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Santa Cruz Indymedia | Anti-War | Police State and Prisons

WikiLeaks Solidarity in Santa Cruz: Exposing the Truth is Not a Crime!
by ~Bradley ( bradley [at] riseup.net )
Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
Dozens of people came together in Santa Cruz on January 8th to rally at the clock tower and march down Pacific Avenue in solidarity with WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, and Bradley Manning. Protesters lined Mission St. with homemade signs in defense of free speech and calling for the prosecution of U.S. government war crimes.
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WikiLeaks, founded by Julian Assange, is an international non-profit organization that publishes submissions of private, secret, and classified media from anonymous news sources and news leaks. As a direct result of the effectiveness of WikiLeaks, the organization is receiving significant persecution from the U.S. government and numerous transnational corporations.

For example, the U.S. State Department asserts that WikiLeaks is not a media organization, and Julian Assange is not a journalist. On December 2nd, 2010, Philip J. Crowley, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs, stated, "WikiLeaks is not a media organization. That is our view." In regard to Assange, Crowley said, "Well, his – I mean he could be considered a political actor. I think he’s an anarchist, but he’s not a journalist."

Bradley Manning is a United States Army soldier who was charged in July 2010 with the unauthorized disclosure of U.S. classified information. He is being tortured in solitary confinement at the Marine Corps Brig, Quantico, Virginia, and is expected to face a court-martial in the spring of 2011. The material allegedly provided by Manning to WikiLeaks includes a large number of diplomatic cables, as well as video of a July 2007 helicopter airstrike in Baghdad, published by WikiLeaks in April 2010 as the Collateral Murder video.

As he did on December 18th at the first rally in Santa Cruz to support WikiLeaks, Takashi Yogi peddled People Power's bicycle-powered sound system to amplify the people speaking. The speakers on January 8th included Dave "Santa Cruz Woody" Wood, Frank Runninghorse, James Cosner, Steve Pleich, Bob Meola, Robert Norse, Ed Frey and Steven Argue.

Frank Runninghorse, an activist living in Concord, said the demonstration was part of a single struggle with many fronts. "We have to stand in solidarity. We have to show there are links to these struggles." Runninghorse cited the Oscar Grant movement as an important part of the struggle for justice.

James Cosner, a former Santa Cruz resident and well-known activist from back in the day, spoke about important resistance movements that have taken place in this town. Those movements have included the Santa Cruz Coalition to Free Mumia Abu-Jamal, as well as direct action to prevent the U.S. government from displacing indigenous Dine' peoples at Big Mountain. Cosner said Julian Assange is a hero for exposing the truth to the people of the world.

Steven Argue, an organizer of the protest, read a statement of solidarity from Larry Pinkney, a veteran of the Black Panther Party and current editor for the Black Commentator. According to Argue, the analysis by the antiwar movement of U.S. occupations has been confirmed through official U.S. documents published by WikiLeaks.

Meanwhile, the persecution dragnet by the U.S. government has widened, as reported in a tweet sent on January 8th from the official WikiLeaks Twitter account: "WARNING all 637,000 @wikileaks followers are a target of US gov subpoena against Twitter, under section 2. B http://is.gd/koZIA"

Bob Meola of Berkeley, a member of Courage to Resist and the Bradley Manning Support Network, said, "If Bradley Manning did what he is accused of, then he is a war hero." Meola also referenced a mantra of past resistance movements and its appropriateness for the struggle today, "If the government won't stop the war, we'll stop the government."

Ed Frey, a Santa Cruz civil rights attorney, spoke about PC 647e, California's state-wide anti-"lodging" (anti-sleeping) law and how it is unconstitutional under the 9th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. As part of the Bill of Rights, it addresses rights of the people that are not specifically stated in the Constitution. The 9th Amendment, which Frey said was not widely known, reads, "The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people." On January 21st in Superior Court in Santa Cruz, Frey will challenge the constitutionality of California's PC 647e.
§Free Bradley Manning
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§Hands Off WikiLeaks
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§Secular Humanists of Santa Cruz County
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§Protect Julian Assange
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§Santa Cruz Woody
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§Frank Runninghorse
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§U.S. Occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan = Murder Inc.
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§Stop the Wars!
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§Democracy is Leaking
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§James Cosner
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§WikiLeaks Rally in Santa Cruz
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§Bob Meola
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§Free Julian Assange and Bradley Manning
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§Ed Frey
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§UC Santa Cruz Students
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§Stop the War Machine
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§Thumbs Up
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§Whistle Blowing is Not a Crime
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:55 AM
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§Robert Norse Interview
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:58 AM
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§"Without struggle, there is no justice." -Fredrick Douglas
by ~Bradley Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:59 AM
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Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Denica De Foy
Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 6:10 AM
It was fun, thanx to all who invited/ came/ took pics! Nice site! Free Bradley Manning!
by Daniel Haszard
Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 9:55 AM
Glaxo whistle-blower gets $96 million.
The case with the Zyprexa scandal is that Eli Lilly drug company pleaded guilty to criminal wrongs ("viva Zyprexa" campaign) the Zyprexa saga was rotten through and through.
Eight Lilly EMPLOYEES got millions each as supposed informant 'whistle blowers'.Lawyers on BOTH sides got millions and millions......most patient claimants who got sick are 'mentally challenged' and less able to advocate for themselves.
The Class action Lawsuits in the US had payouts of $85,000 BUT the lawyers got 45 percent and then the govt got most of the rest for having to take care of the victim/patients medical expenses.Soooo,,,,$85K turned into about $9,000 for Zyprexa claimants many had their food stamps and other state benefits taken away because of their *windfall profit* making them worse off in the end.
*
Daniel Haszard Zyprexa victim activist whistleblower and patient. http://www.zyprexa-victims.com
by ........
Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 1:22 PM
that drug and others damage for life!!!
by (posted by) Robert Norse
Monday Jan 10th, 2011 9:17 AM
The Man Who Spilled the Secrets
The collaboration between WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the Web’s notorious information anarchist, and some of the world’s most respected news organizations began at The Guardian, a nearly 200-year-old British paper. What followed was a clash of civilizations—and ambitions—as Guardian editors and their colleagues at The New York Times and other media outlets struggled to corral a whistle-blowing stampede amid growing distrust and anger. With Assange detained in the U.K., the author reveals the story behind the headlines.
By Sarah Ellison•
Photograph by Ki Price
February 2011

LET THERE BE LIGHT
Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, at a news conference in London last October. The partnership forged with The Guardian leveraged Assange and his Web site into a global story. But the relationship was never an easy one.

On the afternoon of November 1, 2010, Julian Assange, the Australian-born founder of WikiLeaks.org, marched with his lawyer into the London office of Alan Rusbridger, the editor of The Guardian. Assange was pallid and sweaty, his thin frame racked by a cough that had been plaguing him for weeks. He was also angry, and his message was simple: he would sue the newspaper if it went ahead and published stories based on the quarter of a million documents that he had handed over to The Guardian just three months earlier. The encounter was one among many twists and turns in the collaboration between WikiLeaks—a four-year-old nonprofit that accepts anonymous submissions of previously secret material and publishes them on its Web site—and some of the world’s most respected newspapers. The collaboration was unprecedented, and brought global attention to a cache of confidential documents—embarrassing when not disturbing—about American military and diplomatic activity around the world. But the partnership was also troubled from the start.

In Rusbridger’s office, Assange’s position was rife with ironies. An unwavering advocate of full, unfettered disclosure of primary-source material, Assange was now seeking to keep highly sensitive information from reaching a broader audience. He had become the victim of his own methods: someone at WikiLeaks, where there was no shortage of disgruntled volunteers, had leaked the last big segment of the documents, and they ended up at The Guardian in such a way that the paper was released from its previous agreement with Assange—that The Guardian would publish its stories only when Assange gave his permission. Enraged that he had lost control, Assange unleashed his threat, arguing that he owned the information and had a financial interest in how and when it was released.

The Guardian partnership was the first of its kind between a mainstream media organization and WikiLeaks. The future of such collaborations remains very much in doubt. WikiLeaks, torn by staff defections, technical problems, and a crippling shortage of money, has been both battered and rejuvenated by the events of the past several months. A number of companies—PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard—stopped acting as conduits for donations, even as international publicity has attracted high-profile supporters and many new donors. Kristinn Hrafnsson, a close associate of Assange’s and a WikiLeaks spokesman, promises that WikiLeaks will pursue legal action against the companies. Although it is not known where the instigation came from, hackers launched a wave of sympathy attacks on PayPal, Visa, and MasterCard operations, and temporarily shut them down. Assange himself, arrested in December on behalf of Swedish authorities for questioning in a sexual-assault investigation, spent time in a British prison before being granted release on bail. At press time, he awaits a decision on extradition and, in the meantime, must wear an electronic anklet, must check in with authorities daily, and must abide by a curfew. Some are pressing the U.S. government to take action against him under the Espionage Act or some other statute. Whatever the fate of WikiLeaks itself, the nature of the Internet guarantees that others will continue to step into its shoes. “The WikiLeaks concept will bring about other organizations and I wish them well,” Hrafnsson says, even as he insists that WikiLeaks is “functioning fully” without Assange.

The Guardian wasn’t the only newspaper to work with WikiLeaks. To assist in publishing the first two batches of documents—on the war in Afghanistan and the war in Iraq—WikiLeaks brought in two other parties, The New York Times and the German newsweekly Der Spiegel. Eventually the group was expanded to include television: CNN, Al Jazeera, and Britain’s Channel 4. For the third batch of documents—the diplomatic cables—WikiLeaks worked with five print publications in a collaboration that was marked by serial delays and considerable mistrust on all sides. (“Everyone’s a cheat,” laments one editor involved in the project, looking back.) But The Guardian was the lead organization from the outset: it came up with the idea of a collaboration with WikiLeaks, and it made the arrangement work. That central role may seem odd to some. The Guardian is relatively small—it’s merely the 10th-largest national newspaper in Britain (behind The Times of London and The Daily Telegraph, and ahead of only The Independent). But it is aggressive and relentless, and performs on a global stage in a way that most bigger British newspapers simply do not.

The paper has come a long way from the old Manchester Guardian, which, as a former editor, Peter Preston, remembers, was read by “a bluff, Presbyterian, gum-boot-wearing do-gooder.” There are still many of those, but they’re reading alongside a younger, internationally minded audience attracted by The Guardian’s left-leaning politics and its influential Web site, which vies for the largest audience of any news site in Britain. And it’s not just Britain: two-thirds of the guardian.co.uk’s readers live elsewhere. Even before WikiLeaks, the paper was running attention-getting stories on subjects ranging from the Pentagon to Rupert Murdoch to British Aerospace.

The partnership between The Guardian and WikiLeaks brought together two desperately ambitious organizations that happen to be diametric opposites in their approach to reporting the news. One of the oldest newspapers in the world, with strict and established journalistic standards, joined up with one of the newest in a breed of online muckrakers, with no standards at all except fealty to an ideal of “transparency”—that is, dumping raw material into the public square for people to pick over as they will. It is very likely that neither Alan Rusbridger nor Julian Assange fully understood the nature of the other’s organization when they joined forces. The Guardian, like other media outlets, would come to see Assange as someone to be handled with kid gloves, or perhaps latex ones—too alluring to ignore, too tainted to unequivocally embrace. Assange would come to see the mainstream media as a tool to be used and discarded, and at all times treated with suspicion. Whatever the differences, the results have been extraordinary. Given the range, depth, and accuracy of the leaks, the collaboration has produced by any standard one of the greatest journalistic scoops of the last 30 years. While the leaks haven’t produced a single standout headline that rises above the rest—perhaps because the avalanche of headlines has simply been overwhelming—the texture, context, and detail of the WikiLeaks stories have changed the way people think about how the world is run. Many comparisons have been made between the leak of these documents and Daniel Ellsberg’s 1971 leak of the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times. By today’s standards, Ellsberg’s actions look quaint: one man handed files to one news organization. The WikiLeaks documents are as revealing as the Pentagon Papers, but their quantity and range are incomparably greater. And they speak even more powerfully to the issue of secrecy itself. The collaboration of newspaper and Web site was never a marriage—more an arrangement driven by expedience, and a rocky one at that—but it will forever change the relationship between whistle-blowers and the media on which they rely.

Alan Rusbridger, 57, is quiet, rumpled, and understated. His sphinx-like demeanor belies the grab-your-lapel impact of the stories he publishes. An accomplished pianist, Rusbridger is writing a book about learning to play Chopin’s First Ballade. (He has also written several children’s books and a history of the evolution of sex manuals.) Sitting in the glass-walled conference room in The Guardian’s new headquarters, near King’s Cross station, in North London, Rusbridger gathers the staff each morning at 10 to go over the previous day’s edition and discuss what lies ahead. Unlike at almost any other paper, the news “conference” is open to anyone on staff, a democratic gesture that occasionally makes for heated conversation, though mostly the underlings stay quiet. When I attended such a conference, the week of the release of the Iraq War Logs, in late October, Rusbridger spoke so softly that I could barely hear him. One by one he called on his editors to report. “Sport,” he intoned, barely audible. The sports editor said his piece. “Comment,” Rusbridger said, again barely audible. The opinion editor gave a report. The meeting continued along these lines for 15 minutes. Then it was over, and everyone got back to work.

The Guardian came to life in the aftermath of the so-called Peterloo Massacre, in 1819. At least 11 people were killed and hundreds more injured when the local Manchester cavalry attempted to quell an unarmed crowd of demonstrators. John Edward Taylor, a young businessman, saw the violence firsthand and wrote an account that he sent to London by the night train. It was published two days later in the Manchester Gazette. His report, which contradicted the official version, made a big splash. Taylor started the Manchester Guardian two years later.

[story continues at http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2011/02/the-guardian-201102)
by Robert Norse
Monday Jan 10th, 2011 9:25 AM
For those with thick skins and strong stomachs, see "Protesters march for Wikileaks founder Assange" at http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/ci_17043621?source=most_viewed
by (posted by) Norse
Monday Jan 10th, 2011 10:26 PM

A Free And Fearless Press?

In WikiLeaks Fight, U.S. Journalists Take the Fifth

By Nancy A. Youssef http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27230.htm#idc-cover

January 10, 2011 "McClatchy" -- WASHINGTON — Not so long ago, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could count on American journalists to support his campaign to publish secret documents that banks and governments didn't want the world to see.

But just three years after a major court confrontation that saw many of America's most important journalism organizations file briefs on WikiLeaks' behalf, much of the U.S. journalistic community has shunned Assange — even as reporters write scores, if not hundreds, of stories based on WikiLeaks' trove of leaked State Department cables.

Some call him a traitor, responsible for what's arguably one of the biggest U.S. national security breaches ever. Others say a man who calls for government transparency has been too opaque about how he obtained the documents.

The freedom of the press committee of the Overseas Press Club of America in New York City declared him "not one of us." The Associated Press, which once filed legal briefs on Assange's behalf, refuses to comment about him. And the National Press Club in Washington, the venue less than a year ago for an Assange news conference, has decided not to speak out about the possibility that he'll be charged with a crime.

With a few notable exceptions, it's been left to foreign journalism organizations to offer the loudest calls for the U.S. to recognize WikiLeaks' and Assange's right to publish under the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment.

Assange supporters see U.S. journalists' ambivalence as inviting other government efforts that could lead one day to the prosecution of journalists for doing something that happens fairly routinely now — writing news stories based on leaked government documents.

"Bob Woodward has probably become one of the richest journalists in history by publishing classified documents in book after book. And yet no one would suggest that Bob Woodward be prosecuted because Woodward is accepted in the halls of Washington," said Glenn Greenwald, a lawyer and media critic who writes for the online journal Salon.com. "There is no way of prosecuting Julian Assange without harming investigative journalism."

Woodward, who rose to fame by exposing the Watergate conspiracy that forced President Richard Nixon from office, told a Yale University law school audience in November that WikiLeaks' "willy-nilly" release of documents was "madness" and would be "fuel for those who oppose disclosure." But that appearance came before U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder launched a criminal probe against Assange. Woodward didn't respond to e-mails seeking comment.

Woodward's newspaper, The Washington Post, however, is one of the few that's editorialized against prosecuting Assange. "The government has no business indicting someone who is not a spy and who is not legally bound to keep its secrets," the Post said.

Assange increasingly has presented himself as a journalist in the weeks since Holder's threat to bring charges. He's the website's editor, and WikiLeaks publishes editorials.

Few could argue that WikiLeaks didn't perform journalistic functions in April when it released video taken from an Army helicopter of a 2007 incident where Army pilots fired on civilians in Baghdad, killing 17 Iraqis, including two employees of the Reuters news agency, and wounding two children. In addition to editing and captioning the video, WikiLeaks interviewed the Iraqi families about the incident. The release of the video, which Reuters had sought for years but had been denied, was widely covered by U.S. news organizations.

U.S. journalists have been far less zealous about WikiLeaks, however, in the ensuing months, as the Obama administration has mounted increasingly vocal attacks on the organization over three batches of leaked U.S. documents — military logs of events from the war in Afghanistan, including the names of Afghans who'd cooperated with the U.S.; initial incident reports from throughout the Iraq War; and most recently, thousands of diplomatic cables.

The problem with speaking up for WikiLeaks now, said Lucy Dalglish, the executive director of the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press, one of the country's most prominent defenders of press freedom and one of the groups that backed WikiLeaks in its 2008 court case, is that she doesn't consider Assange to be a journalist.

Assange, she said, "has done some things that journalists do, but I would argue that what the New York Times does is more journalism. They vet the information. . . . They consider outside sources. They take responsibility. They publicly identify themselves. . . .They do some value added. They do something original to it," Dalglish said.

She added that part of her hesitation to back Assange is that the public knows so little about him and how he acquires information.

WikiLeaks "takes secrets. But they are secretive. We don't know who they are. I think one thing journalists pride themselves on is transparency. I think people are a little apprehensive because he was releasing information last summer he had an agenda to bring down the U.S. government," she said. "I think that makes people reluctant to jump into making a statement."

Greenwald rejects that argument. He noted that U.S. journalists often don't reveal their sources or how they gather information for stories.

Greenwald said he thinks journalists aren't rallying to defend WikiLeaks because it has no building, no ties to the U.S. and doesn't feel obliged to consult with the U.S. government before publishing. The issue, he said, is that American journalists too often befriend the government and seek its approval for their work.

Besides, he said, the Constitution protects everyone's right to publish.

"What matters is the activity itself and not who the person is. Bob Woodward is no more entitled to publish classified information than some random person out of the phone book," Greenwald said.

Greenwald's position is echoed by Joel Simon, the executive director of the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, another prominent U.S. advocacy group that's made one of the rare public arguments against prosecuting Assange.

Simon said he and his colleagues had an extensive debate about whether to speak up. In the end, they determined that debating whether Assange is a journalist is irrelevant.

"If he is prosecuted, it will be because he a journalist," Simon said.

The group sent a letter to Holder on Dec. 17 urging him not prosecute Assange, warning that it could have a chilling effect around the world.

"There is a commonality of purpose," Simon said in an interview. "The function of WikiLeaks is to take information, particularly classified information, and distribute it to the public. From a legal perspective, it is essentially a journalistic function. We have to respond when there is a threat to journalism."

The current situation even has split former allies in the battle over press freedom. Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times in 1971, has come out strongly in support of WikiLeaks. But Floyd Abrams, who was the Times' attorney in its fight against the Nixon administration's efforts to block publication, has taken the opposite position.

In an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal, Abrams noted that Ellsberg himself kept secret four volumes of the classified Pentagon history that became the Pentagon papers because he feared they'd harm diplomatic efforts to end the Vietnam War. Abrams said WikiLeaks' publication of so much secret material could lead to tougher restrictions for U.S. journalists.

"His activities have already doomed proposed federal shield-law legislation protecting journalists' use of confidential sources in the just-adjourned Congress," Abrams wrote. "An indictment of him could be followed by the judicial articulation of far more speech-limiting legal principles than currently exist with respect to even the most responsible reporting about both diplomacy and defense."

And if Assange isn't indicted or is acquitted of any charges, Abrams warned, Congress might pass "new and dangerously restrictive legislation."

There was no such debate in February 2008, when 12 journalism organizations, including the Associated Press and Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, filed a brief on behalf of WikiLeaks and its domain register, Dynadot, in a case brought by a Swiss bank, Bank Julius Baer.

The bank filed the suit after WikiLeaks published hundreds of private documents on a land deal that suggested money laundering and tax evasion. It asked a U.S. district judge in California to enjoin WikiLeaks from publishing the documents and order Dynadot to stop hosting its website.

The judge agreed, but quickly reversed his order after the U.S. journalism organizations weighed in, calling the decision an affront to the First Amendment and WikiLeaks' right to publish.

The Justice Department now appears serious about building a case against Assange, though it remains unclear which law he violated — officials acknowledge that the Espionage Act of 1917 has never been used to prosecute anyone for publication of secret documents.

Last month, a U.S. magistrate in Alexandria, Va., issued a secret subpoena ordering the Twitter online messaging service to turn over all information it has about five of its users, including Assange and Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, 23, the one-time Baghdad-based intelligence analyst accused of unauthorized downloading of the hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. government documents WikiLeaks is now publishing.

The subpoena was unsealed Wednesday after Twitter said it intended to notify each of the account holders that their records had been sought and became public on Friday, when one of those account holders told The Guardian newspaper in London. In addition to Assange's and Manning's, the targeted accounts include those of an Icelandic member of parliament and two computer programmers. WikiLeaks, however, argued in a "tweet" posted Saturday that the records of all 670,000 of its Twitter "followers" are subject to the subpoena because it demands information about outgoing messages from the WikiLeaks account.

Dalglish said her organization might reconsider its silence if the U.S. files a criminal case against Assange. That will depend, she said, on a determination of the case's potential threat to journalism.

Alan Bjerga, the president of the National Press Club, said his organization also might take a stand depending on what the Justice Department does.

"The National Press Club is always concerned about any government action that would harm the ability of journalists to do their work, and any action against Julian Assange that would impede journalists is one we would oppose," he said in an e-mail Saturday. "It is difficult at this time to comment on the specifics of a case the government has yet to make."

Until then, it's fallen largely to foreign-based journalism organizations to defend WikiLeaks.

In August, Paris-based Reporters without Borders wrote a letter condemning Assange for publishing the names of Afghan informants, saying it could endanger lives.

But it decided last month to provide a mirror site to WikiLeaks' website after the WikiLeaks site came under attack.

The change came after lengthy discussion — and because WikiLeaks has since been more cautious about redacting the documents it posts.

"We think WikiLeaks is doing a public service," said Clothilde Le Coz, who directs the group's Washington office.

The idea of America, heralded as a beacon of press freedom internationally, prosecuting someone for publishing secret documents would have a chilling effect throughout the world, the Australian Newspaper Editors wrote in a letter to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, whose government also is considering charges against Assange, who's an Australian citizen.

"Any such action would impact not only on WikiLeaks, but every media organization in the world that aims to inform the public about decisions made on their behalf," the organization said in its Dec. 15 letter. "It is the media's duty to responsibly report such material if it comes into their possession. To aggressively attempt to shut WikiLeaks down, to threaten to prosecute those who publish official leaks, and to pressure companies to cease doing commercial business with WikiLeaks, is a serious threat to democracy, which relies on a free and fearless press."
by (posted by) Norse
Tuesday Jan 11th, 2011 7:18 AM
Thousands of WikiLeaks’ Twitter Followers “Unfollow” Group in Face of Subpoena
Twitter Praised for Legal Challenge to Secrecy Order
by Jason Ditz, January 10, 2011
http://news.antiwar.com/2011/01/10/thousands-of-wikileaks-twitter-followers-unfollow-group-in-face-of-subpoena/


Media outlets are reporting that WikiLeaks lost several thousand Twitter followers in the first few hours following the publicizing of a series of subpoenas which showed that the Justice Department was seeking information on a number of WikiLeaks associates as well as the people who regularly read their twitter feeds.

Such attempts were likely futile, after all the subpoena would still cover those people as “receiving” WikiLeaks data whether or not they are current “followers.” It does however point to the climate of fear surrounding the Obama Administration’s determination to move against the whistleblower, which Vice President Joe Biden accused of terrorism.

The documents show that the Justice Department was hoping to obtain not just IP addresses, but mailing addresses and banking information from the people involved. The later seems to be futile in this regard, as Twitter would not even have the banking data of its users.

The Twitter company has been praised, as the site did not simply comply with the secrecy order associated with the massive demand but instead challenged it and then informed the targets. WikiLeaks lawyer Mark Stephens says it is believed similar subpoenas were passed to
a number of other companies, including Skype and Facebook, but so far that has not been confirmed.



Facebook, Google Face Calls to Confirm WikiLeaks Subpoenas
Twitter's Confirmation of 'Secrecy' Order Fuels Speculation
by Jason Ditz, January 10, 2011


Twitter’s reputation is decidedly on the rise in the wake of the WikiLeaks Subpoena scandal, as the organization fought to reveal the Obama Administration’s efforts to obtain data on the whistleblower and its followers, but it is also raising questions about other companies.

Given the broad nature of the subpoenas, it is widely assumed that the administration is looking to cull information from wherever it may be found, and this is leaving sites like Facebook and Google facing questions about where their announcements are.

Google’s own user privacy rules would suggest they would follow a similar tack of Twitter in challenging the legality of “secret” orders to obtain user data, but so far neither this company nor any of the other likely targets has come forward to confirm or deny this.

In addition to Julian Assange, Bradley Manning, and others directly associated with WikiLeaks, the terms of the Twitter subpoena could potentially cull data from hundreds of thousands of other users who read the tweets of such users.
by (posted by) Norse
Tuesday Jan 11th, 2011 1:55 PM
Government Created Climate of Fear
http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/01/10/fear/index.html

Editorial: Soldier's inhumane imprisonment
http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-manning-20110110,0,3558552.story

Bradley Manning and the Rule of Law
http://original.antiwar.com/kevin-b-zeese/2011/01/10/bradley-manning-and-the-rule-of-law/

The Disruptive Drip of Wikileaks and the Public's Right to Know
http://www.commondreams.org/view/2011/01/09-2

Nine Essential Questions About Bradley Manning and Wikileaks
http://www.alternet.org/story/149458/9_essential_questions_about_bradley_manning_and_wikileaks?page=entire
by (posted by) Norse
Wednesday Jan 12th, 2011 4:49 AM
WikiLeaks: Julian Assange 'faces execution or Guantánamo detention'
http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/11/julian-assange-wikileaks-execution-gantanamo

Skeleton argument outlined by Australian's defence team claims he could face rendition to US if extradited to Sweden


Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, could be at "real risk" of the death penalty or detention in Guantánamo Bay if he is extradited to Sweden on accusations of rape and sexual assault, his lawyers claim.

In a skeleton summary of their defence against attempts by the Swedish director of public prosecutions to extradite him, released today, Assange's legal team argue that there is a similar likelihood that the US would subsequently seek his extradition "and/or illegal rendition", "where there will be a real risk of him being detained at Guantánamo Bay or elsewhere".

"Indeed, if Mr Assange were rendered to the USA, without assurances that the death penalty would not be carried out, there is a real risk that he could be made subject to the death penalty. It is well known that prominent figures have implied, if not stated outright, that Mr Assange should be executed."

The 35-page skeleton argument was released by Mark Stephens, Assange's lawyer, following a brief review hearing this morning at Belmarsh magistrates court.

The WikiLeaks founder, who is on conditional bail while his extradition case is being considered, appeared for no more than 15 minutes in the dock, while supporters including Jemima Khan and Bianca Jagger looked on and waved support from the public gallery.

He later emerged to give a brief statement to a large number of reporters, saying: "Our work with WikiLeaks continues unabated. We are stepping up our publications for matters relating to Cablegate and other materials.

"These will shortly be available through our newspaper partners around the world – big and small newspapers and human rights organisations."

The skeleton argument outlines seven points on which Assange's lawyers will contest his extradition, which was sought by the Swedish DPP, Marianne Ny, following accusations from two women that he had sexually assaulted them in separate incidents in August.

One accusation, that Assange had sex with one of the women while she was asleep, would amount to rape under Swedish law if proven. Both women had previously had consenting sex with Assange.

The other points of argument include:

• That the European arrest warrant (EAW) is not valid, because Ny is not the authorised issuing authority, and it has been sought for an improper purpose – ie "simply in order to question him and without having yet reached a decision on whether or not to prosecute him". This, they argue, would be in contravention of a well-established principle "that mere suspicion should not found a request for extradition".

• That there has been "abuse of process" as Assange has not had full disclosure of all documents relating to the case, in particular text messages sent by one of the women, in which she allegedly said she was "half asleep" (ie not fully asleep) at the time they had sex, and messages between the two women in which they allegedly spoke of "revenge".

• That the "conduct" of the Swedish prosecutor amounts to abuse of process. Assange's lawyers cite the fact that the rape allegations were initially dismissed and then reopened by a second prosecutor, that the prosecutor has refused Assange's offers of interview, and that it has not made documents available to Assange in English. They also cite the leak of part of the prosecution case to the Guardian as "a breach of Mr Assange's fair trial and privacy rights".

• That the alleged offences would not be considered crimes in the UK, and therefore, they argue, an EAW between the two countries would not be valid.

• That the extradition attempt is politically motivated, and that his trial would be prejudiced because of his political opinions or because, they argue, of his gender.

Assange's team will make their case on 7 and 8 February, when Assange will return to court for the full extradition hearing. The case for his extradition is being argued by the Crown Prosecution Service on behalf of the Swedish prosecutor; the full prosecution case is not expected to be released before that date.

District Judge Nicholas Evans agreed at this morning's hearing to ease the terms of his bail conditions, which require Assange to wear an electronic tag and report daily to a police station close to the stately home on the Suffolk/Norfolk border where he is staying. For the nights of 6 and 7 February Assange will be permitted to stay in London.
by Glenn Greenwalkd (posted by Norse)
Wednesday Jan 12th, 2011 11:44 PM
http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/01/12/propaganda/index.html

Last week, on January 3, The Guardian published a scathing Op-Ed by James Richardson blaming WikiLeaks for endangering the life of Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the democratic opposition in Zimbabwe. Richardson -- a GOP operative, contributor to RedState.com, and a for-hire corporate spokesman -- pointed to a cable published by WikiLeaks in which American diplomats revealed that Tsvangirai, while publicly opposing American sanctions on his country, had privately urged their continuation as a means of weakening the Mugabe regime: an act likely to be deemed to be treasonous in that country, for obvious reasons. By publishing this cable, "WikiLeaks may have committed its own collateral murder," Richardson wrote. He added: "WikiLeaks ought to leave international relations to those who understand it – at least to those who understand the value of a life."

This accusation against WikiLeaks was repeated far and wide. In The Wall Street Journal, Jamie Kirchick -- the long-time assistant of The New Republic's Marty Peretz -- wrote under this headline: "Julian Assange's reckless behavior could cost Zimbabwe's leading democrat his life." Kirchick explained that "the crusading 'anti-secrecy' website released a diplomatic cable from the U.S. Embassy in Harare" which exposed Tsvangirai's support for sanctions. As "a result of the WikiLeaks revelations," Kirchick wrote, the reform leader would likely be charged with treason, and "Mr. Tsvangirai will have someone additional to blame: Julian Assange of WikiLeaks." The Atlantic's Chris Albon, in his piece entitled "How WikiLeaks Just Set Back Democracy in Zimbabwe," echoed the same accusation, claiming "WikiLeaks released [this cable] to the world" and that Assange has thus "provided a tyrant with the ammunition to wound, and perhaps kill, any chance for multiparty democracy." Numerous other outlets predictably mimicked these claims.

There was just one small problem with all of this: it was totally false. It wasn't WikiLeaks which chose that cable to be placed into the public domain, nor was it WikiLeaks which first published it. It was The Guardian that did that. In early December, that newspaper -- not WikiLeaks -- selected and then published the cable in question. This fact led The Guardian -- more than a full week after they published Richardson's accusatory column -- to sheepishly add this obscured though extremely embarrassing "clarification" at the end of his column:

• This article was amended on 11 January 2011 to clarify the fact that the 2009 cable referred to in this article was placed in the public domain by the Guardian, and not as originally implied by WikiLeaks. The photo caption was also amended to reflect this fact.

The way this "clarification" was done was bizarre. The misleading headline still remains ("If Morgan Tsvangirai is charged with treason, WikiLeaks will have earned the ignominy of Robert Mugabe's gratitude"). So do numerous sentences attributing publication to WikiLeaks ("WikiLeaks may have committed its own collateral murder . . . . in the wake of WikiLeaks' release . . . where Mugabe's strong-arming, torture and assassination attempts have failed to eliminate the leading figure of Zimbabwe's democratic opposition, WikiLeaks may yet succeed"). Meanwhile, other sentences originally in the piece were changed without notice: for instance, the claim that "WikiLeaks released last week a classified US state department cable relating to a 2009 meeting between Tsvangirai and American and European ambassadors" was changed to read: "The Guardian released . . . ." And the photo caption was changed from "Zimbabwe's PM Morgan Tsvangirai faces a treason inquiry after WikiLeaks's publication of a US embassy cable" to "after the Guardian's publication."

[There are other strange aspects to The Guardian's behavior here. If a newspaper publishes an accusation this serious and gets it this wrong, isn't more required than the quiet addition of two short sentences at the end of the column, eight days later without any announcement? Moreover, Guardian's Editor-in-Chief Alan Rusbridger objected last night to my attributing Richardson's piece to "The Guardian," insisting that the section where it appeared was comparable to an open forum such as Salon's Open Salon; but that comparison is quite inaccurate, since columns published in The Guardian's "Comment is Free" section are reserved for pieces solicited or accepted by Guardian Editors and published only with their prior approval, whereas "Open Salon" is open to anyone without editorial approval, i.e., like a blog's comment section. Beyond that, while The Guardian disclosed that Richardson is a GOP operative and works for "Hynes Communications," it doesn't reveal that this organization is the self-proclaimed "nation’s leading social media public affairs agency" representing the online communications strategies of "leading companies and trade associations in the health care; telecommunications; pharmaceutical; finance; defense; energy; aerospace; manufacturing; travel; and retail industries." In other words, Richardson, like so many people posing as pundits, is a paid communications hack, not some independent commentator.

But far worse, The Guardian published a news article on December 27 -- headlined: "Morgan Tsvangirai faces possible Zimbabwe treason charge" -- which also attributed publication of this cable to WikiLeaks, and never once mentioned that it was actually The Guardian which did so. The article's headline states: "Lawyers to examine PM's comments on sanctions after WikiLeaks reveals talks with US diplomats," while the body of the article reports: "Zimbabwe is to investigate bringing treason charges . . . over confidential talks with US diplomats revealed by WikiLeaks." That news story remains uncorrected by The Guardian.]

But at least The Guardian -- for which I have high journalistic regard -- published some sort of correction, woefully inadequate though it may be. Why hasn't The Wall Street Journal, or The Atlantic, or Politico? While The Guardian appended this correction yesterday, WikiLeaks on Twitter -- a full week ago -- made clear the falsehood driving all these stories: "It is not acceptable [for] the Guardian to blame us for a cable the Guardian selected and published on Dec 8." WikiLeaks then immediately pointed to this post thoroughly documenting that it was The Guardian that first published this cable as part of a December 8 news article it published regarding revelations about Zimbabwe. So this glaring, serious error has been publicly known and amplified for a full week (through WikiLeaks' Twitter account, followed by 650,000 people, which presumably is followed by anyone writing about WikiLeaks, at least I'd hope so). Yet these Beacons of Journalistic Responsibility have still failed to acknowledge that the very serious accusation they published about WikiLeaks was based in a wholesale fabrication.

* * * * *

This is not an isolated instance. The reason I've been so repetitively vigilant about pointing out the falsehood that WikiLeaks indiscriminately published 250,000 diplomatic cables is because there is a full-scale government/media campaign to demonize the group through outright fiction of the type that sold the nation on Iraq's WMD stockpiles and Al Qaeda alliance. The undeniable truth from the start is that, with very few exceptions, WikiLeaks has only been publishing those cables which its newspaper partners first publish (and WikiLeaks thereafter publishes the cables with the redactions applied by those papers). This judicious editorial process -- in which WikiLeaks largely relies on the editorial judgment of these newspapers for what to release -- was detailed more than a month ago by the Associated Press. That's the process that explains why The Guardian -- not WikiLeaks -- was who first published the Zimbabwe cable. Yet the false accusations that WikiLeaks indiscriminately dumped 250,000 cables went on for weeks before it finally (mostly) stopped (once it was lodged forever in the minds of most Americans) -- and now we have the false claim that WikiLeaks injected this harmful Zimbabwe cable into the public domain, even though it simply didn't.

This is the propaganda campaign -- created by the U.S. Government and (as always) bolstered by the American media -- which is being used to justify WikiLeaks' destruction (and, with it, the repression of some of the most promising avenues for transparency and investigative journalism we've seen in many years). Just consider this self-satire of a speech given yesterday by U.S. State Department Spokesman P.J. Crowley, in which he sets out to rebut the notion that the U.S. is acting hypocritically by touting Internet freedom for the world while simultaneously attempting to obliterate WikiLeaks. He says:

A free and vibrant press plays an important role around the world in the development of civil society and accountable governments. As a general rule, the freer the press, the more transparent and more democratic the government is likely to be. . . . No one is a greater advocate for a vibrant independent and responsible press, committed to the promotion of freedom of expression and development of a true global civil society, than the United States. Every day, we express concern about the plight of journalists (or bloggers) around the world who are intimidated, jailed or even killed by governments that are afraid of their people, and afraid of the empowerment that comes with the free flow of information within a civil society. . . .We remain arguably the most transparent society in the world.

Let's leave to the side all the Bush-era assaults on press freedom (including imprisoning numerous foreign journalists for years without charges). Leave aside that Freedom House ranked the U.S. 24th in the world in press freedoms for 2009 (tied with Lithuania and the Czech Republic) and that Reporters Without Borders ranked it 20th. Leave to the side that those rankings were issued before the Obama administration -- by all accounts -- became vastly more aggressive about prosecuting whistleblowers than any prior administration (even subpoenaing reporters to do it).

Leave to the side the administration's demand that it have "backdoors" to all Internet encryption and its impeding of the whistleblower protections promised by candidate Obama. Leave to the side how the Obama administration shields virtually every controversial executive branch action in the national security realm -- including plainly illegal ones -- from judicial review by invoking radically broad versions of secrecy privileges pioneered by the Bush DOJ. And leave to the side the fact that many of the documents released by WikiLeaks are rather banal and uninformative, yet have been marked "SECRET": showing how reflexively the U.S. Government hides most of what it does from its citizenry behind a wall of secrecy.

Instead, just look at what the U.S. Government is doing to WikiLeaks. It just caused an international incident by demanding the Twitter data of numerous individuals including a sitting member of Iceland's Parliament. American officials bullied private corporations and banks to cut off all ties with WikiLeaks. And it's openly boasting of its intent to criminally prosecute the group for doing nothing more than what newspapers do all the time. Crowley justified all that by saying this:

We can debate whether there are too many secrets, but no one should doubt that there has been substantial damage in the unauthorized release of a database containing, among other things, 251,000 State Department cables, many of them classified. . . .We are a nation of laws, and the laws of our country have been violated. Since we function under the rule of law, it is appropriate and necessary that we investigate and prosecute those who have violated U.S law. Some have suggested that the ongoing investigation marks a retreat from our commitment to freedom of expression, freedom of the press and Internet freedom. Nonsense.

Anyone passingly familiar with the Obama administration's justifications for refusing to investigate Bush-era crimes will be sickened by that bolded part, but leave to the side, too. The key point here is that WikiLeaks didn't steal anything. They didn't break any laws. They did what newspapers do every day, what investigative journalism does at its core: expose secret, corrupt actions of those in power. And the attempt to criminalize WikiLeaks is thus nothing less than a full frontal assault on press and Internet freedoms.

That's where this propaganda comes in to play. To justify this assault, the U.S. Government needs to claim that WikiLeaks is somehow distinct from what other press outlets do. So it invents outright falsehoods to do so: unlike newspapers, WikiLeaks indiscriminately dumps diplomatic cables without editorial judgment; unlike newspapers, they refuse to be transparent about their methods (nobody is less transparent about what they do than large newspapers); and now, WikiLeaks endangers people's lives by recklessly publishing a cable which leaves democratic leaders in Zimbabwe vulnerable to attack, even though it wasn't published by them at all, but by The Guardian.

People devoted to a corrupt cause necessarily rely on falsehoods to advance it. And what we're seeing here is not only the government doing that, but The Watchdog Media -- as usual -- serving as its most valuable ally. At the very least, the outlets that published this serious -- and seriously false -- accusation owe their readers a prominent, clear retraction.



UPDATE: Beyond the falsehood documented here, Aaron Bady of Berkeley's PhD program describes how Albon, Richardson and others are completely simplifying -- distorting -- the situation in Zimbabwe in order to demonize WikiLeaks over this cable.

And Politico's Keach Hagey -- who wrote one of the above-referenced pieces repeating this falsehood -- has emailed me to say that she's now working to directly address these matters. So credit where it's due. We'll see if The Atlantic's Albon and The Wall Street Journal are similarly willing to acknowledge their serious errors.


UPDATE II: Both Politico and The Atlantic have now issued a "correction" and an "update," respectively, by tacking on a paragraph to the end of their old article. I'll leave it to readers to assess for themselves if that's adequate in light of the magnitude of the error made. The Wall Street Journal Op-Ed page and Kirchick have still said nothing, reflecting what they do and what they are. About all of this, this person asks the key question: "Would [these media outlets] have written the exact same article, substituting Guardian for WL? I doubt it." I doubt it, too -- highly -- and that's the point: the political and media class is obsessed with demonizing WikiLeaks and painting them as fundamentally different than "respectable" media outlets, even if -- as happened here -- that's accomplished by blaming them for things they manifestly did not do. That, of course, is the same strategy as the government is pursuing to justify the prosecution of WikiLeaks, so whether intended or not, attacks like these serve a vital enabling role.
by Mark Tran (posted by) Norse
Thursday Jan 13th, 2011 12:29 PM
Judge releases website founder on bail as he vows to keep publishing US diplomatic cables in tandem with newspapers

http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2011/jan/11/julian-assange-wikileaks-happy-extradition

Julian Assange today expressed his satisfaction after a procedural hearing on his extradition to Sweden and vowed that WikiLeaks would continue its work.

After the hearing at Belmarsh magistrates court, Assange said he was "happy about today's outcome" and said the skeleton argument he and his legal team hastily produced over Christmas would be made publicly available later.

This outlines "some important issues which will be gone into in detail on 6 and 7 February", he said.

"I would also like to say that our work with WikiLeaks continues unabated and we are stepping up our publishing for matters relating to 'cablegate' and other materials. This will shortly be occurring through our newspaper partners around the world, big and small newspapers and some human rights organisations."

In today's 10-minute session, Assange's QC, Geoffrey Robertson, said all legal preparations were in place for a full two-day extradition hearing next month.

District judge Nicholas Evans released Assange, who spoke only to confirm his name, age and address, on conditional bail. Assange, who wore a dark suit and light-coloured shirt, listened intently as he sat behind a glass screen at the top-security court.

His bail was modified, allowing him to stay at the Frontline Club for journalists in Paddington on 6 and 7 February, so he does not have so far to travel.

Robertson said Assange's legal team was collecting evidence from further witnesses in Sweden, but the judge said the authorities there were likely to take the view that the extradition warrant would stand nevertheless.

Media interest in Assange was maintained as journalists from around the world filled 100 seats in the court and an annexe connected by video link. High-profile supporters of Assange who turned up today included Bianca Jagger, Jemima Khan and Gavin MacFadyen, director of the Centre for Investigative Journalism.

A high court judge released Assange on £240,000 bail last month after the WikiLeaks founder had spent nine days in Wandsworth prison in London. Assange spent Christmas at a manor house on the Norfolk-Suffolk border owned by Vaughan Smith, a former army captain and the founder of the Frontline Club.

Sweden is seeking extradition of the 39-year-old Australian over allegations of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion, made by two women over 10 days in August.

One of the women alleges that Assange had sex with her without a condom when it was her "express wish" that one should be used. The second woman accuses him of having sex with her on 17 August without a condom while she was asleep at her Stockholm home.

Assange admits having had consensual sex with both women, but denies any criminal wrongdoing.

In interviews with Swiss newspapers yesterday, Assange said he might move to Switzerland or Australia, and revealed that WikiLeaks has been losing more than £400,000 a week since releasing a collection of US diplomatic cables that severely embarrassed the US government.

He said he had not made a request for political asylum in Switzerland, and declined to say whether he would.

Guardian Books will publish next month the first in-depth account of the WikiLeaks phenomenon. The book will be called WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy.

US officials have stepped up their pressure on WikiLeaks by seeking information from Twitter. A federal court approved a US department of justice subpoena demanding that the site hand over data about users with ties to WikiLeaks.

• This article was amended on 12 January 2011. The original said that Assange has signed a deal with Guardian Books, which will publish next month the first in-depth account of the WikiLeaks phenomenon. This has been corrected.
by Glenn Greenwalkd (posted by Norse)
Friday Jan 14th, 2011 10:02 AM
http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2011/01/11/justice/index.html
*
In London this morning, a British court held a procedural hearing regarding Sweden's attempt to extradite Julian Assange in order to question him about sex crimes accusations. Afterward, Assange's lawyers released an outline of the arguments they intend to make in opposition to extradition. Most of them centered around the impermissibility of extraditing someone who has not been charged with a crime -- i.e., merely to interrogate them -- but one of the featured arguments focused on the danger that if Assange were sent to Sweden, that country would then extradite him to the U.S., where Assange would be subjected to grave injustices:

Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, could be at "real risk" of the death penalty or detention in Guantánamo Bay if he is extradited to Sweden on accusations of rape and sexual assault, his lawyers claim.

In a skeleton summary of their defence against attempts by the Swedish director of public prosecutions to extradite him, released today, Assange's legal team argue that there is a similar likelihood that the US would subsequently seek his extradition "and/or illegal rendition", "where there will be a real risk of him being detained at Guantánamo Bay or elsewhere".

Paragraphs 92-99 of the outline detail Sweden's history of violating the Convention Against Torture by rendering War on Terror suspects to Egypt to be tortured, and concludes: "based on its record as condemned by the United Nations Committee against Torture and the Human Rights Committee, Sweden would bow to US pressure and/or rely naively on diplomatic assurances from the USA that Mr. Assange would not be mistreated, with the consequence that he would be deported/expelled to the USA, where he would suffer serious ill-treatment." This danger is legally relevant because the governing Extradition Act bars the expulsion of a prisoner where "extradition would be [in]compatible with the Convention rights within the meaning of the Human Rights Act 1998." The outline also cited vigilante calls from leading right-wing figures for Assange's murder (yesterday, it was discovered that a prominent right-wing blogger, Melissa Clouthier, had registered the website JulianAssangeMustDie.com).

It's quite notable that the mere threat of ending up in American custody is considered (at least by Assange's lawyers) to be a viable basis for contesting extradition on human rights grounds. Indeed, this argument is not unusual. Numerous countries often demand, as a condition for extradition to the U.S., assurances from the U.S. Government that the death penalty will not be applied. Similarly, there are currently cases pending in EU courts contesting the extradition of War on Terror detainees to the U.S. on the ground that they will be treated inhumanely by virtue of the type of prolonged, intensive solitary confinement to which Bradley Manning -- and thousands of other actual convicts -- are subjected.

And now we have the spectacle of Julian Assange's lawyers citing the Obama administration's policies of rendition and indefinite detention at Guantanamo as a reason why human rights treaties bar his extradition to any country (such as Sweden) which might transfer him to American custody. Indeed, almost every person with whom I've spoken who has or had anything to do with WikiLeaks expresses one fear above all others: the possibility that they will end up in American custody and subjected to its lawless War on Terror "justice system." Americans still like to think of themselves as "leaders of the free world," but in the eyes of many, it's exactly the "free world" to which American policies are so antithetical and threatening.

* * * * *

Speaking of American justice, ondelette, over at FDL, raises an interesting point: for those who believe that leading right-wing figures are inspiring violence (whether of the kind that just occurred in Arizona, things like this, or even calls for Assange's murder), shouldn't they be treated the same way American citizen Anwar al-Awlaki is: i.e., targeted by the U.S. Government with due-process-free assassination for inciting violence? Doesn't the mentality justifying Obama's assassination program necessarily extend to other Americans accused of "inciting" violence with their political speech? While it's true that American officials -- once the assassination efforts were leaked -- began passing claims to journalists that Awlaki had an "operational role" in Terrorist plots, there has been no evidence presented of that, and the concern overwhelmingly with Awlaki is that he inspires violence with his political speech. If presidentially-decreed assassination is justified against him, why not other American leaders accused of inciting violence? Shouldn't the President order them taken out, too?

NOTES BY NORSE
There are lots of interesting links in this article (and all of Greenwald's stuff); check out the website above to find them.
by (posted by) Norse
Friday Jan 14th, 2011 11:45 PM
WikiLeaks Slams Congressman’s ‘Embargo’ Call
Calls to Impose Cuba-Style Embargo on Whistleblower
by Jason Ditz, January 13, 2011

House Homeland Security Committee chiarman Rep. Peter King (R – NY) is seeking to impose an embargo on whistleblower organization WikiLeaks, forbidding the non-profit from doing business in the United States and banning all American companies from doing business with them.

The call would put WikiLeaks on the SDN list, which is a nearly 500 page-long list of individuals and groups which the US Treasury Department is sanctioning at any given time. The list chiefly targets terrorists.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange slammed Rep. King’s call today, insisting it was an effort to put a “Cuban-style trade embargo around the truth.” Assange added hat just because his organization “terrorizes” politicians with the release of factual information doesn’t mean they are automatically terrorists.

Officials have been calling for moves against WikiLeaks for months now, and several have called for Assange’s execution. At the same time, there does not appear to be any legal basis for charging Assange with much of anything under US law, nor is there a legal precident for adding WikiLeaks to the SDN list simply for publishing embarrassing documents.


OVERNIGHT TECH: Rep. King tasks Geithner with WikiLeaks run-in
By Sara Jerome - 01/12/11 07:00 PM ET

Homeland Security chairman wants Geithner to confront WikiLeaks: House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) wants Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner to add WikiLeaks and founder Julian Assange to the SDN List, which would prevent U.S. companies from conducting business with them. King, in a letter to Geithner on Wednesday: "The U.S. government simply cannot continue its ineffective piecemeal approach of responding in the aftermath of Wikileaks’ damage. The Administration must act to disrupt the Wikileaks enterprise. The U.S. government should be making every effort to strangle the viability of Assange’s organization.”
by by John Pilger (posted by Norse)
Friday Jan 14th, 2011 11:51 PM
http://original.antiwar.com/pilger/2011/01/14/the-war-on-wikileaks/

The attacks on WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, are a response to an information revolution that threatens old power orders, in politics and journalism. The incitement to murder trumpeted by public figures in the United States, together with attempts by the Obama administration to corrupt the law and send Assange to a hell hole prison for the rest of his life, are the reactions of a rapacious system exposed as never before.

In recent weeks, the US Justice Department has established a secret grand jury just across the river from Washington in the eastern district of the state of Virginia. The object is to indict Julian Assange under a discredited espionage act used to arrest peace activists during the first world war, or one of the "war on terror" conspiracy statutes that have degraded American justice. Judicial experts describe the jury as a "deliberate set up," pointing out that this corner of Virginia is home to the employees and families of the Pentagon, CIA, Department of Homeland Security, and other pillars of American power.

"This is not good news," Assange told me when we spoke this past week, his voice dark and concerned. He says he can have "bad days – but I recover." When we met in London last year, I said, "You are making some very serious enemies, not least of all the most powerful government engaged in two wars. How do you deal with that sense of danger?" His reply was characteristically analytical. "It’s not that fear is absent. But courage is really the intellectual mastery over fear – by an understanding of what the risks are, and how to navigate a path through them."

Regardless of the threats to his freedom and safety, he says the US is not WikiLeaks’ main "technological enemy." "China is the worst offender. China has aggressive, sophisticated interception technology that places itself between every reader inside China and every information source outside China. We’ve been fighting a running battle to make sure we can get information through, and there are now all sorts of ways Chinese readers can get on to our site."

It was in this spirit of "getting information through" that WikiLeaks was founded in 2006, but with a moral dimension. "The goal is justice," wrote Assange on the homepage, "the method is transparency." Contrary to a current media mantra, WikiLeaks material is not "dumped." Less than one per cent of the 251,000 US embassy cables have been released. As Assange points out, the task of interpreting material and editing that which might harm innocent individuals demands "standards [befitting] higher levels of information and primary sources." To secretive power, this is journalism at its most dangerous.

On 18 March 2008, a war on WikiLeaks was foretold in a secret Pentagon document prepared by the "Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch." US intelligence, it said, intended to destroy the feeling of "trust" which is WikiLeaks’ "center of gravity." It planned to do this with threats of "exposure [and] criminal prosecution." Silencing and criminalizing this rare source of independent journalism was the aim, smear the method. Hell hath no fury like imperial mafiosi scorned.

Others, also scorned, have lately played a supporting part, intentionally or not, in the hounding of Assange, some for reasons of petty jealousy. Sordid and shabby describe their behavior, which serves only to highlight the injustice against a man who has courageously revealed what we have a right to know.

As the US Justice Department, in its hunt for Assange, subpoenas the Twitter and email accounts, banking and credit card records of people around the world – as if we are all subjects of the United States – much of the "free" media on both sides of the Atlantic direct their indignation at the hunted.

"So, Julian, why won’t you go back to Sweden now?" demanded the headline over Catherine Bennett’s Observer column on 19 December, which questioned Assange’s response to allegations of sexual misconduct with two women in Stockholm last August. "To keep delaying the moment of truth, for this champion of fearless disclosure and total openness," wrote Bennett, "could soon begin to look pretty dishonest, as well as inconsistent." Not a word in Bennett’s vitriol considered the looming threats to Assange’s basic human rights and his physical safety, as described by Geoffrey Robertson QC, in the extradition hearing in London on 11 January.

In response to Bennett, the editor of the online Nordic News Network in Sweden, Al Burke, wrote to the Observer explaining that "plausible answers to Catherine Bennett’s tendentious question" were both critically important and freely available. Assange had remained in Sweden for more than five weeks after the rape allegation was made — and subsequently dismissed by the chief prosecutor in Stockholm – and that repeated attempts by him and his Swedish lawyer to meet a second prosecutor, who re-opened the case following the intervention of a government politician, had failed. And yet, as Burke pointed out, this prosecutor had granted him permission to fly to London where "he also offered to be interviewed – a normal practice in such cases." So it seems odd, at the very least, that the prosecutor then issued a European Arrest Warrant. The Observer did not publish Burke’s letter.

This record-straightening is crucial because it describes the perfidious behavior of the Swedish authorities – a bizarre sequence confirmed to me by other journalists in Stockholm and by Assange’s Swedish lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig. Not only that; Burke catalogued the unforeseen danger Assange faces should he be extradited to Sweden. "Documents released by WikiLeaks since Assange moved to England," he wrote, "clearly indicate that Sweden has consistently submitted to pressure from the United States in matters relating to civil rights. There is ample reason for concern that if Assange were to be taken into custody by Swedish authorities, he could be turned over to the United States without due consideration of his legal rights."

These documents have been virtually ignored in Britain. They show that the Swedish political class has moved far from the perceived neutrality of a generation ago and that the country’s military and intelligence apparatus is all but absorbed into Washington’s matrix around NATO. In a 2007 cable, the US embassy in Stockholm lauds the Swedish government dominated by the conservative Moderate Party of prime minister Fredrik Reinfeldt as coming "from a new political generation and not bound by [anti-US] traditions [and] in practice a pragmatic and strong partner with NATO, having troops under NATO command in Kosovo and Afghanistan."

The cable reveals how foreign policy is largely controlled by Carl Bildt, the current foreign minister, whose career has been based on a loyalty to the United States that goes back to the Vietnam war when he attacked Swedish public television for broadcasting evidence that the US was bombing civilian targets. Bildt played a leading role in the Committee for the Liberation of Iraq, a lobby group with close ties to the White House of George W. Bush, the CIA and the far right of the Republican Party.

"The significance of all this for the Assange case," notes Burke in a recent study, "is that it will be Carl Bildt and perhaps other members of the Reinfeldt government who will decide – openly or, more likely, furtively behind a façade of legal formality – on whether or not to approve the anticipated US request for extradition. Everything in their past clearly indicates that such a request will be granted."

For example, in December 2001, with the "war on terror" under way, the Swedish government abruptly revoked the political refugee status of two Egyptians, Ahmed Agiza and Mohammed al-Zari. They were handed to a CIA kidnap squad at Stockholm airport and "rendered" to Egypt, where they were tortured. When the Swedish Ombudsman for Justice investigated and found that their human rights had been "seriously violated," it was too late.

The implications for the Assange case are clear. Both men were removed without due process of law and before their lawyers could file appeals to the European Human Rights Court, and in response to a US threat to impose a trade embargo on Sweden. Last year, Assange applied for residency in Sweden, hoping to base WikiLeaks there. It is widely believed that Washington warned Sweden through mutual intelligence contacts of the potential consequences. In December, Prosecutor Marianne Ny, who re-activated the Assange case, discussed the possibility of Assange’s extradition to the US on her website.

Almost six months after the sex allegations were first made public, Julian Assange has been charged with no crime, but his right to a presumption of innocence has been wilfully denied. The unfolding events in Sweden have been farcical, at best. The Australian barrister James Catlin, who acted for Assange in October, describes the Swedish justice system as "a laughing stock … There is no precedent for it. The Swedes are making it up as they go along." He says that Assange, apart from noting contradictions in the case, has not publicly criticized the women who made the allegations against him. It was the police who tipped off the Swedish equivalent of the Sun, Expressen, with defamatory material about them, initiating a trial by media across the world.

In Britain, this trial has welcomed yet more eager prosecutors, with the BBC to the fore. There was no presumption of innocence in Kirsty Wark’s Newsnight court in December. "Why don’t you just apologize to the women?" she demanded of Assange, followed by: "Do we have your word of honor that you won’t abscond?" On Radio 4′s Today program, John Humphrys, the partner of Catherine Bennett, told Assange that he was obliged to go back to Sweden "because the law says you must." The hectoring Humphrys, however, had more pressing interests. "Are you a sexual predator?" he asked. Assange replied that the suggestion was ridiculous, to which Humphrys demanded to know how many women he had slept with.

"Would even Fox News have descended to that level?" wondered the American historian William Blum. "I wish Assange had been raised in the streets of Brooklyn, as I was. He then would have known precisely how to reply to such a question: ‘You mean including your mother?’"

What is most striking about these "interviews" is not so much their arrogance and lack of intellectual and moral humility; it is their indifference to fundamental issues of justice and freedom and their imposition of narrow, prurient terms of reference. Fixing these boundaries allows the interviewer to diminish the journalistic credibility of Assange and WikiLeaks, whose remarkable achievements stand in vivid contrast to their own. It is like watching the old and stale, guardians of the status quo, struggling to prevent the emergence of the new.

In this media trial, there is a tragic dimension, obviously for Assange, but also for the best of mainstream journalism. Having published a slew of professionally brilliant editions with the WikiLeaks disclosures, feted all over the world, the Guardian recovered its establishment propriety on 17 December by turning on its besieged source. A major article by the paper’s senior correspondent Nick Davies claimed that he had been given the "complete" Swedish police file with its "new" and "revealing" salacious morsels.

Assange’s Swedish lawyer Bjorn Hurtig says that crucial evidence is missing from the file given to Davies, including "the fact that the women were re-interviewed and given an opportunity to change their stories" and the tweets and SMS messages between them, which are "critical to bringing justice in this case." Vital exculpatory evidence is also omitted, such as the statement by the original prosecutor, Eva Finne, that "Julian Assange is not suspected of rape."

Having reviewed the Davies article, Assange’s former barrister James Catlin wrote to me: "The complete absence of due process is the story and Davies ignores it. Why does due process matter? Because the massive powers of two arms of government are being brought to bear against the individual whose liberty and reputation are at stake." I would add: so is his life.

The Guardian has profited hugely from the WikiLeaks disclosures, in many ways. On the other hand, WikiLeaks, which survives on mostly small donations and can no longer receive funds through many banks and credit companies thanks to the bullying of Washington, has received nothing from the paper. In February, Random House will publish a Guardian book that is sure to be a lucrative best-seller, which Amazon is advertising as The End of Secrecy: the Rise and Fall of WikiLeaks. When I asked David Leigh, the Guardian executive in charge of the book, what was meant by "fall," he replied that Amazon was wrong and that the working title had been The Rise (and Fall?) of WikiLeaks. "Note parenthesis and query," he wrote, "Not meant for publication anyway." (The book is now described on the Guardian website as WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy). Still, with all that duly noted, the sense is that "real" journalists are back in the saddle. Too bad about the new boy, who never really belonged.

On 11 January, Assange’s first extradition hearing was held at Belmarsh Magistrates Court, an infamous address because it is here that people were, before the advent of control orders, consigned to Britain’s own Guantánamo, Belmarsh prison. The change from ordinary Westminster magistrates’ court was due to a lack of press facilities, according to the authorities. That they announced this on the day US Vice President Joe Biden declared Assange a "high tech terrorist" was no doubt coincidental, though the message was not.

For his part, Julian Assange is just as worried about what will happen to Bradley Manning, the alleged whistleblower, being held in horrific conditions which the US National Commission on Prisons calls "tortuous." At 23, Private Manning is the world’s pre-eminent prisoner of conscience, having remained true to the Nuremberg Principle that every soldier has the right to "a moral choice." His suffering mocks the notion of the land of the free.

"Government whistleblowers," said Barack Obama, running for president in 2008, "are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal." Obama has since pursued and prosecuted more whistleblowers than any other president in American history.

"Cracking Bradley Manning is the first step," Assange told me. "The aim clearly is to break him and force a confession that he somehow conspired with me to harm the national security of the United States. In fact, I’d never heard his name before it was published in the press. WikiLeaks technology was designed from the very beginning to make sure that we never knew the identities or names of people submitting material. We are as untraceable as we are uncensorable. That’s the only way to assure sources they are protected."

He adds: "I think what’s emerging in the mainstream media is the awareness that if I can be indicted, other journalists can, too. Even the New York Times is worried. This used not to be the case. If a whistleblower was prosecuted, publishers and reporters were protected by the First Amendment that journalists took for granted. That’s being lost. The release of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs, with their evidence of the killing of civilians, hasn’t caused this – it’s the exposure and embarrassment of the political class: the truth of what governments say in secret, how they lie in public; how wars are started. They don’t want the public to know these things and scapegoats must be found."

What about the allusions to the "fall" of WikiLeaks? "There is no fall," he said. "We have never published as much as we are now. WikiLeaks is now mirrored on more than 2,000 websites. I can’t keep track of the of the spin-off sites: those who are doing their own WikiLeaks … If something happens to me or to WikiLeaks, ‘insurance’ files will be released. They speak more of the same truth to power, including the media. There are 504 US embassy cables on one broadcasting organization and there are cables on Murdoch and Newscorp."

The latest propaganda about the "damage" caused by WikiLeaks is a warning by the US State Department to "hundreds of human rights activists, foreign government officials and business people identified in leaked diplomatic cables of possible threats to their safety." This was how the New York Times dutifully relayed it on 8 January, and it is bogus. In a letter to Congress, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has admitted that no sensitive intelligence sources have been compromised. On 28 November, McClatchy Newspapers reported that "US officials conceded they have no evidence to date that the [prior] release of documents led to anyone’s death." NATO in Kabul told CNN it could not find a single person who needed protecting.

The great American playwright Arthur Miller wrote: "The thought that the state … is punishing so many innocent people is intolerable. And so the evidence has to be internally denied." What WikiLeaks has given us is truth, including rare and precious insight into how and why so many innocent people have suffered in reigns of terror disguised as wars, and executed in our name; and how the United States has secretly and wantonly intervened in democratic governments from Latin America to its most loyal ally in Britain.

Javier Moreno, the editor of El Pais, which published the WikiLeaks logs in Spain, wrote, "I believe that the global interest sparked by the WikiLeaks papers is mainly due to the simple fact that they conclusively reveal the extent to which politicians in the West have been lying to their citizens."

Crushing individuals like Julian Assange and Bradley Manning is not difficult for a great power, however craven. The point is, we should not allow it to happen, which means those of us meant to keep the record straight should not collaborate in any way. Transparency and information, to paraphrase Thomas Jefferson, are the "currency" of democratic freedom. "Every news organization," a leading American constitutional lawyer told me, "should recognize that Julian Assange is one of them, and that his prosecution will have a huge and chilling effect on journalism."

My favorite secret document — leaked by WikiLeaks, of course – is from the Ministry of Defense in London. It describes journalists who serve the
The WikiLeaks.org website has moved again and now appears to be hosted within walking distance of the CIA's headquarters.

news.netcraft.com/.../wikileaks-org-moves-next-door-to-the-cia.html

Knock, knock, knocking on CIA's doooooooor ☺ http://news.netcraft.com/archives/ 2010/12/22/wikileaks-org-moves-next-door-to-the-cia.html


WikiLeaks.org moves next door to the CIA

The WikiLeaks.org website has moved again and now appears to be hosted within walking distance of the CIA's headquarters. The site was previously hosted by Silicon Valley Web Hosting, but has now switched to ServInt, whose offices are adjacent to the CIA in McLean, Virginia.

A = ServInt headquarters, B = CIA headquarters (both approximate)

WTF! ?? http://www.servint.net/


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/22/cia-wikileaks-taskforce-wtf


Hosting the WikiLeaks.org site within such close proximity of the CIA headquarters is surprising given that earlier this year, WikiLeaks asked the CIA to stop spying on it, though it will presumably be helpful for the CIA's WikiLeaks Task Force (WTF!)

The recent hosting history for www.wikileaks.org can be viewed here.
Posted by Paul Mutton on 22nd December, 2010 in Around the Net

http://toolbar.netcraft.com/site_report?url=http://www.wikileaks.org


by (posted by) Norse
Sunday Jan 16th, 2011 3:43 AM
http://www.thenation.com/blogs/media-fix
by (posted by Norse)
Monday Jan 17th, 2011 6:12 AM
http://www.rnw.nl/english/bulletin/assange-wikileaks-timing-no-coincidence

It is "no coincidence" that Wikileaks have given a Dutch television station access to cables from the US embassy in The Hague while Dutch MPs consider whether or not to back a police training mission to Afghanistan.

In an interview with the NOS, Wikileaks frontman Julian Assange said he believes the Netherlands should make an informed choice about participation in the NATO police training mission.

"MPs are about to vote in parliament and if there is relevant material, it has to come out before they do."

The Dutch government wants to send 545 police trainers to the northern city of Kunduz to participate in a NATO training mission. The trainers will be protected by German troops and four Dutch F16 fighter planes. The minority VVD-Christian Democrat government needs parliamentary support from the opposition parties to back the mission, as it cannot rely on its usual support from the Freedom Party.

Uruzgan mission
Dutch daily NRC Handelsblad and commercial television station RTL have also published diplomatic cables sent to Washington from the US embassy in the Netherlands. The two media organisations were given access to the documents via Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.

The documents reveal that the US embassy closely followed the debate about whether or not to extend the previous Dutch Afghan mission in Uruzgan which ended in August 2010.

Fall of government
So far the cables have not revealed anything shocking. On Friday, it emerged that Queen Beatrix told US ambassador Fay Hartog in 2009 that it would be "difficult to extend the mission, but it had to happen".

It also emerged that then deputy prime minister and Labour leader Wouter Bos was under considerable pressure to give up his opposition to extending the mission.

In February last year, a row over this issue led to the fall of the Dutch Christian Democrat-Labour-Christian Union coalition government.


(nc)

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide
by (posted by) Norse
Monday Jan 24th, 2011 11:35 PM
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/41241414/ns/us_news-wikileaks_in_security/

NBC: U.S. can't link accused Army private to Assange
Military also denies allegations that Bradley Manning is being mistreated
Army Specialist Bradley Manning is suspected of leaking thousands of Iraq War documents to Wikileaks.
By Jim Miklaszewski Chief Pentagon correspondent
NBC News NBC News
updated 1/24/2011 7:55:01 PM ET 2011-01-25T00:55:01


U.S. military officials tell NBC News that investigators have been unable to make any direct connection between a jailed army private suspected with leaking secret documents and Julian Assange, founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The officials say that while investigators have determined that Manning had allegedly unlawfully downloaded tens of thousands of documents onto his own computer and passed them to an unauthorized person, there is apparently no evidence he passed the files directly to Assange, or had any direct contact with the controversial WikiLeaks figure.

Assange, an Australian national, is under house arrest at a British mansion near London, facing a Swedish warrant seeking his extradition for questioning on charges of rape. Assange has denied the allegations.

WikiLeaks' release of secret diplomatic cables last year caused a diplomatic stir and laid bare some of the most sensitive U.S. dealings with governments around the world. It also prompted an American effort to stifle WikiLeaks by pressuring financial institutions to cut off the flow of money to the organization.

U.S. Attorney General Eric holder has said his department is also considering whether it can prosecute the release of information under the Espionage Act.

Assange told msnbc TV last month that WikiLeaks was unsure Army PFC Bradley Manning is the source for the classified documents appearing on his site.

"That's not how our technology works, that's not how our organization works," Assange said. "I never heard of the name of Bradley Manning before it appeared in the media."

He called allegations that WikiLeaks had conspired with Manning "absolute nonsense."


Officials: No torture of Manning

On Monday, U.S. military officials also strongly denied allegations that Manning, being held in connection with the WikiLeaks' release of classified documents, has been "tortured" and held in "solitary confinement" without due process.

The officials told NBC News, however, that a U.S. Marine commander did violate procedure when he placed Manning on "suicide watch" last week.

Military officials said Brig Commander James Averhart did not have the authority to place Manning on suicide watch for two days last week, and that only medical personnel are allowed to make that call.

The official said that after Manning had allegedly failed to follow orders from his Marine guards. Averhart declared Manning a "suicide risk." Manning was then placed on suicide watch, which meant he was confined to his cell, stripped of most of his clothing and deprived of his reading glasses — anything that Manning could use to harm himself. At the urging of U.S. Army lawyers, Averhart lifted the suicide watch.

U.S. Marine and Army officials say Manning is being treated like any other maximum security prisoner at Quantico, Va. He is confined to his single-person cell 23-hours per day, permitted one hour to exercise, permitted reading material and given one hour per day to watch television.

Manning spends much of his day reading while sitting cross-legged on the bunk in his cell. His hour of television is spent watching the news, military officials told NBC News.

Anti-war groups, a psychologist group as well as filmmaker Michael Moore and Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg have called for Bradley to be released from detention.


http://news.antiwar.com/2011/01/24/us-confirms-manning-improperly-treated-in-detention/

US Confirms Manning Improperly Treated in Detention
Officials Deny Mistreatment Rises to Torture
by Jason Ditz, January 24, 2011

US military officials have admitted that Quantico Marine Brig Commander James Averhart violated procedures regarding detainee treatment related to Pfc. Bradley Manning, saying Averhart summarily declared Manning a “suicide risk” without any standing to make that call.

Once declared a “suicide risk,” officials confiscated most of Manning’s clothing and his prescription eyeglasses, insisting they might be used to harm him. Officials insisted that nothing done to him rose to the level of torture, and was apparently retaliation for him failing to follow some orders from the guards.

The information from the US military appears to support the claims of abuse by Manning’s lawyer, David E. Coombs, who late last week said Manning was facing “unlawful pretrial punishment” in Quantico. Publicly, officials have denied that this is the case.

But Quantico’s claims to the public that Manning was being treated “the same as anybody else” appear to have been untrue, and efforts to harshen up the conditions of his detention before he has even been to trial clearly violate the military’s rules.



by (posted by) Norse
Thursday Jan 27th, 2011 3:44 PM
WikiLeaks
Wednesday, Jan 26, 2011 17:40 ET
Private, Visa-funded inquiry finds no WikiLeaks crimes in Iceland
Norway-based company Teller AS, hired by Visa, reports no evidence found that site violated Icelandic law
By RAPHAEL G. SATTER, Associated Press

Private European inquiry finds no Wikileaks crimes
Jóhann Heiðar Árnason
Reykjavík, Iceland

A company asked by Visa to investigate WikiLeaks' finances found no proof the group's fundraising arm is breaking the law in its home base of Iceland, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.

But Visa Europe Ltd. said Wednesday it would continue blocking donations to the secret-spilling site until it completes its own investigation. Company spokeswoman Amanda Kamin said she couldn't say when Visa's inquiry, now stretching into its eighth week, would be finished.

Visa was one of several American companies that cut its ties with WikiLeaks after it began publishing a massive trove of secret U.S. diplomatic memos late last year. U.S. officials have accused the site of putting its national security at risk -- a claim WikiLeaks says is an attempt to distract from the memos' embarrassing content.

When it announced its decision to suspend WikiLeaks donations on Dec. 8, Visa said it was awaiting an investigation into "the nature of its business and whether it contravenes Visa operating rules" -- though it did not go into details. The Norway-based financial services company Teller AS, which Visa ordered to look into WikiLeaks and its fundraising body, the Sunshine Press, found no proof of any wrongdoing.

"Our lawyers have now completed their work and have found no indications that Sunshine Press ... acted in contravention of Visa's rules or Icelandic legislation," Teller's chief executive Peter Wiren said late last month in a letter obtained by the AP.

The two-page document said that Teller stood ready to process payments to WikiLeaks -- but only if Visa gave the go-ahead. Teller confirmed the letter's authenticity Wednesday.

The refusal of Visa and other companies -- including MasterCard Inc., PayPal Inc., and Moneybookers Ltd. -- to handle WikiLeaks' donations has hit the site hard at a time when its founder, 39-year-old Julian Assange, is fighting an attempt to extradite him to Sweden over allegations of sexual misconduct.



Wednesday, Jan 26, 2011 14:27 ET
War Room
No proof WikiLeaks breaking law, inquiry finds
By Associated Press

Julian Assange arrives at Belmarsh Magistrate's court in London for his extradition hearing

A company asked by Visa to investigate WikiLeaks' finances found no proof the group's fundraising arm is breaking the law in its home base of Iceland, according to a document obtained by The Associated Press.

But Visa Europe Ltd. said Wednesday it would continue blocking donations to the secret-spilling site until it completes its own investigation. Company spokeswoman Amanda Kamin said she couldn't say when Visa's inquiry, now stretching into its eighth week, would be finished.

Visa was one of several American companies that cut its ties with WikiLeaks after it began publishing a massive trove of secret U.S. diplomatic memos late last year. U.S. officials have accused the site of putting its national security at risk — a claim WikiLeaks says is an attempt to distract from the memos' embarrassing content.

When it announced its decision to suspend WikiLeaks donations on Dec. 8, Visa said it was awaiting an investigation into "the nature of its business and whether it contravenes Visa operating rules" — though it did not go into details. The Norway-based financial services company Teller AS, which Visa ordered to look into WikiLeaks and its fundraising body, the Sunshine Press, found no proof of any wrongdoing.

"Our lawyers have now completed their work and have found no indications that Sunshine Press ... acted in contravention of Visa's rules or Icelandic legislation," Teller's chief executive Peter Wiren said late last month in a letter obtained by the AP.

The two-page document said that Teller stood ready to process payments to WikiLeaks — but only if Visa gave the go-ahead. Teller confirmed the letter's authenticity Wednesday.

The refusal of Visa and other companies — including MasterCard Inc., PayPal Inc., and Moneybookers Ltd. — to handle WikiLeaks' donations has hit the site hard at a time when its founder, 39-year-old Julian Assange, is fighting an attempt to extradite him to Sweden over allegations of sexual misconduct.

Wednesday, Jan 26, 2011 11:27 ET
Glenn Greenwald
Bipartisanship pop quiz
By Glenn Greenwald

Bipartisanship pop quiz

(updated below - Update II)

One of the most striking aspects of the WikiLeaks debate from the start has been the identical mindset of political and media figures and the full consensus among them in condemning that group; in almost every debate I did on television, radio and everywhere else, it was impossible to distinguish between the views on these leaks from politicians and journalists, as they read from the same anti-WikiLeaks script. With a few exceptions, exactly the same has been true of Democrats and Republicans: there has been full-scale bipartisan consensus such that it's impossible to distinguish between the "two sides" on this issue.

Yesterday, MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan hosted a segment on the extreme, prolonged isolation in which Bradley Manning has been kept for eight months now, despite having been convicted of nothing. He had on his panel a "Democratic strategist," a "Republican strategist," and "a Washington insider." Ratigan tried without any success to get them to understand why putting someone in a cage alone for 23 hours a day under extremely repressive conditions was unjust and intolerable. Begin at the 1:20 mark -- right after Ratigan introduces his panel -- and see if you can identify who the Republican is, who the Democrat is, and who the "Washington insider" is; I'd submit it's impossible. Once your guesses are in, go back and watch the beginning of the segment and grade yourself -- on the honor system. It's the Joys of Bipartisanship:

One other aspect of this bipartisanship quiz -- an extra credit essay, if you will (and the flu I referenced yesterday turned out to be anything but "mild," so posting may be quite sparse over the next few days): yesterday, Atrios referenced the snide, Red-State-mimicking derision of prolonged isolation and solitary confinement by former Obama campaign aide Joy Reid (which I noted in the update to yesterday's post), and then asked this extremely relevant question:

As I wallow in my flu-induced misery, I'd be genuinely interested in hearing answers to that question.

UPDATE: Here's a very strange, and hopefully positive, set of events: two days ago, NBC News reported that government officials acknowledged that the Marine commander of the Quantico brig had violated regulations by imposing "suicide watch" conditions on Manning both punitively and without the recommendations of psychiatric experts. Yesterday, CNN reported -- then retracted -- a story that a formal investigation had commenced into the commander's actions. Today, CBS News reports that the Quantico commander is now being replaced; CBS certainly appears to believe that it's related to the treatment of Manning, though the Pentagon is denying this. Whatever else is true, far more attention has been generated for the conditions of Manning's detention than I expected when I first wrote about them.


UPDATE II: On his Fox News show today, Andrew Napolitano -- who often exhibited strong civil libertarian leanings during the Bush years -- today denounced the Government's harassment of David House for visiting Manning, as well as the treatment of Manning itself; it begins at the 1:00 mark: [go to http://www.salon.com/news/wikileaks/index.html?story=/news/feature/2011/01/26/wikileaks_visa to view video].