Saturday, July 31, 2010
US Gov’t moving to stamp out Wikileaks
by Larry Geller
I can see why Wikileaks founder Julian Assange has taken out an “insurance policy” by posting a large, encrypted file to the Wikileaks website. If the US Government tightens a noose around Wikileaks, he may have to exercise his insurance by releasing the encryption key. By now, untold numbers of website visitors have downloaded his file, there would be no way to keep a lid on it.
So what exactly is happening? It’s “shoot the messenger” time, of course. Wikileaks and its informants are a major pain in our government’s neck.
The alleged source of the Afghan war documents and the video “Collateral Murder,” Pfc. Bradley Manning, is in solitary confinement. Would they torture him? Probably not yet, except by isolation, sleep deprivation, and the kind of punishment techniques our country increasingly use for detainees not yet convicted of anything.
The government is trying to bribe Manning’s friends to talking:
US Army investigators are so concerned about the activities of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange that they have tried to recruit at least one paid informant in the Boston area, where Mr Manning has friends, in an attempt to infiltrate the organisation.
One man said the investigators had offered him ‘a considerable amount of money to be an “in” with them with WikiLeaks’. [Daily Mail (UK), FBI question WikiLeaks mother at Welsh home: Agents interrogate 'distressed' woman, then search her son's bedroom, 8/1/2010]
And yes, as that link indicates, they tried to interrogate his mom:
FBI agents arrived unannounced at Manning’s mother’s home in Wales and distressed her, though they backed off when his mom’s sister intervened. Yes, they then went to the sister’s home also.
The Daily Mail ended their article on Manning by asserting he is gay.
And then they went looking for Assange’s mother in Melbourne. That article follows the first, at the above link.
They close that article by outing Assange as the father of a baby daughter and a son from a teenage relationship. The info was obtained from a blog, so it’s not necessarily a secret, but the Daily Mail seems compelled to end its stories with something spicy.
CNET reports that Jacob Appelbaum, described as a security researcher for Wikileaks, was detained at the border, interrogated, and relieved of three cell phones.
Those cell phones have no doubt been thoroughly interrogated by forensic specialists. In case you’re curious about how information can be wrung from a cellphone, it’s all explained in an article in this month’s IEEE Spectrum, Cellphone Crime Solvers (7/2010). They’ve got his messages, including anything deleted, his emails, contacts, call log, images, videos, ringtones, everything. They’ve moved the information into programs that preserve the “evidence” so that it can be used in court.
An interview with Applebaum is here.
Assange is giving interviews. Here’s one in the Guardian (Julian Assange, monk of the online age who thrives on intellectual battle, 8/1/2010). Each interviewer attempts a dissection of what they believe is a complex character.
One victory for Wikileaks may be in the growing public awareness that Pakistan may be supporting the insurgency against the US. The revelation is already altering international politics. See, for example, Pakistani spy chief cancels UK trip over Cameron's comments (People’s Daily, 8/1/2010):
Pakistan's intelligence chief has canceled a scheduled visit to Britain in protest against recent comments made by British Prime Minister David Cameron earlier this week.
Cameron provoked an angry response when he said Pakistan was promoting the export of terror and looking both ways in dealing with militant groups during his visit to India.
The end of the article refers directly to the Wikileaks information.
Let’s wrap up with a video from Al Jazeera English. Try this one full-screen by clicking on the thingy near the lower right corner of the viewer. It’s a bit long, you might need some popcorn or a snack to make it all the way through, but it’s worth the watching.