Posts tagged Wikileaks
Posts tagged Wikileaks
Last night, Wikileaks revealed the existence of a nation-wide network known as “TrapWire”, which monitors surveillance data and feeds it back to a central database. It’s like CCTV, only completely secret and unaccountable!
Every few seconds, data picked up at surveillance points in major cities and landmarks across the United States are recorded digitally on the spot, then encrypted and instantaneously delivered to a fortified central database center at an undisclosed location to be aggregated with other intelligence. It’s part of a program called TrapWire and it’s the brainchild of the Abraxas, a Northern Virginia company staffed with elite from America’s intelligence community. The employee roster at Arbaxas reads like a who’s who of agents once with the Pentagon, CIA and other government entities according to their public LinkedIn profiles, and the corporation’s ties are assumed to go deeper than even documented.
The details on Abraxas and, to an even greater extent TrapWire, are scarce, however, and not without reason. For a program touted as a tool to thwart terrorism and monitor activity meant to be under wraps, its understandable that Abraxas would want the program’s public presence to be relatively limited. But thanks to last year’s hack of the Strategic Forecasting intelligence agency, or Stratfor, all of that is quickly changing.
Hacktivists aligned with the loose-knit Anonymous collective took credit for hacking Stratfor on Christmas Eve, 2011, in turn collecting what they claimed to be more than five million emails from within the company. WikiLeaks began releasing those emails as the Global Intelligence Files (GIF) earlier this year and, of those, several discussing the implementing of TrapWire in public spaces across the country were circulated on the Web this week after security researcher Justin Ferguson brought attention to the matter. At the same time, however, WikiLeaks was relentlessly assaulted by a barrage of distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, crippling the whistleblower site and its mirrors, significantly cutting short the number of people who would otherwise have unfettered access to the emails.
This is absolutely huge. Not only are all of our communications constantly monitored without warrants, now any camera in public will be feeding your image back to the government for analysis. The fourth amendment is functionally dead.
Of course, our government will do nothing about the illegal DDoS attack that Wikileaks is experiencing as direct backlash against this; since Wikileaks isn’t owned by the ruling class and since laws don’t apply to the ruling class (unless they effect other members of the ruling class), don’t expect any law enforcement whatsoever here.
The United States is threatening nations who oppose Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) crops with military-style trade wars, according to information obtained and released by the organization WikiLeaks. Nations like France, which have moved to ban one of Monsanto’s GM corn varieties, were requested to be ‘penalized’ by the United States for opposing Monsanto and genetically modified foods. The information reveals just how deep Monsanto’s roots have penetrated key positions within the United States government, with the cables reporting that many U.S. diplomats work directly for Monsanto.
The WikiLeaks cable reveals that in late 2007, the United States ambassador to France and business partner to George W. Bush, Craig Stapleton, requested that the European Union along with particular nations that did not support GMO crops be penalized…
The ambassador plainly calls for ‘target retaliation’ against nations who are against using Monsanto’s genetically modified corn, admittedly linked to organ damage and environmental devastation. Amazingly, this is not an isolated case. In similar newly released cables, United States diplomats are found to have pushed GMO crops as a strategic government and commercial imperative…
Perhaps the most shocking piece of information exposed by the cables is the fact that these U.S. diplomats are actually working directly for biotech corporations like Monsanto. The cables also highlight the relationship between the U.S. and Spain in their conquest to persuade other nations to allow for the expansion of GMO crops. Not only did the Spanish government secretly correspond with the U.S. government on the subject, but the U.S. government actually knew beforehand how Spain would vote before the Spanish biotech commission reported their decision regarding GMO crops.
Monsanto has a history of creating plants that can easily be pollinated and survive better than their natural competitors, then suing small farms when the successful (and patented!) crop finds it’s way onto their fields. Allowing them high level legal access to legislators and policy-shapers in the government is a recipe for oppression. When one company owns all the food that the western world has access to, does anyone really doubt that they’ll abuse their power?
Women and children had their hands tied behind their back and were shot in the head in house raid, which was covered up by the military
“As revealed by a State Department diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks last week, US forces committed a heinous war crime during a house raid in Iraq in 2006, wherein one man, four women, two children, and three infants were summarily executed.”
Infants. Executed. And Dick Cheney doesn’t think the war hurt our reputation. How about now?
The only person who will be punished for this is Bradley Manning. He won’t be punished for executing civilians, mind you, but rather for informing the public of the executions.
The morality at play in the Manning persecution is mangled beyond belief. It’s perfectly conventional wisdom that the war in Iraq was an act of profoundly unjust destruction, yet normal, psychologically healthy people are expected to passively accept that there should be no consequences for those responsible (a well-intentioned policy mistake), while one of the very few people to risk his life and liberty to stop it and similar acts is demonized as a mentally ill criminal. Similarly, the numerous acts of corruption, deceit and criminality Manning allegedly exposed are ignored or even sanctioned, while the only punished criminal is — as usual — the one who courageously brought those acts to light. Meanwhile, Americans love to cheer for the Arab Spring rebellions —look at those inspiring people standing up to their evil dictators and demanding freedom — yet the American government officials who propped up those dictators for decades and helped suppress those revolts, including the ones currently in power, are treated as dignified statesmen, while a person who actually exposed those tyrants and played at least some role in triggering those inspiring revolts (Manning) rots in a prison after enduring 10 months of deeply inhumane treatment.
If you expressed outrage at the documents that Manning leaked becoming public but stayed silent on what the documents revealed, you are officially part of the problem.
The thing that I think is really quite disturbing is this aspect of Swedish law that essentially says that almost all rape trials are presumptively secret—not just that the victim’s testimony is in secret, but that the entire proceeding is in secret—so that, essentially, it’s like a Star Chamber, where one day, out of the blue, Swedish authorities will emerge and could essentially say the defendant has been found guilty and sentenced to this amount of time in prison. And that really does offend basic notions of justice in the Western world. And that’s, I think, the most likely issue to be contested vigorously on appeal.
…not only has he not been convicted, obviously, and therefore should be presumed guilty by nobody, but he’s not even been charged. They just simply want him for interrogation at this point. I think it’s assumed that the Swedish authorities intend to prosecute.
But what is so interesting about this is that the reason he’s contesting the extradition so vehemently is because what he fears most is being turned over to American authorities. And interestingly, I’ve spoken with a lot of people who have been involved in WikiLeaks, both previously and currently, and all of them, to the person, no matter what their nationality is, the thing they fear most is ending up in the hands of the American authorities and in the American, quote-unquote, “justice system,” which is really quite telling that that’s now the great fear that people around the world have, given that, as foreign nationals, they know that when things like national security is involved and threats of secrecy are involved, they end up in black holes, where they’re denied all justice. And so, that’s what’s driving Assange is the fear that he will end up in the hands of the American authorities.
And in reality, if you just look at the law, it actually should be more likely that Britain would be willing to extradite him rather than Sweden, because Britain actually has much broader laws criminalizing the disclosure of classified information, whereas in Sweden it’s probable that what he did would never be a crime, and therefore they wouldn’t extradite him. But being that Sweden is a small country, that it has shown in the past that it’s captive to American dictates when it comes to these sorts of things, I think the reality is, is that Sweden would have—would lack the ability to resist American demands, while the British public would probably demand that their government stand up to the United States. And so, the law just gets completely disregarded, because the law should be more favorable to him in Sweden.
Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez interview salon.com’s Glenn Greenwald about why Assange is fighting extradition, even though he’s not charged with a crime extradition to the US should be harder for Sweden than for the UK.
(1) the U.S. military formally adopted a policy of turning a blind eye to systematic, pervasive torture and other abuses by Iraqi forces;
(3) the State Department under Bush and Obama applied continuous pressure on the Spanish Government to suppress investigations of the CIA’s torture of its citizens and the 2003 killing of a Spanish photojournalist when the U.S. military fired on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad (seeThe Philadelphia Inquirer’s Will Bunch today about this: ”The day Barack Obama Lied to me”);
(4) the British Government privately promised to shield Bush officials from embarrassment as part of its Iraq War “investigation”;
(6) ”American leaders lied, knowingly, to the American public, to American troops, and to the world” about the Iraq war as it was prosecuted, a conclusion the Post’s own former Baghdad Bureau Chief wrote was proven by the WikiLeaks documents;
(7) the U.S.’s own Ambassador concluded that the July, 2009 removal of the Honduran President was illegal — a coup — but the State Department did not want to conclude that and thus ignored it until it was too late to matter;
(8) U.S. and British officials colluded to allow the U.S. to keep cluster bombs on British soil even though Britain had signed the treaty banning such weapons, and,
(9) Hillary Clinton’s State Department ordered diplomats to collect passwords, emails, and biometric data on U.N. and other foreign officials, almost certainly in violation of the Vienna Treaty of 1961.
The leaks have been out for a while and I watch a lot of news. Why haven’t I heard about any of this?
What an astounding coincidence that this would come up the very next day of the leak! Right after the Afghan leak they trumped up this charge, only to have to drop it because of the complete lack of any evidence whatsoever. If he were protected by the American constitution, this would be a clear case of double jeopardy (though obviously interpol isn’t governed by our constitution, but the principal of why this is bad policy remains the same, despite jurisdiction).
I sincerely doubt that Assange is guilty of anything even remotely related to rape, and I’m convinced this is a smear campaign by angry governments. Even if the charges were accurate, Assange is just the face of Wikileaks, and his personal shortcomings have nothing to do with whether or not this information should be released.