Wikileaks’ head as James Bond villain

British police are reportedly closing in on Julian Assange, the man behind Wikileaks, with plans to arrrest him on Swedish sexual assault charges. But now Assange, playing the role of a James Bond villain, has devised a doomsday weapon set to go off if anyone interferes with his fiendish plans:

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has reportedly released an encrypted “poison pill” file that contains sensitive data related to Guantanamo Bay, Afghan military ops, Bank of America and the BP oil spill.

The file – known as insurance.aes256 – is locked-down with a 256-digit key deemed virtually unbreakable by even the US Department of Defense (DoD).

Assange, who is using the sensitive data to hold governments hostage, states: “We have over a long period of time distributed encrypted backups of material we have yet to release. All we have to do is release the password to that material, and it is instantly available.”

WikiLeaks threatens “poison pill” if site shut down Assange explains that if any government tries to stop WikiLeaks by downing the website or detaining him, he will disseminate the “poison pill” password, allowing anyone to access the highly-embarrassing documents.

Meanwhile, the leaks keep coming.  The latest goes far beyond diplomatic embarrassments.  It is a direct attack on U.S. national security tailor made for international terrorists:

A long list of key facilities around the world that the US describes as vital to its national security has been released by Wikileaks.

In February 2009 the State Department asked all US missions abroad to list all installations whose loss could critically affect US national security.

The list includes pipelines, communication and transport hubs.

Several UK sites are listed, including cable locations, satellite sites and BAE Systems plants.

BBC diplomatic correspondent Jonathan Marcus says this is probably the most controversial document yet from the Wikileaks organisation.

The definition of US national security revealed by the cable is broad and all embracing, he says.

There are obvious pieces of strategic infrastructure like communications hubs, gas pipelines and so on. However, other facilities on the list include:

* Cobalt mine in Congo

* Anti-snake venom factory in Australia

* Insulin plant in Denmark

In Britain, the list ranges from Cornwall to Scotland, including key satellite communications sites and the places where trans-Atlantic cables make landfall.

A number of BAE Systems plants involved in joint weapons programmes with the Americans are listed, along with a marine engineering firm in Edinburgh which is said to be “critical” for nuclear powered submarines. . . .

The geographical range of the document on installations is extraordinary, our correspondent says.

If the US sees itself as waging a “global war on terror” then this represents a global directory of the key installations and facilities – many of them medical or industrial – that are seen as being of vital importance to Washington.

Some locations are given unique billing. The Nadym gas pipeline junction in western Siberia, for example, is described as “the most critical gas facility in the world”.

It is a crucial transit point for Russian gas heading for western Europe.

In some cases, specific pharmaceutical plants or those making blood products are highlighted for their crucial importance to the global supply chain.

The critical question is whether this really is a listing of potential targets that might be of use to a terrorist.

via BBC News – List of facilities ‘vital to US security’ leaked.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • Tom Hering

    Assange has been arrested and will appear in a London court later today. Unless his lawyer’s briefcase unfolds into a jet pack that whisks Assange away to a mini-sub waiting for him in the Thames.

  • Tom Hering

    Assange has been arrested and will appear in a London court later today. Unless his lawyer’s briefcase unfolds into a jet pack that whisks Assange away to a mini-sub waiting for him in the Thames.

  • Tom Hering

    “British police are reportedly closing in on Julian Assange …”

    No, they weren’t. They weren’t even trying. (1.) He wasn’t wanted by the British police, he was wanted by the Swiss. (2.) Assange was in regular contact with the British police through his lawyers. (3.) The British police didn’t receive a warrant from the Swiss that the British police considered valid – until yesterday. (4.) Assange surrendered to the British police today, now that they have a valid warrant. He wasn’t taken against his will.

    “The critical question is whether this really is a listing of potential targets that might be of use to a terrorist.”

    The list is indeed an aid to terrorists, but only insofar as it puts information in one place for them. Because the only new information revealed by the leak was the fact that the State Department had compiled it. The actual contents of the list – the importance and locations of sites – was information that was freely available on the internet before the the list was leaked. For example, who in the world didn’t know about the existence of the Nadym gas pipeline, or failed to understand its critical importance? The anti-snake venom factory in Australia is kind of a revelation to me, but seriously, how is our national security threatened by snake bites?

  • Tom Hering

    “British police are reportedly closing in on Julian Assange …”

    No, they weren’t. They weren’t even trying. (1.) He wasn’t wanted by the British police, he was wanted by the Swiss. (2.) Assange was in regular contact with the British police through his lawyers. (3.) The British police didn’t receive a warrant from the Swiss that the British police considered valid – until yesterday. (4.) Assange surrendered to the British police today, now that they have a valid warrant. He wasn’t taken against his will.

    “The critical question is whether this really is a listing of potential targets that might be of use to a terrorist.”

    The list is indeed an aid to terrorists, but only insofar as it puts information in one place for them. Because the only new information revealed by the leak was the fact that the State Department had compiled it. The actual contents of the list – the importance and locations of sites – was information that was freely available on the internet before the the list was leaked. For example, who in the world didn’t know about the existence of the Nadym gas pipeline, or failed to understand its critical importance? The anti-snake venom factory in Australia is kind of a revelation to me, but seriously, how is our national security threatened by snake bites?

  • John C

    Don’t you dare tell Oprah, Tom, but Australian snakes are pretty bloody lethal.

  • John C

    Don’t you dare tell Oprah, Tom, but Australian snakes are pretty bloody lethal.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom – not Swiss, Swedish. Background – http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,733154,00.html

    Rather strange story, that.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Tom – not Swiss, Swedish. Background – http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/0,1518,733154,00.html

    Rather strange story, that.

  • Tom Hering

    Swiss, Swedish, Swahili – they all look alike to me.

  • Tom Hering

    Swiss, Swedish, Swahili – they all look alike to me.

  • Porcell

    The Obama administration is considering prosecuting Asange under the 1917 espionage law, though it would be a hard case, as the 1917 law on espionage conflicts with another law regarding journalistic freedom. For a discussion of this see U.S. Weighs Prosecution of WikiLeaks Founder, but Legal Scholars Warn of Steep Hurdles

    The espionage law needs to be updated to restrict journalists from publishing information that gives aid and comfort to the enemy during war. Just now we are involved in a perfectly legal war against the jihadis that was authorized by Congress in 2001.

    In a less politically correct world Asange would have been taken out by the CIA long ago.

  • Porcell

    The Obama administration is considering prosecuting Asange under the 1917 espionage law, though it would be a hard case, as the 1917 law on espionage conflicts with another law regarding journalistic freedom. For a discussion of this see U.S. Weighs Prosecution of WikiLeaks Founder, but Legal Scholars Warn of Steep Hurdles

    The espionage law needs to be updated to restrict journalists from publishing information that gives aid and comfort to the enemy during war. Just now we are involved in a perfectly legal war against the jihadis that was authorized by Congress in 2001.

    In a less politically correct world Asange would have been taken out by the CIA long ago.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell @6 – “In a less politically correct world Asange would have been taken out by the CIA long ago.”.

    You mean in a cowboy / mafia run world?

    It is so funny how quickly “conservatives” forget the rule of law and all those things they want to “conserve”, when it suits them.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell @6 – “In a less politically correct world Asange would have been taken out by the CIA long ago.”.

    You mean in a cowboy / mafia run world?

    It is so funny how quickly “conservatives” forget the rule of law and all those things they want to “conserve”, when it suits them.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Alright,
    Tom, the Swedish are not Swiss, the Swiss are not Swedish. People from Sweden are called Swedes or Swedish people. We have a different culture, and a different language. The Swiss come from Die Schweiz, they speak German, French, or Italian depending on what canton the come from. Swedes come from Sweden, they speak Swedish, which is very different from German, French or Italian. And though they have tried to mimick the Swiss with the neutrality thing for the last two hundred years, there was a time when they got very involved in the ongoings of Europe, and amassed a sizeable empire cleaning the clocks of just about every other European nation, including Russia. But perhaps the biggest difference is the Swiss tend to be either reformed or Roman Catholic, again depending on what canton, and Swedes are historically Lutheran. So please don’t confuse them again.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Alright,
    Tom, the Swedish are not Swiss, the Swiss are not Swedish. People from Sweden are called Swedes or Swedish people. We have a different culture, and a different language. The Swiss come from Die Schweiz, they speak German, French, or Italian depending on what canton the come from. Swedes come from Sweden, they speak Swedish, which is very different from German, French or Italian. And though they have tried to mimick the Swiss with the neutrality thing for the last two hundred years, there was a time when they got very involved in the ongoings of Europe, and amassed a sizeable empire cleaning the clocks of just about every other European nation, including Russia. But perhaps the biggest difference is the Swiss tend to be either reformed or Roman Catholic, again depending on what canton, and Swedes are historically Lutheran. So please don’t confuse them again.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    looks like Louis beat me to it. obviously though, Tom has not traveled much.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    looks like Louis beat me to it. obviously though, Tom has not traveled much.

  • Porcell

    Not really Louis, Asange by publicizing these documents has already caused the lives of Iraqi and Afghani informers to be placed in serious jeopardy. Intelligence from foreign sources is crucial in wartime. It is rather likely that as a result of Asange’s nefarious activity, the lives of American warriors are at risk.

    The CIA has a legal right to deal severely with such scum as Asange, though, following the political winds it is properly reluctant to do so.

  • Porcell

    Not really Louis, Asange by publicizing these documents has already caused the lives of Iraqi and Afghani informers to be placed in serious jeopardy. Intelligence from foreign sources is crucial in wartime. It is rather likely that as a result of Asange’s nefarious activity, the lives of American warriors are at risk.

    The CIA has a legal right to deal severely with such scum as Asange, though, following the political winds it is properly reluctant to do so.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Bror – did Tom upset you at all? :)

    As for Switzerland, you forgot Rumantsch (also spelt Romansch). I’ve Swiss family, but have never been there. Also, the German the Swiss speak is a nigh-incomprehensible sing-song langauge – I know a little German, but I’m totally unable to follow even written Swiss German on my cousins’ facebook page. The funny thing, my aunt grew up Afrikaans, but married a Swiss chap, and now speaks Afrikaans the way the Swiss speak German. Quite entertaining.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Bror – did Tom upset you at all? :)

    As for Switzerland, you forgot Rumantsch (also spelt Romansch). I’ve Swiss family, but have never been there. Also, the German the Swiss speak is a nigh-incomprehensible sing-song langauge – I know a little German, but I’m totally unable to follow even written Swiss German on my cousins’ facebook page. The funny thing, my aunt grew up Afrikaans, but married a Swiss chap, and now speaks Afrikaans the way the Swiss speak German. Quite entertaining.

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell – I’m not so sure, following Tom’s info etc, that Assange actually did publish previously unknown info. The article in Der Spiegel indicated that Wikileaks had the intention to also publish Chinese and Russian leaked info. It does appear though the the widespread nature of America’s networks have made them more vulnerable to this kind of thing. Which places an interesting perspective on yesterday’s discussion on Empire/Soft-Empire/Superpower…..

  • http://theobservationtree.blogspot.com Louis

    Porcell – I’m not so sure, following Tom’s info etc, that Assange actually did publish previously unknown info. The article in Der Spiegel indicated that Wikileaks had the intention to also publish Chinese and Russian leaked info. It does appear though the the widespread nature of America’s networks have made them more vulnerable to this kind of thing. Which places an interesting perspective on yesterday’s discussion on Empire/Soft-Empire/Superpower…..

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Assange is the perfect troll — he could even teach a few people here some tricks! ;)

    What I don’t get is why the media (and those here) willingly play into his hand by believing these leaks are the most dangerest thing ever. It’s like that discussion we had a while back about publishing online the locations of military facilities that have signs out front identifying them as such.

    Anyhow, I’d like to imagine a scene where Assange is being dragged off to prison, desperately shouting out a series of zeroes and ones to the camera-people: “…0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1 … I mean, 0! Did you get that? Can somebody tweet that for me? You’ll have to break it up into two tweets, okay? … They may take our lives, but they’ll never take … OUR DATA!!!”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Assange is the perfect troll — he could even teach a few people here some tricks! ;)

    What I don’t get is why the media (and those here) willingly play into his hand by believing these leaks are the most dangerest thing ever. It’s like that discussion we had a while back about publishing online the locations of military facilities that have signs out front identifying them as such.

    Anyhow, I’d like to imagine a scene where Assange is being dragged off to prison, desperately shouting out a series of zeroes and ones to the camera-people: “…0, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 1, 0, 0, 1 … I mean, 0! Did you get that? Can somebody tweet that for me? You’ll have to break it up into two tweets, okay? … They may take our lives, but they’ll never take … OUR DATA!!!”

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom asked (@2), “The anti-snake venom factory in Australia is kind of a revelation to me, but seriously, how is our national security threatened by snake bites?”

    Um, hello, Tom, haven’t you ever seen the documentary Snakes on a Plane? The CIA well knows that all the radical jihadists have to do is (1) bomb the Australian factory and then (2) “That’s not an oxygen mask falling from the overhead compartment, it’s a ************ snake!” Oops, I’ve said too much.

    I’d also like to note that, strictly speaking, what was mentioned was an “Anti-snake venom factory in Australia”. That is, a venom factory that is anti-snake. Obviously, the CIA knows something about the snake uprising to come, and is planning for that eventuality. And the only way to fight venom is with … more venom! There’s a reason the CIA has been releasing more vampire movies of late — to predispose us to the idea.

    Also, I have to agree with John C (@3). They have some truly nasty snakes over there.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Tom asked (@2), “The anti-snake venom factory in Australia is kind of a revelation to me, but seriously, how is our national security threatened by snake bites?”

    Um, hello, Tom, haven’t you ever seen the documentary Snakes on a Plane? The CIA well knows that all the radical jihadists have to do is (1) bomb the Australian factory and then (2) “That’s not an oxygen mask falling from the overhead compartment, it’s a ************ snake!” Oops, I’ve said too much.

    I’d also like to note that, strictly speaking, what was mentioned was an “Anti-snake venom factory in Australia”. That is, a venom factory that is anti-snake. Obviously, the CIA knows something about the snake uprising to come, and is planning for that eventuality. And the only way to fight venom is with … more venom! There’s a reason the CIA has been releasing more vampire movies of late — to predispose us to the idea.

    Also, I have to agree with John C (@3). They have some truly nasty snakes over there.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Louis,
    It is a pet peeve of mine. I can never understand why Americans are in the habit of confusing the two. Drives me up the wall really. It does. But then I’m wondering, maybe Tom is one of those public school children who can’t find the United States on a map of North America too.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Louis,
    It is a pet peeve of mine. I can never understand why Americans are in the habit of confusing the two. Drives me up the wall really. It does. But then I’m wondering, maybe Tom is one of those public school children who can’t find the United States on a map of North America too.

  • Tom Hering

    What’s North America??

  • Tom Hering

    What’s North America??

  • Tom Hering

    Oh, you mean Wisconsin.

  • Tom Hering

    Oh, you mean Wisconsin.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Feldman,
    I did go to private school for two years. Before returning to public school and finding it a total waste of my time and tax dollars. I left early.
    I can lighten up on it. And yes I see now how Luthor is completely different from Luther, and could not in any way be meant to imply Luther in a literary context. Though in the same comic world Xavior is meant to invoke Malcom X. Do you really want to open that can of worms again. I had dropped it and don’t care to pick it up.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    Feldman,
    I did go to private school for two years. Before returning to public school and finding it a total waste of my time and tax dollars. I left early.
    I can lighten up on it. And yes I see now how Luthor is completely different from Luther, and could not in any way be meant to imply Luther in a literary context. Though in the same comic world Xavior is meant to invoke Malcom X. Do you really want to open that can of worms again. I had dropped it and don’t care to pick it up.

  • Tom Hering

    According to the Washington Post’s investigation of the grossly bloated world of national security, close to one million people hold a “top secret” clearance. How many more must hold the lower-level “secret” clearance, which is what the leaked list was classified? I find it absolutely hilarious that our government is shocked – shocked, it says – that the list got out.

  • Tom Hering

    According to the Washington Post’s investigation of the grossly bloated world of national security, close to one million people hold a “top secret” clearance. How many more must hold the lower-level “secret” clearance, which is what the leaked list was classified? I find it absolutely hilarious that our government is shocked – shocked, it says – that the list got out.

  • Porcell

    Short of taking out Asange, it would be salutary to eliminate his means of communication, which is technically doable. Marc Thiessen in a WAPO piece today writes:

    Last week, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed that the United States does in fact have the offensive capabilities in cyberspace to take down WikiLeaks, but that the Obama administration chose not to use them. This failure to act prompted a patriotic hacker who goes by the name th3j35t3r (the Jester) to attack WikiLeaks himself, repeatedly taking down its Web site.

  • Porcell

    Short of taking out Asange, it would be salutary to eliminate his means of communication, which is technically doable. Marc Thiessen in a WAPO piece today writes:

    Last week, a Pentagon spokesman confirmed that the United States does in fact have the offensive capabilities in cyberspace to take down WikiLeaks, but that the Obama administration chose not to use them. This failure to act prompted a patriotic hacker who goes by the name th3j35t3r (the Jester) to attack WikiLeaks himself, repeatedly taking down its Web site.

  • Tom Hering

    It’s Obama’s fault!

  • Tom Hering

    It’s Obama’s fault!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m so glad that the WaPo is around to translate 1337 (that is to say, leetspeak) for us.

    But I do wonder if our government might not find a better use of its time in making sure that low-level military computer operators don’t have access to vast amounts of data for which they have no conceivable “need to know”.

    I mean, I love Clancy-esque revenge fantasies as much as the next guy (that is to say, Porcell), but I wonder if maybe there’s an actual problem here we could solve.

    And then we can, like, totally draw and quarter Assange. And let Porcell keep the entrails.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    I’m so glad that the WaPo is around to translate 1337 (that is to say, leetspeak) for us.

    But I do wonder if our government might not find a better use of its time in making sure that low-level military computer operators don’t have access to vast amounts of data for which they have no conceivable “need to know”.

    I mean, I love Clancy-esque revenge fantasies as much as the next guy (that is to say, Porcell), but I wonder if maybe there’s an actual problem here we could solve.

    And then we can, like, totally draw and quarter Assange. And let Porcell keep the entrails.

  • Porcell

    Todd, the military, going far beyond ordinary leetspeak, is developing excellent capability for cyber warfare. Dealing with WikiLeaks would be a rather ordinary problem, were it not for the tender minded folk who get queasy about using serious weapons

    I happen not to read Clancy, preferring serious espionage fiction, especially that of McCarry and Furst.

    If you don’t see a problem with Wiki Leaks, then I should suggest that you remove your head from the Left-Coast sand.

  • Porcell

    Todd, the military, going far beyond ordinary leetspeak, is developing excellent capability for cyber warfare. Dealing with WikiLeaks would be a rather ordinary problem, were it not for the tender minded folk who get queasy about using serious weapons

    I happen not to read Clancy, preferring serious espionage fiction, especially that of McCarry and Furst.

    If you don’t see a problem with Wiki Leaks, then I should suggest that you remove your head from the Left-Coast sand.

  • Tom Hering

    “… the tender minded folk who get queasy about using serious weapons.”

    Like Obama gets when it comes to using drones?

  • Tom Hering

    “… the tender minded folk who get queasy about using serious weapons.”

    Like Obama gets when it comes to using drones?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell said (@24), “I happen not to read Clancy, preferring serious espionage fiction, especially that of McCarry and Furst.” Ah, my apologies. You were confusing reality with a more “serious” brand of fiction than I had guessed. Duly noted.

    “If you don’t see a problem with Wiki Leaks, then I should suggest that you remove your head from the Left-Coast sand.” Said the man whose head has yet to note what the actual problem is here. Let me spell it out for you: as long as people who are nobodies in the intelligence world have access to vast quantities of data they have no reason to be perusing, the problem will continue to exist. Yes, even if we did live in the cyber-cowboy universe you imagine in which our nation takes any and all actions against foreign entities, national and individual, as it sees fit. Which we don’t, and conservatives with actual moral standards appreciate that.

    Let me repeat myself: On the fairly reasonable assumption that most of what WikiLeaks has been dumping came from Pfc. Manning, there is almost certainly no good reason why he had access to almost any of it. That is the problem. The problem that you, with your head nestled snugly several inches above the cushion of an East-Coast La-Z-Boy, have yet to address, preferring to take your usual potshots as to the testicular fortitude of others, as presumably measured against the gold standard that you are.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell said (@24), “I happen not to read Clancy, preferring serious espionage fiction, especially that of McCarry and Furst.” Ah, my apologies. You were confusing reality with a more “serious” brand of fiction than I had guessed. Duly noted.

    “If you don’t see a problem with Wiki Leaks, then I should suggest that you remove your head from the Left-Coast sand.” Said the man whose head has yet to note what the actual problem is here. Let me spell it out for you: as long as people who are nobodies in the intelligence world have access to vast quantities of data they have no reason to be perusing, the problem will continue to exist. Yes, even if we did live in the cyber-cowboy universe you imagine in which our nation takes any and all actions against foreign entities, national and individual, as it sees fit. Which we don’t, and conservatives with actual moral standards appreciate that.

    Let me repeat myself: On the fairly reasonable assumption that most of what WikiLeaks has been dumping came from Pfc. Manning, there is almost certainly no good reason why he had access to almost any of it. That is the problem. The problem that you, with your head nestled snugly several inches above the cushion of an East-Coast La-Z-Boy, have yet to address, preferring to take your usual potshots as to the testicular fortitude of others, as presumably measured against the gold standard that you are.

  • Porcell

    Todd, the Pentagon work on cyber warfare is hardly of the cyber-cowboy variety. In this case, as the WAPO article remarked, the capability could be effectively used with proper political authorization, which, as Thiessen remarked, was not forthcoming from the Obama administration.

    Second, the problem of low-level military personnel having access to this intelligence is rather distinct from Asange’s effort to do serious harm to both the military and diplomatic arms of the government.

    The left is making light of what Thiessen and others regard as a legitimate national security issue. In your case bringing up the reductio absurdum of cyber-cowboys may sound clever, though you’ve hardly advanced any serious argument on the issue. You’re, as is often the case, substituting snide snark for analysis.

  • Porcell

    Todd, the Pentagon work on cyber warfare is hardly of the cyber-cowboy variety. In this case, as the WAPO article remarked, the capability could be effectively used with proper political authorization, which, as Thiessen remarked, was not forthcoming from the Obama administration.

    Second, the problem of low-level military personnel having access to this intelligence is rather distinct from Asange’s effort to do serious harm to both the military and diplomatic arms of the government.

    The left is making light of what Thiessen and others regard as a legitimate national security issue. In your case bringing up the reductio absurdum of cyber-cowboys may sound clever, though you’ve hardly advanced any serious argument on the issue. You’re, as is often the case, substituting snide snark for analysis.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I’m seriously doubting that Asange will be convicted in Stockholm. I’m having a hard time seeing how women who admitted that the sex was consensual at the time, can change their mind and say it was rape because he happened to have had sex with another girl in the same week.
    Furthermore, I have serious misgivings about the U.S. being able to convict him for espionage. That will be an interesting case to follow.
    I do have to say I do have a hard time not despising the guy though. I think he’d like to think of himself as a James Bond villain. Sure he thinks he is doing the world a favor. But he comes off to me as nothing but an arrogant prick.
    In this one though I tend to agree with Porcel. In a less PC world he’d be dead. I’m a little surprised he isn’t. Perhaps it is better just to try him. I like the rule of law that Louis references. But then I tend to think when you are playing Asange’s game you enter into a world with its own rules. The only thing I can think of that has saved him is his notoriety, but then that becomes a double edge sword too.

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    I’m seriously doubting that Asange will be convicted in Stockholm. I’m having a hard time seeing how women who admitted that the sex was consensual at the time, can change their mind and say it was rape because he happened to have had sex with another girl in the same week.
    Furthermore, I have serious misgivings about the U.S. being able to convict him for espionage. That will be an interesting case to follow.
    I do have to say I do have a hard time not despising the guy though. I think he’d like to think of himself as a James Bond villain. Sure he thinks he is doing the world a favor. But he comes off to me as nothing but an arrogant prick.
    In this one though I tend to agree with Porcel. In a less PC world he’d be dead. I’m a little surprised he isn’t. Perhaps it is better just to try him. I like the rule of law that Louis references. But then I tend to think when you are playing Asange’s game you enter into a world with its own rules. The only thing I can think of that has saved him is his notoriety, but then that becomes a double edge sword too.

  • trotk

    I think “serious espionage fiction” is going to become a new everyday term for me.

  • trotk

    I think “serious espionage fiction” is going to become a new everyday term for me.

  • John C

    Todd at 14
    This includes the One Eyed Trouser Snake — rarely fatal but a nuisance all the same.( early 1970s humour from Barry Humpries)

  • John C

    Todd at 14
    This includes the One Eyed Trouser Snake — rarely fatal but a nuisance all the same.( early 1970s humour from Barry Humpries)

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    John C, I think Assange is finding out just how dangerous that snake can be!

  • http://www.utah-lutheran.blogspot.com Bror Erickson

    John C, I think Assange is finding out just how dangerous that snake can be!

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@27) said, “Todd, the Pentagon work on cyber warfare is hardly of the cyber-cowboy variety.” Porcell, the label “cowboy” doesn’t apply to any particular technology. It applies to the indiscriminate use of such technology without heed of any particular moral or legal framework. To wit: “In a less politically correct world Asange would have been taken out by the CIA long ago” (@6). That is (overblown) cowboy talk.

    Of course, as it were, “real” cowboys don’t talk about what other people should do on their behalf (as you are constantly urging those in government to take strong action “with main force” against the entities you fear so), they just do it themselves. But inasmuch as you are at least urging other people to “cowboy up” on your behalf, the label fits.

    Just because we have the ability to do something — whether it’s to “take out” someone we don’t like or to “take down” any particular computer or network we don’t like (such tough, manly words, just like in the movies!) — doesn’t mean that it’s wise or correct to do so. I would expect true conservatives to understand this point without needing it spelled out.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Porcell (@27) said, “Todd, the Pentagon work on cyber warfare is hardly of the cyber-cowboy variety.” Porcell, the label “cowboy” doesn’t apply to any particular technology. It applies to the indiscriminate use of such technology without heed of any particular moral or legal framework. To wit: “In a less politically correct world Asange would have been taken out by the CIA long ago” (@6). That is (overblown) cowboy talk.

    Of course, as it were, “real” cowboys don’t talk about what other people should do on their behalf (as you are constantly urging those in government to take strong action “with main force” against the entities you fear so), they just do it themselves. But inasmuch as you are at least urging other people to “cowboy up” on your behalf, the label fits.

    Just because we have the ability to do something — whether it’s to “take out” someone we don’t like or to “take down” any particular computer or network we don’t like (such tough, manly words, just like in the movies!) — doesn’t mean that it’s wise or correct to do so. I would expect true conservatives to understand this point without needing it spelled out.

  • Leif

    Porcell (@most of the recent posts)

    This concept that the Pentagon has “the technology” to shut down wikileaks is pretty much false. Sure, they have dandy technology and they could shut down a server, an address, a domain name, etc. but they can’t very easily shut down the message. If anything it’s good to remember (as the last 9 years have taught us) that it’s much easier to cripple a large country than a small, decentralized group.

    Regardless, after “The Jester”‘s dramatic but ultimately futile attempt to silence wikileaks they had 500+ mirrors set up within a couple days to continue with their message.

    In short, to completely silence them you’d be like a guy trying to swat all the mosquitoes in a swamp. Unless you nuke the swamp there’s no way to kill all the mosquitoes. This doesn’t even take into account other methods of releasing such info to interested parties (P2P, freenet, alternitive NICs, etc.)

    Also, don’t forget to take into account the fact that there’s plenty of independent hackers that’ll side with wikileaks. Ex: When mastercard/visa/paypal/etc. cut off their payments, hackers went after them (WSJ article)

    I guess my point is this:

    You can kill Assange all day long but it’s moot at this point. The message and the idea is out there and there’s really no stopping it (unless, of course, we get all “Great Firewall of China” or possible flip the “Internet Kill Switch”…sigh)

  • Leif

    Porcell (@most of the recent posts)

    This concept that the Pentagon has “the technology” to shut down wikileaks is pretty much false. Sure, they have dandy technology and they could shut down a server, an address, a domain name, etc. but they can’t very easily shut down the message. If anything it’s good to remember (as the last 9 years have taught us) that it’s much easier to cripple a large country than a small, decentralized group.

    Regardless, after “The Jester”‘s dramatic but ultimately futile attempt to silence wikileaks they had 500+ mirrors set up within a couple days to continue with their message.

    In short, to completely silence them you’d be like a guy trying to swat all the mosquitoes in a swamp. Unless you nuke the swamp there’s no way to kill all the mosquitoes. This doesn’t even take into account other methods of releasing such info to interested parties (P2P, freenet, alternitive NICs, etc.)

    Also, don’t forget to take into account the fact that there’s plenty of independent hackers that’ll side with wikileaks. Ex: When mastercard/visa/paypal/etc. cut off their payments, hackers went after them (WSJ article)

    I guess my point is this:

    You can kill Assange all day long but it’s moot at this point. The message and the idea is out there and there’s really no stopping it (unless, of course, we get all “Great Firewall of China” or possible flip the “Internet Kill Switch”…sigh)

  • Leif

    Porcell (@most of the above)

    Sigh. Last message didn’t go through but I’ll try again but shorter and terser:

    Most of this “the pentagon will silence wikileaks” theory of yours is nonsense.

    1. Too many folks willing to help create mirrors and/or alternate routes for the information to be released.

    2. Independent hackers who are more than willing to fight back and are.

    3. No efficient route to actually kill such a concept. It’s a lot like the war on terror vs. ww2. We can destroy countries but stopped a dedicated few is much, much harder. Countries need lots of things to survive while what are essentially nomads don’t.

    4. Kill Assange all you want but it’s too late for that. There’s more out there and, if anything, they’ve learned to duck and cover a lot better now.

  • Leif

    Porcell (@most of the above)

    Sigh. Last message didn’t go through but I’ll try again but shorter and terser:

    Most of this “the pentagon will silence wikileaks” theory of yours is nonsense.

    1. Too many folks willing to help create mirrors and/or alternate routes for the information to be released.

    2. Independent hackers who are more than willing to fight back and are.

    3. No efficient route to actually kill such a concept. It’s a lot like the war on terror vs. ww2. We can destroy countries but stopped a dedicated few is much, much harder. Countries need lots of things to survive while what are essentially nomads don’t.

    4. Kill Assange all you want but it’s too late for that. There’s more out there and, if anything, they’ve learned to duck and cover a lot better now.

  • Leif

    forgive the massive amounts of typos in the above.

    There was some serious frustration with the first (longer and more technical) post not going through and the second was done in haste.

  • Leif

    forgive the massive amounts of typos in the above.

    There was some serious frustration with the first (longer and more technical) post not going through and the second was done in haste.

  • Leif

    Bror (@31)

    Was that a prison rape joke? Because, wow.

  • Leif

    Bror (@31)

    Was that a prison rape joke? Because, wow.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Leif (@36), I believe Bror (@31) was merely referring to Assange’s difficulty in keeping his pants zipped around female admirers. Which seems fairly well uncontested.

    But you are correct about the near-impossibility of quashing a leak in this day and age. Which is why I insist that the real issue with WikiLeaks is our flabbergastingly poor security, at least as far as diplomatic cables is concerned. One person, least of all a private, should never have had access to that much high-level information!

    But I’d caution you about going too technical with Porcell (e.g. “P2P”, “alternative NICs”). I learned a lot about what he understands about technology by engaging with him on a different thread.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Leif (@36), I believe Bror (@31) was merely referring to Assange’s difficulty in keeping his pants zipped around female admirers. Which seems fairly well uncontested.

    But you are correct about the near-impossibility of quashing a leak in this day and age. Which is why I insist that the real issue with WikiLeaks is our flabbergastingly poor security, at least as far as diplomatic cables is concerned. One person, least of all a private, should never have had access to that much high-level information!

    But I’d caution you about going too technical with Porcell (e.g. “P2P”, “alternative NICs”). I learned a lot about what he understands about technology by engaging with him on a different thread.

  • Leif

    No worries, I just get a little sensitive at times (and now I see the original post went through and I feel all stupid).

    My personal feelings on secrets and openness aside, I agree with you. If you don’t want leaks–plug the dang holes. What’s hilarious is that security on this level “should” be relatively easy and it’s not like the government doesn’t have the resources to prevent these things from happening.

    Manning’s brilliant caper involved cds and usb drives. Seriously? What part of “classified” allows for write capabilities? Whatever happened to the good ol’ days when hard drives were literally taken out of the computer and locked up when not in use? Or, you know, checkpoints. Nothing in, nothing out. “What’s that mr. manning? You want to listen to Lady Gaga from a cd-rw that you made while you work in a classified room with computers that burn info onto such a cd-rw? No.”

    For the same reason you don’t wear hunter’s orange out on the battlefield you shouldn’t be allowing yahoos to have write access to super top secret data.

  • Leif

    No worries, I just get a little sensitive at times (and now I see the original post went through and I feel all stupid).

    My personal feelings on secrets and openness aside, I agree with you. If you don’t want leaks–plug the dang holes. What’s hilarious is that security on this level “should” be relatively easy and it’s not like the government doesn’t have the resources to prevent these things from happening.

    Manning’s brilliant caper involved cds and usb drives. Seriously? What part of “classified” allows for write capabilities? Whatever happened to the good ol’ days when hard drives were literally taken out of the computer and locked up when not in use? Or, you know, checkpoints. Nothing in, nothing out. “What’s that mr. manning? You want to listen to Lady Gaga from a cd-rw that you made while you work in a classified room with computers that burn info onto such a cd-rw? No.”

    For the same reason you don’t wear hunter’s orange out on the battlefield you shouldn’t be allowing yahoos to have write access to super top secret data.

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    I think this whole episode is political theater. Most of those leaks actually benefited us.

    North Korea now knows that China is considering letting them hang in the wind. ( Notice the sudden silence from the Korean Peninsula as the six party talks resume.)

    Iran finds out all its Islamic neighbors are lobbying the US to bomb them. Ahmadinejad laughs off the leaks when asked about them. Hmm… no moral outrage and threats of war?

    The Karzai brothers in Afghanistan find out we are aware of their corruption and think Hamid is not up to the job.

    China finds out we know it was them attacking Google.

    Russia finds out that we knew Putin was in charge all along.

    All this is now public, so everyone knows.

    Meanwhile in the US, there is a lot of political bluster and “outrage” but no witch hunt is mounted for the ‘leakers’. Our politicians and pundits mumble something about too many people having secret clearance about and no investigations seem imminent.
    The Justice Department has issued no warrants for Assange or those responsible for the leaks. Do we really believe Mr. Manning was the only one leaking info?

    This whole thing appears to be some hardball diplomacy all the while allowing us to maintain plausible deniability.

    If those leaks were really going to start a war or get people killed, Assange would mysteriously go into hiding… permanently, or suffer some other mishap at the hands ” unknown” Intelligence Agencies from one or several countries.
    They busted him for not wearing a condom? Really? Things just aren’t adding up….

  • http://www.newreformationpress.com Patrick Kyle

    I think this whole episode is political theater. Most of those leaks actually benefited us.

    North Korea now knows that China is considering letting them hang in the wind. ( Notice the sudden silence from the Korean Peninsula as the six party talks resume.)

    Iran finds out all its Islamic neighbors are lobbying the US to bomb them. Ahmadinejad laughs off the leaks when asked about them. Hmm… no moral outrage and threats of war?

    The Karzai brothers in Afghanistan find out we are aware of their corruption and think Hamid is not up to the job.

    China finds out we know it was them attacking Google.

    Russia finds out that we knew Putin was in charge all along.

    All this is now public, so everyone knows.

    Meanwhile in the US, there is a lot of political bluster and “outrage” but no witch hunt is mounted for the ‘leakers’. Our politicians and pundits mumble something about too many people having secret clearance about and no investigations seem imminent.
    The Justice Department has issued no warrants for Assange or those responsible for the leaks. Do we really believe Mr. Manning was the only one leaking info?

    This whole thing appears to be some hardball diplomacy all the while allowing us to maintain plausible deniability.

    If those leaks were really going to start a war or get people killed, Assange would mysteriously go into hiding… permanently, or suffer some other mishap at the hands ” unknown” Intelligence Agencies from one or several countries.
    They busted him for not wearing a condom? Really? Things just aren’t adding up….

  • Pingback: Vegetarian Superpowers

  • Pingback: Vegetarian Superpowers


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X