The Air Force has banned access from its computers to the websites of The New York Times and more than two dozen other press organizations that have posted classified documents provided by WikiLeaks.
“We’re looking out for the safeguarding of our systems,” said Lt. Col Jack Miller, an Air Force spokesman at the Pentagon.
Safeguarding your systems from what? Your “systems” are inanimate objects, and I fail to see how they are threatened in any manner by being able to access a newspaper web site.
The entire websites of major international newspapers, including London’s The Guardian and Germany’s Der Spiegel, fall under the ban. But, Miller said, the Air Force is only blocking websites that have posted full classified documents, not news sites that only report about WikiLeaks or include excerpts in their stories.
Miller gave two reasons for the ban — to control access to classified information, and to protect Air Force networks.
1) Once classified information has been publicly disseminated, it is, de facto, no longer “classified”. 2) Again, what are your protecting inanimate object from? How does access to a web site that contains no malware, and is not controlled by a hostile country pose a threat, of any kind, to the physical integrity, or security of your computers/networks
What you are really trying to do here is stuff the genie back in the bottle, and prevent PEOPLE, specifically AMERICAN CITIZENS (airmen and civilians) from reading about how the government is lying its ass off.
Folks, contrary to what you read in the corporate press, nothing revealed so far has hurt ANYONE. What these leaked cables have done is strip away the facade of legitimacy the government operates under. No one has published ICBM launch code, blown the cover of a CIA agent (well, except for Karl Rove and Dick Cheney), or revealed plans of how to build a nuke.So, what has Wikileaks revealed?
• The U.S. Army hid prisoners from the International Red Cross while claiming they didn’t.
• A British Ministry of Defense document on how to prevent documents from being leaked (somebody has a sense of humor).
• That British newspapers were under secret gag orders which prevented them from reporting on statements made on the record in Parlament or and that those secret gag orders even existed. In essence, a private corporation was preventing the press and the British government from publicly discussing its criminal activity in the Ivory Coast.
• That a multinational oil commodity trader operating in Britain had illegally dumped toxic waste along the Ivory Coast.
• That Google is happy to hand over the IP addresses of journalists to foreign property developers involved in the bribery of public officials in the Turks & Caicos Islands.
• That Guantanamo is still a concentration camp and still violates national and international law in its treatment of prisoners. Most of these prisoners are still held without charge, in DIRECT violation of the U.S. Constitution and the most basic tenants of human decency.
• That the U.S. military continues to use monstrous weapons like napalm.
• That the Australian government had established a black list of web sites that it was using to “protect” Australian citizens from being exposed to things like Satanism, Christianity, and school cafeteria consultants.
• That the U.S. government is spying on U.N. leaders
• That the Bush/Obama administration pressured the Spanish government to drop murder investigations into the actions of U.S. soldiers.
• That that the U.S. Army is operating alongside Pakistani troops, inside Pakistan with the approval of the Pakistani government. I am sure that working alongside soldiers who routinely murder and torture people will not cause the U.S. any grief in the future.
• That the Pakistani government is diverting hundred of millions of dollars in U.S. “anti-terrorism” aid to other purposes, probably into the pockets of government officials.
• That the American mercenary corporation Blackwater seem to believe itself above all law, not just American law.
• That the U.S. and British governments colluded to get around Britain’s ban on cluster bombs.
• That the U.S. hand-picked leader of Afghanistan is corrupt and crazy.
• That Italian PM Berlusconi is corrupt. (Apparently, years old common knowledge is cutting edge, “Confidential” intelligence to U.S. diplomats).
• That another American mercenary corporation, DynCorp, was involved in drugs and child prostitution. (And don’t let the euphemism “dancing boys” lead you astray, this is all about raping children).
• That the U.S. government has started acting like a credit card company and charging junk fees to its allies for handling money donated to Afghanistan.
• That the U.S. government’s utterly failed “war on drugs” has reached a point that the Mexican government fears it will lose control of parts of the nation to drug cartels.
• That our European allies halted U.S. programs to monitor European bank transactions when they began to suspect that the U.S. was using the information for economic and industrial espionage, rather than anti-terrorism efforts. The U.S. has since managed to pressure the E.U. into restarting the program.
• That Shell Oil is running its own spy agency and has completely infiltrated the Nigerian government at every level. The U.S. government knows this and does not object.
• That the U.S. government has asked Uganda to consult with the U.S. government prior to committing war crimes using U.S. provided intelligence. Apparently, war crimes are OK, if you ask permission.
• That the Obama administration is a lobbyist for Visa and MasterCard .
• That the U.S. government threatened Germany in order to prevent extradition demands for CIA agents who illegally kidnapped an innocent German national, imprisoned, raped and tortured him, then dumped him in Albania when the they finally figured out the man was innocent.
• That drug company Phizer hired “investigators” to dig up blackmail evidence on the Nigerian Attorney General, in order to derail a criminal and civil investigation into the company’s use of Nigerian children in a drug trial without proper informed consent. (Perhaps Phizer could have saved itself a lot of trouble if it had contacted the Shell CIA).
• That Pope Ratzinger was personally pushing to keep Turkey out of the European Union because it was a Muslim country.
• That Pope Ratzinger was outraged that the Irish government dared investigate the Catholic Church for sexual abuse of children and for placing the well-being of children above “Vatican sovereignty” .
As you can see, these leaks paint a nasty picture of government corruption, hypocrisy and the increasing power of corporations in ruling the planet. This reason, and this reason alone is why every effort is being made to shut Wikileaks down.
On another note, a big controversy is brewing over the allegations of rape against Mr. Assange. Now what is interesting is that I have heard commentators make all sorts of assertions about the charges. I have heard, twice now, that Assange is wanted for having sex with a minor, yet I can find no source for this charge. According to The Guardian, Assange has NOT been charged with any crime, but is wanted for questioning due to the following allegations:
The first complainant, a Miss A, said she was the victim of “unlawful coercion” on the night of 14 August in Stockholm. The court heard Assange was alleged to have “forcefully” held her arms and used his bodyweight to hold her down. The second charge alleged he “sexually molested” her by having sex without using a condom, when it was her “express wish” that one should be used.
A third charge claimed Assange “deliberately molested” Miss A on 18 August.
A fourth charge, relating to a Miss W, alleged that on 17 August, he “improperly exploited” the fact she was asleep to have sex with her without a condom.
I have also heard numerous aspersions cast upon the character and reputation of the women making the accusation.
So, what is the truth?
We don’t know. It is easy for me to say that the charges smell of an orchestrated attempt to smear Assange, but he could, in fact, be guilty of these crimes. I simply find it hard to believe that Swedish and British governments would be making this kind of effort if the person was NOT a man who had seriously humiliated the United States by his actions.
If these charges are valid, then Mr. Assange should be tried by a jury of his peers and his guilt determined. If he is found guilty, he should be punished as any other criminal. It is wrong to dismiss the women involved out of hand as “tools”, and wrong to smear them without trial.
But, I would point out that even if Mr. Assange is found guilty and sent to prison, that in no way invalidates what he has done in exposing government corruption, hypocrisy, and abuse.