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WikiLeaks Turns To Crowdfunding To Fight TTIP and TPP

Earlier this month whistleblowing platform, WikiLeaks, announced the launch of a new crowdfunding campaign to gain more information on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP). The campaign, launched on August 11, is designed to raise funds to offer whistleblowers a reward for any information about the impending trade, which has been negotiated in almost complete secrecy despite its global implications. To date, the campaign has raised $86,693.47 from 2,441 people, 79 percent of the $109,700 goal.

According to the campaign page, “The TTIP is a multi-trillion dollar international treaty that is being negotiated in secret between the United States and the European Union. It remains secret almost in its entirety, closely guarded by the negotiators, and only big corporations are given special access to its terms. The TTIP covers half of global GDP and is one of the largest agreements of its kind in history. The TTIP aims to create a global economic bloc outside of the WTO framework, as part of a geopolitical economic strategy against the BRICS countries of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.”

This is the second such crowdfunding campaign WikiLeaks has launched this year. Back in June, the platform asked for $150,000 to reward whistleblowers who leak information on the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), which, according to the site, “aims to create a new international legal regime that will allow transnational corporations to bypass domestic courts, evade environmental protections, police the internet on behalf of the content industry, limit the availability of affordable generic medicines, and drastically curtail each country's legislative sovereignty.” WikiLeaks has already published three of the agreement’s 29 chapters, and so far, the campaign has raised $110,618.85 from 1,911 supporters according to the site. Some of the high profile supporters of this campaign include journalist Glenn Greenwald, Australian film-maker and investigative journalist John Pilger, Belarusian philosopher and theorist Evgeny Morozov, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, and of course, Assange himself. 

According to WikiLeaks spokesman, Kristinn Hrafnsson, the platform turned to crowdfunding because they haven’t been able to get information on the agreements by any other means. He also noted that the group is not breaking any laws by pressuring people to commit a crime.

It will be interesting to see just who exactly will come forward to collect these rewards; however, whoever does should note that unlike government whistleblower programs, WikiLeaks has no power to protect against job loss or interrogation by authorities. In short, it may not be possible to distribute the reward money.