2011-08-12 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.

09:30 PM In The Patriot Act and the End of the Rule of Law, Charles Lugosi of Lugosi Law Firm PLC explains how ‘the Patriot Act and criminal sanctions placed on whistleblowers violates the Constitution and fundamentally challenges the legitimacy of the rule of law and American democracy’.

"Outdated assumptions of media power and wealth no longer apply today. Profit and the desire to influence may still motivate organized institutional media controlled by magnates like Rupert Murdoch, but unorganized individuals, through websites and social networking, can expose injustice and raise the conscious awareness of the public to worthy causes and crusades. To attain this end, access to information is critical, yet it is often not legally available. This is why Private Bradley Manning chose to break the law by giving WikiLeaks information that the government refused to release in the name of national security.", he writes.

Lugosi also cites editor of the Advocate, Christopher Harvey:

"We are of the view that Assange, love him, loathe him or remain indifferent to him, deserves the protections guaranteed by the rule of law. Anything less undermines the very foundation of the Western society."

09:10 PM According to diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks dating from 2008, United States Ambassador Ronald Spogli raised concerns with Silvio Berlusconi over suspicions that Italy paid the Taliban not to attack its troops in Afghanistan:

In an October 2008 message to Washington, ambassador Ronald Spogli praised Italy's decision to send troops to western Afghanistan under the NATO-led International Security Assistance (ISAF) mission.
"Unfortunately, the significance of this contribution has been undermined by Italy's growing reputation for avoiding combat and paying ransom and protection money.
"This reputation is based in part on rumors, in part on intelligence which we have not been fully able to corroborate," he said.

08:45 PM The Obama Administration is putting the finishing touches on a new executive order in response to WikiLeaks.

The order aims to prevent unauthorized releases of classified U.S. government information and is "expected to be issued within a matter of weeks".

07:55 PM Nigerian families of meningitis drug trial victims are finally going to be compensated by Pfizer after a 15 year legal battle. Pfizer was sued after 11 children died in 1996 after being subjected to unauthorized experimental drug testing.
A cable released by WikiLeaks last year exposed Pfizer’s attempts to find evidence of corruption against the Nigerian attorney general in an effort to persuade him to drop the legal action.

05:30 PM A cable from 2006 shows John Howard, then Australia’s Prime Minister, declined Fijian Prime Minister Qarase’s request for a military intervention to prevent the 2006 military coup.
The same cable also reveals the United States were reluctant to refer to the takeover of the Fiji government by the military as a ‘coup’, prefering instead to describe it as "an unlawful or unconstitutional change of government", in order to ‘allow flexibility in ending assistance to coup perpetrators while maintaining assistance to the civilian population’.