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Blogging WikiLeaks News & Views for Wednesday, Day 25 | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Blogging WikiLeaks News & Views for Wednesday, Day 25

As I've done for the previous three weeks and more , 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:  Here's Thursday's edition of this.

11:55 Michael Moore finally writes up that Wiki cable showing U.S. trying to kill screening of "Fahhrenheit 911" in New Zealand.  As if Bush admin had nothing better to do.

11:35  For a good laugh, check out  John Burns of NYT in article just posted trying to explain why he must be the first reporter in the world that Assange has refused to speak with at or from the manor this week -- well, you know, he has turned off or changed numbers on his cellphone, padlocked the gates,  and so forth.  This is the best part:  "Telephones there go unanswered, and the hall’s Web site for weddings and shooting parties, during which the public is charged $40 to shoot a pheasant, has been taken off-line."  Of course, it was a  Burns profile of  Assange a few months back, perceived by the subject as a hatchet job, that reportedly led WikiLeaks to not give NYT its latest batch of cables, causing the paper to have to get them via The Guardian.

10:40  Strong United Nations statement on Wikileaks.  Read whole thing but, for example,  it notes fundamental right to information held by public officials with only narrow exceptions, plus journalist and whistleblower protection. . 

10:35  Fox News: U.S. military says it has nothing to fear from promised UN probe of its "professional" handling of Bradley Manning. 

9:30  Getting a lot of attention tonight:  Assange interview with Al Jazeera, focusing on why so few cables so far have related to Israel, the media handling (or non-handling) of them so far, and what can be expected in the Israel-related cables in coming months.

7:35  Katha Pollitt in The Nation:  "The heroic Sady Doyle, a blogger at Tiger Beatdown, gets lots of credit for starting a Twitter campaign that forced Moore and Olbermann to—sort of—back off their sexist chortling. But it's too late: the 'revelations' that Sweden has laws against condomless sex and that Ardin is a CIA 'honeytrap' are all over the left blogosphere. And it isn't just men who are spreading it."

6:20  AP: United Nations unit looking at Bradley Manning's prison conditions after receiving complaint that they amount to form of "torture."

5:00  Assange interviewed (yet another "exclusive") on MSNBC calls Bradley Manning "political prisoner." Claims he's a journalist, as editor-in-chief.  Some journalists in U.S. knocking WikiLeaks and saying not protected by First Amendment  "but I have a message for them: you're next."   Says they have to all "stick together."  But "hopeful" as he also sees good statements on need for "line in sand" against "erosion" of journalist rights.  Hits "digital McCarthyism" in U.S. but says in past two weeks "the silent majority" (Nixon rolls over in grave) around world  rising up to support WikiLeaks.

Then he rejected Joe Biden claim of being "high tech terrorist."  No evidence of causing real harm.  Yet many people, like Palin and Fox people and "unfortunately some Democrats," calling for his "illegal" capture or "assassinating" him.  "The threat of violence...to remove a publisher is a definition of a terrorist.....You can't have senior people going on television and calling for murder....People around world wondering if America still believes in the rule of the law."  People "should be charged with incitement to commit murder." 

Assange claims "we don't know" if Manning is indeed their source.  But according to allegations he "acted for poiitical reasons and he is a political prisoner" so human rights groups should be investigating conditions.  Then calls "nonsense" claim that Manning could testify against Assange on collaboration, which did not happen. Claims conditions for Manning being deliberately worsened in hopes he will testify against Assange.

 4:50  U.S. ambassador to Australia, in op-ed for Sydney paper tomorrow, slams WikiLeaks." I will defend freedom of expression until my last day. This wholesale publication of purportedly classified material is a bad idea, and those who honour free expression have a duty to say so."

4:40  Ha:  New Zealand military also releases files... on UFOs, since 1954, 2000 pages.

4:10  While most of the #mooreandme folks seemed fairly satisfied with Michael Moore's statements on Assange sex case and rape victims on Maddow show last night, some were unhappy that he still did not acknowledge them or their work.  Now it turns out he has indeed sent a private message to them -- via a Twitter DM.

3:40  Writer/novelist Bruce Sterling was asked for a comment on WikiLeaks, and produced this lengthy and interesting take.  At the start he warns,  " it’s going to take me a while to explain why this highly newsworthy event fills me with such a chilly, deadening sense of Edgar Allen Poe melancholia.  But it sure does."  Compares Manning and Assange, though much more on the latter. 

3:15  Today's installment in The Guardian's you-ask-we-search the cables for specific issues or people, sometimes esoteric.

3:00 Hey, we don't need WikiLeaks to know already how bad Bank of America is, as proven by today's big NYT report.

1:45 Dave Winer ventures to discuss "grabbing the third rail," i.e. his take on the rape allegations against Assange.  Yes, he's alread closed the Comments section.  Sample:  "Rape is awful. But I think it's almost as awful to falsely accuse someone of rape, because that's going to radically change an innocent person's life, for the worse. And it's so easy to do, it's one person's word against another."

1:40  Now Michael Lind responds to fellow Salon writer Glenn Greenwald's critique of his previous by declaring, "Yes, Assange IS a criminal." 

12:55 Now Andy Borowitz adds to CIA's WTF and STFU panels (see below) with idea for a National Security Forces Workgroup (NSFW). 

12:30  That WikiLeaks cable on Palestinian-Israeli "cooperation" now causing big stir there.  New from Ethan Bronner at NYT:  "General Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the security services of the Fatah-dominated Palestinian Authority in the West Bank called a news conference and said that Hamas rockets, rocket launchers and automatic weapons had been found in Ramallah and Nablus. This was evidence, he said, of plans by Hamas to launch attacks against fellow Palestinians." 

11:50  The Street:  Despite fears of WikiLeaks release, Bank of America shares up.  However, new report of bank itself  "girding for trouble from Wikileaks, as the Charlotte Observer cites an anonymous bank employee who says he can't access g-mail on his company-issued laptop due to stepped up security measures."

11:45 Andy Borowitz riffs on report of real-life CIA panel, WikiLeaks Task Force, or WTF, by proposing another, "Stop Terrorists From Uniting" (STFU). 

11:30    @EvgenyMorosov tweets:   "Calm down, everyone: Skype is down because Julian needs to make a private phone call."  

10:40  Interesting moment in David Frost interview (see below): Assange denies paying for any information but adds that they are not against it, pointing to mainstream news orgs that pay.   Assange also denies being an "anarchist."   Discusses those leaks in sex case and hits that "particular journalist" at The Guardian who had track record against him and likely to accept leak.

10:25  Frost / Assange: New interview with Assange, at the manor, by Sir David Frost:  On secrecy rights, sex allegations, et al.   Assange says U.S. not most corrupt in the world but beause "dominant empire" it is connected to many corrupt countries, plus involved in two unpopular wars.  But  Assange on his sex case did NOT say, "I gave them a sword" or other Nixonisms.

10:20  New piece at New York Observer on what banks face, and options they have, when WikiLeaks goes after one or more of them.

10:25  Andy Greenberg (who interviewed Assange last month and has followed issue closely) at Forbes warns that contrary to headlines this week Assange has not "confirmed" that Bank of America is the bank target.  Indeed, he has also referred to several financial institutions.  But, yes, B of A "likely" target.

10:15  Bloomberg News: Details on that deal in Russia with WikiLeaks to expose corruption there.

10:10 Profile of Assange's newer lawyer, Geoffrey Robertson. 

9:50  A lengthy history of the #MooreandMe Twitter uproar and how it worked -- sort of a primer on new age of organized tweet protest..  See reports on Moore on Maddow last night at bottom this blog.  Jay Rosen, however, has just tweeted: "I wasn't impressed with Maddow or Michael Moore last night."

9:45 Assange to be  interviewed on Dylan Ratigan show this afternoon on MSNBC.

9:20  The Guardian's daily summary of latest cables.   It did halt its excellent daily blog last week.

9:15  Glenn Greenwald responds to criticism of Assange's alleged hypocrisy: "Simultaneously advocating government transparency and individual privacy isn't hypocritical or inconsistent; it's a key for basic liberty."

8:55 Jeff Jarvis tweets: "FoxNews decides Facebook is worse than Wikileaks and wants the latter to spy on the former. Oy."  

8:45  Global warning: New cable finds U.S. critiquing Vatican for not supporting population control methods.  The U.S. ambassador there lamanted "the Vatican will continue to oppose aggressive population control measures to fight hunger or global warming."

8:10 Love this: Bank of America allegedly buying up "abusive" internet domain names awaiting the next big WikiLeaks release.  "According to Domain Name Wire, the US bank has been aggressively registering domain names including its board of Directors' and senior executives' names followed by 'sucks' and 'blows'. For example, the company registered a number of domains for CEO Brian Moynihan: BrianMoynihanBlows.com, BrianMoynihanSucks.com, BrianTMoynihanBlows.com, and BrianTMoynihanSucks.com."

8:05 We brought you the cable last night (see below) about U.S. trying to force cancellation of New Zealand screening of Michael Moore's "Fahrenheit 911," now here's a full Guardian write-up.

7:50  Mother Jones with a witty Christmasy cartoon video on the "The 12 Days of WikiLeaks,"   from "12 treason charges" to "A (redcted) in a (redacted) tree." 

7:45  Max Hastings of the Daily Mail in UK  really goes after Assange, calling him, among other things, a "megalomaniac sleazeball." 

7:40  A leak from...WikiLeaks?  Norwegian paper claims it has received all 251,000 cables, and if true raising questions about WIki security.

7:35  Wide coverage continues of Assange cameo in rap video (filmed back in October).

7:30  Wash Post reveals that the CIA has a new task force to study impact and damage from cables.  It's the WikiLeaks Task Force and, yes, the agency likes to refer to it as WTF.

From late yesterday: 

Maddow posts video of interview with Moore.  He also discussed cables about "Sicko" and Cuba.

Check @sadydoyle at Twitter  (she helped lead the #MooreandMe hashtag) for response to Michael Moore's statements on rape.  She seems fairly satisfied, while noting, next time, start with strong statement.  Hails Maddow for hosting discussion.  Wishes Michael a Merry  Xmas.

Michael Moore on Maddow show points to new cable showing that U.S. shut down screening of his film "Fahrenheit 911" in....New Zealand.   A cabinet minister had the nerve to want to host a screening.  Here's the cable. The author of cable concluded:  "There's a reason this particular Minister is nicknamed 'Boo Boo' Hobbs. That said, it is probable that this potential fiasco may only have been averted because of our phone calls - it is apparent to us that neither the Minister nor anyone else in the Labour government seems to have thought there was anything wrong with a senior Minister hosting such an event."

10:00 Michael Moore on Maddow, hit by the #MooreAndMe tweeters for past week, says every woman who charges rape should be listened to and adds that Assange should get the book thrown at him if convicted.  Still, he adds, he is more concerned with fate of WikiLeaks, which is "more than one man," and is doing vital work.  Moore also claims U.S. is fighting "six wars right now, not two," and that Bradley Manning should be "rewarded, not punished."  Rachel pushes back a bit on the full-leaking notion, citing dangers in so many leaks that have huge impact and may not be true.  Moore says, yes, that's why need NYT and others to then follow up and do strong journalism.

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