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THE WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG, Special Holiday Weekend Edition! | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

THE WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG, Special Holiday Weekend Edition!

As I've done for the previous nearly four weeks and more,  I will be updating news & views on all things WikiLeaks all weekend, if at a reduced clip (unless Assange escapes).   All times added at top are ET.  For more follow me at Twitter.  Read about my latest book here.

UPDATE:   Go here for Monday's edition.

***SUNDAY***

7:40  Wash Post with big piece on story we covered yesterday: cables on Mexican drug lord and Panama's request to US for wiretaps, and much more.

7:30  Finally a new Guardian story on fresh cable:  "The trial of Russian oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky shows the Kremlin preserves a "cynical system where political enemies are eliminated with impunity", US diplomats say in classified cables released by WikiLeaks today.  Attempts by the Russian government to demonstrate the rule of law is being respected during Khodorkovsky's prosecution are "lipstick on a political pig", says a communique to Washington from the US embassy in Moscow in December 2009."

4:25  We report, you decide:  Assange claims one of his accusers took "trophy photo" of him naked.

4:15  Speculation about if, and when, Bradley Manning will confess and maybe implicate Assange.  But Assange denies any contact at all.

4:10  What a difference a week makes.  The Guardian no longer reporting on cables, and only story today is on Assange book deal.

2:10  I don't really know what this story means but it's yet another example of cables leaking out to smaller news outlets from the 250,000 cache, not sure how they are emerging....

11:40  Ironic (for me, given my current focus here) that one of the villains in my "The Campaign of the Century" book, set in 1934, is A.P. Giannini—founder of Bank of America.  He helped scuttle Upton Sinclair's epic race for governor that influenced politics ever since.

11:30  Alleged cyber attack on B of A may or may not happen soon.  Alexi Mostrous of Times of London tweets:  "Some details at @operazionboa but sketchy. Any attack may be disrupted by internal Anon powerstruggle I hear."

9:55 Interesting take from Australia news outlet on bickering among allies in Afghanistan.

9:15  Today's laff:  Rumor in Russia that upcoming WikiLeaks cable will reveal that US has been fighting UFOs near Antarctica since 2004!

8:55  Asher Wolf tweets:  "The Telegraph has listed Julian Assange as one of The Villains of 2010."

8:50  Important info from cables continues to emerge from far corners and under the radar in US.  Here's new piece at IPS re: Africa and uranium. "Wikileaks cables have revealed a disturbing development in the African uranium mining industry: abysmal safety and security standards in the mines, nuclear research centres, and border customs are enabling international companies to exploit the mines and smuggle dangerous radioactive material across continents. The Wikileaks cables reveal that US diplomats posted in a number of African countries—the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), Tanzania, Niger, and Burundi, among others—have had direct knowledge of the poor safety and security standards in these countries' uranium and nuclear facilities."

8:00 Huff Post: Latest on Assange memoir deal, will get over $1.25 million from US and UK publishers.

***SATURDAY***

10:30 A new report on Thomas Friedman talk at Brandeis last Wednesday.  He expressed ambivalence about WikiLeaks, hailing whistleblowers but not idea of so many secrets being open to exposure.  Here's key graf:  "Yet Friedman also explained that while America 'on balance [is] a real force for good in the world,' Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, does not believe in or support American values."

10:25  AP: Panama leader denies asking US for phone taps on opponents  "but acknowledged a request for help against criminals and organized crime figures. A leaked US diplomatic cable from Aug. 22, 2009 quotes then-US ambassador Barbara Stephenson as saying the newly elected conservative president asked for help with wiretaps soon after he took office on July 1."

10:20  New Wiki cables relating to US, Mexico and the drug war.

10:05  The Guardian's sister paper The Observer  picks, or maybe makes up, "buzz words" of 2010, including "assange," defined as:  "The act of dressing self-indulgence up as piety, e.g.  don't tell me you only stayed in the pub to look after your mate. That's a load of assange and you know it!"

7:05  Wow, hard-hitting NYT editorial hitting crackdown on WikiLeaks by "financial industry," now especially Bank of America.  Adds, closer to home: "What would happen if a clutch of big banks decided that a particularly irksome blogger or other organization was 'too risky'”? What if they decided—one by one—to shut down financial access to a newspaper that was about to reveal irksome truths about their operations? This decision should not be left solely up to business-as-usual among the banks"

6:15 I noted below plans for cyber attack on B of A.  It may, or may not, be underway now, according to this thread.  My guess: limited so far.

6:05  NYT with story on Berkeley group backing Bradley Manning.  "The lack of clarity surrounding Private Manning’s involvement [with WikiLeaks] has made building public support a challenge, even in friendly forums like the Berkeley City Council, which last week declined to back a measure calling Private Manning a hero."

4:45  NYT finally returns to the WIki wars with new top piece on the DEA and its global reach.  "The Drug Enforcement Administration has been transformed into a global intelligence organization with a reach that extends far beyond narcotics, and an eavesdropping operation so expansive it has to fend off foreign politicians who want to use it against their political enemies, according to secret diplomatic cables."

4:30  Is El Pais the only one of the original news outlets still reporting on new cables? 

2:30  Reuters: Egypt denies any nuclear weapon ambitions.

1:30  Full report by the great Carol Rosenberg of McClatchy on how US tried to stop Spain's probe of torture of "war on terror" detainees. "The case is still open, on the desk of a Spanish magistrate, awaiting a reply from the Obama administration on whether it will pursue a probe of its own. But the episode, revealed in a raft of WikiLeaks cables, was part of a secret concerted US effort to stop a crusading Spanish judge from investigating a torture complaint against former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and five other senior Bush lawyers. 

12:25  Quip from Life of Brian may make some think of Assange.  Mother of Brian of Nazareth: "He's not the Messiah. He's a very naughty boy!"

11:05  New Twitter feed announces alleged Bank of Amerca take down effort (when it reaches critical mass). 

10:50  Turkey with all the trimmings: Newly-relesed cable suggests US has, or had, 90 nuclear bombs in Turkey. 

10:40  How much interest in WikiLeaks on the left in the USA? This live-blog has been the most popular entry on The Nation's site nearly every day for the past four weeks.   Thanks for all your interest and support and tips.

10:30  Report from Google:  WikiLeaks tops gambling for web search hits, and Obama only beats out Assange, 70 million to 68 million.

10:00  Once again yesterday, for third day, not a single report on new cables at The Guardian, which had been feverish on the subject for so long.  One wonders.

9:00   And a Merry Christmas to you all.  Now the secret  is out.  Beethoven, perhaps the leading evidence for the existence of God, greets the day.  And a quite different anthem from Woody Guthrie on the birthday boy.

FRIDAY

11:00  Yes, I will be doing some blogging here on Christmas Day as events warrant, or don't.

9:35  Whoville elects Assange mayor after WIkiLeak doc leads to arrest of Grinch in Christmas stealing plot.

8:10  Steve Jobs kicks Julian Assange out of an Apple app store:

 6:20  Bianca Jagger at Huff Post hits "trial by newspaper," meaning The Guardian's decision to use leaked details on sex case against Assange.

3:50  Lawyer for woman accusing Assange speaks to AP, claims women didn't even know they could appeal until he informed them.  "He has said all men bear a collective responsibility for the fact that some men abuse women. In 2006, he even proposed that Sweden withdraw from soccer's World Cup because of an expected surge in the sex trade in host nation Germany, where prostitution is legal."

3:00 Glenn Greenwald tweets on the Manning case: "Wired Magazine (and the WashPost) possess key evidence on 1 of the year's most important news stories but have concealed it for months." That would be the original chat logs. 

2:50  Hot wiki on wiki action, as Evgeny Morozov tweets:  "Wikipedia's entry on Cablegate is so detail-oriented that it even unpacks the real meaning of WTF http://goo.gl/3CUnv." 

12:30  You're on your own with this one: El Pais guy claims Assange considering political asylum in...Brazil.  Paging Terry Gilliam!

  11:00 Major Wall Street Journal piece today on WikiLeaks financing and decision to spend more to "professionalize" itself, including after a long debate, pay staff salaries, modeling itself on Greenpeace.   "The Wau Holland Foundation provides key back-office services for WikiLeaks' operations by collecting donations and paying its bills."

10:25  AFP: Israeli daily publishes new cable with US reporting that Israel destroyed secret Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007 raid. Syria denies it was nuke facility and Bush in his memoirs said he resisted Israel's pressure to bomb it.

9:50  Big NYT story today on how Swiss now ready to prosecute three moles who helped CIA in tracking nuclear dealer A.Q.  Khan—maybe helped too much—and fears that key US secrets will emerge.  Not WikiLeaks-related on the surface, but the much-awaited Frantz and Collins book on the case is due to come out next month with reportedly many secrets of its own to tell.  So: Will they be halted or prosecuted in the new anti-secrets craze?  Don't bet on it.

9:15  Assange attorney Mark Stephens, revealing puckish side,  tweets @markslarks  "This just in... Dear Kids,  Santa is Mum & Dad.  Love, Wikileaks."

9:05  A couple days back we linked to a lengthy take by "cyberpunk" author Bruce Sterling, which has since gained wide play, and some criticism from both Wiki friend and Wiki foe..  Here's The Economist  weighing in.

8:40  New from Glenn Greenwald, as he reviews the year in WikiLeaks and what was revealed.  "It's unsurprising that political leaders would want to convince people that the true criminals are those who expose acts of high-level political corruption and criminality, rather than those who perpetrate them.  Every political leader would love for that self-serving piety to take hold.  But what's startling is how many citizens and, especially, 'journalists' now vehemently believe that as well."

8:35  Bradley Manning has sent out a brief holiday message: "I greatly appreciate everyone's support and well wishes during this time. I am also thankful for everything that has been done to aid in my defense. I ask that everyone takes the time to remember those who are separated from their loved ones at this time due to deployment and important missions. Specifically, I am thinking of those that I deployed with and have not seen for the last seven months, and of the staff here at the Quantico Confinement Facility who will be spending their Christmas without their family."

8:20  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."

From late yesterday:

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

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!

 
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