Time, of all places, has some sanity about Wikileaks. Here’s Fareed Zakaria, and here’s the cover story. Both point out that a big part of the issue is stamping too many things “Secret” and distributing access to these secrets too broadly. Zakaria, like Fred Kaplan earlier this week, thinks that what’s been released so far is mostly evidence of competent diplomacy.
Here’s how a real news organization should react to Amazon’s decision to shut down Wikileaks.
For all the drama surrounding Wikileaks, have they actually revealed any earth-shattering information? The whole thing feels like feed-the-beast theater.
I think the big crackdown all of a sudden is because of the planned leak of big bank information. They are most likely behind the major push to silence wikileaks.
Assange needs to buy himself a Judith Miller mask, come up with some ironic names for his sources, and throw a few egregious lies into his interviews. Fred Hiatt, Bill Keller and the rest of the gang will be hiring lawyers for him and sending care packages of cocktail weenies to him in no time.
The issue is that competent diplomacy is ugly. Diplomats should be able to expect privacy in their backroom dealings.
I especially appreciate Zakaria’s take on the situation with Iran. This leak may have actually helped things in that region. Israel and Saudi Arabia have common cause? There may be hope for humanity after all.
@jomo: Have these memos revealed personal privacy issues? I have to admit that I have only read about 30 of the cables, but they all appear to be related to stuff related to their jobs as state department officials, which includes meeting with people and reporting back what they talked about. Also weddings in Dagestan sound wild. And yes there is some editorializing….Prince Andrew however might have been “cocky” that day, laughing at the laws certain countries have against bribery. And some of the cables contain wrong predictions…Robert Mugabe seems to still be in power 4 years after ambassador Dell predicted his imminent fall. But these aren’t the contents of said ambassador’s talk with her children.
Well, perhaps those same diplomats shouldn’t yack and gossip like junior high school “Mean Girls” in a manner that they leave tracks. And if you read the Time article in the link, you can see why the security of “secret” data is a complete clusterfuck. Slapping “secret” on damn near every communication and then giving hundreds of thousands of people access to that data is asking for it to be leaked.
We’re all the Marx Brothers.
Same old same old…
They are all playing along to Assange’s predictions. I wonder why govts all react so predictably stupid.
One of the worst things that’s happened because of this brouhaha is that the Library of Congress has decided to deny access to Wikileaks to its patrons – a truly horrible precedent. Libraries should not be in the business of deciding what information their users should use.
@WyldPirate: Exactly. I’m not really familiar with the varying levels of security on these things: “sort of secret, sometimes secret, secret, top secret, really really top secret” and so forth, but they seem as silly and ineffective as the color coded system of terror alerts we mocked for so many years. If something really deserves to be kept secret, you would think our computer geniuses in the state department could figure out how to make it happen.
mm: i would be a bit cautious about using RSF as a model.
@Stephen1947: not to fear–instead of “dangerous and illegal reading material” everyone will be given an iphone, free porn and a foam finger saying USA #1, so it’s all good.
@cathyx: I think you’re right. Exposure of government yackety-yaks is one thing. Exposure of banking racketeers is quite another.
God Bless And Protect Wikipedia.
See 9/11 Osama Bin Laden, et al, etc.
@Corner Stone: you are correct.
Assange’s mission statement is readily available here in Aaron Bady’s analysis that Cole linked.
Praps Fareed could read it.
Assange is field testing a closed information system killer. That is why the 250k diplo cables are being being dribbled out 1 per hour. Only about 625 have been released so far.
If you want an organic analogy, Assange is giving the closed information systems of the world’s governemnts a paranoia infection.
It is an OODA loop petrifier.
Any government that has nothing to hide, will be unaffected.
It is pretty genius.
I dont know if it will work, but it is orders of magnitude more sophisticated than merely outing diplomats trash talking other countries.
@Josie: all the diplo cables are CONFIDENTIAL. Anyone with either CONFIDENTIAL or SECRET access could have taken them off the SIPRnet.
It is a real problem. In the main Time article, this one paragraph illustrates both the crux of the secrecy problem and why it is going to be difficult to rein it in:
As I read about this Wikileaks controversy and about Assange, the more I am slipping towards agreeing with some of the things motoko_chan goes on about. Our government has become an lumbering, ineffectual paranoid giant that makes life unnecessarily miserable for too many people inside its borders and especially outside out borders.
The US government needs some light shined on some of the crevices where it hides things from the governed. And the cockroaches will start scurrying when that light hits them as it should. Hopefully some of the roaches will get stomped in the process.
Again, sloppy writing as evidence of sloppy thinking.
Amazon chose to stop doing business with a customer that was putting its entire infrastructure under threat. An entirely rational business decision given how critical a reliable infrastructure is to Amazon’s core business. They have every right to do that under their hosting agreement.
Wikileaks was free to take its business elsewhere, and did so.
The first amendment is not implicated in any way, as Amazon is not a state actor.
Your bias is showing.
The puppets are only doing what the puppet masters direct. The US of A is a banana republic. Brazil and Argentina laugh at us.
@WyldPirate: it is not an over-classification problem. All the diplo cables are max CONFIDENTIAL.
Assange is not specifically targetting the US– he just had an initial leak source in the US system.
He hopes to make a thousand leaks bloom in all the closed information systems in the world……including banks i suspect.
Assange has also apparently planted easter eggs in a variety of locations to further his thesis.
The banality of the majority of the cables we’ve seen to date is not the point. People who say “we all already knew this, amirite?” are completely in a bubble about what is going on.
I purely love Julian Assange and Wikileaks.
They fill me with Joy.
I’m glad you keep rotating the perspectives on this topic in front page posts here. IMO, it’s important to continue revealing to people how this issue is more important than fixating on the distraction of “Assange”.
@Corner Stone: yup. the question is, will it work?
will the US become a police state while trying to stop the OODA loop killer? the autoimmune defenses of the closed information system:US are remarkably similiar to Chinas approach to network connectivity.
@burnspbesq: as is yours. to write that this is nothing more than a business issue disingenuously redacts any fact about the matter deemed inconvenient to the organized entities of the State.
@Corner Stone: Assange is the important topic, but the focus on him is part of his design. Like i said, he is field testing a closed information system killer. Everything he is doing is planned kabuki. He is a lightening rod AND playing the
fedskeystone cops for MAXIMIZE EXPOSURE.
He is a stealth barracuda playing a clown fish.
And a lot of you dumb cudlips like Sooner and Burn fell for it.
@Corner Stone: agreed; thanks mm.
@matoko_chan: yes, it is interesting to see how it plays out in the wild. at the moment, while the correspondence with theory so far seems impressive, i expect that the longer this goes on the more likely it is that some other, unanticipated variable may come into play. note i said may, not must.
Speaking of Wikileaks, I liked this question from former diplomat JAnthony during this interview with Assange?
Characteristically Assange refuses to answer this, for me, troubling and important question,
with IMHO a pathetically lame excuse.
Once again I understand the antiwar stuff.
I have no problems with the corporate stuff.
But I have deep concerns about the attack on diplomatic privilege.
I have no problems with diplomats having a quiet, secure, not-for-publication, backchannel.
Even if 90% of the traffic is gossip.
Sometimes the gossip can turn out to be important too.
Sometimes people don’t realize it till later.
It looks like the US gov is looking to try to make it work, m_c.
Major Defense Contractor Blocks Anything With ‘WikiLeaks’ In URL
White House Tells All Federal Agencies To Prohibit Unauthorized Employees From Wikileaks Site:
The Library of Congress also blocked access to Wikileaks on its public access computers TPM reported yesterday. That’s a reasonably big deal if you know how librarians feel about information access.
I find it sort of creepy and China-like in a way that it bled over to the Defense contractors. What the fuck is next, will the government twist the arms of universities that accept government funding to block wikileaks from their systems?
The focus on Assange may be by his design, and the govt is certainly playing along to script. But that does not mean we as the consuming/interactive audience should be so foolish as to also waste our time focusing on Assange.
@THE: Ha! It’s interesting you quoted the question in full length but failed to quote Assange’s brief answer and merely used your editorial power to summarize it as “pathetically lame”.
I agreed with Assange’s response. Ask the question you want answered, don’t propagandize for your cause.
Dont you think…..that Wikileaks has clones and mirror sites and this a planned event?
that swiss mirror was there ALL ALONG. wikileaks is only pretending that ANY fed countermeasures are effective.
the 2 hour delay was a spoof to let the feds think they might be able to actually do something. Amazon was an easter egg.
meanwhile the diplo cables drip drip drip paranoia infection into the systems OODA loops.
@Corner Stone: yup….we should be analyzing if the field test is working.
We should be doing DT&E analysis on the closed information system killer that IS RUNNING RIGHT NOW.
Can we do that?
nah. cudlips don’t roll that way.
I don’t get why the Powers That Be are hyperventilating about this when the previous White House blew a CIA agent’s cover. Seriously, has Wikileaks done anything close to what Karl Rove has done?
I thought it was important to read the question in full.
I wanted to tell you my thoughts.
I linked it so you can look it up yourself in the full context of the interview.
You disagree with me fine.
matoko_chan’s love letters to Assange sound like a preteen girl gushing about how Justin Biener or Hanson is going to change the face of music to anyone else?
@THE: wallah have you read NOTHING i said? it is not an attack on diplomatic privilege.
it is a paranoia infection, part of a closed information system killer that Assange is field testing.
And i think its working.
@THE: I do disagree with you. I also have read every question and answer published at the link.
It doesn’t surprise me he answers every question with an informational and IMO relevant response except for the one you quoted.
read the link…..if you can.
b-sides, im lissening to Oceana today…im trying to atone for my joyous Ke$ha dancelink of yest.
@WyldPirate: yup, and cleared employees have recieved threat mail telling them they will lose their tickets if they access Wikileaks.
so stupid, so predictable.
Assange is 10 hops out, already in their base, killin’ their doodz.
@THE: I really love how some guy getting hold of diplomatic cables and giving them to Wikileaks is Assange’s fault. If there were no Wikilieaks, the guy never would have stolen the cables, right? No one else in the military or diplomatic corps would have gotten these cables and given them to say, China or Iran, right? This is a problem only because Wikileaks exists.
That’s not a question, that’s a lecture.
@matoko_chan: What I’m saying is that your short term affection for the man’s work is blinding you to how he’s not really as revolutionary as you think he is, and causing you to treat him as having great historical importance before anything actually happens.
I am also saying that it really, really sounds like he makes you feel funny in your Uh-oh Zone.
Actually, it was a dick move, that answer.
that might activate Assanges fifth column.
In ALL universities today( except BYU and Oral Roberts and their ilk) Hacking 101 is on the curriculum, hacker teams compete, and Assange is a hero.
University of Mich won the DAARPA competiton this year– had control in 36 hours.
@arguingwithsignposts: I disagree. JAnthony was getting off on wagging his figure at Assange, and propagandizing at the same time.
Just ask the question.
The US government has asked him to return the stolen documents.
It has asked him not to publish.
So yes the decision to ignore those requests is his responsibility.
It was also establishing bona fides. The question was legitimate. FWIW, there was editorializing in other questions as well.
@Peter: it is a brilliant and elegant design. so far it is working.
it is a New Paradigm and very third culture.
what’s not to love?
you sound jealous.
@arguingwithsignposts: We’re going to have to disagree on this. Because not only was JAnthony propagandizing what could have been an otherwise legitimate q&a, but THE’s purpose of posting the question here was also further propaganda.
And the sole reason JAnthony asked the question the way he did in that forum.
If the entire question had been, “If something goes balls up diplomatically due to lack of secure communication, then are you to blame for it?”, then it could have been asked by anyone. No need to be a former diplomat to ask that.
Would we have received an answer to that brief question? I don’t know.
@THE: but the US gov CAN’T STOP HIM.
they couldnt stop the Iraq release, they couldnt stop the diplo cables.
the “unipolar power” got pwned.
and Assange is running them RIGHT NAOW.
meanwhile the OODA loop killer is quietly humming along.
@THE: Because China or Iran would have returned the cables if the US asked?
Again, the USA’s security problems are not Assange’s fault. If the government is upset that somebody stole information, it needs to work on better security procedures. If Assange had in given the cables back, the next person to steal docs would just give them to someone else who would actually publish them or otherwise use them against us.
Certainly I agree with this.
I guess so. I am not responding at all to THE’s purposes here, just the fact that he didn’t answer. And, fwiw, Assange is propagandizing as well, so it’s not like it’s a one way street.
It was a dick move. that’s my take. People in chats, in press conferences, etc. ask questions all the time like that. In this instance, Assange was no better than a GOP hack in his response.
@matoko_chan: You don’t know that it’s working, though. As you keep saying over and over, trying to bring down the idea of government secrecy through continuous leaks isn’t something that’s been tried before. You have no idea if it’s working and further, no idea what it would look like if it was. Especially since the game Assange is supposedly playing is a very long one, so short-term results mean jack shot fucking squat.
Your constant verbal fellatio is just you finding somethin that feels like it confirms your pre-decided opinion, and trumpeting it as the drums of revolution.
@arguingwithsignposts: LOOK! SQUIRREL!
AMG u guyz are DUMB!
@Peter: wyld and i both gave empirical evidence that it is working. Aaron Bady says in the article i linked Assanges strat has results already.
i repeat…..are you jealous?
or just retarded?
keep fucking that chicken.
@matoko_chan: Read my last paragraph again, and consider how it applies to you and WyldPirate’s life. And then remember that WyldPirate is a moron who has never had anything meaningful to contribute in his life.
@arguingwithsignposts: keep on being a cudlip.
LOOK! A SQUIRREL!
dumbass, Assange is playing you. along with the
@Peter: dumbass i already SAID i dont know if the OODA loop killer will work.
you sound both retarded and jealous……do i know you?
You may be right. Perhaps we have to draw appropriate conclusions from that.
Certainly Wikileaks has raised the stakes on secret information to an enormously higher level.
It has demonstrated what is technologically possible.
Actually I am less worried about the current leaks (so far) than I am about what even worse stuff could happen in the future.
We may have to change all sorts of things.
The security procedures are only part of it.
It occurs to me that if you follow the argument through to its worse-case-scenarios. Perhaps the open global internet will now seem too dangerous to tolerate, for many countries.
e.g. I could imagine many more countries, but perhaps not the United States, installing national firewalls to restrict the flow of information.
In some ways the first casualty may be the Internet itself.
@matoko_chan: And yet you keep fellating him and prematurely declaring that it’s working and insisting people talk about him like some great social revolutionary.
Can't Be Bothered
First off, 90% of the talking in here is from two people. That’s funny. Assange’s refusal to answer the question from THE’s link shows that he’s unwilling to answer difficult question. Full stop. I’m sorry if he got his fee fees hurt by the context, but I saw a lot of preamble to the other questions that didn’t question how awesome he was.
This is patently absurd. Having diplomatic cables getting in to the hands of people who frankly know already what the meat grinder looks like and having it exposed to EVERYONE is orders of magnitude different. Anyone who thinks this PARTICULAR dump is not a full frontal assault on the ability of diplomats to operate is frankly brain dead. It’s mind numbingly stupid to attack the one foreign policy tool that governments employ that does good in the world.
“Everything’s actually totally okay. Don’t worry about anything.” –every “story” by Fareed Zakaria
Can I use this?
Consider it stolen.
Julian Assange owns, by the way, and Wikileaks is more or less doing the job our media has abandoned, all while under the vicious assault of the United States government.
That we don’t have to pay for it is even better – it’s damn near miraculous, in fact.
What I don’t know is: when did we got so stupid in this country that we’re no longer eager to gain any advantage in the balance of power between us and our government, no matter which party is in charge of it?
Instead, we’ve actually become something I never thought America would be: a country that begs its abusive caretakers to beat us, lie to us, and attack the people trying to help us.
@Peter: but he is a great social revolutionary. he is the Crown Prince of Hacktivism.
what is the matter with you?
im a brains groupie.
I do have to agree that so far, Wikileaks has giddily danced all over the pathetic attempts of a national government to control a global medium, and to conceal information that almost everyone on Earth has a vested interest in knowing (whether they realize it or not).
Understand that the upper levels of the State Department are your enemy as much as your friend as an American. They purportedly serve your interests, but in doing so, they constantly pursue policies and lines of reasoning that you would find reprehensible – because they are cloistered elites with inflated senses of self-worth.
It is a war – has always been a war – between you and your government for information, and the media will only help you if it’s forced to do so.
This is how we got into Iraq, if you wondered.
@Corner Stone: Go ahead, but you should probably know before you do that it was supposed to be ‘jack shit fucking squat’ before my phone’s autocorrect mangled it.
@matoko_chan: Why should I elaborate further on my point when you’ve made it for me so eloquently?
While I can’t subscribe to all of your ideas, I do find it weird how so much of the Left in America is affecting this blasé, so-what, none-of-this-matters attitude to the greatest victory of freedom of information, perhaps, in the history of the country.
I wonder – is it that hard to admit that we need help in the struggle against our government’s interests? After we literally invaded an entire country the last time the government beat us with information disparity?
@Peter: i guess you should know…since you seem strangely invested in this…..i find Stephan Hawking infinitely more attractive than Tim Tebow.
I don’t trust any American who can’t get excited about Wikileaks to have his or her own best interests at heart, barring high officials.
This is a Big Deal, and it’s a a Good Thing, and no amount of denial will keep us from getting beaten like an abused spouse if we don’t take the side of freedom of information, right now.
@matoko_chan: That’s, uh…interesting. Whatever gets your ladybits churning, I guess.
@Peter: why so pruient, Peter? are you some sort of conservative bedroom sniffer?
Actually so do I – in a non-sexual, spiritual love sort of way.
But then I’ve always thought that the best thing about China is that they make gods and saints out of their scholars.
So I’m ok with a temple to the great spirit of Albert Einstein. Much better than the freakin Lincoln memorial or the presidents carved into mountains thing which is just statist idolatry gone-mad.
Most Australians can’t even name our first Prime Minister. Why the fuck do you need to know that?
He was a bloody politician that’s enough.
And hey in that spirit, matoko chan
For me this is the noblest named university in Australia in the Northern Territory which has the noblest-named capital city in Australia.
Oh, and now we see PayPal dumping WL also, too:
PayPal cuts WikiLeaks from money flow
Yep, this is a business decision. No doubt about it. Nothing to see here.
Does Breitbart use Paypal?
All those who validly rail against government authoritarianism but are joyfully eager to submit themselves, the U.S. government, and in fact all world governments to the visions and whims of a single egomaniacal, naive — although admittedly brilliant — hacker is truly hilarious.
@Rita R.: God. If I had one example to provide for the definition of “missing the clue” this post would be it.
Next time Assange tells me he’s going to jail me or garnish my wages you fucking let me know. Stupid bastard.