News Archive - 2011-06 (June 2011)

2011-06-01 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks

ImageMentor and friend Greg Mitchell at is going to be on vacation. I'm no Greg Mitchell so I cannot promise to bring the flourish to blogging WikiLeaks News & Views that he has brought for 185 days. However, I am Kevin Gosztola, someone who is very enthusiastic and passionate about staying up to date on the cable releases and all news and discussion surrounding the WikiLeaks organization and, while he is away, I will be blogging WikiLeaks updates here.

You can contact me at with any tips. Also, my Twitter username is @kgosztola.

8:50 PM In Canada, it's easy to get on the no-fly list but much harder to be taken off. The Globe and Mail covers the story of "Ali" who appeared in a Ottawa cable released last month. The cable notes that in January 2010 Canadian police spotted "Ali" on Highway 41 and beside him was a "gawky Iranian-Canadian in his 20s." His companion was under surveillance "as the No. 1 terrorism suspect in Canada."

The article notes that once intelligence is passed "south - and they insist they must do so - they have little influence on what follows." A shared security perimeter with the US has been setup so there will likely be more incidents like this in the future.

6:10 PM on the cyber arms race. Notes from Wall Street Journal, "military action against cyber attacks would come if the hackers disrupted industry or caused civilian casualties. 'If you shut down our power grid, maybe we will put a missile down one of your smokestacks,' a military official told the Journal."

5:55 PM The NATO report that threatens Anonymous:

Observers note that Anonymous is becoming more and more sophisticated and could potentially hack into sensitive government, military, and corporate files. According to reports in February 2011, Anonymous demonstrated its ability to do just that. After WikiLeaks announced its plan of releasing information about a major bank, the US Chamber of Commerce and Bank of America reportedly hired the data intelligence company HBGary Federal to protect their servers and attack any adversaries of these institutions. In response, Anonymous hacked servers of HBGary Federal’s sister company and hijacked the CEO’s Twitter account. Today, the ad hoc international group of hackers and activists is said to have thousands of operatives and has no set rules or membership.[36] It remains to be seen how much time Anonymous has for pursuing such paths. The longer these attacks persist the more likely countermeasures will be developed, implemented, the groups will be infiltrated and perpetrators persecuted.

Also, report includes section on "Cablegate" and WikiLeaks.

4:45 PM Round 2 of Egypt Cables being released: Al Masry Al Youm publishing stories. The first story is on the US using the presence of a nuclear power plant in Egypt to apply diplomatic pressure to Egypt. Why? It appears this was Egypt's first nuclear plant and a contract for ten years of development, valued at $188 million USD, was awarded by Egypt's Minister of Electricity, Hassan Younes, to Australia's Worley Parsons instead of US-based Bechtel Power Company.

3:15 PM And, now for a batch of Haiti Cables: The cables themselves are not posted yet (should be up on WikiLeaks soon).

Haïti Liberté and The Nation Magazine have partnered to cover the cables. For the next weeks, stories will be published.


The Nation explains:

"The cables from US Embassies around the world cover an almost seven-year period, from April 17, 2003—ten months before the February 29, 2004, coup d’état that ousted President Jean-Bertrand Aristide—to February 28, 2010, just after the January 12 earthquake that devastated the capital, Port-au-Prince, and surrounding cities. They range from “Secret” and “Confidential” classifications to “Unclassified.” Cables of the latter classification are not public, and many are marked “For Official Use Only” or “Sensitive.”

Stories this week: 1) The PetroCaribe Files: revealing how René Préval's inauguration day oil deal touched off a "multiyear geopolitical battle over how oil would be delivered to Haiti" between Venezuela, Havana and Washington and 2) "Let Them Live on $3/Day," which covers how contractors for Fruit of the Loom, Hanes and Levi's worked with the US Embassy to aggressively block minimum wage increases in Haiti for "assembly zone workers," which according to the cables are some of the lowest paid people in the hemisphere.

3:00 PMHaïti Liberté 's story on how Big Oil lost in Haiti.

2:00 PM From the Dawn Media Group, which has been publishing "Pakistan Papers"—A report on a January 2009 cable featuring then-US CENTCOM Commander Gen. David Petraeus and Pakistan Army Chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani. Gen. Kayani cautions Gen. Petraeus on the importance of making certain it does not seem Pakistan military is 'for hire.' Gen. Kayani didn't want it to seem like the Pakistani Army couldn't face down militant threat.

1:15 PM Might be a release of a batch of cables from a country soon...Stay tuned...

1:10 PM Federal judge will keep certain classified information on National Security Agency (NSA) secret from jurors, public during Thomas Drake trial (Drake is an NSA whistleblower).

12:10 PM Jillian C. York of the Electronic Frontier Foundation with article at Al Jazeera English on online free speech vs. private ownership.

12:05 PM Just wrapping is an Alliance of Liberals & Democrats in Europe event called "Diplomacy Post-WikiLeaks." You can check the #dpwl hashtag for remarks from the panel event. A view notable remarks:

*Former diplomat Ana Gomes (h/t @MarietjeD66) said plenty of evidence Wikileaks has played a role fostering Arab Spring

*US Ambassador to the European Union W.E. Kennard says diplomacy hasn't changed much after WikiLeaks. Many in the State Dept are proud of work that was being done.

*Christoph Schult of Der Spiegel says WikiLeaks has not changed fundamentally how journalists or media organizations get their information. Government officials or other individuals still come to journalists/media organizations with tips and want their identity to be protected.

2011-06-01 WikiLeaks Through the Looking Glass: A Panel Discussion in a School of Journalism Classroom

ImageA student at the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in Chicago was gracious enough to invite me to speak on a panel on Bradley Manning, the alleged whistleblower to WikiLeaks, which he had to put together for his “Media, Ethics and the Law” class. I participated in the panel this morning.

In addition to myself, the student informed me Timothy McNulty, a foreign editor for the Chicago Tribune who covered the Iraq invasion and the Afghanistan War, and Paul Rosenzweig, Carnegie Visiting Fellow and former Department of Homeland Security official, would be participating. A couple of student journalists would speak during the panel as well.

McNulty and Rosenzweig were both present in the classroom where the panel was held. I was in The Nation Magazine office in Manhattan, New York.

The student who organized the panel had me call in and put me on speakerphone. I was able to listen to what McNulty and Rosenzweig were saying.

Rosenzweig began the panel saying with assurance there isn’t any doubt the material WikiLeaks has released has caused risks. He said lists have been created of people who were listed in the documents—lists featuring the names of informants—and the Taliban has been hunting these people down.

Rosenzweig cited a Zimbabwe opposition leader who many believe to be endangered as another example of the risks WikiLeaks’ releases have created. He said there are good laws on secrecy, files released contained information on whereabouts of Osama bin Laden, and he has no problem with Manning being prosecuted.

McNulty agreed. And I was greatly disturbed by the falsehoods that McNulty let stand and made certain that I was able to comment.

I corrected what Rosenzweig said about there being no doubt that there has been harm to people was “pretty false.” There is significant doubt as to whether people have been harmed. I don’t know if there is a concrete conclusion on how many people have suffered or died as a result of the releases.

I noted the following: Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said on October 17, 2010 “the review to date has not revealed any sensitive intelligence sources and methods compromised by the disclosure." A senior NATO official on that same day said, “There has not been a single case of Afghans needing protection.”

I added the Associated Press reported, “There is no evidence that any Afghans named in the leaked documents as defectors or informants from the Taliban insurgency have been harmed in retaliation." And Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said on August 11, 2010, "We have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the WikiLeaks documents.”

On the opposition leader mentioned, I noted how absurd it was to suggest that WikiLeaks be held responsible for the fact that there is a despot in Zimbabwe who might want an opposition leader killed because WikiLeaks released information. The information might allow for a movement to ignite that could topple the government targeting this opposition leader. And, if the information doesn’t, WikiLeaks should not be held liable.

The discussion continued with Rosenzweig saying Bradley Manning is not a journalist (I know few people who have suggested he is a journalist) and he is a “common criminal who broke his promise” and should go to jail. He also added Julian Assange is not a journalist (which may be debatable but he is a publisher so he most certainly should be afforded the protections under the law that journalists are granted).

Rosenzweig also stated not a whole lot of stories have come from WikiLeaks, Daniel Ellsberg’s Pentagon Papers cannot be compared to Manning’s alleged release of classified information to WikiLeaks, and “information dumping” is not whistleblowing.

On the Pentagon Papers, I was able to explain that Ellsberg has said the legal situation here is murky, controversial and uncertain. It is far from settled law that any law was broken and that there should be any law. And, on Bradley Manning, I suggested Manning was a whistleblower and not a leaker because leakers release the identities of CIA agents or often are engaged in misconduct or are intent to profit. Whistleblowers on the other hand would like to the public to pay attention to what they are disclosing and face much higher risks than leakers.

The panel ended with each person saying whether they found Manning to be a national security threat. I suggested that he wasn’t and urged anyone listening who wasn’t already corrupted by deference to state power to consider how Manning’s case fits into the Obama Administration’s war on whistleblowing (which led Rosenzweig to say people shouldn’t paint what is going on with a “broad brush”).

A student journalist said “we don’t get the truth unless someone breaks the law” and claimed if Bradley Manning could do it all over again he wouldn’t go to Julian Assange. (Note: There’s no clear proof that he did go to Assange plus there’s no clear evidence to support this student journalist’s suggestion.)

McNulty managed to get in a fairly reasonable point explaining the government tends to react as if everything is a “security issue.” Sometimes something is just “an issue.” The implications of how we react to this “issue,” McNulty argued, could be more profound than the “issue” itself.

ImageNow, if you’re wondering (like I was) who is this Rosenzweig gasbag, I looked him up and he is with the Heritage Foundation. And, if this blustering prevaricator has his way, outdated laws related to the disclosure of classified information will be updated to make it easier to prosecute Julian Assange and others linked to WikiLeaks and the US would launch a “counterinsurgency strategy for cyberspace” to go after the “infamous WikiLeaks website.”

He likens members of Anonymous to the “non-state insurgents the US has faced in Iraq and Afghanistan—small groups of non-state actors using asymmetric means of warfare to destabilize and disrupt existing political authority.”

In conclusion, I do not write this to share how I took on a former Homeland Security official. I share what was said on this panel to demonstrate how prevalent WikiLeaks myths are in American society.

I write about this because a student, who I believe genuinely wanted an insightful discussion, turned to a former Homeland Security official who now works for a conservative think tank and expected a fact-based discussion of what WikiLeaks means for US national security and got hot air. Rosenzweig said very little if anything on SIPRnet, the classified information database which Manning allegedly breached. And he said nothing about the fact that Bradley Manning is not Aldrich Ames, an insider who committed real espionage against the United States.

McNulty was what I expected. I do not know what he wrote about the Iraq invasion or Afghanistan but I suspect it towed the line and failed to point out how the Bush Administration was lying America into a war in Iraq.

I searched the Internet after the panel and found a story McNulty wrote on November 30, 2010, just as the US State Embassy Cables were beginning to be released. He argued journalism and national security could survive lies and “will survive WikiLeaks truth,” what WikiLeaks was calling “transparency” was really “spying,” WikiLeaks should not be used to attack “free media” and increase government secrecy and the “filter of news media for WikiLeaks dump was crucial to responsible presentation.”

McNulty wrote, “We all understand how illegal it is to reveal state secrets, even those that are classified secret for no good reason. We also know that over the years, governments have lied to the American people in the name of national security, whether about preparations for war or dealings with our allies and enemies.” It’s refreshing to understand that he grasps this point.

Yet, McNulty actually wrote in the same story the “official ire may be aimed at WikiLeaks and its founder, but there’s a real current of anger at the media for providing a printed and organized outlet for these documents.” So, essentially Der Spiegel, The Guardian and the New York Times and other media organizations should be somewhat ashamed of publishing stories on the materials.

So, why is it so important to pushback against falsehoods and misrepresentations of the Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks stories? It’s important because if falsehoods and misrepresentations are allowed to continue Manning’s whistleblowing, which should be protected under the Military Whistleblower Protection Act, will be used to further advance the Obama Administration’s criminalization of whistleblowing. If whistleblowing is effectively criminalized, the possibility of accountability, although already dismal, will be even more unlikely. Fewer individuals of conscience will seek to unveil corruption or fraud if they expect a hammer to fall.

The Espionage Act could in effect transform into an Official Secrets Act, which the UK has and the US does not. An Official Secrets Act would criminalize the disclosure of classified information. Press freedom in the United States would likely be diminished.

2011-06-01 WikiLeaks: The Ireland Cables | Daily Roundup of Coverage in the Irish Independent | Day Three

Thursday 03 June was Day Three of the Irish Independent's Cablegate coverage. The day's main focus was the Irish financial crisis. The Independent also explored what is revealed about corporate Ireland in the cables. While there is a distinct sense that various of the stories are only news insofar as they reveal American attitudes to familiar Irish events, some new information was introduced on some of the key moments of recent Irish history.

The Independent has chosen to continue summarizing the cables without citation or reproduction of the original material, such that the criticisms from the overviews on Day Two and Day One apply equally here.

Online Articles

The following are the articles the Independent made available on its website.

Revealed: total chaos in coalition as economy collapsed
THE scale of the economic collapse left Brian Cowen’s cabinet totally paralysed as the Government found it "almost impossible" to come up with a rescue plan, according to leaked US Embassy cables.

Top diplomat bemused by 'turned the corner' speech
AMERICA'S top diplomat in Ireland was left bemused by Brian Lenihan's infamous "we have turned a corner" budget speech, a leaked US embassy cable reveals.

US told NAMA discounts to hit 50pc but official line was 30pc
A SENIOR government official told US diplomats that loans transferred to the NAMA could be worth half their stated value -- at a time when the Government was saying losses should be less than a third.

Eircom was 'Luddite' in attitude to technology
A SENIOR Irish regulator described the leadership of the telecommunications company Eircom as "Luddite", according to a leaked US embassy cable.

French and German firms 'notorious tax avoiders'
A LEADING official at the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) claimed French and German companies in Ireland were "notorious" for avoiding tax, according to a leaked US embassy cable.

Aid worker Sharon 'left to endure two extra months of kidnap hell'
THE hell endured by kidnapped Irish aid worker Sharon Commins was prolonged for several weeks because the government of Sudan vetoed a deal to free her in exchange for a ransom, leaked embassy cables reveal.

The following cables were in the print edition of the Irish Independent, but have been published on the Belfast Telegraph's website:

WikiLeaks: The deal to relocate 5,000 jobs from Dublin to Belfast
Officials behind a high-profile deal which could have seen thousands of jobs transferred from Dublin to Northern Ireland thought it was preferable they went to Belfast rather than Poland, according to a leaked embassy cable

WikiLeaks: Oversized, inefficient... Irish verdict on Northern Ireland civil service
Irish government officials privately branded Northern Ireland’s Civil Service as oversized, inefficient and rooted in the past, according to a leaked US embassy cable.

WikiLeaks: Peter Robinson ‘was close to walking away from the DUP leadership’
Peter Robinson was “hanging on by a thread” a year after taking over as First Minister and could “snap or just walk away”, former Secretary of State Shaun Woodward privately warned.

WikiLeaks: Questions over Peter Robinson’s ability to tackle ‘bigots’
A top Irish civil servant questioned Peter Robinson’s ability to face down unionist “bigots” during a hard-hitting critique of his leadership.

Offline Articles

Further articles duplicate or enlarge on some of the above content. An article on page 24 details how the OECD was highly critical of the Irish government's failure to implement anti-bribery regulations. Another on the same page explores in detail the tenuous confidence embassy officials had in the Irish Fianna Fail/Green coalition government to handle the crisis.

This theme is continued on page 26, where a small piece recounts ambassador Thomas Foley's urbane incredulity at the insistence of Irish officials in 2008 that Irish banks were well-capitalized, mere months before the same government had to introduce a blanket guarantee for the same banks. A small piece on page 26 outlines how key EU member states considered Ireland a guinea-pig for the National Assets Management Agency (NAMA) strategy.

There are a number of other stories on Ireland's private sector, in particular where American corporations are involved. A large article on page 25 explores revelations in the cables that US companies were suspicious about tendering practices in the award of state contracts by the Irish government. Another report on the same page reveals that the American Chamber of Commerce was critical of a move by the Irish government to close tax exemptions for foreign executives. A page 27 piece outlines changes over the first decade of the century in the American attitude towards Ireland's social partnership agreements between the public and private sectors and the trade unions.

Page 29 revisits a cable (04DUBLIN1719) that had already been reported on in an article in the Guardian in December. The cable outlines a discussion at a private dinner between the ambassador and Padraig O hUiginn, a former official in the Department of the Taoiseach. O hUiginn offered the ambassador his own version of the political history which laid the foundations for the Celtic Tiger economy. On the same page, another article surveys clashes between French president Nicolas Sarkozy and Irish officials over Ireland's 12.5pc corporate tax rate.

A short article on page 28 recounts the diplomatic discussions between Ireland and China during Wen Jiabao's visit in 2004. Irish politicians and diplomats were apparently unsuccessful in convincing the Chinese premier that the key to emulating Western economies was the implementation of Western liberal policies.

A report on page 27 does not break any new cable story, but instead covers the political fallout for Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore after a Day Two article revealed he had lied to the Irish public about his stance on the prospects of a repeat of the Lisbon Treaty after its rejection in 2008.

Finally, an Opinion piece on page 32 by Economics editor Brendan Keenan provides a brief summary of the foregoing cable revelations about Ireland's economic crisis and business world, and offers some analysis of the bigger picture composed thereof.

None of the above articles have hitherto been posted on the Independent's website, but readers from outside of Ireland may wish to consult this site, which appears to host uploaded scans of all the Independent's Wikileaks revelations. In the absence of articles posted on the Independent's website, this is the next best thing.

2011-06-01 WikiLeaks: The Ireland Cables | Daily Roundup of Coverage in the Irish Independent | Day Two

This post is a roundup of reports on the Irish Cables by the Irish Independent. For Day One, see here.

In a commendable move, Day Two of the Ireland Cables has for the most part been made available on the Irish Independent's website. This marks a turnaround on yesterday's coverage, which was only available in the print edition, limiting the audience to those in Ireland.

The coverage for the day was dominated by a frontpage story announcing that "The Ireland Cables reveal how the Americans view our political elite." Inside, on pages 26-27 and 30-31, we were given a selection of pull-out quotes from the cables, where each of the documents was whittled down to a few words describing some or other Irish politician. No context was given. Two other stories ran over what the cables had to say about Bertie Aherne (ex-Fianna Fail Taoiseach) and Brian Cowen (his successor as Fianna Fail's head and Taoiseach until February this year).

At no point do any of these stories progress beyond summarizing the rather unexceptional character assessments of Irish leaders by American diplomats in Ireland. It is difficult to discern why any of these opinions are newsworthy, unless we are to note how they cater to a strange sort of narcissism in the national psyche that the United States is paying attention to Irish politicians at all. Indeed, this seems to be the explicit rationale behind these stories: the very fact that American diplomats have opinions about Irish politicians is underscored repeatedly, and we are treated to detailed descriptions of the way in which these pieces of gossip were shared within the American diplomatic community. When we learn that Hillary Clinton was kept abreast of Ireland's expenses scandals, it is the bare fact of the U.S. Secretary of State being privy to these highly public details in Irish news that justifies the article.

Another article relates how the embassy informed Washington in 2007, during the then Taoiseach's highly public episode with the Mahon Tribunal, that "almost no-one believes Ahern took bribes for personal gain." This, we learn, was based on the sound premise that "his frugal lifestyle is apparent to all." Perhaps the best inference we can make from this information is that then ambassador Thomas Foley had not been reading the Irish Independent, but this conclusion is not drawn in the report.

We develop away from gossip about Irish politicians to gossip from Irish politicians. Ahern, we learn, spoke ill of Putin once. This was out of character for him. A large column of page 31 is given over to a description of the ambassador's 2009 April Fool's cable. The cable is included for amusement's sake, but the intimate description of its content means that it is the cable the Independent has let us see the most of thus far, such is the selectivity with which the paper reports on the other documents. This report is not available online.

Some interesting facts concerning the peace process in Northern Ireland are introduced. A secret hardball bargaining position adopted by Ahern to induce the DUP to implement the Good Friday Agreement appears to have shocked the embassy staff. Ahern had threatened to reinstitute Ireland's constitutional claim to the six counties in the North. Another cable, we learn, tells us that there was internal distress within the Sinn Fein party at a breakaway Republican paramilitary threat to the life of Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.

An assortment of other stories offer us insights into minor political episodes in Irish party politics. Two stories on page 28 illuminate Fianna Fail's political theatre. The delayed resignation of the disgraced Minister Ivor Callely ruined a carefully staged budget plan introduction, we learn from ambassador James Kenny. Elsewhere, Fianna Fail's electoral ambitions in 2007 exerted influence over government fishing quota policies.

There are two pieces on Declan Ganley, the controversial entrepreneur and leader of Libertas - the anti-Lisbon Treaty group. One of the pieces is on the opaque funding behind the Libertas group, and the other details how Ganley sought to have the Taoiseach's address to the U.S. Congress postponed in order to minimize its (probably negligible) effects on the Lisbon referendum in 2008.

The Lisbon Treaty is a discernable theme in the coverage today. One report tells us that the American embassy was aware of diplomatic ill-will towards Ireland in the wake of the rejection of the Lisbon Treaty by the Irish population in 2008. This confirms common wisdom at the time and since.

Of more interest is the report on the US embassy's cable about the 2008 No vote in that referendum. The report trades on how the cable reveals negative opinions about Brian Cowen in the wake of the failed referendum. The more interesting point about the cable, which we are unable to read in full as of yet, is that the attitude towards the popular will demonstrated by the Irish political elite - and by the EU political establishment - is shared by the American embassy staff. We learn that the NO vote of the Irish population was Cowen's "remarkable failure" - an opinion which could only make sense if Irish popular opinion was there only to be swayed one way or another by cynical PR operations.

This cynicism in our political elite is tackled directly in a report on how Labour leader (and now Tainiste) Eamon Gilmore privately endorsed the idea of a repeat Lisbon referendum, but publicly engaged in theatrics about how the Irish people had spoken, and that the Lisbon Treaty was dead. This report, more than any of the others, taps into what has become a theme in Cablegate thus far - a pattern whereby partisan disagreement is an elaborate masquerade for the benefit of the public, and how political classes around the world share more with each other than with their publics, often differing very little across party lines. The recent adoption by the Fine Gael/Labour coalition of Fianna Fail positions on Ireland's EU/IMF bailout bears this out rather starkly.

In anticipation of the change of government, American diplomats had been soliciting the good favour of key members of Fine Gael and Labour while they were in opposition, we learn from another report. This is another issue on which it would be interesting to have a more broad study of the Irish cables: whether American diplomatic influence over the Irish political sphere is so wide as to "stack the deck" - ensuring that no party that could be elected will ever depart from certain American interests. As reported here on WL Central, previous cables showed that the embassy sought to ensure that, lest there ever be a change of government, Fine Gael would be favourable to the Shannon Airport military stopover policy. All evidence is that they were successful in doing so.

Finally, an editorial piece by Fionnan Sheehan, on page 34, contains some good analysis of the wider import of the Irish Wikileaks news. In particular, Sheehan comments on the Shannon airport issue, and relates this to last week's Obama visit, during which Taoiseach Enda Kenny reversed the government's stated position on the military stopover. We are given some tantalising indications that there is more in the cables about this issue, but beyond a few choice quotes, we do not learn much more. It is to be hoped that the Independent sees fit to give the Shannon airport issue some in-depth treatment in the next few days.

Tomorrow, the focus will be on the economic and banking crisis in Ireland. WL Central will continue summary coverage of the Independent's stories on the cables.

2011-06-02 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks

ImageMentor and friend Greg Mitchell at is on vacation. I'm no Greg Mitchell so I cannot promise to bring the flourish to blogging WikiLeaks News & Views that he brought for 185 days. However, I am Kevin Gosztola, someone very enthusiastic and passionate about staying up to date on the cable releases and all news and discussion surrounding the WikiLeaks organization. While he is away, I will be blogging WikiLeaks updates here.

You can contact me at with any news tips. Also, my Twitter username is @kgosztola.

11:00 PM USA Today, in their portrait of Dominique Strauss-Kahn, use WikiLeaks cables to illuminate his political history as a Socialist.

9:55 PM Another indication of how useful the US State Embassy cables are to US media: Los Angeles Times cites Yemen cables in its coverage of violence erupting in Yemen

Image8:50 PM Justice Department, in response to an ACLU motion filed last month, determines three individuals (Jacob Appelbaum, Rop Gonggrijp and Birgitta Jonsdottir) have no "right to information about similar demands that may have been issued to other internet companies." Court filing here.

8:20 PM Belfast Telegraph with ten or more new stories on the Ireland cables. One of the stories covers a senior Irish official who "told US diplomats that loans being transferred to the Republic’s ‘toxic bank’ could be worth half their stated value — at a time when the government was saying losses should be less than a third." The official, Kevin Cardiff, had the word "PROTECT" printed next to his name, indicating his identity and/or comments were "not to be disclosed" to the public by US officials.

6:00 PM South Africa may be the next government WikiLeaks needs to set its sights on and open: The ANC is "reviving apartheid-era secrecy laws that could make exposing corruption or dodgy government deals punishable with prison." The Protection of Information bill could potentially allow "dishonest officials to hide misdemeanours by making sensitive information difficult to obtain and by threatening journalists or whistleblowers with up to 25 years in jail."

A clampdown could very well mean whistleblowers release material to WikiLeaks before they go to South Africa media.

5:20 PM Well-written op-ed by Ed Kinane, who was arrested while protesting in support of Bradley Manning at Quantico in March. He writes on Bradley Manning and resistance:

Many of us have valid reasons not to risk arrest. But some of us are in a position to take the plunge ... or we're in a position to make changes in our life style or circumstances so we can risk arrest and its consequences when that imperative calls. In any case we can actively support those nonviolently taking such risk.

Bradley Manning is "deeply at risk."

5:15 PM National Post covers cables from Canada on the North American Initiative

2:20 PM Greek Cables: how Greece played a critical role in supporting US military operations in the eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, especially in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here's a cable that further describes the relationship.

11:10 PM New York Times's Bill Keller will be relinquishing his position as executive editor. Keller says he will be leaving the position to write more (perhaps, on Julian Assange's filthy white socks).

Jill Abramson will be taking over, making her the first woman executive editor in the paper's history. For those wondering what her stance on WikiLeaks might be, this is how she defended the publishing of the US State Embassy Cables in November of last year. (Of course, that says nothing about what she currently thinks about the WikiLeaks organization in general. Maybe WikiLeaks will have a tweet on her later, if she was involved in meetings on the publishing of war logs or cables.)

10:56 PM Zack Whittaker of, who wrote about the problem with designating WikiLeaks as a terrorist organization in February, now writes on whether cyber attacks can really be considered acts of war.

10:19 PM Debate in Sydney on whether WikiLeaks is a "force for good." Follow @iq2oz for updates on what is being said by debate participants.

10:06 PM A place where you can ask questions of the WikiLeaks staff and get answers

Image9:57 PM Andy Worthington, media partner with WikiLeaks on the Gitmo Files, has an update to his book "The Guantanamo Files." New chapters include information from the recent detainee assessment reports released.

9:52 PM What does the media-manufactured controversy that is "Weinergate" in America have to do with WikiLeaks? If you're Bill O'Reilly, it's another pretext, like the PBS hack and WikiLeaks' publishing of the cables, to escalate US cybersecurity efforts.

7:57 PM Bulgarian Prosecutor's Office won't "self-initiate" an investigation into the information contained in released cables on Bulgarian Prime Minister Boyko Borisov

7:55 PM Julian Assange wins top UK award for journalism, the Martha Gellhorn Trust Prize. Here is a full description on why he was awarded:

“WikiLeaks has been portrayed as a phenomenon of the hi-tech age, which it is. But it’s much more. Its goal of justice through transparency is in the oldest and finest tradition of journalism. WikiLeaks has given the public more scoops than most journalists can imagine: a truth-telling that has empowered people all over the world. As publisher and editor, Julian Assange represents that which journalists once prided themselves in – he’s brave, determined, independent: a true agent of people not of power.”

7:50 PM Cables from Peru provide insight into the presidential election between former army colonel Ollanta Humala and Keiko Fujimori, the daughter of "disgraced" former president Alberto Fujimori. El Comercio finds Humala might have thought WikiLeaks cables that have been impacting Peruvian politics would help him out but one cable in particular shows Humala and a US army officer once discussed killing rebels and torturing suspects with electro shock. Humala "did not have the stomach" for rape, however, he was aware that it happened on the base where he was stationed.

7:45 PM More on Pakistan: Pakistan given arms like advanced F-16 fighters, to fight the "war on terror," however, the US denied advanced Harpoon missile technology to Pakistan believing the technology would threaten India

7:40 PM Pakistan Papers: Indian army an obstacle to Siachen solution

7:23 PM Canada cables: Canadian officials advised US officials on how to get around privacy laws and get information on whether a Canadian businessman and politician had links to the ruling regime in Syria

7:00 PM Glenn Greenwald speech at ACLU Bill of Rights dinner in Massachusetts on "bipartisan security state" and President Obama. Says when Obama was elected it was "very difficult to talk about some the real impediments that still remained and some of the risks that were evident to the civil liberties agenda." Now, he wouldn't even spend time trying to prove Obama Administration has been "continuing the essence of Bush-Cheney radicalism" on terrorism and civil liberties because most have come to understand it is true. Greenwald talks about Bradley Manning, how Americans were afraid when he suggested they donate to WikiLeaks and the general war on whistleblowing by the Obama Administration.

Also, Greenwald's latest on criminalizing free speech.

2011-06-03 Bradley Manning Support Rally at Leavenworth on June 4 - Interview with Organizer Jeff Paterson

ImageThe Bradley Manning Support Network will be having a rally to support Bradley Manning at Leavenworth tomorrow.

I interviewed Jeff Paterson, who is with Courage to Resist and serves on the Bradley Manning Support Network Steering Committee.

You can listen to the interview by clicking on the embedded player:

Paterson discusses Manning's transfer to Leavenworth saying it "came about only because more than a half million people took action" through protests, letters, singing songs directly to the president etc. And, it was a victory that ended the "torturous conditions" he was being subjected to at Quantico.

Paterson also deconstructs recent portrayals of Manning in films produced by PBS and The Guardian.

Manning has been imprisoned for over a year and is still in pre-trial confinement. That's part of the injustice supporters will be calling attention to on Saturday.

He expects hundreds of people from the Kansas and Missouri area and some activists from further distances will come to show solidarity.

While there are tremendous peace and justice communities and pacifist churches in the Kansas City/Lawrence areas, Paterson notes Leavenworth is a very small rural military area. The community is very much tied federally and economically to the military base.

He says, "We are going to do our best to reach out to the local population and explain why we’re there and hopefully break some stereotypes of crazy hippie outsiders coming into the community."

For more on tomorrow's rally at Leavenworth, go here.

2011-06-03 The Militarization of Canada's Universities

Reprinted with permission from author Laura Beach, Co-founder of TapThirst and student activist. This article was originally published by The Mark

From simulation programs to unmanned drones, Canada's schools have joined the fight.

Fifty years ago, in his farewell address, President Dwight Eisenhower warned the American public against the “unwarranted influence” of industry and military interests on academic institutions. A close look at this influence within the context of Canadian universities suggests he had good cause to worry.

The influence of what Eisenhower termed the “military industrial complex” within the university sphere has been facilitated by a number of radical changes in post-secondary research and funding paradigms. Over the past four decades, a shift away from numbers-based funding toward “performance”-based indicators has effectively minimized the importance of enrolment, retention, and graduation rates while maximizing the importance of job placement data, faculty productivity, and external funding for research.

External (corporate) funding for research has assumed a central role in the university funding paradigm with the rise of proprietary research, accompanying sales and revenues generated through royalties, and a growing emphasis on public-private research partnerships. A significant portion of federal funding to Canadian universities now flows through “matching funds” projects where industry and government share financial investment.

ImageThe Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) and the Networks of Centres of Excellence both participate in “matching funds” projects, favouring research that has direct applications in private industry. It is within this context that the influence of the military has become so pervasive in universities across the country.

This influence has myriad manifestations, as does the involvement of Canadian professors and students who are involved in military-related research. Social and political scientists contribute to the perpetuation of militarist ideology through academic publications, media interviews, and social events funded by the Department of National Defence (DND).

Professors and students of science and engineering departments contribute to the development of military weapons technology through research partnerships and funding from DND, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC), NSERC, the National Research Council, the Intelligent Sensing for Innovative Structures, Canada Research Network, and various corporations. Some branches of the United States military, including the Defence Threat Reduction Agency, also provide funding to Canadian universities.

The main channel for military funding to social and political science departments is the Security Defence Forum (SDF). Established during the Cold War by DND, the SDF exists to distribute department funds to Canadian political and social science departments through “centres of expertise.” In return for funding, centres are expected to produce academic articles, conduct media interviews, publish Op-Ed articles, participate in conferences, and host a number of events to reach out to the public. The impartiality of funding allocation for research topics is seriously questionable, and casts doubt on the objectivity and academic freedom of these centres.

For example, Arthur C. Perron, a retired vice-president of communications at Capital Area Energy, a military weapons service provider with millions of dollars in contracts across the globe, and H. Cameron Ross, a retired military general and senior military advisor to EnCana Corp., a high-grossing natural gas corporation, have both sat on the SDF selection committee. This is the body in charge of allocating funding to centres and effectively determining the nature of the research conducted.

Funded research topics include terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, defence procurement and management, Canadian forces transformation, Canada-U.S. defence relations, and the international role of the Canadian Forces.

There are 12 “centres of expertise” across Canada, involving professors and graduate students from 14 universities, including Concordia University, York University, the University of British Columbia, Université de Montreal, and McGill University. Over the 2007-2008 fiscal year, these centres received $2.4 million in funding through the SDF and DND in research grants, salaries, academic awards, special projects funds, international conference funds, and national conference funds. The centres collectively wrote more than 100 Op-Ed articles, conducted over 1,300 media interviews, and hosted 412 events, reaching out to over 18,000 people.

Critics of the SDF, including Operation Objection, a not-for-profit anti-militarist organization, have highlighted a correlation in funding increases through the SDF and escalating and/or controversial Canadian military activity.

The Defence Department is also one of the main funding sources for science and engineering research toward the development of military technology. In 2010 and 2011, more than $17 million in research contracts were awarded to science and engineering departments in Canadian universities. DRDC is an even bigger funding source, donating roughly $150 million per year to public-private research partnership programs.

Through these funding partnerships, Canadian professors and students have contributed to the development of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), military simulation programs used for training military personnel, and Solid Fuel Air Explosives (bombs) used to target insurgents in Afghanistan.

The most common weaponry developed in Canadian universities is that of UAVs, which are operated remotely, sometimes from thousands of miles away, and are used for a variety of military operations, including targeted assassinations. They have been criticized for the physical removal of soldiers from the battlefield, making it psychologically easier to kill, and for the indiscriminate nature of the bombs used that tend to incur a shocking amount of “collateral damage” – in other words, killing innocent civilians.

If we consider such factors as human rights violations and lives lost in battle, the impact of military technology developed in part by professors and students of Canadian universities is deeply disturbing. However, not one Canadian university is willing to consider the impacts of the application of military technology beyond the classroom before they approve research and funding contracts.

The common rule of “do no harm” included in all university ethical research policy does not extend beyond the immediate ramifications of research. So long as no one is hurt during the design of a bomb, it does not matter what the bomb is designed for. It is against this logic that organizations like DeMilitarize McGill, Science for Peace, and Operation Objection rally.

The Canadian Association of University Teachers speaks to the time-honoured role of education toward the betterment of society, asserting that “education’s most basic purpose is to enhance life and the dignity of the human person.” In marked contrast, the complicity and lack of concern demonstrated by Canada’s universities, its faculty, and students exemplify a growing emphasis on ethically questionable private-public military research.

The oversight of current research policy denies the deliberation of ethical implications and robs universities and the community at large of the opportunity for transparent and open dialogue. There is a great need to frankly address the shifts in raison d'être of Canadian universities if the influence of the military industrial complex is to be kept in check.

The author wishes to acknowledge the following books in her research: Con U Inc: Privatization, Marketization and Globalization at Concordia University (and beyond) by David Bernans; The University in Chains by Henry Giroux; The Military-Academic Complex by Nick Turse (published on Z-net).

Photo courtesy of Reuters.

2011-06-03 UN Report Says Internet Three Strikes Laws Violate International Law

Reprinted with permission from Dr. Michael Geist, a law professor at the University of Ottawa where he holds the Canada Research Chair in Internet and E-commerce Law. He has obtained a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) degree from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Master of Laws (LL.M.) degrees from Cambridge University in the UK and Columbia Law School in New York, and a Doctorate in Law (J.S.D.) from Columbia Law School. Biography here.

The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection of the right to freedom of opinion and expression has released an important new report that examines freedom of expression on the Internet. The report is very critical of rules such as graduated response/three strikes, arguing that such laws may violate the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (Canada became a member in 1976). Moreover, the report expresses concerns with notice-and-takedown systems, noting that it is subject to abuse by both governments and private actors.

On the issue of graduated response, the report states:

he is alarmed by proposals to disconnect users from Internet access if they violate intellectual property rights. This also includes legislation based on the concept of “graduated response”, which imposes a series of penalties on copyright infringers that could lead to suspension of Internet service, such as the so-called “three strikes-law” in France and the Digital Economy Act 2010 of the United Kingdom.

Beyond the national level, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) has been proposed as a multilateral agreement to establish international standards on intellectual property rights enforcement. While the provisions to disconnect individuals from Internet access for violating the treaty have been removed from the final text of December 2010, the Special Rapporteur remains watchful about the treaty’s eventual implications for intermediary liability and the right to freedom of expression.

In light of these concerns, the report argues that the Internet disconnection is a disproportionate response, violates international law and such measures should be repealed in countries that have adopted them:

The Special Rapporteur considers cutting off users from Internet access, regardless of the justification provided, including on the grounds of violating intellectual property rights law, to be disproportionate and thus a violation of article 19, paragraph 3, of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The Special Rapporteur calls upon all States to ensure that Internet access is maintained at all times, including during times of political unrest. In particular, the Special Rapporteur urges States to repeal or amend existing intellectual copyright laws which permit users to be disconnected from Internet access, and to refrain from adopting such laws.

The report also highlights the shortcomings of a notice-and-takedown system, providing further evidence that the Canadian notice-and-notice approach (as found in Bill C-32) is not only effective but also more equitable. The report states:

while a notice-and-takedown system is one way to prevent intermediaries from actively engaging in or encouraging unlawful behaviour on their services, it is subject to abuse by both State and private actors. Users who are notified by the service provider that their content has been flagged as unlawful often have little recourse or few resources to challenge the takedown. Moreover, given that intermediaries may still be held financially or in some cases criminally liable if they do not remove content upon receipt of notification by users regarding unlawful content, they are inclined to err on the side of safety by overcensoring potentially illegal content. Lack of transparency in the intermediaries’ decision making process also often obscures discriminatory practices or political pressure affecting the companies’ decisions. Furthermore, intermediaries, as private entities, are not best placed to make the determination of whether a particular content is illegal, which requires careful balancing of competing interests and consideration of defences.

The report points to a Chilean law that requires a court order for takedown of content as a preferred approach. The Canadian approach also envisions court orders for takedowns.

2011-06-03 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases and #WikiLeaks

ImageMentor and friend Greg Mitchell at is on vacation. While he is away, I will be pinch-hitting and blogging WikiLeaks updates here. All the times are EST. You can contact me at with any news tips. Twitter username is @kgosztola. Also, if you are looking for something good to listen to, I encourage you to check out the catalog of podcasts posted here at WL Central from the "This Week in WikiLeaks" show I produce every week.

11:40 PM Operation Recovery will be at Leavenworth tomorrow to support Bradley Manning

Republished in full, here's the statement from William Stewart-Starks, leader of the Kansas City chapter of IVAW, on why Iraq Veterans Against the War will be supporting Manning this weekend:

This Saturday many will gather in Leavenworth, Kansas to call for the release of PFC Bradley Manning. In the past few months a broad based coalition of peace and civil liberties activist have come together in cooperation to demand that his indefinite detention by the whim of the military will finally cease. It is important for IVAW and its members to understand the implications and precedent his case has had in regards to turning back further GI rights across the board.

I, as well as many who have served, did so under the assumption that our service members were responsible in defending the beliefs and sacred rights of free people. That it was our responsibility to ensure that this was afforded to all. We have failed in that mission in the unlawful detainment of one of our very own brothers, Bradley. He has been subjected to cruel and and unusual punishments and been prematurely sentenced on the record by members of the chain of command, that has lead all the way to the top with statements from President Obama.

The weight of these allegations is certainly too much for one, even as brave as Bradley, to bear alone. This is why we in the veteran community must stand up, shoulder to shoulder and demand his freedom, and in doing so call for our own. We must ensure that not another one of our brothers or sisters receives such retaliatory abuse and each and everyone of us is respected first, as equal under the law with the same inherent rights as any other person.

We must also stand up as a GI and veteran community opposed to the notion that we are nothing more than property of the military, but rather the embodiment of a principled system that preserves human dignity and justice. In fighting this battle we fight for ourselves and set the stage for our community to claim what was once expected to be stripped away by wearing the uniform. Instead we say that our heroes require these protections too. Heroes like PFC Bradley Manning and those who courageously do what is best in exposing those who undermine these beliefs that keep us free through their sacrifice and unwavering example.

11:34 PM Journalists covering Yemen continue to cite cables released by WikiLeaks to supplement their reporting. See this recently published report from Jeb Boone and Iona Craig, two superb journalists who have been covering Yemen for the past months.

10:11 PM The Nation's coverage of the Haiti cables released by WikiLeaks has become a journalism story in and of itself: The Columbia Journalism Review blogs about a "scoop" the magazine had but then took down off the Internet on the US ambassador pressuring Haiti's president to not raise the minimum wage. CJR justifies covering this scoop:

The magazine posted the story the other day and has now pulled it, saying it will repost it next Wednesday “To accord with the publishing schedule of Haiti Liberté,” its partner on the piece.

But you can’t stuff the news genie back in the bottle. They already put it in my browser and many others, so I’ll summarize what it said (and I’ll link to it once The Nation republishes it).

I was in the office when The Nation's editors realized they had made a story live that was not to be posted yet. There definitely was a dilemma. Haiti Liberte wanted to publish this next week. The magazine had violated that agreement. But, it had gone up for at least an hour. In that time, anybody could get to it and copy and paste sections of it or post a summary, as CJR did. The scoop was posted and shared.

One can make the case that it should have just stayed live. But, then we see that some media organizations have restraint like Democracy Now!, which interviewed the journalists at Haiti Liberte who wrote stories on the cables but did not discuss the revelations on minimum wage. On the other hand, CJR could not bring themselves to just keep quiet for a week. CJR chose to make a point.

9:50 PM After NATO singles Anonymous out in a report, Anonymous hits back with this video.

7:11 PM El Comercio publishes 10 new cables on Peru. One of them details the Peru Free Trade Agreement that was being pushed in the US Congress in January 2007.

6:30 PM Jeffrey Feltman, assistant secretary of state of Near Eastern Affairs, writes in an op-ed for POLITICO, "After Wikileaks revelations of alleged U.S. diplomatic cables outlining Qadhafi's paranoia and quirks, thugs were harassing our embassy. One official told me, ominously, 'People in this country get killed for saying what your ambassador wrote.' It was a sign of worse things to come - violence and vicious threats directed not at foreign officials, but at Libya's own citizens."

Sounds like he is almost insinuating WikiLeaks brought about the uptick in Gaddafi regime state-sponsored violence. In any case, Feltman also uses the op-ed to argue in favor of America's undeclared and still illegal role in the conflict (which, thanks to Rep. Dennis Kucinich, the US Congress almost faced down and corrected today).

6:07 PM Like PJ Crowley, will NYT executive editor Bill Keller, who announced he will be relinquishing his position, move on and become a full-time WikiLeaks critic who goes on speaking tours and participates in many panels and pens editorials calling attention to Assange? It's likely.

6:05 PM Prosecutors in Poland are investigating a newspaper that is believed to have leaked state secrets from a probe into an alleged CIA prison. AP News just posted a story on this. WL Central has already been covering this story.

Are they taking cues from the US government? This type of targeting of the press seems to have become SOP for the Obama Administration.

5:55 PM Benjamin H. Fredman and Christopher Preble on the preposterousness of a military response to cyber attacks.

5:30 PM A WL Central Round-up: 1) Macedonia ruling party claims WikiLeaks cables on government are falsified 2) the militarization of Canadian universities 3) interview with organizer Jeff Paterson, who has helped make possible a rally at Leavenworth in support of Bradley Manning this weekend.

12:10 PM Kim Ives and Dan Coughlin on Democracy Now! discuss the "Petrocaribe Files" exposing how the United States pressured by Exxon and Chevron attempted to interfere in an oil agreement between Haiti and Venezuela that was supposed to save Haiti $100 million per year.

11:50 PM Timothy Karr of Free Press writes on Anonymous taking on "the System" and highlights a YouTube manifesto posted that is "a call to everyone in the online world to get off the couch, pick up their cell phones and laptops and join a revolt against governments and corporations that are intent upon stifling free speech online."

11:30PM Pakistan intelligence officers, according to December 2009 cable, were at the time maintaining ties with terrorist organizations, including the Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT), the Taliban and other extremist groups.

Image10:05 PM UNESCO's Division of Freedom of Expression releases the following report, "Freedom of Connection, Freedom of Expression: The Changing Legal and Regulatory Ecology Shaping the Internet." WikiLeaks' release of the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs is highlighted in the report.

From the introduction, the report finds the Internet has become "increasingly pivotal to the communicative power of individuals, groups and institutions with access to networks and the skills to use them effectively." But, the "shift in communicative power has spawned greater efforts to restrict and control the use of the Internet for information and communication on political, moral, cultural, security and other grounds." For example, WikiLeaks.

The section on security suggests the fact that WikiLeaks brought embarassment to US diplomacy through its release of the US State Embassy cables might be why governments are seeking to gain "better control of the Internet."

8:00 Is this not the best title ever for an op-ed on WikiLeaks & Cablegate? Titled, "Wikibangarang Nightmare," Peter Espeut for The Gleaner, which has been covering the Jamaica cables release, writes, "Some political spinners dismiss the WikiLeaks cables as insignificant because, they say, the correspondence does not reflect the official policy of the US government, but just what certain US government staffers are thinking. But isn't it important to know what our allies think of us, whether they think we are being honest or corrupt?"

7:54 From @WikiLeaks Twitter feed: "Next US Twitter hearing in espionage investigation against WikiLeaks is tentatively set for June 24."

Image7:51 RTE News reports on cables which detail how Shannon Airport in Ireland was likely used for extraordinary rendition. The known stopover for US military apparently had the then-prime minister defending US assurances that enemy combatants were not being "transited at Shannon en route to Guantanamo" but this remark from US Sen. John McCain raises doubts. In a cable, he apparently said it was necessary "to underscore how very important it is that the US not ever be caught in a lie to a close friend and ally."

Go to the 14:50 mark of this video for the report. (h/t John O'Callaghan)

7:47 Tom Ford produces a short film declaring, "We are all Bradley Manning," urging support for the alleged whistleblower to WikiLeaks

7:36 Indian army involved in extra-judicial killings of Kashmiris the army tried to link with Pakistan in 2007, according to released cables

7:32 In Macedonia, according to cables, Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski used state's judicial and "repressive apparatus to quell dissent" creating a "climate of fear." Article at Bivol.

7:25 Newspaper Association of America reports the newspaper sales crisis in America enters its sixth year. This crisis is one of the forces that exerts a pressure on journalists to be careful how they cooperate and cover WikiLeaks. It is part of what determines how they cover national security and information they receive from whistleblowers too because many papers or media organizations cannot afford lawsuits from the Justice Dept, etc.

7:10 Asian Human Rights Commission, on the criminalization of free speech ahead of Thailand's election, reports, "Aekkachai Hongkangwan, age 35, was indicted on 23 May 2011 at the Criminal Court in Bangkok for allegedly disseminating CDs containing a documentary by ABC television and WikiLeaks materials which are offensive to the King, the Queen and the Heir Apparent. He has also been accused of selling CDs without a license."

2011-06-03 WikiLeaks cables falsified - Macedonian ruling party claims

Macedonian PM Nikola Gruevski

Macedonian PM Nikola Gruevski

Two cables, exposing the use of the state repressive apparatus by the Macedonian PM Gruevski to quell dissent and the corruption in the Gruevski inner circle, were immediately denied as falsification in an official statement of the ruling party VMRO - DPMNE.



The diplomatic reports from the Embassy of Skopje were analyzed and published first by the WL partner's site Bivol and the european portal EurActiv on Friday. Macedonia is preparing for parliamentary elections this Sunday.

The cables are fake and fabricated by the opposition party SDSM and the A1 television, the official Gruevski's party statement claims. According to the text "financial and political interest" are motivating this falsification.

Another pro-government analyst went further in this logic and accused Greek secret services to help SDSM.

Macedonia and Greece has a long running and unresolved dispute about the name of the former yougoslav republic.

Wikileaks material has been denied authenticity many times. Last known case came from Bulgaria, where the PM Boyko Borissov, who's shady activities were exposed in a US cable, said he's "not reading Wikileaks and tabloids".

As a Wikileaks partner for the Balkans, Bivol strictly follows the agreement terms, publishing the original material after analysis and editing of sensitive names in the text. Bivol helped Wikileaks publish more then 70 cables from Bulgaria, Serbia and Macedonia that has never been denied by US State department.

2011-06-04 A US Congress Unwilling to Exercise Its War Powers

Dueling resolutions from Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner and Democratic House Representative Dennis Kucinich sparked a debate in Congress. The debate centered around the War Powers Act, the US Constitution and whether President Obama had violated the law by taking the United States into a war in Libya.

The Kucinich Resolution (H.R. Con. Res. 251) aimed to direct the president, pursuant to the War Powers Act, to remove all troops from Libya within fifteen days after the resolution was adopted. It was an attempt to force Congress to exercise the authority that it has under the Constitution to decide when and where troops are deployed for wars and whether or not wars should be launched.

In contrast, the Boehner Resolution (H.R. Con. Res. 292) was offered by Speaker Boehner to take the wind out of the sails of the growing bipartisan movement, consisting of anti-war Democrats and anti-interventionist Republicans, who were ready to assert Congress’ legislative authority and oppose the further expansion of the Executive by the Obama Administration that has taken place as a result of the Libya War.

The resolution brought by Rep. Kucinich failed 148-265. Speaker Boehner’s resolution passed 268-145.

The passage effectively stymied Rep. Kucinich’s genuine attempt to bring an end to the shirking of constitutional responsibilities in matters of war and peace in Congress. It aimed to halt the operations that had been initiated by the Obama Administration without congressional approval. But, as evidenced by the debate, despite the near unanimous recognition that seventy-seven days into the war the Obama Administration has the US embroiled in an illegal war and Congress has abdicated its responsibility, the majority of representatives in the House were reluctant to actually exercise the authority, which the Constitution grants them.

Representatives, who understood the weight of the moment, attempted to reason and convince a servile and overwhelmingly deferential majority that there needed to be action. They called out Speaker Boehner for offering a resolution that sidestepped the responsibility Congress is supposed to uphold.

Rep. Dan Burton (R-IN), who co-sponsored the Kucinich Resolution, expressed his concern with what Boehner had put forth for debate. The resolution, Burton said, reads, “The president shall not deploy, establish or maintain the presence of units and members of the United States armed forces on the ground in Libya.”

Most of our wars that we fight now are fought from the air or from battleships. We’ve had about 250 missiles fired in Libya and about 226 of them are American. We’ve spent over three quarters of a billion dollars already and it will probably go over a billion. Now boots on the ground says that were not going to put troops into Libya, but we’ve got ships off shore, we’ve got planes in the air, we’ve got airmen who are at risk every single day and we’re committing military forces in Libya even though we don’t have boots on the ground.

Representatives Barbara Lee (D-CA) and Lynn Woolsey (D-CA) both addressed the folly of the Boehner resolution. Rep. Lee said the debate was long overdue and noted on March 30 she and a few other representatives had sent a letter to Speaker Boehner and Republican Majority Leader Eric Cantor urging debate and a floor vote on the president’s authority to continue to use force in Libya. More than sixty days later, Speaker Boehner suddenly scheduled a vote on a resolution that Rep. Lee said “politicizes a serious issue.” And, Rep. Woolsey noted the House overwhelmingly passed a Kucinich Amendment two weeks ago that was similar to what was being debated today but Speaker Boehner did not want to let Congress do the right thing so a resolution to “take the air out of questions over the War Powers Act” was being considered.

Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) stood on the House floor and took a sledgehammer to every justification and reason for supporting the Boehner Resolution and not asserting the authority granted to Congress under the War Powers Act.

… This is innocuous legislation. First it starts with a sense of Congress about our opinion as to what should and shouldn’t be done. It has a sentence that purports to prevent the president from putting ground forces in Libya but in fact just states that that’s our policy. It’s certainly not designed to prevent him from doing so it just says it’s our opinion that he shouldn’t…

Noting that the Boehner Resolution would hopefully require a number of questions be answered, Rep. Sherman added:

… Those who think that the questions propounded in this legislation are actually going to get us useful information are insulting the faculty of the law schools of America. Because both the Pentagon and the State Dept have lawyers capable of writing long and meaningless answers to every question we propound. And, as for getting documents, some of the documents we already have and some those same lawyers will be writing long documents about executive privilege. So we have here a document that is at most the questions for the record that the chairwoman of our committee allows me to add at the end of so many hearings…

He went further charging the resolution was actually designed to ensure Congress did not fulfill its constitutional duty and make it possible for Congress to “sidestep” the War Powers Act.

…It gives cover to those who don’t want to authorize or refuse to authorize. It says we’re an advisory body. We ask some questions so we can give you good advice. We’ll give the president some advice. It is part of the trend of an aggrandizing executive and a derelict Congress. A Congress that almost is complicit in this long process, where we are not deciders. We do not become legislators. We inquire and we advise.

Representative Ted Poe (R-TX) and Representative Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) put it even more bluntly. Rep. Nadler stated, “Shall the president like the King of England be a dictator of foreign policy, shall the president have the unfettered right to take this country to war?” Rep. Poe said he had served on the bench in Texas for over twenty years and tried several criminal cases and he remembers following the law. Not once did he sentence a person and later have the trial to prove sentencing him had been a good idea.

But, House members like Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA), Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL) and Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) made excuse after excuse for why Congress should not fully exercise its constitutional authority and why there should be no withdrawal of troops from Libya. Rep. Berman cited neoconservative Bill Krisol and said that the US’ refusal to continue to act would send a message to allies putting troops on the line that the US was not dependable.

Rep. Ros-Lehtinen suggested a difficult situation would simply be made worse by taking such drastic action. News that the “House of Representatives had mandated a withdrawal of US forces would send a ray of sunshine into the hole in which Gaddafi is currently hiding” and it would be “seen throughout Middle East and North Africa as open season to threaten US interests and destabilize [US] allies.”

Rep. Forbes, while claiming he didn’t support the fact that President Obama had violated the War Powers Act, asserted Obama “has information many members of Congress don’t have that we need to have shared with us.” So, Congress should give him “some latitude” to present a case for war to Congress.

At least, Rep. Berman understood the War Powers Act was not invoked in Speaker Boehner’s resolution and at the very least Congress should set up a situation where they authorize and declare the Libya war to make it legal. But, for the most part, those in support of the Boehner Resolution appeared to care little about the authority granted to them.

As evidenced by Rep. Forbes and Rep. Ros-Lehtinen, since the war has begun, most members believe it is pointless to fully take a stand. The danger of this mindset is bad enough when considering the fact that this gives President Obama the range to simply launch illegal wars whenever his Administration finds the war to be justified. Rep. Burton pointed out Obama could attack Syria and little could be done if Congress didn’t exercise its authority now. But, more importantly, today’s wars are protracted, dirty, costly and often are open-ended. Forfeiting the authority to declare simply affords the Obama Administration and future administrations the right to carry on any war and as many wars as they want with blank checks that will cost countless lives and waste taxpayer dollars on military adventures.

Nobody captured the reality of how partisan politics has typically plagued debates over war powers and or America's recent tradition of protracted, dirty, illegitimate warring as well as Rep. Timothy Johnson (R-IL):

To my Democratic colleagues, I ask you to candidly acknowledge that war is war even when a Democratic president initiates or perpetuates that war. To my Republican colleagues, I ask you to acknowledge that a sincere and effective attack on our crippling national debt without defense spending squarely on the table is indefensible and disingenuous. To all my colleagues, I ask you to acknowledge certain realities. One, our global welfare kills American men and women and innocent people all around the world every day. Two, we cannot impose our standards of democracy, humanitarian and cultural, as much as we want to, on nations who don’t want to on nations that don’t care and resent our proclaimed role as judge and jury. Three, there is little if any connection between our actions in Libya and the safety of citizens in St. Louis, Missouri or Mt. Zion, Illinois.

To conclude, President Obama has America in an illegal war, which the majority of Congress prefers to not make legal or consider ending for fear of alienating allies, sending the wrong message to America’s “enemies,” and other nonsense that those corrupted by power use to justify unjust behavior. The Congress can scarcely come up with a reason why Libya is in America’s national interest yet it pushes on as if it in the end it will make a profound discovery and find some reasons why it was good all along to launch a war.

Bush Administration lawyers did not think congressional authorization for the Iraq War was necessary. Then-Senate Minority Leader Trent Lott (R-MS) considered the push for authorization to be “a blatant political move” that was not helpful. Now, in Congress, Speaker Boehner and others find it to be not helpful to get authorization yet they think the Obama Administration has shown contempt for Congress.

Obama Administration lawyers do not think they need congressional authorization for Libya. As with the Iraq War, it does not appear members of Congress have looked at any intelligence or actually know the details of what is happening in the ground. They are only capable of discussing the war on a cosmic level and in terms of how it can build on America’s image as this mythical beacon of freedom and democracy.

The humanitarian argument for the war grows weaker by the day. If Americans believe in the Arab Spring, then there is no justification at all for a war that subverts the self-determination of the Libyan people by engulfing a revolution in an international intervention.

The casual indifference toward getting authorization, however, should not be surprising to anyone that understands how, post-9/11, the law has become a supreme inconvenience to those in power. Terror suspects are now tried with military tribunals because civilian trials just might lead to evidence that was obtained during torture being thrown out. Accountability for those who authorized torture or committed war crimes is cumbersome. Impunity is defended because it means society can look forward and not backward.

Rampant warrantless wiretapping, the thumbing through of bank and gun records without probable cause and the body scanning and patting down of American bodies at airports in violation of rights to privacy are each socially and politically acceptable because civil liberties are supposedly a nuisance to those who need to fight the war on terrorism.

One can be grateful that a debate did in fact happen because on the Patriot Act extensions voted on just over a week ago little debate occurred. But, as it seems all Congress can bring itself to do is vote to criticize the president, (perhaps because it knows full well that in the end the Obama Administration, as the Clinton Administration did with Kosovo, could simply defy Congress and keep the war going), what we Americans have is a branch of government that lectures and provides advice to an increasingly powerful executive and the reality that a constitutional law professor sits in the White House conducting an unconstitutional war with little conscience for what he has done to the rule of law in American society.

2011-06-04 Baba Ramdev taken into police custody detained in Delhi and taken to Haridwar

The popular Indian yoga guru Baba Ramdev went on a hunger strike June 4, 2011 to protest corruption in India. Thousands of supporters gathered in Delhi and other locations around the country to join the protest.

The police cracked down on the protest using tear gas shells upon the crowd after protesters apparently threw rocks at them. Ramdev was taken into custody and detained in Delhi and then taken to Haridwar. This comes after the government pleaded with Ramdev to end the hunger strike which is set to continue to the death until the popular Swami's demands were met.

The swami has demanded:

  • 1) Black money stashed in banks abroad returned to India
  • 2) Death penalty for those guilty of corruption
  • 3) Currency of high denomination be withdrawn.

Similar hunger strikes took place in a number of cities all across India, including Orissa and Mumbai.

This is coming amid the heated debate over the Lokpal bill, in which members of the Civil Society threatened to walk out of the discussions if their demands were not met. Primarily at issue, is for the PM and other high level officials to be included in the purview of the law which seeks to deal with the black money issue.

The current Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has grown increasingly unpopular because of corruption, the Commonwealth Games problems in 2010 and the telecoms scandal.

The government of India has set up a panel to deal with the black money. The Finance Ministry briefed Ramdev and discussions were ongoing among the various parties. The opposition party, BJP spokesman Ravi Shankar Prasad, has aligned with the swami. Justice N Santash Hegde, a member of the Lokpal Committee, also wants the PM to be brought into the purview of the law.

2011-06-04 Peter Kemp's conversation with WACA: Australian perspectives on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

Wikileaks Australian Citizens Alliance has kindly allowed us to share this series of videos, a conversation between myself, Sam and Kaz.

There was some difficulty with the software not behaving itself and the audio on my side was a bit patchy. We'll be working on future conversations where hopefully the use of Skype and glitches will be improved.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

WACA's Youtube user site here, with more videos well worth having a look.

As an Australian citizen I must say it is most pleasing that others like Sam and Kaz at WACA in Australia are so motivated to become involved online and elsewhere to carry a torch for human rights and Wikileaks. There are so many people around the world on the same page with us here at WLC.

WACA's site here.

Well done Sam and Kaz!

2011-06-04 Supporters Declare “I Am Bradley Manning” in Times Square Rally for Accused #WikiLeaks Source

The following is a press release from World Can't Wait, which helped to organize the rally for Bradley Manning in Times Square in New York City today.

NEW YORK — 100 supporters of PFC Bradley Manning converged today (Saturday, June 4, 2011) at Times Square while hundreds of others rallied at Ft. Leavenworth, KS for the soldier who stands accused of leaking classified government information to WikiLeaks and ultimately to the public.

Supporters held posters saying “Free Bradley Manning” and gathered around large anti-war banners near the Times Square military recruiting station, and coincidentally, near an action in support of marriage equality.

This was the first rally for Bradley Manning since he was transferred to Fort Leavenworth on April 20, 2011, after having suffered under extreme and unusual confinement conditions at US Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. During the nine months at Quantico, Manning was denied meaningful exercise, social interaction, and sunlight, and was at times kept completely naked. A number of those present at the rally are still facing trespass charges for lying in the road in front of the Quantico base on March 20, 2011, in an action that is believed to have spurred Manning’s transfer


World Can’t Wait, Code Pink, the Granny Peace Brigade, Veterans for Peace, Radical Women and the Freedom Socialist Party called the rally. Tourists and people passing by joined in donating funds for Manning’s legal fund, and in having their photos taken with the message “I am Bradley Manning.” Photos will appear at

A former Marine took off his taxi job to attend, in his first political action, saying that Manning has captured his support just for “telling the truth.” Students who heard of the action online offered to promote the next one. “We talked to people from all over the world today, and get out thousands of flyers about Manning. Most people from other countries know much more about Wikileaks, U.S. wars, and Brad Manning than people living here. We are out to change that,” said Elaine Brower.

The next rally to support Manning will be Saturday July 2, 4:00 pm at Union Square, West 14th & Broadway.

2011-06-04 The Revenge of Aaron Barr? Firing the Social Engineering Cannon at Anon

Submitted by BeyondBorders.

The efforts of Aaron Barr of HB Gary to create a modern big brother surveillance state met with disaster when Anonymous retaliated against him. Many thought that after all the fury and sting by Anonymous, Aaron Barr might have learned a lesson.

Aaron Barr's blunders apparently didn’t discourage him or those who share his motives and willingness to engage in shady operations when it comes to Anonymous. In addition, a short while ago a hacker startup named Backtrace Security came forward with a plan to out some of the members of Anonymous. Andy Greenberg first broke the story in a Forbes article that quoted their mission statement, referring to them as doing “psychological operation/social engineering and deep investigative research”. Backtrace claimed to be former members of Anonymous. It appeared to be dissention in the ranks.

Whatever their motives, the methods appear somewhat similar to what HB Gary Federal's plans called for. Almost 3 month after the outing of Aaron Barr, things seemed to have been going according to his plan. LulzSec, a very effective hacker group has been very active lately with
disruption of Sony, recent hack attacks on PBS for the unfair coverage of WikiLeaks and the very recent outing of the FBI affiliated Infragard. They publicly entertained the idea that this psychological operation was being put into action.

On May 12 they tweeted:

We're starting to think that all trolls and social engineering attempts in existence are just @AaronBarr on different accounts. Seems legit.

Is the ghost of Aaron Barr getting revenge, firing the social engineering cannon at Anons? Around the time that LulzSec put up this tweet, some Anons and online activists who appeared to be targets started to wake up to these tactics. Events unfolding on social media sites like Facebook appeared to be more than a coincidence. There was coherence and observable patterns in the behavior of certain 'unknown Facebook friends'. Numerous accounts of this activity have come in from anonymous sources.

Some people experienced increased traffic of incoming friend requests and outgoing friends on Facebook; strangers acting friendly and once they had developed a connection, the new friend immediately de-friended or start to attack them verbally.

There are also reports of people who have recently had their computer hacked or were suspiciously infected with malware. Recently, some experienced a thread of spam chain-messages sent out on Facebook that had people whose names were on HB Gary’s list.

The mechanics and patterns that have been observed seem to match the plans outlined by Barr in the hacked HB Gary emails. Aaron Barr may have been stung by the Anonymous bees nest, yet it seems the plans he had outlined are being attempted, whether by him or by someone else.

After leaving Anonymous, Barret Brown launched a collaborative Wiki crowdsource operation named OpMetalGear to investigate Internet abuse by HB Gary and like-minded individuals. The site began to document the details of what was allegedly a rough manuscript of a book Barr was writing. It spelled out the science of psychological operations described as "Social Engineering". One chapter title read, [H1] Social Engineering Explained. It defined Social Engineering (SE) as,"the act of influencing someone’s behavior through manipulating their emotions or gaining and betraying their trust to gain access to their system”.

The word "social engineering" was first made widely known by Kevin Mitnic, one of the most famous social engineers. It is basically the idea that the most effective way to change someone's behavior is not through technology but through hacking the mind.

Here are some of these tactics excerpted from Barr’s draft:One essential method is psychological manipulation after first gaining some level of trust with the target.

The goal of an SE attack is to create a relationship, gain the target's trust and get them to take an action or provide some information that is a violation of their organization's policies or personal basic security practices.

In sum, it is when unknown persons with no apparent reason approach someone on Facebook or chat rooms and flatter their posts or interact in ways that strike what in them needs to be fed. Details of this personality building was spelled out in the email sent to Aaron Barr and a few others at HB Gary and was referred to as Persona Management.

This would then be combined with attacks, such as releasing a virus that physically harms a network or system.

Attackers can load a virus into a word doc, PDF, Power Point, picture or even a game. These infected files will open and run (i.e. someone can open the Power Point and go through the slides) at the same time, the virus infects the system.

Recently it seems there is an increase in trolls targeting certain people. Another proposed method is identity theft, called "Phishing".

This is where a mass email is sent to a large group of addresses (potentially millions). The email could try to lead the user to open an attachment or go to a web page, either of which would lead to the computer system being compromised (assuming the system in question was vulnerable).

There is an undeniable correlation between observed incidents on the cyber-ground and tactics outlined by Aaron Barr. Some who have recently experienced these types of attacks might wonder if they are the targets of the very psychological operations Barr described. It could be just at an early stage and things will likely progress.

The Internet is a powerful equalizing tool and any node is constantly vulnerable for targeted attack. This type of action in Cyberspace reflects an ongoing fight in today's society between the forces of authoritarian control and people who advocate free speech. This battle appears to be heating up on both sides and is far from over.

Gaining a better understanding of the science of this social engineering and the motivations behind it can give a map to maneuver through the dark rabbit hole. These psychological operations are presented as a sophisticated science and those promoting it are pretending to be experts in it. Yet, what is behind it is actually simple. It is all means to attract and distract and to sew fear and distrust.

The important thing is knowing thyself as much as knowing thy enemy; to be clear about one’s own intentions when entering into the rabbit hole. What is not made conscious as desires and fear will be susceptible to manipulation. The weapons of fear and distrust can only have effect if people allow them to have that power. The more one is emotionally involved, the more one reacts and interacts with trolls, the deeper one falls into the quagmire. If someone experiences these tactics being used on them, they might react impulsively, shutting down communication or getting paranoid. This way people allow themselves to act out of fear and unconsciously spread the virus of this social engineering.

What government and corporate firms like HB Gary may not know is that Anon’s immune system is stronger than any virus of fear, any artificially manufactured Malware of deceit set up by those with destructive ambitions.

Big brother is watching. But little brother is watching too and may not be as dumb or gullible as big brother thinks. In the age of social networking, with rapid and free sharing of information and open source social evolution, people can guard themselves and even turn illicit surveillance into counter-intelligence.

Perhaps the next months will be a real test of people’s ability to overcome fear and strive for genuine communication. Those intended victims of social engineering might actually be the ones to help determine what the Internet is really to become.

2011-06-04 Veterans & Supporters Rally at Leavenworth for Bradley Manning, Urge Obama to Drop Charges

ImageThe following is a press release from the Bradley Manning Support Network on the rally just held at Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas.

LEAVENWORTH, KS — Approximately 250 supporters of PFC Bradley Manning—including many United States military veterans—converged today (Saturday, June 4, 2011) at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas to rally for the soldier who stands accused of leaking classified government information to WikiLeaks and ultimately to the public.

Supporters held large colorful signs that said, "Free Bradley Manning, Hero, Whistle-Blower." They gathered at Bob Dougherty Memorial Park where they staged a rally with speakers and music for one hour. Then they marched several blocks to the main entrance of Fort Leavenworth, where PFC Manning is being held. Rally speakers called on the Obama Administration to protect whistle-blowers and to drop all charges against the Army private.

This was the first large public rally to support PFC Bradley Manning since he was transferred to Fort Leavenworth. He was transferred on April 20, 2011, after having suffered under extreme and unusual confinement conditions at US Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. During the nine months at Quantico, Manning was denied meaningful exercise, social interaction, and sunlight, and was at times kept completely naked.

The Bradley Manning Support Network worked with other local and national groups to organize the rally. Members from two veterans' organizations—Veterans For Peace and Iraq Veterans Against the War—comprised a large part of the turnout, including a contingent that drove from Fort Hood, Texas.

"PFC Bradley Manning is a fellow soldier," said Brian Wolfe, a Lawrence Kansas-based Army Veteran who served in Operation Iraqi Freedom. "If a fellow soldier is punished for taking his oath to defend the constitution seriously, what does that mean for our military and for our democracy?"

The information that PFC Manning is accused of revealing includes the videotaped massacre of Reuters journalists and Iraqi civilians, as well as diplomatic cables that experts believe helped to catalyze democratic revolts across the Middle East this spring.

Referencing the "Arab Spring", a 16-foot high banner read, "Freedom for Bradley Manning, American Hero. Let Freedom Ring from Leavenworth to Tahrir, Egypt."

"The information Bradley Manning is accused of releasing should have been in the public domain. Whoever revealed it is an American hero." said Jeff Paterson, who will spoke at the rally on behalf of the Bradley Manning Support Network. "Our leaders in Washington need to return to American principles of transparent and accountable government. That starts with protecting—not prosecuting—whistle-blowers and dropping all charges against Bradley Manning."

PFC Bradley Manning, 23-years-old, was detained in Iraq one year ago on May 26, 2010. He still awaits his first public court hearing, now expected to begin later this summer. Today's rally is part of an escalating campaign to show broad public support for PFC Bradley Manning. Over 4,300 individuals have contributed $333,000 towards PFC Manning’s legal fees and related public education efforts. The Bradley Manning Support Network is dedicated to securing due process and a public trial for PFC Manning — and to eventually winning his freedom.

2011-06-05 This Week in WikiLeaks - @Emptywheel Talks About Cybersecurity as It Relates to #WikiLeaks

ImageAs it becomes more and more clear the United States government is accelerating efforts to establish a policy and improve the government's ability to respond to cyber attacks, the openness and freedom of the Internet is more and more at stake. Also, specific to an organization like WikiLeaks, the government may be on its way to crafting legal authority to take WikiLeaks out with DDoS or DNS attacks. (Of course, many already believe the US was behind the attack on the WikiLeaks website that took place just as WikiLeaks was beginning to release the US State Embassy cables.)

ImageMarcy Wheeler, guest on the podcast this week, gets into this saying, "If you agree that bringing down speech is a legitimate cyber warfare tactic and if you agree that WikiLeaks was an attack on defense infrastructure or maybe State Department infrastructure, then you can easily get to the justification of okay we can do a DDOS attack on WikiLeaks," and finds the US government may be working to create legal justification for such attacks.

Wheeler blogs at Firedoglake as Emptywheel. She primarily covers the national security establishment in the United States and has written many blog posts on WikiLeaks, Bradley Manning and cyber security, with her most recent post on all of this being, "The Cyberwar Campaign against Jihadi Literature and WikiLeaks."

You can listen to the podcast by clicking on the embedded player below. (Or, you can go here and download or listen to the podcast on cyber security and cyber warfare.)

Here is a transcript of the first few minutes of the interview:

KEVIN GOSZTOLA, host: We’ve seen a lot of --- It seems like there’s been an escalation in the policymaking around cybersecurity and on cyber warfare and just I noted your post that you wrote about jihadist literature and WikiLeaks and some things related to cyber war and I just thought this would be a good place to open and you could talk about what you’ve been covering on this area.

MARCY WHEELER, FDL blogger: There are a couple questions on cyber war. One is we’ve put to some degree the National Security Administration—so the same people who wiretap us and wiretap everyone else in the world—we’ve put them in charge of our cyber warfare and one of the concerns going into that—And I should take a step back. DHS [Department of Homeland Security] is technically in charge of our cyber security but NSA has a big chunk of it. And so, given the NSA has a big chunk of it and given that they are part of DOD and given that their job is to wiretap people, what kind of trouble are we going to get into a) with them attacking extensively American targets and b) with them attacking free speech? And so, that’s a debate that’s gone on for two, three, four, five years.

The other background piece, which I’ve been interested in, since we’re talking about WikiLeaks—Everyone knows WikiLeaks, or everyone assumes WikiLeaks, was brought down in the United States by a DNS attack courtesy of the United States and the question nobody has ever answered is was that an attack done by an entity of a federal governement, did they outsource it someone like HBGary or something like that to some kind of contractor. So, in the scheme of cyber warfare, those of us who watch these kinds of things need to always looking for the answer of under of under what legal authority did the United States or some legal entity put up to it by the United States take down WikiLeaks in December 2010.

And so, the post I did [June 1] –there’s been a bunch of posts. There was one in the Wall Street Journal yesterday and then one in both the New York Times and the Washington Post today. Basically, what happened is that the Defense Authorization, which was voted out of the House on Thursday, authorizes DOD to engage in cyber warfare but limits to something encapsulated under an AUMF, so basically they can strike at targets like al Qaeda but not necessarily Iran. And then also to defend DOD targets. So that happened Thursday and it became closer to that being law.

Before that happened the administration had said we aren’t very happy about that. We want to engage constructively. And so, since then and since a bunch of defense contractors got hacked over the weekend or got hacked the week before and that became public over the weekend, then there’s been a bunch of discussion over the past days about what cyber warfare is going to look like for the United States going forward and the most interesting article for me was written by Ellen Nakashima from the Washington Post today because she basically laid out some of the things the government said it can do under cyber warfare.

Aside from, because the Administration has objected before to having to brief Congress every quarter on what kind of cyber warfare they’re doing, it goes back about year – She laid out some of the grounds on which it appears the Administration wants to expand what Congress has already given them the means to do. And part of that is just we want to be able to go in and identify where Iran’s weak points are so when we go to cyber war against Iran we’ll be able to take them down quickly. And that’s one thing. But the most interesting thing about her article is that she talked about – She tried to put it in terms of where this amendment, this defense authorization came from, and she wanted to give the Executive Branch to give the administration, for example, to bring down the al Qaeda magazine for al Qaeda in the Arabian peninsula. And that’s important.

If you look at the structure that they laid out—I’m not even going to say free speech cause it’s Yemen—But you can bring down speech as a viable target in cyber warfare and that’s what the House Armed Forces Committee basically voted out on Thursday. And the administration doesn’t argue that. They say they want more power. But, if you translate that to what it would mean to someone who is a “defense target,” that would authorize them to do what somebody had done to WikiLeaks in December, which is bring them down on a DDOS attack. So in other words it’s a very loaded statement but what they are basically saying is that they consider speech a legitimate target of cyber warfare and so long as that applies—they consider that and I don’t guarantee this is true. I mean, again I am still trying to figure out how they legally justify to themselves bringing down free speech in the United States—But if you agree that speech is a legitimate cyber warfare tactic and if you agree that WikiLeaks was an attack on defense infrastructure or maybe State Department infrastructure, then you can easily get to the justification of okay we can do a DDOS attack on WikiLeaks.

There’s some interesting stuff going on in the arguments about cyber warfare and Congress is already impinging on free speech. And then the Administration is asking for more.

2011-06-05 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks (Sunday Edition)

ImageMentor and friend Greg Mitchell at is on vacation. While he is away, I am pinch-hitting and blogging WikiLeaks updates here. All the times are EST. You can contact me at with any news tips. Twitter username is @kgosztola. Also, if you are looking for something good to listen to, I encourage you to check out the catalog of podcasts posted here at WL Central from the "This Week in WikiLeaks" show I produce every week.

10:10 PM "This Week in WikiLeaks" podcast just up here at WL Central. Marcy Wheeler who blogs as Emptywheel at Firedoglake is the guest. I interview her on cyber security, whether the SIPR classified information database compromised supposedly by Bradley Manning has been secured by the Department of Defense or not, and national security journalism and the war on whistleblowing,

Image8:00 PM The second round of cables coverage from one of the latest WikiLeaks partners, The Scotsman, is up. They cover Megrahi's release, the Lockerbie Bomber. The revelation is Gaddafi wanted the release of the Lockerbie Bomber because he was upset about "the case of six Bulgarian nurses freed from a Libyan jail in 2007." Because he was upset, he wanted to give Megrahi a "hero's welcome," something Sen. John McCain didn't think would be good for relations.

The story of the Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian intern being tortured and forced into confessing they had been infecting patients in a children's hospital deliberately with HIV is not a new revelation. But, connecting the story to Megrahi's release, is a new piece of the story.

7:05 PM So, Ruth Dudley Edwards for the Irish Independent published an editorial on the cables. Basically, Edwards became uncomfortable about speaking truth to power, looked up some of Bill Keller's and David Leigh's talking points on WikiLeaks and then threw them on a page. Once they hit the page, the talking points were artfully rearranged to form an op-ed. And today you can read all about why the published Ireland cables in the Irish Independent wasn't any big thing at all.

6:50 PM Been brought to my attention that I should not have made it seem like Wales Online was trying to do a hit job on Assange by publishing this story about Assange being heckled by audience members at the Hay Festival who didn't think he was willing to answer their questions on Manning. The heckler allegedly came from Channel 4 News. Daily Mail covered the heckling. And Wales Online parroted the story.

So, Wales Online didn't do this awkward, hard to confirm story. Daily Mail did.

6:30 PM After much criticism, ANC in South Africa backs off timeline for passing Protection of Information bill to make changes. The bill has been seen by some in South Africa as a threat to citizens' right to know information.

It appears one particular concession has been made: a provision for a classification review panel that would make reports of "10-year reviews on the status of classified information" is now up for consideration.

6:20 PM UN agency says commodity markets need more transparency to deflate speculative bubbles.

4:30 PM Remember Hunton & Williams? Remember the law firm that recruited three data intelligence firms to develop ways to subvert or sabotage WikiLeaks? Remember HBGary? Okay -- Wim Nauwelaerts, an attorney with Hunton & Williams appears in a short article in New Europe, a weekly from Brussels, Belgium. He says that against "a backdrop of Wikileaks, Twitter privacy violations and an ongoing EU revision of the Data Protection Act" there are "current difficulties in transposing data protection law across borders." Creating such streamlined rules or laws are possible. One wonders if those rules or laws would prevent law firms from conspiring with data intelligence firms to take down media organizations that governments consider to be "enemies" or "targets."

2:05 PM Yemenis are celebrating as President Ali Abdullah Saleh has fled Yemen for Saudi Arabia to get medical attention after being attacked. Jeb Boone and Iona Craig, two journalists who have been covering Yemen tremendously well for the past months, have filed this report for the Los Angeles Times on the latest developments in Yemen. Makes use of some revelations from the cables released by WikiLeaks on Yemen.

12:20 PM El Pais reports on cables showing CNI and the US Secret Service two years tracking and ultimately controlling two businessmen involved in selling helicopters to Iran. The business of selling the helicopters was prohibited by the UN. More details.

8:20 AM Editorial in the Jamaica Gleaner puts into perspective what the diplomatic cables say about Jamaica and what Jamaicans should consider when reading through the cables for revelations.

8:15 AM A spokesperson for the Ireland government asserts, despite the revelations that Shannon airport was likely used for US renditions of terror suspects, "No changes are envisaged in relation to inspection of US military flights going through Shannon Airport." It appears that following the publishing the Ireland government contacted someone in the US to check on the revelation and was "assured" the stopover would not be used for rendition.


10:30 PM In Case You Missed It: D.D. Guttenplan at New Statesman published this piece on Assange's respect and admiration for the great American investigative journalist I.F. Stone.

10:10 PM Video of Debra Sweet of World Can't Wait, a lead organizer of the Bradley Manning Support Rally in NYC, which took place this afternoon. She is in Times Square talking about the plans for the rally.

8:38 PM Naija Cyber Hactivists, a group of Nigerian hackers, who appear to be inspired by WikiLeaks, profiled by NEXT, a Nigerian media organization that partnered with WikiLEaks to cvoer the Nigeria cables.

The group sees their actions as something that might help get a Freedom of Information bill passed in Nigeria.

8:00 PM Margaret Thatcher considered reintroducing internment, detaining terror suspects indefinitely without trial, in Northern Ireland in the late 1980s, cables covered by the Belfast Telegraph reveal. This was likely not employed because of the "propaganda victory" it would have handed the IRA. (On the contrary, the US uses internment on terror suspects detained at Guantanamo and doesn't care that it hands al Qaeda a "propaganda victory.")

Also, six years before the first cease-fire, the UK and the US didn't think there would be any near-term solution to the problem.

7:20 PM Another partnership, more scoops: WikiLeaks and The Scotsman partner up on the cables. Most of the scoops are on the British withdrawal from the Iraq war led by Gordon Brown. Here are some of the main revelations thus far:

Image • The British government effectively gave up on its mission in Iraq, with defence secretary Des Browne admitting privately to a US general that chaos in Basra was "depressing and incomprehensible", and "could not be resolved… by the UK's forces".

• US diplomats believed Gordon Brown's motive for pulling out was a desire to show the British public he was "the leader who undid (Tony] Blair's mistake" in taking the country to war.

• Britain's withdrawal from Basra was opposed by the United States, the United Nations and the Iraqi government, who all feared it could destabilise Iraq, give a boost to insurgents and lead to a deepening conflict.

• US senator John McCain sounded out David Cameron, then leader of the opposition, on opposing British withdrawal. But the Tory leader declined to get involved in criticising Brown's military strategy.

6:00 PM Report from the Bradley Manning Support Network on the rally.

3:50 PM Valuable analysis from Nikolas Kozloff of the Quito Cables from Ecuador

3:25 PM The list of Twitter users tweeting from Leavenworth.

3:15 PM Great photo from the entrance of Ft. Leavenworth. Posted by _truthsetfree.


3:00 PM March for Bradley Manning in Leavenworth now probably as close to Manning as they are going to get. Photos from the entrance appearing on Twitter.

2:55 PM At the Hay Festival, Julian Assange suggests the FBI tried to bribe WikiLeaks staff. Also, along the same lines as the WikiLeaks confidentiality agreement that stirred up much debate, he addressed superinjunctions. WikiLeaks has published on five or six super injunctions in the past. He says now he might be interested in getting a superinjunction to protect WikiLeaks' sources. Not sure how that works but I am sure The New Statesmen's David Allen Green will be dissecting this one soon enough, if he isn't preoccupied by his book writing.

2:45 PM Julian Assange appears at the Hay Festival. Gets there by helicopter and has to leave early enough to make curfew.

Is this Wales Online's attempt at a hit piece on Assange's appearance at the Hay Festival?

2:30 PM Another user to follow is @nancymancias with the CODE PINK women's brigade. Many good photos up here on this page.

And, here they come. Free Bradley Manning!


2:25 PM Bradley Manning's father is at the rally in Leavenworth

2:20 PM For the past hours, photos of the Bradley Manning support rally in Leavenworth, Kansas, where Manning is being held, have been showing up on twitter. @OpManning has been posting these photos:





The speaker in the above photos is Andy Thayer of the Gay Liberation Network who recently was arrested and detained with Lt. Dan Choi while standing up for Russian LGBT rights in the Moscow Pride Parade.


Image11:30 AM William Blum writes about how the US has targeted Cuba's healthcare system for half-century and notes that in recently released cables a US diplomat was looking for "human interest stories and other news that shatters the myth of Cuban medical prowess" in the run-up to the Non-Aligned Movement conference. Also mentioned is the cable, which features a story a diplomat made up on how Michael Moore's "Sicko" documentary had been banned in Havana.

9:20 AM In-depth feature on Al Jazeera English story from Asad Hashim on the "dysfunctional relationship" between the US and Pakistan that can be seen in cables from Pakistan. Hashim writes, "While Pakistan has publically spoken of the presence of US trainers for its paramilitary forces, it has never admitted to their presence on combat missions." And in the cables there are multiple references to the "presence of US Special Forces troops on the ground in Pakistan, who act in "concert with Pakistani forces in an intelligence-support capacity" and as trainers.

8:55 AM In Utica, New York, colleges meet for a cyber security conference to organize a state of the art cyber security center that could be known as "Cyber Valley," a district that would feature entities dedicated to the fight against cybercrime.

Also, New York Senator Chuck Schumer contacted FBI director Robert Mueller urging him to train FBI agents on how to fight cybercrime after seeing a report that a third of FBI agents are unprepared to investigate cybercrime.

8:43 AM US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, on policy towards China, using words like "transparency" and "secrecy" to describe the development of operations toward countries:

...It all comes down to one word: transparency,” the secretary said. “The more transparent nations are in regards to what they are doing, what their intentions are, what their programs are, the less need there is for us unilaterally to figure that out on our own...

One of my colleagues long ago in the intelligence business said there are two types on information we seek – secrets and mysteries...Mostly what we are trying to break are the mysteries. Greater transparency of intent, and greater transparency of capabilities – which we are fully prepared to reciprocate – will help us in this arena...

In empirespeak, that means if you don't tell us what you are up to, we will assume you are planning to attack us and may unleash the might of American superpower on you. Of course, presumably, no respect here for countries who keep these details secret when conducting diplomacy in foreign lands. You know, the secrecy the US State Dept thinks WikiLeaks violated.

8:10 AM A letter to the editor published by The Gleaner, which has been covering the Jamaica cables. The author writes describes how the US influence over appointments of officials in Jamaica as a violation of sovereignty, something that should be one of Jamaicans' biggest concerns as it potentially violates national security.

Image8:00 AM To coincide with the anniversary of the atrocity known as Tiananmen Square, cables on this event have been published by Daily Telegraph. A key revelation that vindicates China is the fact cables show pro-democracy students were not fired upon near the monument. Rather, "Chinese soldiers opened fire on protesters outside the centre of Beijing, as they fought their way towards the square from the west of the city."

The cables also provide details on how the pro-democracy students set up blockades to control central Beijing.

2011-06-06 Dublin WikiLeaks Cables Reveal Irish Govt. Groveling to the US

Authored by Harry Browne. This article was first published on CounterPunch on June 3.

Ireland’s foreign-affairs minister assured the US ambassador in Dublin in 2006 that the Irish government was prepared to change the law that had allowed the acquittal of five anti-war activists for damaging a US Navy plane.

The revelation that a senior Irish official discussed possible amendments to domestic criminal law with the US ambassador is contained in a Wikileaks cable (see below) that has not been published or reported upon elsewhere, but which has been seen by Counterpunch.

At the time of the acquittal of the so-called Shannon Five, or Pitstop Ploughshares, in July 2006, the US embassy made a public statement expressing its disquiet about the verdict. The then foreign minister, Dermot Ahern, responded with what was seen as a firm public statement of his own, underlining the independence of the judicial system and stating that its verdicts were not a matter for discussion by government officials or between governments.

The cable reveals, however, that a few months later Ahern privately told US officials that the “the Irish Government Cabinet” had been greatly disturbed by the unanimous jury verdict. (The delay between the verdict and this meeting may have been caused by a change-over in US ambassadors.) Ahern told the Americans that the Cabinet had asked the justice minister, Michael McDowell, to examine how the Criminal Damage Act might be amended to close the “legal loophole” that allowed the Shannon Five to be acquitted, so that such a verdict could not happen again. A previously released cable from the same period quotes a senior foreign-affairs bureaucrat telling the Americans the verdict was “bizarre”.

The five, members of the Dublin Catholic Worker, were acquitted after a trial in which their lawyers relied on the statute’s defense of “lawful excuse” for defendants who damage property in the honest belief that doing so will protect life or property, as long as that belief is reasonable in the circumstances. The law does not explicitly require that the threat to life or property be “immediate”.

Justice minister McDowell, a notorious right-wing ideologue, lost his parliamentary seat and thus his government post in the election of May 2007, six months after Ahern told US officials McDowell would be seeking to change the law, which has remained unamended.

These November 2006 discussions of the legalities of the Shannon case are the latest in a series of Wikileaks revelations – some published last autumn, others being reported in Irish print and broadcast media this week – that show Irish officials at pains to help the US in its use of Shannon Airport for military purposes and, perhaps, CIA “extraordinary rendition” flights. Irish bureaucrats even asked US officials for their legal advice about why American planes at Shannon should not be inspected by police here, and said that such advice would be a guide for Irish policy.

Cables sent from the US embassy over a period of years show Irish officials specifically turning a blind eye to the possibility that rendition flights were landing in the west of this neutral country. Senior Irish politicians appear to have relied on vague assurances from US officials but repeatedly expressed concerns that they would be caught lying to the Irish parliament and people if a rendition flight were discovered at Shannon. In December 2004 Taoiseach (prime minister) Bertie Ahern (no relation to Dermot) told the US ambassador that he had been saying publicly that there were no such flights, and pleaded: “Am I all right on this?”

American and Irish officials freely acknowledged that the US use of Shannon as a stopover for troops and military equipment was unpopular with the Irish public, especially when the issue of renditions arose, but discussed ways that they could cooperate on managing media and public relations. After the Green Party joined Ireland’s governing coalition in 2007, it insisted on the setting up of a Cabinet sub-committee on human-rights issues, including those raised by Shannon. A US embassy cable correctly identified the subcommittee as a “sop” to the Greens that would cause no trouble to the Americans.

Like many of the cables from around the world, the Dublin cables so far revealed through Wikileaks show US diplomats effectively united with their local counterparts against a common enemy: the people – whether the people take the form of anti-war activists, jurors or voters in an upcoming election. Cables consistently praise the Irish government for its efforts “in the face of public criticism” on behalf of the US in Shannon, described by ambassador James Kenny in 2004 as “a key transit point for U.S. troops and materiel bound for theatres in the war on terror”.

A cable written by Kenny in 2006 and published by Wikileaks late last year admits that ”the airport [is] a symbol of Irish complicity in perceived U.S. wrongdoing in the Gulf/Middle East” and that “popular sentiment was manifest in the July 25 jury decision to acquit the ‘Shannon Five,’ a group of anti-war protesters who damaged a U.S. naval aircraft at the airport in 2003.”

Some of the Wikileaks revelations have received prominent coverage in Ireland, notably in the Irish Independent and Belfast Telegraph newspapers, which have partnered with Wikileaks for a series of well displayed and heavily advertised stories this week. However, neither the newspapers nor state broadcaster RTE, which obtained several Shannon-related cables and reported on them on Thursday evening, have been publishing the cables, merely reporting on extracts, and not always even including the reports on their websites.

Wikileaks typically itself publishes cables on its own website once they have been reported upon and redacted by its media partners, but at the time of writing only 18 Dublin cables have appeared on the Wikileaks site this week, perhaps delayed because of the newspapers’ print-only policy with many of the stories. I calculate, conservatively, that at least 30 different Dublin cables have been quoted so far this week, but the number is uncertain because they have often been used without specific dates being cited. Neither the print nor broadcast journalists have seen fit to report on the cable discussed above, though I understand both RTE and the Irish Independent have it in their possession.

The Wikileaks revelations over the last year or so – from the Iraq and Afghan war logs to the diplomatic cables – have revealed a great deal about the operations of governments. They have also revealed some of the profound failings of the mainstream media, which, when they are not denouncing Julian Assange and ignoring Bradley Manning, can be found squabbling over the “exclusives” that those men’s efforts have apparently brought us. There is a long way to go, in Ireland and elsewhere, before this information is truly free.

Harry Browne lectures in journalism at Dublin Institute of Technology. He is the author of HammeredBytheIrish, a book about the Shannon Five case, published by CounterPunch / AK Press. Contact

The Dublin Cables.

source:Embassy Dublin

▶C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DUBLIN 001284



E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2015
▼ Close cable
C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 03 DUBLIN 001284



E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/31/2015


B. DUBLIN 1172
C. STATE 172627

DUBLIN 00001284 001.2 OF 003

Classified By: Deputy Chief of Mission Jonathan Benton; Reasons 1.4 (B)
and (D).

1. (C) Summary. In a November 1 discussion, the Ambassador
and Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern did a tour d'horizon of key
bilateral issues. Ahern:

-- urged bilateral cooperation to avoid "surprises" regarding
U.S. military use of Shannon Airport;

-- noted that the Irish Cabinet had charged the Justice
Minister to review legal loopholes used by the Shannon Five
to avoid prosecution for damaging a U.S. naval plane in 2003;

-- said that he did not expect the Northern Ireland Assembly
to meet the November 24 deadline for nominating an Executive,
due to the impasse on oath/policing issues;

-- expressed disappointment with the failure of Northern
Ireland parties to engage directly on follow-through for the
St. Andrews Agreement; and,

-- observed that the Irish Government would continue to lobby
the USG to regularize the status of undocumented Irish
citizens resident in the United States.

2. (C) The Ambassador:

-- noted appreciation for U.S. military use of Shannon and
offered the USG's best efforts to avoid missteps;

-- emphasized the goal of preventing future actions by Irish
protestors to disrupt U.S. operations at Shannon;

-- underscored continued USG support for the Northern Ireland
peace process;

-- expressed gratitude for the scheduled November 9
extradition of U.S. citizen Frederick Russell, but cautioned
that failure to act on other extradition requests could give
Ireland the image of a criminal haven; and,

-- observed that movement on Irish concerns about
undocumented citizens in the United States would be
difficult. End summary.


3. (C) In a November 1 introductory discussion with the
Ambassador, Foreign Minister Dermot Ahern urged bilateral
cooperation to avoid "surprises" regarding U.S. military use
of Shannon Airport. Ahern recalled that the Irish Parliament
had required him to explain previous U.S. pre-notification
failures on Shannon transits involving weapons and U.S.
military prisoners. He was also scheduled to address the
European Parliament shortly on allegations that Ireland has
assisted in extraordinary rendition flights, which he planned
to rebuff on the basis of previous USG assurances on the
issue. Ahern conceded that the Irish Government was partly
to blame for missteps at Shannon, as the Department of
Transport had not previously sought full information on the
materiel/passengers in transit -- a shortcoming that Ireland
aimed to correct in the context of global terrorist threats.
The Ambassador expressed appreciation for U.S. military use
of Shannon, and he offered the USG's best efforts to avoid
missteps and to coordinate on any necessary media strategy.
Ahern noted that the Embassy's public outreach to explain the
June transit of a Marine prisoner had helped to diffuse
public criticism over the event.

4. (C) The Irish court decision to acquit five persons who
had damaged a U.S. naval plane at Shannon Airport in 2003
(the so-called "Shannon Five") had seriously disturbed the
Irish Government Cabinet, Ahern said (ref A). He explained
that while there were no means to overturn the jury decision,
the Cabinet had requested Minster for Justice Michael
McDowell to examine ways to close off legal loopholes
exploited by defense lawyers (who argued that the defendants
had sought to prevent loss of life in Iraq). The Ambassador
emphasized the goal of preventing future actions by Irish
citizens to disrupt U.S. military operations at Shannon.
Ahern replied that airport security had been upgraded
following the Shannon Five verdict and that the protest
movement appeared to be losing steam, as evident is a
sparsely attended October 28 rally at Shannon.

DUBLIN 00001284 002.2 OF 003

Northern Ireland

5. (C) Ahern said that he was "reasonably hopeful" about the
prospects for follow-through on the St. Andrews Agreement,
but he did not expect the Northern Assembly to meet by the
November 24 deadline to nominate the First Minister and
Deputy First Minister, given the impasse over the Executive
oath on policing. Ahern judged that unionists were
unreasonable to require a Sinn Fein pledge on policing before
the party as a whole had authorized this step. On the other
hand, Sinn Fein had been obstinate in declining to call a
party conference before November 24, observed Ahern. He
added that a further complication in negotiations was
Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) reluctance to engage in
face-to-face discussions with Sinn Fein on the policing/oath
hurdle. This reluctance was a regression from late 2004,
when Sinn Fein and the DUP had substantive, direct contact in
pursuit of a devolution deal at that time. The Ambassador
underscored continuing USG willingness to support the peace
process in every possible capacity.

6. (C) The Irish Government had no illusions that progress
on policing as part of the negotiations would be "tortuous,"
Ahern observed. He recounted serious discrimination by the
former Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC) against nationalists
across the border from his home county of Louth. He also
took note of remarks by DUP leader Nigel Dodds and others
expressing reluctance to allow "former terrorists" within the
republican community to participate in policing and justice
structures. Ahern pointed out that the ill-fated 2004
agreement had pushed the policing issue off to the future and
that parties remained stalled on this point, although Sinn
Fein had shown progress on policing cooperation over the past

Other Key Issues

7. (C) The Ambassador and Ahern also discussed briefly the
following issues:

A. Extradition. The expected November 9 extradition of U.S.
citizen Frederick Russell demonstrated Irish willingness to
work through U.S. extradition requests, said Ahern (ref B).
He observed that the Irish Government was precluded from
lobbying the Irish judiciary on extradition issues, making it
imperative for U.S. federal/state justice officials to
satisfy the courts' requests for thorough, uniform
documentation in such cases. He added that Ireland had been
innately reluctant to transfer criminal suspects to foreign
jurisdictions, particularly in the 1970-80s when republicans
involved in the Northern Ireland Troubles would cross the
border to evade British authorities. The Ambassador
expressed gratitude for Irish action on the Russell case, but
cautioned that failure to act on other extradition requests
could give Ireland the image of a criminal haven.

B. Undocumented Irish. According to Ahern, Irish officials
would continue to press the USG for measures to regularize
the status of up to 50,000 undocumented Irish resident in the
United States, while recognizing that this Irish segment was
part of a larger picture of illegal immigration. He said
that a recent proposal (floated by Irish parliamentarian Tom
Kitt) for a bilateral agreement that would ease mutual
entry/residence restrictions for Irish and U.S. nationals
deserved consideration. The Ambassador noted the
Administration's sensitivity to long-term undocumented U.S.
residents who were contributing to their communities, but he
added that the Congress seemed disinclined at the moment to
consider any form of amnesty.

C. Cuba. Ahern committed to discuss with Deputy Prime
Minister (Tanaiste) and Justice Minister, Michael McDowell,
the USG request for Ireland to resettle roughly 30 Cuban
migrants housed in Guantanamo who were determined by DHS to
have a well founded fear of persecution (ref C). Ahern noted
that Ireland had recently coordinated with UNHCR to accept
ten refugees resident in Malta, who had arrived as part of a
burgeoning flow of African migrants into southern EU Member

D. Lebanon. The Ambassador noted that 150 Irish troops had
arrived in Lebanon on October 30 as part of the expanded
UNIFIL force, and he expressed appreciation for Ireland's
contribution. Ahern replied that Ireland's experience in
UNIFIL and familiarity with local Lebanese communities had
obliged the Government to contribute troops, even though the
Taoiseach initially had opposed deployment in view of Irish

DUBLIN 00001284 003.2 OF 003

commitments to other UN peacekeeping operations.

E. IFI. The Irish Government, said Ahern, would lobby
Congress for continued U.S. support of the International Fund
for Ireland (IFI), which would help to advance the
generation-long process of community reconciliation in
Northern Ireland and Irish border counties. He cited
Ballymena in Northern Ireland as a community riven by
sectarianism, as seen in the recent murder of a Catholic
youth and the reluctance of local unionist politicians to
work with republican counterparts.


8. (SBU) In addition to Foreign Minister Ahern, Irish
participants included Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA)
Secretary General Dermot Gallagher and the Minister's Special

Advisor, Ciaran O Cuinn. On the U.S. side, the DCM and
Pol/Econ Section Chief also took part.
▼ Close cable

2011-06-06 Omar Deghayes on Omar Khadr

ImageAuthored by Alexa O'Brien and Heather Marsh.

Omar Deghayes is a UK citizen who was imprisoned in Guantánamo in January 2002 and freed from there on December 18, 2007. Details of his treatment in Guantánamo can be read here. He speaks to PressTV about his experiences here.

Omar Khadr is a Canadian citizen who was captured at fifteen after the compound he was living in in Afghanistan was bombed by US military. He was tortured at Bagram prison and Guantánamo, and has spent the last nine years of his life imprisoned by the US. WL Central coverage on Omar Khadr is here.

Omar Deghayes spoke to WL Central's Alexa O'Brien on June 5. The following is an excerpt from that interview.

Did you have any contact with Omar Khadr?

OD: Yes definitely. I know him very well. He was locked up in Camp 5 for a long time, and I saw him in the other camp also before for a short period of time. But in Camp 5 I was locked up with him for a long time.

Do you think that Omar Khadr would be a threat to society if and when he is released to Canada?

OD: No. Definitely not. Even the guard and the interrogators in Guantanamo I think used to like him a lot ... for his personality. He is an open, kind person. I don't think he would be a threat to society. No.

What do you think the effects of nine years of being detained at Guantanamo and in other places, including black sites, starting at age fifteen would have on someone like Omar?

OD: Definitely gross destruction to his psychology and personality as a child.

He was a child when he was brought. I remember him when he was brought first to the prisons. And I saw him afterwards in Camp 5 where he had grown in prison, and where he started to have a beard and a moustache. Before he didn't.

To grow inside prison, and inside very abnormal circumstances like those, where people threaten, physically beaten, sometimes ... He was very ill, because I think he had lots of injuries and wounds. And he wasn't treated for those wounds ... and they were used against him by interrogators and doctors.

And to grow in an environment like that ... I am sure it will have a devastating effect on him in the future.

I remember him receiving letters from his family. Some of them…you were able to see that some of them were censored. And even the letters were even more disturbing for him ... because I think some of his family were describing problems that they were facing outside in Canada.

I remember talking to him about some of those ... a few times in the showers. They were very very disturbing ... imagine a child growing up with adult men in a lock up like that.

Even he is not on the same level of ... you do not find the same level of companionship ... it must be very difficult for him. I am sure it will have lasting effect on him.

The whole condition ... isolation. Even because of his age, he wasn't spared the isolation and lock ups. I mean they treated him like just another ... like anyone else. Even ... if not worse sometimes.

So, I think it must be very devastating for somebody at a tender young age like his. If other people like myself and other men ... more grown ups ... we might have had some experience in life ... and we might have been able to cope and be patient with some things ... and try to make sense of things. For a child of his age ... I think it must be very destructive.

Do you have a sense of what kind of support Omar would need if he were to be released?

OD: I am sure he would need support. Yes.

Like something like what I had. We had family to understand…and family contacts ... and then we had lots of friends who were here working, who were very sympathetic to conditions…and we were always surrounded by those friends…and they tried to help and sometimes explain ... even in normal things in life.

Like we needed some help in going to medical assistance, and they might have be able to contact people or they knew other friends that might help ... and things like that.

Even normal things like that ... and try to adjust to normal life again.

He will definitely need lots of help from people. Maybe even medical doctors. Family and friends and sympathetic society.

If society ... I don't know how things are in Canada. If they are hostile ... it might just cause more damage and more resentment and fear and he would lock himself inside in isolation…like I have seen with other people who have sensed that society are hostile against them.

But I think with freedom and family support I am sure ... he is a very intelligent young boy ... young man.

And I think he is a very sociable, and very talented, and very intelligent.

I think if he was to be free, I think he would make a good future I am sure, and turn his experiences into positive experience.

I told him when he gets released ... I asked him to contact me that I can help him with marriage, or something like that. Cause I know his father died when he was in prison, and it must have affected him.

The Canadian government, under the last three prime ministers, two Liberal and one Conservative, have done nothing about the plight of a tortured fifteen year old Canadian boy imprisoned with no trial in the world’s most notorious torture camps. They have contributed nothing to his education, nor to his emotional or psychological welfare. They have expressed no concern for his well being. They have not requested his repatriation, nor have they requested that the illegal and amoral conditions of his confinement be improved. They have fought against co-operating with or helping him at all levels of Canada's judicial system, in both 2008 and 2010, and both years the Canadian government was found, in every court, to have violated Omar Khadr's rights as a Canadian citizen. The Federal Court of Canada has also ruled that the activities of the Canadian government in this case constituted a breach of the UN Convention against Torture and the Geneva Conventions.

Omar Khadr signed a plea bargain last fall that would see him home to Canada in November 2011, if the Canadian government upholds its promise to him. Recently, the Canadian High Commission refused board on an Air Canada direct flight to internationally acclaimed human rights activist Moazzem Begg. Begg was invited by Omar Khadr's defense lawyer to speak in Canada about Islamophobia, Guantanamo, and, of course, his former cell mate Omar Khadr.

2011-06-06 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on the #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks

ImageMentor and friend Greg Mitchell at is on vacation. While he is away, I am pinch-hitting and blogging WikiLeaks updates here. All the times are EST. You can contact me at with any news tips. Twitter username is @kgosztola. Also, if you are looking for something good to listen to, I encourage you to check out the catalog of podcasts posted here at WL Central from the "This Week in WikiLeaks" show I produce every week.

11:10 PM Big ruling for Pharma whistleblowers: Court rules under the False Claims Act "a drug or device maker remains liable...even when a pharmacy or hospital was unaware that a kickback was made to a doctor to induce the sale of a product for which reimbursement was sought from Medicare and Medicaid." This has the potential to alter outcome of a number of whistleblower lawsuits.

11:00 PM Over 4,100 citizens sign petition urging the Department of Justice to drop its case against NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake

10:50 PM Historical WikiLeaks: Documents showing British government fears that French would launch "back door attack" being made available. The government files are from the Stuart period and include secret reports of espionage and treason.

8:00 PM Nice build out on the Honduras coup on El Faro made possible by US State Embassy cables.

6:10 PM This article from The Guardian began to circulate hours ago: estimated that 25% of hackers "may have been recruited by the federal authorities to be their eyes and ears"

6:05 PM Proof that many who have been granted the privilege of writing op-eds in the US media think WikiLeaks just gossip: Anything — anything! — that crosses the Internet might eventually make it into the public realm. That was proved once again when Wikileaks published thousands of supposedly secret diplomatic cables. Spy groups, rogue regimes, criminals and other outfits dedicate vast efforts trying to hack the most-secure computer systems of the military, government and business.

4:45 PM Department of Justice missed deadline for "legal guidance" (jargon for restrictions) on attorneys accessing Gitmo detainee assessment reports released by WikiLeaks. Now, they have been awarded an extension and have until June 10 to present such "guidance."

4:35 PM David Remes, who leads human rights law firm Appeal for Justice, demands attorneys be able to use and access WikiLeaks documents for cases. He rejects the extension being awarded to the Department of Justice saying DOJ has no incentive to finalize guidance if it continues receive extensions.

3:45PM Bradley Manning street art in New York City

2:31 PM David Sirota for Salon has a post on the US intimidating and targeting a corporate whistleblower on behalf of Cisco against ex-Cisco executive Peter Alfred-Adekeye. The chilling story deserves to be considered in the context of the wider war on whistleblowing being waged by the Obama Administration. But, this one stands out because it quite clearly shows government stepping in, as Sirota notes, to defend business.

2:05 PM Jennifer 8 Lee, believed to have played a role in the spread of the "Collateral Murder" video is here to moderate a panel session at #pdf11 on "Media Revolutions." (Of course, she's had some tension and fallout when it comes to WikiLeaks and has distanced herself.)

1:55 PM Esquire has posted an exit interview with Bill Keller, who is leaving his postion as executive editor of the New York Times.

11:22 PM Nice update to add here as I am tweeting from #pdf11. Few good references to WikiLeaks so far during the opening session of the conference.

Op-ed by Aniebo Nwamu from Nigeria on keeping governments open. He writes, "Sinners whose sins have been exposed have been the only ones attacking Julian Assange, WikiLeaks' founder, and his brand of new journalism. When leaders preach transparency and accountability, I wonder the difference between what they mean and the good job WikiLeaks was doing before it was stopped."

7:20 PM US thought Pakistan crossed the line in its pursuit of Baloch and Sindhi political activists in the war on terror, according to the diplomatic cables.

6:55 PM Cables reveal more details on a dispute between Canada and the United States over Devils Lake in North Dakota. The dispute is called a "prime example of failed diplomacy" and centered around the fact that the lake has no "natural outlet" and state officials would like to be able to provide North Dakotans relief by sending water into Manitoba's watershed via the Red River. From the CBC.

6:10 PM Adrian Lamo, the hacker who turned in Bradley Manning to US government authorities, finally faces the sort of scrutiny that journalists have been applying to Assange. No interview has deconstructed what Lamo thinks like this before.

Last night, @exiledsurfer posted a two-part interview with Lamo, the hacker who turned in Bradley Manning to US government authorities. Here's the videos of the interview with a bit of a background on why @exiledsurfer decided to interview Lamo.

2011-06-06 WikiLeaks: The Ireland Cables | Roundup of Coverage in the Irish Independent | Day Five

Saturday, 4th June was Day Five of the Irish Cablegate reports, published by the Irish Independent. (See roundups of Days Four, Three, Two and One.) Saturday's reports did not have novel focuses, but instead chose to look on distinct aspects of topics that had previously been explored in the Independent.

The IRA subject was revisited, but this time in an international context, and with particular interest in extradition and due process rights, the UK policy of internment for IRA terror suspects, the international influence of the organization, its illicit business ties, and its context post 9/11. The subject of Shannon was also revisited, in an article on how Obama's visit reversed a new government policy to apply the Hague Conventions in Shannon airport. For a fuller treatment of the same topic, please consult WL Central's May piece on the subject.

Saturday's coverage is perhaps the strongest of all the days of the Independent's Wikileaks coverage thus far, choosing to focus on substantive issues, and to ignore the more frivolous aspects of the cables, which have, more through the inadequacy of reportage than any shortcoming of the source material, become the hallmark of Cablegate in the establishment media. The Independent is to be lauded for turning to the political and diplomatic dimensions of extradition, and there is some depth here to the appreciation of how security concerns (particularly those of the US) can conflict with procedural protections for civil and human rights embedded in the Irish legal order.

One topic, in particular, draws interest in this regard. A report on page 24 (and reproduced online at the Independent's website) describes how the full displeasure of the American government was brought to bear diplomatically on the Irish government after the escape of the Colombia Three from custody, and their return to Ireland. The judiciary in Ireland is traditionally trenchant about extradition of Irish citizens to face trial in foreign courts, or sentence in foreign jails - a fact which made less likely the prospect of the Three serving their sentences in Colombia.

The Irish government was allegedly warned by the US embassy that failure to act firmly would earn Ireland the status of "haven for terrorists." We learn that the Irish government was deeply embarrassed by the incident, and strove to find a viable legal mechanism by which to appropriately bring the Three within the law. The ambassador reportedly expounded at length on the Irish judiciary's "activist interpretation" of Irish law - a surprising remark: Irish law, presumably, being that law it is the Irish judiciary's express privilege to interpret, and said interpretation being so well established in the case-law as to be the law.

It is refreshing however to read that while the US mission looked with disapproval on the idea that the Irish judiciary would not smile on the extradition of citizens to foreign jurisdictions with a "less than stellar rule of law record," the Irish government observed the appropriate deference to the courts in this matter, and apparently attempted to keep within Irish law in its efforts to appease Washington.

Another article by Tom Brady on the same topic promises to reveal how "the US suits itself when it comes to extradition." The article runs over some of the basic principles of Irish extradition law and its history during the conflict in Northern Ireland. The article makes a strong argument that - regardless of the gravity of the offenses in question - a robust approach to extradition is a strength of the Irish justice system. It does not entirely make good on its promise, however, to survey the full hypocrisy of the United States in its use of the term "haven for terrorists." The US could fairly be said to be a "haven for terrorists" from Cuban exiles in Miami, to - ironically - supporters of IRA terror. Congressman Peter King former head of the House Homeland Security Committee, is known to have a history of fraternizing with Irish terrorists, speaking in their favour in American courts, and raising money for weapons that extracted their cost in blood and tears in Northern Ireland and England. This is before the subject of responsibility for US state terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, and sanctuary for the criminals who instigated it, is ever broached. But it is unlikely that topics such as these would ever see column inches in the Independent.

Notwithstanding the stronger stance and more disciplined focus, the usual criticisms apply to the Independent's coverage. The lack of source material by which to do follow-up reading, and the non-chronological nature of the reportage, has a disconcerting effect on the reader, who remains reliant on the testimony of the journalist. The reports do not instill the sort of confidence in their issue that gives readers adequate epistemic ground to seek reform.

Confining the stories to a one day print run also gives them a limited shelf life. It is as if it is not just expected but hoped that legitimate discontent over government mendacity on Shannon rendition flights will eventually fade, to make way for the next scandal. While the subject of the reports is important and demands the scrutiny of an informed readership, the journalism, by and large, seems designed to provide an outlet for contained and routine outrage, before smothering its memory in the humdrum cycle of headlines and soundbites. It is precisely this cycle, where journalism, even in its political form, is seen as a part of the establishment - as a mere controversy factory - that Wikileaks is hoped to displace. The relatively low impact of the releases, of course, is all grist to the mill of lazy and erroneous opinions. Wikileaks may have changed international journalism, but there is the sense that Ireland has not noticed.

Online Articles

The following are the articles the Independent made available on its website.

'No change' in policy on US military flight checks
THE Government last night confirmed it will be making no change to the inspection of US military flights through Shannon Airport, despite ongoing accusations about the transport of so-called terror suspects.

IRA retained active global support
THE IRA retained active support around the world right up until it finally put its arms beyond use, according to leaked embassy cables.

US tried to force action on Colombia Three
THE United States warned the Government that Ireland would be seen as a "haven for terrorists" unless it extradited the Colombia Three, leaked embassy documents reveal.

Northern Bank raid was breaking point
THE confidential US cables from 2004-2006 confirm what we suspected: the Government had run out of patience with Sinn Fein; that not only would SF not put the IRA out of business, but that the republican movement was ambivalent about the existence of an empire of criminality.

Ahern hardened his stance toward SF after £26.5m robbery
FORMER Taoiseach Bertie Ahern was "generally considered softer" on the Provisional republican movement than either of his two key cabinet ministers during the northern peace talks.

Idea of coalition with Sinn Fein provoked fury among FF TDs
FIANNA Fail officials privately admitted they would be the last party to form a government with Sinn Fein -- at the same time as they were negotiating to push the DUP into a power-sharing deal at Stormont.

Provo 'businessmen' fronted property drive
FORMER 'active' IRA members who amassed multi-million-euro fortunes went on to front a huge property empire for the paramilitary group spanning at least four countries, the Irish Independent has learned.

Britain exposed IRA mole Donaldson to taunt Provos
MURDERED Sinn Fein official Denis Donaldson was outed by the British government as a spy to send a message to Provisional republicans that it had a more valuable informant within its leadership ranks.

Offline Articles

The following articles, which the Independent has refrained from posting on its website, can be accessed here.

McDowell backed US pursuit of Garland
FORMER Justice Minister Michael McDowell promised his government's support for US efforts to pursue the one-time leader of the Official IRA and alleged currency counterfeiter, Sean Garland.

US kept close eye on ‘Slab’ Murphy investigation
US Embassy officials in Dublin sent updates to Washington on an investigation by the Criminal Assets Bureau into the finances of prominent republican Thomas 'Slab' Murphy.

Diplomat in Taliban link claim kept role as adviser
AN IRISH diplomat continued to act as an important adviser to the Minister for Foreign Affairs after his expulsion from Afghanistan where he was accused of holding direct talks with the Taliban, a leaked US Embassy cable reveals.

Afghan stand-off ended in ‘victory’
THE outcome of a hunger and thirst strike by 41 Afghani asylum seekers at St Patrick's Cathedral was a key victory for the Government and law enforcement authorities.

Internment was ‘an option’ in the North as late as 1988?
The British government privately refused to rule out reintroducing internment to Northern Ireland as recently as the late-1980s, leaked cables reveal.

Thatcher offered to train gardai in anti-terror flight
THE British government made a secret offer to train gardai in counter-terrorism at the height of the Troubles, leaked cables reveal.

UK feared second Brighton attack
BRITISH officials feared the IRA would attempt a second murderous attack on government members - four years after the Brighton bombing.

Cables shine light on how extradition tested ties with US
EXTRADITION has traditionally been a key issue for successive US governments with their embassies worldwide expected to put pressure on the local powers to ensure that supected offenders do not evande American justice.

2011-06-06 WikiLeaks: The Ireland Cables | Roundup of Coverage in the Irish Independent | Day Four

Friday 3rd June was Day 4 of the Irish Independent's Irish Wikileaks releases. (See roundups of Days Three, Two and One.) After three days of drive-by reportage on the Irish cables, during which - with exceptions - the documents were mined for unexceptional confidential opinions of Irish policians, The Independent finally broached the story for which Irish followers of Wikileaks news were waiting.

The paper was scooped by the national broadcaster, RTE, which ran on Thursday night a half-hour segment (starts at 14:50) during its investigatory feature, Prime Time, on the Wikileaks Shannon Airport cables (early cables for which were reported on by the Guardian, and analysed by WL Central here). The morning of Thursday, some of the cables dealt with by both outlets had been released on the Wikileaks website, and so it was possible to read them already.

The paper has, as described in previous WL Central roundups, been posting some of its daily content online, presumably so as to entice readers to buy a newspaper. In the days before Friday, and since, this has meant that some of the most significant stories have been posted online for everyone to read. Curiously - given that the Shannon airport stories were the ones that had already generated the most attention internationally and domestically - only one story was posted online on Friday, and it had nothing to do with Shannon airport. The story - important in its own right - highlights revelations in the cables about the child sex trade in Ireland, and failures of the Health Service Executive to adequately care for minors in this regard. One cannot fault the Independent for leading with this story online, but one wonders why the Shannon stories had to be effectively withheld from the international audience, and from posterity, by being confined to a single day print edition.

Furthermore, based on the information that came to light on Thursday, Friday's Independent coverage was markedly selective. An article by Harry Browne on Counterpunch details the content of a cable that was seen by both RTE and the Independent, but saw publicity from neither. (Browne's article has been reposted on WL Central, here.)

The Friday articles suffered from the now familiar pitfalls of the Independent's Wikileaks coverage. The source material, by which readers can check on the veracity of the reports, remains unavailable. The selection criteria for stories is often skewed in favour of headlines, instead of opting for a broad picture of the diplomatic state of play. Since the discernment of the most telling information that comes to us in the cables requires some subtlety and appreciation for broad patterns in US-Irish relations, the material in the Independent seems at best like old news and at worst like mere gossip. This has led to the usual perfunctory echoes among the professionally opinionated, never known to look a malicious rumour in the mouth, and for whom a lack of adequate research is apparently a great professional asset.

Certain of the pieces in Friday's edition were strong in the stance they took on Shannon rendition flights. Notably, Eamon Delaney's piece on page 33 and Don Lavery's piece on page 25 mince no words. However, the brevity of the reports militates against a full and informative account of the events at hand. As Browne argues the record on Shannon remains incomplete, despite the full access granted to the Independent. Furthermore, it is difficult not to detect a note of opportunism in the Independent's suddenly strong awareness of human and due process rights, given that the relative silence of the Irish press on what is now a ten year old issue has been partially responsible for smothering public awareness of the suspicions of rendition flights.

In another report, the Independent claims to be breaking news on the history of the two former detainees from Guantanamo now settled in Ireland. It is therefore evident that nobody in the Independent was aware of April's Guantanamo Files releases, in which the personal files of both Uzbekistan nationals, Oibek Jabbarov and Shakhrukh Hamiduva, have been published since late April. Once again, Irish readers who rely on the domestic press are worse off than those who bypass it on the internet.

Online Articles

The following is the article the Independent made available on its website.

Kids in HSE care ended up working in brothels
Children have been going missing from State care and ending up working as sex slaves in brothels for at least three years, leaked US embassy cables reveal.

Offline Articles

The vast majority of Friday's articles, some of which treat of the most important issue raised in the cables - the Shannon airport military stopover - were not featured on the Independent's website. No explanation was given for this omission; the most important articles have been posted online for all other days. WL Central would be only too happy to link to the Independent's stories, if they were online. In their absence, it is our duty to inform readers that scans of the articles continue to be made available by an apparently dedicated Irish reader of Wikileaks, on IrishIndoLeaks.

FF turned blind eye to US ‘torture flights’
SUCCESSIVE Fianna Fail governments refused to properly investigate allegations that Shannon Airport was being used by the CIA to illegally transport terror suspects, leaked US embassy cables reveal.

Spook speak for kidnap, smuggling and torture
'EXTRAORDINARY rendition' is a polite term for CIA agents kidnapping suspected terrorists in countries outside America, smuggling them to hidden prisons around the world where they could be questioned and tortured.

Government refused to grant US soldiers any special status
IRELAND fought off pressure from the US government to grant special status to American troops passing through Shannon Airport on their way to Afghanistan and Iraq.

Airport talks kept quiet ‘for fear of anti-war protests
THE previous government insisted negotiations over an agreement to allow all Irish passengers uninterrupted passage through American airports be kept secret because it feared anti-war protestors could "make mischief" if word of the talks leaked out.

Cabinet divided on resettling of former Guantanamo inmates
Serious divisions existed within the government ove whether Ireland should resettle freed Guantanamo Bay detainees, leaked US embassy cables reveal.

Fears for ‘psychologically damaged’ detainees sent here
FROM Guantanamo Bay to Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo - the harrowing story of two former Guantanamo Bay detainees who have been resettled in Ireland can be told for the first time today.

Irish firm blocked from exporting lasers to Iran over missile fears
A CONTROVERSIAL Irish aviation firm was stopped from exporting laser-cutting equipment to IRan amid fears it was ultimately bound for a company linked to the country's ballistic missile programme.

Cullen: Ryanair’s takeover bid not tolerated
A FORMER minister told America's top diplomat in Ireland the government would do everything in its power to stop Ryanair from taking over Aer Lingus, according to a leaked US embassy cable.

Gilmore under fire over Lisbon views
TANAISTE Eamon Gilmore's reputation as a 'straight talker' came under continuous fire yesterday as he was accused of saying on thing in public and another in private.

How the scourge of people trafficking grew in Ireland
IRELAND has been an established people trafficking destination and transit country for at least a decade now. But it is only in the past three years that authorities have found firm evidence tha trafficking is not just confined to adults and that children are also ending up in the sex trade too.

US official intervened to secure release of kidnapped priest
A KIDNAPPED elderly Irish missionary was only released after a top US official told his captors the incident threatened to derail the entire peace process in the Phillipines.

Diplomats horrified plane deal awarded to Boeing rival
THE American embassy engaged in furious behind-the-scenes lobbying of govenment ministers and the chief executive of Aer Lingus in an unsuccessful bid to secure a $1bn (€698m) contract for a US aviation firm, leaked US embassy cables reveal.

‘Only the IRA had discpline to keep £26.5m off streets’
THE Government knew the Provisional IRA was responsible for the stg£26.5m Northern Bank robbery because no other group had the discipline to avoid spending some of the cash in the months after the raid, a leaked diplomatic cable reveals.

Businessman suspected of heist role
A PROMINENT businessman alleged to have been heavily involved in the laundering of several million pounds sterling stolen by the Provisional IRA from the Northern Bank in Belfast has been described as "an enemy of the State".

Robbery came close to killing off peace process
IT was the terrorist crime that almost torpedoed the peace process. Massive bombings had scuppered previous ceasefires but behind the scenes the talks were never fully derailed.

US believed party was a spent political force
The US wrote off Sinn Fein as a spent force in the Republic - two years before its 2011 election success.

Adams’ denial of IRA links to crime ‘absurd’
CLAIMS by Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams that there was no link between republican activity and criminality were privately branded "absurd" and "disingenuous" by the top US diplomat in Ireland.

Top Republican favoured by US Embassy
LEADING republican Rita O'Hare was a big hit with the US Embassy in Dublin where she was seen as an important player in the peace process, leaked diplomatic cables reveal.

Official hailed Assembly as a ‘daily miracle’
A SERNIOR civil servant descvribed the Northern Ireland Stormont Assembly as a "daily miracle".

2011-06-07 Interview with Omar Deghayes #Guantanamo

ImageOmar Deghayes was born the son of a prominent Libyan lawyer, an "opponent of the increasingly totalitarian Gaddafi" later taken away by the Libyan authorities and killed. After his father's death, Omar Deghayes settled with his family in Saltdean, Great Britian. As a British resident and student of law, Deghayes was imprisoned in Guantanamo for six years after he was abducted from Pakistan and sold for bounty to the United States military. As many of his interviews rightly point out, Mr. Deghayes lost an eye after it was gouged by a Guantanamo guard.

You were captured and detained between May 2002 and Dec 2007?

2007 May...April? Yes. I think. Probably May or April…yes.

Do you recall where you were held? Were you going from one camp to another? Do you remember those dates...?

No. It's going to be very difficult because when we were in the prisons in Guantanamo, we had no idea of dates or time.

It was difficult to...we didn't have any watches. We weren’t allowed to know dates or things...I think until 2005, when the lawyers started to come in…we started to have some idea of the dates.

And then after that I think 2006 we were allowed to know what time...they had time...a big clock hanging in some of the...not the cells...but in the middle in between the cells. So, it would be difficult to say which dates I was in which prison and so on...

Do you have a recollection of the places that you were actually held?

Yes. Yes. I do. Yes. Even though we weren't allowed to even know that. But we eventually did know where we are.

Where were you first?

I was first in Lahore. I was kept in Lahore prison for two months. And I think it was a maximum security in Lahore. Kind of a fortress, which is made special for, I think, terrorism cases and things like that. There are some Pakistani people there. And some Arabs.

Then after Lahore you went to...or they took you to...?

Yeah, then I went to a lock up in Islamabad, where the guards were wearing civilian clothes.

It was kind of a lock up, and then after that...we were moved another two months in Bagram base. And then after Bagram base I was moved to Guantanamo.

And when you were at you know camps you were in?

Yes. I was first in Camp Delta…1 and 2. Was it 1 and 2? Yes. 1 and 2.

And then I was moved after four months probably or five months I was moved to Camp 3...and then probably back to 1 and 2…and then I was in isolation blocks called Oscar and November…and then when Camp 5 opened I think it was about 2005...I can't remember.

As soon as it was opened I was moved to Camp 5. It might be the end of 2004 or 2005, and then I was kept most of the time at Camp 5...and then sometimes locked up in isolation or things like that.

What happens is that they locked me up in Oscar for one month and then as soon as the month finishes they take me out to cages...normal cages...for one day and then they return me back to the Oscar and November blocks.

So I kept being locked up like this until they created Camp 5. Then they knew that me and I think about forty people went. Were moved to Camp 5 and I was help in Camp 5 most of the time.

I spoke to someone anonymously, who was there sometime around 2007 and 2008. He remembers ISN 239, which is Shaker Aamer's GTMO number. He was there at the time when there was a hunger strike that had 19 hunger strikers. So the block guards had to do force cell extractions two times a day. So one day they did 38 forced cell extractions forced feedings in one day. Do you remember that time?

Are you saying this is in 2007 or after 2007? Because there are a couple of hunger strikes...I think I remember there were about 3, which I remember. And, we had to do the same thing. They pulled people out and beat them up and things like that. And many times a day from different cells. And, so I don't know which one you are talking about... Is this 2007 you are saying...or after 2007?

This would have been in the Summer or Fall of 2007. How did you come upon Shaker Aamer. When you first met him, and what your experience like?

ImageShake Aamer if I remember I met him in the cells there, I think it was. I am trying to remember which part of the prison that I first met him...for the first time.

If I was very late I think in my imprisonment so it was about probably about might be. It was first time he was...he was brought in a cage next to my cage.

In Camp 1 I think. So that was the first time that I saw him. And he came next to my cage and we got to know each other. And he spoke, and I realized that he came from here from London...and I got to know him more. So that was the first time I had seen him the first time inside Guantanamo.

My understanding is that no one, not even his lawyers, have had contact with him for some time.

Somebody who was released in now it has been how many years? I think it has been one year or two years. He has been in contact with him. He was next to him…in a cell next to him. And I remember speaking to him, and asking him about Shaker's condition and what has happened to him.

And he was telling me, that they are trying to persuade him to go to Saudi Arabia. That the Americans are trying to persuade him to be released, but not to this country, the UK. But to Saudi Arabia.

And he was telling me this story about Saudi delegates that were allowed inside the cell...not inside the cell but inside corridors...the prison and in the cells to speak to him to try to convince him to go back to Saudi Arabia. Which is very very unusual.

I was surprised that they did that, because in those cells even the interrogators, I meant the interrogators who were licenses inside the camps, they weren't allowed to come near to the cell. It was mostly the guards and generals who control the cell...and to allow foreign intelligence service from the Saudi Arabian to meet him near the cell or to speak to him in his cell it was very surprising to me. So, yes...I remember that. So, he was isolated for a long time. I think during 2007. But after that he was at some point he was put with other few prisoners on the same block and…

Is the gentleman from France... Lakhdar Boumediene?

No. It’s not Lakmare, It’s Saber Lahmer. He was released to France after Lakdare.

Camp 2/3, which was suppose to have been shut down was re-opened. I spoke to someone who told me they remember that Shaker was there. He referred to Shaker as ISN 239. He referred to Mr. Lakhdar Boumediene as ISN 10K2. He says that there were three or four others that were there. So five or six that were there total that were all what he termed the most determined hunger strikers.

There were two things. There were 2 blocks of this kind that he was speaking about. One block was hunger strikers and I think whom they considered as leaders. They had Shaker and they had other people, I can't remember four or five. I can't remember exact number.

And then they had in the same camp, which I think was 2 and 3, which was reopened. As you say it was first closed and then it was reopened, as you say, and they had there might have been a number of 20 prisoners more or less…and all these cells they had all the people who were continuously hunger striking and they didn't want to give in and stop the hunger strike.

I think within there was Sami al-Haj, if you’ve heard of him. Sami al-Haj is the Sudanese man who works for Al Jazeera cameraman. And they had some Yemeni people and they had some Saudi people…I can't remember.

Who had the last contact with Shaker other than Lakhdar Boumediene?

I think the last contact with him from the lawyers his American lawyer, who is supposed to speak on the 21rst of June at Parliament about Guanatanmo.

Are there other people that you became close to while you were held at Guantanamo that are still there?

I think I know most of the people who are still in Guantanamo. Because I was moved a lot from one camp to another and the cages. I think I met most people.

Yes, I can remember many people and still think of many people who are locked up and especially the Yemeni groups. Because the Yemeni have been mostly the number raised till the large numbers...there are lots of Yemenis who are kept in Guantanamo not because of what they committed.

They haven't been to any interrogation for years now....and they are only locked up there for the simple reason which is politics...and fear...and not enough pressure from...

So, I think the Yemenis I feel sorry for more than anyone else...because of the conditions and why they are there. Their situation is very... they haven't got anyone to speak about them. The government isn't interested. They have been used or kept locked up because of somebody else doing something in their country...or because for the chaos in their country, which is not their fault.

And it is just adding up one mistake which is locking them up wrongly in the first place and not giving them due process and then adding fear of releasing them, which makes another mistake.

I think it is very immoral that people are kept all these years just because they think that if we release is not due to their own individual circumstances.

It is due to politics and it is due to their country and what is happening, which I think is really sad. I got a letter very recently from one of the Yemenis, and he has been asking me to find him a lawyer that can defend him.

And it is very sad, because. It is very sad because...there are very many of the Yemenis. Even the Americans think they are insignificant. Even according to their standards... and they are not people who are important for interrogation.

And they are only kept because of the circumstances. And feel very sad that most journalists and most people even lawyers dismiss them from when they talk and they are the majority number...I think they are about a more than half of people kept in Guantanamo are probably Yemenis.

Is there anything else that you feel is important that might help me with the cause of Shaker or the Yemeni detainees that I haven’t asked about.

Obviously very sad that they have been locked up for what ten years now without any due process...all of these people.

And Shaker has a young child who was born...I have met him...I have seen him here in London...but he has never seen his father...and I remember sitting down and talking to him…and telling him about his father.

He was so happy. He and his brother and sisters they were all sitting down in one place. I saw them a gathering somewhere...and they came down to me and they were so happy to see me I think .

It was very sad to see the look in their eyes and describe their father for them who most of them rarely, rarely have known. One of them had never seen him.

And I remember , I was telling them how their father was…how patient and just…describing their father and how funny and things like that and they were just listening and looking at was very very moving I think.

And, it is very sad at the same time, to think of that from a journalist point of view and from people as community thinking that somebody without any hearing or due process...without giving him any chance to answer his allegations... and most of the allegations against people like Shaker...especially Shaker are like saying very similar allegations...the standard template…that they give to every so called prisoner which is they have nothing serious against him.

Shaker has become what he is and being locked up because of what he has done inside prison...not outside prison...or before prison. Because Shaker was trying to help and defend…they started to think of him as somebody who was important outside prison.

He must have been a big general or something...which is really clumsy and crazy because I know who Shaker is...and it is very sad only because he as I say...he had the ability to speak in English and Arabic...and he used that into translating to young Arab people who couldn't speak from Saudi Arabia for themselves.

And he tried to help them and defend them...and because of what some...I think he is kept in prison because of people's motivation inside prison and because of his activity in prison rather than what he has really committed before prison.


It is sadness really.

For me, the first battle is cutting through the disinformation and misperceptions that people have about what is going on at Guantanamo. Then after that half the time...when you tell people...they either living in their own world or they are prejudice...

It is difficult to get them out, isn't it...from what they lock themselves out to...because it is easier to believe easy recipes that the media and the politicians have already made for us…to believe in and to think outside those lines and try to research things and try to think harder and deeper then what they transmit in that small bite that they transmit to us as information is sometimes consuming and difficult for people who normally are all of them like myself... everybody is probably involved in his work and family and got so much to do already and...

I think your work, and there are many journalists and people who dig in and make it easier for us to just read just articles and films and things of that...I think has made already a big difference in Guantanamo and many other injustices.

And, I think…I hope you not become frustrated and you know I don't want you to…I don’t know what you are facing...because I am sure it is very difficult to write against the stream.

No it is not. Maybe it was. That is the great thing about the truth. You know...people think they have to make ideological jumps..but you just simply need facts...if you are not a sociopath...if you have any bit of a human heart and any decency you can't but want to help. I know Guantanamo is the tip of the iceberg, of all the sites that is the one we know the most about. So God knows what is going on at places that we don't know about.

Definitely. Let me tell you. I have met people like that.

It's awful.

I mean and injustices only create more injustices in the world. I think they keep asking where violence and terrorism is happening in the world..and what is causing this...and I think if they just look under their own feet they will know why this is happening.

Thank you so much for your time. I am very grateful to you.

Thanks a lot for taking time out and interest in working in these kind of cases. So, thank you.

2011-06-07 Poland, the CIA and the Abd al Nashiri case [Update]

The role of European countries in the rendition, detention and torture of alleged terrorists has been scrutinized numerous times. The most comprehensive overview was compiled by Swiss politician Dick Marty on behalf of the Council of Europe in 2006. This report is freely available on the internet.

This document describes a network of European countries facilitating extrajudicial measures taken by the CIA. If these allegations can be proven, they are in violation of national and international law.

In the above report, two European countries are said to have hosted so called "black sites" in which detainees would be subject to torture, Poland and Romania. The main arguments supporting these allegations are flight tables, from which can be proven that aircraft connected to the CIA landed at airports which are not normally used for international traffic of this scale.

These assumptions are also supported by eye witness accounts of airport employees, detainees, and others with a knowledge of these sites.

This information has been in the public domain for years, but there have not been any serious legal consequences for those involved. Even though a parliamentary committee investigation in Lithuania concluded that there were at least two black sites in the country, this did not lead to a prosecution. (Lithuania is not mentioned in the Marty report as these prisons were in operation in 2005 and 2006, during and after the report was written).

Of these three countries, Poland's role has been scrutinized most in the international press:,1518,621450,00.html
A criminal investigation was opened by Warsaw prosecutors in 2008, but appeared to proceed at a snail's pace.

These things quickly changed when on May 7th, New York based Open Society Justice Initiative submitted an application with the European Court of Human Rights to open proceedings against Poland on behalf of Abd al Nashiri, who is currently held in Guantanamo. Al Nashiri has been charged with planning the attack on USS Cole and may face the death penalty. He was allegedly held and tortured in a CIA facility near the village of Stare Kiejkuty in Masuria from December 2002 to June 2003.

The charges brought against Poland include torture, unlawful detention, transfer to a country where al Nashiri could be subject to an unfair trial and the death penalty, and a failure to investigate the case.

A few days later, the criminal investigation into alleged CIA detention facilities on Polish ground which had been active since 2008 suddenly came into the spotlight of national media again when Warsaw prosecutor Jerzy Mierzewski was abruptly removed from the case. According to documents obtained by Gazeta Wyborcza, and to a source with knowledge of the investigation, he had planned to file charges against leading political figures. These included breach of the constitution, false imprisonment and assistance in crimes against humanity.

According to Dr Adam Bodnar, a legal expert affiliated with the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, these charges most likely evolved around two aspects, whether the government allowed for the creation of an extraterritorial facility, and whether those detained in such a facility were subject to torture. This is what he said in a recent interview:

"Wcześniej była informacja o możliwości postawienia zarzutu, że na terytorium Polski doszło do tortur, i że władze polskie mogą za to ponosić odpowiedzialność."

"Earlier, there was information that it could be possible to file charges, that there was torture on Polish territory and that Polish authorities could be liable."

"Jeżeli była baza CIA a nie było tortur, to i tak to jest naruszenie prawa międzynarodowego i naszych standardów konstytucyjnych. Nie można na terytorium naszego kraju tworzyć baz eksterytorialnych bez umowy międzynarodowej. Nie można nikogo przetrzymywać bezprawnie bez wyroku, bez postanowienia naszego sądu. Jest to standard konstytucyjny, że jeżeli kogoś pozbawiamy wolności to musi być decyzja sądu."

"If a CIA base existed and there was no torture, this is also a breach of international law and of our constitutional standards. It is not possible to create an extraterritorial base on our territory without international agreements. One cannot detain anyone without legal basis and without a sentence, without a decision by our courts. This is a constitutional standard, if we deprive someone of his freedom there has to be a court decision."

Given Poland's history, either of these scenarios is likely to cause a strong reaction from the Polish public who still remember losing their territory to foreign powers and being victim of crimes against humanity.

In the present situation, Poland is faced with a dilemma - on one hand it is being sued at the European Court of Human Rights for a failure to investigate, and on the other hand any investigation could lead to serious consequences on a variety of levels.

It is now crucial that these two open investigations into Polish complicity in extrajudicial detention and rendition remain in the spotlight of the press, in particular as Polish daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza is now itself facing legal actions for publishing classified information. The matter is currently under-reported.

The USA are one of Poland's key allies. Even though a nuclear defense shield that was promised to Poland did not materialize (according to US embassy cables published by Wikileaks the missiles were delivered in 2008, but without live ammunition), Poland plans to extend its military collaboration with the USA as a protection against Russia. One of the reasons for Barack Obama's visit to Warsaw last week were negotiations about the deployment of F16 fighter jets on Polish soil.

For previous coverage see


Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita published facsimiles of the flight plans which are now being or not being used as evidence in the court case:,2,291762.html,3,291762.html

GLF seems to stand for "Gulfstream", which is one of the types of plane used by the CIA, and the flights in question are labeled "State". According to the dates in the right hand side column, there were very few flights to and from Szymany.

2011-06-07 The #Europeanrevolution consolidates in #France and #Spain as hundreds of thousands protest in #Greece

Despite the obfuscation of information by major outlets in traditional media and Internet, the movement born in Europe on the past 15th of May is spreading all across the continent, each day with more intensity and popular support. The repercussions, both in economic and political scenario are still unknown, in the same way the effects of the Cablegate episode of November 2010 were difficult to apprehend in that date but step by step shows its importance to contemporary society. The revolution lead by the European youth holds all Western economical and political structures as its enemy and is the type of social movement that does not have its shelter- an essential characteristic of a revolution. Relevant information of the gatherings, protests and projects are provided uniquely by independent media, and in some occasions these are being boycotted. The website for the Real Democracy Now platform in Berlin claimed that they were attacked, and the independent media site, was finally put offline illegally, after having been blocked via DNS in, at least, France and Belgium. Below is a recollection of information from past events in different countries.

The movement has grown the most in Greece, where people have held protests in front of the Parliament building, located in central Syntagma Square, for fourteen days. A camp has also been set up and hundreds of people are sleeping there. Patra, Thesaloniki and all other major cities also hold popular assemblies and protests in their main squares. Protests, that have been going on sporadically for about a year, increased after the announcement of harsh austerity measures added on to the second bailout conditions being debated by the UE and the IMF, along with the Greek Government. These include a law which will reduce the salary of people younger than 26 in 20%, allowing employers to pay less than 600 euros a month. At the same time however, the Greek government has continued to spend millions of euros on weapons. This has sparked a strong movement of outraged citizens, to the point where last Sunday, around 500-800 thousand people took the streets of Athens to demonstrate their dissatisfaction. According to, the movement was “the largest witnessed in decades, adding pressure to the prime minister to reject latest austerity package”. The All Workers Militant Front (PAME) occupied. the ministry of finance on Friday, making it impossible for people to access the building where the bailout negotiations are taking place. They also displayed a huge banner from the building calling for a general strike. "We have a sacred duty to our children and ourselves to cancel plans to turn workers into modern slaves," PAME said in a statement, they also assured that "we must not allow our children to work for hunger wages. If we do not fight to overthrow these policies their working future will be hell." Interesting photos of recent events in Greece can be found here and a video of the Syntagma Square demonstration on the 5th of June here . A good article on the complex greek crisis can be found here.

In Spain, the group of activists working under the name Democracia Real Ya, which started the movement of the 15th of May, is calling for a massive demonstration all across the country, in streets and squares, on the 19th of June. This protest will be coordinated with all the camps, most notably Barcelona and Madrid, and assemblies are deciding if they should all lift the camps at the same time, to coincide with the march. The way in which it will be carried out is also being debated. Another protest is planned for the 15th of October, and organizers are hoping to make it happen in all of Europe or worldwide. The movement is Spain is more mature and robust, always organized horizontally and increasingly decentralized and organized. The official media channel for the camp in Puerta del Sol claimed that around 28 thousand people participated in the smaller assemblies held in each neighborhood of the city. Facebook pages representing each group are posting information on decisions, committees and weekly meetings. In general, the repercussion of the police crackdown in Barcelona on the 22nd of May engaged more citizens to take action in the camp of Catalunya square. This also gave the camp exposure in the media around Europe. Campings are present in at least 30 cities in Spain, such as Valencia, Bilbao, Sevilla and Vigo.The. Tomalaplaza channel has updated and illustrative videos regarding the matter. The web provides information in English about the movement in Spain.

In France assemblies are being held in major squares in at least 20 cities and according to a contact in, the squares of Brest, Bayonne, Toulouse and Lyon are constantly occupied. Assemblies are taking place every day at Bastille Square in Paris, but according to the same contact police evict the protestors every night. A massive gathering to definitely occupy La Bastille is planed for the next weekend. Last Sunday, in the first attempt to establish a camp in the square, the police evicted the protesters with tear gas, general aggression and arrests. A video can be found here and here . As the information regarding the events in France cannot be published or divulged elsewhere, a dynamical and collaborative document to organize the information was established online (

In Germany, protests and assemblies are taking place at least five squares: in Berlin, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Munich and Stuttgart. On the 28th of May, a demonstration against the violent eviction of Catalunya Square in Barcelona took place in front of the Spanish Embassy in Berlin beside the constant protests at Brandenburg Portal. Popular assemblies take place at Lustgarten. There has been complains in social networks that the protests are not being given the attention they deserve, and that the hype caused by the media regarding an outbreak of E. Coli is intentionally pushing them to a secondary role. There is a video here of the gathering at Bradenburger Tor. This is the Facebook page of the movement in Berlin. In Austria, it is also reported that Karl Square in Vienna is under occupation since 29th May.

In Portugal, squares in Lisbon, Porto and Coimbra hold daily protests and assemblies at occupied squares. Last Saturday, 5th of June, Police evicted protesters who were camping for two weeks ago at Rossio Square in Lisbon with violence and arrests. A demonstration against violence and the arrest of three protesters took place in front of the Justice department yesterday. A calling for a general assembly and massive gathering in Rossio is set for the 19th of June as published by the website Photos can be found here.

In Belgium, Moscow Square in Brussels is occupied since last Saturday, 28th of May, with daily popular gatherings, discussions and activities as a samba block that goes around the area calling people to action. Yesterday, 5th June, it was decided that a new camp will be established apart from the original one at Flagey Square. General Assemblies of the indignés are occurring there since then. In Liege, occupation takes place since 27th May. It is said by Belgian media that the local government will 'tolerate' the demonstrations until the public events that are to be held on "musical day" in Belgium on the 15th of June. A good photo portfolio of the camping in Brussels can be found here. For more information visit .

2011-06-07 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks

ImageMentor and friend Greg Mitchell at is on vacation. While he is away, I am pinch-hitting and blogging WikiLeaks updates here. All the times are EST. You can contact me at with any news tips. Twitter username is @kgosztola. Also, if you are looking for something good to listen to, I encourage you to check out the catalog of podcasts posted here at WL Central from the "This Week in WikiLeaks" show I produce every week.

For the WikiLeaks Notes update post for June 8, go here.

11:00 PM I spent the last two days attending #PDF11 Conference in New York City. It was truly a remarkable and well-done conference that covered just about every aspect of the convergence of technology, media and society that one could imagine.

One particular talk is worth sharing with those who regularly view this blog. The talk was given by Mark Pesce, who is an Australian inventor, writer, and theorist. He gave a talk on hyperpolitics.

This is what I tweeted as he was giving the talk:

This @mpesce talk kind of makes me feel like I am watching a message from Anonymous on YouTube. Anybody else feel this way? #pdf11

Govts making mystery of the obvious & placing it beyond reproach @mpesce #pdf11

I believe @mpesce just presented best narrative for telling & explaining story of Julian Assange & #WikiLeaks creatively to audiences #pdf11

This talk is so steeped in hacker culture. I love all subversive aspects of it. @mpesce #pdf11 #wikileaks

Now enjoy this great presentation:

pdf2011 on Broadcast Live Free

10:30 PM Former Obama campaign adviser suggests WikiLeaks releasing classified information "a blessing for the US government. Also says, "other government should take heed of lessons when it comes to information sharing." Who is this guy? Professor Mike Nelson, "who spent four years as Senator Al Gore's science advisor and served as the White House director for technology policy on IT."

The story posted on Computerworld also features him suggesting "in a year and a half, the documents would mean a "net positive" for US foreign policy in the Middle East."

10:10 PM Both WSJ and Al Jazeera English's "leak portals" inspired by WikiLeaks provide "false promises of anonymity," according to Hanni Fakhoury in a post on EFF's website

9:45 PM New York Times has story up on 40th anniversary of the Pentagon Papers, which were released by ardent WikiLeaks supporter and whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg. Ellsberg says he *was* Bradley Manning.

The Times writes, "That it took until the era of Wikileaks for the government to declassify the Pentagon Papers struck some participants as, to say the least, curious." For the full story, go here.

9:25 PM Homeland Security stalling on Freedom of Information Act requests concerning domain seizures. See blog post at Techdirt.

9:15 PM Nigeria now has a Freedom of Information Act. This is a victory and cause for celebration, according to Ayo Oyoze Baje for the Nigeria Daily Independent. Nigeria is now one of over 77 countries with Freedom of Information Act laws in place.

9:05 PM Human Rights Watch (HRW) in Egypt says there is still much change that needs to happen. On freedom of expression, they recommend "abolishing penal code provisions that criminalize freedom of expression, as well as the new law criminalizing strikes and demonstrations, the assembly law of 1914, which gives the government the right to dismiss any assembly of more than five people, and the association laws, which allow the government to interfere in nongovernmental organizations."

6:10 PM Security firm Sophos issues warning on Facebook enabling facial recognition technology on accounts without notifying users of this change.

Seeming like Julian Assange is more and more right about Facebook being an automated gathering intelligence agency. I'll add that if it is more like an intelligence agency than it is less and less like a social media tool for connecting users and democratizing society.

6:05 PM The Dancing Cowboy Whistleblower in the New Yorker

5:00 PM CNN to air a documentary called "WikiWars: The Mission of Julian Assange." The documentary, according to article, indicates Kaj Larsen looks at "unconventional life and mission of the WikiLeaks revealer-in-chief."

1:30 PM UC Davis now with report on Gitmo Files released by WikiLeaks. Report finds the US has detained more children than the government has officially reported. Andy Worthington, media partner with WikiLeaks on the Gitmo Files, has been tracking this reality for years.

This is the power of the WikiLeaks releases: a trove of documents can be released giving a university the ability to do a data journalism project to see what is revealed.

10:20 AM WikiLeaks Humor: Ben Trovato at Sunday Times writes out a cable that reveals a conversation between Jacob Zuma and Muammar Gaddafi that could have happened. Pretty good, although to make it more authentic he could have followed the format of a cable a bit more closely. But this idea for satire has a lot of potential. Maybe someone at The Onion should start doing these kind of writings regularly.

8:05 AM I will be present at an "Aftermath of WikiLeaks" breakout session at the 2011 Personal Democracy Forum conference in New York City. Heather Brooke, Gabriella Coleman, Jeff Jarvis and Micah Sifry will be speaking during the session. Check my Twitter for tweets from the session as it will not be streaming live on the PDF website.

7:50 AM The Jang Group in Pakistan, according to the cables, has been accused by the US of "consciously publishing and broadcasting false and inflammatory stories” against the US and its interests despite having a contract with the Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) and airing Voice of America (VoA) on Geo TV."

7:40 AM Dawn Media Group, which partnered with WikiLeaks to cover the Pakistan cables, now with slide show that presents a nice portrait of the key revelations with illustrations

7:30 AM Julian Assange's case to be debated in European Parliament in a debate on the European Arrest Warrant

7:10 AM Whistleblower award given by the Federation of German Scientists (VDW) and the German Section of the Bar Association IALANA ("lawyers against nuclear, biological and chemical weapons") in Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences, the seventh time. This year the award goes to "Anonymous" or the person who released the "Collateral Murder" video. The award is to be given as soon as the identity of the whistleblower is established. "Until then, the prize money - along with additional funds raised for this purpose Donations - deposited in trust and to support those uses, which the publication of this video is made for criminal or disciplinary charges." So, does this mean Bradley Manning can possibly use the money for his legal expenses?

7:00 AM Still, no real information to support the charge that Afghanistan informants have been killed. But, don't expect anyone in the US media to abandon this talking point. They will just go from considering it true to implying it's true by saying, "It's believed WikiLeaks has killed informants because of the released information." And, that's if we're lucky.

12:15 AM Three cables published on the anniversary of Khaled Said's killing. Said is, of course, part of what truly sparked the Egypt uprising. Egypt activists display pessimism that there will be change, thinking the Egypt government is responsible. A US diplomat urges clemency for three bloggers. And, details on human rights attorney Gamal Eid

...who represents all of Egypt's detained bloggers, told us September 15 he had learned through third party sources that prison officials have tortured jailed Coptic blogger Hany Nazir to pressure him to convert to Islam. The prison has not allowed Eid access to Nazir since his October 2008 arrest under the Emergency Law.

12:10 AM The growing issue of whether the First Amendment limits government's ability to obtain information on users from social network sites like Facebook and Twitter: Joshua E. Engel writes, "Wikileaks founder Juilan Assange summed up the value of Facebook to investigators. He said that on Facebook, authorities can find 'the world's most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations, their communications with each other, their relatives ...'" Engel goes on to discuss the legal issues surrounding the provision of user data to authorities.

2011-06-08 #Acampadasol ends and #Spanishrevolution prepares for the Post-camping Era

Packing tents

Image The M-15 movement in Madrid has decided tonight, after a four hour long general assembly that it will end its occupation of ‘La Puerta de Sol’ (main square in Madrid) on Sunday the 12th of June. The way in which this process will be carried out will continue to be debated and it is likely that a small permanent information office will remain. The movement will also continue to hold daily general assemblies in the square and it acknowledged that some people may decide to continue the occupation as individuals.

The reasons given for ending the occupation are varied. It is partly to address the growing problems associated with the camp, in regards to security and hygiene. However, more importantly it is part of strategy for decentralizing expanding the movement. This has already began, with a national day of action planned for the 19th of June and the creation of popular assemblies in hundreds of suburbs and communities all over Spain. The occupation was in its 24th day and the M-15 movement has vowed to continue its struggle for participatory democracy and social justice.

A new era

The member associations of 15-M now prepare for the post-camping era. Leading up to the temporary eviction of Barcelona and Lleida, they experienced a gradual decrease in the number of participants and media attention. After this episode, in spite of the present upturn, they know they will again lose supporters. However, they believe that the movement has to continue and they are already preparing the strategy: they propose a European mobilization at the end of June, the creation of a wikiparliament to formalize proposals, the development of Democracy 4.0 and the extension of the movement in networks through the suburbs and smaller cities.

The political intervention in Catalonia has revived the protests. This already happened in Granada at the beginning of the election campaign. The greater the political presence, the more protesters in the camps. Yet the members of 15-M are conscious that the near future will hold a decrease in demonstrators until the dissolution of the camps. Nevertheless, they don’t want the lack of presence in the streets to mean the end of this unprecedented movement.

The Laboratory of Political Ideas and Practice of the Pablo de Olavide University in Seville has welcomed the movement because, according to professor of Philosophy of Law Rafael Rodríguez, it is necessary to “create links and synergies” to facilitate the elaboration of proposals for social transformation. In the setting of this laboratory, Law graduate Francisco Jurado, member of 15-M and one of the founders of coordinating committee of Democracia Real Ya (Real Democracy Now), has explained how they are planning the future.

Wikiparliament. The methodology for decision-making in this assembly setting is still in debate. One of the ideas being considered is to create a wiki-type platform of proposals on the Internet, a page that will be cultivated with voluntary contributions. This system would permit the revision of proposals and for all to continue refining and contributing their knowledge and experience.

They reject the presentation of proposals without certain “minimum requirements”. So they consider that this wikicongress would permit any idea to be proposed, amended and developed with reasonable contributions. Once there is a consensus on these proposals, they will be initiated.

Amongst the short-term objectives, is that mortgages be settled in the case of non-payment. In the long-term, they aim for a revision of the separation of powers, social monitoring of executive actions and the reform of the channels of participation. As they reject links to any political party, the tradition parliamentary channel is unlikely and proposing popular legislative initiatives is limited. “We would be pleased if a political party took up our proposals,” Jurado affirms.

Democracy 4.0.This is the title used by a member of the university laboratory of ideas. It’s based in the existence of sufficient technology and legal precedents – there are measures that authorize Members of Parliament to vote without being physically in Parliament – in order to guarantee citizen participation beyond every four years in the ballot box. An online system of voting would facilitate citizens to express their opinions.

To this point they add many others that would facilitate the channels of social participation in the parliaments, without the need for citizens to direct their proposals through political groups.

Territorial reorganization. The first action is to extend the movement and disassociate it from the central plazas. They are aware that the camps have been fundamental, a “lesson in practical politics”, Jurado asserts. The camps have been a grouping by common interests and objectives that have generated an “identity”, but 15-M cannot limit itself to Sol, the Plaza of Catalunya or “las setas”, as they call the Plaza of La Encarnación in Seville.

The objective is to disperse this movement with teaching through “local settings”, like neighbourhoods and small villages. By maintaining the global character of the movement, the creation of an international platform can be simultaneously promoted. In this way, they aim to generate a network that will produce support systems, proposals and followers.

Education. This is another key plan of 15-M. They aim to promote initiatives, like those of the Seville Pablo de Olavide University, in order to create a society that is committed and prepared to take a more active position in the management and monitoring of government administration.

In this sense, Jurado explains, they imagine the university as a centre for investigation and knowledge, grounded in social reality.

2011-06-08 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks

ImageMentor and friend Greg Mitchell at will be back from vacation today. I've been pinch-hitting and blogging WikiLeaks updates here and will continue to do so until late tonight when he returns. All the times are EST. You can contact me at with any news tips. Twitter username is @kgosztola. Also, if you are looking for something to listen to, I encourage you to check out the catalog of podcasts posted here at WL Central from the "This Week in WikiLeaks" show I produce every week.

8:45 PM Council in Scotland mistakenly publishes personal data on 900 staff members in a response to a Freedom of Information request. For the record, WikiLeaks and open government advocates are for transparency but not typically this extreme level of transparency. There's one way you could not make a big mistake like this: look at the data you are posting before you make it public.

6:30 PM NPR puts the revelations on Haiti and the minimum wage struggle into perspective

4:30 PM While the Pentagon Papers are being declassified and released after forty years, that doesn't signal a shift in US government attitude toward whistleblowers. As this post by Dylan Blaylock at the Government Accountability Project (GAP) points out, NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake is being targeted by the government and is about to go to trial.

3:15 PM An investigation into comments made by University of Calgary professor Tom Flanagan, which called for thel assassination of Julian Assange concludes. There will be no charges against the former senior advisor to Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

3:10 PM Ministry of Defense in UK claims it now fights off 1000 cyber attacks each year

2:30 PM European Arrest Warrant (EAW) debate in European Parliament that on the use of the EAW to oppress political dissidents. Gerard Batten MEP finds this is what has been happening in the case of Julian Assange.

He says, "There are many irregularities in the case against him." Lists them out: failure of prosecutor to interview witnesses that could clear Assange, allegations against Assange would not constitute "rape" in England, complainants' lawyer has stated the ladies in question cannot tell if what happened constitutes "rape" because they are not lawyers, Assange was in Sweden for five weeks but was not questioned, etc. Batten goes on to provide context for an argument that the EAW is being used to suppress the efforts of Assange and WikiLeaks and is feeding into US efforts to investigate and go after Assange for espionage.

12:40 PM The Nation, which is publishing stories produced by WikiLeaks partner Haïti Liberté, has two new stories up on the Haiti cables. One may sound like an old scoop because organizations like CJR chose to cover the story after it was accidentally published before the agreed upon publishing debate. (There's always some drama with WikiLeaks releases.)

The story I am referring to is one that covers how Hanes, Fruit of the Loom & Levi's worked to keep the minimum wage from being raised for Haitian assembly zone workers, which are some of the lowest paid people in the hemisphere.


The second story deals with how the cables reveal "the United States, the European Union and the United Nations decided to support Haiti’s recent presidential and parliamentary elections despite believing that the country’s electoral body, 'almost certainly in conjunction with President Preval,' had 'emasculated the opposition' by unwisely and unjustly excluding the country’s largest party."

12:30 PM Egypt to have new Internet security law in 3 months

11:10 AM UK to consider a proposal for a "national blocking list of violent and unlawful websites." Supporters believe a list could curb "radicalization."

8:15 AM India, which went into political crisis when The Hindu partnered with WikiLeaks and began to release the cables, now supposedly going through "transparency revolution" that can't be stopped.

8:05 AM Head of Bahrain Freedom Movement Saeed al-Shahabi, a prominent human rights and political activist in Bahrain, claims released WikiLeaks cables and recent media reports prove Tel Aviv working to suppress the revolution in Bahrain. He also blasts the continued Saudi occupation of Bahrain.

7:45 AM Jesse Ventura on AM 640 in Toronto on the "John Oakley in the Morning" show. He's talking about his WikiLeaks-esque book "63 Documents the Government Doesn't Want You to Read." He celebrates US Representative Ron Paul for standing up for WikiLeaks. He talks about being gravely worried about Bradley Manning. He highlights the "Collateral Murder" video.

Oakley asks him though that if you have information that can save lives shouldn't you torture to get that information and save lives. Ventura calls Oakley out saying "never justifiable" and, "Why do you think police don't torture? Why do you think it is not allowed in a court of law?" A person being tortured will say anything to stop being tortured.

7:25 AM US was told by India to beware of Pakistan's "game" in Afghanistan, according to released cables

7:15 AM "5 WikiLeaks Hits of 2011 That Are Turning the World on Its Head -- And That the Media Are Ignoring" — Rania Khalek puts together a summary of some of the biggest revelations from WikiLeaks so far this year.

2011-06-09 New Subpoenas Issued in WikiLeaks Grand Jury Investigation: Time for a Political Support Committee?

ImageThe grand jury investigation into WikiLeaks has widened. A subpoena has been issued to David House, co-founder of the Bradley Manning Support Network. Manning’s ex-boyfriend, Tyler Watkins, who recently appeared in PBS Frontline’s “WikiSecrets” documentary, and Nadia Heninger, who has done work with WikiLeaks volunteer Jacob Appelbaum (someone whose Twitter user data has been subpoenaed by the government), have each been served with a subpoena.

The new subpoenas come just over a month after the grand jury began meeting in Alexandria, Virginia on May 11 this year. Then, it was known at least one individual from Cambridge was issued a subpoena seeking to compel him to testify before a Grand Jury. And, Carrie Johnson of NPR, in one of the few articles published on the investigation by a US media organization, suggested “national security experts” could not “remember a time when the Justice Department has pursued so many criminal cases based on leaks of government secrets.”

Glenn Greenwald, who has been following the Grand Jury investigation since its inception, calls attention to the potential for witnesses to refuse to cooperate in this “pernicious investigation.”

One witness who has appeared before the Grand Jury has already refused to answer any questions beyond the most basic biographical ones (name and address), invoking the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to do so, and other witnesses are highly likely to follow suit.

Greenwald illuminates what could happen in the event that a witness refuse to answer questions and suggests that if this happens the federal prosecutor could offer immunity. The offer would then mean anything said could not be used against the witness. But, then the witness would still be compelled to answer questions and, if the witness refused to answer questions, the witness could be found in contempt of court.

An attorney with the National Lawyers Guild, Jim Fennerty, who is representing anti-war and international solidarity activists subpoenaed to appear before a grand jury empanelled in Chicago, described this on the “This Week in WikiLeaks” podcast weeks ago.

…If you’re called for a grand jury, you’re usually given a subpoena to be there. My advice is if you get a subpoena you should call a lawyer immediately and get some legal advice. But, if you go to the grand jury, you then are called into the grand jury to answer questions. You cannot take a lawyer in there to answer questions with you. Your lawyer waits out in the hallway or adjacent room. What you can do then is, before you answer questions, you can say I am going to go back and consult with my attorney before answering…

You can refuse to answer the questions and invoke the Fifth Amendment. But then a witness called to appear must understand:

...If you go to a grand jury and they do say they are going to offer immunity but it’s not total immunity, it’s called use immunity, which means that if you say something they can’t use that against you to prosecute you if they uncover other evidence around the situation. They [can’t] use that evidence to come back and use it to prosecute you or indict you.

If you’re offered immunity, you have to decide if you will speak to the grand jury or not.

If you are given immunity and refuse to speak, then you will be taken before a judge at some time, that day or maybe couple weeks later, and you’ll be presented these questions again by a judge and the judge will order you to answer those questions. If you then refuse to answer those questions, you can then be held in civil contempt of the grand jury. And you can then be incarcerated for the life of the grand jury. People have spent months and months in jail just on civil contempt.

Greenwald notes that one witness is considering going to jail as an act of “civil disobedience” because the witness views “the attempt to criminalize WikiLeaks as such a profound assault on basic freedoms, including press freedoms.

During the podcast interview, Fennerty says the grand jury typically “rubberstamps what the government wants.” The prosecutor is part of the grand jury, the grand jurors get to hear one side of the story and they don’t get information from the other side.

If one considers the government’s war on those linked to WikiLeaks as part of the larger war on whistleblowing, which the Obama Administration is waging, then the use of the grand jury should be especially disturbing because grand juries have a history of being used as a tool of political repression. That this new McCarthyism could strike a blow to freedom of the press in America is even more troubling.

In the event that witnesses refuse to testify and participate in what some characterize as a fishing expedition, federal prosecutors involved in grand juries will typically try to peel off one individual by exploiting their fears or weaknesses. So, for example, someone like Manning’s ex-boyfriend could be considered a “weak link” and be exploited by the grand jury to crack and provide information to the grand jury.

In the case of the twenty-three activists Fennerty is representing, the activists have bound together in solidarity. They have held press conferences, rallies and participated in public speaking events describing the work they do to make the case in the court of public opinion that they are being persecuted for their work.

Fennerty finds this to be the right thing to do because those ensnared in grand juries cannot win in the courts. Those subpoenaed have to work to keep their side of the story in the news so the official story the grand jury tries to craft might be considered suspicious or disingenuous by the public.

Therefore, those subpoenaed might want to start a political support committee and take cues from the Committee to Stop FBI Repression, which is a group that has formed to support the activists Fennerty is representing.

It will be up to those subpoenaed to decide how public they want to be about the investigation. The attorneys they have represent them will suggest they keep certain details secret but much of the government’s claims about them should be shared because the less mystery, the better chance the activists have of discrediting the government’s decision to issue subpoenas and launch an investigation into their activities in the first place.

Moreover, a support committee could truly open up a conversation about whether it is a crime to be connected to an organization like WikiLeaks and whether American citizens want to live in a society that criminalizes people who organize or work with this pro-transparency organization that, if one examines the evidence in media coverage and statements from US government officials, is not proven to have committed one single crime.

2011-06-09 Police attack protesters in #Valencia in front of Parliament #spanishrevolution #vlcsinmiedo

Today at 13.30 hours the Spanish national police attacked protesters who had been occupying the steps of parliament since last night. This comes after the official page for the camp in Valencia called for a protest before the Corts Valencianes, the main legislative organ of the Comunitat Valenciana. Today the new members were to be sworn into their charges after being elected on the past 22nd of May, and many of them, mostly belonging to the right wing Partido Popular, did so even though they are currently facing serious corruption charges.

The protesters that gathered there last night were evicted without major incidents. Today, however, there were at least 18 people injured (8 of them policemen) and 5 arrests. There are different versions on how the violence started. Some say that the police attacked after a young man jumped over the security fence towards the door. The police say that a small group of radical protesters attacked them with bottles and blunt objects, and that the retaliation was to arrest these few agitators and to protect the politicians that were going into the building. None of the injuries are serious even though the emergency services had to be called in to take a 55 year old woman to the hospital with mild concussions on her head and face. Maria Guillem, aged 42, was injured in the lip and also had to be taken away in an ambulance. She stated that “I don’t know what happened, the police arrived and pushed me to the ground”. During the ten or fifteen minutes of violence, Juan Ponce, a deputy for the political party Compromis, was injured by the police in his arm. He has stated that he did not deserve being hit as we was just standing by. Compromis has also said that they might press charges. Another spokesperson for Compromis, Enric Morera, said that he did not understand the exaggerated police operative to control the protests when “the parliament has been constituted with people implicated with or accused of severe corruption charges”. On the other hand a government representative asked for comprehension, stating that the police acted “responsibly and professionally”. He also apologized to the injured civilians but reminded the public that eight policemen were attacked, and that one of them was even cut on the face with a pair of scissors.

In the aftermath of the events, protests continue to occupy the streets of Valencia. Around a thousand of them gathered before the police headquarters demanding the release of the arrested activists. The official group for the Valencia camp issued a statement, along with other small-party politicians, asking for the dismissal of the chief-of-police of the city, stating that the violence was uncalled for in a pacific protest, and that their actions were grossly disproportionate. They have also called for a march that is to start at 20.15 hrs and end in front of the regional government building (Sub-delegacion de Gobierno). The attack this morning has managed to put the 15M movement back in the media spotlight, something the organizers (Twitter accounts of the camps in Madrid in Barcelona) view as very positive, taking into account the fact that the biggest demonstration is planned for the upcoming 19th of June.

Click here for the event on Facebook, and here for the international event promoted by Democracia Real Ya! (there are several other pages hosting the event in different countries, as there is no official page)

Click here for a photographic account of the incident.

2011-06-09 WikiLeaks: The Ireland Cables | Roundup of Coverage in the Irish Independent | Day Six

ImageThe Irish Independent doesn't publish on a Sunday, so Day Six of the Irish Cables series was Monday 6th of June. (See roundups of Days Five, Four, Three, Two and One.) There were markedly fewer stories in the Monday edition of the Independent, as, presumably, the newspaper began to wind down its coverage of the Wikileaks cables.

The predominant focus of Monday's releases was the interest that the US embassy took in the Irish Muslim community: the monitoring conducted on Irish Muslims, the information sent back to Washington concerning Irish Muslims, and the close scrutiny of Ireland's efforts to "integrate" Irish Muslims into Irish society. Some of the information on this topic was already to be found in a cable released in April, 06DUBLIN798, but the Independent has had the benefit of an indeterminate number of other cables from the Dublin embassy to work from.

The limitations of the Independent's approach to the cables are most painfully evident when dealing with material like this. It is necessary, when reading the original cables, to remain aware that facts come to us through them only at second hand. On topics of cultural analysis of a particular minority, especially in circumstances as fraught as those obtaining since 9/11, one can expect to have to "read against the grain." The institutional adoption of the official narratives of the "Global War on Terror" can be expected to present interpretive difficulties: reinforcing biases, infecting observations of fact and funding seductive - but misleading - patterns of inference.

This is difficult at the best of times, but since the Independent journalists have chosen to interpose themselves between readers and the cables, refraining from publishing the source material from which they are working, the problem is aggravated. We are given little more than a synopsis of the key themes outlined in the cables. They have been whittled down to discrete titbits, which are then arranged in the column without respect for chronology, often subject thereupon to yet more distortion, as the selection biases and editorial positions of the newsdesk take hold. The information is therefore third-, or even fourth-hand at best - a significant amount of degradation is in evidence. The remarkable traditionalism of the Irish press here puts readers at a great disadvantage.

The result is an uncomfortable willingness to endorse the conceptual linkage between "Muslim" and "terrorist" that has become all but ubiquitous since 9/11. It is clear from context and usage here that "terrorist" in this issue means something quite different to what it meant in the issues that dealt with the Northern Ireland peace process. The newspaper appears to accept without question the purported necessity - encoded as an official dogma in the cables - of conducting global surveillance on Muslim minorities in Western countries. There is an air of relief about the reports which indicate that American diplomats deemed Irish Muslims, for the most part, to be of the good variety. Since 2001, the escalating tendency in Western criminal justice away from law-enforcement and towards risk management has led to the explicit use of profiling: it is overt policy to target people for surveillance on the basis of their ethnicity or religion. This flies in the face of strong traditions of equality before the law in Irish jurisprudence. It is testament to how completely this way of thinking has penetrated our cultures that it operates as a tacit assumption beneath the Independent's reportage on this topic.

A story on page 16 records how Ambassador Thomas Foley remarked in a cable that Ireland may be said to be "complacent" on "the terrorist threat," on account of what the diplomat perceived as obstacles: the small matter of Irish law and Irish courts. This, strangely, is presented by the Independent as if the noteworthy part of the story was how Irish authorities had failed to do something. The apparent unwillingness of the Irish government to circumvent the law so as to capitulate to the same US hysteria which gave the world conviction-free prison sentences, systematic torture and extraordinary rendition, is noted only in passing. Another report notes with approval law reform in Ireland targeted at freezing the assets of suspected terrorists, where lower standards of evidence apply than might apply for a criminal trial.

Curiously, a story that was reported rather automatically in Friday's edition, in an article called "Government refused to grant US soldiers any special status," has been revisited in the Monday edition, this time in more stringent terms, which convey a clearer sense of the content of the cable in question. Both reports pointed out how the the US embassy had put pressure on the Irish government to send troops to Afghanistan, and to conclude an agreement that would grant special status to American troops in Shannon airport. The second report, however, entitled "Pressure for gardai and troop help in Afghanistan," more accurately conveys how this narrative is an affront to the widely observed fiction that Ireland is a neutral party to international conflicts.

A further report is included on the unfolding controversy over Tanaiste Eamon Gilmore's statements on the Lisbon Treaty in 2008, where it was revealed in the Independent last week that he said one thing to the Irish public and another to American diplomats. The 'scandal' shows signs of nearing retirement - the tone of the Independent is weakening against the familiar stubbornness of Irish politicians ever to acknowledge wrongdoing.

Online Articles

The following is the sole article the Independent posted online on Day Six:

US closely monitors Ireland's 40,000 Muslim community
THE United States government closely monitors the country's main mosques amid American concern over alleged Islamic 'extremists' operating in Ireland, leaked embassy cables reveal.

Offline Articles

The vast majority of Monday's articles were not featured on the Independent's website. No explanation was given for this omission. WL Central would be only too happy to link to the Independent's stories, if they were online. In their absence, it is our duty to inform readers that scans of the articles continue to be made available on IrishIndoLeaks.

Pressure for gardai and troop help in Afghanistan
THE US put intense pressure on the Government in Dublin to sanction a bigger role for our troops or gardai in Afghanistan, leaked secret papers reveal.

Ireland was complacent on extremist thread, said US diplomat
THE former US ambassador to Ireland secretly accused Ireland of being complacent in its efforts to pursue alleged terrorists.

State wanted ‘heads up’ on citizen’s terror listing
THE government complained it did not receive a "heads up" from the US ebfore an Irish citizen was put on a designated list of suspected terrorists in Washington, according to a leaked embassy cable.

Tight controls mean Ireland poses low risk
IRELAND poses a low risk of being turned into a significant fundraising or banking centre for terrorists, according to a leaked diplomatic cable.

Family of murdered aid worker asked Ahern to help find remains
A SISTER of murdered IRish aid worker Margaret HAssan made an emotional appeal to former Taoiseach Bertie Ahern to put pressure on the American government to catch her killers and find her remains.

Labour chiefs told Gilmore second Lisbon poll inevitable
COMMUNICATIONS Minister Pat Rabbitte has disclosed that senior Labour figures told Eamon Gilmore a second Lisbon referendum would happen - even as Mr Gilmore said the treaty was dead after the failed first poll.

Lenihan ‘ineffective’ in integration position
THE Muslim community in IReland thought former Integration Minister Conor Lenihan was "ineffective" and did not appear capable of comprehending complex issues, according to a leaked US embassy cable.

Shia Muslims told officials of terrorist sleeper-cell fears
DEEP divisions between the Sunni and Shia groups were reported following a US study of the Muslim communities in Ireland.

Islamic parents worry culture here hurting children’s values
SECOND-generation Irish Muslims are struggling to balance their religious beliefs and parents' expectations with popular Irish culture.

We’re no exception to reality of post-9/11 security
IN the aftermath of 9/11, American diplomats worldwide were tasked with taking a heightened interest in the activities of Muslim communities in the countries where they were stationed.

2011-06-10 A Conversation with @WLLegal on Grand Juries, Thomas Drake, the ACLU & #PDF11

Image The past twenty four hours saw some big stories related to WikiLeaks break.

-The Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks widened as news subpoenas were issued to individuals like David House, co-founder of the Bradley Manning Support Network.

-The US government's case against Thomas Drake totally imploded. He accepted a misdemeanor plea deal and will likely serve no jail time primarily because the government did not want to make its case against Drake with information on classified technology.

-Andy Greenberg of reported on an ACLU lawsuit against the government for not complying with FOIA requests for specific US State Embassy cables

I had Trevor Timm, the person behind the @WLLegal Twitter account, record a podcast to talk about these recent WikiLeaks-related stories.

To listen, click play on the embedded player below (Or, go here to listen and download.)

2011-06-10 Józef Pinior: "there were regulations about corpses in the CIA prison." EU intervenes

Poland is under increasing pressure to investigate fully whether the CIA operated secret torture and detention facilities in Stare Kiejkuty. As Peter Kemp predicted, the European Parliament has now intervened. In a resolution from the eighth of June it says that it:

"5. Reiterates its call to the US authorities to review the military commissions system to ensure fair trials, to close Guantánamo, to prohibit in any circumstances the use of torture, ill-treatment, incommunicado detention, indefinite detention without trial and enforced disappearances, and reminds the EU institutions and Member States of their duty not to collaborate in, or cover up, such acts prohibited by international, European and national law;"

"7. Calls on the EU and Member States authorities, as well as the US authorities, to ensure that full, fair, effective, independent and impartial inquiries and investigations are carried out into human rights violations and crimes under international, European and national law, and to bring to justice those responsible, including in the framework of the CIA extraordinary renditions and secret prisons programme;"

In the meantime, former MEP Józef Pinior reiterated his allegations against former members of the Polish government, claiming that there was a document signed by the then prime minister Leszek Miller regulating the operations of a secret CIA detention facility in Stare Kiejkuty, also defining the status of corpses inside the facility.

Pinior admits that he never saw the document with his own eyes, but credits a very trustworthy source with this information who he refuses to name. Asked whether this was a source from within Polish intelligence services, he refused to comment. He added that with 30 years experience in politics, he was fully aware of the implications of such a statement.

He describes the document as brief, outlining logistics, and being addressed to the Polish Secret Service, who operates the base in Stare Kiejkuty.

Pinior also claims that Zbigniew Wassermann and Zbigniew Ziobro, who were part of the PiS government succeeding Miller, saw and discussed this document along with four other officials, and that there are minutes of this meeting.

During his work on a European Parliament investigation into CIA rendition, Pinior states to have spoken to members of the Polish Secret Service, who were uneasy about the fact that their facility was used for purposes which were not in their interest.

These revelations, and the new European Parliament resolution follows a turbulent month in which lawyers acting for Abd al-Nashiri filed a complaint against Poland with the European Court of Human Rights, Warsaw prosecutor Jerzy Mierzewski planned to file charges against former members of the Polish government and was subsequently removed from the case, documents were leaked to daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, Gdansk prosecutors opened an investigation against the paper and President Obama visited the country and promised the deployment of F16 as a protection against Russia.

For details see our previous coverage.

2011-06-11 The extradition appeal of Julian Assange: EU melting pots, ambiguities and human rights on trial.

The European Arrest Warrant (EAW) not for the purposes of prosecution argument.

Readers are likely aware that English speaking nation’s common law concepts/language do not necessarily have equivalents in Sweden, mens rea (guilty mind) being a major one lacking in Swedish sexual offences legislation for example (relating to lack of consent*). Julian Assange’s defence made substantial arguments at the extradition hearing that the EAW was not for the purposes of prosecution, that the use of the word “lagforing” in the warrant, meaning judicial process, was not sufficient to qualify as meaning a prosecution for the required purposes of an EAW.

As Judge Riddle wrote, in page 14 of his judgement (Full ruling here in Pdf.):

Under section 2(2) and (3) Extradition Act 2003 an arrest warrant must contain a statement that 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….

What is required by section 2 of the Act is an arrest warrant which contains a statement that the warrant is issued for the purpose of being prosecuted. The question has been considered in a number of earlier cases, including Trenk, Vey, Mighall, Patel and Azstaslos. The defence argue that the EAW nowhere states unequivocally and without ambiguity that Mr Assange is sought for prosecution. The EAW was translated from Swedish into English by a translator appointed by the Swedish National Police Board. It begins “This warrant has been issued by a competent authority. I request that the person mentioned below be arrested and surrendered for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution or executing a custodial sentence or detention order”.

The English word “prosecution” is a translation from the Swedish “lagforing”. This is, says the defence, a fatal ambiguity. A qualified and experienced linguist and translator, Christopher Brunski said this in a statement: “The translation of the word “lagforing” as criminal prosecution in the EAW of 2nd December 2010 is too narrow. It is a general term which relates to the entire legal process and can be used in either civil or criminal context. It is something of an umbrella term that encompasses other stages and legal procedures that are more strictly defined in and of themselves. There are more precise terms for prosecution in Swedish, namely atala or aklaga, both meaning to prosecute or indict”.

So, says the defence, the warrant has not been issued specifically for prosecution. It has simply been issued for the purposes of legal proceedings. Nowhere in the warrant is the requested person referred to as an “accused”. Similarly there is no reference to him ever having been charged or indicted. Because the warrant is equivocal, the court is entitled to examine extrinsic evidence. Moreover this is an exceptional case because the prosecutor herself had made clear unequivocal public statements that no decision has been taken yet as to whether to prosecute Mr Assange and that the EAW has been issued for the purpose. Merely for questioning him further. However the defence did not accept that it is necessary to find that this is an exceptional case in order for the court to consider the evidence bearing on the subject.

I am satisfied that there is no equivocal statement or ambiguity in the warrant. The English version of the warrant states that it is for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution or executing a custodial sentence or detention order. The warrant refers to offences, indicates the relevant provisions of Swedish criminal law; and identifies specific conduct against Mr Assange. There is simply nothing equivocal about the English version of the warrant. As for the Swedish language version, “lagforing” is the term used in the official Swedish language version of the Framework Decision. Mr Robertson says this is not to the point: it simply indicates that all Swedish EAWs that use this formula are ambiguous. I cannot accept that. When the Framework Decision was agreed the Swedish authorities would undoubtedly have considered it and understood its meaning. A request for the purposes of “lagforing” is a lawful request for the purpose of the Framework Decision and the Extradition Act 2003.

In these circumstances I am required to look to the warrant alone, and not to extrinsic evidence. It follows that the evidence I have heard and read on this question is not relevant to the decision I must make as to the validity of the warrant. I am sure the warrant is valid on the face of it.

Two points to be made on this.
1) When the Framework Decision was agreed, language policies of the EU would have mandated it’s translation from a “working language” (English French or German) into Swedish and therein lies the problem. As Judge Riddle presumes, without a shred of evidence before him I might add, the Swedes “would have considered” the meaning of the Framework agreement, however, this then overlooks the differences in legal regimes and the necessity for the Swedes to shoehorn the meaning of the original (assumed) EU English text into Swedish within the context of the Swedish legal system (alien in many respects to common law jurisdictions) and then in the case of the warrant, a translation back into English, and apparently an incorrectly translated warrant pointed out by Assange’s defence to Judge Riddle.

2)This raises further questions which exposes the EU’s language policies to charges of impreciseness and ambiguity (that counsel Geoffrey Robertson was pointing out specifically at the hearing related to the warrant). Which is the official EAW document, the one presented in Swedish or the translation? What is the legal position when the translation is demonstrated to be incorrect? Naturally one does not expect a UK judge to be proficient in the Swedish language but it would appear that an original Framework Agreement which in practice allows such ambiguities also takes no account whatsoever of the vast differences between common law jurisdictions such as the UK's and Sweden’s.

Sweden’s relevant criminal regime is set out on page 16 of the judgement, an information laid by prosecutor Ny on 4th February 2011:

7.According to Swedish law, a formal decision to indict may not be taken at the stage that the criminal process is currently at. Julian Assange’s case is currently at the stage of “preliminary investigation”. It will only be concluded when Julian Assange is surrendered to Sweden and has been interrogated.

8. The purpose of a preliminary investigation is to investigate the crime, provide underlying material on which to base a decision concerning prosecution and prepare the case so that all evidence can be presented at trial. Once the decision to indict has been made, an indictment is filed with the court. In the case of a person in pre-trial detention, the trial must commence within two weeks. Once started, the trial may not be adjourned. It can therefore be seen that the formal decision to indict is made at an advanced stage of the criminal proceedings. There is no easy analogy to be drawn with the English criminal procedure. I issued the EAW because I was satisfied that there was substantial and probable cause to accuse Julian Assange of the offences.

(By comparison, in common law nations like the UK and Australia, charges are laid at a much earlier stage. Police gather enough evidence by way of complainant statements - at a minimum - sufficient to charge a suspect in a lower court, and present that as prima facie evidence at committal proceedings where the strength of the prosecution case may be tested by cross examination. Upon committal to a higher court there is a long period of time for the defence to examine the brief of evidence (served before committal); find and interview defence witnesses and prepare a defence for trial.

Of note, the accused is not obliged to participate in an “interrogation” and has the right to remain silent on any questions relating to the alleged offences - although in the UK an adverse inference may be drawn by a jury from that silence. Depending on past criminal antecedents and the seriousness of the offence among other factors, bail applications are a normal part of procedure and appealable if refused in a lower court.)

Going by the English text of the Framework Agreement Article 1(1) (Pdf)-

1. The European arrest warrant is a judicial decision issued by a Member State with a view to the arrest and surrender by another Member State of a requested person, for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution or executing a custodial sentence or detention order.

- there is no certainty that Julian Assange will be prosecuted, in her words Ms Ny says simply there was substantial and probable cause to accuse Julian Assange of the offences.

Geoffrey Robertson QC was right. There was ambiguity in the Swedish warrant, and the translated warrant was misleading and contradicted Ms Ny’s “information” but as I have demonstrated, that ambiguity stems from a system that tries (and fails) to put vastly different legal systems into an extradition melting pot along with fundamental language translation difficulties - that are created by those differences - and then expects that justice will always be served.

All these ambiguities would appear to be papered over by the Framework Agreement where it says in paragraph 10 of the preamble The mechanism of the European arrest warrant is based on a high level of confidence between Member States.

Some of my colleagues might say I have adopted a literalist approach to statutory interpretation to the Framework Agreement instead of a purposive approach. To this I would respond that the word ‘prosecution’ in black letter law or purposive law cannot mean 'preliminary investigation'.

It is also not necessary to add a presumption in statutory interpretation of not excluding the Human Rights Convention in interpreting the Framework Agreement, it’s already there, which leads me to a second major ground of appeal, but the conclusion I draw from all of this is firstly, I concur with Robertson that all warrants issued by Sweden on this basis are ambiguous and secondly that the “melting pot” purposive/interpretive approach taken by Judge Riddle in applying it to the case in hand may well be an error in law.

The European Convention on Human Rights Arguments.

Practically hidden within the European Convention on Human Rights
is one sentence in Article 5(2): Everyone who is arrested shall be informed promptly, in a language which he understands, of the reasons for his arrest and the charge against him.(sic).

I assert that this puts the framework agreement establishing the European Arrest Warrant system in breach of the Convention, as it relates to the case of Julian Assange, as set out below, but first some background.

Article 5 sets out the rights of EU citizens and residents not to have their liberty taken away without proper process. In the case of a person arrested for criminal prosecution purposes, the circumstances of arrest and detention must be as a result of “reasonable suspicion” and the purpose of arrest and detention is to bring the accused “before the competent legal authority…”

As I have written before, the purpose of arrest and detention for the purpose of investigation only, is anathema to concepts of justice to such an extent that most common law jurisdictions proscribe it by regulating it strictly. For example in NSW Australia, such period of investigation is four hours not including time-outs. This protection in law for accused - and which I assert to be a human right - follows many bitter experiences over hundreds, if not thousands of years of despots incarcerating people on trumped up accusations for which ongoing incarceration was just “so necessary” for more and more “investigation.”

Note that Article 5 says nothing about arrest for the purposes of investigation.

Sequentially and logically, Article 5(2) applies after the accused has been arrested and in detention whereupon the competent legal authority must inform the accused “promptly” of the charges. Note ‘promptly’, which as an adjective means (per my dictionary at least) means: “done without delay, immediate.”

As readers will likely know already, the EAW extradition ruling of Judge Riddle stated in essence that the accusations were sufficient to qualify as a prosecution pursuant to and allowable within, an EAW application under the UK’s Extradition Act, enacted from the Framework Agreement.

Now while the Convention makes no specific reference to extraditions, it is not material on this point as to whether Julian Assange is in the UK on bail or, (if as anticipated) after an extradition he will be held “incommunicado” in Sweden (another breach of human rights – Ny’s “softening up” process): that he has not been, nor will he be informed (cannot be informed) “promptly” of the "charges" against him is for the simple reason that he has never been charged so far – only accused - and it has been explicitly admitted by the Swedish prosecutor Ms Ny that she wants the extradition for the purposes of investigation, and only after that Julian Assange may be charged.

By no means does the word charge equate to investigation and this I assert is a not only a breach of Julian Assange’s human rights, it also brings the EAW regime in its practice into disrepute and conflict with the HR Convention.

One of Judge Riddle’s specific findings was that Julian Assange would be held incommunicado upon extradition, ie no bail application apparently allowed, an implied breach of the Convention where the presumption of innocence applies. Denial of access to his lawyers in Sweden would solidify that as a breach, solidified again by Article 5(3) which states:

Everyone arrested or detained in accordance with the provisions of paragraph 1(c) of this article shall be brought promptly before a judge or other officer authorized by law to exercise judicial power and shall be entitled to trial within a reasonable time or to release pending trial. Release may be conditioned by guarantees to appear for trial.

Sweden’s apparent habit of automatic incarceration for alleged sexual offenders does not sit well with the Convention’s explicit provision for bail.

The real and most important issue of human rights has to be the secret trial issue, Article 6, Riddle again page 27:

However I have not been referred to any significant body of European Court cases that show that the Swedish practice in rape cases offends against article 6. Article 6 specifically envisages circumstances where the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the hearing. Apparently the practice in Sweden is long-standing.

Riddle appears to have forgotten the evidence of Brita Sundberg-Weitman - Swedish lawyer, former judge and distinguished jurist - on page 3 of his Judgement

The decision as to whether the trial would take place in private would be made by the court. However she knows of no case where a rape trial has taken place in public.

Article 6 states on this subject:

…everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law. Judgement shall be pronounced publicly by the press and public may be excluded from all or part of the trial in the interest of morals, public order or national security in a democratic society, where the interests of juveniles or the protection of the private life of the parties so require, or the extent strictly necessary in the opinion of the court in special circumstances where publicity would prejudice the interests of justice.

Given that Sweden on the evidence at hearing appears to hold all such trials in secret, the fact that it might be customary in Sweden to do so is more than being at odds with the Convention. Protecting the private life of the parties is a double edged sword, what’s good for the goose is good for the gander so it is said, but the private life of the “suspect” in this case has been cruelly and prejudicially exposed as we know millions of times on Google, much less so for the complainants. Justice must not only be done but must be seen to be done, and any lame excuses by the Judges at a secret trial of Julian Assange in Sweden will be a travesty of justice and in breach of Article 6.

This to my mind is the major point of the appeal relating to getting a fair trial. That there is no European Court case law on Swedish practice of secret trials does not invalidate the defence’s submissions.

Riddle again page 27:

There can be no doubt that Sweden incorporates article 6 principles into its judicial system. Because that country has reached a different conclusion on the appropriate balance between privacy and open justice does not mean that their practice offends against article 6.

No doubt that Sweden incorporated Article 6? Reached a different conclusion on the appropriate balance between privacy and open justice? When that conclusion appears to have made ALL such trials secret? This has to be an error of fact on the evidence before him, (and whatever ‘judicial notice’ he may have taken of that common knowledge) also an error in interpretation of the Convention ie law.

The reality clearly is that Sweden has ignored Articles 5 (and 6) so far, and it remains to be seen how the secret trial issue is decided.

Conclusion: the EAW is a mess, not restricted to its melting pot mixture of irreconcilable legal systems and ambiguities which in the case of Sweden so far, allows it to flout the Human Rights Convention. Hopefully the Appeals Court will redress this unfortunate state of affairs and set a precedent for future extradition cases, a precedent that does not require Swedish citizens to be the appellants in the European Court of Human Rights.

There will undoubtedly be many other points of appeal, but I may well leave those to Mr Robertson.

*Update: "relating to lack of consent" inserted following an email discussion with Swedish citizen Mr Goran Rudling on 13 June 2011.

2011-06-12 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


All the times are EST. You can contact me at with any news tips. Twitter username is @kgosztola. Also, if you are looking for some insightful discussion of stories related to WikiLeaks, I encourage you to check out the catalog of podcasts posted here at WL Central from the "This Week in WikiLeaks" show I produce every week.

11:15 PM Details for June 15 protest action against "anti-whistleblower grand jury investigation." The protest will explicitly support the subpoenaed who will be risking "being held in contempt and jailed for the duration of the trial should they refuse to cooperate with the grand jury."

11:00 PM Greek Ta Nea covers some of the cables from Athens, Greece that WikiLeaks posted on its website on Saturday, June 11. This article covers US pressure over Russian tanks.

10:55 PM Reminder: 40th anniversary of Pentagon Papers tomorrow. Finally, to be de-classified tomorrow.

10:50 PM Don Hazen at Alternet emphasizes the importance of covering WikiLeaks in post that urges readers to contribute and support Alternet. Hazen writes, "The attack on WikiLeaks is a profound assault on our basic freedoms, including freedom of the press. We must be relentless and fight back against tyranny, against scapegoating people like Bradley Manning, and against protecting liars and cheaters. Corruption is what happens if there is no sunshine, when information is controlled. Secrecy breeds arrogance and abuse of power. The best government is an open government, with a tough independent media to hold them accountable."

9:00 PM CNN's "WikiWars" airs. I expect to post a review that deconstructs the documentary tomorrow, just like I did following the PBS Frontline documentary, "WikiSecrets."

4:40 PM Anonymous claims cyber attack on Spanish police in retaliation for after police arrest three individuals suspected of being part of Anonymous

4:30 PM Techdirt posts their most funny/insightful comment of the week. It comes from Rich Ficus, who argues the courts have "perverted" American government and society's understanding of freedom of the press. Using WikiLeaks to make the argument, Ficus writes:

...The discussion about whether Wikileaks should be considered "the press" is entirely ridiculous. The press, as referenced in the US Constitution, isn't limited to 20th century media organizations. In fact, if we limit it to that definition we also have to conclude that there was no press when the Constitution was written. Since it's specifically referenced in the 1st Amendment we can safely say that's incorrect.

The same definition of the press which would exclude Wikileaks from 1st Amendment protection would likewise exclude Benjamin Franklin. His publications had more in common with blogs and issue advocacy websites than modern newspapers. That, in and of itself, tells me it's a faulty definition. What freedom of the press is supposed to mean is freedom of publication. It refers not to a privileged group of people and organizations, but literally to a printing press, which was synonymous with publication when the US Constitution was written...

2:00 PM Scott Horton on the collapse of the Obama Administration's case against NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake

12:30 PM More important to have an open Internet or a fast an cheap one? SingularityHub with this article on the UN declaring Internet access a human right.

10:30 AM International Monetary Fund (IMF) the target of a cyber attack. The Sydney Morning Herald reports. The IMF calls what happened an "incident of intrusion" into their IT system. The IMF has been overseeing financial rescue programs so the question after the reported attack is if "sensitive negotiations" with countries like Greece over such programs.

10:20 AM Melbourne, Australia event - "Does WikiLeaks Matter?"- on June 13 featuring Rob Manne, Guy Rundle, Eleanor Townsley and Peter Vale. The event will consider, like many recent panel events, "the impact of Wikileaks along with the implications of Wikileaks for access to information, security, and innovation."

10:15 AM NDTV on released cable US cable showing India informed the visiting US ambassador to Pakistan about ISI-LeT connections as early as 2005.

10:10 AM Brazil's agenda in the UN Security Council and how the country will "stop at nothing" to gain more visibility and power. (Al Jazeera English)

10:00 AM Greg Mitchell, who was given screener of CNN's "WikiWars" documentary that airs tonight to preview/review, with this post on what he calls an "odd amalgam" that like PBS Frontline's documentary is "fatally unbalanced."

2011-06-13 CNN's 'WikiWars' Documentary Exploits Character of Julian Assange to Cast Doubt on WikiLeaks

Closely following the character of Julian Assange, founder of the pro-transparency media organization WikiLeaks, the recently aired CNN documentary, “WikiWars,” provides a presentation of the story of the organization with a prime focus on Assange’s character. It is another opportunity, like PBS’ Frontline documentary “WikiSecrets,” for a wide audience in the United States to get a better grasp of the nature of the organization.

That, perhaps, is what makes discussing this documentary important. There is no new information in this documentary, but, packaged together, the documentary uses Assange as a vector for communicating the idiosyncrasies of WikiLeaks to an audience. Whether legitimately done or not, viewers are able to hear Assange in footage obtained by the producers and also hear a handful of people, who have worked with Assange, discuss what he is like.

The documentary can be broken into the following parts: an introduction into the behavior and motivations of Assange, the founding of WikiLeaks (which highlights the work that impacted Kenya and Iceland), the release of the “Collateral Murder” video, the release of the Afghan War Logs that involved collaborating with the New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel, the accusations of sexual assault that now find him under house arrest in the UK and the rise of a secret global force of cyber hacktivists known as Anonymous that have launched DDoS attacks in defense of WikiLeaks.

Larsen frames the story in the opening scene like this:

Over twenty years ago the Berlin Wall came down and it marked the end of a cold war between two superpowers. Now, there’s a battle that’s being waged for control of information. Its frontlines aren’t brick and mortar walls, they’re firewalls. Its weapons are computers, not missiles. And its warriors—hackers, activists, even anarchists. It’s an epic struggle over state secrets between institutions and individuals. And at the center of this war is Julian Assange.

Centering the documentary on Assange has a way of reinforcing the notion that WikiLeaks is an autocratic organization that is all a project of Assange, who has little regard for his actions. The enigma of Assange is built up throughout the film. He is made to seem more like a fictional character in a spy movie instead of a human being whom has the ability to discern right from wrong and is committed to transparency because of his conscience belief in what the opening up of governments can do to correct injustices and corruption.

As Daniel Domscheit-Berg, former member of WikiLeaks who defected from the organization, says, Assange is smart and intelligent and doesn’t really care what anybody else thinks about him. He says Assange sees himself as a “hero of a spy novel” and believes he and everyone around him is being constantly tapped and followed (which journalist Mark Davis says later in the documentary is probably true).

The story sets viewers up to doubt the judgment of Assange’s handling of WikiLeaks releases. It asks those watching to consider whether he might be a maniac by showing interviews with journalists like David Leigh of The Guardian, who not only claims Assange has to have it explained to him there are “flesh and blood consequences” to leaking but also says at one point Assange “didn’t behave like earthlings.”

Fmr. Brig. Gen. Used to Discredit the “Collateral Murder” Video

The most disparaging criticism comes from former Brig. Gen. Mark Kimmitt. Kimmitt, who served as the Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs under George W. Bush from August 2008 to January 2009, is used as a tool to discredit the work of Assange and WikiLeaks. The producers employ his viewpoint to help viewers decide whether the “Collateral Murder” video, which WikiLeaks released in April 2010, is in fact a war crime.

Here’s the full exchange between Kimmitt and Larsen, who go through some of the video together in the CNN Studios in Washington, DC (note: not once is it noted that Kimmitt served in the Bush Administration and might have a clear bias):

LARSEN: This clip is where they believe they identify an RPG. It turns out as we know now that was a long lens telephoto camera held by a Reuters journalist. You can see him as he peak’s around the corner there.

(voice over) The Reuters photographer, his assistant and the men around him were all gunned down.

KIMMITT: This photographer shouldn’t have been walking around with an instrument that looks very much like a weapon.

LARSEN: Is the blame on the photographer or is it a causal series of mistakes made by the crew there that led to the ultimate negative consequences?

KIMMITT: Warfare is not perfect. There are mistakes that are sometimes made. He shares much of the blame for what happened here.

LARSEN: I want to move to the van video. And what you see is the van that’s coming to help grab some of the wounded people on the ground. The Apache helicopter asks for permission to engage.

KIMMITT: Again, this is an active battlefield. That van could have other fighters inside of it with weapons. Those fighters could put soldiers at risk and kill other soldiers that they’re fighting.

ASSANGE: We can see in this video that the young pilots in the Apache helicopters have become debased in their charcacter. They are playing video games with real human lives and looking for excuses to kill people.

(voice over) LARSEN: It turned out there were children inside the van.

LARSEN: I have a decade in naval special warfare. You’re obviously thirty years in the army. Soldier to sailor, ground pounder to ground pounder, should these men have exercised more restraint?

KIMMITT: I don’t think so. What we have here from everything I’ve seen is that they followed the proper procedures.

LARSEN: If they did everything by the book, is there something wrong with the book?

KIMMITT: I don’t think so. The book doesn’t have every scenario. It doesn’t have every possible outcome.

Ethan McCord and Josh Stieber might agree with Kimmitt. Both are soldiers who were part of Bravo Company 2-16, the company of soldiers in the video. McCord and Stieber, however, did not accept that nothing morally reprehensible happened that day. They wrote an open letter of reconciliation and responsibility to all who were injured or lost during the shootings in the released video.

The Iraq War veterans wrote the “Wikileaks video only begins to depict the suffering we have created. From our own experiences, and the experiences of other veterans we have talked to, we know that the acts depicted in this video are everyday occurrences of this war: this is the nature of how U.S.-led wars are carried out in this region.”

Larsen could have easily contacted McCord and Stieber and had them talk about their opinion on the “Collateral Murder” video release. Since Larsen and others involved in the making of the film specifically wanted people who were active in the WikiLeaks story, McCord and Stieber would have made good characters to feature especially since “Collateral Murder” and the Afghan and Iraq War Logs were a major part of the film. Both could have spoke to “rules of engagement” and what they were asked to do as soldiers during the Iraq War.

But, they are not included. The documentary instead presents us with Kimmitt, a character who defies the criteria Larsen and others set for including people.

Kimmitt is not an active player in the WikiLeaks story; he has only read the military’s report on the “Collateral Murder” video. Essentially, Kimmitt does for the documentary what “military analysts” planted on news shows by the Pentagon did throughout the Iraq War: he appears to be objective because he read the report and is calling it like he sees it and this supposedly gives him the authority to minimize the significance of a video that depicts the horror of war.

Is it even worth it to explain why blaming the Reuters photojournalist for being killed is reactionary? The remark is like blaming a hot blond woman for a sexual deviant’s decision to rape her.

Assange Thought Afghani Civilians Deserved to Die

After discrediting the “Collateral Murder” video release and presenting Assange as an adversary of the United States, journalists whom Assange worked with on the release of the Afghan War Logs appear to discuss the relationship between them and how the release of classified information occurred. Nick Davies, a journalist with The Guardian, describes tracking Assange down and speaking to him in Brussels, Belgium. It is here that Davies convinced Assange partnering up with media organizations could maximize the impact of his war logs releases.

The key tension in this part of the documentary stems from discussions over what names to redact and not redact. Davies explains, “All of us came across material which was clearly likely to lead to the death of innocent civilians if we published it. All of us had the experience of bringing this to his attention and being told in effect, ‘If an Afghan civilian helps coalition forces, then they deserve to die.’”

It is a “high crime” for a pro-transparency organization to release material it knows will endanger the people it most wants to help. Therefore, there should be some kind of skepticism raised as to whether this is true or not. But, Leigh and Davies are not pressed on their description of the dispute that was had.

From PBS Frontline’s full interview with Assange for the documentary “WikiSecrets,” there is a reasonable motivation for the release of names, as Assange explains:

We, as all good investigative journalists do, name names. We name names of those people that are involved in corrupt or abusive activities, and that includes in Afghanistan. And then there are people that are incidental characters, that are not themselves threatened in any way. They should also be named as part of just the context of the situation.

We have a harm-minimization procedure. A harm-minimization procedure is that we don't want innocent people who have a decent chance of being hurt to be hurt. Now, no one has been hurt. There is no allegation by the Pentagon or any other official source that anyone has been physically harmed as a result of our publication of the Afghan war logs, the Iraq war diaries or the State Department records, or the "Collateral Murder" video, or in fact anything we have done over the past four years in over 120 countries.

Here, “WikiWars” fails. It had the potential to really get into specifics of allegations that WikiLeaks “has blood on its hands.” It could have gone to official sources in the Pentagon and State Department. It could have talked with people in Europe and in the Middle East. There could have been a segment that got to the bottom of this consistent claim that WikiLeaks has led to the deaths of innocent people. For example, former State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley alleged during an Index on Censorship panel discussion that hundreds of people are known to have suffered because of the release of material by WikiLeaks. CNN’s “WikiWars” crew could have involved Crowley and worked to find out what evidence Crowley has for such allegations.

The Government is Not Going to Stop WikiLeaks

In the final part of the documentary, viewers are introduced to Anonymous, which is described as a “secretive global force of cyber hacktivists.” Two members of Anonymous – sometimes referred to as “Anons” – speak with Larsen.

An Anon explains that Anonymous is part of an Internet subculture that believes in anonymity, freedom of thought freedom of speech and freedom of expression all taken to a logical extreme. The Anon explains the government is after Anonymous and that is why members must have anonymity. And, WikiLeaks is worth supporting because they believe in many of Anonymous’ ideals especially the idea of exposing secrets.

“They’re not going to stop WikiLeaks. Even if the government were to take down WikiLeaks, they’d essentially be martyring WikiLeaks and a hundred other sites would spring up. The only thing they can do is turn the Internet off and even that didn’t stop the people in Egypt,” explains an Anon.

Larsen understands this reality. As the documentary concludes, he laments, “In some sense, the WikiLeaks phenomenon is unstoppable—part of a new reality where whistleblowers go global and make governments quake, where a leak can add fuel to a revolution. But, governments will fight back.”

The section on Anonymous along with the scenes on the release of war logs and the “Collateral Murder” video all serve to present a rising challenge to US government, one that consists of players creating much uncertainty for the future of American superpower. It's the same uncertainty driving the US government to ramp up its efforts to establish a coherent strategy and policy for cybersecurity that can protect commerce and agencies withing US government. It's an uncertainty that leads to questions like, for example, should a pro-transparency organization that is accountable to no one (as government officials and those in US media contend) be allowed to release material and make it harder for the US to conduct wars and international diplomacy?

Julian Assange understands it doesn’t matter if the war on WikiLeaks by the US succeeds or not. As he said in a press conference call:

…. Either the mainstream press in the United States collapses as an effective investigative organ holding the government to account and all sources then are forced to only deal with WikiLeaks, or the administration finds that it has to conform to the U.S. First Amendment and other parts of the Constitution and then the United States is a free society that upholds our values…

Don't underestimate the impact that a presentation like this can have on the public in the United States if what is said is not clarified or reviewed properly.

Many Americans know very little about WikiLeaks. They may know the name Julian Assange and the name Bradley Manning. They might have heard media reports that said Assange was suspected of raping two women or they might know that a soldier was held at Quantico for leaking classified information. Certainly, PBS Frontline’s “WikiSecrets” documentary went a long way to “educate” Americans on the key details in the story of Bradley Manning. And, now with “WikiWars,” Americans get an “education” on the character of Julian Assange.

Larsen and crew properly include Iceland and Kenya in the backstory of WikiLeaks and Assange. How WikiLeaks revealed there were “hundreds of killing at the hands of Kenyan police” during violent disputed elections in 2007 show that WikiLeaks can potentially make the world a better place. The spotlight on WikiLeaks’ posting of a secret loan book in July 2009 that revealed one of the largest bailed out banks, Kaupthing Bank, made risky loans that likely contributed to Iceland’s banking crisis which brought the country to its knees further establishes that WikiLeaks can improve society. In Iceland, viewers learn they were regarded as “local heroes” because of the leak and influenced a push in Iceland to strengthen press protections and make Iceland a “haven for whistleblowers.”

Post Iceland and Kenya, audiences are not treated to this kind of tolerant analysis of WikiLeaks operations. The case might be made that it is far better to be critical and get to the truth. Supposing that is true, it is worth considering the fact that a CNN poll conducted in December 2010 found seventy-seven percent of American disapprove of “the online organization’s release of thousands of confidential US government documents concerning US diplomatic and military policies. Only twenty percent approved of the action.”

Assuming the level of support found here was an accurate representation of the level of support in the United States and assuming that it remains at this level, Larsen and crew would have known going in that most Americans are skeptical and, in fact, irked by the operations of WikiLeaks. So, in that sense, what Larsen presents is “safe” journalism that helps to affirm Americans’ views toward WikiLeaks.

That WikiLeaks has published information the US public should have a right to know (i.e. the overclassification of information by government) is overlooked. That WikiLeaks is a publisher and should be protected by press freedoms that all media organizations enjoy is not discussed. The sheer number of revelations on US corruption and abuse of power by the United States is omitted (an excuse might be that production had to wrap and could not get to this aspect). And, that Assange was awarded a Sydney Peace Prize and WikiLeaks has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize is not fully examined.

Here’s two key questions for the producers of “WikiWars”: Why, all over the globe, is WikiLeaks being given credit for being a force for good? Why is it being nominated for peace prizes and medals when here in the United States most contend it has put lives at risk and exercises reckless authority when deciding what information to publish and not publish?

The answer might help the producers understand where they failed and why Americans will, even after “WikiWars,” still not get what WikiLeaks is all about.

2011-06-13 Camps in Madrid and Barcelona dismount #AcampadaSol & #AcampadaBCN of #SpanishRevolution #EuropeanRevolution

The camps slowly disappear

After weeks of tension and negotiations last week the General Assembly of Puerta del Sol (Madrid) and Plaza Catalunya (Barcelona) agreed to lift camp today. Starting early in the morning the squares have been progressively stripped bare and will be lifted completely this evening, almost 25 days after they started. In Madrid, the makeshift furniture, tents and posters have been slowly removed all week long. Today various trucks are being loaded and the last remaining parts are being taken down, the 4000 books donated to the library will end up in various social centers, while most of the furniture will be recycled or destroyed by a disposal vehicle brought in by the city authorities. Some of the protestors, in both cities, have decided to remain, arguing that initial idea was to stay indefinitely. Their freedom to do so has been respected but they fear that it will result in police action. Some of them also proposed the idea of making it an itinerant camp that could move through squares around the city but a consensus was not achieved on this matter. It is also to be seen if a permanent information booth will be installed and left behind.

(Video of the demonstration that took place this night in the main street of Madrid (Gran Via) to end Plaza Sol Camp)

A restructuring of the movement

“We are not leaving, we are expanding” is the motto behind the lifting of the tents. This coincides with the idea that the central camp of Sol will hand over the baton to the neighborhood assemblies, who are in charge of local action, such as the ones carried our already: protests outside health centers that are to be privatized, gatherings before local government representatives or debates for specific action in each district. All of these smaller assemblies will carry the movement onward, while Sol square will remain as an extraordinary gathering place, a symbol for the movement and a space for the General Assembly.

Other camps in Spain

The camps in Huelva, Granada, Mieres, Langreo, Aviles, Gijon, Oviedo, Teruel and Salamanca have chosen to follow the examples of the main cities and leave the squares. Some of them, like Pamplona will have a permanent information point where people can ask for ways to participate. In other places such as in Tenerife, Santiago de Compostela, Valencia and Santander the camps will go on indefinitely.

Live feed from Madrid:

Watch live streaming video from spanishrevolutionsol at

2011-06-13 FBI in Yemen, US Counter Terrorism = GTMO + Drones + CIA + FBI ≠ Non Violent Protests = Oil + More Terrorism

ImageToday, CNN reports that a "Yemeni colonel and two soldiers were killed in clashes with Islamic militants in the southern province of Abyan." According to one official, "Clashes are intensifying in the city and the government is trying to put an end to the militants' control over the city."

On Saturday Yemeni army forces killed 18 ‘terrorists’ in Zinjibar, the capital of the southern Abyan province, and another three in Lawdar, a second provincial city, according to Reuters. In a text message from the Yemeni Defense Ministry, officials said that the army had also destroyed a weapons and ammunition cache in Zinjibar.

Yemeni President Saleh sustained serious burns and shrapnel injuries in an attack on his presidential complex in Sanaa on June 3. Saleh was transported to Saudi Arabia and is “in stable condition and recovering,” the Yemen’s ambassador to Britain told Reuters. But, according to an informed source, identified by Agence-France Presse as a Yemeni expatriate in Riyadh, the health of Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh was 'bad.' (Source: Al Arabiya).

Colonel mustard in the library with the candlestick

While the government has blamed the al-Ahmar tribe for the attack, Al Jazeera reports that some residents in Sanaa suspect that the raid could actually be orchestrated by the president himself.

Ibrahim Sharqieh, Deputy Director of the Brookings Doha Center said in an interview with Canadian National Television that:

[T]he strongest story is that the tribal forces, which have been clashing with the government forces for the past couple of days, are responsible for the attack. However, the tribal leader of the biggest tribe, Al-Ahmar, has announced today that they are not responsible for the attack, that they did not attack the presidential palace as many have said. So it’s really hard to say. We know there are other troops that defected on their own and that some of them might have done that on their own. Others have said that Mohsen al-Ahmar, the general, was probably involved, but these are all speculations. One thing that we know for sure is that protestors in the main square in Sanaa are committed to the non-violent protests in the protest against the regime. (Source: Brookings Institute)

On Saturday, a Senior Yemeni official told the Global Post that the "FBI is aiding Yemeni law enforcement in their investigation in the attack on the presidential compound. The FBI team arrived in Sanaa last Wednesday." “[The FBI] are concerned about how the attack was carried out. Everyone is a suspect,” the Yemeni official said. The official added that the FBI team is expected to complete its investigation by the end of the week.

Aid, Intel, Al Qaeda, and the FBI

The FBI's involvement came at the request of the Yemeni government, and follows a traditional pattern of Saleh using US interests in Al Qaeda and the 'Global War on Terror' as a means of shoring up aid, weapons, and Intel in his battle against intranational conflicts that predate the protests that began in late January.

The US Congress approved $58.4 million in aid to Yemen in fiscal year 2010. That same year, the US Defense Department also provided Yemen’s security forces with $150 million worth of training and equipment. In 2011, the Obama Administration requested $106 million in U.S. economic and military assistance to Yemen. (Source: March 2011 Congressional Research Report).

As Yemeni tweeter, @alguneid , remarked, it’s a win, win scenario: "Manipulate the USA for more support and aid, while the USA administration shows the public that it is tough on security. Good for votes and popularity rating."

The request for FBI involvement follows on the heels of assistant for US homeland security and counterterrorism, John Brennan's June 3 dispatch to the Persian Gulf, the same day of the attack on the Yemini presidential palace. Brennan traveled onward to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates for talks with officials there about Yemen.

The Yemeni official, cited in the Global Post report, "denied that the Yemeni government believed Al Qaeda had infiltrated the Yemeni government or security apparatus, emphasizing that the government simply wanted the aid of the FBI’s expertise and resources in the investigation."

Al Qaeda to base, 'The NSA are dummies.'

On June 2, Al Qaeda’s media arm, As-Sahab, published a new video on the Internet. According to Stratfor analysis, the "video was the Al Qaeda core’s latest attempt to encourage grassroots jihadists to undertake lone-wolf operations in the West, a recurrent theme in jihadist messages since late 2009."

In earlier days, the message of Islamist militants like Abdullah Azzam was 'Come, join the caravan.' This message suggested that militants who answered the call would be trained, equipped and put into the field of battle under competent commanders. It was a message of strength and confidence — and a message that stands in stark contrast to As-Sahab’s current message of 'Don’t come and join us, it is too dangerous — conduct attacks on your own instead.' The very call to leaderless resistance is an admission of defeat.

CIA was there first, in a big way

According to the Global Post, the FBI's arrival follows a large escalation of US presence in the region with a "covert military campaign against Al Qaeda cells in the southern Yemeni governorate of Abyan." The same report states that the "United States has been using airstrikes and unmanned drone attacks in its attempt to kill the American cleric Anwar al-Awlaki, the leader of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, and other top Al Qaeda members based in Yemen.

In a November 2010 Washington Post report, "U.S. officials described a major buildup of intelligence and lethal assets already underway, including the arrival of additional CIA teams and up to 100 Special Operations force trainers, and the deployment of sophisticated surveillance and electronic eavesdropping systems operated by spy services including the National Security Agency.

According to a March 2011 Congressional Research Report by Jeremy Sacks:

The U.S. military historically has maintained only a limited presence in Yemen, and as such, U.S. intelligence agencies may have limited knowledge of the local terrain and may need time before they are able to effectively employ all assets to their maximum capacity. In December 2010, Yemeni security officials said that they would establish provincial anti-terrorism units. The announcement came a day after John Brennan, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, reportedly called President Saleh to stress the need for more Yemeni counter terrorism cooperation against AQAP.

But far back as the Fall of 2009, "a select group of American officials met with Saleh and showed him irrefutable evidence that Al Qaeda was aiming at him and his relatives, who dominate Yemen's military and intelligence services. That seems to have abruptly changed Saleh's attitude...The Yemenis began to mount more aggressive ground raids on Al Qaeda targets, in coordination with the airstrikes that began in December, according to a 2009 report in the New York Times.

US Counter Terrorism Policy in Yemen = GTMO + Drones + Tyrant Aid

The US policy towards Yemen ostensibly centers on counter terrorism. Its operational application in diplomatic relations with Yemen concerns itself with GTMO detainees and drones in a Global War on Terror.

Yemeni detainees, "89 in total — make up over half of the 172 prisoners still held" at the torture camp. In an WL Central interview with former detainee Omar Deghayes, Deghayes said, "It is very sad because...there are very many of the Yemenis. Even the Americans think they are insignificant. Even according to their standards... and they are not people who are important for interrogation." Some of them have been held for up to seven years despite the fact that they have already been cleared for release, , according to Guantanamo historian Andy Worthington:

On the one hand, this involves the US government endorsing guilt by nationality, and being content to tar the whole of Yemen as a terrorist nation that cannot be trusted with looking after prisoners released from Guantánamo, and on the other it involves supporters of Guantánamo telling deliberate lies about the Yemenis, by claiming that released Yemenis have “returned to the battlefield” in significant numbers, when only two examples have been reported — one who was subsequently killed in an airstrike, and another who surrendered to the Yemeni authorities. (Source: Andy Worthington).

The irony, Worthington continues, is that the "majority of the alleged recidivists in the Gulf — around a dozen ex-prisoners — are Saudis, released by President Bush against the advice of his own intelligence agencies, who identified them as a threat. These men passed through the rehabilitation program but then some of them crossed the border into Yemen to join Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, a small terrorist cell inspired by Osama bin Laden’s example."

Yemen first became an interest to US counter-terrorism policy with the 2000 bombing of the Cole. Cable 07SANAA1989 recounts how "Frances Townsend, Assistant to the President for Homeland Security and Counter terrorism, met with President Ali Abdullah Saleh in Aden on October 22 to discuss mutual cooperation in the War on Terror" and Jamal Al-Badawi.

Jamal al Badawi was held in Yemeni custody despite two successful escapes in April 2003 and then again in 2006. After his second escape with 22 other Al Qaeda convicts in 2006, in what many believe was an officially sanctioned prison break:

Badawi turned himself in a year later, pledged his allegiance to President Saleh, and promised to cooperate with the authorities and help locate other militants. In October 2007, soon after his return to custody, the Yemeni government reportedly released Badawi from house arrest despite vocal protestations from the Bush Administration. Yemen has refused to extradite Badawi to the United States (Article 44 of the Yemeni constitution states that a Yemeni national may not be extradited to a foreign authority), where he has been indicted in the U.S. District Court in New York on murder charges. (Source: March 2011 Congressional Research Report)

US Counter Terrorism Policy in Yemen ≠ Non-violent Protesters ≠ Reform

For the Obama administration actions speak louder than words. In February, WL Central editor Heather Marsh wrote a piece about how Obama overruled both Amnesty International and Saleh on the release of Journalist Abdul Ilah Shayi, who had been jailed after alleging US involvement in missile attack on the community of al-Ma’jalah in the Abyan area, southern Yemen, which took place on 17 December 2009 and killed 55 people, including 14 women and 21 children.

Shayi had written articles accusing the US government of involvement and had been interviewed by Al Jazeera. He was sentenced on January 18 to five years in prison by the Specialized Criminal Court in the capital Sana’a, for his purported links to al-Qa’ida. His acquaintance, Abdul Kareem al-Shami, was jailed for two years on similar charges. He 'appears to have been targeted for his work uncovering information on US complicity in attacks in the country,' Amnesty International has said.

Marsh writes that, "President Saleh issued a decree of pardon to Shayi, as part of the concessions he was offering to protesters. But on February 2, according to a statement from the White House, US President Barack Obama expressed his ‘concern’ over the proposed release and the promised release has since been ignored":

As shown in cable 09SANAA2251 the government of Yemen was lying to the Yemeni people and claiming responsibility themselves for attacks on the people which were carried out by the US. The cable complains that Saleh "appears not overly concerned about unauthorized leaks regarding the U.S. role and negative media attention to civilian deaths."

In March, Human Rights Watch urged the Obama Administration to suspend military assistance until President Saleh “ends attacks on largely peaceful anti-government protesters and prosecutes those responsible.” One month prior, the Obama Administration requested $115 million in military and economic assistance for Yemen for 2012.

As New York Times writer Robert Worth writes about US counter terrorism policy in Yemen, "raids and strikes" are short term tactics used by a government bureaucracy with a lot of weapons, and powerful interests, and no real expertise about Yemen:

The real problem was that Yemen, with its mind-boggling corruption, its multiple insurgencies, its disappearing oil and water and its deepening poverty, is sure to descend further into chaos if something does not change. Everyone has acknowledged this, including President Obama and a growing chorus of terrorism analysts. So far, the calls for action have yielded nothing. I spoke to a number of American officials in Washington and to a variety of diplomats at the embassy in Sana. They all told me the same thing: no one has a real strategy for Yemen, in part because there are so few people who have any real expertise about the country. No American diplomats travel to the provinces where Al Qaeda has found sanctuary. Even the Yemeni government has great difficulty reaching these places; often they have no idea whether airstrikes or bombing runs have hit their targets, because they dare not show up to check until days afterward.(Source: New York Times)

And, while every other entrenched interest inside Yemen and abroad is trying to co-opt the non-violent movement's revolution for their own, the US government has practically ignored it altogether.

"The parties think the youth can continue to be their weapon in the face of Saleh, but in negotiations pay no attention to them. The opposition has become part of the regime we want to bring down, and are no different than it." said Adel Saleh, an organizer with one of the youth groups active in protests demanding Saleh's departure. (Source: Reuters.)

US + Saudi - Yemen = Oil

This US policy towards Yemen may have more to do with the US commercial interests and Saudi Arabia than front facing security concerns towards Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. Bab al Mandab between the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean is one of the most strategic shipping lanes in the world with 3 million barrels per day of oil, according to the US Energy Information Administration.

Quoting the Yemen Observerable, cable 08SANAA1053 states that, "Saudi King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz said Yemen's security is 'inseparable' from the Kingdom's security." The cable goes on to state that "rumors persist in Yemen that Saudis fund many of Yemen's Internal conflicts":

Saudi Arabia supported and funded royalist forces in Yemen in the 1962 revolutionary war against Egyptian-backed republicans. Again in the 1994 civil war, Saudi Arabia supported the southern secessionists against the Saleh government. "" reported on November 14, 2007, that King Abdullah met with Yemeni opposition figures in London, lending credence to Yemeni allegations of Saudi interference in current North-South relations. Yemeni privately-owned newspaper al-Shari' wrote that senior Saudi officials met exiled Yemeni leadership in August 2007, opining that these meetings usurped Saleh's attempts to secure meetings with the same exiled Yemenis. Al-Shari' asserted that this interference gave Saudi Arabia a degree of control over the developments in the south" (Source: 08SANAA1053)

The cable also states that Saudis are rumored to be "helping the al-Houthis in their fight against the Republic of Yemen, solidarity in counterterrorism efforts, stating "Saudi Arabia and Yemen praise their cooperation on counterterrorism, but give few details," and insight into Saudi geopolitical interests in Yemen centering on an oil pipeline:

A British diplomat based in Yemen told PolOff that Saudi Arabia had an interest to build a pipeline, wholly owned, operated and protected by Saudi Arabia, through Hadramaut to a port on the Gulf of Aden, thereby bypassing the Arabian Gulf/Persian Gulf and the straits of Hormuz. Saleh has always opposed this. The diplomat contended that Saudi Arabia, through supporting Yemeni military leadership, paying for the loyalty of shaykhs and other means, was positioning itself to ensure it would, for the right price. (Source: 08SANAA1053)

Cable 09SANAA1617, states, "Removing Saleh from power in a scenario that does not involve throwing the country into complete chaos will be impossible without the support of the (currently skeptical) Saudi leadership and elements of the Yemeni military."

2011-06-13 On 40th Anniversary of Pentagon Papers, Daniel Ellsberg Speaks Up in Support of Pfc Bradley Manning

ImageEllsberg calls for immediate termination of court-martial.

WASHINGTON. DC— Today the National Archives and the Kennedy, Johnson and Nixon Presidential Libraries will at long last release the entirety of the Pentagon Papers, 40 years to the day after the New York Times’ publication of large portions of the top secret documents. Daniel Ellsberg, then an analyst with the RAND Corporation, had leaked the Pentagon Papers to the Times in order to reveal information about the Vietnam War to the American people.

The full contents of the Pentagon Papers will also be available online at

The original release of the Pentagon Papers is perhaps the most famous instance of whistle blowing in the history of the United States. The documents, officially titled, “Report of the Office of the Secretary of Defense Vietnam Task Force,” were classified as top secret. Disclosure of the information is credited with adding significant public pressure to end the Vietnam War.

Ellsberg is using the occasion to speak out in support of PFC Bradley Manning—the Army intelligence analyst who stands accused of releasing classified documents to WikiLeaks—as Ellsberg has done since Manning was detained a year ago (May 26, 2010).

“If Bradley Manning did what he’s accused of, then he’s a hero of mine,” Ellsberg said. “I wish I could say that our government has improved its treatment of whistle-blowers in the 40 years since the Pentagon Papers. Instead we’re seeing an unprecedented campaign to crack down on public servants who reveal information that Congress and American citizens have a need to know.”

President Barack Obama recently stated, "Ellsberg's material was classified on a different basis [than the WikiLeaks disclosures.]"

"That's true," Ellsberg says. "Mine were top secret.” The Pentagon Papers were much higher in classification than any of the secret materials alleged to have been released by PFC Bradley Manning. The Pentagon Papers were similarly large in scope to the information Manning is accused of releasing.

Ellsberg faced twelve federal felony counts, for a total possible sentence of 115 years in prison. All charges against him were eventually dismissed by his trial judge on the grounds of what the judge called "the totality" of governmental misconduct toward Ellsberg during his period under indictment, "which offends a sense of justice."

Ellsberg asserts that Manning, too, has been subjected to governmental misconduct "that offends a sense of justice." That includes abusive, punitive and illegal conditions of detention for over nine months (until recently), with prolonged isolation amounting to torture.

He also argues that Bradley Manning cannot get a fair military trial as President Obama has already publicly declared him to be guilty. Since any military judge and jury serve under the President’s command, this amounts to a directed verdict by the Commander-in-Chief. Such ‘Unlawful Command Influence’ makes a fair trial by courts-martial impossible, and this process should be immediately terminated for Manning.

“History has vindicated Daniel Ellsberg, and history will vindicate Bradley Manning. Both men are American heroes,” said Jeff Paterson with the Bradley Manning Support Network. “Forty years ago the Pentagon Papers helped to build public pressure to end the Vietnam War. Today WikiLeaks revelations are helping to catalyze democratic movements across the Middle East. History is on the side of those who reveal—not those who conceal—information.”

PFC Bradley Manning, 23-years-old, was detained in Iraq one year ago on May 26, 2010. He still awaits his first public court hearing, now expected to begin later this summer. Over 4,300 individuals have contributed $333,000 towards PFC Manning’s legal fees and related public education efforts. The Bradley Manning Support Network is dedicated to securing due process and a public trial for PFC Manning — and to eventually winning his freedom.

*For those seeking more info (especially members of the press):

Contact: Matt Smucker,

Bradley Manning Support Network

2011-06-13 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks

ImageAll the times are EST. You can contact me at with any news tips. Twitter username is @kgosztola. Also, if you are looking for some insightful discussion of stories related to WikiLeaks, I encourage you to check out the catalog of podcasts posted here at WL Central from the "This Week in WikiLeaks" show I produce every week.

9:30 PM Peru cables: El Comercio reports Peru sought assistance for removal of 29,000 landmines on border of Peru and Ecuador

9:25 PM From this morning, Marcy Wheeler at Firedoglake writes on the guidelines the US government has given Gitmo lawyers on using the Gitmo detainee assessment reports released by WikiLeaks.

9:20 PM Lulz Security, which hacked PBS's website just after it aired the "WikiSecrets" documentary, now hacks Senate computers.

9:10 PM Providing an example of what members of the US Congress think about cybersecurity and what a congressman might think needs to be done, Rep. Jim Langevin of Rhode Island pens this column for The Hill. He suggests:

Cybersecurity proposals released recently by the White House represent significant progress; however, they are incomplete and Congress must strengthen them.

Two important advances in the president’s plan are national data breach requirements that keep customers informed about hackers stealing and exploiting their private information, and increased penalties and definitions for cybercrime. These efforts go a long way in combating effects of the large-scale breaches making headlines every month.

6:10 PM Artificial intelligence to be used to help US government over-classify more information that WikiLeaks might release at a later date and show us US government has a problem with over-classification of information. That's right—Federal Times reports, "The exploding volume of classified information that agencies generate is overwhelming their abilities to effectively manage, archive and, eventually, declassify it, according to experts." What's the solution?

"Context accumulation" -- Artificial intelligence software could be used to automatically classify information. By using "rules written by humans and past examples of prior classification and declassification decisions, artificial intelligence software can 'learn' what information to classify, release and withhold."

The group pushing this idea is called "the Public Interest Declassification Board, an advisory body based at the National Archives and Records Administration." And, "the six-member panel, mostly made up of ex-government officials, was charged by President Obama with drafting a fundamental redesign of the classification system."

5:50 PM Techdirt on the absurd reality that the State Dept is funding "various tools and services to help dissidents route around online censorship" while censoring forms of internet communication at home, like going after WikiLeaks and Bitcoin, etc.

efforts to censor other forms of internet communication at home. Of course, all that needs to happen then is for people to use the same "stealth" technology here at home as well...

5:20 PM Daniel Ellsberg for The Guardian writes on the 40th anniversary of the Pentagon Papers. Ellsberg declares, "What we need released this month are the Pentagon Papers of Iraq and Afghanistan (and Pakistan, Yemen and Libya). We're not likely to get them; they probably don't yet exist, at least in the useful form of the earlier ones. But the original studies on Vietnam are a surprisingly not-bad substitute, definitely worth learning from."

He adds, "We face the same futile effort in Afghanistan to find and destroy nationalist guerrillas or to get them to quit fighting foreign invaders (now us) and the corrupt, ill-motivated, dope-dealing despots we support. As in Vietnam, the more troops we deploy and the more adversaries we kill (along with civilians), the quicker their losses are made good and the more their ranks grow, since it's our very presence, our operations and our support of a regime without legitimacy that is the prime basis for their recruiting."

5:15 PM Here's the review of CNN's "WikiWars" documentary, which aired last night, that I published this afternoon.

5:10 PM Anonymous prepares to launch cyberattack on the Federal Reserve

5:00 PM Saudi Arabia woefully incapable of protecting country's oil? McClatchy reports on cables and what they reveal on Saudi Arabian oil security

3:20 PM Former Sen. Mike Gravel, who helped get the Pentagon Papers into the public record, tells PRESS TV, all WikiLeaks "has done is provide information to the citizens as to what the government is doing and in a democracy that is vital...If people don't know what the government is doing they cannot react to change the policies."

3:00 PM CBS News with more on the story of the FBI expanding its ability to violate US citizens' privacy. David S. Morgan reports that relaxed rules will now allow the FBI to "formally open assessments on subjects before conducting searches for information" and agents will be able to do so without keeping a record. And, "restrictions on the administration of lie-detector tests will be relaxed, as will searching people's garbage, when it comes to evaluating a subject's potential use as an FBI informant."

Again, all tools that will allow for greater repression of people linked to WikiLeaks or those who engage in political activism that can be considered adversarial to US domestic or foreign policy.

Image12:15 PM National Archives, on the declassification of the Pentagon Papers, notes all "the supplemental back-documentation is included. In the Gravel Edition, 80% of the documents in Part V.B. were not included." Part V.B. are the "Justification of the War" sections that are comprised of "internal documents" on the Vietnam War from each presidential administration.

For example, here's one of the "Justification of the War" sections from the Kennedy Administration -- about 187 MB in size.

12:00 PM Pentagon Papers, after 40 years, finally declassified and posted in full on the National Archives website

11:50 AM Partisan politics debases the notion of government transparency as Republican congressman Darrell Issa beats Vice President Joe Biden to introducing US government transparency initiative.

11:20 AM New York Times posted this report on the FBI pushing the boundaries of privacy (and perhaps violating the Constitution in the process, maybe?). The expansion of these powers are the exact thing that empowers government to target individuals linked to WikiLeaks or activists who engage in political activism. Its 14,000 agents would, under new guidelines, be granted "more leeway to search databases, go through household trash or use surveillance teams to scrutinize the lives of people who have attracted their attention."

2011-06-14 Rallies Planned to Protest WikiLeaks Grand Jury Subpoenas

ImageDavid House of the Bradley Manning Support Network to Appear Wednesday Morning, June 15th in Alexandria, VA

ALEXANDRIA, Va. — David House, a founding member of the Bradley Manning Support Network, is among several Boston area residents who have been ordered to testify before a federal grand jury convened in Alexandria, VA to investigate WikiLeaks. House is scheduled to appear tomorrow, Wednesday morning, June 15th.

Advocates of government transparency are preparing to rally outside the courthouse tomorrow morning starting at 9:30am ET, coinciding with House’s appearance. Supporters in Boston—where House resides—will hold an afternoon rally at 6pm ET. (details below)

“This harassment only increases our resolve to defend our fundamental constitutional freedoms,” said Jeff Paterson of the Bradley Manning Support Network. "By conducting the people’s business in secret and persecuting transparency advocates, government decision-makers have abandoned core American values.”

In addition to supporting David House and opposing the grand jury investigation of WikiLeaks, the protests will draw attention to the ongoing pretrial confinement of PFC Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst who stands accused of blowing the whistle on illegal and unjust foreign policies.

“The Justice Department’s unprecedented crackdown, not only on accused whistle-blowers, but also their friends and supporters, stems from the same impulse to silence legitimate dissent that has become a hallmark of corrupt governments the world over,” said Kevin Zeese, an attorney with the Bradley Manning Support Network. "It is heartening to see that some witnesses are refusing to cooperate with this campaign to conceal the truth."

According to journalist Glenn Greenwald, "One witness who has appeared before the Grand Jury has already refused to answer any questions beyond the most basic biographical ones (name and address), invoking the Fifth Amendment right against self-incrimination to do so, and other witnesses are highly likely to follow suit."

Wednesday, June 15 Rally details:

Alexandria, VA Rally

The Washington Metro chapter of the Bradley Manning Support Network will coordinate a rally in the plaza outside the United States District Court at 401 Courthouse Square in Alexandria, VA. The rally will coincide with David House’s scheduled appearance at 9:30am ET on Wednesday, June 15, 2011.

Boston Rally

Supporters of David House and others who have been subpoenaed by the Justice Department in the WikiLeaks grand jury investigation will meet at the Boston Courthouse Government Center on Wednesday., June 15, 2011 at 6:00pm ET.

*For more information (especially if you are a member of the press) -

Bradley Manning Support Network

Contact: Matt Smucker,

2011-06-14 Torture Accountability After All?

Authored by Stephen Soldz.

Those of us who opposed the Bush administration torture program have been demoralized by the lack of accountability for the numerous abuses committed as part of that program. President Obama decried torture, and said he would end it, but he also said he wanted to "look forward, not back," apparently precluding investigations of the abuses committed by the previous administration.

The Obama administration has not merely refused to initiate criminal investigations of those who approved and ordered the Bush-Cheney torture program. They have declined even to support a Commission of Inquiry to explore what happened in a non-judicial forum. Further, the administration used every legal tool available including spurious arguments about national security in US courts and diplomatic pressure on foreign governments to stymie efforts at accountability through ethics complaints, domestic civil trials, and foreign criminal cases for the crimes committed by predecessors.

Over the last few years, as one avenue of accountability after another was closed, it looked as if the torture program would be protected as carefully by the Obama administration as it was by the Bush administration. The result, many feared, was that torture would remain an available tool of the state, to be dragged out by future administrations who could cite the lack of accountability for Bush torture by a Democratic administration as evidence of a bipartisan consensus that torture really isn't that bad. Many human rights experts have argued that future courts, too, could view the current lack of accountability as a legal precedent, potentially further shielding future torturers.

The one avenue for accountability that wasn't closed by the Obama administration was the investigation by Department of Justice prosecutor John Durham. Durham, readers may recall, was the Federal prosecutor originally tasked to investigate the destruction of CIA interrogation videotapes in apparent violation of a court order. In 2009 Attorney General Eric Holder expanded Durham's mandate to include investigating incidents of detainee treatment that went beyond even those actions approved under the so-called "torture memos" of the Bush Justice Department.

Durham's expanded investigation has dragged on for two years with little visibility, except for his declaration in January that he would not indict anyone for the destruction of the interrogation videotapes. Many in the human rights community took the lack of indictments in the tapes case as an indication that Durham would ultimately decline to prosecute anyone, thus closing yet another avenue for possible accountability.

The pro-torture party of former Bush officials and right-wing pundits who defended the "enhanced interrogation" torture program at every opportunity did not appear as convinced as human rights advocates that Durham's investigation would ultimately turn into a paper tiger. In the aftermath of the Bin Laden raid, they repeatedly harped on two issues. First, they vociferously claimed, using patently absurd arguments, that Bin Laden's death showed that torture "worked." Second, they frantically demanded that Durham's investigation be called off.


It now appears that the pro-torture party may have recognized the implications of Durham's investigation better than did most human rights advocates. On Monday, Adam Zagorin reported in TIME that Durham was in the process of actively investigating the murder of Manadel al-Jamadi, the Iraqi general whose frozen, brutally abused body appeared in the Abu Ghraib photographs. While al-Jamadi's death had earlier been ruled a homicide, the Justice Department had taken no action. But Zagorin reports that Durham is now presenting evidence to a grand jury on the Jamadi case. And he apparently has his eyes on a possible perpetrator:

Perhaps most important, according to someone familiar with the investigation, Durham and FBI agents have said the probe's focus involves "a specific civilian person." Durham didn't name names, but those close to the case believe that person is Mark Swanner, a non-covert CIA interrogator and polygraph expert who questioned al-Jamadi immediately before his death.

Also important is that Zagorin has a copy of a subpoena from the investigation that suggests that Durham may be looking beyond al-Jamadi:

TIME has obtained a copy of a subpoena signed by Durham that points to his grand jury's broader mandate, which could involve charging additional CIA officers and contract employees in other cases. The subpoena says "the grand jury is conducting an investigation of possible violations of federal criminal laws involving War Crimes (18 USC/2441), Torture (18 USC 243OA) and related federal offenses."

Thus, this investigation may be the beginning of a broader investigation of "CIA officers and contract employees." One wonders if the CIA's torture psychologist contractors James Mitchell and Bruce Jessen may be among Durham's targets. This seems plausible since -- based on later torture memos -- their waterboarding and other "enhanced interrogation" tactics went, well beyond those authorized at the time in their intensity and longevity, providing potential liability under Durham's mandate.

If Mitchell and Jessen are indeed targets, that could well explain the near panic of the torture defenders when they refer to the Durham investigation. These former officials and their apologists may be worried that an investigation into the actions of Mitchell and Jessen will go higher up the chain of command. Reportedly, everything done in the secret CIA prisons was approved in Washington, sometimes even in the White House. And, as Watergate demonstrated, investigations, once started, can sometimes climb the command chain to the very top.

There are no certainties in human rights work. But this latest news about Durham's investigation is a rare bright spot in an otherwise bleak picture of continued abuses and absent accountability. It now appears possible that we might have some torture accountability after all.

Stephen Soldz is psychoanalyst, psychologist, public health researcher, and faculty member at the Boston Graduate School of Psychoanalysis. He is co-founder of the Coalition for an Ethical Psychology and is President of Psychologists for Social Responsibility. He was a psychological consultant on two of the Guantanamo trials. Currently he maintains the Psyche, Science, and Society blog.

2011-06-14 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases, #WikiLeaks & More

ImageThis is a "WikiLeaks News Update," constantly updated throughout each day. The blog tracks stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks but also follows stories related to freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, freedom of expression, and sometimes the national security establishment of the United States because each issue/topic helps one further understand WikiLeaks and vice versa.

All the times are EST. You can contact me at with any news tips. Twitter username is @kgosztola. Also, if you are looking for some insightful discussion of stories related to WikiLeaks, I encourage you to check out the catalog of podcasts posted here at WL Central from the "This Week in WikiLeaks" show I produce every week.

10:15 PM Attorney General Eric Holder's Justice Department not only going after WikiLeaks and its supporters but also targeting antiwar and international solidarity activists. Politico reports on how union support for the targeted activists could be a headache for President Obama as he works toward re-election.

Any way WikiLeaks supporters can make the targeting of WikiLeaks a headache for Obama's re-election campaign?

9:45 PM Greek cables: Ta Nea covers what a US diplomat in Greece thought about the university asylum law.

As described in the cable, "he university asylum law was introduced in 1982 to protect freedom of thought and expression on university campuses, in the aftermath of the military dictatorship. The law stipulates that only university rectors and/or leadership have the right to invite police onto a campus." And, the diplomat who wrote the cable concludes, "The fact that changes to the university asylum law are even being discussed is a big step forward for Greek society, an indication that, for many, this formerly sacred legislation may be past its prime and no longer applicable to today's reality."

9:35 PM WikiLeaks is adopting Bitcoins, blogger Andy Greenberg reports. And, Greenberg says they are doing it just as public debate "over the crypto-currency" is heating up

7:50 PM Website inspired by WikiLeaks -- -- being setup by former South Africans to oppose the Protection of Information Bill or "secrecy bill" being pushed by the ANC. The bill is scheduled to be finalized by June 24. The former South Africans' website will allow whistleblowers to make submissions anonymously (like WikiLeaks).

7:40 PM Jacob Appelbaum detained yet again at an airport by Department of Homeland Security. Appelbaum, whose Twitter user data has been subpoenaed and who has received a subpoena to appear before a grand jury empaneled to investigate WikiLeaks, tweeted, "They tried to get me to say that I worked for or work with WikiLeaks ten different ways. I expressed that I work for Tor and the UW."

For his account of the harassment, read through his recent tweets.

6:10 PM Free Speech Radio News interview with Kim Ives, editor of Haiti Liberté, on the latest batch of cables from Haiti being released tomorrow. They show how US deployed obtained permission from Haiti to deploy troops after the earthquake. The next batch is the focus of another round of articles, which will appear on some time in the afternoon.

6:00 PM Next month is the 45th anniversary of the Freedom of Information Act in the United States, writes consumer advocate and progressive political activist Ralph Nader. He talks about working with former Congressman John Moss (D-Calif) to strengthen freedom of information laws. He also talks about what it was like before the US had FOIA:

"...Before Moss and FOIA, the Navy Department refused to divulge to environmentalists the amount of sewage dumped into bays from naval bases. Seems that the Navy brass thought the Russians or Chinese, with such data, could figure out how many sailors were stationed at a particular base..."

"...Each time you see a great segment on “60 Minutes,” or read exposés in the newspapers and magazines, chances are that they were made possible in part, if not in whole, by reporters using the FOIA. Americans learned about how far up the George W. Bush chain of command the torture policy in Iraq reached from an ACLU request under FOIA."

5:20 PM Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake will be at the Alexandria, Virginia courthouse tomorrow to support David House, one of the individuals subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. She posts details on how she will be supporting the Bradley Manning Support Network leader tomorrow and what students in Boston have planned.

4:50 PM US government's criminal probe into WikiLeaks continues to escalate tomorrow with another grand jury hearing. AFP covers the expanding investigation reporting the grand jury is scheduled to take testimony from David House. The coverage notes the hearing might be a "strong indication that the US administration, as promised, continues to pursue" the goal of prosecuting Julian Assange.

4:40 PM Egypt cables: The increasingly sour relationship between Qatar and Egypt, from Al Masry Al Youm

9:30 AM The AP reports on "Project Cyber Dawn," a project that consisted of "private computer experts" advising US officials on how cyberattacks could damage Libya's oil and gas infrastructure and rob Moammar Gadhafi's regime of crucial oil revenue."

The study "outlined ways to disable the coastal refinery at Ras Lanouf using a computer virus similar to the Stuxnet worm that led to a breakdown in Iran's enrichment program late last year," according to Raphael G. Satter. Satter suggests this indicates a cyberattack to cut in to Gaddafi's oil revenue might at some point be used in the Libya war.

9:00 AM Rallies to support those subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury empaneled to investigate WikiLeaks

8:10 AM Whistleblowers and pro-whistleblower organizations sign on to a campaign to get Project on Government Oversight (POGO), OMB Watch, the National Security Archive, Open the Government.Org, and the Reporters Committee to publicly take back their Transparency Award to President Obama.

2011-06-15 #Spanishrevolution blockades Parliament in Barcelona, violence tinges the #15M movement #europeanrevolution


At least 36 people have been injured after Spanish policed dispersed thousands of protesters blockading the first day of the Catalan Parliament in Barcelona. The regional government is set to pass many measures that will cut spending to social services by up to 10 percent. The protests are a continuation of the M-15 movement, which is demanding a more participatory democracy and social justice. Late on Tuesday afternoon, June 14th, the police forcibly evicted hundreds of people from the public park, where protests were planning to camp. However, the people remained there, and a massive popular assembly of several thousand was held at the gates.

The gathering started last night and barricades were constructed blocking all entrances to the building. Early Wednesday morning police officers dispersed them blockading by force using rubber bullets, after many politicians, however acknowledging the right to protest, asked for their own legitimate right to work. The indignados, however, remained oblivious, and many stated that they would not let them pass, that they could go away or joining them. Even though the police tried to escort the legislators safely into Parliament, the direct approach by many of them brought local outbursts of violence: objects such as banana peals were thrown, some of them were painted with spray paint and all of them were thoroughly insulted. As the violence grew, police decided to transport the remaining politicians by helicopter, twenty five of them arrived in this fashion, including the President to the chamber, Artur Mas. All the official sites for the movement have condemned the violent actinos carried out in Barcelona, saying that they wish to remind the general public that these were only a few individuals and that they do not represent the movement as a whole. Some even went as far as to say that they would be willing to cooperate with the authorities to detain these individuals. On Twitter, many users present suggested the possibility that these people were secret police, infiltrated to cause the violence (such things have happened before, most notably during the Egyptian revolution in February). One particular user @sergio_aloud stated that while this was happening, he told the police to arrest the people throwing objects and that they inexplicably denied to do so. None of these theories have been confirmed.

After all the MPs entered and the session started (many were not present and it is an important day, as the budgets will be debated) police started to disperse the protest. This happened in a violent way, although perhaps it was less so than last time in Plaza Catalunya (link here). What did not change is that riot police officers were not wearing identification numbers, as the law states they must, making protesters shout: “This is a dictatorship, without identification you are paramilitary forces!”. The barricades have been reconstructed and expanding to the surrounding streets, but now the protesters are trying to block the politicians inside the parliament. Thousands remain and are chanting “they don’t represent us” and ¨Real democracy Now¨. All exits are currently blocked (4pm) and the politicians are not able to leave the parliament. Artur Mas, chamber President, has threatened the protestors from inside the building, saying that if they don´t cooperate he will make "legitimate use of force" after assuring that protesters have "crossed the red line". All parties involved in the Catalan Parliament, including the smaller ones with similar interests toward the movement, have condemned today´s events.

Secret police accused of violence in Barcelona, evidence surfaces on the Web

The following video is coming up repeatedly throughout social media networks and other channels:

In it is the alleged evidence proving that the violence against politicians outside of the Catalan Parliament in Barcelona was started by undercover police. This is not an uncommon tactic for police or government services, as it was proved true in several of the Arab countries that carried out their own revolts. The video shows the start of the incidents, and the cameraman is heard to be saying “those are the ones that started it, over there”. Various people in the video can be seen pointing towards a group calling them out as the agitators. A young man can be seen angrily reprimanding them for their actions and then the camera realizes that one of them is seen to be wearing a earphone. A small group of them gather together away from the protestors and are surrounded by cries that signaled them out as policemen. Shortly afterward the riot police escorted them away, proving their status. This coincides with various tweets, whose user´s stated that they had asked the police to intervene against the violent ones and received no response. There is also a photo that proves the same fact.

2011-06-15 David House's Statement on Appearing Before the WikiLeaks Grand Jury

Image *News Advisory from the Bradley Manning Support Network

David House is a founding member of the Bradley Manning Support Network. He was subpoenaed to appear before a federal grand jury today in Alexandria, VA. House is among several Boston area residents who have been ordered to testify before the grand jury, which is investigating WikiLeaks.

House and his lawyer entered the courthouse this morning at approximately 10:00am ET, amidst a gathering of supporters who held signs with messages of support for House. The rally also called for government transparency and protection for whistleblowers — and for freedom for accused WikiLeaks source PFC Bradley Manning.

The prosecution initially attempted to prevent David House from taking notes. This was the reason for the recess and reconvening at 4:00pm ET. There was no legal basis for this order, and House was ultimately permitted to take notes.

House was questioned for approximately one hour, beginning at 4:00pm ET. He invoked his Fifth Amendment rights to remain silent. He read from the below statement at 5:00pm ET in the plaza outside of the United States District Court at 401 Courthouse Square in Alexandria, VA.

The Department of Justice (DoJ) is attempting to codify a task it started over 40 years ago: the political regulation of journalism. The same climate of intimidation that surrounded the Pentagon Papers trial persists to this day as the DoJ seeks to limit the freedoms of the Fourth Estate, using the pretense of alleged violations of the Espionage Act.

The show trial that is now underway in Alexandria VA has the potential to set a dangerous precedent for regulating the media. Using Nixonian fear tactics that were honed during the Pentagon Papers investigation, the DoJ is attempting to dismantle a major media organization—WikiLeaks—and indict its editor, Julian Assange. The DoJ's ever-widening net has now come to encompass academics, students, and journalists in the Cambridge area.

The Administration's goal is to force these individuals to testify against this media organization in an attempt to cast its publications and those of its media partners — the New York Times, the Guardian, Der Spiegel, Le Monde, and El Pais — as acts of espionage. The government has also violated my Fourth Amendment rights by executing a warrantless seizure on my laptop in an attempt to identify, target and ensnare Cambridge-based supporters of WikiLeaks.

It is my conviction that the American people must call for a cessation of the Department of Justice's politically motivated harassment.

Starting at 6:00pm ET in Boston, supporters of David House and others who have been subpoenaed by the Justice Department in the WikiLeaks grand jury investigation are rallying at the Boston Courthouse Government Center.

# # #

For more details, contact Matt Smucker, 717.209.0445, (especially if you are a member of the press).

2011-06-15 Grand Jury Meets to Question WikiLeaks Supporters: 'Do You or Have You Ever Worked for WikiLeaks?'

A federal grand jury empanelled to investigate WikiLeaks meets again in Alexandria, Virginia today. David House, co-founder of the Bradley Manning Support Network, is expected to appear before the grand jury. He and others in the Greater Boston area have been subjected to this process, which seeks to embroil them in espionage charges for being linked to WikiLeaks.

It is a tired cliché, perhaps, but, with each new development in the investigation of WikiLeaks—in a process that might be considered a part of a larger war on WikiLeaks—more and more individuals are being made to answer the question, “Are you or have you ever worked for WikiLeaks?" (Soon they will be asked, "Do you or have you ever been supportive or sympathetic toward WikiLeaks?")

House has been targeted consistently by the government for the past months. His lawful association with the Bradley Manning Support Network, which was created to raise funds for the legal defense of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged whistleblower to WikiLeaks now being held at Ft. Leavenworth, has transformed him into a marked man. In November 2010, Department of Homeland Security agents stopped House at O’Hare International airport as he was returning from Mexico.

The agents asked House about his political activities and beliefs. His laptop computer, camera, and a USB drive were all seized. The questioning and seizure of personal property does not appear to have been carried out because House posed a threat to border security. But, House was made to face intrusive and intimidating tactics because he joined a lawful group.

“The search and seizure of my laptop has had a chilling effect on the activities of the Bradley Manning Support Network, by silencing once-outspoken supporters and causing donors to retreat. Our government should not be treating lawful activists like suspects,” explains House.

The ACLU has come to his defense and filed a lawsuit against the DHS. The ACLU has called for the “return or destruction of any of House’s personal data still in the custody of the government and disclosure of whether and to whom the data has been disseminated.” And, if not for the ACLU sending a letter to DHS, House would likely have not been able to get his seized laptop, camera and USB drive back after seven weeks.

Targeting of House is not an anomaly. This practice of searching, copying and detaining travelers’ laptops, cell phones, and other electronic devices in airports or at land crossings has been used on a number of people when DHS knows there is no probable cause to support such harassment.

Jacob Appelbaum, a computer security researcher and core member of the Tor project who is known to have represented WikiLeaks at the 2010 Hope conference, has been detained and searched. On July 29, 2010, he was detained for three hours at the Newark aiport. His bag was searched, receipts in his bag were photocopied, and his laptop was inspected. Appelbaum refused to answer questions because he did not have a lawyer present. He was not allowed to make a phone call and he had three mobile phones he was carrying seized and not returned.

At DEF CON, days later, he mentioned his phone was seized. Two FBI agents approached him after he spoke to ask him questions.

He was detained when returning from a vacation in Iceland on January 10 of this year at Seattle airport, in Houston, Texas when returning from Siberia on April 12 and, just days ago, on June 14, he was subjected to detention without charge when he arrived in Seattle from Iceland.

Appelbaum is one of the individuals that have reportedly been subpoenaed to appear before the grand jury investigating WikiLeaks. And, in addition to being targeted when traveling, he and two others linked to WikiLeaks, Birgitta Jonsdottir and Rop Gonggrijp, have been subjected to a Department of Justice court order to compel the disclosure of their user account data. The only reason the public is aware of this order is because Twitter stood up for its users and petitioned a court to unseal the order and inform users their account information had been requested.

Americans must understand the “new red” is transparency advocacy especially those who advocate for government transparency by supporting WikiLeaks. WikiLeaks supporters are not the only ones being deemed “red” (these days Americans are being targeted for their animal rights, antiwar, environmental, international solidarity or labor rights activism). However, they may be the latest group to face a government that is using the security industrial-complex and other tools at its disposal to impose a new McCarthyism.

The DOJ appears to be set on finding someone who can be held responsible for helping WikiLeaks operate and release previously classified information, like the “Collateral Murder” video, the Afghan and Iraq War Logs and the US State Embassy Cables, etc. The grand jury is a part of a fishing expedition that allows the government to stretch its tentacles, grab a hold of law-abiding citizens who have taken up the cause of freedom of information or transparency and subject them to an alarming process especially since those who do not cooperate and answer questions can be held in contempt and go to jail.

There is a context for what is happening that media coverage of the grand jury often fails to communicate.

WikiLeaks is not proven to have committed any crimes yet.

WikiLeaks is a publisher. Criminalizing those supporting WikiLeaks and indicting private citizens believed to have supported the organization would be unprecedented. It would not only be another escalation in the war on whistleblowing in the US but it would potentially have a chilling impact on critical national security journalism reporting in the country.

As Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks, has suggested, if Holder's new interpretation of the Espionage Act is allowed to stand, it will criminalize all investigative journalism.

…It will erect a situation where the collaboration between a source and a journalist is interpreted as a conspiracy to commit crime. And as journalists try to police the national security sector and hold it accountable, the crime will be espionage and conspiracy to commit espionage.

That is something that all journalists have a duty to fight against, because in every state it is always the national security sector that requires the greatest scrutiny. It is the sector of the political economy which has the most secrecy and in the end the most coercive power...

Assange appears to understand what is at stake in America if the investigation and criminal probe into WikiLeaks succeeds and produces indictments, which could lead to individuals going to trial and then jail. Those who assist organizations that work with classified information disclosed to them by whistleblowers could find themselves facing a greater risk of investigation. Transparency advocates might hesitate to engage in activities that truly support freedom of information, for fear of government harassment if they go too far.

Criminalizing WikiLeaks would weaken government openness and transparency, giving government officials especially elected political leaders the ability to make insignificant policies and procedures seem like radical acts of openness and transparency because actually upholding principles of openness and transparency in government could be deemed reckless and unlawful.

Success would also further empower the US government to continue to target those who organize and engage in activism. Remember, these individuals are not being called to testify because they work for WikiLeaks or because they had something to do with the release of the previously classified information. They are being asked to testify because they have been upfront in their support of the organization because they believe opening up governments can make the world a better place.

Citizens of the United States, as blogger Glenn Greenwald has experienced, already are afraid of what might happen if they donate to WikiLeaks. They wonder if they might be accused of supporting an enemy of the United States or, worse, giving “material support to terrorism” (recall Newt Gingrich called Julian Assange an info-terrorist).

David House and others are on the front lines of a war. In the trenches, they are taking the heat for a stateless news organization that the US government despises because it has embarrassed them and laid bare how they operate. The US Embassy cables and the war logs show the full extent of abuses, crimes and underhanded dealings, which the US is responsible for in the past decade.

The subpoenaed are being made to pay for the fact that the world knows the truth now. And, that should be enough to drive anyone in the vicinity of Boston or Alexandria to band together and support these individuals at rallies, in between grand jury meetings, by donating to legal defense funds and, most importantly, by supporting Bradley Manning, who, if he did in fact release information to WikiLeaks, is looking more and more like the hero and not the villain in the government’s new McCarthyist battle against citizens who support WikiLeaks.

2011-06-15 Protesters block the Parliament in National Strike day in #Greece #greekrevolution #europeanrevolution


Beside the general aggression and violence which marked this Wednesday in Greece, the call for a national strike and the symbolic blocking of Parliament was relatively successful. According to a local correspondent, at least 100,000 people gathered in today Syntagma, the major square of Athens, to protest against the plans of austerity accorded between the Greek government, the IMF and the European Bank. Apart from some private sector businesses which did not follow the strike that was programmed a week ago, all public institutions were closed today. Rallies took place in different parts of Athens, although with more intensity in Sintagma main square, and all other important cities of Greece.

syntagma 15/06 par amaliak

Contrary to what some media outlets said, Prime-minister Yorgos Papandreu, who called Greek politicians today for a 'national understanding' did not think about leaving his charge, but announced a re-structuration of government staff. He was supposed to make an official speech this night. A cooperative government, a task-force composed by governing party PASOK and the opposition Nea Dimokratia leaded by Antonis Samarás, chief of conservative party, which could be able to hold and manage current unrest in Greece,is the original aim of this new structure, but specialists refuse the possibility of such kind of change. Neo Dimokratia demands the re-negotiation of the agreement with the IMF and the EU and a review to the Constitution so as to form a cooperative government. According to state TV NET, Papandreou wants the new governemnt to be in power until 2013, when elections will take place.
The new package proposed will be applied in the end of June. It allows Greece to receive an extra amount of 12 billions euros, part of the 110 billions of euros accorded in 2010, if they agree to further increase the already drastic social and economic policies. Some of these are so radical that many are pressing the Government to terminate the negotiations, declare the debt to be illegitimate and default.
After camping in front of the parliament for 3 weeks, protesters decided today to form a human chain to block the access to the building, provoking a mass confrontation. It is difficult to say how many people are wounded since there is no official data. It is expected that at least 30 civilians got hurt during the clashes with the Police, the actual number of injured policemen is unknown. Is is reported that Metro workers in Athens established 1st aid center for injured people during protests.
Protests and camping continue in Sintagma Square in Athens despite of police efforts to put an end on demonstrations. Greece protesters and outraged population now wait the global demonstrations planed for next Sunday, 19th June.

* (AP Photo/Lefteris Pitarakis)

More photos.

2011-06-15 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases, #WikiLeaks & More

ImageThis is a "WikiLeaks News Update," constantly updated throughout each day. The blog tracks stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks but also follows stories related to freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, freedom of expression, and sometimes the national security establishment of the United States because each issue/topic helps one further understand WikiLeaks and vice versa.

All the times are EST. You can contact me at with any news tips. Twitter username is @kgosztola. Also, if you are looking for some insightful discussion of stories related to WikiLeaks, I encourage you to check out the catalog of podcasts posted here at WL Central from the "This Week in WikiLeaks" show I produce every week.

Image10:50 PM One more WikiLeaks Haiti news item to draw your attention to. This is a post by Dan Coughlin at The Nation that highlights how a cable was sent out in 2005 by a diplomat that in one sentence read, "The last thing Haiti needs now is an earthquake."

10:45 PM At ACLU's "Blog of Rights," a post on why surveillance programs should not be kept secret.

10:40 PM Jillian C. York of EFF with "This Week in Internet Censorship" -- key news item is the crackdown on "Anonymous" in Turkey, Spain

10:30 PM Privacy bill introduced in the US Senate: Sen. Al Franken and Sen. Richard Blumenthal unveil the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2011 that would require Apple, Google and other third-party developers that create apps for iPhone & Android to request access before collecting and sharing a user's location.

8:50 PM Here at Netroots Nation 2011 conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota in the United States. I am representing WL Central and And, of course, wearing my Nation ball cap to support the magazine which gave me a fine home for the past five months.

I may run into some people from the Nation family while I am here. Also, looking forward to meeting some people from the crew.

More WikiLeaks news updates soon. And stay tuned here for the latest on the WikiLeaks grand jury hearings.

8:30 PM Activists protesting in support of those subpoenaed to appear before the WikiLeaks grand jury note how appropriate that 94 years ago the Espionage Act passed. They tweet the Espionage Act document.

8:25 PM La Jornada has been a WikiLeaks media partner for months and continues to cover the Mexico cables. The latest article on the cable look at four battles in areas of heavy traffic between army and drug gangs, which the US consulate in Nuevo Laredo reported.

And, it looks like the cables come from the time when the long-predicted breaking of a truce between the cartel of the Gulf and Los Zetas in Tamaulipas occurs creating a new turning point in the drug war.

8:15 PM Greek newspaper Ta Nea continues to cover Greek cables. This article is on Greece & Cyprus.

8:10 PM Freedom Against Censorship Thailand blog publishing Thailand cables here.

8:05 PM El Comercio with more cables from Peru. This batch deals with US attitudes toward the government of Alejandro Toledo.

7:55 PM AP's report on the grand jury hearing today features good quotes from David House and his lawyer Peter Krupp. Most of the questions the grand jury tried to get House to answer centered on Bradley Manning. There were none on Julian Assange but House said the Justice Department is "frantically trying to link Bradley Manning and Julian Assange, and they're casting a very wide net."

And, Krupp "accused prosecutors of using the grand jury to trample on House's right to freely associate with Manning or other WikiLeaks supporters."

7:50 PM Jane Hamsher and Lt. Dan Choi ran into Lynndie England's associate while at the WikiLeaks grand jury. Here's the story on that.

7:10 PM David House invokes his Fifth Amendment rights, refused to answer questions. Beginning at 4 pm ET, he was asked questions. It appears he did not answer them and at 5 pm ET he read the statement in the news advisory, which the Bradley Manning Support Network just released to the press.

The news advisory explains that House was taking notes. The grand jury initially tried to prevent him from taking notes. That is what led to a recess taking place until 4 pm, when House finally went before the grand jury to testify.

Also, some news related to Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher. She drove House to the grand jury (as Marcy Wheeler joked, "Target of Exec Power overreach? Jane's your cabbie!" And, Lt. Dan Choi went along with Hamsher and House.

Lt. Dan Choi recently was detained during the Moscow Pride Parade as he and Andy Thayer went over to support gay and lesbian rights in Russia. He has been an ardent supporter of the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." And, in many cases, his fiery activism and acts of civil disobedience pushed the Obama Administration to finally move toward doing away with DADT.

He tweeted, "I am honored that David House is wearing my shirt during grand jury testimony."

And later, Hamsher sent out this update: "US attorney guards told me & @ltdanchoi 2 leave, locked doors & wouldn't let Lyndee Englund associate leave building 2talk w us."

5:50 PM David House out of grand jury meeting. Catching a plane. More soon.

5:40 PM Nothing from David House (@lockean) on Twitter. Grand jury must still be meeting. Protest against the grand jury to begin soon. Follow @CivicCounsel for the latest.

5:20 PM The Nation in its collaboration with Haiti Liberte, a partner with WikiLeaks on the Haiti cables, covers "The Earthquake Cables."

5:15 PM Graffiti in support of WikiLeaks in Beirut here

2011-06-16 WikiLeaks Bulgaria: Top Bulgarian General Exposed US Informer


Chief of Defense Gen. Nikola Kolev and Minister of Defense Nikolai Svinarov
Bulgaria's former Chief of General Staff, Nikola Kolev, currently Chief of Staff of President, Georgi Parvanov, has provided valuable information to the US Embassy in the beginning of 2003.

The revelation comes from an US diplomatic cable, stamped as Secret, dated January, 10, 2003 and titled "Squaring the Lawyer's Circle – Leading Figures in Bulgaria's Ruling NMSP Party Come under Attack." The cable is signed by CDA Roderick Moore.

The cable was released by WikiLeaks and provided to the project for investigative journalism It brings out new details about key figures from the party of former King and Prime Minister, Simeon Saxe-Coburg, National Movement for Stability and Prosperity (NMSP)

According to the cable, "Gen. Kolev has leveled charges of corruption within the Ministry of Defense, MOD, in a (thus far) still secret report delivered to the President and senior MOD leaders."

Kolev's name has emerged in connection with now former NMSP Defense Minister, Nikolay Svinarov.

The cable further tells about the so-called "Gnome" wiretapping scandal involving the then Chief Prosecutor, Nikola Filchev, the Speaker of the Parliament, Ognyan Gerdzhikov, the leader of the NMSP Parliamentary group, Plamen Panayotov, the Interior Minister, Georgi Petkanov, and Svinarov – all except the latter, known to be part of the powerful Lawyers' Circle.

The cable alleges they were all close to Saxe-Coburg's "notorious former Chief of Staff, Stoyan Ganev."

According to the cable, Svinarov also had ties with "reputed organized crime figure, Vasil Bozhkov."

The most startling revelation from this cable, however, remains the "recruitment" of Gen. Kolev, who informed the Americans about the concealed report of corruption within MOD.

The phrase "strictly protect," is following the mention of Kolev's name – a phrase related to the US Embassy's most valuable informers, according to

The entire cable read HERE.

2011-06-16 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases, #WikiLeaks & More

ImageThis is a "WikiLeaks News Update," constantly updated throughout each day. The blog tracks stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks but also follows stories related to freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, freedom of expression, and sometimes the national security establishment of the United States because each issue/topic helps one further understand WikiLeaks and vice versa.

All the times are EST. You can contact me at with any news tips. Twitter username is @kgosztola. Also, if you are looking for some insightful discussion of stories related to WikiLeaks, I encourage you to check out the catalog of podcasts posted here at WL Central from the "This Week in WikiLeaks" show I produce every week.

11:15 PM Micah Zenko for major US think tank, Council on Foreign Relations, declares, "There is needless and excessive classification of government material in the U.S. national security policymaking process." But, goes on to write, "Nothing should ever be revealed in public that compromises the sources and methods used in intelligence collection and analysis. Moreover, the unauthorized disclosure of properly classified information—such as Wikileaks’ release of State Department diplomatic cables—undermines the trust and discretion that is essential for conducting normal diplomatic relations."

Yet, he still goes along with idea that secrecy can harm oversight and democracy's best oversight mechanism is public disclosure, which points to the fact that the key dilemma raised by WikiLeaks is that if the government won't give its citizens access to information people within institutions will leak that information if corruption and abuses are found to be happening. That's a given.

Less classification means less need for WikiLeaks

11:00 PM Bank of America not sure what documents WikiLeaks has in its possession.

8:30 PM Cable from US embassy in Abu Dhabi analyzes the United Arab Emirates' financing of the Taliban.

Here's the key section:

...Available information indicates three main avenues of financial flows: 1) Taliban funds raised in the UAE, 2) Taliban finance (either physical or electronic funds) transiting the UAE into Afghanistan, and 3) Taliban funds from Afghanistan and Pakistan entering the UAE legally or illegally. Given UAEG oversight of the formal financial sector, significant transfers are likely facilitated by cash couriers...

8:20 PM "Danger: hackers at work" - story from The Guardian Patrick Kingsley asks, "Google, Sony, CitiBank and even the CIA . . . they've all been victims of increasingly audacious cyber attacks. So is it coincidence or part of a wider campaign?"

8:10 PM Asahi on Japan cables reports "Japan dragged its feet after Washington asked Tokyo to provide information on private airports and ports in 2008 following North Korea's missile launches and nuclear test in 2006."

8:00 PM At Netroots Nation 2011, here's a summary of discussion on Bradley Manning at a panel called "When the President's Just Not That Into You." Jane Hamsher of Firedoglake says she and supporters of Firedoglake were ultimately able to get Bradley Manning moved because of a plan drawn up in December to push back against narratives.

Hamsher found that Charlie Savage was constantly writing about things Adrian Lamo said and she realized that certain things had to happen for narrative to turn around. And, what really turned things around was Jake Tapper asking the president about Manning and Bradley Manning supporters confronting Obama at a fundraiser.

6:30 PM Photos of protest in Boston against WikiLeaks grand jury

6:00 PM Supporters of WikiLeaks claim cameras have been installed near home that Julian Assange is occupying while he is under house arrest. BBC reports "Vaughan Smith, who owns Ellingham Hall, said cameras were at three entrances. Two police forces deny installing them."

In the video, released to mark six months since Mr Assange's first arrest, Mr Smith says: "I'm not an expert on cameras but I believe these take number plates and record number plates.

2:41 PM Gareth Peirce will now be Julian Assange's attorney. Mark Stephens will no longer be representing. Emma Stone played Peirce in film with Daniel Day-Lewis called "In the Name of the Father." (h/t Greg Mitchell)

11:05 AM Statement made by Sweden to UN Human Rights Council that condemns "three strikes" laws against online copyright infringers as violation of human rights. US and forty other nations sign on in support. Both UK & France, which have such laws, do not sign.

11:00 AM Sydney Morning Herald on debate over whether WikiLeaks is a force for good that just happened. Headline explains the debate is over and WikiLeaks is a force for good.

9:55 AM Germany arming itself for cyber war: Der Spiegel reports on the establishment of a new Cyber Defense Center in Bonn to respond to the escalation of cyber attacks on institutions in Germany

Image9:40 AM Assange releases video blog to mark Assange's six months under house arrest.

9:30 AM WikiLeaks puts out a statement to mark Julian Assange's six months of house arrest in the UK. On the case, the statement notes that if he is made to go to Sweden, Assange could be "subjected to a trial held in secret" and "not be allowed to see all the evidence against him."

2011-06-17 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases, #WikiLeaks & More

ImageThis is a "WikiLeaks News Update," constantly updated throughout each day. The blog tracks stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks but also follows stories related to freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, freedom of expression, and sometimes the national security establishment of the United States because each issue/topic helps one further understand WikiLeaks and vice versa.

All the times are EST. You can contact me at with any news tips. Twitter username is @kgosztola. Also, if you are looking for some insightful discussion of stories related to WikiLeaks, I encourage you to check out the catalog of podcasts posted here at WL Central from the "This Week in WikiLeaks" show I produce every week.

**Greg Mitchell, a WikiLeaks Blog Master, continues to blog at I will be conducting interviews with speakers at Netroots Nation so updates may be a bit irregular and sporadic today (like yesterday).

11:55 PM Morocco's King Mohamed VI responds to Arab spring by rewriting the country's constitution and giving more power to elected political leaders. However, he maintains a hold on security.

The story from The Guardian cites a WikiLeaks cable that featured a US diplomat condemning "the appalling greed of those close to King Mohammed VI."

11:30 PM More on the India cables from The Hindu: article details how the Nuclear Suppliers Group in India is set to up-end "clean waiver" bill -- nuclear liability bill.

11:20 PM Stars & Stripes' Mark Prendergrast writes on White House directing federal agencies to warn employees that they could be violating "applicable laws and policies" if they viewed "classified documents" made public by WikiLeaks.


Until WikiLeaks, the emphasis in DoDD 5122.11 was on Stars and Stripes’ “disclosure of classified national security information” that was not already in “the public domain.”

At the least, the Pentagon should return to that standard and lift the warning against Stars and Stripes journalists going about their rightful business of fully and freely gathering information on behalf of their readers – the very people whose service and sacrifice make possible a free press.

11:15 PM GovTech post thanks Julian Assange for "priceless lesson in document security." Outlines four things that WikiLeaks has "taught" on document security: 1) Share information but be careful with whom you share 2) Trust is nice but back it up with technology 3) Implement embedded security technology but don't make it complicated for the user and 4) Traditional encryption and data loss prevention solutions won't prevent the next WikiLeaks type of incident.

5:45 PM NSA would like to read US citizens' email. Department of Defense moves to increase online surveillance as part of a "preemptive strike" against hackers.

DoD is mounting it's first strike back at the hackers--a preemptive strike that will increase online surveillance at defense contractors by partnering with internet service providers for privileged access to the rivers of data flowing through their cables. AT&T, Verizon and CenturyLink are all on board.

5:20 PM Committee to Protect Journalists asks if Internet is an aid or weapon in Africa. It looks at how WikiLeaks has inspired the rise of similar regional sites. Notes, for example, Jamii Forums, a Tanzanian Swahili-language website that provides platform for public to publish material anonymously.

Frank Nyakairu, veteran war reporter says, "WikiLeaks touched every single government and no one is in control...Imagine if similar, regional sites like WikiLeaks enter the playing field? Governments around here won't like that."

5:10 PM At, write-up & radio segment on what the Haiti cables released by WikiLeaks show. Anna Lekas Miller writes, "US administrations may change, but US interests don't." Recent released cables reveal "corrupt dealings."

The Nation's Dan Coughlin and Haïti Liberté's Kim Ives join The Leonard Lopate Show to discuss.

A recent leak of 1,918 WikiLeaks cables related to Haiti reveals the known—but rarely acknowledged—corrupt US dealings with Haiti. Despite a distracting veneer of red cross assistance and earthquake relief volunteers, it seems that a new cold war is developing, this time between the north and south of the western hemisphere.

The Nation's Dan Coughlin and Haïti Liberté's Kim Ives join The Leonard Lopate Show to explain the cables and the picture of manipulation and interference they paint of US involvement in Haiti.

1:30 PM Jillian C. York video up at This is a video interview I did at the Personal Democracy Forum conference in New York City just over a week ago. York, who is with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, discusses freedom of expression on the Internet and highlights Amazon's decision to refuse services to WikiLeaks.

12:30 PM At Netroots Nation 2011 conference in Minneapolis, Minnesota, an audience member asks, "If I signed up for emails from the Bradley Manning Support Network, am I now a target?" The question came during a panel titled, "What the Government Wants to Know About You" and Marcy Wheeler of Firedoglake, Catherine Crump of the ACLU, Julian Sanchez of the CATO Institute and Christopher Calabrese of the ACLU were speakers.

Wheeler addresses this head-on, saying government has the legal ability under the Espionage Act to use Patriot Act powers & come after WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning supporters. Sanchez adds if you're on an email list that is shared there is a fair chance the history of emails and your websites visited are being surveilled.

9:20 AM Free Malaysia Today, covering cables from Malaysia, details how Washington expressed concern over Malaysian companies suspected of illegal transshipment activities involving Iran.

9:10 AM US military program shares classified information on cyber threats with defense contractors along with their ISPs, a Department of Defense official announced. This is part of a "stepped up effort" to prevent cyber attacks. Deputy Defense Secretary William Lynn claims this move will "protect strategic information stored in contractors' networks and maintain a technology lead over adversaries."

2011-06-19 #Spain responds to the call, masses take the streets against the Euro-Pact #19J #europeanrevolution

As the protests around Spain come to an end, the signs of weakness shown by the 15M movement over the past weeks - the frustration against the slow assemblies, the possibility of violence inside of the pacifist ideals (violence in Barcelona or the lifting of the camps - have been forgotten after the massive protest carried out in over 30 cities nationwide. According to the techno ant map (here ) the protest happened in 98 cities internationally. The number of protesters is, as always, hard to know for certain. The main media source in Spain, El Pais, claims that around 200,000 people participated in the major protests, making the number probably higher.

In Barcelona a whopping 100,000 people marched according to most sources. It was larger than in Madrid where 35,000 to 50,000 people participated in the event. Some say, however, that over 100,000 were present throughout the day. It is truly hard to tell. Six columns initiated the protest marching towards Congress from different neighborhoods around Madrid.

Madrid today:

Map of the protests:

The farthest starting points marched as early as 9:00 am. The plan was that local assemblies would arrange for each neighborhood to join in as the mass of people advanced towards the center, making the protest larger and larger.

Video of the Northern column:

At around 01:00 pm most of them arrived at the statue of Poseidon, inside a large turnabout just below Congress, which was heavily guarded by riot police.

The protest, as all of them in Spain, was a perfect example of the peaceful identity of the movement: not a single violent incident was reported in the whole country. On the contrary, it was a truly festive and enthusiastic experience, with independent groups organizing thematic pieces of theater, picnics, costumes and creative signs. At around 15:00 an orchestra played a part of Beethoven's 9th Symphony and, ironically, the official hymn for the European Union. They said that they wished to remind the meaning of the hymn´s choral lyrics, that sing to fraternity between all mankind:

Afterward, the people enjoyed a picnic in the shade of the old trees along the Paseo del Prado. Various activities were planned for the evening: lectures on interesting subjects and assemblies dedicated to specific issues were held in anticipation for the large assembly that took place at 20:00 in Sol square, where the results from the different task forces would be presented.

Photostream here:

Although most of the participants were young, there were some very old people who marched for hours under the sun, to the point where some of them had to be attended by the medical staff because of the heat.

Once everyone had reached the finish line, the huge agglomeration chanted its usual themes, demanding real participation in important decision making, the contrary of the way the EU is handling the Euro-pact. The secretive way in which such an important set of issues is being carried out, similar to the ways politicians in Spain are deciding on budget cuts, pension freezing, or dealing with seats in regional parliaments, strikes the movement as “undemocratic” or just plainly “illegitimate”. The people taking the streets want to have a say about such key issues, things that affect their future in such a way that it seems unreasonable that they are not being asked if they agree or not. If the system is truly representative, then why isn´t wage reduction in the public sector a matter of active debate, when millions of lives are being directly affected?

A plurality of issues were addressed by the thousands of signs that popped up from amongst the heads, all of them, however, expressing the basic discomfort that they are being cheated of their rights by leaders that have very evidently turned their backs on them. To put this into context: today, traditional left-wing party Izquierda Unida agreed to support right-wing Partido Popular in their claim to the regional Parliament in Extremadura (the south-eastern region of Spain), betraying all their voters. This is just another example in a long list of recent cases in Spanish politics.

The way to prevent this is still unclear and many different suggestions are starting to take shape. All of them feel that direct pressure is the way to go. It is very important to be seen. To make the message reach audiences around the world, it is necessary to take the streets and demand an answer.

2011-06-20 Democracy vs Mythology: The Battle in #Syntagma Square #greekrevolution #europeanrevolution

What is going on in Athens at the moment is resistance against an invasion — and this invasion is being justified with the extensive use of mythology.

By Alex Andreou, originally published on SturdyBlog

I have never been more desperate to explain and more hopeful for your understanding of any single fact than this: The protests in Greece concern all of you directly.

What is going on in Athens at the moment is resistance against an invasion; an invasion as brutal as that against Poland in 1939. The invading army wears suits instead of uniforms and holds laptops instead of guns, but make no mistake – the attack on our sovereignty is as violent and thorough. Private wealth interests are dictating policy to a sovereign nation, which is expressly and directly against its national interest. Ignore it at your peril. Say to yourselves, if you wish, that perhaps it will stop there. That perhaps the bailiffs will not go after the Portugal and Ireland next. And then Spain and the UK. But it is already beginning to happen. This is why you cannot afford to ignore these events.

The powers that be have suggested that there is plenty to sell. Josef Schlarmann, a senior member of Angela Merkel’s party, recently made the helpful suggestionthat we should sell some of our islands to private buyers in order to pay the interest on these loans, which have been forced on us to stabilise financial institutions and a failed currency experiment. (Of course, it is not a coincidence that recent studies have shown immense reserves of natural gas under the Aegean sea).

China has waded in, because it holds vast currency reserves and more than a third are in Euros. Sites of historical interest like the Acropolis could be made private. If we do not as we are told, the explicit threat is that foreign and more responsible politicians will do it by force. Let’s make the Parthenon and the ancient Agora a Disney park, where badly paid locals dress like Plato or Socrates and play out the fantasies of the rich.

It is vital to understand that I do not wish to excuse my compatriots of all blame. We did plenty wrong. I left Greece in 1991 and did not return until 2006. For the first few months I looked around and saw an entirely different country to the one I had left behind. Every billboard, every bus shelter, every magazine page advertised low interest loans. It was a free money give-away. Do you have a loan that you cannot manage? Come and get an even bigger loan from us and we will give you a free lap-dance as a bonus. And the names underwriting those advertisements were not unfamiliar: HSBC, Citibank, Credit Agricole, Eurobank, etc.

Regretfully, it must be admitted that we took this bait “hook, line and sinker”. The Greek psyche has always had an Achilles’ heel; an impending identity crisis. We straddle three Continents and our culture has always been a melting pot reflective of that fact. Instead of embracing that richness, we decided we were going to be definitively European; Capitalist; Modern; Western. And, damn it, we were going to be bloody good at it. We were going to be the most European, the most Capitalist, the most Modern, the most Western. We were teenagers with their parents’ platinum card.

I did not see a pair of sunglasses not emblazoned with Diesel or Prada. I did not see a pair of flip-flops not bearing the logo of Versace or D&G. The cars around me were predominantly Mercedes and BMWs. If anyone took a holiday anywhere closer than Thailand, they kept it a secret. There was an incredible lack of common sense and no warning that this spring of wealth may not be inexhaustible. We became a nation sleepwalking toward the deep end of our newly-built, Italian-tiled swimming pool without a care that at some point our toes may not be able to touch the bottom.

That irresponsibility, however, was only a very small part of the problem. The much bigger part was the emergence of a new class of foreign business interests ruled by plutocracy, a church dominated by greed and a political dynasticism which made a candidate’s surname the only relevant consideration when voting. And while we were borrowing and spending (which is affectionately known as “growth”), they were squeezing every ounce of blood from the other end through a system of corruption so gross that it was worthy of any banana republic; so prevalent and brazen that everyone just shrugged their shoulders and accepted it or became part of it.

I know it is impossible to share in a single post the history, geography and mentality which has brought this most beautiful corner of our Continent to its knees and has turned one of the oldest civilisations in the world from a source of inspiration to the punchline of cheap jokes. I know it is impossible to impart the sense of increasing despair and helplessness that underlies every conversation I have had with friends and family over the last few months. But it is vital that I try, because the dehumanisation and demonisation of my people appears to be in full swing.

I read, agog, an article in a well-known publication which essentially advocated that the Mafia knew how to deal properly with people who didn’t repay their debts; that “a baseball bat may be what’s needed to fix the never ending Greek debt mess”. The article proceeded to justify this by rolling out a series of generalisations and prejudices so inaccurate and so venomous that, had one substituted the word “Greeks” with “Blacks” or “Jews”, the author would have been hauled in by the police and charged with hate crimes. (I always include links, but not in this case – I am damned if I will create more traffic for that harpy).

So let me deal with some of that media Mythology.

  • Greeks are lazy. This underlies much of what is said and written about the crisis, the implication presumably being that our lax Mediterranean work-ethic is at the heart of our self-inflicted downfall. And yet, OECD data among its members show that in 2008, Greeks worked on average 2120 hours a year. That is 690 hours more than the average German, 467 more than the average Brit and 356 more than the OECD average. Only Koreans work longer hours. Further, the paid leave entitlement in Greece is on average 23 days, lower than most EU countries including the UK’s minimum 28 and Germany’s whopping 30.

  • Greeks retire early. The figure of 53 years old as an average retirement age is being bandied about. So much, in fact, that it is being seen as fact. The figure actually originates from a lazy comment on the NY Times website. It was then repeated by Fox News and printed on other publications. Greek civil servants have the option to retire after 17.5 years of service, but this is on half benefits. The figure of 53 is a misinformed conflation of the number of people who choose to do this (in most cases to go on to different careers) and those who stay in public service until their full entitlement becomes available. Looking at Eurostat’s data from 2005 the average age of exit from the labour force in Greece (indicated in the graph below as EL for Ellas) was 61.7; higher than Germany, France or Italy and higher than the EU27 average. Since then Greece have had to raise the minimum age of retirement twice under bail-out conditions and so this figure is likely to rise further.

  • Greece is a weak economy that should never have been a part of the EU. One of the assertions frequently levelled at Greece is that its membership to the European Union was granted on emotional “cradle of democracy” grounds. This could not be further from the truth. Greece became the first associate member of the EEC outside the bloc of six founding members (Germany, France, Italy and the Benelux countries) in 1962, much before the UK. It has been a member of the EU for 30 years. It is classified by the World Bank as a “high income economy” and in 2005 boasted the 22nd highest human development and quality of life index in the world – higher than the UK, Germany or France. As late as 2009 it had the 24th highest per capita GDP according to the World Bank. Moreover, according to the University of Pennsylvania’s Centre for International Comparisons, Greece’s productivity in terms of real GDP per person per hour worked, is higher than that of France, Germany or the US and more than 20% higher than the UK’s.
  • The first bail-out was designed to help Greek people, but unfortunately failed. It was not. The first bail-out was designed to stabilise and buy time for the Eurozone. It was designed to avoid another Lehman-Bros-type market shock, at a time when financial institutions were too weak to withstand it. In the words of BBC economist Stephanie Flanders: “Put it another way: Greece looks less able to repay than it did a year ago – while the system as a whole looks in better shape to withstand a default… From their perspective, buying time has worked for the eurozone. It just hasn’t been working out so well for Greece.” If the bail-out were designed to help Greece get out of debt, then France and Germany would not have insisted on future multi-billion military contracts. As Daniel Cohn-Bendit, the MEP and leader of the Green group in the European Parliament, explained: “In the past three months we have forced Greece to confirm several billion dollars in arms contracts. French frigates that the Greeks will have to buy for 2.5 billion euros. Helicopters, planes, German submarines.”
  • The second bail-out is designed to help Greek people and will definitely succeed. I watched as Merkel and Sarkozy made their joint statement yesterday. It was dotted with phrases like “Markets are worried”, “Investors need reassurance” and packed with the technical language of monetarism. It sounded like a set of engineers making minor adjustments to an unmanned probe about to be launched into space. It was utterly devoid of any sense that at the centre of what was being discussed was the proposed extent of misery, poverty, pain and even death that a sovereign European partner, an entire nation was to endure. In fact most commentators agree, that this second package is designed to do exactly what the first one did: buy more time for the banks, at considerable expense to the Greek people. There is no chance of Greece ever being able to repay its debt – default is inevitable. It is simply servicing interest and will continue to do so in perpetuity.
  • And the biggest myth of them all: Greeks are protesting because they want the bail-out but not the austerity that goes with it. This is a fundamental untruth. Greeks are protesting because they do not want the bail-out at all. They have already accepted cuts which would be unfathomable in the UK – think of what Cameron is doing and multiply it by ten. Benefits have not been paid in over six months. Basic salaries have been cut to 550 Euros (£440) a month.

My mother, who is nearly 70, who worked all her life for the Archaeology Department of the Ministry of Culture, who paid tax, national insurance and pension contributions for over 45 years, deducted at the source (as they are for the vast majority of decent hard-working people – it is the rich that can evade), has had her pension cut to less than £400 a month. She faces the same rampantly inflationary energy and food prices as the rest of Europe.

A good friend’s granddad, Panagiotis K., fought a war 70 years ago – on the same side as the rest of Western democracy. He returned and worked 50 years in a shipyard, paid his taxes, built his pension. At the age of 87 he has had to move back to his village so he can work his “pervoli” – a small arable garden – planting vegetables and keeping four chickens. So that he and his 83 year old wife might have something to eat.

A doctor talking on Al Jazeera yesterday explained how even GPs and nurses have become so desperate that they ask people for money under the table in order to treat them, in what are meant to be free state hospitals. Those who cannot afford to do this, go away to live with their ailment, or die from it. The Hippocratic oath violated out of despair, at the place of its inception.

So, the case is not that Greeks are fighting cuts. There is nothing left to cut. The IMF filleting knife has gotten to pure, white, arthritis-afflicted bone. The Greeks understand that a second bail-out is simply “kicking the can down the road”. Greece’s primary budget deficit is, in fact, under 5bn Euros. The other 48bn Euros are servicing the debt, including that of the first bail-out, with one third being purely interest. The EU, ECB and IMF now wish to add another pile of debt on top of that, which will be used to satisfy interest payments for another year. And the Greeks have called their bluff. They have said “Enough is enough. Keep your money.”

My land has always attracted aggressive occupiers. Its vital strategic position combined with its extraordinary natural beauty and history, have always made it the trinket of choice for the forces of evil. But we are a tenacious lot. We emerged after 400 years of Ottoman occupation, 25 generations during which our national identity was outlawed with penalty of death, with our language, tradition, religion and music intact.

Finally, we have woken up and taken to the streets. My sister tells me that what is happening in Syntagma Square is beautiful; filled with hope; gloriously democratic. A totally bi-partisan crowd of hundreds of thousands of people have occupied the area in front of our Parliament. They share what little food and drink there is. A microphone stands in the middle, on which anyone can speak for two minutes at a time – even propose things which are voted by a show of thumbs. Citizenship.

And what they say is this: We will not suffer any more so that we can make the rich, even richer. We do not authorise any of the politicians, who failed so spectacularly, to borrow any more money in our name. We do not trust you or the people that are lending it. We want a completely new set of accountable people at the helm, untainted by the fiascos of the past. You have run out of ideas.

Wherever in the world you are, their statement applies.

Money is a commodity, invented to help people by facilitating transactions. It is not wealth in itself. Wealth is natural resources, water, food, land, education, skill, spirit, ingenuity, art. In those terms, the people of Greece are no poorer than they were two years ago. Neither are the people of Spain or Ireland or the UK. And yet, we are all being put through various levels of suffering, in order for numbers (representing money which never existed) to be transferred from one column of a spreadsheet to another.

This is why the matter concerns you directly. Because this is a battle between our right to self-determine, to demand a new political process, to be sovereign, and private corporate interests which appear determined to treat us like a herd, which only exists for their benefit. It is the battle against a system which ensures that those who fuck up, are never those that are punished – it is always the poorest, the most decent, the most hard-working that bear the brunt. The Greeks have said “Enough is enough”. What do you say?


Help us by spreading this message to others – don’t let the media airbrush it out of existence, like they have done with the people of Madison, Wisconsin and the Indignados in Spain. Go to the original article on Alex’s blog here, and use the comments below (no registration is needed) to express your solidarity with the people of Greece. If you have any questions, again use the comments section on Alex’s blog he will do his best to answer. Raise the matter with people in power. Ask questions. Talk about it in the pub. Most of all, wake up before you find yourself in our situation.

Nassim Nicholas Taleb is the Lebanese-American philosopher who formulated the theory of “Black Swan Events” – unpredictable, unforeseen events which have a huge impact and can only be explained afterwards. Last week, on Newsnight, he was asked by Jeremy Paxman whether the people taking to the streets in Athens was a Black Swan Event. He replied: “No. The real Black Swan Event is that people are not rioting against the banks in London and New York.”


2011-06-20 LulzSec Declares War

Put down your popcorn and grab your battleaxe. You can assist as well: Don't be a potato, be a lizard.

ImageEveryone's favourite internet suicide bombers have declared war on the internetz. Or at least the "civilization" of it.

From their pastebin:

Salutations Lulz Lizards,

As we're aware, the government and whitehat security terrorists across the world continue to dominate and control our Internet ocean. Sitting pretty on cargo bays full of corrupt booty, they think it's acceptable to condition and enslave all vessels in sight. Our Lulz Lizard battle fleet is now declaring immediate and unremitting war on the freedom-snatching moderators of 2011.

Welcome to Operation Anti-Security (#AntiSec) - we encourage any vessel, large or small, to open fire on any government or agency that crosses their path. We fully endorse the flaunting of the word "AntiSec" on any government website defacement or physical graffiti art. We encourage you to spread the word of AntiSec far and wide, for it will be remembered. To increase efforts, we are now teaming up with the Anonymous collective and all affiliated battleships.

Whether you're sailing with us or against us, whether you hold past grudges or a burning desire to sink our lone ship, we invite you to join the rebellion. Together we can defend ourselves so that our privacy is not overrun by profiteering gluttons. Your hat can be white, gray or black, your skin and race are not important. If you're aware of the corruption, expose it now, in the name of Anti-Security.

Top priority is to steal and leak any classified government information, including email spools and documentation. Prime targets are banks and other high-ranking establishments. If they try to censor our progress, we will obliterate the censor with cannonfire anointed with lizard blood.

It's now or never. Come aboard, we're expecting you...

History begins today.

Lulz Security,


2011-06-20 Three former members of Polish government explain status of CIA prison

In a recent issue of leftist daily newspaper Gazeta Wyborcza, three former members of the government discuss a CIA prison on Polish soil that operated in 2002 and 2003. For obvious reasons, they chose to remain anonymous. This article is also available in English.

The three (often hilarious) interviews mark a new stage in reporting on the case. Rather than asking whether there is any evidence for a CIA prison in Stare Kiejkuty, they focus on the question whether Aleksander Kwaśniewski, the then president, knew about its existence. All three politicians state that he was left in the dark about the matter, and that the CIA rendition program was solely known to the government and the prime minister. When Kwaśniewski understood what was going on following a meeting with G.W. Bush, who apparently assumed he knew about it, he ordered the prison to be closed.

This matter is of vital importance for the legal proceedings on a national level, as according to Ryszard Kalisz, former minister of interior affairs, the creation of an extraterritorial area could only be authorized by the president, who would then ask the Sejm for approval.

The three interviewees present their version of the story. Readers should be cautioned that they would face legal actions if their identity was revealed, as they were complicit in the operation of the prison, and, depending on whether this information is classified, obstruction of justice for not coming forward, or leaking state secrets to a newspaper.

There is no doubt that CIA flights landed in Szymany, a small airport in the middle of nowhere in the idyllic Masuria lake district. The evidence for this are airport logs that appeared on the website of conservative daily Rzeczpospolita. They can easily be read by a lay person. The only Polish text in this document is "brak FPL", which translates to "flight plan missing" and "wszystkie FPL do/z EPWA", "all flight plans to/from Warsaw". "STA/STATE" is used for US military flights requiring special procedures. The ICAO code EPSY stands for Szymany, and OAKB for Kabul.

Szymany is a former military airport; in 2002 and 2003 it was licensed for both civilian and military aircraft. It is situated near a training facility of the Polish Secret Service in Stare Kiejkuty. It was set up by the German Secret Service during Second World War, and then used by Russian forces.

2011-06-20 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases, #WikiLeaks & More

ImageThis is a "WikiLeaks News Update," constantly updated throughout each day. The blog tracks stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks but also follows stories related to freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, freedom of expression, and sometimes the national security establishment of the United States because each issue/topic helps one further understand WikiLeaks and vice versa.

All the times are EST. You can contact me at with any news tips. Twitter username is @kgosztola. Also, if you are looking for some insightful discussion of stories related to WikiLeaks, I encourage you to check out the catalog of podcasts posted here at WL Central from the "This Week in WikiLeaks" show I produce every week.

11:35 PM Peru cables: US Chamber of Commerce urged State Department to co-sponsor conference to help push Peru government to crack down on piracy and better support intellectual property rights

11:25 PM If Nelson Mandela was still involved in South African politics, he would be opposed to the current Protection of Information bill.

11:20 PM Patrick Kingsley for the Sydney Morning Herald writes on the "menace of computer hacking." Why is it menacing? Targeted attacks have become so dangerous because of the amount of information that can be divulged on the Internet.

10:45 PM US allegedly working to extradite UK-based administrator who operates TV and movies links website

6:30 PM Second part of Whittaker's series at WikiLeaks, a brief history pre-2010

In this part of his dissertation, he details "the first legal challenge that Wikileaks in February 2008 had to navigate," when "their domain name and ‘corporate’ web identity was disallowed by the court" because of pushback after an ex-employee of Julius Baer Trust and Bank submitted documents on offshore tax evasion and money laundering to WikiLeaks.

12:20 PM Former CIA tech head: social media technology being used for cyber defense of governments and corporations

11:45 PM In addition to talking about President Barack Obama's violation of the War Powers Act with the Libya war, blogger Glenn Greenwald discusses Bradley Manning, David House & the WikiLeaks grand jury on Democracy Now!.

10:50 AM's Zack Whittaker begins to post his dissertation on WikiLeaks and the release of the US diplomatic cables. The dissertation specifically aims to show how WikiLeaks has changed or impacted journalism.

Whittaker writes, "The after-effects of the diplomatic cables release, however, changed how we regarded our legislators and executives. Similarly to that of the Enlightenment — where science reigned over religious insight – many eyes were opened to the goings on of governments and the seemingly shady world of politics and diplomacy."

9:10 AM A US citizen from De Soto, Kansas (about a fifty minute drive from Ft. Leavenworth where Bradley Manning is being held) writes letter to editor for Kansas City Star condemning Manning and asks, "Was Guantanamo considered?"

9:00 AM The Pentagon is developing a simulator for cyberwar. With the help of Lockheed Martin and Johns Hopkins University, is putting together the "National Cyber Range," which will be a "computer network mimics the architecture of the Internet so military planners can see the effects of cyberweapons by acting out attack and defense scenarios."

8:50 AM Kristinn Hrafnsson, Global Spokesperson for WikiLeaks, interviewed by the Australian Financial Review

Hrafnsson says Visa, Mastercard, PayPal refusing services reminds him of the black noose of the McCarthy Era. "You can use your credit card to buy weapons, drugs, pornography, gamble on the Internet. You can support the Ku Klux Klan. But, Visa and MasterCard have decided you can't use your plastic to give ten dollars to [WikiLeaks]."

Hrafnsson suggests there will be news on taking legal action against those that have refused WikiLeaks services, which will be announced in coming days.

2011-06-21 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News from #Cablegate Releases, #WikiLeaks & More

ImageThis is a "WikiLeaks News Update," constantly updated throughout each day. The blog tracks stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks but also follows stories related to freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, freedom of expression, and sometimes the national security establishment of the United States because each issue/topic helps one further understand WikiLeaks and vice versa.

All the times are EST. You can contact me at with any news tips. Twitter username is @kgosztola. Also, if you are looking for some insightful discussion of stories related to WikiLeaks, I encourage you to check out the catalog of podcasts posted here at WL Central from the "This Week in WikiLeaks" show I produce every week.

1:15 PM Washington Post has story on transnational drug cartels. Reports "more than 90 percent of the South American cocaine that reaches the United States now funnels through Guatemala and across Mexico's southern border." Uses a diplomatic cable to show how little personnel is on the border between Mexico and Guatemala to monitor the 540-mile border.

1:05 PM Nick Tattersall for Reuters Africa covers the rise of bad governance and poverty, which has allegedly fueled the rise of an Islamist group believed to have bombed Nigerian police headquarters. The article uses a diplomatic cable to cover intelligence officials have been following extremist groups ties to Al Qaeda.

12:55 PM Al Masry Al Youm has more coverage of cables from Egypt in story on construction of wall at the Rafah crossing at the Gaza-Egypt border.

12:40 PM Third part of Whittaker's dissertation over at ZDNet looks at how the WikiLeaks organization operates.

"During the ‘old regime’ of the site in 2006-2009, Wikileaks relied on individual whistleblowers which had a broad spread across the public and private sector of various governments and organisations..."

12:30 PM WikiLeaks, just after encouraging Bitcoin donations, has cashed out. The Atlantic Wire details, "WikiLeaks doesn't appear to have much faith in the sustainability of the currency." Also, EFF, an organization that has commented on WikiLeaks in detail, especially when Amazon went ahead and refused services, has halted its use of the Bitcoin service and provided three key points on why they will no longer be using Bitcoin.

10:15 AM US Senate Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism to hold hearing today at 2:30 pm New York Time to evaluate Obama Administration's proposals on cybersecurity. Here's details including the witness list.

Hearing will be webcast. I intend to cover on Twitter and later with a blog post.

10:00 AM Could Jon Huntsman be the first and only 2012 US presidential candidate to have to address what US State Embassy cables released by WikiLeaks say about him? As he declares he's running for president, here's the WSJ story from yesterday.

9:55 AM 19-year-old believed to be "mastermind" behind LulzSec arrested. The teenager being questioned under the Computer Misuse Act was arrested in a "pre-planned intelligence operation."

LulzSec is believed to have hacked Britain's Serious Organised Crime Agency, the U.S. Senate and the CIA, as well as Nintendo and Sony. It's also thought that LulzSec might have been working with Anonymous.

9:45 PM Four years ago, US wanted the Philippines to prosecute Somali pirates that hijacked a Japanese-owned vessel: cables

2011-06-22 Interview with Tangerine Bolen: 'WikiLeaks kicked open the door...our responsibility to make sure that door never shuts again.'

ImageAccording to Tangerine Bolen, her efforts are a deliberate attempt to show the US government that there are people across the world who publicly stand and support WikiLeaks. "WikiLeaks kicked open the door," Bolen says, "It is our responsibility make sure that door never shuts again."

In March, WL Central covered Bolen's (and countless volunteers') public call for people to sign the 'Open Letter to the United States Government, Demand that they Stop Prosecution of Assange and Wikileaks'.

Due to the overwhelming response, RevolutionTruth morphed into a short film (to be released one day prior to Mr. Assange's extradition trial July 11), a website, and a growing global campaign.


Sign the petition, go to

For general volunteers email

For tech volunteers:

2011-06-22 No Libyans allowed at ANSWER Libya Forum

Former congresswomen and Green Party presidential candidate has just returned from a fact finding mission to Libya. While there she talked [YouTube 03:31] with a Qaddafi supporter in the hospital after being injured by US/NATO bombing. He said "People in Germany have Hitler. People in Italy have Mussolini. It does not matter if they are good or not; they have [a] hero. Why [not] let us have [a] hero? We like him [Qaddafi]." McKinney responded "yeah, right."

The ANSWER Coalition sponsored nationwide speaking tour of Cynthia McKinney: Eyewitness Libya started in Los Angeles on Saturday, 18 June 2011. This was at the Immanuel Presbyterian Church on Wilshire where many progressive events take place. Almost two hundred people showed up. Among them was a group of about two dozen Libyans and Libyan-Americans, some of which clearly associated themselves with the Free Libya movement, the tricolor flag of the Libyan opposition was much in evidence not only as flags but as hats, scarfs and jackets. All these Libyans were clearly anti-Qaddafi.

While the Libyans said they had liked Cynthia McKinney in the past, especially her work in support of Gaza, they were here to set her straight about Qaddafi and Libya. I had seen some of these Libyan activists before, at the first LA rallies in support the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt. This was before ANSWER took up those struggles.

I didn't see any pro-Qaddafi Libyans that evening, either outside or inside the church. No Libyans were on the program and the green flag of Qaddafi's Libya was nowhere to be seen. If there were any pro-Qaddafi Libyans in attendance, they never revealed themselves. As far as I could make out, all of the pro-Qaddafi people in attendance, including Cynthia McKinney, were non-Libyans and all the Libyans who showed up were anti-Qaddafi.

So ANSWER showed them how we do public forums in the land of the free and the home of the brave. They excluded the Libyans from the Libya Forum! Not only did ANSWER tell them that they would not be allowed to pay their $10 and attend the event, a line of ANSWER people formed a human wall to divide the sidewalk between and us and them. When I exclaimed "They're keeping the Libyans out of the Libya Forum." one of the ANSWER people forming the wall told me "We're not keeping them out because they are Libyan. We're keeping them out because they support the intervention." This left me contemplating which was the worst reason for keeping people out? Keeping them out because of their nationality or keeping them out because of views contrary to those of the forum organizers? Of course, opposing NATO's intervention is a very easy and moral position to take for those that have lost no family to Qaddafi and didn't stand to lose any no matter how many Graf missiles and cluster munitions he was given free reign to use on cities under siege like Benghazi and Misrata. They have nothing to lose by keeping their hands cleanly in their pockets and taking the moral high ground.

Inside the forum a number of other people spoke before Cynthia McKinney. All, including her, lauded "brother Qaddafi." They liked to focus on the Pan-African and anti-imperialist reputation he cultivated in the 1980's and before. None talked about the changes since 2004. Nobody mentioned the military-to-military relations he was cultivating with the Bush Pentagon, his use of the "Prince of Darkness" Richard Perle as a consultant, his ties to Goldman-Sacks, etc. Even Fidel Castro recognized this new Qaddafi, noting before the NATO intervention ["NATO's Inevitable War" on-line at CubaDebate, March 4]:

"it is an undeniable fact that the relations between the US and its NATO allies with Libya in the recent years were excellent," adding that Libya "opened up strategic sectors as the production and distribution of oil to foreign investment" and that "many state-owned companies were privatized. The IMF played its role in implementing these policies." ... "Aznar was full of praise for Qaddafi, and he was followed by Blair, Berlusconi, Sarkozy, Zapatero, and even my friend the King of Spain; they all queued up under the mocking smile of the Libyan leader. They were pleased... I simply ask why they now want to invade Libya and send Qaddafi to the International Criminal Court at The Hague?"

The reason, Mr. Castro, is that they realize, even if you don't, that the Libyan people have finally lost all fear of Qaddafi. He cannot survive, he will he done as soon as his money runs out. His dictatorship is done and NATO has in the last hour thrown him under the bus to help their play for a future role in Libya.

Cynthia McKinney and ANSWER say nothing of this, just as they say nothing of the more than seven thousand Libyans that the opposition says that Qaddafi has killed. Later in San Francisco, McKinney puts the total number killed at "four thousand and some dead".. "but of course the bulk of that would have to come from the NATO bombing because they're using bunker buster bombs." [YouTube 07:15] For his part, Qaddafi claims that about eight hundred civilians have been killed by NATO bombs but there are many reasons for questioning even that number.

For example there was that embarrassing incident a couple of weeks ago when Libya officials took foreign reporters to a hospital to view a baby girl they said was injured in a NATO air strike. The whole fraud unraveled after a hospital workers passed a reporter a note saying the girl had been injured in an automobile accident. Latter some of the reporters spotted the "concerned uncle" at another Qaddafi dog and pony show and he was forced to admit that he worked for the Libyan government. The "Kuwait baby incubator" fraud comes to mind only this time NATO is the victim, not the perpetrator.

Fidel Castro may support Qaddafi but he knows that the uprising in Libya is part of the Arab Spring and flows from the real concerns of the people, saying "Without any doubt, the faces of the young people who were protesting in Benghazi, men, and women wearing the veil or without the veil, were expressing genuine indignation."

After decades of living under brutal dictators and being exploited by their imperialist masters, the people rose up, first in North Africa and then in the broader Middle-East. Peaceful protests against Qaddafi were already developing in Libya in the middle of January as Ben Ali was being thrown out of power in neighboring Tunisia. They were spurred on my the ouster of Mubarak in their eastern neighbor, Egypt, less than a month latter.

The causes for the uprising in Libya have been essentially the same as they have been throughout the whole region, beginning with rising food prices and growing unemployment and ending with fearless rejection of long established dictators. The people rising up in Libya have been largely working class, as they have been in Egypt and Tunisia. But there have been differences. In Tunisia and Egypt, the people were able to throw out dictators that had ruled for 20 or 30 years quickly and with relatively little bloodshed because the army refused to open fire on peaceful protesters. In Libya they did not refuse such orders. Eventually the protesters took up arms and started fighting back. The uprising became a civil war.

But that's not how ANSWER sees things. Since they missed the non-violent phase of the Libyan opposition, to them it never existed. They see the rebels as the same as contras. They are all paid agents of NATO, tools of imperialism, etc. They weren't paying attention until the UN and NATO got involved. They didn't express any public support for the uprising in Tunisia until after Ben Ali had been ousted. They didn't support the uprising in Egypt until 29 January. Compare that to the hacker group Anonymous, which started OpTunisia on 2 January and OpEgypt on 23 January. When it comes to Yemen and Bahrain, ANSWER has spoken out in support of the uprisings and against the repressive, US backed regimes. But when it comes to Libya and Syria, with their "anti-imperialist" dictators Qaddafi and Assad, it's a different story.

In those countries they don't support the Arab uprisings. In fact, they don't even recognize those struggles as part of the Arab uprising. Because those leaders have a reputation for opposing NATO, they support the government violence and act like the people have no right to rebel. Whatever NATO is for, they are against. Whatever NATO is against, they are for. That is the western centric way they view the world. In this perverse way, they tail after their own bourgeoisie. They don't support the people's revolutionary struggles in a steadfast way.

The Party for Socialism and Liberation [PSL] which leads ANSWER, made this point crystal clear in a recent proclamation:

Western powers bring death and destruction, nothing else. This must be a starting point for activists located in the United States and Europe when it comes to the Libyan revolt.

Ultimately the problem PSL will have with their starting point is that they can't lead by taking a reaction as their starting point.

An alternate starting point might be "steadfast support for the people's revolutionary movements irregardless of stand taken or pretended by the US." That is a starting point that doesn't have to wait for and react to what the Western powers do. That is a starting point that demands our attention and support as soon as a people act to liberation themselves. That is also a starting point that requires that we have an organic connection to those movements. It is a starting point that demands that we take the focus off of ourselves and what our government is doing about it.

Another Libyan, commenting on a similar Cynthia McKinney video presentation noted this "all about us" attitude that runs through much of the ANSWER type opposition to the war in Libya. I think he put it well:

These questions don't occur to McKinney as she goes on to state that the United States is "a poor trumpet" for democracy because of its own legacy of oppression, from "genocide of indigenous Americans to enslavement of stolen Africans to disfranchisement of women..." This, ironically, is just a perverse form of patriotism. For McKinney, the whole question is about America [my bold]—certainly not about the Libyans, who deserve democracy entirely apart from the United States' moral credibility to advocate for such. This is a cynical and dishonest distraction of the lowest order.

And that, finally, is why the Libyans had been excluded from the Libyan forum. It really wasn't about them.

Whereas Castro sees an attempt to subvert a revolution, "Imperialism and NATO – seriously concerned by the revolutionary wave unleashed in the Arab world, where a large part of the oil is generated that sustains the consumer economy of the developed and rich countries – could not help but take advantage of the internal conflict arising in Libya so that they could promote military intervention."; they see the Libyan uprising as CIA/NATO intrigue from top to bottom. Perhaps it is this simplistic view that leads them to abusing Libyans who attempt to attend their Libya forums.

After Cynthia McKinney spoke she showed a film they had made in Libya. The core of it was one bloody scene after another showing what NATO ordinance had done to Libya soldiers; missing were the women and children that should have been very prominent if indeed 800 civilians have been killed in the bombing. The Qaddafi government clearly was providing the visuals for this film and dead children would have been high on the list if they had any at that time.

In the Q&A that followed, it became clear that at least one Libyan had gotten in and he was against Qaddafi. He was booed.

Cynthia McKinney has been a little vague about who paid for this trip. She said that when she was in Tripoli earlier she decided that she wanted to return with others on a truth telling mission. She was able to borrow the $25,000 cost from an unnamed friend, who "I have to pay back." Hence the collection at the door and the latter passing of the plate. While it is pretty clear that this friend with 25 grand to spare is also a Qaddafi supporter, since we don't know who he is, we can't know what political and economic ties he may have to Qaddafi. This raises a lot of questions about the whole trip and tour. In any case, it's too bad they didn't let the Libyans in. She could have been a couple hundred dollars closer to her goal.

San Francisco was Tuesday. San Francisco was different.

ANSWER didn't keep Libyan's out of the Cynthia McKinney Libya Forum in San Francisco on Tuesday 21 June but they had other ways of letting them know they weren't welcome. An ANSWER Coalition supporter told the Libyans to "go back home." [YouTube] When a Libya women became offended and said that she takes it very personally because most of these Libyans are exiles, she has family in Libya, she has an uncle in his prison and Qaddafi has killed three of her cousins, she is told my one person that if she takes it personally she should take it outside and my another to "grow up."

They also tried very hard to avoid calling on the Libyans in the Q&A. When they failed, it led to some interesting exchanges. When a Libyan man ask Cynthia McKinney why she made no mention of the over seven thousand Libyans killed by Qaddafi in suppressing the uprising, she responded that "it is the right of the Libyan people, in my opinion, to solve their problems among themselves without NATO bombs and missiles." [YouTube] That got a big round of applause from the ANSWER supporters.

As was pointed out in Arming Gaddafi, and other places, many of the weapons Qaddafi has been using against his own people have been supplied by NATO countries, but these aren't the NATO weapons that McKinney opposes. She hasn't objected to NATO countries selling Qaddafi millions of dollars in weapons, which he is now using to put down the rebellion, but she has been most vigorously objecting to NATO doing anything to right the balance. We all know that NATO is not a bunch of boy scouts, but the larger and more dangerous doctrine that Cynthia McKinney, ANSWER, and all the "non-interventionist" appear to advocate is that the international community has no right to set limits on the level of violence a state may use to put down uprisings within its borders. Syria, Yemen and Bahrain are all now expanding the reach of that doctrine with all it's frightful consequences.

She may not realized it but this stance she is taking with regards to Libya also justifies Israel's vicious suppression of Gaza, which she has so courageously opposed; because a necessary corollary to the thesis that the world has no right to interfere with what a state does within it's own borders is that the world has no right to tell a state what those borders are. Qaddafi understands the Gaza connection, that is why he uses the example of Israeli to justify his own actions, telling France24 "even the Israelis in Gaza, when they moved into the Gaza Strip, they moved in with tanks to fight such extremists. It's the same thing here!" He was referring to Operation Cast Lead, which Israel launched against the Gaza Strip two days after Christmas, 2008, killing at least 1,400 Palestinians. See Gaddafi: Crackdown modeled after Israel. Weeks before NATO started bombing, Qaddafi was carrying out a Israeli styled crackdown on the Libyan people and this is what Cynthia McKinney is demanding not be interfered with.

In response to another Libyan who managed to ask a question, Akbar Muhammad from the Nation of Islam said "The way I'm going to answer my Libyan brothers [is] there's a way to go about it. You could have called for a referendum. Look at when those African leaders came to Benghazi, the people in Benghazi ran them out, these African heads of state. Now if you really wanted to do it, you could tell America, if you want their help, say "What we want is a vote"... "Could you come in, instead of bombing, supervise a referendum, so that the Libya people could say if they want Mummar Qaddafi or some other Westminster democratic process." That got a laugh.

Of course he is in the United States, not Benghazi. He can talk about the Afro-American struggles and then tell the Libyans "your situation is not unique." He can arrogantly forget that a few days before NATO started enforcing the no-fly zone, Qaddafi told Benghazi "We will show no mercy..."

Remember the circumstance under which Muhammad is suggesting they should have called for a referendum. Qaddafi's forces had just flatten the small town to the west of Benghazi, killing hundreds with aircraft, tanks and artillery. "The town of Ajdabiyah has been cleansed of mercenaries and terrorists linked to the al Qaeda organization," Libyan state TV bragged. Now Qaddafi was promising to "go house to house" and "kill the rats", meaning Libyans, in this city of almost a million. This was on the eve of the UN vote on resolution 1973. Libyan League for Human Rights chief Soliman Bouchuiguir, said that if Qaddafi was allowed to attack Benghazi there would be "a real bloodbath, a massacre like we saw in Rwanda." That is why the Arab League voted for intervention. That is why the first NATO air strikes were around Benghazi. Whatever their motivation, the NATO actions almost certainly did stop a bloodbath in Benghazi. This is an inconvenient truth for Qaddafi supporters.

But when you're not in a difficult situation it can be very easy to be judgmental.

I will tell you frankly that I don't like the police. I know that they have gotten away with murder too many times. I have seen them lie, torture and act like thugs. On a personal level, police have threatened to murder me and I have done time in jail because police lied on me. Still, if I happened to be threatened by gangsters or if my child is kidnapped, I will call the police.

And I don't think Ho Chi Minh was an imperialist tool because he allowed US OSS doctors to treat him or because he accepted US military help in his struggle against the Japanese.

However, I think it was absolutely shameful the way Stalin sent Molotov scurrying off to Washington to beg the United States to step up it's war against Hitler in 1942. Imagine that! A union of socialist republics demanding the US imperialists help them in their war with German imperialists by intervening militarily in a European affair. Didn't they know the US reputation for wantonly killing civilians, from the Indian wars or the Philippines for example? Shouldn't they have been able to anticipate the hell on Earth the US and British imperialists would create for the civilians of Dresden and some one thousand other German town and cities they incinerated in the final months of the war?

Of course, that was after the Hitler-Stalin pack broke down and Hitler invaded the USSR, before that [Daily Worker, 1940] it was "the Anglo-French Imperialist war machine."

2011-06-22 US Conducts Mass Surveillance & Data Mining Operation on the Arab World, HBGary Involved

ImageThe following is republished with permission from the author.

I've released the following document to a number of news outlets over the past 24 hours; I've also written an explanation and announcement which is posted at The Guardian.

The document below may be republished without my permission for any purpose; please link to our wiki, on which we're working to compile further information about the intelligence contracting industry and its various aspects.


For at least two years, the U.S. has been conducting a secretive and immensely sophisticated campaign of mass surveillance and data mining against the Arab world, allowing the intelligence community to monitor the habits, conversations, and activity of millions of individuals at once. And with an upgrade scheduled for later this year, the top contender to win the federal contract and thus take over the program is a team of about a dozen companies which were brought together in large part by Aaron Barr - the same disgraced CEO who resigned from his own firm earlier this year after he was discovered to have planned a full-scale information war against political activists at the behest of corporate clients.

The new revelation provides for a disturbing picture, particularly when viewed in a wider context. Unprecedented surveillance capabilities are being produced by an industry that works in secret on applications that are nonetheless funded by the American public – and which in some cases are used against that very same public. Their products are developed on demand for an intelligence community that is not subject to Congressional oversight and which has been repeatedly shown to have misused its existing powers in ways that violate U.S. law as well as American ideals. And with expanded intelligence capabilities by which to monitor Arab populations in ways that would have previously been impossible, those same intelligence agencies now have improved means by which to provide information on dissidents to those regional dictators viewed by the U.S. as strategic allies.

The nature and extent of the operation, which was known as Romas/COIN and which is scheduled for replacement sometime this year by a similar program known as Odyssey, may be determined in part by a close reading of hundreds of e-mails among the 70,000 that were stolen in February from the contracting firm HBGary Federal and its parent company HBGary. Other details may be gleaned by an examination of the various other firms and individuals that are discussed as being potential partners.

Of course, there are many in the U.S. that would prefer that such details not be revealed at all; such people tend to cite the amorphous and much-abused concept of “national security” as sufficient reason for the citizenry to stand idly by as an ever-expanding coalition of government agencies and semi-private corporations gain greater influence over U.S. foreign policy. That the last decade of foreign policy as practiced by such individuals has been an absolute disaster even by the admission of many of those who put it into place will not phase those who nonetheless believe that the citizenry should be prevented from knowing what is being done in its name and with its tax dollars.

To the extent that the actions of a government are divorced from the informed consent of those who pay for such actions, such a government is illegitimate. To the extent that power is concentrated in the hands of small groups of men who wield such power behind the scenes, there is no assurance that such power will be used in a manner that is compatible with the actual interests of that citizenry, or populations elsewhere. The known history of the U.S. intelligence community is comprised in large part of murder, assassinations, disinformation, the topping of democratic governments, the abuse of the rights of U.S. citizens, and a great number of other things that cannot even be defended on “national security” grounds insomuch as that many such actions have quite correctly turned entire populations against the U.S. government. This is not only my opinion, but also the opinion of countless individuals who once served in the intelligence community and have since come to criticize it and even unveil many of its secrets in an effort to alert the citizenry to what has been unleashed against the world in the name of “security.”

Likewise, I will here provide as much information as I can on Romas/COIN and its upcoming replacement.


Although the relatively well-known military contractor Northrop Grumman had long held the contract for Romas/COIN, such contracts are subject to regular recompetes by which other companies, or several working in tandem, can apply to take over. In early February, then-HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Barr wrote the following e-mail to Al Pisani, an executive at the much larger federal contractor TASC, a company which until recently had been owned by Northrop and which was now looking to compete with it for lucrative contracts.

"I met with [Mantech CEO] Bob Frisbie the other day to catch up. He is looking to expand a capability in IO related to the COIN re-compete but more for DoD. He told me he has a few acquisitions in the works that will increase his capability in this area. So just a thought that it might be worth a phone call to see if there is any synergy and strength between TASC and ManTech in this area. I think forming a team and response to compete against SAIC will be tough but doable." IO in this context stands for “information operations,” while COIN itself, as noted in an NDA attached to one of the e-mails, stands for “counter intelligence.” SAIC is a larger intelligence contractor that was expected to pursue the recompete as well.

Pisani agreed to the idea, and in conjunction with Barr and fellow TASC exec John Lovegrove, the growing party spent much of the next year working to create a partnership of firms capable of providing the “client” - a U.S. agency that is never specified in the hundreds of e-mails that follow – with capabilities that would outmatch those being provided by Northrop, SAIC, or other competitors.

Several e-mails in particular provide a great deal of material by which to determine the scope and intent of Romas/COIN. One that Barr wrote to his own e-mail account, likely for the purpose of adding to other documents later, is entitled “Notes on COIN.” It begins with a list of entries for various facets of the program, all of which are blank and were presumably filled out later: “ISP, Operations, Language/Culture, Media Development, Marketing and Advertising, Security, MOE.” Afterwards, another list consists of the following: “Capabilities, Mobile Development, Challenges, MOE, Infrastructure, Security.” Finally, a list of the following websites is composed, many of which represent various small companies that provide niche marketing services pursuant to mobile phones.

More helpful is a later e-mail from Lovegrove to Barr and some of his colleagues at TASC in which he announces the following:

Our team consists of:
- TASC (PMO, creative services)
- HB Gary (Strategy, planning, PMO)
- Akamai (infrastructure)
- Archimedes Global (Specialized linguistics, strategy, planning)
- Acclaim Technical Services (specialized linguistics)
- Mission Essential Personnel (linguistic services)
- Cipher (strategy, planning operations)
- PointAbout (rapid mobile application development, list of strategic
- Google (strategy, mobile application and platform development - long
list of strategic partners)
- Apple (mobile and desktop platform, application assistance -long list
of strategic partners)

We are trying to schedule an interview with ATT plus some other small app developers.

From these and dozens of other clues and references, the following may be determined about the nature of Romas/COIN:

1. Mobile phone software and applications constitute a major component of the program.

2. There's discussion of bringing in a “gaming developer,” apparently at the behest of Barr, who mentions that the team could make good use of “a social gaming company maybe like zynga, gameloft, etc.” Lovegrove elsewhere notes: “I know a couple of small gaming companies at MIT that might fit the bill.”

3. Apple and Google were active team partners, and AT&T may have been as well. The latter is known to have provided the NSA free reign over customer communications (and was in turn protected by a bill granting them retroactive immunity from lawsuits). Google itself is the only company to have received a “Hostile to Privacy” rating from Privacy International. Apple is currently being investigated by Congress after the iPhone was revealed to compile user location data in a way that differs from other mobile phones; the company has claimed this to have been a “bug.”

4. The program makes use of several providers of “linguistic services.” At one point, the team discusses hiring a military-trained Arabic linguist. Elsewhere, Barr writes: “I feel confident I can get you a ringer for Farsi if they are still interested in Farsi (we need to find that out). These linguists are not only going to be developing new content but also meeting with folks, so they have to have native or near native proficiency and have to have the cultural relevance as well.”

5. Alterion and SocialEyez are listed as “businesses to contact.” The former specializes in “social media monitoring tools.” The latter uses “sophisticated natural language processing methodology” in order to “process tens of millions of multi-lingual conversations daily” while also employing “researchers and media analysts on the ground;” its website also notes that “Millions of people around the globe are now networked as never before - exchanging information and ideas, forming opinions, and speaking their minds about everything from politics to products.”

6. At one point, TASC exec Chris Clair asks Aaron and others, “Can we name COIN Saif? Saif is the sword an Arab executioner uses when they decapitate criminals. I can think of a few cool brands for this.”

7. A diagram attached to one of Barr's e-mails to the group ( depicts Magpii as interacting in some unspecified manner with “Foreign Mobile” and “Foreign Web.” Magpii is a project of Barr's own creation which stands for “Magnify Personal Identifying Information,” involves social networking, and is designed for the purpose of storing personal information on users. Although details are difficult to determine from references in Barr's e-mails, he discusses the project almost exclusively with members of military intelligence to which he was pitching the idea.

8. There are sporadic references such things as “semantic analysis,” “Latent Semantic Indexing,” “specialized linguistics,” and OPS, a programming language designed for solving problems using expert systems.

9. Barr asks the team's partner at Apple, Andy Kemp (whose signature lists him as being from the company's Homeland Defense/National Programs division), to provide him “a contact at Pixar/Disney.”

Altogether, then, a successful bid for the relevant contract was seen to require the combined capabilities of perhaps a dozen firms – capabilities whereby millions of conversations can be monitored and automatically analyzed, whereby a wide range of personal data can be obtained and stored in secret, and whereby some unknown degree of information can be released to a given population through a variety of means and without any hint that the actual source is U.S. military intelligence. All this is merely in addition to whichever additional capabilities are not evident from the limited description available, with the program as a whole presumably being operated in conjunction with other surveillance and propaganda assets controlled by the U.S. and its partners.

Whatever the exact nature and scope of COIN, the firms that had been assembled for the purpose by Barr and TASC never got a chance to bid on the program's recompete. In late September, Lovegrove noted to Barr and others that he'd spoken to the “CO [contracting officer] for COIN.” “The current procurement approach is cancelled [sic], she cited changed requirements,” he reported. “They will be coming out with some documents in a month or two, most likely an updated RFI [request for information]. There will be a procurement following soon after. We are on the list to receive all information."

On January 18th of next year, Lovegrove provided an update: “I just spoke to the group chief on the contracts side (Doug K). COIN has been replaced by a procurement called Odyssey. He says that it is in the formative stages and that something should be released this year. The contracting officer is Kim R. He believes that Jason is the COTR [contracting officer's technical representative].” Another clue is provided in the ensuing discussion when a TASC executive asks, “Does Odyssey combine the Technology and Content pieces of the work?”

The unexpected change-up didn't seem to phase the corporate partnership, which was still a top contender to compete for the upcoming Odyssey procurement. Later e-mails indicate a meeting between key members of the group and the contracting officer for Odyssey at a location noted as “HQ,” apparently for a briefing on requirements for the new program, on February 3rd of 2011. But two days after that meeting, the servers of HBGary and HBGary Federal were hacked by a small team of Anonymous operatives in retaliation for Barr's boasts to Financial Times that he had identified the movement's “leadership;” 70,000 e-mails were thereafter released onto the internet. Barr resigned a few weeks later.

Along with clues as to the nature of COIN and its scheduled replacement, a close study of the HBGary e-mails also provide reasons to be concerned with the fact that such things are being developed and deployed in the way that they are. In addition to being the driving force behind the COIN recompete, Barr was also at the center of a series of conspiracies by which his own company and two others hired out their collective capabilities for use by corporations that sought to destroy their political enemies by clandestine and dishonest means, some of which appear to be illegal. None of the companies involved have been investigated; a proposed Congressional inquiry was denied by the committee chair, noting that it was the Justice Department's decision as to whether to investigate, even though it was the Justice Department itself that made the initial introductions. Those in the intelligence contracting industry who believe themselves above the law are entirely correct.

That such firms will continue to target the public with advanced information warfare capabilities on behalf of major corporations is by itself an extraordinary danger to mankind as a whole, particularly insomuch as that such capabilities are becoming more effective while remaining largely unknown outside of the intelligence industry. But a far greater danger is posed by the practice of arming small and unaccountable groups of state and military personnel with a set of tools by which to achieve better and better “situational awareness” on entire populations while also being able to manipulate the information flow in such a way as to deceive those same populations. The idea that such power can be wielded without being misused is contradicted by even a brief review of history.

History also demonstrates that the state will claim such powers as a necessity in fighting some considerable threat; the U.S. has defended its recent expansion of powers by claiming they will only be deployed to fight terrorism and will never be used against American civilians. This is cold comfort for those in the Arab world who are aware of the long history of U.S. material support for regimes they find convenient, including those of Saddam Hussein, Hosni Mubarak, and the House of Saud. Nor should Americans be comforted by such promises from a government that has no way of ensuring that they will be kept; it was just a few months ago that a U.S. general in Afghanistan ordered a military intelligence unit to use pysops on visiting senators in an effort to secure increased funding for the war, an illegal act; only a few days prior, CENTCOM spokesmen were confidently telling the public that such other psychological capabilities as persona management would never be used on Americans as that would be illegal.

The fact is that such laws have been routinely broken by the military and intelligence community, who are now been joined in this practice by segments of the federal contracting industry.

It is inevitable, then, that such capabilities as form the backbone of Romas/COIN and its replacement Odyssey will be deployed against a growing segment of the world's population. The powerful institutions that wield them will grow all the more powerful as they are provided better and better methods by which to monitor, deceive, and manipulate. The informed electorate upon which liberty depends will be increasingly misinformed. No tactical advantage conferred by the use of these programs can outweigh the damage that will be done to mankind in the process of creating them.

Project PM

2011-06-22 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases, #WikiLeaks & More

ImageThis is a "WikiLeaks News Update," constantly updated throughout each day. The blog tracks stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks but also follows stories related to freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, freedom of expression, and sometimes the national security establishment of the United States because each issue/topic helps one further understand WikiLeaks and vice versa.

All the times are EST. You can contact me at with any news tips. Twitter username is @kgosztola. Also, if you are looking for some insightful discussion of stories related to WikiLeaks, I encourage you to check out the catalog of podcasts posted here at WL Central from the "This Week in WikiLeaks" show I produce every week.

11:30 PM Andrew MacGregor Marshall explains why he left his job with Reuters and jeopardized his career to write a story using US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks to write a story on Thailand.

He writes, "Thailand is sliding backwards into authoritarianism and repression. And one stark indication of this is that just saying it is illegal."

8:00 PM US House of Representatives is going to vote on speeding up Arctic oil drilling. Therefore, it's worth revisiting previous revelations from cables released by WikiLeaks that showed the nature of the Arctic oil game.

7:50 PM McClatchy's Daniel Lippman reports, after looking at US State Embassy cables, that what is happening in Bahrain is very similar to "playbook that Sunni Muslim-ruled Saudi Arabia used against Shiites in its own Eastern Province as recently as two years ago."

Read more:

6:00 PM Factbox breakdown from Reuters on different types of cyber attacks

5:40 PM In India, a senior Congress leader who some might consider the personification of WikiLeaks?

3:20 PM Tom Hayden for The Nation has an article up on Julian Assange's new legal strategy. Hayden spoke with Gareth Peirce, now representing Assange, who told him:

The history of this case is as unfortunate as it is possible to imagine, in which encounters, undoubtedly believed by all parties at the time to be private, became inappropriately the subject of publicity and thereafter in consequence no doubt the more difficult to resolve. Each of the human beings involved deserves respect and consideration. It is hoped that whatever steps as are required to be taken in the future will be taken thoughtfully, with sensitivity and with such respect.

3:10 PM WLC is now running a monthly international essay competition with a monetary award for the winner. Details here.

3:00 PM The Nation with another big story on the Haiti cables: Haiti businesses and the tiny country's elite used the Haiti police as a private army after the 2004 coup that ousted Jean-Bertrand Aristide

2:00 PM From released diplomatic cables, Venezuelan priests ignored orders from Pope John Paul II nearly 10 years ago "to avoid efforts to topple President Hugo Chavez."

10:00 AM Greg Mitchell at The Nation has revelation from Barrett Brown, who for a long time had been affiliated with Anonymous. He posts part of an email that was sent to only a few reporters with the hopes that they would cover the alarming details.

Mitchell posts the opening:

For at least two years, the U.S. has been conducting a secretive and immensely sophisticated campaign of mass surveillance and data mining against the Arab world, allowing the intelligence community to monitor the habits, conversations, and activity of millions of individuals at once. And with an upgrade scheduled for later this year, the top contender to win the federal contract and thus take over the program is a team of about a dozen companies which were brought together in large part by Aaron Barr - the same disgraced CEO who resigned from his own firm earlier this year after he was discovered to have planned a full-scale information war against political activists at the behest of corporate clients. The new revelation provides for a disturbing picture, particularly when viewed in a wider context.

For more, see his daily WikiLeaks blog.

9:40 AM Dawn Media Group continues to cover Pakistan cables. Here they cover water issues and how they could impact the India-Pakistan peace process.

9:30 AM Human Rights Joint Committee of UK Parliament releases report on implications of UK extradition policy.

The report finds "serious problems" with the European Arrest Warrant's operation. And, it further concludes "the mere presence of a 'human rights bar' in the statutory framework is not enough to secure effective protection for human rights."

Full report.

9:10 AM Batch of cables from Nicaragua released by WikiLeaks yesterday. The cables have no links to new stories that have used them so it is not clear if a media partner is involved in the release of these cables.

Here are a couple of revelations from the cables:

*Private sector and unions battled for money and power under the Central American Free Trade Agreement (CAFTA), which could grant preferential Tariff Preference Levels (TPLs) for textiles.

*In January 2007, newly elected president Daniel Ortega planned to end poverty by rejecting neoliberalism. The cable notes that then Ortega was walking a tightrope trying to "pay his dues to radical paymasters" (like Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez) while not wholly alienating the US government.

8:55 AM Rania Khalek has another "five" post up on Alternet. She wrote a wildly successful article a couple weeks ago, "5 WikiLeaks Hits of 2011 That Are Turning the World on Its Head—And That the Media Are Ignoring." Now here's "5 WikiLeaks Revelations Exposing the Rapidly Growing Corporatism Dominating American Diplomacy Abroad."

Khalek notes US officials working as salespeople for Boeing and serving as "henchman" for Monsanto as a couple examples of the corporatism in US diplomacy.

8:30 AM WL Central's Alexa O'Brien interviews Tangerine Bolen on her efforts to show the US government that people all over the world support WikiLeaks and Julian Assange and prosecution efforts should be stopped now.

2011-06-23 Interview with WikiLeaksWorld in Brussels where demonstrators overtook European Parliament #europeanrevolution

ImageI spoke with WL Central reporter Wikileaks World, currently reporting on the #revolution across Europe. They were present today in Brussels where 200 demonstrators overtook European Parliament to protest the Euro Pact - in like manner to the protests in Spain and Greece against financial measures that grant greater power to corporations vis a vis employess, and erode the sovereignty of nation states.


Wikileaks World coverage of #European Revolution:

2011-06-23 Lt. Dan Choi: Proud to Stand Shoulder to Shoulder with Bradley Manning

While at Netroots Nation 2011, I had the privilege of speaking to Lieutenant Dan Choi, who served in the US Army infantry, went to war in Iraq and graduated from West Point with a degree in Arabic.

Choi was kicked out of the military under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) about one year ago. At Netroots Nation, Choi celebrated his one year "anniversary or birthday" as a civilian. He also noted that despite DADT being repealed there are still soldiers getting kicked out of the military for being gay.

The US government is putting Lt. Dan Choi on trial August 29 for "demonstrating in front of the White House in November of last year." Choi refuses to plead guilty or accept any kind of deal.

“I believe this Administration is making a grave mistake in limiting the areas, times and manners that free speech should be allowed," declares Choi. And adds nobody should be intimidated into not protesting.

I spoke to Choi the day after he had gone with Hamsher to support Bradley Manning Support Network co-founder David House, as he went before a federal grand jury investigating individuals supportive of alleged military whistleblower Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks. Choi says House is an "American hero" and "our situations are exactly the same."

Whenever a government tries to stifle the truth by censoring the people, we sometimes take a look at the people. And that’s what’s going on with Bradley Manning. People have been trying to scapegoat him as someone who is crazy or someone who should not have gone to war but I think that Bradley Manning is a great soldier who did something as far as morality.

This was supposedly one of the first times Choi had expressed solidarity with Pfc. Manning so openly on camera.

He continues:

What the true mandate of the American servant of society is he embodied through his act. It’s no different from what Daniel Ellsberg did with the Pentagon Papers. And, I wonder what this president is about to do to this new hero of American patriotism. He is not antiwar. I want to make sure that everybody knows that. From the things that I’ve heard this soldier signed up because he believed in this country and when he saw things that were unbelievable and were being perpetrated by this country, he wasn’t attacking this country. He was trying to teach this country what this mandate of service really was. So, I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with anybody who speaks up against injustice, against war crimes, against torture and against the reprobate actions of any kind of reprobate government that tries to tell them that power belongs to the powerful.

Choi recently visited Moscow to participate in the Moscow Pride parade and stand in solidarity with gays in Russia. I ask him the United States has some effect on how countries around the world treat their own people, particularly gay people.

The US is a "horrible role model not only on gay rights but progress," replies Choi.

He doesn't fault the government entirely for failing to be a good role model and concludes, "I blame our courage inadequacy. The only ingredient that is missing nowadays [among activists] is the willingness to stick to your guns 'til the very day that you achieve what you set out to accomplish in the first place.”

2011-06-23 Obama's Latest Afghanistan Speech: Bridging the Say/Do Gap to End the War

Those who read President Barack Obama’s speech will likely be reading to find hints of when the conflict might finally come to an end. Support for a pullout from Afghanistan is at an all-time high, according to a recent Pew Research Center poll. But, there is little reason to put much stock in the fact that ten thousand troops will be leaving Afghanistan this summer. Withdrawing a number of troops around July of 2011 was always part of a plan, a way of deftly managing public opinion.

When Obama went ahead and added thirty thousand troops, he knew, as shown in Bob Woodward’s book Obama’s Wars he had two years with the public. He understood the perils of escalating a war, as retired Lt. Gen. Karl W. Eikenberry,  retired Gen. James L. Jones and Lt. Gen. Douglas Lute all offered a level of dissent against Admiral Mike Mullen, Gen. David Petraeus and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. And, Obama allegedly told Vice President Joe Biden in private to oppose a big troop buildup but could not stand up to military brass. In the end, though, he was able to set a withdrawal timetable of ending the war by 2014.

Like any speech on war by US presidents these days, it began by re-opening the wounds of 9/11, by forcing all Americans to recall the fear or pain they experienced that day. It transitioned into a history of how America had gotten to this point—why America invaded Afghanistan, how it got “sidetracked” in Iraq (sorry for  your luck Iraqis) and why America committed to a surge in Afghanistan about a year and a half ago. It proceeded to outline the plans and goals for the next stage of the mission and then concluded with pure, pathological American exceptionalist fallacies.

A key difference between this speech and the surge speech is during the speech there weren’t any US State Embassy cables or war logs from WikiLeaks to reference and call “bullshit” when something was said with an err of confidence that seemed preposterous. Fast forward to June 2011, with plenty of information on US diplomacy and US military operations in Afghanistan, there is ample reason to doubt the assertions President Obama makes in his speech.

When Obama announced the surge, he committed the US to refocusing on al Qaeda, reversing the Taliban’s momentum and training Afghan security forces to defend their own country. According to Obama, the US is meeting these goals or objectives and so the country will be able to “recover” the surge and be back around the level of troops that were in Afghanistan when President George W. Bush left office.

One week ago, Jonathan Owen for The Independent reported, “Not a single Afghan police or army unit is capable of maintaining law and order in the war-torn country without the support of coalition forces.” Owen cited a US Department of Defense report on Afghanistan from February showing “out of more than 400 army and police units in Afghanistan” none are capable of operation without assistance from coalition forces. And, Owen also highlighted the fact that twenty-five billion US dollars have been used to train and equip Afghan forces thus far and Lieutenant-General William B. Caldwell does not think the “training mission” can be complete until 2017.

A cable from December 2009 titled, “Karzai Looks Forward,” features this exchange on the Afghan army and police:

Turning his attention to the Afghan National Army (ANA), Karzai announced that the ANA leadership should lead simpler, more spartan lives. He criticized widespread reports of ANA generals driving expensive cars and NDS reports that only no officers had died in battles with insurgents, only ANA soldiers died (the latter account was disputed by Minister of Defense Wardak). Reflecting on ANA recruitment, Karzai asked why so few Afghans from the provinces of Zabul, Ghazni, Helmand, Herat, and Farah enlist in the ANA. He bemoaned the fact that only drug users join the Afghan National Police (ANP) in Khandahar and Helmand Provinces. Upon hearing the latter, Minister of Interior Affairs Atmar interjected that a partially completed personnel asset inventory conducted in Khandahar and Helmand turned up the surprisingly good news that only 20 percent of ANP personnel were drug users. [emphasis added]

These days, what percentage of Afghan police are drug users or addicts? How is that impacting operations? More importantly, do private contractors like DynCorp leaders still “pimp little boys to stoned Afghan cops”?

A June 2009 cable shows the DynCorp leaders pimping Afghani children to the police. At bacha bazis or “boy-play” parties eight to fifteen-year-old boys are “made to put on make-up, tie bells to their feet and slip into scanty women’s clothing.” The boys dance seductively to older men. Their “services” are auctioned and men will sometimes purchase them outright. And, the State Department understands that bacha bazis are a “widespread, culturally accepted form of male rape.”

Purchasing services from a child is illegal under Sharia law and the civil code in Afghanistan. The party mentioned in the cable led to the arrest of two Afghan National Police. Are “dancing boys” still a problem for law enforcement in the country?

What about this story from the cables on Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd saying the situation "scares the hell out of me"? Or the fact that he found France and Germany's contribution to fighting the Taliban to be "organizing folk dancing festivals" and the comment from Australian Special Representative on Afghanistan and Pakistan Ric Smith that the mission was like a "wobbly three-legged stool"?

Obama’s speech singled out the Afghan national police, but what about the unconventional forces the United States has been using? A November 2009 cable indicates the Afghan government and local communities were using “unconventional security forces. These “local and private bodies” were proliferating because of the lack of “public confidence in the police.”

Interior Minister Hanif Atmar had a plan to use a “traditional militia concept.”

Locals who are loyal to the government and register their existing arms could serve as police auxiliaries, receiving food and even some pay from MOI in return for helping the police. Atmar's longest-serving advisor, Habib Wayand, explained that the Minister prefers to encourage small groups linked to local shuras, rather than large militias that might bite back or prove loyal to commanders with their own agendas.

Exactly, how are these militias impacting operations now? And, also, a prime proposal from Atmar in February 2010 involved sending twelve to fifteen thousand police to train in Jordan at a facility constructed for training Iraqi police. There is little indication this proposal has been accepted by US forces tasked with training Afghanis to keep their country “secure.” Atmar also reported a “need to train 50,000 per year to meet expansion targets and offset attrition” but the maximum training capacity was around 30,000 trainees.

Less than 100 al Qaeda are in Afghanistan. It seems true that the goal of refocusing on al Qaeda has been achieved but why did US forces ever have to “refocus” on al Qaeda? Was there ever a point when they weren’t going after al Qaeda?

The Afghan War Logs released by WikiLeaks almost one year ago revealed the Pakistan spy service was meeting directly with Taliban for “secret strategy sessions to organize networks of militant groups that fight against American soldiers in Afghanistan, and even hatch plots to assassinate Afghan leaders.” To what extent do these operations persist?

The released war logs also showed the US military covered up "a reported surface-to-air missile strike by the Taliban that shot down a Chinook helicopter over Helmand in 2007 and killed seven soldiers, including a British military photographer." There may be political leaders affiliated with the Taliban who are willing to talk, but how does the US intend to halt the fighters who are committed to fighting US forces?

The questions are not raised because this author supports the war effort and wishes to see it continue. Doubts are made evident because President Obama appears to be certain that it will all work out by 2014. It seems quite clear that this speech is part of a ploy to con Americans into believing the mission is ending and will end as the timetable being discussed suggests yet it appears it could take another half decade to train forces or further sort out a political solution. In the meantime, if the US is being consistent, wouldn’t forces have to remain to prevent a vacuum from forming?

Furthermore, the conclusion of Obama’s speech shows that what is at stake for America, as for any war, is its credibility and reputation. Obama, whose weapon of choice in governance is often compromise, lays out two choices, in the same way he laid out two choices when working to pass health reform. The are not necessarily the only two choices America has but they are two choices, which Obama averages to get a solution that will make possible a balancing act between the military and political establishment and the citizens of the United States.

He presents one of the choices as isolationism or retreat. This means no longer being an “anchor for global security,” letting despots and terrorists flood the earth and create anarchy. The other choice he presents is overextension, struggling to confront every evil that can be found in the world. (Absurdly, he does not hint at the reality that the US already tries to go after all evil or at least exploits this as a pretext for many, many operations.)

Upon establishing these poles, he plants a stake in at what he deems “the center.” The solution is not necessarily right or wrong but “pragmatic.” The answer is not to deploy large armies when targeted operations can be used. When innocents are being slaughtered, the US can rally international action (e.g. Libya). Somehow, the final stages of Afghanistan are part of this “centered course.”

The disenthralled approach obfuscates the past and recasts the future. US-assassination squads operating with “kill-and-capture lists,” the use of drones, intelligence agents awash in data they don’t know what to do with, and the killing of civilians going unreported, all revealed in the Afghanistan War Logs, can continue as tools so long as they are employed properly. Brutal night raids, which have led Afghanis in villages to fear US forces more than the Taliban, become legitimized. The brutality of war cast as “pragmatism” suggests what is unfolding is part of a measured approach and whether those who get bombed at weddings care about “pragmatism” versus “realism or “idealism,” that does not matter.

The most fraudulent part is the mythological portrayal of America that Obama presents:

In all that we do, we must remember that what sets America apart is not solely our power — it is the principles upon which our union was founded. We are a nation that brings our enemies to justice while adhering to the rule of law, and respecting the rights of all our citizens. We protect our own freedom and prosperity by extending it to others. We stand not for empire but for self-determination. That is why we have a stake in the democratic aspirations that are now washing across the Arab World. We will support those revolutions with fidelity to our ideals, with the power of our example, and with an unwavering belief that all human beings deserve to live with freedom and dignity.

The sophistry of these words dares one to ask whether engaging in warrantless wiretapping, torture, or rendition, invoking state secrets to prevent transparency, denying habeas corpus to detainees in prisons like Guantanamo and Bagram (along with black prison sites that likely still exist), holding detainees in detention indefinitely, asserting the right to target and kill US civilians bypass due process or employing military commissions—“kangaroo courts”—is what nations that adhere to the rule of law and respect the rights of people do.

The portrait of America presented and its underhandedness obscures how America has typically been at war with those in the country who engage in acts of self-determination, who dissent against power.

Search warrants, grand jury subpoenas, indictments, trials, spying, infiltration, entrapment, raids, and severe limits on demonstrations with bystanders, protesters and journalists all subject to arrest at demonstrations are all omitted. Obama cannot sell America as a model country for freedom if that paragraph contains hints at abuses of the state or Executive.

Thus, the next stage of the Afghanistan war, officially launched by this speech, is benign compared to the pathological rot in the military and political establishment, which conditions someone to be able to stand before a world and utter such misrepresentations.

Gareth Porter, investigative journalist, says this morning on Democracy Now!, "There is an effort here to create a narrative that as he put it, the war is receding, the tide of war is receding. When in fact, nothing of this sort is happening...Clearly, the Taliban are carrying out counterattacks this year and will do so again next year. That is not going to come to an end." And, about 70,000 US military forces along with thousands of contractors would remain in the country after 2012.

Thanks to transparency, technology and the courage of whistleblowers, citizens in this country can begin to bridge the gap between what leaders say and do in such a way that has never been possible before in this country's history. Information released by outlets like WikiLeaks can be used to confront speeches like this one head on and work to bridge the say/do gap. It's relentlessly working to bridge this gap that will force leaders into a corner that will eventually lead to deception being exposed and the war coming to an end.

2011-06-23 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases, #WikiLeaks & More

ImageThis is a "WikiLeaks News Update," constantly updated throughout each day. The blog tracks stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks but also follows stories related to freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, freedom of expression, and sometimes the national security establishment of the United States because each issue/topic helps one further understand WikiLeaks and vice versa.

All the times are EST. You can contact me at with any news tips. Twitter username is @kgosztola. Also, if you are looking for some insightful discussion of stories related to WikiLeaks, I encourage you to check out the catalog of podcasts posted here at WL Central from the "This Week in WikiLeaks" show I produce every week.

8:10 PM Cables provide new insight into "international tug of war" over individual on US EPA's list of environmental fugitives

5:00 PM Lt. Dan Choi, now facing federal charges for engaging in a civil disobedience action at the White House fence in protest of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," in video says he is proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with Bradley Manning.

4:45 PM Op-ed by Dave Shipler in the New York Times on how it was a rough spring for the Fourth Amendment - privacy, warrants, the right of citizens to not be subject to unreasonable searches or seizures.

1:00 PM Part 1 of Andrew MacGregor Marshall's big four-part story on Thailand using WikiLeaks cables. This is the story he couldn't write for Reuters and the story that he contends has already made him a political outlaw in Thailand. (h/t @WLLegal)

12:50 PM To coincide with US President Barack Obama's speech on the Afghanistan War, The Guardian has put together a "death map" using data from the war logs released by WikiLeaks last year. 24,498 deaths took place including over 4,000 civilian deaths.

12:40 PM Here's one way to handle corruption. It's like putting corrupt officials in "time out." Cables show that corrupt top Cameroon government officials being arrested and put in jail until they show remorse.

This practice, while it appears to be good for getting a country on the right track, has not helped Cameroon rise in its ranking on the Transparency International's corruption Index.

12:35 PM WikiLeaks: whistleblowers or terrorists? ZDNet's Zack Whittaker continues to post his dissertation on WikiLeaks.

12:20 PM Cables released detailing politics in the Dominican Republic lead to Dominican politicos admitting to accusations. National District Senator and general secretary of the ruling PLD party Reinaldo Pared Pérez admits to purchasing an apartment from drug-trafficker Luis David Ulloa.

12:00 PM The Australian on Thai king suffering from Parkinson's disease and how scandal plagues the monarchy, from cables released by WikiLeaks

11:50 AM A 22-page affidavit filed by NYT reporter James Risen alleging harassment and violations of privacy by the government.

12:30 AM Why is Guantanamo detainee Saifullah Paracha still being held at Guantanamo? Dawn Media Group looks at cables and his detainee assessment report and find Pakistan officials were under the impression he could be repatriated to Pakistan. However, it appears meetings involving his detention have been meaningless.

The article explicitly notes, "One year after the Pakistani delegation’s visit to Guantanamo, when it became clear that Paracha was not going to be sent home, Amnesty International in October 2007 called for his release unless he was charged and given a fair trial in a non-military court."

12:20 AM US House Oversight Committee perhaps miraculously passes two federal transparency bills. The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) details how this happened.

12:10 AM Thomas Drake was, is and continues to be right about the issues he raised with the NSA. A classified Pentagon report indicates the agency was "misspending millions of dollars on a technically flawed system for sifting through digital communications." Of course, the Obama Justice Department still dogged him until they were embarrassed and their case imploded and they had to find a way to get Drake to accept some sort of a plea bargain.

2011-06-24 - Two days of rage in #Brussels Part 1/2. #europeanrevolution #globalrevolution

ImageThe past two days were very important for the political calendar of Europe. The European Commission signed the new adjustments of the Euro-Pact, the rules for the european commonwealth, organized by the European Bank, the IMF and the executive body of the European Union. In Brussels, where the whole summit took place, people went to the streets and squares to manifest their indignation regarding corruption and economical dominance of state affairs.
We have been there and experienced two days of rage in the european political capital.

(Part 1 of 2)

PART 1 - WEDNESDAY 2011, June 22.

* Taking the European Parliament

The day started with a gathering at Schuman Square, situated beside the European Comission building. A meeting and a popular assembly took place there for around 3 hours. The presence of the police was constant during the rendez-vous at Schuman, since protesters decided to organize, very quickly, a march in direction of European Parliament, two blocks away. In 10 minutes, they arrived at the back door of the building, chanting “Solidarity, solidarity with the people of the entire world”, and were faced policemen who were guarding the scene.

The number of protesters, in our view around 200 (although the local press counted 300/400), scared policemen who were in very small number and forgot about the two tunnels heading toward the square inside the building. A small clash between a police officer and a demonstrator put the crowd in anger. The policeman ran in direction to one of the tunnels and part of demonstrators followed him, while the rest entered the building trough the other tunnel.

While police re-enforcement was arriving, two arrests happened, as well as abusive use of tear-gassing, and violent beatings. A police officer confiscated the portable telephone of a man publishing a livestream of the scene, thus censoring it. In 20 minutes, the march started from Schuman Square to the insides of the European Parliament building. This square, the Euro-Parliament´s inner Square, was now occupied.

Once inside, the police very quickly built a ring around the people who, ignoring them, started a public assembly to discuss the role of safety corps in their current lives and causes of current inequality on human conditions all over the world. When an old woman of around 70, took the megaphone and said that she had a message for the young policemen present there, the crowd opened the way and let her be face to face with the ring of officers. She started a speech which touched everybody in the square, both police and people, saying she dreamed of this moment for all her life.

After 2 hours of chants, discussions and euphoria, a spokesperson announced that “After 22hs I will gas everybody”. The protesters, in assembly, decided that the best to do was a pacific retirement. Slowly, people started to leave the place but the line performed by the police intervention battalion of Brussels advanced fast, pressuring people to go away. The result: aggressions and again the abusive use of tear-gas. Half of Luxembourg Square, in front of the European Parliament, was sprayed – affecting pedestrians, customers and traffic. “One cannot throw tear-gas bombs over the youngsters and our clients from the Parliament like this. We are not in Syria!” said a man who was there, the owner of one the cafes of Luxembourg, to the local francophone newspaper Le Soir.


Entering the Euro-Parliament video (whole action 17 min.): from Wikileaks World on Vimeo:

Here, white dressed woman - protected by police - takes photos of demonstrators.

Untitled from Niko Laos on Vimeo.

And here, a police officer tries to confiscate the camera of a demonstrator.

Untitled from Niko Laos on Vimeo.

Other videos:

Media repercussion: (independent media)

* A pursuit in Matonge

Police advanced in line across the different streets, evicting protesters – who at this point were split in small groups - from the block. It was night already, and after reuniting some blocks ahead, the march went in the direction of Matonge - a suburb of immigrants which had been usually blocked in the days of demonstrations. Arriving there, the march was very welcome and people joined the crowd. Stopping at Place Londres to discuss where to go and what to do, protesters saw themselves surrounded by police vans which were blocking the streets that lead to the square.
At one point the crowd panicked and started to run towards the only exit at la Rue de la Paix, when two vans and one car arrived and split the march in two big groups. There, I saw a young protester arrested violently - while running - in front of me. Re-enforcement arrived immediately and blocked the street in the middle, dividing the two groups of demonstrators, and with aggression performed around 20 arrests (no official data, was made public for around 2 hours, afterwards preventive arrest was alleged).

A fire-truck was called to spray water over the rest people and evict the area, while officers beat and gassed the crowd. In 20 minutes, Matonge was evicted and neighbours were asking themselves what really had happened. Next day, again, a woman living in the suburb said that “Policemen beat everyone. It was like Beirut!” to Le Soir local newspaper.


A hidden livestreaming reporter films 2 minutes of the action:

Video streaming by Ustream

2011-06-24 Danish human rights actvist Alkhawaja. Prison letter details torture. Life in peril. #Bahrain

ImageOn June 23, 2011, Bahrain Youth Society for Human Rights published a letter by world renowned Bahrain human rights advocate, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja. *Image via Frontline Defenders Abdulhadi Alkhawaja (left) with Margaret Sekaggya(right)

Alkhawaja, who was arrested in April and 21 others were charged by the Bahraini government with ”organising and managing a terrorist organisation” and “attempt to overthrow the government by force and in liaison with a terrorist organisation working for a foreign country”.

On Wednesday, June 22, AlKhawaja, a dual Bahraini and Danish, was convicted for life alongside 20 other defendants, seven of which were also sentenced to life. Maryam Alkhawaja" told the Guardian this week that Alkhawaja "was beaten and forcefully removed from the court. My sister [Zainab al-Khawaja]stood up and chanted, 'Allahu akbar' [God is great], and she was forcefully removed from the court and arrested. She was charged with contempt of court but then was made to sign a pledge not to speak in court again and then she was released."

The United Nations' top human-rights official, Navi Pillay, criticized the sentences handed down to 21 opposition leaders and activists in Bahrain this week. In a statement issued from her office this week, Pillay said, "There are serious concerns that the due-process rights of the defendants, many of whom are well-known human-rights defenders, were not respected and the trials appear to bear the marks of political persecution."

In May, prior to the trial that sentenced him to life, Frontline Defenders reported that "In a brief meeting with his family on the same day, 16 May, Abdulhadi Al Khawaja reportedly stated that the security forces had attempted to force him to record on videotape an apology to the King of Bahrain. He said he told them that he had nothing to apologise for. The security forces then reportedly tried to forcibly remove his clothes and sexually assault him to force him to make such an apology. Abdulhadi Al Khawaja told his family that he was handcuffed at the time and fell to the ground as he attempted to defend himself against the attackers suffering further injuries to his head, falling briefly unconscious."

Earlier today, Maryam Alkhawaja, wrote that she had received "credible information that those sentenced on Wednesday 22nd of June were beaten after the sentence reading. According to the information, Abdulhadi Alkhawaja was beaten the most severely, and on areas where he previously had surgery done due to fractures. This is an urgent call for intervention as he is at risk of PERMANENT DAMAGE and/or his LIFE IS AT THREAT."

She urges people "move quickly to put pressure on the Bahraini government to at least ensure that [Alkhawaja] is given the proper medical attention, give his family and lawyer access to him and his medical files and to make sure that the torture and beatings stop immediately."

Mr. Alkhawaja letter reads:

To whom it may concern,

I, the undersigned, Abdulhadi Abdulla Alkhawaja, detained since 9/4/2011 in the crackdown following events of February 14th, send this letter regarding my health situation.

Due to the severe beating I received upon my arrest by security forces on the 9th of April I had to undergo surgeries in the Military Hospital (BDF). In which I had to have stitches for two wounds above my left eye and I had to have surgery for four fractures in my cheek bone and jaw on the left side of my face.

And now, 2 months and 10 days after the surgeries:

1. The wounds above my eye that were stitched have not healed yet, they are swollen and painful.

2. I still cannot use my jaw and mouth in a normal manner,

3. The numbness in my face continues and the pain that resulted from my operation remains the same in the left side of my face (specifically in the cheek, mouth, lips & chin).

As a result, since the operation I have not been able to chew my food, or clean my teeth and I am constantly on painkillers.

The consultant doctor (who preformed the surgery) visited me (thankful to him for that) more than once in prison, the last visit was about a month ago. About three weeks ago an x-ray machine was brought to prison, and an x-ray was taken of the location of the surgery. But since then I have not been told of the result of those x-rays.

My current situation has not improved whatsoever. I have followed up on the issue with the prison administration, the emergency state court and the military prosecution with no result until this day.

I request that my family are given access to my medical files related to the surgery and the x-rays, so that my case is presented to another surgeon for a second opinion, because of lack of healing and to get medical advice on how to proceed.

Please take all the necessary action, and respond as soon as possible.

With all my appreciation and gratitude,

Abdulhadi Alkhawaja
Gurain Prison

For previous WL Central coverage of Bahrain go here.

2011-06-24 Italian CABLE 08ROME1231 asks, 'Investors of Cai Capitalists or Cronies?'


According to Italian CABLE 08ROME1231, “The Alitalia airline must remain Italian,” is what PM Silvio Berlusconi said during the spring 2008 election campaign.

The cost of saving Alitalia versus the return did not matter . After the Air France KLM deal collapsed, Berlusconi was under political pressure to keep Alitalia.

The solution sounded clear: convince a group of wealthy Italian businessmen to commit to rescuing the airline and preserving Italy’s flagship carrier.

The 16 investors - not all personally or politically close to Berlusconi, but receiving his favors - formed CAI (Compagnia Aerea Italiana) and followed a plan of purchase designed by the Italian bank, Intesa Sanpaolo.

Debts amounted to 1 billion euro, yet CAI still flies over Italian skies Rome/Milan route and other intra-Italy routes at high cost altitude.

According to CABLE 08ROME1231:

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

¶5. (SBU) Cai is made up of 16 Italian investors, among them top names of Italian business such as Gilberto Benetton, of the fashion company; , chairman and CEO of scooter maker Piaggio; and Emilio Riva, whose business is steel. The Benetton family is investing in Alitalia through the toll-road company Atlantia, which its investment firm controls. The Benettons also hold a controlling interest in the company that runs Rome's airports. Another Cai investor already has business interests at Milan's two airports. Roberto Colaninno and Rocco Sabelli, two key players at Cai, come from Piaggio. Colaninno leads the investor group and will be Chairman of Cai. Sabelli, his right-hand man, will be CEO. They are known for a successful turnaround of the scooter company. Other investors are in businesses ranging from cruise ships to steel to telecommunications, opening the possibility for preferential treatment of their companies from the GOI in return for the Alitalia bailout. Not all of the investors are personally or politically close to Berlusconi, but all will likely consider the PM to owe them favors. The exact nature of these favors has been, and likely will continue to be, a subject of lively media interest.

2011-06-24 LGBT Community Rallies for PFC Bradley Manning at Pride Events

ImageBradley Manning Pride Contingents Planned for San Francisco, Chicago & Other Cities

Lieutenant Dan Choi Speaks Out in Support of PFC Manning

San Francisco, CA — This Sunday, June 26, during the Pride events in San Francisco, a contingent of LGBT (Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender) activists and allies will rally in support of PFC Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst who stands accused of revealing classified documents to WikiLeaks. Similar Bradley Manning Pride Contingents are being organized for Pride events in several other cities, including in Boston, Chicago, Honolulu, New York, Los Angeles, San Diego, and London. (A few of these events already took place last weekend.)

“Bradley Manning has stood with the LGBT community before, and we look forward to him marching with us again when he’s free,” said Andy Thayer of the Chicago Gay Liberation Network, and advisory board member of the Bradley Manning Support Network. “Bradley has a strong track record of standing up for human rights and equality. If he did what he is accused of—if he released information to the American people that should have been public in the first place—then it’s clear that his motivation was rooted in a commitment to social justice. He’s a hero.”

Details about Bradley Manning Pride Contingents (Sunday, June 26):


San Francisco

For details about other contingents, or for interviews or other information, contact Matt Smucker:, 717.209.0445

Last week Lieutenant Dan Choi voiced his public support for PFC Manning. Choi served in Iraq and was discharged from the military under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) about a year ago.

“It’s no different from what Daniel Ellsberg did with the Pentagon Papers. And, I wonder what this president is about to do to this new hero of American patriotism…” Choi told Firedoglake last week. “…I am proud to stand shoulder to shoulder with anybody who speaks up against injustice, against war crimes, against torture and against the reprobate actions of any kind of reprobate government that tries to tell them that power belongs to the powerful.”

PFC Bradley Manning was detained in Iraq one year ago on May 26, 2010. He still awaits his first public court hearing, now expected to begin later this summer. He was transferred to Leavenworth on April 20, 2011, after having suffered under extreme and irregular confinement conditions at US Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia. During the nine months at Quantico, Manning was denied meaningful exercise, social interaction, sunlight, and was at times kept completely naked.

PFC Manning was detained as a suspected source to WikiLeaks, a news organization that receives, reviews, and selectively makes public, information provided by anonymous whistle-blowers. The information that PFC Manning is accused of leaking includes the videotaped massacre of Reuters journalists and Iraqi civilians, as well as diplomatic cables that experts believe helped to catalyze democratic revolts across the Middle East this spring. PFC Manning's supporters assert that the information he is accused of revealing should have been in the public domain.

Bradley Manning Support Network


Gay Liberation Network (GLN) Participating in Gay Pride Parade & Their Trip to Leavenworth

GLN has a post up with video of their visit a couple weeks ago to support Bradley Manning in Leavenworth, Kansas. A contingent of people from Chicago, Illinois went to Leavenworth to join veteranas, organizers and concerned citizens. Those in the contingent say they were probably the only LGBT group participating in the support action for Manning.

The post reads, "Manning's mistreatment by the authorities before he was transferred to Ft. Leavenworth prison bore many of the same hallmarks of homophobically-tinged sexual humiliation inflicted on prisoners at Iraq's Abu-Ghraib prison and elsewhere. Manning's case is one that LGBT's and human rights supporters must champion."

They have produced a short film on their experience at Leavenworth and why it is important for people especially the LGBT community to support Manning:

2011-06-24 WikiLeaks Guardian Data Visualization Maps Death in Afghanistan


As the Obama Administration announces a withdrawing of US troops in Afghanistan, Simon Rogers of the Guardian maps the human losses during the war. *Image at your left via the Guardian.

According to data released by WikiLeaks last year, between 2004 and 2009 24, 498 people died in Afghanistan- over 4,000 of them civilians caught up in the conflict.

The scenario emerging from the map of deaths is breathless. It shows a high rate of enemy and civilian victims followed by Afghan and coalition troops deaths. See the Guardian's Afghanistan war: every death mapped. Click on a dot or arrow at the bottom to zoom into areas of the map, or filter the data by type of casualty.

Map visualizations were also used to were used to visualize the numbers of US soldiers wounded or killed in action. See Afghanistan casualties and deaths by US state: mapped

As early as April 2010, the Telegraph said that WikiLeaks was in possession of and planned to release video of the U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan on May 4, 2009, in the village of Granai last year that left as many as 140 civilians dead, most of them children and teenagers.

In spite of the The Afghan government’s statement that counted 140 civilians killed of which 93 were children and only 22 were adult males, US military always denied to confirm these data.

An earlier probe by the US Military had said that 20-30 civilians were killed along with 60-65 insurgents. More recently, American officials have said “no one will ever be able conclusively to determine the number of civilian casualties that occurred.”

In May 2011, Euronews reported on the mistaken killing of Afghans including including 12 children and two women by NATO forces. See below:

2011-06-24 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases, #WikiLeaks & More

ImageThis is a "WikiLeaks News Update," constantly updated throughout each day. The blog tracks stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks but also follows stories related to freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, freedom of expression, and sometimes the national security establishment of the United States because each issue/topic helps one further understand WikiLeaks and vice versa. All the times are EST.

10:30 PM At AlterNet: "Since WikiLeaks, authorities have been more aggressive about arresting citizen cyber activists. Yet new actions by the biggest "hacktivists" show they're willing to risk it."

10:20 PM The Australian "The standard imposed on WikiLeaks is one that cannot be imposed on any media organization." For more, go here.

7:45 PM Journalist Dan Coughlin and Nation editor Betsy Reed for in a "Nation Conversation" on the stories the site has been publishing on the Haiti cables. Coughlin says what has been striking about the cables has been how they really pull "the curtain back on the Wizard of Oz."

He finds the level of bullying—how the US State Dept uses extraordinary power to push around the Haiti government—and the micromanagement—how the US is so concerned with, for example, the location of a police station in a slum—to be most shocking.

7:35 PM WikiLeaks signs partnership with Brazilian investigative journalism center Pública. In a posted video, Assange promises more releases from the "Cablegate" material on Brazil.

7:25 PM "People in glass houses can't be too outraged by return fire." Sydney Morning Herald's Geoff Strong describes getting a phone number and calling Julian Assange. He says Assange wasn't happy that he had been given a phone number for Assange. He compares the exchange he had with Assange to a recent interview with WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson.

12:40 PM Dave Weigel for calls GOP presidential candidate Gary Johnson the WikiLeaks candidate after his interview on RT's "The Alyona Show."

8:30 AM LulzSec's hacking of Arizona state law enforcement reveals a particular iPhone app law enforcement do not like called "Cop Recorder."

8:25 AM Coverage of Greek cables continues in the Greek newspaper Ta Nea. The latest story is on Greek corruption putting the "brakes" on US investment. American Greeks are described as having to bribe public officials to do jobs and get homes in villages. [Here is referenced.]

12:55 AM Apple, which once removed a WikiLeaks app, now removes another app—the "Third Intifada" app, which posts "news and opinion articles about Israeli aggression and the Palestinian cause" from

12:45 AM The Guardian wins journalism awards, is praised for coverage of WikiLeaks.

12:30 AM Lulz Sec gets into Arizona state law enforcement servers. They have posted a bulletin indicating they will be "releasing hundreds of private intelligence bulletins, training manuals, personal email correspondence, names, phone numbers, addresses and passwords belonging to Arizona law enforcement" and "are targeting AZDPS specifically because we are against SB1070 and the racial profiling anti-immigrant police state that is Arizona."

12:25 AM American Library Association set to take up three resolutions on WikiLeaks at meeeting in New Orleans. One of the resolutions will call for charges against Bradley Manning to be dropped.

2011-06-25 @Lulzsec's Last Press Release

In a pastebin press release, @lulzsec says good bye, thank you, and carry on without us:

Friends around the globe,

We are Lulz Security, and this is our final release, as today marks something meaningful to us. 50 days ago, we set sail with our humble ship on an uneasy and brutal ocean: the Internet. The hate machine, the love machine, the machine powered by many machines. We are all part of it, helping it grow, and helping it grow on us.

For the past 50 days we've been disrupting and exposing corporations, governments, often the general population itself, and quite possibly everything in between, just because we could. All to selflessly entertain others - vanity, fame, recognition, all of these things are shadowed by our desire for that which we all love. The raw, uninterrupted, chaotic thrill of entertainment and anarchy. It's what we all crave, even the seemingly lifeless politicians and emotionless, middle-aged self-titled failures. You are not failures. You have not blown away. You can get what you want and you are worth having it, believe in yourself.

While we are responsible for everything that The Lulz Boat is, we are not tied to this identity permanently. Behind this jolly visage of rainbows and top hats, we are people. People with a preference for music, a preference for food; we have varying taste in clothes and television, we are just like you. Even Hitler and Osama Bin Laden had these unique variations and style, and isn't that interesting to know? The mediocre painter turned supervillain liked cats more than we did.

Again, behind the mask, behind the insanity and mayhem, we truly believe in the AntiSec movement. We believe in it so strongly that we brought it back, much to the dismay of those looking for more anarchic lulz. We hope, wish, even beg, that the movement manifests itself into a revolution that can continue on without us. The support we've gathered for it in such a short space of time is truly overwhelming, and not to mention humbling. Please don't stop. Together, united, we can stomp down our common oppressors and imbue ourselves with the power and freedom we deserve.

So with those last thoughts, it's time to say bon voyage. Our planned 50 day cruise has expired, and we must now sail into the distance, leaving behind - we hope - inspiration, fear, denial, happiness, approval, disapproval, mockery, embarrassment, thoughtfulness, jealousy, hate, even love. If anything, we hope we had a microscopic impact on someone, somewhere. Anywhere.

Thank you for sailing with us. The breeze is fresh and the sun is setting, so now we head for the horizon.

Let it flow...

Lulz Security - our crew of six wishes you a happy 2011, and a shout-out to all of our battlefleet members and supporters across the globe


Our mayhem:
Our chaos:
Our final release:

2011-06-25 Timothy Lawson interviews Jim Richardson, member of Sydney Solidarity for Bradley Manning

ImageTimothy Lawson spoke to Jim Richardson, a member of Sydney Solidarity for Bradley Manning, about the group’s campaign work. This interview was sent to us by Mr. Lawson, for publication on WL Central.

Can you tell me about the Sydney Solidarity for Bradley Manning group?

Bradley Manning is a US army soldier accused of passing information to WikiLeaks, including the “Collateral Murder” video of an American airstrike that killed two journalists and nine other Iraqis and wounded two children; the Afghan War Diary; the Iraq War Logs; and more than 250,000 diplomatic cables, many of which reveal vast differences between the public statements and the actions of numerous governments.

Manning was arrested in May 2010, and from July 2010 to April 2011 was held waiting trial in maximum security under widely criticised conditions at the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia.

He is facing charges carrying sentences of up to 52 years jail, and, in theory, the death penalty. After worldwide outcry, on April 20, still awaiting trial, Bradley was moved to a new military remand prison at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where his detention conditions seem to be better.

Sydney Solidarity for Bradley Manning is a small, informal, self-organised group, currently of six people. Michele, our founding member, started things going in March 2011, with a rally in support of Manning in Sydney’s Martin Place.

It was cold and wet but 50 people were there; David Shoebridge from the Greens spoke.

Several people volunteered to help Michele. We organised a bigger rally as part of a worldwide solidarity weekend, on April 10, 2011, in Town Hall Square, with speakers on international law, academic freedom of speech, whistleblowing, and again David Shoebridge. We had support from the Sydney WikiLeaks Coalition. We gained some more members then.

Our goals are to draw attention to Bradley Manning’s legal case and the circumstances of his detention; to campaign for a fair trial and eventually for his freedom; to raise awareness of his heroism, if he is the leaker, in exposing apparent war-crimes and government misdeeds; and to canvas the broad associated issues of whistleblowing, open democratic governance instead of secrecy, and the role of the media and the people in checking abuses of power.

There’s information about the group and our activities on our website:

What rallies or campaigns are coming up in the near future that people can get involved in? In what other ways can people get involved?

A pre-trial court hearing for Manning is expected sometime in June. We will hold a rally or “vigil” in Martin Place when that’s announced or commenced, possibly at short notice.

The next event after that we’re working on will be a forum, to be held in the evening in central Sydney, we hope on August 2. Details will be available soon on our website

We’d love it if people in Sydney who would like to support Manning would come to these events. There are a number of further things you can do:

  • Post a photo signature at
  • Campaign on social media: we are on Twitter at @syd4bradley, and there’s a US “savebradley” Facebook page.
  • If you’re in a relevant course [at university], for example, politics, law, or media, ask questions about Manning’s case and the issues it raises in class, or try to relate them to your studies
  • Join our group if you’re in Sydney; find an existing Manning or WikiLeaks support group on your campus or in your area; or start a new one!

We already know of groups in
Perth and Brisbane. Email us at if you’re interested in linking up.

Amnesty International has expressed concern, calling the Quantico detention conditions harsh and punitive, and 295 American legal scholars signed a letter in April 2011 saying the conditions amounted to a violation of the U.S. constitution. Can you further describe these conditions?

[US journalist] Glenn Greenwald was probably the first person to draw wide
attention to “the inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning’s detention” at
Quantico, in a article in December 2010.

Greenwald described those conditions as constituting “cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture”, and “likely to create long-term psychological injuries”.

Here are some of the details, taken from the American legal scholars’ letter you mention:

  • intensive solitary confinement, alone in his cell for 23 hours of everyday
  • barred from exercising in his cell
  • not allowed to doze or sleep during the day, but required to answer
    whether he was “okay” every five minutes
  • no pillow or sheets on the bed, only a coarse blanket
  • awakened at night every five minutes if he turned or covered himself so guards could not see his face.

An 11-page letter from Bradley, prepared with assistance from his lawyer, described continually repeated rejection of requests for his removal from “Prevention of Injury” status, despite support for this removal by Quantico brig psychiatrists; and a series of incidents in March 2011 where he was stripped of all clothing at night and forced to present for morning inspection totally naked.

In addition, at Quantico Bradley was denied unmonitored visits from anyone except his lawyer; all other visits were recorded.

Official, unmonitored visits were denied for the UN Special Rapporteur on Torture, Juan Mendez; Congressperson Dennis Kucinich; and a representative from Amnesty International.

It does not seem to be clear yet whether such visits will be permitted now
Bradley has been moved to Fort Leavenworth.

Do you believe the horrendous conditions Manning was kept in at Quantico were devised to put pressure on him to implicate Julian Assange?

Given the pressure and physical torture that we know have been inflicted on detainees held by the US elsewhere, for example at Guantanamo Bay, such an intention is not out of the question.

A more general level of cruelty in American penal institutions, combined with animus against Manning for his alleged actions, may be a less Machiavellian explanation.

Whatever the motive, and although the effect on his mental health may have been severe (with his friend and visitor David House saying that by January 2011 Manning appeared “catatonic” and had “severe problems communicating”), his treatment at Quantico does not seem — as far as we know at present — to have resulted in him revealing information or evidence about Julian Assange or the leaks.

On May 24, PBS-Frontline aired a sweeping documentary on Bradley Manning. WikiLeaks was upset with how it was portrayed in the documentary. Do you think the documentary was beneficial or counterproductive?

The Frontline documentary WikiSecrets, and a subsequent May 27 video by the *Guardian* with the extraordinary title — complete with question mark — The Madness of Bradley
, are representative of a general tendency of a large proportion of the mainstream media to focus on issues of personality rather than principle or politics, let alone philosophy.

Julian Assange has questioned the accuracy of parts of the so-called chat-logs published by Wired. But if they do genuinely express Manning’s thinking, his reasons for leaking materials arose out of his observation of oppression in Iraq, and are based on his desire for “people to see the truth … regardless of who they are … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public”.

It is not beneficial for an understanding of why Manning may have been the main WikiLeaks whistleblower for the press instead to try to trace his alleged actions to his childhood, his gayness, or his private history.

These films and other denigrations (not to mention associated personal attacks on Assange) have been widely criticised, for example by Greg Mitchell in The Nation, and the US Bradley Manning Support Network.

We have a short post on our website called “Why Blow the Whistle?” along these lines too.

We hope that people will see through trivialisations by the media, and instead focus on the revelations of the leaks themselves, and the challenge they pose to militarism and governmental secrecy.

Bradley Manning has been accused of undermining national security in the US. What do you think about these claims?

While the leadership of the United States sees its national security and national interest in waging wars in other parts of the globe and in [the] dominating exploitation of world resources, exposure of its military and diplomatic crimes will indeed be against that selfish interest.

If instead realisation develops in the US and elsewhere that this is one finite planet, where we all have a common interest in peace, sustainability and sharing, then Bradley Manning — if he is in fact the source of the leaks — will be thanked and celebrated as a hero well into the future, for allowing people everywhere to see truths which help set them free, no longer to be deceived or manipulated by their governments, but to decide their own and the world’s destiny for themselves.

2011-06-25 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases, #WikiLeaks & More


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update," constantly updated throughout each day. The blog tracks stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks but also follows stories related to freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, freedom of expression, and sometimes the national security establishment of the United States because each issue/topic helps one further understand WikiLeaks and vice versa. All the times are GMT.

21:12 PM Five more seats at table with Julian Assange and Slavoj Žižek are being auctioned by Wikileaks to raise funds, four of them start with a £50 bid.

20:05 PM «The Age of Wikileaks» by Greg Mitchell is now for sale in Japan, and the design featured on its cover can be purchased as a t-shirt from Wikileaks’ official store.

20:01 PM Wikileaks’ partner Semana reveals Venezuelan opposition deputy Ismael García requested U.S. funds for his party Podemos through the National Endowment for Democracy, according to a 2009 diplomatic cable.
Confronted with U.S. ambassador Patrick Duddy’s refusal, García suggested U.S. interests faced potential risks due to Cuban and Iranian involvement in Venezuela, and that it was time for the U.S. to start intervening in the country.
U.S. support, he said, could be used to build an internet or cable-TV based communications network to counter the closure of media outlets by the government. Similar requests had been made in the past, but this time ‘there was an element of panic’.

13:42 PM A cable shows the U.S. was irked by a Democracy Now! report on a deadly United Nations raid in Haiti.
A subject discussed yesterday by Kim Ives and Dan Coughlin on Democracy Now!

11:13 AM Australia delays statutory protection of whistleblowers.

11:01 AM There is a new cablegate search engine, and it's very easy on the eye:

10:58 AM Dawn Paley has been going through cables concerning U.S. sponsored training of Peruvian police and has found the greatest benefit to this is an increased number of local restaurants and businesses.

10:55 AM Today we celebrate Kristinn Hrafnsson's birthday, with a good profile on the Icelandic journalist and Wikileaks' spokesperson.

10:44 AM 'Escape To New York', a three day event dedicated to music and art in Southampton, NY will feature a personal address by the head of Wikileaks, Julian Assange in the beginning of August : The Great ‘Escape To New York’ (Due to circumstances, I’m thinking this will happen via video.)

10:43 AM Not surprisingly, a study on everyday life in Afghanistan shows that, contrary to Barack Obama’s claims, US military presence in Afghanistan has been ineffectual against what is described in a 2009 diplomatic cable "as a criminal enterprise masquerading as public administration". Farmers still overwhelmed by Taliban taxes, corruption and cooperation with the Taliban abound.

10:31 AM New York has legalized same sex marriage and plans a march on behalf of Bradley Manning in the LGBT Pride Parade on Sunday.

2011-06-26 #Lulzsec on the future

Following directions in a tweet from @LulzSec Twitter account, Wikileaks World connected to Anonymous IRC server and joined the public channel #AntiSec. The IRC, or Internet Chat Protocol, is the oldest chat protocol on the internet. It is also free. Once there, they recieved the automatic message for the channel's subject: “Got information/leaks?”. The text pointed us to several 'network operators' for the chat-room, marked with an “&” right before their screen-names. We talked with one of them.

After negotiating a moment when both he/she and we were not busy, we started the conversation below between an #AntiSec and WLCentral.

[07:10]< WLC > Hey-hooo!
[07:12]< Anon > but lulzsec vessel has anchored
[07:12]< Anon > in a safe harbor
[07:12]< Anon > to drink some rum
[07:12]< Anon > nd enjoy the booty and lulz
[07:13]< Anon > #AntiSec will now sail independently
[07:13]< WLC > Give us a last statement
[07:13]< Anon > The LulzBoat anchoring wasn't the end, is was the beginning.
[07:13]< WLC > we've covering you
[07:13]< WLC > we posted today
[07:13]< WLC > for WL Central is important
[07:13]< WLC > should update that
[07:13]< WLC > Ok, can you give a last statement for WL press??
[07:14]< Anon > cant*
[07:15]< WLC > I believe it is a nice place to place a last media-speech...
[07:15]< Anon > The LulzBoat has anchored at a safe Anonymous harbor. It is enjoying rum and classy cigars. It may set sails again, who does know? In the meantime, a flotilla or befriended hackers are venruring out, so seek Lulz and fighting corruption in Goverments and Lobbyists. Arrr, and a bottle of rum!
[07:15]< WLC > 50 days we are looking at you...
[07:15]< Anon > You may quote that
[07:15]< Anon > fix the typos tho, plz :)
[07:16]< WLC > sure, but let us ask some questions
[07:18]< WLC > Are ask iSabu, Topiary, Laurelei etc members?
[07:18]< WLC > Are (only)
[07:18]< WLC > who TeamPOisen is and do they have an old grudge?
[07:21]< Anon >Laurelei?
[07:21]< Anon > lol
[07:21]< Anon > no that guy (aka RazieL) surely was never part of it
[07:21]< Anon > and teamposionn are justz some defacing webtrolls
[07:22]< Anon > idk idc :)
[07:23]< WLC > Who is Casey Gardiner?
[07:25]< WLC > (being honest here)
[07:26]< Anon > hmm some guy
[07:26]< Anon > :)
[07:27]< WLC > who? why this guy?
[07:27]< Anon > lol, dont ask me
[07:27]< Anon > you remember the docs that aaron barr and backtrace security put out?
[07:28]< WLC > Anon said casey was the joker
[07:29]< WLC > Joker said it was them
[07:29]< Anon > i dunno, it's kinda funny
[07:30]< Anon > today's press semms to believe that pastebin and twitter always contains the truth
[07:30]< WLC > Do they believe in chaos? or just lulz?
[07:30]< Anon > that's something for the observer to figure out :)
[07:31]< WLC > Do you believe in chaos?
[07:35]< WLC > Can life be hacked?
[07:35]< Anon > i'm not an anarchist, if you meant that
[07:36]< Anon > and sure, everything can and will be hacked eventually
[07:36]< Anon > i think it was Wau Holland who coined that: "Hacking is creative handling of a device"§
[07:36]< Anon > or something
[07:37]< Anon > device can be anything. even society.
[07:38]< WLC > World's wealth is 0's and 1's, stored on and offline, comments?
[07:45]< WLC > Did you hack bitcoin?
[07:45]< Anon > no
[07:45]< Anon > if lulzsec did it would have been on twitter
[07:46]< Anon > yar true. they got some generous BC donations
[07:46]< Anon > used to pay infrastructure, usually
[07:46]< WLC > Twitter account is a different brand of Lulz?
[07:46]< Anon > hm?
[07:47] [07:45]< WLC > if lulzsec did it would have been on twitter
[07:47]< Anon > @LulzSec
[07:47]< Anon > anything not tweeted (or on the site) isnt lulzsec
[07:47]< Anon > quite simple
[07:48]< Anon > also they have a tpb account
[07:49]< WLC > Would you hack bitcoin?
[07:52]< WLC > But WOULD you hack Bitcoin?
[07:55]< WLC > Can you define chaos?
[07:56]< Anon > you ask questions i cannot answer.
[07:56]< Anon > also you make wild assumptions
[07:57]< Anon > why would i want to define chaos? it's a mathematical definition, look it up.
[07:57]< WLC > I did any assumption...
[07:58]< WLC > What do you have against anarchy?
[07:59]< WLC > I didn't do any assumption, what do you have against anarchy?
[08:00]< Anon > anarchy does not work
[08:02]< WLC > What does? And what does not work in that way?
[08:03]< WLC > And anarchy does not work in what way?
[08:04]< Anon > anarchy means no rules, no control. that doesnt work because evolution itself organizes itself
[08:04]< Anon > a society will always organize itself and establish some kind of control
[08:04]< Anon > it has to, otherwise no progress would be made at all
[08:05]< Anon > man on the moon? happened because of industrilazation & capitalims
[08:05]< Anon > kudos, sirs
[08:05]< WLC > In your view, what is the future of Internet?
[08:05]< Anon > but, this system as it is now... is rotten to the core. capitalims served its purpose; without it we would have basically zero technology
[08:06]< Anon > it will be the breaking test for manking
[08:06]< Anon > internet is the door for the next step in social evolution
[08:07]< WLC > So now what?
[08:07]< WLC > What if not anarchy?
[08:08]< WLC > How to start without chaos first?
[08:08]< Anon > waking people up.
[08:08]< Anon > is the first step
[08:08]< Anon > #AntiSec just began
[08:08]< Anon > it will uncover lots of nasty shit
[08:09]< Anon > it will show the people that governments and corporations do worse crimes on a daily base than the average citizen has ever dreamed of
[08:13]< WLC > Most people say when they learn what Wikileaks reveals, that they already knew that, or suspected it. What if no one cares? Or they care, but they cannot fix the system
[08:20]< WLC > What do you think of bradley manning?
[08:21]< WLC > What is the ideal system of governance and how do we get from here to there without anarchy in between?
[08:27]< WLC > One thing in life you have been unable to hack?
[08:27]< Anon > well, antisec has the beauty
[08:27]< Anon > that it affects people
[08:27]< Anon > they NEED to care
[08:30]< WLC > (i know you are busy, and i can wait - same here oftenly -
[08:31]< Anon > i may or may not be around
[08:33]< WLC > can you ask some of the questions above?
[08:35]< Anon > *over


[08:37] <Anon> bradley manning did one stupid thing

[08:38] <Anon> he bragged about what he did

[08:38] <Anon> silly silly

[08:38] <Anon> if you leak a quarter million classified U.S. documents, you do NOT want anyone to fin out

[08:40] <WLC> Most people say when they learn what Wikileaks reveals, that they already knew that, or suspected it. What if no one cares? Or they care, but they cannot fix the system...

[08:42] <WLC> What is the ideal system of governance and how do we get from here to there without anarchy in between?

[08:43] <Anon> it's a difference between "always suspecting" and having proof. it also will make a huge difference for lawyers.

[08:45] <WLC> Why did you not work on China? You let people know what you do. Because you hope it will motivate other people to do the same. Do you think more people may become whistleblowers or see it as a good thing if they believe Bradley Manning did it instead of a Chinese spy?

[08:47] <Anon> Cause China is the Endboss

[08:47] <Anon> but seriously

[08:47] <Anon> we have not much inside contacts in china

[08:47] <Anon> we dont know what the people do/want there

[08:47] <Anon> anonymous cant act if it doesnt come from the ppl inside

[08:48] <WLC> You let people know what you do. Because you hope it will motivate other people to do the same. Do you think more people may become whistleblowers or see it as a good thing if they believe Bradley Manning did it instead of a Chinese spy?

[08:50] <WLC> What about 2011? Comments....?

[08:54] <Anon> if you use anything i say, you will redact (haha) my nickname please?

[08:54] <WLC> sure

[08:54] <Anon> if you use anything i say, you will redact (haha) my nickname please?

[08:58] <Anon> anonymous supports where its needed

[08:58] <Anon> operationfreedom related

[08:58] <WLC> You are not lulzsec??

[08:58] <Anon> may wanna check www.telecomix.or

[08:58] <Anon> org

[08:58] <Anon> i'm anonymous

[08:59] <WLC> and about lulz?

[09:00] <WLC> why subject of channel points to you?

[09:02] <Anon> why not?

[09:02]<WLC> I ask you... why?

[09:05] == XXXXXXXXXX []

[09:05] == realname : XXXXXXXXXX

[09:05] == channels : #anonymous @#anonops @#reporter @#operationpayback &#antisec

[09:05] == server : AnonOps [AnonOps]

[09:05] == account : XXXXXXXXXX

[09:05] == : is using a secure connection

[09:05] == End of WHOIS

[09:05] <Anon> because i registered the channel, obviously.

[09:06] <Anon> uhm, LulzSecurity was born in Anonymous, quite obviously.

[09:06] <Anon> They ARE Anonymous.

[09:08] <WLC> What about 2011? Comments....?

[09:08] <Anon> 2011?

[09:08] <WLC> year

[09:08] <WLC> historical period...

[09:09] <Anon> yup ohboy

[09:09] <Anon> who knows

[09:09] <Anon> buckly up

[09:09] <Anon> We live in interesting times.

[09:11] <WLC> Lulz is anon, but anon is not lulz?

[09:12] <Anon> LulzSec?

[09:12] <WLC> Different of Lulz?

[09:15] <WLC> ok, LulzSec is anon, but anon is not LulzSec?

[09:15] <Anon> well lulzsec was a small group of people

[09:16] <Anon> they are anon

[09:16] <Anon> and they did what they had to do, as lulzsec

[09:16] <Anon> why they seperated and came back... is your guess

[09:33] <WLC> You there?

[09:33] <WLC> I got kicked

[09:33] <WLC> can I make last questions?

[09:34] <WLC> Do you think that the people that let children be tortured in Guantanamo Bay are going to stand up for Bradley Manning and Julian Assange?

[09:35] <WLC> But you let people know what you do. Because you hope it will motivate other people to do the same. Do you think more people may become whistleblowers or see it as a good thing if they believe Bradley Manning did it instead of a Chinese spy?

[09:36] <Anon> of course we support this idea.

[09:37] <Anon> but we also know how important it is to protect ourselves

[09:37] <Anon> both combined, and people can make a difference

[09:37] <Anon> this is a weapon against powers and authorities who don't give a shit about their own laws

[09:38]< WLC > >World's wealth is 0's and 1's, stored on and offline, comments?

[09:40] <Anon> true.

[09:40] <Anon> or no

[09:41] <Anon> only the alleged wealth

[09:41] <Anon> money means nothing

[09:41] <Anon> its the system that gives it meaning

[09:41] <Anon> change the system and it becomes irrelevant

[09:41] <Anon> the world's wealth is not money. it's resources. knoweldge.

[09:42] <WLC> You did not answer this one yet... Do you think that the people that let children be tortured in Guantanamo Bay are going to stand up for Bradley Manning and Julian Assange?

[09:42] <Anon> no idea

[09:42] <Anon> i dont care either

[09:43] <WLC> Those 0's and 1's give people the authority to blow up babies with drones...

[09:43] <Anon> yup, you can conclude that

[09:43] <Anon> fucked up system it is

[09:43] <Anon> which is why we're sick of it

[09:43] <Anon> with that, i will fade away for now

[09:43] <Anon> seeya

[09:44] <WLC> so we say we talked with an Anon or a LulzSec?

[09:44] <WLC> in both cases we can hide your screen-name

[09:45] <Anon> you talked with an anon who is organizing the antisec movement on anonops

[09:45] <Anon> which was initiated by lulzsec

[09:45] <Anon> amongst others ofc

[09:45] <Anon> it's way to big now for a small group anyway

[09:45] <Anon> antisec will be everywhere

[09:45] <Anon> it's way to big now for a small group anyway

[09:45] <Anon> antisec will be everywhere

[09:45] <Anon> anyway, i gotte leave

[09:46] <WLC> bye, thank you very much


2011-06-26 The Battle of Athens #europeanrevolution #globalrevolution

ImageJune 27 and 28 are likely to be the next big dates for Greek protests.

Many Greeks dislike the revised Euro-Pact and Papandreau Austerity plan and intend on gathering in the streets. “Thieves, thieves,” are what many protesters call the members of Parliament.

But what makes the Greek protests different from other uprisings is the lack of organized groups on the Internet. Social media has not played a large part in Greece until now. This may be in part because protests have been a common occurrence in Greece. However, the economic crisis and revolution in Spain have intensified the situation in Greece, bringing more people out onto the streets. In short, Greeks are not on the Internet, they are on the streets.

According to WLC reporter Wikileaks World, covering revolutions on the ground across Europe, “Locals say that it is still very disorganized, different groups are protesting, anarchists, left and right wings, nonpartisan”.

Police action has been aggressive towards protesters, as have protester response. Scenes of police tear-gasing peaceful protests are common.

2011-06-26 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update," constantly updated throughout each day. The blog tracks stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks but also follows stories related to freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, freedom of expression, and sometimes the national security establishment of the United States because each issue/topic helps one further understand WikiLeaks and vice versa. All the times are GMT.

17:35 PM The Chinese government has refused to comment on a U.S. State Department cable that reveals China’s ex-Finance Minister Jin Renqing was victim of a honeytrap by a woman believed to be a Taiwan intelligence operative. This situation preceded his sudden resignation in 2007.

15:20 PM Wikileaks' supporters organize events in London advocating Julian Assange’s freedom : a Free Assange, End The Wars public meeting is scheduled for the 9th of July, at the Giuseppe Conlon House and a video of a previous manifestation of support entitled Julian Assange Subterranean Homesick Blues can be seen on youtube :

Event organizer and Australian peace activist Ciaron O’Reilly highlights the importance of supporting the Wikileaks founder and Bradley Manning, and urges the peace movement to show solidarity to both men.

14:50 PM Cuban Cardinal Jaime Ortega is said in a diplomatic cable to have done ‘dirty work’ for Cuba’s government by ordering the shut down of Vitral, a Roman Catholic magazine critical of the communist regime.

14:30 PM A rumor quickly spread, started by a fake Wikileaks Argentina twitter account, that Hugo Chavez had died of a heart attack. Wikileaks has since had to deny any association, but the fake account unfortunately still exists.

14:25 PM LulzSec says bon voyage, but according to Sabu : « we are now working under the #antisec flag gentlemen ».

2011-06-27 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update," constantly updated throughout each day. The blog tracks stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks but also follows stories related to freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, freedom of expression, and sometimes the national security establishment of the United States because each issue/topic helps one further understand WikiLeaks and vice versa. All the times are GMT.

23:35 PM Before leaving to Brazil to participate in the 7th International Congress on Investigative Journalism in São Paulo, Kristinn Hrafnsson gave an interview to Brazilian magazine Época where he states that Wikileaks is in possession of so much material to go through already that fixing its sabotaged submission system was not considered a priority.

He also stresses the organization’s capacity to survive and adapt to any circumstances involving its members : It’s not an idea that depends 100% on a single person or a small number of people.

22:55 PM A Pública continues its analysis of diplomatic cables related to Brazil, including the government’s intention of building a hydroelectric plant in territory disputed by Venezuela and Guyana in an ‘effort to consolidate Guyana’s claim to the area’.
During Wikileaks Week about 50 articles total will be published based on Wikileaks material.

17:35 PM Anonymous/LulzSec seize website of the Tunisian Government under the AntiSec flag: "We will not stop until internet censorship is a word in the history books".

17:20 PM Brazilian investigative journalism center A Pública has started ‘Wikileaks week’ by publishing analysis of cables concerning the United States’ interest in Brazil’s energy sector. Minister Edison Lobão, head of the Ministry of Mines and Energy (MME) is described as a friend to industry and in favor of power sector privatization, as well as being ‘inclined towards the U.S.’
Criticism is directed at Brazil’s demanding environmental licensing system:
the current permitting and licensing system makes the building of hydroelectric dams very challenging due to societal and environmental concerns which perversely makes the more polluting, carbon heavy, non-renewable conventional thermoelectric plants much easier to build.

07:45 AM "At least five film versions of the WikiLeaks story are in development from groups including DreamWorks, HBO, the BBC and Universal Pictures." According to the Financial Times, journalists and newspaper editors who previously collaborated with Wikileaks are cashing in on restrictive contracts that guarantee these studios exclusive access to information.
In Sydney, "wikiplay" Stainless Steel Rat opens Tuesday. Wikileaks has drawn attention to the play’s refusal to donate to the organization.

03:35 AM Over 50 supporters marched yesterday for Bradley Manning's freedom in the San Francisco Pride Parade. A few photos can be seen here. Update: Here are some photos of "Free Bradley Manning" at New York City LGBT Pride Parade too.


01:05 AM 1002 Australians were polled by the Lowy Institute. 62% believe Wikileaks is ‘more of a good thing’ and 27% ‘more of a bad thing’. The rest doesn’t know or has no view.

01:00 AM Ecuadorian newspaper El Comercio reports on two cables recently released by Wikileaks concerning the development of ITT crude fields in an environmentally sensitive Natural Park in the country, possibly inhabited by uncontacted indigenous tribes. One cable details the environmental and legal concerns surrounding the project, as well as diverging attitudes :

Acosta announced a proposal that the international environmental NGO community compensate the GOE $700 million for not developing the fields, to avoid the environmental damage such a large project could cause. Pareja had meanwhile been working with foreign state oil companies Petrobras (Brazil), SIPC-Sinopec (China), and ENAP (Chile) on the possibility of a joint consortium proposal to develop the fields (these firms had all previously expressed interest in the project).
In another diplomatic cable, U.S. ambassador Linda Jewell expresses doubts about the viability of the project.

El Comercio writes that in the same day the Government announced it would not move forward with the implementation of ITT fields, Petroecuador sent a delegation to Washington to meet with oil investors interested in exploring them.

01:00 AM Foul language warning ! Joe Rogan’s Why Politicians are Scared of Wikileaks:

2011-06-28 Most in the American LGBT Community Do Not Know of Bradley Manning

(update below)

Photo by ChicagoGeek

In San Francisco, New York and Chicago, support contingents for Pfc. Bradley Manning, the accused WikiLeaks whistleblower, participated in Sunday’s gay pride parades. Those who marched in contingents aimed to make the LGBT community more aware of Bradley Manning.

Andy Thayer, co-founder of the Gay Liberation Network and Bradley Manning Support Network Advisory Board member, says he and others in the LGBT community organized a contingent because Manning is a gay man and “we think it is important to stand up for those in our own community who are being victimized.”

The Bradley Manning Support Network finds Manning is “being increasingly hailed by LGBT activists as a hero.” Lieutenant Daniel Choi, an active and well-known gay rights advocate who helped contribute to the movement that ultimately results in the repeal of DADT, recently announced he was “proud to stand by side with Bradley Manning” and on the day of the pride parades tweeted, “I dedicate this Pride to American Hero Private Bradley Manning, our fellow gay freedom fighter currently locked up in Ft. Leavenworth, KS.”

The pride parade in Chicago was one of the first major events for the Chicago chapter of Bradley Manning supporters. Here in Chicago, activists are confronting the fact that many do not know of Manning.

“I thought that we need to do more work in Chicago to make people more aware of Bradley Manning and the fact that he’s been in prison for over a year now and he hasn’t had a trial,” shares Stansfield Smith, an antiwar organizer and someone who has done work to defend twenty-three activists given subpoenas to appear before a grand jury. “He was in solitary confinement and he’s basically being framed up because President Obama’s already said he’s guilty for leaking this information to WikiLeaks. I [feel] some obligation to defend this young guy.”

An organizer in San Francisco, Stephanie Tang, who is with World Can’t Wait and other groups, reports up to a million crowded the city’s Market Street to watch the parade. Around forty to fifty marched in a contingent. Orange and pink Manning stickers were handed out. The contingent was able to get pockets of the crowd to cheer and join chants like “Free Bradley Manning! Stop These Wars!” In some instances, it was clear people didn’t know Manning and the contingent would inform the crowd and then those they were talking to almost always wanted stickers and flyers so they could learn more and perhaps even begin to support him.

Up to this point, there has been hesitation and division among the LGBT community over whether to support Manning. Thayer suggests this has to do with class and party affiliation.

“[We] have a whole section of leadership of various LGBT organization, which is like leaderships of other minority organizations that try to curry favor with the politicians,” explains Thayer. They are “loathe to do anything controversial.” He believes that can be turned around “once the majority of LGBT people know what Bradley Manning has done.”

One aspect of the Manning story that carries particular resonance is the abuse he experienced at Quantico. Thayer says what he was subjected to was “very reminiscent of the sexual humiliation that was tinged with homophobia that we saw the US conduct against prisoners in Abu Ghraib and other prisons in that country.” He doesn’t think the sexual humiliation he was subjected to was an accident.

The key for LGBT people (and all other activists) appears to be convincing Americans that what he did was a “signal service.” Thayer recently participated in an illegal pride parade in Moscow, Russia, with LGBT people from the country and Eastern Europe. They all know Bradley Manning's case unlike many LGBT people in America.

Making Americans aware of how WikiLeaks cables he allegedly released helped contribute to the Arab Spring and communicating to Americans how he has helped to expose the most serious war crimes committed by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan could potentially help grow the community of supporters here in the United States.

*For more, here’s a “This Week in WikiLeaks” podcast I produced that features Stan Smith and Andy Thayer. [You can also click on the embedded player.]

**Photos of the San Francisco support contingent


Dido Rossi of the Lesbian Bi Trans Queer (LBTQ) in the Global Women's Strike and Dean Kendall of the Payday Men's Network have signed ona to a letter to the LGBTQ community. The letter calls attention to the silence of LGBT organizations in North America. It declares:

We say "There’s no pride in the slaughter of others!"

We take pride in our LGBTQ sisters and brothers who refuse to be killers, such as gay Filipino/Native-American Stephen Funk, the first US soldier to be convicted and jailed for refusing to fight in Iraq; Mehmet Tarhan, gay Kurdish military refuser in Turkey, whose torture and imprisonment were ended by an international campaign in which grassroots LGBTQ organizations were prominent; and now Bradley Manning.

Similar to Thayer's comment, the letter points out:

The campaign against the punitive conditions of Bradley’s confinement at Quantico has likewise shone a light on the solitary confinement and other torture endured by many tens of thousands of prisoners, not only but especially in the US. [3] The blueprint for Bradley’s treatment at Quantico, for Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and Baghram, is the US gulag of civilian prisons, where most prisoners are people of color, and where especially those perceived as LGBTQ may endure endless sexual violence.

UK Bradley Manning supporters are preparing a contingent for the London Pride parade that will take place on July 2.

Here's a photo from @payamtorabi of the banner for the upcoming parade:

2011-06-28 The Prospect of a Greek Military Coup

Photo by RobW_

The Greek government is prepared to vote on austerity measures on Wednesday, June 29. The vote will take place in the midst of a general strike launched by the unions to oppose cuts that would most impact minimum wage earners and Greeks who are struggling the most in the current economic conditions.

Talk has been circulating on whether a military coup might happen if austerity measures pass. In a message from an “Independent Movement of Military People” to the Minister of Defence Panagiotis Beglitis, the army chided him for making false promise and creating a wealthy network of strong patronage ties.

The message calls out the Minister for offending Military Honor, which is supposed to be a public good. It asserts that the Independent Movement will continue to fight for its rights and entitlements, which are owed to members of the Army, and families of deceased colleagues.

“We are thinking Greeks who gave an oath to uphold the Constitution and Laws” of Greece, the message declares. And, furthermore, it chastises the Minister for failing to deal with the Veterans’ associations and current and pressing issues facing Armed Forces officers properly.

A number of US State Embassy cables have been released by WikiLeaks in recent months. The Greek newspaper Ta Nea has been covering revelations in the cables.

One cable from June 2008 addresses the military-to-military relationship between Greece and the US by looking at “the Good, the Bad and the Necessary.” A section shows how the Greek military has depended on the patronage of the US:

The Greeks are disappointed that U.S. International Military Education and Training (IMET) funds for Greece have been drastically reduced from USD 540,000 in 2008 to USD 100,000 in 2009. U.S. military training is a highly valued commodity with Hellenic armed forces personnel and is probably the most effective of our defense cooperation activities. We expect Greece to send more military personnel to other countries for training, with a probable concomitant increase in those nations' influence with the Greek armed forces.

As STRATFOR, a global intelligence company that publishes daily intelligence briefings, details, Greece’s geography places constraints on population growth and the production of domestic capital. It has helped contribute to the uneven distribution of wealth and is part of the reason why there is a deep conflict between labor and capital in the country.

Greece has not accepted the constraints that its geography imposes upon the country and has fought to maintain membership in the “first-world club” by borrowing money to procure top-of-the-line military equipment. It has indebted itself to patrons to maintain its status among world powers.

Throughout the past years, it appears not only has Greece continued to accept patronage from the US but it has begun to expand its relationship with Russia:

Over the last several months, PM Karamanlis has accelerated his long-term project of developing closer ties with Moscow. This is evident in recent deals on energy pipelines, but also in stepped-up high-level visits, increasing cultural ties, and Greek purchases of Russian military equipment. The latter includes, most notably, signature on a deal for Greek purchase of several hundred Russian armored personnel carriers (BMPs). The BMP purchase neither advances Greece's NATO interoperability, nor improves Greek defense capabilities, and was not recommended by the Hellenic military. The Greek political leadership has often made procurement decisions on political criteria, so the purchase of Russian BMPs for criteria other than military necessity is not unprecedented, but it is disturbing. In addition to our concerns about NATO interoperability, however, we are also concerned that GOG moves toward Russia may draw Greece into a relationship that it is ill-equipped to manage.

The crisis in Greece presents an opportunity for Russian companies, according to STRATFOR. Russia could potentially use Greece to “block a key European alternative route for natural gas supplies.”

The European Union, which currently gets around a quarter of its natural gas from Russia, is looking for alternatives to Russian-dominated natural gas transportation pipelines. At the forefront of the union’s plans is the “southern gas corridor,” which is essentially an amalgamation of several different projects that would bring Azerbaijani and potentially Central Asian or Middle Eastern natural gas into Europe via Turkey. Greece is an important component of this plan since it rests on one route by which natural gas piped through Turkey would enter the European Union — the other option would be to run north through Bulgaria and Romania. From Greece, any proposed natural gas pipelines would have to make the short jump across the Strait of Otranto to Italy.

Since 2007, the US has been working to transform Greece’s focus on “traditional regional threats.” A cable sent out on the push for a transformation that would lead to Greece fulfilling its commitment to the NATO Alliance shows tardiness—"a result of budget constraints, the Greek public's reflexive anti-Americanism -- and by extension, anti-NATO feeling -- and the traditional obsession with the Turkish "threat.’”

Additionally, the cable laments the fact that “Greece’s military procurement system remains focused, at best, on traditional weapons systems, such as F-16 fighters and heavy armor. At worst, it focuses on buying incompatible and/or un-needed weapons systems to score political points with European governments.” It indicates discouragement at the fact that Greece’s assistance in the war in Afghanistan has been “hamstrung by caveats.”

The Greek military is supposedly one of the most pro-American institutions in Greece. History and extensive ties mean if the Greek military mounts some sort of coup the State Department and Pentagon might have some kind of intelligence on plans before the world began to see it unfold on Twitter or Al Jazeera English.

In fact, the German popular daily Bild covered the CIA's warning in a recent report that "tough austerity measures" and an increasingly dire situation could result in a coup. If street protests escalated into violence and rebellion that led the Greek government to lose control, the military could step in and take control.

2011-06-28 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update," constantly updated throughout each day. The blog tracks stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks but also follows stories related to freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.

11:25 PM Cable on Prophet Muhammad cartoon controversy offers insight into Malaysia's government-controlled media.

08:55 PM Good news. Julian Assange in conversation with Slavoj Žižek, moderated by Amy Goodman will be live streamed this Saturday, 04:00 PM GMT at

06:20 PM Bahamas concerned over Chinese labor in the country close to 2007 general election, a cable shows.

05:00 PM After six months of having 90% of their donations unlawfully blocked, Wikileaks releases video and statement calling for investigation and de-licensing of the five major U.S. financial institutions responsible: VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union and the Bank of America.

... The fact is, the blockade is not just against WikiLeaks. It is against the associative rights and economic rights of every VISA, MasterCard, PayPal and Bank of America account holder, who have been prevented from supporting the organization of their choice. We call on regulators around the world to investigate and de-license these banking institutions. They are not politically neutral and are not obeying the rule of law. When VISA and MasterCard will happily provide services to the Klu Klux Klan, but not to WikiLeaks, it is time to act.

What Does it Cost to Change the World? from WikiLeaks on Vimeo.

12:45 PM Wikileaks tweets:

Hactivists take down MasterCard in protest over the continuing illegal WikiLeaks fiscal embargo

The unlawful banking blockade against WikiLeaks in 6th month: The culprits: VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, Bank of America, Western Union.

6:40 AM The UAE's interest in buying armed Predator drones is documented in diplomatic cables dating from 2004. Before having produced its first drone, The United Arab Emirates had tried to buy armed drones from the U.S. and later approached other countries for UAV systems.

04:55 AM Kristinn Hrafnsson's Sydney Ideas lecture, on the impact of Wikileaks on the media.

SYDNEY IDEAS: Wikileaks (June 2011) from e+b media on Vimeo.

Also available is an official audio recording of the Wikileaks is a force for good debate, with speakers Kristinn Hrafnsson, Suelette Dreyfus, Prof. Stuart Rees, Gareth Evans, Michael Fullilove and Tom Switzer and chaired by Dr Simon Longstaff.
Video will be available too in the future.

03:30 AM This completely slipped under my radar but those three resolutions proposed by the American Library Association (ALA) aiming to protect Wikileaks, Bradley Manning and freedom of information were voted down in their annual membership meeting on Sunday.

03:25 AM Yesterday Wikileaks appealed to their supporters for the creation of theatre plays that would serve as alternatives to Stainless Steel Rat. Well it turns out someone’s one-act play entitled Leaks coincidentally was just given green light by their drama teacher to be performed in front of an audience.

03:25 AM Reminder: all entries to WL Central’s essay competition must be submitted by the end of Thursday (no later than 11:59 p.m. GMT, June 30, 2011)
Theme is How can individuals and societies protect themselves against the encroachment and abuse of government power in the modern age? and so far four entries have been submitted. You can read and comment on them here.

2011-06-29 After a massive two day strike, #Greek parliament approves austerity plan amid brutal clashes #europeanrevolution

With Greece sinking in chaos, the country's MP's have voted in favor of the five-year austerity plans prescribed by the UE along with the IMF and other foreign banks. The vote, thought by some to be very hard to predict, turned out as a clear statement in favor of the harsh measures opposed by the population (a summary of the conditions can be found below). In the end PM Yorgos Papandreu achieved 155 votes in favor, 138 against and five abstentions, thus avoiding bankruptcy at a cost nobody seems to want to pay. The voting was made under such pressure that a member of the ruling party Panagiotis Kouroublis was expelled for voting negatively, reducing the party's majority to 154 seats.

This result confirms the worst fears of protesters around the nation who called for the general strike saying that "we cannot permit the plundering of social riches, we cannot tolerate the degradation of the populace for the benefits of a minority. The manipulative propaganda, the fake crisis of the the Government and the extortion of the IMF and the UE will not fool us". The country is in such a state that the strike was quickly backed up by the confederation of Greek workers (GSEE), with around 500.000 members, and ADEDY, with around 300.000. This has effectively paralyzed the country, including severe power cuts over the last days. The protest started on the 28th of June as early in the morning people started congregating in Syntagma square. As the day progressed, the marches called by the unions slowly flooded in. Initially the protest stayed peacefully until around midday, when extremely violent clashes broke out between the riot police and young masked protesters. At one point, the whole square was surrounded by police forces, making the place a battle scene, as they tried to evict the square to guarantee the safety of the MP's inside Parliament. For over three hours the police tried to empty the square unsuccessfully with a great deal of violence was used, teargas was used so extensively that even the MP's inside the building condemned the actions of the police. Guardian reporter Helena Smith, said that "riot police have used an extraordinary amount of teargas, so much so that the debate in parliament was dominated, to some extent, by MP's getting up to speak saying that this chemical warfare outside is outrageous, had assumed lethal dimensions […]". In the end protesters successfully occupied the square, blocking police peacefully and with hands raised, shouting "out, out". The people joined in solidarity against repression, worker unions -more organized groups- started offering help and shelter for young people caught in the violence, metro workers inside Syntagma station, turned an art gallery into a small hospital where the wounded were attended. The exact number of injured people after the first day of protests is unknown, the data oscillates around 50, not counting people affected by tear gas.

The images speak for themselves:

For the 29th of June, day of the crucial vote, protesters vowed to block the PM's from entering parliament, despite the massive security operative displayed by the police around Athens. When, at around 10:00 AM local time, the first people started entering the building they were received with a large and angry crowd, as buses had come into Athens from around the country to receive them. There were some isolated incidents of violence: a Communist party member was attacked with yogurt and three people were injured during the blockade attempt. Meanwhile, people from around the country gathered in Syntagma and violence has continued to be widespread: the area around the square is described in various reports as a "battlefield", with burnt down trees, shattered windows and the smell of teargas and burnt rubber floating in the air. Before midday eight people were already hospitalized. At one point the attack by the police was so brutal that thousands of peaceful protesters got caught in the middle, causing chaos, fainting fits and many injured people. There are even reports of stun grenades being thrown into assemblies being held nearby. The battle grew in proportions and many extremely violent incidents have been reported on social media as well as on local blogs and larger media outlets.

- In the evening, around 30 people broke into a franchise of Eurobank and tried to set it on fire, they managed to destroy a large part of the office before riot police managed to evict them.

- The headquarters of PASOK, the ruling party, in Chania, have been completely destroyed.

- Serious looting has taken place: banks, offices, restaurants have been torn down and burnt.

- A post office near Syntagma has also been burnt down, at around 5:00pm the Ministry of Finance was reported to be on fire.

- A group of protesters attacked Alexandros Athanasiadis, MP for PASOK. He emphatically said he would vote against the proposal and then, in the end, reversed his decision. A group of people hurled chairs and rocks at him. Twitter accounts present say that he smiled tauntingly towards the crowd, making the situation worse. Police have denied him being injured.

The improvised hospital in Syntagma's Metro station has worked non-stop. According to Skai news organization, doctors working there have treated at least 25 people from minor injures and 193 people with respiratory problems. Thirty were taken to the hospital. The number of arrests is still unknown.

Photos from Athens:

For more pictures please visit this link

Brief outline of the approved measures:

Stakes in various state assets will be placed on the auction block, in an effort to raise €50bn over the next four years.
2011: The process has already begun, with the sale of a 10% stake in Hellenic Telecom to Deutsche Bank for €400m. Two port operators, Piraeus Port and Thessaloniki Port, will also be partially privatised. Stakes in betting monopoly OPAP, the lender Hellenic Postbank and Thessaloniki Water are also scheduled for sale.
2012: The pace picks up, with €10bn of assets earmarked. This includes stakes in Athens Water, refiner Hellenic Petroleum, electricity utility PPC, lender ATEbank. A wide range of other state assets will also be sold – assuming buyers can be found – from mining rights to airports.
The austerity programme also states that €7bn will be raised in 2013, €13bn in 2014 and €15bn in 2015.

Tax increases:
• A solidarity levy: At 1% for those earning between €12,000 (£10,800) and €20,000 a year, 2% for incomes between €20,000 and €50,000, 3% for those on €50,000 to €100,000, and 4% for those earning €100,000 or more. Lawmakers and public office holders will pay a 5% rate.
• A lower tax-free threshold: People will now pay tax on income over €8,000 a year, down from €12,000. This basic rate of tax will be set at 10%, with exemptions for those under 30, over 65, and the disabled.
• Sales tax: The VAT rate for restaurants and bars is being hiked from 13% to the new top rate of 23%. This rate already covers many products in the shops, including clothing, alcohol, electronics goods and some professional services.

Spending cuts:
• Public sector wages: Salaries will be reduced by 15%.
• The public sector wage bill: The goal is to cut 150,000 public sector jobs, through a hiring freeze and abolition of all temporary contracts. This should cut the total bill by €2bn by 2015.
• Social benefits and pensions: The retirement age is being raised to 65. Increased means testing, and cuts to some benefits, will reduce the total amount spend on benefits by €1.09bn in 2011, then €1.28bn in 2012, €1.03bn in 2013, €1.01bn in 2014 and €700m in 2015.

2011-06-29 Two days of rage in #Brussels Part 2/2. #europeanrevolution #globalrevolution

Democracy Belgian Style by flick/photos/MediActivista July 22nd and 23rd were very important for the political calendar of Europe. The European Commission signed the new adjustments of the Euro-Pact, the rules for the european commonwealth, organized by the European Bank, the IMF and the executive body of the European Union. In Brussels, where the whole summit took place, people went to the streets and squares to manifest their indignation regarding corruption and economical dominance of state affairs.
We have been there and experienced two days of rage in the european political capital.

(Part 2 of 2)

Part 1 here.

PART 2 - THURSDAY 2011 June 23 (Summit at Academie Royale to sign the new rules of the Euro-Pact)

* The Neutral Zone is ruthless

People marched towards the Palais Royale, where a meeting of European politicians and businessmen was planed to take place. In different zones of the city people were arrested (for many hours) trying to reach the "royal neighbourhood", the "neutral zone" of Brussels, where the Ministery of Defense, Federal Parliament, Prime-Minister House, Palais Royale, Academie Royale bureau and other relevant buildings are situated and where the security corps have special permissions to act.

After demonstrations in the area around the "royal neighborhood", some protesters decided to try and enter the 'neutral zone'. Despite the presence of major media channels, reporters, photographers and cameramen, 42 protesters were arrested (official data, confirmed by local police) using violence (tear-gas, batton charges and general physical abuse) while entering the “neutral zone”. According to a police spokesperson the area was surrounded by helicopters and two young people were arrested 'preventively' for 12 hours.

* Human and Press rights violations

According to Belgian law, 'preventive arrest' is not allowed. We spoke with two arrestees and they told us about psychological and physical abuses and violations. They stated that 20 protesters were inside a tiny jail cell that would normally hold a maxium 6 people. Then they were moved into another jail cell, which was the same size, but with 11 more people. For many hours police refused to charge the protesters or inform them about why they had been arrested. Finally a police officer stated that they had been arrested for taking part in an 'illegal gathering'. Among the arrested were also tourists and passers-by.

All the accused of 'illegal gathering' spent 12 hours being “very tightly handcuffed “. At the police station Amigo near the Main Square (Grande Place) of Brussels, the 42 people arrested were physically forced to stay in very uncomfortable positions and some of them got slapped in the face. Psychological pressure was also reported. Some of the arrested attributed the violent behavior to a certain local major officer, who was responsible for the police corps at police station. The arrested were realeased at around midnight.

Unfortunately, almost all of the people filming and taking photos were arrested and their cards/cameras confiscated. At the moment of police action, several major media outlets were present and ignored the event. Testimonies also confirm that a private companies, wich specialize in security and monitoring – assisted the police to evict the area and perform arrests.

* The empire strikes back

The protesters who were able to escape from the scene were hunted across the city. Police tried to arrest protesters that were present in the demonstration in “royal neighborhood” in different parts of Brussels, performing a man 'hunt' with the aid of helicopters and monitoring by private surveillance. People claim to have been pointed and followed by both uniformed and undercover police in the streets of other suburbs, in public parks and train stations, where were obligated to 'run'.

* Two days of rage

In a certain manner, were happy to that we could be present during these two days of rage and report on them. Interstingly, there was the diverse presence at the protests, of old and young people, partisans and non-partisans, employed and unemployed, rich and poor at the demonstrations and actions. It was beautiful to see people take to the streets and use their voices and bodies to flight for their right to live in a more fair, pacific and democratic world.

On the other hand, we also could perceive how police, as a merely tool for political and social order, worked outside the law and don't have respect for (participatory) democracy. Aggression was the only answer protesters received from the Government. Beside trying to have a totally pacific demonstation and persuade politicians, they were ignored by press and the state, offended, some got arrested and wounded.

We hope this report can work as a source of information about current governmental and institutional strategies of coercion in what we view as European 'developed, democratic and free' societies.

Media repercussion: (Interesting report written by a woman who got arrested and dennounced physical abuses and humiliation) (independent media)

Democracy Belgian Style by Mediactivista

2011-06-29 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update," constantly updated throughout each day. The blog tracks stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks but also follows stories related to freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.

11:35 PM Senator Youri Latortue, ally of Haiti's president, described as a drug-trafficker, gang godfather, death-squad leader and overall corrupt politician in U.S. State Department cables.

11:25 PM Inside Canada’s very own W.T.F.: a Wikileaks Task force and a ‘war room’ were set in Ottawa to deal with Wikileaks releases by the Canadian Department of Foreign Affairs. This ‘war room’ used to be operational 12 hours a day and was the only place where access to the Wikileaks website was allowed.

04:40 PM Curators of Wikileaks-inspired art exhibition Information is Currency praise Wikileaks' impact in new interview:

WikiLeaks has shaken power dynamics; it has given some power back to people. 'We can access you; you're not impenetrable or invincible, and we can wreak our own sense of moral justice on you'. That's what youth identify with; that they want to wrestle some of this power back.


03:10 PM Event featuring Julian Assange and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Žižek deemed too controversial by the University of London, after strong interest in hosting the conversation was shown.

03:00 PM Bradley Manning’s overall mood and demeanor have greatly improved since moving to Fort Leavenworth, writes his lawyer. Bradley is in regular contact with his defense team and family and is thankful for the hundreds of letters of support he receives weekly.

02:55 PM Two Wikileaks supporters review the first theatre play based on Wikileaks and Julian Assange, Ron Elisha’s Stainless Steel Rat:

1. It is clear that nobody gains from this stinking jewel of misinformation, toxic parody and cynical caricature except the egos of those who “wanted to be first” to ride on WikiLeaks’ fame whilst at the same time poisoning the well.

2. I would echo the plea made by @Wikileaks - make your own art using the rich trove of world changing material that Wikileaks has given us. But make it your own, make it honest and make it count.

2011-06-30 Big bank censorship of WikiLeaks, "No comment."

Since December 2011, five major US financial institutions: VISA, MasterCard, PayPal, Western Union, and the Bank of America have been trying to economically strangle WikiLeaks as a result of political pressure from Washington.

The attack has blocked over 90% of the non-profit organization’s donations, costing some $15M in lost revenue. The attack is entirely outside of any due process or rule of law. In fact, in the only formal review to occur, the US Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy C. Geithner found, on January 12, that there were no lawful grounds to add WikiLeaks to a financial blockade.

According to a PayPal statement, the restriction against WikiLeaks is due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that its payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate, or instruct others to engage in illegal activity.

Wikileaks, however, has not been charged with or convicted of any criminal behavior.

What Does it Cost to Change the World? from WikiLeaks on Vimeo.

People are 'not allowed' to donate to Wikileaks. They can, however, happily support anti-abortion fanatics, Prop 8 homo-phobics, and the Ku Klux Klan.

I called the Italian Paypal office for an elucidation of the company policy. Their answer: “No comment." Visa also remains silent.

But there are still some ways around the blockade. Direct bank transfers that do not use the Bank of America network still work. Wikileaks also accepts Bitcoin donations or donations via postal mail.

To find out further details on how to bypass the illegal banking blockade against us and donate to WikiLeaks visit here

2011-06-30 UK Police Stop & Search Citizens During #J30 to Prevent Possible 'Hooliganism'

(photo: David King)

Public workers, up to seven hundred and fifty thousand teachers and civil servants, are alleged to have participated in a June 30 general strike called for in the United Kingdom after UK Parliament passed changes to pensions and retirement, specifically, increasing the amount an employee has to contribute.

At 1:31 pm London Time, Hélène Mulholland reported from the end of “the Strand, by Trafalgar Square,” that a march had been “good-natured” so far. “ She said it is clear that the turn out has been good, that quite a few in the UK believe the government did not properly negotiate the new pension and retirement changes. And she also reported, “There doesn't seem to have been much trouble," except for the stopping and searching of minority students.

Around 12 pm London Time, she “walked past five police officers stopping and searching two non-white 17-year-old sixth formers, Aamir Kadir and Jean-Claude Goddard, in Lincoln's Inn Fields to the dismay of onlookers.” Mulholland said they were searched because they were wearing keffiyeh scarves, a traditional headdress for Arab men. While there were white women with scarves standing around the two young men who were stopped, the police said they stopped the two because the scarves might be used to commit violence. They said they were stopped out of “empirical judgment” because “people use keffiyehs to mask their identity.”

Throughout the strikes today, the UK police have claimed stop and search powers under section 60 of the Criminal Public Order Act. Here is how this provision allowing police the legal right to stop citizens and search them in public is described on the Metropolitan Police website:

Section 60 Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, gives police the right to search people in a defined area at a specific time when they believe, with good reason, that: there is the possibility of serious violence; or that a person is carrying a dangerous object or offensive weapon; or that an incident involving serious violence has taken place and a dangerous instrument or offensive weapon used in the incident is being carried in the locality. This law has to be authorized by a senior officer and is used mainly to tackle football hooliganism and gang fights.

In this case, the police are using Section 60 to thwart the “hooliganism” of public and civil servants who feel they just got a bad deal from their government, who are upset they might have more trouble making ends meet for their family.

Reports of the UK police utilizing the power granted to them under section 60 have been surfacing on Twitter. @frontierwoman reported a pre-crime arrest of a girl for having a camouflage jacket in her bag.  @litlemisswilde alleges it is now an offense to carry a flag. A boy, according to @101DGK, was arrested at Trafalgar Square for saying “bullshit.” @IanDunt reported the arrest of a young boy. @aaronjohnpeters suggested people are “being stopped and searched on basis of being ‘known activists’ – even when activism is legal.” And, @GBCLegal, which has been tweeting a phone number for a legal hotline that can be dialed, reported two people had been arrested for wearing black.

This preemptive policing tactic, according to the UK-based civil liberties organization Liberty, can remain in effect for a 48-hour period so long as there is “reasonable belief that incidents involving serious violence may take place or that people are carrying dangerous instruments or offensive weapons in the area without good reason.”

The police do not have to have reasonable suspicion that they will find the item they suspect someone to be wearing or have in their possession. They can search anyone in the locality near the area where an incident might occur. Not cooperating with police could potentially get a person a maximum sentence of 51 weeks in prison.

While civil liberties advocates have suggested the powers “might be in breach of Article 8 [the right to privacy] or Article 5 [the right to liberty and security]” of the European Convention on Human Rights, the High Court has ruled police exercising this power are not doing so “arbitrarily” so there is no breach of the Convention.

The stop-and-search powers on display during the strike have created controversy in recent months, as civil liberties advocates have warned against the government’s plans to “allow race to be a basis for stop and search without suspicion” under section 60. The government has considered this expansion just as it has supposedly been revising powers to stop and search individuals under section 44 of the Terrorism Act of 2000 (after a European court ruled the powers unlawful because they didn’t have proper safeguards to protect civil liberties).

StopWatch, a UK group working with communities, ministers, policy makers and senior police officers to ensure that police reforms are fair and inclusive, has called the stop and search powers used by the UK police a “wedge between communities and the police.” In October 2010, the group released finding from research conducted that showed the use of the powers against black people was disproportionate. African-Caribbean people were twenty-six times more likely to be stopped under section 60.

US civil rights leader Jesse Jackson called the findings a “moral outrage.” He charged, “It is racial profiling. It’s as fundamental as that. It is based on sight, suspicion and fear. It’s a systematic pattern. In the US it is called driving while black. In Arizona it is called driving while Latino.”

Now, after the police were granted the freedom to not record information on those they stop and search, StopWatch is fighting to ensure the police continue to record and monitor stop and search data so fairness and accountability in policing can be fought for.

Unlike the student protests last November, Metropolitan police chief Sir Paul Stephenson does not have any hard-line quote circulating that might escalate the tension (although arbitrary arrests and use of cordons today makes it certain some sort of scuffle will take place before the strike is over). He warned during the student protests of a “new era of civil unrest” and said “The game has changed,” because two large demonstrations had been particularly violent. On the contrary, the police chief is in a precarious position today as nine out of ten emergency call handlers joined the strikes.


For a full portrait of the stop and searches that have happened during the June 30 strike, here's a Chirpstory I created to keep track of all the reports of alleged profiling, police harassment, etc.

2011-06-30 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update," constantly updated throughout each day. The blog tracks stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks but also follows stories related to freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.

09:15 PM Wikileaks Malaysia: detailed report on human traffic for sexual exploitation and forced labor purposes

...The government provides no shelter facilities dedicated exclusively to TIP victims, as these individuals are not recognized as victims under Malaysian law. Until Malaysia amends its existing laws or enacts comprehensive anti-TIP legislation, TIP victims will be routinely processed as illegal migrants and held in the country's prisons or illegal migrant detention facilities, prior to deportation.

09:00 PM (podcast) Interview with Andrew Marshall, the journalist responsible for the release of Wikileaks cables on Thailand as part of his in-depth study Thai Story.

04:55 PM Julian Assange's autobiography will be out this year, according to its publisher in Brazil 'Companhia das Letras'.

04:00 PM It appears Wikileaks really has been blocked in Thailand. A tweet from their official account:

WikiLeaks main sites have been blocked by the Thai government. When governments fear information, they fear their people.

03:30 PM Two leaking websites developed by Anonymous have been launched this week: LocalLeaks and HackerLeaks.
While HackerLeaks is openly accepting information obtained by hackers, LocalLeaks, also developed by the Peoples Liberation Front and modeled after Wikileaks, is aimed at employees who wish to safely expose local corruption.

02:40 AM Conor Friedersdorf of The Atlantic discusses the hypocrisy of the Obama administration regarding James Risen and whistleblowing on The Alyona Show:

02:30 AM Cables analyzed by Wikileaks’ partner in Brazil A Pública show the United States requested a reduction of Iraq’s debt to Brazil a year after invading the country.

02:20 AM 'What Wikileaks Reveals about Canadian and U.S. Efforts in Suppression and Surveillance of Indigenous Communities': a comprehensive selection of articles.

02:15 AM Ghana’s New Patriotic Party administration accused of using drug money and deliberately weakening the Narcotics Control Board, as evidenced by diplomatic cables.