U.S. Military Bans Personnel From Visiting Wikileaks; Pentagon Asks Site To Do The 'Right Thing'

The controversy surrounding Wikileaks continues, as you always expected it would. All branches of the Unites States military are now banning their personnel from having anything to do with the site, primarily to avoid “electronic spillages,” a phrase I have never heard before. The Pentagon told the Washington Times that those in the Navy should avoid accessing the site so as to prevent the introduction of “potentially classified information on unclassified networks.”

Meanwhile, memos have started appearing online — leaked, if you will—with instructions from the various branches.

For example, this is what the Marine Corps is telling its personnel:

USMC Personnel (Marines/Civilians/Contractors) are hereby cautioned and directed to NOT access the WIKILEAKS website from a personally owned, publically owned or US Government computer system.

By willingly accessing the WIKILEAKS website for the purpose of viewing the posted classified material – these actions constitute the unauthorized processing, disclosure, viewing, and downloading of classified information onto an UNAUTHORIZED computer system not approved to store classified information. Meaning they have WILLINGLY committed a SECURITY VIOLATION.

Clearly the military is not messing around here.

Here’s another warning, this time from another forum:

Personnel are reminded not to confirm nor deny information contained on the website. In addition, personnel should not access the WikiLeaks website on government owned systems, in order to avoid a proliferation of potential electronic spillages (ES).

Judging by Wikileaks’ tweets, the organization doesn’t seem too concerned with the various machinations of the government.

Here’s a choice tweet:

.bbpBox20411933104 {background:url(http://a3.twimg.com/profile_background_images/3147857/WL_Hour_Glass.jpg) #9AE4E8;padding:20px;} p.bbpTweet{background:#fff;padding:10px 12px 10px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:#000;font-size:18px !important;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata{display:block;width:100%;clear:both;margin-top:8px;padding-top:12px;height:40px;border-top:1px solid #fff;border-top:1px solid #e6e6e6} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author{line-height:19px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author img{float:left;margin:0 7px 0 0px;width:38px;height:38px} p.bbpTweet a:hover{text-decoration:underline}p.bbpTweet span.timestamp{font-size:12px;display:block}

Obnoxious Pentagon spokesperson issues formal threat against WikiLeaks: Destroy everything, or else http://cs.pn/aOxf0Yless than a minute ago via bitly

This, despite the Pentagon wanting to compel the site to do “ the right thing.”

That’s the thing: Wikileaks thinks it is doing the right thing by publishing these, and other, documents. I point you in the direction of 2600 Magazine, which hosted The Next Hope conference a few weeks ago, where Wikileaks was the subject of the keynote address (ctrl-f for Keynote Address – Wikileaks). In its mind, Wikileaks does the right thing by shining light where there was once only darkness.

Another oddity about the video: the Pentagon keeps asking for the “return” of the documents. How, exactly, is Wikileaks to “return” digitized documents, documents that are still being served right now. How many people, all over the world, have already downloaded the documents? How many of these people have made copies of the documents? The documents will be traded on BitTorrent, on Usenet, on Rapidshare, on IRC, snippets printed on t-shirts (remember DeCSS t-shirts back in the day?)…

The documents are out there. Full stop. Asking people to “return” the documents, or to “get rid of them,” it’s a complete joke. I’m not saying that’s right or wrong, but that’s the reality of the situation.

This will not end any time soon, that much is sure.