Updated: Dec. 24, 2010; see Addendum at the very end.
“By working primarily with media organizations from NATO countries, Wikileaks has chosen to submit its leaks to one single ‘worldview’, that of the West.” — Who’s Who at Wikileaks? By Julie Lévesque
Cyber-warfare – Cyber-Anarchy – Anarchists – Hackers
It’s all so predictable isn’t it and how quick the media was to brand the leaks as the opening shots of a ‘Cyber-War’, a designation that fed back into the government’s propaganda almost immediately. To paraphrase, the media really is the message not just the messenger.
‘Prepare for all-out cyber war’
Government sites braced for attack by pro-WikiLeaks ‘hacktivists’
Whitehall is preparing for a crippling attack on government websites as evidence mounts that the backlash against the arrest of the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is rapidly growing into a mass movement that aims to cause widespread disruption on the internet. — ‘Prepare for all-out cyber war‘ By Cahal Milmo and Nigel Morris, The Independent, 14 December 2010
Attacks that never took place, just like the terrorist attacks that are regularly boosted with much fanfare by the state and of course distributed by the corporate/state media only to fizzle out. Even more sinister is the timing of these ‘alerts’ coming as they do when some other nefarious dealings of the state and/or business is breaking.
On the face of it we have the ghost-like Assange, every inch the ‘liberal’ with his apparently genuine concern for a range of issues, everything from a ‘free’ Tibet to a free media. All the right credentials, or are they? He’s certainly no leftie,
“Would you call yourself a free market proponent?
“Absolutely. I have mixed attitudes towards capitalism, but I love markets. Having lived and worked in many countries, I can see the tremendous vibrancy in, say, the Malaysian telecom sector compared to U.S. sector. In the U.S. everything is vertically integrated and sewn up, so you don’t have a free market. In Malaysia, you have a broad spectrum of players, and you can see the benefits for all as a result.” — ‘An Interview With WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange‘ By Andy Greenberg, Forbes Magazine, 29 November, 2010
And who is Bradley Manning? How does he connect to Wikileaks? Are we really to believe that he sat for months, ripping the cables to CDs, all 251,000 of them? But the only reference to this can be found in a BBC article where we read,
“According to claims by Adrian Lamo, a former hacker, Pfc Manning told him in online chats that he removed information by burning it onto a CD.
“Mr Lamo claims that Pfc Manning told him that he disguised his activities by pretending he was listening to music by Lady Gaga.” ‘Siprnet: Where the leaked cables came from‘, BBC News Website, 29 November 2010
Have we all been so swept up in the euphoria of those (not so) secret cables that we have stopped thinking?
Lamo is a former ‘hacker’ and according to the Wikipedia entry, he is,
“…a threat analyst, grey hat hacker, and government informant known principally for breaking into a series of high-profile computer networks (most prominently The New York Times, Yahoo! News, and Microsoft), his subsequent arrest, and instigating the arrest of military whistleblower Bradley Manning, who he alleges to be the source of the July 12, 2007 Baghdad airstrike video leak to Wikileaks which called attention to the illegal murder of civilians by US Army personnel.” — Wikipedia [my emph. WB]
So what are we to make of what appears to be the only source that claims it was Manning, a government informant? Moreover, Lamo only connected Manning to the video leaked back in July. And why hasn’t Manning been charged?
Let me run some names by you:
National Endowment for Democracy (NED)
Radio Free Europe (RFE)
The Frontline Club
United States Naval Research Laboratory
Los Alamos National Laboratory
National Security Agency (NSA)
Soros Open Society Institute
All are or were, connected in some way to Julian Assange and to people associated with Wikileaks.
One thing is for sure, the ‘leaked’ cables are not like the Pentagon Papers, no way is there any kind of comparison.
The Pentagon Papers were a set of documents focused essentially on just one thing: the war in Vietnam. They were detailed analyses of the situation straight from the Department of State, which is why they were so devastating and they were formulated by people who were essentially one rung from the top, of the White House that is.
By contrast, the cables, though some make fascinating reading they will not change history. However, the manner of their release will – and there’s the rub. Additionally, I am not even sure they are all genuine. Take the following leaked cable, which if true should have Lebanon not to mention the US and the UN sweating:
“Message Dec 23. 2009
FM AMEMBASSY TEL AVIV
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 4704
INFO RUEHJM/AMCONSUL JERUSALEM 2031
RUCNFB/FBI WASHDC//INTD/CTD/CT WATCH//
RHMFIUU/US CUSTOMS AND BORDER PROTECTION WASHDC
RUEAHLC/HOMELAND SECURITY CENTER WASHDC 0068
SUBJECT: EXPEDITED RELOCATION OF US INTELLIGENCE ASSET
Â¶1. (S/NF) The Central Intelligence people in Tel Aviv, are making an urgent request that a Yemini Jew, one Moshe Yakub, 42, formerly a resident of Raida in Yemen and latterly a resident of Tel Aviv be given a new American identity and sent to the United States by secure, government transportation.
Â¶2. (S/NF) Subject has posed as an Arab for five years and during that time, has done what has been called “excellent undercover” work for the Israeli Mossad. Yakub has passed for a radical Muslim whose expertese are explosive devices.
Â¶3.`(S/NF) Posing as a member of a radical wing of Hezbollah, Yakub and three fellow Yemeni Jews prepared a large explosive device which was placed in a vehicle which was parked on a street by the St. George Hotel in the Lebanese capital, Beirut and subsequently detonated on 14 February, 2005 killing their target, former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafic Baha El Deen Al-Hariri and many members of his staff and bodyguards.
Â¶4. (S/NF) This was a Mossad false-flag operation, designed to incriminate Hezbollah and the Syrian government as the perpetrtors[sic]. Also, the Beirut section of the CIA were extensively involved in the preparation of this incident.” — ‘TBR News‘ December 11, 2010 [my emph. WB]
Does this read like a diplomatic cable? Mossad/CIA hired a guy to assassinate the president of Lebanon and then calmly shoots off a cable about it? Why is this not front page news?
Think about this:
The first set of documents released by Wikileaks; emails and field notes from Iraq and Afghanistan were all from the early days of the invasions, 2003-2004 and although the video—of a US gunship slaughtering innocent Iraqi journalists is damning—it’s ‘history’ already. Whatever damage they did was purely temporary in nature, just another blip in the seamless presentation of the ‘news’ and dealt with by the media’s emphasis on the alleged threat to lives posed by the releases rather than the war crimes committed by US forces.
By contrast the diplomatic cables are all contemporary and none (so far anyway) contain anything that compares to the first set of documents, embarrassing though some of it has been. Why?
Why were the first releases so old and the second releases so new? Something isn’t right here. It’s almost as if it’s a setup, the first, mildly damaging but ‘containable’ sets us up for the second set of releases that we were promised, would be ‘explosive’, which they so far ain’t (except possibly the Hariri cable?).
In a fascinating document by Julie Lévesque with the innocent title of ‘Who’s Who at Wikileaks?‘ we get some background not only on Julian Assange but on who created Wikileaks and their backgrounds and most importantly, Wikileaks’ connections to the US state’s security establishment. It doesn’t make pleasant reading.
According to Julie Lévesque, it’s the connection between Wikileaks/Assange and the state security establishment through its hiring of former ‘rogue hackers’, that raises questions about the role and purpose of Wikileaks.
“There also seems to be a connection between Zatko and former hacker Jacob Appelbaum, a Wikileaks spokesperson. Zatko and Appelbaum were purportedly part of a hacker group called Cult of the Dead Cow.
“Appelbaum currently works for the Tor Project, a United States Naval Research Laboratory initiative. The sponsors of that project listed on its website are:
“NLnet Foundation (2008-2009), Naval Research Laboratory (2006-2010), an anonymous North American ISP (2009-2010), provided up to $100k. Google (2008-2009), Google Summer of Code (2007-2009), Human Rights Watch, Torfox (2009) and Shinjiru Technology (2009-2010) gave in turn up to $50k.
“Past sponsors includes: Electronic Frontier Foundation (2004-2005), DARPA and ONR via Naval Research Laboratory (2001-2006), Cyber-TA project (2006-2008), Bell Security Solutions Inc (2006), Omidyar Network Enzyme Grant (2006), NSF via Rice University (2006-2007).
“Zatko and Assange know each other. Jacob Appelbaum also played a role at Wikileaks.”
So Zatko works for DARPA and Appelbaum works for the United States Naval Research Laboratory!
Assange himself says of Zatko (‘Mudge’),
“Assange:Yeah, I know Mudge. He’s a very sharp guy.
“Greenberg: Mudge is now leading a project at the Pentagon’s Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency [DARPA] to find a technology that can stop leaks, which seems pretty relative [sic] to your organization. Can you tell me about your past relationship with Mudge?
“Assange: Well, I… no comment.” — ‘An Interview With WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange‘, Forbes.com, 29 November, 2010
So on the one hand we have Assange leaking information who had a close working relationship with a man, Zatko who now works for DARPA trying to stop leaks!
And what are we to make of Assange’s activities early on in his ‘career’ in Australia where he was busted for what appears to be a computer-related crime (the actual entry has been deleted from the Australian Law database but the reference relates to offences committed under the Crimes Act 1958 No. 6231 of 1958, s. 247A, Computer crimes (See Lawcite for the reference. I downloaded the Crimes Act 1958 and searched for the section).
So did Assange ‘do a deal’? Cooperation in exchange for dropping the charges? After all, the other major players mentioned above, Zatko and Appelbaum, also ‘hackers’, now work for the US government after doing deals of some kind. And this is standard fare for security agencies, if it can’t beat them, hire ‘em.
Put together with the organizations listed above, especially the NED who allegedly funded Wikileaks during its formation, and Assange’s very close cooperation with major corporate media, media that Assange trusts implicitly as well as the fact that Wikileaks approached Freedom House and Soros’ Open Society Project for funding, points to the not unreasonable assumption that Wikileaks is well bedded in the Establishment. And this view is reinforced by the initial activities of Wikileaks, the Chinese democracy and Free Tibet movements (all references to which have been removed from the Wikileaks Website).
Even the well-publicised Wikileaks leaks about Trafigura dumping toxic waste in the Cote D’Ivoire has been an on-going story since 2006 and not without its own drama. (See the Wiki entry for more details on how Trafigura tried to muzzle the press and Parliament through the use of a ‘super-injunction‘.
Even if my jury is still out on the real nature of Wikileaks, what is revealed is the fact that all ‘news’ is now entirely mediated by a state/corporate cartel, working closely together. Between them they have re-defined what Wikileaks is all about.
It’s entirely possible that the cables release was engineered in order to justify even more repressive laws under the guise of protecting the agents of the Empire or fighting the ‘war on terror’. Whatever the truth, no longer is it about the cables, it’s all about Julian Assange. Mission accomplished.
1. You can read the ‘unredacted’ version of the conversation that Lamo allegedly had with Manning here. But anyone could fake what is after all nothing more than a text file.
2. And of course the New York Times, The Guardian, Der Speigel and El Pais. For more on who and what were involved in the early days of Wikileaks see Who’s Who at Wikileaks? By Julie Lévesque
TOR by the way is a software addition for your Web browser that allegedly encrypts data. I tried it way back but it seemed too complicated for me and I didn’t know then that TOR is a United States Naval Research Laboratory project! The United States government funds a project that anonymizes information even as they try to stop whistleblowers? Such research cuts both ways as it can be used to undermine efforts to reveal the truth.
On the TOR Website we are told:
“Activists use Tor to anonymously report abuses from danger zones. Whistleblowers use Tor to safely report on corruption.”
Addendum 24/12/10: There does seem to be some question surrounding the ‘cable’ about Hariri quoted above as it can’t be found in the cables published so far. I’ll keep you updated on this.