European Commission documents released today by WikiLeaks show that hard-right U.S. politicians were directly behind the extrajudicial banking blockade against WikiLeaks. In the heavily redacted documents, MasterCard Europe admits that Senator Joseph Lieberman and Congressman Peter T. King both "had conversations" with MasterCard in the United States. Lieberman, the chair of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Government Affairs, boasted of instigating Amazon's cutting of service to WikiLeaks - an action condemned by the Council of Europe's Committee of Ministers on 7 December 2011.
Ingo Stoll, organizer and managing director of the agency neuwaerts, commented on the choice of Assange for the keynote speech:
"The internet and the digital revolution have initiated a fundamental change in our society. The established institutions have already been struggling for a long time for their retention of power in being the opinion and interpretation leaders. So far, nobody has challenged these institutions as much as WikliLeaks and in person Julian Assange. Who else could be more suitable for speaking about our key issue of ... 'real change' far away from Twitter, Facebook, etc.? We are interested in his vision of the future society. And we believe that with his ... views he will ... make the 1,500 attendees step out of the comfort zone of their own thoughts."
Assange is scheduled to appear via video stream at 9:45AM. An exclusive interview will follow the keynote.
Today OR Books released Cypherpunks: Freedom and the Future of the Internet, a new title by WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange and fellow internet visionaries Jacob Appelbaum, Andy Müller-Maguhn, and Jérémie Zimmermann.
Cypherpunks comes roughly a year after the publication of Julian Assange: The Unauthorised Autobiography -- which erupted in controversy when the publishing company Canongate released a draft of the manuscript against Assange's wishes.
Cypherpunks are activists who promote the use of cryptography (writing in code) as a means of positive social change.
Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks editor-in-chief, has figured largely in the cypherpunk movement since the 1980s.
Wau-Holland-Stiftung (WHS), named in memory of the German philosopher and net activist Wau Holland, has been collecting donations for WikiLeaks since 2009. In the immediate aftermath of WikiLeaks publication of the US diplomatic cables in 2010, not only did PayPal arbitarily shut down the WHS donations account, but the tax-exempt status of the Foundation was challenged as well.
This situation has now been rectified.
The South American media has reverberated lately with reports that the CIA has been using drug money in efforts to destabilize the government of Ecuador's President, Rafael Correa. If these stories are accurate, then the plan's exposure and apparent failure may illustrate the impotence of traditional U.S. interventionism in the new South America, which increasingly rejects traditional political and economic servitude to its northern and European neighbors.
In a landmark decision today the European Parliament initiated the drafting of legislation that would stop the arbitrary banking blockades against WikiLeaks and other organizations facing economic censorship. This is an important signal from the European lawmakers. It is a recognition of the seriousness of the precedents set in December 2010, still in force, when Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union and Bank of America launched a unilateral, extrajudicial banking blockade against donations to WikiLeaks.
The WikiLeaks Collateral Murder website is now http://collateralmurder.org and is being protected by CloudFlare. The TrapWire surveillance technology revealed in the Global Intelligence Files continues to make headlines.
By Nikolas Kozloff.
Due to competing interests, the emerging world power's foreign policy is being pulled between pragmatism and idealism.
By Nikolas Kozloff.
In the wake of Paraguay's suspicious impeachment of President Fernando Lugo, which observers have likened to a kind of "quasi-coup," some may wonder whether underhanded corporate forces may have played a role in the political crisis. Such suspicions were heightened recently when the new de facto regime led by Federico Franco, Lugo's former conservative Vice President, inked a deal with Texas-based PetroVictory/Crescent Global Oil to open up the remote Chaco region to petroleum exploration. Supporters of Lugo's highly dubious ouster claim that Crescent could help to ease Paraguay's dependence on foreign oil. Richard González, Crescent's CEO, announced that the company would invest $10 million in the Chaco and start exploratory drilling within the next few months.
UPDATE BELOW: In the Ecuadorian capital of Quito today, Christine Assange struggled to hold back tears after a meeting with Ricardo Patiño, Ecuador's Minister for Foreign Relations, Business and Integration.
While WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange remains trapped in Ecuador's London embassy, his mother has flown to the small South American capital to provide additional information on his request for political asylum, and make a personal plea for assistance.
On Saturday evening, what appeared to be a New York Times op-ed piece by Bill Keller supporting WikiLeaks emerged on twitter. For WL supporters, this was too good to be true, as someone who had shown much animosity toward WikiLeaks appeared to be speaking in their defense. This turned out to be a well crafted hoax. The stunning prank was believed by almost everyone as the only difference was the URL. The article borrowed words from Keller's emails and mimicked New York Times' home page. It fooled journalists and embarrassingly even the Time's tech writer Nick Bilton. It was surreal, as Keller, someone who had come to represent a 'journalism' that bends over for the US government, now appeared to stand behind WikiLeaks. This lasted for hours before it was finally debunked. Later in the day, WikiLeaks released a sequence of tweets that admitted they were involved in the production of this fake Bill Keller op-ed.
The Minister of Public Safety in Canada, Vic Toews, recently made comments about Omar Khadr's potential transfer to Canada from Guantánamo Bay, where he has been incarcerated since 2002 when he was just 15 years old. The comment by Toews comes after the US formally requested a transfer in April of 2012, and after months of silence and inaction. Omar Khadr pleaded guilty in Guantánamo in 2010 to five charges. Under a plea deal, Khadr had his sentence reduced from 40 to 8 years. Such a transfer would allow Omar Khadr to serve the remainder of his sentence in Canada.