According to Russia Times, Julian Assange has been granted a Russian visa and plans to visit the country soon. With his next court hearing scheduled for February 7, Assange may be able to visit Russia in three weeks, but only if the Swedish extradition request is turned down by Britain.
No details of the agenda and schedule have been disclosed. However, by that time a Russia-based pro-WikiLeaks NGO currently being established is likely to get its official registration.
The Russian News Service quoted by Russia Times quotes Israel Shamir as its source for the article. Shamir is a highly controversial figure who was associated with Wikileaks in distributing the US State cables.
The German language website Welt Online continued publication of WikiLeaks cables critical of Turkey, in their bid to "Break the WikiLeaks Cartel". According to cables cited today, the opening of the PLO Embassy in Turkey was only an excuse for Abbas' visit in 2009, and Israel considers Turkey to be "lost to the west".
The cables document how not only the USA and Israel, but also the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah were concerned with Turkey's silent support for Hamas, which the PLO official quoted in the cable of June 3, 2009 called "very dangerous". Turkey's ambivalent relationship to Hamas, while nothing new, required Turkish officials to "talk out of both sides of their mouth" when dealing with American officials. The U.S. Congress' anger is is clearly visible in the cables. This push-me pull-you continued well into 2009, when U.S. Ambassador James F. Jeffrey reported on February 9th that President Gül and especially Foreign Minister Babacan were taking extra care to deal with the "extremely critical" remarks that Erdogan had made towards Israel in order to repair the "traditionally strong relationship between Israel and Turkey".
The cables document the further deterioration of the relationship, to the degree where the Israeli Ambassador to Ankara, Gabi Levy, called Erdogan a fundamentalist who "hates us with religious fury". Whereupon the Americans soberly confirm that their contacts inside and outside of the Turkish government are of the opinion that Erdogan probably "just hates Israel".
Washington Post: PARIS -- Lawyers for ex-inmates of the Guantanamo prison camp used documents released by WikiLeaks to argue for their acquittal in a French terrorism trial Thursday.
The lawyers for five Frenchmen, originally acquitted of the charges in a 2009 trial, argued that it was inappropriate for French investigators to have discussed the ex-inmates' cases with American authorities after a new trial was ordered. Lawyer Dominique Many said it "shocked" him that investigators would discuss ongoing cases with the U.S. government.
In one March 2005 cable, French investigators told American officials that the cases against two of the ex-Guantanamo inmates, Ridouane Khalid and Khaled Ben Mustafa, "would be much more difficult" than for other French former inmates of the prison. The cable was among many released recently by WikiLeaks.
The Guardian: Iran has cleared major hurdle to nuclear weapons
"Tehran has 'technical ability' to make highly enriched uranium, say experts, as efforts turn to disrupting supply of other materials.
US officials believe Iran now has the "technical ability" to make highly enriched uranium, an essential step towards building a nuclear bomb, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable."
The Guardian: US embassy cables: Botswana's forced relocation of indigenous tribespeople condemned
"Ambassador Huggins visited Botswana's western town of Ghanzi and the San/Basarwa relocation settlement of New Xade on March 10-11. Rural poverty, severe dependence on government assistance, lack of income-generating opportunities, despair among youth, and the underperformance of the parastatal Botswana Meat Commission (BMC) were identified by interlocutors as dominant issues in the district. Officials proclaimed the advantages of the relocation of the San/Basarwa out of the Central Kalahari Game Reserve into villages. NGOs emphasized the forcible aspect of the exercise and the psychological trauma and cultural disorientation it had produced. The GOB, as revealed in a subsequent meeting with the MFA PermSec, views the San as a group which, like other ethnic minorities in Botswana, should use education to move forward."
Hispanically Speaking News: Guatemalan President Alvaro Colom Said Rigoberta Menchu is “A Fabrication”
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
"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."
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?.
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.
Submitted by KnowledgeEmpire on Wed, 01/19/2011 - 15:57
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.
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.)"
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."
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."
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
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.
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: