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Old 12-07-2010, 05:03 PM   #221
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It's tempting to think of Julian Assange as an enigmatic international criminal mastermind. Romantic, even. And he certainly cultivates that image himself, with the wild hair and the comedy sunglasses. But Assange is no mastermind: his vanity, his hubris and his insatiable desire to see the world burn have led him to make a fatal, final error. As a result, the Wikileaks project is doomed.

At the tail-end of last month, Assange indicated to a journalist that he had information about a major US bank that would cause a scandal to rival Enron. That was a catastrophic misjudgment. Because now, one by one, every financial institution connected to Assange is severing his ability to finance Wikileaks. Each is giving very slightly different reasons - usually connected to terms of service and "illegal activity" - but all of their motivations are the same: in the middle of a recession, it would be disastrous to their own businesses should Assange attempt to take out a major bank.

For all the mirrors around the internet replicating Wikileaks's content, the organisation will fall without the financial resources to continue sifting through its vast repository of documents.

Corporate America has swung into action against Wikileaks, acting swiftly and brutally. PayPal and MasterCard have now withdrawn their services and Assange's Swiss bank account has been frozen. The cost to Wikileaks in lost donations is already significant. And while this isn't the first time Wikileaks has had its income threatened - Moneybookers, a British payments company, shut down its account back in October - this time the financial services companies are acting as one. That spells disaster for a site that operates on donations from the public.

Banks and payment services aren't the only ones gunning for Assange, of course: besides Amazon, which withdrew Wikileaks's hosting service, even Twitter has been accused of censoring their trending topics so that Wikileaks does not appear as one of the most popular current subjects of discussion. (If true, that will disappoint and annoy its most vocal fans, who tend to towards a Left-leaning, utopian vision of the internet that approves of Assange's version of terrorism.) But it's the financial services companies that will take him out.

Assange has a strange, naive understanding of the word "transparency" that seems to mean "absolutely everything out in the open". But government and business cannot function without a healthy level of obfuscation and euphemism - a truth so obvious it should not need to be stated. In truth, Wikileaks was always an unsustainable project. In a capitalist democracy, leaks are supposed to act as checks and balances; they're not supposed to be the mechanism by which the whole system operates, nor the system in fear of which it is held back from progress and profit.

But then, Julian Assange cannot be judged by usual rational standards, because he's a clearly a much more dangerous kind of whistleblower than your usual here's-a-DVD-for-a-few-grand disgruntled ex-employee. Assange is an ideologue who thinks he can remould the world as he imagines it ought to be. Worryingly, given the power of the internet, he's almost right. But fortunately, given the level of his self-delusion, he's making mistakes enough that the powers that be have a pretext to stamp on him.

Now that he's alienated the government, big business and, increasingly, the public, Assange will fade rapidly into obscurity. But we can't afford to get smug just yet: Assange was arrested in London this morning, but should he be found guilty of rape and incarcerated, more super-leakers will rise in his place, emboldened by his achievements and hungry for the same kind of counter-cultural fame.

It will take a truly Herculean - and harmonious - effort by government and businesses to keep these dangerous extremists in check. But at least now we know how to go about it. Follow the money.

Milo Yiannopoulos will be interviewing PayPal's vice president of product development on stage tomorrow at the LeWeb conference in Paris. You can watch the interview, which will include questions about PayPal's decision to suspend Wikileaks's account, here at 11:55 UK time.
Wikileaks: Julian Assange's fatal mistake - Telegraph
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Old 12-07-2010, 05:05 PM   #222
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The rush to smear Assange's rape accuser - WikiLeaks - Salon.com
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Old 12-07-2010, 05:09 PM   #223
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Whether he raped anyone or not, the issue is that at least in interviews I've seen, Assange has stated that he puts himself out in public as the face of WikiLeaks to take the heat off the site and to draw all the fire for it. Ego complex aside, he's been very good at doing the direct opposite recently.
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Old 12-07-2010, 05:12 PM   #224
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well Earnie, what do you think about President Sarkozy cuddling with Lula from Brazil, about spying on the UN, and about Sudan and the strategy of keeping the Nato stuff in Poland secret (Clinton including the "right replies" to journalists requests in her cable)?
I think that these are all example of realpolitik, not particularly surprising and hardly shocking or anything of that nature. It's how the world works, and rightly so. Or at least, it was until this man Assange arrived on the scene spewing his venom while pretending to be some kind of modern day Joan of Arc.

Unfortunately this man Assange, whatever his motivations, does not recognise that nations are entitled to keep secrets, just as individuals are.

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My opinion is Russia found it all out pretty soon, they got a secret service too.
Yes, but unlike America, a friendly ally of Europe, Russia does not have any proper controls and balances over its secret service that are considered normal in more democratic societies. In fact they have barely evolved since the Soviet era, with the possible exception of sending fewer people to gulags these days.
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Old 12-07-2010, 06:33 PM   #225
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oh there's been plenty of lives lost, but not due to Wikileaks
That's debatable.

Also, read this in an article.

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WikiLeaks released a dozen new diplomatic cables, its first publication in more than 24 hours, including the details of a NATO defense plan for Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania that prompted an indignant response from the Russian envoy to the alliance.



Also, I actually don't think the charges against him have anything to do with Wikileaks.

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Attorney Gemma Lindfield, acting on behalf of the Swedish authorities, outlined one allegation of rape, two allegations of molestation and one of unlawful coercion stemming from Assange's separate sexual encounters in August with two women in Sweden.

Lindfield said one woman accused Assange of pinning her down and refusing to use a condom on the night of Aug. 14 in Stockholm. That woman also accused of Assange of molesting her in a way "designed to violate her sexual integrity" several days later.

A second woman accused Assange of having sex with her without a condom while she was asleep at her Stockholm home.

Assange's lawyers have claimed the accusations stem from a "dispute over consensual but unprotected sex" and say the women only made the claims after finding out about each other's relationships with Assange. WikiLeaks lawyer Mark Stephens says the case has taken on political overtones — a claim Swedish officials have rejected.
WikiLeaks founder is jailed in Britain in sex case - Yahoo! News
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:17 AM   #226
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The fascinating thing about the WikiLeaks case for me is neither the leak nor the content of the cables...it's how traditional U.S. news outlets are reacting to the whole story.

The tone and general inaccuracy in the reporting on the whole thing in the U.S. almost seems to be a reflection of traditional media outlets feeling bitter than they seem to have become obsolete, and were out-scooped by an egotistical Aussie guy who likes to dye his hair a lot and a small group of Internet nerds in hiding somewhere in Europe.
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Old 12-08-2010, 04:48 AM   #227
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Also, I actually don't think the charges against him have anything to do with Wikileaks.
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No, nothing to do with WikiLeaks whatsoever (unless you love jumping to a good conspiracy.) They look like they could well be bullshit though, on the limited information given anyway. I've seen a few US news articles/sites that do seem to (likely, deliberately) blur the reporting though.

I loved whoever it was (Fox?) saying that "the international manhunt for Julian Assange is now over". What? Everyone has known exactly where he is this whole time. No-one was looking for him. There was no "manhunt".
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Old 12-08-2010, 05:55 AM   #228
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No, nothing to do with WikiLeaks whatsoever (unless you love jumping to a good conspiracy.) They look like they could well be bullshit though, on the limited information given anyway. I've seen a few US news articles/sites that do seem to (likely, deliberately) blur the reporting though.

I loved whoever it was (Fox?) saying that "the international manhunt for Julian Assange is now over". What? Everyone has known exactly where he is this whole time. No-one was looking for him. There was no "manhunt".
Let me get this straight. There are actually people who believe that putting a man who had sex with a CIA tied woman (oh the coincendence..) without a condom or with a broken condom (only in Sweden is this considered rape as far as I know) on the most wanted list of interpol and FBI has nothing to do with wikileaks? Man I am in trouble for that little incendent in Sweden 12 years ago!
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:23 AM   #229
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No, I think a lot of people assume there's something... fishy... about it. Definitely. I thought the original poster only just realised that his arrest was not a direct WikiLeaks thing.
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:35 AM   #230
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oh my god this is turning into a fully-fledged cyber war - MasterCard website has now been hacked in retaliation for blocking money transfers to Wikileaks!

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11.10 am The cyberwar over WikiLeaks shows every sign of escalating further. My colleague Josh Halliday has more on the attack on MasterCard:

Mastercard, the multinational payments network which yesterday throttled money transfers to WikiLeaks, was this morning brought offline following an attack by internet avengers, Anonymous.

The website of Mastercard would not load just before 10am on Wednesday; an error page cited a "DNS fail". (Here's some technical background)

Anonymous, the group of "hacktivists" vaguely linked to the influential internet messageboard 4Chan, has been targeting companies that have severed ties with Assange or WikiLeaks with so-called "distributed denial of service attacks" (DDoS). Such attacks are illegal and have become something of a subplot in WikiLeaks ongoing release of US embassy cables.

10.57am: Operation Payback, a hacking group that claimed credit for
taking down the website of a Swiss Bank that cut off funds to Julian Assange, appears to have struck again.

MasterCard's website is currently unavailable after a similar attack in protest at its decision to cut payments to WikiLeaks, according Business Insider.

Mastercard.com is down, and Anon_operation just tweeted that it's due to a DDOS attack. Of course, Mastercard is one of the payment services that cut off the ability to donate to Wikileaks.
who needs James Bond eh?
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:03 AM   #231
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Old 12-08-2010, 07:15 AM   #232
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Some people are calling WikiLeaks the 'best thing to happen to journalism' etc etc.
BULLSHIT! Those Taiwanese animations have a lock on #1.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:36 AM   #233
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God, I love Taiwan.
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:19 PM   #234
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The leaders of Myanmar and Belarus, or Thailand and Russia, can now rightly say “You went after Wikileaks’ domain name, their hosting provider, and even denied your citizens the ability to register protest through donations, all without a warrant and all targeting overseas entities, simply because you decided you don’t like the site. If that’s the way governments get to behave, we can live with that."

Wikileaks and the Long Haul Clay Shirky
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:23 PM   #235
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Uh yeah, right

Bryan Fischer: Julian Assange not the bad guy here - the homosexual soldier is - RIGHTLYCONCERNED.COM
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:45 PM   #236
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And of course if this were some Iranian soldier/website combo leaking 250,000 cables detailing evidence of nuclear progress, terrorism support, election corruption etc, those people would be universally hailed as heroes, with AchtungBono leading the charge.

Still haven't made my mind up on exactly where I really sit, overall, but the two extreme sides of the argument, as usual, need to sit down and shut up. Julian Assange is not a terrorist who needs to be shot. And indiscriminate public flooding of private government documents is not some holy act ushering in a new age of brilliant transparency.

A really interesting argument will take place over the next few days within Australia, re what to do about citizen Assange. It's already started - noticeable split in the government too.
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:49 PM   #237
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And of course if this were some Iranian soldier/website combo leaking 250,000 cables detailing evidence of nuclear progress, terrorism support, election corruption etc, those people would be universally hailed as heroes, with AchtungBono leading the charge.
Absolutely, in fact that person might just edge out O'Reiley as her #1 hero.

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Still haven't made my mind up on exactly where I really sit, overall, but the two extreme sides of the argument, as usual, need to sit down and shut up. Julian Assange is not a terrorist who needs to be shot. And indiscriminate public flooding of private government documents is not some holy act ushering in a new age of brilliant transparency.
Agree 100%
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:57 PM   #238
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I think that these are all example of realpolitik, not particularly surprising and hardly shocking or anything of that nature. It's how the world works, and rightly so.
Rightly so? So what you think is all crimes that governments, secret services and corporations commit - whoever suffers from it - are totally ok and rightly so because, oh, it´s "real" politics and that´s just how the world works? That´s pretty opportunist..

and this is where our views differ. I believe in democratic values, in justice, in exposing those dirty secrets and tricks of "realpolitik", and I believe society as a whole and every living being has the right to decide what is right and what isn´t.
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:31 PM   #239
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idealism is nice, but it's a luxury not everyone has.
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:50 PM   #240
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Who is having all this sex with Julian Assange?
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