Het artikel gaat verder.quote:An Unethical Record – Stratfor & the New York Times
Three months after WikiLeaks began publishing The Global Intelligence Files — more than 5 million e-mails from the private intelligence gathering company Stratfor — New York Times London Bureau journalist Ravi Somaiya told his readers “WikiLeaks has not released any significant material for more than a year.” (“Deportation Decision Awaits WikiLeaks Founder,” May 29, 2012, NYT) Yet on the day The Global Intelligence Files were released (February 27, 2012) WikiLeaks conveyed that Stratfor has paid diplomatic sources; advocated for the psychological and material mistreatment of at least one informant; sought to utilize early access to intelligence for a strategic investment fund by creating a vehicle (StratCap) that would “trade in a range of geopolitical instruments, particularly government bonds”; monitored activists, including for its client Dow Chemical; and engaged in secret deals with media organizations. Somaiya’s dismissive superciliousness of The Global Intelligence Files is indicative of the Times’ treatment of WikiLeaks.
Through NYT eXaminer’s (NYTX) participation in an investigative partnership organized by WikiLeaks we have had access to The Global Intelligence Files and found material that the Times should find significant. The material shows that Times journalists rely on Stratfor despite the company’s interests in advancing U.S. corporate and government dominance at home and abroad, enhancing government secrecy and eroding civil liberties. In addition, Stratfor maintains a perverse relationship with its informants, which is incongruent with the Times’ own standards for the treatment of sources. The Global Intelligence Files also highlight examples of Stratfor employees consciously manipulating journalists at the Times — some of whom seem all too willing to be led by the inauspicious Texas-headquartered “global intelligence” company.
Stratfor claims to be “objective” and “non-partisan” but Times Editors are not oblivious to the company’s motivations or the fact that they gather intelligence in unethical ways. In 2003 Times reporter Matt Bai met with Stratfor CEO George Friedman on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq for an auspiciously timed profile of the company. The profile highlighted Stratfor’s belligerent attitude towards human rights and international law. Bai reported that George Friedman could “live with” a “slaughter” of the Kurds “if that would enable the Americans to get to Baghdad quicker.” (“The Way We Live Now,” Matt Bai, NYT, April 20, 2003). Despite such crass overtures, the Times provide Op-Ed space for George Freidman and lends credence to Stratfor analysts. Further, George Friedman argued in his recent essay “The Geopolitics of the United States: The Inevitable Empire,” that the “final imperative” for the U.S. as a dominant power is to “keep Eurasia divided among as many different (preferably mutually hostile) powers as possible.” Eurasia comprises the continental landmass of Europe and Asia and contains more than 70% of the world’s population.
Three years ago — preceding Obama’s mission in Pakistan which led to the extrajudicial assassination of Osama Bin Laden, the president’s secret orders to send waves of cyberattacks against Iranian nuclear facilities and his “Secret Kill List” to assassinate human targets by drone warfare — the Times published George Friedman’s Op-Ed “Afghan Supplies, Russian Demands” (February 2009, NYT), insisting that the Obama administration should “rely less on troops, and more on covert operations like the C.I.A.” in Afghanistan. Friedman’s preference for covert operations is interesting as these operations often escape public scrutiny and accountability, erode civil liberties and make a folly of international human rights and humanitarian law. Stratfor’s cavalier contempt for transparency reveals un-democratic tendencies antithetical to the ideal of an informed civic with the capacity to participate freely and fully in society — enabling the free and equal practice of self-determination. Though, is perhaps unsurprising given Stratfor’s involvement in the TrapWire “counterterrorist” surveillance system used to monitor activists (Doc-ID: 5355966). (“TrapWire and Stratfor are business partners,” August 15, 2012, Darker Net)
Despite Stratfor’s (at best) ambivalence toward — and at worst support for — war crimes, advocacy for covert war, participation in the corrosion of privacy rights and cheerleading for Empire — often in the Times own pages — the e-mails obtained by WikiLeaks reveal that the Times Senior terrorism and national security writer Eric Schmitt (Doc-ID: 577559), London Bureau chief John F. Burns (Doc-ID: 501124) and others (Doc-ID: 12750) hold the information provided by Stratfor in high regard and value easy access to it. Many other Times journalists also hold accounts and their News Directors have sought Foreign Desk and bureau-wide access (Doc-ID: 620711). In 2009, Stratfor said they had 34 readers “with an @nytimes.com email address.” (Doc ID: 219254). Two Times journalists, Jane Perlez and Carlotta Gall, became close to the company following a meeting in Pakistan with Stratfor’s South Asia director Kamran Bokhari. The Times journalists sought and gained access to Stratfor intelligence and reciprocated by publishing Bokhari’s views six weeks later in “Rebuffing U.S., Pakistan Balks at Crackdown.” (October 14, 2009, NYT)
Het artikel gaat verder.quote:http://falkvinge.net/2011(...)-copyright-monopoly/
Among the treasure troves of recently released WikiLeaks cables, we find one whose significance has bypassed Swedish media. In short: every law proposal, every ordinance, and every governmental report hostile to the net, youth, and civil liberties here in Sweden in recent years have been commissioned by the US government and industry interests.
I can understand that the significance has been missed, because it takes a whole lot of knowledge in this domain to recognize the topics discussed. When you do, however, you realize that the cable lists orders for the Swedish Government to implement a series of measures that significantly weakens Sweden’s competitive advantage in the IT field against the US. We had concluded this was the case, but had believed things had come from a large number of different sources. That was wrong. It was all coordinated, and the Swedish Government had received a checklist to tick off. The Government is described in the cables as “fully on board”.
Since 2006, the Pirate Party has claimed that traffic data retention (trafikdatalagring), the expansion of police powers (polismetodutredningen), the law proposal that attempted to introduce Three Strikes (Renforsutredningen), the political trial against and persecution of The Pirate Bay, the new rights for the copyright industry to get subscriber data from ISPs (Ipred) — a power that even the Police don’t have — and the general wiretapping law (FRA-lagen) all have been part of a greater whole, a whole controlled by American interests. It has sounded quite a bit like Conspiracies ’R’ Us. Nutjobby. We have said that the American government is pushing for a systematic dismantlement of civil liberties in Europe and elsewhere to not risk the dominance of American industry interests, in particular in the area of copyright and patent monopolies.
But all of a sudden, there it was, in black on white. It takes the description so far that the civil servants in the Justice Department, people I have named and criticized, have been on the American Embassy and received instructions.
This will become sort of a longish article, as I intend to outline all the hard evidence in detail, but for those who want the executive summary, it is this: The Pirate Party was right on every detail. The hunt for ordinary Joes who share music and movies with one another has been behind the largest dismantlement of civil liberties in modern history, and American interests have been behind every part of it.
At the middle of this, we find the US cable Stockholm 09-141, recommending Sweden to not be blacklisted by the US on the so-called Special 301 list, and outlines why. The Special 301 is a list that the United States compiles every year that names and shames countries that haven’t been friendly enough to American industries. A majority of the world’s population is on the list, Canada and Spain among them. It’s quite nice company to be in, actually.
Since the 1980s, the US has aggressively threatened trade sanctions against countries who don’t give American companies sufficiently large competitive advantages — this is described in detail in the book Information Feudalism about the origins of the TRIPs agreement and WTO, for those interested in gory details. In practice, it works like this: industry associations in the US go to the Trade Representatives, who go to the myriad offices dealing with Foreign Policy, who go to the embassies, who talk to national governments (including the Swedish one) and demand changes to national law to benefit American corporations.
This sounds like fiction, right? But here are the documents. This document comes from the copyright industry’s trade association IIPA, mainly consisting of record and movie companies. They have listed six demands on the Swedish Government, which stand to find in the linked document:
quote:Julian Assange rejects 'Perfil' Freedom of Expresion award:
Statement by Julian Assange, Founder of WikiLeaks:
"I note that Argentinian journalist Herman Schiller has rejected the award, under the basis that the award is abusing my good name to promote U.S. funded attacks on the government of Ecuador. This year Perfil concurrently awarded the director of the media lobby group 'Fundamedios'.
I have researched the issue and discovered that the director of 'Fundamedios' has previously denounced my work and that of WikiLeaks.
Fundamedios specializes in savaging the Ecuadorian government's attempts at breaking up Ecuadorian media ologopolies. Most of these ologopolies have traditionally been close to the U.S. government and have engaged in frequent acts of journalistic corruption. Ecuadorian media diversity reforms have been mandated by national popular referendum.'Fundamedios', which is also funded by these same ologopolies, simply has little credibility. While no government should get a free pass in media reform, 'Fundamedios' is not an example to be followed.
According to U.S. embassy cables released by WikiLeaks the director of 'Fundamedios' has been a U.S. embassy informant and according an interview with U.S. ambassador Adam Namm in el Telegrafo earlier this year, 'Fundamedios' receives more than $25,000 a month from USAID and other U.S. government bodies.
I will join Herman Schiller in rejecting the Perfil award this year."
quote:What is the biggest mistake Wikileaks and Julian Assange have made in the site's existence?
In my view, and I have only been with the organization for two and a half years, our biggest mistake was to have too much confidence in the main stream media and not understanding, fully, the limitations of even established media powerhouses as the New York Times are operating under. For me as a jounalist for 25 years, it was a shock and a surprise to witness first hand how a prominent media house as the NYT had become subservient to the administration. We've come a long way from the Pentagon Papers and taking on Nixon.
Het artikel gaat verder.quote:WikiLeaks reveals General Motors' suspected Russian Mafia ties
With one tweet Saturday night, WikiLeaks and its supporters simultaneously took on the Russian Mafia, General Motors, the Guardian newspaper, and also implicitly the U.S. government.
“Censored by MSM: Russian mafia suspected of having ‘sizable investment’ in General Motors,” the official account of Cabledrum.net announced on Twitter, linking to a Spanish Embassy cable detailing Spain’s strategy for combatting the Russian mob.
Cabledrum.net is a site that exists to facilitate easy searching the enormous cache of documents from Cablegate, WikiLeaks’ breakthrough leak of thousands of diplomatic cables. They particularly highlight cases where the mainstream media has posted redacted versions of the cables for reasons other than protecting the defenseless. This appears to be one such case.
On its FAQ page, CableDrum explains, “Sadly, this process was misused by several media partners for redactions that have nothing to do with the protection of endangered individuals. On cabledrum all cables are available both redacted and unredacted."
The cable itself describes an interview with Spanish National Court Prosecutor Jose "Pepe" Grinda Gonzalez on January 14 of 2010, in which he reviews his belief that Russia has become a kleptocracy run by organized crime linked to Russian PM Vladimir Putin. The cables were published by the Guardian in the UK, Le Monde in France, and El PaÝs in Spain.
They were, however, significantly different from the original, significantly less embarrassing to the U.S. government, which had just given General Motors a $50 billion bailout the year before. The American government is the largest single shareholder of GM stock, and as the Wall Street Journal reports, is under pressure from the company to sell its entire stake at a loss of at least $15 billion.
But who would buy it?
quote:US brands Julian Assange and WikiLeaks ‘enemies of the state’ (VIDEO)
Julian Assange and WikiLeaks have been declared enemies of the United States. Declassified US Air Force counter-intelligence documents reveal that military personnel contacting WikiLeaks may face execution for "communicating with the enemy."
şThe documents, which have been released under American Freedom of Information laws and published by WikiLeaks, were originally classified as secret and not releasable to non-US nationals.
Julian Assange said that the documents have been released just recently because of their sensitivity for some of the people involved in the investigation.
With these documents the “unusual position” and “difficulty” Assange and his organization face turn completely absurd.
“For example, that the US military should designate me and all of WikiLeaks as the enemy in its formal investigation, an investigation that carries a death-penalty offense into a person who was alleged to have come to my extradition hearing,” he said. “And in the same document it speaks about the victim being that of society, when there is no allegation that any documents have been released or published by us.”
The report exemplified the "absurdist, neo-McCarthyist fervor that exists within some of the government departments in the US,” Assange said.
Enormous wheels have been set in motion, with over a dozen different US intelligence and investigative organizations turning through this, Assange said. “Everyone sees that it is completely absurd and counter to the values the United States should be trying to present to the world,” he said, urging everyone to read the files.
The files covered a counter-intelligence investigation into a UK-based cyber systems analyst who allegedly supported WikiLeaks. The probe was trying to determine whether the analyst had disclosed any classified data to an "anti-US and/or anti-military group." She was suspected of breaching article 104-D of the US Uniform Code of Military Justice, which outlaws military personnel “holding intercourse with the enemy.”
The probe, however, was closed as the investigators failed to prove the analyst had leaked any information.
But US Army Private Bradley Manning was not so lucky, as he could face execution – though prosecutors have said they won't seek it – to be decided by a military tribunal, as officials allege that he aided al-Qaeda by releasing classified documents through WikiLeaks.
And the fact that WikiLeaks was treated as an enemy of state would have serious implications in case Assange is extradited to the US, as he is likely to face military detention.
“It appears that Julian Assange and WikiLeaks are the 'enemy,'” Michael Ratner, Assange's US attorney, said. “An enemy is dealt with under the laws of war, which could include killing, capturing, detaining without trial, etc.”
Assange was once labeled a "high-tech terrorist" by American Vice President Joe Biden in December 2010, and a number of top US officials have openly called on the authorities to hunt the whistleblower down.
The diplomatic cables released over the past months reveal the true scale of the US Justice Department investigation targeting both Assange and WikiLeaks. Assange himself called the investigation "unprecedented."
“The Federal Bureau of Investigation … now has, according to court testimony earlier this year, produced a file of 42,135 pages into WikiLeaks, of which less than 8,000 concern Bradley Manning,” Assange said in an address to a panel of UN delegates.
Het artikel gaat verder.quote:Police stakeout bill for Assange tops ú1m as it costs ú11,000 a DAY to ensure he doesn't flee Ecuadorian Embassy
The police bill for staking out the embassy where WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is evading justice has already reached more than ú1million.
Scotland Yard confirmed it is costing ú11,000 every day to ensure the Australian does not flee his bolthole at the Ecuadorean Embassy.
The final bill could be much more as the 41-year-old continues to defy extradition to Sweden where he is suspected of sexually assaulting two women.
Officers have been watching the property in Knightsbridge, west London, since Mr Assange breached his bail and claimed asylum in June. They have been told to arrest him if he puts ‘one toe’ outside.
Ecuadorean foreign minister Ricardo Pinto has warned Mr Assange he could be in the embassy for a decade if he is not allowed to leave Britain.
Officieel wil de VS hem helemaal niet. Er mogen dan geheime jury's en aanklachten in voorbereiding zijn, maar daar weten we officieel niets vanaf. Er valt dus niets aan de VS uit te leveren.quote:Op maandag 8 oktober 2012 04:26 schreef LangeTabbetje het volgende:
Misschien een domme vraag, maar de VS wil hem uitgeleverd zien, (logisch denk ik dan vanuit hun oogpunt), maar waarom geen arrestatiebevel uitgegaan en Groot Brittanie gevraagd ?
Waarom zouden ze het zo ingewikkeld en raar via Zweden spelen ?
quote:WikiLeaks GI Files Presidential Campaign Release
Today, Wednesday 10th October, WikiLeaks begins releasing over 200,000 Global Intelligence Files (GI Files) relating to the U.S. presidential elections. Each week day we will release thousands of emails referring to Obama, Biden, Romney and the Republican and Democratic parties. Today we will publish over 13,734 emails referring to republican(s), Romney, RNC and/or GOP, ranging from 3rd January 2011 to 19th December 2011.
The GI Files total over five million emails from the U.S. private intelligence firm Stratfor. Stratfor is a secretive multi-national private intelligence firm, providing services to large corporations, and government agencies. Despite providing the U.S. government with "global intelligence" services there is no public oversight of Stratfor. The emails highlight Stratfor staff’s revolving door with government offices; Stratfor’s Vice-President for Intelligence, Fred Burton, was formerly a special agent with the U.S. State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and was their Deputy Chief of the counterterrorism division. Although Stratfor boasts U.S. governmental sources and reports to have a lot of influence on western decision makers, their emails reveal poor working and security methods and show strong political bias within the organization.
This close connection to the U.S. government means that these GI Files releases will shed insight into key U.S. federal election players. The only legitimate government is one that is elected by an informed population. Through this release WikiLeaks aims to inform the U.S. electorate in an unbiased way through the release of source documents from one of the most oddly influential companies in the U.S. today. We call upon all people around the world to search the emails and publicise their findings using the hashtag #wlfindGI.
Whoever you elect into power, keep them accountable by supporting WikiLeaks - vote with your wallet, vote WikiLeaks.
GI Files: http://wikileaks.org/the-gifiles.html
Vote WikiLeaks: http://wikileaks.org/donate2012/
Donate to WikiLeaks: http://shop.wikileaks.org/donate
WL Friends: https://wlfriends.org/
WikiLeaks has begun releasing the ’Detainee Policies’: more than 100 classified or otherwise restricted files from the United States Department of Defense covering the rules and procedures for detainees in U.S. military custody. Over the next month, WikiLeaks will release in chronological order the United States’ military detention policies followed for more than a decade. The documents include the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) of detention camps in Iraq and Cuba, interrogation manuals and Fragmentary Orders (FRAGOs) of changes to detainee policies and procedures. A number of the ’Detainee Policies’ relate to Camp Bucca in Iraq, but there are also Department of Defense-wide policies and documents relating to Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo Bay and European U.S. Army Prison facilities.
quote:World Bank contract details to be published online in transparency push
Bank's capacity development arm promises to open its books on publicly funded contracts as part of global anti-corruption drive
Details of World Bank-financed contracts will be available online as part of a global initiative to fight corruption and get governments to disclose their deals with private companies.
Sanjay Pradhan, vice-president of the World Bank Institute – the capacity development branch of the World Bank – said the organisation would "walk the talk", ensuring its own contracts are disclosed while helping countries open their books. "We need to be credible partners to do this," he said.
The move will embolden the nascent Open contracting initiative, a global campaign to increase disclosure and participation in public contracting. Estimates suggest governments around the world spend $9.5tn (ú5.8tn) a year contracting private companies to provide goods and services, but these deals are often shrouded in secrecy. In some developing countries, procurement can account for up to 70% of public spending.
Under the initiative, details and copies of contracts funded by public money will be online in a bid to reduce corruption and increase value for money.
"Corruption, opaque contracting processes and poor oversight of contract implementation are undermining results and citizens are paying the price in terms of schools not being built, environmental damage, bridges not fixed to standard and hospitals unable to offer necessary medicines," says the campaign, arguing that "creating a level playing field with transparent and fair contracting processes … benefits all of society – government, private sector and citizens."
Pradhan said the effort, which is backed by the World Bank Institute and the German government, fits into the bank's anti-corruption work and its broader "open development" agenda, both of which have support from the very top of the bank.
"It's inherent in our DNA that we cannot tolerate corruption, we cannot tolerate any kind of blemish to the reputation of the bank on the fiduciary side," said Pradhan. "It's a natural evolution for the World Bank and the bank needs to play a leadership role in this area."
The bank finances public contracts worth up to $13bn each year. It already publishes some information for its major contracts but would release further details under the Open contracting initiative, which aims for the disclosure of all relevant documents, from pre-award activities through to the awarding of contracts and the implementation of projects.
Pradhan said the bank would also disclose contracts for its central, corporate procurement and that the International Finance Corporation, the bank's private-sector lending arm, is phasing in new requirements to disclose contracts for extractive industries projects (video).
The initiative builds on recent efforts by some governments to increase transparency around contracts. Georgia, for example, publishes all information around public contracts, including correspondence around original bids and details of payments from the state treasury. This month the Afghan government disclosed hundreds of mining contracts online.
Yama Torabi, from Integrity Watch Afghanistan, an NGO that monitors reconstruction projects in the country, welcomed the move. "This is the first time we can see how our natural resources have been contracted to private companies. We can now look at whether this was done in the national interest, for the benefit of the people," he said.
Torabi, who was in Johannesburg this week for the first Open contracting global meeting, said it will take years to roll out the initiative, which must find a way to include information about sub-contracts. "We really need to see who's getting the money at the end of the chain," he said. He added that a lack of literacy skills, reliable electricity and internet access will in some areas limit the initiative's promise to strengthen public monitoring of contracts.
One of the biggest challenges in achieving full disclosure of contracts will be the resistance of companies that claim such moves violate commercial confidentiality. Peter Eigen, founder of Transparency International, said that although companies have the right to secrecy when contracting with each other, "different rules have to apply" when a government is party to a contract. Eigen added that confidentiality clauses are often overprotective and "sloppily written", and must be subject to scrutiny.
Increased transparency alone is unlikely to satisfy critics of the World Bank, who say the lender's procurement rules favour big companies from industrialised and emerging economies. "A lack of transparency in tendering, tendering in large lots, and restrictive eligibility criteria make it difficult for small and medium enterprises from developing countries to compete against large multinationals," said a group of civil society organisations (pdf) last month.
This year, the bank launched a separate review of its procurement policies, which is expected to lead to new rules in 2014.
quote:European Commission documents released today by WikiLeaks show that hard-right U.S. politicians were directly behind the extrajudicial banking blockade against WikiLeaks. In the heavily redacted documents, MasterCard Europe admits that Senator Joseph Lieberman and Congressman Peter T. King both “had conversations” with MasterCard in the United States. Lieberman, the then-chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee, boasted of instigating Amazon’s cutting of service to WikiLeaks – an action condemned by the Council of Europe’s Committee of Ministers on 7 December 2011.
Senator Lieberman tried to introduce the SHIELD Act into the Senate and advocated for prosecuting the New York Times for espionage in connection with WikiLeaks’ releases. Rep. Peter King, chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, tried to formally designate WikiLeaks as a foreign terrorist organization, have its staff listed as ’enemy combatants’, and have WikiLeaks put on a U.S. Treasury blacklist. On 13 January 2011 the U.S. Treasury announced it would not do so because there was no evidence that WikiLeaks should be on such a list. While Lieberman and King were unsuccessful in these methods of legally cutting WikiLeaks from its popular donor base, they were successful in doing so extra-legally via VISA and MasterCard, which together hold a monopoly of 97 per cent of the market of EU card payments.
VISA Europe is registered in London and is owned by a consortium of European banks. MasterCard Europe is registered in Belgium and has similar ownership, but the Commission papers show that European control of VISA Europe and MasterCard Europe is a fiction. The papers reveal that the instructions to blockade WikiLeaks’ operations in Europe came directly from VISA and MasterCard in the United States. Ownership would normally imply control, but VISA and MasterCard Europe are essentially controlled by confidential contracts with their U.S. counterparts, a hidden organizational structure that the Commission calls an “association of undertakings”.
On Tuesday, 19 November 2012, the European Parliament took an important step towards safeguarding the economic sovereignty of all Europeans. In Article 32 of its resolution, the European Parliament expressed the will that the Commission should prevent the arbitrary refusal of payments by credit card companies, which economically strangles businesses and organizations, notably ours. The resolution is an important step to putting an end to the Lieberman/King blockade, which has wiped out 95 per cent of WikiLeaks’ revenues. The Lieberman/King blockade has been directly condemned by, among others, the UN Special Rapporteur of Freedom of Speech and the New York Times Editorial Board. The blockade is a direct infringement of the Article 19 right to receive and impart information, and threatens all donor-funded organizations and the freedom of the press.
It comes as a surprise, then, that the European Commission is taking the contrary view in its preliminary decision, of not opening a formal investigation into VISA, MasterCard and AmEx’s violations against DataCell, the company that collected donations to the WikiLeaks project until the imposition of the blockade in 2010. The Commission’s 16-page preliminary decision has been announced after 15 months of deliberations. The ’normal’ waiting time is four months. Yesterday, DataCell and WikiLeaks submitted detailed counter-arguments to the Commission’s preliminary decision.
Through the leaked documents we learn that VISA and MasterCard have used a false statement by the Australian Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, to mislead the European Commission. The Prime Minister’s statement, which she later claimed was made in her "private capacity", was that the WikiLeaks publication of diplomatic cables was "illegal". This was declared to be false by a subsequent investigation by the Australian Federal Police, which declared that WikiLeaks had not broken any Australian law. Earlier this year, the Australian Senate passed a resolution demanding the retraction of the Prime Minister’s false statement.
The leaked documents reveal MasterCard’s political stance to our exposure of the crimes and horrors of military campaigns: “It is evident that any affiliation with an organisation causing damage to the national interests of several nations involved in the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq... will be extremely damaging for the public perception of MasterCard”.
Julian Assange said: “There is no sovereignty without economic sovereignty. It is concerning that hard-right elements in the United States have been able to pressure VISA and MasterCard, who together hold monopoly over the European market, into introducing a blockade that the U.S. Treasury has rightly rejected. These unaccountable elements are directly interfering in the political and economic freedoms of EU consumers and are setting a precedent for political censorship of the world’s media.”
WikiLeaks will continue to fight the blockade, despite its limited resources, because it is fighting for its survival. Already there have been victories. In June 2012 WikiLeaks won its first court victory in Iceland against the Lieberman-King blockade. Last month WikiLeaks opened a new battle front by filing, together with its partner DataCell, a case against Teller A/S (VISA Denmark).
The movement in Parliament and in the rest of Europe is to support WikiLeaks’ publishing rights. The German foundation Wau Holland Stiftung (WHS), which collected donations for WikiLeaks via PayPal had their donations account arbitrarily shut down. The tax-exempt status of the Foundation was challenged as well, as a result of political interference which was exposed this month in Der Spiegel (“Taxing Transparency”). Yesterday, WHS announced that, after almost two years of negotiations with German tax authorities, its tax exemption (charitable status) has been reinstated. Citizens of all EU Member States will now be able to donate to WikiLeaks’ operations through WHS and deduct the donation from their income tax.
quote:Big outcry on Wikileaks that last week has published more that 2.4 million emails allegedly obtained from continuous hack against Syrian government and organizations connected to the regime.
The correspondence of “Syrian political figures, ministries and associated companies” between August 2006 and March 2012 has been defined embarrassing for the government of Damascus and its allies, but the email also reveal uncomfortable truths on the West governments actions.
It’s the case of Finmeccanica affiliate Selex Elsag that sold to Syria its Tetra network for encrypted communications. The deal was made in 2008, before the beginning of the Arab Spring, but some emails leaked show ongoing relationship between the regime and the Italian company.
The email demonstrate the intermediary role of Greek company Intracom, an email dated February 2nd, 2012 discusses ”the arrival of Selex engineers in Damascus to train Intracom Syria technicians on Tetra technology, including at helicopter terminals. The email does not specify whether they are police or military helicopters,”
quote:But the WikiLeaks chief advances a much more positive assessment of his circumstances, dismissing critics including Carr as "self-interested apologists for the US" and arguing WikiLeaks' and his own "trajectory over the past four months [have] been increasingly positive".
In defence of WikiLeaks' continuing relevance he points out his group continues to publish confidential material, with more than 1 million emails and documents in the course of this year, including major disclosures from the private intelligence company Stratfor and confidential Syrian government emails.
He also argues that considerable resources have been devoted to, and progress made in working around, the financial embargo imposed on WikiLeaks by major credit card and money transfer corporations.
However, it's Assange's continuing interest in playing a political role in Australia that may prove to be the main focus for him and WikiLeaks in 2013.
Assange says plans to form and register an Australian WikiLeaks party are now ''significantly advanced''.
He also intends to be a candidate for the Senate and says "a number of very worthy people admired by the Australian public" have indicated their availability to stand for the party.
quote:Swedish Pirate Party targets banks over WikiLeaks blockade
The Swedish Pirate Party has filed a complaint against the country’s banks over their involvement in the financial blockade of the controversial whistleblower site WikiLeaks.
şInternational payment companies refused to process donations to WikiLeaks in December 2010 after the site published confidential diplomatic cables from US embassies around the world.
The Swedish Pirate Party, which holds two seats in the European Parliament, has urged authorities launch a probe into the country’s banks. They claim the banks’ participation in the blockade violated their customers’ right, as well as Swedish law.
The complaint to the Financial Supervisory Authority, Sweden’s financial regulatory agency, was filed on Monday, local media reported.
“We believe it is worrisome that companies like Visa and MasterCard have so much power and can decide how we spend our money. You should be able to donate to any organization you want as long as it is within the law,” Pirate Party leader Anna Troberg told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper.
The party has criticized the financial blockade as the precedent to serious threats to freedom of expression, complaint author Erik L÷nroth said.
Swedish financial authorities will investigate the case and determine whether it has grounds to intervene, said Johan Terfelt, head of the Financial Supervisory Authority’s department for payment service.
“The law states, that if there aren’t legal grounds to deny a payment service, then it must be processed,” he said.
WikiLeaks says it lost about 95 percent of cash inflow after the blockade was imposed, shrinking its financial reserves and reducing its ability to publish new material. It blamed the US for the measure, which it called both ‘extrajudicial’ and ‘immoral.’
On Sunday, WikiLeaks announced an initiative aimed at beating the blockade: The Freedom of the Press Foundation will use donations to crowdfund journalism and transparency organizations. Donors may choose which organization they want to fund, out of a list that currently includes WikiLeaks.
quote:New press freedom group is launched to block US government attacks
Nothing is more vital than enabling true transparency and adversarial journalism, and preventing further assaults on them
quote:Several weeks ago, I wrote about the steps taken by the US government to pressure large corporations to choke off the finances and other means of support for WikiLeaks in retaliation for the group's exposure of substantial government deceit, wrongdoing and illegality. Because WikiLeaks has never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime, I wrote: "that the US government largely succeeded in using extra-legal and extra-judicial means to cripple an adverse journalistic outlet is a truly consequential episode." At the end of that column, I disclosed that I had been involved in discussions "regarding the formation of a new organization designed to support independent journalists and groups such as WikiLeaks under attack by the US and other governments."
That group has now been formed and, this morning, was formally launched. Its name is Freedom of the Press Foundation. Its website is here and its Twitter account, which will be quite active, is @FreedomOfPress.
I'm very excited to have participated in its formation and will serve as an unpaid member of the Board of Directors, along with the heroic whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, 2012 McArthur-fellowship-receipient and Oscar-nominated documentarian Laura Poitras, co-founder of the Electronic Frontier Foundation John Perry Barlow, the actor and civil liberties advocate John Cusack, BoingBoing co-founder Xeni Jardin, and several other passionate free press and transparency activists. Numerous articles have been written today about its launch, including from the New York Times' media reporter David Carr, the Guardian's Dan Gillmor, Forbes' Andy Greenberg, Huffington Post's media reporter Michael Calderone, FDL's Kevin Gosztola, and board member Josh Stearns.
The primary impetus for the formation of this group was to block the US government from ever again being able to attack and suffocate an independent journalistic enterprise the way it did with WikiLeaks. Government pressure and the eager compliance of large financial corporations (such as Visa, Master Card, Bank of America, etc.) has - by design - made it extremely difficult for anyone to donate to WikiLeaks, while many people are simply afraid to directly support the group (for reasons I explained here).
We intend to raise funds ourselves and then distribute it to the beneficiaries we name. The first group of beneficiaries includes WikiLeaks. We can circumvent those extra-legal, totally inappropriate blocks that have been imposed on the group. We can enable people to support WikiLeaks without donating directly to it by donating to this new organization that will then support a group of deserving independent journalism outlets, one of which is WikiLeaks. In sum, we will render impotent the government's efforts to use its coercive pressure over corporations to suffocate not only WikiLeaks but any other group it may similarly target in the future.
The second purpose is to ensure that truly independent journalistic outlets - devoted to holding the US government and other powerful factions accountable with transparency and real adversarial journalism - are supported to the fullest extent possible. Along those lines, we have selected three other organizations along with WikiLeaks as our initial beneficiaries:
quote:Earlier this month BalkanLeaks, an anonymous leaking site run by a pair of Bulgarian journalists, obtained and published a series of secret documents from Bulgaria’s country’s police archive showing that the country’s prime minister Boyko Borisov had been suggested by police as a possible informant against his alleged associates in the Bulgarian mafia. The 1997 file, which refers to Borisov under the codename “Buddha,” notes his “criminal orientation” and suggests “clarifying connections of the subject with people and businesses linked to criminal activities,” according to a translation by the English-language Bulgarian new site Novinite.
That Buddha file is just the latest scandal-stirring publication from BalkanLeaks, which over the last two years has released other documents through its news site Bivol that deal with alleged corruption in Bulgaria’s banks and claims of Borisov’s mob ties. But this time it’s accompanied its leak with a new defensive measure taken from WikiLeaks’ playbook: An encrypted insurance file with a key that will only be released if BalkanLeaks’ staff are arrested or feel that their lives are threatened.
“In response to threats made against its journalists, Bivol is now releasing this insurance file. The key will leak automatically if something happens to our staff,” reads a note posted to BalkanLeaks’ website. The note asks supporters to download the file and share it via bittorrent in order to make it more difficult to censor.
When I reached BalkanLeaks founder Atanas Tchobanov by instant message, he said the 86 megabyte, AES-encrypted package includes a collection of PDF and audio files, but wouldn’t offer details of their contents. Tchobanov explained that the threat of releasing the key for the data is intended to offer protection for him and the rest of BalkanLeaks’ staff; The release follows a series of anonymous threats posted to online forums and a cyberattack against the website that took it offline for 12 hours earlier this month. “We are up against a mafia-state nexus,” says Tchobanov. “We need insurance.”
quote:WikiLeaks publishes 1.7m US diplomatic records
Julian Assange says 1973-76 reports, including many by Henry Kissinger, show vast range and scope of US activity
WikiLeaks has published more than 1.7m US records covering diplomatic or intelligence reports on every country in the world.
The data, which has not been leaked, comprises diplomatic records from the beginning of 1973 to the end of 1976, covering a variety of diplomatic traffic including cables, intelligence reports and congressional correspondence.
Julian Assange said WikiLeaks had been working for the past year to analyse and assess a vast amount of data held at the US national archives before releasing it in a searchable form.
WikiLeaks has called the collection the Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD), describing it as the world's largest searchable collection of US confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications.
Assange told Press Association the information showed the vast range and scope of US diplomatic and intelligence activity around the world.
Henry Kissinger was US secretary of state and national security adviser during the period covered by the collection, and many of the reports were written by him or were sent to him. Thousands of the documents are marked NODIS (no distribution) or Eyes Only, as well as cables originally classed as secret or confidential.
Assange said WikiLeaks had undertaken a detailed analysis of the communications, adding that the information eclipsed Cablegate, a set of more than 250,000 US diplomatic cables published by WikiLeaks from November 2010 and over the following year. He said WikiLeaks had developed sophisticated technical systems to deal with complex and voluminous data.
Top secret documents were not available, while some others were lost or irreversibly corrupted for periods including December 1975 and March and June 1976, said Assange.
He added that his mother, who lives in Australia, had told him he was being kept at the embassy "with nothing to do but work on WikiLeaks material".
Assange is confined to the Ecuadorian embassy in London, where he sought asylum in June after losing his legal attempts to avoid extradition to Sweden, where he is wanted to answer allegations of rape and sexual assault against two women.
Assange denies the claims, and argues that he fears that if he was remanded in Sweden he would be at greater risk of extradition to the US to face potential prosecution for espionage relating to the WikiLeaks cable releases.
quote:Chagossians suffer blow in fight to go home as court rejects WikiLeak cable
US embassy cables allegedly detailing UK plan to stop return to Indian Ocean islands used by US military is ruled inadmissible
Classified American embassy cables obtained by WikiLeaks cannot be used as evidence in English and Welsh courts because they breach diplomatic privilege, judges have ruled.
The decision by Lord Justice Richards and Mr Justice Mitting in the high court will have far-reaching consequences and is a severe setback for the use of material obtained from leaks or whistleblowers.
Lawyers representing exiled islanders from the Chagos archipelago had planned to exploit revealing official documents, obtained by WikiLeaks and published in the Guardian, to question a Foreign Office official, Colin Roberts. He was commissioner for the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), which covers the Chagos Islands, in 2009 when the cable was written by the US embassy in London.
The US cable quoted Roberts, who is due to become the next governor of the Falkland Islands, telling the Americans that as a result of imposing a marine protected area (MPA) on the territory, there would no longer be "human footprints" or "Man Fridays" on the islands. The US rents a military base on the largest island, Diego Garcia, and the Chagossians have been in a long-running dispute with the Foreign Office about their right to return home.
The case is the first one resulting from the leak of classified US cables in which UK officials had been ordered to appear. WikiLeaks material has been deemed admissible in other cases, notably the UN-backed special court for Sierra Leone in The Hague.
To avoid confirming the WikiLeaks cable's authenticity, Steven Kovats QC, counsel for the Foreign Office, said the government would stick to a policy of "neither confirm nor deny" anything about the documents. The policy is known in Whitehall as NCND.
But the judges warned that Roberts could not avoid answering questions by relying on the NCND policy. Kovats then argued that the Diplomatic Privileges Act 1964, which incorporates the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations into domestic law, meant the alleged cable, or copies of it held by newspapers, were inadmissible in evidence.
In their ruling, the judges agreed and said that the 1964 Act prevented them from considering whether the cable contained an accurate record of the May 2009 meeting. Article 24 of the Vienna Convention states: "The archives and documents of the mission shall be inviolable at any time and wherever they may be."
Outside the court, Sam Brown of law firm Clifford Chance, which is representing the Chagossians, said: "We are extremely disappointed that the court has decided not only to reverse the ruling it made on whether the policy of NCND prevented Foreign Office officials being asked questions about the accuracy of US cables, but also to exclude the cables from evidence in their entirety.
"This decision, that has potentially global ramifications, means that the real reason the MPA was created in the Chagos archipelago may never be known. The foreign secretary [William Hague] has opposed the use of WikiLeaks cables in court so as to deprive the Chagossians of the opportunity to cross-examine the BIOT commissioner as to his motives for the MPA, which were recorded by the US officials as being the best way to defeat the resettlement of the islands by their rightful inhabitants, with no human footprints or Man Fridays."
Earlier in the hearing, Roberts denied he had said the MPA was a plan with an "ulterior motive" – namely, to prevent the islanders from returning.
Asked by Nigel Pleming QC, counsel for the islanders, about the alleged "Man Fridays" comment, Roberts, talking generally, said he "absolutely" agreed and would never have used the phrase in such circumstances. He refused to answer questions about the authenticity and accuracy of the cable's contents.
The case has been brought by Louis Olivier Bancoult, chairman of the Chagos Refugees Group, who has seized on the leaked cable to argue in the high court that the decision to impose an MPA by the then foreign secretary, David Miliband, in 2010, should be declared unlawful. The leaked US cable was seen as a key element in their claim.
The inhabitants of the archipelago were removed in the 1960s and 1970s when the UK agreed that the US could build its base on Diego Garcia.
Their removal and the imposition of a marine reserve is also being contested at the permanent court of arbitration in The Hague. Earlier this year Britain was told it would have to justify its decision before a full hearing of the tribunal.
The Mauritian prime minister, Navinchandra Ramgoolam, has said the decision to establish a 1,400,000 sq km (540,000 sq mile) marine reserve was carried out in defiance of assurances given to him at the time by the then prime minister, Gordon Brown.
The Diego Garcia agreement signed by the US and UK in 1966 expires in 2016. Both parties must agree to extend, modify or end it by December 2014. Ramgoolam told the Guardian last year that the objective of Mauritius was to "reassert sovereignty" over the Chagos islands. The case continues.
Gottegottegot.. wat een toneelspel is het ook: We weten het wel maar doen net alsof we van niks weten want dat vindt Uncle Sam niet leukquote: