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19 January, 2018

WikiLeaks under attack

The Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) was set to break ties with WikiLeaks amidst concerns among the foundation’s board, which includes such well-known figures as Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, Laura Poitras, John Cusack and Glenn Greenwald, among others. The news was confirmed less than a month later when the nonprofit’s board officially voted to stop accepting U.S. donations for WikiLeaks, which had been blacklisted for years by Visa, MasterCard and PayPal after publishing leaked U.S. government documents provided by Chelsea Manning. WikiLeaks took to Twitter to suggest that something more nefarious was behind the board’s decision to cut ties. Once the news became public, WikiLeaks and its associated accounts linked the FPF’s decision to the fact that many of its members now work for organizations financed by eBay billionaire and PayPal co-founder Pierre Omidyar. In addition, the FPF itself has received large sums of money from Omidyar and his various businesses and foundations. Pierre Omidyar, prior to the founding of The Intercept, was known not for any commitment to journalism or free speech but rather for his connections to the U.S. government and his role in the financial blockade of WikiLeaks that began in 2010. Sibel Edmonds, FBI whistleblower and founder of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition, told MintPress News that the FPF has a reputation for being a “very, very partisan organization and populated with ideologues.” She further asserted that the “number one reason” for the FPF’s decision was directly related to Wikileaks’ releases in 2016, namely the DNC leaks and the Podesta emails.

Part 1

The Daily Beast ran an exclusive report detailing how the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF) was set to break ties with WikiLeaks amidst concerns among the foundation’s board, which includes such well-known figures as Daniel Ellsberg, Edward Snowden, Laura Poitras, John Cusack and Glenn Greenwald, among others. The news was confirmed less than a month later when the nonprofit’s board officially voted to stop accepting U.S. donations for WikiLeaks, which had been blacklisted for years by Visa, MasterCard and PayPal after publishing leaked U.S. government documents provided by Chelsea Manning.

Even though the FPF had been founded to allow WikiLeaks to circumvent the banking blockade — which, according to WikiLeaks, sapped nearly 95% of the transparency organization’s funds — the board’s decision to end its founding mission was unanimous.

Last Monday, the FPF made it official, severing its ties with WikiLeaks, leaving it to rely on cryptocurrencies and other esoteric means of funding in order to get around the banking blockade. Journalist Trevor Timm, the FPF’s director, told WikiLeaks’ editor-in-chief Julian Assange in an email that the foundation’s reason for ending the partnership was “that the financial blockade by the major payment processors is no longer in effect, and as such, we will soon cease processing donations on behalf of WikiLeaks readers.

The financial censorship of WikiLeaks is ongoing in various ways, as is our litigation in response,” Assange told Timm in response, adding that: “The FPF faces criticism for receiving donations on our behalf, but that is its function. If it bows to political pressure it becomes part of the problem it was designed to solve and yet another spurious free-speech organization — of which there are plenty.

Assange had made the exchange public by publishing it on his personal Twitter, but it has since been deleted.

Indeed, the pressure against WikiLeaks has reached fever pitch, with Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ calling Assange’s arrest a “priority” and CIA Director Mike Pompeo labeling it a non-state hostile intelligence service. Last Thursday, former CIA analyst and whistleblower John Kiriakou stated his belief that “the Americans want Assange’s head on a platter.” All of this has followed Wikileaks’ publication of the Podesta emails and DNC leaks in 2016 prior to that year’s U.S. presidential election, as well as its more recent publication of CIA hacking secrets in the “Vault 7” and “Vault 8” releases.

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