WikiLeaks Watch 12/17/2010

Via press reports, the US Government efforts to manufacture an indictment of Assange that won’t likewise indict a broad swath of the journalistic profession or the general American populace continues to center around portraying Julian Assange as “Mendax” rather than a journalist. A NY Times article yesterday indicated the Justice Department is exploring indicting Assange in a conspiracy with Bradley Manning to hack government computers to obtain classified information. Although “Conspiracy,” of course, is the thinnest of thin “criminal charges” that can be used by ambitious prosecutors to indict anyone at anytime of crimes, I have to laugh at this one. It didn’t take “Mendax” to hack elevated privilege access to obtain the documents in question. These documents were readily available to Bradley Manning via his security clearance. In reading the Manning Chat logs, it seems pretty clear to me that Manning submitted documents to Wikileaks before having any personal correspondence with Assange; the only “conspiracy” I can detect between Manning and Assange is the long period of communications between the two necessary for Manning to verify he was actually communicating with Assange. Manning clearly states he considered himself a “source” for WikiLeaks…

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The Tech Press is now noticing that the WikiLeaks domain is active again. If you have been reading my WikiLeaks Watch posts, I reported this last Saturday morning. Reports that the delay in getting DNS restored for the domain centered around procuring DNS providers to avoid a repeat of EveryDNS are not accurate, IMHO. The delay was a piece of political propaganda. The large number of mirror sites that sprung up around the world was exactly the reaction WikiLeaks wanted to happen. They could have easily switched out the Name Servers for the domain immediately after EveryDNS stopped serving DNS requests, but they chose not to. Roughly a week later, they updated the name server data to use their registrar’s name servers, ns1.dynadot.com, ns1.dynadot.com. Dynadot has been the authoritative name server provider for collateralmurder.com and there has never been any issue with that domain. WikiLeaks.org redirecting to mirror.wikileaks.info, which is hosted by Heihachi LTD in Russia, the same hosting company that was hosting anonops.net, is just another game. Btw, no one seems to have picked up on that fact yet.

In case you haven’t noticed, WikiLeaks plays political games…

A Return of Radical Politics?

It seems you’re having some trouble
In dealing with these changes
Living with these changes
The world is a scary place
Now that you’ve woken up the demon in me

Down with the Sickness

I’m amused but not surprised by this Alexander Palmer impersonation by Mort Zuckerman. That the Editor-in-Chief of US News & World Report has taken to his editorial soapbox to warn of the dire threat “anarchy” now poses to the “World Order” is only a sign of the times; or perhaps a sign of things to come.

In this old post, Broken Government: A Return of Radical Politics at Freedom Democrats, I opined about an impending return of radicalism in American politics. And it’s becoming increasingly clear that this radicalism will be borne out of the American descent into the “censorship regime.” The censorship regime is information control, and in the US, this regime is the marriage of Digital Copyright and the National security State. This marriage creates a input-output positive feedback loop of economic/political rent-seeking so pernicious that you end up with something resembling Richard Stallman’s Right to Read Dystopia, wherein reading becomes a licensing and security classification privilege.

Now by “radical politics” I mean two things:

(1) The breakdown of DoubleThink, that is thought control, rooted in the left-right communitarian cultural war
(2) Direct Action, particularly with respect to the construction of alternative voluntary institutions as a means to deal with Statist failure

Mort Zuckerman’s casting of the “anarchist” threat as digital bomb throwing is not correct. Invoking the ghost of General Palmer vis a vis “Anonymous” DDoS attacks isn’t going to work. The real threat to Zuckerman’s socio-political order is when those coders,IT people, entrepreneurs etc who don’t have their snouts buried in federal contracts begin to realize the need to move authoritative elements of the internet architecture outside any one legal jurisdiction, particularly US legal jurisdiction. This has already started to happen with DNS.

The sudden rise of “No Label” politics into the media conscientious is another sign of the times. “No Label” Politics is not radical politics, rather it is a political class that realizes information control requires DoubleThink thought control and that DoubleThink rooted in left-right cultural war cannot cover up the tyranny of information control.

WikiLeaks Watch 12/15/2010

Yesterday, a UK judged reversed the earlier court decision denying bail to Julian Assange. Under the conditions of the granted bail, Assange was required to post around 350K in cash, wear an electric ankle bracelet, and confine himself to the residential estate of Vaughan Smith, the owner of the Frontline Journalist Club that Assange had holed up at before his arrest. However, Swedish authorities appealed the bail reversal which keeps Assange in prison for at least the next 48 hours until the appeal hearing is heard.

Assange’s incarceration has attracted plenty of “celebrity support” that will easily come up with the cash to meet the monetary terms of the bail. Vaughan Smith, “the maverick British establishment,” gives this reason for offering up his digs to Assange:

Having watched him give himself up last week to the British justice system, I took the decision that I would do whatever else it took to ensure that he is not denied his basic rights as a result of the anger of the powerful forces he has enraged…My decision wasn’t any more about whether WikiLeaks was right or wrong, for good or bad. It was about standing up to the bully and the question of whether our country, in these historic times really was the tolerant, independent and open place I had been brought up to believe it was and feel that it needs to be.

The continued zeal being displayed by the Swedish authorities vis a vis the pursuance of these “sexual misconduct” against Assange continues to suggest US influence behind the Swedish prosecution effort. Although many note that the Swedish “sexual misconduct case” against Assange would not even be a “crime” in Britain, it should be pointed out the UK 2003 Extradition Act makes this a moot point. Extradition is now commonplace in Britain, even over trivial matters. The Guardian’s legal affairs editor, Afua Hirsch, points out that just this month, Jacek Jaskolski, a disabled 58-year-old science teacher, was extradited back to Poland over a 10-year old bank overdraft. In Britain, this would be a minor civil issue, but in Poland, bank overdrafts are a criminal issue. So, back to Poland Jaskolski went. The 2003 Extradition Act, of course, is “9-11, anti-terrorism” inspired legislation.

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There are reports that the US government has convened a secret grand jury indictment of Julian Assange. However, as of now, these reports are grounded more in speculation than fact. However, Swedish Authorities, have posted a statement clarifying the the EU legal formalities/requirements it would have to follow if in the extradition of Assange to a non EU country(read: the United States). The gist: the original executing country,Britain,would have to agree to allow Sweden to extradite Assange to the United States.

But, it should be noted that the UK 2003 Extradition Act, in part codifies the US-UK Extradition Treaty of 2003. The US-UK Extradition Treaty 2003 was ratified by the United States Senate in 2006. Britain would be treaty-bound to oblige the US Request for Extradition of Assange from Sweden. Of course, under the same treaty, the US could directly request Britain to extradite Assange into US custody right now. That this has not happened implies that there is no secret US grand jury indictment of Assange as of yet.

The question to be begged, of course, is what US crime Assange would be guilty of? US media apparently is now waking up to the implications if Assange were charged under the 1917 Espionage Act. This would mean any US Newspaper that had published, extracted, or commented on the “classified material” in the leaks would likewise be guilty. More and more politicians are publicly expressing comfort with that exact position and the need for enforcing censorship. Incoming Tea-Partier Allen West is quoted as recently saying:

And I think that we also should be censoring the American news agencies which enabled him to be able to do this and then also supporting him and applauding him for the efforts. So that’s kind of aiding and abetting of a serious crime.”

However, the prospect of turning every American and News Organization that has commented on the contents of WikiLeaks’ leaks into spy, which would be the legal implication if Assange were tried under the 1917 Espionage Act, probably is a bridge too far even for our corrupt political class. So instead, look for new laws next year that will actually do just that, but they won’t apply retroactively. In the meantime, the US is probably searching for ways to grab Julian Assange outside of the the 1917 Espionage Act. I find reports that the US government may be trying to go back to Assange’s days as the hacker, “Mendax,” in seeking him for questioning regarding old cases, that are still under US extradition, regarding breaches of US military networks back in the 90s and early 2000s credible. The US could extradite Assange under the pretext of a “person of interest” for questioning in such matters, detain him, wait for the US legislature to pass new legislation regarding the press and leaked classified information, and when WikiLeaks releases new “leaks” in the aftermath of the passage of such laws, arrest and charge him then. I have no doubt those shitbags in Washington are looking at that as a possible course of action.

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Radical Libertarians have been warning that “GOP Tea Party Libertarianism” was joke and that it portended some negative consequences. WikiLeaks is likely going to end up being the catalyst that demonstrates just how bad of joke it was. I think the influx of these “Tea Party Patriots” into the GOP greatly increases the likelihood that we are going to end up with laws that make publishing, commenting, or supporting Wikileaks material and/or WikiLeaks itself a crime.

These “libertarians” such as Don Boudreaux who think the primary battle is over marginal tax rates are solely mistaken. If you do not understand that libertarianism was birthed from a class critique of a permanent war economy, then you have no true understanding of the libertarian critique of political economy. My advice to these libertarians is to take a break from marginal tax rates for a second to consider the devastating effects of censorship on political economy. And I have to just laugh about the “concern” over the “Debt Commission.” Remind me why any libertarian worth his/her salt should give a rat’s ass about the fiscal stability of a “censorship regime.” WikiLeaks is the battle…

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Glenn Greenwald documents the inhumane treatment of Bradley Manning. Julian Assange, in his persecution by the US Government, has become a global cult of personality of sorts, a celebrity of sorts. And that protects him. But WikiLeaks is nothing without the actual leakers, and the ultimate heroes are people of conscious like Bradley Manning. We fight for Julian Assange to avoid the fate of Bradley Manning, but Bradley manning is already suffering the fate of Bradley Manning. And that fate is torture. The US Government tortures. And Ken Loach, Bianca Jagger, Michael Moore, or Vaughan Smith or not standing vigil over Bradley Manning. And they couldn’t even if they wanted to.

In an old post at Freedom Democrats, I noted that in all this talk about “Going Galt” by Tea Party Patriots, they seemed to have forgotten that John Galt was tortured by the US government in Atlas Shrugged. John Galt was not a “Patriot.” For all this talk about “Going Galt,” the only one in the United States who actually has is Bradley Manning. In that action, there is no political glory, no celebrity…only the utmost misery.

WikiLeaks Watch 12/14/2010

According to Politico, Glenn Greenwald has resigned from the progressive watchdog “Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington” over a recent opinion piece by the group’s chief counsel, Anne Weismann, published in the Huffington Post.

Writes Greenwald in his resignation letter:

The recent condemnation of WikiLeaks by Anne Weismann, purporting to speak on behalf of CREW, is both baffling and unacceptable to me. It is baffling because I cannot fathom how a group purportedly devoted to greater transparency in government could condemn an entity that has brought more transparency to governments and corporations around the world than any single other organization by far. And it is unacceptable to me because I believe defense of WikiLeaks has become one of the greatest and most important political causes that exists — certainly one to which I intend to devote myself — and I do not want to be affiliated with any group which works to undermine it.

I took the opportunity to peruse the piece by Weismann, and it’s just a regurgitation of same oft repeated tripe: Daniel Ellsberg is good; WikiLeaks is bad because it is ideologically motivated. I found this wonderful little piece at FireDogeLake which makes use a scene in Woody Allen’s Annie Hall to drive home an obvious point. In that scene, Allen, while standing in for movie tickets, humorously breaks out of the camera subjective narrative mode to produce Marshall McLuhan from behind a movie poster to shut up a “Marshall McLuhan know-it-all bloviator” in the movie line that was irritating Allen. After McLuhan denounced the man as an idiot and fool who knew nothing of his work, Allen sighs to the camera: “Boy, if life were only like this.” But as the author of the FireDogLake piece points out, in this case, real life is like this. Daniel Ellsberg is all over the place making it clearly and passionately known that he considers WikiLeaks to be in the same vein as the Pentagon Papers. So rather than Weismann on Ellsberg, how about Ellsberg on Ellsberg…

This talking point of “ideological motivations” is silly. Most journalistic organizations mix opinion journalism with investigative journalism. They all have their editorial pages. The last time I checked, the New York Times had one, too.

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Forbes has interesting piece that discusses the “WikiLeaks’ Copycats” that are now springing up. In an older piece, I argued that if the WikiLeaks’ political hack proved resilient, there would be competing firms who would soon enter this space.

From Forbes:

If even a fraction of the leaking sites that are beginning to surface prove credible and secure, then WikiLeaks may end up having an even larger impact than the government- and business-shaking leaks it’s already revealed; It may have planted the seeds for an entire new generation of secret-spilling sites.

I’m reminded of the shilling of Establishment media that the internet had effectively rendered “news” a “public good” that thusly necessitated a “public subsidy.” It was a bad idea when this talking point started making the rounds, and, if anything, WikiLeaks serves to reinforce just how bad this idea is(making a mockery of the “reassurance” that “subsidy” won’t compromise the independence of reporting, opinion and investigative). But an underlying concept that people perhaps will begin to pick up on, a concept that I discussed in this post, WikiLeaks: The Revolutionary as Entrepreneur, is that document-sourced journalism is an entrepreneurial space. WikiLeaks destroys the argument that the internet has made “news” a “public good” that therefore requires it to be government subsidized if we are going to have a “public service” of investigative reporting. Nonsense. WikiLeaks is the “free-market” solution that resolves this supposed “dilemma.” A fully populated entrepreneurial space of document-sourced journalism will open up plenty of new entrepreneurial avenues for traditional journalistic organizations as well and keep them plenty busy.

In this sense, this goes back to the question of old-school French Laissez-Faire with regard to political economy: the Bureaucrat vs the Entrepreneur. The bureaucrat or the entrepreneur serving the role as effective regulator. The “bureaucratic solution” is to strengthen espionage laws against free speech, pass new “transparency legislation,” and subsidize news organizations. The Entrepreneurial solution is an “unfettered free market” in document-sourced journalism.

Which do you think is the better solution?

WikiLeaks Watch 12/12/2010

I’m going to start writing all my Wikileaks posts under the the Heading “WikiLeaks Watch,” and I will create a new page tab that will serve as a central repository for all the WikiLeaks related posts for easy access. My observations stem from a perspective of radical politics and a background in coding, IT and an early youth spent with a fair amount of dabbling in the 1337 art of a hax0r. Take them for what their worth…

Status of the Wikileaks Official Mirrors
Since EveryDNS removed it’s zone file from the Wikileaks.org domain from it’s DNS servers, I’ve been running daily dig traces for wikileaks against all the TLDs and have basically established that there are 5 geographical provders: One in Sweden, one in Germany, one in the Netherlands, and one in France. The French provider was at one time down, but now it is back up. The downtime of the French provider that started last Saturday was explainable by the threats of the French government the preceding Friday. However, since then, it appears the the hosting provider sought legal clarification from a French Court, or is in the process of doing so, and has resumed hosting services.

The 5th is in Russia, and unlike the other four which are operating under legal protection, the Russian provider might be an example of so-called “Bullet-Proof Hosting,” which means that “terms of service contracts” are usually pretty much void of any jurisdictional legal compliance language.

Assange and WikiLeaks have issued statements in essence “condemning” the Anoymous DDoS attacks. I think Wikileaks “feigned ignorance” on this topic is bit suspect since Wikileaks.org is now redirecting to a site hosted by HEIHACHI LTD, which was the same provider hosting anonops.net before that domain went into it’s own DNS black hole.

Hactivism DDoS Attacks
The original issue of WikiLeaks being subjected to DDoS coordinated attacks remains cloudy. DDoS is a coordinated BotNet bandwidth attack against a target network. A BotNet is usually comprised of compromised machines infected with malicious software. This things are almost always used toward a “criminal end,” and that criminal end is almost always “spam.” Reports of DDoS attacks on Wikileaks were likely just lone “patriot Hackers” using an exploit tool based on the “Slowloris” exploit that attacks Web Servers at the application and transport layers. This a DoS attack, not a DDoS attack; it can be carried by a single attacker. EveryDNS claimed it was hit with a series of DDoS attacks. This was the rationale for deleting the wikileaks.org zone file from it’s Name Servers. As of now, this attack has not been replicated against any other wikileaks DNS providers. And I’m still waiting on the status of the criminal investigation that should have ensued with respect to the EveryDNS DDoS. If there was a coordinated DDoS attack against EveryDNS, there would be a criminal investigation.

Meanwhile, a Hactivist Group, “Anonymous,” in response to actions taken by Amazon, PayPal, Visa and MasterCard took time off from their jihad against Scientology and the RIAA to launch actual DDoS attacks against the offenders. These were actual BotNet attacks, but they were “voluntary Bot Nets.” The execution of this attack was to distribute a software tool from their website that anyone could download and knowingly and voluntarily become part of a BotNet. Then the participants would gather on the “Anonymous” IRC channels to decide what targets to hit, with willing participants using the software to synchronize a temporary BotNet attack against a target. In this way, DDoS attacks were carried against a number of targets.

The AnonOps website, anonops.net, essentially disappeared into a DNS black hole. A NsLookup querying the .net TLD servers returns a NameError authoritative response, which means the domain does not exist. But whois query on the registrar, enon, returns 4 name servers(dns1.registrar-servers.com, dns2…,dns3…,dns4…). A Nslookup against these name servers returns an answer record with an authoritative response. For fun, we can do a whois query directly against whois.verisign-grs.com and get back no name servers for this domain. This all implies that the .net TLD zone file for anonops.net domain has been removed. More VeriSign shenanigans? Or is this the result of actions taken by the registrar? The A record returned from querying enon’s name servers points to a non-configured web host via a provider in the Netherlands. The old anonops.net IP, 92.241.190.94, which pointed to HEIHACHI LTD, simply times out with respect to any http request. Frankly, I’m not sure who is actually at the root of being responsible for this domain being sucked into a black hole.

In any event, it looks like AnonyMous has reorganized around anonops.eu. And it may have been premature to declare the DDoS attacks over. My opinion of these attacks? They are fucking counter-productive for the following reasons:

(1) It is my understanding that the software tool used to coordinate the participants into a BotNet attack tool doesn’t actually mask the participant IP Addresses. So if you participate, you might expect a visit from your government

(2) It’s useless as a civil disobedience tool because it has no hope of changing politics or political economy. In fact, it only serves to strengthen such. These things only serve to provide cover and impetus for “Internet Kill Switch” bills which are nothing more than a pretext for oligarchical control of the internet. These attacks are the equivalent of “anarchist bomb throwing.” They don’t work; they never will work.

Julian Assange’s Legal Status
The US Justice Department has now declared that Assange’s political motives preclude him fro being treated as a journalist and Wikileaks as a journalist organization. No Fucking surprise there. Last summer, this is exactly what I warned they would do in excoriating brain-dead “beltway libertarians” for having their heads up the asses of the Washington Media Class.

The question is would the US Government actually do it: extradite Julian Assange to the US for prosecution under the pretext of espionage? The Assange legal team seems to think so. I’m not sure the US Government, if the chips are down, are willing to go that far. It would constitute a “lifting of the mask moment.” Yes, a majority of Americans would likely approve of it, but a not no insignificant minority of Americans would view it as an act of tyranny. Of course, the rest of the world, sans their political classes, would almost unanimously view the US a fascist, oligarchical power. The pretense of the liberal American world order would be gone. The legal ramifications on speech in the United States would be such that you would see a more and more severing of Political Economy from empirical reality; Political Economy would become subsumed in a cesspool of DoubleThink. This, of course, would be utter corruption.

If you wanted a return of radical politics in America, this would do it. But, then again, you would have the bright future of ubiquitous DHS screens installed virtually in every public place, including places of commerce, warning us to be on the look out not only for “suspicious Behavior,” but “bad behavior,” complainers, those complaining about the price of bread or politicians, or whatever.

The Real War–The Political Economy of Planning Against Competition
I always cringe when an often quoted line is parroted: “The government invented the internet.” That’s not true. But is true to say that the totality of what we would call the internet is built, in large, from a joint “public-private partnership.” The reason an Open Systems Interconnection model built over a packet-switched network became so predominate is because this joint “public-private partnership” was “open.” In the language of Hayek, we would say this cooperative process was “planning for competition.” But it has always been out there that this joint “public-private partnership” would eventually turn toward “planning against competition.” A point I keep making is that while the 32bit internet(IPV4) has been a powerful instrument of individualism, the 64-bit internet(IPV6) risks being a powerful instrument of collectivism because the “public-private partnership” with respect to the ongoing development of the latter hasn’t been quite so “open,” and the planning has tilted more and more toward “planning against competition.”

Wikileaks is important because imagine such a political economy where speech criticizing political corruption is criminalized…

Updated Notes on WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks has changed the authoritative name server info for wikileaks.org at their registrar, Dynadot. They are now using Dynadot’s name servers–ns1.dynadot.com, ns1.dynadot.com–as authoritative for the Domain.

A Dig trace on wikileaks.org now returns an IP Address of 208.165.55.20, which is an address a Dynadot web host(It should be noted that the actual Datacenter provider is Silicon Valley Web Hosting, which is located in Southern California). The Dynadot web host, however, is not actually hosting the wikileaks web site; it’s been configured to redirect requests for wikileaks.org to mirror.wikileaks.info, which is actually being hosted by Heihachi LTD in Russia. This actually the same hosting provider that was hosting anonops.net(Operation Payback) before it was shut down yesterday.

Speaking of “Anonymous,” Operation Payback is now over. In it’s stead is a new operation, “Operation LeakSpin,” which calls on hackers to become investigative journalists using Document-Sourced Journalism as their sources. The Hactivist DDoS attacks are done…

A final note on Julian Assange. His portrayal by American Media as a desperado on the run doesn’t play out with the facts. It turns out Assange was hiding out at the Frontline Journalist’s Club in London, yukking it up nightly over drinks with London’s best gumshoe reporters. No one gave him up. The notion that Assange is despised by the Journalistic Class only holds true for the Corporate American Media.

WikiLeaks: The Revolutionary as Entrepreneur

It’s fascinating witnessing the evolution of WikiLeaks from a “user-editable wiki site” to perhaps the greatest libertarian/anarchist challenge to the legitimacy of the State since the latter half of the 19th century. This transformation occurred when WikiLeaks effectively changed it’s editorial/publication model from “wiki” to one relying more on traditional media. The reasons for this “editorial policy change” were essentially two-fold:

(1) Leaked documents(Document-sourced Journalism), to have any impact, to gain any notice, required editorial context. The social wiki media platform was failing to provide this context. The Blogosphere was great at advancing/dissecting/spreading/mediating content that already had editorial context, but it was a poor resource for providing this type of context from a leaked document repository. In short, one could say, the blogopshere was great at “opinion journalism” but not so great at “investigative journalism.”

(2) The sheer volume of documents taxed the editorial capacity of the Assange WikiLeaks Team. Thus they turned to various traditional international journalistic organizations to provide the manpower and expertise to aid in editorially reviewing the documents. This in turn resulted in these organizations being the primary distributor of the “news” from the leaks, although one could still retrieve the documents, usually in a “rawer” form, from the WikiLeaks website.

The WikiLeaks “editorial policy change,” in combination with the fact the target of these leaks since the change has been the US Government, has resulted in the explosion of Wikileaks into the global socio-political conscious. From the perspective of the US Government, WikiLeaks is now seen as a threat to it’s legitimacy and it’s effective functioning. Sides are now being drawn up, with battle cries: “The first serious infowar is now engaged. The field of battle is WikiLeaks. You are now the troops.” What this means is that this is the first serious war of the Political Class against the Political Economy of the Internet.

Last summer, I wrote a number of posts about WikiLeaks.
Contra Reason.com, Wikileaks is very much a Journalistic Organization
Michael Moynihan’s Continued Flawed Logic Concerning Wikileaks
Contra Center for a Stateless Society, Wikileaks cannot be easily replaced
No Fallacy of Composition

The underlying theme of those posts was that Wikileaks was type of Entrepreneurial New “New Journalism” model built over a political hack. There were two strains of criticism being directed: one was at elements of the Reason/Cato who are offended by any serious ideological challenge to the Status Quo; the other was directed at a strain of technological triumphalism within elements of the anarchist community(those who were discounting the political hack).

But now, however, the motivations of Assange and WikiLeaks have become pretty clear. There is no more need for speculation. We can piece it together from three sources. His recently discovered manifesto, The State as an Authoritarian Conspiracy, his particularly enlightening Forbes Interview, and his Guardian Live Chat Transcript.

WikiLeaks is a destroyer of political economy while being an enabler, a regulator, or a liberator, if you will, of market economy. You can call Assange a “transparency activist,” but it’s clear that he views political systems and market systems reacting very differently to transparency. Assange’s manifesto of The State as an Authoritarian Conspiracy certainly fits into the radical libertarian tradition. His identification as “market libertarian” in the American tradition would place him in the individualist tradition within libertarianism. His economic analysis of “free” speech in the Guardian:

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

would classify him more within the American left-libertarian tradition.

The Forbes interview indicates that Assange’s WikiLeaks activism is not really motivated by his hacker days, but rather by his experience as an ISP Entrepreneur in Australia. His refusal to bend to government/corporate/religious censorship pressure created a niche market for his company. There was a demand out there for censorship evasion, and that demand found his company. This was an entrepreneur opportunity. In this sense, you can see how WikiLeaks, as viewed by Assange, is an entrepreneurial venture meeting a demand for transparency. This is why I continue to laugh at elephant balls lickers like Michael Moynihan. He just doesn’t get it. He’s a journalist with zero document leak sources parroting the same “ho-hum” line of a litany of establishment journalists who likewise don’t have document leak sources about an organization who is quite effectively meeting an entrepreneurial demand for transparency. One should care about Michael Moynihan’s opinion of WikiLeaks about as much as one should care about Larry Ellison’s(read: Java) opinion about the Apple iPhone. You are not a player; who cares about who you think should be a player.

There is another line of criticism now coming from the political class and it’s apologists, now that they finally figured out what’s going on. Typical of this would be this recent article in the Economist. This basic train of thought is that the WikiLeaks political hack makes it unaccountable to democratic institutions. Another way it is expressed is that no one voted for Julian Assange. The basic rejoinder here is that someone did vote for the laws that protect Julian Assange in each instance. And, in terms of “liberal Democracies,” he’s actually not breaking any laws. The political hack is not so much cherry-picking laws from jurisdictions to create some sort of international tapestry of legal protection outside the jurisdiction of any one State, but rather more of a hack of playing competing legal jurisdictions off one another to protect itself from ex post legal interpretations or legal changes for prosecution by any one jurisdiction. This makes it more of a political hack than a legal hack.

The more advanced rejoinder to the Economist is that liberal institutionalism hasn’t solved the problem of Political Class accountability. If you are worried about the integrity of liberalism, I would start with an Ex-American President going around bragging about torture. If the devil’s greatest trick is thinking that voting brings accountability to liberalism, then consider Assange to be Shakespeare’s Falstaff to Dante’s Devine Comedy. The whole world bears witness to the unaccountability of political leaders and the political class while the establishment grapples with how to make an anarchist accountable to this same system. An entrepreneurial opportunity, indeed…

WikiLeaks: The State of the InfoWar

At the time of this writing, Wikileaks.org is no longer resolvable. A simple dig trace query on wikileaks.org returns a connection timeout for all 4 name servers(ns1.everydns.net,ns2.everydns.net,ns3.everydns.net,ns4.everydns.net) listed as authoritative for the wikileaks domain. From this press release by EveryDNS , it’s quite evident that the explanation for the connection timeouts is that EveryDNS has removed it’s zone file for the wikileaks.org domain from it’s DNS servers. The auspices of this action taken by EveryDNS is that DDoS attacks against it’s network constituted an effective violation by Wikileaks of EveryDNS.net Acceptable Use Policy. In general, this would be a bit of bullshit. Network providers, in response to attacks, don’t kick off clients/members. They fix/patch the vulnerability, if the attack is the result of exploiting a vulnerability in a server daemon(in which case, it would be a simple DoS attack), or, if the attack is an actual DDoS attack, the network engineers take steps to mitigate or thwart the attack. Any Network/Data Center worth it’s salt should have the architecture/redundancy/policies in place to defend against DDoS attacks. It’s not like EveryDNS hasn’t experienced these types of attacks in the past and haven’t implemented measures to defend against them. They have. However, without knowing the log file data of the volume of traffic (in gigabytes), it’s mere speculation whether EveryDNS was actually experiencing DDoS attacks and who might be behind them. One thing to note, however, is that so-called “White Hat Hactivists” are not behind any DDoS attacks. They may engage in DoS attacks by using an automated software tool to attack vulnerabilities/flaws in server daemons such as httpd, but to execute an actual DDoS attack requires control over a shitload of compromised nodes/hosts/devices acting in unison. This would make thusly make them “blackhats” and criminals. “Law Enforcement” is always called in to investigate when any of these attacks succeed in threatening the integrity of an attacked network. So, at this point, there should be pressure put on EveryDNS to provide updated status on the joint investigation with “Law Enforcement” vis a vis the culprits and methods behind these attacks.

Now, all that being said, it should be pointed that Wikileaks could restore the wikileaks.org domain by merely updating the authoritative name servers data with Dynadot, which is the Registrar. As of yet, the have not done this. And dig queries of wikileaks.ch,wikileaks.de and wikileaks.nl suggests WikiLeaks may be playing a bit of game. Let’s look at wikileaks.ch. The press is reporting that the Swiss Pirate Party, which is the registrant for this domain, has secured hosting through Switch, a non-profit registrar set up by the Swiss government. But that’s not actually the case. A dig trace query of wikileaks.ch reveals that the name servers for the .ch TLD pointing to the following name servers for wikileaks.ch:

dns1.syshack.org
dns2.syshack.org
ns1.buzzernet.net
ns1.pcdog.ch
ns1.swebflex.ch
ns2.pcdog.ch
ns2.swebflex.ch
ns3.pcdog.ch
ns4.pcdog.ch
s2.s3cr3t.de

As of Saturday, these name servers were returning a A Host Record for the website with IP 213.251.145.96. This is actually being hosted by ICONEWEB MULTIMEDIA in France. However, as of Saturday evening, this host has been down for some time.

If we do a Dig trace on wikileaks.nl, we get back name servers:
ns1-auth.rollernet.us
ns2-auth.rollernet.us

which return a A host record with IP Address: 46.59.1.2. This is being hosted in Sweden. This is up and running.

If we do a Dig trace on wikileaks.de, we find that the address translation is actually being handled by the .de TLD servers. This returns a A host record with IP Address: 88.80.13.160. This is being hosted by PRQ INET – ACCESS in Sweden as well. This is up and running.

To me, it’s fairly clear that WikiLeaks is playing a demonstrative game testing which countries are protecting free speech and which are not. Pointing the wikileals.ch domain to a web host in France was not meant to serve as a reliable “mirror” for Wikileaks but rather to demonstrate the state of political economy in France. The DDoS attacks against EveryDNS, apparently, haven’t made their way to disrupting the functioning DNS resolutions of wikileaks under country code TLDs. Surely,a motivated Black Hat hacker group who controls a zombie list of compromised nodes/hosts can figure who next to attack. Not to mention that the authoritative name servers for wikileaks.nl, auth.rollernet.us. are actually located in Texas. My suggestion is that the only DDoS when it comes to wikileaks is DPDoS, which is “Distributed Political Denial of Service.”

Another point that is important to keep in mind is that the actual technical heart of Wikileaks is it’s “secure document network” which has nothing to do with the website. This is the network from which Assange and his editorial team access the “raw documents” over a secure VPN connection. In terms of any intelligence “info war” by the US government against Wikileaks, this would be the actual target. The website itself has ceased being a front end for document submissions for some time due to “document overload” in the queue; and document distribution of “editorially reviewed” documents from wikileaks itself has become more reliant on p2p torrent distribution, while much of the public awareness of these documents is coming from traditional media releases, given that Wikileaks has changed it’s editorial policy to rely to some extent on certain segments of traditional western media to supply the expertise and manpower in analyzing these documents for release.

Now I do expect WikiLeaks in the near future to handle restoring the wikileaks.org domain. They could do it now; but the “unavailability” of the domain, for now, serves a political propaganda purpose. For those who continue to maintain that WikiLeaks is merely “Ho-Hum” are utterly brain dead. These leaks expose new damning information, confirm speculations, and, in the end, most of all, document the “entrails of US Empire.” However, even greater, the most damning information is the reaction of the US political class to WikiLeaks. At this point the idea of the internet under US Political control should be as frightening as if it were controlled by China. The Political Class/Corporate nexus of American Power has been laid bare for all to see. And it’s a sorry sight watching Silicon Valley Techno optimism, in the end, subsumed by Corporatism.

George Lucas gave us Padmé Amidala declaring “liberty ends with thunderous applause.” Not quite…In America it ends with Eula and Acceptable Policy Use Agreements…