Earlier this week, a group of high-profile journalists and free-speech activists announced the launch of the Freedom of the Press Foundation (FPF), an initiative intended to thwart a two-year financial blockade against WikiLeaks and to fund-raise for similar nonprofit organizations.
Designed to fund journalism institutions that are dedicated to "aggressive, uncompromising journalism in the vein of Watergate and the Pentagon Papers," FPF collects donations for media outlets that expose "mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government." As WikiLeaks puts it, FPF "will crowd-source fundraising and support for organizations or individuals under attack for publishing the truth."
Press release from WikiLeaks and the Freedom of the Press Foundation.
Sunday 16th December, 23:00 GMT
Today sees the launch of the Freedom of the Press Foundation − a new initiative inspired by the fight against the two-year-long extra-judicial financial embargo imposed on WikiLeaks by U.S. financial giants including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal and the Bank of America.
Sources have announced that on the evening of Thursday, December 20, 2012, WikiLeaks editor-in-chief and Australian Senate candidate Julian Assange will deliver a Christmas speech from the Ecuadorean embassy in London. The December 20 speech marks six months of Assange's stay at the embassy, where he has sought refuge since June in order to resist extradition to Sweden and to the U.S. This will also be Assange's first public address since he confirmed his candidacy for the Australian Senate earlier in the week.
Julian Assange has reportedly confirmed his candidacy for the Australian Senate in the 2013 federal election. The WikiLeaks editor-in-chief has also announced the imminent formation and registration of a WikiLeaks political party, which would promote government transparency and oppose recent erosions of individual privacy.
Describing the process of forming of the WikiLeaks party as "significantly advanced," Assange has stated that "a number of very worthy people admired by the Australian public" have offered to stand for election on a party ticket. Reportedly, a draft party constitution is undergoing legal review, and Assange has consulted journalists, legal experts, and other WikiLeaks supporters regarding his Senate candidacy. Assange's biological father, John Shipton, is said to have handled the beginning phase of the party's formation.
Ecuador's President Rafael Correa stated in an interview this month that his government would consider granting political asylum to Syrian head-of-state Bashar al Assad. President Assad is reportedly mulling asylum for himself, his family members, and close associates, in the event that he is forced to flee Damascus as the bloody civil war in his country escalates.
Sources state that, in a bid to explore the possibility of asylum, Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister, Faisal al Miqdad, recently traveled to Ecuador, Venezuela, and Cuba, bearing letters from Assad to the President of each country.
Correa confirmed that Miqdad visited Quito in late November, but said that the purpose of the trip was to thank Correa's administration for its "objective stance" regarding the conflict in Syria. Both Ecuador's President and his Foreign Minister denied reports that Assad had requested political asylum. However, since then Correa has spoken out regarding the possibility of hosting Assad, saying:
"Any person that requests asylum in Ecuador, obviously we are going to consider as a human being whose basic rights we have to respect … Can we believe all those news stories on violence, the dictator? Let's remember what was said about Iraq."
Directed by teacher and citizen journalist Cathy Vogan, The WikiLeaks Tapes is a new, two-disc DVD of interviews with dozens of prominent personalities on the topic of WikiLeaks. Noam Chomsky, Daniel Ellsberg, John Pilger, Christine Assange, Julian Morrow, Senator Scott Lundlam, and Mary Kostakidis are just a few of the famous names speaking out on record regarding Western governments' persecution of WikiLeaks and its editor-in-chief, Julian Assange.
Controversy erupted earlier this week after the journalism department of Argentina's National University of La Plata awarded Ecuadorean President Rafael Correa the Rodolfo Walsh Prize for freedom of expression. Proponents of media freedom have harshly criticized Correa for his treatment of the Ecuadorean press. But such criticisms fail to acknowledge the reasons underlying the media policies of President Correa, whose government recently granted political asylum to government transparency advocate and WikiLeaks Editor-in-Chief Julian Assange.
AFP news agency has reported that Julian Assange will meet this Thursday in London with French politician Jean-Luc Mélenchon, co-Chairman of France's Left Party (PG). A press conference will be held at Ecuador's London embassy after the meeting.
Promoting what he calls a "citizens' revolution," Mélenchon and his Left Front movement advocate a populist approach to governance. In an interview earlier this year, Mélenchon explained:
"The politics of the established order speaks to no one except the powerful. It speaks a dead language in which there are no people, no love, no fraternity, no poetry, no taste of the future, no passion for science. The only thing that counts is the balance sheet, and on the condition that public spending is reduced. We have dared to change all that. We have somehow broken the inhuman law of silence. And reintroduced human questions, by asking how to address them. We came to the realization that the possible was not far from the desirable. And that sometimes the possible can be greater than what people dare to dream. People had been taught to stunt their dreams. We, by contrast, tell them to let them flourish. This is actually another way of doing politics."
A new WikiLeaks documentary is scheduled to premiere at the Sundance film festival early next year. Directed by Oscar-winning filmmaker Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side), We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks will screen at the Salt Lake City, Utah festival which takes place January 17-27, 2013.
According to the Sundance website:
"The definitive story of Julian Assange, Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks, WE STEAL SECRETS explores the people and events behind the upstart website that rocked the U.S. government, ushered in a new era of transparency and ignited an information war."
Trevor Groth, Sundance Director of Programming states:
"The films in the Premieres and Documentary Premieres sections offer compelling portraits of worlds and people ranging from the beloved to the misunderstood to the unknown. Expertly crafted by some of the most esteemed filmmakers in the world these films have the power to delight audiences at the Festival and impact our culture at large."
The complete Sundance lineup can be viewed here.
Julian Assange was asked to present at the European Parliament S&D party seminar on Corruption in member states of the European Union. Bivol made a presentation in this seminar entitled Government Level Corruption and Ties to Organized Crime. Julian Assange spoke as part of this presentation on the wider corruption revealed in Cablegate, and legal cases that have used the cables as evidence.
In a wide-ranging exclusive interview with WL Central, former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser has accused the current Gillard government of acting as though Julian Assange "doesn't exist, that he's not an Australian citizen." Mr Fraser slams the existing relationship between Australia and the United States as "far, far too close" and claims Australia is "a strategic colony of the United States, under current circumstances."
*FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE*
Ft. Meade, MD November 29, 2012 - Yesterday at Bradley Manning's Article 13 hearing, professional military psychiatrist Captain Kevin Moore testified that Bradley Manning's pretrial confinement conditions at Quantico military brig were worse than that of any other long-term pretrial prisoner he'd observed. He added that Bradley's restrictive conditions, including being held in a 6x8 foot cell, having access to only 20 minutes of sunshine and exercise per day, and being deprived of basic items such as clothing and toilet paper for periods of time, were most comparable to yet still more severe than conditions of prisoners he'd observed on death row.
Anonymous Operation Syria - Press Release
Thursday - November 29, 2012 7:00 PM ET USA
Greetings World --
Today, at precisely 10:30 AM ET all Internet traffic into and out of Syria ceased. Within a half hour of this sudden shut down, the PBX land-lines were degraded by 90% and Mobile connectivity was degraded by 75%. The nation of Syria has gone dark. And Anonymous knows all to well what happens in the dark places.
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.