Wikileaks to out itself

Online whistleblower Wikileaks is to publicly list expenses and salary earnings for its paid staff by the end of this year.

Kristinn Hrafnsson, a spokesperson,  told Wired that the Wau Holland Foundation, the Berlin-based non-profit that handles most of the money donated to WikiLeaks, will list how Wikileaks has spent funds from the more than $1 million it has raised in the last year.

We should point out that the report was expected in August so this represents a delay. But what we didn’t know was that Wikileaks staff were being paid or how much.

The report should also detail what money WikiLeaks has paid out to date for the defence fund of Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.

He is the bloke who confessed in online chats to a former hacker that he downloaded classified documents from US Army networks, including 260,000 U.S. State Department cables, and passed them to Wikileaks.

WikiLeaks had a whip round for Manning’s defence. The word on the street is that it handed out $50,000 to cover his $100,000 defence bill.

Currently Wikileaks is having trouble raising money after its credit card processor decided to terminate the relationship. Moneybookers suspended the WikiLeaks account in October after learning that WikiLeaks had been put on a US terrorist watchlist. The US has denied it.

In the last year it has raised about $800,000 in donations through PayPal or bank money transfers.

As of July, WikiLeaks had spent only $38,000 from that funding, most of it going to pay the travel expenses of Assange and its then-spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg, as well as to cover the costs of computer hardware, such as servers, and leasing data lines.

Apparently WikiLeaks is not currently paying a salary to Assange or other volunteers from this funding, though there have been discussions about doing so in the future.

WikiLeaks may have other sources of funding aside from money handled by Wau Holland -perhaps from private donors and other foundations – but Fulda had no knowledge of them.

WikiLeaks approached the foundation last year to manage its donations because of its reputation in supporting the concept of freedom of information. Although the foundation is run by unpaid volunteers, Fulda said its advantage is that it has a more formal structure to manage funds than WikiLeaks.

Apparently there is a separate fund for contributions to a legal defence fund for founder Julian Assange, who is facing a rape investigation in Sweden. Assange claims that the sex charges are all part of a US smear campaign against him and Wikileaks. People who believe him have apparently been giving him money.