2011-01-20 Bloomberg discloses FBI Contractor admits to Spying on Swedish [UPDATE]

In a report on Wikileaks, Bloomberg disclosed on January 20 that U.S. authorities may now be using contractors to spy on Swedish servers looking for creative ways to prosecute Wikileaks and Julian Assange.

Bloomberg reports that Robert Boback, Chief Executive Officer of Tiversa, Inc., a spying and surveillance firm that contracts with the FBI, declined to say who his company's client was when his firm surveilled four unidentified Swedish servers.

According to Boback, during a 60 minute period on February 7, 2009:

"Tiversa’s monitors detected four Swedish computers engaged in searching and downloading information on peer-to-peer networks. The four computers issued 413 searches, crafted to find Microsoft Excel spreadsheets and other information-rich documents among some of the 18 million users the company estimates are on such file-sharing networks at any given moment."

Tiversa also claims that:

2011-01-20 Three reasons why WikiLeaks is dangerous to corporations

Corporations are being pressured to behave more ethically and transparently as a result of the increasing influence of Julian Assange's scientific journalistic enterprise, WikLeaks. Public relations professionals in Germany say that trying to sit out the storm is no longer a strategy for success in a post-cablegate world.

In the wake of the removal of Galileo CEO Berry Smutny and Rudolph Elmer's handover of banking data to Wikileaks, the German public relations portal PR Professional defines three reasons why WikiLeaks is dangerous for corporations, and advises them on how to avoid coming into difficulties resulting from potentially damaging disclosures.

According to Jörg Forthmann of Faktenkontor, WikiLeaks is dangerous to corporations because:

2011-01-20 Cablegate: Ireland and US predator drones

State department cable reveals possible use of Irish IT infrastructure to pilot unmanned drones in Afghanistan. A recent article in Phoenix Magazine (behind paywall) conjectures that undersea fibre-optic cables channeled through sites in Ireland, revealed in Wikileaks release of 09STATE15113, are in fact part of the U.S. military infrastructure for piloting Predator Drones in Afghanistan from a military base in Nevada. If true, this could be illegal under Irish constitutional commitments to neutrality.

2011-01-20 Cablegate: Statement on rendition by Irish Labour spokesperson for Foreign Affairs

Irish Labour politician calls out Irish government on rendition: A senior member of the Irish Labour party and spokesperson for Foreign Affairs, Michael D Higgins, has criticized the Fianna Fáil government for apparent collusion with the US government on suspected rendition flights from Shannon airport in County Clare, indicated in US diplomatic cables from the Dublin Embassy.

In a statement made on January 17, Higgins referred to 04DUBLIN1739 and 07DUBLIN916 in support of his claim that the Irish government had knowingly conspired against popular and legal opinion in the use of Shannon airport by the U.S. military, while secretly harbouring a strong suspicion that it was being used for extraordinary rendition flights.

Labour.ie

2011-01-20 Former Quantico HQ company commander questions Manning's treatment

Pardoned Felon Lt. Colonel Oliver North - Image Courtesy of Life.com

 

From DAVID C. MACMICHAEL

General James F. Amos
Commandant of the Marine Corps
3000 Marine Corps Pentagon
Washington DC 20350-3000

Dear General Amos:

As a former regular Marine Corps captain, a Korean War combat veteran, now retired on Veterans Administration disability due to wounds suffered during that conflict, I write you to protest and express concern about the confinement in the Quantico Marine Corps Base brig of US Army Pfc. Bradley Manning.

2011-01-20 Cablegate, Ireland, and extraordinary rendition

Cablegate reinforces suspicions of Irish government complicity in US rendition: US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks are gradually adding to a picture wherein the government of Ireland ignored public opposition to suspected US rendition flights through its territory, and looked for ways to co-operate with alleged US abuses while avoiding liability and political fallout.

What is the context?

The Shannon airport has a history of use as a military stopover point for foreign militaries. Post-9/11, the US military had been allowed to use Shannon as a conduit for "War on Terror" flights involving munitions, supplies, and the transport of vehicles and troops to Afghanistan and Iraq. This move was unpopular since the status of the Iraq war under international law was controversial, and the Shannon stopover was perceived by the Irish anti-war community as a violation of the principle of Irish neutrality.

2011-01-20 Jacob Applebaum detained again

Jacob Appelbaum has once again been detained at US customs, as his Twitter feed indicates. Xeni Jardin of Boing Boing reports that Applebaum was

2011-01-19 Self-immolation protest spreads to Yemen

Awaasat.com reports

A 25 year old Yemeni youth set himself on fire in the Radaa province to the south of the capital city Sanaa today, alluding to the "stick of security" being used to deal with any demonstrations in the country.

Yemini sources say that he is now in intensive care in a hospital in Sanaa, where his condition remains critical.

Sanaa saw popular demonstrations for the fourth consecutive day in support of the popular Sidibouzid movement in Tunisia. Demonstrations were mostly peaceful escept at Sanaa Unniversity, where the campus was turned into a military barracks after hundreds of students participated in demonstrations there. The Yemini Ministry of Interior has declared any marches or demonstrations illegal, according to a security source in the ministry, declaring that such bans are not inconsistent with Yemen's constitution.

Clashes with the government have continued now for more than a week in the cities of Habilayn, Radfan and Lahj.

Previously on WL Central:Unrest in Arab States

2011-01-19 Unrest in Arab States [Update 1]

"The lesson from what's happening in Tunisia is that (Arab leaders) won't be able to hide any more behind the Islamist threat argument."

-Amel Boubekeur

If Tunisians are protesting for freedom, not religion, what role did Wikileaks and online social networks play in mobilizing Arab populations to throw off the shackles of authoritarian, repressive, and corrupt regimes? Are our western institutions responsible for the waves of protest threatening to drown capitals in the Middle East?.

2011-01-19 Reuters: Swiss re-arrest Rudolf Elmer for giving data to WikiLeaks [UPDATE: 1]

Reuters:

Swiss police on Wednesday arrested former banker Rudolf Elmer on fresh charges of breaching Swiss bank secrecy law for giving data to WikiLeaks, hours after he was found guilty of another secrecy offense.

"The state prosecutor's office is checking to see whether Rudolf Elmer has violated Swiss banking law by handing the CD over to WikiLeaks," the Zurich cantonal (state) police and state prosecutor said in a joint statement.

Earlier on Wednesday, a court found Elmer guilty of breaching banking secrecy for publicising private client data. He was also found guilty of threatening an employee at his former firm Julius Baer.

Update 1:
Submitted by KnowledgeEmpire on Wed, 01/19/2011 - 15:57

2011-01-19 Bulgarians trapped by EC conspiracy on corruption scandal appeal to EU employees to leak classified report

Bulgarian citizens concerned about a corruption scandal involving the country’s prime minister sent through the media today an appeal to EU employees to leak the report submitted by the Bulgarian Justice Ministry to the authorities in Brussels, because this report has been kept secret from the media and Bulgarian society.

2011-01-19 WikiLeaks in today's media: Cablegate coverage

Le Monde: "La Tunisie fait des progrès sur les droits de l'homme..." ("Tunisia makes progress on human rights")

""La Tunisie n'est pas une dictature..." La phrase figure en sous-titre d'un télégramme diplomatique de l'ambassade des Etats-Unis, daté du 14 août 2007, obtenu par WikiLeaks et révélé par Le Monde. Les mots sont ceux de Serge Degallaix, ambassadeur de France en Tunisie de juillet 2005 à septembre 2009. ("Tunisia is not a dictatorship..." The sentence is found on the title of a diplomatic cable from the American embassy, dated August 14th 2007, obtained by Wikileaks and revealed by Le Monde. The words come from Serge Degallaix, ambassador of France in Tunisia between July 2005 and September 2009.)"

Read more (French)

2011-01-18 WikiLeaks in today's media: Cablegate coverage

The Guardian: US advised to sabotage Iran nuclear sites by German thinktank

"As Stuxnet cyber attack pinned on US and Israel, US embassy cable reveals advice to use undercover operations.

The United States was advised to adopt a policy of "covert sabotage" of Iran's clandestine nuclear facilities, including computer hacking and "unexplained explosions", by an influential German thinktank, a leaked US embassy cable reveals."

Read more

The Guardian: US feared Turkish military backlash in 'coup plot' arrests

"Turkish arrests of senior military officers last year could trigger 'unpredictable reaction', US embassy cable warned.

US diplomats in Turkey feared that a wave of arrests of senior military officers last year over an alleged plot to topple the country's Islamist-rooted government could trigger an "unpredictable military reaction", according to a leaked diplomatic cable."

Read more

2011-01-18 Cable: Guatemalan President Colom called Rigoberta Menchu "a fabrication"

Hispanically Speaking News:

The President of Guatemala, Álvaro Colom, was the latest world leader to blush and issue damage control half-apologies following an embarrassing WikiLeaks revelation.

A diplomatic document leaked to WikiLeaks and published by the whistle-blowing site says the Guatemalan President described the revered Nobel Peace Prize laureate Rigoberta Menchu as a “fabrication” of French anthropologist Elizabeth Burgos. Burgos helped author the biography “I Rigoberta Menchú,” which introduced the Nobel Prize winner known as a human rights activist to the world.

Via @Asher_Wolf on Twitter

2011-01-18 Reaction to Tunisia's new government

Yesterday, Tunisia's new government was announced. Today, four of the new ministers resigned in accord with protesters who continued to demand the complete resignation of the old regime. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi is one of eight ministers of former president Ben Ali's government who will remain in the new government announced yesterday.

Junior Minister for Transportation and Equipment Anouar Ben Gueddour resigned along with Houssine Dimassi, the labor minister, and minister of prime ministerial affairs Abdeljelil Bedoui. All three are members of labour union UGIT. The labour union's supporters staged a protest Tunis today, calling for a general strike, constitutional changes and the release of all imprisoned union leaders.

2011-01-18 Ahmed Hashem El-Sayed dies in Alexandria hospital from self-immolation wounds

The spate of "copycat" self-immolation protests taking place across the Middle East has claimed another victim.

Twenty-five-year-old Ahmed Hashem El-Sayed, the third Egyptian to set himself ablaze this week, died in hospital late Tuesday. El-Sayed is the third Egyptian to copy Tunisia's Mohamed Bouazizi, who set himself on fire on December 17, triggering riots and the ensuing Tunisian revolution. Original source

Previously on WL Central:

2011-01-17 Egyptian man sets himself on fire [UPDATE: 1]
2011-01-17 Mauritanian man sets himself on fire [UPDATE: 1]
2011-01-16 Protests in Algeria

2011-01-17 Dutch EU ambassador nominee Pieter de Gooijer comes under fire after WikiLeaks disclosures

Expatica.com reports that Labour MP Frans Timmermans is objecting to Mr Peter De Gooijer becoming the Dutch ambassador to the European Union, after messages from the US embassy in The Hague sourced from Wikileaks were reported in Dutch newspapers.

The challenge to De Gooijer comes days after he was named the top representative of the Netherlands at the EU last Friday, having until then served as director-general for political affairs at the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs. De Gooijer previously served as the counselor for political-military affairs for the Netherlands embassy in Washington 1994--97.

According to the cables cited by the newspapers, De Gooijer asked the US embassy to put pressure on the then Labour leader and deputy prime minister, Wouter Bos. He hoped Mr Bos would be pushed into agreeing to an extension of the Dutch military mission in Afghanistan.

2011-01-17 BBC: CEO of German partner in the EU Galileo consortium loses job over cable revelations

The BBC reports that Berry Smutny, chief executive of the German partner in the EU's Galileo satellite-navigation project, has been removed by the board of OHB-System because of statements critical of the project that appear in a US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks:

... Smutny [is] alleged to have told diplomats at a meeting in Berlin in October 2009 that Galileo, a flagship space programme of the EU, was a waste of taxpayers' money.

The cable, which was published by the Norwegian daily Aftenposten last Thursday, quoted the OHB-System chief as saying, "I think Galileo is a stupid idea that primarily serves French interests", and, in particular, French military interests.

Mr Smutny was further reported to say that Galileo was "doomed for failure" or would "have to undergo drastic scalebacks for survival".

Mr Smutny has denied making the statements reported in the cable.

Via Greg Mitchell at The Nation

2011-01-17 Tunisia's new government

After one month (to the day) of turmoil, Tunisia has announced a new interim government. Mohamed Ghannouchi, the Tunisian prime minister, has announced that the former defense, foreign affairs, interior and finance ministers will keep their key posts, and a number of opposition members will be assigned to ministerial posts

Najib Chebbi, founder of the Progressive Democratic Party (PDP), will be minister of regional development, Ahmed Ibrahim, leader of the Ettajdid party, will be minister of higher education, and Mustafa Ben Jaafar, head of the Union of Freedom and Labour, will be the minister of health. The ministry of information, formerly devoted to suppression of information, is abolished in the new government. There is now a separation of the state from political parties, so the collection of parties will not fall under the control of a ruling party.

The government has committed to releasing all political prisoners and a ban on the activities of human rights groups will be lifted. Anyone with great wealth or suspected of corruption will face investigation. Internet and social media restrictions have been dropped and the government has promised "total freedom" for the media.

2011-01-17 Slim Amamou named Tunisia's Secretary of Youth and Sports

Image

Slim Amamou, the blogger and net-neutrality activist jailed by Ben Ali's outgoing government during Tunisia's Sidibouzid revolution, has been named the new secretary of state for Youth and Sports, reports Anne Brigaudeau.

"Thursday he announced on Twitter, 'I am free.' And Monday: 'I am secretary of state for Youth and Sports. :)'"

Amamou's first tweet as secretary was "My boss is Mohamed Aloulou. Who is he?"

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