2011-01-15 What the US state cables on Tunisia said

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".

2011-01-15 The Netherlands should know everything

"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.

2011-01-15 WikiLeaks in today's media: Cablegate coverage

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.)"

Read more (French)

2011-01-15 New York Times: Documentary filmmaker doesn't qualify for a journalist's privilege, says court

A US court decision appears to draw a line between advocacy and journalism that could have dangerous consequences for other publishers and artists.

New York Times:

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

2011-01-15 Julian Assange & Mens Rea, Sweden & Doli Incapax: Extradition Part 4

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.

2011-01-14 Tunisia: Ben Ali Out, Mohamed Ghannouchi Out

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."

2011-01-14 Murdoch & News Corp: A Preview

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.

Technology
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,

2011-01-14 Wall Street Journal: Treasury cannot sanction WikiLeaks or Julian Assange

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]."

Read more

2011-01-14 Eyewitness Account from Belmarsh Court

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 gl-horseferry.court@hmcourts-service.gsi.gov.uk 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.

2011-01-14 WikiLeaks Rallies Tomorrow

Image

GLOBAL

Global: Global Protest
Date and time: Saturday 15 January 2011, 18:00h
Details: http://freewikileaks.eu/en/protests/

Global: Anonymous in defense of WikiLeaks and freedom of expression
Date and time: Saturday 15 January 2011
Details: http://www.whyweprotest.net/en/
Event Information: http://forums.whyweprotest.net/forums/planning.283/


AUSTRALIA

Adelaide: POSTPONED
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


CANADA

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

Montreal, Qc:
Date and time: Saturday, January 15, 1400h - 16:00h

Bradley Manning Case Update

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.

2011-01-13 Bradley Manning Support Network: WikiLeaks fulfills pledge

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.

2011-01-13 The Guardian adequately addresses WikiLeaks-Tsvangirai Falsehood

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.

2011-01-11 Jacob Appelbaum on entering the US on Monday

http://twitter.com/ioerror/status/24176712921120769

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:

2011-01-13 BBC: Palin e-mail hacker starts prison term

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.

The BBC:

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.

Read more

2011-01-13 WikiLeaks editorial: "WikiLeaks condemns U.S. embargo move"

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.

Press release:

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.

2011-01-12 US Politicians call for WikiLeaks Sanctions

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."

2011-01-12 Cablegate Resumes

List of Cables released 2011-01-07, 2011-01-09, 2011-01-10, 2011-01-11 + Summaries

Sicilian mafia reeling from police and business actions
Created 2007-12-06 15:03
Released 2011-01-07 21:09
Reference ID 08NAPLES37

Sensitive but unclassified - handle accordingly.

Summary: A series of law enforcement successes in Sicily, including the arrest of a major mafia boss in November and a raid that netted 70 suspects on December 4, has the Cosa Nostra reeling. Business owners have increasingly banded together, refusing to pay the protection money that has traditionally been a major source of mafia income. The success in combating organized crime in Sicily stands in stark contrast to the general lack thereof in other regions of southern Italy.

2011-01-13 Cablegate Hiatus Ends

On Tuesday, after his bail hearing, Julian Assange made a comment about how Wikileaks would soon recommence the release of Wikileaks cables, after having fallen behind the media partners somewhat.

"We are stepping up our publishing for matters related to Cablegate and other materials," Assange said. "Those will shortly be occurring through our newspaper partners around the world -- big and small newspapers and some human rights organizations."

Up until approx. 60 minutes ago, the last released cables Wikileaks had uploaded to its site had been uploaded on the 5th of January.

2011-01-12 Confusion over WikiLeaks-Tsvangirai Cable Timestamp UPDATED

In response to Glenn Greenwald's coverage of the Wikileaks-Guardian-Tsvangirai controversy and the Guardian's recent retraction, The Atlantic's Max Fisher tweeted an interesting point, which throws into confusion the issue of exactly what time Wikileaks released the 09HARARE1004 cable:

Max Fisher:

@ggreenwald Not trying to start a fight, but WL time stamp looks to be older than Guardian's? http://bit.ly/ghUUKc http://bit.ly/hHtH2u

4:39PM Jan 12th 2011

and:

Max Fisher:

@ggreenwald Correct me if I'm wrong, but from these, it looks like WikiLeaks published 21 minutes before the Guardian.

4:40PM Jan 12th 2011

Fisher is pointing out that the timestamp in the header of the 09HARARE1004 cable released on the Wikileaks website reads "2010-12-08 21:09"

The publication date of The Guardian's version of the cable reads "Wednesday 8 December 2010 21.30 GMT."

This would appear to indicate that Wikileaks published the cable on their website 21 minutes before The Guardian did.

This is an important point, and it raises an issue I have been contacted about recently.

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