Recently in Censorship threats from Governments Category

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 ?

In a front page editorial, Julian Assange gives some more details of the surveillance and harassment of himself and other WikiLeakS.org people in Iceland and on the way to a conference about investigative journalism Norway.

[...]

We have discovered half a dozen attempts at covert surveillance in Reykjavik both by native English speakers and Icelanders. On the occasions where these individuals were approached, they ran away. One had marked police equipment and the license plates for another suspicious vehicle track back to the Icelandic private VIP bodyguard firm Terr. What does that mean? We don't know. But as you will see, other events are clear.

Perhaps it means that Iceland will not become quite the transparent and publicly accountable "investigative journalism publishing data haven", which WikiLeakS.org and the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative hope for.

U.S. sources told Icelandic state media's deputy head of news, that the State Department was aggressively investigating a leak from the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik. I was seen at a private U.S Embassy party at the Ambassador's residence, late last year and it is known I had contact with Embassy staff, after.

On Thursday March 18, 2010, I took the 2.15 PM flight out of Reykjavik to Copenhagen--on the way to speak at the SKUP investigative journalism conference in Norway. After receiving a tip, we obtained airline records for the flight concerned. Two individuals, recorded as brandishing diplomatic credentials checked in for my flight at 12:03 and 12:06 under the name of "US State Department". The two are not recorded as having any luggage.

Iceland doesn't have a separate security service. It folds its intelligence function into its police forces, leading to an uneasy overlap of policing and intelligence functions and values.

On Monday 22, March, at approximately 8.30pm, a WikiLeaks volunteer, a minor, was detained by Icelandic police on a wholly insignificant matter. Police then took the opportunity to hold the youth over night, without charge--a highly unusual act in Iceland. The next day, during the course of interrogation, the volunteer was shown covert photos of me outside the Reykjavik restaurant "Icelandic Fish & Chips", where a WikiLeaks production meeting took place on Wednesday March 17--the day before individuals operating under the name of the U.S. State Department boarded my flight to Copenhagen.

Our production meeting used a discreet, closed, backroom, because we were working on the analysis of a classified U.S. military video showing civilian kills by U.S. pilots. During the interrogation, a specific reference was made by police to the video---which could not have been understood from that day's exterior surveillance alone. Another specific reference was made to "important", but unnamed Icelandic figures. References were also made to the names of two senior journalists at the production meeting.

[...]

How many WIkiLeakS.org volunteers are willing or unwilling (e.g. through coercion after having been arrested), agents or informers ("Covert Human Intelligence Sources" in UK legal parlance), for various police, intelligence agencies and private sector interested parties ?

Since WikiLeakS.org continue to refuse to open up their website wiki for comments and discussion, as before, it is hard to be sure whether their unreliable Twitter stream broadcasts are credible or not.

Are Julian Assange and his WikiLeakS.org activists friends being subjected to intelligence agency / police harassment ?

https://twitter.com/wikileaks

  • To those worrying about us--we're fine, and will issue a suitable riposte shortly.

    Wed Mar 24 19:20:04 +0000 2010

  • We have airline records of the State Dep/CIA tails. Don't think you can get away with it. You cannot. This is WikiLeaks.

    Wed Mar 24 04:04:13 +0000 2010

  • We have been shown secret photos of our production meetings and been asked specific questions during detention related to the airstrike.

What were the specific Questions which were asked ? What were WikiLeakS.org Answers ? Were any legal advisors present during this interrogation ?


Will WikiLeakS.org name and shame this "related person" in the name of "transparency" ?

What exactly were they held for and by which Government / agency ?


Will WikiLeakS.org name and shame these alleged surveillance agents ?


Presumably this is the drone / ground attack aeroplane video footage for which an appeal and a thank you appeared on this Twitter stream, for access to supercomputer numbercrunching to de-crypt as mentioned in our previous blog article (Doubts about the claim that "U.S. Intelligence planned to destroy WikiLeaks" - new window">


Is surveillance which is unprofessional or inept enough to be noticed, really just a form of harassment ?

It seems to be a stupid and counterproductive way to conduct any sort of "whistleblower leak" investigation.

What counter-surveillance techniques do WikiLeakS.org activists employ ?

See http://ht4w.co.uk - Technical Hints and Tips for protecting the anonymity of sources for Whistleblowers, Investigative Journalists, Campaign Activists and Political Bloggers etc.

WikiLeakS.org, are still "on strike", awaiting more financial donations, but they do continue to publish a few headline grabbing "leaks", without the full wiki system which used to allow readers to analyse and comment on them on the website itself.

They are claiming that:

U.S. Intelligence planned to destroy WikiLeaks

http://file.wikileaks.org/files/us-intel-wikileaks.pdf

We cannot see much evidence of any actual "plan", only a statement of the obvious, that if US Military whistleblowers are tracked down and disciplined or prosecuted, this may have a deterrent effect on future leaks, in general and to Wikileaks in particular.

WikiLeakS.org point out that none of that has happened, as yet, in the couple of years since this intelligence report was compiled.

There is mention of foreign i.e. non-USA potential Computer Network Exploitation (CNE) and / or Computer Network Attacks (CNA) on wikileaks, but with no mention of any US military capabilities or policies in these areas.

This document appears to be:

SECRET//NOFORN

ACIC Home

(U) Wikileaks.org--An Online Reference to Foreign Intelligence Services, Insurgents, or Terrorist Groups?

NGIC-2381-0617-08

Information Cutoff Date: 28 February 2008
Publication Date: 18 March 2008


[...]


Prepared by:

Michael D. Horvath


Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch
Army Counterintelligence Center

External Coordination: National Ground Intelligence Center[1]

This product responds to HQ, Department of Army, production requirement C764-97-0005.

ACIC Product Identification Number is RB08-0617.

[...]

(U) This special report assesses the counterintelligence threat posed to the US Army by the Wikileaks.org Web site.

Julian Assange, one of the main WikiLeakS.org activists, uses this paragraph (marked as Secret / Not for Foreigners), at the end of the Executive Summary on page 3 of 32 (also as the start of the Conclusions on page 21 of 32) , to make the "claim that "U.S.Intelligence planned to destroy WikiLeaks"

(S//NF) Wikileaks.org uses trust as a center of gravity by assuring insiders, leakers, and whistleblowers who pass information to Wikileaks.org personnel or who post information to the Web site that they will remain anonymous. The identification, exposure, or termination of employment of or legal actions against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others from using Wikileaks.org to make such information public.

All of that also applies to most other organisations or companies, whose confidential documents end up on WikiLeakS.org, not just those belonging to the US Army.

This one paragraph out of a 32 page report does not seem to be any sort of "plan", just a statement of the obvious.

(S/NF) stands for "Secret / Not for Foreigners", a marking which is used on many of the paragraphs in this report, which also contains (U) unclassified paragraphs as well.

Interestingly Julian does not mention this paragraph (pages 5 and 6):

(S//NF) The obscurification technology[9] used by Wikileaks.org has exploitable vulnerabilities. Organizations with properly trained cyber technicians, the proper equipment, and the proper technical software could most likely conduct computer network exploitation (CNE) operations or use cyber tradecraft to obtain access to Wikileaks.org's Web site, information systems, or networks that may assist in identifying those persons supplying the data and the means by which they transmitted the data to Wikileaks.org. Forensic analysis of DoD unclassified and classified networks may reveal the location of the information systems used to download the leaked documents. The metadata, MD5 hash marks, and other unique identifying information within digital documents may assist in identifying the parties responsible for leaking the information. In addition, patterns involving the types of leaked information, classification levels of the leaked information, development of psychological profiles, and inadvertent attribution of an insider through poor OPSEC could also assist in the identification of insiders.

Reference [9] is :

[9] (U) Obscurification technology: the science of obscuring or hiding objects and information.

The report carefully does not say that United States military, intelligence or law enforcement organisations could or should be involved in "computer network exploitation (CNE) operations or use cyber tradecraft" using these old vulnerabilities in, for example, Tor , instead suggesting that it could be Foreign organisations (FISS = Foreign Intelligence and Security Services) instead (page ):

(U) The OPSEC measures used in the submission of leaked information to Wikileaks using the Internet are designed to protect the identity and personal security of the persons or entities sending or posting information to the Web site. Wikileaks.org claims that any attempt at trace routing of IP addresses, MAC addresses, and other identifying information of a home computer submissions (as opposed to cyber café submissions) through Wikileaks.org's Internet submission system would require a knowledge of information available only to Wikileaks.org programmers and to a rights organization serving the electronic community, or would require specialized ubiquitous traffic analysis of Internet messages and routing systems. Nevertheless, it remains technically feasible for FISS, law enforcement organizations, and foreign businesses that have the motivation, intentions, capability, and opportunity to gain online access or physical access to Wikileaks.org information systems to identify and trace whistleblowers through cyber investigations, advanced cyber tools, and forensics.[11]

Reference [11]

[11] (U) School of Computer Science, Carleton University, Ottawa, Canada. ―Internet
Geolocation and Evasion.‖ URL: http://cs.smu.ca/~jamuir/papers/TR-06-05.pdf. Accessed 5
January 2008.
(U) Geocities. ―Exposing Tor Users' IPs‖ URL:
http//uk.geocities.com/osin1941/exposingtor.html. Accessed on 28 December 2007.
(U) Secunia. ―Multiple Security Vulnerabilities for Tor.‖ CVE-2006-3407, CVE-2006-3408, CVE-2006-3409, CVE-2006-3410, CVE-2006-0414, CVE-2006-3165, CVE-2006-4508, CVE-2007-4096, CVE-2007-4097, CVE-2007-4098, CVE-2007-4099, CVE-2007-4174, CVE-2007-4508, CVE-2007-4099. URL: http://archives.seul.org. Accessed on 8 January 2008.

This WikiLeak.org blog has written about the "Peryton" whistleblower code name, which is specifically discussed in the US military intelligence report:

Does linking "Peryton" to several leaks partially betray the WikiLeakS.org promise of anonymity ? (February 13, 2008 2:11 AM)

It is worth repeating the Questions raised in the Intelligence Gaps section of this document (pages 20 and 21)

(U) Intelligence Gaps

  • (S//NF) What individual persons or entities are leaking DoD sensitive or classified information to Wikileaks.org, and are they working on behalf of a foreign agent or power? What are the reasons, intentions, and motivations of the current or former insider?
  • (S//NF) Is the potential insider leaking the information to Wikileaks.org a former employee of the US government or a mole still working for the US government? How is the insider sending digital information to Wikileaks.org? What cyber or other tradecraft is the perpetrator using?
  • (S//NF) Will the Wikileaks.org Web site be used by FISS, foreign military services, foreign insurgents, or terrorist groups to collect sensitive or classified US Army information posted to the Wikileaks.org Web site?
  • (S//NF) Will the Wikileaks.org Web site be used by FISS, foreign military services, or foreign terrorist groups to spread propaganda, misinformation, or disinformation or to conduct perception or influence operations to discredit the US Army?
  • (S//NF) Will the Wikileaks.org Web site be used for operational or cyber tradecraft to pass information to or from foreign entities?
  • (S/NF) Will the Wikileaks.org Web site developers obtain new software for Web site development, management, security, encryption of messages or files, or posting anonymous information to the Web site?
  • (S//NF) Will foreign entities attempt to conduct CNE or CNA to obtain information on the posters of information or block content on the Wikileaks.org Web site?
  • (S//NF) What software, tactics, techniques, and procedures would be used by a foreign actor to conduct CNE or CNA against the Web site?

CNE = computer network exploitation
CNA = computer network attack

  • (S//NF) Will foreign persons, businesses, or countries attempt civil lawsuits or criminally prosecute whistleblowers, Wikileaks.org staff, and members who posted comments on the Web site?
  • (S//NF) Will Wikileaks.org and various users expand the data fields in the TOE SQL database to include equipment capabilities, equipment limitations and vulnerabilities, known unit locations, links to geospatial information services, or known unit personnel to develop ―battle books for targeting packages?
  • (S//NF) What other leaked DoD sensitive or classified information has been obtained by Wikileaks.org?
  • (S//NF) Will foreign organizations such as FISS, foreign military services, foreign insurgents, or terrorist groups provide funding or material support to Wikileaks.org?

It is interesting that this SECRET / NOFORN (NOFORN = Not releasable to Foreign Nationals, equivalent to "UK Eyes Only") document cites this Spy Blog article 3 times cited 3 times as references [39, 40 and 41]
e.g.

(U) Spy Blog. ―Is Wikileaks.org the Right Idea for a Whistleblowing Website? 5 January 2007.
URL: http://p10.hostingprod.com@spyblog.org.uk/blog/2007/01/is_wikileaks.org_the_right_idea_for_a_ whistleblowing_website/html. Moved from URL: www.spy.org.uk/spyblog. Accessed on 17 December 2007.

This URL has got mangled somewhat, so interested readers should go to:

Spy Blog, January 5, 2007 2:09 PM:
Is WikiLeaks.org the right idea for a whistleblowing website ?

It is worth comparing the "Intelligence Gaps" questions with the original Spy Blog questions about the whole WikiLeakS.org project, which are cited 3 times as a reference [39, 40 and 41]

Perhaps "U.S. Intelligence planned to destroy WikiLeaks", but this leaked document does not provide hard evidence of that rather sensational claim.

The intelligence report rightly pays respect to the technical work involving SQL database cross referencing of the Iraq war equipment register by WikileakS.org activists and others. The September 11th 2001 pager messages project was also impressive.

However the intelligence report is not sceptical enough about some of the unproven claims made by WikiLeakS.org e.g. where exactly are the more than a million leaked Chinese documents ? They were not available via the wiki, when it was running.

Similarly, the claim to use PGP encryption to protect whistleblowers is false and the "easy to use" encryption software for CDs and DVDs sent via postal mail, has also never materialised.

Any future revision of this intelligence report on WikiLeakS.org should perhaps look at how the core activists are not actually content with waiting for other people to send them "Leaked" documents,, but are actively trying to create new documents etc. which have never been "leaked" by anyone in the first place.

If the US Army was worried about WIkiLeakS.org a couple of years ago, then some of the recent developments might cause them further anxiety.

See these recent Tweets:

http://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/7530875613

Have encrypted videos of US bomb strikes on civilians http://bit.ly/wlafghan2 we need super computer time http://ljsf.org/

8:10 PM Jan 8th 2010

and

http://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/9412020034

Finally cracked the encryption to US military video in which journalists, among others, are shot. Thanks to all who donated $/CPUs.

3:18 AM Feb 21st 2010

To whom have they made this allegedly de-crypted video (presumably intercepted from missile carrying drones or other attack aircraft) available ?

Just what sort of media, whistleblower source protection, anti-libel tourism etc. legislation , are Julian Assange , Daniel Schmitt and the other WikiLeakS,org activists actually helping to draft in Iceland ?

Chris Vallance from the BBC has an article and video interview with some of those involved: Wikileaks and Iceland MPs propose 'journalism haven'

Coupled with Iceland's attractions for companies looking for cheap, non-carbon cycle electricity and cooling for their internet server farms, such legal protection could be very attractive to "cloud computing" and publishing services.

Will WikiLeakS.org get some server space and bandwidth in Iceland ?

Perhaps they should firstly pay US$ 250 for the wiikileaks.is Icelandic domain name registration (limited to Icelandic citizens) ?

Will the Icelanders manage to shame the increasingly repressive and hypocritical European and North American Governments into sorting out their own equivalent laws, which also badly need reform in the internet age ?

Here are some more details of what is being proposed:, but not an actual detailed legal Bill:

Icelandic Modern Media Initiative - Proposal

The annual congress held by the German Chaos Computer Club, between Christmas and the New Year, yet again provided WikiLeakS.org with a chance to communicate some of their activities, in front of an enthusiastic, highly information technology literate audience.

Video of the presentation, in several online formats is now available online:

26C3: Here Be Dragons video recordings

Daniel Schmitt and Julian Assange gave an update of some recent WikiLeakS.org activities:

3567 WikiLeaks Release 1.0 mp4 iProd mp3 ogg

Rather strangely, they claimed that they know of no other working whistleblower service , and so seem to be planning to extend to Corporate and Government whistleblowers, their Knight foundation funding application idea of letting local newspaper wbesites use a bit of web server code to provide a secure whistleblowing channel via the WikiLeakS.org infrastructure.

Given the various whistleblower hotline and other services which exist, mostly in response to the Sabarnes-Oxley Act legal requirement (with a criminal penalty of up to 10years in prison) to protect whistleblowers, at least for United States regulated financial industry companies etc., this claim seems a bit elitist.

Do they totally dismiss the work done by, for example,

http://whistleblowers.org

The Government Accountability Project (GAP) is a 30-year-old nonprofit public interest group that promotes government and corporate accountability by advancing occupational free speech, defending whistleblowers, and empowering citizen activists. We pursue this mission through our Nuclear Safety, International Reform, Corporate Accountability, Food & Drug Safety, and Federal Employee/National Security programs. GAP is the nation's leading whistleblower protection organization.

Again, as with our criticism of the Knight Foundation local media funding application, we are not sure how offering such a website plugin would prevent the people who very publicly offer it , from being targeted by lawyers or government agencies in their local jurisdictions, who tend to use legalistic wording like "publishes or causes to be published", even if they are effectively powerless over WikiLeakS.org itself.

However, the most interesting part of the WikiLeakS.org talk, was their report on the their trip to Iceland in November.

Julian and Daniel managed to get themselves onto the Icelandic political mainstream media, to talk about the WikiLeakS.org project, because, at the end of August 2009, WikiLeakS.org published the loan book of the failed Kaupthing Bank.

The whistleblower leak allowed the Icelandic public to see where the missing billions were initially siphoned off to, immediately prior to this bank's collapse.The failure of this bank, helped to destroy the current Icelandic economy, and precipitated hitherto unheard of riots in the streets of Reykjavik, and a change in government.

Iceland is trying to restructure its debt laden economy, to take advantage of its almost limitless cheap electricity from green hydro electric and geo-thermal sources, and its small but highly computer literate population of about 300,000 people, and its mid -Atlantic time zone location, by hosting some large computer and internet hosting data centres.

The WikiLeakS.org team suggested that Icelandic legislators should take this opportunity to pass the best free speech, whistleblower protection, personal privacy, data protection, copyright and libel laws etc., modeled on best practice around the world, to allow Iceland to become a Publication Data Haven.

This idea seems to have impressed some Icelandic legislators, who seem to be preparing some legislation for consideration by the end of this month January 2010 (another advantage of a small state).

Daniel and Julian are rightly sceptical that such plans might succeed , if the Icelandic politicians wait until after Iceland attempts to join the European Union, as there are a lot of vested interests, lobbyists and bureaucrats who would oppose such laws.

The incompetent UK Labour Government, which failed to regulate UK banks and financial institutions, and which precipitated the Icelandic banking collapse , by seizing Icelandic financial assets, in the most insulting way possible, by abusing anti-terrorism money laundering legislation, (see Icelanders are NOT terrorists!) together with the governments of the Netherlands and Denmark etc,, are using the carrot of European Union membership, to pressure / blackmail the Icelanders into promising to pay the debts of this and other failed Icelandic banks, to the often greedy or incompetent investors from those countries, who should have been aware of the commercial risks associated with the "too good to be true" high interest rates being offered. The Government / Bank failures in the UK or the Netherlands etc. were much larger than the Icelandic ones, but did not affect all of their financial sector in the same way.

Also of interest to WikilLeakS.org whistleblowers and journalists etc.is the presentation by Roger Dingledine.showing how the Tor anonymity cloud helped in last year's increases in censorship of the internet by the control freaks currently in power in Iran and China etc.

3567 Tor and censorship: lessons learned mp4 iProd mp3 ogg

Roger appealed to his audience of Tor users, to please set up some more voluntary Tor Bridge Relays, which do not appear in the main, easily censored or blocked, public Tor Directory.

Note also Roger's hint about the current uncensorability of IPv6 connections.

WikiLeakS.org has issued a Press Release:

WIKILEAKS PRESS RELEASE

Thu Jul 16 20:37:43 GMT 2009

"Iran blocks Wikileaks"

Iran has blocked the main addresses of the whistleblower site WikiLeaks. In doing so, it has crossed an important human rights line.

[...]

Far from being an anti-Iranian propaganda site, WikiLeaks has often exposed other countries' plans actions or plans in relation to Iran.

[...]

But Iran has not blocked WikiLeaks to stop foreign influence pouring into the country. It has blocked WikiLeaks to try and prevent Iranian whistleblowers getting the truth out.

In censorship terms, the blocking of WikiLeaks is Iran's Berlin wall moment; it is not an attempt to keep enemies out, rather, it is an attempt to lock Iranians in, and as such must be condemned.

Why are the WikiLeakS.org political activists surprised that their efforts to expose mostly "Western" Government and private sector plots and secrecy, is not appreciated by evil authoritarian censorship regimes like that in Iran ?

The Enemy of your Enemy is not always your Friend.

What took the Iranian censors so long to try to block access to WikiLeakS.org ?


It is depressing to read this WikiLeakS.org press release about the futile censorship of the WikiLeakS.DE domain name alias "cover name", which simply points to the WikiLeakS.org servers, which are not in Germany, but in Sweden.

Germany muzzles WikiLeaks

April 9, 2009

Fri Apr 10 19:39:36 2009 GMT

WIKILEAKS PRESS RELEASE

On April 9th 2009, the internet domain registration for the investigative journalism site Wikileaks.de was suspended without notice by Germany's registration authority DENIC.

The action comes two weeks after the house of the German WikiLeaks domain sponsor, Theodor Reppe, was searched by German authorities. Police documentation shows that the March 24, 2009 raid was triggered by WikiLeaks' publication of Australia's proposed secret internet censorship list. The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) told Australian journalists that they did not request the intervention of the German government.

The publication of the Australian list exposed the blacklisting of many harmless or political sites and changed the nature of the censorship debate in Australia. The Australian government's mandatory internet censorship proposal is now not expected to pass the Australian senate.

On March 25 the German cabinet finalized its own proposal to introduce a nation-wide internet censorship system. Australia and Germany are the only Western democracies publicly considering such a mandatory censorship scheme.

While last week German police claimed to the news magazine Der Spiegel that they had been ignorant about WikiLeaks' role as an international press organization, this "excuse" is surely no longer valid. Despite being questioned by the press, German authorities have still not contacted WikiLeaks or its publishers to resolve the issue, or indeed, at all. The lack of contact is inexcusable.

[...]

WikiLeaks continues publishing on its other (non-German) domains. If the German cabinet's censorship proposal passes the Bundestag, presumably those WikiLeaks domains would be added to Germany's secret blacklist.

Germany and China are now the only two countries currently censoring a WikiLeaks domain.

[...]

What are the German authorities playing at ? Even the Australians are denying that they requested such censorship.

Who exactly is the petty official who ordered this censorship ?

This censorship probably breaches the European Convention on Human Rights, Article 10, which is enacted into the domestic law if each European Union country, and in some other ones as well.

It probably also breaches the European Union European Council Electronic Commerce Directive, which, very sensibly, exempts telecommunications and internet infrastructure providers from civil or criminal liability for the sins of their customers.

One of the WikiLeakS.org cover domain names, is wikileaks.de.

This a German domain name, registered to a 32 year old student called Theodor Reppe, who lives near Jena, near Dresden.

Yesterday, his home was raided by the German Police, apparently only because of his supposed connection with the WikiLeakS.org servers, over which he obviously has no control.

Hausdurchsuchung bei WikiLeaks.de Domaininhaber

March 24, 2009

EDITORIAL (Wikileaks)

Um kurz nach 21 Uhr wurden am heutigen Dienstag den 24. Maerz 2009 die Wohnorte von Theodor Reppe, dem Domaininhabers von Wikileaks.de durch die saechsische Polizei, vertreten durch sieben Polizeibeamte in Dresden und vier Beamte in Zivil in Jena, durchsucht. Grund fuer die Durchsuchung sind laut Protokoll die "Verbreitung pornographischer Schriften" und das "Auffinden von Beweismitteln" in diesem Zusammenhang. Die Durchsuchung erfolgte aufgrund seines Status als Domaininhaber der Wikileaks.de Domain.

Die Polizei wollte dem Durchsuchten gegenueber keine weitere Angaben machen und es wurde kein Kontakt zu Wikileaks aufgenommen.

[...]

You can download a (.pdf) of one of the Police Search forms / receipts, which mentions a laptop computer, from Wikileaks.de police raid documentation, 24 Mar 2009

The assumption being made is that this raid has something to do with the recent publication of Australian or Thai or other countries alleged internet censorship lists, which although they mostly contain links to porn websites, are also being perverted for political censorship purposes as well.

However, since WikiLeakS.org are saying that they were not actually contacted about the raid, it may perhaps also have something to do with the legal dispute between WikiLeakS.org and the German Federal Foreign Intelligence Service, the Bundesnachrichtendienst (BND)

Alternatively, the German Police in Jena and Dresden could just be inept and ignorant of the fact that the actual WikiLeakS.org web servers are physically, logically and legally in Sweden, not in Germany.

We hope that people rally to support Theodor Reppe, since he also runs the high bandwidth https://morphium.info anonymising web proxy server and the morphiumPherrex Tor Exit node and Directory server (91.143.81.107 pherrex.tor.morphium.info), which you may have used knowingly or, more likely, unknowingly, to help to protect your own privacy and security.

Both of these systems are still currently in operation, but some people will now no longer trust them, as they may have been contaminated by the Police, although, for, say a Chinese dissident trying to access the censored BBC Chinese language news website in the UK, that should not make much difference.

The wikileaks.DE domain name (which resolves to IP address 88.80.6.179) is still currently pointing to a webserver at the same Swedish co-hosting facility (PRQ.net) as the main wikileaks.org website (88.80.13.160), but this is on a different subnet.

We hope that the WikiLeakS.org legal team provides Theodor Reppe with all the necessary legal support and media publicity in Germany - he deserves at least as much of their support as any whistleblower does.

The WikilLeaks.org whistleblower website webservers etc (apart from the various "cover name" DNS entires around the world) is mostly hosted at PRQ Internet in Stockholm, Sweden.

The WikiLeaks.org editorial activists are happy enough to publish uploaded documents, many of which, especially copies of old US Military equipment manuals or intelligence reports etc. do not meet their stated publication criteria of:

Unless otherwise specified the document described here:
  • Was first publicly revealed by Wikileaks working with our source.
  • At that time was classified, confidential, censored or otherwise withheld from the public.
  • Is of political, diplomatic, ethical or historical significance.
  • Any questions about this documents veracity are noted. Fewer than 0.1% of documents that pass initial triage fail subsequent analysis (typically developing world election material).
  • The summary is approved by the editorial board.

Therefore it is interesting that there is no mention on WikiLeakS.org, of a current attempt by to legally threaten and censor a Swedish blogger Henrik Alexandersson based partly in Belgium, by Försvarets Radioanstalt (FRA), the Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment, their equivalent of the US National Security Agency or of the UK's GCHQ.

This story about a leak of secret intelligence information, is , like most of the similar material on WikiLeaks, several years old, and in this case involves a partial list of names, passport numbers, company names, and fax numbers of mostly Swedish citizens and companies with business offices in Russia.

See this newsletter article by the European Digital Rights Initiative: FRA has a long history of spying on Swedes for an English language summary of the case and background links.

The Swedish National Defence Radio Establishment FRA that has made the headlines last month with its law on spying on all communication, has recently announced that it has reported a blogger to the Chancellor of Justice for distributing what they consider classified material proving the Agency was spying on Swedes starting with 1996.

Henrik Alexandersson is the name of the blogger that criticized the new FRA surveillance law. He published two lists of FRA's alleged classified material on his blog. The first document is a list of 103 Swedish citizens that were under surveillance in the early 90's for having contacts with Russia. The other publication is a list of connections between Russian and Swedish corporations from 1996, which may imply that FRA was illegally listening to cable bound traffic.

According to FRA's director-general Ingvar Åkesson all surveillance material regarding personal acts are destroyed after 18 months, although these documents imply that this isn't the fact.

See also this article in The Register Swedish spy agency sics lawyers on wiretap critic

Does anyone imagine that these businesses were unaware that the Russian authorities would be snooping on their telecommunications ?

Is should hardly be a surprise that the FRA would also be keeping such phone numbers under surveillance.

This story also has to be seen against the background of the draconian new communications snooping legislation which has recently been forced through the Swedish Parliament, on behalf of the FRA, despite widespread opposition.

This UK or US or Russian or Chinese style "snoop on all foreigners with impunity" legislation could have implications for anyone accessing the WikiLeakS.org servers in Stockholm, to upload leaked documents, to publish discussions or analyses, or just to read what others have published.

Some Questions:

  • Why has WikiLeakS.org has not joined in with the Streisand Effect evident in the Swedish language political blogosphere, where many people are mirroring copies of Henrik Alexandersson's articles and document image scans ?

  • Is it simply a language barrier problem ? There are very few Swedish language pages on WikiLeakS.org currently.

  • Is it a lack of awareness of WikiLeakS.org in Sweden generally ?

  • Is it a lack of trust in WikiLeakS.org by the Swedish political blogosphere ?

  • Or are the WikiLeakS.org core activists refusing to publish these particular leaks, which might involve the PRQ Internet server hosting facility in Stockholm being dragged into a legal fight with the FRA and the Swedish Government, which they are unlikely to win, and which result in Police raids on the server hosting facility, as happened when it was used for the far less sensitive legal / illegal Copyright disputes over The Pirate Bay bit torrent sharing systems which used to be hosted there in the past ?

  • Surely the WikiLeaks.org servers are a prime intelligence and communications traffic data surveillance target for the Swedish FRA and other agencies ?

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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