A game of cat and mouse and an actual “cyberwar” is taking place for two weeks now between Tunisian netizens and “Ammar”, the nickname of the very elaborated censorship system deviced by the Tunisian minister of interior. Blogger Astrubal explains its secret techniques.
Tunisian bloggers have long been using circumventing softwares, getting news on facebook and share censored posts, videos, photos or news updates ( like the beating of a journalist) on the main Tunisian blogging platforms and information gateways hosted overseas or via twitter and key words like #sidibouzid.
Still, “Ammar” also seem to want to be rid off social media network: ...
Tunisian netizens- the most connected community on facebook in North Africa- could not upload any photos or videos on facebook on the afternoon of december 30. ...
Demonstrations of support to the #sidibouzid movement took place in Paris, Munich, and Beyrouth. The “media black out” by the main international media outlets and western diplomacy, in addition to the domestic censorship, was a frequent subject of bitterness amongst many Tunisian activists. ...
No internet in Tunis but the media says that the situation is stable yet the protests continue in all regions #sidibouzid ...
The English press seems mostly exempted from the accusations of blackout directed at others.
This blog exists so that people may anonymously post links to peer-reviewed scientific papers that been liberated from behind journal-subscription paywalls. Use comments in the 'Requests for papers' threads to post requests for papers, and comments in the 'Papers available' threads to post links to the requested pdfs.
GlobalLeaks "a project to create a worldwide distributed Leak Amplification Network supporting whistleblowers all around the world."
Crowdleak (formerly Operation Leakspin) which is dedicated to summarization, translation and publication of the US state cables.
Wikispooks "building a comprehensive reference source of deep political structures and events, together with the people and organisations connected to them."
Note: Listing a site on WL Central in no way constitutes a recommendation of the site by WL Central or Wikileaks.
The family of a Bangladeshi MP who is alleged by Amnesty International to have been tortured by the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), Bangladesh's security forces, are calling on the UK government to intervene in the case of Salauddin Chowdhury after U.S. embassy cables published by WikiLeaks and the Guardian revealed that Britain has been providing the RAB with training in "investigative interviewing techniques" and "rules of engagement."
The RAB has come to be known as the "death squad" in Bangladesh, and admits to hundreds of extrajudicial killings.
The Foreign Office has defended the training offered to RAB as "fully in line with our laws and our values". A spokesman sought to suggest it was providing only "human rights training" for RAB, although RAB's head of training told the Guardian he was unaware of any human rights training since he was appointed last June.
Phil Shiner, of Public Interest Lawyers, which is bringing the legal challenge on behalf of Fayyaz Chowdury said: "The UK government owe the clearest of international obligations to my client, a British citizen, in circumstances where they are complicit in the torture of people like Mr Salauddin Chowdury. These obligations reflect international law principles that prohibit states from aiding and assisting other states in international crimes such as torture and extrajudicial executions. The UK government must use all means at their disposal to secure the immediate release of my client's father and to ensure that he cannot face a kangaroo court for war crimes that he did not commit."
EL PAÍS editor, JAVIER MORENO, explains the decision to publish the State Department cables, which expose on an unprecedented scale the extent to which Western leaders lie to their electorates. MORENO provides some of the best analysis of Cablegate yet.
Cynics will argue that none of what we have learned from WikiLeaks differs from the usual way in which high-level international politics is conducted, and that without diplomatic secrets, the world would be even less manageable and more dangerous for everyone. Political classes on both sides of the Atlantic convey a simple message that is tailored to their advantage: trust us, don't try to reveal our secrets; in exchange, we offer you security.
But just how much security do they really offer in exchange for this moral blackmail? Little or none, since we face the sad paradox that this is the same political elite that was incapable of properly supervising the international financial system, whose implosion triggered the biggest crisis since 1929, ruining entire countries and condemning millions of workers to unemployment and poverty. These are the same people responsible for the deteriorating quality of life of their populations, the uncertain future of the euro, the lack of a viable European project and the global governance crisis that has gripped the world in recent years, and which elites in Washington and Brussels are not oblivious to. I doubt that keeping embassy secrets under wraps is any kind of guarantee of better diplomacy or that such an approach offers us better answers to the problems we face.
On November 30, 2010, an article appeared on 7iber.com criticizing the coverage of Wikileaks in the Jordan media:
It is arguably the biggest global story of the month, and quite possibly the year. Yet the biggest leak of confidential government cables in history has not been enough to elicit a proportionate reaction from the Jordanian media, even when Jordan plays an actual role in this bit of news. With the US embassy in Amman apparently being one of the top sources in the world when it comes to the leaks, and cables regarding Jordanian officials positions on Iran and the Middle East peace process being largely quoted in the international media, one is forced to wonder why the local media has initiated a self-imposed embargo on the story.
As the second day of the post-”cablegate” news cycle unfolds, local media in Jordan seems to have only stuck out its head enough to disseminate the government’s position in a slew of standardized articles in the major newspapers all reiterating the same denials and reaffirming the same positions.
7iber.com has eight cables so far, all mentioning Jordan. AmmanNet has three cables issued by the U.S. Embassy in Amman and eleven cables for Jordan and the Arab region.
For all those who felt that the world would never wade through 251,287 United States embassy cables, once more, they have underestimated the internet. Presenting, the US State Cables:
And to warm up:
It's going to be a great year.
Democracy Now spends an hour reviewing their interviews with Julian Assange in July in London after the release of the Afghan war logs, and in October, again in London, after WikiLeaks published some 390,000 classified U.S. documents on the war in Iraq.
2010 can be defined as the year of WikiLeaks. The whistleblowing website first made headlines around the world in April when it released a video of a U.S. helicopter gunship indiscriminately firing on Iraqi civilians, killing 12 people, including two Reuters news staff. In July, WikiLeaks created a bigger firestorm when it published more than 90,000 classified U.S. military war logs of the war in Afghanistan. Then in October, WikiLeaks published some 390,000 classified U.S. documents on the war in Iraq, the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history and the greatest internal account of any war on public record. In November, WikiLeaks began releasing a giant trove of confidential State Department cables that sent shockwaves through the global diplomatic establishment.
Allegations and Investigation
On Dec. 16, the FBI raided a Texas server-hosting company in hopes of finding evidence to advance an investigation into the hactivist groups engaged in various attacks against Wikileaks-unfriendly institutions and individuals.
The investigation seems to have been set in motion as a direct result of PayPal's actions; PayPal is said to have supplied the FBI with various IP addresses hosting an IRC chat for current and prospective hacktivists. At least one hard drive was seized.
CBS News has compiled a substantial list of significant revelations made by WikiLeaks during the past year. Their links lead to many other sources and constitute a valuable reference tool and archive.
The distinguished blogger digby of Hullabaloo was moved to comment when she saw this list:
CBS News did something really, really unusual for a major news organization. It published an article about what Wikileaks has revealed. Evidently, CBS is not of the opinion that their job is to conceal these things from the public, which is fairly unique.
Ask yourself why it is that our governing institutions and major corporations believe they have a right to keep all this from you.
UK Information Commissioner Christopher Graham is interviewed by the Guardian:
We are strongly of the view that things should be published. Where you're open things will not be WikiLeaked. Whatever view you take about WikiLeaks – right or wrong – it means that things will now get out. It has changed things. I'm saying government and authorities need to factor it in. Be more proactive, [by] publishing more stuff, because quite a lot of this is only exciting because we didn't know it. You can't un-invent WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks is part of the phenomenon of the online, empowered citizen ... these are facts that aren't going to go away. Government and authorities need to wise up to that. ...
One response is that they will clam up and not write anything down, which is nonsense, you can't run any organisation that way. The other is to be even more open. The best form of defence is transparency — much more proactive publication of what organisations do. It's an attitude of 'OK. You want to know? Here it is'.
Democracy Now interviews Robert Meeropol, the son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the only U.S. citizens to be executed under the Espionage Act. He states:
Now, but it’s not surprising that the government would use conspiracy, whether it’s against my parents or whether it’s against the WikiLeaks people, because if you’re anybody who engages in conversation or discussion, and the government can get one person to testify that that discussion was to leak classified material, or to transmit information to the Soviet Union, in my parents case, they could be swept up in the dragnet. And you could get people to rat out their friends in order to get more lenient sentences. It sows distrust among the community of support. It scares other people into silence.
And so, what we see here is, if there is a criminal indictment for conspiracy, not an attack on just Julian Assange himself, but on the entire community of support that is seeking to promote the very revolutionary idea that the people have the right to know what their government is doing, that’s what this ultimately is all about. And every left-wing, every progressive organizer, every organizer, in general—how can you engage in organizing, in getting groups of people to protest and coordinating activities, without engaging in what the government would term a conspiracy? And so, it is a threat to all of us. And that is really why I issued my call for us to recognize this. This Espionage Act of 1917 has been the sword of Damocles, sitting quietly, mostly unused, ready to spring out and attack dissenters. And when you have it in the context of the growing secrecy that we face today ... and an authoritarian-oriented Supreme Court, it is a danger to us all.
Iran has reportedly blocked access to El Pais, Jornal de Noticia and other secondary reporting sites in response to a cable released Thursday. According to Jornal de Noticia the cable in question refers to a confrontation between President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard.
The telegram states that the head of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, slapped Ahmadinejad after a heated argument in the Supreme National Security Council in January 2010 on how to deal with the protests that followed the controversial elections June 2009.
The Nation: The response was strong and, interestingly, WilkiLeaks founder Assange was also our clear-cut winner because, as Lorna Singh pointed out, "we need to see how we were lied to," and, as Mike Pribula wrote, "he has reminded us about the importance of integrity in diplomacy and democratic ideals in our republic."
The Low Orbit Ion Cannon, or LOIC, is a popular tool for taking down websites these days. It was used on Visa, Master Card, Paypal and other institutions by "Anonymous" hacktivists.
LOIC is easy to download and requires minimal technological savvy for its use. One runs the program, enters a targeted IP address, confirms, and watches as the program floods a site's host with TCP packets, UDP packets, or HTTP requests. Eventually, the ability to handle further requests is lost and the site goes down, becoming unresponsive. This is termed denial of service and the attack is a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack on the basis that the attacks are distributed across various sources.
The resulting downtime of the site is temporary, of course, but the attack's perceived consequences can range from slight inconvenience to severe paralysis. As is widely known, the stability of a web site is a strong determinant of its popularity. Yet the goal of such attacks, as articulated by some of the Anonymous group members, is not terminal destruction but to raise awareness.
A new weapon of mass awareness is in the horizon, however, that may very well step up the severity and efficiency of these attacks. If effective, it will set into motion attacks originating from thousands of computers worldwide. The difference? End-users will not necessarily know they are participating in the attacks. Here's how it would work.
A home user navigates to a torrent search engine to download a popular file (a film or TV show, for instance). As this image illustrates, the file may have several thousands of leechers or seeders; these numbers may increase to the hundreds of thousands in some cases, depending on the popularity of the file. For simplicity, think of each leecher as one computer attempting to download the file.
As a presenter at the most recent Chaos Communications Congress articulated, by manipulating the data being communicated through BitTorrent clients, one can create the appearance of availability for a given file and cause leechers to attempt a download. The leecher would not actually be downloading the intended file, but attacking a target IP without their knowledge. This would result in the flooding of the target host and, in many cases, eventual take-down of the target site.
This new technology, termed BotTorrent by TorrentFreak's editor-in-chief, would have revolutionary significance not merely in virtue of its creative underpinnings,* but in terms of legal responsibility. Clearly, it is unlikely that end-users would prosecuted for carrying out an attack of which they had no knowledge. Furthermore, given the number of unknowing users carrying out the attacks, the magnitude of the attacks would expand massively. Word on the tweets is the technology is capturing the imagination of developers.
The Guardian: Omar Bongo pocketed millions in embezzled funds, claims US cable
"Gabon's late president allegedly channelled money to French political parties in support of Nicolas Sarkozy.
Gabon's late president Omar Bongo allegedly pocketed millions in embezzled funds from central African states, channelling some of it to French political parties in support of Nicolas Sarkozy, according to a US embassy cable published by El País."
El País: El Pentágono presionó a Turquía para que aceptara el escudo antimisiles (The Pentagon pressed Turkey to accept the missil shield)
"El Gobierno de Erdogan se ha resistido a instalar un radar clave para el sistema defensivo. Ankara exigió a EE UU garantías para no enfrentarse con Irán. (Erdogan's government has resisted to instal a radar, key of the defensive system. Ankara demanded to the United States guarantees to avoid a conflict with Iran.)"
El País: Bulgaria no hace nada por evitar la corrupción que socava el Estado (Bulgaria does nothing to stop the corruption that currently ruins the state)
"Un alto funcionario europeo revela a EE UU el desencanto de Bruselas con Sofía. (A high ranked employee of the European government reveals to the United States the disappointment in Brussels with Sofia.)"
Today, Huffington Post published an article by Nick Davies, from the Guardian, in response to Bianca Jagger's Huffpost article. Jagger had been critical of Davies' role in the publication in The Guardian of the details from the police investigation report on the allegations against Julian Assange.
In his article today, Davies states that the publication of the details from the police report served the purpose of balancing out baseless speculation about the Swedish investigation. He claims it was necessary in particular to counterbalance a campaign of misinformation on the part of Wikileaks, and Julian Assange. This is very misleading. The substance of the claim is laid out below.
Updated from the December 19th post.
BalkanLeaks "The Balkans are not keeping secrets anymore." According to an article in Sofia Echo this site is set up by a Paris-based Bulgarian, Atanas Chobanov and seeks confidential documents related to political, criminal or financial topics.
BrusselsLeaks This site is seeking corporation, consultancy, institution or NGO information in "Brussels – the European Capital and the place where decisions are made which impact the globe".
Many of these decisions happen behind closed doors and we have been working to make it more transparent for many years. Journalists, activists and communications professionals have now come together to form Brussels Leaks, a place to centralise intelligence gathered on the inner-workings of the EU.
israeliLeaks "Requesting information on WikiLeaks Organization, Events, and Content, WikiLeaks/Israel Connection, Palestine/Israel history and current events, Hacktivism. Nothing is off limits. Linkage between otherwise divergent topics / regions / organizations / movements is highly valued. Please send any and all information that would be of interest to the public, including journalism, education, and research."
OpenLeaks Started by ex-Wikileaks member Daniel Domscheit-Berg, this site is still "Coming Soon!" It will serve only as a conduit between whistleblowers and their media destinations without being involved in the publishing.
Pinoy Leaks is dedicated to exposing corruption in the Philippine national and local governments.
PinoyLeaks is similar to Wikileaks, except the mission is specifically focused on exposing corruption only, the scope is limited to the Philippines, and PinoyLeaks works with bloggers instead of traditional media. It is up to the bloggers whether to spread news about a leak.
This site is launching on Rizal Day, 2010. Our goal is to start publishing leaks by February 1, 2011. Please help us reach this goal by spreading the word about PinoyLeaks.
Pirate Leaks Started by the Czech Pirate Party to offer a service similar to Wikileaks but focusing on the Czech Republic and with transparent accounting, they want to tackle the network of political corruption and organized crime in the Czech Republic and are looking for classified materials related to crime or finance.
Rospil An extension of popular Russian blogger Alexei Navalny's website, he is actively seeking documentation of corruption in the higher echelons of the national government and economy.
thaicables is trying to combat the Thai government's censorship of over 300,000 websites.
We do not believe in censorship and think that everyone in Thailand should get access to any information available on the internet, which also includes Wikileaks. This is the reason for this blog.
Thaileaks makes all Thai-related content from the Wikileaks website available for direct download and provides magnet links to Wikileaks material.
TuniLeaks This seems, at least at present, to serve as a forum to post and discuss Wikileaks state cable releases as they relate to Tunisia, along with the Twitter hashtag #tunileaks . According to Global Voices Advocacy they have been under heavy censorship threats and actions since they were started.
Haïkuleaks provides Haïku poetry based on the US State Dept cables.
Leaky World is a Wikileaks based game.
Wikileaks: The Game is another.
Note: Listing a site on WL Central in no way constitutes a recommendation of the site by WL Central or Wikileaks.
What is most intriguing about the WikiLeaks saga is not the pathology of hacker culture as envisioned by Mr Sterling's fecund imagination, but the possibility that Julian Assange and his confederates have made dull liberal principles seem once again sexily subversive by exposing power's reactionary panic when a few people with a practical bent actually bother to take them seriously.
A post on the Democracy in America blog on economist.com addresses Bruce Sterling's much publicized recent article on Wikileaks, Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. The criticism of Sterling's article is well placed, but the closing comments, quoted above, strike at the heart of the WikiLeaks controversy.
OpEdNews has an interviewwith Shanna Devine, the Legislative Campaign Coordinator at GAP [the Government Accountability Project]. The US Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S. 372) was just defeated in the House. Ironically, the protection to expose secrets was blocked by something called a "secret hold", one anonymous person.
S. 372 would have increased opportunities for whistleblowers to expose wrongdoing within a system instead of relying on external organizations for exposure. It would have eliminated current loopholes such as:
Currently, you are not eligible for federal whistleblower protection if : you are not the first person who discloses given misconduct; you make a disclosure to your co-worker; you make a disclosure to your supervisor; you disclose the consequences of a policy decision; and the kicker: if you blow the whistle while carrying out your job duties.
As reported by Amnesty International and Der Speigel Hungary is introducing a new law coming into force on January 1, 2011 (the same time Hungary will be taking over the EU presidency) which will impose unprecedented restrictions on the freedom of the press in the European Union.
Amnesty:"A newly created National Media and Communications Authority (NMHH) will have the power to impose heavy fines, ranging from up to 35,000 Euros for periodicals to up to 730,000 Euros for broadcast media, for content it considers to run counter to the “public interest”, “common morality” and “national order”. Fines can also be imposed for “unbalanced” news reporting.
None of these terms are clearly defined in the law and their interpretation is left to the NMHH. The NMHH also has the power to shut down news outlets.
There are also concerns about the political independence of the National Media and Communications Authority, whose five board members were appointed by the ruling Fidesz party without broader consultation or any parliamentary scrutiny."