---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: WikiLeaks / Sunshine Press 
Date: Sat, Dec 1, 2017
Subject: WikiLeaks/Assange response to strange FPF "ultimatum"
To: [Freedom of Press Foundation board]

It is ironic that the organization John Perry Barlow and I conceived
in 2011 to protect WikiLeaks and its donors from politically induced
financial censorship is now apparently considering doing just that.

Shockingly, I received an email (via my lawyer Jennifer Robinson)
from the Freedom of the Press Foundation giving WikiLeaks a previously
undiscussed unilateral 10-day ultimatum.

The pressure against WikiLeaks, its staff and its allies has increased
as a result of our CIA and Democratic party publications. The
financial censorship of WikiLeaks is ongoing in various ways as is
our litigation in response.

WikiLeaks is in the middle of publishing the largest CIA leaks in
history (Vault7 and Vault8). December 7 marks the eighth year of
my arbitrary detention which continues in violation of two UN
rulings. The U.S. grand jury against WikiLeaks has been expanded
to include our CIA publications. Randy Credico, a free speech
activist, comedian, and political commentator has just been subpoenaed
by the House Intelligence Committee to appear on December 15. He
will likely go to jail for refusing to testify in the witch hunt
against WikiLeaks. Trump's CIA chief Mike Pompeo takes every
opportunity he can to attack WikiLeaks, vows to "take down" WikiLeaks
and states that WikiLeaks has no 1st Amendment protections.

US donors are the majority of our donor base. FPF's anonymizing
structure and tax-deductibility have been very important in reassuring
donors that it is safe for them to support WikiLeaks. We don't
advertise the banking blockade because we found that doing so creates
anxiety in donors as to the legality of donating to WikiLeaks.

Our litigation in the US, and at the EU Commission have reached
impasses. The case in Iceland, which follows a contractual chain
to VISA International in California has proceeded to the damages
phase at the Icelandic Supreme Court. WikiLeaks does not engage
with any of the financial services companies directly due to blockades
and the elevated risk of blockades, of which the FPF ultimatum is
somehow a bizarre reflection. Wau Holland is not WikiLeaks. It
performs a similar proxy role as FPF for Europe.

The FPF originated in a meeting between John Perry Barlow and me
at the Frontline Club in London in 2011 and subsequent phone calls.
This is not to diminish extraordinary work of numerous others who
subsequently became involved. The financial blockade was one of
several fronts we faced, along with a US grand jury, a Pentagon
"war room" (their term, not mine), and an intense propaganda offensive
by the US military, the political class and virtually all establishment

Barlow and I decided it was critical to set up a First Amendment
organization in the US to improve WikiLeaks prospects for survival
since the majority of its donors are in the United States.

Free speech organizations are typically captured because they rely
on foundations and indirect government grants to survive. Some are
cold war relics, others are tools of current US foreign policy or
have become service organizations to the establishment press. None
were brave or resilient enough to take press freedoms seriously.

John, who had co-founded EFF in 1990, brought them in. On their
legal advice, WikiLeaks would conceal its role in initiating FPF
to discourage financial intermediaries from extending their blockade
to FPF and to strengthen its litigation opportunities. But in
reality, WikiLeaks and its lawyers (including Michael Ratner and
Jennifer Robinson) were directly involved in not only the idea to
create FPF, but in its establishment. Its mission statement derives
from my draft and I and secured most of FPF's seed funding. I
nominated Glenn Greenwald, Daniel Ellsberg, John Cusack, Laura
Poitras to the board to join John Perry Barlow.

In an email from August 23rd, 2013, Timm refers to FPF's mission
statement as "the mission statement WikiLeaks wrote when we first
started FPF last year".

The WikiLeaks and EFF sides synced with a conference call between
me, JPB, Rainey, Timm, Marcia Hoffman, Michael Ratner, Shane Kadidal,
Baher Azmy, Renata Avila, Cindy Kohn and Jennifer Robinson in early
March 2012. By mid April, Timm (who was then at EFF and whose Twitter
account was "@WikiLeaksLegal") informed us that Rainey was trying
to find a web developer, and that he was working on incorporation
and finalising the board: "I am waiting to hear back from Barlow
and Michael Ratner about a couple other possible board members. So
I am going to finalize the board, and then when we are officially
incorporated and have the website, we can all schedule a call again
to talk about roll out." By 23 May, we were informed that a developer
had been newly hired and "Barlow is working on raising our start-up
costs". By August 1, 2012, the web developer had created 80% of the
website, and papers had been submitted for incorporation. Timm wrote
"a sincere apology for not getting this all up sooner, as we wanted.
Our day jobs seem to have gotten in the way! But we are super excited
to finally launch." Start-up costs were estimated at USD 15,000.

We secured two-thirds of the initial USD 15,000 seed funding which
was sent from the Bertha Foundation.

But beyond the process itself, it is important to recall why FPF
was set up.

John and I felt strongly that donating to WikiLeaks was an act of
free speech and free association. The fundamental motivation of the
FPF was not only to protect WikiLeaks' directly but also to protect
its US readers' speech and associational rights in their act of
donating to WikiLeaks. FPF was also designed to litigate on behalf
of WikiLeaks and its donors. Its name was chosen for the impression
that it would convey on a docket.

The structure of FPF is the way it is because it was customized to
counter political and legal pressure against WikiLeaks, its donors,
and upstream financial intermediaries. FPF was set up to anonymize
WikiLeaks donors by also collecting for other organizations so that
financial records could not be used to determine which organization
received funds from which donor.

The FPF faces criticism for receiving donations on our behalf, but
that is its function. If it bows to political pressure it becomes
part of the problem it was designed to solve and yet another spurious
free speech organization--of which there are plenty. WikiLeaks
cannot be 'cycled off' as political pressure increases or as FPF
seeks to embrace establishment foundations such Ford, whose historical
relationship with the CIA is well documented. To do so is a betrayal
of the FPF's founding purpose.

Even before FPF's letter, I had sought and obtained legal advice
from my DC-based defense attorney, Barry Pollack, in relation to
the possibility of setting up a 501c3 that could receive WikiLeaks
contributions in the US. I was not confident that all FPF board
members would able to stand the political pressure over our
publications. WikiLeaks will never forego asserting its rights,
even in the face of such potential conflicts. Barry advised against
setting up a 501c3 in the United States as it would increase the
DoJ's ability to assert jurisdiction and hence make it easier to
prosecute our staff.

Through a Daily Beast article by "Kevin Poulsen", who interviewed
former FPF board member Xeni Jardin, I learned that the board's
weakening resolve is due to a Micah Lee initiative asking his fellow
board members to "cut ties" with WikiLeaks.

Poulsen is a key actor in the imprisonment of Chelsea Manning, and
a confidant of Adrian Lamo. Poulsen and Lee have both been developers
of SecureDrop. Poulsen manipulated the alleged Manning-Assange chat
logs in an attempt to frame WikiLeaks (see for example Glenn
Greenwald's article "The worsening journalistic disgrace at Wired"
for more background. As the article puts it: "At the heart of the
WikiLeaks/Manning saga lies the efforts of a self-proclaimed
journalist [Poulsen] to conceal the truth"). This is the person
Jardin used to publicize the move to cut WikiLeaks off from its
donor base on Lee's initiative.

When I learned that Jardin had been put on the board in December
2012, I sent a message to Timm: "I've no recollection of ever meeting
Xeni and have definitely never worked with her yet she goes around
saying [I] have.. penning dozens of snide, unhelpful articles in
BoingBoing about us. We've seen her as an opponent for a long time
based on those articles. Perhaps she's shifted her politics given
the new opportunity... I don't know, but her politics are not
anti-censorship. Not anti-war. Not anti-empire. I don't think she
has any politics. She's an exhibitionist and a networker--what's
to stop her swapping sides when she gets a better offer? Be careful."

Although I have never met or communicated with Lee and know little
of him. But research shows that starting in early 2016 he has engaged
in an online vilification campaign against WikiLeaks (and me). Some

"..Julian [is] a rapist, liar, & ally to fascists";
"I wonder, now that Obama has commuted @xychelsea's sentence, will
Julian Assange turn himself in for US extradition";
"Julian Assange is not a co-founder of @freedomofPress. This is
another lie. I know, I'm a co-founder";
"We can't trust them [WikiLeaks]";
"Assange's fall to bigotry";
"WikiLeaks/Julian also champion far-right conspiracy theories";
"Assange makes up a narcissistic, self-serving, offensive conspiracy
theiry (sic) to make @xychelsea's story more about him";
"This is just Julian defending a Nazi" in response to my tweet
["US 'liberals' today celebrate the censorship of right-wing UK
provocateur Milo Yiannopoulos over teen sex quote."]

Like Jardin, this is not a person who takes his legal and ethical
responsibilities as an FPF board member or director seriously. FPF's
founding purpose was to defend WikiLeaks and its donors from
persecution not to contribute to it.

The Lee initiative to cut WikiLeaks off from its US donors is a sad

Should FPF decide to "cut off" WikiLeaks, the timing, transfer, and
auditing of funds, the notification sent to all past and current
WikiLeaks donors, and how to deal with monthly donors, should be
agreed between FPF and WL.

Julian Assange