News Archive - 2012-08 (August 2012)

2012-08-01 WikiLeaks News Update: New coverage of Cablegate, GI Files, Syria Files; WikiLeaks pulls successful NYT hoax

WikiLeaks has been financially blockaded without process for 605 days.
Julian Assange has been detained without charge for 603 days.
- 43 days at the Ecuadorian Embassy.
Bradley Manning has been imprisoned without trial for 800 days.
A secret Grand Jury has been active in the U.S. without transparency for 686 days.

WikiLeaks News (Releases):

  • WikiLeaks released more GI Files:
    • Falkvinge & Co published an exclusive article which looks at how Stratfor sees other intelligence agencies as inexperienced, turning the NDAA's indefinite detention provision into a threat.
    • An op-ed in Digital Journal looks at claims from Stratfor employees that President Obama said "Fuck you" to a Senator when he questioned whether to sign the new stimulus.
    • Emails from Stratfor show that there was an al-Qaeda operative in the U.S., but the story was kept secret for political reasons as the elections were coming up.
    • Department of Homeland Security officials are unaware how Stratfor obtained their report on the Occupy movement.
  • WikiLeaks released new Syria Files which discuss the Syrian regime fearing a terrorist attack encouraged by Saudi Arabia, Asma al-Assad's powerful cabinet image that helped Western PR agencies, and more.
  • An article in The Fix looked at WikiLeaks cables on the Mexico-U.S. drug war, what they have revealed, and the following criticisms of both Governments.

WikiLeaks News (General):

  • WikiLeaks played a massive and successful hoax which involved a fake pro-WikiLeaks op-ed by former New York Times editor Bill Keller. It even managed to fool NYT tech reporter Ted Bilton. WikiLeaks' version of how the hoax played out can be read on Pastebin (compiled from their tweets).
    • WikiLeaks further commented: "Journalists writing about our successful hoaxing of the NYTimes to report false stories about themselves miss the funniest part. Bill Keller, was so obsessed with retweeting praise about himself, that he retweeted @journalismfest link to the hoax to his 30k followers clearly having mistaken it for praise of his (real) op ed. Then, 5 hours later, on being notified what had happened, he was so rattled that he sent a private DM about 'dressage' (horse dansing) to all 30k followers. Then deleted it, and the earlier re-tweet. The same standards that gave us WMD's, covered up for illegal NSA activities, and contributed to butchering over 100,000 people in Iraq".
    • Firedoglake's Kevin Gosztola wrote on why WikiLeaks' fake NYT op-ed should not hurt the organisation's credibility.
  • Salon's Glenn Greenwald and Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher were on The Alyona Show discussing police brutality, WikiLeaks' New York Times hoax, and Bradley Manning's trial.
  • FORA wrote about the recent developments in the U.S. which signal a possible future investigation into The New York Times, similar to what WikiLeaks has undergone.
  • WikiLeaks is asking that people log in to their Friends of WikiLeaks accounts and drop all inactive contacts, as they are about to do the next re-assignment round.

Julian Assange News:

  • Sweden rejected the Ecuadorian Embassy's formal offer to allow them to interview Julian Assange in the UK. No meaningful explanation was given for the rejection. RT reported on the implications of Sweden's continued refusal to question Mr Assange.

  • Ecuadorian diplomats are seeking UK assurances that Julian Assange won't be extradited to the U.S. after Sweden.
  • Multiple news agencies are falsely stating that a decision on Julian Assange's asylum will be made on August 12. It will be made sometime after August 12 (could be months later), which is the end date of the Olympics.

  • Christine Assange traveled to Ecuador to campaign for her son. She and Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino held a press conference regarding Julian Assange's asylum request. (Video of the conference is available, but audio is poor.) Ms Assange is expected to meet with President Rafael Correa as well. In an interview with Ecuadorian television, Ms Assange discussed the extreme psychological stress her son is under, and how she is not in Ecuador to demand his asylum, but "to humbly ask, as his mother".
  • An op-ed in the Sydney Morning Herald compares the cases of David Hicks and Julian Assange, emphasising the lack of assistance from the Australian Government for both men.
  • Julian Assange contributed to a BBC Radio program hosted by Helena Kennedy QC which uncovers "the profound and powerful relationship between our financial and legal systems, between capitalism and the law, between freedom and justice".

  • The full, uncut episode of The World Tomorrow: Cypherpunks is now available. Part One is 80 minutes, which Part Two is 120 minutes.
  • Julian Assange's bail providers are expected to start legal proceedings regarding why they should not lose their money. One of the bail providers, Vaughan Smith, commented, "In my view Julian has not skipped bail nor is he evading justice; he is seeking justice".
  • Justice for Assange posted a list of answers in response to harmful inaccuracies about the allegations against Julian Assange promoted by Twitter user @SandraEckersley.
  • WACA interviewed Swedish feminist Helene Bergman about Julian Assange, Swedish State feminism, US media, and the hope for asylum in Ecuador.
  • Lord Kerr will discussing Julian Assange's extradition proceedings at a public lecture at Sydney Law School, August 2nd at 6PM.

Bradley Manning News:

  • Bradley Manning's attorney David Coombs posted two filings related to an Article 13 motion about PFC Manning's illegal pretrial punishment.
  • Bradley Manning's defence attorney says that the prosecution has been hiding reports from government agencies that could help his client's case.
  • Journalists Kevin Gosztola and Adam Klasfeld were interviewed about Bradley Manning's most recent pretrial hearings, discussing how the defence has been "cut off at the knees".
  • Firedoglake's Kevin Gostola is going to FOIA the judge's decisions in Bradley Manning's trial and is asking people to sign onto the FOIA request as well.
  • Voice of Russia interviewed military lawyer Philip D. Cave about the case against Bradley Manning.
  • Supporters of Bradley Manning held a banner drop on the summit of Snowdon, the highest mountain in England and Wales, to mark the second anniversary of the release of the Afghan War Diary.


Upcoming Dates & Events:

Daily, Ongoing: Vigil for Julian Assange in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy.

August 1: Bradley Manning in jail for 800 days without trial.

August 2: Lord Kerr to speak on Assange extradition, Sydney Law School, 6PM.

August 12: Assange asylum decision not expected until after this date.

August 27 - 31: Bradley Manning pretrial hearings.

September 13: Bradley Manning pretrial hearing.

October 1 - 5: Bradley Manning pretrial hearings on his treatment at Quantico.

November 2012 ~ January 2013: Estimated time frame for Bradley Manning's court martial.

2012-08-02 Christine Assange Meets The President Of Ecuador

Ecuador's President Rafael Correa yesterday met with the mother of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in Quito's Palacio Carondelet.

"Please feel at home," said President Correa to Mrs Assange. "Rest assured that Ecuador is studying the case of Julian Assange very seriously. This country does not negotiate its sovereignty."

"If WikiLeaks had revealed things about Ecuador that benefit the major powers," he said, "Julian Assange would have been declared a hero."

"Don't worry, we will know how to make a decision with absolute independence and sovereignty," said the President, who was previously interviewed by Assange on his TV show, The World Tomorrow.

"Thanks to God we do not have anything to hide. We are the same in public and in private. They can publish what they want. We governments who have nothing to hide help publish whatever may come. We support true freedom of expression."

President Correa said the book Wiki Media Leaks had helped his government "decipher what the Ecuadorian press had hidden".

The President then invited Mrs Assange out onto the palace balcony, to witness popular support.

"You are a very good dictator," joked Mrs Assange, referring to Western media and opposition criticism of Correa's government. "I've walked through the streets and I see people smiling and happy."

Christine Assange thanked the government of Ecuador for their hospitality, noting that the small South American nation respected human rights and gave her a sense of freedom she didn't feel in other countries.

Afterwards, Christine Assange tweeted that President Correa was "kind, warm, intelligent, informed, humorous, strong, and high spirited. I see why the people love him."

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister Ricardo Patiño lamented Sweden's decision not to interview Julian Assange in Ecuador's London embassy. Assange lawyer Jennifer Robinson also noted that the WikiLeaks EiC had never received an adequate explanation from Sweden as to why they haven't questioned him in the UK.

And Spanish judge Baltasar Garzón, who is travelling to Ecuador to meet Mrs Assange, has criticized the lengthy, secretive US Grand Jury process.

"A democratic country can't operate with its back to a person who is suspected of very serious crimes that could deprive him of liberty for a long time," Garzon told reporters. "The United States should make it known what it is doing, so that Mr. Assange can stand up for his rights."

2012-08-04 WikiLeaks News Update: New WikiLeaks releases and Cablegate coverage; Updates on Assange's asylum bid

WikiLeaks has been financially blockaded without process for 609 days.
Julian Assange has been detained without charge for 606 days.
- 46 days at the Ecuadorian Embassy.
Bradley Manning has been imprisoned without trial for 803 days.
A secret Grand Jury has been active in the U.S. without transparency for 689 days.

WikiLeaks News:

  • WikiLeaks released new GI Files:
    • Political Gates looks at how Stratfor analysts described Sarah Palin.
    • WikiLeaks released a series of GI Files on Brazil.
  • WikiLeaks released new Syria Files:
    • Schindler Group (elevator/escalator manufacturers) was not comfortable with Syria's connections to Rami Makhlouf.
    • Assad wanted to remove "Arab fascist regimes" such as Jordan.
    • Emails detail what the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) told Assad.
  • New Cablegate coverage was published:
    • Olympic Azerbaijani boxer, accused of bribery in 2011, was described by an American diplomat as an important and corrupt player in the country's government.
    • An article in Foreign Policy looks at how Obama lost Poland, referencing a WikiLeaks cable which shows Obama scrapping a Bush-era plan to station missile defence systems in Poland to intercept Iranian missiles.
    • An article in Dissenter Voice details the role of a CIA-pampered Saudi Spymaster in Syria, referencing a WikiLeaks cable which shows how Mossad is contributing covert assistance to Saudi intelligence.
  • Peter Kornbluh, guest editor of The Nation's double issue on WikiLeaks and Latin America, was on Democracy Now! discussing WikiLeaks' impact in the region where Julian Assange is seeking asylum. Nation Conversations to discuss WikiLeaks and Latin America.
  • experienced down time for unknown reasons yesterday, but is back online again. WikiLeaks is investigating the cause.
  • The latest anti-leak proposals by the U.S. Government protect the 'leak' powers of Congress. The proposals come from Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who recently renewed the call to prosecute WikiLeaks and Julian Assange.
  • WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson and human rights lawyer Jennifer Robinson will be speaking at the Future Perfect conference in Vaxholm, Sweden on August 26. Mr Hrafnsson will also be speaking on August 24.
  • The Australian Competition & Consumer Commission released 52 documents related to the WikiLeaks banking blockade. They can be seen at the ACCC website under "ACCC FOI Request 36/2012".
  • WikiLeaks' fundraising album "Beat the Blockade" is now available on iTunes. All proceeds go to WikiLeaks and the Bradley Manning Defence Fund.
  • Famous filmmaker John Waters commented the following on the state of today's rebels:

    When I was young there were beatniks. Hippies. Punks. Gangsters. Now you’re a hacktivist. Which I would probably be if I was 20. Shuttin’ down MasterCard. But there’s no look to that lifestyle! Besides just wearing a bad outfit with bad posture. Has WikiLeaks caused a look? No! I’m mad about that. If your kid comes out of the bedroom and says he just shut down the government, it seems to me he should at least have an outfit for that.

  • SomersetBean released a "WikiLeaks Support Vehicle" bumper sticker for cars and bikes.

Julian Assange News:

  • Firedoglake's Kevin Gosztola wrote about the fate of Julian Assange, giving an overview about his asylum application, the allegations against him, the refusal of Sweden to question him in the UK, and the real threat of U.S. prosecution. He further wrote about the upcoming asylum decision in another article.
  • RT's interviewed Christine Assange about her son, his asylum bid, and the threat of U.S. prosecution. The interview is available in English, Spanish, and Russian.
  • Julian Assange's U.S. lawyer Michael Ratner wrote about the clear signs of U.S. intent to prosecute Mr Assange and why he is right to seek asylum.
  • RT interviewed WikiLeaks lawyer Jennifer Robinson about Sweden's continued refusal to question Julian Assange in the UK and how the U.S. will not give assurances that they do not plan to prosecute him. They also interviewed Anti-war activist and journalist Don DeBar about Washington's hunt for Mr Assange and how he is correct in his caution.
  • An article in El Telegrafo explains the difference between Ecuador granting Julian Assange asylum or refugee status.
  • There is a new petition at Just Foreign Policy calling on the UK to not allow onward extradition of Julian Assange to the US.
  • Swedish journalists have filed a complaint with the Obudsman about the handling of Julian Assange's case.
  • Joseph Wagner, a former soldier and writer from the U.S., wrote to President Correa saying that he is afraid Julian Assange will be come a victim of the U.S., just like he was himself.

Bradley Manning News:

  • The Bradley Manning Support Network issued a news update for August 3 which covers a new petition for Bradley, his 800th day in jail, how his pretrial confinement will be discussed in October, and FOIA requests to challenge military secrecy.
  • The Bradley Manning Support Network published an open letter about how in order to defend Bradley, the public must be educated about WikiLeaks. The letter was written in response to recent media reports.
  • Daniel Ellsberg, the Center for Constitutional Rights, and the Bradley Manning Support Network have created a new petition to free Bradley Manning.


Upcoming Dates & Events:

Daily, Ongoing: Vigil for Julian Assange in front of the Ecuadorian Embassy.

August 12: Assange asylum decision not expected until after this date.

August 26: Kristinn Hrafnsson to speak at Future Perfect festival, Vaxholm, Sweden.

August 26: Kristinn Hrafnsson and Jen Robinson to speak at Future Perfect festival, Vaxholm, Sweden.

August 27 - 31: Bradley Manning pretrial hearings.

September 13: Bradley Manning pretrial hearing.

October 1 - 5: Bradley Manning pretrial hearings on his treatment at Quantico.

November 2012 ~ January 2013: Estimated time frame for Bradley Manning's court martial.

2012-08-08 WikiLeaks battles ongoing DDoS attack


WikiLeaks has been under sustained DDoS attacks for five days now. The first notice came on August 3, 2012, with the following tweet:

Most WikiLeaks mirrors have been brought offline as well. Today, the WikiLeaks-endorsed website Cabledrum also came under attack, with their mirror of the WikiLeaks website being down as well.

WikiLeaks' donation portal through French non-profit FDNN was also taken offline, shortly after WikiLeaks linked to it as a way to donate while the WikiLeaks website is offline.

WikiLeaks offered their speculation of possible reasons for the timing of the attacks:

  • Attacking under the cover of the London Olympics.
  • An upcoming WikiLeaks release.
  • Ongoing releases of the Syria Files and the Global Intelligence Files.
  • A cable which reports on an assassination attempt on Chinese leader Hu Jintao's son and another killing at the top of the Chinese Communist Party. This cable was recently reported on by The Epoch Times and China's Forbidden News.

Death and Taxes suggested that the attack may be coming from the U.S. Government, or another government which holds an anti-WikiLeaks stance.

WikiLeaks-endorsed news site WL Press currently has a mirror which remains accessible. They also provide instructions and a torrent for those who wish to host their own WikiLeaks mirror. (Edit: WL Press also offers a .onion mirror at http://isax7s5yooqgelbr.onion/, which is accessible only through Tor).

To support WikiLeaks through these attacks and help them acquire more bandwidth, you can donate through purchase of WikiLeaks merchandise or their "Beat the Blockade" fundraising CD.

UPDATE 2012-08-08 08:09 BST

The President of FDNN confirmed that they are under DDoS attack.

Currently, they have brought their WikiLeaks donation webpage back up, but they warned of it coming down again with another large-scale attack.

UPDATE 2012-08-08 08:16 BST

Shortly after FDNN announced they were back online, they were yet again taken down with a DDoS attack.

UPDATE 2012-08-08 09:40 BST

WL Central was down for a short period of time, as was Justice for Assange. WikiLeaks, FDNN, and Cabledrum all remain offline.

UPDATE 2012-08-08 18:10 BST

WikiLeaks and FDNN are back online. Although, they are not accessible by everyone.

UPDATE 2012-08-10 18:27 BST

Today, through a series of tweets, WikiLeaks explained in detail the attack they are facing:

More information on the ongoing DDoS attack against WikiLeaks related sites and donation infrastructure follows:

  • The attack is well over 10Gbits/second sustained on the main WikiLeaks domains.
  • The bandwidth is used is so huge it is impossible to filter without specialized hardware, however...
  • the DDoS is not simple bulk UDP or ICMP packet flooding, so most hardware filters won't work either.
  • The rage of IPs used is huge. Whoever is running it controls thousands of machines or is able to simulate them.
  • We have even tried moving behind but Cloudflare has re-emptively banned WikiLeaks. Living in the wild wild west.

Despite the ongoing DDoS attack, WikiLeaks continues to publish more Global Intelligence Files. The most reliable way to current access new releases is through the WikiLeaks .onion mirror at http://isax7s5yooqgelbr.onion/ (accessible only via Tor).

UPDATE 2012-08-10 19:03 BST

For journalists researching the attack, WikiLeaks recommended contacting,, and, who have all been hit by the attack as well.

WikiLeaks further commented on the matter:

The DDoS attack against WikiLeaks has also gone after our donations infrastructure, the Fund for Network Neutrality, who also fund others. Attacks on WikiLeaks increase donations, so the more we need to fight, the more cash reserves we have to fight. But now that is prevented.

Dazzlepod offers a regularly updated search engine for the GI Files.

2012-08-10 WLC News Update: GI Files releases, DDoS continues

WikiLeaks News

  • WikiLeaks quoted a forthcoming July poll saying "the more you earn, the more you believe a fair trial for Assange is impossible", "the younger, more educated you are, the more you support WikiLeaks", and "the more you earn and the older you are, the more sceptical you are of the US judiciary".
  • WikiLeaks released new GI Files on the surveillance company TrapWire and its CIA ties, a Mexican diplomat trading secrets with Stratfor, a German NATO strike ordered by George Klein, and more. (Mirror for TrapWire release, as WikiLeaks is still under attack.)
  • The Young Turks discussed the Stratfor emails released by WikiLeaks which mention their TV show and host Cenk Uygur.
  • Bulgaria's Prosecutor's Office has refused to investigate Prime Minister Boyko Borisov over connections with criminal activity alleged in WikiLeaks cables. This comes in contrast to a Chagos Islands case in what will be the first time WikiLeaks cables are used in a UK court.
  • A US group calling themselves "AntiLeaks" have taken credit for the ongoing DDoS attack on WikiLeaks, claiming it's done in protest against Julian Assange's bid for asylum. They've offered to publish proof of their involvement but so far have not responded to further inquiries.

WikiLeaks has been financially blockaded without process for 615 days.
Julian Assange has been detained without charge for 612 days (52 days at the Ecuadorian Embassy).
Bradley Manning has been imprisoned without trial for 809 days.
A secret grand jury has been active in the US without transparency for 695 days.

Julian Assange News

  • A new poll shows that most Australians support Julian Assange and don't believe he should be prosecuted for releasing documents or that he would receive fair trial in the US.
  • An article in El Telegrafo discusses how Julian Assange's asylum bid has been driving international leadership in Ecuador.
  • Magnetic island, where Julian Assange grew up, will be discussing plans to erect a monument in honour of the WikiLeaks founder "as a symbol of his battle for truth and justice".
  • A rally in support of Julian Assange's bid for asylum took place today in Guayaquil, Ecuador.

Bradley Manning News

  • The Bradley Manning Support Network issued a news update for 8 August which covers UK anti-war activism, political repression, and Bradley on the cover of World War 3 magazine.

2012-08-11 Brazil Torn in Different Directions

By Nikolas Kozloff.

Due to competing interests, the emerging world power's foreign policy is being pulled between pragmatism and idealism.

Officially at least, Brazil is very unhappy about political developments in Paraguay. Recently, in a kangaroo process akin to a "quasi-coup", President Fernando Lugo was ousted from power in Asunción by his country's right-wing Congress. In a stunning rebuke, legislators accused Lugo of encouraging land seizures which resulted in violent clashes with security forces.

In a sham, the Senate gave Lugo a mere two hours to defend himself in a public trial. When Lugo's lawyers requested more time to argue their case, they were rebuffed by the president of the Senate. Then, in an upset, Lugo's right-wing Vice-President Federico Franco assumed his old boss' job.

Brazil, which lies just across the border from Paraguay, has expressed grave displeasure about unfolding political chaos in Asunción. Shortly after Lugo was removed from power, the use of the neologism golpeachment - a combination of the Portuguese words for impeachment and coup - rapidly began to spread throughout Brazilian social networking sites.

Responding to rising outrage in civil society, the Dilma Rousseff administration voted to suspend Paraguay from South American trading bloc Mercosur, a move which prompted a strong rebuke from the new de facto Franco administration in Asunción. Brazilian Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota, however, was hardly intimidated by such protests. Sticking to his guns, he remarked that Paraguay's suspension sent "a clear message" against any "anti-democratic adventures".

Rousseff, a protégé of former Workers' Party (or PT) President Luiz Inácio "Lula" da Silva, has plenty of reasons to be upset about the alarming developments across the border. An ideological kindred spirit of sorts, Lugo was elected four years ago on promises that he might overturn Paraguay's entrenched and unequal system of land tenure.

A former bishop, Lugo moreover espoused progressive doctrines such as "Liberation Theology" within the Catholic Church. Though such views put Lugo at odds with Paraguay's right-wing Colorado Party, they were surely embraced by the Brazilian left.

Indeed, Brazil's Landless Peasant Movement (or MST), which has been historically allied to the PT, protested the golpeachment in Paraguay and urged Rousseff to adopt decisive measures against the Franco government, such as economic sanctions and the cancellation of joint financial projects.

A Vexing Foreign Policy Dilemma

Yet, for Rousseff, Paraguay represents a vexing foreign policy dilemma. Brazil receives electrical power from the huge Itaipu Dam located on the Brazilian-Paraguayan border, and can ill afford to alienate the new Franco regime in Asunción. The dam is jointly owned by both Brasilia and Asunción, but Paraguay only uses five per cent of its 50 per cent share of the power and sells the rest back to Brazil. Americas Quarterly notes: "The electricity that fattens the Paraguayan coffers also supplies São Paulo state, Brazil's industrial engine, with power."

In addition to energy, Brasilia has concerns over border security. Along the long and porous Paraguayan frontier, traffickers smuggle in drugs and illegal arms and this contributes to rampant crime in Brazil's dangerous favelas. If the Rousseff government were to cut ties with the new Franco regime, border collaboration might grind to a standstill, an eventuality which Brasilia no doubt seeks to avoid.

Moreover, Rousseff must tread diplomatically so as to not offend delicate Paraguayan sensibilities. Asunción is notoriously "thin-skinned" regarding any hints of Brazilian imperialism, which is certainly understandable in light of their shared history. In the 19th century, Brazil opposed Paraguay in the War of the Triple Alliance. The conflict was particularly bloody and traumatic for Paraguay, whose adult male population was devastated.

In light of these constraints, it is perhaps not too surprising that Brazil's reaction to Lugo's ousting has been somewhat muted. Indeed, though Brazil has recalled its ambassador to Paraguay "for consultations", Rousseff has yet to decide whether her country will withdraw its diplomats permanently.

Meanwhile, though Mercosur has suspended Paraguay, the group has failed to impose more damaging economic sanctions against Asunción. Such posturing, which reflects Brazil's more cautious approach to foreign affairs, probably ensures that Lugo will never return to power and the right will become ever more entrenched in Paraguay.

Socially Conservative 'Brasiguayos'

What is more, as much as Rousseff may express ideological affinity with Lugo, she is constrained by conservative political forces within her own country. Indeed, lawmakers from the opposition Brazilian Social Democracy Party or PSDB have criticised Mercosur's decision to suspend Paraguay from the trade bloc. Perhaps even more importantly, Rousseff faces opposition from Brazilian farmers who moved to Paraguay in the 1960s and 1970s, a group referred to somewhat pejoratively as "Brasiguayos".

Once they established themselves in their new home, the Brasiguayos began to buy cheap land and cultivate coffee and soybeans. Today, some Paraguayan border towns are culturally Brazilian and reportedly up to 80 per cent of local residents are of Brazilian descent. A socially conservative group some 350,000 strong, the Brasiguayos have spent years locked in violent land disputes with Paraguay's landless peasants.

Sensitive US diplomatic cables released by whistle-blowing outfit WikiLeaks underscore such conflicts. Landowners, in fact, told US officials that squatters acted with impunity under a "self-righteous, I am entitled" ideology. "Campesino groups," US diplomats noted, "have targeted large Brazilian landowners, who are widely believed to illegally own Paraguayan land, to refuse to hire Paraguayan farm workers, and to contaminate the environment with agro-toxins."

For Lugo, who had long championed land reform, the Brasiguayos represented a thorny dilemma. In an effort to calm the situation, the Paraguayan president sought to appease both squatters and landowners. The government would not act to expel Brasiguayos from Paraguay, Lugo announced, though foreigners would be banned from owning land for agricultural purposes. Hardly assuaging the Brasiguayos, Lugo then denounced soy growers' use of harmful pesticides.

Not surprisingly, agribusiness interests grew increasingly incensed with Lugo, believing that the government had failed to offer strong state support to the Brasiguayos. Moreover, soy producers were sceptical of Lugo's economic plans and agriculture policies. "The government's intention to tax production," diplomats noted, "generates a strong reaction from soy producers, who feel they will be targets of an 'ideological' tax plan."

With the removal of Lugo, the Brasiguayos can now heave a huge sigh of relief. Nevertheless, the farmers are still nervous about ongoing rural instability and have reportedly proclaimed their support for incoming President Franco. In addition, they have petitioned Rousseff to recognise the new government in Asunción.

Competing Political Interests

Now that Brazil is emerging as a world power, the South American nation will have to decide what it stands for on the international stage. For the country's political elite, however, such questions are difficult to answer.

On the one hand, Rousseff comes out of the PT labour tradition and her party has received political support from the MST. Meanwhile, within Brazil's ministry of foreign affairs, some leftist stalwarts still hold sway and seek to craft a more anti-imperialist foreign policy.

On the other hand, Rousseff also answers to entrenched and powerful agribusiness, which has contributed to a ghastly social and environmental mess both in Brazil and now, Paraguay [for more on the soy planters and their pervasive political influence, see my latest book].

As a result of these competing interests, Brazilian foreign policy is constantly being torn between pragmatism and idealism. Furthermore, on a purely psychological level, Brazil seems to be a slightly ambivalent or reluctant world power. According to Americas Quarterly, Brazilian "leaders recoil at the thought of pooling sovereignty into supranational bodies". To be sure, the publication writes, Brazil has "modernised South American politics by promoting norms to protect democracy and to establish a regional zone of peace". However, the country's "efforts at promoting a regional sense of shared purposes have been mixed and, some say, halfhearted at best".

In another article, the Council on Foreign Relations also weighed in on Brazil's recent rise on the world stage. The country "appears to be seeking a fragile balance", the organisation notes, by "opposing undemocratic political forces in a multilateral setting, protecting its considerable economic interests, and asserting its diplomatic weight in South America".

In the long run, however, Brazil may suffer in the realm of public relations by "giving the unavoidable appearance that just behind the signature consensual approach to leadership lurks the bald assertion of hegemony, one that inevitably goes along with economic asymmetry".

Having amassed a large degree of economic power, Brazil must now figure out whether it has the stomach to also exercise political and diplomatic leverage over its neighbours. If so, what kind of pressure does Brazil actually want to exert within the regional milieu? Judging from the recent troubles in Paraguay, Brazil is still reluctant to confront deeply profound and philosophical questions about its place on the South American stage.

2012-08-11 WLC News Update: DDoS continues, TrapWire

WikiLeaks News

  • WikiLeaks and related sites continue battling a massive DDoS attack. WL Central provides the latest information on the attack.
  • The WikiLeaks GI Files have revealed the secret, widespread surveillance system TrapWire. Ben Doernberg offers a thorough explanation of what TrapWire is and what it does.
  • WikiLeaks cables show that Paraguay's impeachment of President Fernando Lugo, likened to a "quasi-coup", may have been linked to oil.
  • WikiLeaks' GI Files show that a Mexican diplomat traded secrets with the private intelligence firm Stratfor.
  • The Young Turk's Cenk Uygur wrote about the WikiLeaks GI Files, including Rick Perry's comments about how US Presidential candidate Mitt Romney can't get elected, and how a Stratfor analyst believes the US media resigned from investigative journalism.
  • Support group WikiLeaks Actu held a rally today for Julian Assange and Bradley Manning in Paris, France.

WikiLeaks has been financially blockaded without process for 616 days.
Julian Assange has been detained without charge for 613 days (53 days at the Ecuadorian Embassy).
Bradley Manning has been imprisoned without trial for 810 days.
A secret grand jury has been active in the US without transparency for 696 days.

Julian Assange News

  • Members of the US House Armed Services Committee discussed the NDAA and "offshoring" Julian Assange.
    • "It's a pretty sticky constitutional question on how we would deal with American citizens in that category [material support], but it's not when we deal with someone like Julian Assange. An Australian citizen could be put into that category, moved over to a place offshore of the United States outside of the jurisdiction of the Federal courts, the civilian Federal courts in the United States, and adjudicated under a military tribunal in a fashion that was designed by this Congress and directed by this Congress."
  • Supporters of Julian Assange will deliver messages to him at the Ecuadorian Embassy this Sunday, 12 August. You can send your message to Mr Assange via

Bradley Manning News

  • New motions from Bradley Manning's defence detail the horrific conditions PFC Manning was subject to while held at Quantico marine base. According to the motions, a three-star general was the force behind the orders to keep PFC Manning under POI status, which allowed him to be held in solitary confinement. The full motions have been released by PFC Manning's attorney David Coombs.

2012-08-12 WLC News Update: Sustained DDoS, TrapWire

The WikiLeaks Collateral Murder website is now and is being protected by CloudFlare. The TrapWire surveillance technology revealed in the Global Intelligence Files continues to make headlines.

WikiLeaks News

WikiLeaks has been financially blockaded without process for 617 days.
Julian Assange has been detained without charge for 614 days (54 days at the Ecuadorian Embassy).
Bradley Manning has been imprisoned without trial for 811 days.
A secret grand jury has been active in the US without transparency for 697 days.

Julian Assange News

  • 2ser interviewed UMR's John Utting  about the recent poll he conducted which showed that most Australian citizens support Julian Assange.
  • The US added Hezbollah to the Syria sanctions list. Julian Assange interviewed Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah earlier this year.
  • WikiLeaks commented the following in regards to the Swedish Prosecution's website:

    'Sweden's spin machine: Only the Assange 'case' is detailed. Not a single other case on prosecution website in English.'

Bradley Manning News

  • The latest motion from Bradley Manning's defence contains transcript of a conversation between Bradley and his guards at Quantico. In the conversation, Bradley questions why he is kept on prevention of injury/suicide watch status, despite recommendations by his psychiatrist that he be removed from the status.
  • Bradley Manning's next motion hearings coincide with the US Republican National Convention. Firedoglake is asking for donations to help run Facebook and Google ads recruiting supporters to urge media coverage of his case.
  • Truthdig has named Bradley Manning as their "Truthdigger of the Week" for the struggles he faces due to his alleged disclosure of classified information.

2012-08-13 WikiLeaks: 'We're ready to rumble'

After being offline since 3 August, came back tonight under the protection of CloudFlare. The donations channels are again open.

2012-08-28 The Political Persecution of Julian Assange

One week ago, on August 19, Julian Assange gave a speech, and he did so from a balcony of the Ecuadorian embassy in London as the British government refuses to recognize a fundamental Human Right: the right to asylum. A large number of reports and opinion pieces about his first public appearance in two months has since been published, a significant amount of which don’t represent at all the truth and the complexity of his present situation. Very few journalists expose the political persecution WikiLeaks is target of or the accumulating evidence relating to Julian Assange's potential extradition to the U.S., yet it is not hard to come by vitriolic satires of his alleged personal habits or, even worse, his confinement and status as a political refugee. But in his address to supporters and the press last week, Julian Assange made a simple and very important plea, calling for an end to the oppression of activists and whistleblowers, and the U.S. secret Grand Jury investigation of WikiLeaks.

Victoria Nuland, spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, has been confronted with questions concerning whether the U.S. has any future intention to extradite and prosecute Julian Assange for WikiLeaks publishing, following Ecuador granting him political asylum due to fears of such prosecution having been considered valid. 
Here is one answer she gave:

“I am not going to get into all of the legal ins and outs about what may or may not have been in his future before he chose to take refuge in the Ecuadorean mission.”

Her observations on this matter are of a lighthearted and very ambiguous dismissiveness, yet this particular comment strongly denotes involvement or, at the very least, great familiarity on part of the United States with possible legal challenges Julian Assange would face had he not been offered protection by Ecuador. Victoria Nuland chooses not to comment on the complexity of the legal process he could have been subjected to, indicating at the same time her ability to do so.
The comment above is only a very small portion of the evidence accumulating as of late. Australian authorities confirmed to have been preparing for Mr. Assange’s potential extradition to the United States, strengthening the credibility of references made by U.S. intelligence firm STRATFOR to a U.S. "sealed indictment" against Julian Assange, as well as plans to keep him involved for decades in legal procedures which would undermine his reputation and credibility as the editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks.

Through the formal statement of a former UK Ambassador, it was also made public that the U.S. government exerted pressure on the United Kingdom to arrest Julian Assange, even illegally, with disregard for his status as a political refugee. Former Ambassador Craig Murray wrote the following, referring to UK’s threat to storm the Ecuadorian Embassy in order to arrest Julian Assange:

“… there was tremendous discomfort at this development within the British diplomatic service because of the potential exposure of British embassies and diplomats abroad to similar action. (...) I asked how on earth such an illegal decision could have been reached. My ex-colleague said that political pressure exerted by the administration of the United States of America on Mr William Hague and Mr David Cameron had outweighed the views of British diplomats.”

Plans to arrest Julian Assange at all costs were corroborated, to great embarrassment of the Met police zealously keeping the embassy under siege, when images captured by a photographer of “restricted” orders to capture Julian Assange “under all circumstances” surfaced. Julian Assange is to be arrested if he leaves the embassy regardless of him being conferred diplomatic immunity. In part concealed by the arm of a police officer, it is still possible to read a reference to counter-terrorism and infiltration units in the document in question.
Since the allegations facing Mr. Assange are of sexual nature and he has not been charged with an offense, the amount of police forces deployed to impede his traveling to Ecuador where he was granted asylum may seem puzzling and absurd, but only if not taking the above-mentioned proof of political pressure in his case into consideration. In light of such evidence, the attempts to keep Julian Assange confined to the embassy, the rejection of his continuous offers to be questioned by Swedish authorities and the denial of his requests to be offered assurance against extradition to the U.S., appear to bear serious ulterior motives.

Even after being granted political asylum on August 16, Julian Assange through his legal team, as well as Ecuadorian government officials, promptly reiterated the request for an interview in London, inside the embassy. In compliance with standard Mutual Legal Assistance, a simple phone call (a means Sweden made use of in other cases and the Assange case itself when interviewing a complainant) could resolve this pending issue. Julian Assange was instead, once again, denied by his prosecutor the opportunity to provide a formal response to the allegations he faces. Further, the spokesperson for the Swedish Prosecution Authority conceded thereafter a brief interview to the BBC, which ended in blatant refusal to offer any justification at all as to why Mr. Assange has not been questioned during the almost two years his extradition case has been dragging.

These are the latest essential developments commentators are to write about and scrutinize concerning this case, and the evidence relating to political persecution many choose to ignore, or deny. The Julian Assange case has most definitely suffered political influence, but to which extent? To the oldest campaigning anti-rape organization in Britain, Women Against Rape, the pursuit of Mr. Assange is political and he should not be extradited. This week they wrote to condemn utilizing fury over the prevalence of rape and violence to divert attention from the genuine danger he faces if extradited. A tendency establishment media seem happy to embrace.