Notes on the Wikileaks case

10/12/2010 Written by Minor

First of all, we would like to empha­size that Zone-​H is not related to any party in the Wik­ileaks case. We are do not agree nor dis­agree with any action hap­pened, we just want to share our opin­ion on the forth­com­ming events. Already many news media released infor­ma­tion about the cables, sources, how it hap­pened etc.

But now, it is clear that the Wik­ileaks will not stop to pub­lish the cables. There are plenty of the mir­rors all around the globe and infor­ma­tion are shared over the Face­book and Twit­ter. Also the arrest of Julian Assange can’t stop the day-​by-​day pub­lish­ing of the cables. Whole case raises more ques­tions, some can­not be answered. Like first one: how is it pos­si­ble that Bradley Man­ning was able to get 250k of cables? As from the Guardian arti­cle, he had “unprece­dented access to clas­si­fied net­works 14 hours a day 7days a week for 8+ months”.

But def­i­nitely we should speak about the con­tent of the cables. The most of the cables are just bor­ing reports and many of you have prob­a­bly asked why these are clas­si­fied. It is the media that is tak­ing the juicy grapes from it and unveils to all the hun­gry folks.

Because of one of the cables con­tain­ing the infor­ma­tion about the cor­rup­tion and power mis­use by Mr. Kharzai in Afghanistan, Canada’s ambas­sador William Cros­bie wants to resign. To get the full overview read the arti­cle in the National Post. Then think. Why this cable was con­sid­ered as con­fi­den­tial or secret? Many coun­tries are invest­ing in this coun­try in the good will that they help to rise the social level of the Afghan cit­i­zens. In this case mak­ing the cor­rup­tion and the power mis­use hid­den from the pub­lic looks like a bad move. And Mr. Cros­bie does not need to apol­o­gize for the leak­age and fear of diplo­matic trou­bles in the rela­tion­ship between Afghanistan and Canada.

Def­i­nitely — we have to take the les­son from the cable leak­age — it is time to play with the open cards every­where. Only on such way we can achieve good rela­tion­ships between the coun­tries around the world. And we have also to learn another les­son — there is not enough secu­rity. By the way, do you remem­ber Dan Egerstad? He’s the young man that became famous through releas­ing a set of infor­ma­tion acquired on TOR net­work. These data were already com­pro­mised, when he acquired it. We were inter­ested on his point of view, since he’s from Swe­den. As he wrote: “I’m try­ing to stay objec­tive myself in this whole dis­pute and just be logic and look atfacts”.

Zone-​H: 3 years ago you were the one releas­ing sen­si­tive info from the TOR net­work. Do you think the agen­cies and gov­ern­ment insti­tu­tions have learned some­thing from that les­son? It seems that inter­nal secu­rity is still on the low level. What they will learn from this new and pretty hard lesson?

Dan Egerstad: Secu­rity is actu­ally pretty good in SIPR­Net where cable­gate was stolen from. The mil­i­tary bal­ances the chance of leaks against the advan­tage of hav­ing the abil­ity to share infor­ma­tion between dif­fer­ent peo­ple, offices and organ­i­sa­tions. I assume they also have logs on who is access­ing what and there­fore already know since long what is in all of the cable­gate doc­u­ments. How­ever I feel that you might have to lock it down a bit more, an ana­lyst in Iraq prob­a­bly doesn’t need access to embassy mails even if he had the cor­rect secu­rity clear­ance level. I saw some FBI-​agent claim­ing that Wik­ileaks could have stopped 911 as the warn­ings would have been made pub­lic. How­ever, SIPR­Net was build just for that, to share infor­ma­tion so the dif­fer­ent organ­i­sa­tions can work together and noth­ing is lost in trans­la­tion. Wik­ileaks pub­lish­ing could back­fire and make the US go back to shar­ing less infor­ma­tion with less peo­ple — a big step back.

Zone-​H: In your opin­ion, what is the impact of the dis­closed information?

Dan: I haven’t read all the doc­u­ments, about 200 of the 1269 pub­lished so far and most of it is pretty bor­ing, non-​sensitive and 100% cor­rect ambas­sador work (except killer nin­jas!). Media all over the world is tak­ing the minor­ity ques­tion­able sen­tences and mak­ing it into big news. For media this is a gold­mine and 99,99% of the every­day peo­ple won’t read any of these doc­u­ments, there­fore most peo­ple think every­thing is like the stuff that makes the head­lines. The impact of the infor­ma­tion? Almost none as there won’t be much of high value in it. The apache video was high impact and much worse than what we see now, it’s the amount of doc­u­ments that made it what it is today. The impact of the pub­lish­ing? Well, this will have impact. Many sys­tems and polices will be rebuild and gov­ern­ments will become even more closed. Rou­tines and think­ing will change everywhere.

Zone-​H: In your opin­ion, what will be the next steps in the case? As we see, the vol­un­teers are mir­ror­ing the Wik­ileaks cables (even Bolivia’s Vice-​President), Wik­ileaks Face­book group has more than one mil­lion of users, hack­ers are attack­ing organ­i­sa­tions that make the sur­vival of the Wik­ileaks harder…

Dan:I’ve been fol­low­ing the “hack­ers” per­form­ing DDoS against Pay­pal, VISA, Mas­ter­Card, Post­Fi­nance, Borgstrom Law Firm and the Pros­e­cu­tor of Swe­den. From the begin­ning it was about tak­ing a stand for Wik­ileaks but it has turned into most being kids think­ing it’s cool to be a part of some­thing that is cov­ered in large media. Kind of like foot­ball hooli­gans, it’s about the fight, not the team. Watch­ing the attack­ers chan­nels the dis­cus­sion isn’t about wik­ileaks or its ene­mies at all any­more. A few min­utes talk from “Anony­mous” IRC-​channels:

<***>“SWEDISH RADIO says if we attack VISA the dam­age will be much worse then mas­ter­card as visa share servers with mas­sive impor­tant websites!!!!!”

<***> Anony­mous vs mas­ter­card story com­ing up on DC news radio

<***> so what’s the next target?

<***> Twitter?

<***> this is the best time of my life

<***> I’m not into the pol­i­tics much, I just feel as if they’re doing some­thing legit­i­mately wrong and it needs to be corrected.

<***> If there is any media/​press that has ques­tions please message ***


After a while the attack­ers will get tired and every­thing goes back to nor­mal. In the mean­time US will do what they can do stop future leaks and Wik­ileaks will con­tinue what they do. Wik­ileaks got the peo­ple on its side, accord­ing to Dat­a­cell who was man­ag­ing the dona­tions ear­lier it is 7-​digits /​week.

We would like to know your opin­ion on the Wik­ileaks case, if you have some­thing to say, write to comments@​zone-​h.​org.

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