Personal Democracy Plus Our premium content network. LEARN MORE You are not logged in. LOG IN NOW >

Assange Calls on Allies to Gather in "Friends of Wikileaks" Chapters

BY Nancy Scola | Tuesday, June 15 2010

Wikileaks editor in chief Julian Assange (Photo by Esther Dyson.)

Identifying himself as Wikileaks' editor in chief, Julian Assange has sent a note to his email list under the header, "WikiLeaks may be under attack."

With significant pressure on the organization coming from multiple directions, from Wired.com's engagement in the situation to, reportedly, interest on the part of the Pentagon in talking with Assange, Wikileaks is looking for significant back up. Financial support and legal aide are, writes Assange, much needed, and links to online payment services PayPal and Moneybooks are provided alongside information on contributing through the Wau Holland Foundation, named for a famous German hacker.

But Assange is also looking for supporters to form local "Friends of WikiLeaks" chapters to help build out the Wikileaks mission across the globe.

"To try and deal with our growth and the current difficult situation, we want to get you to work together with our other supporters to set up a 'Friends of WikiLeaks' group in your area," writes Assange. "We have multiple supporters in most countries and would like to see them be a strong and independent force."

Assange states that he has in his possession video footage of "a massacre that took place in Afghanistan last year at Garani." But as for the U.S. diplomatic cables allegedly leaked to Wikileaks by a U.S. Army analyst, Assange cites the specific number of documents often mentioned in the case -- 260,000 -- and then denies possessing such a cache. "We have denied the allegation, but the US government is acting as if the allegation is true and we do have a lot of other material that exposes human rights abuses by the United States government. "

The full email from Assange is after the jump.

WikiLeaks may be under attack.  You were generous enough to write to us, but we have not had the labor resources to respond. 

Your support is important to us. Please read all of this email to understand what is going on. We apologize for not getting back to you before. It is not through any lack of interest on our part, but an enforced lack of resources. 

One of our alleged sources, a young US intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, has been detained and shipped to a US military prison in Kuwait, where he is being held without trail. Mr. Manning is alleged to have acted according to his conscious and leaked to us the Collateral Murder video and the video of a massacre that took place in Afghanistan last year at Garani. 

The Garani massacre, which we are still working on, killed over 100 people, mostly children. 

Mr. Manning allegedly also sent us 260,000 classified US Department cables, reporting on the actions of US Embassy's engaging in abusive actions all over the world. We have denied the allegation, but the US government is acting as if the allegation is true and we do have a lot of other material that exposes human rights abuses by the United States government. 

Mr. Manning was allegedly exposed after talking to an unrelated "journalist" who then worked with the US government to detain him. 

Some background on the Manning case:

http://fdlaction.firedoglake.com/2010/06/11/transcript-daniel-ellsberg-says-he-fears-us-might-assasinate-wikileaks-founder/ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bradley_Manning http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/leak/ http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/wikileaks-chat/ http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/state-department-anxious/ http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2010/06/143011.htm 

[ note that there are some questions about the Wired reportage, see: http://www.boingboing.net/2010/06/13/video-wikileaks-foun.html#comment-809677

WikiLeaks a small organization going through enormous growth and operating in an adverserial, high-security environment which can make communication time consuming and the acquisition of new staff and volunteers, also difficult since they require high levels of trust. 

To try and deal with our growth and the current difficult situation, we want to get you to work together with our other supporters to set up a "Friends of WikiLeaks" group in your area. We have multiple supporters in most countries and would like to see them be a strong and independent force.  

Please write to friends@sunshinepress.org if you are interested in helping with Friends of WikiLeaks in your area. You will receive further instructions. 

We also have significant unexpected legal costs (for example flying a legal team to Kuwait, video production. Collateral Murder production costs were $50,000 all up). 

Any financial contributions will be of IMMEDIATE assistance. 

http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Special:Support 

Please donate and tell the world that you have done so. Encourage all your friends to follow the example you set, after all, courage is contagious. 

Julian Assange
Editor in Chief
WIKILEAKS

Transparency and Public Shaming: Pakistan Tackles Tax Evasion

In Pakistan, where only one in 200 citizens files their income tax return, authorities published a directory of taxpayers' details for the first time. Officials explained the decision as an attempt to shame defaulters into paying up.

GO

wednesday >

Facebook Seeks Approval as Financial Service in Ireland. Is the Developing World Next?

On April 13 the Financial Times reported that Facebook is only weeks away from being approved as a financial service in Ireland. Is this foray into e-money motivated by Facebook's desire to conquer the developing world before other corporate Internet giants do? Maybe.

GO

The Rise and Fall of Iran's “Blogestan”

The robust community of Iranian bloggers—sometimes nicknamed “Blogestan”—has shrunk since its heyday between 2002 – 2010. “Whither Blogestan,” a recent report from the University of Pennsylvania's Iran Media Program sought to find out how and why. The researchers performed a web crawling analysis of Blogestan, survey 165 Persian blog users, and conducted 20 interviews with influential bloggers in the Persian community. They found multiple causes of the decline in blogging, including increased social media use and interference from authorities.

GO

tuesday >

Weekly Readings: What the Govt Wants to Know

A roundup of interesting reads and stories from around the web. GO

Russia to Treat Bloggers Like Mass Media Because "the F*cking Journalists Won't Stop Writing"

The worldwide debate over who is and who isn't a journalist has raged since digital media made it much easier for citizen journalists and other “amateurs” to compete with the big guys. In the United States, journalists are entitled to certain protections under the law, such as the right to confidential sources. As such, many argue that blogging should qualify as journalism because independent writers deserve the same legal protections as corporate employees. In Russia, however, earning a place equal to mass media means additional regulations and obligations, which some say will lead to the repression of free speech.

GO

Politics for People: Demanding Transparent and Ethical Lobbying in the EU

Today the Alliance for Lobbying Transparency and Ethics Regulation (ALTER-EU) launched a campaign called Politics for People that asks candidates for the European Parliament to pledge to stand up to secretive industry lobbyists and to advocate for transparency. The Politics for People website connects voters with information about their MEP candidates and encourages them to reach out on Facebook, Twitter or by email to ask them to sign the pledge.

GO

monday >

Security Agencies Given Full Access to Telecom Data Even Though "All Lebanese Can Not Be Suspects"

In late March, Lebanese government ministers granted security agencies unrestricted access to telecommunications data in spite of some ministers objections that it violates privacy rights. Global Voices reports that the policy violates Lebanon's existing surveillance and privacy law, Law 140, but has gotten little coverage from the country's mainstream media.

GO

friday >

In Google Hangout, NYC Mayor de Blasio Talks Tech and Outer Borough Potential

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio followed the lead of President Obama and New York City Council member Ben Kallos Friday by participating in a Google Hangout to help mark his first 100 days in office, in which the conversation focused on expanding access to technology opportunities through education and ensuring that the needs of the so-called "outer boroughs" aren't overlooked. GO

More