Saturday, October 22, 2016

What happened to Wikileaks?

Gizmodo - what happened to Wikileaks?

Short answer? They sold out and became a tool of the Soviet Union's the Russian authoritarian kleptocracy's FUD machine.

Long answer?:

Once dedicated to careful vetting and redaction—sometimes too much redaction—the “whistleblower site” is now gleefully basking in its dump of thousands of emails hacked from the Democratic National Committee—most of which are full of personal, non-newsworthy information—published with the express intent of harming Hillary Clinton’s political campaign. In this latest release, there is no brave whistleblower in sight, just an anonymous hacker believed by the FBI and U.S. intelligence community to be a front for Russian intelligence services. The WikiLeaks project has fallen far from the lofty heights of its founding a decade ago, when Julian Assange promised to “facilitate safety in the ethical leaking movement.”

Let’s get a couple of things out of the way: It’s a good thing that, thanks to the leak, the public now knows the extent to which the DNC tilted the scales in favor of Hillary Clinton during the Democratic primary. It’s also a good thing that former DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz was forced to step down as a result of these revelations. The DNC had an obligation to stay neutral during the nominating process, and these emails show that the organization failed at that. Much of what has been reported on out of the hack was newsworthy.

What isn’t good is that the documents released last week (19,252 emails and 8,034 attachments) were dumped in an extremely calculated manner by an organization that holds clear and obvious political motives. It’s also not good that these emails most likely came from hackers working with the Russian government in an attempt to influence the U.S. election. On top of that, WikiLeaks’ careless failure to vet the contents of what they were unleashing on the internet led to the dumping of credit card and social security numbers of individuals who had committed the crime of donating to the Democratic Party.

It hasn’t always been this way. In 2010, when Wikileaks published 15,000 classified field reports from the U.S. war in Afghanistan, it delayed the release until it could properly redact and vet the documents. In the case of the DNC emails, it appears that WikiLeaks was more interested in timing the release for maximum political damage than in combing through the trove to ensure that what it was releasing met its own goal of publishing “materials involving war, spying and corruption.”

The value in publishing the field reports, as well as the trove of State Department cables that WikiLeaks also obtained from Chelsea Manning, was in part the sheer volume of information: There were specific stories and details that were newsworthy, to be sure, but the bold act of tearing the cover of secrecy wholesale off of hundreds of thousands of official documents that were generated by a purportedly democratic government was breathtaking. They permitted global analysis of both our conduct of foreign policy and a largely undercovered war, and gave citizens a rare look inside the behaviors and thinking of officials who were acting in their name.


But this DNC dump is a different animal, reeking of the sort of “information vandalism” that anti-secrecy activist Steven Aftergood has accused Assange of perpetrating. These emails were not official documents, they were not created by government employees. The logic of wholesale non-consensual transparency does not apply as cleanly to the email inboxes of political workers who do not act in the name of the citizenry. Yes, the DNC is a powerful institution, and yes, its internal machinations are newsworthy. But innocuous exchanges between DNC employees and their spouses or partners do not become evidence of corruption simply by virtue of their adjacency in a database to more substantive conversations about kneecapping Bernie Sanders. Nor do the Social Security numbers of Democratic donors—even the rich ones!—whose donations are already public in Federal Election Commission databases.


According to Glenn Greenwald, the journalist who won a Pulitzer Prize for his work on Edward Snowden’s NSA documents, it is now harder than ever to defend WikiLeaks.

“I used to defend WikiLeaks all the time on the grounds that they were not indiscriminate dumpers of information,” Greenwald told Slate. “They were carefully protecting people’s reputations. And they have changed their view on that—and no longer believe, as Julian says, in redacting any information of any kind for any reason—and I definitely do not agree with that approach and think that they can be harmful to innocent people or other individuals in ways that I don’t think is acceptable.”

It also shows a fair bit of stupidity. I've been to Wikileaks, and no average American citizen is going to spend days plowing through bullshit to look for a gem of information. And the only press who are going to bother are people looking for material for another hit piece on the Democrats; except the American press who'd typically be interested in such a thing don't need facts or evidence to write those stories anyway.

So in the end, the entire email release amounts to nothing more than a couple jackasses going "ha ha! I hax0red ur ema1ls and dropped ur dox0rs!"

Well, and also now Pooty-Poot is on Hillary's radar.

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