Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Sticky Wiki

In the wake of the first Cyber-War of this century, with hackers shutting down financial websites and Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in jail -- Former FBI agent Coleen Rowley and other intelligence experts have come out in support of Wikileaks.
In a recent Los Angeles Times opinion piece, Rowley and a Federal Air Marshall assert that:

"WikiLeaks might have provided a pressure valve for those agents who were terribly worried about what might happen and frustrated by their superiors' seeming indifference. They were indeed stuck in a perplexing, no-win ethical dilemma as time ticked away. Their bosses issued continual warnings against "talking to the media" and frowned on whistle-blowing, yet the agents felt a strong need to protect the public."

Rowley has serious credentials:
"Coleen Rowley, was a special agent/legal counsel at the FBI's Minneapolis division and worked closely with those who arrested would-be terrorist Zacarias Moussaoui on an immigration violation less than a month before the World Trade Center was destroyed."

Rowley states her investigation could have helped prevent 911, but was suppressed.
The co-author of the article, Bogdan Dzakovic has a story to tell also:

"Federal Air Marshal Bogdan Dzakovic, once co-led the Federal Aviation Administration's Red Team to probe for vulnerabilities in airport security. He also has a story of how warnings were ignored in the run-up to Sept. 11. In repeated tests of security, his team found weaknesses nine out of 10 times that would make it possible for hijackers to smuggle weapons aboard and seize control of airplanes. But the team's reports were ignored and suppressed, and the team was shut down entirely after 9/11."

Could Wilileaks have provided that "safety valve?"

On to Julian Assange himself; he faces extradition to Sweden for charges similar to rape. The actual charge in one case is having sex without a condom. Assange's accuser has links to a CIA-funded group:

Revealed: Assange ‘rape’ accuser linked to notorious CIA operative
"One accuser, Anna Ardin, may have "ties to the US-financed anti-Castro and anti-communist groups," according to Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett, writing for CounterPunch.
While in Cuba, Ardin worked with the Las damas de blanco (the Ladies in White), a feminist anti-Castro group."

Now, as layer upon layer of the onion are peeled away, we read this interview with Zbigniew Brzezinski on PBS:

"Zbigniew Brzezinski doesn't think all the leaked information coming out of Wikileaks is a result of Army PFC Bradley Manning, as a matter of fact he suspects a foreign intelligence service may be providing the more embarrassing leaks."
"ZBIGNIEW BRZEZINSKI: It's not a question of worry. It's, rather, a question of whether WikiLeaks are being manipulated by interested parties that want to either complicate our relationship with other governments or want to undermine some governments, because some of these items that are being emphasized and have surfaced are very pointed.
And I wonder whether, in fact, there aren't some operations internationally, intelligence services, that are feeding stuff to WikiLeaks, because it is a unique opportunity to embarrass us, to embarrass our position, but also to undermine our relations with particular governments."

Brzezinski was President Carter's National Security Advisor.

Theories abound. Lots of fingers point to Israel. Others say it could be an intentional information dump by rogue elements in our own intelligence agencies, as Rowley suggests in the L.A. Times article.
For now, the anti-authoritarian spark in me supports Assange. I believe the rape charges are overblown. I'm not crazy about his legions of cyber-hackers shutting down Master Card and Visa in retaliation for cutting off Wiki's cashflow, but I clearly see the genius behind the move.
There was a time when I viewed computer technology as leading to a potential police state. But if anybody can defeat a computer-driven Orwellian police state, it's the cyber-punks.

So go for it boys and girls; let's see how this thing plays out...


B said...

I'm sure that certain powers are working hard to discredit Assange. Just look back to what they did to Valerie Plame.

I'm on the fence here so far. What's left of my patriotism does not like the fact that Assange is putting lives at risk.

However, the part of me that values freedom of information still thinks he had the right to do what he did.

We shall see how this one plays out.

Sean C. Ledig said...


You have to ask yourself if Assange is really putting lives at risk or if that's just P.R. spin from the people who risk being embarrassed.

I suspect that it has less to do with the leaked diplomatic cables and more to do with Assange's planned release of documents which he said could bring down a major U.S. bank.

Leaked diplomatic documents are likely to annoy, offend and embarrass people and put a strain on some foreign relations.

But Assange was about to mess with a lot of people's money and that's what I think really scared the PTB.

Dojo Rat said...

Everything that has been published has been vetted by the State Department.
Here's a great editorial:

Why shouldn’t Americans know this about their foreign policy?

In our opinion, the one institution most at fault for the appearance of WikiLeaks is the media, which has abdicated its role as the Fourth Estate, one of the checks and balances meant to keep government from overstepping its bounds.

Today, the ranks of investigative journalists have shrunk. Instead of hard-hitting news, we are being fed information that is titillating, celebrity-based or related to horrendous crimes -- nothing less than pap.

In essence, the media that should be protecting the public’s right to know is instead acceding to the government’s obsessive need to classify even mundane information.

Because of this, other outlets of information have arisen to expose the machinations of government -- organizations with less-than-honorable intentions not self-regulated by the ethics that were developed during the media’s long evolution from hand-set type to today.

daniele.perkele said...

The very fact that Assanges alleged crime has been called by media worldwide "rape" is a sign of how biased they are. He has been accused of having sex with a leaking condom and well, then most males in the world are rapists.