Wikileaks and whistleblowers


in Geek stuff, Internet matters, Law, Politics, Security

My cousin Tamara and her SO

Wikileaks is a website that allows anonymous whistleblowers to disseminate sensitive or embarrassing documents online. These could be anything from evidence of corruption and bribery in government to corporate wrongdoings to secret military interrogation manuals. While the ability to publish anonymously does have potential for abuse, it is also a valuable public service. There are plenty of barriers that prevent people from becoming whistleblowers, even when there is massive evidence of wrongdoing. Having technological mechanisms to aid the process – and reduce the dangers of retribution – thus serves the public interest. Particularly in places where governments are undermining traditional forms of public and legal oversight, such as in the treatment of terrorist suspects, there is extra value in whatever sources of information remain accessible.

As of today, the site is suffering from a California court decision that required Dynadot – the domain name registry that associates the URL ‘’ with an IP address – to “prevent the domain name from resolving to the Web site or any other Web site or server other than a blank park page until further notice.” This doesn’t make the site inaccessible, since the server can be accessed directly at, but it will prevent a good number of people from finding it. The ruling arose from proceedings involving Julius Baer – a Swiss bank that leaks have implicated in tax evasion and money laundering in the Cayman Islands. In addition to the DNS restriction, the site is apparently suffering from a denial of service attack, probably orchestrated by one or more organizations the site has embarrassed.

The final result of this will be an interesting development in the ongoing battle to control what kind of information can be distributed online, whether that can be done anonymously or not, and which jurisdictions are most accommodating towards such activities.

{ 83 comments… read them below or add one }

Milan February 18, 2008 at 3:15 pm

Who stands to gain from Wikileaks?

News of a website for leakers and whistleblowers worries Bill Thompson.

Litty February 19, 2008 at 11:30 am

There is a danger that such sites could be used nefariously by people seeking to slander or embarass a government or corporation.

tristan February 19, 2008 at 4:50 pm

I can’t get to the site. Is it my browser?

Milan February 19, 2008 at 5:00 pm


It works for me. Perhaps the DOS attack people had the upper hand at the moment when you tried it.


Such nefarious people could always release forged documents through other channels – including sending them to journalists. Wikileaks might make fraud easier by making it harder to trace back to an individual, but that is one cost to be weighed against the potential benefits.

Mindlessly trusting anything that appears on the site is foolish. Likewise, requiring them to somehow verify the authenticity of everything is asking too much. That is a job for investigative journalists, courts, the police, and individuals.

. February 20, 2008 at 2:07 pm

Cringely Looks at the WikiLeaks Debacle

By ScuttleMonkey on corporate-policy-will-rarely-win-you-votes-for-genius

dtwood writes “Infoworld’s Cringely has an interesting take on the Julius Baer bank trying to silence — and how stunningly stupid they’ve been. ‘But the bank’s solution is so mind-bogglingly stupid, you have to wonder if these guys need help getting their pants on each morning. First, this is exactly the kind of story bloggers and Net-centric journos crave. Big nasty corporation stomps all over plucky public-serving underdog. Who can resist that plot line? Second, the equation Bank Julius Baer = Money Laundering is now firmly cemented in the minds of everyone who has encountered this story, regardless of whether it’s true. Trois: The documents in question, which might have been quickly forgotten alongside the 1.2 million others on the site, are now hotter than the Paris Hilton sex video. Dozens of mirror sites have sprung up, and and PirateBay have squirreled away copies of the docs for any interested parties. “

. May 14, 2008 at 10:14 am

“The Mormon Church has instructed its lawyers to gag the Internet over WikiLeaks‘ release of the 1968 and 1999 versions of its confidential handbook for Church leaders. Apart from attacking WikiLeaks, legal demands were sent to Jimmy Wales of the WikiMedia foundation for a WikiNews article merely linking to the material, and has also been censored. WikiLeaks has (of course) refused to remove the documents.”

. March 9, 2009 at 4:59 pm

Wikileaks cracks NATO’s Master Narrative for Afghanistan
From Wikileaks
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February 27, 2009


Wikileaks has cracked the encryption to a key document relating to the war in Afghanistan. The document, titled “NATO in Afghanistan: Master Narrative”, details the “story” NATO representatives are to give to, and to avoid giving to, journalists.

The encrypted document, which is dated October 6, and believed to be current, can be found on the Pentagon Central Command (CENTCOM) website [UPDATE: Fri Feb 27 15:18:38 GMT 2009, the entire Pentagon site is now down–probably in response to this editorial, parts of the site can still be seen in Google’s cache ]

. October 9, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Wikileaks Plans To Make the Web Leakier

By kdawson on assuming-the-risk

itwbennett writes “At the Hack In The Box conference in Kuala Lumpur, announced a plan to enable newspapers, human rights organizations, criminal investigators, and others to embed an ‘upload a disclosure to me via Wikileaks’ form onto their Web sites that would give potential whistleblowers the ability to leak sensitive documents to an organization or journalist they trust over a secure connection. The news or NGO site would then get an embargo period in which to analyze the material and write the story, after which Wikileaks would make the leaked material public. At the same time, the receiver would have greater legal protection, says Julien Assange, an advisory board member at Wikileaks ‘We will take the burden of protecting the source and the legal risks associated with publishing the document,’ said Assange. ‘We want to get as much substantive information as possible into the historical record, keep it accessible, and provide incentives for people to turn it into something that will achieve political reform.'”

. November 2, 2009 at 5:43 pm

The Senate Legal and Constitutional Affairs committee is recommending that legal protection be extended to whistle-blowing employees of CSIS and CSE. “In the post-9/11 world,” the senators say, “particularly in light of the significant additional expenditures on defence and security, we want assurance that our counter-terrorism agencies are operating scrupulously within the law. We want members of CSIS and CSE to feel confident in coming forward to report any wrongdoing.”

I’m not always a fan of Senate reports, but this seems like a sensible recommendation. And they also got CSE’s name right. The Globe and Mail report calls the agency the Canadian Security Establishment and describes it as “an Ottawa-based organization that intercepts phone calls and computer messages as part of national security exercises”. Mm.

. January 24, 2010 at 5:05 pm

PayPal Freezes the Assets of

By kdawson on thought-money-was-speech

matsh sends word that PayPal has frozen the assets of From their Web site: “Paypal has as of 23rd of January 2010 frozen WikiLeaks assets. This is the second time that this happens. The last time we struggled for more than half a year to resolve this issue. By working with the respected and recognized German foundation Wau Holland Stiftung we tried to avoid this from happening again — apparently without avail.” The submitter adds: “Hopefully we can pressure PayPal to resolve this quickly, since this seems like a dangerous political decision.”

. February 1, 2010 at 10:54 am

WikiLeaks whistleblower site in temporary shutdown

WikiLeaks, a whistleblower website that allows people to publish uncensored information anonymously, has suspended operations owing to financial problems.

Its running costs including staff payments are $600,000 (£377,000), but so far this year it has raised just $130,000 (£81,000).

WikiLeaks has established a reputation for publishing information that traditional media cannot.

The website claims to be non-profit and relies on donations.

A statement on its front page says it is funded by “human rights campaigners, investigative journalists, technologists and the general public”.

. February 12, 2010 at 10:21 am

Wikileaks and Iceland MPs propose ‘journalism haven’

By Chris Vallance
Reporter, BBC News

Iceland could become a “journalism haven” if a proposal put forward by some Icelandic MPs aided by whistle-blowing website Wikileaks succeeds.

The Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI), calls on the country’s government to adopt laws protecting journalists and their sources.

It will be filed with the Althingi – Iceland’s parliament – on 16 February.

If the proposal succeeds it will require the Icelandic government to consider introducing legislation.

Julian Assange, Wikileaks’ editor, told BBC News that the idea was to “try and reform Iceland’s media law to be a very attractive jurisdiction for investigative journalists”.

He has been in Iceland for a number of weeks and is advising MPs on the IMMI.

The hope is that journalist-friendly laws will encourage media businesses to move to Iceland.

“If it then has these additional media and publishing law protections then it is likely to encourage the international press and internet start-ups to locate their services here,” Mr Assange said.

He believes the political mood in Iceland is receptive to the need for change.

. March 15, 2010 at 4:56 pm

US Intelligence Planned To Destroy WikiLeaks

“This document is a classified (SECRET/NOFORN), 32-page US counterintelligence investigation into WikiLeaks (PDF). ‘The possibility that current employees or moles within DoD or elsewhere in the US government are providing sensitive or classified information to cannot be ruled out.’ It concocts a plan to fatally marginalize the organization. Since WikiLeaks uses ‘trust as a center of gravity by protecting the anonymity and identity of the insiders, leakers or whistleblowers,’ the report recommends ‘The identification, exposure, termination of employment, criminal prosecution, legal action against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could potentially damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others considering similar actions from using the Web site.’ [As two years have passed since the date of the report, with no WikiLeaks’ source exposed, it appears that this plan was ineffective.] As an odd justification for the plan, the report claims that ‘Several foreign countries including China, Israel, North Korea, Russia, Vietnam, and Zimbabwe have denounced or blocked access to the website.’ The report provides further justification by enumerating embarrassing stories broken by WikiLeaks — US equipment expenditure in Iraq, probable US violations of the Chemical Warfare Convention Treaty in Iraq, the battle over the Iraqi town of Fallujah and human rights violations at Guantanamo Bay.”

Thomas March 16, 2010 at 9:40 am

Bill Thompson made some good points. I personally don’t trust the people behind wikileaks. There seems to be a strong anti-China bias there with a Tibetan exile, and Chinese dissidents. Most Chinese dissidents and Tibetan campaign groups are funded in some way by the US government. For example the National Endowment of Democracy (NED) funded the groups that organised the anti-Chinese Olympics demonstrations (check out the NED’s website. Even the Dalai Lama was found to be on the CIA’s payroll (it came out during the watergate investigation). Just because the US openly attacks wikileaks doesn’t mean it can be trusted. The US once bombed Al Jazeera’s offices but Al BBC Jazeera is largely run by former BBC employees. An attack (or mock attack) can be a good way to give them credibility. Wikileaks has been funded by the mainstream media too (the associated Press) and the mainstream media are certainly very controlled. It could be that Wikileaks is legit but it could easily be part of a controlled oposition strategy and could be used for propaganda. It certainly would be unwise to trust anonymous sources. People should always think critially.

Milan March 16, 2010 at 10:10 am

I see Wikileaks as a useful tool for anyone with important but secret information to release. I don’t think they refuse to accept some submissions while publishing others.

In short, the people who are at risk from Wikileaks are governments and other organizations who have something to hide. Sometimes, secrets can be legitimately kept (such as the names of confidential informants in police matters). Probably more often, secrecy is a veil used to avoid legitimate scrutiny.

Thomas March 16, 2010 at 11:05 am

You make some good points too. Wikileaks (regardless of the intent of those behind it) is a useful tool if they don’t censor. There will be instances of people with secrets that the public should know about who may face state prosecution or persecution for revealing them.

It’s also useful in that it gives people ideas and no doubt other copycat websites will spring up. Some may address the criticisms and improve on the idea. A combined site of whisleblowers and independent investigative journalists to follow up on posts might be a good idea.

Milan March 16, 2010 at 11:27 am

Certainly, people should not assume that the documents on Wikileaks are genuine. They are just providing a corridor for disclosure that offers some protection to the people supplying the documents.

Further investigation by the press and others is certainly warranted, when documents of interest appear there.

. June 13, 2010 at 10:43 pm

A Reporter at Large
No Secrets
Julian Assange’s mission for total transparency.
by Raffi Khatchadourian June 7, 2010

The house on Grettisgata Street, in Reykjavik, is a century old, small and white, situated just a few streets from the North Atlantic. The shifting northerly winds can suddenly bring ice and snow to the city, even in springtime, and when they do a certain kind of silence sets in. This was the case on the morning of March 30th, when a tall Australian man named Julian Paul Assange, with gray eyes and a mop of silver-white hair, arrived to rent the place. Assange was dressed in a gray full-body snowsuit, and he had with him a small entourage. “We are journalists,” he told the owner of the house. Eyjafjallajökull had recently begun erupting, and he said, “We’re here to write about the volcano.” After the owner left, Assange quickly closed the drapes, and he made sure that they stayed closed, day and night. The house, as far as he was concerned, would now serve as a war room; people called it the Bunker. Half a dozen computers were set up in a starkly decorated, white-walled living space. Icelandic activists arrived, and they began to work, more or less at Assange’s direction, around the clock. Their focus was Project B—Assange’s code name for a thirty-eight-minute video taken from the cockpit of an Apache military helicopter in Iraq in 2007. The video depicted American soldiers killing at least eighteen people, including two Reuters journalists; it later became the subject of widespread controversy, but at this early stage it was still a closely guarded military secret.

Assange is an international trafficker, of sorts. He and his colleagues collect documents and imagery that governments and other institutions regard as confidential and publish them on a Web site called Since it went online, three and a half years ago, the site has published an extensive catalogue of secret material, ranging from the Standard Operating Procedures at Camp Delta, in Guantánamo Bay, and the “Climategate” e-mails from the University of East Anglia, in England, to the contents of Sarah Palin’s private Yahoo account. The catalogue is especially remarkable because WikiLeaks is not quite an organization; it is better described as a media insurgency. It has no paid staff, no copiers, no desks, no office. Assange does not even have a home. He travels from country to country, staying with supporters, or friends of friends—as he once put it to me, “I’m living in airports these days.” He is the operation’s prime mover, and it is fair to say that WikiLeaks exists wherever he does. At the same time, hundreds of volunteers from around the world help maintain the Web site’s complicated infrastructure; many participate in small ways, and between three and five people dedicate themselves to it full time. Key members are known only by initials—M, for instance—even deep within WikiLeaks, where communications are conducted by encrypted online chat services. The secretiveness stems from the belief that a populist intelligence operation with virtually no resources, designed to publicize information that powerful institutions do not want public, will have serious adversaries.

. July 26, 2010 at 10:06 am

Wikileaks releases classified Afghanistan war logs: “largest intelligence leak in history”

An archive of classified U.S. military logs spanning six years, more than 91,000 documents, and 200,000 pages, was today made available by WikiLeaks. The papers show a picture of the war in Afghanistan that is far more grim, and far less hopeful, than previously portrayed.

The New York Times, London’s Guardian newspaper and Der Spiegel in Germany were offered early access to the archive, the contents of which show “why, after the United Sates has spent almost $300 billion on the war in Afghanistan, the Taliban are stronger than at any time since 2001,” according to the NYT.

This classified military information release by WikiLeaks is its first since publishing a video in April that shows a 2007 US Apache helicopter attack which killed a dozen people in Baghdad, including two Reuters photojournalists.

. July 27, 2010 at 4:48 pm

What to do about Wikileaks….?
Tarek Virani

“As for us, it leaves us in a pretty dire situation since we constantly swallow the rhetoric of the American, British and other governments keen on seeing this through to some type of ‘victory’ – whatever that means. Infact, let’s be honest, the majority of the population are concerned with other things a little more than the wars in Afganistan and Iraq; namely, our pretty dire economic situation. It’s hard to care about a war in the Middle East when you don’t have a job, or if your house is getting repossessed by greedy banks. The problem is, that the duration of the war completrely depends on the public’s distaste of and indeed disagreement with the war(s). If the majority of the population of the US and other countries that are part of the coalition want their troops to ‘come home’ then they need to step up and say so. Not through chanting ’stop the war’, and not by voting in liars, but by getting behind the facts and enacting citizenry over these facts. If the facts don’t matter then the war will continue, and the atrocities that Assange and his cohorts publish will continue to go on (there are echoes of Vietnam, Lebanon, El Salvador, and Colombia here).

So where does this leave Wikileaks, it leaves them with a bit of a job to do. Not only do they need to publish this material in order for true transparency in the digital age to continue, but they need to educate people as to why this type of information is important. Basically, Wikileaks needs a PR team to go on the blitz, using new media and Web 2/3.0 techniques to connect with the world, over and over again (remember our memories are short in the age of new media). Wikileaks has the backing of ‘noble’ governments like that of Iceland, but needs a little more in order to sway the ideas and opinions of West. If this is not their job or part of their mission, then I’m afraid the information published will fall on deaf ears and blind eyes in the global West (advanced industrialised countries are too pragmatic for their own good sometimes). What needs to be put on the table, in context, is that yes we understand that war is ugly, but we also understand that it is not conducted properly and indeed not necessary. It’s probably doing more harm than good regarding our securtiy here in the West (this is no secret). As a test to what is being argued here, watch how quickly this story disappears and how quickly another one fills its spot. It really is quite an ‘age’ when crucial information regarding something as serious as a war becomes a flash in the pan story. I hope I’m wrong in this respect.”

. July 28, 2010 at 6:57 pm

“I don’t doubt that the site takes great pains to investigate its leaks—Raffi Khatchadourian’s recent New Yorker profile of Assange painted a picture of tireless devotion. You might also argue that questions of trust are just part of the deal when you rely on anonymous sources—a long-defended, if controversial, journalistic practice. But there is a profound difference between how WikiLeaks uses anonymous sources and how the rest of the media does. When the New York Times has a document provided by an anonymous source, its reporter knows the identity of that source. In that case, we expect the reporter to assess both the source’s information and the source’s reasons for reporting it. When mainstream media outlets are duped by these anonymous sources, we—justifiably—blame them for not checking things out.

Indeed, some critics of anonymous sourcing have called for the outing of lying leakers. In October 2001, for instance, ABC News’ investigative unit reported that “four well-placed and separate sources” revealed that the anthrax used in the postal terror attacks contained a chemical additive that suggested ties to Iraq. When, in 2008, the FBI revealed that its lead suspect was Bruce Ivins, a scientist with no connection to Iraq, Salon’s Glenn Greenwald and journalism professor Jay Rosen both called on ABC to reveal its sources. Outing the sources, they argued, would serve as an important check on people who try to peddle false information—if a leaker knew that he could be outed for lying, he’d be much more cautious. (ABC News did not comply with the request.)

Any such checks on a source’s veracity are impossible under WikiLeaks’ processes. If WikiLeaks doesn’t know who provided a document in question, how can it know the source’s “means, motive, and opportunity” to determine if the document is real? Even Assange admits these shortcomings. He told reporters on Tuesday that his worst fear was that a source could subtly alter leaked documents without WikiLeaks finding out. If WikiLeaks does end up publishing a dubious document, there would be no way to expose its anonymous source in order to deter further fraud.”

bruce lawrence, sr. September 27, 2010 at 3:48 pm

i have SHOCKING documents illustrating a massive fraud perpertrated against the U.S. Treasury of ten’s of millions of dollars. there is also a COVER-UP of miami-dade county employee moneys from their 529 deductions being deverted to a fraudulant account with my name on it. miami-dade case# 99-1192 whereas it shows that i am PRESUMED DEAD. i have these documents in e-mail form and can send, please help me expose this activity.
thank you

Matt September 27, 2010 at 4:58 pm

Do you also have a couch that needs picking up in the Ottawa area?

R.K. September 27, 2010 at 4:59 pm


. October 25, 2010 at 9:47 am

First, it seems that Pentagon officials were keeping a log of civilian casualties, though spokesmen frequently said at the time that they weren’t. A secret Defense Department report estimated that just over 100,000 noncombatants were killed between 2004 and 2009.

The WikiLeaks documents reveal some previously unknown instances of casualties caused by Americans—for instance, a 2007 incident in which an Apache helicopter crew killed two Iraqis who were trying to surrender. More intriguing, this helicopter had the same call sign, “Crazyhorse 18,” as the Apache that later accidentally killed two Reuters reporters.

However, the bigger finding is that, at least according to the Pentagon’s secret report, most Iraqi civilian deaths were caused by other Iraqis. The report calculates 31,780 Iraqis killed by roadside bombs and 34,814 by sectarian killings (notated as “murders”).

The overall number is consistent with estimates by Iraq Body Count, a private organization that attempts to track casualties through media reports. However, an IBC press release put out on Friday said that, after scouring the WikiLeaks documents, the group has seen references to 15,000 deaths that it had not previously reported—thus boosting its count from 107,000 to 122,000.

By that measure, the Pentagon’s estimate is a bit on the low side. However, the WikiLeaks documents add further doubts to a controversial report in a 2006 issue of the medical journal the Lancet, claiming that, even that early in the war, 655,000 Iraqi civilians had been killed, most of them by U.S. air and artillery strikes.

The WikiLeaks documents also bear out claims by some U.S. officials at the time that Iran was playing an active role in supporting Iraqi Shiite militia groups—supplying them with rockets and particularly lethal IEDs, training their snipers, and helping to plot assassinations of Iraqi officials. These activities apparently continued after Barack Obama was elected president.

. December 4, 2010 at 9:54 pm

Diplomatic cables are something entirely different. It’s part of the nature of human communication that one doesn’t always say the same thing to every audience. There are perfectly good reasons why you don’t always tell the same story to your boss as you do to your spouse. There are things Washington needs to tell Riyadh to explain what it’s just told Jerusalem and things Washington needs to tell Jerusalem to explain what it’s just told Riyadh, and these cables shouldn’t be crossed. There’s nothing wrong with this. It’s inevitable. And it wouldn’t make the world a better place if Washington were unable to say anything to Jerusalem without its being heard by Riyadh, any more than it would if you were unable to tell your spouse anything without its being heard by your boss.
At this point, what WikiLeaks is doing seems like tattling: telling Sally what Billy said to Jane. It’s sometimes possible that Sally really ought to know what Billy said to Jane, if Billy were engaged in some morally culpable deception. But in general, we frown on gossips. If there’s something particularly damning in the diplomatic cables WikiLeaks has gotten a hold of, the organisation should bring together a board of experienced people with different perspectives to review the merits of releasing that particular cable. But simply grabbing as many diplomatic cables as you can get your hands on and making them public is not a socially worthy activity.

Greg Mitchell’s catalogue of reactions to the leaked cables is a trove of substantive information. For example, drawing on the documents made available by WikiLeaks, the ACLU reports that the Bush administration “pressured Germany not to prosecute CIA officers responsible for the kidnapping, extraordinary rendition and torture of German national Khaled El-Masri”, a terrorism suspect dumped in Albania once the CIA determined it had nabbed a nobody. I consider kidnapping and torture serious crimes, and I think it’s interesting indeed if the United States government applied pressure to foreign governments to ensure complicity in the cover-up of it agents’ abuses. In any case, I don’t consider this gossip.

I think we all understand that the work of even the most decent governments is made more difficult when they cannot be sure their communications will be read by those for whom they were not intended. That said, there is no reason to assume that the United States government is always up to good. To get at the value of WikiLeaks, I think it’s important to distinguish between the government—the temporary, elected authors of national policy—and the state—the permanent bureaucratic and military apparatus superficially but not fully controlled by the reigning government. The careerists scattered about the world in America’s intelligence agencies, military, and consular offices largely operate behind a veil of secrecy executing policy which is itself largely secret. American citizens mostly have no idea what they are doing, or whether what they are doing is working out well. The actually-existing structure and strategy of the American empire remains a near-total mystery to those who foot the bill and whose children fight its wars. And that is the way the elite of America’s unelected permanent state, perhaps the most powerful class of people on Earth, like it.

MY FREEDOM-LOVING colleague is absolutely right to defend the institution of WikiLeaks, and in case my earlier post was unclear, let me re-emphasise that I think we’re all better off having an institution where leakers can anonymously submit important information, have it verified and get it published if it checks out. I certainly don’t think Julian Assange should be prosecuted for doing this (his alleged personal behaviour is a separate and irrelevant issue). But I think the current dump of diplomatic cables is basically a poor editorial decision. I think the format of “document dumps” is an attempt to evade the very idea that the organisation is making editorial decisions, to make it merely a neutral throughput for leaked information. But I don’t think that works. I think it’s clear that the institution of WikiLeaks needs to recognise that it is making editorial decisions, and that those decisions need to take place in a fashion at least as transparent as WikiLeaks would like corporate and governing institutions to be. Basically, I think WikiLeaks needs an ethical review board.

Before getting more deeply into this, let me note a couple of concerns floating around today about WikiLeaks. Matthew Yglesias makes the trenchant point that when Peter King, the representative from New York, absurdly suggests WikiLeaks be labeled a “terrorist organisation”, he’s demonstrating that this situation has the potential to upset current protections of freedom of the press: “Currently the rule is that it’s illegal to be the guy with legal access to classified information who passes it on to outsiders, but once you receive the leak you’re free to do what you want with it.” If Mr Assange is going to be prosecuted or put on an extra-legal enemies list for doing the same thing the New York Times did with the Pentagon Papers, we’re in real trouble.

. December 4, 2010 at 10:01 pm

Because so much of human communication is strategic in nature. Whether we realize it or not, we speak to the future as much as we speak to one another. We spin. We recruit. We delegitimize perceived competitors. We fudge to leave room for future rationalizations. And at some level, we always understand that we are talking on the record, so we parse our words accordingly.

You curse because your sister-in-law has robbed you of the ability to deny those assumptions, which is just to say, the ability to pretend. She has, in fact, done real damage to your familial status and prestige. Rob a person of their ability to pretend and you rob them of real social power.

She is sure to take the moral high ground, saying things like, “I’m sorry. I just assumed you weren’t the kind of person who talked behind other peoples’ backs.” No one, after all, advertises themselves as a pretender.
And you, for your part, will also take the moral high ground and accuse her of betraying the family trust. Instinctively, you will understand that the more you undermine her reputation, the more you can repair your own.

. December 4, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Julian Assange on Crowd Sourcing, Values and Journalism
December 4, 2010 by northernsong

This morning I was watching a panel discussion from the Logal Symposium at UC Berkley, (in six parts, find part 1 here). The panel is interesting in general, especially because it includes both Assange’s activist position, and more traditional journalistic opinions. But what stood out for me were Assange’s comments on why Cablegate was being pursued differently than the War Logs or Afghan Diaries. Specifically, whereas those leaks were published all at once, as a dump of source material on the internet, CableGate is being released slowly and with privileged access to specific press institutions

. December 4, 2010 at 11:46 pm

wikileaks is important, but it is not a revolution
from Taylor by Taylor Owen

Dave Eaves has a thoughtful reply to my wikileaks piece up on his site. As usual, he gets at some of the meta questions surrounding this topic. While we would usually have this convo over a long drunken dinner, below are a few points in response.

First, I 100% agree with Dave that the institutions of the 20th century were built for a different social, economic and political model, and need to be reformed. One of these reforms will need to be far more transparency. More open data is part of this greater transparency. So yes, him and I are both incrementalists.

Let’s be clear about what Assange wants though. He wants to bring down the system – in it’s entirety. Just look at the zunguzungu piece: “Assange has a clearly articulated vision for how Wikileaks’ activities will “carry us through the mire of politically distorted language, and into a position of clarity.” Ah yes, the true sign of a false prophet – if only we know everything, then we will reach purity. This is Maoist in it’s true sense. Cleans the world of politics, then politics will be pure. Demagogic absolutism at it’s core.

Second, and related, Assange is supposedly sitting on a huge data dump of a US bank. While this is likely a database of emails amongst managers and executives, what would those that are heralding this new world of absolute transparency say if he releases the financial information of every client of this bank. If his goal is to bring down the corrupt western capitalist system, why would he not release data that would bring the world economy to a standstill? And if he does, what will the reaction be from those that view wikileaks as a relatively harmless, though inconvenient for the powers that be, truthsayer?

. December 5, 2010 at 6:01 pm

The US State Department has started to warn potential recruits from universities not to read leaked cables, lest it jeopardize their chances of getting a job. They’re also showing warnings to troops who access news websites and the Library of Congress and Department of Education have blocked WikiLeaks on their own networks. Quite what happens when these employees go home is an open question.”

. December 9, 2010 at 6:23 pm

Repercussions of the leaked U.S. diplomatic cables therefore are serious and global, not confined to American statecraft. Diplomacy and intelligence professions may very well consider classifying eras as pre- and post-WikiLeaks. We are not sure, and it is too early to tell so close to the actual leaks.

But STRATFOR takes issue with the thesis that the leaked cables will mark geopolitics itself. Geopolitics is a set of constraints imposed primarily by geography — with demographics and technology playing roles — that limit strategic options for nations. Belgium may want to be a world power — and it may have dabbled in the pursuit of such power in the jungles of the Congo — but its existence is defined by its geography as a buffer between France and Germany. Mongolia may once have dominated vast stretches of the Eurasian steppe, but technological advancements have long since minimized the utility of cavalry archers.

One could argue that WikiLeaks introduces a new set of constraints, of open information that will limit how governments pursue their national interests. But the episode does not actually affect one set of countries disproportionately over others. In fact, as much as the United States will now be hampered in intelligence sharing among its diplomats and intelligence officials with Washington, a much less technologically advanced country will be hampered in getting its point across in a frank manner. It is not clear if anyone wins or loses. Power structures established by geography, demographics and technology remain unaffected. One continues to be either constrained or enabled by their particular circumstances. In fact, those geopolitical circumstances will continue to determine the particulars of who speaks to whom and how — only the method may change.

Diplomacy and intelligence work are crafts of manipulating and alleviating the constraints of geopolitics. They are not constraints or enablers themselves. Diplomats and intelligence officials will adapt to the new set of constraints in their work — much as they adapted to the telegraph or the photocopy machine — and this will take time, resources and training. But ultimately geopolitics remains unaffected.

. December 10, 2010 at 11:26 pm

Rethinking Conspiracy: The Political Philosophy of Julian Assange

by Peter Ludlow

Dept. of Philosophy

Northwestern University

Behind the ostensible government sits enthroned an invisible government owing no allegiance and acknowledging no responsibility to the people. To destroy this invisible government, to befoul this unholy alliance between corrupt business and corrupt politics is the first task of statesmanship. — President Theodore Roosevelt (epigraph from an Assange paper)
There has been plenty of venom spewed about the recently arrested Julian Assange, ranging from calls for his assassination to claims that he is an anarchist and even (according to Newt Gingrich) that he runs a terrorist organization. On the other side there have been those who view him positively as a prophet of the “information wants to be free” hacker ethic. While I used to agree with the latter group, but I now understand that this is a gross oversimplification of his views.
I’ve been reading some of Assange’s more philosophical writings, ranging from blog posts to position papers. While this work is scattered and at times technical (and certainly enthymematic) I think I have the gist of his position. My goal in this note is explain his philosophical position as best as I can. Since my goal is pedagogical, I won’t weigh in pro or con, but I will conclude with some questions for further discussion.
To keep things as tight as possible, I’ve organized my summary of his position into three parts. First, I’ll look at his view of what conspiracies are and how they are formed. Second, I’ll examine his views about why conspiracies are necessarily harmful. Third, I’ll turn to his reason for thinking that leaks are optimal weapons for the dismantling of conspiracies.
1.0 What are Conspiracies?
One of the core goals of Assange’s project is to dismantle what he calls “conspiracies.” I use scare quotes here because he doesn’t mean ‘conspiracy’ in the usual sense of people sitting around in a room plotting some crime or deception. As I understand Assange’s view it is entirely possible that there could be a conspiracy in which no person in the conspiracy was aware that they were part of the conspiracy. How is this possible?
I’ll get into details in a bit, but first I think the basic idea of a conspiracy with unwitting agents can be illustrated in a simple way. Suppose that you have some information that is valuable – say some inside information about the financial state of a corporation. If you immediately make that information public without acting on it, it is worth nothing to you. On the other hand, if you keep it to yourself you may not fully profit from the information. Ideally, you would like to seek out someone that you could trade the information with, and who you could be sure would keep the information close so that it remained valuable. Let’s say that I have similar information and that we trade it. You may trade with other friends and I may do likewise. In each case we have simply traded information for our own benefit, but we have also built a little network of information traders who, hopefully, are keeping the information relatively close and are giving us something equally valuable in kind. We may not know the scope of the network and we may not even realize we are part of a network, but we are, and this network constitutes a conspiracy as Assange understands it. No one sat down and agreed to form a network of inside information traders – the network has simply naturally emerged from our local individual bargains. We can say that the network is an emergent property of these bargains.
Emergent conspiracies like this needn’t be restricted to the business world. Suppose that I am a reporter. I would like to have some hot news to report. You agree to give me the inside information, but you do so with the understanding that you and your network friends will act on your information before you give it to me and it becomes worthless when published. I get my scoop, and you get to control the conditions under which the information is made public. I, as reporter, am now unknowingly part of the conspiracy. I am participating in the conspiracy by respecting the secrets that the network wishes to keep, and releasing the secrets (and sometimes misinformation) only when it is in the interest of the network to do so. I have become a part of the network, and hence part of the conspiracy.
The network need not start out as a conspiracy. Suppose we have an organization (say the US State Department) and some of our communications lead to embarrassment or political blowback. Naturally, we want to avoid such unpleasantries, so we begin to communicate in secret. Assange puts the point this way:
Plans which assist authoritarian rule, once discovered, induce resistance. Hence these plans are concealed by successful authoritarian powers. This is enough to define their behavior as conspiratorial. [“Conspiracy as Governance,” Dec. 3, 2006, p. 3 – available at
We can illustrate with a recent example. Suppose that the leader of an Arab country wants the United States to take strong action against Iran. If the Arab leader’s people knew he took such a position there would be strong political blowback and resistance (and possible political risk for him), hence he conducts his discussions with the United States in secret. He has become part of a conspiracy.
These three illustrations all show the central feature of what Assange takes to be a conspiracy – secrecy and exchange of information within a closed network. In the next section I will address why Assange thinks these closed networks are problematic, but for now it is important to stress that this is conspiracy in the sense of the original etymology of ‘conspire’ – as in “breathe with” or “breathe together”. The individuals are acting in concert, whether by plan or not, and the secrecy ensures that the benefits of the network accrue to those inside the network and not outside it.
Assange’s view seems to borrow from recent work on network theory, emergent systems, and work on self-synchronizing systems. Let’s start with network theory, and Assange’s own illustration of the way a network functions.
We will use connected graphs as a way to apply our spatial reasoning abilities to political relationships. 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 and intermediary nails…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 a bridge between important sections or groupings of the conspiracy… [Conspiracy as Governance, p. 2]
Conspirators are often discerning, for some trust and depend each other, while others say little. Important information flows frequently through some links, trivial information through others. So we expand our simple connected graph model to include not only links, but their “importance.”
Return to our board-and-nails analogy. Imagine a thick heavy cord between some nails and fine light thread between others. Call the importance, thickness or heaviness of a link its weight. Between conspirators that never communicate the weight is zero. The “importance” of communication passing through a link is difficult to evaluate apriori, since its true value depends on the outcome of the conspiracy. We simply say that the “importance” of communication contributes to the weight of a link in the most obvious way; the weight of a link is proportional to the amount of important communication flowing across it. Questions about conspiracies in general won’t require us to know the weight of any link, since that changes from conspiracy to conspiracy. [“Conspiracy as Governance,” p. 3]
What Assange is describing here is what network theorists might call a “scale free network”. It is not a network with evenly distributed links, but it is designed somewhat like an airline flight route map, with a handful of heavily connected hubs (not one, but several). Such networks are highly resilient (the internet is also such a network, as is the human brain) because you cannot destroy the network by randomly destroying nodes; you would have to carefully target the hubs (more on shutting down the network in a bit).
One point that Assange does not speak about directly is the way that members of the network – especially the ones with heavily weighted connections will enjoy intensive information flow between each other. For example, two “conspirators” who routinely exchange much information with each other will not merely exchange information but may well develop tight social relationships as a result. So, for example, military contractors and congressmen don’t merely exchange information but they also socialize together – be it at expensive Washington restaurants or duck hunting in South Dakota. This suggests the possibility of attitudinal entrainment.
Entrainment is a term in psychology that refers to the way in which human agents synch up with each other. They might synch up in the way they speak or how they use terms, or for that matter they may synch up in their political attitudes. The point seems obvious enough; people who spend time together start to think in similar ways. What is interesting in this instance is that the closed network becomes a system in which as attitudes propagate and normalize within the network, network members come to have shared values. In an existing network, sharing the requisite values may be a prerequisite for entering the network. Because the network is closed the shared attitudes in the network need not and probably will not be in tune with those outside the network.
The other thing to understand about conspiracies like this is that the sum is greater than the parts. Because the network is complex and interconnected Assange thinks of it as an information processing system in its own right:
Conspiracies are cognitive devices. They are able to outthink the same group of individuals acting alone Conspiracies take information about the world in which they operate (the conspiratorial environment), pass through the conspirators and then act on the result. We can see conspiracies as a type of device that has inputs (information about the environment), a computational network (the conspirators and their links to each other) and outputs (actions intending to change or maintain the environment). [“Conspiracy as Govenance”, p. 3]
Is this bad?
2.0 Why conspiracies are necessarily harmful
What’s wrong with conspiracies? In a certain sense closed networks are ubiquitous. Problems arise when they become extremely powerful, because whatever the intentions of the individuals within the network, the network itself is optimized for its own success, and not for the benefit of those outside of the network. Again, this is not by design, it is just an emergent property of such systems that they function in this way. The military/industrial/congressional complex is of this form. People that do not act to benefit their neighbor nodes in the network will eventually be expunged from the system because their neighbor nodes will minimize contact. Those acting in concert with their neighbor node/conspirators will form stronger ties and will benefit from the information and financial goods that participation in the network delivers. This is true even at the edges of the network. Reporters that violate the trust of their neighbor nodes in the network will be cut off from the network – they will no longer get their hot scoops.
All of this sounds good if you are in the network. Obviously if you are not in the network you are not benefiting. Conspirators in the network may think they are working for the benefit of others (the individuals in the military/industrial/congressional complex may well think they are acting for the benefit of the American people, but this only so much self-deception); they are actually acting for the network.
Even if you are a member of the network it is not clear that you ultimately benefit except in the obvious ways that one has power and wealth – the cost of this Faustian bargain is that one must surrender one’s creativity. Assange also talk about such networks/conspiracies acting against “people’s will to truth, love and self-realization”, and here I can only speculate that he means members of the conspiracy are not acting for love of other individuals or for finding truth outside of the network but rather are acting for the survival of the conspiracy/network. If your actions do not ensure the health of the network the network will expunge you.

3.0 How do we dismantle conspiracies?
Earlier I mentioned the etymology of ‘conspire’. It’s also interesting to reflect on the etymology of ‘anarchy’ because it means “without leader.” The reason that is interesting is that traditional anarchists are interested in targeting leaders or heads, just as the United States government seems obsessed with targeting heads of terrorist networks and indeed Assange himself as the head of the Wikileaks network. But the genius insight of Assange here is his observation that these conspiracies don’t have heads. It is pointless to try and target a single leader, or even a handful of leaders. The conspiracy is a scale free network; it is too hard to take down.
Let’s go back to Assange’s illustration of the nails connected by the twine. Imagine that this board had 100 nails all connected by a single length of twine wrapped around the nails. How many nails would you have to pull out before the network of twine fell apart? 10? 20? 50? Assange thinks that this is not the way to target the network; Rather what we want to do is to intercept and cut the information flow in the network so that the twine unravels of its own accord.
There are two ways in which this might play out. One possibility is that once the information flowing is leaked it is no longer closely held and is no longer valuable – it is no longer a source of power for the network. The network no longer has an advantage. Now, the network may detect a leak, and will act to preserve its information. In this case the network undergoes a kind of fission. It severs the leaky link and in effect separates from the part of the network where the leak occurred.
How can we reduce the ability of a conspiracy to act?…We can split the conspiracy, reduce or eliminating important communication between a few high weight links or many low weight links. [“State and Terrorist Conspiracies,” Nov. 10, 2006, p. 4, available at]
Thus even if the network survives it may well be forced to split into parts. In this case the network becomes less powerful, even though it still exists and is still a conspiracy. It is simply a weaker conspiracy.
There is another advantage, however, in Assange’s view. Leaks place a cognitive tax on the network. If the conspirators cannot trust each other with their information they are less likely to exchange it – there is an added cognitive expense to the information processing that the network undertakes. This is how Assange puts the point:
The more secretive or unjust an organization is, the more leaks induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This must result in minimization of efficient internal communications mechanisms (an increase in cognitive “secrecy tax”) and consequent system-wide cognitive decline resulting in decreased ability to hold onto power as the environment demands adaption.
Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems. Since unjust systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.(The Nonlinear Effects of Leaks on Unjust Systems of Governance.” Dec. 21, 2006 blog post available at “
In other words, leaks make it harder for the conspiracy to conduct its business and that is all to the good.
As I said earlier, my goal is primarily so I am merely describing his views without much editorializing. There are some interesting questions that are raised, however, and I close with those.
1) Is it necessarily the case that the conspiracy can’t act to the benefit of others? Arab leaders are conspiring with the United States to defeat Iran’s nuclear program, but isn’t this a good thing? Alternatively, it might be observed that rogue states like Iran are often the product of a population’s push back against some puppet that was part of a US involving conspiracy (e.g. the Shah of Iran). Perhaps conspiracies end up creating the very rogue states they refer to justify their existence?
2) The conspiracy relies on lots of innocent people to do its business (Iraqi civilian informants, for example). Leaking network secrets may put these people at risk. What safeguards should an operation like Wikileaks have to protect such people? Alternatively, could you argue that if there was no conspiracy such people would not be put at risk in the first place? Is it credible to think that in the long run breaking apart conspiracies protects innocent people from being caught up in dangerous spy games?
3) While acting against the conspiracy might place a cognitive tax on it, does it not also make the network stronger in the end? That is, won’t the conspiracy become more secretive and more draconian in its actions?
4) To what extent is Wikileaks itself a conspiracy? To this end, are there good conspiracies and bad conspiracies? Should we distinguish between conspiracies of the powerful and conspiracies of those who seek to level the playing field? At what point would a network like Wikileaks become too powerful?
5) Assange is now in jail, but does it really matter? If Wikileaks is itself a kind of conspiracy then only one nail has been pulled from the board. Will the network unravel? Will it undergo fission resulting in the proliferation of many LittleWikileaks? Or will it lead to copycats and possibly the emergence of Leaker culture? If the latter, then what consequences will there be for traditional conspiracies of the powerful?

. December 15, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Let’s consider the most controversial revelation, one of the tens of thousands of reports released on Iraq and Afghanistan and one in which a video indicated that civilians were deliberately targeted by U.S. troops. The first point, of course, is that the insurgents, in violation of the 1949 Geneva Conventions, did not go into combat wearing armbands or other distinctive clothing to distinguish themselves from non-combatants. The Geneva Conventions have always been adamant on this requirement because they regarded combatants operating under the cover of civilians as being responsible for putting those civilians in harm’s way, not the uniformed troops who were forced to distinguish between combatants and non-combatants when the combatants deliberately chose to act in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

It follows from this that such actions against civilians are inevitable in the kind of war Iraqi insurgents chose to wage. Obviously, this particular event has to be carefully analyzed, but in a war in which combatants blend with non-combatants, civilian casualties will occur, and so will criminal actions by uniformed troops. Hundreds of thousands of troops have fought in Iraq, and the idea that criminal acts would be absent is absurd. What is most startling is not the presence of potentially criminal actions but their scarcity. Anyone who has been close to combat or who has read histories of World War II would be struck not by the presence of war crimes but by the fact that in all the WikiLeaks files so few potential cases are found. War is controlled violence, and when controls fail — as they inevitably do — uncontrolled and potentially criminal violence occurs. However, the case cited by WikiLeaks with much fanfare did not clearly show criminal actions on the part of American troops as much as it did the consequences of the insurgents violating the Geneva Conventions.

Only those who were not paying attention to the fact that there was a war going on, or who had no understanding of war, or who wanted to pretend to be shocked for political reasons, missed two crucial points: It was the insurgents who would be held responsible for criminal acts under the Geneva Conventions for posing as non-combatants, and there were extraordinarily few cases of potential war crimes that were contained in the leaks.

. December 15, 2010 at 6:34 pm

Indeed, U.S. diplomats come away looking sharp, insightful and decent. While their public statements after a conference may be vacuous, it is encouraging to see that their read of the situation and of foreign leaders is unsentimental and astute. Everything from memos on senior leaders to anonymous snippets from apparently junior diplomats not only are on target (in the sense that STRATFOR agrees with them) but are also well-written and clear. I would argue that the leaks paint a flattering picture overall of the intellect of U.S. officials without revealing, for the most part, anything particularly embarrassing.

At the same time, there were snarky and foolish remarks in some of the leaks, particularly personal comments about leaders and sometimes their families that were unnecessarily offensive. Some of these will damage diplomatic careers, most generated a good deal of personal tension and none of their authors will likely return to the countries in which they served. Much was indeed unprofessional, but the task of a diplomat is to provide a sense of place in its smallest details, and none expect their observations ever to be seen by the wrong people. Nor do nations ever shift geopolitical course over such insults, not in the long run. These personal insults were by far the most significant embarrassments to be found in the latest release. Personal tension is not, however, international tension.

This raises the question of why diplomats can’t always simply state their minds rather than publicly mouth preposterous platitudes. It could be as simple as this: My son was a terrible pianist. He completely lacked talent. After his recitals at age 10, I would pretend to be enthralled. He knew he was awful and he knew I knew he was awful, but it was appropriate that I not admit what I knew. It is called politeness and sometimes affection. There is rarely affection among nations, but politeness calls for behaving differently when a person is in the company of certain other people than when that person is with colleagues talking about those people. This is the simplest of human rules. Not admitting what you know about others is the foundation of civilization. The same is true among diplomats and nations.

. December 19, 2010 at 12:29 am

In other words: Never in twenty-three years of reporting on and supporting victims of sexual assault around the world have I ever heard of a case of a man sought by two nations, and held in solitary confinement without bail in advance of being questioned — for any alleged rape, even the most brutal or easily proven. In terms of a case involving the kinds of ambiguities and complexities of the alleged victims’ complaints — sex that began consensually that allegedly became non-consensual when dispute arose around a condom — please find me, anywhere in the world, another man in prison today without bail on charges of anything comparable.

Of course ‘No means No’, even after consent has been given, whether you are male or female; and of course condoms should always be used if agreed upon. As my fifteen-year-old would say: Duh.

But for all the tens of thousands of women who have been kidnapped and raped, raped at gunpoint, gang-raped, raped with sharp objects, beaten and raped, raped as children, raped by acquaintances — who are still awaiting the least whisper of justice — the highly unusual reaction of Sweden and Britain to this situation is a slap in the face. It seems to send the message to women in the UK and Sweden that if you ever want anyone to take sex crime against you seriously, you had better be sure the man you accuse of wrongdoing has also happened to embarrass the most powerful government on earth.

. January 7, 2011 at 1:09 pm

For the American government, prosecution, not persecution, offers the best chance of limiting the damage and deterring future thefts. The blustering calls for the assassination of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder now in custody in London awaiting extradition to Sweden on faintly mysterious charges of sexual assault, look both weak and repellent. If Mr Assange has broken American law, it is there that he should stand trial, just like Bradley Manning, the alleged source of the stolen documents. If not, it may be some consolation that the cables so far (see article) reveal a largely flattering picture of America’s diplomats: conscientious, cool-headed, well-informed, perceptive and on occasion eloquent.

. January 24, 2011 at 6:15 pm

In recent weeks, NPR hosts, reporters and guests have incorrectly said or implied that WikiLeaks recently has disclosed or released roughly 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables. Although the website has vowed to publish “251,287 leaked United States embassy cables,” as of Dec. 28, 2010, only 1,942 of the cables had been released.

. February 8, 2011 at 11:29 pm

I took the liberty of adding one column to the spreadsheet called “Time between days,” which calculates the time it took from the date the complaint was filed to the date the decision was rendered. And then I sorted that column in descending order.

The case that pops to the top took 1,624 days, almost four and a half years. The parts of the Public Servants Disclosure Act that were allegedly breached in this case was Section 8(a) (contravention of an act or regulation) and Section (f) (directing a person to commit wrongdoing). The complaint was made in 2005, before Ouimet become the commissioner. But she was the one who dismissed the case, as she did in 62 per cent of the complaints – in other words, all the files that crossed her desk. Other staff members dismissed the remaining percentage.

At the low end of the scale, there were two cases in which the file was closed on the same day it was received.

And just to throw another number at you, the average length of time it took to investigate these cases was 118 days.

In crunching the numbers, there were other trends that I found interesting. For instance, in 18 of the 234 cases that were dismissed, there were allegations such as “gross mismanagement of funds” and “substantiated and specific danger to life, health, safety of person or to the environment.”

What’s also interesting is this: according to David Hutton, executive director of a lobby group for whistleblowers that goes by the acronym FAIR (Federal Accountability Initiative for Reform), Sean Bruyea’s case fell into this category.

You may recall that Bruyea was the former army vet who complained that officials in Veteran’s Affairs were breaching his privacy rights by passing around his personnel files during the time he become an outspoken critic of the department. His complaint was eventually substantiated – but not by Ouimet’s office.

. February 8, 2011 at 11:44 pm

Mr. Ference, who is from Edmonton, spoke the plain truth. It was a “bad hit,” he said. “You can’t be hypocritical about it when it happens to you, then say it’s fine when your teammate does it.”

For that he was pilloried by Canadian cultural icon Don Cherry on Hockey Night in Canada on the weekend. He said the Bruins “don’t need a guy like Ference” who speaks against teammates to the news media.

Hey kids, here’s a lesson Don Cherry didn’t mention: Sometimes you just have to speak up for what’s right. Like Andrew Ference did.

. February 10, 2011 at 9:49 pm

Complaints rise over ‘inhuman’ treatment of soldier suspected of aiding WikiLeaks

Private Bradley Manning, the young U.S. soldier suspected – but not charged – with passing a trove of embarrassing and classifieds documents to WikiLeaks, has spent more than 6,000 hours in “inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions of isolation” aimed at turning him into useful government witness, according to rights groups.

The Obama administration has largely ignored the rising chorus demanding that Pte. Manning be treated like anyone else awaiting trial. Instead, he is the only soldier prisoner held in solitary – allowed one hour of daily exercise walking figure eights inside a windowless room – at Quantico, the sprawling U.S. Marine base south of Washington.

Rights activists suggest the harsh conditions verge on torture and reflect a deliberate effort to force Pte. Manning to join the Justice Department’s effort to build a case against WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

“It’s hard to imagine why prison officials would treat someone who they worry is mentally disturbed by isolating him to the point that, as medical experts have documented, is likely to make him crazy,” said Daphne Eviatar, who investigates and reports on U.S. national security policies and practices for Human Rights First.

Some suggest Pte. Manning deserves acclaim – even the Nobel Peace Prize – for triggering the tumult currently shaking the Arab world. The torrents of U.S. documents from WikiLeaks include frank assessments about repressive Arab regimes and the close relationship between Washington and Cairo.

bruce lawrence,sr. February 23, 2011 at 10:48 am

i have ALL documents that equals a ” conspracy of silence” in reference to u.s. savings bonds of 32 tears payroll deducted by miami-dade county that has disappeared to the point the u.s. teasury has NO RECORDS of them existing much less cashed in. miami dade case 99-1192 has me listed as PRESUMED DEAD, a $2million dollar estate is missing and i can’t get a soul to ask a SINGLE question in my behalf. i can e-mail these documents or can be reached at 9548822737
thank you

. March 3, 2011 at 12:38 am

Soldier in WikiLeaks case charged with aiding the enemy

The Army files 22 new counts against Pfc. Bradley Manning, suspected of giving information to WikiLeaks. The development comes amid an expanding U.S. investigation that could lead to charges against website founder Julian Assange and others.

Reporting from Washington —

The Army has charged Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier suspected of leaking thousands of documents published by WikiLeaks, with aiding and giving intelligence to the enemy, a significant escalation of the government’s prosecution of the junior intelligence analyst.

As part of 22 additional counts filed against Manning, Army prosecutors said he “wrongfully and wantonly” caused intelligence to be published on the Internet, with the knowledge that it would be “accessible to the enemy.”

Aiding the enemy is a capital offense, under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, but the Army said in a statement Wednesday that prosecutors did not intend to recommend that Manning receive the death penalty if convicted. Even so, he could face life in prison.

The new charges reflect the expanding U.S. investigation into the disclosures, which U.S. officials say is aimed at punishing not only those who provided the information to Wikileaks, but also members of the secretive organization, including its founder, Julian Assange. Manning remains the only person charged in the case, but U.S. officials say the Justice Department is examining possible charges in civilian courts in connection with the disclosures.

. March 6, 2011 at 2:40 am

In brig, WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning ordered to sleep without clothing

By Ellen Nakashima
Washington Post Staff Writer
Saturday, March 5, 2011; 10:02 PM

Military jailers are forcing Bradley Manning, the 23-year-old soldier accused of passing classified documents to, to strip naked in his cell at night and sleep without clothing, a requirement his lawyer says was imposed after Manning made a “sarcastic quip” about his confinement.

For most of the past eight months, Manning has been required to sleep wearing only boxer shorts, because of his status as a detainee under “prevention of injury watch,” said 1st Lt. Brian Villiard, a spokesman for the military detention facility, or “brig,” in Quantico. Beginning Wednesday night, the facility commander ordered that Manning turn over his boxers, too.

“The intention is not to cause any sort of humiliation or embarrassment,” Villiard said. “The intention is to ensure the safety and security of the detainee and make sure he is able to stand trial.”

Villiard said he could not explain how Manning might harm himself if he were allowed to keep his underwear, citing rules to protect detainees’ privacy. All he could say was that “circumstances warranted” the measure, which was ordered by the brig commander, Chief Warrant Officer 2 Denise Barnes. The requirement will remain in effect until a review next week, he said.

But Manning’s attorney, David E. Coombs, said he believed the order was “punitive” under the “guise of being concerned” about Manning’s welfare.

. March 10, 2011 at 11:50 pm

A U.S. military base is the latest target of the online activist group known as Anonymous, which has taken up the cause of Bradley Manning, the U.S. army private accused of leaking classified information to WikiLeaks.

The group’s objective is to “harass” the staff and disable the computer systems at the Quantico, Va., marine base where Manning is being held, Anonymous spokesperson Barrett Brown said in an interview with MSNBC.

The group plans to reveal personal information about base officials and disable the base’s communication networks in protest against how Manning is being treated at the base, Brown said.

“It’s sort of an unconventional, asymmetrical act of warfare that we’ve involved in,” Brown said. “And we didn’t necessarily start it. I mean, this fire has been burning.”

Manning, who worked as an army intelligence analyst and had top-secret security clearance, was arrested in May 2010. He was later charged under military law in connection with downloading classified video and documents from military servers and passing them on to a third party. The material related to U.S. military operations in Iraq and also included thousands of diplomatic cables from U.S. embassies around the world .

. March 18, 2011 at 11:14 pm

Companies and information
The leaky corporation
Digital information is easy not only to store but also to leak. Companies must decide what they really need to keep secret, and how best to do so

Feb 24th 2011 | from the print edition

IN EARLY February Hewlett-Packard showed off its new tablet computer, which it hopes will be a rival to Apple’s iPad. The event was less exciting than it might have been, thanks to the leaking of the design in mid-January. Other technology companies have suffered similar embarrassments lately. Dell’s timetable for bringing tablets to market appeared on a tech-news website. A schedule for new products from NVIDIA, which makes graphics chips, also seeped out.

Geeks aren’t the only ones who can’t keep a secret. In January it emerged that Renault had suspended three senior executives, allegedly for passing on blueprints for electric cars (which the executives deny). An American radio show has claimed to have found the recipe for Coca-Cola’s secret ingredient in an old newspaper photograph. Facebook’s corporate privacy settings went awry when some of the social network’s finances were published. A strategy document from AOL came to light, revealing that the internet and media firm’s journalists were expected to write five to ten articles a day.

Meanwhile, Julian Assange has been doing his best to make bankers sweat. In November the founder of WikiLeaks promised a “megaleak” early in 2011. He was said to be in possession of a hard drive from the laptop of a former executive of an unnamed American bank, containing documents even more toxic than the copiously leaked diplomatic cables from the State Department. They would reveal an “ecosystem of corruption” and “take down a bank or two”.

. March 23, 2011 at 10:35 pm

(CNN) — It was sunny on Saturday in Washington, which was good news for Daniel Ellsberg. The most famous whistle-blower in American history was hoping to get arrested in the name of Bradley Manning.

“Oh, it’s easy. I’ve done it before,” he explained to last week. “You don’t have to do much to get arrested at the White House.”

The spry 79-year-old got what he wanted. Twice. Ellsberg was arrested along with several others in front of the White House Saturday and then on Sunday outside Quantico military prison whileprotesting in support of the accused WikiLeaks leaker.

The cuffs made Ellsberg feel a little better. He’s been angry for awhile — disgusted is the word he often uses — about Manning. The 23-year-old Army private has been locked up for nearly eight months at the Quantico brig.

Charged with 34 counts, including “aiding the enemy,” the soldier faces life in prison and maybe execution, accused of illegally downloading hundreds of thousands of secret military and State Department documents and giving them to WikiLeaks.

To many Americans, Manning is a traitor. To many Americans, Manning is a hero.

To Ellsberg, he’s something else.

“I was that young man; I was Bradley Manning,” he says.

. March 30, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Philip Crowley resigned as the State Department’s spokesman, after telling a university audience that the Pentagon’s treatment of Bradley Manning was “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid”. A soldier, Mr Manning is allegedly behind a mass leak of classified documents to WikiLeaks. He has been held in custody in a military prison and could face a court-martial. His lawyer has complained about the circumstances of his detention, including being placed on suicide-watch and deprived of clothing at night.

. April 21, 2011 at 10:01 pm

Alleged ‘WikiLeaker’ Bradley Manning sent to less restrictive prison

Under pressure from human rights groups, the Defense Department moved Bradley Manning, charged with giving classified documents to WikiLeaks, to the Fort Leavenworth military prison in Kansas.

Red Robin May 13, 2011 at 12:59 am

The Los Angeles County Carson Shelter, along with the Downey Shelter and the Long Beach Administrative Offices worked in concert with the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office to cover-up the 9-11-01 Holocaust by targeting the Los Angeles County Investigator of the 9-11-01 disaster, his assistant and his dog, Nohnami.. The Carson Animal Control Officer came to the house and stole the dog, Nohnami by threatening them. That was a Breach of National Security. The Animal Control kept the dog and would not give it back again. They said they were investigating, that is a Breach of Classified information and illegal spying, Espionage, on a Commanding General and a Federal Judge’s family.
The Investigator, THE EAGLE, a Commanding General of the Anti-Terrorist Forces and a Federal Judge Luis Y. Quijano had worked with Chief Justice William Rehnquist of the United States Supreme Court. Together they were trying to un-cover the truth behind the 9-11-01 cover-up. Los Angeles County was the entry point. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, the City of Redondo Beach, the City of Gardena and the Los Angeles County Superior Court, Torrance, California, were in on the cover-up of the 9-11-01 holocaust.
The Investigator Justice Luis Y. Quijano, a Senior Citizen, was beaten by the Gardena Police and jailed by the Gardena Police and Los Angeles County Sheriffs . False reports were made and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s took the case as a cover-up. CASE NO: YAO66127 The Carson Animal Control stole the dog, Nohnami, from the house and made false charges and brought a case against THE EAGLE’S assistant, in CASE NO.: 0SY05073. This is Dog napping and a retaliatory vendetta against the 9-11-01 Holocaust Investigator and his family.
Sources say that the Animal Control are stealing dogs and having them killed so the dogs could be sold for Scientific research and profiteering for many. The people must demand to know the truth, demand the records and demand justice for dogs (and cats.)
DOG NAPPING—DOG KILLING—DOG SELLING is RACKETEERING which falls under the R.I.C.O. ACTS. The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is an Enterprise and the Animal Control is an Enterprise.

. June 7, 2011 at 6:26 pm

“TOO many people remain silent in the face of fraud,” says Mary Schapiro, the chairman of America’s Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC). On May 25th she announced new rules to encourage corporate whistle-blowing. Inducements will include cash: 10-30% of fines of over $1m that result from tip-offs. The US Chamber of Commerce, a business lobby, calls it a “bounty programme” that will reward “amateur sleuths in search of a big payday”. It is threatening legal action to block it.

The new rules were required by the Dodd-Frank act, Congress’s response to the financial crisis, which was passed last year. They follow an earlier effort to encourage employees to speak up. After Enron, an energy firm, collapsed in a flurry of fraud, Congress passed the Sarbanes-Oxley act in 2002 which, among other things, protected whistle-blowers from retaliation.

. July 6, 2011 at 9:32 pm

Classified information
Return of the plumbers
The Obama administration is waging war against leakers

HENRY KISSINGER said he “must be stopped at all costs”. Richard Nixon was more blunt: “We got to get this son of a bitch.” And oh, how they tried, creating a team of operatives whose dirty tricks would eventually sink the president himself. But Daniel Ellsberg proved an elusive target, and anyway his work was already done. Forty years ago this week the New York Times began publishing the Pentagon Papers, the largest leak of classified documents in American history until WikiLeaks came along.

Julian Assange’s outfit is Barack Obama’s problem, and though the current administration lacks the vindictiveness and criminality of the Nixon White House, it has pursued leakers with just as much vigour. After promising the most transparent administration in history, Mr Obama and his Justice Department have pressed criminal charges against five suspected leakers under the Espionage Act, more than all other administrations combined, including Nixon’s.

Its efforts, so far, have had mixed results. Three cases are still pending, including that of Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking a trove of classified documents to WikiLeaks, which itself is under investigation by a grand jury. Mr Assange may be the administration’s great white whale, but last year it netted a smaller fish when it sent an FBI linguist, Shamai Leibowitz, to prison for 20 months for passing secret documents to a blogger.

. August 5, 2011 at 3:28 pm

In January this year Al Jazeera, a news organisation based in Qatar, published its own cache of leaked documents, known as the Palestine Papers, which lifted the lid on more than a decade of Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. And by broadcasting amateur videos of the Tunisian uprising to its millions of satellite viewers across the Arab world, the channel played an active role in spreading the protests across the region. Among television news organisations it has led the way in integrating social media (such as tweets, Facebook posts and amateur online video) into its operations in order to engage with its increasingly wired audience. “The way we operate has changed because the landscape has changed dramatically,” says Moeed Ahmad, the firm’s head of new media.

. August 5, 2011 at 3:33 pm

Julian Assange and the new wave
A host of non-profit actors have entered the news business, blurring the line between journalism and activism

THE BEATEN-UP RED car crunched up the driveway and came to a halt outside an English manor house. A tall, strangely hunched woman emerged into the November night and hurried indoors. In fact it was Julian Assange, the boss of WikiLeaks, who had donned a wig to disguise himself as an old woman as he travelled from London to a safe house in Norfolk. That may have been a tad dramatic, but there can be no doubt about Mr Assange’s prominence among a group of unconventional new actors in the news business that have emerged lately.

These are non-profit organisations that are involved in various forms of investigative journalism. As funding for such reporting by traditional media has been cut, they are filling the gap using new methods based on digital technology. Some of them make government information available in order to promote openness, transparency and citizen engagement; some gather and publish information on human-rights abuses; and some specialise in traditional investigative journalism and are funded by philanthropy.

And then there is WikiLeaks. Launched in late 2006, it was intended to be “an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis”, with the aim of “exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet block, sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East”. Inspirations included Wikipedia, the web encyclopedia written by volunteers, and the leak of the Pentagon Papers by Daniel Ellsberg to the New York Times during the Vietnam war, which ultimately led to a Supreme Court ruling that “only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government.” WikiLeaks welcomes documents from whistle-blowers and provides anonymous drop boxes. It is funded by donations and staffed by volunteers.

. August 9, 2011 at 1:41 pm

Labour board orders Health Canada to reinstate whistleblower

Union deems decision against scientist’s colleagues diminishes health and safety of Canadians

The Public Service Labour Relations Board has ordered Health Canada to reinstate an Ottawa whistleblower scientist it fired seven years ago. However, it rejected grievances by two other scientists fired the same day.

In a 208-page decision, the board told Health Canada to reinstate Dr. Gérard Lambert, who worked in the Veterinary Drugs Directorate prior to his termination on July 14, 2004. But after a process that lasted fourand-a-half years and included more than 150 days of hearings, the board upheld the dismissals of Lambert’s colleagues, Dr. Shiv Chopra and Dr. Margaret Haydon.

For years prior to their dismissal, the three – all of whom worked as drug evaluators at Health Canada – were publicly critical of the department for inadequately protecting the safety of Canada’s food system. However, the government has always denied that they were fired for speaking out, saying their termination was due to “insubordination.”

At a press conference Monday, Gary Corbett, president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, called the board’s decision “a sad day” for Canada. Public servants play a critical role in protecting the health and safety of Canadians, he said. As a result of the labour board’s decision, “perhaps that role is diminished now.”

. September 2, 2011 at 11:26 pm

Some 250,000 diplomatic dispatches from the US State Department have accidentally been made completely public. The files include the names of informants who now must fear for their lives. It is the result of a series of blunders by WikiLeaks and its supporters.

In the end, all the efforts at confidentiality came to naught. Everyone who knows a bit about computers can now have a look into the 250,000 US diplomatic dispatches that WikiLeaks made available to select news outlets late last year. All of them. What’s more, they are the unedited, unredacted versions complete with the names of US diplomats’ informants — sensitive names from Iran, China, Afghanistan, the Arab world and elsewhere.

. October 25, 2011 at 3:14 pm

Almost Broke, WikiLeaks Suspends Operations

Financial institutions’ blockade has cut group’s revenues by 95 percent.

Banking blockades: Apparently they work.

WikiLeaks co-founded Julian Assange announced Monday that the anti-secrecy organization is suspending its publishing operations due to a cash shortage. Bank of America, Visa, Mastercard, Western Union, and Paypal stopped serving WikiLeaks last year after it began publishing thousands of classified U.S. State Department cables. The move has deprived the organization of about 95 percent of its revenues, Assange said at a press conference in London, according to the Guardian.

“If WikiLeaks does not find a way to remove this blockade we will simply not be able to continue by the turn of the new year,” he added, according to the New York Times.

. November 22, 2011 at 9:27 pm
. November 22, 2011 at 9:28 pm
. April 16, 2012 at 12:25 pm

In the interest of protecting future moles and whistleblowers, we’ve assembled a list of Dos and Don’ts for leaking safely:

* Don’t use your work computer or work phone to communicate with the recipient of your leaks.
* Give yourself a code name. It won’t help protect you, but it’ll make you feel cool.
* Don’t e-mail documents you want to leak to your private account. Print them out or take a picture of the document displayed on your computer screen with your personal phone.
* Don’t give away personal details that are identifying if you want to remain anonymous — like calling yourself the “only liberal working at Fox News.”
* Be aware that the document you plan to leak could be seeded with information designed to catch a leaker. One parent company we know (which shall remain nameless) used to send slightly different versions of the same leakworthy document to different departments to hone in on the leaker once they were published.
* Documents you find lying around at the printer or fax machine are far easier to leak anonymously than digital ones.
* Don’t leak information from inside a media organization owned by Rupert Murdoch, or any other company that employs hackers. They have ways of hearing you talk.
* Make sure the document you want to release has been shared widely enough so that the digital trail linking you to it won’t incriminate you the way that accessing the video busted Gawker’s leaker.
* Handing over documents to a recipient in person is almost always better than e-mailing them.
* Better yet, don’t give the recipient a document at all; read it over the phone. It’s easier to be a source of information, rather than a leaker of documents. Computers leave trails — always.
* If you must communicate with the recipient electronically, use a throwaway e-mail account, preferably on a computer you don’t own. Don’t use your real name and details to register the account, and use an open Wi-Fi connection at a cafe to send your communication. Realize that some employers are so notoriously anti-leak that they will fire you for not letting them examine your personal e-mail accounts or devices.
* Don’t tell anyone — except your priest, rabbi or imam — that you’re the source. Especially don’t confide your crime to a hacker you met online.
* Don’t read or talk about the leaked story at work — UNLESS someone sends it to you.
* Don’t look paranoid or guilty. No one knows what you did. Or probably no one knows.
* Only leak to respected news outlets like, say, Wired. Getting fired for leaking to Gawker? That way lies only ridicule and shame, and perhaps an unpaid internship under the slave control of Nick Denton.

. July 17, 2012 at 12:19 pm

FDA Lawyers Approved Spying on Agency Scientists
The agency monitored thousands of emails sent by disgruntled scientists to lawmakers and journalists.


Back in January, the Post reported that the FDA had monitored the communications of employees who were expressing safety concerns about the agency’s medical review process. The true scope of the effort, however, became better known this past weekend when the New York Times reported that the agency used what the paper called “an enemies list of sorts” to capture thousands of emails sent by the disgruntled scientists to lawmakers, journalists and even President Obama warning that the agency’s review process had led to the approval of imaging devices used in mammograms and colonoscopies that exposed patients to unacceptable levels of radiation.

. August 13, 2012 at 11:30 pm

VANCOUVER – A North Vancouver Mountie has stuck out his neck and blasted his Ottawa boss, accusing RCMP Commissioner Bob Paulson of being more worried about bad press than his front-line officers.

In a scathing letter obtained by QMI Agency, force veteran Peter Kennedy cites “a lack of leadership” by management who have no respect for their officers down the ladder.

He says sexual harassment, bullying, intimidation, exclusion and veiled threats throughout the organization are “eroding the RCMP” because management refuses to admit failure, or “step up to the proverbial plate.”

“I have to tell you that I have a hard time respecting a person that is only appears to be worried about themselves or trying to protecting (sic) an image,” wrote Kennedy, a 32-year member of the force.

“You are worried about bad press. Get used to it. There is a lot more coming your way. Do you really think that it will get better while you are at the helm?”

Kennedy’s letter came on the heels of an e-mail exchange between Paulson and Staff. Sgt. Tim Chad of Ridge Meadows RCMP in B.C.

. August 24, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Yet perhaps none of Mr Obama’s transparency promises has rung hollower than his vow to protect whistleblowers. Thomas Drake, who worked at the National Security Agency, was threatened with life imprisonment for leaking to the Baltimore Sun unclassified details of a wasteful programme that also impinged on privacy. The case against him failed—ultimately he pleaded guilty to a misdemeanour charge of “exceeding authorised use of a computer”—but not before he was hounded out of his job. Mr Obama’s administration tried to prosecute him under the Espionage Act, a law passed in 1917 that prohibits people from giving information “with intent or reason to believe that it is to be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of a foreign nation”. Mr Obama has indicted six whistleblowers, including Mr Drake, under the Espionage Act, twice as many as all prior administrations combined, for leaking information not to a “foreign nation” but to the press.

anon March 4, 2013 at 4:04 pm

Pfc. Bradley E. Manning’s Statement for the Providence Inquiry

Facts regarding my knowledge of the WikiLeaks Organization or WLO.

I first became vaguely aware of the WLO during my AIT at Fort Huachuca, Arizona, although I did not fully pay attention until the WLO released purported Short Messaging System or SMS messages from 11 September 2001 on 25 November 2009. At that time references to the release and the WLO website showed up in my daily Google news open source search for information related to US foreign policy.

The stories were about how WLO published about approximately 500,000 messages. I then reviewed the messages myself and realized that the posted messages were very likely real given the sheer volume and detail of the content.

After this, I began conducting research on WLO. I conducted searches on both NIPRnet and SIPRnet on WLO beginning in late November 2009 and early December 2009. At this time I also began to routinely monitor the WLO website. In response to one of my searches in December 2009, I found the United States Army Counter Intelligence Center or USACIC report on the WikiLeaks organization. After reviewing the report, I believed that this report was possibly the one that my AIT referenced in early 2008.

I may or may not have saved the report on my D6-A workstation. I know I reviewed the document on other occasions throughout early 2010, and saved it on both my primary and secondary laptops. After reviewing the report, I continued doing research on WLO. However, based upon my open-source collection, I discovered information that contradicted the 2008 USACIC report including information that indicated that similar to other press agencies, WLO seemed to be dedicated to exposing illegal activities and corruption.

WLO received numerous award and recognition for its reporting activities. Also, in reviewing the WLO website, I found information regarding US military SOPs for Camp Delta at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba and information on the then outdated rules of engagement for ROE in Iraq for cross-border pursuits of former members of Saddam Hussein [missed word] government.

After seeing the information available on the WLO website, I continued following it and collecting open source information from it. During this time period, I followed several organizations and groups including wire press agencies such as the Associated Press and Reuters and private intelligence agencies including Strategic Forecasting or Stratfor. This practice was something I was trained to do during AIT, and was something that good analysts were expected to do.

During the searches of WLO, I found several pieces of information that I found useful in my work product– in my work as an analyst, specifically I recall WLO publishing documents related to weapons trafficking between two nations that affected my OP. I integrated this information into one or more of my work products.

In addition to visiting the WLO website, I began following WLO using Instant Relay Chat or IRC Client called ‘XChat’ sometime in early January 2010.

IRC is a protocol for real time internet communications by messaging and conferencing, colloquially referred to as chat rooms or chats. The IRC chat rooms are designed for group communication discussion forums. Each IRC chat room is called a channel– similar to a television where you can tune in or follow a channel– so long as it is open and does not require an invite.

Once you joining a specific IRC conversation, other users in the conversation can see that you have joined the room. On the Internet there are millions of different IRC channels across several services. Channel topics span a range of topics covering all kinds of interests and hobbies. The primary reason for following WLO on IRC was curiosity– particularly in regards to how and why they obtained the SMS messages referenced above. I believed that collecting information on the WLO would assist me in this goal.

Initially I simply observed the IRC conversations. I wanted to know how the organization was structured, and how they obtained their data. The conversations I viewed were usually technical in nature but sometimes switched to a lively debate on issues the particular individual may have felt strongly about.

Over a period of time I became more involved in these discussions especially when conversations turned to geopolitical events and information technology topics, such as networking and encryption methods. Based on these observations, I would describe the WL organization as almost academic in nature. In addition to the WLO conversations, I participated in numerous other IRC channels across at least three different networks. The other IRC channels I participated in normally dealt with technical topics including with Linux and Berkley Secure Distribution BSD operating systems or OS’s, networking, encryption algorithms and techniques, and other more political topics, such as politics and [missed word].

I normally engaged in multiple IRC conversations simultaneously– mostly publicly, but often privately. The XChat client enabled me to manage these multiple conversations across different channels and servers. The screen for XChat was often busy, but its screens enabled me to see when something was interesting. I would then select the conversation and either observe or participate.

I really enjoyed the IRC conversations pertaining to and involving the WLO, however, at some point in late February or early March of 2010, the WLO IRC channel was no longer accessible. Instead, regular participants of this channel switched to using the Jabber server. Jabber is another internet communication [missed word] similar but more sophisticated than IRC.

The IRC and Jabber conversations, allowed me to feel connected to others even when alone. They helped me pass the time and keep motivated throughout the deployment.

Facts regarding the unauthorized storage and disclosure of the SigActs.

As indicated above I created copies of the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A SigAct tables as part of the process of backing up information. At the time I did so, I did not intend to use this information for any purpose other than for back up. However, I later decided to release this information publicly. At that time, I believe and still believe that these tables are two of the most significant documents of our time.

On 8 January 2010, I collected the CD-RW I stored in the conference room of the T-SCIF and placed it into the cargo pocket of my ACU or Army Combat Uniform. At the end of my shift, I took the CD-RW out of the T-SCIF and brought it to my Containerized Housing Unit of CHU. I copied the data onto my personal laptop. Later at the beginning of my shift, I returned the CD-RW back to the conference room of the T-SCIF. At the time I saved the SigActs to my laptop, I planned to take them with me on mid-tour leave and decide what to do with them.

At some point prior to my mid-tour leave, I transferred the information from my computer to a Secure Digital memory card from for my digital camera. The SD card for the camera also worked on my computer and allowed me to store the SigAct tables in a secure manner for transport.

I began mid-tour leave on 23 January 2010, flying from Atlanta, Georgia to Reagan National Airport in Virginia. I arrived at the home of my aunt, Debra M. Van Alstyne, in Potomac, Maryland and quickly got into contact with my then boyfriend, Tyler R. Watkins. Tyler, then a student at Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts, and I made plans for me to visit him [the] Boston, Massachusetts area.

I was excited to see Tyler and planned on talking to Tyler about where our relationship was going and about my time in Iraq. However, when I arrived in the Boston area Tyler and I seemed to become distant. He did not seem very excited about my return from Iraq. I tried talking to him about our relationship but he refused to make any plans.

I also tried to raising the topic of releasing the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A SigAct tables to the public. I asked Tyler hypothetical questions about what he would do if he had documents that he thought the public needed access to. Tyler really didn’t really have a specific answer for me. He tried to answer the questions and be supportive, but seemed confused by the question in this and its context.

I then tried to be more specific, but he asked too many questions. Rather than try to explain my dilemma, I decided to just to drop the conversation. After a few days in Waltham, I began to feel really bad feeling that I was over staying my welcome, and I returned to Maryland. I spent the remainder of my time on leave in the Washington, DC area.

During this time a blizzard bombarded the mid-atlantic, and I spent a significant period of time essentially stuck in my aunt’s house in Maryland. I began to think about what I knew and the information I still had in my possession. For me, the SigActs represented the on the ground reality of both the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I felt that we were risking so much for people that seemed unwilling to cooperate with us, leading to frustration and anger on both sides. I began to become depressed with the situation that we found ourselves increasingly mired in year after year. The SigActs documented this in great detail and provide a context of what we were seeing on the ground.

In attempting to conduct counter-terrorism or CT and counter-insurgency COIN operations we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists and not being suspicious of and avoiding cooperation with our Host Nation partners, and ignoring the second and third order effects of accomplishing short-term goals and missions. I believe that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information contained within the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A tables this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general as well as it related to Iraq and Afghanistan.

I also believed the detailed analysis of the data over a long period of time by different sectors of society might cause society to reevaluate the need or even the desire to even to engage in counterterrorism and counterinsurgency operations that ignore the complex dynamics of the people living in the effected environment everyday.

At my aunt’s house I debated what I should do with the SigActs– in particular whether I should hold on to them– or expose them through a press agency. At this point I decided that it made sense to try to expose the SigAct tables to an American newspaper. I first called my local newspaper, The Washington Post, and spoke with a woman saying that she was a reporter. I asked her if The Washington Post would be interested in receiving information that would have enormous value to the American public.

Although we spoke for about five minutes concerning the general nature of what I possessed, I do not believe she took me seriously. She informed me that The Washington Post would possibly be interested, but that such decisions were made only after seeing the information I was referring to and after consideration by the senior editors.

I then decided to contact the largest and most popular newspaper, The New York Times. I called the public editor number on The New York Times website. The phone rang and was answered by a machine. I went through the menu to the section for news tips. I was routed to an answering machine. I left a message stating I had access to information about Iraq and Afghanistan that I believed was very important. However, despite leaving my Skype phone number and personal email address, I never received a reply from The New York Times.

I also briefly considered dropping into the office for the Political Commentary blog, Politico, however the weather conditions during my leave hampered my efforts to travel. After these failed efforts I had ultimately decided to submit the materials to the WLO. I was not sure if the WLO would actually publish these the SigAct tables [missed a few words]. I was also concerned that they might not be noticed by the American media. However, based upon what I read about the WLO through my research described above, this seemed to be the best medium for publishing this information to the world within my reach.

At my aunt’s house I joined in on an IRC conversation and stated I had information that needed to be shared with the world. I wrote that the information would help document the true cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of the individuals in the IRC asked me to describe the information. However, before I could describe the information another individual pointed me to the link for the WLO website’s online submission system. After ending my IRC connection, I considered my options one more time. Ultimately, I felt that the right thing to do was to release the SigActs.

On 3 February 2010, I visited the WLO website on my computer and clicked on the submit documents link. Next I found the submit your information online link and elected to submit the SigActs via the onion router or TOR anonymizing network by a special link. TOR is a system intended to provide anonymity online. The software routes internet traffic through a network of servers and other TOR clients in order to conceal the user’s location and identity.

I was familiar with TOR and had it previously installed on a computer to anonymously monitor the social media websites of militia groups operating within central Iraq. I followed the prompts and attached the compressed data files of CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A SigActs. I attached a text file I drafted while preparing to provide the documents to The Washington Post. It provided rough guidelines saying ‘It’s already been sanitized of any source identifying information. You might need to sit on this information– perhaps 90 to 100 days to figure out how best to release such a large amount of data and to protect its source. This is possibly one of the more significant documents of our time removing the fog of war and revealing the true nature of twenty-first century asymmetric warfare. Have a good day.’

After sending this, I left the SD card in a camera case at my aunt’s house in the event I needed it again in the future. I returned from mid-tour leave on 11 February 2010. Although the information had not yet been publicly published by the WLO, I felt this sense of relief by them having it. I felt I had accomplished something that allowed me to have a clear conscience based upon what I had seen and read about and knew were happening in both Iraq and Afghanistan everyday.

Facts regarding the unauthorized storage and disclosure of 10 Reykjavik 13.

I first became aware of the diplomatic cables during my training period in AIT. I later learned about the Department of State or DoS Net-centric Diplomacy NCD portal from the 2/10 Brigade Combat Team S2, Captain Steven Lim. Captain Lim sent a section wide email to the other analysts and officers in late December 2009 containing the SIPRnet link to the portal along with the instructions to look at the cables contained within them and to incorporate them into our work product.

Shortly after this I also noticed the diplomatic cables were being reported to in products from the corps level US Forces Iraq or USF-I. Based upon Captain Lim’s direction to become familiar with its contents, I read virtually every published cable concerning Iraq.

I also began scanning the database and reading other random cables that piqued my curiosity. It was around this time– in early to mid-January of 2010, that I began searching the database for information on Iceland. I became interested in Iceland due to the IRC conversations I viewed in the WLO channel discussing an issue called Icesave. At this time I was not very familiar with the topic, but it seemed to be a big issue for those participating in the conversation. This is when I decided to investigate and conduct a few searches on Iceland and find out more.

At the time, I did not find anything discussing the Icesave issue either directly or indirectly. I then conducted an open source search for Icesave. I then learned that Iceland was involved in a dispute with the United Kingdom and the Netherlands concerning the financial collapse of one or more of Iceland’s banks. According to open source reporting much of the public controversy involved the United Kingdom’s use of anti-terrorism legislation against Iceland in order to freeze Icelandic access assets for payment of the guarantees for UK depositors that lost money.

Shortly after returning from mid-tour leave, I returned to the Net Centric Diplomacy portal to search for information on Iceland and Icesave as the topic had not abated on the WLO IRC channel. To my surprise, on 14 February 2010, I found the cable 10 Reykjavik 13, which referenced the Icesave issue directly.

The cable published on 13 January 2010 was just over two pages in length. I read the cable and quickly concluded that Iceland was essentially being bullied diplomatically by two larger European powers. It appeared to me that Iceland was out viable options and was coming to the US for assistance. Despite the quiet request for assistance, it did not appear that we were going to do anything.

From my perspective it appeared that we were not getting involved due to the lack of long term geopolitical benefit to do so. After digesting the contents of 10 Reykjavik 13 I debated on whether this was something I should send to the WLO. At this point the WLO had not published or acknowledged receipt of the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A SigAct tables. Despite not knowing that if the SigActs were a priority for the WLO, I decided the cable was something that would be important and I felt that I would I might be able to right a wrong by having them publish this document. I burned the information onto a CD-RW on 15 February 2010, took it to my CHU, and saved it onto my personal laptop.

I navigated to the WLO website via a TOR connection like before and uploaded the document via the secure form. Amazingly, when WLO published 10 Reykjavik 13 within hours, proving that the form worked and that they must have received the SigAct tables.

Facts regarding the unauthorized storage and disclosure of the 12 July 2007 aerial weapons team or AW team video.

During the mid-February 2010 time frame the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division targeting analyst , then Specialist Jihrleah W. Showman and others discussed a video that Ms. Showman had found on the ‘T’ drive.

The video depicted several individuals being engaged by an aerial weapons team. At first I did not consider the video very special, as I have viewed countless other war porn type videos depicting combat. However, the recording of audio comments by the aerial weapons team crew and the second engagement in the video of an unarmed bongo truck troubled me.

As Showman and a few other analysts and officers in the T-SCIF commented on the video and debated whether the crew violated the rules of engagement or ROE in the second engagement, I shied away from this debate, instead conducting some research on the event. I wanted to learn what happened and whether there was any background to the events of the day that the event occurred, 12 July 2007.

Using Google I searched for the event by its date by its and general location. I found several news accounts involving two Reuters employees who were killed during the aerial weapon team engagement. Another story explained that Reuters had requested for a copy of the video under the Freedom of Information Act or FOIA. Reuters wanted to view the video in order to be able to understand what had happened and to improve their safety practices in combat zones. A spokesperson for Reuters was quoted saying that the video might help avoid the reoccurrence of the tragedy and believed there was a compelling need for the immediate release of the video.

Despite the submission of the FOIA request, the news account explained that CENTCOM replied to Reuters stating that they could not give a time frame for considering a FOIA request and that the video might no longer exist. Another story I found written a year later said that even though Reuters was still pursuing their request, they still did not receive a formal response or written determination in accordance with FOIA.

The fact neither CENTCOM or Multi National Forces Iraq or MNF-I would not voluntarily release the video troubled me further. It was clear to me that the event happened because the aerial weapons team mistakenly identified Reuters employees as a potential threat and that the people in the bongo truck were merely attempting to assist the wounded. The people in the van were not a threat but merely ‘good samaritans’. The most alarming aspect of the video to me, however, was the seemly delightful bloodlust they appeared to have.

They dehumanized the individuals they were engaging and seemed to not value human life by referring to them as quote “dead bastards” unquote and congratulating each other on the ability to kill in large numbers. At one point in the video there is an individual on the ground attempting to crawl to safety. The individual is seriously wounded. Instead of calling for medical attention to the location, one of the aerial weapons team crew members verbally asks for the wounded person to pick up a weapon so that he can have a reason to engage. For me, this seems similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass.

While saddened by the aerial weapons team crew’s lack of concern about human life, I was disturbed by the response of the discovery of injured children at the scene. In the video, you can see that the bongo truck driving up to assist the wounded individual. In response the aerial weapons team crew– as soon as the individuals are a threat, they repeatedly request for authorization to fire on the bongo truck and once granted they engage the vehicle at least six times.

Shortly after the second engagement, a mechanized infantry unit arrives at the scene. Within minutes, the aerial weapons team crew learns that children were in the van and despite the injuries the crew exhibits no remorse. Instead, they downplay the significance of their actions, saying quote “Well, it’s their fault for bringing their kid’s into a battle” unquote.

The aerial weapons team crew members sound like they lack sympathy for the children or the parents. Later in a particularly disturbing manner, the aerial weapons team crew verbalizes enjoyment at the sight of one of the ground vehicles driving over a body– or one of the bodies. As I continued my research, I found an article discussing the book, The Good Soldiers, written by Washington Post writer David Finkel.

In Mr. Finkel book, he writes about the aerial weapons team attack. As, I read an online excerpt in Google Books, I followed Mr. Finkel’s account of the event belonging to the video. I quickly realize that Mr. Finkel was quoting, I feel in verbatim, the audio communications of the aerial weapons team crew.

It is clear to me that Mr. Finkel obtained access and a copy of the video during his tenure as an embedded journalist. I was aghast at Mr. Finkel’s portrayal of the incident. Reading his account, one would believe the engagement was somehow justified as ‘payback’ for an earlier attack that lead to the death of a soldier. Mr. Finkel ends his account of the engagement by discussing how a soldier finds an individual still alive from the attack. He writes that the soldier finds him and sees him gesture with his two forefingers together, a common method in the Middle East to communicate that they are friendly. However, instead of assisting him, the soldier makes an obscene gesture extending his middle finger.

The individual apparently dies shortly thereafter. Reading this, I can only think of how this person was simply trying to help others, and then he quickly finds he needs help as well. To make matter worse, in the last moments of his life, he continues to express his friendly gesture– his friendly intent– only to find himself receiving this well known gesture of unfriendliness. For me it’s all a big mess, and I am left wondering what these things mean, and how it all fits together , and it burdens me emotionally.

I saved a copy of the video on my workstation. I searched for and found the rules of engagement, the rules of engagement annexes, and a flow chart from the 2007 time period– as well as an unclassified Rules of Engagement smart card from 2006. On 15 February 2010 I burned these documents onto a CD-RW, the same time I burned the 10 Reykjavik 13 cable onto a CD-RW. At the time, I placed the video and rules for of engagement information onto my personal laptop in my CHU. I planned to keep this information there until I redeployed in Summer of 2010. I planned on providing this to the Reuters office in London to assist them in preventing events such as this in the future.

However, after the WLO published 10 Reykjavik 13 I altered my plans. I decided to provide the video and the rules of engagement to them so that Reuters would have this information before I re-deployed from Iraq. On about 21 February 2010, I as described above, I used the WLO submission form and uploaded the documents. The WLO released the video on 5 April 2010. After the release, I was concern about the impact of the video and how it would be received by the general public.

I hoped that the public would be as alarmed as me about the conduct of the aerial weapons team crew members. I wanted the American public to know that not everyone in Iraq and Afghanistan are targets that needed to be neutralized, but rather people who were struggling to live in the pressure cooker environment of what we call asymmetric warfare. After the release I was encouraged by the response in the media and general public, who observed the aerial weapons team video. As I hoped, others were just as troubled– if not more troubled that me by what they saw.

At this time, I began seeing reports claiming that the Department of Defense and CENTCOM could not confirm the authenticity of the video. Additionally, one of my supervisors, Captain Casey Fulton, stated her belief that the video was not authentic. In her response, I decided to ensure that the authenticity of the video would not be questioned in the future. On 25 February 2010, I emailed Captain Fulton a link to the video that was on our ‘T’ drive, and a copy of the video published by WLO that was collected by the Open Source Center, so she could compare them herself.

Around this time frame, I burned a second CD-RW containing the aerial weapons team video. In order to made it appear authentic, I placed a classification sticker and wrote Reuters FOIA REQ on its face. I placed the CD-RW in one of my personal CD cases containing a set of ‘Starting Out in Arabic’ CD’s. I planned on mailing out the CD-RW to Reuters after our I re-deployed , so they could have a copy that was unquestionably authentic.

Almost immediately after submitting the aerial weapons team video and the rules of engagement documents I notified the individuals in the WLO IRC to expect an important submission. I received a response from an individual going by the handle of ‘ox’ ‘office’– at first our conversations were general in nature, but over time as our conversations progressed, I accessed assessed this individual to be an important part of the WLO.

Due to the strict adherence of anonymity by the WLO, we never exchanged identifying information. However, I believe the individual was likely Mr. Julian Assange [he pronounced it with three syllables], Mr. Daniel Schmidt, or a proxy representative of Mr. Assange and Schmidt.

As the communications transferred from IRC to the Jabber client, I gave ‘ox’ ‘office’ and later ‘pressassociation’ the name of Nathaniel Frank in my address book, after the author of a book I read in 2009.

After a period of time, I developed what I felt was a friendly relationship with Nathaniel. Our mutual interest in information technology and politics made our conversations enjoyable. We engaged in conversation often. Sometimes as long as an hour or more. I often looked forward to my conversations with Nathaniel after work.

The anonymity that was provided by TOR and the Jabber client and the WLO’s policy allowed me to feel I could just be myself, free of the concerns of social labeling and perceptions that are often placed upon me in real life. In real life, I lacked a closed friendship with the people I worked with in my section, the S2 section.

In my section, the S2 section and supported battalions and the 2nd Brigade Combat Team as a whole. For instance, I lacked close ties with my roommate to his discomfort regarding my perceived sexual orientation. Over the next few months, I stayed in frequent contact with Nathaniel. We conversed on nearly a daily basis and I felt that we were developing a friendship.

Conversations covered many topics and I enjoyed the ability to talk about pretty much everything anything, and not just the publications that the WLO was working on. In retrospect I realize that that these dynamics were artificial and were valued more by myself than Nathaniel. For me these conversations represented an opportunity to escape from the immense pressures and anxiety that I experienced and built up through out the deployment. It seems that as I tried harder to fit in at work, the more I seemed to alienate my peers and lose the respect, trust, and support I needed.

Facts regarding the unauthorized storage and disclosure of documents related to the detainments by the Iraqi Federal Police or FP, and the Detainee Assessment Briefs, and the USACIC United States Army Counter Intelligence Center report.

On 27 February 2010, a report was received from a subordinate battalion. The report described an event in which the Federal Police or FP detained 15 individuals for printing anti-Iraqi literature. On 2 March 2010, I received instructions from an S3 section officer in the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Tactical Operation Center or TOC to investigate the matter, and figure out who these quote ‘bad guys’ unquote were and how significant this event was for the Federal Police.

Over the course of my research I found that none of the individuals had previous ties to anti-Iraqi actions or suspected terrorist militia groups. A few hours later, I received several photos from the scene– from the subordinate battalion. They were accidentally sent to an officer on a different team on than the S2 section and she forwarded them to me.

These photos included picture of the individuals, pallets of unprinted paper and seized copies of the final printed material or the printed document; and a high resolution photo of the printed material itself. I printed up one [missed word] copy of a high resolution photo– I laminated it for ease of use and transfer. I then walked to the TOC and delivered the laminated copy to our category two interpreter.

She reviewed the information and about a half an hour later delivered a rough written transcript in English to the S2 section. I read the transcript and followed up with her, asking her for her take on the content. She said it was easy for her to transcribe verbatim, since I blew up the photograph and laminated it. She said the general nature of the document was benign. The documentation, as I had sensed as well, was merely a scholarly critique of the then current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

It detailed corruption within the cabinet of al-Maliki’s government and the financial impact of his corruption on the Iraqi people. After discovering this discrepancy between the Federal Police’s report and the interpreter’s transcript, I forwarded this discovery to the top OIC and the battle NCOIC. The top OIC and the overhearing battle captain informed me that they didn’t need or want to know this information anymore. They told me to quote “drop it” unquote and to just assist them and the Federal Police in finding out, where more of these print shops creating quote “anti-Iraqi literature” unquote.

I couldn’t believe what I heard and I returned to the T-SCIF and complained to the other analysts and my section NCOIC about what happened. Some were sympathetic, but no one wanted to do anything about it.

I am the type of person who likes to know how things work. And, as an analyst, this means I always want to figure out the truth. Unlike other analysts in my section or other sections within the 2nd Brigade Combat Team, I was not satisfied with just scratching the surface and producing canned or cookie cutter assessments. I wanted to know why something was the way it was, and what we could to correct or mitigate a situation.

I knew that if I continued to assist the Baghdad Federal Police in identifying the political opponents of Prime Minister al-Maliki, those people would be arrested and in the custody of the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police and very likely tortured and not seen again for a very long time– if ever.

Instead of assisting the Special Unit of the Baghdad Federal Police, I decided to take the information and expose it to the WLO, in the hope that before the upcoming 7 March 2010 election, they could generate some immediate press on the issue and prevent this unit of the Federal Police from continuing to crack down on political opponents of al-Maliki.

On 4 March 2010, I burned the report, the photos, the high resolution copy of the pamphlet, and the interpreter’s hand written transcript onto a CD-RW. I took the CD-RW to my CHU and copied the data onto my personal computer. Unlike the times before, instead of uploading the information through the WLO website’s submission form. I made a Secure File Transfer Protocol or SFTP connection to a file drop box operated by the WLO.

The drop box contained a folder that allowed me to upload directly into it. Saving files into this directory, allowed anyone with log in access to the server to view and download them. After uploading these files to the WLO, on 5 March 2010, I notified Nathaniel over Jabber. Although sympathetic, he said that the WLO needed more information to confirm the event in order for it to be published or to gain interest in the international media.

I attempted to provide the specifics, but to my disappointment, the WLO website chose not to publish this information. At the same time, I began sifting through information from the US Southern Command or SOUTHCOM and Joint Task Force Guantanamo, Cuba or JTF-GTMO. The thought occurred to me– although unlikely, that I wouldn’t be surprised if the individuals detainees detained by the Federal Police might be turned over back into US custody– and ending up in the custody of Joint Task Force Guantanamo.

As I digested through the information on Joint Task Force Guantanamo, I quickly found the Detainee Assessment Briefs or DABs. I previously came across the documents before in 2009 but did not think much about them. However, this time I was more curious in during this search and I found them again.

The DABs were written in standard DoD memorandum format and addressed the commander US SOUTHCOM. Each memorandum gave basic and background information about a specific detainee held at some point by Joint Task Force Guantanamo. I have always been interested on the issue of the moral efficacy of our actions surrounding Joint Task Force Guantanamo. On the one hand, I have always understood the need to detain and interrogate individuals who might wish to harm the United States and our allies, however, I felt that’s what we were trying to do at Joint Task Force Guantanamo.

However, the more I became educated on the topic, it seemed that we found ourselves holding an increasing number of individuals indefinitely that we believed or knew to be innocent, low level foot soldiers that did not have useful intelligence and would be released if they were still held in theater.

I also recall that in early 2009 the, then newly elected president, Barack Obama, stated that he would close Joint Task Force Guantanamo, and that the facility compromised our standing over all, and diminished our quote ‘moral authority’ unquote.

After familiarizing myself with the Detainee Assessment Briefs, I agree. Reading through the Detainee Assessment Briefs, I noticed that they were not analytical products, instead they contained summaries of tear line versions of interim intelligence reports that were old or unclassified. None of the DABs contained the names of sources or quotes from tactical interrogation reports or TIR’s. Since the DABs were being sent to the US SOUTHCOM commander, I assessed that they were intended to provide a very general background information on each of the detainees and not a detailed assessment.

In addition to the manner in which the DAB’s were written, I recognized that they were at least several years old, and discussed detainees that were already released from Joint Task Force Guantanamo. Based on this, I determined that the DABs were not very important from either an intelligence or a national security standpoint. On 7 March 2010, during my Jabber conversation with Nathaniel, I asked him if he thought the DABs were of any use to anyone.

Nathaniel indicated, although he did not believe that they were of political significance, he did believe that they could be used to merge into the general historical account of what occurred at Joint Task Force Guantanamo. He also thought that the DAB’s might be helpful to the legal counsel of those currently and previously held at JTF-GTMO.

After this discussion, I decided to download the data DABs. I used an application called Wget to download the DABs. I downloaded Wget off of the NIPRnet laptop in the T-SCIF, like other programs. I saved that onto a CD-RW, and placed the executable in my ‘My Documents’ directory on of my user profile, on the D6-A SIPRnet workstation.

On 7 March 2010, I took the list of links for the Detainee Assessment Briefs, and Wget downloaded them sequentially. I burned the data onto a CD-RW, and took it into my CHU, and copied them to my personal computer. On 8 March 2010, I combined the Detainee Assessment Briefs with the United States Army Counterintelligence Center report on the WLO, into a compressed [missed word] IP or zip file. Zip files contain multiple files which are compressed to reduce their size.

After creating the zip file, I uploaded the file onto their cloud drop box via Secure File Transfer Protocol. Once these were uploaded, I notified Nathaniel that the information was in the ‘x’ directory, which had been designated for my own use. Earlier that day, I downloaded the USACIC report on WLO.

As discussed about above, I previously reviewed the report on numerous occasions and although I saved the document onto the work station before, I could not locate it. After I found the document again, I downloaded it to my work station, and saved it onto the same CD-RW as the Detainee Assessment Briefs described above.

Although my access included a great deal of information, I decided I had nothing else to send to WLO after sending the Detainee Assessment Briefs and the USACIC report. Up to this point I had sent them the following: the CIDNE-I and CIDNE-A SigActs tables; the Reykjavik 13 Department of State Cable; the 12 July 2007 aerial weapons team video and the 2006-2007 rules of engagement documents; the SigAct report and supporting documents concerning the 15 individuals detained by the Baghdad Federal Police; the USSOUTHCOM and Joint Task Force Guantanamo Detainee Assessment Briefs; a USACIC report on the WikiLeaks organization website.

Over the next few weeks I did not send any additional information to the WLO. I continued to converse with Nathaniel over the Jabber client and in the WLO IRC channel. Although I stopped sending documents to WLO, no one associated with the WLO pressured me into giving more information. The decisions that I made to send documents and information to the WLO and the website were my own decisions, and I take full responsibility for my actions.

Facts regarding the unauthorized storage and disclosure of other Government documents.

One 22 March 2010, I downloaded two documents. I found these documents over the course of my normal duties as an analyst. Based on my training and the guidance of my superiors, I look at as much information as possible.

Doing so provided me with the ability to make connections that others might miss. On several occasions during the month of March, I accessed information from a government entity. I read several documents from a section within this government entity. The content of two of these documents upset me greatly. I had difficulty believing what this section was doing.

On 22 March 2010, I downloaded the two documents that I found troubling. I compressed them into a zip file named and burned them onto a CD-RW. I took the CD-RW to my CHU and saved the file to my personal computer.

I uploaded the information to the WLO website using the designated prompts.

Facts regarding the unauthorized storage and disclosure of the Net Centric Diplomacy Department of State cables.

In late March of 2010, I received a warning over Jabber from Nathaniel, that the WLO website would be publishing the aerial weapons team video. He indicated that the WLO would be very busy and the frequency and intensity of our Jabber conversations decrease significantly. During this time, I had nothing but work to distract me.

I read more of the diplomatic cables published on the Department of State Net Centric Diplomacy server. With my insatiable curiosity and interest in geopolitics I became fascinated with them. I read not only the cables on Iraq, but also about countries and events that I found interesting.

The more I read, the more I was fascinated with by the way that we dealt with other nations and organizations. I also began to think that the documented backdoor deals and seemingly criminal activity that didn’t seem characteristic of the de facto leader of the free world.

Up to this point, during the deployment, I had issues I struggled with and difficulty at work. Of the documents release, the cables were the only one I was not absolutely certain couldn’t harm the United States. I conducted research on the cables published on the Net Centric Diplomacy, as well as how Department of State cables worked in general.

In particular, I wanted to know how each cable was published on SIRPnet via the Net Centric Diplomacy. As part of my open source research, I found a document published by the Department of State on its official website.

The document provided guidance on caption markings for individual cables and handling instructions for their distribution. I quickly learned the caption markings clearly detailed the sensitivity level of the Department of State cables. For example, NODIS or No Distribution was used for messages at the highest sensitivity and were only distributed to the authorized recipients.

The SIPDIS or SIPRnet distribution caption was applied only to recording of other information messages that were deemed appropriate for a release for a wide number of individuals. According to the Department of State guidance for a cable to have the SIPDIS [missed word] caption, it could not include other captions that were intended to limit distribution.

The SIPDIS caption was only for information that could only be shared with anyone with access to SIPRnet. I was aware that thousands of military personnel, DoD, Department of State, and other civilian agencies had easy access to the tables. The fact that the SIPDIS caption was only for wide distribution made sense to me, given that the vast majority of the Net Centric Diplomacy Cables were not classified.

The more I read the cables, the more I came to the conclusion that this was the type of information that– that this type of information should become public. I once read a and used a quote on open diplomacy written after the First World War and how the world would be a better place if states would avoid making secret pacts and deals with and against each other.

I thought these cables were a prime example of a need for a more open diplomacy. Given all of the Department of State cables information that I read, the fact that most of the cables were unclassified, and that all the cables have a SIPDIS caption, I believe that the public release of these cables would not damage the United States; however, I did believe that the cables might be embarrassing, since they represented very honest opinions and statements behind the backs of other nations and organizations.

In many ways these cables are a catalogue of cliques and gossip. I believed exposing this information might make some within the Department of State and other government entities unhappy. On 22 March 2010, I began downloading a copy of the SIPDIS cables using the program Wget, described above.

I used instances of the Wget application to download the Net Centric Diplomacy cables in the background. As I worked on my daily tasks, the Net Centric Diplomacy cables were downloaded from 28 March 2010 to 9 April 2010. After downloading the cables, I saved them onto a CD-RW.

These cables went from the earliest dates in Net Centric Diplomacy to 28 February 2010. I took the CD-RW to my CHU on 10 April 2010. I sorted the cables on my personal computer, compressed them using the bzip2 compression algorithm described above, and uploaded them to the WLO via designated drop box described above.

On 3 May 2010, I used Wget to download and update of the cables for the months of March 2010 and April 2010 and saved the information onto a zip file and burned it to a CD-RW. I then took the CD-RW to my CHU and saved those to my computer. I later found that the file was corrupted during the transfer. Although I intended to re-save another copy of these cables, I was removed from the T-SCIF on 8 May 2010 after an altercation.

Facts regarding the unauthorized storage and disclosure of Garani, Farah Province Afghanistan 15-6 Investigation and Videos.

[NB Pfc. Manning plead ‘not guilty’ to the Specification 11, Charge II for the Garani Video as charged by the government, which alleged as November charge date. Read more here.]

In late March 2010, I discovered a US CENTCOM directly on a 2009 airstrike in Afghanistan. I was searching CENTCOM for information I could use as an analyst. As described above, this was something that myself and other analysts and officers did on a frequent basis. As I reviewed the documents I recalled the incident and what happened. The airstrike occurred in the Garani village in the Farah Province, Northwestern Afghanistan. It received worldwide press coverage during the time as it was reported that up to 100 to 150 Afghan civilians– mostly women and children– were accidentally killed during the airstrike.

After going through the report and the [missed word] annexes, I began to review the incident as being similar to the 12 July 2007 aerial weapons team engagements in Iraq. However, this event was noticeably different in that it involved a significantly higher number of individuals, larger aircraft and much heavier munitions. Also, the conclusions of the report are even more disturbing than those of the July 2007 incident.

I did not see anything in the 15-6 report or its annexes that gave away sensitive information. Rather, the investigation and its conclusions helped explain how this incident occurred, and were– what those involved should have done, and how to avoid an event like this from occurring again.

After investigating the report and its annexes, I downloaded the 15-6 investigation, PowerPoint presentations, and several other supporting documents to my D6-A workstation. I also downloaded three zip files containing the videos of the incident. I burned this information onto a CD-RW and transferred it to the personal computer in my CHU. I did later that day or the next day– I uploaded the information to the WLO website this time using a new version of the WLO website submission form.

Unlike other times using the submission form above, I did not activate the TOR anonymizer. Your Honor, this concludes my statement and facts for this providence inquiry.

. April 6, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Editor’s note

Why we are publishing an article partly based on hacked e-mails and telephone conversations

MUCH of this article is based on more than 17 hours of recorded telephone conversations and over 230 e-mails between Mohammed Nizamul Huq, the former chairman of the International Crimes Tribunal, and Ahmed Ziauddin, a Brussels-based lawyer.

Normally, we would not publish confidential e-mails and conversations. But there is a compelling public interest. Lives are at stake. So are the court’s reputation and the way in which Bangladesh comes to terms with its past.

We have attempted to do all we can to verify that the material is genuine and to put the allegations based upon it to those concerned. In the course of that endeavour, we spoke to Mr Nizamul and to Mr Ziauddin, who confirmed that they do communicate and offered other comments. But on December 6th Mr Nizamul, who was then still the tribunal judge, passed an order requiring that two members of The Economist appear before the court to explain how we have come by the e-mails and conversations. This put an end to further communication with the two men.

Normally, we would reveal the sources of this material, but to do so here would put them in danger. Our fear is not that either man might threaten our sources, but rather that they could fall victim to the climate of violence surrounding the trial. On November 5th a witness who had switched from the prosecution to the defence was snatched at the door of the tribunal. The defence team claim that the Detective Branch of the Bangladeshi police was responsible. The government denies this, but the witness has not been seen since.

We did not solicit the material. We did not pay for it, nor offer any commitment to publish it. We have no reason to suppose that the tapes and e-mails we have seen are fakes, or have been tampered with. The Economist also does not know whether the accused in the trial are innocent or guilty, merely that they are entitled to a presumption of innocence and to an even-handed trial.

. April 8, 2013 at 1:02 pm

Today, Wikileaks has launched the “Public Library of US Diplomacy.” It contains over 2 million records of U.S. confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications covering the period 1973-1976.

All leaks are completely searchable and can be accessed at the following link

. April 8, 2013 at 1:03 pm

Kissinger: Before the Freedom of Information Act, I used to say at meetings, “The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer.” [laughter] But since the Freedom of Information Act, I’m afraid to say things like that.

. June 17, 2013 at 12:23 pm

Second, let’s be clear: I did not reveal any US operations against legitimate military targets. I pointed out where the NSA has hacked civilian infrastructure such as universities, hospitals, and private businesses because it is dangerous. These nakedly, aggressively criminal acts are wrong no matter the target. Not only that, when NSA makes a technical mistake during an exploitation operation, critical systems crash. Congress hasn’t declared war on the countries – the majority of them are our allies – but without asking for public permission, NSA is running network operations against them that affect millions of innocent people. And for what? So we can have secret access to a computer in a country we’re not even fighting? So we can potentially reveal a potential terrorist with the potential to kill fewer Americans than our own Police? No, the public needs to know the kinds of things a government does in its name, or the “consent of the governed” is meaningless.

. August 17, 2013 at 12:51 am

The National Security Agency
All too human
Aug 16th 2013, 19:32 by R.M. | WASHINGTON, DC

WHEN James Cole, the deputy attorney-general, explained to Congress in June how the National Security Agency (NSA) is held in check, he conceded, “Every now and then, there may be a mistake.” Barack Obama insisted last week that it really was just every now and then. While discussing Edward Snowden’s leaks, Mr Obama said that “what you’re not reading about is the government actually abusing these programmes and, you know, listening in on people’s phone calls or inappropriately reading people’s emails.”

. August 26, 2013 at 4:00 pm

As Mr Manning awaits his sentence, Edward Snowden, a contractor for the American intelligence services, was reported on August 1st to have gone to Russia, where he has been offered a year’s temporary asylum. He had set out to shed light on the warrantless warehousing by the National Security Agency (NSA) of private data belonging to millions of American citizens, possibly in breach of the Patriot Act and the Fourth Amendment. His revelations continued this week. Meanwhile the Obama administration has seized journalists’ telephone records and pursued leakers with a legal sledgehammer.

Such severity is counterproductive as well as unjust. Every democracy needs its secrets. But to uncover the inevitable abuses of power, every democracy needs leaks too. Mr Snowden’s supporters add that the whistle-blower fled into the arms of first the Chinese and then the Russians because of Mr Manning’s harsh treatment. Better for America if he had sought to justify himself in an American court.

Every intelligence service will impinge on individual liberties—and America’s has succeeded in its main job: to prevent attacks. But every democracy also needs to keep those impingements in check and to hold its spies to account. Of all the world’s democracies, the one that should best understand this tension is the United States. Its constitution rests on the notion that the people in charge are fallible. As Mr Manning waits to hear the judge’s sentence, it is time to remember that.

. September 12, 2013 at 1:26 pm

One, we should expose. If you do not have a security clearance, and if you have not received a National Security Letter, you are not bound by a federal confidentially requirements or a gag order. If you have been contacted by the NSA to subvert a product or protocol, you need to come forward with your story. Your employer obligations don’t cover illegal or unethical activity. If you work with classified data and are truly brave, expose what you know. We need whistleblowers.

. November 3, 2013 at 9:58 am

Germany ‘should offer Edward Snowden asylum after NSA revelations’

Writing in Der Spiegel, more than 50 high-profile Germans add to increasing calls for Berlin to welcome NSA whistleblower

. November 9, 2013 at 9:23 pm

Press freedom in Japan
Secrecy and lies
A tough new law on secrecy has suddenly become controversial

Japan’s allies, especially America, complain that information entrusted to it is too often leaked, says Nobutaka Machimura, a former foreign minister who heads the ruling Liberal Democratic Party’s task-force on the law. If passed, the bill would apply to all civil servants and to high-ranking politicians. “Special secrets” would be designated in three new fields of diplomacy, counter-espionage and counter-terrorism (in addition to defence). The penalty for leaks—also applied to those who encourage breaches, such as journalists—would be up to ten years in prison. Further details are scant, but the bill reportedly lacks important provisions, including independent review of what can be called secret, and a clear limit on the period of confidentiality.

. November 16, 2013 at 11:45 pm
. December 21, 2013 at 9:57 pm

Freedom of information in Japan
Secreted away
A conservative government passes a tough new secrecy law

The new regime will raise that to ten years, and it will apply to senior politicians as well as bureaucrats. Journalists, too, would get up to five years for extracting secrets using “inappropriate” methods, such as buying information.

Threatened with such sanctions, Japan’s usually tame news media have gone on the attack. The Nihon Shinbun Kyokai, a press lobby, warns that the government and bureaucrats may use the law to hide inconvenient information—an honourable Japanese tradition. The press is likely to stop asking hard questions, and bureaucrats may stop talking entirely, some say. The overall result, says Yoshioka Shinobu, director of the Japan PEN club, which defends writers’ rights, is that the public will have less information. In particular, he says, anti-nuclear campaigns could in future be constrained.

. January 2, 2014 at 5:27 pm
. January 2, 2014 at 5:28 pm

” Considering the enormous value of the information he has revealed, and the abuses he has exposed, Mr. Snowden deserves better than a life of permanent exile, fear and flight. He may have committed a crime to do so, but he has done his country a great service. It is time for the United States to offer Mr. Snowden a plea bargain or some form of clemency that would allow him to return home, face at least substantially reduced punishment in light of his role as a whistle-blower, and have the hope of a life advocating for greater privacy and far stronger oversight of the runaway intelligence community. “

. March 17, 2014 at 3:31 pm

The most powerful weapon against fraud is not an algorithm or a checklist but a whistleblower. The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners calculates that three times as many frauds are discovered by tip-offs than by any other method. It also notes that firms with fraud hotlines, which staff can call anonymously, suffer smaller losses from fraud, and cut by seven months the “exposure gap” between the start of an illicit scheme and its discovery. Governments are increasingly providing whistleblowers with legal protection and financial incentives: America’s Securities and Exchange Commission has created a $450m fund to reward them.

. June 1, 2014 at 11:09 am

Mr Snowden, a high-school dropout and computer prodigy, advanced through America’s spy agencies, yet became alarmed by the vast surveillance his bosses publicly stated did not take place. Having been rebuffed when he brought up concerns internally, and seeing how America mistreated other whistle-blowers, last June, at the age of 29, he gave up his six-figure salary and home in Hawaii to disclose the damning materials. “I don’t want to live in a world where everything that I say, everything I do, everyone I talk to, every expression of creativity or love or friendship is recorded,” he said at the time.

The level of surveillance is eye-popping. Some 20 billion phone and e-mail records from people around the world are collected every day, under the doctrine of “collect it all”. Many American companies, as well as other countries, notably Britain, assist the NSA, according to the files. Yet the disclosures are mostly about extreme collection of data, not its misuse.

. July 28, 2016 at 1:57 pm

Has your opinion of him or WikiLeaks’ project changed?

Yeah, it has, because when WikiLeaks first began—one of the things that people have forgotten—they were actually very careful in redacting. In fact, there were tons of redactions when they were releasing Pentagon documents about the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. And they even wrote a letter to the State Department before they released the cables requesting the State Department’s help in figuring out which information ought to be withheld. And I used to defend WikiLeaks all the time on the grounds that they were not indiscriminate dumpers of information; they were carefully protecting people’s reputations. And they have changed their view on that—and no longer believe, as Julian says, in redacting any information of any kind for any reason—and I definitely do not agree with that approach and think that they can be harmful to innocent people or other individuals in ways that I don’t think is acceptable.

. November 16, 2016 at 2:28 pm

Then there’s Obama’s war on whistleblowers — his administration invoked federal law against more whistleblowers than all the other presidents in US history, combined — and his aggressive assertion that journalists have no right to protect their confidential sources. These will be of enormous use to the Trump presidency, which has already promised to use executive powers to persecute hostile journalists who try to hold it to account.

. January 26, 2017 at 6:15 pm

Since 9/11, the United States has changed in so many ways that it is already hard to remember the world where we could carry water bottles through airport security and where small-town police departments didn’t look like armoured cavalry units. But changes like these are only the visible tip of a much bigger, and largely digital, iceberg. In some ways, Snowden’s disclosures of NSA surveillance, including a warrant issued under the Federal Intelligence Surveillance Act ordering Verizon to turn over all its billing records for 90 days to the NSA, and details of an internet-monitoring program code-named PRISM, were beneficial. As Epstein writes, the disclosures “accomplished a salutary service in alerting both the public and government to the potential danger of a surveillance leviathan” and “revealed a bureaucratic mission creep that badly needed to be brought under closer oversight by Congress.”

Nate Fick is chief executive of the cybersecurity software company Endgame and a Marine Corps veteran of Afghanistan and Iraq. He is the author of One Bullet Away: The Making of a Marine Officer.


Fick on leaving the Marines

Fick on the mask of command

Memory under fire

Marine Corps rules of engagement

. March 3, 2017 at 11:50 am
. March 21, 2020 at 12:59 pm

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