This is turning into one of the best stories so far this year, and yet it seems doomed to only be known by geeks. Still spinning quickly, with new revelations daily, but it goes a little something like this:
[Y]our numbers are too small to draw the conclusion but you don't want to accept it. Your probability based on frequency right now is a gut feeling. Gut feelings are usually wrong.
Hunton & Williams was recommended to Bank of America's General Counsel by the Justice Department -- meaning the U.S. Government is aiding Bank of America in its defense against/attacks on WikiLeaks.Copious footnotes and link as usual. Required reading. Palantir and Berico eventually issue a condemnation of the targeting of Salon and Greenwald.
Some notes I had taken a week back:
Compromise On Net Neutrality from WNYC with Tim Wu commenting, at around the 6:30 mark:
I was in the FCC and I said why don't we just extend [Net Neutrality rules] to wireless, and they said "that's great, but AT&T will never agree to that. And I said "AT&T doesn't have a vote on this commission." They said "yeah, but they got 60 Congressmen. They can make our life miserable."
Al Franken has been a long-time supporter. The video from his petition to save net neutrality:
In it, he asks:
How long do you think it will take for these [media] monoliths to buy enough elections so that they effectively have veto power over anything Congress tries to do to regulate them. Succinct.
Recently, I had serendipitously read Richard Stallman's essay in The Guardian titled The Anonymous WikiLeaks protests are a mass demo against control.
In the physical world, we have the right to print and sell books. Anyone trying to stop us would need to go to court. ... However, to set up a website we need the co-operation of a domain name company, an ISP, and often a hosting company, any of which can be pressured to cut us off.
We need more extremists like him.
Ars Technica reviewed recent books on the subject, one by Tim Wu, in their article Four takes on why net neutrality matters. The reviewer gets to the heart of the heart of the matter:
The deeper problem is that the First Amendment is empirically blind. It is oblivious to speech and information bottlenecks. It is not in fact a "free speech" guarantee, but a limitation on government. The Supreme Court focuses more on the "no law" than the "freedom of speech" parts of "Congress shall make no law... abridging the freedom of speech." [emphasis mine] While "no law's" concern about state censorship is certainly well-taken, it is only half the story. It hobbles any government attempt to act against private censorship. (Indeed, corporations have discovered the First Amendment as a useful argument against many types of government regulation, from consumer disclosures to campaign finance.) In an ironic turn of events, the First Amendment is used against speech.
Finally, and related, we have David Frost interviewing Julian Assange on Al Jazeera via Reddit:
I'll repeat: David Frost has a show on Al Jazeera.
+1 for the phrase
banging the absolute hell out of.
Gizmodo first reports that the Swedish charges against Assange (because, you know, they're relevant to whether the content of the leaked documents adds insight to the action of the US govt) were not rape, then update them to reflect updated charges. Basically--and this is a delicate area--Assange had consensual protected sex, they slept, then woke up and had either consensual or unconsensual sex without a condom. It takes Gizmodo to report this? Really?!
Julian Assange answers your questions over at Guardian earlier today at ~13:00 UTC. Site was down for the duration of the Q&A, but they eventually get published. Worth reading for the alternate humility and slight arrogance. A pity he sided-stepped a diplomat's question--pissy as it was. Regarding getting bumped from AWS:
Since 2007 we have been deliberately placing some of our servers in jurisdictions that we suspected suffered a free speech deficit inorder to separate rhetoric from reality. Amazon was one of these cases.
Wishing I would have better documented the reasons why these cables are neither boring nor filled with justifications to kill Assange (make up your minds, US politicians; either they're deadly or they're mundane):
We'll continue saying they are our bombs, not yours.
Death threats and blood lust:
I think Assange should be assassinated, actually. I think Obama should put out a contract and maybe use a drone or something.
Why was he not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al-Qaeda and Taliban leaders?and asked whether it was a
Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason, and I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty.
The information is out there. You haven't stopped anything.
[ updated 9 Dec 2010 ]
Not wanting to get too deeply into the charges, but a Slashdot comment references a blog post pointing to some suspicious social networking comments by one of the accusers. I hadn't seen this anywhere else, so it seems worth linking.
Interesting events triggered by Wikileaks release of the US military logs of the war in Afghanistan:
This will very soon be all about leaking, and whistleblowers, and danger to our troops ... What it won't be about is the actual substance of those reports.
Wikileaks should be invisible. Stuff should just appear. No one should have any idea where it comes from.
Julian Assange says he's found only one carrot that gets journalists to dig through his piles of raw material: "You can have it first. ... When you release something to the world its scarcity goes from zero to infinity. There is not a good incentive for journalists to invest in pulling the material apart and writing up and placing it in context.
What does it mean to tell the truth about a war? Is it a lie, technically speaking, for the Administration to say that it has faith in Hamid Karzai's government and regards him as a legitimate leader--or is it just absurd?
The Intelligence Daily points out that Bank Julius Baer's attempted strong-arming of Wikileaks could serve to scuttle their $1 billion dollar IPO. The media attention on the court order to remove the wikileaks.com hostname from DNS servers, and the befuddlement over the unconstitutionality and technical impotence of such actions, makes BJB appear more shady than solid. Oh, that and the fact that they're laundering money for weathy clients...
Of equal interest, The Register outlines the impregnable wall that Wikileaks' creators (also the parents of The Pirate Bay) have constructed with the help of their ISP, PRQ. The data is encrypted, the server locations are undisclosed, the server logs are destroyed, and PRQ's lawyers are ready to handle empty threats of take-down. The Register is calling it bullet proof hosting, but we're all thinking data haven. As many others have said: this information will never disappear.
Fascinating story about Wikileaks getting taken off the internets. Wikinews reports that they first were the target of a 500Mbps DDoS, then their main servers' UPS was destroyed in a fire at their Swedish hosting site, finally their domain was taken offline in the US after a decision in a District Court in California.
Wikileaks hosted documents leaked from a Swiss bank. The documents revealed possible tax evasion from wealthy and politically sensitive clients in several countries including the US. Although their main site is unavailable, the Wikipedia article lists http://wikileaks.be and http://220.127.116.11/wiki/Wikileaks as alternatives still accessible in the US. Reddit has a good list of related articles, the most useful is at Daily Kos.
Wikileaks is what makes the internet so valuable and although it's a shame that the US is playing China's tune, this information will never disappear.