23 December 2010
"I greatly appreciate everyone's support and well wishes during this time. I am also thankful for everything that has been done to aid in my defense. I ask that everyone takes the time to remember those who are separated from their loved ones at this time due to deployment and important missions. Specifically, I am thinking of those that I deployed with and have not seen for the last seven months, and of the staff here at the Quantico Confinement Facility who will be spending their Christmas without their family."
"It is not enough to say we must not wage war. It is necessary to love peace and sacrifice for it."
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
The U.S. Army has launched a new task force to further investigate various details underlying the case of Private First Class Bradley Manning, who has been in pre-trial confinement since last May. The task force was ordered by Army Secretary John McHugh and will be led by Army Lt. Gen. Robert Caslen Jr.
The Army confirmed the new investigation, but wouldn't release details. An Army official familiar with the investigation told McClatchy that the six-member task force has been given until Feb. 1 to complete a report that will look at everything from how Pfc. Bradley Manning was selected for his job and trained to whether his superiors missed warning signs that he was downloading documents he had no need to read.
The report could change how the Army — the largest distributor of government security clearances — grants access to government documents as well as lead to recommendations of charges against soldiers who worked with Manning and may have been aware of his activities.
Manning was first detained in Iraq in May, where he was stationed as an intelligence analyst with the U.S. Army; he was charged in July and transferred to a Marine Corps Brig in Quantico, Virginia and immediately placed in solitary confinement.
Julian Assange said today that it would be "politically impossible" for Britain to extradite him to the United States, and that the final word on his fate if he were charged with espionage would rest with David Cameron.
In an interview with the Guardian in Ellingham Hall, the Norfolk country mansion where he is living under virtual house arrest, the founder of WikiLeaks said it would be difficult for the prime minister to hand him over to the Americans if there was strong support for him from the British people.
"It's all a matter of politics. We can presume there will be an attempt to influence UK political opinion, and to influence the perception of our standing as a moral actor," he said.
El País: Industria crea un concurso a medida de una firma solar de California a petición de EE UU (The Secretary of Industry created a contest to suit the profile of a Californian solar company after asked to do so by the United States)
"El embajador reclamó a Sebastián en enero que la empresa Solar Reserve entrara en el cupo termosolar siete meses fuera de plazo, según un cable. En noviembre el Gobierno convocó un concurso diseñado para la compañía, que proyecta una central en Ciudad Real. (The American ambassador demanded in January to the judge Miguel Sebastián to accept the company Solar Reserve in the termosolar competition seven months after the contest was due, according with the cable. Designed to suit such company, the contest started by the government in November and projects new facilities in Ciudad Real.)"
El País: El Gobierno asegura que Pumpido intentó abrir una vía judicial para la familia Couso en EE UU (The Spanish government affirms that Pumpido tried to open a judicial case against the Couso family in the United States)
"Rubalcaba defiende que España tomó una posición más activa en el caso de lo que hacen pensar las revelaciones de los cables de la Embajada de EE UU. ([The First Vice-president of the Spanish government and Internal Minister] Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba argues that Spain tried a more active position on this case than the one that could be inferred after the revelations of the American embassy’s cables.)"
El País: Francia rechaza los planes de desarme nuclear de la Casa Blanca (France rejects the White House’s plans on nuclear disarmament)
"Sarkozy se resiste a que la propuesta de un mundo sin armas atómicas lanzada por Obama obligue a eliminar la fuerza de disuasión francesa. (Sarkozy is reluctant to the proposal by Obama on nuclear disarmament to eliminate the French dissuasion weapons.)"
El País: Berlusconi y la oposición recelan de la justicia italiana (Berlusconi and the opposition distrust the Italian justice)
"Tanto el jefe del Gobierno como D'Alema, líder en la sombra del centro-izquierda, aseguran a la Embajada de EE UU en Roma que la magistratura amenaza al Estado. (Both the President and D’Alema, leader of the center-leftist shade, affirm to the American embassy that the magistracy threats the country.)"
El País: EE UU quiere vigilar de por vida al jefe de Al Qaeda en España (The United States want to keep watching on the chief of Al Qaeda in Spain during his whole life)
"Pretende que se incluya a Abu Dahdah en una lista negra de terroristas. Interior apoya la iniciativa pero Exteriores se ha opuesto, según revelan los cables secretos de la embajada. ( The US want to put Abu Dahdah in a list of terrorists. The Spanish government aproves the initiative, but the office of foreign affairs opposes it.)"
El País: España entregó una lista secreta de 87 posibles islamistas (Spain gave to the US a secret list with 87 alleged islamists)
"El Gobierno facilitó en 2004 a la Embajada de Estados Unidos una lista de 87 sospechosos islamistas "con posibles vínculos terroristas en España" entre los que figuran cinco españoles, según recoge uno de los cables de la legación diplomática. El documento, sin clasificar, advierte que el texto completo no es accesible. (The Spanish government provided in 2004 to the American Embassy with a list of 87 suspicious islamists "with possible terrorist links in Spain"; five Spaniards are part of the list, according to one of the American diplomatic cables. The document, without classification, admits that the complete text is inaccessible.)"
Toronto Star: "Dirty oil" anger shocked Tories, leaked documents show
"Canada was 'too slow' to respond to the damage done to the country’s reputation by the Alberta oilsands, then-Environment Minister Jim Prentice told the American envoy in Ottawa a meeting last year. Despite the brave public face of the Conservative government, Prentice told U.S. ambassador David Jacobson that he was stunned by backlash around the world to carbon-intensive Canadian oil and was prepared to correct the damage done with stringent emissions-cutting regulations."
Bloomberg announced that Novaya Gazeta, the Moscow newspaper controlled by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and billionaire Alexander Lebedev, will collaborate with Wikileaks to publish material specifically about Russia.
The weekly newspaper is known in an industry dominated by state-run companies for its critical reports of the Kremlin and investigative coverage of Russian affairs.
Novaya Gazeta received unlimited access to the WikiLeaks database, which has a “wide range” of materials, including documents about Politkovskaya’s murder as well as information about Russian politicians’ ties to organized crime, Nadezhda Prusenkova, a Novaya Gazeta spokeswoman, said by phone from Moscow. The newspaper will start releasing materials next month.
President Dmitry Medvedev said the documents published by WikiLeaks don’t hurt Russia’s interests and that the Russian authorities don’t care what’s being discussed in diplomatic circles.
The Age reports that the Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance in Australia have waived Julian Assnge's fees for a year.
Australia's media union has waived Julian Assange's fees for a year after MasterCard cancelled his credit card. ...
Louise Connor, the union's Victorian secretary, said Assange had been a union member since 1997. She said Assange had not breached the journalists' code of ethics and that he continued to protect his sources and publish in the public interest.
David House has a detailed analysis of the military's response to accusations of mistreatment of Manning along with Manning's subsequent responses to the military. Specifically, this article covers in detail Manning's
1 – Ability to View Current Events & Access to Newspapers
2 – Ability to Engage in Outdoor Recreation
3 – Ability to Exercise
4 – Conditions of Bedding
AolNews reports that US government agencies have requested a firewall to block Wikileaks' data from entering their systems regardless of its origin.
Fidelis Security, a Boston-based network security company that works with the military and other government agencies, says it's being asked to set up a firewall against WikiLeaks document traffic, regardless of whether it flows from a website, e-mail or other source. ...
The Air Force, for example, has started blocking news media sites such as The New York Times that have re-posted some of the documents.
But Bertone said that the Air Force approach wouldn't prevent someone from being e-mailed a leaked document, or accessing a website that hasn't been specifically blocked by the Air Force.
FDL has great timeline of the testimony of the sole witness providing evidence against Bradley Manning.
So far every piece of evidence against Bradley Manning comes from one source, Adrian Lamo, a hacker who was institutionalized by the police three weeks before he alleges Manning contacted him and confessed he turned over materials to Wikileaks. There are many inconsistencies in Lamo’s many stories, as Marcy Wheeler has documented, yet the normally excellent Charlie Savage lets Lamo serve as sole source for a highly dubious story in the pages of the New York Times. ...
FDL has constructed a timeline of the events surrounding Bradley Manning, Julian Assange and Adrian Lamo’s claims. To say that Lamo’s story does not hold water would be an understatement.
Der Spiegel published a Q&A with the Wau Holland Foundation about WikiLeaks funding.
The Dylan Ratigan Show interviewed Julian Assange on December 21.
The newest interview in the U.S. of Julian Assange on the Wikileaks Thing. Discussion about the 1917 Espionage Act and our political leaders including V.P. Biden, Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee. Assange making his case in a short 15+ minute interview with Cenk Uyger on MSNBC's "The Dylan Ratigan Show" Dec. 21, 2010.
Frost over the World aired an interview on Tuesday where Assange talked of the goals of Wikileaks, his personal situation, and the Swedish legal case against him.
EFF has a story about a Wikileaks mirror being removed by a site provider:
The UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression issued a joint statement on December 21st.
In light of ongoing developments related to the release of diplomatic cables by the organization Wikileaks, and the publication of information contained in those cables by mainstream news organizations, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression see fit to recall a number of international legal principles. The rapporteurs call upon States and other relevant actors to keep these principles in mind when responding to the aforementioned developments.
1. The right to access information held by public authorities is a fundamental human right subject to a strict regime of exceptions. The right to access to information protects the right of every person to access public information and to know what governments are doing on their behalf. It is a right that has received particular attention from the international community, given its importance to the consolidation, functioning and preservation of democratic regimes. Without the protection of this right, it is impossible for citizens to know the truth, demand accountability and fully exercise their right to political participation. National authorities should take active steps to ensure the principle of maximum transparency, address the culture of secrecy that still prevails in many countries and increase the amount of information subject to routine disclosure.
Agence France-Presse announced that Le Monde will name Assange "Man of the Year" in a weekly supplement on Friday.
Visitors to the newspaper's website voted in favor of Assange with 56 percent backing him for the honor, compared to 22 percent for jailed Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and 6.9 percent for American Facebook President Mark Zuckerberg.
Crikey readers have also chosen Assange for Person of the Year with a 56.4% vote, 38.6% more than the second-placed Bob Brown, whose Greens party also had a big 2010.
"It's not the Shangri-La," Villiard said, "but other prisoners in the wing receive the same treatment."The potential United Nations investigation should therefore provide a gleam of hope to all of the other political prisoners in the US being held without trial and in solitary confinement. Please keep writing.
“There are 3,700 files related to Israel and the source of 2,700 files is Israel. In the next six months we intend to publish more files depending on our sources,” said Assange in the nearly one-hour interview telecast live from the UK.
“The Guardian, El-Pais and Le Monde have published only two percent of the files related to Israel due to the sensitive relations between Germany, France and Israel. Even New York Times could not publish more due to the sensitivities related to the Jewish community in the US,” he added.
Norway's largest newspaper, Aftenposten claimed on the 17th to be in possession of the entire database of US state cables held by Wikileaks, and further stated they are under no outside restrictions regarding what to publish as they have no agreement with Wikileaks.
In cooperation with Svenska Dagbladet, Aftenposten has so far had access to about 2000 documents, which until now has been the background for the issues Aftenposten published. Ole Erik Almlid, news editor of Aftenposten, says it has worked a long time to access the documents to the newspaper. "We have worked long to get the documents, but it would be wrong of me to tell who is the source. We have not paid for the material, which we have gained access to with no conditions. It is we who decide what to publish and how we should handle it," he said.
He said that the same criteria and ethical guidelines for publication will be applied to the Wikileaks documents as they use for all stories, and people's privacy and security will be respected.
Their coverage can be followed here.
Spamhaus, a nonprofit, anti-spam volunteer organization, issued a malware warning for wikileaks.org and wikileaks.info on December 14.
The next day, WikiLeaks.info strenuously objected to the warning, replying with the following statement:
Spamhaus' False Allegations Against wikileaks.info Published 15-Dec-2010, 8:00 AM GMT
On Tuesday, 14-Dec-2010 Spamhaus has issued a statement wherein it labels wikileaks.info as "unsafe", as they consider our hosting company as a malware facilitator:
We find it very disturbing that Spamhaus labels a site as dangerous without even checking if there is any malware on it. We monitor the wikileaks.info site and we can guarantee that there is no malware on it. We do not know who else is hosted with Heihachi Ltd and it is none of our business. They provide reliable hosting to us. That's it.
While we are in favour of "Blacklists", be it for mail servers or web sites, they have to be compiled with care. Just listing whole IP blocks as "bad" may be quick and easy for the blacklist editors, but will harm hosters and web site users.
"WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange is set to become a member in good standing of the Australian journalists' union, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA).
"ACTU president Ged Kearney will present a membership card to Mr Assange's Australian lawyer, Rob Stary, at a ceremony in Melbourne this morning.
'Julian Assange has been a member of the Media Alliance for several years. Clearly, with banking corporations freezing his accounts, his situation is quite extraordinary,' [Victorian MEAA branch secretary Louise Connor] said in a statement.
'We've drawn up a new union card for him and offer him the full support of his union and professional association.'"