Wikileaks volunteer detained

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113 Responses to “Wikileaks volunteer detained”

  1. Razzabeth says:

    Christ, what a bunch of assholes.

  2. spocko says:

    Copies of Little Brother for everyone on this thread!

  3. seanpatgallagher says:

    Bruce Schneier addresses exactly this situation in his 2009 essay: Laptop Security while Crossing Borders

    Companies and individuals have dealt with this problem in several ways, from keeping sensitive data off laptops traveling internationally, to storing the data — encrypted, of course — on websites and then downloading it at the destination. I have never liked either solution. I do a lot of work on the road, and need to carry all sorts of data with me all the time. It’s a lot of data, and downloading it can take a long time. Also, I like to work on long international flights.

    Schneier goes on to describe a rather complex process involving full disk encryption and trusted parties outside the country. His process won’t prevent Customs from detaining you.

    I think Appelbaum’s solution is much more practical. You can’t compel someone to decrypt a file that you don’t have.

    -S

  4. bardfinn says:

    The fact that the investigators intended to image his storage — despite the fact that it would almost certainly be encrypted with strong encryption — tells me that someone somewhere has a couple of trailers / warehouses full of information appliances dedicated to brute-force cracking readily available encryption schemes, and that they’re willing to apply a very large amount of resources towards acquiring evidence against anyone involved in leaking those war diaries.

    Or they want us to think they can crack strong encryption.

    Or they thought he might have Windows on the machine.

    • spocko says:

      You are thinking about my friends at the NSA.
      You know all those Ph.Ds who used to work on cracking Russian codes before the cold war? They had some time on their hands and of course Americans can be enemies too so that is what they are doing. But the one thing that might work in our favor is the problem of silos.

      The NSA doesn’t always work with the FBI and or the TSA. They don’t have the same resources. The FBI, for example, used to have terrible computer search capability internally. They won’t tell that to the public, but it was terrible (this was in 1998)

      TSA have proven their lack of skill in this area too. However if the Army gets it and they asks the NSA to do this because of “national security” well then it’s a different story.

      Nothing is uncrackable with enough social engineering, hardware and math/computer wises.

      How do I know? I’d tell you but then they would kill me. (just kidding, I won’t tell you.

      • Anonymous says:

        Spocko, you’re hallucinating.

        Unless the US government has found a way to do an end-run around the laws of physics, then they are up against the Von Neumann-Landauer Limit. They might be able to afford 30gW for a full year to traverse the 128-bit keyspace, but that just does the ‘flipping’ with no decrypt effort. And nobody without a severe learning disability uses anything less than 2048-bit these days.

        Even if they recruited every silicon atom on the planet (and each of those atoms was a computer capable of a GFlop) it would take them about five million quintillion years.

        And then they would have to get into the next layer.

        So my encrypted photos of my own ass are safe…

        Cheerio

        GT

        Oh… PS. in case you’re wondering how the vN-L limit changes with the advent of quantum computing: well, it sort of doesn’t. Not in any way that makes a dime’s worth of difference. You might shave a couple of quintillion years off the solution time, but you’re not going to get your results in time to prosecute the guy’s descendants before the sun goes supernova.

        But then again, Stan threw Yahtzee twice in a row when the chips were down.

      • querent says:

        “Nothing is uncrackable with enough social engineering, hardware and math/computer wises.”

        you, my friend, are wrong. unless you’re a better mathematician than I….

      • Anonymous says:

        Good thing that all the government technology comes from no-bid contracts to croneys. That means they’re LIGHT YEARS behind the competition!

    • Anonymous says:

      Or they’re willing to gamble on the chance that he used a weak password.

      Cops know that sometimes they get lucky, and that by hoovering up data, their chances increase.

  5. D2S says:

    I’m surprised they didn’t just shoot him.. it’s not like the sheeple will uprise out of their reality show/social network slumber or anything…

  6. EH says:

    Hah, this Wikileaks business is getting good indeed. I can’t wait to see how it blows up.

  7. onlinetv says:

    he hard drive would have been a bonus, but I suspect they are after new leads (his social network), which they were able to obtain by imaging his mobile phones.

    The next step in security is to keep all the firmware and memory of your mobile devices stored on a encrypted private remote network.

  8. dredeyedick says:

    I asked the White House Press Office on Thursday afternoon and again Friday if it was a higher priority for the Obama administration to capture Bin Laden, or to detain and “question” Mr. Assange.

    Still No Answer.

    On Friday, I also asked if it was true, as Assange contend, that the White House “declined” to assist the New York Times, The Guardian, and Der Spiegel go through the documents to perform “Harm Minimisation.”

    Still No Answer.

    Here’s my post about it: http://bit.ly/cJ9iDo

    - Dave Manchester

  9. Anonymous says:

    I would put the laptop on Ebay. Who knows WTF they did to it.

  10. asuffield says:

    Well that was stupid. Blatant harassment that entirely fails to make progress on any legitimate investigation. All that the US government got out of this was some bad press.

    Clearly a knee-jerk reaction.

  11. orwellian says:

    I might be wrong but while the leaking of things might be illegal, the dissemination of the information itself isn’t. The person that leaked the Afghan stuff will probably go to prison but the Wikileaks people didn’t break US laws as far as I know. I imagine the ‘oh, this is a random search, we just happened to have FBI agents here and something to copy your hard drive’ thing would be illegal or questionable enough to make it hard to get anything they obtain from the phones put into evidence at a trial.

    As a conservative, I remember when we used to respect people’s right to disagree with one another. Wikileaks, while making me angry at times, should be protected by free speech. There’s no law against privacy and if it can be stretched to allow partial-birth abortion, it should be able to cover a damn cell phone (Keep your laws off my mobile!). Still think Julian Assange should cut his damn hair, though, he looks like David Spade.

    • asuffield says:

      I might be wrong but while the leaking of things might be illegal, the dissemination of the information itself isn’t. The person that leaked the Afghan stuff will probably go to prison but the Wikileaks people didn’t break US laws as far as I know.

      Specifically, since Wikileaks is in Europe, they are not subject to any US laws directly, and extradition is generally not permitted for political crimes.

      Espionage of any form is not a crime in the normal sense – it can’t usually be pursued across national borders. The country whose secrets get out can only complain loudly via diplomatic channels, where the other nations will stand around and quietly snigger.

      One judge’s ruling in a similar extradition hearing earlier this year: Poland cannot extradite [him] on espionage charges because espionage against Germany is not a punishable crime in Poland.

      • orwellian says:

        I’m going from memory here, but Wikileak’s done at least some of its work in Iceland (read a long article once about the ‘Collateral Murder’ post) and I _think_ they passed a law to protect those doing what Wikileak does. Julian Assange moves from country to country frequently, enough that it would be very hard to prove that he was in a certain country at a certain date to work on a certain file. He’s also not the only one working on all this, so there’s enough uncertainty to make indicting anyone other than the leaker impossible.

        It’s fascinating to watch this. Other than releasing the names of some Afghans that were working for us (which means they and their families are in danger, not cool), it’s mostly information that shouldn’t be classified and things we pretty much already knew. In my book, large secretive government with ever-expanding power=bad. I don’t know how you can classify the fact that we don’t know what the hell we are doing there and have no idea how to win or even what winning would look like. Pro-America corrupt plutocracy? Representative government with Islamic law and Taliban elements? A Western-style democracy in what is, other than imported weaponry, essentially a stone-age tribal area? A stone-age tribal area with Pakistan keeping down the Taliban? Maybe now we can have that conversation.

  12. haileris says:

    I hope he’s not stupid and he gets rid of that equipment. They probably installed hardware keyloggers/audiologgers on that stuff.

    While they ostensibly were doing this to get a data dump, if that’s not possible, I wouldn’t be surprised of they installed a logger while they’re asking him questions.

    If he was really clever, he’d have weighed his laptop before leaving on his trip using a scientific scale and have conclusive proof of some shenanigans.

  13. TEKNA2007 says:

    Appelbaum declined to comment without a lawyer present

    Ding-ding-ding, correct answer, you get to play again. Good on ya, mate.

    included a U.S. Army investigator

    I wonder where he came from. Was he permanently stationed at Newark? Had he been pre-positioned to take part in Mr. Appelbaum’s “random screening”?

    I would put the laptop on Ebay. Who knows WTF they did to it.

    You got that right. I’m also half-surprised the investigators don’t offer replacement phones to use during the period while the others are seized — you know, to avoid inconveniencing anyone — although fortunately Mr. Appelbaum would be smart enough to decline.

  14. Anonymous says:

    “Still think Julian Assange should cut his damn hair, though, he looks like David Spade.”

    Because hair is what we should be worried about.

    Yeah, blood on his hands my butt. Let’s talk about all the blood on the Govt. hands in a quest for greed, power, oil, gas. This is a war of economic gain, not freedom for the poor Afghanie people. Get over it. Wiki leaks is doing the right thing because the govt. is not. No one is in danger, no one is going to get hurt, AND IF THEY DO OH WELL ITS WAR, STUPID.

  15. Anonymous says:

    >Or they want us to think they can crack strong encryption.

    Or, maybe they have physical access and can install any number or manner of trojan to capture the keys or data once decrypted.

    • bardfinn says:

      “Or, maybe they have physical access and can install any number or manner of trojan to capture the keys or data once decrypted.”

      True. However, have you ever viewed the source code for your silicon? Inspected the etch masks? A relatively small number of people on this planet are fully aware of what, precisely, a particular piece of silicon logic is capable of doing. There might already be a keylogger / trojan buried in the ethernet controller for all we know.

  16. ncm says:

    I don’t know why everybody insists on using this word “detained” when what the person really experienced is “harassed”.

    “Wikileaks volunteer harassed by INS, Army”

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      That’s a silly thing to say.

      “Harassed,” but not “detained”?

      Okay, 4chan delivering dozens of hate-pizzas to your house, or me prank-phone-calling you while impersonating the Double Rainbow guy’s voice? That is harassment.

      According to the Boing Boing post (and the CNET story), Appelbaum was held by the ICE agent(s) and Army investigator in an interview/interrogation room at the airport for hours, refused the right to make a phone call, refused access to his attorney, and not permitted to leave.

      Fits the definition of “to be detained.”

      • ncm says:

        You miss the point. “Detained” is an empty statement; you’re detained on board every airliner you fly on. They didn’t expect to get any useful information from him. They have no legal basis to punish him for what they are sure he did. But they have the power to harass him by locking him up for hours and stealing or sabotaging his expensive equipment, and that serves in its place.

        • Avram / Moderator says:

          Jeez, ncm, the Boingers can’t win! When they use loaded language, people complain that they aren’t being objective enough. When they use neutral language, people complain that they aren’t taking a hard enough stand.

    • dculberson says:

      So, if someone is told by the government that they are being detained, they aren’t actually being detained, because someone on the ‘net claims they aren’t, without giving any actual reasons for that claim? Right. Gonna have to stick with Rob’s interpretation of the situation, sorry.

  17. jabo27 says:

    How long before he or someone like him ends up in Guantanamo? Isn’t he an enemy combatant or something.

  18. Anonymous says:

    If Mr. Appelbaum is a criminal then these are indeed Orwellian times.

  19. coaxial says:

    So the anonymous source is Applebaum himself, right? The only other people privy to what happened in the room are the TSA and FBI folks, and their not going to be talking to some website that just conducted an interview with the target, nor do they have any motivation to try and make the government look heavy handed.

    You’re not anonymous Jacob.

    To mix my metaphor and quote someone about a friend of mine, “The light is on. The door is open, and we’re all standing around looking in. Just come on out.”

    • Anonymous says:

      While the original source probably is him, that doesn’t mean he is the source for the article. Most likely he told the story to some people close to him, and one of them is the ‘anonymous’ source.

  20. igpajo says:

    Man I would have had all kind of horrible thoughts when they told me “You’re not being arrested, you’re being detained.” Isn’t that kind what what happening to all the folks in Guantanamo?

  21. Anonymous says:

    I have a 16GB PCMCIA hard drive that is not image-able, since it requires a custom driver… and not one that EnCase or FTK has.

  22. RevEng says:

    My poor America, where did your laws go? He wasn’t charged, given a phone call or an attorney, or otherwise given any of his rights, yet they searched him, interrogated him, confiscated his stuff and tried to copy it all. Where did your laws and your rights go? I hope he takes this opportunity to charge them for illegal search and seizure. Unfortunately, I bet the PATRIOT Act somehow allows them to do this.

    If law enforcement doesn’t follow the laws,then the laws are meaningless. This is judicial anarchy.

    • asuffield says:

      My poor America, where did your laws go? He wasn’t charged, given a phone call or an attorney, or otherwise given any of his rights, yet they searched him, interrogated him, confiscated his stuff and tried to copy it all. Where did your laws and your rights go? [...] Unfortunately, I bet the PATRIOT Act somehow allows them to do this.

      Correct! That is indeed the piece of legislation which rescinded all those rights. Except for the “phone call”, which has never been a right – that one is pure Hollywood fiction.

    • shava says:

      I feel your pain. I wish we could share it around a little more widely…

      Incidents like this make me sad. Some f*wit at Boston’s liberal rag The Phoenix compared Wikileaks decentralized structure as being “like a terrorist cell.” I pointed out to him that most of the history of the labor movement and much of the democracy movement (including in the US) involved decentralized anonymous actors.

      I wish these people had a little history, imagination, and backbone.

      Since Cory would consider it a conflict of interest, download “Little Brother” here and give him money. It’s brilliant, and far more than a “young adult novel.” Although, my 17 year old son and his friends loved it.

      I wish it didn’t seem like a primer for today’s climate…

  23. ophite says:

    This “father knows best” mentality is vomit-inducing.

    Did you miss where the original poster characterized the collaborators outed by Wikileaks as traitors who need a Taliban bullet in the head? It’s not “father knows best.” It’s merely that collaborating is a defensible position for people put in the awful position of being in Afghanistan.

    • Daedalus says:

      Did you miss where the original poster characterized the collaborators outed by Wikileaks as traitors who need a Taliban bullet in the head?

      No, but since he was responding to your bizarre assertion that the documents should not have been leaked, I didn’t find that message to be the most disturbing. Indeed, it’s probably something a lot of Afghani people feel: the Americans are making things worse. That position is unremarkable to me.

      It’s not “father knows best.” It’s merely that collaborating is a defensible position for people put in the awful position of being in Afghanistan.

      “Defensible” is a vile choice of words.

      Y’know what’s not so defensible?

      People in a democratic society defending the practice of keeping the population ignorant. Wealthy, secure people saying that if they were poor and lived in constant fear, that they would clearly know what to do. Presuming to know what life would be like, and having the arrogance to project that presumption onto others.

      Compared to those concepts, the idea that some goofball might think of the Afghanis who cooperate with the US as traitors to their own people is really not a very shocking idea.

      The problem isn’t the minority of extremists who think America can do no right. They’re already marginalized.

      The problem is the majority of normal people who think that they know what’s best for a place they couldn’t find on a map. That’s a more insidious, arrogant, and wince-inducing thought.

  24. netsharc says:

    Boy did those agents pick on the wrong people, the WikiLeaks people must have their own training on how to prepare and deal with the Gestapo checks; don’t carry anything incriminating, don’t provoke them, and don’t answer any question except with “I want my/a lawyer.”

    Not having a harddisk on his laptop sure is a cool hack though. FedEx-ing it would be too slow, and bandwidth is great enough to transfer around a very-heavily encrypted archive of data he needs. If I were setting up something like that, I’d backup my exact Ubuntu configuration including apps to install, encrypt that info and put it somewhere online. Then I’d travel, disk-less, to my destination, get a Ubuntu DVD, restore apps and settings according to the configuration I’d made, and then download the encrypted archive which is my personal data, which will probably be not more than 10GB.

    The question is, how do I securely transfer my encryption key? Put it online and password-protect it? Doesn’t seem very safe.

    Also, I believe all modern disks have built-in encryption activated, with an encryption key stored on disk. If you set a disk password in the BIOS, that key will be stored encrypted (using your password to decrypt), otherwise, the key will be stored as is, making accessing data transparent… but probably the disk manufacturer has their own key to decrypt them.

    • Pantograph says:

      If I were setting up something like that, I’d backup my exact Ubuntu configuration including apps to install, encrypt that info and put it somewhere online.

      So THAT is what’s in the INSURANCE file on bittorrent… Well it could be. Although 1.4 GB would be a lean system by today’s standards.

  25. skimbleshanks says:

    Years ago, Frank Zappa performed a song; “Who Are the Brain Police?” Now we know.

  26. pogorator says:

    IANAL, but it sounds to me like the Army just investigating the Manning affair in a routine way. He’s alleged to have used Wikileaks to commit a crime, so they question a Wikileaks guy when they can get access to him. Yes it’s worthy of note because it *may* rise to the level of political harassment. Not sure it’s there yet.

    But among this week’s news items, I’m *far* more concerned with the Obama administration claiming the right to surveil US citizens’ email activity without oversight of a judge. See, e.g., this op-ed in the NY Times.

  27. jacques45 says:

    Disgusting how they’re trying to send a message in this investigation. Also disgusting is Lamo is naming names of the civilians who helped set up the leaks.

  28. Trotsky says:

    The detention seems relatively minor (for America these days), but am willing to wager the “team” have a fairly lucid and easily deployed method for copying all of the laptop data to an external source to decrypt it later at their ease and convenience. Therefore, a successful interdiction for them.

    In 2010, the US doesn’t even attempt to maintain a pretense of respecting privacy or civil rights. Law enforcement simply takes what they want, and do what they want as the whim strikes.

    Good luck finding a judge left anywhere in our republic who will render a verdict on behalf of the rights of a citizen.

    In America in 2010, your recourse is to complain on a blog and then just take it. Be happy to leave the encounter with your teeth still in your mouth.

    • Chris Tucker says:

      …method for copying all of the laptop data to an external source to decrypt it later at their ease and convenience.

      What data?

      The laptop was returned, apparently because it contained no storage drive that investigators could examine.

      “Mr. Trotsky, please pick up the white courtesy ‘PWN’. Thank you!”

  29. AirPillo says:

    Collective punishment.

  30. Anonymous says:

    the laptop was likely a netbook with solid state storage. my EeePC 1000 has the SSD sodered directly to the mainboard, and cannot be removed. still, a liveOS distro could dupelicate for offline cryptoalysis. I simply use fedoraLVM2 encryption at the physical volume layer. a savvy user might use a bootable USB thumb drive or similar.

  31. Jack says:

    …where the other nations will stand around and quietly snigger.

    You mean “snicker”, right?

  32. edi says:

    I honestly feel like hypocritical, pathological liars run this show and those of us who appreciate the truth are simply criminals in their eyes. It makes me want to vomit.

  33. Trotsky says:

    Reading comprehension is critical. Fortunately, it is a skill I have always possessed in great abundance. To whit…

    >> The laptop was returned, apparently because it contained no storage drive that investigators could examine.

    First, the word “apparently” implies ambiguity and speculation on the part of the person who posted this story. Second, that the laptop did not contain a storage drive is interpretation put forward in the comments section, but not verified. Third, “no storage drive that investigators could examine” does not necessarily mean that the laptop did not contain any storage. It could have contained a storage device, but not one “that investigators could examine.”

    I am holding the white courtesy PWN.

    It is for you.

  34. Decio says:

    No one mentioned TrueCrypt: provides encryption in several flavors, and provides methods for plausible deniability.

    Briefly: you have two nested, hidden, encrypted partition on your hdd; if someone forces you to decrypt your data, you can give up the outer partition key revealing fake data.

    The real deal being in the inner partition, impossible to tell apart from random data with a single inspection.

    Again, is open source (win, mac, linux), that means no backdoor, no bypass, no keylogging.

  35. Trotsky says:

    The author of this post wrote this sentence in the comments:

    >> The laptop might have literally not had any storage.

    Another commenter made this remark:

    >> Probably no drive at all.

    Apparently, the words “might” and “probably” indicate solid gold certainty and established fact in the minds of some whereas in my dictionary they still indicate speculation.

    • kyoorius says:

      The hard drive would have been a bonus, but I suspect they are after new leads (his social network), which they were able to obtain by imaging his mobile phones.

      The next step in security is to keep all the firmware and memory of your mobile devices stored on a encrypted private remote network.

      • johnnyaction says:

        It would be awesome if you could wire an eye-fi wireless wifi SD card into your phone and alter the firmware of the phone to plump up pictures with steganography.

        Cell phones themselves are incredibly good tracking devices. People want to be near them at all times. Most of them out there have gps and they contact cell towers constantly when on. That kind of tracking information is going to be sold. What happens when E verify people sites are able to also offer your rough movements via cell towers?

        There are a few scary things that can be done with cell phones that the only truly safe cell phone is one with a battery removed.

  36. technologiez says:

    This is controlled leak. When The Afghan War Diary is simultaneously given to reporters from The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel, and the US government only “strongly condemns” it means that they’re willingly letting you read something that would never have gone public if it was important, secret or in the nature of harming the agenda of the US foreign policy.

    http://technologiez.net/2010/08/25/wikileaks-to-release-cia-paper/

  37. ophite says:

    You’ve plucked out a single word — “would” — and used it to mischaracterize everything else I’ve said. In all actuality, if I were a Tajik living near Kandahar, I’d probably keep my head down and try not to get shot, and not collaborate at all. My use of the first person was inappropriate.

    I note, however, that you haven’t addressed the point that I was actually making.

    Do you think that collaboration with the Afghan government is an offense which warrants the death penalty?

    What did we learn from the release of the Wikileaks documents that was novel?

    Presuming we learned something novel, what did we learn from the release of Afghan informant names that was worth the deaths of more civilians?

  38. GT says:

    So what i was getting at is not what do WE (the web-savvy cognoscenti) ‘know’ now (do we “KNOW” that Bradley Manning is not a plant or a dupe or a patsy? Do we “KNOW” that he has done anything at all?).

    The important thing is the door that the mainswamp media has been forced to open. The next leak – which will be larger, and much more shocking – will not require ANY media groundwork. It will not be ignored the way the 2007 leak was.

    This is an egg that can’t be unscrambled. If the US government didn’t want the disgusting things it has been doing all over the planet to be exposed, it ought not have done them. If you don’t want to be known as the village rapist, don’t go around raping folks (for their own good, of course).

    Cheers again

    GT

    • querent says:

      Yeah. like obama’s idea that the interrogation videos can’t be shown because that would make people hate us more. with good cause. it would ‘endanger the soldiers.’ of course anyone can take a trip to downtown LA and see how much our government cares about our soldiers.

      again gt, not to gush, but also the reasoned tone of your reply…i’m a fan, man.

  39. Patient says:

    Jeez people, a “Detention arrest” happens so many times during the day across the US that I cannot even find a figure for it.

    Don’t let the person in question or the subject at hand draw you away from the law.

    The Supreme court voted unanimously in Terry v. Ohio (1968) that officers can detain, pat down, search the belongings and ask questions of a subject with very loose probable cause prior to arrest.

    I know the WikiLeaks story is a hot item, but the outrage here is unfounded. It is the very law you all seem to criticize that allowed him to walk away. The 4th amendment worked, even involving a case that pertains the leaking of state secrets, in contrast to how other countries would handle the same situation, I personally find the entire event impressive.

    • dzo says:

      “…in contrast to how other countries would handle the same situation, I personally find the entire event impressive.”

      Yeah! You are completely right! Things are not so bad as in North Korea! But in my eyes it looks like USA is now on the scale positioned somewhere between Russia and China. Not so bad.

      Wake up Americans! 20-25 years ago you judged such things that were every day stuff in Russia. Look at you now. Time goes backwards in USA?

  40. Marcel says:

    Info-terrorism?

    Wiki-insurgents?

    Web-combatants?

    Oh I can see a whole new string of vocabulary springing off these events.

  41. osmo says:

    Wikintjina or Web Armée Fraktion (WAF)? Maybe Santerio Luminoso de Internet?

    Patient: What? Here up until ’98 you had to have actuall and specified cause to search or detain people. Why do that? Why say “well its worse somewhere else” when something is appearently bad. Its such a self-neutering manouver.

  42. ophite says:

    Here’s the thing: if I was an Afghan and I co-operated with the sociopaths who are tearing my country to pieces, I would deserve whatever I got.

    You are exactly the same sort of bloody-toothed sociopath that you pretend to disdain. You think that collateral damage is acceptable to stop the US war machine. I do not.

    Here’s why people are collaborating with the US:

    The Afghan government is terrible. For the majority of Afghans, the Taliban is in many ways worse. If I were a Tajik or Uzbek living in the Pashtun belt, or an educated woman, I would be cooperating with the coalition forces. This is not because the coalition forces or the Afghan government are “good,” in any objective sense, but because my life would be incomparably worse under the Taliban.

    The Taliban is a theocratic Pashtun-nationalist organization which has demonstrated its ability to provide stability to Pashtun men in major population centers in Afghanistan. They do this through the use of extraordinary violence against civilian populations. The stability it provides to certain Afghans is its sole virtue. For Pashtuns, this stability is a real virtue: in Afghanistan’s recent history, disorder has historically been worse than the worst kind of order. But it’s not a virtue for anyone that the Taliban doesn’t consider to be under its protection.

    Afghan collaborators are not people who have a choice between supporting a democratic (or even marginally representative) local government. They have a choice between men with guns and other men with guns, and have to make their decisions based on who is more or less likely to shoot them and their family.

    For a lot of Afghans, that’s not the US military. The idea that you can second-guess someone’s decisions about which men with guns to side with — to the extent that you, in the name of peace, can declare them traitors worth being shot — makes me nauseous.

    • Daedalus says:

      The Afghan government is terrible. For the majority of Afghans, the Taliban is in many ways worse. If I were a Tajik or Uzbek living in the Pashtun belt, or an educated woman, I would be cooperating with the coalition forces. This is not because the coalition forces or the Afghan government are “good,” in any objective sense, but because my life would be incomparably worse under the Taliban.

      This “father knows best” mentality is vomit-inducing.

      The Taliban are basically seeping assholes of the highest caliber, but the arrogance to think, for even a moment, that you could put yourself in that scenario and choose one foreign group who was killing your children over another domestic group who was killing your children, is repellant.

      If anyone can provide security, stability, and happiness in that country, it will not be the US. It will be the people of that country. And they’re a long way from having the luxury of being able to look to the long-term good (which may not be the US, anyway).

  43. DeWynken says:

    Way to go Jacob! A laptop is just a tool to get on the net, no need to store anything on it. Must have been priceless to see their faces when they realized there was no smoking wikileaks gun stored on it :D

  44. Trotsky says:

    How did our government screw up so bad post 9/11 that now every average citizen has to think like a smuggler just to get their own private data through the airport shakedown?

    Joe Average American has to stick an encrypted USB drive up his ass just to keep law enforcement from pawing through data.

    And that goes for toiletries, beverages, and even keeping the genitals of your child from being gawked at with full body scanners by TSA rent-a-cops.

    Taking a week to cross the Atlantic by ocean steamer is starting to look more palatable every day.

  45. sic transit gloria C.F.A. says:

    If I were working with Wikileaks, and publicly known to be, I would assume this sort of harassment would occur. I would tell my associates, “My flight is number x, and is scheduled to land in Newark at y o’clock. If I don’t call you and use innocuous word ‘z’ by y+20, check the flight schedule, then call our lawyer in the New York area and tell her I’ve probably been detained and am being held incommunicado. Have her make a stink, get a writ of habeas corpus, whatever.”

  46. Anonymous says:

    i ve got an idea!
    obv this is exactly what we predicted was gonna happen. the officials trying to take out sites and people connected to wikileaks. the solution could be quite simple:

    we have to find a recognized country like sweden, iceland or australia who will give/make the people from wikileaks ambassadors of their country. then they will be almost untouchable by US authorities or at least harder to ‘detain’ in such situations.

    (my captcha for this post: messily political)

  47. zaxxon says:

    Since the main street media is out to crucify Bradley Manning, many ask where is the witch hunt for the retarded officers who placed this kid in a position where he could access all of this supposedly dangerous information? Doesn’t the military have psych tests to weed out unstable personalities?
    The kid Manning, remember, was just 3-years off the high school playground. Unbelievable!

  48. jphilby says:

    It has been observed on another forum that these Wikileaks shenanigans in re Afghanistan (the content of the leaked material seems to be less than stirring) are certainly keeping interest away from the WaPo series on the US intelligence establishment.

    I agree in that IMO WaPo’s series is far more important than the PR/intimidation tactics embodied in Mr. Applebaum being inconvenienced.

  49. ophite says:

    The reason he was detained and not arrested is that he’s not under investigation for a crime. Bradley Manning is.

    Like it or not, he’s a material witness to Bradley Manning’s epic act of espionage. Wikileaks may have blood on their hands by negligence, but Manning has blood on his hands by intent. He’s not a hero here. He’s violated his security clearance, betrayed his oath, and is getting more Afghan civilians killed for for absolutely no reason.

    As much as Assange’s self-serving puffery claims otherwise, Wikileaks didn’t get a scoop here. They just put out some classified documents that reiterated the mainstream media narrative.

  50. Anonymous says:

    #33 is correct – write your own encrypting driver. There’s nothing that software can’t solve.

  51. Regulas says:

    I am sure that Jacob Appelbaum and his ilk would have no problem swapping homes with those Afghans who have cooperated with Allied forces in an effort to better their country who were named in these leaks. The jeopardy those brave individuals and their families have been placed in is a small price to pay for momentary internet notoriety isn’t it?

  52. Philip says:

    Preventing someone from moving more than one foot for more than 5 seconds is felony kidnapping. Cops/Political Thugs commit these felonies all the time, just like soldiers and politicians murder people. All prosecutable under the basic laws, just they are not.

    The info did contain a nice hitleast of taliban enemies in afghanistan. Very useful to Taliban bannana.

    I’m not surprised white house didnt minimize harm by reviewing info. They have their heads up their asses.

  53. Anonymous says:

    So much for free speech. The US try to claim that they are democratic, while committing war crimes in Iraq and Afghanistan and arresting innocent civilians. Hypocrisy to the max.

  54. Bulone says:

    I’d be amazed if he doesn’t throw away everything he has on(laptop,cellphone, clothing) during investigation.

  55. ophite says:

    Is it now possible to be “detained” in the U.S. literally for no reason at all (and without the protection of having ones rights read to you, a lawyer offered, and all that free-society gubbins)

    Yes. Furthermore, this is not some sort of weird, post-9/11 legal innovation: it’s a relatively normal process.

    The detention was three hours long — outside reasonable Terry stop duration, but inside the reasonable duration of an ICE reentry detention. Compare to the duration of a detailed car search upon crossing the US border. If he were under arrest, or even suspected of a crime, he’d likely have a right to an attorney. But he’s not. So he doesn’t have any such right.

    Given that an Army investigator was there, he was probably detained as a material witness to a crime; in particular, Bradley Manning’s act of espionage. I suspect they’re going to also have questions about whether Wikileaks actively facilitated the removal of information from US government servers.

  56. Anonymous says:

    “It has been observed on another forum that these Wikileaks shenanigans in re Afghanistan (the content of the leaked material seems to be less than stirring) are certainly keeping interest away from the WaPo series on the US intelligence establishment.”

    Yes. I am a little surprised there hasn’t been more interest in the WaPo series. I work at a research organization that does much work for the USDoD and military. A couple weeks ago an email went out to staff regarding our mention in the upcoming WaPo piece and the protocol we should follow should any media or other inquiries come calling. From the email, I had expected more reaction from the media and the public over the WaPo series.

  57. Napalm Dog says:

    Considering the Wikileaks model of information everywhere, it would probably surprise me he actually had a storage device in his computer. The ability to store and access information online will probably usurp the solid state drive. The internet is like the Cayman Islands or Swiss banks are for large corporations; Large, offshore information shelters…

  58. Napalm Dog says:

    Also, did anyone notice he looks like a young Hunter S Thompson?

  59. Anonymous says:

    agreed. This is the type of insanity you expect from only hollywood movies. What a disgrace, national security = 1984.

  60. Baldhead says:

    I thought the bit about being “asked about his opinion on the war”. Is opinion legally relevant here? Almost sounds like a newer “are you a communist” type question.

  61. Anonymous says:

    why throw away the laptop, cell, whatever else he had on him?

    wouldn’t it be more fun to rip it all apart and see what the govt slipped in there?

  62. snoproblem says:

    Wow, “Welcome To Amerika”, indeed.

    Super-power? More like a banana republic jumping at it’s own shadow, these days. It would be funny if it wasn’t so scary and foreboding.

    I think I’ll stay on my own side of the border, thank you very much. That goes for the U.K. and Australia, too.

  63. MoschopsToo says:

    “Officials from the Immigration and Customs Enforcement and the U.S. Army then told him he was not under arrest but was being detained”

    At risk of betraying my ignorance, what is the difference between being arrested and being detained? If I were being detained, could I just walk out? Is it like being arrested, but with less (i.e. no) onus on the authorities to present suspected charges?

    • Trotsky says:

      For practical purposes arrest = detained.

      No difference. A person can be “detained” for hours or days. Entirely at the convenience and whim of the authorities.

      • MoschopsToo says:

        Isn’t there a rather big difference? Upon arrest (and excuse my ignorance, I am not a U.S. citizen) are there not legal protections and so forth afforded the arrestee, and indeed the arresting official must have reasonable belief that a crime has been committed by the arrestee?

        Is it now possible to be “detained” in the U.S. literally for no reason at all (and without the protection of having ones rights read to you, a lawyer offered, and all that free-society gubbins)?

        • Trotsky says:

          >> Is it now possible to be “detained” in the U.S. literally for no reason at all

          It has always been possible in the US. Always.

          However, the “no reason at all” part requires some sort of pretext. But this is merely a matter of the relevant parties being creative enough to craft a hodgepodge of violations out of the affairs and interests of the person targeted.

          Have you contributed to an organization that contributes to an organization that contributes to an organization that is affiliated with “terrorists?” Then you are a terrorist. To mention nothing of the candy filled pinata of the so-called drug war. Add to this the “pirating,” “hacking,” “cyber-bullying” and other intentionally ambiguous terms which can ensnare the dissident and disagreeable, and detaining any citizen indefinitely is child’s play.

          Habeas corpus (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Habeas_corpus_in_the_United_States) has always been applied in random and arbitrary ways throughout the history of this nation. Most citizens imagine an iron-clad bulwark of civil safeguards which protect them from the abyss of judicial abuse, but they are simply ignorant. They typically remain that way until they or someone close to them suddenly find themselves spiraling into the maw of the judicial system. Most people are shocked at the depth of corruption once inside.

          It is no accident that most shows on television in the United States are police and lawyer programs, which portray a nation under siege from pedophiles, terrorists, and murderous meth heads.

          Law enforcement can craft a case for indefinite detention, or even a legal case for assassination of American citizens and there are no laws to abridge this power of the state.

          Of course, court opinions and presidential signings fly back and forth, but ultimately might makes right in the United States.

  64. Frenetic says:

    Nice to know what one has to look forward to if he ever has the honor of conspicuously advancing the cause of Freedom of Speech.

  65. Anonymous says:

    What tools would he use to have a drive that couldn’t be imaged? Even if it were encrypted, couldn’t one just take it out and put it into another case and dd it? Doesn’t mean they’d ever get anything out of it, but it would still be image-able.

    • Todd Knarr says:

      Probably no drive at all. My laptop has the drive beneath a removable cover on the bottom (probably for easy upgrading). Open the cover, pop the hard drive out, presto instant unsearchable laptop because there’s literally nothing there to search.

      The best way to deal with searches is to not have anything they can search at all. Need to move something with data on it? Take the storage media out and send it separately. UPS or FedEx make good transport methods. Have an acquaintance ship your drive (encrypted of course) to another party where you’re going who can get the drive to you.

  66. Rob Beschizza says:

    The laptop might have literally not had any storage. Live CD and the cloud. Or maybe just mailing the hard drive via fedex instead of taking it through customs.

  67. Anonymous says:

    It’s the modern-day version of the Dan Ellsberg story.

  68. sworm says:

    Or they did make a disk image, but didn’t tell him about it.

  69. Anonymous says:

    encrypted hard disk?

    ioerror. nothing to fsck with.

    .~. (scnr)

  70. Osprey101 says:

    I think I know what went on. Based on my own experiences, they just needed to figure out how the heck to get TOR to work.

  71. ryanrafferty says:

    Another military success! Good Job guys and gals– you should get a medal just for trying.

  72. TheFirstMan says:

    @Osprey101:
    It’s really simple on Windows, and only a wee bit more complicated on Linux:
    http://www.torproject.org/easy-download.html.en

  73. qu1j0t3 says:

    It’s no coincidence that Julian Assange invented the “Rubber Hose” DENIABLE encryption system (which is when I first noticed him, years ago): http://iq.org/~proff/marutukku.org/

    The rationale for this should remind people what’s at stake and why conventional encryption isn’t going to help you much once you and your possessions have been seized.

  74. ophite says:

    Law enforcement can craft a case for indefinite detention, or even a legal case for assassination of American citizens and there are no laws to abridge this power of the state.

    He was detained for there hours upon entering the country. Equipment which reasonable people might believe contains evidence of a crime — Bradley Manning’s espionage — was confiscated. He wasn’t shipped off to Guantanamo. He was treated like a hostile witness in a criminal investigation.

    Which is what he is.

    • GT says:

      Ophite, you’re a moron.

      Everyone who sheltered a Jew during the unpleasantness of 1933-44 was breaking ‘the law’ as promulgated by a duly-appointed government. Everyone who shot at a redcoat during the coup d’état in 1776 was likewise breaking ‘the law’ as promulgated by a duly-appointed government.

      You would have been a redcoat informant. You would have been decrying those who interfered with the Gestapo. And you would have thought yourself a patriot. The stupid… it burns.

      You’re a stukach. A whip-kisser.

      Cheerio

      GT

      • TEKNA2007 says:

        Seems to me ophite is correct. Appelbaum is associated with an organization which received, through means not publicly known, classified material, which it then published. This classified material was gathered and released without permission by (is this at all in question? I think not) Bradley Manning. Leaving aside for the moment all questions of ethics and sticking strictly to legality, Manning’s act was a violation of law. This makes Appelbaum, by association, a person of interest in the matter and subject to questioning, which (according to reports) he correctly declined to cooperate with.

        Being an American (he is, right?) Appelbaum is likely to receive a subpoena to discuss it further in the future.

      • ophite says:

        GT –

        What, exactly, do we know now that Wikileaks released the Manning documents that we didn’t know before? Absolutely nothing.

        That Afghans are using shoulder-launched rockets against US helicopters? We knew about that in 2002. American soldiers are shooting truly unacceptable numbers of Afghans at checkpoints? We knew about that. Americans are arguing with the Afghan government about whom, exactly, we’re killing? We knew about that too. Pakistans ISI collaborating with the Taliban? We know about that too. Hell, we still have the receipts from when we were routing CIA money to Taliban through the ISI in the 1980s.

        The only material benefit they’ve given to people intending to stop the war is providing the false verisimilitude that classified documents bring. They’re not more true merely because they’re classified; in fact, they’re documents composed by the officers on the ground. The people most given to lie to cover their own asses.

        In the meantime, Wikileaks released the names of Afghans providing intel about the Taliban. These are (frequently minority) Afghans risking their lives to support a miserable government over a government that’s far more miserable. We promised them confidentiality. We didn’t provide it. Consequently, Afghans whose names we will never know are going to get murdered. This is not hypothetical. This is what the Taliban is telling us they’re going to try to do.

        It infuriates me that you think you’re such a big hero, throwing away Afghan lives on a document dump that amounts to CNN propaganda with a top secret stamp. It infuriates me that relatively normal police procedures — coercive interviews for hostile material witnesses — are being described as though they were Room 101 in the Ministry of Love.

        I’m less than lukewarm on the rest of the security state, but when we ask people to take risks that might cost them their lives, the law needs to provide them confidentiality. This means punishing people who violate that. It’s why I (and BoingBoing) think Scooter Libby should’ve been put away, and it’s why I think Bradley Manning should be put away.

        It’s not the ends that are objectionable: it’s the means.

        • GT says:

          Hi again Ophite.

          Here’s the thing: if I was an Afghan and I co-operated with the sociopaths who are tearing my country to pieces, I would deserve whatever I got.

          If the aforementioned sociopathic vermin had promised me anonymity, safe haven, whatever… and it turned out they couldn’t deliver, well, that’s karma, bitchez.

          Imagine if your children had been blown to bits by a Chinese occupying army… and you found out that your local mayor was a collaborator. You would want him protected, would you?

          The ‘exceptionalism’ embodied in the parts of your comment that concern Afghanistan’s political situation is breathtaking in its gall. The idea that a country of millions can’t make its own decisions about its political organisations – and therefore must be blasted into a decision suitable to some bunch of career tax-parasites in Washington who couldnt’ find their asses with both hands: that thinking led to the deaths of 4 million Asians in the 1960s and 70s… a veritable Holocaust (for which there is no memorial or holiday). And yet you Yanks still think that you can play Kissinger and claim the moral high ground.

          So let’s talk about ‘means’, by all means. Napalming children as a MEANS of preventing Vietnam from experimenting with the ownership of the means of production? Reprehensible. Dropping an atomic egg on Hiroshima to impress the Russians and satisfy a national blood lust? Reprehensible. Destroying civilian infrastructure in Iraq over 10 years – deliberately and maliciously – as a MEANS to try and get the Iraqis to overthrow Hussein? Reprehensible.

          Sorry, sport, but if you’re going to play ‘anti-Machiavelli’ here, that dog just will.not.hunt. The US is a rogue state, and anything that can be done to force it to pull its death machine to its own borders is justified.

          All this talk of ‘the law’ is just idiocy. As I said – the folks who hid Anne Frank were breaking the law. Sometimes a society becomes so perverted that the only thing a just man can do is to break the law: as far as I am concerned, when trillions of dollars are extorted to fund a death machine that spans the globe, we’re past the point where good men can support it.

          And you’re wrong in one very important sense: the Afghan diaries have forced the entire mainstream media to report on the leak. Including the TV. For many joe Sixpacks who don’t ‘do’ the interwebs, it will be among the VERY few times that they were confronted with the actions of their government’s death machine.

          Cheerio

          GT

          • querent says:

            good god gt. the breadth and depth of your comment makes me ashamed of my own.

            one thing i can say: not all yanks play kissinger. props to the israeli peace movement. and also to the american. i’m more proud of my fbi file than i am of my degree.

            peace friend. best wished on the path.

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