TPP – Wikileaks has released another bombshell ~ Thom Hartman, Mike Papantonio


Mike Papantonio, Ring of Fire Radio joins Thom Hartmann. Wikileaks has released another bombshell – this time publishing a portion of text from the secretly negotiated Trans Pacific Partnership. Now that the text is out in the open – will lawmakers in Washington finally realize how devastating the TPP is to the American economy?

 

Why Is an Investigative Journalist in Jail for Doing His Job?


Barrett Brown appears to be unfairly targeted for daring to investigate the highly secretive world of private intelligence and military contractors.

Journalist Barrett Brown spent his 300th day behind bars this week on a range of charges filed after he used information obtained by the hacker group Anonymous to report on the operations of private intelligence firms. Brown faces 17 charges ranging from threatening an FBI agent to credit card fraud for posting a link online to a document that contained stolen credit card data. But according to his supporters, Brown is being unfairly targeted for daring to investigate the highly secretive world of private intelligence and military contractors. Using information Anonymous took from the firm HBGary Federal, Brown helped discover a secret plan to tarnish the reputations of WikiLeaks and journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian. Brown similarly analyzed and wrote about the millions of internal company emails from Stratfor Global Intelligence that were leaked in 2011. 

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: As NSA leaker Edward Snowden remains at a Moscow airport, Army whistleblower Bradley Manning is on trial, and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London, today we look at the strange story of another man tied to the world of cyber-activism who faces over a hundred years in prison. His name is Barrett Brown. He’s an investigative reporter with ties to the hacking collective Anonymous. He has spent the past 300 days in jail and has been denied bail. He faces 17 charges, ranging from threatening anFBI agent to credit card fraud for posting a link online to a document that contained stolen credit card data. But according to his supporters, Brown is being unfairly targeted for daring to investigate the highly secretive world of private intelligence and military contractors.

AMY GOODMAN: Before Brown’s path crossed with the FBI, he frequently contributed to Vanity FairThe Huffington PostThe Guardian and other news outlets. In 2009, Brown created Project PM, which was, quote, “dedicated to investigating private government contractors working in the secretive fields of cybersecurity, intelligence and surveillance.” He was particularly interested in the documents leaked by WikiLeaks and Anonymous. In the documentary We Are Legion, Barrett Brown explains the importance of information obtained by hackers.

BARRETT BROWN: Some of the most important things that have been—have had the most far-reaching influence and have been the most important in terms of what’s been discovered, not just by Anonymous, but by the media in the aftermath, is the result of hacking. That information can’t be obtained by institutional journalistic process, or it can’t be obtained or won’t be obtained by a congressional committee or a federal oversight committee. For the most part, that information has to be, you know, obtained by hackers.

AMY GOODMAN: In 2011, the group Anonymous hacked into the computer system of the private security firm HBGary Federal and disclosed thousands of internal emails. Barrett Brown has not been accused of being involved in the hack, but he did read and analyze the documents, eventually crowdsourcing the effort through Project PM. One of the first things he discovered was a plan to tarnish the reputations of WikiLeaks and sympathetic journalist Glenn Greenwald of The Guardian. Brown similarly analyzed and wrote about the millions of internal company emails for Stratfor Global Intelligence that were leaked on Christmas Eve 2011. Shortly thereafter, the FBI acquired a warrant for Brown’s laptop and authority to seize any information from his communications—or, in journalism parlance, his sources. In September 2012, a troupe of armed agents surged into Brown’s apartment in Dallas, Texas, and handcuffed him face down on the floor. He has been in prison ever since.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, for more, we’re joined by Peter Ludlow, professor of philosophy at Northwestern University. He has written extensively on hacktivist actions against people—against private intelligence firms and the surveillance state. His recent article for The Nation is called “The Strange Case of Barrett Brown.”

Peter Ludlow, welcome to Democracy Now!

PETER LUDLOW: Hi. Thank you very much.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Talk to us about Barrett Brown, the importance of his case, given all the others that we’ve been dealing with on this show now for many years.

PETER LUDLOW: Well, yeah, it’s important for two reasons. First of all, it’s showing that, to some extent, all of us could be targets, because the principal reasons that they’re going after him with this sort of claim that he was involved in credit card fraud or something like that, I mean, that’s completely fallacious. I mean, in effect, what he did was take a link from a chat room and copied that link and pasted it into the chat room for Project PM. That is, he took a link that was broadcast widely on the Internet, and it was a link to the Stratfor hack information, and he just brought it to the attention of the editorial board of Project PM. And because there were, for whatever reason, unencrypted credit card numbers and validation codes among those five million other emails, the government is claiming that he was engaged in credit card fraud. They’re claiming that Project PM was a criminal enterprise. And so, basically, for our interest, why this is interesting to us is basically it makes this dangerous to even link to something or to share a link with someone.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And—

PETER LUDLOW: Go ahead, yeah, please.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: Well, one of the things that you raise is, in some of your writings on this, is the incestuous relationship between the Justice Department, the government and these private firms that are being now targeted by cyber-activists. And could you talk about that, as well?

PETER LUDLOW: Well, sure. A lot of these private intelligence companies are started by ex-CIA,NSA people. Some people come from those agencies and rotate back into the government. I mean, you even see, with the case of Snowden, he was actually a contractor for a private intelligence company, Booz Allen. And, I mean, people think about the NSAFBICIA, and they think of—those are the people that are doing the surveillance of you and doing this intelligence work, but really, if you look at how much the United States spends on intelligence, 70 percent of that is actually going to these private intelligence contractors. So, you know, if you add up CIANSAFBI, that’s just a tip of the iceberg. So there’s all this sort of spook stuff going on in the private realm. And, yeah, right, a lot of it is very incestuous. There’s a revolving door. And no one is investigating it or even talking about it, as far as I can tell.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go to Barrett Brown in his own words. In March 2012, Democracy Now!spoke with Barrett soon after his house was raided.

BARRETT BROWN: On March 5th, I received a tip that I was about to be raided by theFBI. I left my apartment here in Dallas, went to my mom’s residence here in the same city. Next morning, three FBI agents arrived at my mom’s place. I went out and talked to them. They said my apartment had just been raided. The door was damaged. They would take care of that. And that they also asked me if I had any laptops with me that I wanted to give them. I said no.

A few hours later, the FBI returned to my mom’s house with another warrant, this time for her house, and detained the both of us for three hours while they searched the residence. They found several laptops I had stashed somewhere in the house and left the search warrants and left another one in my apartment, which I got when I came back here a little after, the next day or so.

The warrants themselves refer to the information that they’re seeking as regarding Anonymous, of course, a few other things of that nature, and also two companies: HBGary and Endgame Systems. Both of these are intelligence contracting companies that Anonymous had a run-in with in February of 2011, during which a number of emails were taken from HBGary, in particular, which themselves revealed a number of conspiracies being perpetuated by those companies in conjunction with Justice Department and several other institutions, including Bank of America, against WikiLeaks and against several journalists.

The time since, I’ve spent a lot of time going over those emails, researching them, conducting other research, otherwise trying to expose a number of things that have been discovered by virtue of those emails from HBGary having been taken. I sincerely believe that my activities on that front contributed to me being raided the other day and will no doubt contribute to any further action that the FBI decides to take. I would just also note the Justice Department itself is very much intertwined with this issue, and has been for a while, and in no way can conduct a fair investigation against me, based on what I’ve revealed, what I’ve helped to sort of emphasize about them.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Barrett Brown in his own words just after the raid.

PETER LUDLOW: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Peter Ludlow, talk about what he had released. Talk about what he got from HBGary and how this links to Glenn Greenwald.

PETER LUDLOW: Sure. Well, what they uncovered was—I mean, it’s actually a little bit subtle, right? Because it begins with the Bank of America being concerned that WikiLeaks had information on it. Bank of America goes to the United States Department of Justice. The Department of Justice leads them to Hunton & Williams, the big law fix-it firm in the D.C. area, who in turn hooks them up with a group of private intelligence contractors that went under the umbrella Team Themis. And Team Themis had a number of proposals and projects that were exposed in all of this. They included running kind of a psyops operation against the Chamber Watch, which is a group that sort of monitors the Chamber of Commerce, and it was an attempt to undermine it and Glenn Greenwald and other individuals. And, I mean, there were many, many plans that they had, many, many things, but some of the documents released showed that they were saying they were going to create fake documents, leak them to Greenwald, and then, when Greenwald eventually released them, they would expose it as a fraud and attempt to undermine him in that way. And they had a similar plan for Chamber Watch, as well.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And their concern with Greenwald was that he was giving—that his defense of WikiLeaks was giving legitimacy to WikiLeaks—

PETER LUDLOW: That was—yeah. That was the concern.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —it didn’t deserve.

PETER LUDLOW: That was the concern, yeah. And they actually said in there, “Well, he’s just a professional journalist, and he’ll fold under pressure immediately. I mean, apparently they were wrong about that. So, yeah.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: There were also emails found where these private security firms were assessing the damage that Jeremy Scahill’s books had done to Blackwater?

PETER LUDLOW: Well, actually, those—I ran across that in the Stratfor leaks, and that was kind of interesting, because they were monitoring—they were monitoring this because they were concerned that Blackwater was going to get into the private intelligence business themselves. And they were commenting on Scahill. They go, “Well, yeah, Scahill, you know, I don’t care much for his politics, but he’s really got these guys figured out, yeah?” So that was a little compliment for Scahill, I think.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: But the amazing thing in all of this is the degree to which these private security firms are engaging in attempts to influence what’s going on in the public debate on—

PETER LUDLOW: Oh, yeah.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: —on intelligence.

PETER LUDLOW: Oh, yeah, yeah. I mean, one of the most crazy things in the whole thing was when Coca-Cola approached Stratfor, and they were concerned about PETA, you know, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. And why, I’m not entirely sure, but one of the people in Stratfor said, “Well, the FBI has a classified file on PETA. I’ll see if I can get it for you.” Now, that little story sums up a lot of stuff that’s wrong about this. First of all, why are private—why is Coca-Cola going to a private intelligence company for this? Why is—why did the private intelligence company feel that they had immediate access to a classified file by the FBI? And why did the FBI have a classified file, to begin with? I mean—but, to me, the creepiest part of that very creepy little story is the fact that the guy at Stratfor felt that he had access to this classified file by the FBI. And the Barrett Brown case revealed something like this, as well. It’s almost like the FBI has become just another private security firm, that it’s become like a private cop for these companies, as it were. And, I mean, that’s part because of the revolving door. It’s part because they get pressed into service for companies that want inside information on activist organizations like PETA.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to take break—

PETER LUDLOW: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: —and then come back to this conversation. We’re talking to Peter Ludlow, professor of philosophy at Northwestern University, has written extensively on hacktivist actions against private intelligence firms. The piece he most recently wrote is for The Nation, and it’s called “The Strange Case of Barrett Brown.” When we come back, I want to ask you how it’s possible he faces a hundred years in prison.

PETER LUDLOW: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: It makes us think about Aaron Swartz.

PETER LUDLOW: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: He didn’t face anything like that, but he faced decades in prison.

PETER LUDLOW: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: He ultimately committed suicide—

PETER LUDLOW: Yeah, yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: —before prosecution. Stay with us.

[break]

AMY GOODMAN: Peter Ludlow is our guest, a professor of philosophy at Northwestern University, has been tracking the case of Barrett Brown and wrote a Nation piece about him, “The Strange Case of Barrett Brown.” So, the FBI raids his home, and he ultimately is arrested. He faces 100 years in prison?

PETER LUDLOW: Yeah, if you add up all the charges and if he serves them sequentially, it will be 105 years in prison. Yeah, that’s right.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And the decision for no bail?

PETER LUDLOW: That’s a mystery to me.

AMY GOODMAN: He’s been in jail now for 300 days.

PETER LUDLOW: Three hundred days, yeah, over 300 days, no bail. For a while they were—they had frozen his—the contributions to his legal fund, too.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, that sounds like WikiLeaks.

PETER LUDLOW: Yeah.

AMY GOODMAN: Meaning that’s what happened to Wiki—well, WikiLeaks, they had all these different corporations like PayPal refuse to allow money to go to them.

PETER LUDLOW: Yeah, right.

AMY GOODMAN: Let’s go to an interview Barrett Brown did with NBC’s Michael Isikoff serving as a spokesperson for Anonymous.

BARRETT BROWN: Our people break laws, just like all people break laws. When we break laws, we do so in the service of civil disobedience. We do so ethically. We do it against targets who have asked for it.

MICHAEL ISIKOFF: You go against targets that have asked for it.

BARRETT BROWN: Yes.

MICHAEL ISIKOFF: What do you mean?

BARRETT BROWN: Targets who have engaged in a manner that is either unethical and contrary to the—sort of the values of this age, information freedom. Just, I mean—and sometimes just plain common sense, in the case of them going after journalists, going after WikiLeaks, in the way that they were planning to do so.

MICHAEL ISIKOFF: But you can attack websites.

BARRETT BROWN: Yes, we can attack websites. We can DDoS them. We can sometimes hack them. We can sometimes take over the websites themselves, put messages up, as we did today with Westboro and as we did with—with the company HBGary and other federal contractors during that attack.

MICHAEL ISIKOFF: You can—you can—

BARRETT BROWN: Take it over, debase it.

MICHAEL ISIKOFF: —take over the websites of government contractors.

BARRETT BROWN: And governments, of course. In Tunisia and in Libya, Algeria and Egypt and Iran, we either took down or replaced government websites. We replaced them with messages from us to the people of those nations, explaining what we’re doing and why and what we’ll provide if they choose to revolt.

MICHAEL ISIKOFF: Are you worried you’re going to get prosecuted?

BARRETT BROWN: I’m not worried about it, but I am going to get prosecuted at some point, yes.

MICHAEL ISIKOFF: Because you’re involved in hacking activity.

BARRETT BROWN: Because they could do whatever they want to anyone they want.

MICHAEL ISIKOFF: But you’re not worried?

BARRETT BROWN: No, because, again, like I said, I’m well protected right now.

MICHAEL ISIKOFF: What do you mean, well protected?

BARRETT BROWN: I’ve got a lot of lawyers. I’ve got a lot of higher-up people. I’ve got people to talk to who will—who support us. And if they come after me, they’re going to find that they’re not going to like everything that they see.

AMY GOODMAN: That’s Barrett Brown talking to NBC’s Michael Isikoff. Well, the fact is, Barrett Brown has been in prison now for 300 days, and he faces decades in prison. Can you explain—that’s when he was an Anonymous spokesperson—what Anonymous is? And then also talk about the groups he exposed, like Endgame and others, though he wasn’t the only one to do that.

PETER LUDLOW: Sure. I have to think he was a little bit optimistic there in his claims about how he was all lawyered up there. But he was a—he was related to Anonymous, which is—it’s not a group,per se. You know, you or I could claim to be members of Anonymous. It’s more like a flag that you fly if you choose to. And so, there was a loosely knit group of hacktivists. Some of them were intersecting. They carried out hacks against—as he says, against various private intelligence contractors and other kinds of targets. He’s quite right that during the Arab Spring and the Tunisian uprising and so forth, members of Anonymous did a lot of work in keeping protesters online and in minimizing the effectiveness of the governments in the Middle East in that time.

And then you asked about things like Endgame Systems, for example. Yeah, Endgame is a very interesting thing. I mean, Endgame is this kind of very secretive private intelligence company. And you even see in the HBGary hack, you see these messages where someone from Endgame says in an email, “We don’t ever want to see our name in a press release from you guys.” And what makes it particularly interesting is, if you read the search warrant that’s issued to Barrett when he’s busted, it says, “Well, we’re looking for stuff related to HBGary and Endgame Systems.” You know, like, why Endgame Systems?

And this is a corporation that’s involved in what are called “zero-day exploits.” Now, what’s a zero-day exploit? Basically, what that means is that there are certain security flaws in the software that we have and that we use, and sometimes the company doesn’t know about it. Sometimes it’s known about it for seven days, and they’ve had seven days to work on it. A zero-day exploit is one that the software company doesn’t know about. And Endgame Systems packages these things and sells them. So, for example, they have one where you get—it’s a subscription for like $2.5 million a year, and you get these exploits. So it’s things that a hacker would do, but because they’re a business and they’re making money for it, it’s—apparently it’s OK, right? And it seems that the Justice Department is kind of running interference for these guys. And there’s a—I mean, you don’t have to take my word for it. There’s a great article in Businessweek on this in which they talk about the guys from Endgame, you know, running—setting up slides and showing you targets in airports, telling you what the computers are running there, and what kind of the—what the vulnerabilities are and so forth.

JUAN GONZÁLEZ: And who runs Endgame? Where are they based?

PETER LUDLOW: They’re based in Atlanta, Georgia, I believe. Someone recently posted a video on YouTube in which he walked into the place and—just to see what was going on there. And the people—I think it’s an ex—it’s started by an ex-intelligence person and by a security guy at IBM.

AMY GOODMAN: And, very quickly, Project PM?

PETER LUDLOW: Project PM is basically Barrett’s—I mean, one of the genius things about Barrett was that he wanted to crowdsource all this information, because you get a hack of Stratfor and it’s five million emails, and how do you sort through all that? So he had a number of friends and acquaintances, including Michael Hastings, by the way, who were members of Project PM.

AMY GOODMAN: Michael Hastings, the reporter who just died in a fiery car crash.

PETER LUDLOW: The reporter who just died in the suspicious car accident, yeah, exactly right. And so, they would—he would basically crowdsource this. And so, the case where he copied that link, he was basically notifying the members of Project PM where they could find the information from the Stratfor hack.

AMY GOODMAN: So, what’s the schedule of—we just have 30 seconds … of what will happen to Barrett Brown right now? He’s in jail in Texas.

PETER LUDLOW: …He’s got a great legal team. Charles Swift is one of them, the guy from the judge advocate general’s thing that took that Gitmo case all the way to the Supreme Court.

AMY GOODMAN: From the JAG.

PETER LUDLOW: Ahmed Ghappour, who’s at University of Texas Law School. There’s a group of individuals with freebarrettbrown.org who are raising money for him there, and they’re available if you have questions and so forth.

AMY GOODMAN: Well, we’ll certainly follow this case, Peter Ludlow, professor of philosophy at Northwestern University. He’s written extensively on hacktivist actions against private intelligence firms and the surveillance state. His most recent piece is in The Nation; it’s called “The Strange Case of Barrett Brown.” We will link to it at democracynow.org.

http://www.alternet.org/media/why-journalist-jail-reporting?akid=10690.321917.WHE2FW&rd=1&src=newsletter868156&t=19&paging=off

The Real War on Reality


NY Times / The Stone June 14, 2013

By PETER LUDLOW

If there is one thing we can take away from the news of recent weeks it is this: the modern American surveillance state is not really the stuff of paranoid fantasies; it has arrived.

The revelations about the National Security Agency’s PRISM data collection program have raised awareness — and understandably, concern and fears — among American and those abroad, about the reach and power of secret intelligence gatherers operating behind the facades of government and business.

Surveillance and deception are not just fodder for the next “Matrix” movie, but a real sort of epistemic warfare.

But those revelations, captivating as they are, have been partial —they primarily focus on one government agency and on the surveillance end of intelligence work, purportedly done in the interest of national security. What has received less attention is the fact that most intelligence work today is not carried out by government agencies but by private intelligence firms and that much of that work involves another common aspect of intelligence work: deception. That is, it is involved not just with the concealment of reality, but with the manufacture of it.

The realm of secrecy and deception among shadowy yet powerful forces may sound like the province of investigative reporters, thriller novelists and Hollywood moviemakers — and it is — but it is also a matter for philosophers. More accurately, understanding deception and and how it can be exposed has been a principle project of philosophy for the last 2500 years. And it is a place where the work of journalists, philosophers and other truth-seekers can meet.

In one of the most referenced allegories in the Western intellectual tradition, Plato describes a group of individuals shackled inside a cave with a fire behind them. They are able to see only shadows cast upon a wall by the people walking behind them. They mistake shadows for reality. To see things as they truly are, they need to be unshackled and make their way outside the cave. Reporting on the world as it truly is outside the cave is one of the foundational duties of philosophers.

In a more contemporary sense, we should also think of the efforts to operate in total secrecy and engage in the creation of false impressions and realities as a problem area in epistemology — the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of knowledge. And philosophers interested in optimizing our knowledge should consider such surveillance and deception not just fodder for the next “Matrix” movie, but as real sort of epistemic warfare.


To get some perspective on the manipulative role that private intelligence agencies play in our society, it is worth examining information that has been revealed by some significant hacks in the past few years of previously secret data.

Important insight into the world these companies came from a 2010 hack by a group best known as LulzSec  (at the time the group was called Internet Feds), which targeted the private intelligence firm HBGary Federal.  That hack yielded 75,000 e-mails.  It revealed, for example, that Bank of America approached the Department of Justice over concerns about information that WikiLeaks had about it.  The Department of Justice in turn referred Bank of America to the lobbying firm Hunton and Willliams, which in turn connected the bank with a group of information security firms collectively known as Team Themis.

Team Themis (a group that included HBGary and the private intelligence and security firms Palantir Technologies, Berico Technologies and Endgame Systems) was effectively brought in to find a way to undermine the credibility of WikiLeaks and the journalist Glenn Greenwald (who recently broke the story of Edward Snowden’s leak of the N.S.A.’s Prism program),  because of Greenwald’s support for WikiLeaks. Specifically, the plan called for actions to “sabotage or discredit the opposing organization” including a plan to submit fake documents and then call out the error. As for Greenwald, it was argued that he would cave “if pushed” because he would “choose professional preservation over cause.” That evidently wasn’t the case.

Team Themis also developed a proposal for the Chamber of Commerce to undermine the credibility of one of its critics, a group called Chamber Watch. The proposal called for first creating a “false document, perhaps highlighting periodical financial information,” giving it to a progressive group opposing the Chamber, and then subsequently exposing the document as a fake to “prove that U.S. Chamber Watch cannot be trusted with information and/or tell the truth.”

(A photocopy of the proposal can be found here.)

In addition, the group proposed creating a “fake insider persona” to infiltrate Chamber Watch.  They would “create two fake insider personas, using one as leverage to discredit the other while confirming the legitimacy of the second.”

Psyops need not be conducted by nation states; they can be undertaken by anyone with the capabilities and the incentive to conduct them.

The hack also revealed evidence that Team Themis was developing a “persona management” system — a program, developed at the specific request of the United States Air Force, that allowed one user to control multiple online identities (“sock puppets”) for commenting in social media spaces, thus giving the appearance of grass roots support.  The contract was eventually awarded to another private intelligence firm.

This may sound like nothing so much as a “Matrix”-like fantasy, but it is distinctly real, and resembles in some ways the employment of “Psyops” (psychological operations), which as most students of recent American history know, have been part of the nation’s military strategy for decades. The military’s “Unconventional Warfare Training Manual” defines Psyops as “planned operations to convey selected information and indicators to foreign audiences to influence their emotions, motives, objective reasoning, and ultimately the behavior of foreign governments, organizations, groups, and individuals.” In other words, it is sometimes more effective to deceive a population into a false reality than it is to impose its will with force or conventional weapons.  Of course this could also apply to one’s own population if you chose to view it as an “enemy” whose “motives, reasoning, and behavior” needed to be controlled.

Psyops need not be conducted by nation states; they can be undertaken by anyone with the capabilities and the incentive to conduct them, and in the case of private intelligence contractors, there are both incentives (billions of dollars in contracts) and capabilities.


Several months after the hack of HBGary, a Chicago area activist and hacker named Jeremy Hammond successfully hacked into another private intelligence firm — Strategic Forcasting Inc., or Stratfor), and released approximately five million e-mails. This hack provided a remarkable insight into how the private security and intelligence companies view themselves vis a vis government security agencies like the C.I.A. In a 2004 e-mail to Stratfor employees, the firm’s founder and chairman George Friedman was downright dismissive of the C.I.A.’s capabilities relative to their own:  “Everyone in Langley [the C.I.A.] knows that we do things they have never been able to do with a small fraction of their resources. They have always asked how we did it. We can now show them and maybe they can learn.”

The Stratfor e-mails provided us just one more narrow glimpse into the world of the private security firms, but the view was frightening.  The leaked e-mails revealed surveillance activities to monitor protestors in Occupy Austin as well as Occupy’s relation to the environmental group Deep Green Resistance.  Staffers discussed how one of their own men went undercover (“U/C”) and inquired about an Occupy Austin General Assembly meeting to gain insight into how the group operates.

Read previous contributions to this series.

Stratfor was also involved in monitoring activists who were seeking reparations for victims of a chemical plant disaster in Bhopal, India, including a group called Bophal Medical Appeal. But the targets also included The Yes Men, a satirical group that had humiliated Dow Chemical with a fake news conference announcing reparations for the victims.  Stratfor regularly copied several Dow officers on the minutia of activities by the two members of the Yes Men.

One intriguing e-mail revealed that the Coca-Cola company was asking Stratfor for intelligence on PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) with Stratfor vice president for Intelligence claiming that “The F.B.I. has a classified investigation on PETA operatives. I’ll see what I can uncover.” From this one could get the impression that the F.B.I. was in effect working as a private detective Stratfor and its corporate clients.

Stratfor also had a broad-ranging public relations campaign.  The e-mails revealed numerous media companies on its payroll. While one motivation for the partnerships was presumably to have sources of intelligence, Stratfor worked hard to have soap boxes from which to project its interests. In one 2007 e-mail, it seemed that Stratfor was close to securing a regular show on NPR: “[the producer] agreed that she wants to not just get George or Stratfor on one time on NPR but help us figure the right way to have a relationship between ‘Morning Edition’ and Stratfor.”

On May 28 Jeremy Hammond pled guilty to the Stratfor hack, noting that even if he could successfully defend himself against the charges he was facing, the Department of Justice promised him that he would face the same charges in eight different districts and he would be shipped to all of them in turn.  He would become a defendant for life.  He had no choice but to plea to a deal in which he may be sentenced to 10 years in prison.  But even as he made the plea he issued a statement, saying “I did this because I believe people have a right to know what governments and corporations are doing behind closed doors. I did what I believe is right.”  (In a video interview conducted by Glenn Greenwald with Edward Snowden in Hong Kong this week, Snowden expressed a similar ethical stance regarding his actions.)

Given the scope and content of what Hammond’s hacks exposed, his supporters agree that what he did was right. In their view, the private intelligence industry is effectively engaged in Psyops against American public., engaging in “planned operations to convey selected information to [us] to influence [our] emotions, motives, objective reasoning and, ultimately, [our] behavior”? Or as the philosopher might put it, they are engaged in epistemic warfare.

The Greek word deployed by Plato in “The Cave” — aletheia — is typically translated as truth, but is more aptly translated as “disclosure” or “uncovering” —   literally, “the state of not being hidden.”   Martin Heidegger, in an essay on the allegory of the cave, suggested that the process of uncovering was actually a precondition for having truth.  It would then follow that the goal of the truth-seeker is to help people in this disclosure — it is to defeat the illusory representations that prevent us from seeing the world the way it is.  There is no propositional truth to be had until this first task is complete.

This is the key to understanding why hackers like Jeremy Hammond are held in such high regard by their supporters.  They aren’t just fellow activists or fellow hackers — they are defending us from epistemic attack.  Their actions help lift the hood that is periodically pulled over our eyes to blind us from the truth.


Peter Ludlow

Peter Ludlow is a professor of philosophy at Northwestern University and is currently co-producing (with Vivien Weisman) a documentary on Hacktivist actions against private intelligence firms and the surveillance state.

http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/14/the-real-war-on-reality/?hp&_r=0

 

American Hero: Bradley Manning demands dismissal of his case due to inhuman punishment


Lets be sure to include Bradley in our prayers and meditations over the next couple months, the key is to visualize the judge granting his freedom. Visualize him already out of prison and free, picture him in your minds eye living his life as a free man. Thank Spirit for a successful pretrial on his behalf as if it had already happened, that’s the least we can do for all he’s suffered.

RT
Tue, 27 Nov 2012 21:32 CST
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.

© Reuters / Jose Liis Magaua
Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.

Bradley Manning is expected to testify in a pretrial hearing that he has been punished illegally by being locked in solitary confinement. The whistleblower hopes that his inhumane punishment is grounds for having all charges against him dismissed.

Manning, who is accused of sending classified information to WikiLeaks, will testify in a pretrial hearing in Fort Meade, Maryland.

“Until now we’ve only heard from Bradley through his family and lawyers, so it’s going to be a real insight into his personality to hear him speak for himself for the first time, said Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network.

Manning’s lawyers will maintain that his treatment in a small cell at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia was illegal and unnecessarily severe. If pretrial punishment is particularly flagrant, military judges have the right to dismiss all charges.

Manning, a 24-year-old Army private and intelligence analyst, was allegedly involved in the largest security breach in US history and was charged with 22 crimes, including violating the Espionage Act and aiding the enemy. He allegedly accessed 250,000 US diplomatic cables, 500,000 army reports, and videos of the 2007 Baghdad airstrike and the 2009 Granai airstrike, and sending them to the whistleblower website WikiLeaks for publication in 2010. He is the only suspect arrested for his involvement in the security leak.

But while awaiting trial in Quantico from July 2010 to April 2011, he was allegedly mistreated, sparking human rights concerns from Amnesty International, the United Nations and the British government. The UN referred to his treatment as cruel, inhuman and degrading. Leading law scholars and PJ Crowley, former spokesman at the US Department of State, have resigned from their positions in protest of Manning’s treatment.

Manning’s lawyers claim he was held in maximum security in a cell so small that it was the functional equivalent of solitary confinement. He spent 23 ½ hours confined to his 6-by-8-foot cell with no windows or natural light and was often forced to sleep naked. He was also denied a regular blanket and pillow.

Manning was also woken at 5 a.m. every morning and forced to stay awake until 10 p.m., making it difficult for him to pass the time in his closet-like cell. Prison guards checked on him every five minutes and refused to let him lie on his bed, lean against the cell wall or exercise.

Military officials have called the punishment suitable, claiming Manning posed a risk of injury to himself and others and was therefore required to remain locked up as a maximum-security detainee. But records show that psychiatrists made at least 16 official reports to military commanders that Manning was not a threat to himself or others and should therefore not have been subjected to such severe treatment.

While a dismissal of all charges due to pretrial punishment is very rare in a military court, Manning’s lawyers hope that these “egregious” and illegal conditions amount to severe enough punishment to justify dropping the case.

© Patrick Semansky / APArmy Pfc.
Bradley Manning, center, steps out of a security vehicle Nov. 28 as he is escorted into a courthouse in Fort Meade, Md., for a ‘pretrial hearing’.

According to lawyer David Coombs, these conditions are a flagrant violation of Pfc. Manning’s constitutional right to not be punished prior to trial.”

If the military judge refuses to drop the charge but still considers pretrial punishment as time served, then Manning could receive a lesser prison sentence, former Marine Corps attorney Dwight H. Sullivan told the Baltimore Sun. He is currently seeking a “10-to-1″ credit, which means he would receive a credit of 10 days served for every actual day spent in pretrial confinement.

If Manning’s lawyers fail to sway the judges, the 24-year-old may face life imprisonment if he is convicted of aiding the enemy, the most serious of his 22 charges.Earlier Manning has also offered to plead guilty to reduced charges for a lesser sentence.

After being released from Quantico due to the prison closing down, Manning was moved to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he was allowed to interact with other inmates and kept in less strict conditions. But his lawyers still hope that his nine-month stay and cruel treatment at Quantico will lead to Manning’s freedom.

The pretrial hearing is scheduled to last until Sunday and precedes the full court martial scheduled for Feb. 4, 2013.

Time for government to stand ground and protect Assange



Jennifer Robinson
March 1, 2012
OPINION
WikiLeaks’s latest release of confidential emails obtained from the US private intelligence firm Stratfor indicate the US Department of Justice has issued a secret, sealed indictment against Julian Assange. While the Department of Justice has refused to confirm the existence of the Assange indictment – it refuses to comment upon any alleged sealed indictment – the Stratfor email is the best confirmation we have of the long-stated concerns about the risk of Assange’s extradition to the US to face criminal prosecution for his publishing activities with WikiLeaks.

The email was from Fred Burton, Stratfor’s vice-president for counterterrorism and corporate security, and former deputy chief of the Department of State’s counterterrorism division for the Diplomatic Security Service. On Australia Day last year, Burton revealed in internal Stratfor correspondence: ”Not for Pub – We have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect.”

Following the announcement by the US Attorney-General, Eric Holder, of criminal investigation into Assange in December 2010, the US government has refused to give further comment on its plans to prosecute him. The grand jury is secret. Our appeals to military courts for access to the Bradley Manning proceedings were denied. The Australian government has consistently claimed to have no information from the US as to whether they will prosecute Assange and seek his extradition.

“Indicting Assange represents a dramatic assault on the First Amendment, journalists and the public right to know.”

The question we must now ask: if a Texas private intelligence firm knew of the sealed indictment for more than a year – why doesn’t our government? Did the government know? Was its denial of knowledge dishonest?

It is rather ironic, and an embarrassing indictment of the US-Australia alliance, if the Australian government learnt this information, as we have, through a WikiLeaks release. Indicting Assange represents a dramatic assault on the First Amendment, journalists and the public right to know. Assange, recently awarded the Walkley Award for most outstanding contribution to journalism, faces criminal prosecution – marking the first time a journalist has been prosecuted for allegedly receiving and publishing ”classified” documents.

The Australian government must rectify the damage to its international reputation by our failure so far to acknowledge – and protect – our most celebrated journalist and be mindful of the impact it will have on free speech in Australia and around the world. The Prime Minster, Julia Gillard, has bent to US pressure on WikiLeaks and wrongfully accused an Australian citizen of illegal conduct, and the former attorney-general Robert McClelland pondered cancelling Assange’s passport but Kevin Rudd, as foreign minister, told the pair to back off. He may be on the backbench now, but Rudd was right.

The correct legal analysis, provided by other lawyers in Parliament, Malcolm Turnbull and the shadow attorney-general George Brandis, SC, is that publication of classified material of foreign powers – even friendly ones – is not a crime in Australia; nor is it a crime in the US. That is also the legal advice of the Australian Federal Police, who concluded Assange had committed no crime here. Prominent academics in the US agree Assange is entitled to the protections of the First Amendment.

But any constitutional challenge for Assange will come years down the track. The Stratfor emails disclose a strategy: ”move him from country to country to face various charges for the next 25 years” and ”[bankrupt] the asshole first … ruin his life. Give him 7-12 years for conspiracy”.

What happens to Assange in the US in the meantime? We need only look to the treatment of WikiLeaks’s alleged source, Manning, who has been kept in degrading conditions, including solitary confinement, for more than 18 months pending trial. According to Burton, in another Stratfor email disclosed yesterday: ”Assange is going to make a nice bride in prison. Screw the terrorist. He’ll be eating cat food forever.”

The Australian government must learn from its mistakes in the David Hicks case and act now. Assange is an Australian citizen and we must protect him, and protect our country from international condemnation for our failure to act, knowing the treatment Assange will receive in the US.

National sovereignty and the protection of Australians abroad have so far been sacrificed to US interests in this case. A real friend of the US will, at times, criticise, as all friends must. Australia must ask serious questions of the US about its plans to prosecute Assange. Australia should exercise diplomatic protection and seek undertakings regarding his treatment. Assange deserves the protection any of us as Australian citizens deserve. What if it were your son or brother or friend? Would you feel satisfied with our government’s response?

In the case of Schapelle Corby, the former attorney-general Philip Ruddock sent senior lawyers to Indonesia on our government’s behalf to arrange her defence. They said, ”the fact is, she is an Australian national in trouble overseas, and the consequences are extremely severe, so there just wasn’t any hesitation”. Assange is surely as worthy of our protection as the ”Bali boy” who, having admitted drug possession, received a phone call from Ms Gillard and the highest level of consular assistance. Assange has not received anywhere near that support. Quite the opposite.

Whether or not the government knew before, it certainly knows now. The Prime Minister, the Attorney-General and the new foreign minister must take action. Nicola Roxon, the Attorney-General, campaigned hard in opposition to bring Hicks home, urging the Howard government ”to take urgent action to protect this Australian citizen they have so far neglected for such a long period of time”. She has so far remained silent. But if she can go into bat for Hicks, she can go into bat for Assange. The government must protect Assange, not just because of who he is, but because he is Australian. And, as the Stratfor emails confirm, an Australian is at risk.

Jennifer Robinson is a London-based Australian human rights lawyer who represents Julian Assange and WikiLeaks

source with plenty of comments: http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/politi…229-1u3cn.html

Bradley Manning hearing ends with no clear sign of harm done to US – KansasCity.com


Link to article:

Bradley Manning hearing ends with no clear sign of harm done to US – KansasCity.com.

Facebook is greatest spy vehicle ever created


Mathaba.net

Tue, 28 Jun 2011 17:12 CDT

© Unknown

Assange now backs Mathaba’s 3 years old claim that Facebook is the greatest spy system ever created

WikiLeaks founder and Australia citizen Julian Assange called Facebook the “greatest espionage tool in history”, in an exclusive interview to RT.com, confirming what Mathaba already reported about Facebook many years earlier, as well as Google and Yahoo among other close runner-ups.

Facebook automatically collects confidential data of the registered site users, and Mathaba and now Assange have alleged that this information is then transferred to the U.S. intelligence which provided seed funding for Zuckerberg’s Facebook.

Assange said that we are dealing with “a very detailed database about people, their habits, their social ties, addresses, places of residence, relatives, and all these data is located in the United States and available to U.S. intelligence.”

In answer to a question concerning the role of social networks Facebook and Twitter in the recent chaos in the Arab countries with the notable exception of Israel, leading to thousands of deaths, Assange, who is himself funded by the jewish international elitist financier George Soros, said that “Facebook in particular is the most disgusting of all espionage tools ever invented.”

He said that the users should be aware that in adding a contact on Facebook they are working for American intelligence, updating its database, free of charge without any effort nor cost on the part of the CIA. Further, it is easy for other intelligence agencies to either hack Facebook, or get this information from the Americans in exchange for some other services, he pointed out.

Assange confirmed Mathaba’s allegations which preceded the creation of WikiLeaks by several years, saying that “Facebook, Google and Yahoo, all large American companies, have built-in interfaces for the use by the American intelligence. Does this mean that Facebook is in the hands of the American intelligence? No, it is different. It means that the U.S. intelligence agencies have legal and political means to pressure them.”

Assange is currently under luxury house arrest at a millionaire supporter’s home in the English countryside, awaiting the review of his complaint regarding the London court decision on his extradition to Sweden, where he is accused of sexual crimes.

Continued here:

http://www.sott.net/articles/show/230689-Facebook-is-greatest-spy-vehicle-ever-created

Latest Batch of Wikileaks Documents Show Massive ‘Mission Creep’ in Drug War


 

Even tho must everyone knows who Julian Assange is, most have never read documents released by Wikileaks or really have much idea what the hoopla is all about. Then mass media jumps in with calls to “take him out”, hang him for treason (not even a citizen of the US), call him a threat to national security and all kinds of nonsense. When this is really an issue about keeping the press free, free from journalists having to fear their lives or arrest for doing their job. The founding fathers realized the importance of a free press and wrote it into the constitution…here’s some information the latest batch released on the DEA, another agency out of control making a bad name for Americans where ever they operate.

Posted by KATHY KATTENBURG in Breaking News, International, Law, Places, Politics, Society, War.
Dec 27th, 2010 

The Drug Enforcement Administration has been transformed into a global intelligence organization with a reach that extends far beyond narcotics, and an eavesdropping operation so expansive it has to fend off foreign politicians who want to use it against their political enemies, according to secret diplomatic cables.

n far greater detail than previously seen, the cables, from the cache obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to some news organizations, offer glimpses of drug agents balancing diplomacy and law enforcement in places where it can be hard to tell the politicians from the traffickers, and where drug rings are themselves mini-states whose wealth and violence permit them to run roughshod over struggling governments.
[...]
Like many of the cables made public in recent weeks, those describing the  drug war do not offer large disclosures. Rather, it is the details that add up to a clearer picture of the corrupting influence of big traffickers, the tricky game of figuring out which foreign officials are actually controlled by drug lords, and the story of how an entrepreneurial agency operating in the shadows of the  F.B.I. has become something more than a drug agency. The D.E.A. now has 87 offices in 63 countries and close partnerships with governments that keep the  Central Intelligence Agency at arm’s length.

The Economic Times puts it more bluntly:

The US Drug Enforcement Administration , an agency tasked with the job of tracking drug traffickers around the world, has over the years transformed into a global intelligence organisation with its tentacles extending far beyond narcotics, according to secret American diplomatic cables .

The organisation has an eavesdropping operation so expansive it has to fend off foreign politicians who want to use it against their political enemies, the New York Times reported on Sunday, quoting a cache of cables published by WikiLeaks . The body’s vast network of informants also had on its roll David Headley, an accused in the Mumbai attacks case, who worked as a double agent for the DEA.

For example (my emphasis):

One August 2009 cable reported Panamanian President Ricardo Martinelli as having sent an urgent BlackBerry message to the US ambassador asking the DEA go after his political enemies.

“I need help with tapping phones,” the paper quoted the president as saying.

The request was denied, which sparked new tensions between the two countries.

Martinelli, who, according to the cables, “made no distinction between legitimate security targets and political enemies,” retaliated by proposing a law that would have ended the DEA’s work with specially vetted Panamanian police units.

Then he tried to subvert the drug agency?s control over the programme by assigning non-vetted officers to the counternarcotics unit, The Times said.

At the beginning of the year, the United States faced a similar situation in Paraguay.

Diplomatic dispatches sent from that South American country described the DEA fighting requests from that country?s government to help spy on an insurgent group, known as the Paraguayan People?s Army (EPP).

The leftist group suspected of having ties to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC) had conducted several high-profile kidnappings and was trying to finance its activities through collecting ransom.

According to The Times, when US diplomats refused to give Paraguay access to the drug agency?s wiretapping system, Interior Minister Rafael Filizzola threatened to shut it down, saying: “Counternarcotics are important, but won?t topple our government. The EPP could.”

So not only are these entanglements not helping to stop drug trafficking, they are actually compromising U.S. foreign policy.

But of course the American people have no right to know that a government agency tasked with drug law enforcement has, with no public disclosure or debate and, indeed, completely unbeknownst to the general public, become an international intelligence network — a second Central Intelligence Agency — which, as Conor Friedersdorf observes, may be helping to create “a black market that destabilizes dozens of nations and ravages countless lives” — possibly “provok[ing] a whole different kind of terrorist to come after us sooner or later.”

http://themoderatevoice.com/96424/latest-batch-of-wikileaks-documents-show-massive-mission-creep-in-drug-war/

GMO Conspiracy – New Wikileaks Cable


STORY LINK

(NaturalNews) Wikileaks continues to rock the political world by shedding light on conspiracies, corruption and cover-ups. The latest batch of diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks reveals what can only be characterized as a U.S.-led conspiracy to force GMOs onto European countries by making those countries pay a steep price if they resist.

The cable reveals the words of Craig Stapleton, the US ambassador to France, who was pushing the commercial interests of the biotech industry by attempting to force GMOs into France. In his own words (below), he expresses his frustration with the idea that France might pass environmental laws that would hamper the expansion of GMOs:

“Europe is moving backwards not forwards on this issue with France playing a leading role, along with Austria, Italy and even the [European] Commission… Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech voice.”

Got that so far? His own words: “Retaliation” as a way to “make [it] clear” that resisting GMOs will have a price.

Stapleton goes on to say something rather incredible:

“Country team Paris recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory…”

As you read these words again, remember that these are the words of the U.S. ambassador to France who is suggesting the US “calibrate a target retaliation list” in order to “cause some pain across the EU” that must be “sustainable over the long term.”

The global GMO conspiracy is no longer a theory
Need we say anything more? This cable proves, once and for all, that there is a global GMO conspiracy where government operatives work in secret to push Monsanto’s GMO agenda while punishing opponents of GMOs and adding them to a “target retaliation list.”

This cable also proves that NaturalNews has been right all along about the GMO conspiracy, and that GMO opponents such as Jeffrey Smith are battling what can only be called an evil conspiracy to control the world’s food supply. It also proves that when Alex Jones talks about the global conspiracy to control the world food supply, he’s not just ranting. He’s warning about the reality of the world in which we now live.

Continued…

Michael Moore offers his servers to host Wikileaks docs, posts $20,000 bail


By John Byrne

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010 — 8:52 am

on’t host leaked diplomatic cables posted by the website WikiLeaks, Michael Moore will.

The liberal filmmaker and author announced in a web posting Tuesday that he had donated $20,000 to the cause of Julian Assange, WikiLeaks’ embattled chief who is being held in the United Kingdom on sexual offense charges and is seeking to be released on bail.

“I support Julian, whom I see as a pioneer of free speech, transparent government and the digital revolution in journalism. His commitment to exposing the follies of government and business offers the greater society a chance to protect itself from these follies,” Moore wrote in a web posting Tuesday.

“Some aren’t just follies. Some are crimes. What do we do with someone who informs the authorities — and in this case it is the free people in a democracy who are the “authorities” — that a crime has been committed?” he added. “Do we arrest HIM? Do we try to shut his mouth? Do we hound him, threaten him, track him down and hunt him as if HE is the criminal? He bravely informed the citizenry of what was being done in their name and with their tax monies. That is no crime. That is an act of patriotism.

Assange should be lauded and not maligned, the filmmaker argues.

“He should be thanked and honored, not abused and jailed,” he writes. “It dishonours this court to be used in this way, holding this man without bail. Julian has made the world, and my country in particular, a safer place. His actions with WikiLeaks have put on notice those who would take us to war based on lies that any future attempts to do so will be met by the fierce bright light provided by WikiLeaks and intended to expose those who commit their war crimes. His actions will make them think twice next time — and for that we all owe him a debt of gratitude.”

Moore points to incidents in recent US history where he feels WikiLeaks could have made a significant difference. For example, he mentions an August 2001 briefing document provided to President George W. Bush whose heading read, “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US.”

WikiLeaks deserves our thanks for shining a huge spotlight on all this. But some in the corporate-owned press have dismissed the importance of WikiLeaks (“they’ve released little that’s new!”) or have painted them as simple anarchists (“WikiLeaks just releases everything without any editorial control!”). WikiLeaks exists, in part, because the mainstream media has failed to live up to its responsibility. The corporate owners have decimated newsrooms, making it impossible for good journalists to do their job. There’s no time or money anymore for investigative journalism. Simply put, investors don’t want those stories exposed. They like their secrets kept … as secrets.

I ask you to imagine how much different our world would be if WikiLeaks had existed 10 years ago. Take a look at this photo. That’s Mr. Bush about to be handed a “secret” document on August 6th, 2001. Its heading read: “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US.” And on those pages it said the FBI had discovered “patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings.” Mr. Bush decided to ignore it and went fishing for the next four weeks.

But if that document had been leaked, how would you or I have reacted? What would Congress or the FAA have done? Was there not a greater chance that someone, somewhere would have done something if all of us knew about bin Laden’s impending attack using hijacked planes?

But back then only a few people had access to that document. Because the secret was kept, a flight school instructor in San Diego who noticed that two Saudi students took no interest in takeoffs or landings, did nothing. Had he read about the bin Laden threat in the paper, might he have called the FBI? (Please read this essay by former FBI Agent Coleen Rowley, Time’s 2002 co-Person of the Year, about her belief that had WikiLeaks been around in 2001, 9/11 might have been prevented.)

Or what if the public in 2003 had been able to read “secret” memos from Dick Cheney as he pressured the CIA to give him the “facts” he wanted in order to build his false case for war? If a WikiLeaks had revealed at that time that there were, in fact, no weapons of mass destruction, do you think that the war would have been launched — or rather, wouldn’t there have been calls for Cheney’s arrest?

The magazine Foreign Policy, writing on their blog, mocked Moore’s contribution to the WikiLeaks cause.

“Oh, goody,” wrote the magazine’s blogger Blake Hounshell. “Perhaps upset that his last film, Capitalism, was a dud and he hasn’t been in the news for a while, filmmaker Michael Moore is now offering to post bail for WikiLeaks frontman Julian Assange, who is currently languishing in a British prison while the Brits work out his extradition to Sweden, where he’s wanted for questioning.”

The following statement was entered by Moore into the London court on Tuesday, in connection with his decision to help post Assange’s bail.

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/12/michael-moore-offers-servers-host-wikileaks-docs-posts-20000-bail/?utm_source=Raw+Story+Daily+Update&utm_campaign=706dd3d848-12_1412_14_2010&utm_medium=email

If We Lose our Internet Freedoms Because of Wikileaks, You Should At Least Know Why


By Scott Creighton
Global Research, December 11, 2010

Just a little more background on Julian Assange and Wikileaks…

Wikileaks was started up in Dec. of 2006. Oddly enough, as a supposed “leak” site, a dissident site, it was given a great deal of immediate mainstream attention from the likes of the Washington Post, TIME magazine, and even Cass Sunstein the now Obama administration official who wrote a paper on how to “cognitively infiltrate” dissident groups in order to steer them in a direction that is useful to the powers that be.

The TIME magazine article is curious because it seems that right off the bat they were telling us how to interpret Wikileaks in such a way that sounded strangely familiar to George W. Bush back just after 9/11…

 

“By March, more than one million leaked documents from governments and corporations in Asia, the Middle East, sub-Saharan Africa and the former Soviet Bloc will be available online in a bold new collective experiment in whistle-blowing. That is, of course, as long as you don’t accept any of the conspiracy theories brewing that Wikileaks.org could be a front for the CIA or some other intelligence agency.” TIME Jan. 2007 (emphasis added)

Now remember and read closely… this article was written PRIOR to Wikileaks’ first big “leak”, which according to the article was to  occur sometime in March of 2007.

So why would TIME magazine be writing about them in the first place if they hadn’t done anything yet? Also, let’s not pass up on that delicious irony: this is TIME magazine singing the praises of a supposed “leak” site which will supposedly expose all kinds of “conspiracy theories” while at the same time telling their readers NOT to believe in those silly “conspiracy theories” circulating about Wikileaks. Just so long as you believe the “right” conspiracy theories, you’ll be alright I guess.   This of course perfectly matches Jullian Assange’s own statements about 9/11.

TIME goes on to explain that the Wikileaks version will be the “correct” version (even though they had yet to publish anything at that point… pretty far out on that credibility limb for TIME if you ask me…)

“Instead of a couple of academic specialists, Wikileaks will provide a forum for the entire global community to examine any document relentlessly for credibility, plausibility, veracity and falsifiability,” its organizers write on the site’s FAQ page. “They will be able to interpret documents and explain their relevance to the public. If a document is leaked from the Chinese government, the entire Chinese dissident community can freely scrutinize and discuss it…”  TIME Jan. 2007

You have to remember, Wikileaks first started targeting China obviously and as we all know from history, typically dissident movements within targeted nations are often funded and run by covert CIA operations. Since Wikileaks started off with a host of Chinese dissidents, it would be logical to assume that at least some of them have links back to the agency. But it gets better.

Few of you might know that just prior to the unveiling of Wikileaks, the intelligence world had an unveiling of their own… a “social media” based resource called “Intellipedia”.  Some of you might find this interesting…

“With its own versions of a certain search engine and a certain online encyclopedia, the intelligence community is evolving its use of tools now widespread in the commercial sector, generating both success and controversy.

The new tools include a federated search engine called Oogle and Intellipedia, a controversial intelligence data-sharing tool based on Wiki social software technology.”  GCN Sept. 2006

So we see that in Sept. of 2006 there is a concerted effort in the intelligence community to embark on several new “pedia” type programs one which serves as a data-base and another which works like a Google search engine. Why wouldn’t there be a third?

John Young of Cryptome (a well-known and established whistle-blower site) was working with Julian Assange in December 2006 while they were getting all of this off the ground so to speak. eventually he came to a conclusion about Wikileaks and Assange. The following is from one of the last email communications with Assange that John Young sent him which he had released to the public once he came to his conclusions.

“All the messages received were published. My objections had been building, shown in later messages, after initial support. The finally fed-up turnaround occurred with the publication today of the $5 million dollar by July fund-raising goal — see messages at the tail-end. I called that — along with a delay in offering a public discussion and critique forum and failure to provide a credible batch of leaked documents for public scrutiny — a surefire indication of a scam. This is the exact technique used by snake oilers, pols and spies. Requests to Cryptome to keep stuff quiet are regular fare and they always get published. Next up, the names and affiliations of the perps if they don’t reveal themselves in an open forum.” John Young, Dec. 2006

Go here to read the entire email exchange, from start to finish, including the emails sent to Daniel Ellsberg (apparently he has been emotionally attached to this project from before day-one).

It would appear that John Young had problems with the peer review part of the Wikileaks process… Notice how that is first and foremost what TIME magazine praises about Wikileaks? Sounds to me like someone is trying to fix the narrative.

So it would appear that TIME and the Washington Post had to come out with supportive articles about Wikileaks because someone was “leaking” information and questions about them and their little project looked doomed to fail before it even got off the ground. Perhaps they got a little help writing all that propaganda from one of Julian Assange’s first partners in the project… a PR guy affiliated with ABC and News Corp’s Rupert Murdoch.

“Phillip Andrew Hedley Adams, AO (born 12 July 1939) is an Australian broadcaster, film producer, writer, social commentator, satirist and left-wing pundit. He currently hosts a radio program, Late Night Live, four nights a week on the ABC, and he also writes a weekly column for the News Limited-owned newspaper, The Australian. Adams is (or was) on the Advisory Board of Wikileaks.

Adams began his advertising career with Foote Cone & Belding and later with Brian Monahan and Lyle Dayman became a partner in the agency Monahan Dayman Adams. They took that company to a successful public listing and Adams became a millionaire in the process. He developed such successful campaigns as “Life – Be In It”[4], “Slip, Slop, Slap[5], “Break down the Barriers”, “Guess whose mum has a Whirlpool” and “watch the big men fly for a Herbert Adams Pie”,”

“News Limited is an Australian newspaper publisher. Until the formation of News Corporation in 1979, it was the principal holding for the business interests of Rupert Murdoch. Since then, News Limited has been wholly owned by News Corporation.”  Wiki

Now that’s just another of the curious associations that Wikileaks seems to hold. You tack PR guys with News cork affiliations onto Chinese dissidents who have been probably funded by the CIA in times past… mesh that up with John Young’s 2006 conclusions, and you come away with a different view of Wikileaks altogether… especially when you look at the sum total of the work they have “leaked” over the years. Of course there may still be some of you who prefer to take TIME magazine’s telling suggestion to dismiss the “outrageous conspiracy theories” and for those of you who are still in that category, I offer… Cass Sunstein.

Cass Sunstein also wrote about Wikileaks in Feb of 2007 prior to their release of the first set of Chinese “leaks”. But Sunstein also wrote about infiltrating dissident groups later in 2008. Sunstein currently heads the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for Barack Obama.

“Sunstein co-authored a 2008 paper with Adrian Vermeule, titled “Conspiracy Theories,” in which they wrote, “The existence of both domestic and foreign conspiracy theories, we suggest, is no trivial matter, posing real risks to the government’s antiterrorism policies, whatever the latter may be.” They go on to propose that, “the best response consists in cognitive infiltration of extremist groups“,[22] where they suggest, among other tactics, “Government agents (and their allies) might enter chat rooms, online social networks, or even real-space groups and attempt to undermine percolating conspiracy theories by raising doubts about their factual premises, causal logic or implications for political action.”

Sunstein and Vermeule also analyze the practice of secret government payments to outside commentators, who are then held out as independent experts; they suggest that “government can supply these independent experts with information and perhaps prod them into action from behind the scenes,” further warning that “too close a connection will be self-defeating if it is exposed.”[22] Sunstein and Vermeule argue that the practice of enlisting non-government officials, “might ensure that credible independent experts offer the rebuttal, rather than government officials themselves. There is a tradeoff between credibility and control, however. The price of credibility is that government cannot be seen to control the independent experts.”” Wiki

This internal discourse on the purpose and the practice of infiltrating dissident groups in order to undermine existing “conspiracy theories” was written in 2008, but don’t suppose that it hadn’t been done before. Just look up the Black Panthers. Take a look at the line “government can supply these independent experts with information” and you start to get the idea behind Wikileaks. Again, consider the type of “leaks” that have been coming out about Iran and North Korea and you get the picture.

“The Central Intelligence Agency disclosed the existence of its top-secret Intellipedia project, based on Wikipedia software (and now containing more than 28,000 pages), in late October. The agency hopes to use dispersed information to reduce the risk of intelligence failures. NASA officials have adopted a wiki site to program NASA software, allowing many participants to make improvements.”

Wikileaks.org, founded by dissidents in China and other nations, plans to post secret government documents and to protect them from censorship with coded software.”

“But the track record of the new collaborations suggests that they have immense potential. In just a few years, Wikipedia has become the most influential encyclopedia in the world, consulted by judges as well as those who cannot afford to buy books. If the past is prologue, we’re seeing the tip of a very large iceberg.”  Washington Post

Far from being a ringing endorsement of Wikileaks, Sunstein’s article seems to express what we can probably assume was the motivating factor behind the creation of such a program, and that is that they knew it had “immense potential”.

It’s unfortunate what is going to happen. We all know it. We all see it. At some point that 256 character encryption code is going to be released and all of those wanna-be hackers will busily work to decode the 1.6 gig file they downloaded from all those bit torrent sites. Of course the files are unredacted, as has already been made clear by Mr. Assange himself, and the end result will obviously be that some U.S. agent in Pakistan or Somalia or even Yemen will be disclosed and killed. At that point, the Obama administration will have no choice but to shut down thousands of websites (they just ran a BETA test for that last month shutting down 70 all at once) for “national security” reasons. Once that happens, they will of course have to pass a net neutrality bill that allows for licensing requirements for hosting websites which will mean only government approved sites will be allowed and they will be constantly monitored, for the public good of course. And thus, all those troubling “conspiracy theory” sites will be gone and Cass Sunstein can sleep better at night.

I only put this information up because I want people like John Pilger and Glenn Greenwald to know the exact role they are playing in all of this.

But just so we all know, this is the background of the mythology called Wikileaks. If we lose our internet freedoms over this fight, I certainly want us all to have a little better understanding of why.

UPDATE: John Young was just asked by AJ what he thought was the overall point of the Wikileaks program…

AJ: Is this a big theatre with Assange or are they burning him?

Young: Its a theatre operation. Partly lulling, partly testing systems. Testing public reaction “are we going to get traction out of cyber threats or not.” will this work or not, because as you know they haven’t caused any harm that is why they haven’t been charged… and then there will be some lives lost or something will happen… and at some point when this cyber war becomes a real war, we will see because the laws will be ready.  Interview John Young

Scott Creighton’s blogsite is American Everyman at willyloan

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