Wikileaks: Technology and Government

At time of writing, the biggest push in our computer industry seems to be more about control than actual innovation. CellPhones that send and receive email, and take pictures - are technologically the same as the phones that sent and received email, and took pictures two years ago. The cellphone companies are still playing games - pretending that we, the American public - who pay the taxes for the FCC , and the American government - have licensed to them a wireless spectrum that is somehow limited and finite and impossible to broadcast enough bandwidth to get a website to your phone - without them replacing our browsers, clipping off the sites that haven't paid them off - and otherwise attempting to set themselves up as the gatekeepers of the public internet.  Network neutrality is still under attack, and now we have companies who rely completely upon the public internet to deliver their streaming TV service.  But the infrastructure is , on the long haul - pretty much the same. Some pieces are better. What has really changed is how important all of it has become. The Internet is no longer a casual curiosity circa 1993.  It's a crucial part of international and domestic business.

And also, government.

We are now voting on the basis of our own independent research. A new party in America, is taking its primary boost from its connections forged on the internet. It placed candidates on the ballot - and got them elected in their state primaries. The traditional parties scrambled to catch on and use this technology.  Although it could be said that the originator of this type of movement - was a 2004 campaign by a Doctor from Vermont - we are clearly working in a field where the availability of accurate information about those we elect - and our ability to network independently of news media entertainment - and the 24 hour news media entertainment cycle - has been a determinant factor in nearly two major general elections and at least one midterm.  But only insofar as the information we receive has integrity - we are subject to massive disinformation sources - phished email, fake and spoofed addresses - a collection of possible forgery that is beyond the scope of this essay to explore and identify.  So, we are using that information - and some of us are even vetting it out. There is a broad danger, still , that 'social networking' can be misused - or that a certain tribalism can be instilled in the  American public.  Perhaps the lesson of the  midterms of 2010 is that elections can still be bought even in a networked world - the massive expenditure of corporate cash (the largest ever in any American midterm election) was focussed largely on an attempt to punish the 'hardworking congress' for actually getting work done instead of sitting around like fat cats.

 But all of this is still pretty much the same as it was circa 2004 when said doctor from said new england state ran a campaign that rocketed him to the top of the charts from out of nowhere.  And just as quickly collapsed (with a little televised help).

Wikileaks has brought a new element to the table. And that element has yet to be defined.

 A wiki is a website that can be written on the fly by the people who participate in it. Its information is vetted and tested - for truth and veracity - by many different sources. Many times such a site finds its way to become a useful resource. Wikileaks, however, relies not only upon the open source nature of its architecture to allow such submssion - it uses teams of investigative journalists to explore and vet independently each story it releases.

And release it has. Wikileaks , with its release yesterday of nearly 250,000 diplomatic communications - stands to change our American government permanently.

My first question is.  Why us? Why is it not the case, that every other government gets to have its entire cable communications record posted. Can you imagine what your marriage would be like, if every chat line you ever posted were given to your wife?

I think because , like us, Wikileaks is looking for its place in the world. Its role as a technology that enables positive, responsive governance. America stands as a beacon of democracy for the world. At least, certainly we once were worthy of that title. Wikileaks is only three years old - and they are very clearly searching for a place in the world. 

And yesterday's leaks are a bombshell. The fact that there are things in there about Iran, are secondary.  After all - Iran is sitting on real estate that would connect one of the last great oil reserves with the Persian gulf. It's no big surprise big oil wants to keep the focus on them.

For me, as a reader, the first and most significant impact of the leaked documents upon my voting decisions is realization of the scope and breadth of corporate interests in our modern American political process - and the need to commutate them.  The cables that were leaked yesterday - were difficult to read at first because the site was out of service for a while -  subjected to a distributed denial of service attack.  But when they were released, we discovered that the American diplomatic corps has been .... well... let me redact whatever I would say here.  You can read them for yourself. And you should.

 

What is important, for our government - that this technology brings to light - is the difference between corporate interests, and our own.

Here is a quote from the wikileaks site - that I can cut and paste anywhere, because it is all open source.  And no corporation is going to sue me to keep me from posting it somewhere.

(Begin Quote)

Sufficient principled leaking in tandem with fearless reporting will bring down administrations that rely on concealing reality from their own citizens.

It is increasingly obvious that corporate fraud must be effectively addressed. In the US, employees account for most revelations of fraud, followed by industry regulators, media, auditors and, finally, the SEC. Whistleblowers account for around half of all exposures of fraud.

Corporate corruption comes in many forms. The number of employees and turnover of some corporations exceeds the population and GDP of some nation states. When comparing countries, after observations of population size and GDP, it is usual to compare the system of government, the major power groupings and the civic freedoms available to their populations. Such comparisons can also be illuminating in the case of corporations.

Considering the largest corporations as analogous to a nation state reveals the following properties:

  1. The right to vote does not exist except for share holders (analogous to land owners) and even there voting power is in proportion to ownership.
  2. All power issues from a central committee.
  3. There is no balancing division of power. There is no fourth estate. There are no juries and innocence is not presumed.
  4. Failure to submit to any order may result in instant exile.
  5. There is no freedom of speech.
  6. There is no right of association. Even romance between men and women is often forbidden without approval.
  7. The economy is centrally planned.
  8. There is pervasive surveillance of movement and electronic communication.
  9. The society is heavily regulated, to the degree many employees are told when, where and how many times a day they can go to the toilet.
  10. There is little transparency and something like the Freedom of Information Act is unimaginable.
  11. Internal opposition groups, such as unions, are blackbanned, surveilled and/or marginalized whenever and wherever possible.

 (end quote) - from Wikileaks.org

 If we, as a people - are able to process what is being leaked there on that site - or, for that matter - on any wiki anywhere - we will become a nation of watchdogs and active participants in the political process. I would love nothing better than to see another 4 billion dollars spent on an election - just as this past election - with the sole design of knocking out the senate majority leader, or displacing the house leader, and replacing them with people like the GOP candidate Christine O Donnell - who did not even understand the first amendment --  and have them get nothing on the return on investment.

 

The accountants and beancounters are in control. There is nothing more effective - to change them  - than to simply allow their own internal controls to find them wasting money. The darwinistic cycle that holds business in eternal cycles of upgrade and competition would collapse them in so doing and shut off the lifeblood of an entire microeconomy in and around Washington DC. A layer of corporate controlled lobbyism that operates like a layer of oxidation on a battery contact that prevents the battery from powering its device. From McLean, Falls Church all the way around to Arlington and Baltimore.

I might take the time to dig a little more into the wikileaks documents. But my first scans of the documents are disturbing. A pattern seems to exist where we are taking countries  - and treating them as 'clients'... even if that clientele are warmongers or if they suppress free speech.   Our government runs the risk of becoming something other than a democracy, if we allow, as we did this past midterm election - our country to be bought and sold by corporate interests.  4 billion dollars is a number they can throw around on their balance sheet - some companies in fact, can do that on a quarterly basis out of their profits.

What we need to do, as Americans - is to iterate that no matter how much is spent - our country is not for sale to the highest bidder.  And in time, the corporate lesson will be learned: there is nothing more effective in removing those elements of a corporation from itself - than non performance on large investments.

And somewhere down the road, maybe it will get too expensive for them to keep trying to limit our web access on our cellphone or make us pay them to allow us to install something on our own hardware.

MCI did it to AT+T. We can do it to American corporations. That's my two centavos.  What do you think?

 

 

 

 

 

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Comments

31 Comments

Wikileaks helping promote evil worldwide

The thing liberals don't realize is that as a whole their foreign policy is fundamentally evil.

They weaken their own nation whenever they imagine it is not as pure as they would like.  But they never bother to take their crusade overseas.  Wikileaks is telling on America not Russia because Russia would just sent spies to kill everyone.  So the liberal is a way for just societies to commit suicide in proportion to how just they are.  Un just nations get a pass.

Liberals actions are against the lesser evil and they take no action against the greater evil.  Net result is a shift in power towards evil.

Judge someone on the results of their actions and policies not the their fantasy of being pure while they commit evil.

by donkeykong 2010-11-29 01:11PM | 0 recs
What a bizarre comment

Not sure, Donkeykong, if you hit comment twice because you just don't understand how to post - or if you enjoy reading yourself so much that you posted it twice just to look at it on the page.

But hey. You know. That whole "lets do a catchphrase thing" that you're trying to do with the concept of liberalism... that's pretty cool.

If you're into stuff from the '90s.

My vote here is that Russia isn't going to get a free pass anytime soon. Nobody is. When your number comes up, you're going to get it.

 

by Trey Rentz 2010-11-29 04:17PM | 0 recs
RE: What a bizarre comment

Russia kills people who cause them this kind of problem.  After a few people disappear the problems stop.

 

Liberal progressive whatever you want to call it.  The people who are wanting to do good in the world often end up actually doing evil.  The results are whats important not the intent.  George Bush destroyed our country, no matter how well intentioned the results were horrid.

 

Being too liberal actually causes harm to those who can least afford it.  Wikileaks isn't exposing some dirty dealing, they are creating drama that is going to get real people killed.  America will be weakened and China and Russia will be relatively stronger.  The actual balance will be away from openness.

 

For example Saudis calling for bombing of Iran may start a war and kill thousands.  I think this has finally got to the place that the men with black helicopters are going to iceland or where ever it is the wiki is leaking from.

 

Reality is real.  You can chose your perception of reality but reality is real and if you choose wrong thigs very much don't go  your way.

by donkeykong 2010-11-30 04:23AM | 0 recs
RE: What a bizarre comment

You said that the site is 'creating drama that will get people killed'. Is that more , or less of a number of people that can be killed by coverup? I seem to recall a certain war of convenience where the civilian body counts were excluded... to the tune the hundreds of thousands... of innocent people. 

Also, you seem to be saying that "China and Russia" will get "stronger". How is this? Wikileaks has already revealed China's wide network of censorship. Google already pulled out of China in protest. That's a billion dollar company packing up and leaving your neighborhood. How does that make you stronger?  Wikileaks has been very consistent in revealing China's intense pattern of internet censorship and China is scrambling to try to cover things up and keep the network operant - but to less and less effect. 

I grant you that the diplomatic initiative is harmed by all of this chatter cable traffic we've got out there - but WL seems to be going after everyone, not just the US - if you look at the broader picture. I will agree this is the biggest story they've launched but didn't they also expose all the deals that the ISP's were cutting with China in order that she might try to firewall the entire world?

 

My perception is that Wikileaks stands to become a valuable resource for the world, and that we're on the internet right now - not some national boundary. As long as WL lives in that regime.. are you really going to see it all act on just one country?

 

by Trey Rentz 2010-11-30 03:02PM | 0 recs
RE: What a bizarre comment

Trey

Our society is based on getting people to like you and then vote for you.

In the long run we have higher buy in regarding laws and thats stronger so long as the sum of the agreed laws and agreements are not constantly called into question by liberals thereby undermining this common agreed set of rules.

 

Evil societies are based on getting people to fear you and then obey you.

In the short run the government that can say jump and people will actually jump is stronger in many ways to the government that debates in public wether society drama among diplomats was nice or not.

 

This is a fundamental distinction.  China grows stronger without google, their own google doesn't need to compete anymore.  Their google will soon be able to challenge our google overseas and take our freedoms.  And because theirs will come standard with the free computer there are people who will use theirs.  The Chinese know what they are living in its FEAR.  Talking about it actually makes it stronger if done incorrectly.

 

The way to free China  is for every liberal in China to shut up, join the communist party and consistently vote for the candidates that are slightly more open but still party candidates.  This will cause movement towards freedom, save face for the party, and be very hard to fight against because there is no "opposition" just younger more open party members.  The Chinese party is actually a democracy.

 

The way NOT to free China is to have a big protest where all the students get in one place, feel powerful sticking it to the man and wave flags and get shot.  UNLESS the army is actually with you.

 

Wikileaks is actually hurting world freedom.

by donkeykong 2010-12-01 11:49AM | 0 recs
RE: What a bizarre comment

It sounds like you're living in fear and are trying to take away 'Meruhka's freedumb.

by IndepEnergy 2010-12-02 01:18PM | 0 recs
The Wikileaks fiasco is a joke

The real revelation is that our entire national security apparatus has nothing better to do then do cry about their own leaking diapers.  They should listen to their own advice: There's nothing to fear if you haven't done anything wrong...

by IndepEnergy 2010-11-30 12:08PM | 0 recs
RE: The Wikileaks fiasco is a joke

Thank you for your comments.

What do you think will happen in the long term? Do you feel that America will shift focus to attacking the site?

by Trey Rentz 2010-11-30 02:56PM | 0 recs
RE: The Wikileaks fiasco is a joke
I think that despite the posturing over the leaks, much of the information on Iran and North Korea is actually favorable to the military-industrial complex. Thus, Holder will do little more than pay lip service to investigating WikiLeaks. The real blowback will be against Internet freedom as the Penatagon's Cyber Command extends it tentacles.
by IndepEnergy 2010-11-30 04:18PM | 0 recs
RE: The Wikileaks fiasco is a joke

Ya that and wikileaks will not be in business in 18 months...thats my prediction.

 

 

by donkeykong 2010-12-01 11:23AM | 0 recs
RE: The Wikileaks fiasco is a joke

Not sure.  The DDOS attacks on Wikileaks are annoying but all of the content is now available elsewhere. They will find ways to get the documents out no matter how many DDOS are launched.

 

Internet freedom is by its nature easily defensible as there is no one central architecture or structure to the net.

by Trey Rentz 2010-12-01 12:46PM | 0 recs
RE: The Wikileaks fiasco is a joke

Surely the FBI will use this opportunity to widen wiretaps, Lieberman will reintroduce his internet kill switch, and the Senate will attempt to rip gaping holes in our electronic security infrastructure (all in the name of piracy).

Point-and-click wiretaps and free surveillance of all Microsoft users have apparently not produced enough profit for cyber-military contractors such as Booz Allen.

by IndepEnergy 2010-12-01 01:08PM | 0 recs
RE: The Wikileaks fiasco is a joke

There's nothing to fear if you haven't done anything wrong...

 

Except if you tell some crazy people that they are crazy they will try and kill you.

Some crazy people have armies.

 

So basically what wrong is, what society calls wrong has been determined over eons as the things that cause the least chaos and allow a civilized society.

 

Thats why your house has walls.  Because even if you are doing nothing "wrong" in your bedroom you still don't want your neighbor to know.

 

Wikileaks is a national peeping tom trying to cast it as a virtue.  If there had been some sensational misconduct that would be one thing.  But it reads like a prude trying to tell his neighbors how to behave as a "good" citizen.

by donkeykong 2010-12-01 11:20AM | 0 recs
RE: The Wikileaks fiasco is a joke

What you meant to say is that the peeping tom NSA and its State Dept branch have been caught masturbating with their pants down and in a fury of embarassment are lashing out at the messenger.

by IndepEnergy 2010-12-01 12:51PM | 0 recs
RE: The Wikileaks fiasco is a joke

I disagree.  Leaking information about others as "misconduct" or to character-assassinate someone is the exact opposite of what the site should do. I think it's doing a fine job of vetting the information , and publishing it carefully - and in a manner that guarantees the anonymity of the source. Remember, it was a 2600 style hacker that gave away the identity of the guy who leaked the Army stuff, and not Wikileaks. .. if they'd never met WL would not have given away the guy's identity.

 

The concept of either WL as a peeping tom, or "going out of business" ( it's not in business anyway - there is literally no way to make it go away ) ... is false.

WL is just another site, and its ability to get information to us - really represents a striking commentary on the fact that we, as Americans, are now the most well entertained and least informed people in the world.  Jefferson had a design in building our young country,  - as did Franklin, and Washington - they believed that the free press would be vital to keeping the engine of democracy alive.

I see WL as a technological innovation largely because it serves a vital role in the instantiation of a Free Press, not only for the United States but also the world at large. At present, the news media entertainment companies do not represent a critical and investigative free press - although there are some news anchors that are really cute looking.

by Trey Rentz 2010-12-01 12:51PM | 0 recs
RE: The Wikileaks fiasco is a joke

"The concept of either WL as a peeping tom, or "going out of business" ( it's not in business anyway - there is literally no way to make it go away ) ... is false.  "

When Russia, America, Saudi Arabia, China want you out of business there is a good bet you go out of business.  How many journalists have you seen embarrass Putin and live?

How many journalists are willing to die to embarrass Putin?

You believe that the corporation wikileaks should have more say over what gets into the public eye than your own government.  WikiLeaks has robbed America of the trust of our not so free allies.  There is a real cost to losing trust if all the not so free countries decide they can't work with us then our soft power is reduced and we have to fight more wars.

Real people die.  Real outcomes become impossible. 

by donkeykong 2010-12-02 04:34AM | 0 recs
RE: The Wikileaks fiasco is a joke

The corporate globalists have killed off nationalism. American elites are in bed with Russian oligarchs. The Bank of America is now the Bank of Asia. Conflict between nation-states has become nothing but security theater used as an excuse to boost the military-industrial-complex.

by IndepEnergy 2010-12-02 11:01AM | 0 recs
RE: The Wikileaks fiasco is a joke

If you really believed that your money would go further in Russia if you are rich and the social programs are better in Europe if you are poor.  I highly suspect at a personal level you don't believe that and continue to live in America.

 

Just like Gore isn't Bush American isn't Russia.

 

Its evil to hurt Gore because you argue Bush/Nader is no different.

Its evil to hurt America because you argue Russia/China/Iran/North Korea are no different.

by donkeykong 2010-12-02 11:42AM | 0 recs
RE: The Wikileaks fiasco is a joke
You have just confirmed that you're either a troll-bot or a complete moron who believes that something can be proved by comparing two unrelated inequalities.

 

Red isn't Black therefore Hillary Clinton isn't Rodney Dangerfield

by IndepEnergy 2010-12-02 01:16PM | 0 recs
I wonder if the best course of action here

is for myDD to mirror the wikileaks content - they offer it as a freely available bit Torrent -

 

Wikileaks is down again today no thanks to Distributed Denial of Service attacks.

 

I don't think WL will go away , but I do think that the best way to stop the attacks is to mirror the content. Five people working for only about  a year and a half under rigorous journalistic principles - have released more valuable and useful information than the entire news services of all countries of the world - over the last ten years.

Jerome, ... ? Do you think this site is a good place to mirror that content?

by Trey Rentz 2010-12-01 12:44PM | 0 recs
RE: I wonder if the best course of action here

What did they discover?

 

That bush ordered torture?  Broken by mainstream media.

The Iran getting nukes from North Korea?  Broken by Debka ages ago.

 

 

What is the good piece of information that you got out of this?  That the Arabs don't like each other?  That China is much more reasonable in their positions?  That North Korea is crazy as fuck and is all that more likely to start WW3 now they know china doesn't love them anymore?

Seriously all of this stuff has been out there for the people who can handle reality for ages.

The danger is when the idiots get ahold of it.

by donkeykong 2010-12-02 04:38AM | 0 recs
RE: I wonder if the best course of action here

If the information has already been released, then why are attacking it so angrily?

Also, why is the spacing so fucked up on your comments?  Are you some sort of electronic troll-bot?

by IndepEnergy 2010-12-02 11:05AM | 0 recs
RE: I wonder if the best course of action here

If someone came into your bedroom and found you were having sex using the missionary position with your wife and the pictures didn't show any kinky stuff would you really be oh good not harm no foul?

The road to anarchy is the idea that every citizen has the same right to know as the elected government.  If we are all equal then there is no structure because we can all act at any time in any manner to interrupt it.

Maybe its easier for you to understand in terms of kids.  If someone set up a camera of your kid learning to swim at the school gym and showed it to all your kids friends at school without your kids permission what would happen?  Strong kids will laugh at weak kids, the socially strong will bully the socially weak.  Some kids have weird phobias they don't want their peers to know.  HaHa billy is afraid of the water.  Now are kids with problems going to go to the school gym after that?

This kind of action hurts the gym and reduces its credibility.  

But if you have no problem with Wikileaks doing it you will have no problems when the GOP routinely spies on the democrats like they did in watergate.  You have thrown your towel in with Nixon.

 

by donkeykong 2010-12-02 11:50AM | 0 recs
RE: I wonder if the best course of action here

Are you saying that the GOP has blood on their hands?

by IndepEnergy 2010-12-02 12:58PM | 0 recs
by donkeykong 2010-12-02 04:47AM | 0 recs
RE: Blood on your hands
Admit it, you work for the government don't you?

Clearly you are trying to project your own bloody deeds onto others...
by IndepEnergy 2010-12-02 11:10AM | 0 recs
RE: Blood on your hands

are you wearing a tin foil hat right this second?

by donkeykong 2010-12-02 11:51AM | 0 recs
RE: Blood on your hands

Are we supposed to take the incoherent rantings of a cartoon gorilla seriously?

by IndepEnergy 2010-12-02 12:59PM | 0 recs
RE: Blood on your hands

One of my favorite little shibboleths out there in the world - is a passage from "Breakfast of Champions" by Kurt Vonnegut Jr.

 

He writes.. "I realized my national anthem was a song that was nothing more than gibberish, punctuated with question marks"

 

In order to 'get it' , with the internet - you have to realize that it has to stay an open forum. The bozos all tend to fall by the wayside.

 

That's what happened to the GOP, basically. They were so totally and completely thrown out of power in 2008, and then their lobbyists spent 4 billion dollars to get them back into power and the best they could do was gain a few seats in the house. The GOP has been poisoned by the lobbyists.

When people are suffering from poison, sometimes they hallucinate.

:)

by Trey Rentz 2010-12-03 08:56AM | 0 recs
Wikileaks - IP Address

Here's a good bookmark - Wikileaks, by IP Address.  Any website can be hit just by their address, no DNS required.

 

http://213.251.145.96/

by Trey Rentz 2010-12-03 09:00AM | 0 recs
by donkeykong 2010-12-05 02:35PM | 0 recs

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