2011-05-18 WikiLeaks Notes: Diplomatic Sexual Abuse a la Strauss-Kahn, Spy Powers to Expand for Australian Security Agency


Dominique Strauss-Kahn may be just one of many diplomats or international officials alleged to have abused maids or nannies in the United States:

In April 2007, a Tanzanian maid filed a lawsuit against Alan Mzengi, a minister-counselor at the Tanzanian Embassy. She alleged the Mzengis kept her as “a virtual prisoner in their residence, stripping her of her passport, refusing to permit her to leave the house unaccompanied.” The lawsuit states she was not paid for her four years of work.

On this case, Reuters reports a US State Embassy cable from December 2009 shows the US government asked the Tanzanian government to investigate saying, “While payment of the lost wages to Ms. Mazengo is our first priority, we also hope that any diplomat who has treated his domestic staff in such an abusive manner would face appropriate sanction upon his return home," the cable said.

The State Department continues to monitor a possible Tanzania investigation and claims it will be getting “tough on alleged abuse of domestic workers by foreign diplomats.”

Cables deal with Canadian electricity:

One story out from CBC reports that Prince Edward Island utility Maritime Electric was part of Hydro-Québec's plans for purchase of NB Power. In October 2009, as the New Brunswick government was considering a $4.8 billion deal that was politically unpopular, the possibility of a sale was denied. The cables show it was seriously considered.

An Alberta electricity critic, according to The Canadian Press is highly critical of multi-billion dollar electricity upgrades that have been going on in Alberta. The critic, Keith Wilson, addressed revelations that “Alberta was pitching the idea of sending more power to the United States if only it could get more transmission lines built as far back as 2003,” saying he hopes schemes will be “scuttled before skyrocketing bills drive businesses away.”

For more on this story, click here.

Ottawa Embassy is sharing information on “terrorist Canadians:

According to Radio Canada, details on a US program called “Viper” indicate that eighteen people arrested in Toronto in 2006, who were alleged to be part of a terror cell, were transferred to the United States. In this group, three minors and person received “stay of proceedings against them.”

Those alleged to have links to the eighteen and three other men charged in Ottawa last summer also faced this regime. Radio Canada quotes Roch Tasse, coordinator of the Coalition for Civil Liberties who says, “You appoint people and they already put the label of terrorists and we share the information in this case with the United States, while it has not necessarily been proven that these people have been terrorists ... or even being associated with terrorists. These are allegations.”

There’s a fear that if the US is not allowed to handle Canadian terror suspects in this manner an attack could happen and, if they were not cooperating, Canada would face huge political and economic consequences.

For more on this story, here’s CBC’s coverage.

Jason Leopold at Truthout asks why US medical personnel removed high-value detainee Abu Zubaydeh’s eye:

Leopold notes in the released Gitmo Files Zubaydeh’s detainee assessment report has him wearing an eye patch. Zubaydah “never consented to the medical procedure and to this day has no idea why it was done.”

Brent Mickum, who represents Zubaydah, says, “I can tell you that Abu Zubaydah has no explanation for the loss of his eye.”

US has rejected over 40% of claims submitted by Islamabad as expenses for fighting al Qaeda:

The Wall Street Journal (which has launched its own WikiLeaks-imitation site) reviewed internal Pentagon documents and found that the US is increasingly suspicious of “Islamabad’s mixed record against militants.” South Asia adviser for the US Institute of Peace Moeed Yusuf says, “This is about how much money Pakistan can extract.”

Released US State Embassy cables show just how US officials have for years been “taken aback” by claims. For example, in 2006, there was a $26 million charge for barbed wire and pickets and a $70 million charge for radar maintenance. But, “there is no enemy air threat related to the war on terror.” (Unless they are afraid of the US drones or other military aircraft which occasionally fly overhead.)


ASIO spy powers expand under new laws:

The Australian Security Intelligence Organization will be able to spy more on WikiLeaks and other groups thanks to new laws. The bill expands the organization’sability to work on behalf of “overseas agencies” to collect “foreign intelligence.” Amendments broaden the definition of whatit means to defend the Commonwealth so that ASIO can have more freedom to authorize the gathering of information on people’s activities, communications and relationships. So, in other words, anyone looking to take after Julian Assange: beware.

UK coalition plans to introduce new protections for whistleblowers in the public sector:

Under government transparency, the coalition plans to not only improve protections but also open government by publishing ICT contracts online, creating level playing field for open source software, requiring full online disclosure of all central government spending and contracts over twenty five thousand pounds, and by creating a “right to data” so that government-held datasets can be requested and used by the public and then published on a regular basis.

German business executives fear cybercrime danger:

Four hundred business executives surveyed believe that economic espionage and data theft will escalate in future “especially in countries and regions such as Asia, China, eastern Europe, Russia and the US.”

Former US envoy to Bulgaria John Beyrle slams by former Interior Minister Rumen Petkov:

Petkov, referring to recently published WikiLeaks cable, calls it “absurd” that Beyrle alleged he struck a deal aimed at imprisoning 20-30 crime bosses without necessary evidence. Petkov, according to Novinite.com, says, “I am dismayed by how the any Ambassador can write lies and slanders, on the basis of which the US forms its official position.”

Also, he addresses allegations that he had urinated in a public fountain.

Bin Laden raid leakers can talk and no need to worry about being prosecuted under the Espionage Act.:

While worrisome to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, the fact that operations similar to the raid may not be able to be carried out in the future is nothing worth prosecuting anyone over. Those involved have detailed how the SEALs were forced to leave behind a helicopter that malfunctioned and also discussed openly the use of drones to survey the compound.

Whistleblower in Kentucky is fired and alleges discrimination:

Charles Scott Howard, a miner who had lodged several safety complaints against his employer, Arch Coal, and shot video of dangerous conditions at the mine, has filed a discrimination complaint. In a May 4th hearing, he asked the Mine Safety and Health Administration to adopt a “voluntary” safety compliance program for mining companies.

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