News Archive - 2011-07 (July 2011)

2011-07-01 Cables reveal hidden sides of Nicaragua’s ‘Zero Hunger’: budget deficit from the very beginning due to lack of transparency

Hambre Cero (“Zero Hunger”) has been an ambitious social welfare program that president Ortega’s FSLN(Sandanista National Liberation Front) party declared in 2007. More than 3 years after that, cables released by WikiLeaks reveal hidden mechanisms and progression of the programs throughout 2007-2010.

Hambre Cero ‘veiled in secrecy’ in discriminatory selection of beneficiaries with no independent monitoring systems

Hambre Cero(“Zero Hunger”) is a state-led welfare program to help ‘eradicate poverty until 2012’ by providing Productive Parcels, which is a packet of livestock, goods, and services including various training needed to establish a self-supporting production of food in the poor areas. The government’s goal is to reach 75,000 families. And since the reported number of people living below the poverty line is 2,300,000 individuals in the country, the process of selecting beneficiaries is an important factor that should be impartial and transparent. However, recently released cables detail how the progression of planning the program and defining standards had been opaque since the first step.

07MANAGUA1783 particularly shows how the whole process from the selection of beneficiaries to the distribution of the Parcels excluded proficient NGOs and fallen into the hands of the controversial CPC (Councils of Citizen Powers), which was set up by President Ortega and linked to his FSLN party. According to the cable, five months after the February when dozens of Nicaraguan NGOs were invited by the government to discuss their roles, the implementing forces were restricted to ‘several NGOs, whose identities the government has refused to release’ with no official reasons. After the contentious selection of NGOs through hidden processes, president Ortega set up CPCs which are decisive entities in selecting beneficiaries and overall implementation in municipal level.


FIAN(FoodFirst Information and Action Network), an international NGO working for food rights, has visited Nicaragua to monitor the Zero Hunger program and published a report in 2008 under the title The Right to Food and The Fight Against Hunger in Nicaragua – One Year of the Zero Hunger Program, which is a scarce public report on the program published by independent(i.e. non-political) monitoring force. It confirmed the allegation of the U.S. ambassador on the secrecy and vagueness through the process and the politicized CPCs, denouncing that CPCs ‘openly maintain partiality’, which makes the process ‘depend a lot on local leaders and on their personal ethical position how the nomination of beneficiaries is being done’. According to the FIAN paper, the government at first used the participative structure as established by the Citizen Participation Law. Later, President Ortega knowingly dismissed the Law for Citizen Participation Nr. 475 by changing the structure to that of the CPCs which are closely linked to the FSLN party(p.16-17).

One year after that, 09MANAGUA1318 revealed that the government ended up not providing the then-promised ‘training’ facet, which is critical in terms of the program to nurture economically sustainable assistance, although the total budget allocated to Hambre Cero increased by 50%.

Cables reveal that the opaque process of Hambre Cero blocks foreign donations and loans, which takes 15-25% of national budget

Along with the controversial progression of the Hambre Cero, cables also detail how the opaque processes of the program deter foreign donations and the explicit percentage it takes in national budget.
According to 07MANAGUA1783, the Ortega government refused to release a detailed line-item budget of Hambre Cero at the beginning. After that, the cable reveals that the program failed to get the required budget which president Ortega requested to the National Assembly in 2007, receiving only one third of that. 07MANAGUA1933 states that the President pushed the promised disbursement of the donors, but the donors are mostly reluctant and some are thinking of cutting their financial support, mainly due to the lack of transparency:

Indeed donors are reluctant to disburse funds to the Sandinista government without sufficient performance guarantees or an acceptable economic development plan. They complain that the lack of a coherent economic roadmap and the veil of secrecy surrounding GON operations do not provide the necessary confidence that foreign assistance will be used well. … We understand some donors are considering discontinuing direct budget support.

This is a serious problem to Nicaragua, which is the second poorest country in the hemisphere and has 15-25% of the budget relying on foreign donations and loans. 08MANAGUA1489 states that donor support so far takes 15% of national budget, and 09MANAGUA163 states that including loans and debt relief, the ‘foreign assistance’ takes 25% of the budget of Nicaragua.

2011-07-01 Gaza Flotilla: a fight to take a stand [Updated]

The fight enroute to Gaza between the worldwide volunteers and the governments of Israel, the United States and Greece—has been portrayed from two opposite sides, yes, but opposite in a political and moral compass completely broken: on one side, the flotilla argues the desperate need of help and hope with which the Gazans live every day while, on the other side, the authorities trying to block the flotilla have accused it of being “ready to kill Israeli soldiers” or—more rhetorically convenient—“ready to kill Jews” due to the allegedly obscure intentions behind “Muhammad Sawalha, a senior UK-based Muslim Brotherhood figure connected to Hamas”, according to the website Gaza Flotilla 101.

After the threats reported by The Foreign Press Association, which has accused the Israeli government of using intimidation to stop media coverage of the flotilla due to sail to the Gaza Strip this week, new reports have tried to answer such claims by anti-flotilla voices with similar accusations, confusing more impartial coverage with the usual turn of the compass and the trick of the false equivalence. But the solitude these voices against the flotilla are sunk in does not touch the message sent to Gaza or, rather, from the route to Gaza to the rest of the world. As Mark LeVine pointed out in his editorial comment “Waiting for Godot on the Gaza flotilla”:

Israel well understands the stakes if the narrative represented by the flotilla were ever to penetrate into global consciousness, which is why it considers the propaganda war surrounding the flotilla and other acts of non-violent resistance, whether protesting land seizures in villages like Bil'in or the growing academic and cultural boycott, to be as big a threat as Palestinian militancy. It is not surprising, then, that it is a master at the game of "hasbara" or propaganda - literally, in Hebrew, of explaining itself to the outside world.

It seems plausible that the ones currently ruling in Gaza would prefer a violent flotilla because such would serve the Israel argument to keep sub-human conditions for life in the area or, as Mark Weisbrot has pointed out:

One of the most important foreign policy statements of the year came from Ehud Barak, Israel's Defense Minister, on May 16 […]: "The Palestinians' transition from terrorism and suicide bombings to deliberately unarmed mass demonstrations is a transition that will present us with difficult challenges".

To achieve an environment ambiguous enough to excuse the violence that might come over the Flotilla, is precisely the goal of the latest sabotages on the ships that have taken place in Greece. It could be only under such hostile environment that a government like Zapatero’s would ask the Israelis for “self-control and prudence”, on the voice of the Spanish Minister of Foreign Affairs, Trinidad Jimenez. Jimenez’ take on the matter would be considered nothing but ordinary if a country like the United States had not remained quiet after the killing of an American citizen last year during the first flotilla attempt to reach the Gaza Strip and had not the US State Department issued a warning to all Americans to prevent them from participating in this year's tour.

If anything, the high tone of the Israeli propaganda makes the case for anyone attending the current Flotilla Affaire. If it is hard to buy the case made by websites like Gaza Flotilla 101, though, the real problem has been the pursued ignorance by most of us out of Gaza or the general conflict of the whole region. It is not a mystery for anyone informed on the conflict that the real mission of the flotilla is not only to bring hope or supplies to the Gazans, just like nobody believes they are out there to “kill Jews”: the flotilla's dangerous trip to Gaza is a fight for our rights to take a stand; those of the volunteers on each boat, who have been warned by their own governments against their political and humanitarian will, but also those of ours, the ones who have taken no risk at home and who hardly have even developed an opinion about the misery the Gazans have been drawn into.

It is not clear how a few ships can bring any benefit to the thousands of prisoners in Gaza if we all do not acknowledge that, as Nancy Murray said once, Gaza is “a territory which over the past […] years served as kind of a laboratory to find the breaking point of human beings”.

Update 1: Around the same time this note was posted, one of the volunteers on the American ship posted "From Alice Walker, at sea on the Audacity of Hope", a human look into the enviroment of this group of people that have been called a threat to the security of Israel. Make your own conclusions.

Update 2: Democracy Now dor Org, U.S. Ship in Freedom Flotilla Attempts to Leave Greece For Gaza, Despite Threats and Risk of Sabotage: "The U.S.-flagged ship 'The Audacity of Hope' left a Greek port today bound for Gaza, but the status of the 10-boat flotilla remains uncertain. At least one boat has already pulled out due to sabotage, another is still being repaired. All 10 ships were supposed to set sail earlier this week but the Greek government — already facing a financial crisis and public uproar over austerity measures — blocked the ships’ departure under international pressure. On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Israel is entitled to stop the flotilla as part of its 'full right to operate against efforts to smuggle' weapons into Gaza. Democracy Now! Producer Aaron Maté and videographer Hany Massoud are in Greece covering the journey of 'The Audacity of Hope'. They were there Thursday as it was publicly unveiled. They spoke with novelist Alice Walker, Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein and others".

2011-07-01 Qaddafi's Million Man March

Ahmed went missing in Tripoli near the very beginning of the uprising. His family now believes that he was arrested on February 22 and taken to the notorious Adu Salim prison with many others. At the time they assumed he had been shot dead and disappeared by soldiers, mercenaries or one of Qaddafi's security services, like so many others.

So when a member of one Qaddafi's revolutionary committees told Ahmed's father, "We have your son, he is being held at Abu Salim prison. If your family does not come out to demonstrate on Friday you will never see your son again.", they paid him no never-mind and an extended clan of around 50 adult males and family refused to attend the rally. A few hours after the rally Ahmed's still warm body was dumped outside the family home with two bullets in his head.

Many other families received similar threats. "We did not think it was possible that he (Ahmed) was still alive, we thought the guy was just making threats," said Mohammed, Ahmed's uncle who was interview by AFP.

Mummar Qaddafi held a huge support rally in Tripoli on Friday, July 1. According to his supporters more than one million Libyans rallied in Green Square to be treated to a recorded speech from the great man. Other observers more realistically put the numbers at between 15,000 - 30,000. There are also a lot of questions about how many of that number were rallied to the square.

The Internet was quickly flooded with reports like this one, Muammar Qaddafi Speech to Millions in Tripoli on 1st July 2011, and various versions of the Libya state TV video of the event like the popular HUGE PRO GADDAFI RALLY in Tripoli - Raw Footage. When I say popular, I mean popular in terms of the number of times it has been copied and promoted. Various versions of this 1:47 minute YouTube video seem to have sprung up like mushrooms in the days following the rally. It, in turn is an edit from the Libya State TV coverage of the rally and there are other longer versions to be found on the Internet. They all share a number of features. They are all edits of the Libyan State TV coverage and the video quality, by which I mean resolution, is terrible. I have not found one that isn't fuzzy and lacking in detail.

As with the Pro-Qaddafi rally in Tripoli of June 17 and the Libyan state TV video of that I debunked here, this would appear to be the only video of this event. I have only found one independent video linked here but it doesn't show anything like numbers being claimed by the Qaddafi people. What is again missing from this pro-Qaddafi rally in Tripoli is the proliferation of cell phone videos that usually result from mass rallies in MENA these days.

With regards to the one video that is being offered as proof of this million person rally, in a city of a million and a half, it raises more questions than it answers. While it is very fuzzy, and that makes detailed technical analysis very difficult, and while it is most often labeled "Raw Video," it is anything but. It is captioned and highly produced.

I found the camera sweep used in the beginning of the above "Raw Footage" video very intriguing, so I posted a request to the Doculink documentary flimmaker list for a second opinion:

[DOCULINK] How was this scene shot?

I am looking at some footage of the big rally in Tripoli, July 1st. The camera work in the first 34 sec. of this video looks very interesting but I can't figure out how it was done. Can anybody help me?
Here are some of the responses I got back:
Looks like either a long jib or a crane. Probably the former. It's a bit funny that they're using what's basically music video gear it to cover a protest rally.

Since it's pro-Gaddafi, looks like the government spared no expense and probably used a crane. It's like a well-produced rock concert shot. Maybe some CGI at the end?

Yeah, especially as it goes very wide and overhead... I'd say crane rather than jib... do you think someone is cueing the crowd wave?
So the Libyan government "spared no expense" in producing this video. Somebody is obviously working overtime to make sure it it posted everywhere and Qaddafi's people aren't making sure a clean, convincing, high resolution version is easily available? Curious!

The reference to "some CGI at the end" is a suggestion that some of the large crowd scenes at the end were the result of computer-generated imagery, which is the way we "create" large crowds in the movies these days. I had the same question myself. Many of the scenes have the look and feel of the kind of thing generated for computer games these days and the large crowd scenes definitely have a CGI quality to them but without a clear copy it is hard to draw any conclusions and much is based on what you think you are seeing.

In an earlier diary I had criticized the Libyan State TV video of the June 21 rally for not having any crowd noise mixed in with Qaddafi's recorded speech. This one was an improvement it that regard. Then there is also this odd bit: HUGE PRO GADDAFI RALLY in Tripoli - Why is there the flag of France in the green square in Tripoli? This 11 secs of the Libyan State TV coverage highlights a French flag flying at the pro-Qaddafi rally. That certainly is odd given that France has been first among the NATO counties in fighting Qaddafi.

That is about all I have been able to find out about this one video that seems to be all the Qaddafi supporters have to backup their claim of a million people in the rally in Tripoli on July 1, 2001.

There have been other reports. This is what The Free Generation Movement - حركة جيل الاحرار reported: [Saturday, July 2, 2011 at 12:03pm]
Initially there were numerous reports that there was various video editing involved in order to create the illusion of a larger crowd. Members of the Free Generation Movement were present at the event and can clarify that there was no video editing involved and that the crowd was indeed large.

Similarly, international media was present and felt there was no conflict between their images and that of State TV.

Cameras were placed at an angle that would present the crowd in a favourable light, but no comprehensive editing was involved.

There are verified reports from Free Generation members of multiple buses bringing people in from outside of Tripoli. Whilst this is a verified report, other rumours regarding the source of the crowd cannot be verified by us.

The crowd was estimated to be around 10,000 strong.

Whilst admittedly this was a large, pre-planned, and well orchestrated event, it still represents less than one percent of the Tripoli population, if indeed the participants were from Tripoli.

Similarly, Gaddafi’s continued reluctance to address “his people” in public and resort to audio from hidden locations is further indication that he is feeling the ever increasing pressure upon his already defunct regime.

at Libya Alhurra Updates a Tripoli revolutionary reported [from English transcript]
First of all, first the people that demonstrated are around 30,000. When we got out [at the beginning of the events] our number was far larger, then he was shooting at us. The people that demonstrated for him couldn’t fill the river stadium.
This crowd wasn’t manipulated, this crowd gathered because he bought his mob from all over Libya and put them in one place. It shows that he is a state of desperation. He did this for the foreigners, he knows Libyans will not be fooled. He did this to give the impression that his people love him. If he thinks his people love him, why doesn’t he let us demonstrate and he will see who loves him and who us against him.
I hope our families ignore the divisions that G is trying to create. In his protest, there wasn’t a single sign that mentioned people of Tripoli, the signs all had people from other places like Mashaysha, Warfalla, Tarhouna, etc.
According to one tweet Qaddafi was paying 50LYD ($40) for demonstrators from Tripoli and 150LYD($120) for people who came from out of town.

Other estimates of the rallies size were read on Twitter. @Guma_el_gamaty twitted "just spoke to foreign journalist who saw friday rally in tripoli they estimate max. 15000. digital manipulat. on libyan tv image used by G!" 3 Jul I heard 13400 - 13800 headcount from satellite imagery. (Not sure if that is even possible) 3 Jul

And this is what I have been able to learn so far about the HUGE PRO QADDAFI RALLY in Tripoli on July 1 and the "Raw Footage" that purports to show a million Libyans turning out to show their support for fearless leader.

2011-07-01 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.

10:25 PM Cable on U.S.-Panama Express Rendition Program dissected.

07:45 PM Wikileaks just made an important announcement on twitter:

Stay tuned for important news regarding the attack on WikiLeaks by VISA, MasterCard and others

Update: This was after legal action against the financial institutions had been announced by Kristinn Hrafnsson in Brazil.

06:20 PM The Wikileaks you missed: Foreign Policy sums up four months of secret diplomatic cable releases on Thailand, Haiti, India, Pakistan, Peru and Japan.

05:30 PM Apparently, while in Brazil, Kristinn Hrafnsson claimed Wikileaks has something to reveal about Visa and Mastercard.

A write-up on his talk at the 6th International Congress of Investigative Journalism with the participation of the founder of A Pública, Natália Viana, can be found here.

05:15 PM Support Bradley Manning and whistleblowing! Click here to help fund a Bradley Manning billboard in Kansas, help raise awareness about the importance of whistleblowers.


02:15 PM The FBI's increasingly invasive conduct remains unscrutinized, often leading to cases of abuse of power. Kevin Gosztola draws attention to five outrageous situations where individual privacy and liberties have been unjustly compromised, including the targeting and harassment of Wikileaks supporters.

12:40 PM The Guardian offers an engaging account of the involvement of Venuezuelan Catholic bishops in an attempt to overthrow president Hugo Chávez in 2002, exposed by Wikileaks:

...Among the latest revelations to emerge from WikiLeaks is that, in 2002, as plotters in Venezuela's capital Caracas were liaising with the US authorities about the conspiracy to topple President Hugo Chávez, the leaders of the Catholic church in that country were defying the instruction of Pope John Paul II to desist from having anything to do with the coup d'état. Instead they threw their lot in with Pedro Carmona, the extremist rightwing businessman, who took office for less than 48 hours during a brief military coup in April 2002.

12:00 PM UNESCO's field office in Brasilia is suspected of illegally obtaining funds from Brazil's Ministry of Health according to diplomatic cables Wikileaks' partner A Pública has released this week:

Beginning in 1998, and with a major increase in 2003, the Brazilian Ministry of Health by-passed government hiring restrictions by contracting with UNESCO and UNDP to provide employees for programs for Brazil’s Ministry of Health, an activity that is outside UNESCO’s mandate. The sums involved were large and have made up at least one-third of UNESCO’s global extra budgetary funding resources.

Also documented are the organization's unsuccessful efforts to convince the U.S. the Executive Board should abandon its investigation into said irregularities.
In a cable dating from 2006 UNESCO's office in Brasilia is specifically accused of fraud and money laundering. It is reported that a large amount of money was being paid for travel services that were later canceled: a period of less than a year, UBO paid some $60 million for travel services, allegedly involving 30,000 (thirty thousand) travel missions for its employees. We further learned that of these paid travel missions, there has been an average of one thousand cancellations per month. [John] Parsons [Director of UNESCO's Internal Oversight Service] raised the rhetorical question whether the suspiciously high number of travel missions and cancellations had become a form of 'money laundering'.

UNESCO representatives in Brasilia have refused to comment on this information and won't reveal the amount of money obtained from the government.

2011-07-01 WikiLeaks and Datacell to sue Visa & MasterCard for 'US influenced financial blockade'

Wikileaks has announced specifics of their threatened legal action against Visa and Mastercard. Announcement from Wikileaks below:


Release after Sat 2 Jul 2011 00:00:00 GMT

WikiLeaks and Datacell (a service provider assisting WikiLeaks) are to sue Visa & MasterCard for engaging in an unlawful, U.S. influenced, financial blockade.

On June 9th a the law firms Bender von Haller Dragested in Denmark and Reykjavik Law Firm in Iceland acting on behalf of DataCell and WikiLeaks told the companies that if the blockade is not removed they will be litigated in Denmark and a request for prosecution will be filed with the EU Commission. Visa Europe, MasterCard Europe, and Teller (a Danish company licensed to process transactions on behalf of the card companies) are the subjects of the complaint.

It was pointed out to these companies that their coordinated action on December 7th last year to block all credit card transactions to WikiLeaks and DataCell constituted a serious violation of the Competition Rules of the EU (Article 101(1) and 102). Furthermore, that the actions of these companies have violated Danish merchant laws when they terminated the payment services and by refused to reinstate them.

Visa Europe, Master Card Europe, Teller and Korta where told that if the payment services would not be reinstated and liability for the damages accepted, DataCell and WikiLeaks would file a complaint to the European Commission regarding violation of EU competition laws and file a lawsuit with Danish Maritime and Commercial Court (“Sø- og Handelsretten ”).

Teller has acknowledged that it is ready to reinstate the services as due diligence by the company has not found any violations by DataCell, but, despite this, the company has been ordered by Visa and MasterCard to keep the payment services closed. Visa and Master Card (which have 70 and 25 percent market share in Europe respectively) have not answered the demands or shown willingness to negotiate a settlement.

In light of this outcome DataCell and WikiLeaks will instruct their international legal team to take actions against these companies in the coming days as outlined above. Further actions in other jurisdictions will follow.

For information concerning the complaint to the EU Commission and the case in general please contact:

Sveinn Andri Sveinsson, Supreme Court Attorney,, phone +354 8947406 any hours.


Supplementary information:

The actions of Visa Europe and MasterCard Europe as concerns DataCell and Wikileaks violate the EU Treaty

In December 2010 the international card companies, Visa Europe and MasterCard Europe ordered the Danish/Norwegian payment card service company, TELLER A/S, to terminate its payment services (provided through its agent Korta in Iceland) to DataCell ltd., ( Wikileaks, the media organisation, had received donations through the web-site of Datacell.

DataCell tried to get access to the international payment card networks through other members of the Visa and MasterCard networks without success. Their order to exclude DataCell from payment services has not only blocked donations to Wikileaks but has also effectively prevented DataCell from operating and receiving payments for its services as an international data centre and hosting operator.

In Europe, as in most parts of the world, Visa and MasterCard dominate the market for collecting and processing (acquiring) payments made with payment cards. Visa holds about 70% of this market in Europe, while MasterCard has around 26% of the market. Collectively, these franchises hold therefore approximately 96% of the market for acquiring services in Europe.

DataCell claims that the order of the card companies to its members (licensees) in Europe to boycott Datacell, absent any objective justification, (no such has been provided by the card companies) constitutes an abuse of market dominance in the meaning of Article 102 of the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union, (TFEU).

DataCell furthermore claims that identical and simultaneous actions taken by Visa, MasterCard , Teller and Korta in respect of DataCell (and Wikileaks) constitute a concerted anti-competitive practice in the meaning of Article 101 (1) of the TFEU which prohibits all agreements and concerted practices, which prevent, restrict or distort competition within the internal market.

The penalty for infringing the competition rules of the EU can amount to 10% of the turnover of the companies involved. Moreover, violators of the competition rules may now be sued in most jurisdictions within the EU for damages under the law on tort. DataCell (and Wilkleaks) are now preparing such action in Demark and Iceland against the card companies.

As mentioned above it is the opinion of DataCell that the card Companies have not been able to provide any objective justification for their actions. In this context it is emphasised:

(I) The provision of payment gateways whereby the holder of a merchant agreement uses its merchant account to accept, idonations/payments related to non-profit organisations or companies, which do not have their own merchant account is common and accepted business practice.

(II) The services provided by DataCell to Wikileaks are in no way different from other payment card gateways provided by competitors of DataCell to organisations and companies around Europe and around the world.

(III) When DataCell entered into the payment service agreement with Teller and Korta it was made clear to the companies that DataCell would use its merchant account to receive donations for Wikileaks.

(IV) When Teller at the request of DataCell carried out a compliance check of DataCell’s operations they were found to be 100% compliant with Teller’s requirements and the terms and conditions of the payment services agreement.

(V) Wikileaks has nowhere been found to be engaged in any illegal activity. Infact, in the only formal US review to occur, the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury, Timothy C. Geitner, refused (January 13) to add WikiLeaks to the US financial embargo list, saying that there was no legal justification to do so.

(VI) There are no ownership connections between DataCell and Wikileaks / Sunshine Press Foundation (the Sunshine Press Foundation is the corporate arm of the Wikileaks organisation). Datacell does not have any representatives or representation in the Wikileaks organisation nor does Wikileaks have any say in the matters DataCell. The relationship between DataCell and Wikileaks is a pure business relationship.

(VII) Finally, Visa and MasterCard do not prevent their members from supplying payment card services to media organisations that openly support and cooperate with Wikileaks.

-Julian Assange

2011-07-02 Cables reveal the logic of Nicaragua’s social welfare programs for street children: ‘Cut the budget and hide it in secrecy’

Along with insight on Hambre Cero ('Zero Hunger'), cables released by WikiLeaks provide previously unreported dark sides in inner management of social welfare programs launched by the Ortega government. This article reports the way social welfare programs are dealt with in the midst of budget deficits based on the cables, mainly focusing on one of the major social welfare projects of Ortega government, Programa Amor ('Program of Love') and other social welfare programs for street children in 2007-2010.


What is Programa Amor?

Programa Amor is one of many social welfare programs that President Ortega and his FSLN party presented to the public in 2007. The stated goal of the program was to provide education and other opportunities to 25,000 street children to break away from some of the worst forms of child labor. Programa Amor has been headed by the First Lady Rosiario Murillo and Ministries of Family, Health, Education, and the government.

Cable: Concerns of Ministry of Family insiders on Programa Amor; It forces children to their home which drive them back to the street

09MANAGUA1318 reveals that people inside the Ministry of Family (MiFamilia), which is a focal point of implementation of Programa Amor, confessed their concerns on the program’s general operating style. The program sends children back to their home in the evening after daytime education courses of the shelters, and this poses a serious threat to the children, since most of them are forced to find places at night other than their homes, which they originally ran away from.

This poses a serious threat especially to most of street girls. One of the main reasons that many girls who ran out of their home due to domestic and gender-based violence cannot return to their home is because of the lack of any effective helping hand available to them. About 46% of all female population in Nicaragua is under age 18, and rape and sexual abuse against girls by their family members is often silenced and under reported; mostly, it is the victims who suffer from guilt and shame, and they are often reluctant to prosecute the case out of fear. This also is the 'major obstacle' to the permanent reintegration of young female victims of human trafficking, according to 08MANAGUA1057, demonstrating why failure to provide safe shelters and forcing the children to their problematic homes can never be a solution of any effectiveness. Programa Amor’s plan of sending the children back to their homes for 'the right of a child to grow up in the family'(09MANAGUA1318) displays the government’s misunderstanding of the chief cause that generates street children.

Countries throughout the region face similar obstacles in providing victims' assistance, including the lack of qualified personnel to work with TIP survivors during the process of identification and reinsertion; the lack of shelters equipped to handle the specific needs of TIP victims; and problematic family circumstances, especially intrafamily violence-- a main obstacle to successful reintegration and long-term recovery.

The way the Ortega government deals with budget deficits: Cut the budget support for Programa Amor and other social welfare programs, and hide it in secrecy

In addition to this, budget supply to the program has been cut severely, after international budget supports - mainly from EU - to Nicaragua had been suspended after the controversial 2008 municipal elections. Cables demonstrate that despite the financial problems and withdrawal of overall resources, the Ortega government had kept informing the public that the government is exercising effort on social welfare programs;

According to the GON's own figures, the percentage of the MiFamilia budget destined for assistance services and social protection was 15% in 2009 compared to 44.3% in 2005, during the previous administration.… Critics point out that the interagency coordination required for such an effort does not exist and resources are not allocated despite the GON rhetoric to the contrary. (09MANAGUA1318)

This cover-up was possible because the government locked most of the official information regarding the programs secret. Programa Amor was not free from this and also suffered from the lack of transparency; 10MANAGUA202 reports that checking the effectiveness of the program was impossible due to ‘lack of accessibility to the information’.

While there is some evidence that the program was operative in early 2009, quantitative information regarding its effectiveness has been largely absent due to lack of accessibility.

And 10MANAGUA93 shows that the amount of genuine effort devoted to social welfare programs can only be guessed even after 3 years had passed since the launching of Programa Amor, Hambre Cero (Zero Hunger) and other major social welfare programs;

Ortega has used ALBA funds to implement his vision of a mixed economy by investing in electricity generation, a hotel, cattle ranch, and television station; some financing is provided only to businesses that agree to export to Venezuela. Although accounting lacks transparency, the government claims funds were also used for social programs to build housing and roads, reduce hunger, and improve access to credit. FSLN-dominated CPCs are tasked with identifying participants in these programs.

Government's efforts in helping street children other than Programa Amor evaluated in cables: Largely ineffective, exacerbating Nicaragua’s already serious human trafficking problems

09STATE60629, a guide to the 2009 TIP(Trafficking in Persons) Report, discusses the state of the government efforts. The cable suggests that despite the high seriousness of both national and international human trafficking in Nicaragua, the government is largely indifferent toward the problem. This includes its scant will to prosecute high ranking government officials who are allegedly complicit with and profiting through human trafficking, mostly sexual exploitation of young female minors:

The government opened no investigations of suspected official complicity with human trafficking, despite credible reports of trafficking-related corruption in the judiciary, in addition to police and immigration officials accepting bribes, sexually exploiting victims, or turning a blind eye to such activity, particularly at the nation's borders.

10MANAGUA228, which is a 2010 TIP report for Nicaragua, confirms that the necessity of government-run shelters for street children and trafficking victims are largely absent still in 2010:

The Ministry of the Family is responsible for providing victim care facilities to children (people 17 years old and younger). In practice, the departments most affected by trafficking did not have adequate care facilities. There were no shelters in Chinandega. Rio San Juan, Esteli, and Rivas each had one shelter funded and operated by an NGO. Rivas also had one government-run care facility that took in all people in need of temporary shelter, not just trafficking victims. There were no government-run shelters available for women or men, nor were there any government-run shelters specifically for trafficking victims regardless of age or gender. As noted in the interim TIP assessment, media reported that the government underfunded the children's public shelters.

2011-07-02 RECORDED STREAM of Assange, Žižek & Goodman Conversation July 2, 11am EDT

This Saturday, July 2, Democracy Now's Amy Goodman will moderate a conversation with Julian Assange and Slovenian philosopher, Slavoj Žižek. The event is sponsored by the Frontline Club, and broadcast from The Troxy theater in London.

The focus of the event will be the "ethics and philosophy behind WikiLeaks’ work, the talk will provide a rare opportunity to hear two of the world’s most prominent thinkers discuss some of the most pressing issues of our time," according to the Democracy Now web site.

The conversation coincides with the "publication of the paperback edition of Žižek’s Living in the End Times, in which he argues that new ways of using and sharing information, in particular WikiLeaks, are one of a number of harbingers of the end of global capitalism as we know it."

Starts below at 21 minutes.

2011-07-02 WikiLeaks Notes: Stainless Steel Rat, Bradley Manning Rally, WL Crusade Against Visa & Mastercard


Remember that the WikiLeaks essay competion has 8 finalists

Find your favorite essay in order to vote and/or comment clicking on our competition tag.

Wikileaks lawsuit against Visa and Mastercard

Great Reddit discussion on WikiLeaks and Datacell to sue Visa & MasterCard for engaging in an unlawful, U.S. influenced, financial blockade.

Stainless Steel Rat, is the play about the life and works of Julian Assange a rip-off?

Paul Tomlinson writes in the Harry Harrison Official News Blog: Assange is known for taking things which don’t belong to him and making them freely available. The authors of the ‘wikiplay’ Stainless Steel Rat seem to have taken a similar approach, but they’re using Harry Harrison’s creations for their own profit. Shame.

On the words of Harry Harrison: These guys are ripoff artists. I'd have them in jail if I could. I'm trying.

Meanwhile, in the Sydney Morning Herald: Stainless Steel Rat attempts to answer all [big] questions [about Assange], while offering chuckles and cheap laughs along the way. The result is a half-digested dog's breakfast of political thriller, media satire, sex comedy and speculative psycho-sexual analysis. The play's references to sodomy border on the obsessive. Drawing parallels between Assange's penetration of network firewalls, to his bare-backing of Swedish groupies, is plain misguided. [...] A gutsy attempt to grab a headline and run with it, but as it stands, Elisha's framing is clumsy - unnecessary, really - and his desire to titillate will strike anyone, with more than a passing interest in the subject, as patronising or dismissive.

Bradley Manning Rally in New York!

Elaine Brower invites us from Bradley Manning dot org: Get Your “I am Bradley Manning” picture taken in Union Square at the Bradley Manning Photo Booth. Saturday, July 2 from 2-5 pm. Check out your photo and then talk to other people about Brad’s case and encourage them to support his cause! If everyone who reads this announcement talked to 10 people about Brad Manning and why he should be free, we could made a big dent in that 40% of New Yorkers who never heard of him! So come out and show your support, and let’s get the word out on this holiday weekend.

Legal Complaint against Visa & MasterCard

WikiLeaks tweeted the Legal Complaint against Visa & MasterCard for political censorship; Forbes dot com presents a summary by Andy Greenberg: The complaint argues that the three payment firms have violated Articles 101 and 102 of the E.U. Treaty, which deal with competition among businesses and forbid the creation of anti-competitive cartels. Article 101 prevents firms from creating partnerships for the purposes of price fixing, and Article 102 forbids firms in a “dominant position” from abusing that position. Both Visa and MasterCard have claimed that payments to WikiLeaks and DataCell were suspended because they potentially violate the companies’ terms of service. MasterCard has gone as far explaining that it prohibits “customers from directly or indirectly engaging in or facilitating any action that is illegal.” Visa has stated that it is investigating “the nature of [WikiLeaks] business and whether it contravenes Visa operating rules.”

Today, at 11 am EDT, Amy Goodman To Host Discussion With WikiLeaks Editor-In-Chief Julian Assange and Slovenian Philosopher Slavoj Žižek

Democracy Now anchor Amy Goodman will host a Discussion With WikiLeaks Editor-In-Chief Julian Assange and Slovenian Philosopher Slavoj Žižek at 11 am EDT. Full information here.

Simultaneously (at 11am EST; 4pm GMT; 8pm AEST), Frontline Club will host a special "in conversation" event about this same Democracy Now broadcasting, according to their Twitter account.

2011-07-03 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.

08:15 PM Also, back from London from an inspirational and very entertaining discussion between Julian Assange and Slavoj Zizek, moderated by Amy Goodman. Much has been written about it already, both on twitter and the special blog opened by the Frontline Club (1 , 2) for the occasion.

A video of the event is available here.

Julian Assange on the origin and impact of Wikileaks:

“We need a cablegate for the CIA, we need a cablegate for the SVR, when need a cablegate for The New York Times, actually, one of the stories that have been suppressed and how they’ve been managed. And once we start getting that sort of volume and concretize and protect the rights of everyone to communicate with one another, which to me is the basic ingredient of civilized life

It is not the right to speak. What does it mean to have the right to speak mean if you’re on the moon? There’s no one around. It doesn’t mean anything. Rather, the right to speak comes from our rights to know and the two of us together, someone’s right to speak and someone’s right to know produce a right to communicate and so that is the grounding structure for all that we treasure about civilized life.

By civilized I don’t mean industrialized, I mean people collaborating to not do the dumb thing. To instead learn from previous experiences and learn from each other to pull with each other together in order to get through the life that we live in a less adverse way.

So, that quest to protect the historical record, and enable everyone to be a contributor to the historical record is something that I’ve been involved in for about 20 years in one way or another. So that means protecting people who contribute to our shared intellectual record. And it also means protecting publishers and encouraging distribution of historical record to everyone who needs to know about it.

After all, a historical record that has something interesting in it that you can’t find is no record at all. So, that long term vision is something I developed in various ways and I saw in around 2006 that there was a way of achieving justice through this process that could be realized using the intellectual and social capital that I had available and so that’s quite a complex plan, you should perhaps read a couple of essays on Wikileaks that go into this in more detail. So, to pull all this together, was a difficult thing to do, and to plan it out and to marshal the resources and to build not only an ideology that people could support and were encouraged by and the sources were encouraged by, but that people would defend. I think it’s extremely interesting that although, twice the venue that we had rented for this was canceled including at the Institute for Education at the University of London under the basis that we’d be too controversial, that’s why we ended up at The Troxy, at this venue. That despite that, actually, Slavoj Zizek, myself and Amy Goodman have managed to pack out nearly 2000 people in London in a Saturday at £ 25 a seat. I see that as extremely encouraging.

On the one hand we have this everyday tawdry institution censorship of saying that something is too controversial therefore you can’t hold it in an Institute of Education, on the other hand all of you came and I’m not sure that it would have happened 5 years ago. In fact I’m pretty sure that wouldn’t have happened 5 years ago. That both of those things wouldn’t have happened 5 years ago.

When I said before that censorship is always and opportunity and censorship reveals something that is positive about a society and a society with no censorship is in a very bad state, if you the censorship of not giving us this venue so easily is also related to why you’re all here. It’s the other side of the coin, that people are worried that change is possible and you’re here because you think that change is possible and you’re probably right.

So that’s been a very interesting journey to see that. And I thought I was pretty cynical and worldly 5 years ago and of course I was simply a very young and naïve fool, in retrospect. Being inside the center of the storm, I have learned not just about the structure of the government, not just about how power flows in many governments around the world that we’ve dealt with, but rather how History is shaped and distorted by the media. And I think the distortion by the media of History, of all the things we should know so we can collaborate together as a civilization is the worst thing. It is our single greatest impediment to advancement.

But, it’s changing we are rafting around media that is closed to power in all sorts of ways. But it’s not a foregone conclusion, which is makes this time so interesting. That we can rest the Internet and we can rest the various communication mechanisms we have with each other into the values of the new generation that has been educated by the Internet, has been educated outside of that mainstream media distortion and all those young people are becoming important within institutions.

I do want to talk about what it means when the most powerful institutions from the CIA to News Corporation are all organized using computer programmers, using system administrators, using technical young people. What does that mean, when all those technical young people adopt a certain value system and that they are in an institution where they do not agree with the value system and yet, actually, they’re hands on the machinery. Because there has been moments in the past like that and it is those technical young people who are the most Internet educated and have the greatest ability to receive the new values that are being spread and the new information and the facts about reality that are being spread out the mainstream media distortions.” - Julian Assange


When a man of high moral calibre is put under stress, he becomes stronger, and this is the case with Bradley Manning. - Julian Assange

WikiLeaks has not simply changed the rules. It changed the way we violate the rules, the rules of bourgeois media. - Slavoj Zizek

07:30 PM Today we celebrate Julian Assange's birthday.

@x7o tweets:
40 years ago today, Julian was born. Congratulations, world.

07:25 PM Cables reveal China rebuffed American offer to open a major supply route on its soil for US and NATO forces in Afghanistan.

Cables made public by WikiLeaks show that in February 2009 the Obama administration quietly tried to persuade China to open a supply route to US forces in Afghanistan but, as military relations with Washington soured, Beijing said no.

1 , 2

07:15 PM Yesterday, Queer Friends of Bradley Manning participated in the London LGBT Pride March and managed to successfully raise awareness about his situation. Click here for photos and report.

2011-07-04 NATO's Game Plan in Libya

1. ] Whatever his revolutionary pretensions were in the past, in the last eight years Mummar Qaddafi has become a compliant, if somewhat unorthodox, third world ruler in the world imperialist system. The changes in the stance of his regime since 2004 are unmistakable. His rapprochement with the EU and even the US after Bush sent Biden to Tripoli on Air Force Two has been well documented elsewhere, as has been his association with Richard Perle and Goldman Sachs. He has joined the IMF, allowed western oil companies to directly exploit Libyan fields and privatized hundreds of key public enterprises. In spite of all the drama of the past, it should be clear to all that the Mummar Qaddafi of 2011 is one that has made his peace with the imperialists and they with him. Contrary to what the Qaddafi supporters would have you believe, there has not been a continuous momentum for imperialist regime change in Libya for the past 40 years.

2. ] The Arab uprisings of 2011 have been doing away with such rulers. Most close observers to the uprisings in Tunisia and Egypt knew than Ben Ali and Mubarak were all washed up before the dictators did. The people had simply lost their fear and they weren't going to get it back. But the imperialist still backed their tamed dictators until the last. Only four days before he departed, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was saying Mubarak may not be able to step down soon and France stopped another shipment of supplies to Tunisian state security only two hours before Ben Ali fled. Still, no number of arrests and amount of mass murder, and mass murder was committed by organs of state security in both Tunisia and Egypt, was going to salvage the old dictator. In the end, the imperialists were willing to throw them under the bus in the last days because they hoped, with the help of some sleight of hand, to salvage the old regime or something close to it.

The struggle to overthrow Qaddafi poses a certain threat that the overthrow of Ben Ali and Mubarak didn't. In the case of Tunisia and Egypt, the imperialists had other important connections and levers to maintain colonial power, most notably through the army. These entrenched positions represented pre-established fall-back lines, as it were. They could afford to see the dictator toppled so long as the army didn't go with him because they could still maintain their influence through the army. That is why in both cases, the army didn't open fire on the rebellion. They didn't want to risk it going down with an unpopular dictator. They thought it better to keep the army in place and yield on the people's key demand that the dictator go.

3. ] But the case of Libya in different. Because of the peculiar nature of Qaddafi's "green revolution", because military-to-military relations between Libya and the US are only a few years old, and for a host of other reasons, the imperialists have no ready-made fall-back position in Libya should Qaddafi go. That is why the contradiction has become so sharp in Libya. That is why Libya became the first country in the string of revolts in which military power was used to put down the rebellion. In the beginning there were no strong sanctions against Qaddafi for using what was an unprecedented level of violence, such as war planes, against mass protests. The imperialist were secretly happy that someone was trying to staunch the fall of dictators with massive violence. Although they had made millions selling Qaddafi precisely the weapons he was using, like the cluster munitions from Spain, they were glad that the massive violence was being tried by someone they were not generally publicly associated with.

NATO countries had little more than words to show for their 'humanitarian concerns" after Qaddafi killed 700 protesters in Tripoli on February 21, some of them bombed with jet aircraft, and maybe 2000 in Benghazi days before. When President Obama spoke of this on February 23, he condemned the Libyan government, saying "suffering and bloodshed is outrageous, and it is unacceptable", but he did not call for Qaddafi to step down nor did he announce any new sanctions the US would support to punish the leader that he said "violate international norms and every standard of common decency."

By the last week of February it was beginning to look like the Qaddafi regime would fall in days, not weeks. Once he showed that he could hang on to power by meeting the rebellion with a war, the level of violence that was applied to the uprising in Yemen, Bahrain and Syria was dramatically increased. Bahrain declared martial law and cleared out the Pearl Roudabout around about March 15. That was the same week they started shooting protesters in Yemen. On March 18, 52 protesters were shot dead in Yemen. Assad was also stepping up the level of violence used against the Arab uprising in Syria. On March 15, there were 3000 arrests and a few martyrs. On March 24, more than a hundred were killed for being in a protest march in Daraa.

4. ] Qaddafi used his army to stay in power because he could. In both Tunisia and Egypt, the dictator demanded that the army open fire on protesters as a last resort. In both cases they refused. No doubt, this was what the Pentagon advised. It's better to lose a loyal servant and still stay in the game than to risk all for a washed up has been. The generals on both sides of the military-to-military accord could agree on that.

In Libya this was not an option. Qaddafi made sure the national army was a poor stepchild. The real power and the most sophisticated weapons belonged to his personal security force. Here he had a force impervious to foreign influence and one that proved that it would open fire on the people when ordered to, even with air strikes and artillery.

5. ] Libya is different because it has great oil wealth. For 41 years that wealth has been under the control of one man. Libya also has a very small population. Because of these very unique circumstances, Qaddafi has been able to head a state and state security apparatus that is relatively independent from revenues drawn from the country by ordinary means like taxation. With this oil money he has a great ability to "win friends and influence people" not only within Libya but among many international forces as well. There are many AU heads of state, and other anti-imperialist leaders and organizations that owe Qaddafi, for example he gave $3 million to the Nation of Islam to build their headquarters in Chicago.

6. ] Qaddafi's use of military power to stay in power was acceptable to the NATO countries. Qaddafi started using military violence against protest rallies as early as Feb. 20, yet UN/NATO did not act militarily until March 19. They were willing to give Qaddafi almost a month to put down the rebellion with tanks, artillery and aircraft.

As Qaddafi's violent repression was taking thousands of lives in Libya, NATO was taking a wait and see attitude. On February 25, the NATO Secretary General made an official statement, "I do not consider the situation in Libya a direct threat to NATO or NATO Allies ...I would like to stress that NATO as such has no plans to intervene." The next day he elaborated NATO's plan to deal with the Libyan crisis, "priority must be given to evacuation and possibly, also, humanitarian assistance." On March 18, after the UN passed resolution 1973,

NATO is now completing its planning in order to be ready to take appropriate action in support of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 1973, as part of the broad international effort.

and while the NATO Secretary General calls upon Qaddafi to "stop your brutal and systematic violence against the people of Libya immediately," He does not call for his removal or even ask that he step down.

On March 22, more than a month after Qaddafi has started using aircraft and artillery against protesters, NATO decides "to launch an operation to enforce the arms embargo against Libya." For more than a month he has been allowed a free hand in the application of massive violence to put down the rebellion. Two days later, and a week after the UN legalized the no-fly zone with 1973, NATO announces that they have decided to enforce it. Finally on March 27 they announce that "NATO Allies have decided to take on the whole military operation in Libya under the United Nations Security Council Resolution."

This was no rush to provide military assistance to the rebellion as soon as it was needed, or even as soon as it had been made legal by the UN resolution. This was a "wait and see" policy. A "wait and see" if Qaddafi's massive violence would work. If it did work, they would have gone on paying him for Libyan oil just like before.

7. ] They acted only after it was clear that Qaddafi could not prevail. Qaddafi's military might was the greatest at the beginning and so were his chances of crushing the rebellion by military means. In the beginning the rebels were using meat cleavers as weapons. As time went on, they got better and better weapons and they learned how to use them. Even before NATO entered the game, they managed to get some old Qaddafi MIGs back up in the air that hadn't been off the tarmac in 15 years. The rebellion always had the vast majority of the Libyan people on it's side, that's how it survived, and even without NATO's intervention, slowly but surely, the balance was shifting in it's favor. NATO came in on the side of the rebellion in order to establish a connection and influence the people and institutions likely to control the oil after Qaddafi is gone.

8. ] NATO has modulated it's support to extend the conflict and force concessions from the rebellion. Enforcement of the no-fly zone probably got delayed a week because the freedom fighters arrested rather than welcomed a British SAS team that dropped into Benghazi unannounced on March 4. Since then the anti-Qaddafi forces have often found NATO support not everything it's cracked up to be.

These criticisms of NATO from the anti-Qaddafi forces are typical:

On Tuesday, Abdel-Fattah Younis, chief of staff for the Libyan rebels' military and Qaddafi's former interior minister, said NATO didn't "do anything," even though the U.N. Security Council had given the alliance the right to act. He blamed NATO's bureaucratic procedures for eight-hour delays between the time the rebels told NATO of enemy targets and when its attack planes arrived.

"The people will die and this crime will be on the face of the international community forever. What is NATO doing?" Younis said.

"NATO is not doing their job, the aistrikes are late and never on time. NATO is not helping us. Qaddafi still gets ammunition and supplies to his forces, that's why he is pushing us back," said Pvt. Mohammed Abdullah, a 30-year-old former member of Qaddafi's army who has joined the rebel side.

There have been a number of suspicious "friendly fire" incidents where NATO has carried out air strikes on rebel forces. On April 2, 13 freedom fighters were killed by a NATO strike, and less than a week later the rebels say that they were forced to retreat in a struggle to break through government lines outside the crucial oil town of Brega by more NATO "friendly fire." This left some resistance fighters shouting "Down, down with NATO."

Whatever the cause of these incidents, they have been used by NATO to argue the need for NATO personnel on the ground and for bringing the rebel army more under NATO command and control.

And there are other ways they hamstring the rebellion, for example on June 16, the Economist, pointing out that Qaddafi was literally running out of fuel at this point, said:

If Colonel Qaddafi were to lose Zawiya and its refinery, the game would probably be up. The pipeline to Zawiya passes through rebel-held land near the Nafusa Mountains: pouring cement into a valve would shut it down. But Western governments have persuaded the rebels not to touch either that pipe or a nearby natural-gas one that helps keep Tripoli’s lights on.

They have already determined that Qaddafi is no longer viable. They are now modulating their support for the uprising to assure that the uprising is not defeated but neither is Qaddafi. They are manipulating aid to the rebellions to win concessions in an attempt to bring the rebellion under their control and reshape any future government of Libya to be one that is more to their liking.

That is their game plan.

So it is not surprising that they have come to the aid of the rebels or that that the rebels have accepted that aid. Revolutions are never simple two-sided affairs. There are always many players. Agents of the oppressor will always try to infiltrate or influence the revolution with the ultimate goal of overthrowing it. At the same time, there has probably never been a successful revolution that did not exploit contradictions among the oppressors.

Today is Independence Day in the United States and we again celebrate our successful struggle for independence from England and the French support that helped us achieve it. The Bolsheviks received some assistance from the kaiser's Germany that was crucial to the success of the Russian Revolution. Ho Chi Minh allowed himself to be treated by US OSS officers, General Giap accepted weapons from the US, fought along side OSS officers and was happy to have them training the Viet Minh in their fight against Japanese imperialism. In each case the colonialists or imperialists that "supported" the revolution did so with their own agenda and with an eye towards promoting it's interests in the region.

There has also never been a revolution that waited until there was no longer significant popular support for the old regime. As long as Qaddafi puts bread on the table for hundreds of thousands of families in his security services, as long as his money doesn't run out and as long as he can keep Tripoli in lock-down mode, we can expect he will be able to fill Green Square with thousands of loyal supporters.

Some forces in the anti-imperialist movement in the United States are like a viewer who comes into a movie in the middle. They think they know what's going on but they don't. These groups have never acknowledged the bloody nature of Qaddafi's crackdown or voiced support for the Arab uprising in Libya. They don't see the Libyan people's uprising against the Qaddafi dictatorship as being the principle driving force in this situation. They don't see that the Qaddafi regime is still the principal enemy of the Libyan people. NATO intervention doesn't change that, it just makes it more complicated.

Those that have already thrown the Libyan revolution under the bus and see in the Libyan situation only or principally, imperialist aggression against another 3rd world country are actually tailing after and serving imperialism. That is why they never supported the people's revolutionary movement in Libya even from the beginning of the Arab uprising there and even now they struggle against the free Libya movement here in the US.

North African Hacker Humor

2011-07-04 The Homophobic Smear of Bradley Manning

ImageA recent article by Steve Fishman in New York Magazine trots out more salacious gossip about Bradley Manning's sexuality, in what is now a sustained media campaign to discredit the military whistleblower. On foot of the Fishman article, WL Central examines the more insidious aspects of this trend.

Bradley Manning's sexuality is irrelevant. For anyone who has read the logs purporting to document his confession, his professed motives were plain. If he is guilty of blowing the whistle, he clearly blew the whistle on conscientious grounds. His sexual identity is irrelevant to this. If he did not blow the whistle, his sexuality is equally irrelevant.

His sexuality is irrelevant, but what is becoming relevant is how assiduously the press have focused on it. The issue has become seperate from the story of Manning's alleged involvement with Wikileaks. Since Ginger Thomson's Bradley Manning piece in August last year, mainstream media coverage of the issue has created and reinforced an alternative history of the Manning case, wherein his actions were the pathological outcome of a deeply psychologically troubled individual, recklessly breaking protocol in a fit of indulgent self-realization.

The cornerstone of this effort to discredit Manning has been a relentless appeal to homophobia and prejudice. Over and over again, details of Bradley Manning's sexuality have been sequenced into purportedly neutral accounts of his case, as if they spoke for themselves. They do not speak for themselves. They are not clearly newsworthy. Their presence in these reports would be inexplicable, except that they are clearly intended to supply a narrative, stringing together otherwise factual content to create a story where Manning's higher motivations are completely eclipsed.

There is nothing sordid about homosexuality. This needn't be clarified. But what is interesting about the coverage given to Bradley Manning's sexuality is we are plainly intended to find the details sordid. So, for instance, in support of the idea that Bradley Manning is unusual and weird we are treated, in The Guardian, to anecdotes graphically describing him slow-dancing with a boyfriend:

When I first saw Brad he was at a school dance dancing with his then boyfriend. I had not met either of them in person but I knew who they were from the internet. And they were in the middle of the dancefloor... just right in front of everyone... not off to the side or anything... they were dancing extremely... close. It was... uh... I wouldn't say ostentatious, but it was... kind of exaggerated dancing. And very... hot.
The Guardian - "The Madness of Bradley Manning"

It is not unusual for people to perform such activities with their sexual partners. The opposite, in fact. This is normal and healthy. But the only possible reason for including this piece here is to draw attention to itself, to signal to the "normal" readers that Manning is deviant and odd. Readers are expected to feel a sense of revulsion which makes it more difficult to identify with Manning, thereby sewing up the story, and precluding further investigation. The anecdote simply doesn't have a place here except as a signal that this innocuous display of public affection between two lovers is not innocuous at all, but is abnormal and deviant.

Likewise with the reference, in the recent Steve Fishman New York Magazine piece, to how Manning was considering a sex-change. It is surely consistent with any proper construal of personal liberty that what a person wants to do with their body is their own business. A fair minded individual would realize that there is no valid inference from a fact like this to the idea that there is something wrong with a person. This piece of information was included, however, in order to trade on a widely shared - but utterly unfair - perception of transgendered individuals as deeply troubled people. The comment itself was sourced from a gender counselor, apparently flouting the gravest confidence a counselor is ever given, and making him or herself signally complicit in the tacit marginalization of LGBT people. Together with other illegitimate disclosures by this anonymous health practitioner, Fishman uses Manning's alleged gender identity to carefully insinuate that the whistleblower was psychologically unstable.

Another popular insinuation is that Manning's alleged actions were carried out as a symbolic revenge for the injustices of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, and the wider injustices of a cruel world that just didn't want Bradley Manning in it. Ginger Thomson's notorious piece from last August led the way with this, dutifully deploying references to the DADT policy as she profiled the soldier as a troubled gay loner, and omitting entirely any reference to his higher level motivations, so that his background and alleged infirmity of character were implied as causative of his actions. More recently, PBS Frontline reinforced this narrative, by publishing Manning's facebook page in annotated format. The facebook page is unexceptional as a facebook page, documenting the soldier's personal life and interests. For want of something to call news, PBS chose to draw attention to indications of Manning's homosexuality, as if gays were a mystifying alien species, with esoteric tastes and motivations. The private breakup of a gay relationship is highlighted and timelined as if it had keen public interest value, and Manning's understandable (and by no means exclusive to gay people) interest in Proposition 8 and DADT news is treated as if it were some obscure clue as to why he had chosen to leak evidence that, among other things, the US military was complicit in the torture and murder of Iraqi civilians. PBS Frontline's subsequent documentary "The Private Life of Bradley Manning" compounds this mistake.

That to be homosexual is to be congenitally weak and helpless is another falsehood to which appeal has been made in Manning coverage. As has been described elsewhere there is a towering irony in the fact that Manning's alleged decision to risk his life and liberty to expose systematic wrongdoing is portrayed as a failure of courage on his part. "Manning... wasn't built for this war," observes Fishman. Apparently, we are expected to share in the valorization of those whose "courage" stretches to putting aside morality, while Manning's alleged sacrifice is evidence of squeamishness. Fishman clearly considers Manning's sexuality as fodder for the easy and hackneyed narrative of the effeminate outcast, and moves freely back and forth between discussion of Manning's queerness, how physically slight he is, and how his alleged conscientious whistleblowing was instead a sort of compensation for how powerless he was 'in the real world.' Various psychological episodes Manning had are presented as the consequence of his frailty. We should instead consider whether we ought not to expect that someone who has chosen to face capital penalties, and struggled against extraordinary peer pressure, institutional conformity and intimidation in order to do the right thing, might, at some point, succumb to stress and anxiety. And in fact, these symptoms are well documented amongst whistleblowers.

Low flying planes could have seen that kid wasn't suitable. I do not understand the justification or what excuses they had to keep him around. I mean, he was a rat, a complete rat. And this is for a boy who's pissing his pants and curled up in a foetal position on his bunk, and constantly......... you know....... screaming.
The Guardian - "The Madness of Bradley Manning"

The Guardian, too, in its documentary, happily conflates fragility and homosexuality. The quote above is from an anonymous military colleague of Manning, whose face has been digitally blacked out. His is but one of a series of anecdotes which invites the viewer to identify with the military view that Manning was an anomaly. Viewers should instead be wary of who they find at their shoulders when they settle comfortably into the moral majority here, on the invitation of the 'liberal media'. Militaries - and the US military is no exception - systematize and institutionalize hierarchical violence and abuse, misogyny and homophobia in order to ensure unconditional obedience. We now find on the back of this undeniable evidence for what we already knew - that the US military is also responsible for the commission and cover-up of criminal activity. The anonymous comments are so spiteful and given such pride of place here that it is difficult not to get the impression that we are being asked by the Guardian filmmakers to believe that Manning was so wretchedly weak that he in fact deserved to be brutalized.

An environment like this is not an environment in which an individual is to be commended for 'fitting in.' It is not moral weakness that debilitates a person in such an environment. Moral weakness is a prerequisite for complicity in systematic wrongdoing. Moral weakness is the perfect way to fit in. Those who are not morally weak in a setting like this are far more likely to be targeted for brutal institutional suppression, as we find Manning was. But coverage of the bullying Manning received in the army assumes - as in fact all bullies do - that Manning was victimized because he must have been weak. As if to confirm this - and it can be intended to do nothing else - details of how exceptionally and notably gay Manning is are carefully inserted by the Guardian. It is clearly intended that viewers freely conflate homosexuality and moral, physical and intellectual cowardice. But this is just bigotry, plain and simple, and we all have a duty, when presented with disguised hate speech like this, to examine it closely and to refuse to make the lazy inferences we are being asked to make.

It is lamentable, but not surprising, that civil society at large still harbours ugly prejudices about sexuality. While political correctness ensures that most people will profess tolerance and open-mindedness, this is often the product of the tabooization of blatantly prejudiced expression on the subject of sexuality. Most people understand that open expression of hatred for gay people will earn them opprobrium. But this does not mean that everyone has outgrown these primitive and seedy habits of thinking. By and large, so long as the situation affords everyone better liberty in their personal lives, it is to be preferred to the former situation, where bigotry was socially acceptable. But even suppressed prejudices can be manipulated, and where this has negative real world consequences, as it does here, it is odious. Analysis of the virulence of Birther conspiracies correctly identified how subliminal racism can still be harnassed, though it dare not speak its name. That latent homophobia similarly persists even beneath the facade of political correctness is - again - lamentable, but it is not surprising.

What is surprising is that we find the 'liberal media' transparently and relentlessly appealing to these same prejudices, effectively conducting a coordinated smear campaign. Why, while masquerading as a moderate news outlet, is the 'liberal, left-leaning' Guardian engaging in crypto-hate speech, thereby marginalizing and discrediting an alleged public interest whistleblower? Why do we find in the New York Times or New York Magazine so brazen an appeal to latent homophobic prejudice, while Manning's credible public interest motives are suppressed or dismissed? Why, behind the veil of "balance," does PBS Frontline so zealously concentrate on irrelevant gossip about the sex life of Bradley Manning?

The answer, sadly, is that there is no great conspiracy. While the personal prejudices and political biases of journalists and editors will no doubt play a part in this, it is no accident that "sexing up" is a euphemism for making a piece of reportage more interesting. Sex sells, and the salacious details of the sex life and gender identity of an alleged whistleblower are probably the best way to move the largest number of units with this story, which otherwise deals with sober and inconsequential things, like justice, human rights, and the abuses of state and military power. This, and the melancholy fact that there is a populist appeal to a story that takes an exemplar of moral fortitude, and alleges that his actions spring from sexual proclivities, rather than adherence to principles. A hero, after all, is an embarrassment to those with less elevated motives, and Bradley Manning would not be the first person whose actions so clearly implied our own shame that it became necessary to destroy him, whether that means putting him in a box for the rest of his life, or smearing him in the 'liberal media' as just some effeminate and contemptible queer who had no idea what he was doing.

2011-07-04 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.

08:50 PM First interview with Sabu of LulzSec:

When I found out about what happened to Julian Assange, his arrest in the UK and so on, I found it absolutely absurd. So I got involved with Anonymous at that point.

08:00 PM Zinnia Jones who contributed with chat logs to the NY Mag piece on Bradley Manning releases statement about it, says unredacted logs will be made available next week.

I provided them with our logs because I wanted them to see a different side of Bradley. I will be releasing the unredacted logs next week so that everyone can read them. After all of the stories portraying him as mentally unstable and revealing his problems at home and in the military, I felt it was important for people to know that there was a time when he seemed satisfied with his life.

07:45 PM A collection of evils Julian Assange is not to blame for – and respective culprits.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

07:35 PM Senator Scott Ludlam’s speech on the ASIO bill that was passed in Australia:

…Should our clandestine Cold War era spy agency be tracking down Mr Assange, maybe his family if they travel abroad, people working for that organisation, journalists, or people he is talking to or that that organisation is involved with? It appears that the reason that this bill has been known as the 'WikiLeaks amendment' in the Attorney's department is that that is precisely what is intended. The committee simply did not address that issue, and neither did the officer at the table when we asked during the inquiry. This is one example of how a person or organisation outside Australia, combined with the notion of Australia's foreign relations, very considerably expands the scope of ASIO's activities.

07:30 PM “Two years ago, U.S. diplomats acknowledged that Guam and Japan may not be immune from attacks from North Korea, according to a 2009 secret U.S. Embassy cable.” via Guampdn

05:45 PM New York Magazine publishes profile on Bradley Manning, authored by Steve Fishman.

Glenn Greenwald's response to the article, "The Motives of Bradley Manning" is truly a must read:

…What Fishman's article actually does is bolster the previous view of Manning's alleged leaks as motivated by noble and understandable horror at what the U.S. was doing in Iraq specifically and that region generally, and a resulting desire to take action to shed light on what he was seeing and to do what he could to stop it…

05:10 PM A theatre play inspired by Bradley Manning, The Radicalisation of Bradley Manning will tour in March and April 2012.:

…the play will not be a docu-drama but an exploration of the issues and technology involved and young people's attitudes towards accountability and justice.

05:00 PM "Bulgaria's late top banker Emil Kyulev, who was shot dead in 2005, has been described as top money launderer in a diplomatic cable of the US embassy in Sofia, sent on the very day of the murder." via Novinite

2011-07-05 #Flotilla crew starts demonstrations inside and outside the Spanish Embassy in #Greece

Flotilla 101 Crew on the occupation of Spanish Embassy in Athens from Wikileaks World on Vimeo.

ImageWLCentral continues coverage of the Flotilla 101 case, a boat of activists that departured from Spain carrying humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip that was boycotted and blocked by several countries on its way. On the 1st July, Greek coastguard officeres intercepted the ship nearby Piraeus Port, around 8 kilometers from Athens, blocking its way with two battleships, according to the crew.
Today, July the 5th, part of the crew invaded the Spanish Embassy in the Greek capital to rally against the blocking of Flotilla, “The Audacity of Hope”. The crew announced their will to camp inside and in front of the building until their issue is solved. According to them, the ship does not have the permission to start the engines, even if it is to sail back to Spain. We spoke with Alberto Watson, the spokesperson of Flotilla 101 in the events of this afternoon. He summarized the situation for us.

2011-07-05 LocalLeaks and HackerLeaks Press Release

The following press release is dated July 4, 2011 and received via email.

ImageFirst we would like to thank the global media for being so attentive to the launch of our two new disclosure platforms. We would also like to thank the several dozen people who already trusted us with their sensitive leaks. It has been a remarkable week for those of us who staff these two important projects. None of us ever expected in our wildest dreams the enormity of the reaction to these two ideas.

However we have some sobering news to report. Today, Independence Day in the USA no less - our registrar has suspended our Top Level Domains and shut down both sites. Having failed to explain their reasoning we are left to assume that it was our content they didn't like, and so both HackerLeaks and LocalLeaks have been effectively silenced - censored - and shut down.

ImageThe company responsible is located at and we encourage all free speech and free information advocates to contact this company and let them know exactly how you feel about censorship. We are seeking legal assistance to help us, and if you're a lawyer and can volunteer your time please contact us at PLF@cyber

We are in process of registering new Top Level Domains for HackerLeaks and LocalLeaks. The sites and the platforms themselves are fine, and anyway we have back-up copies of both sites as well as mirror servers. Both of these important offerings will be back online within 48 hours and this will not stop our project. This censorship has cost nothing other than it has prevented the world from seeing our disclosures and the people from having a safe place to disclose, and that for only a short time. We will return shortly, expect us.

SIGNED -- LocalLeaks & HackerLeaks Team

2011-07-05 More police violence in #Spain, evictions in eight squares #spanishrevolution #europeanrevolution

ImageOver the past days the Spanish National Police force has coordinated to evict many of the squares that continued to be occupied by the 15M movement. The squares in Palma de Mallorca, Manacor, Santa Cruz de Tenerfe, Badajoz, Castellon, Gandia and las Palmas have been emptied forcefully and cleaned up. The last one to fall was the camp in Valencia, which was evicted early in the morning, at around 5.30 am local time and without warning. Most of the camps were small and the people staying there were coordinating the information booth left in most squares, as well as other permanent activities. This made most evictions easy and pacific.

In Santa Cruz de Tenerife (in the Canary Islands) and Palma de Mallorca (in the Balearic Islands), however, police forces displayed the same un-called for violence that is becoming a symptomatic reaction of Governments across Europe. In Santa Cruz eyewitnesses described police actions as “something brutal, like a gale. They charged into an area where there were many minors. It was very violent, I saw how a girl was hit with a stick and she started to vomit blood”. In the end a total of twenty people had to be attended due to superficial wounds of many kinds. Around thirty people were present at the time, while police forces had more than 70 officers present. Members of the camp also denounced that the police destroyed or confiscated materials that were part of the movement’s infrastructure such as tents, furniture and computers. The regional Government on the other hand, explained its actions alleging that it was necessary to “clean” the square, and that protesters did not allow the operation to be carried out. The Government delegate in the Canary Islands, Dominica Fernandez even went as far as to state that “there has not been any moment of violence. The cleaning operation was carried out and 45 minutes were given for the campers to pick up their belongings.”

Illustrative video here(La Palma). By Evaevisima.

In Palma de Mallorca the situation was very similar, with protestors sitting on the ground with hands raised in signs of peaceful resistance, while police insisted on dispersing the assemblies being carried out. Two people were arrested and 28 others were wounded, among them three police officers. According to a press release by the camp's official web page police actions “had a pacific response on behalf of the people present at the square, including the ones attacked. Most of them sat on the floor and raised their hands. Then the police tried to disperse the collective charging against them again, aggressively telling them to leave”. This situation went on for a while and when “police officers were told to identify themselves, these responded with an aggressive stance, pointing the rubber bullet shotguns at the protesters.” When the wounded people went to the hospital to receive an official medical statement of their situation, the police forced them to identify themselves, pressuring them on their decision to press charges, according to the same web.

2011-07-05 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.

11:20 PM The U.S. sent Drug Enforcerment Administration agents expelled from Bolivia for espionage to Brazil, in 2009, without obtaining permission from the Itamaraty (Brazilian Ministry of External Relations).
There were also attempts to place DEA agents in Chile and Argentina, according to cables obtained by A Pública, Wikileaks’ partner in Brazil.

09:55 PM Wikileaks pays tribute to the late Len Sassaman:

"WikiLeaks friend, Len Sassman has been permanently encrypted and anonymized. Stay cool, Len, we continue with the fight."

04:30 PM According to this article, Wikileaks has given us a good reason not to wear any underwear. The recent revelation that the U.S. put pressure on Haiti not to raise minimum wage for textile workers so that Hanes (Hanesbrands inc.) could stay cheap is part of SF Weekly's five good reasons to go commando.

01:25 PM "A Royal Navy medic who refused to attend rifle training because of his "moral objection" to bearing arms and the war in Afghanistan was found guilty today of disobeying a lawful order" and sentenced to 7 months. via The Independent

Michael Lyons is the third sailor in history to use conscientious objection as a defence. His decision to be put on non-combative duties was motivated by Wikileaks' documents on Afghanistan and Iraq war.

01:15 PM As announced here yesterday, the Australian government has passed a bill allowing ASIO to spy on Australians overseas.

Bernard Keane (Crikey) writes :

the amendment is designed to enable ASIO to spy on people involved with WikiLeaks, which currently falls outside the definitions of foreign states, people connected with a foreign state or foreign political organisations. The amendment is informally known within Attorney-General’s as “the WikiLeaks amendment”.

ASIO gets its new powers — and no one will tell us why

02:35 AM Another award for Wikileaks and, more specifically, Julian Assange : the 2011 Voltaire Award

'Free speech is a fundamental civil liberty. In standing for openness and accountability in government, Wikileaks has made a signal contribution to its advancement nationally and internationally.

No one can doubt the sincerity and courage of the Wikileak's organisation and Julian Assange in the face of powerful legal intimidation by many Western governments including our own.'

02:30 AM Wikileaks tweets :

Recently established "inspired by Wikileaks" sites, and shutdown by registrar for undisclosed reasons.

And leaves a warning :

Other "inspired by WikiLeaks" sites should note... it's not as easy as it looks to keep such an operation live.

2011-07-06 #WikiLeaks fight for transparency continues on the Internet #antisec #anonops #europeanrevolution

As any keen observer must have noticed, the world-wide social turmoil of the last year is closely linked with the availability of information, or in other words, the stark quest for transparency with which corrupt Governments and corporations around the globe have suddenly come face to face with. As philosopher Slavoj Žižek recently put it in a debate held in London with Julian Assange and Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman : “We may all know that the emperor is naked, but the moment somebody publicly says the emperor is naked: everything changes.

In this massive uncovering Wikileaks’ Cablegate has played a crucial role, not only providing an ongoing stream of secret information to the general public, but by showing that a better society, one working efficiently to reach its true idealistic goals, absolutely needs transparency. In an interview with Forbes Assange used a clear metaphor to illustrate the effects of transparency in a society by comparing them to those that would occur in a market situation: “To put it simply, in order for there to be a market, there has to be information. A perfect market requires perfect information”, he also added that “WikiLeaks is designed to make capitalism more free and ethical”. In other words if a Government is to work efficiently to achieve the goals it was elected for, citizens need clear and accurate reports on their leader’s actions; if they are failing to comply then they will be forced to do so by the general electorate. It is not to be implied, however, that Wikileaks and their sudden irruption in the scene have caused all the unrest directly: the emperor was already naked, they just called it out publicly and on a huge scale.

Of course, a transparency based society is an ideal that is far away from reality. Most -if not all- states and corporations (it is against this far too powerful merger that people are gathering to fight) are built intrinsically upon secrecy, they always have an outward face delivered by propaganda or mass media, having at the same time a completely different inner reality. This masquerade is precisely what Cablegate has revealed, that is, a system where democracy is widely hailed as the motive for all economic treaties, high profile diplomatic meetings and even wars, while at the same time, behind the general citizenry’s back, private and corporate interest reign with absolutely no regard for the population. In this new light democracy is only a political catch phrase and by all means something that most Governments, according to their own actions, should be terribly afraid of. However, even though much has been already revealed, how much more is left secret? Institutions are obviously acting in the same way they have been for centuries; they have definitely felt a big shock but not big enough for them to change their behaviour.

The next step is logical but hard to achieve, because ultimate transparency means real-time transparency, something contrary to the very nature of the system. However, thanks to the Internet this is seemingly about to change. In the wake of Wikileaks, many independent copy-cats popped up over the Internet, offering to publish leaked material more or less anonymously. These lagged however, because they depended on outside momentum and anonymity is not easily achieved. Hackers, on the other hand already have to be, by definition, anonymous in the real world, and it is in this cyber-world that the war for information is being fought. The famous exploits of Twitter celebrities @Lulzsec ( have sent strong proof of the possibilities that lie in searching and publishing material for yourself, instead of waiting for it to be delivered.

Even though they were active for only 50 days (their colorful final message can be found here, they managed to take down various high profile websites (the Brazilian government’s official site, the CIA, Amazon, among others) as well as stealing a total of over a million user names and passwords, as well as secret information from various targets such as FOX, the U.S. Senate, the Arizona Department of Public Safety and the Sony Corporation. Even though the self-defined six man group initially had no moral intentions (they did it all for the LULZ towards the end of their rampage they became politically motivated, claiming allegiance to the struggle that Wikileaks and Anonymous represent. They re-united with the larger Anon hacker group and thanks to their extremely popular Twitter account, launched Operation Anti-Security (#antisec), uniting hackers over the world under the common goal of attacking and leaking information from sources that fail to comply with the ideals of real democracy, free speech and a free Internet, among others.

The Antisec movement is still young and is just getting started. As of now, no major leaks have been produced, even though there have been information spills regarding various “corrupt” governments and corporations. Groups of hackers, however, are springing out like weeds all over the globe, with new active factions in Canada, Brazil, Italy, the U.S., Turkey and Malaysia (here are some of their Twitter accounts @LulzSecMalaysia, @LulzSecItaly, @LulzSecBrazil, @LulzRaft). They are all coordinating into tackling their own ideological enemies in any which way they are able too. Most of the time this translates into blocking web pages via DDoS attacks, a method which can be considered an Internet picket-line, the digital form of mass protest of our age.

In Europe, the new Italian group has been particularly active, taking down the websites of the far-right parties that form the current power coalition:

They are doing this to protest against moves by President Silvio Berlusconi that would actively enforce Internet censorship after pressure by the U.S. Government. Reporter Luca de Biase explains, the law being past “requires AGCOM (Italian telecommunications regulator) to adopt anti-piracy tools, but the AGCOM proposal gives the Authority itself the power to remove content from Italian websites or to block access to foreign websites accused by copyright holders to break their rights. There will be no need to go through a regular trial, no judge will be involved in the decision making. Accused sites will have only 5 days to explain their position and their right to defend themselves will be quite limited”.

In another major attack Turkish hacker group RedHack announced that they have defaced (hacked and altered) over 1000 sites explicitly following the ideological background set up by Antisec.

The next step in the chain is the recently inaugurated HackerLeaks, whose motto is “helping hackers to leak material of interest” by helping to disclose any material that might be stolen while guaranteeing the safety of the discloser. According to Commander X, editor-in-chief and founder of the site, the model is exactly the same as the one Wikileaks uses. He hopes to provide a link between stolen material and a larger conglomeration of media groups that will give it maximum attention. He also told Andy Greenberg from Forbes that he expects to be on the legal side stating that “we don’t obtain this material. We merely publish it. This violates no sane law anywhere.” With HackerLeaks protecting user’s identities and Antisec working actively to achieve any valuable secret information, it is possible that some form of real-time transparency might emerge and follow Wikileaks footsteps in shaping not only consciences but government and corporate policies. For updated information on these subjects visit or follow @TheHackerNews.

2011-07-06 Le Monde: The Banks and the Bad Apples

by Alexandre Lévy, Western Balkans Printed in Le Monde 03 July 2011 edition

Since the beginning of the Greek crisis, the issue of bank stability and in particular of the bank system in the neighboring countries had been raised insistently. An issue even more pertinent if we take into account the fact that Greece is one of the most important investors in the region, notably in this sector. So, in Bulgaria at least five important banks are headquartered in Athens (United Bulgarian Bank, Postbank, Piraeus Bank Bulgaria, Emporiki Bank Bulgaria and Alpha Bank Sofia), representing nearly 30% of the sector. And since the start of the crisis, those responsible have been busy with reassuring the public opinion and the social political class, particularly after concerns expressed publically in March, 2010 by Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, about the possibility of siphoning of local funds by their parent bank.

Nevertheless, before the Greek crisis, these foreign investments were seen as beneficial. And, if we are to believe American diplomatic reports, this foreign presence (Greek, but also Austrian and Italian) in the bank sector was even the reason the latter was relatively spared by the bad local practices. “The largest, safest and cleanest are the foreign-owned banks. The new international owners introduced good banking practices and improved the quality of banking services,” Ambassador Beyrle wrote in a cable, dated November 12, 2006, revealed by the Bulgarian partner of Wikileaks, the sites Bivol et Balkanleaks from Sofia. That's why the American diplomat further says that the Bulgarian banking sector is “healthy” in general and is “in its strongest position since the banking crisis of 1996.” With the noted exception of several banks, called by Ambassador Beyrle “bad apples.” There are half a dozen Bulgarian bank establishments, which, according to the Americans, must be observed over suspicions of ties with local and international mafia groups and their alleged money laundering activities. However, among these “bad apples” one can find, again according to Ambassador Beyrle, several major players in the sector: First Investment Bank (FIB), Corporate Commercial Bank, International Asset Bank, Economic and Investment Bank, DZI Bank, Investbank, Central Cooperative Bank and Sofia Municipal bank…

It is clear that five years after the American cable, with few exceptions, these banks are still there and are doing very well, particularly due to their relationship with the power, says the local partner of Wikileaks. "The bad apples were not only kept in the basket by the law enforcement authorities, but there is even a government commitment to sugarcoat them," writes the Bivol site. Its front-man, Atanas Tchobanov, confirms that he has contacted those concerned before the publication of the American cable - so they can comment on the prose of the Ambassador. Only two banks have reacted - the International Asset Bank and FIB. In the first case, in an email sent to Mr Tchobanov, the CEO of the bank has vigorously denied the accusations. In the second, more unusual response, the head of the FIB press service has sent a statement to the Bulgarian media to explain that his institution deems "unnecessary to respond to false and defamatory statements of Mr. Tchobanov, but wishes to inform the media about this unhealthy attempt to discredit Bulgaria and to attack its banking system.” In its infancy FIB received particular support by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD). Nevertheless, in 2005, the European establishment assigned all its assets to the two Bulgarian owners of FIB, Tseko Minev and Ivailo Mutafchiev.

2011-07-06 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.

10:10 PM Senator Youri Latortue threatens to file lawsuit against newspaper Haiti Liberté for its reports on a diplomatic cable, where he is described as a mafia boss, a drug dealer and a poster-boy for political corruption.

09:55 PM According to The Guardian, Julian Assange's autobiography deal has collapsed in its original form, after Julian told publishers that his book could 'give ammunition to US prosecutors'. Story is yet to be confirmed, in fact a Canongate spokeswoman stated the contract is 'very much alive'.

09:25 PM New York Magazine has published the unredacted chat logs that were used in their feature Bradley Manning’s Army of One .

08:55 PM Crisis in Pakistan’s energy sector had been anticipated in a series of diplomatic cables dating from 2008, where U.S. Ambassador Anne Patterson notes ‘a lack of coordination and absence of any clear line of authority’ on the basis of unefficient policymaking in the sector :

Further complicating Pakistan’s maze of government organizations with responsibility over energy, the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Resources and its 16 subordinate agencies, determine the natural gas, oil, mineral and coal policies for a country which desperately needs energy to support industrial expansion and population growth.

05:55 PM Nominations for the TED Prize are open, they are seeking ‘an exceptional individual who is making a difference in the world’. Take a few moments to nominate Julian Assange by clicking here (very little information is actually required). The prize is worth $100,000.

05:30 PM On July 12, a protest against Julian Assange’s extradition will take place at the British Embassy in Dublin. More details

05:20 PM Wikileaks’ inspired LocalLeaks and HackerLeaks are seeking legal assistance to fight internet censorship.

05:15 PM Digital archivist Cassie Findlay interviews member of American Library Association Tom Twiss on the three resolutions aiming to protect Wikileaks, Bradley Manning and freedom of information, that were recently voted down :

Within ALA we have taken strong positions in the past in support of free speech, free press, and the openness and accountability of government as crucial for a democratic society (…) One of my concerns is that the struggle for these principles may be set back here and abroad for years or even decades if Manning is convicted and/or if the U.S. successfully prosecutes WikiLeaks.

05:05 PM Update( ?) on Julian Assange’s legal team:

Announcement of Mark Stephens’ participation in a conference in Dubai describes him as "counsel to Wikileaks founder Julian Assange".

05:00 PM A piece by Amy Goodman, moderator of the Frontline Club discussion between Julian Assange and Slovenian philosopher Slavoj Zizek, on latest Wikileaks developments and the event itself, titled The world owes a debt to WikiLeaks' whistleblowing was just published in The Guardian :

…The extradition proceedings hold a deeper threat to Assange: he fears Sweden could then extradite him to the US. Given the treatment of Pfc Bradley Manning, accused of leaking many of the documents to WikiLeaks, Assange has good reason to be afraid. Manning has been kept in solitary confinement for close to a year, under conditions many say are tantamount to torture.

At the London event, support for WikiLeaks ran high. Afterwards, Julian Assange couldn't linger to talk. He had just enough time to get back to Norfolk to continue his house arrest. No matter what happens to Assange, WikiLeaks has changed the world forever.

2011-07-06 WikiLeaks: The "Big Laundry" or the Bad Apples in Bulgaria’s Banking Sector

On October 26, 2005, on the so-called “government route” on “Bulgaria” boulevard in Sofia, banker Emil Kuylev was gunned down. Immediately after the murder, the top people in the country – Interior Minister, Rumen Petkov, Chief Prosecutor, Nikola Filchev, and President Parvanov publically declared that Kyulev’s business was “clean.”

The American Ambassador in Sofia at the time, John Beyrle, however, has been of a different opinion since the same afternoon he sent to the State Department a report titled “TOP BULGARIAN MONEY LAUNDERER SHOT DEAD IN SOFIA” [05SOFIA1847]. He does not mention the name of the “top launderer,” but provides in the text a thorough biography and business portrait of Kuylev – a former policeman, who had used his connections in the services to create consulting businesses, and later a bank, in partnership with Michael Chorny, receiving a “sweetheart deal” from the State – the right to handle, through Roseximbank, all payments of the Bulgarian Tax Directorate and the Customs Agency, as well as the operations of the biggest tax-payers in the country; a founder of Vazrajdane Business Club along with Multigroup boss Iliya Pavlov (shot dead in 2003) and Vasil "The Skull" Bozhkov; a former advisor to President Georgi Parvanov and, (according to unconfirmed reports), a major political campaign sponsor of the National Movement for Stability and Prosperity (NDSV) party of former King and Prime Minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg, of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, BSP, and of Parvanov himself for his 2001 campaign – these are the traits of the image of one of the wealthiest people in Bulgaria.

Kyulev had applied significant effort to clean this image, even hiring an American lobbyist. Seemingly, the result had not been very convincing because, as the Ambassador points out, the Foundation for Fight against Human Trafficking, established by the banker, was suspected in money laundering.

“At least 23 people have been killed in organized crime related assaults since the beginning of the year. However, unlike the other businessmen and organized crime figures who have fallen victim to gangland style shootings, Kyulev's reputation associated him primarily with white-collar crime. Kyulev's assassination is a significant event on par with Iliya Pavlov's killing in March 2003. The timing of the killing further underscores Bulgaria's inaction against organized crime, and is being viewed by many today as a national embarrassment,” Beyrle notes.

The “Healthy” and the “Rotten” in the Bulgarian Banking Sector

A year later, “the white-collar crime” is scrutinized in more detail in a cable, written by Beyrle, focusing on the Bulgarian banking sector [06SOFIA1652], in which he compares several Bulgarian banks to “bad apples.” He, however, stresses that as a whole the sector behaves correctly and is in its strongest position since the banking crisis of 1996. This is not attributed to the efforts of Bulgarian bankers, but to an influx of foreign capital and large, stable foreign banks. “The largest, safest and cleanest are the foreign-owned banks) primarily from Austria, Italy, and Greece. The new international owners introduced good banking practices and improved the quality of banking services,” Beyrle writes.

The Ambassador points out that “the major problems in the Bulgarian banking system include money laundering by Bulgarian and foreign criminals and connected lending,” before listing the banks under observation: First Investment Bank (FIB), Corporate Commercial Bank, also known as "The Bank of Risk Engineering," International Asset Bank (former First East International Bank), called "The bank of SIC," Economic and Investment Bank (former Bulgarian-Russian Investment Bank), DZI, Investbank, called "The Bank of Bishops and Generals," Central Cooperative Bank, a.k.a., "The bank of TIM," and the Sofia Municipal bank.

For further details, the Ambassador advises to review the "Bulgaria Organized Crime Report," available on the State Department internal internet page. His predecessor, James Pardew, has sent such report earlier during the same year.

The Ambassador further focuses on the measures undertaken by the cabinet and law enforcement authorities to halt the “white-collar” crime trough a stronger control on fiscal transactions. The bank of the now-dead Kyulev –DZI bank, is listed as a main violator, with the clarification that after the murder the bank has shown marked improvements in its reporting and compliance checks, bringing it into line, but that it would be also extremely naive to think that DZI has completely reformed all of its ways.

The cable sites a particular case where DZI has behaved well by reporting, in November 2006, several transactions by the Director of the State Hospital, a high ranking BSP official, who was a close friend of the then Minister of Health Gaidarski. An informer of the Americans from the law enforcement authorities is cited saying he “he was surprised that the Bank would report this individual due to the political connections.” (The connections, obviously, have turned stronger than law enforcement since there are no known charges against any Director of the State Hospital.)

The source also notes that he had “never been instructed or pressured to stop investigations of DZI.”
According to Beyrle, “Bulgaria must also look at the non-bank financial sector - particularly leasing – and work against potential money laundering there.”

Bivol’s Comments: Sugarcoating the “Bad Apples”

On the backdrop of the not so optimistic picture in Bulgaria, Beyrle’s conclusion that the “the banking sector is the only one to have substantially complied with the law's requirement” is encouraging. But, if the bad spots in the system are long and well-known, the issue is how successful is the fight against the violators. It is alarming that the Bulgarian State pours public resources in some of the “observed” banks and tolerates abuses of the law, instead of limiting bad practices and countering “white-collar” crime. The lingering conflict and mutual accusations between the Financial Intelligence Agency (FIA) and the Central Bank (BNB) create additional difficulty and diminish the effectiveness of the tools for control.

The years following this report proved the “bad apples” not only have not been cleaned by the controlling authorities, but the power provides for them a glitzy cover under different forms. Hidden State support for some of the “observed” banks was evident both during the term of the so-called Three-Way Coalition cabinet and the current rule of GERB.

For example, a reference provided by Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov, by March 31, 2010, shows that strategic State enterprises keep their money precisely in banks seen as problematic by the Americans. Corporate Commercial Bank (CCB) is the absolute champion with 48%, but Economic and Investment Bank with 9%, Central Cooperative Bank with 7% and Investbank with 6% are also leading the ranking. It is unclear why these exact banks have been favored when the market share of each of them is about 3%. By the way, at the end of the term of the cabinet Stanishev, CCB was keeping only 35% of the money of the State enterprises, and a year and a half later reached the record 48%.

The CCB Director, Tsvetan Vasilev, had been a partner in a number of projects of the “New Bulgarian Media Group Holding” along with the former Head of the State Lottery, Irena Krasteva, and her son, Delyan Peevski, a Member of the Parliament from the ethnic Turkish party Movement for Rights and Freedoms, DPS, and former Deputy Minister of Disasters and Emergency Situations. They own many print and electronic media, notorious for their servitude to anyone who is in power. The group is also not shy about demonstrating openly political commitments by the concept of their media. The news that on July 4, the US National Holiday, the group Peevski-Vasilev is launching a new daily sounds like a sad irony and is a new milestone on their way to have effective media cartel in the country.
In August of last year, the European Commission announced it would be probing unlawful State assistance for CCB. Another probe, related to the bank, was launched by the EC in connection with the acquisition of the “NURTS Bulgaria” multiplexes, represented by Tsvetan Vasilev.

The Economic and Investment Bank (EIB), where according to the cable, current Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, had passed assets with unclear origin, also received a substantial share of the services of the budget and of the making of the road vignettes. Like Kyulev and Roseximbank before, today EIB is cared for by the power with a “sweetheart” deal and handles the money of the National Revenue Agency, the National Social Security Institute, the Customs Agency and the Interior Ministry.

The latest drastic example is the cabinet’s proposal to legalize construction on State plots, occupied by the “Yulen” company in the Pirin National Park. The “Yulen” ski lifts and tracks are subject of an infringement procedure of the EC, and the State risks a fine. Behind this company lure the interests of the owners of First Investment Bank (FIB) and particularly of Tseko Minev, Head of the Ski Federation, who is also eyeing the Vitosha National Park for possible construction activities. This is the same FIB about which, in 2006, the American Ambassador wrote that it exists in “the murkier criminal realm.” Even without EC penalties, the bill would still be paid by all Bulgarians, not the concrete owners.

As a conclusion, it would be naïve to think that the US Embassy’s analysis from 2006 had remained hidden from investors’ circles in the US and Europe. The goal of such reports is precisely to reach “clean” investors, favoring the “good apples” in the Bulgarian banking sector, which comply with international standards and practices.

The article in Bulgarian from

2011-07-07 Sweden - a covert NATO country

Ever since the Second World War, official Swedish foreign policy has been one of neutrality, a stance that has been consistent with public opinion: support for Swedish NATO membership has at most times remained below 20%.(1) In 2010, 47% of Swedes held the view that a Swedish application for NATO membership would be a bad idea, while only 18% thought it would be a good idea.

Sweden joined NATO's Partnership for Peace programme in 1994, but is claimed to have retained its independence. According to NATO, "Sweden has a long history of non-alliance, and that policy remains in place today."(2) The Swedish Ministry of Defence emphasises this independence, stating that "Sweden´s cooperation with NATO is based on non-alliance"(3), and suggesting that although it currently has troops deployed in several foreign countries, Sweden has not been at war "for 200 years."(4)

Instances of close cooperation between Sweden and NATO throughout the cold war period are, however, too numerous for this stated position of neutrality to retain much credibility.

Wilhelm Lagrell has pointed out that then US ambassador to Sweden William W Butterworth sent a telegram to Washington in 1952, stating that Sweden was prepared to enter far-reaching defence cooperation with other western countries, on the condition that any such arrangements were kept secret.(5) Swedish military documents declassified in 2004 show that Swedish planes - also in 1952 - were used to gather intelligence on Soviet ships placed in the Baltic Sea, information which undoubtedly would have been of great interest to NATO.

In 1973, it was shown in relation to the famous IB affair that the Swedish intelligence agency, SÄPO, actively provided the US with information on US Vietnam war deserters living in Sweden.

Recent revelations by Mikael Holmström show that the US during the cold war secretly provided Sweden with guarantees that it would be ready to deploy marines in Sweden within 6-8 days of an attack on the country, presumably by Russia. There was also a secret Swedish military division called Air Unit 66, which carried out military exercises with NATO countries.(6) This programme was ended in 1998, but similar ties appear to exist today: in April 2010, the Swedish Ministry of Defence was granted the right to carry out joint military exercises with the US Air Force outside the northern Swedish city of Luleå (a number of activists were later fined for having accessed the designated area while the exercises were taking place).(7)

More recently, a government document published in relation to a Partnership for Peace decision for 2010-2011 states that it "does not exclude any bilateral or multilateral cooperation on security issues, other than binding agreements on mutual security guarantees", allowing for Swedish involvement in any NATO operations.(8)

A substantial part of public debate in Sweden during the summer and autumn of 2010 was centred around the issue of Sweden's presence in Afghanistan. Given Sweden´s supposed neutrality, in what terms should its role in Afghanistan, under NATO command and in NATO uniforms, be described? As violence escalated over the summer and the number of Swedish casualties continued to grow, the view that Sweden was merely playing a peace-keeping role - as opposed to a role of NATO combatant - was increasingly being called into question.

Five days before the beginning of the Cablegate publication - Minister of Foreign Affairs Carl Bildt felt that he had to point out that he saw no need for Sweden to join NATO(9), once again reiterating the consistent official policy. Carl Bildt's statement was, however, given a forceful reply by Ambassador Michael Wood, in cable 07STOCKHOLM506, sent to Washington from Stockholm in May 2007. Wood writes that "while Sweden's official foreign policy doctrine emphasizes non-alignment, in practice Sweden is a pragmatic and strong partner of NATO, having troops under NATO command in Kosovo and Afghanistan."

As Swedish policy with regards to Afghanistan became the object of growing criticism, a rift between public opinion and the views of political parties was becoming increasingly evident. A recently published survey shows that 49% of Swedes in 2010 thought Sweden should end its presence in Afghanistan, while 30% thought it should continue.(10) A less authoritative survey by Aftonbladet published a few days after the release by WikiLeaks of the Afghan War Diaries showed that 42% of Swedes supported troop presence in Afghanistan, a 5% drop compared to a similar survey carried out six months earlier.(11) Despite these figures, six out of the seven parliamentary parties supported an extended Swedish troop presence in the run-up to the September 2010 elections. The divide between official and actual policy, which had existed for decades, was again clear in relation to the war in Afghanistan.

The Cablegate release for the first time provides details of the "pragmatic side", in Ambassador Wood's words, of Swedish policy-making, including insights into the two major political parties, the Social Democrats and the Moderates. In the cables, top Swedish officials of both political factions appear aware of the high level of public opposition to operations in Afghanistan, an opposition they seek to reconcile with US calls for increased Swedish international military activities.

In cable 09STOCKHOLM585, Defence Minister Tolgfors, who belongs to the right-leaning Moderate party, is reported to have urged US ambassador Robert Silverman to ensure General McChrystal's presence at a lunch meeting with EU officials. The ambassador writes that the defence minister believes it "would be very helpful to Sweden's efforts to get the EU to generate more civilian resources, and ultimately more troops, for Afghanistan." When, in cable 07STOCKHOLM506, a recommendation is made to president Bush that he express his gratitude to Prime Minister Reinfeldt, also of the Moderate party, for his cooperation on intelligence-gathering in relation to Russia and Iran, it is also recommended that this be done in private, as public US support "would open up the government to domestic criticism."

Similarly, Social Democratic Defence Secretary Urban Ahlin is reported in cable 08STOCKHOLM51 to have stressed that "it would be necessary for the Social Democrats to be able to explain why they are supporting the UN's and NATO's efforts in Afghanistan. [...] Ahlin asked for our help in getting a senior Afghanistan government official to come to Sweden to relate humanitarian stories." The same Urban Ahlin together with Social Democratic leader Mona Sahlin in January 2009 co-authored an article warning of the Russian military threat, and the importance of a firm western/NATO position against Russia ("We must rise up for democracy and Russia´s neighbours").(12) The cables make it clear that both Ahlin and Sahlin were sympathetic to US interests at the time of the publication of the article. However, no mention is made of the fact that the views expressed in the article are in line with US interests.

Looking at these examples, it is difficult to distinguish between the positions of the two main Swedish political parties. Both are eager to side with US interest. And, just like the Swedish government in 1952, both want their actual relation to the US to remain secret.

2. "Sverige har en lång tradition av militär alliansfrihet och detta är en politik som man än i dag tillämpar",
3. "Sveriges samarbete med Nato sker på den militära alliansfrihetens grund",
4., page 5
9., paragraph 24

2011-07-07 The #15M movement in #Spain has already stopped 47 evictions #spanishrevolution #viviendadigna

As of July 7th, 2011, the outraged movement in Spain has already prevented almost 47 evictions, according to the Platform of People Affected by Mortgages (PAH in Spanish, which aims to defend the "right to housing". From their website they are constantly making calls to ensure that families with financial problems avoid becoming homeless, denouncing that real estate speculation has led many families to inhumane situations. They also denounce the fact that, in Spain, around 180 evictions are executed each day, too many to be stopped.

The platform prevented the first eviction in November 2010, way before new groups from the 15M movement, such as Real Democracy Now! and Acampada Sol, joined them. Thanks to them Lluís Martí, an unemployed father and his nine year old son could continue to live in their home in Catalonia, despite being unable to pay their debt. On the 7th of July, the group successfully disrupted the eviction of a 55 year old woman from Madrid, who is unemployed and has to take care of a severely disabled son of 25. Problems for this family started 18 years ago when the mother mortgaged their house to help her ex-partner pay some debts. In 2002, after the relationship had ended and she found herself unable to pay, she went to a financial agency, that in turn went to the bank Caja de Ahorros Mediterraneo (CAM), that in turn gave her a new loan of 157 thousand euros. Today, in 2011, the financial entity, adding expenditures and interest rates, demands that she return 200 thousand euros, a sum way out of her reach.

Among the protesters there were at least two other people that have managed to delay their evictions thanks to the platform’s actions. One was Anwar Khalil from the neighborhood of Tetuan, the first sucessful action in Madrid, and the other one Luis, an 70 year old man from Parla, also in Madrid. To achieve their goal the group summons the public and media to stand in front of the house, blocking the Government inspector from entering and therefore delaying the process, as it has to pass through court again. Here is a video of a similar protests organized by the PAH.

On this occasion around 200 people showed up first thing in the morning to intercept the judicial secretary, that was expected at 9:30 am. At around midday the court handling the case issued a statement delaying the eviction alleging “public order” motives. The Platform celebrated the success of their protest and announced that it would continue the "struggle." A spokesperson, Eloi Morte, explained to the press that they are demanding an alternative for the family such as a “social rent” that would allow them to keep the flat for only a 30% of their meagre income. He also said that they argue in favor of returning the house in exchange (dacion en pago) for the debt, something illegal in Spain and that has been tried to pass as law in numerous occasions, with major parties PP and PSOE rejecting it repeatedly.

2011-07-07 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.

08:40 PM A useful list of contacts for journalists covering the Assange case:

Commentators listed are described as "independent sources with differing views of the case."

06:15 PM Kristinn Hrafnsson has been announced as a keynote speaker at the Centre for Investigative Journalism Summer School 2011.
Julian Assange elaborates on the reasons he won't be able to attend the Summer School himself, as it was previously expected.

04:45 PM Wikileaks is once again taking credit card donations. DataCell is now processing Mastercard, Visa and American Express payments, but a law suit is still to be initiated in Denmark with the intention of receiving compensation for losses during the last 7 months of financial blockade. Read DataCell's full statement here.

Or use your credit card to donate.

04:25 PM At Visa's request, Wikileaks is delaying its complaint against Visa and Mastercard.
Wikileaks hopes to reach an out-of-court deal.

According to lawyer Svein Andri Sveinsson: "Visa asked for a delay to react to our demands" "They said they would come back to us Friday... If nothing changes, we will file the complaint after the weekend."

04:00 PM How Wikileaks rocked Tunisia, a Tunisian activist on Wikileaks' role as a catalyst for the Tunisian revolution.

... Finally, through WikiLeaks, international diplomats confirmed what ordinary Tunisians had suspected for a long time...

... WikiLeaks came at the right moment; the regime did not have any internal popular legitimacy, though foreign governments believed that Ben Ali was supported by his population. WikiLeaks taught the Tunisian people that even foreign diplomats from the West, among them the Americans, were not on good terms with the regime.

When Tunisians realised that their suspicions had grounds and were even well documented by foreign diplomats, there was no longer any excuse - the regime had to change.

2011-07-08 Life inside Maribyrnong Detention Center

Timothy Lawson & Riccardo Armillei

Three Tamil asylum seekers from Sri Lanka detained in Maribyrnong detention centre have agreed to share their experiences inside Maribyrnong. They are terrified that talking to journalists may cause their applications for refugee status to be impeded or denied. Due to this fear, these three men have agreed to share their experiences on the condition of anonymity.

The asylum seekers, “clients” as they are called by the Serco personnel, came to Australia to escape persecution, harassment, torture and violence. They had hoped for asylum and what have they found instead? A prison.

They refer to themselves as “clients” as well, which is clearly a euphemism for prisoners.

Many spend months and even years in these detention facilities, moving from centre to centre, often divided from their families in the process.

They wait for any information relating to their destiny. They are largely kept in the dark about information relating to the timeframe in which they can expect their claim to be processed.

One asylum seeker kindly said that instead of loud protests and angering the government, he would prefer people who support their rights as refugees to talk with the representatives of the institutions that deal with the management of these centres. He said this may help them get some answers about their applications and maybe an idea of how long they will be incarcerated and away from their families.

The government will eventually release most asylum seekers, once they have been found to be legitimate refugees — although this can be many years for some. One asylum seeker expressed concern that, with the exception of learning some basic English, there is no training or learning provided in Maribyrnong that could equip them with skills needed to enter the workforce.

After they get released they fear they will be unable to take an active part in the community. For months, and in many cases years, they have gone through multiple traumatising experiences.

Escaping from war or persecution, without having even the time for thinking about all the procedures required to apply for a visa; leaving their loved ones and families behind; crossing lands and seas that they don’t know, together with hundreds of other unknown people in the same circumstances; constantly cheated by people smugglers and all those who can possibly take advantage from their despair.

And when they finally get to the land they were dreaming of, they are imprisoned like criminals. “By this stage, our will has been suffocated,” one said.

These men are extremely scared that their applications will be denied as a result of the behaviour of refugee rights protesters and the riotous actions of other detainees.

“Although some detainees find it uplifting to hear the protesters outside championing for their [the detainees] rights and freedom, personally I, and many others, feel that it will upset the Department of Immigration and Citizenship as well as the Australian government, therefore causing our applications to be drawn out even further or denied altogether,” one said.

“I find it extremely distressing when I hear the protesters outside, because we just want the process to be completed as quickly as possible, we miss our families dreadfully.”

The Maribyrnong detention centre visitor lounge is not an unpleasant place, there are televisions, tables, chairs and couches and facilities for making coffee and tea.

“They treat us quite well here in many aspects,” another asylum seeker said, “the depression and trauma come largely from being separated from our loved ones for such a long time.”

One of the detainees, who speaks English fluently, explains that he has a university degree which he received in Sri Lanka. He is a very intelligent and well-adjusted person. However, the stress of indefinite detention coupled with missing his family terribly makes surviving in the centre unbearable at times.

“I spoke to my two-year old daughter recently, who I haven’t seen since she was eight months old,” one asylum seeker lamented. “After speaking with her I was hit with an overwhelming depression and started cutting into my arm.”

Self-harm and suicide, are very common among detainees who have very little understanding of Australian immigration laws and don’t understand why they are being treated as criminals.

Another asylum seeker said: “All I can think about is negative things, we have too much time for thinking”. This man only represents one case.

According to Amnesty International, “long-term detention of asylum seekers not only violates their human rights, it is damaging to their health. Many experience depression, mental anguish, trauma and psychological damage in detention, according to leading Australian health

Mental illness is widespread and prevalent and the government needs to address this problem more seriously.

One of the sources outlined ways the Australian public can help: “Instead of staging protests and actions, which cause a lot of stress for us inside, people can come and visit us here and help to break up the monotony of indefinite incarceration, this still shows people inside the centre that many in the Australian community support them and would love to welcome them into the community; this is a much better way [than staging the protests] to show your support for us, in my opinion.”

All they can do in these centres is sleep, play pool, play a limited selection of board games, skip English classes because they are too difficult, read the very limited range of books available, watch TV, talk for a few hours by Skype with their families and use the internet (which is always controlled, along with every other movement they make).

They are never allowed to leave the centre, they meet a few people sometimes (those who know about them and want to spend some time together with them, to try and brighten their day. Unfortunately many Melbournians don’t even know that right in this city are two detention facilities – one for adults and one for teenagers. Sometimes people visit the centre as a one-off occurrence and this leads the detainees feeling as if they are animals in a zoo. It is advisable to establish relationships and keep regular contact to eliminate the feeling that they are some kind of attraction.

They are people just like us; they are not criminals, so why are they treated as such?

2011-07-08 Press Release | Peoples Liberation Front

ImageImageIn our last media communique we conveyed that our registrar had removed both of our new disclosure platforms from the internet. We wanted to give the press an update on where things stand at this time.

In a bizarre choice, our registrar has actually returned to us the TLD for the Hacker Leaks disclosure site and it is once again reachable at the Top Level Domain - but they have refused to return the Local Leaks TLD and have offered no explanation. We once again encourage everyone who believes in free speech, free information - and the rights of media publishers, to contact the company and tell them how you feel about them shutting down Local Leaks. Our attorneys from Leiderman & Devine ( ) are working on legal action against this registrar, and the PLF sincerely apologizes to the public for this inconvenience right on the heels of our big launch.

While we intend to fight for the return of our original TLD (not to mention sue for damages for it's illegal siezure), we have obtained a new TLD for the Local Leaks disclosure platform and it is back online and functioning normally. It can be found at

We appreciate all the support we have received from people all over the world as we battle big business and governments and fight to keep these important disclosure platforms online. We would especially like to express our heartfelt gratitude to the wonderful folks at WikiLeaks for their vocal and public support.

We will not give up the fight to keep these two disclosure offerings online and accessible to those who need it. We will not be intimidated into surrendering to the corrupt and evil powers that be. And so to that end we announce a special program to ask the public to help us keep Hacker Leaks and Local Leaks available to the people who desperately need it and the media.

These disclosure platforms were carefully designed in two parts. The first part is the infrastructure of disclosure and dissemination, and those have not been effected by the seizing of our TLDS. The second part is the actual web sites, which are actually just facades. The sites contain no infrastructure and require no updating, they are merely very simple doorways into the disclosure platform. They contain only a few pages and graphics, and can easily be loaded to any web server in the world.

And so, we have packaged both the Hacker Leaks and Local Leaks web sites into small zip files, and we encourage anyone with even basic web skills to download these packages and use the files inside to create mirrors, and then write to us at with the URL address - which we will begin posting online. Let them shut down two sites, we will make a thousand mirrors. The zip files can be downloaded here:

We call on the world to remember that what they do to us today they can do to you tomorrow. We ask everyone to consider the implications of censorship, and we ask everyone to help us spread the site mirrors and ensure that those who desperately need our help can access these important disclosure platforms.

Local Leaks & Hacker Leaks Team

2011-07-08 Why is #WikiLeaks using part of its current funds to sue MasterCard and Visa? (legal activism)

ImageWritten for WL Central by John Smith

WikiLeaks is a multi-award-winning, non-profit, public-interest whistleblower-publishing organisation employing some of the best and most celebrated investigative journalists in the field.

For six months, without explanation or legal justification, MasterCard and Visa have illegally blocked all public donations made through their systems from reaching WikiLeaks. So WikiLeaks is suing them for access to these donations. Some people ask why WikiLeaks is doing this, instead of only using its present means to continue to publish the US Embassy Cables, of which more than 234,000 remain to be published.

The answer is twofold.

First, Visa is illegally sitting on over fifteen million dollars worth of public donations to WikiLeaks, even though WikiLeaks has not broken any laws, anywhere, ever. WikiLeaks pays over a million dollars in operating costs each year. The money which Visa have illegally frozen was intended by public donors for the use of WikiLeaks in pursuing its public-interest whistleblower-publishing program, which of course includes the US Embassy Cables project.

So, WikiLeaks, by suing Visa, is firstly seeking access to the backlog of publicly-donated funds which it will need in order to properly continue its work of publishing the cables. By suing Visa for the money lawfully owed to them, they are in fact continuing the effort to publish the remaining cables, by making those resources available to use in that project. It's not “instead” of publishing the cables, it's “in order to” publish them with the same meticulous care and attention to detail that we have come to expect, at their desired rate of publication.

WikiLeaks, after four years of world-changing revelations in the public interest, remains with a perfect safety record (despite libellous smear campaigns from a variety of insecure quarters who feel threatened by WikiLeaks' prowess in speaking truth to power, not a single individual has ever even been even alleged to have come to harm as a result of any publications by WikiLeaks, although those pointing the finger are in many cases exposed as guilty of worse by the evidence WikiLeaks' publications provide).

Secondly, these lawsuits do double duty as legal activism, quite apart from their primary aim of uniting WikiLeaks with the millions of dollars owed to it but illegally being blocked by MasterCard and Visa. WikiLeaks is taking a stand on legal principle: the triumph of civilised law and order, over the thuggish, illegal abuse of power by two titanic and amoral financial organisations with unlimited resources: Visa and MasterCard, who have acted as though unaccountable to the law and against public interest. In short, if we don't stand up for the law, we will lose its protection.

Visa and MasterCard have acted like reckless gangsters in their unprecedented illegal financial blockade. Visa alone holds around 70% of market for processing credit card payments in Europe, MasterCard holds around 26%. So, in addition to the direct damage to WikiLeaks' (non-profit) business that Visa and Mastercard's illegal actions have caused, the position adopted by these companies by acting a) illegally and b) against the public interest represented by WikiLeaks, poses a direct threat to the rule of law wherever they dominate the market share, posing immediate danger to the basic rule of justice, indeed to civilisation itself.

For the above reasons, it's clearly essential that we support WikiLeaks in its insistence on asserting its rights under the law, and secondly, on the rule of law, in the public interest.

By asserting its lawful right to access the public donations illegally being withheld by Visa and MasterCard, as well as by insisting that these illegal acts are brought to justice under the law, WikiLeaks simultaneously claims its legitimate and significant revenue of public donations intended by donors for use in its publishing mission, whilst ensuring that the legal rights of all are acknowledged, and protected from similar abuses of power in the future.

2011-07-08 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.

09:25 PM In a recent interview Kim Ives of Haiti Liberté analyzes Haiti's current political situation, heavily manipulated by the U.S.

05:50 PM Journalist Barbara Gunnell, who was recently in Australia for a series of Wikileaks-related talks, offers an account of the support for Wikileaks and Julian Assange in the country.

05:45 PM Ambiguity surrounding the lift on Wikileaks financial blockade yesterday resulted in a fair amount of misleading headlines and confusing stories. The Atlantic Wire sets he record straight with Why Visa and MasterCard Briefly Funnelled Money to Wikileaks Yesterday.

04 :55 PM Are Rumors Accused WikiLeaks Source Bradley Manning Is Transgender Behind Harsh Treatment?, an interesting perspective.

04 :45 PM Visa has managed to block Credit Card donations to Wikileaks once again. DataCell and Wikileaks are still preparing to sue Visa and Mastercard next week over the illegal blockade.

*In the meantime, Wikileaks urges Visa and Mastercard customers to file a class action lawsuit.

John Smith, writing for WL Central, describes Wikileaks battle against the financial blockade it has been suffering over the last 7 months as legal activism :

…these lawsuits do double duty as legal activism, quite apart from their primary aim of uniting WikiLeaks with the millions of dollars owed to it but illegally being blocked by MasterCard and Visa. WikiLeaks is taking a stand on legal principle: the triumph of civilised law and order, over the thuggish, illegal abuse of power by two titanic and amoral financial organisations with unlimited resources: Visa and MasterCard, who have acted as though unaccountable to the law and against public interest.

04 :30 PM Armenian-Iranian relations detailed in a newly-released cable :

Armenian experts believe that Iran’s nuclear aspirations are irreversible. In addition, Armenian specialists expressed their belief that Iran is deeply interested in maintaining the status quo in the region, particularly in maintaining the current situation of Nagorno-Karabakh problem

04 :25 PM Haiti’s former justice minister and top cop Bernard Gousse, described in diplomatic cables as a disappointment and accused of leading "witch hunt" against Aristide supporters is President Martelly’s pick as Haiti’s Prime Minister. via McClatchy

04 :00 PM After being up for only a week, a hungarian Wikileaks-inspired website is under investigation. Its owner, Tamas Bodoky, was questioned yesterday by Budapest police.

2011-07-09 Steve Fishman and New York Magazine: Perception Management

ImageIn what is now a regular occurrence, a large media outlet published on Monday a calculated perception-management article on a figure centrally involved in the ongoing Wikileaks story. WL Central addresses the mendacity.

New York Magazine's Steve Fishman profile on Bradley Manning was hyped for several months, and, as happened with Vanity Fair's much anticipated "Wikileaks exposé" in February, where the published article contained new information it was not newsworthy, and where it contained newsworthy information it was not new.

More perniciously, Fishman's piece is far from an impartial presentation of the facts of the case. Instead he has crafted a highly suspect narrative, employing some of the more deceptive techniques at the disposal of a writer: distorting facts, stating conjecture as if it were fact, misquoting key sources and omitting important information, among others. The resulting story - implausible though it is to anyone with adequate familiarity with the facts at hand - is as favourable as any story could be to the prosecution in the ongoing Grand Jury investigation in Alexandria, Virginia. The investigation therefore looms large behind the article, although its sole mention is in passing, on the second last page:

After Manning, [Assange] was a hero to some on the left, “the most important person to ever live,” as one of his circle maintained. So important that the military drew up a plan to undermine him (which was leaked to WikiLeaks). The U.S. convened a grand jury to investigate WikiLeaks under the 1917 espionage act. (Separately, Assange is under house arrest in England, awaiting a hearing on extradition to Sweden, where he faces questioning for sexual misconduct.) And the pressure has taken a toll on WikiLeaks. A top lieutenant, fed up with what he saw as Assange’s dictatorial ways, defected to launch his own site—­OpenLeaks.

Readers will be aware that the present U.S. administration intends to use the Espionage Act to prosecute Wikileaks, and in so doing, to criminalize any form of journalism disclosing confidential information unfavourable to the official propaganda of the U.S. government. The prosecution has been trying to satisfy the Grand Jury that there is evidence of a conspiracy between Julian Assange and the alleged leaker, Bradley Manning: evidence that they associated and worked in concert to exfiltrate information from the U.S. government. While the parties might be argued by the prosecution to be criminally liable separately under other provisions of the Espionage Act, the use of a conspiracy charge would allow the prosecution to embroil each of the accused conspirators in the more serious of the charges available under the Act, charges which carry the gravest sentences.

This is, on all fair accounts, a fraught attempt at prosecution. Wikileaks was designed in the knowledge that one of the traditional ways for the powerful to go after whistleblowers is to put pressure on the press to reveal their identity. In order to create a bulletproof leak infrastructure - in order to reduce disincentives for conscientious whistleblowing and make it impossible to seek the identity of the source through the publisher - Wikileaks' submission system and protocol was designed such that the identity of the leaker was never given to Wikileaks. The anonymous submission system is one of the innovations that makes Wikileaks different to the traditional press in this regard; it is a press organization exclusively and powerfully tailored to facilitate one of the more important functions of the press: public interest exposure of secret information. Whenever Wikileaks has had occasion to comment on its sources, its spokespeople have been able to truthfully claim that they can neither confirm nor deny Bradley Manning's role in the last year's leaks. They simply do not know.

These details present insurmountable difficulties for any narrative that is attempting to descry a "conspiracy." It is worth noting in passing, however, that even were Wikileaks to have used the more traditional method of receiving leaks, the application of a conspiracy charge here would be a serious abdridgement of the freedom of speech and of the press, criminalizing most important political journalism in the United States, and, by exercise of extra-territorial jurisdiction, outside of it too.

Since the initiation of Cablegate, and for reasons we shall not speculate on here, the U.S. press has been shaping public perception of the affair, normalizing the assumption - for which there is no evidence - that Manning and Assange were conspiring together, sharing an intention to commit espionage. There has, as noted, been a dearth of supporting evidence for this notion, and a weight of countervailing evidence. Fishman, however, has come up with a simple means of negotiating this difficult obstacle. He simply makes it up.

There is much at fault in Fishman's article, and WL Central has already addressed one of the more insidious facets of the piece here, but it is possible to see all of the article's faults as derivative of the core problem: its attempt to fabricate, and make seem more plausible, some form of close cooperation between Bradley Manning and Julian Assange.

Distorting the facts

In fact, Fishman concocts an absurd narrative, whereby Assange - an older man - exploits a sexually vulnerable Manning, and exercises such influence over him as to cause him to exfiltrate classified information. Assange here is made the architect of the leaks, and Manning's agency is downplayed to make this more plausible. He is cast as the wretched incompetent: psychologically troubled and serially deceptive. Evidence as to his conscientious motivation is either omitted or introduced dismissively, as if the idea were absurd. Manning's legitimate moral qualms with the work of the U.S. military in Iraq are scoffed at, and it is made seem that there could be no possible public interest justification for blowing the whistle on the government:

Manning explained to Lamo that he had targeted innocent men, as if that justified a seemingly endless leak of government secrets.

The attack on Manning's autonomy targets his psychological health. As discussed before, his sexuality and gender are presented as if they were prima facie evidence of weakness and reduced capacity. Elsewhere, more legitimate evidence of stress symptoms and erratic behaviour are presented as if they were intrinsic weaknesses, and by implication, the reason he "became... a traitor." They should instead be seen as a form of stress-induced trauma common to whistleblowers, who in the course of exposing wrongdoing must strive against enormous institutional and social pressure for conformity, and live in fear of grave personal consequences.

That Manning employs alternative identities on the internet - an extremely familiar practice for most people today - is treated as duplicitous and unhealthy. In fact, at times it is described in terms that suggest popular notions of schizophrenia:

Manning shipped out to Iraq with a top security clearance, his multiple identities held close inside him.

Fishman consistently interposes his own unfavourable reading while reporting the content of chatlogs involving Manning. Where something Manning said displays any inconsistency with a less favourable witness, Fishman assumes that Manning was flattering himself.

To ZJ, however, he related a more flattering version... Bradley concocted a more satisfying story for ZJ—on the web, he controlled the narrative.

Broader efforts are made to harnass conservative prejudices so as to stigmatize Manning, militating against identification with him. Much is made of his small stature and above-average intelligence. While there has been some contention that the intrusion of the press into the most intimate details of his private life might humanize him in the eyes of readers, this is probably optimistic. His sexuality and gender identity, sadly, will alienate a cross section of a society in which - despite many victories - the rights of LGBT people to such basic things as marriage are still very much under dispute. Likewise, mention of Manning's atheism will likely fail to endear him to the public at large in a culture where atheists are systematically demonized and marginalized. At worst, it will fund adverse inferences as to his ability to reason morally at all, as happened recently to a British conscientious objector.

Reporting conjecture as fact

It is no accident that Fishman plays up Manning's sexual identity: he wants sex to be on the reader's mind, because his version of events is to be a species of potboiler romance where sex is the force driving all of the important interactions. Throughout the article Fishman presents Manning's whistleblowing not as an effort to inform the public of concealed crimes and illicit behaviour in the military but as a symptom of sexual vanity - an attempt to get closer to Julian Assange:

According to the government, it was in November 2009, the same month that he reached out to the gender counselor, that Manning began to work with WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange... Assange’s appeal to Manning was obvious. The WikiLeaks leader was a celebrity in Manning’s hacker world — dashing, mysterious, and cartoonish in equal parts. There was his striking appearance: knife-thin with a constantly cocked head and that saintly white hair.

Observe, also, how Fishman explicitly states, as if it were common knowledge, that Manning "began to work with" Assange. Fishman has a wealth of documentary material to substantiate some of his more ancillary claims. Chatlogs given to him by acquaintances of Manning appear to confirm the details about his private life. However, the pivotal element of his story - the connection between Manning and Assange - is apparently pure conjecture. It is, however, presented as if it were widely known. Inserted into the text alongside the less salient - although better substantiated - aspects of the story, they lead the reader to assume that Manning and Assange were in direct contact, and were well acquainted with each other. This is false and misleading. It is, sadly, endemic. The sexual subtext that Fishman reads into the affair serves only to dispel doubts that the two individuals knew each other. After all, if readers can be made believe that they were intimate then they could not be strangers.

It was while in Iraq that Manning came across WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange—a charismatic authority figure who, far from rejecting him, as had so many others, took a passionate interest in him and what he had to contribute. Manning had an awakening—and he became, says the U.S. govern­ment, a traitor.

Later, a similar comment asserts, without a shred of evidence, that Assange found Manning "irresistible." The language Fishman uses throughout the story is not only suggestive, but explicitly alleges that there was "seduction" involved:

The seduction worked both ways. For Assange, someone like Manning was irresistible, too. WikiLeaks had revealed political and banking scandals in Kenya and Switzerland, but a person like Manning had access to more impressive secrets, involving the United States, a central perpetrator of injustice in the world, as Assange saw it, and one on which there were few checks.

There is no evidence that Julian Assange had any idea who Bradley Manning was, far short of taking a "passionate interest" in him, or "seducing" him. All likelihood is to the contrary. Fishman either has an unnamed and incendiary source he can't even acknowledge, or is indulging in fabrication. The only evidence which purports to describe the means by which Manning dealt with Wikileaks is to be found in the chatlogs released by Adrian Lamo, which have not been confirmed, and whose provenance must remain doubtful. Even still, they do not support Fishman's statement.

Selective misquotation and misattribution

In the chatlogs released by Adrian Lamo, Manning's comments, while using the word "relationship," indicate that, at most, he may have had intermittent and anonymous contact with Assange, to confirm the trustworthiness of Wikileaks as a recipient of information he had already decided to leak. As long ago as a year, and repeatedly since then, Assange has made it clear that this sort of communication would not be unusual, but neither would it implicate Wikileaks in a conspiracy, since the role is inherently passive.

(2:04:29 PM) Manning: im a source, not quite a volunteer
(2:05:38 PM) Manning: i mean, im a high profile source… and i’ve developed a relationship with assange… but i dont know much more than what he tells me, which is very little

This excerpt from the chatlogs is the only point at which demonstrable reality intersects with Fishman's story. Notably, however, when he deals with it Fishman cherrypicks the quote about how Manning had developed "a relationship" with Assange, and omits the further qualifying information. He also exploits the connotative ambiguity of the word "relationship" to continue to develop the conceit of romance between the two individuals:

For months, Manning later said, he tracked Assange, and eventually, he claimed, the WikiLeaks founder responded. “He finds you,” Manning later explained. It was something like a courtship, at least from Manning’s point of view. “i’ve developed a relationship with assange,” he wrote. Assange’s attentions flattered Manning, and his beliefs spoke directly to the troubled, impressionable private.

In another similar passage, Fishman again cherrypicks a quote, this time from the slightly less redacted chatlogs released by BoingBoing, and transposes it from a context where Manning castigates himself for talking too much to Lamo, to a new context - fabricated by Fishman - where it appears to support the idea that Manning was leaking material in order to impress Assange. The quote is now an admission of exhaustion from Manning. It was no such thing in its original context.

Manning claimed he was a source to Assange, not quite a collaborator, but he had certain privileges: “i mean, im a high profile source.” To maintain his status in the hierarchy of Assange’s attentions, Manning had to produce, which ratcheted up the pressure. The process exhausted him. “I’m a total fucking wreck,” he later wrote.

Fishman technically avoids telling a lie by inserting the word "later" into "he later wrote." The deviousness is not alleviated, however, since the entire structure of the paragraph strongly implies what is not true. Calculated mendacity in the use of quotation is not isolated to these examples, but is in fact rife throughout the article. Fishman displays a considerable sleight of hand in his use of quotations. He later lifts a quote from Assange's TED interview, and - while advertising he is doing so - transposes it to a context where it could only poison the well:

Assange didn’t admit that Manning was a source, but he couldn’t quite abandon him. Assange generally cared more for principle than people, whom he considered either useful or not. “I’m not so big on the nurture,” he admitted in a different context. But Manning was special.

This paragraph is exceptionally misleading. Fishman here implies that Assange knows Manning is the source, but was unwilling to say so. This is, as we have rehearsed, false, but it is just assumed by Fishman. Furthermore, Fishman pretends that the refusal to "admit" Manning was a source is a partial betrayal of Manning, when - if Assange knew as much - it would only incriminate Manning to identify him. Finally, having misled the reader this far, Fishman implies that Assange cares about sources only so much as they are useful: again, a malicious lie. The very existence of Wikileaks - which is Assange's attempt to protect anonymous sources - is testament to his concern for them. Furthermore, Wikileaks' silence on the identity of its source - which is only correct - has been accompanied by generous contributions to the legal defense fund of Bradley Manning, since Wikileaks undertakes to assist with the legal fees of everyone accused of being a source.

Fishman's use of quotations throughout the article is tantamount to journalistic malpractice. He manages to utterly distort his subject matter to encourage adverse inferences about his subjects. In one paragraph, he alleges that Manning was more of a proactive seeker of information than a classic whistleblower, and, again, supplies an out-of-context quote which appears to support the idea:

Manning isn’t a classic whistle-blower. Disturbing information didn’t cross his desk, prodding him to act. Manning snooped—according to the timetable he proposed to Lamo, he’d been at it since almost the moment he arrived in Iraq. “i had always questioned how things worked, and investigated to find the truth,” he said.

This quote is interesting, because while it has been misleadingly used, it is related to another incident, which Fishman made reference to in his article, but which he also distorted so as to cast an adverse light on Manning. Fishman describes a situation where the Iraqi police had "made a mistake." Manning informed his superior, and was told to return to work. The event sounds reasonably unimportant, and Fishman supplies another misleading quote at the end of the paragraph, to imply that Manning's main greivance was that he had not been paid adequate attention:

Any illusions Manning had about saving lives quickly vanished. At one point, he went to a superior with what he believed to be a mistake. The Iraqi ­Federal Police had rounded up innocent people, he said. Get back to work, he was told. “I was never noticed,” he later said.

The quote in this paragraph has nothing to do with this incident, and the incident itself is actually far more serious than Fishman makes it seem. In fact, in the Lamo chatlogs, Manning describes the incident as a transformative experience of systematic injustice, which - if the chatlogs are to be believed - is likely to have contributed to his conscientious motives. As revealed in the Iraq War Logs, and as Manning was at this stage aware, the Iraqi Federal Police were engaging in systematic torture of suspects, and the U.S. military was aware of this fact. A strong imperative is created by international law to investigate torture-related injustices. The quote Fishman misused in support of his claim that Manning is not a classic whistleblower was lifted from this passage:

(02:31:02 PM) Manning: i think the thing that got me the most… that made me rethink the world more than anything
(02:35:46 PM) Manning: was watching 15 detainees taken by the Iraqi Federal Police… for printing “anti-Iraqi literature”… the iraqi federal police wouldn’t cooperate with US forces, so i was instructed to investigate the matter, find out who the “bad guys” were, and how significant this was for the FPs… it turned out, they had printed a scholarly critique against PM Maliki… i had an interpreter read it for me… and when i found out that it was a benign political critique titled “Where did the money go?” and following the corruption trail within the PM’s cabinet… i immediately took that information and *ran* to the officer to explain what was going on… he didn’t want to hear any of it… he told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding *MORE* detainees…
(02:36:27 PM) Manning: everything started slipping after that… i saw things differently
(02:37:37 PM) Manning: i had always questioned the things worked, and investigated to find the truth… but that was a point where i was a *part* of something… i was actively involved in something that i was completely against…

It is clear from the above passage that the incident was for more serious, and Manning's alleged conduct far more indicative of laudable moral stature, than Fishman allowed in his retelling. It is also clear that the quote in question does not imply that Manning was a "snooper" and not a "classic whistleblower." To accept the chatlogs on face value: that he perceived systematic injustice, that he perceived a culture in which a blind eye was turned to it, and that he acknowledged a moral imperative to make a disclosure, places him firmly in the ranks of the classic whistleblower.

In conclusion

The examples are more numerous than can be recounted here, but even the examples rehearsed above should give ample indication of the dishonesty at work in this piece. A great deal of effort has gone into crafting a story which will manage perception of the Wikileaks controversy. Multiple ends are achieved: Manning is alienated and stigmatized, Assange is falsely implicated, and the mission of Wikileaks is denigrated as a reckless and foolish enterprise.

Fishman's deceptions will not be used as evidence in the Wikileaks Grand Jury investigation, but this is not the only danger. At a time when the U.S. government is mounting a direct attack on the freedom of the press, that same press ought to be leading the counterattack, and drawing attention to the gravity of the transgression. The erosion of liberty is made all the more possible if there is a lack of public opposition. Instead of accurately informing the public, however, the establishment press has - for reasons unknown - gone to great lengths to normalize the government's narrative, and to distort the facts in a manner favourable to the prosecution of Wikileaks. This serves to diminish the likelihood of popular dissent, should the Wikileaks case ever get to trial.

Towards the end of his article, Fishman quotes the last lines of the Lamo-Manning chatlogs, again in a misleading manner:

Lamo couldn’t muster any sympathy. A little later, Manning wrote, “im not sure whether i’d be considered a type of ‘hacker’, ‘cracker’, ‘hacktivist’, ‘leaker’ or what.” Lamo offered another possibility: “or a spy :),” adding a smile.

Fishman leaves it here, happy to tacitly endorse the suggestion that Manning was, indeed, committing espionage against his own country. But Manning, in the original, did actually have a last word here, and it is a last word worth ending on.

(04:42:16 PM) Manning: im not sure whether i’d be considered a type of “hacker”, “cracker”, “hacktivist”, “leaker” or what…
(04:42:26 PM) Manning: im just me… really
(04:45:20 PM) Lamo: or a spy :)
(04:45:48 PM) Manning: i couldn’t be a spy…
(04:45:59 PM) Manning: spies dont post things up for the world to see

(04:46:14 PM) Lamo: Why? Wikileaks would be the perfect cover
(04:46:23 PM) Lamo: They post what’s not useful
(04:46:29 PM) Lamo: And keep the rest

2011-07-09 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.

05:30 PM Julian Assange’s extradition hearing is only two days away. Fair trial for Julian Assange in case he gets extradited?

05:00 PM During today's ‘Free Assange ! End the Wars !’ public meeting in London, Peter Tatchell encouraged everyone to send letters of support to Bradley Manning:

If you haven't written to Bradley Manning, please do so - and ask your friends to.

Also, as a reminder, there are only 9 days left to contribute towards a Bradley Manning billboard in Kansas. Click here if you wish to help.

All human progress has been based on brave people putting themselves at great personal risk, I believe Bradley Manning and Julian Assange are such people. - Peter Tatchell

04:50 PM Wikileaks partner in Pakistan, Dawn, reveals the Musharraf regime's efforts to stop Iran’s nuclear weapon program.

Based on the frequency of reporting to American officials on the issue, toeing the US line seems to have been one motivation for this deep involvement. But in an April 2006 meeting with US Senator Chuck Hagel, Mr Kasuri provided a list of other reasons why Pakistan was so keen to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

“We are the only Muslim country [with such weapons],”’ he said, ‘“and don’t want anyone else to get it.”’

04:40 PM How to send Wikileaks a video message of support.

2011-07-10 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.

07:50 PM Useful links to better understand the upcoming extradition hearing : (-Extradition to the United States)

Previous coverage of the Assange case (scroll down).

Wikileaks action page, with Wikileaks events calendar up to date.

05:45 PM Pastors for Peace serve American medical students threats for Thanksgiving dinner :

In a cable published yesterday, founder of Cuban regime supporters Pastors for Peace is said to have threatened to pull the scholarships of U.S. medical students in Havana if they contacted the U.S. diplomatic mission on the island.

The student said that he suspects that the change in tone is the result of a letter that he recently wrote to the five Cuban spies currently incarcerated in the United States. The student says that after being repeatedly asked to write an encouraging letter to the five he decided to write a letter in which he attacked the Cuban government for holding political prisoners and asked the five to join him in demanding not only their own freedom, but also the freedom of all political prisoners in Cuba.

2011-07-11 Assange to appeal extradition to Sweden

WikiLeaks front-man Julian Assange will front the high court in London on July 12 for his appeal against extradition to Sweden, where he faces allegations of sexual misconduct. Assange has been under house arrest in England for over six months, following a ruling in February at a London district court that the extradition of Assange to Sweden was valid and would not breach any of his human rights.

Assange’s lawyers argued that he would face an unfair trial in Sweden; there arguments can be found here:

Assange voluntarily turned himself in to the police in the UK after Sweden filed a European Arrest Warrant for him.

A widely held view amongst WikiLeaks’ supporters is that the extradition to Sweden is a preface to an eventual trial in the US; and that extradition for the charges against Assange would not be pursued if it was any ordinary citizen.

Assange and his colleagues at the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks have subjected the US government to extreme duress and embarrassment due to its publication of many thousands of US diplomatic cables including: the July 12 Baghdad Collateral Murder Video and other Iraq war documents; material on extrajudicial killings in Kenya, and the Guantanamo Bay files, to name a few.

Julian Assange is an Australian citizen and deserves all the support our government can offer him. Instead he was thrown to the wolves. Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard failed to support Assange and called the leaks “an illegal act” according to an article in The Australian in 2009.

Gillard came under widespread condemnation for failing to give support to Assange. Hundreds of prominent lawyers, journalists, editors, and academics signed a letter to the Gillard government calling for her to support Assange but the government has maintained its hardline stance from the outset.

Assange’s legal team will include prominent human rights lawyers Gareth Peirce and Ben Emmerson, a change from his representitives at the original hearing.

Wikileaks continues its release of over 250,000 US diplomatic cables with 16,068 of the 251,287 cables published so far; and the cables will continue to come out, day by day.

2011-07-11 Democracy Now interviews David House

Authored and submitted by Democracy Now!

On the eve of the extradition hearing for WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange in London, Democracy Now! spent an exclusive hour with David House, who co-founded the Bradley Manning Support Network after U.S. Army Private Manning was arrested for allegedly releasing classified U.S. military documents to WikiLeaks. House refused to testify last month in Alexandria, Virginia, before a grand jury hearing on WikiLeaks and the disclosure of thousands of classified U.S. diplomatic cables. Democracy Now! spoke to House at the Frontline Club in London about the significance of WikiLeaks, how he helped found the Bradley Manning Support Network, his visits with Manning at the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia, the federal surveillance he and his associates have come under, and his experience before the grand jury.

2011-07-11 Look Who's Whacking WikiLeaks

Next time you see a negative media report on Julian Assange or Wikileaks, have a think about who is writing it, and why. Behind every character-assassinating "newsy" hit-piece you will discover a writer or a publisher (usually both) with an agenda. And you don't have to look too far to find it.

I was reminded of this after I complained about a particularly nasty article on a Hollywood news site. The author couldn't seem to distinguish Wikileaks' legal activities from illegal hacking by groups like Anonymous and LulzSec. Worse yet, he insisted that Assange and all these hackers were terrorists on a par with Al Qaeda and deserved to be punished accordingly. A little investigation revealed that the writer was heavily involved in the Blu Ray DVD industry - to him, and to Hollywood in general, pirate hackers represent a serious threat to profitability. What's Wikileaks got to do with that? Well, who cares? Just get your hands off our Intellectual Property!

You might expect a more level-headed approach from former Australian foreign minister Gareth Evans, a last-minute replacement on a recent Wikileaks public forum. Evans said he was against attempts to “persecute or prosecute” Assange, but nevertheless labelled him an “anarchically-minded autocrat”. He calmly argued that leaks of secret government information “won’t contribute to better government” but would “inhibit internal communication within government” and lead to worse government decision-making.

Evans then wrote an article expounding his views in more detail. He neatly categorised leaks into three categories. While conceding that some leaks genuinely serve the public interest (never mind how or by whom that is defined), he warned that "some leaks are indefensible".

"This category includes leaks that put intelligence sources or other individuals at physical risk ... It also includes leaks that genuinely prejudice intelligence methods and military operational effectiveness; expose exploratory positions in peace negotiations (invariably helping only spoilers); or disclose bottom lines in trade talks."

Now, never mind that even the US government admits Wikileaks revelations have never led to a single casualty. Let's consider Evans' definition of "military operational effectiveness". Did the Afghan War Logs, including the Collateral Damage video, prejudice "operational effectiveness"? Well, um, what exactly IS the operation in Afghanistan anyway? After 10 years and countless deaths, the general public still have no idea. But it obviously hasn't been very "effective", and that's hardly Wikileaks' fault.

Or what about "peace negotiations"? Was it a bad thing when the Palestine Papers revealed that the US-backed Palestinian Authority had offered just about every possible concession to Israel, only to be knocked back? Is it against the public interest to reveal that the Saudi king wanted the USA to bomb Iran? Or what about disclosing the "bottom lines in trade talks"? Which side decides what is in whose best interest?

To gain some insight, perhaps we should consider Gareth Evans' own history with regard to military operational effectiveness, peace negotiations, and trade talks. From his Wikipedia entry:

"In 1991, during a political storm over Indonesian military violence in East Timor, in his capacity as Australia's foreign minister, Evans defended the Indonesian military junta's actions by describing the Dili massacre as 'an aberration, not an act of state policy'. This was despite growing evidence (both within Australian intelligence and the international media) of increasingly violent Indonesian military efforts to protect and extend their business interests in East Timor — interests that included coffee plantations, marble mines and large oil contracts — by utilising starvation, napalm, torture and death camps. Oil contracts that Evans himself had co-signed with the Indonesian military junta that enabled Australian companies to share with the Suharto family in what would later be established as clearly East Timor's oil.

"This connection was highlighted during an extensively publicised video recorded in a private jet over the Timor Sea. Senator Evans, replete with champagne, offered an astonishingly naive toast, characterising the Timor Sea oil contract as "... uniquely unique". Later, in a coincidental occurrence, when carriers of a secretly-filmed video exposing the Dili massacre arrived in Australia, they were inexplicably strip-searched by customs officials."

Obviously, the man has a history of dramas with leaks. But despite such clearly incriminating evidence against his own character, Gareth Evans concludes that "it simply cannot be left to the judgement of WikiLeaks and media outlets to make the necessary calls without consulting relevant officials." M'kay?


But Mr Evans, the first Australian senator to drop an F-bomb in the Senate, reserves his strongest criticism for a third category of leaks: scurrilous leaks of personal information which serve no public interest whatsoever. One can only wonder how the former Labor Party senator would categorize his own extra-marital affair with former Democrats leader Cheryl Kernot, which was leaked to the press in 2002. Kernot's 1997 defection to the Labor Party had by then led to the collapse of the Democrats, who were once the only serious challenger to the two main parties.

At least Evans was polite in his criticism of Wikileaks and Assange. Gushing over her colleagues' brilliance at the Aspen Ideas Festival, The Atlantic's Jennie Rothenberg Gritz (a senior editor) took a far more personal approach:

"The panelists at the festival's WikiLeaks discussion seemed to agree on one thing: Julian Assange is creepy. As Harvard professor Jonathan Zittrain quipped, the only thing the pale, nihilistic Assange needs to be a James Bond villain is a hairless cat.

Lest there be any doubt, the second para confirms that "the WikiLeaks editor-in-chief is the villain in this story". So who are the heroes? One is The Atlantic's national correspondent James Fallows, who bizarrely insists that Wikileaks has made traditional media like the New York Times look better than ever. The other is fellow Atlantic writer Zittrain, who just as bizarrely claims that Bradley Manning's leak of several thousand classified diplomatic cables shows just how fantastically well the US government's network security functions.

"Talk about a glass 999,999 one-millionths full," he drools, "rather than one one-millionth empty."

So what is the "Aspen Ideas Festival" anyway? calls it "DC's Summer Camp".'s Alex Pareene describes it as one of The Atlantic's "little parties for America's ruling elite" - a much better way to make money than "producing a magazine full of good journalism."

"The best thing the organizers could do to solve America's most pressing problems would probably be to encase the city of Aspen in an impenetrable dome on the last day of the festival, trapping all participants and attendees inside, forever."

Of course all this is nothing new. Politicians and the establishment media have been taking pot-shots at Assange and Wikileaks ever since they arrived on the scene. Glenn Greenwald wrote a brilliant expose in December 2010 and things have only gotten worse since then.

But right now, with Assange facing extradition to Sweden, and with a farcically extra-judicial "Grand Jury" seeking to haul his ass to the USA, we should expect even more ruthless mainstream media attacks. So please, before you drink the Kool-Aid, take a good look at who's selling it.

2011-07-11 Solidarity, the word of #Syntagma - #europeanrevolution

Image ATHENS, July 11th - According to an official press release published yesterday by the City Hall of Athens and divulged by local TV channels, sanitary corps will perform a cleaning operation in Syntagma Square. This is the major square of the Greek capital and the location of the indignant camp since the 25th of May. This camp is the symbol of the Greek population's disagreement with current economical and social politics of Governments and banks and in a way to experience a new model of social living and organization .

But -once again - #solidarity is the word of current pro-democratic uprisings around the world. The cleaning agents of the local government of Athens refused to take part in the 'cleaning action' planned by the Mayor. Without the consensus of the local Popular Assembly, the agents who were supposed to clean the square - at 4 am last night - decided to disobey their orders in support of the people of Syntagma.

Famous local artists played at #Syntagma to avoid eviction attempts during the 10th July night in Athens from Wikileaks World on Vimeo.

Meanwhile the people continue their struggle, working collectively to create a new possibility for local and global social interaction, based on the solidarity of normal people over private interests, as well as the forces of repression and coercion of civil liberties and rights.

Messages of #solidarity have come from different parts of the world, as many feel the Greek struggle is equal to their own, totally above all national identity traits and personal differences.

* Photo by chrisjohnbeckett , taken on June 30, 2011 in Whitehall, London, England, GB, using a Fujifilm.


2011-07-11 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.

10:40 PM The discs publicly handed to Julian Assange last January by Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer are now reported to be devoid of any secret banking information…
Elmer has been held for six months without charges.

10:25 PM Be present at Royal Courts of Justice (London) tomorrow, the first day of the extradition appeal hearing, for a demonstration in support of Julian Assange, click here for more information.

10:20 PM Our very own Julian Assange Trial Coverage, with a Press Archive that I'm trying to keep updated. And the best resource website on the case :

09:50 PM U.S. soldier and Collateral Murder eyewitness Ethan McCord tells The Nation:

…Steve Fishman's article Bradley Manning's Army of One in New York Magazine erases Manning’s political agency. By focusing so heavily on Manning's personal life, Fishman removes politics from a story that has everything to do with politics.

09:45 PM An insightful interview with David House by Democracy Now !

09:00 PM Robert Meeropol, the son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, speaks out for Bradley Manning, after joining the Advisory Board of the Bradley Manning Support Network.

I believe that the conditions of his imprisonment, including the Abu Ghraib-style humiliation of being forced to strip and surrender his clothing nightly, amounted to torture.

03:00 PM "IED Attacks as documented in the data leak by Wikileaks overlaid on a NATO map of the area."

2011-07-12 Göran Rudling & Peter Kemp in Conversation about #Assange Swedish Extradition Case VIDEO #wljul

On July 10 and 11, WL Central's Alexa O'Brien moderated a conversation between Göran Rudling, former witness for the defense at the February extradition hearing for Julian Assange, and Peter Kemp, WL Central legal commentator and Australian solicitor.

Göran Rudling is a Swedish citizen and author of, "Sex, lies, no videotape and more lies. False accusations in the Assange case" in which he deconstructs the case against Julian Assange. Mr. Kemp has translated and made commentary on Mr. Rudling's article from its original Swedish.

Mr. Rudling has also recently written "Weird accusation or proof of lies? More about the Assange case", which covers some of the contents of our 2 hour discussion.

Total running time is about 2 hours. There is image degradation the first 30 seconds of Part 2 and 3. Sound quality is of lesser quality comparatively on Parts 2, 3, and 4 only.

2011-07-12 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.

09:40 AM Julian Assange has arrived, wearing glasses.

09:00 AM A crowd of supporters gathers outside Royal Courts of Justice where Julian Assange's extradition appeal hearing is to take place in approximately 1h30 (images via @m_cetera).

07:30 AM Collateral Experiments, art installation in "response to Wikileaks’ Collateral Murder".

07:20 AM Diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks will be used in court by International Criminal Court prosecutor Luis Moreno-Ocampo as evidence against three of Kenya’s six post-election violence suspects.

2011-07-13 Eyewitness account from the Royal Crown Courts

I have to confess that I paid less attention to WikiLeaks over the last couple of months than before. The usual excuses: I had lots of other interesting things to do. Maybe the novelty had worn out. I had definitely also been lulled asleep by the fact that the Netherlands still seems running smoothly and by the assurance that Sweden would not be allowed to extradite without permission from the UK. So it was a rough awakening when I read on the brilliant website SwedenVersusAssange how an extradition would be realized:

That fast and that easy!

I realize that the trial at the Royal Crown Courts could actually be the last one that is going to be public (rape trials in Sweden are behind closed doors and the 'secret jury in Virginia' also doesn't sound like the place where ordinary democratic people will be invited to inform themselves). Then I also realize that I want to complete my journey as a witness to the best of my ability. To understand what is going on the best I can. To truly be able to assess how far justice will be done or how far I am seeing a society where those in power can now use all the systems, also those that are in place to protect the whole of society, to their advantage and to their advantage alone.

Some interesting observations on my way to the courtroom: It is opposite the street of 'Australia House'. This is the location of the Australian Embassy, the Australian Centre and the Australian High commission. Despite this, Australians present at the trial tell me, the Embassy is not represented at all. I find this amazing and would hope that my Embassy would do better in similar situations.


It also seems that there is less press, but maybe - because of the busy traffic- they are in a spot where we can't see them. It is sad that there is only a handful of protesters, given that this is the heart of London, but they'lI reach a huge crowd. I meet people from London Catholic Worker and Indymedia. Anybody who reads this: judges will keep the wishes of 'the general public' in mind when they make verdicts. However tiring the activity: it does make sense to come out and stand in front of the court. Respect to those people who have done that (and some of them did for all the court-days!)!

In the corridor I hear two Brit journalists that seem to know talk about the rumours of the party for Julian's 40the birthday. There were no Angelina Jolie or Brad Pit and no helicopters - but there were about 100 'really interesting people'.


The Royal Crown Courts turns out to be a gothic building and by gothic building I mean truly truly gothic. It has small stone winding staircases ("hold the rope ma'am, these stairs are really steep"), arches and combinations of arches everywhere, endless corridors that are crossing other corridors and corners that seem made for whispering secrets. The courtroom itself looks like a Harry Potter filmset: the walls are lined with wooden panelling up to the edge of the public gallery. The judges are high above the audience. Behind them is a big wooden shield with a weapon on it, carried by a lion and a horse. It is only visible because two huge, dark red but slightly faded, velvet drapes have been drawn aside. Next to them are doors with similar velvet curtains on brass rings. All the walls are lined with huge wooden bookshelves with ancient looking books in them. Completely fitting to the style of the court all the judges and lawyers wear wigs. Somewhere during the hearing one of the judges wants to take a sip of water and I notice that his glass is covered with a fragile gold plate.

However strangely reassuring it is that this place looks as something out of a movie, the perfect setting for this surreal process, in reality it is not. And suddenly it bursts alive as the room fills with court staff, lawyers, journalists, 'the Julian Assange party' and visitors. I begin to notice familiar faces, though some of the celebrities that posted bail money are now missing (Bianca Jagger, Jemima Kahn).

Though I read before that a lot of things in the court are 'at the discretion of the judge' I now find out what that actually means. In Belmarsh we, the public, were constantly supervised by three serious looking policemen. This despite the fact that we were behind a glass wall. In a similar way Julian was kept separate in a cage-like looking section of the courtroom - seated between two police-staff and totally isolated from the rest of the room. The Royal Courts have an even meaner looking cage - but thankfully it remains empty.

Julian and Kristinn Hrafnsson. sit next to Julian's main lawyer - Gareth Peirce. In front of them are the two men who are going to plead the case. Behind them is, pleasant surprise, Julian's former lawyer Jennifer Robinson, @suigenerisjen on Twitter. She sent a tweet when she attended the event at the Frontlineclub with Julian, but she doesn't tweet anything now. From the skeleton argument that is handed over I learn that both she and Mark Stephens have made a witness statement to support the fact that Assange now seeks to have the decision by the district judge overturned.

*I realise while I am typing that a lot of things are written down much better in the 'Skeleton argument' - so I'll not try to repeat everything accurately. More give an impression what it is like to hear all these arguments when you haven't read them. There is also very excellent blogging on all the legal sides of the case on:

**The skeleton argument is very detailed and precise and I believe I have seen much of its contents before. I believe these are the excellent work of Jennifer Robinson, Assange's former lawyer. It was all there but did somehow not get the attention from the district judge it deserved! Some of the cases mentioned in the skeleton argument were decided by Judge Tomas and the main judge now is also called Thomas. Coincidence?? - or would it be the same judge?? One of the court attendants thinks he is over 65 years old. I am not so sure, maybe he is younger. The second judge, Mr. Ousely, is said to be very strict. But he is also the judge who overruled the protest of Sweden against granting Mr. Assange bail in December and made Sweden pay for all the costs.

ImageI am surprised by the following, surprised that it is allowed: the new barristers for Assange, Ben Emmerson and Mark Summers work for the same law-firm as Claire Montgomery QC, the lawyer working for the Swedish prosecution.

This is even obvious from the public gallery: all of their wigs are made by the same firm. Where as the judges are provided with something that looks like good quality grey woolen carpet, the lawyers of Matrix chambers are sporting little blond angelic curls & of course small tails by which you can hang the hair-piece. The second lawyer for the prosecution is from a different firm though, she was also present in the Belmarsh court-cases and she is Ms. Gemma Lindfield:

The lawyers for Assange start off with the following:

A clear statement that in no way they want to belittle the experiences of the Swedish women: "What we are about to do is not an inquiry into the credibility of the complainants. Nothing that is said is meant to attack or undermine their complaints or to trivialise their experiences. To challenge whether they felt Assange's conduct was discourteous, disturbing or even pushing at the boundaries of what they felt comfortable with. But what we have to establish is: does the behaviour described constitute an offence to the criminal law of this country, the UK?" (this is the principle of dual criminality - see below).

This statement will be typical of the approach of the new Assange team and is, I believe, a direct influence of his head lawyer Gareth Peirce. (Apologies if I make confusing statements as to how the UK system works. Gareth is the only one not wearing a wig. She sits quietly in the back - orchestrating her team by sending them little post-it notes). She has stated, in a beautiful interview, that she believes in the power of the law and the ability of societies to come together and do the right thing.

Just before the trial starts Gareth receives some bulky, important looking envelope that she opens. During the trial she goes out of the courtroom once or twice. Just a reminder that Julian's case might not be the only serious one she has to fight at the moment....

All the time in this trial - respect for different viewpoints will be sought and reasons why the viewpoints may be different are mentioned. This is an invitation to an honest exchange of opinions and that is what we now see happen all the time. The lawyers will mention points, the judges will engage in asking questions, the barrister for Sweden will be asked to comment etc. etc. I am definitely watching a bunch of highly skilled people, who know and respect each other very well, each doing the best job they can. They know that they are not only trying this case, but laying out the framework for future cases. As this will set a precedent and extradition law is a territory that is fairly new and that has to be developed as they go along.

As a spectator I cannot but also have a lot of respect for Claire Montgomery. I know that I want Assange to walk free. But I also do realise that 1. She has never chosen to argue this case. 2. Her opinions of what is going on may be very different to what she is representing as a professional. 3. There is a vast terrain where women should be better protected by the law. By mapping this terrain in the discussion, and defending it as strongly as she can, she opens the doors for better and more precise legislation in the future.

Another moment of careful consideration: Ben Emmerson has quoted the statement of one of the women who complained against Assange, inadvertedly using her name. He now realises that he didn't meant to do that and discussed with the court/ judge if their anonymity can be supported by the court. The judge asks if mentioning their names is not just the right thing to do - he may refer to normal English procedures, but it could also mean that he is referring to the article by Naomi Wolf: From the judges reactions on the proceedings it shows that they are extremely well prepared. The court decides to only use the initials and apparently there is a man who represents all the press who agrees in their name.

I have been struggling to complete my eye-witness account: One of the reasons is the way the trial goes. The first day and the morning of the second one Assange's lawyers explain why they feel that justice wasn't done, then Claire Montgomery argues her case, then the Assange lawyers have one more chance to respond. Similar discussions are repeated several times. In the end I have decided not to follow the events chronologically - but to present the different subjects that were discussed these two days. I present them to the best of my abilities - but (as I am neither a lawyer nor a journalist nor a native speaker) they may contain mistakes. Despite this - I feel that a 'layman's translation' is useful & will do the best I can.

The fair and proper description of the conduct alleged (The Castillo principle)

Ben Emmerson: If there is no fair and accurate description this will corrupt the whole process the court will go through to decide if an extradition is justified (These principles were ruled necessary by a Judge Thomas!).

Emmerson's first claim is that the testimony from the complainants was summarized by the police and that from that summary mistakes may have originated as to what was exactly said and what was intended. A lot of context was left out of the summaries - this context shows that there was never sex without consent or without a situation where Assange could honestly believe that there was consent. These omissions affected the formulation of the EAW and these formulations misled the Senior District Judge into believing that there was a lack of consent and a lack of reasonable belief in consent.

Important remark from the skeleton argument: The Appellant(Assange)does not (and does not need to) allege bad faith or ulterior motive on the part of the Swedish authorities. So far as the Appellant is concerned, these were genuine attempts to summarise long statements.

Then Mr. Emmerson proceeds to add the missing context to each and every accusation to prove his point:

Re. charge 1 on the EAW 'unlawful coercion': Accurately described the Appellant held AA during consensual sexual foreplay and, when actually asked to put a condom on, did so.

Re. charge 2 on the EAW 'sexual molestation': Appellant used a condom as requested which, it seems, split. A forensic laboratory concluded, upon examination of the condom in question, that the damage to the condom was not caused deliberately but was rather caused by "...wear and tear..."

Re. charge 3 on the EAW 'sexual molestation': The Appellant pressed his naked body against AA whilst they were voluntarily sharing a single bed.

Re. charge 4 on the EAW 'minor rape': In the context of repeated acts of consensual sexual intercourse, the Appellant penetrated SW whilst she was 'half-asleep', which penetration was met with consent afterwards on the part of SW.

Emmerson explains that under English law being deceived while having sex (eg. your partner is HIV positive and did not tell you or there is a third person in the room and you find that out later) is not considered non-consent. This because you are not deceived "as to the nature and purpose of the relevant act" Non consent is only recognized if you believe that you are doing something different and it turns out that you are having sex (some sad examples of young girls that thought they were going to have 'beauty operations' by what they thought was a doctor). If a woman tells a man she is using contraceptives while she is not - is she performing a sexual assault on that man?? (answer presumably "no"). This simply means that as long as AA or SW consented to have sex with him the fact that JA was not wearing a condom is not going to be relevant to the charges. If there has been lack of consent the prosecution must prove lack of consent!

Sex is an offence when:

-The complainant in fact did not consent
-The accused can not have reasonably believed that the complainant consented.
There is also mentioning here of Mens Rea (the guilty mind = someone knows that they are committing a crime). See:

Claire Montgomery: Quote Henderson: "A woman does not consent to sex in general. The consent is this act of sex with this person in this time in this place". These women did not positively consent and that is shown by the phrase, in their witness statements, "I let it continue". For consent you need to have free capacity to make a choice, these women acquiesced into sex because they were already in a position they were very uncomfortable with. That is not a free choice - that is submission! As to reasonable belief: Did Assange undertake any steps to ascertain that there was consent before he acted?? Montgomery: Mr Assange originally denied that there was a moment when the condom broke.

Judge Ouseley: He did not use one, to give up the ghost in the middle of the action! (laughter from the courtroom - I can only make a guess what that sentence means!).

Ben Emmerson to Montgomery: You give very progressive and socially desirable interpretations of consent, however they are irrelevant considerations. They are not necessary for a fair and accurate pleading (as they have nothing to do with the current law). What law do you apply then, accusing me of 19th century conceptions of consent?? (Here he seems genuinely agitated) "Do I need in essence to go any further?? I am going to, but I don't need to." In the past there was this archaic idea in criminal law: a man could never rape his wife. Here the law has gradually improved (case by case) till the underlying principle had to go! The law is evolving - before it has evolved you cannot use the future terms. In those archaic days you would not win a court-case and accuse A of raping B by just, conveniently, forgetting to mention that A & B were married.

Fairness must be determined on the basis of relevance. For consent the moment before and the moment after are relevant. Eg. regarding charge 3. Was AA. consenting to his penis becoming aroused? He was lying beside her in a single bed. If a woman voluntarily chooses to spend the night that way there is a risk that she will come into contact with an erect penis at some point in time (laughter from the courtroom).

AA did not want to go to the police she went to support SW: To force Mr. Assange to do a blood-test, but not to file a complaint". Ms. SW felt that the police railroaded her.

If an EAW is not correct:

Cases of misstatement are not necessarily to be categorized as allegations of bad faith and/or abuse of process. The motivation behind the misstatement is not important.


As Assange's lawyers have chosen to not, in any way, to discredit the complainants - I realize during the trail that their statements more and more begin to sound as accurate representations of the 'truth'. It is important to keep in mind that that is possible, but that other possibilities are equally possible. Also there is the ever present gap between events and words, between what happened and the memories of it. If the women turn out to have a valid complaint - the Swedes have, by opting for these court-cases instead of for an interview with Mr. Assange, definitely reduced their chances of a fair trail. These court cases make it pretty obvious which behaviour could be punishable and how to formulate to be acquitted anyway.

Breathtaking 1:

In the beginning of the discussion Judge Ouseley wonders (and wants to discuss with lawyers for both teams) if you can divide the situations of AA (were she was held and could not reach for a condom / where Julian asked her what was happening, put on a condom and she consented to have sex) and SW (where she was asleep having told Julian earlier in the night that she wanted a condom to be used/ where she was awake, knew that Julian did not wear a condom and choose to continue) in a period of non consent and a period of consent. Luckily his end-conclusion seems to be that this is not acceptable. Ouseley: "Is there a relationship between that what has commenced and the acceptance of that same similar act?? The very same man continued with consent and knowledge.
Can you say: the first bit of this action - that is a crime???"

Breathtaking 2:

Montgomery argues that Castillo and a lot of case-work don't apply any longer as the extradition law has fundamentally changed in 2003. The judge doesn't agree.


Somewhere in the middle of the plea on consent Claire makes a slip of the tongue and says that "Assange stopped AA. reaching for a penis" (instead of a condom). This draws a clear laugh from Sarah Harrison, the hard working WikiLeaks journalist. Montgomery makes almost a full body turn to fix her with an angry stare. This makes me wonder: Is her anger just a slight embarrassment combined with a perceived disrespect for the court?? Or do these women know each other: The one that fights for Assange's freedom, the other one who is paid to help send him to Sweden. Does Sarah give off an angry vibe when Montgomery is pleading and does she somehow sense that all the time?? Anyway - good to hear that WikiLeaks staff members still have enough of a free soul inside of them to produce a laugh - even under such complex and continuing pressure!

Technical points

Emmerson says: There are 3 different principles in play which play differently on the 4 charges:

1. Does the description on the warrant present a fair and accurate description of the event?
2. (I did not manage to write this point down during the hearing but believe, based on the excellent tweets from m_cetera that it is the following): Do the real facts constitute a criminal offence?
3. The principle of dual criminality.

Dual criminality: it is getting a bit complicated here. But if I understand correctly there exists a European Convention on Extradition (1957) which is incorporated in English law and a Framework decision - which was signed by a lot of EU member states, but not by the UK. But in England some things were added to the European Convention: The 2003 Act. Some of the legal discussion centres around differences between all of these and moments where the UK chooses to validate habits from pieces of legislation it has not signed (yet).
Some of the offenses mentioned require dual criminality: the offense is punishable in both the country that wants extradition and the country that has to extradite. For offenses where this criterium is not valid, you still will need a fair and accurate description of the events. The Framework decision has an attachment which consists of a generic list of criminal conduct. On this list boxes can be ticked.

Emmerson: Dual criminality is still relevant: "If these acts had happened in London - would they have been criminal?".

Montgomery argues that ticking a box should be enough the validate the European Arrest Warrant. Emmerson argues that what is ticked in the box and what is given in the description of the offence should mirror the real events.
Montgomery (and at a certain point even the judge Thomas) wonder if it is allowed/ necessary to check what the real event is ("that is for the trial itself" "evidence is now available, but in many cases there would be no more information than what the requesting country puts on the form")

Judge: "We don't treat this as a good case/bad case. But just whether he is correctly charged!"

Montgomery tries to suggest that maybe the description that has been given in addition to ticking the box is not flawless: "You look at language in translation!"

The judge tells her off: "Even if they have problems with the translation I do not sympathize with them".

Emmerson: The requesting country cannot just tick boxes!

Montgomery: Sweden has tried the case in their court (after the case was thrown out- to bring it back in) and decided that the case was strong enough. Dual criminality, naming the accusation etc., it is all for them to decide. If the requesting country ticks a box, the receiving country cannot just untick it! Montgomery: Concept of rape is different in the UK than Sweden - response: "So what??"

Montgomery: argues that 'Dual criminality' should be based on conduct alone "There is no mental ingredient" (I think she means either 'mens rea/guilty mind' or "the belief the women consented". Maybe both.)

Judge: You have done the best you can on that offer, what is your source?

Montgomery: Probably, Norris.

Judge: Probably, Norris - that is not a jolly good demonstration of a source.

There is also case law on the "ticking of the boxes": a case called: Palar:
"Where boxes are ticked the offence must nonetheless at least be recognizable as "rape" as that term is used in the language and law of European countries".
Judge: "No doubt that the statutory requirement includes the question: would the conduct constitute an offense?".

Sometimes I don't have the impression of watching a court-case, but do I feel more as if I see a couple of brilliant pupils doing an exam with two very strict teachers. The judges know it all & just spur the lawyers on to present as much knowledge as they can. Emmerson, by all measures a strong man, starts certain sentences with a very slight stutter - I interpret that as a signal of utter respect. Both Emmerson and Montgomery get red ears when they are pleading. Is is obviously very challenging and emotional to do! The language is at certain points extremely formal/ archaic (Lawyer to judge): "Milord's I ought in all fairness take to the court.."

Strategies by Montgomery

-The exotic argument: because the language or the country are foreign and different from England, that doesn't mean that they are not right. The should be entitled to do their thing. She then tries to discourage the court from trying to understand what is going on.
-The simplicity argument: don't make it too complicated/ go too deep into details - that is not our task here!
-The expert argument: quote an expert (and several times she quotes the witnesses for the defense from Assange's trial at Belmarsh): "Mr. Hurtig has told us that Swedish rape-law is based on consent". The game of quoting witnesses from your adversary is played by both the prosecution and the defense: Quoting their adversaries unexpectedly on controversial points, they are able to give these points more validity than they maybe should have.
-The authority argument: "The district judge has said ..."

Reply judge to the last one: "It doesn't matter, we have to decide"

I am sure that a lot of these strategies can be very successful, but in this court the judges are often too strict to buy into them.

Strategy by Emmerson

Emmerson starts a very good attack on the strategy so far adopted by the Swedish team: Only part of the investigation file has so far been brought before the UK courts. He says: "As the prosecution did not choose to bring the rest of the file before the judges, the conclusion must be that the rest of the file is unhelpful!". He makes very clear that at the moment Montgomery has the whole investigation file at her disposal and can pick and choose whatever she wants to use to try to win the case for Sweden. The Assange team do not have such an option and can also not see if meanings have altered (and object) when things are presented out of context.

The judges now also get interested in this point and ask at what point in time Mr. Assange and his team will have the complete file at their disposal. The answer is: Only after he has been charged, three weeks into the case.

Has Assange been properly charged/ accused?

The above is the first sign of a complex controversy that is at the heart of this process: The Swedish prosecution claim that they cannot charge Mr. Assange without having had their interview. They first want to complete their investigation and then decide if they have a case and can charge. Despite of this they claim that they are certain that they will prosecute! And want to act accordingly! This will clearly make the whole interview pointless. But it is British law that you can never prosecute without laying charges. They even have to charge you before they interview you. The judge asks if they want to prosecute Assange without having charged him at all! Montgomery confirms that this is indeed the case!

I see judge Ousely go into deep thought at this stage of the process; he shows that by lifting his wig and moving it in the direction of his forehead. Then he keeps hold of it and slowly slides it backwards over his hair.

Additional English legislation.

Maybe European legislation allows certain things, but the UK parliament has created extra conditions "as a necessary protection against an unlawful infringement of the right to liberty". In theory this could mean that Assange wins the court-case on these grounds and is safe in England ... but can be hit by another Swedish effort to extradite him from another EU-country. It is important that the arrest warrant is proven invalid for all EU countries!

An EAW is invalid if you want to use it for investigation instead of prosecution

This part of the case is argued for Assange by Mark Summers. The House of Lords has ruled in a case called "Ismail": It is common ground that mere suspicion that an individual has committed offenses is insufficient to place him in the category of 'accused' persons [...]. Something more is required ... the competent authorities in the foreign jurisdiction have taken a step which can fairly be described as the commencement of a prosecution. Central question: has the decision been made to prosecute and does there exist any evidence (paperwork) to support that?? The judge even wonders if the EAW in itself could count as such paperwork, but then (lucky enough) denies it!

A yellow note is passed from Kristinn Hrafnsson to the barrister (maybe it came from Assange or Gareth): the website of the Swedish Prosecution Authority still states at this very moment that the case is under investigation. That would, by definition, make the EAW invalid!!

The note makes me wonder for a while how much precious time the Assange team have been forced to take time away from their own work to study the ins and outs of this complicated court case. Obvious answer: way too much!

The defense points out that, by doing the interview with Assange, Sweden could at any time they wanted have moved the case forward from investigation to prosecution. Also: if they were prosecuting they could and should have arrested Assange in Sweden! They also point out that if they would do the interview now - that would not undo the invalidity of the arrest warrant.

Montgomery argues that it is clear that the 'juridical process' has definitely commenced.

Ouseley answers: the juridical process is a very long process - all you have done is choose a phrase that actually doesn't help. If we are somewhere in a time continuum, we have to decide - on a fact basis - when an investigation turns into a prosecution.

Montgomery: If a wife is killed and the husband flees the country with the blood still on his hands you will want him arrested and brought back. It is obvious that the prosecution will start before the investigation. The answer to that is that it is clear that a crime has been committed.

Thomson: Some juridical authority will have charged him!

Was Marianne Ny entitled to issue this particular EAW?

Emmerson states that, similar to the two types of red notices, there are two types of EAW. One to prosecute: that one should be ordered by the juridical authority. One to find a person that is wanted for serving a sentence: that one can be ordered by the executing authority (ie. the police). A juridical decision (the decision to prosecute) should not be made by the executive authority.

Montgomery answers: "Each country nominates their own juridical issuing authority - in my position that is correct".

Emmerson: says that the European Court in Strasbourg will never agree with a mixture of the tasks of the juridical and the executive authority.

All the lawyers, together with the judges, are now joking about something (presumably abut Strasbourg) 'we' don't understand.

No trias politica

Montgomery now seems to argue that many European countries don't have a clear trias politica: a divide between the legislative, the juridical and the executive power. "They interlock in a much broader context". Being Dutch, I first object to being contrasted as 'Europeans' with 'The English'. I also object against the notion that there are no clear divisions between the separate powers in eg. my country. "If Mrs. Ny is an appropriate requesting authority she is also an appropriate executing authority".

What is clear to me, watching all this, is that it is a failure that there is no true authority on Swedish law present. People will start asking Claire Montgomery questions that she may not have anticipated ("how does Swedish law operate") and then all parties seem to kind of agree that the reconstruction they make together must be more or less the correct one. For certain answers she refers back to witnesses for Assange in the process at the district court. She quotes e.g. Mr. Hurtig. I would want a stronger source to "know" how Swedish law is supposed to operate than testimony from just one lawyer that was focusing on a different point while he made a remark. I find it disappointing that all this type of testimony is accepted as a proper representation of the truth. I have also to say that, despite all the testimony, I still simply cannot believe that the Swedish cannot prosecute without an interview.


Montgomery: I don't understand why they make a point on proportionality.

Judge: You don't? Or you don't want to? Why go through all of this if he was prepared to offer himself for an interview? If you know enough to incite before the interrogation - then why wait for the interrogation before the inditement? If you don't - then how can you seriously declare that you are going to indite? Why are we precluded from acting with sense in this European Union? If he could be interviewed by video?

Montgomery: The Supreme Court of Sweden asked Mr. Assange to be present in person.

Judge: Why? Cooperation is a two way street.

Montgomery argues that the Swedes want to prosecute anyway and then need to extradite anyway. If they extradite in the stage before the interview it will allow them to do their interview face-to-face.


There are two pieces of evidence with may have DNA on them: the torn condom and the results of the hospital examination SW undertook. As Assange has confirmed that both were his - it is unclear why the DNA tests are necessary.
As SW's objective of going to the police was for Assange to take a HIV-test - It is shocking to hear that he was never asked to do so by the Swedish authorities. They also never asked him to submit DNA voluntarily! Despite this Montgomery argues that one of the reasons to want Assange in Sweden is that there is no procedure for compulsory taking of DNA.

The skeleton argument mentions that the UK took DNA from Assange when they arrested him by consent - it makes one curious what is the purpose of that and if Assange does have any rights to have that DNA destroyed / taken off databases.

They were long days in court, but the judges managed to finish sort of in the limits of their working day. Around quarter to five the second day ends in a bit of a confusion. The judge says that the Court doesn't need to come together again and will deliver a verdict "in its usual way". Alexi Mostrous finds out that this means a period of four weeks or so.

Outside the court waits the usual tunnel of journalists that all of us now have to pass through. When Assange leaves the court he doesn't make a speech but suddenly somebody in the group of faithful protesters begins to play a guitar. People start singing. After all the pomp and professionalism of the court the song first sounds hesitant, then suddenly it sounds genuine and warm. A tribute from the activist world to bring home the fact that there are people who know what the price of all this is and who sympathize and support. It is the only moment so far that I think I see Assange more emotional than either brave, rational or withdrawn. Later on one of the singers returns with a box of WikiLeaks painted cupcakes. Leftovers from the birthday-party and a greeting back to all the protesters on the streets - Thank you!

I want to thank WL Central for offering me the opportunity to act as a journalist - but without the constraints set on other journalists by the system. I have no deadline and no limit as to the amount of words. I plan to order the full-transcript of the court-case so as to be prepared when the verdict comes: the court has let me know that I am the first and only one who has done so so far. If I find things in there that are important - I'll add them or mention them in a later article. Probably a comment when the verdict will come.

A last remark: I have run a couple of times straight into Assange and his supporters over the last couple of days. But I felt that all of them deserved their space and focus and do definitely not approve of the frantic following and questioning - so no personal comment or anything. As for me personally: this court-case has confirmed me in my opinion that supporting WikiLeaks is the right thing and I will continue to do so.

I look forward to your feedback!

With many greetings, Mirjam

2011-07-13 Weird accusation or proof of lies? More about the Assange case

Authored by Goran Rudling

In the Detention Memorandum (Häktningspromemorian) there is an attachment, “Bilaga – Skäligen misstänkt”, that lists all the sex crimes that Julian Assange is suspected of. It is a long list. It is one rape, one sexual coercion and five sexual molestations. Sofia Wilén is the the alleged victim of rape. According to the police investigation Anna Ardin is supposed to be the victim of six sex crimes.

In this article, that will be short, I will look closer at the alleged sexual molestation, the one that is supposed to have occured on Wednesday August 18. But before that, just a comment. The interview with Anna Ardin was on August 21. The interview was conducted over the phone and lasted for 49 minutes. During this time the police took Anna’s story and they also read back to her the contents of the interview. The interview is what is called “konceptförhör”. It is just a summary of what the interviewing officer thinks is important and is the officer’s interpretation of what is said. When I read the interview I have a very hard time finding five descriptions of sexual molestations. One must be the alleged destruction of a condom. And the other one Julian’s rubbing of his naked body against Anna. But I can’t find the other three. If anyone that reads this can help me to find three more sexual molestations I will be thankful.

According to Anna’s interview this is what happened on the Wednesday August 18. “At one point, on Wednesday 18 August, he had suddenly taken off all his clothes on his lower body and then rubbed against her body, with his erect penis against Anna.” If you read this out of context it sure sounds like Julian is some kind of freak that undresses his lower body and rubs himself onto unexpecting ladies that are in the vincinity. “Anna said that she felt this strange behavior and uncomfortable”. Just from this description, and it happened during the day, it sure sounds weird and it is seems reasonable that Anna felt it was uncomfortable.

But what did really take place? And why is Anna telling the police about it? Is this really important? When I worked on the extremely long article “Sex, lies, no videotape and more lies” it was of the opinion that this accusation was just thrown in there to make it more credible that Julian at least had done something that was criminal. Today I have come to a different conclusion.

First let’s look at what really happened on that particular Wednesday based on the contents of Anna’s police interview. It isn’t easy since Anna leaves out so much information that she obviously does not want the police to know about. But there is part of a sentence that explains the context. Anna “… had therefore moved down to a mattress and slept there instead of up in bed with Assange.” What we can understand is that Anna was in bed. And that this incident took place late at night because it says “… slept there instead of up in bed with Assange.” It is late at night, Anna is in bed. Julian removes his clothes, as you normally do before going to bed, and leaves some clothing on his upper body. Could it be a T-shirt? The he gets into bed where Anna is. He obviously has an erection. And he touches Anna with his lower body and erect penis. Rubbing according to Anna. Anna then gets out of bed and decides to sleep on a matress on the floor instead of sleeping next to Julian in the bed.

“To a question Anna answers that Assange had stayed in her flat but that they hardly slept together as Assange had been awake at night working on his computer. When he went to bed, at approximately at 7 o’clock in the morning, Anna, in principle got up.”

From Anna’s interview we can conclude that Wednesday was one of the rare nights the couple actually slept together. Julian in bed and Anna on a matress on the floor. According to Anna this was due to Julian’s peculiar behaviour. It would be of interest to size of the bed. Was it 120, 140, 160 or 180 cm wide?

What Anna is describing in her police interview, and what the police and prosecutors regard as sexual molestation, does not look like anything out of the ordinary when a man and a woman, who have been intimate, share a bed together over a period of time. You touch each other and sometimes you make passes without saying anything. To me it seems like Julian is trying to say to Anna that he would like some intimacy. Nothing peculiar. The only thing that is weird to me is Anna’s description of events and that the police did not try to investigate to find out what it was all about.

I must say I am surprised that Anna did not accuse Julian of indecent exposure as well. At some stage he must have undressed in such a way that Anna had seen his naked body and experienced discomfort in some way.

Why is it that Anna tells the police about this event? There is one reason. One reason I did not think about until I talked to Peter Kemp, the Australian lawyer that gave me motivation to continue to write about this case.

In Kajsa Borgnäs’ interview we can read “Anna had been sad and thoughtful, she wondered how she could explain for example at a trial that she had let him to stay on despite everything that had happened.” This is from Anna’s and Kajsa’s conversation at a party on August 20 after Anna had been to the police. It is before Anna is interviewed by the police. More from Kajsa’s interview. “Then it had also emerged that police had taken up a report from Anna and that the police had interpreted it as if Anna also was a victim of crime. It was then that Anna told her that Julian first did not want to use a condom and that they had wrestled about it and that Anna had curled up.”

From what Anna is telling Kajsa at the party we can understand that Anna does not agree with the police that she is a victim of rape. How come Anna didn’t make that clear when she was at the police station. At the party Anna realizes that she will be interviewed by the police because the police believes that she is a victim of rape. It is in this context the line “… she wondered how she could explain for example at a trial that she had let him to stay on despite everything that had happened” should be understood. Anna knows that she has to be able to explain why Julian stayed in her flat for so long, and why she decided to move out on Thursday evening.

In the interviews with Donald Boström and Petra Ornstein it is evident that Anna learned about Julian’s intimacy with Sofia Wilén on Thursday August 19. Why did Anna move out on that Thursday? Does it have to do with Anna’s finding out about Julian’s relationship with Sofia?

My conclusion is that Anna in her interview with the police on August 21 is making up the story of the alleged molestation on Wednesday in order to get a “justified reason” to move out of the flat on Thursday. It is a cover story. “The night after, Anna had stayed with a companion when she did not want to hang out or stay close to Assange because of his strange behavior.” When Anna offers an explanation to the reason she moved out she is avoiding questions from the police to the reason she moved out of the flat. And evidently it worked. The police did not ask any questions. It seemes like a strategy that worked. But is has consequences.

Anna wants us to believe that when she experienced Julian rubbing his naked body and penis against her it was so uncomfortable that she decided to move out the following day. If the rubbing is so uncomfortable, why didn’t she move out earlier when allegedly much worse events had taken place. And if Anna was sexually assaulted on Friday August 13 why is that she decided to tell people that Julian was welcome to stay, she arranged a crayfish party for him, she tweeted about how amazing it was to be next to him and the coolest smartest people and why did she decide to become his press secretary? It does not make any sense.

Anna’s remarkable story about the events on Wednesday August 18 is just additional compelling evidence that the Anna’s story of sexual assault is made up. It is proof that nothing had happened before Wednesday August 18 and that nothing happened on Wednesday August 18. It just proves that Anna’s story is a deliberate and calculated lie. And that the police and the prosecutors are sleeping.

2011-07-13 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.

09:00 PM Wired just published what they claim to be full chat logs between Bradley Manning and Adrian Lamo.

05:00 PM A decision regarding Julian Assange's extradition appeal is expected in about three weeks. Lord Justice Thomas: "We will take time to consider the numerous arguments and authorities."

10:10 AM Second day of extradition appeal hearing is about to begin. Good luck Julian!

A selection of relevant tweets from today's session:

"Judge: warrant is being used for something it shouldn't be used for, that is to persue for questioning." via @m_cetera

"it must be said that the judges are indicating some scepticism about the allegations #wljul" via @auerfeld

Prosecution being inconsistent? "Earlier she stressed the word "accused" was never mentioned on EAW RT @auerfeld Montgomery: language of eaw "unmistakably that of accusation" #wljul" via @amberlymellow

"Judge: why go through all of this is Mr. Assange offered to be interviewed? #wljul" via @m_cetera

"Judge asks why #assange wasn't interviewed over phone. "Why does judicial corporation not entail...sensible steps to get on with it"?" via @AlexiMostrous

"Emmerson [defense] on attack for #Assange: "a lot of what has been said to your lordships is simply a waste of time"." via @Robert_Booth

"#Assange just passed a smiley face doodle on a post-it to John Pilger." via @AlexiMostrous

10:10 AM Complaint against Visa and Mastercard has been sent by DataCell and Wikileaks to the European Commission. Should be there tomorrow.

07:50 AM Activist Ciaron O'Reilly reports on the first day of extradition appeal, spent outside the Royal Courts of Justice in support of Julian Assange and Wikileaks.

...I have spent 30 years inside and outside of court resisting war preparations, war and expressing solidarity for others doing the same. Courts are exhasuting places, but it is human solidarity that keeps us going.

06:30 AM The first part of Julian Assange's extradition appeal hearing as summed up by Russia Today’s Laura Emmett :

"Julian Assange has hired an entirely new legal team for this appeal. He’s fired the old lot and he’s got people who have much more experience in criminal law. And what they’ve done is taking a more conciliatory tone towards the court and towards the charges that have been made. And they’re much more concerned with the ins and outs of EU law and specifically the European Arrest Warrant which of course allows people to be extradited within the European Union.

They are arguing that the European Arrest Warrant in Assange’s case is invalid because of discrepancies between the allegations made and the testemonies of the two alleged victims. There are four charges and they range between unlawful coercion, to sexual assault right down to rape. And what the legal team is saying is that there’s nothing in the alleged victims’ statements that amounts to that. There’s no evidence of a lack of consent in the sexual relations that took place between them. They say that three out of four of the allegations wouldn’t amount to a crime in the UK and that the arrest warrant has been issued misrepresents all of that.

They’re also saying it’s important to remember that no charges have been brought against Assange. He’s wanted for questioning in Sweden and so far no more. And they’re saying, has he been accused of anything, is the prosecution on this case underway, which of course is not. And they’re saying if it’s not, then the warrant is innerently not valid.

Now this case is slated to go through Wednesday. If this appeal is rejected by the High Court then Julian Assange has vowed to take the extradition case right to the Supreme Court and even onwards to the European Court of Human Rights. But it should be noted that permission to go to the Supreme Court has to granted, it’s not automatic and it can only be granted if this case is deemed to be in the public interest. Now of course he was last in court in February when the judge ruled against him and said that there was no reason he shouldn’t be extradited to Sweden where he would, according to the judge there, face a fair trial.

But Assange and his supporters have always been worried that once he’s extradited to Sweden, he would be sent to the U.S. That this case was politically motivated and, of course, have noted that the Grand Jury in the U.S. is investigating Wikileaks and that some people in America would love to get their hands on Assange. And there are indeed significant links between the U.S. and Sweden, as detailed in my report…"

03:40 AM @WL_Central_Live had technical difficulties and unfortunately wasn’t able to tweet from the inside the Court, but @m_cetera managed to get a seat and covered the whole hearing here.

03:25 AM 4000 cables were released Monday by Wikileaks.

03:10 AM The U.S. is being accused of violating the United Nations’ rules when it refused Juan Mendez, the U.N.'s special rapporteur for torture, unfettered access to Bradley Manning.

2011-07-14 Press Release - Revolution Truth

Primary Contact:
Tangerine Bolen, Executive Director
Phone: 1-503-887-0773

Local Contact Info:


Revolution Truth releases Wikileaks film

14 July 2011 - On the day that Julian Assange begins his appeal against extradition to Sweden, citizen-driven media project Revolution Truth released its first short films, centered around an open letter to the US Government in support of Wikileaks. These shorts, in a project endorsed by Michael Moore, have been produced with the contributions of over 300 individuals from around the world. A major redesign of the RevolutionTruth website, also unveiled today, includes the launch of two new campaigns: one in support of accused whistleblower Bradley Manning and another encouraging solidarity with emerging democratic movements in the Middle East and beyond.

RevolutionTruth is a grassroots, wholly volunteer-led endeavor that conducts campaigns by pairing open letters to influential figures or institutions with short films made up of messages from the public. The first RevolutionTruth campaign began in December 2010 when organization founder Tangerine Bolen decided to stand up to the Obama administration's alarming handling of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. The open letter that Tangerine composed has been signed by nearly 10,000 concerned citizens and is today being released in video form with contributions from around the world.

“The goal with our original project was to show the US government that, although WikiLeaks is a complicated phenomenon, people all over the world support them. WikiLeaks offers common people access to truths we need, including the truth about abuses of power and secrecy, unethical behavior, and even criminality, on the part of both governments and corporations. While we do not endorse 100% transparency for democratic governments that need some measure of secrecy, we believe that WikiLeaks functions as a course correction in perilous times.” Tangerine Bolen

"This is great! I'm so glad you're doing this. People have had enough of the lies. It's up to us to make the change happen." Michael Moore

RevolutionTruth’s second campaign kicks off with the publication of an Open Letter to accused Wikileaks whistleblower Bradley Manning, who has now spent over a year in military detention awaiting trial. As with the earlier campaign, RevolutionTruth’s Open Letter to Bradley Manning, which has the full support of the Bradley Manning Support Network and UK Friends of Bradley Manning, is intended to prompt statements of support for Bradley and video messages from around the world. A copy of the letter will also be sent to Bradley himself at Fort Leavenworth.

"People standing with Bradley Manning is important not only for Bradley, but for the US government to see that many consider Manning a hero, if he is guilty of what he is accused. The release of the Collateral Murder video and other Wikileaks documents have provided Americans a glimpse of what U.S. foreign policy does. We citizens of the United States need to take responsibility for these policies and change them." Kevin Zeese a member of the Bradley Manning Support Network steering committee.

Finally, RevolutionTruth unveils its Global Unrest and Resistance campaign today, inviting those asserting their democratic rights in the Middle East, in Europe and elsewhere to submit messages and share the wealth of their experience with a global network concerned with all aspects of political representation and government accountability.

"All people of the world deserve the chance at a decent, meaningful, safe existence. We need just systems and legitimate democracies. We stand with our brothers and sisters who are fighting for their rights around the world." Tangerine Bolen

RevolutionTruth is a growing, global community of people dedicated to defending WikiLeaks, whistleblowers, and legitimate democracies. RevolutionTruth is a diverse group of people from around the world who share is a common set of fundamental values centered on truth, transparency, democratic rights and freedoms, integrity, and a desire for equitable, just and sustainable systems.

Members of RevolutionTruth come from all walks of life and from over 150 countries. They speak many languages and have dramatically different life experiences and backgrounds. But they share one fundamental thing: a profound commitment to changing our world, and to using citizen-driven media, and "information by the people for the people", in order to do so.


2011-07-14 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.

11:10 PM Senator John McCain has asked for a committee to be appointed to investigate Wikileaks and Anonynomous, which he described as a threat.

10:55 PM Investigation concludes Bradley Manning's treatment at Quantico violated Navy policy.

He was inappropriately kept under suicide watch after a medical officer established in two separate occasions a suicide risk status was no longer warranted.
On at least 20 occasions psychologists or psychiatrists also determined he was to be taken off “prevention of injury” status but brig commanders rejected the recommendations.

The Pentagon’s top lawyer had insisted Bradley Manning's treatment was in compliance with the law and military regulations, back in April when he was transfered to Fort Leavenworth, and Manning's complaint about his treatment had been previously been formally rejected, considered 'without merit'.

10:20 PM A press conference was held by Wikileaks today in London on the subject of the financial blockade imposed by Visa and Mastercard and subsequent legal action started by DataCell.

Update: Full press conference here.

'It is not a matter for these companies operating in Europe, operating in Australia, operating in Iceland to enforce unwritten rules of U.S. foreign policy.' - Julian Assange

During the press conference, Julian Assange also commented on the phone hacking case, stating:

“WikiLeaks and its employees have not been charged with any illegal activity,” he said. “Compare that to News International who has had employees and contractors imprisoned for illegal activity and yet still we do not see US financial companies cutting off their services to News International. Why not?”

“In our fervour to deal with the unethical practices that seem to have occurred in News Corp… we should be careful of producing collateral damage that will destroy the ability of investigative journalists to act in the public good.”

05:40 PM DataCell, as expected, has filed a complaint with the European Commission.

"The closure by Visa and MasterCard of Datcell‘s access to the payment card networks in order to stop donations to WikILeaks violates the competition rules of the European Community." their statement reads.

Visa Europe and Mastercard Europe are accused of abusing european laws by using their dominant position in the market to prevent DataCell from processing credit card donations to Wikileaks, putting DataCell at competitive disadvantage and discriminating between costumers.

The full complaint is available for download (pdf).

02:55 PM Glenn Greenwald’s piece on how Wired deliberately witheld important parts of the recently disclosed chat logs between Bradley Manning and Adrian Lamo, that would cast Lamo in a negative light and confirm that Julian Assange knew very little about the alleged source Bradley Manning’s identity :

"…Lamo lied to and manipulated Manning by promising him the legal protections of a journalist-source and priest-penitent relationship, and independently assured him that their discussions were "never to be published" and were not "for print." Knowing this, Wired hid from the public this part of their exchange, published the chat in violation of Lamo's clear not-for-publication pledges, allowed Lamo to be quoted repeatedly in the media over the next year as some sort of credible and trustworthy source driving reporting on the Manning case, all while publicly (and falsely) insisting that the only chat log portions it was withholding were -- to use Poulsen's words -- "either Manning discussing personal matters . . . or apparently sensitive government information."

According to these chat logs Bradley Manning claimed Julian Assange knew very little about him and took source protection very seriously. Bradley is even shown to have stated : "he wont work with you if you reveal too much about yourself ".
Furthermore, contrary to popular belief, Bradley Manning proves to have insight on the cables and what they represented. Bradley Manning is also shown to claim to have sources in the White House.

Additionally, Kevin Gosztola writes these chat logs may be inadmissible in court. Off-the-Record Messaging (OTR) was used by Bradley Manning to chat with Adrian Lamo and there is the possibility, as dicussed by a NetSecurity group on reddit, that part of the chat logs may have been forged.

02:05 PM From the SwedenVersusAssange vimeo account, a video on Julian’s extradition hearing. Both Kristinn Hrafnsson and Gavin MacFadyen pronounce themselves on the possibility of extradition.

Sweden x Assange: Julian Assange in Court. London, 12&13 July, 2011 from swedenversusassange on Vimeo.

Below, an excerpt from its description :


01:45 PM China sold missiles to Iran, Syria and Pakistan, in violation of the Missile Technology Control Regime, a cable released on Monday reveals.

North Korea, too, is said to have purchased missile parts from the country to develop its missile industry.

Negligence in control of foreign missil exports has been appointed in the State Department cable as cause to the illegal sales, but John Tkacik, former State Department intelligence specialist, affirms the Chinese government is aiding and abetting the proliferation of the missile industry and has called the claims "absurd".
Two missile firms said to have been sanctioned and closed down continue in fact to ‘function unimpeded’ according to U.S. intelligence.

2011-07-15 Brazilian Cables: Too many coincidences Nov 2009 blackout #cablegate #wikileaks

ImageOn November 10, 2009, a blackout left 18 of the 26 Brazilian states without power, also effecting Paraguay. At the time, it was the worst accident of its kind for the Itaipu Plant, from its inauguration in 1982. Paraguayan and Brazilian authorities reported a "total shutdown" of the turbines. A map of the event can be accessed here.

The explanation of the event was never clear and is still considered the largest blackout occurred in the country. Brazilian authorities, specifically the Minister of Mines and Energy, Edison Lobao pointed to meteorological reasons for the event, which was confirmed later by a government commission to study the only open case.

However, a cable from the U.S. State Department coordinating both the Embassy in Brazil and the consulates in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, provides new information on the event and a strange coincidences of events.

First, about the cause of the blackout. The cable 09BRASILIA1382 reveals:

“Two days after the incident, according to a credible source, security officials in Brazil were attributing the outage to 'human error' on the part of a Brazilian national who is a system operator. Accordingly to the source, that operator was under investigation. Source is unavailable for further comment on whether evolving assessments may have affected that hypothesis and the status of that particular investigation is unknown.”

The hypothesis of "human error" was raised at the time, although under discredit, by the Paraguayan newspaper ABC Color based on 'sources in the energy sector. Although the Brazilian National Space Research Institute has not recorded any storm in the region of Itapu's Plant at the time of the blackout, the hypothesis of the storm was officially announced by the Government of the time.

Interestingly, three days before, the American program "60 Minutes" devoted one of their episodes promoting the idea that the previous blackouts in Brazil were caused by hack attacks. The rumor, the day after the blackout on November 10, originated from the New York Times. In 11 days, the newspaper reported: “The blackouts came three days after CBS´s "60 Minutes" news program reported that several past Brazilian power outages were caused by hackers. Brazilian officials had played down the report before the latest outages, and Lobao did not mention it”. [The original version of the story was found at, but is currently unavailable. We had use a copy from here:]

The fact was not ignored by Brazilian authorities. According to the same cable:

“There was also private speculation in at least one conversation among some government officials, apparently based in part of the coincidental "60 Minutes" program just days earlier suggesting vulnerabilities in the Brazilian system, that U.S. private sector interests may have engineered the blackouts to gain better commercial access to the grid”.

It is worth bringing to light the comment from Geraldes Wilkins, representative of the ONS (National Electricity System Operator) to Econoff according to the cable: “Geraldes described the events of November 10 as unusual, not in the interruption of the system, but in the confluence of events that led to the overall catastrophic scale of the blackout”.

The same article of the New York Times highlights another point: '''It's sad to see such a beautiful city with such a precarious infrastructure,'' said Igor Fernandes, a shirtless 22-year-old law student peddling his bike down a dark Copacabana beach. ''This shouldn't happen in a city that is going to host the Olympic Games”.

Again, this concern also affects the Brazilian government. “Geraldes acknowledged that the spotlight of the Olympic Games brings an increased scrutiny of the system” says cable 09BRASILIA1382.

Finally, a look to why such a situation might be seen as an advantageous to the United States:

“ONS has a protocol to guard against electricity disruptions which has been utilized during special events such as the Pan Am Games in 2007 and will be used in upcoming events including the 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Olympics. Geraldes acknowledged actual physical security was a low priority under this protocol and said no special plans were made even during events. As Geraldes said, 'That has been less of a concern for us than for you.' However he agreed that there could be an increased focus on physical security in advance of the games, particularly after this incident has called attention to possible weaknesses in the system," appears in the same cable.

Stating more explicitly how the situation could favor the U.S. government, the document stamped by the Charges d'Affaires Lisa Kubiske indicates:

“We will know more about the immediate cause of Brazil's major blackout in a few weeks but in the meantime, there are opportunities for the USG to take advantage of GOB's [Brazilian Government]openness, highlighting the outage as reason for more engagement as well as preparations toward the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Olympics”.

"This would be an excellent occasion to encourage the military to military Communication and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) (…) We could also consider a cybersecurity working group. Brazil might be open to pursuing cooperation on critical infrastructure protection, and MME has already told us they would be interested in learning more about our emergency broadcasting system. It is clear that physical security has not heretofore been a major focus for planners but officials acknowledge the possibility of an attack and are working on developing protections”.

The program "60 Minutes" three days before the incident, the appreciation by the New York Times raising rumors based on the program and the olympic games factor, the 'mystery' and 'unexpected coincidence of factors' that led to the accident and the evident willingness of the U.S. government for taking advantage of the whole situation put the event of November 10, 2009 in a scenario of pure conspiracy. The truth in the midst of all this? We do not dare point, the reader will be obligated to think about.

Wikileaks Source:

International media sources:

Local media/blogs sources for the case:

2011-07-15 Two hours and 40 people to stop an eviction in #Spain #europeanrevolution #viviendadigna #15M

Originally published in Spanish, by Periodismo Humano.

Written by Patricia Simon. Photographs by Javier Bauluz.

Police trying to enter the building about to be evicted.

The 15M movement of Gijón (in the north of Spain) had called for a gathering on July 7th in front of some of the city's banks to protest for their "greed and responsibility in the crisis we are living", as one of the participants stated. At that same time, Ángel T.P. was heading for the the city's court to see if his petition to delay the eviction from his house had been accepted. The eviction had been set for midday by another court, so that very morning, when he found no answer to his petition, he went with little hope to one of the permanent information points set up by the movement in front of the Town Hall. Thanks to social networking and the coincidence that a protest was being held at exactly the same time, merely one hour later 40 people were occupying the stairway of his building, stopping an eviction for the first time in Asturias.

Ángel lives in a house being reclaimed by Banco Pastor together with his wife and two children (10 and 19 years old respectively). He says that economic problems started a year ago, when he lost his job and was unable to pay the monthly fees of the 108 thousand euro mortgage he signed, and that, with all added expenditures, went up to 180 thousand. His house was auctioned but, as tens of thousands of homes in Spain, was taken up by the bank as there was no buyer. However, without going into detail, he explains that in the last weeks he has managed to rack up part of the money and deposit it into his account, only to find that the bank was no longer interested in stopping his eviction.

Two members of the 15M in Gijón listening to the representative of Banco Pastor and to the spokesman of the local police.

The committee waiting on the steps was a big surprise to the bank's representative, as well as the locksmith - hired to change the lock after the family had been kicked out- and the local police that accompanied them. Soon after their arrival, police reinforcements appeared in vans.

After some minutes of negotiation, in which the local police demanded that they be let into the building to talk with the proprietors, it was finally Ángel who, from a distance of about two meters, heard for himself how the policeman said that "for today the eviction is suspended, but the problem is still there". Adding that he "should find a better solution to this affair". The applause echoed in the stairs and the hugs flowered under the amazed looks of the participants, who could not believe how easy it had been. All these men and women are starting to get to know each other, after so many protests and gatherings. But they come from very different backgrounds, from different professions, areas of interest and even cities. Now they speak among themselves, they say goodbye like friends, until the next one. Because they have already cried: "We will also stop the next one".

Miguel Ángel, in charge of the 15M's local eviction platform, created that very morning, explained visibly touched that after the temporary cancellation of the judicial order, that they already are planning to stop another eviction that will take place in the following weeks. "It's a different case", he explains, "one of real-estate mobbing. An old woman and her daughter, the last inhabitants of a building bought by a building company that plans to evict them to tear down the place and build a new one". While he talks with us, many other journalists from different places give him their contact information, and he sighs trying to assimilate that thanks to them a family has a home to live in. At least, for one day.

The month of the rebellion against evictions

On the 15th of June, the movement that had been born one month before, joined the Platform of Citizens Affected by Mortgages (PAH in Spanish) to stop, for the first time, an eviction in Madrid as part of their expansion strategy after leaving Puerta del Sol. Hundreds of people met in front of the building of Anuar, originally a Lebanese citizen that had had to close his bakery because of the crisis, and had ended up drowning between the mortgage and the loan he had accepted from his bank. The eviction was adjourned and the phenomenon took off. Twenty days later, Anuar has not received any new communication from his bank. Both him as Chema Ruiz, member of PAH in Madrid, are confident that the eviction order will not be reactivated until after summer. Meanwhile, the petition filed y Anuar against the bank's will is running it's course. At the same time they are working to get Social Services to find them a free home sponsored by the Government. Anuar is clearly overwhelmed when, over the phone, he tells us what he felt the day hundreds of people helped him stay in his home. "Before that day I was very depressed… but it is thanks to all of them that we are still here. Let's see if more people come for our help (referring to the platform) and we manage to solve this problem". Anuar participates actively in other acts organized by the PAH.

The number of families that have lost their residence because of eviction processes reached record high figures during the first three months of this year. More than 15.000 family lost their home, 36.3% more than the same period last year. The web Periodismo humano, did a great job reporting how the movement started in Barcelona by the hand of a group of citizens that were witnessing how the effects of the financial and labor crisis in Spain, where 5 million people are unemployed, was making it impossible for thousands of families to pay for the extremely expensive mortgages they had signed during the years of the real-estate bubble. Until the 15th of June, the Platform had managed to stop a dozen of evictions in Catalunya. From the moment the 15M assumed their role in this battle, 50 more evictions have been stopped, more than two per day. And not only people that can't pay their mortgage have been helped, also victims of real-estate mobbing and families that have occupied empty government sponsored houses, like what happened in Seville this week.

Giving the house in exchange of the debt or substituting the mortgage fees for a monthly rent closer to the person's income, two of the proposals made by the Platform from the beginning, have already been accepted in the last two paralyzed evictions in Madrid. At the same time, however, the president of the Supreme Court of Madrid, Francisco Javier Vieira, has declared himself worried saying that they have to "find ways to stop the blocking of our sentences". Even though he assumed that "we have to find formulas for the families, to reduce injustice". Many people participating in these actions are worried by the kind of politics that could be adopted in September.

Meanwhile, each day more evictions are being stopped, and even more are being planned. The method employed is practically fail proof: block the access to the house via the physical presence of people in front of it, always in a peaceful manner. As the Gijon case proves, you don't even need a large mass of people, nor time for organizing, nor coordination with other platforms. You only have to be there when a call for help comes.

* This article is under a Creative Commons 2.5 Licence

2011-07-16 After 10 days in #Syntagma... #europeanrevolution #globalrevolution


ATHENS - It was at night, and I asked my friend if it was dangerous to head there at that time. Police lines, with buses, were blocking the streets around the Square: "Can we really go there?". In front of Parliament, a crowd was shouting and pointing toward the building. I asked what they were saying and what was the meaning of the banners. "They're insulting the politicians". "The ass-holes will die", says that flag, the other one says "no more exploitation".

Climbing down the starts in front of the Parliament, I started to see tents, stands and a big crowd, where around a thousand people stood in a circle hearing someone speaking into a microphone. The sound came from improvised speakers hanging on the very lamp-posts of the square. The person speaking left while leaving the crowd clapping enthusiastically while another person took his post. I finally realized that I was in Syntagma.

At the time the city is under heavy tension, police is blockading most of the city, not only the surroundings of the square. Their presence is really remarkable and imposes the feeling that something dark is happening, a presence you cannot see, that all of us are being watched closely. This alien presence, however, promotes a different kind of union among people, a kind of "us against them" that creates a strong bond. Nothing strange after seeing the chemical warfare treatment they got from the State last month. People are working together joyfully, laughing and with great hopes. They know their enemy and they know what they want.

On the events of the 28th and 29th of June, during the 48 hour strike, the Greeks are in consensus: "It was like war!". With regards to their national background of riots and protests, this assumption - which is very common - promotes a real and intense meaning. People were forced to be together, to help each other out and to fight for their lives, rights and beliefs. Their faith is now bestowed upon the power of unity.

After hearing all this, on the following day, before going back to the Square, I bought a gas mask and a better camera. Going back, I found out that Syntagma was ready and opene to receive everybody. Because 'Syntagma is protest everyday', and daily gatherings take place in front of the Greek Parliament. In 10 days, I saw two motorcycle rallies, a demonstration against the Greek Government held by Kurds and Syrians, a march in solidarity with Palestine etc. Everyday, every-night, every-time is time for protests.

Pro-Palestine demonstrations in Athens, 12th July, in front of Greek Parliament from Wikileaks World on Vimeo.

The Popular Assembly, held daily around 9pm local time, gathers the most different kind of people and discussions. Here, there is no space for discrimination or prejudice and much worse for preformulated ideologies. The chorus of Syntagma Assembly states that it is a place for creation, experience and innovation on how humans can organize themselves into a new social structure.

The next step isn't very clear, in between of all the chaos lies a beating heart that keeps on pumping despite not knowing where to. People tell me that a commitee to receive Hilary Clinton on July 17th is scheduled and that on the 24th it will be time to celebrate two months of the occupation. Other people are planning bigger rallies for the end of the month in order to demonstrate against the reforms on the Greek educational system. But is not only about rallying. Syntagma is about meeting people, about learning with and from people, about sharing, about respecting, about dreaming and acting. More than anything else, Syntagma rests as a totally open place to exercise freedom, creativity and engagement. In other words, the camping is a refuge - not only for the Greek people, but for foreigners who support the common cause - for those interested in experiencing participatory democracy.

Everyone is welcome to take part in any of the task-groups and once there, there is no hierarchy and nothing is decided without a consensus of all the participants. Food and water, electricity, tents, everything is organized by horizontal groups whose main aim is to support the continuity of the popular assemblies, the multi-media center (from where the official websites of Syntagma are maintained), the artistic stand and the various activities promoted by 'The People of Syntagma'.

Let me remind you all that Syntagma is the major square of Athens, exactly in front of the National Parliament, and it is occupied since 25th May. Despite threats of eviction, boycott attempts and all the problems which arise from a public camping with thousands of people, it survives each day, reinforcing its struggle with every assembly and proving the global community (despite the lack of coverage by major media outlets) that trying a new and fairer society is still possible.

2011-07-16 Ex Bulgarian Chief of Staff Probed as US Informer after WikiLeaks revelations

Chief of Defense Gen. Nikola Kolev and Minister of Defense Nikolai Svinarov

Bulgaria's State Agency for National Security (DANS) is probing within its authority revelations of the whistle-blowing site WikiLeaks that former Chief of General Staff, Nikola Kolev, has provided valuable information to the US Embassy in the beginning of 2003.

The information was reported by Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, during parliamentary control Friday as a response to a question coming from the Member of the Parliament from the far-right, nationalist Ataka party, Pavel Shopov.

Borisov explained DANS does not have investigative functions, but if there is evidence confirming the Wikileaks report, this evidence would be turned to the Prosecutor's Office.

The cable in question was released on June 15 by WikiLeaks and provided to the project for investigative journalism

According to the US diplomatic 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, who is currently Chief of Staff of President, Georgi Parvanov, and the Presidential Office declined any comments at the time.

MP Shopov replied he was satisfied by Borisov's answer because details were not as important as the fact the case is being investigated.

Meanwhile, commented they were still not able to find out the exact meaning of SIMO, which in another cable, has allegedly confirmed that Borisov was involved in major traffic in methamphetamines.

Bivol points out that no one is probing the PM, because Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev dismissed the above said cable as rumors, adding this is definitely a "double standard."

2011-07-16 How Wired Magazine Tried (And Failed) To Help The US Government Frame Julian Assange

We've learned a few important things from the full transcripts of Bradley Manning's online chats with Adrian Lamo. Glenn Greenwald has already focussed on how Wired magazine's decision to with-hold the full transcripts has damaged the reputations of Manning, Assange and WikiLeaks. But it's worth examining in more detail exactly how Wired's subterfuge has affected Julian Assange and WikiLeaks in particular.

Firstly, and most importantly, it's now clear that Julian Assange did NOT know if Bradley Manning was the source who leaked the US cables to WikiLeaks. Manning tells Lamo that Assange “knows little about me” and “he takes source-protections uber-seriously.” Furthermore, he says, Assange "won’t work with you if you reveal too much about yourself.” Assange even instructs Manning to lie about his identity!

This blows apart the US government's protracted efforts to suggest that Assange actively enticed Manning to hand over the cables, and thereby charge the Australian with criminal activity. In fact, it was only through his own protracted sleuth work that Manning even knew who HE was talking to: "it took me four months to confirm that the person i was communicating [with] was in fact assange".

Why would Wired with-hold this critically important information, unless they were actively co-operating with US agents trying to fabricate charges against Assange? Given that Lamo had notified authorities of Manning's alleged actions while still continuing to chat with him, it's logical to assume the Feds would have wanted to censor any published details. Wired appears to have willingly complied.

The full transcripts also destroy whatever shreds remain of Adrian Lamo's tattered reputation. The ex-hacker - who has been described as "the FBI's star witness against WikiLeaks" - deliberately deceived Manning from the beginning, then lied repeatedly to have the public believe that he didn't. He claimed to be both a journalist and a minister, repeatedly assuring Manning that their conversations were "never to be published". Why would Wired redact these portions of the transcripts, expect to maintain the illusion that Lamo is a credible source?

In fact, Lamo comes across as a sociopath. His callous disregard for Manning's fraught emotional state is evident throughout the transcripts. Lamo repeatedly asks about Assange, and how he can get in contact with him. He even offers to work for WikiLeaks. At one stage Manning pours his heart out while Lamo goes away to have a cigarette break. When he gets back, Lamo presses Manning for more details of confidential data and Manning snaps: "im not a source for you… im talking to you as someone who needs moral and emotional fucking support".

Ironically, it seems Manning only reached out to Lamo after reading a Wired article about Lamo's own experiences as a sexually confused, frequently homeless, drug-addicted "child prodigy" hacker with Aspbergers Syndrome. He really couldn't have picked a worse target. Towards the end of the chat logs, when Lamo has already snitched on his "friend", he asks Manning if he is a "leftist" or a "centrist". Manning rebuffs such political pigeon-holing. "I’m a fan of of realpolitik myself," boasts Lamo.

Realpolitik is the favoured politics of Kissinger and the neo-conservatives, where moral principles do not apply and the end always justifies the means. I wonder what the USA's favourite dictators in the Middle East think of such ideology nowadays?

Wired Editor-In-Chief Evan Hansen seems a bit more conflicted, writing a Huffington Post article titled: "Is Bradley Manning a Traitor or a Hero?" Evans plays Pontius Pilate, wringing his hands over the "divisive national debate about the role and legitimacy of whistleblowers" while claiming that Wired only held back details of the chat logs "out of respect for Manning's privacy". The facts suggest otherwise.

Why can't Hansen just admit that he considers Manning a dangerous traitor, that he happily helped sell him out, and that he protected Lamo on instructions from the government? It seems neither Hansen nor Lamo have any real moral compass. They take their orders from authority and cling to "patriotic" cliches for justification. While innocent lives are destroyed, Hansen and Lamo are left swinging in the breeze, unable to justify their own actions, unwilling to repent them.

Meanwhile Tim Webster, the US Army Counterintelligence agent who first talked Lamo into working with the feds, is doing a good Jack Nicholson "Code Red" impersonation in the Wired comments:

"Manning is a traitor. You and others like you can cry and moan and wring your hands and pace back and forth while braying the words "hero" and "duty" and "patriotism" all you want -- words which you and your ilk know nothing about -- but rest assured that Manning will get precisely what he deserves (that is, almost: apparently death is off the table)."

I'm sure Webster is a big fan of Wired magazine. More discerning readers should by now be cancelling their subscriptions.

2011-07-16 WIRED Magazine: Disclosures and Cover-Ups in the Lamo-Manning Chat Logs

WIRED's publication of the full Lamo-Manning chat logs brings a year-long controversy to a close. But questions remain over WIRED's reticence.

1. The History of the Lamo-Manning Chat Logs
2. The Unredacted Chat Logs.
3. WL Central's Annotated Chat Log

The History of the Lamo-Manning Chat Logs

On June 10, 2010, Kevin Poulsen and Kim Zetter at WIRED Magazine published the abridged chat logs - supposedly between Adrian Lamo and Bradley Manning. The logs gave considerable insight into the person accused of leaking to Wikileaks, and to his possible motivations.

However, many questions were raised over the veracity of the logs, the reliability of their source, Adrian Lamo, and his relationship to Kevin Poulsen. Poulsen and Zetter's introduction to the logs stated that redactions had been made to those parts of the logs that "discuss deeply personal information about Manning or that reveal apparently sensitive military information," but shortly after the release, other portions of the logs which fell into neither category appeared in a Washington Post article, and on BoingBoing. These extracts raised the question as to what purposes WIRED had performed the redactions.

Furthermore, Adrian Lamo's public statements were inconsistent, and impossible to confirm or deny because of the incomplete chat record. Shortly after that release, Salon columnist Glenn Greenwald published a lengthy investigative piece, drawing on an interview with Lamo, which pointed out the long history between Poulsen and Lamo, Lamo's history of courting press attention, and the various inconsistencies that were already emerging between different statements Lamo had made. Gawker's Adrian Chen summarized the issue in June 2010. Others, more recently, have built on prior work on apparently deceptive reportage on Lamo written by Poulsen.

In particular, Greenwald had noted:

Indeed, Lamo told me (though it doesn't appear in the chat logs published by Wired) that he told Manning early on that he was a journalist and thus could offer him confidentiality for everything they discussed under California's shield law. Lamo also said he told Manning that he was an ordained minister and could treat Manning's talk as a confession, which would then compel Lamo under the law to keep their discussions confidential (early on in their chats, Manning said: "I can't believe what I'm confessing to you"). In sum, Lamo explicitly led Manning to believe he could trust him and that their discussions would be confidential -- perhaps legally required to be kept confidential -- only to then report everything Manning said to the Government.

Lamo was subsequently to alter this story considerably, telling Yahoo News that he had spelled out clearly to Manning that he was not acting as a journalist. This was one of many inconsistencies that emerged in Lamo's numerous dealings with the press.

Half a year later, in December, when the punitive pretrial treatment of Bradley Manning was becoming an issue in its own right, Greenwald penned a piece directing stringent criticism at WIRED for having withheld the rest of the chat logs. WIRED's Evan Hansen and Kevin Poulsen responded, reiterating the position that only military material of a sensitive nature, or personal information, had been redacted. Greenwald followed up, pointing out that this story was already inconsistent. A companion post documented what Greenwald felt were personal attacks by WIRED designed to distract from the issue. The exchange was summarized by Rob Beschizza at BoingBoing.

Bloggers at FireDogLake crowdsourced an effort to fully document every detail of the events, so as to better discover the inconsistencies in Lamo's public statements. To this end, they constructed a timeline of events, a compendium of the most important articles, and a painstakingly reconstructed version of the chat logs, merging the disparate excerpts from the now various publications which had obtained the logs. Their efforts divulged numerous inconsistencies.

On Wednesday evening, June 13 2011, - a year and three days since the original release - WIRED magazine released the unredacted Lamo-Manning chatlogs. WIRED claimed that its primary reasons for withholding the personal information in the logs had been eroded by recent disclosures in the mainstream press concerning Bradley Manning's gender identity and/or sexuality. WIRED, further, claimed that it had determined that the military information contained in the logs was not sensitive, and had "been satisfied for some time" of this. WIRED claims to stand by its former decision to hold off on publication.

The publication of the logs has prompted a series of reactions, from Greenwald, from BoingBoing, and from FireDogLake's Kevin Gosztala and Jeff Kaye, all to the effect that the full chat logs contain information that had been withheld which clearly was neither of national security interest, nor had anything to do with Manning or Lamo's private life. In particular, it is confirmed in the chat logs that Lamo had assured Manning:

LAMO: I'm a journalist and a minister. You can pick either, and treat this as a confession or an interview (never to be published) & enjoy a modicum of legal protection.

A widely aired criticism of WIRED has been that excerpts like the one above are neither personal, nor militarily sensitive, but were withheld for a year, even while WIRED was suspected, over Christmas, of withholding information to protect the reputation of Adrian Lamo. Furthermore, the unredacted chat logs contain information which was of high public interest pertaining to the alleged connection - or lack of - between Manning and Julian Assange. This was - again - neither personal nor militarily sensitive.

Since publication on Wednesday, criticism of WIRED's redaction procedures along these lines has not seen an official response. However, on Friday afternoon, Kevin Poulsen answered a question in the comment stream on the original article. His answer on the issue of why WIRED had redacted information which showed that Lamo had lied to Manning, and other information that was not of a sensitive nature, did not evince a clear reason for the prior redactions:

"Adrian Lamo has declared that he, Lamo, explicitly told Manning that he was not acting as a journalist during their chats. We now know that Lamo lied about that, and that WIRED shielded him by withholding these logs."

The logs show that when Lamo mentioned his 2600 Magazine affiliation, Manning said, "im not a source for you. im talking to you as someone who needs moral and emotional fucking support." To which Lamo replied: " i told you, none of this is for print."

This writer tried to push Poulsen on the issue asking for a clear reason why WIRED chose to redact this information. To date, the only response from Poulsen has been a tweet:

Kevin Poulsen

@nathanlfuller I'll admit that when we compiled those excerpts, we were more interested in the biggest leaks in U.S. history than in @6
15 July

Since much of the redacted information has to do directly with the leaks, and since much of it does not have to do with Adrian Lamo personally, this answer does not greatly illuminate the matter. Poulsen has not, as of yet, responded to clarificatory questions (here and here) on this tweet. WL Central will update this post should any new information come to light on WIRED's motives for redacting information in the chat logs.

The Unredacted Chat Logs.

The unredacted chatlogs are very much more voluminous than the former version. It must also be noted that although they now appear in (mostly) unredacted form, their provenance still relies on the honesty of Adrian Lamo, who is their original source. Until such time as they are confirmed by both parties, which is unlikely, they cannot be entirely trusted.

WL Central has prepared an annotated version, which highlights information that has either come to light in the new release, or demands rereading in the light of the new release. In particular, four topics of interest are identified:

Information Highlighted Yellow
This is information in the newly released parts of the logs which indicates that Adrian Lamo not only lied to Manning about the confidentiality he was granting him, but in fact appears to have deliberately attempted to earn his trust, and encouraged him to disclose more information that might incriminate him.

Information highlighted under this category was withheld by WIRED without any apparent justification.

For instance, in this (abridged, for brevity) exchange, Lamo attempts to trade on an association with the 2600 hacker periodical by claiming - spuriously - that disclosures to 2600 would not violate Wikileaks' operations security, since 2600 is "an ally of Wikileaks."

(1:52:54 PM) i’ve been considering helping wikileaks with opsec

(1:53:13 PM) bradass87: they have decent opsec… im obviously violating it


(1:54:04 PM) not really. 2600 is an ally of wikileaks.


(1:54:55 PM) bradass87: but im not a source for you… im talking to you as someone who needs moral and emotional fucking support

(1:55:02 PM) bradass87: :’(

(1:55:10 PM) i told you, none of this is for print

(1:55:16 PM) bradass87: ok, ok

Information Highlighted Blue

This is information which has a bearing on the manner in which Manning (may have, if the chatlogs are true,) leaked information to Wikileaks, and the nature of the relationship between Manning and Wikileaks. In the first release of the chatlogs, references to this relationship appeared - but not conclusively - to tie Manning and Assange together rather closely. New information disclosed on Wednesday seems to militate against this idea. There is, again, no explicit justification for WIRED having withheld this information for a year.

For instance, in one newly released exchange, Manning claims that Assange knows "very little" about him, as a matter of policy:

(02:56:46 PM) bradass87: he knows very little about me

(02:56:54 PM) bradass87: he takes source protection uber-seriously

(02:57:01 PM) bradass87: “lie to me” he says

(02:57:06 PM) Really. Interesting.

(02:57:34 PM) bradass87: he wont work with you if you reveal too much about yourself

A more complete picture therefore emerges of this matter, which is pivotal to the ongoing grand jury investigation in Virginia. For this reason, information that was already in the public domain is highlighted, along with information disclosed in the recent release. A reading of both will inform a fuller understanding of this matter.

Information Highlighted Green

This is information that falls into the category of possibly militarily sensitive information. This is information that WIRED explicitly made clear it had redacted, on ethical grounds, pending further vetting. Manning apparently describes various things: NSA wiretap and code-breaking capabilities, signals intelligence technology, Manning's alleged contacts in Washington DC, an elite cell of Hizbollah and Chinese botnet capabailities. Readers will also be able to see for themselves whether there was a valid public interest in withholding this information, or whether the stated motives for redaction pass muster.

Information Highlighted Pink

This is information having to do with the conditions giving rise to Manning's pending discharge at the time of the conversations. Previously, because of (entirely justified) redactions on WIRED's part, readers were led to believe that Manning was to be discharged for "adjustment disorder." This led to an adverse interpretation of his mental health on the part of the mainstream press, which was then used by his critics to stigmatize his alleged actions.

It can now be confirmed, from the chatlogs, that "adjustment disorder" was here a military euphemism for the gender identity issues that Manning was experiencing. The story that emerges from the unredacted chat logs is that an incident whereby Manning allegedly struck a superior officer served as an impetus for an inquiry into Manning's background. It appears that this made his psychiatric evaluations available to his superiors, and that his gender identity issues where hereby discovered, which were then used as a pretext for ejecting him from the military.

As a result, his then-pending discharge appears to be bound up with the US military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Other comments by Manning provide insight into how the gender/sexual orientation of serving individuals is, under DADT, unofficially tolerated, and officially ignored until it becomes a convenient way of dismissing service members - yet more evidence of the discriminatory hazards of that (now-repealed) policy. While this issue is separate from the whistleblower dimension of the Manning story, it has become relevant after several months of sustained perception management on the part of the establishment media, and the full chat logs provide some important context.

Visit WL Central's Annotated Chat Log Here

2011-07-16 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.

02:35 PM Wikileaks classified as an "extremist website" by the NLA (National Library of Australia). The classification can be seen here, as printed in The Most Dangerous Man In The World, a biography of Julian Assange, authored by Andrew Fowler. Another book on Wikileaks, Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s, can also be found under the ‘extremist’ category in the Library of Congress catalogue. Only a second book shares this category in the LoC catalogue : ‘U.S. strategy for countering jihadist Web sites…’
Questions remain as to why this classification was applied to certain books regarding the whistleblowing organization.

A few Wikileaks supporters who brought this to my attention are joining forces to enquire about and, if considered necessary, to protest against the ‘extremist’ label.

To contact the NLA on this subject through an online form click here. (edit: fixed link) Their telephone number is 02 6262 1458 (international code for Australia +61)

09:15 AM Revolution Truth has now officially released its first Wikileaks short film(!).
Read the press release here and visit their website to know more about this project and and how you can participate in their Wikileaks campaign by signing the open letter to the U.S. government and their Bradley Manning Campaign in support of the alleged whistleblower.

08:30 AM ‘How Wired Magazine Tried (And Failed) To Help The US Government Frame Julian Assange’, Jaraparilla analyses the chat logs between Bradley Manning and Adrian Lamo, published by Wired in their redacted entirety this week.

And asks the important question: ‘Why would Wired with-hold this critically important information [Julian Assange was unaware of the identity of his source] unless they were actively co-operating with US agents trying to fabricate charges against Assange?’

08:00 AM ‘In a Cable Released by WikiLeaks, State Department Officials Encourage Canada to Spin News Coverage of Tar Sands Pipeline’ via ThinkProgress

A cable shows the U.S. encouraged the Canadian government to increase ‘visibility and accessibility of more positive news stories’ concerning the Keystone XL Pipeline in 2009, a $13 billion proposed expansion of the oil pipeline controversial for its environmental impact.

07:45 AM A Pública announces: all of Brazil’s cables have been released. Almost 3000 documents from Brasilia, São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and Recife are available for public viewing.

00:55 AM While Julian Assange’s extradition appeal hearing was happening in London, in San Francisco diplomatic cables were being sung as a ‘guerilla opera’ conducted by Tom Comitta, entitled ‘Mr Smith Goes to Washington (Prozac for your AntiSec)’. The performance lasted for a total of 12 hours.

2011-07-17 Interview with Atanas Tchobanov, Balkanleaks' spokesman and co-editor

ImageAtanas Tchobanov is the spokesman for and co-editor of as well as a regular writer on WL Central. is a whistleblowing Web site modeled on WikiLeaks, and formed to "promote transparency and fight the nexus of organized crime and political corruption in the Balkan states." The site solicits "confidential documents related to political, criminal or financial topics, by offering a manner of collection that is secure and anonymous." is a Web site devoted to investigative journalism.

In a climate where only three years ago, the editor in chief of a Bulgarian online news provider was severely beaten following several attacks on journalists the same year, both and have been instrumental in exposing corruption and the abuse of power by organized crime and politicians. You can read some of Bivol's coverage here at WL Central and also here in Bulgarian and Macedonian.


2011-07-17 Archive Fever: A Crowd-Sourced Investigation into Library Catalogue Classification of WikiLeaks as an "Extremist Web Site"

NB: See end of story for updates, now including an official reply by The National Library of Australia & the US Library of Congress. Additional contact details for National Library and Archives Canada as well as the US Library of Congress have been added.

Submitted by @nyxpersephone.

This article would not have been possible without the help of many Twitter users, most notably @Asher_Wolf, @carwinb, @CassPF, @dexter_doggie, @issylvia, @jaraparilla, @JLLLOW, @m_cetera, @NOH8ER.

A Cataloguing-in-Publication (CiP) record is what you usually see on the second page of a book, right after the title page. It is similar to the catalogue record of a book in a library and contains basic information on the book, such as the author's name and the title of the book. It also contains "keywords" ("subject headers") that may be used by librarians and other information professionals to classify the book in their collections.

CiP records are usually provided upon request by national libraries and/or national bibliographic databases, such as the National Library of Australia (NLA) and the Library of Congress (LOC). So the CiP is a useful thing, albeit rather boring and usually only of interest to librarians and information professionals.

However, in the case of WikiLeaks and Andrew Fowler's book "The Most Dangerous Man in the World", the CiP makes for an interesting story. Examining the keyword section headers of the CiP-record on Fowler's book, one cannot help but notice the last one: "Extremist web sites".

Twitter user @nyxpersephone realised this and posted a screen grab of the Google Books view of Fowler's book to yfrog and twitter. The tweet got picked up and was retweeted by other users, using the #wlcat hashtag. A lively discussion on the reasons and implications of this subject occurred (discussion archived at Chirpstory and Pastebin).

Following the initial findings, confusion reigned on the Twittersphere as it was hard to understand why the keywords "extremist web sites" would be used in relation to WikiLeaks.

Twitter user @CassPF suggested contacting the National Library of Australia to enquire about the process of cataloguing and their choice of keywords. Another Twitter user, @jaraparilla, asked whether the David Leigh and Luke Harding book "WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy" was similarly classified. Several twitter users, most notably @asher_wolf, @issylvia and others then confirmed that this was not the case - the keywords used for the Leigh/Harding book included "Official Secrets" and "National Security".

Shortly later, @CassPF, a digital archivist, pointed out that The National Library of Australia apparently uses the US Library of Congress' subject headers/ keywords to catalogue their CiP records. Taking a closer look at the US Library of Congress' Subject Headings website for the entry "Extremist Web sites", one can see that the references given point to web sites inciting hate crimes, such as neo-fascist and jihadist web sites, radicalising immigrants and citizens in Western countries.

Based on @jaraparilla's question above, other books relating to WikLeaks were checked for their CiP records subject headers to see if they were also classified under "Extremist web sites". The results were quite surprising, even disturbing. Daniel Domscheit-Berg's "Inside WikiLeaks" was listed twice in the NLA catalogue, as a US edition and an Australian edition. The US edition did not have the "extremist web sites" keyword in its catalogue entry, while the Australian edition did.

A search with the parameters subject of "Extremist web sites" yielded four results in the catalogue of the NLA - all of which were related to WikiLeaks:

- the two books by Fowler and Domscheit-Berg,
- a book on WikiLeaks by an Indonesian author, and
- Julian Assange's as-yet unpublished autobiography, with the working title "WikiLeaks Versus the World: My Story".

Meanwhile, a similar catalogue search for "Extremist web sites" in the US Library of Congress only returned two hits: "Inside WikiLeaks" by Domscheit-Berg, and the records of a US Congress hearing on the strategy for countering jihadist websites (thanks to @issylvia for that search).

In the Library and Archives of Cananda, 17 items were found when searching for WikiLeaks, 4 of which have the "Extemist web site" subject header. These four are all copies of Domscheit-Berg's "Inside WikiLeaks".

The British Library, Deutsche Nationalbibliothek und Nationalbibliographie as well as Bibliothèque Nationale de France apparently do not use the US Library of Congress' Subject headers, so this particular subject heading cannot be found in either one of those institutions.

Surprisingly enough, there are other books related to WikiLeaks that are not classified with the "Extremist web sites" tag. Among them are Marcel Rosenbach's & Holger Stark's "Staatsfeind WikiLeaks", Alexander Star's & Bill Keller's "Open secrets", and Micah Sifry's "WikiLeaks and the Age of Transparency".

"Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier" by Suelette Dreyfus & Julian Assange has not been catalogued as "Extremist web sites" by the NLA or Library of Congress either.

These findings left those engaged in the discussion with mixed feelings. The following questions were raised:

1.) Who decides on and approves of the Subject Headers for the Cataloguing-in-Publication records?

2.) How objective and politically neutral is the choice of Subject Headers for Cataloguing, considering that the LOC is a US government institution that has blocked access to WikiLeaks?

3.) Why have The National Library of Australia and Library of Archives of Canada chosen to adopt the US Library of Congress' Cataloguing-in-Publication scheme, whereas The British Library hasn't?

4.) What are the potential implications of a book being labelled "extremist"?

5.) Will the subject headers for a CiP record be revised at one point, given that the first edition of Fowler's book is already out on the market and has the "Extremist web sites" subject heading in its CiP record?

It is important to note a few issues arising from these discussions:

1. The print and electronic editions of Andrew Fowler's book "The Most Dangerous Man in the World" as published by Melbourne University Press, have been permanently tagged with the label "Extremist web sites" (as @CassPF remarked).

Whereas it may be rather simple for the publisher to update the ebook version, the hardcopy edition cannot be easily revised and most certainly will not be pulled and revised due to a "simple" controversial subject heading.

This permanent record of a choice of a subject heading made by the NLA and the US Library of Congress might be of historical value decades from today, as it reflects the mind-set of NLA's/ LOC's cataloguing-in-publication units at that specific point in time (remember that William S. Burrough's "Naked Lunch" was banned for obscenity some 50 years ago but has been freely available in book stores for quite a while).

2. It is also a legitimate and important question to ask what the potential implications of this issue might be, as has been suggested above. @Asher_wolf wondered whether a book tagged with the "Extremist web sites" heading would be considered for purchase by high school librarians, while @CassPF pointed out that in the case of WikiLeaks, it is important to "preserve the meta-story accompanying it's core material; without prejudice or misinformation".

Furthermore, considering that a secret Grand Jury investigation on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange is currently underway in Alexandria, Va., the "extremist web sites" tag for a book associated with Julian Assange and WikiLeaks may also prove quite damaging, as @Asher_wolf stated.

3. Lastly, this choice of a subject heading does not appear to be politically neutral, which should ideally be the case in classification schemes in libraries and archives, as @nyxpersephone pointed out.

The search results for "extremist web sites" in NLA's and Library and Archives Canada's catalogues yielded four results each, all of them connected to books on WikiLeaks, while only two catalogue entries (one unrelated to WikiLeaks) were obtained for a similar search in the US Library of Congress catalogue (the largest library in the world, in numbers of items held). Based on these facts, one cannot help but wonder whether political neutrality of those library collections is still ensured.

Especially in the case of the NLA, with four different books being marked with the "Extremist Web sites" tag, an enquiry should be made with the person(s) in charge of cataloguing asked to check whether it is possible to rethink their keywords/subject headers attributions.

Andrew J Fowler, the author of "The Most Dangerous Man in the World", was contacted by several Twitter users on 16 & 17 July to seek his opinion on this matter. Mr Fowler replied that "this is news to him and that he will investigate" the issue.

Additionally, the publisher of Mr Fowler's book, Melbourne University Press, an imprint of Melbourne University Publishing, has been contacted via email by the author of this article to seek comment and clarification on the CiP record.

The National Library of Australia has also been contacted for comment and clarification on their process of choosing subject headers for Cataloguing-in-publication records and for their own catalogue. Comments and statements have also been sought from the US Library of Congress and Canada Library and Archives. At the time of publication, no replies were received from either institution (the story will be amended/updated appropriately as soon as we hear back from them).

Meanwhile, feel free to contact the NLA, LOC and Canada Library and Archives as well as Melbourne University Publishing to make your own enquiries using the contact details below.

The National Library of Australia's Cataloguing-in-Publication division can be contacted for enquires on existing CiP records via an online form and via postal mail at:

Cataloguing in Publication Unit
National Library of Australia
Canberra ACT 2600

Telephone: +61-(0)2-6262-1458

Fax: +61-(0)2-6273-4492

NOTE: The ISBN number of Fowler's book is: 978-0-522-858-662 (paperback) & 978-0-522-860-528 (ebook), mandatory for contact with NLA.

The US Library of Congress' Cataloguing-in-Publication unit can be contacted via postal mail at the following address:

Library of Congress
US & Publisher Liaison Division
Cataloging in Publication Program
101 Independence Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20540-4283
United States of America

Additionally, the Cataloguing and Acquisition division of the Library of Congress can also be contacted.
Ms Barbara Tillet, chief of Policy and Standards division can be reached via email at

General enquiries about and comments on the Library of Congress' cataloguing may be submitted using this online form.

Library and Archives Canada can be contacted via an online form. The Cataloguing and Metadata division of LAC can be contacted via email at and the CiP Coordinator office at the following email address
The postal mail address of LAC is:

Library and Archives Canada
395 Wellington Street
Ottawa, ON K1A 0N4

Telephone: +1-819-994-6881
Toll free number in Canada: 1-866-578-7777
Fax: +1-819-997-7517

Melbourne University Publishing contact details are as follows:

Melbourne University Publishing Ltd
187 Grattan Street
Carlton VIC 3053
Telephone: +61-(0)3-9342-0300
Fax: +61-(0)3-9342-0399

UPDATE 1: The National Library of Australia (@nlagovau on Twitter) has responded: "Categorisation of Wikileaks in our catalogue records has been updated. We thank everyone for their comments."

CassPF confirms: "To see listing of @nlagovau subject areas associated with all #Wikileaks books in catalogue see: Thank you NLA."

In a reply to the enquiry of the author of this article, Ms C Foster, Director of Australian Collections Management and Preservation Branch at the National Library of Australia stated:

"When creating the Catalogue in Publication record for The most dangerous man in the world by Andrew Fowler we referred to catalogue records for similar titles. The subject term "Extremist web sites" was one of the terms used in a record from the Library of Congress for a similar title and the term was reused in the NLA catalogue record for The most dangerous man in the world.
The inappropriateness of this term was not identified at the time. The record has been corrected this morning and the amended version is now reflected in our catalogue."

UPDATE 2: As of Tuesday, 19 July 2011, the US Library of Congress has removed all "Extremist web sites" subject headers in catalogue entries for books relating to WikiLeaks and its (former) staff.
This has been confirmed by LoC via their official Twitter account, @librarycongress. LoC stated that they "reviewed this matter and [had] taken steps to remove the "Extremist web sites" categorization from the record in question".

UPDATE 3: On Thursday, 21 July 2011, a spokesman for US Library of Congress, Mr J Sayers, stated in an article at CNET that Library of Congress "was not responsible for categorizing a WikiLeaks-related book as "extremist" and had decided to remove that label". Mr Sayers further said that "LoC adopted this classification in its catalog automatically after another major library system [...] had applied it to a recent book about the document-leaking Web site."
Sharing cataloguing notes is common practice among libraries and e.g. serves to avoid double entries in catalogues. This technique is known as copy-cataloguing.

As this statement from LoC somewhat contradicts the statement made by National Library of Australia, both libraires have been contacted on Friday, 22 July 2011 for further clarification on this issue.

2011-07-17 Freedom of Speech in the Age of WikiLeaks

A whirlwind of change in the way people communicate is sweeping the world. The spread of social media, blogs and online alternative media is rapidly changing how people are informed about current events. More are turning away from newspapers and TV, which have over the last few decades become monopolized by large corporations. Along with the spread of the Internet, WikiLeaks and their release of secret government documents has changed the landscape of the media. As Greg Mitchell's recent book title states, we are now in The Age of WikiLeaks.

There is much controversy over the future of journalism. The discourse surrounding WikiLeaks in its relation to traditional media has become the eye of the storm. Both the New York Times and The Guardian have come out strongly critical of WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times has refused to refer to Assange as a journalist. In an interview on PBS, Keller described Assange as an activist with an agenda to promote, carrying an ideology of transparency, claiming that his aim is to embarrass the US government. Recently, Keller's view on this topic has shifted a bit. He came close to admitting WikiLeaks is a journalistic entity. Yet, he distanced himself from the non-profit whistle-blower site, saying "it still wasn't 'my kind of news organization,' and that if Assange was acting as a journalist, 'I don't regard him as a kindred spirit - he's not the kind of journalist I am'" (as cited in Ingram, 2011).

There are various possible motives at work here. American mainstream media's lack of support and even hostility towards WikiLeaks could indicate simple jealousy of WikiLeaks' accomplishments and also may come from sensing a threat to the familiar way of practicing 'journalism'. Yet, the debate surrounding WikiLeaks' status as a journalistic organization and the question of whether First Amendment protections cover the unauthorized release of sensitive or secret government documents bring out a larger issue. It urges us to reexamine what freedom of speech and the press really is.

The First Amendment of the United States:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

Attorney Jonathon Peters wrote in his article titled WikiLeaks, The First Amendment, and the Press, "The First Amendment does not belong to the press. It protects the expressive rights of all speakers, sometimes on the basis of the Speech Clause and sometimes on the basis of the Press Clause."

In a representative democracy, it is vital for citizens to be vigilant and aware of the actions of their government and aware that they are free to speak. This is different from a monarchy where the authority comes from centralized throne of a King. The First Amendment was meant to bring a new balance of power between citizens and the government, particularly as a check on the executive branch. It gives ordinary people power to challenge the gap in power between those who are in a position of the official authority and the 'governed' on the street. Those who govern are meant to be in service to the best interests of the general populace. It is therefore both a right and also a responsibility in a democracy for individuals to engage as watchdogs against abuse of power. The First Amendment as a whole is meant to safeguard that role, encouraging communication between citizens and governments to move toward dialogue rather than monologue.

Peters brings out a question unique to the case of WikiLeaks:

To argue that the First Amendment would protect Assange and WikiLeaks only if they are part of the press is to assume (1) that the Speech Clause would not protect them, and (2) that there is a major difference between the Speech and Press Clauses. (Peters, 2011).

Journalists share the right of free speech and press with ordinary people as they themselves are citizens. Yet, they serve as a critical link as purveyors of mass communication. The press in its early form was simply the collective effort of individuals, aided by the technology of printing that gave power to multiply and distribute information faster and more effectively than any one individual alone. Though journalism is the only occupation explicitly protected by the U.S. Constitution, the journalist's freedom to print is there to serve the citizen's right to know and is not meant to take precedence over those citizens' right to speak, have access to and utilize all organs of communication.

Yet, what has been happening is a deviation from this Constitutional right, through monopolization of the organs of mass media and the professionalization of journalism. This was revealed in the established media's dealings with WikiLeaks. At the National Conference for Media Reform in Boston , one of the panelists, Greg Mitchell, writer for The Nation magazine described how the establishment media functions as a gatekeeper that decides what to withhold and what to cover. They decide what the public should know according to that media organization's relationship to those in power. When WikiLeaks first tried to partner up with established media organizations in a gesture of equality, these established media outlets such as the New York Times attempted to take the traditional stance of control and management.

How did the established media come into this role as self proclaimed gatekeeper? The profession of journalism arms itself with the creed of objectivity to exercise this control. This idea of objectivity can be traced back to the epistemology of physical science, which has been extended into the field of journalism and psychology in the guise of social science.

David Scott and Robin Usher (1996) showed how the foundation of knowledge for this notion of objectivity depends on validation by an outer authority:

One of the most important aspects of these epistemological "good ground" are that the researcher was "objective", i.e. that he or she was unbiased, value neutral and took care to ensure that personal considerations did not intrude into the research process - in other words, that the researcher's subjectivity has been eliminated as a factor in the knowledge claim. (p. 12) Yet, the so-called unbiased reporting is filled with private agendas. Constitutional scholar and blogger, Glenn Greenwald pointed out how American journalism identified themselves as a part of political power. Executive editor such as Bill Keller went to great lengths to show how he is proud of the fact that he always turns to the Administration for permission for what the Times should or should not publish. For some journalists, what they claim to be a creed of objectivity is actually replaced with or a cover for government authority or corporate interests.

David Allen (2005), associate professor of journalism describes the consequence of this creation of professional authority:

The importance of professionalism can be seen in the passivity it has created within the body politic. Individuals began to regard professional judgments, often supported by scientific data, as unquestionable, 'discouraging independent evaluation. (p. 54)

With the rise of the expert class in mass communication, a gap is created between professionals and layman, where people are not encouraged to think for themselves. They start to distrust their own intuitive and experiential ways of knowing. While science relies on external validation, an epistemology of art would be founded in a more subjective domain. When the scientific approach becomes more dominant, art is often degraded as inferior and considered an illegitimate way to process reality. Many of the creative avenues of art have been co-opted by commercial interests and are contained within constricted bounds. Music is labeled and controlled by big companies and public art or murals have been replaced by corporate advertisement billboards.

Instead of expanding the First Amendment right for all people, the professionalized media appears to have been doing the opposite. This censoring of art and particular political points of view is indeed a fundamental assault on free speech and amounts to a colonization of the cultural sphere, where citizens would naturally cultivate connection with their innate creative force through arts and education.

What is happening to WikiLeaks in terms of attempts to discredit them has already been done to ordinary people. Under the umbrella of professionalism, those in power tend to devalue or exclude the voices of citizens from participating in democratic action.

Image"Freedom of speech is something that represents the very dignity of what a human being is ... " said Mario Savio, a spokesperson of Free Speech Movement.

What was this freedom of speech that Savio so fiercely defended? The commonly held view is that freedom of speech is simply the right for people to speak without interference. One underlying principle for this idea is the notion of individuality. Interpreted from the Western framework of the idea of enlightenment, the focus is given to individual expression. Free speech as self-expression is a vital first step of any healthy communication. Yet, man does not exist in isolation. What is often not looked at is speech from the paradigm of the interdependent self. The meaning of speech is found in the communal ground because humans are inherently social beings and speech is only useful when there is common interest and active listening is involved. The capacity for dialogue where both parties are given space to freely express themselves with interest in the other is essential. True speech is founded on listening. It requires recognition of the other as an independent being. When one truly speaks, this act is based on the speaker's listening into where the listener of their speech is coming from.

This vital connection between the act of speaking and listening is not often given its due. In modern days, speaking as an avenue toward ones own personal gain is emphasized. Speech that is not grounded in listening becomes indulging self-talk or animal roaring without higher meaning. Established media has not been listening to the public. This disrespect for citizens is seen in the act of engaging the public in tabloid drivel, lowering news reporting into trivial gossip. Citizens voices are not held to be worth listening to. What could be a conversation easily becomes a monologue, with information that is fed from top down.

Language gets abstracted from the common ground. Those who are separated from listening can often speak with complexity and technical jargon. Such speech becomes babbling and tends to obscure or break down communication. Foremost it uses semantics and euphemisms that distort reality and cut off one's feeling from other human beings. Torture becomes enhanced interrogation. Illegal kidnapping is replaced with extreme rendition and civilians are described as enemy combatants. This one-sided communication that is often seen in traditional news does not make room for interaction, while increasingly popular online alternative media opens up a space for lively dialogue.

In today's mass media, the spirit of freedom of speech is often lost. By not engaging in active listening and by serving the moneyed elites, many established journalists end up actually working against the true meaning of the First Amendment.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Assange described how he was surprised by the lack of public response after the release of two war logs. When journalists act as professionals who have lost community values and become sentinels for the status quo and when art is enslaved to commercial interests, then public space is privatized or left in a vacuum. Citizens who became apathetic and cynical are driven to consume products of a soulless culture to fill that empty space.

In Guernica magazine article on April 29, 2008, Assange posed an urgent question:

What does it mean when only those facts about the world with economic powers behind them can be heard, when the truth lays naked before the world and no one will be the first to speak without payment or subsidy? WikiLeaks' unreported material is only the most visible wave on a black ocean of truth in draws of the fourth estate, waiting for a lobby to subsidize its revelation into a profitable endeavor.

There are a few excellent journalists, yet many who have professional skills become obedient, taking orders from authority. The failure of the Fourth Estate is only the surface of a deeper illness in society. The deeper issue is the decay of the cultural sphere, and absence of a public who holds policymakers accountable. Fredrick Douglas once said, "Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.

Systems will not change from the top, but only when demand for that change comes from the bottom, through the actions of ordinary people. Before journalists start acting out of morals and speaking truth to power, they must first be reminded of their roots as citizens that share communal values. What comes first is the enlivening of the cultural sphere, for each person to restore the lost union of speaking and listening. For this, the true impulse of art that had been enslaved by commercial and empirical supremacy must be allowed to freely speak once again.

The authentic hard source material of WikiLeaks made it possible for the organization to meaningfully challenge the authority of establishment and the sophisticated perception management that had been built up over the years. Their passionate disclosure of classified documents has broken the chains of the creed of objectivity that have kept people down in skepticism and apathy.


WikiLeaks's release of Collateral Murder broke through the shield of professions and showed the world what modern war really looks like. Assange described how WikiLeaks wanted "to knock out this 'collateral damage' euphemism, so when anyone uses it they will think
'collateral murder.'" (as cited in Khatchadourian, 2010). "Because Assange publishes the full source material, he believes that WikiLeaks is free to offer its analysis, no matter how speculative" (Khatchadourian, 2010). Only when this scientific approach is taken does a space open up for editorial freedom. WikiLeaks's titling of that video Collateral Murder was perceived by some as political slant. Yet, when publishing all source material and disclosing the motives behind it, what is characterized as political slant moves into the realm of artistic license.

WikiLeaks, with its editorial freedom and passionate activism, created a space where uncensored images from a war zone are disseminated freely, encouraging people to step out of a given framework to see things that had been intentionally concealed. Brutal and honest images confront preconceptions and sanitized images that emanate from the halls of power.

"'All' artists who believe in artistic freedom create work that challenge domination."(bell hooks, p. 42, 1995). The role of art lies in bringing constructive critique to a dominantly held view. WikiLeaks's presentation of Collateral Murder was an artistic act. It invited the world to examine what is portrayed through the euphemism, 'collateral damage', and to feel the misery of innocent people subjected to the barbarism of war - collateral murder. Images of the Apache helicopter, gunmen shooting at a crawling wounded man emerged before the public eye and could speak for themselves. They call for emotional engagement and for a compassionate shift in perspective. The use of Native American nomenclature in the US military such as Apache and Black Hawk helicopters had for a moment been lifted and revealed for what it is -the continuation of oppression of indigenous people and of genocide.

WikiLeaks instigated the freeing innate power of art. This is only just a beginning. Brazilian educator, Paulo Freire (2000) spoke of how once art's inherent creative power is released, it spreads and transforms the work of artists:

The arts gradually cease to be the mere expression of the easy life of the affluent bourgeoisie, and begin to find their inspiration in the hard life of the people. Poets begin to write about more than their lost loves, and even the theme of lost love becomes less maudlin, more objective and lyrical. They speak now of the field hand and laborer not as abstract and metaphysical concepts, but as concrete men with concrete lives. (p. 51)

Many around the globe are following WikiLeaks' lead to revitalize the cultural sphere and reclaim citizenry power. "I feel that is the job of any good writer or filmmaker or artist of any sort- to look at the thing that no one else wants to look at, to hold up the truths that most of society would rather deny, and to say, 'This is who we are.'" said filmmaker James Spione (as cited in Andrews,
2011). He lent his talent to bring life to the scene captured in WikiLeaks Collateral Murder video in a documentary, "Incident in New Baghdad"


"Art becomes a political act, a conscious effort to facilitate and participate in social change" said artist Dekade-Z (as cited in Andrews, 2011) who assisted with the birth of TheJuiceMedia Rap News. With its combination of rap and moving imagery this new news frequency stepped forward to deepen the Fourth Estate. "... We lost TV to Murdoch, the press to the sharks; This internet our last channel to connect to the mark. No rhetorical questions at last: If we lose this frequency we will be left in the dark" (RapNews 4: WikiLeaks v The
The creative duo of Hugo Farrant and Giordano Nanni calls for audience participation in history as it is happening.

When the true force of art is freed, it works to facilitate and engage a rapture of perception. Art communicates through listening. A conversation through images and feelings is the act of going where the audience is and presenting something that is open to the context of each individual's own life. It is the act of speaking and listening at the same time. For example, spoken word poet Taalam Acey speaks in a manner where those who hear him can feel they are being listened to through his words.

Speaking based on listening invites others into dialogue. For too long, establishment media has treated people as ignorant masses who passively receive information and become deaf to their community. Assange
repeatedly spoke of how WikiLeaks is taking the First Amendment and giving it to the world.

The First Amendment was founded on the spirit of the Declaration of Independence. "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights,..."

Who are the people that were meant to be equal in this historical document? Is it to apply only to US citizens? For WikiLeaks, it means everyone in the world. WikiLeaks is a transnational organization. They listen to anonymous whistle-blowers, whose voices up to then have been increasingly denied. It is the publisher of last resort, carrying voices that yearn to be free regardless race and nationality.

Since its creation, the Declaration of Independence has been regarded by many as a universal, even divine document that has inspired millions. If the ideals in the Declaration are truly universal, it would be extended to everyone. WikiLeaks appears to be working to fill the gap between ideals and reality. They are showing through their actions how freedom of speech is everyone's inherent right and not simply empty rhetoric.

How are they doing it? When people are so long excluded from any true democratic process, made to feel powerless, they eventually forget how to think and speak for themselves. While the State smothers speech, WikiLeaks listens. It is their genuine listening that frees the speech, making ordinary citizens feel that they themselves matter. Those who feel listened to start to trust their own thoughts and find words that organically emerge from their own experience. We saw this in the uprising of the Middle East. People began trusting their ways of knowing, their own experiences and intuitions that had been denied by authority. Assange spoke how Young people around the world, after feeling excluded from politics now begin to actively participate in taking hold of their own future.

Their action is revitalizing the First Amendment around the world. The new technology of the Internet and its decentralized open-source nature tends to neutralize power relationships. It allows power to flow back to ordinary people. The individual now can access and distribute information more efficiently. The internet is the modern equivalent of the first printing press, this time making publishing accessible to all. Social media such as Twitter connects people around the world.
It has transformed mass communication from one-sided, top down filters to two-way and peer conversations. As was seen in the recent AskObama Twitter Town Hall event, people around the world twittered and voiced opinions that till then had no forum.

Like an avalanche, courage is contagious. WL Central with its telos of "WikiLeaks news, analysis and action" responded to the call to fill in the vacuum in journalism. Sites such as these along with transnational social networking counter the propaganda of corporate media that relies on public ignorance and apathy. Asher Wolf and like individuals who seem to work with little sleep are crowd-sourcing, working for free to circulate the latest news and tweets to inform people what is happening around the world. The loosely tied online collective Anonymous has also emerged around the globe to demand the voices of citizens to be heard and illegitimate power challenged. WikiLeaks Forum and bloggers engage people with their articles to engage in comments and discussion.

WikiLeaks sparked interaction among these clustering grassroots that have bubbled up across borders. Billboards sprang up that seems to symbolize a transformation of the corporate landscape.

"You can speak freely ... It is really the thing that marks us as just below the angels" - Mario Savio

We are approaching the threshold of a great turning and are faced with a choice of the evolution or devolution of global society. A just and humane world depends on mankind's ability to communicate in support of one another. It is speech in service to relationship and to listening that Savio saw as giving man meaning.

"WikiLeaks is the intelligence agency of the people." They show how each can live up to the responsibility of the First Amendment. Exercising freedom of speech is taking responsibility for speaking as an act of listening. In the age of WikiLeaks, freedom of speech is not a professional privilege nor should it apply only to a particular nation or group of people. It is everyone's right and responsibility. Each person's act of free speech becomes a torch for a new civilization to come.

*References: *

Andrews, J. (2011, June 22). EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW! Director James Spione - 2011 Tribeca Winner for Best Documentary Short "Incident in New Baghdad" - On Filmmaking and Ethan McCord "Witness to Collateral Murder". *WikiLeaks -* Retrieved July 3, 2011 from

Andrews, J. (2011, June 24). Artists "Leaking" Visions Series - EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with "WikiLeaks Inspired" Artist Dekade-Z of "Courage is Contagious" and Juice Media RapNews Fame. *WikiLeaks -* Retrieved July 3, 2011 from

Assange, J. (2008, April 29). Julian Assange: The Hidden Curse of Thomas Paine. *Guernica.* Retrieved July 3, 2011 from

Allen, D. S. (2005). *Democracy, Inc.: The press and law in the corporate rationalization of the public sphere. *Chicago: University of Illinois Press.

Freire, P. (2000). *Cultural action for freedom.* MA: Harvard Educational Review.

hooks, b. (1995). *Art on my mind: Visual politics.* New York: New Press.

Ingram, M. (2011, Feb 4). NYT's Keller Almost Ready to Admit WikiLeaks Is Journalism. *Giaom.*com. Retrieved July 3, 2011 from

Khatchadourian, R. (2010, June 7). No Secrets: Julian Assange's Mission for Total Transparency. *The New Yorker.* Retrieved June 8, 2010 from

Peters, J. (2011, April 18). WikiLeaks, the First Amendment, and the Press. *Harvard Law & Policy Review*. Retrieved July 3, 2011 from

Scott, D., & Usher, R. (Eds.). (1996). *Understanding educational research.*New York: Routledge.

2011-07-17 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.

* In an attempt to preserve its influence, the U.S. took measures to delay and prevent the entry of India, Brazil, Japan and Germany into the United Nations Security Council. A cable shows these countries’ along with the African Union’s entry in the Council was a matter of private concern to the United States that maintained a public position of approval of the expansion.

"We believe expansion of the Council, along the lines of the models currently discussed, will dilute U.S. influence in the body. USUN currently starts most discussions about important Council tatements or resolutions with at least six votes (U.S., UK, France, and the three European delegations) and must secure three more to reach the required nine votes -- barring a P-5 veto -- for adoption. To take just the G-4 countries plus the yet-unidentified African state(s) that would join them in permanent membership, we are confident we could reliably count on Japan's support, and to a lesser degree, on Germany's. However, on the most important issues of the day -- sanctions, human rights, the Middle East, etc. -- Brazil, India, and most African states are currently far less sympathetic to our views than our European allies."

* U.S. State Department cables alleging Cambodia's foreign minister Hor Namhong was a former Khmer Rouge prison chief are being contested by the minister himself. The cables also add that he and his wife collaborated in the killing of many prisoners. Hor Namhong claims to have been a prisoner at a Khmer Rouge camp instead, and has successfully sued in the past those who affirmed he had ties with the Khmer Rouge regime. Former regime members in the current administration include Prime Minister Hun Sen, once a mid-level Khmer Rouge cadre.

* This week Cambodian newspaper Phnom Penh Post reports on diplomatic cables that shed light on the suspected involvement of the government in the unsolved murders of Free Trade Union activists and expose tensions with the the ruling Cambodian People’s Party (CPP).
Furthermore, the Phnom Penh Post has put together a useful list of significant revelations to be found in diplomatic cables relating to Cambodia under the form of 8 brief Wikiquotes that provide insight into the country’s political and legal system and international relations.

* The U.S. put pressure on Cyprus to store the Iranian munitions that ultimately caused the death of 12 people and wounded 62 in an explosion last Monday. via Reuters

* As an important addition to yesterday’s notes on WikiLeaks categorization as an ‘extremist website’ by the U.S. Library of Congress, a definition of the term as applied by the LoC.

Also, a more detailed take on the subject is now up.

2011-07-18 News International chief Brooks arrested over hacking scandal

Former Murdoch chief Rebekah Brooks was arrested and detained last night by British police on charges of conspiring to illegally intercept communications as well as corruption, in the form of bribing police.

Brooks was apprehended by detectives working on Operation Weeting – the UK Metropolitan Police’s phone hacking investigation, and Operation Elveden – the investigation into illicit payments to police officers, a July 18 Guardian article reported.

Until recently, Brooks had been defended by both Rupert and James Murdoch from the very outset of the now-widespread hacking scandal that began within the Murdoch-owned newspaper News of the World.

One of the most contentious cases in the scandal so far is that of teenager Milly Dowler, who was abducted on her way home from school and subsequently murdered. Milly Dowler’s family’s phone messages were illegally intercepted by News of the World staff.

Mark Lewis, the lawyer for Milly Dowler’s family has questioned the timing of the arrest, as Brooks is due to be questioned by a parliamentary committee next Tuesday.

“Undoubtedly, she will have the option of saying on Tuesday ‘I’m sorry I can’t answer that because I’m under police investigation ‘,” he said. “The timing gives the impression that those questions can’t be asked [at this time] looks deliberate.”

Liberal Democrat MP Adrian Sanders has also expressed grave concerns over the timing of the arrest, according to a July 18 article in The Age.

The House of Commons select committee maintained that it would not canvass material that affected any criminal investigation and Brooks now appears to be protected by that. Brooks has been offering to help the police since January, yet two days before she is due to stand before a parliamentary committee she was arrested.

BBC business editor Robert Peterson disagrees with the argument that the arrest was a deliberate attempt to avoid the parliamentary committee. Writing on Twitter he explains that according to her spokesman, Brooks would still be happy to appear before the select committee tomorrow.

Lawyer and broadcaster Mark Stephens also disregards the notion that Brooks was arrested as a ploy to avoid the parliamentary committee, writing on Twitter he states: “More ludicrous commentary that R Brooks [sic] won’t attend the select committee. Of course she will. She has a summons, so cannot avoid it.” He also writes that in his view she was never going to answer much anyhow.

An article by Michael White, a commentator for The Guardian, the UK paper leading the phone-hacking exposes, said to the BBC that the police were trying to divert attention away from serious questions about corruption and misconduct on their part: “This is a bit of showbiz by the police...The Met want to take the heat off themselves,” he said.

Brooks resigned last Friday over the phone-hacking scandal. She was an editor on the recently closed News of the World newspaper – during the period in which Milly Dowlers’ family’s phone was tapped – and also worked as editor on at The Sun, which actor Jude Law has accused of voicemail hacking.

Mrs Brooks has repeatedly denied any knowledge or involvement in the hacking and was on holiday leave during the period in which Milly’s voicemail was intercepted.

After persistent pressure for her to resign, Brooks resigned from News International on July 15, 2011. According to a July 15 article published on New Statesmen she said: “As chief executive of the company, I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt and I want to reiterate how sorry I am for what we now know to have taken place. I have believed that the right and responsible action has been to lead us through the heat of the crisis. However my desire to remain on the bridge has made me a focal point of the debate. This is now detracting attention from all our honest endeavors to fix the problems of the past. Therefore I have given Rupert and James Murdoch my resignation. While it has been a subject of discussion, this time my resignation has been accepted."

British Opposition Leader Ed Miliband has called for Murdoch’s UK media empire to be reduced, because it has “too much power over British public life”. Miliband has also stated that he would push for cross-party agreement on new media ownership in response to the Murdoch’s heavyweights’ handling of the phone hacking scandal.

“I think we’ve got to look at the situation whereby one person can own 20 per cent of the newspaper market,” he told the Observer newspaper.

So far, ten people have been arrested in the investigations, Brooks was given prior warning of the upcoming arrest on Friday shortly after she handed in her resignation and secured a US $3.5 million pay off from News International.

The phone hacking scandal, recently dubbed ‘Hacker-gate’ has spread virally since the initial infection within the News of the World newspaper. Murdoch outlets across the globe have come under scrutiny in the wake of the initial scandal in the UK. Politicians from Australia to the US have expressed concern that Murdoch outlets in these countries have been engaging in the same unethical and illegal practices.

In Australia, News Ltd is engaging in an investigation into the practices of its Australian publications: The Australian and The Herald Sun are the most prominent Murdoch newspapers in Australia; in the US investigations are being carried out by the FBI with regards to the phone-hacking of 911 victims’ families by Murdoch newspapers.

2011-07-18 Sean Hoare, #NOTW whistleblower, found dead

Sean Hoare, the reporter who first blew the whistle on News of the World editor Andy Coulson for the publication's phone hacking scandal, was found dead at his home in Watford, England on Monday according to reports in the Guardian and Hollywood Reporter.

The report follows the recent arrest and detainment of former Murdoch chief Rebekah Brooks by British police on charges of conspiring to illegally intercept communications as well as corruption, in the form of bribing police.

According to a report in the Guardian, Hertfordshire police did not confirm Hoare's identity, but stated "At 10.40am today [Monday 18 July] police were called to Langley Road, Watford, following the concerns for the welfare of a man who lives at an address on the street. Upon police and ambulance arrival at a property, the body of a man was found. The man was pronounced dead at the scene shortly after. The statement continues, "The death is currently being treated as unexplained but not thought to be suspicious. Police investigations into this incident are ongoing."

In 2007 Coulson stepped down as News of the World editor, a result of the the phone-hacking scandal. Coulsen then became Prime Minister David Cameron's director of communications that same year.

The News of the World phone hacking scandal involves the alleged industrial scale phone hacking by publications of News International and the collusion and bribery of the Metropolitan Police.

2011-07-18 The Guardian blames WikiLeaks for the arrest of Bradley Manning

ImageA new article by the Guardian's James Ball fleshes out David Leigh's allegation that Wikileaks is to blame for the arrest of Bradley Manning.

Last week's release of the unredacted Lamo-Manning chat logs contained more information on the means by which Bradley Manning is alleged to have leaked information to Wikileaks. For a year now, Julian Assange has insisted that he can neither confirm nor deny whether Bradley Manning is the source for the leaks, since - as a matter of policy - the identity of the source is not known to Wikileaks. Wikileaks protects its sources by keeping them anonymous through cryptography and a secure submission system. Even if pressured to reveal their sources by court order - so goes the reasoning - Wikileaks will be unable to do so.

The original redacted chat logs contained no information which contradicted this, but they did contain various passages which appeared to make the story less likely. In particular, Manning is said in the logs to have claimed to have "developed a relationship" with Assange. The unredacted logs, however, give a more complete picture, and appear to confirm that Assange was speaking truthfully. If they are genuine - which is not assured - the chatlogs relate how Assange, in what appear to have been anonymous communications, insisted on knowing as little as possible about Manning.

(02:56:46 PM) bradass87: he knows very little about me
(02:56:54 PM) bradass87: he takes source protection uber-seriously
(02:57:01 PM) bradass87: “lie to me” he says
(02:57:06 PM) Really. Interesting.
(02:57:34 PM) bradass87: he wont work with you if you reveal too much about yourself

If the logs are true, Wikileaks has entirely honoured its promise of source protection. It has done everything by the book. And yet, for Guardian journalist James Ball, the scrupulous insistence on rigorous operation-security on the part of Julian Assange is instead grounds for suggesting that he bears responsibility for Bradley Manning's arrest. Ball has, regrettably, twisted evidence of Wikileaks' good conduct in order to reflect on Wikileaks in the worst possible light.

Ball's article is only the most recent attempt by Guardian staff at scapegoating Julian Assange for the arrest and subsequent torture of Manning at the hands of the US government. For some time now David Leigh at the Guardian has been insinuating that Julian Assange is to blame for Manning's arrest. Speculation as to Leigh's motive for so doing cannot be conclusive, but it would be a fair guess to say it has to do with the mutual animosity between Leigh and Assange, which developed after Wikileaks broke with the Guardian late last year.

Leigh's commentary on Wikileaks since then - by and large promulgated through his twitter account - has been remarkably petty, and bears the indicia more of emotional vendetta than principled disagreement. He has seized on every controversy having to do with Wikileaks that has surfaced, however vulgar or inflated, and has distorted even positive news about Wikileaks so as to find a negative angle. Clearly attempting to affect a jocular tone, Leigh tends instead to come off as hopelessly obsessed and resentful. Nearly 90% of his tweets are clumsily transparent expressions of Wikileaks-directed schadenfreude.

Oh dear. Daily Mail latches on to allegation that #Assange was on a love-child spree. Bad for #WIkileaks. this time (click) via web Favorite Retweet Reply

The frustrations of a journalist would be reasonably innocuous, however, if it wasn't for the grave consequences that might result from the circulation of falsehoods in this highly-charged matter. In his baseless insinuations of fault for the arrest of Bradley Manning, Leigh oversteps the mark, and becomes the author of potentially harmful disinformation.

This particular thread in Leigh's vendetta surfaced shortly before the publication of his Wikileaks book, jointly authored by Leigh and Guardian colleague Luke Harding, in January. A Telegraph article revealed that the Guardian's tell-all Wikileaks book, in its account of the events described in the Lamo-Manning chat logs, prejudicially treated the chatlogs as reliable, and related as fact rather than allegation that Manning was Wikileaks' source. The Guardian, then, had found Manning guilty before the US government had ever put him in front of a court.

In fact, the book was even more indiscreet. As covered by WIRED magazine, Leigh and Harding's book related how, privately, Assange was concerned to hold off publication of the War Logs and Cable releases, and wanted to assert rigorous control over the schedule of those releases, so as not to prejudice Manning's case. While unaware whether Manning was actually the source - because of the anonymous nature of the submission system at Wikileaks - Assange was worried that journalistic efforts on the leaks might expose Manning to the risk of charges under the Espionage Act. While it is salutary to know of Assange's concern for the wellbeing of a possible source, the very publication of this story runs the risk of further cementing the impression in the minds of the public that Manning is guilty.

Leigh defended the book vigorously on Twitter, alleging industrial jealousy as a motive:

Jealous "Telegraph" makes absurd attack on Guardian book, falsely calls Manning a source. Gordon Rayner shameful this time (click) via web Favorite Retweet Reply

I'm really amazed at how spiteful and stupid the Telegraph is being about the Guardian's new book Sour grapes?at this time (click) via web Favorite Retweet Reply

@wikileaks Why lie, Julian? You won't go to heaven if you lie about the #Guardian book. You'll go somewhere elseat this time (click) via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Pressed on the issue by multiple twitter users, Leigh then explicitly stated that Assange had gotten Manning arrested, while also defending the practice of treating the chat logs as if they were true, because "life is too short" to presume, in print, the innocence of a man possibly facing the death penalty.

@sunny_hundal We didn't point out Manning leaked. Wired mag did. US Army indicted him. It can't affect his plight. Assange got him arrestedat this time (click) via web Favorite Retweet Reply

@trh_humunculus @wikileaks Think about it a minute. Manning's lawyer would have instantly denied contents of published logs, if this time (click) via web Favorite Retweet Reply

It certainly wasn't Wired mag who got Manning arrested for #Wikileaks. They published the chatlogs later. this time (click) via web Favorite Retweet Reply

@davidleigh3 How do you know what Manning's lawyer has done?at this time (click) via web Favorite Retweet Reply

@davidmhouse You're right. I don't know what Manning's lawyer has done. But we can't ignore realities on the #Guardian. Life's too shortat this time (click) via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Over the next month, Leigh took to dismissal of trenchant criticism, falsely alleging that it came only from teenagers, in a shameless deployment of an "argument from seniority."

Some fans, + a little crowd of angry teen detractors: what you get for writing a book about #Assange & #WikiLeaks. Serves us right, probablyat this time (click) via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Leigh thereafter renewed his insinuations of fault on the part of Assange, eventually posting the notorious "I like to think..." tweet, where his self-regarding dishonesty was so acute as to trigger a short-lived satirical meme under the #iliketothink hashtag.

@wikileaks Pilger and Assange - always craving to be centre of attention. Less concern apparent for Bradley Manning, who has been sacrificedat this time (click) via web Favorite Retweet Reply

@BeatriceJBray I like to think that if someone like #bradleymanning had first dealt with me at the #guardian, he wouldn't now be in jailat this time (click) via web Favorite Retweet Reply

The subsequent volley of questions asking precisely how Assange was responsible for the arrest of Bradley Manning was answered with a dismissive guilt-by-association fallacy. It was, we are to understand, Julian Assange's fault that Bradley Manning was arrested, because Adrian Lamo had once donated to Wikileaks.

I see the kids are quite sensitive about the way #bradleymanning got arrested (it was thanks to his trust in #Wikileaks donor Adrian Lamo)at this time (click) via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Leigh's argument here is clearly an inept attempt to admonish Wikileaks. Leigh appears to care about Manning's wellbeing only where doing so affords him grounds for an attack on Wikileaks. His ostensive concern for the plight of Manning extends, elsewhere, to endorsement of the Guardian's distasteful smear against the alleged motives of Manning:

Amazing #Guardian #bradleymanning video on #wikileaks. Fellow-soldiers say he was too sick to be sent to Iraq this time (click) via web Favorite Retweet Reply

But the attempt to lay Manning's hardship, not at the feet of those responsible for informing on him or carrying out his inhumane treatment, but at the feet of Wikileaks, does not stop at Leigh. James Ball has now committed himself to substantiating this counterintuitive conclusion. Ball - an ex-Wikileaks employee now employed at the Guardian - pubished an article on Saturday, and, from his twitter account, linked to it on these terms:

By me @commentisfree: How much responsibility does @WikiLeaks bear for Bradley Manning;s plight? this time (click) via web Favorite Retweet Reply

The article cites the recently released unredacted chat logs as a stimulus for debate on how Wikileaks may actually be at fault. Of course, Ball is subtle enough to avoid an overt statement of blame, taking pains instead to advertise - falsely - that he is not blaming Wikileaks:

Would Manning still have found and trusted Lamo without the leak a year before? It's impossible to say, and certainly unfair to lay the blame for Lamo's actions at WikiLeaks' door – but what the incident does underscore is that source protection is about far more than computer security.

Having agonized at length about the dubious complexities of the issue, however, Ball proceeds to strongly suggest that Wikileaks is culpable for the fact that Manning apparently trusted in a treacherous confidante. The crux of the argument is that by implementing faultless source-protection measures - by keeping its source at arm's length - Wikileaks failed to offer moral support to Manning, and that, unable to look to Assange for validation, Manning instead turned to Lamo. The crucial passages of Ball's article are the following:

Assange was keen to keep this relationship remote, likely believing this best protects both him and his sources. "He knows very little about me," Manning wrote. "He takes source protection uber-seriously. 'Lie to me,' he says."

Assange may never have known Manning's name, his motivations, or other details. The extent of the relationship would matter little for the source's (virtually non-existent) legal protection, certainly under US law. It is difficult to see who is protected by an arm's-length relationship with regular sources, other than WikiLeaks itself.

Sources are often vulnerable. By passing secrets or documents from the organisations they are committed to – especially in all-encompassing environments like the military – they further isolate themselves from those around them. Forging a human relationship is often necessary for both source protection and often human decency.

WikiLeaks' submissions page – which still cannot accept electronic submissions – makes a series of boasts: "WikiLeaks has never revealed a source," it says. "We cannot comply with requests for information on sources because we simply do not have the information to begin with. Similarly we cannot see your real identity in any anonymised chat sessions with us."

Such statements are technically true. But what matters is not who reveals a source, but whether a source is found. Solving just one technical problem is not enough. WikiLeaks has also boasted of legal protections offered to sources. "Submitting documents to our journalists is protected by law in better democracies," it claims, reassuringly.


WikiLeaks' greatest source is currently in prison. Instead of stressing no one has been caught through WikiLeaks actions, or boasting of security, WikiLeaks – and everyone else working in that world – should take a long look at what they can do better, and put the results into action.

If not, Manning may not be the last whistleblower to face the consequences.

Ball hereby contends that Wikileaks' greatest success is the kernel of a greater failure. Wikileaks' policy of total anonymization was expressly formulated as a solution to an otherwise inherent weakness in the infrastructure of public interest whistleblowing. When a whistleblower leaks to a newspaper, they will often have to entrust that newspaper with information that could possibly identify them. Their security is therefore only as strong as the ability of that newspaper to conceal the information from parties seeking to punish the whistleblower.

To give an example, in 1983, The Guardian complied with a UK court order, relinquishing leaked documents to the UK government which were used to discern the identity of the whistleblower Sarah Tisdall, who was thereafter sentenced to six months in prison under the Official Secrets Act. Betrayals of confidence along this line contribute to a chilling effect, discouraging whistleblowers from braving the risks of leaking to a press which often appears incapable of protecting them. In the Tisdall case, the penalties facing The Guardian for noncompliance with the court order were so adverse as to make the disclosure of its source the lesser of two evils. But Assange's strategy for anonymization of leaks is a means of ensuring that such pressure is effectively fruitless. If a newspaper cannot disclose its source, it is no longer a target for such oppressive measures. It is the most effective means of ensuring that the source is protected.

Ball, however, would have Wikileaks endanger the confidentiality of its sources by having less stringent source protection. Wikileaks, for Ball, is responsible not just for looking after its own end of the bargain, but also in part for decisions that the source might subsequently make to compromise his/her own security. Ball looks adversely on assurances that Wikileaks' operations-security is state-of-the-art, on the basis that this constitues a 'false assurance.' This is alleged to give rise to a false sense of security on the part of sources.

@x7o Stressing the security of an encrypted dropbox, given that's one tiny risk out of hundreds, perhaps gives false this time (click) via web Favorite Retweet Reply

Wikileaks, then, is to be faulted for being unable to honour promises it cannot - and did not - make. The only assurance Wikileaks makes is the only assurance Wikileaks is in a position to give. That a source who exposes him/herself is beyond Wikileaks' abilities to protect is deceitfully cast as a problem with Wikileaks, and not one outside of its control. But Wikileaks had taken efforts even to make this elementary fact plain to its sources. Even at the time Bradley Manning is alleged to have leaked to Wikileaks, Wikileaks website made quite clear that its source protection promises extended only to the information security end of the transaction. Onus clearly remained with the sources to ensure that they did not voluntarily disclose evidence of their conduct to a third party:

Is anonymity completely protected by the site?

It is hard for WikiLeaks to protect against "means, motive and opportunity" which are unrelated to WikiLeaks, but to date, as far as we can ascertain, none of the thousands of WikiLeaks sources have been exposed, via WikiLeaks or any other method.

Whistleblowers can face a great many risks, depending on their position, the nature of the information and other circumstances. Powerful institutions may use whatever methods are available to them to withhold damaging information, whether by legal means, political pressure or physical violence. The risk cannot be entirely removed (for instance, a government may know who had access to a document in the first place) but it can be lessened. Posting CD's in the mail combined with advanced cryptographic technology can help to make communications on and off the internet effectively anonymous and untraceable. WikiLeaks applauds the courage of those who blow the whistle on injustice, and seeks to reduce the risks they face.

Our servers are distributed over multiple international jurisdictions and do not keep logs. Hence these logs cannot be seized. Anonymization occurs early in the WikiLeaks network, long before information passes to our web servers. Without specialized global internet traffic analysis, multiple parts of our organization and volunteers must conspire with each other to strip submitters of their anonymity.

However, we also provide instructions on how to submit material to us, by post and from netcafés and wireless hotspots, so even if WikiLeaks is infiltrated by a government intelligence agency submitters cannot be traced.

It is only by a process of highly creative reasoning that - in these circumstances - Wikileaks could be considered even partially to blame for the arrest of Bradley Manning - even assuming that he was indeed the whistleblower. Listless prevarication over the many intricacies of the issue does not in any way abrogate the fact that Wikileaks has - on the evidence - behaved exactly as it always promised to. Neither does it fault the logic of complete anonymization as a means of source protection. Had the unredacted chat logs alleged that Assange had not been so scrupulous as to preserve anonymity, instead consoling and encouraging Manning, we would doubtless now be able to read anguished expressions of reproach for this, too, in the pages of the Guardian. By faulting Wikileaks for its flawless performance, The Guardian confirms that - for its purposes - Wikileaks can do no right.

Whether or not he is the source of the documents that have come to us through Wikileaks, the hardships Bradley Manning faces are grave. The exploitation of his plight by professional journalists, having the effect of discrediting one of the only organizations that has consistently acted with his best interests at heart, is an unfortunate slur on the name of journalism. The wrong is exacerbated by the fact that it is cloaked in the rhetoric of high-minded ethical concern and disinterested criticism. The greatest hazard is that these efforts might falsely erode public trust in Wikileaks, contributing to a new chilling effect, and thereby deprive our societies of one of the most significant victories for the cause of justice the world has seen in recent history. Staff at the Guardian - and elsewhere - would be best advised to dwell on serious questions about their priorities in the weeks ahead.

2011-07-18 The Wall Street Journal's First Amendment Hypocrisy

Late last night, the Wall Street Journal published a flailing, desperate editorial, attempting to tamp down the hacking scandal that has engulfed its owner Rupert Murdoch for the past two weeks. In a classic case of blame deflection, the paper took shots at several news organizations on both sides of the Atlantic that are not owned by News Corporation. But lost in the mire of attempted score settling and self-pity is the paper’s incredible stance on WikiLeaks and the First Amendment, which reeks of hypocrisy, and should not be left without a response.

The editorial, of course, does not dispute any of the facts in the hacking scandal investigation, which has been spearheaded by The Guardian and its intrepid reporter, Nick Davies. Instead, the Journal questions what’s driving The Guardian and its ilk, and then declares anything The Guardian has to say about journalistic ethics is null and void because it published, or partnered with others who published, documents leaked to WikiLeaks.

We also trust that readers can see through the commercial and ideological motives of our competitor-critics. The Schadenfreude is so thick you can't cut it with a chainsaw. Especially redolent are lectures about journalistic standards from publications that give Julian Assange and WikiLeaks their moral imprimatur.

This argument would also, of course, discount other papers’ comments on “journalistic standards,” including the Washington Post and the New York Times.

But despite its constant barrage of criticism towards Julian Assange, the Wall Street Journal has published countless stories using the same material The Guardian has. And the source for that material? WikiLeaks.

A small sample:

“Leaked Papers Show Arab Leaders Critical of Iran, Neighbors,” Nov. 29, 2010

In a Feb. 9, 2009, cable sent by U.S. Ambassador to Egypt, Margaret Scobey, to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, Ms. Scobey writes that Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak "has a visceral hatred for the Islamic Republic, referring repeatedly to Iranians as 'liars.' "

“In Cable, Ukranian Tycoon Speaks of Mafia Ties,” December 2, 2010

A Ukrainian gas tycoon admitted to ties to alleged mafia boss Semyon Mogilevich in a conversation with the U.S. ambassador to Kiev in 2008, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks.

US Cable: China Ordered Google Hacked,” December 5, 2010

One cable noted that Google's announcement early this year that it would stop cooperating with Chinese censorship regulations "presented a major dilemma" for the Chinese government because it made Google more interesting and attractive to Chinese Internet users, like "forbidden fruit." It also said accusations made at the time by Chinese authorities that Google was working with the U.S. government to undermine the Chinese government were part of a strategy to "appeal to Chinese nationalism."

“WikiLeaks Touches Shell,” December 10, 2010

Royal Dutch Shell PLC feared it could lose the bulk of its oil-license acreage in Nigeria after the country's new Petroleum Industry Bill is passed, according to one in a series of diplomatic cables that offer glimpses into the intersection between business and politics in Africa's biggest oil producer.

“Morocco Joins in, Defying Predictions,” February 21, 2011

“But as elsewhere in the Middle East and the Maghreb, a younger generation is demanding systemic change. If granted, it would transform the distribution of power in this nation of 32 million, stripping influence from what a U.S. diplomat described as Morocco's "monarchical autocracy" in a 2008 U.S. State Department cable published by WikiLeaks.”

“US Told Canada It Wouldn’t Curb Aircraft Airport Subsidies,” April 28, 2011

Canadian officials warned their U.S. counterparts in the fall of 2009 that Canada's Finance Minister Jim Flaherty would "go ballistic" if the country supported Washington's request to curb government-backed export financing that supported Bombardier Inc.'s (BBD.B.T) aircraft sales, U.S. diplomatic cables made public Thursday by WikiLeaks said.

“US Criticized Tokyo’s Nuclear Plan,” May 9, 2011

A series of cables released by WikiLeaks shows U.S. officials repeatedly prodded their Japanese counterparts to beef up security—and were regularly rebuffed.

“Mideast Uses Western Tools to Fight Skype Rebellion,” June 1, 2011

Skype also is a favorite among activists in Saudi Arabia and Vietnam, according to State Department cables released by WikiLeaks.

“Mexican Politician Detained on Gun Charges,” June 5, 2011

A 2009 WikiLeaks cable signed by the U.S. consul in Tijuana says "Hank is widely believed to have been a corrupt mayor and to be still involved in narco-trafficking." The cable recounts how Baja California state police refused to follow an alleged drug trafficker who took refuge in Mr. Hank's Tijuana dog racing track, right across from the consulate. "There are still plenty of safe havens for organized crime in the border region," the diplomatic cable says.

“Sizing Up Economy Isn’t As Simple As Studying GDP,” June 14, 2011

The release last year of U.S. diplomatic cables by WikiLeaks has added further fuel to the fire. Records of a 2007 conversation between China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang—then the party secretary of Liaoning province—and U.S. Ambassador Clark Randt revealed that Mr. Li had little faith in the GDP data, at least at the provincial level.

The list goes on.

And if that underhanded attempt to shoot the messenger weren’t enough to make you question their moral imprimatur, the Journal then tries to justify News Corp’s alleged lawbreaking by hiding behind the First Amendment.

In braying for politicians to take down Mr. Murdoch and News Corp., our media colleagues might also stop to ask about possible precedents. The political mob has been quick to call for a criminal probe into whether News Corp. executives violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act with payments to British security or government officials in return for information used in news stories. Attorney General Eric Holder quickly obliged last week, without so much as a fare-thee-well to the First Amendment.

Then, after denouncing a possible expansion of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act’s reach, the Journal sets up an irrelevant strawman:

Applying this standard to British tabloids could turn payments made as part of traditional news-gathering into criminal acts. The Wall Street Journal doesn't pay sources for information, but the practice is common elsewhere in the press, including in the U.S.

Yes, making it a crime for journalists to pay for stories would be an encroachment on the First Amendment. Except no one is arguing for that. The allegation against News Corporation is a bribery scheme to pay hush money to police officers so its journalists could continue their alleged hacking spree, despite literal stacks of evidence in the police’s possession indicating laws were routinely broken. From yesterday’s New York Times:

Inside [Scotland Yard] was a treasure-trove of evidence: 11,000 pages of handwritten notes listing nearly 4,000 celebrities, politicians, sports stars, police officials and crime victims whose phones may have been hacked by The News of the World, a now defunct British tabloid newspaper.


During that same time, senior Scotland Yard officials assured Parliament, judges, lawyers, potential hacking victims, the news media and the public that there was no evidence of widespread hacking by the tabloid. They steadfastly maintained that their original inquiry, which led to the conviction of one reporter and one private investigator, had put an end to what they called an isolated incident.

It turns out the police had evidence that over 4,000 phones were hacked. The News of the World was paying Scotland Yard, not for news scoops, but to keep its journalists out of jail. Last time I checked, the First Amendment wasn’t a defense for corruption.

The Journal then breaks out the slippery slope argument, saying an attack on News Corporation is an attack on all journalists:

The last time the liberal press demanded a media prosecutor, it was to probe the late conservative columnist Robert Novak in pursuit of White House aide Scooter Libby. But the effort soon engulfed a reporter for the New York Times, which had led the posse to hang Novak and his sources. Do our media brethren really want to invite Congress and prosecutors to regulate how journalists gather the news?

Certainly, no one wants to invite Congress and prosecutors to regulate how journalists gather the news. Yet the Wall Street Journal invited two members of Congress to call on prosecutors to investigate WikiLeaks under the Espionage Act, which would create new precedent in that very area. A prosecution of WikiLeaks for publishing classified information would open the Wall Street Journal to investigation of legitimate journalism like their investigation into the CIA’s role in Pakistan, which contains highly classified, yet newsworthy, information.

Even if Assange is never convicted, the investigation into WikiLeaks surely has the potential to engulf other reporters. Yet despite the Journal’s professed concern for journalistic freedom, it has printed editorial after editorial calling for Julian Assange to be thrown in jail.

Twenty years ago, long before he established WikiLeaks, Julian Assange was investigated, and later arrested and sentenced for hacking. Twenty years ago, Rupert Murdoch was one of the world’s most well known publishers with a penchant for setting the news agenda and a flair for the dramatic.

My, how the tables have turned.

Trevor Timm is the curator of the @WLLegal Twitter account, which aggregates and analyzes news on WikiLeaks and US law.

2011-07-18 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.

08:30 PM ‘U.S. supplied weapons “lost” by the Honduran military turned up in Mexico and Colombia’ via AlterNet.

A cable dating from 2008 documents how weapons supplied to the Honduras the U.S. Foreign Military Sales Program end up in the hands on drug trafficking organizations in Mexico and Colombia.

07:55 PM Major General Hussein Ali had been warned against shoot-to-kill order in 2008, a recently released cable titled ‘Kenya : Behind a calm façade, hardliners prepare for more violence’ shows.

"we believe that the established rules of engagement and situation-specific circumstances should continue to dictate minimal use of deadly force", U.S. ambassador Ranneberger states in the cable.

Hussein Ali is one of six suspects in the post-election violence case. Wikileaks cables will be used in court by chief prosecutor Ocampo as evidence against three other suspects.

04:45 PM Minileaks, el Wikileaks 'made in Spain' : a spanish website based on the WikiLeaks model, aiming to expose even the smallest abuses.

03:45 PM Online gallery of Wikileaks-inspired art exhibition Information is Currency.


05:00 AM The moderately critical political stance on Rupert Murdoch’s News International illegal and unethical practices and the harsh criticism directed at the whistleblowing organization Wikileaks analysed in ‘WikiLeaks vs News Ltd: Jail Murdoch, not Assange’.

04:10 AM Andy Worthington has published the third and fourth parts of a 10 part analysis of documents relating to the experiences and assessment of 114 Guantánamo prisoners released between 2002 and September 2004.
Worthington writes :
When lies and distortions are covered up on this scale, and an experimental prison built on torture and abuse remains open, even under a Democratic President who promised to close it, everyone who believes in justice should publicize what has been revealed, and, if you agree, I hope that you will share this information widely.

03:50 AM Following the efforts of a number of dedicated supporters, the National Library of Australia revised its classification of WikiLeaks as an ‘extremist website’ in their catalogue.

2011-07-19 @Lulzsec does not forgive, The Sun latest target

ImageThe international community was once again surprised by the action of @Lulzsec after the reporter Sean Hoare, the first person to blow the whistle on the News of the World editor Andy Coulson, who was linked to the paper's phone hacking scandal, was found dead in his home Watford, England on Monday. Hoare was an entertainment reporter for News of the World and The Sun media outlets.

Continuing their crusade for transparency and against corruption, The Lulz Boat crew hacked the page of The Sun newspaper, so that it displayed an article announcing the death of Rupert Murdoch, head of News Corp, the massive media company that operates in the United States, the United Kingdom, Continental Europe, Australia, Asia and Latin America, and to which The Sun belongs to. Subsequently, the same newspaper page redirected the visitors to the Twitter feed @LulzSec, who gained tens of thousands of new followers in a few hours.

Murdoch, aged 80, has said to have ingested a large quantity of palladium before stumbling into his famous topiary garden last night, passing out in the early hours of the morning.

Another officer reveals that Murdoch was found slumped over a particulary large garden hedge fashioned into a galloping horse. "His favourite", a butler, Davidson, reports.

Image The group of Internet activists @LulzSec derived from the Anonymous collective, has grown massively by showing just how fragile the security structure of contemporary cybernetics is. More than simply hacking systems, the group demonstrates a somewhat heroic ideology guiding its actions. The struggle to end corruption, both in governments and private institutions, the seek for transparency in order to wake the global population up to a daily routine of greater engagement and activism is making the Lulz Boat (not to be confused with the Louise Boat ) the herald of freedom worldwide.

2011-07-19 No Prosecution of Morgan Tsvangirai

Morgan Tzvangirai will not be prosecuted, a Zimbabwean panel has determined, in connection with comments he made to US diplomats, revealed in cables published by the Guardian.

The Financial Gazette, a Zimbabwean English-language news weekly, reports:

A PANEL set up early this year to probe alleged treason by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and leading ZANU-PF critics, has recommended that there are no legal grounds to prosecute individuals on the basis of accounts contained in WikiLeaks files, The Financial Gazette has established. The panel, set up by Attorney-General (AG), Johannes Tomana, was composed of some of the country's top legal minds, in terms of Section 76 of the Constitution, to sift through the WikiLeaks cables for possible breach of the country's laws.

In January, the potential charges against Tzvangirai were seized upon in a Guardian opinion piece by GOP public relations consultant James Richardson, who proceeded to argue that any harm that might come to Morgan Tzvangirai would be attributable to Wikileaks as "collateral damage," since, he argued, Wikileaks had failed to redact information that might incriminate the Zimbabwean PM.

The article caused a small controversy because in its zeal to criticize Wikileaks it glossed over severe inaccuracies. The initial point of publication for the original Tzvangirai cable, 09HARARE1004, had been The Guardian, and not Wikileaks, and - because of the the publication arrangement between Cablegate media partners - it was the Guardian which had failed to redact the information that had allegedly incriminated Tzvangirai.

WL Central covered the story as it happened, here. ZunguZungu also wrote an informative piece about how Richardson's piece was culpably simplistic in its treatment of political realities in Zimbabwe, such that it appeared to be mere opportunism. Glenn Greenwald covered the controversy here. The falsehood, that it was Wikileaks that was primarily responsible for the unredacted cable, however, was repeated casually throughout the online news arena.

The controversy eventually elicited corrections, a retraction and a high profile piece drawing attention to the issue, and acknowledging the hypocrisy of the Guardian.

Despite the lack of a clear argument against Wikileaks, the incident remained a favourite case for critics of Wikileaks, who, in their attempts to brand Wikileaks a dangerous and reckless organization, run up against a severe shortage of evidence of actual harm caused by Wikileaks.

The news that the investigation - commissioned by the Zimbabwean Attorney General Johannes Tomana - has concluded that there are insufficient grounds for prosecution of Tzvangirai conclusively ends this controversy. No harm will come to Tzvangirai because of the negligence of the Guardian. There is no longer any blame to shift to Wikileaks.

The news of the collapse of the investigation into Tzvangirai will likely see vastly less attention, however, than stories attributing sensational blame to Wikileaks. As evidenced by today's suspiciously partial WSJ article - where Bret Stephens defended criminal activity in the News of the World by drawing a moral equivalence between phone hacking and public interest whistleblowing - corrupt and lazy journalism does not scruple from the redeployment of discredited falsehoods:

But you can also see why the distinction between the Public Interest, loftily defined, and what actually happens to interest the public, not-so-loftily defined, is a piece of rhetorical legerdemain that masks a raw assertion of privilege. Was it in the higher public interest to know, as we learned from WikiLeaks, that Zimbabwe's prime minister and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was privately urging U.S. diplomats to hold firm on sanctions even as he was saying the opposite in public? No. Did the public want to know about it? No. What did this particular WikiLeak achieve? Nothing, except to put Mr. Tsvangirai at material risk of being charged with treason and hanged.

Concern for the wellbeing of Morgan Tzvangirai is laudable, and it is to be hoped that critics of Wikileaks will share the relief that there is no longer any risk of harm to him, regardless of how it might undermine their case.

2011-07-19 Wall Street Journal's Murdoch-Shilling Ratchets Up

ImageThe Wall Street Journal - a News Corporation outlet - is again engaging in aggressive damage control for the Murdoch empire by attacking Wikileaks. WL Central addresses the mendacity.

It appears that the Wall Street Journal - which publishes from News Corp's Celanese Building headquarters in New York city - is suing for the title of "Murdoch's Bulldog." Thinly veiled and deceptive attempts to control the message on the escalating News of the World scandal have been issuing from the once-respected news outlet. And the tactic seems to be diversionary. The second article in two days to defend News Corp by attacking Wikileaks was published today, penned by Bret Stephens.

Trevor Timm has already written here at WL Central about yesterday's clumsy WSJ editorial, which alleged hypocrisy at the Guardian, in that it criticized News of the World while publishing material from Wikileaks. Today's article belaboured the same spurious argument even further, as the air of desperation at News Corp intensified in advance of the Murdoch hearing today. Keen to deny his motives preemptively, Stephens notes:

It's probably inevitable that this column will be read in some quarters as shilling for Rupert Murdoch. Not at all: I have nothing but contempt for the hack journalism practiced by some of the Murdoch titles.

But the entire thrust of his argument undermines this claim. Stephens is either exceptionally ignorant of the facts on which his article touches, or he is very clearly shilling for Rupert Murdoch. These are the only two possible explanations for the deceitfulness on evidence here.

How Damage Control Is Done

The article is a collection of timeworn rhetorical swindles. Stephens' basic argument is a tu quoque fallacy: he attempts to distract attention from criminal activity in News Corp ranks by arguing that the rest of the press is just as deceitful. Even if this were true, it would be nothing more than a distraction from what is, without a doubt, a scandal very worthy of scrutiny.

To substantiate his argument-by-hypocrisy, Stephens raises a false equivalence between, on the one hand, Wikileaks' facilitation of conscientious whistleblowing by corporate and government employees and, on the other hand, criminal interception of private voicemail messages by powerful news organizations.

This false equivalence is only sustainable by lying outright, or by passing on the lies of others. There is simply no comparison between these two activities. To support his case, Stephens therefore marshals various demonstrable falsehoods about Wikileaks. The usual suspects make their appearance - the same old zombie lies, already discredited countless times.

Straightforward Falsehoods

Consider Stephens' initial claims of false equivalence:

In both cases, secret information, initially obtained by illegal means, was disseminated publicly by news organizations that believed the value of the information superseded the letter of the law, as well as the personal interests of those whom it would most directly affect.

There is little doubt that News of the World was engaged in mass criminality, at this point. But it is false to assert that Wikileaks obtained its information by illegal means. It is probably true to say that, when whistleblowers leak evidence of wrongdoing from centres of state and corporate power, they do so in violation of the law. This is often what necessitates the confidentiality of sources in the exposure of such activity. But it is misleading to claim that in passively receiving such information, Wikileaks violates any law.

Wikileaks has, to date, successfully defended all legal challenges to its activities. And if Wikileaks does not obtain its information by illegal means, it is all the more deceitful to claim that the news organizations who publish information from Wikileaks - a list of organizations which includes the Wall Street Journal - are thereby obtaining information by illegal means. It is perfectly consistent with normal press freedoms to be in receipt of classified information. While this has been challenged by states hungry for more secrecy, the courts have thus far protected the practice.

Stephens next relies on the myth that Wikileaks has caused demonstrable harm:

In both cases, a dreadful human toll has been exacted: The British parents of murdered 13-year-old Milly Dowler, led to the false hope that their child might be alive because some of her voice mails were deleted after her abduction; Afghan citizens, fearful of Taliban reprisals after being exposed by WikiLeaks as U.S. informants.

It is worth noting in passing that the phrase "a dreadful human toll" conjures images more of mass graves than fearful informants. But the central falsehood here - that the lives of Afghan informants were substantially endangered - has been discredited multiple times as a piece of straightforward US government spin. To date, Wikileaks does not have "blood on its hands," as has been so often cited. Furthermore, the controversy over the endangerment of Afghan lives rests on the allegation that Wikileaks was careless about harm minimization in its release of the Afghanistan War Logs. This too is a piece of government spin, calculated to conceal the US government's own negligence in helping with harm minimization.

Stephens, however, presumes damage on the part of Wikileaks, and quotes obediently from official government statements, presumably relying on trust that a faction which has a clear vested interest in seeing Wikileaks discredited would not fabricate harm to this end:

Seen in this light, the damage caused by WikiLeaks almost certainly exceeded what was done by News of the World, precisely because Mr. Assange and his media enablers were targeting bigger—if often more vulnerable—game. The Obama administration went so far as to insist last year that WikiLeaks "[placed] at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals—from journalists to human rights activists to soldiers." Shouldn't there be some accountability, or at least soul-searching, about this, too??

Elsewhere, Stephens raises another zombie lie from its umpteenth grave. Yesterday, it became known to the world, through the Zimbabwean press, that a treason investigation into Morgan Tzvangirai had collapsed. Wikileaks was blamed in January when journalists at the Guardian failed to redact some of Tzvangirai's comments from a published cable, which were then seized upon by Robert Mugabe's faction in the Zimbabwean government. Ironically, the most strident criticism of Wikileaks issued from the pages of the Guardian itself, although, after a week of criticism, the paper published a retraction, and recognized that it bore the responsibility. The falsehood that it was Wikileaks, and not the Guardian, which was responsible, was nevertheless invulnerable to the facts, and propogated freely elsewhere, as it has clearly done in Stephens' piece:

Was it in the higher public interest to know, as we learned from WikiLeaks, that Zimbabwe's prime minister and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was privately urging U.S. diplomats to hold firm on sanctions even as he was saying the opposite in public? No. Did the public want to know about it? No. What did this particular WikiLeak achieve? Nothing, except to put Mr. Tsvangirai at material risk of being charged with treason and hanged.

When these words were published it was already common knowledge that Tzvangirai is no longer to be prosecuted. While critics of Wikileaks, like Stephens, are happy to wax righteous about the endangerment of Tzvangirai's life, the discovery that he is no longer - and therefore never was - in any danger will likely be a substantial disappointment to them. Distortion though it was to blame Wikileaks for someone else's negligence - it was the closest thing to a point they had. It is for this reason that Tzvangirai's vindication is likely to be ignored by dissimulators like Stephens.

Mentioning Rape

In his attempt to tamp down controversy over the worst abuses of the tabloid press, Stephens scruples little from its tactics, indulging in a brief diversion through Assange's ongoing legal trouble - which has nothing to do with anything here - to throw in a specious association between public interest journalism and the word "rape."

You can see the attraction of this argument—particularly if, like Mr. Assange, you are trying to fight extradition to Sweden on pending rape charges that you consider unworthy of public notice.

The voluminous reservations that are to be had with the investigation in question are well documented, at WL Central and elsewhere. And in fact, it is to his credit that Assange has endured relentless scrutiny of this case so that the irregularities here can be exposed. Those have been - sadly - very worthy of public notice. But put this aside; Stephens isn't just being partial here. He is lying, whether intentionally or carelessly. In order for this not to be a casual libel, Stephens would have had to say that Assange is "trying to fight extradition to Sweden for questioning in connection with rape allegations." Doubtless, the mere mention of sex offences in this context - completely irrelevant though they are - would still have had the desired effect. But fidelity to the facts would not appear to be a priority for the Wall Street Journal, which just happens to share a building with Rupert Murdoch.

Failing to Understand Journalism

The crux of Stephens' false equivalence is an apparently formidable ignorance of the difference between personal privacy and state/corporate secrecy - an ignorance that is doubly repugnant in someone who claims to be a journalist. Taking issue with stringent criticism of Murdoch's News Corp by the rest of the press, he accuses them of "a piece of rhetorical legerdemain that masks a raw assertion of privilege." There is no difference between Wikileaks and phone-hacking, he tells us, except for the self-righteous prejudice of journalistic do-gooders:

The easy answer is that the news revealed by WikiLeaks was in the public interest, whereas what was disclosed by News of the World was merely of interest to the public. By this reckoning, if it's a great matter of state, and especially if it's a government secret, it's fair game. Not so if it's just so much tittle-tattle about essentially private affairs.

As Julian Assange told media partner Bivol, "I believe in the right to communicate and the inviolability of history, privacy for the weak and transparency for the powerful." It is a basic jurisprudential principle of civic democracy that the private individual must be protected from the abuses of arbitrary power. There are rigorous legal restraints on the exercise of state power to ensure that the necessary evil of strong government does not become harmful to the people it is supposed to serve. The concept of privacy is one such restraint, as is the concept of due process. When powerful organizations are able to flagrantly breach the privacy of individuals, they are given an almost total power over them, and there is nothing to prevent them from committing injustices.

Likewise, when powerful organizations and individuals are given the right to pervasive secrecy, they can shield abuses, and commit unaccountable injustices against private individuals. This is why there is a need for public interest whistleblowing, and it is why a press that focuses on the wrongdoing of the powerful is a crucial asset of a just society.

If Stephens had a proper grasp of the principles behind public interest journalism he would realize that News of the World - a hitherto unaccountable organization exploiting vulnerable individuals - is exactly the sort of entity Wikileaks would insist could beneficially become more transparent. By criticizing voicemail interception, publications like The Guardian are acting entirely consistently with the principles that led them to publish stories by Wikileaks.

There is therefore no moral equivalence between News of the World and Wikileaks. Instead, two different analogies are worth bearing in mind. A similarity between Wikileaks' public interest motives and those of The Guardian in the tireless exposure of News of the World. And that between News of the World and a U.S. government which avails of the prerogative of state secrecy to lie and dissemble, mislead its public, spy and violate civil liberties on the domestic front, and commit acts of state terrorism and the crimes of aggression abroad.

If Bret Stephens was a journalist, all of this would be clear to him. But he cannot be that. To appropriate the term 'journalist' as one who engages in clamorous apologism for state and corporate criminality, and for the abuse of the vulnerable, is to offend against the language we speak. His attacks on Wikileaks are merely the incidental symptoms of a general malady: the inversion of the function of the press by corporate monopolies and incestuous loyalties. At best, Stephens has negligently misstated the facts. At worst, he is a liar for hire. And either way, it is abundantly clear which payroll he is on.

2011-07-19 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.

* Updated: Fourteen people arrested in the U.S., suspected of being in connection with the group that carried DDoS attacks on Paypal's website as a form of protest against the financial blockade that has been imposed on WikiLeaks.

* No legal grounds to prosecute Zimbabwe’s Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai based on diplomatic cables published by The Guardian, a panel has decided.
For more on this subject please read No Prosecution of Morgan Tsvangirai.

* A cable reveals how the United States was warned by Senator Heraclito Fortes, the Brazilian chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations and National Defense committee, against a collaboration between Iran, Russia, and Venezuela to promote ‘Anti-American’ ideology and make more arms available to radical populist governments in Latin America.

Venezuela’s interference and influence in the region, and a perceived closer relation between Iran, Venezuela, Bolivia and Ecuador were matters of concern.

Fortes told the Ambassador, poloff, and assistant army attache that he is "truly concerned" about Iranian and Venezuelan activities in the region, including financing "friendship organizations" between congresses and even potentially financing arms sales.
He spoke of Iran's growing relationship with Venezuela and Ecuador and even indicated that the recent trip of President Putin to Iran was extremely successful and dealt with many of the difficult issues that had to be resolved. In mentioning arms sales, Chairman Fortes again underscored Iran's interest in helping Brazil, depending on Brazil own interest.

Fortes was critical of the United States Government ‘indifference’ to the situation :

The USG is "indifferent" to what is happening in the region and he urged the USG to take notice of Venezuelan, Russian, and Iranian plans in the region, saying, "You are children: you ignore a problem until it is well along and then it is too late."

And claimed that ‘there was pressure from unknown quarters within Brazil to purchase Russian arms’, then urging the U.S. Government to adopt a plan to promote arms manufacturing partnerships with Brazil and Argentina to 'arm the region', suggesting this could done indirectly through arms firms without publicly linking the U.S. to the increased arms sales.

* WikiLeaks Cambodia : Sour Srun Enterprises, owner of the land in the Chamkarmon district of Phnom Penh from where 146 families were evicted in 2009 is believed to be ‘a front for Canadia Bank [of Cambodia], whose General Manager Pung Kheav Se is an advisor to [Cambodia’s Prime Minister] Hun Sen’, a recently published diplomatic cable from Phnom Penh shows.

Last year, Canadia was involved in the Koh Pich land dispute where families were evicted in similar fashion to what is occurring at the Tonle Bassac site., the cable from 2006 reads. Canadia ‘may not want to be the center of bad publicity again, and therefore a front company was formed to keep government officials’ names out of the press.’

* The U.S. Library of Congress has now also revised its classification of WikiLeaks as an ‘extremist website’ as attributed to Daniel Domscheit-Berg’s book on the subject. The book no longer falls under this category.

2011-07-20 #WikiLeaks Amendment: How the Australian gov't responded to #Cablegate.

Authored by Slackbastard


On November 28, 2010 WikiLeaks—in conjunction with other major media organisations—began publishing classified United States diplomatic cables, detailing correspondence between the US State Department and its diplomatic missions around the world.

The publication of these cables has had an enormous impact upon world affairs. In its 2011 Annual Report, the human rights organisation ‘Amnesty International’ nominated the publication as a major catalyst in a series of uprisings against repressive regimes in the Middle East and North Africa—the so-called ‘Arab Spring’.

Not everyone has welcomed the revelations contained in the WikiLeaks publications quite so warmly, however, and governments around the world have begun to implement measures designed to stifle such activity.

In Australia, these measures are being implemented by way of a series of amendments to laws governing the operations of the state’s intelligence and security apparatus.


In an interview with Fairfax Radio conducted just days after the first cables were published, Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard declared “I absolutely condemn the placement of this information on the WikiLeaks website—it’s a grossly irresponsible thing to do and an illegal thing to do”.

This alleged legality, however, was not at all as straightforward as PM Gillard imagined.

Less than a week later, PM Gillard retreated from her claim, unable to nominate any Australian law WikiLeaks may have broken in publishing the cables. Gillard later claimed that “The foundation stone of it is an illegal act… It would not happen, information would not be on WikiLeaks, if there had not been an illegal act undertaken.”

An investigation by Australian Federal Police into WikiLeaks subsequently concluded that it was unable to establish “the existence of any criminal offences where Australia would have jurisdiction”.

As of this date, no charges have been filed against WikiLeaks for publishing the cables. However, US Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning—currently being held in an Army prison in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas—faces multiple charges in relation to the alleged leak, and if found guilty could receive a life sentence. Further, WikiLeaks and its supporters are currently the subject of a Grand Jury investigation in what journalist Glenn Greenwald describes as “part of a much broader campaign by the Obama administration to crack down on leakers”.

Amending the Law

Having failed to discover an Australian law under which WikiLeaks could be prosecuted, in early 2011, the Gillard Government introduced a new Bill into the Federal Parliament: the ‘Intelligence Services Legislation Amendment Bill 2011’.

This legislation—dubbed “the WikiLeaks amendment”—considerably broadens the legal powers available to ASIO to investigate matters of concern to the state, especially as it relates to the activities of “foreign” organisations. The amendment has important implications for all members of civil society engaged in the investigation, reportage and critical scrutiny of matters state authorities believe are best kept out of public discourse.

NB The amendment was preceded by the ‘Telecommunications Interception and Intelligence Services Legislation Amendment Act’ passed—with the support of the Opposition—in March 2011. It expanded ASIO’s ability to share with other agencies information obtained from wiretaps and computer access.

In May, Philip Dorling of The Age wrote:

Government sources told The Age last year that there was legal ambiguity over whether ASIO could collect intelligence on WikiLeaks under its foreign intelligence collection function. The issue turned on whether WikiLeaks could be defined as a “foreign political organisation”.

Last week the government introduced legislation (since passed) to define ASIO's role more broadly to include collection of intelligence “about the capabilities, intentions or activities of people or organisations outside Australia.”

According to the government the proposed amendment, known informally as “the WikiLeaks amendment”, reflects “the changing nature of threats to Australia, since activities undertaken by non-state actors, whether individually or as a group, can also threaten Australia's national interest”.

The legislation has been warmly received by the Opposition and rushed through the Parliament, with the only criticisms from within Parliament being voiced by the Greens.

On June 23, the Greens “warned… that a Government plan to significantly broaden ASIO's mandate was unjustified and dangerous”. Questioned by WA Greens, Senator Scott Ludlum before the ‘Legal and Constitutional Affairs Committee’ on May 25, 2011:

The Head of ASIO was very resistant to discussing Wikileaks, neither confirming nor denying anything. Mr Irvine hadn't read the submissions from legal experts into the Bill currently before the parliament that will dramatically expand his agency's ability to spy on civil society organisations like Wikileaks.

Senator Ludlum also noted that questioning revealed that “it took 6 AFP officers a total of 18 days to conclude that Wikileaks had broken no Australian criminal offence and there was no basis for an investigation”.

Media inquiry

In addition to the Fairfax press, the “WikiLeaks amendment” has been closely examined by Bernard Keane in the independent online news source Crikey. Keane notes that the current definition of a “foreign organisation”:

…allows ASIO to apply to the attorney-general to spy on foreign governments or foreign political organisations, but would be dramatically widened under the amendment to allow spying in relation to anything to do with “the interests of Australia’s national security, Australia’s foreign relations or Australia’s national economic well-being.” (Source: Mysteries of the ASIO amendment survive Senate scrutiny’, June 17, 2011)

The Government’s seeming inability to explain the rationale behind the amendment at the Senate inquiry prompted it to make an extraordinary third submission (its second submission sought to respond to issues raised by the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law) in which it claimed that the amendment would provide “authorities with a better understanding of illegal fishing operations, and enable the relevant Australian authorities to take appropriate action internationally. Illegal fishing puts at risk Australian jobs, investment and the sustainability of fish stocks.”

As Keane wryly commented, “So there you have it—the one clear example of why the government wants a significant expansion in ASIO’s foreign intelligence remit is to provide it with “a better understanding of illegal fishing operations”. It has nothing to do with WikiLeaks, but is all about the fish.” (Source: ‘ASIO: fishers of men’, June 21, 2011)

Something fishy

There is indeed something very fishy about the “WikiLeaks amendment”, from its timing to its bi-partisan support within (and speedy passage through) the Parliament, the absence of any clear rationale for its introduction, and its exceedingly wide potential application.

In addition to the Greens and some journalists, the Law Council of Australia, the Federation of Community Legal Centres (Vic), and the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law have raised objections to the amendment in their submissions to the Senate inquiry. The Castan Centre’s comments on the amendment and its potential impact upon WikiLeaks operations are worth quoting at length. It makes particular note of the fact that:

…amendments would permit ASIO a much wider scope to investigate the activities of Australians who are overseas, and whose activities do not pose any threat to Australia’s security, but perhaps do have implications for Australia’s foreign relations or economic interests. This could include Australians involved in non-violent political activities abroad, which while posing no threat to Australia’s security, and not involving any foreign political organisations, might nevertheless be seen as having implications for Australia’s foreign relations (for example, because they would be perceived adversely by the government of the country in which such activities were taking place). An example of such activities might include the release of secret government information by an Australian living abroad, such as has been the case in respect of Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Currently, information about Wikileaks probably would not constitute foreign intelligence – because Wikileaks is (arguably) not a foreign political organisation, and its activities do not threaten Australia’s security (as defined in section 4 of the Australian Security Intelligence Organisation Act 1979 (Cth)). But Wikileaks is an organisation, and Mr Assange is a person, outside Australia, and their activities evidently do have implications for Australia’s foreign relations. This example shows how the notion of “person or organisation outside Australia”, combined with the notion of “Australia’s foreign relations”, very considerably expands the scope of ASIO’s potential activities.

2011-07-20 Negotiating democracy – backdoor talks on Burma’s democratization revealed #cablegate #wikileaks

During the 7 years Aung San Suu Kyi, Burma's world renowned pro-democracy dissident, was under her second house arrest - from 2003 through 2010 - nothing was publicly known about the diplomatic efforts to promote democracy between the international community and the Burmese military dictatorship.

The U.S. and European states imposed economic sanctions to pressure the regime, and ASEAN (Association of South East Asian Nations) member countries publicly denounced Burma without meaningful results. Recently released Southeast Asian cables by WikiLeaks, along with cables from India and China, provide a clearer picture of international efforts - from the frank reluctance of ASEAN member countries to push the Burmese regime in private talks to reports from inside-Burma.

Burma: NDL leadership expel competent young pro-democracy members, while the regime’s ‘economic patronage network’ remains firm


Htein Lin, Saffron Revolution II.Acrylic on canvas, 2008

Aung San Suu Kyi is nothing more than a ‘symbol’; real moves toward democracy grow from the very grass-root levels

08RANGOON557 reports on the main obstacles to Burma’s democratization, while debunking common beliefs. The cables reveal that alleged frictions between regime leaders bore little importance. While small disagreements existed, they were aware that ‘if they do not stand together, they will fall together’, and consequently forced to obey the then dictatorial leader, Than Shwe, on critical decisions. (Shwe was deposed from the position and personally designated Thein Sein as a successor in March, this year).

Rumors of splits at the top of the regime are the result of uninformed analysis and wishful thinking of the exiles and outside observers. While the senior generals may disagree from time-to-time amongst themselves (as witnessed after Nargis), they follow the orders of Than Shwe. The senior generals are keenly aware that if they do not stand together, they will fall together.

Another myth concerns the power of Aung San Suu Kyi as an effective democratization force in the country. The embassy pol/couns chief disagrees: although she remains a respected symbol of democracy, NLD's (National League for Democracy) role as a main actor for the pro-democracy movement has significantly shrunk. According to the cable, the reason stems from the inflexible and quite conservative ‘Uncles’, the leadership of the party; who criticized other leaders of the pro-democracy demonstration in 2007. The 2007 protests were recorded as a biggest pro-democracy demonstrations in 20 years:

Without a doubt, Aung San Suu Kyi remains a popular and beloved figure of the Burmese majority, but this status is not enjoyed by her party. Already frustrated with the sclerotic leadership of the elderly NLD “Uncles”, the party lost even more credibility within the pro-democracy movement when its leaders refused to support the demonstrators last September, and even publicly criticized them.

According to the cables, the ‘Uncles’ eliminated members they believe were 'too active', including young figures who flamed grass-roots sentiment or challenged the regime’s human rights abuse and corruption. They also stuck to a strictly hierarchical structure, which hindered progress with time-wasting talks on abstract policies and prevented young members from taking initiative to promote more creative and effective methods:

The Party is strictly hierarchical, new ideas are not solicited or encouraged from younger members, and the Uncles regularly expel members they believe are “too active.” NLD youth repeatedly complain to us they are frustrated with the party leaders. … The “Uncles” have repeatedly rebuffed the most dynamic and creative members of the pro-democracy opposition, who reinvigorated the pro-democracy movement throughout 2006 and 2007 by strategically working to promote change through grass-roots human rights and political awareness and highlighting the regime’s economic mismanagement. … Instead, the Uncles spend endless hours discussing their entitlements from the 1990 elections and abstract policy which they are in no position to enact. … Additionally, most MPs-elect show little concern for the social and economic plight of most Burmese, and therefore, most Burmese regard them as irrelevant.


Htein Lin, Gate. Houseprint, 4 April 2000 Mandalay Jail

India: Burmese regime is illegitimate, but useful – Burma as a practical tool in fighting north-east separatist movements

07NEWDELHI847 provides a clear view of the Indian government's stance on democratization efforts in Burma. India views the current regime as a highly useful political and economic tool, and idea the Indian government is reluctant to give up. The reasons include India's conflict with the ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom, a group in north-east region insisting on separation from India) and Burma as sole gateway to ASEAN markets:

He asserted that Burma was an essential part of the GOI's two-pronged approach to tackling its insurgency problem in the northeast. The first element of the strategy is military, and "Burma is the only one helping us." Pointing to alleged Bangladesh unwillingness to confront Indian insurgent groups camped on its borders, Kumar argued, "Tell Bangladesh to cooperate and I am happy to say bye-bye Myanmar." Referring to the second approach, Kumar stated that "Bangladesh's stubbornness in allowing access to transit routes for trade leaves us with Burma as the only alternative to connect the northeast to ASEAN markets," and provide an economic incentive for ULFA to lay down its arms. "Do you want us to connect through China?" he asked.

According to the cable, India prefers the status quo, and is well aware that it is backing a regime internationally recognized as illegitimate:

PolCouns pushed back, noting that the Burmese junta was using its military might to violently repress innocent civilians. He also warned that India may experience a strong backlash for supporting the junta when a legitimate Burmese government comes to power. Kumar acknowledged that the possibility was a GOI concern.

For more information on the stance of the government of India on Burma in this article published by The Hindu.

Singapore: Burma is a battlefield of China-India power game, let alone the democratization

Singapore is a key ASEAN member. Burma's acceptance into the coalition is regarded as precious cover for the country's supposed legitimacy, therefore ASEAN pressure on the regime has always been regarded as one of the most important diplomatic pressures.

Singapore has lead the public denouncement of Burma's human rights abuses and in particular the political persecution of Aung San Suu Kyi. In 07SINGAPORE1932, Singapore’s Minister Mentor Lee Kuan Yew flatly expresses regrets in accepting Burma as a ‘new member’ of ASEAN, blaming member states' traditionally shared ‘antipathy to Communism'. Regarding the democratization process in Burma, he talks in an ambiguous manner: “It will be a long process,” he says. Instead of providing active solution, the Minister comments that Burma is a battle ground for China and India, where both have a vast economic interests:

He asserted that China had the greatest influence over the regime and had heavily penetrated the Burmese economy. China was worried that the country could "blow up" which would endanger its significant investments, pipelines, and the approximately two million Chinese estimated to be working in the country. India was worried about China's influence in Burma and was engaged with the regime in an attempt to minimize China's influence.

Cambodia: Burma Caucus, a public anticlimax

Cambodia, one of the three new members of ASEAN - along with Laos, Vietnam and Burma, has also been reluctant to make a public denouncement. The Burma Caucus was inaugurated in August 2006 to discuss the democratization of Burma in Cambodia but received scant support from officials of the ruling CPP (Cambodian People's Party). After a reported letter from the Burmese regime (06PHNOMPENH1534) protesting the establishment of the Burma Caucus and the Cambodian government's invitation to NLD MPs to join the launch which referred to Burma's democratic activists as "terrorists”, the Prime Minister of Cambodia, Hun Sen - who was formerly positive about the effort - confessed that Cambodia long-maintained ties with the new ASEAN members of ASEAN and rarely took harsh lines on Burmese regime. In 07PHNOMPENH534he notes that 'Burma has disturbed relations within ASEAN and with ASEAN partners', and 'Cambodia -- along with Laos and Vietnam -- have suffered.' According to Hun Sen, ‘pushing the regime too hard’ would only result in the regime moving closer to China and India, with no progress regarding democratization:

Any public discussion that could cause a loss of face to the Burmese leadership will not be productive, he noted. ... Burma can move forward, underscored Hun Sen, but one needs to find a way for the regime to do so without pushing too hard. In that event, Cambodia's efforts will not succeed, serving to push the regime closer to China and India and perhaps force a split within ASEAN, he said. The key to democratic progress is proper balance and a better understanding of the situation and the leadership dynamic in Burma, maintained Hun Sen.

2011-07-20 Press Release | Peoples Liberation Front - Operation Belarus

ImageJuly 19, 2011

It has come to the attention of the Peoples Liberation Front the current plight of the freedom loving people of Belarus. Using social media and the internet, the people of Belarus have risen up against their dictator in a popular street movement modelled on the revolutions spreading globally from the mid east to Africa and beyond.

These protesters, along with the national and international journalsists covering these events have been brutalized, arrested - and persecuted. The Peoples Liberation Front will not stand for this, and now launches Operation Belarus to defend and assist these courageous protesters and reporters in Belarus.

Tomorrow at High Noon in Minsk, Belarus (5:00 AM Eastern Time USA) the forces of the PLF will take down the web site of the dictator of Belarus located @ - and we will from this day until the tyrant leaves power remove this site from the interwebz. This initial action and raid will be accompanied by a Black Fax and E-Mail Bomb action targeting the Office of the President of Belarus. PLF Operation Belarus has begun. Remember our Official Peoples Liberation Front Motto: Nil Desparandum - No Despair.

Peoples Liberation Front

2011-07-20 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.
New cable(s) were released today.

08:40 PM Haiti Liberté journalist Dan Coughlin weighs in on the impact of WikiLeaks revelations in the country.

The release of secret U.S. Embassy cables has provoked a maelstrom in Haitian politics, threatening the approval of a prime minister-designate, damaging the career of a leading right-wing politician, and throwing Haiti’s tiny and ultra-rich elite into a paroxysm of public mea culpas., he writes.
Bernard Gousse, President Martelly’s choice for prime minister, responsible for persecuting Aristide supporters during his time as a Justice Minister is now facing decresed parliamentary support and Haitian businessman Fritz Mevs addressed a letter for apology to Senator LaTortue for statements of his contained in the diplomatic cables.

Haiti's real enemy and the true source of insecurity [was] a small nexus of drug-dealers and political insiders that control a network of dirty cops and gangs that not only were responsible for committing the kidnappings and murders, but were also frustrating the efforts of well-meaning government officials and the international community to confront them., he told U.S. Ambassador Foley in 2005.

The letter sees him praise individuals he had described as narco-traffickers and kidnappers in 2005, Dan Coughlin points out.

07:40 PM Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline largely favored by the United States and India over the Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) ‘peace’ pipeline, which would operate to the same effect but is according to cables ‘stalled under U.S. pressure’. via The Hindu

03:35 AM The ACLU’s lawsuit challenging the U.S. Government’s decision not to declassify 23 widely distributed diplomatic cables following a FOIA request was met with an evasive response:

Last week, we received the government’s initial response to our lawsuit; it demonstrates just how far they are willing to go to evade responsibility.

First, the government denies that we even asked for State Department cables in our FOIA request. Instead, they argue that we only requested what we claim are State Department cables. Of course, while insisting that the American people are not entitled to know whether the leaked cables are authentic, the government has simultaneously aggressively pursued the alleged source of the cables.

The government also assured us that even if we had requested what are in fact State Department cables, those cables do not “describe federal government activity.”

02:25 AM WikiLeaks cables suggest serious shortcomings in Cambodia’s willingness to abide by human rights treaties – and China’s continuing influence in the country. via The Diplomat

Facing pressure from the Chinese Government, Cambodia ultimately deported a group of Uighur asylum seekers in 2009, disregarding international refugee protocols.

The deportation was followed by a contritbution of $1.2 billion in bilateral aid from China.

01:50 AM "Dr. Paul Farmer, who has worked in Haiti for nearly three decades and now serves as the the U.N. deputy special envoy for Haiti, discusses how U.S.-backed coups and neoliberal programs have not only subverted Haiti’s democracy, but also seriously weakened its public health." via Democracy Now !

00:00 AM * Updated: Fourteen people arrested in the U.S., suspected of being in connection with the group that carried DDoS attacks on Paypal's website as a form of protest against the financial blockade that has been imposed on WikiLeaks.

2011-07-21 Open Letter to Attorney General McClelland: Compounding the Crimes against David Hicks.

Attorney General of Australia
The Honourable Robert McClelland
Dear Sir

It is with much dismay and revulsion that many Australians, inclusive of legal practitioners, observe the ongoing persecution of David Hicks, under the guise of mounting an action to confiscate his book royalties under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002. After five and a half years of incarceration in the legal black hole of Guantanamo Bay, subjected to torture and numerous other breaches of his human rights including an unfair trial, application of retrospective law, abandonment by the then government of Australia (and active cooperation by it in his abuse): it is an act that reiterates, condones or inherently approves of - and raises yet again, the question of accessorial liability for - the internationally recognised, egregious and illegal acts of the US administration at that time.

The facts of the matter are that David Hicks, to end his unjust ordeal, under extreme duress and coercion, pleaded to a charge of providing material aid to a terrorist organisation: that US law being retrospectively applied contrary to the ICCPR and under a flawed Military Commission Act disowned by the current president . The Australian government aided and abetted that plea, knowing of the abuse, and with domestic legislation cooperated with the US to see to it that David Hicks served out the remainder of his sentence in an Australian jail, prohibited from speaking out under a further Control Order, which was at that time, not just, but such a politically convenient result for John Howard, prior to the 2007 election.

The Communication prepared by his counsel to the United Nations Human Rights Committee (as part of the Optional Protocol) is a starting point of that abuse.(Pdf)

273. To summarise, the ill-treatment of Mr Hicks by US authorities which…included:
(a) Assaults and violence against his person (including beatings, punching, kicking, slapping, being stepped or trodden on, being repeatedly hit in the head by rifle-butts,and having his arm twisted);
(b) Sexual abuse and humiliation; and being stripped naked;
(c) Repeated threats by weapons (including shotguns, pistols and semi-automatic rifles);
(d) Forced kneeling or being forced into other painful stress positions in interrogation or during detention;
(e) Prolonged hooding and blindfolding;
(f) Frequent tight handcuffng and shackling, causing extreme pain to Mr Hicks' wrists and ankles;
(g) Enforced medication or drugs (including when notified of the charges against him);
(h) Sleep disruption and sleep deprivation;
(i) Prolonged exposure to bright lighting and excessive continual noise;
j) Deprivátion of the ordinary necessities of living (including adequate food, exercise and hygiene basics such as a toothbrush and toilet paper); lack of food resulted in Mr Hicks' weight dropping from 160 to 128 pounds between December 2001 and early 2003;
(k) Threats of rendition to torture in Egypt;
(l) Verbal theats and harassment;
(m) Prolonged solitary confinement; and
(n) Fearfully witnessing or learning of abuse of other detainees, including use of attack dogs, serious violent assaults, 'IRF-ing' (use of excessive force by 'Initial Reaction Force'), religious humiliation, exposure to extreme temperatures.

All this egregious treatment Minister was:

390 …contrary to article 7 of the ICCPR, the 1984 Convention against Torture, Common Article 3 of the 1949 Geneva Conventions and customary
International law. Torture is a war crime and an international crime.

And as to his abandonement by the Howard government:

387. Further, to the extent that Mr Hicks was denied a fair trial in the context of an international armed conflict, the involvement of individual Australian government personnel in such denial may amount to a war crime under international humanitarian law (Fourth Geneva Convention1949, article 147), for which Australia would bear international legal responsibility.

Minister, giving you the benefit of the doubt that you didn’t instigate this legal action; that you ignored Senator Brandis and left the decision to the Director of the Commonwealth’s Department of Public Prosecutions; that you do indeed support free speech and would never seek to muzzle publication of politically unpalatable truths exposing the US and Australian governments to opprobrium for illegal acts: it is suggested that you have an obligation to advise the Director that his action may well be a further breach of the ICCPR, that it reinforces (arguably accessorises) the effect of the above posited war crimes against Hicks.

Further, in one sense, it is also a contempt of the Optional Protocol and Communication by Hicks’ counsel to the UNHRC, quoted above, which additionally seeks a remedy of undertaking by the Australian government not to proceed on this very course of confiscation.

Lastly, should the matter unfortunately resolve in the favour of the DPP, we look forward to a case in the High Court with perhaps more than passing mention of the implied rights of political communication under our Constitution. In that case the Director may well have the undivided sympathy of one Mr Theo Theophanous, former Labor party member

Yours Faithfully
Peter Kemp
Solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW.

The Attorney General can be contacted at:

Correction thanks @melbourneninja (The Honourable Robert McClelland is not a senator.)

2011-07-21 Open letter to servicemen and women regarding supporting WikiLeaks in the U.S. Military

Authored by data venia

To this day, supporting WikiLeaks remains unreasonably controversial. Depending on a person’s country of residence, job position, and so forth, the opposition to this support varies greatly. But there is one area where being pro-WikiLeaks is criminalized like none other: the United States Military.

As an American citizen I never expected to have my freedom of speech challenged so heavily. But I have realized that the U.S. Military is practically a separate entity from the country it represents. This is most easily expressed by the fact that it operates under its own set of laws, the Uniformed Code of Military Justice (UCMJ). As goes the saying reiterated by many soldiers, “We are not a democracy; we just protect it.”

The story of how and why I joined the military is unimportant. At the time I was ignorant of world events. I was basically like a typical American, who knew nothing of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan besides the fact that they existed. It wasn’t until December of 2010 that I finally became educated on the matter, and that was almost solely thanks to WikiLeaks. Surprisingly, I hadn’t even heard of WikiLeaks until that point, which goes to show that, as much as the U.S. Military loves to hate it, it would rather pretend WikiLeaks never existed.

I knew from the beginning that I could never voice my support without consequence. This fact was concreted quickly by my supervisor’s calls for Julian Assange’s assassination, as well as my friend’s belief that Bradley Manning deserved a life sentence in prison. I did tell a close and trusted friend of my support, hoping he would understand, but instead he turned on me and threatened to report me to the special investigations unit on base. At this point, even more so, I knew those I deemed as trustworthy must be carefully chosen.

As I continued my work in the military, my support for WikiLeaks only grew. Not only because of my personal unhappiness with my job and work, but by the apathy of my coworkers, and the blatant hatred they expressed for Iraqi and Afghan people. At one point I even had someone call me a “terrorist” for reading Al Jazeera.

Twice more I attempted to share my opinion on WikiLeaks with others. The first person seemed to be interested, but as it happened, that interest was feigned solely as an attempt to get closer to me. And the second just showed blatant apathy. After describing to them the entirety of the “Collateral Murder” video, they paused, then simply asked, “…And?” I was completely dumbfounded. At first I had hoped it was just ignorance and military bias keeping soldiers from understanding the good of WikiLeaks, but it turns out that, for many of them, it is also a complete disconnect from people of any other country but their own.

Though seemingly all military members are anti-WikiLeaks, there is a difference depending on age and rank. The younger, lower-ranking soldiers seem to be generally apathetic, and could care less about WikiLeaks. But they do disapprove when asked. I assume this is because of the way it has been presented by the military, and not of their own opinions. Whereas the more senior a member is, the more strong their hatred seems to be, to the point of ridiculousness. For example, my command has said that Human Rights groups are “anti-military” and a “threat.” The idea that high-ranking individuals in the United States Armed Forced have connected “human rights” with “anti-military” is, to me, horrifying. And even further, my command continued to say that associating with individuals connected to Human Rights groups could be grounds for investigation.

Many times have I wanted to take a stand and tell those around me that I support WikiLeaks. The one time my office had a discussion on the topic, I could only do so much to correct inaccuracies without sounding suspicious. But the consequences that come with voicing support are something that must be thought about intricately. With the grand jury that has been commencing in Alexandria, Virginia, it is obvious that even supporting WikiLeaks in the civilian world can lead to troubling issues. So, it is only reasonable to figure that doing so in the military would be many times worse.

One would hope that the U.S. Military would hear of a WikiLeaks supporter and, at the very worst, give them a swift boot out the door. But of course, the immediate step taken would be an investigation, followed by possible criminalization, and even jail time, as shown by the Royal Navy medic, who conscientiously objected to rifle training due to WikiLeaks revelations and was sentenced to 7 months in prison.

But would the U.S. Military truly be able to criminalize you for simply supporting WikiLeaks? To answer that, I would like to refer to Article 134 of the UCMJ, which states:

“Though not specifically mentioned in this chapter, all disorders and neglects to the prejudice of good order and discipline in the armed forces, all conduct of a nature to bring discredit upon the armed forces, and crimes and offenses not capital, of which persons subject to this chapter may be guilty, shall be taken cognizance of by a general, special, or summary court-martial, according to the nature and degree of the offense, and shall be punished at the discretion of that court.”

As Wikipedia describes it, this is a “catch-all” article, and is for “many offenses that are not covered by other specific articles of the UCMJ. These other offenses… vary from kidnapping to disloyal statements.”” In other words, this article can be used anytime the U.S. Military wants to criminalize something that has yet to be specifically defined as a crime.

So, those of us who are in the military, and who do support WikiLeaks (I know I cannot be the only one out of 1.5 million U.S. military members) are at a rather difficult crossroad. Do we continue in silence, serving out the remaining years of our contact with a strained conscience, or do we step up and voice our opinion, willing to face the dire consequences?

2011-07-21 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.
New Cable(s) were released today.

10:40 PM TimeWorld analysis of the recently released Phnom Penh U.S. embassy cables which detail concerns of the U.S. with China’s growing influence over Cambodia.

10:15 PM Prince Andrew steps down as a representative for British trade overseas. In a diplomatic cable dating from 2008, U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan Tatiana Gfoeller described a lunch meeting with Prince Andrew as "astonishingly candid, the discussion at times verged on the rude (from the British side)".

08:10 PM Upset by the content of the first diplomatic cable from Dominican Republic to be published by Noticias SIN, the Presidency's Antinarcotics Advisor labeled U.S. ambassador Hans Hertell's accusations of corruption a 'horrible perversity'.
He also claims to be about to reveal 'hidden facts' about the ambassador's political relations.

06:20 AM Noticias SIN is now in possession of all diplomatic cables relating to Dominican Republic, it has been announced, with the disclosure of a cable concerning corruption in the country’s Supreme Country of Justice and respective plans to counter it:

"...[President of the Supreme Court of Justice]Subero revealed to [ambassadors] Hertell and Bullen that SCJ Vice-President Rafael Luciano Pichardo appears to be deeply involved in official corruption and is possibly attempting to subvert the ongoing trial of individuals implicated in the 2003 fraudulent collapse of Banco Intercontinental (Baninter)..."

05:40 AM Wikileaks followers are no longer visiting an "extremist website" via Examiner

After WikiLeaks announced via twitter that their website had been removed from the ‘extremist website’ category in the catalogue of the Library of Congress, Examiner and msnbc have picked on the story.

Great part of the discussion took place under the #wlcat hashtag on twitter and has been archived as a chirpstory for easy consultation.

05:30 AM Julian Assange will take part in this year's Splendour in the Grass festival in Australia on the 29th July with a pre-recorded video statement that will screen as part of next Friday's session "Big Brother v Little Brother: From Government and Big Business to WikiLeaks and Anonymous, Who Really Controls Our Online Secrets?", headlined by his mother, Christine Assange, who stated: "This is a unique opportunity to hear directly from these people the stories the mainstream media has suppressed and the things they don't want you to know."

Also participating are Suelette Dreyfus, author of Underground and his australian lawyer Grace Morgan.

Update: Julian Assange will also open the International Media Congress in Berlin in September, via satellite.

00:00 AM A first hand account of one of yesterday’s Anonymous arrests can be found on reddit: FBI raided my house with a search warrant today (20 agents, guns drawn) because they seem to believe my 13 year old son was an integral part of the ANON ddos attack on Paypal.

Wikileaks and EFF advise :

"FBI at the door with a search warrant? You have rights. Print & keep this nearby:"

2011-07-22 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.
New Cable(s) were released today.

08:40 PM Diplomatic cables analysed by The Telegraph show criticism had been previously directed at Norwegian intelligence for failing to keep track of suspected terror cells and having a complacent attitude towards terrorism.

U.S. authorities reportedly had to ‘press’ their Norwegian counterparts, as there was a generalized feeling of ‘immunity’ to potential attacks.

Today a deadly bombing took place in the country’s capital Oslo, outside the building that housed the offices of the country’s Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, killing 7 people, and a shooting in Norway’s Utoya island where the Prime Minister’s Labour party youth section's yearly gathering was taking place also made several victims. The exact number is yet to be determined. via Reuters

06:35 PM The first of ten parts of Andy Worthington’s WikiLeaks and the Guantánamo Prisoners Released from 2002 to 2004 analysis can now also be read on the WikiLeaks website.

Four parts of this series have been published at

06:30 PM Lawyer Mark Stephens, who was until recently part of Julian Assange’s legal team, appears to have been one of Rupert Murdoch’s News of the World phone-hacking victims.

08:05 AM Contacted by CNET, the Library of Congress denies originally categorizing WikiLeaks as an extremist website.
Instead, according to a spokesman, the classification was automatically adopted from the catalogue of the National Library of Australia. Both have removed books having WikiLeaks as a subject from the ‘extremist website’ category after receiving inquiries from supporters of the organization.

07:10 AM WikiLeaks’ partner in Mexico ‘La Jornada’ exposes a request of intervention of the United States, then under the Bush administration, in Mexico's 2006 presidential election. The Archbishop of Guadalajara asked for U.S. assistance to prevent popular leftist candidate Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) from winning the election, which proved controversial for suspicions of electoral fraud.

The archbishop, Cardinal Juan Sandoval Iñiguez, described the rise of popular socialist governments in Latin America as a ‘dangerous trend’ :

"Sandoval after mentioning his personal dream of building a sanctuary in Guadalajara to commemorate Mexican martyrs, echoed some of our Vatican interlocutors in raising concern about the increasing presence of leftist leaders in Latin America - Castro, Chavez, Morales, Kirchner, Bachelet, and perhaps Lopez Obrador - and called it a dangerous trend (ref B). He asked whether President Bush could help. Sandoval said that under Lopez Obrador's governance, crime and violence had risen in Mexico City."

(A similar take on this story, in english, by the newspaper Guadalajara Reporter.)

06:55 AM Julian Assange sent out a short message to the Dominican people (low quality video, the original was broadcast by Noticias SIN).

The SIN media group is in possession of 2000 diplomatic cables relating to the Dominican Republic. An analysis of the first cable to have been released, on corruption in the Supreme Court of Justice, can be seen here (video in spanish).

2011-07-23 From the Metroon to #WikiLeaks: People, power and the archive #wlcat

What is an archive? What is its purpose? Has the kind of archive that has evolved in 20th and early 21st century Western civilisation remained consistent with the underlying principles of the contract struck between the people and the State in a democracy, whereby the State establishes the archive in part as a guarantee of its ability to carry out its actions in a fair and accountable way? WikiLeaks, embodying as it does a renegotiation of the boundaries of knowledge and power that exist between the citizenry and the State, has brought into sharp relief the unhelpful layers of bureaucracy and vested political interests that have blunted the power of the archive in society. Now, as technology permits us to sweep away many of the encumbrances of the paper based recordkeeping legacy, is it possible for the archive to reclaim its position at the heart of a healthy democracy?

The archive in the Greek city-state of Athens in about 400 BC was located in the Metroon, a temple situated by the courthouse in the centre of the city. This archive housed the law, contracts, diplomatic records, court proceedings, and other records – even archiving the day’s art forms such as the plays of Sophocles and others. These were the raw materials of the first democracy, and they were open to any private citizen to access and make copies. The archive was watched over by the magistrate, or ‘archon’, hence our word ‘archive’. This indicates the extent to which the archive related directly to the law; the archive was the law, it provided the foundation from which power in society was wielded. And the people (of the right class and education) could access records from this trusted repository without intermediaries, either physical or administrative, to understand for themselves how their government was operating.

ImageIn his seminal work Archive Fever (1996), French philosopher Jacques Derrida references the role of the archon in his exploration of the role and purpose of the archive, arguing that it is through control of the archive that political power is exerted. His argument is, in part, that “Effective democratisation can always be measured by this essential criterion: the participation in and the access to the archive, its constitution, and its interpretation.” The centrality of the archive to the use and abuse of power has been well illustrated in the meticulous record keeping practices of repressive regimes from the East German Stasi to the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. Once the regime falls, the archives are opened and become a powerful resource for those who have suffered injustices to seek redress or simply to understand.

However despite this understanding of the vital importance of the archive to a just and well managed society, it could be argued that public archives today have failed to uphold the qualities which put the Metroon at the very heart of Athenian life. A variety of factors including the massive quantities of paper based records generated from the second half of the twentieth century, a lack of adequate technologies to identify and capture records of significance, a separation of the record keeping process and the archive, and laws and practices favouring secrecy have left government archives too often as the passive recipients of records that are long removed from the business to which they relate, impotent and relegated to the category of historical curios.

By contrast, WikiLeaks shows us how an archive can be formed and pluralised directly from the affairs the records document and thus serve a powerful purpose in society. Take, for example, a WikiLeaks archive such as the United States diplomatic cables, and compare it with a typical records release by a government archive, the National Archives of Australia’s 1980 Cabinet papers release. These records were released on January 1, 2011 under the normal ’30 year rule’ which is the default position for opening public records up for general public access in many Western jurisdictions (recently amended by law to 20 years for Federal Government records in Australia under the Commonwealth Archives Act 1983). January 1 is usually a slow news day, so the Cabinet papers provided a useful filler for the media, with folksy and nostalgic stories from the political machinations of 1980. By contrast, just over one month earlier, on November 28, 2010, WikiLeaks began publishing over 250,000 United States embassy cables. The documents give the world an unprecedented insight into the US government’s foreign policy and actions in almost every corner of the globe. Significant flow on effects from the cable releases have been felt in the Arab world, in post tsunami Japan and in South East Asia, giving people the information they had been lacking to understand and address administrative and political wrongs.

An archive, as understood by the Greeks, is a tangible and irrevocable symbol of the fragile bonds of trust between the powerful and the weak. In a society in which the role of the archive is marginalised or in which malign political influence is exerted on its formation, that trust is broken. Archives which do not capture and provide ready access to the records that form our laws, our rights and our memory are not fulfilling their purpose. WikiLeaks has shown us how it could be; where using technology we are able to draw out and exclude that information which must be kept secret to protect the privacy of the vulnerable, while the vast majority of records of the acts, agreements and events which are actually occurring in our society are made part of the people’s archive and are widely disseminated to the people directly from their participation in those acts. This should be the new (from the old) model for our archives.

Encouragingly, projects like the Committee to Document the 25th January Revolution in Egypt, set up by the Egyptian National Archives, have understood the need for more contemporary and relevant archives. This project is about gathering as much primary evidence about the revolution as possible for deposit in the archives and release online – including official records, insurrectionary pamphlets, multimedia footage, Facebook and Twitter content. Importantly, there is an understanding from the start that all material should be publicly accessible to anyone on the Internet. It is a significant step in the Egyptian transition to a freer and more civilised society, and away from the abuses of the dictatorship. The power balance between people and State being redressed. The historian in charge of the project, Khaled Fahmy, has indeed spoken of the project in a manner which evokes Derrida’s thesis, saying ""The question of access to information and archives is political, because reading history is interpreting history, and interpreting history is one way of making it. Closing people off from the sources of their own history is an inherently political gesture, and equally opening that up is a political – even revolutionary – act."

WikiLeaks opens governments. This was the role of the Athenian archive, the Metroon. It should be the role of the contemporary archive; not to serve as a gatekeeper waiting for decades before making the raw materials of history available to us in piecemeal form, but rather as the trusted guardian and provider of timely, useable evidence, the use of which will allow us to steer an honest course for our society.


  • The Australian, 1980 Cabinet papers release, 1 January 2011
  • Derrida, Jacques, Archive Fever: A Freudian impression, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1996.
  • Harris, Verne ‘Archons, aliens and angels: power and politics in the archive’ in Hill (ed.), The Future of Archives and Recordkeeping: A reader, Facet Publishing, London, 2011.
  • McKemmish, Piggott, Reed and Upward (ed.s), Archives: Recordkeeping in society, Centre for Information Studies, Charles Sturt University, Wagga Wagga, 2005.
  • Mitchell, Greg The Age of Wikileaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and beyond), Sinclair Books, New York, 2011.
  • Shenker, Jack ‘The struggle to document Egypt’s revolution’, 15 July 2011

For previous coverage, please see Archive Fever: A Crowd-Sourced Investigation into Library Catalogue Classification of Wikileaks as an "Extremist Web Site"

2011-07-23 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.
New Cable(s) were released today.

* Julian Assange, John Pilger and Noam Chomsky have added their names to an online petition that aims to prevent commonwealth prosecutors from seizing the proceeds of David Hicks’ memoirs Guantanamo: My Journey.

"The move against Hicks’ memoirs should concern everyone. But it is of particular relevance to writers and publishers, precisely because of the direct interference into publications with which the government politically disagrees.", the petition reads.

* UMNO’s abuse of security institutions and national security laws pointed out as causes to political crisis in Malaysia in a diplomatic cable from 2008.

"In good times UMNO can maintain control by distributing power and money to get what it wants. In bad times, it uses the stick, and for now that means intimidation. The ruling elite
maintains control over the security apparatus through party stalwarts who run the security institutions, mainly the police but also the military. We believe the military will remain loyal to legitimate leadership and is not a likely tool to overturn an elected, royally-approved and Malay-led government from either the ruling or opposition side. The police, on the other hand, follow orders from the ruling party."

Malaysia’s dominant party was facing a strong opposition alliance but determined to remain in power.

"The ruling party wants to stay in power indefinitely, and that means Anwar and the multi-racial opposition front he is leading must fail. At least so far, there is scant evidence of a more thoughtful and forward-looking analysis within UMNO."

* The two diplomatic cables describing how Thailand was pressured by the United States into granting Viktor Bout's extradition were considered by Judge Scheindlin to be of little value to the case.

"Scheindlin said that "even if the WikiLeak documents were authentic," there is nothing unusual about diplomatic pressure in extradition, and treaties show that U.S. courts cannot investigate the decisions of another country's judicial system." via Courthouse News Service

* "Think of the Chartists, the Suffragettes, the Black Civil Rights movement, the struggle for people in the former colonies to win their freedom and their independence. All of these struggles were conducted at great personal risk by very very heroic individuals. And to me Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, and Bradley Manning are those kind of people and I’m really proud to support them." - Peter Tatchell

A video of Peter Tatchell’s full speech at the Giuseppe Conlon Hall on the 9th July can now be found at ‘UK Friends of Bradley Manning’, as well as a transcript.

2011-07-24 Interview: Cambodian Cables and Politics

The following interview was conducted with a Cambodian American that the interviewer knows personally as someone who has written extensively on Cambodian issues and is a very active member of the Cambodian community in the United States and elsewhere. The interviewee asked to remain anonymous.

The interviewee has seen two Cambodian wars in the 1970s and 1980s, and the 1997 coup, and returned to Cambodia to help it transition under UN led elections in the mid 1990s.

Alexa O'Brien: For purpose of our discussion I would like for you to paint a broad stroke on Cambodia politics over the course the cable release, between 1994 to 2010. It covers a lot of ground, which of course we cannot completely cover.

Source: Okay.

Perhaps you could start off by giving me a general picture of the structure and climate right now in present day Cambodia.

What I can tell right you now about Cambodia is that the country, under the current leadership...the current ruling party hasn't changed as much, compared to what you and I saw, what we knew way back ten or fifteen years ago...

What I am trying to say is that when Westerners think of Cambodia is a more developing country, perhaps they look at what they see in the city. But if you go out ten or fifteen kilometers away from the city life is totally different for average Cambodians...

...and the political structure is the same and elections are just a way of telling the world that Cambodia is open...because we have regularly scheduled doesn't matter whether the elections are free and fair...

So, they have to show the world that they are making progress, but in fact the substantive change is not there to be found.

How would you characterize the development of US foreign policy toward Cambodia between 94 through 2011?

The US Policy so far has been to befriend the Cambodian government with the same prime minister [ Hun Sen ] since the 1980s actually, because Cambodia has somewhat proved to the US that it is helping the US fight against a possible perceived terrorist threat...

...because Cambodia has a very tiny population of Muslims, the Cham. So, because of that sense of cooperation, the US seems to allow the current leader [ Hun Sen ] to do whatever he wants to do....

...and since 1994, we know that the current prime minister has been trying to grab power, but the US didn't do anything until 1997, then there was a coup d'état.

Prior to the war on terror there was the war on drugs...and you can see this in the cables, which reference the exchange of training between the US government, or the DEA, and the Cambodia task forces around the war on drugs...similarly also with the war on their a similarity between these two approaches on the part of the US in terms of foreign policy?

The war on drugs started off when Cambodia was considered a transit point, and perhaps the US just wanted the Cambodia government to do something to stop the flow of drugs to other parts of the world. And, in fact prior to the coup in 1997...there were two factions at the time...the first prime minister was headed by the royalist party [FUNCINPEC] and the second prime minister...who is the current prime minister now...belongs to the CPP party.

The general...who was at that time a two star general of the police force at the interior reported to be a close associate of the prime minister, Hun Sen, was involved in growing marijuana in the southern part of the country...and then the government was trying to show the US that it was doing something.

So the prime minister took a helicopter to the ceremony to destroy the cannabis. In fact, they did not allow journalists to go deep inside the fields...the witness the whole burning ceremony.

So...there is no way we can confirm that the farm still existed...and you know the smaller portion of the marijuana was destroyed.

And, there were some efforts to show the West that Cambodia was doing something about drugs, but at the same time there were been reports of high level officials involvement in drug facilitation trafficking...several.

So what did they do about it? Nothing. And, we have reports by the State Department of human trafficking as well that have occurred at the same time.

Have you read the cables?

I have read some parts about what happened...Hun Sen reportedly says the faction rumors about the...

...assassination attempt?

Assassination attempt...yes.

He didn't ask the CPP minister of interior to investigate...instead he asked the royalist aligned minister to investigate the rumors. So there is a distrust within the CPP party...and then you have this Senate President, Chea Sim, who is also the CPP president, the Cambodia People's Party president, asked the foreign minister, Hor Namhong, to try to persuade Hun Sen to not go after or punish the coup plotters...

...then the minister didn't deliver the message. So, you have everything in the making that the CPP is not really a one voice...

...there are some officials within the party who are not happy with the way Hun Sen deals with the affairs of the state...or runs the country...

...but, there is nothing they can do, and the US doesn't bother to do anything because...all right as long as it poses no direct threat to national interest here then we haven't done anything.

Would it be fair to say that the US's policy towards Cambodia is shaped by Chinese relationship with Cambodia and the fact that there is another superpower in the region that has a very strong relationship with Cambodia?

I don't see it the Chinese factor has anything to do with our policy. If our policy is shaped by national interest...strategic interest or such then it doesn't matter whether it's the Chinese or the Soviet Union...

We witnessed way back in the eighties, when the Soviet Union was trying to expand its sphere of influence...the US did support the guerilla movement to fight back.. against the proxy war...I mean the Soviet proxy war using Vietnam to invade Cambodia in the get rid of the Khmer rouge...the killing fields....Pol Pot.

We did that way back in the eighties. Why? At the time the Chinese did help the Khmer Rouge of course and we didn't do anything...went along, because we viewed that the Soviet Union was a bigger threat to the US allies there in the region.

Now there is no...there is no war in that part of the the Chinese came into Cambodia to business just like any other corporations...but the businesses in Cambodia from China are state is different from businesses from the West. is not the that the US knows that the Chinese presence is there...but what can they do...what are they doing...nothing.

Lets talk about influence in terms of China vis a vis the United States. You just said that the fiscal relationships between China and Cambodia create state owned businesses...what kind of US corporate interests are predominately in Cambodia?

Right now we have Chevron Oil company that acquired the exploration rights in the Gulf of Thailand. I don't remember exactly what blocks the Cambodia government signed the agreement with Chevron.

We have another perhaps US based company as well...I believe, Conocophillips , is signed to get into that too...

...and Mobil...but I don't know how much shares they own there...but Chevron is more predominant there in terms of oil business in term of oil exploration. Other than that...I haven't seen any major US corporations coming into Cambodia to set up more of long term business relationship or business operations there.

The Cambodian judicial system has always seemed to struggle with corruption. The land right issues for rural populations, who after Khmer Rouge were ousted from parts of the Cambodia countryside, and legislation in name only set up to allow Cambodians who had essentially inhabited certain pieces of land to actually claim it as their own...but corruption within the judicial system prevents many average Khmer from possessing an actual title.

Currently there are some skirmishes or protests in rural areas of Cambodia over the forced eviction. Can you tell me more about that...?

Forced eviction is almost a common occurrence. There have been reports by local human rights organizations, and also overseas-based human rights groups trying to protests the government's actions.

Yes. The Khmer Rouge destroyed everything. There is no proof to show who owns what in Cambodia...but again it is the duty of the Cambodian government to try to make sure that its people...its indigenous people have a place to live and a means to make a living...

The problems is that they try to use the term 'national development' at the expense of their own people, they give economic land concession to foreign companies.

So many of these businesses are from China, South Korea, Vietnam, Japan, and even Australia.

They try to occupy some parts of Cambodia...where they have I believe...I suspect that they believe there is some mining in the north-eastern part of the county...the northern part of the country where gold is spotted...and in the eastern part of the country where bauxite is reportedly discover there.

[See also]

So what happened is the people...the indigenous people cannot have a place there to even have a small house to live...because they have to make room for these foreign companies to do business...

...and when you talk about investment you think that...ok well that should bring jobs and everything else to local people...not really...not really.

They destroy 100 year and 200 year old trees to make room for their mining operations and if they can't find anything...the land is deforested and they pull out...

...and the local people have no place to live on, because these people...eighty percent of the population are farmers and they live on what they can find from forest products like tree sap...and things like that.

Now they cannot go into those forests anymore...because the government has given land concession including the forests to foreign owned companies.

When the people try to rise up with the help of some local human rights groups to petition the government, then they are met with police force trying to disperse them.

So they cannot even reach to the court in some cases.

How can Cambodia overcome the corruption within the judicial system?

The only person who can change things in Cambodia right now is the prime minister himself.

He controls everything or at least...he has all the power. He can do anything he wants to, if he has the will to do that.

But the thing is that these corrupt institutions are there to support him as well...because it is more like mutualism. You blink and make some money and I'll share with you. I support you. So no matter what...indirectly or directly the prime minster benefits from this corrupt system.

Everybody knows...the prime minister knows...that the judges takes bribes before ruling on any particular case...let alone a petition from the people who face eviction.

He knows that...but what did we do. He says, "Okay, we will try to get rid of this corruption in the judicial system." Yet what he says is one thing, and what he does is different thing, because these people [judges] support him.

This seems to also spill into another institutions...the press...and the cables do cover quite clearly the defamation and libel cases. Can you tell me more about the situation and circumstances around the defamation and libel cases around against the press?

Back in the eighties and nineties and early 2000...the government...the authorities dealt with the press in a very brutal way.

If anyone wrote an article that was critical of the government, or an individual, or a public servant or official...he or she was going to face death threat.

Now...journalists who are critical of the government perhaps face sanctions of some kind...

So today it is a matter of form, "Okay this is the rule of law. Everything has to go through the legal process," but these people...corrupt officials with blood on their hands...they have made the law and they said, "If you criticized we are not going to shoot you anymore." Of course, I am not quoting them. What I am trying to present to you is that if you criticize, "We will take you to court."

And believe me if you are going to go to court, you are going to lose. Because the courts...the judge listens to somebody, who is going to telephone him or call him, "Look you have to decide the way I want you to decide." And, it is a fact...and almost everybody knows in Cambodia that the judge takes direction and bribes.

[NB See in particular 01PHNOMPENH1740]

Lets talk about the Khmer Rough as it relates to the current situation in Cambodia. Mainly officials like Hun Sen were former Khmer Rouge, and the situation, from an outsiders perspective, seems a delicate and complicated one...since many Cambodians are responsible for the acts of genocide against their own countrymen in Cambodia's not to distant past.

I will go over the history a little bit and the background of the Khmer Rouge rise to power and the demise of the US backed republican government...then also the Vietnamese invasion in 1979 and of course the Peace Accord in Paris in 1991 that gave rise to what we see today.

The Khmer Rouge in the 1970s fought along side the Vietcong.

The Vietnamese communist guerillas fought against the US presence in South Vietnam, and the Vietnamese trained the Khmer Rouge to fight against the US backed Khmer republican under General Lon Nol.

You can play the blame again, you know, "The war started because Lol Nol lost a coup d'état to depose Prince Sihanouk, the popular prince of Cambodia...or the other side can say the reason Lon Nol overthrew Prince Sihanouk then was because his close alliance relationship with the North Vietnamese guerillas, the Vietcong, fighting against the Americans troops in South Vietnam.

But the fact is that the Vietcong had its presence in Cambodia helping the Khmer Rogue until it got to power in 1975.

Hun Sen and others were part of that war against the West and also the government of Cambodia, the pro West-pro American government in Cambodia.

The US backed government regime lost. The Khmer Rouge took power.

Then, within the Khmer faction you have pro Chinese elements and also pro Vietnamese elements.

The pro Chinese headed by Pol Pot was not happy with the way the Vietnamese dealt with the border issues, territorial disputes, and things like that. So, Pol Pot in an interview said that he wanted North Vietnam to work closely to solve the border issue once and for all.

The Vietnamese insisted that, "We are winners in this part of the world, so lets be friends and brothers, comrades as we used to be. Why start talking about this border issue and things like that, right now? Lets focus on rebuilding the reconstruction after the war. "

But, the Pol Pot camp or the pro American camp - pro republican Cambodia, anti communist Cambodian...they were suspicious of the Vietnamese. This is more like their historical enemy.

So, when the Khmer leaders (Cambodian leaders) kept talking about border issues...the territorial issues, which irritate the Vietnamese leaders...

...that got them into intense disputes and at the end they split into two camps, and then they start purging the pro - Chinese...the Pol Pot camp suspecting there fellow comrade and they started purging people and that is why Hun Sen and others fled to Vietnam.

And then they asked the Vietnamese to return and get rid of the Khmer Rouge. The Vietnamese installed a government, the Peoples Republic of Kampuchea, later known as the State of Cambodia, and also its political party CPP, the Cambodian peoples party.

Its original name was the Cambodian People's Revolutionary Party, something like that. So they got rid of the word revolutionary. They just kept CPP, Cambodian People's Party.

So many of them who are in power right now are former Khmer Rouge period.

And, the international community got together in 1991, on October 23, 1991 to sign the Paris Peace Accord hoping to bring peace to end the war in Cambodia...

...but they did not get further as to how to keep Cambodia safe from its neighbors, giant neighbors...that is why we have problems right now with Thailand.

But again I can tell you that the problem with Thailand right now is just one way of diverting attention away from the more critical problems of eastern borders...Vietnam.

Some people have characterize the Thai motivation as being a way of sort of nationalizing the Thai people around a common enemy who are facing their own internal struggles. How would you characterize the Cambodian strategy for diversion that you mentioned?

Well the Cambodians, as a rule have more to worry about in terms of losing their identity, their land, their ethnicity, then just losing the temple on the border.

Cambodia has more to worry than just the temple alone. We have how many miles of borders with Vietnam, and a lot of Cambodian people...including the opposition are more concerned about a secret deal made between the current government, the CPP, with Vietnam concerning the territorial boundary [web page cache].

They fear that they are going to lose more territory to Vietnam than just Thailand.

Each country has its own interest to look after, and for Cambodia, the Cambodians also have to look after...the supreme interest is the border with its historical enemies, and Cambodians fear greater danger of losing the land to Vietnam than it does to Thailand.

So, whatever we see happening in Thailand...internal problems and they try to use the border issue with Cambodia to perhaps raise popularity.

But it is not just part of Thailand. Cambodia under Hun Sen had made a deal in 2005, 2006...if you look at the document with the former Prime Minister Thaksin these two guys are business oriented.

They would have a lot at stake in terms of profit sharing, so they negotiated something: "You give me the temple...don't make any claim to that temple and I will concede some part of the overlapping areas under the sea, so you can explore for oil so these kinds of things," or something like that.

These deals should not have been made in the first place...but somehow because of the relationship between these business oriented prime ministers and their cronies, they got into a deal.

There was a deal signed memorandum of some sort between the two prime ministers on both sides. Some Cambodians say, "This is not right. Why do we have to give away like this part of our land to somebody else?" But the Thai do the same thing, "Why do we have to concede the Preah Vihear Temple."

This started with the two prime ministers in the first place...that got all the Cambodians into this situation. A lot of people don't know about that.

What is the source?

I have different documents. It's memorandum between the two prime ministers. I got it from my sources in France, who follow the border issues closely, and they have almost just about any discussion minutes between Cambodia and Vietnam, and Cambodia and Thailand.

Also, regarding corruption in the judicial system that we began to speak about before: everybody knows it. The US and other countries, and especially donor countries from the European Union and Canada.

They know that the judicial system doesn't work. It is corrupt.

There is no way you can have a fair hearing of any kind. We keep demanding, but every year donors gather in Phnom Penh and ask the government, "We need you to do this, and we need you to do that." And, the government says, "Yeah we will do it."

But after they leave, just like one American author Joel Brinkley stated in his book, Cambodia's Curse. After donors leave, everything going back the same way.

The children that grew under the Khmer Rouge are middle aged now. Do you think that their experience has an effect on the potentiality of civic society in Cambodia?

In terms of...?

In terms of the expectations as to what they are entitled to...the capabilities of civic and civil society...I am not being disrespectful or just seems to my mind that a whole generation of children and now middle aged adults have grown up under a very oppressive system...I wonder if it adds an element of challenge to creating the kind of civic society that can speak to corruption, and engenders one which perhaps lessens people's expectations about what is even possible.

The Khmer Rouge children...we have to maybe separate them into two separate groups: the Khmer Rouge children whose parents were Khmer Rouge cadres soldiers...perhaps they wouldn't go back to where their parents were...but still they are struggling to make ends meet...

Perhaps they do see the society right now...well way back in their days they didn't have electricity...but now they have they might think, "Okay, life is so much better now"...but still they have to compete with the city life, the city people, because most of them grew up in the agrarian part of society way out in the its hard for them to get integrated, assimilated so easily.

But when they see corruption, injustice in society they would perhaps want to do something but they cannot. They cannot...because right now it is as oppressive as it was. It is just taking a different form.

You mentioned to me the other day that it seems that Cambodia has had such a tragic history in the seventies, that when outsiders see events unfolding in Cambodia, where people may be murdered or oppressed, no one blinks an eye...

I think that what you remember is me trying to paraphrase Joel Brinkley, the author of Cambodia's Curse and New York Times award winning journalist, who said in an interview with an Australian Radio host Stephen Long, on Thursday, July the 14th...he said that if the world set the standard...when it comes to Cambodia...if the world knows only the Khmer Rouge, lets put it that way, and whatever else happens is nothing because the Khmer Rouge is so bad.

The Khmer Rouge killed a quarter of a million of its own people, so if it is just a few hundred here and there starve to death by the current government, by Hun Sen, like for example in land place to live...they are homeless...what is wrong with that. Just a couple of hundreds.

Half a million. This is the standard that the world has set for Cambodia. Compared to what happened to the Khmer whatever happened today is nothing.

Right. It's awful. Tell me about Hor Nam Hong.

Hor Nam Hong, right now is foreign minister. His full title is deputy prime minister and minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation. Hor Nam Hong was a diplomat under different regimes and under Pol Pot's regime he returned and he was made a re-education camp leader in Phnom Penh...a former English School

Does he dispute that? [This interview took place prior to the July 22, 2011 article Cambodia protests over US cable's Khmer Rouge claim ]

He doesn't really dispute that. In fact, he simply says, "Okay he was simply forced to do what he did. If he didn't, he would have been killed."

So, that is an excuse, but a lot of people who happened to be there at that camp under his leadership there, complained that he reported to a higher authority about whatever the inmate was doing in that camp, and a lot of people died under his watch.

There is a cable from 2002, Reference ID 02PHNOMPENH1361. I actually want to quote from it. It says here:



On Hor Nam Hong. He won a case in a French court against Prince Sihanouk.

He won the first round on the opposition party leader's claim that Hor Nam Hong was a former Khmer Rouge camp chief. And then the French appeals court ruled that the opposition party leader had a case.

It was simply stating the case... it was simply stating the fact that Hor Nam Hong was in fact, camp chief.

I am not familiar with the details of the cable you cite. What I do know is that according to reports, Cheng Snguon, is a justice minister and he died. His son Chem Widhya, was appointed to the UN Ambassador for a while, and now I think he works somewhere else. So, we have heard that Cheng Snguon, the late minister of justice did resent Hor Nam Hong for his action at that camp.

There are so many people we could cover in the cables, there is King Sihanouk, and there is Rainsy...

Yes, Prince Sihanouk he was head of state in the 1950s and 1960s. He abdicated in 1955 during the First Kingdom, and in 1970 he was deposed by the pro American republican group of Generals actually, and he was made prisoner during the Khmer Rouge years in his own palace, and according to authors like Dr. Stephen Morris in his book, Why Vietnam Invaded Cambodia: Political Culture and the Causes of War, the Vietnamese sent a commando to try to take him from the royal palace, but the Khmer Rouge dispatched their own commando strike force to get rid of the Vietnamese commando.

So, finally the Chinese sent a plane to take him out of Phnom Penh within, I think , the last day of two the Vietnamese forces actually entered the capital city.

So, yeah, then in the early 1980s he was again invited to head the resistance movement. He has had multiple titles in his...

And he retired in 2006?

Yes. He retired and he wanted his son to be the next King.

And Sam Rainsy?

Yes. Sam Rainsy is the son of a renowned, though perhaps not well liked by the royal family back then...a politician actually...his name was Sam Sary.

So, Sam Rainsy was educated in France. he joined the FUNCIPEC, the royalist movement back in the 1980s.

After the 1993, general UN sponsored election, he was appointed minister of finance.

And, he was trying to deal with the massive illegal loggings by Hun Sen's cronies, business affiliates, but he almost got killed by the anarchic groups operating the illegal logging in some parts of the country.

So, I think his relentless effort to tackle corruption, loss of national state revenue, made him somebody disliked by a lot of people, because it hurt other people's business, personal interests, and things like that, so they demoted him.

The royalist party working unison with the CPP party to fire him.


Actually so far the US approach to the Muslim community in Cambodia has been successful, and some US officials have asked me, "Is there anything that we should do more to perhaps do more?" I said, "Do not abandon them." Muslims are abandoned by the central government in a lot of places: in the Thailand.

When you are disconnected, then anybody can come in and persuade you to do whatever they want you to do. So, I would say, with them, just don't make them hopeless.

They have programs to give some sewing machines, and vocational training...things like that. It works fine.

Thank you very much for your time today.

Of course, anytime, Alexa. Nice talking to you.

2011-07-24 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.

* Two cables dating from 2007 and 2009 show inflexibility of U.S. and Okinawa over controversial relocation of Futenma Air Station. Okinawan politicians, according to the 2007 cable, proposed faking a revision in Futenma’s relocation plan that would allow them to keep public promises. Former Tokyo-based U.S. Consul General Keving Maher, reportedly fired this year after referring to Okinawans as ‘lazy’ and ‘masters of extortion’, considered any revision to the plan ‘unnaceptable’.
Similar efforts are documented in the second diplomatic cable, from 2009, where Japanese foreign affairs official Nobushige Takamizawa is said to have suggested public discussion of a "package" of military issues by the United States would ‘provide the (Democratic Party of Japan) significant political cover to continue the (Futenma relocation facility)’.

* Brandon Neely speaks of the abuses he witnessed while serving at Guantanamo Bay as a guard, with particular focus on the treatment of David Hicks and political interference in his case.

* In a diplomatic cable recently published, it is alleged armed Cambodian soldiers are protecting loggers working illegally in Thai territory.
The cable, from 2009, describes an incident where a Cambodian logger was killed by Thai troops when shots were exchanged between Thai and Cambodian soldiers.

The claims have been denied by the director of the Cambodian-Thai border relations in Banteay Meanchey province, Dy Phen :

“I think those allegations are just to defend Thai soldiers who performed their duties wrongly and shot unarmed Cambodian civilians.”

Several deaths under similar circumstances have been confirmed by the local rights group Adhoc.

* can be found on twitter at @Cabledrummer, where a number of updates on released cables are posted daily. For complete daily updates visit WikiLeaks Cablegate on facebook.

2011-07-25 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.
New Cables were released today.

02:05 PM Murdoch Leaks is a new website that, as the name indicates, is accepting information on 'wrong doing relating to Rupert Murdoch's affiliated institutions'.

10:40 AM A diplomatic cable from 2009 offers insight into Canada’s approach to foreign policy in Latin America.
Former Australian prime minister John Howard's influence on Canada’s Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s strategy is described in paragraph 2.
(Harper had caused controversy in 2008 when he copied parts of a Howard speech supporting U.S. led invasion of Iraq.)

…"Harper had long been favorably impressed by Australia's ability to exert outsized influence with the U.S. in particular -- and other powers as well -- by emphasizing its relations in its own neighborhood, observed Lambert, who added that PM Harper hoped to gain similar benefits for Canada by increased attention to Latin America and the Caribbean. When forming his second government after the October 2008 election, PM Harper also created the new position of Minister of State for the Americas, naming former journalist and new Conservative MP Peter Kent."

The cable also provides details on Canada’s free trade agreements with Colombia and Peru, as well as the country’s concerns with Mexico’s deteriorating security.

Finally, on Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, a Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade official is cited:

"Canada -- as well as Brazil and Chile -- had appreciated U.S. efforts to de-escalate public disagreements with Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, believing that the skillful handling of Chavez over the past several years had muted hemispheric criticism of U.S. policy in other areas, especially with regard to Cuba. Lambert said Canada believes that poverty feeds Chavez's success in furthering his populist ambition through ever greater centralization of power. Internationally, Chavez's tentative "alliance" with Iran was increasingly "worrying" to Canada, according to Lambert, since it has the potential to divert global attention from human rights and civil liberties. Nonetheless, with Venezuela as its third largest export market, Canada had no choice but to stay engaged with Caracas, despite increasing concerns for the investment climate in Venezuela."

10:20 AM WikiLeaks and Julian Assange are the recipients of this year’s Voltaire Award.
On the 6th August, the Voltaire Award dinner will be held in Melbourne, during which an auction is to take place. So far the list of prizes to be auctioned includes a copy of 'Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier', signed by Julian.
The event will have a keynote address by Professor Stuart Rees and Julian Assange has recorded a speech for the occasion.

09:55 AM Today marks the anniversary of the release of The Afghanistan War Logs, ‘92,201 internal records of actions by the US military in Afghanistan between January 2004 and December 2009’.

"The significance of this material is both the overarching context, that is it covers the entire war since 2004, and individual events which are also significant, or a thread of events.
So those include something like Task Force 373, an U.S. based assassination squad that goes around Afghanistan killing people on a ‘kill of capture’ list.
It includes significant events where many people were killed. For instance we are looking at an event that killed 181 people at once, some by an AC 130 gunship.
It includes detail about how the war is supported in various ways. How the political class in Kabul interfaces with U.S. military and intelligence. How their corruption is spread through that community, but also how the war is mediated by Pakistan and possibly by Iran."
- Julian Assange

* WikiLeaks Press Conference following the release of the Afghanistan war logs.

* A summary of the war logs.

2011-07-26 The Murdoch scandal: More to come

The past few months have seen an ongoing series of revelations that have rocked the Murdoch media empire. The News International phone-hacking scandal’s genesis began at the Murdoch owned, now-defunct News of the World UK newspaper.

A new website Murdoch Leaks: has been setup recently and is accepting information on criminality occurring at Murdoch publications.

Last Monday, Lulzsec hacked into The Sun, pinned a fake news story about Murdoch's death on the homepage and redirected the site to their Twitter page; they also bought down a number of other News Corp and News International websites.

Following this, on Thursday, the hacker known as 'Sabu'(who is rumoured to have connections with LulzSec and Anonymous) claimed to have 4gb worth of emails - or 'sun mails' that might blow up into a series of new revelations with regards to criminality in Murdoch outlets. This information was said to be procured during the hacking. It is not yet known whether Lulzsec will be releasing this information to the public. The Lulzsec twitter has posted, "We're currently working with certain media outlets who have been granted exclusive access to some of the News of the World emails we have."

The media scandal began in May 2000, when Rebekah Brooks (then known as Rebekah Wade) was appointed editor of News of the World; she worked there for three years before moving to the Murdoch-owned The Sun in 2003. During her three years as editor at News of the World, it was alleged that reporters working under her engaged in illegal phone-hacking, including the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler.

In January 2003, Andy Coulson was appointed editor at News of the World. During his editorship, Coulson appeared with Brooks before a Commons committee where Brooks admitted to paying police for information.

In November 2005, News of the World published a story about Prince William suffering an injury to his knee; Buckingham palace suspected that Prince William’s voicemail had been hacked to get the story and contacted Scotland Yard. The reporter who wrote the story, Clive Goodman, was arrested along with private investigator Glen Mulcaire, for illegal phone-hacking.

On January 26, 2007 Goodman and Mulcaire were incarcerated for illegally intercepting Prince William’s phone messages. Coulson resigned and Colin Myler took over as editor. In March of that year, a senior aide to Rupert Murdoch told a Commons committee that a “rigorous internal investigation” found no evidence of widespread phone-hacking at the publication.

On May 15, 2007 the Press Complaints Commission (the newspaper regulation watchdog), published a report on the phone-hacking allegations but concluded that no illegal activity of that nature had occurred at News of the World.

Sixteen days later Coulson was appointed by then leader of the opposition David Cameron as his media advisor, just four months after Coulson’s resignation as editor at News of the World.

The next major chapter in the saga came came in December of that year. James Murdoch was appointed the chief executive of News Corp’s European and Asian operations. In April 2008 James Murdoch authorised a payment to Gordon Taylor of the Football Association reported to be £700,000 as settlement for a phone-hacking claim; the deal included a suppression order preventing Taylor from discussing the case. James Murdoch later stated that he “did not have a complete picture” of the situation.

On July 8, 2009 details of the payments to Gordon Taylor and two other prominent footballers totaling £1m were published in The Guardian newspaper. The settlement was paid to prevent the naming of other journalists who were involved in phone-hacking at News of the World. Following this, Assistant Met commissioner John Yates stated “after the most careful investigation by experienced detectives” no further investigation would be necessary.

On July 21, 2009, The Guardian revealed that up to 3,000 people may have been victims of illegal phone-hacking by News of the World staff. Subsequently, the Commons culture, media and sport committee interviewed News International executives about the claims. Coulson told the committee that he has “never condoned the use of phone-hacking and denied having any knowledge of incidences where it took place”.

On September 1, 2009 Brooks left The Sun to take up the position of chief executive of News International. News International chairman Les Hinton then appeared before the Commons committee and denied that Clive Goodman was paid to keep quiet about the scandal.

In February 2010 a Commons culture, media and sport committee report found no evidence that Coulson had known phone-hacking took place at News of the World. The report, however, did conclude that it was “inconceivable” that only Goodman was aware of it. On March 9, The Guardian reported that PR man Max Clifford was paid €1m to drop legal proceedings that could have exposed more of the reporters involved in phone-hacking at News of the World.

On September 1, 2010 a New York Times investigation quoted ex-News of the World reporter Sean Hoare, who stated that phone-hacking and other similar practices were encouraged at the publication. Hoare also told the BBC that phone-hacking was “endemic” at the paper and that Coulson instructed him to engage in it. This was backed up by former News of the World reporter, Paul McMullan who told The Guardian that illegal reporting techniques were widespread within the tabloid.

Two weeks later, Scotland Yard reopened the inquiry and questioned Hoare and McMullan as witnesses, but nothing came of it as no new evidence was uncovered. Following this, on September 17, Lord Prescott launched legal action seeking a judicial review of the investigation carried out by Scotland Yard.

On January 5, 2011 News of the World suspended its assistant editor Ian Emondson following allegations by News of the World reporter Glenn Mulcaire that he was commissioned to engage in phone-hacking by Emondson.

Soon after, Coulson resigned as David Cameron’s media advisor, blaming the coverage of the phone-hacking scandal. “I stand by what I’ve said about those events but when the spokesman needs a spokesmen, it’s time to move on,” he said.

The following month the High Court ordered former private investigator Glen Mulcaire to reveal who commissioned him to hack phones. In March, the BBC broadcasted allegations that former senior executive editor of News of the World Alex Marunchak had been implicated in the scandal.

In April 2011, former news editor Ian Edmondson, senior reporter Neville Thurlbeck and journalist James Weatheerup were all arrested. At this point News International admitted liability.

In June, 2011, actress Sienna Miller settled for £100,000 in damages and costs from News of the World; Sky football pundit Andy Gray also settled for £20,000 in damages after it was exposed that his voicemail had been illegally accessed by News of the World staff. On June 20, 300 News of the World emails from News Internationals solicitors were given to Scotland Yard; allegedly showing that Coulson had authorised payments to police officers.

On July 4, 2011 The Guardian reported that News of the World had hacked into the voicemail of murdered schoolgirl Milly Dowler, during the period when Brooks was editor. Brooks denied any knowledge of the activity and stated that it was “inconceivable” that she knew: Just days later, News International chief executive James Murdoch closed News of the World.

On July 11, Coulson was arrested over charges relating to phone-hacking and illegal payments to police – he was questioned for nine hours. Goodman was also arrested on suspicion of making illegal payments to the police. The same day the British PM announced two separate inquiries into the entire scandal.

Two days later it was revealed that the scandal had spread to other News International newspapers. The Sunday Times was alleged to have illegally acquired private financial and property details of Gordon Brown when he was the chancellor; it was also accused of accessing private medical records about Mr Brown’s Son Fraser.

The same week, Rupert Murdoch’s News Corporation withdrew its plans to bid for full ownership of satellite broadcaster BskyB; the move came just before MP’s were to vote for a motion with cross party support calling on him to withdraw the bid. News Corp deputy chairman Chase Carey stated that the bid had become “too difficult to progress in this climate”.

The scandal then spread to the US, with US politicians calling for the FBI to investigate News Corp’s US publications following allegations that News of the World staff attempted to buy phone records of people that died in the 9/11 attacks from a New York police officer. There were also calls for a US-led investigation into reported payments to UK police – which could expose News Corp to charges under US anti-corruption laws.

The following day, Brooks resigned from her post as News International chief executive. In a public statement Brooks said: “I feel a deep sense of responsibility for the people we have hurt.” Les Hinton also resigned from his position as a senior News Corp executive – Hinton was head of News International from 1995-2007 when News of the World was engaging in phone-hacking. Following these resignations, Rupert Murdoch personally apologised to Milly Dowler’s family.

On July 17 Murdoch chief Rebekah Brooks was arrested and detained by British police on charges of conspiring to illegally intercept communications as well as corruption, in the form of bribing police.

Brooks was apprehended by detectives working on Operation Weeting – the UK Metropolitan Police’s phone hacking investigation, and Operation Elveden – the investigation into illicit payments to police officers, a July 18 Guardian article reported. More information on Brook's arrest can be found here:

On July 17, hours after Brook’s arrest, Sir Paul Stephenson announced that he was resigning as commissioner of London’s force because of “speculation and accusations” over his links to Neil Wallis – the former News of the World executive editor who was arrested in early July. Wallis had worked for the London police as a PR consultant for a year until September 2010. Sir Paul said that it was not his decision to hire Wallis and that he had no knowledge that he was linked to the phone-hacking scandal. “I had no knowledge of the extent of this disgraceful practice and the repugnant nature of the selection of victims that is now emerging...I will not lose any sleep over my personal integrity,” he said. The following day, Metropolitan Police Assistant Commissioner John Yates resigned as well.

Former News of the World journalist Sean Hoare was found dead at his home on July 17, 2011; police say the death is not being treated as suspicious. Hoare was the first former News of the World and The Sun reporter to go public with claims that illegal news-gathering was endemic at the papers and that former News of the World editor Andy Coulson knew about the practices. Sean Hoare was expected to give evidence to a pending judicial inquiry; he was found dead on the eve before the hearing was to take place.
More information on Sean Hoare's story can be found here:

On July 19, News Corporation chiefs Rupert Murdoch and his son James Murdoch appeared before MPs in a parliamentary inquiry to face questioning over their knowledge of the phone-hacking scandal. Rupert Murdoch told the inquiry that he was not aware of the extent of the phone hacking and had been misled by his staff. He said that responsibility lay not with him but with the people that he had trusted and the people that they had trusted. When probed about Brooks’ payment to police for information, Rupert Murdoch replied: “I am now aware of that, I was not aware at the time. I’m also aware that she amended that considerably very quickly afterwards.”

The following day, UK Prime Minister David Cameron cut short his visit to South Africa to make a Commons statement of the phone-hacking scandal. He stated that with hind sight he would not have appointed Coulson as his media advisor.

On July 22, David Cameron announced that James Murdoch has more questions to answer about the phone-hacking scandal following statements made by two former News of the World senior executives in which they elucidated that he knew about a key email, which contradicted evidence he gave to the MPs during the parliamentary inquiry. Labour MP Tom Watson has asked police to investigate the discrepancy.

2011-07-26 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.

10:45 PM WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning nominated for a Pwnie for Epic 0wnage.

12:15 PM Al Joumhouria published a report on a cable from 2004 containing comments from historians who believe documents on the Armenian Genocide are constantly being cleared from the archives.
At least two attempts to clear the archives of the documents on crimes against Armenians are mentioned in the cable by Prof Halil Berktay. The second, he believes, ‘planned by a group of retired diplomats and generals headed by the former Turkish ambassador to Iraq’.
Link to the original article.

03:35 AM Diplomatic cable analysis published by EFF with details on privacy violations and government surveillance in Latin America.

According to the cables mentioned, the governments of Paraguay and Panama pressured the U.S. into granting them access to Drug Enforcement Administration’s (DEA) software in an attempt to spy on mobile communications for political gain.

02:05 AM Interviewed by Truthout, Col. Morris Davis, a former Guantanamo Chief Prosecutor, recalls being pressured into indicting David Hicks for war crimes. "How quickly can you charge David Hicks?" he was asked, by Pentagon General Counsel William "Jim" Haynes, in an urgent phone call in 2007, a day after U.S. officials met with with Ambassador to Australia to discuss the impact of David Hicks’ case on Australian Prime Minister John Howard's re-election campaign.
Davis states :

"We told the world these guys are the 'worst of the worst.' David Hicks was a knucklehead. He was just a foot solider, not a war criminal. But when Congress passed the Military Commissions Act they authorized prosecuting material support, which is what Hicks was charged with, as a war crime. You could prosecute everyone at Guantanamo under that theory."

According to Morris Davis, the war crimes charge was ‘a favor to an ally’, Australia.

Update: A peaceful gathering in support of David Hicks will take place in Australia, in front of the Supreme Court of New South Wales on the 3 August (Wednesday) at 9am.

01:40 AM The New York Times analyses the impact of the Aaron Swartz case in ‘free culture’ and, more specifically, how it relates to WikiLeaks and how it prompted Gregory Maxwell to share ‘thousands of digital copies of issues from the early years of The Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society’, which were available at JSTOR, on the Pirate Bay this week under his real name.

“One reason I put my name on the release, I strongly believe that if any legal action is taken against me, it will be an unjust one, and I intend to fight it so that other people have less to be afraid of.”, he wrote in a Times statement accompanying the release.

00:40 AM Sibel D. Edmonds, founder of the National Security Whistleblowers Coalition is suing the FBI as the publication of her book, which contains no classified information, has been refused.

Edmonds was hired by the FBI as a contract linguist shortly after the September 11 terror attacks and claims to have been ‘terminated’ in retaliation for reporting "a number of whistleblower allegations to FBI management officials".
These allegations, according to a 2005 OIG report, relate to the actions of a co-worker and ‘raised serious concerns that, if true, could potentially have extremely damaging consequences for the FBI’, in it the FBI is said not to have properly investigated the allegations, which are ‘supported by documentary evidence or other witnesses’.

Furthermore the report concludes ‘that Edmonds' allegations were at least a contributing factor in why the FBI terminated her services’, and adds : ‘the FBI should not discourage employees or contractors from raising good-faith allegations of misconduct or mismanagement and the FBI's termination of Edmonds' services may discourage others from raising such concerns.’

00:15 AM Mercedes Haefer, a journalism and media studies student arrested by the FBI on hacking charges after allegedly participating in DDoS attacks on PayPal’s website in support of WikiLeaks, can face 15 years in prison and $500,000 in fines if convicted.

00:00 AM The Times reported on two cables describing the cancellation of General Motors’ sale of its Opel and Vauxhall brands as a consequence of demands from the proposed buyers to sell the factories to a Russian state-owned car maker.
General Motors insiders were cited claiming there concerns at the time that Russian car makers would gain access to Opel's technology and patents. via Reuters

2011-07-27 OpPayPal: Hacktivists Launch New, Legal Attack on PayPal

A second wave of online protests has been launched againt PayPal, the Internet payment company whose December 2010 blocking of WikiLeaks donations provoked angry Denial Of Service (DDOS) attacks on their site. The latest protest, code-named #OpPayPal, was launched by AntiSec hacktivists, headed by Anonymous and Lulzsec, in response to recent FBI arrests of people allegedly involved in the earlier protest.

Statements posted by LulzSec and Anonymous encouraged PayPal users to close their accounts and condemned "the FBI's willingness to arrest and threaten those who are involved in ethical, modern cyber operations." The arrested individuals included a minor whose name could not be released in court, and Mercedes Renee Haefer, a 20 year old journalism student who now faces up to 15 years in prison and a maximum $500K fine.

Haefer's lawyer, Stanley L. Cohen of New York, told the media: "In the 18th century, people stood on street corners handing out pamphlets saying, 'Beware the all-powerful military and big government'. Some people listened. Some people walked away. Today, pamphleteers use the Internet."

"What the FBI needs to learn is that there is a vast difference between adding one’s voice to a chorus and digital sit-in with Low Orbit Ion Cannon, and controlling a large botnet of infected computers." said the Anonymous statement. "And yet both of these are punishable with exactly the same fine and sentence." As one protester stated: "A rapist gets 11 years. A minor hacking Paypal gets 15. Close your Paypal now."

The latest protest seems deliberately designed to maximize damage on PayPal (and their parent company Ebay) without breaking any laws, although LulzSec ominously warned: "Wise little LulzLizards should withdraw their funds from PayPal before we do."

Anonymous declared this "a historical activist movement" and noted that "PayPal continues to withhold funds from WikiLeaks, a beacon of truth in these dark times." The official @WikiLeaks Twitter account strongly endorsed the #OpPayPal protests. As many protesters have noted, you can still donate to organisations like the Klu Klux Klan on PayPal, but not to WikiLeaks.

PayPal originally claimed that it was blocking WikiLeaks donations due to illegal activity in contravention of its "Acceptable Use Policy". But WikiLeaks still has not been charged with any illegal activity and even vocal US opponents have conceded that WikiLeaks is protected by First Amendment laws just like other media and publishing companies.

Within hours of the protest's beginning, #OpPayPal was already globally trending in third place on Twitter. An Anonymous tweet claimed over 20,000 PayPal users had already closed their accounts, while others complained that they were confronted by blank screens when trying to close accounts. @AnonymousIRC mused: "According to Twitter trends, this is the most successful operation ever done. Let's see what eBay stock says in 90 minutes."

The answer was soon apparent. Minutes after the NYSE opened, Ebay stock plummeted nearly 2.5% - see Nasdaq:EBAY for latest figures. Within an hour, even the BBC had picked up the story.

In a statement, PayPal told BBC News: "As we state in our privacy policy, PayPal works with law enforcement or government officials if we receive a subpoena or court order; if we need to do so to comply with law; or if we believe in good faith that illegal activity has occurred."

Analysts are already calling this a major departure into legal direct action for Anonymous, LulzSec and AntiSec. There are countless Anonymous supporters on Internet forums, while the official @LulzBoat account has over 346,000 followers on Twitter. The hacktivists seem to have realized that they have strength in numbers, even without resorting to illegal hacking. A peaceful, legal protest like this also draws in many thousand of other sympathetic WikiLeaks supporters, who might otherwise hesitate to get involved.

As Percy Bysshe Shelley wrote after the British Government's massacre at Peterloo, Manchester in 1819:

'Rise like Lions after slumber
In unvanquishable number -
Shake your chains to earth like dew
Which in sleep had fallen on you -
Ye are many - they are few.'

2011-07-27 Refugee rights activists stage rooftop protest at Monash University

On Wednesday July 27, 2011 five members of the Monash Refugee Action Collective (MRAC) gained access to the roof of the campus centre at the Clayton campus as part of a protest against the Gillard government’s treatment of asylum seekers. These students hung several banners over the side of the building including statements of their support for asylum seekers and their stance against both mandatory detention and the ‘Malaysian solution’.

The activists were joined by supporters on the ground that handed out leaflets and made speeches to other students. Their protest was made in conjunction with that of a group of about 20 asylum seekers who climbed on the roof of the Northern Immigration Detention Centre in Darwin on Sunday. MRAC spokesperson Declan Murphy claims that the protesting students were not officially requested to come down by campus staff until 3 pm.

The students requested they be given a means to come down safely from the rooftop, which the administration readily agreed to; however, their request to not be made to face disciplinary action was refused. The students later requested to face action as a group; Terry Hogan, Director of Client Services, spoke on behalf of campus administration, telling the students that they would face disciplinary hearings as individuals, as has been the precedent. Eventually, the students agreed to come down, and were received by their peers to a round of applause.

Mr Hogan, stated that his primary concern was getting the students down safely.

MRAC spokesman, Declan Murphy stated: “This action was called for a two key reasons, the first is that MRAC activists demand the end of mandatory detention, it’s a barbaric and unjust system and we think it is a clear example of the Gillard government’s racist, anti-refugee agenda. We also reject the other tenets of the Gillard government’s asylum seeker policy, such as the reintroduction of temporary protection visas, the fact that there are still children in detention, despite Labor’s election promise leading up to the 2007 federal election, the constant deportation of refugees back to their country of origin, back to danger, and the Malaysia Solution which is effectively an attempt for the government to outsource its human rights abuses to the Malaysian government.”

“The other key reason, and the most important one, was to show solidarity and support to the refugees across the nation, specifically in Darwin where there have been rooftop protests,” Murphy said, “we have been in contact with the refugees in Darwin and they let us know that they stayed out longer on the roof in Darwin after hearing about MRACs rooftop protest at Monash University; that they were emboldened and really heartened to know of the support MRAC was extending to them.”

The “rooftop five” as the MRAC leadership has dubbed them, will be facing individual disciplinary action by the University for their actions today.

2011-07-28 A Battle 115 ft Above The Ground: Background #hanjin

***Update: 기사 전문에 대한 한글 번역본은 여기에 있습니다. 빠른 번역 올려주신 @makeda2 님 감사합니다!^^

On January 6th of this year, a woman in South Korea went up a jib crane numbered 85. Thirty-five meters (115 ft) above the ground, she declared a war against massive layoffs constantly carried out by one of major shipbuilding companies, Hanjin Heavy Industries and Construction(Hanjin).


The ‘lone protester’ Kim Jinsuk, as BBC depicts it, is the leader of the Korean Confederation of Trade Union’s Busan district, where Hanjin's Youngdo shipyard is located. She lives on baked sweet potatoes and porridge on the crane, relying on scarce and precious solar-powered electricity as the only line of communication between her and the world. The company has attempted several times to block food, water and electricity provided to many laid-off workers who have staged a sit-down demonstration around the crane, and people had to desperately protest the attempts every time. Scorching weather heats up the crane to the extent which one can get burned by simply touching it.

Two hundred days have passed. The war got desperate, as Hanjin requested ‘governmental authority’ – that is, support of the police force in blocking the Hope Riders, a mass demonstration in which people around the country come to the 85th crane to show solidarity and support. The 2nd Hope Riders already suffered severe suppression, which became a battle by the police force along with Hanjin’s private thugs armed with teargas and water cannon to ‘disperse’ the demonstrators and prevent them from reaching the destination, the 85th crane.

Police force blocking the demonstrators from getting to the 85th crane, by spraying diluted teargas.(source)

The war became desperate, and is getting more desperate, but she is not a ‘lone protester’ anymore.

Brief history of Hanjin's layoff, extrajudicial violence and the workers' fight for labor rights

Ten years ago, Hanjin layed off 650 workers and carried out a unilateral wage-freeze, without a single effort to negotiate with its labor union. The company denied the workers’ the right to bargain collectively which is protected by Constitution, and went further to ‘judicial persecution’, as it filed a damage suit against 20 major figures in the labor union, including Kim Jooik, the leader. Consecutively, it put the workers’ wages and houses under provisional seizure, which became a brutal economic persecution against their families. Soon, a bunch of arrest warrants were issued. Kim Jooik, calling for the right to bargain collectively and denouncing Hanjin’s violence, went up to the 85th crane and started a protest. After desperate and hostile battles 115 ft above the ground for 129 days without getting any sign of Hanjin’s serious will on non-violent negotiation with its labor union, he committed suicide on the crane.

Ten years later, Hanjin laid off 400 workers and carried out the same wage-freeze, persecution on labor rights. Its official reason for huge-scale layoff was ‘financial difficulties’. But slightly after the layoff, the Hanjin Heavy Industry Holdings, whose holding company is Hanjin, distributed stock dividends equivalent to 16.6 million US$ to its shareholders, which generated public outcry to the corporation's overt reversal of its own excuse for layoffs, the ‘financial difficulties’.

A laid-off worker from Hanjin's Youngdo shipyard crying out his anger and resentment to the corporation's violence and persecution.(source)

Hanjin expressed ‘resentment’, according to one report, and put forth several absurd claims that “We distributed them stakes instead of money, because we lacked cash.” The average income of workers in Hanjin is only about 60% of that of the ‘Big 3’ shipping companies in South Korea, which made the company’s grumble that ‘its workers get paid so much that it harms the price competitiveness.’

The Fourth Biggest Shipyard in the World - Hanjin's Subic Shipyard in the Philippines and Human Rights Abuse

ImageSome 500 workers protested alleged working conditions in the Hanjin Shipyard. The workers also went to the Korean Embassy and the Department of Labor and Employment in Manila before proceeding to Subic, Zambales, Philippines. On the 3rd of July, 2011.(source)

"Most industrial accidents are recorded as 'suicide'"

According to the statistics released in a report, during 2007-2010, official records of industrial accidents contain over 5000 cases, and the number of total deaths is more than 41 in Hanjin's Subic shipyard.

Subic shipyard has been notorious for having no single employee that Hanjin directly employs; all workers are hired through web of subcontracts which hide the system's brutality in the complexity. In such a hiring structure, it becomes extremely easy to evade legal responsibilities of employers to their workers, mainly with regards to working conditions and minimum wage. According to a report that declares South Korea-Philippines joint efforts to deal with the Hanjin's misconduct in both countries, industrial accidents are recorded as 'disappearance' or 'suspicious death', to avoid providing proper compensation.

Apart from the subcontracts fully exploiting legal loopholes, it was reported that Hanjin actively prevents any establishment of democratic labor unions by periodic layoff in a six month cycle, because according to the labor law of the Philippines, an employer must hire the worker directly and thus take full responsibility as the worker's legal employer. Hanjin has always emphasized its 'legality' whenever it confronts with demonstrators blaming the corporation's misconduct and human rights abuse.

"They beat us with clubs, strangle us, stab us with scissors at any time. Slapping in the face and shouting abusive language is common. We live like dogs."

About 20,000 Philippine laborers work there, and they are forced to stay in the prison-like dormitories inside the shipyard. One worker confessed that he once told his supervisor that he wanted a day off to visit his hometown, which was followed by severe verbal abuse, calling him 'crazyshit'.

The average monthly income of Philippine workers are one tenth of that of South Korea, which is about 300 US$. About 1000 workers are South-Korean, and rest of them are Philippine workers. Most supervisors are South-Korean, who are infamous for their severe racism and wield violence and verbal abuse without any restraint. Trying to organize a democratic labor union is almost impossible, as most of the workers cannot be protected by labor laws due to their temporary positions, in which employers can easily fire any workers who engage in such plans that the corporation loathes.

Leaked material prove the Hanjin-police joint plan in ‘dealing with’ the Hope Riders

Hanjin reacted to the protest of laid-off workers by hiring private thugs to engage in extrajudicial violence and intimidation against active members of the labor union and laid-off workers who have chosen to fight for reinstatement by peaceful sit-in protest. The thugs also have ‘worked with’ the police force whenever there are demonstrations protesting the firm refusal of the company to talk with its labor unions, including the serial mass demonstration entitled ‘the Hope Riders’.

The Hope Riders is a festival-like demonstration in which people around the country gather up to the 85th crane to show support and solidarity. The illustration is by Son Moonsang.

Recently, material leaked out to the press, showing prior consultation between the company and the police before the 2nd Hope Riders, which generated shock because of the statements from the police. The material directed Hanjin to ‘hire proper people to aid the work of police’ in dispersing demonstrators, flatly indicating private thugs.

Furthermore, an arrest warrant was issued to Song Kyeong-dong, one of the most active people in organizing the Hope Riders, due to his role in planning the demonstration. Song is a poet renowned for his works denouncing the bleak reality of South Korea regarding the persecution of labor rights by corporations and governmental power. In a brief interview, he denounced the warrant that “the allegation that the Hope Riders is planned and conducted by several small ‘third party’ groups is just nonsense. People all over South Korea are voluntarily riding down to Busan purely to show their solidarity, in a completely non-violent manner.” The 3rd Hope Riders is planned for July 30th, this year.

The Hope of Kim: to walk down the crane alive, on foot

In a letter announcing the reasons and goals of her starting a heavy fight, Kim wrote that her goal is to “walk down from here by myself, this time alive, which was the desperate wish of the deceased Kim Jooik.” She wrote that she will change the 85th crane from the symbol of desperation to that of the hope, and she firmly believes she can achieve it. It’s not only just Kim's battle - it’s everyone’s battle who shares the same anger toward the abuse of labor rights in South Korea and extrajudicial violence aimed at the rights protected by the Constitution, through the Law of Assembly and Demonstration.

She is not a lone protester anymore.

For more information in English:

KMWU calls for urgent solidarity support

In Reuters: FEATURE-Woman striker rallies Korea workers from the top of a crane

In CNN: Protesters, police clash in South Korea

In Al Jazeera:
User Story: South Korean Actress Promotes Labour Protest
The Stream - South Korean Ship Yard Battle Continues
The Stream - Hanjin Workers' Struggle Continues - Kim Jin-suk & Sungmi Park & Precy Dagooc

For more images, visit here.

2011-07-28 Lulz, Security, Justice and the FBI

The recent news of alleged LulzSec spokesperson Topiary's arrest took the media spotlight away from WikiLeaks supporters' demonstration against PayPal. But it also raises questions about how online laws are applied, and the credibility of those who enforce them.

While doubts remain over whether the police have arrested the right person, Topiary's twitter account has been reduced to a single tweet: "You cannot arrest an idea."

Topiary served as LulzSec's witty media front-man and his clever humour was tempered by a strong sense of justice.

"Laws are to be respected when they're fair, not obeyed without question," he said in a recent interview. "Revolution, to me, is bringing down the big guy while not forgetting to stand up for the little guy."

Topiary's arrest is just the latest in a string of arrests which are set to turn the spotlight back onto the US justice system. Many Anonymous supporters doubt the evidence being used against alleged juvenile hackers, while the WikiLeaks legal case against financial services like Visa, PayPal and Mastercard will generate even more public scrutiny.

It's worth noting that the US Department of Justice's much-vaunted case against NSA whistle-blower Thomas Drake fell apart spectacularly, while US-CERT director Randy Vickers recently resigned without explanation after a string of embarrassing failures.

Meanwhile, FBI head Robert Mueller has been given two more years in the agency's top job. A day after President Barack Obama signed a law allowing him to serve two years beyond the statutory 10-year limit, Mueller's position was secured by a 100-0 Senate vote.

Mueller was appointed by President George W. Bush just a week before the 9/11 attacks in 2001. He has been widely accused by civil liberties groups of abusing powers granted under the controversial Patriot Act. Again, it's worth asking why his re-appointment has been so avidly endorsed.

On Mueller's watch the FBI has:

1. Completely failed to resolve the 2001 anthrax terrorist attacks. After harrassing an innocent suspect for years, the FBI settled out of court and turned their attention to another US government employee, Dr Bruce Ivins. The stress of the investigation drove him to an alleged suicide, and yet the evidence against him remains inconclusive and the anthrax attack controversy remains unresolved.

2. Responded in the most minimalistic fashion to Wall Street corruption.

3. Supported an amateurish smear of WikiLeaks after a contracted agency detected suspicious activity on Swedish servers using "so-called Internet protocol addresses".

4. Provided support for ex-President Saleh's corrupt dictatorship in Yemen.

5. Trained Egyptian government torturers.

6. Targeted US citizens for simply taking an interest in US foreign policy, and particularly harrassed US citizens who take trips to Israel and Palestine.

7. Allowed Pakistani agents to masquerade as fake FBI agents on US soil.

The FBI worked closely with PayPal to identify hackers in the December 2010 #OpPayBack protest, after Paypal gave FBI investigators a list of 1000 IP addresses supposedly linked to the Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks. The FBI is also targeting protestors who participated in a DDoS operation against Koch Industries, while ignoring similar attacks on the WikiLeaks website.

So what laws have been broken here, and how should they be punished? Is a modern digital DDoS attack on PayPal equivalent to a traditional sit-in protest outside a shop or a minister's office? How should those who participate in such online communal protests be prosecuted, as opposed to the "big guns" who direct the traffic from their Low Orbital Ion Canons?

And if people are doing nothing illegal, is it OK to just change the law?

As the protracted extradition case against Julian Assange has demonstrated, the wheels of justice move slowly, and such delays tend to favour accusers over defendants. The financial blockade of WikiLeaks remains in place, and Assange remains under house arrest, despite widespread criticism.

Meanwhile, WikiLeaks supporters are being urged to consider alternatives to PayPal. And Topiary's voice remains very much alive.

2011-07-28 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.
New Cable(s) were released yesterday, and today.

* Upcoming Bradley Manning Rally and Vigil in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Monday 1st August!

* Number of people boycotting PayPal reportedly around 40.000 now... with ebay losing over one billion dollars in stock market value.

* Alexa O’Brien of WL Central interviewed about WikiLeaks, Julian Assange and WL Central on WORT in Madison, WI public radio.

* A meeting in support of Bradley Manning is scheduled for today’s evening, 7pm UK time, in London.
Alternatively if unable to be physically present, there is also the possibility to join via IRC.

More details at UK Friends of Bradley Manning.

* About 20000 people have reportedly closed their PayPal accounts in solidarity with WikiLeaks and the recently arrested supporters who allegedly participated in DDoS attacks on PayPal’s website as a form of protest against the financial blockade imposed on WikiLeaks. Anonymous’ OpPayPal also caused the shares of PayPal parent company ebay to lose significant value.

PayPal continues to service the KKK and Oslo terrorist organization EDL, recently praised by Norwegian terrorist Anders Breivik confessed perpetrator of the Oslo bombing and the Utoya massacre.

* ‘Jail Murdoch – Not Assange’
Photo taken during a protest calling for an investigation in Murdoch's Australian newspaper interests. Melbourne, July 27.


2011-07-29 Canadian government determined to send Abdullah Khadr to the US

In a completely predictable move, the Canadian government has appealed to the Supreme Court of Canada to fight their earlier two losses in a bid to extradite Abdullah Khadr to the US. Abdullah Khadr was captured and tortured by Pakistani forces who were paid $500,000 by the US for their efforts. He was held for fourteen months in a Pakistan prison without charges, and arrested again within a week of his return to Canada. He was then held without bail, pending extradition to the US, from December 2005 until his release last August 2010. In response to the application brought by Khadr's lawyer Dennis Edney, arguing that the US government's evidence against Khadr was inadmissible because it relied on information gathered under torture in Pakistan, the Ontario Superior Court's presiding judge called his treatment "both shocking and unjustifiable."

Canada's government predictably appealed and in May, the Ontario Court of Appeal upheld the verdict unanimously. The 33 page decision stated that to allow the extradition would amount to the Canadian courts being complacent with the torture.

"We must adhere to our democratic and legal values, even if that adherence serves in the short term to benefit those who oppose and seek to destroy those values, for if we do not, in the longer term, the enemies of democracy and the rule of law will have succeeded. They will have demonstrated that our faith in our legal order is unable to withstand their threats. ... It surely can come as no surprise that in a country like Pakistan with a constitution guaranteeing fundamental rights and freedoms, it is illegal to accept a bounty or bribe from a foreign government, to abduct a foreign national from the street, to beat that individual until he agrees to co-operate, to deny him consular access, to hold him in a secret detention centre for eight months while his utility as an intelligence source is exhausted, and then to continue to hold him in secret detention for six more months at the request of a foreign power," said the decision. They also pointed out that refusing the extradition does not prevent the Attorney General from bringing the case before Canadian courts.

The government disagrees, stating in their appeal application that the decision will "inevitably lengthen" extradition hearings and make it more difficult for Canada to comply with its international legal obligations. The US has, since the 1999 Extradition Act, enjoyed an unequal extradition treaty with Canada: “The new Act effectively reduces extradition in Canada from a traditionally judicial process (as it remains in the United States) to an essentially administrative process.”

Khadr's lawyer, Dennis Edney earlier stated that the decision shows the US, "When they come to the court, they are supposed to come with clean hands, meaning that the evidence they are relying on to extradite that person is legal, it's not evidence that has been relied on through torture and abuse." The Canadian government argues that the torture used to obtain evidence was not directly relevant to the extradition decision.

Edney expressed no surprise at the appeal, telling Postmedia News "The government has been consistent in appealing each and every strong ruling by the federal courts in both the Abdullah Khadr and Omar Khadr cases, only to be overruled once again at the Supreme Court level, and all at the expense of the public purse."

The role of public apathy and encouragement of the US in these appeals has been well revealed in the US State cables released by Wikileaks. Regarding Abdullah's brother Omar the cables said "There would be virtually no political blowback domestically for the Conservative Party if the government chooses to pursue an appeal, making this a strong likelihood.”

Previous WL Central coverage of Abdullah Khadr and his brother Omar Khadr.

2011-07-29 Competition Finalist: WikiLeaks: Can the Venezuelan Opposition Benefit from Chávez’s Illness?

By Nikolas Kozloff

With a big question mark hanging over the health of Venezuelan president Hugo Chávez, the right wing opposition sees opportunity. Though Chávez initially claimed that he was merely suffering from a "pelvic abscess," the firebrand leader subsequently conceded that he had cancer. In a shock to the nation, Chávez announced that he had a tumor removed during a sojourn in Cuba, and that he would "continue battling."

It's unclear how the president's shaky health might factor in the nation's upcoming 2012 election. The populist leader, who has closely identified himself with the so-called "Bolivarian Revolution," has never shown much interest in grooming a successor within his own United Socialist Party of Venezuela or PSUV, and so if Chávez should falter it is easy to imagine a scenario in which much of his political project could unravel or be derailed by the right.

Reporting over the past several weeks suggests that Chávez might be in worse shape than has been commonly let on. Though he returned to Venezuela after his operation in Cuba, Chávez recently announced that he would pay yet another visit to Cuba in order to undergo chemotherapy. The firebrand leader, however, still refuses to reveal what kind of cancer he has or its severity. Ominously, one medical source reported to Reuters that Chávez's cancer had spread to the rest of his body and was in an advanced stage. Hardly inspiring confidence, Chávez remarked "I have faith in God, science and our Cuban and Venezuelan doctors, all the people who attend to me and finally myself and this will to live."

On the surface at least, Chávez's illness would seem to represent a political boon to the Venezuelan opposition. On the other hand, rightist forces have been incredibly disunited and fractured. In 2002, the opposition failed to dislodge Chávez through a military coup d'etat, and shortly thereafter an oil lockout went down to similar defeat. At the polls, the right has fared abysmally: in 2004, opposition efforts to remove Chávez through a constitutional recall proved unsuccessful and led to the implosion of a political umbrella group known as Coordinadora Democrática. The following year, the opposition boycotted the electoral process altogether, thus providing handy victory to Chávez forces in legislative elections. As if it could get no worse, in 2006 Chávez trounced rightist candidate Manuel Rosales by almost 30% in Venezuela's presidential election.

The Impact of WikiLeaks

U.S. diplomatic cables recently declassified by whistle-blowing outfit WikiLeaks underscore the complete ineptitude of the Chávez opposition. In the run up to the 2006 presidential election, for example, U.S. diplomats noted that Venezuela's largest opposition party, Acción Democrática or AD, was "going nowhere fast." Mincing no words, the US embassy noted that the party's secretary general Henry Ramos Allup was "unimaginative, overconfident, and even repellent" as well as "crude, abrasive and arrogant."

The problem, diplomats noted, was that Ramos did not seek unity within the Chávez opposition, preferring instead to plead for international assistance while insulting other party officials. Politically bankrupt, AD failed to advance an effective party platform or address the needs of the Venezuelan poor. In the long-term, U.S. officials noted, AD was unlikely to progress because officials professing alternative views were rarely given a voice. "As a result," the embassy wrote, "AD's voter base, which consists of people who vote for the party out of tradition, is quickly dwindling."

Perhaps, "cable gate" will wind up benefiting Chávez if the Venezuelan leader overcomes his illness and runs in the 2012 election [it would not be the first time that WikiLeaks has had a political impact upon a Latin American election, as evidenced by recent developments in Peru]. For years, Chávez has sapped the opposition's strength and credibility by pointing to the latter's links to the United States, and WikiLeaks cables give the Venezuelan yet more ammunition.

Indeed, under Ramos's leadership, AD became a crass party which repeatedly requested "funds and favors" from the U.S. embassy. Public opinion polls show Ramos with very low popular support, and if the politician winds up becoming a leading opposition candidate then revelations stemming from WikiLeaks documents will no doubt figure in the election.

A Fractured Opposition

Despite these setbacks, U.S. cables suggest that the right failed to learn from its own mistakes. As recently as 2009, in fact, the embassy remarked that the opposition was considering coordinating its messages and actions to a greater degree, but "was still a long way from doing so." Frustration within AD ranks continued unabated, though one party member opined hopefully that a former party member, Caracas mayor Antonio Ledezma, might one day rise to national prominence and challenge Chávez in future.

Even as the Venezuelan president succeeded in eliminating term limits and concentrating more power in his hands, the right was "fractured" and could not develop a strategy or common vision. Once again not mincing words, the embassy wrote "opposition parties do not now possess the cohesiveness, grassroots strength, or public support to constitute a real check on the Venezuelan president's ongoing efforts to 'accelerate' his Bolivarian Revolution."

Within the ranks of the opposition Un Nuevo Tiempo or UNT party, petty rivalries complicated the right's prospects of ever making political inroads against Chávez. Reportedly, mayor of Maracaibo and former presidential candidate Manuel Rosales was only interested in claiming power for himself rather than grooming "rising stars in the party." Because of internal dissension, it was unlikely that younger and more charismatic leaders within the UNT such as former mayor of Chacao [a district of Caracas] Leopoldo López would ever gain notoriety. In a critical speech directed at his colleagues, López declared that the opposition needed to "renew itself by conveying more hope and less confrontation."

In June, 2009 the opposition encouraged greater cohesion by creating the so-called Coalition for Democratic Unity, known by its Spanish acronym MUD, a kind of successor group to the earlier failed Coordinadora Democrática. Despite such moves, a further WikiLeaks cable paints a similarly bleak picture of Chávez foes. Commenting on an opposition conference, the Americans noted that "among the 50 or so leaders on camera...there were just two female faces visible and very little enthusiasm."

Notably, some of those who attended the conference paid more attention to their Blackberries than speeches delivered on the floor, and overall the event contrasted starkly with "Chavez's enthusiastic, color-coordinated PSUV rallies."

Fundamentally, the UNT continued to suffer from internal rivalry between Rosales and López, and younger generation figures such as Miranda state governor Henrique Capriles Radonski were absent from the conference.

The Opposition Field

With one opposition figure already tarnished by the WikiLeaks scandal, other possible contenders within the presidential field may hope that further disclosures will not derail their chances in 2012. Those contenders include Ledezma, a hard line right winger who once went on a hunger strike against Chávez when the president sought to strip the Caracas mayor of much of his political power.

Then there is López, a 40-year old young Turk with a radiant Hollywood smile who is the bane of the old guard anti-Chávez folk. The former Chacao mayor has been accused of corruption and currently the politician is prohibited from seeking public office though López hopes to overturn the ruling.

Rosales, former Mayor of Maracaibo and two term governor of the oil-rich state of Zulia, faces a similar uphill climb: when the authorities accused the pro-business populist of corruption, the anti-Chávez figure fled to Peru. Though he would likely win any primary to take the fight against Chávez, Rosales would first have to return to Venezuela and confront his daunting legal challenges. If Rosales fizzles as a candidate, then UNT colleague and governor of Zulia state Pablo Pérez might step into the breach.

Potentially the most dangerous political foe for Chávez, however, might be the less ideological Capriles. An energetic and youthful governor of the country's second most populous state of Miranda, Capriles claims to represent a more moderate, Brazilian-style leftist current in contrast to Chávez's populism. Hoping to emulate some of Chávez's popular social programs, Capriles has set up free health clinics in poor neighborhoods and provides subsidized food to poor families.

In February, 2012 the opposition will settle on a candidate and, assuming the government does not change the timetable, the election will proceed in December. Surveying the political landscape and Chávez's frail physical health, many of the leading presidential contenders may sense opportunity. They had better hope, however, that they can avoid the fate of colleague Ramos and that further revelations stemming from WikiLeaks don't undermine their standing or credibility.

Nikolas Kozloff is the author of Revolution! South America and the Rise of the New Left (Palgrave, 2008). Visit his website,

2011-07-29 Investigation into Polish CIA prison extended

The investigation into an alleged CIA black site in the Masovian village of Stare Kiejkuty has been extended by six months, a spokesperson for the Warsaw prosecutor's office confirms to Polish press agency PAP.

According to a source quoted by PAP, the prosecution requires additional evidence and is at present unable to conclude the investigation. Even though the exact nature of this evidence remains obscure, it is likely to include witness statements of the alleged victims. As Polish public TV reports, the prosecution filed a request for mutual legal assistance to the US to hear Abu Zubaida and Abd al Nashiri in this capacity, and are waiting for a reply. Both are currently held in Guantanamo.

The prosecution has already admitted that more than ten CIA flights landed in Szymany airport, which may also have carried prisoners. Whereas this fact is evident from flight plans that are now freely available on the internet, it is more difficult to establish whether prisoners were tortured inside a potential detention facility, in particular if both the alleged victims and perpetrators cannot be heard.

Independently, this case is also being investigated on a European level. Lawyers acting on behalf of al Nashiri compiled the existing evidence from publicly available sources, mainly official US documents, and submitted a complaint to the European court of Human Rights. Amongst others, they accuse Poland of unlawful detention, torture and failing to conduct an efficient investigation.

It is unclear whether these documents are being taken into account by the Polish prosecution. Also, in April 2011, Robert Majewski, one of the prosecutors who was subsequently removed from the case, stated to Polish public TV that he commissioned translations of documents recently released by WikiLeaks. It is not known whether the change in regime affected proceedings in this regard.

Previous coverage on WLCentral

2011-07-29 Lulzsec's Topiary and the Shetland Islands [Update]

On Wednesday the 27th of July the Metropolitan Police issued a press release stating that an 18 year old man had been arrested at a residential address on the Shetland Islands. The reason for his arrest is described as follows:

"He is believed to be linked to a continuing international investigation into the criminal activity of the so-called "hacktivist" groups Anonymous and LulzSec, and allegedly uses the online nickname "Topiary" which is presented as the spokesperson for the groups."

The release was quickly picked up by the international press, and various news outlets questioned whether the arrested person was indeed Topiary. Some even linked to a webpage containing a photograph and personal details of another person, who had been identified as Topiary by a rival hacker group. [WLCentral is not going to link to this page as it might contain defamatory information.]

The arrest was confirmed by Twitter user AnonymouSabu, an associate of Topiary, a short time later.

At the time of publication, the arrested person has not been charged, and is apparently still kept in custody at a London police station. This unusually long period of detention without charge prompted us to look deeper into the details surrounding his arrest.

From what has been publicly known, the only circumstantial evidence that the arrested person is indeed Topiary is that the last Tweet on the Lulzsec account appeared around the time of the arrest.

There are, however, several oddities which make us wonder whether Scotland Yard indeed arrested the right man. The most important factor is here the location of the arrest. The Shetland Islands are situated to the North East of Scotland, in a distance of around 80km from Orkney, and 280km from the Faroe Islands. They are inhabited by a total of 20,000 people.

The Shetlands are notorious for poor internet connectivity, and were recently awarded development funding from the European Union to install a broadband connection via a cable from the Faroe Islands. According to the targets set out in the proposal, 80% of the population should have broadband access by March 2016. One is left wondering how someone could have carried out the alleged offenses given these circumstances.

Another oddity is the complete absence of rumours regarding the identity of the arrested person. Local papers report that police flew in on a light plane from England, made the arrest, most likely in the village of Scalloway, searched the property, and subsequently returned to London. Locals could not make sense of it and apparently never heard of this person. There have been rumours he might be German or Swedish and only just moved to the Shetlands. A spokesperson for the Metropolitan Police however confirmed that he was a British citizen.

Overall, this gives us a very strange impression of the alleged hacker mastermind, and unless he led an itinerant life, the facts hardly add up. In fact, one is left wondering whether there may have been several people operating under the same pseudonym.

The most worrying aspect, however, is the continued detention without charge, which indicates that the police lacks sufficient evidence for a prosecution. According to the press release, the arrest was made under under the Section 3 of the Computer Misuse Act and Section 1 of the Criminal Law Act 1977, which would allow for a detention of 24 hours, which can be extended to 36 hours. This time has now elapsed and police have been granted additional three days for questioning.


There are two different broadband systems in operation on the Shetland Islands, a BT connection available to many residents, which appears to be inadequate, and a system called Pathfinder North, which provides fast internet access to a limited number of users. In Scalloway, these are the junior high school, the port control, the community work office and the North Atlantic Fisheries College.

2011-07-29 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.
New Cables were released today.

12:30 PM A year has passed since Bradley Manning was transferred from a military jail in Kuwait to Quantico, Virginia... He is currently detained at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, still awaiting trial.

12:15 PM Cyprus government resigns "amid growing public anger over the handling of Iran-bound ammunition that exploded earlier this month and wiped out the country's main energy plant, triggering market fears that the island nation may be the next in line for a eurozone bailout." (via EUObserver)

A diplomatic cable from 2009 revealed Cyprus had been pressured by the United States to store the Iranian ammunition.

05:55 AM Julian Assange addresses this generation with an inspirational speech, screened at Splendour in the Grass festival.

"When I was twelve my family and I lived in Byron Bay. Some days I would try to climb up to the lighthouse. Earth would overhang the sea cliffs and sometimes a pebble would shift or a gull would cry and I would wonder if I was standing on the overhang.

Later I would look back and see that in fact there had been nothing between me and the waters below. At any given moment I could not see where I was, I could only see where I had been and where I wanted to go. Only with perspective could I understand.

We are all like that. We all laugh at the dorky fashions from ten years ago but we think we are totally cool now. Well we are, but in a more important way. We are becoming the agents of perspective.

This generation is burning the mass media to the ground. We’re reclaiming our rights to old history. We are ripping open secret archives from Washington to Cairo. We are reclaiming our rights to share ourselves and our times with each other, to be the agents and writers of our own history. We don’t know yet exactly where we are but we can see where we’re going.

The change in perspective that has happened over the last year is what this generation is going to use to find our lighthouse and when we get there we’re going to turn the fucking spotlight on.

So enjoy Splendour In The Grass. Find each other. Find every perspective you can. You’ll need it in the adventure ahead."

via Splendour In The Grass

03:30 AM China’s growing influence in Thailand and competition with the U.S. at the diplomatic level, documented in a cable from February 2010.

"...Indications that the US's historically close relationship with Thailand and the region is being challenged by the rise of China have become increasingly evident in recent years in a variety of arenas, not just economically but diplomatically, culturally, politically, and even in some security areas."

01:55 AM Secret cables from the Bahamas, analysed by Haiti Liberté, detail continuous U.S. efforts to keep former Haitian president Aristide in exile, after the U.S. backed coup, also supported by the Vatican.

2011-07-29 WikiLeaks: "A passionately eager Bulgaria in bed with the muscle bound duo of Gazprom and Lukoil"

Putin and bulgarian PM Borissov

Putin and bulgarian PM Borissov

A diplomatic cable of the US embassy in Sofia, dated October 2, 2008, has been revealed on WikiLeaks, focusing on Bulgaria's energy dependence from Russia.

The report titled "BULGARIA AND THE ENERGY KNOT: SCENESETTER FOR OCT 7 VISIT OF SPE GRAY," has been sent by then US Ambassador in Sofia, Nancy McEldowney to Boyden Grey, at the time Special Envoy for European Affairs and Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy at the Mission of the United States to the European Union, ahead of his visit to Bulgaria.

The Bulgarian dependency is described by the Ambassador almost pornographically with the following words: "But the cartoon strip portraying a passionately eager Bulgaria in bed with the muscle bound duo of Gazprom and Lukoil is only partially true -- it is a tryst driven less by passion and more by a perceived lack of options."

The cable is revealed after the Bulgarian Government revoked the license of one of the "muscle bound lovers": the local refinery of the Russian oil giant Lukoil, who was forced to halt operations for at least a month and a half.

Тhe Director of the Bulgarian Customs Agency, Vanyo Tanov explained that the refinery cannot operate without the required electronic measuring devices Lukoil failed to install in its storage facilities, and can deal only with the fuels already outside the plant.

The news shocked many as the Lukoil Bulgaria CEO, Valentin Zlatev, is known to be one of Borisov's closest friends. A secret diplomatic cable sent in 2006 by Ambassador John Bayrle stressed on the strong ties between Borissov and Zlatev.

"Borisov has close financial and political ties to LUKoil Bulgaria Director Valentin Zlatev, a vastly influential kingmaker and behind-the-scenes power broker. Borisov's loyalty (and vulnerability) to Zlatev play a major role in his political decision making." - Beyrly wrote.

His predecessor John Pardew wrote in 2005 that "Lukoil's Bulgarian operations, through Zlatev, are suspected of strong ties to Russian intelligence and organized crime."

However, Borissov is now rejecting the allegations that his friendship with Zlatev can influence the decisions on the refinery license. Both Borissov and finance minister Djankov declared that everyone should be equal before the law, including the almighty Lukoil.

But there is talk Zlatev and Borisov have reached an agreement and Lukoil will actually benefit from increased fuel prices since there is an upcoming planned closure of the refinery for renovations and the company has already produced enough fuel to make up for it – something both Djankov and Zlatev vehemently deny - English language news site Novinite wrote.

Analysts in Bulgaria also suggested that Russia is in the game with Lukoil inserting pressure on ousting Zlatev or because the project to build a second Nuclear Power Plant in the Danube town of Belene with Russian participation, where the Lukoil Bulgaria CEO is a consultant for the Russian side, is at stake.

This could mean the saga with the love play, turning into a love drama, should definitely include a third "muscle bound lover" - the Russian Rosatom corporation, constructor of the Belene NPP, not mentioned in the cable by McEldowney.

2011-07-30 Brandon Neely call to action for protest Aug 3, Sydney, Australia for the David Hicks case #GTMO

On Wednesday, August 3rd at 8:30am a protest will be held at New South Wales Supreme Court, 184 Phillip St, Sydney Sydney, Australia. For more information see

Important Telephone Numbers:

  • Julia Gillards office (from within Australia) 02 6277 7111
  • Julia Gillards office (from outside Australia) +61 262777111
  • Common Wealth Director of Public Prosecutions (02) 9321 1100

Brandon Neely, has been a vocal critic of both Guantanamo Bay, and the war in Iraq. And he speaks from experience, since he was both a guard at Guantanamo during the the first six months the camp was open, and served in Iraq during the US invasion. In the course of his advocacy, he has offered testimony to the Center for Human Rights in the Americas, and appeared in numerous articles and on television programs, including a BBC program that recounts how he contacted two of his former prisoners on Facebook to express remorse for what he did. You can also find him on twitter, @BrandonTXNeely. He knew David Hicks while Hicks was incarcerated at GTMO.

To read WL Central's interview with Brandon Neely go here.

2011-07-31 Canada's WTF file on WikiLeaks

Authored by Joe B

Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade created a WikiLeaks Task force, and this was first reported by the king of ATIP, Ken Rubin. Given the fact that Mr. Rubin didn’t release the source material didn’t really help matters, since we couldn’t pick apart the document, see which agencies were directly involved with the DFAIT-led WikiLeaks Task Force and we didn’t know what the policy was for people to visit WikiLeaks from various Government of Canada pages.

I sent an ATIP asking for the source document, and it was dealt with informally, so I got my cheque back. The document itself is 376 pages, and is a collection of e-mails dealing with the WikiLeaks cables, and providing a summary of them. There’s tons of acronyms that I don’t understand at all in DFAIT, luckily the DFAIT website provides this nice list of definitions that is required to follow along to see who is doing what.

While the original PostMedia article dated June 29, 2011 indicated that DFAIT blocked WikiLeaks, what it failed to mention that Public Safety Canada, which is the agency in charge of CSIS and the RCMP also blocked WikiLeaks. The Canadian Military has blocked WikiLeaks as well. The earliest documents state that DFAIT got a call from the NSA about WikiLeaks first, before they even setup the War Room. It appears that DFAIT gets a search engine for the WikiLeaks cables provided by an unknown agency and then starts to search for the Canadian cables. Other agencies involved include CBSA, Public Safety, as well as other ones that stick out like Agrifood Canada and Statistics Canada. There are two whole agencies who have their reps redacted out, and it’s most likely CSIS and the CSE. What’s really strange is the fact that the RCMP doesn’t have a liason, and has said in the past that they have no material regarding WikiLeaks.

The Canadian Task Force was in direct contact with the US WTF, however it appears that all the contact info for the US WTF is completely redacted. This would indicate that the Canadian Government would more knowledge about the Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks, Wikileaks volunteers, and Julian Assange in particular. The first mention of the WTF in the files is back in November 27, 2010.

There’s an excerpt about the DFAIT C5 system that Canada uses to send diplomatic cables, and it indicates almost nothing about this system, except that it is on the I drive, indicating that DFAIT runs a Windows based network. This is completely unsurprising, since it’s the Government of Canada.

The document repeats itself and does not actually cover the massive Canadian dump that happened during the Federal Election, and page 334 has a list of the cables that DFAIT was interested in. Most of the keywords that they were using to search are redacted, but “Forsys”, a Uranium mining firm is unredacted in the document, which is interesting, since it’s only unredacted because of the Globe and Mail story on the worried about the Forsys deal exposed by WikiLeaks. I do plan on sending an ATIP back to DFAIT to ask for copies of communications related to WikiLeaks releases close to the last week of April 2011.

Below is the link to the file:

dfait_wtf.pdf – SHA1SUM: 30e8ea1f3205413fd6fd0989abd091b47d9e6888

2011-07-31 Competition Winner: Syria: the canary in the coal mine

Authored by JP Orient

Our times are characterized by narratives from authority that don't pass the test of logic.[1] The case of Syria's alleged "non-peaceful" nuclear reactor, destroyed by Israeli warplanes in September 2007, illustrates how technical knowledge has been diminished by argument from authority.[2] This analysis explores an alternate narrative wherein Syria's "Box on the Euphrates"[3] was a natural-uranium production facility and not a U.S.-alleged atomic reactor.

The U.S. narrative about Syria was revealed in April 2008. [4] Anonymous intelligence officials briefed Congress with images and sworn testimony about Syria’s suspected clandestine “non-peaceful” nuclear program. North Korean engineers helped construct the alleged plutonium-producing reactor. It was almost operational. Israel destroyed the site before IAEA could investigate because wider knowledge of its existence would destabilize the region.

After years of lackluster investigation and Syrian non-cooperation, inspectors reified U.S. assertions in June 2011 that Syria's Dair Alzour site was probably a nuclear reactor.[5] Their key evidence was an indeterminate number of anthropogenic uranium particles found at the site along with limited satellite imagery that was augmented by U.S.-supplied photos of undisclosed domain showing the inside of a reactor.[6] Syria was referred to the UN Security Council as a potential threat to "international peace and security."

Dair Alzour building near completion, date unknown (USG)


Syria maintains that its conventional military site was the victim of hostile attack and that an initial three particles discovered by investigators were inconsistent with the allegations. [7] Munitions or modified uranium particles planted during Israel's midnight raid explained their existence, according to Syria. Israel neither declared the alleged reactor nor its intention of destroying the site's evidence to IAEA. Damascus allowed IAEA a one-time Dair Alzour visit to collect soil, water and air samples. Syria was subsequently cited for IAEA non-cooperation after prohibiting inspectors from visiting three separate military sites on national security grounds.[8]

Sending Syria to the Security Council may have been facilitated by the factional violence and repression sweeping the country.[9] The IAEA motion, tabled by the U.S. with European support, passed by the narrowest of margins.[10] The information contained in the allegations against Syria wasn't enough to convince almost half the Board of Governors. While individuals at the vote may have sympathized with antipathy toward current events in Syria, they were disinclined to trust the narrative of authorities who had previously used false nuclear allegations to wage preemptive war.

Unlike the period preceding the 2003 Iraq war, when IAEA inspectors disproved attempts to form false narratives about aluminum tubes and Niger uranium, the Agency hasn't seriously entertained alternative explanations leading up to the bombing of Syria, excepting their dismissal of the site as unsuitable for launching missiles. Inspectors rejected the country's claims that the uranium particles were Israeli in origin as having a "low probability" of truth.[11] IAEA hasn't demonstrated the veracity of its own particle conclusions because the agency declines to reveal facts about their quantity or morphology. The Security Council referral, while mentioning Syria's risk to "international peace and security," ultimately hinged on the country's uncooperative approach to IAEA inspections rather than on whether an alleged undeclared reactor ever stood at Dair Alzour.

It was a fallacy to reject Syrian claims only because the particles didn't proscribe to depleted uranium.[12] The absence of critical thinking bypassed at least one plausible alternative that both the U.S. and Syrian authorities may have interest in concealing. One explanation that would satisfy both U.S. and Syrian assertions is Dair Alzour was built to produce armor-penetrating munitions fabricated from natural uranium.

In spite of their many differences, it can be said that Syria and the U.S. agree that Dair Alzour was a military site. Washington diplomats carefully calibrate their language by calling the facility one built for "non-peaceful" purposes. Syria says the building existed for conventional weapons. Media have adopted a haphazard language calling Dair Alzour a suspected "nuclear weapons" or "atomic bomb" facility.[13]

The tactical utility of producing natural-uranium[14] armaments would be similar to that derived from using penetrating munitions made from depleted uranium. They both pierce tank or mechanized infantry armor. The key difference is that the vast and costly nuclear industry needed to produce the uranium-238 isotope isn't required to make natural-uranium munitions. A steady supply of milled natural uranium, converted to uranium oxide and then uranium tetraflouride (also called "green salt"), mixed with magnesium and reduced through contained combustion inside a reaction vessel is all that is required to produce uranium metal.

The U.S. produced uranium metal from 1951 until 1989 at its Feed Materials Production Center outside Fernald, Ohio.[15] The plant was producing natural-uranium ingots for weapons' systems for two decades before the U.S. started to deploy its depleted-uranium stockpile in the early 1970s. [16] Uranium's density and pyrophoric characteristics allow it to penetrate and incinerate (at temperatures up to 1,800 degrees Celsius) other heavy metals.[17] Natural- or depleted-uranium munitions inevitably require another heavy-metal alloy -- titanium, molybdenum, or niobium, for example -- to counteract corrosion.

Fernald construction, September 1951 (Flour Corp.)


Although the Fernald plant never built nuclear bombs or contained a nuclear reactor, the Cincinnati Enquirer proclaimed in a four-column March 30, 1951 headline: "Hamilton County to Get Huge Atomic Plant."[18] The site's first unit was a "prototype for every phase of the uranium metal process."[19] Fernald's unit-4 was built to harvest so-called "green salt" from uranium oxide bathed in hydrochloric acid. Green salt is an intermediate compound to be further modified into enriched uranium 235 or cast as natural-uranium ingots. Fernald's unit-4 had 10 reaction beds to cast uranium metal.[20]

Fernald Unit-4, date unknown (DoE)


Dair Alzour shares physical characteristics with Fernald's unit-4 facility. Pipes connected the Syrian site to the Euphrates for cooling and discharge. Fernald was chosen for the site's "abundant water" and discharged its effluent into the Great Miami River via a buried pipeline.[21] The alleged water storage cistern near Dair Alzour's southwestern corner isn't inconsistent with the sumps and containment vessels at Fernald. Both buildings have visible ventilation ducts. Photographs show that the Dair Alzour building looks like a hardened, slightly smaller reproduction of Fernald.

Dair Alzour construction, date unknown (USG)


History, along with both Israel’s and Syria's material exigencies make the IAEA’s dismissal of alternative scenarios appear ill informed. Neither Israel nor Syria has the industrial facilities to produce depleted uranium. Both Israel and Syria would have easier routes to cast the heavy metal in its natural form. Armor-piercing munitions would have high value in any Middle East conflict.

The military-tactical advantages that uranium munitions bestow has caused alarm. China complainedin an April 2005 meeting with U.S. Under Secretary of State John Rood that "the United States is developing clean nuclear weapons and dirty conventional weapons or depleted uranium bombs."[22] Irregularities with Egyptianuranium particles and depleted uranium munitions received special U.S. highlight in May 2009.[23] IAEA inspectorsare concerned with "uranium metal" and "green salt" documents that are alleged to have been in Iran's possession.[24]

Syria would be interested in concealing the nature of Dair Alzour under the alternative scenario of normal-uranium munitions production. Damascus would want to hide such a facility because it would run counter to IAEA safeguards agreements.[25] While the U.S., which has been using uranium-metal munitions since at least the 1991 Gulf War, calls the weapons conventional, its trade is restricted with competing manufactures unwanted.

Dair Alzour is a legal quagmire. Syria's Security Council referral in the absence of forensic certainty is precedent setting because it labels sovereign non-cooperation with technical experts a threat to international peace and security. The case also exposes weaknesses in the non-proliferation framework whereby states, rather than risk public approbation by declaring uranium-munitions production, may secretly dare use material for arms that nuclear-weapons states call conventional.

Ultimately, Syria's Security Council referral may have less to do with satisfying nuclear non-proliferation rules than in providing narrative cover for parties seeking to keep military-intervention options open in the region. Connections between Iran and Syria are well established.[26] Attempts to wrest Damascus from Tehran have failed, leaving the country’s future to the currents sweeping the Arab Spring.[27]

From an Israeli perspective, the Arab Spring may not appear to have yielded increased security.[28] IAEA delegates have repeatedly said that Syria's Security Council referral was intended to stand as a warning to Iran and to protect the sanctity of the safeguards regime.[29] While the referral was cloaked as necessary to protect the sanctity of law, precedence shows that war based on unproven nuclear-weapons allegations distorts the regulation of international peace.

A competent public assessment along with a release of additional data is necessary to draw a definitive conclusion about what took place at Dair Alzour. Until more facts are released and understood, a more accurate narrative explaining Israel's midnight raid and Syria's subsequent Security Council referral is this:

Syria was the canary in the coalmine. Hold your breath.


[1] "That's not the way the world really works anymore. We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors ... and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do." -- Former White House Official

[2] Form: Authority *A* believes that *P* is true. 
Therefore, * P* *is* true


[4] CABLE ID: 08STATE43817, SYRIA's clandestine NUCLEAR program, 2008-04-25 01:01:00,


[6] Commercial satellite imagery of the site was blacked out to the IAEA and anyone else who even now seeks to purchase the pictures in the six weeks after the raid.

[7] GOV/2008/60, IAEA Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic, Nov. 19, 2008,

[8] Syria had reason to exercise caution. The Presidential aide dealing with IAEA's inquiries was assassinated by a sniper.

[9] A Security Council resolution admonishing Syrian human rights abuses was tabled a day before the IAEA vote.

[10] The resolution passed with 17 in delegations in favor, 6 against, 11 abstaining and one state absent.

[11] GOV/2011/30, IAEA Implementation of the NPT Safeguards Agreement in the Syrian Arab Republic, May 24, 2011,

[12] Form: *p* only if *q*. 
Therefore, not-*p*.

[13] See

[14] Normal uranium refers to the isotopic ratio whereby the heavy metal contains 0.7 percent of the uranium-235 isotope (used to produce nuclear chain reactions in atomic weapons, 99.3 percent of the uranium-238 isotope (the byproduct of uranium enrichment used in depleted uranium weapons) and trace amounts of uranium-234 isotopes.

[15] "Throughout the production years, the Fernald site’s products were used at many different sites within the nuclear weapons complex. From 1952 through 1976, depleted, normal and enriched uranium cores and fuel coreelements were fabricated for both Hanford and Savannah River. From 1976 until 1989, the main products were depleted uranium fuel elements for Savannah River, enriched extrusion ingots and billets for Hanford, derbies for Oak Ridge in Tennessee and Rocky Flats in Colorado, and slab billets for Rocky Flats."

[16]/a> "Evaluation of Depleted-Uranium Alloys for Use in Armor-Piercing Projectiles, June 1973, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratory,

[17] Andrews, Dr. William S., "Depleted Uranium on the Battlefield," Royal Military College of Canada,

[18] "Closing the Circle of History: a history of the Fernald Site... Its workers and successful cleanup," Fluor Corporation, The history, commissioned by the company which won the $12 billion contract to cleanup up the Fernald complex cites project manager James F. Chandler saying in 1951 that: “no weapons will be made on the site and that the production will not create environmental, toxic, radiological or explosive hazards (page 10).”

[19] Ibid (page 34)

[20] Ibid (page 76)

[21] "Alliance for Nuclear Accountability (page 28),"


[23] CABLE ID 09UNVIEVIENNA218, SUBJECT: IAEA/EGYPT: SAFEGUARDS IMPLEMENTATION REPORT CITES, DATE: 2009-05-08 15:03:00, CLASSIFICATION: SECRET ("The IAEA then undertook a State-wide investigation of its nuclear material holdings, during which additional, previously unreported, nuclear material was identified, including several DEPLETED URANIUM items for which Egypt subsequently provided accounting reports.")

[24] CABLE ID 09UNVIEVIENNA540, SUBJECT: Staffdel Kessler Examines Iran, Syria, And Multilateral Vienna's Frustrating Nam Dynamic, DATE: Wed, 2 Dec 2009 17:17 UTC, CLASSIFICATION: SECRET

[25] In constructing a uranium processing facility, Syria may have violated both the "basic undertaking" and Article 34(c) of "The Structure and Content of Agreements Between the IAEA and States Required in Connection with the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

[26] Syria and Iranpledgemutual defense assistance. Their senior leadership meets. Suspect trade runs between their two countries. Both have acknowledged contact with Pakistan's nuclear black market. Hezbollah continues receiving support that helps it to maintain, if not increase power. Not a helpful footnote

[27] CABLE ID 07DAMASCUS1193, SUBJECT: DEMOCRATIC REFORM STRATEGY SYRIA - 2007, DATE 2007-12-23 13:01:00, (Note: Given the current circumstances, it is noteworthy to see the U.S. engagement strategy already formulated in 2007).

[28] Hezbollah has entrenched in Lebanon while Egypt has reawakened an independent foreign policy that affects Israel's energy suppliesand border security. Relations with
Turkeyhave deteriorated. Syria's heretofore predictable animosityno longer looks predictable. See:


CABLE ID 09TELAVIV2245, SUBJECT Israelis Mull Response To Turkish "humiliations", DATE Tue, 13 Oct 2009 15:58 UTC,


[29] See Mark Hibbs:

2011-07-31 Malaysia limits press freedom, cable shows

MALAYSIA - A US diplomatic cable 08KUALALUMPUR806 released by WikiLeaks on July 29, 2011 documents the arrest of controversial Malaysian blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin, as well as how the US would respond to the arrest. Kamaruddin, a contentious figure in Malaysia, had been quite outspoken with his criticism of the incumbent government at that time.

On September 12, 2008 Kamaruddin was arrested at his residence under the Internal Security Act (ISA) – which allows for detention without trial. Kamaruddin’s arrest came days after Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi threatened to use the ISA to repress those purportedly stoking racial and religious tensions. The arrest was meant as a deterrent to the growing Internet media; it was also meant as a message to the political Opposition, which had vowed to topple Badawi’s coalition later that month.

Malaysia's on-line news sources and blogs have blossomed over recent years as an alternative to the government dominated mainstream media. This trend has only increased after the March 8 elections, in which Abdullah and his UMNO party suffered a major setback,” 08KUALALUMPUR806 stated.

08KUALALUMPUR806 states that: “the arrest is another sign of insecurity on the part of Abdullah and the UMNO party. The government’s use of ISA sends a strong warning to other opposition bloggers to curb their activities. The arrest may intimidate some activists, but it could result in a backlash by the independent media and bloggers, and increase public disaffection with Abdullah’s leadership.”

Home Minister Syed Hamid Albar, who approved Kamaruddin’s ISA detention order, told the media that he was detained under 73(1) of the ISA because he was deemed a threat to security, peace and public order. The arrest came after one of his more controversial posts in which he is alleged to have ridiculed Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.

Home Minister Albar stated: “We have called and advised him [Kamaruddin] many times following the publishing of his statements but he has continued to write, so much so that they [the statements] could pose a threat [to security and public order].” Albar also said that Kamaruddin would be detained for 60 days and that police would do an assessment during that period; further, he stated, “if they feel he should be held more than 60 days, the police will then refer to me”.

The normal procedure would be for the minister to accept the recommendations of the police and sign the order under Section 8(1) of the Act which allows the police to detain people for renewable two-year periods.

Kamaruddin’s arrest came the day after the Cabinet ordered the Multimedia and Communications Commission (MCMC) to re-instate access to all blocked-websites, including Kamaruddin’s ‘Malaysia Today’ site- which was blocked on August 27.

Kamaruddin has been detained under the ISA before. Former Prime Minister Matahir detained him under the ISA in April 2001 for his involvement in when former DPM Anwar Ibrahim initiated [the] ‘reformasi’ movement. Kamaruddin was held for 53 day days: then released, reportedly due to pressure from the King, the late Sultan of Selangor who was Kamaruddin’s uncle; the current Sultan of Selangor is his cousin.

The cable specifies “the US reaction to the arrest today (September 12) of blogger Raja Petra Kamaruddin under Malaysia Internal Security Act (ISA)”.
It states that if asked on Malaysia’s use of the internal security act, the US would respond with: “As a matter of principle, we hope that countries refrain from using national security laws to curtail the peaceful expression of political views and media freedom.”

2011-07-31 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.

05:20 PM Full Canadian WikiLeaks Task Force file now available for download.

Joe B writes in his analysis of the document:

"…The Canadian Task Force was in direct contact with the US WTF, however it appears that all the contact info for the US WTF is completely redacted. This would indicate that the Canadian Government would more knowledge about the Grand Jury investigation into WikiLeaks, Wikileaks volunteers, and Julian Assange in particular. The first mention of the WTF in the files is back in November 27, 2010."

04:35 PM In a newly released cable it is reported that the Bulgarian subsidiary of Lukoil is a sponsor of the Socialist Party.

The one area where Russia's influence is likely to grow if the BSP takes power is in the economy. Most Bulgarian companies with Russian business ties are aligned with the BSP, especially in the energy sector. The Bulgarian subsidiary of LukOil -- which pays some 20 percent of all the taxes collected in Bulgaria -- is reportedly a BSP sponsor. Similarly, Risk Engineering, the leading Bulgarian firm in the nuclear power sector, is closely tied in with Russian business interests. Beyond this, there are a whole series of "Red businesses" whose owners became wealthy by stripping the assets of state-owned industries during the previous Socialist government, and who still owe a debt of gratitude to the BSP. the cable reads.

For more on Bulgaria's energy ties with Russia: "A passionately eager Bulgaria in bed with the muscle bound duo of Gazprom and Lukoil"

04:15 PM Dozens of Brazilians gather to protest against the cost of the 2014 World Cup, some demand 'WikiLeaks for the Brazilian Football Confederation'.

03:45 PM WikiLeaks denies rumors of an official WikiLeaks Google+ account, via facebook.

"We have been informed about multiple accounts on the Google+ services witch state that they are a official WikiLeaks Google+ accounts - WikiLeaks does not own or operate any accounts on the Google+ services and has no plans on doing so as of this moment."

01:30 AM Cables detail US military designs on Haiti..
An analysis of diplomatic cable from Port Au Prince, Haiti and Nassau, Bahamas on the United States use of United Nations forces to impose commercial interests and obtain access to information on political developments in the country after the removal of President Aristide in 2004.

01:00 AM Dawn Paley compiles a list of relevant topics from diplomatic cables on Latin America, released between July 11 and July 23.
For previous similar lists:

00:00 AM A judge has decided against the U.S. Justice Department subpoena of James Risen on Friday.
The New York Times reporter will not have to testify about his sources at the upcoming trial of ex-CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling.

As Glenn Greenwald writes, this happens after the DOJ dropped virtually all charges against NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake. His prosecution faced a federal judge’s harsh criticism during a hearing earlier this month:

“I don’t think that deterrence should include an American citizen waiting two and a half years after their home is searched to find out if they’re going to be indicted or not. I find that unconscionable. Unconscionable. It is at the very root of what this country was founded on — against general warrants of the British.”, Judge Richard D. Bennett said, according to a transcript of the hearing.