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Rumors of High Level US-Iran Direct Talks
[Diary of a Vengeance Foretold] Part 24 - July 26, 1988
Ludwig De Braeckeleer (ludwig)     Print Article 
Published 2008-07-27 02:32 (KST)   

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Monday, July 26, 1988

"Both sides are very cautiously signaling each other that it's time for a rapprochement. Iranians are tentatively interested in such a possibility, and the United States appears to be very interested."
--Gary G. Sick, an expert on the Persian Gulf region, National Security Council staff under President Carter

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On this day in 1988, UN Secretary General Javier Perez de Cuellar met twice with Ali Akbar Velayati, Iran's foreign minister, in the first formal talks about a ceasefire for the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq.

US President Ronald Reagan said that his administration is willing to talk with top Tehran officials on several issues, including the situation of the American hostages held in Lebanon. According to a White House spokesperson, Tehran did not reply to the message.

But the spiritual leader of a major fundamentalist group, Sheik Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah of the Party of God, believed to be funded and controlled by Tehran, has just issued a puzzling message. "Time has come for a happy ending to the hostages' plight," Fadlallah said.

Meanwhile, Bagdad announced that Iraqi forces will withdraw from Iranian territories occupied in last week's offensive. Should the peace process succeed, the UN is warning that the organization has no funds to send observers and peacekeepers to the Iran-Iraq border.

The United States owes the United Nations $466.8 million as its contribution to the regular budget. The amount represents about two-thirds of all unpaid dues.

Looking Back in the Mirror

On this day in 2007, OMNI published a piece regarding suspicious edits made to certain articles on Wikipedia. As this writer was researching his next piece on the Lockerbie bombing, he noticed that some information regarding a Palestinian terror group had been erased. Upon closer inspection, I came to the conclusion that intelligence agencies were editing sensitive information on Wikipedia.

The piece received quite a bit of attention. The article posted on OMNI was accessed by more than 100,000 readers and reposted and translated in several languages. The allegation was completely denied by Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales and several administrators.

Amazingly, in just a matter of weeks, the allegation was proven. Thanks to the work of a California Institute of Technology grad student, it was possible to track the origin of the edits. OMNI published the 297 edits made by CIA computers.

Computerra Magazine

The story has been debated on many Web sites. I particularly enjoyed the piece of a Russian journalist, writing for Computerra Magazine (the article, "Spies in Wikipedia," can be accessed in English -- see the notes at the end of this article):

SlimVirgin is a convenient smoke screen for an entire team of specialists editing Wikipedia articles on behalf of intelligence services.

The "god-king" of Wikipedia, Jimmy Wales, rushed to protect the honor and dignity of SlimVirgin, declaring the article by De Braeckeleer as "really spectacular nonsense." A bit later in a special message to readers of Slashdot, he stated:

"This story is demented and broken on so many levels, it is quite difficult to know where to begin, even. Here we have an excellent Wikipedia administrator who has been victimized by lunatic conspiracy theorists, a private person who has absolutely no relation to the wild stories that this article promulgates. Slashdot, you have been trolled."

But participants in the discussion were able to prove from the records of Wikipedia that certain administrators, contrary to their own rules, had completely removed editing evidence. Jimmy Wales had to admit that yes, this is sometimes done, but only to protect the identity of administrators or editors, who are often threatened with physical violence.
Clean Up at Wikipedia

After a while, a page titled "Internet brigades" appeared on Wikipedia. In a section named "Internet Brigades in Wikipedia?" the text used to contain the following information (an old version can still be consulted at www.information-online.com):

"A nuclear scientist and reporter Ludwig De Braeckeleer suggested that intelligence agents may have been infiltrated Wikipedia to remove undesirable information from Wikipedia articles [13] The design and application of WikiScanner technology proved such suspicions to be well founded, although it remains unknown how many agents from around the world operate in Wikipedia [14] [15] [16] [17] [18] According to internal Wikipedia guidelines, such activities represent a conflict of interest." (The references 13 to 18 can be found in the NOTES below.)

As I went to consult the current status of that page for the writing of this article, I was surprised to find out that the entire section has been deleted, apparently for lack of reliable evidence! It would appear that this writer was not the only one preparing for the first year anniversary of this event.
References

"Wikipedia and the Intelligence Services."

"Spies in Wikipedia."

"Wikipedia Edited by CIA Computers."

"U.S. Ready to See Iran on Hostages," July 26, 1988.

"U.N. Says U.S. Dues Delinquency Limits Gulf Peacekeeping Ability," July 26, 1988.

--

The references listed in the Wikipedia article were the following.

13. ^ Wikipedia and the Intelligence Services, by Ludwig De Braeckeleer, OhmyNews, 2007-07-26. Ludwig De Braeckeleer holds a PhD in Nuclear Physics. He worked as a Research Professor in the US Department of Energy and taught at Duke University and University of Washington. He currently teaches in Bogota, Colombia. He also published numerous investigative reports in internet newspapers, primarily on various intelligence subjects.

14. ^ CIA, FBI computers used for Wikipedia edits by Reuters

15. ^ Wal-Mart, CIA, ExxonMobil Changed Wikipedia Entries, by Rhys Blakely, The Times, August 16, 2007

16. ^ Wikipedia 'shows CIA page edits' By Jonathan Fildes, BBC News

17. ^ See Who's Editing Wikipedia - Diebold, the CIA, a Campaign, by Wired

18. ^ CIA and Labour Party 'edit' Wikipedia entries By Paul Willis
--

Ludwig De Braeckeleer has a Ph.D. in nuclear sciences. Ludwig teaches physics and international humanitarian law. He blogs on "The GaiaPost."
©2008 OhmyNews
Other articles by reporter Ludwig De Braeckeleer

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