WikiLeaks has always had money issues. Whether they’ve been how to get money, how to be transparent about money, how to spend money, whom to spend money on, why to spend money and so forth – these are all issues one deals with in an organisation that doesn’t exist for the reason of making money.
I’ve been quite annoyed with WikiLeaks and the money. I’ve been sad, but I do understand the reasons to it, that it’s been so hard to get full disclosure of the money. Showing the world whom you pay money to for secure and private hosting is obviously like giving out the secrecy, so it’s quite hard to be transparent about that. Still, I want to know where my money goes when I donate to any sort of organisation. I’m also been sad that not more money has been donated to the Bradley Manning Foundation – more was promised then was given. I demand a high standard for organisations like WikiLeaks because they should not have places to attack. If you deal with open cards, you’re less vulnerable to any attack.
So, there’s lots of criticism. But whatever these are, they are nothing that makes WikiLeaks a criminal organisation. Even when I’m upset with the way that a person from WikiLeaks behave, it’s up to me to decide if I’m willing to give money to them or not. Especially considering there’s no ongoing (publicly aware) investigation or a letter from any government saying they should not have the right to receive money.
In my world, you’re not convicted until your actually convicted. A suspicion against you should not leave you without your rights. When you’re under pending trial or conviction, it’s still just pending. Everyone is innocent until proven guilty. So also WikiLeaks. Whatever criticisms one might have.
That’s why I’m so proud of Flattr. When I started Flattr I based it on many of very simple principles. I wanted people to be treated fairly – even when there’s discussion about if it’s right or wrong. I wanted to make sure that everyone had equal opportunity in the system. I wanted everyone to feel that all parts of the system was benefitial to all parts. I wanted the people that work at Flattr to be able to speak their own mind, and feel proud of what they did – and if we do something wrong, tell eachother that. And today, again, I’m so proud to see that this is working. Even though I have a love-hate type of relationship to WikiLeaks, and some of my other co-workers at Flattr as well, we all stand up for the right of WikiLeaks to use the system. It’s a separate thing from any personal views. It’s a political view based on equal rights, the right to a fair trial and the right to partake in society as a peer.
And it’s also why I’m so upset with Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, and so forth. For not abiding to the simplest and most basic views of a democracy. For not standing up for freedom of speech. For rather abusing their market position in order to shut someone up. They’ve done this many times before, but not on this scale. With The Pirate Bay, we lost thousands of dollars in donations when Paypal shut down our account. We never recovered that money. That issue put serious dents into our work. WikiLeaks is a much bigger organisation, so of course the dents will be bigger than for TPB.
The current monetary system is not built for democracy. This whole ordeal with blocking receivers makes this obvious. We have monetary private censorship in place. The people that control the money control the outcome of money. It’s a real problem that we need to fix. I’m doing what I can with Flattr, but we should all try to do our part.
It doesn’t really matter if you like WikiLeaks or not. It’s about allowing private companies to decide if there is a WikiLeaks or not. The judges should be the people – and possibly courts – but never a for-profit company.