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Re: Support of WikiLeaks in the project area "freedom of information"

In the middle of the 80s, when the Chaos Computer Club expanded Steven Levy's hacker ethics by adding two new points to it, it was clearly noticeable that these were influenced by Wau Holland's ideas. In the following decades "use public data - protect private data" became one of the core focuses of CCC's political and technical activities. This fight for freedom of information and informational self-determination also became one of the primary objectives of the foundation that was created in Wau's name after his early death.

While informational self-determination was enshrined as a basic right in 1983 by the German Federal Constitution Court in its verdict on the census, freedom of information is still a controversial topic in the social discourse to this day. We are not closer to the ideal of a free society in which all people can have an unlimited access to information about themselves than we were 35 years ago. If anything, the "information freedom law" from 2006 is a cover-up for the secretiveness of the state, the industry and powerful groups.

In this spirit, the fact that relevant social processes are often only made transparent thanks to the courageous decisions of whistleblowers who bring documents to from dark secrecy to the light of the public sphere, is a show of incompetence. If Daniel Ellsberg hadn't leaked the Pentagon papers the general public would know less about the background of the Vietnam war, if Chelsea Manning hadn't leaked documents we would know less about the operations in Irak and Afghanistan, and if Edward Snowden hadn't leaked documents we would know less about the secret service's surveillance apparatus.

This is why already in 2009 it became evident for the Wau Holland Foundation that we should collect donations for WikiLeaks. For the Foundation, WikiLeaks' purpose is to offer a secure platform where relevant leaked documents can be anonymously submitted and published.

To this day the Wau Holland Foundation keeps affirming the necessity and the benefits of such a platform for an informed society. The Foundation uses donations to support WikiLeaks' publications only when the donation is labeled as a WikiLeaks donation by the donor. Besides its support for WikiLeaks the Foundation financially supports other projects in the project area "information freedom", for example the platform "Frag den Staat" ("Ask the state").

At the end of 2010, when WikiLeaks started publishing the diplomatic cables leaked by Chelsea Manning, the Wau Holland Foundation's donation account on PayPal was blocked and the tax office in Kassel took away the Foundation's charitable status. Despite these events the Foundation didn't give up on its support for WikiLeaks and has kept collecting donations for the project ever since. The bases for the Foundation's financial support and the type of cooperation it has with WikiLeaks has been agreed upon with the tax office in Hamburg, which is responsible for the Foundation since 2012. The charitable status of the Foundation was reinstated and our support for WikiLeaks' projects has never been questioned by the tax office of the foundation supervising authority since that date.

The Wau Holland Foundation uses the money donated for WikiLeaks to support specific aspects of selected publications, more precisely for infrastructure costs (for example for servers) and for selected work efforts related to the publications. The donated money is only spent under the Foundation's charge and against invoice - this is a framework contract that has been agreed upon by the Foundation and the SunshinePress company (which represents the WikiLeaks project). The tax office in charge has been checking if this process is respected for years. Julian Assange's personal legal costs are not supported by the Foundation but by an independent defense fund.

Based on the requirements of the framework contract WikiLeaks budgets the efforts for new publications (among others, journalistic process and contextualization of documents, research) in an anonymous format (which means without a concrete mention of contents or planned publication dates). Thereafter the board of the Foundation votes (based on the decision of the simple majority) if each publication will be supported by the Foundation. In fact, several publications were not supported over time by the Foundation - among others the publication of the DNC and Podesta emails.

The Wau Holland Foundation fundamentally stands for freedom of speech but is not associated with or involved with the activities of Julian Assange/WikiLeaks on Twitter or on other social networks. Since 2016 a part of the Foundation's board has been under the impression that public statements issued by WikiLeaks on Twitter and other social networks put a question mark on the independence and the integrity on WikiLeaks and thereby could lastingly harm its reputation as a journalistic media.

The Wau Holland Foundation doesn't pursue party political goals or a political agenda inside or outside of Germany and explicitly distances itself from tweets and activities that could lead to doubts about the independence and the integrity of the project and give the impression that WikiLeaks itself directly supports or sabotages any person or political party. The Foundation is committed to the peaceful cohabitation of people and considers that freedom of information, of communication and of opinion are prerequisites for a just society.

WHS

 

About us

We are a foundation related to the Chaos Computer Club, that was launched by close friends and the father of the deceased "information philosopher" Wau Holland (a.k.a. Herwart Holland-Moritz). The foundation aims to preserve and further Holland's unique ideas of free-thinking in the fields of freedom of communication and informational self-determination.

 

Wauland is everywhere!