Wikileaks down

The ABC reports that, following its successful efforts to seriously piss off the US this week, Wikileaks has now been forcibly shut down – which, when you look for Wikileaks.org, would appear to be the case.

The mirrors are still up, but it looks like the links to the Cablegate material are all dead.

Does this mean the State has finally conquered the Internet? Or is the material just being reuploaded to an entirely new location, ready to be released again – and the further attention just encourages more people, like me, to go looking for it?

I’m kind of torn on Wikileaks. I don’t doubt there should be accountability for political speech – but, similarly, governments have gotten too good at hiding material that really should be released in the public interest. Maybe Wikileaks is the sledgehammer needed to break this control – but it’s only the lesser of two evils. It’ll be good when we live in a world where we don’t need it at all.

UPDATE #1: American patriots fear not. Blogger “Jonolan” has an appropriately psychotic solution to the Wikileaks problem:

The solution to the Assange and Wikileaks Question is very simple.

It’s so simple, in point of fact, that it’s not having been implemented already beggars the credulity of all right-thinking Americans.

The US Government – actually the governments of the West en total, with the exception of Australia – should green-light Julian Assange; they should order his assassination to be performed either by their own agencies or by independent contractors.

And if they can’t find him, there’s an innocent relation to get instead:

He has at least one acknowledged son, Daniel Assange, who lives something close to normal life in Australia and who is easy to find and equally easy to harm either physically, legally, or economically. Physical harm would be best.

They should make that guy President.

UPDATE #2: Daniel Assange responds to the above nutter on his own website; Julian Assange responds to questions, and Australia pretty much hangs him out to dry.

Advertisements

24 responses to “Wikileaks down

  1. Government secrets have been around and neccesary since the formation of nation states. I don’t agree that inter-governmental cables should be made public. Some of the things that have been published can only harm international relations with no real benefit to the publics understanding of the relevant issues. Yes, your comment on Government using secrecy clauses to hide information is very relevant and a real issue to deal with.

    “It’ll be good when we live in a world where we don’t need it at all.”

    Never going to happen. People will always say things in confidence that they don’t want published – from idle gossip to opinions about the competency of individuals from other organisations. If this type of stuff is going to be published, you will find that these organisations will simply just avoid putting stuff in writing to ensure confidentiality – which will degrade the international diplomacy system badly. Just because you get given a leak does not mean that you should publish it – something that Julian has not grasped yet.

  2. thedailymagnet

    “Julian” – first name basis, baldrickjones?
    News says it’s just changed servers and is in the process of hosting content across multiple servers.
    Really, it seems like Assange doesn’t give a crap what anybody thinks. From what I’ve seen in the media I think he is apolitical, maybe just a messenger, Johnny Mnemonic-style. He created a large target for authorities, when the responsibility/culpability should lie with several people.

    With any organization that takes donations(including political parties and individual pollies) in the first instance, you have to question where their funding comes from to get an accurate picture of their allegiances and interests. I don’t think Wikileaks are any worse than other media conglomerates – speaking of which, I heard that the Oz cables involve the banking industry.

    The dopes that put that rubbish in the cables – well, you have to wonder about how long they won’t be considered a liability before they’re moved on.

  3. “Never going to happen. People will always say things in confidence that they don’t want published – from idle gossip to opinions about the competency of individuals from other organisations”

    When I worked on closed source software, “opinions about the competency” of others were rife in the code, design documentation, etc. “Idiots can’t read the spec”. Code written that way is crap, prone to failure, full of back doors, easter eggs, and a serious embarrassment when someone up in management decides to open source it. I recall some members of the IT press getting exercised about the number of swear words in Microsoft’s code when it was leaked. Most programmers just shrugged – “looks pretty normal to me”.

    Now I work on open source software, and know every instant that 15 minutes after I write the code it will be on the open Internet. The result: less back doors, easter eggs, and unprofessional comments. And much better software. I’m proud of the software I write now, instead of constantly being in a state of “this is such crap”.

    If the priviledged nitwits that rule us knew that their dirty laundry was going to be aired, maybe they wouldn’t make dirty laundry in the first place? At the moment, the best we have is the 30 year rule – which guarantees that once the crimes have been revealed, the perpetrators will be retired. What are you going to do? Ruin their career? Thow the doddering old fool in jail?

    In a few week’s time we will be treated to another edition of ex-Whitlam and ex-Fraser government ministers parading on the Sunday news shows talking about what they were up to 30 years ago. And no one ever breaks out the handcuffs! It just isn’t done.

    Change that 30 year rule to a 5 year rule, and the nitwits will face career ruination within their actual career. Short term secrets and intelligence/military operations would still be protected. But accountability would be improved. Wikileaks is providing that service because our government doesn’t.

  4. That would be an excellent start.

    And it’s only through something like Wikipedia that that sort of challenge to the authoritarians’ power could ever happen.

    Check out Update #2 above – Assange answers some of the critics’ questions. His son questions a US blogger calling for him – the son – to be kidnapped. And the Australian government hangs a citizen out to dry.

  5. baldrickjones

    uniquerhys, software development and inter and intra-governmental communications are really not in the same league! Oh and BTW, those programmers should have had their arses kicked by management – lack of effective supervision allows that sort of thing to happen.

    And I note on update #2 that when asked about the consequences of his actions by someone purporting to be a former diplomat, he shirks the question quite shamelessly. He is playing in an area of which he has no experience of the potential consequences, an amatuer really. And what’s even funnier is all of the uninformed commentry in the professional and amatuer publications about the leaks. The diplomatic community must be facepalming themselves on a daily basis, whilst also ensuring that they keep all of their confidential communications “off the record” now that they can’t trust any diplomatic comms with the U.S., although I have no doubt that the security of the diplomatic cable system is being thoroughly reassessed which will make it much harder for this type of thing to happen in the future.

    I am all for leaking and subsequent protection of whistleblowers in the event of fraud, criminal activity or blatent waste of taxpayers money – but I don’t really see what the current round of leaks achieves, other than to embarass the U.S. and some of it’s ally countries. Try that shit with Russia and China and see how far you get. At least it’s only “talk” of assasination – if he embarassed those other two governments, he would be six feet under by now.

    As to the person leaking this information – hope they find them and prosecute them to the full extent of the law. It can’t be too hard to track them. You sign up to confidentiality clauses and the conditions of a security clearance as part of your conditions of employment – don’t like it, then leave the job.

  6. “Try that shit with Russia and China and see how far you get. At least it’s only “talk” of assasination – if he embarassed those other two governments, he would be six feet under by now. “

    Do rightwingers really think “we’re not as bad as Russia or China” is a strong argument?

  7. baldrickjones

    “Do rightwingers really think “we’re not as bad as Russia or China” is a strong argument?”

    Sorry, who are these “right wingers” of whom you speak of?

    In answer to your question, the world of “realpolitik” is not black and white, it is all shades of grey. Dealing with the biggest bastards effectively may have to mean dealing with lesser bastards in order to achieve it. Taking moral absolutisms is not always practical (reference your past arguments about wanting to do something about climate change but still wanting to ustilise “dirty” air travel etc). Unfortunantly if you want to deal with all the countries in the world, you have to accept that they will do things that you don’t like. But do you cut off all trade with them because they have laws against homosexuality for example?

    All of these types of issues are dealt with by diplomats on a daily basis. Publishing their internal discussions just makes the diplomatic process harder and can actually halt talks aimed at getting better outcomes for people. Remember – “Jaw Jaw” is better than “War War”.

  8. where are the actual revelations though? these leaks have less meat on them than a chicken mcnugget

  9. I’m gobsmacked by the “I trust Daddy” attitudes of people like Baldrick, who seem to have meekly accepted that the government regularly has the right to conduct itself in secret without accountability to its people. Who apparently believe that, when it is revealed that a government regularly views its international partners with contempt and snipes like a petty schoolchild across internal diplomatic channels, it is the person who reveals the truth of this behaviour who is at fault, not the actual perpetrators.

    The basic issue at hand here is that in a democracy it should be presumptive that the operations of the government are transparent and open to all. Secrecy should be confined only to those areas where there is a compelling and important reason for it. What the Wikileaks cache has exposed is that our ‘democratic’ governments regularly take the opposite view and hide an enormous amount of what they do for no good reason at all, other than that they can.

    And the worst thing is the insipid reaction of the Media – particularly in the US – whose actual role it to subject government behaviour to scrutiny. These craven little turds are all condemning Wikileaks for exposing government secrets without first checking with the Government! Could they be bigger lapdogs to power?

    And finally: our embarrasment of a PM. Declaring Wikileaks illegal without having the slightest clue as to whether what they’ve done is illegal or not. What a piece of work.

    She should just stop pretending and propose law making it illegal to do anything that might cause the US to withrdraw its cock from Australia’s arse. If we’re going to be their gimp she could at least have the decency to give us a vote on it.

  10. karl, here is some good reading:
    http://www.juancole.com/2010/12/top-ten-middle-east-wikileaks-revelations-so-far.html
    (sorry I don’t know how to do coding)

    mondo, heartily concur with all of your comments.

  11. Pingback: One Wikileaks article definitely worth reading | An Onymous Lefty

  12. Splatterbottom

    One interesting thing to come out of this is the hypocrisy of the media such as the NYT who would not publish the Climategate emails because they were stolen, but had no such compunction about these stolen documents.

    The motives of the leaker in this case seem to have been personal – a narcissist breaks up with a drag queen – rather than political. Either way, he will have a lot of time to contemplate his love life now.

    The issue is a good opportunity to discuss the openness of government. Clearly there is not enough of it. Just look at the government’s slithering secrecy in relation to the NBN.

    Mondo is on the right track, but the devil is in the details of any system designed to allow greater public access to government documents.
    Clearly once the documents are out, they should be published and discussed. Maybe we need to loosen up the FOI rules.

  13. the devil is in the details of any system designed to allow greater public access to government documents.

    That’s a fairly vague statement SB – what do you mean exactly?

  14. thedailymagnet

    “And finally: our embarrasment of a PM. Declaring Wikileaks illegal without having the slightest clue as to whether what they’ve done is illegal or not. What a piece of work.”

    Maybe she means it’s kinda illegal – you know like kinda kicking the ‘bureaucrat'(ie didn’t slip into the job via the unions) reformer PM out of his job in the middle of the night type illegal??
    It’s no news that she is too weak-minded to be the PM. She only cares what colour her hair’s going to be tomorrow.

  15. Splatterbottom

    Mondo, I was generally agreeing with your statement:

    The basic issue at hand here is that in a democracy it should be presumptive that the operations of the government are transparent and open to all. Secrecy should be confined only to those areas where there is a compelling and important reason for it.

    But noting that governments often proclaim the need for greater transparency, but then ensure that when it comes down to the detail of the rules there is always serious limitations on getting at the important information.

  16. baldrickjones

    “And finally: our embarrasment of a PM. Declaring Wikileaks illegal without having the slightest clue as to whether what they’ve done is illegal or not. What a piece of work.”

    The publication of classified material that has not been formally declassified is illegal you nitwit. I have no doubt that you would not even qualify for the most basic of security clearances due to your attitude – better for our nation overall no doubt. No doubt you would also be proud of this fact. That’s fine. You clearly have no idea about the goings on in the diplomatic and intelligence world – other than a lefty’s natural scepticism about stuff they have no place knowing about. Rage on my friend, for you are harmless.

  17. What specific law was broken? I ask because there seems to be a genuine dispute as to whether or not Wikileaks’ actions are illegal, including among people probably more knowledgeable about these things than we are. But if you are sure of it, can you please cite the specific US law that Wikileaks broke, proving the illegality for us?

  18. Splatterbottom

    Charges could be laid in the US under the Espionage Act but the outcome is far from clear. Also it would be a matter of whether the New York Times and other papers that published the confidential information are in a different position to Assange.

    The more interesting question is what the law should be, especially in a world where publication is now a lot easier. If governments over-reacts with tighter control of the internet the entertainment industry will ride on their coat-tails and try to get strong enforcement powers too.

  19. thedailymagnet

    Being supercilious and calling people names is surely beneath someone of such vast superiority, Baldrick Jones? Otherwise one could retort that the tea and scones on your pompous ass planet must be absolutely spendid – why don’t you go have some now?

    When you unwedge your noggin, maybe you can take a look around and see the double standard on the part of the government about adherence to its own laws, BJ.

  20. jordanrastrick

    There was absolutely nothing even ‘kinda’ illegal about the parliament switching it’s confidence to a new prime minister, magnet. You might call Gillard’s action sordid or machiavellean, but hundreds of years of the Westminster system has firmly established the absolute sovereignty of the parliament in selecting the cabinet essentially at will.

    SB, mondo, you seem to be treating greater transparceny in government as an almost unmitigated good. While I think we could do with more of it, the notion of a system in which only sensitive military intelligence and the like is kept secret strikes me as nightmarish. If you think governments are timid, poll driven and lacking in vision now, imagine how much more so they would be if they could not even discuss in cabinet or comission bureaucratic advice on a controversial idea without tabloid headlines tearing them to shreds.

    Government actions should be transparent, as should the evidence available to decision makers that forms the basis for those actions. However I really don’t see any possible benefit in every single idea and opinion discussed internally within the government being in the public domain.

  21. thedailymagnet

    And what about using your prominence to slur a charged man before he faces trial – is that not kinda illegal in your world? Even an IR lawyer knows that one and you’re right ousting Rudd – the PM the public voted in, was completely unethical, but the GG declared it legal – so why question her opinion? You obviously wouldn’t.

  22. jordanrastrick

    OOOOOKKKKKK. For the record I think Gillard’s remarks on Assange were highly prejudicial. I dont have sufficient legal expertise to know if they constitute defamation – since she has falsely suggested the law was broken by acts Assange really did commit, and it doesn’t seem clearcut that misinterpreting the law can be defamatory – but they were certainly a contemptible and embarassing thing for any PM to say, let alone one who has practiced law. The whole episode has probably been the low point in Gillard’s career thus far, IMO.

    Anyway, in “your world” I guess everyone either slavishly worships or utterly loathes every single public figure? There’s no way I could possibly believe, honestly, that neither Gillard’s coup nor Assange’s leaks were illegal, since clearly they’re enemies so I must be on one of their sides! No one is ever interested in the truth or the integrity of the law for it’s own sake, after all.

    So I guess I must just be a figment of your imagination! Probably you should just do your best to act like I don’t exist.

  23. thedailymagnet

    As a lawyer – even an IR one, she should have known if the case was before the courts she has to keep her comments to herself about criminality or none, her particularly, because her comments would reach that region whereas your won’t, most likely.
    “Enemies” and “sides” – sounds like you’re ready for a day of kindy teaching.
    I wish your ill-informed comments were a figment of my imagination.

  24. jordanrastrick

    “Enemies” and “sides” – sounds like you’re ready for a day of kindy teaching.

    Irony fail, much?

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s