New Orleans A group of folks has finally stepped into the gap and created a nonprofit channeling capacity for donations to Wikileaks and other important, but unpopular groups protecting free speech and guaranteeing more transparency for the public. The Freedom of the Press Foundation is pretty much just a “scarecrow” site at its current launch with only a facility to accept foundations for the organization itself, Wikileaks, and several other groups for a fee that is either 8% or $8.00, which is kind of confusing, but regardless, not much of a bite, all things considered. Furthermore, it allows the contributions to be anonymous to Wikileaks by making the money fungible on the site. Board members include Daniel Ellsberg of Pentagon Papers fame, John Cusack, the actor, and some other internet transparency, access, and accountability folks.
I say, about time!
In the spate of Congressional “takings” without due process which have included attacks on ACORN, NPR, and Planned Parenthood, rumblings in that direction against Wikileaks and its release of a treasure trove of diplomatic correspondence, PayPal, Visa, and Mastercard all folded like cheap suits and refused to continue to handle donations to Wikileaks. Others stepped up, but access was difficult and recognition was limited (see earlier blogs) with most of the publicity for their efforts ironically only available through the Wall Street Journal. Sadly this all happened two full years ago at the end of 2010. In the old days institutions like the Tides Center in San Francisco would have stepped into the void, but this time the prevailing ostrich mentality kicked into gear in the face of any controversy when progressive institutions were attacked.
The Freedom of the Press Foundation does make a point that your donations will be tax deductible. I suspect that that has been the whole point of the delay, which is somewhat pathetic in itself. Cutting off a progressive initiative just for the sake of possible income tax deduction must define fair weather support. If that is what people have been waiting for then, Wikileaks, freedom of speech and much else is in much greater trouble than we realized.
Let’s hope this is a “better late than never” situation.