by Urizenus Sklar on 01/10/10 at 7:59 pm
WSJ reporter gets trolled by Cryptome.
by Urizenus Sklar, Contributing Editor and Damn Good Company
It seems like just days ago that Luddie asked me to begin looking into the curious case of Jeanne Whalen’s WSJ story, which claimed that five human rights organizations had written a letter complaining to WikiLeaks that it was not taking proper care to protect civilian informants. As we soon discovered, the article was riddled with errors. To wit: not all the signatories were with human rights organizations, most of the signatories were not speaking for their organizations, and the letter was a call to meet with Assange, not an upbraiding. That the letter (which Whalen won’t release) quickly made it into her hands made whole thing smell of Newscorp astroturfing.
Little did I realize when I began to investigate this story that I would fall into another interwebs rabbit hole ™. It seems that this was not the first time Whalen has engaged in a disinformtion campaign against Assange and Wikileaks, and thanks to John Young of Cryptome we have an inside look at the desperation of her methods (Young trolls her and the WSJ for good measure). We are left to ask, who is this woman working for?
It seems that Whalen has been on the warpath against WikiLeaks for some time. Not only has she published the error-ridden article mentioned above, but she has also co-authored an article on the financing of WikiLeaks, which appeared in the Wall Street Journal on August 23rd.
Now it is all good to ask where WikiLeaks funding is coming from – we are investigating this at the Herald (my next post will have details) – but it is more than a bit disingenuous to say, as the WSJ does, that “WikiLeaks’s lack of financial transparency stands in contrast to the total transparency it seeks from governments and corporations.”
The assertion is a cheap shot on two counts. First, if the donors are in fact private individuals they may well fear reprisals from foreign powers. WikiLeaks is not opposed to secrets – it is opposed to state secrets and the hoarding of secrets by those in power. But beyond this it is remarkable that the WSJ article failed to note that WikiLeaks did leak its own donor list in February, and the article also failed to report that in early August (weeks before the article appeared) Assange was working with the Pirate Bay founders at Flattr to use its micropayments system to support WikiLeaks.
Is there some reason to completely overlook theses sources of funding in a story about WikiLeaks funding? Incompetence can only explain so much. At a certain point the only rational explanation for gaps and misrepresentations in reporting has to be that the reporter is shilling for someone.
Interestingly, we gain some insight into Whalen’s reporting methods leading up to this August 23 story, as John Young of Cyptome tells all, setting up the WSJ for some epic pimping by asking that the interview take place in Rupert Murdoch’s New York penthouse apartment:
Jeanne Whalen, Wall Street Journal reporter in London, has seen this file but doggedly persists in emailing and telephoning about Wikileaks. (She said she knew Cryptome always spills reporters’ pule.) Cryptome suggested today she abandon the Wikileaks story as dead in the water, now just a fund-raising scam, no longer doing what it set out to do. She said the story is still popular. Then after a slew of questions about Julian Assange, anonymous postings about Wikileaks on Cryptome and ridiculous personal questions about John Young, she suggested Cryptome meet with a WSJ reporter in New York working on the story with her. We said no, face-to-faces are timewasters: ignorant questions and misquotes. Still, we said if she could arrange a meeting in Rupert Murdoch’s 5th Avenue penthouse, we’d do a session just to see what changes had been made since John Young did work there for Laurence Rockefeller. We noted that such paid for Cryptome so it could be part of her story, and that ice-hearted interrogation in the billionaire digs would make fine detail, help practice to be managing editor. After confirming the Rockefeller listing on Natsios Young Architects, Ms. Whalen said she would forward the proposal.
When Newscorp ultimately fails to approve the meeting in Rupert’s 5th Avenue penthouse, Young tees off with great lulzy effect:
You said the WSJ editor turned down the use of Rupert Murdoch’s penthouse for an inteview because editorial and business are kept separate and Murdoch is business. That is hoarily disingenuous for no media keeps editorial and business separate, the two are inseparable with business always in control.
I’d have to agree with Mr. Young on that one. And he is welcome to be interviewed on the Herald yacht anytime!
Finally, something about me. In private channels a number of you have asked me, “Uri, how do you do it? How do you take care of your day to day business and manage your baller lifestyle while still fighting to protect our freedoms?” The answer is that of course it hasn’t been easy. I have had to fire my masseuse and convert the shipboard spa into an interwebs war room. My communications officer Helmut is weary from all the encrypted messages I’m asking him to crack, and our onboard Cray XT5 computer is in danger of overheating from humming along at 1.75 petaflops 24/7, but it’s all worth it knowing I am making the world a better place for my fans. As faithful readers know, I love everyone. Except babyfurs.
To be continued…