Donate for the Cryptome archive of files from June 1996 to the present

18 December 2012

Dissent to Freedom of the Press Foundation


Combat deaths at a high, risks shift for journalists

By Frank Smyth/Senior Adviser for Journalist Security

Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2012 08:02:58 -0500
To: cypherpunks[at]
From: John Young <jya[at]>
Subject: Re: Why we all have a stake in the Freedom of the Press Foundation

A worthy initiative for the press.

Unfortunately press is only one means of freedom of expression, speech, writing, demonstration, opposition, dissent and creative trouble-making-- and hardly objective due to its commercial objective and very loud-mouth, conceit, craven to power and vanity bred by constituional protection of its risk-averse cartel. Press has generated too many fortunes to be singled out for crowd-sourced support.

Freedom of the Press is way too limiting, but then that is the nature of its organizers and board members. The rich ones in particular are notabably uninvolved in acitivities that would threaten their wealth and freedom to lord it over the poor fans being urged to crowd-fund just like venal politicians who also adore the press for amplifying their campaigns for dumping crocks of shit on the public.

Far better would be for a huge increase in disorganized initiatives of the unruly crowd far from being controlled and exploited by lucrative investment in "crowd-sourcing."

Watch out for the crowd-sourcing predators driving the market in the cloud, the latest invention for spying on and profiling the public for marketing profits.

Dan Gillmor has been had by his friends, at best, at worst, complicit in the market boosting deception of obedient crowds.


Date: Tue, 18 Dec 2012 09:03:51 +0100
From: Eugen Leitl <eugen[at]>
To: cypherpunks[at]
Subject: Why we all have a stake in the Freedom of the Press Foundation

----- Forwarded message from Peter Langston <MiniFunPeople[at]> -----

From: Peter Langston <MiniFunPeople[at]>
Date: Mon, 17 Dec 2012 14:33:34 -0800
To: The MiniFunPeople List <MiniFunPeople[at]>
Subject: Why we all have a stake in the Freedom of the Press Foundation
Forwarded-by: Dave Farber <dave[at]>
From: *Dewayne Hendricks* <dewayne[at]

Why we all have a stake in the Freedom of the Press Foundation

This new nonprofit to protect WikiLeaks and other whistleblowers from payment systems blocking deserves our support

By Dan Gillmor Dec 17, 2012


Two years ago this month, the major online payment systems -- Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and more -- cut off one of the world's most famous journalism organizations from the public. They stopped taking payments on behalf of WikiLeaks and, in the process, highlighted one of the most dangerous threats to modern journalism: the ability of centralized third parties to make trouble for anyone and any organization they didn't like, for whatever reason.

With a few exceptions, the traditional journalism industry has been all but indifferent to what happened -- a payment boycott done almost certainly under pressure from the American government, which was and remains infuriated by WikiLeaks' methods and results. No other journalism-related organization has been treated this way, as far as I know. But given the rise of independent media organizations and the utter lack of accountability the payment systems have faced for their outrageous actions, the threat is greater than ever.

The journalists' silence was unfortunate but, sad to say, a reflection of most media companies' coziness with the rich and powerful in America and around the world. It's fair to assume, though, that had any one of those companies been shut out of modern payment systems, the entire industry would have: a) created a huge outcry; and b) found ways to go around the centralized systems that had taken such pernicious actions.

So I'm glad to see the emergence of a new not-for-profit group whose  mission is to "promote and fund aggressive, public-interest journalism  focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in  government". It's called the Freedom of the Press Foundation. Its method is "crowd-funding" -- pulling together donations from people like you and me -- and it could be a game-changer.

The foundation is based in San Francisco, with a board of directors that includes Daniel Ellsberg (of Pentagon Papers fame), John Perry Barlow (co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation), Xeni Jardin (from BoingBoing), the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald and several others in the civil liberties and media arenas. (Disclosure: I am friends with several board members, and have offered advice to the founders.)

What's novel are the tactics: the foundation will be accepting donations from individuals and then forwarding them along, according to the donors' specific direction, to organizations designed by foundation. The list of organizations will evolve over time; the first group includes WikiLeaks, MuckRock, the National Security Archive and the UpTake, all of which are worthy of support.

The foundation has come up with clear and useful criteria for its selections:

1. Record of engaging in transparency journalism or supporting it in a material way, including support for whistleblowers.

2. Public interest agenda.

3. Organizations or individuals under attack for engaging in transparency journalism.

4. Need for support: the foundation's goal is to prioritize support for organizations and individuals who are in need of funding or who face obstacles to gaining support on their own.

The system the foundation has devised is simple and smart. Donors can designate as many or few of the organizations as he or she chooses, with online "sliders" that make it easy to raise or lower the percentage going to each of the chosen groups. The foundation also accepts donations, and it takes an 8% cut of the proceeds for operational costs. I'm donating immediately, and will designate that my gift goes to all four organizations, with the bulk to WikiLeaks, given its especially endangered status.

The crowdfunding method takes a page from the "HumbleBundle" operation, which has been offering software, books and games this way -- asking people  to donate whatever they wish, and choosing which providers and/or organizations will get what percentage of their donations. Then, the donors can download the items.

Donations range widely. I've participated several times. The best part is that everyone involved gets value from the system.

The obvious question raised by the Freedom of the Press Foundation initiative is whether the payment systems will shut this off, too. If they do, they'll be punishing not just WikiLeaks, but the entire journalism ecosystem -- and ultimately, your right to get the information you want and need. Will they extend the bad faith they showed two years ago?

That I even have to ask this question is evidence of the power of these centralized mega-corporations. They have far too much power, like too many other telecommunications companies and a number of others in the information and communications industries on which we rely more and more for our daily activities.

The Freedom of the Press Foundation can be a first step away from the edge of a cliff. But it needs to be recognized and used by as many people as possible, as fast as possible. And journalists, in particular, need to offer their support in every way. This is ultimately about their future, whether they recognize it or not. But it's more fundamentally about all of us.

I encourage you to support the foundation and the organizations it is trying to help. This is about your future, too.

----- End forwarded message -----


Eugen* Leitl


ICBM: 48.07100, 11.36820
8B29F6BE: 099D 78BA 2FD3 B014 B08A 7779 75B0 2443 8B29 F6BE