In Case Anything Happens To WikiLeaks … They Have Posted A Mysterious ‘Insurance’ File

The plot thickens … Excellent story from Kim Zetter on the always interesting WIRED’s Threat Level:

In the wake of strong U.S. government statements condemning WikiLeaks’ recent publishing of 77,000 Afghan War documents, the secret-spilling site has posted a mysterious encrypted file labeled “insurance.”

The huge file, posted on the Afghan War page at the WikiLeaks site, is 1.4 GB and is encrypted with AES256. The file’s size dwarfs the size of all the other files on the page combined. The file has also been posted on a torrent download site as well.

WikiLeaks, on Sunday, posted several files containing the 77,000 Afghan war documents in a single “dump” file and in several other files containing versions of the documents in various searchable formats.

Cryptome, a separate secret-spilling site, has speculated that the file may have been posted as insurance in case something happens to the WikiLeaks website or to the organization’s founder, Julian Assange. In either scenario, WikiLeaks volunteers, under a prearranged agreement with Assange, could send out a password or passphrase to allow anyone who has downloaded the file to open it.

It’s not known what the file contains but it could include the balance of data that U.S. Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning claimed to have leaked to Assange before he was arrested in May.

Read More: WIRED’s Threat Level

  • sebastian

    These people are the heroes of this generation.

    • Gemmarama

      totally, way to make the rest of us feel like mere pawns…

    • Zenc

      So far they've done pretty good, we'll see how that holds up. I have a feeling that Assange may have to part ways with wikileaks for wikileaks to get where they want to be.

      In any case, I'm 100% confident that I've torched more police cruisers and pissed in more risottos than any of the wikileaks staff.

      So at least I have that going for me.

      • VoxMagi

        Did you fart on any meringue?

        • Zenc

          No, I haven't done that.

          Funny you should mention that, though.

          When I was much younger (mid 1980's) I had a very close friend with the same last name I have. Even without knowing our last names, people often assumed we were brothers, we were that much alike.

          And to be honest, he was in many ways a “cooler” version of me.

          Instead of finishing school, he dropped out and ended up working a series of crappy service industry jobs while waiting to get into the Army. Normally he worked Chinese restaurants (he had an Asia fetish), but on occasion he would work banquets and reported to me that one of his favorite things to do was piss in the green beans…

          Imagine my surprise when 15 years later I'm watching a movie were the same sort of shit is going on. We called them “night missions” and they were as much about “culture jamming” (the term wasn't in use at that time) as they were destruction.

          We have long since lost touch, which was probably a good thing. I'm pretty brazen (I've been arrested on 3 different continents) but his level of daring made even me uncomfortable.

          • VoxMagi

            I loved Jello Biafra's advice on early versions of prankster/culture jamming. For me it was tagging disinformation/slogans in the 80's on overpasses…

            but I had a pair of friends who once repainted all the 'measuring marks' painted on the highway for sky choppers to clock speeders.. they went up the highway late at night hopping out and painting over them to match the blacktop. Must've drove the city crazy.

          • A Bad Joke

            So pissing in peoples food is “culture jamming”

            I thought the term was “asshole”?

          • Zenc

            That's part of the beauty of the English language, there's often more than one word for the same thing.

    • Haystack

      They've definitely achieved folk-heroic status, but I have mixed feelings. I feel pretty confident that releasing these documents will get people killed. They include names of specific people who might be targeted by the Taliban, and, on a more basic level, they provide information about US tactics. Positions of troops, for example, may be out of date, but the pattern of troop movements over six years gives you a lot of useful information about our tactics. You can't release 90k pages of information like that and pretend that it won't include anything of material value to the enemy.

      In the minds of the Wikileaks crew, releasing these documents will save lives if it helps bring the war to a close. Its not clear that they will. The revelations in these documents aren't on par with the pentagon papers. Largely they just draw attention to what we already knew.

      Maybe it's a good thing, maybe not. My point is that Wikileaks took it upon themselves to decide that it would be worth it to endanger allied troops and Afghan collaborators in order to create negative publicity that might bring the war to an earlier close. That's not a decision that I would personally feel comfortable making, and it makes me wonder of Assange & co are displaying moral courage, or just arrogance.

      • malatesting123

        A few things..
        1) you know what else gives (much better) information about tactics? 9 years of direct observation, something the taliban and other insurgents have done plenty of.

        2)”these documents arent on par with the pentagon papers” well, daniel ellsberg says otherwise. Oh, and the pentagon papers just confirmed what had been reported for some time when they were released.

        3) To call those who spread truth and shine a light in the darkness “arrogant” is rather insulting to those of us who value things like freedom, justice, you know, all that crap noone cares about anymore.

        • Haystack

          These documents include such information as names of Afghans who collaborated with the US, and who may well be murdered as a result of Wikileaks publishing their names on the internet. When people assume the right take risks with the lives of others, its absurd for us not to ask questions, even if we do share their ideals.

          I think that Assange and many of his supporters (e.g., you) are far too blasé about those risks. What he did may or may not have been right, but I think that it is entirely fair to question his methods.

      • VoxMagi

        Worthy points, but they have a single principle at stake…should the secretive acts of elected governments be secrets? In principle, the belief that only an informed populace can vote accurately to smite corruption ends with only one result…Wikileaks is taking appropriate action. They may not be American based, but the principle of freedom of information is a sound one.

        Principles always cut two ways…if they never inconvenience you…you don't have them (just observe the GOP…they can campaign for the sanctity of pre-infant life, the death penalty, and cutting funds for women and children in the same breath…no principles makes this easy).

        I have to respect an agency like Wikileaks, because they do weigh what they reveal and make careful choices…but still try to err on the side of revealing as much as possible about the secretive, hidden policies of governments, corporations and NGO's alike. In an era of propaganda and spin, they wield the sword of truth…and sometimes it cuts deeper than we might wish…but without it we'd be worse off still.

        • Haystack

          This is the sort of thing that bothers me:

          I have a hard time believing that this amount of information won't cost lives, and I don't like the way Assange passes off the risks…If it's proven that Wikileaks got someone killed they'll “review their procedures.” He doesn't sound that much different from a military spokesman.

          All I'm saying is, I'd have a hard time doing what he did knowing that, if I'm wrong, I'll end up with blood on my hands.

        • garfield

          yeah it's saracstic to comment the eventually killing of people, “well they got their principles!”
          The people getting killed have not chosen this principles.
          And the heroic leakers are sittin at home in Europe in any safe, PEACEFUL country with a cup of coffee, while others are in a tent with a knife on their throat…
          You know, it's very easy havin principles, next to a cup of coffee and bisquits…

          • VoxMagi

            Ahhh…so the people suddenly busted funding the Taliban with tax dollars we paid to help fight the Taliban…they're heroes…the people who reveal this…they're the enemy. I got ya. Taliban funded by American dollars…heroic…guys who risk jail to reveal this crime…losers. Pvt. Manning should be getting a medal…not facing charges. Go watch some more Fox.

      • Hadrian999

        those people you are concerned about have no problem throwing the lives of others away
        in pursuit of their own goals.

  • Beltonaki

    There should be a standing award each to be passed out to the people working for peace purposes and making the definite mark to improve humanity and the society in general. Oh wait… Nobel Peace Prize…Obama.. epic fail!

    Norwegians admit the fail:
    “More than half the Nobel Peace Prizes awarded since 1946 have been awarded illegally”.. “because they do not follow the expressed will of the millionaire inventor of dynamite.”

    • Connie Dobbs

      The “nobel peace prize”, given that its named after Mr. Dynamite, is an oxymoron in itself.

  • Andrew

    Should governments' have a right to secrecy that individuals don't?

    A government that keeps secrets from its citizens is not a democracy. Can it even be considered a republic?

    • Connie Dobbs

      If not, then there are no democracies or republics anywhere in the world.

      • Andrew

        That's my opinion; there are no democracies and probably no republics anywhere in the world.

        • Connie Dobbs

          Glad you're not in charge of semantics, then.

          • Andrew

            Yeah, because what we call things are much more important than what they are.

          • Connie Dobbs

            According to you, yes.

          • Andrew

            I believe it's more important that we call a nation a democracy than for it to actually be a democracy? I didn't know I believed that. Pray tell, how does what I wrote indicate it?

          • Connie Dobbs

            I dunno, all you seem to care about is what a “real” democracy or “real” republic is. A real democracy is mob rule, a real republic is a fascist oligarchy. Neither one is something I would wish on my worst enemy.

          • Andrew

            What kind of government would you like to have?

          • Connie Dobbs

            None at all would be my choice.

          • Andrew

            Then it seems reasonable to assume you agree that governments, since it would better that they not exist, not be allowed to keep secrets to maintain their existence.

    • Haystack

      It can if the people empower them to keep secrets.

      Let's be reasonable, here. Would you be comfortable with the designs for all of our nuclear weapons being published on the net?

  • VoxMagi

    Ahhh…so the people suddenly busted funding the Taliban with tax dollars we paid to help fight the Taliban…they’re heroes…the people who reveal this…they’re the enemy. I got ya. Taliban funded by American dollars…heroic…guys who risk jail to reveal this crime…losers. Pvt. Manning should be getting a medal…not facing charges. Go watch some more Fox.

  • Jackass

    of course governments should have secrets to some extent, otherwise you would be like the ass that says the truth all the time. Nobody likes to hear the truth always, some people cant handle it. Just like many people that agree with wikileaks

  • Jackass

    of course governments should have secrets to some extent, otherwise you would be like the ass that says the truth all the time. Nobody likes to hear the truth always, some people cant handle it. Just like many people that agree with wikileaks