The Times Live reports that a probe team has been appointed by Zimbabwe's attorney general to determine whether any of the leaked diplomatic cables are in breach of Zimbabwe's security laws.
"I am seeking a professional legal opinion from registered lawyers to see whether there is need to prosecute anyone following revelations by the Wikileaks website," Johannes Tomana, the attorney general told the state-run Sunday Mail.
"People should understand that this is a serious matter...after their recommendations, I will then decide whether there is need to open a docket against anyone.
"This is not a commission of inquiry, but a panel of experts whose recommendations will inform whether to prosecute anyone or not."
Tomana was quoted over the holidays as stating that
[T]he WikiLeaks appear to show a treasonous collusion between local Zimbabweans and the aggressive international world, particularly the United States. With immediate effect, I am going to instruct a team of practising lawyers to look into the issues that arise from the WikiLeaks.
However, he denied having made the statement and insisted that appointing an investigative team was beyond his power:
If you look at the scenarios around the appointment of commissions, it must be of national importance and it is only the president who can appoint a commission. I do not know where all this is coming from"
Global rallies were held on Saturday, January 15, for Freedom of Information and in support of Wikileaks. Here are some of the protests that were held yesterday, primarily organized by Anonymous and Free Wikileaks (Europe).
Istanbul, Turkey:Wonderful video of Anonymous in Istanbul.
Sydney, Australia: More than a thousand in attendance. Here are some Photos. In addition, there is a video of the Pirate Party's own Rodney Serkowski speaking: Video. (Stick around for the written message from Phillip Adams--you won't regret it!)
Our own JLo, who was on the scene, has now covered the Sydney protest, and provided a gallery of photographs from the event.
Vancouver, Canada: The number of protesters was much lower than in Sydney, but rest assured that their passion made up for their numbers. Read about it!
Seattle, U.S.A.: Several protesters show up in the rain: (Video) Now that's dedication! Thank you Washington!
San Francisco, U.S.A.: "A Media Intervention for Wikileaks" (Video). Very powerful: "We have never been more empowered to fight back than we are right now." Thank you San Francisco!
Rudolf Elmer, the founder of Swiss Whistleblower who we wrote about here is in the news again. He will return to Switzerland to appear in court on January 19, where he will face charges of stealing banking information. Two days earlier he will be at the Frontline Club in London to present Wikileaks with CD's containing the offshore bank account details of 2,000 "high net worth individuals" and corporations.
Elmer told the Observer that the details on the CD's will include information on business people, approximately 40 politicians, people who have made their living in the arts and multinational conglomerates, from US, Britain, Germany, Austria, Asia, and all over.
Elmer, says he is releasing the information "in order to educate society". He is concerned about the wealthy individuals and multinationals who use banking secrecy to hide possibly criminal activities such as tax evasion.
"What I am objecting to is not one particular bank, but a system of structures, I have worked for major banks other than Julius Baer, and the one thing on which I am absolutely clear is that the banks know, and the big boys know, that money is being secreted away for tax-evasion purposes, and other things such as money-laundering – although these cases involve tax evasion."
"I agree with privacy in banking for the person in the street, and legitimate activity, but in these instances privacy is being abused so that big people can get big banking organisations to service them. The normal, hard-working taxpayer is being abused also.
The US state cables have been credited with enormous importance in the Tunisian revolution. Preserved for the Tunisians by organizations such as Tunileaks and other online media, they may have provided the spark to an already very volatile situation. In any case, they enhance our understanding of the situation, as understood by the US embassy. Arguably the most interesting of the cables may be 09TUNIS492#1 which describes the US ambassador's belief that the US cannot make the progress they wish to in the country while Ben Ali is president and outlines the embassy's policy of using social media to communicate with the people in the country.
In 2006 and 2007 we see cables where France is accusing Tunisia of not cooperating on "counter-terrorism".
"We want all the information to be above the table so the press is not restricted and the truth is reflected in the history books. These principles, are in essence, our philosophy." -Julian Assange (translated)
Today, the Dutch news organization NOS.nl posted a segment of their interview with Julian Assange. In this brief segment, Mr. Assange elaborates on the philosophy behind the release of several cables concerning Afghanistan troop deployment from the Netherlands. According to the website, the full interview will be posted later today, at which time we will provide an update.
Interview with Julian Assange. (Full Interview)
The full article can be found here.
Le Monde: Corruption en Tunisie, "ce qui est à vous est à moi" (Corruption in Tunisia, "What is yours is mine")
"Le Monde publie exceptionnellement une traduction en français d'un télégramme diplomatique américain dévoilé par WikiLeaks et décrivant la corruption au plus haut niveau du régime du président Ben Ali. (Le Monde publishes exceptionally a French translation of an American diplomatic cable unveiled by Wikileaks, which describes the corruption at the highest level of President Ben Ali's regime.)"
A US court decision appears to draw a line between advocacy and journalism that could have dangerous consequences for other publishers and artists.
A federal appeals court has ruled that Joe Berlinger, a filmmaker who was ordered to hand over footage from his 2009 documentary “Crude” to the Chevron Corporation, cannot invoke a journalist’s privilege in refusing to do so because his work does not constitute an act of independent reporting. ...
In a decision issued on Thursday concerning Mr. Berlinger’s contention that he was protected as a journalist from being compelled to share his materials, the Second Circuit judges said they did not find the argument, which his lawyers presented to the court in July, to be persuasive.
“Given all the circumstances of the making of the film,” the judges wrote, “as reasonably found by the district court, particularly the fact that Berlinger’s making of the film was solicited by the plaintiffs in the Lago Agrio litigation for the purpose of telling their story, and that changes to the film were made at their instance, Berlinger failed to carry his burden of showing that he collected information for the purpose of independent reporting and commentary.”
Via @jeffjarvis on Twitter
We are indebted to Julian Assange who apparently instructed his counsel to make available the "Skeleton Argument" for the extradition hearing proper.
It was expected, per my previous post Extradition Part 3 that the issue of extradition (and arrest) for the purposes of investigation only, would be a highly significant issue for the extradition arguments, and so it was.
One part of that document however that shocked me, that I have discussed with colleagues (likewise shocked) was paragraph 88, the legal implications of which I was unaware. It now seems that some (or indeed all?) of the prospective charges of a sexual nature in Sweden do not have as a required element that the prosecution must prove (for a conviction to be sustained) the element of mens rea, the "guilty mind" otherwise known as the fault element.
Today marked the end of a 23 year rule by Tunisian president Ben Ali, who fled to Saudi Arabia after police in the country killed at least 23 protesters. “What happened here is going to affect the whole Arab world,” said protester Zied Mhirsi. Prime Minister Mohamed Ghannouchi announced his intention to serve as interim president, and protesters immediately refused to have him.
Fadhel Bel Taher, whose brother was one of dozens of people killed in protests, said: "Tomorrow we will be back on the streets, in Martyrs Square, to continue this civil disobedience until... the regime is gone.
"The street has spoken."
Much ink has been spilled in the last 24 hours over the insurance file Julian Assange alluded to in his interview with John Pilger of New Statesman. In the event that something should happen to WikiLeaks or Assange himself, insurance files will be released which contain "504 files on one broadcasting organisation." There are also "cables on Murdoch and News Corp," Assange tells us.
Interesting possibilities for the scope of the leaks are vast and include technology, politics and the media. Each in turn.
News of the Wikileaks files comes at what might be an inconvenient time for Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and CEO of News Corp., who is in the midst of launching his "new baby" in conjunction with Apple founder Steve Jobs. The baby is apparently worth $300M to Murdoch and comes in the form of an iPad-only publication called "The Daily" (Source).
News Corp. has also ventured into the domain of online education technology. In November 2010,
In response to Rep. Peter King, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, who had demanded that WikiLeaks and Julian Assange be placed on a blacklist maintained by the US Treasury Department, a department representative said today, "We do not have evidence at this time as to Julian Assange or Wikileaks meeting criteria under which [Treasury] may designate persons and place them on the [sanctions list]."
Last Monday at 16.30, I was on the internet, trying to help some people find their way around London to be able to go to Belmarsh court. And then it suddenly dawned on me that, after having followed Wikileaks intensely over the last couple of weeks, it would be a good thing to go as well. This is a short account of my experiences - together with practical ideas about the next court-hearing on the 7th and 8th of February.
How to get there:
Travel to Bank-underground station
Take the "light rail train" to Woolwich-Arsenal from there
A short walk away from the trainstation is a busstop - take bus 244/380
The journey took me 1 1/2 hour.
I had mailed the court in advance firstname.lastname@example.org to ask if there was anything I should be aware of. And this was their reply:
Please see link, the hearing is at 10am, there will be a public gallery, but please get there early. http://www.hmcourts-service.gov.uk/HMCSCourtFinder/SearchLinked.do?court...
So I did - I planned to be there at 8.00 and the whole place was already full of press, vehicles, cameras etc. They were all huddled up behind some type of railing & I was told to go to the front-door of the court and start a queue there. Before I did I had a bit of a chat with whoever was interested. The most intriguing conversation was with a journalist from Expressen: the Swedish paper that broke the news on the rape charges. I said to her that they would know who would have told them the news (see this link http://radsoft.net/news/20101202,00.shtml I don't like the tone of the article, but I love the logic!) & she was like "but we keep our sources confidential". And I was like - "but you must know the full story, would a rape victim have gone to you to advertise??" Funniest was that another journalist joined me and she became more and more agitated.
Global: Global Protest
Date and time: Saturday 15 January 2011, 18:00h
Global: Anonymous in defense of WikiLeaks and freedom of expression
Date and time: Saturday 15 January 2011
Event Information: http://forums.whyweprotest.net/forums/planning.283/
Location: Victoria Sqaure, Adelaide, Australia
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=181160868571449
Brisbane: Saturday, January 15, 20:30h
Location: Brisbane Square, Top of Queen St Mall
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=153885131325141
Sydney: Saturday, January 15, 13:00h
Location: Sydney Town Hall
Contact: Patrick on 0422 028 113
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=163029660407190
Hobart: Saturday, January 15, TBA
Location: Information Day, at Franklin Square and surrounds
Vancouver: Saturday, January 15, 1400h - 1700h
Location: Vancouver Public Library Central Branch, 350 West Georgia Street
Organizer: Pirate Party of Canada
Organizer website: http://www.pirateparty.ca/
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=168626646506827
Calgary: Saturday, January 15, 1400h - 1700h
Location: University of Calgary, outside the social sciences building
Organizer: Pirate Party of Canada
Organizer website: http://www.pirateparty.ca/
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=174214409267004
Date and time: Saturday, January 15, 1400h - 16:00h
An update has just been posted regarding the confinement conditions of Bradley Manning.
13 January 2011
The defense has raised its objection to the documented confinement conditions of PFC Bradley Manning on multiple occasions with the Quantico confinement facility and the Staff Judge Advocate’s (SJA) Office. On 5 January 2011, the defense filed a formal complaint with the commander of the Quantico Brig. On the same day, PFC Manning also filed a formal complaint through the confinement grievance process. Both complaints requested that the confinement facility remove PFC Manning from Prevention of Injury (POI) watch and that his classification level be reduced from "Maximum" to "Medium Detention In." The confinement facility did not respond to either complaint.
Due to the lack of response from the confinement facility, the defense, pursuant to the provisions of Rule for Courts-Martial (R.C.M.) 305(g), filed a request earlier today with the Garrison Commander to direct the release of PFC Bradley Manning from pretrial confinement. This request is based upon the fact that the confinement conditions currently being endured by PFC Manning are more rigorous than necessary to guarantee his presence at trial, and that the concerns raised by the government at the time of pretrial confinement are no longer applicable. Further steps to address PFC Manning's confinement conditions will be taken, if necessary.
Posted by Army Court-Martial Defense Specialist at 4:00 PM
This update and future updates from the Law Offices of David E. Coombs can be found here.
Jeff Paterson, speaking for the Bradley Manning Support Network, released this statement today about WikiLeaks' contribution towards the defence of the accused whistleblower.
WikiLeaks fulfills pledge to support accused whistle-blower Bradley Manning
Providence, RI, January 13, 2011 -- On Monday, WikiLeaks fulfilled its pledge to contribute toward the legal defense of accused whistleblower Bradley Manning by transferring $15,100 to the legal trust account of Manning's attorney. WikiLeaks publicly solicited donations specifically for the expenses of Manning's legal defense following his arrest in May 2010.
In light of WikiLeaks' current fiscal challenges -- due in large part to the shameful actions of Visa, MasterCard and PayPal in cutting off services to WikiLeaks at the behest of the US government -- the Bradley Manning Support Network commends WikiLeaks for their contribution at this time. "This donation from WikiLeaks is vital to our efforts to ensure Bradley receives a fair, open trial," says founder and steering committee member Mike Gogulski.
The Support Network does not name donors as a matter of course. However, WikiLeaks' pledge and anticipated contribution have been a matter of public record and ongoing interest.
Early last week, The Guardian published an Op-Ed piece by a James Richardson, which attributed to Wikileaks all of the journalistic responsibility for possible fallout in the Zimbabwean government following from the release of the 09HARARE1004 cable.
I covered the initial James Richardson piece several hours after its publication, here on WL Central, where I pointed out that the Guardian in fact bears as much if not more responsibility for the consequences of the publication of any of the Cablegate cables, because it is in fact the media partners who greenlight and redact (or fail to redact) each of the cables, before they are forwarded to Wikileaks.
Here is my post about the inadequate correction by the Guardian, which was performed on Tuesday, a full week after the original article was published. Glenn Greenwald also covered the issue yesterday, in a comprehensive article on Salon.com. There was also some dispute about a minor detail of the case, which I covered here.
The Guardian's Alan Rusbridger yesterday responded to a tweet by Greenwald to the effect that The Guardian would "reply at greater length" to questions he had raised about the satisfactoriness of The Guardian's correction of its James Richardson piece.
Jacob Appelbaum is a security analyst who works on Tor and Wikileaks, and has been very instrumental in discovering weaknesses in the Haystack system, among other things. He has gained notoriety with the US government through acting as a speaker and advocate of Wikileaks, and became widely known last fall after a Rolling Stone article calling him "The Most Dangerous Man in Cyberspace" and "The American hacker behind Wikileaks". Recently he was one of the subjects of a subpoena from the US DoJ requesting information from Twitter.
While the Twitter story broke he was in Iceland, and he returned to the US on Monday. He has been the subject of repeated harassment at airports this year, and apparently Monday was no exception, despite members of the ACLU meeting him at the airport. He will be headed to Toronto this weekend and will be able to experience the independence (or not) of Canadian customs.
His tweets on his most recent experience arriving in the US:
The BBC report on U.S. government intervention in the sentencing of David Kernell does not include the information that WikiLeaks published the contents of what it called a "pseudo-private" account because then-Governor Sarah Palin appeared to be using that account to avoid Alaska's freedom-of-information laws.
A man who broke into Sarah Palin's e-mail has been imprisoned - despite being told he might be spared jail. David Kernell, 23, was found guilty last year of illegally accessing Mrs Palin's e-mail during the 2008 presidential campaign. At the time, a judge suggested he should serve his year-long sentence in a halfway house. But after intervention from US government officials he is now in federal prison, the BBC has learned.
WikiLeaks responded overnight to a call for sanctions against Julian Assange and WikiLeaks from Rep. Peter T. King, chair of the U.S. House Committee on Homeland Security.
WikiLeaks condemns US embargo move
WikiLeaks today condemned calls from the chair of the House Committee on Homeland Security to "strangle the viability" of WikiLeaks by placing the publisher and its editor-in-chief, Julian Assange, on a US "enemies list" normally reserved for terrorists and dictators.
Placement on the US "Specially Designated National and Blocked Persons List" would criminalize US companies who deal with WikiLeaks or its editor. "The U.S. government simply cannot continue its ineffective piecemeal approach of responding in the aftermath of Wikileaks’ damage," King wrote in a letter to the Secretary of the US Treasury, Geithner. "The U.S. government should be making every effort to strangle the viability of Assange’s organization."
’The Homeland Security Committee chair Peter T. King wants to put a Cuban style trade embargo around the truth—forced on US citizens at the point of a gun,’ said Julian Assange.
Peter King, the Republican who chairs the House Committee on Homeland Security and whose hypocritical zeal in persecuting Wikileaks was explored in an article on December 7, 2010 by our own x7o, continues his campaign. According to an article in Nasdaq he has asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Wednesday to prohibit people and companies within the U.S. from doing business with Wikileaks or Julian Assange. He would like both to be placed on the Specially Designated National and Blocked Persons List, which the Treasury Department can use to bar companies and individuals subject to U.S. jurisdiction from conducting business with a given entity.
King noted that some U.S. companies had voluntarily cut off ties to Wikileaks, but that a New York publisher had recently agreed to pay Assange for an autobiography. Assange has said the book fees would help "keep Wikileaks afloat."
"The U.S. government simply cannot continue its ineffective piecemeal approach of responding in the aftermath of Wikileaks' damage," King wrote in a letter to Geithner. "The U.S. government should be making every effort to strangle the viability of Assange's organization."