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Current Events / News
...and the Truth will get you jailed - WIKILEAKS
December 7, 2010
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange arrested in UK
A spokesman for WikiLeaks called Assange's arrest an attack on media freedom and said it won't prevent the organization from releasing more secret documents.
In the past week, WikiLeaks has seen its bank accounts canceled and its web sites attacked. The US government has launched a criminal investigation, saying the group has jeopardized US national security and diplomatic efforts around the world.
WikiLeaks has also seen an online army of supporters come to its aid, sending donations, fighting off computer attacks and setting up over 500 mirror sites around the world to make sure that the secret documents are published regardless of what happens to Assange.
Dec 7, 2010
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange refused bail by court
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who has angered U.S. authorities by publishing secret diplomatic cables, was remanded in custody by a British court on Tuesday over allegations of sex crimes in Sweden.
Assange, a 39-year-old Australian, had earlier handed himself in to British police after Sweden had issued a European Arrest Warrant for him. Assange, who denies the allegations, will remain behind bars until a fresh hearing on December 14.
WikiLeaks, which has provoked fury in Washington with its publications, vowed it would continue making public details of the 250,000 secret U.S. documents it had obtained. His British lawyer Mark Stephens told reporters a renewed bail application would be made, and that his client was "fine."
"We are entitled to appeal to a higher court, to the High Court, and we are also entitled to go again in the magistrates court at another date," he told reporters.
He said many people believed the prosecution was politically motivated, and that he would be "released and vindicated."
Monday, December 6th, 2010
Revealed: Assange ‘rape’ accuser linked to notorious CIA operative
by David Edwards
One of the women accusing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of sex crimes appears to have worked with a group that has connections to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
James D. Catlin, a lawyer who recently represented Assange, said the sex assault investigation into the WikiLeaks founder is based on claims he didn't use condoms during sex with two Swedish women
Swedish prosecutors told AOL News last week that Assange was not wanted for rape as has been reported, but for something called "sex by surprise" or "unexpected sex."
One accuser, Anna Ardin, may have "ties to the US-financed anti-Castro and anti-communist groups," according to Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett, writing for CounterPunch.
While in Cuba, Ardin worked with the Las damas de blanco (the Ladies in White), a feminist anti-Castro group.
Professor Michael Seltzer pointed out that the group is led by Carlos Alberto Montaner who is reportedly connected to the CIA.
Shamir and Bennett noted that Las damas de blanco is partially funded by the US government and also counts Luis Posada Carriles as a supporter.
A declassified 1976 revealed Posada to be a CIA agent. He has been convicted of terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of people.
In August, Assange told Al-Jazeera that the accusations were "clearly a smear campaign."
"We have been warned that, for example, the Pentagon is planning on using dirty tricks to destroy our work," Assange told the Swedish daily newspaper Aftonbladet.
Catlin observed that
both Ardin and Sofia Wilén, the second accuser, sent SMS messages and tweets boasting of their conquests following the alleged "rapes
"In the case of Ardin it is clear that she has thrown a party in Assange's honour at her flat after the 'crime' and tweeted to her followers that she is with the 'the world’s coolest smartest people, it’s amazing!'"
"The exact content of Wilén’s mobile phone texts is not yet known but their bragging and exculpatory character has been confirmed by Swedish prosecutors.
Niether Wilén’s nor Ardin’s texts complain of rape
," Catlin said.
Ardin has also published a seven step guide on how to get revenge on cheating boyfriends
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Johann Hari: This case must not obscure what WikiLeaks has told us
Every one of us owes a debt to Julian Assange
. Thanks to him, we now know that our governments are pursuing policies that place you and your family in considerably greater danger. Wikileaks has informed us they have secretly launched war on yet another Muslim country, sanctioned torture, kidnapped innocent people from the streets of free countries and intimidated the police into hushing it up, and covered up the killing of 15,000 civilians – five times the number killed on 9/11. Each one of these acts has increased the number of jihadis.
We can only change these policies if we know about them – and Assange has given us the black-and-white proof
Each of the wikileaks revelations has been carefully weighed to ensure there is a public interest in disclosing it. Of the more than 250,000 documents they hold, they have released fewer than 1000 – and each of those has had the names of informants, or any information that could place anyone at risk, removed. The information they have released covers areas where our governments are defying the will of their own citizens, and hiding the proof from them.
Here’s some examples. The Obama administration has been denying that it has expanded the current “war” to yet another country, Yemen. Now we know that is a lie. Ali Abdulah Saleh, the Yemeni dictator, brags in these cables to a US diplomat: “We’ll continue to say the bombs are ours, not yours.” The counter-insurgency expert David Kilcullen, who until recently was a senior advisor to General Petreaus in Iraq, estimates that for every one jihadi killed in these bombings, they kill fifty innocent people. How would we react if this was happening in Britain? How many of us would become deranged by grief and resolve to fight back, even against the other side’s women and children? Bombing to end jihadism is like smoking to end lung cancer – a cure that worsens the disease.
The US and British governments told us they invaded Iraq, in part, because they were appalled that the Iraqi government tortured its own citizens. Tony Blair often mentioned “Saddam’s torture chambers” in making his case for the war. Yet these leaked documents show that as soon as our governments were in charge, the policy of burning, electrocuting and raping people started again – and they consciously chose a policy of not objecting and not investigating. Modern jihadism was born in the torture chambers of Egypt in the 1950s. A lot more will have been made in the torture chambers of Baghdad since 2003. Some of it has already exploded onto our streets – the attempted Glasgow airport bombing was by Iraqis who said they were “resisting” the use of torture in their country. There will be more.
The cables reveal how this grief and murderous rage is being spread across the Muslim world, while we lie about it. Here’s just one example. US troops blew up an Afghan village called Azizabad, and killed 95 people, 50 of them children. None were al Qaeda, or even Taliban. They knew what they’d done – yet in public they kept insisting they’d killed “militants”, and even accused the local Afghan villagers of “fabricat[ing] such evidence as grave sites.”
Wikileaks has exposed a terrifying casualness in our governments about ramping up the risk against us. Indeed, they show that the US government knows Saudi Arabia is “the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups world-wide”, but our leaders continue to (literally) hold hands with them, because their oil pipelines run our way. They show a startling contempt for democracy too: when the Honduran President, Manuel Zelaya, was kidnapped by a far right clique because he had increased the minimum wage and redistributed wealth to the poor, the US embassy confirmed privately that it was “clearly illegal”. Yet the US administration refused to say this publicly, instead urging “reconciliation” with the junta their own diplomats were calling “totally illegitimate.”
For Britain’s politicians, the documents offer a long-needed slap in the face. Successive governments, of all parties, support these destructive US policies because they believe we have influence with the Americans. But these cables show the Americans literally laugh at them and their sycophancy, describing their servility in mocking tones in cables back home, saying “it would be humorous if it were not so corrosive.”
Most people in the US and Britain oppose these policies. We are better than our politicians. But we can only stop them – and the risk they pose to innocent people across the world, including us – if we know about them. Assange has made that possible, at great risk to his liberty and his life. So this is a move that enhances our national security. Of course,
there are people who claim he has “blood on his hands” – but where is there evidence? It is months now since the first cables were leaked, and they have found not a single person who has been even threatened as a result of the leaks – except Assange, whose death is being incited by many of America’s leading politicians
There is a squalid little irony when you see people who are literally bombing innocent civilians every day feverishly accuse a man who has never touched a weapon in his life of being “covered in blood.” Wikileaks have hurt nobody. They redacted sensitive names. They held back any cables that could expose anyone to risk. They asked the Pentagon to help them by privately explaining where they believed there could be a danger – only to be rebuffed.
Of course, it is possible Julian Assange did this good, noble thing, and is also a rapist. I do not believe in reflexively dismissing rape claims by any woman, in any circumstances.
There is a long history of the CIA viciously smearing people who dare to cross the US state machinery. There is a strong chance the claims against Assange is another case of it. This should be tested in a court of law – and the trial should be watched very careful to make sure it’s not being rigged by bribes or threats.
Whatever that judgment turns out to be, we will never unlearn or unknow the great truths Julian Assange has brought us. The hysterical state-power hacks saying he is “a terrorist” should go tell it to all the tortured Iraqis, all the terrorized Honduran democrats, and all the bombed Yemenis whose story he has – at last – brought out from the sealed-away world of Top Secret cables.
* For updates on Assange and other issues, Follow Johann on Twitter at www.twitter.com/johannhari101
Dec 7, 2010
From Jefferson to Assange
by Robert Scheer
All you need to know about Julian Assange’s value as a crusading journalist is that The New York Times and most of the world’s other leading newspapers have led daily with important news stories based on his WikiLeaks releases. All you need to know about the collapse of traditional support for the constitutional protection of a free press is that Dianne Feinstein, the centrist Democrat who chairs the Senate Intelligence Committee, has called for Assange “to be vigorously prosecuted for espionage.”
Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Feinstein, who strongly supported the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, has the audacity to call for the imprisonment of the man who, more than any other individual, has allowed the public to learn the truth about those disastrous imperial adventures—facts long known to Feinstein as head of the Intelligence Committee but never shared with the public she claims to represent.
Feinstein represents precisely the government that Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he said, in defense of unfettered freedom of the press, “Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter.”
In the 1787 letter in which he wrote those words, Jefferson was reflecting the deep wisdom of a political leader who often had been excoriated by a vicious press that would make the anarchist-inflected comments of an Assange seem mild in comparison. More than 35 years later, after having suffered many more vitriolic press attacks, Jefferson reiterated his belief in a free press, in all its vagaries, as the foundation of a democracy. In an 1823 letter to Lafayette, Jefferson warned: “The only security of all is in a free press. The force of public opinion cannot be resisted when permitted to be freely expressed. The agitation it produces must be submitted to. It is necessary, to keep the waters pure.”
It is precisely that agitation that so alarms Feinstein, for the inconvenient truths she has concealed in her Senate role would have indeed shocked many of those who voted for her.
She knew in real time that Iraq had nothing to do with the 9/11 attack, yet she voted to send young Americans to kill and be killed based on what she knew to be lies
It is her duplicity, along with the leaders of both political parties, that now stands exposed by the WikiLeaks documents
That is why U.S. governmental leaders will now employ the massive power of the state to discredit and destroy Assange, who dared let the public in on the depths of official deceit—a deceit that they hide behind in making their claims of protecting national security. Claims mocked by released cables that show that our puppets in Iraq and Afghanistan are deeply corrupt and anti-democratic, and that al-Qaida continues to find its base of support not in those countries but rather in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates, the very nations we arm and protect.
The pretend patriots who use the national security argument to gut what remains of our most important security asset—our constitutional guarantees of a truly free press—are just what President George Washington feared when in his farewell address he warned “against the mischiefs of foreign intrigue, to guard against the Impostures of pretended patriotism…”
The pretended patriotism of Feinstein, the first Democrat to co-sponsor the bill extending the U.S. Patriot Act, represents the death of the Democratic Party as a protector of our freedoms. As a California resident, I will not vote for her again, no matter how dastardly a right-wing Republican opponent she might face. There is no lesser evil to be found in one who would so cavalierly imprison practitioners of a free press.
That is the issue here, pure and simple. It is unconscionable to target Assange for publishing documents on the Internet that mainstream media outlets have attested had legitimate news value. As in the historic case in which Daniel Ellsberg gave The New York Times the Pentagon Papers exposé of the official lies justifying the Vietnam War, Assange is acting as the reporter here, and thus his activities must be shielded by the First Amendment’s guarantee of journalistic freedom.
Actually Ellsberg’s position, as morally strong as it was, was weaker than that of Assange, in that the former Marine and top Pentagon adviser was working at the government-funded Rand Corp., where he had agreed to rules about the handling of classified information, including the Pentagon Papers. Assange operates under no such restraints and is an even clearer example of the journalist who ferrets out news and attempts to report it. He had no special clearance that provided him access, and what he did was no different from what the editors of The New York Times did in publishing news that was fit to print.
It is outrageous for any journalist, or respecter of what every American president has claimed is our inalienable, God-given right to a free press, not to join in Assange’s defense on this issue, as distinct from what increasingly appear to be trumped-up charges that led to his voluntary arrest on Tuesday in London in a case involving his personal behavior.
Abandon Assange and you abandon the bedrock of our republic: the public’s right to know
Dec 2, 2010
Joe Lieberman emulates Chinese dictators
BY GLENN GREENWALD
Revelations by the organization WikiLeaks have received blanket coverage this week on television, in newspapers and on Web sites around the globe. But in parts of the world where the leaks have some of the greatest potential to sow controversy, they have barely caused a ripple.
and tightly controlled media in China and across the Arab Middle East have suppressed virtually all mention of the documents, avoiding the public backlash that could result from such candid portrayals of their leaders' views.
In China, the WikiLeaks site has been blocked by the government's "Great Firewall," and access to other sources for the documents has been restricted. Most Chinese are unable to read the contents of the diplomatic cables. . . .
The Guardian, yesterday:
WikiLeaks website pulled by Amazon after US political pressure
The US struck its first blow against WikiLeaks after Amazon.com pulled the plug on hosting the whistleblowing website in reaction to heavy political pressure.
The company announced it was cutting WikiLeaks off yesterday only 24 hours after being contacted by the staff of Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate's committee on homeland security. . . .
While freedom of speech is a sensitive issue in the US, scope for a full-blown row is limited, given that Democrats and Republicans will largely applaud Amazon's move. . . .
Joe Lieberman is abusing his position as Homeland Security Chairman to thuggishly dictate to private companies which websites they should and should not host -- and, more important, what you can and cannot read on the Internet
-- is one of the most pernicious acts by a U.S. Senator in quite some time.
Note that Lieberman here is desperate to prevent American citizens -- not The Terrorists -- from reading the WikiLeaks documents which shed light on what the U.S. Government is doing. His concern is domestic consumption. By his own account, he did this to "send a message to other companies that might host WikiLeaks" not to do so. No matter what you think of WikiLeaks, they have never been charged with, let alone convicted of, any crime; Lieberman literally wants to dictate -- unilaterally -- what you can and cannot read on the Internet.
Overwhelmingly, the reaction of establishment media figures has been to scorn these disclosures as somehow being both a Grave Threat and Nothing New.
If there's Nothing New in these documents, can Jonathan Capehart (or any other "journalist" claiming this) please point to where The Washington Post previously reported on these facts, all revealed by the WikiLeaks disclosures:
(1) the U.S. military formally adopted a policy of turning a blind eye to systematic, pervasive torture and other abuses by Iraqi forces;
(2) the State Department threatened Germany not to criminally investigate the CIA's kidnapping of one of its citizens who turned out to be completely innocent;
(3) the State Department under Bush and Obama applied continuous pressure on the Spanish Government to suppress investigations of the CIA's torture of its citizens and the 2003 killing of a Spanish photojournalist when the U.S. military fired on the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad (see The Philadelphia Inquirer's Will Bunch today about this: "The day Barack Obama Lied to me");
(4) the British Government privately promised to shield Bush officials from embarrassment as part of its Iraq War "investigation";
(5) there were at least 15,000 people killed in Iraq that were previously uncounted;
(6) "American leaders lied, knowingly, to the American public, to American troops, and to the world" about the Iraq war as it was prosecuted, a conclusion the Post's own former Baghdad Bureau Chief wrote was proven by the WikiLeaks documents;
(7) the U.S.'s own Ambassador concluded that the July, 2009 removal of the Honduran President was illegal -- a coup -- but the State Department did not want to conclude that and thus ignored it until it was too late to matter;
(8 U.S. and British officials colluded to allow the U.S. to keep cluster bombs on British soil even though Britain had signed the treaty banning such weapons, and,
(9) Hillary Clinton's State Department ordered diplomats to collect passwords, emails, and biometric data on U.N. and other foreign officials, almost certainly in violation of the Vienna Treaty of 1961.
That's just a sampling.
This is what Joe Lieberman and his comrades are desperately trying to suppress -- literally prevent it from being accessible on the Internet.
As of 5:00 PM PST Thursday, December 9, the following Domains/IPs resolve to WikiLeaks. Try other URLs or IPs if the first doesn’t work.
Julian Assange: Wanted by the Empire, Dead or Alive
by Alexander Cockburn
The American airwaves quiver with the screams of parlor assassins howling for Julian Assange's head. Jonah Goldberg, contributor to the National Review, asks in his syndicated column, "Why wasn't Assange garroted in his hotel room years ago?" Sarah Palin wants him hunted down and brought to justice, saying: "He is an anti-American operative with blood on his hands." Assange can survive these theatrical blusters. A tougher question is how he will fare at the hands of the US government, which is hopping mad. The US attorney general, Eric Holder, has announced that the Justice Department and Pentagon are conducting "an active, ongoing criminal investigation" into the latest Assange-facilitated leak under Washington's Espionage Act. Asked how the US could prosecute Assange, a non-US citizen, Holder said, "Let me be clear. This is not saber-rattling," and vowed "to swiftly close the gaps in current US legislation…"
In other words the espionage statute is being rewritten to target Assange, and in short order, if not already, President Obama – who as a candidate pledged "transparency" in government - will sign an order okaying the seizing of Assange and his transport into the US jurisdiction. Render first, fight the habeas corpus lawsuits later.
Growing International Criticism of US Moves Against WikiLeaks
As US Seeks to 'Acquire' Assange, Freedom of Speech Finds Supporters
by Jason Ditz, December 09, 2010
The Obama Administration is hard at work attempting to “acquire” Julian Assange from either the British or Swedish government. They’re not really sure what they can charge him with, but they’ll think of something, probably.
But concerns about the prospect that Assange is about to “disappear” into some US black hole for his role in the publication of information severely embarrassing to the US government is finally starting to rise not just among human rights groups, but in official circles as well.
“It’s just astonishing what is happening,” noted the UN’s top Human Rights official Navi Pillay, adding that the US moves against them are “potentially violating WikiLeaks’s right to freedom of expression.”
Brazilian President Lula expressed “solidarity” with Assange, and Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin condemned his detention as “undemocratic.” US officials have condemned Assange as a terrorist on the basis of his publications, and top US presidential hopefuls have expressed support for assassinating him.
Lying is Not Patriotic
by Rep. Ron Paul, December 10, 2010
WikiLeaks’ release of classified information has generated a lot of attention world-wide in the past few weeks.
The hysterical reaction makes one wonder if this is not an example of killing the messenger for the bad news.
Despite what is claimed, information so far released, though classified, has caused no known harm to any individual, but it has caused plenty of embarrassment to our government. Losing a grip on our empire is not welcomed by the neoconservatives in charge.
There is now more information confirming that Saudi Arabia is a principle supporter and financier of al-Qaeda and this should set off alarm bells since we guarantee its Sharia-run government.
This emphasizes even more the fact that no al-Qaeda existed in Iraq before 9/11, and yet we went to war against Iraq based on the lie that it did.
It has been charged, by self-proclaimed experts, that Julian Assange, the internet publisher of this information, has committed a heinous crime deserving prosecution for treason and execution or even assassination.
But should we not at least ask how the U.S. government can charge an Australian citizen with treason for publishing U.S. secret information, that he did not steal?
And if WikiLeaks is to be prosecuted for publishing classified documents, why shouldn’t the Washington Post, New York Times, and others that have also published these documents be prosecuted? Actually, some in Congress are threatening this as well.
The New York Times, as a result of a Supreme Court ruling, was not found guilty in 1971 for the publication of the Pentagon Papers. Daniel Ellsberg never served a day in prison for his role in obtaining these secret documents.
The Pentagon Papers were also inserted into the Congressional Record by Senator Mike Gravel with no charges being made of breaking any National Security laws.
Yet the release of this classified information was considered illegal by many, and those who lied us into the Vietnam War and argued for its prolongation were outraged. But the truth gained from the Pentagon Papers revealed that lies were told about the Gulf of Tonkin attack which perpetuated a sad and tragic episode in our history.
Just as with the Vietnam War, the Iraq War was based on lies. We were never threatened by Weapons of Mass Destruction or al-Qaeda-in-Iraq, though the attack on Iraq was based on this false information.
Any information that challenges the official propaganda for the war in the Middle East is unwelcome by the administration and supporters of these unnecessary wars. Few are interested in understanding the relationship of our foreign policy and our presence in the Middle East to the threat of terrorism. Revealing the real nature and goal for our presence in so many Muslim countries is a threat to our empire and any revelation of this truth is highly resented by those in charge.
Questions to consider:
1. Do the American people deserve to know the truth regarding the ongoing war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Yemen?
2. Could a larger question be: how can an Army Private gain access to so much secret material?
3. Why is the hostility mostly directed at Assange, the publisher, and not our government’s failure to protect classified information?
4. Are we getting our money’s worth from the $80 billion per year we spend on our intelligence agencies?
5. Which has resulted in the greatest number of deaths: lying us into war, or WikiLeaks’ revelations or the release of the Pentagon Papers?
6. If Assange can be convicted of a crime for publishing information, that he did not steal, what does this say about the future of the First Amendment and the independence of the internet?
7. Could it be that the real reason for the near universal attacks on WikiLeaks is more about secretly maintaining a seriously flawed foreign policy of empire than it is about national security?
8. Is there not a huge difference between releasing secret information to help the enemy in the time of a declared war — which is treason — and the releasing of information to expose our government lies that promote secret wars, death, and corruption?
9. Was it not once considered patriotic to stand up to our government when it’s wrong?
Thomas Jefferson had it right when he advised: "Let the eyes of vigilance never be closed."
Dutch police arrest 16-year-old WikiLeaks avenger
It’s Payback Time!
It is not “nihilism” to oppose our rulers and their “new world order” of client states and perpetual war: it is patriotism of the highest order, patriotism in the service of liberty. They think they can stop the rising tide of rebellion by arresting a 16-year-old boy in the Netherlands – but can they arrest the over 40,000 people who have so far downloaded the Low Orbit Ion Cannon,
the hi-tech weapon of choice that brought down MasterCard? Of course not. They can only rule by fear, and smear – but only if we let them.
Assange accuser flees to Middle East, may not be cooperating with police
by Daniel Tencer
Thursday, December 9th, 2010
One of the two Swedish women who have filed sex complaints against the founder of WikiLeaks has reportedly left Sweden and may no longer be cooperating with the criminal investigation
According to a report at Australian news site Crikey.com, Anna Ardin has moved to the Palestinian territories to volunteer with a Christian group working to reconcile Arabs and Israelis.
One source from Ardin’s old university of Uppsala reported rumors that she had stopped co-operating with the prosecution service several weeks ago, and that this was part of the reason for the long delay in proceeding with charges — and what still appears to be an absence of charges.
Ardin's blog shows that she has recently posted from the Palestinian territories. Her most recent blog posts make no mention of WikiLeaks or its founder, Julian Assange.
Some of Ardin's most recent Tweets suggest sympathy for WikiLeaks.
"MasterCard, Visa and PayPal -- belt them now!" Ardin urged in a Tweet Wednesday, evidently referring to the cyber-attacks launched on those institutions after they severed their relationships with WikiLeaks.
In a more recent Tweet, she complained of the media reports digging into her background.
"CIA agent, rabid feminist / Muslim lover, a Christian fundamentalist, flat & fatally in love with a man, can you even be all these things all the time?" she Tweeted in Swedish.
Crikey.com notes that Ardin, an avowed feminist, has taken criticism from many prominent feminists, who, perhaps surprisingly, appear to have sided against the female accuser and with the male accused.
"Rape is being used in the Assange prosecution in the same way that women’s freedom was used to invade Afghanistan. Wake up!" Tweeted Naomi Klein.
Feminist activist Naomi Wolf penned an article sarcastically congratulating Interpol for its "commitment to engaging in global manhunts to arrest and prosecute men who behave like narcissistic jerks to women they are dating."
SWEDEN WITHHOLDING DOCUMENTATION ON ASSANGE PROBE
Assange's lawyer, renowned British advocate Mark Stephens, told CBS News Thursday that prosecutor Marianne Ny is staging a "show trial," in reference to the politically motivated prosecutions of the Stalin-era Soviet Union.
Stephens said not only have formal charges not been filed against Assange, but the prosecution has failed to provide him with any documentation relating to the investigation. As a result, he says it's impossible for him to begin crafting a defense.
Stephens also said he believed recent news reports that Sweden is holding talks with the United States on whether Assange can be extradited to face charges under US law.
It's unclear what US laws Assange could have broken with his release of US State Department cables, as he is not a US citizen and therefore not bound by US treason laws, and his activites with WikiLeaks were carried out outside the US.
Why I'm Posting Bail Money for Julian Assange
by Michael Moore
Tue, Dec 14, 2010
Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that I have put up $20,000 of my own money to help bail Mr. Assange out of jail.
Furthermore, I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars.
We were taken to war in Iraq on a lie. Hundreds of thousands are now dead. Just imagine if the men who planned this war crime back in 2002 had had a WikiLeaks to deal with. They might not have been able to pull it off. The only reason they thought they could get away with it was because they had a guaranteed cloak of secrecy. That guarantee has now been ripped from them, and I hope they are never able to operate in secret again.
So why is WikiLeaks, after performing such an important public service, under such vicious attack? Because they have outed and embarrassed those who have covered up the truth. The assault on them has been over the top:
**Sen. Joe Lieberman says WikiLeaks "has violated the Espionage Act."
**Sarah Palin claims he's "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands" whom we should pursue "with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders."
**Democrat Bob Beckel (Walter Mondale's 1984 campaign manager) said about Assange on Fox: "A dead man can't leak stuff ... there's only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch."
**Rep. Peter A. King calls WikiLeaks a "terrorist organization."
And indeed they are! They exist to terrorize the liars and warmongers who have brought ruin to our nation and to others. Perhaps the next war won't be so easy because the tables have been turned -- and now it's Big Brother who's being watched ... by us!
Assange granted bail, Sweden plans appeal
London: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was Tuesday granted bail by a court in London, but not immediately freed, as Swedish authorities prepared to lodge an appeal against the decision.
Assange, 39, would have to remain in custody for the next few hours until the appeal papers had been presented to court by the Swedish authorities, a judicial spokesman said.
If the appeal application is accepted, a decision on the Swedish move will be taken by the High Court within 48 hours. Sweden has demanded the extradition of Assange under a European Arrest Warrant, alleging sex offences against two women, which he denies.
Earlier Tuesday, a judge at City of Westminster Magistrates' Court in London had granted Assange bail against a cash sum of at least 200,000 pounds ($315,000). It ruled that the Australian, who was arrested after surrendering himself in London a week ago, would have to surrender his passport, observe a curfew and be monitored by an electronic tag.
Supporters were jubilant at the bail decision outside the court Tuesday. Assange will continue to fight his extradition to Sweden, his lawyers said. Earlier Tuesday, Assange issued a defiant message from prison in London, saying the Swedish allegations would not make him abandon his "ideals."
Among prominent personalities backing Assange, inside and outside court, were human rights campaigner Bianca Jagger, film producer Ken Loach and Jemima Khan, the ex-wife of former Pakistani cricketer Imran Khan.
Jagger said the move by the Swedish prosecution to challenge the bail decision was likely to fuel suspicions that there was a "secret agenda" behind the Swedish extradition request.
There were chaotic scenes outside the City of Westminster Magistrates' Court as the prison van carrying the 39-year-old rolled up, and Assange was led into the court building away from public view.
Hundreds of photographers and cameramen from the world media besieged the court entrance to take shots of people arriving for the hearing. They included a number of human rights campaigners who have offered cash bail to free Assange.
A group of protestors expressing their support for Assange and his organisation were kept behind metal fencing on the opposite side of the road. They carried placards mocking the justice authorities in Britain and Sweden.
One said "Sweden, puppets of the U.S.", and another proclaimed "Exposing war crimes is not a crime" -- an allusion to the WikiLeaks publications of confidential U.S. cables, which is not the subject of the London proceedings.
Assange is wanted for questioning after two women accused him of sexual misconduct in separate encounters in Sweden over the summer.
Lawyers for Assange say he denies the allegations and will contest the attempt to extradite him for questioning.
Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens, said his client would offer to be electronically tagged and stay at an address known to the police. "One's never going to count one's chickens until they're hatched, but I hope that in these circumstances the district judge will feel confident" granting bail, Stephens told Sky News.
He will be represented in court by Geoffrey Robertson, a former appeals judge at the U.N. Special Court for Sierra Leone who has specializes in freedom of speech cases. Robertson's former clients include author Salman Rushdie.
Supporters were planning to protest Assange's detention outside the court, following a small rally on Monday outside Sweden's embassy in London. Some of Assange's supporters suspect the extradition request has been motivated by WikiLeaks' decision last month to begin publishing its trove of about 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables, something Swedish officials have denied.
A decision on whether to extradite Assange is expected to take several weeks. Both Assange and the Swedish government are entitled to appeal against the ruling if the judge rules against them. Britain's government said Monday that the country's national security adviser believes government websites could be attacked in retribution if Assange is not released.
Government departments have been told they could be targeted by online "hacktivists," following attacks on companies including MasterCard Inc., Visa Inc. and PayPal Inc., which cut ties to the WikiLeaks site.
In his statement, Assange called those companies "instruments of U.S. foreign policy." "I am calling on the world to protect my work and my people from these illegal and immoral attacks," he was quoted as saying.
" …The major concern of those targeting WikiLeaks and Private Manning is that the leaks of internal government documents provide evidence to justify war crimes prosecution of US government officials, past and present. To save their own skins, they want to criminalize the exposure of these atrocities, rather than the atrocities themselves... "
Egypt, Tunisia, and the fight against US imperialism
Tuesday, Nov. 30, 2010
WikiLeaks Fallout: Undermining Egypt as Mideast Mediator
The flood of classified U.S. diplomatic cables released on Sunday by WikiLeaks threatens to further undermine Egypt's already questionable role as a neutral mediator between Palestinian factions, embarrass the U.S. in one of its most important Middle Eastern allies and expose the authoritarian regime of President Hosni Mubarak to more criticism in the aftermath of a parliamentary election this past weekend that was marred by widespread accounts of fraud and abuse.
For Cairo, the country's current preoccupation with an election that fell on the same day as the WikiLeaks disclosure may serve to distract the public for the time being. Egyptian newspapers on Monday devoted some attention to the leaks, but focused on revelations regarding their neighbors and other countries — not Egypt. Meanwhile a Foreign Ministry spokesman declined to comment on the documents' impact — indicating that he was not up to speed on the details and was currently in Libya. But inevitably, analysts say, details of Egypt's hard-line stance on Hamas, as well as its close cooperation with Israel, will provide fresh fodder for Egypt's largest opposition group, the Muslim Brotherhood, which suffered serious losses in the weekend's poll.
One of Brotherhood's strongest talking points against Mubarak's deeply unpopular regime has been its allegedly close relationship with Israel — a neighbor still widely vilified by the Egyptian public. Thanks to the diplomatic cables, Egypt may now have to account for fresh details regarding its cooperation with the Jewish state, as well as its role as a regional peace broker. "I think the most important thing is the link between these documents that explain everything and the crackdown on democracy and the crackdown on the Muslim Brotherhood," says Essam al-Erian, a member of the Brotherhood's politburo. "If there was a democracy in Egypt and the Muslim Brotherhood became more powerful, this would threaten this good relationship between Egypt and the Israelis."
The Brotherhood now has a new trove of information to mine. For example, a February 2009 cable from Margaret Scobey, the U.S. ambassador in Cairo, to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton describing intelligence sharing between Egypt and Israel may add further credence to allegations that cooperation between the two states led to an Israeli hit on a Palestinian target in Gaza earlier this month — something Egypt vehemently denies.
Potentially more damning is a June 2009 cable from the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv, which reveals that Egypt had been consulted about Israel's air and land assaults on Gaza prior to the attack the previous winter
Jan. 28 2011
WikiLeaks Exposes New Egypt Docs Amid Protests. Will Anyone There See Them?
As Egyptian police fire tear gas canisters and rubber bullets at protestors in Cairo, WikiLeaks has been firing back with a stream of new State Department cables that reveal human rights abuses and political arrests in the country. But it shouldn’t expect those document dumps to fuel the mass movement there: As of Wednesday evening, Egypt’s government had shut off all four of its major Internet service providers, (ISPs) essentially instituting a nationwide digital blackout.
The blackout means there’s little chance of anyone in Egypt seeing a new round of WikiLeaks’ secret State Department cables that the secret-spilling group has released and linked to on its Twitter feed, apparently specially timed to highlight the injustices of the Egyptian regime and America’s ties to it. Those cables reveal that “police brutality continues to be a pervasive, daily occurrence,” with police often hanging criminal suspects from their arms for days at a time, and that bloggers and journalists live in fear of arrest. One cable admits that under Mubarak’s rule, which has long received military and financial support from the U.S., “torture and police brutality in Egypt are endemic and widespread. The police use brutal methods mostly against common criminals to extract confessions, but also against demonstrators, certain
and unfortunate bystanders.”
And speaking of political prisoners and torture...
“If we are to believe the allegations, then this man acted for political reasons. He is a political prisoner in the United States.” - Julian Assange
Wednesday, Dec 15, 2010
The inhumane conditions of Bradley Manning's detention
by GLenn Greenwald (
Bradley Manning, the 22-year-old U.S. Army Private accused of leaking classified documents to WikiLeaks, has never been convicted of that crime, nor of any other crime. Despite that, he has been detained at the U.S. Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia for five months -- and for two months before that in a military jail in Kuwait -- under conditions that constitute cruel and inhumane treatment and, by the standards of many nations, even torture.
Interviews with several people directly familiar with the conditions of Manning's detention, ultimately including a Quantico brig official (Lt. Brian Villiard) who confirmed much of what they conveyed, establishes that the accused leaker is subjected to detention conditions likely to create long-term psychological injuries.
Since his arrest in May, Manning has been a model detainee, without any episodes of violence or disciplinary problems. He nonetheless was declared from the start to be a "Maximum Custody Detainee," the highest and most repressive level of military detention, which then became the basis for the series of inhumane measures imposed on him.
From the beginning of his detention, Manning has been held in intensive solitary confinement. For 23 out of 24 hours every day -- for seven straight months and counting -- he sits completely alone in his cell. Even inside his cell, his activities are heavily restricted; he's barred even from exercising and is under constant surveillance to enforce those restrictions. For reasons that appear completely punitive, he's being denied many of the most basic attributes of civilized imprisonment, including even a pillow or sheets for his bed
(he is not and never has been on suicide watch).
In sum, Manning has been subjected for many months without pause to inhumane, personality-erasing, soul-destroying, insanity-inducing conditions of isolation similar to those perfected at America's Supermax prison in Florence, Colorado: all without so much as having been convicted of anything. And as is true of many prisoners subjected to warped treatment of this sort, the brig's medical personnel now administer regular doses of anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation.
More than a century ago, U.S. courts understood that solitary confinement was a barbaric punishment that severely harmed the mental and physical health of those subjected to it
. The Supreme Court's 1890 decision in In re Medley noted that as a result of solitary confinement as practiced in the early days of the United States, many "prisoners fell, after even a short confinement, into a semi-fatuous condition... and others became violently insane; others still, committed suicide; while those who stood the ordeal better... often did not recover sufficient mental activity to be of any subsequent service to the community." And in its 1940 decision in Chambers v. Florida, the Court characterized prolonged solitary confinement as "torture" and compared it to "the rack, the thumbscrew, and the wheel."
January 11, 2011
Bradley Manning and the Rule of Law
by Kevin Zeese (
A high point in the application of the rule of law to war came in the Nuremberg trials, when leaders in Germany were held accountable for World War II atrocities.
Justice Robert Jackson, who served as the chief prosecutor in the Nuremberg trials while on leave from the U.S. Supreme Court, said, “If certain acts of violation of treaties are crimes, they are crimes whether the United States does them or whether Germany does them, and we are not prepared to lay down a rule of criminal conduct against others which we would not be willing to have invoked against us.”
One of the key outcomes of the Nuremberg trials was that people who commit war crimes or crimes against humanity will be held accountable even if they were following orders. This is known as Nuremberg Principle IV, which states: “The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him.” The Nuremberg principles were enshrined in a series of treaties.
How do the Nuremberg principles and other laws of war apply to Bradley Manning?
What is a person who does not want to participate in war crimes or hiding war crimes supposed to do when he sees evidence of them? If Manning hid the evidence, would he not be complicit in the crimes he was covering up and potentially liable as a co-conspirator?
In Iraq, Manning was ordered “to round up and hand over Iraqi civilians to America’s new Iraqi allies, who he could see were then torturing them with electrical drills and other implements.” Manning questioned the orders he was being given to help round up Iraqis and brought his concerns to the chain of command. He pointed to a specific instance in which 15 detainees were arrested and tortured for printing “anti-Iraqi literature.” He found that the paper in question was merely a scholarly critique of corruption in the government, asking, “Where did the money go?” He brought this to his commander, who told him to “shut up” and keep working to find more detainees. Manning realized he “was actively involved in something that I was completely against.”
He wrestled with the question of what to do. The command structure would not listen, so Manning went beyond them to the people who are supposed to control the military in our democratic republic.
He wanted Americans to know the truth
Allegedly, Manning released hundreds of thousands of documents to WikiLeaks, which, working with traditional media outlets, has released a small percentage of them. He left it to journalists to decide what was appropriate for release. The small percentage of documents released show widespread and systemic abuses in U.S. foreign policy and in the conduct of wars. WikiLeaks documents, including the Iraq and Afghanistan War Logs and the diplomatic cables, show the following:
• U.S. troops kill civilians, including reporters, without cause or concern and then cover it up.
• The CIA is fighting an undeclared and unauthorized war in Pakistan with Blackwater mercenaries.
• The president of Afghanistan is not trustworthy, and Afghanistan is rife with corruption and drug dealing.
• The Pakistani military and intelligence agencies aid al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
• The U.S. looks the other way when governments it puts in power torture.
• Hillary Clinton has turned State Department Foreign Service officers into a nest of spies who violate laws to spy on diplomats, all with marching orders drawn up by the CIA.
• Israel, with U.S. knowledge, is preparing for a widespread war in the Middle East, keeping the Gaza economy at the brink of collapse, and engaging in widespread corruption at border checkpoints.
April 5, 2010
WikiLeaks has released a classified US military video depicting the indiscriminate slaying of over a dozen people in the Iraqi suburb of New Baghdad -- including two Reuters news staff.
Reuters has been trying to obtain the video through the Freedom of Information Act, without success since the time of the attack. The video, shot from an Apache helicopter gun-sight, clearly shows the unprovoked slaying of a wounded Reuters employee and his rescuers. Two young children involved in the rescue were also seriously wounded.
Wingnut bloggers claim Wikileaks docs prove Iraq had WMD’s
The predicable phalanx of right-wing bloggers exploded today with breathless claims that they have discovered proof of their long-held claim that Iraq did indeed have weapons of mass destruction just prior to the invasion by the US/British troops in 2001.
Trouble is, that claim is mostly bogus. Surprised? I didn’t think so. Wired breaks down the silliness with actual information of what is included in the leaked documents and what is not. However, that site strangely pushes the sensational aspect of the WMD angle. Sadly, Andrew Sullivan also falls for the meme, hook, line and sinker. That’s all the rightosphere needed to gasp for air and yell we told ya so!
Nothing new has been revealed
. Sure, there were scrapings of what used to be a WMD program but what was left was tiny and scattered – hardly what could be dubbed tools of ‘mass destruction’. We already knew this.
What the documents do prove is that no threat from these scraps was evident. More importantly, the residue of WMD’s in no way warranted the mass invasion of Iraq, a country whose leader was a sworn enemy of al Queda.
What strikes me as most odd about the wingnut WMD screams is that they are so fond of pointing out that the Wikileaks documents do not contain any new information, as is proven by the WMD disclosures. But now that it is convenient, the information contained in the documents regarding WMD’s is suddenly pertinent and revelatory to these same rightbloggers. Curious.
In WikiLeaks’ massive trove of nearly 392,000 Iraq war logs, there are hundreds of references to chemical and biological weapons. Most of those are intelligence reports or initial suspicions of WMD that don’t pan out. In July 2004, for example, U.S. forces come across a Baghdad building with gas masks, gas filters, and containers with “unknown contents” inside. Later investigation revealed those contents to be vitamins.
But even late in the war, WMDs were still being unearthed. In the summer of 2008, according to one WikiLeaked report, American troops found at least 10 rounds that tested positive for chemical agents. “These rounds were most likely left over from the Saddam-era regime. Based on location, these rounds may be an AQI [Al Qaeda in Iraq] cache. However, the rounds were all total disrepair and did not appear to have been moved for a long time.”
A small group — mostly of the political right — has long maintained that there was more evidence of a major and modern WMD program than the American people were lead to believe. A few Congressmen and Senators gravitated to the idea, but it was largely dismissed as conspiratorial hooey.
The WMD diehards will likely find some comfort in these newly-WikiLeaked documents. Skeptics will note that these relatively small WMD stockpiles were hardly the kind of grave danger that the Bush administration presented in the run-up to the war.
WikiLeaks Iraq War Logs: No Evidence of Massive WMD Caches
The nearly 400,000 Iraq war log documents released by WikiLeaks on Friday were full of evidence of abuses, civilian deaths and the chaos of war, but clear evidence of weapons of mass destruction - the Bush administration's justification for invading Iraq - appears to be missing.
Scott Ritter, the lead American U.N. weapons inspector in Iraq, challenged Bush's claims of an Iraqi WMD program or continued possession by Iraq of bio-chem weapons. For his efforts in trying to warn us before we invaded, he was accused of sex crimes, too.
TARGET: SCOTT RITTER - THE WAR PARTY GETS UGLY
In the post-9/11 era of the "Patriot" Act and the Office of Total Information Awareness, what is happening to Ritter is meant as a warning to anyone who dares oppose this government
Bradley Manning Charged with “Aiding the Enemy”
Now that the government’s case against Julian Assange is falling apart, the Pentagon is ratcheting up the pressure on Manning by charging him with “aiding the enemy” –
a crime that carries a maximum penalty of life in prison without parole
March 2, 2011
Obama Channels Nixon With New Charges Against Bradley Manning
by Jane Hamsher
The government announced that they are charging Bradley Manning with “aiding the enemy.” David House is a friend and supporter of Bradley Manning who has been repeatedly harassed and detained by the government. House issued this statement on the new charges against Manning:
"Through WikiLeaks we have been given direct evidence that the White House openly lies to congress and the American people in order to achieve political ends. Richard Nixon, in an attempt to stifle government transparency, once called Daniel Ellsberg “the most dangerous man in America” and accused him of “providing aid and comfort to the enemy.” Today we see the Obama administration continuing the legacy Nixon started by declaring whistleblowers as enemies of the state. It is a sad and dangerous day for transparency advocates everywhere."
March 13, 2011
State Dept Spokesman Out After Slamming Mistreatment of Bradley Manning
State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley abruptly “resigned” today.
CNN reports that Crowley came under pressure from the White House to quit after making comments about the Pentagon’s treatment of Army private Bradley Manning, who is suspected of leaking documents to WikiLeaks.
Crowley, speaking at an MIT seminar in Boston, Assistant Secretary of State For Public Affairs P.J. Crowley said Manning is being “mistreated” in the military brig at Quantico, Virginia. “What is being done to Bradley Manning is ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid on the part of the department of defense,” he said.
Crowley's political fate was sealed Friday when Obama was asked at a White House news conference about his comments regarding Manning
Obama revealed that he had asked Pentagon officials "whether or not the procedures that have been taken in terms of (Manning's) confinement are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards."
In a comment that drew howls of protest from liberals, Obama added that Pentagon officials "assure me that they are. I can't go into details about some of their concerns, but some of this has to do with Private Manning's safety as well."
Manning's treatment has become a flashpoint for liberals, with Amnesty International noting he has been confined to a windowless cell for 23 hours a day, is stripped down to his boxers at night and is not given pillows or blankets.
Manning's lawyer also says the young private recently had to sleep in the nude because
defense officials thought there was a suicide threat and decided to take away his boxer shorts
Crowley is highly respected on foreign policy matters, dating back to his time as National Security Council spokesman under then-President Bill Clinton. He has been the Obama administration's public face on many international stories as the daily briefer at the State Department for Secretary Hillary Clinton.
Monday March 14, 2011
DOD Continues to Stall on Kucinich’s Request to Visit Bradley Manning
Obama says DOD has assured him everything they’re doing to Manning is standard. If so, then why are they fighting so hard to prevent a member of Congress from visiting him?
Dennis Kucinich and David Swanson on Scott Horton's Antiwar Radio on KPFK
KPFK 90.7 FM Los Angeles
Friday, March 11, 2011
Click to listen
The Honorable Robert C. Gates
Secretary of Defense
U.S. Department of Defense
Washington, D.C. 20301-0001
Dear Secretary Gates:
I write to request that I be able to visit Private First Class Bradley Manning at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia.
As you know, I am concerned about reports of his treatment while in custody that describe alarming abuses of his constitutional rights and his physical health. A March 2009 article by surgeon Atul Gawande discusses the effects of solitary confinement on prison inmates and prisoners of war: “Without sustained social interaction, the human brain may become as impaired as one that has incurred a traumatic injury.” Studies highlighted that such prisoners, months after being released, revealed severe brain abnormalities mirroring those who had endured significant physical head trauma.
Private Manning’s guilt or innocence is a question for adjudication and his treatment at Quantico severely undermines the presumption of innocence as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and raises questions as to whether he is truly able to stand trial. His care while in the custody of the Department of Defense is the responsibility of the U.S. Government and as a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform it is my duty to conduct effective oversight.
Thank you for your attention to this request. I look forward to your prompt reply.
Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress
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