Defending WikiLeaks and Whistleblowers

1:08:38 SFU History grad, Sean Tucker of Business Administration, “I don’t know if we need a Whistleblower policy on campus or something”.

An academic has their priorities askew if they don’t protect whistleblowing, even while its result is not directly in the immediate favour of their organization. Protecting the right to speak and hear the truth, is an important aspect of a functioning democracy and a transparent academic institution.

1:16:16 I speak my mind. I’d rather the University offer WikiLeaks server space, if there’s any sort of policy on whistle-blowing.

Blog Action Day 2013 – Human Rights #BAD13

On Friday I was invited to talk about blogging, on Regina’s community radio station CJTR. The show was Human Rights Radio by Jim and Gord, and we spent the hour going over what a blog is, why it’s useful to have one, and how it could be used to promote human rights. You can give a listen to it!

The second half of the show is on YouTube too, if you want to look at the ceiling for most of it:

Also, if you’re in Saskatchewan, check out the “Get Active with Amnesty” 2013 conference. I was a guest speaker for it last year when it was in Regina. This time it is in Moose Jaw.

This is the conference site.
And there is also a facebook event page you can use to invite friends.

Passwords Holding the Web Together

I noticed another person with a CIBC 2-factor authentication fob on their key chain last week. It displays a seemingly random number that actually only a special server knows, so if a password is stolen, so too must the fob containing the random number code that changes every minute. Without both the password, and the fob, a thief is unable to log into a stolen account.

Passwords make the Web work, so we can have ‘our’ stuff, and keep unwanted and very unwelcome people from viewing it and changing our own information. So a title like “Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore” should be very, very concerning to people and businesses depending upon computers alike.

This Forbes headline caught my eye recently, and I have mixed feelings about it. “Kill the Password: Why a String of Characters Can’t Protect Us Anymore”. Is it going to work to keep computer information secure? My scepticism is sky-high following the Snowden leaks of NSA and related world spying agencies overstepping their constitutional bounds. Could we really design a technology where it’s secure enough to trust the government to implement it for us? I’d trust it only after an intelligent group of individuals who understand encryption very well, give it a thumbs-up. Someone who has worked with WikiLeaks, and works on an anonymous Web system called Tor is Jacob Appelbaum. If Jacob gave a system the thumbs up, or a thumbs down, I’d take his word for it. Even better, he could explain why a system works, or does not.

Is another security technology on the horizon going to change the Web almost overnight in a very drastic or revolutionary way? I wish I had the answers. Maybe the NSA has the answer already? We can’t trust them, however.

WikiLeaks: Suspected Snowden Plane Grounded & Embassy Bugged

Assange blasted Obama today for lying about his government’s interest in capturing Edward Snowden, the celebrated whistle-blower who exposed Obama’s administration as spying on all Americans (and the rest of the world). The plane of the Bolivian president was denied flight into previously friendly countries and diverted to Austria for an unexpected search!

Topping off the madness of the American President, was news that a listening bug was discovered in the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

BONUS:
Clapper admits to misleading Congress, but claims it was an innocent mistake. What a tool, eh?

PRISM: Greenwald on CNBC

Encrypt your shit:

The world is not sliding, but galloping into a new transnational dystopia. This development has not been properly recognized outside of national security circles. It has been hidden by secrecy, complexity and scale. The internet, our greatest tool of emancipation, has been transformed into the most dangerous facilitator of totalitarianism we have ever seen. The internet is a threat to human civilization.
[...]
In the new space of the internet what would be the mediator of coercive force?
[...]
It is easier to encrypt information than it is to decrypt it.
[...]
Cryptography is the ultimate form of non-violent direct action.
[...]
No amount of coercive force will ever solve a math problem.

WikiLeaks: Snowden to Greenwald to Guardian

The Verizon phone taps, to Yahoo, Google, Skype, and more all owned by the US Government. These were things suspected by many (thanks to WikiLeaks), and now confirmed by the intentional whistle-blowing leak from the NSA. The man who told on his criminally misbehaving government? A 29 year old who didn’t want to live in such a fake society that says it’s all about protection of civil liberty, while violating that trust as a fact of daily business.

Remember there were illegal attacks on WikiLeaks’ infrastructure, with the top suspect being the US State Department.

BONUS:

Note that you should be following everyone on Twitter listed here, if you aren’t already (and use Twitter). (At least with Twitter, you understand already that your postings are all public broadcasts and thus subject to monitoring.)

WikiLeaks: Special Project K is for Kissinger

https://twitter.com/wikileaks/status/321097232516542464

Soon, as media and bloggers sift through the new leaks, there will be revelations to help clarify history and better understand how the United States ended up where it is today.

WikiLeaks: Major Revelations Is What Journalists Do – See @carwinb

There’s some crow to eat this morning, for anti-Assange, anti-Wikileaks people.

Last year we got confirmation in the form of a WikiLeaks-Strafor leak of all things, that Assange had been secretly indicted in the US, for his journalism.

On January 26, 2011, Fred Burton, the vice president of Stratfor, a leading private intelligence firm which bills itself as a kind of shadow CIA, sent an excited email to his colleagues. “Text Not for Pub,” he wrote. “We” – meaning the U.S. government – “have a sealed indictment on Assange. Pls protect.”

The news, if true, was a bombshell.

Well, it’s true. It’s not unexpected if you follow people who actually care about journalism and the truth. And it’s led to Assange being trapped in various prisons in and near London, while the UK, Swedish, American, and Australian legal and political systems toy with his freedom.

The American admission that they are still seeking to charge Assange with crimes, despite his activity falling under First Amendment protection for journalists, demonstrates the reason he’s opted to stay out of a Swedish jail.

The Swedish prosecutor who refused to travel to London to interview Assange in order to proceed with the case they want to build against him, has LEFT the case.

AA’s lawyer has been fired, and a new one has been chosen and approved by the court. AA is one of Assange’s accusers in Sweden.

And more shocking, a Swedish judge is set to speak publicly about what he’d do if he was directly handling Assange’s case! Just this week, Toronto’s Mayor Ford ended up in hot water for making radio comments about an active case in the Canadian justice system.

Speaking to Fairfax Media, Mr Assange condemned Judge Lindskog’s planned discussion of his case.

“If an Australian High Court judge came out and spoke on a case the court expected or was likely to judge, it would be regarded as absolutely outrageous,” he said.

“This development is part of a pattern in which senior Swedish figures, including the Swedish Foreign Minister, the Prime Minister and Minister for Justice, have all publicly attacked me or WikiLeaks.”

Justice Lindskog is chairman of the Supreme Court of Sweden, the country’s highest court of appeal. In announcing his forthcoming lecture, Adelaide University observed that “as one of Sweden’s most eminent jurists, he is uniquely able to provide an authoritative view of the Assange affair”.

… which is precisely why it’s not supposed to happen in public, until at least the accused has been acquitted if charged. Assange has still not even been charged with a crime in Sweden, so he can’t even formally defend his innocence in the matter. If he submits to the politically motivated extradition to Sweden, he’s justified in knowing that Sweden will eventually send him on to face political charges in the United States. Continue reading

WikiLeaks: Hollywood Hatchet, Swedish Swindle

The problem with how Sweden, the UK, and the United States have been treating Julian Assange of Wikileaks, has dragged on for years. It’s left the foremost journalist in the world stuck in a London apartment building that houses the Ecuadorian Embassy where Assange is trapped as a political prisoner. He sought asylum from the Swedish extradition order, and Ecuador granted him that request. Assange’s home country of Australia has sided with the United States in wanting him imprisoned and taken offline, because they’ve failed to negotiate his safe return to Australia or Ecuador where he could be free.

In February there was a great response to a New Statesman article by a former Assange supporter who has now betrayed him by working for Hollywood/CIA who is set to smear him in a widely distributed film.

Khan complains that Assange refused to appear in the film about WikiLeaks by the American director Alex Gibney, which she “executive produced”. Assange knew the film would be neither “nuanced” nor “fair” and “represent the truth”, as Khan wrote, and that its very title, We Steal Secrets: The Story of Wikileaks, was a gift to the fabricators of a bogus criminal indictment that could doom him to one of America’s hellholes. Having interviewed axe-grinders and turncoats, Gibney abuses Assange as paranoid. DreamWorks is also making a film about the “paranoid” Assange. Oscars all round.

It’s also worth reading this summary by WikiLea’s J. Farrell, of Assange’s present legal and political problems:

Over a lunch you [, Khan,] questioned this fear of extradition to the US, and when I asked you what you would do in his position you refused to answer the question. I asked you more than six times what you would do in his shoes. Having offered to cooperate with the Swedish investigation non-stop for the past two years and been refused with no proper explanation, and believing that you would end up in an American prison for decades, in solitary confinement and under SAMs, what would you do? You never gave me a concrete answer. Instead, you skirted the question with another question and discounted the numerous legal opinions out there, favouring instead an article by David Allen Green. I reiterated that Julian had never said that it would be likely in practice that he would face the death penalty, although the Espionage Act permits this. But more to the point, and one that everyone always ignores, there was (and still is) the fear of being extradited to face life imprisonment and almost certainly torture or other inhumane and degrading treatment for his publishing activities.

I told you that the Swedish authorities could, if they wanted to, charge Julian in absentia. Even if they were to do that, they should, according to their own procedures, conduct an interview with him before requesting his extradition. I repeated that he remains available even in the embassy for questioning by the Swedish authorities should they wish to employ the standard procedures they use regularly in other cases.

I think it was David Allen Green who I was arguing with once on Twitter about WikiLeaks. He’s clearly not very objective, and is out to present the situation in a way that will result in Assange ending up imprisoned.

In response to the sexual assault allegations, here are people who recognize what is going on:

Khan is rightly concerned about a “resolution” of the allegations of sexual misconduct in Sweden. Putting aside the tissue of falsehoods demonstrated in the evidence in this case, both women had consensual sex with Assange and neither claimed otherwise; and the Stockholm prosecutor Eva Finne all but dismissed the case.

As Katrin Axelsson and Lisa Longstaff of Women Against Rape wrote in the Guardian in August 2012, “. . . the allegations against [Assange] are a smokescreen behind which a number of governments are trying to clamp down on WikiLeaks for having audaciously revealed to the public their secret planning of wars and occupations with their attendant rape, murder and destruction . . .

“The authorities care so little about violence against women that they manipulate rape allegations at will . . . [Assange] has made it clear he is available for questioning by the Swedish authorities, in Britain or via Skype. Why are they refusing this essential step to their investigation? What are they afraid of?”

They are afraid of Skype, or a plane flight to London. Here’s a fricken map for them to find Julian Assange for that interview they claim to want on behalf of Assanges’ accusers.