Anonymous just declared war on their longtime protÃ©gÃ©, WikiLeaks. It seems like it was just yesterday that they were the BFFs, leaking documents and trying to get out of rape scandals toppling governments, but alas, that is no more.
So, what’s behind the sudden change of heart? Money, of course! WikiLeaks has decided to take a page from the New York Times’ playbook and put their Global Intelligence files behind a paywall. That means that next time you try to check out WikiLeaks’ massive cache of internal Stratfor emails, you’ll be met by a banner requiring you to make a donation first. To be fair, you can set your own price, but a paywall is still a paywall, and Anonymous isn’t happy about it.
An angry exchange between Wikileaks and Anonymous supporters over Twitter led to the paywall being briefly removed, but the next day it was back, prompting Anonymous to say that they will drop all support of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange because of the incident:
Regardless of any workarounds, the fact remains that a meretricious page is placed for the majority of visitors that cannot be closed. The obvious intention is to force donations in exchange for access. This is a filthy and rotten, wholly un-ethical action – and Anonymous is enraged.
No longer will Anonymous risk prison to defend WikiLeaks or Julian Assange from their enemies. No longer will Anonymous risk prison to supply material for WikiLeaks disclosures. Anonymous turns it’s back on WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks has with it’s actions this past 48 hours betrayed Anonymous, and thus has lost it’s biggest and most powerful supporter.
On the up side, Anonymous says that they won’t be attacking WikiLeaks or any of its assets, since it considers them to be media outlets. But why is WikiLeaks risking the loss of one of its biggest supporters over a donation campaign? According to a post written on October 3rd (strangely, it took a while for the paywall to draw Anonymous’ ire), Julian Assange, besides taking credit for ending the Iraq War and creating the Arab Spring, urges supporters to ‘vote with their wallet’ this election by giving their cash to WikiLeaks or Julian Assange’s legal fund.
We’re really not sure how that’s going to affect the election, but maybe topical campaigns are more interesting than the generic ‘give me moneyz?’ At any rate, we’d love to hear your thoughts below, and we can’t wait to see how all of this turns out.