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Blogging WikiLeaks News & Views for Friday, Day 20 | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Blogging WikiLeaks News & Views for Friday, Day 20

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

UPDATE:   It's now Saturday, and still live-blogging here.

11:15  It seemed to confirm rumors of WikiLeaks next target, as their Twitter feed warned late tonight:  "Does your business do business with Bank of America? Our advise is to place your funds somewhere safer."  But it was probably about B of A announcing tonight that it would not process any funds heading for WikiLeaks..  The WikiLeaks Twitter feed also declared:  "We ask that all people who love freedom close out their accounts at Bank of America."   B of A had explained its move, sort of, this way:  "This decision is based upon our reasonable belief that WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments."

11:10  New Guardian editorial defends their decision to print today details of sex charges against him--but also defends his right to not be prosecuted by leaks.  "He is clearly in some senses a publisher and journalist as well as a source. In that respect he deserves protection, not criminal indictment."

10:15  Assange rounded out a full day of interviews on TV in USA by spending a couple minutes with Katie Couric.  Nothing much developed.   He did say, "We are an organization that attempts to promote human rights by revealing abuses that are concealed. So, of course we never want to be in a position where through our releases we are actually causing harm to individuals, or at least more harm than the good we are causing"

7:20  Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ), now headed by ProPublica's Paul Steiger, is latest to write Obama and Holder urging no prosecution of Assange.  "CPJ urges the Justice Department to protect freedom of speech and the press, along with the country's global reputation as a beacon of those values, by standing back from any prosecution of WikiLeaks or Assange for publishing classified documents."

7:10  WikiLeaks documentary we've mentioned gets a distributor, Zodiak.

6:40  ABC News interview w/ Assange just now ends when he walks out on Jim Sciutto question about "forcibly spreading legs" of woman.  Rest of interview nothing new at all.

6:30  Big news, if true, from The Independent in London: Key U.S. strategy is to offer plea deal to Bradley Manning to get him to rat out Assange.   "To facilitate that, Pte Manning may be moved from military to civilian custody." To date, no evidence has cooperated at all.

6:20  Huff Post with update on Air Force blocking news sites, plus a screen grab.

6:15  And the hits just keep coming from The Guardian:  "Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, has siphoned as much as $9bn out of his impoverished country, and much of it may be stashed in London banks, according to secret US diplomatic cables that recount conversations with the chief prosecutor of the international criminal court." 

6:10  New donations to the #AssangeJukebox (also see list at 11:30 below):   "I Fought the Law (and the Law Was Changed So I Could Be Prosecuted)",  "All You Need Is Leaks,"  "Stand By Your Manning,"  "It Wasn"t God Who Made Diplomatic Cables,"  and for Xmas, "Hark the Herald Assange Sing."

5:05  Guardian gets first look at much of evidence against Assange from Sweden.  Many explicit details on the outline that has been reported in past couple of weeks.  Guardian says it has asked Assange for response and has not yet gotten one.  The texts exchanged by the two women, and key Twitter messages, still not seen.  Mark Stephen, Assange attorney is quoted: "The allegations of the complainants are not credible and were dismissed by the senior Stockholm prosecutor as not worthy of further investigation."

4:55  "WikiLeaks cables detail Fidel Castro's doomed love for Obama" -- from hope to "betrayal."   All kinds of great stuff in The Guardian today and this week while NYT had nothing -- until just now when it has virtually same story as The Guardian on another Cuba issue.

4:50  And now we have Wikileaks: the t-shirt, with image at left.

4:40  Whoa:  New cables, according to Guardian, claim Cuba was upset with very favorable depiction of its health system in Michael Moore's "Sicko."  Doctors allegedly felt it was too kind and gov't officials feared its view of a gleaming hospital used by some would spark rebellion by those who don't get that kind of treatment.  "Castro's government apparently went on to ban the film because, the leaked cable claims, it 'knows the film is a myth.'"  All of this not confirmed, of course.

4:35 More from The Guardian:  14 Arab countries voted to ban Stephen Spielberg films after he made $1 million donation to Israel during Lebanon war. Hard to say if enforced.

4:30  Ha: New cables show U.S. critical of very court that may decide Assange extradition.  Called its 'human rights' standards unfortunate.

3:20  Oh, the irony, and much more: We reported below on top CIA guy exiting Pakistan after his cover was blown--NOT by WIkiLeaks.   Now U.S. may be blaming our friends and allies in Pakistan for the deliberate leak, which could end up more damaging, or at least spectacular, than anything re: Pakistan from Assange.   A tangled tale involvign drone attacks, lawsuits and more.

2:50  New Fox News poll finds 66% want Assange arrested and put on trial -- but "only" (?) 38% want news outlets that run WikiLeaks busted.  Vast majority say the leaks represent "treason" to U.S.  This despite the fact that only 1 in 3 think the leaks did any serious damage.   Note dicey wording of some of the questions.

1:50  New cables reveal U.S. fears of lax security in India raising threat of bio-terrorism.  The Guardian posted last night and this is AP's take.

1:45  Great new addition to the #AssangeJukebox "Stand by Your Manning" by Tammy Wynette @WideAsleepNima

1:40  Alexi Mostrous of the Times of London with  intriguing tweet:  "Travelling back from #assange bail mansion. Fascinatingly, he says #wikileaks being attacked by banks in US, UK, Switzerland, Dubai."   He promises to follow up.

1:25  The Guardian probes "Anonymous"  group of hackers, some surprises.  Love the photo of people wearing Assange, and guy from "V for Vendetta" flick (which had, shall we say, explosive ending).

12:30  Lock the leaker up!  CIA spy chief for Pakistan has to flee country after name revealed in....lawsuit over drone attacks.   NYT:   "The CIA station chief in Islamabad is perhaps the agency’s most important undercover assignment overseas because that person oversees its secret war in Pakistan using armed drones that target Al Qaeda and the Taliban."

12:25  WikiLeaks goes on "Tor," from NYT Mag this Sunday, online now.

11:55 A UK Navy medic who says a WIkileaks release inspired him to try to fight deployment to Afghanistan has lost his appeal.

11:30   A few updates to my #AssangeJukebox twitter feed:  "Borne on the USB,"  "Jumpin' Jack Flashdrive,"   "Paint It Black Ops,"  "57 Diplomatic Cables (And Nothin' On)," "Do You Want to Know a Secret?",  "Leak It!" (Michael Jackson),  "I'm Not Afraid of Americans" (Bowie), "Tell All the People" (The Doors),  "Assange le Strange" (Heart), "Six Months in a WikiLeaky Boat,"  "Subterranean Homesick Blew,"  "Assange Brew" (Cream), the Willie Nelson refrain,  "On the leaks again, just can't wait to get on the leaks again, the life I love is making wiki with my friends,"  or The Beatles, "We all live in a yellow leak machine."  Add yours at Twitter or in Comments below.

11:20  Dan Gillmor tweets the question I've been raising for past week: "The Guardian continues to post startling Wikileaks stories, but NY Times has gone mostly quiet. Wondering why..."

11: 00  Still hustling:  Larry Flynt in Huff Post piece says he is donating $50,000 to Assange defense fund, calls him a "journalist" for sure, plus a "hero" and on top of that, we should throw him a "ticker tape parade."  Well, Larry does know a thing or two about censorship trials.

10:55  Friday fun: propose songs for the #AssangeJukebox   We've got "Under My Thumb Drive" and "Back in the USSB" so far.

10:50  The after-party: A tweet from ABC's Jim Sciutto-- "Just interviewed Assange, said big party last night now already back to work releasing cables."  BTW, published cables as of now still only 1600 or so.  

10:10  And a word from our sponsor:  Not too late to order for Christmas gift the new edition of my award-winning book on wild, influential political campaign that gave birth to "media politics" as we know it today.   Read about it, watch videos, and see some of my other books here.   Now, back to our regular programming.

10:05  Andy Borowitz:  "Julian Assange to Launch Social Network for Diplomats - TwoFacebook."

10:00 Fun piece: cables show U.S. wanted to import Bollywood stars to Afghanistan to help our effort there.

9:55 Mark Weisbrot on what the cables reveal about U.S.-led "occupation" of Haiti and why other countries should quit.

9:45  Glenn Greenwald coming up on MSNBC at 10:10, he says.

9:00 Speaking to SKy News in UK, Assange says legal experts have told him "80%" chance of U.S. indictment.

8:45  Assange continued round of morning shows.  On ABC's Good Morning America,  their write-up summarizes:  "Assange said this morning that WikiLeaks by its very nature does not know the identities of its sources, and that he never conspired with the U.S. Army private who is the alleged source of classified U.S. Embassy cables, which WikiLeaks then passed on to other media organizations..... 'I had never heard of the name Bradley Manning before it was published in the press. Wikileaks' technology [was] designed from the very beginning to make sure that we never know the identities or names of people submitting us material. That is, in the end, the only way the sources can be guaranteed that they remain anonymous, as far as we are concerned.'

"To that end, Assange also denied that he had solicited any material from Manning or others, or had helped in the taking of material classified secret by the U.S. government."

Plus:  He flalty denied being an "anarchrist" and claimed Swedish officials are withholding evidence that could clear his name in  the rape case. "There are intercepted SMS messages between the women and each other and their friends. Those SMS messages, the Swedish prosecutor has refused to release. In fact, stated that my lawyer, who was shown the messages by the police, is gagged from speaking about them"

 8:25  Clip of Assange on Today show today,  from outside his new manor home.  Asssange says, "Merry Christmas," then hails "courageous friends," and:  "It's not the beginning of the end, but the end of the beginning." He says he's heard again "credible reports" that indictment coming under Espionage Act.  Matt Lauer asks him point blank if latest claim is true that he supplied Manning with software  to load documents and Assange says he knows nothing about that report (without flatly denying charge).  "The whole damn thing is kept secret," like the Swedish case.    "Something wrong" about U.S. investigation, hurts his organization.

Lauer moves quickly to rape case.  Assange calls it "incredible" charge and "double rape" as it is reported around the world, a "successful smear campaign so far" but its "days numbered."   Why no evidence provided:  Lauer:  if you're innocent why fight extradition?  Assange: I was in Sweden for nearly 40 days,  charges were dropped, "received permission to leave the country," registered name in UK and came in for questioning.

Lauer: Now that you are free and have access to Internet, will you accelerate cable releases?  "WiiLeaks is a robot organizaation."  Assange cites new ones in "British media partner"  The Guardian on India and torture, and points out 250,000 yet to be published.   Lauer at end:  He remains "defiant."   Hero or villain? Depends where you stand. 

8:10  The Guardian's top story on the cables today remains India's "systematic" use of torture in Kashmir.  The NYT once again has nothing and Exec Editor Bill Keller yesterday revealed the paper somehow planned only about four more stories on the cables.

8:05    Assange should re-make the Stones' hit with Lady Gaga and call it "Under My Thumb Drive."   Another war suggests, "Wag in the USSB." 

8:00  Headline on  NYT main story (from AP) on Assange this morning.  "WikiLeaks Chief Plots Next Move from Mural Retreat."   Excerpt:   Julian Assange told reporters Friday outside a supporter's country mansion where he is confined that his organization was resilient and designed to withstand 'decapitation attacks.'  He says the allegations against him of sex crimes are part of a smear campaign, but Sweden says they stem from serious allegations made by two women."

8:00  Michael Moore with lengthy protest letter to Sweden -- also digs out from charges he doesn't take rape charges seriously. "Unless you have the evidence (and it seems if you did you would have issued an arrest warrant by now), drop the extradition attempt and get to work doing the job you've so far refused to do: Protecting the women of Sweden."

7:50   The Guardian with new piece on health of Bradley Manning "deteriorating" (as Assange arrives at posh manor). 

 


 


 
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