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Posted at 11:44 AM ET, 12/ 8/2010

WikiLeaks: The worm turns

By Marc Thiessen

Since my column urging the Obama administration to return fire in the cyber war with WikiLeaks appeared, Julian Assange's defenders have mocked the notion that U.S. Cyber Command could launch any kind of successful attack on WikiLeaks in cyberspace. And they have heaped particular scorn on the suggestion that a worm similar to the "Stuxnet" worm that has attacked Iran's nuclear system could be used to attack WikiLeaks' computer systems and the downloaded classified documents WikiLeaks has stolen.

So I was pleased to hear this fascinating story on National Public Radio this morning discussing how the cyber war with WikiLeaks might unfold. NPR quotes Herbert Lin -- the chief scientist at the National Academies' Computer Science and Telecommunications Board and co-author of a comprehensive study on U.S. cyber attack capabilities -- who explains that creating a worm to attack WikiLeaks would not be hard at all. NPR reports:

One option, according to cyber expert Herbert Lin, would be to design and deploy a computer worm that could burrow into a computer hard drive and look specifically for WikiLeaks files, as the recent Sutxnet worm did with respect to industrial control files. "There have certainly been many instances of worms that could create damage," Lin said. "So all you would have to do is hitch yourself to one of those. You could put code in that looks for WikiLeaks material on hard drives and then goes off and destroys it. One could do that. Whether it's a wise thing to do and whether it would serve the government's goals, that's a different question."

You can listen to the full story here.

Meanwhile, my call last August for the Justice Department to indict and prosecute Julian Assange under the Espionage Act got a boost yesterday, when Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal making precisely the same suggestion. Feinstein writes:

When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange released his latest document trove--more than 250,000 secret State Department cables--he intentionally harmed the U.S. government. The release of these documents damages our national interests and puts innocent lives at risk. He should be vigorously prosecuted for espionage.

The law Mr. Assange continues to violate is the Espionage Act of 1917. That law makes it a felony for an unauthorized person to possess or transmit "information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation."

The Espionage Act also makes it a felony to fail to return such materials to the U.S. government. Importantly, the courts have held that "information relating to the national defense" applies to both classified and unclassified material. Each violation is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.

....That he is breaking the law and must be stopped from doing more harm is clear. I also believe a prosecution would be successful.

In an October analysis of earlier WikiLeaks disclosures, the Congressional Research Service reported that "it seems that there is ample statutory authority for prosecuting individuals who elicit or disseminate the types of documents at issue, as long as the intent element can be satisfied and potential damage to national security can be demonstrated."

Both elements exist in this case. The "damage to national security" is beyond question. As for intent, Mr. Assange's own words paint a damning picture.

In June, the New Yorker reported that Mr. Assange has asserted that a "social movement" set on revealing secrets could "bring down many administrations that rely on concealing reality--including the U.S. administration." The same piece revealed Mr. Assange's stunning disregard for the grave harm his actions could bring to innocent people, which he dismisses as "collateral damage."

Mr. Assange ... is an agitator intent on damaging our government, whose policies he happens to disagree with, regardless of who gets hurt.

I could not have said it better myself.

By Marc Thiessen  | December 8, 2010; 11:44 AM ET
Categories:  Thiessen  | Tags:  Marc Thiessen  
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Comments

"One option, according to cyber expert Herbert Lin, would be to design and deploy a computer worm that could burrow into a computer hard drive and look specifically for WikiLeaks files"

Because of technological limitations of which you are ignorant, you are talking about launching an indiscriminate cyber assault on US citizens and foreign nationals everywhere. While the worm is "burrowing" into my hard drive, what else is it looking for? Let's assume you equip the thing with 200,000 MD5 signatures to look for. In the first place, it's going to be a little noticeable when it starts scanning every file on my drives. When it's inevitably determined that the worm is also deleting innocent files because of hash collisions, you're going to have a greater scandal on your hands than anything WikiLeaks has exposed.

As for getting your validation from the likes of DiFi, I am unimpressed.

Posted by: fzdybel | December 8, 2010 12:24 PM | Report abuse

"One option, according to cyber expert Herbert Lin, would be to design and deploy a computer worm that could burrow into a computer hard drive and look specifically for WikiLeaks files"

Because of technological limitations of which you are ignorant, you are talking about launching an indiscriminate cyber assault on US citizens and foreign nationals everywhere. While the worm is "burrowing" into my hard drive, what else is it looking for? Let's assume you equip the thing with 200,000 MD5 signatures to look for. In the first place, it's going to be a little noticeable when it starts scanning every file on my drives. When it's inevitably determined that the worm is also deleting innocent files because of hash collisions, you're going to have a greater scandal on your hands than anything WikiLeaks has exposed.

As for getting your validation from the likes of DiFi, I am unimpressed.

Posted by: fzdybel | December 8, 2010 12:25 PM | Report abuse

Your newspaper reports that:
"Chinese leaders ordered Google hack, U.S. was told."
If it weren't for Wikileaks, we wouldn't know that our government knew that China was attacking an American company, Google, because unflattering references to Chinese leadership could be found through Google.
This wikileak is a terrible breach of US national security because the US government may also conduct such attacks on those who reveal unflattering information about its own leadership, and want their attacks to be praised in the Washington Post...because maybe revealing this information is illegal.

I hate to waterboard a drowned horse, but torture is also illegal, along with other activities. The last President and Co-president kidnapped people, sent them to other countries. People were illegally tortured on the orders and agreement of President Bush, and when it was seen the people being tortured were innocent, no apology and no redress.
Those are crimesconfirmed by the evidence, and not just wikileak evidence.
However, having of evidence of torture is a crime greater than torture itself.
How embarrassing! I'm terrorized!

Posted by: KentL1 | December 8, 2010 1:19 PM | Report abuse

It takes a worm (or a resident of Hiatt's home for has been speech writers for George the Dumber) to know one.

Posted by: areyousaying | December 8, 2010 1:57 PM | Report abuse


The worm writes another stupid column.

Fat, stupid , mouthy little nobody worm should be wintering in a trash can somewhere.

Posted by: whistling | December 8, 2010 2:01 PM | Report abuse

If the government attempts to try Assange, picking a jury will be all but impossible. Around half of the country thinks he is an authentic hero and the government has been keeping secrets from us. Read any poll and the "right track" - "wrong track" numbers from ordinary voters are around 2 to 1 against the government. And that's for liberals, conservatives, independents, everyone but the "political class". Assange wouldn't jut be found innocent, the government would be essentially put on trial, along with their "free trade" policies, job outsourcing, propping up Wall Street, disliked Afghan and Iraq military adventures, too cozy relationships with China and India, all of it! I think the very idea of a public trial proves just how out-of-touch Holder, Obama, and Washington in general is with the rest of the country. I almost hope they are stupid enough to try a trial.

Posted by: mibrooks27 | December 8, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

Worse than Wikileaks and no action:
"Iraqi detainee at the Abu Ghraib prison died from asphyxiation after being hooded and hung by his arms while suffering from broken ribs."
(which is from your paper:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/06/14/AR2009061402819.html)
"John Helgerson, the recently retired CIA inspector general who investigated the interrogation program in 2004, told him that no officer still working at the agency went beyond the legal boundaries set by the Bush Justice Department. ..."

"Helgerson also said he had sent several cases involving CIA interrogations to the Justice Department.. In one from November 2003, termed a homicide, an Iraqi detainee at the Abu Ghraib prison died from asphyxiation after being hooded and hung by his arms while suffering from broken ribs.
At Justice.. the cases have languished.

Posted by: KentL1 | December 8, 2010 2:12 PM | Report abuse

Go spend some more time asking people why this might not work before you publish next time.

Posted by: Nymous | December 8, 2010 2:14 PM | Report abuse

This is my very first post with the Washington Post,This is the ultimate paper for commentary.

First the espionage law is from 1917. I doubt if all the elements for espionage are relevant today in the world wide era of communication. Consequently, I AM GOING TO ANALYZE THE ESPIONAGE ACT and get BACK WITH FURTHER INFORMATION.

Posted by: nelson10 | December 8, 2010 2:16 PM | Report abuse

Today the WORM seems to have turned against some of the sites of companies/people that are working against WikiLeaks. Hell hath no fury like a thousand enraged hackers, and this will be sort of like Robin Hood. The truth will out.

You slime balls who think it helps the citizens of the US to be deprived of knowledge, very little of which is really worth being classified, (and is classified only to hide it from the citizens), will see what these hackers can do.

How about they classify what should be classified, and let the facts about murders, fraud, corruption be open to view.

Posted by: tojo45 | December 8, 2010 2:22 PM | Report abuse

Is Marc Thiessen for real? How could anyone be as stupid as this guy? Oh, of course, lots of Americans, including lots in very high levels of the Obama administration, Congress, etc etc etc.

Just a hint: Assange is NOT an American citizen and NOT subject to American laws. How utterly stupid do you have to be to ignore that fact? Pretty stupid....

If all these people really believe that one country's laws should apply to non-citizens outside the country, let them start urging the US government to (or actually do) hand over to Italy the 23 Americans convicted (by an actual Italian court of law, not just the media) of kidnapping someone off the streets of Milan in 2002 and sending him elsewhere to be tortured. Never going to happen, of course.

For all who say Assange has supposedly "put lives at risk": post just one example...just one. He is doing a great service for all Americans.

Posted by: Rigged | December 8, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

Marc, if you're so confident that the methods you write about will be successful, why don't you volunteer your workstation as a test bed? Perhaps it contains more than a few records of your leaks to the press during the Bush administration.

And don't talk with your mouth full.

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | December 8, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

Listening to NPR, Thiessen? That government-run, liberal propaganda machine? Be careful, or you'll be thrown out of the GOP faster than you can say "Gerson."

Posted by: Beantown317 | December 8, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

Why all this vile against WikiLeaks? The real question should be:

Why wasn't the confidential cables protected adequately?

Why made the Private to disclose the information? Both are significant questions that needs be asked.

Suppose, free speach only counts when United States berates other countries not when something US did becomes public. Liberman, the senile wants to assassinate this guy.

Transparency brings accountability in democracies which is what is needed to all over the world.

Now people are promoting censorship of free speach, and freedom expression, a collective effort by government and large businesses like PayPal, MC, VISA, Amazon, etc. This should scare the heck out of people who say they support freedom, instead people want more control. Unbelievable Myopia.

Don't ever say China censors media, we just lost that right by our collective actions.

Posted by: Maya2 | December 8, 2010 2:38 PM | Report abuse

Any American could be carrying a flash drive that contains all the wikileak data encrypted on it.

In fact, many Americans did just that.

The horses have left the stables.

And the stables are on fire.

Posted by: WillSeattle | December 8, 2010 2:41 PM | Report abuse

How does Marc Thiessen respond to Lieberman's threat about prosecuting newspapers that publish the leaks? And how about "commentators" that "reveal" pieces of the leaks -- bad citizenship -- or crime? What should Thiessen's punishment be after his correspondence has been warrantlessly searched and a law discovered making him guilty of terrorism or treason, and a non-jury of his non-peers who can be relied on to convict him do so and send him to an offshore prison where laws to protect him don't apply? Should he be tortured there? Or just subjected to harsh interrogation?
As reported in today's NYTimes:
“I certainly believe that WikiLleaks has violated the Espionage Act, but then what about the news organizations — including The Times — that accepted it and distributed it?” Mr. Lieberman said, adding: “To me, The New York Times has committed at least an act of bad citizenship, and whether they have committed a crime, I think that bears a very intensive inquiry by the Justice Department.” "

Posted by: KentL1 | December 8, 2010 3:13 PM | Report abuse

Wasn't the first release of docs back in the summer?

Why did it take 6 months for you to get it Feinstein?

And Holder, who can bring a lawsuit in a matter of minutes (Arizona), remains woefully inept at protecting his country. Where are you Holder?

Posted by: jeffreid2 | December 8, 2010 3:36 PM | Report abuse

In any country with a shred of morals, Marc Thiessen and Michael Gerson would be residing in a prison after war crimes trials for their complicity in the Bush Administration's crimes. The blood of a million Iraqi civilians are still on their hands.

But in the U.S., these worms find a nice comfy home in the moral vacuum cesspool that is Fred Hiatt's editorial page.

Hiatt is the Moammar Ghadaffi to Gerson and Thiessen's Idi Amin.

Posted by: B2O2 | December 8, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

KentL1 astutely asks:

"How does Marc Thiessen respond to Lieberman's threat about prosecuting newspapers that publish the leaks? And how about "commentators" that "reveal" pieces of the leaks -- bad citizenship -- or crime? What should Thiessen's punishment be after his correspondence has been warrantlessly searched and a law discovered making him guilty of terrorism or treason, and a non-jury of his non-peers who can be relied on to convict him do so and send him to an offshore prison where laws to protect him don't apply? Should he be tortured there? Or just subjected to harsh interrogation?"

In Thiessen's previous columns he has discussed details of some of the leaks. He is therefore complicit in "making public" this classified info and according to Israeli Ambassador to the US Joe Lieberman is "at least guilty of bad citizenship" and may be guilty of committing national security crimes.

The Justice Department should IMMEDIATELY begin an investigation into Mr. Thiessen's crimes against our national security.

I'm so glad that worthless and unAmerican First Amendment has finally been repealed. It was really irresponsibly encouraging an open democracy.

Posted by: B2O2 | December 8, 2010 3:56 PM | Report abuse

You kin not haz mah bukkit.

Posted by: pressF1 | December 8, 2010 4:11 PM | Report abuse

Who let this wanker out of the looney bin?

Posted by: apteryx05 | December 8, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

Well gosh then, under the same Espionage Act, I would expect to hear Thiessen calling for the arrest of Dick Cheney for his part in outing a CIA covert operative and for other war crimes the VP was partner to. And why is Thiessen not calling for the arrest of the publishers at the NY Times or the Washington Post or any other news bureau for publishing some of the same material as Assange did through WikiLeaks. Assange didn't steal this material -- it was given to him, just as it was given to the Post and Times and the others. Arrest them all or arrest none of them. Selective enforcement sets a bad precedent. The truth will set you free.

Posted by: bigenigma | December 8, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

Thiessen the SISSY is afraid Wikileaks will leak the lost Bush and Cheney and CIA emails and related documents on 9/11 and illegal wars on two defenseless countries.

Posted by: pdq2 | December 8, 2010 4:39 PM | Report abuse

Many on the Left posting here are blindly supporting Wikileaks. Are they nuts ?

Senator Feinstein gets it, like Secretary Clinton and the liberal “The New Republic”.

Wikileaks actually hurts a Democratic Administration and the Lefts agenda. Bush or Cheney ? not one wit.

Transparency ? will SUFFER as the rebound will be an information lock-down.

"smart" diplomacy ? will suffer as The State Department is embarrassed and admits foreign relations have been DAMAGED !

Secretary Clinton who advocates spying on the UN ? is embarrassed. Who knew the American Left spies on the International Left ?

Obama's Justice Dept is revealed as feckless after this third leak dump.

Obama's foreign policy towards the Middle East is damaged.

Who knew ALL of America's Arab allies were urging a military strike on Iran ? and couldn't care one wit about the Palestinians ? And Israel-bashers here are happy ?

The Obama's Administration is exposed as incompetent and unresponsive…

The pro-Wikileaks Left ? embarrassed ? No. Just clueless.

Posted by: pvilso24 | December 8, 2010 4:50 PM | Report abuse

The Wikileaks document dump shows is how the US position in international affairs has deteriorated.

In February of this year, the US discovered that Syria was transferring 'new' ballistic missiles to Hezbullah.

Syria agreed to stop doing so, but one week later, the US discovered that the transfers were continuing. The reaction? Secretary of State Clinton issued a stern warning to the Syrians. Smart diplomacy? No. Totally ineffective diplomacy.

Wilileaks ? good for the clueless Left ? No. Embarrassing for Clinton and Obama.

Posted by: pvilso24 | December 8, 2010 5:02 PM | Report abuse

Dear Mr Marc Thiessen

You show a lack of understanding of all things electronic which leads me to believe you did no computer lessons at school.

You are so stupid you should not be alowed to run with scissors.

Here is a quick computer lesson. I will keep it simple below the level my 5 year old neice would understand:

The wikileaks files are coded with an MD5 checksum an anti tamper seal which makes your whole idea nonsensical.

You wonderful plan releases a virus on the net. For that is what you are talking about and it is illegal, even threatening it is probably against the law. Hint you and your source may be getting a visit from the FBI.

A computer virus only works when it is executed. Whether by another program or being executable itself.

People who hack computers know this. They run their systems in ways that prevent it from happening and that would recover even if they were dumb enough to download your virus.

Most hackers or indeed anyone even remotely computer literate run Linux and would never be vulnerable to a PC worm.

Every single virus there has ever been on the net gets frozen, copied and studied by you guessed it hackers. Now assuming your super sexy uber "Stuxnet" makes you drible, virus ever was as powerful as it is in your fevered imagination, you just gave every hacker a weapon that as simple as [ctrl] [c] then a few clicks in EMACS or whatever your prefered text editor is and [ctrl] [v] for them to alter the trigger and payload so that say it wrote "Mr Marc Thiessen is a ......" at the start of every article on the net that metioned say WaPo.

Lukily most of the very same hackers you are whinging about spend most of their time killing such viruses, so that the internet you use to post your badly written and researched articles, works properly. Yes they are the same people that work for the likes of symantec and macafee, and probably that do tech support for you when you accedently press the [INS] key and also back up all your data and give you new passwords and in fact run your world.

You realy should read some BOFH it will educate you, or maybe somone in your tech department can give you a practical demonstration.

Oh and the only reason your fantastic "stuxnet" worked is because it was fed from Windows PCs into a specialist piece of hardware a Siemens programmable logic controller where they could influence the working speed of expensive centrifuges and burn them out. There are NO NUCLEAR CENTIFUGES RUNNING IN YOUR PC! or any one at Wikileaks.

Posted by: walker1 | December 8, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

The solution for the country's security? Just keep the secrets in the same safe with Obama's birth certificate and college records.

Posted by: sportsfan2 | December 8, 2010 5:32 PM | Report abuse

Many on the Left posting here are blindly supporting Wikileaks. Are they nuts ?

Posted by: pvilso24
--------------------------

Possibly, not everyone thinks about every issue in simplistic and metaphorically meaningless terms of "right" and "left."

The Internet was conceived and built by people you would probably describe as hardcore leftists, and as you may be noticing now its design inherently makes this kind of grass roots information "leaking" possible - even unstoppable. As one who was there in the beginning, the decentralized nature of the Internet was as much a political design as a technical one. Wikileaks is exactly the kind of thing the Internet was built for, to take power away from governments and put it into the hands of people. China can't stop it, Iran can't stop it, and now the good ole USA can't stop it either.

And hack attack? There are far more capable hackers on the side of free speech than any employed by the shadowy governments of the world. You don't want an arms race there, just stop and think.

Here's a wake up call to our "leaders." If you torture people, if you violate human rights, if you make nefarious backroom deals and lie to the world, you will be found out.

Posted by: leftcoaster | December 8, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

You might notice, you advocates of computer hacking attacks and viruses that delete files everywhere... Wikileaks is still up while Mastercard and Visa are down. I'm just an observer but I can tell you, don't get too cocky when you engage in a battle of hacking skills with 4chan.

I just wish we had Wikileaks in 2002, we might have avoided that misguided fiasco in Iraq.

Posted by: leftcoaster | December 8, 2010 5:48 PM | Report abuse

The media, Republicans and Democrats, the Justice Department, all stood by while George Bush and Dick Cheney tortured people. Our government should be acting professionally and not doing things they don't want us to find out about.

Posted by: MNUSA | December 8, 2010 6:07 PM | Report abuse

BIN LADEN, STUPID.

You should be urging the government to get BIN LADEN NOT ASSANGE. Assange is just revealing the truth. He is actually helping us to learn to keep secrets secret. Needless to say that the best way to protect our troops is to bring them home.

Posted by: marcelosba | December 8, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

As an IT professional all I can do is point and laugh at this idiotic idea. From a technical standpoint it would have zero chance of eliminating the availability of the files in question.

Posted by: croaker69 | December 8, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

walker1's comment is the most informative piece in WaPo today. Kudos.

Posted by: gbooksdc | December 8, 2010 8:08 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of worms, how does the dirt at AEI taste, Thiessen?

Posted by: sasquatchbigfoot | December 9, 2010 12:36 AM | Report abuse

The author is suggesting that the US is so powerful and almighty that it should have jurisdiction over every place in the world. What a thought - No place in the world is safe from Uncle Sam. Now that's arrogance!

It's funny how the "law and order" crowd - "in order to form a more perfect union" I suppose - spends billions of dollars overseas every year to impose its moral will on other nation states and individuals while essentially bankrupting the home economy in the process.

Posted by: mtnplover | December 9, 2010 3:26 AM | Report abuse

"As one who was there in the beginning, the decentralized nature of the Internet was as much a political design as a technical one."

No. No centralized design would have met the initial objectives, which had to do with balancing traffic and survivability of link failure. DARPA of course had command and control applications in mind.

The matter was, the Internet grew up in this charmed bubble inside the Department of Defense. As originally conceived its design didn't address trust boundaries: whoever had physical access was legitimate. It also didn't address how to charge people for moving bits around, because Uncle Sugar was paying for everything. By the time Internet went public there was already too much legacy in place for a complete redo of foundation protocols to address these matters in an airtight way.

Of course much of the work on initial network hardware went on in Cambridge MA done by a bunch of people who wore Birkenstocks and drove Saabs. We were quite happy to be working for ARPA. ARPA was where it was at.

Posted by: fzdybel | December 9, 2010 4:28 AM | Report abuse

continuation-

And “checkmate” file "insurance.aes256" has at this point been propagated throughout Cyberspace. If WikiLeaks themselves do not end up releasing the encryption code, it seems likely that the ingenious and industrious community of computer tekkies will, if an actual challenge persists, sooner or later "crack" it in any case. (Folks WERE, after all, able to decrypt the Collateral Murder Video taken from that Apache helicopter! So the clock is ticking!)

The INTELLIGENT thing for "our" government to do now would be to "capitulate" on this (as it does with so much else of an ECONOMIC nature these days!) and CONSTRUCTIVELY JOIN IN with WikiLeaks in EXPOSING reality --- CONTRIBUTING to the process of "redacting out" selected names and details that would truly endanger GENUINELY INNOCENT people who might be susceptible to reprisals, and perhaps offering or arranging them asylum elsewhere.
But I fully realize that “we” are not likely to deal with such a “problem” intelligently. Such a notion probably comes across as ANATHEMA to MANY people who might read this. But the FACT of the matter is that the ALTERNATIVE is LIKELY TO BE EVEN UGLIER.

In any case, though, propagation of the "leaks" is certainly NOT "treason" on the part of Assange, and probably not MOST of the WikiLeaks consortium, who are so far as I know NOT Americans --- and hence actually owe NO allegiance to the government of THIS nation. PERIOD.

The notion that the leadership of WikiLeaks is somehow obliged to subordinate itself to "ours" is certainly an arrogant and insidious absurdity. And those who are "sensitive" about supposed “lofty legalistic principles” in all of this should reflect on the sheer hypocrisy implicit in "our" seemingly getting exercised about the mere EXPOSURE of “high crimes and misdemeanors”, while remaining strangely silent about much more basic and clear-cut substance clearly evident in what has been exposed --- ESPECIALLY, for instance, the SELF-VALIDATING, UTTERLY DAMNING indictment of "our" society that is so clearly seen in the Collateral Murder video that was the "first salvo" of this whole entire "information exposure campaign"!

Many people are now attempting to "change the subject" and to substitute for it instead something they hope will confuse and distract those whose attention has actually been drawn to this genuinely IMPORTANT subject --- rather as one might attempt to distract some tiny little kid away from some unwholesome bit of dog dung they have come across by dangling a lollipop in its field of view. Hopefully most of “We the (small) People” will simply decline to fall for such tactics. Certainly, it appears that that is what the REST of the world is doing!

Posted by: BirdsAbound | December 9, 2010 1:44 PM | Report abuse

As in the now classic old computer-technology-exposition movie War Games, ultimately, THE ONLY WAY TO WIN THE GAME IS TO NOT PLAY!

I gather MasterCard and Visa were "down" FOR MANY HOURS yesterday. I happen to know a little bit about the great lengths to which the credit-card network systems go to install fail-safe backup power sources to assure that their operations will not be interrupted for even a second or two. For when that (rarely) occurs, the costs of having the world-wide network clearing financial transactions "off the air" VERY QUICKLY MOUNT INTO THE BAZILION$. It is WORTH IT to them to even go to such extremes as employing as the cooling fluid in large power transformers PCBs --- which have long been OUTLAWED (for ENVIRONMENTAL /HEALTH REASONS!) in other-than-such “special use” applications --- but which are INCREMENTALLY MORE RELIABLE because unlike “ordinary” mineral oil fluids, they are IMMUNE TO CATCHING FIRE!

This is NOT a war people actually want to fight! You ALREADY HAVE TWO “ENDLESS” WARS GOING! You would be FAR better advised to MAKE PEACE with WikiLeaks! THEY are not really your “enemy”!

A quote from Julian Assange that should inform people as to HIS own personal philosophy and motivation:
“The west has fiscalized its basic power relationships through a web of contracts, loans, shareholdings, bank holdings and so on. In such an environment it is easy for speech to be "free" because a change in politics rarely leads to any change in these basic instruments. Western speech, as something that rarely has any effect on power, is, like badgers and birds, free. In states like China, there is pervasive censorship, because speech still has power and power is scared of it. We should always look at censorship as an economic signal that reveals the potential power of speech in that jurisdiction. The attacks against Wikileaks by the US point to a great hope: speech powerful enough to break the fiscal blockade.”

Now WHATEVER you may think of THAT, it would be very UNWISE to imagine that he is just one individual acting alone, or the chief of some small cabal! With respect to the question of whether the US should prosecute Assange- at this point, it really doesn't make any difference. The WORLD is ALREADY VOTING. I just checked, and at this point WikiLeaks is alive and well and living mainly in Europe, but more broadly all over the planet. It is currently being mirrored on 1,334 sites (updated 2010-12-08 22:43 GMT). (That is up from 208 a few days ago.)

More than 1,193 "Cablegate" Embassy cables have now been released. And they REALLY DO make for some rather interesting reading. I heartily recommend that people really should go and CHECK OUT THE MATERIAL FOR THEMSELVES (rather than relying on "legitimate" sources --- e.g. the Guardian, der Spiegel, the NY Times, etc.) to "filter" the truth for them. Just visit, for example, WikiLeaks.de (.de = Deutschland) --- this is SUPPOSED to be a DEMOCRACY!

Posted by: BirdsAbound | December 9, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

As in the now classic old computer-technology-exposition movie War Games, ultimately, THE ONLY WAY TO WIN THE GAME IS TO NOT PLAY!

I gather MasterCard and Visa were "down" FOR MANY HOURS yesterday. I happen to know a little bit about the great lengths to which the credit-card network systems go to install fail-safe backup power sources to assure that their operations will not be interrupted for even a second or two. For when that (rarely) occurs, the costs of having the world-wide network clearing financial transactions "off the air" VERY QUICKLY MOUNT INTO THE BAZILION$. It is WORTH IT to them to even go to such extremes as employing as the cooling fluid in large power transformers PCBs --- which have long been OUTLAWED (for ENVIRONMENTAL /HEALTH REASONS!) in other-than-such “special use” applications --- but which are INCREMENTALLY MORE RELIABLE because unlike “ordinary” mineral oil fluids, they are IMMUNE TO CATCHING FIRE!

This is NOT a war people actually want to fight! You ALREADY HAVE TWO “ENDLESS” WARS GOING! You would be FAR better advised to MAKE PEACE with WikiLeaks! THEY are not really your “enemy”!

A quote from Julian Assange that should inform people as to HIS own personal philosophy and motivation:
“The west has fiscalized its basic power relationships through a web of contracts, loans, shareholdings, bank holdings and so on. In such an environment it is easy for speech to be "free" because a change in politics rarely leads to any change in these basic instruments. Western speech, as something that rarely has any effect on power, is, like badgers and birds, free. In states like China, there is pervasive censorship, because speech still has power and power is scared of it. We should always look at censorship as an economic signal that reveals the potential power of speech in that jurisdiction. The attacks against Wikileaks by the US point to a great hope: speech powerful enough to break the fiscal blockade.”

Now WHATEVER you may think of THAT, it would be very UNWISE to imagine that he is just one individual acting alone, or the chief of some small cabal! With respect to the question of whether the US should prosecute Assange- at this point, it really doesn't make any difference. The WORLD is ALREADY VOTING. I just checked, and at this point WikiLeaks is alive and well and living mainly in Europe, but more broadly all over the planet. It is currently being mirrored on 1,334 sites (updated 2010-12-08 22:43 GMT). (That is up from 208 a few days ago.)

More than 1,193 "Cablegate" Embassy cables have now been released. And they REALLY DO make for some rather interesting reading. I heartily recommend that people really should go and CHECK OUT THE MATERIAL FOR THEMSELVES (rather than relying on "legitimate" sources --- e.g. the Guardian, der Spiegel, the NY Times, etc.) to "filter" the truth for them. Just visit, for example, WikiLeaks.de (.de = Deutschland) --- this is SUPPOSED to be a DEMOCRACY!

Posted by: BirdsAbound | December 9, 2010 1:51 PM | Report abuse


In the 200,000+ documents released by W/L, did even one allude to a U.S. foreign policy/defense policy success? I doubt it. That is why government and supporters of an American empire so hate W/L.

The leaks provide citizens of America and the world with a litany of failure, duplicity, hypocrisy, incompetence, guesswork, gossip, and despicable activities by American diplomats, leaders, and the military.

The only "security" threatened by W/L's revelations is the American citizens' feeling of security that they are being ruled by intelligent and sane leaders. Does anyone still think so?

Further reading: http://www.thirdworldtraveler.com/Political_Ponerology/Politicians%26Psychopaths.html

Posted by: rwruger | December 9, 2010 5:19 PM | Report abuse

"In the 200,000+ documents released by W/L"

These were only released to certain newspapers. Only about 1100 documents altogether have been released to the public.

Evidences of success? The newspapers probably didn't choose them for that. Scandalous behavior is more newsworthy. Some of the documents seem to show that the administration has been fairly adroit and fairly successful in mobilizing international support for sanctions against Iran.

Posted by: fzdybel | December 10, 2010 1:41 AM | Report abuse

http://www.theage.com.au/technology/technology-news/anger-at-slave-trader-assange-wikileaks-loyalists-decide-to-break-away-20101210-18s0w.html

Oh look. Now there are two.

The network has discovered its next "killer app."

Posted by: fzdybel | December 10, 2010 4:18 AM | Report abuse

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