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Actions to silence Cablegate and Wikileaks, threats against Assange

Categories: Activism, Advocacy, Legal Threats

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is in danger and his project Wikileaks [1] is under attack. A week after the release of the largest number of classified information, the CableGate, prominent politicians even expressed their wish to “hunt him” or see him “executed“. The reactions are beautifully summarized by OpenDemocracy [2]:

As international reaction testifies, the repercussions of Cablegate are massive. Wikileaks is changing the world without invitation, and the political establishment does not approve. A global witch-hunt for Julian Assange, Wikileaks’ co-founder and figurehead, is now in full swing. Assange should be “hunted” and “executed” say prominent American politicians, who want him extradited and charged under the country’s 1917 Espionage Act, a law introduced to combat socialists and pacifists during the Red Scare. “Obama should put out a contract [to have Assange assassinated] and maybe use a drone or something,” said Professor Tom Flanagan, a former advisor to Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper. While in France, the birthplace of the Enlightenment, Wikileaks was described as a “threat to democracy”.

It is important to stress the complexities of a Website under attack as pointed out by Hal Roberts on his article Amazon´s Wikileak take down [3] and the role of private corporations on it:

as a society, we have reached a place where the only way to protect some sorts of speech on the Internet is through one of only a couple dozen core Internet organizations. Totally ceding decisions about control of politically sensitive speech to that handful of actors, without any legal process or oversight, is a bad idea. The problem is that an even worse option is to cede these decisions about what content gets to stay up to the owners of the botnets capable of executing large ddos attacks.

And for Wikileaks’ audience, craving to read and analyze and work in this new “global accountability” procedure, crowdsourced audit to U.S. foreign service actions, their dissenters decided to use political and economical pressure instead of a court procedure to stop the message by cancellation of services. It will be from now an important message for activists when choosing their service providers. Even the largest companies seem very vulnerable when facing political pressure. The situation is even labeled as the first inforwar [4] ever, whit governments on one side and citizens on the other.

After freezing Wikileaks account, PayPal [5] released a public statement saying:

PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity. We’ve notified the account holder of this action.

Similar public statement was issued by Amazon [6] after kickeing WikiLeaks off of their cloud service.

Keep Us Strong

In response to these intermediary censorship [7] efforts against it, Wikileaks is campaigning for donations to , a support that might be very important if a legal procedure from US is already on its way, as rumored. Wikileaks shared [8] with their followers on twitter all the difficulties they face to keep their work strong.

Human Rights advocates such as Reporters without borders [9] expressed their support, also digital activists like La Quadrature du Net [10] in France.
Many people decided not to shop on Amazon this Christmas while other even canceled their Amazon accounts and the Facebook Site: Boycott Amazon for dumping Wikileaks has so far gathered more than to 7000 “likes”. As John Perry Barlow said on Twitter [11]The field of battle is WikiLeaks. You are the troops.”

There is no evidence of murders derivated from the diclosure of public informations, in contrast with the evident collateral murders [12] that Wikileaks showed to the World this year. There is evidence, however, of the increased desire of politicians to regulate the Internet, restrict dissent and label information as terrorism, as demonstrated by the proposal of modifying the Espionage Act . And there are numerous evidences, after all these actions against Wikileaks and Julian Assange, that the job of digital activists and freedom fighters is getting harder and harder.