18 October 2010
Wikileaks Unlike Cryptome
From: [Deleted by request]
To: "cryptome[at]earthlink.net" <cryptome[at]earthlink.net>
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2010 18:55:22 +0200
Subject: Press Question
Dear John Young,
I am an editor for [deleted by request] and I would like to ask you some
question about Wikileaks and Cryptome. I have lived in the Upper West Side
for a long time (95th and Riverside), so we where practially neighbours).
I am interested in the following:
Is it true that you registered the wikileaks.org domain (I read mails
on your site but just wanted to make sure). Did they approach you because
of your work with Cryptome?
From your perspective: When and why did you leave Wikileaks?
When and why did you become interested in the financial situation of WL?
Have you ever been in touch with Julian Assange in recent times? Was there
a personal fallout with him?
What is your main criticism on Wikileaks right now? The lack of transparency?
The hierarchical, yet assumingly professional organsation (oposed
to the amateur approach that you described in your CNET interview?)
Just speculation is the organisation going to collapse (as recent
departures of key figures such as spokesman Daniel Schmitt suggest?)
I am not a critic of the site I just want to know more about the complex
structure of leaking and the unavaoidable human drama that comes with success
(not always, but often)
Thanks and have a great day
[Deleted by request]
Date: Mon, 18 Oct 2010 14:23:49 -0400
To: [Deleted by request]
From: John Young <jya[at]pipeline.com>
Subject: Re: Press Question
Is it true that you registered the wikileaks.org
domain (I read mails on your site but just wanted to make sure). Did they
approach you because of your work with Cryptome?
I was asked by email from an anonymous person for permission to use my name
and address as registrant for Wikileaks.org. I agreed to that role. Somebody
else executed the registration, I did not do that. I do not know who executed
the registration. I have performed this service for a number of people before
and after Wikileaks. And I have operated web sites for persons who wanted
to hide their identity. This is consistent with the purpose of Cryptome to
publish documents for those who wish to conceal their identity.
From your perspective: When and why did you leave Wikileaks?
I did not join Wikileaks nor was I asked to join. In those earliest days
there was no Wikileaks; it was a concept which did not have a name. My email
address was added to a private mail list set up to discuss the establishment
of the concept and the name Wikileaks came out of those discussions. You
can read this in the messages posted on Cryptome.
I participated in the mail list discussionI did not leave willingly. I was
unsubscribed after I criticized a grandiose funding raising target of $5million
is one year. Thus I was never inside Wikileaks but I believe there is nobody
inside Wikileaks, that is a mistaken assumption about its existence. Various
people participate in common activities but there is no formal organization,
no officers, no employees, no legal existence. The WL "advisory board" is
an informal arrangement with no legal existence, no responsibility, no legal
liability. WL remains only a concept, an initiative, and as far as I know
does not exist legally. However, Cryptome is also the same, only a concept
without formal existence; it too is only an activity not a legal entitity,
it has no resources, no employees, no responsibility; it is a philosophical
fiction somewhat like Wikileaks but there are considerable
1. Cryptome primary purpose is not to make money, Wikileaks wants to
make a lot of money. That was the reason I was banned and remains the prinicipal
basis of my concern about public deception by Wikileaks. It is a business
pretending to be a public service initiative.
2. Cryptome does not practice secrecy, Wikileaks does, too much I believe,
in order to glamorous its concept as do spies, governments, security peddlers,
authoritatives of all stripes and criminals.
3. Cryptome does not promise confidentiality to sources, Wikileaks does far
more promising than is technically possible, again like unscrupulous spies,
governments, authoritatives of all stripes and criminals -- and journalists
4. Cryptome invites negative criticism and public debate about what it does.
Wikileaks bristles at negative criticism and promotes only praise for its
activities, indeed exaggerates the praise, seeks, possibly manufactures it
in cooperation with those who peddle praise -- that public relations firms
5 . Cryptome does not seek publicity or media coverage. Wikileaks does by
issuing press releases, taunting the media, orchestrating bombshell releases,
glamourizing Julian Assange, behaving mysteriously, exaggerating threats
by powerful forces, exaggerating the value of what it publishes, editorializes
about its publications excessively -- all the methods used by those who believe
excessive valuation is a good thing, you know best who does that, if not,
see 3, 4 and 5.
Cryptome does not want to be associated with Wikileaks and there has been
no association until recently when Cryptome has been repeatedly asked to
comment on Wikileaks on the assumption that the two are alike. Excuse my
repetition: they are not alike but it has been futile to state that.
By the way, as far as I know Wikileaks has never claimed it is like
When and why did you become interested in the financial
situation of WL?
When there were reports Wikileaks had raised $1million dollars with its bombshell
Have you ever been in touch with Julian Assange in recent
times? Was there a personal fallout with him?
I spoke to Julian once by telepone earlier this year. It was a friendly chat.
We have never met. There was no personal relationship. I do not know who
unsubscribed me from the private mail list.
What is your main criticism on Wikileaks right now?
The lack of transparency? The hierarchical, yet assumingly
professional organsation (oposed to the amateur approach that
you described in your CNET interview?)
I would like the initiative to be more open about its operation, finances,
participants and goals, in accord with democratic principles rather than
authoritative principles. Secrecy rightly breeds suspicion and distrust,
there is absolutely no justification for it by any public intiative. It corrupts
those who practice it.
Just speculation is the organisation going to
collapse (as recent departures of key figures such as spokesman Daniel Schmitt
The initiative will evolve into a more open process or it will die from secrecy,
paranoia, suspicion, deception, anger and frustration. Schmitt is one of
several who have demonstrated that is underway. But more generally, any
initiative that remains closed will self-destruct from lack of new ideas,
healthy criticism and confidence. It will be led to join with other initiatives
that are corrupt and isolated from public accountability, which appears to
be what is happening with the recent joint efforts of Assange and the media,
note that is Assange not Wikileaks. Assange is too closely identified as
Wikileaks and he is being corrupted and crippled by that. Wikileaks is much
broader and deeper than Assange, despite his impressive individual capabilities.
He cannot alone guide Wikileaks or it will evolve into a personal, idiosyncratic
operation, eventually trivial or authoritarian, again as with what has happened
to corrupt intiatives outlined in 3, 4 and 5, including, excuse me,
I have read nobody reporting on Wikileaks who appears to understand its potential
greater breadth and depth. It has been most often trivialized, even by those
who claim to be supporters. Mostly, commentary has squeezed Wikileaks to
fit other agendas, pro and con. Concentration on Assange has been stupid
reporting beyond the customary advertising-driven mindlessness. The only
benefit is that it has diverted the spotlight from more important work being
done by others associated with Wikileaks, and for that Assange is to thanked.
It will be a great loss if attacks on Assange lead to loss of public confidence
and trust in the initiative, and no doubt that is what some opponents intend.
Some of those opponents, you will grasp, are now bear-hugging Wikileaks as
putative friends to be sure it it is crippled or fails.
Optimistically, Assange is smarter than his supporters and opponents, so
I expect he will come out all right. If not Wikileaks then another
Pessimistically, it is too late, the initiative never had a chance of surviving
due to conflicted goals of being a unique public service and becoming rich
at it. George Soros and the CIA jointly make that work, but it cannot be
done without their kind. So I said in December 2006 and still
If you are not aware my comments are always published on Cryptome as these