Friday, December 10, 2010

WikiLeaks Cyber Warfare Growing Exponentially!

WikiLeaks Cyber Warfare Growing Exponentially!

Sarah Palin, who is widely tipped as a possible Republican candidate for president in 2012, has said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange should be hunted down in the way armed forces are targeting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda.

We all applaud the successful thwarting of the Christmas-Tree Bomber and hope our government continues to do all it can to keep us safe. However, the latest round of publications of leaked classified U.S. documents through the shady organization called Wikileaks raises serious questions about the Obama administration’s incompetent handling of this whole fiasco.

First and foremost, what steps were taken to stop Wikileaks director Julian Assange from distributing this highly sensitive classified material especially after he had already published material not once but twice in the previous months?

 Assange is not a “journalist,” any more than the “editor” of al Qaeda’s new English-language magazine Inspire is a “journalist.” He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands. His past posting of classified documents revealed the identity of more than 100 Afghan sources to the Taliban. Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders?

What if any diplomatic pressure was brought to bear on NATO, EU, and other allies to disrupt Wikileaks’ technical infrastructure? Did we use all the cyber tools at our disposal to permanently dismantle Wikileaks? Were individuals working for Wikileaks on these document leaks investigated? Shouldn’t they at least have had their financial assets frozen just as we do to individuals who provide material support for terrorist organizations?

Most importantly, serious questions must also be asked of the U.S. intelligence system. How was it possible that a 22-year-old Private First Class could get unrestricted access to so much highly sensitive information? And how was it possible that he could copy and distribute these files without anyone noticing that security was compromised?”

The Cyberattacks Are Starting To Look Like The Onset Of A Global Struggle By Web Anarchists Against The Mighty Empire

If the WikiLeaks saga were a comic book, it would be starting to look a lot like the Justice League of America vs. the League of Supervillians—or maybe it's more like Star Wars, with the plucky rebel alliance up against the might of the Empire. As the U.S. government and a variety of corporations, such as Visa (V) and PayPal (EBAY), keep up the pressure on the document-leaking organization that they see as a traitor and a scofflaw, a rough alliance of supporters have taken it upon themselves to wage a cyberwar in WikiLeaks' defense by attacking the websites of those and other companies.

Leading the fight is a shadowy group called Operation Payback, which in turn is loosely affiliated with Anonymous, an organization (although that term makes it sound more coordinated than it really is) that grew out of the alternative website 4chan and became infamous for its attacks on Scientology, among other things. At last check, the Operation Payback site itself was offline—another symptom of the back-and-forth battle in which the group has beencoordinating "distributed denial of service," or DDOS, attacks on Amazon (AMZN), PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard (MA). Also in this loose federation are the Pirate Bay—the file-sharing operation in Sweden's Pirate Party, which has been providing servers for the WikiLeaks documents—and Flattr, the "tip jar" service that is now one of the few ways to donate money to WikiLeaks and that was started by Pirate Bay co-founder Peter Sunde.


Amazon, PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard have cut off support for WikiLeaks in the past week, despite the fact that it's not clear the organization has actually done anything illegal by publishing classified military documents (something The New York Times (NYT) and The Guardian have also done). In a statement on its website, Operation Payback quoted digital guru John Perry Barlow, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who said on Twitterthat "The first serious infowar is now engaged. The field of battle is WikiLeaks. You are the troops." Operation Payback added that:

"While we don't have much of an affiliation with WikiLeaks, we fight for the same reasons. We want transparency and we counter censorship. The attempts to silence WikiLeaks are long strides closer to a world where we can not say what we think and are unable to express our opinions and ideas."
It's not clear how much disruption the group and its supporters have been able to create, however. MasterCard's website was down for at least part of Wednesday, but the company said its cardholders and payment systems were not affected. PayPal said it suffered a denial-of-service attack on Monday but that it was dealt with fairly rapidly.By midday Wednesday, Operation Payback had moved on to its next target—Visa, whose website went down within minutes of the group posting about the attack on Twitter. The website for the Swedish bank that froze WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange's accounts went down for at least part of Tuesday, but the bank's other operations appeared to be unaffected.

In other words, the Empire remains strong. Meanwhile, after sending out a plea for ways to keep the site up and running following the removal of DNS services by its provider EveryDNS, WikiLeaks now has more than 1,200 mirror sites set up—many of them in Europe—through which it can publish any documents instantly. The site has also taken a number of other steps that will make it virtually impossible to remove it completely from the Internet (including having at least some of its servers hosted by the Pirate Bay, the file-sharing network based in Sweden), and Assange has said more than 10,000 sites have full copies of the diplomatic cables.

As the distributed denial-of-service attacks spawned by this week's WikiLeaks events continue, network operators are discussing what progress, if any, has been made over the past decade to detect and thwart DoS attacks.

Participants in the North American Network Operators Group (NANOG) e-mail reflector are debating whether any headway has been made heading off DDoS attacks in 10 years. The discussion is occurring while WikiLeaks deals with DDoS attacks after leaking sensitive government information, and sympathizers launch attacks against Mastercard, Visa, PayPal and other significant e-commerce sites.

"February 2000 weren't the first DDoS attacks, but the attacks on multiple well-known sites did raise DDoS' visibility," writes Sean Donelan, program manager of network and infrastructure security at the Department of Homeland Security, on the NANOG reflector. "What progress has been made during the last decade at stopping DDoS attacks?"

From there, multiple participants debate whether progress has indeed been made and if DDoS attack sources and targets can do anything proactively and effectively to detect, prevent and/or mitigate an attack.

"If anything, the potential is worse now than it ever has been unless you have just ridiculous amounts of bandwidth, as the ratios between leaf user connectivity and data centerdrops have continued to close," participant Blake Dunlap responds. "The finger of packety death may be rare, but it is more powerful than ever, just ask Wikileaks; I believe that they were subject to 10Gbit+ at times. At least the frequency has dropped in recent years, if not the amplitude, and I am thankful for that."

WikiLeaks had its domain name service terminated last week after repeated DDoS attacks against the WikiLeaks site.

Another participant, Arturo Servin, responds, "One big problem of DDoS is that sources (the host of botnets) may be completely unaware that they are part of a DDoS. (On) the other hand the target of a DDoS cannot do anything to stop an attack besides adding more (bandwidth) or contacting one by one the whole path of providers to try to minimize the effect."

On the glass-half-full side, some participants say using a distributed architecture with anycast and loads of bandwidth will help mitigate attacks, or limit them to a subset of nodes. Others say eliminating botnets is a preventative measure.

"DDoS is just a symptom. The problem is botnets," states Roland Dobbins, solutions architect at Arbor Networks. "Preventing hosts from becoming bots in the first place and taking down existing botnets is the only way to actually prevent DDoS attacks. Note that prevention is distinct from defending oneself against DDoS attacks."

Easier said than done.

"Actually, botnets are an artifact," responds participant Bill Manning. "Claiming that the tool is the problem might be a bit shortsighted. With the evolution of Internet technologies I suspect botnet-like structures to become much more prevalent and useful for things other than coordinated attacks."

But while ways to mitigate and perhaps prevent attacks have emerged over the decade, so too have new attack vectors. As new methods to thwart attacks are discovered, attackers discover new way to attack.

"Nowadays the consumers have a lot more bandwidth and it's easier than ever to set up your own botnet by infecting users with malware and alike," writes Jonas Frey of Probe Networks.
"I do not see a real solution to this problem right now," Frey writes. "There's not much you can do about the unwillingness of users to keep their software/OS up to date and deploy anti-virus/anti-malware software (and keep it up to date). Some approaches have been made, like cutting off Internet access for users which have been identified by ISPs for being a member of some botnet being infected. This might be the only long-term solution to this probably. There is just no patch for human stupidity."

Arbor's Dobbins begs to differ:

Related Content

"The tools and the techniques, the technologies and best practices - this information is out there, it's available. Folks need to learn about this stuff because, if they do the searches and do some reading they can empower themselves to defend themselves and their networks, and their customers, from DDoS attack. It isn't rocket science; it does require some skill set, some dedication and some hard work, but it can be done. And it's done successfully by organizations around the world everyday. These are the organizations you don't tend to read about in the press."

Dobbins believes this week's attacks on the Mastercard, Visa and PayPal sites, combined with last week's attacks on the WikiLeaks site, have heightened awareness among IT officials to the need to proactively prepare for a DDoS eventuality.

"These attacks are not very sophisticated or high-bandwidth," he says. "But they've been able to achieve disproportionate impact due to the unpreparedness of the defenders." - Official Wikileaks Page [,,] - Secure SSL Chat Page [] - Secure Document Submission Page [] - Points to Official Site [] - Points to Official Site [] - Points to Official Site [] - Points to Official Site [] - Points to Official Site [] - Points to Official Site [] - Points to Official Site [] - Points to Official Site [] - Points to Official Site [] - Points to Official Site [] - Points to Official Site []

Real mirrors on different IP Addresses - Mirror hosted in Switzerland [] - Mirror hosted in Sweden [] - Mirror hosted in the United States []

Important Wikileaks Links - Official Wikileaks Twitter Page ipv6

Pentagon Scrambles To Prep For 'Thermonuclear' Wikileaks Release
Christian Science Monitor
The Wikileaks founder has promised to release the file if anything happens to him. Demonstrators hold up images of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange before a ...See all stories on this topic »

[Below is a news release put out by the Institute for Public Accuracy, co-signed by Daniel Ellsberg]

Ex-Intelligence Officers, Others See Plusses in WikiLeaks Disclosures

WASHINGTON – December 7 – The following statement was released today, signed by Daniel Ellsberg, Frank Grevil, Katharine Gun, David MacMichael, Ray McGovern, Craig Murray, Coleen Rowley and Larry Wilkerson; all are associated with Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.
WikiLeaks has teased the genie of transparency out of a very opaque bottle, and powerful forces in America, who thrive on secrecy, are trying desperately to stuff the genie back in. The people listed below this release would be pleased to shed light on these exciting new developments. [More. . .]

[Below is a news release put out by the Institute for Public Accuracy, co-signed by Daniel Ellsberg]

Ex-Intelligence Officers, Others See Plusses in WikiLeaks Disclosures

WASHINGTON – December 7 – The following statement was released today, signed by Daniel Ellsberg, Frank Grevil, Katharine Gun, David MacMichael, Ray McGovern, Craig Murray, Coleen Rowley and Larry Wilkerson; all are associated with Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence.
WikiLeaks has teased the genie of transparency out of a very opaque bottle, and powerful forces in America, who thrive on secrecy, are trying desperately to stuff the genie back in. The people listed below this release would be pleased to shed light on these exciting new developments.

How far down the U.S. has slid can be seen, ironically enough, in a recent commentary in Pravda (that’s right, Russia’s Pravda): “What WikiLeaks has done is make people understand why so many Americans are politically apathetic … After all, the evils committed by those in power can be suffocating, and the sense of powerlessness that erupts can be paralyzing, especially when … government evildoers almost always get away with their crimes. …”
So shame on Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and all those who spew platitudes about integrity, justice and accountability while allowing war criminals and torturers to walk freely upon the earth. … the American people should be outraged that their government has transformed a nation with a reputation for freedom, justice, tolerance and respect for human rights into a backwater that revels in its criminality, cover-ups, injustices and hypocrisies.
Odd, isn’t it, that it takes a Pravda commentator to drive home the point that the Obama administration is on the wrong side of history. Most of our own media are demanding that WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange be hunted down — with some of the more bloodthirsty politicians calling for his murder. The corporate-and-government dominated media are apprehensive over the challenge that WikiLeaks presents. Perhaps deep down they know, as Dickens put it, “There is nothing so strong … as the simple truth.”
As part of their attempt to blacken WikiLeaks and Assange, pundit commentary over the weekend has tried to portray Assange’s exposure of classified materials as very different from — and far less laudable than — what Daniel Ellsberg did in releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Ellsberg strongly rejects the mantra “Pentagon Papers good; WikiLeaks material bad.” He continues: “That’s just a cover for people who don’t want to admit that they oppose any and all exposure of even the most misguided, secretive foreign policy. The truth is that EVERY attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time.”
Motivation? WikiLeaks’ reported source, Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, having watched Iraqi police abuses, and having read of similar and worse incidents in official messages, reportedly concluded, “I was actively involved in something that I was completely against.” Rather than simply go with the flow, Manning wrote: “I want people to see the truth … because without information you cannot make informed decisions as a public,” adding that he hoped to provoke worldwide discussion, debates, and reform.
There is nothing to suggest that WikiLeaks/Assange’s motives were any different. Granted, mothers are not the most impartial observers. Yet, given what we have seen of Assange’s behavior, there was the ring of truth in Assange’s mother’s recent remarks in an interview with an Australian newspaper. She put it this way: “Living by what you believe in and standing up for something is a good thing. … He sees what he is doing as a good thing in the world, fighting baddies, if you like.”
That may sound a bit quixotic, but Assange and his associates appear the opposite of benighted. Still, with the Pentagon PR man Geoff Morrell and even Attorney General Eric Holder making thinly disguised threats of extrajudicial steps, Assange may be in personal danger.
The media: again, the media is key. No one has said it better than Monseñor Romero of El Salvador, who just before he was assassinated 25 years ago warned, “The corruption of the press is part of our sad reality, and it reveals the complicity of the oligarchy.” Sadly, that is also true of the media situation in America today.
The big question is not whether Americans can “handle the truth.” We believe they can. The challenge is to make the truth available to them in a straightforward way so they can draw their own conclusions — an uphill battle given the dominance of the mainstream media, most of which have mounted a hateful campaign to discredit Assange and WikiLeaks.
So far, the question of whether Americans can “handle the truth” has been an academic rather than an experience-based one, because Americans have had very little access to the truth. Now, however, with the WikiLeaks disclosures, they do. Indeed, the classified messages from the Army and the State Department released by WikiLeaks are, quite literally, “ground truth.”
How to inform American citizens? As a step in that direction, on October 23 we “Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence” (see below) presented our annual award for integrity to Julian Assange. He accepted the honor “on behalf of our sources, without which WikiLeaks’ contributions are of no significance.” In presenting the award, we noted that many around the world are deeply indebted to truth-tellers like WikiLeaks and its sources.
Here is a brief footnote: Sam Adams Associates for Integrity in Intelligence (SAAII) is a group of former CIA colleagues and other admirers of former intelligence analyst Sam Adams, who hold up his example as a model for those who would aspire to the courage to speak truth to power. (For more, please see here.)
Sam did speak truth to power on Vietnam, and in honoring his memory, SAAII confers an award each year to a truth-teller exemplifying Sam Adams’ courage, persistence, and devotion to truth — no matter the consequences. Previous recipients include:
-Coleen Rowley of the FBI
-Katharine Gun of British Intelligence
-Sibel Edmonds of the FBI
-Craig Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan
-Sam Provance, former Sgt., US Army
-Frank Grevil, Maj., Danish Army Intelligence
-Larry Wilkerson, Col., US Army (ret.)
-Julian Assange, WikiLeaks
“There is nothing concealed that will not be revealed, nothing hidden that will not be made known. Everything you have said in the dark will be heard in the daylight; what you have whispered in locked rooms will be proclaimed from the rooftops.”
– Luke 12:2-3
The following former awardees and other associates have signed the above statement; some are available for interviews:
A former government analyst, Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, a secret government history of the Vietnam War to the New York Times and other newspapers in 1971. He was an admirer of Sam Adams when they were both working on Vietnam and in March 1968 disclosed to the New York Times some of Adams’ accurate analysis, helping head off reinforcement of 206,000 additional troops into South Vietnam and a widening of the war at that time to neighboring countries.

Grevil, a former Danish intelligence analyst, was imprisoned for giving the Danish press documents showing that Denmark’s Prime Minister (now NATO Secretary General) disregarded warnings that there was no authentic evidence of WMD in Iraq; in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Gun is a former British government employee who faced two years imprisonment in England for leaking a U.S. intelligence memo before the invasion of Iraq. The memo indicated that the U.S. had mounted a spying “surge” against U.N. Security Council delegations in early 2003 in an effort to win approval for an Iraq war resolution. The leaked memo — published by the British newspaper The Observer on March 2, 2003 — was big news in parts of the world, but almost ignored in the United States. The U.S. government then failed to obtain a U.N. resolution approving war, but still proceeded with the invasion.

MacMichael is a former CIA analyst. He resigned in the 1980s when he came to the conclusion that the CIA was slanting intelligence on Central America for political reasons. He is a member of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

McGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years, whose duties included preparing and briefing the President’s Daily Brief and chairing National Intelligence Estimates. He is on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Murray, former UK ambassador to Uzbekistan, was fired from his job when he objected to Uzbeks being tortured to gain “intelligence” on “terrorists.” Upon receiving his Sam Adams award, Murray said, “I would rather die than let someone be tortured in an attempt to give me some increment of security.” Observers have noted that Murray was subjected to similar character assassination techniques as Julian Assange is now encountering to discredit him.

Rowley, a former FBI Special Agent and Division Counsel whose May 2002 memo described some of the FBI’s pre-9/11 failures, was named one of Time Magazine’s “Persons of the Year” in 2002. She recently co-wrote a Los Angeles Times op-ed titled, “WikiLeaks and 9/11: What if? Frustrated investigators might have chosen to leak information that their superiors bottled up, perhaps averting the terrorism attacks.”

Wilkerson, Col., U.S. Army (ret.), former chief of staff to Secretary Colin Powell at the State Department, who criticized what he called the “Cheney-Rumsfeld cabal.” See recent interviews

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167

{ 42 trackbacks }
December 8, 2010 at 1:52 pm
December 8, 2010 at 3:11 pm
December 8, 2010 at 3:37 pm
December 8, 2010 at 3:41 pm
December 8, 2010 at 3:59 pm
December 8, 2010 at 4:38 pm
December 8, 2010 at 4:56 pm
December 8, 2010 at 6:22 pm
December 8, 2010 at 7:05 pm
December 8, 2010 at 8:25 pm
December 8, 2010 at 9:21 pm
December 8, 2010 at 9:26 pm
December 8, 2010 at 9:31 pm
December 8, 2010 at 10:21 pm
December 8, 2010 at 11:04 pm
December 8, 2010 at 11:41 pm
December 9, 2010 at 12:08 am
December 9, 2010 at 12:17 am
December 9, 2010 at 12:35 am
December 9, 2010 at 12:42 am
December 9, 2010 at 1:47 am
December 9, 2010 at 2:11 am
December 9, 2010 at 2:30 am
December 9, 2010 at 2:39 am
December 9, 2010 at 3:03 am
December 9, 2010 at 3:26 am
December 9, 2010 at 3:36 am
December 9, 2010 at 6:00 am
December 9, 2010 at 6:17 am
December 9, 2010 at 6:27 am
December 9, 2010 at 9:39 am
December 9, 2010 at 9:44 am
December 9, 2010 at 10:33 am
December 9, 2010 at 12:20 pm
December 9, 2010 at 1:37 pm
December 9, 2010 at 2:23 pm
December 9, 2010 at 2:23 pm
December 9, 2010 at 4:25 pm
December 9, 2010 at 4:39 pm
December 9, 2010 at 9:36 pm
December 9, 2010 at 10:16 pm
December 9, 2010 at 11:29 pm
{ 89 comments… read them below or add one }
I’ll will give credit to Mr. Ellsberg for continuing to be a voice of sanity in all of this hype. Even when the MSM is screaming for Assange to be killed, he continues to keep his cool and try to respond rationally to this changing situation.
Good for you.
While everyone can still post their opinions here, here are some responses to earlier points:
Wikileaks doesn’t need to release documents- If that’s true, then I suggest you look at the corporate MSM. Are any of them doing their job? Back in the days of Woodstein, journalists actually did the footwork for stories. Now, can you name one that’s still doing it (aside from Seymour Hersh)? I can’t.
Which means we don’t have a “free press” in the States anymore. Watch any news program. I defy you to see any deviation from the Consultant’s Formula (it must always be a man and a woman anchor team. Except for the top dog anchors which are two women and 1 guy). The content is almost identical. Why? Because the corporate CEO wants it that way. Do you seriously think that Brian Williams could openly criticize GE and NOT get sacked? Not a chance. Same thing for the other 2 (ABC is owned by Disney and Viacom owns CBS).
Print media is corporate owned. They’re not doing their job. Cable news isn’t doing their job. Which means if Wikileaks doesn’t do this, nobody else will.
How come millions of people Stateside say they support Wikileaks? Because (a) they agree with the previous paragraph. Also (b), in the States protest has effectively been outsourced to Wikileaks. It’s their job to save us from the evil neocons. Most average people say I don’t have time to “protest”. What they don’t stop to consider is that there are many ways to protest other than marching in the streets and getting arrested. Porgressive media isnt doing it because of egos and in-fighting (Pacifica being one ongoing example).
Frankly, is Assange ego tripping on all of this free endless global publicity that others would kill for? To a degree, yes. Does he deserve a fair trail? Again, yes.
However, it bothers me when Wikileaks asks for donations and I have no idea where the money’s going. Assange says he has to stay on the move all the time and be secretive about his background to avoid getting nailed by the authorities. I find that hard to believe after a point for a few reasons. The last time I looked online, it’s not exactly easy or cheap for foreigners with no job to live in various European countries. Even many EU states are stricter about their immigration controls. If I donate, am I paying for actual good being done? Or, am I funding Assange’s nomad lifestyle (apprently now complete with various groupies all over the world)? I’ve asked Wikileaks this question many times, and I’ve never gotten a response.
If Assange is such a threat, then how come U.K. immigration didn’t pick him up when he entered the country? “We were waiting for the proper Interpol paperwork”. Translation: we’re playing all the political angles because we don’t want massive uprisings in the street. So we’ll wait and do what the States tell us to do.
Some predictions:
Assange will be extradited to Sweden. Then the States will push really hard to have him brought here for trial.
Officially, Cameron is against the EU Charter of Human Rights. Now though, he’s going to support it to protect Assange against Obama?
If Assange stays ine U.K., how long can he be held in detention? He’s not a declared “terrorist” threat. What justification can the U.K. (or other govts.) use to hold him?
Before I posted this, I found the main tool that Anonymous is using to attack various sites. This site says it’s freeware. But since it’s being used to cyberattack, does this mean that they’re guilty of Wikileaks’ “terrorist” activities and should be shut down? Or, do Obama and the DOJ say screw that. We’ll score bigger political points by going after Assange?
The truth is the People in Power could care less what you think. Do you really think that “The Perfect President” Obama (to some for some strange reason) really cares about what the average person thinks? He’s a consitutional attorney who went to Harvard Law School. He thinks that torture is ok and killing American citizens abroad who he designates as “terrorists” is also ok.
Why? Because many Inside the Beltway will say grow the **** up. That’s how the “real world” works. Everybody else does it (Russia, Mossad and various others).
Despite all the evidence that Wikileaks has put in front of the public, what’s happened? Has any significant change happened as a result of this? No. If “The Doomsday File” is released, will anything happen then? At this point, I have serious doubts that it will. Which means in all of this Wikileaks Mania, nobody’s stopping to ask these questions.
So I will.
Respect to you all.
Daniel, you don’t seem to get that Assange isn’t you and nothing in the leaked State Department documents rises to the level of the Pentagon Papers. Even worse, by openly publishing private opinions by diplomats, Assange has intentionally harmed diplomatic relations and slowed down any possibility of peaceful solutions.
However, the biggest problem is your whine about Amazon, PayPal, Mastercard, et al. Government censorship is wrong, but that’s not what’s happened. The US didn’t order anything. Everyone can choose to publish what they want or do business with whom they wish. The Left and Right both have long histories of boycotts to push their views.
That companies decided to self censor is no more “wrong” then a company deciding it doesn’t want to publish your next book because the publisher thinks it’s dreck.
Due to the nature of the internet, there’s no way, as you’ve seen, of Amazon shutting down Wikileaks. They’ve just decided it doesn’t belong on their servers. That’s not censorship, it’s choice.
What’s funny is all these “open information” people who won’t disclose who they are, who’s funding Assange, who’s been protecting him or otherwise be open himself. Well, those folks and the oxymoronic groups of anarchists who attack Amazon and other sites, doing intentional damage, claiming to be for freedom and openness but punishing others for making choices the anonymous hackers don’t like.
Assange is no villian and he’s no hero, he’s just a self-aggrandizing ego who’s having his 15 minutes of fame.
I doubt you’ll publish this because what I am going to say isn’t something you or your followers are going to want to read.
Julian Assange is a tool. Instead of having Wikileaks publish certain information that may shine light on his cause (whatever it is, I haven’t been able to gleam one yet from his actions) he releases everything. Such a disorienting deluge of information takes quite some time to sift through.
Julian is like a kid with a gun. He knows its dangerous, he knows he can get what he wants with it, but he doesn’t know how to wield it properly. That will ultimately be his and Wikileaks downfall. Reckless, childish behavior, and just plain stupidity.
He may think he is doing a lot of good but in the long run he isn’t. The government will become even more secretive than it already is and worse still he has brought quite a bit of attention to freedom of speech. Of course this assumes he actually has a motive that seeks to benefit someone other than himself.
Personally I’d say he’s an attention whore who saw an opportunity for everlasting attention and he seized it.
Bottom line how is any of this helping to make the world a better place?
Most people miss the real issue here. It is not about the WHAT of Wikileaks it is about the WHO.
Had Dr Ellsberg leaked the “Ho Chi Minh Papers” instead of the “Pentagon Papers”, he would have been a hero. Instead you were arrested, tired under a bizarre law, and freed largely due to even greater incompetence and skullduggery by the Government.
If the current leaks were about N Korea or Burma, the US would be extending a White House invitation to Assange, he would cited as a hero and a “great fighter for freedom” and would win the Nobel Peace Prize.
Stop the hypocrisy and focus on the real issue – systematic lying by the US government, and many other governments. Encourage MORE leaks, not fewer ones, from other countries as well. The US is strong enough (and essentially decent enough) to come through all this; Saudi Arabia and other hypocrites are not.
Well said.
The governments of the world are out of control. You don’t have to have a masters degree in shutting people up to see these charges are nothing more than a thinly veiled message to Wikileaks to STFU. I wish they would just release the file that they claim to be keeping for last resort. Just expose all these politicians and their banking buddies for what they are, frauds and thieves.
Here’s a link to the “Pravda” article mentioned – it’s really worth a read:
Agreed that WikiLeaks is critical. WikiLeaks and a free press help with preserving society not corrupting it as some now claim. Anarchy is a result of citizens of a society no longer living under a common set of boundaries and “norms” typically defined by law. If government, any government, sets an example of regularly violating the law .. if corporate leaders or intellectual leaders scoff at the law or act unethically .. if a military does not abide by rules of engagement or treaties formulated with other nations .. what exactly would you expect average citizenry to eventually notice? What sort of example has been set at the high ground? How many have already become disappointed with the integrity of govt, the unethical behavior of corporate leaders, the unprofessional behavior of some intellectuals, and disgusted over certain military activities? And how many of you have noticed a growing disgust and distrust from the general citizenry which is fact causing this gravitation to extreme sentiments? These vile actions on the part of govt and powers running these states are fueling their own fire! It is important to bring violations against humanity and society to light to let these powers know and reassure average citizens of this world that that no one should operate above the law against people of other nations or people of their own nation. To allow illegal, unethical or inhumane actions to continue within the highest tiers of society IS TO INVITE ANARCHY everywhere! The “free” press does not appear to be capable of this most critical service of making information available to a free society anymore. This is WHY WikiLeaks is so critical.
Thanks for writing one of the most important and insightful things I’ve ever read.
Please nominate Julian Assange for the World Press Freedom Prize, to be held in 2011 in Washington, DC.
great article. Suggestion: put links at the bottom to allow readers to share/post your articles to their facebook, tumblr, twitter, etc. you are a patriot. thanks.
Thank you for this essay. It’s nice to see that Ron Paul (of all people) is not the only public figure to voice the support knowing the truth and freedom of information. We need more sunlight and accountability from the frauds who have run things with money and guns for far too long.
Since you want all information to be open, please, by all means, post your SSN, full name, address, cell number, email addresses, and the same for all members of your family.
Since you don’t want ANY government information to be secret, well, there you go. The SSN is a government number. Let’s go. be a man. Post it, publically, for the world to see, and use.
Not scared are ya?
As I see it there are secrets worth revealing and there are secrets that are just stupid from one point or another.
And revealing secrets shall also be done with some discrimination because there is little value in revealing personal opinions that diplomats has in most cases. It’s just a publicity stunt. And that has been recognized by most people. The few people that would really suffers are members of totalitarian regimes where no bad words ever shall appear unless the great leader approves.
It is fully valid to have secrets for any country, but not everything is worth to be kept as a secret. And even revealed secrets may not be the real secret – it may be information that was dismissed during the process and is effectively useless or completely opposite to the reality.
But some secrets are worth to reveal since politicians needs to be aware that they may be caught with their pants down in an inconvenient moment. That is the only way that politics can be kept sane. Hidden agendas will eventually be revealed.
Don’t forget that governments and government agencies has a tendency to overuse the “secret” classification just to cover their behinds. A secret classification may for many cases delay due process, sometimes so that the statute of limitation is exceeded.
I really happy to see that there are still honest people in the world.
Great and very risky job you have done !
Congratulations to all of you.
This only show that the workd is only ruled by secret agencies and all presidents are only puppets.
Great article
As much as I hate to admit it, I agree with Sarah Palin. She recently said that Assange should be “hunted down like Osama bin Laden.” I agree — ten years from now he should still be a free man.
Elizabeth Plumley December 9, 2010 at 7:40 am
Why doesn’t it strike people, that if military privates, the AP, the LA times, the New York Times, former CIA dudes, the ACLU, “old grizzled servicemen,” and Ellsberg are willing to be in harm’s way for the Truth, they better perk up? I just don’t want to wake up tomorrow, and Assange is dead. Why aren’t more people furious that Visa and Mastercard cut them off from choice? I will never shop Amazon or Paypal again. What else can I do? Suggestions? I’ve donated snail mail. Do you think it will arrive?
…I wish the new world order will come to an end consequent to wilileaks cable expose. I wish mandarins wherever wherenever will now acknowledge that times up for fiddling with information, that there is need for a paradigm shift in the philosophies that defines their world outlook. That the scenarios for the future is truthful information to the public, that personnal and clique agendas are vestigial, ….and that the past will stop, that they must brace for a future for relevance, and that the future is truth nothing but the truth…
I, for one, am very pleased that these dedicated folks have let this slew of cats out of their respective sacks. I felt the same when Daniel Ellsberg opened his sack many years ago.
Too bad the idiots in powerful positions didn’t learn their lesson then.
Too bad they won’t learn a lesson now.
Here’s a link to the Pravada newspaper article. It is worth a read.
Take note US …… Those who protest the loudest have the most to hide. If anything should happen to Julian Assange he will be a martyr for freedom and democracy.
Yes, great job, Mr Assange. History shall obsolve you!
Christopher Lynt December 9, 2010 at 3:49 am
Thank you for all you have done for democracy and peace over the years. The Pentagon Papers release was a defining moment in my young life in the war against the propagandists. Truth thrives in the daylight, and like what you did, WikiLeaks is giving us a glimpse of it. Democracy without disclosures such as these is mere manipulation by those in power. Our corporate media has failed us, for the most part. Wonderful piece here – went straight to my FaceBook page! Carry on.
Thank you.
Reply to Tom.
It doesnt take nerve to stand up against someone as weak as Obama, just the inclination.
My fear is that the australian government, and those others you mentioned, genuinely don’t have the inclination.
As an Australian Admirer, I’ve always wanted to say you did your country proud Mr Ellesberg, and by supporting Mr Assange and the young patriot Bradley Manning, you are continuing to do so.
Information wants to be free, because its the only way we the people can police our damn governments.
I have a concrete suggestion for a campaign idea.
The Australian Parliament, for example, could reserve for itself the
right to impose a “freedom tax” on payment services like PayPal,
MasterCard and Visa.
The tax rate would be set at 0% as a gesture of good will. However, if
they fail to reverse their decision or ever act in this way again, the
Parliament could choose to alter the rate to some non-zero
The collected tax would be either returned to the consumer or to a
media organisation of the consumers &/or the Parliament’s choice.
This would serve to take payment services out of the political arena
or provide a useful source of revenue to fund investigative journalism
and other freedom preserving projects.
Once the idea of taxing payment services is accepted, payment services
will rue they day they abandoned the rule of law to exercise political
I would like to read the “Pravda” article You where referencing to, but unfortunately I couldn’t finde any reference to it in Your article. At least when quickly browsing it.
great read, even Paypal has a voice now
Please explain this to me.
Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd says that Assange isn’t “legally liable” for the Wikileaks releases. Instead, “those who provided the information are liable”. Also, the Prime Minister says that the govt. continues to investigate Assange and Wikileaks to see if any laws were broken.
Now, what he DIDN’T say was anything about the pending rape charges and possible extradition to Sweden. Also, nothing about the current U.S/Swedish discussions to extradite him to the States.
Will Australia, the U.K. and Sweden have the nerve to stand up to Obama?
Who’s in charge in Canberra?
Thanks for speaking up. I remember the thunderbolt that was the Pentagon Papers, and was grateful then. I was never again so naive. We need that same spirit now.
As an Australian, and world observer, I am both honoured to share origin with Assange, and am in awe at the immediate impact, and clear definition of real-world results, that WikiLeaks brings with each and ever whistle they blow.
The idea that he, as a messenger for the truth, is in some way, shape or form responsible is absurd. Assange doesn’t go in and yank these documents for himself, they’re handed over by people of equal mettle; people who’ve clearly seen enough, and need to buck failing or corrupt systems.
This piece is a clear and concise analysis of the most recent events, and I applaud the author and supporters in putting it together.
First Amendment Law Prof blogs on US grad and law schools warning students NOT to access Wikileaks docs:

US embassy cables: browse the database
Use our interactive guide to discover what has been revealed in the leak of 250,000 US diplomatic cables. Mouse over the map below to find key stories and a selection of original documents by country, subject or people. Click on red dots for latest storiesUS embassy cables: the documents
US diplomats intervened to try to amend draft law so that it would not 'disadvantage' US credit card firms, cable says

Wikileaks: Julian Assange v Sweden's broad sexual laws
Julian Assange is in custody until an extradition hearing on 14 December

·         Cables at a glance
Julian Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, is fighting against extradition from Britain to Sweden where he faces allegations of rape and coercing women into having sex - accusations which his defenders say are part of a conspiracy to silence him. Stephen Evans reports from Stockholm on how Swedish law may prove difficult for the Wikileaks founder.

Everybody you talk to in Sweden involved in the Julian Assange affair asserts - often with some irritation - that: "There Is No Conspiracy."

The Swedish authorities are not acting at the behest of the CIA or the American embassy in Stockholm when they make life difficult for the founder of Wikileaks.

Tough laws

The lawyer for the two women who have accused Mr Assange of coercing them sexually told the BBC it was not part of some wider, global plot.

"Absolutely not," said Claes Borgstrom. "I represent two women who have experienced something that many thousands of women both in Sweden and in other countries have experienced."

Sweden has one of the toughest laws on sexual crime in the world - lawyers sometimes joke that men need written permission first.

As Mr Borgstrom put it: "It is not necessary to have a lot of violence. That is what people usually think, but in practice if you force someone to have sex with you against their consent you don't have to use much violence at all. Or you can take advantage of a difficult situation for the woman in question."

He says Mr Assange knows that this case is simply a matter of what happened with the two women rather than a bigger conspiracy.

"I'm very much critical of Julian Assange himself because he knows that that is not the case. He should say it has nothing to do with his engagement with Wikileaks," said Mr Borgstrom. Continue reading the main story

The sexual allegations
·         'Unlawful coercion' against Miss A - pinning her down
·         'Sexual molestation' by refusing to wear a condom with Miss A
·         'Deliberate molestation' of Miss A
·         'Rape' of Miss W: had sex with her while she was sleeping and without a condom
Source: Gemma Lindfield, lawyer acting for the Swedish authorities
Under Swedish law, there are legal gradations of the definition of rape.
There is the most serious kind, involving major violence.
But below that there is the concept of 'regular rape', still involving violence but not violence of the utmost horror.
And below that there is the idea of 'unlawful coercion'. Talking generally, and not about the Assange case, this might involve putting emotional pressure on someone.
The three categories involve prison sentences of 10, six and four years respectively.
The lawyer for the two women who have complained against Mr Assange will not spell out the details because he says that would give too much away to the accused man.
Reported rape offences in Europe 2007
United Kingdom
*Cases per 100,000 population
But he does indicate that it is a four-year sentence that Mr Assange could expect, indicating that he is suspected of this third, less serious category.
Questions to answer
The case may turn on if or when consensual sex turned into non-consensual sex - is a male decision not to use a condom a case of that, for example?
Under Swedish law, Mr Assange has not been formally charged. He has merely been accused and told he has questions to answer.
The process is for the prosecutor to question him to see if a formal criminal accusation should then be laid before a court.
There would then be a hearing in front of some lay people to see if that formal charge should go to a formal trial.
The attitude towards rape in Sweden - informed by a strong sense of women's rights - means that it is more likely to be reported to police.
Some 53 rape offences are reported per 100,000 people, the highest rate in Europe.
The figures may reflect a higher number of actual rapes committed but it seems more likely that tough attitudes and a broader definition of the crime are more significant factors.
Is the mountain of Wikileaks news distorting your perception of reality? Let us break it down for you.

From CBS "WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been denied bail by a judge after surrendering to British authorities over a Swedish arrest warrant Thursday. Assange vowed in court to fight extradition to Sweden, where authorities are hoping to question him over a sexual molestation case. Assange was arrested at 9:30 a.m local time Tuesday and appeared before Westminster Magistrate's Court. He surrendered Tuesday under an agreement reached between his own lawyers and the police."


Hours after his arrest The Australian published an Assange-penned op ed in which he systematically defends Wikileaks' right to seek and publish information that will promote transparency in Government and serve the greater good of society. Assange notes that while respected international broadsheets such as The Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel have published the same redacted cables as Wikileaks, none but Wikileaks have warranted investigation. He also cites the Queensland government (pre-Fitzgerald inquiry) as an example of how complacency begets corruption. Other key take aways? Assange calls Jula Gillard's reluctance to help him "disgraceful pandering" and claims that despite possible compromises to the safety of civilians and troops in Afghanistan and Iraq, "not a single person, as far as anyone is aware, has been harmed" as a result of Wikileaks' actions. On Twitter, Dom Knight perceptively points out the error in that statement: "Assange's editorial is wrong. Wikileaks' disclosures have indisputably harmed at least one person. Assange."


After the brouhaha of Assange's capture died down, attention turned to the cause of his arrest. As it stands, Assange faces sex charges stemming from two one night stands that took place in Sweden last August. Those charges - one count of unlawful coercion, two counts of sexual molestation and one count of rape - stem, according to Assange's lawyer Mark Stephens, from a "dispute over consensual but unprotected sex". In short, one woman claims Assange continued to have sex with her after his condom broke and the other claims he refused to put a condom on to begin with. This is cognitively jarring to EVERYONE because how can consensual sex result in rape charges, right? More on that later.

First, despite the impotence of those charges, I must say that the accusers, two Swedish women known as "Jessica" and "Sarah", have been subjected to woeful amounts of conjecture and defamation online. Yes, the timing is convenient and the accusations flimsy but as Kate Harding over at Slate points out "we just don't know anything right now.". Exactly. Save the finger pointing til we know all of the facts. In light of the David Jones scandal, it's alarming how willing we are, without an iota of formal evidence, to dismiss alleged victims of sexual abuse as opportunistic or worse, machiavellian. Why is this the default reaction to alleged victims of sexual abuse? Why are their motivations questioned before any facts are presented?

Sure, they may have been coerced by the CIA (maybe?) or reacted out of jealousy or false pride but the majority of "facts" pertaining to the alleged victims comes from one source, a Daily Mail story (so treat it with all due skepticism) that posits the alleged victims as feminist radicals who may or may not have acted at the behest of the American government. It's alarming how many people are willing to believe those claims with little to no evidence. Says The Daily Mail of "Sarah": "An attractive blonde, Sarah was already a well-known ‘radical feminist'. In her 30s, she had travelled the world following various fashionable causes.While a research assistant at a local university she had not only been the protegee of a militant feminist ­academic, but held the post of ‘campus sexual equity officer'. Fighting male discrimination in all forms, including sexual harassment, was her forte. Other sites have since claimed she possesses "ties to the US-financed anti-Castro and anti-communist groups".

It could well be true of course, but nobody knows for sure. If it is, Naomi Wolf totally owned Interpol on The Huffington Post. But yeah, nobody knows for sure yet. Cool? Now back to the sexual assualt charges. Question: How can one be accused of rape when the sex is obsetnsibly consensual? Easy, the sex is consensual to begin with. Assange's charges relate to the withdrawal of consent, that is, when two consenting adults agree to have protected sex (ie. with a condom) and that condom should happen to break, the conditions under which they agreed to have sex in the first place becomes comprimised. It's sexual intercourse with a proviso and it's hard to associate with rape because it starts off consensual but changes after penetration. Sound murky and confusing? Jezebeloffers some thoughts on "sex by surprise".


ABC op-ed site The Drum have penned an open letter to Julia Gillard calling for increased Government assistance (that would be any assistance at all!) and a sterner approach to the bureaucratic line they've held thus far. More specifically the letter demands that Gillard: "provide assistance and advocacy to Mr Assange; and do everything in your power to ensure that any legal proceedings taken against him comply fully with the principles of law and procedural fairness.". A fair request since conservative American pundits have called for Assange's assassination and consider his actions tantamount to terrorism. The letter has amassed over 4000 signatures thus far including Noam Chomsky, Senator Bob Brown and legions of Australian editors, journalists and lawyers. You can pledge support too by signing your name in the comments section.

To coincide with International Human Rights Day protests against Assange's arrest will be held nationwide this Friday, December 10th. Brisbane's takes place noon at the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, 295 Ann Street, City. Sydney's from 1pm at Town Hall (facebook event link here) . And Melbourne's from 4:30pm at the State Library lawns (facebook event link here).


Slate suggests one reason Assange's arrest could benefit his cause: "From his jail cell, Assange becomes something he wasn't yesterday: a martyr." You know who loves martyrs? Undecided fence sitters, that's who.

Online vigilante group Anonymous (the tech savvy members of notorious internet board 4chan) have officially commenced Operation Avenge Assange, launching distributed denial-of-service attacks (the same attacks used to take down Wikileaks) against PayPal, Swiss bank PostFinance and other companies that have abandoned services to Wikileaks. Next on their list is Twitter for allegedly disallowing #wikileaks to trend worldwide and the Swedish prosecutors in Assange's sexual misconduct trial. Also, Anonymous are apparently fighting off DDoS attacks on 4chan from an unknown party.
Buisiness as usual for Wikileaks who tweeted this last night: "Today's actions against our editor-in-chief Julian Assange won't affect our operations: we will release more cables tonight as normal".

According to leaked correspondence between the US embassy in Canberra and US secretaries of state Condoleezza Rice and Hillary Clinton, Foreign Minsiter and former Prime Minsiter Kevin Rudd is not only a “control freak” but made “mistakes” and “significant blunders” throughout his tenure. Thanks Wikileaks we already knew that.
Fuck Yeah Julian Assange! This Matrix themed Tumblr is hypnotic for reasons I can't articulate.

Also, Julian Assange will almost certainly take out Time's Person of the Year poll.

Nigeria: Cheney, Ex-Us Vp, Not Above Law - Farida
... States of America, Richard 'Dick' Cheney is not above the laws of the land where Halliburton which he headed operated in alleged violation of the law. ...
See all stories on this topic »

Most Popular Right Wing Pundits Among GOP Activists: Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck
 Charles Johnson

Among Republican activists, the most popular right wing pundit is a race-baitingcreationist who mocks H1N1 victims, falls for obvious hoaxes, wants environmentalists to kill themselves, and panders to the Birther movement.

And the second most popular is a raving freakazoid nut sandwich.

Here’s the list, dominated by Fox News extremists: The top ten pundits among Republican activists.

It’s another tangible piece of evidence that the right wing has gone bugeyed loony, completely unmoored from reality and addicted to blind rage. And just to make this even clearer:

Worryingly, columnists often regarded as among the most thoughtful conservatives did not fare well. David Brooks of the New York Times only mustered a mention from 1.3% of the panel (14 people). Ross Douthat, also at the NYT, won just four votes and Mike Gerson, Washington Post writer and former speechwriter to President Bush, gets just three mentions. Another former Bush speechwriter and Rush Limbaugh’s leading critic, David Frum, only gets three mentions.

·         Right Wing Watch In Focus: Glenn Beck: Irresponsible And Indifferent To The Violent Consequences of His Dangerous Rhetoric.

·         Amanda Terkel @ Huffington Post: Media Matters Hires Angelo Carusone, Leader Of 'Stop Beck' Movement, To Ramp Up Campaign Against Fox News.

·         Stephanie Mencimer @ Mother Jones: Judge Freezes Assets of Former Beck Gold Advertiser.

·         Alvin McEwen: Paul Cameron wants gays to go through 'public shaming' . . . amongst other things.

·         Scott Keyes @ Think Progress: Ken Cuccinelli Proposes State Be Exempted Voting Rights Act Because Virginia Has ‘Outgrown’ Racism.

·         Towleroad: Rachel Maddow Interviews Ugandan MP David Bahati, Author of the 'Kill the Gays' Bill.

·         Wayne Besen @ Truth Wins Out: Florida ‘Ex-Gay’ Minister Resigns After Divorce.

·         Ryan J. Reilly and Alex Sciuto @ TPM: Christine O'Donnell's Last Minute Hires Included Anti-Gay Crusader.

·         Ben Dimiero @ County Fair: Fox boss caught slanting news reporting.

WikiLeaks neither supports nor condemns the cyber attacks that have targeted its critics, it said Friday, just as it appears the attackers are mounting a fresh operation against
The whistleblowing website wrote on its Twitter feed that it is not affiliated with Anonymous, a group of online activists that have attacked websites of companies that cut off services to WikiLeaks.
On its website, WikiLeaks went further.
"There has been no contact between any WikiLeaks staffer and anyone at Anonymous," said a statement there. "WikiLeaks has not received any prior notice of any of Anonymous' actions."
"We neither condemn nor applaud these attacks. We believe they are a reflection of public opinion on the actions of the targets," the statement continued, attributing the remarks to WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson.
Meanwhile, those with Anonymous appear to be looking for more computing power to use in attacks on websites such as
Early on Friday, "Anonymous Operations" wrote on its Twitter feed that they had begun targeting, which banned WikiLeaks from using its services in August. Anonymous has been targeting companies that have halted business with WikiLeaks, including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, and PostFinance, a Swiss financial institution.
The attacks against have been somewhat successful, with data showing the site was unavailable for some time on Friday morning, said Paul Mutton , a security analyst with Netcraft.
One of the tools used to attack is the LOIC (Low Orbit Ion Cannon), which is a denial-of-service tool that sends garbage traffic to a website.
Those behind the attacks have set up command-and-control servers that can automatically issue instructions to computers running LOIC. Those command-and-control servers can issue commands via IRC chat channels and even Twitter, Mutton said. There is also a Web-based version of LOIC that can be manually configured to attack websites.
Security researchers have been monitoring chatter on IRC between those involved in Anonymous. There are indications that other people who control vast numbers of computers owned by people who are not aware they are infected with botnet code are interested in joining the action, said Amichai Schulman , chief technology officer for the security vendor Imperva.
Other research suggests that Anonymous would like to harness as many as 100,000 computers for an attack. still appears to be on the attack radar after other attempts to knock it offline failed.
"We have seen they were attempting to do it but they realized they don't have enough horsepower," Schulman said.
So far the attacks have not resulted in consistent disruption, as those websites are likely working with their ISPs and to have taken defensive measures.
"I don't really believe they will be able to knock down Amazon even if they use involuntary botnets," Schulman said. Amazon has "so much redundancy" built into its systems, he said.

By Jared NewmanPCWorld    Dec 10, 2010 12:39 pm

Removable media such as CDs, DVDs and USB drives are no longer allowed on classified military computers.

The military's ban on discs is the latest government defense against Wikileaks, which in late November began publishing hundreds of thousands of confidential communications between the United States and its diplomats. Pfc. Bradley Manning is accused of burning the correspondences to a CD marked "Lady Gaga" and giving it to Wikileaks.

The solution seems simple enough: Ban removable storage, and would-be leakers won't have any way to separate confidential files from the secret portion of the military's network. Troops risk a court martial for disobeying the order, Wired reports.
The only problem is that removable media is pretty important for classified computers, which are often disconnected from the military's network. The military order acknowledges that banning removable media will make operations harder, but to paraphrase, essentially says "too bad."

Banning DVDs and thumb drives might seem like an overreaction, but it's also a reminder that in the age of cloud computing, old fashioned removable media is still a huge security risk. See, for example, the fascinating story of a computer worm that infiltrated Iran's nuclear program. Because the facility was not connected to the Internet, the worm did its work by infecting residential computers in the area and patiently waiting for someone at the plant to take work home on a thumb drive.
Distrust the cloud if you will, but if you're dealing with sensitive information, sometimes it's the CD marked "Lady Gaga" that gets you.

As a federal employee, am I allowed to view or download documents from WikiLeaks?
By Bureaupat Dec 10 2010, 10:17 AM Website-a non grata

Dear Bureaupat:

As a federal employee, am I allowed to view or download documents from WikiLeaks? 

Dear Rightfully Curious:

When Bureaupat was a child, Bureaupat remembers that other children would occasionally ask questions solely for the purpose of embarrassment.  One such question Bureaupat remembers is "Are you a PLP?" --- and the answer had to be yes or no, with no opportunity to obtain further elaboration from the questioner. 

If you answered Yes, you were informed that you had somehow agreed to be a Public Leaning Post, and you were, accordingly, leaned upon by all within earshot. 

 If you answered No, you were told you had admitted to not being a Popularly Liked Person, to accompanying hilarity.  (Bureaupat has never been a popularly liked person, actually, and didn't understand what the joke was.)

The grown-up version of "Are you a PLP?" is "When did you stop beating your wife?", which generations of so-called media trainers have used to terrify civil servants into never, ever speaking to reporters again, no matter what the subject.  (In case you, gentle reader, are ever enrolled in a "media training" program yourself, Bureaupat is pleased to inform you that the correct answer is "What makes you think I ever did?" which effectively challenges the question's premise.)

The question this gentle reader has asked puts Bureaupat into the same type of conundrum. If Bureaupat answers yes, you have the same rights as every other American citizen to read whatever you want on the Internet, then Bureaupat is somehow aiding and abetting enemies of the Federal Government and the American Way of Life. If Bureaupat answers no, that this kind of scurrilous treason is off-limits to Federal employees just like pornography, then Bureaupat is encouraging censorship and is, in fact, stupidly attempting to shut the barn door after all the horses have escaped.

Fortunately, Bureaupat does not have to answer this question, because it has already been answered by that fount of Solomonic wisdom, the Office of Management and Budget. OMB has told General Counsels at all Federal Agencies that classified documents, such as those published by WikiLeaks, remain classified "even if it has been posted on public Web Sites or disclosed to the media."  And every federal employee with a security clearance (and hopefully most of those who do not) knows that clearances are granted on a "need to know" basis --- in other words, if you don't need to know what's in a classified document, it doesn't matter whether you have the appropriate security clearance to read it.

You aren't supposed to look at the document --- and you certainly aren't supposed to download it to your computer! So, unless and until classified documents published on WikiLinks are declassified, the Great Oz of OMB has spoken: Stay away from them!
Bureaupat thanks OMB for clearing that up, and, for the record believes that no one at that fine agency is a PLP. Unless, of course, everyone is! 

Yours in Gov,

No comments: