2010-12-04: Reporters Sans Frontières statement on WikiLeaks


 

Submitted by admin on Sat, 12/04/2010 – 10:48

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RSF: WikiLeaks hounded?

Reporters Sans Frontières (Reporters Without Borders) issued an official statement on WikiLeaks and Cablegate. The French version is available here.

“Reporters Without Borders condemns the blocking, cyber-attacks and political pressure being directed at cablegate.wikileaks.org, the website dedicated to the US diplomatic cables. The organization is also concerned by some of the extreme comments made by American authorities concerning WikiLeaks and its founder Julian Assange.

Earlier this week, after the publishing several hundred of the 250.000 cables it says it has in its possession, WikiLeaks had to move its site from its servers in Sweden to servers in the United States controlled by online retailer Amazon. Amazon quickly came under pressure to stop hosting WikiLeaks from the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and its chairman, Sen. Joe Lieberman, in particular.

After being ousted from Amazon, WikiLeaks found a refuge for part of its content with the French Internet company OVH. But French digital economy minister Eric Besson today said the French government was looking at ways to ban hosting of the site. WikiLeaks was also recently dropped by its domain name provider EveryDNS. Meanwhile, several countries well known for for their disregard of freedom of expression and information, including Thailand and China, have blocked access to cablegate.wikileaks.org.

This is the first time we have seen an attempt at the international community level to censor a website dedicated to the principle of transparency. We are shocked to find countries such as France and the United States suddenly bringing their policies on freedom of expression into line with those of China. We point out that in France and the United States, it is up to the courts, not politicians, to decide whether or not a website should be closed.

Meanwhile, two Republican senators, John Ensign and Scott Brown, and an independent Lieberman, have introduced a bill that would make it illegal to publish the names of U.S. military and intelligence agency informants. This could facilitate future prosecutions against WikiLeaks and its founder. But a criminal investigation is already under way and many U.S. politicians are calling vociferously for Assange’s arrest.

Reporters Without Borders can only condemn this determination to hound Assange and reiterates its conviction that WikiLeaks has a right under the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment to publish these documents and is even playing a useful role by making them available to journalists and the greater public.

We stress that any restriction on the freedom to disseminate this body of documents will affect the entire press, which has given detailed coverage to the information made available by WikiLeaks, with five leading international newspapers actively cooperating in preparing it for publication.

Reporters Without Borders would also like to stress that it has always defended online freedom and the principle of “Net neutrality,” according to which Internet Service Providers and hosting companies should play no role in choosing the content that is placed online.”

Source

2010-12-04: Censorship watch: PayPal terminates WikiLeaks services

Submitted by admin on Sat, 12/04/2010 – 05:01

PayPal joined Moneybookers, Amazon, Tableau and EveryDNS in cancelling services for WikiLeaks.

In a statement posted on its website, the company wrote: “PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal Acceptable Use Policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity. We’ve notified the account holder of this action.”

Daniel Ellsberg and many WikiLeaks supporters have called for a boycott of Amazon. PayPal may be next.

There are many other ways for supporters of truth and free speech to contribute to WikiLeaks, and we would like to encourage you to do so: http://213.251.145.96/support.html

2010-12-04: NSW Supreme Court solicitor Peter Kemp: Letter to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Submitted by admin on Sat, 12/04/2010 – 04:09

By Peter Kemp, Solicitor of the Supreme Court of NSW, on 2010-12-04

Dear Prime Minister
From the Sydney Morning Herald I note you made a comment of “illegal” on the matter of Mr Assange in relation to the ongoing leaks of US diplomatic cables.

Previously your colleague and Attorney General the Honourable McClelland announced an investigation of possible criminality by Mr Assange.

As a lawyer and citizen I find this most disturbing, particularly so when a brief perusal of the Commonwealth Criminal Code shows that liability arises under the Espionage provisions, for example, only when it is the Commonwealth’s “secrets” that are disclosed and that there must be intent to damage the Commonwealth.

Likewise under Treason law, there must be an intent to assist an enemy. Clearly, and reinforced by publicly available material such as Professor Saul’s excellent article:
http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/dont-cry-over-wikil…
…Julian Assange has almost certainly committed no crime under Australian law in relation to his involvement in Wikileaks.

I join with Professor Saul also in asking you Prime Minister why has there been no public complaint to the US about both Secretaries of State Condaleeza Rice and Hillary Clinton being in major breach of International law ie UN Covenants, by making orders to spy on UN personnel, including the Secretary General, to include theft of their credit card details and communication passwords. Perhaps the Attorney General should investigate this clear prima facie evidence of crime (likely against Australian diplomats as well), rather than he attempts to prosecute the messenger of those crimes.

It is also disturbing that no Australian official has castigated Sweden for the shameful treatment Mr Assange has received ie his human rights abused, in that he has not been charged and served with papers in the English language regarding the evidence against him of alleged sexual offences. This is contrary to Article 6 of the European Covenant on Human Rights to which Sweden is a signatory nation.

Those offences remain unclear and the Swedish prosecutor Ms Ny appears to be making up the law as she wants. It appears now, by Ms Ny’s interpretation that when consensual sex occurs but if a condom breaks, the male party is liable to 2 years imprisonment for sexual assault. All this information is publicly available.

An Australian citizen is apparently being singled out for “special treatment” Prime Minister. There are legitimate concerns among citizens here that his treatment by the Swedes is connected to US interests which are against the activities of Wikileaks, and you will note the strident, outrageous (and illegal) calls inciting violence against him in the US in demands for his assassination, by senior influential US politicians.

Granted that in western political circles, Mr Assange is not flavour of the month, but what he is doing in my opinion, and in the opinion of many here and abroad, is vitally necessary to expose American foreign policy failures and potential war crimes and crimes against humanity–not for the purpose of damaging US interests but to make them accountable.

While we have close and a good relationship with the US, there is no doubt that US influence and power is declining. That we appear to be still posturing, (given that declining power and a new paradigm of privately enforced accountability) to the US on the issue of Wikileaks is, Prime Minister, deeply disappointing.

Yours Faithfully
Peter Kemp.

(Readers are encouraged contact the Australian Prime Minister here: http://www.pm.gov.au/PM_Connect/Email_your_PM)

2010-12-03: Rep. Ron Paul defends WikiLeaks

Submitted by admin on Sat, 12/04/2010 – 04:02

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While some of his colleagues are calling for Julian Assange to be prosecuted as a terrorist or assassinated, in an interview on Fox News’ Freedom Watch on Thursday, Republican Rep. Ron Paul said that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks should get the same kind of protections as the mainstream media when it comes to releasing information.

“In a free society we’re supposed to know the truth,” Paul said, quoted by Politico. “In a society where truth becomes treason, then we’re in big trouble. And now, people who are revealing the truth are getting into trouble for it.”

“This whole notion that Assange, who’s an Australian, that we want to prosecute him for treason. I mean, aren’t they jumping to a wild conclusion?” he added. “This is media, isn’t it? I mean, why don’t we prosecute The New York Times or anybody that releases this?”

“What we need is more WikiLeaks about the Federal Reserve,” he added. “Can you imagine what it’d be like if we had every conversation in the last 10 years with our Federal Reserve people, the Federal Reserve chairman, with all the central bankers of the world and every agreement or quid-pro-quo they have? It would be massive. People would be so outraged.”

In a Twitter post on Friday, Ron Paul wrote: “Re: WikiLeaks — In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, we are in big trouble.”

Read more at Politico, CBS News and Raw Story

2010-12-03: Censorship watch, continued [Update 3]

Submitted by admin on Sat, 12/04/2010 – 03:44

(Parts 1-4 of this coverage series can be found here, here, here, and here.)

United States: The Office of Management and Budget today directed all federal agencies to bar employees from accessing the Wikileaks web site. Talking Points Memo obtained a copy of letter sent out by OMB, which “directed the agencies to immediately tell their employees to ‘safeguard classified information’ by not accessing Wikileaks over the Internet.

Classified information, the OMB notes, ‘remains classified … until it is declassified by an appropriate U.S. Government authority.’ Employees may not view classified info over a non-classified system (i.e., the Internet), the OMB says, ‘as doing so risks that material still classified will be placed onto non-classified systems.'”
Read more

AFP, The Guardian and CNN have more on the story.

Update 1: Gawker reports that “U.S. soldiers in Iraq who try to read about the Wikileaks disclosures—or read coverage of them in mainstream news sites—on unclassified networks get a page warning them that they’re about to break the law.[…]

A tipster wrote to tell us that ‘the Army’s unclassified, NIPRNET network in Iraq has blocked every major news website because of the Wikileaks issue,’ going on to say that Foxnews.com, CNN.com, MSNBC.com, the Huffington Post, and a variety of other sites are blocked on the Army’s unclassified network.”

Update 2: US corporations are getting in on the censorship game too. We are informed that HP sent out a letter to all employees warning them not to visit the WikiLeaks website. Will HP censor The New York Times as well?

Canada: The Montreal Gazette reports that “Defence Department staff have been warned against using government computers to sift through secret documents released by WikiLeaks. An email dubbed ‘Wikileaks Notice’ in the subject line says military computers are ‘not to be used to visit the Wikileaks site or any other websites containing such information.'”

Update 3: Australia: We were also informed that a letter was sent out on the Australian defence network yesterday, warning employees not to access WikiLeaks, which would be considered a security breach.

2010-12-03: TIME: Cover story

Submitted by admin on Sat, 12/04/2010 – 03:12

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TIME magazine’s December 13 edition features Julian Assange on the cover and a number of WikiLeaks-related articles, including Massimo Calabresi’s cover story, WikiLeaks’ War on Secrecy: Truth’s Consequences, and an additional feature by Fareed Zakaria: WikiLeaks Shows the Skills of U.S. Diplomats.

Further TIME WikiLeaks coverage includes an interview with Julian Assange, features on the US relationship with Germany and Pakistan, and deception in Mideast diplomacy. TIME also spoke with Julian Assange’s lawyer Björn Hurtig about the Sweden case.

We would like to remind you that you can still vote for Julian Assange in TIME’s Person of the Year reader poll.

2010-12-03: Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance statement

Submitted by admin on Sat, 12/04/2010 – 02:32

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The Australian Media, Entertainment and Arts Alliance issued an official statement on WikiLeaks:

Alliance condemns WikiLeaks backlash

The Alliance condemns the political attacks being made against whistleblowing website WikiLeaks, and says the vital role of the press in reporting matters in the public interest and holding the powerful to account must be respected.

Amazon.com ceased to host WikiLeaks after United States officials condemned the torrent of revelations about political, business and diplomatic affairs that has given the public unprecedented access to detailed information from United States sources, much of it embarrassing to leading public figures.

“Amazon’s decision is extremely disappointing,” said Alliance federal secretary, Christopher Warren. “We need to take a step back from the hysteria. It is not known whether WikiLeaks has broken any law. It has – via a free media – upheld the public’s right to know. ”

The Alliance welcomes the decision of WikiLeaks to collaborate with respected publications, including Der Spiegel, The Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde and El Pais.

“These publications have given assurances that the material published does not put the lives of individuals or sources at risk or reveal material that compromises ongoing military operations or the location of special forces.” said Warren

The Alliance is concerned that the Australian Government has signalled that it may attempt to pressure Australian media outlets not to report some of the WikiLeaks information. “Given that WikiLeaks is working with five leading media organisations around the world to publicise the Cablegate material, any attempt to muzzle the Australian media in this instance would ultimately prove pointless,” Warren said.

The Alliance is concerned about the welfare and well-being of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, and Bradley Manning, the United States soldier who is under arrest and suspected of leaking the information.

“This is a time for calm. The leaks are astonishing in their volume, and what they reveal. But this is not the first time that government or diplomatic material has been leaked.” said Warren.

The Alliance says attacks on Assange and Manning point to a dangerous atmosphere of intolerance and persecution not just for the two men, but for all journalists investigating public affairs.

2010-12-03: Cablegate: Journalists in support of WikiLeaks, part 6 [Update 3]

Submitted by admin on Sat, 12/04/2010 – 01:57

Martin Kettle, The Guardian: WikiLeaks: Openness against secrecy has a rich history of struggle

“Why WikiLeaks? Or, why these leaked documents and not other ones, and why these documents now? The answers may seem obvious. Because we can. Because they’re there. Because we want to. Because it is in the public interest, or at least of interest to the public, even though that’s not the same thing. All these are parts of the larger answer. But they aren’t the full explanation.[…]

The broad parallels with today are very strong. A war that was widely opposed; a traumatic generational experience; a collective belief that the people were deceived; a conviction that public inquiries and the opening up of documents would reveal the incriminating evidence, and a desire to change the rules, above all by making them more democratically accountable, to avoid the same thing happening again. All these were present in the generation that lived through the first world war. All are present today in the generation that has lived through the Iraq and Afghan conflicts.[…]

Why WikiLeaks? Partly because we can. But, now as in the past, it is about a needless war and the governments that chose to fight it.”
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David Samuels, The Atlantic: The Shameful Attacks on Julian Assange

“It is dispiriting and upsetting for anyone who cares about the American tradition of a free press to see Eric Holder, Hillary Clinton and Robert Gibbs turn into H.R. Haldeman, John Erlichman and John Dean. We can only pray that we won’t soon be hit with secret White House tapes of Obama drinking scotch and slurring his words while calling Assange bad names.[…]

But the truly scandalous and shocking response to the Wikileaks documents has been that of other journalists, who make the Obama Administration sound like the ACLU.[…] It is a fact of the current media landscape that the chilling effect of threatened legal action routinely stops reporters and editors from pursuing stories that might serve the public interest – and anyone who says otherwise is either ignorant or lying. Every honest reporter and editor in America knows that the fact that most news organizations are broke, combined with the increasing threat of aggressive legal action by deep-pocketed entities, private and public, has made it much harder for good reporters to do their jobs, and ripped a hole in the delicate fabric that holds our democracy together.

In a memorandum entitled “Transparency and Open Government” addressed to the heads of Federal departments and agencies and posted on WhiteHouse.gov, President Obama instructed that “Transparency promotes accountability and provides information for citizens about what their Government is doing.” The Administration would be wise to heed his words — and to remember how badly the vindictive prosecution of Daniel Ellsberg ended for the Nixon Administration. And American reporters, Pulitzer Prizes and all, should be ashamed for joining in the outraged chorus that defends a burgeoning secret world whose existence is a threat to democracy.”
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Editorial, The Guardian: US embassy cables: Wiki witch-hunt

“There have been various suggestions as to what to do to Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, after a week in which his revelations have severely embarrassed US diplomacy. Tom Flanagan, a former aide to the Canadian prime minister, called for his assassination, and then regretted his glib remark. Mike Huckabee said that those found guilty of leaking the cables should be executed for putting national security at risk. You would expect a future Republican presidential candidate to say that. But a Democrat administration is close behind. A team from the justice department and the Pentagon are exploring whether to charge Mr Assange under the Espionage Act. The US attorney general, Eric Holder, has said this is not sabre-rattling. Are they all about to turn into minions of which Richard Nixon would have been proud?

More insidious than that was the complacent yawn emanating from from sections of the liberal commentariat for which freedom of information is a given. So what’s new about the Gulf Arab Sunnis wanting America or Israel to bomb Iran, or Colonel Gaddafi’s taste for blonde Ukrainian nurses, or Nicolas Sarkozy being described as mercurial and authoritarian, they sneer. Maybe for them, nothing is new. Would that we all could be so wise. But for large areas of the world which do not have the luxury of being able to criticise their governments, the revelations about the private thoughts of their own leaders are important.”
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Jay Rosen on Pressthink (video)

“While we have what purports to be a “watchdog press” we also have, laid out in front of us, the clear record of the watchdog press’s failure to do what is says it can do, which is to provide a check on power when it tries to conceal its deeds and its purpose. So I think it is a mistake to reckon with Wikileaks without including in the frame the spectacular failures of the watchdog press over the last 10, 20, 40 years, but especially recently. And so, without this legitimacy crisis in mainstream American journalism, the leakers might not be so inclined to trust Julian Assange and a shadowy organization like Wikileaks. When the United States is able to go to war behind a phony case, when something like that happens and the Congress is fooled and a fake case is presented to the United Nations and war follows and 100,000s of people die and the stated rationale turns out to be false, the legitimacy crisis extends from the Bush government itself to the American state as a whole and the American press and the international system because all of them failed at one of the most important things that government by consent can do: which is reason giving. I think these kind of huge cataclysmic events within the legitimacy regime lie in the background of the Wikileaks case, because if wasn’t for those things Wikileaks wouldn’t have the supporters it has, the leakers wouldn’t collaborate the way that they do and the moral force behind exposing what this government is doing just wouldn’t be there.”
Watch the video

Simon Jenkins, The Guardian: In this World Cup sewer, we reptiles of British journalism hold our heads high

“Yet journalism’s stock-in-trade is disclosure. As we have seen this week with WikiLeaks, power loathes truth revealed. Disclosure is messy and tests moral and legal boundaries. It is often irresponsible and usually embarrassing. But it is all that is left when regulation does nothing, politicians are cowed, lawyers fall silent and audit is polluted. Accountability can only default to disclosure. As Jefferson remarked, the press is the last best hope when democratic oversight fails, as it does in the case of most international bodies.

I found myself chastised this week for my defence of WikiLeaks, on the ground that thieves should not revel in their crime by demanding that victims be more careful with their property. But in matters of public policy who is thieving what from whom? The WikiLeaks material was left by a public body, the US state department, like a wallet open on a park bench, except that in this case the wallet was full of home truths about the mendacity of public policy.[…]

What is intriguing is the hysteria of power at seeing its inner beliefs and processes revealed. The denunciation of WikiLeaks as an “attack on America” from the political right is similar to the attitude of Britain’s football authorities towards the Sunday Times and the BBC. Someone had broken wind in church. Truth briefly swept aside the deceptions of public form and left reality exposed. The players in a once subtle game that had fallen to lying and cat-calling were suddenly told to stop, pull themselves together and look each other in the eye. As the great Donald Rumsfeld said, stuff happens. The air is cleared.[…]

So thank goodness for disclosure. Thank goodness for journalism.”
Read more

World Socialist Web Site: The persecution of WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange

Joseph Kishore writes on behalf of WSWS: “The American state, its spokesmen in the mass media, and its allies around the world are engaged in an international campaign of vilification and persecution against WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange.

This campaign has nothing to do with any supposed crime he has committed, since he has committed none. He is the target of an international manhunt for his role in lifting the lid on the lies and criminal operations of imperialist powers the world over—above all, in the United States.[…]

The persecution of Assange in an effort to silence this exposure is not simply a threat to one individual. The methods employed against WikiLeaks will be used against all opposition to the policies of the corporate and financial aristocracy.[…]

In the final analysis, the hysterical witch-hunt against Assange and WikiLeaks is not any sign of strength on the part of the American ruling elite and its state, but rather of fear and weakness. Intensely conscious of the crisis and instability of the political and economic system, they fear that revelations of state crimes will only fuel the inevitable eruption of mass working class opposition to their reactionary policies in the US and around the world. It is this emerging movement of social struggles on a global scale that must undertake an implacable defense of Assange, WikiLeaks and all those who seek to drag the crimes and conspiracies of imperialism into the light of day.”
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Robert Niles, Online Journalism Review: Wikileaks challenges journalists: Whose side are you on?

“I hope that Wikileaks, at the very least, encourages reporters to be more aggressive in challenging authority and working with sources to get information that officials, in government or industry, would prefer to keep from the public’s eyes.

Sources with government and industry want the truth to get to the public. If journalists do not provide the means to make that happen, alternate media such as Wikileaks will do it instead. Personally, as a citizen, I’m thankful for that.[…]

Reporters’ reaction to Wikileaks divides us into two camps: Those who want to see information get to the public, by whatever means, and those who want to control the means by which information flows. While it’s fine to want to be the reporter who always gets the scoop, I can’t support journalists who imply that the public’s better served by having stories go unreported than going through “Journalism-approved” channels.

If you’re upset with the way that Wikileaks is getting information to the public, then you’d better try harder to gather and publish that information yourself. (As Rosen suggested yesterday, we wouldn’t have Wikileaks if we had a functioning watchdog press.) And if you think that the public shouldn’t have information that the government wishes to withhold, might I suggest that you are in the wrong line of work?”
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Nikki Usher, Nieman Journalism Lab: Why WikiLeaks’ latest document dump makes everyone in journalism — and the public — a winner

“Imagine this: Look at what happens when mainstream news and whatever we want to call WikiLeaks work together. The forces are not in opposition but are united with a common goal — again, informing the public — and the result is that mainstream news can do what it does best thanks to the help of the information WikiLeaks provides. (But, of course, it couldn’t do it without WikiLeaks.) This is a moment of glory for all those who talk about crowdsourcing, user-generated content, and the like. Perhaps this is the ultimate form of users helping to create and shape the news. And the result is a better-informed public.

The takeaway here: Everyone in journalism — from its practitioners to its recipients — emerges from this data drop as a winner.”
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Dominique Cardon, Le Monde: En finir avec le culte du secret et de la raison d’Etat (End the cult of secrecy and reasons of state)

“Under the pretext of a tyranny of transparency, the affair WikiLeaks has reanimated in some the cult of secrecy and of reasons of state. One more revelation, and it will be the virtues of Machiavellian politics that will be rehabilitated, and, with them, this habit of protecting any and all acts on behalf of the discretionary “secret defence” power.[…]

It is however less the risk of transparency than that of opacity that threatens the communication of the economic and political powers today. The demand for inside information appears thus as a countereffect to the hypertrophy of communication strategies that clothe the discourse of power in a language increasingly artificial.

Whatever its origin, the abundance of data does not constitute a “conter-democracy” without the mobilization of communities of interpreters who can give it context, sense, narrative and visibility. Societal conversation demands greater and easier access to data, but it demands above all that the politics create a desire for conversation.”
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Rebecca MacKinnon, CNN: WikiLeaks, Amazon and the new threat to internet speech

“While Amazon was within its legal rights, the company has nonetheless sent a clear signal to its users: If you engage in controversial speech that some individual members of the U.S. government don’t like — even if there is a strong case to be made that your speech is constitutionally protected — Amazon is going to dump you at the first sign of trouble.

Let’s hope that there will always be other companies willing to stand up for our rights as enshrined both in the U.S. Constitution and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights — and by extension their right to do business with us.

The future of freedom in the internet age may well depend on whether we the people can succeed in holding companies that now act as arbiters of the public discourse accountable to the public interest.”
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Sofia Mirjamsdotter, Metro: Bara en diktatur kan förbjuda Wikileaks (Only a dictatorship would ban WikiLeaks)

“Either you believe in democracy and freedom of speech, or you do not. There is no middle position.

The internet allows for the collection and dissemination not only of innocent status updates from private individuals, but also, as in the case of WikiLeaks, of document addressing issues directly linked to world peace and war.

Every friend of democracy must appreciate this. Any person who believes in and advocates freedom of speech should encourage and cheer for this kind of use of the internet.

Democracy is back. And one of its tenets is that we must abide by the majority, even when the majority are wrong. Another is that we must allow all kinds of opinions, even those we disagree with. The alternative is that a few should be placed above all others, and that they should decide what is acceptable to say. Another word for that is dictatorship.”
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2010-12-03: WikiLeaks in today’s media: Cablegate coverage

Submitted by admin on Sat, 12/04/2010 – 01:29

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Conservatives promised to run ‘pro-American regime’

“Conservative party politicians lined up before the general election to promise that they would run a “pro-American regime” and buy more arms from the US if they came to power this year, the leaked American embassy cables show.[…]

The incoming Conservatives appear to have made some wide-ranging offers of political co-operation with the US. The cables detail a series of private meetings with Tory frontbenchers, many of whom are now in the cabinet.

Liam Fox, now the defence secretary, promised to buy American military equipment, while the current foreign secretary, William Hague, offered the ambassador a “pro-American” government. Hague also said the entire Conservative leadership were, like him, “staunchly Atlanticist” and “children of Thatcher”.”
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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables reveal how US manipulated climate accord

“Hidden behind the save-the-world rhetoric of the global climate change negotiations lies the mucky realpolitik: money and threats buy political support; spying and cyberwarfare are used to seek out leverage.

The US diplomatic cables reveal how the US seeks dirt on nations opposed to its approach to tackling global warming; how financial and other aid is used by countries to gain political backing; how distrust, broken promises and creative accounting dog negotiations; and how the US mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the controversial “Copenhagen accord”, the unofficial document that emerged from the ruins of the Copenhagen climate change summit in 2009.”
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Der Spiegel: “‘Operation Scorched Earth’: A US Hand in Yemen’s Civil War”

“Yemen is becoming an important refuge for al-Qaida terrorists, but authorities in the country are more interested in pursuing its war against Shiite rebels in the north. American weapons are used in the fight — and the US secretly pursues terrorists on their own.

His Excellency Ali Abdullah Saleh, the first and so far only president of the Republic of Yemen, ruler over 23 million inhabitants and 50 million firearms, is not a good man to have as an enemy — but having him as a friend is even worse. In Yemen he is called “The Boss.”

Since 2004, the boss has been fighting a ruthless war against the Houthi rebels in the north. They are Shiites — and politically marginalized. In August 2009, this conflict entered a new phase when the Yemeni army launched a new offensive designed to wipe out all Houthi resistance. The president categorically rejects negotiations with the rebels: “The war will never stop no matter how much money or martyrs it costs,” he said a year ago.”
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El Pais: The US executed a plan to create a law against downloads in Spain

“La Embajada de Estados Unidos en Madrid convirtió la lucha contra la piratería en Internet en una de las prioridades de su agenda en el periodo 2004-2010. Según se deduce de la lectura de más de 35 cables dedicados a la protección de los derechos de propiedad intelectual, las presiones empezaron a intensificarse a partir del año 2004, tras la llegada al Gobierno del socialista José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero y se vertebraron en torno a una lista negra, la Lista Especial 301 que elabora la oficina de Comercio estadounidense.

Ante la falta de resultados en esos primeros años, diseñaron en 2007 una minuciosa hoja de ruta que incluía encuentros con ministros, secretarios de Estado y mandos intermedios de los departamentos de Cultura e Industria.”
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Le Monde: WikiLeaks : les Etats-Unis en première ligne dans la lutte contre Al-Qaida au Yémen

“Qui mène la guerre contre Al-Qaida pour la péninsule arabique (AQPA), cette “filiale” créée au début de l’année 2009 et retranchée dans les confins du Yémen ? Officiellement, ce sont les forces de sécurité yéménites en coopération avec les Etats-Unis qui s’inquiètent depuis 2000 et l’attaque meurtrière à Aden contre un bâtiment de guerre de leur marine, le Cole, de la présence de djihadistes aguerris dans les camps afghans.

Le rôle américain est cependant bien plus important, comme en témoignent les notes diplomatiques obtenues par WikiLeaks et révélées par Le Monde, même s’il est tenu secret compte tenu de l’animosité que suscitent les Etats-Unis dans le pays.”
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The Guardian: Diplomatic cables: Gaddafi risked nuclear disaster after UN slight

“A potential “environmental disaster” was kept secret by the US last year when a large consignment of highly enriched uranium in Libya came close to cracking open and leaking radioactive material into the atmosphere.

The incident came after the mercurial Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, suddenly went back on a promise to dispose of the weapons-grade uranium, apparently out of pique at a diplomatic slight received in New York when he was barred from pitching a tent outside the UN.”
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Der Spiegel: America’s ‘Iran Watchers’: A Coordinated Effort to Get Information about Tehran

“In 2006, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice realized that Washington needed to know a lot more about Iran. Since then, observation posts in surrounding countries have been supplying information, including rumors of a slap for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

In no other country in the Middle East were US diplomats as well sourced as they were in Iran — yet in no other country were they as off target. The fact that they didn’t see the Islamic Revolution coming in 1979 — that they didn’t even see it as a possibility — surely ranks among the biggest intelligence misjudgements in the history of US foreign policy. Even today, the painful effects of this failure can still be felt.”
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El Pais: Chavez buys loyalty inside the Bolivian government

“Venezuela ha creado una estructura de asesores y lealtades compradas en Bolivia que provoca los recelos de los círculos más fieles a Evo Morales. En el mismo sentido, algunos jefes del Ejército dudan de la verdadera lealtad de las tropas, según informan los diplomáticos estadounidenses en La Paz a Washington.

El principal punto de fricción viene de los intentos del Gobierno de emplear al Ejército como fuerza policial, algo a lo que los uniformados se oponen. En sus informaciones internas Washington cree posible que en el caso de que el Ejército recibiera una orden de Morales en este sentido, podría dividirse con una facción, que recibe pagos de Caracas, que no obedecería a sus mandos. “Aunque los bonus venezolanos han cimentado algunas lealtades, también han creado mucho resentimiento entre los rangos medios y bajos al costo significativo de legitimidad para el alto mando”, subraya un texto.”
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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Yemen offered US ‘open door’ to attack al-Qaida on its soil

“The president of Yemen secretly offered US forces unrestricted access to his territory to conduct unilateral strikes against al-Qaida terrorist targets, the leaked US embassy cables reveal.

In a move that risked outraging local and Arab opinion, Ali Abdullah Saleh told Barack Obama’s deputy national security adviser, John Brennan, in September 2009: “I have given you an open door on terrorism. so I am not responsible,” according to a secret dispatch back to Washington

In reality, despite the offer of an “open door”, Yemen has restricted access for US forces in order to avoid playing into the hands of Saleh’s domestic critics.”
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El Pais: Van Rompuy: “Copenhagen was a disaster. The climate treaty won’t work.”

“La frustración por el fracaso de la Cumbre del Clima de Copenhague recorrió las Embajadas de toda Europa. Pese a que el discurso oficial de los delegados europeos era que el acuerdo alcanzado allí tenía elementos positivos, los cables confidenciales de la diplomacia de EE UU obtenidos por Wikileaks y analizados por este diario revelan lo contrario: decepción por el pacto, enfado con EE UU y con China y poca fe en que la negociación internacional contra el cambio climático en la ONU llegue algún día a buen puerto. El más claro es el presidente del Consejo Europeo, el belga Herman Van Rompuy. Este, según un cable confidencial de la Embajada de Bruselas a Washington fechado el pasado 4 de enero, confesó al embajador en Bruselas que Copenhague fue “un desastre increíble”, y añadió: “Las cumbres multilaterales no funcionarán”.”
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Le Monde: WikiLeaks : la loi Hadopi intéresse au plus haut point Washington

“L’ambassade des Etats-Unis à Paris s’est intéressée de très près à la loi Hadopi (qui sanctionne les internautes coupables de téléchargements illicites), car en France, comme ailleurs, la majorité de la musique et des films piratés sont américains.
Les diplomates ont d’abord suivi les diverses péripéties parlementaires autour du projet de loi avec étonnement, qualifiant le comportement des députés français de “théâtre de l’absurde”. Ils sont alors entrés en relation avec un conseiller juridique du ministre de la culture, qui leur racontait le cheminement du projet et tentait de les rassurer sur la victoire finale.

L’ambassade travaillait aussi en liaison constante avec les grandes associations de l’industrie américaine du show business, notamment la MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) et la RIA (Recording Industry Association). Le vote de la loi Hadopi était pour elles une “priorité très importante”, d’autant qu’elle pourrait servir d’exemple aux autres pays européens.”
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2010-12-03: Cablegate: Censorship and freedom in unlikely places [Update 1]

Submitted by admin on Fri, 12/03/2010 – 17:57

France: The French minister for industry, energy and digital economy, Eric Besson, wrote to CGIET, the body governing internet use, to ask that hosting for WikiLeaks in France be terminated, reports Libération. WikiLeaks has been partly hosted by French provider OVH since December 2nd, after Amazon cancelled its hosting service under political pressure from Sen. Lieberman’s office.

Besson wrote that “The situation is unacceptable. France cannot host websites that violate diplomatic relations secrecy and endanger persons protected by diplomatic confidentiality. We cannot host sites that have been called criminal and rejected by other countries on the basis of harm to national rights.” One would be tempted to ask Mr. Besson whether he is suggesting that Le Monde cannot be hosted in France either, seeing as how the paper has published exactly the same material as WikiLeaks.

OVH however did not bow to the pressure, responding in a letter that it will refer the issue of the legality of hosting WikiLeaks to a judge, and that “it was not up to the politicians or OVH to request or decide the closure of the site.”

Pakistan: The Lahore High Court on Friday dismissed a petition seeking a ban on the Wikileaks website. The petition argued that “since Pakistan had good bilateral relations with a number of countries, particularly Saudi Arabia, the leakage of secret information would adversely affect these ties,” reports Pakistan Dawn

High Court Justice Sheikh Azmat Saeed dismissed the petition, calling it non-maintainable. “We must bear the truth, no matter how harmful it is,” Justice Saeed was quoted as saying.

Russia: While the Washington Times prominently featured an op-ed by Jeffrey T. Kuhner titled “Assassinate Assange,” Pravda‘s legal editor David R. Hoffman argues for transparency and a free press:

“And we see many right-wing commentators demanding that Assange be hunted down, with some even calling for his murder, on the grounds that he may have endangered lives by releasing confidential government documents.

Yet, for the right-wing, this apparently was not a concern when the late columnist Robert Novak “outed” CIA agent Valerie Plame after her husband Joseph Wilson authored an OP-ED piece in The New York Times criticizing the motivations for waging war against Iraq. Even though there was evidence of involvement within the highest echelons of the Bush dictatorship, only one person, Lewis “Scooter” Libby, was indicted and convicted of “outing” Plame to Novak. And, despite the fact that this “outing” potentially endangered the lives of Plame’s overseas contacts, Bush commuted Libby’s thirty-month prison sentence, calling it “excessive.”

Why the disparity? The answer is simple: The Plame “outing” served the interests of the military-industrial complex and helped to conceal the Bush dictatorship’s lies, tortures and war crimes, while Wikileaks not only exposed such evils, but also revealed how Obama’s administration, and Obama himself, are little more than “snake oil” merchants pontificating about government accountability while undermining it at every turn.[…]

And damn the right-wing outrage over the Wikileaks revelations. It is the American people who should be outraged that its government has transformed a nation with a reputation for freedom, justice, tolerance and respect for human rights into a backwater that revels in its criminality, cover-ups, injustices and hypocrisies.

So savor the Wikileaks documents while you can, because soon they’ll be gone. And for the government criminals of the world, and for those who protect them, it will again be business as usual.”

United States: We have already covered Amazon, Tableau and EveryDNS dropping WikiLeaks services, and at least the first two clearly linked to political pressure. It had been already reported that the State Department had prohibited its staff from accessing WikiLeaks, but now we learn that it went as far as to warn prospective student interns to “NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter.”

And in an even more surprising development, Talking Points Memo reports that the Library of Congress has blocked access to the Wikileaks site on its staff computers and on the wireless network that visitors use.

If something looks wrong with this picture, it probably is.

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2 Responses to “2010-12-04: Reporters Sans Frontières statement on WikiLeaks”

  1. nerds on site…

    […]2010-12-04: Reporters Sans Frontières statement on WikiLeaks « Media Guerrilla[…]…

  2. Good way of explaining, and nice article to get
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