Recently in Twitter and 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.


We constantly seem to be criticising the arrogant or inept use of Twitter by the wikileaks.org political activists.

They have actually tried to "Do The Right Thing" by pointing this Tweet to a fuller actual multi paragraph Press Release.

https://twitter.com/#!/wikileaks/status/25785171399671808

WikiLeaks condems US embargo move | Press Release http://wikileaks.ch/WIKILEAKS-PRESS-RELEASE.html

5:23 AM Jan 14th

This press release web page does seem to have been copied to some (perhaps all) of the hundreds of Mirror websites which mirror WikiLeakS.CH.

However, they are still giving the impression of shambolic amateurism or of an ongoing internal power struggle within the ranks of the people with website editing privileges.

Incredibly, there is still no link to this or any other Press Release on the new WikiLeakS.CH website menu structure.

There is no link to this on the WikiLeakS.CH mirror sites either.

We have criticised the wikileaks.org propensity to use the social media networking service Twitter, to broadcast short (140 characters maximum) "tweets" without any accompanying full page press releases or web page detailed explanations. - https://twitter.com/wikileaks

To their credit, Twitter , which parts of the US government have praised and supported, when it has been used by say Iranian, Burmese, Zimbabwean or Chinese political dissidents has notified some, but not yet all, of its subscribers, who have been named on a Court Order which demands their private Communications Data details i.e. subscription names and addresses and phone numbers, as well as any credit card details and any IP address details.

This applies to the half a dozen or so twitter account named in the Subpoena.

However this Subpoena is not narrowly targeted against specific criminal communications, it is a generalised "fishing expedition" / data trawling exercise.

[UPDATE 9th January 2011: it turns out that this is not actually a Subpoena, but a 18 USC 2703(d) order, a controversial legal power introduced by the anti-terrorism "PATRIOT Act, which is, inevitably,,just as was pointed out at the time it was rubber stamped into law, now being abused for non-terrorism purposes.

See this blog article by Chris Soghoian Thoughts on the DOJ wikileaks/twitter court order

The order, issued under 18 USC 2703(d) is not a subpoena (even though the AP, New York Times, Salon and many other outlets have reported that it is). Subpoenas are essentially letters written by law enforcement officers, on official agency letterhead, and have not been reviewed or signed by a judge. The 2703(d) order in question was issued by a magistrate judge.

It also attempts to demand "All records and other information" including "user name and source and destination IP Protocol address(es);" of all of the other Twitter accounts which these named accounts have communicated with from November 2009 to mid December 2010, including all non wikileaks related matters.

The https://twitter.com/wikileaks account currently broadcasts to at least 634,892 followers.

There may have been a few thousand fewer such followers on the 14th December 2010, when the Subpoena was signed, but snooping on hundreds of thousands of innocent people, worldwide, is unethical and entirely disproportionate. and will provoke even more bad publicity for the United States government.

Which other social networking and email providers have been served with similar Subpoenas, for similar wikileaks related "fishing expeditions" ?

Which US Government investigative agency actually got the US Department of Justice to apply for the initially secret "sealed" Subpoena ?

If only there was a working Anonymous Whistleblower website where such information could be published - unfortunately that does not include either WikiLeakS.org nor OpenLeakS.org at the moment, or for the foreseeable future.

The WikiLeakS.org domain name is currently no longer resolving to an IP address.

DynaDot,com, the California USA based Domain Name Registrar, which was successfully defended against interference in Bank Julian Baer court case does still have the WikiLieakS.org domain name registered..

Do remember this core wikileaks.org "brand" Domain Name was, incompetently, allowed to expire in the past. (see WikiLeakS.org domain name expires at Dynadot.com)

However, this Domain Name registration only points to a single, free Domain Name Service provider, EveryDNS.net, which supports lots of free, community based domain names.

They have now decided to protect the thousands of other people who rely on them from the "collateral damage" of Denial of Service attacks aimed at WikiLeakS.org.

WIkiLeakS.org, as usual, did not bother to respond to the termination of service warnings until it was too late.

EveryDNS.net, a provider of free managed DNS services, supports nearly 500,000 websites worldwide.

At 10PM EST, on Wednesday December 1, 2010 a 24-hour termination notification email was sent to the email address associated with the wikileaks.org account. In addition to this email, notices were sent to Wikileaks via Twitter and the chat function available through the wikileaks.org website.

Any downtime of the wikileaks.org website has resulted from its failure to, with plentiful advance notice, use another DNS solution.

Yesterday, pursuant to the EveryDNS.net Acceptable Use Policy the primary DNS hosted domains were disabled. Today, also in accordance with the EveryDNS.net Acceptable Use Policy, the secondary DNS hosted domains, including wikileaks.ch, were disabled.

EveryDNS.net is not taking a position on the content hosted on the wikileaks.org or wikileaks.ch website, it is following established policies. No one EveryDNS.net user has the right to put at risk, yesterday, today or tomorrow, the service that hundreds of thousands of other websites depend on.

As usual, rather than issuing a full press release by email or on a web page, the self important one way broadcast via the Twitter account has been used to state that wikileaks has been under Denial of Service attacks.

https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/9578593516523520

We are currently under another DDOS attack

Tue Nov 30 12:04:49 UTC 2010

and

https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/9609091915718656

DDOS attack now exceeding 10 Gigabits a second.

Tue Nov 30 14:06:00 UTC 2010

However when it come to EveryDNS.net,

https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/10567274838622208

WikiLeaks,org domain killed by US everydns.net after claimed mass attacks KEEP US STRONG [...]

Fri Dec 03 05:33:29 +0000 2010

Note the use of the words "killed" and "claimed " and "US".

Instead of some words of thanks or understanding, to an organisation which has supported WikiLeakS.org throughout its lifetime, for free, this Tweet implies that EveryDNS.net are lying about their understandable reasons for dropping wikileaks.org from their DNS name servers.

Is this what you get for supporting the wikileaks technical infrastructure ?

The WikiLeakS.org team have now set up

http://wikileaks.ch

facilitated by the Swiss Branch of the Pirate Party (http://piratenpartei.ch)

At least this domain name does now have Domain Name Servers from more than one provider, based in two legal jurisdictions (.ch - Switzerland and .net - USA)

They have also modified the set up of

http://wikileaks.nl [46.59.1.2]

and

http://wikileaks.de [88.80.13.160]

which resolves back to one of the original WikiLeakS.org machines in Sweden

These simply now use 301 Permanent Redirects to point to

http://213.251.145.96/

the http://wikileaks.ch webserver running on the

213.251.145.96 - 213.251.145.111

IP address range allocated to Wikileaks by the Internet Service Provider OVH based in France.

More on this new website in a future blog article.

Why they have not bothered to update their DynaDot.com registration to point to new Domain Name Servers could be due to:

a) Incompetence.

b) A cynical ploy to gather sympathy for being censored.

c) More evidence of an internal rift or lack of communications between different parts of the the wikileaks team.


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 ?

We have criticised the WikiLeakS.org core activists for their abuse of the https://twitter.con/wikileaks Twitter feed before. They use it in broadcast mode, making allegations which cannot be backed up with any detail in a short 160 character tweet.

Twitter is clearly unsuitable for the accusations and counter-accusations between the Pentagon and WikiLeakS.org, about who did or did not contact whom over the Afghan War Diary messages.

Similarly the denials and media storm over the accusation and Arrest In Absentia over alleged rape in Sweden and the rapid about turn by the Swedish State Prosecutor was made worse by this "anonymous" twitter feed.

WikiLeakS.org have not shown any evidence that "the Pentagon" orchestrated the now dropped rape allegation, a claim which is specifically denied by the Swedish Prosecution Authority.

The WikiLeakS.org activists, who increasingly resemble a dodgy religious cult, have plenty of other enemies, not associated with the US Military, who could have been behind such allegations, or it could have simply a "normal" media celebrity / tabloid press "story" - where is the evidence that is must have been organised, only the US Military ? Judging from some of the malicious emails which we have received through the incompetence of some of the people who hate WikiLeakS.org, there are plenty of individuals who would be prepared to smear Julian Assange, without any prompting from any organization.

However that has not stopped the Twitter feed from being used to make that unfounded "Pentagon smear" allegation and also to to link it to the previously leaked document which the WikiLeakS.org team have prefaced with their own conspiracy theory propaganda interpretation

https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/21822519941

Reminder: US intelligence planned to destroy WikiLeakS as far back as 2008 http://bit.ly Retweeted by 100+ people

Sun Aug 22 11:09:17 +0000 2010

U.S. Intelligence planned to destroy WikiLeaks, 18 Mar 2008

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

If you actually bother to read that document, it simply points out the obvious, that

(U//FOUO) Web sites such as Wikileaks.org use trust as a center of gravity by protecting the anonymity and identity of the insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers. The identification, exposure, termination of employment, criminal prosecution, legal action against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could potentially damage or destroy this center of gravity and deter others considering similar actions from using the Wikileaks.org Web site.

which is something which also applies equally to the Private Banking industry etc. as it does to the US Military.

This old intelligence risk analysis document does not provide evidence of an actual US military plan to "destroy Wikileaks" and it certainly makes no mention at all of any "dirty tricks" as a viable option to contain the problems which Wikileaks poses to the US Military.

It is stupid of the WikiLeakS.org people to spin such conspiracy theories via their "official" Twitter feed, as doing so loses them journalistic credibility.

Twitter could be used to point people to Digitally Signed Press Releases or web site published statements such as that on the misnamed "Official WikilLeakS,org blog" http://blog.wikileaks.org/ (which does not permit even moderated comments and so is not really a blog), which contains just 3 entries in the July / August 2010 time period, when there have been about 300 tweets.

The end result is that WIkiLeakS.org and / or Julian Assange give the impression of being secretive, arrogant, control freaks, every bit as bad as the government bureaucrats, politicians and media spin doctors who they claim to be trying to expose.

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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