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.

2011-01-12 Frontline Club: WikiLeaks: Holding a mirror up to journalism?

Last night in London the Frontline Club presented its first "On the Media" event of 2011, hosted by the club's founder, Vaughan Smith. The topic was WikiLeaks and its relationship with and impact on conventional journalism.

The panel was chaired by Richard Gizbert, presenter of The Listening Post on Al Jazeera English. Panel members were:

Ian Katz, deputy editor of the Guardian
David Aaronovitch, author and columnist for the Times (London)
Gavin MacFadyen, director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism
Mark Stephens, media lawyer and attorney for Julian Assange

Video and text summary of the discussion

Reflections from Dominique Jackson of Babel @ Bedlam, who was present at the event.

2011-01-12 WikiLeaks in today's media: Cablegate coverage

The Guardian: [Greek] Citizen Protection Minister Upbeat on Reorganization, Cooperation

"The Greek security minister told US diplomats in a private meeting early last year that police in his country knew the identities of almost every member of a new generation of home-grown terrorist groups but lacked the evidence to arrest and imprison them, according to a US diplomatic cable."

6. (C/NF) Chrysochoidis severely criticized the state of EYP, Greece's domestic security and intelligence service. He said bluntly, "EYP is nothing." It does not serve its mission of protecting Greece and in fact is dangerous to national security because of its many shortcomings, not the least of which is a unionized labor force. As a result, Chrysochoidis declared, he intends to "collapse and rebuild it" via a draft law that is in the process of being drawn up.

Cable

Read more

2011-01-12 The Guardian Fails to Adequately Retract Wikileaks-Tsvangirai Falsehood

Last week, The Guardian published an article by James Richardson, a political and communications consultant who has worked in electoral campaigns for the Republican Party in the United States, in which Richardson aggressively criticized Wikileaks for the release of 09HARARE1004, a cable that, he argued, gave Robert Mugabe's faction within the Zimbabwe government a pretext for bringing a high treason trial against Morgan Tsvangirai.

I outlined here on WL Central how The Guardian was in breach of its journalistic duty in the publication of the piece.

2011-01-11 Misleading press coverage of Julian Assange Trial

Julian Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens, delivered a 35-page skeleton outline of his court arguments to various media after the brief review hearing this morning at Belmarsh magistrates court (paraphrased in brief):

(1) It is not accepted that the Swedish prosecutor is authorised to issue European Arrest Warrants (EAW).
(2) European arrest warrants should only be issued for the purposes of prosecution, and it has been made very clear that Mr. Assange is wanted for further questioning.
(3) There has been abuse of process: non-disclosure by the Swedish Prosecutor.
(4) There has been a further abuse of process: the conduct of the prosecution in Sweden.
(5) The offences alleged in the EAW are not of serious nature in the UK, as they must be to constitute extradition offences.
(6) Mr Assange reserves the right to argue extraneous considerations.(section 13 of the Act).
(7) Mr. Assange reserves the right to argue that his extradition may be incompatible with Articles 3, 6, 8 and 10 of the European Commission on Human Rights.

2011-01-11 Jason Ching's Legal Analysis on Prospects for Prosecution of Assange

National Law Journal: Jason Ching: Journalism WikiLeaks Style

Jason Ching surveys the prospects of a prosecution by the United States Government against Julian Assange, as a response to its recent document releases. The article is detailed, and considers U.S. law in detail, touching also on the case against Bradley Manning. Ching is not altogether favourable to Wikileaks, nor does he conclude that Wikileaks will avoid all legal liability, but his conclusion is that Wikileaks' proximity to the news and publishing industry is such that it will avoid the more drastic of the prosecutory efforts currently underway.

In summary, let's sweep away the tendentious arguments that Assange should not be extradited to the United States or that it is a violation of due process or other constitutional rights to prosecute him. Any fair analysis of the Espionage Act shows that he is chargeable, and yet any fair analysis of the political reality indicates that he is untouchable. The administration is faced with an impossible dilemma — WikiLeaks is joined at the hip with The New York Times et al., and its unofficial policy against charging news organizations protects them all. WikiLeaks, whether acting out of magnanimity or cleverness, cut the major news sources into the deal and in return gained functional immunity from prosecution for espionage.

2011-01-12 Stephen M Walt: WikiLeaks, April Glaspie & Saddam Hussein

Wikiileaks, April Glaspie, and Saddam Hussein

Stephen M. Walt provides some much needed analysis on the 90BAGHDAD4237 cable, which casts new light on the long debated meeting between U.S. ambassador April Glaspie and Saddam Hussein in July 1990, a week before the outbreak of war between Iraq and Kuwait. Walt addresses arguments made after the release of the cable by Wikileaks to the effect that the cable exonerates Glaspie of the now 20 year old suspicion that she condoned a prospective war with Kuwait. His verdict: that the cable reveals that the U.S. diplomatic stance towards Iraq was insufficiently stern, and is in part responsible for the outbreak of the war.

[T]his incident seems to be a classic illustration of a country applying what IR theorists describe as a "spiral model" remedy to a "deterrence model" situation. (In the "spiral model," states are aggressive solely because they are insecure, and therefore reassuring them is the best way to avoid war. In the deterrence model, states are aggressive because they are simply greedy or ideologically driven, and the only way to avoid war is to pose a credible deterrent threat.) The Glaspie meeting reveals that U.S. leaders were concerned about about Saddam's intentions, and the U.S. government tried to reassure him that we were friendly so that he won't do something precipitous. What was needed, however, was a clear and explicit statement that an attack on Kuwait would be met with an American military response. Glaspie never uttered such a statement, and we all know what happened next.

2011-01-12 Futures for the Internet

The explosion of Wikileaks related news, and the manifestation of the internet's political potential to those who had previously ignored it, or only superficially acknowledged it, has led to a debate of increased intensity about the nature of the net, its political dimension, and its uncertain future. WL Central compiles some valuable commentary on this issue:

Rop Gonggrip: Keynote at 27C3

Rop Gonggrip's fascinating keynote speech from 27C3 projects an uncertain future, online and off, and offers some visions of what the role of the internet, and the hacker community, will be in this future. His riveting pessimism is tempered by a reassuring pragmatism, and a veteran's insight into the subject matter.

2011-01-11 Possible Upcoming Leak on Bank of America

Today has seen increased anticipation of a forthcoming megaleak on an American bank. John Carney, Senior Editor at CNBC, posted on the CNBC "Network Network" blog a report purporting to confirm that the target of the next leak will be, as widely speculated, Bank of America:

Bank of America is the target of the next "megaleak" from WikiLeaks, according to a person who has close contact with top people at WikiLeaks.

and

Our source has confirmed that Bank of America is indeed the target of the next big leak. The source couldn't elaborate on the materials held by Assange.

A cautious reader of the news will regard with a healthy suspicion that an 'unnamed source' has confirmed something to do with WikiLeaks, especially given the uncertainty generated in the past by "WikiLeaks insiders".

Salon.com's Adam Clark Estes carried forward Carney's information, but added some information:

Assange also confirmed this morning outside of the British Magistrates court that the next leak would come soon.

It has to be questioned whether the quote cited as confirmation that the next leak will come soon indeed confirms that:

"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."

2011-01-11 Bank Leak 2011 - A History

Speculation was renewed in early January as to the subject of Wikileaks anticipated release, related to a major American bank. WL Central has gathered the history of this story over the last two years to provide context for the speculation. This feature will be updated as more becomes available.

October 2009
In a ComputerWorld article from October 2009, Dan Nystedt reported on an interview with Julian Assange from the Hack In The Box conference in Malaysia. The relevant quote is the following:

"At the moment, for example, we are sitting on 5GB from Bank of America, one of the executive's hard drives," he said. "Now how do we present that? It's a difficult problem. We could just dump it all into one giant Zip file, but we know for a fact that has limited impact. To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it."

November 2010
In an Andy Greenberg interview with Julian Assange preparing for a cover story by Forbes, some information came out which indicated that a "megaleak" on "a major American bank" would be released "early in the new year." The substance of the leak was elaborated upon, but the bank was not named. A full reading of the interview is highly recommended for an understanding of Wikileaks intentions as regards the leak.

You’ve been focused on the U.S. military mostly in the last year. Does that mean you have private sector-focused leaks in the works?

2011-01-11 Ryan Singel on Twitter's Decision over WikiLeaks Subpoena

Ryan Singel, at Wired's Threat Level Blog, presents a laudatory analysis of Twitter's decision to challenge the DoJ's move, during a secret Grand Jury investigation in Virgina, to subpoena the private details of various accounts related to WikiLeaks. WL Central has covered this issue in detail (listed at the bottom of this post. Singel's article presents Twitter's decision in an industrial context, and plays counterpoint to the idea that "good corporate citizenship" should always mean complying with government wishes whenever that seems expedient.

From:WIRED.COM: Twitter's Response to WikiLeaks Subpoena Should Be the Industry Standard

Of course, it's not the first time tech companies have stood up to requests for user data. Google beat back a government order to turn over search logs in 2006, after AOL and Microsoft quietly acquiesced. We've seen ISPs stand up for their users when movie studios try to force ISPs turn over user information in mass peer-to-peer lawsuits. And just last year, Yahoo successfully resisted the Justice Department's argument that it didn't need a warrant to read a user's e-mails once the user had read them.

But there's not yet a culture of companies standing up for users when governments and companies come knocking with subpoenas looking for user data or to unmask an anonymous commenter who says mean things about a company or the local sheriff.

In the WikiLeaks probe, it's not yet clear whether the feds dropped the same order on other companies.

Regardless, Twitter deserves recognition for its principled upholding of the spirit of the First Amendment. It's a shame that PayPal, Amazon, Visa, MasterCard, Bank of America and the U.S. government all failed - and continue to to fail - at their own versions of that test.

Other Coverage of the Twitter Subpoena on WL Central

2011-01-11 Key Points from Provisional Skeleton Argument on Behalf of Mr. Assange

The extradition hearing in this case has been set for 7-8 February 2011.

The key arguments set out today in the PROVISIONAL SKELETON ARGUMENT ON BEHALF OF MR. ASSANGE presented to the media by defense counsel Mark Stephens are as follows:

(1) It is not accepted that the Swedish prosecutor is authorised to issue European Arrest Warrants (EAW). “The sole Issuing Judicial Authority [in Sweden] for the enforcement of a custodial sentence or other form of detention is the Swedish National Police Board”.

(2) European arrest warrants should only be issued for the purposes of prosecution, and it has been made very clear that Mr. Assange is wanted for further questioning.

Ms. Ny has repeatedly and publicly stated that she has sought an EAW in respect of Mr. Assange simply in order to facilitate his questioning and without having yet reached a decision as to whether or not to prosecute him.

Her statements can be considered as additional evidence because the European Arrest Warrant is itself equivocal:

The EAW is defective in respect of section 2 of the Act. It does not contain a clear indication that:

(3) The statement is one that—
(a) the person in respect of whom the Part 1 warrant is issued is
accused in the category 1 territory of the commission of an offence
specified in the warrant, and
(b) the Part 1 warrant is issued with a view to his arrest and extradition
to the category 1 territory for the purpose of being prosecuted for the
offence.


It leaves it entirely unclear as to whether the EAW is even a conviction EAW or an accusation EAW (assuming that it is one or the other, and not an interrogation EAW).

Nowhere in the EAW is Mr. Assange referred to as an “accused”.

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