Aftenposten: CONGRESSMAN LANTOS STRESSES BILATERAL ACHIEVEMENTS AND REGIONAL CHALLENGES WITH LIBYAN OFFICIALS
"In a series of meetings with senior Libyan officials during his August 22-24 trip to Libya, Congressman Tom Lantos, ranking Democrat on the House Foreign Relations Committee, reviewed bilateral achievements since his first visit to the country in January, 2004 and set new goals for enhanced future cooperation. The Congressman, accompanied by Charge Berry, House International Relations Committee (HIRC) Senior Professional Staff Member Alan Makovsky, HIRC Professional Staff Member Mike Beard, and Poloff, met with the Libyan Leader Moammar Qadhafi, Director of the Qadhafi Development Foundation Seif Al-Islam Qadhafi, Libyan Director of Military Intelligence Abdullah Sanussi, Director of the External Security Organization Musa Kusa, Secretary of the General Peoples Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation (Foreign Minister equivalent) Abdurrahman Shalgam, Secretary of American Affairs Ahmed Fatouri and Secretary for European Affairs Abdelati Obeidi of the General Peoples Committee for Foreign Liaison and International Cooperation. The Congressman´s trip partially overlapped with visit of Senator Arlen Specter (septel) and several official meetings were combined."
(Image Credit: Dali Rău)
Over the last decade, the Colombian government has tried hard to free itself from the bonds between government officials, congressmen and military leaders and right wing paramilitary United Self-Defense Forces of Colombia. The group is sponsored by a wide range of people: from high profile corporations and politicians to small landowners looking to protect their interests from opposite guerrilla formations such as FARC (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia) and ELN (Ejercito de Liberacion Nacional). Their actual political and economic power is a matter of concern and in the past even ex-President Alvaro Uribe has been questioned about his and his government’s involvement in illegal activities related to the organization. During these years violence has been widespread and thousands of people –civilians, businessmen and politicians have been killed or kidnapped.
Libya’s deputy foreign minister, Khaled Khaim, has reportedly told European Union ambassadors in Tripoli that al-Qaeda has set up an Islamic emirate in Derna in Eastern Libya. He allegedly said a former Guantanamo Bay detainee is heading the emirate. Residents in Derna deny this has happened.
Residents in Derna deny this has happened. Al Jazeera posted this exclusive with the "man accused by the Libyan government of leading an Islamist emirate in Derna, Libya." Abdul Hakeem Al Hasadi said reports of an "emirate" were the result of pure propaganda and said the Gaddafi is circulating this propaganda because he is a former political prisoner:
"I am, Abdul Hakeem Al Hasadi, a Libyan citizen and a former political prisoner. I would like to read the following statement in response to lies made by Dictator Gaddafi and his propaganda machine. I tell them that I am one of the participants in the revolution of Feb 17th along with the youth and people of Derna against the corrupt regime of Gaddafi.
"Gaddafi is trying to divide the people of the nation. He claims that there is an Islamist Emirate in Derna and that I am its Emir. He is taking advantage from the fact that I am a former political prisoner."
Despite the fact that this may not be true, prepare for this latest report from a Libyan official to become a self-perpetuating thread in the story of the Libyan revolution. As WL Central waits for more information on whether this Islamic emirate has been established or not, let's consider what Saif al-Islam Gaddafi and Leader Muammar Gaddafi have said since the uprising began (and the various WikiLeaks cables from Libya which we have available).
The following is a chat that recently took place on the Swedish news website Aftonbladet with Julian Assange. Assange talks about his trial, the possibility of extradition to the United States, why he thinks he won't get a fair trial in Sweden, how WikiLeaks is faring currently, whether WikiLeaks will go on if he is found guilty and sentenced to jail, and more. Here it is re-published in full:
Julian Assange: Hello everyone!
Kommentar från Olof: Do you see yourself as a modern-day freedom fighter?
Julian Assange: The freedom to communicate knowledge is, to me, the most important freedom. It is the freedom on which all other freedoms and rights depend. Concepts such as the right to representation, freedom from arbitary detention or torture all need to be voiced and evidence for them made clear. This can only be done effectively if the central freedom - the right to communicate is strong. In fighting for this freedom, we fight for all freedoms.
Kommentar från John: How do you feel about the court decision today?
Julian Assange: It was not a surprise. Over 95% of EU arrest warrants result in such an outcome in the lower courts. The judge involved, Riddle was the same judge that first put me in prison. I am of course, annoyed at the tremendous distraction from our work in the revolutions in the middle east. This angers me, but on the other hand, the process does mean we and others such as Fair Trials International can inspire law reforms in Sweden and europe.
Kommentar från Maria: What do you base your assumptions on that Sweden will send you to USA?
El País: Israel pidió a España que investigara los vínculos de sus bancos con Irán (Israel asked Spain to investigate links with Iranian banks)
"El Gobierno de EE UU no es el único que mostró su preocupación por la relación que varias empresas españolas desarrollaron con Irán. En una reunión celebrada a principios de 2009 en la embajada estadounidense en Madrid, un representante del Ministerio de Exteriores español informó de los movimientos que había hecho Israel para informarse de hasta dónde llegaba el vínculo Madrid-Teherán. (The U.S. government is not the only one who was concerned about the relationships developed between Spanish companies with Iran. At a meeting in early 2009 at the U.S. Embassy in Madrid, a representative of the Spanish Foreign Ministry informed of the movements that Israel had to find out how far the link between Madrid and Tehran went.)"
El País: EE UU: Los sandinistas robaron las municipales de 2008 (USA: The "Sandinists" stole the 2008 municipal elections)
El País: EE UU veía al actual jefe de las FARC como el hombre más dispuesto a firmar la paz (U.S. saw the current head of the FARC as a man more willing to make peace)
"Alfonso Cano, el jefe de las guerrillas de las FARC, el hombre más buscado de Colombia, anda estos días con el Ejército pisándole los talones. El presidente de Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos, declaró el jueves 17 de febrero que los militares andan "respirándole en la nuca". Poco tiene que ver ahora este Alfonso Cano con el que ingresó en la guerrilla a finales de los setenta y se hizo un hueco entre sus dirigentes cuando Manuel Marulanda, alias Tirofijo, ejercía de jefe indiscutible en la montaña. En aquella época Alfonso Cano era la persona en la que Estados Unidos depositaba sus esperanzas de paz, según confirman los documentos del Departamento de Estado filtrados por Wikileaks. (Alfonso Cano, the leader of the guerrillas of the FARC, Colombia's most wanted man, come these days with the army at his heels. The president of Colombia, Juan Manuel Santos said on Thursday Feb. 17 that the military walk "breathing down your neck." Has little to do now this Alfonso Cano with the one who joined the guerrillas in the late seventies and obtained his position between the leaders when Manuel Marulanda, alias "Sureshot", was the undisputed boss on the mountain. At that time, Alfonso Cano was the person in which the United States deposited their hopes for peace, as confirmed by State Department documents leaked by Wikileaks.)"
Today Julian Assange faced his last extraditon hearing (apparently). We will be updating Court´s events in Belmarsh here. If you have related live information and audio or video feeds, please send to @wikileaks_world on Twitter.
After 1 hour and 45 minutes, the hearing is over. Judge orders Assange be extradited in Sweden. Assange has 7 days to appeal. For now, he will remain on bail. Lawyer Mark Stephens says they will appeal.
Full judgement is up here.
Relevant Twitter feed from Belmarsh, based on @federicacocco, @estheraddley, @c4marcus and @ravisomaiya:
c4marcus (12.13 GMT)
#Assange bailed until 2pm while issues around sureties are sorted out.
federicacocco (12.12 GMT)
Judge: Assange will remain on bail
federicacocco (12.10 GMT)
Robertson: To save time, we have 2 alternative sureties. One of the original sureties was Lord Evans but he couldn't be here today
estheraddley (12.10 GMT)
Decision postponed on costs. On bail, defence offering two alternative suretors. Judge 'I'm afraid I don't know who these people are'
Judge: I can't rule on costs today as Crown hasn't provided me with their total. #Assange
federicacocco (12.05 GMT)
Judge: A schedule has not been made. For these purposes, the court has no longer jurisdiction after today.
federicacocco (12.05 GMT)
Judge: In principle I would today make an order for costs in the amount I consider Judge. Today I'm not in a position to assess costs
c4marcus (12.00 GMT)
Appears Crown aren't actually sure what their costs are, which is making dealing with that issue today a bit tricky. #Assange
federicacocco (11.58 GMT)
Judge to prosecution: If the appeal in successful you have a right to apply for the reimbursement of legal costs
federicacocco (11.56 GMT)
MADRID - Today the auditorium of the Reina Sofia museum in Madrid hosted a debate between the chief editors of the five major newspapers involved in cablegate: Javier Moreno from El Pais, Alan Rudbridger from The Guardian, Sylvie Kauffmann from Le Monde, Georg Mascolo from Der Spiegel and Bill Keller representing The New York Times. The theme was the future of journalism in the new global context set by Wikileaks.
We live tweeted the event here.
There was plenty of expectation, and early on in Twitter trends users were wondering if we would see a true discussion and not an orchestrated charade. This was important as most of the audience was made up of young reporters and students on assignment from their Universities: if the debate was to be centered on the future of journalism and its new model then the way it was to be carried out had to be convincing for the future players present. It seemed, however, that the organizers had planned on trying to have a big impact on the future generations, as they lined up students of a journalism Master sponsored by El Pais behind the main participants, though it was still unclear if they would be allowed to join in the debate. As they went in, the viewers were given a piece of paper each, in which they were supposed to write down a question addressed to one of the five editors. It is a shame that even though the scene was perfectly set for an interesting and enriching discussion, full of young people ready to carry the torch when their time comes, it turned out to be sterile: no participation was allowed from and the master students were a little bit more than a stage prop.
english coverture of @el_pais @nytimes @guardian @lemondefr & @DerSPIEGEL #today to #discuss #jornalism & #wikileaks on #wldebatemadrid
on 23 Feb 2011 11:57:43.
Event starting at 17.30 GMT #wldebatemadrid #pconfuturo complete report on @wl_central
on 23 Feb 2011 11:58:57.
Livetweet of discussion amng eds of "5 majors" who 1st pub'd WikiLeaks cables: #wldebatemadrid Begins 18:30 Madrid 2:30 EST. Please RT.
on 23 Feb 2011 17:02:51.
RT @skdadl: Livetweet of discussion amng eds of "5 majors" who 1st pub'd WikiLeaks cables: #wldebatemadrid Begins 18:30 Madrid 2:30 EST. Please RT.
on 23 Feb 2011 17:02:53.
@el_pais @nytimes @guardian @lemondefr & @DerSPIEGEL - Live feed of the meeting in english on #wldebatemadrid #wikileaks by @wl_central
on 23 Feb 2011 17:15:56.
El País: Estados Unidos presionó a Uribe para hacer una limpia en sus servicios de espionaje (U.S. pressure on Uribe to make a clean intelligence services)
"Estados Unidos presionó en 2009 al entonces presidente de Colombia, Álvaro Uribe, para que hiciera una limpieza a fondo en el Departamento Administrativo de Seguridad (DAS), la agencia de espionaje que depende directamente del presidente del país. Los cables del departamento de Estado filtrados por Wikileaks revelan cómo el embajador de Estados Unidos en Bogotá, William R. Brownfield, amenazó al entonces vicepresidente Francisco Santos con endurecer las relaciones de su país con los servicios secretos colombianos. Santos reconoció que Uribe no comprendía a fondo la gravedad de la crisis y pidió al embajador que hablara directamente con Uribe para convencerle de la necesidad de tomar medidas efectivas respecto al DAS. (The United States pressed in 2009 the then President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, to do a thorough cleaning at the Department of Administrative Security (DAS), the spy agency that reports directly to the president. The State Department cables leaked by Wikileaks reveal how the U.S. ambassador in Bogota, William R. Brownfield, threatened the then Vice President Francisco Santos to toughen his country's relations with the Colombian secret services. Santos acknowledged that Uribe did not understand fully the gravity of the crisis and asked the ambassador to talk directly to Uribe to convince of the need to take effective action on the DAS.)"
Current time and date in Wisconsin:
Wisconsin? Yes, Wisconsin... WL Central has been covering all the protests worldwide. WL Central has been looking at countries regardless of whether there are WikiLeaks cables handy. And at 5:44 PM, hundreds if not more than a thousand people are in the capitol about to be removed by police.
Many of the people in Wisconsin are inspired by Egypt just like many others in the Middle East and North Africa have been moved to act. And, actually, it's not entirely true that there is nothing out there to color what is happening in Wisconsin, to illuminate the anti-worker anti-union politics that has been spreading throughout the states. If one looks at the following cable 06MEXICO2220, one can infer that the US government views workers that try to wield political power and unions which wage battles against governments as players that could threaten a country's economic stability.
In this cable, ten economic challenges that the next president of Mexico will face are outlined. One of them is "Taking On the Unions without Shutting Down the Country":
12. (SBU) Few major reform proposals will move forward without
some confrontation or deal with the unions representing the
affected industries. Unions gained power and influence over many
decades of working closely with the PRI, delivering votes in
exchange for unaffordable benefits for workers and untold riches
for union leaders. Due to union protections, for example, the
state-owned Mexico City electric utility (LyFC) has what is in
effect its own construction and manufacturing subsidiaries with
some 10,000 employees. LyFC retirees not only retire at full
The Guardian: A guide to Gaddafi's 'famously fractious' family
"US embassy cables shed light on Gaddafi family – including son Saif al-Islam, who vowed in TV address to eradicate enemies.
The leader of the Libyan revolution presides over a "famously fractious" family that is powerful, wealthy, dysfunctional and marked by internecine struggles, according to US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks. The documents shed light on how his eight children – among whom rivalries have sharpened in recent years – his wife and Gaddafi himself lead their lives."
Aftenposten: SECURING ADDITIONAL ALLIED/PARTNER CONTRIBUTIONS TO ISAF IN SUPPORT OF PRESIDENT OBAMA"S UPCOMING ANNOUNCEMENT ON AFGHANISTAN
"When President Obama announces his decision on possible U.S. troop increases for Afghanistan, the impact could be far greater if other Allied and Partner leaders would announce increases of their own either simultaneously or in close succession. Several Allies and Partners have the military capacity to make significant additional contributions, and if they showed the political will to follow through that would send a strong signal of resolve and unity of purpose to the international audience, Al Qaeda and the Taliban. We should use the time between now and the Presidents announcement to engage select Allies and Partners at the highest levels to secure commitments to those additional military, civilian and monetary contributions. Below is a summary of nations that we believe can do more now. Of these countries, we believe Germany, Italy, and the UK are the most likely to respond positively."
An address from Muammar al-Gaddafi’s son, Saif al-Islam al-Gaddafi, was aired on television in Libya early on February 21. Saif al-Islam told Libyans he had come without a prepared speech and was going to speak from his heart and mind.
The address (which you can read here) was given as Tripoli was turning into more of a battlefield. Snipers were firing in Saha Al Khadra. His father’s “thugs” were allegedly going into hospitals and killing Libyans who had been out in the streets and been wounded.
Rumors are circulating that Saif al-Islam was shot. Some of the unconfirmed reports say Saif al-Islam is dead and his father and some from the Gaddafi family has fled. Muammar has gone to Venezuela, some reports allege.
The death of Saif al-Islam is possible, but until there are reports which go beyond unconfirmed, this is largely a distracting story. What Saif al-Islam said in the recorded address that aired on February 20 is much more important.
Saif's Address to Libya
Aftenposten: READOUT NORTH ATLANTIC COUNCIL MEETING JANUARY 28, 2009
"AFGHANISTAN: ISAF Senior Civilian Representative Gentilini said the Afghans were eager for NATO to respond to its proposal for a military technical agreement, sent to NATO in early January. The SCR and several Perm Reps stressed that a MTA with the Afghans could help address the issue of civilian casualties, but many cautioned that the legal difficulties involved in negotiating such an agreement called for the Alliance to proceed with caution. Saying it needed more time to seek instructions, Hungary blocked consensus on a decision that fully filling the Elections Support Force (ESF) should take priority over filling the NATO Response Force (NRF), which would have allowed nations to pull NRF components for use in the ESF. The NAC will revisit the issue next week."
Aftenposten: AMBASSADORS JANUARY 11 MEETING WITH NATO SENIOR ISAF REPRESENTATIVE ON GIROA PROPOSED AFGHANISTAN-NATO MILITARY TECHNICAL AGREEMENT
Aftenposten: NORTH ATLANTIC COUNCIL READOUT MAY 2, 2007
"Afghanistan: Allegations of civilian deaths near Herat seized PermReps, attention as the U.S. and Spain push for NATO to develop a response to such allegations. SHAPE focused attention on increased enemy suicide attacks and the need to counter increasing IED attacks, including through better training and HQ staffing, as well as the heightened enemy interest and build-up in Kabul and environs. Ambassador Nuland urged Allies to focus greater effort on countering IEDs, to do more to train Afghan forces, and to follow U.S. leadership in staffing HQ ISAF. Portuguese Quick Reaction Force (QRF) to deploy to RC-S later in May."
El País: Un exministro peruano pidió colaboración a EE UU para frenar el avance electoral de Ollanta Humala (A Peruvian ex-minister asked to the United States to collaborate on stopping Ollanta Humala's progress before the elections)
"Fernando Rospigliosi, antiguo responsable de Interior con Alejandro Toledo, buscó en 2005 el apoyo de la Embajada en una campaña contra el candidato nacionalista. Los diplomáticos estadounidenses rechazaron la petición. (Fernando Rospigliosi, former responsible of interior with Alejandro Toledo, searcher in 2005 support from the American Embassy on a campaign against the nationalist candidate. The American diplomats refused the petition.)"
(Image Credit: Dali Rău)
The third episode of this weekly podcast, which looks at stories related to WikiLeaks from the past week, featured guest Michael K. Busch, who teaches international relations at the City College of New York, where he is also program coordinator at the Colin Powell Center for Policy Studies. He has posted on blogs on released cables on WikiBlogged, and he is listed as a resource in the back of Greg Mitchell's recently published book, "Age of WikiLeaks," which you can purchase in print on Blurb.com or in e-book form off of Amazon. [Follow him on Twitter @michaelkbusch]
The program for this week's show was dedicated to protests and violence in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA). The show will provide updates on what is happening in the region and discuss some released WikiLeaks cables that provide context for what is happening.
The Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten has published an article on NATO, US, and the Red Cross and the Bala Baluk massacre on May 4, 2009. The article features a cable that shows the Red Cross put together a report that raised significant doubt about military reports on the number of civilians killed. The cable reveals how a PR campaign kicked into gear to sell the idea that the deaths were not intentional and to skew coverage of the event to fit the interests of NATO and US forces in Afghanistan.
A recent cable, from 2010, announces: “Jordan continues to face some of the most troubling challenges of King Abdullah's 10-year reign.¨ These problems are a deficit of USD 1.43 billion, unstable regional politics, originated from the continuous privilege of rural communities in the East Bank over urban communities with larger Palestinian populations, rigged elections and unequal political rights (09AMMAN813). The cables also reveal that this inequality is created by the government and pushed through by force: “The King's economic and political changes face domestic opposition from tribal leaders and an array of entrenched East Bank interests. The latter include many in the military, security services, and bureaucracy, who enjoy a disproportionate share of the current system”. (10AMMAN329).
According Amman News, Secretary General of the Popular Unity Party Saeed Dhiyab stated that “the clashes were instigated by a group of hooligans, and charged that security forces condoned the violence by not intervening to break out the fights”. The current unrest in Jordan seems to be -once again-, the response of the population towards a whole history of repression and injustice practiced by its government. The clashes started on the 18th of February in the capital, Amman, between protestors calling for political and economic reform, and a group for "Loyalty and Belonging" to King Abdullah II. The clash produced an unconfirmed number of victims. Foreign journalists reported violent threats to confiscate their cameras and the media is still gagged by the government.
Every day the constant flow of leaks reveals why the people are fighting so hard to tear down the regime and write a new constitution: they show Bahrain as a country based on media manipulation, government lobbying and all sorts of corruption and trafficking of influences.
Policies in Iraq