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PRIVATE: THE CASE AGAINST WIKILEAKS – II

By Lila Rajiva | My Catbird Seat | December 15, 2010

In my earlier post at Veterans Today (The Case Against Wikileaks – I) I recapped the main problems I’ve had with alt media phenomenon Wikileaks and its co-founder, chief editor, and public face, Julian Assange.

I identified the problems as follows:

Wikileaks’ content for tending to simply confirm what most experts have already suspected and directing most of its damaging revelations toward  the US and the Islamic world, but not toward Israel

WL’s goal for demanding full transparency from even private outfits, and encouraging hacking to achieve it

WL’s modus operandi for being megalomaniac, sensationalistic, unilateral, and ( in a most hypocritical way) secretive

WL’s strategy – for catering to the Zionist line on 9-11 and employing mainstream/establishment platforms that further Zionist goals

Assange’s theories – for  pseudo-libertarian posturing, betrayed by the authoritarian tendencies of JA’s life and work

But, first, let me  play devil’s advocate. All these problems with Wikileaks might have a perfectly reasonable explanation.

  • The documents released so far might just be a preview of coming attractions; Assange might be holding back the really big stuff.
  • The media blitz might signal marketing skill, not a sell-out.
  • The deference to Zionist sensibilities might be a tactful acknowledgment of power, not servility to it.
  • The philosophical contradictions could arise from complexity and growth, not deception.

OK. Let’s say that’s the case. So what?  Does that put Julian Assange in the clear?

Unfortunately, no.  Even if you accept the most benign explanation for every issue I’ve raised so far,  Wikileaks still poses problems.

Problem one. Where did WL get so many documents so quickly and how did they vet it so fast with their small volunteer staff?

Wikileaks was launched as a website in 2006. The domain name was registered on October 4, 2006 and its first document was published in December 2006. It was apparently founded by Chinese dissidents, with a number of other activists,  journalists, start-up technologists, and mathematicians from “the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa” (per Wikipedia), as well as a number of other people registered as volunteers.

By 2007, per information at Cryptome.org. it was claiming that its database had grown to over 1.2 million documents none  directly from Western governments,  but sent from the United States to other states.

This claim seems to be contradicted in an article by Alexis Madrigal, a senior editor at Atlantic.com, who writes that  “by 2008? the repository held 1.2 million documents. I don’t know if this is just a typo or thoughtless error or something else.  A Now Public post (January 3, 2007) indicates that Wikileaks was already claiming more than a million documents in its data base by January 2007.

If Madrigal’s statement is a mistake, it’s easy to see why he made it. For an outfit that began in October 2006 to acquire and thoroughly vet a million sensitive documents in three months or less, with a handful of unpaid activists headed up by an obscure Australian hacker, is quite a feat. In fact, I would say it’s impossible.

Here is the kind of disclosure Wikileaks was involved in, according to another letter sent to me from their press office in 2007. Especially, if, as it claims, it has never been caught out with a fraud.

Incidentally, it was on August 15, 2007  (seven months after the Now Public post) that I first heard of Wikileaks. I got a letter in my Inbox from Julian Assange, and his letter made the same claim – that the outfit had a million plus documents in its database.

Does that make sense? A million plus documents get uploaded and vetted between October 2006 and January 2007. And then, apparently, nothing happens the whole of the next year up until 2008, when, per Madrigal, there are still only a million plus documents in the data base?

If Wikileaks could upload and vet that many documents in three months, then, over the next year or two, with more people on the team and more publicity and income, you’d assume that they’d have added at least four 0r five million more documents.

If not, then we have to think that they came into possession of that  first cache of one million sensitive secret documents by some other means than leaking. Logically, the most obvious place would be some kind of intelligence or espionage outfit. The benign explanation for that kind of connection would be that WL was used as a tool by some agency, unknown to it. The more malignant explanation would be that it has been working with, or for, an intelligence outfit.

Problem two. WL’s professed areas of interest coincide with Anglo-American imperial interests around the world.

In his August 2007 letter, Assange  described Wikileaks’ goals this way:

Wikileaks is developing an uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interests are oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact; this means our interface is identical to Wikipedia and usable by non-technical people.

We have received over 1.2 million documents so far from dissident communities and anonymous sources.”

What struck me when I read the letter was  that “oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East” are precisely the areas the US government is most avidly interested in and monitors. It occurred to me even then that Wikileaks might be some kind of surveillance effort that used foreign-born activists on its masthead to lend it credibility among the populations it was monitoring

Problem three. WL’s recruitment of activists seems to have been haphazard.

In August 2007, almost a year had passed since I’d published a book on the media coverage of Abu Ghraib. I’d experienced at first hand how difficult it was for activists to get a story heard in the way they wanted to tell it. Interviews were pulled, chapters were cut out of books, articles went unpublished, or if they were published, seemed to get buried via social media manipulation. From research as well as personal experience, I’d found that on crucial issues the establishment media operated to conceal and manipulate truth, rather than to disclose it. The undeniable inference was that the government was conducting a gigantic, almost continuous, psy-op directed not simply at foreign audiences, but also, and perhaps principally, at the home population.  Stories that undermined the government in a radical way simply didn’t get major media attention.

Knowing this, I found it rather odd that my name was familiar to an activist in Africa of all places. (At the time, I thought Assange himself was African, because of the French- sounding name). I also found it odd, because  the areas Wikileaks claimed to be interested in weren’t places I had any special expertise in. Another activist WL contacted, Tashi Namgyal Khamsitsang, a one time representative of the Dalai Lama, ended up on the roster of advisors, even though he too didn’t reply and he says he was never asked for advice or analysis. Noam Chomsky’s name was used, also, apparently, without his giving permission. This too suggests that WL was more interested in marketing activists’ credibility than using their skills.

One could even conclude that the purpose of WL was not simply to keep an eye on those areas “of interest” but to keep an eye on overseas activists and see that they didn’t seriously obstruct US imperial interests, while at the same time keeping track of activists in America and harnessing their energies.

With these suspicions, I didn’t reply, not wanting my IP address to be monitored.

Problem four. Wikileaks’ own claims about itself have been reinforced uncritically by the major media.

Central to the understanding of propaganda in the US is the fact that major journalists/outlets are really acting as gate-keepers, doing damage-control for the government, or providing a cover…a limited hang-out…. when stories get out of control.  They accomplish this by continually revising the  framing narrative of events as they unfold so they fit into an acceptable story about “bad apples” that d0esn’t really rock the overall conduct of a policy. One way this is done is by sexing-up the story, at one level, or making it interminably legalistic, at another. I call the first type of revision, “the pulp drama” and the second type, “the forensic drama”. Keep these terms in mind. They serve as a useful short-hand to understand how propaganda works in general and how it has worked in the Wikileaks story.

Here’s a sample of the forensic drama (Subtitle: Espionage laws and secrecy in the age of the Internet) as it’s on display in this Atlantic piece, captioned without any irony whatsoever,  “How to think about Wikileaks.

Here’s a sample of the pulp drama (Subtitle: Leaker’s leaky condom, hacker in the sack, Julian gets his jollies etc. etc.) in this piece of gossip at The Guardian,

Notice that both treatments of the story leave Wikileaks’ claims about itself essentially untouched. They serve to focus the debate within the parameters already  set by WL’s own claims about itself, on legal minutiae about secrecy and espionage over which conservatives and liberals can be relied on to play ping-pong  until doomsday OR on sensational personal details that provoke polarization  at a more lowbrow level – Assange as pervert/fink versus Assange as Scarlet Pimpernel.

Neither account (forensic or pulp) questions the underlying assumption that what Wikileaks is about is “expose,” “disclosure,” or “transparency.” No hint that it might at least as plausibly be about surveillance, disinformation, and cyberwar.

Problem five. Who funds Wikileaks?

According to information at Cryptome.org, Wikileaks spokeswoman Hanna De Jong said that about 22 people involved in the project are still testing the prototype and seeking funding from groups like the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute, which promotes democracy and human rights.

Problem six. Wikileaks markets its operation deceptively

From its inception, Wikileaks has been followed by accusations of both secrecy and deceptive practices.

Item.

John Young of the disclosure site Cryptome.org, whom Assange claims as a “spiritual godfather,” says he was deceived by WL into registering the domain when WL began. Young called the operation a fraud and fought back by leaking his correspondence with it, even accusing it of  being a CIA data-mining outfit, according to Mother Jones magazine. Young has since gone back on some of his criticism.

Item.

Wikileaks uses the prefix wiki, in apparent emulation of the wiki model of collaborative authoring popularized by Wikipedia.

But although Wikileaks’ early statements claim collaborative leaking and editing, the site currently doesn’t allow all documents to be published and doesn’t let anyone edit published documents.

Item.

Former options trader and porn merchant, Jimmy Wales, CEO of Wikipedia has explicitly and furiously distanced himself from Wikileaks, saying he had nothing to do with its use of the prefix and that he didn’t approve of its modus operandi. It is difficult to know what to make of this, since Wikipedia itself  is seen by many as compromised by intelligence. It’s been shown to let cabals of editors shade entries on politically sensitive topics like 9-11 so that they conform with US government/Zionist/neoconservative positions.

So are we to take Wales’ statement at face value or is it disingenuous? Especially, since besides piloting the not-for-profit Wikipedia, Wales is president of the for-profit crown sourcing site, Wikia.inc which turns out to be the registrant for five Wikileaks domains.    When this was pointed out by a reporter, Wales flat out denied the relationship, claiming the domains had been transferred “years ago,”  although records show them to have been updated in late 2009, according to this Examiner piece.

Item.

Wikileaks has made repeated claims about the complete protection it offers leakers:

WL is an uncensorable version of wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. It combines the protection and anonymity of cutting-edge cryptographic technologies with the transparency and simplicity of a wiki interface.” (from an internal mailing list published at Cryptome.org).

“To the user, WL will look very much like wikipedia. Anybody can post to it, anybody can edit it.
No technical knowledge is required. Leakers can post documents anonymously and untraceably.
Users can publicly discuss documents and analyze their credibility and veracity.

Users can discuss interpretations and context and collaboratively formulate collective
publications. Users can read and write explanatory articles on leaks along with background
material and context. The political relevance of documents and their verisimilitude will be
revealed by a cast of thousands. WL will also incorporate advanced cryptographic technologies
for anonymity and untraceability.”

In June this year, I blogged the following:

“The  site which hosts Wikileaks, PeRiQuito (PRQ), is a Swedish internet service provider, reportedly famous both for the notoriety of some of its clients ( it houses pedophilia advocates NAMBLA, as well as Chechen rebels and an anti-copyright group, PiracyBay.org) and for its fierce protectiveness toward them.”

Software it uses isn’t safe – problems with Tor

(to be continued)

Problem seven. Wikileaks is being promoted assiduously by major media

Problem eight. Wikileaks employs models similar to those used by intelligence

Intellipedia developed at the time
In October, according to Cryptome.org the federal Office of the Director of National
Intelligence unveiled Intellipedia, intended to improve intelligence
sharing by letting authorized analysts collaboratively edit content
on the government’s classified Intelink Web site.
Similar to In Q Tel

WL was looking for all kinds of radical ideas about intelligence, markets for intelligence

Problem nine. Wikileaks uses software that has been linked to US intelligence

Problem ten. Wikileaks sounds like Facebook and Google.

Problem eleven. The timing and marketing of Wikileaks is suspicious

Problem twelve. Wikileaks’s activism, as well as Wikileaks– related activism, seems to have an agenda

Lila Rajiva is a journalist and author residing in Baltimore, Maryland. She has degrees in economics and English from India, as well as a Master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University, where she did doctoral work in international relations and political philosophy.  Rajiva is the author of The Language of Empire: Abu Ghraib and the American Media (2005).

December 15, 2010 - Posted by | Deception, Mainstream Media, Warmongering

14 Comments

  1. http://twincities.indymedia.org/2010/dec/julian-assangewikileaksveterans-today-editor-gordon-duff-ciageorge-tenet-prostituteso-agora

    Julian Assange,Wikileaks:Veterans Today Editor Gordon Duff is A CIA,George Tenet Prostitute,So is Agora Inc.’s Lila Rajiva
    Submitted by Anonymous on Mon, 12/13/2010 – 11:57

    ”As for(Lila Rajiva’s) CIA connections..the entire idea is a joke. I had George Tenet on speed dial and have had for years. He is the cousin of one of my best friends.”-Gordon Duff, Veterans Today

    No matter what one thinks of Julian Assange and Wikileaks he and it could in no way be more evil than ex CIA Chief George Tenet who helped W Bush and Dick Cheny et.al. to start their mass murder and probable radioactive nuclear poisoning of Iraq,the or a major ‘cradle of agriculture and civilization.
    So when Veterans Today editor Gordon Duff bragged about knowing the scumbag and at the same time he told me that Agora Inc or CIA(same difference) connected Lila Rajiva was joining Veterans Today as a ha journalist even though he had just
    previously told me she was ‘gone’,I almost barfed.In a real country of law this Indian
    foreign national would be facing plenty of jail time for her involvement with the stock fraud money launderers and murder suspects of Agora Inc who not only employ scumbags like CIA ‘economist’ Mark Skousen who touted or promoted over the internet to sell worthless shares of the CIA’s In-Q-Tel penny stock fraud called Ionatron that claimed-lyed about having technology to remove improvised explosive devices from roads of Iraq and Afghanistan.
    -Tony Ryals

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    Comment by Tony Ryals | December 15, 2010

    • Tony,

      Your ad hominem attack on the author, based only on your own assertions as posted at indymedia, is not very convincing.

      You need substance to give merit to your extravagant claims.

      You also need to address the issue at hand and not just attack the author. For example, you provide no analysis as to why Rijiva’s piece seems to you to serve a CIA agenda.

      Sadly this type of closed mindedness is all too common in current discourse.

      Like

      Comment by aletho | December 15, 2010

  2. […] PRIVATE: THE CASE AGAINST WIKILEAKS – II […]

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    Pingback by THE CASE AGAINST WIKILEAKS « Whaler News | December 15, 2010

  3. […] THE CASE AGAINST WIKILEAKS Posted by admin on December 15, 2010 PRIVATE: THE CASE AGAINST WIKILEAKS – II […]

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    Pingback by THE CASE AGAINST WIKILEAKS | Conspiracy Resource | December 15, 2010

  4. For all I know half the world works for the CIA and the other half for Mossad. But I do know that 1) actions speak louder than words and 2) by their fruits you will know them. Example, who were the people who leaked information that tried to stop the Iraq War? I have tentative confidence in those who passed that litmus test, one that reveals what their goals are. I have my doubts about – well everyone – but I do not see what Assange has done by deed, or “fruit,” to merit my confidence. In fact, I see it has yet another attempt to replace genuine grassroots with Astroturf. What better way to control whistleblowers than to become THE whistleblower? And besides, I don’t think “whistleblower” is even an accurate term for Wikileaks. And yes, the biggest tell of all is when the corporate whore media that LIED us into Iraq – don’t ever forget that – embraces the story.

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    Comment by G Street | December 15, 2010

  5. Julian Assange dismisses any one who questions 911. Need I write more?

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    Comment by ehswan | December 15, 2010

  6. one could pick apart your arguments the same as you pick apart others (for example, you wonder how wikileaks vetted material so fast, but never quote wikileaks as saying they had vetted 1 million+ documents, only that they had them in the database). but the most confusing part is you claim wikileaks is following a u.s.-based agenda, but u.s. government seems to be calling loudest for criminalizing wikileaks and even executing assange. conspiracies within conspiracies within conspiracies.
    if wikileaks really sounded like facebook and google, that would be the least of their problems. you might also consider that the software used to run this site uses software linked to the u.s. department of defense (as does the entire internet).

    “there’s lies, there’s damned lies, and then there’s statistics.”

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    Comment by richard | December 15, 2010

    • “the most confusing part is you claim wikileaks is following a u.s.-based agenda, but u.s. government seems to be calling loudest for criminalizing wikileaks and even executing assange.”

      Theatrics can confuse those that see them as though they were reality.

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      Comment by aletho | December 15, 2010

  7. the overwhelming proof points at PissyLeaks as Israel, strictly from the sheer volume of leaked garbage which no single or small group of sources could ever have gotten their paws on without the ‘big brother’ apparatus seeing their file access. let’s put it this way, Uncle Sugar is stupid and even moronic at times, but they do have IT professionals who know how to track SQL queries and log them in the classified materials realms, strictly because the CMS rules make it an imperative that be done with ALL SQL LOGIC QUERIES IN SUCH DATA.

    so, the second point is that Israel has gobvarmint contracts with NSA and other snoop agencies that gives them carte blanche access to virtually all telecommunications traffic in the continental U.S., and hence, THEY maintain the largest intelligence gathering and spying driftnet that vastly outpaces the crap the NSA has using the rerouting via San Francicso AT@T gear per the whistle blower’s affidavit.

    and clearly, the ‘cui bono’ here is for Israel and Israel alone.

    take it one logical step further, one can see that it’s all being engineered by Israel to severely damage the United States, diplomatically, more or less a ‘tacit’ “we’ll blow the whistle about 9/11” threat to the powers that be in the U.S. defense department who were co-conspirators on Sept. 11, 2001.

    Now that some family members of those U.S. co-conspirators are coming forward and speaking out, it’s only a matter of time before PissyLeaks begins to leak evidence of U.S. government collusion and conspiracy to mass murder on 9/11.

    overall, Israel is the ONLY source of this volume of intelligence propaganda that could dump so much bullshit, as no handful of military or civil service personnel in the U.S. military infrastructure could have been rooting around in the databases without tripping a trigger in the CMS system.

    (CMS is Classified Material System)

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    Comment by KABUKI THEATRE | December 15, 2010

  8. 1. The US government is not unitary. There are factions (neoconservative) that want war; there are others that don’t. Some CIA-Mossad related operation would naturally remain unknown to the other branches of government. Your objection is baseless.

    2. The only thing Wikileaks has done is distract from the financial collapse, the corruption and crimes of the banksters, the espionage at AIPAC and the wars in Af-Pak, as well bring in readers to the mainstream media that was about to collapse from irrelevance.

    3. Information about myself, my credentials, and any questions related to them can be found on my blog.

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    Comment by Lila Rajiva | December 15, 2010

  9. Oh my gawd,little whiner boy and Beltway insider Paul Woodward says,’War against Iran more likely — thanks to Wikileaks.’
    Yeah if there is war don’t blame Barack Osama Obama or the Zionista wingnut Congress,Heaven no,blame Julian Assange.
    When was he elected U.S.President ?
    I’d blame Woodward before I’d blame Assange.

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    Comment by Tony Ryals | December 15, 2010

    • no, you can blame the idiot savant population of the u.s.s.a. that has the intellect of a turnip on a good day, and the intestinal fortitude of a disembowled cucaracha or earthworm, if that, on a bad day..

      TPTB will push only as far as they can go without open revolt, which means, in ‘Merka, “anything goes” because when the going gets tough in Merka, the ‘tough’ go fucking christmas shopping!!!!!!!

      pathetic that 330 million people can be so bereft of consciences or brains to have consciences in…but it’s true.

      and their scummy illegitimate government knows they’re this way and will press on with more wars that murder tens of millions of innocent people wherever there’s a shekel to be grubbed by Israel.

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      Comment by yepper | December 15, 2010

  10. […] THE CASE AGAINST WIKILEAKS – II […]

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    Pingback by WikiLeaks Leader, Julian Assange, Arrested–global hackers displeased, infowar rebellion erupts « Dregs of the Future | December 16, 2010


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