Inside Wikileaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website, by Daniel Domscheit-Berg

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Inside Wikileaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website, by Daniel Domscheit-Berg

* Paperback: 304 pages
* Publisher: Jonathan Cape (15 Feb 2011)
* Language English
* ISBN-10: 0224094017
* ISBN-13: 978-0224094016

Whether you love or hate WikiLeakS.org, this book is essential reading, especially if you are writing your own book or documentary about this project.

This book does at last confirm our fears about some of the deceptions, exaggerations, media spin and hype which Julian Assange and his willing helper Daniel Domscheit-Berg spun around WikiLeakS.org

In it, Julian Assange appears to be a charismatic Cult leader and paranoid Control Freak.

Our previous observations that the "maximum political impact" attitude of the core WikiLeakS.org team (which appears now to have been just Julian and Daniel) is confirmed i..e they are indistinguishable from the fanatics who support totalitarian dictatorships, where "the ends justify the means".

Given the scale of the lies which Daniel Domscheit-Berg and Julian Assange told to the media and the public about the robustness and security of the WIkileaks computer infrastructure it is hard to trust either of them with the time of day, let alone a potentially life or career threatening whistleblower disclosure.

Of the two, Daniel Domscheit-Berg appears to be the more contrite, - at least he has apologised for his unethical behaviour, something which Julian Assange, like all fanatics, probably never will do.

Some interesting points, which any imitators of Wikileaks should avoid emulating:

  • The deliberately deceptive use of multiple "sock puppet" personalities by Julian Assange (e.g. "Jay Lim"), to pretend that there were more Wikileaks activists and experts than there really were .
  • The lies about "1.2 million Chinese government documents" and the lack of involvement of any Chinese political dissidents at all.
  • The Single Point of Failure, with the wikileaks emails and submissions and wiki all on the same server. There is now supposedly a more robust infrastructure, apparently, but details of that are still being kept secret.
  • The "technobabble" used to confuse some journalists who enquired about the failures of the WikiLeakS.org infrastructure.
  • Reliance on a Chat Room as the main method of communication even between "staff" members.
  • The purchase of expensive Cryptophones by Daniel's former girlfriend, who was not financially compensated, even after the cash started rolling in.
  • The inept use of email by Julian Assange, which revealed a list of early WikiLeakS.org financial contributors.
  • The inept use of email by some of the Icelandic Wikileaks spokesmen and volunteers who forwarded their wikileaks.org emails to Google gmail accounts, thereby making it easy for the US Government to analyse the Communications Traffic Data and to legally force Google to hand over the contents.
  • Julian Assange's characterisation of some of his media luvvy supporters, even those who have who have stumped up lots of money as surety for his bail as "idiots".
  • The internal rifts between Julian Assange and Daniel Domscheit-Berg together with the unnamed "Architect" of the infrastructure re-vamp which happened in 2010 (without any viable new Submissions system).
  • The idiotic legal threats issued by Julian Assange against his former colleagues and against former mainstream media partners.

N.B. this blog does not think that Julian Assange should be extradited to Sweden from the UK on the inappropriate European Arrest Warrant, without any of the prima facie evidence of the sexual offences allegations having been cross examined in a UK Court.

There is still an obvious need and demand for whistleblower protecting online publishers of last resort.

However, that does not mean that Julian Assange or whatever the current WikiLeakS.org crew now comprises of, should ever be trusted by any whistleblowers in the future.

Whether Daniel Domscheit-Berg should be trusted with his new OpenLeaks.org venture is also in doubt.

Their initial website said many good things about transparency and security, but history appears to be repeating itself, since, despite publishing a Contact Page

with

SSL infos The SSL certificate we use for this website has the following fingerprints:

* SHA-1: 2F:A8:72:54:8F:CB:06:F1:02:39:D2:8C:1F:6B:FF:0A:22:1F:EB:36
* SHA-256: 5B:DE:F3:19:70:E7:D7:68:41:AE:75:20:C2:20:CB:78:1D:DE:81:A7:FE:8D:7D:0F:64:BD:69:E6:3E:AC:FE:47

The serial of the certificate is 01:00:00:00:00:01:2C:F1:12:3A:99.

Why then is the website httpsopenleaks.org no longer allowing SSL/TLS encrypted sessions ?

The scandalous lack of SSL/TLS encryption on the current WikiLeakS.ch website and its clones has also still not been fixed , despite the web forms which demand lots of personal data from journalists or mirror website volunteers - it should never have been launched without this already in place.


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1 Comments

I'm writing a thesis on Public Trust in WikiLeaks, the Media and the Government and need to know what your opinions are. The online survey is multiple choice and will take approximately 10 minutes to complete. Please follow the link: http://www.kwiksurveys.com/?s=ILLLML_9669e09d. It would be great if you could encourage others to do the survey also.

About this blog

This blog here at WikiLeak.org (no "S") discusses the ethical and technical issues raised by the WikiLeakS.org project, which is trying to be a resource for whistleblower leaks, by providing "untraceable mass document leaking and analysis".

These are bold and controversial aims and claims, with both pros and cons, especially for something which crosses international boundaries and legal jurisdictions.

This blog is not part of the WikiLeakS.org project, and there really are no copies of leaked documents or files being mirrored here.

Email Contact

Please feel free to email us your views about this website or news about the issues it tries to comment on:

email: blog@WikiLeak[dot]org

Before you send an email to this address, remember that this blog is independent of the WikiLeakS.org project.

If you have confidential information that you want to share with us, please make use of our PGP public encryption key or an email account based overseas e.g. Hushmail

LeakDirectory.org

Now that the WikiLeakS.org project is defunct, so far as new whistleblower are concerned, what are the alternatives ?

The LeakDirectory.org wiki page lists links and anonymity analyses of some of the many post-wikileaks projects.

There are also links to better funded "official" whistlblowing crime or national security reporting tip off websites or mainstream media websites. These should, in theory, be even better at protecting the anonymity and security of their informants, than wikileaks, but that is not always so.

New whistleblower website operators or new potential whistleblowers should carefully evaluate the best techniques (or common mistakes) from around the world and make their personal risk assessments accordingly.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

The WikiLeakS.org Submissions web page provides some methods for sending them leaked documents, with varying degrees of anonymity and security. Anybody planning to do this for real, should also read some of the other guides and advice to political activists and dissidents:

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link: http://ht4w.co.uk

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual, by Irish NGO Frontline Defenders.

Everyone’s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide (.pdf - 31 pages), by the Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics by Human Rights Watch.

A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc - 62 pages), by experienced UK direct action political activists

Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress & Tor - useful step by step guide with software configuration screenshots by Ethan Zuckerman at Global Voices Advocacy. (updated March 10th 2009 with the latest Tor / Vidalia bundle details)

WikiLeakS Links

The WikiLeakS.org Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

WikiLeakS Twitter feeds

The WikiLeakS.org website does not stay online all of the time, especially when there is a surge of traffic caused by mainstream media coverage of a particularly newsworthy leak.

Recently, they have been using their new Twitter feeds, to selectively publicise leaked documents to the media, and also to report on the status of routing or traffic congestion problems affecting the main website in Stockholm, Sweden.

N.B.the words "security" or "anonymity" and "Twitter" are mutually exclusive:

WikiLeakS.org Twitter feed via SSL encrypted session: https://twitter.com/wikileaks

WikiLeakS.org unencrypted Twitter feed http://twitter.com/wikileaks

Internet Censorship

OpenNet Initiative - researches and measures the extent of actual state level censorship of the internet. Features a blocked web URL checker and censorship map.

Temporary Autonomous Zone

Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZ) by Hakim Bey (Peter Lambourn Wilson)

Cyberpunk author William Gibson

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us, UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

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FreeFarid.com - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond

Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

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Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

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Amnesty International's irrepressible.info campaign

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BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

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NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

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Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

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Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

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Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

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Wikileaks.org - the controversial "uncensorable, anonymous whistleblowing" website based currently in Sweden.

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