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BLOGGING THE WIKILEAKS—Day 6 | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

BLOGGING THE WIKILEAKS—Day 6

Back again for more, god help me, as the Wiki news and views keep coming.  As before, updating at the top with ET stamp. More @gregmitch at Twitter.

8:00 Strong Guardian editorial on weak reaction from many to Wiki revelations.

7:45  TPM leading the way on who is blocking anything WIki—latest is major defense contractor blocking anything with WikiLeaks in URL—such as this blog! Also see amazing screen shot of Daily Beast with references to WikiLeaks in headlines crossed out!

7:00 Lengthy NYT summary of pro and con views vs. Assange, including getting rid of him some way.

6:50  Yes, it's a Gawker report, but TPM backs it—further word on military blocking or warning soldiers on going to news sites covering WikiLeaks, and more.

6:40  Rep. Ron Paul upholds WikiLeaks, tweeting:  "Re: Wikileaks—In a free society, we are supposed to know the truth. In a society where truth becomes treason, we are in big trouble."

6:15  TPM gets memo of Office of Management and Budget ordering all federal agencies to bar employees from going to WikiLeaks sites. White House confirms. "An administration official confirms that the OMB sent the email, adding that it follows guidance the office made earlier this week telling agencies to review their information security procedures."

5:35  And, on another front, cables show how US used threats, spying etc. to try to get its way at last year's climate conference in Copenhagen. 

5:15  More from the Guardian:  "A potential 'environmental disaster' was kept secret by the US last year when a large consignment of highly enriched uranium in Libya came close to cracking open and leaking radioactive material into the atmosphere. The incident came after the mercurial Libyan leader, Muammar Gaddafi, suddenly went back on a promise to dispose of the weapons-grade uranium, apparently out of pique at a diplomatic slight received in New York when he was barred from pitching a tent outside the UN."

5:00 In first of daily late-afternoon scoops at NYT and elsewhere: the Guardian finally with full story of Yemen letting US bomb at will—and lie about it. "The cables expose for the first time the true scale of America's covert military involvement in the Arab world's poorest nation amid deep concern in Washington that it has become the haven for al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula." In other news: Yemeni leader is "bizarre" and "petulant."

4:45  "WikiLeaks, the Musical" from McSweeney's. Haven't gotten through it yet, will let you know later. 

4:10   Another good piece from Amy Davidson at The New Yorker, this time on how, or if, WikiLeaks embarrassments may shift Obama's moves on Afghan (or had anything to do with today's strange trip). I like this:  "Why, when our budget is supposedly so tight, are we sending billions of dollars to be stolen by dubious characters?" 

3:30  Good piece by Peter Hart of FAIR (he was early on the case) on that NYT walk back on its initial bombshell that Iran had gotten nineteen missiles from N. Korea (see below, also). As he notes, the Times had even failed to publish the one cable it was using as its "evidence." Much of the rest of the media followed Times's lead and reported the deal as fact. And yes, it requires public editor's probe.

3:25  That Glenn Greenwald-–Steve Aftergood debate on Democracy Now! here

2:10  New NYT piece by Alan Cowell on worldwide response to WikiLeaks finds mixed bag and far more "textured" than simplistic or doom-laden claims.

1:40  Chief of Bahnhof, the Swedish entity hosting Wiki there, tells Daily Beast it will not drop that, has not been asked by US to do, and would resist if asked.

1:35  Fluke or new policy? Mother Jones on scary report of military guy abroad getting message pop-up on computer screen when he tried to go to a legit site that was analyzing Wiki releases. 

1:25  Library of Congress in DC blocks access to WikiLeaks for staffers—and visitors. More and more gov't agencies doing same.

1:05  We hammered the NYT for  this at the time—when they embraced the scare story that N. Korea had shipped nineteen missiles to Iran based on one cable of a meeting—and now the paper is walking it back. Story by Mazzetti and Broad carries headline: "Wider Window Into Iran's Missile Capabilities Offers a Murkier View." No kdding. But it was journalistic malpractice when they first covered it. Now they tell us:  "The conflicting portraits illustrate how the batch of diplomatic documents made available by WikiLeaks can be glimpses of the American government’s views, sometimes reflecting only part of the story, rather than concrete assertions of fact."

12:50  The Forbes reporter, Andy Greenberg, who interviewed Julian Assange for their current cover story now writes about Dan Ellsberg's call for leaks from within Amazon on why it dropped its WikiLeaks hostings—Amazon, improbably, saying it wasn't due to Lieberman pressure. Greenberg even says: send leaks to me! PLUS: Strong take vs. Amazon, and larger issues raised, by Berkman Center's Hal Roberts. 

12:35  Thanks to the great Wiki-blog at the Guardian for pointing us to protest letter from Human Rights First chief to Amazon's Bezos, with holiday season boycott talk going on. 

11:50  Jeffrey T. Kuhner in Wash TImes op-ed (he's a regular columnist) under headline "Assassinate Assange" writes: "Julian Assange poses a clear and present danger to American national security. The WikiLeaks founder is more than a reckless provocateur. He is aiding and abetting terrorists in their war against America. The administration must take care of the problem—effectively and permanently.... we should treat Mr. Assange the same way as other high-value terrorist targets: Kill him."   Article comes with Assange WANTED DEAD OR ALIVE poster with blood and bullet holes.

Kuhner, a former editor with the Moonie Wash TImes, once hosted a radio talk show in DC. His motto is, "The Last Honest Man in Washington." He is president of the Edmund Burke Institute and considers himself liberalism's "worst nightmare."  See full bio here.

11:45  Strong defense of Assange, and hit on US journalists who have attacked him and slighted news value of these leaks, at The Atlantic by regular David Samuels. 

11:30  We mentioned this earlier, but now from Democracy Now! site: "The State Department’s WikiLeaks censorship has even been extended to university students. An email to students at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs says: 'The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. [The State Department] recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.'"

11:25  Latest from BBC on legal moves against Assange, possible arrest coming.

11: 20   Also from the Q&A you'll find witty response to why no leaks on UFOs yet.  But a more serious answer to call by professor (and former Canadian government adviser) Tom Flanagan and others for his death: "It is correct that Mr. Flanagan and the others seriously making these statements should be charged with incitement to commit murder."

11:15 From Guardian Q&A,  Assange on whether he is a journalist: "I coauthored my first nonfiction book by the time I was 25. I have been involved in nonfiction documentaries, newspapers, TV and internet since that time. However, it is not necessary to debate whether I am a journalist, or how our people mysteriously are alleged to cease to be journalists when they start writing for our organisation. Although I still write, research and investigate my role is primarily that of a publisher and editor-in-chief who organises and directs other journalists."

11:10  NYT with latest on speculation over where Wiki site is now being hosted (France?) along with cool underground Swedish bunker shot.

11:05   While I was gone, The Guardian posted its Q&A with Assange, answering reader questions. Good to see him stress, as so few in media have, that only fully redacted (with help of media) cables have been posted.

8:55  Note: I have to exit for a couple of hours. Carry on!

8:50  The Guardian site now up again and says it will soon start posting answers from Assange to the questions in its Q&A with readers.  

8:40  Now WikiLeaks kicked offline by US-based domain hoster.  "Everydns.net says attack against leaks site endangered other customers' service—effectively pushing site off the web."

8:30  Amy Goodman on Democracy Now! reading e-mail to Columbia Univ students in International Affairs program from their administraton warning them not to link to, or comment on in social networks,  WikiLeaks releases.  

8:20  The Guardian's Q&A with Assange (starting 8 am) crashes the site, last I checked. So still listening to Glenn Greenwald taking on Steve Aftergood on Democracy Now!

8:15  Roger Cohen, a little surprisingly,  at NYT site,  joins the pundit brigade claiming not much really new in these WikiLeaks.

8:10  Dan Ellsberg joins call for boycotting Amazon.

8:00 AM  Op-ed writer for the Guardian helpfully puts two top issues together in one, under heading: "Bradley Manning is not an argument for DADT: "Repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' must not be stalled because the alleged source of the WikiLeaks US embassy cables is gay."

7:55  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

7:50 The Guardian picks up on little-noted admission by State Dept. spokesman PJ Crowley yesterday in presser that Assange made contact with them last weekend: "Mr. Assange, in a letter to our Ambassador in the United Kingdom over the weekend, after documents had been released to news organizations, made what we thought was a halfhearted gesture to have some sort of conversation, but that was after he released the documents and after he knew that they were going to emerge publicly. So I think there's been a very different approach. And Mr. Assange obviously has a particular political objective behind his activities, and I think that, among other things, disqualifies him as being considered a journalist."

7:40  We may have been first to highlight stodgy old Foreign Policy launching a very active WikiLeaked site. A lot to read for just the first couple days.

From last night

Another Wiki front opened—US has lost faith in Mexico's ability to contain drug trade and violence... Fun Mark FIore animation on  WikiLeaks based on "It's a Small World After All" but with "No Secrets After All"... 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.

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

 
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