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Blogging WikiLeaks News & Views, for Thursday, Day 26 | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Blogging WikiLeaks News & Views, for Thursday, Day 26

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 the Friday edition of this blog.

10:50  BBC:  Cuba to publish WikiLeak cables relating to Cuba, said to be over 2000, with only 62 appearing so far.  "It says the documents prove links between Cuba's "so-called internal dissidence" and the US government. They also reveal the continuing "terrorist actions" against Cuba from the US, as well as "complicity" between the CIA and Cuban exile groups, it says"

8:50  Dramatic shift: Guardian has now gone two full days with no new Wiki cable stories. Odd that it would go from 6 to zero overnight.  Just Christmas slowdown, or another reason? And, of course, NYT has only covered new cables twice in past two weeks.

8:40  McClatchy: Military opens full probe into how Manning allegedly stole files -- those this headline leaves out the "allegedly."  Going GaGa.

6:40  MSNBC interview today with David House, the friend of Bradley Manning who has visited him several times and wrote him for FDL.  House calls him an "ethical giant" and says they have not talked at all about case or Assange. And now Glenn Greenwald tweets: "It still amazes me that both Wired and The Washington Post - 'news outlets' - have the full Manning / Lamo chats but won't publish them."

6:10   It seems Moe Tkacik wrote a story on the Assange sex case last night for the Washington City Paper without overseer editing, it named the two women in the case, was taken down and redacted, then put back up with an editor's note.  Now here's Fishbowl DC withanother note noting that the names are all over the web -- and then a choice of reading the original story on the edited one!

5:50:   Not based on a WikiLeak but check out giant story inspired by hard journalism pushing for (redacted) docs from NYT on U.S. okaying companies selling goods to countries that allegedly back terrorism.

5:15  AP picks its top 10 stories of the year.  WikiLeaks only  #9, below the Chilean Miners.  But look at what's #10:  Afghanistan.

5:05  If The Clash were still around would they do an album called "Assangelista!" ?

4:25 New report in the Sydney Morning-Herald on further "web of intrigue" in sex case against Assange, but it doesn't add or explain an awful lot.

4:10  National Journal with big piece on the case of David House, who is leading Bradley Manning support and has visited him in prison (see his FDL report down below), and the case of the seized laptop--his laptop, taken by Homeland Security at the airport and just this week returned.   Glenn Greenwald covered it this morning.

4:05 Jane Hamsher's piece today at FDL on Manning and Lamo, Wired and chat logs,  and a timeline that doesn't check out.

3:45  The Guardian gets its crack at an Assange interview, and I give them credit for not calling it "exclusive."  Among other things, Assange says it would be "politically impossible" for PM Cameron to agree to extradition to the U.S. if Brits continue to rally to his support.  Dig this:  "Solitary confinement is very difficult. But I know that provided there is some opportunity for correspondence I can withstand it. I'm mentally robust. Of course it would mean the end of my life in the conventional sense."   And:  there is a "high chance" of him being killed "Jack Ruby-style" in the U.S. prison system.

Odd detail:  Yes, he has to wear that electronic device "in the bath."  Also: his book deal may be "seven figures," much needed as his legal bills piling up and money blocked by MasterCard, etc.

The Guardian also gives him a chance to briefly respond to their publishing leak of details from police on his sex case.  He says, yes, they had that right but argued with details chosen and lack of context.

3:30  Interesting footnote by The Guardian at its big Assange interview just now, in full: 

Over the past month the Guardian has published over 200 articles based on the trove of US diplomatic dispatches obtained by WikiLeaks, and 739 of the cables themselves. All cables published by the Guardian and the four other international news organisations who had exclusive early access to the material have been carefully redacted to protect sources who could be placed in danger, and the redacted versions have been passed to WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks now plans to begin sharing the cables with a wider group of regional news organisations. Julian Assange says all future cables released by WikiLeaks will either be redacted by other partner news organisations, or by WikiLeaks itself. The Guardian and its partners in the project, the New York Times, Der Spiegel, El Pais and Le Monde, will continue to share redactions with WikiLeaks for any cables they publish in future.

2:50  Glenn Greenwald tweets:  "On BBC's Newshour with former Reagan Pentagon official Jed Babbin, re: conditions of Manning's detention (Babbin, of course, defends it)."  Note: I was asked to be on Dylan Ratigan's MSNBC show this afternoon but could not make it, sorry fans. 

12:10 New at Huff Post:  Daphne Eviatar of Human Rights First calls Manning's treatment "not customary." One point:  "No one has claimed that Bradley Manning has been anything less than completely cooperative with prison guards. And given that he's not accused of a violent crime, it's difficult to see why such extreme security measures are necessary."

11:50  Not too late for Christmas!  Surely you will want to purchase on eBay this amazing Frog "art" sculpture, paying tribute to WikiLeaks/Assange, for $450 or start bidding at only $250.   Includes two frogs and the WIkiLeaks hour glass!

11:40 Nothing has devalued use of "exclusive" by news outlets than the past week of Assange interviews.  Exclusive apparently now means he didn't talk to anyone else during that same ten-minute time frame.   Maybe they should call it instead "Snapshot in time." 

11:25 Note to possibly weary readers from your "Greg Mitchell Held Hostage: Day 26" editor:  Yes, I will be continuing this over the holiday weekend, starting tomorrow with one editiion for those three days, items added at top, though probably not too much new?  Or perhaps Santassange will bring more presents for both the naughty and nice.

10:35  Jeremy Scahill tweets:  "A year ago this week, the US bombed Yemen  twice and then conspired to cover fact it was US bombs."

10:10  Democracy Now! segment with Jeffrey Smtih on U.S. trying to retaliate against Europe for refusing to use Monsanto's genetically-modified seeds.

9:50  Great new piece by El Pais editor Javier Moreno on decision to publish WIkiLeaks docs, behind the scenes with Assange,  issues raised by U.S. and much more.  Hard-hitting defense. "Newspapers have many obligations in a democratic society: responsibility, truthfulness, balance and a commitment to citizens. Our obligations definitely do not, however, include protecting governments and the powerful in general from embarrassing revelations."

9:35  David House at FireDogLake with full report on recent visits with Bradley Manning and conditions for him there.  Manning contradicts many key claims about his treatment from the military authorities. 

House:   "Our conversations, which take place in the presence of marines and electronic monitoring equipment, typically revolve around topics in physics, computer science, and philosophy.... He rarely if ever talks about his conditions in the brig, and it is not unusual for him to shy away from questions about his well-being by changing the subject entirely. When I arrived at the brig on December 18th I found him to be much more open to lines of inquiry regarding his circumstances, and in a two and a half hour conversation I learned new details about his life in confinement."

9:30:  I covered this first (see below) but now here's MIke Calderone's report on Assange snubbing NYT's John Burns and friction with Guardian.

9:10 We reported yesterday on Assange claim of big cable dump coming up re: Israel.  Now here is the Haaretz take.

8:55  Jonathan Farley in The Guardian asks why State Dept. didn't send cables in code -- plus a cryptography history and lesson.

8:40 Le Monde has named Assange its Person of the Year-- apparently based on reader poll.

8:20   We noted the key cable a couple of days back, and now there's reaction:  UK and U.S. urged by Human Rights Watch  to stop assisting in any kind of training of a state-run Bangladeshi "death squad."

8:05  New from Glenn Greenwald: Updating the question of torture as applied to prison conditions for Bradley Manning, as UN says it will now probe (see below).  Greenwald was there first last week in an influential piece, and now he charts reaction of others who flatly charge the treatment does amount to torture.  It may or may not fall short of actual torture -- it's good that the U.N. will now formally investigate that question -- but either way, it's designed to degrade both Manning's psyche and resistance to incriminating WikiLeaks and is highly likely to achieve both."  Here is a timeline on the the Bradley Manning case from FireDogLake, as mentioned by Greenwald.

7:45  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.

7:40  Just coincidence that yesterday was the first day in over three weeks that The Guardian did not publish or report on any new WIkiLeaks cables -- in the wake of Assange attacking paper for leaking the details of sex case?  Has WikiLeaks cut back or cut off the cables to them?  Probably not, but we'll see what happens today.  Or maybe The Guardian is miffed at Assange for lashing out, and will reduce coverage.

7:30   Michael Moore finally writes up that cable revealing U.S. trying to kill "Fahrenheit 911" screening in.... New Zealand.

From late yesterday

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. . 

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

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.

  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."

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

 
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