Category Archives: Wikileaks

Government Modifying Network Security, WikiLeaks Winning

Information Week reports that the U.S. government is working on re-vamping their network security efforts “to prevent another WikiLeaks.”

According to the story, Corin Stone, the information sharing executive for the national intelligence community, testified before the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee do discuss the upgrades.

Stone said the community is trying to find a “sweet spot” between allowing its members to share intelligence information while preventing unauthorized access to that data by people who might misuse it.

This is another case (after U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Carlos Pascual resigned over a WikiLeaks-related issue) in which the U.S. government is playing into Assange’s hands.

Assange’s hopes for WikiLeaks were best defined in essays he published on November 10 and December 3, 2006. From the first, State and Terrorist Conspiracies:

We will use connected graphs as way to harness the spatial reasoning ability of the brain to think in a new way about political relationships. These graphs are easy to visualize. First take some nails (“conspirators”) and hammer them into a board at random. Then take twine (“communication”) and loop it from nail to nail without breaking. Call the twine connecting two nails a link. Unbroken twine means it is possible to travel from any nail to any other nail via twine andintermediary nails. Mathematicians say the this type of graph is connected.

Information flows from conspirator to conspirator. Not every conspirator trusts or knows every other conspirator even though all are connected. Some are on the fringe of the conspiracy, others are central and communicate with many conspirators and others still may know only two conspirators but be abridge between important sections or groupings of the conspiracy.

He suggests in a later essay, Conspiracy as Governance (on the same page linked to above), how a conspiracy may be hindered.

A man in chains knows he should have acted sooner for his ability to influencethe actions of the state is near its end. To deal with powerful conspiratorial actions we must think ahead and attack the process that leads to them since the actions themselves can not be dealt with.We can deceive or blind a conspiracy by distorting or restricting the information available to it.We can reduce total conspiratorial power via unstructured attacks on linksor through throttling and separating.A conspiracy sufficiently engaged in this manner is no longer able to comprehend its environment and plan robust action.

These passages are somewhat difficult to connect and put into context without reading the original essays in their entirety, which I recommend.

To put it simply, though, Assange is winning. The state is slowing down its flow of information and reducing the number of connections in its “conspiracy” as a result of WikiLeaks. I’m not suggesting here that the state will now fall apart and we will live in anarchy, but Assange is one step closer to dethroning the most powerful nation in the world.


U.S. Ambassador to Mexico Resigns; Point: WikiLeaks

Carlos Pascual, U.S. Ambassador to Mexico, has resigned after a political fallout that occurred when WikiLeaks published a cable in December 2010 in which the U.S. Embassy to Mexico was critical of the Mexican government’s efforts in the ongoing war on drugs. The cable said Mexican President Filipe Calderon “has struggled with an unwieldy and uncoordinated interagency and spiraling rates of violence that have made him vulnerable to criticism that his anti-crime strategy has failed.

According to Reuters, Calderon was critical of the ambassador in an interview published February 22 in Mexican newspaper El Universal. Diplomatic tensions rose and Pascual resigned.

Julian Assange would see this as a victory; removing “conspirators” in control helps to dismantle the “conspiracy” of government. In many ways, he is right to see it that way. Instead of taking a cooperative approach (“Hey, we clearly aren’t doing this as well as you think, so lets work on solutions.”), President Calderon was standoffish, and the honesty of the embassy ended up hurting the relationship between the two nations.

Where honest dialogue is unwelcome, progress is impossible; as he sits on house arrest in the U.K., Assange is grinning to himself.

WikiLeaks Expands its List of Partners

WikiLeaks today expanded its list of partner news outlets today to include the Turkish newspaper Taraf, which will begin publishing U.S. diplomatic cables relating to Turkey. The country was the origin of more cables than any other foreign nation.

WikiLeaks already has similar contracts with The Guardian of England, Der Speigel of Germany, Le Monde of France, El Pais of Spain, and The New York Times. Spreading WikiLeaks content all over the world helps prevent any one country from being able to silence the leaks.

Academics to Clinton: Let Officials Speak Their Minds

P.J. Crowley

In an open letter to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, a group of MIT professors and other academics expressed their concern over what is implied by the resignation of State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley. Crowley resigned after a visit to MIT in which he made very frank comments about Bradley Manning’s treatment, calling it “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.”

The academics voiced their concern that an official seems to have been forced to resign for speaking his mind, especially in an academic setting such as MIT.

In the context of an open and honest discussion in an academic institution, we were eager to hear Mr. Crowley’s views and willing to give him our opinions and advice. It is this type of openness to dissenting opinions, frankness of assessments, and honesty of discourse that leads to both the advancement of human knowledge and the healthy function of an open, democratic society.

Ultimately, the academics state the possible repercussions of Crowley’s seemingly forced resignation.

If public officials are made to fear expressing their truthful opinions, we have laid the groundwork for ineffective, dishonest, and unresponsive governance.

The tie-in to WikiLeaks itself is hard to ignore; one of the main supporting arguments of the recent release of diplomatic cables was that instead of hindering international conversation, it actually helped improve discourse. The academics’ theory, though they don’t approach their point this way, is that the same is true on a smaller scale. If officials speak their minds, it can create a conversation that enhances discussion and moves policy forward.

How democratic.

Video: Shooters Walk Free; Whistleblower Jailed

With the increasing focus on the conditions of Bradley Manning’s confinement, it’s important to remember why he is imprisoned in the first place. A german site, has posted a video (in english) about the leaking of “Collateral Murder,” which was a video release by WikiLeaks about a year ago. The video, “Shooters walk free, whistleblower jailed” discusses the morality of the actions that were exposed and the act of exposing those actions. Manning is the alleged leaker of this video, and there are a wide range of opinions about Manning’s personal character.

10 WikiLeaks Twitter Follows

WikiLeaks news and information is coming out faster than anyone can read it all. The important thing with subjects like this is applying the right filter to what you read.

I’ve put together a list of 10 twitter accounts that give a pretty good cross-section of what is going on with WikiLeaks. Don’t follow this list and expect a fair and balanced view of the issue; almost all of these accounts favor WikiLeaks (I am welcome to suggestions of people to follow from the other side), but they all provide great content, links, and context for what is going on.

In no particular order:

1. ZunguZungu – Aaron Bady’s twitter account. Bady is a blogger who came onto the scene early with his stellar analysis of the issues behind WikiLeaks and the ideals that formed it. While he doesn’t tweet exclusively about WikiLeaks, what he does post is sure to be important and/or thought-provoking.

2. ArmycmDefense – David E. Coombs’ twitter account. Coombs is suspected WikiLeaks whistleblower Bradley Manning’s attorney. While he obviously isn’t going to provide anything in the way of damning evidence against Manning, the account does a great job of giving updates on the nuances of the defense’s case.

3. JamesRbuk – James Ball’s account. A former WikiLeaks volunteer and now a data journalist at The Guardian, Ball tweets about a wide range of material, but has good insight into WikiLeaks and follows the story closely.

4. GGreenwald – Glenn Greenwald’s account. Glenn Greenwald has been a huge part of WikiLeaks coverage and is one of the leading voices in support of the organization. He is an opinion writer for His tweets provide a commentary that articulates the feelings of WikiLeaks supporters very well.

5. Anony_Ops – The “operations” wing of Anonymous, a loosely organized group of “hacktivists” who have voiced strong support for WikiLeaks, making headlines with their attacks on companies that halted service to WikiLeaks. The operations twitter account posts everything from breaking news to instructions to members of Anonymous.

6. DanielEllsberg – Daniel Ellsberg’s account. Ellsberg became famous for leaking The Pentagon Papers to newspapers in 1971. Since, he has been an icon for whistleblowers. Ellsberg has been extremely vocal in condemning the conditions of Bradley Manning’s imprisonment. His twitter feed offers good insight into that aspect of WikiLeaks, as well as the issue overall.

7. GregMitch – Greg Mitchell’s account. Mitchell is a blogger for The Nation who has been covering WikiLeaks extensively for the last 100+ days in a row (and counting). While his tweets often seem to be patting himself on the back, he does have an impressive depth of knowledge on the issue and actively engages readers over twitter.

8. CryptomeOrg – John Young’s account. Young is the co-founder of, a site that publishes essays and academic papers in the field of spying, surveillance, cryptology, and freedom of speech and information. This puts WikiLeaks smack in the middle of the site’s expertise. While the twitter feed is not well-maintained (unfortunately), I put it on this list because if Young comes to his senses about social media, it will be a goldmine of information.

9. BirgittaJ – Birgitta Jónsdóttir’s account. Jónsdóttir is one of the “Twitter 3,” as Greg Mitchell calls them: three people whose accounts were subpoenaed by the U.S. government in the ongoing investigation of WikiLeaks. Jónsdóttir is a vocal WikiLeaks supporter and a member of the parliament in Iceland. She was a character in The New Yorker’s feature on Assange last year.

10. WikiLeaks – Last but not least, the official WikiLeaks twitter feed. A spout of pro-WikiLeaks sass and opinion, the feed also links to some of the most high-quality posts and articles on WikiLeaks. It was partially because of this twitter feed that Aaron Bady’s blog received so much coverage; WikiLeaks tweeted one of his posts.

Swedish Investigator involved in Assange case is friends with accuser

Expressen, a Swedish newspaper, has reported (Swedish language site – click here for The Guardian’s report) that an investigator who first interviewed at least one of the two women  who have accused WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of sexual crimes in Sweden was friends with the accuser prior to the incident.

According to the report, the two women met through Sweden’s Social Democratic Party and bonded partially over shared feminist views.

The investigator did not declare a conflict of interest on the case, according to The Guardian. In a translated version of the Expressen story, it appears to state that the investigator in question did not interview the woman she was familiar with (named Miss A in most coverage) and only spoke with the woman she didn’t know (Miss B).

I’ve emailed the author of the Expressen article with the hope that she knows english and can clarify some of these details for me.

If it’s true that this investigator was involved with the case and did not declare a conflict of interest, this is a glaring oversight by Swedish authorities and creates a gaping legal hole through which Assange’s lawyers can hinder the prosecution’s case in his extradition appeal.

Regardless of my feelings on the matter, this investigator quite possibly did a great deal of damage to the judicial proceedings around this case by failing to declare a conflict of interest and remove herself from the case.