Cyber War Over Wikileaks Intensifies

Update: Cyber-army gains strength.

Operation Payback, hackers waging 'cyberwar' against those who oppose and stop doing business with WikiLeaks, continues. But Facebook and Twitter have cut them off.

The Netherlands has arrested a 16 year old in connection with the Paypal-Mastercard attacks.

Related: Time Magazine has an article saying the U.S. case against Julian Assange is weak. The AP reports the London extradition case may be shaky.

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    Beyond weak. (5.00 / 1) (#2)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 04:39:33 PM EST
    Either Assange is a journalist or he's not. I like getting raw data to make my own decisions with. I think that posting what he has is simply what newspapers would have done if editors could have affored enough paper. Court cases, from oh, NYTimes V Sullivan to the Pentagon PApers to Westmoreland V AP (I think... memory might have failed me on the Westmoreland case) do not hold the journalist guilty of publishing the truth.

    That is, "before the free press went down to the full court press," as Gil-Scot Heron so eloquently put it.

    Westmoreland V CBS... (none / 0) (#5)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 04:56:57 PM EST
    so different media formats haven't mattered.

    The DVD (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by cal1942 on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 04:47:49 PM EST
    of a Cheney perp walk would sell millions.

    I'd but one for myself and many more to give as gifts.

    Best. Selling. DVD. Ever! (5.00 / 1) (#4)
    by canuck eh on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 04:51:08 PM EST
    Seriously- James Cameron would be jealous of the number of units moved

    I'd want (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 04:56:58 PM EST
    The movie poster!

    The poster (none / 0) (#19)
    by cal1942 on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 11:26:24 PM EST
    would also sell millions.  

    Great idea.

    Again, I'd buy one for myself and many others to give as gifts.


    Not if we used his 3D technology to film (none / 0) (#31)
    by ruffian on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:42:58 AM EST
    Which I highly recommend!

    My triangulation dream is that (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by ruffian on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:20:38 AM EST
    We give Cheney to Nigeria for his crimes there, then they give Sweden something they must want - or maybe make another swap, then Sweden gives us Assange.

    My apologies to Assange for using him as my pawn to see Cheney in a Nigerian prison.

    So, did they (none / 0) (#7)
    by Zorba on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 05:37:22 PM EST
    prosecute The New York Times and The Washington Post (among others) for publishing the Pentagon Papers?  They tried an injunction against publication, which only worked briefly until overturned by the Supreme Court .  They did indict the leaker, Daniel Ellsberg, but the case ended in a mistrial.  (BTW, The Pentagon Papers are still classified.)  I think that if they want to go after Assange, they may, unfortunately, use "extra-judicial" methods.  Which our government does not seem to be opposed to.  

    Not the same thing (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 05:51:42 PM EST
    Good explanation here.

    It is a crime to disclose classified information under the Espionage Act of 1917 (see 18 U.S. Code § 793, paragraph e). The Supreme Court upheld its constitutionality in Schenck vs. United States (1919). The Court ruled that "Words which, ordinarily and in many places, would be within the freedom of speech protected by the First Amendment may become subject to prohibition when of such a nature and used in such circumstances a to create a clear and present danger that they will bring about the substantive evils which Congress has a right to prevent." The First Amendment does not protect espionage.

    The most famous prosecution under the Espionage Act was the Pentagon Papers case, New York Times vs. United States (1971), in which the Nixon administration attempted to stop the publication of a Department of Defense internal history of the Vietnam War. The Nixon administration lost the case and the New York Times (and others) published the history in full. Since the Pentagon Papers case, administrations have been generally reluctant to prosecute under the Espionage Act both because of the perceived difficulty of winning a conviction and because of general discomfort with the idea of suing the media for the content of what they publish.

    The Pentagon Papers case is, however, a poor guide to Espionage Act prosecutions. The administration sought to prevent the Times from publishing, not bring criminal charges against it for what it had already published. The Court ruled that such attempts at "prior restraint" must meet a higher standard, which the Nixon administration failed to do regarding the Pentagon Papers -- which was, after all, just an internal history, not a record of ongoing operations. The Court did not invalidate the Espionage Act, nor did the ruling acquit the New York Times.

    In fact, Supreme Court Justice Byron White, in his concurrence, practically invited the administration to pursue prosecution against the New York Times after the publication was completed. The "failure by the Government to justify prior restraints does not measure its constitutional entitlement to a conviction for criminal publication," he wrote, "I would have no difficulty in sustaining convictions under these sections on facts that would not justify ... prior restraint." This was in 1971.

    Much more recently, the New York Times (among other media outlets) has a well-established habit of disclosing classified information. In 2005 it disclosed the existence of the National Security Agency's terrorist surveillance program. In 2006 it disclosed the U.S.'s efforts to track terrorists' financial transactions through bank records. In July 2010 it was complicit in WikiLeaks's disclosure of some 92,000 U.S. military documents related to the Afghan War. In October, it helped publicize WikiLeaks's access to 400,000 U.S. military documents related to the Iraq War. And in November it helped with the disclosure of 250,000 diplomatic cables.

    Maybe, maybe not (none / 0) (#11)
    by Zorba on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 06:31:25 PM EST
    See this analysis by
    Baruch Weiss, a litigation partner at Arnold & Porter, [who] specializes in white-collar and national security matters. He is a former federal prosecutor and served in the Treasury and Homeland Security departments.


    He doesn't think the DOJ has much of a chance prosecuting Assange.


    Which is why (none / 0) (#12)
    by jbindc on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 06:40:03 PM EST
    it's not as easy as someone saying (as some bloggers have) "He can't be prosecuted!  Pentagon Papers!!"

    It's a very difficult issue, which is why Paul Miller, an expert in the area of national security, wrote what he did above.


    Sure Assange can be prosecuted (none / 0) (#15)
    by Dan the Man on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 06:54:30 PM EST
    And, for the exact same reason that Assange can be prosecuted, any of us who have read the cables in a newspaper, magazine, blog, etc can also be prosecuted for the crime of receiving classified information.  The question is not whether or not the Man can prosecute.  The question is whether or not the Man is willing to take such a step.

    kool-aid drinkers? (none / 0) (#22)
    by diogenes on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:50:02 AM EST
    Surely people see a difference between a targeted whistleblower leak about an issue of government abuse (Pentagon Papers) and the random spewing forth of every secret government document in one's possession (what is the social purpose of knowing whether Prince Andrew thinks badly of the French?).

    Eh? what are you gibbering about? (none / 0) (#24)
    by Dan the Man on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:23:10 AM EST
    That people should be put in jail for printing a cable which describes the social purpose of knowing whether Prince Andrew thinks badly of the French?  Why would anyone be silly enough to believe that?

    Go live in Iran (none / 0) (#27)
    by Dadler on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:53:56 AM EST
    You can send the Basij out to bust heads whenever you don't like something.

    Get real, do you want to live in a free, open democracy or not?  Your government treats you like a child. Stop acting like one. There is NOTHING, nothing in these releases that should not be known by the American people.

    It is amazing how many Americans really cannot handle the buren on their minds that genuine freedom brings. It's just too much for them.


    We're getting... (none / 0) (#9)
    by kdog on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 05:59:30 PM EST
    a great glimpse at the sucessful merger of government and corporate power.

    I mean is any corporation here not a deputy? The list of outfits to eliminate/minimize doing business with grows by the day...take note lovers of liberty.

    Should the Nobel Committee award the (none / 0) (#10)
    by oculus on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 06:31:02 PM EST
    Peace Prize to Assange as Russian ruler suggests? The Guardian

    No Donald (none / 0) (#13)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 06:46:57 PM EST
    Armitage outed Plame. You know that.

    Re:Plame (none / 0) (#17)
    by Harry Saxon on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 08:13:17 PM EST
    From www.npr(dot)org:

    Oct. 25, 2005: Citing lawyers connected to the case, The New York Times reports that Lewis Libby, Vice President Dick Cheney's chief of staff, first learned about Plame from a conversation with Cheney in the weeks before her identity became public in 2003. Libby's notes from that conversation, which took place June 12, 2003, contradict Libby's testimony to a federal grand jury that he first learned about Plame from journalists, lawyers told the paper. The previously undisclosed notes are now in the possession of prosecutors.

    Oct. 28, 2005: Vice presidential adviser I. Lewis Libby is indicted on obstruction of justice, false statement and perjury charges in the CIA leak case. Libby resigns as Vice President Cheney's chief of staff.

    Nov. 3, 2005: Libby pleads not guilty in federal court to the five-count indictment against him.

    Nov. 15, 2005: Washington Post editor Bob Woodward testifies that a "senior administration official" told him about Valerie Plame and her job at the CIA nearly a month before she was first named in Robert Novak's column. The revelation would make the source, who Woodward refused to identify, the first official to reveal Plame's identity to a reporter.

    April 26, 2006: Presidential adviser Karl Rove testifies for a fifth time before a grand jury. Fitzgerald says he is investigating whether Rove lied or obstructed justice in failing to initially disclose his conversation with Time magazine reporter Matt Cooper. Rove blamed a faulty memory.

    June 13, 2006: A lawyer for Rove says his client has been informed by prosecutors he won't be charged with any crimes in the investigation, ending months of speculation.

    January 6, 2007: Libby's criminal trial begins.

    February 21, 2007: Jury receives case for deliberation.

    March 6, 2007: Jury returns guilty verdict on four of five counts, convicting Libby of obstruction, perjury and lying to the FBI.

    June 5, 2007: Libby is sentenced to 30 months in prison and fined $250,000.

    June 14, 2007: U.S. District Judge Reggie Walton denies request to delay Libby's sentence.

    July 2, 2007: A federal appeals court rejects Libby's request to remain free on bail while pursuing appeals -- meaning Libby would likely have to report to prison soon. Hours later, President Bush commutes Libby's prison sentence, leaving the $250,000 fine and two years probation intact. "I respect the jury's verdict," Bush says in a statement. "But I have concluded that the prison sentence given to Mr. Libby is excessive."

    Click Me


    If you want to argue that (none / 0) (#14)
    by jimakaPPJ on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 06:53:12 PM EST
    Assange had the right to publish this information you can do so.

    But I trust that you will agree that anyone attacking Vusa, MC, PayPal, etc., for exercising their decision to not support him by collecting money for hin... has committed a crime.

    Mendacity.... (5.00 / 1) (#18)
    by Rojas on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 08:24:07 PM EST
    The crime of free speech? Good lord is that where we're at, arrest the truth tellers?
    So tell me Jim, you pride yourself on being a practical man,  how does democracy survive?  

    I'm not arguing (none / 0) (#33)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:27:11 PM EST
    about Assange's actions.

    My point is that his minions are involved in criminal activities when they attack Visa, MC, et al.


    Jim, I don't know if it's a crime. (none / 0) (#16)
    by jeffinalabama on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 08:08:20 PM EST
    An Australian who puts out this information, on a website that could be called a news outlet (I would, for reasons I won't go into here... different discussion different thread) MAY face charges under the 1917 espionage act...
    I don't think that the responses of those companies was criminal, either. Those companies might have violated contracts, but that's tort law, not criminal.

    As for Mr. Assange, I thought the government's lack of prosecution of the NY Times or Washington Post in the Pentagon Papers publication meant something, but perhaps not If the act is applied, he could be prosecuted, provided he were extradited. Now the worthiness of extradition is another can of worms entirely, to me. The cat's out of the bag, and we can't get it back in. At the end of the day, even if he COULD be tried, it may be a waste. This isn't your old-fashioned cold war espionage case in my nonlawyer/nonprosecutor opinion.

    Some excellent posts and discussions on this topic. I learn something new daily.


    I think Jim.. (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:45:37 AM EST
    was talking about the hacktivists f*ckin' with Deputy Mastercard being a crime....which is true, it's against the law, but what isn't these days?  99% of the population has committed a crime...the statists need to do better than that..."committed a crime", you're killin' me Jimbo!

    The way I look at it the hacktivists are in good company...Thomas Jefferson was once wanted by the crown too.


    Thomas Jefferson (none / 0) (#23)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 08:56:36 AM EST
    also owned slaves

    Now that... (none / 0) (#25)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:43:42 AM EST
    is what the crown should have been after him about:)Sadly the law being totally twisted isn't a new phenomenon, twisted law has plagued mankind for millenia.

    Honey, (none / 0) (#26)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 09:48:45 AM EST
    Adam and Eve chose to ignore the law too - look where it got them.  :)

    The sanctity of the law... (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:05:52 AM EST
    is a fairy tale, just like Adam & Eve...maybe thats where it started.

    I woulda told the Notorious G.O.D. to take a walk too, fruit tastes good:)


    You would have been (none / 0) (#29)
    by jbindc on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 10:18:41 AM EST
    smote (smited?).  :)

    Smitten? (none / 0) (#32)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 11:07:26 AM EST
    The notorious one, if he really wanted Adam to lay off the forbidden fruit, should have simply said it is good for you, eat it.

    For the all-knowing, he/she/it is seriously lacking in knowledge of human nature.


    If a crime has been committed, isn't the person (none / 0) (#20)
    by caseyOR on Thu Dec 09, 2010 at 11:32:32 PM EST
    who leaked everything to WikiLeaks the one who committed the crime? Assange didn't hack into government computer files and steal this stuff. I don't know who took these files. I have serious doubts that Bradley Manning is the source of all these State Department cables. He seems more like a convenient fall guy.

    Given how fairly banal the released cables appear to be, I have to wonder just what has the US government in such a tizzy. So far our government's hysterical response seems to fall into the "doth protest too much" category, leaving me to wonder just what is out there that we don't know yet.

    And the calls to assassinate Assange? OMFG! What has taken hold of people? That Obama has not denounced these "kill him" pushers should make us all very ashamed. Is this really what it means to be an American?

    I don't want to get into a (none / 0) (#34)
    by jimakaPPJ on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:30:05 PM EST
    discussion about Assange's actions. I see them as a curse and a blessing.

    But anyone who receives stolen property has broken the law. Assange is at least guilty of that.


    They weren't property (5.00 / 1) (#35)
    by Harry Saxon on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 04:50:19 PM EST
    but if you want to invent a crime and then find that he should be prosecuted for it, go for it.

    There are no statutes against embarrassing the American government, which is what his "crime" amounts to in the last analysis.


    Now now Harry... (5.00 / 1) (#36)
    by kdog on Fri Dec 10, 2010 at 05:49:44 PM EST
    lets be fair, it is possible Assange illegally downloaded a song or two, and he is at least guilty of that, just as 99% of the adult world population is guilty of one crime or another...this guilt comes in handy when the state is emabarassed, or wants money, to maintain the "order" of things...you know the drill.