We have just received an email response to our 2nd “Open Letter” to Tor from Andrew Lewman, Executive Director of the Tor Project. His letter, which we reprint in its entirety, speaks for itself; however, we will publish our response to it later today or tomorrow.
Lewman’s letter grossly misrepresents many of the points we have made in our previous articles, and tries, outrageously, to portray organizations such as the US Department of Defense and US Department of State – the Tor Project’s two primary sources of funding – as benign organizations dedicated to freedom of expression on the Internet! Here is how Lewman describes the ideological parity which exists between the leadership of the Tor Project and the US Department of Defense and CIA (which finances Tor through the transparent front of the “Broadcasting Board of Governors”): “We seek out and attract those funders which align with our goals of individual empowerment, censorship circumvention, and strong anonymity online”!
In our last email to Lewman, we asked him to identify Tor Project Sponsors “E” and “F”; both of these sponsors have hired the Tor Project to help them break foreign government attempts to keep these “Sponsors” from attacking their government’s firewalls. One proposal makes it clear that the target country is one in which Farsi is spoken – we theorize that it is Iran; the other explicitly names China as a possible target. Here is how Lewman tries to avoid naming the names of these two Tor Project “Sponsors”:
“[We] do anonymize our active projects. We do this to protect the organizations and individuals with which we work. We feel a duty to protect the lives of those with which we work in countries where advocating Tor and/or Internet freedom will get you arrested, likely tortured, and possibly killed.”
Yes! Like in the US! Where the Obama Administration is having whistleblowers thrown into prison; where it tortures these brave souls, like Bradley Manning, while they are in US jails; where it is attacking and attempting to destroy WikiLeaks and to imprison – or to do worse! – to its founder, Julian Assange!; and where US citizens can now – and have already been – on the order of the US President, assassinated for what they write in the foreign press or for associating with the “wrong people” in the eyes of the US Government! But, of course, Andrew Lewman is aware of all this. He is protecting his organization’s US Government sponsors from having their names disclosed because he agrees with their ideology and with US foreign policy aims. He has no qualms about working with the US Department of State and the US Department of Defense and any other US Governmental organization up to and including the CIA because he fundamentally agrees with them and their objectives around the globe.
We’ll have more to say about this later. And look at how he characterizes our characterization of Jacob Appelbaum:
“Take this to the logical conclusion; your premise is that Tor is a front company for various agencies of the US Government. This implies that Jacob is our front man and the number one paid informant/spook/spy working for Tor. Seriously, wtf.”
THAT is a classic “non-denial denial”! If we were Jacob Appelbaum, we’d demand a much clearer statement of fact by our boss in this case.
Anyway, here’s Lewman’s letter. Enjoy!
Friends of WikiLeaks – Chicago
Subject: Re: [tor-assistants] Questions for Andrew Lewman re: Tor funding & projects
From: “Andrew Lewman” <email@example.com>
Date: Tue, January 8, 2013 2:36 pm
On Fri, 4 Jan 2013 05:50:56 -0800 firstname.lastname@example.org wrote: > We do, in fact have some more questions for you.
I don’t see the point in answering these questions. Any answer I provide is going to be twisted and forced into your worldview that Tor is somehow a front for the US Government and does its bidding as such. We work on projects globally. What works for one country will generally work in all countries. Internet censorship and surveillance are pervasive. We seek out and attract those funders which align with our goals of individual empowerment, censorship circumvention, and strong anonymity online. Governments are not cohesive units with a single mind, regardless of your implicit assumptions.
We accept funding from governments. We don’t hide this fact, nor do we try to spin it. It just is. When a mass of individual citizens, foundations, and businesses step up to fund Tor’s success, we’ll continue to work with governments. Consistently, our current funders are the ones who care and want to see us succeed. We appreciate the work our funders have continued to support for the past six years.
Our documentation is not well hidden, if it was we wouldn’t put it on the Internet and then write blog posts pointing people at it. Investigative journalists have done a more thorough job investigating Tor’s projects and finances than you have thus far. At best, our documentation is disorganized and slightly out of date. We await your patches to resolve these issues.
The reality is we do anonymize our active projects. We do this to protect the organizations and individuals with which we work. We feel a duty to protect the lives of those with which we work in countries where advocating Tor and/or Internet freedom will get you arrested, likely tortured, and possibly killed.
In the end, Tor is a tool. It should not be the only tool in your toolbox if you want to enact change in your locale. We’ve said repeatedly that if you’re going up against nation-states, and all you have is Tor, you’ve already lost. If you don’t trust your tools, then build or find new ones.
Take this to the logical conclusion; your premise is that Tor is a front company for various agencies of the US Government. This implies that Jacob is our front man and the number one paid informant/spook/spy working for Tor. Seriously, wtf.
[End of email – FoWL Chicago]