December 9, 2010

Wikileaks: UPDATES (2010-12-09)

Ok, I'm officially obsessed. To avoid filling this blog with nothing but posts about Wikileaks, I'm now limiting them to one per day (or less), and I'm putting a link to them in the sidebar at left (under "Some of my heftier posts").

Here's the latest:


Good sites for updates: Greg Mitchell's at The Nation and, as always, Democratic Underground. UPDATE: Foreign Policy's Wikileaked blog seems to be rolling now and may be a good source for analysis of the content of the releases.

One of the complainants in the "rape" cases against Assange may have ceased cooperating with the Swedish prosecution.

DDoS attacks by Wikileaks supporters:
Anonymous "Operation Payback" members have fully or partially disabled the websites of the Swiss Post Office bank, Visa, Mastercard (see also The NYT), Paypal (see also BoingBoing), Sarah Palin, Joe Lieberman, and the Swedish government. Wikileaks has issued a statement disclaiming any connection with the Anons, and the latter appear strictly self-deputed (more on them below). UPDATE: Here's a claim that Paypal has agreed to Anonymous's terms. FURTHER UPDATE: More details re- the Anons' attacks here. FURTHER x 2 UPDATE: Per PCWorld, "the collective forces of Anonymous have taken down the PayPal blog (though not PayPal itself), the US Senate Web directory, the site for Julian Assange's Swiss bank, the site for the Swedish prosecutors who are bringing charges against Assange . . . , and the home pages of Visa and MasterCard . . . ." FURTHER x 3 UPDATE: The Anons may be abandoning DDoS attacks in favor of combing through the cables themselves and publicizing juicy bits overlooked by others. I would not be surprised if they found a few; details here. Should they decide to continue the DDoS attacks, as of 4pm ET today, over 44,000 copies of the software used in the attacks had been downloaded (see here; last I'd seen late yesterday, the no. was ca. 31,000).

Technically, Anons are NOT hacking their targets, merely inundating them with service requests (the list of individuals' MC numbers claimed to have been hacked by the group was a fake); and the concerted attacks by Anons began only after similar attacks on the Wikileaks site (the sources of which remain as yet unknown); more here. MSNBC and others, however, continue to refer to the Anons as hackers and to characterize them as a dangerous mob.

Here's a "Letter from Anonymous," describing its efforts as a non-violent, digital sit-in. Their goal: "Win the right to keep the Internet free of any control from any entity, corporation, or government. We will do this until our proverbial dying breath." (Emphasis supplied.) The group is only loosely organized, and as far as I know, they've made no concerted attack except against entities they believe to have acted in bad faith.

Counterattacks: "Operation Payback is facing a little payback of its own. First Twitter closed the pro-Wikileaks group's account. And now we hear the Feds are shutting down some online discussion of Operation Payback attacks." – Gawker. What's left of one discussion allegedly shut down can be seen here. UPDATE: "Late Wednesday, Operation Payback itself appeared to run into problems, as many of its sites went down. It was unclear who was behind the counterattack." FURTHER UPDATE: "A Facebook page, Operation Payback, and Twitter account, Anon-Operation, were both suspended due to them promoting 'unlawful activity'. But the Twitter account has returned with a new handle, Anon_Operationn." See also Forbes.

Information about protests and other events in support of Wikileaks here.

Interview with Julian Assange
on the eve of his arrest here.

This article has some background on the allegations of sexual misconduct against Assange and other matters; see also here. Apparently he's been on Interpol's "most wanted" list because he continued intercourse after the condom broke.

In case I haven't mentioned it, the best source I've found so far for daily reporting and analysis of Wikileaks' ongoing releases is the most excellent UK Guardian.
Naomi Wolf has a great piece at HuffPo, "Julian Assange Captured by World's Dating Police." Sample: "Thank you again, Interpol. I know you will now prioritize the global manhunt for 1.3 million guys I have heard similar complaints about personally in the US alone – there is an entire fraternity at the University of Texas you need to arrest immediately."

Good essay by Jack Hunter at
The American Conservative, "The Conservative Case for Wikileaks," e.g., " . . . loyalty to the Republic necessitates treason to the Empire. Their interests are diametrically opposed. Secrecy (and indeed, duplicity) in all dealings of the State is a defining characteristic of empires, and exists primarily to protect the governing class from being held accountable by the governed."

Daniel Ellsberg
(who leaked the Pentagon Papers to The NYT) " . . . has said that labelling the Pentagon Papers leak as 'good' whilst the Cablegate leaks are 'bad' makes no sense. '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.'" More here. UPDATE: Ellsberg will appear on The Colbert Report tonight.

Good essay by James Moore on HuffPo: "I am Julian Assange . . . and if you care about the truth, you are, too."

Yesterday, on NPR's Fresh Air, David Sanger, chief Washington correspondent for The NYT, stated that what Wikileaks does is not journalism. I find this claim self-serving and absurd; or alternatively, I only wish The NYT had done more non-journalism in the run-up to our invasion of Iraq based on gov't lies.

And I for one applaud Wikileaks' invention of "scientific journalism," in which you can click on a report and be taken directly to the source, so you can verify it for yourself. This is now easy to provide and could help counteract the proliferating, UNsubstantiated "journalism" on the internet, Faux News and elsewhere. (Assange's recent op-ed in The Australian, in which he discussed "scientific journalism," among other things, is well worth the read.)

One thought from a few days ago: When you see/hear some talking head calling Wikileaks "irresponsible," ask yourself who THAT person is responsible TO? Who signs that person's paycheck – you, or the powers that be?
(excluding a few less-substantive ones):

All posts contain links to sources with more details.

Wikileaks: What's at Stake? - 2010-12-08
A list of many of the issues implicated in the ongoing efforts by the US and other gov'ts to shut Wikileaks down.

Wikileaks: the Big Picture - 2010-12-06
A succinct statement of the big issue: a balance of power requires a balance of knowledge, and these days, Big Bros. know all about us while we know nothing impt. about them.

I'd also like to refer you to John Naughton's excellent Op-Ed for The UK Guardian: "The attack of WikiLeaks also ought to be a wake-up call for anyone who has rosy fantasies about whose side cloud computing providers are on. These are firms like Google, Flickr, Facebook, Myspace and Amazon which host your blog or store your data on their servers somewhere on the internet, or which enable you to rent "virtual" computers – again located somewhere on the net. The terms and conditions under which they provide both 'free' and paid-for services will always give them grounds for dropping your content if they deem it in their interests to do so."

Wikileaks Info Reveals Afghan Meltdown - 2010-08-09
A gif created by yours truly animating Wikileaked reports that show that violence in Afghanistan has increased since the US stepped up its efforts there.

Wikileaks - 2010-07-27
TED Interview with Assange from shortly before Wikileaks' publication of US military docs re- Afghanistan.

Wikileaks Releasing 6,780 Secret Reports Commissioned by Congress - 2009-02-10
Link to article with more details.

Whistle-Blowers' Site Taken Off-Line in the U.S. - 2008-02-18
Nearly three years ago, the US gov't disabled the domain name in the US, but rescinded the order after the EFF and ACLU intervened; links to more details.

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