WikiFreaks, Pt. 4b “The Nerds Who Kicked the Hornets Nest”

Swedish Children, 1950s

“In the Larsson universe the nasty trolls and hulking ogres are bent Swedish capitalists, cold-faced Baltic sex traffickers, blue-eyed Viking Aryan Nazis, and other Nordic riffraff who might have had their reasons to whack him. … His best excuse for his own prurience is that these serial killers and torture fanciers are practicing a form of capitalism and that their racket is protected by a pornographic alliance with a form of Fascism, its lower ranks made up of hideous bikers and meth runners. This is not just sex or crime—it’s politics!”

-Christopher Hitchens, on Stieg Larrson, author of the “Girl Who Played With Fire” trilogy

http://www.vanityfair.com/culture/features/2009/12/hitchens-200912

“I don’t want to limit this to Wikileaks, but yes, they’re acting like a cult. They’re acting like a religion. They’re acting like a government. They’re acting like a bunch of spies”

–           John Young, Cryptome.org

In this chapter, I hope to sum up some of my own opinions vis a vis the WikiLeaks fiasco. From what I can tell, the core WikiLeaks people view themselves as independent of outside influences. Assange in particular seems to believe his own P.R. and thinks that he can play the world’s real power brokers against each other for the financial benefit of WikiLeaks. However, I think they underestimate their own capability for being USED by those same power brokers.

Many conspiracy theorists on the Web have attacked Assange as “CIA” and the whole leaking of documents is a CIA setup. I do not think this is the case. However, I would not rule out him being manipulated by OTHER intelligence services. He himself claims to be in contact with the Australian intelligence community, and as we shall see below, others have suggested that the Military logs leak was done by Britain as a tweak at the US for the outcry over BP. This may be true, and many of the facts seem to fit that possibility. While there is a widespread perception of the U.S. and Britain as “the greatest of friends”, “friendship” is a very nebulous concept when applied to states.

Heads of state can be close buddies (think Clinton/Blair), the people of two nations can view each other in a friendly light, but “States”? No, States aren’t really friends with each other. As Lord Palmerston put it, “Nations have no permanent friends or allies, they only have permanent interests.” Sadly, I think that is a very true statement and it drives the foreign policy of most nations. This doesn’t mean we’re going to war with Britain, or some Larouchian fantasy like that, it’s just like a brushback pitch in baseball. A small snipe in the context of a generally solid alliance. But to the people suffering from the leaks, it’s quite a big deal indeed! However, that is collateral damage to folks in intel agencies.

Considering that the government and intelligence service of Britain is thoroughly overlapped with BP, is it really out of the realm of possibility that MI6 leaked data on the U.S.? And considering the deep ties between Australia and Britain in the intelligence area, PLUS the intel-connected mind control cult in Assange’s background, can we easily rule out such a strange scenario? Debka has an article on this behind its paywall that is described here on this blog. Of all the conspiracy theories on WikiLeaks, this may be the best one I’ve read.

http://neveryetmelted.com/2010/08/04/wikileaks-military-logs-leak-britain-and-julian-assange/

DEBKAfile, in an article in its subscription-only version, is contending that Britain leaked the military reports published in Wikileaks. Their arguments are that only US reports were leaked, indicating that the US was specifically being targeted. The (British) Guardian played the lead role in coordinating publication of a prefabricated storyline leveling several damaging accusations against the US and casting Julian Assange as a persecuted victim. The Guardian, New York Times, and Der Speigel all agreed to run the story as proposed and accepted the July 25 publication deadline without having actually read more than 2% of the documents.

DEBKA notes that all the leak documents cover six-year period ending in December 2009, their interval terminating at the point at which President Obama announced his new Afghanistan War strategy. DEBKA contends that the end point is deliberate, sparing Obama specific association with accusations arising from the leaked documents, but also implicitly warning that the next batch could be aimed his way.

The British motivation, according to DEBKAfile, would be Barack Obama’s systematic downgrading of the British-American special relationship on the basis of personal and ideological anti-colonialist resentments, specifically exacerbated by the administration’s vilifying BP over an unfortunate accident followed by accusations in the US Congress that BP played a role in securing the Lockerbie bomber’s release. Retired senior official from MI5 and MI6 are rumored to hold positions on BP’s board of directors.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/38796081

Julian Assange has been back in the news as a Swedish prosecutor is re-opening an investigation into rape allegations against Asssange. Is this a setup by the CIA meant as payback? Possibly. However, the person prosecuting him is known as a leftist, not a conservative with pro-U.S. leanings. And, yet, her surface politics may mean nothing. As we shall see though, Assange has done a poor job of keeping distance from sexual predators if he wished to avoid a possible setup.

Sweden reopens WikiLeaks founder rape investigation

By Simon Johnson and Patrick Lannin–

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – A top Swedish prosecutor said on Wednesday she was reopening an investigation into rape allegations against Julian Assange, the founder of whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

…Assange has denied the charges, which a lower official had withdrawn two weeks ago, and said he has been warned by Australian intelligence that he could face a campaign to discredit him after leaking the documents.

Warned by Australian intelligence, eh? Remember, “Mendax the Liar” has truthiness issues. Yet he does seem to have some kind of official protection AND has two possible points of connection to Australian intelligence: 1) his ties to “The Family” and 2) his bust for hacking and probable plea deal with the State.

…Director of Public Prosecutions Marianne Ny said she decided to reopen the investigation after further review of the case.”There is reason to believe that a crime has been committed. Considering information available at present, my judgment is that the classification of the crime is rape,” Ny said in a statement on the Prosecution Authority’s website.

“More investigations are necessary before a final decision can be made,” she added. She also said a preliminary investigation into charges of molestation would be expanded to sexual coercion and sexual molestation.

I  have to say that it has been quite a crazy synchronicity to be researching this material while at the same time reading  Stieg Larsson’s “Girl” trilogy which deals with Swedish hackers, pedophiles, prostitute trafficking, and, yes, Nazis. And, as Steig Larsson was writing about REAL events and people, you sometimes get the creepy feeling that he was talking about these guys!  The novels certainly encapsulate some of the charm of Swedish life, yet they are also brutally honest in their depiction of the State and its indifference to sex crimes against women and children, if not outright complicity.

In Sweden, laws and views toward child pornography appear to be somewhat different than our own. While most Americans do not see child pornography as something protected by the First Amendment, the attitude is more lax in Sweden. In this article, it is discussed how WikiLeaks is hosted by the same servers that host pedophilia forums and The Pirate Bay file-sharing site.

Gottfried Warg of Pirate Bay

Fredrik Neij of Pirate Bay

http://www.thelocal.se/25986/20100409/

Police powerless to close paedophile forums

Published: 9 Apr 10 13:25 CET

…Despite a new law designed to tackle grooming of young people by suspected paedophiles on internet websites, police are unable to act against those hosting chat forums, contact sites and advice pages.

“The so-called grooming law which came into force last July forbids sexually motivated contact with children over the internet. But the adult has to take some sort of initiative in that contact for it to be an offence – to arrange a date, buy a train ticket or such like,” said Jonas Persson of the Swedish police to The Local on Friday.

In the six months after the law was adopted the police received only 100 reports, despite the fact that more than half of Swedish girls aged 15 to17 claimed to have been subject to grooming attempts by adults over the internet before reaching the age of 15, according to a National Council for Crime Prevention (Brottsförebygganderådet – Brå) report from 2007. The law does not allow for the closure of websites or the prosecution of those behind them. Jonas Persson explained why:

“I don’t think a tightening of the legislation is desirable – it would come dangerously close to encroaching on freedom of expression legislation,” he said. Legal obligations for those behind websites visited by suspected paedophiles and would-be “groomers” extend only to the removal of pictures and films which feature minors, or the publication of personal information.

The Local has received information that a man resident in Stockholm is alleged to be behind a chat forum serving as a contact point for paedophiles and hosted by PRQ – a Swedish web-hosting firm run by Pirate Bay co-founders Gottfrid Svartholm Warg and Fredrik Neij, and also noted for hosting the Wikileaks whistle-blower website. Anti-paedophilia activists claim to have made attempts to persuade PRQ to close the man’s website but to no avail.

Of course not. PRQ doesn’t roll like that. And they don’t have to, they are protected by very scary and wealthy people.

Pirate Bay's Carl Lundstrom

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/02/26/pirate_bay_neo_nazi/pirate party

The trial of the Pirate Bay operators in Sweden has generated huge amounts of media coverage. But one of the most interesting things about Pirate Bay hasn’t got a mention.

In his daily dispatches for WiReD, court correspondent Oscar Schwartz swoons over the boyish charm of “likeable” and “winning” Pirate Bay PR guy Peter Sunde. But there seems to be something about Pirate Bay that no one wants you to read: its debt to one of the most notorious fascists in Europe.

Reg readers will already know a little about Carl Lundström’s background. But as Andrew Brown, author of the autobiographical Fishing in Utopia, points out, no English language coverage of the trial has mentioned this. Thanks to Brown’s blog, we know a little more about Lundström.

For example, Lundström was linked to a gang of skinheads that attacked Latin American tourists in Stockholm in the mid-1980s. [Expo.se report (Swe) – 2005]. Over the years, Lundström has switched his support from Keep Sweden Swedish to the far-right headbangers party New Democracy – but was thrown out for being too right wing. He’s currently bankrolling 100 candidates for the Swedish equivalent of the BNP.

Lundström is alleged to own 40 per cent of The Pirate Bay – the largest share – and gave it servers and bandwidth to get going. As one of the four defendants, been a regular attendee in court. But the presence of this significant national political player hasn’t been worthy of a WiReD mention since the trial kicked off. Or a mention anywhere else. Why would that be?

For me, there are two interesting aspects to this peculiar, and very selective silence.

One is that anti-copyright activists like to think of themselves as thoroughly decent, forward-thinking progressive people – because the internet is a new democracy, they’re reflecting a fairer world. They like to contrast the hygenic efficiency of the technology with the old (and implicitly corrupt) copyright businesses. It’s almost a badge of moral superiority.

But like the Futurists a hundred years ago – the original Freetards – they don’t mind jumping into bed with neo-Nazis when it suits them. In this case, that’s so long as the free music and movies keep flowing.

The second is WiReD’s choice of Oscar Schwartz to file courtroom dispatches from the Pirate Bay trial. He’s the only English language courtroom reporter, and bloggers and professional publications take their cue from his reports.

But Schwartz describes himself as “a leading critic of intellectual property” and an activist. His reports duly fulfil the caricature of plucky freedom fighters and bungling prosecutors that fellow activists (and some journalists) want to read.

“The fact it is represented by four young, rebellious and innovative guys all adds to the image of the rock’n’rollers facing up to the The Man,” drooled Guardian blogger Jemima Kiss, who omits to mention the Fourth Man isn’t particularly young – or looks great in jackboots. “Whatever happens at the end of this case, Pirate Bay wins.”

When you invite activists to do your reporting for you, you can be sure that if a fact has an unpleasant odour, it won’t be reported – no matter how important it may be.

So, in choosing a place to host WikiLeaks, Assange ignored the obvious and hooked up with the PRQ/Pirate Bay folks, and therefore Swedish fascist Lundstrom.

But wait, there’s more! The Pirate Bay has formed its own political party, with chapters around the world, including the U.S. They even had a parliamentarian in the Bundestag of Germany. “Had” being the key word. Gee, I wonder what this guy found so appealing about the Pirate Bay and Swedish attitudes towards sex crimes?

Party's Over for Tauss

http://www.thelocal.de/politics/20100531-27541.html

Tauss leaves Pirate Party after child pornography conviction

Former parliamentarian Jörg Tauss, the most prominent member of the German Pirate Party, has resigned from the party following his conviction for possessing child pornography last week.

Two days after the Karlsruhe district court handed the 56-year-old a 15-month suspended sentence, Tauss said on Sunday that he would leave the party to avoid damaging its reputation, saying his presence would be “counterproductive.”

“We must be able to discuss our issues at our information stands and should not allow ourselves to be crippled by the ‘Tauss debate.’ For this reason I declare my exit from the party,” the politician said Sunday on his blog, insisting he would still support the party.

Prosecutors convinced the judges that Tauss had illegally possessed some 260 photos and 40 video clips containing child pornography between May 2007 and January 2009. The court also found that Tauss had sent five such photos and videos from his mobile phone during that time.

The defence did not deny Tauss possessed the illegal material, alleging instead he’d had it for work-related purposes for research about the scene. But the court found he had used it for personal interests.

…After the investigation against him began, Tauss left the centre-left Social Democratic Party, for which he has been an MP since 1994. He then became the first and only member of the Pirate Party in the Bundestag until the general election last September.

The Pirate Party in Germany sees itself as representing those in the information technology community, campaigning for privacy protection as well as the loosening of copyright laws. Following the verdict on Friday a party spokesman told The Local that the decision of whether to leave the party was up to Tauss.

And WikiLeaks is going underground… not metaphorically, I mean LITERALLY!

http://thenextweb.com/eu/2010/08/30/wikileaks-now-hosted-from-an-underground-nuclear-bunker/

One of the world’s most controversial websites now has one of the world’s coolest datacenters.
Andy Greenberg at Forbes has picked up on a Norwegian report that Wikileaks‘ servers are now hosted in Sweden’s Pionen datacentre, housed inside a Cold War-era underground nuclear bunker. 30 metres below Stockholm, it reportedly has a single entrance with half-metre thick metal doors.

The move has been initiated by the Swedish Pirate Party, who began looking after Wikileaks’ hosting this month. “We have long admired Wikileaks”, the Pirate Party’s Rick Falkvinge told Norway’s VG, claiming that as his party is hosting Wikileaks, an attack on Wikileaks is also regarded as an attack on a political party.

…Gossip blog Gawker has today launched WikileaksLeaks.org in an attempt to rake up stories about the little-discussed internal operations at the organisation. Among the stories its looking for are “Documents relating to Julian Assange’s Swedish sexual molestation case: police reports, affidavits, etc.” and “Financial information: Who supports Wikileaks? How much money do they receive in donations and grants? What does Wikileaks do with this money? How is the money managed?”

While Julian Assange is definitely a pompous, irritating cretin, I think he is outmatched in annoyance factor by his partner Daniel Schmitt. This guy is REALLY fucking irritating. Schmitt comes off as thoroughly brainwashed, and definitely supports the notion of WikiCritics that WikiLeaks acts like a “cult”. Only excerpting parts of this interview with Schmitt as most of his answers repeat themselves. He is a poster boy for hacker arrogance, and I would suspect may be due for a huge comeuppance soon. Let us hope.

Daniel Schmitt: World's Most Irritating Man?

http://www.gulli.com/news/wikileaks-daniel-schmitt-2009-07-05/

WikiLeaks: Daniel Schmitt interviewed (English)

gullinews am Sonntag, 05.07.2009 22:16 Uhr

…Daniel Schmitt: The last point in particular is becoming relevant nowadays when talking about internet censorship, be it here in Germany (censorship declared as “hindering access to child pornography”, in Scandinavia or Australia. Censorship is a concept which, no matter what form it will take, will get into the way of our communication of the neutral internet. Just as the surveillance of telephone directory assistance to deny access to drugs would be totally pointless, it’s pointless to try preventing the publication of “child porn” by DNS blocks. Not to mention the implications of filtering directory assistance, like personalised advice for advertising purposes.

Note that access to  “child porn” as some kind of  “right” appears to be a motivating force for many involved with WikiLeaks, Pirate Bay, PRQ, etc.

gulli:news: Do you have a special “philosophy”? If you do, could you please give a brief description?

Daniel Schmitt: “Brief” is a challenge. As I described above, there were realisations about the situation of our world, and the idea was to try and offer solutions for that. Most developments which harmed and are still harming our society could way too long go on in secret. The more closed, more secret a system is, the more vulnerable it is to abuse and mistakes. No matter if we are talking about a piece of technology, a government or a company. That’s one of the reasons why investigative journalism and transparent information flow are of essential meaning for every society, and ours in particular.

To bring to light this abuse in a closed, non-transparent system, we need whistleblowers: People who pass on important information to the public, against their orders and sometimes against their own interests. They are something like a natural mechanism to control problems in a closed society: With the amount of abuse happening in the system, the probability for a brave person acting in the name of moral and in the name of everyone and making the abuse publicly known raises. Those people are an essential part of our society and have to be protected by all means.

Particularly those whistleblowers mustn’t be criminalised, as it will happen with the new German law for hindering access to “child pornography”, which was passed with the support of, notably, family minister Ursula von der Leyen. WikiLeaks is a systemic idea which is based on, and puts into practise, this philosophy, to improve and optimise those aspects of a problem complex concerning all of society. Understood as a social problem, implemented with the help of technology.

Gulli:news: How do you finance your project; does that only happen by collecting donations?

Daniel Schmitt: …

…We get donations, yes, and a significant part comes from Germany. Thanks a lot for that! The donations help us to pay at least some expenses the project has, like buying hardware or similar things. The problem with this is that, unfortunately, individual donations are hard to plan in advance and often depend on a new hot document or story.

…As for the situation of our financial support, we now have the possibility to have our work supported by the Wau Holland Foundation which supports moral courage, freedom of information and media history. So, as with, for example, the TOR project for Europe, donations can be made to the foundation and used according to purpose by us. That is an enormous step for us; we are very happy and grateful that the Wau Holland Foundation decided to support us, to show solidarity with us.

On the bright side, some online sources have decided to start their own anti-WikiLeaks sites meant to expose Assange and Co. to the bright light of transparency that they seem to love so much… of course except when it is applied to WikiLeaks! Gawker has launched WikiLeakiLeaks to accumulate leaks on WikiLeaks. I love it! And, yes, I can’t help but suspect that Gawker and Daily Beast (also on the anti-Assange bandwagon) are doing this in Cahoots with US intelligence. Fine by me! Though it does raise the question of intelligence agencies supposedly not “operating within the US”. Hah! I think that ship sailed a long time ago… I won’t nitpick in this case.

http://www.wikileakileaks.org/

Here is the Digital Journal’s take on WikiLeakiLeaks.

http://www.digitaljournal.com/article/296951

If all this seems grossly unfair, over the top, one-sided and unverifiable, sensationalist and cheap, that’s because it is. And more.  But I support this initiative for all that.

The very idea that an individual is able to launch a whistle-blowing site which offers the public no inkling of who works for it, its financing, staff, ethics, sources or anything else is an anathema. There is no way that a site which claims to be working for the public good yet be so shrouded in almost total secrecy can be considered as being either democratic or trustworthy.

Who can tolerate an organization which is so paranoid that it makes the CIA look like an open house? Wikileaks supporters would be quite rightly screaming for the blood of its administrators if it were right-wing, so what does this make them? If this is a taste of what healthy opposition to a government’s policy is, I’ll pass, preferring to take it for what is is – a shady and shining example of the very secretive methods it claims to decry.

I don’t trust anyone who claims to know what’s good for me without knowing who they are.

Mr Assange, we don’t know enough about you at all. In fact we hardly know anything about you or your organisation whatsoever. You and your methods are suspect in my eyes. So although I realize how unfair Wickileakyleaks is, you had this coming to you.

Here’s Gawker’s announcement of the launch…

http://gawker.com/5625084/

The secret-sharing website Wikileaks.org’s tagline is “We open governments.” But the organization itself is about as open as North Korea. That’s why we’ve launched Wikileakileaks.org: your source for Wikileaks-related secrets, documents and rumors!

Wikileaks has many secrets, and it works hard to keep them: its funding, structure and sources are almost completely unknown. (Wikileaks’ official spokesman is known only by a pseudonym: “Daniel Schmitt”.) This is in part because Julian Assange, Wikileaks’ enigmatic ex-hacker founder, is notoriously sensitive to media coverage of his organization, sometimes cutting off reporters completely after a single unfavorable article. (This happened to us.) But as details emerge about Assange’s bizarre Swedish sexual molestation case, its becoming clear that there’s more to him than his cool demeanor and lofty proclamations suggest.

This doesn’t exactly fit with the site’s ethos of radical transparency. In many ways Wikileaks really has opened things up, breaking big stories and providing a much-needed check on excessive government secrecy. But championing transparency at all costs has lead to some controversial moves, too: For example, its leak of nearly 100,000 classified Afghanistan war documents may have put America’s Afghan informants’ lives at risk. And the organization has recently come under fire for releasing uncensored court documents from a lurid Belgian pedophile-serial killer case, one which contains dubious allegations against a notable politician and details about underage victims.

It’s time to give Wikileaks the Wikileaks treatment—expose it to the same sort of radical transparency it advocates and see what turns up. We’ve launched Wikileakileaks.org as a place for tipsters to share documents, secrets and rumors relating to any aspect of the organization.

We will spend some time with Wau Holland later on, very important to note that this is where they get their money from. As always, “follow the money” is everything, but unsurprisingly, most of the media covering WikiLeaks have ignored this utterly KEY aspect of any political investigation.

. . And all that, apart from many social factors, because those people could be informed by WikiLeaks. This topic in particular shows us how important and open, transparent and competent debate about every subject, and here the subject of controlling the Internet and our communication, is and how publishing current, non-public information can contribute to that. It allows influencing and criticising the ongoing political process by making it transparent.

…gulli:news: How do you deal with the risk that WikiLeaks might be abused to spread a third party’s propaganda? How do you protect yourself from this kind of abuse?

Daniel Schmitt: We’ll see about that one if it happens. …Sometime in the future we will probably attempt to be recognized by the United Nations; they are, after all, using our published material successfully already. And maybe we can establish WikiLeaks servers in embassy rooms.

Great strategy for dealing with disinformation being passed on to WikiLeaks “we’ll see about that one if it happens”. Still taking these guys seriously? Anybody? Hello? Here is a solid Wired article on WikiLeaks before they got mixed up in the Lamo/Manning scenario. As a longtime critic of Wired, I still have to say that they have done some good work on this issue, and if they are helping to set up WikiLeaks, then more power to them.

http://www.wired.co.uk/wired-magazine/archive/2009/10/start/exposed-wikileaks%27-secrets?page=3

…But who is behind Wikileaks? The site claims to have been founded by a concerned group of journalists, political dissidents and hackers. Curious to learn more, Wired travelled across Europe to track down the people behind the organisation.

With a slow, lilting walk, weighed down by a laptop bag that is rarely out of his sight, Daniel “Schmitt” – he won’t give his real surname – sits down at a table in the rear of a café in central Italy. He got involved with Wikileaks prior to its launch in December 2006, he says, giving up his career, and salary, to work for the group. Born Daniel, he adopted the nom de plume “Schmitt” after his cat, Mr Schmitt. His background is in computer security: he worked as a network engineer at an international technology-services company. He is cagey about his previous life and says it isn’t relevant.

Dressed in his signature black shirt, combats and Doc Martens boots, he begins his explanation of what Wikileaks is. His words are guarded, almost rehearsed, and the more he talks, the more the syntax of his native German permeates his English.

“Black shirt, combats and Doc Marten boots”, huh?

“When we started, we thought we’d become the ‘Intelligence Agency of the People’,” says Schmitt. “There would be thousands of people involved, digging out the dirt on their governments. It would create a revolutionary spirit.” But the reality of Wikileaks has been far removed from the idealism of its optimistic roots.

Wikileaks has been surrounded by controversy since the start. When the site’s first leak, a secret Islamic order allegedly written by Sheikh Hassan Aweys, one of the leaders of the Union of Islamic Courts in Somalia, went live in December 2006, there was speculation that it was fake; Wikileaks’ credibility was questioned in the press.

A few weeks later, in January 2007, John Young, a member of the Wikileaks advisory board and the founder of cryptome.org, an online depot for leaked documents, corporate rumours and government conspiracies, left Wikileaks, accusing the group of being a CIA conduit. After the split, he published over 150 pages of emails sent by members of Wikileaks on cryptome.org.

Oh, boy, now we get to the good stuff… Young will figure prominently later in this chapter.

The emails charted the beginnings of Wikileaks; the group’s attempts to create a profile for themselves; and the arguments over how to do so. The emails talk about political impact and positive reform. They are clouded by florid rhetoric while calling for clarity and transparency around the world. Young accused Wikileaks of being part of the CIA, but Wikileaks didn’t actually seem to mind the accusation.

Schmitt says that Wikileaks has fed the speculation that it is CIA-funded. “There’s nothing better than half of the world thinking we are CIA,” says Schmitt. “As long as the right half believe this. It might encourage some people to submit material.”

John Young has changed his opinion about Wikileaks. He is now supportive of its work, though has reservations about the project’s “self-promotional aspect, and its secrecy, its love of authoritativeness, which are likely due to its being run by those trained in journalism wherein advertising and privileged access to information, and magnification of its importance, are taken to be essential to marketing success.”

Young’s main gripe is the anonymity of the site’s operators, which he describes as leaving the group open to “being co-opted by spies. It is common spy tradecraft to do that, as in journalism, media, education, churches, government and so on.”

Young may have “changed his opinion” on WikiLeaks, but I don’t think that changes the stuff he leaked in the past.

There is fake content on Wikileaks. A whistleblower, who asked to remain anonymous, admitted to submitting fabricated documents to Wikileaks to see what it would do. The documents were flagged as potential fakes, but the whistleblower felt that the decision to publish the documents had “an impact on their credibility”. When challenged on fake content, Schmitt twists the potential criticism into a positive. “A fake document is a story in itself,” he says.

Nice spin.

Wikileaks publishes documents for the coverage that it will generate and the political reform that it hopes will follow. But who at Wikileaks maps and controls this reform trajectory? It seems to be the site’s cofounder, Julian Assange.

…In the early days of Wikileaks, he formed an advisory board and filled it with prominent journalists, political activists and computer specialists. The advisory board was intended to lend credibility to and provide exposure for Wikileaks.

But most of the members of the advisory board to whom Wired spoke admitted that they had little involvement with Wikileaks, and have not done much “advising”. “I’m not really sure what the advisory board means,” says Ben Laurie, a computer- security expert and member of the board “since before the beginning”. “It’s as mysterious as the rest of Wikileaks.”

Important point:WikiLeaks LIED about who is on its advisory board. Many of them were Chinese expats working for various Western intel fronts devoted to undermining the Chinese government. Assange did this as part of his gambit to attract money from Western intel.

Assange’s political theories are presented with a tone of revolutionary idealism. But who defines “positive reform”? Who does the “selecting”? And what about the innocent people who find their private data leaked? Assange says that Wikileaks seeks to “minimise the risk to people who are associated with information” it publishes by sending out “courtesy emails”. But when Assange sent an email to “notify” one man that his details were about to be released and cautioning him to “take whatever precautions you need”, he received a less than thankful response. The reply questioned Wikileaks’ “journalistic achievement”, described its actions as “reptilian” and concluded by saying: “Less charitable people might think only that you are a geek weenie with hang-ups.” Assange’s answer is short: “Your treatise is, with respect, as insane as it is long.”

Wikileaks legally protects itself, and its sources, by spreading itself across multiple jurisdictions. It is hosted by Sweden-based PRQ and uploads most of it documents through a Swedish server. Under a clause in the Swedish Press Freedom Act it is a criminal offence to breach source-journalist confidentiality, and Wikileaks says it uses this law to protect itself and its sources. It claims to have never failed a source.

But Adam Weissbach, a lawyer at the Vinge law firm in Sweden, claims that Wikileaks is “simplifying things by saying that Swedish laws will protect all sources”. There are exceptions to the source-journalist clause, mostly related to national security. All media organisations operating in Sweden that want to enjoy the protection of the act need a “publishing certificate” and a named person as the legally responsible publisher of the material. No one at Wikileaks could confirm if it had either.

See? For all their talk about being protected in Sweden, if they don’t jump through the required hoops, then it is all meaningless.

Ben Laurie, a British computer security expert and member of the Wikileaks advisory board, says he wouldn’t trust Wikileaks to protect him if he were a whistleblower. “If you’re up against governments, they have a lot of resources at hand,” says Laurie. “And the things that Wikileaks relies on are not sufficiently strong to defend against those kind of resources.

Bingo.

“If I contributed to Wikileaks, I wouldn’t submit the documents myself,” he adds. Furthermore, Wikileaks can’t protect journalists who use its material. When Wired looked into particular UK-based claims sourced to documents on Wikileaks, a partner at Schillings law firm said that, while Wikileaks was protected by its multijurisdictional structure, Wired was not, and any mention of an injuncted document would spell trouble.

…That is the theory. But, as Wikileaks has learnt, dumping material onto the information market, with no exclusivity, diminishes its perceived value. In August 2008, to sustain Assange’s press-release theory, Wikileaks tried to auction a leak containing over 7,000 emails from the Venezuelan ambassador to Argentina, Freddy Balzan. The emails charted Balzan’s split with Hugo Chavez, recall to Venezuela and demotion. The venture failed because of the logistical problems. “There were then 50 stories about the fact we were auctioning the material,” says Assange. “But none about the Venezuelan documents in hand.”

…Sitting outside the Chaos Computer Club in Berlin, at a later meeting with Wired, Schmitt describes with amusement the reaction of the MoD. But, despite his disparaging attitude towards the secret services of various countries, both he and Assange display a degree of paranoia over being followed and “found”. Assange arrived three hours late for the Amnesty International Media Awards in June 2009 after he took multiple flights to get from Nairobi to London. In a roundabout and unspecific fashion, Assange implied that the reason for his convoluted journey was that he didn’t want to give his passport details to the airline until the last possible moment. However, he was always on the guest list for the Amnesty International Media Awards, where Wired awaited him.

Let’s back up to the first sentence of this pargraph. “Sitting outside the Chaos Computer Club”? We spent a fair amount of time on the CCC in Part 4a. I actually read this article AFTER reading the other material on the CCC that was presented. I was floored to read that they have an actual PHYSICAL facility! Right there is all you need to know about how bogus all of this is and how thoroughly penetrated by law enforcement and intelligence this group must be. Illegal hackers who bust into national security and corporate servers should be working through online networks, using secret names, as they usually do. NOT attaching themselves to a physical address! I had previously figured that the CCC was just an online “club” of anonymous data pirates.  Jeez, so brilliant, yet so little common sense…

Both Schmitt and Assange claim to have been followed on a number of occasions. Schmitt says a woman once tailed him in Berlin, though his description of her made her sound like a very clumsy stalker. And although Schmitt’s assailant doesn’t seem to fit the description of the subtle private investigator or agent, Assange’s story fits the cliché perfectly. He says that in April 2009, a friend who has no connections with Wikileaks was stopped in a Luxembourg car park by a man in a dark suit and a clipped British accent. The suited man asked questions about Assange’s whereabouts, and, he claims, said, “I think it is in your best interest to have coffee with me.”

So are Schmitt’s and Assange’s caution justified? Both are at the very heart of Wikileaks, and they weren’t exactly easy for Wired to find. But is Wikileaks the target that they think, or hope, that it is? Ben Laurie says that one of the reasons he became less involved with Wikileaks was because he “likes to stay at home” rather than living the life of a spy. Yet much of the secrecy appears entirely self-imposed.

Furthermore, can Wikileaks continue with its mission to publish all in the name of the public record? “Wikileaks depends on the enthusiasm of a small number of people, and particularly on Assange,” says Laurie. “If he met with a nasty accident, maybe Wikileaks would fizzle out.”

Here is Assange’s response to the Wired article, which I will include for posterity. I also think that Wired’s reply to his criticism is fairly solid. Reminder: Assange is REALLY FUCKING ANNOYING. As the geeks themselves would say, Assange gets “PWNED”.

Assange response:

•  While no organiyation is above criticism, a cat may look at a king, and Wired may write a story about WikiLeaks, this wired story is worthy of the yellow press. I do not have time to list the many, inaccuraces in fact, or biases in tone. but some examples: 1. There was no question as to the credibility of our Somali story in the press. 2. Daniel Schmitt, a German journalist and our spokesperson for that region, had no involvement with WikiLeaks until 2008. 3. Unless there is a specific reason to doubt a statement, the correct neutral word is “states” not “claims”. 4. I, and WikiLeaks, was at the Amnesty Media Award ceremony, because I was one of the winners (for work related to the unveiling of hundreds of extrajudicial assassinations in Kenya). Not to meet Wired’s ditzy reporter. 4. Having lost collegues in Kenya, I not appreciate this story ending, with what appears to be, a motivating call for my assassination. While such an effort would be counter-productive, Wired plays a dangerous game by not specifying why. 5. Many people were involved with the founding of WikiLeaks. Wired lists none of them other than me, this is unfair to their efforts and to history.
Julian Assange Friday, September 04, 2009 2:34:16 PM

Wired response:

•  We take all comments about our editorial standards very seriously here at Wired. And while we welcome Mr Assange’s response to our feature, we must respond in turn to his accusations: 1: Accusation: “There was no question as to the credibility of our Somali story in the press.” The Wired article actually says: “When the site’s first leak, a secret Islamic order allegedly written by Sheikh Hassan Aweys, one of the leaders of the Union of Islamic Courts in Somalia, went live in December 2006, there was speculation that it was fake; Wikileaks’ credibility was questioned in the press.” The question of whether this specific document was a fake was raised on Wikileaks itself, among other places: http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Inside_Somalia_and_the_Union_of_Islamic_Courts.

There have indeed been questions raised in the mainstream press about how far Wikileaks could be seen as reliable – eg http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,1581189,00.html?cnn=yes talks about “the conspiracy theories brewing that Wikileaks.org could be a front for the CIA or some other intelligence agency… Documents could easily be planted on the site by the same “corrupt” governments and corporations Wikileaks seeks to expose.” 2: Accusation: “Daniel Schmitt, a German journalist and our spokesperson for that region, had no involvement with WikiLeaks until 2008.”

Our piece says: “He got involved with Wikileaks prior to its launch in December 2006, he says, giving up his career, and salary, to work for the group.” Our reporter says her notes show this to be an accurately quote, suggesting that the 2006 date came from Daniel Schmitt. We’re calling in her notes. 3: Accusation: “Unless there is a specific reason to doubt a statement, the correct neutral word is ‘states’ not ‘claims’.” That’s a matter of house style rather than fact, but the nature of the subject matter here led us to use “claims” as we were unable to prove or disprove many of the assertions. “States” would have been fine too. 4: Accusation: “I, and WikiLeaks, was at the Amnesty Media Award ceremony, because I was one of the winners (for work related to the unveiling of hundreds of extrajudicial assassinations in Kenya). Not to meet Wired’s ditzy reporter.” The article does not suggest otherwise: it explains that you were “on the guest list for the Amnesty International Media Awards” (for which congratulations), where the reporter happened to await you. 5: Accusation: That the article’s ending “appears to be a motivating call for my assassination.” This was not Wired’s suggestion or, obviously, Wired’s hope, but a suggestion in part of a quote from an apparently disaffected former insider: “’Wikileaks depends on the enthusiasm of a small number of people, and particularly on Assange,’ says [Ben] Laurie. ‘If he met with a nasty accident, maybe Wikileaks would fizzle out.’” We certainly don’t endorse the sentiment. But people with grudges sometimes say such things.

6: Accusation: “Many people were involved with the founding of WikiLeaks. Wired lists none of them other than me, this is unfair to their efforts and to history.” We’re genuinely happy to credit a wider team: feel free to list some names on this page. We tried to convey the collective nature of Wikileaks, and it wasn’t our intention to minimise credits.
Ben Hammersley – Associated Editor, WIRED Monday, September 07, 2009 5:12:08 PM

Like I said, Gawker has been riding this one pretty hard, to the point that I just can’t help suspect that they have some ulterior motive, like collaboration with CIA. Bravo! However, I would point out that they could easily make this into “Six Bizarre Things about WikiLeaks Founder” if they included the cult. But the media has largely ignored this aspect, despite its inclusion in the New Yorker’s landmark article (WikiFreaks, pt. 3).

http://gawker.com/5511767/five-bizarre-things-about-wikileaks-founder

Maybe it takes an extraordinary man to conceive and launch an extraordinary website like WikiLeaks, the notorious hub for former secrets. Even so, the site’s founder Julian Assange is a surprisingly weird guy.

Heaven knows, we’ve feasted voraciously on WikiLeaks’ scoops. But reading the new Mother Jones profile of Assange, it’s hard not to conclude the serially successful exposer is a seriously odd fellow. Here are the most bizarre tidbits about the Aussie as revealed in the piece:

1.         His hair. See picture above, via Mother Jones.

2.         “Won’t reveal his age: ‘Why make it easy for the bastards?'”

3.         Allegedly conned the founder of secret documents clearinghouse Cryptome into registering the WikiLeaks domain name.

4.         Invented “WikiLeaks advisory board,” complete with unwitting members. Lefty intellectual Noam Chomsky, security expert Ben Laurie and a former representative of the Dalai Lama, Tashi Namgyal Khamsitsang, all told Mother Jones they gave no permission for use of their names. Assange defended himself by saying the board was “pretty informal.”

5.         Bit of a hobo. He sought security advice from Laurie, ignored it, and then started showing up at his house “with a rucksack… he’s a weird guy.”

Is convinced his enemies tried to ambush him, in Kenya, where the compound in which he was staying was attacked by six men with guns. The men, were scared off by a single guard, so they sound more like robbers than commandos. Then again, said Assange, “there was not anyone else worth visiting in the compound.” And around the time of the attack, WikiLeaks published evidence the Kenyan national police were linked with the torture of suspected opposition activists. Two human rights activists were assassinated in broad daylight shortly thereafter. So maybe he’s got a point.

Here is a nice, cogent explanation of the WikiCritics viewpoint.

http://www.mediabistro.com/fishbowlny/new_media/why_wikileaks_is_as_scary_as_it_is_sexy_168979.asp

Why Wikileaks Is as Scary as It Is Sexy

By Mike Taylor on Jul 28, 2010 10:30 AM

….Wikileaks is scary, and not for the simple reason that it publishes state secrets.Let’s take a minute to appreciate the irony that defines the site: It is an organization committed to radical transparency for others, but that itself operates in near complete obscurity.

Wikileaks is the most powerful and least accountable news organization in history. Its ability to publish well-protected secrets is evident in the work it’s produced already, and we already know that more information waits in the pipeline.

As for accountability, let’s examine what we know about the site’s operating structure. From Raffi Khatchadourian’s June 7 profile of Wikileaks founder and public face Julian Assange: “Key members are known only by initials — M, for instance — even deep within WikiLeaks.” Even Assange himself doesn’t have total control over Wikileaks’ technical operations. A high-level Wikileaks engineer told Khatchadourian that Assange and other Wikileaks members “do not have access to certain parts of the system as a measure to protect them and us.”

As Jay Rosen wrote, Wikileaks is a “stateless news organization.” This makes it all the more difficult for governments and powerful corporations to hold it to account. Although this creates an ideal situation for raising global transparency, it also poses a significant problem. Beyond the unsettling idea that there has been no legal or other force (including the U.S. government) to successfully check Wikileaks, the site is so secretive in its conduct that it’s difficult to know what principles and ethics, if any, it will abide by in the future.

…Here are some other things we know about Assange, as reported by The New Yorker. Many of them inspire something far short of confidence, given the responsibilities Assange has assigned himself:

• Assange forgets to do normal tasks like buying or confirming airplane tickets or packing before a trip and, when he’s working, can’t always be bothered to change his clothes.
• He is an accomplished if not eminent computer hacker in his own right.
• He has tried selling Wikileaks stories to news outlets.
• He says he has spent two months at a time living in one room without leaving; others say he spends long intervals without sleeping.
• He lived on the run with his mother from age 11 to 16 and has had to fight to keep himself out of jail.
• Even his friends often don’t know where he is.

We’re not psychologists, but this set of data doesn’t exactly scream stability.

…And per Gawker:

[Assange] invented “WikiLeaks advisory board,” complete with unwitting members. Lefty intellectual Noam Chomsky, security expert Ben Laurie and a former representative of the Dalai Lama, Tashi Namgyal Khamsitsang, all told Mother Jones they gave no permission for use of their names. Assange defended himself by saying the board was “pretty informal.”

We’re not ethicists, but we can’t help wishing we knew more about how Wikileaks weighs its decisions.

With his silver hair and even, accented speech, Assange looks and behaves like a character in a science-fiction novel — part mad scientist, part computer vigilante. The literary figures that spring most immediately to mind are Tyler Durden, Fight Club’s insomniac terrorist, and V, the Guy Fawkes mask-wearing terrorist-hero of V for Vendetta. Assange even shares V’s favorite line, “Remember, remember the fifth of November.”

….We’ve contacted Wikileaks to get clarification on its publishing policies. In the meantime, perhaps it’s best to bear in mind that Assange is running this organization with an essentially fictional advisory board.

…Neither of these qualms are as valid or significant as this: Wikileaks operates with near impunity and its apparent chief operator is something of a wild man. Although this formula has not yet yielded demonstrable collateral results (aside from the charges levied against alleged Wikileaker Bradley Manning), it’s incredibly easy to imagine that a misstep or miscalculation by Wikileaks could result in disaster. It doesn’t matter whether one views Wikileaks through the parochial lens of the U.S. military or that of the doddering media elite. This organization wields life-and-death power, and appears to be making up the rules as it goes along.

Finally, I will close with this observation. While much of the Wiki defense has come from liberals who are gleeful about seeing our state secrets slip out, those same liberals have forgotten an inconvenient fact. Remember the East Anglia psyop that was supposed to “prove that global warming is a worldwide conspiracy coordinated by all the scientific institutions in the world”… uh, but then turned out to be totally void of merit? Where did that op (suspects include the oil companies and Russian intelligence) come from? WikiLeaks! Liberals have such short memories…

http://www.csmonitor.com/USA/Military/2010/0726/Julian-Assange-the-hacker-who-created-WikiLeaks

Julian Assange: the hacker who created WikiLeaks
By Scott Bland, Contributor
posted July 26, 2010 at 3:28 pm EDT

…Programming quickly became hacking once Assange got an Internet connection, and soon he was accessing government networks and bank mainframes. He was arrested in 1991 and charged with more than 30 criminal counts related to his hacking. Facing as many as 10 years in prison, Assange struck a plea deal.

…During sentencing, the judge ruled that Assange only had to pay a fine. Assange’s hacks were not malicious; they were the harmless result of “inquisitive intelligence,” said the judge.

…Though Assange’s most recent, well-known projects have had an antiwar bent – the recent Afghan war leaks, the infamous “collateral murder” video of a US helicopter crew gunning down a group that included two Reuters journalists in Iraq – his site does not appear to have an obvious ideology beyond exposing secrets.

In other projects, Assange published a trove of text messages sent in the US on September 11, 2001, and e-mails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, which led many to believe that scientists were suppressing anti-global warming research and results.

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~ by psychedelicdungeon on September 17, 2010.

6 Responses to “WikiFreaks, Pt. 4b “The Nerds Who Kicked the Hornets Nest””

  1. Didn´t read everything because you are preaching to the choir here. But hope you will stop over to our site and see what ALL the politicians are saying about Collateral Pedophilia and the great conspiracy of DEATH!

    http://broomecpinfo.wordpress.com/2010/11/29/test/

    Course we have other pages as well to check out on their obscene silence on depleted uranium along with what they all are collectively really SCREAMING!

    xox,
    The Lady Maid Marion

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