Yet another Wikileaks story? Yes, at least in part. But this one is different.
First: No matter what you think of Wikileaks, every thinking person must now concede that the Obama administration is willing to use underhanded means to screw over Julian Assange. The military keeps Bradley Manning in rough detention in order to force him to offer false testimony against the founder of Wikileaks. That testimony, in turn, will provide grounds for extradition. The government is, in short, behaving brutishly and indecently.
A good historical reference point might be the Randy Weaver case. Yes, Weaver was a far-right asshole -- but that fact did not justify the government's behavior toward him. The enemy of your enemy is not
necessarily your friend.
Chamber-gate -- my term for the growing Chamber of Commerce scandal, discussed in several previous posts -- is tied into the war against Wikileaks. Glenn Greenwald
documents this war in his outstanding series. Greenwald was targeted because he had published pro-Wikileaks articles.
One major villain, it would seem, is the law firm of Hunton & Williams, which represents the Chamber of Commerce. That firm also has ties to the Koch brothers, which funds the neo-fascist Tea Party movement.
As we saw in an earlier post, the cyber-security firm HBGary (which vied for the Hunton & Williams contract) simply concocted information about blogger Brad Friedman -- another perceived enemy -- and then asked to be paid big money for this "intel." As I showed in a previous post
, HPGary provided details that were not simply mistaken; they were invented
This fake research is troubling for many reasons. Marcy Wheeler
has demonstrated that HBGary was in communication with the FBI and the OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense). I fear that utterly bogus information about American citizens may be slipping and sliding through our intelligence agencies. Even the spooks may have lost track of reality.
Now lets zoom out for a wider view.Faked documents. This interview
with Greenwald raises more interesting questions than Greenwald himself may realize:
...there was a 2008 report, a secret report prepared by the Pentagon, about how to destroy WikiLeaks. And it talked about how WikiLeaks has undermined the United States and needed to be crippled. And this was even before the Apache helicopter video was released, before anyone really knew what WikiLeaks was the Pentagon had identified them as an enemy.
And the steps that the Pentagon discussed for how to cripple WikiLeaks credibility was quite similar to what these groups are talking about, which is creating false documents and submitting it to WikiLeaks to then make them publish it and that would destroy their credibility or compromising the confidentiality of their sources to destroy the trust between people who want to submit to WikiLeaks and WikiLeaks itself...
Remember, that Pentagon report came out in 2008. Have the disinformation games already begun?
Last December, Assange announced that unreleased Wikileaks documents contain references to UFOs
. More recently, Assange has backtracked
on that claim:
“I have said in passing there is information about UFOs in Cablegate,” said Assange in a statement released today. “And that is true, but these are only small passing references. Most of the material concerns UFO cults, and their behavior in recruiting people. For instance, there is quite a large cable, which we’ll try and release in the next few days, concerning the Raelians, a UFO cult which has a strong presence in Canada and was of concern to the U.S. ambassador in Canada..."
Maybe. But we should note that, in the space between the December announcement and today, some very odd unofficial
claims emerged concerning the upcoming Wikileaks UFO revelations. For example
A source from within the inner circle of the Wikileaks team has confidentially leaked to All News Web the content of a State Dept cable, concerning UFO affairs, that Wikileaks has declined to upload onto their website.
The cable states: "It is critical all embassy staff understand that they are not to discuss under any circumstance concerns DOD has with UFOs entering orbit, once again the seriousness of this matter cannot be overstated"
The cable was sent on 9 November, 2005 by the State Dept to a diplomat connected to the US embassy in Kiev, Ukraine. As it implies, the State Dept was concerned with diplomats with loose tongues chatting about UFOs at cocktail parties and conceding that the US does allocate resources to the matter.
Since the information is unsourced and unconfirmed, we have every reason to suspect a hoax. As hoaxes go, this one is pretty good -- if only because the hoaxer did not make the common error of tossing in outrageous details. Usually, the fakers go a few steps too far.Here
we find another apparent hoax, of a rather bolder variety. (As a little googling will reveal, a number of other sites reference this allegation.) Once more, the tale takes us to the former Soviet Union:
A new report circulating in the Kremlin today prepared for President Medvedev by Russian Space Forces (VKS) 45th Division of Space Control says that an upcoming WikiLeaks release of secret US cables details that the Americans have been “engaged” since 2004 in a “war” against UFO’s based on or near the Continent of Antarctica, particularly the Southern Ocean. According to this report, the United States went to its highest alert level on June 10, 2004 after a massive fleet of UFO’s “suddenly emerged” from the Southern Ocean and approached Guadalajara, Mexico barely 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) from the American border.
Is this story a fake? Of course. Bet the rent money on it.
The most interesting aspect of this story is the reference to the Antarctic. The hoaxer probably wanted to lend credence to the "Nazi UFO" legend promulgated by Canada's Ernst Zundel and other unsavory acolytes of Adolf.
(According to a post-war myth, the leaders of the Third Reich built a secret underground base in Antarctica, where they constructed a battalion of German-made flying saucers. I've met people who actually believe this nonsense.)
Now, my purpose here is not debate the existence of UFOs. (Longtime readers know of my skepticism toward all claims of alien visitation.) My argument is subtler.
I have long believed that intelligence agencies have used fake UFO documents -- like these
-- as training exercises
. The goal: Tracking the ways false information can be spread throughout a society. Since ufology is, for the most part, an intellectual ghetto, the fakes can do no serious harm. Once the techniques of meme-propagation are perfected, once the sociology of disinformation's spread has been studied and codified, the skills thus acquired can be transferred to more important realms -- such as spreading false information about political opponents.
Perhaps something of that sort has already happened in the Wikileaks case.
Perhaps Assange was given faked documents about UFOs -- hence his initial announcement on December 3, 2010. Sensing that something about those cables was amiss, he later decided to underplay them in order to save his entire operation from being discredited.
That's one scenario. It's not the only possibility, of course.
Do we have any further indication that "leaked" documents have included some deliberate ringers? Oh yes.The Cryptome connection.
As many of you know, Wikileaks was co-founded by John Young of Cryptome
, an older group dedicated to exposing secrets. Young later broke with Assange, and has even accused Assange of running a cleverly-disguised intelligence front
I am unpersuaded by that accusation, which we have touched on in previous posts. (Some ideas are too paranoid even for me
.) But we should consider the possibility that Wikileaks and Cryptome could be used by spooks, or by other agenda-driven players, as a method of propagating false data.
For example, Cryptome has has given credence to the post-mortum revelations of one Robert Crowley
, who is thus described:
He was a senior Central Intelligence Agency officer from 1948 until the mid-1980s.
During his tenure with the CIA, Crowley became Assistant Deputy Director for Operations and the second-in-command of the clandestine Directorate of Operations.
He wrote a book entitled The New KGB: Engine of Soviet Power that was published in 1985 by William Morrow.
In 1996, prior to what Crowley felt might be a fatal major surgery for suspected lung cancer, he gave a number of historical documents from his extensive personal files to an American journalist with whom he had been working.
One of the caveats of this gift was that none of the material could be used or published until after his death.
For instance, among papers in the Crowley archives there is an explosive signed report concerning the underlying facts of the assassination of President John Kennedy and other material on such controversial issues as Operation Phoenix, the MK-ULTRA program, Operations Condor and Applepie, and even an in-house budget for the 1996-97 fiscal years.
You've probably already spotted the indicators of possible trouble. Here's the big problem: These files are in the custody of one Gregory Douglas
We've run into this character before. The quickest summary is here
Source is a Nazi (literally) called Gregory Douglas
He makes stuff up for a living (google Regicide for an example) & flogs pro-Germany (some forged - purported Mueller interrogation files for eg) WW2 stuff on the side. Also goes by Walter Storch, Peter Stahl & more
"Peter Stahl" is the name of a notorious creator of counterfeit Rodin sculptures
is a book about the JFK assassination, filled with outright concoctions. The most in-depth investigation of the man and his work can be found here
. It is claimed (but not, to my satisfaction, proven) that Douglas/Stahl has worked for various professional intelligence services, although he certainly seems to have his own agenda.
In short and in sum: Douglas is part of a small team of extremists who spend an unhealthy amount of time cobbling together bogus documents. Their Orwellian goal is to rewrite history.
In a lengthy post published in May of 2009, we looked at some of the other concoctions
by Gregory Douglas. He claims to have acquired transcripts of a lengthy CIA interview with Gestapo chief Heinrich Mueller, conducted many years after World War II. In reality, Mueller probably died at the end of the war. The alleged documents in Douglas' possession have never been made available for outside examination; instead, the Mueller revelations were published in a book which is not easy to find.
The volume was published by R. James Bender, which seems to specialize in large, worshipful volumes devoted to German militariana. I suspect that the people who buy these books also root for the bad guys when they see The Sound of Music.
To judge from the handful of Amazon reviews, the Douglas volume transcribes a communique "proving" that FDR engineered the Pearl Harbor attack. There's also "proof" that the Holocaust did not exist, along with much talk of made-by-the-USA flying saucers.
Douglas also appears to be linked to TRBNews, which, during the Dubya years, fooled a lot of naive lefties with a series of faked "Voice of the White House" columns.
A CIA deputy director named Robert Crowley
did exist. That fact does not mean that any of the revelations
provided by Gregory Douglas are genuine. Many of the claims made by Douglas and attributed to Crowley strike me as ludicrous.
Nevertheless, Cryptome accepts these claims as genuine. See here
-- and take note of the comments by "Walter Storch," another Douglas alter-ego. (God only knows what the man's real name is.)
My point is simple: If Cryptome's John Young (who is older and perhaps wiser than Assange) was fooled by such obvious fakes, then all sorts of hoaxes may be lurking within the unreleased Wikileaks material. If revealed, will those hoaxes be believed? Will they discredit the genuine information?
Young believes that one Wikileaks document dump, concerning Iran's arsenal, does contain deliberately faked data
In recent days, leaked documents have made history. In the future, they may also make up