Wikileaks' estranged co-founder becomes a critic (Q&A)
by Declan McCullagh
NEW YORK--John Young was one of Wikileaks' early founders. Now he's one of the organization's more prominent critics.
Young, a 74-year-old architect who lives in Manhattan, publishes a document-leaking Web site called Cryptome.org that predates Wikileaks by over a decade. He's drawn fire from Microsoft after posting leaked internal documents about police requests, irked the U.K. government for disclosing the names of possible spies, and annoyed Homeland Security by disclosing a review of Democratic National Convention security measures.
Cryptome's history of publicizing leaks--while not yielding to pressure to remove them--is what led Young to be invited to join Wikileaks before its launch over three years ago. He also agreed to be the public face of the organization by listing his name on the domain name registration.
Operating a Web site to post leaked documents isn't very expensive (Young estimates he spends a little over $100 a month for Cryptome's server space). So when other Wikileaks founders started to talk about the need to raise $5 million and complained that an initial round of publicity had affected "our delicate negotiations with the Open Society Institute and other funding bodies," Young says, he resigned from the effort.
In the last few weeks, after the arrest of Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning cast a brighter spotlight on Wikileaks, Young has been trying to trace Wikileaks' money flows. On July 17, Wikileaks asked supporters for $200,000 to pay for Mannings' attorneys, even though co-founder Julian Assange said a few days earlier that the organization had already raised $1 million.
And from Young to the Wikileaks listserve, via Cryptome.org:
To: Wikileaks <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org>
From: John Young <jya[a t]pipeline.com>
Subject: Re: [WL] Funding / who is on this list.
Date: Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 11:47:00 -0500
Cryptome is publishing the contents of this list, and how I was induced to
serve as US person for registration.
Wikileaks is a fraud:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Fuck your cute hustle and disinformation campaign against legitimate
dissent. Same old shit, working for the enemy.
I'd say Young has it right. Even if Assange isn't a sworn agent and was just trying to "fleece" the CIA and other intel units out of sheer naked greed, he's even dumber than he looks if he thought he could trust his handlers. But I expect he's not that dumb and we'll soon see a quiet release or disappearance or maybe "suicide" or "murder by deranged illegal alien" or Ken Lay attack and our brave little albino will disappear into an Afghan cave to await his next cue.