Recently in Technical Document Analysis - True or Fake or Censored ? Category

More evidence that Wikileaks' abuse of Twitter, instead of issuing proper, detailed Press Releases on their official website, gives the impression of either incompetent "investigative journalism" or just plain anti-US Government hate propaganda.

5.06 PM August 27th 2011!/wikileaks/status/107484074477760512

US marine kills Romanian rockstar. President promises to US embassy won't "serve a single day in prison"

When did this happen ? Is that the then US President or the Romanian President doing the promising ? What sort of "killing" ?

It turns out to be the newly elected Romanian President, back in 2005 (over 6 years ago). The "killing" turns out to have the result of a traffic accident, probably involving drink driving by the US Marine who had diplomatic immunity as part of the US Embassy staff.

If you take this selective misquote from the diplomatic cable at face value you get the impression that the US Marine was to get off scot free due to some sort of political deal.

However if you actually bother to read the diplomatic cable which Wikileaks have published, in their current, "we don't care about anybody's personal information" data dump:

25.(C) Finally, the December 2004 accident involving the U.S. Embassy Marine Security Guard detachment commander that led to the death of Romanian rock star Teo Peter received wide press coverage and created public outcry. Basescu and his government are under considerable political pressure to make sure justice is done in a Romanian Court. Naturally, given that Marine Corps legal proceedings against the former detachment commander have not even begun, the question of extradition and lifting of the Marine's immunity cannot even be addressed at the present time. Nevertheless, PM Tariceanu and FM Ungureanu may ask for the Marine's return, possibly repeating a promise made earlier to our Ambassador by Basescu that the former detachment commander would receive a fair trial and, regardless of outcome, would not serve a single day in prison in Romania.

The deliberate omission of the words "in Romania" completely changes the meaning of the Tweet.

The democratically elected government of Romania is promising a fair trial and repatriation to the USA to serve any prison sentence , if the US Marine was to be found guilty of any charges. This is the normal, civilised state of affairs with most Extradition treaties around the world.

The wikipedia entry for Teo Peter has links to a few of the case.

If this deliberately misleading Tweet was from the army of Wikileaks cult hangers on, that would be bad enough. Wikileaks could, if pushed, issue an apology, and disassociate themselves from such alleged "supporters".

However this distortion of the truth is from the "official" Julian Assange controlled feed.

Any post-Wikileaks whistleblower websites should learn the lessons from Wikileaks and Julian Assange's increasingly inept handling of the mainstream media and social media.

The levels of disinformation, hype and spin which Wikileaks now relies on make them at least as untrustworthy as any Government or big business public relations spin doctors and propagandists.

The mainstream media have plenty of other, more current, more newsworthy stories to report on, so the effect of the publication of these diplomatic cables is now increasingly marginal and they are only of academic interest to future historians and to the world's intelligence agencies.

Why is there still no functioning document submission system ?

It is puzzling why, with all its army of cult followers and vastly more money than many other whistleblowing websites, has not re-launches itself with a secure, anonymous whistleblower leak submission system, so many months after it shut down.

See for links to many of these and some analysis of the anonymity and security strengths and weaknesses of several of them.

The answer must be that Julian Assange does not want to relinquish any control or to be democratically accountable or transparent.

N.B. to be clear this blog is very often critical of Julian Assange for his control freakery, deceit, and disregard for other people's private personal data, but we do not think that he should be extradited to the USA to face espionage or other charges.

The European Arrest Warrant should not be allowed to be used to extradite Assange to Sweden from the United Kingdom for "investigation" purposes, without cross examination in a UK Court of prima facie evidence against him in the sordid sex allegations case.

Evan Spiegel, of Hollywood media celebrity vanity lawyers Lavely & SInger has filed a couple of extraordinarily inept Exhibits which were somehow supposed to counter the amicus curiae brief and the Motion to Intervene briefs in the Bank Julius Baer versus Wikileaks case..

See the Electronic Frontier Foundation's copy of Decl. of Evan Spiegel in Support of Plaintiff's Supplement Brief in Support of Application for Preliminary Injunction (.pdf )

Attached hereto as Exhibit "B" is a true and correct copy of printouts from the Wikileaks Websites, an example, from many, evidencing content and extensive edits provided by Wikileaks.

Although this is a legal document submission in a court case, under a system which uses electronic filing of documents and submissions, which are then available to the public and the media for a small fee, and is therefore not a "leaked whistleblower document", the mistakes in redaction and censorship are relevant to such leaked documents.

Exhibit "B" is a supposedly a "true and correct
copy" of the web page from which the alleged .zip file archive relating to Heinri Steinberger, and Bowsprit Investments Ltd can be downloaded (page 9) and also a highlighted printout of the associated wiki page revision history (page 10)

Current versions of these pages:

These Wikileaks user labelled edits are only to the explanatory page,which includes a link to the actual This page (page 9) describes the nature of the leaked document, and also any caveats or warnings about its authenticity. Some of this information will have come via the document submission form which the anonymous whistleblower filled in, and some will be commentary and/or language translation, provided by one or more volunteers with privileged access to the system.

This wiki edit history page is not evidence of any editing or amendment of the actual leak documents in the compressed .zip file archive. It is not even evidence that anybody has actually opened the archive and ever read any of the alleged documents.

As it happens, some of the documents within this particular .zip archive, the Microsoft Word .doc files, rather than the Microsoft Excel spreadsheet files, have the Hidden bit set, so there is no guarantee that casual readers of this page will have seen and read all of the allegedly private information, which, according to Lavely & Singer may or may not be authentic or forged, in any case.

This Exhibit "B" appears to be an image scan of a printout out of an online web page, which has been incompetently redacted, with black marker pen, and then image scanned back into electronic .pdf file format, How can this be be sworn and attested to be a "true copy" ?

Extraordinarily, someone has attempted to hide the name Heinri Steinberger from the explanatory notes text about the leaked document, both in English and in the longer version in German.

They have also tried to do the same where the name is part of the computer file name and / or URL web page link.

Incredibly on page 9 of the Exhibit "B" they have not censored or redacted the actual postal address ("Freiherr von Stein 16, 60000, Frankfurt 70") of this supposedly highly confidential Bank Julius Baer client.


By not actually censoring the tail of the lower case "g" in Steinberger and by not properly blacking out either the text, or all of the surrounding white space, this could easily let people guess the words or names which are being censored or redacted.

However, even such guesswork is unnecessary, as on th next page, page 10 of the Exhibit "B", the printout from the wiki page history revisions audit trail, the name appears in extra large text in the title of this page !

"BJB - Heinri Steinberger, Frankfurt Steurbetrug EUR 15 mil"

"Steuerbetrug" means "tax fraud or tax evasion", i.e. an illegal activity, rather than legal tax avoidance or tax management.

"EUR 15 mil" mean 15 million Euros (currently about 22.5 million US dollar))

Is this how Lavely & Singer are protecting the clients of Bank Julius Baer, by repeating the allegations of illegal activity in Court documents which are submitted electronically, and which are available to the public and the media for a small fee ?

Will Lavely & Singer now try to censor all the legal document databases and websites which will have copies of these Court documents ?

There is an interesting example of Computer Assisted Reporting in the SQL database analysis (with source code) of:

US Military Equipment in Afghanistan (2007)/Appendix

published by

This looks to be an interesting and well researched analysis of the source data, which looks to be plausible.

However, there are at least some minor points which could be clarified or corrected, e.g. the comparison of the costs of the anti-Improvised Explosive Device equipment programme with that of the World War 2 atomic bombs - the figure from the Brookings Institute source cited is nearer to $23 billion (adjusted for inflation), which is not quite the same as the $13 billion cited by the article. The comparison between the two projects in terms of the proportion of the total economy or the number of top scientists employed , is also a bit misleading.

However, since is still pretending not to have launched in public yet, the authentication and analysis which is supposed to magically happen through "the wisdom of crowds" is being prevented, because the wiki front end is still deliberately locked, except to the favoured few.

This is not an open Wiki project.

The other aspects of this "leak" seems to be the Press Release which the people embargoed until 5am GMT on Monday 10th September 2007, but which the New York Sun, for one, seems to have ignored

It is entirely arguable that a website which claims to publish "leaks" , is in no moral or legal position to complain about the mainstream media jumping the gun on their artificial press release embargoes.

Suspiciously, if this was really an attempt at a media embargo, then the relevant pages should have been password protected for the favoured few journalists, rather than leaving them open to the public and to the Google search engine etc.

Either the political activists are being incredibly naive, or, more sinisterly, they are trying to generate short term publicity and hype, at the expense of long term trust, just like so many other political spin and public relations media manipulators, who insult the intelligence of the general public.

We still await any details about what or when the next public stages of this project are.

We still await even a high level security architecture to be published.- this is not an Open Source software project.

Until then, we cannot trust yet, which is a shame.

About this blog

This blog here at (no "S") discusses the ethical and technical issues raised by the project, which is trying to be a resource for whistleblower leaks, by providing "untraceable mass document leaking and analysis".

These are bold and controversial aims and claims, with both pros and cons, especially for something which crosses international boundaries and legal jurisdictions.

This blog is not part of the project, and there really are no copies of leaked documents or files being mirrored here.

Email Contact

Please feel free to email us your views about this website or news about the issues it tries to comment on:

email: blog@WikiLeak[dot]org

Before you send an email to this address, remember that this blog is independent of the project.

If you have confidential information that you want to share with us, please make use of our PGP public encryption key or an email account based overseas e.g. Hushmail

Now that the project is defunct, so far as new whistleblower are concerned, what are the alternatives ?

The wiki page lists links and anonymity analyses of some of the many post-wikileaks projects.

There are also links to better funded "official" whistlblowing crime or national security reporting tip off websites or mainstream media websites. These should, in theory, be even better at protecting the anonymity and security of their informants, than wikileaks, but that is not always so.

New whistleblower website operators or new potential whistleblowers should carefully evaluate the best techniques (or common mistakes) from around the world and make their personal risk assessments accordingly.

Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers and Political Dissidents

The Submissions web page provides some methods for sending them leaked documents, with varying degrees of anonymity and security. Anybody planning to do this for real, should also read some of the other guides and advice to political activists and dissidents:

Please take the appropriate precautions if you are planning to blow the whistle on shadowy and powerful people in Government or commerce, and their dubious policies. The mainstream media and bloggers also need to take simple precautions to help preserve the anonymity of their sources e.g. see Spy Blog's Hints and Tips for Whistleblowers - or use this easier to remember link:

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

Digital Security & Privacy for Human Rights Defenders manual, by Irish NGO Frontline Defenders.

Everyone’s Guide to By-Passing Internet Censorship for Citizens Worldwide (.pdf - 31 pages), by the Citizenlab at the University of Toronto.

Handbook for Bloggers and Cyber-Dissidents - March 2008 version - (2.2 Mb - 80 pages .pdf) by Reporters Without Borders

Reporters Guide to Covering the Beijing Olympics by Human Rights Watch.

A Practical Security Handbook for Activists and Campaigns (v 2.6) (.doc - 62 pages), by experienced UK direct action political activists

Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress & Tor - useful step by step guide with software configuration screenshots by Ethan Zuckerman at Global Voices Advocacy. (updated March 10th 2009 with the latest Tor / Vidalia bundle details)

WikiLeakS Links

The Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page.

WikiLeakS Twitter feeds

The website does not stay online all of the time, especially when there is a surge of traffic caused by mainstream media coverage of a particularly newsworthy leak.

Recently, they have been using their new Twitter feeds, to selectively publicise leaked documents to the media, and also to report on the status of routing or traffic congestion problems affecting the main website in Stockholm, Sweden.

N.B.the words "security" or "anonymity" and "Twitter" are mutually exclusive: Twitter feed via SSL encrypted session: unencrypted Twitter feed

Internet Censorship

OpenNet Initiative - researches and measures the extent of actual state level censorship of the internet. Features a blocked web URL checker and censorship map.

Temporary Autonomous Zone

Temporary Autonomous Zones (TAZ) by Hakim Bey (Peter Lambourn Wilson)

Cyberpunk author William Gibson

Campaign Button Links

Watching Them, Watching Us, UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign
UK Public CCTV Surveillance Regulation Campaign

NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card
NO2ID Campaign - cross party opposition to the NuLabour Compulsory Biometric ID Card and National Identity Register centralised database.

Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.
Gary McKinnon is facing extradition to the USA under the controversial Extradition Act 2003, without any prima facie evidence or charges brought against him in a UK court. Try him here in the UK, under UK law.

FreeFarid_150.jpg - Kafkaesque extradition of Farid Hilali under the European Arrest Warrant to Spain

Peaceful resistance to the curtailment of our rights to Free Assembly and Free Speech in the SOCPA Designated Area around Parliament Square and beyond

Parliament Protest blog - resistance to the Designated Area restricting peaceful demonstrations or lobbying in the vicinity of Parliament.

Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans
Data Retention is No Solution Petition to the European Commission and European Parliament against their vague Data Retention plans.

Save Parliament: Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)
Save Parliament - Legislative and Regulatory Reform Bill (and other issues)

Open Rights Group

The Big Opt Out Campaign - opt out of having your NHS Care Record medical records and personal details stored insecurely on a massive national centralised database.

Tor - the onion routing network
Tor - the onion routing network - "Tor aims to defend against traffic analysis, a form of network surveillance that threatens personal anonymity and privacy, confidential business activities and relationships, and state security. Communications are bounced around a distributed network of servers called onion routers, protecting you from websites that build profiles of your interests, local eavesdroppers that read your data or learn what sites you visit, and even the onion routers themselves."

Tor - the onion routing network
Anonymous Blogging with Wordpress and Tor - useful Guide published by Global Voices Advocacy with step by step software configuration screenshots (updated March 10th 2009).

Amnesty International's campaign

BlogSafer - wiki with multilingual guides to anonymous blogging

NGO in a box - Security Edition privacy and security software tools

Home Office Watch blog, "a single repository of all the shambolic errors and mistakes made by the British Home Office compiled from Parliamentary Questions, news reports, and tip-offs by the Liberal Democrat Home Affairs team."

Reporters Without Borders - Reporters Sans Frontières - campaign for journalists 'and bloggers' freedom in repressive countries and war zones.

Committee to Protect Bloggers - "devoted to the protection of bloggers worldwide with a focus on highlighting the plight of bloggers threatened and imprisoned by their government."

wikileaks_logo_low.jpg - the controversial "uncensorable, anonymous whistleblowing" website based currently in Sweden.

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