Explaining the Anonymous and WikiLeaks split
Confused (and saddened) by the recent split between Anonymous and WikiLeaks? Allow us to help explain it all so even your mom will understand
If you were like me last week, you were too wrapped up in the usual hoopla surrounding the 12 days of Columbus Day to notice the huge celebrity breakup that occurred. No, I don’t mean the Danny DeVito-Rhea Perlman split (though that was a bummer); we mean the break up of Anonymous and WikiLeaks.
If your reaction was “The break up of who and whom?” (Hi mom!) then this article is for you. I’ve put together a little mock Q&A to help explain the situation for those not hip to this story.
Who are WikiLeaks and Anonymous? Some sort of rap music couple?
No. They’re two organizations that used to get along that have had a falling out.
Ah. OK, then. So, what is StikyLeaks?
WikiLeaks, mom. WikiLeaks is an organization that publishes secret and classified information from anonymous sources.
Oh, you mean like spoilers for Breaking Bad or something?
Isn’t that illegal?
Well, some people think so and want to prosecute WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act; his fear of being prosecuted in the US is one reason why he’s currently hiding in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.
Why is he hiding there? Is he from Ecuador? Or Britain?
Neither, he’s from Australia, but Sweden wants him extradited in order to face sexual assault charges, which he's fighting because he’s worried that they will send him to the U.S. to be prosecuted for publishing documents on WikiLeaks. It’s a whole other thing we don’t have time to get into here.
Too bad. It sounds juicy.
Yeah, it’s a circus. But back to our original story, Anonymous is a group...
Before you continue, what’s Anonymous’ real name?
You can’t tell me their real name?
I just did; it’s Anonymous.
Seriously, you won’t tell me?
Listen, Costello, we don’t have time for shenanigans. Trust us, that’s their name.
Ok, sorry. Please continue.
Thanks. Now, Anonymous isn’t really one organization but a number of loosely affiliated people and groups that don’t like Internet censorship, government secrecy, digital piracy laws and things like that.
I don’t like pirates, either. Does that make me a member of Anonymous?
What do they actually do?
They protest things they don’t like, often times by hacking websites, launching denial of service attacks and generally protesting. They also hide their identity when in public by wearing Guy Fawkes masks.
These Anonymous people were friends with WikiLeaks?
Yes. Anonymous used to be a big supporter of WikiLeaks, and even have even launched web site attacks to protest the treatment of Assange.
It sounds like WikiLeaks and Anonymous had a lovely relationship; they remind me of Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston before that bimbo Angelina Jolie stole him away. What happened between Anonymous and WikiLeaks?
Mostly, Anonymous is mad that WikiLeaks recently erected a paywall to their content.
Anonymous hates paywalls? They must really hate the New York Times, then.
I don’t know about the Times, but Anonymous feels that charging people to access to WikiLeaks content goes against their belief that information should be free.
Why did WikiLeaks erect a paywall in the first place?
They’ve been having trouble raising money like they did in the past, since many credit card companies have blocked donations to WikiLeaks.
That’s the whole reason for the break, the paywall?
Well, Anonymous also seems to feel that Assange has become too much of a celebrity. For example, they really didn’t like him having dinner with Lady Gaga recently.
Anonymous hates Lady Gaga?
I really don’t know how they feel about her personally.
She’s not exactly my cup of tea, either. Hard to blame them. He should’ve had dinner with Taylor Swift or Miley Cyrus. They seem like nice young ladies.
I guess so, mom. Any other questions?
Is the relationship dead, then? Anything that can be done to repair it?
Who knows? The split seems pretty final, at least from the Anonymous end of things. - and they tend to hold grudges pretty well.
Well, it’s a shame. At least there were no children involved - right?
Not that we know of.
Makes sense, then? Hope this helps!