Monday, December 6, 2010

More Wikileaks Thoughts

In competitive paintball games, there is a strategy called 'Designated Idiot'.  One player is assigned to make a lot of noise, to yell insults at other teams and the referee, to be flamboyantly obnoxious and draw attention to himself.  This distracts the referee and opponents, allowing the teammates to surreptitiously cheat their way to victory.

Assange is the Designated Idiot for Wikileaks.  I do not know if the strategy is deliberate or accidental, but it is working beautifully.  Attention is focused on one person, while the rest of the team continues to operate silently to build up the infrastructure and connections that allow Wikileaks to be so successful.

The best thing that could happen for the organization now is for Assange to be martyred.  If he is killed or injured in a suspicious way, a lot of people will start to see him as a hero and work to further his goals.  The people calling for him to be killed are idiots.  They show a complete lack of perspective, a contempt for the rule of law, and zero sense of strategic thinking.

The actual spooks are cleverer; they are aiming for character assassination.  A rape charge is the best way to destroy a reputation in today's world.  I am not dismissing the possibility that Assange actually committed a crime, but the timing of the warrant is quite suspicious.

WIkileaks has worked to prevent people from being hurt by this.  They have deleted several documents, and gone over them internally to try to avoid releasing anything harmful.  They also sent a letter to the State Department offering to hold back specific documents upon request.  The government did not point to any specific document that might be harmful.

This information is almost certainly available to foreign intelligence services already.  The database that the information came from can be accessed by over three million people.  Several dozen of these people are probably compromised by various foreign governments, and feeding them information.  If Manning had sold the files he downloaded to the Soviets or Chinese, nobody would have ever known about it, and the Army has plenty of people like him.

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