2011-08-04 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.

04:40 PM A top-secret document obtained by The Guardian reveals information was extracted through illegal torture of prisoners overseas by the MI5 and MI6 with authorization from Tony Blair's government.
The allegations echo evidence of torture by Iraqi forces that had been exposed by WikiLeaks last year. (via thinq_)

12:40 AM A ‘Conversation with Mark Stephens’, Julian Assange’s former lawyer, is to take place in Glasgow, on the 1st September. Topics will include the law surrounding freedom of information and the European arrest warrant, and possibly ‘the increasing prevalence of denial of service attacks’. For more details: An Interview with Mark Stephens at Strathclyde university

06:00 AM Legislation that could keep Guantanamo open indefinitely will be voted on by the U.S. Senate in early September. This legislation has already been passed by the House of Representatives.
To prevent this from happening, please call your two Senators and and urge them to take a stand against Guantanamo!

To do this you can either

* call the Congressional switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and ask for your Senators
* or look up your Senators' direct phone lines here

Visit this page for more information and suggestions on what to say.

05:10 AM McClatchy report on cables revealing how the Bush and Obama administrations refused to impose sanctions on Syrian officials Ali Mamluk (chief of intelligence for Syrian President Assad) and Mohammad Suleiman (then a special Assad adviser for arms procurement and strategic weapons, now deceased) and other men who form President Assad's inner circle.
The role of Mamluk in ‘suppressing internal dissent’ was publicly known and mentioned in the cables where the U.S. State Department was asked by a top diplomat at the U.S. Embassy in Damascus to impose sanctions. No action was taken against Mamluk until this April, writes Kevin G. Hall for McClatchy, after security forces had killed scores of civilians in the Syrian town of Deraa in protests that have since spread to much of the country.

01:55 AM Frontline Club founder Vaughan Smith, who has been Julian Assange's host for almost a year, in an interview for The Times about his houseguest:

"...If one believes that WikiLeaks is a good thing, it is no refuge to say ‘I like WikiLeaks but I don’t like Julian’. At some point you’ve got to credit Julian for WikiLeaks."

01:30 AM Adelaide Friends of WikiLeaks is hosting a public forum on the topic "Wikileaks: The Future of Media?" on 12th of August 2011 at the University of Adelaide (North Terrace, Napier LG14), starting at 5 PM.

“With the mass media in turmoil as a result of declining readerships and falling standards the sincerity of non-profit independent organisations like Wikileaks is more relevant than ever. We have invited academics, politicians and our fellow citizens to this discussion on Wikileaks’ work and its future role in the media and our minds.” (reads their flyer)

01:05 AM A speech at the University of Colombia in Bogotá during which former Liberal Senator Piedad Córdoba publicly encouraged rebellion against the Uribe government is the subject of a diplomatic cable dating from 2008. Following the speech, Piedad Córdoba was accused by Juan Manuel Santos, then Colombia’s Defense Minister, currently the country’s president, of promoting the FARC. FARC recruitment in Colombian universities is described in the cable as a ‘growing reality’ countered by the presence of undercover agents.