paying, or not paying, and to which Government(s) ?

There is nothing wrong in, for example, paying some staff costs or volunteer expenses, as well for the website hosting costs, but there needs to be some sort of financial transparency.

Unless and until they publish some sort of financial accounts, they are not going to get any of our money.

Our $2M funding injection later this year will support a radical expansion of our mission.

That sounds ominous.

How about properly implementing the stuff that was already announced, rather than handwaving about a "radical new expansion" of some sort ?

Until then, your support, and that of your friends and colleagues, will mean the difference between continuing to fight the good fight and shutting down.

If you support our work or have benefited from our cause, please write a strong letter of recommendation we can to present to additional funding bodies. You may examine our front page or google news for ideas.

Also consider an easy on-line donation; every contribution, no matter how small, will directly extend the number of months and days we can continue taking on the world:

What assurance is there that donations via PayPal will not be used to spam us with more begging emails, which expose the identities of individual financial contributors, as has already happened ?

See our previous blog article Follow the money - WikiLeakS.org partial financial donors list email and more analysis at the Entropic Memes blog: Wikileaks Wants Money

Such named financial backers are as much at risk from Government, or Corporate, or Legalistic harassment, as many of the whistleblowers are, and they deserve equal technical and procedural protection.

It would be ironic if WikiLeakS.org finances make use of offshore trusts and accounts in tax havens, in order to protect the details of their financial backers and supporters.

Somehow, we suspect that free advice on this is unlikely to be forthcoming from experts at hiding the sources of financial transactions, like, for example, Bank Julius Baer etc.

https://secure.wikileaks.org/

Send support letters to wl-supporters@sunshinepress.org

Thank you.

We would like to be able to financially support this sort of project, but WikiLeakS.org are making it difficult or impossible to do so.

Given that lawyers, courts, tax authorities, police and intelligence agencies will always try to "follow the money", the mistake made in a recent WikiLeakS.org financial donations begging email (ironically now published on WikiLeakS.org itself) could be quite serious:

Wikileaks partial donors list, 14 Feb 2009

The document presents an email from Wikileaks to 58 of its donors on valentines day. The sender of the email did not use BCC (Blind Carbon Copy), so all recipients of the message appeared in the "To:" field, consequently showing the email identities of these donors to each other.

At the very least, the name associated with the donations@sunshinepress.org PayPal account in the CC: field, could be at risk of vindictive financial scrutiny.

The actual email:

https://secure.wikileaks.org/leak/wikileaks-leaks-donors.txt

WikiLeakS.org funding appeal

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Our initial Questions about who exactly would be funding the WikiLeakS.org project, have still not really been answered.

They are now appealing for $80,000, to keep them online for the next 3 months.

Are their hosting cost really so expensive, or is this money (i.e. $320,000 dollars a year) intended to pay for staff costs as well ?

Wikileaks needs your help!

Wikileaks has no formal funding until late in the year.

Help us urgently raise $80k to cover expenses over the next three
months or our primary operations will shutdown. The mission is too
important to allow this--every day people count on us in a way that
is really quite extraordinary.

Wikileaks' reputation for unbowed defence of both human rights
principles and people continues to win accolades, but these prizes,
as nice as they are, do not pay the bills (if you are aware of some
that do, please nominate us for them).

Making matters more demanding, this week saw the commencement of a
spectacular three week trial in Stockholm of two of our technical
people by the US recording industry on an indirectly related matter;
PRQ founders also host the censorship resistant file-sharing site,
the Pirate Bay, on which we released the recent Congressional
Research Reports collection, for example.

Husband and wife volunteers, Jim and Jennifer McCain have prepared
the following helpful pledge and flyers, thanks to the UK based My
Society. Feel free to roll your own and spread the word in your own
special way:

http://pledgebank.com/save-wl

See also:

https://secure.wikileaks.org/

The two technical people are involved in The Pirate Bay copyright infringement trial. Their defence is that The Pirate Bay BitTorrent tracker service clearly does not store or serve copies of any illegally copied material, only pointers to pieces files spread out via Peer to Peer networking, on other computers around the world, which they have no way of knowing if they are illegal copies or even actual copies of video or music files.

About this blog

This blog here at WikiLeak.org (no "S") discusses the ethical and technical issues raised by the WikiLeakS.org project, which is trying to be a resource for whistleblower leaks, by providing "untraceable mass document leaking and analysis".

These are bold and controversial aims and claims, with both pros and cons, especially for something which crosses international boundaries and legal jurisdictions.

This blog is not part of the WikiLeakS.org project, and there really are no copies of leaked documents or files being mirrored here.

Email Contact

Please feel free to email us your views about this website or news about the issues it tries to comment on:

email: blog@WikiLeak[dot]org

Before you send an email to this address, remember that this blog is independent of the WikiLeakS.org project.

If you have confidential information that you want to share with us, please make use of our PGP public encryption key or an email account based overseas e.g. Hushmail

LeakDirectory.org

Now that the WikiLeakS.org project is defunct, so far as new whistleblower are concerned, what are the alternatives ?

The LeakDirectory.org wiki page lists links and anonymity analyses of some of the many post-wikileaks projects.

There are also links to better funded "official" whistlblowing crime or national security reporting tip off websites or mainstream media websites. These should, in theory, be even better at protecting the anonymity and security of their informants, than wikileaks, but that is not always so.

New whistleblower website operators or new potential whistleblowers should carefully evaluate the best techniques (or common mistakes) from around the world and make their personal risk assessments accordingly.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

The WikiLeakS.org Submissions web page provides some methods for sending them leaked documents, with varying degrees of anonymity and security. Anybody planning to do this for real, should also read some of the other guides and advice to political activists and dissidents:

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link: http://ht4w.co.uk

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual, by Irish NGO Frontline Defenders.

Everyone’s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide (.pdf - 31 pages), by the Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics by Human Rights Watch.

A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc - 62 pages), by experienced UK direct action political activists

Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress & Tor - useful step by step guide with software configuration screenshots by Ethan Zuckerman at Global Voices Advocacy. (updated March 10th 2009 with the latest Tor / Vidalia bundle details)

WikiLeakS Links

The WikiLeakS.org Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

WikiLeakS Twitter feeds

The WikiLeakS.org website does not stay online all of the time, especially when there is a surge of traffic caused by mainstream media coverage of a particularly newsworthy leak.

Recently, they have been using their new Twitter feeds, to selectively publicise leaked documents to the media, and also to report on the status of routing or traffic congestion problems affecting the main website in Stockholm, Sweden.

N.B.the words "security" or "anonymity" and "Twitter" are mutually exclusive:

WikiLeakS.org Twitter feed via SSL encrypted session: https://twitter.com/wikileaks

WikiLeakS.org unencrypted Twitter feed http://twitter.com/wikileaks

Internet Censorship

OpenNet Initiative - researches and measures the extent of actual state level censorship of the internet. Features a blocked web URL checker and censorship map.

Temporary Autonomous Zone

Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZ) by Hakim Bey (Peter Lambourn Wilson)

Cyberpunk author William Gibson

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us, UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

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FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond

Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

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Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

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Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

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Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

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Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

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Wikileaks.org - the controversial "uncensorable, anonymous whistleblowing" website based currently in Sweden.

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Recent Comments

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