It’s no secret I’m skeptical of WikiLeaks. It really seems to piss some people off that I don’t think the organization is the greatest thing since sliced bread. Sorry, but I’m a foliehatt and don’t trust anyone.
Neither does this guy:
The story on the surface makes for a script for a new Oliver Stone Hollywood thriller. However, a closer look at the details of what has so far been carefully leaked by the most ultra-establishment of international media such as the New York Times reveals a clear agenda. That agenda coincidentally serves to buttress the agenda of US geopolitics around the world from Iran to North Korea. The Wikileaks is a big and dangerous US intelligence Con Job which will likely be used to police the Internet.
Then the plot thickens. The 250,000 pages end up at the desk of Julian Assange, the 39-year-old Australian founder of a supposedly anti-establishment website with the cute name Wikileaks. Assange decides to selectively choose several of the world’s most ultra-establishment news media to exclusively handle the leaking job for him as he seems to be on the run from Interpol, not for leaking classified information, but for allegedly having consensual sex with two Swedish women who later decided it was rape.
He selects as exclusive newspapers to decide what is to be leaked the New York Times which did such service in promoting faked propaganda against Saddam that led to the Iraqi war, the London Guardian and Der Spiegel. Assange claims he had no time to sift through so many pages so handed them to the trusted editors of the establishment media for them to decide what should be released. Very “anti-establishment” that.
The New York Times even assigned one of its top people, David E. Sanger, to control the release of the Wikileaks material. Sanger is no establishment outsider. He sits as a member of the elite Council on Foreign Relations as well as the Aspen Institute Strategy Group together with the likes of Condi Rice, former Defense Secretary William Perry, former CIA head John Deutch, former State Department Deputy Secretary and now World Bank head Robert Zoellick among others.
The latest sensational Wikileaks documents allegedly from the US State Department embassies around the world to Washington are definitely not as Hillary Clinton claimed “an attack on America’s foreign policy interests that have endangered innocent people.” And they do not amount to what the Italian foreign minister, called the “September 11 of world diplomacy.” The British government calls them a threat to national security and an aide to Canada’s Prime Minister calls on the CIA to assassinate Assange, as does kooky would-be US Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin.
Most important, the 250,000 cables are not “top secret” as we might have thought. Between two and three million US Government employees are cleared to see this level of “secret” document,  and some 500,000 people around the world have access to the Secret Internet Protocol Router Network (SIPRnet) where the cables were stored. SIPRnet is not recommended for distribution of top-secret information. Only 6% or 15,000 pages of the documents have been classified as even secret, a level below top-secret. Another 40% were the lowest level, “confidential”, while the rest were unclassified. In brief, it was not all that secret. 
Most of the revelations so far have been unspectacular. In Germany the revelations led to the removal of a prominent young FDP politician close to Guido Westerwelle who apparently liked to talk too much to his counterpart at the US Embassy. The revelations about Russian politics, that a US Embassy official refers to Putin and Medvedev as “Batman and Robin,” tells more about the cultural level of current US State Department personnel than it does about internal Russian politics.
But for anyone who has studied the craft of intelligence and of disinformation, a clear pattern emerges in the Wikileaks drama. The focus is put on select US geopolitical targets, appearing as Hillary Clinton put it “to justify US sanctions against Iran.” They claim North Korea with China’s granting of free passage to Korean ships despite US State Department pleas, send dangerous missiles to Iran. Saudi Arabia’s ailing King Abdullah reportedly called Iran’s President a Hitler.
What is emerging from all the sound and Wikileaks fury in Washington is that the entire scandal is serving to advance a long-standing Obama and Bush agenda of policing the until-now free Internet. Already the US Government has shut the Wikileaks server in the United States though no identifiable US law has been broken.
The process of policing the Web was well underway before the current leaks scandal. In 2009 Democratic Senator Jay Rockefeller and Republican Olympia Snowe introduced the Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (S.773). IIt would give the President unlimited power to disconnect private-sector computers from the internet. The bill “would allow the president to ’declare a cyber-security emergency’ relating to ’non-governmental’ computer networks and do what’s necessary to respond to the threat.” We can expect that now this controversial piece of legislation will get top priority when a new Republican House and the Senate convene in January.
(No! WikiLeaks is GOOD!)
Think I’m crazy? More than a few people have noticed that so far WikiLeaks is helping the neocon case for a war with Iran. On the other hand, what big secrets have they revealed? Oh sure, they’ve released a few things that were previously unknown, but they haven’t upset any big apple carts, now have they?
The term “con job” comes from the term “confidence men” which is an old-timey term for scam artists. A good con man lures you in by giving you a taste of riches, then once they have your confidence they clean out your life savings.
Imagine this – WikiLeaks releases a document that reveals the identities of C.I.A. agents, operatives and/or sources inside Iran. These people are then promptly arrested and executed as spies.
Not only would that discredit liberals and help gin-up a war with Iran, but it would be used to justify new government controls and oversight of the internet. Hello, Big Brother.
That’s not exactly the rosy scenario that WikiLeaks supporters are dreaming of, is it?
(Oh, myiq, why won’t you drink the WikiLeaks Kool-aid? Are you some kind of authoritarian?)
Why should I trust WikiLeaks? I don’t even know who they are. Do you?
Seriously, who are they?
According to Wikipedia:
WikiLeaks is an international new media non-profit organisation that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources and news leaks. Its website, launched in 2006 and run by The Sunshine Press, claimed a database of more than 1.2 million documents within a year of its launch. The organisation describes its founders as a mix of Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians, and start-up company technologists from the United States, Taiwan, Europe, Australia, and South Africa. Julian Assange, an Australian Internet activist, is generally described as its director. WikiLeaks was originally launched as a user-editable wiki site, but has progressively moved towards a more traditional publication model, and no longer accepts either user comments or edits.
The wikileaks.org domain name was registered on 4 October 2006. The website was unveiled, and published its first document in December 2006. The site claims to have been “founded by Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and start-up company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa”.
The creators of WikiLeaks have not been formally identified. It has been represented in public since January 2007 by Julian Assange and others. Assange describes himself as a member of WikiLeaks’ advisory board. News reports in The Australian have called Assange the “founder of WikiLeaks”. According to Wired magazine, a volunteer said that Assange described himself in a private conversation as “the heart and soul of this organisation, its founder, philosopher, spokesperson, original coder, organiser, financier, and all the rest”. As of June 2009[update], the site had over 1,200 registered volunteers and listed an advisory board comprising Assange, Phillip Adams, Wang Dan, C. J. Hinke, Ben Laurie, Tashi Namgyal Khamsitsang, Xiao Qiang, Chico Whitaker and Wang Youcai. Despite appearing on the list Khamsitsang said that while he received an e-mail from WikiLeaks, he had never agreed to be an advisor. Adams said he’d also never met Assange or been asked for any advice and suggested that other members of the board hadn’t either.
Do you know any of those people? I sure don’t. That’s the “advisory board.” But who actually runs WikiLeaks?
Not Julian Assange, not lately anyway. He’s too busy playing the International Man of Mystery. So who runs Wikileaks? Where are their loyalties and what are their goals?
More importantly, where are the leaks coming from?
Whistleblowers are like criminal informants. Most of them are bad people with ulterior motives. Their consciences kick in and they start ratting about the same time they get fired or screwed over by the people they rat on.
I don’t believe in Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy or the Great Pumpkin (okay, maybe the Great Pumpkin.) That’s magical thinking.
WikiLeaks is magical thinking.
This organization of people we don’t know much about will use sources we don’t know anything about and via the awesome power of the internet the world will be transformed into a paradise filled with fluffy bunnies. Riiiiight.
Remember the Progressive Blogosphere 1.0? They were going to use the awesome power of the internet to transform politics and turn America into a Liberal paradise filled with fluffy bunnies.
How did that work out?
(But WikiLeaks hasn’t broken any laws!)
Maybe not. But even if it isn’t against the law to publish classified and/or stolen information on the web now, it will be soon. Bet on it.
But there are some other laws involved here. Like the Law of Unintended Consequences and Newton’s Third Law:
“For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.”
Oh, you thought that law just applied to physics? Silly you.
One last point – I think it’s funny how WikiLeak supporters are outraged that the banks are cutting ties to WikiLeaks. Glenzilla mentions in yesterday’s post. Some people think the government is forcing the banks to do that. Hello?
That’s the tail wagging the dog.
Did it ever occur to anyone that the banks are distancing themselves from WikiLeaks so that when the fit hits the Shan they won’t be anywhere in the vicinity?
Who will be in the vicinity?
Progressive bloggers. Michael Moore. Liberals.
There are no shortcuts. Confidence men offer “get rich quick” schemes. WikiLeaks offers a “get government reform quick” scheme. Don’t trust either one.
Government needs to be reformed, but WikiLeaks isn’t the answer. There are no magic wands to wave and fix everything. Just hard work.
The irreverence is perhaps understandable for an agency that has been relatively unscathed by WikiLeaks. Only a handful of CIA files have surfaced on the WikiLeaks Web site, and records from other agencies posted online reveal remarkably little about CIA employees or operations.
If WikiLeaks is a CIA plot then they wouldn’t be hurt by its disclosures, now would they?
Where’s my foliehatt?