With its founder, Julian Assange, hiding out in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London doing virtual laps on his treadmill and watching Celebrity Rehab, and the Obama administration showing no sympathy for the self-proclaimed whistle-blower, WikiLeaks has fallen on hard times.
It has been forced to relocate millions of files behind a paywall.
And the criminal organization known as Anonymous isn’t happy.
Upon clicking on any of the site’s documents, including “Cablegate: 250,000 US Embassy Diplomatic Cables,” which is said to have came from alleged WikiLeaks-leaker Bradley Manning, WikiLeaks visitors are taken to a page with a video that lambastes Barack Obama and ends with WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange asking for donations. To access documents, one can donate, share the video on Facebook or tweet it. The fullscreen overlay cannot be closed unless a donation is made or something is shared, though the video does not appear over every document dump.
Prominent Anonymous Twitter accounts were quick to register displeasure. @YourAnonNews called for the wall to come down and then followed up with a damning message:
This, dear friends will lose you all allies you still had. @wikileaks, please die in a fire, kthxbai.
— Anonymous (@YourAnonNews) October 11, 2012
@AnonymousIRC went further by dropping a long letter to Pastebin, explaining that it has had enough of WikiLeaks’ founder, concluding that WikiLeaks has lost its way and is consumed by Assange’s legal troubles and ego instead of its mission of transparency.
Is there no honor among thieves anymore? I mean, a brother’s gotta make a dollar. There are bills to pay, you know, a broadband connection to maintain and some vending machines in the WikiLeaks cafeteria to keep filled.
Anonymous just doesn’t want to hear it:
“The conclusion for us is that we cannot support anymore what Wikileaks has become — the One Man Julian Assange show. But we also want to make clear that we still support the original idea behind Wikileaks: Freedom of information and transparent governments. Sadly we realize that Wikileaks does not stand for this idea anymore.”
Wait a minute? Get around the paywall? Isn’t that illegal?
What is the hacker world coming to?
This is how it always goes: it starts out a revolution and ends up a business.