2011-05-20 Moazzam Begg refused board on Air Canada #cdnpoli

ImageMoazzam Begg, a British citizen who was held at Guantanamo Bay for three years with no charge, was barred from boarding an Air Canada flight to Toronto today. Omar Khadr's defense attorney, Dennis Edney, had invited Begg to speak at a conference on fear and justice in Toronto on Saturday as well as other events in Quebec and Edmonton later this week.

The Canadian Press reports that the Canadian High Commission refused permission on the basis the plane could be re-routed to the U.S. Edney contacted the high commission and was told to contact the US embassy. Edney told the Toronto Star that a Canadian foreign affairs official informed him that Begg was denied entry due to a “U.S. policy.”

Begg was released from Guantanamo Bay in 2005 and is one of the most high profile advocates for the people currently imprisoned there. He wrote a book, Enemy Combatant: A British Muslim's Journey To Guantanamo and Back (ISBN 0-7432-8567-0), is a director of Cageprisoners, and has given many interviews and lectures, written articles, and appeared as a commentator on BBC's Panorama, BBC's Newsnight, PBS's The Prisoner, Al-Jazeera's Prisoner, Taking Liberties, Torturing Democracy, and National Geographic's Guantanamo's Secrets, traveling throughout the world to do so. He has never been charged with anything. He was released by the US.

2011-05-20 Star witness for the crown against Toronto 18 on US suspect list

ImagePhoto credit: CBC

In the post 9/11 frenzy there was immense pressure brought by the US government on the Canadian government to ensure that terrorists were not crossing the world's longest border to attack the US. That pressure is clear in the US state cables, and it led to many highly questionable activities by the Canadian government, such as submitting names of their own citizens to the infamous US suspect lists, lists that Maher Arar is still on, even after being cleared of all wrongdoing and apologized to by Canada, as well as awarded 10.5 million dollars and one million in legal costs.

Canada was also under urgent pressure to seek out and prosecute any terrorists at home, which led to the tracking and capture of the Toronto 18 in 2006. Much about this case has been widely criticized over the years. The decision by the federal government to cancel the preliminary inquiry and proceed directly to trial, denying the defense the opportunity to hear the Crown's case, and, more importantly, the chance to cross examine the crown's star witnesses is one controversial element. A preliminary hearing is not a necessary component of a trial, but it is unusual to schedule one and cancel abruptly halfway through. Defense attorneys said they had made concessions to have the right to cross examine these witnesses and they were incensed at the change. And of course, the question rose, never to be put to rest, of what the federal government was afraid of in not allowing the preliminary cross examination.

2011-05-19 The #Spanishrevolution starts in Madrid as an experiment in participatory democracy #acampadasol #yeswecamp #democraciarealya

WLCentral will be providing coverage from Spain on the ongoing #spanishrevolution, happening now in over eighty cities, inside and outside Spain, with thousands of people camped out claiming the streets. Contact us at @wikileaks_world or to help us with footage, information and provides information in English about the 15M movement. An updated agenda of protests around the world can be found here.

What started out as a programmed march on the the 15th of May, held in major and minor cities around Spain with regional elections happening on the 22nd, has grown massively: well over ten thousand people have taken the Puerta del Sol, a large square in the center of Madrid ( for live streaming). The initial demonstration was planned by the apolitical platform, Democracia Real Ya (Real Democracy Now!) with a manifesto claiming an end to corrupt politicians, harsh election laws for smaller parties, financial regulation, transparency and free media. The demonstration was very successful and thousands of people, of different age groups and nationalities, showed up. Afterwards however, there was a great feeling of unrest, caused by the impotence of not knowing what to do next or how to catalyze the social movement gathered there. This led many young people to vandalism and some of them even tried to block main streets in a wild attempt to make themselves heard, resulting in rough police intervention (below) and several detained protesters.

2011-05-19 Omar Khadr Part 2 of 4: Canada, the entire world is still watching

Image "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.”

The above statement from US State cable #09OTTAWA629 sums up the last decade of Omar Khadr’s life. The Canadian government, under the last three prime ministers, two Liberal and one Conservative, have done nothing about the plight of a tortured fifteen year old Canadian boy imprisoned with no trial in the world’s most notorious torture camps. They have contributed nothing to his education, nor to his emotional or psychological welfare. They have expressed no concern for his well being. They have not requested his repatriation, nor have they requested that the illegal and amoral conditions of his confinement be improved. (Read a summary of the conditions here.) US State cable 09STATE11937 describes a February 5, 2009 meeting between French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner and US Secretary of State Clinton, where the French Foreign Minister requested that the US review his case, but there is no similar suggestion from the country with a legal obligation to defend him.

2011-05-19 Omar Khadr Part 1 of 4: “Omar Khadr is a lovely young man”

ImageOmar Khadr (centre in the picture at left) was born in Toronto, Canada on September 19, 1986. His father was an Egyptian born Canadian who ran charities to provide food and education for orphans, and was an old friend of Osama Bin Laden. His mother was a Canadian of Palestinian descent. Omar spoke four languages fluently. When he was 15, his family sent him to accompany a group as a translator. The US military identified that group as Al Qaeda.

In July 2002, US Special Forces attacked the camp where he was staying. When US military entered the site, Omar was buried face down under rubble, blinded by shrapnel and crippled. Another man was beside him. US military documents say a US militant stood on top of Omar's body before realizing that someone was buried beneath. The first US fighter to arrive on the scene shot the man beside Omar dead and then shot Omar twice in the back, leaving two large exit wounds in his chest and chunks of his chest and shoulder ... blown out. He was somehow identified as being the son of his father, either before or after a second US militant prevented the first from shooting him again. He was consequently captured instead.

2011-05-19 Henry Rollins on WikiLeaks and government reform

ImageHenry Rollins interview by Maximus D. Estevez and Jonathan "Toth" Getzschman: full text available here. Submitted by Jonathan "Toth" Getzschman.

"I don’t go to CNN for news like I don’t go to a Burger King for a meal."

Max: In America's search for transparency, new organizations have been formed, such as Wikileaks. America is torn on that specific issue. Some view it as treason. Others view it as patriotism. What is your take on the subject?

Henry: If WikiLeaks is treason, then so was the outing of CIA agent Valerie Plame [VP Dick Cheney called her and her husband "Fair Game" after they proved and announced to the media that Bush was lying about Saddam Hussein's WMD's] and let’s get everyone into court and get it going. If America has so many things that we are not supposed to know about, perhaps it’s time to change the way we do things. The way America conducts itself at this point only seems to lead to new conflicts. If America didn’t go to Iraq, there would be no deficit. Since the American media has been bought and paid for, some people need alternate sources to get their information.

I don’t go to CNN for news like I don’t go to a Burger King for a meal.

Max: In a time when many American's are wanting more transparency in government and to get their voices heard, what do you see as the most honorable and expedient way to get the government to listen to the will of the people?

2011-05-13 A decentralized Big Brother

Authored by Juan Gabriel Gomez Albarello, Instituto de Estudios Políticos y Relaciones Internacionales, Universidad Nacional de Colombia. This article is available in Spanish in El Espectador.

The so-called “Lleras Act”, a proposal concerning intellectual property rights and access to internet in Colombia, prompts a discussion that has taken place in other places and which has led to various responses. I would not like to take the Colombian Constitutional Court's place and claim that, if Congress approves the current proposal, that tribunal would declare the Act inconstitutional. However, I would like to refer to the way in which the problem of granting adequate protection of basic rights such as the presumption of innocence and the freedom of expression was approached by the French Constitutional Council.

The proposal submitted to Congress by the Interior Minister, German Vargas Lleras (grandson of a former Colombian president, Carlos Lleras), proposes to protect intellectual property rights by means of restricting access to internet to those accused of infringing upon those rights. From the cultural industry's point of view, the most interested part in the profits that those rights generate, the protection mechanism included in the proposal is very ingenious: the individual or firm who feels affected by a violation of their intellectual property rights can complain before the user's internet provider and request a suspension of that user. If the provider refuses to do so, then such a provider would share the responsibility related to any violation of their rights.

2011-05-01 IrishLeaks Launches Submission Platform

Please note: Reportage on IrishLeaks and other leaking platforms should not be read as an endorsement by WL Central - prospective leakers are urged to satisfy themselves of the trustworthiness of their intended recipients and to take precautions to ensure their own anonymity.

ImageToday marks the launch of IrishLeaks, an implementation of the Wikileaks model for anonymous leaking platforms in the Republic of Ireland. The platform has received some coverage in domestic Irish news in recent days. IrishLeaks is apparently unaffiliated with Wikileaks in any way. The site now claims to be operational, and open to submissions.

IrishLeaks is the latest in a string of regional Wikileaks-style anonymous whistleblower platforms that have been set up since Wikileaks began to garner international attention, the most active of which has been Balkanleaks. WL Central listed some of these organizations here.

The "About" section of the site reads:

2011-05-01 WikiLeaks: Russian Blackmail and Energy Mafia Surround Russian Energy Projects in Bulgaria

Boyko Borisov complained about Putin to the Americans; RWE had been “sabotaged” to give up on Belene NPP project.


Bulgarians "risk being cold" this winter if the government did not move forward with the Russian energy projects. This is what Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin said, off-the-record, to his Bulgarian counterpart, Boyko Borisov, during the summit in Gdansk in September, 2009. The tone of the sentence in question is not clear, we cannot judge if it was threatening enough, but obviously it seriously impressed Borisov in order for him to report it in a timely manner and for Putin’s words to find their place in the classified documents of the American diplomacy.

Borisov’s complaint about Putin’s attitude is described in a US diplomatic cable, dated October 5, 2009, released by Wikileaks [09SOFIA561]. The text does not elucidate if this has been a joke or a threat. On September 29, 2009, Borisov had asked the US government for assistance in the diversification of energy sources for Bulgaria.

“The cash-strapped new administration seeks not only to rid itself of projects of questionable commercial viability but also to increase its energy security through diversification,” the American diplomats believe.

The cable talks about the meeting between the Prime Minister and three large US energy companies, held on that same date. As a result, the government had made the commitment to engage in negotiations to use US technology to diversify its nuclear fuel supply and create a spent nuclear fuel storage facility.

2011-04-29 Does Canada treasure its parliamentary democracy? #Elxn41 #wlcan #Cdnpoli

Canada is currently ranked eighth or ninth in the world among organizations which claim to measure the state of democracy. The parliamentary democracy practiced in Canada is something that the citizens of many dictatorships are trying to implement. The current government of Canada has been accused several times of holding lightly the democratic principles Canada is governed by, and last month the current government was actually found in contempt of parliament, the first time this has occurred in the history of the Commonwealth. That same current government is projected to win either a minority or majority government on Monday, prompting constitutional expert Peter Russell to ask below, "Does Canada treasure its parliamentary democracy?"

As the world's fourth oldest parliamentary democracy, Russell would like Canadians to be aware of the basic principles of democracy at stake in this election. He describes parliament as being set up so that the monarch was required to disclose their spending and finds the prospect of electing a prime minister found in contempt of parliament for not revealing his spending to be a far bigger issue than 'partisan bickering'.

2011-04-29 WikiLeaks on Canada in time for the election #Elxn41 #wlcan #Cdnpoli

Just in time for the federal election in Canada, Wikileaks has released 2222 cables about the Canadian government. With two days until the election, this is a crowd sourcing job.

Wikileaks has asked people to post their findings on reddit or you can tweet them with the following hashtags (in order of importance): #Elxn41 #wlcan #Cdnpoli

Or you can add them to the comments below.

2011-04-15 Extradition and Canada's Sovereignty: The Prince of Pot and more

ImageVancouver native Marc Emery, was today denied a transfer to Canada to serve the final four years of his five year sentence. Emery's lawyer Kirk Tousaw said US authorities told his client that the US government refused his transfer on April 6 despite a recommendation from his sentencing judge that he be transferred and despite his meeting all the requirements, due to the “seriousness of the offence” and “law enforcement concerns.”

Marc's serious offense is selling marijuana seeds by mail to the US, a serious offense on the US side of the border, where the law equates one marijuana seed to one plant to 100 kilos of marijuana, but almost never prosecuted in Canada where seed shops are common, and the last conviction was against Emery in 1998 when he was fined $2,000. In fact on Wednesday, an Ontario court struck down Canada's laws that prohibit the possession and growing of marijuana as unconstitutional. The judge suspended his ruling for three months, to give the federal government time to appeal or respond; if they are unsuccessful, marijuana will be legal to possess and cultivate in Ontario in three months, which will set precedent for all of the other provinces. That would explain why the US has "law enforcement concerns," as Emery in Canada would have no chance of being in jail, much less serving repeated solitary confinement. According to the US - Canada Extradition Treaty, extradition applies only in cases where the “offenses are punishable by the laws of both Contracting Parties by a term of imprisonment exceeding one year.”

2011-04-01 Armenian General Prosecutor's Office contradicted by WikiLeaks cables: on 'government-run sex trafficking' in Armenia

Cables on sex trafficking in Armenia reveal frank contempt toward victims and contradictory statements from the law enforcement officials on collusion in sex trafficking. The Republic of Armenia General Prosecutor's Office released an explanation on 14th February 2011 on the corruption allegation mentioned in a cable. The explanation in the official press release is contradicted by information on reports of Armenian investigative journalists and TIP reports published by the U.S. Department of State.

Concerning the information given to the US diplomats by the prostitutes that the employee of the RA General Prosecutor’s Office A. Yeremyan committed violations, it is informed that at that time the RA Prosecutor General tasked to conduct investigation, a interdepartmental committee was formed and all the appeals were checked which were not confirmed based on the conclusions of the interdepartmental committee and the results of the investigation.

The 'violations' mentioned above are mentioned in the cable 06YEREVAN1091, which was written in 2006. This assertion about the 'investigation' against complicity of an official A.Yeremyan has been proven to be false ever since 2006, the year the incident occurred, mainly by the Trafficking in Persons Report (TIP) published annually by the U.S. Department of State. The following are evidences that the General Prosecutor's Office did nothing meaningful on the allegation in 2006 until this day:

2006 TIP report:
The government failed to vigorously investigate and prosecute ongoing and widespread allegations of public officials' complicity in trafficking. Victim-blaming and lack of sensitivity for victims remain a problem among Armenian officials, particularly in the judiciary.

2011-02-24 PayPal suspends account of Bradley Manning supporters

PayPal, an online payment-transfer service, has apparently developed reservations about the Sixth Amendment to the US Constitution, which reads:

In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense.

As spokespersons for the Bradley Manning Support Network have observed, there is no obligation under US law for a private company to restrict fund-raising for an accused person:

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