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Great Moments in Transparency

So a reader got one of those "courtesy" letters from Wikileaks explaining that his name and personal information were about to be made public because he had gotten a group Email once from this Freddy Balzan person. Only he'd never heard of any Freddy Balzan so he wrote them back an Email saying, "WTF?" and "Don't." And then Wikileaks Director Julian Assange wrote him back an ugly note calling him, quote, "insane." So in the interest of transparency, we're republishing the whole, funny exchange, after the jump.

PS: That's julian@wikileaks.org

First, the original "courtesy" Email:

-----Original Message-----
From: Julian Assange. [mailto:julian@wikileaks.org]
Sent: Thursday, September 25, 2008 9:31 PM
To:
Subject: Correspondence Freddy Balzan

Spanish and English:

Sometime between 2005 and July 2008, you corresponded with Mr. Freddy Balzan, a well regarded former (2005) Venezuelan ambassador to Argentina.

The transparecy publisher, Sunshine Press, obtained a copy of this email along with many others. The information is passing around the "anti-chavez" movements.

I am notifying you, as a matter of curtesy, and in view of my admiration of Mr. Balzan, that part or all of the correspondence will shortly be made public at:

http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Venezuelan_ambassador_Freddy_Balzan_emails_2005-20
08

I feel that the correspondence demonstrates Mr. Balzan's intelligence and strength of character. However, because private details are included, and political enemies who do not already have the material may perhaps abuse it, I ask that you review the material and take whatever precautions you need.

If I can be of further assistance, let me know, Julian Assange


Editor
SUNSHINE PRESS


En algún momento entre 2005 y julio de 2008, que correspondía con el Sr Freddy Balzan, un antiguo (2005), embajador de Venezuela a la Argentina.

El editor transparecy, Sunshine de prensa, obtuvo una copia de este mensaje de correo electrónico junto con muchos otros. La información está pasando en torno a la anti-Chávez" movimiento
s.

Estoy notificar a usted, como un asunto de curtesy, y en vista de mi admiración de Balzan, que una parte o la totalidad de la correspondencia en breve se hará público en:


http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Venezuelan_ambassador_Freddy_Balzan_emails_2005-20
08

Creo que demuestra la correspondencia Balzan de la inteligencia y la fuerza de carácter. Sin embargo, debido a datos privados están incluidos, y políticos enemigos que no tienen ya el material tal vez abusar de ella, le pido que revisar la correspondencia.

Julian Assange
Editor
SUNSHINE PRESS


Our Reader's Reply:
-----Original Message-----
From:
Sent: Friday, September 26, 2008 2:22 AM
To: 'Julian Assange.'
Subject: RE: Correspondence Freddy Balzan

I am notifying you of the following:

I don't know whether this is some kind of phishing scam or for real. It has the looks of a dressed-up Nigerian scam announcing that I have won a lottery or inherited a fortune, except that, in this case, it's bad news. In any event:

I did not know until today that there was such a person as Freddy Balzan. I certainly never corresponded with him, nor he with me. The premise in your first sentence, in other words, is incorrect.

Apparently you have hacked into somebody's private correspondence and now propose to make it public, passing this off as some kind of journalistic achievement. Technology makes it simple to sweep large amounts of data, and you intend to make available to the world the raw data obtained without bothering to determine whether errors have been made or undertaking a review of the mass of data for relevance or significance to anything in particular. As part of your hypocritical courtesy, you send me a list of several hundred titles through each of which you expect me to look, with the assertion that
you found some correspondence involving me.

With some gall, you further inform me, always "as a matter of curtesy," that whatever it is that you refer to took place at some unspecified time "between 2005 and July 2008," without, of course, bothering to point out when, or what, among this pile of raw data, is whatever it is that you refer to. I am unable to thank you for your consideration, as your style of journalistic ethics appears to allow you to let your actions be limited only by what technology does not allow you to do.

I cannot fathom the cynicism that allows you to proclaim your "admiration" for a man whose private correspondence you intend to make public, and for his "intelligence and strength of character," as you turn him over to what you describe as his enemies. It's all somewhat reptilian.

Ominously, you inform me that this material is already in the hands of these unspecified enemies of someone whose name I do not even recognize, and therefore I should take precautions to...what? if I don't even have any idea of what you are talking about? Are you suggesting that I try to hack your site? Go underground? Hide my children? Once again, I am underwhelmed by your unctuous piety.

I can only speculate as to your motives. You will not be surprised if I guess that they involve a great need for attention and ultimately a sociopathic urge to feel power by playing with other people, and the greater the implied danger, the better--the profile, in other words, of a hacker, or a cybernetic graffiti vandal; perhaps a less-violent version of the silent, repressed university student who takes out 23 of his classmates and teachers with a shotgun. The kind who thinks "I bet they're sorry now that they never...[fill in your particular issue]."

At least I speak English. Your Spanish translation is so poor that someone receiving this and able to read in only that language would be perplexed, being told in the first paragraph, in toto, that "At some time between 2005 and July 2008, which corresponded with Mr. Freddy Balzan, a former (2005), ambassador from Venezuela to Argentina." I take it as another measure of your professionalism and ethics that you consider that to be fair notice. Your last sentence comes out this way: "I think it shows the correspondence Balzan of the intelligence and strength of character. However, due to private data they are included, and political enemies who don't already have the material perhaps abuse of her, I ask you to review the correspondence."

You ask that if you can be of further "assistance," I let you know. You can imagine by now that I have a number of suggestions of what you can do and where, which would indeed assist me if they came true, but I'll pass on the invitation. I do hope that you manage to grow up and to get over whatever terrible thing happened to you as a child to reach such a degree of alienation. Less-charitable people might think only that you are a geek weenie with hang-ups.


The official Wikileaks response:
The premisis is not correct, and your treatise is, with respect, as insane
as it is long. The email to you was automatic, since the address was among
those corresponded with. See http://wikileaks.org/

http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Wikileaks:Submissions

and

http://wikileaks.org/wiki/Wikleaks:About

for further details

The spanish translation was automatic.


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Comments (3)

The e-mails amount to nothing. Except maybe one of the dumbest publicity stunts ever.

Javi27 Author Profile Page:

What the hell does all of this mean? Apart from the obvious idiocy of this Assange guy and Wikileaks, it appears that the emails don't really amount to much. Right?

Oh, that was spiffy.

I hereby take another leak on Wikileaks.

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