Julian Assange's "Confidentiality Agreement" for his WikiLeakS.org cult followers

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Julian Assange does not seem to be waiting for any alleged US government plot against WikiLeakS.org to succeed - he is managing to destroy any public trust or credibility which the WikiLeakS.org project used to have, all on his own.

The "Confidentiality Agreement" with which he has bullied his gullible staff of "young activist" in the UK looks like the evil scheme of a bureaucratic control freak, who could easily be working for a repressive dictatorship.

Julian Assange's attempt to gag his cult followers, even against revealing the existence of the Confidentiality Agreement itself, makes it impossible to trust him when he hypocritically utters words like "transparency" or "public accountability".

WikiLeaks, get out of the gagging game

I refused to sign Julian Assange's confidentiality agreement because it would have been not just ironic, but dangerous

James Ball
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 12 May 2011 17.43 BST

Yesterday, media lawyer and legal blogger David Allen Green published the full text of the gagging order signed by almost all WikiLeaks employees earlier this year.

It's an extraordinary document. WikiLeaks staffers face a £12m penalty if they reveal any information about WikiLeaks' day-to-day operations, let alone any documents given to the whistleblowing organisation.

In a move reminiscent of the UK's reviled superinjunctions, even revealing the existence of the gagging order is itself a breach.

[...]

Yes, it was my copy of the agreement that was published.

[...]

But this document deserves to be in the public domain. Having worked for several media organisations, both print and broadcast, I'm used to confidentiality provisions.

The WikiLeaks document is by orders of magnitude the most restrictive I have ever encountered. Legal experts consulted about the document agree.

[...]

WikiLeaks is not democratically accountable. Julian's argument that it is accountable because it is funded by donations could just as equally be made of KKK, or the BNP. It has no board, or no oversight. If any organisation in the world relies on whistleblowers to keep it honest, it is WikiLeaks.

In such circumstances, silencing dissent is not just ironic, it's dangerous. WikiLeaks needs to get out of the gagging game.

The New Statesman article:

The £12m question: how WikiLeaks gags its own staff

Posted by David Allen Green - 11 May 2011 15:31

Clause 5 of this "Confidentiality Agreement" (PDF) imposes a penalty of "£12,000,000 - twelve million pounds sterling" on anyone who breaches this legal gag.

[...]

Other parts of the legal gag are just as extraordinary. The second recital paragraph, "B", provides that - like a superinjunction - the fact of the legal gag itself is subject to the gag.

So is "all newsworthy information relating to the workings of WikiLeaks". On the face of it, even revealing one is under this agreement could result in a £12m penalty, as would sharing information on how the directors conduct the organisation.

The fifth recital paragraph, "E", is just as astonishing. It purports to extend what WikiLeaks can sue for beyond any direct loss that it might suffer if the gag is breached. WikiLeaks says it can sue for both "loss of opportunity to sell the information to other news broadcasters and publishers" and "loss of value of the information".

[...]

However, for some time it has been apparent that WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange have had a "pick'n'mix" attitude to legal obligations. They seem to feel free from any restrictions in respect of confidentiality and official secrecy; but on the other hand they make routine legal threats, especially against the Guardian, so as to uphold their perceived rights to their supposed commercial "property" - leaked, sensitive information. Abidance by the law is, it would seem, something for other people.

The document can be downloaded from the New Statesman website:

http://images.newstatesman.com/wikileaks.pdf


The confidentiality Agreement is headed: Wikileaks ITC Ltd.

  • Who, apart from Julian Assange, are the directors and shareholders of this company ?
  • Where is it actually legally registered ? (not in the United Kingdom, according to Companies House)
  • What financial assets does it have ?
  • What intellectual property is it claiming to own ?

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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

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UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
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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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