If We Lose our Internet Freedoms Because of Wikileaks, You Should At Least Know Why
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”, “Slip, Slop, Slap“, “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“, 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.” 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 willyloman