I really loved working on LeaksWiki for Intro to Civic Media, so I will be continuing the project. I am going to do an interview every couple weeks and keep adding information to the wiki. Of course, I also hope that others add to LeaksWiki.
Sasha suggested I do blog posts with my interviews from LeaksWiki. I think this is a great idea so I will be posting one interview a week for the next few weeks and on some schedule after that. This week, I am starting with my Cryptome interview. Cryptome is one of the longest running leaking websites and one of the most radically transparent. John Young makes some fascinating points I had never considered before.
M.C.: What is the ideal outcome of the release of a set of documents for Cryptome?
Cryptome: That many other persons will disclose sensitive and informative documents and other forms of publicly accessible, non-secret information: video, recordings, images, talks, conversations, whisperings, singing, yodeling, drum beating, sign language, body gestures, dance, paintings, drawings, sculpture, grafitti, samzidats, leaflets, protests, insults, fist fights, traffic blockage, defiance of all open and secret forms of authority in unexpected and unprecedented ways, again and again, never-ending, alone and in cooperation with another, with groups, with crowds, with mobs, with militants and angry suburbanites and workers, with anybody with a grief unanswered, avoiding leaders of all stripes, and bosses and organizers and funders and leeches and exploiters and ideologues of self-serving deviousness, in particular those with with socio-economo-political agendas concealed by lying promises, secrecy and backed by backroom out-of-sight shenanigans and the deadly force always required by authority to screw the public with innumerable, incomprehensible taxes, high profits, pocketpicking tithes, panhandling donations. And a lot more coming and growing and getting wilder along those lines which have been around since humans rose from the slime to brain-wave means and methods to dominate and cheat, kept in check only by those willing to reduce the dominators to pulp manure.
M.C.: What process does a document or leaked information go through before being posted on Cryptome and what are the goals of each step? I am interested in the whole leaking process but particularly focused on steps done between receipt and release of the document like verifying the document, removing people’s names, adding context, etc. What are the most time consuming and/or difficult parts of this process?
Cryptome: Not much. If a document will annoy, and best, deeply anger, believers in authority then it gets published. Leaking is just one way of doing that. Far better is to provide documents and disclosures and oppositions and protests that are not dramatic leaks but encourage others to share information of all kinds to buck authority and drive it insane with fear of insignificance and uselessness, and most terrifying, dead broke facing hard labor like those they exploit.
We prefer libraries over leakage in which leaks may be implanted but are not the primary goal. Leaks are a publicity gimmick, all too often a form of authority closely imitating media to bedazzle consumers, while libraries foster self-education and criticism and if all goes well, thoughtfulness rather than addictive adrenaline of leaks and infantile headline spoonfeeding. (Leaks like pablum were invented by authoritarians to attack and dumb-down others to their low-level with manipulative, biased screechings.)
The most time consuming is formatting for publication, but it is not that difficult, takes far less time than reading news media, watching TV and movies, games playing and weight lifting, putting on make-up and preening, shopping and eyeballing useless products. About the time it takes for daily bathroom activities, excluding manic self-pleasuring.
We occasionally remove names but not if they are supporters of authority. Hint, leakers and leak sites are authorities in sheep’s clothing. The biggest and most prolific leakers are authorities leaking openly and covertly through the press, through NGOs and academics, through shills and authors, through allegedly ex-authorities, through phony dissidents, by any means to manipulate public understanding and behavior, and make a buck and keep taxes coming in.
M.C.: Do you use in any particular tools in processing documents received? Examples could be tools to remove metadata, manage the review of documents, etc. If so, how well do these tools work? And are there any tools that could make the process easier?
Cryptome: No tools beyond what any computer user has. All done by hand, no automatic programs — these are not reliable and are based on an authority model like most labor-saving devices to induce sloth and thoughtlessness. Mass production is authoritarian and its promotional material exactly the same. Big numbers and big data are big deceptions to avoid public, personal, face-to-face accountability.
It is cheap to run a disclosure site, nearly anyone can do it on pocket change. Don’t believe the nutty claims of needing large donations, that’s the high-profit model pushed by commercial media, fat NGOs, moneymaking education and religions, and incurably verbose and scribbling hustlers vomiting branded messages of public benefit (LSoS) indistinguishable from governmental and commercial cohorts padding one another’s purse with tax favoritism, bribery, PR, swapping slobber at feasts in off-the-record salons inside the manifold global beltways funded by financial theft centers — the giant foundations aggregated in the paper New York Times today in a two-page braggardy serving as recovery refuges for retired scoundrels from gov-mil-com-edu-ngo.
M.C.: Aside from you and the source, are others involved in helping with the leaking process? What parts of the process do others generally help with? And is the source ever involved in the process beyond the initial submission (for example, by providing additional background information or helping with verification of documents)?
Cryptome: Sources are the heavy lifters, thousands of them busting their chops for whatever reasons they have to provide information, we do little by comparison.
We do not believe in “context.” That is authoritarian nonsense.
For the same reason, we do not believe in verification, authentication, background, foreground, advertising, promotion, branding, corporatization, any form that enlarges the gap between individuals and those who claim to protect them, educate them, save them from the devil, advocate national security racketeering, supports official, secret spying at home and abroad.
M.C.: Do you think of leaking and whistleblowing as synonyms? How would you define each of them (or one of them if you think of them as synonyms)? And how do you think of Cryptome in terms of leaking and whistleblowing?
Cryptome: Monetized leaking and whistleblowing, like exposes and documentaries, are publicity terms among a slew of other less melodramatic disclosure methods. They have come to be brands that diminish the less well-known initiatives which are more pervasive and available for wide use by non-authoritarian, non-monetized efforts.
Cryptome is a place to exchange free material among thousands of others like it, before, now and in the future. Nothing special about it. And by no means trustworthy, quite the opposite, suspicion encouraged. Do your own, without delusion of models to follow.
What do you think, come on, out with your villainous media.MIT-driven, government and corporation mega-funded agenda, you “fucking spy.”
Young’s views on leaking organizations and their relationship to authority are particularly thought-provoking. You can find more information and thoughts on this in the LeaksWiki Cryptome case study.