December 23, 2010

Wikileaks UPDATES (2010-12-23): More Re- Manning, Lamo, Moore, & More

A couple of good tweets from the last 24 hrs.:

@GregMitch: I'm live-blogging WikiLeaks news & views again, on day 25 of "Greg Mitchell Held Hostage."

and

@ggreenwald: Simultaneously advocating government transparency and individual privacy isn't hypocritical or inconsistent; it's a key for basic liberty.

For those who prefer their news re- what WL has brought us in cartoon form, The 12 Days of Wikileaks provides a partial list and is accompanied by a transcript with links to the stories mentioned.

The EFF has posted a frightening reminder that the drive to throttle WL continues and of the ease with which the powerful can silence dissidents: "Wikileaks Mirror Taken Down: Host Buckles Under Demands from Upstream Provider." SiteGround required removal of the WL files on the user's site as a condition to reinstatement of his account because, it said, "a future DDOS attack might violate its terms of use" (emphasis supplied). Of course, any such attack would most likely be mounted by the US government or others embarrassed by WL's publications. EFF notes, "your speech online is only as free as [your] weakest intermediary"; and "[i]f intermediaries are willing to use the potential for future DDOS attacks as a reason to cut off users, they can cut off anyone for anything."

Excellent investigation of the conditions under which the Army private suspected of leaking the cables to WL is being held, at Firedoglake. The United Nations' top anti-torture envoy is now looking into a complaint that Manning is being mistreated; more at AP. FDL also has a great Manning-Wikileaks timeline. UPDATE: As of 2010-12-28, inconsistencies in Adrian Lamo's story about his contacts with Manning, unearthed through some great analysis at FDL, have continued to multiply; meanwhile, Wired's Kevin Poulsen continues to refuse to release the full texts of Lamo's internet chats with Manning. FDL has now also added a compilation of key Manning-related articles, here.

From The Guardian re- revelations of State Dept. preoccupation with screenings of Michael Moore's films in other countries:

After a leaked cable from US diplomats in Havana falsely claimed Cuba had banned Moore's documentary Sicko – when in fact it was shown on state television – another cable reveals US officials flying into a panic after hearing a rumour that a New Zealand cabinet minister was hosting a screening of Moore's film Fahrenheit 9/11. . . . the classified cable from the US embassy in Wellington in 2003 . . . breathlessly report[s] a series of calls to the New Zealand prime minister's office . . . .
More at the foregoing link and at MichaelMoore.com.

"According to Domain Name Wire, the [Bank of America] has been aggressively registering domain names including its board of directors' and senior executives' names followed by 'sucks' and 'blows.' For example, the company registered a number of domains for CEO Brian Moynihan: BrianMoynihanBlows.com, BrianMoynihanSucks.com, BrianTMoynihanBlows.com, and BrianTMoynihanSucks.com." Emphasis supplied; more here. Sounds like bank regulators should take a closer look, regardless of what WL may or may not be preparing to release.

WaPo reports that the CIA has launched a task force "to examine whether the latest release of [US Embassy Cables by WL] might affect the agency's foreign relationships or operations":
Officially, the panel is called the WikiLeaks Task Force. But at CIA headquarters, it's mainly known by its all-too-apt acronym: W.T.F.

* * * * *
To some agency veterans, WikiLeaks has vindicated the CIA's long-standing aversion to sharing secrets with other government agencies, a posture that came under sharp criticism after it was identified as a factor that contributed to the nation's failure to prevent the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001.
Emphasis supplied; more at the link. Evidently, those intelligence agency veterans haven't actually bothered to read Assange's own writings.

Wikileaks plans to release a cache of documents concerning Israel within the next six months. More here.

Statement from the U.N. on WL here. It reiterates principles re- freedom of expression and access to info possessed by public officials vs. secrecy where there's a risk of substantial harm and journalistic responsibility, without making any factual findings or reaching any conclusions re- particular cases.

Excellent editorial at El Pais regarding its decision to publish info from the cables. Here are a few quotes; but the whole thing's well worthwhile:
We must not lose sight of the fact that the important thing about the WikiLeaks revelations are the revelations themselves . . . .

* * * * *
I believe that the global interest sparked by the WikiLeaks papers is mainly due to the simple but very powerful fact that they conclusively reveal the extent to which politicians in the advanced Western democracies have been lying to their citizens.

* * * * *
Tens of thousands of soldiers are fighting a war in Afghanistan that their respective leaders know is not winnable. Tens of thousands of soldiers are shoring up a government known around the world to be corrupt, but which is tolerated by those who sent the soldiers there in the first place. The WikiLeaks cables show that none of the Western powers believes that Afghanistan can become a credible nation in the medium term, and much less become a viable democracy . . . .

* * * * *
Even the least attentive observer cannot fail to be shocked by the maneuvers to shut down three investigations by the High Court that affected the United States . . . . It was equally aggressive in trying to derail Spanish judicial inquiries into torture at Guant√°namo, the CIA's kidnapping of suspected Islamic militants, and the killing by US troops in Iraq of a Spanish cameraman in 2003. . . . We have also seen how US diplomats in Berlin warned the German government of the serious consequences of bringing charges against CIA agents accused of kidnapping Khaled El-Masri, a German citizen who was abducted and taken to Afghanistan where he was tortured. El-Masri was then dumped in Albania when it was realized they had the wrong man. Kidnapping and torture are serious crimes. For US diplomats to pressure an ally to prevent suspects from being investigated is unacceptable, and trashes the idea that those diplomats are just doing their job.

* * * * *
I am aware that publishing this information contrary to the wishes of my government has involved certain risks. But I am also aware that by publishing this detailed account of what our governments get up to in our name has made a contribution to the empowering of voters, and will hopefully strengthen their will to improve our democracy.

* * * * *
Our obligations definitely do not . . . include protecting governments and the powerful in general from embarrassing revelations.

Emphasis supplied; more at the link.

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