Friday, July 30, 2010

WikiLeaks Posts Mysterious 'Insurance' File

On July 30, Wired reported that WikiLeaks had posted a 1.4 GB encrypted file called “insurance” on its website. Some people speculated that WikiLeaks would release the password for the file if something happened to its founder, Julian Assange. Presumably, the file contains secret documents that WikiLeaks has not yet released.

WikiLeaks vows more leaks as U.S. steps up investigation

On July 30, WikiLeaks unveiled its latest threat against America, saying it had received documents related to BP and sexual abuse in the U.S. military. America claimed to be shocked and dismayed by the actions of WikiLeaks.

“We can do nothing but implore the person who has those classified top secret documents not to post anymore,” said Robert Gibbs. “I think it’s important that no more damage be done to our national security.”

This whole bit of political theater seemed very disingenuous to me. I assume that the only reason why WikiLeaks was able to get its hands on this information was because the U.S. government provided the organization with this information in the first place.

In INDB, I wrote the following note in regards to this story.
WHAT EVER YOU DO DON'T RELEASE THESE DOCUMENTS THAT WE SEND TO YOU!!!
I was trying to be ironic, but my government wants me to believe that WikiLeaks read this comment and used it as an excuse to not publish those documents. I don’t buy it. Whether or not WikiLeaks had access to what I was writing, I think they refused to disclose certain documents for other reasons, namely, because the release of those documents would be damaging to the West, Europe in particular.

Taliban Says It Will Target Names Exposed by WikiLeaks

Channel 4 News, a British news agency, reported that the Taliban was studying the documents released by WikiLeaks.

“We are studying the report,” said a Taliban spokesman. “We knew about the spies and people who collaborate with U.S. forces. We will investigate through our own secret service whether the people mentioned are really spies working for the U.S. If they are U.S. spies, then we know how to punish them.”

This statement is actually an indication that the Taliban was working together with the people who wanted to keep the truth concealed. This statement allowed the West to argue that WikiLeaks had put people’s lives in danger by releasing those documents on Afghanistan. So in this case, the Taliban and the West were working together to convince the public that the truth should remain concealed.

This will not stand.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Successful U.S.-Japan Agenda Must Meet Public Expectations

“One of the most difficult legacies of our recent bilateral disconnect is that relations at the highest level of government have become deeply strained,” said Sheila Smith.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Bold 1955 treaty offer to U.S. revealed

On July 27, the Japanese government released a new document which was written exactly 55 years ago during the administration of Ichiro Hatoyama. This document was a draft of a treaty which would have replaced the 1951 security treaty between America and Japan. Had this treaty been adopted, U.S. forces would have withdrawn from Japan. Japan presented this new treaty to America on August 30, 1955. America refused to sign the agreement.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Afghanistan - The War Logs

On July 25, 2010, working in conjunction with the New York Times, the Guardian, and Der Spiegel, WikiLeaks released 77,000 documents related to the war in Afghanistan.

The New York Times played down the importance of the information contained with documents.

“The archive is clearly an incomplete record of the war,” said the New York Times. “It is missing many references to seminal events and does not include more highly classified information.”

Nonetheless, according to the Times, the documents might have some sort of effect on the prosecution of the war, as the disclosure came at a critical time in the war, when several U.S. officials were questioning the current policy. Some worried that the disclosure might damage support for the war. Others believed the administration could use the event to pressure the Pakistani government to cooperate more fully with America, as information contained within the documents said that Pakistan had supported the Afghan insurgency.

Based on what the Times reported, one might get the impression that America controlled WikiLeaks and had tried use them to put pressure on Pakistan and Afghanistan. Perhaps America released the information to scare Afghanistan into believing America might withdraw its forces at an inopportune time. Perhaps America released the information to convince the public that they should not provide Pakistan with development assistance funds.

On the day the Guardian published its articles on the WikiLeaks documents, the newspaper also published an interview with Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

“Assange volunteered that Wikileaks was in possession of several million files, which amounted to an untold history of American government activity around the world, disclosing numerous important and controversial activities,” said the Guardian. “They were putting the finishing touches to an accessible version of the data which they were preparing to post immediately on the internet in order to pre-empt any attempt to censor it.”

I assume Assange was referring to Cablegate. However, according to the WikiLeaks website, that collection of files only contains 251,287 documents. It seems that WikiLeaks is withholding the vast majority of its documents for some reason.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Digital Diplomacy

On July 16, the New York Times published an article called “Digital Diplomacy.” As the title suggests, the article was about how the Obama administration was conducting its diplomacy in the age of the Internet. According to the Times, the Obama administration had created something called “21st-century statecraft.” Under this policy, the government was using “widely available technologies” to communicate with citizens, companies, and others.

Jared Cohen and Alec Ross, two members of the State Department, were the “public faces” of this policy. Their tweets were an “integral part” of the “effort to bring diplomacy into the digital age,” according to the Times.

According to Ross and Cohen, in 2009 the State Department was still fixated on communiqués, diplomatic cables, and intergovernmental negotiations.

“And then Hillary Clinton arrived,” said the New York Times.

“The secretary is the one who unleashed us,” said Ross. “She’s the godmother of 21st-century statecraft.”

Reading this article now, all I can say is that this was the most epic fail in the history of the universe.

According to the Times, 21st-century statecraft is not simply “swapping tweets for broadcasts.” It’s a “shift in form and in strategy.” It amplifies “traditional diplomatic efforts.” It’s a way to “encourage cyberactivism.” The Times never really explains what any of that means in the article. The newspaper does mention that the Internet played a role in the protests against FARC and the uprisings in Moldova, Xinjiang, and Iran. And the Times also hints that some governments believe the U.S. is using the Internet for its own purposes.

“The risk is if and when in a particular country — whether that’s China or Iran or Cuba or North Korea — there’s a perception that Twitter or Facebook is a tool of the U.S. government,” said Carlos Pascual, the U.S. ambassador to Mexico. “That becomes dangerous for the company, and it becomes dangerous for people who are using that tool. It doesn’t matter what the reality is. In those circumstances, I think it’s still better to allow the tool to exist. But there is some sort of a line there, and we have to respect that line.”

Presumably, those governments believe America was using the Internet to facilitate and encourage their citizens to overthrow them. In addition, based on my own experience, the government was using private citizens like me to release sensitive information online that other governments wanted to keep hidden. The distribution of this information could also lead to the dissolution of other governments. We were doing these things in an effort to force those governments to bend to our will. Presumably, that was what our government meant when they claimed that 21st century statecraft “amplified traditional diplomatic efforts” and “encouraged cyberactivism.”

Some people, such as Evgeny Morozov, did not like the Internet nor 21st-century statecraft. He argued that the old way of doing things was better. But according to Cohen, at the end of the day, the world had already changed. The technology was already out there.

“We can fear we can’t control it and ignore the space, or we can recognize we can’t control it, but we can influence it,” said Cohen.

“The loss of control you fear is already in the past,” and Clay Shirky, a professor at New York University. “You do not actually control the message, and if you believe you control the message, it merely means you no longer understand what’s going on.”

“The 21st century is a really terrible time to be a control freak,” said Cohen.

Talk about irony. My government has been busy trying to control what I write. But Cohen is right about how wrong it is to be a control freak. By trying to control what I write my government has broken the law and made criminals out of an amazingly large number of people. They will not get away with it.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Secret files on peace treaty, Okinawa reversion released

On July 7, the Japanese foreign ministry released 37 classified documents related to the reversion of Okinawa and the 1960 revision of the security treaty with America.

One of the documents contains the minutes of a meeting between U.S. and Japanese officials held on November 26, 1958. During the meeting, U.S. officials basically pressured Japan into revising Article 9, which prohibits Japan from using force to resolve international disputes.

Another one of the documents contained the minutes of a meeting held on May 27, 1968. During that meeting, the U.S. ambassador told Japan that North Korea monitored U.S. military capabilities in the region and that America needed to have nuclear weapons in Japan to deter North Korea.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Where Is Your Military Might, Europe?

The New York Times published a second op-ed written by Therese Delpech on July 2, 2010. In this article, Delpech bemoaned the lack of military might in Europe.

“The fact is that Europe does not have the option of a kind of post-modern, undeclared neutrality,” said Delpech.

In this article, in stark contrast to the last one, she appeared very fearful of China.

“China is present in Central Asia, in the Middle East, in Africa and in Latin America — which is to say, everywhere,” said Delpech.

Basically, by this point, Delpech had changed her attitude completely.

“Europe knows all too well that international relations, like nature, abhor a vacuum, and that candidates for the next exercise of power — and they are never in short supply — are often more formidable than they may seem to be at first,” said Delpech.

In her first article, Delpech tried to scare everybody into submission by telling everyone how many people Europe has killed over the years. A couple of months later, Sarkozy went to Rwanda and basically told the world that France was responsible for the deaths of close to a million people during the genocide there. Apparently, Sarkozy was thinking the same thing that Delpech was thinking – let’s try and scare the rest of the world into submission.

Whoops.

Unfortunately for them, as part of the New Diplomacy, it appears that someone told France that the West should try and scare the world into submission. But that’s not what those sneaky, treacherous people really wanted. What they really wanted was for France to admit its responsibility for its crimes.

During this period, all sorts of sensitive information was getting posted on the Internet. And at this crucial moment, when the world was figuring everything out, Sarkozy and Delpech decided to tell everyone that Europe, and France in particular, was responsible for the atrocities that have plagued the world.

Hehehe.

Bow down. Bow down.