Wednesday, December 08, 2010

truth in chains

Video - Don't forget about Pfc Bradley Manning.

Counterpunch | It has been, by any standard, an extraordinary campaign of vilification and persecution, wholly comparable to the kind of treatment doled out to dissidents in China or Burma. Lest we forget, WikiLeaks is a journalistic outlet – just like The New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel, all of whom are even now publishing the very same material – leaked classified documents -- available on WikiLeaks. The website is also a journalistic outlet just like CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox and other mainstream media venues, where we have seen an endless parade of officials – and journalists! – calling for Assange to be prosecuted or killed outright. Every argument being made for shutting down WikiLeaks can – and doubtless will – be used against any journalistic enterprise that publishes material that powerful people do not like.

And the leading role in this persecution of truth-telling is being played by the administration of the great progressive agent of hope and change, the self-proclaimed heir of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Barack Obama. His attorney general, Eric Holder, is now making fierce noises about the “steps” he has already taken to bring down WikiLeaks and criminalize the leaking of embarrassing information. And listen to the ferocious reaction of that liberal lioness, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who took to the pages of Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal to call for Assange to be put in prison – for 2,500,000 years:

“When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange released his latest document trove—more than 250,000 secret State Department cables—he intentionally harmed the U.S. government. The release of these documents damages our national interests and puts innocent lives at risk. He should be vigorously prosecuted for espionage.

“The law Mr. Assange continues to violate is the Espionage Act of 1917. That law makes it a felony for an unauthorized person to possess or transmit "information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation." ... Importantly, the courts have held that "information relating to the national defense" applies to both classified and unclassified material. Each violation is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.”

So there you have it. Ten years for each offense; 250,000 separate offenses; thus a prison term of 2.5 million years. Naturally, tomorrow the same newspaper will denounce Feinstein for being such a namby-pamby terrorist-coddling pinko: “Why didn’t she call for Assange to be torn from limb to limb by wild dogs, as any right-thinking red-blooded American would do!?”

Meanwhile, corporate America and its international allies continue to do their bit. Joining PayPal and Amazon, who had already cut off their services to WikiLeaks, most of the remaining venues through which the internet journal is funded are also freezing out the organization -- MasterCard, Visa, and a Swiss bank that WikiLeaks used to process donations. All of these organizations are obviously responding to government pressure.

What is perhaps most remarkable is that this joint action by the world elite to shut down WikiLeaks – which has been operating for four years – comes after the release of diplomatic cables, not in response to earlier leaks which provided detailed evidence of crimes and atrocities committed by the perpetrators and continuers of Washington’s Terror War. I suppose this is because the diplomatic cables have upset the smooth running of the corrupt and cynical backroom operations that actually govern our world, behind the ludicrous lies and self-righteous posturing that our great and good lay on for the public. They didn’t mind being unmasked as accomplices in mass murder and fomenters of suffering and hatred; in fact, they were rather proud of it. And they certainly knew that their fellow corruptocrats in foreign governments – not to mention the perpetually stunned and supine American people – wouldn’t give a toss about a bunch of worthless peons in Iraq and Afghanistan getting killed. But the diplomatic cables have caused an embarrassing stink among the closed little clique of the movers and shakers. And that is a crime deserving of vast eons in stir – or death.

two one-night stands - one world-wide manhunt

DailyMail | A winter morning in backwoods Scandinavia and the chime of a church bell drifts across the snowbound town of Enkoping. Does it also toll for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange?

Today, this small industrial centre, 40 miles west of Stockholm, remains best-known — if known at all — as the birthplace of the ­adjustable spanner.

But if extradition proceedings involving ­Britain are successful, it could soon be rather more celebrated — by the U.S. government at least — as the place where Mr Assange made a ­catastrophic error.

Here, in a first-floor flat in a dreary apartment block, the mastermind behind the leak of more than 250,000 classified U.S. diplomatic cables this month slept with a female admirer whom he had just met at a seminar. She subsequently made a complaint to police.

The Stockholm police want to question him regarding the possible rape of a woman and separate allegations from another Swedish admirer, with whom he was having a concurrent fling. But there remains a huge question mark over the evidence. Many people believe that the 39-year-old ­Australian-born whistleblower is the victim of a U.S. government dirty tricks campaign.

They argue that the whole squalid affair is a sexfalla, which translates loosely from the Swedish as a ‘honeytrap’.

One thing is clear, though: Sweden’s complex rape laws are central to the story.

Using a number of sources including leaked police interviews, we can begin to piece together the sequence of events which led to Assange’s liberty being threatened by Stockholm police rather than Washington, where already one U.S. politician has called on him to executed for ‘spying’.

The story began on August 11 this year, when Assange arrived in Stockholm.

the second accuser...,

The second accuser, Sofia Wilen, 26, is Anna's friend. Here is a video of an Assange press conference where one can see the girls together.


Video - Assange press conference where both accusers were present.

Those present at the conference marveled at her groupie-like behavior. Though rock stars are used to girls dying to have sex with them, it is much less common in the harsh field of political journalism. Sofia worked hard to bed Assange, according to her own confession; she was also the first to complain to police. She is little known and her motives are vague. Why might a young woman (who shares her life with American artist Seth Benson) pursue such a sordid political adventure?

assange beseiged

Counterpunch | The plot thickens as our favorite hero of the Matrix; our own “Captain Neo” Julian Assange, faces danger yet again. When we last parted company with the legendary founder of WikiLeaks, he was breathing a sigh of relief after dodging spurious double-rape charges. The complaints were dropped, and our hero was free to roam the globe once again. But soap opera plots are repetitive; the story was quickly recycled and now our brave captain is again under threat of being castrated on Stockholm’s Stora Torget, or whatever the latest craven penalty is for molesting sacred Nordic virgins in a land where Vikings once ruled.

In other words, the farcical rape charges have once again been leveled against the Pentagon’s Public Enemy Number One. Julian Assange now stands accused of: (1) not calling a young woman the day after he had enjoyed a night with her, (2) asking her to pay for his bus ticket, (3) having unsafe sex, and (4) participating in two brief affairs in the course of one week. These four minor charges, worthy of Leopold Bloom’s mock trial in the Nightown chapter in Ulysses, have been shaken and fermented until they were able to cook up a half-baked rape case! Step down Iran; Sweden takes the cake! While Iran is notorious for unyielding conservative sentences against adulterers, Sweden shows us what the liberal side of the coin looks like as she invents criminal charges for failing to telephone and for careless use of preservatives in consensual acts of affection. Worse, they are purposely conflating consensual sex with rape for political purposes. In this, Sweden makes a mockery of the very real crime of violent rape.

The Swedes have a practical reason behind their deceptively slapstick police-work. The WikiLeaks founder, pursued by malevolent forces around the world, sought momentary relief beneath Sweden’s reputation as a bastion of free speech. But the moment Julian sought the protection of Swedish media law, the CIA immediately threatened to discontinue intelligence sharing with SEPO, the Swedish Secret Service. That got the present right-wing government out of its chair, as it does everything it can to bury the Prime Minister Olof Palme’s legacy of careful neutrality. The suspicion of whether the rape farce is an orchestrated campaign, might be illuminated by these facts: (1) Sweden sent troops to Afghanistan, (2) Assange’s WikiLeaks published the Afghan War Diary which exposed this cruel and needless neo-colonial campaign. Furthermore, the expected release of new secret materials by WikiLeaks might just influence the general elections on September 19. Perhaps that explains the sudden police raid on a WikiLeaks server.

An American Tea Party website the RightwingNews.com suggested that “a CIA agent with a sniper rifle rattle a bullet around [Assange’s] skull the next time he appears in public as a warning”. Rest assured that the CIA is wiser than the Tea Party. They at least have learned the lesson of Che Guevara. Nowadays they ruin a rebel’s reputation instead of wasting a bullet. They won’t raise Assange up to become a martyr, they simply use his own erstwhile allies to reduce him to a laughing stock. They stain him with opprobrium. It is much more certain and final than the marksman’s shot. History is witness to their growing efficiency in using this tactic. In the 70’s, they could only bring themselves to say that Philip Agee was a womanizer and a drunkard. Nowadays they do not stint at charges of pedophilia, for example to humiliate Scott Ritter for failing to go along with George W Bush’s charade of Iraqi WMD. As you might expect, the rape campaign against Assange might be just an initial volley. Perhaps they will decide he is a pedophile too. The unspoken threat is enough to send some faint-hearted supporters of WikiLeaks scurrying for cover.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

assange arrested in london..,


Video - BBC News report of the arrest of Assange at 9:30 this morning.

BBCNews | The founder of the whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, Julian Assange, has been arrested by the Metropolitan Police.

Scotland Yard said Mr Assange was arrested on a European arrest warrant by appointment at a London police station at 0930 GMT.

He is due to appear at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court later.

Mr Assange is accused by the Swedish authorities of one count of rape, one of unlawful coercion and two counts of sexual molestation, alleged to have been committed in August 2010.

Police contacted his lawyer, Mark Stephens, on Monday night after receiving an European arrest warrant from the Swedish authorities.

An earlier warrant, issued last month, had not been filled in correctly.

human resources


Video - Human Resources: Social Engineering in the 20th Century. Fist tap Dale.

how america will collapse by 2025

TomDispatch | Trying to play down the significance of an ongoing Wikileaks dump of more than 250,000 State Department documents, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates recently offered the following bit of Washington wisdom: “The fact is, governments deal with the United States because it's in their interest, not because they like us, not because they trust us, and not because they believe we can keep secrets... [S]ome governments deal with us because they fear us, some because they respect us, most because they need us. We are still essentially, as has been said before, the indispensable nation.”

Now, wisdom like that certainly sounds sober; it’s definitely what passes for hardheaded geopolitical realism in our nation’s capital; and it's true, Gates is not the first top American official to call the U.S. “the indispensable nation”; nor do I doubt that he and many other inside-the-Beltway players are convinced of our global indispensability. The problem is that the news has almost weekly been undermining his version of realism, making it look ever more phantasmagorical. The ability of Wikileaks, a tiny organization of activists, to thumb its cyber-nose at the global superpower, repeatedly shining a blaze of illumination on the penumbra of secrecy under which its political and military elite like to conduct their affairs, hasn’t helped one bit either. If our indispensability is, as yet, hardly questioned in Washington, elsewhere on the planet it’s another matter.

The once shiny badge of the “global sheriff” has lost its gleam and, in Dodge City, ever fewer are paying the sort of attention that Washington believes is its due. To my mind, the single most intelligent comment on the latest Wikileaks uproar comes from Simon Jenkins of the British Guardian who, on making his way through the various revelations (not to speak of the mounds of global gossip), summed matters up this way: “The money-wasting is staggering. [U.S.] Aid payments are never followed, never audited, never evaluated. The impression is of the world's superpower roaming helpless in a world in which nobody behaves as bidden. Iran, Russia, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, the United Nations, are all perpetually off script. Washington reacts like a wounded bear, its instincts imperial but its power projection unproductive.”

Sometimes, to understand just where you are in the present, it helps to peer into the past -- in this case, into what happened to previous “indispensable” imperial powers; sometimes, it’s no less useful to peer into the future. In his latest TomDispatch post, Alfred W. McCoy, author most recently of Policing America’s Empire: The United States, the Philippines, and the Rise of the Surveillance State, does both. Having convened a global working group of 140 historians to consider the fate of the U.S. as an imperial power, he offers us a glimpse of four possible American (near-)futures. They add up to a monumental, even indispensable look at just how fast our indispensability is likely to unravel in the years to come.

mounting state debts provoke fears of crisis

NYTimes | The State of Illinois is still paying off billions in bills that it got from schools and social service providers last year. Arizona recently stopped paying for certain organ transplants for people in its Medicaid program. States are releasing prisoners early, more to cut expenses than to reward good behavior. And in Newark, the city laid off 13 percent of its police officers last week.

While next year could be even worse, there are bigger, longer-term risks, financial analysts say. Their fear is that even when the economy recovers, the shortfalls will not disappear, because many state and local governments have so much debt — several trillion dollars’ worth, with much of it off the books and largely hidden from view — that it could overwhelm them in the next few years.

“It seems to me that crying wolf is probably a good thing to do at this point,” said Felix Rohatyn, the financier who helped save New York City from bankruptcy in the 1970s.

Some of the same people who warned of the looming subprime crisis two years ago are ringing alarm bells again. Their message: Not just small towns or dying Rust Belt cities, but also large states like Illinois and California are increasingly at risk.

Municipal bankruptcies or defaults have been extremely rare — no state has defaulted since the Great Depression, and only a handful of cities have declared bankruptcy or are considering doing so.

But the finances of some state and local governments are so distressed that some analysts say they are reminded of the run-up to the subprime mortgage meltdown or of the debt crisis hitting nations in Europe.

Analysts fear that at some point — no one knows when — investors could balk at lending to the weakest states, setting off a crisis that could spread to the stronger ones, much as the turmoil in Europe has spread from country to country.

Mr. Rohatyn warned that while municipal bankruptcies were rare, they appeared increasingly possible. And the imbalances are so large in some places that the federal government will probably have to step in at some point, he said, even if that seems unlikely in the current political climate.

“I don’t like to play the scared rabbit, but I just don’t see where the end of this is,” he added.

Monday, December 06, 2010

the ethical governor


Video - the ethical governor animation by John Butler.

DangerousMinds | This presentation demonstrates a prototype of the Ethical Governor, a key component in the ethical projection of unmanned autonomous force.In an exclusive interview with Dangerous Minds John Butler talks about the ideas behind The Ethical Governor and how they reflect today’s political, corporate and military world.
“I’ve been very interested in all aspects of what is now branded as the Long War, which I see as a war between Finance and Humans, rather than East versus West, Capitalism versus Islam, or whatever.

A military invasion to secure resources and a financial austerity package to placate bondholders are all part of a unified process. It’s just that force is applied in a somewhat cruder manner in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan and Africa.


What I’ve done is transposed the action to the Homeland, where it will eventually arrive anyway. The Drones are Chamber of Commerce assets, part of the elite Milton Friedman Unit.”
What is the inspiration for the presentation?

“The piece is based on actual systems being developed in universities right now in anticipation of fully autonomous war fighting. What I’ve done is resynthesised an academic presentation to reveal it’s true intent.

The language comes from the Military Educational Complex, but has been rewritten by the Butler Brothers to fictionalize it, and therefore make it more effective.

Concepts like the “Ethical Adaptor” actually exist. I liked that aspect most of all, the calibration of guilt, and the option to override the Ethical Governor when convenient.

I think that says it all about battlefield ethics. I like the idea of robots being “in Harm’s Way”, one of my favourite phrases.

How does this relate to what’s happening just now in the world?

“The anti IMF riots in Greece and the protests in Ireland and here are attempts by Humans to react to the Process.

Young people in Britain have no access to home ownership now, which is a detail that might have been overlooked, so they seem to have less to lose that Thatcher’s generation.

What are you working on next?
“Thinking up a companion piece just now, provisionally called Triage. It would be great to project this somewhere soon, as part of a Forum for the Future.”

pwned...,

WSJ | Advertisers no longer want to just buy ads. They want to buy access to specific people. So, Mr. Norris is building a "credit bureau for devices" in which every computer or cellphone will have a "reputation" based on its user's online behavior, shopping habits and demographics. He plans to sell this information to advertisers willing to pay top dollar for granular data about people's interests and activities.

Device fingerprinting is a powerful emerging tool in this trade. It's "the next generation of online advertising," Mr. Norris says.

It might seem that one computer is pretty much like any other. Far from it: Each has a different clock setting, different fonts, different software and many other characteristics that make it unique. Every time a typical computer goes online, it broadcasts hundreds of such details as a calling card to other computers it communicates with. Tracking companies can use this data to uniquely identify computers, cellphones and other devices, and then build profiles of the people who use them.

Until recently, fingerprinting was used mainly to prevent illegal copying of computer software or to thwart credit-card fraud. BlueCava's own fingerprinting technology traces its unlikely roots to an inventor who, in the early 1990s, wanted to protect the software he used to program music keyboards for the Australian pop band INXS.

Tracking companies are now embracing fingerprinting partly because it is much tougher to block than other common tools used to monitor people online, such as browser "cookies," tiny text files on a computer that can be deleted.

As controversy grows over intrusive online tracking, regulators are looking to rein it in. This week, the Federal Trade Commission is expected to release a privacy report calling for a "do-not-track" tool for Web browsers.

Ad companies are constantly looking for new techniques to heighten their surveillance of Internet users.

Deep packet inspection, a potentially intrusive method for peering closely into the digital traffic that moves between people's computers and the broader Internet, is being tested in the U.S. and Brazil as a future means to deliver targeted advertising.

Akamai Technologies Inc., an Internet-infrastructure giant that says it delivers 15% to 30% of all Web traffic, is marketing a technique to track people's online movements in more detail than traditional tools easily can.

It's tough even for sophisticated Web surfers to tell if their gear is being fingerprinted. Even if people modify their machines—adding or deleting fonts, or updating software—fingerprinters often can still recognize them. There's not yet a way for people to delete fingerprints that have been collected. In short, fingerprinting is largely invisible, tough to fend off and semi-permanent.
How to 'Fingerprint' a Computer

A typical computer broadcasts hundreds of details about itself when a Web browser connects to the Internet. Companies tracking people online can use those details to 'fingerprint' browsers and follow their users.

Device fingerprinting is legal. U.S. Rep. Bobby Rush (D.,Ill.), proposed legislation in July that would require companies that use persistent identifiers, such as device fingerprints, to let people opt out of being tracked online.

feds warrantlessly tracking credit cards in real time

Wired | Federal law enforcement agencies have been tracking Americans in real-time using credit cards, loyalty cards and travel reservations without getting a court order, a new document released under a government sunshine request shows.

The document, obtained by security researcher Christopher Soghoian, explains how so-called “Hotwatch” orders allow for real-time tracking of individuals in a criminal investigation via credit card companies, rental car agencies, calling cards, and even grocery store loyalty programs. The revelation sheds a little more light on the Justice Department’s increasing power and willingness to surveil Americans with little to no judicial or Congressional oversight.

For credit cards, agents can get real-time information on a person’s purchases by writing their own subpoena, followed up by a order from a judge that the surveillance not be disclosed. Agents can also go the traditional route — going to a judge, proving probable cause and getting a search warrant — which means the target will eventually be notified they were spied on.

The document suggests that the normal practice is to ask for all historical records on an account or individual from a credit card company, since getting stored records is generally legally easy. Then the agent sends a request for “Any and all records and information relating directly or indirectly to any and all ongoing and future transactions or events relating to any and all of the following person(s), entitities, account numbers, addresses and other matters…” That gets them a live feed of transaction data.

american psychosis

AdBusters | he United States, locked in the kind of twilight disconnect that grips dying empires, is a country entranced by illusions. It spends its emotional and intellectual energy on the trivial and the absurd. It is captivated by the hollow stagecraft of celebrity culture as the walls crumble. This celebrity culture giddily licenses a dark voyeurism into other people’s humiliation, pain, weakness and betrayal. Day after day, one lurid saga after another, whether it is Michael Jackson, Britney Spears or John Edwards, enthralls the country … despite bank collapses, wars, mounting poverty or the criminality of its financial class.

The virtues that sustain a nation-state and build community, from honesty to self-sacrifice to transparency to sharing, are ridiculed each night on television as rubes stupid enough to cling to this antiquated behavior are voted off reality shows. Fellow competitors for prize money and a chance for fleeting fame, cheered on by millions of viewers, elect to “disappear” the unwanted. In the final credits of the reality show America’s Next Top Model, a picture of the woman expelled during the episode vanishes from the group portrait on the screen. Those cast aside become, at least to the television audience, nonpersons. Celebrities that can no longer generate publicity, good or bad, vanish. Life, these shows persistently teach, is a brutal world of unadulterated competition and a constant quest for notoriety and attention.

Our culture of flagrant self-exaltation, hardwired in the American character, permits the humiliation of all those who oppose us. We believe, after all, that because we have the capacity to wage war we have a right to wage war. Those who lose deserve to be erased. Those who fail, those who are deemed ugly, ignorant or poor, should be belittled and mocked. Human beings are used and discarded like Styrofoam boxes that held junk food. And the numbers of superfluous human beings are swelling the unemployment offices, the prisons and the soup kitchens.

anonymous manifesto


Video - Bob Marley and the Wailers Small Axe.

NYTimes | The battle lines between supporters of the whistle-blowing Web site WikiLeaks and its detractors began to form on Sunday, as supporters erected numerous copies of the site on the Internet and the United States put pressure on Switzerland not to offer a haven to the site’s founder, Julian Assange.

Since several major Internet companies cut off services to WikiLeaks in recent days, activists have created hundreds of mirror sites, Web sites that host exact copies of another site’s content, making censorship difficult.

The collective Anonymous, an informal but notorious group of hackers and activists, also declared war on Sunday against enemies of Mr. Assange, calling on supporters to attack sites companies that do not support WikiLeaks and to spread the leaked material online.

The Internet group Anonymous, which in the past has taken on targets as diverse as the Church of Scientology and Iran, disseminated a seven-point manifesto via Twitter and other social networking sites pledging to “kick back for Julian.”

Gregg Housh, a prominent member of the group, said by telephone from Boston that an orchestrated effort was under way to attack companies that have refused to support WikiLeaks and to post multiple copies of the leaked material.

The Anonymous manifesto singled out PayPal, which cut off ties with WikiLeaks for “a violation” of its policy on promoting illegal activities, a company statement said.

“The reason is amazingly simple,” Mr. Housh said of the campaign. “We all believe that information should be free, and the Internet should be free.”

By late Sunday, there were at least 208 WikiLeaks mirror sites up and running.

“Cut us down,” said a message on the WikiLeaks Twitter feed on Sunday, “and the stronger we become.”

Sunday, December 05, 2010

wanted: dead or alive

Creators | The American airwaves quiver with the screams of parlor assassins howling for Julian Assange's head. Jonah Goldberg, contributor to the National Review, asks in his syndicated column, "Why wasn't Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?" Sarah Palin wants him hunted down and brought to justice, saying: "He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands."

Assange can survive these theatrical blusters. A tougher question is how he will fare at the hands of the U.S. government, which is hopping mad. The U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, announced on Monday that the Justice Department and Pentagon are conducting "an active, ongoing criminal investigation" into the latest Assange-facilitated leak under Washington's Espionage Act.

Asked how the U.S. could prosecute Assange, a non-US citizen, Holder said, "Let me be clear. This is not saber-rattling," and vowed "to swiftly close the gaps in current U.S. legislation."

In other words, the espionage statute is being rewritten to target Assange, and in short order, if not already, President Obama — who as a candidate pledged "transparency" in government — will sign an order OK'ing the seizing of Assange and his transport into the U.S. jurisdiction. Render first, fight the habeas corpus lawsuits later.

Interpol, the investigative arm of the International Criminal Court at the Hague, has issued a fugitive notice for Assange. He's wanted in Sweden for questioning in two alleged sexual assaults, one of which seems to boil down to a charge of unsafe sex and failure to phone his date the following day.

This prime accuser, Anna Ardin, has, according to the journalist Israel Shamir, writing on the CounterPunch site, "ties to the US-financed anti-Castro and anti-communist groups. She published her anti-Castro diatribes in the Swedish-language publication Revista de Asignaturas Cubanas put out by Miscelaneas de Cuba ... Note that Ardin was deported from Cuba for subversive activities."

It's certainly not conspiracism to suspect that the CIA has been at work in fomenting these Swedish accusations. As Shamir reports, "The moment Julian sought the protection of Swedish media law, the CIA immediately threatened to discontinue intelligence sharing with SEPO, the Swedish Secret Service."

The CIA has no doubt also pondered the possibility of pushing Assange off a bridge or through a high window (a mode of assassination favored by the agency from the earliest days) and has sadly concluded that it's too late for this sort of executive solution.

The irony is that the thousands of diplomatic communications released by WikiLeaks contain no earth-shaking disclosures that patently undermine the security of the American empire. We are supposed to be stunned that the king of Saudi Arabia wishes Iran was wiped off the map, that the U.S. uses diplomats as spies or that Afghanistan is corrupt?

This is not to downplay the great importance of this latest batch of WikiLeaks. Millions in America and around the world have been given a quick introductory course in international relations and the true arts of diplomacy — not least the third-rate, gossipy prose with which the diplomats rehearse the arch romans a clef they will write when they head into retirement.

Years ago, Rebecca West wrote in her novel "The Thinking Reed" of a British diplomat who, "even when he was peering down a woman's dress at her breasts managed to look as though he was thinking about India." In the updated version, given Hillary Clinton's orders to the State Department, the U.S. envoy, pretending to admire the figure of the charming French cultural attache, would actually be thinking how to steal her credit card information, obtain a retinal scan, her e-mail passwords and frequent flier number.

paypal denial of service attack

Mashable | The list of organizations banning WikiLeaks is growing; now PayPal has made it clear that the whistleblower website is no longer welcome through its virtual doors.

The move closes the primary online channel for donations to the controversial organization, which has been facing increased pressure from world governments.

“PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity,” the company said in a statement on its blog. “We’ve notified the account holder of this action.”

WikiLeaks has had recent difficulty keeping the donations channels open. Donations through Moneybookers was blocked in October after the U.S. and Australia put the organization on its watch lists, and earlier this year PayPal suspended the WikiLeaks account temporarily.

WikiLeaks has been attracting a great deal of attention this week after it released 250,000+ sensitive U.S. diplomatic wires. Since then, the company has been under attack from hackers and the U.S. government alike. Amazon recently kicked WikiLeaks off of its servers, as did its DNS service provider.

federal emplyees warned NOT to look at wikileaks

CNN | Unauthorized federal workers and contractors have been warned not to attempt to read the classified documents on WikiLeaks on either government or personal computers.

The White House Office of Management and Budget sent a memo Friday afternoon forbidding unauthorized federal government employees and contractors from accessing classified documents publicly available on WikiLeaks and other websites using computers or devices like BlackBerrys and smart phones.

The memo, sent to general counsels at various government agencies and obtained by CNN, explains that the publishing by WikiLeaks does "not alter the documents' classified status or automatically result in declassification of the documents."

"To the contrary, classified information, whether or not already posted on public websites or disclosed to the media remains classified, and must be treated as such by federal employees and contractors, until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. Government authority," the memo said.

The memo does allow for reading of articles about the cables on media sites.

OMB spokesperson Moira Mack said the memo "does not advise agencies to block WikiLeaks or other websites on government computer systems."

"This is principally about protecting government IT systems," Mack said.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

eroei the quintessence of "economics"

ScienceDaily | The worst recessions of the last 65 years were preceded by declines in energy quality for oil, natural gas, and coal. Energy quality is plotted using the energy intensity ratio (EIR) for each fuel. Recessions are indicated by gray bars. In layman's terms, EIR measures how much profit is obtained by energy consumers relative to energy producers.The higher the EIR, the more economic value consumers (including businesses, governments and people) get from their energy. An overlooked cause of the economic recession in the U.S. is a decade long decline in the quality of the nation's energy supply, often measured as the amount of energy we get out for a given energy input, says energy expert Carey King of The University of Texas at Austin.

Many economists have pointed to a bursting real estate bubble as the initial trigger for the current recession, which in turn caused global investments in U.S. real estate to turn sour and drag down the global economy. King suggests the real estate bubble burst because individuals were forced to pay a higher and higher percentage of their income for energy -- including electricity, gasoline and heating oil -- leaving less money for their home mortgages.

In economic terms, the quality of the nation's energy supply is referred to as Energy Return on Energy Investment (EROI). For example, if an oil company uses a 10th of a barrel of oil to drill, pump, transport and refine one barrel of oil, the EROI for the refined fuel is 10.

"Many economists don't think of energy as being a limiting factor to economic growth," says King, a research associate in the university's Center for International Energy and Environmental Policy. "They think continual improvements in technology and efficiency have completely decoupled the two factors. My research is part of a growing body of evidence that says that's just not true. Energy still plays a big role."

zenger farm


Video - Class on slaughtering a chicken at Zenger Farm.

CookingUpAStory | It is a treasure hidden in plain sight. You could easily miss it, speeding along the four-lane trajectory that is Foster Road. At this outskirt of Portland the view is mostly auto parts stores, wrecking yards, industrial parks; only patches of feral land and stands of mature Douglas Firs hint at an earlier, much more rural time. Not much of the farm is visible from behind the wheel of a car, just a glimpse of the red, refurbished farm house and bit of garden. But sloping down behind is a six-acre organic farm (one of the only working farms in the city limits), flanked by ten acres of wetland that is home to a richly-diverse ecosystem.

When the city of Portland purchased Zenger farm in 1994, it was in alignment with the dream and intention of Ulrich Zenger Jr. that the land be preserved as a farm and protected from the urban development that was rapidly advancing. In 1999 a fifty-year lease was granted to Friends of Zenger Farm, securing its future as a model of land stewardship and sustainable urban agriculture accessible to the public.

This is a unique and invaluable opportunity, especially for Portland’s kids, who visit the farm and get real lessons in where fresh food comes from, and how good it can taste. During the school year, yellow busses regularly pull into the parking lot at the farm; the air is full of the calls and shouts of discovery, of kids exploring a world without concrete beneath their feet. They visit and feed the chickens, maybe get to taste the fresh, raw honey from the farm’s hives. They weed and tend and harvest vegetables. This is not a curriculum-simulation of a farm: the work they’re doing is real, and they understand the difference. For many, this is the first time they have seen vegetables somewhere other than a fluorescently-lit grocery store. There is great pride and ownership in the harvesting of vegetables they helped grow.

In 2009, a record-breaking 4500 children visited the farm. The fees are nominal, but no one is turned away for lack of funds. Adults are encouraged to sign up to do volunteer work on the farm, and this has helped supply meaningful nutritional support to low-income residents of the surrounding neighborhoods, one which has long been underserved in terms of ready access to community gardens, farmers markets and full-service grocery stores.

In 2010, a seven-acre property adjacent to the farm was acquired, and promises exciting possibilities for the future of Zenger Farm. “This will allow us to launch our Neighborhood Food Innovation Program,” says Executive Director Jill Kuehler. Fist tap Dale.

world food situation





bacterium in soil enhances learning decreases anxiety


Video - mycobacterium vaccae light installation.

Sage | Turning off the TV and computer and spending some time outdoors may not only be good for your health, it may also make you smarter, according to research presented at the 110th General Meeting of the American Society for Microbiology in San Diego by associate professor of biology at The Sage Colleges, Dorothy Matthews. Matthews conducted the research, entitled Effect of Mycobacterium vaccae on Learning, with her colleague, associate professor of psychology and biology, Susan Jenks.

Matthews became intrigued by mycobacterium vaccae, a bacterium commonly found in soil, several years ago after a study indicated that mice injected with a heat-killed version of the bacterium resulted in increased levels of serotonin and reduced levels of anxiety. Serotonin levels, which elevate mood and reduce anxiety, are associated with learning and Matthews was intrigued by the possibility that the bacterium could have an effect on learning in mice and that's exactly what the researchers found.

Mice exposed to the bacteria by nibbling on enticing tidbits of peanut butter snacks laced with the live bacterium were able to negotiate through a maze twice as fast as those in the control group and exhibited a reduction in anxiety behaviors as well.

The mice exhibited a profound increase in learning, according to the study. Even weeks after the mice stopped snacking on the live bacterium, they were still able to impress the researches with their newly learned skills. Three weeks later, the effect seemed to taper off, although since mice live on average for about 2 years, the effects were still impressive. Fist tap Dale.

Friday, December 03, 2010

the shadow biosphere


Video - Felisa Simon Wolf discusses her work at Mono Lake.

WaPo | the discovery opens the door to that possibility and to the related existence of a theorized "shadow biosphere" on Earth - life evolved from a different common ancestor from all we've known so far.

"Our findings are a reminder that life-as-we-know-it could be much more flexible than we generally assume or can imagine," said Felisa Wolfe-Simon, 33, the biochemist who led the effort.

Prompted by debate about the possible existence of a shadow biosphere, Wolfe-Simon set out specifically to see whether microbes that lived in California's briny, arsenic-filled Mono Lake naturally used arsenic instead of phosphorus for basic cellular functions, or were able to replace the phosphorus with arsenic.

She took mud from the lake into the lab and began growing bacteria in Petri dishes. She fed them sugars and vitamins but replaced phosphate salt with arsenic until the surviving bacteria could grow without needing the phosphates at all.

Her research found that some of the bacteria had arsenic embedded into their DNA, RNA and other basic underpinnings.

"If something here on Earth can do something so unexpected - that breaks the unity of biochemistry - what else can life do that we haven't seen yet?" said Wolfe-Simon, a NASA Astrobiology Research Fellow and member of the National Astrobiology Institute team at Arizona State University.

"This is different from anything we've seen before," said Mary Voytek, senior scientist for NASA's program in astrobiology, the arm of the agency involved specifically in the search for life beyond Earth and for how life began here.

"These bugs haven't just replaced one useful element with another; they have the arsenic in the basic building blocks of their makeup," she said. "We don't know if the arsenic replaced phosphorus or if it was there from the very beginning - in which case it would strongly suggest the existence of a shadow biosphere."

Theoretical physicist and cosmologist Paul Davies, director of the Beyond Center at Arizona State and a prolific writer, is a co-author on the new Science paper. He had been thinking about the idea of a shadow biosphere for a decade and had written a paper on it in 2005. Two years later University of Colorado at Boulder philosopher and astrobiologist Carol Cleland also published on the subject. Both asked why nobody was looking for life with different origins on Earth, and Cleland coined the phrase "shadow biosphere."

At a Beyond Center conference four years ago, Wolfe-Simon, then in her late 20s, proposed a way to search for a possible shadow biosphere, and it involved Mono Lake and its arsenic.

"We were kicking vague ideas around, but she had a very specific proposal and then went out and executed it," Davies said. "It defies logic to think she found the only example of this kind of unusual life. Quite clearly, this is the tip of a huge iceberg."

Noam Chomsky: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal "Profound Hatred for Democracy on the Part of Our Political Leadership


Video - Democracy Now interviews Noam Chomsky about Wikileaks.


Video - Democracy Now interviews Noam Chomsky about Wikileaks.


Video - Democracy Now interviews Noam Chomsky about Wikileaks.

Democracy Now | In a national broadcast exclusive interview, we speak with world-renowned political dissident and linguist Noam Chomsky about the release of more than 250,000 secret U.S. State Department cables by WikiLeaks. In 1971, Chomsky helped government whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg release the Pentagon Papers, a top-secret internal U.S. account of the Vietnam War. Commenting on the revelations that several Arab leaders are urging the United States to attack Iran, Chomsky says the latest polls show "Arab opinion holds that the major threat in the region is Israel, that’s 80 percent; the second threat is the United States, that’s 77 percent. Iran is listed as a threat by 10 percent... This may not be reported in the newspapers, ... but it’s certainly familiar to the Israeli and the U.S. governments and to the ambassadors... What that reveals is the profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership."

scotland yard set to arrest assange today

DailyMail | WikiLeaks supremo Julian Assange could be arrested in Britain today over sex allegations.

Scotland Yard detectives were last night preparing to detain the 39-year-old over claims of rape and sexual assault in Sweden.

An extradition warrant is expected to be passed to the Metropolitan Police today or early next week.

They have apparently known for over a month where Australian-born Mr Assange, who is in hiding in south-east England, is staying.

He supplied the force with his contact details upon arrival in Britain in October, said his London-based lawyer.

It today emerged that Mr Assange only escaped arrest yesterday because the Swedish authorities filled out an Interpol arrest warrant incorrectly.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: ‘If an international arrest warrant is legitimately issued and is passed to us and if we know where that person is then of course we would arrest them.’

has the u.s. already indicted him?

ChristianScienceMonitor | Sweden has issued an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and according to one newspaper report, he is hiding out in Britain. But is he already under indictment in the United States on charges related to his online release of a vast trove of secret US documents?

It’s certainly possible. US officials publicly will only say that they are investigating the matter and that no legal options have been ruled out. But an indictment in such an important federal matter would be handed down by a grand jury, and grand jury proceedings are secret, notes Stephen Vladeck, an expert in national security law at American University. There may be an empaneled grand jury considering the Assange case right now.

“We wouldn’t know what they’re doing until the whole thing is concluded,” he says.

WIKILEAKS 101: Five questions about who did what and when

A judge could order an indictment of Assange sealed until such time as the US is able to apprehend him, or until he is in custody in a nation from which he is likely to be extradited. The purpose of such secrecy would be to keep the WikiLeaks chief from going even further underground.

At least one prominent US legal analyst thinks this is just the sort of thing that is going on.

“I would not be at all surprised if there was a sealed arrest warrant currently in existence against [Assange],” said CNN legal expert Jeffrey Toobin on Wednesday. “That question is whether the American authorities can find him and bring him back to the United States for trial.”

In recent days US military officials have been talking about the WikiLeaks matter as if more is going on, legally speaking, than may meet the eye. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has said that the military has enlisted FBI agents in its investigation of the matter, which could mean that someone who is not a uniformed US military person is about to be charged, or has been.

frescos in BoA headquarters lobby




capitalism, biogenetics, disavowel, and the end times...,


Video - Riz Khan interviews Slavoj Zizek.

Is the world ignoring the signs of the so-called "end times"? Renowned philosopher and critic, Slavoj Zizek, explains what he thinks is causing the downhill slide, and points to the faltering economy, global warming and deteriorating ethnic relations as evidence.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

the secret life of julian assange


Video - Elric

CNN | In a 2007 blog post on IQ.org, he wrote:

"The whole universe or the structure that perceives it is a worthy opponent, but try as I may I can not escape the sound of suffering. Perhaps as an old man I will take great comfort in pottering around in a lab and gently talking to students in the summer evening and will accept suffering with insouciance. But not now; men in their prime, if they have convictions are tasked to act on them."

IQ.org is believed to be a blog created by Assange and is registered under the name "JA" by the same U.S. domain company as WikiLeaks. Its Australian postal address is also the same as a submissions address for WikiLeaks.

Among myriad topics addressed in the blog, Assange discusses mathematics versus philosophy, the death of author Kurt Vonnegut, censorship in Iran and the corporation as a nation state.

Driven by the conviction of an activist and the curiosity of a journalist, Assange founded WikiLeaks in 2006. He slept little and sometimes forgot to eat. He hired staff and enlisted the help of volunteers.

Always, he protected his sources, never discussing where information came from.

"People should understand that WikiLeaks has proven to be arguably the most trustworthy new source that exists, because we publish primary source material and analysis based on that primary source material," Assange told CNN. "Other organizations, with some exceptions, simply are not trustworthy."

The Web site skyrocketed to notoriety in July when it published 90,000 secret documents about the war in Afghanistan. It was considered the largest intelligence leak in U.S. history.

WikiLeaks followed in October with classified documents about the Iraq war. And then this week, it began posting 250,000 cables revealing a trove of secret diplomatic information.

Some praised WikiLeaks as a beacon of free speech. But others, including outraged Pentagon and White House officials, consider it irresponsible and want WikiLeaks silenced for what they call irreparable damage to global security.

Assange, the elusive public face of WikiLeaks, catapulted to celebrity status.

The image of the lean, lanky, leather jacket-clad figure with the pale skin and mop of white hair was splashed on television screens and websites. Everyone wanted to know how the editor in chief of WikiLeaks had pulled it off.

Time magazine has nominated him for its Person of the Year, calling him a "new kind of whistle-blower ... for the digital age."

a revolution has begun and it will be digitised


Video - Veteran of 1000 Psychic Wars

Guardian | The web is changing the way in which people relate to power, and politics will have no choice but to adapt too. Diplomacy has always involved dinners with ruling elites, backroom deals and clandestine meetings. Now, in the digital age, the reports of all those parties and patrician chats can be collected in one enormous database. And once collected in digital form, it becomes very easy for them to be shared.

Indeed, that is why the Siprnet database – from which these US embassy cables are drawn – was created in the first place. The 9/11 commission had made the remarkable discovery that it wasn't sharing information that had put the nation's security at risk; it was not sharing information that was the problem. The lack of co-operation between government agencies, and the hoarding of information by bureaucrats, led to numerous "lost opportunities" to stop the 9/11 attacks. As a result, the commission ordered a restructuring of government and intelligence services to better mimic the web itself. Collaboration and information-sharing was the new ethos. But while millions of government officials and contractors had access to Siprnet, the public did not.

But data has a habit of spreading. It slips past military security and it can also leak from WikiLeaks, which is how I came to obtain the data. It even slipped past the embargoes of the Guardian and other media organisations involved in this story when a rogue copy of Der Spiegel accidentally went on sale in Basle, Switzerland, on Sunday. Someone bought it, realised what they had, and began scanning the pages, translating them from German to English and posting updates on Twitter. It would seem digital data respects no authority, be it the Pentagon, WikiLeaks or a newspaper editor.

Individually, we have all already experienced the massive changes resulting from digitisation. Events or information that we once considered ephemeral and private are now aggregated, permanent, public. If these cables seem large, think about the 500 million users of Facebook or the millions of records kept by Google. Governments hold our personal data in huge databases. It used to cost money to disclose and distribute information. In the digital age it costs money not to.

But when data breaches happen to the public, politicians don't care much. Our privacy is expendable. It is no surprise that the reaction to these leaks is different. What has changed the dynamic of power in a revolutionary way isn't just the scale of the databases being kept, but that individuals can upload a copy and present it to the world. In paper form, these cables equate, on the Guardian's estimate, to some 213,969 pages of A4 paper, which would stack about 25m high – not something that one could have easily slipped past security in the paper age.

To some this marks a crisis, to others an opportunity. Technology is breaking down traditional social barriers of status, class, power, wealth and geography – replacing them with an ethos of collaboration and transparency.

wikileaks is holding u.s. global power to account


Video - Blue Oyster Cult Black Blade

Guardian | The WikiLeaks avalanche has exposed floundering imperial rule to scrutiny – and its reliance on dictatorship and deceit.

Official America's reaction to the largest leak of confidential government files in history is tipping over towards derangement. What the White House initially denounced as a life-threatening "criminal" act and Hillary Clinton branded an "attack on the international community" has been taken a menacing stage further by the newly emboldened Republican right.

WikiLeaks' release of 250,000 United States embassy cables – shared with the Guardian and other international newspapers – was an act of terrorism, Senator Peter King declared. Sarah Palin called for its founder Julian Assange to be hunted down as an "anti-American operative with blood on his hands", while former presidential candidate Mike Huckabee has demanded that whoever leaked the files should be executed for treason.

Not much truck with freedom of information, then, in the land of the free. In reality, most of the leaked material is fairly low-level diplomatic gossip, which naturally reflects the US government's view of the world, and crucially doesn't include reports with the highest security classification.

When it comes to actual criminality and blood, nothing quite matches WikiLeaks' earlier revelations about the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, with their chilling records of US collusion with industrial-scale torture and death squads, and killings of Afghan civilians by rampaging Nato troops.

Nor, of course, is what US diplomats write necessarily true. But beyond the dispatches on Prince Andrew's crass follies and Colonel Gaddafi's "weirdness", the leaks do paint a revealing picture of an overstretched imperial system at work, as its emissaries struggle to keep satraps in line and enemies at bay.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

assange in uk and police know his whereabouts


Video - Public Enemy movie trailer.

Reuters | Wikileaks website founder Julian Assange is in Britain and police know his whereabouts but have refrained so far from acting on an international warrant for his arrest, a British newspaper said on Thursday.

The 39-year-old Australian, who founded the whistle-blowing website that has disclosed a trove of secret U.S. diplomatic cables, supplied British police with contact details upon his arrival in October, The Independent said.

The newspaper cited police sources who said they knew where Assange was staying and had his telephone number. It added that it was believed he was in southeast England.

The international police agency Interpol this week issued a "red notice" to assist in the arrest of Assange, who is wanted in Sweden on suspicion of sexual crimes, but Britain's Serious Organized Crime Agency (Soca) so far has refused to authorize this, the paper said.

Citing unnamed sources, the Independent said Soca needed clarifications about the European Arrest Warrant issued by Swedish prosecutors but it described the delay as technical.

The Metropolitan Police and Soca declined to comment when contacted by Reuters.

BoA in the wikileaks crosshairs

DailyKos | From Monday: "WikiLeaks' Julian Assange Wants To Spill Your Corporate Secrets."
Early next year, Julian Assange says, a major American bank will suddenly find itself turned inside out. Tens of thousands of its internal documents will be exposed on Wikileaks.org ... The data dump will lay bare the finance firm's secrets on the Web for every customer, every competitor, every regulator to examine and pass judgment on.
And from Tuesday: "Bank Of America WikiLeaks' Next Target?"
[A]n eagle-eyed reader has sent me a link to a quote from a Computer World interview with Assange from October of 2009, which, if true, may contain a clue to that bank's identity:
"At the moment, for example, we are sitting on five gigabytes from Bank of America, one of the executive's hard drives," he said. "Now how do we present that? It's a difficult problem. We could just dump it all into one giant Zip file, but we know for a fact that has limited impact. To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it."
Here's another view on all of this, from the Lede Blog over at the NY Times, roughly 18 hours ago: "Latest Updates on Leak of U.S. Cables, Day 3."

And, last of all, if you have ANY doubts that this Wikileaks' story is not about Bank of America, HERE'S some help connecting the dots, from Zero Hedge, on Monday.

And, here's more on the second act of this horror show...

ecuador offers then withdraws residency to assange

Reuters | An Ecuadorean government official has invited the founder of the WikiLeaks whistleblower website to live and lecture in the country, days after the site caused an international uproar by releasing additional sensitive U.S. documents.

Deputy Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas told local media that Ecuador was attempting to get in touch with WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange to invite him to the country, praising his work as an investigator.

Ecuador is part of a leftist bloc of governments in South America, including Venezuela and Bolivia, that have been highly critical of U.S. policy in the region.

"We are inviting him to give conferences and, if he wants, we have offered him Ecuadorean residency," Lucas said in an interview published on Tuesday in local newspaper Hoy.

Asked if the offer of residency was a formal invitation from the government, Lucas said, "sure."

International Business Times | Ecuador's President Rafael Correa stated that he did not approve any offer of residency made to the Wikileaks founder following the latest leaks. Earlier on Monday, Kintto Lucas, the Deputy Foreign Minister welcomed Assange to live and lecture in the country unconditionally. Sweden had already turned down his application for residency and Australia is launched an investigation if the whistle-blower website broke any local laws.

interpol issues red notice for the arrest of julian assange

Justify FullWired | The international police organization Interpol has issued a Red Notice for the arrest of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, in connection with a sex crime investigation in Sweden.

A Red Notice is kind of international wanted poster seeking the provisional arrest of a fugitive, with an eye towards extradition to the nation that issued the underlying arrest warrant. Interpol transmits the notices to its 188 member countries, including Britain, where Assange is believed to be located. Interpol has no authority to compel a subject’s arrest. It issued 5,020 Red Notice last year for a variety of crimes.

A terse extract of Assange’s notice appeared on Interpol’s website Tuesday, without a photograph, reporting that the 39-year-old Australian is wanted for “sex crimes” by the International Public Prosecution Office in Gothenburg, Sweden.

A Swedish judge on Nov. 18 ordered Assange “detained in absentia” to answer questions in a rape, coercion and molestation investigation in Stockholm. A court approved an international arrest warrant for the ex-hacker two days later, at which point Sweden reportedly applied to Interpol for the Red Notice. Assange’s lawyer appealed the detention order to the Svea Court of Appeal, but lost. Assange filed a new appeal Tuesday to the Swedish Supreme Court.

wikileaks moves to amazon cloud to evade ddos attack

TechnologyReview | As of this moment, according to Wikileaks itself, the site is under a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack "now exceeding 10 Gigabits a second." These kinds of attacks are typically carried out by a widely distributed "botnet" of zombie computers under the control of a single or a group of hackers. They are par for the course on the web, and have been used in everything from extortion efforts against businesses to cyberattacks on neighboring countries.

What's interesting about this attack is that Wikileaks' webmasters have switched from their usual host, Swedish company PRQ, which has at times also hosted the media pirating site The Pirate Bay, to Amazon's cloud services.

According to network analyst Andree Tonk, who posted his observations on the mailing list of the esteemed North American Network Operators' Group, Wikileaks moved to Amazon hosting, in particular Amazon's EU cluster in Dublin, some time Sunday, when the first denial of service attack was launched against the site.

Without this fall-back in place, it appears that the first distributed denial of service attack against Wikileaks would have succeeded. PRQ was forced to "nullroute the IP" of Wikileaks in response to this first attack - making it completely inaccessible to the outside world.

Amazon's servers, by contrast, seem to be having no trouble at all mopping up the extra traffic - as of this writing, and for the overwhelming majority of the time since the first attack, Wikileaks.org has been up and available, according to Netcraft.

One way to thwart a distributed denial of service attack is simply to over-provision the server and bandwidth resources allotted to a particular IP address (i.e. website), and Amazon's cloud services are in a way a perfect solution for any webmaster wishing to deal with a DoS attack in this way

As DDoS attacks go, 10 gigabits a second is big, but by no means at the upper end of the scale of such attacks. A 2008 study would put an attack of this scale somewhere in the middle of the pack, with the largest ever attack as of two years ago topping out at 40 gigabits / second.

Whatever happens to Wikileaks.org - whether it's shut down by law enforcement or by hackers and governments who wish its current "cablegate" trove to remain out of the public eye, it appears that the site's creators have already released an encrypted archive of the entirety of the cablegate documents or perhaps all of Wikileaks.

Calling the compressed, encrypted but freely available 1.3 gigabyte file "history insurance," Wikileaks has made the archive available as a torrent on The Pirate Bay.