27 July 2010
This is from several open Wikileaks mail lists for the media, volunteers,
contributors and recruits.
Why are the Wikileaks founders anonymous?
9 June 2007
Our goal is to build very broad support (i.e not just
among the usual free expression and government transparency
people), so that repression of WL in the West is untenable.
Apart from the beneficial effect on Western democracies, we believe
this will provide a strong, consistent base where we can operate
efficiently and freely, permitting us to concentrate our efforts on
the most repressive regimes.
The reason the founders (but not many advisory board people) are
anonymous is not due to fear of significant personal repression in the
That outcome doesn't seem credible. Our reasons are:
1) Some of us are refugees from repressive countries with families
still in those countries.
2) Some of us are journalists who maybe banned from entering these
countries for work if our WL affiliation was known.
3) Some of us are have been spied on by Chinese intelligence,
including Chinese government hackers, and we don't want to give them,
or any other intelligence agency a map of electronic or personal
infiltration targets, in their attempts to get at our sources.
4) Early on we found that the press were rather intrigued by the idea
that the founders were anonymous.
5) Having the founders anonymous shows we are motivated by a purpose
higher than reputation seeking. Reputations are important and we're
not against people developing them, but personal reputation as
motivation can lead to undue concern with crowd pleasing. WL is
inherently combative and criticism of our strong stance will be acute
and may sometimes outweigh support. Crowd pleasing behavior by any of
us would compromise our fundamental reform goals.
There are now over 1,200 volunteers so some type of WL affiliation,
at least in the West, is unlikely to attract much scrutiny.
On Jun 9, 2007, at 11:11 PM, [Deleted] wrote:
> Dear WL,
> My vision for the wikileaks livejournal, or at least my primary
> contribution to it, is a more or less blog format response to
> conceptual questions, both raised and pre-empted, about
> Especially given the swathe of fallacious write-ups in the press to
> date, there appears a great need to clarify the nature and role of
> wikileaks in this kind of thorough and persistent way.
> Put differently: A mere set of official statements and occasional
> replies to accusations on the part of wikileaks itself is
> insufficient to remove the veil of obscurity and obfuscation the
> press has effectively cast over the relevant issues. Nor does
> seem that wikileaks itself should do a whole lot more to directly
> combat the problem; conceptual self-defence is certainly not its
> raison d'etre and should not be its primary focus. Solution:
> outsource this derriere-garde action to the livejournal project.
> Being less a vortex of pictures, well-wishes and personal-
> networking than any other online presence of wikileaks (besides the
> wikileaks website) livejournal seems the best medium for the
> relevant delivery. To boot, its present content is press
> including a fair amount of "tinder ready for the match."
> I assume that for Livejournal the username and password would not
> change but merely be distributed to the new operators, including
> As to your designs on Facebook, my anonymity may or may not present
> a problem. Having some prior but not detailed or working
> of Facebook, I took a look today and found the following on its
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