Monday, March 12, 2012

346 Wikipedia, Wikileaks, Wikispooks & Cryptome

Wikipedia, Wikileaks, Wikispooks & Cryptome

ABC TV in Australia recently interviewed Julian Assange, head of Wikileaks (item 5). He has US citizenship but lives in Melbourne.

The program said that in the wake of the leaked video of a US helicopter in Baghdad gunning down civilians, the Pentagon is trying to shut Wikileaks down. Assange goes to great lengths to avoid traps.

The above video was leaked by Bradley Manning, who - unable to keep his secret - told the story of what he'd done to an anonymous blogger, who dobbed him in. He's now in military custody in Kuwait <http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jul/06/bradley-manning-charged-iraq-killings-video>

Another whistleblower site, Cryptome, has been publishing articles against Assange by someone calling himself "Wikileaks Insider" (item 3).

I believe that "Wikileaks Insider" is bogus - actually a covert agent working for the US Government. He's attacking Assange "from the inside" - trying to damage his credibility among his supporters and followers.

"Wikileaks Insider" says that Wikileaks has abandoned Bradley Manning. Yet to meet him in his military detention, Assange would himself have had to enter the lions' cage - and risk his own safety.

(1) WikiSpooks: keeping Wikipedia honest
(2) WikiSpooks Anonymous Uploads allow Whistle-Blowers to put sensitive information into the public domain
(3) Wikileaks to close down - Cryptome
(4) Wikileaks denies site is closing
(5) Pentagon trying to shut WikiLeaks down - Foreign Correspondent
(6) Microsoft provides Surveillance for US Government - Cryptome
(7) Yahoo Sells Private Email Contents to U.S. Agencies

(1) WikiSpooks: keeping Wikipedia honest

https://wikispooks.com/wiki/WikiSpooks:The_Problem_with_Wikipedia

WikiSpooks:The Problem with Wikipedia

WikiSpooks does NOT aspire to rival Wikipedia in either size or scope of content. Wikipedia is, without question, a massively successful and valuable reference work-in-progress. Its openness, moderated by carefully thought-out rules of article composition, content and standard, guarantees that it is ALWAYS worth consulting on almost ANY subject where introductory knowledge is being sought. Even in the WikiSpooks domain of potentially sensitive Deep Political issues, Wikipedia articles are often a goldmine of information and useful links - The series of articles on MKULTRA[1] (The covert and illegal CIA human mind-control research program) are a good case in point. BUT - there is a problem......

The problem

It is WikiSpook's contention that, to the extent that a particular subject is judged threatening to established power centres and widespread acceptance of their 'official narrative' of events, the reliability and ultimate accuracy of Wikipedia articles touching on it is likely to be compromised. At the extremes of power and perceived threat, Wikipedia's 'Neutral-Point-of-View' principle pretty much guarantees that the compromise will be fundamental. See WikiSpooks Editorial Policy for a fuller discussion.

The quality of the Wikipedia MKULTRA articles clearly owes much to the exposure of the program in the early 1970's followed by both Congressional (The Church Commission) and Presidential investigations - plus the release of much previously classified material in 1977 - all of which assist in nudging Wikipedia's 'Neutral Point of View' that much closer to the truth of the matter. ==

(2) WikiSpooks Anonymous Uploads allow Whistle-Blowers to put sensitive information into the public domain

https://wikispooks.com/wiki/WikiSpooks:Anonymous_Uploads

The WikiSpooks Anonymous upload facility is provided to allow Whistle-Blowers to put sensitive information into the public domain with considerably reduced risk of their identity being revealed to either the Authorities or the public.

Note: It is not intended as the primary means of having documents published on WikiSpooks.

Unless anonymity is of fundamental importance, then the best way of publishing a document file is through the 'Regular file upload' option on the left-land menu. This is available to all registered users including those choosing to use the 'soft anonymity' of a pseudonymous user name. Files uploaded using this option are immediately available to both view and edit on the WikiSpooks site.

Secure anonymous upload form

Anonymous uploads are handled outside the MediaWiki platform that runs the bulk of this site. This is because a feature of MediaWiki is that it logs EVERY normal edit and upload, assigning it to either a user ID (in the case of registered users) or the originating IP address (in the case of anonymous users - when edits and uploads are allowed). The WikiSpooks secure anonymous upload form is not part of the MediaWiki software platform that runs the main WikiSpooks site. It does NOT log your IP address and your file will only be imported into the main WikiSpooks MediaWiki software by an Administrator after vetting and anonymising etc.

(3) Wikileaks to close down - Cryptome

http://cryptome.org/0001/wikileaks-dump.htm

A sends via PGPboard, 10 July 2010:

WIKILEAKS WEBSITE TO BE ABANDONED

Within the last few hours we have learned that WIKILEAKS (Assange) will commit no more time and effort into restoring our website http://www.wikileaks.org .

The website has been effectively down in terms of document submissions for many weeks, and as we speak there is no way for the general public or potential whistleblowers to upload documents to the site.

We have been told that WIKILEAKS will be launching a completely new site hosted in Iceland. However, Assange would not provide any time lines, or any indication of user options and facilities.

During the exchange, Assange also confirmed that no legal team had been provided to Manning, and no one from WIKILEAKS had met Manning during his detention in Kuwait. This was completely at odds with recent WIKILEAKS emails requesting $50,000 in donor funding for a legal team to fly to Kuwait.

Wikileaks Insider

Authentication Code omitted.

Bradley Manning charge sheet:
http://cryptome.org/manning-charge.pdf

(4) Wikileaks denies site is closing

By Nicole Kobie

Posted on 13 Jul 2010 at 08:21

http://www.pcpro.co.uk/news/359404/wikileaks-denies-site-is-closing

Wikileaks is not being closed down, the site claims, despite suggestions the end of the whistleblowing site was looming.

Wikileaks has been the subject of controversy, with enigmatic spokesman Julian Assange touring the world answering Wikipedia's critics after posting a video of a deadly shootout in Iraq that killed a Reuters photographer.

WikiLeaks will not be abandoned, don't listen to disinfo being spread

The latest rumour to hit the site is that it's set to close down. While the site was up and running this morning, its submission form isn't currently working.

A post on the Cryptome site claims Assange will commit "no more time and effort into restoring our website".

"The website has been effectively down in terms of document submissions for many weeks, and as we speak there is no way for the general public or potential whistleblowers to upload documents to the site," Cyptome said, adding that Assange was expected to relaunch a new leak site hosted in Iceland soon.

However, Wikileaks denied the claim via its Twitter account: "WikiLeaks will NOT be abandoned. Don't listen to disinfo being spread! We'll issue clarifications soon. Should've done earlier."

The site also issued a statement to TheNextWeb: "We just read your story and can basically only make one comment: Do not feed the troll. There is no substance to this posting at all. We will be issuing a press release soon I think in order to address this bull**** campaign once and for all."

Earlier this year, Wikileaks was suspended after it ran low on funds, but quickly gained enough donations.

(5) Pentagon trying to shut WikiLeaks down - Foreign Correspondent
Foreign Correspondent program on WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange

{visit the link to see the video of the program}

http://www.abc.net.au/foreign/content/2010/s2934042.htm

Truth or Dare

Broadcast: 22/06/2010

Reporter: Andrew Fowler

It used to be nondescript parcels on the doorstep, cryptic phone calls at midnight or shadowy meetings in underground car parks.

Now explosive information is more likely to arrive - to the tune of a novelty sound effect - in an email.

But profound and important questions surround the transaction of secret, highly sensitive, classified material. Governments and big business are fiercely protective of their internal dynamics and increasingly are coming down hard on leakers and whistleblowers. The public though demand and defend their right to know when governments they've installed are making decisions on their behalf, or the actions of big business impact their lives.

And so a group of one-time hackers and activists are trying to build a global truth machine.

They call it WikiLeaks.

"We want to create a system where there is guaranteed free press across the world, the entire world..... that every individual in the world has the ability to publish material that is meaningful".
JULIAN ASSANGE – FOUNDER WIKILEAKS

A hesitant, quietly spoken Australian named Julian Assange has become the global face of a nebulous operation with secret computer servers in a number of countries and aspirations to build an information freedom zone – the leaker's equivalent of a tax haven – in, where else – Iceland.

WikiLeaks exploded into prominence earlier this year when it released hitherto top secret video of a helicopter gunship strafing and killing more than a dozen people in Baghdad including media covering the war.

The Wiki-team spent some time stripping the video of any electronic fingerprints that would expose the insiders who leaked it and then launched it on-line under the banner ‘Collateral Murder' replete with damning Orwellian quotes. Critics call this activism not journalism.

"They provided artificial agenda driven context . There was an operation underway in reaction to an ongoing war. Not that apache helicopters were circling looking for a bunch of guys to just shoot up and kill".
DAVID FINKEL – WASHINGTON POST

Foreign Correspondent's Andrew Fowler enters the guarded, sometimes paranoid world of Wiki - talking extensively to Assange, supporters like Daniel Ellsberg who gave the world the Pentagon Papers as well as critics who see the operation as a reckless, potentially dangerous activist outpost.

As this intriguing Foreign Correspondent takes shape a military insider has been arrested on suspicion of leaking the Baghdad video and Assange has – according to colleagues – gone into hiding.

(6) Microsoft provides Surveillance for US Government - Cryptome

http://www.geekosystem.com/cryptome-leaks-microsofts-online-surveillance-guide-ms-demands-takedown/

Site Leaks Microsoft Online Surveillance Guide, MS Demands Takedown Under Copyright Law (UPDATE 6) 

by Robert Quigley

9:31 am, February 24th, 2010

Cryptome, a whistleblower site that regularly leaks sensitive documents from governments and corporations, is in hot water again: this time, for publishing Microsoft’s “Global Criminal Compliance Handbook,” a comprehensive, 22-page guide running down the surveillance services Microsoft will perform for law enforcement agencies on its various online platforms, which includes detailed instructions for IP address extraction. You can find the guide here (warning: PDF). not anymore.

Microsoft has demanded that Cryptome take down the guide — on the grounds that it constitutes a “copyrighted [work] published by Microsoft.” Yesterday, at 5pm, Cryptome editor John Young received a notice from his site’s host, Network Solutions, bearing a stiff ultimatum: citing the Digital Millenium Copyright Act (DMCA), Network Solutions told him that unless he takes the “copyrighted material” down, they will “disable [his] website” on Thursday, February 25, 2010.

So far, Young refuses to budge.

Cryptome is no stranger to controversy: last year, when it leaked a detailed surveillance guide from Yahoo, which, embarrassingly enough, included a pricing sheet tallying up the costs of its various services, Yahoo demanded its takedown, also under DMCA. (The Microsoft guide doesn’t contain a pricing list.) Cryptome refused to back down, and the guide is still up.

Geekosystem swapped emails with Young about the situation, and he said that if Network Solutions follows through and takes Cryptome down on the 25th, “we will set up elsewhere, arrangements are always ready for that.”

He had this to say when we asked him what he found most repugnant about Microsoft’s guide:

Most repugnant in the MS guide was its improper use of copyright to conceal from its customer violations of trust toward its customers. Copyright law is not intended for confidentiality purposes, although firms try that to save legal fees. Copyright bluffs have become quite common, as the EFF initiative against such bluffs demonstrates.

Second most repugnant is the craven way the programs are described to ease law enforcement grab of data. This information would also be equally useful to customers to protect themselves when Microsoft cannot due to its legal obligations under CALEA.

There are other means to maintain confidentiality of legal obligations as lawyers well know. Claims of copyright violation is merely the cheapest and quickest way to coerce a service provider, no expensive lawyers needed. And it is a cheap and fast way to hide information from competitors as Yahoo intended with its false copyright claim.

There are many firms with similar obligations to law enforcement who do not use copyright to hide the compliance process — Cisco for one puts its compliance procedures online, as do others.

We think all lawful spying arrangements should be made public, not necessary the legally-protected information under CALEA. Microsoft should join the others who openly describe the procedures, and just may do so if there is a public demand for it.

We would like to aid that demand by publishing and refusing to take down the document which provides very important public benefits.

Microsoft’s lawful compliance guide is one of a dozen or so (below) we have published recently and only Microsoft and Yahoo have behaved like assholes — probably because they are more afraid of the authorities than they are of customer wrath, having been burned repeatedly for not being sufficiently official ass-kissing.

So, briefly:

1. Microsoft’s use of copyright rather than other mechanisms to try to take down the guide [note that Yahoo tried to do the same thing],

2. The asymmetry of information Microsoft provides to consumers and law enforcement agencies under CALEA, or the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act, which Cryptome is meant to rectify, and, implicitly,

3. The strength and speed of Microsoft’s response: this past weekend, Cryptome also published electronic surveillance guides from Facebook, AOL, and Skype, among others (warning: all PDFs), but according to Young, none of those companies “behaved like assholes” by calling for a takedown, much less by using copyright law to do so.

Since the mid-’90s, Cryptome has been an unrelenting clearinghouse of information, and its all-text, minimalist look bespeaks the Wild West vibe of the early Internet days. In 2007, its ISP, Verio, booted it for some of its leaks. At the time, Young wrote, “Cryptome is now on a new ISP, Network Solutions, another US giant like Verio, closely linked to the authorities. We’ll see if it can take the heat or cave.”

Well, with the Microsoft surveillance guide leak, the heat is on. Whether Network Solutions backs down from its takedown threat or enforces it, it’s not likely that February 25th will be the end for Cryptome: it’s weathered bigger leaks and fallouts in the past.

Update, 1:47pm EST: Young has received another notice from Network Solutions asking that he provide a counter-notification in compliance with the DMCA. His response can be found on Cryptome.

Update 2, 2:20pm EST: Well, it looks like Network Solutions didn’t even wait for their February 25th deadline; Cryptome is down.They took the site down as soon as they received the counter-notification.

Young says there is a “NetSol ‘Legal Lock’ on the domain name to prevent it being transferred to another ISP until the “dispute” is settled; All Cryptome pages other than the home page now generate a 404 message.”

Currently, Cryptome’s files are being transferred to a new domain, http://cryptomeorg.siteprotect.net; Young says they will be transferred back when the lock is removed.

(Minor) Update 3, 4:30pm EST: As one Hacker News reader points out, Network Solutions is 4chan.org’s ISP registrar. How about that.

Update 4: Wikileaks has offered to host Cryptome for the time being, via Twitter. “We will host Cryptome on our multi-jurisdictional network-outside the US-if required.” They’re currently hosting a copy of the surveillance guide. (warning: PDF.)

Update 5: Microsoft has withdrawn its copyright complaint against Cryptome, ReadWriteWeb reports.

Update 6: This is hopefully the end of the Cryptome saga: Cryptome is now back up at Cryptome.org. So is microsoft-spy.zip, along with brand-new “spying guides” for PayPal and MySpace.

(7) Yahoo Sells Private Email Contents to U.S. Agencies

From: WVNS <ummyakoub@yahoo.com> Date: 07.12.2009 08:51 AM

Something Mathaba has alleged since 10 years, has now come into the open with the proof of U.S. email companies spying on their users.

Yahoo Sells All Its Users Private Email Contents to U.S. Agencies for Small Price

Posted: 2009/12/05

From: Mathaba

http://www.mathaba.net/news/?x=622292

(Mathaba) Yahoo isn't happy that a detailed menu of the spying services it provides to "law enforcement" and spy agencies has leaked onto the web.

After earlier reports this week that Yahoo had blocked an FOIA Freedom of Information release of its "law enforcement and intelligence price list", someone helpfully provided a copy of the Yahoo company's spying guide to the whistleblower web site Cryptome.org.

The 17-page guide, which Yahoo has tried to suppress via legal letters to the Cryptome.org site run by freedom of information champion John Young, describes Yahoo's policies on keeping the data of Yahoo Email and Yahoo Groups users, as well as the surveillance and spying capabilities it can give to the U.S. government and its agencies.

The Yahoo document is a price list for these spying services and has already resulted in many people closing down their accounts in protest. However, closing a Yahoo account is not as easy as one might expect: users have reported great difficulty in finding the link to delete their account, and, Yahoo will still keep data for another 90 days.

If you ask Yahoo! to delete your Yahoo! account, in most cases your account will be deactivated and then deleted from our user registration database in approximately 90 days. This delay is necessary to discourage users from engaging in fraudulent activity.

Please note that any information that we have copied may remain in back-up storage for some period of time after your deletion request. This may be the case even though no information about your account remains in our active user databases.

Many government leaders and officials around Africa, Asia and Latin America are known by Mathaba to widely be using Yahoo, Gmail, and Hotmail in spite of these Email services being hosted on U.S. computers and the ease that gives the hosts to access their data.. Mathaba has also long been aware of a great many business people, politicians and even Presidents who use the "free" web-based email services of Yahoo for their Email communications, thus making it easy for the U.S. and its owners to spy on them with negligible cost.
Cryptome also published lawful data-interception guides for Cox Communications, SBC, Cingular, Nextel, GTE and other telecoms and Internet service providers.

But of all those companies, it appears to be Yahoo's lawyers alone who have been stupid enough to try to issue a "DMCA takedown notice" to Cryptome demanding the document be removed. Yahoo claims that publication of the document is a copyright violation, and gave Cryptome owner John Young a Thursday deadline for removing the document.

We estimate Yahoo stand a near-zero chance of success given that Young has thousands of intelligence and other leaked documents on his site and in the past decade has yet to remove a single document upon legal threats, the same 10-year track record held by Mathaba on documents on British Intelligence in spite of having computers seized and properties raided.

Mathaba is now also hosting the Yahoo leaked document on its servers around the world, and the cat is long out of the bag with the original document having been downloaded and distributed by many already.

When John Young was asked if there was anything he wouldn't reveal on his site -- a fault in the President's Secret Service detail, for instance -- he said, "Well, I'm actually looking for that information right now", much to the chagrin of those who believe that the U.S. government and its hopelessly corrupt agencies should have a right to supress information from the public.

The Compliance Guide reveals, as has been known to Mathaba prior to the leak via our own sources, that Yahoo does not retain a copy of e-mails that an account holder sends unless that customer sets up the account to store those e-mails. Yahoo also cannot search for or produce deleted e-mails once they've been removed from a user's trash folder.

The guide also reveals that the company retains the IP addresses from which a user logs in for just one year. But the company's logs of IP addresses used to register new accounts for the first time go back to 1999. The contents of accounts on Flickr, the photo sharing and storage site which Yahoo also owns, are purged as soon as a user deactivates the account.

Chats conducted through the company's Web Messenger service may be saved on Yahoo's server if one of the parties in the correspondence set up their account to archive chats. This pertains to the web-based version of the chat service, however. Yahoo does not save the content of chats for consumers who use the downloadable Web Messenger client on their computer.

Instant message logs are retained 45 to 60 days and includes an account holder's friends list, and the date and times the user communicated with them.

Young responded to Yahoo's takedown request with a defiant note:

I cannot find at the Copyright Office a grant of copyright for the Yahoo spying document hosted on Cryptome. To assure readers Yahoo's copyright claim is valid and not another hoary bluff without substantiation so common under DMCA bombast please send a copy of the copyright grant for publication on Cryptome.

Until Yahoo provides proof of copyright, the document will remain available to the public for it provides information that is in the public interest about Yahoo's contradictory privacy policy and should remain a topic of public debate on ISP unacknowledged spying complicity with officials for lucrative fees.

Note: Yahoo's exclamation point is surely trademarked so omitted here.
The company responded that a copyright notice is optional for works created after March 1, 1989 and repeated its demand for removal on Thursday. For now, the document remains on the Cryptome site.

Threat Level reported Tuesday that muckraker and Indiana University graduate student Christopher Soghoian had asked all agencies within the Department of Justice, under a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request, to provide him with a copy of the pricing list supplied by telecoms and internet service providers for the surveillance services they offer government agencies. But before the agencies could provide the data, Verizon and Yahoo intervened and filed an objection on grounds that the information was proprietary and that the companies would be ridiculed and publicly shamed were their surveillance price sheets made public.

Yahoo wrote in its objection letter that if its pricing information were disclosed to Soghoian, he would use it "to 'shame' Yahoo! and other companies — and to 'shock' their customers."

"Therefore, release of Yahoo!'s information is reasonably likely to lead to impairment of its reputation for protection of user privacy and security, which is a competitive disadvantage for technology companies," the company added.

The price list that Yahoo tried to prevent the government from releasing to Soghoian appears in one small paragraph in the 17-page leaked document. According to this list, Yahoo charges the government about $30 to $40 for the contents, including e-mail, of a subscriber's account. It charges $40 to $80 for the contents of a Yahoo group.

Facebook, Twitter, MySpace and other U.S. "social networking" sites are at minimum providing information in similar fashion to U.S. agencies, and in some cases have also received substantial funding by U.S. government related entities as a most efficient and cost-effective means of spying on their users around the world. -- Mathaba

-- Includes extensive reporting by Wired.com's Kim Zetter

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