August 21st, 2012
(HigginsBlog) – US intelligence operatives are step up their information warfare campaign against Assange spamming the same talking points in news reports and article comments all over the Internet.
If you have been reading the latest reports on Julian Assange and even more important the comments on those reports you’ll notice a disturbing trend.
Both the reports and the comments are regurgitating the same talking points over and over again, take for example on this Wired Threat Level thread whose typical readers are not government apologizes, in fact that are much the opposite of that.
This follows the same MO just declassified FOIA documents reveal intelligence and counter-intelligence agents are using in their information warfare campaign against numerous alternative media sites.
With Assange however, it is obviously apparent that the online army of government Intel operatives have been handed a brief with propaganda talking points they have been told plaster all over Assange stories
As the US intelligence agencies are step up their propaganda campaign against Julian Assange and Wikileaks it also becomes even more obvious the secret fabricated indictment against Julian Assange has been fabricated.
Because I keep seeing the pushed over and over let’s point them out and debunk them because we simply can not allow some false propaganda campaign to be used to drum up support to push fabricated charges.
Talking Point: “There is no conspiracy against Assange to extradite him to the US. Assange is a criminal rapist who needs to man up and face the music in Sweden and stop using political persecution as an excuse to evade criminal charges.”
The Answer: For starters, Sweden’s definition of rape isn’t the same thing as rape in the US. Instead, rape under their law is more like sexual harassment under US law. Instead of explaining the difference it is much easier to do this:
Investigator: “So you explicitly told him you wanted him to put on a condom?”
Investigator: “But he didn’t and had sex with you without a condom anyway?”
Investigator: “So, he forced you to have sex without your consent?”
Woman: “No, not at all. It was entirely consensual”
Investigator: “Well, what he did might be considered be rape under Swedish law so we need to interview him, because it rumored he has HIV.”
Now there is a second woman in this case, who changed her story from saying the sex was consensual to that it occurred while she was sleeping once her boyfriend found out. However, her deleted tweets and other evidence shows that she was in fact not sleeping.
Even known feminist Naomi Wolf has bashed the state’s claims against Assange and if this wasn’t a plot to get Assange extradited please explain:
- Why does he need to be extradited to Sweden just for questioning? Assange has offered to answer questions in the UK when the investigators were in London, just miles from Assange, request his extradition but they refused?
- Why does Sweden refuse to say they will not extradite Assange to the US after he is extradited there?
- Why does the US refuse to assure they will not request Assange’s extradition once he is handed over to the Swedish authorities?
- Why did the Swedish authorities not place charges after questioning Assange the first time around in 2010?
- If there are even going to be charges, why don’t the Swedish authorities file official charges?
- Why has Interpol issued a level ‘red’ warrant for Assange’s arrest when even Libya’s Gaddafi had only had an orange warrant?
- the Unredacted portions of documents obtained from Australian Ambassadors confirm to the point that they can that the US is in fact seeking the extradition of Assange to the US and is preparing to place criminal charges
Talking Point: If the US was behind the whole Swedish extradition request, as Assange states, I don’t know why we wouldn’t just extradite him directly from the UK. That would make much more sense than fabricating a criminal case in Sweden, convincing Sweden to extradite him from the UK, and then extraditing him from Sweden.
The Answer: Simply put, UK officials are trying to keep the blood of their hands on this one as much as they can. After Assange is extradited to the US from Sweden conspiracy theorists can cry all they want it was part of the plan from the beginning but it will still be relegated to conspiracy theory that isn’t part of the official story. As such the media will parrot government press releases and speculators be damned and even shunned upon. The UK avoids being officially complicit by handing Assange over to Sweden.
Such a direct extradition could even spark a revolutionary with the UK but at the least would have massive political fallout due to the politicians preventing the extradition of financial scammers, such as in the cases of Enron and the Royal Dutch Shell reserves scandal.
For example, there is at present a disagreement between the United States and the United Kingdom about the Extradition Act 2003 (text here) that dispenses with the need for a prima facie case for extradition.
This came to a head over the extradition of the Natwest Three from the UK to the U.S., for their alleged role in the Enron fraud. Several British political leaders were heavily critical of the British government’s handling of the issue. The former leader of the UK’s Liberal Democrat party, Sir Menzies Campbell, had argued that the U.S. had not ratified the treaty primarily due to the influence of what he calls the “Irish lobby” – which, he said, is opposed to the treaty because it could make it easier for Britain to have alleged IRA terrorist suspects extradited from the U.S.
The precedent of the Natwest Three may also be used to extradite/prosecute Philip Watts in connection with the Royal Dutch Shell reserves scandal. The press has carried vocal criticisms of the present extradition arrangements from the UK’s business community, some of whom stated that they were avoiding doing business with or in the U.S. because of legal concerns such as the extradition treaty, among other concerns.
A controversy in 2012 concerns the extradition of Richard O’Dwyer from the United Kingdom to the United States.
Source: Wikipedia Entry On Extradition
Furthermore, the extradition treaty between the US and the UK puts a wrench in the United States plans to execute Assange, most likely via means of hanging.
Soering v United Kingdom highlights the problems with the use of the Death Penalty against Assange in the case of direct extradition.
Soering v United Kingdom 11 Eur. Ct. H.R. (ser. A) (1989) is a landmark judgment of the European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) which established that extradition of a young German national to the United States to face charges of capital murder violated Article 3 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) guaranteeing the right against inhuman and degrading treatment.
He cited article IV of the US-UK extradition treaty, which provides that an extradition request for an offence carrying the death penalty can be refused if the requesting country has not given “assurances [...] that the death penalty will not be carried out.”
Talking Point: Manning may be a “whistleblower,” by releasing evidence of US military wrongdoing, but he obtained said information by unauthorized (illegal) access to databases and by divulging information he was privy to in his role as a military intelligence analyst. He broke several federal laws and his own oaths. He is a criminal and will go to jail. If Assange illegally accessed secure databases or aided another, knowingly, in doing so, he is guilty of conspiracy and aiding and abetting. Even a journalist can be convicted of a crime for revealing classified information if he broke the law to obtain it. Kind of like is a WashPost reporter broke into the Pentagon, and stole the Pentagon Papers. There is a fine line between printing material someone else obtained on their own and material the reporter helped them to steal. One of those is illegal. The US government alleges that Manning reached out to Assange for assistance in cracking encrypted passwords so he could illegally access classified information. For example wired reports:
At a preliminary hearing last December against former U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, prosecutors revealed that investigators had found evidence on Manning’s computer of a chat log purportedly between Manning and Assange in which Manning allegedly asked Assange for help with cracking a password to help him obtain access to U.S. military documents.
In a chat, dated March 8, 2010, Manning asked “Nathaniel Frank,” believed to be Assange, about help in cracking the main password on his classified SIPRnet computer so that he could log on to it anonymously. He asked “Frank” if he had experience cracking IM NT hashes (presumably it’s a mistype and he meant NTLM for the Microsoft NT LAN Manager). “Frank” replied yes, that they had “rainbow tables” for doing that. Manning then sent him what looked like a hash.
If the U.S. government can prove that Assange aided Manning in cracking the password, it would be evidence of a conspiracy between the two to hack a government computer to obtain unauthorized access.
What did Manning reveal that was “much worse” than an individual in a free society based on the rule of law unilaterally deciding on his own to release classified information? Oh, are you going to cherry pick single cables out of over a quarter million, such as the one showing the US was aware of girls being trafficked for sex to Afghan warlords in a society and culture that is utterly different from our own? Or are you going to count the whole of them, which shows nothing beyond the fact that the US has a thoughtful and dedicated foreign service, and actually revealed no egregious wrongdoing? Please tell me what the US has done that is so wrong that was NEW information learned from WikiLeaks, not information we already know, such as that the world is a complex place, and war is a terrible thing?
The Answer: This talking point is meant merely to conjure up the ever more irrelevant idea of American exceptionalism. If we are ever to live a peaceful world we need to put our nationalistic biases aside and look at issue from a politically neutral perspective. Without doing so we are stuck in the same trap human-kind has been trapped inside of for ages which is now more dangerous than ever since the divide and conquer technique is being used to implement a totalitarian control grid on a global scale.
First, for those who still think America is so great, this clip from HBO’s newsroom puts things in perspective – We may have been a great nation but lately we have really lost our way.
Regardless of whether you buy into that concept or not, claiming that the Wikileaks dumps didn’t reveal any shocking information we didn’t already know is a self-defeating propaganda claim that will only work on those who don’t critically think about it. If that is the case, then why is it so important to exterminate Manning and Assange along Wikileaks management, members and supporters?
The fact is even if you were to cherry pick only a single cable that shows to show the US is violating international war crimes laws then the whining about cherry-picking is trivial. We are a nation of laws and justice build upon the premise that innocent should be protected from criminals in order maintain law order. The purpose of those laws is not to allow criminals to hide in secrecy while they commit horrible crimes such as human trafficking, torture and murder.
Indeed, such crimes were uncovered by the Wikileaks dumps which also implicated other governments violating their laws to assist the United States in committing them. In times of tyranny telling the truth is treason and in such times it is the tyranny that needs to be dealt with not telling the truth.
Numerous crimes were revealed by the Wikileaks files. Crimes that no people in any age or era should allow their government to commit.
Furthermore, the claims that Assange assisted in cracking the NTLM just doesn’t pass smell test of anyone who is familiar with information security.
The reason is simply, using the term NTLM in the first place implies you know what it is and as such that would mean that you know it is easily cracked and do no need to seek third-party assistance in cracking it. The US tries to make this scenario sound plausible by claiming that Assange, under his alias in the chat to which the US has no evidence was really Assange using that alias, responded by saying yes they use ‘Rainbow Tables’ for that.
The ‘they’ in the response does not mean ‘wikileaks’ as we are lead to believe and here’s just how ridiculous this claim is – Want to crack an NTLM hash – here’s an online form to do it! MD5Decyrptor. Alternately, you could just send the hash to the MD5bot VIA which will respond with the decrypted hash. The technically savvy will notice that NTLM relies on the easily brute forced MD5 encryption technique. In fact, it is so insecure that you are likely to find plain text that will generate a collision you can use in place of the actual password. Let me explain.
Windows XP / NTLM login process (skipping the technical jargon):
- When you attempt to log into Windows your computer uses the password and calls a code which returns an MD5 hash of that password, which we will now refer to as MD5PasswordHash.
- Your computer then retrieves a stored MD5 hash from a database called SAM (Security Account Manager) for that account if Md5PasswordHash matches the stored MD5 hash.
- If it matches you get logged in, if not it prompts you to re-enter your password.
Notice that in step 2, the hash of your password is stored in the computers SAM. Using one of many hacker tools you can easily read password hash of the Administrator accounts on the computer.
According to the government’s accusations, Manning had this NTLM password hash for the administrator and needed help cracking it. This is hogwash because if he had the hashed password to begin with, he knew about how the Windows Login works and he had a tool to retrieve that password hash.
Hacker tools that can retrieve that password hash can crack it to because doing so is merely trivial. For each test password in the set of all possible passwords check to see if the MD5 hash of that password matches the MD5 has the computer has stored for the administrator’s password.
Moreover, MD5 is so secure that odds are you may find a plain text test password that generates the same MD5 hash as the real administrator’s password. When testing all possible passwords, you are likely to find this value long before you test the administrator’s password even though it isn’t the administrator’s password. This phenomenon is called an MD5 collision and is one of the main reasons that MD5 has been declared insecure and is being phased out of use in the world of encryption.
While the ‘rainbow tables’ sound like some magical or complex thing, in essence they are really nothing more than a database of stored MD5 hashes, but instead of storing all possible values, the database stores starting points from where it can easily calculate the plain text of a hash. The link that I pointed out above simply looks up your MD5 hash from their rainbow table database. This tool onlinehashcrack.com does the same.
Try it out: Go to onlinehashcrack.com and entire this hash (make sure there are no spaces) and crack it.
Now to claim that Manning was able to do the hard part – retrieve the hash from the computer for the administrator’s account but couldn’t crack is absurd in its own right. The tool he used to retrieve it would be able to do that. Even more absurd is if he knew what an NTLM was in the first place, then he knew just as you now know, he could just pop open a web page and crack the hash or send it to another services such as the MD5 bot on AIM.
More Talking Points
Here’s more of the same style talking points. I leave it as an exercise to my readers to compile responses to these propaganda points.
Talking Point: No country recognizes diplomatic asylum as granted by a foreign embassy within the first country. That would completely disrupt law and order. Non-extradition countries with looser bribery standards would open embassies in major cities around the world and wealthy wanted criminals could just walk in, pay the bribe, and walk out to the airport on their way to their new lives. The UK is obligated by EU law to take all necessary measures to apprehend Assange and extradite him to Sweden.
Talking Point: WikiLeaks was founded by Chinese dissidents, journalists, mathematicians and start-up company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa” and its “primary interest is in exposing oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East. After Assange took over he exclusively turned the focus of Wikileaks on the US to the exclusion of nearly every other government. Now that Assange has been sideline, Wikileaks has returned to their original goal as evident by their most recent release on Syria.
Talking Point: American should not trust Assange and Wikileaks because they are secretly and arm of Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies. This why Wikileaks has leaked anything on China or Russia and why Assange has been given his own show on Russia Today. Russian state media arranged Assange’s interview with Correa, the Ecuadorian Ambassodor, so Assange could be briefed on the plan to be granted Asylum by Ecuador.
Source: Higgins Blog