December 4, 2010

Good or Evil?

One way or another, we all leak.

Seasoned hacker and all 'round Aussie, Julian Assange, is not, contrary to mass beliefs and mass media coverage, a leaker.

Assange accepts and arranges publication of material from leakers.  It can't ever be otherwise, since Assange has no access to anything of sensitivity or note.  Unless he gets back into the hacking game, that's likely to continue to be the case.  He's a dealer in second hand goods, the front guy for the equivalent of a pawn shop for chronic leakers.

What we know from the latest leaking is that president of France is short and a bit of a loose cannon, Russia is not a glowing example of democracy, Pakistan is a worry and everyone tip toes around China.

Oh, and the British royals are, well, dunderheads.

We have also had confirmed that diplomats do the equivalent of gossip for about 80% of their working day - not astonishing; that's the business they're in. They can't shut the fuck up and they spend a lot of time doing the equivalent of shooting-off group SMSs, which, as has been evidenced, results in an awful lot of "diplomatic cables" - squillions of the damned things.

The response to Hillary Clinton from one of her counterparts was along the lines of "don't worry about it, you should hear what we say about you" (indeed, she - and we - probably will), which is pretty much the most sensible and thoughtful comment to hit the public sphere so far.

Most of the cables published are not classified (albeit, Wikileaks is currently without a home, having been bumped by their host, for reasons they claim are not political, rather, the action was to protect their other users).

There are more cables to come, including a cache related to Australia, and an alleged big leak of something entirely non-specific, but 'lid blowing' in relation to 'big business'.  Now the latter would be great fun, if we ever get to see it.  The truly ugly mind of the rulers of the universe deserve to be smeared all over town. 

Raw look at US diplomacy 

To publish or not to publish

Catalyst for transparency or lockdown?

Misfit hacker to enemy of the state

Wikileaks next target big business

Wikileaks and the art of shutting up 

Sarah Palin gets hysterical about Julian Assange

Leaked cables stir resentment and shrugs

10 comments:

  1. A great comment Caz, among the best I've seen on this. I'll take a look at your links when I get a moment.

    A couple of thoughts. Of course it's likely pretty much everything leaked would be known, or already seen, by every government in the world who could be bothered to look. Every half decent intelligent service on the planet, and there are a few, would see to that. They don't only send heaps of cables. They like to spy on themselves alot. In fact that's a major part of the game. You can be sure Hilary already knows what her counterparts think of her.

    Nevertheless there are some real dangers in Wikileaks. The first is obvious. Information that is of military use to people with who we are at war and who might not have a half decent intelligent service of their own. But even that can be overstated. Even Al Quada has the Pakistani secret service at their dosposal.

    The other danger is more subtle and I expect that's what has got people really worried. It's the politics of "we know you know, and we know you know we know, but now everybody else knows you know we know." Let me give an example.

    About 25 years ago a guy by the name of Mordachai Vanunu (there's a name that would have both Dickens and Tolkien rolling their eyes) made a hero of himself by "blowing the whistle" on a certain nuclear program. (I love the language. I blow the whistle. He leaks. You spill your guts.) Anyway Mordachai was a true leaker by any definition. A right little pisser if you ask me. But you can bet the weapon of mass destruction of your choice that he and the Sunday Times didn't provide a shred of information not known already to every government in the world and many other people besides. Especially every Arab government and Iran. Likely there were strenuous efforts to make sure they know. That's the whole point isn't it?

    Yet Mordachai's actions were serious. Seriously bad. In the explosive caldron of Middle East politics this was a nasty development the world could have done without. Putting the information "out there", and just as importantly, the perception of "information", and the perception it is "out there", made a bad situation worse. It changed the game a little, with unpredictable consequences. Arab rulers had one more thing to contend with when playing to the "street". Of course this affair was a huge embarassment for Israel but you can bet the Arabs were just as pissed off. In that sense, and only that sense, Mordachai and his do-gooding Anglican mates in Bondi managed to make the world a slightly more dangerous place. Only slightly mind you. But they did manage to do it singlehandedly.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Test, one two three, test.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Anonymous3:26 PM

    Reproduced ... Geoff @ 10.05am:

    A great comment Caz, among the best I've seen on this. I'll take a look at your links when I get a moment.

    A couple of thoughts. Of course it's likely pretty much everything leaked would be known, or already seen, by every government in the world who could be bothered to look. Every half decent intelligent service on the planet, and there are a few, would see to that. They don't only send heaps of cables. They like to spy on themselves alot. In fact that's a major part of the game. You can be sure Hilary already knows what her counterparts think of her.

    Nevertheless there are some real dangers in Wikileaks. The first is obvious. Information that is of military use to people with who we are at war and who might not have a half decent intelligent service of their own. But even that can be overstated. Even Al Quada has the Pakistani secret service at their dosposal.

    The other danger is more subtle and I expect that's what has got people really worried. It's the politics of "we know you know, and we know you know we know, but now everybody else knows you know we know." Let me give an example.

    About 25 years ago a guy by the name of Mordachai Vanunu (there's a name that would have both Dickens and Tolkien rolling their eyes) made a hero of himself by "blowing the whistle" on a certain nuclear program. (I love the language. I blow the whistle. He leaks. You spill your guts.) Anyway Mordachai was a true leaker by any definition. A right little pisser if you ask me. But you can bet the weapon of mass destruction of your choice that he and the Sunday Times didn't provide a shred of information not known already to every government in the world and many other people besides. Especially every Arab government and Iran. Likely there were strenuous efforts to make sure they know. That's the whole point isn't it?

    Yet Mordachai's actions were serious. Seriously bad. In the explosive caldron of Middle East politics this was a nasty development the world could have done without. Putting the information "out there", and just as importantly, the perception of "information", and the perception it is "out there", made a bad situation worse. It changed the game a little, with unpredictable consequences. Arab rulers had one more thing to contend with when playing to the "street". Of course this affair was a huge embarassment for Israel but you can bet the Arabs were just as pissed off. In that sense, and only that sense, Mordachai and his do-gooding Anglican mates in Bondi managed to make the world a slightly more dangerous place. Only slightly mind you. But they did manage to do it singlehandedly.

    ReplyDelete
  4. OK, that worked. No idea what happened to your original post Geoff, but did not publish.

    Blogger tried to tell me that the comment was "too big", but then published it anyway.

    The mysterious ways of the web.

    ReplyDelete
  5. geoff7:49 PM

    Yeah Caz, I had just written something typically insightful and scintillating on this, pressed the button, and puff, -- disappeared into the ether like a wikileak in the wind. Broke the first rule. Forgot to click a copy. Ah well. I guess I'll just have to re-scintillate myself on this subject later.

    ReplyDelete
  6. All was NOT lost Geoff - I've published it: look above!

    Came to my in box, just didn't show up on the blog; no idea why, haven't had it happen before.

    Have not had chance to respond. So many big and intertwining things, having trouble grappling with what I want to say about this whole thing, and it's bound to get worse, for Assange at least.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hey Caz, this is weird but published it where? Can't see anything from this side.

    ReplyDelete
  8. Geoff - okay, now things are getting really freaky! I could see the comment yesterday (which I reposted with your name & time of comment, using "anonymous" profile), but looking now ... it has vanished!

    Hmmm ... will see what happens when I repost it in two parts.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Anonymous8:00 PM

    Geoff @ Sun, Dec 5, 2010 at 10:05 AM (Part 1)


    A great comment Caz, among the best I've seen on this. I'll take a look at your links when I get a moment.

    A couple of thoughts. Of course it's likely pretty much everything leaked would be known, or already seen, by every government in the world who could be bothered to look. Every half decent intelligent service on the planet, and there are a few, would see to that. They don't only send heaps of cables. They like to spy on themselves alot. In fact that's a major part of the game. You can be sure Hilary already knows what her counterparts think of her.

    Nevertheless there are some real dangers in Wikileaks. The first is obvious. Information that is of military use to people with who we are at war and who might not have a half decent intelligent service of their own. But even that can be overstated. Even Al Quada has the Pakistani secret service at their dosposal.

    The other danger is more subtle and I expect that's what has got people really worried. It's the politics of "we know you know, and we know you know we know, but now everybody else knows you know we know."

    to be continued ...

    ReplyDelete
  10. Anonymous10:23 PM

    And for a second time, posting the second half! (This really is too, too much. The mystery of the vanished blog comments ...)

    [Avatar Briefs] New comment on Good or Evil?.


    Avatar Briefs - Blog
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    Caz
    Caz has left a new comment on your post "Good or Evil?": Geoff - okay, now th...

    Dec 6 (6 days ago)
    Anonymous
    Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Good or Evil?": Geoff @ Sun, D...

    Dec 6 (6 days ago)
    Reply
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    Anonymous
    to me

    show details Dec 6 (6 days ago)

    Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Good or Evil?":

    Geoff @ Sun, Dec 5, 2010 at 10:05 AM (Part 2)

    Let me give an example.

    About 25 years ago a guy by the name of Mordachai Vanunu (there's a name that would have both Dickens and Tolkien rolling their eyes) made a hero of himself by "blowing the whistle" on a certain nuclear program. (I love the language. I blow the whistle. He leaks. You spill your guts.) Anyway Mordachai was a true leaker by any definition. A right little pisser if you ask me. But you can bet the weapon of mass destruction of your choice that he and the Sunday Times didn't provide a shred of information not known already to every government in the world and many other people besides. Especially every Arab government and Iran. Likely there were strenuous efforts to make sure they know. That's the whole point isn't it?

    Yet Mordachai's actions were serious. Seriously bad. In the explosive caldron of Middle East politics this was a nasty development the world could have done without. Putting the information "out there", and just as importantly, the perception of "information", and the perception it is "out there", made a bad situation worse. It changed the game a little, with unpredictable consequences. Arab rulers had one more thing to contend with when playing to the "street". Of course this affair was a huge embarassment for Israel but you can bet the Arabs were just as pissed off. In that sense, and only that sense, Mordachai and his do-gooding Anglican mates in Bondi managed to make the world a slightly more dangerous place. Only slightly mind you. But they did manage to do it singlehandedly.

    .... end comment.

    ReplyDelete