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:: Article nr. 39358 sent on 19-dec-2007 15:58 ECT
Wikileaks busts Gitmo propaganda team
Detained at age 15 in July 2002 by US Forces in Afghanistan, the Canadian Omar Khadr, Guantanamo detainee #766, has been held for over 5 years without trial. Omar was one of at least three detainees who had their ID numbers covertly deleted from Wikipedia on Nov 1 and Nov 2, 2007 by Guantanamo staff.
JULIAN ASSANGE (investigative editor, firstname.lastname@example.org)
2007-12-12 (updated 2007-12-16)
WASHINGTON--The US detention facility at Guantanamo Bay has been caught conducting covert propaganda attacks on the internet. The attacks, exposed by government transparency group Wikileaks, include deleting detainees' ID numbers from Wikipedia, the systematic posting of unattributed "self praise" comments on news organization web sites in response to negative press, boosting pro-Guantanamo stories on the internet news site Digg and even modifying Fidel Castro's encyclopedia article to describe the Cuban president as "an admitted transexual" [sic].
Among the un- or mis-attributed responses to news stories were statements such as "[Guantanamo is] a very professional place full of true American patriots." and comments playing down the impact of leaked documents which among other matters mandated all Guantanamo detainees to have no contact with the Red Cross for at least the first 2-4 weeks after their arrival: "interesting document but not at all relevant today as much of this has changed over the years."
Shayana Kadidal, Managing Attorney of the Center for Constitutional Rights Guantanamo Global Justice Initiative, said in response to the report:
"The military's efforts to alter the record by vandalizing Wikipedia are of a piece with the amateurism of their other public relations efforts: [such as] their ridiculous claims that released detainees who criticize the United States in the media have 'returned to the battlefield'."
Guantanamo command spokesman Lt. Col. Edward Bush, at first denied the charges (to the New York Daily News), but then dramatically fell over himself in attempting to attack Wikileaks for fingering members of the Guantanamo Public Affairs Office as among the culprits:
"There has been no attempt to alter/change any information that has been posted anywhere," Lt. Col. Bush said in the statement e-mailed to us. "That would be unethical."
Bush said in a subsequent phone call that there’s no way to know if any of the 3,000 uniformed military at Gitmo was responsible for the documented changes, but he promised his public affairs staff was not behind it. He also blasted [Wikileaks] for identifying one sailor in his office by name, who has since received death threats for simply doing his job - posting positive comments on the Internet about Gitmo.
Wikileaks subsequently asked noted computer security expert Bruce Schneier to independently review the evidence:
"Based on the evidence, it is obvious that these changes came from people stationed at Guantanamo Bay. The only other possibility is that someone hacked into the Guantanamo Bay computers in an effort to frame the U.S. government; certainly possible but much less likely."
Barring obscure loopholes, the admitted acts of the Guantanamo Bay Public Affairs Office are unlawful:
- "publishing material which is misleading as to its origin" (covert propaganda)
- "publicity of a nature tending to emphasize the importance of the agency or activity in question" (self aggrandizement)
- "publicity or propaganda within the United States" (domestic propaganda)
The first two activities are illegal under several
appropriations and other acts as detailed in a similar case
investigated by the Government Accounting Office in 2005: [ http://gao.gov/decisions/appro/303495.htm ]
The third, depending on how the Public Affairs Office funding was structured during time the activities took place may also
be illegal. Since 1951, the following
prohibition on the use of appropriated funds for propaganda purposes
has been enacted annually: "No part of any appropriation contained
in this or any other Act shall be used for publicity or propaganda
purposes within the United States not heretofore authorized by
Congress." [ http://fas.org/sgp/congress/2005/s020205.html ]
Joint Task Force Guantanamo has often claimed to be outside of US
legal jurisdiction, for example in regards to the Habeas Corpus rights of detainees. However most of the news organizations and
other sites affected are located in the United States as are the
majority of their readers.
Wikileaks has referred the matter to the GAO and the
Department of Defense Inspector General for further investigation.
In the press
Selected follow up articles based on this analysis (reverse chronological order). See google news for more.
- By MICHAEL MELIA
- Associated Press
- SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico --
- U.S. military personnel at Guantánamo Bay called Fidel Castro a transsexual and defended the prison for terrorism suspects in anonymous Web postings, an Internet group that publishes government documents said
- The group, Wikileaks, tracked Web activity by service members with Guantánamo e-mail addresses and also found they deleted prisoner identification numbers from three detainee profiles on Wikipedia, the popular online encyclopedia that allows anyone to change
- Julian Assange, who led the research effort, said the postings amount to propaganda and
- This is the American government speaking to the American people and to the world through Wikipedia, not identifying itself and often speaking about itself in the third person,
Assange said in a telephone interview from Paris.
- Army Lt. Col. Ed Bush, a prison camps spokesman, said there is no official attempt to alter information posted elsewhere but said the military seeks to correct what it believes is incorrect or outdated information about the
- Bush declined to answer questions about the Castro
- Assange said that in January 2006, someone at Guantánamo wrote in a Wikipedia profile of the Cuban president: Fidel Castro is an admitted transexual, the unknown writer said, misspelling the word ``transsexual.
- The U.S. has no formal relations with Cuba and has maintained its base in the southeast of the island over the objections of the Castro
- Comments on news stories were posted by people using apparently fictitious names to news sites -- and were prepared by the Guantánamo public affairs office, according to Wikileaks. A comment on a Wired magazine story about a leaked Guantánamo operations manual that was recently posted on the Wikileaks Web site urged readers to learn about Guantánamo by going to the public affairs Web site, adding that the base is ``a very professional place full of true American
- Assange's group could not specifically identify who from Guantánamo made about 60 edits to Wikipedia entries on topics that included not only the prison but also subjects such as football, cars and television
- The detention center at the U.S. Navy base currently has about 305 men on suspicion of links to terrorism, al Qaeda or the
First we prove that the IP address used by a number of the attacks belongs to Joint Task Force Guantanamo Bay (JTFGTMO). The documentation is provided for independent verification; non-technical readers may skip this section.
The server known as public.jtfgtmo.southcom.mil, is a gateway computer through which internet connections are passed between the U.S. and Joint Task Force Guantanamo. This server is located at the IP address: 184.108.40.206.
(See reverse lookup for 220.127.116.11 at Iwebtool.com:
The Host/IP Address you provided resolves to:
The following is the ownership record associated with that IP address, obtained using the Whois tool at Domain Tools .com:
OrgName: UNITED STATES SOUTHERN COMMAND
Address: 3511 NW
Address: 91ST AVE
NetRange: 18.104.22.168 - 22.214.171.124
NetType: Direct Assignment
OrgTechName: Wright, Kevin W
# ARIN WHOIS database, last updated 2007-12-11 19:10
Miscellaneous google references
There are a number references to this IP available through a web search for JTFGTMO/USSOUTHCOM's IP address: 126.96.36.199 that refer to staff being stationed in Cuba, for example
05/19/2007 15:56 Saludos a todos mi companeros de la clases polaris 82
me encuentro estacionado en CUBA y espero esta para lo 25 ANOS de la clases
NO VEMOS POR ALLA FRANK : VAMOS A ENTRANOS A PATAS : ARCIDES COLON YREINALDO ZAYAS
It can be readily observed from the timings of a "traceroute" that packets to the machine in
question pass through southcom.mil in Maryland and then into a satellite, as is consistent with US military internet provision to Cuba.
9 qwest.wil03.net.reach.com (188.8.131.52) 167.783 ms 167.724 ms 167.74 ms
10 los-core-02.inet.qwest.net (184.108.40.206) 167.932 ms 168.061 ms 167.914 ms
11 * * *
12 dca-edge-13.inet.qwest.net (220.127.116.11) 271.2 ms 271.237 ms 271.256 ms
13 18.104.22.168 (22.214.171.124) 286.186 ms 291.165 ms 286.31 ms
14 126.96.36.199 (188.8.131.52) 266.371 ms 266.208 ms 265.984 ms
15 184.108.40.206 (220.127.116.11) 805.465 ms 802.891 ms 818.362 ms
Ownership record for satellite down link IP 18.104.22.168
OrgName: DoD Network Information Center
Address: 3990 E. Broad Street
NetRange: 22.214.171.124 - 126.96.36.199
NetType: Direct Allocation
OrgTechName: Network DoD
Check out Joint Task Force Guantanamo’s website to learn what they are all about! http://www.jtfgtmo.southcom.mil
November 26th, 2007 at 6:57 am
If absurd that many Americans think that those of us here in Guantanamo are
treating the prisoners poorly. We are committed to the safe and humane treatment
of those captured on the battlefield, just as we would want those fighting against
us to be towards us. Visit the JTF Guantanamo website to see what we are really about: http://www.jtfgtmo.southcom.mil.
Posted by: usnavymc1 | December 5, 2007 1:15 PM
This is the only comment which does not attempt to hide the Guantanamo Bay affiliation. It is presented here to show the similarities with those comments that are unsigned or mis-attributed.
http://digg.com/ is the internet's most popular user driven news site. A story that is "dugg" (voted up) onto the Digg front page can attract hundreds of thousands of readers.
The Digg account "usnavymc1" has posted over 40 Guantanamo Bay "official" propaganda stories posted to Digg. A full record of these and nearly 100 other stories "voted up", can be seen using the link below. The user is almost certainly Guantanamo "mass communications specialist" Richard M. Wolff although he may share the account with other Guantanamo staff. Wolff fits the holders description, and uses the username "usnavymc1" -- not used by anyone else on the internet (see the section of this document on Wolff) -- as part of one of his official email addresses.
A 35 year-old guy who joined Digg on October 10th, 2007
The above was modified circa Dec 12 to remove this information, changing it to
A person who joined Digg on October 10th, 2007
possibly in response to an email from the author to Richard M. Wolff at Guantanamo questioning the activities.
However at the time of writing the unrestricted profile is still available via google's cache:
Richard M. Wolff
Wolff, Richard M. MC1, USN, Mass Communication Specialist/Webmaster,
Joint Task Force Guantanamo APO AE 09360 [Cuba] (9/11/2007)
Phone: 011-5399-8135 Ph DSN: 660-8135
Fax: N/A Fx DSN: N/A
Comments: Alt Email: email@example.com
Hi all! I am new to the group and in need of some help. I am in the
military, did 9 years active-duty, then for the past 5 years I've
been in the reserve. When I left AD, I got a little lazy and gained a
few pounds, ok more than a few... lol. Anyhow, I've lost most of the
fat I gained before, but I also lost a lot of muscle. I've tried
combinations of weight gain and intense workouts, even some ripped
fuel, I do a good amount of cardio as well. Does the cardio hurt me
from gaining muscle max? Would I be better off just lifting?
I've been in this routine of getting back in shape for about a year
now and I'm looking much better than I did, but I feel I'll never get
back into that really ripped form I used to have. I am 5'6", 165lbs,
34 years old. Of course my age might have something to do with it
since my metabolism might not be as good as it used to be, but I try
to eat healthy and things that digest easily. Should I be eating more
red meat? I don't at the moment at all, but I do take a multivitamin
everyday so I do get all my vitamins.
Any advice would be great! Also, if anyone knows if I should take
something besides ripped fuel to help me gain mass more please let me
know. Also, what more can I do (like in the other post) to get rid of
the little layer of fat over my abs? They're defines pretty good but
can't be seen through that damn little layer of flub.
Well, where do I begin? I guess the present would be the right place. I am currently
working full-time and soon will be starting a new position wih the federal government.
I have completed an A.A.S. degree at Warren County Community College in Washington, N.J. and
was just awared a Bachelor's of Science Degree in Business Management in July of 2006.
I currently am taking MBA Classes and should graduate in April 2008.
I am also in the U.S. Navy Reserve. Even though I live in New Jersey, I am attached to a
command in Norfolk, Va. My administrative reserve office is located in the Bronx.
If you're in the neighborhood and you see a sailor on the street near that area,
it might be me. As of this past year, I am not officially a journalist anymore for the Navy.
My new title is a Mass Communication Specialist encompassing journalism, photography,
graphic arts, web design, public affairs and broadcasting.
Weinert is or was recently stationed at Guantanamo. A reliable source states Weinert is also involved. However this author has no independent evidence. Readers may wish to investigate.
Like Wolff, Simmons is also a "mass communications specialist" at Guantanamo. A reliable source states Simmons is also involved, however this author has no independent evidence. Readers may wish to investigate.
:: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website.
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