(This one’s for me, as evidence indicates that most of you may not have agreed with me that the epic hits on Assange are crapulous and suspect at best. Yes, Glenn Greenwald had allowed one of his ‘fearless’ journalists to smear him… But I’d also urge you to note that along the way, the DM’s he’d allegedly exchanged with Trump, Jr. were before the election, when Herr t had been promising détente with Russia, as well as ‘out of NATO’.) I wish you all a good winter solstice as well.
Allow me to unpack (both by paraphrase and quote) Assange’s message to the FPF, and I’ll paste in all of Trevor Timm’s response.
From: WikiLeaks / Sunshine Press
Date: Sat, Dec 1, 2017
Subject: WikiLeaks/Assange response to strange FPF “ultimatum”
To: [Freedom of Press Foundation board]
Assange first expresses shock that one of his attorneys, Jennifer Robinson, had forwarded him an email that WikiLeaks had been given a previously undiscussed ‘ultimatum’ of ten days to prove why the FPF should keep dispersing donations to the organization.
“It is ironic that the organization John Perry Barlow and I conceived in 2011 to protect WikiLeaks and its donors from politically induced financial censorship is now apparently considering doing just that.”
Oh, yeah, he says, since WikiLeaks began publishing the largest CIA leaks in history, Vault 7 and Vault 8, he and his organization have come under even more pressure from the CIA, and expressly by director Mike Pompeo, and that The U.S. grand jury against WikiLeaks has been expanded to include their CIA publications. We’ve all been treated to Pompeo’s threats and pontifications against WikiLeaks, of course.
This I consider this key as to how their decision affects WikiLeaks’ donors:
“US donors are the majority of our donor base. FPF’s anonymizing structure and tax-deductibility have been very important in reassuring donors that it is safe for them to support WikiLeaks. We don’t advertise the banking blockade because we found that doing so creates anxiety in donors as to the legality of donating to WikiLeaks.”
Assange says that the original idea for the FPF was in a meeting between himself and John Perry Barlow in London in 2011 in response to the financial blockade they were experiencing, as well as an empaneled US grand jury, a Pentagon “war room” (their term, not mine), and an intense propaganda offensive by the US military, the political class and virtually all establishment media.
Then comes a long section chronicling the conference calls among himself and ten others, the good Michael Ratner of CCR (may he rest in power) being the only one familiar to me, and the development of the website and incorporating the foundation, etc. As to why he and Barlow felt the need for a structure such as the FPF, he says that donating to WikiLeaks is not only a free speech issue and free association issue, but that it would also litigate on behalf of WikiLeaks and its donors, and that:
“WikiLeaks and its lawyers (including Michael Ratner and Jennifer Robinson) were directly involved in not only the idea to create FPF, but in its establishment. Its mission statement derives from my draft and I and secured most of FPF’s seed funding. I nominated Glenn Greenwald, Daniel Ellsberg, John Cusack, Laura Poitras to the board to join John Perry Barlow.
The structure of FPF is the way it is because it was customized to counter political and legal pressure against WikiLeaks, its donors, and upstream financial intermediaries. FPF was set up to anonymize WikiLeaks donors by also collecting for other organizations so that financial records could not be used to determine which organization received funds from which donor.
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. WikiLeaks cannot be ‘cycled off’ as political pressure increases or as FPF seeks to embrace establishment foundations such Ford, whose historical relationship with the CIA is well documented. To do so is a betrayal of the FPF’s founding purpose.”
Whoa, Nellie! The Ford Foundation, the CIA?
Well, as far as the Ford Foundation, I’d found: Reporters Committee receives $300,000 from Ford Foundation’, May 5, 2017, rcfp.org, “The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press is thrilled to announce new support from the Ford Foundation. The Ford Foundation is committing $300,000 over two years toward RCFP’s work to provide legal services for journalists and news organizations.”
Is this what they’re aspiring to? But as to the Ford Foundation and the CIA, Here’s James Petras, Dec. 15, 2002: ‘The Ford Foundation and the CIA, A Documented Case of Philanthropic Collaboration with the Secret Police’
“As in the 1950s and 60s the Ford Foundation today selectively funds anti-leftist human rights groups which focus on attacking human rights violations of U.S. adversaries, and distancing themselves from anti-imperialist human rights organizations and leaders. The FF has developed a sophisticated strategy of funding human rights groups (HRGs) that appeal to Washington to change its policy while denouncing U.S. adversaries their “systematic” violations. The FF supports HRGs which equate massive state terror by the U.S. with individual excesses of anti-imperialist adversaries. The FF finances HRGs which do not participate in anti-globalization and anti-neoliberal mass actions and which defend the Ford Foundation as a legitimate and generous “non-governmental organization”.
History and contemporary experience tells us a different story. At a time when government over-funding of cultural activities by Washington is suspect, the FF fulfills a very important role in projecting U.S. cultural policies as an apparently “private” non-political philanthropic organization. The ties between the top officials of the FF and the U.S. government are explicit and continuing. A review of recently funded projects reveals that the FF has never funded any major project that contravenes U.S. policy.
In the current period of a major U.S. military-political offensive, Washington has posed the issue as “terrorism or democracy,” just as during the Cold War it posed the question as “Communism or Democracy.” In both instances the Empire recruited and funded “front organizations, intellectuals and journalists to attack its anti-imperialist adversaries and neutralize its democratic critics. The Ford Foundation is well situated to replay its role as collaborator to cover for the New Cultural Cold War.”
But given this Daily Beast hit on Assange:
“Much had changed since the foundation was formed. Today it has a $1.5 million annual budget and a staff of 15. Taking donations for WikiLeaks and other groups has become only a tiny part of the foundation’s work. In 2013, for example, the foundation took over development of SecureDrop, an open-source tool designed to make it safer for whistleblowers to submit information to reporters. Under the foundation’s stewardship, SecureDrop today is running in dozens of newsrooms, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, the Associated Press, and Bloomberg.”
Feel the burn PropOrNot approved list? So…it’s not a stretch to imagine that it’s so, or even worse. Maybe the Rockefeller Foundation, Gates Foundation, or other Imperial Foundations will fund them soon. Pffffft on the FPF Imperial Compradors.
“Through a Daily Beast article by “Kevin Poulsen”, who interviewed former FPF board member Xeni Jardin, I learned that the board’s weakening resolve is due to a Micah Lee initiative asking his fellow board members to “cut ties” with WikiLeaks.
Poulsen is a key actor in the imprisonment of Chelsea Manning, and a confidant of Adrian Lamo. Poulsen and Lee have both been developers of SecureDrop. Poulsen manipulated the alleged Manning-Assange chat logs in an attempt to frame WikiLeaks (see for example Glenn Greenwald’s article “The worsening journalistic disgrace at Wired” for more background. As the article puts it: “At the heart of the WikiLeaks/Manning saga lies the efforts of a self-proclaimed journalist [Poulsen] to conceal the truth”). This is the person Jardin used to publicize the move to cut WikiLeaks off from its donor base on Lee’s initiative.
When I learned that Jardin had been put on the board in December 2012, I sent message to Timm: “I’ve no recollection of ever meeting Xeni and have definitely never worked with her yet she goes around saying [I] have.. penning dozens of snide, unhelpful articles in BoingBoing about us. We’ve seen her as an opponent for a long time based on those articles. Perhaps she’s shifted her politics given the new opportunity… I don’t know, but her politics are not anti-censorship. Not anti-war. Not anti-empire. I don’t think she has any politics. She’s an exhibitionist and a networker–what’s to stop her swapping sides when she gets a better offer? Be careful.”
(wd here: I’ve provided Jardin’s photo.)
Although I have never met or communicated with Lee and know little of him. But research shows that starting in early 2016 he has engaged in an online vilification campaign against WikiLeaks (and me). Some examples:
“..Julian [is] a rapist, liar, & ally to fascists”; “I wonder, now that Obama has commuted @xychelsea’s sentence, will Julian Assange turn himself in for US extradition”; “Julian Assange is not a co-founder of @freedomofPress. This is another lie. I know, I’m a co-founder“; “We can’t trust them [WikiLeaks]”; “Assange’s fall to bigotry”; “WikiLeaks/Julian also champion far-right conspiracy theories”; “Assange makes up a narcissistic, self-serving, offensive conspiracy theiry (sic) to make @xychelsea’s story more about him”; “This is just Julian defending a Nazi” in response to my tweet [“US ‘liberals’ today celebrate the censorship of right-wing UK provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos over teen sex quote.”]
Like Jardin, this is not a person who takes his legal and ethical responsibilities as an FPF board member or director seriously. FPF’s founding purpose was to defend WikiLeaks and its donors from persecution not to contribute to it. The Lee initiative to cut WikiLeaks off from its US donors is a sad business.
Should FPF decide to “cut off” WikiLeaks, the timing, transfer, and auditing of funds, the notification sent to all past and current WikiLeaks donors, and how to deal with monthly donors, should be agreed between FPF and WL.
The Response at pastebin:
From: Trevor Timm (Director, Freedom of Press Foundation)
To: Sunshine Press, Jennifer Robinson
Date: 9 December, 2017
This week, FPF’s board unanimously found—upon review of the available evidence—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. We consider the defeat of the financial blockade a victory for free expression rights. We are proud of the work we did over the past five years to see that WikiLeaks was able to receive so many donations from WikiLeaks readers it otherwise may have unjustly lost. If a similar extrajudicial financial blockade is re-instated in the future, our board agreed WikiLeaks would be welcome to apply for protection again.
To help make this transition as smooth as possible, we will keep our donation mechanism unchanged and open for the next 30 days. As you requested, I am happy to discuss with you when and how the remaining balance will be transferred to Wau Holland, how we will notify current and recurring WL donors about the change, where they can direct their donations to in the future, or other issues related to the hand off. This decision has no bearing on FPF’s position that WikiLeaks is entitled to robust First Amendment protections, as is every publisher, for publishing newsworthy information. We continue to strongly oppose any prosecution attempts by the US government for WikiLeaks’s publishing activities.”
This may not be about WikiLeaks, but as w/ the masked men who’d been at his window a few months ago, I’d be pretty flipped out, myownself.