2010-12-29 Peninsula: Many Arab officials have close CIA links: Assange

Peninsula has an article based on a continuation of last week’s interview with Julian Assange by Ahmed Mansour for Al Jazeera Arabic.

The interviewer, Ahmed Mansour, said at the start of the interview which was a continuation of last week’s interface, that Assange had even shown him the files that contained the names of some top Arab officials with alleged links with the CIA. …

What is being published by the five media partners of WikiLeaks are only those details which they think are interesting for their readers. There are some Arab officials who are ‘stealing’ oil of their countries. “We need these media partners to focus more on this issue.”

 

2010-12-29 OpEdNews: Whistleblower Protections Halted by Tyranny of One

OpEdNews has an interviewwith Shanna Devine, the Legislative Campaign Coordinator at GAP [the Government Accountability Project]. The US Whistleblower Protection Enhancement Act (S. 372) was just defeated in the House. Ironically, the protection to expose secrets was blocked by something called a “secret hold”, one anonymous person.

S. 372 would have increased opportunities for whistleblowers to expose wrongdoing within a system instead of relying on external organizations for exposure. It would have eliminated current loopholes such as:

Currently, you are not eligible for federal whistleblower protection if : you are not the first person who discloses given misconduct; you make a disclosure to your co-worker; you make a disclosure to your supervisor; you disclose the consequences of a policy decision; and the kicker: if you blow the whistle while carrying out your job duties.

2010-12-29 ‘NPR Fesses Up to WikiLeaks’ Coverage Blunder, Now It’s Everyone Else’s Turn’

In response to today’s correction from NPR of their Wikileaks coverage, Matthew L. Schafer at Lippmann Would Roll has compiled a list of other news outlets who should follow their example. While NPR’s correction focused on the number of cables published, 1,942 instead of roughly 250,000, Schafer points out other errors that media outlets should avoid:

Moreover, many outlets used phrases similar to “document dump” to describe WikiLeaks’ publishing, which likely leads to the misconception that WikiLeaks did cavalierly publish all 250,000 cables. According to a LexisNexis search, on 397 separate occasions, newspapers around the world used the phrase “document dump.” …

It’s worth mentioning that often the word “release” is not attributed. That is, the articles do not say to whom the release was made. A release by the website to the public? WikiLeaks’ release of the documents to the newspapers? Thus, a newspaper may say that it was referring to WikiLeaks release of all cables to its newspaper partners, but this is far from clear.

2010-12-29 Chat Logs and Adrian Lamo

The Glenn Greenwald / Kevin Poulsen exchanges this week have centred around a dispute over the alleged Bradley Manning / Adrian Lamo chat logs that form the sole evidence currently implicating Manning in leaking classified information.

As a little more background into Lamo’s reliability at the time the chat logs were published,here is a June 22, 2010 thread on Fairfax Underground where someone posted another leaked chat log involving Lamo’s wife and Nadim, a person Lamo refers to as a “disgruntled fan”.

The original poster also includes the portion of the chat logs which Lamo claims he leaked to Wikileaks, further claiming they then “outed” him as their source. This thread is discussed in anarticle in DailyTech which contains an update at the end when they discovered that Lamo had actually outed himself “in the form of a podcast interview Lamo gave to an Australian blog site”.

All of the evidence into the mental state and reliability of the sole informant in this case raises the question of why chat logs, in the hands of a self proclaimed hacker, passed on to a journalist who professes great respect for the hacking skills of this source, are being treated as reliable legal evidence. In what format were they provided to Wired (and the DoJ)? Was there third party monitoring? Why did Wired believe these logs, knowing their source? Why should anyone?

2010-12-29 Amnesty: Sweeping new media law threatens freedom of expression in Hungary

As reported by Amnesty International and Der Speigel Hungary is introducing a new law coming into force on January 1, 2011 (the same time Hungary will be taking over the EU presidency) which will impose unprecedented restrictions on the freedom of the press in the European Union.

Amnesty:“A newly created National Media and Communications Authority (NMHH) will have the power to impose heavy fines, ranging from up to 35,000 Euros for periodicals to up to 730,000 Euros for broadcast media, for content it considers to run counter to the “public interest”, “common morality” and “national order”. Fines can also be imposed for “unbalanced” news reporting.

None of these terms are clearly defined in the law and their interpretation is left to the NMHH. The NMHH also has the power to shut down news outlets.

There are also concerns about the political independence of the National Media and Communications Authority, whose five board members were appointed by the ruling Fidesz party without broader consultation or any parliamentary scrutiny.”

Action

Whistleblower protections and the privileged position held by the media in most democracies exist for one reason: in order to govern themselves, people need access to accurate and timely information on all topics relevant to their governance.

Once that information has been distributed, it is not sufficient for the citizens to passively absorb it as a means of entertainment, or even education. In order for self governance to occur, that information must be acted upon to correct flaws in governance.

We at WL Central support four main categories of action, as below. It is our hope that our readers, once informed by all of the information available, will help us to initiate appropriate corrective action for any corruption we have found. We will include the relevant legal authorities, the news and the background material to aid in finding areas requiring corrective action, and we will provide a forum for protests, petitions, legal action and more, based on those findings.

Free information: Support attempts to gain access to information, whistleblower and journalist protection.

Free Internet: Fight against attempts to restrict access to the internet or its content, support access to the internet for all.

Prosecute Crimes Against Humanity: Expose and prosecute crimes against humanity including: murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation or forcible transfer of population, imprisonment or other severe deprivation of physical liberty in violation of fundamental rules of international law, torture, rape, sexual slavery, enforced prostitution, forced pregnancy, enforced sterilization, or any other form of sexual violence of comparable gravity, persecution against any identifiable group or collectivity on political, racial, national, ethnic, cultural, religious, gender, enforced disappearance of persons, apartheid, other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering, or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.

Stop Corruption: Expose and prosecute corruption in all positions of power: government, industry, military, finance, media and other.

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2010-12-28 Wired Response to Glenn Greenwald

The Wired rebuttal to Glenn Greenwald’s article yesterday is online. It is written by both Kevin Poulsen and Evan Hansen, each making their own points as follows.

The Case for Privacy

    • The cables were not released in their entirety out of “consideration, thus far, of Manning’s privacy.”
    • Poulsen’s criminal record is irrelevant. Agreed, until he starts cooperating too closely with the FBI, then it is worth a look at.

–Evan Hansen, Editor-in-Chief

A Litany of Errors

      • Lamo was a very important and newsworthy hacker.
      • Greenwald should inform his readers that Jacob Appelbaum had an association with WikiLeaks before quoting him on Lamo.
      • Rasch, who worked for the Justice Department in Washington D.C., left government service in 1991. I had two prosecutors in my phone-hacking case: David Schindler in Los Angeles and Robert Crowe in San Jose, California.

-Kevin Poulsen, Senior Editor

By my assessment, this very long, two author rebuttal has one newsworthy point, which is the last. This was the reference Greenwald used.

Update: Greenwald comes back here and provides more sources and dates for the Poulsen-Rasch connection here. He also states, and supports, that he was not aware of Jacob Appelbaum’s association with WikiLeaks when he wrote the article in question.