Author Topic: Wikileaks method of Persecution  (Read 13453 times)

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Wikileaks method of Persecution
« on: April 19, 2015, 02:21:05 AM »
Disclaimer : This article has been translated by a volunteer translator. Neither WikiLeaks nor The WikiLeaks Discussion Forum shall be held accountable for errors. The reader is welcome to check him/herself the original source linked below, and to comment if there is an error or misinterpretation. If an error is identified we shall endeavour to correct it.


Julian Assange is sparking a wave of hatred against an activist living in Germany on social networks. Now, he fears for his safety because it was announced that he’d be hunted down.
 
By Sylvia Margaret Steinitz

Original URL: http://www.stern.de/politik/ausland/julian-assange-und-wikileaks-treiben-hetze-gegen-ex-aktivisten-voran-2187780.html

Forum URL: http://www.wikileaks-forum.com/germany/44/hetze-nach-der-wikileaks-methode/33639/

URL of French Translation: http://www.wikileaks-forum.com/-wikileaks-related-news/23/-la-methode-de-persecution-wikileaks/33650/new;topicseen#new

Mark G. is a quiet and unremarkable man in his mid-fifties with an accent that betrays his British origin. During the first conversation it becomes immediately clear that he distrusts everything and everyone, be it the government or his critics, but especially the media. “Hey,” he jokes, “just because I’m paranoid doesn’t mean they are not after me.” He pulls out a laptop and a USB flash drive from his backpack, as well as a few printouts of screenshots, all of which he spreads out on the table. It represents the thoroughly documented history of a confrontation between the whistleblower platform Wikileaks and a group of supporters from around the world. It is a confrontation that threatens to destroy Mark G.’s reputation, if not his entire existence.

Methods used against him range from doxing, the publication of private data on the Internet, such as photos and residential addresses, to blatant defamation of his character. All this hatred directed at one individual, at one man, says more about Wikileaks & Co. than it does about the intended target.


At one point he was a hero
It was a little more than four years ago when Mark G. watched a television documentary on Julian Assange. The fearless Internet rebel, hunted by the United States and probably a victim of a smear campaign originating in Sweden, enthralled him with spectacular leaks and the revealing of dark government secrets. “Finally, someone stood up against the powerful of the world that I wanted to support,” Mark G. recalls. At the end of 2010, the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, was regarded as a hero by the new generation of critical citizens.

Suddenly, people were discussing ‘secure surfing on the Internet’ and ‘transparent government’, as well as what intelligence agencies do behind closed doors with data from ordinary citizens. It seemed as if an entirely new society was born, as if it had suddenly awakened, just like Snow White. Julian Assange was a digitalized version of David and took on the Goliaths of this world, such as corrupt governments, evil corporations and greedy banks. His weapons: years of experience as a hacker, as well as a website and the promise to potential whistleblowers that any and all anonymously sent leaks would be made public. Granted, it wasn’t a new concept, but Julian Assange was the right person at the right time to bring the concerns of politically and socially-oriented hackers out in the open.

Like numerous people, it made Mark G. feel enthusiastic. For over 20 years,the native Londoner has been living in Germany and has always been interested in ‘just causes’, he says, like the protection of animals or any other type of volunteer work. His full-time profession is taking care of the severely disabled living in various senior homes. He is a man who usually goes unnoticed by the public because he’s simply too insignificant to stand out. Mark G. is one who helps others in the writing of history, although his words never make it into any history books.
Now, in 2015, all is quiet surrounding Wikileaks and the organization is fighting for its place in the international news circus. But having to appear in numerous courts all costs time and money, and most cases include damages for lost donations, which basically happened because of the legally non-sanctioned donations blockade against Wikileaks instigated by large credit card companies.

The problems of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange with the law as well as the unresolved issue of his website – is it a medium or not? – is the reason why whistleblowers are increasingly looking for more ‘conservative’ partners to air their leaks. Edward Snowden comes to mind, who is probably one of the most important whistleblowers in recent history and who repeatedly mentioned his appreciation for Wikileaks, yet he entrusted his NSA data to others — namely to the journalist and activist Glenn Greenwald, as well as the documentary filmmaker, Laura Poitras.

Nowadays, Julian Assange takes on more and more the role of a commentator of affairs in the digital world and his questionable opinions cause ever increasing irritation. Yet at the same time Wikileaks protests against international attempts to prohibit the inclusion of propaganda of the terrorist Islamic State, ISIS, on the networks. How does the saying go? Freedom for all … or something to that effect. However, the situation differs when Wikileaks is directly involved and criticized, as Mark G. can attest.


 
Creeping poison
In 2010, the British-born was still an ardent defender of the Wikileaks founder and even started his own webpage, www.support-Julian-Assange.com. Two female Swedes accused the founder, Assange, of sexual offenses, so he was taken into custody in London,which caused quite a stir. “At the time I thought the allegations were unfounded,” Mark G. says in retrospect. “Today I see it differently.”

Toward the end of January 2011, a certain S.T., a close confidante of Julian Assange, contacted him. He caused the scandal later by becoming the FBI’s informant on Wikileaks. “At that time the idea was born to establish a discussion forum solely for Wikileaks-related topics,” Mark G. recalls. “In February, I received administrative rights to the Wikileaks official Facebook page. In March 2011, the Wikileaks-forum was launched. Wikileaks operated the forum and it quickly grew to over 15,000 members, yet from the beginning we made sure everyone knew it was only ‘managed by Wikileaks supporters page’ and that Wikileaks assumed no responsibility for the published contents.

Everything progressed smoothly until Wikileaks published the so-called Syria-files. “The origin of the data remained unclear,” Mark G. explains. “But nothing pointed to a whistleblower leak. Everything indicated it was stolen data. This was even discussed in the Wikileaks-forum. Naturally this was met with some criticism as well.” Then, he posted more information on Syria on the Facebook page, “so the users could get a better overall picture of the issue”. Apparently, Wikileaks didn’t care for that. Mark G. looks for and displays old chat logs. “Here, for example,” he points to the log, “they asked me to take this information from the page that had nothing to do with Wikileaks. It did once, however, with some additional information in order to classify the leaks. I never understood all the excitement.”






Shortly thereafter, Mark G. was sitting at a sidewalk café in Frankfurt.“Out of nowhere a car stops in front of us and a guy I don’t know takes a picture of me, then the car takes off again.” Mark G. was alarmed and inquired at Wikileaks if they knew anything about it. The chat log Mark G. displays shows a conversation between him and Sarah Harrison, Julian Assange’s closest collaborator at Wikileaks. The log reveals Harrison’s downplay of the incident, which G. might not believe as well. Mark G. says he has a witness who saw the encounter. “I understand it sounds incredibly James Bond-like, but what reason would I have for fabricating this. Up to this day I still don’t know who sent the guy.”
Shortly thereafter, new trouble: Mark G. is ousted as administrator of the Wikileaks Facebook page. “All my work and time I invested in Wikileaks was wiped out. Why? I still haven’t received an explanation.” Eventually a Wikileaks representative contacted Mark G.: The chat log shows that Julian Assange wanted the email addresses of the 15,000 members on the Wikileaks-forum. “I explained to him that I cannot pass on that data since it is prohibited by German law,” Mark G. says. “I also found the request strange".

"Those people first have to give their consent before their data can be passed on.” Mark G. offered several ways to inform users about Wikileaks desire to get in contact with them. Yet the Wikileaks employee rejected every single one of them and reiterated that he wanted the list with addresses. Mark G. documented everything and displays pages after pages of logs, printouts, and screenshots.

 A short while later, aspersions started making the rounds: The Wikileaks-forum is spreading malicious software, so-called malware, Wikileaks suddenly states on Twitter. Mark G. denies it immediately. Then it says the Wikileaks-forum is ‘fake’, that Wikileaks does not actually support it. But Mark G. can provide documentation saying otherwise, and the tone from both sides became increasingly sharper. “Of course we also allowed criticism of Julian Assange,” G. says, “but quite frankly the principle of freedom of expression has been created for unpopular opinions. So, either it applies to everyone or to none at all.”




At some point Wikileaks started accusing Mark G. of having ties to the FBI. Wikileaks has two and a half million followers, so the word ‘FBI’ does not sit well. That’s when a major hunt started in the network. “I really didn’t know what was happening to me,” Mark G. states, “and at times I might have sounded a bit harsh. But, I was all alone against an army of fanatics.” In 2013, Mark G. retired and handed the Wikileaks-forum over to new owners. “Considering all I went through, the new owners want to remain anonymous,” he explains. “I don’t care if I’m the one who continues catching hell online if it means those people can do their work.”

Mark G. feels relieved. “The Wikileaks-forum was founded by an FBI informant,” Wikileaks bragged a few times, a sly maneuver. In the end, it was Assange’s own confidant, S.T., later FBI informant, who contacted Mark G. in order to create the Wikileaks-forum. “In reality, I have as many or as few connections to the FBI as Assange,” G. remarks drily. “Fans of Wikileaks only see the word FBI and it turns them immediately into vicious Pit-bulls. “That’s abuse of power, brought to you by Assange & Co.”

 The effect: Fans distributed a picture of Mark G., an enlargement of him taken from a group shot. “I don’t know who did this,” he says, “but I’m not fine with it being passed around. I am a private person and have the right to prohibit its release.” Edward Snowden just explained how various American organizations can deal with personal photos of Internet users. “These people applaud Snowden and then snigger as they tweet my photo.”





G. is not only concerned about his rights but also about his safety. Once, someone posted a photo of him with his dogs, he says. “Then, someone threw a box of rat poison over the fence.” He has already moved twice and is not staying at the address currently circulating on the Internet. His photo is still being shown on the net, together with the acronym ‘FBI’.

One of the most important voices of the network collective, Anonymous, which has over 300,000 followers, published Mark. G.’s picture via Twitter and called for it ‘to be plastered everywhere’. “It has escalated to the point where I expect to be attacked on the street,” G says.
 
His fear is not unwarranted: G.’s persecutors have lost all sense of boundaries. Threats were sent from the account of an Assange fan: “We will destroy you.”“What will your children say when you rot in jail?” as well as messages that could be construed as rape threats. Recently the word spread that G. abused disabled people.

Wikileaks was even involved in fueling the mood by commenting and censoring Mark G.’s attempt to prevent the publication of his photos, yet it was done in such a way that it actually looked as if WikiLeaks was attacked as well.




Repeat offenders
It is not the first time Wikileaks incited such persecution on the net: Even Sofia W. and Anna A., two women named as witnesses in the Swedish case against Assange, were threatened according to cryptic Wikileaks logs (“We were warned about dirty tricks, and then we received the first”). Supporters of Wikileaks and Assange called them ‘female CIA spies’ and displayed their real names and photos on the Internet, as well as juicy speculation on their sex life and what possible motives they had to accuse Assange.

The house entrance of Anna A.’s building was photographed and shown on the network, causing her to flee the country. Sofia W. went underground and disappeared, her promising new career as a video artist finished. At the front of the pack of instigators was L.B., an unconditional Assange supporter from Berlin – the same L.B. who is now leading the hunt for Mark G. and who is publicly supported by Wikileaks for his war against G.

 He has now followed in Sofia W. and Anna A. footsteps by engaging a lawyer and suing anyone who threatened his person or violated his right to privacy. This resulted in L.B. being sued on numerous fronts. Even Wikileaks was prompted to remove G.’s photo, which was turned around via dramatically phrased Twitter messages so it looked as if the whole group was attacked and asked for donations



Showdown in Frankfurt
Those who have been watching the social networks surrounding Wikileaks over a longer period of time quickly discover that supporters and opponents are not only unforgiving, but insults, provocations, as well as sexual innuendos are on the day’s agenda. Even under new leadership the Wikileaks-forum is heavily engaged in the ongoing strife and publishes insinuations and real names. One of those names was a female Wikileaks supporter from the UK and according to her she was a neighbor of Julian Assange from his time at Ellingham Hall, when he wore an ankle monitor while staying with a supporter. She sued Wikileaks-forum because of posts from her Twitter account – however, she falsely filed suit against Mark G. And, as Mark explained, he is no longer connected to the Wikileaks-forum. Mark has collected evidence on how fans were connecting and consulting each other. He will need that evidence soon because of a court hearing to be held in Frankfurt on April 30th.
There is a call out, asking Wikileaks supporters to go there in person. This prompted G.’s attorney to request from the court a security detail for his client. “I am not the person who should be standing trial,” G. says, “I have no control over publications in the forum nor have I written any. But then mine is the only name that rings a bell with these people.” He can live with being the lightning rod for the Wikileaks-forum. “Everything that is happening to me clearly shows it’s best for the current forum operators to remain anonymous.”


Cui bono – for whose benefit?
G.’s attorney questions why such effort is expended against an individual. “What does Wikileaks and its supporters gain from persecuting someone so persistently?” he asks. It is a question that confronts conspiracy theorists, but it fits: Cui bono? For whose benefit? We can only speculate, but the fact is: The Wikileaks-forum represents a formidable competitor to Wikileaks. “Even back when I was in charge of the forum,” Mark G. recalls, “a potential whistleblower from the industry used it rather than going public through Wikileaks. I backed up my claim back then and told him I’d publish any and all information online without any personal or monetary interests. Can Wikileaks make such a promise? At the time we decided to leave it as we could hardly guarantee 100 percent safety of whistleblowers. I doubt Wikileaks has always behaved that responsibly.”

If the organization suddenly has a problem with having one of their own independent discussion forums out there after they announced and promoted it themselves in May of 2011, “then they should engage their staff of lawyers and pursue legal action,” G. states. “I guess the court can clarify whether you are allowed to call yourself that. However, the way Wikileaks behaves, I must say Assange is a bully – or how do you say in German?” The English term fits someone unruly in class or a work colleague who is intimidating, just like the United States likes to call representatives of the Wikileaks – Anonymous – and the Occupy scene ‘bullies’.

What is Mark G. most disappointed about: “It’s sad to see a major movement lose credibility only because as soon as some of its protagonists acquire power they turn into the same people they were against all along. It is unthinkable what those people would do were they given real power. You should always keep that in mind. That’s why I believe my story is relevant, even though I’m not famous.”

*************************************************************************************************************************
 
The Stern gave Wikileaks two opportunities to make a statement and both times received no reply. Yet on Twitter the organization rallied for more donations - for the struggle of the righteous against the bullies of this world.


+++THE END+++


Original URL: http://www.stern.de/politik/ausland/julian-assange-und-wikileaks-treiben-hetze-gegen-ex-aktivisten-voran-2187780.html

Offline mayya

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Re: Wikileaks method of Persecution
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2015, 21:04:50 PM »
traduction française : http://www.wikileaks-forum.com/-wikileaks-related-news/23/-la-methode-de-persecution-wikileaks/33650/msg68775#msg68775