Showing posts with label Wikileaks. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Wikileaks. Show all posts

Friday, April 12, 2019

Assange, Manning, and Snowden Thoughts

I am forced to post once a week on my blog as I am working on my book.  I feel that I have to comment on the arrests of Julian Assange and Chelsea (formerly Bradley) Manning and Edward Snowden's continued exile in Russia.  Some like Noam Chomsky below see it as a blatant violation of freedom of the press.  Others see it as necessary to protect counter terrorism operations.

There is a sexual assault allegation against Assange in Sweden which may or may not be true and which was the original reason for him to be ensconced at the Ecuadorian embassy.  He is also charged in the US with working with Manning to hack into a defense department account for classified info that he (he was a he then) did not have access to.  It is so far unclear if Assange will be extradited to the US or Sweden.

Snowden remains in Russia with asylum from the government.  Russia hasn't always been a paragon of virtue on civil liberties and the freedom of the press.  His asylum could be revoked at any time and he would have to face the music in the US.  

It is always dangerous to be a whistle blower at the highest level of the US power structure. It takes a lot of bravery to challenge the powers that be.  For me it is possible to learn a lot by investigating publicly available data.  I have no desire to have access to national security data as it is increasingly dangerous to work with.  Having access to a small piece of data can be easily misinterpreted when the proper context is not understood.

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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Comparing the 6th Year of CSI wo Dead Bodies to the 5th: More Engagement from Russia

For my 6th anniversary post, instead of just listing my most popular posts, I thought I would take a look at how traffic to the site has changed over the past year (9/29/2015 to 9/28/2016) compared to the previous year (9/29/2014 to 9/28/2015).  The measures I chose are listed in the Google Analytics output below in the Times-Roman font.  The graph at the top shows the total sessions for each month with increased sessions for every month of the last year compared to the previous year except for the months of May and August.

The total sessions (when someone visits the blog), total pageviews (the total posts visited on the blog), and number of users (unique individuals who visit the blog) for the period increased by 34.04%, 22.09%, and 36.96% respectively.  The number of pages per session and the average pages per session decreased in the last year by 8.91% and 13.21% respectively.  This suggests that while the number of visits to the page have increased in the past year, the level of engagement has declined slightly which is to be expected as a wider audience is reached.  

Beneath these statistics are the charts for the % of new visitors to the site for both years.  This % increased by 2.07% which shows that hew users are coming to the site more often.  The bounce rate (the% of single page visits) increased by 26% which corresponds to the decreased engagement.   

At the bottom of the output, the top countries from where the number of sessions come are listed with the United States of course coming out on top.  The total number of sessions from the US increased by 32.1% while the its share of the total number of sessions decreased slightly by 1.4%.  This indicates a greater share of foreign traffic to the site.  The countries with larger % increases in sessions are Iraq (2100%), India (196.15%), Russia (191.67%), Canada (80.65%), and ones where the country is not set (69.86%).  

The increased foreign traffic raises thoughts of hackers or surveillance as the Russians have been accused of hacking into various election servers.  I have no data that I haven't publicized on the election.  As programmers would say the information on this site is open source available to all.  Looking at the level of engagement from Russia the bounce rate increased by 44% while the average time on the page increased by 1382.79%.  In India it decreased by 75.39%, in Canada it increased by 37.06%, in Iraq it decreased by 100%, and in areas where the country was not set it decreased by 93.71%.  This suggests greater engagement from Russia.  Looking at the cities that the traffic is coming from are Moscow, Sverdlovsk Oblast, St. Petersburg, Sverdlovsk Oblast, and Novosibirsk Oblast.  An oblast is a state in RussiaThese are remote states in Russia where the time on the page was the highest.  I don't know if these are intelligence gatherers or just curious Russians.

Select a metric
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016: Blue Line
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015: Orange Line
Oc…January 2016April 2016July 2016250250500500
3,989 vs 2,976
3,346 vs 2,443
11,671 vs 9,559
Pages / Session
2.93 vs 3.21
Avg. Session Duration
00:00:48 vs 00:00:56
Bounce Rate
47.93% vs 37.80%
% New Sessions
83.20% vs 81.52%
New Visitor
Returning Visitor
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016
16.8% 83.2%
New Visitor3,320 Sessions
Returning Visitor669 Sessions
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015
18.5%81.5%New Visitor2,426 Sessions (81.5%)
New Visitor2,426 Sessions
Returning Visitor550 Sessions

CountrySessions% Sessions
United States
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 20163,08277.26%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 20152,33378.39%
% Change32.10%-1.44%
United Kingdom
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 20162015.04%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 20151334.47%
% Change51.13%12.75%
(not set)
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 20161243.11%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015732.45%
% Change69.86%26.73%
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016771.93%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015260.87%
% Change196.15%120.95%
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016701.75%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015240.81%
% Change191.67%117.60%
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016561.40%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015311.04%
% Change80.65%34.77%
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016411.03%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015351.18%
% Change17.14%-12.61%
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016270.68%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015210.71%
% Change28.57%-4.08%
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016250.63%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 2015210.71%
% Change19.05%-11.18%
Sep 29, 2015 - Sep 28, 2016220.55%
Sep 28, 2014 - Sep 28, 201510.03%
% Change2,100.00%1,541.31%
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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Bradley Manning and Wikileaks

This week the trial of Private First Class Bradley Manning begins for leaking information to the website Wikileaks.  I have seldom spoken of Wikileaks or it's founder Julian Assange on this blog because other topics have motivated me and because Assange being ensconced at the Ecuadorian embassy to hide from being extradited to Sweden for questioning on a rape allegation which may or may not be trumped up is not something on which I can comment.  I don't think Wikileaks is about Assange anymore than Democracy Now! is about Amy Goodman or this blog is about me.    I have no way of knowing if the allegation about Assange is true but I believe it is a distraction from the purpose that the site he founded serves.

Manning on the other hand has made the meaningful sacrifice for what he believes in just as Daniel Ellsberg (featured in the video above) did in the early 1970's when he leaked the Pentagon Papers to the press.  Ellsberg faced trial and dirty tricks by the Nixon Administration and was lucky to be acquitted.  Manning may not be so lucky.  He has already plead guilty to one of the charges where he could face 20 years in prison.  This suggests a greater sacrifice that Assange is willing to make.  It may be better in the long run for Assange to face the music.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Global Warming, Wikileaks, and Statistics: What Barry Sanders Can Teach Us.

Little noticed in this weeks brouhaha over Wikileaks, Obama's caving in to the GOP on taxes, and the holidays there has been a follow up summit to last years Copenhagen Climate Summit in Cancun, Mexico. The recent Wikileaks dump has revealed US arm twisting at last year's summit to get a watered down treaty.

The typical right wing response from climate change deniers like Sen. James Inhofe R-Ok, Rush Limbaugh et al., to all of this is that one only need to look at the snow here and cold here in the northeast to know that global warming and climate change is a ruse cooked up by Al Gore and perpetuated by left wing 'terrorist' groups like Wikileaks.

There is a mountain of scientific evidence that the glaciers have been melting and average global temperatures have been rising which Al Gore does a good job of presenting in An Inconvenient Truth in 2006 which he won an Oscar and a Nobel Peace Prize for but the right wing noise machine has continued unabated since then and has planted doubt in enough peoples minds to prevent politicians from taking needed action. The US Climate Action Network summarizes polls and surveys on this issue. There is a big partisan divide on this issue with Republicans, who are far more likely to watch Fox News, being far more skeptical.

Since many climate change deniers are sports fans, I have a sports analogy to help those who have doubts about this to see through the fog. After all Rush Limbaugh, Michael Moore, Keith Olbermann, Sean Hannity, and lots of other pundits are (American) football fans.

Barry Sanders is the NFLs third all time leading rusher with 15,269 yards, a 5.0 yard per carry average, and 99 touchdowns. Because he was always looking for the long run and was often quick enough to get it (his career long run was 85 yards), he was tackled for a loss a lot. Denying climate change is like only looking at his tackles for a loss and then concluding that he was the worst running back of all time. Former ESPN analysts Keith Olbermann and Rush Limbaugh as well as Michigan native Michael Moore and Sen. Inhofe (Sanders played college ball at Oklahoma State and his son now plays in Oklahoma) should be able to agree that this is the wrong conclusion.

Just as this graph shows considerable variability in global average temperatures while the overall 5 year average trend is upward by 0.1 of about degree centigrade per decade, you can see a similar pattern in Sanders' runs in any given game as his yard total increases.

I could use a baseball analogy too as heavy home run hitters Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron also tended to strike out a lot more by a ratio of 2-1 and denying climate change is like only looking at their strikeouts.

I don't claim to be the Julian Assange of the NFL or MLB as this information is readily available on their websites so please don't send out a search party.


Peter Rothberg of The Nation magazine has a report about how kids are organizing to educate and mobilize against climate change. It is organized by teenager Alec Loorz who is inspired by Al Gore.
I hope he's ready for the right wing noise machine. He's profiled in the link below and in the CNN.

Kids vs. Global Warming


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