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Sat Jul 28, 2012, 02:06 AM

NYT's Former Editor Defends Wikileaks

Bill Keller, per http://gigaom.com/2012/07/25/the-nyts-bill-keller-on-why-we-should-defend-wikileaks :

In a post on Tuesday entitled “First they came for WikiLeaks, then the New York Times,” we wrote about how there is growing evidence that Congress and the Justice Department may be considering legal sanctions against traditional journalists who publish classified information — in other words, extending the kind of legal attacks they have been making on WikiLeaks to the traditional media such as the New York Times. In an emailed response to that post, former NYT executive editor Bill Keller said he strongly agrees that an attack on WikiLeaks’ right to publish such leaked documents is an implicit attack on the media as a whole, and that the mainstream media should protest any prosecution of the organization as a betrayal of the First Amendment.

In my post, I described how some members of a House Judiciary subcommittee seemed to be looking to experts for legal grounds under which they could charge journalists for publishing leaked classified information. The Department of Justice has also reportedly been warning reporters that if they publish such documents they could face prosecution — in the same way the DoJ is said to be pursuing a case against WikiLeaks and its controversial founder Julian Assange under the Espionage Act, (despite the fact that the government’s own researchers say using the act to go after journalists instead of leakers is a questionable strategy).
If WikiLeaks is under attack, journalism is under attack

My point was that if WikiLeaks, which I have argued before is a media entity — although one very different from the New York Times — is subject to that kind of prosecution for publishing classified information, then the NYT or any other traditional media outlet is in danger of being prosecuted as well. I also said that most mainstream media companies had been relatively silent on this point until now, but Keller noted in his email that he has repeatedly agreed that an attack on WikiLeaks is an implicit attack on media and journalism. As he put it:

I’ve said repeatedly, in print and in a variety of public forums, that I would regard an attempt to criminalize WikiLeaks’ publication of these documents as an attack on all of us, and I believe the mainstream media should come to his defense.


(Most links within the quoted portions omitted. More at the first link above.)

34 replies, 3420 views

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Arrow 34 replies Author Time Post
Reply NYT's Former Editor Defends Wikileaks (Original post)
snot Jul 2012 OP
G_j Jul 2012 #1
laundry_queen Jul 2012 #2
sabrina 1 Jul 2012 #3
G_j Jul 2012 #5
sabrina 1 Jul 2012 #6
Tierra_y_Libertad Jul 2012 #4
Egalitarian Thug Jul 2012 #7
Robb Jul 2012 #8
sabrina 1 Jul 2012 #9
msanthrope Jul 2012 #10
sabrina 1 Jul 2012 #11
Robb Jul 2012 #12
msanthrope Jul 2012 #14
sabrina 1 Jul 2012 #15
Robb Jul 2012 #17
sabrina 1 Jul 2012 #18
Robb Jul 2012 #19
sabrina 1 Jul 2012 #21
msanthrope Jul 2012 #13
sabrina 1 Jul 2012 #16
msanthrope Jul 2012 #20
sabrina 1 Jul 2012 #22
msanthrope Jul 2012 #23
sabrina 1 Jul 2012 #24
snot Jul 2012 #25
msanthrope Jul 2012 #26
Robb Jul 2012 #27
Luminous Animal Aug 2012 #32
msanthrope Jul 2012 #28
snot Aug 2012 #29
Luminous Animal Aug 2012 #31
Luminous Animal Aug 2012 #30
snot Aug 2012 #33
Luminous Animal Aug 2012 #34

Response to snot (Original post)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 02:31 AM

1. K&R. who is paying attention?

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Response to snot (Original post)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 02:34 AM

2. K&R

This needs to be seen.

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Response to snot (Original post)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 02:40 AM

3. Saw this before, but it's worth seeing again. It's rare in this country today when someone in the

media actually takes a stand on protecting the freedom of the press. He deserves a lot of credit for doing so but where are the rest of them?

Many people around the world have been asking why the American press has been so silent on this egregious hunting down of Wikileaks. At least we can say that one person has finally spoken out. He needs support from the people even if his colleagues are too cowardly to support him. This issue should be a top priority for the media and should be discussed every day until it is made clear that hounding Journalists and News Organizations simply will not be tolerated by the people.

But that would mean we did not live in a thoroughly indoctrinated, propagandized society.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #3)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 08:05 AM

5. after American media performance during GW Bush's reign,

my expectations of any integrity on their part is zero.

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Response to G_j (Reply #5)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 01:57 PM

6. Yes, any semblance of a free press was totally erased with their disgraceful

performance during that era. Even though many of them knew the lies that were being told, they became what Colbert rightly called them, mere stenographers for the Government.

The problem now for them is that people have so many other ways to get real news. There is Al Jazeera eg, also trashed here and called a 'terrorist' organization by the Bush gang, and targeted militarily, yet respected all the over world. And RT, another great channel for International News, plus Wikileaks itself, which contrary to what Americans have been told, existed and succeeded in what it set out to do, for several years before anyone in the US ever heard of them.

Then we have access to the news media of every country in the world. As Hillary Clinton said when trying to get funding from the Senate, the US used to 'control the message' when CNN was the only world wide media outlet, but now, she acknowledged, the US no longer has that control.

What bothered me most about her comments to the Senate was that she seemed to think the US Government should be 'controlling the message'. What message? News is not meant to be anyone's message, it's meant to be reporting of facts. That was very revealing imo, and not in a good way.

The best way for the US to 'control the message' or, to have its media respected again, which it is not at this point, would be to ensure that we set the standard in real journalism, but our media is widely viewed around the world as propaganda now while as she recognized, people have a lot more faith in Al Jazeera and RT when it comes to news. We could change that, we have the ability and the talent, but we would have to not be concerned about 'sending messages' and actually telling the truth, and supporting and working with International News Organizations like Wikileaks, NOT against them.

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Response to snot (Original post)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 03:15 AM

4. "News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising."

 

"News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising."
~ Lord Northcliffe, British publisher 1865-1922

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Response to Tierra_y_Libertad (Reply #4)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 02:57 PM

7. +1

 

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Response to snot (Original post)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 03:03 PM

8. That's, as ever, a huge "if."

Case law is pretty clear, publication is well-protected.

But any reporter who breaks the law to get a story is likely to be prosecuted for breaking the law -- and the publisher, while in no danger of prosecution for the act of publishing, is in jeopardy if they encouraged the illegal act of their reporter.

This is not a new, nor complicated, distinction.

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Response to Robb (Reply #8)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 03:56 PM

9. What would constitute a reporter 'breaking the law' in this case?

The NYT published material provided to it by Wikileaks who received it from a whistle-blower, the old-fashioned way journalists used to use to get stories.

Is there some evidence somewhere that reporters did something illegal in this case?

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #9)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 04:00 PM

10. If a reporter helped in the commission of the theft, that would be breaking the law.

 

Let's put it this way....if Woodward and Berstein were the burglars, that would be problematic.


http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/12/military-assange-manning-collaborated-in-chats.html



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Response to msanthrope (Reply #10)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 04:07 PM

11. Well since there's not a shred of evidence that this has occurred in this case

you've answered my question, thank you.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #11)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 04:26 PM

12. None of us know all the evidence.

The only way anyone involved in Wikileaks can face charges is if any of them encouraged or aided any criminal activity. If whoever swiped the material given to them did so without their aid or encouragement -- and, indeed, said swiping is even determined to have been illagel -- then Wikileaks is rightly off the hook.

The hangup comes if there was any help in committing a crime. Assange is no idiot; he's making every move that suggests he feels he's in trouble -- which leads me to think he thinks there's evidence somewhere he lent a hand where he shouldn't have.

All guesses, of course. One might as
easily guess he did nothing wrong, since he hasn't been charged.

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Response to Robb (Reply #12)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 04:45 PM

14. There are three ways I think the government can prove collusion that rises to criminality

 

against Assange...

1) You have the hash tag cracking chat outlined in the prelim 32. That shows a real-time collaboration to break security.

http://nymag.com/daily/intel/2011/12/military-assange-manning-collaborated-in-chats.html

2) You have the directed searches regarding Iceland and Birgitta Jonsdottir. I'm going to repeat a post I made a few months ago that has all the links.

http://www.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1014&pid=25145

3) You have the insertion of software from wikileaks onto DoD computers done post-January 2010 visit to Boston by Manning. Again, another post of mine that has all the links.

http://sync.democraticunderground.com/?com=view_post&forum=1014&pid=62455

There are a few other bits of circumstantal evidence, but I think your instincts are right...Assange is sweating, because he screwed up..I mean, apparently he was stupid enough to have Manning search DoD computers for the term 'Julian Assange.'

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Response to Robb (Reply #12)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 05:11 PM

15. Well, since Assange and Wikileaks,

have repeatedly denied any such allegations, and the US Government has provided not a shred of evidence to contradict them, the assumption is that nothing of the kind happened. If the US Government has any evidence that Assange was acting illegally, they have not provided it.

Wikileaks' method of providing a service for Whistle-blowers who in their own countries, originally China, eg, would be in grave danger if they went to the press, did not require any personal contact other than the kind that normally occurs between a journalist and his/her source.

The fact that those calling for Assange to be charged with treason consist of the likes of Sarah Palin and Joe Lieberman, Rush Limbaugh, Hannity, O'Reilly et al, hardly bolsters the US Government's credibility on the issue of Wikileaks.

But, like the Swedish 'case', after two years with no charges, if there are illegalities, then show them or leave this News organization alone. It makes the US look like the old Soviet Union or China today to behave in the manner in which it is behaving towards an award-winning, editor and publisher of an International News Organization.

I am glad to see at least one US Journalist speak out about this. The more the persecution of Wikileaks continues, the more correct it makes Assange in the eyes of the world, that Wikileaks is more necessary than ever. It's a shame that the US is on the wrong side of history, on the side of the Chinese eg, on Freedom of the Press.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #15)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 05:37 PM

17. You're not this stupid.

The notion is that if Assange (or frankly whoever within WL) offered any encouragement or assistance to Manning (again, or whoever) prior to and relevant to the illegal act -- can we at least agree there was an illegal act, if not an immoral one? -- then the law was broken, and they're probably in trouble. Same as the publisher of NYT or anything else would be, I'd add.

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Response to Robb (Reply #17)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 05:48 PM

18. What we know is that Manning approached Wikileaks, an organization that had existed for four

years prior to Manning's decision to use it and which was known to accept material from whistle-blowers from many countries around the world.

Wikileaks did not approach Manning.

Under what statute would it be illegal for a journalist or news organization to communicate with a source once they have been contacted by the source?

Asking the source if they have information on a subject, AFTER the source contacts them? How is that anything other than 'journalism'? Isn't that what reporters are supposed to do, ask questions?

Did Bernstein and Woodward ask their source any questions after they were contacted by him, or did they remain silent throughout their investigation?

How about the NY Times in the Ellsberg case? Did they ask any questions before publishing the leaks? Assuming they did, was that illegal? According to the SC the NY Times did not commit a crime.

If they have evidence of illegalities, then where is that evidence? To say Assange spoke to Manning is not evidence of anything other than a publisher and editor of a news organization speaking to a source. I hope we never get to the point where that becomes illegal, frankly.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #18)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 06:18 PM

19. No, those are things you are guessing.

Again, if there is evidence Assange crossed the line from "talking" to "encouraging or aiding," he's rightly in trouble.

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Response to Robb (Reply #19)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 06:42 PM

21. I am stating what we know. I think you are guessing. Eg, explain what would constitute

a journalist 'encouraging or aiding' a source who contacted that journalist? You are assuming that this occurred, but even if it did, how would a journalist encouraging a source to reveal more information, be illegal? Do you think good journalists do not do this? They just sit there and do not ask questions?

I am not assuming anything.

I am saying there has not been a shred of evidence that there was anything illegal about the contacts between Manning and Wikileaks, whose organization's practices were well known before they were contacted by Manning and there has been nothing to show that those practices changed in their dealings with Manning. I see a lot of assumptions, a lot of 'what ifs' but nothing else.

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #11)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 04:28 PM

13. I gave you the link to the evidence. So that's a shred. Manning has not refuted that is his

 

chat with Assange. Nor does he have a reasonable explantion concerning the computer searches, or the directory, or the 'reader' insterted into DoD computers.

That will convict Manning. The question remains, however, as to what can be used against Assange.

If he were my client, I would advise him that people have gone to prison for less, and that the First Amendment does not shield you from criminality.

We can debate the evidence. But that's impossible if you deny the evidence's existence.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #13)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 05:17 PM

16. No, a journalist talking to a source is evidence of NOTHING other than the free press at work.

This OP is about Assange. Show me what he did that was illegal, you cannot. And not even the US Government is claiming they can either. Other than Sarah Palin, Joe Lieberman, Hannity, O'Reilly and Limbaugh et al, no US Government Official has stated that they have evidence that Wikileaks did anything illegal.

Again, as the OP makes clear, if Assange is prosecuted for talking to a source, then say goodbye to the Free Press altogether in this country.

Surely you are not saying that a journalist talking to a source IS illegal, are you?

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #16)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 06:37 PM

20. I don't think he will be prosecuted for talking to a source, but for actions he took in furtherance

 

of Manning's underlying crimes. That gives rise to conspiracy to commit espionage.

Please note that upthread, I detail three ACTIONS he colluded with Manning on. Had he restricted himself to mere talking with Manning, I think he would be in the clear. But it's the actions that will do him in.

We will have to wait until the Grand Jury reports. That probably will be after Manning's trial.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #20)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 06:54 PM

22. I read those three links. I also read in their entirety, the chat logs and that NYT

headline that they 'show contact between Manning and Assange' was a very misleading headline.

No one denies there was contact between them. Of course there was, as Manning makes clear in those chat logs, but there was nothing illegal from the POV of a journalist, AFTER being contacted by a source, to continue that contact.

Show me the statute that states that a journalist being in contact with a source is illegal. And don't forget the 1st Amendment.

Your third link about software being inserted into the DOD system has nothing to do with Assange or Wikileaks, it is an allegation made against Manning.

Like Ellsberg, Manning knew there would be consequences for his actions, as he said in those chat logs, he was willing to take that risk. BUT what do his actions have to do with Assange? What did Ellsberg's actions have to do with the NY Times?

You are conflating Wikileaks with Manning. As your third link shows. Assange did not insert any software in the DOD system, did he?

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Response to sabrina 1 (Reply #22)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 07:33 PM

23. Sabrina, seriously? First of all, I didn't use the New York Times.

 

If you wish to discount the evidence in that chat, then so be it. But it's pretty much convicted Manning, moreso than the Lamo chats.

Second,

Your third link about software being inserted into the DOD system has nothing to do with Assange or Wikileaks, it is an allegation made against Manning.


If you really are in ignorance about this essential fact in the case against Manning, and how he came about the software, and how it implicates Assange, then I suggest you read the timeline of Manning's charges, detailed on FDL, cite above.


Third, I have tried to get this across to you before....the 1st Amendment does not absolve a journalist of criminal liability. Mr. Assange will not be prosecuted for his speech....but for his actions.

But, I suspect Sweden will have him first.





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Response to msanthrope (Reply #23)

Sat Jul 28, 2012, 08:49 PM

24. First, Sweden has failed, after two years, to even file charges against him. So I wouldn't

use that as an example of how to 'get' him. Their failure to do so appears to be based on what the more credible prosecutor's take on this was, there simply is no evidence on which to base charges.

Sweden's judicial system has suffered a huge blow to their credibility world-wide. Either they have a case or they don't. Since after 2 years they have filed no charges, it can be assumed they have no case. They do have one insane lawyer though, driving this. Not good for any charges they may file in the future.

Third, I have tried to get this across to you before....the 1st Amendment does not absolve a journalist of criminal liability. Mr. Assange will not be prosecuted for his speech....but for his actions.


No need to get it across to me. I am fully aware of that which is why I keep asking what these illegalities are and getting a run around and lots of 'ifs' and 'assumptions'. People don't get charged based on assumptions and 'suppose he did this or that'.

Just provide the evidence that Assange had anything to do with Manning's actions many of which took place, btw, before he even contacted Wikileaks.

If you really are in ignorance about this essential fact in the case against Manning, and how he came about the software, and how it implicates Assange, then I suggest you read the timeline of Manning's charges, detailed on FDL, cite above.


'Charges' are not evidence, are they? And we've all read about military tribunals' 'charges' against other detainees and how much credibility they had.

I am asking for non-biased evidence, something that is tangible. All I'm getting is what the prosecution is 'alleging'. And the treatment of Manning which has led many observers to believe was to try to get him to implicate Assange, won't help the credibility of the prosecution.

There is a very high bar regarding freedom of the press in this country, and despite the demands of such luminaries as Sarah Palin, the courts have always been very, very reluctant to rule in favor of limiting the rights of the press.

I very much doubt any court in this country, when a case is related to the 1st Amendment, will convict someone of a crime, whose only actions involved collecting information to disseminate to the public. Especially when the practices of that News Organization were well known and have won multiple awards over the course of the years, up to now for their work.

Iow, any attempt to convict Assange of a crime better have some pretty serious evidence of a crime. He is not a stupid man and was being hunted by other governments for his work, before the US public was ever aware of him. So I doubt he suddenly became careless when it came to a country as powerful as this one.

You seem to be searching for a reason to convict this news organization of something, which I find very troubling.

In the Ellsberg case eg, the SC sided with the NY Times even though the information leaked and published, and no doubt the NY Times was in communication with the leakers, caused far more 'harm' from the POV of the government. They decided that the public's need to know trumped the Government's need to be secretive.

Any attempt to prosecute Assange will come up against the 1st Amendment and the NY Times case and unless we've lost more of our rights than many of us thought, any prosecution of a news organization will become a worldwide event with the US on trial as a democracy, as much as the organization they are attempting to silence.




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Response to msanthrope (Reply #13)

Sun Jul 29, 2012, 12:29 PM

25. Where is the evidence that whoever Manning thought he was chatting with was actually Assange?

My own feeling has been that the US's torture of Manning was motivated by a hope of getting real evidence against Assange personally, and that if they'd actually had such evidence, they wouldn't have felt the need to keep him under such extraordinary pressure even while the world was watching.

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Response to snot (Reply #25)

Sun Jul 29, 2012, 06:23 PM

26. Oh....that's really bad news for Manning, then.

 

First, the evidence indicates that he believed he was talking to Assange--see the Assange/Manning chats at the NYMAG link I posted above.

Second, the Lamo chats reveal some bragging on his part about a 'white-haired' gentleman, Wikileaks, and Manning's interaction with them.

Finally, the Assange-Manning chats originate from a server associated with Assange/Wikileaks and Manning's work computer in Iraq.


If Manning didn't think he was talking to Assange....well, he might get the death penalty then. It's one thing to "whistleblow" to a pseudo-journalist--it's quite another to hand off info and get software code from some dude you met on the internets.

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Response to snot (Original post)

Sun Jul 29, 2012, 08:30 PM

27. WikiLeaks claims responsibility for fake Bill Keller column, citing donation ban

...That WikiLeaks should have masterminded the hoax – assuming the group is telling the truth – is not entirely surprising. Assange had a falling out with the New York Times, and its then editor Bill Keller, after the paper published a profile of him that he deemed unflattering (Disclosure: the Guardian also had a falling out with Assange, a while later.)

So there seems to be an element here of old score-settling.

The hoax circulated on Saturday night, and on Sunday morning Keller broke his normal temperate tone and tweeted all in caps to his 40,000 Twitter followers:

THERE IS A FAKE OP-ED GOING AROUND UNDER MY NAME, ABOUT WIKILEAKS.EMPHASIS ON "FAKE. "AS IN, NOT MINE. — Bill Keller (@nytkeller) July 29, 2012...

Read More: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2012/jul/29/bill-keller-fake-column-wikileaks?newsfeed=true

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Response to Robb (Reply #27)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 02:02 AM

32. Wrong! Keller email in the interview is real. Keller OpEd is a Yes Men/Wikileaks hoax

Nobody pays attention anymore. Gigaom = real interview. NY Times = fake OpEd. Slow down and look at what you are reading.

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Response to snot (Original post)

Mon Jul 30, 2012, 05:49 PM

28. PLEASE EDIT YOUR OP TO REFLECT THAT IT IS A FAKE----

 

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #28)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 01:44 AM

29. Thank you. This is almost enough (but will never be) enough to bring one to dispair.

I did not know it was a hoax, tho' perhaps should have. It seemed so Obvioiusly Right, that I gave Bill a benefit of the doubt he did not deserve.

In my book, and I believe in the book of life, every journalist who fails to rise to the defense of Wikileaks proves him/her/itself a ---.

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Response to snot (Reply #29)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 01:58 AM

31. It's not a hoax. The interview with Keller is real. There is also a Keller OpEd created by the

Yes Men, Anonymous, and Wikileaks that is fake.

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Response to msanthrope (Reply #28)

Wed Aug 1, 2012, 01:56 AM

30. NO THE OP IS NOT FAKE!!!!!!!!! Jeesh. Keep up.

Then interview with Keller in the OP is real. The hoax created by the Yes Men, Anonymous, and Wikileaks is fake.

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Response to Luminous Animal (Reply #30)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:21 PM

33. This is really confusing.

Everything I'm finding online confirms that the editorial purportedly by Keller was indeed fake and that Wikileaks took credit for the hoax.

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Response to snot (Reply #33)

Thu Aug 2, 2012, 10:58 PM

34. His interview with Gigaom (linked in the OP) is real...

The fake NYTimes OpEd as contrived by the Yes Men, Anonymous, and Wikileaks is a hoax. They are two distinct and separate things.

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