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BLOGGING THE WIKILEAKS—Day 5 | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

BLOGGING THE WIKILEAKS—Day 5

Yes, we're back for another day of frequently updating all of the news and views on the latest WikiLeaks.  As before, posting at the top with ET stamp.  For even more follow me on Twitter  @GregMitch.

9:55  The Independent in London now suggests Assange will be arrested in next few days, possibly with his lawyer agreeing.  True?  Also see family's concerns about assassination.  His mom doesn't own a computer, by the way.   In an interview with an Australian newspaper, Mr. Assange's mother defended her son and lambasted hawks in the US who have called for his death.  Ms.  Assange, who runs a puppet theatre in Noosa, a Queensland beach resort, defended her son's decision to publish thousands of classified US documents on the website. "He sees what he's doing as doing a good thing in the world – fighting baddies, if you like," she told Queensland's Courier-Mail.

9:40  Another front opened --  U.S. has lost faith in Mexico's ability to contain drug trade and violence.  Scathing cables.

9:00  Fun Mark FIore animation on  WikiLeaks based on "It's a Small World After All" but with "No Secrets After All."

8:50  The only thing unexpected about this Alan Dershowitz op-ed warning that WikiLeaks is increasing the chances for war is that it appers in The Guardian, not the Wash Post.

8:40  Glenn Greenwald with his second post today on the Lieberman crusade against Wiki-hosters.   He'll be debating Steve Aftergood on Democracy Now! tomorrow at 8 am ET, should be fun.

7:00   Dave Weigel at Slate takes a look at new Joe Lieberman' SHIELD Act, amending the Espionage Act to enable Wiki-whacking.  Big problem:  only small number of Wiki cables were "top secret." 

6:25  Helpful tip from NYT:  "Want to find a better way to work your way through the cables published by WikiLeaks? Try Cablesearch.org, a new search engine dedicated to helping readers explore the archive of leaked cables, launched on Thursday by Henk van Ess of the European Center of Computer Assisted Reporting."

5:50  Confirmed: Tableau took down its charts for WikiLeaks at Lieberman's request. 

5:15  NYT finally posts new  Assange (man of mystery) video that goes with upcoming spread.  Photog even asks taxi driver in Sweden, then on to Stockholm.  At last he is spotted -- at a press conference in London.   Kind of a waste, no?  Online intro says: "In this exclusive behind-the-scenes video, our features and entertainment director Jacob Brown and the photographer Max Vadukul track the elusive Assange across Europe to get the story."

5:05  If stories like the below help get U.S. out of Afghan earlier will today's critics say that actually WikiLeaks SAVED American lives? 

4:40  NYT headline on its new major Wiki story says it all: "An Afghan Quandary: Fighting Corruption With Corrupt Officials."   From hundreds of diplomatic cables, Afghanistan emerges as a looking-glass land where bribery, extortion and embezzlement are the norm and the honest man is a distinct outlier. Describing the likely lineup of Afghanistan’s new cabinet last January, the American Embassy noted that the agriculture minister, Asif Rahimi, “appears to be the only minister that was confirmed about whom no allegations of bribery exist.”

 4:35  The Guardian out with its Afghan stuff, some rather familiar "Karzai is corrupt and paranoid" but also finally full story on the country's Veep who left with $52 million "in cash." 

4:30  Check this out: NYT just posted an Assange video -- but calls it "protected" and requires password!  The irony!  Apparently for its stylish  "T" magazine.   UPDATE:  They've now removed it.  The intrigue builds!  Care to speculate on focus of piece on Assange -- fashion? travel? recipes for the bunker? Or are they trying to kill it?

4:15  Rasmussen, America's least accurate (but still beloved by the right) polling outfit, asks our citizens if Julian Assange is a traitor, and 51% say yes.  Apparently it didn't occur to them, or Rasmussen, that he is not U.S. citizen, so what country, exactly, is he betraying? 

4:10  Wash Post, long behind the curve on WikiLeaks -- beyond slamming its founder -- creates a Google Map for a "Where in the World is Julian Assange" blog post.    Others have harkened back to "Where's Waldo."  Come on guys, you can surely do better.

3:40  Big scoop via Guardian hits:  Turns out that wish list for spying by our diplomats at UN was drawn up not by State Department but...the CIA.

3:35  You might find it worth listening to lengthy Democracy Now! interview with Assange quite recently -- October 26 -- and it's  in two parts.

3:30  Kinda thrilled to see great Guardian blog hail my work here.  Especially since I am 2nd generation Brit and my daughter lives in Brixton. 

3:05 Our man Jeremy Scahill on Democracy Now! today re: WikiLeaks docs proving U.S. troops in Pakistan at time he broke story on that--and Pentagon mocked him.

2:50  Make of it what you will, but Craig Ungar at Huff Post has found a bunch of pre-2008 archived writings of Mr. Julian Assange.

2:30  More here on Tableau, which like Amazon suddenly dropped helping WikiLeaks, in this case with charts and graphics.  Also latest on Lieberman and Amazon.

1:35  Ari Melber tweets:   "A rule for who is Not Credible: People who want to prosecute journalists for reporting torture, but not politicians for ordering torture." 

1:30  We haven't covered much from Spain, but it is a big deal in Madrid.  Here Scott Horton of Harper's looks at the three main threads, all involving alleged U.S. obstruction of criminal actions, including the one involving death of cameraman in Iraq.

1:25  Even Jeffrey Goldberg is smacking Joe Lieberman around. 

1:15  Furor in UK over that WikiLeaks cable exposing U.S. storing banned cluster bombs on UK territory.  Hillary Clinton had pushed it.

12:45  Good Guardian takedown of Ross Douthat's online piece claiming -- without any evidence -- that WikiLeaks will make secrecy worse.  Then there's this:  Douthat does say: "Assange is not a terrorist." The effect is spoiled slightly by his very next sentence: "But he has this much in common with al-Qaida...."

12:30  Glenn Beck still trying to connect George Soros to WikiLeaks.  Well, at least he longer confuses it with WIkiPedia.  Or WiccanPedia.

12:20   In case you've been wondering:   Good NYT roundup of how Pakistan media reacting to WIki bombshells.

11:55 Eric Alterman op-ed for IHT and NYT:   "The conservatives who criticize the publication of the WikiLeaks material were not heard complaining when President George W. Bush and his national security team provided Bob Woodward and his coauthor, Dan Balz, with notes and minutes of still-secret National Security Council proceedings regarding the most sensitive matters of U.S. war planning and intelligence collection."

11:40   From Fire Dog Lake:  "Wikileaks Documents Show US Derailed Major Spanish Torture Investigation." 

11:20  Normalcy returns to London!   UK losing World Cup bid knocks WikiLeaks off top of news sites.   Meanwhile, in Russia, Wikileaks never even made top of sites -- or any mention at all, re: Putin.

10:55   FIFA announces:  America will NOT get 2022 World Cup.  Wait until WikiLeaks shows us what really happened in that  vote. Then USA! USA! will all be on their side.

10:40   WikiLeaks calls for boycott of Amazon on its Facebook page (has 375,000 friends).  Also at left see fun Lieberman portrait they concocted.

10:25 Latest scoop"UK overruled on Lebanon spy flights from Cyprus.. Americans dismissed 'bureaucratic' Foreign Office concern that Lebanese Hezbollah suspects might be tortured."  

10:10 From The Guardian: "NPR examines the art of writing a diplomatic cable. Mark Lagon, a former US ambassador, enthuses about this wonderfully funny leaked cable by the then US ambassador in Moscow William Burns describing a drunken wedding party in Dagestan."   Yes, it's a blast.

9:50   NYT blog has wrap-up of fallout from Amazon dropping WikiLeaks hosting.  Note New Yorker piece and  Amazon ties to papers collaborating with Assange. 

9:40  The Guardian's main Wiki blog has posted video of far too long Bloggingheads with Mickey Kaus and Robert Wright. But it summarizes:  "The American writers Robert Wright and Mickey Kaus share distaste for the revelations that US diplomats were asked to spy on the UN. On this Bloggingheads exchange Hillary Clinton is accused of having a "Nixonian" interest in wiretapping."

9:30  This got little attention in October, but now? Two federal investigators wrote in op-ed for  L.A. Times that if WikiLeaks had been around 10 years ago, perhaps it would have prevented 9/11. " WikiLeaks might have provided a pressure valve for those agents who were terribly worried about what might happen and frustrated by their superiors' seeming indifference. They were indeed stuck in a perplexing, no-win ethical dilemma as time ticked away."

9:20  From The Guardian:  "The Atlanta-based talk radio station WSB is asking listeners to vote on whether Assange should be shot or put in jail. There is no third option.  So far most listeners favour shooting."  Must be on-air poll, I don't see it on their site.  Meawnhile, that former adviser to Canadian government, Tom Flanagan, now says he regrets his call for Assanage's "assassination." 

9:15   In interview in Australia, Assange's son, Daniel, age 20, says he's surprised his dad hasn't been killed so far.   Also, yes, father can be hard to work with if people can't work up to his level. 

8:55  My video picks today:  Me on Countdown last nite talking media attacks on Assange,  why "Wag the Dog" needed WikiLeaks, Assange as "Secret A-gent Man" (odds are he won't see tomorrow?)

8:45:   U.S. mad Afghanistan suddenly  signs cluster bomb ban--we still say WE can use them. And Assange is the evil one?

8:30   Julian Assange's lawyer on Democracy Now! hitting calls to prosecute or kill him--catch up with it  at their site now  if you want.

8:25  Yeah, as we saying:  Pentagon flack Geoff Morrell told Fox News that  U.S. has the power to shut down WikiLeaks and block the leaks, but chose not to:  "This is a capability reserved for threats of much higher consequence than this."

And from last night:

NYT looks at  possible legal moves against Assange--and tough road to make them stick.....Very significant embrace: venerable Foreign Policy launches new WikiLeaked site.... And even more for those who claim "nothing new" in the leaks: How the UK sidestepped ban on holding nasty cluster bombs.... 

Much debate in trying to figure why Amazon caved.  Check  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." A must-read at  New Yorker on WikiLeaks evolving, in good ways,  by guy who interviewed  Assange earlier:... 

Jeremy Scahill tweets: "Shit. Amazon just canceled my order of 250,000 classified cables. Should have bought the Kindle version." ....  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?"...

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