Defend Wikileaks against US government attacks

Prominent Australians, including Green Senator Bob Brown, have signed an Open Letter to Julia Gillard asking her to provide assistance to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in the face of the attacks he is facing, including threats of assassination.

The letter says “such calls cannot be dismissed as bluster. Over the last decade, we have seen the normalisation of extrajudicial measures once unthinkable, from ‘extraordinary rendition’ (kidnapping) to ‘enhanced interrogation’ (torture).”

It called for Ms Gillard to “publicly confirm Australia’s commitment to freedom of political communication” and “to provide assistance and advocacy to Mr Assange; and do everything in your power to ensure that any legal proceedings taken against him comply fully with the principles of law and procedural fairness.”

One of the most distasteful things is the way big governments and big corporates are combining to try to shut down Wikileaks. Amazon pushed Wikileaks off its server, PayPal stopped donations, and now Mastercard and Visa have blocked payments to Wikileaks.

Corporate globalisation does not necessarily mean an advance of civilisation if dominant corporations like Amazon, PayPal, Mastercard and Visa can be marshalled by the American superpower to shut down its critics. To protest Amazon’s despicable behaviour people can order their books through other book retailers, but it is hard to avoid Visa and Mastercard because they control most of the New Zealand market.

Wikileaks is becoming the free speech battle of our time, and we all have a stake in how it plays out.

45 Comments Posted

  1. In my eyes every government should have the pocibility of secrets. It is important to have a legal system that allows a secret or does not and not single humans.

    I think the US will create a new law as an answer to wikileak. It will be similar to the laws against spys.


  2. Should that not be US Government “and allies” attacks.

    The Swedish government’s pursuit of Assange is not one based on law. Interpol got involved even though this case is below its usual threshold. The opposition to bail (the terms prevented any flight risk – no passport, monitoring tag and daily reporting) speaks of service to a political cause.

    Given the initial case was stopped due to lack of evidence (what new evidence since?) one wonders as to whether Sweden can genuinely offer a fair trial. Recent revelations about closer security and intelligence co-operation between Sweden and the USA (revealed by WikiLeaks) indicate the political dimensions – including a Swedish government defending its decision to have troops in Afghanistan – and needing to exaggerate security threat (somehow compouned by transparency about its intel ties to the USA?).

    I don’t know of any evidence of a sting (there is the family connection of one of the 2 complainants to the head of Swedish forces in Afghanistan) but the lack of a condom security shield making Swedish women vulnerable to foreign exposure is a little suggestive … . As is being asleep and not awake to a threat …

  3. Although there are half a dozen listed New Zealand WikiLeaks mirrors, I cant see listed…?

  4. “One of the major reasons for government secrecy is to protect the government from it’s own population,” Noam Chomsky


    I have been sifting through one of Wikileaks mirrored and related sites and have not found any information that I consider to compromise US. military capabilities.

    Wikileakes is focusing on human rights issues like how the US army treats their POW’s.

    They are a professional organisation of investigative journalists who will protect their sources at all costs.

    There is absolutely no reason why Julian Assange is in custody; what law has he broken?

    Anyway John Pilger has put up bail for him; so there you go that’s two hero’s looking out for each other!!!!!

  6. the ‘Chinese’ would have rewritten them substantially I believe – not the masses but those Communists who are somehow bigger and better than the other billion or so.
    the Net is a very common pool – indifferent, one could call it communistic by definition – arggghhh ….. are there any Moslems involved?

  7. Photonz,

    If Most of the leaks published so far look like they are designed to cause damage, embarrassment, and distrust between countries, without actually revealing anything new., then why the hell did the Americans responsible write them in the first place? It wasn’t Wikileaks staff that wrote the cables; it was American diplomatic staff. Then there is the question about who leaked the cables, and why? And there is the further question, what sort of security stuff-ups occurred within the US to allow the leaks to happen in the first place?

    If Wikileaks hadn’t published the cables, someone else would have. Indeed, having them published in the open potentially causes less damage to the US than if they had been quietly handed over to the Chinese (or whoever else) without anyone knowing.

  8. Photonz

    It is indeed a coincidence, unless you can see something in the leaked data that would make it causative. I could as easily correlate it with someone’s Birthday.

    The only possible causative relationship I can think of is that the folks at Mossad recognized that wikileaks would distract and divert attention from what they were doing.

    Otherwise it is a nonsense.


  9. “Information has never been so free. Even in authoritarian countries information networks are helping people discover new facts and making governments more accountable.”
    – US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, January 21, 2010

  10. Samiuela –

    I would expect frogblog would simply be closed down as far as access from the rest of the world is concerned. Tor would be closed down. They’d filter every access point it uses.

    NZ might internally maintain freedom of the net, but as soon as you wanted to go somewhere (news organizations in particular), that news organization would have have been forced into SSL… they’d have rules about record keeping, and the anonymity of the net would be a thing of history. Your every comment could be back traced.

    Anyone not complying with the rules gets blocked at the net routers. That sort of filter and enforcement would see pay-walls proliferate. It is not something we can get around, as it isn’t the individual who’d be blocked, but the non-compliant website… and it would I strongly expect… be a deny by default rule. Only those who are on the “good list” get to use the net.

    The risk to the net is real enough.


  11. BJ, true … but if you wanted to avoid filters you wouldn’t post directly to Frogblog. For a start, you might try using something like Tor, which would sidestep any filters your ISP had in place (and even better Frogblog would use SSL to avoid incoming and outgoing traffic being easily filtered … something that would be very easy to set up, and I advocated in another thread). Then, if Frogblog was blocked altogether, I’m sure that you’d find alternative ways of getting your message out, if you were sufficiently determined, just as I’m sure Wikileaks r any successor will (incidentally, this is the flaw in attempts to stop Wikileaks; the cat (ie the idea of a leaks site) is out of the bag).

    Perhaps this is the main point of filters, most people will not be sufficiently determined to avoid them. Having said that, I’m sure there are plenty of people like myself who will try to avoid filtering of the Internet, no so much because we want to talk about Kalashnikovs, but because the technology is cool, and trying to keep one step ahead of the authorities is challenging.

  12. If the people running the backbone decided do the filtering Samiuela, I think they can maintain sufficient traffic to handle the essential load. It would take a bit of work and it would stuff things up for months, but I have no doubt of the capability… after all, more than half of the mail network capacity is consumed by viagra spam… and I’d bet this post winds up “filtered” because THAT word was in it.

  13. BJ,

    You’re correct about the vulnerabilities of the Internet. However, the Internet is now also used for a huge amount of commerce, which governments won’t want to restrict. So its not as though someone is going to go and simply turn it off; instead they’ll try and filter traffic so that only “acceptable” traffic makes it through. And herein lies the opportunity for those who don’t want it censored; essentially what I expect to see happen (and is already happening) is an “arms race” between those trying to filter the Internet’s traffic, and those wanting to avoid the filters. Maybe its not a particularly productive use of peoples efforts (on both sides; those trying to censor content, and those trying to avoid the censors), but it will mean that it will be very hard to totally restrict free speech.

  14. Todd says “It says the assassination occurred on the same day, that’s it.”

    So we have the scientists working on the nuclear project for decades – i.e. over 10,000 days, with no problems

    Then wikileaks are published and they are bombned. Not within the same year, not the same month, not even within a week. But within hours.

    And Todd thinks it’s just some amazing 10,000 to 1 coincidence.

    Second hand car salesmen must love you.

    Personally I think wikileaks have the potential to do a lot of good…. and a lot of bad.

    And therein lies the problem.

    Many people are jumping on the bandwagon and supporting wikileaks because they align with their fundamental idealogical hatred of America / power / governments or whatever.

    They have no objectivity, and never intend to.

    Most of the leaks published so far look like they are designed to cause damage, embarrassment, and distrust between countries, without actually revealing anything new.

  15. “..It may however, become instead the trigger for realization of the nascent movement to censor the web, and so a loss of freedom…”

    yeah…that is a distinct possibility….

    and really…

    ..what this wiki-leak has shown-up is the abject failures of our supposed watchdogs…the media…

    assange is quoted on this in one of my wiki/assange-stories today..

    “..(As Assange told the Sydney Morning Herald earlier this year, “How is it that a team of five people has managed to release to the public more suppressed information, at that level, than the rest of the world press combined? It’s disgraceful.”)

    hear ..!..hear..!

    ..craven-sychophants sums up most of them…


  16. I wouldn’t go so far as to say I don’t care. I might say that on balance the cost of openness is worth the benefit.

    The cost will become less as the habit of openness takes root… but that cost is considerable. The habit of openness has to become ingrained. We don’t need just the messages from the US State Dept but also from the inner councils of the Teleban, the drug barons, CEI, Goldman Sachs, the Fed, the lot. We aren’t anywhere near that, and so the result seems a bit lopsided, while there is actually plenty of embarrassment to be spread around.

    We are in the habit of not speaking plainly, and we deceive each other and ourselves to our great detriment. The change that Wikileaks could be a harbinger of, would be an enormous social revolution.

    It may however, become instead the trigger for realization of the nascent movement to censor the web, and so a loss of freedom.

    The government, not netizens, controls the backbone of the web. The potential for imposition of controls on the web is real. The means, physical, and so difficult for us to overcome through the net. Spoiled we are, with few of the current generation understanding the evolution and vulnerabilities of that infrastructure.


  17. I don’t care if Wikileaks causes a few deaths. The USA has/is causing far more deaths and that shit needs to be exposed

  18. Photonz

    Reading that article, the connection between the leaks and the apparent work of Mossad to assassinate some nuclear scientists in Iran is basically the fact that the writer mentions them both in the same article.

    We knew and know that Mossad does this. Nor did any leak have anything to do with their doing it.


    It is more to do with Television I think. The effects you cite cannot be discounted, but the attention span of my fellow citizens has been deliberately diminished by the people in power, through attacks on public education, public broadcasting and provision of predigested pablum through the now wholly owned media.


  19. photonz1

    Did you actually read the article you just linked to? It says the assassination occurred on the same day, that’s it. There is no relationship between WikiLeaks and the assassinations which have been happening for around four years now on Iranian scientists linked with the country’s nuclear program.

    So do you jump to this conclusion based on information, or based on ignorance?

    I come to the conclusion that nearly everything you say is crap because it is photonz1. That opinion is based on the false information that you supply. Do you believe your own lies?

  20. I am really surprised from the US response. but i must say that Wikileaks did the good job.

    If the leaked documents favors US(but did not), then what would be the reaction of the US admnistration??? can anyone guess??

  21. Todd says “Please provide proof of this? You’re well known to be a king of the unsubstantiated statement, what you say often has absolutely no relevance to reality. Back up or shut up photonz!”

    So without bothering to look yourself, you automatically jump to the conclusion that it is “unsubstantiated” and has “absolutely no relevance to reality”.

    So do you jump to this conclusion based on information, or based on ignorance?

    It’s a great example exactly what I said – having a head-in-the-sand preset idea and sticking to it regardless of facts and information.


  22. Todd – you prove my point about head in the sand extremists.

    Your opinion is obviously pre-formed and unchangable before you know facts.

    But why change a habit…

  23. I can’t believe they did that to Wikileaks , whether it’s on the newspaper or the web it’s the same thing ! We should have our freedom to write anything we want !

    Wikileaks is the only site that had the guts to expose the truth !

  24. (ya gotta luv a wordsmith…eh…?..)

    “..How can the Americans remain so consistently brain-fucked?

    Much of the world, including plenty of Americans, asks that question –

    – as they watch U.S. culture go down like a thrashing mastodon giving itself up to some Pleistocene tar pit.

    One explanation might be the effect of 40 years of deep fried industrial chicken pulp –

    — and 44 ounce Big Gulp soft drinks…”


  25. woo-hoo..!

    “…”I said, `It’s Camilla!’

    I wasn’t trying to alert them.

    I was just surprised to see her,” he said.

    “A few people turned around and started hitting the windows.

    People started kicking the car.”

    The attackers, up to 20 of them, surrounded the limousine and pounded it with fists and bottles –

    – smashing a window – and splashed the gleaming car with paint amid chants of “Off with their heads” and “Tory scum.”

    The car behind, an official royal Jaguar, also came under attack,

    In the confusion, Nazir said, a window opened.

    Charles kept his calm – gently pushing his wife toward the floor to get her out of the line of fire.

    “Charles got her on the floor and put his hands on her,” Nazir said.

    The 62-year-old prince remained calm, “waving and giving the thumbs’ up.”

    “It was just a surreal thing,” Nazir said.

    “It was completely manic.”

    After several chaotic minutes, the car managed to force its way through the crowd and drive off…” (cont..)


  26. “WikiLeaks is trying to benefit mankind by showing the world that the rulers that be are a bunch of nasty retards”

    But we already know that!

  27. i’ve got a half a dozen wiki/assange-stories today..

    ..mainly back-stories…

    (he used to be my neighbor…in byron bay…whoar..!..who knew…!)

    ..and the person who warned assange that his dick/womanising-ways were going to get him into trouble

    and an acknowledgment/re-broadcast of marks'(5.21 am..) (world-first?)



  28. Todd/BJ; please don’t encourage the photo – what colors do you think he flies?
    Yep and the so-called ‘leaks’ are all about the embarrassing truth – only hurts in the short term – like the ripping off of a band-aid.
    The long term benefits are possibly incalculable.

  29. The attacks and the people behind them, are fascist in nature.


    [frog: I normally chastise people for the misuse of that term, but in this case I think it is entirely appropriate, BJ.]

  30. lose loose …. what’s the difference – Photonz, do please pay attention to this as it is not even possible to be sure of your meaning !!!

  31. photonz1 says “And there’s been a couple of assasinations in Iran that are thought to be linked to the leaks.”

    Please provide proof of this? You’re well known to be a king of the unsubstantiated statement, what you say often has absolutely no relevance to reality. Back up or shut up photonz!

    Who does wikileaks intend to benefit from publishing a list of sites that are most vulnerable to terrorist attacks?

    Publishing websites that are already on the Internet? What the f are you talking about? Perhaps we should put you in the extremist category photonz! He leaps, he soars, he falls flat on his face… Yay! Extremely naff brainfart man!

    WikiLeaks is trying to benefit mankind by showing the world that the rulers that be are a bunch of nasty retards.

  32. And i thought it was Jerry Collins given to the odd sideline release – Reuben Wiki – how has your bladder affected history? – leak in the appropriate receptacle please!

  33. The extremists are on the lose.

    We have extremists on both sides saying wikileaks is either really good or really bad.

    Of course both points of view come from head-in-the-sand idealists.

    wikileaks has had some revealations that we should have known, though nothing surprising yet.

    But it’s also publicising private messages that have little effect except destroying careers, and creating mistrust between countries. And there’s been a couple of assasinations in Iran that are thought to be linked to the leaks.

    Who does wikileaks intend to benefit from publishing a list of sites that are most vulnerable to terrorist attacks?

  34. Toad seems to think that some of us haven’t posted here that means libertarians don’t support free speech.

    So, for the record, and for toads benefit:

    I’m a libertarian and i support Wikileaks.

    In fact, ACT on Campus have been supporting Wikileaks on our facebook profile for a couple of months (“before it was cool”) and I said so on national TV on Back Benches last week.

    Happy now toad?


    I have a strong suspicion that this is Hilary Clinton’s doing.

    The shit is all over her face over the ID’s of UN officials and she is very embarrassed and very angry. AND VERY DANGEROUS!!!!!

    Obama should cut her loose let her vent her anger in political oblivion!!!

  36. MasterCard, Visa and Paypal (and other commercial companies) are concerned about their brand image. Social networks (on and offline) can spread messages of discontent with a company. This might give them pause with future censorship decisions.

    For example one claim doing the rounds on Twitter is that Visa takes donations for the KKK but not wikileaks.

    That makes them look pretty bad in most peoples eyes.

  37. While I have to say I’m not a fan of attacks on internet sites because attacks are always designed to prevent freedom of information, I have to admit to some pleasure in seeing what happened to Mastercard earlier today.

    The DDoS attack on their website should be a reminder to them. They are there to facilitate commercial transactions. When they make political decisions (no doubt instigated by Joe Lieberman and his neo-con cronies) about who can receive funds through their service, they operate as agents of politicians, rather than the “free enterprise” they purport to support.

    Go suck shit, Mastercard, Visa, Paypal, Amazon!

    I will never do any transactions through you ever again (unless you repent).

    And I suspect there are hundreds of millions of people around the world who have a similar view and are currently contemplating making a similar decision.

  38. @toad

    Not too sure if there are other credit card agencies who will process donations, but here’s the first thing I found on Google that looks legit.

    I cancelled my ASB Visa debit this afternoon, after calling Visa and explaining exactly why they’d lost another customer. If you were inclined to do the same then their number is 0800 443 019.

    But as Blip said, you may as well get your LOIC going too. This isn’t going to go away any time soon, and the LOIC hivemind will need numbers.

  39. @katie 6:10 PM

    Snip, snip. Done it katie. I use my credit card only for emergencies, so can pay off immediately (and will do so as soon as I have completed this comment) as my debt on it is very low.

    Tough Shit, Visa! One more lost customer.

    Mind you, I would still like to have a credit card, as a safeguard against financial emergencies. Does anyone know a card provider who will still pay Wikileaks. Ultimate irony would be if Amex will.

  40. Easy solution, Keith – join the credit card boycotters, just slice that little plastic thing in half, pay it off, and use cash for everything.
    Don’t buy stuff over the internet, or use one-time debit cards, pre-loaded with the amount you want to spend. (a good tool to stop spending on unnecessary crap, you really have to want the thing to go through that rigmarole…)

    Apart from being good for your bank account, it removes your personal ‘fingerprints’ from involvement with some of the worst financial parasites on the planet.

    Then maybe take a leaf out of this guy’s rulebook:
    (Wikileaks’ Jake Appelbaum …)

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