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Guardian: New Heights of Buffoonery

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LONDON (Rixstep) — It's not particularly amusing watching the buffoons of the Guardian scramble for cover as their inexcusable actions in #Grauniadgate are exposed. Innocent people have come into harm's way. And if WikiLeaks hadn't unleashed every remaining cable 'as is' with all their names still intact, they wouldn't have had a chance: the TLAs they fear the most have had their names for weeks if not months. Thanks to these new heights of buffoonery at the Guardian.

It must have been painful for the team at WikiLeaks to watch the story unfold - to stick to their highly moral 'harm minimisation' even as David Leigh, his editor and brother in law Alan Rusbridger, and all the people at the Guardian and Guardian Books did their very best to expose innocents, all in the name of a Luke Harding-penned 'quick cash' (it was written in a mere three weeks) book of sleaze (David Leigh once had a book called just that) ripe with fairy tales (check the first story - it's so factually inaccurate it's not funny) and hyperbole.

WikiLeaks are trying to end conflicts and expose injustices. The vermin of the Guardian are, as always, just trying to make a shilling. Or two or three or ten million.

New Scientist have an article on the subject with a mostly accurate summary and assessment. They interviewed Assange and got the big picture - including an insight into the buffoonery of the Guardian.

'That full-text publication became possible when WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's war on secrecy was published in February. The book revealed the decryption key for a computer file containing all the US state department cables leaked to WikiLeaks. The Guardian team say they believed the key had expired - but it had not.'

What utter buffoonery. What shameless scurrying. PGP encryption keys do not expire!

But let's take a step back from that claim for a moment to grasp what's really going on.

  1. PGP keys don't expire. No encryption keys do. End of story.
  2. The Guardian buffoons claim they didn't know this. They don't know jack shit about cryptography or IT.
  3. What do do intelligent people do if they don't know? They ask.

Over 250,000 cables with some of the most sensitive information leaked in history - and they didn't ask? They weren't more careful with the data? They're just buffoons?

The rather detestable and hypocritical crew at the Guardian didn't ask about anything - and they broke the security requirements of their 'memorandum of understanding' left and right. The one Alan Rusbridger had signed and sent to Julian Assange. They laughed at it!

Not view the files on a computer connected to the Internet? Oh how silly! Not share the data with anyone else like David Leigh's friends at the New York Times? Oh bollocks! We're in the news business! We do what we like!

One only has to harken back to the 1990s and the tidal wave 'cash for questions' scandal in the UK to see what David Leigh and Alan Rusbridger are really like. Ethics won't ever rate high on the lists of either. And the recent wave of recruits - James Ball and Heather Brooke to name but two of the worst - are more proof of the lack of ethics there: both Ball and Brooke were required to pay an 'entrance fee' to be hired on - valuable data pilfered from WikiLeaks in both cases.

'We entrusted all 251,000 cables to the Guardian so they could read them and do their journalism on them. Our security arrangement was perfect, assuming the password was not disclosed', Assange told New Scientist.

Assuming, in other words, the journalists at the Guardian could be trusted. Something Assange found out more about already 1 November 2010 when it was discovered David Leigh was going to go behind Assange's back and sneak a copy of Cablegate to the New York Times.

It was Nick Davies who'd first contacted Julian Assange years earlier and tried to convince him to work with the Guardian - convince him the Guardian's journalists could be trusted. Davies must have put on quite a show.

'The publication of the [encryption key] and the [salt] in the Guardian's book has horrified not only WikiLeaks but security engineers in general', reads the New Scientist article. But even the article's author Paul Marks has a difficult time grasping the basic concepts: he calls the key a 'passphrase' which it is not. Passphrases, an evolution of passwords where space and other characters are finally introduced, are words/phrases that let someone pass.

Marks even goes on - buffoon himself - to speculate what would have happened if the 'passphrase' had expired. Even he doesn't get it, despite all the data being out there for everyone to read today.

'A race commenced between governments who need to be reformed and people who can reform them using the material', Assange told Marks. And that's putting it mildly.

'Additionally, for harm minimisation, there are people who need to know that they are mentioned in the material before intelligence agencies know they are mentioned - or at least as soon after as possible.' That's again putting it mildly: the 'bad' people already had the data, thanks to David Leigh and the Guardian. It was time to give the good guys a chance.

'By the time we published the cables, the material was already on dozens of websites, including Cryptome, and was being tweeted everywhere. And even a searchable public interface had been put up on one of them.'

But again: Assange and WikiLeaks saw this frightening scenario building up for months - and could do nothing about it.

They bided their time, planned for the inevitable 'critical mass' situation, and with ice cold nerves (shattered nerves) kept on doing their heroic work and watching the Internet intensely. Things were speeded up considerably of course when Berliner rat Daniel Domscheit-Berg and his wife and equal tried to compensate for their fiasco at the CCC summer camp by disclosing the information to a German rag.

Once 'critical mass' had been achieved - once the likelihood was tangible that agencies had found the data online - it was a rush to release what they had for the aforementioned reasons. And also because the 'WikiLeaks brand' is trusted. TLAs might corrupt the database in a disinformation campaign. The WikiLeaks copy becomes the stamp of authenticity and accuracy.

The 'fake cable' business is already underway, with false stories being published in Pakistan and Tajikistan.

'WikiLeaks is a way for journalists and the public to check whether a claimed story based on a cable is actually true. They can come to our site to check. We have a 100 per cent accuracy record', Assange told New Scientist.

Postscript: The Sleaze of David Leigh

#Grauniadgate isn't the first time David Leigh's shown his true side. Leigh was at the forefront of Britain's biggest scandal of the 1990s, something that's conveniently forgot in 2011. The 'cash for questions' controversy rocked the United Kingdom, all based on a brazen attempt by Leigh and brother in law Alan Rusbridger to cash in on hanky-panky in the House of Commons.

The Grauniad came with outlandish accusations, some of which were immediately proven to be fabricated, resulting in Alan Rusbridger quickly producing mysterious witnesses from abroad who could not be interrogated along with a trove of affidavits, one of which proved to as well be a fabrication.

Things erupted two years later when a Granada TV producer released a massive research document on the affair, exposing the Guardian's less than ethical tactics. David Leigh ambushed the press conference for the release, heckling throughout.

Leigh and the Guardian also tried to 'cash in' on the 'cash for questions' affair in a manner similar to what they did later with WikiLeaks, quickly publishing a book called Sleaze. Leigh turned it all into a shameless publicity stunt, decking out a van as the official 'Sleazemobile', printing up bespoke 'Sleaze' t-shirts for the occasion, and then motoring the 180 miles north of London to the home of Neil Hamilton, one of the MPs attacked in the book. Leigh and his Grauniad cohorts stood at Hamilton's house and gave away copies of the new Guardian Books publication for free.

See Also
New Scientist: Assange: Why WikiLeaks were right to release raw cables

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