Anonymous, the hacking collective, has ended its association with Wikileaks after Julian Assange's whistleblowing website erected a 'selective paywall' to help increase public donations to Wikileaks.
Clicking to access a number of the organisation's treasure trove of leaked documents – but not all – redirects to a page criticising US President Obama and only allowing access to the requested documents on payment of a donation to the website – Visa or Mastercard accepted.
But the move provoked a storm of criticism from the hacking and internet 'underground' that has, up until now, supported both Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange.
A posting by Anonymous on the Pastebin website explained that the collective had been growing increasingly disillusioned with Assange and Wikileaks. "We have been worried about the direction Wikileaks is going for a while. In the recent month the focus moved away from actual leaks and the fight for freedom of information further and further while it concentrated more and more on Julian Assange," it wrote.
While continuing to support Assange in his battle against extradition to Sweden, it added: "Wikileaks is not – or should not be – about Julian Assange alone. The idea behind Wikileaks was to provide the public with information that would otherwise be kept secret by industries and governments. Instead we only hear about Julian Assange, like he had dinner last night with Lady Gaga. We are more interested in transparent governments and bringing out documents and information they want to hide from the public."
The posting also implied that Assange had been making more money than necessary out of Wikileaks.
"We cannot support any more what Wikileaks has become – the one man Julian Assange show. But we also want to make clear that we still support the original idea behind Wikileaks: freedom of information and transparent governments," it concluded.
Anonymous has, in the past, not only supported Assange in his recent legal troubles, but also provided scoops that have been published on Wikileaks, such as the Syrian emails relating to the West's dealings with the Assad regime and exposing other global scandals.