The loose collection of hackers around the world known as Anonymous has decided to draw a line of separation between itself and WikiLeaks after claiming that Julian Assange’s site has changed its focus lately.
The hacker group posted in its Twitter account page, Anonymous IRC, its intention to distance itself from WikiLeaks after it described the website as “the one man Julian Assange show”. This followed after WikiLeaks angered some users when the site asked users to pay before they can access millions of stored documents.
Anonymous said that WikiLeaks is diverting its main mission to ensure government transparency by revealing classified documents by focusing mainly on the personal struggle of Julian Assange, the Australian founder of the site.
“The idea behind WikiLeaks was to provide the public with information that would otherwise be kept secret by industries and governments. Information we strongly believe the public has a right to know,” Anonymous said.
“But this has been pushed more and more into the background, instead we only hear about Julian Assange, like he had dinner last night with Lady Gaga. That’s great for him but not much of our interest. We are more interested in transparent governments and bringing out documents and information they want to hide from the public.
Anonymous is one of the most loyal and vocal allies of WikiLeaks and Assange. Supporters of Anonymous also support Assange’s public announcements, as well as waging online campaigns against critics of WikiLeaks.
The whistleblower’s site said its operations are funded by the public. However, its recent shift asking for donations first before allowing access to leaked documents did not go well for some, and apparently for Anonymous. Users are not unable to view documents unless they pay. The new WikiLeaks move, according to its Twitter account, is a way to counter “the high costs in military courts”.
Anonymous is not buying WikiLeaks’ idea by saying in its statement that the website was an “awesome idea ruined by egos”. The group also accused WikiLeaks of abandoning its main reason for existence, which is to promote the ideals of freedom of expression.
“We have been worried about the direction WikiLeaks is going for a while,” Anonymous said.
“In the recent month the focus moved away from actual leaks and the fight for freedom of information further and further while it concentrated more and more on Julian Assange. It goes without saying that we oppose any plans of extraditing Julian to the USA. He is a content provider and publisher, not a criminal.”
While WikiLeaks now holds a massive number of documents, alienating Anonymous will not obviously help. Anonymous is thought to have provided WikiLeaks the cache of Stratfor emails, a 5-million cache of emails taken from the U.S.-based intelligence firm Stratfor. The company claims itself to provide “strategic intelligence on global business, economic, security and geopolitical affairs”, boasting about 300,000 subscribers. The revelation of the emails to the public, according to WikiLeaks, shows the connections between the inner workings of the private intelligence agency, and the links between it and the government.