2011-09-25 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


Resuming daily WikiLeaks notes after a two-week interruption, with Cablegate and WikiLeaks-related news published within the last two weeks having received significant coverage, ordered by date ; followed by a list of links to other Cablegate stories.

25/9 Canada paid ransom to free diplomats Robert Fowler and Louis Guay from al-Qaeda in 2009, cables show.

24/9 An unrevised draft of Julian Assange’s memoirs, ghost-written by Andrew O’Hagan, is being distributed without Julian Assange’s consent by Canongate.
In a statement Julian describes the circumstances that lead to the unauthorized publication:

...I am not “the writer” of this book. I own the copyright of the manuscript, which was written by Andrew O’Hagan. By publishing this draft against my wishes Canongate has acted in breach of contract, in breach of confidence, in breach of my creative rights and in breach of personal assurances. The US publisher, Knopf, withdrew from the deal when it learned of Canongate’s intentions to publish without my consent. This book was meant to be about my life’s struggle for justice through access to knowledge. It has turned into something else. The events surrounding its unauthorised publication by Canongate are not about freedom of information — they are about old-fashioned opportunism and duplicity—screwing people over to make a buck.

WikiLeaks encourages the purchase of products from its official store instead of the unauthorized book, as a means to support the whistleblowing organization :


The really large WikiLeaks Supporter stickers wikileaks.spreadshirt.com is now featuring may be the most efficient way to support WikiLeaks at the moment, due to the financial blockade against WikiLeaks.

They come in three different colors and prices (donation values) : 25 Euro, 50 Euro and 75 Euro.

20/9 A diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks documents a request by Philip Alston (UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions) for a review of the Troy Davis case ; Firedoglake reports:

"The refusal of the courts to grant a rehearing with significant new evidence which casts doubt on the initial conviction appears to amount to a denial of the right to a genuine review as required. [Philip Alston wrote in an email to the US Mission in Geneva in 2008.]

Of the utmost concern to Alston was the following:

Such a genuine review would be particularly appropriate in this case in the light of information regarding the alleged failure of trial counsel to conduct an adequate investigation of the state’s evidence, to which I drew your Government’s attention in a previous communication regarding this case dated 16 July 2007. I also noted that the Georgia Resource Center, a post-conviction defender organization (PCDO) which represented Mr. Davis, reportedly had its budget reduced by two-thirds and the number of lawyers on its staff reduced from eight to two at the time it was engaged in Mr. Davis’ defense. A lawyer working on Troy Davis’ case stated in an affidavit that “I desperately tried to represent Mr. Davis during this period, but the lack of adequate resources and the numerous intervening crises made that impossible, we were simply trying to avert total disaster rather than provide any kind of active or effective representation.”

Citing international law, Alston concluded, “In the present case there are grounds for concern that poor legal representation afforded to Mr. Davis since 1989 has denied him both the right to a fair trial and the right to effectively appeal against conviction and the death sentence.

UN Special Rapporteur also considered Davis’ case to be an extraordinary abuse of the death sentence process (…)"

20/9 Al-Jazeera Network’s director Wadah Khanfar resigns after the publication of a cable where it is alleged the channel complied with a U.S. Government request to change the content of its website.

In a series of conjectural tweets, WikiLeaks provided insight on the circumstances that may have lead to Khanfar’s resignation after 8 years as Al-Jazeera’s director, and his replacement by Qatari Shaikh Ahmad Bin Jasem Al Thani :

"Speculation: Waddah, a Palestinian, was pushed as a result of Qatari adventurism in Libya and pressure from Saud. Replaced by Qatari Royal. (…)Waddah grew more influential than the al-Thani's; Arab Spring+Libya+Bahrain put this in relief; al-Thani's moved to keep power. (…)Waddah's secret meetings with US disclosed by WL then used by al-Thani's to show why they needed to keep the job in the family. (…) Interesting to note Khanfar's indirect call to al-Jazeera's audience to stop Qatari capture on his exit." (1, 2, 3)

19/9 "Newly released diplomatic cables from the whistleblower website WikiLeaks reveal extensive international efforts on the part of U.S. officials to defend the use of cluster bombs around the world. While 62 countries have signed on to an international treaty banning the use, development, production of cluster munitions, the United States has continued to maintain the weapons are legitimate when used properly. A series of cables from 2008 show the United States attempted to pressure the Afghan government not to sign the treaty reportedly because the United States feared the implementation could impede the ability of U.S. forces to use cluster munitions in Afghanistan. The efforts ultimately failed: Afghanistan ratified the agreement last week." via Democracy Now!

16/9 The first of four WikiLeaks fundraising auctions took place this week.

11/9 A WikiLeaks re-release: over half a million US national text pager intercepts dating from the 11th September 2001, documenting the terrorist attacks in Washington and New York were published at 911.wikileaks.org :

Text pagers are usualy carried by persons operating in an official capacity. Messages in the archive range from Pentagon, FBI, FEMA and New York Police Department exchanges, to computers reporting faults at investment banks inside the World Trade Center.
The archive is a completely objective record of the defining moment of our time. We hope that its entrance into the historical record will lead to a nuanced understanding of how this event led to death, opportunism and war., the description reads.

10/9 A review by the Associated Press finds no U.S. informants claim to be at risk following the publication of their names in full Cablegate documents. The survey focused on sources categorized by the US State Department as most risky.

Other Cablegate news:

- New Iraqi interrogators use acts of anal rape to induce confessions, force juveniles to fellate them.

- Ugandan First Lady Behind Anti-Homosexuality Bill

- WikiLeaks reveals it's past time to speak about human rights in West Papua, a piece written by Jennifer Robinson, who acts as a lawyer for WikiLeaks and Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda.

- Saudis tagged in funding terrorists in the Philippines.

- WikiLeaks exposes Cardinal Law’s work in Vatican-Vietnam relations.

- Ramos-Horta says Parliament is corrupt, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão has an alcohol problem and former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri is arrogant and abusive.

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