[ExI] Wikileaks

spike spike66 at att.net
Mon Dec 6 20:23:12 UTC 2010

... But hoooow do we know it is *the truth* about their governments?...

Do let us go back to the early 90s.  How many here remember when Microsloth
first introduced macros in excel?  They called it VBA then, about in the
spring of 1994.  Before that, one could use Microsloth BASIC to write a
proto-macro, but it was clumsy as all get out.  I was doing that back in
those days, mostly to have software extract data from Excel tables, before
Excel had the embedded VLOOKUP and HLOOKUP functions.  This is what I did
for fun back before I had actual adult responsibilities.

When Excel 5 hit the streets, it was a breakthrough because it functionally
embedded BASIC into a spreadsheet and made them play together so that Excel
went from being a toy to an extremely powerful engineering tool.  After
spring 1994, it was clear Microsloth had won the spreadsheet competition; we
put away all the other spreadsheets (some excellent ones, such as Wingz) and
invested all our efforts towards mastering Excel, which eventually caused
Microsloth to win the word processor competition and the biz presentation
competition.  Today most office people use Excel, Word and PowerPoint.

The first macro language VBA had no safety rails.  It would do exactly what
you told it, so it was possible to create viruses even accidentally (spoken
by one who did exactly that.)  You could rename files, open and rearrange
files without renaming (effectively wrecking the file), whatever you wanted.
You could use VBA to generate, name and save documents, open applications,
such as Outlook, and email files to anyone.  No trigger safety on that gun.
Excel 5 was a powerful but dangerous device.  Later versions defeated those

I was given and still have a copy of Excel 5, still in the original shrink
wrap, with the authentication codes and all, so I could theoretically load
that on my computer.  I still know how to program in VBA, having written
*plenty* of code in that format.  

The Wikileaks discussion caused me to realize we could use Excel 5 to create
a crimebot.  We have freedom of speech, but it is considered a crime to
write threatening comments and post them to a public forum.  But one could
write code that randomly generates threatening email to a randomly chosen
politician for instance, and it would be so simple that even *I* could write
it:  "I don't like the policies of {insert random party} and so I will go
harm or severely kill {insert randomly chosen politician} forthwith, signed
{randomly chosen poster}."  So one could make a crimebot.

The same tool could be used to obscure one's internet past, an excel 5 based
camo-bot.  It could randomly generate emails that kinda look like your own
(again a task that even I could write) and then archives would all have
complete deniability.  This deniability is made even stronger by the fact
that excel 5 was so obedient that it really would do *anything* you ask, to
the point of introducing danger of accidentally making a virus merely by
forgetting to hit the "stop recording" button.  Hey I did it.  Ended up
sending copies of my to-dos and grocery lists to my own boss and his boss
for three weeks, every time I hit CTRL S.  Fortunately, they had a sense of
humor about it, thought it was funny.

I discovered this accidentally, so it must have been recognized by others a
long time ago.  I can easily imagine that there is some kind of software
tool in use that generates bogus email to camouflage sensitive info on
intranets like the one Assange is publishing.  So anything on Wikileaks has
deniability, and anything in the ExI-chat archives has deniability.
Anything in there could have been generated by software.

I still have a fresh copy of Excel 5, and I know how to use it.



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