Terrorism by Information (i.e.wikileaks)

Below you will see that wikileaks is being called in effect “info-terrorists” and promoting “info terrorism” for exposing what many are calling clear war crimes, and the subsequent cover-ups. Are they terrorists or heroes? Will the crimes ever be prosecuted?

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November 28, 2010 11:28 PM PST

Congressman wants WikiLeaks listed as terrorist group

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The incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee says WikiLeaks should be officially designated as a terrorist organization.

Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the panel’s presumptive next head, asked the Obama administration today to “determine whether WikiLeaks could be designated a foreign terrorist organization,” putting the group in the same company as al-Qaeda and Aum Shinrikyo, the Japanese cult that released deadly sarin gas on the Tokyo subway.

Rep. Pete KingRep. Pete King 

(Credit: peteking.house.gov)

“WikiLeaks appears to meet the legal criteria” of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, King wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reviewed by CNET. He added: “WikiLeaks presents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States.”

King’s letter was prompted by a massive document dump totaling more than 250,000 State Department diplomatic cables, which WikiLeaks gave in advance to news organizations, including Germany’s Der Spiegel and Spain’s El Pais, and that began appearing on the Internet this morning. The White House has condemned the release, which Der Spiegel called “nothing short of a political meltdown for U.S. foreign policy.”

King also wrote separately to Attorney General Eric Holder, asking him to “criminally charge WikiLeaks activist Julian Assange under the Espionage Act” for conspiracy to disclose classified information. The Espionage Act makes it illegal to disclose “information relating to the national defense” if that information could be used “to the injury of the United States.” (See previous CNET article.)

If the State Department adds WikiLeaks to the terror list, one effect would be to prohibit U.S. banks from processing payments to the group. WikiLeaks currently takes donations through PayPal, bank transfers, and Visa and Mastercard payments.

Another would be to trigger the punitive measures included in the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, which made it a federal felony to provide “material support or resources” to a terrorist organization. That would likely dry up support from U.S.-based volunteers for WikiLeaks–one volunteer has been detained and released at the border already–and curb the group’s options for Web hosting services. (Both Wikileaks.org and Cablegate.WikLeaks.org are currently hosted, in part, on Amazon.com servers in the United States.)

The news organizations have released a small subset of the cables. WikiLeaks itself says it has published only 220 of 251,287 of them and promises to post the rest “in stages over the next few months.”

That has, perhaps unintentionally, given critics in Washington’s national security establishment a strong incentive to find a way to pull the plug on the document-leaking Web site as soon as possible, one way or another.

Connecticut Sen. Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said in a statement today: “I also urge the Obama administration–both on its own and in cooperation with other responsible governments around the world–to use all legal means necessary to shut down WikiLeaks before it can do more damage by releasing additional cables. WikiLeaks’ activities represent a shared threat to collective international security.”

Australia said today it’s investigating whether today’s release violated its laws (WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange has an Australian passport). And Sweden has issued an international warrant for Assange’s arrest on sexual assault charges, which has been upheld by an appeals court. Assange denies the allegations.

WikiLeaks has already been the target of often-strident denunciations from Washington officialdom after releasing confidential military dispatches from Afghanistan and Iraq. The Washington Times and a former Bush administration official suggested WikiLeaks as the first public target for a U.S. government cyberattack, and a Republican senator has proposed a law targeting WikiLeaks.

The Patriot Act increased the maximum penalties for violating what has become known as the “material support” law to 15 years in federal prison. In a 6-3 ruling this year, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld that law as constitutional, saying the Draconian legal sanctions are reasonable “even if the supporters meant to promote only the groups’ nonviolent ends.”

If WikiLeaks is added to the State Department list, one problem for its supporters might be the relative vagueness of the term “material support.” In a law review article, former UCLA chancellor Norman Abrams wrote that “the janitor or the pizza delivery person or a taxi driver, or anyone who provides the most mundane ‘services,’ would seem to be at risk of prosecution” if they could be said to know they’re dealing with a designated terrorist group.

Update 11:20 a.m. PT Monday: Rep. Peter King appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe this morning. Here’s what he said when asked about the implications of declaring WikiLeaks to be terrorists:

King: Let me tell you, first of all, the benefit of that is we would be able to seize their assets and we’d be able to stop anyone from helping them in any way, whether it’s making contributions, giving free legal advice, or whatever. It would also, I believe, strengthen the secretary of state’s hand in dealing with foreign nations as far as trying to get them extradited, trying to get them to take action against them.

Either we’re serious about this or we’re not. And I know people may think this is a bit of a stretch, but I analogize this to the RICO statute, where they had a pretty narrow definition of criminal enterprise in the beginning. By now that’s been expanded quite a bit to deal with contemporary problems.

I think if we’re going to live in this–in this world–in this technological world where information can be disseminated so quickly, we have to be serious and take firm, strong action against those who are putting American lives at risk. Because this will put people’s lives at risk. […]

Scarborough: But you know you can’t–you can’t designate them a terror outfit.

King: Oh, Joe, I mean, we have to–I don’t think we should write that off that quickly and say we can’t do it. I mean, they are assisting in terrorist activity. The information they are giving is being used by al-Qaeda. It’s being used by our enemies.


Here are some excerpts from Rep. Peter King’s letter to Secretary Hillary Clinton:

I am writing to request that you undertake an immediate review to determine whether WikiLeaks could be designated a Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) in accordance with Section 210 of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA). In addition, I urge you to work with the Swedish government to determine the means by which Mr. Julian Assange can be brought to justice for his actions while recognizing and respecting Swedish sovereign law.

As Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, concluded, the “irresponsible posting of stolen classified documents by WikiLeaks puts lives at risk and gives adversaries valuable information.” I concur with Chairman Mullen’s statement…

From these acts, WikiLeaks appears to meet the legal criteria for FTO designation as (1) a foreign organization; (2) engaging in terrorist activity or terrorism which (3) threatens the security of U.S. nationals or the national security of the United States. Specifically, pursuant to Section 212 (a)(3)(B) of INA (8 U.S.C. ? 1182(a)(3)(B)) WikiLeaks engaged in terrorist activity by committing acts that it knew, or reasonably should have known, would afford material support for the commission of terrorist activity.

We know terrorist organizations have been mining the leaked Afghan documents for information to use against us and this Iraq leak is more than four times as large. By disclosing such sensitive information, WikiLeaks continues to put at risk the lives of our troops, their coalition partners and those Iraqis and Afghans working with us…

WikiLeaks presents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States. I strongly urge you to work within the Administration to use every offensive capability of the U.S. government to prevent further damaging releases by WikiLeaks.

 

Declan McCullagh is the chief political correspondent for CNET. Declan previously was a reporter for Time and the Washington bureau chief for Wired and wrote the Taking Liberties section and Other People’s Money column for CBS News’ Web site.

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WikiLeaks is info-terrorism: How can anyone excuse Assange’s dangerous tactics?

S.E. Cupp

Wednesday, September 1st 2010, 4:00 AM

In an interview with Brian Williams last weekend, President Obama reflected on some of the false assertions often made about him: “There is a mechanism, a network of misinformation that in a new media era can get churned out there constantly.”

It was a keen observation. But the big story here isn’t that Obama is skeptical of the sometimes reckless dissemination of misinformation by the new media. It’s that he’s also deeply disturbed by the reckless dissemination of real information by the nonmedia. As well he should be.

I speak, of course, of WikiLeaks, which supporters seem to think represents some kind of new media evolution, a digital-age Deep Throat zapping off privileged information to eager Woodwards and Bernsteins in the underground parking garage that is the Internet.

But the analogy is flawed on a number of levels. WikiLeaks is not a journalism outfit. Journalism outlets check and filter and contextualize their facts. The information WikiLeaks is spreading is not gathered by steadfast reporters who feel an obligation to serve the public’s best interests.

But it is valuable information. It is sensitive information. It’s information, in fact, that puts lives in danger.

Just ask the myriad human rights groups that have implored WikiLeaks to abort its mission. Amnesty International, the Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission and even the George Soros-funded Open Society Institute have written to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, criticizing his release of the names of Afghans sympathetic to the NATO war effort, which then made them prime targets for Taliban retaliation. Reporters Without Borders scolded WikiLeaks for its “incredible irresponsibility.”

I’ll go a step further. WikiLeaks is not just irresponsible – that would almost be forgivable. WikiLeaks is actually information terrorism, and should make us all reconsider updating our espionage laws.

What Assange is doing is holding very sensitive, classified information for ransom. It’s not a monetary ransom, but he is nonetheless making calculated threats. The first came in the form of his so-called “insurance” files, which Assange threatened to decode and release to the public if authorities interfered with his whistle-blowing operation.

The second came when WikiLeaks presumptuously told the Pentagon that the agency could either help it sanitize the thousands of classified documents it held, or sit by and watch as the documents were slowly released.

The Pentagon rightly scoffed at this ridiculous demand, and insisted that the documents be returned and those that were posted be removed. “We are not interested in negotiating any sort of minimization or sanitized version of classified documents,” said Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman.

That’s because the United States does not negotiate with terrorists of any kind – and it certainly shouldn’t start with information terrorists like WikiLeaks.

That hasn’t stopped some of Wiki-Leaks’s fans, including experienced journalists who should know better, from voicing their unabashed support, and using words like “courage” and “bravery” to do so.

“What WikiLeaks did was brilliant journalism,” said Robert Scheer of Truthdig, a left-leaning news site. David Bollier of On the Commons, another news site, wrote, “If you care about democracy – that is, a democracy that means anything, a system of governance that is truly accountable to the citizenry – then the ascent of WikiLeaks is a welcome development indeed.”

The suggestions by these bleeding hearts that WikiLeaks is providing a journalistic service is preposterous. For one, WikiLeaks has already undermined its own assertions that it is a journalistic enterprise, when it let The New York Times, Der Spiegel and the Guardian – three reputable media outlets – review the Afghanistan documents, filter them and put them in context. At least for one brief moment, WikiLeaks seemed to understand the value of real journalism.

For another, journalists all over the world – the best ones, anyway – are constantly weighing their obligations to tell the truth and to protect human lives, the latter of which WikiLeaks seems all too willing to compromise.

Whistleblowers do us all a public service. But if they want to be honorable and altruistic, they hand over their sensitive information to experienced news outlets that know what to do with it. They don’t threaten to release it all on the Internet. In that case, they may as well just give it to our enemies.

secupp@redsecupp.com

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WikiLeaks as Terrorists?

Nov 29 2010, 12:01 PM ET 6

It was only a matter of time before someone pressed the State Department to make this classification: New York Congressman Peter King, the incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, is calling for WikiLeaks to be classified by the U.S. State Department as a terrorist organization.

King made the call in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, CNET reports:

“WikiLeaks appears to meet the legal criteria” of a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, King wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton reviewed by CNET. He added: “WikiLeaks presents a clear and present danger to the national security of the United States.”

The idea of WikiLeaks as a terrorist organization seems to follow logically from statements made by the State Dept. itself, as WikiLeaks planned to dump its 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables and State Dept. officials prepped other countries for the documents’ pending release.

In a letter to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and his attorney, State Dept. Counsel Harold Koh reiterated the U.S. government’s claim that the WikiDump would put U.S. lives in danger and charged that WikiLeaks had obtained the documents “illegally.” From Josh Rogin’s write-up at The Cable:

“Despite your stated desire to protect those lives, you have done the opposite and endangered the lives of countless individuals. You have undermined your stated objective by disseminating this material widely, without redaction, and without regard to the security and sanctity of the lives your actions endanger. We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. Government classified materials,” Koh wrote.

The criteria for designating Foreign Terrorist Organizations (FTOs) are set out in section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act, which states:

1) In general.-The Secretary is authorized to designate an organization as a terrorist organization in accordance with this subsection if the Secretary finds that-

(A) the organization is a foreign organization;

(B) the organization engages in terrorist activity (as defined in section 212(a)(3)(B) 1a/ or terrorism (as defined in section 140(d)(2) of the Foreign Relations Authorization Act, Fiscal Years 1988 and 1989 (22 U.S.C. 2656f(d)(2)), or retains the capability and intent to engage in terrorist activity or terrorism); and

(C) the terrorist activity 1a/ or terrorism of the organization threatens the security of United States nationals or the national security of the United States.

The definitions of “terrorism” and “terrorist activity” at play here seem to demand that “violence” be practiced before an individual or organization meets the criteria.

But section 212(a)(3)(B) 1a/ of the Foreign Relations Act enumerates “a political, social, or other group that endorses or espouses terrorist activity” in its list of terrorist activities.

And that’s how King makes his case. He writes:

WikiLeaks engaged in terrorist activity by committing acts that it knew, or reasonably should have known, would afford material support for the commission of terrorist activity.

So the idea is that, by publishing all these leaked cables, WikiLeaks has made it easier for terrorists to engage in terrorist activity.

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The US Diplomatic Leaks

A Superpower’s View of the World

By SPIEGEL Staff

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US President Barack Obama: Never before in history has a superpower lost control of such vast amounts of such sensitive information.  

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US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and US President Barack Obama: Never before in history has a superpower lost control of such vast amounts of such sensitive information.

251,000 State Department documents, many of them secret embassy reports from around the world, show how the US seeks to safeguard its influence around the world. It is nothing short of a political meltdown for US foreign policy.

What does the United States really think of German Chancellor Angela Merkel? Is she a reliable ally? Did she really make an effort to patch up relations with Washington that had been so damaged by her predecessor? At most, it was a half-hearted one.

The tone of trans-Atlantic relations may have improved, former US Ambassador to Germany William Timken wrote in a cable to the State Department at the end of 2006, but the chancellor “has not taken bold steps yet to improve the substantive content of the relationship.” That is not exactly high praise.And the verdict on German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle? His thoughts “were short on substance,” wrote the current US ambassador in Berlin, Philip Murphy, in a cable. The reason, Murphy suggested, was that “Westerwelle’s command of complex foreign and security policy issues still requires deepening.”

Such comments are hardly friendly. But in the eyes of the American diplomatic corps, every actor is quickly categorized as a friend or foe. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia? A friend: Abdullah can’t stand his neighbors in Iran and, expressing his disdain for the mullah regime, said, “there is no doubt something unstable about them.” And his ally, Sheikh bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi? Also a friend. He believes “a near term conventional war with Iran is clearly preferable to the long term consequences of a nuclear armed Iran.”

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emissaries also learn of a special “Iran observer” in the Azerbaijani capital of Baku who reports on a dispute that played out during a meeting of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council. An enraged Revolutionary Guard Chief of Staff Mohammed Ali Jafari allegedly got into a heated argument with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and slapped him in the face because the generally conservative president had, surprisingly, advocated freedom of the press.

A Political Meltdown

Such surprises from the annals of US diplomacy will dominate the headlines in the coming days when the New York Times, London’s Guardian, Paris’ Le Monde, Madrid’s El Pais and SPIEGEL begin shedding light on the treasure trove of secret documents from the State Department. Included are 243,270 diplomatic cables filed by US embassies to the State Department and 8,017 directives that the State Department sent to its diplomatic outposts around the world. In the coming days, the participating media will show in a series of investigative stories how America seeks to steer the world. The development is no less than a political meltdown for American foreign policy.

Never before in history has a superpower lost control of such vast amounts of such sensitive information — data that can help paint a picture of the foundation upon which US foreign policy is built. Never before has the trust America’s partners have in the country been as badly shaken. Now, their own personal views and policy recommendations have been made public — as have America’s true views of them.

For example, one can learn that German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the Germany’s most beloved politician according to public opinion polls, openly criticizes fellow cabinet member Guido Westerwelle in conversations with US diplomats, and even snitches on him. Or that Secretary of State Clinton wants her ambassadors in Moscow and Rome to inform her whether there is anything to the rumors that Italian President Silvio Berlusconi and Vladimir Putin have private business ties in addition to their close friendship — whispers that both have vehemently denied.America’s ambassadors can be merciless in their assessments of the countries in which they are stationed. That’s their job. Kenya? A swamp of flourishing corruption extending across the country. Fifteen high-ranking Kenyan officials are already banned from traveling to the United States, and almost every single sentence in the embassy reports speaks with disdain of the government of President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Weighing Public Interest against Confidentiality

Turkey hardly comes away any less scathed in the cables. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the cables allege, governs with the help of a cabal of incompetent advisors. Ankara Embassy officials depict a country on a path to an Islamist future — a future that likely won’t include European Union membership.

As with the close to 92,000 documents on the war in Afghanistan at the end of July and the almost 400,000 documents on the Iraq war recently released, the State Department cables have also been leaked to the WikiLeaks whistleblower platform — and they presumably came from the same source. As before, WikiLeaks has provided the material to media partners to review and analyze.

With a team of more than 50 reporters and researchers, SPIEGEL has viewed, analyzed and vetted the mass of documents. In most cases, the magazine has sought to protect the identities of the Americans’ informants, unless the person who served as the informant was senior enough to be politically relevant. In some cases, the US government expressed security concerns and SPIEGEL accepted a number of such objections. In other cases, however, SPIEGEL felt the public interest in reporting the news was greater than the threat to security. Throughout our research, SPIEGEL reporters and editors weighed the public interest against the justified interest of countries in security and confidentiality.

In a statement, a spokesperson for the White House condemned the impending publication of the documents by WikiLeaks as “reckless and dangerous.” The cables, which contain “candid and often incomplete information,” are not an expression of policy and do not always shape final policy decisions, the statement reads. “Such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world,” the spokesperson said. The fact that “private conversations” are now being made public “can deeply impact not only US foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world.”

It is now possible to view many political developments around the world through the lens of those who participated in those events. As such, our understanding of those events is deeply enriched. That alone is often enough to place transparency ahead of national regulations regarding confidentiality.

Following the leaks of military secrets from Afghanistan and Iraq, these leaks now put US diplomats on the hot seat. It is the third coup for WikiLeaks within six months, and it is one that is likely to leave Washington feeling more than a bit exposed. Around half of the cables that have been obtained aren’t classified and slightly less, 40.5 percent, as classified as “confidential.” Six percent of the reports, or 16,652 cables, are labelled as “secret” and of those, 4,330 are so explosive that they are labelled “NOFORN,” meaning access should not be made available to non-US nationals. Taken together, the cables provide enough raw text to fill 66 years’ worth of weekly SPIEGEL magazines.

Gossip and the Unvarnished Truth

Much in the material was noted and sent because those compiling the reports or their dialogue partners believed, with some certainty, that their transcripts would not be made public for the next 25 years. That may also explain why the ambassadors and emissaries from Washington were so willing to report gossip and hearsay back to State Department headquarters. One cable from the Moscow Embassy on Russian first lady Svetlana Medvedeva, for example, states that she is “generating tensions between the camps and remains the subject of avid gossip.” It then goes on to report that President Medvedev’s wife had already drawn up a list of officials who should be made to “suffer” in their careers because they had been disloyal to Medvedev. Another reports that the wife of Azerbaijan leader Ilham Aliyev has had so much plastic surgery that it is possible to confuse her for one of her daughters from a distance, but that she can barely still move her face.

What makes the documents particularly appealing, though, is that many politicians speak the unvarnished truth, confident as they are that their musings will never be made public.

What, though, do the thousands of documents prove? Do they really show a US which has the world on a leash? Are Washington’s embassies still self-contained power centers in their host countries?

In sum, probably not. In the major crisis regions, an image emerges of a superpower that can no longer truly be certain of its allies — like in Pakistan, where the Americans are consumed by fear that the unstable nuclear power could become precisely the place where terrorists obtain dangerous nuclear material.

There are similar fears in Yemen, where the US, against its better judgement, allows itself to be instrumentalized by an unscrupulous leader. With American military aid that was intended for the fight against al-Qaida, Ali Abdullah Saleh is now able to wage his battle against enemy tribes in the northern part of the country.

Insult to Injury

Even after the fall of Saddam Hussein, it still remained a challenge for the victorious power to assert its will on Iraq. In Baghdad, which has seen a series of powerful US ambassadors — men the international press often like to refer to as American viceroys — it is now up to Vice President Joe Biden to make repeated visits to allied Iraqi politicians in an effort to get them to finally establish a respectable democracy. But the embassy cables make it very clear that Obama’s deputy has made little headway.Instead, the Americans are forced to endure the endless tirades of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek, who claims to have always known that the Iraq war was the “biggest mistake ever committed” and who advised the Americans to “forget about democracy in Iraq.” Once the US forces depart, Mubarak said, the best way to ensure a peaceful transition is for there to be a military coup. They are statements that add insult to injury.

On the whole, the cables from the Middle East expose the superpower’s weaknesses. Washington has always viewed it as vital to its survival to secure its share of energy reserves, but the world power is often quickly reduced to becoming a plaything of diverse interests. And it is drawn into the animosities between Arabs and Israelis, Shiites and Sunnis, between Islamists and secularists, between despots and kings. Often enough, the lesson of the documents that have now been obtained, is that the Arab leaders use their friends in Washington to expand their own positions of power.

Editor’s note: DER SPIEGEL’s full reporting on the WikiLeaks US diplomatic cables will be published first in the German-language edition of the magazine, which will be available on Monday to subscribers and at newsstands in Germany and Europe. SPIEGEL ONLINE International will publish extended excerpts of SPIEGEL’s reporting in English in a series that will launch on Monday.

Article…

© SPIEGEL ONLINE 2010
All Rights Reserved
Reproduction only allowed with the permission of SPIEGELnet GmbH

http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,731580,00.html

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US slams ‘criminals’ behind WikiLeaks

By North America correspondent Lisa Millar and wires

Updated November 30, 2010 09:18:00

The Obama administration has denounced the leaking of mountains of classified material by WikiLeaks, calling it a serious crime and an attack on the whole world.

Secretary of state Hillary Clinton says the US “deeply regrets” Monday’s embarrassing release of more than 250,000 state department cables.

But she says “there is nothing brave about sabotaging the peaceful relations between nations”.

“I will not comment on or confirm what are alleged to be stolen state department cables,” Ms Clinton said.

“But I can say that the United States deeply regrets the disclosure of any information that was intended to be confidential, including private discussions between counterparts or our diplomats’ personal assessments and observations.”

Ms Clinton has vowed to prevent future leaks and find those responsible for the current crisis.

“This disclosure is not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interests. It is an attack on the international community,” she said.

“I would also add that to the American people and to our friends and partners, I want you to know that we are taking aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information.”

Ms Clinton’s comments came as the White House ordered tighter security to prevent future leaks.

Press secretary Robert Gibbs said president Barack Obama was decidedly “not pleased” by the WikiLeaks release, adding those responsible were “criminals” who had committed a serious offence.

“This is a serious violation of the law, a serious threat to individuals that both carry out and assist in our foreign policy,” Mr Gibbs said.

Earlier, the US Justice Department said authorities were conducting a criminal investigation into the leak of the classified documents, which WikiLeaks provided to five media groups that published reports on them.

Security crackdown

Attorney-general Eric Holder has promised there will be prosecutions if US law has been broken.

“Let me be very clear, this is not sabre rattling. This is, as I said, an active ongoing investigation to the extent that we can find anybody who was involved in the breaking of American law and who has put at risk the assets and the people that I have described, they will be held responsible. They will be held accountable,” he said.

And in a direct nod to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Mr Holder says everyone is a target, whether they are an American citizen or not.

The incoming chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee, Republican Peter King, wants even tougher action.

“I’m also calling on secretary of state Hillary Clinton to declare WikiLeaks a foreign terrorist organisation. By doing that we will be able to seize their funds and go after anyone who provides them with any help or contributions or assistance whatsoever,” he said.

“To me they are a clear and present enemy of the United States of America.”

Australia cables

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Stephen Smith has been briefed by US ambassador Jeffrey Bleich on the contents of about 1,500 cables that mention Australia.

One cable already released about the situation in Zimbabwe describes Australia as rock solid but largely uninfluential.

Mr Smith has downplayed any potential embarrassment from the contents of the cable.

“You can’t take a pin prick from an individual cable to get a general assessment,” he told Radio National.

“When I have my conversations with my counterparts, whether it’s secretary of defence Robert Gates or secretary of state Clinton, Australia is held in very high regard for the role we play internationally.”

Mr Smith would not comment on claims made in another cable about concerns that Australians who had gone missing in the Middle East had ended up on US terrorist watch lists.

A whole of government taskforce is now combing through all the documents to assess any national security implications for Australia.

Candid cables

Monday’s release of documents obtained by WikiLeaks exposed the inner workings of US diplomacy in recent years, including candid assessments of world leaders and disclosures on issues such as Iran’s nuclear and missile programs.

Among the revelations was that Saudi King Abdullah repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran’s nuclear program. The documents cited him as saying: “cut off the head of the snake,” according to the Guardian newspaper of Britain.

The New York Times also reported impolitic comments about foreign leaders, including a description of Russian president Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s head of state, as playing “Robin to (prime minister Vladimir) Putin’s Batman.”

The White House, which harshly condemned the release and said the disclosures may endanger US informants abroad, has ordered government agencies to tighten procedures for handling classified information.

The new procedures will ensure “that users do not have broader access than is necessary to do their jobs effectively,” and will put restrictions on the handling of classified material, the White House Office of Management and Budget said.

Before Monday, WikiLeaks had made public nearly 500,000 classified US files on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The US investigation into the source of those leaks has focused on Bradley Manning, a former US army intelligence analyst in Iraq.

Manning is under arrest, charged with leaking a classified video showing a 2007 helicopter attack that killed a dozen people in Iraq, including two Reuters journalists.

ABC/wires

Tags: security-intelligence, world-politics, information-and-communication, internet, unrest-conflict-and-war, united-states

First posted November 30, 2010 06:46:00

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US says leaks are a crime, threatens prosecution

SLIDESHOW
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Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gestures during a statement on the Wikileaks document release, Monday, Nov. 29, 2010, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton gestures during a statement on the Wikileaks document release, Monday, Nov. 29, 2010, at the State Department in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci) (Evan Vucci – AP)
FILE - This Aug. 14, 2010 file photo shows WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Stockholm, Sweden. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday, Nov. 26, 2010 spoke with the Chinese government about the expected release of classified cables by the Wikileaks website. The release of hundreds of thousands of cables is expected this weekend, though Wikileaks has not specified the timing. (AP Photo/Scanpix/Bertil Ericson, File) SWEDEN OUT
FILE – This Aug. 14, 2010 file photo shows WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Stockholm, Sweden. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Friday, Nov. 26, 2010 spoke with the Chinese government about the expected release of classified cables by the Wikileaks website. The release of hundreds of thousands of cables is expected this weekend, though Wikileaks has not specified the timing. (AP Photo/Scanpix/Bertil Ericson, File) SWEDEN OUT (Bertil Ericson – AP)
FILE - In this Dec. 9, 1999 file photo, The State Department building is shown in Washington, Thursday morning. Hundreds of thousands of State Department documents leaked Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010 revealed a hidden world of backstage international diplomacy, divulging candid comments from world leaders and detailing occasional U.S. pressure tactics aimed at hot spots in Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea. (AP Photo/Wayne Partlow, File)
FILE – In this Dec. 9, 1999 file photo, The State Department building is shown in Washington, Thursday morning. Hundreds of thousands of State Department documents leaked Sunday, Nov. 28, 2010 revealed a hidden world of backstage international diplomacy, divulging candid comments from world leaders and detailing occasional U.S. pressure tactics aimed at hot spots in Afghanistan, Iran and North Korea. (AP Photo/Wayne Partlow, File) (Wayne Partlow – AP)
FILE - In this Feb. 27, 2005 file photo, The reactor building of Iran's nuclear power plant is seen, at Bushehr, Iran, 750 miles (1,245 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran. The classified diplomatic cables released by online whistle-blower WikiLeaks and reported by the London Guardian said some cables showed King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urging the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)
FILE – In this Feb. 27, 2005 file photo, The reactor building of Iran’s nuclear power plant is seen, at Bushehr, Iran, 750 miles (1,245 kilometers) south of the capital Tehran. The classified diplomatic cables released by online whistle-blower WikiLeaks and reported by the London Guardian said some cables showed King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urging the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File) (Vahid Salemi – AP)

By ANNE GEARAN

The Associated Press
Monday, November 29, 2010; 5:58 PM

WASHINGTON — Striking back, the Obama administration branded the leak of more than a quarter-million sensitive files an attack on the United States Monday and raised the prospect of criminal prosecution against the online site WikiLeaks. The Pentagon detailed new security safeguards, including restraints on small computer flash drives, to make it harder for any one person to copy and reveal so many secrets.

The young Army Pfc. suspected of stealing the diplomatic memos, many of them classified, and feeding them to WikiLeaks may have defeated Pentagon security systems using little more than a Lady Gaga CD and a portable computer memory stick.

The soldier, Bradley Manning has not been charged in the latest release of internal U.S. government documents. But officials said he is the prime suspect partly because of his own description of how he pulled off a staggering heist of classified and restricted material.

“No one suspected a thing,” Manning told a confidant afterward, according to a log of his computer chat published by Wired.com. “I didn’t even have to hide anything.”

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton asserted Monday that WikiLeaks acted illegally in posting the material. She said the administration was taking “aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information.”

Attorney General Eric Holder said the government was mounting a criminal investigation, and the Pentagon was tightening access to information, including restricting the use of computer storage devices such as CDs and flash drives.

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“This is not saber-rattling,” Holder said. Anyone found to have broken American law “will be held responsible.”

Holder said the latest disclosure, involving classified and sensitive State Department documents, jeopardized the security of the nation, its diplomats, intelligence assets and relationships with foreign governments.

A weary-looking Clinton agreed.

“I want you to know that we are taking aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information,” Clinton said. She spoke in between calls to foreign capitals to make amends for scathing and gossipy memos never meant for foreign eyes.

Manning is charged in military court with taking other classified material later published by the online clearinghouse WikiLeaks. It is not clear whether others such as WikiLeaks executives might be charged separately in civilian courts.

Clinton said the State Department was adding security protections to prevent another breach. The Pentagon, embarrassed by the apparent ease with which secret documents were passed to WikiLeaks, had detailed some of its new precautions Sunday.

Col. Dave Lapan, a Pentagon spokesman, said it was possible that many people could be held accountable if they were found to have ignored security protocols or somehow enabled the download without authorization.

A senior Defense Department official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the criminal case against Manning is pending, said he was unaware of any firings or other discipline over the security conditions at Manning’s post in Iraq.

In his Internet chat, Manning described the conditions as lax to the point that he could bring a homemade music CD to work with him, erase the music and replace it with secrets. He told the computer hacker who would turn him in that he lip-synched along with pop singer Lady Gaga’s hit “Telephone” while making off with “possibly the largest data spillage in American history.”

Wired.com published a partial log of Manning’s discussions with hacker R. Adrian Lamo in June.

“Weak servers, weak logging, weak physical security, weak counterintelligence, inattentive signal analysis,” Manning wrote. “A perfect storm.”

His motive, according to the chat logs: “I want people to see the truth … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”

By his own admission, Manning was apparently able to pull material from outside the Pentagon, including documents he had little obvious reason to see. He was arrested shortly after those chats last spring. He was moved in July to the Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia to await trial on the earlier charges and could face up to 52 years in a military prison if convicted.

There are no new charges, and none are likely at least until after a panel evaluates Manning’s mental fitness early next year, said Lt. Col. Rob Manning, spokesman for the Military District of Washington. He is no relation to Bradley Manning.

Manning’s civilian lawyer, David E. Combs, declined comment.

Lapan, the Pentagon spokesman, said the WikiLeaks experience has encouraged discussion within the military about how better to strike a balance between sharing information with those who need it and protecting it from disclosure.

So far, he said, Pentagon officials are not reviewing who has access to data but focusing instead on installing technical safeguards.

Since summer, when WikiLeaks first published stolen war logs from the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, the Defense Department has made it harder for one person acting alone to download material from a classified network and place it on an unclassified one.

Such transfers generally take two people now, what Pentagon officials call a “two-man carry.” Users also leave clearer electronic footprints by entering a computer “kiosk,” or central hub, en route to downloading the classified material.

Pentagon spokesman Bryan Whitman said the WikiLeaks case revealed vulnerable seams in the information-sharing systems used by multiple government agencies. Some of those joint systems were designed to answer another problem: the failure of government agencies to share what they knew before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.

“These efforts to give diplomatic, military, law enforcement and intelligence specialists quicker and easier access to greater amounts of data have had unintended consequences,” Whitman said.

Agencies across the U.S. government have installed safeguards around the use of flash drives and computer network operations, said Navy Rear Adm. Michael Brown, the Department of Homeland Security’s director for cybersecurity coordination.

Like the Pentagon, Homeland Security has laid out policies to ensure that employees are using the networks correctly, that the classified and unclassified networks are properly identified, and that there are detailed procedures for moving information from one network to another.

Dale Meyerrose, former chief information officer for the U.S. intelligence community, said Monday that it will never be possible to completely stop such breaches.

“This is a personnel security issue, more than it is a technical issue,” said Meyerrose, now a vice president at Harris Corp. “How can you prevent a pilot from flying the airplane into the ground? You can’t. Anybody you give access to can become a disgruntled employee or an ideologue that goes bad.”

One official in contact with U.S. military and diplomatic staff in Iraq said they already were seeing the effect of a tighter collar on information.

The State Department and other agencies are restricting access among the Army and nonmilitary agencies, the official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sharing of classified information.

Former CIA director Michael Hayden warned the latest leak will affect what other governments are willing to share with the U.S. as well as change the way U.S. officials share information among themselves.

“You’re going to put a lot less in cables now,” he said.

Associated Press writers Kimberly Dozier, Lolita C. Baldor, Anne Flaherty and Sarah Brumfield contributed to this report.

Online:

Information on Pfc. Bradley Manning’s case:

http://www.armycourtmartialdefense.info.

Link to his web chat with R. Adrian Lamo:

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/wikileaks-chat/

(This version CORRECTS first paragraph, not all quarter-million files are classified.)

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/11/29/AR2010112904699_pf.html

>

Collateral Murder video Bradley Manning

Digg Digg

In late May 2010, Private First Class Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst with the US Army in Baghdad, was arrested, suspected of providing the “Collateral Murder” video to WikiLeaks.

On June 6, 2010, he was charged with violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice, including eight criminal offenses and four noncriminal violations of Army regulations. The full charge sheet is available at www.bradleymanning.org/3163/charge-sheet-html.

His arrest was precipitated by an alleged online chat confession to well-known hacker and journalist Adrian Lamo.

Manning is currently imprisoned in the brig at US Marine Corps Base Quantico in Quantico, Virginia, awaiting trial. If convicted, Manning faces up to 52 years in prison, dishonorable discharge, forfeiture of all pay and benefits and unspecified fines. Since his arrest, Bradley Manning has issued no formal public statements. Daniel Ellsberg, the famed whistle blower behind the Pentagon Papers, has heralded Pfc. Bradley Manning as a hero.

The “Collateral Murder” Video
American Soldiers Gunning Down Unarmed Civilians, Journalists and Children

On April 4, 2010, whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks published a classified video of a United States Apache helicopter firing on civilians in New Baghdad in 2007. The video, available at http://www.collateralmurder.com, shows Americans shooting and killing 11 individuals who do not return fire. Two of those killed were Reuters’ employees, including 22 year old Reuters’ photojournalist Namir Noor-Eldeen and his driver, 40 year old Saeed Chmagh.

The video includes an audio recording of the internal commentary by the American soldiers before, during and after the shooting. The soldiers repeatedly request and are granted permission to open fire, encourage one another and joke about the dead and dying civilians. (Full transcript available here)

A total of 11 adults were killed. Two children, passengers in a van that arrived on the scene after the first bout of gunfire had ceased, were seriously injured when the Apache helicopter opened fire on their van.

In 2007, Reuters called for an investigation into the attack. In response, a spokesman for the multinational forces in Baghdad stated: “There is no question that coalition forces were clearly engaged in combat operations against a hostile force.”

Read the Army’s report on the death’s of two Reuter’s employees and the wounding of the two children.

There was no investigation of the nine other deaths.

No charges have been filed against the American soldiers in the Apache helicopter who shot and killed the civilians in the video.

Read the Wikipedia article on Bradley Manning.

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Bradley Manning

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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Private First Class Bradley E. Manning (born 1987) is a United States Army soldier who has been arrested and charged with the unauthorized use and disclosure of U.S. classified information.

Manning was an intelligence analyst assigned to a support battalion with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Contingency Operating Station Hammer, Iraq. Agents of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command arrested Manning based on information received from federal authorities provided by an American journalist informant, Adrian Lamo, in whom Manning had previously confided.[1][2][3] Lamo said that Manning claimed, via instant messaging, to be the person who had leaked the “Collateral Murder” video of the July 12, 2007, Baghdad airstrike, in addition to a video of the Granai airstrike and around 260,000 diplomatic cables, to the whistleblower website Wikileaks, with Manning saying he hoped the release of the videos and documents would lead to “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms.”[4][5][6] The AP has described Manning as an alleged whistleblower.[7]

Manning was arrested in May 2010 and detained in military prison for more than a month without charge. On July 5, 2010, Manning was charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice with violations of Article 92 and Article 134, for “transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system,” and “communicating, transmitting and delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source”.[2][7] The maximum possible prison sentence for the charges is 52 years.[1] An Army spokesman stated that an Article 32 hearing, similar to a grand jury, would be held to determine whether or not there was enough evidence to proceed to a court-martial.[1]

Contents

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[edit] Background

This section requires expansion.

According to The New York Times, Manning spent his early childhood in Oklahoma with his father and, while staying with his mother in southwest Wales as a teenager. Manning enlisted in the United States Army to become an intelligence analyst and was deployed with a support battalion with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division at Contingency Operating Station Hammer, Iraq.

Ginger Thompson said in a New York Times article that in Wales “classmates made fun of him for being gay”[8], that former neighbors in Oklahoma described the young Manning as “opinionated beyond his years about politics, religion, and even about keeping religion out of politics.”[8], and that in the Army, Manning’s “social life was defined by the need to conceal his sexuality under ‘don’t ask, don’t tell‘ “[8] Thompson said that sometime in 2008, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Manning became “part of a social circle that included politically motivated computer hackers and his boyfriend, a self-described drag queen. So when his military career seemed headed nowhere good, Private Manning, 22, turned increasingly to those friends for moral support”.[8] Thompson wrote that Manning has labelled himself a “humanist”.[8] Julian Assange called this article by Thompson “absolutely disgusting” saying it “removed all higher-level political motivations from him and psychoanalyzed him down to problems in his childhood and a demand for attention.”[9]

Before being arrested, Manning had been demoted from Specialist to Private First Class for assaulting another soldier and was to be discharged early.[5][10]

[edit] Alleged motivations

Manning allegedly told journalist and former hacker Adrian Lamo via instant messaging that he had leaked the “Collateral Murder” video of the July 12, 2007, Baghdad airstrike in addition to a video of the Granai airstrike and around 260,000 diplomatic cables, to the whistleblower website Wikileaks.[5][6] Lamo handed the purported instant messenger chat logs to U.S. investigators, who began searching for evidence to determine whether Manning’s apparent statements to Lamo were true.[3] Lamo said it was an act of conscience.[5][6] The “Collateral Murder” video showed a series of attacks by a U.S. helicopter crew, who had been assigned the task of protecting an infantry company by clearing out insurgents.[11] In the first two attacks, two children were wounded, and several men were killed, including the father of the children and two men who were later identified as Reuters employees.[2][12][13] The video showed a third strike in which the same helicopter crew destroyed a building, reportedly killing several people including children.[14] Manning reportedly said that the diplomatic documents expose “almost criminal political back dealings”; that they explain “how the first world exploits the third, in detail”;[15][10] and that he hoped the release of the videos and documents would lead to “worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms.”[4] Manning reportedly wrote, “Everywhere there’s a U.S. post, there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed.”[5] However, Wikileaks said “allegations in Wired that we have been sent 260,000 classified US embassy cables are, as far as we can tell, incorrect.”[15][16]

[edit] Partial release of chat logs

Wired released apparent excerpts from the chat logs between Manning and Lamo on June 10, 2010.[4] The order of events is not made clear from the excerpts, and significant material appears to be missing.[4][17][18] On June 19, Boing Boing published what they called a “slightly less redacted version” of the chat logs.[17]

In the logs, Manning explains his growing disillusionment with the U.S. Army and foreign policy.[4] He gives one example of being assigned the task of evaluating the arrest of Iraqis for allegedly publishing “anti Iraq” literature, only to discover that the writings were in fact scholarly critique of corruption in the cabinet of Iraq Prime Minister Al-Maliki titled “Where Did the Money Go?”.[19] He reportedly said to Lamo, “I immediately took that information and ran to the officer to explain what was going on. He didn’t want to hear any of it. He told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding MORE detainees.”[4] Manning reportedly characterized some of the allegedly leaked cables to Lamo as, “explaining how the first world exploits the third, in detail, from an internal perspective.”[10]

Manning apparently asked Lamo “if you had free reign [sic] over classified networks for long periods of time … say, 8–9 months … and you saw incredible things, awful things … things that belonged in the public domain, and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC … what would you do? … say … a database of half a million events during the Iraq war … from 2004 to 2009 … with reports, date time groups, lat-lon locations, casualty figures … ? or 260,000 state department cables from embassies and consulates all over the world, explaining how the first world exploits the third, in detail, from an internal perspective?”[17] Manning apparently told of his discovery of the Collateral Murder video and his subsequent research into the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrikes: “at first glance … it was just a bunch of guys getting shot up by a helicopter … no big deal … about two dozen more where that came from right … but something struck me as odd with the van thing … and also the fact it was being stored in a JAG officer’s directory… so i looked into it … eventually tracked down the date, and then the exact GPS co-ord … and i was like … ok, so thats what happened.”[4]

Manning wrote, “event occurs in 2007, i watch video in 2009 with no context, do research, forward information to group of FOI activists, more research occurs, video is released in 2010, those involved come forward to discuss event, i witness those involved coming forward.”[4] In the logs Manning wrote, “lets just say *someone* i know intimately well, has been penetrating US classified networks, mining data like the ones described … and been transferring that data from the classified networks over the “air gap” onto a commercial network computer … sorting the data, compressing it, encrypting it, and uploading it to a crazy white haired aussie who can’t seem to stay in one country very long”.[17] Manning explained to Lamo his motive for releasing the material: “I want people to see the truth … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”[7]

Lamo told Associated Press that he gave the chat logs to Army criminal investigators after consulting with a friend who had worked in Army counterintelligence. Lamo said that “it was a combination of an act of conscience and an act spurred by my understanding of the law,” Lamo said. “I did this because I thought what he was doing was very dangerous.”[7]

[edit] Arrest and criminal charges

Manning was arrested by agents of the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command in May 2010 and held in pre-trial confinement in a military jail at Camp Arifjan in Kuwait.[1][2][3] On July 5, 2010, two misconduct charges were brought against him for “transferring classified data onto his personal computer and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system” and “communicating, transmitting and delivering national defense information to an unauthorized source”.[2][7] The charges included unauthorized access to Secret Internet Protocol Routers network computers, download of more than 150,000 United States Department of State diplomatic cables, download of a secret PowerPoint presentation, and downloading a classified video of a military operation in Baghdad on July 12, 2007. Manning is also charged for forwarding the video and at least one of the cables to an unauthorized person.[20] The maximum jail sentence is 52 years.[1] Lieutenant Colonel Eric Bloom has said that “as part of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the next step in proceedings would be an Article 32 Hearing, which is similar to a grand jury. An investigating officer will be appointed, and that officer looks into all facts of the matter, does an investigation, and upon conclusion, the findings will be presented to a convening court martial authority. The division commander will consider based on what is in that, what the next steps are. Either there is enough evidence or not enough evidence to proceed to a court-martial … A date has not yet been set. We haven’t even identified the investigating officer. We’re still in the early stages of this case”.[1]

Wikileaks have said that they are unable as yet to confirm whether or not Manning was actually the source of the video, stating “we never collect personal information on our sources,” but saying also that “if Brad Manning [is the] whistleblower then, without doubt, he’s a national hero”[15] and “we have taken steps to arrange for his protection and legal defense”.[6][21] Manning’s official military attorney is Capt. Paul Bouchard.[22] On June 21, Julian Assange told The Guardian that WikiLeaks had hired three U.S. criminal lawyers to help defend Manning, but that they had been denied access to him.[1][23][24] Boing Boing asked Lt. Col. Eric Bloom whether Manning was “represented by any civilian attorney” and Bloom responded, “I do not know of any rebuffing. I’ve been in the military for 26 years, and I’ve never heard of any party’s attempt to secure legal representation being denied. We don’t rebuff representation.”[1] In late August Manning selected former military attorney David Coombs to lead his defense team. Coombs had previously defended US Army Sgt. Hasan Akbar who was convicted of killing two officers in an attack in 2003 while serving in Kuwait.[25] A military spokesperson told CNN that Manning was processed at the Quantico detention facility on July 29. As of July 31, he remained in solitary confinement. The official told CNN that Manning could be taken to a military judge in Washington in August, but that it would likely be delayed.[22]

[edit] Afghan War Diary

Main article: Afghan War Diary

Manning has been considered a “person of interest” in the leak of over 90,000 documents to Wikileaks pertaining to the War in Afghanistan, which were released to the public on July 25, 2010.[26]

[edit] Reactions

[edit] U.S. government

At the United States Department of State press briefing on June 11, 2010, Assistant Secretary Philip J Crowley said “we are doing a damage assessment. I think also today, Diplomatic Security is assisting in forensic analysis of the hard drives that – to just determine, to verify that, in fact, the leak took place, and also to see if we can identify which documents within the network were potentially compromised”.[27] Crowley was then asked whether the documents were “of the nature of extremely sensitive information [or] more along the lines of diplomatic awkwardness that this information would get out?” to which Crowley responded:

“Well, Bob, at the time, and I’ll certainly repeat, that we are talking about classified cables. Classifications involve both the substance of cables and also sources and methods that can be revealed through the release, the unauthorized release of classified material. We take this seriously. Any release of classified material to those who are not entitled to have it is a serious breach of our security and can cause potential damage to our national security interests. There’s been a – kind of a report of a very large number of documents or pages. We’re obviously trying to verify exactly what might have exchanged hands here. And we are doing a damage assessment to verify the disclosure or the leak and to identify what documents of the State Department may have been potentially compromised. If you’re taking that large a number, it’s going to probably capture a wide range of different documents. We do cables that provide our analysis of ongoing events in the region, but obviously of greatest concern is sources and methods which we rely on when providing insight to decision makers on what’s happening around the world”.[27]

The reporter then said to Crowley “you noted that this was DOD-led because it was a DOD employee, but you then also said that you haven’t reached out to WikiLeaks for fear of compromising an eventual prosecution”, and asked “does that mean that you feel that prosecuting the individual is more important than potentially preventing these tens of thousands of documents from being – becoming public?”, to which Crowley responded:

“That’s a hard – I understand the point you’re making, Arshad. It’s a hard question to respond to. At this point, first of all, by doing the forensic analysis on the – on hard drives will actually determine whether, in fact, we have evidence that documents that might have been downloaded actually were transmitted outside of a classified and closed network. So that’s the first step in this process, to actually verify that the rumors of a leak have actually taken place. As to steps that we’ll – we might take down the road, but – I think at this point, we have not yet reached out to anybody outside of the government. And whether we do or somebody else does will be a determination made down the road”.[27]

FBI agents, accompanied by local police, appeared at the Welsh home of Manning’s British mother to question her and search Manning’s bedroom.[28]

Regarding the WikiLeaks publishing of private diplomatic communications on November 28, 2010 an Obama administration called the release “reckless and dangerous” and stated that the information “put at risk not only the cause of human rights but the lives and work of these individuals.” The Obama administration expressed concern people who work with the U.S. overseas will be the victims of retaliation once WikiLeaks identifies them. Sen. John Kerry condemned the release as “a reckless action which jeopardizes lives” and Rep. Pete Hoekstra called the release an “embarrassment” for the Obama Administration.[29]

[edit] Daniel Ellsberg

Daniel Ellsberg along with others, including Coleen Rowley and Robert Parry, have compared Manning’s arrest with Ellsberg’s own trial after releasing the Pentagon Papers during the Vietnam War.[7][30][31] Ellsberg stated in an interview that “if [the alleged leaker, Bradley Manning] has done what he is alleged to have done, I congratulate him. He has used his opportunities very well. He has upheld his oath of office to support the Constitution. It so happens that enlisted men also take an oath to obey the orders of superiors. Officers don’t make that oath, only to the Constitution. But sometimes the oath to the Constitution and oath to superiors are in conflict” while Wikileaks “is serving our democracy and serving our rule of law precisely by challenging the secrecy regulations, which are not laws in most cases, in this country.” On the issue of national security considerations for the U.S., Ellsberg added that

“… any serious risk to that national security is extremely low. There may be 260,000 diplomatic cables. It’s very hard to think of any of that which could be plausibly described as a national security risk. Will it embarrass diplomatic relationships? Sure, very likely—all to the good of our democratic functioning … [Wikileaks] has not yet put out anything that hurt anybody’s national security.

“… having read a hell of a lot of diplomatic cables, I would confidently make the judgment that very little, less than one percent, one percent perhaps, can honestly be said to endanger national security. That’s distinct [from the percentage that could cause] embarrassment—very serious embarrassment, [if people] realize that we are aware of highly murderous and corrupt operations by people and that we are supporting them. It is very seriously embarrassing..If the choice is between putting none of them out, as the State Department would like, and putting all of them out, I definitely feel our national security would be improved if they were put out. Between those two choices, I would rather see them all of them out. It would help understand our own foreign policy and give us the chance to improve it democratically. I hope they are out, I hope we get to see them.[31]

[edit] Glenn Greenwald

Glenn Greenwald of Salon magazine conducted an interview with Lamo, among others, for his article “The strange and consequential case of Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo and WikiLeaks”, and made the audio recording of the interview available online.[18] Greenwald says that during the interview “Lamo claimed that all sorts of things took place in the discussion between him and Manning that are (a) extremely relevant to what happened, (b) have nothing to do with Manning’s personal issues or sensitive national security secrets, and yet (c) are nowhere to be found in the chat logs published by Wired. That means either that Lamo is lying about what was said or Wired is concealing highly relevant aspects of their discussions”. Lamo told Greenwald that Manning originally communicated with him by e-mail, but Lamo says he handed the e-mails to the FBI without ever reading them; “Thus,” Greenwald wrote, “the actual initial communications between Manning and Lamo — what preceded and led to their chat — are completely unknown. Lamo refuses to release the emails or chats other than the small chat snippets published by Wired”.[18] On June 19, Boing Boing published what they called a “slightly less redacted version” of the chat logs.[17]

Lamo had told Manning that he was a journalist,[16] but says that Manning never explicitly accepted his offer of confidentiality.[18] Greenwald says,

“Lamo told me (though it doesn’t appear in the chat logs published by Wired) that he told Manning early on that he was a journalist and thus could offer him confidentiality for everything they discussed under California’s shield law. Lamo also said he told Manning that he was an ordained minister and could treat Manning’s talk as a confession, which would then compel Lamo under the law to keep their discussions confidential (early on in their chats, Manning said: “I can’t believe what I’m confessing to you”). In sum, Lamo explicitly led Manning to believe he could trust him and that their discussions would be confidential — perhaps legally required to be kept confidential — only to then report everything Manning said to the Government.

“Worse, Lamo breached his own confidentiality commitments and turned informant without having the slightest indication that Manning had done anything to harm national security. Indeed, Lamo acknowledged to me that he was incapable of identifying a single fact contained in any documents leaked by Manning that would harm national security”.[18]

Before being arrested, Manning had been demoted for assaulting another soldier, and was to be discharged early.[5][10] In the chats, Manning also told Lamo about his demotion and some of his personal problems — that he had been through a break-up and that he was feeling lonely and unsupported by his family[5][10] – but whether these events occurred before or after his discovery of the material or his release of the material to Wikileaks, is not made clear from excerpts of the chat logs released by Wired.[4][18] Greenwald criticised Kevin Poulsen and Wired for releasing only excerpts of the chat logs.[18] Greenwald commented that “a definitive understanding of what really happened is virtually impossible to acquire, largely because almost everything that is known comes from a single, extremely untrustworthy source: Lamo himself. Compounding that is the fact that most of what came from Lamo has been filtered through a single journalist—Poulsen—who has a long and strange history with Lamo, who continues to possess but not disclose key evidence, and who has been only marginally transparent about what actually happened here”.[18]

In 2008, Wikileaks released a classified report of the United States Army Counterintelligence Center discussing ways to destroy WikiLeaks’s reputation and efficacy.[18] The report said “successful identification, prosecution, termination of employment, and exposure of persons leaking the information by the governments and businesses affected by information posted to Wikileaks.org would damage and potentially destroy this center of gravity and deter others from taking similar actions”.[32] Greenwald wrote about this: “exactly what the U.S. Government wanted to happen in order to destroy WikiLeaks has happened here”.[18]

[edit] References

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Jardin, Xeni (6 July 2010). “US Army: alleged Wikileaks source Manning faces 52 years”. Boing Boing. http://www.boingboing.net/2010/07/06/us-army-manning-wont.html. Retrieved 8 July 2010.
  2. ^ a b c d e “US soldier charged over Apache Wikileaks video”. Agence France-Presse. ABC News. 7 July 2010. http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/07/07/2946534.htm?section=world. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  3. ^ a b c Poulsen, Kevin; Zetter, Kim (16 June 2010). “Three Weeks After Arrest, Still No Charges In Wikileaks Probe”. Wired. http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/manning-detainment/. Retrieved 17 June 2010.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i Poulsen, Kevin; Zetter, Kim (10 June 2010). “‘I Can’t Believe What I’m Confessing to You’: The Wikileaks Chats”. Wired. http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/wikileaks-chat/. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Poulsen, Kevin; Zetter, Kim (6 June 2010). “U.S. Intelligence Analyst Arrested in Wikileaks Video Probe”. Wired. http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/leak/. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  6. ^ a b c d “US intelligence analyst arrested over security leaks”. BBC News. 7 June 2010. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/asia_pacific/10254072.stm. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  7. ^ a b c d e f Dishneau, David. “Alleged Army whistleblower felt angry and alone”. Associated Press. ABC news. http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=11098993. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  8. ^ a b c d e Thompson, Ginger (8 August 2010). “Early Struggles of Soldier Charged in Leak Case”. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/08/09/us/09manning.html. Retrieved 9 August 2010.
  9. ^ http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_upshot/20101026/cm_yblog_upshot/ny-times-reporter-defends-profile-of-wikileaks-assange
  10. ^ a b c d e Nakashima, Ellen (10 June 2010). “Messages from alleged leaker Bradley Manning portray him as despondent soldier”. The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/09/AR2010060906170.html. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  11. ^ Cohen, Tom (7 April 2010). “Leaked video reveals chaos of Baghdad attack”. CNN. http://edition.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/04/06/iraq.journalists.killed. Retrieved 7 April 2010. “The two photojournalists were Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen. … Chmagh surviving the initial shooting, but apparently he died when the gunship opened fire on people attempting to get him to a van that arrived, apparently to collect the wounded.”
  12. ^ Cohen, Noam; Stelter, Brian (6 April 2010). “Video expands notoriety of WikiLeaks site”. The Seattle Times. http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2011540341_wikileaks07.html. Retrieved 7 July 2010. “left 12 people dead, including two Reuters news-agency employees … (The Pentagon defended the killings and said no disciplinary action was taken at the time of the incident. … Reuters had tried for 2 ½ years through the Freedom of Information Act to obtain the Iraq video, to no avail. … WikiLeaks .. used the label “Collateral Murder””
  13. ^ “Video shows ‘U.S. attack’ on Iraqis”. Al Jazeera English. 6 April 2010. http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/04/201045123449200569.html. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  14. ^ Khatchadourian, Raffi (7 June 2010). “No Secrets”. The New Yorker. http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2010/06/07/100607fa_fact_khatchadourian. Retrieved 10 July 2010.
  15. ^ a b c Sheridan, Michael (7 June 2010). “Report: Soldier arrested for allegedly leaking ‘Collateral Murder’ helicopter video to WikiLeaks”. Daily News. http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/2010/06/07/2010-06-07_spc_bradley_manning_allegedly_arrested_for_leaking_collateral_murder_helicopter_.html. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  16. ^ a b Fildes, Jonathan (7 June 2010). “Hacker explains why he reported ‘Wikileaks source'”. BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/10255887.stm. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  17. ^ a b c d e Xeni, Jardin (19 June 2010). “Wikileaks: a somewhat less redacted version of the Lamo/Manning logs”. Boing Boing. http://www.boingboing.net/2010/06/19/wikileaks-a-somewhat.html. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Greenwald, Glenn (18 June 2010). “The strange and consequential case of Bradley Manning, Adrian Lamo and WikiLeaks”. Salon.com. http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/06/18/wikileaks/index.html. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  19. ^ Poulsen, Kevin; Zetter, Kim (10 June 2010). “Suspected Wikileaks Source Described Crisis of Conscience Leading to Leaks”. Wired. http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2010/06/conscience/. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  20. ^ “US Army Bradley Manning Detailed Charge Sheet”. United States Department of Defense (file hosted by Cryptome). 5 July 2010. http://cryptome.org/manning-charge.pdf. Retrieved 7 July 2010.
  21. ^ Fildes, Jonathan (8 June 2010). “Wikileaks site unfazed by arrest of US army ‘source'”. BBC News. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/technology/10265430.stm. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  22. ^ a b Starr, Barbara; Ure, Laurie; Frieden, Terry (31 July 2010). “Military airstrike video leak suspect in solitary confinement”. CNN. http://edition.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/07/31/wikileaks.manning/index.html#fbid=DnrTQC6vL5a. Retrieved 1 August 2010.
  23. ^ Traynor, Ian (21 June 2010). “WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange breaks cover but will avoid America”. guardian.co.uk. http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/jun/21/wikileaks-founder-julian-assange-breaks-cover. Retrieved 21 June 2010.
  24. ^ Kobeissi, Nadim (19 October 2010). “The Internet War”. The Link. http://thelinknewspaper.ca/article/517. Retrieved 27 November 2010.
  25. ^ Dishneau, David (31 August 2010). “WikiLeaks defendant chooses civilian lawyer”. http://www.militarytimes.com/news/2010/08/ap-manning-wikileak-lawyer-083010/. Retrieved 6 September 2010.
  26. ^ Bumiller, Elisabeth; Hulse, Carl (27 July 2010). “House Approves Money for Wars, but Rift Deepens”. The New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/07/28/world/28prexy.html. Retrieved 3 August 2010. “On a day of continuing political and military fallout over the leaked reports, Pentagon officials said that Pfc. Bradley Manning, 22, an Army intelligence analyst arrested last month on charges of leaking a video of an American helicopter attack in Iraq and charged this month with downloading more than 150,000 classified diplomatic cables, was a “person of interest” in an Army criminal investigation to find who provided the battlefield reports to the group WikiLeaks.”
  27. ^ a b c Crowley, Philip J. (11 June 2010). “Daily Press Briefing”. United States Department of State. http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2010/06/143011.htm. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  28. ^ Whelan, Andy; Churcher, Sharon (1 August 2010). “FBI question WikiLeaks mother at Welsh home: Agents interrogate ‘distressed’ woman, then search her son’s bedroom”. Daily Mail. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1299311/FBI-question-WikiLeaks-mother-Welsh-home-Agent-interrogate-distressed-woman-search-sons-bedroom.html. Retrieved 1 August 2010.
  29. ^ “US Government Reacts to Latest WikiLeaks Document Dump”. ABC News Radio. 2010. http://www.670kboi.com/rssItem.asp?feedid=118&itemid=29603184. Retrieved 28 November 2010.
  30. ^ Rowley, Coleen; Parry, Robert (15 June 2010). “Wikileak Case Echoes Pentagon Papers”. Consortium News. http://www.consortiumnews.com/2010/061510.html. Retrieved 16 June 2010.
  31. ^ a b Jacobs, Samuel P. (11 June 2010). “Daniel Ellsberg: Wikileaks’ Julian Assange “in Danger””. The Daily Beast. http://www.thedailybeast.com/blogs-and-stories/2010-06-11/daniel-ellsberg-wikileaks-julian-assange-in-danger/. Retrieved 15 June 2010.
  32. ^ “U.S. Intelligence planned to destroy WikiLeaks”. Wikileaks. 15 March 2010. http://www.wired.com/images_blogs/threatlevel/2010/03/wikithreat.pdf. Retrieved 7 July 2010. [dead link]

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WikiLeaks

Events Bank Julius Baer vs. Wikileaks lawsuit · Sarah Palin email hack · Climatic Research Unit email controversy · Minton Report · Baghdad airstrike video · Afghan War documents leak · Iraq War documents leak · United States diplomatic cables leak
People Julian Assange · Bradley Manning

Retrieved from “https://secure.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/wiki/Bradley_Manning

Categories: 1987 births | Living people | 2010 in American politics | American military personnel of the Iraq War | American LGBT military personnel | American prisoners and detainees | Iraq War legal issues | People from Oklahoma | Prisoners and detainees of the United States military | United States Army soldiers | Wikileaks

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About Bradley Manning

Bradley Manning is a US Army intelligence analyst. Moreover, he has risked his well-being by attempting to expose certain questionable actions of the U.S. Military, most famously in the form of releasing the collateral murder video. For doing this, understandably, the U.S. Military is not happy; Manning is currently being held in a brig at Camp Arifjan, Kuwait, awaiting court marshal.

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We SUPPORT BRADLEY MANNING & WikiLeaks for Leaking the Story of US War Crimes in Iraq

– National Peace Conference

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Words of Encouragement



From what I’ve heard of (Pfc. Bradley) Manning, he is a new hero of mine.

– Daniel Ellsberg, Pentagon Papers whistle-blower
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Journalists Exposing Fraudulent ‘War on Terror’ Being Targeted as Part of Pentagon Policy

Posted: April 7, 2010 by Truth RSS in Alternative News, Illegal Wars, War on Terror
Tags: , , , , , ,

The Baghdad snuff video released by WikiLeaks has yet to receive much corporate media play. MSNBC, however, covered the video. In a discussion of the video, Brett McGurk of the Council on Foreign Relations and an NSC member for Bush and Obama (Barry Soetoro), defended the mass murder episode. McGurk said the soldiers fired on journalists because they thought they saw an RPG launcher.

How is it trained soldiers mistook camera equipment for an RPG launcher?

In fact, part of the mission of the military in Iraq is to target journalists. This was admitted by Eason Jordan in 2005. Jordan at the time was the head of CNN’s news division. During a panel discussion in Davos, Switzerland, Jordan said “he knew of about 12 journalists who had not only been killed by American troops, but had been targeted as a matter of policy.”

Prior to Jordan’s remarks, Pentagon publicist Victoria Clarke said that journalists who not vetted by the Pentagon were “putting themselves at risk.” In other words, they would be targeted.

Harvard University professor and columnist David Gergen — who serves as an apologist for the elite on CNN — told the neocon and concentration camp apologist Michelle Malkin he was “startled” by Jordan’s comments. “It’s contrary to history, which is so far the other way. Our troops have gone out of their way to protect and rescue journalists.” Gergen and Rep. Barney Frank were outraged by Jordan’s comments. Connecticut Democrat Christopher Dodd was also outraged, according to the New York Sun.

There is plenty of evidence to the contrary. Gergen, Frank, and Dodd are not outraged by the murder of innocents. They are angry that the media reports it. In 2003, Kate Adie, former chief news correspondent for the BBC, told Radio One Ireland that media not “embedded” with the Pentagon in Iraq would be “targeted down.”

Emmy Award and Peabody Award winner Jordan was obliged to step down from CNN after making his comments. Telling the truth has consequences, especially for members of the Mockingbird corporate media.

U.S. troops deliberately slaughtered journalists at the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad in 2003. Two journalists, Taras Protsyuk of the British news agency Reuters and Jose Couso of the Spanish network Telecino, were killed because they were not “embedded” with the Pentagon. On the same day, the Pentagon targeted the Baghdad offices of Al Jazeera and Abu Dhabi TV, two Arabic-language news networks that have been broadcasting graphic footage. In both instances, the Pentagon claimed soldiers had come under fire.

In 2005, Italian journalist Giuliana Sgrena was targeted. Sgrena had been held hostage for a month by a little known Islamic group before the incident. “If a high-profile journalist whose capture and release made the international headlines can be gunned down along with Italian intelligence agents by US troops, how many Iraqi men, women and children have suffered the same fate for failing to obey US military orders? Only a few of the worst instances have been reported in the international media,” Peter Symonds wrote on March 7, 2005.

In fact, over a million Iraqi men, women, and children have been killed since Bush invaded Iraq in early 2003. Bill Clinton killed 500,000 children before Bush. Bush Senior killed hundreds of thousands before Clinton. Obama (Barry Soetoro) is continuing this policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The establishment demands we honor the troops engaged in this sort of brutality and mass murder. Our support for the troops, however, means we support mass murder approaching the scale practiced by Hitler, Stalin, and Mao. Most Americans are completely ignorant or do not care that they are party to war crimes and mass murder.

The CIA and Pentagon have targeted WikiLeaks because they don’t want the American people to know the truth — the United States, working at the behest of an international cartel of criminal bankers and corporatists, is assigned the task of taking down all who would resist their move toward world government and the imposition of a global slave labor plantation. Muslims and much of the Arab world has been targeted because it continues to resist. The next target is Iran.

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No, WikiLeaks Is Not an ‘Act of Terrorism’

Written by Nicole Ferraro
8/6/2010 53 comments

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I spent time this week at the International Conference on Cyber Security (ICCS), a conference hosted by my alma mater, Fordham University, and the FBI (not my alma mater). With the serious cyber-threats facing our world today, and the very real idea of cyberwarfare looming, I expected to hear alarmist remarks.

What I wasn’t expecting, however, was almost an entire session devoted to the “terrorist”-like acts of WikiLeaks.

But, taking the podium on Wednesday to discuss “Cybersecurity and Terrorism,” Annemarie P. McAvoy, attorney, and a professor at Fordham Law School, focused much of her talk on just that, casting WikiLeaks’ leader Julian Assange off as a crazed lunatic with intent to harm.

The recent leak detailing the ins and outs of the war in Afghanistan, McAvoy said, was “in itself an act of terrorism,” which will lead to serious ramifications.

“The international view of the United States is harmed tremendously. Other governments look at us now and say, ‘We can’t trust the US to take care of whatever we tell them,’ ” she said. “Classified information is now available to our worst enemies: the terrorists. Folks from the Taliban have made public the fact that they are scouring these documents to get as much information as they can out of them… Knowing the Taliban and the way they do business, they may annihilate people involved, families, potentially entire villages.”

McAvoy used the WikiLeaks example to demonstrate to attendees from the public and private sector how unsafe their data is. “It could happen to anyone and any company if it could happen to the military,” she said.

A valid point. Of course, though, McAvoy didn’t even hint at suggesting that Assange might have a legitimate reason for wanting to expose war crimes or corruption, preferring to paint him as a motiveless maniac.

“It’s just a guy with a laptop who goes all over the world,” she said. “He doesn’t only attack the government. He goes after anyone who he thinks is a potentially interesting target for him for whatever reason. Companies could be subject to this guy’s craziness as well. He went after Sarah Palin… the Church of Scientology. It’s not just the government who is at risk.”

Sarah Palin and Scientology? Will this raving lunatic stop at nothing?

The WikiLeaks issue is sensitive and complicated. Minimizing the debate as black-and-white results in one-sided arguments and ignores the very reasonable opposing viewpoints. McAvoy’s rant completely ignores the important discoveries made as a result of leaks. I, for one, don’t like to imagine where we’d be without Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers.

Similarly, anyone who would argue that leaking anything and everything with reckless abandon, and without caring about the consequences, would be equally wrong and dangerous. There’s a real difference between keeping secrets for security purposes and keeping them for job security purposes, and it’s one that needs to be seriously considered.

A poll last week on Internet Evolution, taken by nearly 230 respondents, demonstrated the complicated nature of this issue, resulting in a near-split between those who weighed in on whether they agreed with the decision to leak the documents from Afghanistan:

In this cloudy debate, one thing is clear: Assange is a potentially dangerous figure playing a dangerous game. It’s impossible to know from leak to leak whether he’ll use discretion with the information he releases.

But casting him off as a terrorist-like figure with no motive other than to harm “for whatever reason” is short-sighted at best. At worst, it’s just yet another fear tactic used in order to let the powerful get away with corruption. And that’s something we’ve had a little bit too much of.

— Nicole Ferraro, Site Editor, Internet Evolution

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Spiegel: WikiLeaks logs may reveal war crimes

By Muriel Kane
Friday, October 22nd, 2010 — 8:29 pm 

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apache Spiegel: WikiLeaks logs may reveal war crimes

In its early analysis of the Iraq war logs released by whistleblower site WikiLeaks on Friday, the German paper Der Spiegel pointed to several accounts of what it calls “dubious attacks” by US Apache helicopters that may have amounted to war crimes.

One of those accounts has to do with an attack that featured in video released by WikiLeaks last spring. The “Collateral Murder” video shows an Apache repeatedly firing on a group of men which included a Reuters photographer and his driver — and then firing again on a van which stopped to help, killing that vehicle’s driver and wounding his two young children.

Despite these bloody consequences, the brief summation of the incident in the newly released documents refers only to “”13 AIF KIA” — meaning “thirteen anti-Iraq forces killed in action.”

“There is a huge gulf between the brief text of the military report that has now been published by WikiLeaks and the footage captured by the helicopter’s camera,” the Spiegel story comments. “The discrepancy makes clear that the military incident reports do not manage to capture the brutal reality of the war. In fact, the opposite is true — the reports actually distort the reality. Comparing the video evidence and the terse, unspectacular-seeming original report raises the question as to what might have happened during incidents where the internal military reports make for more dramatic reading.”

In one of those incidents, an attack helicopter was chasing a truck in which two Iraqis were fleeing after having been firing mortar shells. The truck then stopped and the Iraqis “came out wanting to surrender.” At that point, the helicopter crew radioed a military lawyer and, according to the leaked report, “Lawyer states they can not surrender to aircraft and are still valid targets.” At that point, the helicopter resumed firing at the two men and finally blew up the shack in which they had taken refuge.

“The document leaves little doubt that this was a deadly attack on people who clearly wanted to surrender,” Der Spiegel comments. “An additional protocol to the Geneva Conventions on the protection of victims of international armed conflicts states that a person who ‘clearly expresses an intention to surrender’ is ‘hors de combat’ and therefore ‘shall not be made the object of attack.’ That raises the question of whether the pilots involved in the Feb. 22, 2007 incident might have committed a war crime.”

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/10/wikileaks-logs-war-crimes/

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WikiLeaks and War Crimes

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Four months before WikiLeaks rocketed to international notoriety, the Robin Hoods of the Internet quietly published a confidential CIA document labeled “NOFORN” (for “no foreign nationals”)—meaning that it should not be shared even with US allies. That’s because the March “Red Cell Special Memorandum” was a call to arms for a propaganda war to influence public opinion in allied nations. The CIA report describes a crisis in European support for the Afghanistan war, noting that 80 percent of German and French citizens are against increasing their countries’ military involvement. The report suggests that “Afghan women could serve as ideal messengers in humanizing the [International Security Assistance Force] role in combating the Taliban because of women’s ability to speak personally and credibly about their experiences under the Taliban, their aspirations for the future, and their fears of a Taliban victory.”

About the Author

Jeremy Scahill
Jeremy Scahill, a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow at The Nation Institute, is the author of the bestselling Blackwater…

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The Obama administration is trying to kill its way to victory in Afghanistan. Not only is that strategy failing, it’s making the Taliban stronger and Karzai weaker.

In an address marking the start of the Muslim holiday, Aid-al-Adha, the reclusive Taliban leader declares, “The enemy is retreating and facing siege in all parts of the country day in and day out.”

On July 25 WikiLeaks published its massive cache of classified documents on the war in Afghanistan. Four days later, Time magazine posted on its website its August 9 cover story, featuring a horrifying image of a beautiful young Afghan woman named Aisha with a gaping hole where her nose once was, under the headline “What Happens if We Leave Afghanistan”—echoing the strategy laid out in the Red Cell report [see Ann Jones, “Our Afghan Demons,” page 4].

These two media events unfolded in starkly different ways. While Time has been praised for telling Aisha’s story, WikiLeaks has been characterized as a criminal syndicate with blood on its hands. Former Bush administration speechwriter Marc Thiessen called for the United States to use whatever means necessary to snatch WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, including rendering him from abroad. Others have called for the United States to shut down WikiLeaks and prosecute its members. Michigan Republican Congressman Mike Rogers has called for the alleged leaker, 22-year-old Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, to be executed if he is convicted.

Time managing editor Richard Stengel drew the contrast with WikiLeaks in an editor’s letter accompanying the story, claiming that the WikiLeaks documents, unlike the Time article, fail to provide “insight into the way life is lived” in Afghanistan or to speak to “the consequences of the important decisions that lie ahead.” Actually, the documents do exactly that. WikiLeaks may not be a media outlet and Assange may not be a journalist, but why does it matter? The documents provide concrete evidence of widespread US killings of Afghan civilians and attempts to cover up killings, and they portray unaccountable Special Operations forces as roaming the country hunting people—literally. They describe incidents of mass outrage sparked by the killing of civilians and confirm that the United States is funding both sides of the war through bribes paid to the Taliban and other resistance forces.

There was a brief moment when it seemed the contents of the WikiLeaks documents would spark an inquiry into what they say about the war and the way the United States is conducting it. “However illegally these documents came to light, they raise serious questions about the reality of America’s policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan,” said Senator John Kerry, chair of the powerful Foreign Relations Committee, on the day the documents were revealed. “Those policies are at a critical stage, and these documents may very well underscore the stakes and make the calibrations needed to get the policy right more urgent.”

But two days later, the official meme about WikiLeaks was in full swing: the leaks had endangered American lives. Kerry swiftly changed his tune. “I think it’s important not to over-hype or get excessively excited about the meaning of those documents,” Kerry said at a hearing on Afghanistan.

But what if what Daniel Ellsberg says about the leaker being a heroic whistleblower is true? What if, like Ellsberg with the Pentagon Papers, Manning really was motivated by conscience to leak documents he believed the American people and the world deserved to see?

Then again, Manning—who has been charged only in connection with the release of the “Collateral Murder” video of a helicopter assault in Iraq—might not even be the leaker. Assange has not confirmed any dealings between WikiLeaks and Manning. In Manning’s online chats with Adrian Lamo, the hacker turned government informant who turned him in, Manning claimed to have access to 260,000 classified State Department cables exposing “almost criminal political backdealings.” Lamo asked Manning to list the “highlights” of what he gave to WikiLeaks. Among those described by Manning are documents on the US Joint Task Force at Guantánamo, which Manning called the “Gitmo papers,” a video of an airstrike in Afghanistan that killed civilians and State Department cables—the information, Manning said, would cause Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to “have a heart attack.” Curiously, there was no mention of Afghan war documents. We may never know whether Manning leaked those documents. But what is clear from the chat logs is that Manning believed he was performing a public service by leaking what he did.

In one chat, Manning and Lamo are discussing Manning’s passing of documents to WikiLeaks. Lamo asks Manning what his “endgame” is. Manning replies, “god knows what happens now,” and adds, “hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms if not… than [sic] we’re doomed as a species.”

In one of his last chats with Lamo, reportedly on May 25, Manning says, “what if i were someone more malicious i could’ve sold to russia or china, and made bank?”

“why didn’t you?” Lamo asks.

“because it’s public data,” Manning responds. “information should be free it belongs in the public domain…if its out in the open… it should be a public good.” He adds: “im crazy like that.”

Within days, Manning was arrested.

http://www.thenation.com/article/154000/wikileaks-and-war-crimes

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Wikileaks reveals more U.S. war crimes

Sun 24 Oct 2010
By Anonymous

At 5pm EST Friday 22nd October 2010 WikiLeaks released the largest classified military leak in history. The 391,832 reports (‘The Iraq War Logs’), document the war and occupation in Iraq, from 1st January 2004 to 31st December 2009 (except for the months of May 2004 and March 2009) as told by soldiers in the United States Army. Each is a ‘SIGACT’ or Significant Action in the war. They detail events as seen and heard by the US military troops on the ground in Iraq and are the first real glimpse into the secret history of the war that the United States government has been privy to throughout.

The reports detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq, comprised of 66,081 ‘civilians’; 23,984 ‘enemy’ (those labeled as insurgents); 15,196 ‘host nation’ (Iraqi government forces) and 3,771 ‘friendly’ (coalition forces). The majority of the deaths (66,000, over 60%) of these are civilian deaths.That is 31 civilians dying every day during the six year period. For comparison, the ‘Afghan War Diaries’, previously released by WikiLeaks, covering the same period, detail the deaths of some 20,000 people. Iraq during the same period, was five times as lethal with equivalent population size.

For Detailed coverage visit the following links. They have much more detailed coverage than you will find in the Australian mainstream press:

Bureau of Investigative Journalism Iraq War Logs

Secret Iraqi Files: AlJazeerah

Iraq War Logs – The Guardian

Wikileaks Website

Lets not forget Private Bradley Manning – the U.S. soldier currently charged with releasing files to Wikileaks. Exposing War Crimes is Not a Crime!
Bradley Manning Support Network

http://indymedia.org.au/2010/10/24/wikileaks-reveals-more-us-war-crimes

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WikiLeaks Represents New Journalism

 

 

Colin Benjamin

 

 

August 5th, 2010

 

 

Julian Assange–Truth Shall Set Us Free

 

 

 

 

5 Stars – Excellent 4 Stars – Good 3 Stars – Average 2 Stars – Fair 1 Stars – Poor
4.5 / 5 (20 Votes)

 

 

[Speeaking Truth To Power]

Is the release of military reports by the Wikileaks website a threat to “national security” or beneficial to true democracy?

Since the July 25 release of some 75,000 military documents, called “The Afghan War Diaries,” a fervent debate has ignited regarding the propriety of publicly releasing classified secrets, which has thrust Wikileaks squarely into the worldwide spotlight. Wikileaks published the documents on their website and furnished copies to three newspapers:  Der Spiegel, of Germany, The Guardian, of England, and the New York Times.

Wikileaks is a Swedish-based international company, started in 2006, that publishes documents, often of a controversial nature, by anonymous sources. The organization, founded by Chinese dissidents, journalists, and academics, is operated by Sunshine Press. Its director is the Australian-born activist, journalist Julian Assange.

The Wikileaks’ reports present a starkly different picture than the one America’s government has been painting.

It contradicts the rosy assessments of officials that the war was being won with limited civilian casualties and illustrates the Taliban insurgency is much more resilient, with the fighters better equipped, than reported. Worst of all, it shows that Pakistan’s Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI) may well be aiding and abetting the Taliban.

In 1971, Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers exposed the lies relating to that era’s military misadventure: the Vietnam War. Ellsberg Xeroxed 7,000 high-leveled classified documents and was called, by former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, “the most dangerous man in America.” The Obama Administration has labeled the Wikileaks’ disclosures “irresponsible” and the Pentagon has insinuated the documents could “potentially” cause harm in the fight against “terrorism.”

Wikileaks has maintained their organization vetted the documents before publication. Some 15, 000 reports are being withheld by Wikileaks “as part of a harm minimization process demanded by our source.” 22-year-old Pfc. Bradley Manning is, apparently, being held in connection with being that “source.” Some believe he’s the supplier of those documents, along with the “Collateral Murder” video, showing the killing of 12 people in Iraq on July, 12, 2007. Reuters’ newsmen Saeed Chmagh and Namir Noor-Eldeen were killed in that attack.  Reuters had, unsuccessfully, tried for years to obtain a copy of the video.

Wikileaks hasn’t confirmed Pfc. Manning is the source. And, they insist “we never collect personal information on our sources.” However, they’ve “taken steps to arrange for his protection and legal defense.” Manning was, reportedly, turned in by hacker Adrian Lamo, who he told. According to Lamo, Manning said he obtained some 250,000 State Department cables. Pfc. Manning is facing 52 years. Wikileaks’ director, Julian Assange, is now being compared to Daniel Ellsberg as the “most dangerous man in the world” today. But Assange states “the most dangerous men are those who are in charge of war. And they need to be stopped.”

“They” do need to be stopped. Perhaps, Wikileaks is illustrating a way to do so by exposing the lies and war crimes of our leaders. The Administration and the Pentagon have decried the disclosures saying that it could endanger “national security.” Where have we heard that before? The Bush White House used this red herring excuse, repeatedly, to hide their illegal actions and war crimes from the American people. But the truth can’t be detained indefinitely. The Pentagon claims these leaks could “potentially” cost the lives of American soldiers. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Admiral Mike Mullen, said Julian Assange may eventually have “blood on his hands.” What about the blood on the hands of America?

Though they claim the leaks were “irresponsible,” this White House said these documents reveal nothing new. Are they saying this to hide the fact our government covered up evidence Taliban fighters were in possession of lethal surface-to-air missiles? Are they trying to conceal the increased use of drone strikes, which often kill civilians?

Isn’t the government’s real fear that these leaks will expose the war crimes being perpetrated by American soldiers, similar to the November, 2005 Haditha Massacre, in Iraq, that killed 24 civilians? The Afghan Diaries contain several reports of innocent Afghans slaughtered, including women and children. It’s abundantly clear the civilian casualties—a non-story in so-called mainstream media—is much higher that most Americans are aware of.

Some are now calling for the arrest of Wikileaks director Julian Assange. According to Assange “sources advise from inside the US government that there were thoughts of whether I could be charged as a co-conspirator to espionage.” The American media has been shameful in its collusive response to the atrocities contained in the documents. Moreover, they have been less than supportive of the work of Assange. Is it because Wikileaks is doing the work American media should be in exposing the crimes of government?

Truth is the leaking of these classified files is also an indictment of American media’s failure. Whistleblowers—and regular Americans—no longer trust paragons of journalism, like the New York Times, who’ve become too cozy with power to challenge power. Thankfully, in this new media landscape, we have organizations like Wikileaks.
“Speaking Truth To Empower.”


 

http://www.blackstarnews.com/news/135/ARTICLE/6732/2010-08-05.html

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Opinion Brief

WikiLeaks leaker: Traitor or national hero?

Military intelligence analyst Bradley Manning has been arrested for leaking the damaging “Collateral Murder” video. Is the Army overreacting?

posted on June 9, 2010, at 7:19 AM
Brad Manning.

Brad Manning. Photo: Facebook SEE ALL 29 PHOTOS

Best Opinion: Lew Rockwell, Confederate Yankee, Atlantic

The apparent source of the controversial WikiLeaks video “Collateral Murder” — a classified 2007 clip which showed a U.S. helicopter gunning down a Reuters journalist, his driver, and other innocent Iraqi civilians — has been caught. Army intelligence Spc. Bradley Manning, 22, was turned into authorities by a computer hacker after he bragged of his exploits over IM and e-mail from his base, 40 miles east of Baghdad. Manning also said he leaked some 260,000 classified diplomatic cables exposing U.S. foreign policy warts, which is reportedly causing major jitters at the State Department. Do Manning’s leaks make him a “national hero,” as WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange tweeted, or a villain who compromised national security? (Watch a Russia Today report about the WikiLeaks informant)

The only crime here is against Manning: These videos and documents were classified because they are “embarrassing,” says Lew Rockwell in his LRC Blog. Should sharing them with the whistle-blowers at WikiLeaks merit being “kidnapped” by your own government? The only “war crimes” committed here were by the “happy soldiers” Manning exposed in the “Collateral Murder” video. That makes Manning a “military hero,” not a villain.
“Military hero arrested”

Manning is a traitor: If Manning really thought he was bringing “wrongdoers to justice,” says Bob Owens at Confederate Yankee, he had plenty of legitimate “avenues to blow the whistle.” Instead, he went all vigilante, and in the process committed what “would seem to be the very definition of treason. I don’t know if they still hang spies from treason, but they should.”
“Brad Manning, I hope they hang you high”

Manning doesn’t matter much in the big picture: The Pentagon had to spend a few days reacting to the “Collateral Murder” video, says Marc Ambinder in The Atlantic, but “WikiLeaks’ direct impact on U.S. policy has been, so far, rather negligible.” Manning comes across as “a young, isolated, lonely figure … aggrieved at the policy failures of his government.” Crime or not, his mistake was having “bragged about his exploits” to a computer-hacker “snitch.”
“Main WikiLeaks source outed”

Update: This story was updated on June 9, 2010.

http://theweek.com/article/index/203801/wikileaks-leaker-traitor-or-national-hero

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Wikileaks: Torture, War Crimes, Thousands of Deaths

By Anthony Gregory
Saturday October 23, 2010 at 5:35:14 PM PDT

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Hundreds of thousands of new Wikileaks documents reportedly uncover another torture scandal, expose potential war crimes such as the killing of surrendering soldiers, and disclose 15,000 previously unreported deaths in Iraq. See below for the Wikileaks press conference and this interview with John Sloboda from Iraq Body Count.

The administration’s position has been that we’ve learned nothing new from Wikileaks, and yet others claim that the organization is aiding the enemy by reporting the hard truth. If the administration is correct, and perhaps it is, the people should have been outraged long ago. But if reporting the lies and crimes of the state is being an enemy of the country, then there is something fundamentally wrong with the universe.

Wikileaks Press Conference (Press TV): 1/3

Wikileaks Press Conference (Press TV): 2/3

Wikileaks Press Conference (Press TV): 3/3

Categories: Iraq, Media, Military, Terrorism, Torture, Video, War

3 Comment(s)

  1. Sports is what matters. How can anyone expect a nation of vipers to care about stuff like this when there are games to watch on TV or attend? It’s not like Americans think about things like freedom and liberty or justice these days anyway, that’s so Old School. These days it’s all about submission to the upper classes, the ruling classes, a.k.a. the masters of all Americans and the universe.Besides that, there’s much shopping to do and other fun things like playing with i-Pods, how can anyone expect a nation of vipers to pay attention to what’s going on?It’s really no big deal, this sort of stuff happens all the time, right? So why be concerned? It’s the new Christian way, murder by numbers, and you get yours and I get mine, everything’s so fine. Let’s do it like that over here too, all the vipers will love it and cheer it on.Eck.clark | Oct 23, 2010 | Reply
  2. It’s not the Americans, alone. It’s the whole world, trapped on non-conscious manipulation by conscious social engineers. It seems to be a good idea, even if now it sounds far fetched, to learn horticulture by working on community gardens, and also engage into projects that demand organizational group skills. Not for the survivor plots, but to reconnect with basic communications competences that we’ve lost through technologies designed to configure our desires in ways that disconnect our humane core from a tribal way of identifying & solving problems.I believe that the real revolutionary questions are not Marxist-driven or free-market-driven, but food-driven. As Michael Pollan asks himself and others: What are we going to eat today? Where does this food come from? Really answering these questions, is revolutionary. Our agricultural systems worldwide degrade soils, in ways that research has shown are not necessary to obtain great yields.I think we need profit-driven economies, but there’s something wrong when profits come first and a healthy human-soil comes second.For an Amazon Jaguar to exist, it needs 35 thousand hectares. Jaguars are the climax of an ecosystem. But we tend to read nature and human settings without the eye of the pattern seeker. It’s time to learn and teach pattern-literacy.
  3. David Rojas Elbirt | Oct 24, 2010 | Reply
  4. Thank you Anthony for posting the links to the UK hearing. We here in the U. S. just don’t have adequate journalistic reporting in the mainstream press. It is all sanitized by a corrupt (criminal?) government, as our people are being brainwashed into accepting these illegal wars based on lies, and our people have been encouraged to accept the practice of torture as a legal means of extracting information for “our” protection. I still think we should shut down our empire, bring our military home, restore full liberty to our citizens and become a sovereign nation conducting friendly trade with all nations regardless of the form of government employed by those trading partners.Let the people of other nations encourage their own government to emulate what we have here in America without us forcing them at the point of a gun. But first we must clean up our own house to give others something of value to emulate.Bob Bowen | Oct 26, 2010 | Reply

http://www.independent.org/blog/index.php?p=8224

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GLOBAL CYBERWAR STARTED – Part 1, backgrounds.

<This is the first part of an article composed of various parts.>

On the 22nd of November around 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables were published in copyleft status on the Internet by the non-profit international organization Wikileaks. Curiously, the shock did not allow society to understand that  this was to be the start of the most significant conflict ever to be fought through the Web, with implications which strongly transcend the cyber-sphere.

The concept of age of information, or information revolution, was applied to the 21st century without exaggeration by the sociologists of our time. The technological advances focused on adaptability, portability and velocity of data access and transmission in the past decades, lead us to a social context in which information is vastly connected by a global web. Also, the main global communication sources – portable computers and phones – are more easily accesed by  the world population; the numbers in this field are increasingly on the rise. The use of these tools, connected to the International Net, Internet, changed the history of human relationships with other humans and also with governments and institutions. The lack of regulations in this new enviornment, combined with the fast establishment of the international and global character of the Internet gave it the important status of an autonomous zone. Meanwhile, personal entities as well as private and governmental institutions attached secret information to the chains of this global cyber jungle made of bytes.

During it’s early years, Internet was mainly used by mega institutions, aiding in the exchange and access to contents; and also in spreading propaganda to specific groups. But step by step, the amplitude of possibilities of this global connected system also offered the appearance of political activism. Violation of copyrights was the biggest problem concerning this matter. This problem was mostly related to the free distribution and sharing of audio, video and writing contents of private institutions under copyright regulations and a solid legal framework; a framework which did not have an active application in cyberspace. The P2P, peer to peer, concept of mutual exchange of content between users is as old as the Web itself and is one of it’s founding paradigms: to create a space of ideal exchange, of creative commons, that in it’s final phase would bring intellectual and physical freedom. In this sense the Internet is a massive success and one of the only things our global civil society can be extremely proud of. The coroporate world – who is a part of this but cannot control it- has been trying to extract profits from this web for decades and they are starting to come through.

However, almost intsantly, a movement of boycott and liberation from the capitalist institutions, both governmental and private, grew to be reality. Napster, The Pirate Bay and so many others show an example that the Net became a place to get goods for free, to spare what you have and to battle the market conditions and regulations that reign outside this virtual atmosphere.

GLOBAL CYBERWAR STARTED – Part 2, when it affects governments.

<This is the 2nd part of an article composed of various parts.>

The free distribution of sigil documents of different powerful countries, mostly of USA, constitutes the revolution brought by Wikileaks. The difference now is that the same spirit of activism played in the past mostly with data goods of big enterprises, nowadays affects also governments and their top secret information.

The victims of pirate agitation are not only the big media industries anymore, it seems the problem has been extended. It implied a whole new consideration about how to interact with the question. A difficult problem to solve, and a main reason for the whole misunderstood between the rules and sanctions for internet is that governments and enterprises are mixed in a strange relationship concerning to the control of this area. The servers in which the information is stocked are owned in majority by private groups and have global range, while the rules applied on these ambits are local and governmental. Simple example: If in Sweden The Pirate Bay is legal and their servers are there, an user in USA can still use TPB’s services without any legal consequence – although illegal in his country.

First of all, every user must understand that Internet is not a free place anymore. Both enterprises and governments are intermediates in our connection with this web. This fact increased the necessity of a popular cyberarmy which could fight, or at least make opposition, against the restrictions on freedom in the international net.

Recently, when governments were forced to really play a role in this battle between restriction vs liberty, property vs community, individual vs institutions on the virtual land, another type of political dispute was established. In lack of practical or even legal power to stop the online presence of secret documentation, governments started an opened fire trough DDos attacks against servers holding the secret contents. The resource is information, the weapons are computers and also information. The soldiers: informers and programmers. This is what a cyberwar is about.

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Dutch Arrest Teen for Pro-WikiLeaks Attack on Visa and MasterCard Websites

Anonymous members have adopted the Guy Fawkes masks made famous in the movie V for Vendetta as their own. 

Dutch police announced Thursday they have arrested a 16-year-old boy for allegedly participating in the online attacks against Visa and MasterCard as part of a vigilante campaign to support WikiLeaks.

The secret-spilling site has raised the ire of the U.S. government and others around the world for its ongoing release of secret diplomatic cables allegedly provided to the site by Army Pfc. Bradley Manning. Though only a small portion of the 250,000 cables WikiLeaks possesses have been released so far, the cables include revelations about how countries in the Middle East urged attacks on Iran, what the U.S. diplomatic corps thinks of world leaders such as Russian President Vladmir Putin, and the details of behind-the-scenes negotiations on repatriating Gitmo prisoners, among other topics.

The U.S. State Department calls the publication “illegal,” and the Justice Department is investigating ways to indict the organization’s outspoken leader, Julian Assange. However, no news organization has ever been successfully prosecuted for publishing classified information, and no charges have yet been filed against Assange for the leaks.

According to a press release issued by the National Office, the boy confessed to participating in attacks on the U.S.-based payments processing firms that angered WikiLeaks supporters by cutting off the ability to donate to the group using their cards. In response, a loosely organized group that goes by the name Anonymous organized a denial of service attack on a Swiss bank that cut off funds to the group’s founder Julian Assange, along with attacks on Visa.com, MasterCard.com and PayPal.com.

The attacks were the online equivalents of sit-ins, and while they successfully kept people from visiting the sites at certain times yesterday, they did not affect the payment-processing networks of the company. However, the attacks did impede certain transactions with credit cards that require users to use an additional online password form, known as Verified by Visa and Secure MasterCard.

The investigation from the Dutch High Tech Crime Team was commissioned by the National Prosecutor in the Netherlands. The announcement did not mention what crime the youth was being charged with, nor did it indicate whether the police thought the boy was deeply involved with organizing the group or was just one of thousands who volunteered their computers to attack the websites.

Online speech and corporate attempts to control it have sparked firefights before, but the naked control of commercial service providers over WikiLeaks’ cash flow and internet presence has sparked an unprecedented reaction that may not be easily brought to heel.

Anonymous, which started out with a digital-age teenage-prankster ethic, is not a traditional organization, but more of a banner under which individuals can call on others to join a cause or attack, which usually begins on the notorious /b/ message board, the “anything goes” section of the popular 4Chan message boards.

Anonymous has a history of such attacks, including a recent campaign against the record industry for attacking file sharing sites, mass-infiltrating an online game for kids to protest its stupidity, and an earlier long-running campaign against the Church of Scientology.

The Scientology attacks were investigated by the FBI, and two Anonymous member were prosecuted for clogging Scientology’s websites.

Few who are part of Anonymous are actual “hackers,” and instead join in the attacks by running specialized software provided by more technically adept members. Instruction for which sites to target and when are passed around dedicated online chat channels and websites, creating a sort of online insurgency.

Anonymous’ DDoS tool has an unusual twist, according to denial of service protection expert Barrett Lyon, incorporating features that allow members to connect to the botnet voluntarily, rather than mobilizing hijacked zombie machines. It is called LOIC, which stands for “Low Orbit Ion Cannon,” and evolved from an open source website load-testing utility.

A new feature called Hivemind was added, which connects LOIC to the anonops server for instructions, and allows members to add their machines to an attack at will.

However the software does not mask a user’s IP address, and has generated complaints from its users that it sucks up all their available bandwidth when it’s in attack mode.

Despite the high level of organization, Lyon said the attacks themselves are not particularly sophisticated. “It is mediocre, at best,” he said. “There is a lot they are doing wrong, and yet they are still succeeding.”

Photo: Anonymous members have adopted the Guy Fawkes masks made famous in the move “V for Vendetta” as their own. Credit Stian Eikeland

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Why WikiLeaks is good

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Thom Woodroofe

Thom Woodroofe

A lot has been written about WikiLeaks in the past week.

But against the backdrop of almost universal government condemnations the media has seemingly ignored the larger question it should evoke: is it a good thing?

Instead international coverage has been dominated by such condemnations; the both serious and trivial information contained in the cables released; and the whereabouts of the website’s founder Julian Assange.

So let’s set the record straight on some of the fundamentals:

1. We knew most of this information: Diplomacyhas always been a mix of not only representing your country abroad but reporting back on that country to your own. What made the latest revelations interesting was that the private reporting of diplomacy is the side we rarely see or hear about. But most of the information contained in the leaks was either gossip or simply confirmed what was already expected to be the case. For example as The Lowy Institute’s Michael Fullilove explained, “We knew that Gulf States don’t trust Iran. We knew that China doesn’t like Google” and the president of the Council of Foreign Relations Richard Hass also wrote, “Much of what we have seen thus far confirms more than it informs.”

2. They are not “top secret” documents: The cables were drawn from the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRNet) database which synthesises classified information across the United States Defence and State Departments. An incredible 500,000 people have access to this sensitive database. Within this documents are classified according to a sliding scale but “top secret” information is stored elsewhere. Across the entire United States government around 2-3 million people have a security credential that permits access to “secret” information which is the highest level these cables reach which The Institute of Public Affairs Chris Berg has called “the security problem, not WikiLeaks”.

3. It is not “illegal” for them to be released: As you would expect the United States government reacted furiously to the release of the cables. The ranking Republican Congressman on the Homeland Security Committee urged for WikiLeaks to be labelled a ‘Foreign Terrorist Organisation’. While Secretary of State Hillary Clinton branded their disclosure illegal, she stopped short of extending this to their release or publication. Prime Minister Gillard did not though saying “It’s a grossly irresponsible thing to do, and an illegal thing to do” when asked about the publication of the documents. But this is not correct. As Greg Barns from the Australian Lawyers Association has highlighted “Australia, unlike the UK, does not have an official secrets law”.

4. The United States is exercising double standards: For many years the United States used WikiLeaks and its model to help it release confidential documents on the United Nations revealing amongst other things corruption. President George W Bush’s ambassador for management and reform, Mark Wallace, said at the time “Transparency and accountability in government and international institutions is a best practice and of great importance and WikiLeaks previously has been a force for good in the area”. Secretary Clinton has also made internet freedom and the passage of information a key hallmark of her foreign policy agenda around hotspots such as Iran.

5. They are embarrassing but most do not care: Secretary of Defence Robert Gates rightly characterised the latest releases as “embarrassing” and “awkward” but the consequences for their foreign policy “fairly modest”. The absence of outrage from leaders such as French president Nicholas Sarkozy who was described as “thin-skinned”, Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi called “feckless”, and Prince Andrew “rude” shows the weight with which this idle diplomatic traffic is viewed. Or alternatively they fear future revelations on their characterisation of American leaders as Secretary Clinton brushed off by saying “at least one of my counterparts said to me, ‘Well, don’t worry about it. You should see what we say about you’”.

6. Julian Assange has polluted the debate: The actual virtue of WikiLeaks has not been viewed in isolation of its notorious Australian founder. The pursuit and location of Assange who is wanted by Interpol on rape allegations in Sweden has dominated coverage in the wake of the latest releases. These allegations, as repugnant as they are, should be fully investigated but in isolation of the wider discourse surrounding the release of these documents. Assange has also increasingly used WikiLeaks as a platform for activism, rather than for pure transparency, with his explicit motive being a distrust of government and secrecy. Assange’s editorialising – for example by releasing edited versions of videos or branding them with emotive titles – risks damaging the very platform he has created.

7. Traditional media have not challenged government: These latest releases have caused traditional media outlets to rethink how they report on sensitive information. The New York Times released a statement explaining that it believes that the “documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match”. It went on to acknowledge the reality though that if it did not publish the documents another newspaper inevitably would with the United Kingdom’s The Guardian, France’s Le Monde, and Spain’s El Paris all granted access. In some ways the exclusive publication of these documents has also driven jealousy amongst the media with independent journalist Anthony Lowenstein suggesting reporters lack a backbone in challenging government condemnations.

8. Previous releases have had a positive impact: The first major revelation that put WikiLeaks on the map was the release of a video showing a United States gunship firing at and killing two journalists in Iraq mistaken for insurgents. There is little doubt this served a positively moral outcome by not only highlighting as The New Yorker termed it “the ambiguities and cruelties of modern warfare” but also sparking debate on the ethics of conflict and the virtue of the then Rules of Engagement, which included a military review of the killings. The release of the Afghan War Diary three months later and then the Iraq War Logs a further three months later inevitably sparked debates on American involvement in these two conflicts also.

9. Diplomacy is still sexy: With stories of American diplomats spying on United Nations officials for credit card details, frequent flyer account numbers and in some cases DNA you can hardly conclude the art of statecraft has lost its gravitas. Unfortunately a State Department spokesperson sought to hose down an inevitable spike in applications for their next diplomatic intake byannouncing “Contrary to some WikiLeaks reporting, our diplomats are diplomats. They are not intelligence assets”.

Despite these facts, in the face of a barrage of criticism and a dwindling of public support WikiLeaks has now reached a critical juncture.

It must either understand the new reality in which it operates or it will lose its currency entirely.

As former intelligence analyst Sam Roggeveen has highlighted journalists have always pursued secrets, sometimes as end in itself. But the dumping of endless quantities of privileged information in the public domain is different altogether.

While the revelation of one singular sensitive story will always be newsworthy – by itself it has to be in order to be published – en masse the release of sensitive documents risks flooding the market with material often released for little more than for the sake it is merely restricted.

WikiLeaks should continue to pursue transparency and accountability. But it is quickly becoming no longer excusable for it to approach this through the dumping of enormous quantities of information without an assessment of the specific benefit as well as danger to the community and the positive or moral impact it could render. Professor Varona of the American University described this process as “The bottom line is whether publication by WikiLeaks, with amplification by the traditional news media, will advance the public interest and the First Amendment or threaten their very existence”.

One obvious assessment is the risks posed to sources such as Afghan informants which English newspaper The Times claimed were directly implicated in last week’s release. At least one newspaper, The New York Times, was eager to ensure such a balance between transparency and security was maintained through negotiating releases with The White House but this was rebuffed by WikiLeaks.

Finding such a balance won’t evaporate debates around the efficacy of the WikiLeaks platform but it will be an important step to understanding responsible and impactful publication is different to simply mass publication.

Since its inception four years ago WikiLeaks has largely been a force for good in the foreign policy community. In large part it remains so today. But in order for it to continue to be so it must understand the inherent balance between transparency and security and evolve its operations with this in mind.

Thom Woodroofe is a frequent commentator on international affairs and a non-resident Associate Fellow of The Asia Society based in New York. Follow on Twitter @thomwoodroofe.

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