The explosion of Wikileaks related news, and the manifestation of the internet's political potential to those who had previously ignored it, or only superficially acknowledged it, has led to a debate of increased intensity about the nature of the net, its political dimension, and its uncertain future. WL Central compiles some valuable commentary on this issue:
Rop Gonggrip's fascinating keynote speech from 27C3 projects an uncertain future, online and off, and offers some visions of what the role of the internet, and the hacker community, will be in this future. His riveting pessimism is tempered by a reassuring pragmatism, and a veteran's insight into the subject matter.
Today has seen increased anticipation of a forthcoming megaleak on an American bank. John Carney, Senior Editor at CNBC, posted on the CNBC "Network Network" blog a report purporting to confirm that the target of the next leak will be, as widely speculated, Bank of America:
Bank of America is the target of the next "megaleak" from WikiLeaks, according to a person who has close contact with top people at WikiLeaks.
Our source has confirmed that Bank of America is indeed the target of the next big leak. The source couldn't elaborate on the materials held by Assange.
A cautious reader of the news will regard with a healthy suspicion that an 'unnamed source' has confirmed something to do with WikiLeaks, especially given the uncertainty generated in the past by "WikiLeaks insiders".
Salon.com's Adam Clark Estes carried forward Carney's information, but added some information:
Assange also confirmed this morning outside of the British Magistrates court that the next leak would come soon.
It has to be questioned whether the quote cited as confirmation that the next leak will come soon indeed confirms that:
"We are stepping up our publishing for matters related to Cablegate and other materials," Assange said. "Those will shortly be occurring through our newspaper partners around the world -- big and small newspapers and some human rights organizations."
Speculation was renewed in early January as to the subject of Wikileaks anticipated release, related to a major American bank. WL Central has gathered the history of this story over the last two years to provide context for the speculation. This feature will be updated as more becomes available.
In a ComputerWorld article from October 2009, Dan Nystedt reported on an interview with Julian Assange from the Hack In The Box conference in Malaysia. The relevant quote is the following:
"At the moment, for example, we are sitting on 5GB from Bank of America, one of the executive's hard drives," he said. "Now how do we present that? It's a difficult problem. We could just dump it all into one giant Zip file, but we know for a fact that has limited impact. To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it."
In an Andy Greenberg interview with Julian Assange preparing for a cover story by Forbes, some information came out which indicated that a "megaleak" on "a major American bank" would be released "early in the new year." The substance of the leak was elaborated upon, but the bank was not named. A full reading of the interview is highly recommended for an understanding of Wikileaks intentions as regards the leak.
You’ve been focused on the U.S. military mostly in the last year. Does that mean you have private sector-focused leaks in the works?
Ryan Singel, at Wired's Threat Level Blog, presents a laudatory analysis of Twitter's decision to challenge the DoJ's move, during a secret Grand Jury investigation in Virgina, to subpoena the private details of various accounts related to WikiLeaks. WL Central has covered this issue in detail (listed at the bottom of this post. Singel's article presents Twitter's decision in an industrial context, and plays counterpoint to the idea that "good corporate citizenship" should always mean complying with government wishes whenever that seems expedient.
Of course, it's not the first time tech companies have stood up to requests for user data. Google beat back a government order to turn over search logs in 2006, after AOL and Microsoft quietly acquiesced. We've seen ISPs stand up for their users when movie studios try to force ISPs turn over user information in mass peer-to-peer lawsuits. And just last year, Yahoo successfully resisted the Justice Department's argument that it didn't need a warrant to read a user's e-mails once the user had read them.
But there's not yet a culture of companies standing up for users when governments and companies come knocking with subpoenas looking for user data or to unmask an anonymous commenter who says mean things about a company or the local sheriff.
In the WikiLeaks probe, it's not yet clear whether the feds dropped the same order on other companies.
Regardless, Twitter deserves recognition for its principled upholding of the spirit of the First Amendment. It's a shame that PayPal, Amazon, Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America and the U.S. government all failed - and continue to to fail - at their own versions of that test.
Other Coverage of the Twitter Subpoena on WL Central
The extradition hearing in this case has been set for 7-8 February 2011.
The key arguments set out today in the PROVISIONAL SKELETON ARGUMENT ON BEHALF OF MR. ASSANGE presented to the media by defense counsel Mark Stephens are as follows:
(1) It is not accepted that the Swedish prosecutor is authorised to issue European Arrest Warrants (EAW). “The sole Issuing Judicial Authority [in Sweden] for the enforcement of a custodial sentence or other form of detention is the Swedish National Police Board”.
(2) European arrest warrants should only be issued for the purposes of prosecution, and it has been made very clear that Mr. Assange is wanted for further questioning.
Ms. Ny has repeatedly and publicly stated that she has sought an EAW in respect of Mr. Assange simply in order to facilitate his questioning and without having yet reached a decision as to whether or not to prosecute him.
Her statements can be considered as additional evidence because the European Arrest Warrant is itself equivocal:
The EAW is defective in respect of section 2 of the Act. It does not contain a clear indication that:
(3) The statement is one that—
(a) the person in respect of whom the Part 1 warrant is issued is
accused in the category 1 territory of the commission of an offence
specified in the warrant, and
(b) the Part 1 warrant is issued with a view to his arrest and extradition
to the category 1 territory for the purpose of being prosecuted for the
It leaves it entirely unclear as to whether the EAW is even a conviction EAW or an accusation EAW (assuming that it is one or the other, and not an interrogation EAW).
Nowhere in the EAW is Mr. Assange referred to as an “accused”.
Birgitta Jónsdóttir, member of the Icelandic parliament and former WikiLeaks volunteer, in Toronto to speak at the first Samara/Massey journalism seminar, will be interviewed by Steve Paikin of Television Ontario's The Agenda at 2 p.m. EST today. The interview will be livestreamed and will be archived on the program's website.
Birgitta Jónsdóttir, now a member of Iceland’s Parliament, has led a movement in her country to take the most far-reaching steps towards advancing free speech, freedom of the press and transparency in government of any country in the world. This initiative, the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI) aims to bring together transparency laws from multiple jurisdictions to create the strongest media freedom laws in the world, with the goal of improving democracy and Iceland's standing in the international community.
In her talk, Birgitta Jónsdóttir will describe how and why she decided to help transform Iceland into the world’s safe haven for transparency, and what the impact has been to date, including her reflections on WikiLeaks’ ongoing revelations.
Tweeters were on site to report the unfolding events this morning as Julian Assange appeared in court for his bail hearing. He was granted bail and requested to stay at the Frontline Club on February 6 and 7, rather than at the Norfolk Mansion, so that he would not be required to wake up at 3am in order to arrive on time for his extradition hearing (to be held on February 7 and 8). The judge granted him permission to do this.
The defense must present its evidence for the extradition hearing by January 14.
To follow the live feed of events in the courtroom in future hearings, follow this Twitter feed.
Common law conspiracy is an agreement by two or more to do an unlawful act, or to do a lawful act by unlawful means. The actus reus (guilty act) is the agreement itself. The mens rea (guilty mind) is the intention to carry out the unlawful act. Another way of putting it is that there must be a "meeting of the minds" to commit the unlawful act.
It does not matter that the conspiracy was not carried out, liability for common law conspiracy arises simply from the the agreement.
It goes almost without saying, that to avoid First Amendment protection of a hypothetical Espionage case (and I will leave those arguments to US constitutional lawyers), conspiracy appears to have a much greater prospect of success for the DOJ,
On March 25, the glass panel door at Gabrielle Giffords’ office in Tucson was vandalized and destroyed, apparently in anger directed at her recent vote on healthcare. When asked whether she was afraid, she said no. Nor was she afraid, on that day, of Sarah Palin.
Are you afraid? Are you fearful today?
You know, I'm not... we’re on Sarah Palin’s targeted list, but the way she has it depicted has the crosshairs of a gunsight over our district. And when people do that, they’ve got to realize that there’s consequences to that action.” (Source)
Reminiscent of the same variety of hate speech is Rep. Michele Bachmann’s campaign against the energy tax:
“I want people in Minnesota armed and dangerous on this issue of the energy tax because we need to fight back. Thomas Jefferson told us ‘having a revolution every now and then is a good thing,’ and the people — we the people — are going to have to fight back hard if we’re not going to lose our country.” (Source)
On March 24, 2009, Rep. Bachmann showed up outside the White House holding a shotgun. She called upon “thousands of loyal Americans to march here this morning, with whatever weapons they have on hand … anything that’s going to let the Washington Elite know that we are serious!” (Source)
Global: Media Blitz to support Wikileaks
Date and time: Tuesday, January 11 · 10:30h - 13:30h
Global: Wikileaks Flash Mob Event
Date and time: Wednesday, January 12 · 15:30h - 17:00h
Global: Global Protest
Date and time: Saturday 15 January 2011, 18:00h
Global: Anonymous in defense of WikiLeaks and freedom of expression
Date and time: Saturday 15 January 2011
Event Information: http://forums.whyweprotest.net/forums/planning.283/
Global: Global WikiLeaks Support Rally
Date and time: Saturday 5 February 2011, 15:00h local time
Global: Freedom of Information Rally
Date and time: Third Saturdays Every Month
Location: Earth, Everywhere
Event Information: http://forums.whyweprotest.net/forums/planning.283/
WIKILEAKS PRESS RELEASE
10 Jan 2011, 10:15 PM EST
“WikiLeaks: treat incitement seriously or expect more Gabrielle Giffords 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. Giffords, a democrat from Arizona's 8th district, was the target of a shooting spree at a Jan 8 political event in which six others were killed.
Tucson Sheriff Clarence Dupnik, leading the investigation into the Giffords shooting, said that "vitriolic rhetoric" intended to "inflame the public on a daily basis ... has [an] impact on people, especially who are unbalanced personalities to begin with." Dupnik also observed that officials and media personalities engaging in violent rhetoric "have to consider that they have some responsibility when incidents like this occur and may occur in the future."
WikiLeaks staff and contributors have also been the target of unprecedented violent rhetoric by US prominent media personalities, including Sarah Palin, who urged the US administration to “Hunt down the WikiLeaks chief like the Taliban”. Prominent US politician Mike Huckabee called for the execution of WikiLeaks spokesman Julian Assange on his Fox News program last November, and Fox News commentator Bob Beckel, referring to Assange, publicly called for people to "illegally shoot the son of a bitch." US radio personality Rush Limbaugh has called for pressure to "Give [Fox News President Roger] Ailes the order and [then] there is no Assange, I'll guarantee you, and there will be no fingerprints on it.", while the Washington Times columnist Jeffery T. Kuhner titled his column “Assassinate Assange” captioned with a picture Julian Assange overlayed with a gun site, blood spatters, and “WANTED DEAD or ALIVE” with the alive crossed out.
Rudolf Elmer, founder of Swiss Whistleblower will appear in court on January 19. He was fired from Swiss bank Julius Bär in 2002, after which he sent documents to several media outlets and Wikileaks, exposing allegedly illegal activities by Julius Bär clients in the Cayman Islands. Wikileaks was briefly shut down by a US court following publication of these documents.
Unlike most whistleblowers, Elmer's identity was never a secret.
I wasn’t looking for anonymity. I signed the first whistle-blower letter to emphasise the credibility but also to show my civil disobedience. It is my conviction that my name is important. People then got in touch with me and I received additional information from other bank clients and further data.
A Croatian group announces its own whistleblowing site, making it time for another updated list.
While looking at this list, please consider the radically varying quality of the sites and the security. The Croatian one is actually found at http://wikileaks.hr/ and calls itself Wikileaks Croatia, without being in any way associated with Wikileaks. ScienceLeaks is asking people to upload material as comments to a blog.
Please don't take the appearance of a site on this list as any kind of a recommendation from WL Central. Buyer beware.
Le Monde: WikiLeaks dévoile aussi comment fut gérée la crise bancaire (WikiLeaks reveals as well how the banking crisis was handled)
A U.S. diplomatic cable in which figure Mervyn King, chairman of the Bank of England, Robert Kimmitt, then U.S. deputy treasury secretary, and Robert Tuttle, U.S. ambassador to Britain, has been released by WikiLeaks. It shows the players agreeing, March 17, 2008, on a diagnosis of the crisis, one that they admit ceased, from summer 2007, to be a liquidity crisis and that became instead a solvency crisis generalized within the banking sector. Although a view widely shared by commentators in the financial press at the time, it will reverse the diagnosis that these players have chosen to present to the public, a position from which they have never departed.
In an odd turn of events, the Irish opposition party, Fine Gael, claims on its website that the site was hacked on the evening of January 9th by "a group calling itself the Anonymous group."
The statement goes on to link Anonymous to Wikileaks, in a move possibly betraying a lack of understanding of Anonymous. The statement follows.
From: Fine Gael Website
THE FINE GAEL WEBSITE WAS PROFESSIONALLY HACKED ON THE EVENING OF JANUARY 9TH BY AN ENTITY CALLING THEMSELVES THE ANONYMOUS GROUP.
THE ANONYMOUS GROUP HAS BEEN ASSOCIATED WITH THE WIKILEAKS INVESTIGATION AND ATTACKS ON COMPANIES SUCH AS VISA, MASTERCARD, AND AMAZON.
THE WEBSITE WILL BE OFFLINE WHILE WE FOLLOW-UP WITH THE APPROPRIATE AUTHORITIES TO RESOLVE THE MATTER.
WE THANK YOU FOR YOUR CONTINUED SUPPORT FOR FINE GAEL. IF YOU HAVE ANY FEEDBACK PLEASE TO SEND IT TO EMMA@FINEGAEL2011.COM
Why Fine Gael might have been targeted by Anonymous is as yet a mystery. Anonymous has reportedly been engaging in recent actions against government and private websites, but these actions are reported as having been DDOS attacks, which do not appropriately fall under the banner of "hacking." There is also little apparent reason in recent news why Anonymous would target an Irish political party.
A screengrab of the website is attached to this post.
Updates will be posted as they come.
RTÉ News has posted a statement by Fine Gael elaborating on the above information.
Politiken.DK: [Danish] government involved in double-dealing regarding CIA flights: documents reveal new aspects of the political manoeuvrings around illegal prisoner transports
The government, with former foreign minister Per Stig Møller in the lead, was involved in double-dealing in 2008, when it was forced to investigate whether the CIA had used Danish airspace for secret prisoner transports. While the government had to promise parliament to ask critical questions of the U.S. regarding the flights, both Per Stig Møller and the former prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen let their top officials say the opposite to the American ambassador in London: the government wants silence, not answers, hoping the story will die down.
Translated by Mark K. Jensen
Associate Professor of French
Department of Languages and Literatures
Pacific Lutheran University
[Translated from Paris Match]
In a long interview published in the Paris Match of Dec. 23-29, 2010, translated below in its entirety, Julian Assange said that whether he's extradited to the United States "depends on the American people: if they decide that it's not tolerable to extradite a journalist for espionage, then there will be no extradition."
JULIAN ASSANGE: "I HAVE NO CHOICE. PUBLISH OR PERISH"
By David Le Bailly
www.aljazeerah.info looks at the drawbacks to mainstream media and provides a list of recommended alternative websites and writers. "Twenty years ago several journalists expressed concern that the number of major news sources in America had diminished to 50." according to the article. "Today, conglomerates have bought up most of those news sources; and the number of major news sources has been reduced to six! These six control all the news reported in America and much of what gets reported in the UK and Europe."
The recently revealed story of New York Times reporter David Rohde is an apparently justifiable example of press censorship.
On 22 June 2009, when news came that Rohde had escaped from his Taliban captors, few knew he had even been kidnapped, because for the seven months he and two Afghan colleagues were in the Taliban's hands, the New York Times kept that information under wraps.
Kelly McBride, who teaches ethics to journalists, says she was "really astounded" by the media blackout. "It makes me wonder what else 40 international news organizations have agreed not to tell the public."
ACLU released a statement condemning the court order from the US government requiring Twitter to provide information about subscribers who are associated with Wikileaks. From Aden Fine, senior staff attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union Speech, Privacy and Technology Project:
"These government requests for detailed information about individuals' Internet communications raise serious First Amendment concerns and will have a chilling effect on people's willingness to engage in lawful communications over the Internet. There are serious doubts as to whether the government's interest in obtaining all of this private and constitutionally protected information is sufficiently compelling to outweigh the constitutional interests at stake.
"Twitter should be commended for moving to unseal the court order, but we are very troubled that the order was filed under seal in the first place. Except in truly extraordinary circumstances, Internet users should receive notice, and an opportunity to go to court to defend their constitutional rights, before their rights are compromised."
One of the people named in the order is US citizen Jacob Appelbaum who is flying back to the US today. According to his twitter, ACLU members will be meeting him at the airport.
The US National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, released in a 39 page draft on June 25, 2010, is back. CBS News reports White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt said on Friday that the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace will be released by Obama in the next few months.
Details about the "trusted identity" project are unusually scarce. Last year's announcement referenced a possible forthcoming smart card or digital certificate that would prove that online users are who they say they are. These digital IDs would be offered to consumers by online vendors for financial transactions.
Schmidt stressed today that anonymity and pseudonymity will remain possible on the Internet. "I don't have to get a credential if I don't want to," he said. There's no chance that "a centralized database will emerge," and "we need the private sector to lead the implementation of this," he said.
EFF raised some concerns about the original draft. Since most criticisms of the draft focused on the overall concept, not the detail, it is not likely that they have been addressed.