2010-12-23 Julian Assange is Person of the Year for Le Monde and Crikey

Agence France-Presse announced that Le Monde will name Assange "Man of the Year" in a weekly supplement on Friday.

Visitors to the newspaper's website voted in favor of Assange with 56 percent backing him for the honor, compared to 22 percent for jailed Chinese dissident and Nobel Peace Prize winner Liu Xiaobo and 6.9 percent for American Facebook President Mark Zuckerberg.

Crikey readers have also chosen Assange for Person of the Year with a 56.4% vote, 38.6% more than the second-placed Bob Brown, whose Greens party also had a big 2010.

2010-12-23 United Nations to look into complaints about treatment of Bradley Manning

After an article in the NY Times announced that the United Nations' top anti-torture envoy is looking into a complaint that Bradley Manning has been mistreated in custody, Fox News wrote that the U.S. military told the United Nations on Wednesday that it had nothing to worry about.
"It's not the Shangri-La," Villiard said, "but other prisoners in the wing receive the same treatment."
The potential United Nations investigation should therefore provide a gleam of hope to all of the other political prisoners in the US being held without trial and in solitary confinement. Please keep writing.

2010-12-23 Peninsula:WikiLeaks to release Israel documents in six months

Peninsula has posted a partial transcript of an interview in Arabic with Julian Assange. Here is the full interview with Ahmed Mansour for Al Jazeera's 'Without Borders'.

“There are 3,700 files related to Israel and the source of 2,700 files is Israel. In the next six months we intend to publish more files depending on our sources,” said Assange in the nearly one-hour interview telecast live from the UK.

“The Guardian, El-Pais and Le Monde have published only two percent of the files related to Israel due to the sensitive relations between Germany, France and Israel. Even New York Times could not publish more due to the sensitivities related to the Jewish community in the US,” he added.

2010-12-22 Aftenposten Obtains Access to US State Cables Database

Norway's largest newspaper, Aftenposten claimed on the 17th to be in possession of the entire database of US state cables held by Wikileaks, and further stated they are under no outside restrictions regarding what to publish as they have no agreement with Wikileaks.


In cooperation with Svenska Dagbladet, Aftenposten has so far had access to about 2000 documents, which until now has been the background for the issues Aftenposten published. Ole Erik Almlid, news editor of Aftenposten, says it has worked a long time to access the documents to the newspaper. "We have worked long to get the documents, but it would be wrong of me to tell who is the source. We have not paid for the material, which we have gained access to with no conditions. It is we who decide what to publish and how we should handle it," he said.

He said that the same criteria and ethical guidelines for publication will be applied to the Wikileaks documents as they use for all stories, and people's privacy and security will be respected.

Their coverage can be followed here.

2010-12-22 Australian journalists' union affirms Julian Assange's membership

"WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange is set to become a member in good standing of the Australian journalists' union, the Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance (MEAA).

"ACTU president Ged Kearney will present a membership card to Mr Assange's Australian lawyer, Rob Stary, at a ceremony in Melbourne this morning.


'Julian Assange has been a member of the Media Alliance for several years. Clearly, with banking corporations freezing his accounts, his situation is quite extraordinary,' [Victorian MEAA branch secretary Louise Connor] said in a statement.

'We've drawn up a new union card for him and offer him the full support of his union and professional association.'"

Read more:

2010-12-22 Apple removes WikiLeaks app

Apple removed an app from their store yesterday which allowed iPad or iPhone users to access WikiLeaks with a single click. While the developer had no ties to Wikileaks, the $1.99 fee was intended as a donation to Wikileaks. According to the Deccan Herald, an Apple representative said:

"We removed the WikiLeaks App from the Apple Store because it violated our developer guidelines. Apps must comply with all local laws and may not put an individual or target group in harm's way."

She did not specify what individuals or target groups would be put in harm's way by this app.

2010-12-22 WikiLeaks in today's media: Cablegate coverage

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: US intervened in Michael Moore NZ screening

"Embassy angered by 'potential fiasco' of cabinet minister hosting a showing of Fahrenheit 9/11. Whatever else WikiLeaks may have revealed, one fact has been repeatedly confirmed: the US government under George Bush really loathed the documentary filmmaker Michael Moore."

Read more

El País: Paraguay pide a EE UU interceptar todos los teléfonos móviles (Paraguay asks the United States to intercept all the cell phones in the country)

"Washington teme que el Gobierno del presidente Lugo utilice las escuchas para fines políticos internos. Paraguay ha pedido ayuda a EE UU para desarrollar una red de escuchas telefónicas en el país sudamericano que permita al Gobierno controlar el 90% de las llamadas que se producen entre teléfonos móviles. (Washington fears that President Lugo ‘s government will use the records to achieve political goals. Paraguay asked the United States help to develop a net of telephonic listeners in that South American country in order give to the government control of 90% of the calls made in every cell phone.)"

Read more (Spanish)

El País: Washington alentó la apertura del Papa hacia Turquía y el islam (Washington cheered openness from the Pope towards Turkey and Islam)

"La diplomacia de EE UU calificó de "eurocéntrico" a Benedicto XVI y siguió con preocupación sus críticas al mundo musulmán. La elección de Joseph Ratzinger como Sumo Pontífice el 19 de abril de 2005 fue recibida con sorpresa por la Embajada de EE UU en la Santa Sede, que en un cable de ese mismo día destaca el énfasis del hasta entonces cardenal en defender Europa de las "fuerzas del secularismo o el islam". (The American diplomacy defined Benedict XVI as “Eurocentric” and followed with concern his critics against the Muslim world. Joseph Ratzinger’s election as Catholic Pope in April 19th 2005 was a surprise for the American embassy in the Vatican, which pointed out in a cable from that very day the former Cardinal’s emphasis on the “defense of Europe from the power of secularism and Islam”.)"

Read more (Spanish)

El País: EE UU revisó la seguridad de las nucleares españolas ante un ataque (The United States checked the security of Spanish nuclear facilities)

"Washington avaló la protección de los reactores después de que un representante visitara Cofrentes. Los cables muestran inquietud por el robo de uranio en la planta de Enusa en Salamanca. (Washington approved the protection of Spanish nuclear reactors after the visit of one of its representatives in Confrentes. The cables show the States were worried about the uranium that was stolen from the Enusa facility in Salamanca.)"

Read more (Spanish)

El País: EE UU investigó siete webs españolas (The United States investigated seven Spanish webs)

"La Embajada las escrutó con ayuda de sociedades gestión y de la industria cultural. La Embajada de Estados Unidos decidió en junio de 2008 conocer de primera mano hasta qué punto en España es fácil acceder en Internet, y sin autorización, a material protegido por derechos de autor. (The American Embassy examined such webs with legal associations and those from the cultural sector. The American Embassy decided in June 2008 to scrutinize directly in order to know how easy is with Internet to access without authorization to copyrighted material.)"

Read more (Spanish)

Le Monde: Les divergences entre Nicolas Sarkozy et Barack Obama à propos d'un "monde sans armes nucléaires" (The differences between Nicolas Sarkozy and Barack Obama on the idea of a "world without nuclear weapons")

"Nicolas Sarkozy a eu de fortes réticences face au slogan lancé par Barack Obama, en avril 2009, pour la "paix et sécurité d'un monde sans armes nucléaires". Les télégrammes diplomatiques obtenus par WikiLeaks et consultés par Le Monde plongent au coeur de cette "divergence" franco-américaine identifiée sur le dossier hautement sensible du désarmement nucléaire. (Nicolas Sarkozy has a strong disagreement wit the slogan sent by Barack Obama in April 2009 for the "peace and security" of a world without nuclear weapons. The diplomatic telegrams received by Wikileaks and consulted by Le Monde point at the heart of this French-American disagreement identified under the highly sensitive subject of the nuclear disarmament.)"

Read more (French)

Globe and Mail: RCMP's drug probes hindered by Olympic security demands

"A leaked U.S. government document says the heavy security demands of the Vancouver Olympics prompted the RCMP to curb drug investigations – a claim the Mounties deny.

"The February 2009 cable – obtained by WikiLeaks and published by British newspaper The Guardian – says the national police force had all but stopped marijuana-related probes. ...

"The cable also noted the Canadians 'are sensitive to the issues of sovereignty and we have been reminded repeatedly that they are responsible for the overall security of the Games.'"

Read more:

2010-12-22 CIA Launches WTF to Assess Cablegate Damage

The CIA has launched a new task force to assess the impact of Cablegate. The Wikileaks Task Force, apparently termed W.T.F., will focus on media exposure and the repercussions of the newest cable releases.

After Wikileaks published its first batch of classified documents, CIA spokesperson George Little had claimed that the CIA was "unconcerned" about the Wikileaks disclosures. Conversely, on November 8, the following press release emerged:

When information about our intelligence, our people, or our operations appears in the media, it does incredible damage to our nation’s security and our ability to do our job of protecting the nation.

It seems it was only a matter of time before Little would announce the emergence of a team devoted entirely to the leaks. At present, WTF is taking inventory of all CIA-related information categorized as "classified" but its focus will be that of ascertaining the potential damage to foreign relations that may have been caused by Cablegate leaks.

2010-12-21 WikiLeaks / Espionage Act Hearing: Testimony of Gabriel Schoenfeld

Testimony of Gabriel Schoenfeld *

Schoenfeld's 5 Assumptions:
  1. Thanks to The First Amendment, The Freedom of Information Act, The Presidential Records Act and the "unfettered press", America is a "wide-open society" in which citizens are extremely well-informed, relative to other nations, about "what our government does in our name".

  2. Despite 1, there is too much secrecy; there is too much mis- and over-classification.

  3. Due in part to 2, "the leaking of secret information to the press has become part of the normal, informal process by which the American people are kept informed."
    (To demonstrate this, Schoenfeld refers to a study conducted by the Senate Intelligence Committee, in which it was shown that within just a 6 month period, 147 disclosures of classified information made their way into the mainstream media (in 8 major media sources reviewed). "None of these leaks resulted in legal proceedings.")

2010-12-21 WikiLeaks in today's media: Cablegate coverage

Romanian Insider: New WikiLeaks cable on Romania: US-Romania relations threatened by musician’s death

"U.S. diplomats said in November 2007 the impending “final offer” by the U.S. Army Foreign Claims Service, Europe to the family of the late Romanian rock star Teofil Peter seems certain to have a significant, negative effect on the U.S.-Romanian relationship, The Guardian has reported. Peter, bass player for Romanian rock band Compact, was killed in a 2004 car accident involving a former Marine detcommander with the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest."

Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Iraq security firms operate 'mafia' to inflate prices

"Halliburton executive's comments reveal tensions between security firms, oil companies and the Baghdad government.

Halliburton's senior executive in Iraq accused private security companies of operating a "mafia" to artifically inflate their "outrageous prices", according to a US cable."

Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Iranian TV channel faced UK sanction over jamming row

"Foreign Office looked to use UN sanctions against Press TV after BBC Persian service was blocked by Tehran.

Britain considered taking punitive action against the London headquarters of Iran's English-language state broadcaster earlier this year after Iran jammed the signals of the BBC's Persian TV service (PTV), according to a US state department document released by WikiLeaks."

Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Lamb sales behind New Zealand's 'flap' with Israel

"Country's condemnation of Israeli intelligence agents in 2004 seen as attempt to increase exports to Arab states.

US diplomats disparaged New Zealand's reaction to a suspected Israeli spy ring as a "flap" and accused New Zealand's government of grandstanding in order to sell more lamb to Arab countries, according to leaked cables."

Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: UK hopes to influence Islamic education in Bangladesh

"British officials working with US to change madrasa curriculum as a 'common counter-terrorism goal', cables reveal.

British government officials have made moves towards influencing Islamic education in Bangladesh as part of regional counter-terrorism strategies."

Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: US pushed for reopening of Bangladesh coal mine

"Ambassador urged country's energy adviser to approve plans, despite mine being closed in 2006 after violent protests.

US diplomats privately pressurised the Bangladeshi government into reinstating a controversial coal mine which had been closed following violent protests, a leaked diplomatic cable shows."

Read more

The Guardian: Wikileaks cables: McDonald's used US to put pressure on El Salvador

"Burger giant tried to delay US legislation in order to aid lawsuit being fought in Central American country, cables reveal.

McDonald's tried to delay the US government's implementation of a free-trade agreement in order to put pressure on El Salvador to appoint neutral judges in a $24m (£15.5m) lawsuit it was fighting in the country. The revelation of the McDonald's strategy to ensure a fair hearing for a long-running legal battle against a former franchisee comes from a leaked US embassy cable dated 15 February 2006."

Read more

The Guardian: Wikileaks cables: Vatican vetoed Holocaust memorial over Pius XII row

"Moves to beatify controversial wartime pope reveal tension between conservatives and liberals in Catholic church.

The Vatican has withdrawn from a written agreement to join an international Holocaust memorial organisation because of tensions over the activity of Pope Pius XII, the pope during the second world war, American diplomatic cables show."

Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Mauritius sues UK for control of Chagos islands

"Leaked document shows Foreign Office official told US that marine reserve would end evicted islanders' claims.

The prime minister of Mauritius has accused Britain of pursuing a "policy of deceit" over the Chagos islands, its Indian Ocean colony from where islanders were evicted to make way for a US military base. He spoke to the Guardian as his government launched the first step in a process that could end UK control over the territory."

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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: How 'Hurricane Anna Nicole' blew away the Bahamas

"Island was intoxicated by antics of former model and her death unwittingly led to government scrutiny, say cables.

The confidential cable was written poetically and revealingly. Harnessing all the drama of a Mills and Boon novel, the US ambassador pulled out every stop when describing the impact of a B-list celebrity on the tropical Caribbean paradise of the Bahamas."

Read more

The Guardian: Wikileaks cables: Bangladeshi 'death squad' trained by UK government

"Rapid Action Batallion, accused of hundreds of extra-judicial killings, received training from UK officers, cables reveal.

The British government has been training a Bangladeshi paramilitary force condemned by human rights organisations as a "government death squad", leaked US embassy cables have revealed."

Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: US suspected Allen Stanford long before ECB deal

"American diplomats told to avoid contacting or being photographed with billionaire two years before his fall from grace.

More than two years before he touched down in a helicopter at Lord's cricket ground bearing $20m, US diplomats were so concerned about rumours of "bribery, money-laundering and political manipulation" surrounding Allen Stanford that they avoided contacting him or being photographed with him."

Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Libyan attacks aimed to force out 'Zionist' Marks & Spencer

"Anti-semitic smear campaign by Libyans 'at the highest levels' risked damaging ties with UK, embassy warned.

A Marks & Spencer store in Tripoli was subjected to a "repugnant anti-semitic" smear campaign by the Libyan government in an attempt to force its closure, according to US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks."

Read more

El País: El Gobierno pidió a EE UU que presionase al PP, CiU y PNV (The Spanish government asked to the United States to press the "Popular Party", "Convergence & Union" and the "Basque Nationalist Party")

"Ángeles González-Sinde solicitó a la embajada que mediara ante Génova para allanar el trámite parlamentario. A Miguel Sebastián reclamó que "parasen" a Esperanza Aguirre por alinearse con activistas contrarios a la ley. (Ángeles González-Sinde asked the American embassy to mediate in front of Genoa to help arranging the parliamentary deal. She demanded to Miguel Sebastián to stop Esperanza Aguirre for dealing with activists that are agains the law.)"

Read more (Spanish)

El País: Lula pidió a Chávez que bajara el tono contra EE UU (Lula asked Chávez to change the tone against the United States)

"El presidente brasileño envió a su ex lugarteniente, José Dirceu, a advertirle a su par venezolano de que no "jugara con fuego". (The Brazilian President sent his deputy, José Dirceu, to warn his Venezuelan counterpart to stop “playing with fire”.)"

Read more (Spanish)

El País: Los Juegos Olímpicos acercan a Brasilia y Washington (The Olympic Games bring Brasilia and Washington closer together)

"El Gobierno brasileño pide a EE UU una mayor cooperación en seguridad. (The Brazilian government asks to the United States a larger cooperation in the matter of security.)"

Read more (Spanish)

Le Monde: Les Etats-Unis ont intrigué pour barrer la route du GIEC à un scientifique iranien (The United States are intrigued about blocking the route to IPCC (in French: Groupe d'experts intergouvernemental sur l'évolution du climat, GIEC) for an Iranian scientist)

"En 2002, Washington avait usé de son influence pour éviter qu'un scientifique américain, Robert Watson, soit reconduit à la tête du Groupe d'experts intergouvernemental sur l'évolution du climat (GIEC). (In 2002, Washington used its influence to prevent an American Scientist, Robert Watson, from taking control of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).)"

Read more (French)

2010-12-21 Ekklesia: Why conscientious objector Michael Lyons deserves support

Ekklesia asks for support for twenty-four year old medic Michael Lyons. On 17 December he lost his appeal to be allowed to leave the Royal Navy on grounds of conscience.

When he heard reports about civilian casualties, including children, he made an effort to find out more about the situation. ''I was unable to find a real, just and noble cause to go out but I still had a sense of duty to my country,'' he explained at his hearing.

Then WikiLeaks revelations alerted him to the fact that civilian casualties were far greater than had originally been reported. “'Examples included a convoy of marines tearing down a six-mile highway, firing at people with no discrimination.”

What is more, despite being a medic, he might not be allowed to treat everyone needing his help, and might even be called on to kill: “It seems from previous testimony and courses I've done that even going out as a medic with all good intention, if you're at a patrol base or forward operating base, it's likely you'll have to use your weapon and will have to turn civilians away who are in need of medical aid."

For those wondering why data previously in a system which allowed close to one million authorized users, currently in a world where the citizens of almost every country can view it, is being blocked only from the people serving in the military it concerns, this could be the reason. Please support Michael Lyons.

2010-12-21 WikiLeaks / Espionage Act Hearing: Wainstein

Testimony of Kenneth L. Wainstein (Editor's note)

Assumptions made (stated as fact) by Wainstein:

  1. Wikileaks discloses "sensitive information" in a "mass and indiscriminate" manner.
  2. The sensitive information leaked through Wikileaks is "not newsworthy".
  3. In virtue of 1, Wikileaks poses a threat to National Security that is more serious than that posed by the disclosure of sensitive information by the mainstream media.
  4. Wikileaks activities do not qualify as traditional journalistic reporting.
  5. Charging Wikileaks as a journalistic organization with espionage under the existing laws would pose a thread to "the free press", as defined in terms of an organization that practices traditional journalism.
  6. There's an urgent need to suppress leaks that pose a threat to national security.
  7. The proposed Shield Act is unconstitutional.

The 2 questions on the table, in Wainstein's view, are:

  1. Whether to prosecute Wikileaks;
  2. Whether to revise the existing laws relating to the current Espionage Act.

Wainstein's answer to the second question is yes. The laws should be revised. Current laws must be clarified in a manner that more accurately reflects the particularities of new Internet-related methods of disseminating information in the 21st Century.

2010-12-20 WikiLeaks in today's media: Cablegate coverage

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: 'Taliban treats heroin stocks like savings accounts'

"Head of UN office on drugs and crime Antonio Maria Costa says Afghan gangs and Taliban stockpiling drug to manipulate street price in the west.

The United Nations' drugs czar told Nato that Afghan insurgents were withholding thousands of tonnes of heroin and treating their drugs like "savings accounts" to manipulate street prices in the west, according to a leaked US cable."

Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Syria believed Israel was behind sniper killing

"Assassination of Syrian president's top security aide caused anxiety among the political elite, US embassy cables reveal.

It was late in the evening of 1 August 2008 in the Syrian coastal city of Tartous when the sniper fired the fatal shot. The target was General Muhammad Suleiman, President Bashar al-Assad's top security aide. Israelis, the US embassy in Damascus reported, were "the most obvious suspects" in the assassination."

Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: UK businessmen 'overeducated' says Richard Branson

"Virgin chief critical of British education system during discussion of entrepreneurship at Beijing business lunch.

Perhaps it's because he left school at 15 and ran his own business while his peers were still studying. But Richard Branson believes that the British education system does not serve budding businessmen and women well, according to a US diplomatic cable."

Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Bulgarian nuclear project 'dogged by safety concerns'

2010-12-19 New Whistleblowing Sites

Online whistleblowing conduits appear to be an exciting new trend. From technological tools to what looks a lot like old fashioned investigative journalism, here are some of the up and coming whistle blowing sites.

IndoLeaks Jakarta Globe says this appeared on December 10.

Rospil An extension of popular Russian blogger Alexei Navalny's website, he is actively seeking documentation of corruption in the higher echelons of the national government and economy.

TuniLeaks This seems, at least at present, to serve as a forum to post and discuss Wikileaks state cable releases as they relate to Tunisia, along with the Twitter hashtag #tunileaks . According to Global Voices Advocacy they have been under heavy censorship threats and actions since they were started.

BrusselsLeaks This site is seeking corporation, consultancy, institution or NGO information in "Brussels – the European Capital and the place where decisions are made which impact the globe".

Many of these decisions happen behind closed doors and we have been working to make it more transparent for many years. Journalists, activists and communications professionals have now come together to form Brussels Leaks, a place to centralise intelligence gathered on the inner-workings of the EU.

2010-12-16 FAIR: Media paint flattering picture of U.S. diplomacy

FAIR summarizes the cablegate coverage in the US mainstream media, concluding:

These conclusions represent an extraordinarily narrow reading of the WikiLeaks cables, of which about 1,000 have been released (contrary to constant media claims that the website has already released 250,000 cables). Some of the more explosive revelations, unflattering to U.S. policymakers, have received less attention in U.S. corporate media.

After listing a very good summary of essential cablegate revelations that have been largely ignored by the US media the article finishes with a reminder of the statement from the NY Times explaining why they had published some cable information:

The "duplicity" of other countries can be illuminated by the cables, while the U.S.'s secret wars are evidence of "diplomacy." That principle would seem to be guiding the way many U.S. outlets are interpreting the WikiLeaks revelations.

2010-12-14 Foreign Policy: WikiFailed States

Foreign Policy provides a summary by country of US state policy for Somalia, Sudan, Zimbabwe, Pakistan, Kenya, Nigeria, Burma, North Korea, Eritrea, including what the state cables have so far revealed.

By now, you've read the WikiLeaked headlines, illuminating the inner workings of U.S. policy in Iraq and Afghanistan, or detailing the intractable regimes in Iran and North Korea. But what does Cablegate have to say about the world's forgotten conflicts -- the dimmer outposts of U.S. influence where Washington arguably has even bigger messes to confront? FP went through the archives with an eye to our 2010 Failed States issue to see what light the cables shed on these benighted places -- and whether the cables themselves may disrupt the often delicate balancing act of diplomacy.

2010-12-19 Joe Biden Calls WikiLeaks High Tech Terrorism as US Media Call for a More Moderate Response

As Joe Biden condemns Julian Assange as a "high-tech terrorist" and affirms that officials in the US Justice Department were actively exploring ways to prosecute Assange, some of the country's media organizations have been issuing statements in wary opposition.

The US media reaction is well outlined by Glenn Greenwald's December 14th article, 'Attempts to prosecute WikiLeaks endanger press freedoms' and was followed up today by a deferential and roundabout article in the NYTimes which eventually concludes:

It is not necessary for America to erect a Chinese-style “Great Firewall” to filter out government criticism; if Mr. Assange were prosecuted, would-be whistleblowers and news tipsters would have to think twice before taking action.

That would be bad news for American journalism ...

In the WikiLeaks saga, other commentators have elevated the stakes further, describing the cable dump, the bellicose official response and the juvenile efforts by hackers sympathetic to WikiLeaks as the opening salvoes of a long-awaited cyberwar.

Does it really make sense for Washington to escalate? This is one war in which most of the collateral damage would be American.

Internationally, the verdict is much more clear. EFF's article on December 16th reiterated their own opposition to censorship and their online campaign as well as summarized statements from the following organizations:

2010-12-19 WikiLeaks / Espionage Act Hearing: Conyers, Delahunt, Poe, Lowell

House Judiciary Committee Hearing on the Espionage Case and the Legal and Constitutional Issues Raised by Wikileaks [1]

Opening Statements



Opening Statements: Notable Excerpts and Main Points

Chairman John Conyers, Jr.

Conyers begins with reference to the 1989 case of Texas v. Johnson, the Supreme Court (a flag burning case). This case "set forth one of the fundamental principles of our democracy." Here, Conyers quotes Justice Brennan:

“If there is a bedrock principle underlying the First Amendment, it is that the government may not prohibit the expression of an idea simply because society finds the idea itself offensive or disagreeable.” [2] Background

2010-12-19 WikiLeaks in today's media: Cablegate coverage

El País: EE UU: "España nos pide que presionemos a Bruselas a favor de los transgénicos" (US: "Spain asks us to press Brussels in favor of the transgenics")

"Los cables revelan la alianza entre EE UU y el Gobierno para defender los organismos genéticamente modificados. La embajada medió a favor de Monsanto en contra de las posiciones de Comisión. La legación vio a Garmendia como su aliada en el Ejecutivo. (The cables reveal the alliance between the United States and the Spanish government to stand in favor of the genetically modified food. The embassy interceded for the American company "Monsanto" and against the position of the European commission. The delegation saw in Cristina Garmendia an ally in the federal government.)

Read more (Spanish)

The Daily Star: WikiLeaks sheds light on Bangladesh

"The first batch of US embassy cables related to Bangladesh released on WikiLeaks reveals the role of Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) in an effort to absorb the banned militant outfit Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami (Huji) into mainstream politics through forming the Islamic Democratic Party (IDP), just before the 2008 general elections.

The cable originating from the US mission in New Delhi on April 27, 2007, describes the thoughts of the US, the UK and India in the aftermath of the '1/11' political changeover in 2007.

It was four days after the arrest warrant issued against Sheikh Hasina was suspended, and two days after the ban on her re-entering the country was lifted.

The subject of the cable is given as “Indian official sees Bangladesh at crossroads, Sri Lanka deteriorating, Burma becoming one-dimensional.”

Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Yemen radioactive stocks 'were easy al-Qaida target'

"Sana'a official told US diplomats solo sentry had been removed from atomic facility and CCTV system was broken.

A senior government official in Yemen warned US diplomats that poor security at the country's main store of radioactive products could allow dangerous material to fall into the hands of terrorists, according to a leaked US embassy cable.”

Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: How US 'second line of defence' tackles nuclear threat

"Diplomatic dispatches reveal world of smugglers, ex-military fixers and radioactive materials found in unlikely locations.

The leaked US cables reveal the constant, largely unseen, work by American diplomatic missions around the world to try to keep the atomic genie in its bottle and forestall the nightmare of a terrorist nuclear attack.”

Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Tanzania official investigating BAE 'fears for his life'

"Prosecutor Edward Hoseah voiced safety fears over inquiry into 'dirty deal' involving sale of radar system to government.

The Tanzanian prosecutor investigating worldwide misconduct by BAE, Britain's biggest arms company, confided to US diplomats that "his life may be in danger" and senior politicians in his small African country were "untouchable".”

Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Egypt 'turned down' black-market nuclear weapons deal'

"Cairo's ambassador to the UN claimed President Mubarak said no to offer of atomic weapons from ex-Soviet state.

Egypt was offered nuclear weapons, material and expertise on the black market after the collapse of the Soviet Union, according to a senior Egyptian diplomat.”

Read more

El País: Israel asegura que Irán es ya una amenaza nuclear (Israel affirms Iran is already a nuclear threat)

"El Gobierno pidió a EE UU una acción inmediata contra el régimen de los ayatolás. El jefe del Mosad advirtió de que las sanciones no frenarán a Teherán. (The Israeli government demanded the United States immediate action against the Ayatollah's regime. The Mossad chief said the economic sanctions won't stop Teheran.)"

Read more (Spanish)

El País: "Israel sería feliz si Hamás toma Gaza", dice el jefe del espionaje ("Israel would be happy if Hamas takes control of Gaza", says the chief of espionage)

"Consumada la división entre Cisjordania y Gaza, Netanyahu dice que no habrá paz sin una nueva situación en la franja. (Once finished the division between Cisjordania and Gaza, Netanyahu says there won't be any peace without a new situation in the border.)"

Read more (Spanish)

El País: El material nuclear circula sin control en el corazón de África (Nuclear material circulates freely in Africa's heart)

"Las instalaciones atómicas de Congo carecen de las mínimas medidas de seguridad. Algunas compañías extranjeras exportan uranio ilegalmente. (The atomic facilities in Congo are lacking the minimal controls of security. Some foreign companies export uranium illegally.)"

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Le Monde: L'espoir de paix avec les Palestiniens brisé par "l'inertie" d'Israël (The wait for peace with the Palestinians broken by the Israel's inertia)

"L'analyse est celle du chef des renseignements militaires israéliens, Amos Yadlin, en décembre 2008, peu avant l'accession au pouvoir du président-élu Barack Obama et de Benyamin Nétanyahou, qui va retrouver les fonctions de premier ministre en mars suivant. (The analysis comes from the Israeli military chief of intelligence, Amos Yadlin, in December 2008, as an advance for the elected president to come, Barack Obama, and Benjamin Netanyahu, who was meant to re-start his responsibilities as Prime Minister next March.)"

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Le Monde: WikiLeaks : Israël, la peur des voisins arabes (Israel is its neighbors' fear)

"Un environnement hostile, des alliés régionaux peu sûrs, un futur incertain : tel est le Proche-Orient vu par les responsables israéliens, selon les télégrammes diplomatiques américains obtenus par WikiLeaks et révélés par Le Monde. (A hostil environment between the regional allies and an uncertain future: that's how the Middle East sees the Israelis, according to the American diplomatic telegrams obtained by Wikileaks and revealed by Le Monde.)"

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Le Monde: WikiLeaks : armes en Irak, les estimations erronées d'Israël (Weapons in Iraq: the wrong estimations came from Israel)

"Lorsque le sujet est abordé, lors d'une rencontre entre le sénateur américain Carl Levin, et un responsable des renseignements militaires israéliens, en mars 2009, il y a bien longtemps que les limiers américains ne cherchent plus en Irak les armes de destruction massive dont la présence supposée avait justifié, six ans plus tôt, l'invasion du pays. (When the subject was discussed in meetings between the American Senator Carl Levin and an Israeli agent of military intelligence, in March 2009, the United States had given up a long time ago the search in Iraq for weapons of mass destruction that allegedly justified their invasion of Iraq more than six years in the past.)"

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2010-12-18 Juice Rap News Episode 6 Cablegate: The Truth is Out There

The Juice Media Rap News team has released Episode 6, Cablegate: The Truth is Out There, their third news satire episode focusing on the Wikileaks debate. Featuring portrayals of Hilary Clinton and Alex Jones and an increasing sophistication, this is a highly entertaining and thoughtful six minutes which Wikileaks has posted on their site as well.

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