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Wikileaks, or: In Ur Office, Blowing Ur Whistle

GoslingGosling Looking Up Soccer In Mongolia Right Now, ProbablyWatertown, WIRegistered User regular
edited February 2009 in Debate and/or Discourse
Wikileaks is a site that launched some time ago. It's a Wiki to which someone with sensitive information can submit documents with minimal risk of being found out, or at least as minimal as is possible. A key feature is that you don't get to edit it. (You can probably guess why this would be.)

Today they got a dump of 6,780 reports from Congress on a wide variety of topics, covering 127,000 pages of material. The site's been greenlit to Fark, which has been followed by a bunch of people, me included, spending all morning letting the media sleep in tomorrow.

The purpose of the thread is twofold:

1. If there's any possible debate on if Wikileaks is a good thing or not (and so far I haven't heard much opposition), go for it.
2. Dive in and see what you can dig up. Some highlights of my efforts on the morning:

Multi-Service Concept For Irregular Warfare
(pdf)
Sometimes, merely winning popular acquiescence or frightening a population into inactivity is sufficient to our goals of neutralizing an enemy's power over a people.
The BBC is percieved by people around the world as a fair and even-handed reporter of news, regardless of the reality, while CNN often is regarded as a mouthpiece of the US government. The BBC is more likely to persuade than is CNN. Our information ops need to acquire a BBC-like reputation for honesty that can be used to persuade.
To help win and keep popular approval, large unit operations must be minimized and large, firm bases not used.

Last known recording of L. Ron Hubbard

A memo on a 'Fallujah gulag' written last February by Maj. Gen. Kelly:
MNF-W COMMANDER'S COMMENTS

I spent the entire day inspecting the Fallujah city jail. I found the conditions there to be exactly (unbelivable over crowding, total lack of anything approaching even minimal levels of hygiene for human beings, no food, little water, no ventilation) to those described in the recent (18 February) FOX news artickle by Michael Totten entitled the "Dungeon of Fallujah". When queried the iraqis and marines present throughout my inspection as to why these conditions existed, three conditions were universaly cited as problems in Fallujah as well as the rest of Anbar. First, there is zero support from the government for any of the jails in Anbar. No funds, food or medical support has been provided from any ministry. Second, the police that run Anbar's jails are the same personnel responsable for investigating crimes. These jailer/investigators are undermanned and more often than not spend most of their time out begging and scavenging for food than investigating crimes. (It is unlikely the prisoners will eat today). Third, Anbar lacks trained Iraqi correctional officers (ICOS) to run the jails in Anbar. The development and employment of trained ICOS would enable the IP to focus on criminal investigation rather then jail supervision. I believe the Iraqi police are doing the best they can, and they literally begged me on humanitarian, moral and religious grounds to help them help the prisoners by somehow moving the government to action.

We need to go to general quarters on this issue right now. There are four areas that MNF-W needs immediate support with to correst these deficiencies. First, GOI must provide funfing support to provide care for Iraqi prisoners in Iraqi custody in Anbar. To state that the current system is broken would erroneously imply that there is a system in place to be broken. Most jails in Anbar have a mixed prisoner population of pre-trial prisoners and post-trial convicted prisoners. The ministry of Justice the latter. Since the Anbar jail population is mixed of interior and the ministry of Justice (MOJ). Second, Anbar needs ICO trainers to establish an ICO course in Anbar to develop and employ that capability province wide. Third, Anbar lacks a director general of MOJ for the province. Anbar needs one appointed and working in Anbar as soon as possible. Fourth, Iraqi security force funds (ISFF) must be made available to upgrade a majority of the correctional facilities within Anbar to comply with basic international standarts of care for prisoners.

One of the main goals of MNF-W is to successfully transition the IP from a security force to a professional law enforcement force. The Iraqi police will ultimately be the ones whose shoulders the burden of winning or losing the fight will be carried. To date, little attention has been paid to the Iraqi corrections system in Anbar and its current discrepancies will prevent the IP from becoming a professional law enforcement force unless immediate and significant support is provided. As I understand it the coalition has absolutely no authority to direct what goes on in these "facilities", and when we have intervened recently in other jails with the same conditions we have been criticized for not making the Iraqis solve their own problems. The conditions in these jails are so bad that I think we need to either take a TF-134 approach and that is to do the right thing in terms of caring for the prisoners even with our own dollars, or release them.

US Escalation of Force Handbook:
(pdf)
You are the gunner in the rear gun truck of a convoy passing through an urban area.
You receive word that a young adult male is throwing softball-size rocks at your
convoy from an upcoming overpass. As you approach the overpass, you spot a
young man on the overpass with what appears to be a large rock. There are six to
eight civilians walking in the same area as the rock-thrower. What do you do?
Possible reaction points and EOF considerations:
• You clearly have hostile acts and PID.
• Under the ROE you can engage the target if he poses a threat.
• Consider the following:
º You have an uparmored high mobility multipurpose wheeled
vehicle (HMMWV). Is there a threat?
º You have a vehicle with an open top and personnel exposed to the
rock-thrower. Is there a threat?
º Consider the risk of collateral damage. Can the target be engaged
while minimizing damage to the surrounding noncombatants?

Have at it.

I have a new soccer blog The Minnow Tank. Reading it psychically kicks Sepp Blatter in the bean bag.
Gosling on

Posts

  • monikermoniker Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Interesting, but I wonder what will happen if/when something truly sensitive gets uploaded. I figure they don't have a means of checking what all is in every document before it goes up, and as soon as it is there'll be a cache of the page somewhere; even if it gets taken down later.

    Also curious as to whether or not the Pentagon will make dummy reports with the express intent to leak it for other countries/organizations to find. Information warfare seems like it's starting to come to the fore if Georgia v Russia was any gauge.

    moniker on
  • GoslingGosling Looking Up Soccer In Mongolia Right Now, Probably Watertown, WIRegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
    It says they do. You can submit the document, then it goes through an editing board (which wishes to not reveal itself) before it goes live.

    Gosling on
    I have a new soccer blog The Minnow Tank. Reading it psychically kicks Sepp Blatter in the bean bag.
  • PantsBPantsB Fake Thomas Jefferson Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    As a note, his is far from the first time wikileaks has acted as a whistleblower clearinghouse. They've been targeted by everyone from the Mormon Church to Microsoft to the FBI for leaking documents of public interest.

    PantsB on
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  • DuffelDuffel jacobkosh Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Is there any way for readers to be assured of the validity of these documents? How hard would it be to fabricate a document and 'leak' it?

    Duffel on
  • TL DRTL DR Not at all confident in his reflexive opinions of thingsRegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Duffel wrote: »
    Is there any way for readers to be assured of the validity of these documents? How hard would it be to fabricate a document and 'leak' it?

    This.

    TL DR on
  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Duffel wrote: »
    Is there any way for readers to be assured of the validity of these documents? How hard would it be to fabricate a document and 'leak' it?

    Not especially, although you can generally draw some conclusions from the subsequent actions of the organisation that lost the information, and other information that's in the public domain concerning it's subject.

    As an example, the BNP went apeshit when their membership list was leaked, and tied themselves in knots with various lies and cover stories because they couldn't decide how to handle it, plus the leaked documents themselves tied up pretty well with information from a previous infiltration by an investigative journalist.

    japan on
  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    edited February 2009
    japan wrote: »
    As an example, the BNP went apeshit when their membership list was leaked, and tied themselves in knots with various lies and cover stories because they couldn't decide how to handle it, plus the leaked documents themselves tied up pretty well with information from a previous infiltration by an investigative journalist.

    British National Party?

    That would have been an interesting case in Sweden. Membership in a political party is protected by the Swedish constitution. On the Pirate Party forums you need to manually flip a setting to get the forums to display you as a member, since having it done automatically could potentially break the constitution.

    Political party membership leaks are a bit of a sensitive spot in Sweden.

    Echo on
  • japanjapan Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Echo wrote: »
    japan wrote: »
    As an example, the BNP went apeshit when their membership list was leaked, and tied themselves in knots with various lies and cover stories because they couldn't decide how to handle it, plus the leaked documents themselves tied up pretty well with information from a previous infiltration by an investigative journalist.

    British National Party?

    That would have been an interesting case in Sweden. Membership in a political party is protected by the Swedish constitution. On the Pirate Party forums you need to manually flip a setting to get the forums to display you as a member, since having it done automatically could potentially break the constitution.

    Political party membership leaks are a bit of a sensitive spot in Sweden.

    Political Affiliation is considered "sensitive" under the Data Protection Act in the UK, meaning that if you possess or collect that information you better have a damn good reason for doing so.

    To my knowledge, the legislation has never been used against journalists acting "in the public interest", but it wouldn't surprise me if it was.

    japan on
  • Dunadan019Dunadan019 Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    just to make it clear, sensitive means "we would rather it if this wasn't made public". thats much different from "classified" which means the document is strictly controlled at all times.

    a lot of the stuff there is no more sensitive than what you can get from FOI.

    Dunadan019 on
  • PantsBPantsB Fake Thomas Jefferson Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Echo wrote: »
    japan wrote: »
    As an example, the BNP went apeshit when their membership list was leaked, and tied themselves in knots with various lies and cover stories because they couldn't decide how to handle it, plus the leaked documents themselves tied up pretty well with information from a previous infiltration by an investigative journalist.

    British National Party?

    That would have been an interesting case in Sweden. Membership in a political party is protected by the Swedish constitution. On the Pirate Party forums you need to manually flip a setting to get the forums to display you as a member, since having it done automatically could potentially break the constitution.

    Political party membership leaks are a bit of a sensitive spot in Sweden.

    Wikileaks is actually based in Sweden, on PRQ, the former host of another controversial Swedish pirate site whose name I will omit here to avoid the hint of suggesting downloading anything illegally.

    PantsB on
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    QEDMF xbl: PantsB G+
  • Special KSpecial K Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    PantsB wrote: »
    Wikileaks is actually based in Sweden, on PRQ, the former host of another controversial Swedish pirate site whose name I will omit here to avoid the hint of suggesting downloading anything illegally.

    I didn't know the "other site" had moved out of Sweden until a friend pointed it out a few days ago.

    Shame.

    Special K on
  • EchoEcho ski-bap ba-dapModerator mod
    edited February 2009
    Special K wrote: »
    I didn't know the "other site" had moved out of Sweden until a friend pointed it out a few days ago.

    Shame.

    It's growing highly decentralized. The harder you squeeze, etc.

    PRQ is interesting. During the 2006 raid masked plain-clothes police grabbed every single server they could from PRQ's server halls. Plenty of legitimate businesses lost tons of money when their sites went down. Guilt by association.

    Echo on
  • Special KSpecial K Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Echo wrote: »
    Special K wrote: »
    I didn't know the "other site" had moved out of Sweden until a friend pointed it out a few days ago.

    Shame.

    It's growing highly decentralized. The harder you squeeze, etc.

    PRQ is interesting. During the 2006 raid masked plain-clothes police grabbed every single server they could from PRQ's server halls. Plenty of legitimate businesses lost tons of money when their sites went down. Guilt by association.

    I remember being surprised (but, sadly, not all that surprised) by how heavy handed that raid was - an almost textbook example of how not to do it, really.

    Special K on
  • AdrienAdrien Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Duffel wrote: »
    Is there any way for readers to be assured of the validity of these documents? How hard would it be to fabricate a document and 'leak' it?

    Well since they're not really classified, it should be possible to verify any particular one of interest with FOIA.

    Adrien on
    tmkm.jpg
  • emnmnmeemnmnme Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Duffel wrote: »
    Is there any way for readers to be assured of the validity of these documents? How hard would it be to fabricate a document and 'leak' it?

    Isn't that half the plot of Metal Gear Solid 2?

    emnmnme on
  • stiliststilist Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Wikileaks was responsible for the Bank Julius Baer thing, and the Guantánamo Bay manual.

    I support whistleblowing.

    stilist on
    I poop things on my site and twitter
  • ZekZek Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Whistleblowing on scandals is good. Any pissed off employee being able to leak whatever classified documents he likes is bad. Not all information wants to be free. Whether or not the site is a good thing depends entirely on how trustworthy this editing committee is, and it certainly isn't as if they were elected.

    Zek on
  • DevoutlyApatheticDevoutlyApathetic Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Zek wrote: »
    Whistleblowing on scandals is good. Any pissed off employee being able to leak whatever classified documents he likes is bad. Not all information wants to be free. Whether or not the site is a good thing depends entirely on how trustworthy this editing committee is, and it certainly isn't as if they were elected.
    That last bit has absolutely no bearing on them being trustworthy. Hell, it's probably inversely proportional to them being trustworthy.

    DevoutlyApathetic on
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  • ZekZek Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Zek wrote: »
    Whistleblowing on scandals is good. Any pissed off employee being able to leak whatever classified documents he likes is bad. Not all information wants to be free. Whether or not the site is a good thing depends entirely on how trustworthy this editing committee is, and it certainly isn't as if they were elected.
    That last bit has absolutely no bearing on them being trustworthy. Hell, it's probably inversely proportional to them being trustworthy.
    Sure, but it's better than them being a completely anonymous group of the founder's friends. There's no way for anybody to know where their allegiances lie.

    Zek on
  • ShadowfireShadowfire Vermont, in the middle of nowhereRegistered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Zek wrote: »
    Zek wrote: »
    Whistleblowing on scandals is good. Any pissed off employee being able to leak whatever classified documents he likes is bad. Not all information wants to be free. Whether or not the site is a good thing depends entirely on how trustworthy this editing committee is, and it certainly isn't as if they were elected.
    That last bit has absolutely no bearing on them being trustworthy. Hell, it's probably inversely proportional to them being trustworthy.
    Sure, but it's better than them being a completely anonymous group of the founder's friends. There's no way for anybody to know where their allegiances lie.

    See, when it's a tight knit group of friends releasing the info, I find it far more believable. If they're good friends, and they really believe in their site, their only influence comes from themselves.

    Shadowfire on
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  • PantsBPantsB Fake Thomas Jefferson Registered User regular
    edited February 2009
    Zek wrote: »
    Zek wrote: »
    Whistleblowing on scandals is good. Any pissed off employee being able to leak whatever classified documents he likes is bad. Not all information wants to be free. Whether or not the site is a good thing depends entirely on how trustworthy this editing committee is, and it certainly isn't as if they were elected.
    That last bit has absolutely no bearing on them being trustworthy. Hell, it's probably inversely proportional to them being trustworthy.
    Sure, but it's better than them being a completely anonymous group of the founder's friends. There's no way for anybody to know where their allegiances lie.

    The people who run the site are largely political dissidents, especially from Russia and China. Documents of interest to the West are largely secondary.

    PantsB on
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