quote:Wikileaks Pairs with Anonymous to Publish Intelligence Firm’s Dirty Laundry
In an unprecedented collaboration between Anonymous and WikiLeaks, the secret spilling site began leaking Sunday night portions of a massive trove of e-mails from the private intelligence firm Stratfor that Anonymous obtained by hacking the company in December.
WikiLeaks did not mention the source of the reported five gigabytes of e-mails in its press release, but did say it has been working for months with 25 media outlets from around the world to analyze the documents.
The first batch of leaked e-mails purport to show that Stratfor monitored the political prankster group known as The Yes Men on behalf of Dow Chemical, which has been targeted by The Yes Men over the company’s handling of the Bhopal disaster. The e-mails also purport to show Stratfor’s attempt to set up an investment fund with a Goldman Sachs director to trade on the intelligence Stratfor collects, as well as give insight into how the private intelligence firm acquires, and sometimes pays for, information.
Stratfor, which bills itself as a private intelligence organization, sells its analyses of global politics to major corporations and government agencies.
Members of Anonymous with direct knowledge of the hack and transfer of data to WikiLeaks told Wired that the group decided to turn the information over to WikiLeaks because the site was more capable of analyzing and spreading the leaked information than Anonymous would be.
“WikiLeaks has great means to publish and disclose,” the anon told Wired. “Also, they work together with media in a way we don’t.”
“Basically, WL is the ideal partner for such stuff,” the anon continued. “Antisec acquires the shit, WL gets it released in a proper manner.” Antisec is the arm of Anonymous that is known for hacking into servers.
According to Antisec participants, Stratfor was targeted not just for its poor security, but also because of its client list, which includes major companies and government entities.
“We believe police and employees who work for the most significant fortune 500 companies are the most responsible for perpetuating the machinery of capitalism and the state,” said one Antisec participant in December, “That there will be repercussions for when you choose to betray the people and side with the rich ruling classes.”
Anons also told Wired that future collaborations with WikiLeaks could involve a series of hacks that will be announced, one after another, every Friday for the foreseeable future. If that happens, the Stratfor e-mail release could be the first sign of a new, powerful alliance between the two groups, each of which has vexed and angered the world’s most powerful governments and corporations.
When WikiLeaks received the documents on a server it controlled, it acknowledged the successful transfer with a coded, public Tweet, according to an anon with direct knowledge of the collaboration.
A document provided to Wired that could not be authenticated indicated that the media partners of WikiLeaks agreed to parcel out stories on the leaks over the coming week and a half. Those media partners do not include previous partners such as the Guardian and U.S. partners The New York Times and the Washington Post.
According to the document, e-mails about WikiLeaks and Anonymous will be disclosed Wednesday, followed by separate disclosures on Italy, the Middle East and then Asian countries including Pakistan, Afghanistan and India, among others. The project, code-named Rock Guitar, is officially named “The Global Intelligence Files.”
Stratfor had been aware that the e-mails would likely be published in some form by Anonymous, but said in January that the e-mails should not embarrass the company.
The collaboration between WikiLeaks and Anonymous is an odd couple pairing. WikiLeaks has largely crumbled over the last 18 months, due to internal disagreements over the management style and legal problems of its outspoken leader Julian Assange. By contrast, Anonymous is an amorphous group with no leadership structure.
If Anonymous continues feeding WikiLeaks with documents, the secret spilling site could return to a prominence that seemed lost due to technical difficulties, legal troubles, in-fighting and public fallings out with media partners in the wake of the site’s publication of a massive trove of U.S. documents in 2010 and 2011.
WikiLeaks’s alleged source for those documents, Pfc. Bradley Manning, is facing a U.S. army court martial and a possible sentence of life imprisonment.
As for how the collaboration between the two groups went, an anon with direct knowledge of it indicated that the new relationship had some tough moments.
“There were some natural tensions as usually can happen inside partnership,” the anon said. ”I hope this was only the beginning of a beautiful relationship.”
quote:prosecutors have drawn up secret charges against the WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, according to a confidential email obtained from the private US intelligence company Stratfor.
In an internal email to Stratfor analysts on January 26 last year, the vice-president of intelligence, Fred Burton, responded to a media report concerning US investigations targeting WikiLeaks with the comment: ''We have a sealed indictment on Assange.''
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He underlined the sensitivity of the information - apparently obtained from a US government source - with warnings to ''Pls [please] protect'' and ''Not for pub[lication]''.
Mr Burton is well known as an expert on security and counterterrorism with close ties to the US intelligence and law enforcement agencies. He is the former deputy chief of the counter-terrorism division of the US State Department's diplomatic security service.
Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/tec(...)o.html#ixzz1ngL6LvCN
quote:Sweden will grant extradition of Assange to US if not stopped by international political pressure
UNITED States prosecutors have drawn up secret charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, according to a confidential internal email obtained from a private US intelligence company, Stratfor.
The perils posed by these revelations on a prospective indictment, makes urgent to re-consider political issues of the situation Julian Assange would face now in Sweden, in case been extradited there. In spite of Sweden’s official silence, and the denial by the mainstream media articles, the extradition of political prisoners in Sweden is ultimately decided at a political level. Ergo, the risks for an extradition of the Wikileaks founder to USA - in case it will be requested - cannot be assessed solely attending to juridical arguments.
According to a recent interview with Julian Assange and lawyers Jennifer Robinson and Geoffrey Robertson , the USA shall most certain seek the extradition of the Wikileaks founder. The reason - as mentioned in the interview - being that a US Grand Jury investigation has been on-going in Washington since last year - preparing aggravating charges on espionage. Such charges, most likely in connection with the Wikileaks Pentagon-disclosures, would entail for Julian Assange "up to ten-years in a maximum security prison", according to the legal experts. Meanwhile, a recurrent misconception - or deliberately misinformation - published in the international media, is to consider the deportation of Julian Assange from Sweden to the USA as, statistically speaking, "highly unlikely".
But facts reveal the contrary: Regarding the open extradition requests from the USA since 2000, Sweden has granted such extradition in the TOTAL OF CASES in which the prisoner was in Swedish territory. This is based in statistics according to Sweden's Justice Ministry (see below section "The myth on that Assange's extradition from Sweden to US is not likely").
I put forward the above also in a brief interview conducted at the Royal Court's premises in London on December 5th, after the verdict on the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's appeal to the Supreme Court [Click on this Youtube link for this brief "interview"]:
It is exactly this risk of extradition/rendition to the USA from the part of Swedish officials that made Julian Assange reluctant to come to Sweden (after the Swedish extradition request and the smear campaign that ensued in Sweden). I also refer the reader to the post This is Why, in which the reasons for this apparently Swedish revenge are summarized. This analysis was previously treated in the Professors blogg's article "Sweden will grant extradition of Julian Assange to US if not stopped by international political pressure NOW"
quote:Senator Scott Ludlam asks the Prime Minister what the Government knew about the US sealed Grand Duty indictment against Julian Assange
Senator LUDLAM (Western Australia) (14:19): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Evans. I refer to reports in the Fairfax press this morning that Stratfor, a Texas based private intelligence firm, has known for more than a year of the existence of a sealed indictment from a secret grand jury against Australian citizen and journalist Julian Assange. Did our ally the United States give the Prime Minister the courtesy of a disclosure and, if so, when? Or did she read it in the papers along with the rest of us? Minister, for how long has the Prime Minister known of the existence of this sealed indictment?
Assange: 'They want to destroy us'quote:Financial power is also a power that controls the world. You announced the release of documents about a major bank, but those files never materialised. Where did they end up?
"One you are probably referring to is documents about the Bank of America".
So you confirm it was Bank of America.
Were those documents relevant?
"We had done only a preliminary review, they included all the things that were being discussed in the executive level within the Bank of America. Material was from an executive member of the Bank of America. A former WikiLeaks volunteer, Daniel Domscheit Berg, was entrusted to look after the Bank of America material and he appears to have destroyed that material. We engaged in a year long legal negotiation to attempt to get it back with the intermediaries and unfortunately we were not successul, we can only hope now that the original source do has some material and release it".
Laatste alinea, wat een inteelt bendequote:WikiLeaks: More Evidence of Monsanto's Bullying and Influence-Buying
The latest revelations from WikiLeaks confirm Monsanto’s continuing efforts to influence governments worldwide to rule in its favor and punish those who won’t.
A cable written in 2007 and released recently by WikiLeaks confirmed the company’s important influence at the very highest levels of the U.S. government. Authored by Craig Stapleton, a friend and business partner of then-president George Bush, the cable outlined a response to resistance from various members of the European Union to adopting GM (genetically modified) crops. At issue specifically was France’s move to ban Monsanto’s GM corn variety:
. Country team Paris [Stapleton’s code name] recommends that we calibrate a target retaliation list that causes some pain across the EU since this [resistance] is a collective responsibility, but that also focuses in part on the worst culprits. [Emphasis added.]
The list should be measured rather than vicious and must be sustainable over the long term, since we should not expect an early victory. Moving to retaliation will make clear that the current path [of resistance to the adoption of GM crops] has real costs to EU interests and could help strengthen European pro-biotech [pro-GM] voices.
Other leaked cables documented attempts to influence the Pope himself, who was resistant to supporting GM crops. From the U.S. State Department came this effort to influence the Pope: “…[name blacked out] met with U.S. monsignor Fr. Michael Osborn of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum, offering a chance to push the Vatican on biotech issues…” Another cable said: “Opportunities exist to press the issue with the Vatican and in turn to influence a wide segment of the population in Europe and the developing world.”
These illustrated obvious attempts to work around many Catholic priests who oppose GM crops as being potentially dangerous not only to the health of human beings but to the environment as well. For instance, a prominent member of the Vatican, Cardinal Peter Turkson, said that genetically-modified crops are a “new form of slavery,” referring to the “suicide belt of India” where thousands of farmers are committing suicide in desperation over being unable to repay debts incurred to purchase GM seeds.
Anthony Gucciardi, writing for NaturalSociety.com, stated,
. Monsanto has undoubtedly infiltrated the United States government in order to push their health-endangering agenda, and this has been known long before the release of these WikiLeaks cables. The U.S. is the only place where Monsanto’s synthetic hormone Posilac is still used in roughly 1/3 of all cows, with 27 nations banning the substance over legitimate health concerns.
Monsanto’s bullying tactics in protecting its patents on its GM seeds are legendary, but are only the tip of the iceberg of the company's attempts to influence policy worldwide. The government of India has filed several lawsuits against Monsanto, while Canada has had its own difficulties with the corporation. The company paid contractors to dump thousands of tons of highly toxic waste in UK landfill sites, knowing both that it was illegal to do so and that these chemicals were “liable to contaminate wildlife and people.”
In January, 2005, Monsanto paid a fine for bribing an Indonesian official to avoid an environmental impact assessment on its GM cotton. In 2007 the company was fined in France for misleading advertising about its product Roundup. In Germany Monsanto’s attempt to breed GM pigs failed due to overwhelming public outcries. In the United States Monsanto continues its attempt to prohibit dairies from advertising that their cows are not injected with the company’s artificial bovine growth hormone.
And so on. What Monsanto has discovered, and has refined over the years, is that it is more profitable to influence legislation in its favor than to compete in a free market. With friends in high places — including Craig Stapleton, Justice Clarence Thomas (who worked for Monsanto in the ‘70s), Michael Taylor (who worked for the Food and Drug Administration, then moved to a law firm that had Monsanto as a client, and then was appointed to the FDA by President Obama in 2009), Michael Friedman (who worked at the FDA and now is a VP at Monsanto), Linda Fisher (who was initially employed by the Environmental Protection Agency and the moved to Monsanto as a VP, and then returned to the EPA in 2001), and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (who served as chairman and CEO of G.D. Searle which Monsanto purchased in 1985, putting at least $12 million into his pocket in the process) — Monsanto has developed crony-capitalism into a high art form. WikiLeaks just confirmed it.
quote:Top 5 Stratfor Revelations
Wikileaks is publishing internal memos of the Stratfor security analysis firm. A few tidbits have emerged in these very early days, to wit:
En de Russen durfden nog stellig te beweren dat ze achter Iran stonden in de strijd tegen het westen + Israel?quote:4. Russia sold weapons to Iran but turned around and gave their security codes to Israel.
quote:Wikileaks: The IMF’s Fault for Balkan Wars
The International Monetary Fund is partly to blame for wars in former Yugoslavia, according to Stratfor document published by Wikileaks.
Wikileaks made public on Thursday the internal guidelines that the global intelligence company Stratfor issues to its analysts in the field.
In the document from 2009, titled Europe Analytical Guidance, Stratfor alerts its analysts to watch out for any possible riots occurring due to economic crises, since the current situation in Balkans is complex and multifaceted.
“Do not forget, the IMF austerity measures imposed on Yugoslavia were in part to blame for the start of the war there. We need to be aware of any economically motivated social discontent,” document states.
Analysts should pay attention to any possible protest and union activity since, according to Stratfor, the protests by Albanian unions inflamed further conflicts.
“Remember, it was the strikes by the Albanian miners in Kosovo back in the 1980s that in a way moved the region towards conflagration,” states the document.
When it comes to possible conflicts and security issues, the report finds Bosnia and Herzegovina most critical. “Any split developing in the Croatian-Muslim federation is key,” it states.
According to the e-mails from Stratfor revealed by Wikileaks, several journalists from the Balkan media have been working for this intelligence agency, including Veran Matic, head of the Belgrade based media B92, and Bosko Jaksic of Politika newspaper.
Stratfor’s computers were apparently invaded last year by the hacker group Anonymous, which revealed personal information of Stratfor’s customers.
It seems likely that the files and e-mails released by WikiLeaks came from that intrusion, though WikiLeaks is not disclosing its sources.
quote:Uniforms and WikiLeaks in the Discussion of the Anwar al-Awlaki Killing
This panel discussion between former State Department spokesperson PJ Crowley, former Gitmo Chief Prosecutor Colonel Morris Davis, and ACLU’s Jameel Jaffer is one of the more nuanced, interesting discussions on the Anwar al-Awlaki killing. Not surprisingly, it was shown on Al Jazeera English, not, say, NBC.
One highlight, for me, came when Davis pointed out that the CIA, not JSOC, had targeted Awlaki. That’s significant because it effectively made whoever pulled the trigger an unlawful enemy combatant, just as Omar Khadr was (the government argued in his military commission) for engaging in hostilities without wearing a uniform. Of course, Davis ended the discussion by noting that we’re the big kid on the block, so we’ll never be held accountable for the things we prosecute others for.
More interesting still came when PJ Crowley cited this WikiLeaks cable, reporting on a January 2, 2010 meeting between Ali Abdullah Saleh and David Petraeus back in his CentCom days, to show that Yemen was secretly supporting us on drone strikes, including the one that targeted Awlaki on December 24, 2009 (well before, it should be noted, the OLC had authorized his killing).
. AQAP STRIKES: CONCERN FOR CIVILIAN CASUALTIES ———————————————
Â4.(S/NF) Saleh praised the December 17 and 24 strikes against AQAP but said that “mistakes were made” in the killing of civilians in Abyan. The General responded that the only civilians killed were the wife and two children of an AQAP operative at the site, prompting Saleh to plunge into a lengthy and confusing aside with Deputy Prime Minister Alimi and Minister of Defense Ali regarding the number of terrorists versus civilians killed in the strike. (Comment: Saleh’s conversation on the civilian casualties suggests he has not been well briefed by his advisors on the strike in Abyan, a site that the ROYG has been unable to access to determine with any certainty the level of collateral damage. End Comment.) AQAP leader Nassr al-Wahishi and extremist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki may still be alive, Saleh said, but the December strikes had already caused al-Qaeda operatives to turn themselves in to authorities and residents in affected areas to deny refuge to al-Qaeda. Saleh raised the issue of the Saudi Government and Jawf governorate tribal sheikh Amin al-Okimi, a subject that is being reported through other channels.
SHIFTING AIRSTRIKE STRATEGIES
Â5.(S/NF) President Obama has approved providing U.S. intelligence in support of ROYG ground operations against AQAP targets, General Petraeus informed Saleh. Saleh reacted coolly, however, to the General’s proposal to place USG personnel inside the area of operations armed with real-time, direct feed intelligence from U.S. ISR platforms overhead. “You cannot enter the operations area and you must stay in the joint operations center,” Saleh responded. Any U.S. casualties in strikes against AQAP would harm future efforts, Saleh asserted. Saleh did not have any objection, however, to General Petraeus’ proposal to move away from the use of cruise missiles and instead have U.S. fixed-wing bombers circle outside Yemeni territory, “out of sight,” and engage AQAP targets when actionable intelligence became available. Saleh lamented the use of cruise missiles that are “not very accurate” and welcomed the use of aircraft-deployed precision-guided bombs instead. “We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours,” Saleh said, prompting Deputy Prime Minister Alimi to joke that he had just “lied” by telling Parliament that the bombs in Arhab, Abyan, and Shebwa were American-made but deployed by the ROYG.
I find Crowley’s citation of it notable because, while as State Department spokesperson, he strongly argued for the humane treatment of Bradley Manning (and got fired for it), he also routinely criticized the WikiLeaks leaks of State Department cables.
Yet even he now finds himself relying on them to try to understand what the government did when it targeted an American citizen. And Crowley does so while calling for more transparency from the Administration.
Details about Yemen’s role is, of course, one of the things the Administration invoked state secrets to hide back in 2010. But it is also now widely known and crucial to discussions of whether the attack on Awlaki was legal or not.
I can think of few better examples of how the Administration’s own secrecy encourages not just the leaking of classified information, but the validation of those leaks. In a democracy, the Administration has an obligation to share a reasonable explanation about its claims that it can kill American citizens with no court review. In the absence of fulfilling that obligation, citizens will get that information one way or another.
The Administration’s stonewalling on the Awlaki killing only serves to make leaks more necessary and justified. No matter how many whistleblowers it tries to prosecute to deny that fact.
quote:US denies Stratfor bin Laden body claim
A senior US State Department official has denied that Osama bin Laden's body was flown to the United States and not buried at sea, as the official account said.
The Pentagon considers "false and fairly ridiculous" the information contained in a leaked email from private intelligence firm Stratfor, Acting Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs Mike Hammer said on Thursday in the department's first press briefing in Spanish.
The email was among the 5 million Stratfor documents obtained by WikiLeaks and disseminated late last month.
Washington insists the body was buried at sea following traditional Islamic procedures after he was killed during a May 2, 2011, US special forces raid on a compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.
One of the emails sent by Stratfor Vice-President Fred Burton described bin Laden's body as "bound for Dover, DE on CIA plane", while a subsequent message said the remains went "onward to the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Bethesda (Maryland)".
Burton was formerly a special agent with the US Diplomatic Security Service.
WikiLeaks has begun to release 5 million Stratfor emails from the period between July 2004 and the end of December 2011 to denounce the espionage operations for which the Texas intelligence firm was contracted by companies and governments.
quote:UK in temporary truce with WikiLeaks after 2010 condemnation
The British government is ironically using WikiLeaks where it serves London’s interests and condemning the website where it threatens to expose the Downing Street.
WikiLeaks said on its Twitter webpage on Thursday that an official inquiry, tasked by British Prime Minister David Cameron with looking into the culture and ethics of the British media with a focus on the News of the World phone hacking fiasco, has asked the website for related information.
“Leveson Inquiry has asked WikiLeaks for a submission on corruption in the UK press. We have submitted over 100 pages,” a WikiLeaks Tweet read.
This comes as Cameron’s office condemned WikiLeaks back in November 2010 for publishing the huge collection of military records that led to the US diplomatic cables leak, named the biggest leak in intelligence history.
“Clearly, we condemn the unauthorised release of classified information. The leaks and their publication are damaging to national security in the United States and in Britain and elsewhere. It’s important governments are able to operate on the basis of confidentiality of information,” a Downing Street spokesman said at the time.
Following the disclosure, the government also asked media outlets to inform the government before publishing any material exposed by WikiLeaks that may be damaging to the government.
WikiLeaks said on its Twitter page on Friday November 26, 2010 that the Downing Street has issued D-notices to British media to watch what they publish.
quote:Stratfor CEO: WikiLeaks ‘makes war more likely’
AUSTIN, TEXAS — Speaking to an audience on Tuesday at this year’s South by Southwest convention, Strategic Forecasting CEO George Friedman suggested that by publishing archives of U.S. diplomatic cables, the anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks actually “makes war more likely.”
And in a surprising claim, Friedman added that his company tended to engage in an “orgy of speculation” following major world events — such as the killing of Osama bin Laden and the possibility of a sealed grand jury indictment against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange — which is why Stratfor never published that information: because, he said, those claims are simply not true.
Friedman’s speech Tuesday marked the first time he has spoken in public about a devastating hack his company suffered at the end of 2011, which resulted in their entire email archives landing in the possession of WikiLeaks.
Opening his talk, Friedman was almost immediately interrupted by two activists with Occupy Austin, who “mic checked” him and offered the crowd a message about how Stratfor worked as a private spy agency on behalf of wealthy corporations. The crowd reacted negatively to the protesters, booing them loudly. Friedman quickly fell silent, waiting for security to usher them outside.
Continuing, he said that the hack on Stratfor was so completely thorough that their servers were “completely destroyed,” and that even he does not have a copy of the company’s emails anymore.
“I plan to ask the FBI to give me [a copy],” Friedman quipped.
He went on to suggest that hackers who attacked Stratfor had simply done it “for the lulz,” which Friedman called a “nihilistic” concept that he worried may be gaining traction on today’s Internet.
That led him to WikiLeaks, which he claimed to be inflating Stratfor’s profile tremendously by selectively publishing their emails. Reminiscing about the complexity of human conversation, and how that has been lost in the age of the Internet, he added that by elevating a single email from Stratfor, or diplomatic cables from WikiLeaks, as the subject of legitimate reporting, members of the press offer “complete falsification” due to a lack of human context.
“If you’re going to have diplomacy, you must have secrecy,” he said before suggesting that WikiLeaks had only served to “destroy life long relationships” between diplomats continents apart.
Again touching upon the need for more human context in online communications, he added that WikiLeaks, along with the rise of hacker groups like “Anonymous” and “LulzSec,” ultimately advances the Internet’s death march toward repression, instead of broader transparency.
Friedman transitioned into the constantly changing world of Internet security, saying that the “global commons” has evolved to become utterly crucial to business, yet the Internet is still “built with bubblegum and paper clips.”
“We’ve never had a system that so rapidly became so fundamental to what we do, which at the same time is so immature,” he said. “What is it, 20 [years old]? When the automobile was 20 years old, the Model T’s were out. [The Internet] is a Model T.”
He went on to warn that corporations and governments are much more powerful than Anonymous and WikiLeaks, meaning “they will win” in the ongoing power struggle simply by changing the rules of the conflict — I.E., changing the Internet itself.
“It’s not going to go on anymore because large corporations are getting hacked and it’s costing them large amounts of money, and these guys are powerful enough to make changes,” he warned.
“It may be, in the end, that repression is inevitable… I don’t know that Internet 1.0 — and we are still in beta — that this Internet will survive the way it is… [because] every justification for repression is being created by those who claim to oppose it.”
“Those who don’t want that to happen have to find a way to secure the Internet, because Joe McCarthy’s ghost is sitting out there waiting,” Friedman concluded.
quote:Julian Assange to run for Australian senate
WikiLeaks founder hopes to enter politics in home country after discovering his ongoing extradition battle would be no bar
The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange plans to run for a seat in Australia's senate next year despite being under virtual house arrest in the UK and facing sex crime allegations in Sweden.
The 40-year-old Australian citizen has taken his legal battle against extradition all the way to Britain's supreme court, which is expected to rule on his case soon.
"We have discovered that it is possible for Julian Assange to run for the Australian senate while detained. Julian has decided to run," WikiLeaks announced on Twitter.
Assange has criticised Australian prime minister Julia Gillard's centre-left government for not standing up for him in the wake of WikiLeaks' release of hundreds of thousands of classified US embassy cables in 2010.
Australian police have concluded that WikiLeaks and Assange did not break any Australian laws by publishing the cables, although Gillard has condemned the action as "grossly irresponsible".
John Wanna, a policical scientist at Australian National University, said it was possible for Assange to run for a senate seat if he remained on the Australian electoral roll, despite living overseas for several years.
"If he gets on the roll, then he can stand as long as he's solvent and not in jail and not insane," Wanna said.
Being convicted of a crime punishable under Australian law by 12 months or more in prison can disqualify a person from running for the Australian parliament for the duration of the sentence, even if it is suspended.
Constitutional lawyer George Williams of the University of New South Wales said that provision of the constitution has never been tested in the courts in the 111-year history of the Australian federation and probably would not apply to a criminal conviction in a foreign country such as Sweden.
"I'm not aware of an impediment to him standing, even if he was convicted," Williams said.
Any adult Australian citizen can run for parliament, but few succeed without the backing of a major political party. Only one of Australia's 76 current senators does not represent a party.
Every Australian election attracts candidates who have little hope of winning and use their campaigns to seek publicity for various political or commercial causes.
Wanna said the odds are against Assange winning a seat, but that he could receive more than 4% of the votes in his nominated state because of his high profile. At that threshold, candidates can claim more than AUS$2 per vote from the government to offset their campaign expenses. Assange's bill to the taxpayer could reach hundreds of thousands of dollars.
The next senate election cannot be called before July 2013 and is due around August. Candidates cannot officially register as candidates until the election is called at least a month before the poll date.
Assange's mother, Christine Assange, a professional puppeteer from rural Queensland, said on Saturday she had yet to discuss her son's political bid with him. But she criticised what she believed was the government's willingness to put its defence treaty with the US ahead of the rights of an Australian citizen.
"The number one issue at the next election regardless of who you vote for is democracy in this country – whether or not we're just a state of the US and whether or not our citizens are going to be just handed over as a sacrifice to the US alliance," she said.
On at least two occasions, hackers took over U.S. satellites and
targeted their command-and-control systems, a report by the U.S.-China
Economic and Security Review Commission revealed November 16. The
incidents involved two Earth observation satellites. While it may be
difficult to trace who hacked the satellites, U.S. officials
acknowledged the incidents had to come from a nation power. U.S.
officials cannot clearly trace the incidents to China, but the report
released by the Congressionally mandated commission noted Chinese
military writings made reference to attacks on ground-based space
quote:Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a source to Stratfor Vice President Fred Burton since at least May of 2007, according to internal Stratfor emails leaked by WikiLeaks.
In an email dated May 1, 2007, Burton says that "BiBi [i.e. Netanyahu] believes he can unseat Olmert and there is a movement underway to do so."
Read more: http://www.businessinside(...)litics#ixzz1qLzdKltT
quote:‘Reckless’ WikiLeaks faces fresh fire from Canberra
THE Australian government has renewed its attacks on WikiLeaks, condemning the group for “reckless” disclosures of secret information.
The Foreign Affairs Department has also delayed release, under freedom of information, of sensitive Australian diplomatic cables relating to Julian Assange until after a legal challenge to the WikiLeaks founder’s extradition to Sweden has been decided.
The delay follows expressions of concern by United States authorities about disclosure of US-Australian discussions about WikiLeaks.
Last week an Attorney-General’s Department executive responsible for international crime and extradition matters renewed the government’s condemnation of WikiLeaks’ release of leaked US diplomatic cables as “reckless, irresponsible and potentially dangerous”.
Writing on behalf of Attorney-General Nicola Roxon to a constituent of a federal Labor MP, international crime co-operation branch head Anna Harmer insisted that “debate about the WikiLeaks matter is not about censoring free speech or preventing the media from reporting news” and confirmed the government’s focus on the “reckless … unauthorised disclosure of classified material”.
Mr Assange, who plans to run for a Senate seat in the next election, is awaiting a British Supreme Court decision on his appeal against extradition to Sweden to be questioned about sexual assault allegations.
He fears extradition to Stockholm will lead to extradition to the US on espionage or conspiracy charges. This week he also expressed concern that a successful appeal against extradition to Sweden would only be followed by the US seeking his extradition direct from Britain.
Last December The Saturday Age obtained Foreign Affairs Department cables that revealed WikiLeaks was the target of an ”unprecedented” US criminal investigation and that the Australian government wanted to be warned about moves to extradite Mr Assange to the US.
The cables showed that as early as December 2010, the Australian embassy in Washington confirmed the US Justice Department was examining whether Mr Assange could be charged under US law, most likely the 1917 Espionage Act.
The Saturday Age has now learnt from Australian government sources that senior US officials subsequently expressed concern about the disclosure of information and asked to be “more closely consulted” on further FOI releases.
Foreign Affairs this week delayed release under freedom of information of more Washington embassy cables about WikiLeaks until at least late May, nearly six months after The Saturday Age lodged an FOI application.
Foreign Affairs’ FOI director David Yardley said in an email to the office of the Australian Information Commissioner: “Some cables in this case are highly classified, some are not … Working out precisely where the sensitivities lie within cables, particularly in light of the potential ‘mosaic effect’ of releases of this type of information, is usually, including in this case, an involved, complex task.”
Mr Yardley revealed that Foreign Affairs was yet to finalise consultation with Prime Minister Julia Gillard’s department and had not begun consultation with the US on the possible release of material, a process expected to take at least four to six weeks.
quote:‘I was the fall guy’: Julian Assange in his own words
The Wikileaks founder talks to Jamie Kelsey-Fry about state surveillance, media scrutiny and the Cablegate affair.