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Julian Assange Turns Himself In
December 7, 2010 7:58 AM   Subscribe

Julian Assange has been arrested after turning himself in in london. He has been refused bail by the court and has been remanded to custody until at least the 14th of December. Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden on charges that he committed an offense called "Sex by surprise." He has vowed to fight extradition.
posted by orville sash (1279 comments total) 51 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'm now seriously concerned about his safety.
posted by carter at 7:59 AM on December 7, 2010 [16 favorites]


Wow, he got duped hard. They gave him the ole "C'mon in, we'll have your hearing real quick, and then you can go!" and then chucked him in a cage.

Why do I get the feeling that some "rogue inmate" is going to do something awful to him?
posted by rollbiz at 8:01 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Julian Assange Killed In Shocking Escape Attempt
posted by theodolite at 8:02 AM on December 7, 2010 [30 favorites]


> Why do I get the feeling that some "rogue inmate" is going to do something awful to him?

He'll be kept in solitary, most likely.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:03 AM on December 7, 2010


But others say Assange, who denies any wrongdoing and says the sex was consensual, may have just run afoul of Sweden's unusual rape laws, which are considered pro-feminist because of the consideration given issues of consent when it comes to sexual activity -- including even the issue of whether a condom was used. [...]The New York Times today quoted accounts given by the women to police and friends as saying Assange "did not comply with her appeals to stop when (the condom) was no longer in use."

Oh, issues of consent! Those crazy Swedes! Why should anyone care about that! What bizarre laws that consider sex without consent to be rape! The poor guy!
posted by shakespeherian at 8:04 AM on December 7, 2010 [41 favorites]


Why do I get the feeling that some "rogue inmate" is going to do something awful to him?

I don't know, seems to me he'd be pretty popular in prison (and I don't mean that sarcasticaly). Though I can imagine a situation where a spy visits a gang member and offers a deal.

I hope that whatever his insurance is, that it's good stuff.
posted by empath at 8:04 AM on December 7, 2010


I'm hearing different stories about what exactly he was charged with.
Also:
Assange refused bail because of nomadic life, refusal to give address and no record of his entry to the UK
posted by memebake at 8:06 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, issues of consent! Those crazy Swedes! Why should anyone care about that! What bizarre laws that consider sex without consent to be rape! The poor guy!

You know, ordinarily I'd agree with you, but considering the man's enemies, I think skepticism is reasonable. There isn't a government on earth who wouldn't want to see him dead.
posted by empath at 8:06 AM on December 7, 2010 [37 favorites]


What's the deal with his encrypted "insurance" file...some sites say it has to do with BP and/or Guantanamo Bay.

Isn't there a hacker somewhere good enough to crack the code?
posted by morganannie at 8:06 AM on December 7, 2010


The live updates from the Guardian are pulling together analysis, raw video/audio, and related events.

As of today, the financial system has almost completely blocked the public from showing their support for Wikileaks through donations. Paypal, Mastercard, and as of today Visa have cut them off from their donors.

Assange's editorial in the Australian is also worth a read.

This show of force from the combined government and financial system to silence a media outlet is unprecedented, isn't it?
posted by anthill at 8:07 AM on December 7, 2010 [113 favorites]


Why again does wikileaks have a spokesperson?
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:07 AM on December 7, 2010 [18 favorites]


He'll be kept in solitary, most likely.

I don't know, seems to me he'd be pretty popular in prison (and I don't mean that sarcasticaly).


Well, both of these things should be true, but I can't shake the feeling that

I can imagine a situation where a spy visits a gang member and offers a deal.

is easily as likely.
posted by rollbiz at 8:07 AM on December 7, 2010


Updates at WL Central
posted by finite at 8:07 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]



True, one of Assange's accusers sounds tailor-made for those who think Assange is being set up in Sweden by dark CIA-backed operatives who want him smeared or silenced for his document dumping with WikiLeaks. She's a 31-year-old blond academic and member of the Social Democratic Party who's known for her radical feminist views, once wrote a treatise on how to take revenge against men and was once thrown out of Cuba for subversive activities.


This author of this article really seems to want to blame his accuser and let him off the hook.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:10 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


One of the most interesting things about Cablegate has been reading the various pieces of "journalism" and trying to determine who is on the payroll of the C.I.A.
posted by mecran01 at 8:11 AM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


Why again does wikileaks have a spokesperson?
In the end, someone must be responsible to the public and only a leadership that is willing to be publicly courageous can genuinely suggest that sources take risks for the greater good.
posted by memebake at 8:11 AM on December 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


Isn't there a hacker somewhere good enough to crack the code?

It can be bruteforced, given enough time. Like millions of years.
posted by empath at 8:11 AM on December 7, 2010 [14 favorites]


How does Wikileaks have so much money?
posted by morganannie at 8:11 AM on December 7, 2010


I don't know, seems to me he'd be pretty popular in prison (and I don't mean that sarcasticaly).

I'm pretty sure this will be true. People in prison tend to love anyone who has a dig at authority. Like the guys who throw the screws off the landings, for example. Nobody goes around tut-tutting and saying what a dreadful thing.

Well, maybe the occasional Conservative politician who happens to be serving some time, but they're an exception to the rule.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:11 AM on December 7, 2010


Why again does wikileaks have a spokesperson?

People keep texting her to change what she says. Anyone can do it. It's easy, fun, fast and free!
posted by inturnaround at 8:12 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


How does Wikileaks have so much money?

Wikileaks used to accept donations. Paypal, Visa, Mastercard have all refused to accept donations for Wikileaks at the present.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:13 AM on December 7, 2010


Apparently: Judge waxed long on lack of evidence
posted by memebake at 8:13 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh, issues of consent! Those crazy Swedes! Why should anyone care about that! What bizarre laws that consider sex without consent to be rape! The poor guy!

Dirty tricks by US agents, almost certainly - the number of so-called leftists hanging Assange out to dry over this, allowing themselves to be so easily manipulated, is sickening.

See: COINTELPRO.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:14 AM on December 7, 2010 [18 favorites]


I read a great explanation of the amount of time and energy it would take to bruteforce the Wikileaks file, and it was on the order of millions of years. Anyone remember it? I think I may have read it here.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:14 AM on December 7, 2010


The fourth charge accused Assange of having sex with a second woman, Miss W, on 17 August without a condom while she was asleep at her Stockholm home.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:14 AM on December 7, 2010


Seems like Assange should have either denied the charges more vehemently (saved his public image) or stepped down from Wikileaks (saved the organization). Either he is arrogant, or he wants to be martyred.
posted by hyperizer at 8:14 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


She's a 31-year-old blond academic and member of the Social Democratic Party who's known for her radical feminist views, once wrote a treatise on how to take revenge against men and was once thrown out of Cuba for subversive activities.

I don't understand why they mentioned she's blonde. Why would that matter? What does her hair color have to do with anything?
posted by anniecat at 8:15 AM on December 7, 2010 [50 favorites]


This must be the first time ever that a charge like that (punishment if found guilty - 700 Euro fine) has led to a 'Red Warrant' being issued by Interpol. It is hugely suspicious and troubling.
posted by Flashman at 8:15 AM on December 7, 2010 [53 favorites]


hyperizer: How could he have denied the charges any more vehemently than he has?
posted by memebake at 8:15 AM on December 7, 2010


It can be bruteforced, given enough time. Like millions of years.

At which time, the revelations contained within will undermine public support for American troops in Afghanistan - where they will still be.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:15 AM on December 7, 2010 [53 favorites]


reports on Twitter that the three "sexual integrity" charges are "one unsafe sex, one sex while sleeping, one uninvited tackle rub."

Well now that is interesting.
posted by kingbenny at 8:16 AM on December 7, 2010


> Seems like Assange should have either denied the charges more vehemently (saved his public image) or stepped down from Wikileaks (saved the organization).

How much do you know about any of the inner workings of these cases or WikiLeaks, though? He flatly denied the charges many times. Should he scream?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:16 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


"It's not rape if you yell 'Surprise'?"
posted by BobFrapples at 8:16 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


This show of force from the combined government and financial system to silence a media outlet is unprecedented, isn't it?

I don't recall the last time a media outlet was accused of rape though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:16 AM on December 7, 2010


And yet Andy Dick remains free.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:17 AM on December 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


Here come the leftist whacko conspiracy theories. If only they were true. This is actually probably just playing into Assange's Stay-Puft-sized ego. He gets to be in the news for months and months longer now.
posted by shivohum at 8:17 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


How does Wikileaks have so much money?

Jemima Khan, heiress of part of the Goldsmith fortune, offered to pay some of his bail.
posted by memebake at 8:17 AM on December 7, 2010


"Whatever 'sex by surprise' is, it's only a offense in Sweden -- not in the U.K. or the U.S. or even Ibiza," Stephens said. "I feel as if I'm in a surreal Swedish movie being threatened by bizarre trolls. The prosecutor has not asked to see Julian, never asked to interview him, and he hasn't been charged with anything. He's been told he's wanted for questioning, but he doesn't know the nature of the allegations against him."

Yes, those crazy, trollish Swedes and their wacky laws that nobody else has!
posted by blucevalo at 8:17 AM on December 7, 2010


I don't understand why they mentioned she's blonde. Why would that matter? What does her hair color have to do with anything?

It ups the "defiling" quotient.

Of course, blonde women are not difficult to find in Sweden.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:18 AM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


WNYC is reporting that the latest link is a list of sensitive U.S. targets.
I'm wondering how this release helps anything. I'm open to arguments, so don't just hate on me, please.
W/r/t his arrest, there's good reason to be suspicious. I want the guy to have due process. But how is he an agent for good in the above case?
posted by angrycat at 8:18 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


> Here come the leftist whacko conspiracy theories. If only they were true. This is actually probably just playing into Assange's Stay-Puft-sized ego. He gets to be in the news for months and months longer now.

I think you want the local newspaper site down the way for that kind of comment.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:18 AM on December 7, 2010 [24 favorites]


Even Pinochet got bail. (credit)
posted by Marla Singer at 8:18 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Isn't there a hacker somewhere good enough to crack the code?

There are no known vulnerabilities to AES256 that would offer up the cleartext inside.
As far as brute forcing it, if you built a computer that harnessed all of the power known in the entire universe, it probably would not spit out the cleartext before the universe ended.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:19 AM on December 7, 2010 [11 favorites]


Anyone who thinks this isn't a government/industry take-down is, quite frankly, stupid.
posted by jet_manifesto at 8:19 AM on December 7, 2010 [80 favorites]


Seems like Assange should have either denied the charges more vehemently (saved his public image)...

Assuming his innocence, if he can beat these charges within the scope of the law -- which, considering he has turned himself in, is his plan -- it will be hard to make anything else stick as this did. His public image will be secured as much as it can be as far as this sort of antagonistic prosecution is concerned. It's a hell of a gambit, but if he pulls it off, this sort of Al Capone-style capture is something he can avoid.
posted by griphus at 8:20 AM on December 7, 2010


There isn't a government on earth who wouldn't want to see him dead.
posted by empath at 8:06 AM on December 7


Dirty tricks by US agents, almost certainly - the number of so-called leftists hanging Assange out to dry over this, allowing themselves to be so easily manipulated, is sickening.

See: COINTELPRO.
posted by ryanshepard at 8:14 AM on December 7


If they were going to get him by some foul play, why haven't they already? The horses are out of the barn now.

Since Assange is a great proponent of the truth being exposed, he should be eager to respond to these multiple rape allegations in a court of law.
posted by knoyers at 8:20 AM on December 7, 2010


Since Assange is a great proponent of the truth being exposed, he should be eager to respond to these multiple rape allegations in a court of law.

I know! What is he thinking! He should totally turn himself in or something!
posted by enn at 8:20 AM on December 7, 2010 [70 favorites]


>Seems like Assange should have either denied the charges more vehemently (saved his public image) or stepped down from Wikileaks (saved the organization). Either he is arrogant, or he wants to be martyred.

Or he is arrogant and is trying to divert attention while Wikileaks is getting ready to leak secrets of a major financial institution.

But I agree, world is prettier in black and white.
posted by mooselini at 8:21 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Well, if you're keeping track of 'journalists' who may have conflicts of interest, Anderson Cooper used to work for the CIA.
posted by anthill at 8:21 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]



I don't understand why they mentioned she's blonde. Why would that matter? What does her hair color have to do with anything?


For the same reason they mention her political views, her attitudes toward feminism, and her treatise on "revenge against men."
The author is trying to discredit her.
posted by Stagger Lee at 8:21 AM on December 7, 2010 [28 favorites]


Part of the confusion seems to be that he's been charged with several things, some not serious, some more serious.
posted by memebake at 8:21 AM on December 7, 2010


The other part of the confusion seems to be that the list of what he is charged with seems to change pretty much hourly.
posted by enn at 8:22 AM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


Also, worth considering: Geoffrey Robertson to defend Assange
posted by memebake at 8:22 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Charles Arthur, the Guardian's technology editor, points out that while MasterCard and Visa have cut WikiLeaks off you can still use those cards to donate to overtly racist organisations such as the Knights Party, which is supported by the Ku Klux Klan.

The Ku Klux Klan website directs users to a site called Christian Concepts. It takes Visa and MasterCard donations for users willing to state that they are "white and not of racially mixed descent. I am not married to a non-white. I do not date non-whites nor do I have non-white dependents. I believe in the ideals of western Christian civilisation and profess my belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God."

posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:23 AM on December 7, 2010 [150 favorites]


enn: I think we'll get a proper list soon, its just that different tweets from the hearing are going viral separately at the moment.
posted by memebake at 8:23 AM on December 7, 2010


Why again does wikileaks have a spokesperson?

Because it provides one target instead of many - if Assanage goes down, then there will be a new "face" for Wikileaks, hopefully as charismatic, and he or she will then be the target for a neverending barrage of character assasination, dirty tricks and prosecutorial misconduct, or even physical harm. It's a pretty smart strategy to protect the rest of the organization's staff - its enemies will ignore the little fish to make an example of the "big fish", and Wikileaks will take advantage of this to continue to do what it does.

Assanage, at this point, is a decoy - and a damn good one.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:25 AM on December 7, 2010 [19 favorites]


Isn't there a hacker somewhere good enough to crack the code?

Private-key encryption is more or less mathematically impossible to break, unless you have a vague idea of what's inside the cleartext (which is one of the ways that we managed to break the Enigma, as the Germans had the habit of padding every transmission with the effective equivalent of "Hello" and "Goodbye").

Otherwise, provided with the right cipher, the "Insurance" file may very well decrypt itself to the complete works of Shakespeare (even if that wasn't necessarily what was in the original file).
posted by schmod at 8:26 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Daily Mail published an interesting account of what is supposed to have happened in Sweden.
Of some interest to the free world might be the following as pointed out by Charles Arthur, the Guardian's technology editor... while MasterCard and Visa have cut WikiLeaks off you can still use those cards to donate to overtly racist organisations such as the Knights Party, which is supported by the Ku Klux Klan.
The Ku Klux Klan website directs users to a site called Christian Concepts. It takes Visa and MasterCard donations for users willing to state that they are "white and not of racially mixed descent. I am not married to a non-white. I do not date non-whites nor do I have non-white dependents. I believe in the ideals of western Christian civilisation and profess my belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God."
posted by adamvasco at 8:26 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Glenn Greenwald on the Arrest of Julian Assange and the U.S. "War on WikiLeaks"
posted by homunculus at 8:27 AM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


ahh on preview the elf has similar thoughts to myself.
posted by adamvasco at 8:28 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


It would be great if the "insurance file" contained documents showing how he was being set up by the intelligence community.
posted by fake at 8:28 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


"It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and you will atone! Am I getting through to you, Mr. Assange?"
posted by AugieAugustus at 8:29 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


One things for sure, this will make a great Oliver Stone film one day.
posted by memebake at 8:29 AM on December 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


One things for sure, this will make a great Oliver Stone film one day.

Only if this is all somehow about Vietnam.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:31 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I know! What is he thinking! He should totally turn himself in or something!
posted by enn at 8:20 AM on December 7 [!]


Of course I mean that Assange should be fine with due process in Sweden
posted by knoyers at 8:32 AM on December 7, 2010


Otherwise, provided with the right cipher, the "Insurance" file may very well decrypt itself to the complete works of Shakespeare (even if that wasn't necessarily what was in the original file).

Assange has talked about 'rubber hose proof' decryption that has multiple cleartexts, one of which you can give up under torture, while still protecting the other. Of course the down sound of announcing that you have such a thing is that now they have no reason to ever stop torturing you.
posted by empath at 8:33 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


"It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. That is the natural order of things today. That is the atomic and subatomic and galactic structure of things today! And you have meddled with the primal forces of nature, and you will atone! Am I getting through to you, Mr. Assange?"
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:33 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


(err.. down SIDE)
posted by empath at 8:33 AM on December 7, 2010


anthill: "As of today, the financial system has almost completely blocked the public from showing their support for Wikileaks through donations. Paypal, Mastercard, and as of today Visa have cut them off from their donors."

Last I knew, WikiLeaks accepted donations in cash or equivalents.
posted by mkb at 8:34 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


>     Isn't there a hacker somewhere good enough to crack the code?
It can be bruteforced, given enough time. Like millions of years.


The contents are not re-ordered, are they? Which means if the files are CSV's of ASCII text (which seems to be what they use a lot) then there's a chance common English words will be found in the first few hundred bytes. This makes the contents more predictable at a byte by byte level than an audio or video stream. So it seems you only need to chop off the first 100 KB and drill into that.

I know AES256 is a hell of a strong scheme and my knowledge of this is probably rather amateurish, but surely this couldn't preclude a shortcut or workaround of some type for analyzing the file. If there's any truth in this, perhaps the powers that be know what's in it already. However I also suspect that they don't care, and that bottling up a rogue element right now is more important for their long-term security than being held hostage by an enigmatic and arguably dubious insurance file.
posted by crapmatic at 8:35 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's a question: would a legitimate journalistic organization ever create a "doomsday file" called "insurance" that would be leaked if said organization were to be attacked? Of course not. Let's dispense with the nonsensical idea that Assange is a crusading journalist. He's an activist with an anti-American agenda, and each time he releases a cable with information on US critical infrastructure, he makes himself that much more of a legitimate target.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:35 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


if Assanage goes down, then there will be a new "face" for Wikileaks

I don't think that's necessarily true. I think everyone pretty much knows who & what Wikileaks is now (to the extent they can, anyway), so in that sense Assange has already served his purpose. As long as they have a website, they can publish their views; they don't need a face anymore. Anyway, they can keep Assange as a face regardless of circumstances. If he is eventually released, then his position as editor-in-chief remains the same, and if not his face becomes that of a martyr. Works either way for Wikileaks.
posted by Marla Singer at 8:36 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Assange has talked about 'rubber hose proof' decryption that has multiple cleartexts, one of which you can give up under torture, while still protecting the other.

Assange was actually writing the software to do that.
posted by ryoshu at 8:36 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Only if this is all somehow about Vietnam.

Assange was conceived to the Zapruder film.

"Back, and to the left. Back, and to the left. Back, and to the left."
posted by griphus at 8:36 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Anyone who thinks this isn't a government/industry take-down is, quite frankly, stupid.
posted by jet_manifesto at 11:19 AM on December 7 [1 favorite +] [!]


And here I was reserving judgment because nobody had yet had an opportunity to hear from the people who are pressing charges, or hear what the actual evidence was against Assange (who presumably doesn't deny that he had some sort of intimate contact with these women at the time). But your well-reasoned argument carries the day: Duuuhhh, I'm stooopid!

The other part of the confusion seems to be that the list of what he is charged with seems to change pretty much hourly.
posted by enn at 11:22 AM on December 7 [+] [!]


I think you mean the half-assed reporting of the charges seems to change hourly. As far as I know the charges themselves haven't changed more than once.
posted by pardonyou? at 8:37 AM on December 7, 2010 [12 favorites]


Anyone who thinks this isn't a government/industry take-down is, quite frankly, stupid.

I am skeptical of both the prosecution motives in going after Assange and Assange's own motives in pursuing a such reckless course with WikiLeaks -- but ad hominem attacks on those with opinions that differ from your own seem pretty counterproductive to me. ("No! If you don't believe then you're a poo-poo-head!!")
posted by aught at 8:38 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


There is a "war" going on. Wiki account in Swiss bank closed down...now how often does that happen and what causes it to happen? And so hackers close down the bank itself!
then Paypal closes out his account...why?
a huge bunch of hackers then open sites to keep the material flowing.
Now Assange threatens release of devestating materials if harm comes to him, saying it is automatic and set up...and so on...hackers and those believing in what WikiLeaks doing help out; govt and its minions attack.
posted by Postroad at 8:38 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I doubt anyone will see him alive and free again. He'll be extradicted to Sweden on the shady 'rape' charge to give the US enough time to come up with a way to charge him for the cable leaks, or declare him an enemy combatant and demand Sweden turn him over. After that, who knows, but he won't come back out.

Else they'll just find him hanging in his cell one day very soon, he committed "suicide" because of the unbearable stress.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:38 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


"white and not of racially mixed descent. I am not married to a non-white. I do not date non-whites nor do I have non-white dependents. I believe in the ideals of western Christian civilisation and profess my belief in Jesus Christ as the son of God."

That's funny, seeing as Jesus himself couldn't be part of their club.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:38 AM on December 7, 2010 [24 favorites]


He's an activist with an anti-American agenda, and each time he releases a cable with information on US critical infrastructure, he makes himself that much more of a legitimate target.

Perhaps you can arrange to have him subjected to "enhanced interrogation".

You would be saving lives after all, yes?
posted by Joe Beese at 8:38 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


I think you mean the half-assed reporting of the charges seems to change hourly. As far as I know the charges themselves haven't changed more than once.

How can we tell, other than through the half-assed reporting? Is there a list published by the Swedish prosecutor somewhere?
posted by enn at 8:39 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: One uninvited tackle rub
posted by symbioid at 8:39 AM on December 7, 2010 [11 favorites]


I expect the UK authorities will extradite him to the US more or less on demand.
posted by Segundus at 8:39 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, those crazy, trollish Swedes and their wacky laws that nobody else has!

Years ago I heard that Sweden has some law where in ads you can't show a woman's head as being lower than a man's. So in sexy ads, they either have to show the woman on top or I guess they have to look like they're having sex standing up.
posted by anniecat at 8:39 AM on December 7, 2010


would a legitimate journalistic organization ever create a "doomsday file" called "insurance"

If they thought that they might be extraordinary-renditioned to syria for exposing embarrassing or illegal acts, seems rational. We have an essentially non-judicial system for foreign nationals now.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 8:40 AM on December 7, 2010 [12 favorites]


Here's a question: would a legitimate journalistic organization ever create a "doomsday file" called "insurance" that would be leaked if said organization were to be attacked?

I don't know - how many people are calling for the execution of the head of this journalistic organization? Specifically, I should mention, for the crime of pointing out their own unprosecuted wrongdoings, done from a place of power? Of not allowing them to keep secret the fact that they are pretty much throatfucking the American people and troops with no remorse?

'Cause that would change my answer.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:40 AM on December 7, 2010 [39 favorites]


I bet Julian's ringtone is Gimme Shelter.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:40 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


This show of force from the combined government and financial system to silence a media outlet is unprecedented, isn't it?

And really, really disturbing, much more so than the character assassination and trumped-up charges that any activist history would lead you to expect. The capricious exercise of censor's authority by Amazon, Paypal, Mastercard, and Visa, as Greenwald said on Democracy Now, pretty much puts paid to the net-utopian idea of distributed organizing as somehow easier or more effective than conventional in-person politics. It's easy enough to use the Internet as a means of organizing and fundraising until you become genuinely controversial — but at that point, it appears, you have to expect the infrastructure to disappear at any moment, as decided by corporate authority without law or appeal. Perhaps it's the modern equivalent of prosecuting radicals for using the mails to distribute "subversive" literature, but more immediately destructive in its effects and less subject to legal remedies — because all the infrastructure is privately owned, and all the hosting/payment/service contracts are crafted to allow the providing corporations to back out for almost any reason.
posted by RogerB at 8:41 AM on December 7, 2010 [124 favorites]


As far as I know the charges themselves haven't changed more than once.

That's because there are no charges. It's an interrogation warrant.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 8:42 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can't Assange be a fearless warrior for the people's freedom, targeted by the evil oligarchy who wants him silenced, and a scumbag rapist?
posted by Zozo at 8:43 AM on December 7, 2010 [52 favorites]


Here's a question: would a legitimate journalistic organization ever create a "doomsday file" called "insurance" that would be leaked if said organization were to be attacked? Of course not. Let's dispense with the nonsensical idea that Assange is a crusading journalist. He's an activist with an anti-American agenda, and each time he releases a cable with information on US critical infrastructure, he makes himself that much more of a legitimate target.

Real journalists used to seek the same types of information that Assange is releasing. If the US had a functioning jounalist professions willing to seek the truth rather than function solely as propoganda mouthpieces, there never would've been a need for Assange or wikileaks. Assange is a legitmate "target" only if the the "anti-American agenda" is defined as "truth telling".

Add "truth" as another noun that America is now at war with.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:44 AM on December 7, 2010 [27 favorites]


Let's dispense with the nonsensical idea that Assange is a crusading journalist. He's an activist with an anti-American agenda

No true journalist would harm American interests
posted by dng at 8:44 AM on December 7, 2010 [28 favorites]


Assange has apparently forced his opponents to act fairly hastily, apparently by announcing the next leak will bring down a major U.S. financial institution. I wonder what mistakes they'll make in their haste.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:46 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


I don't know, FAMOUS MONSTER, how many journalistic organizations were created out of a Unabomber-esque utopian vision to overthrow the American government, 'cause that would change my answer.
posted by BobbyVan at 8:47 AM on December 7, 2010


2bucksplus: "I read a great explanation of the amount of time and energy it would take to bruteforce the Wikileaks file, and it was on the order of millions of years. Anyone remember it? I think I may have read it here."

The filename implies that it's been encrypted with the AES algorithm using a 256 bit key. AES has no known weaknesses at this point in time, so the only way to decrypt it is to have some idea of what the plain text is and to brute force the key by trying every possible variation. 2 to the power 256 keys is a very, very large number. It's the kind of number that we mere humans have trouble getting our heads around. As one comparison, the number of stars in the universe is believed to be around 10 to the power 23. This is more than 200 orders of magnitude larger. If you could try a million keys a second, you still wouldn't be able to decrypt this file before the black hole at the centre of the galaxy evaporates through Hawking radiation. These are not numbers or time scales that we're really capable of comprehending!

mooselini: "Or he is arrogant and is trying to divert attention while Wikileaks is getting ready to leak secrets of a major financial institution."

If you want to get conspiratorial about it, the fact that the various Western governments did absolutely nothing concrete about Wikileaks (apart from complaining about it) until they threatened to reveal internal data from a major US bank is very telling. Cutting off all their sources of income and ready cash (VISA, Mastercard, Paypal, their Swiss bank account ) is completely in character with this interpretation. There's a strong case that all this has nothing to do with the security of government communications and everything to do with protecting the position of those who profit from the current financial system.
posted by pharm at 8:47 AM on December 7, 2010 [48 favorites]


Now Assange threatens release of devestating materials if harm comes to him, saying it is automatic and set up...and so on...hackers and those believing in what WikiLeaks doing help out; govt and its minions attack.

Why is it... that all conspiracy theories use... ellipses so much?

If there isn't a "law" like Godwin's or Murphy's, then there should be. And I'm claiming it to be named after me.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:47 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


Nouns that are enemies of America:

1971 - Drugs
1980s - "Liberal"
2001 - terror
2003ish - Christmas
2010 - truth
2014? - freedom?
2020? -thought?
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:49 AM on December 7, 2010 [11 favorites]


Publish huge amounts of sensitive U.S. gov't data; get some mild words of condemnation from the Secretary of State.

Threaten to publish data about a financial institution; arrested within the week.
posted by 2bucksplus at 8:49 AM on December 7, 2010 [116 favorites]


WNYC is reporting that the latest link is a list of sensitive U.S. targets.

No, they're worldwide infrastructure choke points that the US considers potential targets. It reads like a list of the bleedin' obvious.

Last I knew, WikiLeaks accepted donations in cash or equivalents.

Flattr was still taking donations, last I heard. Not sure if the Visa/MC clampdown affects them.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:50 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sad and fascinating how this issue inevitably becomes a referendum on peoples' thoughts about Assange's heroism or villainy. I don't find it particularly implausible that he did the things he's being charged with, and that they're being prosecuted far more aggressively because of the "war on WikiLeaks."

Sweden's laws about consent are definitely more rigorous than the US'; the charges, though, as they're presented right now, seem pretty straightforward. A woman had consensual sex with Assange on the condition that he wear a condom, the condom broke, and he didn't stop when she asked. According to accounts, she didn't report the issue but when she later talked to another woman who had the same thing happen, she decided it was a pattern and reported it as non-consensual sex. i.e., rape.

Whether the accounts are true or not is for the courts to decide. Whether or not the case would have been prosecuted so aggressively had he been some schlub visiting Sweden from abroad is pretty obvious. But after the initial round of "Well, THAT'S convenient..." we all had a few months ago, it seems that there's no need to spin up tales of CIA schemes or dirty government tricks for the underlying accusations. They're true or not true, and given the participants it's not unbelievable.

What's troubling, though, again, is how the true/false nature of the charges against him in Sweden are turned into a place to play out the 'WikiLeaks: Good Or Bad?' argument over and over. It's inevitable, I suppose, but I liked to think better of MetaFilter.
posted by verb at 8:50 AM on December 7, 2010 [35 favorites]


Can't Assange be a fearless warrior for the people's freedom, targeted by the evil oligarchy who wants him silenced, and a scumbag rapist?

Excellent point. You know, I fear that there may be something to the rape charges; I'm not willing to dismiss them out of hand. The outrageous thing, however, is that Assange is being punished as if he were an international terrorist when no such charges have been filed against him, and the treatment he's getting as a person only wanted for questioning about a rape is way, way out of proportion and totally unprecedented.
posted by Marla Singer at 8:50 AM on December 7, 2010 [58 favorites]


Private-key encryption is more or less mathematically impossible to break, unless you have a vague idea of what's inside the cleartext

No, not even then. All modern crypto algorithms are designed to withstand known-plaintext attacks.
posted by ymgve at 8:51 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Can't Assange be a fearless warrior for the people's freedom, targeted by the evil oligarchy who wants him silenced, and a scumbag rapist?

Sure. Just as Roman Polanski can be a gifted film director and a scumbag rapist.

And I know that "presumption of innocence" is pre-9/11 thinking.

But does this not seem to you suspciously well-timed for Assange's enemies? Very suspiciously well-timed?

Or do you also believe that you're the prize-winning 10,000th visitor to the web site?
posted by Joe Beese at 8:51 AM on December 7, 2010 [12 favorites]


What about poor Bradley Manning? Won't someone think of him?
posted by fixedgear at 8:51 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


FWIW, I think he can be quite guilty of whatever it is he is being charged with, and that this is also clearly a take-down. And yes, the word 'stupid' is inflammatory. I apologize.
posted by jet_manifesto at 8:52 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


.
posted by pla at 8:53 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm fairly disgusted that because I take accusations of rape seriously I am now accused of being naive, stupid, or having no claim to concerns of freedom or liberalism.
posted by shakespeherian at 8:54 AM on December 7, 2010 [20 favorites]


What about poor Bradley Manning? Won't someone think of him?

Bradley Manning defense fund.

Donate here instead of to Obama's reelection effort. At least until it's shut down.
posted by T.D. Strange at 8:54 AM on December 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


GLENN GREENWALD: Well, I just want to underscore how alarming everything is that you just described, both in that report and in your earlier one, which is, whatever you think of WikiLeaks, they’ve never been charged with a crime, let alone indicted or convicted. And yet, look at what has happened to them. They’ve been essentially removed from the internet, not just through a denial of service attacks that are very sophisticated, but through political pressure applied to numerous countries. Their funds have been frozen, including funds donated by people around the world for his—for Julian Assange’s defense fund and for WikiLeaks’s defense fund. They’ve had their access to all kinds of accounts cut off. Leading politicians and media figures have called for their assassination, their murder, to be labeled a terrorist organization.

What’s really going on here is a war over control of the internet and whether or not the internet can actually serve what a lot of people hoped its ultimate purpose was, which was to allow citizens to band together and democratize the checks on the world’s most powerful factions. That’s what this really is about. It’s why you see Western government, totally lawlessly, waging what can only be described as a war on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange outside the bounds of any constraints, because that’s what really is at stake here. If they want to prosecute them, they should go to court and do it through legal means.


And Postroad is correct - it looks like western governments have learned absolutely nothing from 10 years of futile fights by copyright industry, and have now decided to go all in on the wager that they can stop the people of the world from sharing information with each other. So, we and they are about to find out who actually runs the internet

I'm getting popcorn
posted by crayz at 8:55 AM on December 7, 2010 [54 favorites]


I don't know, FAMOUS MONSTER, how many journalistic organizations were created out of a Unabomber-esque utopian vision to overthrow the American government, 'cause that would change my answer.

Good question! None that I can see, although I don't equate "forcing the US government to govern transparently and stop fucking the people they're supposed to be serving" with "overthrowing the US government." Your mileage, as they say, may vary.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:56 AM on December 7, 2010 [21 favorites]


WNYC is reporting that the latest link is a list of sensitive U.S. targets.
I'm wondering how this release helps anything. I'm open to arguments, so don't just hate on me, please.
W/r/t his arrest, there's good reason to be suspicious. I want the guy to have due process. But how is he an agent for good in the above case?


As the list includes Canadian targets, it was covered on my local news last night. Not a single target came as any surprise (pipelines, nuclear power facilities, a bridge, etc - large pieces of infrastructure that strike me, at least, as being highly obvious targets to anyone). The "surprise," as I pointed out to my wife, was that the list is largely the same collection of targets as discussed far and wide in the media shortly after 9/11. Now, however, there is apparently something sinister about discussing it. The more alarming thing to me is that this list of targets is obvious, but nothing has been done to address their vulnerabilities. (sorry if I'm coming across poorly here, my snideness is not aimed at you, but rather our media and its apparent inability to have an adult discussion about anything anymore).

In terms of Assange, I don't know what to think of the man. He comes across as arrogant, and I'm beginning to think that WikiLeaks is overly tied to his identity...if WikiLeaks wants to be considered part of the press, then it needs to be bigger than him, and his actions should not be a referendum on WikiLeaks being "good" or "bad".

I'm in favour of far more openness and transparency from our governments than we get, and I think WikiLeaks is a fascinating thing. Like all institutions/organizations/whatever it is, it could be a good thing or a bad thing - or both at the same time. To me, it is becoming another example of how poorly our societal discourse handles complexity, ambiguity, and wants everything to fit into a neat dichotomy. You're either a fan of WikiLeaks, or you aren't. You either think Assange is a hero, or he's a villain. I'm finding many things to both like and dislike about the whole WikiLeaks saga as it unfolds, and don't think we will ever have a nice simple box to put this in and declare it "good" or "bad". It's big, it's complex, it's developing in fascinating ways (like how swiftly major financial institutions are cutting ties in the absence of charges against anyone associated with WikiLeaks with anything to do with the release of information).

I guess what I want to say is that I think we need to look past Assange and WikiLeaks as being either agents of good or bad; they are agents of change. Our ability to share information has exploded like never before, and that (to me) is what this story is all about - the ramifications of that ability, and how we are going to deal with it.
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:56 AM on December 7, 2010 [21 favorites]


Until there's proof otherwise, I choose to believe that he's being held by Hugo Weaving and the doomsday file shuts off the Matrix.
posted by FunkyHelix at 8:56 AM on December 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


Bradley Manning defense fund

I would like to donate to this, but I am really suspicious of a defense fund that doesn't release how much money it has raised.
posted by enn at 8:56 AM on December 7, 2010


BobbyVan: strangely, in that blog post you cite 'To destroy this invisible government' is a quote attributed to Roosevelt and not Assange.
posted by memebake at 8:57 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Where can I donate to the "prosecute-Bradley-Manning-for-treason-and-if-convicted-execute-him" fund?
posted by BobbyVan at 8:57 AM on December 7, 2010


Of course I mean that Assange should be fine with due process in Sweden

Because once you're in the custody of the Swedish police, nothing stands in the way of due process. Or having your testicles electrocuted. One or the other, anyway.
posted by queen zixi at 8:57 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Of course, the CIA couldn't be involved in framing him, you know.
posted by gcbv at 8:57 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


We suspect his primary accuser Anna Ardin works for the CIA primarily because she's done human rights work in Cuba for a group linked to the CIA, eventually leading to Cuba deporting her.

There are many just & noble causes backed by the CIA, such as leading feminist Gloria Steinem's Ms. Magazine. Yes, they're not nearly so into cultural stuff now that we've won the Cold War, but I'd assume they still financially support civil rights work in Cuba. I'd therefore assume that Anna Ardin is exactly the sort of person the CIA would call upon to honeypot Assange.

To me, the question is simply : Will Sweden actually bring any charges against Assange? If so, she might need to commit perjury in Swedish court when asked about CIA involvement with her human rights work in Cuba.
posted by jeffburdges at 8:58 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm fairly disgusted that because I take accusations of rape seriously I am now accused of being naive, stupid, or having no claim to concerns of freedom or liberalism.

You're either with us or against us dude.
This shit is exactly why our political discourse is so fucked up these days.
posted by Threeway Handshake at 8:58 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Where can I donate to the "prosecute-Bradley-Manning-for-treason-and-if-convicted-execute-him" fund?

here you go.
posted by enn at 8:58 AM on December 7, 2010 [40 favorites]


Where can I donate to the "prosecute-Bradley-Manning-for-treason-and-if-convicted-execute-him" fund?

Just keep paying your taxes, asshole
posted by crayz at 8:58 AM on December 7, 2010 [41 favorites]


I would like to donate to this, but I am really suspicious of a defense fund that doesn't release how much money it has raised.

Whatever the real number is the answer would still be 'not enough.'
posted by fixedgear at 8:59 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sure. Just as Roman Polanski can be a gifted film director and a scumbag rapist.

Possible rapist Assange vs. convicted child rapist Polanski. Look at the difference between how they were treated and tell me this isn't about the rich and powerful feeling threatened.
posted by Marla Singer at 8:59 AM on December 7, 2010 [50 favorites]


I bet Julian's ringtone is Gimme Shelter.

Rape! Murder! It's just a split condom away...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:59 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


how many journalistic organizations were created out of a Unabomber-esque utopian vision to overthrow the American government

I think you need to actually read the paper sourced in your link.

To radically shift regime behavior we must think clearly and boldly for if we
have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed. We must
think beyond those who have gone before us, and discover technological changes
that embolden us with ways to act in which our forebears could not.

Firstly we must understand what aspect of government or neocorporatist
behavior we wish to change or remove. Secondly we must develop a way of
thinking about this behavior that is strong enough carry us through the mire of
politically distorted language, and into a position of clarity. Finally must use
these insights to inspire within us and others a course of ennobling, and effective
action.


He's talking about using technology to change the behavior of the government not overthrow it. Furthermore, given the Unabomber's views on technology your analogy is not very apt.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:00 AM on December 7, 2010 [20 favorites]


You'd be better off trying to trigger the 'automatic' release than brute forcing the encrption.
posted by zeoslap at 9:01 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whatever the real number is the answer would still be 'not enough.'

Oh, sure, I'm not saying I think they have too much money raised already, just that without any kind of financial reporting at all going on I'm a little skeptical that the money is actually going to Manning.
posted by enn at 9:01 AM on December 7, 2010


I can't tell you the number of times I was woken up in the middle of the night by my amorous now-ex-wife. Then, in the morning, to have her exclaim how I woke her up in the middle of the night.

Surprise! Jail.
posted by Xoebe at 9:02 AM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


Where can I donate to the "prosecute-Bradley-Manning-for-treason-and-if-convicted-execute-him" fund?

There's probably a link in a comments section at the local newspaper site down the way.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:02 AM on December 7, 2010


Assange, unfortunately, will be the first victim of the modern state and its demand to be above its own laws. If the survival of your government depends on its actions remaining secret, there's probably something seriously fucked up with your government.

The media are entirely compromised, and have been for the longest time. Notice how we're not talking about the US and it's under the table negotiations with small countries, basically telling them to toe the line or lose funding. We're not talking about the State Department lying through their smiling teeth about the coup in Honduras. We're not talking about the fact that we are selling billions of dollars in weapons and publicly supporting a nation that will not prosecute it's own citizens for funding the real terrorists around the world. We're talking about weak allegations of sexual misconduct, which if were aimed at an official ally on the United States, would barely make the news at all.

The interests of citizens have been forgotten in order to keep business as usual going around the world.
When we look at an authoritarian conspiracy as a whole, we see a system of interacting organs, a beast with arteries and veins whose blood may be thickened and slowed until it falls, stupefied; unable to sufficiently comprehend and control the forces in its environment.

Later we will see how new technology and insights into the psychological motivations of conspirators can give us practical methods for preventing or reducing important communication between authoritarian conspirators, foment strong resistance to authoritarian planning and create powerful incentives for more humane forms of governance.
-Julian Assange, 2006
Since Vietnam, our government has gotten much better at public relations. They realized that using non-mercenaries for genocide simply doesn't work, so they did away with the draft. They turned war into business, which bizarrely whitewashed what was once a duty into a job. They decided to bust down the doors to the third world by using complicated financial instruments and bribery and power politics instead of war, because it's far cheaper to convince one dictator to control his population than it is to invade. That's why we're still friends with Mubarak, Musharraf, the Saudi Royalty, and don't forget the premiers in China. As long as they at least work with us covertly on allowing our business interests access, we will stick to non-violent methods.

These cables expose all of that. Western diplomats are openly discussing starting war with China if they don't stick to the script. And for what? Access to the growth of the Chinese market? The only persons deplorable enough to potentially end civilization for increased profits are not your average citizens. They are business men who are already destroying the planet for their own personal gain. They even took the lessons of busting down the third world and proceeded to rob the American public with deregulation, predatory loans, and then managed to spend enough money to direct all of the anger at Wall St towards the only political entity that slightly opposed the power of the financial industry.

I'm afraid Assange's biggest crime has been placing far too much faith in western values. We have been living on top of corpses for hundreds of years and haven't noticed the smell. That will continue as long as the distractions of mindless entertainment and being overworked are present, which have replaced the racism and jingoism that became passé. The only thing that will cause us to react is a real reduction in our standards of living. As long as the governments and corporations continue to collude to tilt injustice to poor people we don't identify with, and hide that reality with their bullshit claims that they are above the laws of our nation, we won't mind adding his body to the pile if we get to keep our iPods. They will continue to tax our wealth to build war machines in case their conspiratorial diplomacy breaks down, and then send us to die for Freedom and God and Flag and Country to end the injustice of bad business.

Besides, I just heard on the news that he's just some crazy rapist.
posted by notion at 9:03 AM on December 7, 2010 [224 favorites]


memebake: I didn't think I was quoting that sentence, but here's what Assange does say. He hopes to cripple the American government from an informational standpoint, because "an authoritarian conspiracy that cannot think is powerless to preserve itself against the opponents it induces." Same thing.

And just like any number of legitimate media outlets who only want to inform the public. /sarcasm
posted by BobbyVan at 9:03 AM on December 7, 2010


He hopes to cripple the American government from an informational standpoint...

[citation needed]
posted by griphus at 9:05 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, we and they are about to find out who actually runs the internet

Considering the way the internet already works in China, the Australian government's website blacklist, and the way the net neutrality thing has been going lately, I'm not comforted by this thought.
posted by Marla Singer at 9:06 AM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


So, here we go - the wheels keep turning, it would seem.
posted by Evernix at 9:06 AM on December 7, 2010


shakespeherian : I'm fairly disgusted that because I take accusations of rape seriously I am now accused of being naive, stupid, or having no claim to concerns of freedom or liberalism.

I think we all take the accusation seriously - even irreverent ol' pla.

The problem here stems from the prayer-answering-miracle of convenience the charge carries for Assange's political enemies (which now means pretty much every government on the planet).

Add to that the peculiarities of Sweden's rape laws; the "colorful" writings of one of his accusers and her 2nd degree relation to a high ranking military commander in Afghanistan; The odds of the condom breaking twice and both women noticed before the end and asked both asked him to stop in the heat of the moment.

I think ZoZo has the right idea... He could have actually committed the crime while still going down primarily as a target of The Powers That Be. And all the peripheral BS here just distracts from the good WikiLeaks has done.
posted by pla at 9:06 AM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


My pet theory is that Mastercard and Visa didn't cave in to government pressure, they caved in to pressure from the banks.
posted by ymgve at 9:07 AM on December 7, 2010 [13 favorites]


Nouns that are enemies of America:

1971 - Drugs
1980s - "Liberal"
2001 - terror
2003ish - Christmas
2010 - truth


You're leaving out some of the big ones, however.

1964 - Poverty
1971 - Cancer
1990s - Crime
posted by hippybear at 9:07 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


griphus: see Assange's quote in this comment above.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:09 AM on December 7, 2010


He's talking about using technology to change the behavior of the government not overthrow it.

How's that working out?
posted by nomadicink at 9:10 AM on December 7, 2010


Re: the war/concerted effort of the powers that be.

brokep (peter sunde) of Pirate Bay fame, is working on an alternative DNS system called dot-p2p

I think what we're seeing, and I'm feeling, is a return to that sense of the net as an authentic frontier again. John Perry Barlow is right when he says this is a war. I had a dream last night about all this. It's haunting me, and I think it's really a big thing in a way that I can't quite put my finger on.

When I heard mastercard was suspending payments, I whipped out my Visa and donated 10 Euros to WL, and then today, I find out Visa is suspending. So I did it just in the nick of time.

Will I be on a list?

I'm afraid to torrent the database and the insurance file due to fears of tracking/DOS'ing against me, but I've already donated at this point, so... I most likely won't. But I think the future lies in decentralizing, not only the doman system, but also the provision (DPOS - distributed provision of services). P2P web-hosting may be the ultimate solution. I hope the hackers get their shit on this. And soon.

I have more to say, but that's just what I wanted to share now.
posted by symbioid at 9:10 AM on December 7, 2010 [14 favorites]


1992 - Murphy Brown
1996 - Beavis and Butthead
1999 - Doom
2003 - Dixie Chicks
posted by Threeway Handshake at 9:10 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


And all the peripheral BS here just distracts from the good WikiLeaks has done.

Which is why he should have stepped down when the charges were announced... but that would take his name out of the papers.

Count me as someone who wishes that all rape accusations got the attention that the accusations against Assange have. I don't doubt that there are ulterior motives both to the agencies who are pursuing these charges in an exceptional manner, and to those who tar the accusers with the damnable claim that they are radical leftists (you know, like Assange himself).
posted by muddgirl at 9:11 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


"an authoritarian conspiracy that cannot think is powerless to preserve itself against the opponents it induces."

Ummm you know the opponents he is referring to are not al Qaeda, but in fact the voting public who hopefully being informed its government's actions will change the people in charge of the government. Releasing information not normally available to the public is theoretically supposed to accomplish two goals: 1)paralyze the communication pathways of the conspiratorial class thereby making it easier to oppose and 2) inform the public who now aware of the truth has an easier time of getting rid of the paralyzed conspiracy.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:11 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


If they were going to get him by some foul play, why haven't they already?

Uh, they have. That's the argument, anyway.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:12 AM on December 7, 2010


I don't see anything about crippling the American government at all, BobbyVan. What I do see is a call for transparency of administrative-centered motives to the citizens the government (ruled by the administration) exists to protect and resistance against the use of official privacy channels for benefiting said administrations over the government's citizens.
posted by griphus at 9:14 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


those who tar the accusers with the damnable claim that they are radical leftists (you know, like Assange himself)

That's an odd way to look at it. Assange certainly isn't a leftist of any stripe; in that recent interview where he talked about leaking the bank documents (I can't recall the name of the magazine offhand) he described himself as a free-market libertarian. And I don't think the people who think his accuser works for the CIA is saying that she's a leftist, either.
posted by enn at 9:14 AM on December 7, 2010


How's that working out?

Time will tell but either way I wasn't commenting on the viability of success vs. failure, but rather responding to BobbyVan's point.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:14 AM on December 7, 2010


If it were just a charge of rape against somebody, I'd be less suspicious. But rape charges have a long and disgusting history in being used to violently enforce the status quo. I remain as suspicious of this as I would be of a group of white men in the south in 1919 claiming that a black man had raped a white woman.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:15 AM on December 7, 2010 [39 favorites]


It's interesting to see liberals' innate tendencies towards feminism and anti-authoritarianism clash in this case (and I'm a liberal).

In any case, yes, it does not logically follow that since Assange is an enemy of Western governments, that his rape charge must be false. Of course, it is possible for him to be an iconoclastic hero and a scumbag rapist.

But when was the last time a scumbag rapist inspired an Interpol "red warrant" over what, under Swedish law, appears to be a misdemeanor or minor felony?

I mean seriously, Occam's Razor here, the choice is that Interpol suddenly found its feminist side and has decided to treat rape as the awful, manhunt-worthy crime that it is, or that this arrest is in retaliation for his harmful actions towards Western governments and corporations.
posted by downing street memo at 9:16 AM on December 7, 2010 [32 favorites]


Which is why he should have stepped down when the charges were announced

I'm going to be devil's advocate here- obviously Assange should be fairly tried and if he's found guilty let the fucker rot for what he did- but given the nature of the WikiLeaks story it's perfectly understandable, beyond ego issues, that Assange would not want to do anything that could be interpreted or spun as a "concession" to his opponents/accusers.

I find the "why didn't he resign" question strange in that it often comes from more progressively minded people who have, like myself, spent the past few years being incredibly frustrated when a Democratic or left-leaning public figure or official is forced to resign or step down because of the slightest hint of accusation from their opponents (for example, all the stupid shit James O'Keefe did.)
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:18 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


AElfwine Evenstar: please tell me how the voting public is better informed, so that we may change our government for the better, now that we have a list of global sites (targets?) deemed critical to US security by US diplomats?
posted by BobbyVan at 9:18 AM on December 7, 2010


The law is mostly a flimsy construct of non-evidence that pits society against the individual, and that mostly works because most accusations of harm are correct. The modern calibration of the law is simply applying the same standards to interest groups. So where in the past in a he-said-she-said crime, the law would favor men automatically, it moves towards the "progress" of favoring women automatically. Since the "evidence" is mostly fictional either way, it hardly matters which way (choose your preferred gender, based on self-interest or fashion).

So the rape charge is a perfect Chinese finger trap even if it's not true. By the standards of legal evidence it's true, and barring obvious stupidity on the part of the accuser, there is no real escape for the accused here.

Unfortunately there are no perverted Scotsman filming us when we have sex. One day perhaps Google and the TSA will combine their powers and save us from this injustice.
posted by dgaicun at 9:18 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


or that this arrest is in retaliation for his harmful actions towards Western governments and corporations.

That's just crazy talk we don't do retaliation. We are a society based on the rule of law and transparent governance.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:18 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I was a big supporter of Wikileaks' release of the helicopter shooting video from Iraq and the war documents in Afghanistan. Especially the Iraq shooting documents, where they exposed real abuses by the US military that should have been brought to life.

However, this latest release just seems like it's peeping for peeping's sake. There are no bombshells in the cables, and I don't think any person would seriously argue against a nation's right to have secure, private communications with its diplomatic corps around the world. Assange certainly violated the US's sovereignty by leaking these cables, without any real benefit in terms of exposing truly malevolent behavior.

I think the US has full right to prosecute him for this, to say nothing of Sweden's right to seek justice regarding the accusations of rape against him there.
posted by Aizkolari at 9:18 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


BobbyVan: "Where can I donate to the "prosecute-Bradley-Manning-for-treason-and-if-convicted-execute-him" fund?"

It's called taxes.
posted by symbioid at 9:19 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I mean seriously, Occam's Razor here, the choice is that Interpol suddenly found its feminist side and has decided to treat rape as the awful, manhunt-worthy crime that it is, or that this arrest is in retaliation for his harmful actions towards Western governments and corporations.

Couldn't the arrest be in retaliation for his harmful actions towards Western governments and corporations without the women involved being liars about sexual assault?
posted by shakespeherian at 9:19 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


to those who tar the accusers with the damnable claim that they are radical leftists (you know, like Assange himself).

I thought the claim was that they were CIA lackey imperialist running dogs running a false flag operation and Assange is the bunga bunga Berlusconi of the left?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 9:19 AM on December 7, 2010


How's that working out?

It looks like it's working as intended. Corporatists are being exposed as corporatists and authoritarians are being exposed as authoritarians.
posted by ryoshu at 9:20 AM on December 7, 2010 [12 favorites]


Couldn't the arrest be in retaliation for his harmful actions towards Western governments and corporations without the women involved being liars about sexual assault?

Please name one person who has said that this is not possible.
posted by enn at 9:20 AM on December 7, 2010


griphus, this is what I'm talking about:

Assange: "When we look at an authoritarian conspiracy as a whole, we see a system of interacting organs, a beast with arteries and veins whose blood may be thickened and slowed until it falls, stupefied; unable to sufficiently comprehend and control the forces in its environment."
posted by BobbyVan at 9:20 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


please tell me how the voting public is better informed, so that we may change our government for the better, now that we have a list of global sites (targets?) deemed critical to US security by US diplomats?

I was under the impression that there was lot more information released than just a list of targets.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:21 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


This show of force from the combined government and financial system to silence a media outlet is unprecedented, isn't it?

There are organizations like Hamas. Authorities haven't gone through the political hoops to ban Wikileaks as an organization yet though.... Surely it will come.

I'm pretty disgusted by the politically motivated policies at Amazon and Paypal/eBay in general. That the credit card companies are jumping on board is worse. However, it isn't that hard to write a cheque and mail it somewhere.

Actually, I thought the credit card system was more distributed.. The central Visa organization has banned the Toronto Dominion Bank's Visa department from processing payments for any organization named Wikileaks? Weird...
posted by Chuckles at 9:22 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Remember the Bush years? Remember prisoner rape, black sites, wiretapping? Heck, even the Apache video? Remember how nothing even *approaching* that level of importance is contained in these cables?

Why is everyone, on both sides, dancing around as though this is the biggest exposure of Government's darkest terriblest secrets? Did I dream that whole "torture" thing? Maybe this is the distortion of memory talking, but I don't remember it being this much of a shit show when any of the above came to light. For Abu Ghraib we got a bunch of photos of frowning politicians, pissed-off editorials in the NYT, and some slapped wrists. For this, we get Presidential candidates calling for executions and libertarians calling for the abolition of the concept of government confidentiality itself.

What the hell.
posted by saturday_morning at 9:23 AM on December 7, 2010 [29 favorites]


Please name one person who has said that this is not possible.

It's already a long thread.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:23 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


"When we look at an authoritarian conspiracy as a whole, we see a system of interacting organs, a beast with arteries and veins whose blood may be thickened and slowed until it falls, stupefied; unable to sufficiently comprehend and control the forces in its environment."

Okay - I'm just spitballing here but I think this may be the source of the conflict: What do you believe he means by authoritarian conspiracy?

I don't mean that rhetorically, I'm not doing the whole ask-question-as-argument thing, I am actually asking what you believe Julian Assange means when he says authoritarian conspiracy.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:23 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


"The west has fiscalised its basic power relationships through a web of contracts, loans, shareholdings, bank holdings and so on. In such an environment it is easy for speech to be 'free' because a change in political will rarely leads to any change in these basic instruments. Western speech, as something that rarely has any effect on power, is, like badgers and birds, free. In states like China, there is pervasive censorship, because speech still has power and power is scared of it. We should always look at censorship as an economic signal that reveals the potential power of speech in that jurisdiction. The attacks against us by the US point to a great hope, speech powerful enough to break the fiscal blockade." - Julian Assange
posted by jeffburdges at 9:23 AM on December 7, 2010 [38 favorites]


Couldn't the arrest be in retaliation for his harmful actions towards Western governments and corporations without the women involved being liars about sexual assault?

Of course, but if the arrest is under false pretenses, doesn't it shed pretty serious suspicion on the original charges themselves?
posted by downing street memo at 9:24 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


griphus, this is what I'm talking about

I'm still not how you get "overthrow the American government" out of that sentence, without assuming his motive beforehand.
posted by griphus at 9:25 AM on December 7, 2010


However, this latest release just seems like it's peeping for peeping's sake. There are no bombshells in the cables

Seriously?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:25 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


BobbyVan, Assange is talking about crippling authoritarian conspiracies. If your government isn't involved in authoritarian conspiracies then his suggested methods shouldn't be a problem. If your government is involved in authoritarian conspiracies, maybe it should stop.
posted by ryoshu at 9:25 AM on December 7, 2010 [14 favorites]


When we look at an authoritarian conspiracy as a whole, we see a system of interacting organs, a beast with arteries and veins whose blood may be thickened and slowed until it falls, stupefied; unable to sufficiently comprehend and control the forces in its environment.

So now your equating "authoritarian conspiracy" with the U.S. government? Assange surely doesn't. He is pretty clear what he means when he uses the term and it doesn't include the entire system of government but rather a "conspiratorial class" which manipulates the organs of democracy towards its own ends.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:25 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I guess we can debate whether or not you call them "bombshells" but those are all pretty damn significant.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:26 AM on December 7, 2010


For Abu Ghraib we got a bunch of photos of frowning politicians, pissed-off editorials in the NYT, and some slapped wrists. For this, we get Presidential candidates calling for executions and libertarians calling for the abolition of the concept of government confidentiality itself.

Chris Floyd:
One final observation: it is remarkable that the WikiLeaks release of diplomatic cables has provoked a far more virulent and draconian reaction from government officials -- and from their craven sycophants in the mainstream media -- than we ever saw after the earlier releases about Iraq and Afghanistan. Yet many of those Terror War releases provided detailed, eyewitness accounts of horrific acts of murder, brutality, and depraved indifference toward the slaughter of innocent people. It seems the American elite are more outraged at being caught in various diplomatic faux pas than being shown to be perpetrators and facilitators of murder, repression and state terror. That's because they know that their cowed and passive subjects -- continually stoked with the hatred and fear of foreign demons -- don't care how many darkies get killed on the other side of the world. And so the Terror War leaks occasioned no more than a few days of Beltway bluster.

But the new releases put a bit of a crimp in business as usual for our backroom operators, exposing some of the rank hypocrisy and all-pervasive corruption of our great and good -- and of their clients and partners around the world. All this might -- just might -- give the rabble unseemly notions ... such as the idea that their interests are perhaps not being served all that well by a system run by and for a handful of liars, tyrants, killers and thieves. We can't have that.

And so Julian Assange is now being hounded -- perhaps to his eventual death -- not for revealing war crimes and atrocities, but for showing us a glimpse of our leaders as they really are: stupid, vain, petty and savage.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:28 AM on December 7, 2010 [48 favorites]


The media are entirely compromised, and have been for the longest time.

And this Assange affair is excellent proof thereof, even for those of us who can't agree on whether he's a rapist/hero/traitor/hero rapist (one who rapes and is also a hero)/hero rapist (one who rapes heroes) etc. etc.

Watch the ABC/CBS/NBC news accounts of the latest Assange developments. In addition to the shadowy photos of Assange looking shifty (although, to be fair, he seems to just have one of those naturally shifty faces), you'll get some of the most unabashedly opinionated "reporting" since we still cared about Osama bin Laden.

Just yesterday I saw a "news report" in which the reporter was referring to a specific Wikileak and wondered aloud "just what purpose leaking this information at this time could serve." If that report had been an FPP post, it would've been deleted for editorializing.

Had he been convicted of the rape, some of this might be understandable without attributing it to the corpocracy—not excusable, certainly, but understandable. That he hasn't even been charged yet tells us that the rampant media distortion can only be understood in the context of the corpocracy. There's plenty of sexual predators to go around, but few get to be the next bin Laden as Assange has.
posted by AugieAugustus at 9:28 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


Of course, but if the arrest is under false pretenses, doesn't it shed pretty serious suspicion on the original charges themselves?

Not really. It's much more likely that his increasing media spotlight led to a frantic sort of "for fuck's sake, just find something we can arrest him for."

To be clear: I have no reason to doubt that the charges are true. I do think it's odd that Interpol put out a red notice on someone for them. That's the sketchy part - not that he was arrested for them but that Interpol gives a shit when historically this isn't something they usually care about.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:28 AM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


saturday_morning: So far, less than 1000 of the 250,000 cables have been released. That might have something to do with it.
posted by memebake at 9:28 AM on December 7, 2010


Orwell.
posted by effluvia at 9:28 AM on December 7, 2010


women involved being liars about sexual assault?

Are you saying it's impossible for women to lie about sexual assault? Not saying that it's the case, but not all women are saints, and money and power makes people do fucked up things.
posted by empath at 9:30 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


However, this latest release just seems like it's peeping for peeping's sake. There are no bombshells in the cables

Seriously?


From your link, there's only one item of the five that falls under the category of "US abusing its authority," namely the spying on UN reps. It's problematic if it's true, but a) try to convince me that China and Russia don't do the same, and b) would you really argue that that one revelation justifies Wikileaks in undermining the entire US diplomatic corps?
posted by saturday_morning at 9:30 AM on December 7, 2010


>Orwell

Zamyatin.
posted by mooselini at 9:30 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


That's an odd way to look at it. Assange certainly isn't a leftist of any stripe; in that recent interview where he talked about leaking the bank documents (I can't recall the name of the magazine offhand) he described himself as a free-market libertarian.

I should have been more precise - he is almost certainly a radical but his political philosophies are unclear. Wikipedia is unhelpful on any of his past that doesn't involve hacking - what was he doing in Sweden at the time of these incidents?

And I don't think the people who think his accuser works for the CIA is saying that she's a leftist, either.
She's a 31-year-old blond academic and member of the Social Democratic Party who's known for her radical feminist views, once wrote a treatise on how to take revenge against men and was once thrown out of Cuba for subversive activities.
From this very thread. Again, I should have been more precise: although the SDP is the largest party in Sweden, they would be considered radical leftists by American standards.
posted by muddgirl at 9:31 AM on December 7, 2010


try to convince me that China and Russia don't do the same

I bet they torture people, too! Fuck it, let's re-open Abu Ghraib if that's going to be the standard.
posted by enn at 9:31 AM on December 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


She's a 31-year-old blond academic and member of the Social Democratic Party who's known for her radical feminist views, once wrote a treatise on how to take revenge against men and was once thrown out of Cuba for subversive activities.

Wow - just, wow. I assume Dana Kennedy is referring to this, which has been making the rounds. Regardless of how you view the blog post in the context of the Assange allegation, the writer is lying about the nature of it. In the post she translates an eHow article titled How to Get Legal Revenge. It's hardly a treatise, she didn't write it (she translated/reposted it), and it doesn't specifically single out men. Unless someone can point out something else that the writer might possibly be referring to here, I'm going to assume Dana Kennedy is a liar and a joke.
posted by the other side at 9:31 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


I want to know if anyone is investigating the vast DDOS attacks against WikiLeaks that are being reported. That's a serious criminal offence, right?
posted by mr. strange at 9:32 AM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


[excreting-elephant.jpg]
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 9:32 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Zamyatin.

Wells.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:33 AM on December 7, 2010


It is infinitely harder to keep a secret than reveal it -- because to keep a secret you must contain all copies of that secret for all time, and revealing it requires merely a moment with just one copy. The interesting thing about WikiLeaks is the memetic vector it represents: the idea of releasing verifiable secrets on the internet. The more publicity WL receives, the wider this meme will spread and the more secrets will out.

As far as I'm concerned, this is the defining event of the decade. God DAMN it is exciting to be alive now.
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:33 AM on December 7, 2010 [39 favorites]


Furthermore, this is quite a radical statement of personal philosophy:
"...if we have learned anything, it is that regimes do not want to be changed. We must think beyond those who have gone before us and discover technological changes that embolden us with ways to act in which our forebears could not."
Not the words of a status-quo moderate or even a within-the-system liberal.
posted by muddgirl at 9:33 AM on December 7, 2010


There are many just & noble causes backed by the CIA, such as leading feminist Gloria Steinem's Ms. Magazine

Citation?
posted by jokeefe at 9:33 AM on December 7, 2010


One final observation: it is remarkable that the WikiLeaks release of diplomatic cables has provoked a far more virulent and draconian reaction from government officials -- and from their craven sycophants in the mainstream media -- than we ever saw after the earlier releases about Iraq and Afghanistan.

I think that is because torture and black sites were controversial even within the CIA and the military and that at some level, those releases were sanctioned, so the media felt relatively safe exposing it.
posted by empath at 9:34 AM on December 7, 2010


>Zamyatin.

Wells.


Are we travelling back in time?
posted by mooselini at 9:35 AM on December 7, 2010


although the SDP is the largest party in Sweden, they would be considered radical leftists by American standards

Richard Nixon would be considered a radical leftist by current American standards.

Creating a new government bureaucracy to defend the environment?
posted by Joe Beese at 9:35 AM on December 7, 2010 [26 favorites]


try to convince me that China and Russia don't do the same

I bet they torture people, too! Fuck it, let's re-open Abu Ghraib if that's going to be the standard.


That's not the point. The point is that the biggest bombshell of Cablegate isn't in the same league of evilness as Abu Ghraib, and that trying to paint the UN spying as something horrific that justifies the cable dump is deeply problematic.
posted by saturday_morning at 9:35 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


what was he doing in Sweden at the time of these incidents?

My understanding is that he was in Sweden attempting to qualify as a journalist under Swedish law in order to take advantage of its apparently strong legal protections for controversial journalism, although I can't find any details on that at the moment.

Again, I should have been more precise: although the SDP is the largest party in Sweden, they would be considered radical leftists by American standards.

Well, OK, I guess we're just using the terms differently. By that standard, David Cameron is a radical leftist. I don't think most people who are more informed than the average Glenn Beck viewer really see working to undermine the Cuban government on behalf of the CIA (which I'm not saying she in fact did, but that is the claim that is being used to discredit her) as radical leftist activity.
posted by enn at 9:36 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Are you saying it's impossible for women to lie about sexual assault?

No. I am saying that all too often, whether it's Kobe Bryant or Roman Polanski, important or popular or famous men get the 'Oh but it couldn't be true, someone's just out to get them!' or 'It's not a really big deal!' treatment when it comes to allegations of sexual assault.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:36 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


So far, less than 1000 of the 250,000 cables have been released. That might have something to do with it.

Well, several major newspapers do have access to all 250k, for what it's worth.
posted by saturday_morning at 9:38 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


For Abu Ghraib we got a bunch of photos of frowning politicians, pissed-off editorials in the NYT, and some slapped wrists. For this, we get Presidential candidates calling for executions and libertarians calling for the abolition of the concept of government confidentiality itself.

We still don't know half of what happened during that time. Much less what really happened behind closed doors in the run-up to the Iraq War, right before and after 9/11 and during the financial collapse / bailouts and the legislative/closed door lobbiest meetings leading to such, the list goes on and on.

The cables that have come out are not devastating to that level, but theyre suggestive that what led to that level of abuse is deliberate systemic process on the part of the US gov and various corporate partners. Wikileaks and Assange have been very, very good at self-promotion and hinting that they are in possession of the "bombshell" documents that will finally blow the lid off all the Iraq coverups, the bailouts, whatever you can imagine that they have in thier possession. Maybe they really have those documents that everyone thinks they might and are milking it for maximum impact on release, or maybe not. Maybe what theyre doing is trying to prove that they are a legitmate channel to release such documents to inspire potential whistleblowers in possession of such to entrust that information to the wikileaks network.

What they are doing without a doubt is challenging the official story if a very public manner, when very few others are. If they can sucessfully stand up to the collective forces of the Western oligarchy marshalled against them, others may see that it is possible and do the same. Or they'll be crushed in the fight and no one will ever speak up again, and it may lead to the end of the free internet in the process. We're about to find out.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:38 AM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


BobbyVan:

please tell me how the voting public is better informed, so that we may change our government for the better, now that we have a list of global sites (targets?) deemed critical to US security by US diplomats?

These are not GPS coordinates. This is an internal list of what the US considers valuable. There are no secret locations.

What we can use it for is to see why are behaving a certain way towards a certain country. If we are friendly to a dictatorship, look it up in the list. I guarantee you there is some economically useful infrastructure there, which we are allowed to access by that corrupt government. So, who is screwed by this secrecy? Everyone except the businesses and politicians who benefit from it. The American citizens are not given the choice of making their own alternative, heaven forbid creating higher paying US jobs. The populace under the thumb of the dictator is obviously getting the short end of the stick. Profits are high, because you have slave labor and no regulations.

It's the true dream of any red-blooded executive.

Markets and competition work only when there is real information. Obviously, when you take away the freedom of a populace to determine what they want to sell their national assets for, you are distorting the market pretty badly. It's not an accident that this always favors the colonialist power with the money, and the colonized government with the oppressive dictator.

Just imagine if China called up D.C., and said, "Give us wheat for x per bushel, or we will destroy your economy and/or invade." Is that something you don't want to know about?
posted by notion at 9:38 AM on December 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


Here is that interview with Assange where he talks about his politics a little bit:
It’s not correct to put me in any one philosophical or economic camp, because I’ve learned from many. But one is American libertarianism, market libertarianism. So as far as markets are concerned I’m a libertarian, but I have enough expertise in politics and history to understand that a free market ends up as monopoly unless you force them to be free.

WikiLeaks is designed to make capitalism more free and ethical.
posted by enn at 9:40 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


No. I am saying that all too often, whether it's Kobe Bryant or Roman Polanski, important or popular or famous men get the 'Oh but it couldn't be true, someone's just out to get them!' or 'It's not a really big deal!' treatment when it comes to allegations of sexual assault.

Now that you mention it, it is a little suspicious that those rape charges came right after Polanski directed the Oscar-willing Here Are A Shitload Of State Secrets.
posted by theodolite at 9:40 AM on December 7, 2010 [18 favorites]


from the guardian liveblog:
5.15pm: Ramping up his rhetoric on Fox News just now, Senator Joe Lieberman, the head of the Senate's Homeland Security committee, suggests that the New York Times and other news organisations using the WikiLeaks cables may also be investigated for breaking the US's espionage laws.

Lieberman told Fox News:

To me the New York Times has committed at least an act of bad citizenship, but whether they have committed a crime is a matter of discussion for the justice department.
the living document just died.
posted by Mach5 at 9:40 AM on December 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


The judge at the hearing was Howard Riddle. Googling him, it seems he's made some reasonable decisions in the past and reports of the hearing today say he was impressed by Assange securing the support of Ken Loach, Jemima Khan and John Pilger, and that he spoke for some time about the lack of evidence. Reports say that Assange was refused bail because he declined to give an address and there was no record of him entering the UK. That does kinda make sense, in a dull letter-of-the-law sort of way. I suspect this Judge may be more sympathetic than it at first seems.

There are going to be further bail requests according to Assange's lawyer, and some heavyweight QCs are joining Assange's team, so I have a hunch that in the next hearing things might go Assange's way a bit more.
posted by memebake at 9:43 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


> an act of bad citizenship

A bad citizen of a corrupt regime? Laughter.

In some history books, this is abbreviated "hero."
In others, "martyr."
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:43 AM on December 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


If Lieberman declaring war on a free press finally gets people to shut up about Nader costing Gore the election, it will be worth it.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:44 AM on December 7, 2010 [13 favorites]


.
posted by whimsicalnymph at 9:44 AM on December 7, 2010


Nouns that are enemies of America:

1971 - Drugs
1980s - "Liberal"
2001 - terror
2003ish - Christmas
2010 - truth

You're leaving out some of the big ones, however.

1964 - Poverty
1971 - Cancer
1990s - Crime


Only one of these wars was successful. Can you guess which one?
posted by dephlogisticated at 9:44 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is like a re-run of 'The Sweeney'.
posted by clavdivs at 9:45 AM on December 7, 2010


On page 5 of Assange's essay, he considers the US Democratic and Republican parties to be "broadly conspiratorial power groupings." I don't have definitive proof that Assange considers the US government to be an "authoritarian conspiracy," but my informed guess is that he does. Anyone is free to disagree with me, and I'd welcome evidence pointing in either direction.

In any case, it's clear to me that Assange is more revolutionary than journalist. That's OK if you agree with him (indeed, his supporters talk about storming the Bastille). But governments shouldn't treat journalists and revolutionaries the same way.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:46 AM on December 7, 2010


Here is a good article on the nature of the charges against him and the discourse around them.
posted by Stagger Lee at 9:46 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


However, it isn't that hard to write a cheque and mail it somewhere.

Actually, Australia Post has announced it will be shutting down the facility where Wikileaks' PO Box is on December 17. They deny any connection to current events. (credit to memebake for that info)
posted by Marla Singer at 9:46 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


broadly conspiratorial power groupings.

That is precisely what political parties are, by necessity.
posted by empath at 9:46 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


saturday_morning: Well, several major newspapers do have access to all 250k, for what it's worth.

Yeah I know. Given that, its possible that we've already heard all the most interesting stuff, but I'm guessing that none of the newspapers have really had time to properly search more than a fraction of the cables yet. Some of them are quite long documents and 250,000 is a huge number. There could be some really major stuff that hasn't come to light yet.
posted by memebake at 9:47 AM on December 7, 2010


Someday, this will make a great movie.
posted by sswiller at 9:47 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't imagine what could make it through the corporate media blast-wall. There will always be people out there to massage the narrative. If they could tart up prisoner rape, 80,000 avoidable deaths and no weapons of mass destruction, they can handle just about anything.
posted by bonobothegreat at 9:48 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


U.S. to Host World Press Freedom Day in 2011

New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals' right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information. We mark events such as World Press Freedom Day in the context of our enduring commitment to support and expand press freedom and the free flow of information in this digital age.
posted by The Mouthchew at 9:49 AM on December 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


No. I am saying that all too often, whether it's Kobe Bryant or Roman Polanski, important or popular or famous men get the 'Oh but it couldn't be true, someone's just out to get them!' or 'It's not a really big deal!' treatment when it comes to allegations of sexual assault.

shakespeherian, we can debate whether or not famous men tend to get away with sexual assault when and if: real evidence emerges that Assange committed some kind of sexual misconduct; and, despite the evidence, Assange escapes the charges scot-free and without be extradited to the U.S. or a U.S. black site.

If this sounds like "never" to you, you’ll understand why so many of us who take sexual assault charges seriously look at this particular situation askance.
posted by 2bucksplus at 9:49 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


'Full Disclosure' -- the WikiLeaks Movie We'd Like to See'
posted by clavdivs at 9:51 AM on December 7, 2010


Someday, this will make a great movie.

Julian Assange: The Last Traitor
Written, Produced and Directed by the Federal Administration of Propa Culture.
Sponsored by J.P. Fordman Sachs-Citibank

posted by griphus at 9:51 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


But others say Assange, who denies any wrongdoing and says the sex was consensual, may have just run afoul of Sweden's unusual rape laws, which are considered pro-feminist because of the consideration given issues of consent when it comes to sexual activity -- including even the issue of whether a condom was used. [...]The New York Times today quoted accounts given by the women to police and friends as saying Assange "did not comply with her appeals to stop when (the condom) was no longer in use."
Oh, issues of consent! Those crazy Swedes! Why should anyone care about that! What bizarre laws that consider sex without consent to be rape! The poor guy!
You know, ordinarily I'd agree with you, but considering the man's enemies, I think skepticism is reasonable. There isn't a government on earth who wouldn't want to see him dead.
(Sorry for the deep nesting, but I wanted to preserve context.)

These are two separate issues:

1) Sweden's laws are more comprehensive about determining that both parties consent to sex than the laws in many other places.

2) Assante is a political target. It is possible that he is being prosecuted on scant or fabricated evidence because of this.

Attacking Issue #1 out of concern regarding Issue #2 is a really suboptimal argument. The noxious point we're getting here is "this person I support is being faced with possibly spurious charges, therefore laws that respect women totally suck." If you think the charges are false, then the problem is that you think the charges are false not that having non-consensual sex shouldn't be seen as a bad thing.
posted by Karmakaze at 9:52 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm curious why they're releasing the full cable gate torrents as different torrent files. Anyone know?
posted by jeffburdges at 9:53 AM on December 7, 2010


No. I am saying that all too often, whether it's Kobe Bryant or Roman Polanski, important or popular or famous men get the 'Oh but it couldn't be true, someone's just out to get them!' or 'It's not a really big deal!' treatment when it comes to allegations of sexual assault.

Just speaking for me personally, I pretty much always believe the accuser. I can't actually think of a situation previously where I hadn't. I'm not decided on this one yet, but I think it's a strong possibility that this is a setup. I think maybe a 70% chance this is just a take down.
posted by empath at 9:53 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think Assange had a camera phone the whole time with him (during sex).
The guy is smart.
posted by clavdivs at 9:53 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some of them are quite long documents and 250,000 is a huge number. There could be some really major stuff that hasn't come to light yet.

There could be. I kind of hope there is, because if this whole crazy international manhunt ends up boiling down to the UN spying and a whole bunch of diplomatic open secrets (Arab leaders are duplicitous OMG!!!), my inner teenage anti-Bush protester will be very frustrated and sad indeed.
posted by saturday_morning at 9:53 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I don't have definitive proof that Assange considers the US government to be an "authoritarian conspiracy," but my informed guess is that he does. Anyone is free to disagree with me, and I'd welcome evidence pointing in either direction.

If you read the rest of the selection after the part you quoted you will find that he is referring to change taking place in a peaceful electoral context not a revolutionary one.

For example, remembering Lord Halifax’s words, let us consider two closely
balanced and broadly conspiratorial power groupings, the US Democratic and
Republican parties.

Consider what would happen if one of these parties gave up their mobile
phones, fax and email correspondence — let alone the computer systems which
manage their subscribes, donors, budgets, polling, call centres and direct mail
campaigns? They would immediately fall into an organizational stupor and lose to the
other.

posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:55 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


The point is that the biggest bombshell of Cablegate isn't in the same league of evilness as Abu Ghraib

The biggest bombshell of Cablegate is the response to Cablegate.
posted by hermitosis at 9:55 AM on December 7, 2010 [55 favorites]


From the Guardian:

With perfect timing an email arrives from Philip Crowley at the state department:

The United States is pleased to announce that it will host Unesco's World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, from 1-3 May in Washington, DC. The theme for next year's commemoration will be 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. The United States places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts.

New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals' right to freedom of expression.

At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information. We mark events such as World Press Freedom Day in the context of our enduring commitment to support and expand press freedom and the free flow of information in this digital age

posted by dng at 9:55 AM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


Isn't there a hacker somewhere good enough to crack the code?

Encryption does not work like on CSI.

Couldn't the arrest be in retaliation for his harmful actions towards Western governments and corporations without the women involved being liars about sexual assault?

The supporting evidence is pretty thin so far, though. Why would someone who feels she was raped (or at least taken advantage of) after a condom broke proceed to throw a party for the "scumbag rapist" the next evening, and tweet about having a blast hanging out with the world's coolest people there? The available facts in the media (if true) make the whole thing seem like postcoital regret, regardless of whether or not they were under governmental pressure. You can be against rape and still think these charges are pretty weak, just like with any alleged crime.
posted by chundo at 9:55 AM on December 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


notion: You don't need Wikileaks to tell you that the US government is friendly with certain nasty regimes because of our economic relationships. Learning about one particular cobalt refinery in Congo isn't going to change your perception of how we do business in Africa one way or the other.

It's the granularity of the information that matters. The voting public should be concerned with our overall strategy viz. the rest of the world, and not much in the Wikileaks cables has changed how we think about global strategy. (Well, except that Arab leaders want regime change in Iran...). But I'm not sure why we need to know about the anti-snake venom factory in Australia or the insulin plant in Denmark. That kind of information isn't very useful to the American public, but it could be very useful to America's enemies.
posted by BobbyVan at 9:56 AM on December 7, 2010


The biggest bombshell of Cablegate is the response to Cablegate.

Absolutely. Which is frustrating in its own way.
posted by saturday_morning at 9:57 AM on December 7, 2010


...all too often, whether it's Kobe Bryant or Roman Polanski, important or popular or famous men get the 'Oh but it couldn't be true, someone's just out to get them!' or 'It's not a really big deal!' treatment when it comes to allegations of sexual assault.

I'm not saying you're wrong, but this is so much bigger than "Someone's just out to get them!" that it's defies comprehension.
posted by hermitosis at 9:57 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


That kind of information isn't very useful to the American public, but it could be very useful to America's enemies.

To paraphrase Emma Goldman, America has all the enemies it deserves.

You'll notice that al Qaeda is not staging attacks on Belgium.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:01 AM on December 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


Ahem...
posted by proj at 10:02 AM on December 7, 2010


Ahem...

From your link:

'There was not yet a specific target for the plot,' according to the statement.

Other articles speculate that their target was an EU summit iin Brussels. I would consider this an attack aimed at the EU - not at Belgium.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:05 AM on December 7, 2010


Though now that I look it up, I see that Belgium has contributed soldiers to the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan.

So maybe they do hate Belgium.

How about Liechtenstein?
posted by Joe Beese at 10:07 AM on December 7, 2010


Joe can we not turn this thread into you making some kind of weird defense of Al Quaeda? Because that would be a stupid waste of time.
posted by empath at 10:09 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


...but it could be very useful to America's enemies.

Considering said enemies rely on terrorists tactics, I don't think they're going to get the response they want by blowing up an insulin plant rather than, say, a subway system.
posted by griphus at 10:10 AM on December 7, 2010


No. I am saying that all too often, whether it's Kobe Bryant or Roman Polanski, important or popular or famous men get the 'Oh but it couldn't be true, someone's just out to get them!' or 'It's not a really big deal!' treatment when it comes to allegations of sexual assault.

I have not seen anyone saying it's "not a big deal", but the circumstances are by no means cut and dried. Assange stayed at the first woman's house from August 11 to August 19th. The condom breaking event took place on August 14th. Ardin tweeted the day after that she was "hanging out with the smartest coolest people". She removed the tweet after she filed her complaint. She filed her complaint after she found out another woman was sleeping with Assange at the same time, when that woman called her house looking for him. The original complaint was dropped:

Sweden has cancelled an arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on accusations of rape and molestation.

The Swedish Prosecution Authority website said the chief prosecutor had come to the decision that Mr Assange was not suspected of rape but did not give any further explanation.


... and now is being revived, and has suddenly become a reason for Interpol to get involved. Now, I know that sexual molestation isn't always a black or white situation for the victim, but if you were feeling weird about a guy, why let him stay at your house for three more days? Why tweet about how great it was to hang out the day after the sexual assault? I don't think these things mean that Julian Assange did not continue having sex after a condom broke, but they do raise legitimate questions about the accuser's motivation, and the various government's use of the situation to put this man in prison, particularly after the complaints were dismissed once already. I think it's also unfair to characterize people bringing up these issues as people just blithely saying, "oh, it couldn't be true, because Assange is an important man!" People are bringing it up because there are many unanswered questions.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:12 AM on December 7, 2010 [29 favorites]


ugh, apostophe fail.
posted by oneirodynia at 10:13 AM on December 7, 2010


The supporting evidence is pretty thin so far, though. Why would someone who feels she was raped (or at least taken advantage of) after a condom broke proceed to throw a party for the "scumbag rapist" the next evening, and tweet about having a blast hanging out with the world's coolest people there?
Not to turn this into an Assange pile-on or anything, but in the face of a situation that you're uncertain about, suddenly calling off a planned event and going silent on social media can be a bit jarring. Sometimes, "stay calm and carry on" is what people fall back on while trying to process things.

It makes a legal case harder, certainly, but again -- we're talking about Swedish laws on consent, not American ones. "We had sex, I asked him to stop when the situation changed and he didn't stop" is a scenario that, if true, has a lot more room for ambiguous feelings than "he jumped me in an alley" or somesuch.
posted by verb at 10:13 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Interesting how the original Swedish prosecutor dismissed the charges due to lack of evidence; and that a different prosecutor then reinstated them after political pressure. Any one who fails to grasp that this is entirely political is being willfully obtuse.

Also, of course , now the dialogue is about the charges, and his character, instead of what has been revealed. Pretty convenient, that.

Here's what assange has to say ...

Don't shoot messenger for revealing uncomfortable truths


* Julian Assange * From: The Australian * December 08, 2010 12:00AM
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 10:14 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Joe Beese: You forgot to give credit to the hard working Belgian security services...
posted by BobbyVan at 10:14 AM on December 7, 2010


Why is everyone, on both sides, dancing around as though this is the biggest exposure of Government's darkest terriblest secrets?

Well, gee, I don't know. British citizens may consider their government promising to pervert the course of an inquiriy into Iraq to shield their American masters of concern, or the fourth in line for the throne trying to bully the police out of investigating his corrupt practises a bit concerning. The German fired from government when it turned out he was spying for the US was a bit of an unpleasant surprise, but probably nothing compared to hard evidence the US has been systematically bullying European governments out of investigating abuses of their citizens.

On the one hand:

If it were just a charge of rape against somebody, I'd be less suspicious. But rape charges have a long and disgusting history in being used to violently enforce the status quo. I remain as suspicious of this as I would be of a group of white men in the south in 1919 claiming that a black man had raped a white woman.

...yet on the other:

No. I am saying that all too often, whether it's Kobe Bryant or Roman Polanski, important or popular or famous men get the 'Oh but it couldn't be true, someone's just out to get them!' or 'It's not a really big deal!' treatment when it comes to allegations of sexual assault.

The accusation is certainly doing the job of keeping on the narrative of "why Assange is a very mean man", rather than why, say, the UK and Spanish government is promising to cripple its justice system to appease its US allies.
posted by rodgerd at 10:15 AM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


People seem to be ignoring the fact that it's not Wikileaks but a number of highly respected media organizations that have published the documents.
Yet for some reason it's Julian Assange, not Bill Keller who finds himself in shackles at the Old Bailey.
posted by Flashman at 10:17 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Good luck, Julian.
posted by flippant at 10:18 AM on December 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


Also, of course , now the dialogue is about the charges, and his character, instead of what has been revealed. Pretty convenient, that.

Well, that is the topic of the thread.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:19 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


The accusation is certainly doing the job of keeping on the narrative of "why Assange is a very mean man", rather than why, say, the UK and Spanish government is promising to cripple its justice system to appease its US allies.
I tend to see it the other way around: every time this case comes up, it turns into a heated discussion about Assange's evil/virtuous participation in wikileaks. And at least here on MeFi, the discussions of WikiLeaks focus pretty solidly on WikiLeaks itself, and Assange's actions as their spokesman.

Perhaps I'm in a bubble, but it seems like at least on MeFi the discussion of this case can't be divorced from peoples' feelings about Assange (pro or con) while other discussions of Assange and WikiLeaks rarely drift towards discussion of these charges.
posted by verb at 10:19 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Joe can we not turn this thread into you making some kind of weird defense of Al Quaeda? Because that would be a stupid waste of time.

I find it worthwhile, and quite revealing myself.
posted by BobbyVan at 10:20 AM on December 7, 2010


Encryption does not work like on CSI.

Well, nothing works like on CSI.

Historically there's been two fronts in codebreaking, hacking the algorithm and hacking the people using the algorithm. Since WWII, the algorithms have been largely unbreakable given perfect use. So codebreakers look for the human flaws: little old ladies "correcting" one-time-pad numbers to make them "more random," weak password selection, agents required to file too many routine reports, plaintext evidence left around, software flaws, stealing keys, or getting a person who has the key to do it for you.

If the "insurance" file is broken, it will be because someone with the key or the plaintext contents got sloppy with it. I have my doubts that Assange would use a weak password.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 10:22 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Everyone sure seems pretty convinced of the truth of their given speculations.
posted by edgeways at 10:25 AM on December 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


PareidoliaticBoy wrote:

Interesting how the original Swedish prosecutor dismissed the charges due to lack of evidence; and that a different prosecutor then reinstated them after political pressure.

This is interesting. Anybody have more info on this prosecutor shuffle?
posted by clavdivs at 10:27 AM on December 7, 2010


saturday_morning: would you really argue that that one revelation justifies Wikileaks in undermining the entire US diplomatic corps?

The relative values of "revelation" and "undermining" are up for dispute, but in general yes. Yes I would.
posted by Popular Ethics at 10:30 AM on December 7, 2010


hard evidence the US has been systematically bullying European governments out of investigating abuses of their citizens

Imagine if you will that 5 American citizens were imprisoned and tortured in China. And when federal courts attempted to prosecute the Chinese officials who authorized it, a high-ranking Chinese diplomat showed up to issue a vague but unmistakable warning that we would be economically punished if we tried. So the prosecution was called off.

Would learning about that qualify as a "bombshell"?

Or course, it's actually only Spanish citizens whose torturers were shielded from justice. You can't compare that to the importance of American lives or anything.

But you can see why the Spanish might get worked up about it.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:30 AM on December 7, 2010 [16 favorites]


Is Free Speech now 'Free as in Beer'?
posted by memebake at 10:32 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


You know what would be revealing, BobbyVan? If you addressed stuff like this:

If you read the rest of the selection after the part you quoted you will find that he is referring to change taking place in a peaceful electoral context not a revolutionary one.

instead of plowing along the same driveway. You've dug up all the gravel, and got down to the water table.
posted by setanor at 10:33 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


clavdivs: "Anybody have more info on this prosecutor shuffle?"

Here's a Guardian article from September.
posted by pharm at 10:33 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


/idealism

Happiness is when what you think, what you say, and what you do are in harmony.
Mahatma Gandhi

Nations should have no secrets. They should be open, honest, and say exactly what they believe, do, and intend.

Nations should not allow other large organizations to have secrets. The privacy of individual humans should be protected, but companies are not people. The financial and business dealings of non-human entities should be 100% transparent.

The citizens of such nations will respect, support, and love the honesty and integrity with which their leaders represent them.

Such nations will prosper and grow powerful. They shall fear no other nations because other nations are either: a) like them; prosperous, powerful, and peaceful, or b) corrupt, greedy, and weak.

These nations will have no need of secrets.

/idealism

Now of course, this cannot be achieved, it is just a dream. Dare I say that it is the dream that many hold in their hearts, secretly or otherwise, for this clumsy thing we call democracy? Regardless, great dreams can have an affect on reality, and make it a better place. They are worth struggling for.

How can a world like this, where governments are more honest and business is less corrupt, come about in a realistic way? It seems to me that Assange is on to something; and not just him, many thousands of thinkers, scientists, writers, artists, musicians, activists, and even yes a few politicians and business leaders. That the only way to improve our world, and our place on it and within it as the human race, as we move forward over the next few thousand years, is to start to be more accountable to each other. I believe that what we are seeing now, and Assange is just a tiny part of this picture, but a very visible one at this point in time, is just the beginning of enormous, profound, and sweeping changes that will alter the very fabric of human culture over the coming millenia. There will come a time soon when governments and businesses will have to make some real choices about whether to give up the stranglehold on informational power that they have exploited for millennia in the name of personal gain, or whether to convert to true, brutal police states. It's not there yet, but it will be within the next few hundred years, or perhaps even the next few decades.
posted by jet_manifesto at 10:34 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


PareidoliaticBoy wrote:

Interesting how the original Swedish prosecutor dismissed the charges due to lack of evidence; and that a different prosecutor then reinstated them after political pressure.

clavdivs: This is interesting. Anybody have more info on this prosecutor shuffle?


This info comes from Assange's lawyer, havent seen any other source for it as of yet, but maybe we will not that the legal skirmishes are properly starting.
posted by memebake at 10:35 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


or perhaps even the next few decades weeks.
posted by setanor at 10:35 AM on December 7, 2010


Ah, pharm quoted another source above
posted by memebake at 10:36 AM on December 7, 2010


I don't mean that rhetorically, I'm not doing the whole ask-question-as-argument thing, I am actually asking what you believe Julian Assange means when he says authoritarian conspiracy.

From the Website (And book by the same name) "Who Rules America?":
The Class-Domination Theory of Power

Who has predominant power in the United States? The short answer, from 1776 to the present, is: Those who have the money have the power. George Washington was one of the biggest landowners of his day; presidents in the late 19th century were close to the railroad interests; for the Bush family, it was oil and other natural resources, agribusiness, and finance. But to be more exact, those who own income-producing property -- corporations, real estate, and agribusinesses -- set the rules within which policy battles are waged.

While this may seem simple and/or obvious, the reasons behind it are complex. They involve an understanding of social classes, the role of experts, the two-party system, and the history of the country, especially Southern slavery. In terms of the big world-historical picture, and the Four Networks theory of power advocated on this site, money rules in America because there are no rival networks that grew up over a long and complex history:

* No big church, as in many countries in Europe
* No big government, as it took to survive as a nation-state in Europe
* No big military until after 1940 (which is not very long ago) to threaten to take over the government

So, the only power network of any consequence in the history of the United States has been the economic one, which under capitalism generates a business-owning class that hires workers and a working class, along with small businesses and skilled artisans who are self-employed, and a relatively small number of independent professionals like physicians. In this context, the key reason why gold can rule, i.e., why the business owners who hire workers can rule, is that the people who work in the factories and fields were divided from the outset into free and slave, white and black, and later into numerous immigrant ethnic groups as well, making it difficult for workers as a whole to unite politically to battle for higher wages and better social benefits...

I will try to demonstrate how rule by the wealthy few is possible despite free speech, regular elections, and organized opposition:

* "The rich" coalesce into a social upper class that has developed institutions by which the children of its members are socialized into an upper-class worldview, and newly wealthy people are assimilated.
* Members of this upper class control corporations, which have been the primary mechanisms for generating and holding wealth in the United States for upwards of 150 years now.
* There exists a network of nonprofit organizations through which members of the upper class and hired corporate leaders not yet in the upper class shape policy debates in the United States.
* Members of the upper class, with the help of their high-level employees in profit and nonprofit institutions, are able to dominate the federal government in Washington.
* The rich, and corporate leaders, nonetheless claim to be relatively powerless.
* Working people have less power than in many other democratic countries.
So yeah, the people the Republicans want to give all the tax breaks to, the fucking greed-head, debutante ball motherfuckers, those are the people who make the big bucks off of American being the arms dealer to the world, having our fucking military stationed all around the world to enforce our commercial empire, caused the fucking econopocalypse, and still have time to go shopping in Union Square.

This is class of people whose interests Wikileaks threaten. This is the class of people whom I believe JA means when he speaks of an "authoritarian conspiracy".

Which is why Wikileaks is on my side.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:36 AM on December 7, 2010 [87 favorites]


Where can I donate to the "prosecute-Bradley-Manning-for-treason-and-if-convicted-execute-him" fund?

It comes out of the military budget, so you can pay it back as interest on the debt.
posted by clarknova at 10:38 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Two things:

KirkJobSluder - 'If the "insurance" file is broken, it will be because someone with the key or the plaintext contents got sloppy with it. I have my doubts that Assange would use a weak password.'

On the other hand, it would not surprise me if JA has made the encryption of the insurnace file feasible for the US government to break. It only has its full impact as leverage if they can understand the contents and fear its outcoming. Without knowing its contents the power of the leverage is somewhat diminished.

What JA is doing is brinkmanship of the highest order. I wish him well and am heartened that Jemina Khan, Ken Loach and John Pilger are prepared to put their money where their mouth is in offering up substantial surety.

As to the allegations- this is very obviously an example of kompromat - the use of sexual allegations to denigrate a person perceived as a threat to the state. A fascinating point about kompromat is that being cleared of the allegations - as happens in virtually every case - doesn't help, as the blackening of reputation has taken effect.
posted by numberstation at 10:39 AM on December 7, 2010


Apparently the truth of the allegations also doesn't matter, eh?
posted by muddgirl at 10:41 AM on December 7, 2010


Or course, it's actually only Spanish citizens whose torturers were shielded from justice.

There was at least one German and one Canadian too.

This entire thing reminds me of an aspect of US justice that I've always found fascinating. In the US, ignorance of the law is no excuse for breaking the law. And right now the best legal minds and government prosecutors are trying to figure out if they can charge members of WikiLeaks with breaking the law. So even though a team of government lawyers isn't sure that WikiLeaks has broken any laws, the people who ostensibly broke the law should have known better. It's Kafka at his finest.
posted by ryoshu at 10:41 AM on December 7, 2010 [19 favorites]


Can't Assange be a fearless warrior for the people's freedom, targeted by the evil oligarchy who wants him silenced, and a scumbag rapist?

Don't be silly. Public figures must either be flawless heroes or unredeemable monsters.
posted by Kadin2048 at 10:41 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is class of people whose interests Wikileaks threaten.

I'm poor. Wikileaks is destructive more then constructive.
wikileaks is not on 'my side'.
posted by clavdivs at 10:41 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


The relative values of "revelation" and "undermining" are up for dispute, but in general yes. Yes I would.

Why?
posted by saturday_morning at 10:41 AM on December 7, 2010


As to the allegations- this is very obviously an example of kompromat - the use of sexual allegations to denigrate a person perceived as a threat to the state.

This still doesn't seem to resonate with some people. THIS IS ROUTINE - THIS IS NOT A BASKETBALL PLAYER OR A MOVIE DIRECTOR.
posted by setanor at 10:42 AM on December 7, 2010


setanor - sorry, but it's hard to respond to everything. 1) i never suggested that assange was directly advocating violent revolution. 2) the point of my quoting assange on "conspiracies" is to show that he uses that sort of terminology quite liberally -- so i presume that when he talks about "authoritarian conspiracies", the US government (or it's shadowy, mysterious, unidentified overlords) is included in that.
posted by BobbyVan at 10:42 AM on December 7, 2010


If the "insurance" file is broken, it will be because someone with the key or the plaintext contents got sloppy with it. I have my doubts that Assange would use a weak password.

Again, no. We could know the exact content of half the insurance file, and it wouldn't help one bit with figuring out what's in the rest. AES, as all modern ciphers, is made to resist these kinds of attacks.

That being said, I assume they've picked a relatively hard password, but still one that can be easily transmitted both over Twitter and orally. They might even have made the password "future-unsafe" - calculating that if Moore's law holds, the password will be bruteforceable in a couple of decades.
posted by ymgve at 10:42 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


There's a more detailed account of what went on in the hearing today up on the BBC site.
posted by memebake at 10:43 AM on December 7, 2010


shadowy, mysterious, unidentified overlords

The whole point here is that this is no longer so much shadowy or unidentified, so why couch it in LOLCONSPIRACYNUTBAG phrasing?
posted by setanor at 10:43 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Don't be silly. Public figures must either be flawless heroes or unredeemable monsters.

Yeah, its too complicated otherwise.
posted by memebake at 10:44 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just wanna point out again

At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information.

Finally, a good hearty laugh! And, just like that... it's gone.
posted by setanor at 10:45 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Wait a sec. Sorry to be dense, but didn't Assange say he'd release the insurance file if he was arrested? ...and wasn't he?
posted by saturday_morning at 10:45 AM on December 7, 2010


Yeah, but he turned himself in. I think he is still hoping this works out.
posted by empath at 10:46 AM on December 7, 2010


The file is out there, just not the key.
posted by fixedgear at 10:47 AM on December 7, 2010


How does one 'know' a condom broke during intercourse? Do you pull all the way out and check it every 5 thrusts or something?
posted by nomisxid at 10:47 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm poor. Wikileaks is destructive more then constructive.
wikileaks is not on 'my side'.


Don't you think it is a bit early in the ball game to judge what the long term ramifications of Wikileaks actions will be?

I find it worthwhile, and quite revealing myself.

Reavealing of what? That Joe Beese should be put on trial, and if found guilty should face the firing squad?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:48 AM on December 7, 2010


Ah, okay then. Thanks. Presumably that means he'd release it if he were to be convicted and sentenced to jail? That'd at least make jury selection interesting.
posted by saturday_morning at 10:48 AM on December 7, 2010


crapmatic: ...if the files are CSV's of ASCII text (which seems to be what they use a lot) then there's a chance common English words will be found in the first few hundred bytes. This makes the contents more predictable at a byte by byte level than an audio or video stream.
It's common to pass plain-text through some sort of data compression before encryption partly to interfere with that sort of analysis. I don't know what Wikileaks actually did, of course. The insurance file is reportedly encrypted with this open-source utility which does not appear to include integrated data compression.
posted by Western Infidels at 10:49 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


That Joe Beese should be put on trial, and if found guilty should face the firing squad?

Instead of a last cigarette, I will request a plate of beans.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:50 AM on December 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


The file is out there, just not the key.

Right, but he said the key would be released and the files published in the event of his arrest.
posted by saturday_morning at 10:51 AM on December 7, 2010


He said the key to decrypt the file would be released automatically if 'something happens to us' - which I think means more than just something happening to him. Sounds to me like they have some mechanism set up which will automatically release the keys if all of the core Wikileaks team are out of action.
posted by memebake at 10:51 AM on December 7, 2010


Wait a sec. Sorry to be dense, but didn't Assange say he'd release the insurance file if he was arrested? ...and wasn't he?

I can't recall him ever saying that. What I can recall (but can't find a cite for right now) is that Wikileaks said they would release the password if the integrity of the organization was seriously compromised. Having a single person arrested, even if that person is their public face, is not that kind of seriousness.
posted by ymgve at 10:52 AM on December 7, 2010


Instead of a last cigarette, I will request a plate of beans.

Served from the sliced open belly of a pony.
posted by setanor at 10:52 AM on December 7, 2010


apologies, this was posted to older thread - before I found this one; some of this info has already been noted in this thread

Anyone in Sweden? Anyone who can translate Swedish?

I have a friend online saying that Swedish blogs are buzzing. Some of the items going around: descriptions of the "crime" with

-- names and identities of the women: Anna Ardin and Sofia Walen ... Anna is spokesperson for something called the Christian Brotherhood, which was the organisation that invited Julian to Sweden.
-- background information: ... reported in August and immediately dismissed by the highest prosecutor in Sweden. Then a politician intervenes and reports the case not in Stockholm, but Göteborg ...
-- and discussions of extradition: ... Julian CAN be extradited to USA from Sweden, as long as they can guarantee that he will not get the death penalty, which is probably why he wants to stay in UK, Swedish laws must seem unfathomable for him.

The Swedes are upset?
All this gives a new meaning to date rape, feminism and Swedish Sin, and the poor Swedes are now the laughing stock of the world, and believe me, the Swedes find this utterly terrible, as I read from the blogs. And seems like they too are convinced that this is a set up, much like the rest of us are. - online chat
posted by Surfurrus at 10:52 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ha! From that Daily Fail article I just linked:

High-profile politicians in the U.S. including Sarah Palin, a narrow loser in the race to become the Republican presidential candidate in 2008, have suggested the computer programmer should be 'executed' for publishing leaked U.S. state secrets.

Choose your links carefully, friends.
posted by saturday_morning at 10:52 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


The insurance file is reportedly encrypted with this open-source utility which does not appear to include integrated data compression.

---

To say the least, we've been both humbled and impressed by the number of different users using AES Crypt.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:52 AM on December 7, 2010


I'd prefer to keep Joe Beese around as a warning to others

:)
posted by BobbyVan at 10:52 AM on December 7, 2010


Wait a sec. Sorry to be dense, but didn't Assange say he'd release the insurance file if he was arrested? ...and wasn't he?

Yeah, but you can't unexplode a bomb. Let's see how the extradition process goes and see what happens.

@clavdivs:
I'm poor. Wikileaks is destructive more then constructive.
wikileaks is not on 'my side'.


Given that the ruling class is not on your side either, the situation you describe sounds pretty dire. Best of luck with that.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:53 AM on December 7, 2010 [13 favorites]


I'm guessing it's something like "if nobody logs into the Wikileaks server for a week, the key gets spammed to Twitter, emailed to thousands of people, laser-carved into the moon, etc."
posted by theodolite at 10:55 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I never suggested that assange was directly advocating violent revolution.

Well you did say:

how many journalistic organizations were created out of a Unabomber-esque utopian vision to overthrow the American government

That seems to be suggesting just what you are claiming you didn't suggest.

the point of my quoting assange on "conspiracies" is to show that he uses that sort of terminology quite liberally

As evidenced by the part you didn't quote he is using it in a sense which does not support your assertions of him wanting to overthrow the U.S. government.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:56 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Sounds to me like they have some mechanism set up which will automatically release the keys if all of the core Wikileaks team are out of action.

In a different context, I was recently wondering how one could create such a mechanism using readily available methods.

Is there any way to have a blog post automatically submitted at a pre-set time? Or a URL that will only be delivered when the server determines a set time has past?
posted by Joe Beese at 10:56 AM on December 7, 2010


Our destructive tendency to focus "righteous ire" on personalities (i.e. Bush, Palin) over real problems has now led us to expend our energies discussing Julian Assange above everything else. This is at our peril.
posted by setanor at 10:57 AM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


thanks!
posted by clavdivs at 10:57 AM on December 7, 2010


Is there any way to have a blog post automatically submitted at a pre-set time?

I think it would be pretty simple to set up a script that says 'At 9am on 12/8/10 post this file to my Twitter' that you can then just make sure you go into every day to change the date for tomorrow.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:59 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Dead man's switch:

Software versions of dead man's switches are generally only used by people with technical expertise, and can serve several purposes; such as sending a notification to friends or deleting and encrypting data. The "non-event" triggering these can be almost anything, such as failing to log in for 7 consecutive days, not responding to an automated e-mail, ping, a GPS-enabled telephone not moving for a period of time, or merely failing to type a code within a few minutes of a computer's boot.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:02 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


<>Is there any way to have a blog post automatically submitted at a pre-set time?

You have a script distributed on a bunch of secret servers around the internet configured to send out the password to a mailing list automatically, and you have a process to check in daily. If you miss, say, 7 check-ins in a row, the password goes out.

There's a word for it, I think.. something like dead-man fuse, but that's not it.
posted by empath at 11:03 AM on December 7, 2010


I think it would be pretty simple to set up a script that says 'At 9am on 12/8/10 post this file to my Twitter' that you can then just make sure you go into every day to change the date for tomorrow.

If you were Twitter, would you restrict API access from certain IPs who have been posting to certain accounts? How would you be treated by those who fund you if you were the one to spread the key first?
posted by setanor at 11:03 AM on December 7, 2010


right, deadman switch.
posted by empath at 11:03 AM on December 7, 2010


Is there any way to have a blog post automatically submitted at a pre-set time? Or a URL that will only be delivered when the server determines a set time has past?

Yes, it's trivial. Assange is an old school hacker. His rubberhose cryptanalysis software seems to be the predecessor to TrueCrypt which makes the insurance file even more interesting. There could actually be multiple passwords to the file, each unlocking a different set of information. This is some serious cyberpunk shit.
posted by ryoshu at 11:05 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


It's okay, clavdivs. Just because you're not on their side doesn't mean they're not on your side.
posted by kipmanley at 11:10 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


A Swedish woman with ties the CIA through her association with anti-Castro Cuban terrorists in Florida invites Julian Assange to stay at her flat for over a week, has consensual sex with him, throws a party, tweets about how cool it is... and oops, all those tweets (which could be used as exculpatory evidence in court) are taken down.

Luckily, we have a screenshot, so she wasn't able to cover her tracks. And isn't a false accusation one of the 7 Step Program For Legal Revenge that she authored?

I can haz Swedish translation, plz?

It is no more anti-woman to say that SOME WOMEN falsely accuse men of rape than it is anti-man to say that SOME MEN commit rape. And the more of the time-line and sequence of events comes forth, the sketchier these charges sound.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:13 AM on December 7, 2010 [14 favorites]


right, deadman switch.
posted by empath
This thread is like 200 pianos in a tub sir.
I agree kipmanley, um, may your way be as well.

posted by clavdivs at 11:13 AM on December 7, 2010


AElfwine Evenstar: you're right that my language above was imprecise, in that it could lead to confusion. It would be more correct to say that Assange is motivated by a Unabomber-esque utopian vision to radically alter the American government (and, indeed, many governments around the world).
posted by BobbyVan at 11:13 AM on December 7, 2010


Unabomber-esque utopian vision to radically alter the American government

Is the Unabomber the only one with that vision or only the one with the most knee-jerk negative connotation?
posted by setanor at 11:17 AM on December 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


the Unabomber

The Unabomber was anti technology and bombed people to get his point across. Assange uses technology to peacefully get his point across. I don't think Unabomber means what you think it means.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:19 AM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


Regarding the class of people that Wikileaks threatens: see the documentary made by a young (21) Jamie Johnson, heir to the Johnson & Johnson fortune called Born Rich. He interviews his former prep school friends, his family, and the socialites he parties with at clubs where they order $700 bottles of champagne. Jamie is a socially minded lad, and he questions the fairness of the system that has given him so much yet has given others so little. Outside of the clubs and social functions, in private interviews, he asks his friends and family what they think about the economic and social system. Some of them get very uncomfortable. One of them tries to bring a lawsuit against him to stop his interview from being used in the film.

While far from comprehensive, it is a revealing and worthwhile look into a world most of us never get to see, and provides a lot of food for thought. (It's available on Netflix streaming, too.) If you doubt that there is an ownership class, watch that documentary.

There's a sequel, too, which I've been looking for for a few years and just discovered is now finally available on (regular) Netflix. To the top of the queue it goes! The One Percent.
posted by Marla Singer at 11:19 AM on December 7, 2010 [36 favorites]


Well, that is the topic of the thread.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:19 AM on December 7 [+] [!]

Which is the point. It shouldn't be. The discussion has been successfully diverted from the information revealed to instead focus on the character of one individual in an organization. And certain parties have all too willingly convicted Assange in their minds; in spite of the giant, galaxy-sized holes in the fabric of the accusers' stories.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 11:19 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh and how exactly is Assange utopian? I'm not seeing any evidence of that.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:20 AM on December 7, 2010


For the record (what record there is no stinking record), Interpol did issue a Red Notice for Polanski.
posted by kipmanley at 11:23 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oh and how exactly is Assange utopian? I'm not seeing any evidence of that.

"Utopian" apparently means "things should be better than fermented shit in the ground"
posted by setanor at 11:23 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


hermitosis: "The point is that the biggest bombshell of Cablegate isn't in the same league of evilness as Abu Ghraib

The biggest bombshell of Cablegate is the response to Cablegate.
"

Abso-fuckin-lutely. This, right here, is the crux of the issue, not the content of the cables, but the strange bizarre reaction of the system. That's why, I think this feels so... revolutionary. It's also why I think that Wikileaks has gotten one step ahead (though, we'll see for how long) of the beast.

I'm quite fond of thinking/talking about that "reality based community" quote that liberals love so much. Misunderstanding the context. Herp Derp! They're not in reality, those conservatives, we do-goody liberals, on the other hand, ...

NO, asswipes, what she was saying was that the powers that be, the corporate power structure, the military-industrial complex. They're a step ahead. They are "creating reality" from the top down, and in the meantime, all that you are doing is reacting to the world that they create. (Please, note that I am not talking some global cabal who run every little thing)...

Here is an organization that is causing a reaction on the part of the system/rulers/leadership. They're in panic mode because they are no longer "in control".

Here's a nice little quote from someone I kinda consider one of my gurus, Terence McKenna:
As I said, nobody’s in charge – not the IMF, the Pope, the communist party, the Jews, no, no, no, nobody has their finger on what’s going on. So then, why hope? Isn’t it just a runaway train, out of control? I don’t think so. I think the out-of-controlness is the most hopeful thing about it! After all, whose control is it out of?! You and I never controlled it in the first place! Why are we anxious about the fact that it’s out of control? I think if it’s out of control, then our side is winning!
-- Youtube Link
posted by symbioid at 11:23 AM on December 7, 2010 [16 favorites]


How does one 'know' a condom broke during intercourse? Do you pull all the way out and check it every 5 thrusts or something?

Seriously? You have either never worn a condom, or you have never had sex.
posted by electroboy at 11:24 AM on December 7, 2010


I can't think of a single person who was ever against the way a government operated other than a mentally ill anarcho-primitivist murderer, can you?
posted by theodolite at 11:24 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


ymgve: Again, no. We could know the exact content of half the insurance file, and it wouldn't help one bit with figuring out what's in the rest. AES, as all modern ciphers, is made to resist these kinds of attacks.

Pardon? I didn't write anything about using the plaintext to break the AES decryption. If you have the plaintext through other means, you don't need to crack the cyphertext, which is why many postwar attacks look at human errors or software flaws that reveal incriminating plaintexts. Don't hack the cyphertext, hack the people who know what's in the cyphertext.

On top of that, modern codebreaking (at least according to Kahn) isn't necessarily about discovering the full contents of a cyphertext. Understanding how the network operates is often more useful than the texts, and even a partial leak of the contents could reveal information about how the contents got to wikileaks.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:24 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


It would be more correct to say that Assange is motivated by a Unabomber-esque utopian vision to radically alter the American government (and, indeed, many governments around the world).

If by "Radically alter" you mean call our conquistadors home, disassemble our empire, rebuild our infrastructure around sustainable lifestyles and real employment, rebuild our food system around real food rather than corn-syrup and ground, fried pig snouts on wonder bread, end corporate personhood and indeed institute a corporate death penalty to dissolve anti-social, harmful corporations and sell off their assets like the founders of the nation used to and advocated, and maintain our statue in the world as a free country, a great power rather than an abusive, greedy superpower, one that you don't fuck with directly, but one that realizes we are part of a community of nations on a single, closed-system planet and seeks to live well within that paradigm...

me. All the way to the root.

All fucking day and twice on Sunday, brother.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:24 AM on December 7, 2010 [40 favorites]


And certain parties have all too willingly convicted Assange in their minds

That's not possible...rule of law, innocent until proven guilty, and all that jazz...

Oh wait he is making the U.S. government and their corporate overlords look like keystone cops on speed...I guess that means we can safely presume him guilty even though that goes against one of the bedrock principles of our legal system.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:24 AM on December 7, 2010


our stature...
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:27 AM on December 7, 2010


I can't be the only person who loves feeling like they're living in a political thriller novel, can I?
posted by reductiondesign at 11:31 AM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


I guess that means we can safely presume him guilty even though that goes against one of the bedrock principles of our legal system.

Why should we keep "presumption of innocence" when we've already dumped habeas corpus?

Bush was right. It's just a goddamned piece of paper.
posted by Joe Beese at 11:33 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Innocent until proven guilty is a standard for juries and judges. As private individuals, we can come to the opinion that a person is probably guilty as sin.

But, I'm withholding judgment on this. I don't know what's really going on, and I don't think anyone else does either.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 11:34 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


The discussion has been successfully diverted from the information revealed to instead focus on the character of one individual in an organization. And certain parties have all too willingly convicted Assange in their minds; in spite of the giant, galaxy-sized holes in the fabric of the accusers' stories.

Every MeFi thread about WikiLeaks ends up being about the same thing. State Dept warns...except they didn't, and that thread, still open, is the same as this thread. A referendum on Assange.
posted by fixedgear at 11:34 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


> I can't be the only person who loves feeling like they're living in a political thriller novel, can I?

Except for the people who are actually living through it. I doubt that it's very endearing to live out of a suitcase and look over your shoulder for months on end.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:34 AM on December 7, 2010


Yeah, 'cause the US had its accounts frozen when "Scooter" Libby leaked Plame's name.
posted by mmrtnt at 11:35 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


But, I'm withholding judgment on this. I don't know what's really going on, and I don't think anyone else does either.

Amen, brother.
posted by electroboy at 11:37 AM on December 7, 2010


The Unabomber analogy is not original. See this. For me, the commonality lies in the anarchist strains in both of their world views, but I concede that the analogy is less-than-ideal. I'll try to think of another one.

I'd also describe Assange as utopian in the sense that there's an astonishing level of naivete in his world view. To think that by revealing the hidden secrets behind the powerful, we'll end up with a more just and ethical world... well, if that's not utopian, we need a stronger word for it.

I love debating w/ you guys, but it's exhausting to take on lots of people at once... I've got to duck out of here for a while, so don't think I'm hiding from your brilliant ripostes.
posted by BobbyVan at 11:37 AM on December 7, 2010


Seriously? You have either never worn a condom, or you have never had sex.

Anecdotally, I think it's entirely possible to be unaware. What bothers me is that there is very little detail on how this pertains to the case under the Swedish legal system. For instance:

-Is it against Swedish law for a man to have intercourse with a woman if said woman consents to the intercourse but not to intercourse without protection?

-If during consensual intercourse with protection the condom breaks, is it under Swedish law required that the man be aware of this fact and notify the woman, or cease the intercourse?

-If either or both of the above are true and the man fails to satisfy either of both of the conditions, is he guilty of rape, sexual assault or another crime?

Note that I am not passing judgment about the above one way or the other, I'm just a little frustrated that there's so little information available about these issues, which do seem quite relevant.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:38 AM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't know what's really going on, and I don't think anyone else does either.

You never will. Nobody will.

Now what do you do?
posted by setanor at 11:38 AM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


"...no record of his entry to the UK..."

Can someone please explain to me how, in this day and age, you can sneak into an island country? Fake passport? Smugglers?
posted by reductiondesign at 11:38 AM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can't be the only person who loves feeling like they're living in a political thriller novel, can I?
even, i, wroten better ones, yes.
posted by clavdivs at 11:38 AM on December 7, 2010


Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey: Luckily, we have a screenshot, so she wasn't able to cover her tracks. And isn't a false accusation one of the 7 Step Program For Legal Revenge that she authored?

I can haz Swedish translation, plz?


Even better: you can haz the original eHow article that she translated and reposted on her blog. She did not "author" it; that's a lie that won't seem to die.
posted by the other side at 11:44 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Can someone please explain to me how, in this day and age, you can sneak into an island country? Fake passport? Smugglers?

Boats. Fake passport. Any of the above. If they're saying there's no record of his entry into the country I'm entirely prepared to believe them. Sounds plausible to me.
posted by memebake at 11:44 AM on December 7, 2010


Except for the people who are actually living through it. I doubt that it's very endearing to live out of a suitcase and look over your shoulder for months on end.
posted by X (as per...yeah.)

....then he is smart enough not to get caught in a 'Honey trap', which in opertaional terms is not even that, is enough to suspect something. I will stick by my thought that he is seeking COVER. talk of death is overreach as he is being well protected. He is in a british jail, or safe house. (most likely) It would beyond the pale for '5s' reputation if something were to 'happen'. Protection in both clandestine and legal matters is the track for this thread IMO.

try the suitcase sir. it keeps you sharp.
posted by clavdivs at 11:49 AM on December 7, 2010


"If Lieberman declaring war on a free press finally gets people to shut up about Nader costing Gore the election, it will be worth it."

Touché
posted by Manjusri at 11:53 AM on December 7, 2010


I can't be the only person who loves feeling like they're living in a political thriller novel, can I?

That's the part of me that wants to know what's in the insurance file.

Hm. Actually, maybe it's better for the plot if we don't get to know. Like how it would have been lame if Saramago had ever explained what caused the epidemic in Blindness.
posted by saturday_morning at 11:53 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Assange is the only one who can keep Wintermute from uniting with Neuromancer- assuming Corto's Armitage personality can hold out long enough, that is....

But seriously, if I wanted to discredit Assange, I'd be making the accusations that are being made against him. I'm not saying he's not a rapist, I'm saying he's exactly as likely to be a rapist as the next guy. If there was no actual rape charges, they would have had to invent some.
posted by the thing about it at 11:55 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


The stench around this is insupportable.
posted by Decani at 11:56 AM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


At what point will the government realize that it can just use wikileaks as an avenue to distribute propaganda?

Actually with all those anti-Iran comments by Arab leaders in the last batch of leaks, it might have already happened.
posted by keratacon at 11:56 AM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lee Harvey Oswald was killed while being transferred from Dallas Police Headquarters to the county jail. His transfer and shooting were broadcast live by multiple television studios. There's no such thing as being safe in custody.
posted by 2bucksplus at 11:56 AM on December 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


Naomi Wolf comments.
posted by Neiltupper at 11:57 AM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


At what point will the government realize that it can just use wikileaks as an avenue to distribute propaganda?

Actually with all those anti-Iran comments by Arab leaders in the last batch of leaks, it might have already happened.


Well, for what it's worth, there's at least one guy who agrees with you.
posted by saturday_morning at 11:59 AM on December 7, 2010


Naomi Wolf comments.
The contrast between Naomi Wolf's essay about her own experiences with sexual assault and her writings on the Assange case seem a bit off-putting, perhaps even hypocritical. There are ways to express skepticism about the circumstances without dismissing issues of consent as "the dating police."
posted by verb at 12:04 PM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Guardian legal affairs expert (on this liveblog the 4:07pm update):
The decision to deny Assange bail is less surprising than many might think. Rape is a notoriously difficult offence for which to get bail in criminal proceedings. In many cases this is because of the risk of reoffending or danger to the victim.

But in Assange's case – as is often an issue with extradition proceedings – the problem is the lack of a permanent address in the UK, the difficulty of setting clear bail conditions that would persuade prosecutors that his whereabouts could be guaranteed, and the risk of his absconding.

In many cases those risks are regarded as sufficiently high that large amounts of security - a deposit paid into court and forfeited in the event of the suspect absconding – do not persuade magistrates that a person should be released on bail
.
posted by memebake at 12:04 PM on December 7, 2010


There's no such thing as being safe in custody
you need two more cites and all in this century.
posted by clavdivs at 12:06 PM on December 7, 2010


But seriously, if I wanted to discredit Assange, I'd be making the accusations that are being made against him.

While I think that the allegations, if true, are very serious, most of the world would disagree with me. "It started out consensual but then I said no" is a lot harder for most people to digest than "I said no but he raped me anyway."

It's actually one of the reasons that I don't think this is entirely a set-up; I have to believe that a set-up would pick a more effective allegation.
posted by muddgirl at 12:06 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Freedom of Speech - Priceless. For everything else, there's MasterCard
posted by memebake at 12:07 PM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


you need two more cites and all in this century.

Here ya go.
posted by ryoshu at 12:10 PM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


Julian Assange and the Computer Conspiracy.

This is as succinct a summation I've seen of Assange's motivations and tactics as I've read. I'd almost go as far as to say it's mindblowing. This guy is clearly ambitious, and honestly seems like the kind of person that the CIA should be looking to recruit, not have arrested.
posted by empath at 12:14 PM on December 7, 2010 [16 favorites]


I'm guessing it's something like "if nobody logs into the Wikileaks server for a week, the key gets spammed to Twitter, emailed to thousands of people, laser-carved into the moon, etc."

So the password is CHA?
posted by Servo5678 at 12:19 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Accused rapist with no fixed address, no valid entry paperwork with immigration, and no means of support (frozen bank accounts, no savings) living a life on the run and wanted in a foreign country. I not surprised the court denied bail. Not to mention that he's probably going to face criminal prosecution in the United States, and potentially other countries. I wonder if any of the data he's leaked is covered under the UK Official Secrets law.
posted by humanfont at 12:19 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


What Julian Assange has done is historic. After decades of speculation about what governments of various countries have been doing behind closed doors, Assange forced some transparency. And now he's being internationally hunted down, punished for that in an attempt to silence him.

However, from what I can see on the net, he's also created a tremendous interest in increased transparency, people siding with his decisions and actions. Whatever happens to Assange now, I think others will follow in his example, that he's set a precedent for this need.

Previously, it was mostly older, rich men who had control of the world, created and kept control of the secrets, the power. Now, on the web, there is a generation of younger people, openly conversing, who want more transparency and because of their knowledge of the new technologies, are forcing changes. Interesting times.
posted by nickyskye at 12:26 PM on December 7, 2010 [27 favorites]


It's actually one of the reasons that I don't think this is entirely a set-up; I have to believe that a set-up would pick a more effective allegation.
posted by muddgirl at 12:06 PM on December 7 [+] [!]

Why? Something with more substance would be even harder to prove. The effectiveness of the tactic is self-evident. As others have pointed out, we will never actually know what happened. This is a classic case of "he said/ she said". I'm not even going to approach the argument about whether the allegations should even merit charges; he's in jail anyway, and the discussion is now about him, instead of about the incredibly sleazy machinations of governments whose soldiers have slaughtered innocent civilians.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 12:26 PM on December 7, 2010


It's a mark of how advanced the financial and political conglomerates have become that they can so openly and unashamedly call for the assasination of the head of a legal organisation, support the vastly disproportionate manhunt over 'questioning', and publicly withdraw all avenues of financial support (despite, as noted above, continuing to support organisations such as the KKK).

It's a little sickening that such overt orchestrastions aren't more widely considered to be glaring warning signs that not only are these organisations all in each others' pockets, but that they all have so much to fear from a group that offers to tell the truth.
posted by twirlypen at 12:29 PM on December 7, 2010 [25 favorites]


Why? Something with more substance would be even harder to prove.

We don't have to prove a character assasination. That's kind of the point.

he's in jail anyway, and the discussion is now about him, instead of about the incredibly sleazy machinations of governments whose soldiers have slaughtered innocent civilians.

Not really, no. At least in my news world, the discussion has been, rightly, about both. I think most people are capable of separating a man's work from his personal character.
posted by muddgirl at 12:30 PM on December 7, 2010


WikiLeaks: Texas Company Helped Pimp Little Boys To Stoned Afghan Cops

If we want to talk about a pattern of abuse, just take a look back at DynCorp's history.
posted by ryoshu at 12:30 PM on December 7, 2010 [15 favorites]


I can't be the only person who loves feeling like they're living in a political thriller novel, can I?

Speak for yourself. I understand the necessity of what's going down, because something had to happen eventually, but I'm not all that happy to be living in interesting times. I feel sick to my stomach, and a couple of days ago I did something that I just don't do, and that people only say as a figure of speech: I wept for my country. Literally. I couldn't hold it back anymore. I wept because I realized that the US Constitution really is undeniably dead in every meaningful way now, and I don't know if it can ever be resurrected. It's been that way for a while really, but these crazy current events make the truth starkly unavoidable. This isn't the future I imagined when I was seven years old and happily reciting the flag salute. It sucks.
posted by Marla Singer at 12:31 PM on December 7, 2010 [27 favorites]


I think most people are capable of separating a man's work from his personal character.

Ooh, now do the pessimist.
posted by setanor at 12:32 PM on December 7, 2010


This will Orwell.
posted by littleredspiders at 12:32 PM on December 7, 2010 [41 favorites]


From empath's link:

“A man in chains knows he should have acted sooner for his ability to influence the actions of the state is near its end. To deal with powerful conspiratorial actions we must think ahead and attack the process that leads to them since the actions themselves can not be dealt with.”

Wow, that is pretty goddamn apropos!
posted by lattiboy at 12:33 PM on December 7, 2010


Now what do you do?

Ignore the bread and circuses for other things.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:34 PM on December 7, 2010


I've been thinking about his dead man's switch. There has got to be something more sophisticated than "Julian pushes a button to delay the blog post". Anyone dedicated could just cut all the fibre to his facility, it might be under a mountain in switzerland but all the cables can't be protected. We are talking about an organization that tapped undersea cables in the 60's

His insurance file is already out in the open, so the key needs to be distributed. My guess is the key is already out there and we just don't know it yet. Or the dead man's switch can be triggered by him even if somebody is watching and forcing him to deactivate it.

Anyway if nobody has linked to them there a some ingishts into his technology musings on the Caml mailing list.


Or the insurance file is a super hi-def never before seen version of never gonna give you up.
posted by Ad hominem at 12:34 PM on December 7, 2010 [14 favorites]


Ooh, now do the pessimist.

OK. "RAH RAH RAH evil capitalist pigs all preventin' a dude from getting his screw on, and also preventing him from getting his illegal release of classified documents on! We are surely goin to hell in a handbasket."

It's sort of interesting, to me, that Wikileaks was too vulnerable to publish the cables itself. Say what you want about the Grey Lady, she can't be readily stopped by a DDoS attack.
posted by muddgirl at 12:36 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ignore the bread and circuses for other things.

That's how we got in this mess. When the ultimate power is distraction, don't take the bait.
posted by setanor at 12:36 PM on December 7, 2010


How does discrediting Julian Assange in any way discredit the contents of the information he is releasing?
posted by Rei Toei at 12:39 PM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Say what you want about the Grey Lady, she can't be readily stopped by a DDoS attack.

If he hadn't also distributed the cables to places like Al Jazeera, The Guardian, etc, then I've got no doubt in my mind that the Times would have buried it completely.
posted by empath at 12:39 PM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


This is as succinct a summation I've seen of Assange's motivations and tactics as I've read

If so, it seems Assange and Wikileaks are a premature, at least in terms of the US. An Authoritarian regime has to be seen as such by some number of their citizens an American ain't there, at least not in the in sense that the populace is going listen to a foreigner tell them about their government. Especially after said foreigner is going around releasing classified documents from their government.

Honestly, it seems like an intricately thought out nerd puzzle, hatched by Mefites late on might.

Assange may have some points in terms of thinking in a different direction or way, but he should be careful pulling the tail of tiger. aren't
posted by nomadicink at 12:40 PM on December 7, 2010


muddgirl, wikileaks IS publishing the cables, and just cuz the domain (wikileaks.org) isn't on, doesn't mean their servers aren't around... It's all out there, just gotta access it by IP address.
posted by symbioid at 12:41 PM on December 7, 2010


'US to federal workers: If you read WikiLeaks, you're breaking the law'
posted by clavdivs at 12:43 PM on December 7, 2010


That address is http://213.251.145.96/. I forget if this was mentioned upthread already....
posted by aniola at 12:44 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's how we got in this mess. When the ultimate power is distraction, don't take the bait.

The reality of COINTELPRO-style entrapment schemes doesn't critically depend on Assange's guilt or innocence in this case.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 12:44 PM on December 7, 2010


Somewhere in Washington, a Cheney-esqe figure sits back in his chair and sighs, "The genie is back in the bottle."
posted by telstar at 12:44 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Previously, it was mostly older, rich men who had control of the world, created and kept control of the secrets, the power. Now, on the web, there is a generation of younger people, openly conversing, who want more transparency and because of their knowledge of the new technologies...

Ah, yes, the "web", a vast, globe-spanning physical communications infrastrucure owned lock, stock and barrel by mostly older, rich men who have control of it. As for the youthful knowledge of the new technologies, well, all i can say is LOL WTF OMFG. It could just as well be magic, to 99% of them.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 12:45 PM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


If so, it seems Assange and Wikileaks are a premature, at least in terms of the US. An Authoritarian regime has to be seen as such by some number of their citizens an American ain't there, at least not in the in sense that the populace is going listen to a foreigner tell them about their government.

The point isn't to enact reform or generate resistance. His feeling is that an authoritarian regime will generate that resistance naturally, just by it's operation. The point is merely to make it impossible for an authoritarian regime to form in the first place by destroying networks of secrecy. It doesn't matter what he releases. What matters is that it causes the regime to tighten operational security, which causes it to become less affective, because it can't adapt efficiently to a changing environment. It can either become more transparent (and thus less authoritarian), or it can wither and die.

Now, how wikileaks manages to not succumb to the same tactics applied to it, I don't know.
posted by empath at 12:45 PM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


Like how it would have been lame if Saramago had ever explained what caused the epidemic in Blindness.

Punctuation.
posted by griphus at 12:47 PM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


If he hadn't also distributed the cables to places like Al Jazeera, The Guardian, etc, then I've got no doubt in my mind that the Times would have buried it completely.

My understanding is that the NYT didn't get shit from Wikileaks. They just bogarted the Guardian's joint.
posted by Joe Beese at 12:49 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here Col. Lawrence Wilkerson discusses the American Military-Industrial Complex [pt.2, pt.3] (Ike wanted to call it the Military-Industrial-Congressional complex in his historic speech, but was convinced by aides not to).

This uncontrolled, unelected, secret power is what Wikileaks stands against.

Wikileaks is on my side.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 12:49 PM on December 7, 2010 [15 favorites]


And now a Profile In Courage® from Dianne Feinstein:

When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange released his latest document trove—more than 250,000 secret State Department cables—he intentionally harmed the U.S. government. The release of these documents damages our national interests and puts innocent lives at risk. He should be vigorously prosecuted for espionage. ...

Mr. Assange claims to be a journalist and would no doubt rely on the First Amendment to defend his actions. But he is no journalist: He is an agitator intent on damaging our government, whose policies he happens to disagree with, regardless of who gets hurt.

posted by Joe Beese at 12:51 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


'US to federal workers: If you read WikiLeaks, you're breaking the law'
posted by clavdivs 5 minutes ago [+]

You must have missed the other MetaFilter thread, and the MetaTalk thread that went with it. Or maybe not.
posted by fixedgear at 12:52 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here ya go.
posted by ryoshu

your cites are rejected as they say nothing about MI-5.
Do you suggest the Bailiwick of Guernsey is not up to the task?
posted by clavdivs at 12:53 PM on December 7, 2010


the US Constitution really is undeniably dead in every meaningful way now, and I don't know if it can ever be resurrected

We need a big-budget Hollywood movie about this, right away. The role of the Constitution will be played by Aslan the CGI Lion. Sara Palin can borrow Tilda Swinton's metal breastplates and polar bear chariot if she needs to, but I imagine she probably has her own.
posted by hermitosis at 12:54 PM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


Re: Wikileaks- In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, we are in big trouble.
posted by empath at 12:54 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


"Can't Assange be a fearless warrior for the people's freedom, targeted by the evil oligarchy who wants him silenced, and a scumbag rapist?"

Yes. See the case of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the only people ever to be executed for treason in the U.S., for allegedly passing nuclear secrets to the Russians. One of their two sons (Robert Meeropol) is a historian, has studied their case extensively, and wrote a book about it several years back. In an interview on WNYC after his book came out, he pointed out that Julius was most likely guilty of attempted spying (though apparently he did not transmit any useful information), but the U.S. government did not have evidence of that at the time, and so he was convicted and executed on the basis of falsified evidence. In other words, he was framed.

(Sadly, Ethel was apparently uninvolved, and had only been charged to put pressure on Julius, not because the prosecutors thought that she was actually involved, but then they thought that they couldn't back down and admit that they didn't have real evidence against her, since that would call into question the evidence against him or something. So: Julius = framed + guilty; Ethel = framed + innocent; both executed.)
posted by eviemath at 12:57 PM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


Since I believe that wikileaks adds to the general chaos of the world, I wholeheartedly support them. Hail Eris!
posted by schyler523 at 1:00 PM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


I certainly wouldn't want an affective regime, going around being all happy this and sad that! (sorry empath)
posted by eviemath at 1:00 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Getcher "Free Julian" shirts here!
posted by Joe Beese at 1:01 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or maybe not.
posted by fixedgear

'The History of the Honey Trap'

"As long as there is espionage, there will be Romeos seducing unsuspecting [targets] with access to secrets."
posted by clavdivs at 6:55 AM
posted by clavdivs at 1:01 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


The point is merely to make it impossible for an authoritarian regime to form in the first place by destroying networks of secrecy. It doesn't matter what he releases. What matters is that it causes the regime to tighten operational security, which causes it to become less affective, because it can't adapt efficiently to a changing environment. It can either become more transparent (and thus less authoritarian), or it can wither and die.

What you describe above seems like broad strokes of thought. The government wins trust by buying it from people i.e. jobs or perks or jobs with perks in a shitty economy. Once you're part of the system, you don't want to see it crumble, even if it has faults, even if you see them every day. This is what I meant earlier about Assange being too soon in terms of the majority of the populace still liking America, all things considered.

There's all the tasty question of whether Assange and Wikileaks is morally culpable for pushing the buttons which cause government to be more authoritarian?
posted by nomadicink at 1:03 PM on December 7, 2010


"That kind of information isn't very useful to the American public, but it could be very useful to America's enemies."

America's enemies? You mean its citizens?
posted by Eideteker at 1:05 PM on December 7, 2010 [12 favorites]


there is a Tool song for everything.
posted by clavdivs at 1:05 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


There's all the tasty question of whether Assange and Wikileaks is morally culpable for pushing the buttons which cause government to be more authoritarian?

I quote MetaFilter's Favorite Philosopher®:

Tell the bastard to look at me, then look in the mirror, then ask himself whether I would ever think that my moral stature is at the mercy of his actions.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:09 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Is that how the light gets in, clavdivs?
posted by kipmanley at 1:09 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


It can either become more transparent (and thus less authoritarian), or it can wither and die.

Wishful thinking. Didn't stop the Soviet Union, isn't stopping China, won't stop the US.

Samizdat are a great story, WikiLeaks is amusing, and poking holes in the Great Firewall can be good fun, but none of them really amount to much in the end. It's always money. Always has been, always will be.

Worse, once you defeat one form of totalitarianism, you just spawn two more. People just love being in control far too much to let things turn out differently.
posted by aramaic at 1:10 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


your cites are rejected as they say nothing about MI-5.

I never said anything about MI-5. Being in police custody doesn't mean a person is safe. I'm sure if Assange dies in custody there will be plenty of people saying it was an accident, or he was trying to escape, or it was suicide.

"Police are now reporting that Julian Assange committed suicide while in police custody. Assange shot himself 17 times in the back. The police inquiry has not been able to answer how Assange smuggled a gun into prison or how he reloaded while shooting himself in the back, but police are confident that his death was a self-inflicted."
posted by ryoshu at 1:12 PM on December 7, 2010


Oh Joe, you! Everyone knows Assange is just a puppet of yours and AElfwine Evenstar's. You two can't wait to bring down the government and get into that warhouse and find the Ark of the Covenant.
posted by nomadicink at 1:13 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


But in Assange's case – as is often an issue with extradition proceedings – the problem is the lack of a permanent address in the UK,

He can crash at my place any time.
posted by Decani at 1:18 PM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oh Joe, you! Everyone knows Assange is just a puppet of yours and AElfwine Evenstar's. You two can't wait to bring down the government and get into that warhouse and find the Ark of the Covenant.

Ad hominem much?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:27 PM on December 7, 2010


"Police are now reporting that Julian Assange committed suicide while in police custody. Assange shot himself 17 times in the back. The police inquiry has not been able to answer how Assange smuggled a gun into prison or how he reloaded while shooting himself in the back, but police are confident that his death was a self-inflicted."

There! That was easy! Now, have you heard about Brittney Spears snorting coke off Lindsay Lohan's mons veneris?!
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 1:29 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


nomadicink, I don't have any citations, but have always felt that a country which has a great deal of financial instability has a government which is more vulnerable. I guess i could cite the recent election, where incumbents were voted out of many offices. People are unhappy because they are insecure. It is not just the unemployed that suffer, but their family and friends who must help prop them up. How many people in this country are employed by the government? Some of even that group are unhappy and worried about what will happen. The transparency this forces may be enough to effect a few changes, combined with the instability caused by financial woes.

I am cynical about it, though. I suspect few changes will help substantially.
posted by annsunny at 1:31 PM on December 7, 2010


Ad hominem much?

I'm pretty sure nomadicink was joking there...
posted by BobbyVan at 1:32 PM on December 7, 2010


Ad hominem much?

TAKE THINGS MORE SERIOUSLY
posted by shakespeherian at 1:32 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ad hominem much?

Be wary of false idols. I'm a bit shocked at people taking sides and anointing Assange or Wikileaks the title of White Knight Fighting For Truth and Honesty®. Much like government there's a bit of good and bad in them, probably.
posted by nomadicink at 1:33 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Logged on today, and thought "Surely I've got better things to do than read a 400-comment Wikileaks-related thread." But I don't. I really don't.
posted by malusmoriendumest at 1:34 PM on December 7, 2010 [18 favorites]


I wonder if anyone here really thinks that the end result of Wikileaks will be a more just and ethical government. I'm speaking practically here. Do the means get you to the end?
posted by BobbyVan at 1:36 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


> I wonder if anyone here really thinks that the end result of Wikileaks will be a more just and ethical government. I'm speaking practically here. Do the means get you to the end?

WikiLeaks isn't the means, though. You're conflating a source of information with long and deliberate action.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:38 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


They’ve been essentially removed from the internet, not just through a denial of service attacks that are very sophisticated

Denial of service attacks are sophisticated in much the same sense as 4chan is sophisticated. Which is to say, not really.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 1:38 PM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


>The biggest bombshell of Cablegate is the response to Cablegate.

Second biggest might be the loss of productivity due to Metafilter members not getting any blasted work done.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 1:41 PM on December 7, 2010 [16 favorites]


>There's all the tasty question of whether Assange and Wikileaks is morally culpable for pushing the buttons which cause government to be more authoritarian?

>Tell the bastard to look at me, then look in the mirror, then ask himself whether I would ever think that my moral stature is at the mercy of his actions.

>Oh Joe, you! Everyone knows Assange is just a puppet of yours and AElfwine Evenstar's. You two can't wait to bring down the government and get into that warhouse and find the Ark of the Covenant.

Whether noma was joking or not, I am sure he was and didn't take offense, really doesn't change the fact that his statement was an ad hominem. Instead of responding to Joe's comment he laughs if off by painting him and myself as anarcho-conspiracy types.

Assange is merely exposing the authoritarianism that is already inherent to the system. Just because most people are to cowed to invoke its wrath doesn't mean it doesn't exist.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:45 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're conflating a source of information with long and deliberate action.

I think you're being pedantic and a little bit obtuse. WikiLeaks is more than a mere "source of information". They are an organization which is led by someone with an agenda. They have tools at their disposal. They have an objective. My question is: does anyone think they will succeed at making governments more just and ethical?
posted by BobbyVan at 1:45 PM on December 7, 2010


him being Joe not noma
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:46 PM on December 7, 2010


Didn't stop the Soviet Union

What didn't? Was there a wiki leaks publishing Soviet secrets that I'm not aware of?
posted by empath at 1:47 PM on December 7, 2010


My question is: does anyone think they will succeed at making governments more just and ethical?

NUTS!
posted by wcfields at 1:48 PM on December 7, 2010


My question is: does anyone think they will succeed at making governments more just and ethical?

I would hope so but it's too early to tell where this will all lead. My gut reaction is no.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 1:49 PM on December 7, 2010


My question is: does anyone think they will succeed at making governments more just and ethical?

Well they certainly won't if we all sit around tut-tutting about it like a bunch a damn Democrats.

A wise man once said, "There are no ends; only means." --Before you pounce remember that it must be applied everywhere and to all and sundry.
posted by kipmanley at 1:53 PM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I wonder if anyone here really thinks that the end result of Wikileaks will be a more just and ethical government.

WikiLeaks is not an end. It's up to people to take the corruption that WikiLeaks exposes and act upon it.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:53 PM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


Assange is merely exposing the authoritarianism that is already inherent to the system

Well thank GOD Assange is here, he shall save us all from those evil and nasty governments!
posted by nomadicink at 1:54 PM on December 7, 2010


I've read that the charges against Assange were basically for having unprotected sex, but then today it sounds like something else. Is there any actual information on what he is accused of?
posted by cell divide at 1:55 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think you're being pedantic and a little bit obtuse. WikiLeaks is more than a mere "source of information". They are an organization which is led by someone with an agenda. They have tools at their disposal. They have an objective. My question is: does anyone think they will succeed at making governments more just and ethical?
If you take the time to read what Assange has explicitly written about his motivations, and WikiLeaks' reason for existing, this wouldn't be the question.

His entire premise is that secrecy is used to prevent the populace from making governments more just and ethical. WikiLeaks's purpose is to ratchet up the cost of maintaining that secrecy, over and over, eternally, until secrecy-dependent authoritarian conspiracies are unable to function efficiently and can be stopped by a motivated populace.

You can, again, disagree with his premises, with his conclusions, and so on. But suggesting that WikiLeaks must directly make governments just and ethical to fulfill its goals is a bit like dismissing Buddha because he never died on the cross.
posted by verb at 1:56 PM on December 7, 2010 [16 favorites]


'Steal, borrow, refer, save your shady inference
Kangaroo done hung the jury with the innocent

Now you're weeping shades of cozened indigo
(Musta) got lemon juice up in your eye
When you pissed all over my black kettle.

You must have been high!

Who are you to wave your finger?
So full of it
Eye balls deep in muddy waters
Fuckin' hypocrite'

-Tool, The Pot
posted by clavdivs at 1:56 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


OK I actually found what I believe is the most complete overview of the "sex crimes" situation. Essentially, it boils down to not wearing a condom, a broken condom, and refusal to take an STD test. There is no accusation of forced sex or anything resembling what would be considered 'rape' in most countries:

http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6B669H20101207
posted by cell divide at 1:59 PM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


His insurance file is already out in the open, so the key needs to be distributed. My guess is the key is already out there and we just don't know it yet. Or the dead man's switch can be triggered by him even if somebody is watching and forcing him to deactivate it.

Well, yeah. There's no way he's keeping the key on servers traceable to him that can just be cut off from the internet. It's almost certainly scattered around on multiple servers that he can't be linked to - hosting accounts rented through a third party, etc. Presumably these servers dial in to one of several sites/IRC rooms/etc every day (or week or month) to see if they get the "all clear" signal. And there are probably different all-clear mechanisms for different sets of servers, so there's no way to be sure you found them all. If he was clever about it, unless they have his full cooperation (which they can never be sure of), he can easily keep one trigger active.

Of course that's assuming he even went to the trouble. For all we know, there's a half dozen WikiLeaks collaborators that also know the passkey and will just broadcast it themselves in the event they are going to be shut down.

Plate. Beans. Etc.
posted by chundo at 2:01 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Reuters: STD fears sparked case against WikiLeaks boss
The two Swedish women who accuse WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of sexual misconduct were at first not seeking to bring charges against him. They just wanted to track him down and persuade him to be tested for sexually transmitted diseases, according to several people in contact with his entourage at the time.

The women went to the police together after they failed to persuade Assange to go to a doctor after separate sexual encounters with him in August, according to these people, who include former close associates of Assange who have since fallen out with him.
posted by PenDevil at 2:02 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


WikiLeaks is not an end. It's up to people to take the corruption that WikiLeaks exposes and act upon it.

WikiLeaks aspires to do more than that. According to Assange, he hopes to change the nature of "authoritarian conspiracies." He hopes that their paranoia over the security of their processes will turn them inward, which will cut them off from information and make them less effective. Forces in opposition to these "authoritarian conspiracies" (which are hopefully preferable to the existing order) will become stronger and more effective by comparison.
posted by BobbyVan at 2:02 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


He can crash at my place any time.

I'd offer myself but I'd be too worried he'd try to slip me one, bareback, while I was asleep...
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:03 PM on December 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


The Press Association:
Assange is accused of using his body weight to hold her down in a sexual manner.

The second charge alleged Assange "sexually molested" Miss A by having sex with her without a condom when it was her "express wish" one should be used.

The third charge claimed Assange "deliberately molested" Miss A on August 18 "in a way designed to violate her sexual integrity". The fourth charge accused Assange of having sex with a second woman, Miss W, on August 17 without a condom while she was asleep at her Stockholm home.
posted by Zozo at 2:06 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


He hopes that their paranoia over the security of their processes will turn them inward, which will cut them off from information and make them less effective.

At the end of the day, the efficacy of a government or corporation is only a measure of people's compliance. WikiLeaks has no control or influence over this aspect.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:08 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Well thank GOD Assange is here, he shall save us all from those evil and nasty governments!

Build strawmen much? :)
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:11 PM on December 7, 2010


please tell me how the voting public is better informed, so that we may change our government for the better, now that we have a list of global sites (targets?) deemed critical to US security by US diplomats?

emptywheel has an interesting post bringing up the point that according to this cable, there are no critical infrastructure cable landings in the middle east.

That seems very highly unlikely. She mentions the event in 2008 in which 4 landings in the Middle East mysteriously went down, leading to critical interruptions.

The fact that this cable doesn't mention the Middle East means that most likely, there is a separate list of critical cable landings. Probably maintained by a real intelligence agency like the NSA, DIA, NRO or whoever.

Honestly, if the voting public or media was better informed, they would have noticed this glaring omission.

As to how we can change our government for the better with this information? Well, for example, maybe this will lead to a understanding that network infrastructure is a social good just like the highways, and that we need to invest more in them, laying more cable.
posted by formless at 2:14 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think you're being pedantic and a little bit obtuse. Fox News/NYT/NPR/CNN/take your pick is more than a mere "source of information". They are an organization which is led by someone with an agenda. They have tools at their disposal. They have an objective. My question is: does anyone think they will succeed at making governments more just and ethical?
posted by stenseng at 2:19 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


That's really shitty that this has been described as a rape charge.

WikiLeaks is not an end. It's up to people to take the corruption that WikiLeaks exposes and act upon it.

I have not really seen the corruption that the leaks have exposed. If this is really the premise of Wikileaks, it seems like they have massively failed.
posted by angrycat at 2:19 PM on December 7, 2010


I have not really seen the corruption that the leaks have exposed.

I guess you missed the part about all the dead people the military forgot to add to the body count that they were not supposed to be keeping. Or the part where soldiers would plant weapons to justify kills after the fact. Not to mention loads of other things which I really shouldn't have to repeat here.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:24 PM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Let this be a reminder to get tested for STDs regularly, otherwise you may experience Surprise Interpol.
posted by ryoshu at 2:24 PM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


It's probably been linked upthread, but in case it has not: 4chan rushes to WikiLeaks' defense, forces Swiss banking site offline.

I'm no internet expert, but it seems that it could get really out of hand really quickly.
posted by fixedgear at 2:25 PM on December 7, 2010 [12 favorites]


Nice I'm favoriting that comment, fixedgear, just for the pic of a jedi Guy Fawkes using a force push on a group of Swiss stormtroopers.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:28 PM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Careful, they are armed with Swiss Army Knives, the one with the USB drive.

Carry on.
posted by fixedgear at 2:31 PM on December 7, 2010


PenDevil: That link just goes to this thread. I think you meant to link here.
posted by ODiV at 2:33 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


everytime i get a pinecone in my lawn mower, i have to turn it off to get the sap of my blade
posted by clavdivs at 2:37 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


everytime i get a pinecone in my lawn mower, i have to turn it off to get the sap of my blade

That does seem to be the case, doesn't it?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 2:39 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


My question is: does anyone think they will succeed at making governments more just and ethical?

It has happened before.
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:41 PM on December 7, 2010


What actions are being taken to help Assange? What actions can be taken?

Are people organizing protests? Organizing a flashmob outside of where he is being held? Are people confronting Swedish authorities? what about Interpols Red Notice?

After a few murmurs from the crowd all of this will likely get swept under the rug and it will be business as usual. Metafilter can get a thread with hundreds of comments, but what about phone calls, letters, faxes, and boots on the ground? Historically freedom is fought for, people don't just hand it out like candy for kids.
posted by Shit Parade at 2:42 PM on December 7, 2010


Whoops! thanks ODiV!
posted by PenDevil at 2:42 PM on December 7, 2010


I wish I understood patriotism. I suspect its genesis is in the same emotional place that gives rise to religious impulses in individual people, something I lack.

I don't wish ill on my country (or any country) but also cannot see how anyone can both claim to be rational and believe "my country right or wrong!"
posted by maxwelton at 2:42 PM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


"Zamyatin"

"This will Zamyatin" doesn't quite have the same ring.

"Wells."

"This will Orson Welles"? Still not as good as Orwell, which is what this will.
posted by Eideteker at 2:42 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wikileaks is currently open for donations.
posted by wilful at 2:43 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Even donating 1 euro will send a message that you support this project (which is far bigger than one man) and that you support transparency in government.
posted by wilful at 2:45 PM on December 7, 2010


humanfont: " I wonder if any of the data he's leaked is covered under the UK Official Secrets law."

Given that he's extremely unlikely to have signed the Official Secrets Act, no.
posted by pharm at 2:46 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Way to scare me away from donating, wilful.
posted by ODiV at 2:47 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Even donating 1 euro will send a message that you support this project (which is far bigger than one man) and that you support transparency in government.

Thus barring you from state, military and federal positions for the rest of your life.
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:48 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I wish I understood patriotism.

Maybe real patriots support WikilLeaks. Some might even earn their living working for a Government with serious problems. They might even fly a flag outside their house non-ironically or be deeply conflicted. They might even feel cognitive dissidence supporting a war machine that they can't really believe in. It gets complicated.
posted by fixedgear at 2:49 PM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


TwelveTwo, thankfully we don't all live in military kleptocracies like you.
posted by wilful at 2:52 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]



TwelveTwo, thankfully we don't all live in military kleptocracies like you.


Yet.
posted by TwelveTwo at 2:53 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think a reasonable amount of patriotism is a fine thing, like love of family and loyalty to one's friends. One should love their country and their countrymen, but that doesn't mean that you ignore its faults or think that other countries are necessarily inferior.

If you ever find yourself in a country where you can't feel an honest sense of patriotism on any level, then you should probably find another country to live in.
posted by empath at 3:04 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have not really seen the corruption that the leaks have exposed.

In one example, an American corporation has exchanged children for cash, for the purposes of sex slavery. This corporation was paid for this and other services with taxpayer money, through the State Department. Is this not a good example of corruption at a high level of government?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:05 PM on December 7, 2010 [26 favorites]


US declares Wikileaks off-limits to government researchers
posted by ryoshu at 3:06 PM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


The government has locked itself into a contradictory position that threatens mission performance,” – the idea that government employees should do the best job they can with the information they can obtain, he says.

See, his plan is already working.
posted by empath at 3:10 PM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


US declares Wikileaks off-limits to government researchers
It's moments like this that I think the WikiLeaks team understands the long-term strategic advantage of terrorism far better than many. They are triggering a disproportionate response that affects a larger population than would have directly experienced the hidden actions.

Fascinating.
posted by verb at 3:10 PM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


You have a script distributed on a bunch of secret servers around the internet configured to send out the password to a mailing list automatically, and you have a process to check in daily.

Every 108 minutes, Julian Assange types in the numbers. And waits.
posted by sonika at 3:11 PM on December 7, 2010 [18 favorites]


dissonance, even
posted by fixedgear at 3:11 PM on December 7, 2010


Wow, pretty epic thread.
Let's dispense with the nonsensical idea that Assange is a crusading journalist. He's an activist with an anti-American agenda
How are being a journalist and being an activist are incompatable?
What about poor Bradley Manning? Won't someone think of him?
Rule #1 about not getting caught: Whatever it is you've done, don't brag about it on IRC.
It's interesting to see liberals' innate tendencies towards feminism and anti-authoritarianism clash in this case (and I'm a liberal).
Since when does 'feminism' = always taking the woman's side? Especially one who posted a 'guide to legal revenge' (essentially a guide for stalking and harassment) on her blog?
That's not the point. The point is that the biggest bombshell of Cablegate isn't in the same league of evilness as Abu Ghraib, and that trying to paint the UN spying as something horrific that justifies the cable dump is deeply problematic.
Yeah, but compare the absolute freakout about this to the rather un-preturbed response to the other releases. Clearly, this is a far bigger deal to those in power. Why is that?
But governments shouldn't treat journalists and revolutionaries the same way.
When the US Constitution was written, there were no non-activist journalists. Freedom of speech and the press was not intended to cover only 'professional non-partisan journalists' it was intended to cover people with specific viewpoints.
posted by delmoi at 3:14 PM on December 7, 2010 [16 favorites]


Waits for another comment from delmoi, because they always come in twos.
posted by fixedgear at 3:19 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Far be it from me to keep you waiting, fixedgear!
posted by delmoi at 3:23 PM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


How are being a journalist and being an activist are incompatable?

that you have to ask illustrates perfectly the disease that infected, consumed and destroyed journalism. well, that and your sentence construction.
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 3:25 PM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


Here's a view on Assange's rape charges from one of Assange's barristers. Not so much new info, but a good wrap up, from an obviously interested party.
posted by wilful at 3:28 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


From the link in wilful's post:
Apparently having consensual sex in Sweden without a condom is punishable by a term of imprisonment of a minimum of two years for rape.
This seems like a rather forced misinterpretation of the charges. "Having sex without a condom" and "Having consensual sex predicated conditional on the presence of a condom, then continuing after the condom breaks despite protests" are pretty different issues. The latter is, as best as I can tell, what he's being accused of.
posted by verb at 3:32 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


One should love their country and their countrymen, but that doesn't mean that you ignore its faults or think that other countries are necessarily inferior.

Sounds like Twain/Clemens to me. I don't really buy the idea that the best way to go about things is to be more devoted to my country than any other. At the risk of sounding idealistic, my goals attempt to be more global in their awareness and efforts. I don't ride my bike out of a love for my country; I do it because it's a good idea.
posted by aniola at 3:33 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Given that he's extremely unlikely to have signed the Official Secrets Act, no.
posted by pharm at 5:46 PM on December 7 [+] [!]


The signature is just to remind you of your obligations. You are still bound by it signature or no.
posted by humanfont at 3:34 PM on December 7, 2010


I wish someone would have sex by surprise with me
posted by Ironmouth at 3:35 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I feel very patriotic toward my country that allows me to say vehemently nasty (yet true) things about both its corrupt, self-serving egomaniacal leaders and the various institutions that they have so infected with their poisoned agendas and desires.
posted by philip-random at 3:37 PM on December 7, 2010


Since when does 'feminism' = always taking the woman's side?

I think taking the woman's side when the condom breaks and she says stop and he doesn't makes a lot of sense.

Good luck on this one boys because you in a dilly of a pickle now. How to say that you are as anti-no sex without consent except for this one time is going to quite interesting.

A tottering hero, certainly.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:38 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


When the US Constitution was written, there were no non-activist journalists. Freedom of speech and the press was not intended to cover only 'professional non-partisan journalists' it was intended to cover people with specific viewpoint

Please supply cite to unsupported claim.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:39 PM on December 7, 2010


Why do I get the feeling that some "rogue inmate" is going to do something awful to him?

The guy did this to himself.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:40 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


relevant 4chan thread (NSFW, of course)
posted by philip-random at 3:40 PM on December 7, 2010


As of today, the financial system has almost completely blocked the public from showing their support for Wikileaks through donations. Paypal, Mastercard, and as of today Visa have cut them off from their donor

This is what happens when you document dump thousands of classified documents and US diplomatic cables. People who think that it is bad to do that, and people who rely on customers who think its bad get pissed.

You do realize that 51% of people in the US think he should be tried for treason? They may be idiots in terms of who can be charged with the offense, but you know what, Americans don't like the secrets of their government leaked. And they vote with their wallets. So all of these companies are gonna follow their customers.

The public dislikes him and what he did. Get real.

now fool is calling for Obama to resign, because, obviously Palin would really be a much better President in his mind.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:45 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, but compare the absolute freakout about this to the rather un-preturbed response to the other releases. Clearly, this is a far bigger deal to those in power. Why is that?

Because it does serious harm to the diplomacy of the U.S. That's why.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:46 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Shit Parade: What actions are being taken to help Assange? What actions can be taken?

Well, there's this: http://www.justiceforassange.com/ which is at least partly supported by Wikileaks because they re-tweeted a link to it earlier. If you want to hear the WikiLeaks side of the story, http://wlcentral.org/ is an 'An unofficial WikiLeaks information resource' which posts regular summaries of whats going on. Also the wikileaks twitter account is appealing for donations. Anonymous have also got various suggestions of how you could help.
posted by memebake at 3:48 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


humanfont: "The signature is just to remind you of your obligations. You are still bound by it signature or no. "

You really trust wikipedia on something legal?
Official Secrets Act 1989 (as amended)

1. Security and intelligence.
(1) A person who is or has been
(a) a member of the security and intelligence services; or
(b) a person notified that he is subject to the provisions of this subsection,
is guilty of an offence if without lawful authority he discloses any information, document or other article relating to security or intelligence which is or has been in his possession by virtue of his position as a member of any of those services or in the course of his work while the notification is or was in force.
...
(6) Notification that a person is subject to subsection (1) above shall be effected by a notice in writing served on him by a Minister of the Crown; and such a notice may be served if, in the Minister’s opinion, the work undertaken by the person in question is or includes work connected with the security and intelligence services and its nature is such that the interests of national security require that he should be subject to the provisions of that subsection.
Julian Assange has never been a member of the security and intelligence services and I seriously doubt he's been notified in writing that he's subject to the provisions of the Act (which is what "signing the official secrets act" means: it's an acknowledgement that you've been so notified that will stand up in court).
posted by pharm at 3:49 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, Ironmouth, you support freezing the accounts of the New York Times, the Guardian, Der Spiegel, El País, and Le Monde on whatever pretext you can find? They have the cables, too. They helped redact them. They published first. They're guilty of exactly the same damn crimes as Wikileaks. You're ready for banks to lock them out, for powerful politicians to threaten their business partners under color of law, for their principals to be the subject of international manhunts?
posted by kipmanley at 3:53 PM on December 7, 2010 [13 favorites]


You do realize that 51% of people in the US think he should be tried for treason?

Is there any overlap with the population that knows that Assange is not an American citizen?
posted by jokeefe at 3:53 PM on December 7, 2010 [41 favorites]


Safe to say we're all totally addicted to this story. I haven't seen it posted yet, but this is the nuanced position I pretty much agree with:
Clay Shirky - Wikileaks and the Long Haul

Aside from that, I find it fascinating that Wikileaks has been operating for years and releasing sensitive information about governments, but the thing that made everyone finally freak out was the prospect of information about a financial institution (most likely Bank of America). The response (especially from Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, Amazon, the list keeps getting bigger) is not about diplomacy or lives lost or informants; it's about money, and protecting the moneyed interests that are at the root of power and control.

It's also worth realizing that Assange is just a red herring. All of this noise about the international manhunt and arrest (valid case or not) will not affect Wikileaks' continued operation. The organization is deeper than one man, and quite possibly we'll be surprised when we find out exactly how deep it gets. I don't think it's going away anytime soon.
posted by naju at 3:53 PM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


Personhunts? --It's Matt Lauer's fault.
posted by kipmanley at 3:54 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I feel sick to my stomach, and a couple of days ago I did something that I just don't do, and that people only say as a figure of speech: I wept for my country.

Would that you had done that upon the election of George W. Bush or his invasion of Iraq.

But yes, this is so terrible, that this idiot with dyed hair, who thinks it a good idea to just document dump stolen classified documents, is arrested for continuing to have sex with a woman after she asked him to stop. Why, it is so terrible that the government thinks it is a good thing to keep military and diplomatic secrets secret! What a affront to the citizenry! Jefferson published all of his private correspondence to the Continental Congress! He had no need for secrecy, right?

What? You mean the founders created a Secret Committee for domestic intelligence and a Committee for Secret Correspondence for foreign intelligence? Those sellouts! No matter that the Committee of Secret Correspondence succeeded in convincing the French to support us! Better that we never have existed rather than trade in secrets and spies!
posted by Ironmouth at 3:55 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


The organization is deeper than one man, and quite possibly we'll be surprised when we find out exactly how deep it gets. I don't think it's going away anytime soon.

Dude drove everyone else out of the organization. It is a full on flameout.
posted by Ironmouth at 3:57 PM on December 7, 2010


Ironmouth you do realize that wikileaks is bigger than one person, don't you? Given the hundreds of mirrors popping up it now appears to be bigger than one singular organization. Wikileaks is in someways analogous to Napster. The world has changed and now the powers that be are trying to play catch up. They apparently believe that by focusing on one man they can plug the hole in the damn. They are wrong. All this is going to do is force organizations and individuals with the same ethos as wikileaks to go underground. There is no stopping the free flow of information and ideas; it is a force of nature. Whether this will lead to a more humane just world remains to be seen but in my opinion Wikileaks is the ground floor of a sea change.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 3:59 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


The guy did this to himself.

Isn't it nice that we can have political arguments on Metafilter without condoning violence toward our opponents?
posted by ripley_ at 3:59 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Dude drove everyone else out of the organization. It is a full on flameout.

lol u mad?
posted by ryoshu at 3:59 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


NB. If wikileaks has published any UK diplomatic transmissions, then Assange might have committed an offence under sections 5 or 6 of the Official Secrets Act, but historically this kind of thing has been difficult to get a conviction for IIRC (hence the whole "signing the act" rigmarole where things become much more clear cut).
posted by pharm at 4:01 PM on December 7, 2010


“Two-handed engine”: Wikileaks, the Defense of Diplomatic Secrecy, and East Timor
posted by pharm at 4:02 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


the thing that made everyone finally freak out was the prospect of information about a financial institution (most likely Bank of America). The response (especially from Visa, Mastercard, Paypal, Amazon, the list keeps getting bigger) is not about diplomacy or lives lost or informants; it's about money, and protecting the moneyed interests that are at the root of power and control.

Please provide facts to support unsupported assertion that Visa and Mastercard were helping out the banks and not just making sure that the vast majority of their customers, who dislike Assange, don't punish them.

Let's look at the actual numbers for Assange's support, shall we?

How about a CBS News poll:

73% of Americans think that the public has no right to know national security secrets.

60% of Americans think that the leaks will damage the US.

The vast majority of the American public disagrees with Assange. And they will vote with their wallets if Visa, Paypal and Mastercard keep giving material support to this fool. The banks don't have a damn thing to do with it.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:03 PM on December 7, 2010


Visa, Paypal and Mastercard do also have lots of customers outside of the US, a large number of whom probably aren't particularly interested in US public opinion polls.
posted by dng at 4:07 PM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


73% of Americans think that the public has no right to know national security secrets.

60% of Americans think that the leaks will damage the US.


51% think you can charge an Australian with treason.

38% think Palin would make a great President.

27% drool when they talk.

It's almost like there's a pattern.
posted by ryoshu at 4:08 PM on December 7, 2010 [22 favorites]


they will vote with their wallets if Visa, Paypal and Mastercard keep giving material support to this fool. The banks don't have a damn thing to do with it.

Please provide facts to support unsupported assertion that Visa, Mastercard, and paypal customers will "vote with their wallets" if they keep giving "material support" to Assange.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:08 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Please provide facts to support unsupported assertion that Visa and Mastercard were helping out the banks and not just making sure that the vast majority of their customers, who dislike Assange, don't punish them.

Seriously, that's about the silliest and most naive thing that's been said on this thread thus far.

But if so then why would they continue to do business with the New York Times? Et al? Shutting Wikileaks down cold will not stop the release of the rest of the cables. Those papers already have them. They're already reviewing them. They're gonna publish them. --Get cracking; you've got a lot of ink to sop up and very little time left to do it, and apparently dire disaster awaits us all if you miss even a drop...
posted by kipmanley at 4:09 PM on December 7, 2010


Ironmouth you do realize that wikileaks is bigger than one person, don't you?

Unpublished Iraq War Logs Trigger Internal WikiLeaks Revolt

Assange made this organization all about him a long time ago. Perhaps it would have survived, but now?

And who is going to suddenly start turning over the documents now? Manning's going away for 52 years. You think other heroes are gonna turn up?

This guy hit one jackpot from one kid who stole millions of government documents. It stops here. There's no "force of nature" free flow of information. Humans spread information, it doesn't spread itself.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:09 PM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Please provide facts to support unsupported assertion that Visa and Mastercard were helping out the banks and not just making sure that the vast majority of their customers, who dislike Assange, don't punish them.

I agree that the connection with the banks is unverifiable, but as others have pointed out, you can donate to the KKK using Visa or Mastercard. Somehow that makes me doubt that this is about popularity.

A reason which seems equally likely is that fighting the Justice Department could be very expensive. Joe Lieberman has this to say about the NYT: "Whether they have committed a crime I think bears a very intensive inquiry by the justice department"

It's hard to parse that as anything but a threat, and one that could easily be turned on any company with ties to Wikileaks.
posted by ripley_ at 4:15 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


the vast majority of their customers

Please provide evidence that the vast majority of their customers are in the US.
posted by robertc at 4:21 PM on December 7, 2010


Please provide facts to support unsupported assertion that Visa, Mastercard, and paypal customers will "vote with their wallets" if they keep giving "material support" to Assange.

I'm not the one saying "the banks did it!" based on some alleged leak that has not yet occurred. But perhaps I'm wrong.

Apparently he just violated the terms of service:

"Visa Europe has taken action to suspend Visa payment acceptance on WikiLeaks' website pending further investigation into the nature of its business and whether it contravenes Visa operating rules," a statement said.

Because you can't accept payments to do illegal things, like, say, LEAK CLASSIFIED DOCUMENTS. Also, I guess he gave a bad address.

On Monday, the Swiss Post Office bank closed the account set up by Assange. PostFinance said in a statement it “ended its business relationship with Wikileaks founder Julian Paul Assange. The Australian citizen provided false information regarding his place of residence during the account-opening process.”

MasterCard (Symbol : MA) said that it was ceasing a relationship with WikiLeaks because of alleged illegal activity engagement by the site, according to a CNET report. A MasterCard (Symbol : MA) spokesman said that it is "taking action to ensure that WikiLeaks can no longer accept MasterCard (Symbol : MA)-branded products."

It is illegal to leak classified information. Against the law.

Apparently that money in the Swiss Account? It was his entire defense fund and personal funds.

The closed account included Assange's defense fund and personal assets worth €31,000 ($41,000).

Take it away Willie!
posted by Ironmouth at 4:22 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ironmouth: This guy hit one jackpot from one kid who stole millions of government documents. It stops here.

So Ironmouth, if its a one off jackpot, did Manning also provide the information about the US bank? How?
Also, Wikileaks had a lot of succcesful, albeit much lower profile leaks prior to the Manning stuff. Also, I think that Wired article exaggerates the importance and the number of people who left.

Although, I agree that Assange is very central to the whole org, and not just a disposable figurehead as some have suggested. Apparently in his own words (from that Wired article) “I am the heart and soul of this organization, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder, organizer, financier and all the rest,” Assange wrote Snorrason. “If you have a problem with me, piss off.”
posted by memebake at 4:23 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


You're either with us, or you're with WikiLeaks

You either understand how the internet works or you don't.
posted by fixedgear at 4:23 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is illegal to leak classified information. Against the law.

Against the law in which country?
posted by memebake at 4:23 PM on December 7, 2010 [20 favorites]


Assange is personally responsible for the gathering and dissemination of Secret and Top Secret information. That is espionage, which, with a conviction, would likely result in Assange's execution. What reason is there for the U.S. to not pursue the case this way unless it's to keep further dissemination of information under wraps?

The only other reason I can think of is that Assange is as much a potential asset as he his a threat. I think he's going to have a meeting pretty soon in which he's made an offer he can't refuse.

I don't foresee his being murdered in jail happening anytime soon.

(This reminds me of apocryphal tales of computer geeks, phreaks and hackers getting big time security jobs after illustrating institutional weaknesses.)
posted by snsranch at 4:24 PM on December 7, 2010


which swiss law is it against, oh international law expert?

(and the swiss are well known for their scruples when it comes to nasty people holding money in their accounts)
posted by wilful at 4:24 PM on December 7, 2010


Please provide evidence that the vast majority of their customers are in the US.

It is a US company. It isn't going to support illegal activity in the US.

but it doesn't matter, because he's not getting the cash. He's out of money.

Americans dislike what he is doing by a large margin.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:27 PM on December 7, 2010


Oh, Ironmouth showed up.
I think taking the woman's side when the condom breaks and she says stop and he doesn't makes a lot of sense.
Sure. But it's not clear that that's what happened either. Oh well, why worry about getting things right when you can just spout bullshit, right?
You do realize that 51% of people in the US think he should be tried for treason?
Who cares what these idiots think?
now fool is calling for Obama to resign, because, obviously Palin would really be a much better President in his mind.
What is it with you and this "Do everything the centrists say or Sarah Palin will become president!!!" It isn't like whether Palin or Obama is president will have any impact on him personally, since he's not American and doesn't live in America. That he should worry about Palin is as... confused... as thinking he should be tried for treason.
Because it does serious harm to the diplomacy of the U.S. That's why.
It makes it more difficult for US government elites to conspire with elites in other countries to work against the people in their own countries. For examle, the Arab leaders who want to bomb Iran despite the fact that their citizens absolutly do not. But also the US leaning on the UK change the result of it's Iraq war inqury, leaning on Spain not to prosecute CIA operatives who kidnapped a spanish citizen, and leaning on the germans to do something (I forget)

Assange's goal is to make that kind of thing more difficult. Complaning about him being successful is kind of missing the point.
Dude drove everyone else out of the organization. It is a full on flameout.
Only one person has quit, as far as I know.
Please provide facts to support unsupported assertion that Visa and Mastercard were helping out the banks and not just making sure that the vast majority of their customers, who dislike Assange, don't punish them.
Lol what? The absurdity of that statement is rather obvious. As mentioned upthread, MasterCard and Visa take credit payments for the KKK. The idea that they would deny any particular payee because they are politically unpopular with 'their customers' (many of which are overseas and may be Assange fans) is obviously false.


---

I'm visiting my dad right now and he leaves the TV on CNN. Sherrod Brown is on and he's litterally accusing Obama of "Selling out the Middle Class". What exactly is supposed to be so bad about the republicans that Obama didn't do himself? Maybe bomb Iran, I suppose. He still sucks pretty hard, though. The guy pissed Marry Landreu by not being liberal enough, ffs.
posted by delmoi at 4:28 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think taking the woman's side when the condom breaks and she says stop and he doesn't makes a lot of sense.

Good luck on this one boys because you in a dilly of a pickle now. How to say that you are as anti-no sex without consent except for this one time is going to quite interesting.


For someone who claims to be a lawyer, Ironmouth has here provided possibly the most egregious example of begging the question ever to be found on MeFi.
posted by Neiltupper at 4:28 PM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


It is illegal to leak classified information. Against the law.

Against the law in which country?


In this case, the United States of America. And the terms of service probably don't allow any illegal activity anywhere, worldwide. But if you have questions, ask Visa.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:28 PM on December 7, 2010


Ironmouth: Take it away Willie!

Maybe you're not keeping up with current events, but some very financially secure people turned up in court today to guarantee Assange's bail. Also, one of the most prominent extradition lawyers in the UK is currently flying back to the UK to represent Assange. This is not over yet.
posted by memebake at 4:29 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Lol what? The absurdity of that statement is rather obvious. As mentioned upthread, MasterCard and Visa take credit payments for the KKK. The idea that they would deny any particular payee because they are politically unpopular with 'their customers' (many of which are overseas and may be Assange fans) is obviously false.

The KKK is legal. It is a legal organization. I disagree with it, but I also think it has the right to exist. If they were doing illegal things with money from Visa, they'd be in violation of their terms of service too.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:30 PM on December 7, 2010


Ironmouth: It is illegal to leak classified information. Against the law.

kipmanley has already asked this – twice – but you've yet to answer. If your statement above is the case, why are Visa and Mastercard not freezing the accounts of the newspapers who are also publishing the cables?
posted by Len at 4:31 PM on December 7, 2010 [17 favorites]


This is not over yet.

I'll take 2-1 on that.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:31 PM on December 7, 2010


Maybe you're not keeping up with current events, but some very financially secure people turned up in court today to guarantee Assange's bail. Also, one of the most prominent extradition lawyers in the UK is currently flying back to the UK to represent Assange. This is not over yet.

Thankfully, Hugh Grant's girlfriend is going to bankroll everything. He'll be fine, I'm sure.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:33 PM on December 7, 2010


kipmanley has already asked this – twice – but you've yet to answer. If your statement above is the case, why are Visa and Mastercard not freezing the accounts of the newspapers who are also publishing the cables?

Sorry, didn't get to that.

The NYT wrote stories about the documents, they did not release them all to the entire world.
posted by Ironmouth at 4:34 PM on December 7, 2010


It is illegal to leak classified information. Against the law.

Does that mean the NY Times et al are all getting ready to have their sites shut down, bank accounts frozen, and editors jailed on rape charges?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:36 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


The NYT wrote stories about the documents, they did not release them all to the entire world.

So releasing the content of a classified document is A-OK, as long as you paraphrase it first? Something tells me that's not quite right.

Even if that's the case, why not go after the Guardian's reporters and accounts?
posted by ripley_ at 4:37 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


"The NYT wrote stories about the documents, they did not release them all to the entire world."

lolwut

posted by mullingitover at 4:37 PM on December 7, 2010 [11 favorites]


In this case, the United States of America. And the terms of service probably don't allow any illegal activity anywhere, worldwide. But if you have questions, ask Visa.
Yes, and Bradly Manning is in Jail. Reporters who receive documents are not criminals, and they're not the ones 'leaking'
The NYT wrote stories about the documents, they did not release them all to the entire world.
Neither did wikileaks. Since it's been said over and over again, you must know it. Why are you trying to mislead people on this issue? The NYT, Guardian and other papers did release the actual text of some cables, which were then published by wikileaks.
posted by delmoi at 4:38 PM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


The judge at the hearing was Howard Riddle.

"We're crossing now to BBC Radio 4's Jim Naughtie, for a live update"

"Thank you, David. Interesting developments here. Justice Howard Piddle resided over the hearing - wait, can I do that again?"
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:44 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Vi borde telefon Wallander.
posted by clavdivs at 4:45 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


It is illegal to leak classified information. Against the law.

Not true in the US.

In the United States, WikiLeaks itself enjoys substantial protection under the First Amendment for its publication of U.S. government documents. Commentators, and WikiLeaks director, spokesperson, and editor-in-chief Julian Assange, have compared its recent releases to the Pentagon Papers. The Pentagon Papers, officially titled “United States–Vietnam Relations, 1945–1967: A Study Prepared by the Department of Defense”, were a top-secret United States Department of Defense history of the United States’ involvement in Vietnam. These were leaked to and published in sections by the New York Times in 1971. The publication led to an injunction against the New York Times prohibiting further releases and a court battle. The victory of the paper over the injunction in New York Times Co. v. United States is generally regarded as establishing expansive First Amendment protection for the publication of sensitive government materials. Because WikiLeaks acted only as a publisher and did not itself violate U.S. law in obtaining the leaked documents it is highly likely to enjoy protection under the First Amendment for publication of government files.
posted by naju at 4:46 PM on December 7, 2010 [19 favorites]


Ironmouth: The NYT wrote stories about the documents, they did not release them all to the entire world.

That's extremely disingenuous, if I'm being charitable. The NYT has an interactive viewer in which they have published the 270-odd cables so far released; here's a profile of Qadaffi.

Meanwhile, the Guardian has them up for viewing on their own website here.

On preview, what mullingitover said.
posted by Len at 4:46 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


And delmoi for that matter.
posted by Len at 4:55 PM on December 7, 2010


1. cables leaked- illegal
2. cables (now) in the "public domain"
3. writing about what is in the "public domain"-legal
4. government deems leaked cables in "public domain"-legal
5. Lawyers are deployed in vast numbers-legal
6. Getting Assange to America on charges: costly and futile.
posted by clavdivs at 4:55 PM on December 7, 2010


I was waiting for the priceless part, left disappointed.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 4:58 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


4. government deems leaked cables in "public domain"-legal

Actually Obama issued an executive order a while making leaked documents not automatically declassified. In fact, because the cables are not declassified, the government has asked people not to view or download them because they could 'contaminate' their machines.
posted by delmoi at 5:00 PM on December 7, 2010


Public domain still doesn't mean what you think it means despite the scare quotes.

delmoi, the 'what the gov't told its employees has been the subject of two threads here already.' Obama issued no such exec order. You last sentence is correct. See the OMB memo to the agency heads.
posted by fixedgear at 5:03 PM on December 7, 2010


I would guess at this point that the inevitable release of the insurance file is part of the game plan. It may not have been when Assange first posted it, but I don't think he honestly believes he will be treated fairly in custody and I don't think he would have turned himself in unless he has decided the game is up. The big guns have come out, and despite his best effort at amateur Maxwell Smart they have taken him down.

But he has reserved for himself one more move. Checkmate for the authoritarian conspirators won't come cheaply.

It seems likely that Assange had started to realize it might all go down something like this (or worse) when he posted the file. At every point so far (perhaps except for the sex accusations) he has been ready with a countermeasure whenever something happened. The very idea of the insurance file is that it's the ultimate countermeasure, because he foresees a move for which he has no answer. He has been acting like he expects to be whacked and who knows, someone with an ego that size might even relish the prospect of being martyred. I believe he is planning to go out in the biggest damn blaze of glory you ever saw, though.

Until now, WikiLeaks has been playing "as fairly as possible," working with mainstream organizations that are willing to suggest redactions in order to blunt the actual damage done by the releases. He can fairly say he didn't have to do that and while it's understandable that being dragged out into the open might make his targets uncomfortable, and that they might not have done the redactions perfectly, the hysterical yammering about the damage he's doing is at least partly bullshit because he gave the government itself the opportunity to help with the redactions themselves and they refused.

My best guess for what's in the insurance file would be that it's just the whole raw enchilada with names and places and time stamps intact. It will be his final statement, in essence "See? This is what you get when you don't cooperate with openness. You get real damage, like we tried to avoid."

I don't believe we will see it, though, until either the prospect for what remains of WikiLeaks as an organization is truly hopeless (which we don't know because we really don't know how much hidden support they have or can muster quickly), or Assange really is killed.

But we will see it. Of that I am starting to feel pretty confident.
posted by localroger at 5:03 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


It is illegal to leak classified information. Against the law.

American laws don't apply to the entire planet.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:04 PM on December 7, 2010 [14 favorites]


Ironmouth seems to be missing two basic facts:posted by one more dead town's last parade at 5:07 PM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


The most obvious lesson is that [the reaction to the Wikileaks relvelations] represents the first really sustained confrontation between the established order and the culture of the internet. There have been skirmishes before, but this is the real thing.
posted by Neiltupper at 5:08 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


localroger: Further to what you said, I strongly suspect that the Insurance file _also_ contains the bank info (rumoured to be the contents of a hard drive from a Bank of America executive?), because Wikileaks is known to have had that for a while and its likely that all the most important leaks went into the insurance file. So if those keys do get released it could really have a big financial impact.
posted by memebake at 5:14 PM on December 7, 2010


But we will see it. Of that I am starting to feel pretty confident.

My guess is the Insurance file probably contains all the leaked state department docs.

Actually it would make sense for it to contain lots of sub-sections with different keys.
posted by delmoi at 5:15 PM on December 7, 2010


Many people have commented on Assange's ego, generally disparagingly.

1. Who gives a shit? Relevance?
2. You'd have to have a great deal of confidence to go up against pretty much the entire ruling class.
posted by wilful at 5:16 PM on December 7, 2010 [23 favorites]


If they were going to get him by some foul play, why haven't they already?

Uh, they have. That's the argument, anyway.
posted by Sys Rq at 9:12 AM on December 7 [+] [!]


If shady government entities wanted to incarcerate Assange on false grounds through an elaborate frame up, I would think that they could come up with something better than these Swedish sex crime accusations involving condoms.

There is talk that Assange is in personal danger, but if shady government entities were going to assassinate Assange, the time when it might have solved problems for them would seem to have passed.

I am skeptical that whatever Wikileaks might have on some large bank is really so damning, since their goods on the State Department weren't.
posted by knoyers at 5:18 PM on December 7, 2010


memebake: agreed. Although in light of your links, which you posted while I was writing my comment, the jig may not be as up as I was thinking just yet. Those are a couple of hints that WikiLeaks could be more than an inch deep after all.
posted by localroger at 5:25 PM on December 7, 2010


I am skeptical that whatever Wikileaks might have on some large bank is really so damning, since their goods on the State Department weren't.
It didn't seem that way either, but as I said the freak-out indicates there was something pretty damaging. I think the problem isn't the reaction of the average American voter, who thinks their government is rotten to the core in the first place, but rather other governments who have been embarrassed or angered by the contents of the cables. There have already been some international repercussions.
posted by delmoi at 5:25 PM on December 7, 2010


My guess is the Insurance file probably contains all the leaked state department docs.

If definitely contains that - along with 'significant material from the US and other countries' - Assange confirmed it in the guardian q and a a few days ago.
posted by memebake at 5:26 PM on December 7, 2010


knoyers -- so you're not a Blake's 7 fan, I see.
posted by localroger at 5:26 PM on December 7, 2010


The United States is pleased to announce that it will host UNESCO's World Press Freedom Day event in 2011 ... O RLY?
posted by memebake at 5:28 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I would think that they could come up with something better than these Swedish sex crime accusations involving condoms.

We've covered this ground. You work with what you have. I am by no means convinced that this is some plot, but I am equally unconvinced that it's also beyond the realm of possibility. What is certain is that the consequences are way out of proportion in this specific case. Is admittedly consensual sex that suddenly becomes non-consensual ( because of an equipment failure, apparently) worthy of criminal prosecution you ask? Not sure, seems pretty iffy to me, but if that's all they could come up with, it's been extremely effective, regardless. While everyone is beating themselves to death discussing Assange's character, and arrogant idiots are insisting that American law applies worldwide, stuff like this gets swept away in the tide of hyperbole.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 5:32 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


memebake -- ah yes, I had seen that and it when whizzing right by me. Anyway didn't he say they had 5 gb from BoA? Insurance is only 1.5 gb and probably contains a lot of the more dangerous (as in "names of contacts whose lives really will be put in danger," as opposed to "oh shit people are gonna figure out what we're up to") cables. I'd guess it will be exactly the opposite of what they've been releasing, sorted to really do damage instead of to just embarrass and expose policy. As in, "you want to see some damage, alright here's some motherfucking damage."
posted by localroger at 5:32 PM on December 7, 2010


They're talking about this on Parker | Spiters on CNN right now. Clay Shirky needs to get his ears pinned, man, he looks like a bat.
posted by delmoi at 5:35 PM on December 7, 2010


er, Parker|Spitser
posted by delmoi at 5:35 PM on December 7, 2010


As in, "you want to see some damage, alright here's some motherfucking damage."

sounds like a recent FSB press release.
posted by clavdivs at 5:39 PM on December 7, 2010


So how many here closed their paypal accounts?
posted by dibblda at 5:43 PM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


Man, I've never seen Jeff Toobin look so pissed, listening to people defend Assange (Naomi Woolf, and to a certain extent Spitzer and Shirky)

He looks like he's constipated.
posted by delmoi at 5:46 PM on December 7, 2010


Ad hominem: I've been thinking about his dead man's switch. There has got to be something more sophisticated than "Julian pushes a button to delay the blog post".

Because they're so high profile, the dead man's switch could be done in really creative ways. For instance, it'd be relatively trivial to create a dead-man's-switch to automatically hit all major news websites at a set time each day and look for keywords in headlines like "Julian Assange dead" or "Wikileaks disbanded" and if sufficient keywords are triggered, wait a week to spam everyone the key. In the event of false positives (and you know when there are false positives because you'd be in possession of the switch's code, or one of the switches would contact a 3rd party verifier), there'd be a week to directly contact the switches to undo it. This could be entirely supplemental to a traditional dead man's switch. The advantage is that there is no contact at all with the switch and close to impossible to prove it exists (because there is no contact with the switches after setting it up so long as there are no false positives). I'm sure they've given it much thought and thought of other creative solutions.
posted by amuseDetachment at 5:47 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Localroger wrote: At every point so far (perhaps except for the sex accusations) he has been ready with a countermeasure whenever something happened.

If he acted more sensibly he'd have avoided many of his present problems.

Look at the really, really stupid things he's done so far:
1) Used a free DNS service. Of course it was going to boot him off when it came under attack. It wouldn't have cost him much to engage a proper service with multiple fallback servers;
2) No proper banking facility. He opened an account at a Swiss post office, and supplied a false address when doing so.
3) No real address. Yes, I get the whole "romantic road warrior" thing. But telling a bail justice that your address is a PO Box is a sure way to be denied bail.
4) An apparent failure to use standard commercial devices like trusts and corporations. If he didn't want to use his own address he might have set up a corporation, with the registered address at his accountants.
5) He does have accountants, right? He was going to be transparent about his finances, I hope.
6) A better means of collecting donations than Paypal. Paypal is notoriously likely to close your account, particularly when you're collecting donations.
7) Some mechanism that would avoid the holds that Mastercard and Visa have put in place. Did he give them false addresses, too?
8) An apparent failure to follow normal immigration procedures. This was a factor in the decision to refuse him bail.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:52 PM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


Whatever happens, at the end of the day, Jarvis Cocker's song will remain true.
posted by wilful at 5:53 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because they're so high profile, the dead man's switch could be done in really creative ways. For instance, it'd be relatively trivial to create a dead-man's-switch to automatically hit all major news websites at a set time each day and look for keywords in headlines like "Julian Assange dead" or "Wikileaks disbanded" and if sufficient keywords are triggered, wait a week to spam everyone the key. In the event of false positives (and you know when there are false positives because you'd be in possession of the switch's code, or one of the switches would contact a 3rd party verifier), there'd be a week to directly contact the switches to undo it. This could be entirely supplemental to a traditional dead man's switch. The advantage is that there is no contact at all with the switch and close to impossible to prove it exists (because there is no contact with the switches after setting it up so long as there are no false positives). I'm sure they've given it much thought and thought of other creative solutions.

I was thinking about this, but more on the lines of he has to say a phrase at a press conference. As soon as it gets put onto the web and the scanner finds it - voila.
posted by Big_B at 5:55 PM on December 7, 2010


His hair went prematurely white from natural causes, according to the New Yorker article that appeared before the cable shit hit the fan.

He is also no stranger to problems with the law, which will probably bolster our friendly trolly member Ironmouth's prejudices.
posted by bad grammar at 5:56 PM on December 7, 2010


He hopes that their paranoia over the security of their processes will turn them inward, which will cut them off from information and make them less effective. Forces in opposition to these "authoritarian conspiracies" (which are hopefully preferable to the existing order) will become stronger and more effective by comparison.

That's a lot closer to a coup than journalism.
posted by gjc at 6:05 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


bad grammar, I've locked horns with Ironmouth enough times to say that he's absolutely not trolling. Disagree with him, say he's being dishonest, say he's axe-grinding, whatever, but "trolling" is a cheap dismissal that suggests arguments aren't even worth addressing.
posted by verb at 6:05 PM on December 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


I can't be the only person who loves feeling like they're living in a political thriller novel, can I?
posted by reductiondesign at 11:31 AM on December 7 [3 favorites +] [!]


I'm thinking this is more Shakespeare than political thriller.
posted by jayder at 6:06 PM on December 7, 2010


>> Even donating 1 euro will send a message that you support this project (which is far bigger than one man) and that you support transparency in government.

> Thus barring you from state, military and federal positions for the rest of your life.


Promise?
posted by Asparagirl at 6:10 PM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


Ironmouth seems to be missing two basic facts:
The leaking was done by someone other than Julian Assange.
The actions of a non-U.S. citizen outside the U.S. aren't in U.S. jurisdiction.


Regarding jurisdiction see US vs. Noriaga. The crime just has to be against the United States it doesn't have to be in it. Assange and Wikileaks provided encryption tools, instructions and other support to Bradley Manning. It may even be that they recruited him, or at least encouraged his behavior. Other news organizations refused to reprint the cables until after Wikileaks had published them publicly. This is because they all got the same memo as Wikileaks did from the general council of the US Department of State, that publishing these cables would be seen as a violation of the Espionage Act. As it is I'll bet the lawyers for these companies are having serious heartburn.
posted by humanfont at 6:12 PM on December 7, 2010


So how many here closed their paypal accounts?

*crickets*
posted by quonsar II: smock fishpants and the temple of foon at 6:19 PM on December 7, 2010


Ironmouth, have you been drinking?

73% of Americans think that the public has no right to know national security secrets.
60% of Americans think that the leaks will damage the US.


Fucking hooray. What percentage of the rest of the human beings on the fucking planet DO want to know US national secrets? And the secrets of their own governments. You're out numbered. Sucks to be you. Always great to see a great steaming pile being laid on US exceptionalism. And I say this as an Australian who hopes to hell more juicy stuff comes out about our government.
posted by Jimbob at 6:20 PM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


what is a paypal?
posted by clavdivs at 6:22 PM on December 7, 2010


You're out numbered.
no.
posted by clavdivs at 6:23 PM on December 7, 2010


'Etika Preobrazhennavo Erosa'
posted by clavdivs at 6:24 PM on December 7, 2010


Regarding jurisdiction see US vs. Noriaga. The crime just has to be against the United States it doesn't have to be in it.

Having bigger guns doesn't give you any sort of legal leg to stand on with respect to legitimacy. But thanks for playing.
posted by one more dead town's last parade at 6:25 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


You're out numbered.
no.


What?

You're saying there are more non-Americans on the planet than American citizens who want Assange tried with a crime it's impossible for him to be guilty of (ie. treason)?

I knew you sometimes have trouble with words, clavdivs, I didn't know you had trouble with numbers.
posted by Jimbob at 6:26 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Okay sorry about the string of ad hominem attacks up there, but the level of ignorance, the level of dropping-to-your-knees-and-opening-wide in front of the ruling class displayed by some people in this tread makes me want to weep for humanity.
posted by Jimbob at 6:30 PM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I like my leaks BIG. Fucking big man like all of it like everthing and the man is like cornered and all.
see, my phliassophy is AK, Chevy and Che man no half-measures I like my revolutions sticky not wiki.

so. It seems the legal machine will next classify wikileaks as having no first amendment protection. more crickets. this is cricket time for julian. He is sleeping in the Queens house tonight
JACK. have him legallouge for months at great expese to the E.U. who cares
leak it all, why not.

Howz the first 3 days of yer revoultion werking fer ya
posted by clavdivs at 6:30 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


While everyone is beating themselves to death discussing Assange's character, and arrogant idiots are insisting that American law applies worldwide, stuff like this gets swept away in the tide of hyperbole.

That's old news to me. It got "swept away" a few years back. Good old DynCorp.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 6:32 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Can I throw in a quick "Fuck You" to NPR's Melissa Block?

She spends four minutes asking a Reuters guy questions about Notorious Sex Pervert Assange. Then she ends with... (dialogue approximate)

BLOCK: (insinuatingly) The women are quoted as saying he has trouble taking No for an answer.

REUTERS GUY: (slightly bewildered waiting for a question that never comes) Uh... yeah, I've seen those quotes too.

BLOCK: This is Melissa Block for NPR.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:33 PM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


It seems the legal machine will next classify wikileaks as having no first amendment protection.

Once again, the majority of human beings on the planet don't give two shits about your first amendment. Neither, might I add, does the TCP/IP protocol.
posted by Jimbob at 6:35 PM on December 7, 2010 [9 favorites]



So how many here closed their paypal accounts?


Why just Paypal?
posted by aniola at 6:42 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


have him legallouge for months at great expese to the E.U.

Wut?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:45 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I asked like 200 responses ago what corruption was uncovered by the leaks, and there have been some good examples, although the boy pimp one was run by a private security firm, and I'm not sure that's an indictment of say, the State Department's day to day activities outside of hiring private security firms.

A better way for me to phrase my question is: Why is the rationale for disclosing things (such as the list of vulnerable targets) that a) seem to expose no corruption and b) Hurt American interests?

As gjc noted above, if the purpose is to take the U.S. down, that's a coup, not journalism
posted by angrycat at 6:46 PM on December 7, 2010


As many people have noted above, you are wilfully misunderstanding that "the U.S." and "American" ought not be synonymous with your ruling class, a military-industrial kleptocracy.
posted by wilful at 6:50 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Okay sorry about the string of ad hominem attacks up there, but the level of ignorance, the level of dropping-to-your-knees-and-opening-wide in front of the ruling class displayed by some people in this tread makes me want to weep for humanity.

I'm not sure that I read this correctly, but it seems like you're apologizing for your earlier comments with a sexual metaphor that does the opposite of affirm your respect for other members.
posted by angrycat at 6:50 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why the hell does anyone still use paypal?
posted by delmoi at 6:54 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


As many people have noted above, you are wilfully misunderstanding that "the U.S." and "American" ought not be synonymous with your ruling class, a military-industrial kleptocracy.

I'm not willfully doing anything but typing and trying to think about these issues; if I've failed to read a response that points out a problematic conflation I missed it while I was working. And your response has failed to provide me with any illumination as to what you are talking about.
posted by angrycat at 6:54 PM on December 7, 2010


No, you haven't read it correctly. He's not apologising for not respecting other members, he still doesn't do that (I think), he's apologising for the tone of delivery.
posted by wilful at 6:54 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


U.S. May Seek Extradition

Holder added that as prosecutors look beyond espionage, "there are other statutes, other tools that we have at our disposal." Among them, law enforcement sources said, is charging Assange with receiving stolen property.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:55 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Joe in Australia, nearly all the points you mention could also be taken as security measures. I think it's been amply proven that our laughter at WikiLeaks' level of paranoia in the past months was misplaced. If they made a mistake it wasn't failing to give MasterCard a real address (so they could send the cops right to them amirite), it was failing to be paranoid enough to realize just how swift and deep the response would be when the hammer came down.
posted by localroger at 6:55 PM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


Eponysterical.
posted by anigbrowl at 6:55 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


although the boy pimp one was run by a private security firm,

You are aware, of course, that these "private security firms" are pretty much surrogate U.S. agencies? Xe ring any bells with you, at all? It's called plausible deny-ability, the difference is just that U.S taxpayers pay ten times as much for these subterfuges, and then scum bags like Cheney and Bush get rich from it. You are fully aware, of course, that it's U.S. policy to aid and abet this kind of crime when they see it as in their best interests? That is what these kinds of leaks are proving.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 6:57 PM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


Time magazine's Person of the Year.

You heard it here first.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:57 PM on December 7, 2010


Time magazine's Person of the Year.

You heard it here first.


You should play the lottery.
posted by paradoxflow at 7:02 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Nah, he's at the top of their list (because it's alphabetical, but still).
posted by Burhanistan at 7:04 PM on December 7, 2010


You are aware, of course, that these "private security firms" are pretty much surrogate U.S. agencies?

I'm opposed to the use of private security firms. It's the way we wage two wars w/o a draft, and the agencies have little accountability.

But private security firms were responsible for gunning down Iraqis w/o cause; we already knew this. I'm not sure that they were boy-pimping bumps their evil level. It's just evil.

But my point is not about the boy pimps, which is good to know about. It is about knowing that x diplomat thinks, for example, that Angela Merkel is uncreative.

How does that help the world? What can justify the disclosure of this piece of insight?
posted by angrycat at 7:05 PM on December 7, 2010


You heard it here first.

Heard it was on /b/ first, and he's currently leading the pack on Time's poll. Vote for him, if for no other reason than to keep Lady Gaga from winning.
posted by mullingitover at 7:11 PM on December 7, 2010


I'm not sure that I read this correctly, but it seems like you're apologizing for your earlier comments with a sexual metaphor that does the opposite of affirm your respect for other members.

Oh I didn't want to affirm my general respect for other members. I don't respect what a lot of members are saying, I think a number of people are, as a group, idiots who hold extremely ignorant views regarding what Wikileaks is, and who Julian Assange is. People who regard Wikileaks as an anti-US institution - you can tell these people only heard about Wikileaks about 6 months ago and are unaware of its previous leaks regarding Kenya, Iceland, Australia... People who make lame comments about Assange's "dyed hair", when it turned white naturally as a result of extreme stress in a child custody battle.

I was just trying to apologize for my personal attacks, on individual members. I'm still quite happy to proclaim people entering this debate with such ridiculous views as cocksuckers, in general.
posted by Jimbob at 7:15 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Seems crazy to think that he's a parent of an adult child. Even with his white hare, he still seems like a young guy.
posted by delmoi at 7:18 PM on December 7, 2010


How does accusing members of being cocksuckers not personalize things?
posted by angrycat at 7:19 PM on December 7, 2010


White hare.
posted by Burhanistan at 7:19 PM on December 7, 2010


delmoi, fatehred it when he was 17.

Another, far far smaller scandal, just how typically shit the Australian media have been trying to dig up some shit on Daniel Assange. They've been camping out the front of his share house in carlton all morning.
posted by wilful at 7:21 PM on December 7, 2010


I'm still quite happy to proclaim people entering this debate with such ridiculous views as cocksuckers, in general.

Cocksucking is a both fun and noble activity. You should rethink your language, no?
posted by jokeefe at 7:22 PM on December 7, 2010 [19 favorites]


"How does that help the world? What can justify the disclosure of this piece of insight?"

They're dumping ~250,000 documents. Not every single one is going to be a scandal, but it's incredibly historically noteworthy and valuable to have this kind of candid snapshot of the state of world politics.

The cables leak must make US historians feel like they just won the powerball jackpot.
posted by mullingitover at 7:22 PM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


"fatehred" ?? "it" ??

sorry, fathered Daniel, a living breathing 20 year old.
posted by wilful at 7:22 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


How does accusing members of being cocksuckers not personalize things?

How does laying derision on Assange because of his hair style, accent, and personality not distract from the issues at hand? If people were actually to offer real, cosmopolitan (ie. not US-centric) evidence that Wikileaks is going to destroy all that's good in the world (hell, even evidence that the way the world is run at the moment IS good and worth protecting), then that would be fair. Otherwise, I'm just returning the derision.
posted by Jimbob at 7:23 PM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Why does it have to be a) real and b) cosmopolitan?
Why not just a) real?
But then, I am both a) An American and b) a literal cock sucker, so perhaps I am blinded to the significance of your two-part requirement
posted by angrycat at 7:27 PM on December 7, 2010


They're dumping ~250,000 documents. Not every single one is going to be a scandal, but it's incredibly historically noteworthy and valuable to have this kind of candid snapshot of the state of world politics.

The cables leak must make US historians feel like they just won the powerball jackpot.


I can see your point, but if historical accuracy is the primary benefit, why dump now? Why not years from now, so as to minimize endangering people discussed in the cables?
posted by angrycat at 7:29 PM on December 7, 2010


How does that help the world? What can justify the disclosure of this piece of insight?

How does this hurt the world? What would justify keeping this secret?
posted by maxwelton at 7:31 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


It has to be cosmopolitan, because, as I said, I'm sick of Wikileaks / Assange being referred to as anti-US activists, I'm sick of this being approached from the view of how awful this is because it damages America, public figures making comments on how he should be tortured, assassinated, thrown into 'gitmo, how he's treasonous when (a) he's not even a US citizen and (b) he published documents outside the US, and (c) the US supreme court itself, in strong language, declared the legality of the media publishing confidential documents decades ago.

What if he'd leaked 250,000 Chinese cables? Would people be wringing their hands so much? It's not a hypothetical question - when asked why he didn't leak secret Chinese documents, Assange himself replied that Wikileaks has been working for some time at sourcing leaks from China. When asked why he didn't leak the Taliban's secret information, he replied that if you know a dissenter in the Taliban, tell them about Wikileaks.

This whole issue brings into focus not just the issue of freedom of information, but the very existence and legitimacy of nation states. So I'm not going to abide any argument about how bad Wikileaks is for "damaging" the US, when the vast majority of people on the planet don't live there, and the only reason Wikileaks has turned their attention to leaking US information in the last year is because they got extremely lucky.
posted by Jimbob at 7:36 PM on December 7, 2010 [18 favorites]


How does that help the world? What can justify the disclosure of this piece of insight?

There were also the cables about the State Department pressuring Spain and Germany not to prosecute the CIA agents that kidnapped and tortured their citizens. Those seem rather newsworthy.
posted by ryoshu at 7:36 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


NEW YORK, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- WikiLeaks has released a U.S. State Department cable listing sites worldwide with the potential to be high-impact targets for terrorists.

The 2008 list of "critical foreign dependencies" runs the gamut from hydroelectric dams in Canada to vaccine producers in Denmark, The New York Times reported Monday. The sites, which also includes communication centers, chemical plants, mines, military facilities, pipelines, water supplies, national monuments and icons, and nuclear power plants, would likely be known to terrorist groups anyway, the U.S. newspaper said.


Link:
http://www.upi.com/Top_News/US/2010/12/06/WikiLeaks-posts-list-of-vulnerable-targets/UPI-62961291667008/

I am unclear as to how this leak helped, and there's a risk that it will hurt
posted by angrycat at 7:40 PM on December 7, 2010


Angrycat, I'm really not sure what your perspective on this is, and am genuinely trying to help you to get a grip on the significance of what is happening here. You asked specifically what good could come of these leaks, and what heinous things we learned from them? I picked a pretty horrifying one; yet you dismissed it as the work of "private contractors". I then pointed out that these "private contractors" are essentially get-rich-quick schemes for dearth merchants like the President and Vice President of the U.S.. You then responded by saying "well, we already know that they are corrupt and evil, and besides, murder is more evil than the forced anal sodomy of young boys " and then picked some other innocuous cable to concern yourself with. If I made you a fabulous Martini, would you then only ponder the drab colour of the bag that the lemon came in?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 7:41 PM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


delmoi: "Why the hell does anyone still use paypal"

Until a few days ago, for last.fm (damnit, last.fm, why can't you take payment in another form?)

Also, yes, that means I *did* close my paypal.
posted by symbioid at 7:43 PM on December 7, 2010


Actually, Australia Post has announced it will be shutting down the facility where Wikileaks' PO Box is on December 17. They deny any connection to current events.

"POST office boxes will not be moving from Melbourne University (''World leaders would love the key to this Melbourne PO box'', The Age, 7/12).

We strongly reject the bizarre implication that we are part of an international government conspiracy, and the very fact that the post office boxes are remaining is testament to that."

Letter to the Editor of The Age newspaper, by Australia Post's general manager of external affairs.
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:44 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


"I was young and green and had not yet fully realized that the Official Secrets Act is not to protect secrets, but to protect officials."
-Sir Humphrey Appleby, Yes, Minister
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 7:46 PM on December 7, 2010 [11 favorites]


PareidoliaticBoy, I'm actually agreeing with you. It is good that we know about the boy-pimping thing.

But I don't know how it helps that the whole world now knows about the vulnerable target thing.

My take on it is: Release the documents that show corruption, don't release the ones that don't. I am not seeing the need for the dump.

I can see the dump justified by an agenda against U.S. foreign policy. I don't perceive another reason. And my doubts about it are not really changed by Assange's statements about China or Taliban leakers, as they're self-serving in this context.
posted by angrycat at 7:57 PM on December 7, 2010


Localroger wrote: nearly all the points you mention could also be taken as security measures.

Were they designed to prevent transparent accounting and reliable Internet connectivity? They certainly weren't much good at keeping him out of jail.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:08 PM on December 7, 2010


And who is going to suddenly start turning over the documents now? Manning's going away for 52 years. You think other heroes are gonna turn up?

This guy hit one jackpot from one kid who stole millions of government documents. It stops here.


Hahahaha! You know how I know you haven't been paying any attention whatsoever and don't have a single solitary clue what you're talking about? Assange has mentioned in multiple interviews that their organization is absolutely drowning in leaks. They have five full time staff members, a dozen or so part-time staff, plus around 800 part time volunteers helping to sort through the documents they've received, yet it's still nowhere near enough people to keep up with the massive deluge of workload. They've had to turn away people who said they had information many times because, as Assange has said repeatedly, the leaks are increasing exponentially while their staff only increases linearly. But you just keep raging on like you know what you're talking about, OK? I needed a good laugh, so thank you.
posted by Marla Singer at 8:12 PM on December 7, 2010 [12 favorites]


"I can see the dump justified by an agenda against U.S. foreign policy."

That's reasonable. Given how US foreign policy has worked out for a lot of the world, can you perhaps see why people outside the US might not feel like they have a solemn duty to protect it?
posted by mullingitover at 8:14 PM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think this is literally the ultimate anything-gate. If Assange and even all of wikileaks go down, they've already shown proof of concept. No secret is safe now. If he is martyred, plenty of people will come in to replace him. The fact that there's a crazy Hollywood story right now is fascinating, but completely secondary to the fact that Pandora's box has been opened and it will never be shut.
posted by snofoam at 8:14 PM on December 7, 2010 [7 favorites]


More details on the Dyncorp situation
posted by humanfont at 8:15 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


UbuRoivas: Thanks for that clarification. So you can still send snail mail? That's good news.
posted by Marla Singer at 8:16 PM on December 7, 2010


Um, on second thought, the Pandora's box metaphor was not apt, in that I don't think wikileaks is responsible for unleashing evil. I just meant to say that you can't get it back in the box now.
posted by snofoam at 8:18 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Marshall McLuhan said "The medium is the message". What he meant was that the changes to society, in scale, pattern, and behavior, was the important thing. The content, that's just the information carried by the medium.

Wikileaks is the medium.

The leaks are the content.

The response — from government pressure to Visa refusing to do business with them to 4chan DDOSing Swiss banks — that's the message.

US governments have feared their dirty laundry being hung out —the lies to the public, the bank accounts, the body counts — since Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers. Looks like Wall Street now has cause to fear. No doubt they're throwing their money and clout behind stopping Wikileaks.

Upthread I advanced the argument that the my government is controlled by, and acts to benefit the interests of, the small wealthy elite at the top, at the expense of the interests of the most of the rest of us. And so comes the question "Are my national interests the same as the Ruling Class' interests? Does what benefits them benefit me?"

I personally think that Wikileaks is doing a service in exposing just how the government that acts in our name with our tax dollars operates. That's a game changer.

The medium is the message.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:19 PM on December 7, 2010 [16 favorites]


Again, Chris Floyd:

... the world’s journalists – and those persons of conscience working in the world’s governments – have been given a hard, harsh, unmistakable lesson in the new realities of our degraded time. Tell a truth that discomforts power, that challenges its domination over our lives, our discourse, our very thoughts, and you will be destroyed. No institution, public or private, will stand with you; the most powerful entities, public and private, will be arrayed against you, backed up by overwhelming violent force. This is where we are now. This is what we are now.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:20 PM on December 7, 2010


You seem confused about the process here, Angrycat. Those "vulnerable targets" aren't news at all. Not even slightly. The plotters hardly need Wikileaks to point out the flamingly obvious to them. Those targets were identified publicly, and years ago. That these are the "revelations" which the entrenched powers are grasping at in their desperate attempts to show damage is indicative off how bankrupt their position currently is. Yet still, you are choosing to focu on the innocuous, again. Do you see yet how this sleight of hand works?

Wikileaks believes that knowledge wants to be free. They do not distinguish between what is "corrupt", and what isn't. They leave that designation up to individuals to decide for themselves on the basis of as much genuine understanding as is possible, I guess. This capability they have developed as a result of new technologies and distribution processes represents a quantum development in human interaction actually; and it raises fundamental questions about the real nature of our supposed moral convictions. When your understanding is based on a lie, how accurate can it be?

Now I tend to stand on the "the more we know, the better" side of the scale, yet I am far from convinced that the indiscriminate leaking of anything is necessarily always good. So far though, as an interested observer, it's seems obvious to me that Assange has it all over his critics. In fact, at this point, it's not even close.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 8:27 PM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


Marla Singer: "UbuRoivas: Thanks for that clarification. So you can still send snail mail? That's good news"

As long as you don't mind it being intercepted, I'm sure...
posted by symbioid at 8:28 PM on December 7, 2010


From today's leaks: The Underground Party Scene in Jeddah [nsffw] not safe for federal workers.

Assange = Narc!
posted by humanfont at 8:32 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


Philosophy professor Peter Ludlow tries to piece together Assange's political philosophy. [rtf file]
posted by painquale at 8:38 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I can see the dump justified by an agenda against U.S. foreign policy. I don't perceive another reason.

Then read what Assange has written.

The purpose of WikiLeaks is twofold; on the first level it helps uncover uncomfortable truths, like the US taxpayer is funding contractors that run child sex rings. This is the standard journalistic endeavour of holding governments accountable for their actions.

The problem is that revealing the damaging secrets is transitory. DynCorp has been running sex trafficking rings over the last decade and a half (that we know of). The company has also ripped off the US taxpayers for tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars. The revelations that this illegal behavior has occurred has done nothing to change the behavior itself. Something more has to happen.

That's the second purpose of WikiLeaks and goes back to Assange's writings: "...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."

From this point of view it doesn't matter what information is leaked, it just matters that the information is leaked. The assumption is that the system will turn on itself as it attempts to plug the leaks. The more bad things the government is doing, the worse the reaction will be and the more paralyzed the system will become.

This also explains why there is a slow drip of information from WikiLeaks rather than a release of all the documents at once. There are analysts in the US government that are furiously combing through the 250,000 documents that WikiLeaks has, trying to figure out what is really damaging. And that uncertainty has conspirators sweating bullets right now.

Will it work? I guess we'll find out. We are certainly living in interesting times.
posted by ryoshu at 8:48 PM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


"I have been accused of treason, even though I am an Australian, not a US, citizen."
posted by ovvl at 8:48 PM on December 7, 2010 [5 favorites]


So you can still send snail mail? That's good news.

As far as I can tell from that letter to the editor, yes. I assume that The Age would have verified that this was an official statement from Australia Post before publishing it.

Post Offices close down & relocate from quiet locations to busier spots like in shopping malls all the time; it's hardly unusual. It sounds like at Melbourne Uni they're keeping the PO Boxes in place, even if the office itself is shutting down.

As long as you don't mind it being intercepted, I'm sure...

Tampering with the mail is a Federal Offence with a 5 year prison sentence (s.85K) which would mean it could only be done through an injunction from the courts. I'm not sure how one could get an injunction to intercept all mail headed for a particular address - on what reasonable suspicion of what offence?

I'm not saying that interception couldn't happen, but you'd hope that with judicial supervision of the process, any letters that are not part of some conspiracy-to-do-whatever would be allowed through...?
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:50 PM on December 7, 2010


Afterthought: that would apply to the Australian jurisdiction. If the mail was intercepted overseas, en route to Australia, that probably wouldn't apply. IANAL, IANYL.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:53 PM on December 7, 2010


What I find interesting is this strange sort of twisted logic that goes on in those who are opposing the leaks.

1) zOMG, it's dangerous! You're leaking horrible evil awful things that might get people killed.

but then...

2) Man, I'd understand if you really leaked something dangerous, but why are you leaking all this namby pamby gossipy shit that doesn't do jack shit but embarrass people and doesn't actually *change* anything (but then it puts ambassadors at risk?)

Now some people are saying one and not the other and others are saying the other and not the one, but there are some who are saying both, and the intellectual dissonance just blows my mind, especially from otherwise ostensibly well intended "liberals".

But I think what we're witnessing here is a sense of, what JimBob called "cosmopolitan" thinking (world citizen/gaian, whatever you wish to call it - not just cultural cosmopolitanism) combined with an anti-authoritarian, populist, potentially revolutionary thinking process that is more rhizomatic (in the Deleuzian sense) in thought.

This is in contrast to either the more reactionary elements of statists and nationalists like Sarah Palin and Lieberman and whoever else is in "The System", or the more well-meaning liberals who still have a sense of association with this entity called the United States (or geographic coordinates they happen to be born in), but believe it can be reformed or changed for the better through a nice slow process (HAIL OBAMA!)

I see a lot of criticism in this from this sense of national security from the moderate-left-liberal spectrum, who are very well intentioned people and I don't castigate their stance, even if I personally think it's misguided.

That said, I don't know what the ultimate solution to the issue is. We all have differing lines of what should or shouldn't be leaked... I just know that I'm erring on the side of more. If something big does happen, if there is a bloody mess ahead with various factions like TeaBaggers vs Paranoid NWO types vs Wikileakists vs a National Security State vs other Nations it's not something I look forward to, but it's something that people should ponder. What level of tyranny is acceptable to you before you finally say Ya Basta!
posted by symbioid at 9:00 PM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


I guess that I could never believe that an actor as large as the U.S. gov't could act effectively w/o some degree of secrecy, and this would be the ultimate gulf between me and those who support Assange. But thank you for discussing it without hating on me.
posted by angrycat at 9:02 PM on December 7, 2010


Also, I don't think he should be prosecuted for Wikileaks activities.
posted by angrycat at 9:04 PM on December 7, 2010


Tampering with the mail is a Federal Offence with a 5 year prison sentence

International mail goes through customs and is generally subject to search and/or confiscation, from what I understand. Then there's the fact that the powers that be haven't exactly been acting lawfully lately.
posted by Marla Singer at 9:06 PM on December 7, 2010


I see a lot of criticism in this from this sense of national security from the moderate-left-liberal spectrum, who are very well intentioned people and I don't castigate their stance, even if I personally think it's misguided.

OK, so what if the proposed leaks that would bring down a major financial institution cause a second massive jolt to worsen the global financial crisis?

(Assuming that without these leaks, the bank would manage to stumble through & remain or regain its solvency).

I might have been bought out by The Man, but frankly I'd prefer to be kept in the dark but in a recovering economy, than know some shit about a bank & have to eat cat food.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:08 PM on December 7, 2010


Barack Obama himself has come out strongly in support of efforts like Assange's. Here he is talking to students in China on November 16, 2009:
I'm a big believer in openness when it comes to the flow of information. I think that the more freely information flows, the stronger the society becomes, because then citizens of countries around the world can hold their own governments accountable. They can begin to think for themselves. That generates new ideas. It encourages creativity.

And so I've always been a strong supporter of open Internet use. I'm a big supporter of non-censorship. This is part of the tradition of the United States that I discussed before, and I recognize that different countries have different traditions. I can tell you that in the United States, the fact that we have free Internet -- or unrestricted Internet access is a source of strength, and I think should be encouraged.
(via A Tiny Revolution)
posted by fredludd at 9:10 PM on December 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


Tampering with the mail is a Federal Offence with a 5 year prison sentence (s.85K) which would mean it could only be done through an injunction from the courts

Ah ha ha ha ha!
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:11 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I guess that I could never believe that an actor as large as the U.S. gov't could act effectively w/o some degree of secrecy, and this would be the ultimate gulf between me and those who support Assange.

But that's the whole goal. To make secrecy such a burden that the government (any government) CAN'T do certain things - ones Assange feels are wrong - effectively.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 9:13 PM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


International mail goes through customs and is generally subject to search and/or confiscation, from what I understand.

Yeah, according to publically visible laws & regulations, like "No sending packets of cocaine to Australia, OK?"

Not "Oh, sorry, we're going to shred this one because we don't think much of the recipient"
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:15 PM on December 7, 2010


> now the dialogue is about the charges, and his character, instead of what has been revealed. Pretty convenient, that.

Wikileaks / Assange are entirely to blame from that, and a lot of people saw it coming from miles away, as soon as he stepped in and took up the "spokesperson" role.

If the organization had stayed as decentralized and anonymous as possible, and just let the documents speak for themselves, then there wouldn't have been much to talk about except the documents. If Assange's goals really are what he's claimed them to be all along, that would seem to be the best possible outcome. The recipe for that is pretty straightforward: release documents, don't provide anything that adversaries can easily dig up dirt on, don't editorialize, be a force of nature. Make it clear that transparency is inevitable and unstoppable, and that disclosure is a question of "when" and not "whether."

Instead, by injecting himself as the 'face' of the organization Assange guaranteed that the documents -- no matter how interesting and revelatory they may be -- wouldn't be the primary focus. Instead, he -- and his sex life and his political leanings and everything else about him that could possibly be discrediting -- would be.

Personally I think he knew this and it's exactly what he wanted all along; it looks suspiciously like he may be living out some sort of secret-agent fantasy, or at least enjoying the attention. Which is great and provided he doesn't end up dead in prison I'm sure it'll make for some interesting stories to tell the kids and maybe a book deal. But it's the worst thing that could have happened, or has happened in its short history, to Wikileaks. Assange made himself a celebrity but he did it at the expense of Wikileaks and at the transparency movement that Wikileaks supposedly is the vanguard of.

And frankly, the Wikileaks organization has always been hinky. When John Young -- who has basically been doing the same thing for more than a decade, so probably one of the few people in the world qualified to have an opinion on such an effort, and whose dedication to the cause of transparency is certainly beyond reproach -- bailed, that was a pretty stark warning that something wasn't quite right. Wikileaks' -- and I think this is more and more turning out to mean Assange's -- ambitions have always been a bit ... grandiose.

But it'll make a great movie.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:17 PM on December 7, 2010 [12 favorites]


Kadin, I think this whole arc can actually go the other direction. When the focus of the backlash is basically "Some guy," the principles by which the information was released go relatively unquestioned by the public. A shadowy cabal, an invisible network, is in fact far too easy to blame on the sinister Other.
posted by verb at 9:22 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Having sampled the various detailed reports on the Swedish events underlying the charges against Assange, I have to admit that I prefer the Daily Mail story above all others (e.g., Reuters). It seems eminently plausible that all of this noise and excitement results from the vengefulness of an intensely serious young feminist who suddenly realizes that she's been acting like a garden-variety groupie.

Ahhh! Where are the PlasterCaster sisters of yesteryear! There used to be more honesty to these starfuckers!
posted by fredludd at 9:23 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think Assange's point is that, in a world where there is no guarantee of organizational secrecy, the organizations will have to evolve.

It may not be necessary to ask if they should, but merely acknowledge that, due to the evolution of the environment (technological and cultural) they must, or else perish.

Once all the hand-wringing and hair-pulling is over people might realize that the only alternatives are to:

A) adapt to a world where state secrets cannot be reliably kept; or
B) turn off the Internet.

Prometheus (a computer programmer!) has brought fire to the world, and now we can either learn to use, for good or ill, or extinguish it and go back into the cold and dark.
posted by jet_manifesto at 9:25 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ubu, I guess that is where different perspectives come in, and I can't dissuade you one way or another against what you perceive to be your own self-interest. (shit, I'm getting tired, not sure if I'm even making sense at this point). I guess what I'm saying is that you believe that the current system as it is, is preferable to what may come after (hence my "fear of what may (or may not!) come" noted at the end of the previous comment).

Or, as Tommy J liked to say in this little document...
...all Experience hath shewn, that Mankind are more disposed to suffer, while Evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the Forms to which they are accustomed...
So I can grok where you're coming from, and I certainly understand your fears and hesitation of a collapse of the system... I know a LOT of people who depend on it for survival (thanks a lot Simpson-Bowles for your wretched "deficit reduction" plans).

It's a messy world out there.
posted by symbioid at 9:25 PM on December 7, 2010


I might have been bought out by The Man, but frankly I'd prefer to be kept in the dark but in a recovering economy, than know some shit about a bank & have to eat cat food.

Well good for you, that's very nice. Personally, I'd eat cat food if it meant that I could have my Constitutional rights back, if I could have a free press again - and I'd consider that the deal of the goddamned century. I mean, some people have fought and died for their rights, but they probably should have known better really.
posted by Marla Singer at 9:27 PM on December 7, 2010 [12 favorites]


Well good for you, that's very nice. Personally, I'd eat cat food if it meant that I could have my Constitutional rights back, if I could have a free press again - and I'd consider that the deal of the goddamned century. I mean, some people have fought and died for their rights, but they probably should have known better really.
Or, you know.

If it meant that I could stop paying a percentage of my paycheck to fund government-sanctioned child prostitution.
posted by verb at 9:30 PM on December 7, 2010 [8 favorites]


If it meant that I could stop paying a percentage of my paycheck to fund government-sanctioned child prostitution.

You say that as though the "will of the market" was a bad thing. Why do you hate America?
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 9:37 PM on December 7, 2010


Keep your wikileaks away from my invisible hand.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:39 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


... the world’s journalists – and those persons of conscience working in the world’s governments – have been given a hard, harsh, unmistakable lesson in the new realities of our degraded time. Tell a truth that discomforts power, that challenges its domination over our lives, our discourse, our very thoughts, and you will be destroyed. No institution, public or private, will stand with you; the most powerful entities, public and private, will be arrayed against you, backed up by overwhelming violent force. This is where we are now. This is what we are now.
Yeah. What Assange did was to reveal the hidden repression that actually existed, but was never expressed. The media has become corrupted both by the need for "access" and by the fact that those running the media come from the same elite class that runs the diplomatic services and government, as well as the banks. Now that someone outside of their circle is actually generating media that is actually effecting them, they flip out.

Also, here's a Reuters article about the alleged charges. It isn't that "the condom broke, but he kept fucking her" but rather the condom broke, he asked to continue having sex and she decided it was OK, then he slept with another woman didn't want to use a condom. After that the two women met up and started freaking out about STDs and demanded he be tested, which he refused to do. That's enough to bring some sort of charge in Sweden, apparently.

Sounds like a lot of this could be avoided if he'd just gotten an STD test.
posted by delmoi at 9:41 PM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


Metafilter: A lot of this could have been avoided if he'd just gotten an STD test.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:43 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have to admit that I prefer the Daily Mail story above all others (e.g., Reuters).
The daily mail is a murdoch-owned tabloid known for it's regressive "Anti-PC" attitude, though. Reuters has a good reputation for even handedness.
posted by delmoi at 9:43 PM on December 7, 2010


Jebus, way to miss the point.

I was talking about whether it really is in the public interest to bring down a bank that presumably would otherwise remain operating.

This is a different, if related, issue to whether it's in the public interest to have transparency about things like child sex abuse, or whether freedom of speech is a good principle.

They're related only on an abstract level, of being examples of free speech in action, so they're free from suppression, censorship & opacity. But that's a negative freedom - freedom FROM something. It doesn't have great intrinsic value in itself, unless accompanied by a clear conception of what the freedom is FOR - positive freedom.

I've always maintained that Rights, when properly & maturely understood, need to be balanced by responsibilities.

In that sense, you can still have freedom of speech without being compelled towards completely indiscriminate verbal diarrhoea, in which the cure can be worse than the cause.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:45 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


A lot of this could have been avoided if he'd just gotten an STD test

Or he could have just had a look to see if his wikkie leaks anything unusual.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:47 PM on December 7, 2010 [10 favorites]


cryptome has an interesting note regarding HIV and Assange.
posted by humanfont at 10:02 PM on December 7, 2010


What I find fascinating about the whole situation is the degree to which various media outlets are willing to publish stories that are obviously made up or based on some vague rumours they heard somewhere. Every new article contains "facts" about the case that directly contradict "facts" from another article. No one can even seem to agree on what the charges against Assange are, let alone on anything about the time Assange was in Sweden. I suspect that at least some reporters are starting with the barest outline of the facts and filling everything else in however they see fit.

I guess I shouldn't be surprised, but usually the story from paper to paper is at least relatively consistent, even if it may not be accurate.

The daily mail is a murdoch-owned tabloid known for it's regressive "Anti-PC" attitude, though. Reuters has a good reputation for even handedness.

Funny thing about that: Reuters explicitly relies on the Mail for a good part of their article. If you read it carefully, you'll note that a bunch of their reporting is actually reporting what the Mail had reported. That's not to say that the Mail article doesn't seem to be written in a fairly slanted way, but as far as the facts go, I don't think Reuters is any better here.
posted by ssg at 10:09 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


humanfont: "cryptome has an interesting note regarding HIV and Assange"

What the fuck is this Freudian shit?
confronted with the threat of bi-sexual misogyny characterized by female seduction as prelude to conflicted male homophilic aggression -- residue of witnessed father-and-mother coupling parental incest desire.
Now, the other thing, and I was pondering this when people talk about his ego, etc... There seems to be quite a common trait amongst hackers and the like for a bit of narcissistic personality (whether it's pure NPD or something else, I can't say).

One merely has to look at the likes of Theo de Raadt, Linus Torvalds, jwz, rms and I'm sure many others, to see this sort of entitled, narcissistic attitude, so I'm not particularly surprised to see it coming from Assange, either.

And favorite limits? Really??? *sigh* But I love (almost) all of you so much!
posted by symbioid at 10:09 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


Some points that might be drowned out here:

1. Wikileaks has revealed some startlingly evil and illegal stuff that the government has been doing.

Not just the boy-pimp stuff, but even small potatoes like all of the torture. Remember torture? Yeah, Jack Bauer or not, that's still fundamentally one of the few things that breaks international law universally. Up there with Piracy.

2. The same people revealed to have perpetrated that startlingly evil and illegal shit are the ones raging against Wikileaks and trying to prosecute it as illegal.

For reals, yo.

Seriously, though, 9/11 fucked us up. And what I mean by that is that the far-reaching ramifications in this case include a majority of Americans staunchly believing that it is better to not know what their government is doing than to risk that free information might hurt them.

Ironmouth, angrycat, BobbyVan, I'm looking at y'all. I understand where you all are coming from, but this reaction is one which claims that patriotism means willful ignorance of the actions of one's nation. That is 100% absolutely positively contradictory to the way this nation is designed to properly run. This viewpoint is the wellspring of corruption.

This viewpoint, more literally in this case, is learning about Organization X torutiring people and taxing it's people to pay for child-sex rings, and is responding by saying that the knowledge of those activities should never have been brought to light, and that doing so if the bigger sin.

You tell me what's more fucked up.

3. Donating to Bradley Manning's defense fund will most likely only hurt the greater cause

This sucks to say. I've spent some time practicing as a defense attorney. I think Bradley Manning deserves the best defense he can get. None of it is going to exonerate him, however. Assange has a defense: he is not a U.S. citizen, did not leak the classified information, and very likely did not violate any laws. Manning did. He explicitly signed agreements not to divulge the information he had access to and knowingly did so. Whether doing so was morally right is not an issue I will even try to dip my feet into, but it was definitely illegal. Without question. No amount of money will change that fact.

What the money will do is to help him try to leverage the only chip he's got on the table, which is rolling over on Assange.

For some of you, that is okay or even noble, and I respect that opinion, though I disagree. For those of you cheering on Assange, however, know that donating to Mannings defense fund only hurts Assange, who has the more important legal precedent to deal with. When he reaches the U.S., as he surely will, his case will involve (a) First Amendment rights vs State Secrets, (b) jurisdictional questions, (c) unknown questions of international law which are still amorphous but which have the power to have long-standing and devastating outcomes if they come out the wrong way, and (d) almost certainly questions over what constitutes an "enemy combatant."

And these questions will go all the way up to the Supreme Court, because Assange is an unprecedented kind of character, and every legal scholar from Lessig to Posner is going to want a piece of this, and absolutely nobody is going to abide a circuit court split on these matters.

And now that they're in the legal shitstorm together, Assange and Manning are at cross-odds.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:12 PM on December 7, 2010 [45 favorites]


Marla Singer wrote: They have five full time staff members, a dozen or so part-time staff, plus around 800 part time volunteers helping to sort through the documents they've received

But he doesn't have a fixed address, he uses a free DNS service, and the organisation's funds are about $40,000?

This sounds implausible.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:13 PM on December 7, 2010


cryptome has an interesting note regarding HIV and Assange.

I guess if you are into hearsay and shitty psycho analysis.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:14 PM on December 7, 2010 [6 favorites]


When John Young -- who has basically been doing the same thing for more than a decade, so probably one of the few people in the world qualified to have an opinion on such an effort, and whose dedication to the cause of transparency is certainly beyond reproach -- bailed, that was a pretty stark warning that something wasn't quite right. Wikileaks' -- and I think this is more and more turning out to mean Assange's -- ambitions have always been a bit ... grandiose.

Holy shit, John Young? I just realized I know him, I've known him for years, in a completely different context. Well, that explains some things. Damn.

posted by jokeefe at 10:19 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


and the organisation's funds are about $40,000?

In that one account. You think they put all their money in one, easy to locate place?
posted by jokeefe at 10:20 PM on December 7, 2010


Kadin2048: ask any average joe in the office if they have heard of Cryptome. Now ask if they have heard of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

The only thing that sells in the world anymore is celebrity. If you want to change things, you can either embrace it, or ignore it and turn into the guy in the bookstore who spends all day shooting the shit with the cashier. Because as far as anyone is concerned, quietly discovering dirty secrets is meaningless. The NYT and the rest of the pansy press has been doing that for decades, and it has only pushed government collusion deeper and deeper into the dark. But right now, it's still effective where it is. And you can't convince any major press to do anything, because destabilizing the system is bad business. There are only a few drops in the ocean of mass media who put the truth above profits.

The goal of WikiLeaks is to push the shadow government so far into the dark that it becomes less effective, and hopefully so restrictive that the inefficiency strangles their ability to conspire. If you've got any better ideas, I'd love to hear them.
posted by notion at 10:20 PM on December 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


What the money will do is to help him try to leverage the only chip he's got on the table, which is rolling over on Assange.

The facts aren't really disputed here: Manning copied the cables, gave them to Wikileaks, who are publishing them in cooperation with a bunch of newspapers. What information do you think Manning can reveal that will hurt Assange?
posted by ssg at 10:21 PM on December 7, 2010


I have a (very tentative) theory for why he didn't want an STD test: he didn't want to hand over his DNA to anyone. But if the tests really take 6-12 weeks in Sweden, I suppose it's more likely that he just didn't want to be stuck there that long.
posted by Marla Singer at 10:25 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


ssg: I don't mean to shock the world here, but defendant's arguments are not always built upon revelation of the absolute truth. Oftentimes they are built around the story which would most exonerate the defendant. In this case, the prosecution cares more about nabbing Assange than about Pfc. Manning, and presenting a story of coercion can likely land Manning some leniency.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:28 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


Marla Singer: "I have a (very tentative) theory for why he didn't want an STD test: he didn't want to hand over his DNA to anyone. But if the tests really take 6-12 weeks in Sweden, I suppose it's more likely that he just didn't want to be stuck there that long"

If he didn't want to give his DNA to anyone, he should've stopped after the condom broke.

/snark (kinda)
posted by symbioid at 10:30 PM on December 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


I might have been bought out by The Man, but frankly I'd prefer to be kept in the dark but in a recovering economy, than know some shit about a bank & have to eat cat food.

Something something liberty for security deserve neither?
posted by stenseng at 10:41 PM on December 7, 2010 [4 favorites]


I should add:

4. Federal workers being prohibited from viewing wikileaks for fear of losing their jobs or facing criminal prosecution is shit straight out of Joseph Heller

Yossarian was suffering through another passion-free tirade from the Major. "Sir," he offered, "what's so sensitive in the leaked information that it could damage our course of action?"

"Well I can't tell you that!" countered Major Major Major Major, "It's classified! And sensitive!"

And that was that. Classified, sensitive information had been distributed to the civilians, for all to see. And this was a disaster, but the soldiers on base couldn't do anything about it, because to do so would mean them seeing the classified, sensitive information, and if they got their eyes on that, they could leak it to the civilians.

That was Catch-22.
posted by Navelgazer at 10:42 PM on December 7, 2010 [29 favorites]


If he didn't want to give his DNA to anyone, he should've stopped after the condom broke.

/snark (kinda)


Yeah, expected that snark. But I mean handing over a DNA sample to some stranger of unknown trustworthiness. I wonder how comfortable he would have been with that, considering how - I hate to say paranoid he was, considering how his paranoia seems to have turned out to have been fairly justified. This is a guy who juggles encrypted cell phones constantly from what I've read, speaks very softly in public to avoid attention and avoids having a fixed address where someone could easily find him. Seems like the kind of guy who might get antsy about a DNA sample. Anyway, just a wild theory.
posted by Marla Singer at 10:46 PM on December 7, 2010


In this case, the prosecution cares more about nabbing Assange than about Pfc. Manning, and presenting a story of coercion can likely land Manning some leniency.

I'm assuming that this kind of BS wouldn't fly based on the chat transcripts from Lamo, where Manning proudly boasts about having copied the cables. It would be hard to argue coercion in face of that evidence.
posted by ssg at 10:48 PM on December 7, 2010


Something something liberty for security deserve neither?

Jesus fuck.

I'll repeat it a third time, for those particularly weak at reading comprehension.

Not talking about "liberty" or closing wikileaks down, or suppressing all the sensitive diplomatic or military they've been releasing.

I was talking about the ONE specific example, that just because he *could* bring down a major US bank, it doesn't mean he *should*.

If Wikileaks has this info, then there are surely other, more prudent ways of addressing this issue first up, that don't involve grandma & grandpa losing all their retirement savings, and half of everybody else in the world losing their jobs.

It's not about "trading liberty for security"; it's about Wikileaks not behaving like a bull in a fucking china shop. A headless chicken of a bull in a china shop, throwing the baby out with the bathwater.
posted by UbuRoivas at 10:58 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I too blame the messenger.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 11:04 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm assuming that this kind of BS wouldn't fly based on the chat transcripts from Lamo, where Manning proudly boasts about having copied the cables. It would be hard to argue coercion in face of that evidence.

You assume incorrectly. The chat transcripts may not be admissible in a trail of Assange. Even with the transcripts a good prosecutor may be able to sway the jury.

Manning could be used to let the US pursue some kind of RICO case against wikileaks, identify Assange as an enemy intelligence agent / unlawful combatant, etc. There are many possibilities.
posted by humanfont at 11:06 PM on December 7, 2010


If Wikileaks has this info, then there are surely other, more prudent ways of addressing this issue first up, that don't involve grandma & grandpa losing all their retirement savings, and half of everybody else in the world losing their jobs.

What's your suggestion? How should Wikileaks address this issue?

I don't think they have a lot of options here. They can leak the information or they can sit on it. What else can they do?
posted by ssg at 11:08 PM on December 7, 2010


Everyone -- here, in the media, in the blogosphere -- is overreacting.

Assange distributed some secret data. He apparently didn't pay for that data or help obtain it. The data was technically classified, but it was accessible to an Army private and hundreds of thousands of other people within the government (anyone with Secret clearance, which is basically anyone in the military, plus the entire State Department). As far as I can tell distributing classified data is not illegal if you don't have a security clearance yourself.

There are no specific improprieties revealed in the Iraq dump, Afghan dump, or State Department dump (so far) that would surprise anyone who's been reading the newspaper for the last couple of years. There's nothing that would particularly interest a terrorist or a reasonably sophisticated foreign power. Maybe some of the smaller dictatorships will learn a thing or two about how the US sees them, but I even doubt that.

The most interesting thing I've learned is that security on SIPRNet must really suck a lot for anyone to be doing massive crawls of internal databases without raising any kind of red flag.

Assange is not a "gifted cryptographer" or a "hacker" (in the popular sense) as the newspapers keep reporting him to be. It looks like he knows about as much about cryptography as I did when I was in my first year of a grad degree in the subject (since abandoned). The work on deniable cryptography is kind of interesting but probably not actually useful for his current work. Nor is he a super spy: escaping from Sweden to the UK was not exactly a bright move.

As an ethical matter, I think holding that a large organization like the State Department has no right to have secret communication of any kind is an untenable position. The definition of an organization is a many people working together toward a common aim: it's hard to coordinate all those people if every internal conversation is liable to become public. Of course, if there's a specific impropriety (State Department leaders discussing assassinations of foreign leaders for instance) then I would hope that a participant leaks the information. But a massive general leak greatly impacts the organization's ability to conduct business without particularly helping the common good.

The rape allegation is just a rape allegation. I have no doubt the US has put pressure on Sweden to vigorously prosecute Assange for that crime, but extraditing him into the US would result in a long, very public trial with a 50/50 result, which I'm not sure anyone in the government would really care for (despite all the political posturing). The best move the US could make right now is to incarcerate Manning, distract Assange with legal maneuvers for a year or two, and set up security measures to keep something like this from happening in the future.

Conservatives in the US are frothing at the mouth and blowing this way out of proportion. But they always do that.
posted by miyabo at 11:11 PM on December 7, 2010 [9 favorites]


They have five full time staff members, a dozen or so part-time staff, plus around 800 part time volunteers helping to sort through the documents they've received
But he doesn't have a fixed address, he uses a free DNS service, and the organisation's funds are about $40,000?

This sounds implausible.

The couch surfing was to elude, well, spies. Maybe you won't buy that, but I do. He claimed that the free DNS was a pragmatic thing because Wikileaks is run on donations, why spend money if you don't have to, that it would be a trivial issue to switch services if it ever became necessary, and that Wikileaks would always be available at the numeric address anyway. The numeric address made its way through the grapevine pretty quickly when it was necessary, so I think he was right. The $40,000? I'm guessing they have more money somewhere else. I seem to recall reading that's about what they spend on one full time staff member per year, and that they have five.
posted by Marla Singer at 11:11 PM on December 7, 2010


I too blame the messenger.

I would too, if the postman burned my house down while delivering a postcard from the other side of the world that I mightn't even be interested in.

What's your suggestion? How should Wikileaks address this issue?

That's really hard to say without knowing the precise details, but you'd think that the Federal Reserve or the King of Wall St or somebody might be unaware of whatever misdealings there are alleged to be, and could put in a longer term strategy to put things right...?

If the info is that everybody is in on the act, then yeah, maybe there's no other recourse. That'd be the opinion of those who see cabalistic oligarchies everywhere; pigs in the same trough.

I'd be a little more optimistic, and assume that the right individuals and agencies could be trusted to take the issue seriously, and do something about it that won't cause a rush on the banks.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:16 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's not about "trading liberty for security"; it's about Wikileaks not behaving like a bull in a fucking china shop.

It seems to be about trading liberty for financial security. If Wikileaks is in possession of material that can expose corruption on wall street and bring down some of the "to bit to fails" I'm all for it. Bullshit predatory capitalism has to end one way or the other. If that means another great depression or worse so be it.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:21 PM on December 7, 2010 [2 favorites]


That idea that any arm of the US Government is going to listen to Wikileaks at all at this point seems, well, naive. The idea that we can trust the King of Wall St or whoever (maybe you are thinking of the SEC), to force BofA to clean up their act is also pretty naive.

My understanding is that the documents all have to do with one bank (the smart money seems to be on BofA), so a rush on the banks in general seems unlikely. If BofA was doing all kinds of illegal and unethical things, then I don't really see how it will be a huge problem if they fail (that's why the FDIC exists). Otherwise, aren't we just buying into the "too big to fail" BS that has been used to funnel money from public to private hands quite effectively?
posted by ssg at 11:26 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


cryptome: 'The Gods Shall Have Blood'

have him legallouge for months at great expese to the E.U.
Wut?
posted by ChurchHatesTucker'

Legal/Luge+Loge=louge
ex/ pese=Noun:pese 1.fire


If that means another great depression or worse so be it.

aelfy- then no more internet/ augers to Mercury must have tradegoods

the supreme analogy doth
if the postman burned my house
with big gunships? little snakes? fire crackers from some clown.
posted by clavdivs at 11:30 PM on December 7, 2010


Assange distributed some secret data. He apparently didn't pay for that data or help obtain it. The data was technically classified, but it was accessible to an Army private and hundreds of thousands of other people within the government (anyone with Secret clearance, which is basically anyone in the military, plus the entire State Department). As far as I can tell distributing classified data is not illegal if you don't have a security clearance yourself.

According to Lamo a member of the wikileaks team provided instructions and cryptographic software to Manning. Manning is also alleged by Lamo to have chatted multiple times Assange. manning also is alleged to have exploioted weak passwords and other security holes to gain access to information beyond what he should have has access to on SIPRNet. Distributing classified data with the intent of harming the United States is likely against the Espionage Act of 1917, but this law has not been fully tested in court. In the Pentagon Papers case the court found that the NY times was acting in the public interest and that the gov. could not pre-empt publication, The court left the door open for post publication prosecution.

Assange may also be in violation of the UK official secrets act which makes distribution of state secrets a crime. Because there is intel sharing between the US/UK some of the materials in the cables may also be considered UK secrets.
posted by humanfont at 11:31 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


miyabo: The best move the US could make right now is to incarcerate Manning, distract Assange with legal maneuvers for a year or two, and set up security measures to keep something like this from happening in the future.

miyabo, I think most of what you said is reasonable, but I still think most people are kind of missing the point here, which, as I see it, is this:

What if the US can't set up security measures to keep something like this from happening in the future? Or more to the point, what if they can't do it without forming some kind of international organization to fundamentally alter the nature of the communications media that have allowed Wikileaks to exist? Because, as we all know, none of this is actually happening in the US. The only way to stop it from happening again will be massive, international cooperation, between, for example, the US, Russia, China, Sweden, and so on.

It may be that the horse can be put back in the stable. But that will require, I think, some kind of secure hardware environment, where every communication node in the world is monitored, and all private networks, servers, and encryption tools, not to mention peer-to-peer systems, are made illegal and subject to the control of this overarching, global organization.

I think we can both agree that the likelihood of such a system being realized is fairly preposterous.

So the point of Wikileaks is not whether it's good or bad - the horse is out of the stable, and depending on your view, that's either good (you think the horse should run free) or bad (you are the owner of the horse and don't want to let it go) - the point is, what are we (the peoples and governments of the world) going to do about the situation?

Conservatives in the US are frothing at the mouth and blowing this way out of proportion. But they always do that.

On this particular issue, both conservatives and liberals seem to be frothing, sometimes in opposition to each other, sometimes seemingly in agreement...which in itself is quite interesting.
posted by jet_manifesto at 11:35 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


It seems to be about trading liberty for financial security.

Liberty for me includes stuff like freedom of movement, freedom of association, and so on.

Basically, it means I can go about my daily life without too much arbitrary restriction by authorities.

What some wanker does on Wall St has absolutely fuck all to do with my liberty. On the other hand, a second global financial crisis could severely impact on my substantive (if not formal) liberty.

I don't exactly see how my liberty is impeded if some dickhead in a suit shuffles paper dollars around in a way he isn't supposed to; otherwise I'd be hiding under my bed in fear of every second person who diddles the figures on their tax papers.
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:35 PM on December 7, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd be a little more optimistic, and assume that the right individuals and agencies could be trusted to take the issue seriously, and do something about it that won't cause a rush on the banks.
posted by UbuRoivas

You must work amongst the poor, I will say the poor (here) don't care nor even know what wikileaks is. I will trust the person who is grinding the stone not you confidence to this house of cards. wait. watch what happens next.

Phase 3. "bring in the real players".

(I was right about Kim III and I am right about assange. He is seeking COVER. or he has exonerating evidense (sic sp). I would with all that stuff coming at me .The 'logical' thing is to leak it all even if it is just American stuff. This is timed and look at the wildness of this thread. over 'ether' indeed.
posted by clavdivs at 11:43 PM on December 7, 2010


aelfy- then no more internet

The telephones and telegraphs worked just fine during the great depression...
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:47 PM on December 7, 2010


UbuRovias:
Actually, letting Wall Street shenanigans continue is what is killing the economy. Lack of government spending, over reliance on private debt is what is dragging down the economy. We'd all be better off, as a commonwealth if we had more public spending and less private debt.
posted by wuwei at 12:06 AM on December 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


What some wanker does on Wall St has absolutely fuck all to do with my liberty. On the other hand, a second global financial crisis could severely impact on my substantive (if not formal) liberty.

I don't exactly see how my liberty is impeded if some dickhead in a suit shuffles paper dollars around in a way he isn't supposed to; otherwise I'd be hiding under my bed in fear of every second person who diddles the figures on their tax papers.


So Wall St wankers have fuck all to do with your liberty, but a financial crisis precipitated by said wankers malfeasance "could severely impact on my substantive (if not formal) liberty." I'm not following your logic on that one.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:11 AM on December 8, 2010


a financial crisis precipitated by said wankers malfeasance "could severely impact on my substantive (if not formal) liberty." I'm not following your logic on that one.

How about if I put it this way?

The benefits to me of gaining some kind of abstract knowledge that some of them are doing something wrong are less than the harm to me of the entire world finding out suddenly exactly what they are doing wrong.

It's not about the information being inappropriate or not for public eyes; it's about the timing, manner & responsibility around how that information is made available.

I used the bull in a china shop analogy before, and I think it's apt. I wouldn't entrust one random 39yo and his fanclub with responsibility for the stability of the global financial system, would you?
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:25 AM on December 8, 2010


Uburovias,

So you trust some insanely greedy narcissistic CEO with the stability of the global financial system? If a bank is breaking the law and goes unpunished for it, then many more are likely to go that route. Financial regulations are in place to ensure the health of the global financial system. Taking out one of the bad actors is a lesson to the rest to clean up their act and avoid truly destabilizing the system. If the banks have effectively captured government regulators, then we are left with exposing them to direct public scrutiny as a substitute for what government regulators should have been doing.
posted by dibblda at 12:53 AM on December 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


ask any average joe in the office if they have heard of Cryptome. Now ask if they have heard of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

It's not necessary for any average Joe in the office to know about Wikileaks. What matters is whether they know about the content of the documents that get disclosed. If people are standing around the coffeepot talking about Wikileaks rather than Dyncorp, then Wikileaks has failed.

The organization that does the disclosure doesn't matter a whit, and in fact the higher-profile that organization is -- the more "average Joes" that have their name on the tip of their tongue around the water cooler -- the bigger the attack surface becomes.

If you've got any better ideas, I'd love to hear them.

Sure. Idea 1: Don't have a megalomaniac founder/spokesperson running around the world claiming to be the "face" of your organization. Eccentric founders are a liability, not an asset. (Cf. Jimbo Wales.)

Idea 2: Encourage copycats. Make it easy for anyone who wants to emulate the organization to do so, hopefully in a seamless way. Emulation is better than donations.

Idea 3: Continued survival of the original organization shouldn't be a priority, or even a goal at all. Ideally, at some point the original organization and its members need to disappear, with others taking up the mantle. This is also the only way you have an exit strategy that doesn't involve surrender, death, prison, or life on the run.

John Young hit it on the head in an interview a while back (referenced here):
Cryptome has stated Wikileaks is an exemplary success at getting banned information to the public and deserves wide emulation, with hundreds of sites needed to do what it does and to help guard against its smear and shutdown as a singular target.
Wikileaks/Assange hasn't seemed very interested in encouraging that, and has instead just tried to grow as a monolithic organization. That's inherently fragile.

Although it's possible that they'll turn things around, my guess at this point is that Wikileaks is going to fizzle as an organization once they burn through the rest of the Bradley Manning documents. The question then becomes: what comes after Wikileaks?
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:20 AM on December 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


How does that help the world? What can justify the disclosure of this piece of insight?

What can justify not doing so? Why should I, as a New Zealand citizen, not be aware of what my government is up to? I would not be best pleased if my government made British-style concessions to the US government (e.g. undermining Royal Inquiries, for example). I would like to know which sovereign rights they plan on bargaining away for trade deals.

The burden ought to lie on Governments to demonstrate there's some compelling reason for secrecy.

And besides, apparently these documents are yawntastic, right?

I'm not saying that interception couldn't happen, but you'd hope that with judicial supervision of the process, any letters that are not part of some conspiracy-to-do-whatever would be allowed through...?

Don't the ASIO and Australian Customs have the same sweeping powers to intercept mail from foreigners without judicial oversight as their counterparts in the UK and New Zealand?

OK, so what if the proposed leaks that would bring down a major financial institution cause a second massive jolt to worsen the global financial crisis?

(Assuming that without these leaks, the bank would manage to stumble through & remain or regain its solvency).

I might have been bought out by The Man, but frankly I'd prefer to be kept in the dark but in a recovering economy, than know some shit about a bank & have to eat cat food.


It's so cute: people really do rush right when they have kids. Next you'll be telling us you need an SUV because they're safer and you need more space to carry a pram!

I kid, I kid. Seriously, do you actually think that the GFC was caused by knowing too much or too little about the operation of banks in the UK and US? Do you think that Australian banks didn't require massive several-percent-of-GDP bailouts because they were more or less transparently and closely regulated than their US counterparts?

That's really hard to say without knowing the precise details, but you'd think that the Federal Reserve or the King of Wall St or somebody might be unaware of whatever misdealings there are alleged to be, and could put in a longer term strategy to put things right...?

Oh wait. Where is Ubu and who is posting from his account? Seriously? The Federal Fucking Reserve? The same organisations that spent the Clinton years advocating to loosen the regulatory ties put in place after the Great Depression that were designed to stop so much of the shit that turned into the GFC happening? You think we should be relying on Greenspan, Bernake, and their heirs?

bad grammar, I've locked horns with Ironmouth enough times to say that he's absolutely not trolling. Disagree with him, say he's being dishonest, say he's axe-grinding, whatever, but "trolling" is a cheap dismissal that suggests arguments aren't even worth addressing.

verb, Ironmouth has been solidly concern trolling almost every Wikileaks related conversation on MeFi. He veers between a professed concern for the many people who might be killed (can't cite any), and admitting his only concern is that this may be bad for American power and that it must be shut down.
posted by rodgerd at 1:55 AM on December 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


If the banks have effectively captured government regulators, then we are left with exposing them to direct public scrutiny as a substitute for what government regulators should have been doing.

Oh, now I get it - I've accidentally logged onto BeggingTheQuestionPedia. Carry on.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:59 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Steve Bell on the sexual assault allegations against Julian Assange
posted by philip-random at 2:14 AM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm disappointed that in this very long thread there is so little discussion or condemnation about the influential public figures in the US that have been calling for 'extralegal' assassination of Assange over the cable leaks.

On the other hand, yay! for Geoffrey Robertson taking on the job of his defence. Another Australian with a strong record of fighting against tyranny.
posted by joz at 3:26 AM on December 8, 2010


4Chan Takes Down Mastercard.com in support of WikiLeaks
posted by dave99 at 3:26 AM on December 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


yay! for Geoffrey Robertson taking on the job of his defence. Another Australian with a strong record of fighting against tyranny.

Including the tyranny of too much rich creamery butter - he spurned Nigella Lawson to hook up with Kathy Lette.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:32 AM on December 8, 2010


Kadin2048: If people are standing around the coffeepot talking about Wikileaks rather than Dyncorp, then Wikileaks has failed.

Not really. The more people are talking about Wikileaks itself, the greater likelihood their ends will be achieved. Why? The goal isn't to stop the scandals in the current leak, that's fighting the previous war. Their goal is to change the entire nature of secret government itself. Read the Time interview where Assange explicitly states that his goal is to make governments so paranoid of secrets, that the cost for conspiracies will be too high.
posted by amuseDetachment at 3:36 AM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


re: the chance of a financial crash if the BoA data is revealed:

If the BoA info is enough to bring on serious financial hayhem, then that mayhem would have kicked off anyway at some point. Corporate corruption (if thats whats going on) can only be hidden for so long, its better to get it exposed at the earliest opportunity. On the other hand, if the BoA info just shows that Bankers are merely greedy untrustworthy sociopaths, it'll be a few headlines and then business as usual.
posted by memebake at 3:59 AM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I know it's simplistic, but I'm surprised to not see anyone pointing out the hypocrisy of US government basically telling its own citizens and anyone who has any contact with them "hey, if you have nothing to hide then why worry?" (TSA procedures, warrantless wiretaps, etc), and simultaneously being so vehemently opposed to any sunlight shining on themselves. So, Uncle Sam, if you have nothing to hide then don't worry. You can trust us - really.
posted by zoinks at 4:02 AM on December 8, 2010 [13 favorites]


Can someone give some informed background/context on the Cryptome angle? It seems like Cryptome is well respected, but he's seriously pissed at Wikileaks and (in some blog post I can't find right now) literally accusses Assange of selling secrets to spies and organised crime outfits in order to finance Wikileaks. Thats such an huge allegation that I cant help thinking that its sour grapes. Or should we take Cryptome really seriously?
posted by memebake at 4:04 AM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Funny thing about that: Reuters explicitly relies on the Mail for a good part of their article. If you read it carefully, you'll note that a bunch of their reporting is actually reporting what the Mail had reported. That's not to say that the Mail article doesn't seem to be written in a fairly slanted way, but as far as the facts go, I don't think Reuters is any better here.

Yeah - that Reuters piece even mentions that its description of the charges is made "[a]ccording to an account published by London's Daily Mail."

There's a Guardian article on the blogosphere attacks against the accusers here which describes the case slightly differently:

"The story appears to proceed as follows: Miss A, having invited Assange to speak to a leftwing campaign group in the town of Enkoping, suggested he stay in her flat, although the two had not met. Both agree that they slept together on the night before the event, during which the condom split.

The following day, the woman attended and helped facilitate the event, at which Miss W was also present. According to her police interview, Miss W accompanied the Australian and some male guests to lunch at which he flirted with her; afterwards the pair went to the cinema, where she told police she had performed oral sex on him. They slept together that night, using a condom, and again the following morning, when both parties appear to agree that a condom was not used, after which Assange left.

What happened next will be the subject of any legal process, but according to her testimony Miss W, for some reason, got in touch with Miss A (they did not previously know each other); some days later the two went to a Stockholm police station where they said they were "seeking advice" on making a complaint against Assange. Miss A is understood to have told police that he had ripped the condom on purpose, while Miss W said the unprotected sex act had been without her consent. They were reportedly advised by the police officer that these allegations amounted to rape against Miss W and sexual molestation against Miss A."


Not that I'm an expert on Swedish law or anything, but this account of what the accusations actually were seems to make a lot more sense, in context of Assange actually getting charged with a crime, than the rumours about Sweden having some kind of definition of 'rape' as 'consensual sex that one party later sort of regretted'.
posted by Catseye at 4:05 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ah, curses, missed the link.
posted by Catseye at 4:06 AM on December 8, 2010


Miss A is understood to have told police that he had ripped the condom on purpose

what
posted by Ritchie at 4:17 AM on December 8, 2010


Right, I'm off to Sweden to have unprotected sex in protest against the arrest of Assange. Who's with me?
posted by acb at 4:30 AM on December 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


The rape allegation is just a rape allegation. I have no doubt the US has put pressure on Sweden to vigorously prosecute Assange for that crime, but extraditing him into the US would result in a long, very public trial with a 50/50 result, which I'm not sure anyone in the government would really care for (despite all the political posturing).

Assange having a public trial may not be on the cards. He's not a US citizen, and has no constitutional rights. Under Cheney-era laws, he could be tried in a closed military tribunal, or just imprisoned without trial. Or, indeed, could die of an undiagnosed heart condition in custody. (Sure, everybody would say that the government murdered him, but they say the same thing about Marilyn Monroe.)
posted by acb at 4:38 AM on December 8, 2010


Right, I'm off to Sweden to have unprotected sex in protest against the arrest of Assange. Who's with me?

Well if you must go on a barebacking holiday, I guess Sweden is a pretty good choice of country given that the welfare system ensures that your unplanned children will be supported and your STDs will be given decent medical attention.
posted by Ritchie at 4:42 AM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Can someone give some informed background/context on the Cryptome angle? It seems like Cryptome is well respected, but he's seriously pissed at Wikileaks and (in some blog post I can't find right now) literally accusses Assange of selling secrets to spies and organised crime outfits in order to finance Wikileaks. Thats such an huge allegation that I cant help thinking that its sour grapes. Or should we take Cryptome really seriously?

Cryptome (which really is just one guy) clearly respects Wikileaks (he's mirroring it), but takes the position that Wikileaks aren't nearly as open as they demand other organisations be. So they have, for months, been mirroring and linking to everything Wikileaks releases, while at the same time posting things a supposed "Wikileaks insider" tells them about how messed up Wikileaks is internally. I can respect that. For all my near-delirious support for Wikileaks, I have to admit I am disappointed, myself, with what Wikileaks has become, nowadays. I remember when Wikileaks was actually a Wiki - and it hosted a range of small but locally important leaks from around the world, that people could annotate and comment on. I can only hope that once the current set of diplomatic cables dries up, they can return to that format.

So I think while what cryptome,org has to say is probably interesting, I would take it with a heart-attack inducting grain of salt.
posted by Jimbob at 4:44 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


verb, Ironmouth has been solidly concern trolling almost every Wikileaks related conversation on MeFi. He veers between a professed concern for the many people who might be killed (can't cite any), and admitting his only concern is that this may be bad for American power and that it must be shut down.
I vigorously disagree with many of Ironmouth's statements, but I do not believe that he is concern trolling. I believe that he just really, really, really dislikes Julian Assange and is willing to tangle himself up in a lot of profoundly weak and badly-stretched arguments to work "Assange Is Evil" into every statement.

Ironmouth has noted on a number of occasions that he supports whistleblowers and in fact defends them legally as part of his job. He believes that Assange/WikiLeaks' document-drop approach is morally and ethically reprehensible, and takes every opportunity to argue it. You can disagree with him, but that is not "concern trolling."
posted by verb at 5:16 AM on December 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


PayPal has suggested that it was leant on by US government to cut off the funds to WikiLeaks.
posted by mahershalal at 5:22 AM on December 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Ironmouth has been solidly concern trolling almost every Wikileaks related conversation on MeFi. He veers between a professed concern for the many people who might be killed (can't cite any), and admitting his only concern is that this may be bad for American power and that it must be shut down.

Sounds like a personal problem.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:25 AM on December 8, 2010


Steve Bell on the sexual assault allegations against Julian Assange

Absolute unfettered genius (as usual).
posted by a little headband I put around my throat at 5:30 AM on December 8, 2010


Concern trolling actually doesn't mean anything remotely like what ironmouth is doing anywhere.

Concern trolling is pretending offering someone advice out of concern for their wellbeing that is really just a thinly veiled attack on them. It's usually someone like Karl Rove offering 'advice' to democrats.
posted by empath at 6:05 AM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


(pretending to offer)
posted by empath at 6:06 AM on December 8, 2010


verb: Ironmouth has noted on a number of occasions that he supports whistleblowers and in fact defends them legally as part of his job. He believes that Assange/WikiLeaks' document-drop approach is morally and ethically reprehensible, and takes every opportunity to argue it.

Maybe WikiLeaks is putting him out of a job? : )
posted by memebake at 6:18 AM on December 8, 2010


i'm still trying to figure out why you'd make a martini with a lemon.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:22 AM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


BTW, the Guardian's rolling coverage is pretty good:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/blog/2010/dec/08/wikileaks-us-embassy-cables-live-updates
Each day they make a new blogpost and then keep updating it.

http://wlcentral.org/ also have a lot of updates. The latest: An Avaaz petition to stop the crackdown on Wikileaks.
posted by memebake at 6:30 AM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


His hair went prematurely white from natural causes, according to the New Yorker article that appeared before the cable shit hit the fan.

The cartoon that's included with that article is sort of unfortunate.
posted by theredpen at 6:36 AM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Joe in Australia: Look at the really, really stupid things he's done so far:

...

I've been reading these threads for weeks now, trying to identify what is it about the Wikileaks modus operandi that makes me so deeply uneasy, and I think this exposes it. It's not simply about the close identification with Assange as a person, or even his questionable behavior towards women. No, it's because Assange and his allies at Wikileaks come across as a bunch of rank amateurs.

Now, I have nothing against amateurish operations in principle, but if you expect to play global politics on this scale, you should think about raising your game a little. Wikileaks the organization is now pitched between some of the most powerful players in international media and the might of the US establishment, and Assange has made himself and his organization desperately vulnerable to attack, through negligence and hubris.

Considering Wikileaks' alleged reach and obvious resources, the whole thing has been managed in a very ad-hoc way. If they were raising the kinds of sums that have been mentioned, why on earth didn't they set up some sort of business/foundation, nail down an adequate legal framework which would have safeguarded individual anonymity, and adopted some more conventional PR strategies? I simply don't buy this "Wikileaks needs a figurehead" schtick either - Assange's job could be done far more effectively with a few well-targeted press releases by a team of anonymous publicity drones.

Of the current situation, would Assange have been denied bail if he had followed legal immigration procedures? Would the various financial institutions have been able to pull the plug so easily on a more solid banking structure? I'm not talking about web payments, which can be pulled capriciously at the drop of a hat, I'm talking about accounts being closed because of incorrect personal details. This basic lack of due diligence, combined with a certain disregard for editorial standards leaves me wondering why I should trust Wikileaks as an information source any more than I should trust Rupert Murdoch, albeit for very different reasons.

I fervently hope that after this has blown over, whoever takes on the Wikileaks mantle will be a bit more savvy about their rules of engagement. There's a lot to be learned from this mess, and in spite of this rant, I support the continued leaking of this kind of information to the global media. I just wish it were done with the care and attention it so clearly deserves.
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 6:59 AM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


On the other hand, a second global financial crisis could severely impact on my substantive (if not formal) liberty.

Fuck you (and your right to know that you're being defrauded by a criminal enterprise), I've got mine?
posted by Joe Beese at 6:59 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fuck you (and your right to know that you're being defrauded by a criminal enterprise), I've got mine?

Wanting to force changes in government doesn't work if the citizens don't want those changes.

This is why Roosevelt HAD to let the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor.
posted by nomadicink at 7:06 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


symbioid: What I find interesting is this strange sort of twisted logic that goes on in those who are opposing the leaks.

1) zOMG, it's dangerous! You're leaking horrible evil awful things that might get people killed.

but then...

2) Man, I'd understand if you really leaked something dangerous, but why are you leaking all this namby pamby gossipy shit that doesn't do jack shit but embarrass people and doesn't actually *change* anything (but then it puts ambassadors at risk?)


Your confusion is entirely a fault of your own. 1) Concerns such leaks as that of names of Afghans who've fought the Taliban. 2) Concerns the lack of legitimate whistleblowing such as the Abu Ghraib photos. I'm sure you'd have understood the difference in ethics between these two types of leaks if you'd have spent thirty seconds thinking about it.
posted by Anything at 7:14 AM on December 8, 2010


Look, I'm an old Communist Party hack, too, and I also resent the way that the capitalists have bought off the working classes with reformist strategies like minimum wages, guaranteed leave, occupational health & safety laws and so on, not to mention the massive media propaganda machine.

False consciousness on the part of the deluded workers, false consciousness! Gramsci was right - we need an organic intellectual to rise up from the working class to strip these delusions from peoples' eyes, so they can see how living peacefully in relative luxury is actually gross enslavement by criminal enterprises! Then the masses will rise up in revolution!!
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:22 AM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


how living peacefully in relative luxury is actually gross enslavement by criminal enterprises!

Where were your clothes and shoes you wear made? Honest question as I have no idea where Australia gets its consumer goods. You probably already see where I'm going with this. "Relative luxury" for some can often times be precipitated by "gross enslavement" of others.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:33 AM on December 8, 2010


BREAKING Tony Blair called to give extra evidence to Chilcot inquiry on Iraq, details soon at guardian.co.uk

woah
posted by memebake at 7:36 AM on December 8, 2010


Elizabeth the Thirteenth Now, I have nothing against amateurish operations in principle, but if you expect to play global politics on this scale, you should think about raising your game a little. Wikileaks the organization is now pitched between some of the most powerful players in international media and the might of the US establishment, and Assange has made himself and his organization desperately vulnerable to attack, through negligence and hubris.

I disagree, I think they're playing it pretty well, based on their objectives. You have to understand its all based on hacker culture and not mainstream 'lets register a company and open an office and hand out leaflets' culture. The encrypted insurance file is a stroke of genius, and Assange's steadily increasing media exposure this year seems directly calculated to protect the organisation. If faceless people suddently go missing, no-one really notices.

They may have lost a couple of bank accounts (apparently the swiss bank is returning their money, when it gets the chance, not keeping it) but I'm sure they have plenty of others.
posted by memebake at 7:46 AM on December 8, 2010


I think the success of Wikileaks is really more of the idea, rather than anything else. I agree with Assange that this is a new era of journalism, and like his phrase 'scientific journalism'. For example, it is only a few weeks ago that the BBC stated that they are requiring their journalists to cite the scientific papers that they refer to. How can an internationally read news organization have such a pitifully low level of rigor? Can you imagine how terrible their political referencing system is? I look forward to seeing more sites like this develop, so that injustices can be documented.

I'm sure the newspapers that hosted this information are delighted too. Just one data point, but I have been reading the NYT and Guardian sites every few hours as this is information stream is so captivating. Perhaps newspapers will realize that actually critiquing the power-brokers of the world (rather than worrying about their own self-interests) is interesting to read about, and could make the world a better place.
posted by a womble is an active kind of sloth at 7:46 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


so, finally only some Swedish feminist could put a leash on this bastard! :)
posted by Gazetter at 7:47 AM on December 8, 2010


"Relative luxury" for some can often times be precipitated by "gross enslavement" of others.

That's why I wear Adbusters Blackspot sneakers! Ethically made from recycled materials in safe & fair unionised factories!

But your general point is right: as long as any of our international proletariat brothers & sisters are still enslaved, none of us are free. We merely need to raise awareness within our co-opted classmates in the over-indulgent west that they need to radically downsize their lifestyle expectations, so as to free the oppressed in developing countries!

This will also help to precipitate the revolution, because once the soft & privileged workers of the west experience what life is like in the Majority World, the tensions inherent in the capitalist model will provoke them to action!
posted by UbuRoivas at 7:50 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Holy crap, just the shipping (UK) on those Adbusters sneakers is $100! What do they do, hire FairTrade™ Jesus to walk them over here?
posted by dickasso at 8:05 AM on December 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


PayPal has suggested that it was leant on by US government to cut off the funds to WikiLeaks.

State Department spokesman PJ Crowley: "The U.S. government did not write to PayPal requesting any action regarding #WikiLeaks. Not true."
posted by mahershalal at 8:17 AM on December 8, 2010


Holy crap, just the shipping (UK) on those Adbusters sneakers is $100!

It's not very well expressed on the website, but it's $75 for the sneakers + $25 international shipping = $100 (all-inclusive total)
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:22 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The US lobbied Russia this year on behalf of Visa and MasterCard in an attempt to ensure the payment companies were not "adversely affected" by new legislation, according to American diplomats in Moscow.

A state department cable released this afternoon by WikiLeaks reveals that US diplomats intervened to try to amend a draft law going through Russia's Duma. Their explicit aim was to ensure the new law did not "disadvantage" the two US firms, the cable states.

The revelation comes a day after Visa – apparently acting under intense pressure from Washington – announced it was suspending all payments to WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing website. Visa was following MasterCard, PayPal and Amazon, all of which have severed ties with the site and its founder Julian Assange in the last few days.
posted by Len at 8:25 AM on December 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


"The U.S. government did not write to PayPal requesting any action regarding #WikiLeaks. Not true." -Philip J. Crowley

So, is PayPal outright lying now?
posted by naju at 8:29 AM on December 8, 2010


I'd kind of hope that the US would do that sort of thing. Protecting American business is an important part of what the government should be doing.
posted by empath at 8:29 AM on December 8, 2010


So, is PayPal outright lying now?

We should find someplace where a PayPal employee can post a leaked memo.
posted by ryoshu at 8:33 AM on December 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


Ah, another thread where Ironmouth bails out when called on the "but wikileaks released all the 250,000 cables obviously without looking at them, while the NYT didn't because they're responsible and wikileaks is a bunch of terrorists!" canard.

NO, Ironmouth, wikileaks DIDN'T release the 250,000 cables. Wikileaks released only the cables redacted by the NYT, Guardian, Pais et al. They're currently sitting on the rest. They did the same as the NYT, really so why are THEY traitors while the NYT isn't?


Yeah, i'm not really expecting an answer, since you've dodged the question, what, a hundred times already, or just mindlessly repeated your falsehoods.
posted by vivelame at 8:34 AM on December 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


ymbioid: What I find interesting is this strange sort of twisted logic that goes on in those who are opposing the leaks.

1) zOMG, it's dangerous! You're leaking horrible evil awful things that might get people killed.

but then...

2) Man, I'd understand if you really leaked something dangerous, but why are you leaking all this namby pamby gossipy shit that doesn't do jack shit but embarrass people and doesn't actually *change* anything (but then it puts ambassadors at risk?)

Your confusion is entirely a fault of your own. 1) Concerns such leaks as that of names of Afghans who've fought the Taliban. 2) Concerns the lack of legitimate whistleblowing such as the Abu Ghraib photos.


Yeah, this is where I'm coming from.
The world is such a complicated place, there are so many documents released, and so many global dangers afoot, that I'm a bit bewildered that so many progressives are kinda taking a pure ideological line on the leaks.
posted by angrycat at 8:38 AM on December 8, 2010


Anything: " 'symbioid: What I find interesting is this strange sort of twisted logic that goes on in those who are opposing the leaks...'

Your confusion is entirely a fault of your own. 1) Concerns such leaks as that of names of Afghans who've fought the Taliban. 2) Concerns the lack of legitimate whistleblowing such as the Abu Ghraib photos. I'm sure you'd have understood the difference in ethics between these two types of leaks if you'd have spent thirty seconds thinking about it.
"

---

No, I'm saying, on the one hand they're yelling that there's all this info that's dangerous (i.e. potential names of informants, etc...) and "Wikileaks has blood on their hands" with no evidence in support of such an assertion, and certainly , please... spare me the sense of outrage over the issue, if you gave a shit, you wouldn't' be supporting a war that's murdered hundreds... thousands of innocent people...not you, personally (I don't know your particular stance) but the people who ARE warmongers and using this excuse like Palin and all the leaders of this country who loves them some good military-industrial complex.

On one hand, this is "the most dangerous thing evar!" On the other, it's nothing to see here, it's just boring shit (hell, that was Jon Stewart's argument on his Nov 30th show.)

So what I see in your argument is that there's 2 critiques of 2 different dumps, and that's why one is OH NOES! and the other is "eh". Only. There IS some nasty dangerous shit in the diplomatic cables that's already released, let alone who knows what's to come. They know how to do this. They are releasing a little at a time with some massive bomb in each little payload dropped.

As linked and mentioned upthread, we've got Private Military Contractors trading the assholes of young boys for some ostensible benefit. Security, perhaps? Information? Whatever reason, it's wrong. It's happening, it's paid for with your tax dollars, and some filthy executive in the US is getting rich off of this state-sanctioned rape. I'm sorry if my phraseology here is offensive, but it's not nearly as offensive as the actual act, and it's designed and induced to shock, because, apparently, only images are shocking enough to get the facts of the situation through -- if you only *read* about Abu Ghraib and hadn't seen the photos, you might be saying the same thing? But this is here, and it's happening, and if you don't want to accept that and say that there is no legitimate leaking of really nasty shit, then that's because you are choosing to close your eyes to what's in the cables.

We could argue about whether this actually has any merit, whether it will change anything, whether the system will "route around" the damage and win this battle, but in the end, the truth wins out, and dirt is being uncovered.
posted by symbioid at 8:38 AM on December 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


It's not very well expressed on the website, but it's $75 for the sneakers + $25 international shipping = $100 (all-inclusive total)

Maan, they need better marketing peopl.. Oh... Yeah.


Back on topic, the PayPal guy is now saying they blocked donations to Wikileaks after the State Department's letter to Wikileaks, not to PayPal themselves.
posted by dickasso at 8:39 AM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's why I wear Adbusters Blackspot sneakers!

So, a capitalist running dog and a hipster to boot?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 8:43 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


me: BREAKING Tony Blair called to give extra evidence to Chilcot inquiry on Iraq, details soon at guardian.co.uk

Oh, turns out this isn't related to wikileaks. Interesting though, cos it is based on a good old-fashioned leak.
posted by memebake at 8:45 AM on December 8, 2010


mahershalal: "PayPal has suggested that it was leant on by US government to cut off the funds to WikiLeaks.

State Department spokesman PJ Crowley: "The U.S. government did not write to PayPal requesting any action regarding #WikiLeaks. Not true."
"

Like I'm gonna trust a guy named Crowley.
posted by symbioid at 8:45 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


as long as any of our international proletariat brothers & sisters are still enslaved, none of us are free.

Not necessarily.

We merely need to raise awareness within our co-opted classmates in the over-indulgent west that they need to radically downsize their lifestyle expectations

I agree.

so as to free the oppressed in developing countries!

I disagree we can't free anyone. What we can do is stop financially and militarily supporting oppressive regimes.

This will also help to precipitate the revolution, because once the soft & privileged workers of the west experience what life is like in the Majority World, the tensions inherent in the capitalist model will provoke them to action!

I guess you missed the memo. I hate to break it to you but communism/marxism kinda failed.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:45 AM on December 8, 2010


As observed frequently upthread, Assange sees inherent value in leaks in-and-of-themselves because their ease make totalitarian regimes less efficient (see his own words).
posted by jeffburdges at 8:45 AM on December 8, 2010


Daniel Ellsberg, Lawrence Wilkerson, and several other ex-US intelligence officers have signed a public declaration of support for Wikileaks and Julian Assange.
How far down the U.S. has slid can be seen, ironically enough, in a recent commentary in Pravda (that’s right, Russia’s Pravda): “What WikiLeaks has done is make people understand why so many Americans are politically apathetic … After all, the evils committed by those in power can be suffocating, and the sense of powerlessness that erupts can be paralyzing, especially when … government evildoers almost always get away with their crimes. …”

So shame on Barack Obama, Eric Holder, and all those who spew platitudes about integrity, justice and accountability while allowing war criminals and torturers to walk freely upon the earth. … the American people should be outraged that their government has transformed a nation with a reputation for freedom, justice, tolerance and respect for human rights into a backwater that revels in its criminality, cover-ups, injustices and hypocrisies.

Odd, isn’t it, that it takes a Pravda commentator to drive home the point that the Obama administration is on the wrong side of history. Most of our own media are demanding that WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange be hunted down — with some of the more bloodthirsty politicians calling for his murder. The corporate-and-government dominated media are apprehensive over the challenge that WikiLeaks presents. Perhaps deep down they know, as Dickens put it, “There is nothing so strong … as the simple truth.”

As part of their attempt to blacken WikiLeaks and Assange, pundit commentary over the weekend has tried to portray Assange’s exposure of classified materials as very different from — and far less laudable than — what Daniel Ellsberg did in releasing the Pentagon Papers in 1971. Ellsberg strongly rejects the mantra “Pentagon Papers good; WikiLeaks material bad.” He continues: “That’s just a cover for people who don’t want to admit that they oppose any and all exposure of even the most misguided, secretive foreign policy. The truth is that EVERY attack now made on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange was made against me and the release of the Pentagon Papers at the time.”

Motivation? WikiLeaks’ reported source, Army Pvt. Bradley Manning, having watched Iraqi police abuses, and having read of similar and worse incidents in official messages, reportedly concluded, “I was actively involved in something that I was completely against.” Rather than simply go with the flow, Manning wrote: “I want people to see the truth … because without information you cannot make informed decisions as a public,” adding that he hoped to provoke worldwide discussion, debates, and reform.

There is nothing to suggest that WikiLeaks/Assange’s motives were any different.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:47 AM on December 8, 2010 [16 favorites]


The PayPal guy is now saying they blocked donations to Wikileaks after the State Department's letter to Wikileaks, not to PayPal themselves.

State Department agrees.

How did Paypal come to see this letter that the State Department sent to Wikileaks then? Was it published somewhere?
(genuine question)
posted by memebake at 8:51 AM on December 8, 2010


It has been a while since a comment made me literally laugh out loud.
posted by proj at 8:53 AM on December 8, 2010


Mastercard:
Please be advised that MasterCard SecureCode Support has detected a service disruption to the MasterCard Directory Server. The Directory Server service has been failed over to a secondary site however customers may still be experiencing intermittent connectivity issues. More information on the estimated time of recovery will be shared in due course.
Anonymous at work?
posted by memebake at 8:55 AM on December 8, 2010


How did Paypal come to see this letter that the State Department sent to Wikileaks then? Was it published somewhere?

It was leaked, apparently.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 8:56 AM on December 8, 2010


One thing about this that is interesting that no one has pointed out is that unlike most public figures Assange is putting his ass on the line. Love him or hate him one has to admit that by making himself the public face of wikileaks he was taking the chance he would end up in American custody. It now seems, if he is extradited to Sweden, that this will happen.

Now maybe he is a megalomaniac. I can't say for sure as I don't know the guy, but his actions speak pretty loudly. He is willing to put his freedom on the line for what he believes in. I wonder how many of us commenting in this thread can say the same. Sure I have strong opinions but if I am being honest with myself I have to admit that no I probably wouldn't risk my own freedom for any particular cause. Of course I have never been presented with a situation where I have had to make that choice so I can't say for sure.

In an age where public figures seem to do everything in their power to avoid responsibility for their actions the buck doesn't stop anywhere anymore. Well Assagne has stood up and by becoming the public face of wikileaks told the world the buck stops here.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:57 AM on December 8, 2010 [12 favorites]


I was going to comment that one needs to parse official denials (even tweeted ones) carefully:

The U.S. government did not write to PayPal requesting any action regarding #WikiLeaks. Not true.

And possibly the words "requesting" and maybe even "U.S. government". That is, it could have been someone with connected to but not working for the government making a phone call laying out what they'd heard someone in the US government's current thoughts were regarding Wikileaks and any corporations providing services for them.

But if PayPal claims now that they took action based on reading the letter, than that's that, if it's true.
posted by Gnatcho at 8:57 AM on December 8, 2010


wait -- so the dump is justified on the basis of its being a totalitarian regime?
this is a massive failure to understand history. if the u.s. is totalitarian, how do you describe:

Nazi Germany
the Soviet Union
Pol Pot's Cambodia
posted by angrycat at 9:04 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I guess you missed the memo. I hate to break it to you but communism/marxism kinda failed.

Partly due to the fact that the working class was bought off by improved labour conditions and a reasonable standard of living, in the west at least, removing the concrete physical hardship that would be required for people to get of their arses & try to overthrow the system.

If the original point was that this standard of living is riding on the back of oppression in the Majority World, then it's a fair argument to make that people in the west would need to make some major sacrifices in order to pay proper dollars for goods & services sourced from the third world, so that people in the third world can enjoy a similar standard of living, and that this sort of "true cost" economics could, as a collateral benefit, cause people to become more outraged & engaged in the process of trying to make a serious systemic change to the way our system works.

Unfortunately, with this and reducing our economic footprint, when the rubber hits the road & people are expected to make actual sacrifices (beyond buying fairtrade coffees at McDonalds) then sadly not a whole lot happens. Hip pocket nerves & standards of living will always trump abstract principles of equality & fairness.

on the one hand they're yelling that there's all this info that's dangerous (i.e. potential names of informants, etc...) and "Wikileaks has blood on their hands" with no evidence in support of such an assertion

For what it's worth, a respected current affairs show this evening had an intelligence analyst claiming that the Taliban supposedly now has a list of something like 1,200 people targeted for assassination, for helping the occuping forces in Afghanistan - all thanks to Wikileaks.

there's a video you can watch instead of reading the transcript - see the link on the RHS
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:05 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Crucially, PayPal seems to have completely misunderstood that State Department's letter and its careful wording. From the letter:

"As you know, if any of the materials you intend to publish were provided by any government officials, or any intermediary without proper authorization, they were provided in violation of U.S. law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action. As long as WikiLeaks holds such material, the violation of the law is ongoing."

This is not saying anything about WikiLeaks violating U.S. law. It's saying that the government officials providing the materials are violating U.S. law.

Here again:

"We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. Government classified materials."

This careful wording does not claim that anything WikiLeaks is doing is illegal.
posted by naju at 9:09 AM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


This is kind of mind-boggling. I saw up-thread that "Annon" wanted to respond with DDOS to the various companies that have taken action against assange. One of them was mastercard, and Mastercard's website is down. How crazy is that? I would have thought that a major company like that would be more resistant to DDOSing.

I'm sure everything will get straightened out and mastercard.com will be back up and running on beefier servers, but still.

---

That said I think this kind of thing is a bad idea. It makes it easier to say that Wikileaks is actually a "Cyberterror*" outfit and it's going to give grist for the fearmongering mill in DC that says we need to have more "Cyberdefense" bullshit and more laws restricting anonymity, etc, on the internet. It also won't do anything to help wikileaks - since it's actually going to make companies even less interested in wikileaks. It's juvinile and stupid, and could very well get the people co-ordinating the attack thrown in jail.
I have a (very tentative) theory for why he didn't want an STD test: he didn't want to hand over his DNA to anyone. But if the tests really take 6-12 weeks in Sweden, I suppose it's more likely that he just didn't want to be stuck there that long.
Come on, though, if people really want your DNA they'll get it. It would not be difficult to find some hair, or skin cells. In fact I believe he "gave his DNA" to those two girls.
The cartoon that's included with that article is sort of unfortunate.
Cartoons in the New Yorker are actually random.

---

Also, the idea that liberty only means being able to do what you want too regardless of the legality of things you aren't interested in is of course insane. By that measure, most of the rest of the world has plenty of liberty. People in countries like China, Iran Saudi Arabia, etc have plenty of individual autonomy and are in fact far less likely to be incarcerated then anyone in the U.S.

Having the funds to do what you want is wealth, not liberty.

Right now, the US is involved in massive investigations of insider trading at tons of hedge funds and other financial institutions. By UbuRoivas' logic, we should not be doing it, because any upset to the system (no matter how criminal) might destablize the economy thus resulting in him losing (a small amount) of money.

The (suspected) BoA leak probably won't uncover any major crimes. In fact the SEC has access to all these emails anyway. We've seen excerpts from emails at GS who were plotting to rip off other investors by short selling them garbage. GS did get fined, but we already know how bankers think and talk.
posted by delmoi at 9:11 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


For what it's worth, a respected current affairs show this evening had an intelligence analyst claiming that the Taliban supposedly now has a list of something like 1,200 people targeted for assassination, for helping the occuping forces in Afghanistan - all thanks to Wikileaks.

The use of the word "intelligence" in these people's job titles seems more ironic with every passing hour. This stuff was available to three million people before WikiLeaks had ever heard of it - China, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Russia, Pakistan, Al Qaeda, The Taliban and anyone else with their own spies or spying friends will have had it for a long time!
posted by dickasso at 9:12 AM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


wait -- so the dump is justified on the basis of its being a totalitarian regime?
No, the dump is justified (by Assange and WikiLeaks and those who agree with his reasoning) on the basis of: 1) actual proof of horrible wrongdoing that is now in the public's hands (see ongoing taxpayer funded child prostitution) and 2) making secrecy expensive NOW makes totalitarian conspiracies in the FUTURE much harder to coordinate.

That's what I mean when I say that WikiLeaks is about the long game: rather than focusing on punishing specific past wrongdoing, they are looking to reduce the ability of conspiratorial groups (which can be an entire government, groups inside a government, or whatever) to maintain their operational secrecy.

There is collateral damage to WikiLeaks' approach, no question. It is a complex and ethically/morally treacherous zone. But anything in the short term is, ultimately, about ratcheting up pressure in the long-term game. Keep an eye on that and things make a lot more sense, both in terms of WikiLeaks' approach to dribbling out bundles of documents over time, collaborating with the news media to ensure coverage, and also the response of various governments and large corporations.
posted by verb at 9:13 AM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


For what it's worth, a respected current affairs show this evening had an intelligence analyst claiming that the Taliban supposedly now has a list of something like 1,200 people targeted for assassination, for helping the occuping forces in Afghanistan - all thanks to Wikileaks.
Okay so the army and state department have said that no one has been harmed but, hey, a random "Intelligence analyst" on Australian TV says the Taliban "has a list" (i.e. the theoretical number of names in the docs) so really they are in danger.

Meanwhile, how many civilians have been killed in Afghanistan by US troops?
posted by delmoi at 9:15 AM on December 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


This careful wording does not claim that anything WikiLeaks is doing is illegal.

Oh, I get it. Sort of how saying something like, "Wouldn't it be unfortunate if Mr. X suffered a fatal accident?", is just idle musing?
posted by Orange Pamplemousse at 9:16 AM on December 8, 2010


Wikileaks didn't redact the Afghan war logs but did redact the Iraq ones and is now redacting the cables. (I think thats right?)

That does seem to be an admission on their part that redaction is worth doing, so surely a lot of the criticism they got for not redacting the Afghan logs has to be considered valid.
posted by memebake at 9:16 AM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I disagree we can't free anyone. What we can do is stop financially and militarily supporting oppressive regimes.

Totally agree with that. We could start with Israel, for example.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:18 AM on December 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


if the u.s. is totalitarian, how do you describe:

The US doesn't have to be as bad as the aforementioned regimes to be bad. You are setting the bar at the wrong place. In the last decade the US has engaged in kidnapping and torture of innocent people (Arar and al-Masri), aggressive wars (Iraq), denial of due process to its citizens (Padilla) and we even have internal checkpoints (TSA at airports, bus terminals, road blocks and subway stations). How far does the US have to go before it becomes totalitarian in your opinion?
posted by ryoshu at 9:18 AM on December 8, 2010 [12 favorites]


People in countries like China, Iran Saudi Arabia, etc have plenty of individual autonomy

I'm not sure what your basing your conclusions on, but you are wrong about Iran. I have an Iranian friend and she has described to me being interrogated after walking down the street with her male cousin. Plus add'l many other examples of life in post-revolution Iran in which her individual autonomy was quite limited.

2) making secrecy expensive NOW makes totalitarian conspiracies in the FUTURE much harder to coordinate.


I'm not sure what an example of a totalitarian conspiracy might be, aside from say the collaboration of the Axis powers during WWII. Is that the kind of thing you're talking about?
posted by angrycat at 9:19 AM on December 8, 2010


How far does the US have to go before it becomes totalitarian in your opinion?

Going by historical precedent, mass murder of its citizenry, which we don't have here.

The U.S. is fucked up in some serious ways, but if you want to label it something, either pick a different word that is not attached to such historical precedent, or announce upfront that there is a new def'n of totalitarianism in town.
posted by angrycat at 9:21 AM on December 8, 2010


'horrible wrongdoing that is now in the public's hands'
posted by verb.
just plain horrible or mere wrongdoing.
posted by clavdivs at 9:22 AM on December 8, 2010


Mastercard's website is down. How crazy is that? I would have thought that a major company like that would be more resistant to DDOSing.

I'm not that surprised. I've had a Mastercard & a Visa card for aeons, and never once have I even thought of visiting the official sites. Unless things are radically different elsewhere, the cards are licensed out to your bank, which handles the relationship with the customers & merchants, and you have zero relationship with the parent organisation.

The central corporate website is, I am sure, nothing but a bunch of PR fluff. They could carry on business for months without it, and barely anybody would notice or care. For that reason, they wouldn't bother with a sophisticated & expensive redundant fallback or disaster recovery setup.

You can be pretty certain, on the other hand, that 4chan or Anonymous or whoever wouldn't be able to touch the payment infrastructure.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:24 AM on December 8, 2010


How far does the US have to go before it becomes totalitarian in your opinion?
This question is particularly relevant in view of Assange's theory that by the time citizens wake up and say, 'Hey! I'm in a totalitarian regime!' their ability to affect the regime's actions is effectively nil. He advocates a strategy of attrition: slow down the process of a conspiracy's growth by making it very, very hard for it to scale secretly.
I'm not sure what an example of a totalitarian conspiracy might be, aside from say the collaboration of the Axis powers during WWII. Is that the kind of thing you're talking about?
Over the past several decades our nation has done lots of things that, in years past, we all agreed were the mark of totalitarian states. In almost every case, these actions were ignored, denied, or blamed on rogue individuals rather than the coordinated actions of the state.

Those 'ignored, denied, or blamed on rogue individuals' parts are what the constant process of leaking makes much more difficult. We now know that the US government knew that its mercenaries were selling children into slavery and prostitution, for example. We know that they knew it, we know that they ignored rumors of it. The suppression of that information requires what Assange would call "conspiracy."

Right now, it can be argued that we are in the "something can be done" phase. Assange's stated goal is to make secrecy very, very expensive for large conspiracies, thus slowing down their growth and acquisition of power. Thus, extending the "something can be done to stop it" period.

I reiterate that I'm uneasy about the collateral damage on groups that do require a degree of secrecy and/or privacy to operate effectively, but as I have said many times, WikiLeaks is about the long game. It's looking at the seeds of something terrible and deciding that you'll make the growth of that seed much harder, rather than looking at a tree and trying to cut it down.
posted by verb at 9:27 AM on December 8, 2010 [12 favorites]


The central corporate website is, I am sure, nothing but a bunch of PR fluff. They could carry on business for months without it, and barely anybody would notice or care. For that reason, they wouldn't bother with a sophisticated & expensive redundant fallback or disaster recovery setup.
The central corporate web site is also the first line of contact that most customers have with it. Having built out the intranets for a number of large organizations, you'd be kind of shocked how much can be done. At some point, if the public has to get at something, it can be DDoS'd or attacked.

You don't have to get access to actual MasterCard account data to keep people out of their account data.
posted by verb at 9:28 AM on December 8, 2010


Oh, I get it. Sort of how saying something like, "Wouldn't it be unfortunate if Mr. X suffered a fatal accident?", is just idle musing?

Sorry if that's meant as a joke, but I don't think it's a suggestive threat either. The State Department letter is simply calling for WikiLeaks to remove the documents which were illegally obtained. It says nothing about criminal behavior on WikiLeaks' part. Harold Koh is a smart guy and chooses his words carefully.
posted by naju at 9:30 AM on December 8, 2010


[[ How far does the US have to go before it becomes totalitarian in your opinion? ]]

Going by historical precedent, mass murder of its citizenry, which we don't have here.
The U.S. is fucked up in some serious ways, but if you want to label it something, either pick a different word that is not attached to such historical precedent, or announce upfront that there is a new def'n of totalitarianism in town.


Once the Leader proclaims an unchallengeable authority to kill you, it's totalitarianism.

With the principle established, the numbers will follow sooner or later.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:31 AM on December 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


Also, angrycat, I think it's worth noting that Assange's writings on the topic don't use the word "Totalitarian" -- that word has crept into the discussion organically. From Assange's essay (the one that's served as the source for a lot of the discussion):
Authoritarian regimes give rise to forces which oppose them by pushing against the individual and collective will to freedom, truth and self realization. Plans which assist authoritarian rule, once discovered, induce resistance. Hence these plans are concealed by successful authoritarian powers. This is enough to define their behavior as conspiratorial.
"Authoritarian conspiracy" is the target of WikiLeaks. Collateral damage is a real concern, but it's impossible to say that they aren't following their own playbook.
posted by verb at 9:31 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Memebake: You have to understand its all based on hacker culture and not mainstream 'lets register a company and open an office and hand out leaflets' culture.

Indeed. I am very familiar with European and international hacker culture and I have some experience of what it takes for an organization to cross between hacker culture and the mainstream media-oriented environment. It takes a very special kind of chemistry.

One of the tragedies of Wikileaks, in my opinion, is that they've failed to recognize the need to adapt to the requirements of the mainstream, which their burgeoning media profile has pushed them into. Instead, they are clinging to their naive hacker idealism, trusting in the power of technology in the form of encrypted insurance files, while failing to negotiate the complex politics of news gathering and dissemination. Assange's ham-fisted attempts at manipulating the media are consistent with this. His behavior is entirely typical of a certain kind of narcissistic alpha-geek male.

If Wikileaks are to survive, they are going to have to learn to play in a field dominated by powerful political forces and media organizations, and fast, or get eaten for breakfast. That encrypted file will be no more than an empty gesture when the whole operation goes belly up because they behaved like they were in a Neal Stephenson novel, and not the real world.

And when I last looked, setting up an operational business or foundation was not exactly incompatible with hacker culture. We're all geeks here, so please don't make such an embarrassing display of incompetence into some sort of nerd badge of honor :)
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 9:32 AM on December 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


You can be pretty certain, on the other hand, that 4chan or Anonymous or whoever wouldn't be able to touch the payment infrastructure.

I wouldn't be so sure.
posted by valkane at 9:34 AM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


You can be pretty certain, on the other hand, that 4chan or Anonymous or whoever wouldn't be able to touch the payment infrastructure.

Their online authentication system (the box that pops up when you try to make a payment on the web) is currently screwed. Sure, if you go into a shop you can still pay with a MasterCard - but you'll have a problem getting anything from Amazon (for example) with one right now.
posted by dickasso at 9:37 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


angrycat: "How far does the US have to go before it becomes totalitarian in your opinion?

Going by historical precedent, mass murder of its citizenry, which we don't have here.

The U.S. is fucked up in some serious ways, but if you want to label it something, either pick a different word that is not attached to such historical precedent, or announce upfront that there is a new def'n of totalitarianism in town.
"

The word(s) you're thinking of is either genocide and/or democide. According to your logic, then, East Germany wasn't totalitarian? China isn't either? (or at least, not its current incarnation)? What do you mean by "mass murder"?
posted by symbioid at 9:37 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


BBC: Anonymous Mastercard attack 'hits payments'
posted by -t at 9:38 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


UbuRoivas: You can be pretty certain, on the other hand, that 4chan or Anonymous or whoever wouldn't be able to touch the payment infrastructure.

Keep up Uby ; )
half an hour before your comment news had already broken that the Mastercard SecureCode service was in trouble. I think SecureCode is that web form they make you fill in after doing a transaction on line. As such, its a critical part of their payment infrastructure that lies open to the internet. As posted by valkane, the BBC has a report.
posted by memebake at 9:40 AM on December 8, 2010


Can someone give some informed background/context on the Cryptome angle? It seems like Cryptome is well respected, but he's seriously pissed at Wikileaks and (in some blog post I can't find right now) literally accusses Assange of selling secrets to spies and organised crime outfits in order to finance Wikileaks. Thats such an huge allegation that I cant help thinking that its sour grapes. Or should we take Cryptome really seriously?

Cryptome, which is really a group of sites run by John Young and Deborah Natsios, has been around for a long time, at least in internet terms. Young was part of a mailing list where the concept and name for Wikileaks were allegedly developed, and Young allowed his name and address to be used on the original Wikileaks.org domain registration.

According to Young, "I was unsubscribed after I criticized a grandiose funding raising target of $5 million is one year." (Cryptome's operating budget, in contrast, is supposedly around $100/mo, mostly for bandwidth. I gather he mostly pays for this out of pocket, with some help from donations and the sale of DVD copies of the archive to anyone who wants it.) "Wikileaks wants to make a lot of money. That was the reason I was banned and remains the prinicipal basis of my concern about public deception by Wikileaks. It is a business pretending to be a public service initiative."

He also makes a couple of other points which I think are valid criticisms of WL, namely that they're too secretive and not transparent enough, they make unrealistic promises of confidentiality to sources, that they are generally intolerant of any criticism, and that they attract a lot of unnecessary attention to themselves through PR stunts. I think these are all valid, to some extent or another.

The comment of Young's that a lot of people fastened onto was something Young said back in 2007 that nobody but 'George Soros or the CIA' would have the sort of money they were looking for. I.e., that by seeking that sort of funding, they were opening themselves up to becoming corrupted by the people who have those sorts of resources (basically establishment elites, whether on the Left and the Right). That's my interpretation of it, anyway; I don't think it was ever meant as a serious accusation as much as a cautionary statement about the path they were going down. It got a lot of play on certain right-wing conspiracy-theory blogs though (if you Google "Wikileaks George Soros" you'll see what I mean) and Young has, I believe, said that in many cases it was taken out of context.

While there may be some sour grapes involved, I think Young deserves to be given some serious benefit of the doubt. I don't know the guy personally, but he seems to have been 'walking the walk' for years. He seems to be absolutely committed to the ideas of openness and transparency, and what I get from reading his statements is less hostility than disappointment.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:42 AM on December 8, 2010 [11 favorites]


The word(s) you're thinking of is either genocide and/or democide. According to your logic, then, East Germany wasn't totalitarian? China isn't either? (or at least, not its current incarnation)? What do you mean by "mass murder"?

I don't know as much about China and East Germany, which is why I didn't suggest them as examples.
posted by angrycat at 9:43 AM on December 8, 2010


Kadin, I think stockpiling some cash makes sense, particularly in light of recent events.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 9:45 AM on December 8, 2010


Sorry, posting on the fly as I get ready for work.
East Germany was part of the Soviet Union
And genocide is an act, as opposed to a form of gov't. Although I suppose that you could call something a "genocidal state" but that's not really in the lexicon
posted by angrycat at 9:46 AM on December 8, 2010


For reference:

Authoritarianism is a form of social organization characterized by submission to authority. It is opposed to individualism and democracy. In politics, an authoritarian government is one in which political power is concentrated in a leader or leaders, typically unelected by the people, who possess exclusive, unaccountable, and arbitrary power.

Totalitarianism is a political system where the state, usually under the control of a single political person, faction, or class, recognizes no limits to its authority and strives to regulate every aspect of public and private life wherever feasible.

Assange, in his writings, talks about 'Authoritarian conspiracies.' He doesn't accuse the US of being totalitarianism, at least as far as I can tell.
posted by verb at 9:47 AM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Elizabeth the Thirteenth: One of the tragedies of Wikileaks, in my opinion, is that they've failed to recognize the need to adapt to the requirements of the mainstream, which their burgeoning media profile has pushed them into.

Thanks for your reply, I guess we just see it differently. Wikileaks seems to be doing just fine to me, as in they've got the whole world discussing the benefits and problems of secrecy. I agree that Assange seems to be a 'narcissistic alpha-geek male', but then perhaps thats the right kind of personality for the crusade they have taken on.

If they do totally lose it and get dismantled, there's nothing special about Wikileaks site or technology that plenty of other groups wont be able to copy. Basically, "anonymous document drop-off + bit of leg work to establish validity of docs + web site + guts" is the formula. Its a very easy formula to copy now that people 'get it' and see the power of it.
posted by memebake at 9:50 AM on December 8, 2010


Netcraft analysis of the Operation Payback attack on MasterCard
Operation Payback is announcing targets via its website, Twitter stream and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels. To muster the necessary volume of traffic to take sites offline, they are inviting people to take part in a 'voluntary' botnet by installing a tool called LOIC (Low Orbit Ion Cannon – a fictional weapon of mass destruction popularised by computer games such as Command & Conquer).

The LOIC tool connects to an IRC server and joins an invite-only 'hive' channel, where it can be updated with the current attack target. This allows Operation Payback to automatically reconfigure the entire botnet to switch to a different target at any time.
Is "We are living in a William Gibson novel" the most over-used phrase of 2010?
posted by memebake at 9:57 AM on December 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


angrycat: "Sorry, posting on the fly as I get ready for work.
East Germany was part of the Soviet Union
And genocide is an act, as opposed to a form of gov't. Although I suppose that you could call something a "genocidal state" but that's not really in the lexicon
"

My point being the genocide/democide is one thing that *some* totalitarian governments do, but there are other forms of totalitarianism that don't need to engage in such outright brutal methods. The "all watching eye" of the panopticon. By saying that your definition is "mass murder" and none of the other traits, you end up losing out on all the other things that make a system totalitarian.

What about a place like Rwanda where mass murder takes place due to powerful cultural enmities being exploited by various factions? That wasn't not a Totalitarian state. But by your criteria, it is.

The other end is a place like East Germany. The GDR (as it's more properly known) was a *very* totalitarian state. The Stasi secret police is kind of what the current "snitching if you see something suspicious" DHS propaganda vids at Wal-Mart is like. The state wanted you to spy on your neighbors and report "suspicious behavior". I'm not claiming we're at Stasi levels of surveillance, note. Just pointing out that the surveillance is a very strong component of totalitarianism, far beyond "mass murder" as the principle yardstick.

I use the GDR as an example because, AFAIK, mass murder wasn't their style. But this is why I ask your definition. Because if you're talking about abducting potential threats to state security and extrajudicial killings as opposed to a mass roundup of "state enemies" and labor camps/gulags (Soviet/Nazi style) then that would add the GDR to your definition, but if you only counted these large scale purges then you might not consider them totalitarian, which I find quite absurd.

And not to be pedantic, but the East German Republic was not part of the Soviet Union, but was int the Warsaw Pact and had a strong alliance with the USSR, but they weren't ruled by Joseph Stalin or the other Soviet leaders and had their own system of rule in place that was different from the USSR (though still totalitarian in nature).
posted by symbioid at 10:08 AM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Is "We are living in a William Gibson novel" the most over-used phrase of 2010?

It would be if we weren't.
posted by philip-random at 10:21 AM on December 8, 2010 [11 favorites]


but they weren't ruled by Joseph Stalin or the other Soviet leaders

ok then
posted by clavdivs at 10:25 AM on December 8, 2010


And not to be pedantic, but the East German Republic was not part of the Soviet Union, but was int the Warsaw Pact and had a strong alliance with the USSR, but they weren't ruled by Joseph Stalin or the other Soviet leaders and had their own system of rule in place that was different from the USSR (though still totalitarian in nature).

Much in the way that the UK, Australia, Sweden et al. are separate countries from the US with their own laws and systems of rule?
posted by acb at 10:30 AM on December 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


The Stasi secret police is kind of what the current "snitching if you see something suspicious" DHS propaganda vids at Wal-Mart is like.

and if we laugh, and laugh and we LAUGH at it and shop ...umm, we laugh at it and say HA, its a plot to sell monitors and further false consciousness. wow.
posted by clavdivs at 10:35 AM on December 8, 2010


Operation Payback tweets The Guardian reports that: Operation Payback is announcing targets via its website, Twitter stream and Internet Relay Chat (IRC) channels. To muster the necessary volume of traffic to take sites offline, they are inviting people to take part in a 'voluntary' botnet by installing a tool called LOIC (Low Orbit Ion Cannon – a fictional weapon of mass destruction popularised by computer games such as Command & Conquer).
The LOIC tool connects to an IRC server and joins an invite-only 'hive' channel, where it can be updated with the current attack target. This allows Operation Payback to automatically reconfigure the entire botnet to switch to a different target at any time.
posted by adamvasco at 10:38 AM on December 8, 2010


if the u.s. is totalitarian, how do you describe:

Nazi Germany
the Soviet Union
Pol Pot's Cambodia


Those were totalitarian regimes. The US is not a totalitarian regime. We're a Corporatocracy with a ruling class that for all intents and purposes is a hereditary aristocracy.

But we are also an Empire (very profitable for that ruling class, Empire is) that spends more on it's military that the next 20 nations combined, has invaded and occupied two of the most petroleum/resource rich areas of the globe, and tortured innocent people to death who were in US military custody while declaring them without recourse to challenge their detention. And nobody above the rank of Sgt. Major was held accountable for anything that went on at Abu Ghraib.

I can haz more trnzprnt gummint, plz?
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:39 AM on December 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


I wonder how long it will take the DOJ lawyers and CIA to crack these chat servers and supeona records from Facebook, Twitter, 4chan's ISP, etc to track down the members of Anonymous. Once they stopped DDOSing public sites and going after things like payments they go from nuisance to target. I think those involved in this have probably really underestimated the world of shit headed their way. We're talking about armies of lawyers, cops, FBI, and the actual army. Not to mention the private security guys at Mastercard, etc.
posted by humanfont at 10:40 AM on December 8, 2010


Better than a Gibson novel, we're jacked in and flatlining.
posted by effluvia at 10:41 AM on December 8, 2010


clavdivs: " but they weren't ruled by Joseph Stalin or the other Soviet leaders

ok then
"

OK, let's put it this way - they weren't "ruled" by Stalin or the other soviet leaders in the same way that our "allies" aren't "ruled" by us. They had their own economic organization that was distinct from the Soviet Union. Did they "take orders" from the Soviet Union when it came to things like how to deal with , say, NATO? Probably. But I'd imagine there were meetings between the leaderships and discussions were had on how to run the Warsaw Pact, was it by diktat? Perhaps.

Ultimately, whether it was ruled directly by Stalin and other Soviet leaders is a nominal issue. The GDR was a totalitarian state, with differences in socio-economic organization. I was being pedantic on that point. That is to say, it was more of a side-note.

Sure, if East Germany said "Shit guys, I think I wanna join back up with the West" yeah... Papa Joe might havea little something to say about it and send some troops in (like in Hungary and the Czechoslovakia). And in that sense they were "ruled". But again, this is pretty much how any nation-state/empire works. I'm outta this convo, cuz it's kind of dumb. We all agree these regimes are pretty shitty.
posted by symbioid at 10:41 AM on December 8, 2010


I'm not claiming we're at Stasi levels of surveillance, note.

1. Under Bush, something was going on with domestic spying that even John Ashcroft couldn't stomach. Something for which an entire department of people were prepared to resign in protest. It must have been pretty goddamned heinous.

2. His successor is demanding the ability to warrantlessly spy on all domestic electronic communication - assuming that the NSA is not doing so already.

3. The courts have ruled that the police can warrantlessly attach a tracking device to your vehicle.

4. Several "snitch on your neighbor" schemes were put into effect after the PATRIOT Act.

So, basically, we're well on the way there.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:44 AM on December 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


The LOIC tool connects to an IRC server and joins an invite-only 'hive' channel, where it can be updated with the current attack target. This allows Operation Payback to automatically reconfigure the entire botnet to switch to a different target at any time.

LOL what happens when someone hacks this and starts ddosing Wikileaks or 4chan.
posted by humanfont at 10:44 AM on December 8, 2010


humanfont: "I wonder how long it will take the DOJ lawyers and CIA to crack these chat servers and supeona records from Facebook, Twitter, 4chan's ISP, etc to track down the members of Anonymous. Once they stopped DDOSing public sites and going after things like payments they go from nuisance to target. I think those involved in this have probably really underestimated the world of shit headed their way. We're talking about armies of lawyers, cops, FBI, and the actual army. Not to mention the private security guys at Mastercard, etc."

Not the Party Van!
posted by symbioid at 10:45 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


adamvasco! You're killing me! You're consistently on top of it, yet 5 minutes late to everything in this thread.

(But I have to thank you because now this is in my Recent Activity, yay.)
posted by iamkimiam at 10:48 AM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


LOL what happens when someone hacks this and starts ddosing Wikileaks or 4chan.

Both of them get DDOS'd constantly as it is.
posted by empath at 10:49 AM on December 8, 2010


My worst fear is not that we're living in a William Gibson novel, but that we're living the prologue to a Peter Watts novel.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 10:51 AM on December 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


humanfont: "I wonder how long it will take the DOJ lawyers and CIA to crack these chat servers and supeona records from Facebook, Twitter, 4chan's ISP, etc to track down the members of Anonymous. "

I think you're seriously underestimating how hard this would be. They might go after one or two to make examples of them though - which is what the Scientologists tried to do, and failed.
posted by memebake at 10:53 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Memebake: Thanks for your reply, I guess we just see it differently. Wikileaks seems to be doing just fine to me, as in they've got the whole world discussing the benefits and problems of secrecy. I agree that Assange seems to be a 'narcissistic alpha-geek male', but then perhaps thats the right kind of personality for the crusade they have taken on.

Yes, we are talking about secrecy. We're also talking about Wikileaks' financial arrangements, or lack thereof, extradition and whether or not Assange acts like a gentleman with the ladies.

What we're not talking about much is the contents of the cables. That's a huge amount of newsworthy material which has been reduced to fodder for historians because none of the stories are sticking. There are too many of them, and they have been completely overshadowed by the martyrdom of St Julian. Who gets called to account? Not the US State Department, that's for sure.

If they do totally lose it and get dismantled, there's nothing special about Wikileaks site or technology that plenty of other groups wont be able to copy. Basically, "anonymous document drop-off + bit of leg work to establish validity of docs + web site + guts" is the formula. Its a very easy formula to copy now that people 'get it' and see the power of it.

Quite right too, and a formula that I bet some less glamorous whistleblowers are also using. So if you're serious about doing the work, why make such a song and dance about it? Can't you do your sources the courtesy of managing releases in a professional, discrete way, which respects the risks they've taken, and focuses on the news value of the leaks themselves?

I don't see how Wikileaks can survive to become a sustainable operation unless they wake up to the fact that this isn't about them, it's about the content. They can't be the news and deliver news at the same time. But every Wikileak so far has bounced back to become yet another story about Wikileaks - bigger, better and more batshit insane than the last one, until no-one can remember what got leaked in the first place.

This entire affair is a fiasco, a media circus which I'm certain could have been avoided with better planning and less arrogance. I hope they've made him comfy down at the Wandsworth nick. I'll take a side order of popcorn with these beans, please :)
posted by Elizabeth the Thirteenth at 10:55 AM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I need a break. When do we get to the part of living in a Jane Austen novel?
posted by gomichild at 10:57 AM on December 8, 2010


I think those involved in this have probably really underestimated the world of shit headed their way. We're talking about armies of lawyers, cops, FBI, and the actual army. Not to mention the private security guys at Mastercard, etc.

The internet is serious business!!!
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:59 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


http://www.metafilter.com/contribute/search.mefi?q=like+a+William+Gibson+novel

heh
posted by memebake at 10:59 AM on December 8, 2010


When do we get to the part of living in a Jane Austen novel?

Well if we get a vote I want to be living in a J.R.R. Tolkien novel, but that goes without saying...
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:00 AM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Most of the people coming out against wikileaks seem to be living in a Tom Clancy novel...
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:01 AM on December 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


SLYT from the Jane Austen novel, "Sex by Surprise"
posted by effluvia at 11:09 AM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'm sure the FBI is investigating whoever is coordinating the Low Orbit Ion Cannon network, and probably they'll get busted.
posted by delmoi at 11:10 AM on December 8, 2010


You can be pretty certain, on the other hand, that 4chan or Anonymous or whoever wouldn't be able to touch the payment infrastructure.

Let us know when you get tired of being wrong.
posted by rodgerd at 11:13 AM on December 8, 2010 [11 favorites]


Elizabeth the Thirteenth: But every Wikileak so far has bounced back to become yet another story about Wikileaks - bigger, better and more batshit insane than the last one, until no-one can remember what got leaked in the first place.

Yes, I'm hoping that when the fuss dies down in a few months time the content of the leaks will become more of a focus. The reaction to the leaks will happen in 'normal' time - things like opposition MPs asking parliamentary questions, investigative journalism, blogging and so on. That all takes a while to happen. But the leaked cables are in the public domain now, and the reaction will surely come where reaction is due. There are plenty of interested parties around to trumpet the leaks that support their points of view.

As you say, at the moment that is eclipsed by the wikileaks story that is happening in internet-time. And frankly, I'm finding that to be the more interesting story anyway. What we are seeing is a game changing event. This is changing journalism, its changing the way people see the internet, its going to change the way governments manage information, and its challenging the balance of power. This sort of chaotic rolling story is what change looks like. I've no idea where it will end up but this is a major event in the history of our most complicated, most socially powerful, most far reaching technological creation ever: the internet.

Thats just as important as hearing about what a bunch of politicians have been up to lately.
posted by memebake at 11:14 AM on December 8, 2010 [12 favorites]


Or we could all be living in a Cormac McCarthy novel and towering over them will be the electroboy; naked, dancing, his small feet lively and quick and now in doubletime and bowing to the ladies, huge and pale and hairless, like an enormous infant.
posted by electroboy at 11:14 AM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Elizabeth the Thirteenth: "Memebake:
What we're not talking about much is the contents of the cables. That's a huge amount of newsworthy material which has been reduced to fodder for historians because none of the stories are sticking. There are too many of them, and they have been completely overshadowed by the martyrdom of St Julian. Who gets called to account? Not the US State Department, that's for sure.
"

I realize it's not your "job" to report on the leaks, but if you have a problem with the sideshow of Julian vs the Content, then perhaps it would behoove you to discuss the content yourself here, instead of contributing to the continued derail of the organization/Julian.

But again, this is part of the question. Is it the goal, as Julian seemed to indicate, that he wants the system to get paranoid? Then, that's happening pretty darn well.Are the leaks a mere means to an end? Perhaps.

That doesn't mean they should be discounted, I think the dirty secrets should be aired openly and get people to understand (of course, I'm cynical and doubt it would actually happen, but a boy can dream). I've been posting the Dyncorp story on FB and will try to do more as I can.

The contents are part of the story, Wikileaks itself is another part.
posted by symbioid at 11:16 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Delmoi:

I hope that group is decentralized enough to maintain control...or there are enough people outside of the US that can maintain control.
posted by schyler523 at 11:19 AM on December 8, 2010


And, speaking of Mastercard US Lobbied Russia on behalf of Visa and Mastercard, as reported in the guardian, based on the leaked memos.
posted by delmoi at 11:24 AM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I hope MasterCard buys a dog.
posted by ryoshu at 11:24 AM on December 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


The fact that Muammar al-Gaddafi (Mo to his friends) has a voluptous Ukranian nurse would normally be really great front page news, but c'mon, multiple DDOses happening in real time? It's gonna be hard to compete with that for a long time.
posted by fixedgear at 11:26 AM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Is "We are living in a William Gibson novel" the most over-used phrase of 2010?

I always though the future would be more... I dunno, better looking. More Bladerunner-ish, you know? All Neuromancery. But it's actually kind of tacky, and not particularly cool. No "A new life awaits you on the offworld colonies", or anything. And nobody's delivering my pizza wearing a light-absorbing black suit and samurai swords, either. I feel a slight but nagging sense of disappointment.
posted by jokeefe at 11:26 AM on December 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


[CONTENT] What kind of US diplomaic secrets has Wikileaks revealed?: WikiLeaks Cables Reveals Bush, Obama Pressured Germany, Spain Not To Probe Torture
In the relatively small number of US diplomatic cables released to date by WikiLeaks, from its cache of 251,287 documents, the most disturbing revelations concerning the “War on Terror” deal with the pressure that the Bush administration exerted on Germany in 2007, regarding the planned prosecution of thirteen CIA agents involved in the rendition and torture of Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen seized as a result of mistaken identity, and the pressure that the Obama administration exerted on the Spanish government in 2009, to derail a criminal investigation into the role played by six senior Bush administration lawyers in establishing the policies that governed the interrogation — and torture — of prisoners seized in the “War on Terror.”

Neither of these developments had been reported prior to the release of the cables by WikiLeaks, and they are therefore extremely significant in establishing how long Bush administration officials were involved in fending off torture investigations overseas, and how eagerly Obama administration officials took up this role...

In the first cable, sent to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice from Berlin on February 6, 2007, by John M. Koenig, the senior career diplomat at the US Embassy in Berlin, following discussions with Rolf Nikel, the deputy national security advisor for Germany, Koenig explained how he emphasized to Nikel that “issuance of international arrest warrants would have a negative impact on our bilateral relationship.” In addition, he “reminded Nikel of the repercussions to US-Italian bilateral relations in the wake of a similar move by Italian authorities last year” (in the case of Abu Omar, discussed below), and “pointed out that our intention was not to threaten Germany, but rather to urge that the German Government weigh carefully at every step of the way the implications for relations with the US.”

What makes this thinly-veiled threat seem particularly harsh is the fact that El-Masri is the clearest case of mistaken identity in the whole of the “War on Terror”...

The second cable, dated April 17, 2009, and sent from Madrid, explained how US officials had manipulated Spanish officials to suppress an investigation into six former Bush administration lawyers — Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, David Addington, former chief of staff and legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney, William Haynes, the Pentagon’s former general counsel, Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy, Jay Bybee, the former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel, and John Yoo, a former official in the Office of Legal Counsel — for “creating a legal framework that allegedly permitted torture.” A Spanish human rights group had filed the complaint the month before, contending that Spain had a duty to open an investigation under its “universal jurisdiction” law.

The cable reveals how US officials immediately began sounding out Spanish officials, and how, on April 15, an apparently unlikely figure for the Obama administration to embrace — Sen. Mel Martinez (R-Fla.), who had recently been chairman of the Republican Party — attended a meeting between the US embassy’s charge d’affaires and the acting Spanish foreign minister, Angel Lossada, at which the Americans, repeating the same threatening language used in Germany in 2007, “underscored that the prosecutions would not be understood or accepted in the US and would have an enormous impact on the bilateral relationship” between Spain and the United States.
So, to paraphrase my nation's diplomatic stance re: our Nato Allies and their intentions to investigate torture by American agents and their direct proxies:

"Fuck you, Germany. I don't care if we kidnap and torture your citizens. We're America, and if you wanna have a healthy relationship with us, shut your fucking bratwurst-hole.

"And you, Spain. What, are you a bunch of fucking hippies? "Universal Jurisdiction?" Get the fuck back in line, Pablo. You ain't matador enough for this bull."

[MESSAGE]...
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 11:39 AM on December 8, 2010 [15 favorites]


Um yeah, so here's a video in which Glenn Beck 'explains' — for Glenn Beck values of 'explain' — the case against Assange, and, apparently, also something about birds and bees.

I'mma go wash my soul now.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:41 AM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I always though the future would be more... I dunno, better looking.

And whose fault is that? I am wearing goggles and a leather jacket over my black and red jumpsuit. I took the plastic shell off my monitor. I slammed a hammer into the wall and nailed up some chicken wire to hold back the drywall.

And, what are you doing?

The future doesn't dress itself!
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:45 AM on December 8, 2010 [22 favorites]


Does my crumbled drywall from leaning back over the past couple years against the wall count towards that cool "smashed wall" look?

Can I wear Moon Boots?
posted by symbioid at 11:48 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


pic related
posted by ryoshu at 11:48 AM on December 8, 2010 [12 favorites]


Does my crumbled drywall from leaning back over the past couple years against the wall count towards that cool "smashed wall" look?

Can I wear Moon Boots?


Yes, and yes.

Remember folks, our dystopia is only as obvious as we make it.
posted by TwelveTwo at 11:50 AM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


IS IT TIME FOR THE FURRY UNDIES?!!!
posted by wemayfreeze at 11:52 AM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I always though the future would be more... I dunno, better looking. More Bladerunner-ish, you know? All Neuromancery.

It's more Virtual Light than Sprawl Trilogy, alas.
posted by rodgerd at 11:58 AM on December 8, 2010


Tom Burghardt : Europeans Accused of "Paranoia" Over Fears of U.S. Economic Espionage..
posted by adamvasco at 12:00 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I always though the future would be more... I dunno, better looking.

And whose fault is that? I am wearing goggles and a leather jacket over my black and red jumpsuit.


My god, you're right. I'm just sitting here in a generic chain coffee shop wearing jeans and a black shirt (points for the black, though, right?). I will rectify the situation immediately. Anyone got some mirrored glasses and a black leather trenchcoat?
posted by jokeefe at 12:01 PM on December 8, 2010


Um yeah, so here's a video in which Glenn Beck 'explains' — for Glenn Beck values of 'explain' — the case against Assange, and, apparently, also something about birds and bees.

Wow. That was.....interesting. It appears Glen Beck is aware that most of his audience have the mental capacity of 5-7 year old children.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:06 PM on December 8, 2010


What kind of US diplomaic secrets has Wikileaks revealed?: WikiLeaks Cables Reveals Bush, Obama Pressured Germany, Spain Not To Probe Torture

Actually I totally agree with this position of the Obama and Bush administrations. I don't see anything wrong. It would significantly impair our intelligence sharing, military and diplomatic relationships to have German or Spanish prosecutors indicting and arresting our agents and officers. It would also make for are an ugly political scene in the US which could undermine the mutual interests of the aforementioned states. It could also be argued that the threat of prosecution by Germany and Spain was a means to bring pressure on the US to terminate these programs. Thus the result / objective was achieved.
posted by humanfont at 12:06 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't see anything wrong.

You don't see anything wrong with the U.S. committing torture, leaning on countries investigating said torture, and then failing to investigate and/or prosecute the guilty parties?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:13 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Does that mean I can go rob a bank, blackmail the investigating officers, keep the money and it's ok because I promise...really no trust me I promise....I won't do it again?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:15 PM on December 8, 2010


I think he quite literally means that he doesn't 'see' it. Like, with his eyes.

I could be misreading his comment though.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:23 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


who is: Glenn Beck?
posted by clavdivs at 12:29 PM on December 8, 2010


"It could also be argued that the threat of prosecution by Germany and Spain was a means to bring pressure on the US to terminate these programs. Thus the result / objective was achieved."
posted by humanfont at 2:06 PM on December 8 [+] [!] [quote]

[citation needed]
posted by symbioid at 12:30 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


who is: Glenn Beck?

You don't want to know.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:32 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Let us know when you get tired of being wrong.

Sure, just as soon as there's something more solid than sketchy unconfirmed early-breaking reports.

As for what's written on "blog securetrading com" (whatever that is - an English company from what they say) "The Directory Server service has been failed over to a secondary site" doesn't mean what you think it means. If it has been failed over, that means that the redundant infrastructure that was in place is actually doing its job.

I'm as eager to believe in the power of the people as anybody else, but it's way too early to be calling that the payment infrastructure has been brought down.

But now I'm off to use my card to get a new pair of Blackspot Sneakers - I hadn't noticed the new red ones before...
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:35 PM on December 8, 2010


You don't see anything wrong with the U.S. committing torture, leaning on countries investigating said torture, and then failing to investigate and/or prosecute the guilty parties?

I think this is irrelevant to the topic at hand (Wikileaks). You don't need Wikileaks to have an informed position about this subject. It's completely unsurprising that the US government would use diplomatic pressure to prevent the Spanish and German governments from indicting senior US officials.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:40 PM on December 8, 2010


[citation needed]
posted by symbioid
not needed. subject matter and a conclusion do not referents for an argument when the end result is posited.
posted by clavdivs at 12:43 PM on December 8, 2010


You don't see anything wrong with the U.S. committing torture, leaning on countries investigating said torture, and then failing to investigate and/or prosecute the guilty parties?

It can certainly be two separate issues. You can be against torture and also not want foreign governments arresting US servicemembers.
posted by electroboy at 12:43 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can be pretty certain, on the other hand, that 4chan or Anonymous or whoever wouldn't be able to touch the payment infrastructure.

I wouldn't be so sure.


According to the Guardian, anon is targeting Visa next. For anybody who's interested in this kind of thing, I'm sure /b/lackup is welcome over at anonops.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:46 PM on December 8, 2010


You can be against torture and also not want foreign governments arresting US servicemembers.

Arresting someone that's wanted for questioning for not wearing condoms? Totally appropriate.

Arresting someone for kidnap and torture? How uncouth!
posted by ryoshu at 12:48 PM on December 8, 2010 [18 favorites]


Kadin, I think stockpiling some cash makes sense, particularly in light of recent events.

That doesn't strike me as very practical. Unless the plan was to literally keep it in cash, which is a bit impractical when you're talking about $5M, then it's just a big fat bank account, or bunch of bank accounts, waiting to be frozen.

Tracing financial transactions and the flow of money is one of the areas where Wikileaks' adversaries are probably strongest. It doesn't strike me as a particularly great idea to play right into their strengths so much.

A lean, decentralized organization consisting of loosely-organized (or maybe not even 'organized', just ideologically aligned), autonomous, and self-funding cells would not have this problem, or many others that Wikileaks has.
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:48 PM on December 8, 2010


you can be against torture and also bot want foreign governments arresting US servicemembers

I don't really see how, I mean unless you see torture as some sort of routine government exess - like 'i'm against earmarks' or someting.

I'ts literally impossible to imagine 10 years ago people would routinely say that torture shouldn't be prosecuted, and that it's fine to obstruct justice in order to protect torturers because doingso would be inconvienient
posted by delmoi at 12:57 PM on December 8, 2010 [12 favorites]


So humanfont and BobbyVan I take it you will blindly follow your leaders in whatever crazed direction they might lead you.
US Ambassador Eduardo Aguirre conspired to derail cases in Spain's High Court.
The US Embassy was worried about two investigations before the High Court that could have put the United States in a delicate position. One was the court inquiry into the killing of Telecinco cameraman José Couso in Baghdad by US soldiers in 2003; the other concerned the alleged CIA rendition flights that used Spanish airports for stopovers, taking Al Qaeda suspects to and from Guantánamo.
Among their biggest worries were investigations pursued by the magistrate Baltasar Garzón, who US officials described as having "an anti-American streak".
See also The Madrid Cables. Their disclosure has created deep concern about the independence of judges in Spain and the manipulation of the entire criminal justice system by a foreign power. You both seem nothing but cheerleaders at the minimum for repression and obfuscation. It might be worth reminding you that it took Spain 36 years to shrug off the cloak of fascism; 36 long years, but they did it.
posted by adamvasco at 1:03 PM on December 8, 2010 [11 favorites]


Anonymous just took down Visa.com.
posted by naju at 1:05 PM on December 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


I don't really see how

President Obama would seem to have squared this circle.
posted by BobbyVan at 1:05 PM on December 8, 2010


I'ts literally impossible to imagine 10 years ago people would routinely say that torture shouldn't be prosecuted

Not prosecuted by foreign governments =/= not prosecuted.
posted by electroboy at 1:07 PM on December 8, 2010


Good job, anonymous.
posted by Justinian at 1:12 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Cuz we're doing so well on that front, electroboy? Obama has pretty much come out and said he's not gonna prosecute anyone for it.
posted by symbioid at 1:13 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


/b/tards: defenders of our freedoms? Jesus, what is the world coming to.
posted by Justinian at 1:15 PM on December 8, 2010 [14 favorites]


What does /b/ think they're going to get out of DDOS's Visa and Mastercard? Do they think they'll go, 'oh, my bad, better give wikileaks a bunch of money?'

I'm pretty sure they won't.
posted by empath at 1:15 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not prosecuted by foreign governments =/= not prosecuted.

Under Obama, it is very much "=".

However, "completely unsurprising" ≠ "morally acceptable".
posted by Joe Beese at 1:17 PM on December 8, 2010


Payback is trending on twitter.

"There are Some Things Money Can't Buy. For Everything Else, there's HTTP Error 408 Request Timeout"
posted by memebake at 1:18 PM on December 8, 2010 [15 favorites]


/b/tards: defenders of our freedoms? Jesus, what is the world coming to.

I know right? Who would have thought that a shady group of internet-addicts obsessed with freedom of speech on the internet would do such a thing!


What does /b/ think they're going to get out of DDOS's Visa and Mastercard? Do they think they'll go, 'oh, my bad, better give wikileaks a bunch of money?'

lulz
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:19 PM on December 8, 2010 [16 favorites]


They do it for the lulz.
posted by Justinian at 1:19 PM on December 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


What does /b/ think they're going to get out of DDOS's Visa and Mastercard? Do they think they'll go, 'oh, my bad, better give wikileaks a bunch of money?'

They rally behind the cause of preventing internet censorship. So, I guess they hope to discourage other corporates from rolling over.

Also, one of their primary objectives is always to get lulz. And they're getting them.
posted by memebake at 1:20 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


What does /b/ think they're going to get out of DDOS's Visa and Mastercard? Do they think they'll go, 'oh, my bad, better give wikileaks a bunch of money?'

I hope what we get is a slightly more robust credit card processing system. I realize that these aren't the back-end payment processing parts, but they folded like a house of cards and that is not inspiring confidence. Gotta get some cash out of the ATM before that goes down, too.
posted by fixedgear at 1:21 PM on December 8, 2010


This is pretty much the opposite of a good thing if you care about WikiLeaks being seen as a legitimate resource and not run by "internet terrorists". It's entirely damaging to the cause.
posted by naju at 1:22 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I hope what we get is a slightly more robust credit card processing system. I realize that these aren't the back-end payment processing parts, but they folded like a house of cards and that is not inspiring confidence. Gotta get some cash out of the ATM before that goes down, too.

The securecard server sounds like it was running on the same box as mastercard.com, interrupting online payments.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:24 PM on December 8, 2010


In the middle of these crazy breaking-news kinds of situations it would be really cool if we could avoid accusing each other of being pawns for the man, or deluded america-haters, or whatever. You know. Just a breather.
posted by verb at 1:25 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is pretty much the opposite of a good thing if you care about WikiLeaks being seen as a legitimate resource and not run by "internet terrorists". It's entirely damaging to the cause.

IDK, the news media is treating anon a bit more even-handedly this time.

“Hacktivist” is better than "internet terrorist" I guess.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:25 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is pretty much the opposite of a good thing if you care about WikiLeaks being seen as a legitimate resource and not run by "internet terrorists". It's entirely damaging to the cause.

I'm not sure about 'entirely'. Its pretty hard to show links between Anonymous and ... anyone.. really. I think I saw a quote somewhere with Assange's lawyer or the Wikileaks spokesman or someone calling for the DDOS to be called off. But I can't find it right now. Anyone?
posted by memebake at 1:28 PM on December 8, 2010


What does /b/ think they're going to get out of DDOS's Visa and Mastercard? Do they think they'll go, 'oh, my bad, better give wikileaks a bunch of money?'

(Self-link) For at least part of the day today, they not only got the public-facing websites, they impeded the processing of payments.
posted by jbickers at 1:29 PM on December 8, 2010


It's entirely damaging to the cause.

The cause being, I take it, to politely persuade the government, by the logic of our position, that it should not try to destroy people who expose its war crimes.
posted by Joe Beese at 1:31 PM on December 8, 2010 [15 favorites]


Most importantly I'm out of cash and need to use a card to get some dinner after work. If I go hungry tonight, who do I blame?

Aaaaannnnnnnnd FIGHT!
posted by charred husk at 1:32 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Most importantly I'm out of cash and need to use a card to get some dinner after work. If I go hungry tonight, who do I blame?

Um... use your cards. The only affect was intermittent outages of the security code server (presumably the one that validates your online payments against the little 3 digit security code on the back of your card).
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:35 PM on December 8, 2010


*effect

/pedant
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:36 PM on December 8, 2010


WikiLeaks being seen as a legitimate resource and not run by "internet terrorists". It's entirely damaging to the cause

Actually, "Operation Payback" seems to be getting reported — laudably and correctly, I should say — largely as activism and retaliatory protest: NYT refers to Anon as "A small army of activist hackers," AP "a network of web activists," the Guardian "a group of online activists." Why should we (or the /b/tards) preemptively cut off a potentially viable form of protest because we're worried about the potential for a hysterical FOX News response? Look how much coverage /b/ is getting for this DDoS-as-protest and tell me how a march or a sit-in at Mastercard headquarters could air their cause any better.
posted by RogerB at 1:38 PM on December 8, 2010 [11 favorites]


I don't think there's any way for the government to stop Anon. I mean they can shut down 4chan, but they'll just go elsewhere. There's no leadership, no command structure, no money. There's nothing to shut down. It's just an idea and a tactic.
posted by empath at 1:39 PM on December 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


I don't think there's any way for the government to stop Anon. I mean they can shut down 4chan, but they'll just go elsewhere. There's no leadership, no command structure, no money. There's nothing to shut down. It's just an idea and a tactic.
Indeed. If you want to organize something really effective, though, you have to develop some kind of a command structure and you have to be careful about not letting in people who could be moles. You have to worry about people disrupting your lines of communication, so you keep those lines of communication secret, and then you're vulnerable to leaks fro--

Hey, waaaaaaait a minute...
posted by verb at 1:41 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Both Mastercard and Visa are down.

Priceless.
posted by idiomatika at 1:42 PM on December 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


I just tried a few things and visa payments still seem to be working.
posted by memebake at 1:42 PM on December 8, 2010


Actually, "Operation Payback" seems to be getting reported — laudably and correctly, I should say — largely as activism and retaliatory protest: NYT refers to Anon as "A small army of activist hackers," AP "a network of web activists," the Guardian "a group of online activists." Why should we (or the /b/tards) preemptively cut off a potentially viable form of protest because we're worried about the potential for a hysterical FOX News response? Look how much coverage /b/ is getting for this DDoS-as-protest and tell me how a march or a sit-in at Mastercard headquarters could air their cause any better.

It wouldn't surprise me if they swung the irl protest thing again. I dropped out of the last raid once the fireworks were done, but I remember them getting in the news for the irl protests as well.

That said, I think the combo is pretty effective. Being anonymous and undocumented allows them to bloody their targets nose, and then have a splinter group condemn the evil “Hacktivists” but then protest in real life anyways.

This way, they get their lulz, and actually get to do a little bit of good.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:43 PM on December 8, 2010


I just tried a few things and visa payments still seem to be working.

Shh! Don't tell anyone, keep repeating that Anonymous took out Visa and Mastercard in retaliation for their actions against Wikileaks. It doesn't matter if it is true or not. It still works as a form of protest if people think it happened. Get with the times. Control the narrative. Politics has nothing to do with facts anymore.
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:54 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Private bank Julius Bär dropped lawsuit against Wikileaks after public debacle.
Here's hoping for a Streisand effect wrt credit card companies not accepting donations to wikileaks.
posted by yoHighness at 1:55 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cuz we're doing so well on that front, electroboy? Obama has pretty much come out and said he's not gonna prosecute anyone for it.

So we should outsource prosecution in order to get the result you want? Spain and France are clearly acceptable to you, what about Saudi Arabia or Syria or Lebanon?
posted by electroboy at 1:57 PM on December 8, 2010


In a newspaper poll in Australia (bottom of page) 92% of 25000+ respondents think Wikileaks is a benefit to democracy.

The reactions and the ignorance in this thread from the wearers of "American-Power=Universal-Good" glasses and the sports-style chearing/booing based on which team nation you support is a foreboding sign of the political future ahead for folk who take their freedom for granted, or worse, are willing to take it at someone else's expense.
The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society; and we are as a people inherently and historically opposed to secret societies, to secret oaths, and to secret proceedings. - John F Kennedy
...a people inherently and historically opposed to ... secret proceedings. Not any more, America, not any more.
posted by Kerasia at 1:57 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


keep repeating that Anonymous took out Visa and Mastercard in retaliation for their actions against Wikileaks.

I haven't seen anyone say that Visa's payment abilities have been compromised.
posted by rollbiz at 1:58 PM on December 8, 2010


BOOM
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 1:59 PM on December 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Didn't the US drop some bombs on some civilians to get Noriega for crimes commited, well, not in the US? Why would the US have jurisdiction? Same shit.
posted by vivelame at 1:59 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


I haven't seen anyone say that Visa's payment abilities have been compromised.

Visa's payment abilities have been compromised.
posted by TwelveTwo at 1:59 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


TwelveTwo: Politics has nothing to do with facts anymore.

Politics is currently experiencing the first wave of the largest avalanche of facts in living memory.
posted by memebake at 2:00 PM on December 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


It is probably only a matter of time before these attacks from anon become more sophisticated and able to target the critical infrastructure of companies like Visa or Mastercard instead of just their facades such as their front end web domains.

I am actually surprised that anon doesn't seem to realize that in todays world the most effective type of retaliation is the sort which will cost companies money. Of course once a company loses a million or more because of some hacksor antic the real life ban-hammer will come down mighty quick.
posted by Shit Parade at 2:02 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


thsmchnekllsfascists:BOOM
The company's top executive in Nigeria told US diplomats that Shell had seconded employees to every relevant department and so knew "everything that was being done in those ministries". She boasted that the Nigerian government had "forgotten" about the extent of Shell's infiltration and were unaware of how much the company knew about its deliberations.
Now we're talking. So, will this send Shells share price up, or down? That will also be revealing.
posted by memebake at 2:04 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


electroboy: "Cuz we're doing so well on that front, electroboy? Obama has pretty much come out and said he's not gonna prosecute anyone for it.

So we should outsource prosecution in order to get the result you want? Spain and France are clearly acceptable to you, what about Saudi Arabia or Syria or Lebanon?
"

It worked for Pinochet.
posted by symbioid at 2:06 PM on December 8, 2010


oh sweet, angry /b/abies and hoary ideologue unite in contempt for the common. fitting; the chorus trumpeting transparency above all amounts to a bunch of toddlers asking "why?" ad infinitum.
posted by generalist at 2:09 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


So we should outsource prosecution in order to get the result you want?

So if Iran is torturing those American "hikers", we shouldn't be allowed to prosecute the Iranian officials who authorized it. Yes?

Or is our old friend American Exceptionalism paying you a visit?
posted by Joe Beese at 2:11 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


thsmchnekllsfascists: "BOOM"

Is this related to their attempt Use Interpol to arrest Cheney?
posted by symbioid at 2:14 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Should Iran be allowed to prosecute the American hikers for espionage even if there's no reason to believe they'll be afforded due process?
posted by electroboy at 2:15 PM on December 8, 2010


Should Iran be allowed to prosecute the American hikers for espionage even if there's no reason to believe they'll be afforded due process?

That doesn't really have anything to do with the point I was making.

And alas, we are no longer in a position to be lecturing anyone about "due process".

I mean, what's your point? We should nuke Iran because they won't give our citizens a fair trial?
posted by Joe Beese at 2:22 PM on December 8, 2010


So you're saying that the American justice system is equally likely to deliver a "just" verdict as Iran? You don't really seem to be interested in justice, you're just venue shopping for the verdict you want.
posted by electroboy at 2:25 PM on December 8, 2010


There can't be ANY verdict if the trial doesn't happen, electroboy. That is what we're quibbling with. You make it sound like we don't like the fact that the Bush regime is being tried in America, and goshdarnit, if only we had an unamerican government try them, we'd be happy. The issue is that Obama and his "Justice" department has refused to attempt any prosecutions for the torture. Your claim was


"Not prosecuted by foreign governments =/= not prosecuted."

which, according to my reading is that they ARE being prosecuted, just not by foreign governments. Which implies that they are being prosecuted by the US Government, which is clearly not the case, so your statement is, quite frankly, full of shit.

So in this case "Not being prosecuted by foreign governments, does indeed = not prosecuted" Any other shit you're bringing up right now is clearly a strawman.
posted by symbioid at 2:31 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


According to the Guardian, anon is targeting Visa next.

You'd think that the head of Visa's datacentre operations would've been on the phone right away buying a bunch of virtualised server capacity from a 3rd party provider - this kind of thing is a commodity item now.

However, I get a network error The Web Server may be down, too busy, or experiencing other problems preventing it from responding to requests so maybe they're asleep on the job?

A funny other interpretation is that they didn't factor in millions of users like me worldwide, hitting their site just to see if it's up or not; a kind of unintentionally crowdsourced DDOS attack.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:32 PM on December 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


Australia's The Age:
Federal minister and right-wing Labor powerbroker Mark Arbib has been revealed as a confidential contact of the United States embassy in Canberra, providing inside information and commentary for Washington on the workings of the Australian government and the Labor Party.

Secret US embassy cables obtained by WikiLeaks and made available exclusively to The Age reveal that Senator Arbib, one of the architects of Kevin Rudd's removal as prime minister, has been in regular contact with US embassy officers.

His candid comments have been incorporated into reports to Washington with repeated requests that his identity as a ''protected'' source be guarded.
posted by memebake at 2:41 PM on December 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


You'd think that the head of Visa's datacentre operations would've been on the phone right away buying a bunch of virtualised server capacity from a 3rd party provider - this kind of thing is a commodity item now.
Virtualized server capacity is easy to buy these days, but the architecture necessary to scale up and down arbitrarily is not. Only a small handful of large companies have really built out their own applications to support that kind of stuff, and coincidentally they are the now turning into hosting companies themselves, because they realize it's full of hard problems and their solutions can be monetized. VISA and Mastercard are probably designed to handle Black Friday kinds of spikes, not The Internet Decides To Quintuple Our Traffic kinds of spikes.

As others have noted, this is basically cyberwar. At the pure financial level they're probably prepared to handle it, but there are still going to be choke points where that 'hardened' world has to talk to a lighter fluffier web presence, or to external payment gateways, etc.
posted by verb at 2:47 PM on December 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


UbuRoivas: You'd think that the head of Visa's datacentre operations would've been on the phone right away buying a bunch of virtualised server capacity from a 3rd party provider - this kind of thing is a commodity item now.

I'm not sure that would have given them any protection. And I'm not sure you can just move server content onto a virtualised network with 1 hours notice. Maybe if they were already on a virtualised 'elastic' system they might have been able to ramp up. But then there's still bottlenecks even if you expand the servers.

It was certainly interesting how Anon gave 1 hours notice and then was still able to take them down within a couple of minutes of the alloted time arriving.
posted by memebake at 2:51 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Guardian: Julian Assange extradition attempt an uphill struggle, says specialist Former CPS extradition specialist predicts Sweden will find it 'very difficult' to get WikiLeaks founder sent back

posted by memebake at 2:56 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Open letter: To Julia Gillard, re Julian Assange signed by 185 lawyers, academics and journalists.
As is well known, Mr Assange is an Australian citizen.

We therefore call upon you to condemn, on behalf of the Australian Government, calls for physical harm to be inflicted upon Mr Assange, and to state publicly that you will ensure Mr Assange receives the rights and protections to which he is entitled, irrespective of whether the unlawful threats against him come from individuals or states.

A statement by you to this effect should not be controversial – it is a simple commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law.
posted by memebake at 3:01 PM on December 8, 2010 [7 favorites]



Politics is currently experiencing the first wave of the largest avalanche of facts in living memory.


If you look carefully then it is not the facts themselves that matter here, but the government's perceived reaction to them. How many of us can raise our hands and say we have read what has been published on WikiLeaks? The majority of us have only read commentary on WikiLeaks. Often it is merely commentary on commentary. The facts here are not the point. It is not that now we know that terrible things were done, and how what a shock it all is. We already knew what was going on, or suspected it. But it did not matter. What the truth meant was up in the air. It was all something to be discussed and quietly grumbled about. The weight of facts were further suspended by a kind of unreasonable doubt. The doubt being that if this truly was 'it' then why isn't the world outside reacting appropriately? After all, the administrations never reacted to any of the points about torture, Iraq or any other stupid bullshit except by the equivalent of a shrug and a pat on the head. There, there. You just don't understand, dear citizen. This is nothing, this is routine. We were ultimately told that it was insignificant. Which didn't mean we believed what they said, but it meant in a way, that it didn't matter whether or not it was true. It didn't change anything where it mattered, and we didn't know what to do with the knowledge.

But here, this is different. This is a different reaction than what we are used to seeing. The facts are here, sure, but facts have intruded into politics before. This time, for some reason, they have a weight. When the photos and files regarding the dehumanizing practices going on were released, nothing happened. The administration just acted like 'boys will be boys' and told us things will be resolved in time. The promises to fix things were said casually, like asking your spouse to take out the garbage. That's easy. No sweat. Maybe a little embarrassing when company is over, but all things clear in time. But here there are releases of just as much damning evidence, packed in an even less accessible manner, and the source is suddenly declared a traitor, a terrorist, a national threat, and everyone starts flipping the fuck out over a group previously depicted by the news as wacky hooligan activists. Was it the facts contained within these releases? No. Most of the information is redundant. It was already known, and it was still as useless in political arguments at the bar as before. But yet there is all this drama that wasn't here last time. Before we certainly had drama on the left, but the right as well? The natural conclusion is that there must be something special about this truth. There wasn't anything special, but this reaction has effectively made it so.

The two narratives that have emerged both share the basic presumption that WikiLeaks is very important. This is unusual as FOX News disregarded previous events of a similar nature by calling it an exceptional case. As if it were some rare unusual event that was being blown out of proportion by an angry left that seeks to injure the country out of spite. But no, in this case, it is that WikiLeaks itself, the very releases it releases, its very existence, is a threat to the existing order of things. That it could compromise America itself. That it is a huge threat. Here it is that we see a sharing of narratives in that both sides observe the entity as dangerous. Whether or not that this is a good danger depends on allegiance. Is he a traitor because he is endangering the established order of things, or is he a hero because he is shaking the corrupt status quo? Nowhere, except on Prison Planet, do we see WikiLeaks concluded as both irrelevant, and inert.

The reaction from the media, financial and administrative institutions are showing that this truth, these facts, have something in it that they are afraid of. Does it matter if the facts themselves are true? No. What matters is that it looks like they fear it and that in that fear they are doubting themselves. Maybe what they did will be looked upon unfavorably by their constituents, maybe what they think WikiLeaks has is not what they have, or is. It is important, not because of what WikiLeaks actually has, but because there must be some reason for all this struggle, all this coverage, all these reactions, all this uncertainty. It is up to us, that that reason be a good one. If not, then WikiLeaks will be remembered merely as a security breach in military intelligence, and not a crack in the structure of society that let the light shine through.
posted by TwelveTwo at 3:01 PM on December 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


There can't be ANY verdict if the trial doesn't happen

Absolutely. And I'd argue that an unjust verdict is worse than no verdict at all. If we buy into universal jurisdiction, who gets to practice it? Do we have to honor extradition requests from totalitarian regimes? North Korea? Zimbabwe?

You make it sound like we don't like the fact that the Bush regime is being tried in America, and goshdarnit, if only we had an unamerican government try them, we'd be happy.

That sounds, to me, about exactly what you're saying. Essentially, that you can't get satisfaction from your own government, so you'll shop it around until you do.

I completely agree that allegations of torture should be investigated and prosecuted. But I think it's more appropriately done through a framework like the ICC (which I know we haven't ratified).
posted by electroboy at 3:02 PM on December 8, 2010


so the anon_operation twitter feed just posted a pastebin link to a huge list of allegedly valid mastercard card number / expiration date pairs. for whatever that's worth.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:04 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Assange extradition attempt an uphill struggle

Wouldn't Britain simply fork him over to the US upon demand? I mean, they're not known for their displays of independence.

I would have expected him to be on a plane already. They need time to try to make it look legit?
posted by Joe Beese at 3:06 PM on December 8, 2010


More 'bangers and mash' for Julian?
I say release him, let him go. If wikileaks has a intelligence arm then it must have physical protection experts that can protect him. The charges should be dropped (i will admit they are flimsy) and Assange should go free. Whats the delay. Perhaps it is what everyone wants.
posted by clavdivs at 3:06 PM on December 8, 2010


aaand now twitter has suspended anon_operation.
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:07 PM on December 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


For anyone looking for more information on Assange, you might want to read this chapter of Underground. Mendax was his handle, and if the book he co-authored is to be believed, him and his friends were hanging out in MILNET and Nortel networks (among many others) back in the early 90s.
posted by ryoshu at 3:08 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't Britain simply fork him over to the US upon demand?
google is still up, use it.
posted by clavdivs at 3:08 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


ABC News:

The website and personal credit card information of former Gov. Sarah Palin were cyber-attacked today by Wikileaks supporters, the 2008 GOP vice presidential candidate tells ABC News in an email.

A cached page from Anonops.net shows Palin's site as a suggested target.

posted by BobbyVan at 3:08 PM on December 8, 2010


I say release him, let him go. If wikileaks has a intelligence arm then it must have physical protection experts that can protect him.

Ignoring the facts of the Swedish case for a moment, I have to say I agree. Locking up Assange is a pointless exercise, and allows him to call himself a "political prisoner". His weapons are information, so the US govt should fight back with information.

Now Bradley Manning on the other hand.......
posted by BobbyVan at 3:14 PM on December 8, 2010


Reason.com tracks down the source of Keith Olbermann's claim that "Anna Ardin, the Swedish feminist who accused Assange of rape, is an anti-Castro activist with connections to CIA front groups." It turns out that it comes from an activist called Israel Shamir who writes for Counterpunch. The Reason.com expose points out that
Alternately known as Jöran Jermas and Adam Ermash, Shamir is a fringe writer who has devoted his professional life to exposing the supposed criminality of “Jewish power," a paranoid anti-Semite who curates a website full of links to Holocaust denial and neo-Nazi sites, defenses of blood libel myths, and references to the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.
See the Reason.com article for links confirming its allegations about Israel Shamir, and the Counterpunch article for Shamir's allegations about Ms ardin.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:14 PM on December 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


TwelveTwo: ... How many of us can raise our hands and say we have read what has been published on WikiLeaks? The majority of us have only read commentary on WikiLeaks. Often it is merely commentary on commentary. The facts here are not the point.

Thanks for your long reply.
Just because people are not necessarily clicking through to check the original sources (the cables), that does not mean they are not important. Being able to write a news article and then hyperlink through to a US Embassies official communication about the subject is incredibly powerful.

The fact that the sources are there and _can_ be checked is what makes it important. This is the same mechanism that drives scientific journals and those fiddly references people have to put on essays.

You say the cables can't be that important because people aren't reading them, and then cast about trying to figure out why this leak is being treated so differently. "This time, for some reason, they have a weight." Yeah dude, they have a weight because there's 250,000 of them and they are official US documents.

I kind of agree with your last two paragraphs though. The idea that Wikileaks represents is whats generating a lot of the excitement. As I said upthread - Basically, "anonymous document drop-off + bit of leg work to establish validity of docs + web site + guts" is the formula. Its a very easy formula to copy now that people 'get it' and see the power of it.
posted by memebake at 3:15 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]



You say the cables can't be that important because people aren't reading them, and then cast about trying to figure out why this leak is being treated so differently. "This time, for some reason, they have a weight." Yeah dude, they have a weight because there's 250,000 of them and they are official US documents.


The problem I have with that is that in the past we've had great sources and they've been slandered to such an extent that the sheer doubt surrounding them eliminated their function as 'evidence.' In this particular case, no amount of slander can produce a similar effect so long as the government and the institutions in play continue to react as they are. How can this be so irrelevant and incorrect and false if all these people are so serious about it?

Contrast this with climate change research, pollution, prison system statistics, and whatever else you can think of that have a lot of evidence. You can have the quantity, but if it looks suspect, biased, whatever, people will dismiss it as somehow less real. This is the primary reason why those most against WikiLeaks continue to emphasize that WikiLeaks EDITS before they release documents. The only reason that tactic is not working is because apparently, what was important wasn't edited out, or edited in.
posted by TwelveTwo at 3:20 PM on December 8, 2010


I'm curious, YCTaBuick: did you verify that the "huge list of allegedly valid mastercard card number / expiration date pairs" actually existed at that link? I have no reason to doubt your honesty, but I wonder about Twitter -- which was so useful to the US State Department in the aftermath of the Iranian elections, and which has now found a good reason to suspend anon_operation.
posted by fredludd at 3:21 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


The tweet in question didn't describe the contents of the link: it just said something like "citizens of the industrialized world, cancel your mastercards now" with the pastebin link after it. I clicked on it (lord knows why I'd blindly click on any link provided by Anonymous) and quickly closed the page once I realized what it was. I'm very slightly annoyed by the fact that I accessed it via a university network...
posted by You Can't Tip a Buick at 3:28 PM on December 8, 2010


Could we maybe stop the bloodthirstily triumphant calls for the execution of Manning in these threads? Or am I being too sensitive? --I mean props for nobody calling for the assassination of Assange the Traitor, but oh hell I'll shut up now.
posted by kipmanley at 3:31 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


You Can't Tip a Buick: so the anon_operation twitter feed just posted a pastebin link to a huge list of allegedly valid mastercard card number / expiration date pairs. for whatever that's worth.

You Can't Tip a Buick: aaand now twitter has suspended anon_operation.

Well, I'm inclined to say fair enough in this case. Also, they were using @anon_operation to organise the DDOS, which I'm sure breaks some sort of t+c somewhere.
posted by memebake at 3:31 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jeez, check out the difference in headlines between the NY Times and the Guardian. Sad.
posted by rhizome at 3:32 PM on December 8, 2010


Electroboy, I'm starting to get lost as to what your position is over these last few comments.

You're against torture, but you seem to hold the view that you would be unhappy about any country in the world other than the US taking criminal action against US agents who have committed torture or kidnap because of concern about due process. Despite the fact that the countries concerned in the immediate examples are Germany and Spain, you fret about the standard of justice in North Korea and Zimbabwe.

So, having ruled out the entire world as biased and not fit to deal with crimes committed on their soil, you then accept that the US - the one nation free from bias and interference with due process hasn't prosecuted these agents, and is unlikely to do so.

So, having ruled the jurisdictions of every single country in the world you then conclude that the best thing to be done with these people is that they ought to be dealt with through an international process. An international process that the US isn't even a signatory to, and which it refuses to recognise.

In short: you claim that you are against torture, but rule out every possibility of bringing those responsible for committing it to justice. That's not very against, really. Not very against at all.
posted by reynir at 3:33 PM on December 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


Apparently the new one is @Anon_Operationn.
posted by -t at 3:36 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


I'ma let you finish, but Africa has the best Wikileaks of all time.
posted by memebake at 3:37 PM on December 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


Quotes from a reddit thread, re the Pastebin file:

"I saw the pastebin. They were not real MasterCard numbers, as MCs begin with 5 and are not issued with expirations more than 10 years out."

"anon_operation posted a dump of supposedly stolen Mastercards. I saw the numbers, they all appeared to be random. Most did not start with 5 (all MCs do) and many had expiration dates in 2025. May have been a bluff, but the Twitter account was immediately suspended and the link was removed by PasteBin. This is rather fun to watch."
posted by chaff at 3:39 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Guardian link about MC pairs.

What'd I say about the lulz?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 3:46 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


See, they return; ah, see the tentative
Movements, and the slow feet,
The trouble in the pace and the uncertain
Wavering!

See, they return, one, and by one,
With fear, as half-awakened;
As if the snow should hesitate
And murmur in the wind,
and half turn back;
These were the "Wing'd-with-Awe,"
Inviolable.

Gods of the wingèd shoe!
With them the silver hounds,
sniffing the trace of air!

-Pound
posted by clavdivs at 3:46 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


TwelveTwo: Contrast this with climate change research, pollution, prison system statistics, and whatever else you can think of that have a lot of evidence. You can have the quantity, but if it looks suspect, biased, whatever, people will dismiss it as somehow less real.

Yeah, here we get into the sticky world of what the press/public considers 'evidence' these days. Stats and scientific papers can usually be argued with, and rightly so. I think what makes the cables powerful is that they contain private statements by or about public figures. Showing that someone or some organisation contradicted themselves seems to get a lot of mileage.
posted by memebake at 3:47 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


An adminspy report on the twitter closedown of anonymous.. Unlike the people at Reddit, thsi article does not mention that the credit card numbers appeared to be fake. I guess the original idea was to spread the rumour that mastercard numbers had leaked?
posted by memebake at 3:50 PM on December 8, 2010


Yeah, here we get into the sticky world of what the press/public considers 'evidence' these days. Stats and scientific papers can usually be argued with, and rightly so. I think what makes the cables powerful is that they contain private statements by or about public figures. Showing that someone or some organisation contradicted themselves seems to get a lot of mileage.
More than that, it demonstrates that a circle of people in positions of power and influence collaboratively shared one version of reality while communicating a different one to the public for political purposes.

I'm trying to avoid using the word 'conspiracy' but it's kind of right there.
posted by verb at 3:51 PM on December 8, 2010 [15 favorites]


From the Guardian link:
"Media reports today regarding a statement made by our vice president of platform, mobile and new ventures, Osama Bedier, at the LeWeb conference in Paris, have created confusion about PayPal's decision to permanently restrict the account that was raising funds for WikiLeaks. We want to set the record straight."

Osama B. works for PayPal?
posted by vidur at 3:52 PM on December 8, 2010


PayPal release a statement
The account was again reviewed last week after the US Department of State publicised a letter to WikiLeaks on November 27, stating that WikiLeaks may be in possession of documents that were provided in violation of US law. PayPal was not contacted by any government organization in the US or abroad. We restricted the account based on our Acceptable Use Policy review. Ultimately, our difficult decision was based on a belief that the WikiLeaks website was encouraging sources to release classified material, which is likely a violation of law by the source.
Full quote on the Guardian liveblog at the 11:27pm mark. As they say: "The question remains, for PayPal and the US government: what law exactly has WikiLeaks broken?"
posted by memebake at 3:53 PM on December 8, 2010


An adminspy report on the twitter closedown of anonymous.. Unlike the people at Reddit, thsi article does not mention that the credit card numbers appeared to be fake. I guess the original idea was to spread the rumour that mastercard numbers had leaked?

Yup. I got the impression that they were put up to make people concerned about the security of their cards during shopping season.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 3:57 PM on December 8, 2010


I'm off to bed. Currently we're on 919 comments - shall we say whomever gets the 1000'th comment gets to have the final say on whether Wikileaks is a Good Thing or Bad Thing?
posted by memebake at 3:58 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


"PayPal was not contacted by any government organization in the US or abroad. We restricted the account based on our Acceptable Use Policy review. Ultimately, our difficult decision was based on a belief that the WikiLeaks website was encouraging sources to release classified material, which is likely a violation of law by the source."

Is the very existence of WikiLeaks presumed to be abetting crimes? This makes no sense at all.
posted by vidur at 3:58 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


shall we say whomever gets the 1000'th comment gets to have the final say on whether Wikileaks is a Good Thing or Bad Thing?

I tried something similar on the online newspaper poll - I was respondent #29,004 on whether Assange is a benefit to democracy or a menace to democracy.

"uuuuum...good thing?" *bats eyelashes*
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:06 PM on December 8, 2010


GOD. This asshole keeps taking the IRC down.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 4:10 PM on December 8, 2010


i'm still trying to figure out why you'd make a martini with a lemon.
posted by shakespeherian at 6:22 AM on December 8 [2 favorites +] [!]


Ahem. Besides, we hates olives, we does.
posted by PareidoliaticBoy at 4:14 PM on December 8, 2010


Wikipedia considers a lemon twist canonical in a martini? Man, you can't trust them on anything.
posted by kipmanley at 4:18 PM on December 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


If you make it with Hendrick's you can use a slice of cucumber. But still.
posted by shakespeherian at 4:20 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think what makes the cables powerful is that they contain private statements by or about public figures.

And I think what makes the cables powerful is that they are believed to contain real statements by or about public figures principally because affiliated public figures are acting like it is real. I suppose this is a redundant and unnecessary comment, so I'll make it punchier. What I care to say is that if we wish this to be anything then we must continue to underline the reactions of those threatened, and make strong our reasons for their fear. If they come to a certainty or confidence that this is merely a breach of security, hacker terrorism, nothing more, then we will find ourselves all the poorer. If what is depicted in those cables can be shrugged away as merely the ugliness of the sausage factory, then we will have lost. It is only when those at the highest levels are in doubt that change can occur at every level.
posted by TwelveTwo at 4:21 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


You make an excellent point, TwelveTwo, but I think part of that reaction is to the threat of WikiLeaks' pseudo-anarchist vision: a future in which leaks are constant, visible, and unstoppable. Big leaks, little leaks, embarrassing leaks, banal ones, etc.

That threatens the fundamental ability to maintain a split narrative (one for the public, one for the inner circle) in exactly the ways that Assange wrote about. And in the same way that Assange seeks to keep future authoritarian regimes from metastasizing, powerful organizations, governments, or individuals that require secret communication need to crack down before WikiLeaks metastasizes into "The Way Things Are."
posted by verb at 4:34 PM on December 8, 2010 [12 favorites]


“No wonder others are keeping silent about Assange's antics,” Palin emailed. “This is what happens when you exercise the First Amendment and speak against his sick, un-American espionage efforts.”

she has to be trolling, no?
posted by lulz at 4:38 PM on December 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


Great, all this real-life thriller stuff has turned everybody into a keyboarding James Bond, international martini authority.
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:38 PM on December 8, 2010


Great, all this real-life thriller stuff has turned everybody into a keyboarding James Bond, international martini authority.

Not to pour too much more fuel on the fire, but James Bond thinks they're made with vodka, proving that he doesn't know shit about martinis.
posted by ob at 4:41 PM on December 8, 2010 [7 favorites]



Guardian: Julian Assange extradition attempt an uphill struggle, says specialist Former CPS extradition specialist predicts Sweden will find it 'very difficult' to get WikiLeaks founder sent back


That's to Sweden. To the US under overt laws may also be difficult. It's highly likely that there are secret treaties between the US and British governments which, in times of emergency, allow the polite fictions of "human rights", "due process" and "rule of law" to be overridden to get things done. I.e., Hilary Clinton could call her opposite number in the UK and instruct him, under the terms of the treaty, to hand a particular individual (be it a British Muslim suspected of terrorist activity or Assange) over to US military custody. How exactly the British Home Secretary lies to parliament to cover this up is his business.

Assange will end up in US military custody. Whether he ends up on US soil, subject to US civilian laws and constitutional protections, is another question though.
posted by acb at 4:43 PM on December 8, 2010


Is Assange a journalist? I think he's a journalist in the same way that Wikipedia is an encyclopedia, Amazon is a bookstore, and Facebook is a yearbook.

Which is to say that there's a direct line between the old thing and the new thing, they have many similarities but the new thing is something entirely original, unique and different too.
posted by Jaybo at 4:45 PM on December 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


That threatens the fundamental ability to maintain a split narrative (one for the public, one for the inner circle) in exactly the ways that Assange wrote about.

For those more curious about the split narrative presently in play, the book to read is called The City and Man by Leo Strauss.
posted by TwelveTwo at 4:48 PM on December 8, 2010


Assange will end up in US military custody.

You're not the first in this thread to make this kind of prediction. Care to narrow down the time frame, just to keep interesting?
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 4:50 PM on December 8, 2010


[it]
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 4:50 PM on December 8, 2010


I don't doubt that the US and UK are trying to figure out a way to skip Sweden, but I'm not yet sure it would pass muster. Now is when Obama's character is being tested, let's hope he's not gonna "My Pet Goat" this one.
posted by rhizome at 4:52 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is not a deluge of facts, it is a dump of gossip, speculation and hersay.

Look how much coverage /b/ is getting for this DDoS-as-protest and tell me how a march or a sit-in at Mastercard headquarters could air their cause any better.

Except a sit in a Mastercard's h.q. isn't a felony it's simple trespass. They will arrest these folks and prosecute.

The US Embassy was worried about two investigations before the High Court that could have put the United States in a delicate position. One was the court inquiry into the killing of Telecinco cameraman José Couso in Baghdad by US soldiers in 2003; the other concerned the alleged CIA rendition flights that used Spanish airports for stopovers, taking Al Qaeda suspects to and from Guantánamo.

I know what the investigations were about. Allied nations have diplomatic channels to work out these kinds of things. You can't conduct foreign policy through prosecutors acting on their own without expecting it to have an impact on the larger relationship. That's how the nation state system works.
posted by humanfont at 4:59 PM on December 8, 2010


Julian Assange in: "The Resident Patient"
posted by clavdivs at 5:03 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's how the nation state system works.

And this gets to the crux of the issue. A lot of people out there think the nation state system doesn't work. In fact, we think it's a bad idea.
posted by Jimbob at 5:06 PM on December 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


They will arrest these folks and prosecute.

LOIC has been released and used for over a year and a half, don't you think Scientology would have been able to unmask the people who attacked it (and who the software was originally written for). Is this like in Se7en where the police were totally hot on John Doe's tail just before he turned himself in?

Allied nations have diplomatic channels to work out these kinds of things.

I'm not sure I would be comfortable with this if one of my relatives had been killed by a foreign government. "Oh, it got sorted out with diplomacy, here's a million dollars."
posted by rhizome at 5:09 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


James Bond thinks they're made with vodka, proving that he doesn't know shit about martinis.

I think that has more to do with Smirnoff buying up the product placement rights.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:10 PM on December 8, 2010


Not to pour too much more fuel on the fire, but James Bond thinks they're made with vodka, proving that he doesn't know shit about martinis.

What's this about James Bond being a real person?
posted by rhizome at 5:12 PM on December 8, 2010


LOIC has been released and used for over a year and a half, don't you think Scientology would have been able to unmask the people who attacked it (and who the software was originally written for).

The Church of Scientology doesn't have ECHELON intercepts. All that needs to happen is for this to be classified as an attack on US economic infrastructure in support of a hostile foreign organisation and a lot of data can become available.

Fun fact: the NSA has been watching all traffic to/from the WikiLeaks site. They admitted as much by stating that they have seen the Russians doing the same thing. So they probably have a good list of who has downloaded the data. There's no reason they can't keep an eye on a few IRC channels and source code repositories and do the same.
posted by acb at 5:13 PM on December 8, 2010


Here's where I get confused. Assuming that the US manages to extradite/import/noun-I-don't-know Assange into custody or onto US soil, then what?

I'd expect them to throw the book at him, legally, and then offer to reduce charges/punishment if he could put a stopper into the leaks. But he can't -- it's well out of his hands. Too many people have the data. The cat isn't just out of the bag, it's all over town and leaving a trail of clones in its wake. Even if Assange did have control over the info, I doubt he'd stop it. He seems perfectly content to go down for the cause, as it were. The old systems don't work in this situation. It's a big game-changer.

Which all leaves me glued to this, wondering what happens next, and thinking that of all the futures we'd wind up in, an Orwell by way of cyberpunk one was not what I expected.
posted by cmyk at 5:15 PM on December 8, 2010 [8 favorites]


I have been at work all day, but I apologize for accusing Ironmouth of trolling. He launched a blunt attack from a rightward direction, which on Mefi can look somewhat like troling.
posted by bad grammar at 5:15 PM on December 8, 2010


You can skip the first 40 seconds of the video:
Anyway, just to start off, the United States is pleased to announce that we’ll host UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day in 2011 from May 1 to May 3 here in Washington, D.C. UNESCO is the only UN agency with a mandate to promote freedom of expression, and its corollary, freedom of the press. The theme for this commemoration will be 21stCentury Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. Obviously, we decided upon this before the latest round of news.

The United States places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. There certainly is an irony here. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to the exercise of freedom of – for the right of freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor or silence individuals and to restrict the free flow of information. We mark events such as World Press Freedom Day in the context of our enduring commitment to support and expand press freedom and the free flow of information in this digital age.
Btw, the person giving that speech has been totally anti-wikileaks on twitter (*sigh*)
How many of us can raise our hands and say we have read what has been published on WikiLeaks? The majority of us have only read commentary on WikiLeaks. Often it is merely commentary on commentary. The facts here are not the point. It is not that now we know that terrible things were done, and how what a shock it all is. We already knew what was going on, or suspected it.
The cables themselves are very well written. Some are in beurocratic speech (I read one about russia and the US cooperating on drug interdiction, for example, that was dull) but some are quite vivid. Like the escape from Iran, or the one that described an alchohol, weed, coke and hookers party held by elite saudi youth (and sponsored by an energy drink company)

You're really missing out if you're not reading them.

The other thing, though, is that the level of conspiracy is something people kind of suspected, but being revealed like this is actually kind of shocking. I did not expect quite the same level of cooperation and conspiracy. I wouldn't say it was shocking but the whole thing is weird.

It's like, we suddenly know which paranoid fantasies were true and which weren't. And now that we know they're true, governments need to either react some way, or be laid bare as completly and nakedly corrupted - which is obviously untennable in a democracy. At least one would hope.
Absolutely. And I'd argue that an unjust verdict is worse than no verdict at all. If we buy into universal jurisdiction, who gets to practice it? Do we have to honor extradition requests from totalitarian regimes? North Korea? Zimbabwe?
It's disinginuous to compare Span and germany to countries like Iran and Zimbabwe. And you know it.
Reason.com tracks down the source of Keith Olbermann's claim that "Anna Ardin, the Swedish feminist who accused Assange of rape, is an anti-Castro activist with connections to CIA front groups." It turns out that it comes from an activist called Israel Shamir who writes for Counterpunch. The Reason.com expose points out that
I think it's an established fact that Ardin was in Cuba and kicked out, whether or not some nutbag also said the same thing doesn't make it false. In fact, I don't think MSNBC would let him run with unchecked facts.
she [Palin] has to be trolling, no?
Lol, she's consistently criticized her critics for violating her "First Amendment Rights" to speak without criticism. She... is not very bright.
posted by delmoi at 5:15 PM on December 8, 2010 [4 favorites]



And this gets to the crux of the issue. A lot of people out there think the nation state system doesn't work.


I wouldn't summarize the problem so simply and radically. It makes it seem like the only people for WikiLeaks are anarchists and other fringe. The issue has to do with the growing internal division within nations that is in the interest of some few and is injurious to everyone else. In prior times our population and government-citizen ratios were far better. In the United States the ratio of representatives to citizen was incredibly low. In other nations, speech, uprising, and debate were more accessible and effective. In the times between now and then we had the press and journalists bridging that gap. But, as of late, for a variety of reasons, the bridge was cut. We are entirely in the dark about what our government is up to and what choices are being made. The reasoning is that we don't need to know, and so they have kept secret things that are in the state's interest. But how much of it is has been in the nation's interest? I believe in the nation-state, and I don't think its time is over. However, I believe it needs to be the nation's state, and no one else's.
posted by TwelveTwo at 5:18 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Assuming that the US manages to extradite/import/noun-I-don't-know Assange into custody or onto US soil, then what?

I'd expect them to throw the book at him, legally, and then offer to reduce charges/punishment if he could put a stopper into the leaks. But he can't -- it's well out of his hands. Too many people have the data. The cat isn't just out of the bag, it's all over town and leaving a trail of clones in its wake. Even if Assange did have control over the info, I doubt he'd stop it. He seems perfectly content to go down for the cause, as it were. The old systems don't work in this situation. It's a big game-changer.


Alternatively, they could just make an example of him to deter others. Say, if he got 600 years. All of a sudden, the theory goes, there'd be a lot fewer people willing to set up WikiLeaks 2.0 or otherwise fuck with America.
posted by acb at 5:20 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I need to type faster, or get some sort of script to help with replying to things.
posted by TwelveTwo at 5:21 PM on December 8, 2010


acb: "Alternatively, they could just make an example of him to deter others."

This makes sense, if by example you mean martyr, and by deter you mean rally.
posted by mullingitover at 5:25 PM on December 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


Mmh. Good point, acb. But that doesn't do a thing about the info wikileaks has already got. The response is overkill, considering what's been released thus far. They might as well put up a sign saying, yes, wikileaks has us by the short and curlies.

Still, Assange looks like he almost wants to be made an example of. Surely he's not the only one who'd do it. if the US kills Robin Hood, figuratively or literally, another one's bound to pop up, either for the fame, for the cause, or both.
posted by cmyk at 5:26 PM on December 8, 2010


Assuming that the US manages to extradite/import/noun-I-don't-know Assange into custody or onto US soil

The first two you provided were verbs, but the adjective & noun you're looking for are extraordinary rendition.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:30 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Ubu, yes, thank you. I am not Englishing so well today. Apologies.
posted by cmyk at 5:31 PM on December 8, 2010


Alternatively, they could just make an example of him to deter others. Say, if he got 600 years. All of a sudden, the theory goes, there'd be a lot fewer people willing to set up WikiLeaks 2.0 or otherwise fuck with America.

Sure, just like those $500,000 fines have deterred all those people from sharing music online.
posted by localroger at 5:32 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


If anyone's curious, here's a couple articles about The Jester (too lazy for leet speak) and how he hit wikileaks. Contains a video of his tool, XerXeS.

Jester unveils XerXeS

Second video of attack on Apache (kind of ironic, he attacks an Apache server over that server distributing video of an Apache attacking innocent people.)
posted by symbioid at 5:42 PM on December 8, 2010


(note: the video doesn't show him attacking wikileaks, despite what I made it sound like, just poor choice of connection with the link)
posted by symbioid at 5:43 PM on December 8, 2010


At the moment Assange is exactly where prosecutors want him. He is in jail, most likely in isolation and certainly without acces to a computer or cell phone. If I'm the prosecutor, I'm probably happy he's fighting extradition to Sweden. Unless the court changes it's mind on bail, he is going to sit there until he decides to go to Sweden, or the extradition process moves forward.
I imagine that sitting in a jail cell, alone most of the time with 24x7 lighting, the stainless steel toilet, uncomfortable prison clothes, and the hum of florescent lights is pretty awful, especially if you are a guy who is used to traveling from couch to couch, connected to your friends online, and being the center of attention. Also if he is as paranoid as they say he is, what happens if he here's a rumor or gets it into his head that his Wikileaks team is cutting him loose. I mean that new spokesperson they have is much more media savvy and Icelandic. He's a real journalist, not some geeky hacker nerd that got pummeled in high school. After all it looks like Wikileaks was willing to cut Manning lose (as apparently they didn't give the checks from their fundraiser to his lawyers).

Who needs the rubber hose and the water board. Control the external information and stimulus, let his own paranoia break him down.
posted by humanfont at 6:05 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wikileaks is currently mirrored on 1334 sites.
posted by BeerFilter at 6:09 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Who needs the rubber hose and the water board. Control the external information and stimulus, let his own paranoia break him down.

The guy wrote software for plausible deniability cryptography to help human rights activists stand up to torture from brutal regimes. Over a decade ago. Sure, maybe he'll break under the stress of uncomfortable prison clothes in a British prison (even more likely, the food). But then again, maybe he isn't an inch deep.
posted by ryoshu at 6:13 PM on December 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


Long time stalker, first time posting. My disdain for the censorship of Wikileaks prompted me to finally, after 7 years reading the blue, plunk my $5 down. And I had to use Paypal to do it. Cruel irony...
posted by karst at 6:15 PM on December 8, 2010 [13 favorites]


And you just missed being the tie-breaker!
posted by verb at 6:18 PM on December 8, 2010


It's not the information being leaked that's the problem; the information (to this point) hasn't been anything you wouldn't have guessed yourself if you follow the news. Maybe the OMFG factor will ramp up over the next few weeks, who knows.

The problem is this isn't supposed to happen. Forty-odd years of prime-time brainwashing is going down the drain, because the public is suddenly becoming aware that the police and the government aren't omniscient, omnipotent gods, they're a frigging sieve, and they're incompetent as hell to boot.

They didn't catch Assange; he turned himself in. They haven't stopped the flow of information; it's duplicating itself. Anon's bouncing all over the internet, annoying the shit out of corporate monoliths.

It's bloody beautiful.
posted by Mooski at 6:22 PM on December 8, 2010 [28 favorites]


Sure, just like those $500,000 fines have deterred all those people from sharing music online.

Actually, music sharing has declined in recent years. Part of this undoubtedly has to do with the fact that you can buy DRM-free tracks for 79c or so, much more conveniently than scouring file-sharing networks for them and sorting through bad rips (or, as someone said, "easy can compete with free"), but I'd guess that severe punitive damages like those in the Jammie Thomas case did make people think that maybe sharing their MP3 collection with strangers is not a wise move.
posted by acb at 6:27 PM on December 8, 2010


It's bloody beautiful.

I hope it turns out better than when the Russian people discovered that the State wasn't omnipotent in the early 1990s. That produced the Russian Mafia, a drop in life expectancy by several decades, and, ultimately, Vladimir Putin's corrupt autocracy, er, "managed democracy".

We live in interesting times.
posted by acb at 6:31 PM on December 8, 2010


Considering his level of paranoid self-protection in the past couple of years, I suspect Assange walked into the arms of the law ready to die. He'll still fight it out but he knows he might be in a corner against the queen now. And so be it; he's planted a land mine to go off somewhere on the board on the occasion of checkmate.

I got to say, whatever else might be true of the guy, he has balls of neutronium. He took on the entire global oligarchy with nothing but a few buddies and come computer shit to back him up and they're not only blinking, they're doing the watusi. That shit is gonna be remembered for a long time no matter what happens next.
posted by localroger at 6:34 PM on December 8, 2010 [24 favorites]


Wikileaks is currently mirrored on 1334 sites.

Three more to go!
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:37 PM on December 8, 2010 [22 favorites]


But then again, maybe he isn't an inch deep.

His female accusers might have something different to say about that.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:43 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


acb, the collapse of the state didn't produce the Russian mafia, it had been there all along. The weakness of the state just turned it loose. One could argue that it wouldn't have been so strong or ruthless in the first place if those qualities hadn't been forged in the furnace of a totalitarian origin.
posted by localroger at 6:47 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


One could argue that [the Russian Mafia] wouldn't have been so strong or ruthless in the first place if those qualities hadn't been forged in the furnace of a totalitarian origin.

Another way of describing it is that the KGB just changed its name, and some of its core business.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:56 PM on December 8, 2010 [9 favorites]


At the moment Assange is exactly where prosecutors want him.

I really doubt that.
posted by vidur at 7:02 PM on December 8, 2010


What's this about James Bond being a real person?

Oh, you haven't heard?
posted by ob at 7:15 PM on December 8, 2010


This whole wikileaks story is the most fascinating thing I have ever experienced. It is hard to express the complexity of emotions that it conjures, but one emotion I can certainly define. It is a twisted sort of glee that someone has the balls to do what he is doing. And that there are so many people across the globe to back this up. It makes me feel freer than I did a few days ago. The greed/insidious/military/industrial/consume-as-much-as-you-can-destroy-whatever-you-want stranglehold that the corporate/political/fundamentalist elite has on the world systems is finally having some real chunks knocked out of it. hip hip hooray.
posted by tarantula at 7:17 PM on December 8, 2010 [21 favorites]


Ugh. "Consult us before using intelligence to commit war crimes, US tells Uganda"
posted by BeerFilter at 7:31 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


"But because it was the very world it was, the very world they had allowed it to become, for months his activities did not come to the alarmed attention of The Ones Who Kept The Machine Functioning Smoothly, the ones who poured the very best butter over the cams and mainsprings of the culture. Not until it had become obvious that somehow, someway, he had become a notoriety, a celebrity, perhaps even a hero for (what Officialdom inescapably tagged) “an emotionally disturbed segment of the populace,” did they turn it over to the Ticktockman and his legal machinery. But by then, because it was the very world it was, and they had no way to predict he would happen—possibly a strain of disease long-defunct, now, suddenly reborn in a system where immunity had been forgotten, had lapsed—he had been allowed to become too real. Now he had form and substance.

He had become a personality, something they had filtered out of the system many decades ago. But there it was, and there he was, a very definitely imposing personality. In certain circles—middle-class circles—it was thought disgusting. Vulgar ostentation. Anarchistic. Shameful. In others, there was only sniggering: those strata where thought is subjugated to form and ritual, niceties, proprieties. But down below, ah, down below, where the people always needed their saints and sinners, their bread and circuses, their heroes and villains, he was considered a Bolivar; a Napoleon; a Robin Hood; a Dick Bong (Ace of Aces); a Jesus; a Jomo Kenyatta.

And at the top—where, like socially-attuned Shipwreck Kellys, every tremor and vibration threatening to dislodge the wealthy, powerful and titled from their flagpoles—he was considered a menace; a heretic; a rebel; a disgrace; a peril. He was known down the line, to the very heart-meat core, but the important reactions were high above and far below. At the very top, at the very bottom."
-- from "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman, by Harlan Ellison.

The other many parallels to present-day situations from that 45-year-old (!) short story are left as an exercise to the discerning reader.
posted by Asparagirl at 7:32 PM on December 8, 2010 [7 favorites]


If there is a Hell, Harlan Ellison is watching all this from it on a TV and banging his hand on the screen repeatedly because it should have been HIM, HIM, HE THOUGHT OF ALL THIS FUCKINGSHITFIRST. And demons are watching and chuckling from the sidelines.
posted by localroger at 7:39 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


And demons are watching and chuckling from the sidelines.

And asking for their copies of Last Dangerous Visions
posted by never used baby shoes at 8:04 PM on December 8, 2010 [3 favorites]


Who needs the rubber hose and the water board.

Save them for later.

You won't run out of enemies any time soon.
posted by Joe Beese at 8:08 PM on December 8, 2010


It would make me so happy if this escalated into a World War Three, but that WWIII turned out to be an online battle started between /b/tards and credit card companies and escalating into Us versus The Oligarchs, in which not a single shot was fired.

Of course, the inevitable result would and probably will be more attempts by government entities to strip us of what very little anonymity and freedom we still have online, but it sure is interesting to watch.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:12 PM on December 8, 2010 [6 favorites]


-- from "Repent, Harlequin!" Said the Ticktockman, by Harlan Ellison.

From here on out, I'm referring to the "insurance policy leak dump on a deadman-switch" that Wikileaks has said they have prepared as "The $150,000 worth of jelly beans".
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:18 PM on December 8, 2010


I don't think Ellison is dead.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:24 PM on December 8, 2010


[few comments removed - maintaining a healthy, respectful discussion by focusing comments on the issues, topics, and facts at hand involves not making jokes about fucking other people's mothers. Drop it or get an unplanned vacation. Thank you. ]
posted by jessamyn at 8:28 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


Damn it, what did I miss?
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:29 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


It's a common response by comedians to hecklers.
posted by Crabby Appleton at 8:30 PM on December 8, 2010


“No wonder others are keeping silent about Assange's antics,” Palin emailed. “This is what happens when you exercise the First Amendment and speak against his sick, un-American espionage efforts.”

Please, please tell me that this is some kind of sick joke. Every time I think Palin cannot appal me any further, she manages to. Jesus.
posted by jokeefe at 8:36 PM on December 8, 2010


Palin may be a joke, but she isn't in on the laugh.
posted by TwelveTwo at 8:40 PM on December 8, 2010


Palin's email.... it's so off base it's not even wrong. It's like it beamed in from some alternate universe, or something.
posted by jokeefe at 8:51 PM on December 8, 2010


Damn it, what did I miss?

...the aristocrats!
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:55 PM on December 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


I've read every word of this thread, except for the comments that were removed, and those only because I foolishly made my weekly visit to facebook, where I was chatjacked by some old friends. I can only hope the removed comments will been leaked somewhere...
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 9:18 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


i think jessamyn summarized the contents pretty well.
posted by empath at 9:28 PM on December 8, 2010


For someone who constantly whines about big government, Sarah Palin sure seems to be giving her all in support of it.
posted by wierdo at 9:38 PM on December 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


I think the only ideological consistency you'll find in Sarah Palin's public statements is her inflated sense of self-importance.
posted by empath at 9:41 PM on December 8, 2010


I can only hope the removed comments will been leaked somewhere...

Failing that, maybe the mods' IMs to each other...?

Hey, there's an idea!

*HAXORS, HAXORS, HAXORS*
 
>cortex: hey jess, lotta flags in the assange thread
>jessamyn: taking a look into it
>jessamyn: [redacted] is playing up again, shall we notify #1?
>cortex: fuck, am i sick of that guy. do it!
>jessamyn: banhammerphone! you there, matt?
>mathowie: working on my bike. this better be important *sent from my iphone*
>jessamyn: its about
>mathowie: fucking derailleurs! shit. i haven't got time for this *sent from my iphone*
>mathowie: escalate it to the cabal *sent from my iphone*
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:42 PM on December 8, 2010 [24 favorites]


empath, you're probably right that expecting anything beyond GRAR! from Mama Grizzly is expecting too much.
posted by wierdo at 9:45 PM on December 8, 2010


Palin is like the Kanye West of being stupid.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:00 PM on December 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Are we going to talk about Wikileaks anymore? Otherwise I am going to the 24hr bakery. Anyone want me to bring back some macaroons?
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:02 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'll get us within two of an even grand.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 10:11 PM on December 8, 2010


... and umm, seriously!?! .. really?

I feel the need to get my 2-bits in here. We're supposed to view one man's alleged sexual transgressions (disreputable and downright criminal though they may be) as analogous to the transgressions of the blunt, remorseless states and corporations and vile individuals that are seeking to not just drag him down but eviscerate him, destroy him absolutely!?!?

umm, seriously!?! .. really?

Again, may I respectfully point you to Steve Bell's impression of the forces at play here ...

and I love America
posted by philip-random at 10:12 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


>mathowie: fucking derailleurs!

A-ha! I knew it! Matt's one of those dastardly fixie hipsters!
posted by Sys Rq at 10:15 PM on December 8, 2010


Palin is like the Kanye West of being stupid.

s/being//

I'll take a Mountain Dew(TM) and bag of Cheetos(TM) while you're out.

Hack the planet.
posted by ryoshu at 10:15 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


For those more curious about the split narrative presently in play, the book to read is called The City and Man by Leo Strauss.

Ah yes....the "noble lie" and all that. What Wikileaks has shown the world is that the lies are not that noble.(as anyone with half a brain should have known anyway) The "split narratives" as you call them are merging into one narrative. A narrative which isn't filtered through the normal means. This, probably more than anything else, is what is motivating the backlash against Assange and wikileaks. Unfortunately for the powers that be the floodgates have opened and at this point stopping the floodwaters is futile.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 10:16 PM on December 8, 2010


Bakery? I'll take a chocolate croissant and a coffee, pls.
posted by jokeefe at 10:18 PM on December 8, 2010


... or as Mr. Dylan suggested a while back.
posted by philip-random at 10:20 PM on December 8, 2010


Unfortunately for the powers that be the floodgates have opened and at this point stopping the floodwaters is futile.

I hope you're right, Aelfwine. The stuff about Nigeria and Shell oil is horrific-- not a surprise, but still.
posted by jokeefe at 10:21 PM on December 8, 2010


If Matt's one of those dastardly fixie hipsters he wouldn't be fucking with a derailleur.
posted by kneecapped at 10:31 PM on December 8, 2010


I meant that his hate-on for derailleurs is a symptom of his... Oh, forget it.
posted by Sys Rq at 10:37 PM on December 8, 2010


Be a dear and pick up some beignets, would you?
posted by cmyk at 10:40 PM on December 8, 2010


I hope you're right, Aelfwine. The stuff about Nigeria and Shell oil is horrific-- not a surprise, but still.

Hmm, how about the US requesting to be informed about any pending war crimes precipitated on the basis of US intelligence in Uganda. Although to be fair, they did request that the intel not be used in war crimes. And I'm sure they just wanted to be notified of impending war crimes to talk them out of it.

Also, Anna Ardin may have stopped cooperating with the prosecutors and may have even left Sweden
posted by delmoi at 10:40 PM on December 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Also, Anna Ardin may have stopped cooperating with the prosecutors and may have even left Sweden

Speaking as someone who's broadly supportive of Wikileaks and drowning in contempt for "special America" dickwads, I sure as hell hope that's not because she's been bullied out of a legitimate complain of sexual assault.
posted by rodgerd at 10:45 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Or she stop being bullied into it.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:47 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Ok, I'm back from the pastry shop emptied handed. My visa got rejected, I knew I shouldn't have donated to WikiLeaks.
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:50 PM on December 8, 2010 [5 favorites]


Or she stop being bullied into it.

It would be irresponsible not to speculate.
posted by ryoshu at 10:51 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, then there's this.
posted by delmoi at 10:51 PM on December 8, 2010 [2 favorites]


At the moment Assange is exactly where prosecutors want him.

Actually the prosecutors want him in Sweden hence the arrest warrant and extradition request.

I imagine that sitting in a jail cell, alone most of the time with 24x7 lighting, the stainless steel toilet, uncomfortable prison clothes, and the hum of florescent lights is pretty awful, especially if you are a guy who is used to traveling from couch to couch, connected to your friends online, and being the center of attention. Also if he is as paranoid as they say he is, what happens if he here's a rumor or gets it into his head that his Wikileaks team is cutting him loose. I mean that new spokesperson they have is much more media savvy and Icelandic. He's a real journalist, not some geeky hacker nerd that got pummeled in high school. After all it looks like Wikileaks was willing to cut Manning lose (as apparently they didn't give the checks from their fundraiser to his lawyers).

Who needs the rubber hose and the water board. Control the external information and stimulus, let his own paranoia break him down.


That's what your argument has become? Wild fantasies about how much Assange is suffering and speculation about what his breaking point is? Sounds like you should give it a rest until you can come up with something better than this. Until than chew on the fact that Assange is at this point immaterial. The damage can not be undone. So one can piss and moan about how much of a horrible person Assange is but really all it amounts to is a child throwing a tantrum. You can't fight the future.

Scully: "You want these men brought to justice?"

Krycek: "You can't bring these men to justice! They're protected! The laws of this country protect these men under the name of national security. They know no law."

Mulder: "Then why don't you put a bullet in their heads like you did that man out there?"

Krycek: "These men, they fear one thing - exposure. You expose them, you expose their crimes, you destroy the destroyer's ability to destroy."

posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:00 PM on December 8, 2010 [4 favorites]


That's what your argument has become? Wild fantasies about how much Assange is suffering

My guess is that Assange is probably annoyed and bored. The idea that he would "crack" without access to a computer for 14 days is a bit much.
posted by delmoi at 11:31 PM on December 8, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm, how about the US requesting to be informed about any pending war crimes precipitated on the basis of US intelligence in Uganda. Although to be fair, they did request that the intel not be used in war crimes. And I'm sure they just wanted to be notified of impending war crimes to talk them out of it.

As the linked article points out, US-supplied intelligence may indeed have resulted in some people being shot without trial. I do not approve of this. On the other hand, the Lord's Resistance Army, against whom these efforts are directed, are famed the world over for exemplifying peace, love and understanding.

Well, maybe not, but it's OK because the US is inherently evil.
posted by anigbrowl at 12:15 AM on December 9, 2010


Today was a good day.
posted by Marla Singer at 12:23 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


cablegateroulette.com
posted by kaspen at 12:25 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


tarantula: "It is hard to express the complexity of emotions that it conjures, but one emotion I can certainly define. It is a twisted sort of glee that someone has the balls to do what he is doing."

Boy, do I have a comic book recommendation for you.
posted by yaymukund at 1:19 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Anon Operation's Facebook page has also been pulled. (LATimes)
posted by dave99 at 1:34 AM on December 9, 2010


Oh man, cablegateroulette is fantastic.
¶8. (C) xxxxx asserted that once the DPRK identifies politically reliable family members to participate in the upcoming reunions, they will be transported to Pyongyang and then "fattened up" with regular meals and vitamins to mask the extent of food shortages and chronic malnutrition in the north. The "lucky" DPRK reunion participants will also be provided with new clothing -- suits for men and traditional Korean "hanbok" for women -- for the televised event. In our earlier meeting, xxxxx had commented that MOU gives "pocket and travel money" to ROK participants which they then pass on to their North Korean relatives. xxxxx sighed that the majority of the MOU cash is usually pocketed by North Korean officials, who also force the North Korean participants to return their new clothes.
posted by Jimbob at 1:39 AM on December 9, 2010


xxxxx is John Howard, right? What do I win?
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:24 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hi folks! Having a hard time finding the website that we killed? Don't worry – the Kindle version of the cables is now only £7.37!
posted by mahershalal at 3:01 AM on December 9, 2010 [8 favorites]


Heh. The thing I love about this affair is that it has shown me hitherto-unknown depths of cynicism, cynicism darker and more profoundly abysmal than anything I had ever contemplated as being within the realm of human emotion. This link (hattip: anigbrowl) describes the machinations that led to the signing of the Copenhagen Accord. Many countries, knowing that the USA wanted to get as many signatories as it could, sought economic aid - bribes - in exchange for their signature. Here is one approach:
the Maldives' ambassador-designate to the US, Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed, told the US deputy climate change envoy, Jonathan Pershing, his country wanted "tangible assistance", saying other nations would then realise "the advantages to be gained by compliance" with the accord.
The Maldives are an archipelago of coral islands that reach to a maximum of 2.3 metres, a little over seven and a half feet, above sea level. They will be wiped out by any significant rise in sea levels or increase in tropical storms. They are the poster-child for global warming. And yet what do we see? Their ambassador ties his country's support for environmental change to "tangible assistance [of] approximately $50 million".
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:30 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Joe, you speak of "cynicism darker and more profoundly abysmal than anything I had ever contemplated as being within the realm of human emotion"

And yet, Australia's Prime Minister tied our country's support for the wars in Afghanistan & Iraq to "tangible assistance [of] a free trade agreement with America"

In Johnny Hunt's defence, he's not actually human and he knows no emotion.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:52 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


That is the sort of inane and self-serving argument that I would expect from a quondam ex-communist. The Maldives were demanding assistance before they would work to save their own lives. We demanded assistance before we would kill other people. The two situations are morally entirely different.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:02 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, the Maldives aren't stupid enough to believe that any global warming agreement is worth the paper it's printed on.
posted by empath at 4:44 AM on December 9, 2010 [7 favorites]


That's what your argument has become? Wild fantasies about how much Assange is suffering and speculation about what his breaking point is? Sounds like you should give it a rest until you can come up with something better than this. Until than chew on the fact that Assange is at this point immaterial. The damage can not be undone. So one can piss and moan about how much of a horrible person Assange is but really all it amounts to is a child throwing a tantrum. You can't fight the future.

What Im suggesting is that he's in jail for an indefinite amount of time and under increasing pressure. This gives the prosecutors looking into ways to bring more substantive charges time to build their case. It also disrupts Assanges ability to direct the day to day operations of wikileaks. Furthermore by taking control of his external interactions, and daily routine they can exploit his personality quirks to ratchet up his stess level.

Why fight the future when yo can make it. If we look at how governments have historically dealt with subversive organizations, the key elements are to isolate leadership from the rank and file, setup splinter groups (some of which are your own front groups), get the groups to dint each other rather than you over idealological purity. Then you use the discord to change the media narrative away from their goal to just talking abput the infiting. Finally this campaign separates the organizatijp from the broader public; pmaking them less relevant.
posted by humanfont at 4:49 AM on December 9, 2010


idealological purity. Then you use the discord to change the media narrative away from their goal to just talking abput the infiting. Finally this campaign separates the organizatijp from the broader public; pmaking them less relevant.

Awesome comment from the insider spymaster.

Yeah, I read your deleted one, too.
posted by Wolof at 5:02 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


What exactly can the Maldives do to save their own lives? Build an ark? They've got no money, they've got no political clout, and even if they go completely carbon neutral (and they're not huge emitters to start with) it's a mere puff of wind compared to the millions of tonnes of CO2 belched out the by the USA. At least if they've got some cash they might be able to help save their own people.
posted by harriet vane at 5:12 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Given recent precedents relating to the Espionage Act, WikiLeaks would probably be convicted -- as would the Guardian, the New York Times and anyone downloading the memos. And probably anyone owning a proxy server which inadvertently cached the memos as well.
posted by acb at 5:16 AM on December 9, 2010


Today was a good day.

Yes it was.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:46 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


All you Aussies need to put this dog to rest : pull down Julia Gillard with a no confidence vote, hold new elections, and make Assange your new prime minister.

Yeah sure, his values don't exactly mesh with your existing political class, but you've got a chance to get a jump on the political games of the future, by creating a democracy that needs fewer secrets.
posted by jeffburdges at 5:49 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Why fight the future when yo can make it.

Assange is inventing the future, or rather he already has, by having the balls to be first and take responsibility for his actions lighting the way for others.

If we look at how governments have historically dealt with subversive organizations, the key elements are to isolate leadership from the rank and file, setup splinter groups (some of which are your own front groups), get the groups to dint each other rather than you over idealological purity. Then you use the discord to change the media narrative away from their goal to just talking abput the infiting. Finally this campaign separates the organizatijp from the broader public; pmaking them less relevant.

This might have worked before but J. Edgar Hoover has never met the internet. It kinda makes all those tactics you describe much more difficult and in some cases futile.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 5:51 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


This might have worked before but J. Edgar Hoover has never met the internet. It kinda makes all those tactics you describe much more difficult and in some cases futile.
I wouldn't go that far. Insurgency is easy to end if you're willing to commit genocide, too. The Internet as we're used to thinking of it is pretty easy to take down if you have the resources of a nation-state. The problem is taking it down discreetly without angering all the bystanders.
posted by verb at 5:55 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also, I have coffee for everyone!
posted by verb at 5:55 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


All you Aussies need to put this dog to rest : pull down Julia Gillard with a no confidence vote, hold new elections, and make Assange your new prime minister.

Problem is, Gillard is the lesser evil. The other side is led by Tony Abbott, a right-wing Christian authoritarian and culture-war hardliner who was responsible for much of what was worst about the Howard government (1996-2007).
posted by acb at 6:16 AM on December 9, 2010


10539: "My guess is that Assange is probably annoyed and bored. The idea that he would "crack" without access to a computer for 14 days is a bit much."

They probably gave him his laptop, set on top of a locked filing cabinet that had an unusual weight at the bottom of it.

In related news, this was either the best or the worst week for me to finish reading Cryptonomicon.
posted by charred husk at 6:22 AM on December 9, 2010 [10 favorites]


verb wrote: "The problem is taking it down discreetly without angering all the bystanders."

And let's keep in mind that a lot of the bystanders are the very people you are attempting to protect. There is a lot of business done over the Internet, and I'm not talking about ecommerce in the traditional sense of the word. b2b is not just a buzzword.
posted by wierdo at 6:25 AM on December 9, 2010


acb : I'd accept your argument if Assange were Italian because each Italian political party is ruled by one old man, who all hate one another. Isn't one perk of British style parliament that parties can change though?
posted by jeffburdges at 6:33 AM on December 9, 2010


Furthermore by taking control of his external interactions, and daily routine they can exploit his personality quirks to ratchet up his stess level.

Additional suggestions for ratcheting up his stress level.

I'm starting to think you missed your calling.
posted by Joe Beese at 6:44 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Corporate personhood holy-shit moment of the week: in this NPR story about the free-speech fallout of the corporate boycott on Wikileaks, an EFF lawyer is quoted saying that Mastercard's decision to cut off Assange is protected by its First Amendment rights. As if that were the free speech that needed protection in this situation.
posted by RogerB at 7:17 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


Pretty stunning about-face by Russia: they're now suggesting Assange should be offered the peace prize.
posted by mullingitover at 7:20 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Inside Hillary's plumbers unit
posted by Joe Beese at 7:24 AM on December 9, 2010


Last night a few /b/tards from 711chan nabbed dox on the guy who fingered manning. I had to go to bed right after that, but I assume he's throat deep in hookers, limos and pizzas now.

This guy.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:29 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


At the moment Assange is exactly where prosecutors want him.

Fuck that. He's a smart guy. I'd say he is two steps ahead of everyone.

Assange is exactly where he wants to be.
posted by chugg at 7:43 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


.Pretty stunning about-face by Russia: they're now suggesting Assange should be offered the peace prize.

That'll last until he releases Russian documents.
posted by empath at 7:48 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]



Pretty stunning about-face by Russia: they're now suggesting Assange should be offered the peace prize.


Especially since they're more given to killing troublesome journalists than rewarding them.
posted by acb at 7:53 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


empath wrote: "That'll last until he releases Russian documents."

I was thinking about this, and it occurred to me that they probably already know what leaked and aren't too concerned. Even if it's some nasty stuff, the Russian government isn't exactly filled with people who care much about world opinion. Moreover, being the ruthless bastards they are, they would not be afraid to either kill or permanently imprison anybody who dared leak anything else. Given that, they could easily see Wikileaks being a long-running thorn in our side and at worst a minor nuisance to themselves.

I can't help but think they'd see that as a worthwhile tradeoff.
posted by wierdo at 7:55 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I posted this in the other thread but its more relevant here:

A very awesome News Animation from those Taiwanese News animators NMA about the whole Wikileaks thing.

Features Palin, a pirate ship, uncle sam, and other such delights.
posted by memebake at 7:58 AM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


thsmchnekllsfascists: "Last night a few /b/tards from 711chan nabbed dox on the guy who fingered manning. I had to go to bed right after that, but I assume he's throat deep in hookers, limos and pizzas now.

This guy.
"

Lamo is a piece of shit. I'm assuming you're talking Rasch, though?

I was trying to find the vid last night of a defcon panel where one of the hackers stands up and berates Lamo for talking nationalist sides, and a lot of the audience was appluading. It was great. I couldn't find it, but was reminded of the Project Vigilant stuff from then. I thought it was all a joke. So, the Project Vigilant is a real thing? I think it was Cryptome(John) or someone else who thought it was all a hoax. Or maybe Ars is being taken in?

Fuck Lamo, Fuck "The Jester" , Fuck Bubba or Uber or whatever the fuck his name is.
posted by symbioid at 8:17 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh, and if anyone could FIND that clip, I would be eternally grateful! It's really sweet, and I think you guys would like it!
posted by symbioid at 8:19 AM on December 9, 2010


Lamo is a piece of shit. I'm assuming you're talking Rasch, though?

I was trying to find the vid last night of a defcon panel where one of the hackers stands up and berates Lamo for talking nationalist sides, and a lot of the audience was appluading. It was great. I couldn't find it, but was reminded of the Project Vigilant stuff from then. I thought it was all a joke. So, the Project Vigilant is a real thing? I think it was Cryptome(John) or someone else who thought it was all a hoax. Or maybe Ars is being taken in?


Yeah it was Rasch. memail for more info on dox. They should also still be up at the /i/nsurgency wiki.

Regarding lamo: yeah, fuck that guy. I'm pretty sure he's this jester asshole. I've heard through the grapevine that people are going to be hunting for info on him soon.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 8:26 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe Putin is just a huge DC Comics fanboy, and wants to read about what he and his Boy Wonder sidekick did next.
posted by Asparagirl at 8:28 AM on December 9, 2010


Pretty stunning about-face by Russia: they're now suggesting Assange should be offered the peace prize.

I'd recommend running a Geiger counter over the medal before getting too close to it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 8:42 AM on December 9, 2010 [18 favorites]


Maybe Putin is just a huge DC Comics fanboy, and wants to read about what he and his Boy Wonder sidekick did next.

Well, Kim Jong Il reportedly quite enjoyed Team America: World Police, so anything's possible.
posted by acb at 8:42 AM on December 9, 2010


IN A.D. 2010
WAR WAS BEGINNING.

(I will award over 9000 internets to anyone who can track down a wikileaks All Your Base remix.)
posted by mullingitover at 9:08 AM on December 9, 2010 [5 favorites]


John Pilger, the campaigning journalist, and others have written a letter to the Guardian in support of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.

We protest at the attacks on Wikileaks and, in particular, on Julian Assange (Report, 9 December) The leaks have assisted democracy in revealing the real views of our governments over a range of issues which have been kept secret and are now irreversibly in the public domain. All we knew about the mass killing, torture and corruption in Iraq and Afghanistan has been confirmed. The world's leaders can no longer hide the truth by simply lying to the public. The lies have been exposed. The actions of major corporations such as Amazon, the Swiss banks and the credit card companies in hindering Wikileaks, are shameful, bowing to US government pressure. The US government and its allies, and their friends in the media, have built up a campaign against Assange which now sees him in prison facing extradition on dubious charges, with the presumed eventual aim of ensuring his extradition to the US. We demand his immediate release, the dropping of all charges, and an end to the censorship of Wikileaks.

John Pilger, Lindsey German Stop the War Coalition, Salma Yaqoob, Craig Murray, Alexei Sayle, Mark Thomas, Caryl Churchill, AL Kennedy, Celia Mitchell, Ben Griffin (former soldier), Terry Jones, Sami Ramadani, Roger Lloyd Pack, David Gentleman, Miriam Margolyes, Andy Delatour, Katharine Hamnett, Iain Banks


Whut?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 10:36 AM on December 9, 2010


ALL YOUR LEAKS ARE BELONG TO US
The resemblance is striking
posted by Flashman at 10:40 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


For Seumas Milne of The Guardian in London, which has shared the latest WikiLeaks trove with The New York Times, the official American reaction “is tipping over towards derangement.” ...

John Naughton, writing in the same British paper, decried the attack on the openness of the Internet and the pressure on companies like Amazon and eBay to evict the WikiLeaks site. “The response has been vicious, coordinated and potentially comprehensive,” he said, and presents a “delicious irony” that “it is now the so-called liberal democracies that are clamoring to shut WikiLeaks down.”

A year ago, he noted, Mrs. Clinton made a major speech about Internet freedom, interpreted as a rebuke to China’s cyber-attack on Google. “Even in authoritarian countries, information networks are helping people to discover new facts and making governments more accountable.” To Mr. Naughton now, “that Clinton speech reads like a satirical masterpiece.” ...

German newspapers were similarly harsh. Even the Financial Times Deutschland (independent of the English-language Financial Times), said that “the already damaged reputation of the United States will only be further tattered with Assange’s new martyr status."
posted by Joe Beese at 11:01 AM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Inmates at Wandsworth Prison are pushing notes of support under the cell door of WikiLeaks founder, according to Sky News sources.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:04 AM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


Iain Banks

Whut?


Iain has been politically active for years. ISTR him burning his passport in protest at the Iraq War (II) for instance. That he should be a signatory to this letter doesn't surprise me in the least.
posted by pharm at 11:05 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Alexei Sayle...Terry Jones...Iain Banks

Now theres a cabinet I could get behind. Bonus that a campaign theme song comes to mind immediately.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 11:43 AM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


thsmchnekllsfascists: "GOD. This asshole keeps taking the IRC down"

Jester is a pretty notorious greyhat with a Captain America complex. He's notorious not necessarily for what he's done...but because he runs a huge PR strategy for everything he *does* do. He's been weirder than usual lately though. His primary tool is "XerXes", a homebrewed dos tool that emulates SlowLoris. It's a strong tool, there isn't much out there that can beat a layer 7 attack. {pdf explaining layered attacks} You can find him on the 2600 irc; #jester if you have a burning desire to talk to him... he's prolly over there bragging about taking down wikileaks again. I'm actually astounded that he hasn't been knocked offline. He's better than a whole lot of people give him credit for being.

That said; I think this whole wikileaks thing, (leaving Julian out of it for the nonce), really is a battleground that can/will define how the information age moves forward. Either we recognize that information technology will force transparency, or the government will have to eliminate the internet as we understand it.

While I agree, there are some things the government may need to do in private, most of this stuff is secret not to protect America, or American citizens, but to protect corporations, and power-brokers.

I say, fuck em. If they're willing to sell sex slaves, and corrupt governments, and authorize murders and rapes and torture; then absolutely, those crimes should be brought out into the open, and those who commit them should be brought in front of a jury.

I have no loyalty to Shell, or Monsanto or Exxon, or a government that thinks it's ok to sell baby boys to rapists...and I fail to see how protecting the malfeasance of their policies protects me or my country.

The declaration that all information should be free was widely misinterpreted and misreported. But what we're seeing with wikileaks is the closest we've come so far to "information being free". Nobody meant that everyone's private diaries and bank records should be public information, but we should know what our government is doing, and who it is protecting...especially when it's not the citizens being protected.

If they speak in my name, then I have the right to know what it is they say.
posted by dejah420 at 12:17 PM on December 9, 2010 [23 favorites]


aaand just as I predicted DDOSer arrested. Who knows if it's one of the coordinaters or just some guy who ran the client. I'm guessing one of the coordinaters, but who knows.
Last night a few /b/tards from 711chan nabbed dox on the guy who fingered manning. I had to go to bed right after that, but I assume he's throat deep in hookers, limos and pizzas now.
Adrian Lammo. What a smarmy cocksucker.
posted by delmoi at 12:50 PM on December 9, 2010


Well they got Rasch, not lamo. I keep hearing that's next.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 12:59 PM on December 9, 2010


pull down Julia Gillard with a no confidence vote, hold new elections, and make Assange your new prime minister.

Well there's some precedent for that - the intelligence whistleblower who exposed the government's lies about 'evidence' for Iraqi WMDs is now a Member of Parliament.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:10 PM on December 9, 2010


Assange could face espionage trial in US

U.S. in Talks With Sweden Over Extraditing Assange
posted by jefeweiss at 1:22 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


IHT Europeans Criticize Fierce U.S. Response to Leaks
posted by adamvasco at 1:27 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jeremy Scahill; National Security correspondent for The Nation magazine quotes a wikileaks cable while testifying to Congress on America's Secret Wars.
Pakistan's Prime Minister told a senior US official in Islamabad, "I don't care if [the US bombs Pakistan] as long as they get the right people. We'll protest in the National Assembly and then ignore it."
posted by adamvasco at 1:35 PM on December 9, 2010


I know what the investigations were about. Allied nations have diplomatic channels to work out these kinds of things. You can't conduct foreign policy through prosecutors acting on their own without expecting it to have an impact on the larger relationship. That's how the nation state system works.

'Work out these kinds of things' is a nice euphemism for do fuck-all because otherwise the US will play nasty. This isn't about conducting foreign policy. It's about the rights of states to take action under law against people who commit crimes on their soil, or against their citizens.

Kidnapping an innocent man from the street, removing him half way round the world, and detaining him for months (and quite possibly torturing him) is a crime, and should be treated as such.

There's something very amusing, in a deeply depressing way, about a thread full of calls for the Australian Assange to be prosecuted in the US for everything from espionage to third degree looking a bit like that monk from the Da Vinci Code, coupled with apologetics for criminal actions around the world simply because the criminals have US passports.
posted by reynir at 2:47 PM on December 9, 2010 [6 favorites]


adamvasco, that's one of the leaked cables that is actually somewhat damaging to our more reasonable foreign policy aims. It's shady as hell, and it's probably best that the Pakistani people know, but for me, sitting here in the US, it's less than ideal if we can't go after legitimate targets who cross the border from Afghanistan into Pakistan.

Of course, I think that's more than outweighed by the things that have been revealed or confirmed, like that certain members of the Saudi royal family are to this day funding al Qaeda's operations.
posted by wierdo at 2:48 PM on December 9, 2010


Holder can't possibly expect to get away with extraditing and disappearing Assange without triggering "Doomsday," can he? I expect this is the USA merely pretending to make a valiant effort; in reality the more they publicly insist on extraditing him from Sweden, the less likely it is that he will be released to Sweden. Holder needs to be seen as hawkish as possible lest the Rs nail him to the wall - at least, I hope that's the level of cynicism that is being deployed here.

The cables re: USA policies in Pakistan and Yemen are some of the most disturbing, because they demonstrate that (parts of) their governments are totally corrupt and subservient to American interests at the expense of their own populations. And no, drone bombing civilians is not one of "our more reasonable foreign policy aims." It's the whole goddamn problem.
posted by mek at 2:53 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


I should add that the "radicalizing" of Muslims becomes all the more understandable when you know that not only are they being near-indiscriminately bombed by the USA, their governments are signing off on it and collaborating in efforts to identify and exterminate targets. Is it so radical to violently resist so corrupt a regime?
posted by mek at 3:12 PM on December 9, 2010


It's the indiscriminate part that's unreasonable (sick, actually), not the idea of drone bombing the people who are attacking our military.

I'd rather we treat it as a law enforcement problem and not a military one, but that's not what's happening. Sort of like how targeted drone bombings aren't actually what's happening.
posted by wierdo at 3:24 PM on December 9, 2010


Rape Case Against WikiLeaks Founder Falling Apart?
posted by ericb at 3:26 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


In related news: 16-Year-Old Arrested For Pro-WikiLeaks Cyber Attacks.
posted by ericb at 3:27 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


dejah420: To be more specific to my comment above, I'd bet good money that The Jester's tool "XerXeS" isn't anything more than slowloris modified to do POST instead of GET (nearly all webservers are vulnerable to slow POST attacks, as opposed to using GET which usually means apache is vulnerable but not apache behind ngnix). There isn't anything already known by the security community for a good while. His tool is bush league stuff. Throw down a couple hundred slow POST requests (with valid content-lengths) and it's impossible to tell what's going on in your logs unless you know what to look for.

Pretending that modifying slowloris to do POST is some kind of super seekret takedown code with AI is second rate script kiddie garbage.
posted by amuseDetachment at 3:39 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


THE Australian lawyer for Julian Assange has written to the Attorney-General, Robert McClelland, asking him to take action against prominent North American figures calling for Mr Assange to be harmed [...]

''The government should be clear to their American counterparts that threats against Mr Assange's life will be taken seriously by this country,'' Mr Stary said


Hear hear. As a nation consistently opposed to capital punishment, I expect our leaders to make a public statement condemning calls for Mr Assange's execution.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:56 PM on December 9, 2010 [4 favorites]


From The Independent:
Ms Lindfield told the court that Mr Assange was wanted in connection with four allegations of sexual offences.She said the first complainant, Miss A, said she was victim of "unlawful coercion" on the night of 14 August in Stockholm. The court heard Mr Assange is accused of using his body weight to hold her down in a sexual manner.

The second charge alleged Mr Assange "sexually molested" Miss A by having sex with her without a condom when it was her "express wish" one should be used. The third charge claimed Mr Assange "deliberately molested" Miss A on August 18 "in a way designed to violate her sexual integrity".

The fourth charge accused Mr Assange of having sex with a second woman, Miss W, on 17 August without a condom while she was asleep at her Stockholm home.
What I don't understand here and can't find any information about is the third charge. Every account that I've read states that Assange was out of contact with both Miss A and Miss W after he parted with Miss W on August 17th, yet he is somehow accused of deliberately molesting Miss A during that time. Does anyone know what this charge is based on? Does it have something to do with not removing his belongings from her apartment or his non-response w/r/t/ their request for STD tests?
posted by ssg at 4:05 PM on December 9, 2010


Hear hear. As a nation consistently opposed to capital punishment, I expect our leaders to make a public statement condemning calls for Mr Assange's execution.

You didn't miss this, right?

"Prime Minister Julia Gillard insists the actions of Mr Assange, an Australian citizen, and his WikiLeaks website are illegal."

The Australian govt. is still unsure whether any Australian laws have been broken, but that didn't stop the Prime Minister from being a Decider, so to say. I don't expect the Australian political system to rally behind Assange.
posted by vidur at 4:31 PM on December 9, 2010


O RLY?

Here's what former opposition leader (still in Parliament as a shadow Minister) Malcolm Turnbull had to say just yesterday:

Governments and politicians should be careful not to make a martyr of Assange and fools of themselves. Julia Gillard's claim that Assange had broken Australian laws, when it is clear he has not, demonstrates how out of her depth she is.

From the column Political risk in making a martyr of Assange
posted by UbuRoivas at 4:42 PM on December 9, 2010


"For me, the problem with what Assange has done is that he has put out into the public arena a lot of information, some of which could compromise national and international security. Now, I think the papers have been reasonably responsible. They have only published the stuff which is, if you like, the meat and drink of public discourse but I gather that there’s a lot of information in these cables that have gone up on the net which people who wish us and our allies harm could find quite useful."

Guess who?

Okay, Tony Abbott. To be fair, he also says that Assange deserves Due Process and *cough* Julia Gillard Sucks *cough* "it’s far from clear that the Government has not rushed in too quickly on this one".

It reads to me like political point scoring rather than any real support for Assange. Kind of like Putin's sudden change of heart.

Turnbull's central message is to refrain from making Assange a martyr - that's a political calculation, not a principle-based "public statement condemning calls for Mr Assange's execution".
posted by vidur at 4:56 PM on December 9, 2010


Even if it is just political point-scoring, at least there seems to be some division between the government & opposition, which is a good start.

Often with matters of foreign relations, maintaining an appearance of bipartisan support for any official stance is something that the parties take quite seriously.
posted by UbuRoivas at 5:05 PM on December 9, 2010


Often with matters of foreign relations, maintaining an appearance of bipartisan support for any official stance is something that the parties take quite seriously.

True, but there is a New Paradigm in town.
posted by vidur at 5:30 PM on December 9, 2010


On the radio, a woman from the Electronic Frontier Foundation described l'affaire d'Assange as "the most important free speech battle of our lifetimes".

I have an idea how the French people who split company over the Dreyfus case might have felt.
posted by Joe Beese at 5:43 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


amuseDetachment: "dejah420: To be more specific to my comment above, I'd bet good money that The Jester's tool "XerXeS" isn't anything more than slowloris modified to do POST instead of GET ... Pretending that modifying slowloris to do POST is some kind of super seekret takedown code with AI is second rate script kiddie garbage"

I haven't seen the code behind xerxes, so I have no idea. And I am totally not going to defend Jester, or his code, or his claims of "AI" front ends, or whatever the hell it is he doing out there wearing his imaginary Cape of Justice.

But the https post ddos vulnerability first reared it's head in 2009, discovered and reported by Wong Onn Chee. It's hardly script kiddie territory. The thing that is so amazing about Layer 7 modality is that it perfectly mimics a user with a slow connection, and servers will inherently "wait" for post data to complete. And because the TCP isn't malformed and there is no delay in sending the http header (unlike slowloris), it breaks IIS too. It also requires significantly less resources, because the targeting can be smaller...frankly, it'll be a nightmare if the script kiddies actually figure it out before really effective countermeasures are out there. (IIS especially...)
posted by dejah420 at 5:50 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


There is no accusation of forced sex or anything resembling what would be considered 'rape' in most countries:

Having sex without the other person's consent is rape.

Ok folks, I know it's not the main thrust of this comment chain, as it were, but can we try not to be rape minimizers and apologists here please? We don't know if the charges against Assange are true or false. It's quite clear that he's being prosecuted much more seriously than other people facing similar charges, and yes, that could fairly be described as government persecution. In any event, the charges have no bearing on his work with Wikileaks (which I happen to support). Those arguments can be made, and you can even doubt the validity of the accusations against Assange, without being a douchebag rape apologist, however.

Yes, you can say that you don't think the charges are true, without scoffing at the idea of actions such as have been alleged constituting rape/sexual assault. Here's how it goes: having sex without the other person's consent is rape. Period. Now, there are different legal technicalities in different jurisdictions. Heck, some countries even allow men to beat and rape their wives. But the ethical idea is really quite simple: having sex without the other person's consent is rape.

Here's an example of how it's done:
Glenn Greenwald on Democracy Now

Here's some folks who lay this all out a little more fully and eloquently than me:
Feministe
Another blog
Yet another blog
This one's more of a rant
posted by eviemath at 5:58 PM on December 9, 2010 [7 favorites]


But the https post ddos vulnerability first reared it's head in 2009, discovered and reported by Wong Onn Chee. It's hardly script kiddie territory. The thing that is so amazing about Layer 7 modality is that it perfectly mimics a user with a slow connection, and servers will inherently "wait" for post data to complete.
Indeed. Really, it's the fundamentally forgiving nature of the protocols that makes them relatively hard to secure, relatively robust in the face of centralized crackdowns, and relatively vulnerable in the face of distributed attack.

A friend and I were just talking about the likelihood of the US and other first-world nations just announcing that they're taking down the Internet and spinning up something new on the same wires, something that's easier to control and easier to shut down in targeted ways. It's pretty implausible, and only a hand-wave combination of "some horrible security breach results in national being leaked on the internet" and "the economy gets crippled by rogue DDoS attacks" could even begin to... er...

Wait, shit.
posted by verb at 5:59 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


dejah420: Agreed. On the other hand, I'm pretty surprised that Anon's attempts are such fail. If the LOIC is the best they've got, they have no clue.
posted by amuseDetachment at 6:01 PM on December 9, 2010


verb: Making the internet easier to shut down implies a killswitch. This was proposed earlier this year by some idiots in Congress, it was roundly shot down quickly by the security community because killswitches and monitors have the potential to be hacked and controlled by blackhat hackers, making the internet much less secure.
posted by amuseDetachment at 6:04 PM on December 9, 2010


He'll see his problems multiplied if he continually decides to faithfully pursue the policy of truth.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 6:05 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hear hear. As a nation consistently opposed to capital punishment, I expect our leaders to make a public statement condemning calls for Mr Assange's execution.

If I recall correctly, the Howard government refused to condemn the death sentences handed down by Indonesia to several young Australian drug traffickers*, as a matter of principle/conservative "tough-love"?

* these seem to come up every few years. The ones who are female, blonde and attractive even become national heroes among the bogan community.
posted by acb at 6:17 PM on December 9, 2010


Sure, but that was Howard. He would've said that condemning the death sentence for convicted drug traffickers was "sending the wrong message" - presumably, that it's OK to be a drug mule or something.

Everything Howard ever did was all about "sending messages". He really should've been a telegraph operator & saved us all the pain of having to put up with him.
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:27 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Now I'm picturing some bearded old Afghans in a refugee camp in Pakistan. They're smoking a hookah & sitting around an old-school ticker-tape machine.

"Hey, a message just came in"

"Who's it from?"

"Some guy called John Howard"

"Never heard of him. What does it say?"

"Don't be a drug mule"

"A curse on him! Who is he to call us drugged donkeys?!??"

"Wait, there's another one...'Don't come to Australia, we don't want you'"

"Allah, what an asshole!"
posted by UbuRoivas at 6:50 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


amuseDetachment: "dejah420: Agreed. On the other hand, I'm pretty surprised that Anon's attempts are such fail. If the LOIC is the best they've got, they have no clue"

Right? And did you hear the NPR report about Anon and LOIC this morning? They were breathless with the idea that you could download a botnet, and just click the exe file, and let it run, and Anon would do all the hard thinking for you. And I have to wonder how many well meaning, tweed wearing, armchair "hacktivists" went right out and downloaded and installed it.

I'm almost convinced by a certain set of cyberconspiracists who suggest that the entire Anon campaign is nothing but a smokescreen and distraction. But then the question becomes a smokescreen for what, and a distraction for whom?

But back to our Leaking Lothario, I'm listening to Dec 8th podcast of Democracy Now, and the guest is Assange's attorney. Now, granted, I realize that she's council for the defendant, but I believe that she would not fudge facts that can be demonstrably proven or not proven. The facts are that Julian stayed in Sweden for 6 weeks *after* the women asked the police for "advice"...a legal term in Sweden. He cooperated fully with authorities, and left Sweden WITH permission from the prosecutor, who said there was no case.

Apparently, nobody has asked for DNA *until* he was remanded to custody in the UK, at which point he refused to give a sample to the British police. There is nothing in the Swedish documents provided to Assange's attorney (thus far) about STDs. But apparently, the Swedes haven't been forthcoming with documents, or evidence, or charges, or anything.

She does believe that extradition to Sweden is just a precursor to being shipped to the US. She says that she has not seen a credible charge, but that the bellicose threats of US government spokespeople was certainly a concern.

It's a good listen.
posted by dejah420 at 7:21 PM on December 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Apparently, nobody has asked for DNA *until* he was remanded to custody in the UK, at which point he refused to give a sample to the British police. There is nothing in the Swedish documents provided to Assange's attorney (thus far) about STDs. But apparently, the Swedes haven't been forthcoming with documents, or evidence, or charges, or anything.

If I was his attorney I would totally refuse to give any sample to anyone without a court order. This, in itself, means nothing. I never allow my client to give anything, statements, samples, anything, without court order.

I have made a single exception for this rule. But it is the right thing to do.
posted by Ironmouth at 7:53 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


There is no accusation of forced sex or anything resembling what would be considered 'rape' in most countries:

Having sex without the other person's consent is rape.

Ok folks, I know it's not the main thrust of this comment chain, as it were, but can we try not to be rape minimizers and apologists here please?


You can't hold posters here to a standard that is legally in dispute, even if hopefully that standard will eventually be the one used. The statement you responded to is a factual representation of the way the world is at the moment, and is not any sort of "rape apologist" declaration. Labeling other posters as rape minimizers when one of the articles you posted makes it clear that there's not even agreement among US States (or other countries) on whether withdrawal of consent constitutes rape is pretty unfair:

The U.S. is a bit of a patchwork when it comes to withdrawal of consent laws, with some states recognizing that withdrawal of consent is valid and that it is rape if you keep having sex with someone after they’ve said no, and other states either not touching the issue or not recognizing as rape situations where consent is withdrawn post-penetration. Making the Assange story juicier blog-bait in the U.S. is the fact that we’re deeply wedded to the notion of rape as forcible; despite many of our best efforts, a consent-based framework for evaluating sexual assault is not yet widely accepted.
posted by oneirodynia at 8:00 PM on December 9, 2010


> If I was his attorney I would totally refuse to give any sample to anyone without a court order. This, in itself, means nothing. I never allow my client to give anything, statements, samples, anything, without court order.

Don't talk to the police.
posted by vidur at 8:27 PM on December 9, 2010


Assange given web access
Having sex without the other person's consent is rape.

Ok folks, I know it's not the main thrust of this comment chain, as it were, but can we try not to be rape minimizers and apologists here please?
Well no one has fucking accused of him of that. BTW Anna Ardin has fled sweeden (for Palistine, of all places) and seemingly endorsed the DDOS on twitter.

These two girls were pissed to find out that he was having unprotected sex with multiple women and wanted him to get an STD test. He never raped anyone, consent was never withdrawn, as far as we know from the most detailed news sources. He is not accused of having any type of non-consentual sex with anyone.
because killswitches and monitors have the potential to be hacked and controlled by blackhat hackers, making the internet much less secure.
Which is why the chinese were going after google's wiretapping systems that it uses for US government requests.
posted by delmoi at 10:50 PM on December 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


can we try not to be rape minimizers and apologists here please?

No one here, at any time, has minimized rape or apologized for it. Have you no shame?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:24 PM on December 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


While I'm sure MeFites aren't in the habit of minimizing rape as a matter of course, it is feeding into broader narratives of minimizing rape here when people are all 'so we don't really know what's going on with the charges, and some news reports are saying he's being accused of XYZ things that constitute rape, but I choose to believe these other news sources saying these women are just jealous about him sleeping around, because they're CIA plants and simultaneously crazy feminists who want revenge against all men, and in Sweden all unprotected sex is rape or something because laws are crazy over there.'

Setting aside the question of whether or not Assange's actually guilty of what he's accused of - if you believe the whole crazy-revenge-seeking-feminists-plus-insane-Swedish-laws account because that intuitively makes more sense to you, you've been fed some really disturbing narratives of how rape, and accusations of rape, and prosecutions of rape actually happen.
posted by Catseye at 1:11 AM on December 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Except, of course, that nobody in this situation has been accused of rape.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:32 AM on December 10, 2010


These two girls were pissed to find out that he was having unprotected sex with multiple women and wanted him to get an STD test. He never raped anyone, consent was never withdrawn, as far as we know from the most detailed news sources. He is not accused of having any type of non-consentual sex with anyone.

You say that like it's authoritative but actually, because there's been no actual charge and very little information from the prosecution it's currently impossible to say what he is or isn't being accused of.

My feeling is that the women were coerced (payment or otherwise) into making the complaints by somebody connected to the US government and pressure or incentives have been subsequently applied (unofficially, of course) to parts of the Swedish justice system. They don't expect to get a conviction, but 3-4 weeks of the words "Assange", "Wikileaks" and "Rape" next to each other in headlines counts as a win. Control the media, control the people.

Julian's a smart guy, but I think at this point he may wish he had multiple different 'insurance' nukes. If he let one off, it was devastating, and he obviously had 4-5 more then the US might back down and try negotiating.
posted by dickasso at 1:41 AM on December 10, 2010


there's been no actual charge and very little information from the prosecution it's currently impossible to say what he is or isn't being accused of.

...which is related to what I was trying to get at with my point just above.

Speaking as somebody with a law degree, about 99% of the time when I read about some legal proceeding or decision in the press & look up the actual legislation or case law to find out more about it, it quickly becomes glaringly obvious that whoever wrote the article has absolutely no idea what they're talking about, legally speaking.

So, whatever Assange is wanted for questioning over, I wouldn't believe a word of it unless it was explained by somebody who not only speaks Swedish, but who also has a Swedish legal qualification and can explain precisely what the elements of the alleged crime are, as well as the processes whereby it progresses towards trial*.

Anything other than that, I'm afraid, is little more than a game of Chinese whispers, and to assume that because there's a sexual element to it that it somehow equates to the plain-English term "rape" is a bit like trying to dissect a fly with a sledgehammer.

* From the small amount that I've studied of Continental Law, there's less of an emphasis on courtroom proceedings with adversarial lawyers (prosecution & defence) and more of an ongoing investigative approach by the judge, who might take submissions from lawyers, but otherwise behave almost like what we might think of as a detective. Whether or not Swedish Law follows this kind of model I don't know, and the fact that I haven't seen it explained in any article that I've read so far basically reinforces my opinion of journalists trying to cover legal matters.
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:13 AM on December 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Except, of course, that nobody in this situation has been accused of rape.

To clarify: are you saying that nobody in this situation has been accused of 'rape' because that's a legal term specific to a different legal system, or that there exists a crime in Swedish law that would be translated into English as 'rape' by Swedish-speakers familiar with the Swedish legal system, but that it's not what Assange's being accused of? (I get you with regards to being incredibly suspicious of journalists covering legal cases, though.)

FWIW, the Swedish lawyer for Miss A and Miss W does describe the allegations as 'rape' in an (English-language) interview here:

"They decided to go to the police, to inform the police of what happened, to ask for advice; also they were interested in whether there was a risk that they could have got HIV. They were not sure whether they should make a police complaint, they wanted to have some advice. But when they told the police officer, she realised that what they were telling her was a crime and she reported that to the public prosecutor, who decided to arrest Assange."

Two days later a second prosecutor, who conducted a preliminary investigation, came to a different conclusion, judging that the evidence did not meet the criterion of a rape or sexual molestation charge. "She made another judgment, saying: 'No it's not. It's very close, but not quite,'" he claimed. "So she cancelled the arrest order and he was still suspected of molestation without sexual motives.

"When I read that decision, my own conclusion was and still is that it was a rape, so I asked for a reopening of the case, and then the investigation was reopened."

posted by Catseye at 2:38 AM on December 10, 2010


Well no one has fucking accused of him of that. BTW Anna Ardin has fled sweeden (for Palistine, of all places) and seemingly endorsed the DDOS on twitter.

You know who else sought refuge in the Middle East conflict?
posted by acb at 3:03 AM on December 10, 2010


To clarify: are you saying that nobody in this situation has been accused of 'rape' because that's a legal term specific to a different legal system

Most definitely, but that's just because it makes no sense to use a term other than the real name of the offence. Over here, it's called "sexual assault", for example, and there's no logical reason why you'd swap in "rape" or "molestation" or "lewd misdemeanours" when there's a perfectly useable term in the criminal code that can be understood & referenced by all.

Reports of Assange's situation talk about "sex by surprise", which in its English translation you'd think must mean something like "rape", but the law is often very precise at splitting hairs, so to say "that over there looks like a duck" doesn't quite cut it if it's actually a goose. "Sex by surprise" could equally mean something like "sex, but with an element of deception", for which we might not have any equivalent.

or that there exists a crime in Swedish law that would be translated into English as 'rape' by Swedish-speakers familiar with the Swedish legal system, but that it's not what Assange's being accused of?

I can't comment on that, because I don't know what is or isn't in the Swedish Law. Or more particularly, the laws just don't translate that easily. From memory, our local sexual assault law includes any kind of penetration by any object, as well as forcing somebody (eg by threats) to penetrate themselves with something. And even then, there could be all kinds of issues about what constitutes a "threat" - what if you said something jokingly, but the alleged victim misunderstood you, and took it seriously? Was their misunderstanding one that a reasonable person might make? What if they were intoxicated - how does that change things?

In short, what constitutes sexual assault (aka "rape") here or in Sweden may be different to the semi-equivalent term elsewhere, which is also why the Swedish lawyer's explanation needs to be taken with a hearty grain of salt, because it's obviously being translated for simplicity. It would be safe to interpret it as some kind of transgression of some kind of sexual nature, but beyond that it just gets hazy because it just hasn't been spelled out anywhere.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:13 AM on December 10, 2010


that's probably a good example of why law-talkin-guys don't get gigs as journalists. the press wants a story that's more or less free of ambiguity, whereas with legal stuff you can end up diving down into rabbit holes of ever-increasing greyness & multiple layers of contingencies & permutations until you never emerge.
posted by UbuRoivas at 3:20 AM on December 10, 2010


^ weirdo, I see I ommitted the link. What caught my attention was that Scahill quotes a leaked cable in a testimony before Congress. There is lots of shouting and handwaving going on about secrets being secret and here is a highly respected journalist quoting "secrets" to members of Congress and no one so much as blinks. Which only goes to further show the extreme hypocrisy being expressed by the state Department amongst others. Furthermore we now have Republican Connie Black who has accused the federal government of intimidating citizens connected to WikiLeaks and said officials are trying to distract the public from the contents of the classified documents published by the site. Assange has kicked the hornets nest and lots of people will probably get stung. This is what happens when a country is kept in ignorance by its press.
posted by adamvasco at 4:25 AM on December 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Another blog (not linking to it -- you can find it if you really want to) has posted the names, home addresses, and phone numbers of Assange's accusers. From the post:
Posting their addresses and phone numbers isn’t intended to encourage vigilantism, but to send a bigger message to women like Ardin and Wilen – if you lie about being raped, this is what will happen to you. Your anonymity will be compromised, your life will be laid bare for all to see, and your name will be destroyed. No rape shield law or journalistic ethic can protect you.
Read that a few times. Regardless of one's beliefs about Assange's guilt or innocence, regardless of one's feelings about how it's being prosecuted or what The Powers That Be are trying to do, that kind of naked intimidation should enrage anyone who gives a shit.
posted by verb at 6:44 AM on December 10, 2010 [12 favorites]


Just to complete the hot-button-topic trifecta? The blogger posted the information under the tag "Mens' Rights."
posted by verb at 6:46 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Read that a few times. Regardless of one's beliefs about Assange's guilt or innocence, regardless of one's feelings about how it's being prosecuted or what The Powers That Be are trying to do, that kind of naked intimidation should enrage anyone who gives a shit.

It's good to be enraged. Clears the sinuses.
posted by empath at 7:09 AM on December 10, 2010


eviemath, All the most recent reports say : All parties acknowledge the sex was completely consensual until Anna Ardin & Sofia Wilén found out they had both had sex with him without condoms. At that point, the women asked him for an STD test, which supposedly he declined. The women then discussed the matter with a Swedish prosecutor. And then the story gets complicated, U.S. pressure on Swedish prosecutors, Ardin apparently stopped cooperating with prosecutors, etc. So the picture of events we currently have revolves entirely around this STD exam, not what most jurisdictions would view as 'rape'. Just fyi, there are in-fact ways to compel STD exams in many jurisdictions---someone claimed Sweden required the complainant must first have tested positive herself.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:19 AM on December 10, 2010


verb : It was a very good thing that Anna Ardin was outed in this case, as we learned that she has very good chances of having ties to the CIA. Indeed, Ardin was outed by a fringe online news organizations commented on her possible connections to CIA backed anti-Castro groups.
posted by jeffburdges at 7:39 AM on December 10, 2010


Anna Ardin is in the West Bank helping the cause of peace working with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme of the World Council of Churches. Apparently she had to delay her trip from the time it was originally scheduled as a result of the investigation. It isn't clear she's fled or backed off her claims. From her tweets it looks like she supports Wikileaks. So it would seem her beef (if there is a beef) is with Assange and his behavior.
posted by humanfont at 8:02 AM on December 10, 2010


UbuRoivas: "there's been no actual charge and very little information from the prosecution it's currently impossible to say what he is or isn't being accused of.


* From the small amount that I've studied of Continental Law, there's less of an emphasis on courtroom proceedings with adversarial lawyers (prosecution & defence) and more of an ongoing investigative approach by the judge, who might take submissions from lawyers, but otherwise behave almost like what we might think of as a detective. Whether or not Swedish Law follows this kind of model I don't know, and the fact that I haven't seen it explained in any article that I've read so far basically reinforces my opinion of journalists trying to cover legal matters.
"

Boy, Law and Order: Europe must really be boring as shit
posted by symbioid at 8:04 AM on December 10, 2010


Actually, the judge-investigator dude makes for a pretty good kind of character in TV shows & movies.

Herr Aktion Hero Judge ist Dedikatiert to Truth! Or else it's Gerard Depardieu, but he's a bit shady, taking bribes & sleeping around.
posted by UbuRoivas at 8:23 AM on December 10, 2010


Boy, Law and Order: Europe must really be boring as shit.

Oh, how wrong you are.
posted by John Kenneth Fisher at 8:34 AM on December 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow, I had no idea that existed!
posted by empath at 8:46 AM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


Pentagon Whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg: Julian Assange is Not a Terrorist
posted by homunculus at 8:47 AM on December 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


empath: "Wow, I had no idea that existed!"

Me either! LOL. The tentacles of the beast are global, I tell ya, GLOBAL!
posted by symbioid at 10:21 AM on December 10, 2010


He never raped anyone, consent was never withdrawn, as far as we know from the most detailed news sources. He is not accused of having any type of non-consentual sex with anyone.

So -- is the claim that he had sex with one of the woman when she was asleep a lie?
posted by angrycat at 10:27 AM on December 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


at this point he may wish he had multiple different 'insurance' nukes

At this point, with the insurance file still firmly encrypted, there's no reason to believe that he doesn't. The decrypted insurance file could easily turn out to be a tarball of separately-encrypted payloads.

(Or it's 1.4GB of /dev/random with a plausible-looking header on the front. Unless/until the key is released, it's impossible to tell the difference...)
posted by We had a deal, Kyle at 10:38 AM on December 10, 2010


Congressman Ron Paul speaks on the house floor. December 9, 2010 in favor of Julian Assange and Wikileaks: Lying is not patriotic
posted by nickyskye at 11:15 AM on December 10, 2010 [4 favorites]


Anna Ardin is in the West Bank helping the cause of peace working with the Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme of the World Council of Churches

Hmmm? Call me paranoid but don't organizations with names like that generally end up being revealed to be CIA affiliated?
posted by philip-random at 11:40 AM on December 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


So -- is the claim that he had sex with one of the woman when she was asleep a lie?

Maybe it was a dream? I'm not joking, but how do you know that someone you had sex with earlier in the night also had sex with you while you were sleeping, unless you woke up in which case it is rape as opposed to suprise sleepy sex (well, either way it is rape, but so far as you are aware of it... etc.). I don't understand why there is so little focus on this charge, unless it's some sort of mistranslation from Swedish to English language/legalese.

Anyway, I'm delighted Interpol are finally going after these broken-condom rapists. I've a few friends I'm going to snitch on - their kids will be devastated, but torn condom sex is rape. I'm also going through a whole bunch of Jenny Jones and Maury episodes and reporting the rapist Baby Daddies. If you see something, say something.
posted by Elmore at 12:40 PM on December 10, 2010


So -- is the claim that he had sex with one of the woman when she was asleep a lie?

I'm wondering how that's even possible, without drugging her.

Again, I'd love for somebody to pull apart & explain the relevant elements of the offence in the Swedish code. It could be that they have a broad definition of "sex" (nothing wrong with that) which includes, say, touching the breasts. Or maybe he masturbated & some of the semen landed on her? There's really no way of knowing without more details, but it might or might not mean he started huffing & puffing away at penis-in-vagina sex, presumably waking her up in the process.

Or perhaps it's really easy to get all PIV with a sleeping person; I don't know. I've never tried it myself.
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:47 PM on December 10, 2010



He never raped anyone, consent was never withdrawn, as far as we know from the most detailed news sources. He is not accused of having any type of non-consentual sex with anyone.


During the hourlong court hearing in London, attorney Gemma Lindfield, acting on behalf of the Swedish authorities, outlined the allegations of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion that were brought against Assange following separate sexual encounters in August with two women in Sweden.

Lindfield said one woman accused Assange of pinning her down and refusing to use a condom on the night of Aug. 14 in Stockholm. That woman also accused of Assange of molesting her in a way "designed to violate her sexual integrity' several days later. A second woman accused Assange of having sex with her without a condom while he was a guest at her Stockholm home and she was asleep.



I'm wondering how that's even possible, without drugging her.


I would presume she woke up at some point, otherwise she would have no idea if he was wearing a condom or not, right?

Look, the charges could be false, it happens, but they are serious charges, not borderline charges.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:58 PM on December 10, 2010 [5 favorites]


Yeah, they certainly sound more like what we'd think of as rape.

I've gotta say, the mental image of Assange having even regular sex is squicking me out a bit, and the idea of him having pervy rapey sex is positively stomach churning.

Can we get back to talking about cryptography soon? Please?
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:12 PM on December 10, 2010


Can we get back to talking about cryptography soon? Please?
Well, now that a number of WikiLeaks members have cone and founded OpenLeaks, the splintering is already in effect. Which is interesting -- leaking doesn't have to be done by a large organization, and if lots of "wikileaks alternatives" start springing up, it's the Assange Doctrine all over again.

(I'm calling dibs on that definition, by the way. Revelation of secret information or communication has the primary effect of informing the populace and the secondary effect of increasing paranoia among those who require secrecy. According to "The Assange Doctrine," the secondary effect of increased paranoia among conspiratorial groups is more important than the direct effect of increased public knowledge.)
posted by verb at 2:24 PM on December 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


I was thinking of "The Assange Doctrine" as something more like the Godwin Principle.

For example: "You just Assanged the thread" means "You might be right, but you're still an obnoxious & egotistical twat".
posted by UbuRoivas at 2:45 PM on December 10, 2010 [7 favorites]


Which is interesting -- leaking doesn't have to be done by a large organization, and if lots of "wikileaks alternatives" start springing up, it's the Assange Doctrine all over again.

Bingo. It's not so much splintering as multiplying.
posted by mek at 3:16 PM on December 10, 2010


The one thing I'm a little concerned about w/Openleaks (though it has potential, but my skeptic hat is still on) is that it's still a filter (in the sense that they want to work *through* news organizations -- the same orgs that really don't seem to care for real digging until it's pretty much thrust in their face as a spectacle, in the way that Assange did).

I don't know if his method was ultimately correct, and I think it's a shame the first go 'round didn't do a better job at redaction (less negative press that way), but... Will news orgs *really* be inspired to get to a leak through an intermediary organization? How will they distribute this? Send all the news orgs the leaks? Let the news orgs have it on request? Why will *these* guys be any more successful and less susceptible to a manhunt than Assange (besides the mass leak)?

I heard a guy on Public Radio today, some dude who worked in the Embassy or something, and just hearing the whole "States Secrets" privilege thing and how that trumped free speech and the right of people to know of criminal doings by their government made me sick. How thoroughly justified the feel in such things.
posted by symbioid at 4:04 PM on December 10, 2010


One of the charges was that one of the women withdrew her consent after some sort of incident with a condom, but that Assange continued despite her withdrawing her consent at that time. That's rape (yeah yeah, not always in the legal sense depending on your jurisdiction; I'm not talking about that). Also, initiating sex while someone is asleep without having obtained their consent ahead of time means that you are having sex without the other person's consent. That's rape (yeah yeah, not always in the legal sense depending on your jurisdiction; I'm not talking about that).

A number of articles that have reported on this case and that have been highly quoted have misrepresented and minimized the charges. I can see why my previous comment would come across as unnecessarily harsh for folks who were just following what they read in those articles (jeffburdges, you should know better though since I sent you alternate links earlier). I apologize for that.

However, here's a tip for being a more savvy media consumer: if it sounds really weird, probably it's not just those crazy radical feminists, or just those crazy tea partiers, or just those crazy fill-in-the-blank; probably there's something more to the story that's not being told in whatever account you are reading. (This goes along with: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably isn't true; and, if a reported research result is funded by a group that has a significant financial or other stake in the result, and, gosh, they find the result that is favorable to them, be very suspicious; and, in fact if any medical research result is either too sensational or supports a common prejudice, it's probably wrong) Ask yourself: what's more likely: the entire country of Sweden (population how many?) has some very bizarre sexual assault laws that have never been brought up or commented on before anywhere on the internets because in the entire country of Sweden, there is no guy who is unhappy with those bizarre, anti-male laws and who is capable of posting on the internet; or there's something else going on that we don't know about yet?

Anyway, to reiterate, I don't know if Assange is guilty or not. I think it's totally clear that these particular charges are being pursued significantly more vigorously than such charges usually are. I interpret that as pretty clear political persecution of Assange based on his activity with Wikileaks. I think that's reprehensible. (I just think that's enough to be incensed about without bringing in any stereotypical alleged-rape-victim blaming.)

I'm down with getting back to talking about cryptography soon:)
posted by eviemath at 4:10 PM on December 10, 2010 [3 favorites]


Hmmm? Call me paranoid but don't organizations with names like that generally end up being revealed to be CIA affiliated?

The groups affiliated with the mainline Protestant denominations are pretty careful to avoid any association with spooks because of the whole Oliver North / Terry Waite thing.
posted by humanfont at 4:28 PM on December 10, 2010


I was thinking of "The Assange Doctrine" as something more like the Godwin Principle.

For example: "You just Assanged the thread" means "You might be right, but you're still an obnoxious & egotistical twat".
That's the best part of the Assange Doctrine! It contains two cleartexts.
posted by verb at 5:22 PM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


An interesting thing to consider in regards to the "rape" allegations. All the reports I have read have listed the penalty if convicted as a 1000-euro fine or there abouts. The penalty for sharing a single song online is an order of magnitude higher. Read into that what you will regarding either the seriousness of the allegations, or the priorities of lawmakers.
posted by Jimbob at 5:27 PM on December 10, 2010 [2 favorites]


For example: "You just Assanged the thread" means "You might be right, but you're still an obnoxious & egotistical twat".

You just Assanged this thread.

HTH. HAND.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 5:31 PM on December 10, 2010


An interesting thing to consider in regards to the "rape" allegations. All the reports I have read have listed the penalty if convicted as a 1000-euro fine or there abouts. The penalty for sharing a single song online is an order of magnitude higher. Read into that what you will regarding either the seriousness of the allegations, or the priorities of lawmakers.

A person who has sex with an unconscious, drunk or sleeping person in Sweden can be convicted of rape and sentenced to two to six years in prison.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 5:34 PM on December 10, 2010


Well then. New information. I stand corrected.
posted by Jimbob at 5:40 PM on December 10, 2010


All anonops twitter accounts just got taken down in the past couple hours. So did the IRC channels. anons are freaking out. Any insight mefi?
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 6:28 PM on December 10, 2010


Insight: They were not quite as anonymous as they thought they were.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 6:29 PM on December 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


We'll see what charges finally shake out, but.. I suspect the sleep sex charge would never have been withdrawn during the first round, not in Sweden. There were several articles that clearly stated the woman agreed to continue without the condom, again I'm doubtful this charge would be withdrawn otherwise. Instead, these appear to be proposed charges drummed up for the extrodition proceedings, while officially the Swedes are still just saying they want him for questioning, well you cannot extradite for just questioning.
posted by jeffburdges at 6:43 PM on December 10, 2010


"There were several articles that clearly stated the woman agreed to continue without the condom"

Please link to one because this is contrary to my understanding and I've been following this closely.
posted by Manjusri at 6:56 PM on December 10, 2010


I thought I had read this too.

The Reuter's article, linked to earlier in the thread by I forget who, says:


That night, according to the accounts of both the newspaper and people who were in contact with Assange and his inner circle, he and Miss W had sex using a condom.

The next morning, however, under circumstances which remain deeply murky, the sources said, Assange allegedly had sex with the woman again, this time without a condom. Then, after a meal during which the Mail says that the woman joked that she could be pregnant, they parted on friendly terms, with Miss W buying Assange his train ticket back to Stockholm.


This suggests they sex was consensual.
posted by not_that_epiphanius at 8:21 PM on December 10, 2010


I screwed that up utterly. The quote above is not about the broken condom incident, and concerns W., not A.

The Reuter's article offers an even more ambiguous treatment of the broken condom incident:


According to the accounts of Assange's associates, his overnight stays at his erstwhile spokeswoman's residence soon evolved into a sexual relationship between the two. During one of their encounters, the woman later said, a condom Assange was wearing broke or split.

People who saw Assange and the woman in the days after this incident is said to have occurred said the two displayed little if any obvious sign of tension or hostility; to some who saw them at the time, it was not clear their relationship was anything other than amicable and chaste.

posted by not_that_epiphanius at 8:26 PM on December 10, 2010


Julian's a smart guy, but I think at this point he may wish he had multiple different 'insurance' nukes. If he let one off, it was devastating, and he obviously had 4-5 more then the US might back down and try negotiating.

He doesn't necessarily need multiple files since Assange was one of the creators of Marutukku. The 1.4GB file might be a Rubberhose system that has multiple keys, each key revealing a different set of files. I'm guessing that there are some crypto-analysts at the NSA with some serious heartburn right now.
posted by ryoshu at 9:20 PM on December 10, 2010


Assange Espionage Act Indictment ‘Imminent’

The media's authoritarianism and WikiLeaks

Suppressing the Investigation of Torture

Can any of our European members tell us what the reaction has been in Spain and Germany to the leaks regarding the quashing of torture probes? Are people mad? Are they upset that their judiciaries don't seem to be very independent?
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 12:13 AM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Aelfwine - The Guardian has a good index of releases re country and persons.
Cables had a huge impact in Spain, says El Pais editor-in-chief.
Andy Worthington at The Public Record also has a good summary: Moreover, it may be that, despite the success of the US efforts in Germany and Spain, further troubles lie ahead in both countries. In May 2010, Spain picked up where Germany left off regarding the prosecution of the thirteen CIA agents responsible for the torture of Khaled El-Masri, when prosecutors attached to the Audiencia Nacional in Madrid asked a judge to issue an order for the agents’ arrest, and, as Scott Horton also reported at the time, “A criminal proceeding relating to the kidnapping and torture of El-Masri is also underway in Germany.”
Der Spiegel notes this at the end of its article Manipulating the Political Dwarves of Europe: British foreign minister, William Hague, has said: "The world has changed and if we do not change with it, Britain's role is set to decline." The new coalition in London now avoids using the term "special relationship".
It will be interesting to see the more indepth commentaries in the Sunday Press.
I think the revelations will spur the ongoing investigations as Europe as a whole is tired of American meddling and that as the authoritarian fist is seen to try to crush Assange; the messenger; I expect reaction will start to spread to the streets.
Monday will prove interesting as it is then that he is again due to appear in court re the Swedish extradition order.
Further round up from South Capitol Street which notes: the international credibility and prestige that the U.S. had recovered thanks to Obama – and that was some of the most precious political capital of his presidency – is slipping away in full view of everyone, via the open channel of WikiLeaks.
posted by adamvasco at 3:22 AM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


WikiLeaks: Pope impeded sex abuse investigation.
posted by ericb at 4:44 AM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


WikiLeaks fallout: Military bans thumb drives.
posted by ericb at 4:44 AM on December 11, 2010


U.S. still warning employees: Don't read or discuss the WikiLeaks documents.
posted by ericb at 4:48 AM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


WikiLeaks Rival To Launch Monday?
posted by ericb at 4:50 AM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Julian Assange should be awarded Nobel peace prize, suggests Russia.
posted by ericb at 4:52 AM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


I have given up trying to parse the media accounts of what the allegations are against Assange, why he is detained or if Holder is really going to charge anyone. The Whitehouse and AGs office have stated that they didn't contact MasterCard, Paypal, Amazon or Visa. US allies seem uncomfortable with the revelations,but also uncomfortable with prosecution. Leibermab seems to be the only one calling anyone in the banking sector.

I'm waiting for reports of Wikileaks associates to be questioned or detained.
posted by humanfont at 7:45 AM on December 11, 2010


Thanks for the response adamvasco, that was really helpful.

the international credibility and prestige that the U.S. had recovered thanks to Obama – and that was some of the most precious political capital of his presidency – is slipping away in full view of everyone, via the open channel of WikiLeaks.

I wonder why we haven't heard Obama comment on the Assange situation.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 7:48 AM on December 11, 2010


U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights concerned about targeting of Wikileaks
posted by eviemath at 8:56 AM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Guardian are asking people to send them suggestions of things to search for - which implies that they've finished searching for the obvious things. So perhaps we've seen the majority of the highlights?
posted by memebake at 9:38 AM on December 11, 2010


[few comments removed - personal views of rape that are indistinguishable from trolling need to go to metatalk if you feel the need to make them over and over, thank you.]
posted by jessamyn at 9:41 AM on December 11, 2010


I always did doubt the public statements made about this incident:
Saturday, 3 March 2005, 14:09
S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 LONDON 000368
NOFORN
SIPDIS
STATE FOR EUR/OHI (JKENNEDY;JBECKER)
STATE FOR EEB/IPE (JURBAN)
STATE FOR EUR/WE, OES, L/OES
STATE PASS USTR (DWEINER)
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ETRD KIPR PBTS PHSA SCUL SP
REF: A. LONDON 322 B. LONDON 123
SUBJECT: CHOCOLATES

Guys,

Is it just me or was that like the worst party ever
last night? Christ alone knows where that stuck-up
idiot gets his ideas from.

As if the dinner wasn't bad enough, he had to go and
finish it off with those crappy third-rate chocolates.
And why stacked in a dirty great pyramid FFS?

Pillock.

And he takes it so bloody seriously too. Try telling
him about it! Christ if he ever saw this then the
faecal matter would really match co-ordinates with
the extraction unit.

Ah well. Such is life. At least it's another year
until we have to endure that crap again.

Next Thursday at the Latvian do? Food's crap but at
least he gets decent skirt in!

All the best,

C
(via)
(explanation)
posted by memebake at 10:09 AM on December 11, 2010 [2 favorites]


Chavez Loco Time.
posted by humanfont at 12:16 PM on December 11, 2010 [1 favorite]


Via boing-boing (not sure how this is that surprising, aside from the fact that they don't go through an ANON proxy, but...)

IP addresses of LOIC users aren't obfuscated
If hacktivists use this tool directly from their own machines, instead of via anonymization networks such as Tor, the Internet address of the attacker is included in every Internet message being transmitted. In the tools no sophisticated techniques are used, such as IP-spoofing, in which the source address of others is used, or reflected attacks, in which attacks go via third party systems.
posted by symbioid at 12:54 PM on December 11, 2010


OK, speaking of online anonymity and basic security, what are some good tools to utilize for online security. I know of very few:

(please note - some of these links go to the program's actual sites, and some go to wiki, and i leave it to you to find your own required version (Win, OSX, Linux - though if you use Linux, you prolly know a lot of this already)

PGP/GPG - this is an encryption tool and verification/authentication tool (i.e. if you sign with your key, people will know it was you (as long as you kept your password secure))

Steganography for hiding data, but I don't know any tools regarding this. I also have heard that this is kinda easy to figure out if shit is hiding in pics these days based upon file size (though a small note might be easier to hide than, say, a full doc dump of all the wikileaks files).

There used to be an anon proxy for search engines called blackboxsearch, but it seems to have disappeared, I'd assume there's something similar these days.

Apparently PGPFone no longer exists (for secure voice communication) but there appears to be Zfone by Phil Zimmerman (the PGP/PGPFone dude) as a new replacement.

TOR is a sort of "scattering" tool that breaks up your internet communication across the TOR Network and sends pieces to the destination. Each computer in the network then is sending bits and pieces from other computers in the network, and so one whole "message" isn't able to be directly traced to any particular computer at the receiver end. HOWEVER: TOR isn't completely secure because there is no protocol for encryption of the sent packets, so people can use a "packet sniffer" to read the data that's coming in/leaving their machines and any info there that's not encrypted they could trace back to you.

Freenet is a decentralized network designed to support anonymity. I don't know much about it since first playing with it way back when (and was disappointed with it), but it's a tool for privacy, though I'm not sure how good it is for either privacy or efficiency (was extremely slow when I played with it).

The EFF has released HTTPS Everywhere that automatically upgrades certain sites to a secure/encrypted communication (the S at the end of HTTP) between you and them (i.e. my google and facebook automatically go to the secure version of the site instead of the non-encrypted version, now that I have it installed).

Bear in mind that all e-mail is unencrypted and easily sniffed across the network. The same goes for FTP, and that you'd need to use SFTP, which is a more secure form of FTP, based upon SSH (Secure Shell - which was a replacement for Telnet which, like email and ftp, send data unencrypted over the internet).


SFTP
SSH/Secure Shell
OpenSSH is an open source version of SSH.

I keep thinking the future lies in a cypher/cryptopunk decentralized p2p alternate network of activists/"true believers" in the original internet and away from the big corporate social media sites (not that they won't continue to play a role, but I feel like the vision a lot of us want/desire seeks to wrest control back to us, the users)
posted by symbioid at 1:26 PM on December 11, 2010 [8 favorites]


I guess I wanted to make clear that I'm requesting more info for me and other users here who are curious and interested, so please share tools and the latest stuff if you know of it :)
posted by symbioid at 1:28 PM on December 11, 2010


Next Thursday at the Latvian do? Food's crap but at least he gets decent skirt in!

What an idiot. Nothing's better than sausages & sauerkraut, and little rye bread open sandwiches with herrings, sour cream & dill. Not to mention the piragi (piroshki).

He's right about the skirt, though.
posted by UbuRoivas at 1:38 PM on December 11, 2010


How AOL News Started the "Sex By Surprise" Lie
posted by Catseye at 2:59 AM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


I thought I might give a quick round up of some (to me) interesting stories about what is going on from the weekend press:
The UK Telegraph (Torygraph) - WikiLeaks Julian Assange: the most dangerous man in the world? Julian Assange has many enemies, but is he also running out of friends?
Jemima Khan explains why she offered bail. Why did I back Julian Assange? It's about justice and fairness Even my mother asked why I would stand surety for an alleged rapist. I was there because I believe this is about censorship.
Financial Times gives interesting summary: - Anonymous cyberwarriors stun experts.
Der Spiegel asks Can Free Speech Be Protected on a Private Internet?
Meanwhile Christian Science Monitor says Pentagon officials have speculated that Assange's "thermonuclear" option could include diplomatic cables about detainees held at the infamous Guantanamo Bay military detention center in Cuba.
The Daily Mail produces an extraordinary statement from Assange's Swedish Lawyer: - WikiLeaks 'rape' victims had hidden agendas ... and I've seen the proof says Julian Assange's lawyer. Mr Hurtig said: ‘I don’t believe Miss B felt she had been raped until she went to the police station. She was encouraged by a policewoman and a junior female prosecutor to think that way.
Finally if you have the time check out the excellent Symposium on Wikileaks and Internet Freedom
posted by adamvasco at 3:19 AM on December 12, 2010 [2 favorites]


Catseye: How AOL News Started the "Sex By Surprise" Lie

Yeah there's been a lot of weird stories about what he's been accused of, I think in part because there was a lot of secrecy before his arrest, and then at the hearing there were 4 different offences listed. People who were convinced of a conspiracy were quick to seize on the ridiculous sounding charges while ignoring the more serious ones.

The other story I've heard is that Sweden hasn't 'charged' him with any of the offences yet, and the Arrest Warrant was issued because they want to interview them. However Assange's lawyers are saying that this renders the warrant invalid because there has to be an underlying charge.

Geoffrey Robertson QC is now on the case, so I think its safe to say that all this stuff is going to get looked at properly from the point of view of his defense.
posted by memebake at 5:13 AM on December 12, 2010 [1 favorite]


symbioid : LOIC would inherently reveal your IP address, that's actually desirable. They cannot prosecute 1000+ people, most of whom are juveniles, for what amounts to an on-line sit-in. In fact, many jurisdictions would place their new fangled anti-hacking laws in pearl by doing so.

Just fyi, LOIC attacks are never terribly successful. Yeah, there would be epic lulz if they knocked out the verified by visa api for a couple of big shopping days near xmas, but I'll believe they're that organized when I see it. Instead, LOIC usually just knocks out some organizations frontpage for a few