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Anonymous and WikiLeaks Bump Heads

WikiLeaks appears to be losing support within the Anonymous collective.

In recent days, members have voiced displeasure with WikiLeaks' decision to put data behind a paywall. The move triggered criticism on Twitter and elsewhere from Anonymous members.

 "We are aware that the donation paywall can be circumvented by disabling Javascript," according to a post on AnonPaste.me. "However, this is not the point. Neither is Anonymous concerned that WikiLeaks is asking for donations. However, we do see a serious problem in the way WikiLeaks is implementing this for several reasons. First of all, the casual user (which is the majority) usually have [sic] Javascript enabled and thus will be blocked by the donation page and denied the content. Additionally, the casual user does not know that he needs to disable javascript to get to the content without paying - sorry, donating."

"Lastly, regardless of any workarounds, the fact remains that a meretricious page is placed for the majority of visitors that cannot be closed," the message continues. "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."

A separate message on Pastebin posted Oct. 15 was less harsh, but questioned where donations being received by WikiLeaks were being spent.

"We fail to see how Wikileaks needs hundreds of thousands of dollars each year to operate, when we obeserve [sic] other platforms that can provide the same service for a fraction of that," the message says. "Again, we remained silent, because we believed in the mission. But then you show the audacity to barricade the content with a Javascript banner, forcing the majority of visitors to either donate or spam via facebook or twitter. This is a blatant violation of what Wikileaks should stand for."

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange responded with a statement online explaining that the donation campaign pop-up requires users to either donate to, share or tweet the campaign once a day. However, torrents are unaffected by the pop-up and remain available from the front page.

"These details should have been clearer but were available to anyone who cared to read," he wrote. "The exact logic and number of seconds are in the page source. We are time and resource constrained. We have many battles to deal with. Other than adding a line of clarification, we have not changed the campaign and nor do we intend to."

"We know it is annoying. It is meant to be annoying. It is there to remind you that the prospective destruction of WikiLeaks by an unlawful financial blockade and an array of military, intelligence, DoJ and FBI investigations, and associated court cases is a serious business. WikiLeaks faces unprecedented costs due to involvement in over 12 concurrent legal matters around the world, including our litigation of the US military in the Bradley Manning case."

During the past few years, WikiLeaks has worked closely with hacktivists inside Anonymous, with hackers providing WikiLeaks with information and launching distributed denial-of-service attacks against its detractors.

In the Pastebin note, the message from Anonymous closed by stating that it does not want anyone to feel "torn between WikiLeaks and Anonymous".

"That is not fair to those people," the message reads. "Anyone has the choice to support Anonymous, Wikileaks, neither or both. Any division is meaningless as we are divided by zero."

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