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Blogging the WikiLeaks: Weekend Edition! | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Blogging the WikiLeaks: Weekend Edition!

As I've done for the previous  13 days, god help me, I will be updating news & views on all things WikiLeaks all weekend.  All times added at top are ET.  For more follow me at Twitter.  Read about my latest book here.

SUNDAY*******

11:15  The Guardian still not sure if the Amazon shutdown today was sparked by Anonymous or simply internal error.  Also covers the MasterCard hit today and Gawker.  On AMazon:   "A UK-based member of the group, known by his only pseudonym Coldbloodi, told the Guardian that Anonymous had made 'a brief attack' on Amazon earlier on Sunday, but said that all sites were shortly made available again.  Discussion within the chat forums where the group attempts to co-ordinate its efforts suggested its members were surprised at the idea that Amazon had gone offline."

11:00  Vatican responds to damaging cables carried by The Guardian. Calls them "unreliable" of course.   Surprised they aren't just trying to transfer them to another parish.

10:30 Since he was jailed in Wandsworth Prison—reputedly in the same cell that once housed Oscar Wilde—Julian Assange does not look a day older,  but will photos of him around the world show him suddenly aging rapidly (a la Dorian Gray)? 

10:25  New at NYT:  How a Canadian company got targeted by WikiLeaks fans—by accident.  Ouch.

8:35  David Carr's column for NYT  tomorrow, opens with "Has WikiLeaks changed journalism forever?"  Or the other way around, as it has increasingly partnered with MSM.  "Notice that with each successive release, WikiLeaks has become more strategic and has been rewarded with deeper, more extensive coverage of its revelations. It’s a long walk from WikiLeaks’s origins as a user-edited site held in common to something more akin to a traditional model of publishing, but seems to be in keeping with its manifesto to deliver documents with maximum possible impact."

8:25  The Guardian with cables showing Sinn Fein leaders allegedly knew of giant IRA bank heist.  Plus other Ireland-related cables.

7:25  Words I thought I'd never write: CNN covers Donald Rumsfeld hitting WikiLeaks—on Facebook.  Well, he does have a book coming out.

6:50  We mentioned the Sir David Frost TV segment on WikiLeaks earler, now here's the full 13-minute video.

5:15  Today's batch of cables covered at The Guardian all related to  the "-stans."   

4:50  After being down, Amazon in Europe is back.  Unclear if Anonymous involved at all.  Evgeny Morozov tweets: "Very interesting screenshot re Anonymous involvement in Amazon's downtime—tweet was later deleted from their feed."   http://goo.gl/N1L0D

4:05 TV pundits debate "Person of the Year"—Andrea Mitchell picks Tea Party, Chris Matthew goes for Sen. Mitch McConnell, couple votes for Assange.

4:00  CNN:  Rival OpenLeaks still set to launch tomorrow.

3:50  Australia's foreign minister promises to intervene to help Assange—get laptop in prison.

3:05  CBS:  Assange attorney Mark Stephens says US itchy to get hands on Assange and claims a grand jury has been secretly empaneled in Alexandria, VA for just that purpose.   See video with Sir David Frost.

2:10 Transcript of former Bush attorney general Mukasey on Fox's Wall Street Journal weekend show.  He strongly advocates using Espionage Act vs. Assange—but says NYT should be left alone as it is just re-publishing.  Which isn't even strictly true. Also claims Robert Gates saying leaks have not been that traumatic would help the defense in such a case. 

1:10  Steve Yelvington with fine new post on " Five Sad Reasons the American Press Isn't Outraged."   Concludes: "I keep coming back to a couple of basic principles. One is that the purpose of government is to protect the rights of the people. The other is that our first freedom is the right to speak freely the truth."

11:55  On this WikiLeaks lite Sunday, we've had time to link to WikiLeak jokes, videos, songs, and now WikiLeak games.   The gaming community inevitably is now on board—here is Tech Crunch story and one game to try.  Here's another.

11:30   NYT continues to cut back on covering the cables—just being careful, little big revelations left,  or worried about criticism from on high?  In stark contrast to The Guardian.  The other great unknown: How much did WikiLeaks go thru the cables and pick out the best when started working with the media on them—so perhaps the other 249,000 are pretty worthless? 

11:10  A little surprised that Wash Post editorial takes strong stand against WikiLeaks prosecutions.  Though it does slam Assange hard.

11:00  WL Central still a regular source on strictly pro-WikiLeaks material,  if you're so inclined, including media punditry. 

10:20  And, of course, there is now "The Ballad of Julian Assange," and very catchy.

 

 

10:10  Jezebel's take on how the "sex by surprise" meme got started.

 9:45  The 12 Leaks of Christmas: "12 hackers hacker, VISA sent packing...."  and so on. 

9:40  On Geraldo Rivera's Fox News show last night he said something like, "And as Assange fed cable leaks to the news media, he also fed his voracious sexual appetite...."

9:30  Some Wiki "Leek" humor at left.

9:10  The Guardian's excellent Wiki blog is quiet this weekend but here is their page that wraps things up from yesterday.  Check out the Pope's lack of tech savvy dimming his "moral megaphone."

8:50  SNL's cyberwar bit.

8:40      New from the Telegraph:  "Cables from the US embassy in Zimbabwe allege that President Robert Mugabe's family and the central bank governor are directly involved in the illegal smuggling of diamonds from the Marange fields, the world's richest concentration of alluvial gems and the scene of mass slaughter."

SATURDAY

11:35 p.m.  Neil Young with a message for Julian Assange?

10:55 We've posted all angles on this, now here is new piece at the Daily Mail with Assange's Swedish lawyer claiming to have seen "secret papers" that prove his accusers in sex abuse case had hidden agenda. "From what I have read, it is clear that the women are lying."

7:40  Assange's chief attorney Mark Stephens on Twitter @MarksLarks.

 4:40  We've had drugs, sex and now rock and roll in the cables, with The Guardian just out with news that North Koreans actually implored the US to get Eric Clapton to play a concert that might loosen up their glorious leader. "A confidential cable dated 22 May 2007 from the US ambassador in Seoul to Washington reveals North Korean officials 'suggested' to the Americans that because Kim Jong-il's second son, Kim Jong-chol, was 'a great fan' of the British guitarist, a 'performance could be an opportunity to build goodwill'. The report adds that 'arranging an Eric Clapton concert in Pyongyang… could be useful, given Kim Jong-il's second son's devotion to the rock legend'."

3:25 New NYT scoop by James Risen on Afghan drug lord who was paid informant for CIA and DEA—as embarrassing as any WIkiLeak?  Will US go after Risen?   From story:  Guy was even flown to meet with CIA in US "Even then, the United States was receiving reports that he was on his way to becoming Afghanistan’s most important narcotics trafficker by taking over the drug operations of his rivals and paying off Taliban leaders and corrupt politicians in President Hamid Karzai’s government."

3:20 Just online from tomorrow's NYT:  Scott Shane on keeping secrets "Wiki Safe."  Notes: "Traditional watchdog journalism, which has long accepted leaked information in dribs and drabs, has been joined by a new counterculture of information vigilantism that now promises disclosures by the terabyte. A bureaucrat can hide a library’s worth of documents on a key fob, and scatter them over the Internet to a dozen countries during a cigarette break.

2:55 Since you asked: A cell at Wandsworth in the 1940s.  And see PM David Cameron visiting a cell there in 2008.

2:45  As noted below, Assange apparently is occupying same cell at Wandsworth where Oscar WIlde stayed for several months in 1895.  Here's a lengthy account of WIlde's time there, well down the page, under "To and From Wandsworth" section.  Wilde was so ill he spent about half the time in the clinic, and there's an interesting political twist, too—but then nearly everything about Wilde was interesting.

2:30  Assange attorney says he is being kept in same prison cell once home for Oscar Wilde, in "Victorian conditions" (and not referring to high tea).  "He said that prison authorities had not given Assange the internet-disabled computer that those who are being detained, but have not been convicted of a crime are usually entitled to have if they can pay for it. Mr. Stephens said he would seek bail once again for  Assange at a hearing on Tuesday."

 

2:20  Obama still apologizing to governments abroad, calls WikiLeaks "deplorable."

1:20  Guy at PDF forum showing ambivalence, offering "shout out" to Bradley Manning and then saying "not necessarily a supporter." Carne Ross, the former UK ambassador,  then says not sure why everyone assumes Manning guilty of all claims against him, "implausible" that he could have downloaded all.

1:00 Arianna Huff  says at PDF forum: "A broken condom brings a whole new meaning to the term 'wikileaks.'"  

12:35  I linked to the rough cut of "Wiki Rebels" doc yesterday but here it is easy to click if you want—57 minutes.

 12:25  On another subject:  oing a live book chat & taking Qs—about amazing and influential Upton SInclair campaign for governor and birth of "media politics"—at FireDogLake today at 5 pm ET. 

12:15  The PDF forum is back and streaming after brief break.

11:40  Somone at PDF conference (see link to live stream below) reads new statement by Anonymous admitting it has only caused a "black eye" so far and shifts focus now to urging leaks and finding unpublicized leaks in what Wiki has put out.

11:35  Ironic that a big natiional story today is release of "new" Nixon tapes showing his racism and anti-Semitism—after nearly 40 years.

11:30  Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon  latest to bash Naomi Wolf over her piece on Assange and sex charges.  A different view on the "murky" case from The Age.

11:05  Gideon Levy kicks off his PDF remarks by noting "WikiLeaks is watching"—it just tweeted the live stream (see link below).  He then said "not helpful" to call WikiLeaks a "news organization," it's so different from others, "sui generis."   Jay Rosen and Jeff Jarvis and Carne Ross have already spoken, audience joining in soon.

10:50 Watch the PDF forum on WIki live, streaming here, with some great people.   Also @GritLaura and  @janehamsher and other tweeting it.

10:45  Far-fetched claim?  Article says Vatican cables today so "inflammatory" could spark violence against Catholics in UK. 

10:30  Aussie paper claims it gets direct leak from Wiki, embarrasses leaders (if true).

9:30  Published Wiki cables, in running count at their site, has creeped all the way up to.... 1,295.   Only 249,000 to go.

9:15  New cables: The Pope wanted Muslim Turkey out of European Union—and also lobbied against Hugo Chavez.

9:10  Thank god, we now have Piers Morgan involved!

8:50  The Guardian with several pieces on cables related to the Vatican, including big sex abuse cases in Ireland.   The Vatican can't transfer those stories back into hiding, so it urges caution in reading.

8:30  Evgeny Morozov, one of the sharpest guys covering this for days, tweets: "To understand Assange we need to re-read Koestler's 'Darkness at Noon,' one of his favorite novels." 

8:25  Financial Times on Assange, the "cornered crusader."  I am reminded of line from one of my favorite Bob Dylan songs: "To live outside the law /  you must be honest."    Here's George Harrison doing great cover of the song.

8:20  The Guardian op-ed hits Amazon move vs. Wiki and what it means for democracy.

8:15 Jessica Valenti in Wash Post on the dismissive coverage of the Assange sex charges—and what it reveals about US rape attitudes as well.

8:10  I've mentioned before, but here Guardian covers global pro-Assange protests.

8:00 Latest from The Guardian on Operation Payback and hacktivist plans.

From late Friday: 

McClatchy's Nancy Youssef:  Tying Assange to Manning won't be easy. ... NiemanLab with good end-of-week summary of the WIki and journo issues raised in past days, with dozens of key links.

Stephen Walt at Foreign Policy: Hey, why not arrest Bob Woodward, then? " I keep seeing the double-standards multiplying. Given how frequently government officials leak classified information in order to make themselves look good, box in their bureaucratic rivals, or tie the President's hands, it seems a little disingenuous of them to be so upset by Assange's activities."....  Ace blogger Digby hits media attempts to scare-monger WikiLeaks claims to have documents possibly showing corruption at a major bank—painting this as possibly "bringing down" the bank and wrecking people's savings.

 
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