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back to article We didn't leak names of US agents, insists WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks has sprung a "leak" that has reportedly resulted in the availability of unredacted copies of US diplomatic cables, according to German media outlets. WikiLeaks has admitted some sort of unspecified infosec problem while denying suggestions that its cache of US diplomatic cables has been exposed. The whistle-blowing …

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Tell them

That your real name is Dick Cheney and to go F*ck themselves.

(Because it works over here in the USA!)

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Black Helicopters

I'm glad I'm not in WikiLeaks.

That data is probably under surveillance or being infiltrated by the best cyber minds on the planet.

The aim would be to discredit WikiLeaks at all or any cost.

None of us should be surprised at that.

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Holmes

discredit Wikileaks?

Please give me a break. Good Ol Julian does that well enough by himself.

So much for the boy blunder hacker securing his own site.

If Der Spiegel had access to the file along with the pass code, to decrypt it, you can bet others already have it.

I smell this as more of 'please ignore the man behind the green curtain.'

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Re: discredit Wikileaks?

"Please give me a break. Good Ol Julian does that well enough by himself."

Indeed. What is more our Jules has pissed off the Oztralian government: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-14722030

Jules now has nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. If he returns to the family bosom (it being the country in which he was convicted for 25 offences involving computers, including hacking a police computer system) he may find it lined with manacles. Perhaps he will receive the sentence that he originally ought to have, in spite of his wrigglings.

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@Ian Michael Gumby - I'm sure you're right.

No doubt you're correct.

However, with WikiLeaks what we have is a new paradigm. Traditionally, the State has viewed security threats as either external ones or those from wayward/dangerous/subversive individuals or groups. Now, the State has to concern itself with a legitimately organised citizenry that's intent on breaking up the way it does business in secret.

This is new and we're only seeing the beginning of it. WikiLeaks may be in the vanguard but it won't be the last. I'd predict it'll ultimately change the way governments do business. Diplomacy will likely be much more public.

(Remember, in the past, whistleblowing was limited, disorganised and usually ineffective and the whistleblower usually complained to one branch of government about the goings-on in another. Complaints to WikiLeaks are outside that loop which means the State no longer in control of the situation.)

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Re: I'm glad I'm not in WikiLeaks.

"That data is probably under surveillance or being infiltrated by the best cyber minds on the planet.

The aim would be to discredit WikiLeaks at all or any cost."

Firstly a single item of data (that as opposed to these) is a datum, the plural of datum is data.

Secondly, what do you mean by the data are 'probably under surveillance or being infiltrated'? If they have been released that is the end of the matter. If they have not been released, what on earth can be said to 'discredit Wikileaks' that could not be said after Wikileaks have released them?

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Boffin

@Graham,

I'm afraid that Wikileaks won't change anything of how governments do business. Maybe tighten security and maybe perform better due diligence and security background checks....

The point is that in the past we've had the press who've done a pretty good job of rooting out crime and corruption in government, which is why they have a bit more protection in the courts. However, unlike the press, Wikileaks doesn't show caution or have the same 'ethical' standards. (Note that ethical standards vary by country and by time period...)

So to your point, governments will continue to do business as usual. Perhaps they will be more guarded in what they say and or publish... in fact it could mean that less information will be documented and captured. :-(

I don't disagree that we will see more whistle blowing sites, however I think that they will be less about the egos of their creators and more about their cause.

The key is that there truly are some things that we as a public shouldn't know... at least not for 50+ years, under our current laws.

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@Ian Michael Gumby

>>"So to your point, governments will continue to do business as usual. Perhaps they will be more guarded in what they say and or publish... in fact it could mean that less information will be documented and captured."

Maybe some might even use leaks for their own ends more than they currently do - if there's a more common culture of leaking, that might make it easier for information that people want to get out to be disclosed.

In the past, leaks were often specific things leaked on principle.

If there's a situation where things may be leaked in bulk, and with much less discrimination, like someone copying things whatever files they can find randomly onto a memory stick, that would seem like an opportunity for a few desired leaks to be buried in a haystack of irrelevant gossip, from where one hopes some media person will find it and publicise it.

Heck, with citizen journalists looking through bulk releases of information, it doesn't even take a proper journalist to stumble upon something - some random anonymous blogger can 'find' the nuggets of gold and give them their first pushes towards publicity.

Whatever one thinks of the people in charge, it'd be a mistake to think that they're necessarily stupid or incapable of seeing opportunities.

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dont believe a word of it

american spies in israel???

why ffs? it's not like the us would ever act on anything that happens there.

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Re: dont believe a word of it

"american spies in israel???

why ffs? it's not like the us would ever act on anything that happens there."

Of course they have an intelligence gathering operation there. Intelligence is both prophylactic as well as offensive; it is important to know what your friends are up to, even if only because you want to know if they are about to screw up, and it is important to know if your friends are aware of threats they face. Sabra and Shatilla are among the very good reasons why; in case you need an aide memoire, Israeli sponsored Maronite Christians slaughtered many Palestinians there. It is one of the pretexts used by bin Laden for his foul deeds; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sabra_and_Shatila_massacre

The Christian (my memory says 'Druze', though I can't be sure) leader who was about to spill the beans on the Israelis, especially the now comatose Sharon, was murdered very soon after publicly declaring his intent to do so.

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Facepalm

Er... duh?

"We're keeping this encrypted stuff secure by giving the password to several people!"

Is it me, or does that sound.... wrong?

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@Big Al

>>""We're keeping this encrypted stuff secure by giving the password to several people!""

Quite, and in a young organisation composed of idealists and more than the occasional ego.

What could /possibly/ go wrong?

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Meh

People who stole data are sloppy with security

Tell me something I didn't know already. I gave p on Wikileaks years ago and this Assange's platform of 'Information should be free, but only if I give the go ahead' seems a bit hypocritical to me.

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So-o-o-o-o-o... Just checking, here...

...if someone passes Wikileaks information that the owner doesn't want given out, that person is a "fighter for information freedom and transparency" (or whatever their current feel-good term is), while if someone passes information that Wikileaks holds and doesn't want given out, that person is a "malicious individual", then...?

It all sounds rather "I am large, you are stout, he is fat," hairsplitting, to me.

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Stop

cables.csv

Spreadsheets aren't databases.

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Re: cables.csv

unfortunately, yes they are. To classify as a database, all a system has to do is accept data, hold it in storage, and return it via an established mechanism.

You (and I suspect a lot of people) are unconsciously adding prefixes like "relational" to the word "database".

Having said that, Excel and Access are terrible ways to store your data if you plan on doing more than add-store-read.

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And I recall some program way back when

using the .csv extention that was explicitly used as a tracking complication tool for programers. Somebody bought it for me to use for archiving our publications files. I didn't find it particularly useful because it was programmer centric, but it was popular with programmers at the time. Could be a variant on that, possibly even the same tool 20 generations later.

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WTF?

"....a WikiLeaks member gave access...without the permission of Assange."

I suppose if you are a spy or informant, it must be comforting that the official Wikileaks approach to security means that your life is now dependant on the whim of Assange.....

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Flame

Complicit

People are going to die of this release, and Assange is complicit in the chain of events - I wonder how he will address the blood soon to be spatter'd on his reputation?

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He never gave

a shit about the blood on his hands in the first place. People who care about blood on their hands do one of two things with this kind of info: avoid it completely (that would be me), or go into government where there's at least a decent pretext of security the data to protect the innocent.

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Traitors

Those people that may die as you put it have been aiding corrupt governments, and so they deserve what happens.

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Trollface

RE: Traitors

There's the Tinfoil Bowlers Brigade heard from, then.

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Black Helicopters

WTF???

Normally Reg member postings are well thought out. It seems that on the Wikileaks/Assange topics and everything related, we're now focusing on media articles we have read. All of which are likely to be pro-Government of wherever they are, or at least pro-blowing their own horn and just as liable to make stuff up as much of the British press. I'm not saying Wikileaks is immune/innocent to that either, but I certainly cannot prove they do, while there are established court cases regarding much of the media.

With that in mind, I'm not sure how any opinion above can really be taken as anything more than a glib comment from gut feelings about what is truly transpiring.

Personally I think the likelihood is: Wikileaks have some dirt on lots of organisations and governments. The organisations and governments don't like it, so, as much mud slinging and distortion is thrown about in the media until nobody cares anymore. When that happens, Wikileaks will get few web hits as nobody will care what they are publishing. Thus, by making the whole thing as frustrating and conspiracy-theory embroiled as possible causes the masses not to care and for Wikileaks to lose the ability to whistleblow.

Then some organisations and governments can get back to the dirt they were doing before, safe in the knowledge that it won't matter if Wikileaks get hold of it.

Where you cannot take an organisation down, just cause apathy surrounding them that turns peoples attention away and job done. Simples!

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@Nanomousey

>>"Where you cannot take an organisation down, just cause apathy surrounding them that turns peoples attention away and job done. Simples!"

And you don't think that for people looking to discredit Wikileaks, having Assange in charge is a bit of a bonus?

Or that people looking to 'cause apathy' must be rubbing their hands in glee at all the Wikileaks-inspired trumpeting over diplomatic memos, few of which seemed to rise in interest above the level of suggestions that people don't trust Berlusconi, or requests for more soft toilet paper.

One of the best ways to cause future apathy is to create loads of hype and then deliver boredom.

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@david_wilson

RE: "And you don't think that for people looking to discredit Wikileaks, having Assange in charge is a bit of a bonus?"

The hypothesis of your question is that Assange himself discredits Wikeleaks. I don't know the guy and I don't necessarily believe what's in the press. Even based on what I have seen of what Assange has said in interviews is somewhat misrepresentative of the guy - he's been asked questions by the media, so they drive the topic and question things a particular way to drive a particular angle that could well be considered 'leading the witness'. I certainly have seen them deliberately take some answers he's given out of context to do so. So there is no way to have an educated view on the matter. (unless I knew him or WL persons, or had inside gov/intel, which I do not)

I think the same would happen whoever acted as a spokesman for Wikileaks. I think best not have a spokesman! You could, if you desire, interpret that as falling on the side of agreeing with your hpothesis - but it's still your interpretation. I'm already passed caring about the matter.

I only hope there are people of good standing who would seek to bring greater transparency and accountability to government. There are caveats to that which, depending on scenario, could fill a book. So discussing them here is a little pointless. Whether WL does this is deabteable - as I posted earlier, the water is too muddy to see clearly. Are WL corrupt in how they operate? Have they brought important truths to public awareness where the pros outweight the cons and thus done a good thing? All highly debateable and without being able to definitively establish the truth, this is just the domain of personal opinion and not one of clear-cut factual objectivity.

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Re: @david_wilson

"The hypothesis of your question is that Assange himself discredits Wikeleaks."

There is no hypothesis without first articulating a theory, unless of course the statement causes a paradigm shift but, even then, a hypothesis without theoretical background is like a ship without an anchor; the hypothesis is an operational statement of the theory. So, statements about gravity, forces, physics, followed by the hypothesis that the moon will cause tidal changes [...]

I'll offer you a theoretical statement - itself laden with theoretical assumptions that can be clarified if necessary, to the effect that Assange, due to developmental course, does not follow rules in conduct and speech, is impulsive and prone to making bad judgements (there would be a lot of stuff about childhood schedules of reinforcement from parental input, the subsequent development of reward and discipline areas of the brain, particularly the pre-frontal grey and areas ennervating it), resulting in a variety of phenomena, such as releasing information without first taking proper precautions in respect of the security of individuals named within documents, having a cavalier attitude to informants in Afghanistan to the effect that they can die, after all they are informants, and so on.

In discrediting himself Assange destroys the image of the things that he claims to own, including the data that he claims to own (he does not, the data 'belong' to those from whom they were taken), namely Wikileaks. He also destroys the principle of leakers/whistle blowing, because he has operated in an indisciplined manner, right down to having such bad security that Berg - however noble his aims may have been [1] - was able to make off with data and shred them. Since there were apparently no back up copies, Assange not only looks silly because he let the data out of his sight, but also because his bad security extends to routine functions that an office coffee boy would know how to execute.

I would not trust Assange to look after anything owned by me, and that brings me to the final point; in acting as a fence for stolen information Assange has made claims about the data belonging to him, is apparently about to set up a paywall, is writing his autobiography and profits handsomely in the form of generous remuneration, whilst paying only crumbs to the Bradley Manning defence fund. This is not consistent with the behaviour of a genuinely altruistic individual, seeking to uncover wrongdoing; it strikes me as the behaviour of a ruthless, materially oriented individual who is prepared to say or do a great deal in order to further his material wealth. This is the man who adopted the soubriquet 'Mendax', apparently believing that mendacity could be noble, something put forward in the form of the Platonic myth.

As I indicated before, offending behaviours do not take place in a vacuum; all offenders have a career, and progress from seemingly trivial offences to ones of greater magnitude. I await the court case with interest.

These are among the reasons why I resolutely say what I see, and why I find Assange and his supporters/fellow travellers to be risible.

[1] Assange apparently claims they were stolen; if they could be so described, this would only be possible if it is accepted that they were in the first place stolen property.

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Anonymous Coward

Wikileaks

I don't care if the agents and informants were revealed by Wikileaks. The government is so corrupt, and abusing so much power, that anybody that aids them in their acts, deserves to be revealed.

Let that be a lesson to all you other would be informants that you can't trust government to keep your information encrypted, and you simply end up suffering for it.

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Trollface

Blame the victim

And now we've heard from the "No Good Deed *Should* Go Unpunished" crew, as well.

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