Recently in Censorship by WikiLeakS.org Category

More evidence that Wikileaks' abuse of Twitter, instead of issuing proper, detailed Press Releases on their official website, gives the impression of either incompetent "investigative journalism" or just plain anti-US Government hate propaganda.

5.06 PM August 27th 2011
https://twitter.com/#!/wikileaks/status/107484074477760512

US marine kills Romanian rockstar. President promises to US embassy won't "serve a single day in prison" http://wikileaks.cabledrum.net/cable/2005/03/05BUCHAREST742.html


When did this happen ? Is that the then US President or the Romanian President doing the promising ? What sort of "killing" ?

It turns out to be the newly elected Romanian President, back in 2005 (over 6 years ago). The "killing" turns out to have the result of a traffic accident, probably involving drink driving by the US Marine who had diplomatic immunity as part of the US Embassy staff.

If you take this selective misquote from the diplomatic cable at face value you get the impression that the US Marine was to get off scot free due to some sort of political deal.

However if you actually bother to read the diplomatic cable which Wikileaks have published, in their current, "we don't care about anybody's personal information" data dump:

http://wikileaks.cabledrum.net/cable/2005/03/05BUCHAREST742.html

25.(C) Finally, the December 2004 accident involving the U.S. Embassy Marine Security Guard detachment commander that led to the death of Romanian rock star Teo Peter received wide press coverage and created public outcry. Basescu and his government are under considerable political pressure to make sure justice is done in a Romanian Court. Naturally, given that Marine Corps legal proceedings against the former detachment commander have not even begun, the question of extradition and lifting of the Marine's immunity cannot even be addressed at the present time. Nevertheless, PM Tariceanu and FM Ungureanu may ask for the Marine's return, possibly repeating a promise made earlier to our Ambassador by Basescu that the former detachment commander would receive a fair trial and, regardless of outcome, would not serve a single day in prison in Romania.

The deliberate omission of the words "in Romania" completely changes the meaning of the Tweet.

The democratically elected government of Romania is promising a fair trial and repatriation to the USA to serve any prison sentence , if the US Marine was to be found guilty of any charges. This is the normal, civilised state of affairs with most Extradition treaties around the world.

The wikipedia entry for Teo Peter has links to a few of the case.

If this deliberately misleading Tweet was from the army of Wikileaks cult hangers on, that would be bad enough. Wikileaks could, if pushed, issue an apology, and disassociate themselves from such alleged "supporters".

However this distortion of the truth is from the "official" Julian Assange controlled

https://twitter.com/wikileaks feed.

Any post-Wikileaks whistleblower websites should learn the lessons from Wikileaks and Julian Assange's increasingly inept handling of the mainstream media and social media.

The levels of disinformation, hype and spin which Wikileaks now relies on make them at least as untrustworthy as any Government or big business public relations spin doctors and propagandists.

The mainstream media have plenty of other, more current, more newsworthy stories to report on, so the effect of the publication of these diplomatic cables is now increasingly marginal and they are only of academic interest to future historians and to the world's intelligence agencies.

Why is there still no functioning WikiLeakS.org document submission system ?

It is puzzling why WikiLeakS.org, with all its army of cult followers and vastly more money than many other whistleblowing websites, has not re-launches itself with a secure, anonymous whistleblower leak submission system, so many months after it shut down.

See LeakDirectory.org for links to many of these and some analysis of the anonymity and security strengths and weaknesses of several of them.

The answer must be that Julian Assange does not want to relinquish any control or to be democratically accountable or transparent.


N.B. to be clear this WikilLeak.org blog is very often critical of Julian Assange for his control freakery, deceit, and disregard for other people's private personal data, but we do not think that he should be extradited to the USA to face espionage or other charges.

The European Arrest Warrant should not be allowed to be used to extradite Assange to Sweden from the United Kingdom for "investigation" purposes, without cross examination in a UK Court of prima facie evidence against him in the sordid sex allegations case.


Julian Assange does not seem to be waiting for any alleged US government plot against WikiLeakS.org to succeed - he is managing to destroy any public trust or credibility which the WikiLeakS.org project used to have, all on his own.

The "Confidentiality Agreement" with which he has bullied his gullible staff of "young activist" in the UK looks like the evil scheme of a bureaucratic control freak, who could easily be working for a repressive dictatorship.

Julian Assange's attempt to gag his cult followers, even against revealing the existence of the Confidentiality Agreement itself, makes it impossible to trust him when he hypocritically utters words like "transparency" or "public accountability".

WikiLeaks, get out of the gagging game

I refused to sign Julian Assange's confidentiality agreement because it would have been not just ironic, but dangerous

James Ball
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 12 May 2011 17.43 BST

Yesterday, media lawyer and legal blogger David Allen Green published the full text of the gagging order signed by almost all WikiLeaks employees earlier this year.

It's an extraordinary document. WikiLeaks staffers face a £12m penalty if they reveal any information about WikiLeaks' day-to-day operations, let alone any documents given to the whistleblowing organisation.

In a move reminiscent of the UK's reviled superinjunctions, even revealing the existence of the gagging order is itself a breach.

[...]

Yes, it was my copy of the agreement that was published.

[...]

But this document deserves to be in the public domain. Having worked for several media organisations, both print and broadcast, I'm used to confidentiality provisions.

The WikiLeaks document is by orders of magnitude the most restrictive I have ever encountered. Legal experts consulted about the document agree.

[...]

WikiLeaks is not democratically accountable. Julian's argument that it is accountable because it is funded by donations could just as equally be made of KKK, or the BNP. It has no board, or no oversight. If any organisation in the world relies on whistleblowers to keep it honest, it is WikiLeaks.

In such circumstances, silencing dissent is not just ironic, it's dangerous. WikiLeaks needs to get out of the gagging game.

The New Statesman article:

The £12m question: how WikiLeaks gags its own staff

Posted by David Allen Green - 11 May 2011 15:31

Clause 5 of this "Confidentiality Agreement" (PDF) imposes a penalty of "£12,000,000 - twelve million pounds sterling" on anyone who breaches this legal gag.

[...]

Other parts of the legal gag are just as extraordinary. The second recital paragraph, "B", provides that - like a superinjunction - the fact of the legal gag itself is subject to the gag.

So is "all newsworthy information relating to the workings of WikiLeaks". On the face of it, even revealing one is under this agreement could result in a £12m penalty, as would sharing information on how the directors conduct the organisation.

The fifth recital paragraph, "E", is just as astonishing. It purports to extend what WikiLeaks can sue for beyond any direct loss that it might suffer if the gag is breached. WikiLeaks says it can sue for both "loss of opportunity to sell the information to other news broadcasters and publishers" and "loss of value of the information".

[...]

However, for some time it has been apparent that WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange have had a "pick'n'mix" attitude to legal obligations. They seem to feel free from any restrictions in respect of confidentiality and official secrecy; but on the other hand they make routine legal threats, especially against the Guardian, so as to uphold their perceived rights to their supposed commercial "property" - leaked, sensitive information. Abidance by the law is, it would seem, something for other people.

The document can be downloaded from the New Statesman website:

http://images.newstatesman.com/wikileaks.pdf


The confidentiality Agreement is headed: Wikileaks ITC Ltd.

  • Who, apart from Julian Assange, are the directors and shareholders of this company ?
  • Where is it actually legally registered ? (not in the United Kingdom, according to Companies House)
  • What financial assets does it have ?
  • What intellectual property is it claiming to own ?

The original WikiLeakS.org website is still effectively shut down:

  • The wiki of previously leaked documents is still beeing censored / no longer published by WikiLeakS.org themselves.
  • No submissions of new documents through either ther SSL/TLS encrypted web form method or through the Tor Hidden Service. are being accepted.

Obviously the major journalistic scoops involving Iraq helicopter gunship video footage of innocent civilians being killed in Iraq and the hundreds of thousands of Afghan and Iraq war diary reports have required their own dedicated websites,, but effectively, the original WikiLeakS.org project has been abandoned.

e.g. the Submissions page:has been displaying this for over 2 months now:

[...]

NOTE: At the moment WikiLeaks is not accepting new submissions due to re-engineering improvements the site to make it both more secure and more user-friendly. Since we are not currently accepting submissions during the re-engineering, we have also temporarily closed our online chat support for how to make a submission. We anticipate reopening the electronic drop box and live chat support in the near future.

[...]

Our drop box is easy to use and provides military-grade encryption protection.
[...]

(currently closed for re-engineering security and useability improvements)

[...]

3.1 Submissions via secure upload

[...]

NOTE: At the moment WikiLeaks is not accepting new submissions due to re-engineering improvements the site to make it both more secure and more user-friendly. Since we are not currently accepting submissions during the re-engineering, we have also temporarily closed our online chat support for how to make a submission. We anticipate reopening the electronic drop box and live chat support in the near future.

[...]


WikIleakS.org seems to have moved on to hype and exploit the journalistic scoops provided to them by a single sourcee the low level US Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning whose alleged activities have exposed what appears to be utter incompetence and lack of basic computer security within the vast US intelligence community empire.

Now the US Government seems to be briefing its allies, about the alleged imending release of low level diplomatic cables, also supposedly obtained by the vulnerable Bradley Manning, whose identity as a WikiLeakS.org source has been revealed by his own misplaced trust in a media attention seeking computer hacker Adrian lamo.

Is this "official briefing" and damage limitation exercise really based just on the innapproriate use of Twitter by WikiLeakS.org, to curtly and arrogantly announce that they are planning to release something bigger than before ?

http://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/6564225640042499

Next release is 7x the size of the Iraq War Logs. intense pressure over it for months. Keep us strong: http://is.gd/hzbIa

Mon Nov 22 04:26:48 +0000 2010

Or have the US and other intelligence agencies been monitoring the communications of mainstream media journalists and publications, who are the likely recipients of previews of the leaked material ?

For a publisher of a website, not to write even a parqagraph as a press release, but to rely on a few cryptic 140 charater Twiiter messages, smacks of the media hype, spin and manipulation which negates all of the early promises made to promote transparency and "truth" telling.

If the fortcoming hyped "diplomatic cables" leak really is even bigger than the previous Iraq and Afghan war ones, ones, then this will be easier for the the US and othe rGovernments to handle - several potentially damaging news stories all competing for headlines at the same time, will be far more easily forgotten by the fickle public and mainstream media, than a campaign of smaller releases every month or so.


Given the pressure and distraction of the sexual allegations being made against Julian Assange in Sweden, the lack of financial transparency and the internal political strife within the loose organisation, will this latest hyped up scoop of confidential diplomatic cables be WikiLeakS.org last campaign ?

Are any of the computer hackers and activists who lent support to the original WikiLeakS.org project willing to set up a better alternative to it, having learned from the mistakes and successes of the original scheme ?

Are WikiLeakS.org starting to pay heed to the criticisms that there is actually information in some of their whistleblower leaked documents which may cause death or injury if published to the world immediately ?

The raw Afghan War Diary data has been given to The Guardian in the UK , The New York Times in the USA and Der Spiegel in Germany to analyse. and to publish at the same time.

Each of these mainstream media publications and WikiLeakS.org themselves has published extracts and summaries of the data, including "value added" conversions of the data, glossaries of obscure military acronyms and jargon and conversion of the latitude and longitude data into formats easy to feed into mapping software such as Google Earth.

WikileLeakS.org have decided to actually publish this large amount of data on the actual WikiLieakS.org website itself this time, unlike the separate Apache helicopter video www.collateralmurder.com website.

25th July 2010 5:00 PM EST WikiLeaks has released a document set called the Afghan War Diary, an extraordinary compendium of over 91,000 reports covering the war in Afghanistan from 2004 to 2010.

[...]

We have delayed the release of some 15,000 reports from the total archive as part of a harm minimization process demanded by our source. After further review, these reports will be released, with occasional redactions, and eventually in full, as the security situation in Afghanistan permits.

The US Military will, of course, not be happy that they are not in control of any such redaction and review process.

However, for WikiLeakS.org, this is a revolutionary change to their previous "information must be set free, for maximum hype and impact, regardless of the consequences to individual people" policy.

WikileakS.org also seem to have abandoned, for these Afghan War Diary pages at least, the BitTorrent and Magnet links, which they added to previous leaked document pages.

You can only download the compressed files directly over an unencrypted web connection (still no SSL/TLS or Tor Hidden Service fro reading and downloading from the website like they used to have).

There is still no way of discussing or analysing this whistleblower leak on the relevant Discussion page, which is still switched off.

WikIleakS.org still have a lot to do to protect their readers and potential analysts from being snooped on and identified by governments and other investigators.

[UPDATE 12:00 GMT - the missing PGP page and Discussion page are now back online, but comment additions or editing are still not allowed]

Either through carelessness, or through deliberate censorship WikiLeakS.org now appear to have deleted the Discussion page, which was online for a couple of years, which discussed their (lack of) PGP public encryption keys.

[via Cryptome.org: Wikileaks Support Initiative]

2. Second encryption to Wikileaks of the encrypted submission. Wikileaks keys (Wikileaks Talk on PGP Keys, downloaded 4 July 2010, now apparently removed.)

Surely this polite, constructive criticism and helpful suggestions is rather less worthy of censorship than some of the other stuff which WikiLeakS.org is still allowing to be published on its website ?

Judge for yourselves:

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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