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Is WikiLeaks Under Attack?

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PayPal, it was announced today, has revoked  donations to the controversial whistle-blower website WikiLeaks. The move was over an alleged violation of its terms and conditions agreement, citing a policy to not allow use for any service that will “encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity.” Julian Assange, in a twitter post, alleges that the move has come as the result of pressure from American officials.

Assange has also argued that his arrest warrant and international pursuit over a series of sexual crimes, including rape, in Sweden is the result of a smear campaign to denigrate his credibility. This has been anecdotally supported in the popular media by a number of confusing decisions made by the Swedish authorities regarding the accusation at the beginning of the investigation. Nonetheless, the current pursuit has thrown Assange into hiding where he has had to begin eliciting financial support for his legal defense through his website.

In recent weeks, WikiLeaks has also endured other troubles, such as several denial-of-service attacks, some from unknown origins, the revocation of one of its domain names, and the dropping of its presence on the popular Amazon load-balancing web service EC2 (elastic cloud computing) without warning. As a result, access to the website has been choppy at best of late, damaging the groups ability to accept supportive funding, made worse by the aforementioned issues with PayPal.

Several days ago, a Republican congressman, Peter King of New York, called the founder and his website a “terrorist organization” and announced his intention to ask the attorney general, Eric Holder, to attempt to prosecute Assange. He posits that the actions of WikiLeaks are a violation of the Espionage Act of 1917, which prohibits any attempt to interfere with military activity, support American enemies during wartime, or to promote instability within the military.

While it is unlikely that the congressman’s words will result in any direct legal action, it does undercurrent a growing sentiment within the American political climate that WikiLeaks is a group bent on harming the United States and allied nations and must be stopped. This attitude has fueled speculation that WikiLeaks is, and has been, under direct attack by America and her allies and could be the driving mechanism behind the trouble it, and its founder, have endured.

Regardless of the validity of this consideration, which seems challenging to believe given the intense scrutiny that the group and associated actions have been given, there is no denying that Assange has been declared the preeminent enemy of American political figures. As WikiLeaks prepares to release even more diplomatic cables, which it has promised will reveal even more critical information, the fire is sure to continue burning bright. Already there has been one casualty in the saga, William Crosbie, a Canadian diplomat who has offered to resign over one of his released cables.

Trouble will only intensify when, as promised, WikiLeaks releases damning information about a major American bank that some have speculated will be Bank of America, rumors of which have fueled stock market reaction. It will be quite interesting in the coming months to see what response WikiLeaks receives from political and corporate leadership, who assuredly are becoming more nervous by the day. I find myself wondering what end-game Assange sees for himself in his crusade, but one can only guess that he is aware that no positive or affirming outcome is possible now. He has stirred the pot too vigorously to return to any sense of normalcy.

However, from my limited understand of his ideology, I believe that he is probably okay with that. He has changed the world, for better or worse, and proven the power of information. Whether positively or negatively, history will remember him now, and that might be enough for him.

He has certainly made these times, if also uneasy, quite interesting.

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About healeyb

  • Good article. Your article acknowledges that Wikileaks and its founder are under attack. I think you need not place a question mark in the heading. Or, if you need a question mark, you should have ended the article with a logical conclusion of answering it directly.

    Actually, there is only one sexual allegation, not series of sexual allegations. The allegation was first withdrawn saying that there is no such case. The case was reopened for unknown reasons. It is highly possible that the US might have interfered and brought pressure to reopen the case.

    The hegemonic character of the US has been established unquestionably with the leakage of diplomatic documents. Now it is official that the US used its diplomats to collect information or in other words, for espionage. The US is behaving like a coward shivering to see its real face reflected on Wikileaks website.

    Affects of disclosing espionage will always be positive in short term or long term, I feel.

  • Cannonshop

    Considering how much of a non-story most of the WikiLeaks actually have turned out to be…

    No, seriously, a non-story. European officials speculating on a missile defense capable of handling hundereds, instead of the public-information tens of missiles? Arab/Muslim nations afraid of an Iranian Bomb? Diplomats with attitude problems?
    Shit we already knew was going on??

    Seems to me that the Wikileaks story is really about generating traffic/fame for Julian Assange. He’s got his fifteen minutes of fame now, but really not a lot has changed. It reminds me largely of the conceptual basis of “Wag the Dog”-if anything, the government is encouraging him by making a big deal of this stuff.

    But, fi you’re looking for a conspiracy, here’s one that’s as solid as the man’s claim of being head-hunted…

    He’s a PLANT. The whole thing is designed in D.C. to serve the ends of people running D.C.

    Think about it: the Arab/Muslim nations demanding (in pseudo-private) that the U.S. do something about Ahmadenijad’s nuclear weapons programme-that just strengthens the hand of anyone trying to…you know, do something about it without sending in bombers. The Euros talking about a huge missile umbrella instead of the rather minor system that opposition parties have been protesting against strengthens the U.S. hand in that arena too, and anyone who’s read Keith Laumer knows what dipshits Diplomats can be in private.

    It’s like the Israelis kicking up a fuss when one of their scientists “Illegally revealed” their Nuclear Weapons programme-note that the Arab nations surrounding Israel haven’t launched another conventional-style war since?

    the whole thing makes me wonder what department of CIA or State cooked this up, not how a PFC could get access to (and sort through) that many classified documents without supervision.

  • El Bicho

    I’m with Sekhar. Not sure how it’s a question at this point

  • …no positive or affirming outcome is possible now. He has stirred the pot too vigorously to return to any sense of normalcy.

    Perhaps he does not see a “return to normalcy” as a positive or affirming outcome. Not everyone does.

  • zingzing

    “Considering how much of a non-story most of the WikiLeaks actually have turned out to be…”

    killing journalists, murder, hunting down critics of our puppet regime in iraq… yeah, non-stories.

    “Seems to me that the Wikileaks story is really about generating traffic/fame for Julian Assange.”

    now with added rape charges and international manhunt! what a steal! oh, to be as smart as julian assange…

    “He’s a PLANT. The whole thing is designed in D.C. to serve the ends of people running D.C.”

    some of it could read that way, i’ll grant you. but large parts of the rest don’t. that’s what happens when someone searches for the truth rather than just whatever is pro-america or anti-america. the us will use what it can to its advantage, and downplay the rest as a “non-story,” won’t it? funny how that works. funny.

  • The cables could not be further from a “non-story.” I will agree that not every release has been earth shattering, but many have been quite illuminating and have offered scary insights into how our diplomats function within our military intelligence. Not to even mention to revelations about various international sovereign relationships, such as Iran and the Koreas.

    This is hardly a non-story.

  • Cindy, check out some links to Assange’s writings, for example:

    this one, which features his article, “State and Terrorist Conspiracies,” a pdf file.

    I also made a posting on the subject on the Bye thread.

  • Hence the two kinds of responses from the apologists, such as Cannon’s (too much ado about nothing) on the one hand, and the other extreme which places Assange on the most wanted list.

  • Clavos

    So Wikileaks is bent on harming the USA?

    Good. You have it coming.

  • zingzing

    clavos… american when he wants, not american when he wants. what part of you isn’t included in your “you” above? are the rest of us americans guilty of whatever wikilinks uncovers or whatever sins you want to apply to us in order for us to “have it coming,” but you are somehow innocent? do you live on american soil, pay american taxes and vote in american elections?

    i may agree that america has whatever is coming to it coming to it. but i have to wonder why you’re innocent and the rest of us are not. when you are a mexican citizen, do you stop being an american citizen and vice versa?

  • Clavos has always been against statism. And America represents the worst in statism masquerading as a benign liberal democracy.

    Naturally, the more overt, totalitarian regimes are excluded from consideration.

  • Clavos

    Well put, Roger. No need for me to add anything, thank you…

  • zingzing

    well, i’m just wondering who is included in clavos’ “you” up there. and if regular americans are included, why is he not included?

    i find plenty of the stuff in the leaks to be sickening. and there’s no doubt that they are true. so yes, someone “has it coming.” just wondering who clavos thinks that is.

  • Clavos

    if regular americans are included, why is he not included?

    I’m denying my heritage, zing.

    just wondering who clavos thinks that is

    The USA, zing, I made that perfectly clear. Yes, I live here, pay taxes and vote (although rather whimsically most of the time — I like to write in a lot of names of people who aren’t running), but don’t support most of it.

    Sorta like Cindy…

  • zingzing

    “The USA, zing, I made that perfectly clear.”

    what does that mean? everyone in the usa? (except you, of course.) the government? or just the abstract notion of “the usa?” (that last one wouldn’t really make any sense.)

    “I’m denying my heritage, zing.”

    can i deny mine when it’s convenient? or is that your own special ability?

  • Clavos

    what does that mean? everyone in the usa? Yes. (except you, of course.) No, I as well, since I pay taxes that help to perpetuate the country. the government? Yes, above all.

    can i deny mine when it’s convenient?

    Of course you can; anyone can — one can even choose to actively work against it. Many people have done so throughout history and in all cultures.

  • zingzing

    ah, so you include you in “you.” you understand my confusion, i hope. you’d better hope you do. and by “you” i mean me, except when i mean you, which is up to you. i mean me.

  • Clavos

    Actually, I’m confused by your confusion.

    Perhaps your confusion stems from your inability to separate your essential oneness from your americanness…

  • zingzing

    “Actually, I’m confused by your confusion.”

    well, “you” is second person. meaning not you, when you are the one uttering it. so if you include yourself in “you,” you aren’t really using “you” correctly. if you say “you,” i think not “you.” but you know this.

    “Perhaps your confusion stems from your inability to separate your essential oneness from your americanness…”

    i’m pretty sure it’s not even possible to have that inability. it’d be very scary if it were possible. but it’s not, so that’s not it. i think it was your use of the word “you.” if you want to include yourself, use “we.” much easier that way.

  • Clavos

    But I’d really rather not include myself among the americans…except in ways I find convenient, of course. As an opportunist and cynic, I embrace the parts that are useful to me, such as my passport, but eschew the parts which are onerous — accepting identification (self or otherwise) as an american, for example.

  • “i’m pretty sure it’s not even possible to have that inability.”

    You’ve lost me there.

  • Clavos

    i’m pretty sure it’s not even possible to have that inability.

    You mean to say being american is all you are? Are you not a human being? An individual? Do you define yourself only in the mirror of your being an american? That’s…awfully one dimensional and more than a little slavish and unimaginative.

  • Ruvy

    Clavos, zingzing’s attempts at scrutinizing you/zinging you are most amusing. The minimal damage America may be suffering as a result of Assange’s leaks are more than well deserved. They’ve been earned the old-fashioned way.

    That said, I would not want to be Julian Assange at this moment.

  • Boeke

    The rape charges have been dropped: all he did was date two different women on successive nights. They were pissed. Both also said that he didn’t use condoms. Maybe he was afraid of leaks.

  • zingzing

    clavos: “You mean to say being american is all you are?” etc, etc.

    no, i mean the exact opposite. you speak of an “inability to separate your essential oneness from your americanness.” i don’t think that having that inability is possible. the statement got eaten up by all the negatives, i’ll grant, but i hope you understand it now.

    “That’s…awfully one dimensional and more than a little slavish and unimaginative.”

    it would be if that’s what i had said. but it’s not possible in the first place. otherwise, i’d be american feet, american inches tall with eyes a nice hue of american and hair a slightly americaning american about american length, but getting a bit americanish, so it’s time for a cut.

    to put it another way, no, i do not view my being an american as being fully definitive of “me.” there’s no possible way anyone could really think that way.

  • zingzing

    “But I’d really rather not include myself among the americans… except in ways I find convenient, of course.”

    pretty sure every american does that.

  • “i don’t think that having that inability is possible.”

    No longer “possible” for you, you should qualify, and “given your present state of development” (to be read between the lines) because in reality there are plenty of counterexamples, all true believers in American exceptionalism.

  • “pretty sure every american does that”

    Talking about being cynical.

  • zingzing

    “there are plenty of counterexamples, all true believers in American exceptionalism.”

    well, being a true believer in american exceptionalism doesn’t necessarily mean that all a person can describe themselves as is american. truly having the “inability to separate your essential oneness from your americanness” might be a sign of some sort of mental problem.

    “Talking about being cynical.”

    americans are fat, roger.

  • Didn’t except that comment from you. As to “mental problem,” I wouldn’t call it that. Rather, a good portion of the populace is suffering from a grand illusion, a mass hypnosis of sorts. We produced these people.

  • expect …

  • zingzing

    “Didn’t except that comment from you.”

    which comment?

    “As to “mental problem,” I wouldn’t call it that.”

    well, if you take clavos’ “inability” literally, i’d say that person has some serious issues. but if you take it more in the spirit in which he probably meant it, yes, there are many, many americans that are far too enthusiastic about being americans. or at least they refuse to be self-critical, which is a detrimental blindness.

  • Changing the subject (sorry – feel free to ignore me), I am enjoying this entire saga far too thoroughly purely because it is unlikely to go away. The media very often makes a mountain of nothing to spark ratings, but this is a genuine unfolding story that has promise to grow into 2011 and beyond. Much is still to be released that has been promised from Assange and WikiLeaks, and some has been suggested to be monumental. Posturing, for sure, is possible, but it’s exciting to await nonetheless.

    I have always been a big proponent of the freedom of information and freedom of speech, even at great cost. I know the consequences of the organization could be severe, there could be resignations, stock troubles and international tension. But assuming everything is true and real, it will be worth the revelation.

  • To further the depths of the brewing belief in conspiracy, it seems now that the rape accuser has been tied to a group that has known funding from the US.

    Likely meaningless, the mere implication is nonetheless certain to add gasoline to an already burning inferno.

  • It’s ironic, I suppose, that the internet, an establishment invention designed for the express purpose of privileged communications, has been turned on its head and backfired.

  • While the irony is not lost, it is a little hard to imagine that the internet in its current incarnation wouldn’t have been independently developed elsewhere even if ARPANET was never created, although it may have taken longer.

  • No doubt, but the opposition to the kind of extension and scale we’re experiencing today would have been much more formidable. The inventors never imagined the inherent possibilities. I’d say they’ve been caught with their pants down.

  • Clavos

    The inventors never imagined the inherent possibilities. I’d say they’ve been caught with their pants down.


    Al Gore with his pants down???

    What will Tipper say?

    Oh, wait…

  • Cukal

    Wikileaks & Assange have done more for Democracy than all the western world together since WOII.
    I fully support Wikileaks.

  • Well, let me come back to Americanness and oneness. I think one need not deny his heritage to oppose certain acts perpetrated against his will and acceptance. From the point of view of the people of America and also of an outside citizen, I see the US as a great country, a conglomerate of several races, religions, regions and identities.

    What Americans have to recognize is, what the US state is doing as a hegemonic state, has no permanent approval of the majority American people. At a given time such acts may have approval of majority people but it will not last longer, as people come to know about facts. There is a saying, “all can be fooled temporarily, some can be fooled permanently but all can not be fooled permanently.”

    Very often, if not all the time, states do not take peoples interests into consideration. Instead, their major role as a government and other state apparatus, is almost directed diametrically against the interests of their people. That’s why one need not be apologetic when denying their state’s oppressive, conspiratorial, hegemonic methods of ruling. One need not confuse to oppose inhuman acts of his government. American state is a parasite that feeds on American working masses as well as world working masses. That is more true in the age of “globalization.” One has to deny it as an American as well as other country men, but as a well wisher of the humankind.

  • 7 – Roger,

    Thanks for the link. I will have a look later.

  • Great stuff, Roger. Maybe it’s just me, but since the first leaks, one gets a sense that wikileaks is brilliant and necessary. If Julian Assange is interrupted, I am sure the idea will be carried forward. I sure do hope so. Wikileaks is brilliant.

    “…[S]tate department spokesman Mr PJ Crowley told reporters here[,]“He is trying to undermine the international system that enables us to cooperate and collaborate with other governments…”

    Sounds good to me.

  • “Critics charge these actions recklessly endanger lives, but no organization, be it the Pentagon or third-party humanitarian groups, find evidence that any person has been put in harms way because of a release.”

    A quote from your article above, Roger, which highlights the falsehood within the propaganda machine that has been put in place. The state (via Hillary Clinton, et al, in this case) defends itself by making false claims that serve a very particular function. They insinuate one would not be patriotic if one believed something other than what the state claims. We, who have been trained to ‘pledge allegiance to a flag’ every day, line up behind the state like little ducks following our mother, unquestioning.

    We would not want our allegiance and patriotism challenged, would we? We have been trained to root for our team, ‘fight for our country’ and also to avoid ostracism. What is good for the state must therefore be good for us.

  • Anarcissie was right when she called the State as essentially a terrorist organization. Check her comment on the Bye thread.