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By Stephen C. WebsterFriday, February 18, 2011 15:07 EDT Update (below): HBGary Federal among bidders These days, with Facebook and Twitter and social media galore, it can be increasingly hard to tell who your “friends” are. But after this, Internet users would be well advised to ask another question entirely: Are my “friends” even real people? Revealed: Air Force ordered software to manage army of fake virtual people
Open Secrets: WikiLeaks, War, and American Diplomacy - The New York Times On April 5, 2010 WikiLeaks released cockpit video footage from a U.S. helicopter gunship in Baghdad. The footage, which documented the killing of 12 people, was released in two versions: the full, original video and an edited video. Critics of WikiLeaks charge that the edited video misrepresented events; Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, has responded that “it’s ludicrous to allege that we have taken anything out of context.”
Department of Defense employees who downloaded classified documents from Wikileaks onto unclassified government computer systems may delete them without further “sanitizing” their systems or taking any other remedial measures, the Pentagon said in a policy memo (pdf) last week. The release of classified State Department cables and other classified documents by Wikileaks has produced special consternation among security officers, who have tended to respond “by the book” to this unprecedented breach of security procedures. But “the book,” which is the product of an earlier era, is quickly becoming obsolete. And in the worst case, some officials say, the government’s unimaginative response to Wikileaks could do more damage than the original disclosures. DoD Takes Flexible View on Deleting Wikileaks Docs
Document Web Site as a Potential Threat
The new memoir by former Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld has drawn wide criticism for his failure to accept any blame on the Iraq and Afghanistan fiascoes, and his claims that when he and others promoted falsehoods about Iraq WMD they were merely minor "misstatements," not lies. But among his other misdeeds was offering misleading statements to the American public about the progress of the war in Iraq, often blaming journalists for being far too critical. WikiLeaks' massive "war logs" release on Iraq last October exposed Rumsfeld in this regard over and over, but were quickly forgotten by mainstream journalists -- even though the material was not "political" or even from the media but rather from U.S. soldiers on the ground. That's one reason I cover them in-depth (along with all the other WIkiLeaks releases and current controversies) in my new book The Age of WikiLeaks. There are far too many examples exposing Rumsfeld's guilt, but the best brief illustration comes in the following. WL vs. Donald Rumsfeld's Lies
Top News US officials privately say WikiLeaks damage limited Tue, Jan 18 16:09 PM EST *Obama administration says WikiLeaks' damage "substantial" *Privately, officials say leaks embarrassing, not damaging US officials privately say WikiLeaks damage limited
Treasury Says It Cannot Sanction WL Or J.A. The Treasury Department said it doesn’t have enough evidence to place sanctions on Wikileaks or its leader Julian Assange, Dow Jones Newswires reported. Leon Neal/AFP/Getty Images Julian Assange, leader of Wikileaks.
Gvt-created climate of fear One of the more eye-opening events for me of 2010 occurred in March, when I first wrote about WikiLeaks and the war the Pentagon was waging on it (as evidenced by its classified 2008 report branding the website an enemy and planning how to destroy it). At the time, few had heard of the group — it was before it had released the video of the Apache helicopter attack — but I nonetheless believed it could perform vitally important functions and thus encouraged readers to donate to it and otherwise support it. In response, there were numerous people — via email, comments, and other means — who expressed a serious fear of doing so: they were worried that donating money to a group so disliked by the government would cause them to be placed on various lists or, worse, incur criminal liability for materially supporting a Terrorist organization. At the time, I dismissed those concerns as both ill-founded and even slightly paranoid.
JACOB APPELBAUM (MIRROR)
WikiLeaks cables show the Central Intelligence drew up information wishlist. Photograph: Getty Images The US state department's wishlist of information about the United Nations secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, and other senior members of his organisation was drawn up by the CIA, the Guardian has learned. The disclosure comes as new information emerged about Washington's intelligence gathering on foreign diplomats, including surveillance of the telephone and internet use of Iranian and Chinese diplomats. One of the most embarrassing revelations to emerge from US diplomatic cables obtained by the whistleblowers' website WikiLeaks has been that US diplomats were asked to gather intelligence on Ban, other senior UN staff, security council members and other foreign diplomats – a possible violation of international law. UN spying wishlist
Fear 'Guantanamo' Or 'Death Penalty' In a "skeleton defense" posted on his lawyers' website today, Julian Assange's team posits that he could be subject to "being detained at Guantanamo Bay" or subject to the death penalty were he to be extradited to Sweden, which could lead to extradition to the U.S. The WikiLeaks founder appeared in court today to schedule his extradition hearing for questioning in Sweden over alleged sex crimes. His defense claims that extradition to Sweden could lead to a subsequent extradition "and/or illegal rendition" to the U.S.
FBI seizes server The FBI has seized a server in Texas as part of its hunt for the groups behind the pro-WikiLeaks denial-of-service attacks launched in December against PayPal, Visa, MasterCard, and others, according to a report. During a December 16 raid, agents seized a server at Tailor Made Services, a Dallas-based co-location, or server-hosting, facility, and copied two of its hard drives, according to The Smoking Gun Web site, which said it has obtained the FBI affidavit in support of a search warrant for the seizure. It's not clear what was found on the drives, The Smoking Gun reported, saying that search warrant records showed agents were authorized to seize material related to the attacks or to other illegal activities involving the groups Anonymous or 4chan. Anonymous has claimed responsibility for deluging the Web sites of PayPal and others with data in order to bring the sites down.
A 13-page memo detailing the new policy urges senior civil servants to beef up cyber security and hire teams of psychiatrists and sociologists who can "detect behavioural changes". They will then monitor the moods and attitudes of staff who are allowed to access classified information. The move is designed to prevent further embarrassing disclosures of the sort which have dominated the news in recent months. US fears over Wikileaks
Internet Freedom Promise The conflict between Wikileaks and the U.S. Government reminds me of something we've been experiencing for some years now in the private sector of corporate activity and social enterprises. Lots of hierarchical, top-down, closed fortress organizations have been discovering that they need to open up, accept that the internet is dispersing power to the edges and into the hands of free agents, a.k.a. the people who used to be their audience. Think of how internal bloggers like Robert Scoble helped open up and humanize Microsoft's evil empire, or how angry consumer virtual flash-mobs like the one that rallied around Jeff Jarvis's "Dell Sucks" blog post confronted and pried open Dell. Or how netroots bloggers made Howard Dean the chairman of the Democratic National Committee, or how networked "Tea Party" activists generated successful challenges to eight Senate candidates endorsed by the Republican establishment in DC.
Inciting the Whackers Further to my open letter on those inciting murder upon Julian Assange, this op ed style post again responds to those who say that Julian Assange should be kidnapped, executed, murdered or otherwise be "whacked", to use a favourite Hollywood gangster expression. It is a much expanded variant of the open letter to the inciters at Wikileaks Central. The CIA and/or US military forces have been invoked by some, as the agents who would carry out such extra curial "services" of which it must be said, such actions both incitement and carrying the incitement out, are undoubtedly unlawful. Doubtless the early December Assange-illegal-posturing Prime Minister of Australia would not officially, take kindly to the latter course of action. The web roll of inciters or borderline inciters is growing. Bob Beckel American political commentator and an analyst on the Fox News Channel said: “…illegally shoot the s-o-b.”
11th January 2011 from Twitlonger WIKILEAKS PRESS RELEASE 10 Jan 2010, 10:15 PM EST “WikiLeaks: treat incitement seriously or expect more Gabrielle Gifford killing sprees.” Wikileaks today offered sympathy and condolences to the victims of the Tucson shooting together with best wishes for the recovery of U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords. WL on incitement
The US response to Wikileaks has been an interesting illustration of both the limits and extent of state power in an age of transnational information flows. The problem for the US has been quite straightforward. The Internet makes it more difficult for states (even powerful ones such as the US) to control information flows across their own borders and others. State Power & the response to WL