2011-01-01 The Internet and the State Cables

For all those who felt that the world would never wade through 251,287 United States embassy cables, once more, they have underestimated the internet. Presenting, the US State Cables:

Cablegate Comix

Cablegate Chronicles

Haïkuleaks

And to warm up:

So why is Wikileaks a good thing again?

Leaky World

Wikileaks: The Game

Real-time Wikileaks Twitter search results set to the Beatles

It’s going to be a great year.

2011-01-11 TVOntario: The Agenda: Livestream interview with Birgitta Jónsdóttir

Birgitta Jónsdóttir, member of the Icelandic parliament and former WikiLeaks volunteer, in Toronto to speak at the first Samara/Massey journalism seminar, will be interviewed by Steve Paikin of Television Ontario’s The Agenda at 2 p.m. EST today. The interview will be livestreamed and will be archived on the program’s website.

From Samara:

Birgitta Jónsdóttir, now a member of Iceland’s Parliament, has led a movement in her country to take the most far-reaching steps towards advancing free speech, freedom of the press and transparency in government of any country in the world. This initiative, the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative (IMMI) aims to bring together transparency laws from multiple jurisdictions to create the strongest media freedom laws in the world, with the goal of improving democracy and Iceland’s standing in the international community.

In her talk, Birgitta Jónsdóttir will describe how and why she decided to help transform Iceland into the world’s safe haven for transparency, and what the impact has been to date, including her reflections on WikiLeaks’ ongoing revelations.

2011-08-21 Former WikiLeaks spokesman destroyed unreleased files

Rough translation, apologies. Original at Der Spiegel

Former Wikileaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg claims to have destroyed more than 3,500 unpublished files that had been sent from unknown informants and are now apparently lost irrevocably. These are documents which were stored until the late summer of 2010 on the Wikileaks server and were taken by a group including Domscheit-Berg upon their leaving the organization. Domscheit-Berg has “in the last days shredded” the files “to ensure that the sources are not compromised,” said Domscheit-Berg. He said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange could not guarantee a safe handling of the material. In the data base was among other things, the so-called “no-fly list” of the U.S. government, on which the names of suspects were listed, which are prohibited from entering an aircraft. Assange said the material would also have insider information from 20 right-wing organizations. Domscheit-Berg would not confirm that. Assange had been asking him to return the data since early this year.

Previous WL Central coverage here.

2011-05-24 “WikiSecrets” Julian Assange full interview footage

Wikileaks has just released the full video of their interview with PBS which will be used as source material in a documentary airing tonight.

From Wikileaks:

On 24 May, 2011, 9pm EST, PBS-Frontline will air a documentary “WikiSecrets”. WikiLeaks has had intelligence for some time that the program is hostile and misrepresents WikiLeaks’ views and tries to build an “espionage” case against its founder, Julian Assange, and also the young soldier, Bradley Manning.

In accordance with our tradition of “scientific journalism” (full primary sources) we release here our, behind the scenes, interview tape between Julian Assange & PBS Frontline’s Martin Smith which was recorded on 4/4/2011. In the tape, Assange scolds Martin Smith for his previous coverage of Bradley Manning and addresses a number of issues surrounding the 1917 Espionage Act investigation into WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning.

The Frontline documentary will include footage of a number of individuals who have a collective, and very dirty personal vendetta, against the organization. These include David Leigh, Adrian Lamo, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Eric Schmitt and Kim Zetter. While the program filmed other sources, such as Vaughan Smith who provided a counter-narrative, these more credible voices have been excluded from the program presented to the US public.

“WikiSecrects” Julian Assange Full Interview Footage 04/04/2011 from Winston Burrows on Vimeo.

 

PBS has themselves released the contents of Bradley Manning’s Facebook page as part of their advertising campaign for the documentary.

2011-04-27 WikiLeaks Notes: Shaker Aamer, Times of India interview, National Institute of Military Justice on Obama

ImageUK fighting for Guantanamo detainee Shaker Aamer’s release

Foreign Secretary William Hague will raise the case of Shaker Aamer with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton when she comes to the UK in May. Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt has told the BBC that dealing with the US on the issue is “frustrating”. “We believe we are doing the very best that we can by trying to meet any objections the United States might have and putting the case for Shaker Aamer to return to the United Kingdom.”

The US State Department will not comment on the diplomatic negotiations involving Aamer, except to say that “discussions on the case are ongoing”. Aamer has never been charged and he has been approved for release by both the Bush and Obama administrations, but ‘legal expert’ Benjamin Wittes told BBC “It’s not, just to say you’ll let that person roam around freely.”

But sources close to the case say the sticking point is that the US wants Mr Aamer sent to his homeland of Saudi Arabia where it is argued he would be less able to speak out.

via @Asher_Wolf

Obama guilty of unlawful command influence

Eugene Fidell, president of the National Institute of Military Justice, told NBC News that Obama’s statement “He broke the law,” regarding Bradley Manning “is unlawful command influence,” which includes an assumption of guilt. “The president shouldn’t have said it. He should have been more circumspect.”

But in the end, Fidell predicts the issue should not adversely affect the prosecution’s case against Manning. While a defense lawyer could claim the president’s statement unlawfully prejudices the case against his client, potential jurors could be screened to ensure they are not aware of the remark.

Interview with Julian Assange

The full Julian Assange interview with the Times of India, part one and part two.

2011-04-26 Julian Assange says Rudolf Elmer is being held hostage for Swiss banking data

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Julian Assange told the Times of India Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, that the Swiss banking data that was handed to him on January 17 of this year has not been released because the source, Rudolf Elmer, gave the data to Assange publically and was immediately arrested pending a criminal investigation. Assange told Goswami, “We have had an indirect offer through a third party that if we return what they believe to be the data then they will work to acquit Mr. Elmer to be free. So my ability to talk about this subject is of course limited by the fact that the Swiss bank has a hostage.”

Assange also stated that India seems like it is losing per capita much more tax money than Germany.

 

2011-04-23 Wikileaks Notes: Manning rally June 4, Obama spokesman denies Obama said what he said

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Rally for Bradley Manning

rally is being planned at Leavenworth on June 4 “to protest the indefinite detention and unconstitutional torture of Bradley Manning.” The Facebook page ishere.

Obama spokesman denies Obama expressed the view he expressed

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor denies that US President Obama was “expressing a view as to the guilt or innocence of Pfc. Manning specifically” whenhe said, regarding Bradley Manning, “He broke the law.”

Regarding Obama’s further statement that he has to abide by the laws as well as Manning, Steven Aftergood, a classified information expert at the Federation of American Scientists,agreed with the point made earlier by WL Central, “There are rules and procedures governing the de-classification process, but those rules also are based in presidential authority. The president has supreme authority over what is classified.”

While the White House is playing down the significance of the president’s statement, Manning supporters are not. UK Friends of Bradley Manning writes: It is not surprising that the White House is keen to play down this incident. Military case law indicates that “pretrial publicity itself may constitute unlawful command influence” (United States v. Simpson, 58 MJ 368) and, if this is raised at court martial, the US Government will have to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the case has not been prejudiced. (United States v. Reed, 65 M.J. 487) Should unlawful command influence be proven, incidentally, then dismissal of the case is possible “as a last resort.” (United States v. Douglas, 68 M.J. 349)

 

2011-04-22 WikiLeaks Notes: Oral hearing for WikiLeaks Twitter appeal cancelled

Oral hearing for Wikileaks Twitter appeal cancelled

Today’s hearing of oral arguments has been cancelled in the appeal of last month’s order over whether the US government has the right to access the online information of three Twitter users in aid of its WikiLeaks investigation, and also whether they can be informed of what other internet companies have turned over their information without notifying them. The three, Icelandic MP Birgitta Jónsdóttir, US citizen Jacob Appelbaum and Rop Gonggrijp of the Netherlands, were all notified by Twitter of the order against their data. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have been assisting the three users with their challenge.

EFF earlier wrote “cooperating counsel John Keker of Keker and Van Nest will urge the court Friday to require the government to protect the First Amendment freedoms of speech and association of the Twitter users and the Fourth Amendment rights of the users in their locations. ACLU attorney Aden Fine will ask the court to unseal all documents related to other requests for private data”.

US District Court Judge Liam O’Grady canceled the hearing and will instead issue a ruling after reading both sides’ written briefs.

 

2011-04-08 Vote for Julian Assange (Again) in The 2011 TIME 100 Poll, closes April 14

Vote for Julian Assange in The 2011 TIME 100 Poll,here!

As of today, April 8, 2011, Julian Assange is ranked number 8, behind Susan Boyle at number 4, Beyonce at number 3, Jay Chou at number 2 and Rain at number 1. Bradley Manning is ranked at No. 38 out of 203 nominees. The poll asks its readers to: “Cast your votes for the leaders, artists, innovators, icons and heroes that you think are the most influential people in the world. The winner will be included in the TIME 100. Voting closes on April 14.”

In last year’s Time Person of the Year poll, Julian Assange was the clear readers’ favourite, 148,383 votes ahead of the runner up. (Bradley Manning did not receive a nomination for Person of the Year 2010.) Time ignored the readers votes and chose the tenth placedFacebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg. Julian Assange received 382,026 votes, and a 92% average rating, Zuckerberg received 18,353 votes and a 52% average rating. As pointed out by many, Assange’s organization takes information from public organizations and gives it freely to private citizens, while Zuckerberg’s takes information from private citizens and sells it to public organizations. The distinction was famously acknowledged by Time managing editor Rick Stengel as: “While Assange attacks big institutions and governments through involuntary transparency with the goal of disempowering them, Zuckerberg enables individuals to voluntarily share information with the idea of empowering them. Assange sees the world as filled with real and imagined enemies; Zuckerberg sees the world as filled with potential friends.”

In defending the move, Stengel said he felt that “When I make the choice, I think of [what] has actually affected people’s lives the most [in] the past year. Five years from now, who’s going to look smart? Julian Assange has been in the news a lot lately. I think five years from now, he’ll be an asterisk. If you really wanted to, [you would] make [leaker] Bradley Manning. Julian Assange was the wine bottle, and Bradley Manning supplied the wine. In the grand scheme of things, it will be a footnote to history.” He did not however, supply any information in the interview addressing why Bradley Manning was not nominated for Person of the Year, despite his stated opinion that Manning was the real newsmaker.

Last year as the Time Person of the Year vote concluded, Assange was in solitary confinement in a jail in London. Now, as fellow Time 100 nominee Bradley Manning continues in solitary confinement, Assange awaits an appeal trial on July 12 and 13 against his extradition. If it fails, it will most likely result in him being in solitary confinement again, this time in Sweden.

See more WL action for Wikileaks and Julian Assangehere.

2011-04-05 Netherlands foreign minister expresses willingness to extradite Rop Gonggrijp to US (Updated)

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Update: Rop Gonggrijp writes on his blog: “It may be good if we all take a deep breath and get grounded a bit here. There are no new events other than the justice minister in The Netherlands providing rather obvious answers to questions from MPs. I really don’t think the minister giving perfectly predictable answers should be news. There is, as of yet, no indictment. Let alone an extradition request. I helped publish a video documenting war crimes. My lawyers and me have absolutely no idea what crime they could even charge me with. If they indeed want something from me, the prosecutors are likely facing the same problem.

“So there may very well never be an extradition request, just a very long period of nothing much happening. Which doesn’t mean this isn’t something to worry about or keep a close eye on. But it’s probably not worthy of getting in a nationwide or even global frenzy over just yet.”


Uri Rosenthal, Minister of Foreign Affairs in the Netherlands, responded to questioning from Green MP Arjan El Fassed by saying that he does not rule out extradition of Rop Gonggrijp (pictured left) to the US.

Rop Gonggrijp is one of five private citizens who have had their personal online information subpoenaed by US federal prosecutors in relation to the release of the Collateral Murdervideo one year ago today. Besides Gonggrijp, the five include Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir, US computer programmer Jacob Appelbaum, Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. The ACLU and EFF have been assisting in an appeal by Birgitta Jonsdottir, Jacob Appelbaum and Rop Gonggrijp of the earlier ruling that the government can collect their private records.

Rosenthal stated that Gonggrijp was being investigated for his presumed role in releasing the Collateral Murder video. Gonggrijp has always denied being a part of Wikileaks, but confirmed that he had helped with “business supporting the preparation of the video”. Rosenthal disclaimed any knowledge of the current treatment by the US of suspected Wikileaks source Bradley Manning, but concludes that the Netherlands is open to cooperate with any extradition request from the US. El Fassed found the answer “embarrassing” and promised to continue questioning the foreign minister for clarification in the upcoming debate on human rights.

None of Gonggrijp, Jonsdottir and Appelbaum have ever worked for Wikileaks, and only two of them were at all involved in the release of the Collateral Murder video. This case raises a very high bar for who can have their records subpoenaed and potentially be prosecuted for what has yet to be identified as a crime in any country involved. If Gonggrijp and Jonsdottir can be subpoenaed or prosecuted, why not every other service provider connected with the video, before or after? If Appelbaum can be included, why not every individual with a previous acquaintance with any of the people involved?

As pointed out earlier on WL Central:

A chilling footnote indicates Jonsdottir and Gonggrijp could face worse repercussions from this Twitter Order than Appelbaum:

Though they assert First and Fourth Amendment claims, petitioners cite no authority as to the applicability of the United States Constitution to non-citizens residing and acting outside of the U.S. See United States v. Verdugo-Urquidez, 494 U.S. 259, 265 (1990)(Fourth Amendment inapplicable where American authorities searched the home of a Mexican citizen and resident, who had no voluntary attachment to the United States; Wang v. Reno, 81 F.3d 808,817-18 (9th Cir. 1996)(alien entitled to 5th Amendment due process rights only after government created “special relationship with alien” by paroling him from China to U.S. to testify at drug trial). The Court has serious doubts as to whether Ms. Jonsdottir and Mr. Gonggrijp enjoy rights under the U.S. Constitution.

If the US does not recognize rights for citizens of other countries, it is even more imperative that the countries protect their own citizens.

For previous WL Central coverage of the Twitter Order, click here.