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August 21, 2011 12:20 PM   Subscribe

Google's Latin America blog reports that millions of websites are blocked because an Argentinean court ordered ISPs to block leakymails.com and leakymails.blogspot.com, which many ISPs implemented by blocking the IP address 216.239.32.2 rather than tweaking their DNS responses.

OpenLeaks' Daniel Domscheit-Berg has claimed he destroyed more than 3,500 unpublished files held by WikiLeaks to protect sources, when he felt WikiLeaks could no longer protect them. Among the files destroyed was supposedly the U.S. government's no-fly list.
posted by jeffburdges (102 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
What is leakymails? Does it have something to do with Openleaks?
posted by Static Vagabond at 12:30 PM on August 21, 2011


I'm confused too -- is there any connection between the two stories other than the word "leak"?
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 12:32 PM on August 21, 2011


No, there isn't an obvious connection. DDB is a bit of an asshole, as are the Argentine ISPs?
posted by jaduncan at 12:34 PM on August 21, 2011


Two things a douchebag would do.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:35 PM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, I don't see the connection either. The isp thing will probably get straightened out on Monday with tje real IT people show up.

The destroyed docs on the other hand...well, that shit is likely gone for good.
posted by dejah420 at 12:37 PM on August 21, 2011


There is no connection between the stories aside from the fact that both concern leak sites spawned after wikileaks big splash, the leakymails personably well intentioned, openleaks considerably more grey.


August wlcentral.com articles on the deletions and OpenLeaks :

Former Wikileaks spokesman destroyed unreleased files

Daniel Domscheit-Berg and the Wikileaks servers

WikiLeaks Statement on Daniel Domscheit-Berg and OpenLeaks

Statement by Julian Assange on the reported destruction of WikiLeaks source material by Daniel Domscheit-Berg (gets personal. lol)

Daniel Domscheit-Berg and the missing Wikileaks documents

Some oddities about Openleaks

Chaos Computer Club expels Daniel Domscheit-Berg


Vaguely related : Judge Blasts Prosecution of Alleged NSA Leaker
posted by jeffburdges at 12:38 PM on August 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


(both Openleaks and leakymails are Wikileaks spin-offs, so I guess the general theme of the post is bad stuff happening with Wikileaks style organizations)
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:38 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


In related news, I just took a leak.
posted by nathancaswell at 12:39 PM on August 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


Leakymails was a site set to expose corruption & hypocrisy amongst the political elite of Argentina.

The site was open to publish emails either from official or personal accounts, pictures, videos or any other document exposing misbehaviors or unethical actions of public figures in the Southern country, where corruption is rampant.

More details here
posted by jontyjago at 12:39 PM on August 21, 2011


Although, I think the wikileaks insurance file was released before 'late summer 2010' which is when Domscheit-Berg said he deleted things. So maybe its all in there.
posted by memebake at 12:40 PM on August 21, 2011


meh! DNS filtering doesn't work, If blogspot and openleaks want's to make itself "outside jurisdiction" of courts (even those in Argentina) it (and its users) must accept that it may get IP Blocked for the privileged.

And I don't have much sympathy!
posted by jannw at 12:41 PM on August 21, 2011


jaduncan: “No, there isn't an obvious connection. DDB is a bit of an asshole, as are the Argentine ISPs?”

DDB may be an asshole, but he's a much better asshole than the asshole who runs WikiLeaks, and I'd rather OpenLeaks were the standard of such things.
posted by koeselitz at 12:46 PM on August 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Although, I think the wikileaks insurance file was released before 'late summer 2010' which is when Domscheit-Berg said he deleted things. So maybe its all in there.

Multiple keys (at least, so says the rumour).
posted by jaduncan at 12:46 PM on August 21, 2011


DDB may be an asshole, but he's a much better asshole than the asshole who runs WikiLeaks, and I'd rather OpenLeaks were the standard of such things.

...you'd rather no productive work of note were the standard?
posted by jaduncan at 12:48 PM on August 21, 2011 [14 favorites]


jeffburdges: Statement by Julian Assange on the reported destruction of WikiLeaks source material by Daniel Domscheit-Berg (gets personal. lol)”

Oh, what a jerk! He has a wife! And a normal life! He is not an awesome super-spy like Julian!
posted by koeselitz at 12:50 PM on August 21, 2011


Statement by Julian Assange on the reported destruction of WikiLeaks source material by Daniel Domscheit-Berg
In which Assange doesn't address the issue of whether anything has been deleted. He just lists reasons why DDB may be untrustworthy. So I guess he's saying: DDB didn't do this to protect the sources (and Wikileaks deliberately doesn't hold info on sources), he did this to undermine Wikileaks.
posted by memebake at 12:52 PM on August 21, 2011


Domscheit versus Assange sounds less polite if you say it quickly.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 12:54 PM on August 21, 2011


DDB may be an asshole, but he's a much better asshole than the asshole who runs WikiLeaks

Actually, that probably sounded very snarky. I'm going to engage. What criteria make you state a preference for DDB as a leak site leader, koeselitz?
posted by jaduncan at 12:55 PM on August 21, 2011


...you'd rather no productive work of note were the standard?

Given all he has apparently accomplished is the destruction of someone else's work, I think actively destructive rather than productive is the standard here.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:57 PM on August 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


DDB spoke a big game and people who wanted to hate Assange ate it up, it's time to admit you were fooled guys. That doesn't make Assange any better or worse but you were total fools to jump on DDB as some sort of hero.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:58 PM on August 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'd care less about the personalities of DDB and Assange, and care more about the body of evidence of corruption and sundry crimes that DDB permanently destroyed.

Still, the breathless tabloid coverage of WikiLeaks marches on unabated. After a while, it almost starts to look deliberate: If you can get people yapping about sex lives of the participants, as opposed to discussing the information at hand, then that helps mitigate the damage.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:59 PM on August 21, 2011 [7 favorites]


FTA - "DDB secretly, and in clear violation of WikiLeaks internal security directives, recorded internal WikiLeaks encrypted "chat" conversations."

hmmm...wonder where he got the idea to do that?
posted by lampshade at 1:00 PM on August 21, 2011


From the NSA?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:01 PM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'd personally prefer some more decentralized and depersonalized leaks architecture, maybe derived from FreeNet, that routed documents to journalists with an eventual uncensored disclosure, unless the leaker felt the documents might be watermarked.

We shouldn't need silly figure heads like Assange going forward, but ..   Assange inspired confidence and trust, even if he's obnoxious. DDB appears untrustworthy. In particular, Assange claims DDB's wife Anke Domscheit-Berg is "Director Government Relations" for Microsoft, Germany.

I donno if DDB was actually protecting sources, protecting his wife's job, or whatever. Ain't seen nothing conclusive myself. Yet, there isn't much reason for leakers to trust OpenLeaks or DDB either.
posted by jeffburdges at 1:02 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Anyone know why leakymail.com site got blocked in Argentina? I'm imagine we're talking specific government emails, no?
posted by jeffburdges at 1:04 PM on August 21, 2011


I think the problems and benefits of Assange are the same: he's exactly the kind of arrogant, personal-image-depends-on-this, uncompromising, control-freaky, hyper-obsessive asshole who can't really be bought.
posted by jaduncan at 1:06 PM on August 21, 2011 [9 favorites]


More detail of WL side of the story:
Over the last 11 months, we have tried to negotiate the return of various materials taken by Mr. Domscheit-Berg, including internal communications and over 3000 unpublished, private whistleblower communications to WikiLeaks. Mr. Domscheit-Berg has repeatedly attempted to blackmail WikiLeaks by threatening to make available, to forces that oppose WikiLeaks, these private communications and to which Mr. Domscheit-Berg is not a party ....
... The negotiations have now been terminated by the mediator, Andy Müller-Maguhn, who has stated that he doubts Mr. Domscheit-Berg's integrity and claimed willingness to return the material and that under those circumstances Müller-Maguhn cannot meaningfully continue to mediate. In response, Mr. Domscheit-Berg has stated that he has, or is about to, destroy thousands of unpublished whistleblowers disclosures sent to WikiLeaks. The material is irreplaceable and includes substantial information on many issues of public importance, human rights abuses, mass telecommunications interception, banking and the planning of dozens of neo-nazi groups. Our sources have in some cases risked their lives or freedom attempting to convey these disclosures to WikiLeaks and to the public.

As a matter of policy and implementation WikiLeaks does not collect or retain source identifying information, so fortunately, source identities for this material are not significantly at risk.
posted by memebake at 1:06 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


domscheit is german for dumbshit?
posted by kitchenrat at 1:14 PM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think we will see more mainstream organizations adopt the WL security (anonymous dropboxes, TOR, etc) and use the public perception of legitimacy to displace Wikileaks as a destination for leakers. WL ends up being a great technology demo, but not sustainable as an organization in their current form.
posted by humanfont at 1:17 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]




I sometimes feel that I'm watching a satirical play that isn't very good. The seats are uncomfortable, and at intermission there will only be orange juice served in flimsy plastic cups.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:19 PM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think we will see more mainstream organizations adopt the WL security (anonymous dropboxes, TOR, etc) and use the public perception of legitimacy to displace Wikileaks as a destination for leakers. WL ends up being a great technology demo, but not sustainable as an organization in their current form.

Maybe, but I'm kind of feeling like we need someone outside the mainstream as a middle man in this kind of thing. Papers like the New York Times have developed such an access based culture to get stories that they are often afraid to make real waves outside that system.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:19 PM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


If blogspot and openleaks want's to make itself "outside jurisdiction" of courts (even those in Argentina) it (and its users) must accept that it may get IP Blocked for the privileged.

Blogspot is outside the jurisdiction of Argentinian courts. It's presumably within Argentina's legal rights to censor communications despite collateral damage, just like Egypt shut down access to Twitter. That doesn't mean I approve of it, of course.
posted by hattifattener at 1:21 PM on August 21, 2011




... then solicits financial donations.

Not exactly unusual. Wikileaks relies on donations.
posted by memebake at 1:46 PM on August 21, 2011


So, if I'm reading it right, the Bank of America data is never going to see the light of day now. Shame.
posted by memebake at 1:50 PM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


It sounds like these are some pretty critical and big documents. The exact kind of thing I'd target if I was a mole in Wikileaks.

Paranoid? Yes, but given the game they're playing, I think paranoia is warranted. It would be absurd to think that intelligence agencies DIDN'T try to infiltrate Wikileaks, even before it got big.

Delete important files, write slanderous book about founder of Wikileaks, create "trustworthy" alternative.

Assange may be a douche, but it's apparent he believes in what he's doing. That radical transparency is a good thing. DDB's reasosn for destruction become more absurd the more you look at the files that were destroyed.
posted by formless at 1:57 PM on August 21, 2011 [8 favorites]


So, if I'm reading it right, the Bank of America data is never going to see the light of day now. Shame.

They may have waited too long for it to make a difference, anyway.
posted by homunculus at 1:58 PM on August 21, 2011


This suggests a surprisingly poor level of data security (ie, backups) at Wikileaks.
posted by anigbrowl at 2:00 PM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


So, if I'm reading it right, the Bank of America data is never going to see the light of day now. Shame.

Yeah, it's funny how back in the day the people taken in by Berg's scam were blaming the lack of new releases on Assange thanks to Berg's claims and idiotically talking up Openleaks despite their total lack of accomplishments.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:00 PM on August 21, 2011


Yeah, I'm not a huge Assange fan, but DDB is seeming like a bigger asshole here.

I guess the historian in me always cringes at the deletion of documents, even though I can understand the need to keep some secrets.

Still, honestly, this is also a question where everyone on the outside seems to have incredibly limited information, so I feel uncomfortable making any sweeping conclusions.

(Talk about burying the lede, though.)
posted by klangklangston at 2:02 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


@anigbrowl: a lot of reports gloss over the details, but I think this story is all about keys being deleted, rather than the data itself. My read of it is that Assange has the encrypted files, but needed some of the keys from DDB. So, the data was backed up plenty; the keys are the problem.
posted by memebake at 2:03 PM on August 21, 2011


answers that. But could there not be a copy of the keys?
posted by clavdivs at 2:08 PM on August 21, 2011


answers that. But could there not be a copy of the keys?

If I understand correctly, the entire point was that there should not be so the files can be kept secure. Knowing how this stuff tends to work out though, Assange may have a copy taped to his monitor.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:10 PM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Has OpenLeaks actually leaked anything in it's existence?
posted by delmoi at 2:14 PM on August 21, 2011


Sigh. While we're here I'll post this wikileaks mastercard spoof, because I missed it when it first appeared, so others might have too.
There are some people who don't like change ...
Bonus points if you spot the appearance of Rap News in there.
posted by memebake at 2:17 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Has OpenLeaks actually leaked anything in it's existence?

Well, Berg released a book with some very revealing information about Assange's personal life:

Often I sat in large groups and listened to Julian boast about how many children he had fathered in various parts of the world, He seemed to enjoy the idea of lots and lots of Julians, one on every continent. Whether he took care of any of these alleged children, or whether they existed at all, was another question

Not quite revealing international political corruption or the deaths of civilians in wartime, but great stuff there!
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:19 PM on August 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


THIS ASSHOLE!
#grar
posted by liza at 2:28 PM on August 21, 2011


So, if I'm reading it right, the Bank of America data is never going to see the light of day now. Shame

Do you really believe that ever existed? Please.
posted by gertzedek at 2:41 PM on August 21, 2011


I don't trust DDB, never have. Based on these actions, he evidently doesn't hold the same solid values as Wikileaks. His current and past behavior reeks of jealousy and desperation. The documents should have been returned to Wikileaks, period. I'm glad he's not with Wikileaks any longer; it'd be worse if he became this distracted from the mission of WL further down the line. His pettiness and questionable aspirations might have brought the whole system down.

If I were a whistleblower, I wouldn't trust anything that guy's hands.
posted by JLovebomb at 2:45 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Do you really believe that ever existed? Please.

Uhh, Bank of America sure thought it was real, or at least a distinct possibility.

And I don't see that even Berg is disputing that they are real?
posted by furiousxgeorge at 2:49 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, gertzedek, this could actually be a boon to us. Since we can't verify that it ever existed at this point, for the sake of the overall mission of social change, we may simply continue as if it did and proceed apace. No ethical thicket here either; the truth we'll hypothesize in the absence of that information is undoubtedly less heinous than the BoA facts only by the slimmest of margins.

Plus, DDB's complaints about Assange's comparative bounty of sexual adventure serve to make him appear even more of an alpha male than he did.

Time and time again... When you have the mandate of Heaven on your side, you really just cannot lose for winning.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 2:56 PM on August 21, 2011


is it possible Julian pulled the ole trick-a-roony on this guy?
smoke him out could be a motive.
posted by clavdivs at 2:58 PM on August 21, 2011


Verified documents signed by the CEO of BofA instructing his underlings to plant explosives in Sudanese orphanages wouldn't cause even the slightest trouble for BofA at any level of government. Wall Street literally owns the U.S. government, and no amount of political pressure short of Egypt or Libya-style street violence is going to change that.

They are our "entrenched overlords" and pretending that showing them to be breaking the law will somehow change things is hopelessly naive.
posted by Avenger at 3:48 PM on August 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'd love to believe that clav, but I think Julian probably assumed anyone w/ CCC was likely to be on board w/ the Wikileaks program.
posted by dejah420 at 3:50 PM on August 21, 2011


I mean, seriously, ask yourself this: can you imagine any situation where President Obama would go on TV and call for criminal charges against the BofA board of directors or their executives? Or call for BofA to be nationalized? Or at least for it to be broken up?

Can any of you imagine any situation under any circumstances where that would actually happen?

I admire the wikileaks crowd for what they do, but it's just silly to think that mere evidence of law-breaking will undermine the center of power in the U.S.
posted by Avenger at 3:56 PM on August 21, 2011


@Avenger: You're correct of course, that concentrations of power like that dont just disappear overnight. But over the longer term each item of lawbreaking or other bit of bad press that comes to light can be used to build up pressure for legislation and to chip away at things.
posted by memebake at 4:06 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Avenger, it's been my impression that Assange's intent is to make these entities so paranoid that they either lose their ability to function or they are provoked into doing something truly outrageous. That's how all good insurgencies work, this one just happens not to involve the insurgents blowing people up.
posted by indubitable at 4:23 PM on August 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


re: indubitable's point - here's the same thing in Assange's words:
The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive "secrecy tax") and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption.

Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems. Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.
I'm pretty sure he's onto something here, bad houseguest or not.
posted by memebake at 4:42 PM on August 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Domscheit-Berg appears to me to be much of what Assange's detractors say about Assange.

When I first heard of this, my initial reaction was that someone had gotten to DDB and paid him to subvert Wikileaks and destroy what he could. Everything I have read since does not contradict this.

Secondly, I am pretty much astonished that they wouldn't have backups.
posted by Xoebe at 5:08 PM on August 21, 2011


Among the files destroyed was supposedly the U.S. government's no-fly list.

Why destroy this? This would have gotten a LOT of attention.
posted by hal_c_on at 5:21 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Secondly, I am pretty much astonished that they wouldn't have backups.

I'm astonished that they would need backups (of encryption keys). What would encryption be protecting? If Assange's statement is true (that they don't record any information about their sources), then they're not doing it to protect sources, and since they're ostensibly dedicated to transparency and leaking, they shouldn't mind if someone else scooped them by publishing intercepted data in full. I'm just kind of puzzled here about why they might have a backlog of leaked data that they need to store somehow and which could be pilfered by unscrupulous individuals. Is this Assange's/WL's poison pill?
posted by indubitable at 5:26 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


They don't want the data released in full, the backlash on the Afghanistan logs hit home. They also don't want potentially false information released, they do a lot of work to verify what they have is real.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:30 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I mean, seriously, ask yourself this: can you imagine any situation where President Obama would go on TV and call for criminal charges against the BofA board of directors or their executives?

What charge? Like actual charges.
posted by Ironmouth at 5:32 PM on August 21, 2011


Why destroy this?

Why destroy any of it? Because DDB is a DB.
posted by Meatbomb at 5:33 PM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


They don't want the data released in full, the backlash on the Afghanistan logs hit home. They also don't want potentially false information released, they do a lot of work to verify what they have is real.

That doesn't really explain why they'd keep it encrypted. If someone else releases it in either scenario, it's no skin off WL's nose.
posted by indubitable at 5:35 PM on August 21, 2011


Openpolitic seems to be unreachable, even from worldwide availability trackers. Is this something I have to access with some weirdo alternative DNS or something? Or is it just down?
posted by charlie don't surf at 5:36 PM on August 21, 2011


That doesn't really explain why they'd keep it encrypted. If someone else releases it in either scenario, it's no skin off WL's nose.

They would definitely get the blame, IMO. They are the enemy of national governments and transnational corporations and they have to be very careful with their PR.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:37 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


That doesn't really explain why they'd keep it encrypted.

Gonna assume all these guys belong to the "Encrypt Everything!" brigade. Which is probably fair enough. We should probably all be doing that.
posted by Jimbob at 5:41 PM on August 21, 2011


They would definitely get the blame, IMO.

They'd get the blame... if their fake data got stolen... and someone else presented it as genuine? Yeah, ok. Your PR angle is also absurd, the only thing that working with establishment media like the NYT accomplished is that it slowed down the pace of leaks while politicians and the establishment media went ahead and said WL released everything willy nilly anyway.
posted by indubitable at 5:43 PM on August 21, 2011


They'd get the blame... if their fake data got stolen... and someone else presented it as genuine? Yeah, ok. Your PR angle is also absurd, the only thing that working with establishment media like the NYT accomplished is that it slowed down the pace of leaks while politicians and the establishment media went ahead and said WL released everything willy nilly anyway.

No. Imagine the PR if there had actually been a verifiable killing due to WL releases. The Pentagon would have been flying people out to see the funeral, mentioning 'as we know from the death of x WL have blood on their hands' at every press conference, etc etc.
posted by jaduncan at 5:48 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


They'd get the blame... if their fake data got stolen... and someone else presented it as genuine? Yeah, ok. Your PR angle is also absurd, the only thing that working with establishment media like the NYT accomplished is that it slowed down the pace of leaks while politicians and the establishment media went ahead and said WL released everything willy nilly anyway.

Yes, if real data leads to a death people will be asking why Wikileaks had that stolen data in the first place.

If false data is released it will lead to questions about the credibility of Wikileaks.

If data is released that leads to the revelation of a source, it puts a stake in the heart of the credibility of Wikileaks.

Look over the HBGary saga. There are powerful, government connected people who are willing to cross ethical and legal lines to take on Wikileaks. An anti-WL public relations campaign is nothing in comparison.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:53 PM on August 21, 2011


I'm astonished that they would need backups (of encryption keys). What would encryption be protecting? If Assange's statement is true (that they don't record any information about their sources), then they're not doing it to protect sources, and since they're ostensibly dedicated to transparency and leaking, they shouldn't mind if someone else scooped them by publishing intercepted data in full.

It's clear from statements he made to the Guardian that Julian considers any leaks he obtains his intellectual property, only to be used subject to his approval & for his profit. From Vanity Fair, The Man Who Spilled the Secrets:
He had become the victim of his own methods: someone at WikiLeaks, where there was no shortage of disgruntled volunteers, had leaked the last big segment of the documents, and they ended up at The Guardian in such a way that the paper was released from its previous agreement with Assange—that The Guardian would publish its stories only when Assange gave his permission. Enraged that he had lost control, Assange unleashed his threat, arguing that he owned the information and had a financial interest in how and when it was released.
posted by scalefree at 6:10 PM on August 21, 2011


Your favorite asshole sucks.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:16 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


He had become the victim of his own methods: someone at WikiLeaks, where there was no shortage of disgruntled volunteers, had leaked the last big segment of the documents, and they ended up at The Guardian in such a way that the paper was released from its previous agreement with Assange—that The Guardian would publish its stories only when Assange gave his permission. Enraged that he had lost control, Assange unleashed his threat, arguing that he owned the information and had a financial interest in how and when it was released.

Any newspaper on the planet would be pissed off if you stole a scoop right off their servers.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:18 PM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


This episode demonstrates why an uncontrolled-leaking operation is dangerous. With little skin in the game, individual egos can overwhelm these small groups and cause leakage of information that could harm others.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:29 PM on August 21, 2011


I rest my case, indubitable.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:30 PM on August 21, 2011


Enraged that he had lost control, Assange unleashed his threat, arguing that he owned the information and had a financial interest in how and when it was released.

I thought the whole idea was supposed to be free and owned by no one.
posted by Ironmouth at 6:33 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Maybe, but I'm kind of feeling like we need someone outside the mainstream as a middle man in this kind of thing. Papers like the New York Times have developed such an access based culture to get stories that they are often afraid to make real waves outside that system.

Yeah but WL fails to accomplish that. Rather than simply leak out the materials they hold them in a backlog to release them at a time that maxmizes their political agenda. The result is that WL isn't anymore trustworthy as a place to leak than the NY Times.
posted by humanfont at 6:59 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


^ They hold them to do the analysis the mainstream media and governments told them was necessary to protect lives. They have the backlog so they don't look like assholes. No one will be able to leak everything at once like that without being a more shadowy group like Anonymous. Anonymous is fine for leaking hacked documents, but would you trust them with your leak?


The sad history of Wikileaks is this, as I understand it:

DBB created Wikileaks, Assange has nothing to do with it. At some point, Assange commited the crime of believing he should have unitary control of the data. In response, DBB stole it from Assange's unitary control via an encryption key neccesary to read the data which was not in Asssange's unitary control. DBB created a much better organization, Openleaks. Later, DBB unitarily decided he controls the data and deleted it.

This action by DBB proves organizations like what DBB was creating with Wikileaks can't work. Thus it was proven that Assange is a lazy sham artist.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 7:02 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rather than simply leak out the materials they hold them in a backlog to release them at a time that maxmizes their political agenda.

Before Cablegate, WL received a lot of criticism — a lot of harsh criticism here on Metafilter, no less — for leaking materials without editorial oversight. Now that they leak info more gradually and with a review process, they still get criticism. Poor guys just can't win either way, it seems.

But the editors at every news outlet make choices about what parts of the story to release, when, and in what way (e.g., deciding on what page to print said article). For example, the NYT will certainly hold a story if it maximizes the outcome of their business and editorial goals.

WL is doing nothing different in this respect, except that they have a particular agenda with aspects that are in some major respects orthogonal and antithetical to those of the New York Times and other corporate media outlets.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:15 PM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Speaking of leaks and whistleblowers, 60 minutes did a piece about Thomas Drake tonight: The Espionage Act: Why Tom Drake was indicted
posted by homunculus at 10:34 PM on August 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Assange has been talking about leaks for a very long time before DDB got involved. Assange made himself the lightning rod, inspired the leakers, etc. All these other leaks sites are really Assange's legacy.

There has been debate over how influential DDB was, but no outsiders really know. You might even argue the Tor project was more important than any individual software developer working for wikileaks.

There are now numerous leaks sites that've taken over from wikileaks.org, but openleaks.org isn't afaik among them. Instead, all the new leaks sites have selected wikileaks original 'get the information out and damn the consequences' model, which ultimately sounds fairly stable. For example, leakymail.com has apparently leaked an enormous number of very personal emails, along with the emails showing government corruption.

American news outlets aren't interested so much in stories as building relationships with powerful people, i.e. the NYT only wants leakers who're already powerful and who're seeking to expand their personal power through a leak. There are of course reputable foreign papers interested in handling delicate leaks, like all the papers collaborating with wikileaks.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:42 PM on August 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


American news outlets aren't interested so much in stories as building relationships with powerful people, i.e. the NYT only wants leakers who're already powerful and who're seeking to expand their personal power through a leak.

A look through the Pulitzer prize winners of the last few years wold seem to contradict this assertion.
posted by humanfont at 12:29 AM on August 22, 2011


Now that they leak info more gradually and with a review process, they still get criticism. Poor guys just can't win either way, it seems.

DDB had all the data and controlled the software. They haven't leaked anything since the cables.

I think the sharing with newspapers and using the newspaper's staff to redact and make sure no one will get hurt makes sense.

I do very much dislike the leaking of diplomatic cables, however. Good advice and information can't be given if somone is looking over your shoulder.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:13 AM on August 22, 2011


Ironmouth : Wikileaks has released the Gitmo files this year. And cablegate is definitely still ongoing, although perhaps the good stuff has been picked over by now.

humanfont : There have been some articles posted in leaks threads here talking about why Obama has cracked down on whistle blowers, for good or ill, which end up making that indictment of American journalism. Btw, you cannot refute a broad statement about the average behavior of an industry by looking only at the best-of-the-best, obviously. And there are several recent Pulitzer Prizes that might fit that indictment anyways. I never claimed that self promoting leaks were tainted somehow, merely that American journalism now favors them. Btw, only American publishers are eligible for the Pulitzer Prize.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:45 AM on August 22, 2011


Is there a link to the original interview where DDB asserted he deleted the materials. WL seems to be driving this story, but there don't seem to be any statements from DDB on this.
posted by humanfont at 8:07 AM on August 22, 2011


I donno, the top wlcentral.org article on Daniel Domscheit-Berg, and the activepolitic.com link, ostensibly provide a link to the very short original at Der Spiegel (German), which looks like their whole article according to images of the print version.
posted by jeffburdges at 9:21 AM on August 22, 2011


Ironmouth : Wikileaks has released the Gitmo files this year. And cablegate is definitely still ongoing, although perhaps the good stuff has been picked over by now.

maybe I got confused between not taking any more submissions and releasing information. They've probably got some left over, but it was my understanding that DDB was the technical brains behind the operation and that once he left and took the keys with him, wikileaks stopped taking in leaks, due to no database operations.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:26 AM on August 22, 2011


From the Der Spigel Link:
Der frühere WikiLeaks-Sprecher Daniel Domscheit-Berg hat nach eigenen Angaben mehr als 3500 unveröffentlichte Dateien zerstört, die von unbekannten Informanten eingesandt worden waren und nun offenbar unwiderruflich verloren sind.
It says he deleted more than 3500 documents. Zerstoren means destroy. The documents are apparently "irrevocably lost" according to the article.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:32 AM on August 22, 2011




I've seen various contradictory claims about DDB's importance, which basically boil down to : He was important enough to be featured in the documentary.

Assange has personally done meaningful open source work in cryptography. DDB isn't known for anything aside from his wikileaks works plus being kicked out of CCC for pissing off Assange. Was that for marrying a Microsofty, destroying these documents, or whatever? We don't know.

Assange hasn't said the files are destroyed himself. Assange looks too paranoid to trust DDB with everything too. Startups are always crazy though. Did DDB handle all the tech side while Assange handled the public? We don't know.


We do know : DDB's OpenLeaks cannot be trusted based upon his personal life and Assange's criticism. You might still leak through OpenLeaks of course, but only after well shielding your identity.

We also know : There is now an army of other leaks sites you might consider if your leak doesn't require redaction. And there are well respected foreign papers like El Pais, Le Monde, and Der Spiegel that're probably willing and able to handle an interesting delicate leak and now more well known for that ability.

We lack leaks sites willing & able to handle any size and delicacy of leak, but fundamentally the creation of an array non-redacting leaks sites is a positive thing, attributable primarily to Assange's flamboyant pseudo-maryerdom.


If Assange or DDB really wish to contribute going forward, they should write some documents on "How to leak a secret" and "How to organize a leaksite", hold speaking engagements on these topics, etc. Wasn't the whole point to create a culture of leaking?
posted by jeffburdges at 11:19 AM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


Rivest, Shamir, Tauman. How to leak a secret. Proceedings of ...: Advances in Cryptography. 2001. (pdf)
Ain't exactly what I meant, but hey nice title guys.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:24 AM on August 22, 2011 [1 favorite]


jeffburdges your comment seemed to imply that leaking to various American news outlets was somehow less reliable/trustable than leaking to Wikileaks. I think the best strategy for a leaker is to post their materials to various outlets, this will ensure broad dissemination of materials. The key is for the technology to be distributed to news organizations that allows for these kind of anonymous drop boxes and TOR like technology make it difficult to trace the transaction.
posted by humanfont at 12:11 PM on August 22, 2011


You should trust that the journalist won't be actively trying to expose you, which might prove impossible with the NYT and WaPo. Ain't completely trivial to use Tor properly. Everyone makes mistakes. etc.

There might be many leaks that consist of simply quietly advising a FOIA request, ala "Ask about medical records of gitmo detainees. I doubt anyone will realize you're after psychological drugs they're giving em'." Any such leak obviously requires an American journalists, civil rights groups, etc.

Yet, there are obviously many leakers who should seek out journalists outside their own country for various reasons. You know, there is $30 million available under the U.S. Dep't of State's Internet Freedom Programs for creating WikiLeaks-like projects targeting China.

Btw, there might even be stylistic concerns with seemingly less dangerous papers, like MotherJones' tendency towards distraction, lefty-dog-whislte derail, etc.

posted by jeffburdges at 9:28 PM on August 22, 2011














There has been some massacre by U.S. forces revieled by a recently released cable (mefi).
posted by jeffburdges at 7:24 PM on September 1, 2011


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