Most of the recent noteworthy news centers around the Greenwald-Wired Debate. This is not an easily deconstructable debate. The latest flare-up originates from a Charlie Savage piece in the NY Times that used Adrian Lamo as a source in detailing how the Justice Department is trying to build a case against Assange sans the 1917 Espionage Act. That angle would rely more on charging Assange of conspiracy as “Mendax” under something like the “The 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.” This angle would require that Assange was instrumental in either providing technical assistance to Manning to hack the necessary access to the documents or had “social engineered” Manning to use his own security clearance to do so.
Savage, in his story, indicated that the sections where Manning had detailed his contacts with Assange could not be verified in excerpts released by “Wired” and that Lamo could not provide the full chat transcript for independent verification because the F.B.I. had since taken his hard drive of his computer which contained the logs.
Greenwald attacked Savage and the NY Times for publishing this story without verifying Lamo’s claims with hard evidence and then asked Wired to publish a story to verify or discount Lamo’s claims in the NY Times piece based on their full possession of “the hard evidence.” When Wired declined to respond to Greenwald, Greenwald then published a broadside against the journalistic ethics of Wired. Wired responded by claiming that the specifics mentioned in Savage’s piece, particularly the secure FTP access to a server provided to Manning to upload his documents to, had already been disclosed in their published excerpts and that what they had not published had no relevance to the Savage piece; the decision not to publish the entire logs was related to protecting the privacy concerns of both Manning and Lamo on matters that had no relevance to the legal case at issue. Wired’s decision not to publish the full transcripts has drawn criticism from many and includes speculation that they have been perhaps served a Patriot Act National Letters restriction.
My opinion on the matter, FWIW. The transcripts implicate Manning(NOTE: also establishing he would be a hero from an ethical and libertarian justice perspective), but they actually exonerate Assange. You can’t charge Assange as Mendax when Manning had the security clearance to access the documents. There was no hacking involved, period. “Hacking,” in this context, would pertain to “engineering” elevated, unauthorized security access to system resources. Not the case here. You also cannot charge Assange for being a “SysAdmin” of his own systems in giving Manning authorized, elevated access to his own systems for him to upload his documents to. Finally, the published transcripts establish that Manning was well-motivated on his own, and that there was no “social engineering, ” or trickery involved in convincing Manning to use his own security access to hand over documents. “The 1986 Computer Fraud and Abuse Act” utterly fails when it comes to Assange.
Another point. Lamo’s “transcripts” would be worthless unless they were recorded by him acting as an agent in a government operation. And, in such a case,(mind you, a potential National security espionage case), it stretches any credibility to think that such “evidence” would not only be turned over to Wired and the Washington Post but also to the primary investigative target, Julian Assange. Yes, the same logs would be turned over later to Wikileaks by Lamo, at the request of Assange who wanted them to assist in his defense.
Another point to consider is just how much of a “lame” hacker Lamo would be by failing to back-up and encrypt his “logs” onto additional media storage devices, particularly given the magnitude of the case and the fact that he was passing them out like candy to media organizations. The FBI “seized” his hard drive is pretty lame.
Kevin Poulsen, in his rebuttal to Greenwald, took offense to any reference to his hacker past. But I would suggest that the whole case against Manning reeks of the hacker-government nexus in the political economy that has built up around computer security. In other words, it was a “snitch operation” by Lamo who used his contacts within this nexus to allow these “chat transcripts” to be taken seriously within the government apparatus. Perhaps enough to get at Manning but not enough to get at Assange.
There is investigative journalism to be had here, but it’s not going to come from Wired.The most potent criticism of Wired’s “Threat Level” and Paulsen is that the “threat” is the political economy of computer/network security. But you are not going to read that there.
Apparently, I’m at the cusp of a burgeoning anarcho-libertarian, neo-communist progressive alliance due to my little essay, WikiLeaks: The Revolutionary as Entrepreneur. This according to Right Wing News, which uses my essay as an example of libertarianism giving cover to vile, anti-american revolutionary doctrine.
What’s just barely touched is the effect of WikiLeaks on the continued rise of anti-Americanism in the world. Eli Lake mentions this at the start of the clip, but the point gets lost at the remainder of the discussion. WikiLeaks has tightened the tacit alliance between the anarcho-libertarians and the neo-communist progressives. Nick Gillespie is a respectable guy, but the problem with libertarianism is that its adherents give cover for some of the most vile revolutionary doctrines now gaining increased respectability. See, “WikiLeaks: The Revolutionary as Entrepreneur.” More on that later. Meanwhile see my previous entries, “How Communists Exploit WikiLeaks,” and “Exposing the WikiLeaks/Communist/Media Alliance.”
I always chuckle when conservatives engage in radical politics deconstruction. That’s because “communist conspiracy” is the only tool in their toolbox. It’s almost like a bad parody of a Billy Mays infomercial hawking the “Magic Tool,” the only tool you’ll ever need to get the job done. Got a problem with Julian Assange, well the magic tool “Communist Conspiracy” will take care of that problem for you. Have a problem with “one-sided” media coverage of leaked US cables? Well, the magic tool explains that for you as well: it’s a communist plot. Have a problem with feminists not coming down hard enough on Assange vis a vis the rape allegations? That’s a trivial job for the Magic Tool. It’s simple. Feminism is a neo-Stalinist plot.
So let us dispense with the conservative silliness. There are essentially two points being made in my original essay. One casts the “secrecy vs transparency” argument in terms of the original libertarian(going old school French) “Entrepreneur vs Bureaucrat” paradigm. Ostensibly, no one wants secrecy(or privacy) and transparency to be an either/or issue: that is to say, I doubt many would want live either in a world of complete secrecy or complete transparency. What is the proper balance, and how should it be regulated? The libertarian casts it’s lot with the depoliticized Free Market and the Entrepreneur as regulating agent in such a system over the Bureaucrat enforcing economic “special pleading” in Political Economy.
The second point addresses the “revolutionary aspect” of the Entrepreneur in terms of how a political economy of permanent war incentivized by public choice is expected to react. Call me “anti-American” if you will, but the more accurate characterization would be anti-”American Exceptionalism.” That may very well end up being a crime in America, but that potential eventuality would only be demonstrating my point. In the end, the libertarian case is not going to be made by the exaltation of obscure manifestos or essays, but rather by the plain and utterly obvious corruption of political economy itself. Statist defense of this corruption vis a vis American Exceptionalism is the hanging rope. The destiny of American Exceptionalism hits the rocks worldwide when “anti-American” becomes synonymous with “anti-Corruption.” Believe me, Americans will be the last to know.
This interview of Starchild by Reason.tv drew some criticism for the Reasonoid commenting trolls due largely to Starchild’s statement, “”We Need a Libertarian Che Guevara.”
Heads explode in 3..2..1…
Correction: Roderick Long notes that Rothbard’s eulogy was originally published in Left and Right: A Journal of Libertarian Thought, not the Libertarian Forum, as originally posted.
He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster
Thoreau opines what it will take to end the monstrosity of the Drug War, and, indeed, if it’s even possible to end it at this point. The Wikileaks cables provide Thoreau with his answer. No.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has been transformed into a global intelligence organization with a reach that extends far beyond narcotics, and an eavesdropping operation so expansive it has to fend off foreign politicians who want to use it against their political enemies, according to secret diplomatic cables.
In far greater detail than previously seen, the cables, from the cache obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to some news organizations, offer glimpses of drug agents balancing diplomacy and law enforcement in places where it can be hard to tell the politicians from the traffickers, and where drug rings are themselves mini-states whose wealth and violence permit them to run roughshod over struggling governments.
Glenn Greenwald launches a broadside against the journalistic practices of Wired, in particular singling out Kevin Paulsen, the former hacker known as Dark Dante. FireDogLake has published a Timeline attacking the reliability of Adrian Lamo, the hacker whose chat transcripts with Bradley Manning are the only known apparent source tying Manning as a source for WikiLeaks.
My opinion is that a great deal of clarity can be gleaned by casting Assange as an Entrepreneur rather than as another type of actor, particularly hacker or political activist. This alternative framing allows one to easily punch holes in a recent spate of “Nerd Commentary” that relies on creating a context defined by a “deconstruction” of hacker psychology.
Bruce Sterling, cyberpunk literature pioneer
WikiLeaks: the “crypto anarchist” blast that has finally detonated. Sterling views WikiLeaks as a “crypto anarchist” blast promised by the Gen-X hacker set in the early 90s that has finally exploded. Sterling dismisses any notion that Assange is a journalist of entrepreneur, instead viewing him purely as Mendax the hacker. He waxes poetically, but with warnings, over the psychological makeup of the cyberpunk revolutionaries who are finally exposing that National Government and a Global Internet are not compatible.
My advice on this matter is just take what Assange has said at plain value. He considers himself an entrepreneur. Sterling gives us a Novelist’s deconstruction of the cyperpunk, nerd motivations of Assange, but other than Manning, omits the motivations of the universe of the actual leakers of the documents. That’s because Sterling doesn’t know them. The so-called cyberpunk generation has grown up and aged and insinuated themselves into the political economy. I’ve seen quite enough of them transition quite well over to rent-seeking in the political economy. Assange is not selling to Sterling’s audience for literary cyberpunk fiction. Assange’s “customer base” of leakers is a different animal altogether.
Jaron Lanier, Virtual Reality Pioneer
WikLeaks: The Hazards of Nerd Supremacy. Another piece that views Assange purely as a hacker, and WikiLeaks as a challenge to Political Economy. Whereas Sterling is conflicted over such a challenge, Lanier is clearly not. Lanier cleverly uses the term “Civil Society” in lieu of “Political Economy” and argues that this civil society requires a degree of secrecy to function. The relative balance of secrecy vs transparency is not something that should be decided by “hackers” but rather by political actors.
Once again if we cast Assange as an Entrepreneur rather than as Mendax the Hacker, Lanier’s argument begins to resemble a standard fare “special pleading” argument for tariffs and other restrictions on any economic threat to the status quo. Civil Society, of course, is the Status Quo.
Writes Lanier at the beginning of his piece:
It doesn’t seem so to me. I actually take seriously the idea that the Internet can make non-traditional techie actors powerful.1 Therefore, I am less sympathetic to hackers when they use their newfound power arrogantly and non-constructively.
Now let’s rewrite this a bit that gives this an entire new meaning:
It doesn’t seem so to me. I actually take seriously the idea that the Internet can allow non-traditional entrepreneurs to acquire market share in news. Therefore, I am less sympathetic to entrepreneurs when they use their newfound market share in news arrogantly and non-constructively.
Now it sounds like some something Steve Jobs would blurt out regarding Mac rumor sites that publish prototype product details leaks, design flaw leaks, or gossip about Jobs’ autocratic management style. Well, people are leaking and people are reading and if they weren’t leaking and reading, then there would be no market share. Who should decide the relative secrecy/transparency of Apple? Steve Jobs? A politician Jobs buys off? Or the customers of Apple products?
Lanier gives us a clue about his conception of non-arrogant, constructive reporting:
As has been frequently observed, the Cablegate episode hasn’t revealed military or “top” secrets; at least as I write this. Furthermore, while some Wikileaks supporters see the documents as a portrait of an evil USA, actually the USA comes off pretty well in them.
One wonders how there would be any market share for document-sourced journalism if governments were behaving so splendidly.
Lanier concludes with of an application of wave physics to political systems.
Anarchy and dictatorship are entwined in eternal resonance. One never exists for long without turning to the other, and then back again. The only way out is structure, also known as democracy.
We sanction secretive spheres in order to have our civilian sphere. We furthermore structure democracy so that the secretive spheres are contained and accountable to the civilian sphere, though that’s not easy.
It is schoolboy nonsense that sees anarchy as a natural frequency for Dictatorship and Dictatorship as a natural frequency for anarchy. By Democracy as “structure,” I suppose it is meant that it serves a dampening factor that maintains the “stability” of the system. But if you actually want to bring physics into the equation when discussing “complex” political economy, it is politics that create “moral hazards” that reinforce positive feedback mechanism while dampening negative feedback mechanisms. The end result is that Complex Political Economy can only sustain stability at the expense of resiliency, which guarantees that at some point the system must transition to a new (rules-based) regime or cease being a complex system at all. Stability, Status Quo, at all costs, in the end, leads to “Dictatorship.”
WikiLeaks has once again updated the name server data for the wikileaks.org domain at their registrar, Dynadot.com. The new name servers are NS100.DYNADOT.COM,NS101.DYNADOT.COM. A Nslookup on the wikileaks.org domain against these authoritative name servers returns a new address, 126.96.36.199, which is owned by ServInt. ServInt is headquartered in McLean, Virginia and is a tier 3 provider with datacenters in Washington, DC and Los Angeles, CA. The new web host, however, is configured similarly to the previous one, in that is still simply redirecting web requests for wikileaks.org to mirror.wikileaks.info(which is still being hosted by Heihachi.net in Russia) .
The interesting tidbit here is that the new hosting provider, although still serving as merely a redirector, is basically next door to CIA headquarters.
I continue to maintain that with regards to the availability of the wikileaks.org domain, Wikileaks is playing political games. The changes in the journalist model(relying on traditional organizations for distribution) and the suspension of using the website for document submissions, affords the organization the opportunity to use the website for symbolic, political propaganda purposes. I can’t think of a more obvious way to confirm this than by WikiLeaks choosing a provider next door to the CIA. In addition, ServInt, last year, made some news when it objected to a Rachel Maddow Segment that featured Xeni Jardin of BoingBoing suggesting that content providers use offshore hosting because of such things as DMCA.
EFF Reports that Softlayer Technologies has forced a hosting reseller,SiteGroud, in it’s Dallas Datacenter to shut down a WikiLeaks mirror of a client on the pretext of avoiding DDoS attacks. The interesting tidbit here is that Softlayer Technologies is the hosting provider, either directly or via a reseller, of torrent-finder.info(previously torrent-finder.com before the domain was seized) that has been in news due to the DHS/ICE domain seizures. This new information would seem to confirm that DHS has made no effort to directly shut down the operation of the torrent-finder website; otherwise, it is fairly obvious that Softlayer would have happily complied with such a request.
Traceroute queries indicate that Softlayer’s network is a Tier 2 peering provider.
Yesterday, Julian Assange was interviewed by Cenk Uygur on MSNBC and responded to charges of being a “terrorist” with a lengthy deconstruction of the definition of terrorism and concluding that it was the US Government who was actually guilty of this charge. He called Huckabee and Palin idiots and examples of “shock jock” politicians. Assange, however, several times praised the American Revolutionary traditions behind the First Amendment.
Assange, in rebuffing the claim of being guilty of espionage under the 1917 Espionage Act, used a curious argument that the 1917 Act was an antiquated piece of legislation that applied to legitimately combating espionage during the WW I, but which was no longer applicable. That would be an incorrect interpretation. The 1917 Act, particularly with the amendments of the Sedition Act of 1918, gave wide discretion to the US Attorney General to use it as a means to silence and arrest dissent. The amendments of the Sedition Act were repealed, but the 1917 Act still remains on the books and is trotted out from time to time as a potential hammer to combat whistle blowing as treason. Politicians like Joe Lieberman are advocating essentially restoring the Sedition Act of 1918 as an amendment. The 1917 Espionage Act has never been about ‘espionage” and, unfortunately, it is hardly antiquated…
Novaya Gazeta, Russia’s leading independent newspaper which is headed by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and billionaire Alexander Lebedev, has joined forces with WikiLeaks to expose corruption in the Russian Government. I just have to laugh. I’m left wondering who actually won the “cold war” while concluding that “Glasnost and Perestroika” were much more substantial slogans than our latest American fare, “Change we can believe in.”
Online Real-Time Resources
Greg Mitchell, at The Nation, has a daily Wikileaks blog that is an outstanding source of information to keep up to date on the politics of WikiLeaks. Note: The Nation has been much better on the topic of WikiLeaks than TSA.
The Guardian’s Cablegate section is, of course, the best real-time source to keep up to date on Cablegate.
Glenn Greenwald Reports that the UN is formally launching an investigation into the US detainment of Bradley Manning.
Oh, the irony of American Exceptionalism in the 21st century when 20th century American creations like the UN and the IMF begin to point their guns at their apostate creator.
I reviewed the “technical aspects” of the affidavit, at least the original partial one that can be found here ,and it pretty much confirms what I originally reported in this post, The Background Dope on DHS Recent Seizure of Domains. At the time of my original post on this subject, it was not verifiable whether these “seizures” were a part of an “official operation” or not, or if the instigators behind this were the usual suspects, MPAA,RIAA. When DHS announced this was part of an official operation, Operation In Our Sites 2, I wrote an update post here; and based on a subsequent LA Times article, I posted posted a comment here that reflected the fact that MPAA,RIAA were the ones who were reporting the “violating sites.”
Some notes on the affidavit:
It clearly specifies that the domain seizure was to be executed by going through VeriSign. I detailed the mechanics of how that was done in my original post. However, the affidavit also clearly specifies that the domains were to be transferred in ownership over to DHS/ICE vis a vis their respective registrars. That has not happened yet. That was supposed to be done, but Whois queries against the registrar databases for the domains in question indicate that it has not been done.
The affidavit gets the registrar, the IP Address and the hosting provider for torrent-finder.com wrong. It lists Blue Razor as the registrar, and even though Blue Razor appears to be owned by the same entity that own GoDaddy, it is GoDaddy who is the registrar. The hosting provider for torrent-finder.com is SoftLayer Technologies, located in Dallas, TX, and not Secure Hosting LTD, located in the Bahamas.
Reading the affidavit,particularly as it pertained to torrent-finder.com, I now know why ICE subcontracts out to “private companies” like immixGroup IT Solutions. We are literally dealing Agent Barney Fife, here. Writes Agent Fife:
“Based on my training and experience, queries of public movie listings and my discussion with MPAA representatives, I know that “Secretariat” is a first run movie that was released to the general public for homeviewing.”
Whoa, all that tax-payer funded training gave Agent Fife the requisite specialized knowledge to figure that all out by himself. I’m sure all that experience has trained him to first check with government computers to make sure that information wasn’t classified.
Agent Fife outlines how his specially trained snooping abilities led him to conclude that torrent-finder.com was actually hosting “pirated content.” The problem for Agent Fife, however, is that the “download link” that he clicked on that allowed him to directly download a torrent for “The Town” was actually being hosted by torecache.com in Estonia. We dread the day when agent Fife’s superior training and experience leads him to discover The Google can be used to pull up direct links to torrent files the MPAA disapproves of.
This exhibit A of Hayek’s “how the worst get to the top”….
I’m always amused by those who use the term “market fundamentalism,” particularly by those who have won Nobel prizes in Economics, when I suspect these debunking wizards not only can’t coherently define what the term actually means but also share the same underlying dismissive precepts in common with the thing they are supposedly ridiculing.
Let us define what “Market Fundamentalism” actually is. It refers to the 3rd Generational Chicago School(Lucas,Stigler,Becker, Posner, etc) that essentially displaced political economy from an encompassing Efficient Market Hypothesis model. Okay, so stock prices my follow a random walk, but should we believe that political lobbying is governed by an Efficient Market Hypothesis model, that policies that raise efficiency are likely to win out in the competition for political favors? Should we believe as Stigler wrote, in Law or Economics:
Tested institutions and practices found wanting will not survive in a world of rational people. To believe the opposite is to assume that the goals are not desirable: who would defend a costly practice that produces nothing? So I would argue that all durable social institutions, including common and statute laws, must be efficient.”
In the 90s, buoyed by roaring economies and financial secondary markets, this viewpoint certainly dominated the financial classes and was embraced, to a large extent, by the establishment political classes. It became the underlying ideology behind the “Washington Consensus.”
Now let’s look at the usual suspects who are “Straw Man” blamed for holding “market fundamentalist” views:
While it is true that the 3rd generational Chicago School, that grew out of Friedman’s 2nd generational school, was associated with “libertarianism,” it was, nonetheless, a a distinct modern offshoot branch which flourished primarily in segments of academia, Wall Street and Beltway think tanks. Libertarianism historically proper is rooted in a profound critique of political economy. Political Economy is central, not an afterthought. In terms of modern academic literature, libertarianism is aligned with Public Choice, not Market Fundamentalism.
(ii)Adam Smith, Classical Economics
Anyone who has read The Wealth of Nations and The Theory of Moral Sentiments would laugh at the idea of equating The Invisible Hand with an Efficient Market Hypothesis in Political lobbying.
(iii)Ayn Rand, Objectivism
Anyone who has read Rand’s work would laugh at the idea of equating Objectivism with an Efficient Market Hypothesis in Politics and Law. Rand’s Atlas Shrugged and Stigler’s “Law or Economics” are in diametric opposition. In Stigler’s world, Wesley Mouch should be a hero.
Hayek’s argument, in part, in the Road to Serfdom demonstrates how the worst rise to the top. It was not an Efficient Market Hypothesis argument that the most efficient rise to the top in political lobbying.
Conservatives are supply-siders; they are not market fundamentalists. If they were, then we would have legal drugs and prostitution. In many respects, the application of an Efficient Market economic analysis to law is anathema to the conservative mind.
Frankly, these days, “market fundamentalism” as technically understood, is dead. No one takes seriously anymore an Efficient Market Hypothesis applied to political economy. Market Fundamentalism now only survives as a straw man term.
However, I can only point out those, such as Jonathan Chait, conducting their running libertarian diatribes are actually embracing the same principles of market fundamentalism, that is, the relative unimportance of political economy–political economy as an afterthought. For Chait, things like Social Security, The Earned Income Tax Credit, and Seat Belt laws demonstrate the unimportance of Political Economy. As Chait writes, if “regulations are captured, they will eventually be uncaptured.”
Writes Chait concerning Peter Orszag:
I don’t see any evidence that Orszag was corrupted by the prospect of private lucre during his tenure as Budget Director. His most important contribution to the Obama administration may have been a fierce insistence upon using health care reform to control the growth of health costs — a goal that serves almost no narrow private end and opposes many.
Compare that quote to the above Stigler quote regarding political lobbying and law. Not much of a difference, now is there? Fundamentalism, indeed…
A former fellow contributor at Freedom Democrats has composed two recent posts, My respectability vs. their legitimacy and Are you on the inside or the outside?, that cautions against radical politics moving from an abstract layer of persuasive speech to one advocating criminal activity. The underlying factor here seems to be that WikiLeaks is raising the stakes, making the abstract suddenly tangible. An abstraction is now drawing some blood…it’s a threat. The cautionary thinking here is not to overplay the hand, not to resort to advocating the equivalent of anarchist bomb throwing, which could not only make one the target of the police(the police state) but which could also threaten to criminalize the abstraction itself, or at the very least, banish it from the topic of polite society.
Now I both agree and disagree with Ricketson. I agree that “anarchist bomb throwing,” whether it’s actually throwing bombs, or executing DDoS attacks against digital targets, is a loser strategy. You can try to cast these things into a type of “civil disobedience” rationale or justify them as defensive actions against Statist aggression, but the bottom line is that they are ineffective and counter-productive. And Ricketson’s point about the “mainstream’ should be taken to heart. The thing about “American radical libertarianism” that separates it from “anarchism” in general is that in America, radical libertarianism is more or less “liberal anarchism, ” and liberal anarchism has never sought to eradicate the “petty Bourgeoisie” as a precursor to some new social order. Indeed, Liberal anarchism embraces the “petty bourgeois” tradition and embraces it as a mainstream tradition. This to no end infuriates a larger segment of anarchist radicals who operate outside the “liberal anarchist tradition.”
Where I disagree with Ricketson perhaps starts with this quote by Janet Napolitano:
“The old view that ‘if we fight the terrorists abroad, we won’t have to fight them here’ is just that – the old view,” Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano told police and firefighters recently.
Ricketson takes his alias from Benjamin Tucker and those who are familiar with libertarian history know that Tucker, after he left the United States and emigrated to France, actually supported World War I on the basis that the German glorification of military culture was such a threat to the “petty bourgeois” liberal tradition that it had to be opposed, even by force. Here I am reminded of the old Barry Goldwater joke, “vote for Goldwater and we will end up in Vietnam.” Well, a wag or two have been known to crack back in the day, “we voted for Goldwater and sure enough, we ended up in Vietnam.” To Tucker’s Ghost I would crack, the United States went to war and yet we ended up with the very thing you dreaded.
As Orwell brilliantly elucidated, permanent war is the permanent war of the ruling class against it’s own citizens. It is a destroyer of liberalism. It is the National Security State, not anarchism, which is the threat to the mainstream of a “petty bourgeois” polite society. The horror is to contemplate just exactly what is to become of this “mainstream” under a censorship regime, when uncensored abstraction itself, by definition, is a threat.
In a permanent War on Terror, terrorism is not bomb throwing, rather it is any ideological challenge to the “Status Quo.” When Janet Napolitano states that the guns have turned inward, she doesn’t mean they are pointing at some random asymmetric violent threat, rather she means they are pointing at any systemic abstract threat to the Status Quo. They are aimed at any “institutional alternatives” to the status quo. If these “institutional alternatives” draw any blood, that is, threaten the Status Quo, those guns will fire…and it would be impolite in polite society not to pretend otherwise.
Respectability=see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil…
Global Domination Through Media Saturation
Cult of the Dead Cow
The day after being released from prison, Assange conducted a whirlwind of media interviews, NBC, ABC, CBS in the United States, BBC in the UK, among the many outlets. One of the objectives was to immediately counter the developing US Government narrative of the “conspiring, anarchist Mendax.” Assange was emphatic that WikiLeaks, by design, does not know the identities of its sources, and that he never conspired with Bradley Manning.
On ABC’s Good Morning America, Assange stated:
“I had never heard of the name Bradley Manning before it was published in the press. Wikileaks’ technology was designed from the very beginning to make sure that we never know the identities or names of people submitting us material. That is, in the end, the only way the sources can be guaranteed that they remain anonymous, as far as we are concerned.”
Even if we assume Adrian Lamo’s chat logs to be authentic, Assange’s statements don’t conflict with the details of the transcripts. In them, it is clear that Manning submitted material to WikiLeaks before having any communication with Assange. The transcripts only reveal that Manning knew he was communicating with Assange , but only after spending a number of months verifying Assange’s identity. The transcripts do not reveal that Assange knew Manning’s identity or that he was even aware he was communicating with “the leaker.”
Given this, it would seem that reports that the US Government is seeking to offer a Manning “a deal” to “flip” on Assange are likely credible. They don’t have the hard evidence. Reports of Manning’s inhumane treatment and isolation may be means to “break” him.
Assange also used the media to vigorously deny he was “an anarchist,” telling George Stephanopoulo, “absolutely not.”
“We can look at my long-term endeavors, all the way to 1993, when I started piloting the Internet industry in Australia, bringing knowledge to the people. And that’s been a firm foundation for us to build credible and humane institutions.”
This is actually not any different form the Forbes interview when Assange cringed at the hacker/anarchist label and instead appealed to his entrepreneurial days of running an Australian ISP. The Forbes article made it clear that Assange thought himself as an “entrepreneur.” The British Anarchist Ian Bone recently deconstructed Assange’s anarchist tendencies from piece done by the British Newsnight and concluded that Assange was following in the tradition of German anarchist Gustav Landauer. This is all very consistent with a ideological sketch that views the role of WikiLeaks as using transparency to shrink political systems/institutions while expanding more cooperative, voluntary systems/institutions to serve as replacements.
Spamhaus has released a malware warning for Wikileaks.org because the site redirects to a mirror hosted by Heihachi.net. As I reported last weekend, wikileaks.org was redirecting to mirror.wikileaks.info that was being hosted by Heihachi.net, a provider of “bullet-proof” hosting. Bullet-proof hosting refers to providers whose “terms of service contracts” are void of any jurisdictional legal compliance language. Bullet-proof providers are the primary source of malware infections on the internet. This is how it works: operators will host malware progs on their sites and will serve up web content in advertising campaigns that contain code that will exploit a browser or OS vulnerability to deliver this malicious payload to unpatched systems that are served up with this (malicious) advertising content. This results in the system being infected with malicious software, usually a trojan of some sort, that allows it to be remotely controlled by another system. In practice, what this means is that this infected system becomes part of a botnet. Operators will rent out of these botnets to spammers as a delivery network. Almost all email spam, for example, originates from botnets.
WikiLeaks, or the Wikileaks.info team, issued a press release disputing the claims that this mirror was a source of a malware, and that they were using a Bullet-proof provider to avoid being taken offline due to political pressure. WikiLeaks correctly notes that while Bullet-proof providers do host “malware sites,” they also host unpopular political protest sites.
Spamhaus responded in an update that despite whether wikileaks.info was hosting malware or not, wikileaks.info had no official relationship with WikiLeaks or Assange, and that it should be considered a rogue operation. However, this is simply factually incorrect. WikiLeaks.org redirects to wikileaks.info, meaning that someone with an authorized login at at the Dynadot Registrar updated the name server data for the wikileaks.org domain with Dynadot’s name servers, configured a dns zone record for wikileaks.org that pointed web requests to a Dynadot web host, and then configured that web host to redirect requests for wikileaks.org to wikileaks.info. This is basic stuff for anyone with a modicum of IT knowledge/experience. Spamhaus’ contention here is inexcusable. There’s obviously an “official” connection.
It also clear from examining the mirror.wikileaks.info site that this is running back on MediaWiki, although it is still quite a bit broken. The “mirrors” are just mirroring a static html version that replaced the MediaWiki CMS version in the immediate aftermath of “cablegate.”
Part of the confusion stems from the fact that WikiLeaks plays political games. They don’t exactly announce to the world in a “press release” what games they are playing. WikiLeaks could have easily updated the DNS name server data for the wikileaks.org domain as soon as EveryDNS terminated DNS service and and created a dns zone record in the new name servers that pointed it to their Swedish hosting provider. A little detective work implies that they are playing a game of testing political “free speech” on a distributed basis. Wikileaks.org has for a while now ceased being a mechanism for document submissions, and WikiLeaks primarily now relies on traditional journalistic organizations to distribute the “news” of leaked documents. The website part of it, at this point, primarily seems to serve a symbolic propaganda purpose.
The Guardian has a profile of the hacker group, Anonymous, and it’s inside “hierarchy.”
The Guardian has also obtained the full Swedish allegations against Julian Assange.