CIA, State Department Apparently Acting on Plan to Destroy Wikileaks
The rise of the internet brings the greatest challenge yet to the globe’s existing centers of power, and those associated with those centers of power are at least partially aware of this. China has reacted with the construction of its second Great Wall, the Russian government appears to have shut down a website used to organize a recent spate of ad hoc protests, and there have been various murmurs by such degenerate political figures as Hugo Chavez to the effect that the internet’s anarchic nature runs contrary to their own preferred schematic for humanity, one which is reliant on such people as themselves (I am paraphrasing for accuracy by implication, of course).
Among the institutions that have arisen as of late that challenge secrecy, and thus the status quo, is Wikileaks, which has provided a tremendous service to humanity by serving as a clearinghouse by which previously-secret information may be disseminated to the public, which may then decide for itself whether the more traditional institutions that operate in its name ought to be permitted to continue to do so. It has produced a great number of important scoops over the past few years, and it appears to be preparing for yet another. It also appears to be under present attack by portions of the U.S. intelligence community at this very moment.
As noted by a related blog[Down due to excessive traffic, changed link to Twitter feed itself, 6:11 EST], the Wikileaks Twitter feed produced a number of disturbing messages last night:
WikiLeaks to reveal Pentagon murder-coverup at US National Press Club, Apr 5, 9am; contact firstname.lastname@example.org
WikiLeaks is currently under an aggressive US and Icelandic surveillance operation. Following/photographing/filming/detaining
If anything happens to us, you know why: it is our Apr 5 film. And you know who is responsible.
Two under State Dep diplomatic cover followed our editor from Iceland to http://skup.no on Thursday.
One related person was detained for 22 hours. Computer’s seized.That’s http://www.skup.no
We know our possession of the decrypted airstrike video is now being discussed at the highest levels of US command.
We have been shown secret photos of our production meetings and been asked specific questions during detention related to the airstrike.
We have airline records of the State Dep/CIA tails. Don’t think you can get away with it. You cannot. This is WikiLeaks.
These messages come a few days after Wikileaks produced what appears to be evidence that portions of the U.S. intelligence and diplomatic communities have floated the idea of discrediting this outlet by way of methods similar to those employed in the CIA’s COINTELPRO operations of the late ’60s.
If this is actually occurring, it is the most important story of the year thus far. Depending on who you are, though, you may not take it seriously. I will note, and you as a reader may verify for yourself, that nearly every single individual involved in matters of information freedom takes this extraordinarily seriously, and that this incident will be the focus of all of them no matter whether or not the defunct media decides to grace it with a passing mention (and thereby legitimize the story in the eyes of those who deem matters important on the basis of whether they are being discussed by big shiny news outlets run by producers who care only for handbags). I will have more to relate on that particular subject later today after I hear back from certain individuals with more information on this incident and the specific events that may have prompted it.
Some important links:
Wikileaks Twitter Feed – This hasn’t been updated for some 14 hours as of 2:00 pm EST. Update 9:04 EST Updated with message to the effect that everyone’s fine, see below.
Update 2:29 EST
It’s worth noting that German police last year raided the home of a certain individual who owned that nation’s version of the Wikileaks domain name. Again, national governments take Wikileaks seriously, and so should you.
Update 2:40 EST
The New York Times deserves credit for having reported on the U.S. intel community’s plan to discredit Wikileaks a few days ago. More to the point, this should help to convince those who may be coming to this late to the game that, yes, this is legitimate. Our nation’s intelligence service has targeted this website for destruction, and is most likely carrying out some variant on the plan at this very moment.
Update 3:23 EST
Not a word of this on Memeorandum or any of the major U.S. media outlets. This is exactly why we need more and better institutions designed with improved information flow in mind. Consider e-mailing me for info about Project PM at email@example.com. Consider donating to Wikileaks. Consider getting in touch with a competent blogger and letting them know about this story.
Update 3:42 EST
If you have been directed to this page and are reading me for the first time, allow me to note that I am not in the habit of writing news updates of the breathless sort and do not specialize in these sorts of stories. I am also not the credulous type. I write for Skeptic and have a column for the Skeptical Inquirer, which is to say that I have earned some skeptic street cred over the years and am cashing those chips in today. If I take the position that a consortium of U.S. intel agencies are taking actions against an institution dedicated to transparency, it is because I have determined that this very thing is happening, and if I have made such a determination, it is only because the totality of the evidence points to such a thing as being not only probable, but obvious. Having said that, the evidence is here for all to see, and to act on.
Any assault on the ability of individuals to obtain the information necessary to ensure humanity’s collective well-being is an assault on humanity itself and ought to be regarded as such.
Update 4:29 EST
Wikileaks Twitter feed finally updates with the following message: “To those worrying about us–we’re fine, and will issue a suitable riposte shortly.”
Update 4:37 EST
Wikileaks is planning on releasing segments or at least stills from the video in question on April 5th. Apparently, it is a decrypted video displaying some sort of “massacre.” Insomuch as that the video was encrypted in the first place, it was likely stolen/leaked from some government military agency; it is possible that what worries the agency in question is not the contents, but the fact that an encryption schematic in use by said agency has been broken by people in the business of distributing secrets.
Update 5:30 EST
To clarify, Wikileaks has previously claimed that the video in question shows the deliberate murder of journalists and civilians, and that the video comes from some branch of the U.S. military. Obviously, there a number of conclusions one could draw from this regarding specifics and thus the full extent of the potential scandal; I’m trying to get in touch with those close to the matter before speculating further.
Update, 6:00 EST
This recent post by Scott Horton of Harper’s provides a good rundown of the context regarding Wikileaks, secrecy, and the mindset that defines too many U.S. government agencies:
What does the Pentagon have in common with North Korea, China, Zimbabwe, and a number of private Swiss banks? They all feel threatened by WikiLeaks, the Internet service that offers whistleblowers an opportunity to publish documents that expose corruption and wrongdoing by state and private actors.
Update 8:43 EST
Based on all available information, I would guess that the video clip depicts a Predator strike gone wrong – one that inadvertently killed a few journalists – and that certain officials took steps to minimize knowledge of the incident, to put it cutely. Again, this is simply an estimation.
Update 9:09 EST
A quote from the DoD report published on the 15th that deserves particular emphasis:
The identification, exposure, termination of employment, criminal prosecution, legal action against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistlblowers could potentially damage, or destroy this center of gravity and deter others considering similar actions from using the Wikileaks.org Web site.
Update 9:38 EST
Another quote from the DoD report that’s worth emphasizing for different reasons:
The governments of China, Israel, North Korea, Russia, Thailand, Zimbabwe, and several other countries have blocked access to Wikileaks.org-type Web sites, claimed they have
the right to investigate and prosecute Wikileaks.org and associated whistleblowers, or insisted they remove false, sensitive, or classified government information, propaganda, or malicious content from the Internet. The governments of China, Israel, and Russia claim the right to remove objectionable content from, block access to, and investigate crimes related to the posting of documents or comments to Web sites such as Wikileaks.org. The governments of these
countries most likely have the technical skills to take such action should they choose to do so.
Update 10:08 EST
They must indeed be okay insomuch as that they’re now posting links to Gawker articles about themselves and analysis about why China hates them.
Update 11:08 EST
The Modern Media Initiative, with which Wikileaks is involved, probably merits more attention from those who agree that Iceland’s possible role as a global safe haven for information freedom is a crucial response to the inevitable attempts that will be made to encroach upon humanity’s fundamentally improved access to information.