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Blogging the WikiLeaks—Day 4 | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Blogging the WikiLeaks—Day 4

Once again, we're here with regular updates on the latest news and views on the latest WikiLeaks release as the slow rollout  continues, and even stronger revelations yet to come, many claim. Updated from the top, with ET stamp.

12:05:   New cable: U.S. mad Afghanistan suddenly  signs cluster bomb ban--we still say WE can use them. And Assange is the evil one? 

11:55   WikiLeaks supporter promotes very active press roundup page, "WL Central." 

11:50 NYT looks at  possible legal moves against Assange--and tough road to make them stick.  "Legal scholars say the legal landscape for the protection of government information has been exposed as unprepared for the mass dissemination of leaked electronic documents on the Internet... .Prosecuting Mr. Assange could also open the door to prosecuting traditional media organizations, including The New York Times, which was provided advance access to the materials."

10:40  Very significant embrace: venerable Foreign Policy launches new WikiLeaked site. 

10:15  And even more for those who claim "nothing new" in the leaks: How the UK sidestepped ban on holding nasty cluster bombs. "Officials concealed from parliament how US is allowed to bring weapons on to British soil in defiance of treaty."

10:10   A lot going on in trying to figure why Amazon caved.  See Micah Sifry here.   And even more so, this, with conclusion: "[T]he U.S. government considers it appropriate to make inquiry into where and how politically sensitive material is being handled by U.S. service providers. And we now know Amazon Web Services, apparently, will preemptively bow to that pressure and kick a paying customer off its wires without so much as a warrant or a court order."

10:00  Back from NYC and Countdown.   To find must-read at  New Yorker on WikiLeaks evolving, in good ways,  by guy who interviewed  Assange earlier:  

6:00  Jeremy Scahill tweets: "Shit. Amazon just canceled my order of 250,000 classified cables. Should have bought the Kindle version."    As for me, I am off to NYC  to do Countdown tonight with Chris Hayes.  See you there, and see you here tomorrow. 

5:05  The Guardian on new cables:  Murder of former KGB agent Alexander Litvenenko probably had Putin's okay.

5:00 The daily, late-afternoon WikeDump is upon us.  From The Guardian, for startersWikiLeaks cables condemn Russia as 'mafia state.' 

Plus this biggie: NYT says cables confirm what many of us charged at the time: Washington wasmisled  on conflict with Russia by our Georgian friends -- but quite willingly.  Remember, "We Are All Georgians?"  Perhaps could be changed to "Are We All Suckers?"

4:50  Musical break: Is Julian Assange the new "Secret Agent Man"?   Here's Johnny Rivers' 1966 classic:  "Every more he makes / another chance he takes."  And, ulp, "odds are he won't live to see tomorrow"?  

4:00  Most agree it would be difficult to successfully prosecute Assange, but doesn't mean there won't be mammoth effort to try.

3:40  The Guardian with full story on Amazon bouncing WikiLeaks, claims "under pressure," but no evidence cited -- beyond Lieberman's call.  So as of now "likely" pressured.

3:10:  WikiLeaks tweets response to Amazon dropping hosting (they then moved back to Sweden home):  " WikiLeaks servers at Amazon ousted. Free speech, the land of the free--fine, our $ now spent to employ people in Europe."

2:55  Lede buried: NYT's  top blog The Lede beaten all week by The Guardian's blog, now even quotes Guardian blog in 2 of top 3 items.

2:40  Update on previous: The Guardian reports it appears WikiLeaks has returned to previous host, Sweden's Bahnhof. And no idea why Amazon bounced, if pressure bought, or anything.

2:30  TPM: Amazon.com responsible for taking WikiLeaks off the Internet, according to Sen. Lieberman. He calls for other companies to follow lead and stop hosting WikiLeaks in any way. It should be noted that WikiLeaks has only been released a few dozen or hundreds of cables a day, also posted at various news sites after vetting.

2:15 Time mag finally posts full transcript and audio of its interview with Assange, via Skype at "undisclosed location," yesterday. New: "It's one thing to talk about the need to protect this image of the innocent young soldier, its another thing to talk about how diplomats are hard done by when they find their very privileged position in life undermined by having their lies revealed.... This organization in its four years of publishing history...has never caused an individual, as far as we can determine or as far anyone else can determine, to come to any sort of physical harm or to be wrongly imprisoned and so on. That is a record compared to the organizations that we are trying to expose who have literally been involved in the deaths of hundreds or thousands or, potentially over the course of many years, millions."

2:00  The Guardian: "China continues to block internet access to WikiLeaks's website. Guardian readers are reporting that any attempt to access the websites wikileaks.org and cablegate.wikileaks.org from within China or China-based IP addresses results in default pages being served, saying the connection had been reset, or redirection to the local search engine Baidu."

1:45  Disappointing that in new NYT online chat, Gail Collins more or less agrees with David Brooks that "no news" in WikiLeaks releases and that journalism should be able to handle the world without help from leaks like this, a "depressing" thought for Assange, Collins somehow argues. Jon Stewart last night also pooh-poohed the revelations.

1:30  Brits now searching for Assange after Interpol notice.  Let's hope he's not in Brixton, where my daughter lives, in case of drone attack.

1:15  Andy Borowitz tweets: "If Interpol ever finds Julian Assange, they should probably hire him."

12:30  Lengthy post at Red State concludes with this on Assange:  "Under the traditional rules of engagement he is thus subject to summary execution and my preferred course of action would for Assange to find a small caliber round in the back of his head."

11:10  Very interesting take from Foreign Policy about "panic mode" at all embassies, but especially this: Who is pre-leaking the leaks?  "One Washington lobbyist who represents countries in the Middle East said that local press in several countries he works on is reporting on cables that haven't yet been reported on by the media outlets who had advance access to the documents. 

"The lobbyist speculated that foreign governments may also be selectively leaking cables they've come across in order to spin them in their own favor before WikiLeaks or local media has a chance to weigh in.  'New leaked cables are coming from weird sources, think tanks, the countries involved. There's a lot of stuff being quoted in local press from cables that haven't been released yet and I have no idea where they are coming from,' this lobbyist said."

11:00  Newt Gingrich: Assange is "enemy combatant," committing "act of war," should be jailed rest of his life.

10:55  I warned Sunday about NYT & other US media overhyping N. Korea-Iran missile deal—Walter Pincus and Wash Post exposed last night, now new claims that Times failed to publish full cable, for good (bad) reason. :

10:35  Glenn Greenwald with another lengthy posting, this time starting with a hit against Joe Klein for claiming that WikiLeakers need to be jailed if a single person is harmed because of release. Goes on to look at broader issues, and hypocrisy, as others who have caused much bigger harm have not been punished, have even thrived.

10:20  Putin's interview with Larry King will be aired in full tonight. CNN leaking, as it were, comments now.  For one thing, he thinks there may be something to those who feel WikiLeaks is being used by some other force: "Some experts believe that someone is deceiving WikiLeaks—their reputation is being undermined, to use them for their political purposes.... If it is not so, then it tells us that it is necessary for the diplomatic services to be more attentive to their cables. Such leaks occurred before, in previous times, so this is no catastrophe, I don't see this as being a catastrophe."

9:50   From the Guardian:  "The Turkish prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to sue the Americans after some of the cables accused him of corruption. 'This is the United States' problem, not ours.... Those who have slandered us will be crushed under these claims, will be finished and will disappear,' he said according Hürriyet Daily News."

 9:20  John McCain tells Howie Kurtz he really, really, wishes the NYT had not published the WIkiLeaks, saying only the TImes can make them "respectable." The usual, America-centric view.

9:15  Juan Cole's valuable list of top 10 things we've learned so far re the Middle East.  #1: "The British government’s official inquiry into how it got involved in the Iraq War was deeply compromised by the government’s pledge to protect the Bush administration in the course of it."

8:55  Mike Huckabee latest to call for "execution" of WikiLeakers. "They've put American lives at risk. They put relationships that will take decades to rebuild at risk. They knew full well that they were handling sensitive documents they were entrusted." Sarah Palin, meanwhile, has called for Assange to be "hunted" like Osama bin Laden—and we know what that is code for.

The Guardian adds: "It is not just the Americans who are demanding blood. Tom Flanagan, a former senior adviser to the Canadian prime minister, Stephen Harper, issued what has been described as a fatwa against Assange, on the Canadian TV station CBC. 'I think Assange should be assassinated, actually," he said. "I think Obama should put out a contract and maybe use a drone or something.' Flanagan chuckled as he made the comment but did not retract it when questioned, adding: 'I wouldn't feel unhappy if Assange does disappear.' "

8:45   Some WikiLeakers who have had a falling out with Julian Assange plan to start their own group with more of a focus on Europe, Der Spiegel reports. 

8:40  From Madrid: Cables show US tried to get Spain to curb probes of Gitmo torture and rendition or turn over info.

From last night and earlier today:

Reuters reports that Bank of America shares declined by 3 percent on Tuesday, after investors heard reports that BOA may be the unnamed bank  that is the focus of the next trove of documents to be released by WikiLeaks next year.

As I warned: Experts now question N. Korea-Iran missile deal in Wikileaks that NYT and others in US media went nuts over, Wash Post reports.   

Pentagon chief Robt Gates off the reservation: fallout from WikiLeaks will be "fairly modest" for foreign policy... Interpol issues warrant on "fugitive" Julian Assange... Classic, from NYTHow Blackwater turned to pirate-hunting as a way to drum up new business... Bombshell from the Guardian? UK promised in 2009  to protect US interests in official Chilcot inquiry on Iraq war—now a "coverup" charged. 

Time magazine with "exclusive" Assange interview—love this, via Skype from an "undisclosed location." (A deep bunker I hope, to avoid drones.)  He says Hillary Clinton should resign over UN and embassy spying, which NYT and others here don't seem to really care about.  He reminds media (which usually gets this wrong) that these  cables are being redacted "carefully"—hence the slow rollout—and confirms a bank is next big Wikileaks target.

 
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