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For the purpose of devil's advocate in this, I think it's possible to state truths and still be misleading and/or distracting from another narrative. Just because something is true doesn't necessarily explain what the motive is for releasing that information. It's certainly healthy to have at least a shadow of a doubt as to what WikiLeaks's motivations are when it's already shown that it can either restrain itself from leaks or that it can falsify the existence of leaks.[0]

[0] In 2010, WikiLeaks declared to the public the intent to publish docs alleging significant Russian corruption. It was also picked up by a Russian newspaper that reported to be working with WikiLeaks. However, nothing happened and the topic has been untouched since.

Allegedly WL did not release every email they had from the Syria leak. While every email released may be legitimate, the omission of emails pertaining to russia creates a narrative.

Wikileaks may be telling the truth but it's far from clear whether they are telling the whole truth. And in between "truth" and "whole truth" there's a lot of room to shape the narrative

It's known that WL will often save some of the worst leaks as an 'insurance' against retaliation from the entity the leaks pertain to. It's likely there's aspects they're holding back from this leak as well, if they don't already hold enough over the U.S. gov.

They have already stated in black and white that they have held back a lot concerning this release; due to various concerns. They are completely open about that.

A lot of the stuff they keep to themselves can be used as collateral, like all the names they redact, operational details, etc, but I think they would quickly find themselves in an even more dangerous game than they are now, if they started to exploit these possibilities.

uhm... what are the current speculations as to what they may be holding back?

It's Manning stuff, I think. And it's not that they're "holding back" stuff. It's been torrented, but encrypted.

Well, it works both ways. You're creating an even shadier narrative, since you're parroting a familiar a story about the selective choice of leaks without any evidence that other leaks are being withheld, and this story is primarily used to distract from the information that Wikileaks publishes and discredit Wikileaks and Assange.

Even if Wikileaks withheld other leaks, for which no evidence has ever been presented so far, what they have published so far seems to have been factual and genuine material. So let's not distract from the truth...

It was an unsupported allegation by Daily Dot. See https://lists.cpunks.org/pipermail/cypherpunks/2017-March/03...

If Wikileaks is in any way editorializing the information, that is not specifically related to things like 'redaction of names to not put specific lives at risk' - then it is existentially damaging to their credibility.

It's not just 'shaping narrative' - it's 'creating it'.

I'm not for or against the very nature of Wikileaks - but I'm pointing out that editorialization is quite fundamentally bad - for an organization like them.

The 'best leaks' were the ones in concert with Guardian, NYT and Spiegel - that way they had a lot of transparency, a lot of eyes on it, and some people who could agree to redact specific names without changing the nature of the information.

Cutting out 'Russian related material' is really quite a bad thing.

Further interesting point: the news if fairly minimized at CNN, Fox etc.. No big headlines.

Also is the fact that Assange was trying to 'hand himself over' to authorities during the election. He may have been trying to use this potential leak as leverage. Who knows. It's all so mysterious ...

Even people here are susceptible to the logical problem. Here's a thread from last year: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=12984371

The people who support Wikileaks are arguing that none of the leaks were fraudulent, while critics point to evidence suggesting that Wikileaks was editorializing by withholding information. The supporters never really address the editorializing issue.

If I have information that you murdered someone, and information that a friend of mine murdered someone else and I only release the info I have on you does that make the information any less valid? Should you not be punished in this situation? I don't get this line of argument.

> I ... murdered someone ... and ... a friend of mine murdered someone else

- cmdrfred

Technically you wrote those words in that order, but by omitting other words the context was completely lost. This is why selective omission is dangerous. s/word/email/ and you have the Wikileaks situation of omitting certain emails. This is why, when people take the stand, they are asked to tell the whole truth. Because when you omit things, you lose the context and change the situation.

In this case though, and with the Democratic party. I have the original context that you have omitted. It would be a simple matter for me to release that context that proves my innocence. This clearly was not the case with Podesta's emails or the DNC or that's exactly what they would have done in response.

Is this what wikileaks is doing? Omitting words from sentences to change the meaning?

Surely omitting some emails is different from omitting pieces of some of the emails to change the meaning.

Addressing your last point because I'm not informed enough to argue the first questions: They differ only in the amount of space it takes to give an example. Imagine a loved one being held as leverage to force you to kill someone. You could beg/plead/bargain to avoid it, but if the only email that's published is the one that says "it's done. he's dead" that strips away a significant bit of context. Now, scale things up to state-level complexity and imagine being able to cherry pick the context in which things are said.

Re: Imagine a loved one being held as leverage to force you to kill someone. You could beg/plead/bargain to avoid it, but if the only email that's published is the one that says "it's done. he's dead" that strips away a significant bit of context.

I don't understand your example - murder coerced by blackmail is still murder. I imagine if this email was actually released to the public and people found out I was a murderer, when the police arrived I would show any documentation of the threat or call attention to the fact that my missing relative was being held. Society would be better off knowing I was a murderer and that I claimed to be coerced because then the perpetrators would at least have a harder time reusing the same tactic.

If that murder evidence email was released and discussed online, it'd be weird to see it be disqualified in discussion, despite being believed to be true, because of a belief that there might be a second email which compelled the execution of the murder. It would be fine for someone to show this second email as part of a defense, but again this example is kind of tricky because being compelled to murder under the threat of murder doesn't justify murder.

It's hard to trust your release if we learned you failed to disclose something of similar nature. It makes you appear biased.

Wikileaks was founded on the idea that it is a resource for getting transparency from all powerful entities, not just selected ones. Their recent string of one-sided releases calls all their reporting into question. We know corruption happens in every country. Why publish nothing on Russia?

When is the last time they did a big release that targeted the Russian Federation? I'm asking this because I sincerely don't know but I'm guessing the answer is that they never do. Their actions point to at least tacit cooperation with the Russian Federation.

Obviously and indisputably, any organization that really placed openness and opposition to secrecy as their highest values would put the Russian Federation at the top of their list. Clearly, WL has instead placed the United States at the top and dropped the Russians from the list altogether.

Wikileaks objectives seem to line up with the Russians too often to dismiss as coincidence. For example, WL clearly timed and staggered the DNC releases for maximum political impact. It had absolutely nothing to do with openness as clearly working for Russia against the United States in this last election worked against the objective of a more open world. This is not even a political statement but just acknowledging reality to state that supporting authoritative regimes is serving the interests of those who stand in direct opposition to the stated goals of WL.

I'm guessing that WL had integrity at one time but they were compromised and then captured. Their priorities alone make this completely obvious to anyone not in denial.

It's weak to take a hard position claiming something is true that is obviously not true. To those who employ this tactic, I respectfully request that you stop leaning on the crutch of reality denial to defend your positions. Please defend your positions on the merits, while acknowledging its weaknesses, even acknowledging that you're wrong when you are wrong. If you've never openly admitted that you were wrong on something in the course of a discussion then why bother?

Well, consider the Panama Papers. John Doe leaked stuff to Bastian Obermayer, not Wikileaks. Would Wikileaks have released more or less from the Panama Papers than we've seen? That's impossible to say.

I'm not disagreeing with you, I just don't see the connection with what I was saying?

WL publically criticized the decision to not release all of the Panama Paper's details so based on that, I think they would have released more of the information.

My point is just that perhaps Wikileaks has released less about Russia because less has been leaked to them about Russia. I mentioned the Panama Papers because there's a lot about Putin etc there. Also, if someone had provided stuff about Russia to Wikileaks, and they sat on it, why wouldn't the leaker use some other channel? They'd have another thing to leak about.

I somehow missed the bit about the Panama Papers having a lot about Putin in there. That makes me question my original assertion that WL would have released more. As you said, it's impossible to know.

Let history be our guide. Has WL released anything substantially damaging to Russia?

Are things about how rich and corrupt Putin is considered damaging and would Russian State media give it any play regardless? It'd play big internationally but in Russia I wonder if the public would even hear about it...

I'd accept this as plausible if it were merely "less" and if it weren't combined with at least the appearance of collusion with Russia. The DNC timing and staggering of the releases were so obviously political and not about openness.

By the way, are there people here who downvote things just because they disagree? I had a comment downvoted to -1. It's the one that you replied to originally above. What's wrong with my comment other than a lot of people think I'm wrong?

Hey, I upvoted your comment because it furthered discussion :)

Russia has been cultivating opposition to US hegemony since the falling out after WWII. Back in the day, it was leftists. But since the 80s, they've focused more on libertarians, anarcho-capitalists, conspiracy theorists, etc. Look at RT, for example, and who its fans are. So yes, Assange and associates roughed out Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet (2012) on his RT show, "World Tomorrow". The goal is "independence from the security guards of the world". For better or worse, that's pretty much the US.

Bottom line, I think that it's an enemy of my enemy relationship. I can't imagine that he'd deny that Russia is a kleptocratic horrorshow. Also, he clearly has a personal grudge against Ms. Clinton.

Thanks. Good points, all. I've not heard this theory before but it makes sense. I'd say that's exactly how Assange views the situation.

But the fact we are even discussing Assange's psychological makeup and his "views" and who he hates and who he's aligned with against a common enemy are enough to disqualify him for the position he and his organization have claimed.

He's not and WL is not a neutral arbiter of openness, he's an anti-U.S. propaganda tool.

If freedom from the world's security guards means the rise of the world's petty thugs, then I'd say he's made a deal with the devil.

I've not read the above document but is it accepted that it's the real deal? Given that and the massive amount of evidence, WL is not neutral and is not about openness why do people still cling to this absurd position? I liken it to those who still claim the earth is flat because it looks flat from from here so it must be flat.

Probably the core cypherpunk value is the right to privacy. That might seem funny, given Wikileaks. But there's the argument that right to privacy is inversely proportional to power. So governments should have no privacy.

But anyway, do read the book. You might also enjoy Of Captain Mission by Daniel Defoe.[0,1] It's rather the grandfather of laissez faire.

0) http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/gutbook/lookup?n...

1) http://www.fullbooks.com/Of-Captain-Mission.html

One more thing, do you have any thoughts on whether the latest WL had anything really new in it? My personal reaction was tell us something we don't know.

But it could well be that the devil is in the details.

I haven't looked at it very carefully. As I understand it, it's a leak about a leak. That is, a bunch of CIA stuff got leaked to some hacker community, and then one of them leaked parts to Wikileaks. So the real leak is arguably far worse than we'll ever know. It'll mostly show up as criminal exploits :(

I had the same reaction. (1) they are a spy agency and (2) we had Snowden.

People who reacted incredulously to it online just reveal themselves to be uninformed, or politically motivated, in my opinion.

At this point, I feel our intelligence agencies were founded to counter moves by major foreign powers. And every day Russia is allying itself more with the Republican party.

It's a classic divide and conquer strategy spread out over a hundred years. First, attack from the left w/communism. Then, the right with fascism.

I have to feel intelligence agencies are the free public's allies at this point, and now I see why Obama and Clinton were so fearful of encryption. I'm not sure whether Clinton's idea of a Manhattan-style project on breaking encryption was right or not. My initial reaction was no way. I wonder what that would look like. Quantum computers?

Now, it appears bad actors have leapt to the top of government and the DOJ seems to be sluggish in building a case against them. Perhaps they can't gather evidence as quickly due to encrypted chat apps and hidden money transfers like Bitcoin.

Jesus, he also has an RT show? I somehow didn't catch that but read it as a document, not a show. He's so possessed by his ideology he can't think clearly. He's yet to learn that ALL ideologies are bullshit even his.

I guess I will go look on youtube but I'm pretty sure it's cringeworthy to watch this jackass on RT.

He had a talk show on RT in 2012.

It's US pretends to be the world police and not the Russia.

Imagine instead of murder the information was less extreme, like that you know that I once got a DUI 10 years ago, while your friend committed murder last year and is now being blackmailed for that fact. If both the friend and I are up to become CEO of some company, you might see how leaking only one set of information is distortive.

Should you not be punished for the DUI though? That is my original question.

You're referring to isolated incidents, which is an invalid comparison.

Instead, if you have information that I have a pattern of murdering lots of women, and my friend has a pattern of murdering lots of men, and you choose to release information about me and not my friend, it immediately suggests that you support killing men but not women.

I don't deny that it may show a bias, but as long as the information about the murders that I release is true why shouldn't it be acted upon?

Further if the Huffington Post (or name a left learning publication if you believe they are not) does an article on Trump and the facts they release are verified should we not act on them due to the lack of a similar article in regards to Obama?

I think it's possible to state truths and still be misleading and/or distracting from another narrative.

Indeed. The canonical example of this is releasing privately-commissioned polls. The data released can be a perfectly true reflection of the poll done, but if you are only choosing to release the polls that tell the story you want to tell, then the result is still going to be biased.

Assange outlined his goals [1] a while ago in regards to exposing secrets, and I think Wikileaks is staying in line with those rather well. It essentially states that they'll leak whatever they receive, and try to enforce a kind of 'secrecy tax' on governments/parties/organizations that refuse to be transparent via forcing them into less effective means of communication and overall less use of technology.

Additionally, this may be subjective, but Assange's story and personality makes him seem quite steadfast in these beliefs.

[1] http://cryptome.org/0002/ja-conspiracies.pdf

Why are leaks from the Russian Federation so conspicuously absent? When it comes down to it, WL is a public relations and marketing agency for leakers who want the media to notice their handiwork.

If you leaked something (document dump style) today there's a fair chance nobody would pay any attention to your claim to have this or that trove of documents so you'd need an agent. Who are you gonna call?

I find it impossible to believe there are never any significant leaks from the Russian Federation. I think the problem is the dominant PR agency in that space won't work with you if you're doing anything that might harm Russian interests.


I think you actually meant "Why are there no significant, recent leaks that have not been reported by anyone else about Russia"? There's plenty of innocuous explanations:

- the media is currently on an anti-Russian frenzy. Why would you leak to Wikileaks, which has a much smaller reach than say, the NYT?

- Assange has been painted as a Russian shill. Why would you leak to Wikileaks if you are afraid he might suppress that information or share it with Russia?

- Wikileaks has no political leverage. Why would you leak documents to Wikileaks instead of US intelligence agencies, which may/could offer some kind of protection vs Russian reprisal?

(By the way, browsing a few other countries, it seems like most of the indexed stuff is from 2008-, so Russia isn't an outlier in this regard. It seems like their recent leaks have significantly slowed down in number, which isn't surprising).

I thought about this a bit and if it's true that Russian leakers only leak to intelligence agencies because the main PR agency for leakers is viewed as pro-Russian, then WL should recuse itself from this business. They're doing way more harm than good by inadvertently suppressing would be Russian leakers.

With regard to the item above about the NYT you realize that WL has always used the media just like a PR agency would, right?

Your first choice isn't to release to the NYT because the NYT gets god knows how many claims each day and they'd ignore you not to mention that curating the documents and preparing for a an actual story is harder than it looks. The press wants information packaged and ready to use. They'd prefer not to devote resources to vetting, sorting, and curating, as that's what WL does for them. By the time something gets to the NYT it is ready to emerge as a headline.

Reporters operate on deadlines. If you send them a quote ready press release that writes their story for them they're going to take notice if they happen to read your email. If you mail them or email them a document dump they're going to ignore it if they notice it at all. These are extremely busy people on tight deadlines under tremendous pressure.

They'll return phone calls from WL. From you or me? Not likely.

Your explanation sounds reasonable, but I think there's examples that contradict it. I can immediately think of CNN publishing leaks about Trump and his briefings with intelligence agencies, these leaks didn't have any time for vetting and it's unlikely they went through an intermediary.

Here's a rather famous leak that the WaPo published about Trump and Russia - https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/obama...

Here's an example of the NYT publishing leaks that were sent directly to them about Trump - https://www.nytimes.com/2016/10/02/us/politics/donald-trump-...

Here's an example of a NYT journalist asking for leaks to be sent directly to them, concerning Trump - https://twitter.com/NickKristof/status/838554838329872384

I would agree that it's not clear whether the anti-Russian frenzy is Trump-related, so purely Russian-related leaks might not be getting the same attention. However, I don't think it's fair to say that leakers get ignored by the NYT et al.

Keep in mind we are not talking about just leaks we are talking about massive document dumps of classified material.

If you're an official who knows a couple reporters and you've delivered the goods before, you can successfully get your leak in the top headlines. You've got the credibility and the contacts to make it happen. Reporters treat you like the Oracle of Delphi and you never have to pay for your drinks.

Maybe there should be two different terms because these aren't really the same species. I'd say the day-to-day leaks are just that.

But what Snowden did had more in common with a waterfall then it did with a leaky pipe.

These are possible explanations.

But your claim is based on your faith that you "find it impossible to believe...".

They did say they've changed to a computer-free environment after the Snowden leaks. Or maybe Russian would-be leakers know the stakes are higher for them than for American leakers, because they can get tea with a portion of Polonium.

I acknowledge I have no hard evidence to point to back up my claim. It comes down to an intuitive feeling that WL's been compromised somehow by the Russians. I think the reason for this feeling is based on the actions of WL all of which have alternative explanations but taken as a whole defy what I think are reasonable expectations about how a neutral organization like WL would conduct itself.

Whether or not you were a Clinton supporter or not, it was pretty shady to time and stagger the DNC releases for maximum political damage. That's simply not how a neutral arbiter of openness would conduct itself. I think that on its own is enough to refute any claims that WL is neutral or that their mission is about openness.

Possibly but the consequences of leaking secret (classified) information is pretty bad in both the U.S. and Russia.

I think having to flee to Russia with no option to leave that country for the rest of your life to suck pretty bad. Snowden says he'd gladly come home to face trial provided he's offered a fair trial. So he'd risk it all for a fair trial but U.S. officials won't give him one.

Strongly concur.

Ask any military officer who is a ring knocker; telling a 100% truthful narrative in such a manner as to provide a false narrative is still grounds for breaking the spirit of the honor code, and thus grounds for disenrollment.

Reminds me of working with someone who was a devout Christian. They'd never tell a lie, but were more than happy to give you just enough of the truth to let you walk away with an understanding that was completely the opposite of what had happened. After seeing this a couple times, I realized that there was a material difference between always telling the truth, and actually being honest.

Ring knocker?

Academy graduate.

can concur, the honour code definitely cares more about intent than truthfulness

Intent matters. That's why the law will put you in prison for fewer years for texting and killing someone with your car than if you planned out the murder.

> For the purpose of devil's advocate in this, I think it's possible to state truths and still be misleading and/or distracting from another narrative.

I think while that's correct, we shouldn't let it distract our attention to the fact that transparency in government/democracy is good for the people, especially the working class.

Whether something is true or not is a separate question from whether they are neutral or not. Whoever twisted a discussion of bias into a binary question of truth vs. lies, muddled the question to the point where clear thinking about it would be impossible. Bias and truth are separate issues. You can be a lying bastard who lies to harm a specific person or entity and you can be a strict adherent to truth with the exact same motives.

Yes, exactly: there is no inherent conflict or contradiction in pushing truth (and especially only parts of it, manipulating by omission or redaction) and having an agenda. There are many ways in which you can manipulate e.g. public perceptions and policy with publishing the "right" truths at the right time.

Though, I am not of the opinion that WikiLeaks has a hidden agenda or is controlled by a third party. But, neither would I be shocked to learn such a thing.

God, I wish HN had a more convenient downvote button.

Then you should change to reddit. The spirit of Hacker News encourages you to argue not to blindly downvote everyone that doesn't have the same opinion.

It becomes available after sufficient karma is gained. It took me just over 6 months.

"In fact, the Devil's Advocate may be the biggest innovation killer in America today. "[1]

[1] Tom Kelley, co-founder of Ideo as in '10 Faces of Innovation'

Perhaps I'm confused, but this seems like a non-sequitur. We're not discussing innovation.

I think the point being made is that the devil's advocate brought out the norm to mobilise for every contingency (not that innovation won't suffer, which is obvious as misstrust rises) and that it can be used to rhetorically balance two points of view that are not equal (or two questionable actions).

In general: Ownership of information and facts are key points in the overall discussion here, if something is known it can be manipulated (just as they discuss above). Defensive patenting could be achieved, or releasing news of something to knock away at funding for its continuation...

One example how it could be relevant in particular to the general discussion is how the software and partially hardware has been kept by CIA to formally avoid reprecussions from good honest people.

I am not always able to fully elucidate my meaning. I never post without a point.

We also know that Mr. Assange did lie about something in the past, his repeated claims that John Podesta's gmail password was 'password':


From your link:

"a staffer tells Podesta that his Windows 8 login on what appears to be a new work computer is username: jpodesta and password: p@ssw0rd."

A windows 8 password is not a gmail password.

PolitiFact: "completely unbiased" goalpost mover. His password was an iteration of 'password' - e.g. no real difference.

Um, his win8 login password being a variation of password at some point doesn't automatically imply that his gmail password was "password".

I thought it was widely accepted that Podesta was the victim of a spearphishing attack (coupled with bad advice from IT), rather than just "hacked" via password-guessing.

A few points:

* Yes, lots of evidence says that Podesta did give his password to a hacker the spear phishing email you mention. The email dump cuts off soon after this event, the phishing bit.ly link was visited then according to the stats page, and we can see the phishing email here: https://wikileaks.org/podesta-emails/emailid/34899

* This appears to be a quote of someone speaking, I think it's pretty reasonable not to pronounce the @. All common variations on password are equally vulnerable to password guessing programs. There's a rule to use l33t speak in JTR and many other common programs.

* You can make a GMail account with the password p@ssword, something else they don't mention, choosing instead to go with a literal interpretation.

* It doesn't seem to mention that he also lost his phone in a DC cab, which is another possible source of leaks.

* They never appear consider whether or not the person who gave the emails to Wikileaks told them Podesta's password, they just say there's no evidence for them to verify, other than Gmail rejecting a password of 'password' (but not p@ssword), after which they rate that claim as false.

I don't disagree with any of those points. I simply disagree with the leap to the conclusion by several posters that because Podesta used "p@ssw0rd" in one place (based on the context, I'd guess that was presumably the initial password as set by some staffer), he definitely reused that same password for a different account.

I will also agree that the Politifact article's conclusion is hasty, and their selection of evidence is questionable at points (such as gmail account creation).

I think that's a fair assessment.

> His password was an iteration of 'password'

What the email indicated was that someone temporarily set a Windows 8 password to a variant of password.

What the email did not indicate that his gmail account itself used a variant of password as the password. It is disingenuous to conflate the two and claim his email password was password as Assange did in numerous interviews.

His Gmail password was probably runner4567, at least his icloud password was and he emailed it. Also not changed when that email leaked.

Just stop with the nonsense that his email password was "p@ssword", as the truth is just as stupid.


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