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Wikileaks and Anonymous Join Forces Against US Intelligence Community 268

pigrabbitbear writes "The most recent bombshell of confidential documents dropped by infamous watchdog organization Wikileaks is already looking to have an enormous impact on our understanding of government security practices. Specifically, intimate details on the long-suspected fact that the U.S. has been paying a whole lot of money to have private corporations spy on citizens, activists and other groups and individuals on their ever-expanding, McCarthy-style naughty list. But perhaps more importantly, the docs demonstrate something very interesting about the nature of U.S. government intelligence: They haven't really got much of it."
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Wikileaks and Anonymous Join Forces Against US Intelligence Community

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @06:08PM (#39203419)

    Stratfor is a PRIVATE company. The fact that they "spy" on activists or whatever their corporate clients pay them to do has ZERO to do with US intelligence agencies. To be explicit: the "US" is NOT paying private companies to "spy" on activists. That information does not cross over, and the Intelligence Community is not authorized to collect on US Persons, except where allowed by law or authorized by a properly adjudicated warrant from a court of law. I know people on Slashdot don't like to believe this, and prefer to imagine that the sole purpose of the Intelligence Community is spying on our own citizens instead of, you know, doing the jobs they've been charged to do.

    Terrible article and summary. F.

    • by ClintJCL ( 264898 ) <clintjcl+slashdot@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @06:16PM (#39203495) Homepage Journal
      "The fact that they "spy" on activists or whatever their corporate clients pay them to do has ZERO to do with US intelligence agencies."

      If US intelligence has access to the results of their spying, OR pays for it, then it has WAY MORE THAN ZERO to do with it.

      Nice try at 2 + 2 = 5, though. It would be commendable if you had the balls to not be anonymous about it.

    • by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @06:18PM (#39203507) Homepage Journal

      Apparently you didn't read the article, so you may want to reduce that last sentence to "terrible summary." TFA is about how some of the work Stratfor has done is total crap, and how the intelligence budget is nothing but cronyism hidden behind classification. Their surveillance on the Yes Men, for example, goes no further than publicly-available information provided by the Yes Men, and a substantial chunk of other work is just Google Translate output on news articles.

      Reminder: any time you see a budget increase for defence purposes, there's some kind of pork or corruption behind it.

      • by Rimbo ( 139781 ) <rimbosity&sbcglobal,net> on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @06:38PM (#39203611) Homepage Journal

        Uhm... maybe that's because Stratfor is not an "intelligence" agency in the same way that the FBI or CIA are. They're just a private company trying to make a buck by selling their opinions.

        They're basically Rivals.com, but focused on politics rather than sports. And about as much a part of the US intelligence structure as Rivals.com is.

        That's why folks like AC above and myself are shaking our collective heads, wondering when Allen Funt is going to jump out from behind Julian Assange and shout, "Surprise!"

        • by Samantha Wright ( 1324923 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @07:43PM (#39204129) Homepage Journal
          Agreed, Stratfor is hardly the biggest offence in terms of budget misappropriation, although the evidence is highly in favour of the 'no money should be spent on this at all' label, and suggests that the intelligence community is gathering huge amounts of unnecessary data because they have no idea what they need. (We have a similar problem in bioinformatics, but ours isn't caused by baseless paranoia.) Budget-wise, the really scary disasters are things like TRAILBLAZER [wikipedia.org] (also mentioned in the article) which are heavily protected from scrutiny through their deep classification. You might further find the connected story of Thomas Drake [newyorker.com] interesting.
        • by rs79 ( 71822 )

          Top 5 revelations so far (h/t Juan Cole) of the first few emails out of five million to be released:

          1. Up to 12 Pakistani active-duty and retired officers from the Inter-Services Intelligence agency knew that Usama Bin Laden was in Abbottabad and were in regular contact with him. The Pakistani chief of staff is denying the report.
          2. Dow Chemicals hired Stratfor to spy on activists in Agra who continue to protest over the Bhopal environmental disaster that blinded many workers and destroyed their health. I.e

          • by Rimbo ( 139781 )

            Pretty much goes with what I said above, as in: I'm not sure which of those is really a revelation. #1 and #4 are just Stratfor's best guesses, like reading an "insider" report on a closed basketball practice on the 'net. #2 is just like hiring a PI to snoop on your wife. #3 and #5 are pretty much common knowledge. (Also: I think Burton's kinda nutty -- also easily-attainable knowledge for anyone who read his autobiography.)

            Wikileaks and Anonymous keep bragging about this as if they'd exposed some private a

      • by NicBenjamin ( 2124018 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @07:21PM (#39203953)

        It's amazing how little people know about intelligence gathering. The Government is not magic. It is an organization. A big and powerful organization, but an organization nonetheless.

        They have a bunch of databases of information they can use. Shockingly, few people are willing to put their press releases in a format that this database automatically understands. This means that if the government wants to know what an organization posts on it's public website some poor schmuck has to go to the website, read the information, and copy/paste into the official database.

        It shouldn't be surprising that a group like the Yes Men, whose information is in English and written in way that's supposed to be accesible to ordinary Americans, gets looked at by the losers of the intelligence community, Stratfor, and not official agents.

        Without seeing the contract I can't say whether this is losing the government money. This is low-level work, which means people in their first jobs, and the Federal pay structure is such that you make a little more then you're worth in the low pay-grades ($30-$35k out of college, even if you're a Liberal Arts Major), and get full benefits, but then get screwed when you get promoted (Obama only makes $400k, CEOs making that typically oversee less then 1% of the Fed $Trillion budget). Depending on Stratfor's negotiating prowess we could be saving thousands, or being screwed.

      • BBC Monitoring employs humans to translate foreign news articles. Knowing what newspapers around the world are saying about political stuff can be useful.

    • by The_Wilschon ( 782534 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @06:20PM (#39203523) Homepage
      Well, the article appears to be stating the exact opposite of what you have just asserted, to wit, that the US government IS paying private companies to "spy" on activists. Either you or the article must be wrong, since you are making incompatible assertions. Unfortunately, I have neither the time nor the patience to go through the documents in question on wikileaks in order to determine whether the article's depiction of affairs is accurate, based on those documents (and the presumption that they are themselves reliable).
      • by Chuck Chunder ( 21021 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @06:42PM (#39203657) Homepage Journal
        . The article states:

        In one example, emails reveal that Stratfor had been tracking the political performance art collective The Yes Men, a group famous for impersonating politicians and corporate representatives in order to showcase the absurdity and corruption present within powerful institutions. But “tracking” in this case merely involved selling the government a list of public appearances planned by the group’s members.

        but the very page they link to [wikileaks.org] in that quote has the "Yes Men Monitoring" related emails being sent to:

        mkolleth@dow.com, sbwheeler@dow.com, tomm_sprick@yahoo.com, mediarelations@unioncarbide.com, CMKnochel@dow.com

        none of which suggest that they are "selling the government" this information.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Catbeller ( 118204 )

      What utter nonsense. The US government has been hiring "private" companies to do what they themselves are forbidden to do. Among other things, especially for spying on Americans.

    • by decora ( 1710862 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @07:16PM (#39203919) Journal

      The three companies that made up 'Team Themis', the team planned to help Bank of America respond to a never-completed wikileaks dump of BoA data, by character-assassinating journalists and 'activists', were all govt contractors.

      Berico Technologies - owned by ex-military, run by ex-military, major customer = us government.

      Palantir Technologies - makes software to help aggregate data about people, us govt contractor

      HB Gary - this is the one that Anonymous hacked and dumped the data on. they were a us govt contractor, and they routinely spied on all kinds of groups.


      does that prove that the govt is paying companies to spy on citizens? no. its just that dozens of companies whose main purpose and expertise is to spy on people, and who are staffed by people who spent their entire military career spying on people, just so happen to be receiving billions and billions of dollars from the government to do various jobs that we are not allowed to know about, because of 'national security'.

      now, then, of course, there is the long relationship between the US govt and private companies, and spying, going back to World War I, and then later on the ITT corporation, Western Union, and so forth. Then there was AT&T in more recent years, as well as the major phone network companies, who agreed to cooperate with NSA without caring about the law, except for QWest.

      then there are the 'fusion centers'. should i go on?

    • the Intelligence Community is not authorized to collect on US Persons, except where allowed by law or authorized by a properly adjudicated warrant from a court of law. I know people on Slashdot don't like to believe this, and prefer to imagine that the sole purpose of the Intelligence Community is spying on our own citizens instead of, you know, doing the jobs they've been charged to do.

      If that is the case, then how do you explain this [eff.org] or this [nytimes.com] or this [aclu.org]. Sorry buddy, but you have to get your head out of the sand.

    • by deaddeng ( 63515 ) *

      This story cracks me up. STRATFOR is a joke (example-- 10 years ago the founder predicted the US would fight its next war against JAPAN). The fact that Wikileaks thinks that publishing emails stolen by Anon. is a blow for freedom confirms that Wikileaks is a bigger joke than Stratfor, striving to seem relevant while Julian A. awaits trial for rape. This story is like the Weekly World News unmasking the dark plots of Amway, and the fact that /. published a complete garble of Stratfor as a US government int

    • A lot of the "intelligence" justifying the war came from private sources, most notably a PR firm. Also there has been bullshit of this type dating back to Ford with a private "intelligence" group being used to deliver the "correct" answers when the CIA inconveniently stuck to facts. I'm sure there was plenty previously but some of those in the scam for Ford are still in positions where people mistakenly respect them (eg. Rumsfeld).
  • Surprising? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sbates ( 1832606 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @06:10PM (#39203437)

    It's only surprising if you believe Hollywood hype. The halls of the White House are not bristling with people hell-bent on preventing the next disaster. Life is extraordinarily mundane. The majority of the people in government are moving pages and pages of some of the most sleep-inducing content available. I'm far more apt to believe Tom Clancy's novels depicting CIA, FBI etc getting their intelligence from CNN.

    • Re:Surprising? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @06:25PM (#39203547)

      I used to think of doctors as nearly infallible. Then I graduated college and realized that they, and every other human being on this planet, are just human beings. It amazes me that anything we, as a society, builds actually works. The problem with someone believing there are all these agencies out to get them is that they credit your fellow human beings too much. These agencies are not nearly as organized or capable as we give them credit for. You want to know how Rlatko Mladic, the Serbian war criminal, was caught? Some woman in the CIA asked one of his former associates, "so uh, you don't happen to know where he is, do you? I know your child is ill, and I could help get them into the States for medical treatment." That's not particularly high-tech, nor does it take much coordination, discipline, or creativity.

      • by Sique ( 173459 )

        This doesn't connect very well with the reports about Ratko Mladic's arrest I've read.
        As far as I know, the local secret police of Lazarevo in the Vojvodina was arresting Ratko Mladic. While it was long suspected that enough officials in Serbia knew about his whereabouts, but some attempts to arrest him were thwarted by doing nothing or the information about a planned arrest being leaked to Ratko Mladic's environment.

    • Re:Surprising? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Dodgy G33za ( 1669772 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @06:25PM (#39203549)

      I have worked in government circles for years now, and by far the majority of people in public service are time servers whose focus is not their jobs, but rather their lives. The focus is far more on complying with policy than with outcomes, and delivering "something", whether or not that something ends up being of any use to anyone.

      Those is public service who are ambitious tend not to focus on the particular job at hand, but instead charting a path up the greasy pole.

      All in all the resemblance to a feudal court is uncanny. The peasants do the work under sufferance, the lords fight amongst each other, and any progress that is made is down to a few people with drive, or not at all.

      Actually come to think about it the private sector isn't THAT different, it is just that times have moved on and the Landed Gentry are quite happy to enact Acts of Enclosure and evict the peasants if sheep farming turns out more profitable with less headcount.

      • The focus is far more on complying with policy than with outcomes [..] Actually come to think about it the private sector isn't THAT different, it is just that times have moved on and the Landed Gentry are quite happy to enact Acts of Enclosure and evict the peasants if sheep farming turns out more profitable with less headcount.

        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aVOXYMUW4qo [youtube.com]

  • by ozmanjusri ( 601766 ) <aussie_bob.hotmail@com> on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @06:11PM (#39203443) Journal
    And so many people thought the rebellion would be started by traditional heroes - macho men with guns and explosives.

    Instead, it's up to a bunch of unethical misbegotten nerds from 4Chan to save the day.

  • Poking at the "U.S. Intelligence Community" as smart as pulling on Superman's cape or giving Batman a wedgie.

    Anonymous? Guy Fawkes masks. CIA/FBI/No Such Agency -- a near-unending supply of money, guns, badges, warrants, subpoenas, and black bag jobs -- and that's just for the U.S. citizens IN THIS COUNTRY.

    You in another country? How about a little extraordinary rendition and an all expense paid trip to a black prison?

    Just today, here on /. -- "25 Alleged Anonymous Hackers Arrested By Interpol".

    Jabbing a

    • giving Batman a wedgie.

      That would be hilarious. They should put it into the next movie.

  • by mrquagmire ( 2326560 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @06:17PM (#39203499)
    ...became painfully obvious after the 9/11 attacks and subsequent "WMDs" in Iraq. I could honestly not believe how much our government didn't know about what was going on in our own country, let alone the rest of the world.
    • by daveschroeder ( 516195 ) * on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @06:58PM (#39203791)

      The fact that I can't believe we're equating Stratfor with the entire Intelligence Community aside...perhaps an examination of the Iraq WMD situation is in order.

      There is no truth. There is only perception. — Gustave Flaubert

      The motto of CIA's National Clandestine Service is the Latin Veritatem Cognoscere: Know the truth. It's no wonder that so many believe the function of intelligence services is to discover the "truth".

      Mark Lowenthal spends time explaining that intelligence is not about truth at all, but rather about arriving at some informed conclusion about reality, or possible future realities, neither of which can be considered strictly to be "truth".

      "Intelligence is not about truth. If something were known to be true, states would not need intelligence agencies to collect the information or analyze it. Truth is such an absolute term that it sets a standard that intelligence rarely would be able to achieve. It is better — and more accurate — to think of intelligence as proximate reality. Intelligence agencies face issues or questions and do their best to arrive at a firm understanding of what is going on. They can rarely be assured that even their best and most considered analysis is true. Their goals are intelligence products that are reliable, unbiased, and honest (that is, free from politicization). These are all laudable goals, yet they are still different from truth." (Lowenthal 2009)

      Perhaps the biggest issue with "truth" in intelligence work is the absolute nature of "truth". If it is an analyst's job to find the "truth", then any deviation from that analysis by actual events means that the analysis was a "lie".

      "Is intelligence truth-telling? One of the common descriptions of intelligence is that it is the job of 'telling truth to power'. (This sounds fairly noble, although it is important to recall that court jesters once had the same function.) Intelligence, however, is not about truth. (If something is known to be true then we do not need intelligence services to find it out.) Yet the image persists and carries with it some important ethical implications. If truth were the objective of intelligence, does that raise the stakes for analysis? [...] A problem with setting truth as a goal is that it has a relentless quality. [...if] an analyst's goal is to tell the truth — especially to those in power who might not want to hear it — then there is no room for compromise, no possible admission of alternative views." (Lowenthal 2009)

      This creates an environment where success is impossible, because discovering "truth" by every measure is a standard that can never be reached. It also discourages differing analytic viewpoints, each of which may be equally valid. Ultimately, someone needs to look at the available information and make a decision:

      "[T]he role of intelligence is not to tell the truth but to provide informed analysis to policy makers to aid their decision making." (Lowenthal 2009)

      The greatest enemy of any one of our truths may be the rest of our truths. — William James

      Clark (2010) takes a different approach, likening analysis to legal wrangling in a courtroom, where the truth is discovered by the back-and-forth of the adversarial process. Like truth itself, defining the barriers to finding it can be just as subjective. Clark highlights three important facets which must be ascertained before ultimately arriving at the "truth":

      Is it the truth? — Is the information in question a fact, or an opinion? Does it conflict with other information? Or does other information support the same conclusion? All-source analysis can help confirm information that is collected via one discipline, helping to establish a hypothesis as fact.

      Is it the whole truth? — The reliability of the source, whether technical or human, must be critically considered. Is the information incomplete? A lie of omission, or significant missing information, can erase whatever "truth" is being supp

      • After the invasion, only then did we discover that the US analysis was almost all wrong. But was the analysis in fact wrong?

        How else can you judge analysis except against reality? Maybe on proper penmanship? Israel has WMD. Britain has WMD. China has WMD. Pakistan has WMD. Why on Earth would any sensible analysis of WMD lead anyone to invade Iraq instead of one of those other countries?

        Here's my analysis for you: invest all your money in SCOX. I hear they've got Copyrights of Mass Destruction wi
      • Well, there's a lot of prevarication in your comment. The first quote by Mark Lowenthal is not very encouraging:

        "Intelligence is not about truth. If something were known to be true, states would not need intelligence agencies to collect the information or analyze it. Truth is such an absolute term that it sets a standard that intelligence rarely would be able to achieve.

        That makes no sense. Of course it takes people and information collections to obtain the truth, even if it is already known by o

    • by Radical Moderate ( 563286 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @07:03PM (#39203837)
      but rather lack of integrity. The US intelligence wouldn't give Cheney & friends an excuse to invade Iraq, so they created a new intel unit [wikipedia.org] that somehow found all kinds of WMD-related intel...which, surprise, surprise, turned out to be bogus.
      • ...except that this office wasn't needed to make the case on Iraqi WMD. Intelligence analysis doesn't always equal reality. I explain this in great detail here [slashdot.org].

        Forget about your own political leanings or personal biases. Without intelligence that was questionable or even potentially "manipulated" (a strong charge which requires strong evidence), the case for Iraqi WMD was still strong.

        Further, the US and its partners discovered 700,000 tons of non-WMD UN-banned weapons when we invaded. Iraq was in violation

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by GSloop ( 165220 )

          Further, the US and its partners discovered 700,000 tons of non-WMD UN-banned weapons when we invaded. Iraq was in violation of not one, not two, but THREE binding and in-force UN Security council resolutions, any one of which allowed for the use of force with no further justification.

          Citation needed.

    • I could honestly not believe how much our government didn't know about what was going on in our own country, let alone the rest of the world.

      An honest assessment of history shows that the CIA is almost always wrong. The President could have a coin minted that said 'Intelligence' and flip it and do better.

      If you believe their intelligence units are their reason for being, then you need to ask why they're constant re-authorized. Or, perhaps, understand that the question assumes a false basis.

      • There's a saying in Washington, first articulated by Thomas Fingar:

          "I learned something a long time ago in this town. There are only two possibilities: policy success and intelligence failure."

        If we're going to be "honest" about it, the fact is that you can say that "the CIA is almost always wrong" is because the public generally only sees the failures, and almost never the successes.

        • by bill_mcgonigle ( 4333 ) * on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @09:15PM (#39204655) Homepage Journal

          the public generally only sees the failures, and almost never the successes

          Well, it's a matter of how 'success' is defined. Sure the CIA was 'succesful' in overthrowing The Sha in Iran, but the results were disastrous (see the front page of any paper). Repeat for any number of South and Central American countries, Pol Pot, etc.

          If you want to claim that there are secret successes that nobody knows about - well, don't expect us to prove the negative.

          • Argh, you're going to force me to undo modding for this one, but I've got to reply...

            To the best of my knowledge, the CIA absolutely did not overthrow the Shah in Iran. The Shah was a staunch ally of the US, and his overthrow (and subsequent formation of the Islamic Republic) was a complete disaster (see the front page of any newspaper). Received wisdom is that the CIA were taken completely by surprise by the popular uprising against the Shah, and that that represents one of their more embarrassing 10th cen

  • Okay, so let's raise some ire over this. The government responds. They do so in one of two ways:

    1) Fire Stratfor, which closes and reopens under another moniker (I hear "Blackwater" is available these days), then hire "new" company at a lesser amount. (Or, if the right two people are pals, a higher amount.)

    2) Fire Stratfor, use the money to hire a competent intelligence firm.

    I think in this case we can all bitch and moan about government limpness, but should go no further. Considering the current crop of

  • I don't understand the complaint. First pigrabbitbear complains that they are spying on private citizens, groups, etc.

    But when the article says they are not spying, but only compiling publicly available information, pigrabbitbear complains that they are spying too little.

    Which is it? Isn't the latter what privacy advocates would want? The author of the article complains about the cost, but doesn't say how much the government paid.

    And why do I trust or care what an "Electronic musician and computer culture j

  • Newsflash (Score:3, Interesting)

    by crow_t_robot ( 528562 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @07:02PM (#39203829)
    Newsflash, dickbags:
    US intelligence services have ALWAYS been fucking awful. I don't care how many Jason Bourne movies you have watched, US intel has been shit since the day it started as the OSS. Please take the time to read the book, Legacy Of Ashes and you can begin to see what a clownshow US intelligence services have been for the past 60+ years.

    • by PPH ( 736903 )

      Maybe. Or maybe they have their own agenda.

      Example: I remember back when India tested its first nuclear device. Supposedly, the CIA was caught off guard. Even when The Economist [economist.com] called it right.

      So the CIA is staffed by a bunch of morons, right? Maybe not. Perhaps they have an interest in the proliferation of nukes in that region. Both India and Pakistan have them now. They managed to acquire them with nothing like the screaming and crying that Iran's development program is causing. That was a major failur

      • by zill ( 1690130 )
        The CIA was caught off guard about the dissolution of the Soviet Union as well. Was there a deeper reason for that too?
      • by dbIII ( 701233 )
        The "government is so powerful and omniscient that it only pretends to fail to lull us to sleep" view rises again. Meanwhile back in reality there was almost nobody that could even understand the languages that the intelligence would have been written in because they were laid off and funding moved elsewhere.
        Sorry kid, they have been fools for a long time and running the CIA has been little more than a sinecure since Ford. DHS was formed because the CIA could not do it's job but a playboy Prince didn't ha
        • by PPH ( 736903 )

          The "government is so powerful and omniscient that it only pretends to fail to lull us to sleep" view rises again.

          No. Its the "government is made up of lots of little, self interested groups that it seems to fail" view.

          There's a principle called institutional intelligence that allows organizations to run efficiently if each member performs their assigned functions per the planned process. The trouble is; that breaks down, and at times rather spectacularly, if some of the members discover that they can game the system to their advantage. And its not always people in the middle ranks with the agendas. IIRC, the intellig

          • by dbIII ( 701233 )
            Well OK, but one interesting angle with the Niger fraud was that Saddam already had a lot of yellowcake in Iraq but no people or equipment to do much with it and the UN had known about that for years. The Niger fraud was another little bit of the petty "freedom fries" bullshit to attempt to make the French look bad, and once again the mine had been closed for years so wasn't sending yellowcake anyware. The French can do that without any help from some sort of petty dummy spit in the White House. The alle
    • by tomhath ( 637240 )
      It's called "undercover" for a reason. Most of what they do you never know about because they don't want anyone to know.
    • by zill ( 1690130 )
      I heard they gave out free LSD back in the 50's. Anyone handing out free drugs is awesome in my books.
  • What I get out of the article is that Anonymous' huge stash of documents amounts to a big nothing. What did they find? It seems the good stuff is beyond the reach of a few script kiddies; imagine that.
  • by NicBenjamin ( 2124018 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @07:49PM (#39204175)

    Because this article is silly.

    Let's leave aside the fact that the article's thesis is self-contradictory (either government is spying too much, or not enough), the simple fact is that the emails linked to have nothing to do with any government. They're work Stratfor did for Union Carbide and Dow Chemical. We know this because if you go to the link the to: addresses do not end in .gov. They are to unioncarbide.com, dow.com, tomm_sprick@yahoo.com, stratfor.com, and some Canadian website.

    Stratfor does intelligence for private companies and the government. This means that, while some of their work may have something to do with public policy, most of it doesn't. In this case it's pretty clear what happened:

    The CEO of Dow (which owns Union-Carbide), noticed the Yes-Men and said "somebody should keep an eye on them." His buddy/trusted subordinate said "What's the budget? I think I know a company?" And since then Stratfor has been raking in the dough for sitting on their asses browsing the website.

    There's no governmental violation of the Yes Men's privacy rights because the government isn't involved. There's no waste of public funds because no public funds are being spent.

    This kind of confusion is probably actually what WikiLeaks was looking for. They are too lazy to find actual government waste (and if it was easy to do so the pols in DC would have done it already, and then had a Press Conference crowing about it), so they find an organization that other lazy people will assume is part of the government, and release documents proving it's kind of silly. *poof* millions of people too lazy to click the link will assume Wikileaks has helped them ferret out government corruption.

  • Since anonymous is, at least according to the common understanding, anonymous, it may have US members. If US citizens collaborate with anyone in targeting US intelligence community, they would be guilty of bona fide treason.

    This opens the room for targeting Wikileaks in the way that the Manning leak did not. The Manning leak made Bradley Manning a traitor but allowed Wikileaks to remain journalists. If Wikileaks participates in targeting of the US intelligence, then they won't be receiving information

  • by Karmashock ( 2415832 ) on Wednesday February 29, 2012 @10:18PM (#39204967)

    if they piss off the CIA and NSA... I'm not saying their prized pet poodles will be snatched by black ops and wisked away to secret dungeons to be water boarded... but at a certain point they have so many resources and legal loopholes at their disposal that screwing with them is not a survival trait.

    I think a lot of hackers stay out of jail because no cares enough to track them down and not so much because they're eLiTe or whatever. What this sort of provocative actions do is put a taskforce that will be paid 7 days a week to hunt them. And that means any stupid illegal thing they've doubtless done and gotten away with... might come back to bit them in the ass... and then eat them alive.

    If they hadn't actually broken any laws it might not be a huge issue for them. But I'm pretty sure they've broken lots including some identity theft and credit card fraud. You can go away for years for that. So if they want you... they can throw you in prison somewhere. All they have to do is find you.

    If I were these guys... I'd be doing everything in my power to vanish and disassociate with the larger group.

    Something we learned from the war on terror is that the CIA likes to infiltrate groups by posing as one of them. They do that either by taking out someone and then assuming their identity or simply entering the organization at a lower level.

    A fair number of the people in anonymous at this point might actually be government operatives posing as allied hackers.

  • to attack the U.S. with their new arsenal.. consisting of some Pentium 4's and a Android phone

Lo! Men have become the tool of their tools. -- Henry David Thoreau