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THE WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG for Thursday, Day 47 | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

THE WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG for Thursday, Day 47

As I've done for more than six weeks, I will be updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks all day, with new items added at the top. All times are ET in USA. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Information on some of my books here.

UPDATE   Friday's edition of this blog.

10:20  Scott Shane of NYT with major new piece on Bradley Manning case (contrasted with Assange on 600 acre estate and with book deal).  Military again refutes all charges of ill treatment, claims he is not in solitary, and treated like other high-security risks there.  "He is the only person charged in the WikiLeaks case so far. And despite his supporters’ suspicions that he will be pressured to testify against Mr. Assange, the Army spokeswoman, Ms. Kelly, said that to date, Private Manning had not spoken with civilian investigators or prosecutors."

10:00 Foreign Policy seriously  asks re: Tunisia: "The First WikiLeaks Revolution?"  Opens" "Tunisians didn't need any more reasons to protest when they took to the streets these past weeks -- food prices were rising, corruption was rampant, and unemployment was staggering. But we might also count Tunisia as the first time that WikiLeaks pushed people over the brink. These protests are also about the country's utter lack of freedom of expression -- including when it comes to WikiLeaks."

9:50  Evgeny Morozov tweets:  "Unpublished Wikileaks Cables Appear on State-Backed Belarusian Website" -> if true WL's Shamir problem is getting worse   http://goo.gl/epaKA "

8:05  Big news from the blog kept by Bradley Manning's attorney David Coombs related to lack of speedy trial and the conditions of his confinement.  First:  "On 9 January 2011, the defense filed a demand for speedy trial with the Government.  PFC Manning has been in pretrial confinement since 29 May 2010.  Since 12 July 2010, the case has been on Government requested excludable delay under R.C.M. 707(c).   This delay request by the Government was approved by the court-martial convening authority. The case is currently awaiting the start of a Rule for Courts-Martial (R.C.M.) 706 Board.   This board will likely begin its work in February."

And secondly:  "The defense has raised its objection to the documented confinement conditions of PFC Bradley Manning on multiple occasions with the Quantico confinement facility and the Staff Judge Advocate’s (SJA) Office.  On 5 January 2011, the defense filed a formal complaint with the commander of the Quantico Brig.  On the same day, PFC Manning also filed a formal complaint through the confinement grievance process.  Both complaints requested that the confinement facility remove PFC Manning from Prevention of Injury (POI) watch and that his classification level be reduced from 'Maximum'  to 'Medium Detention In.'  The confinement facility did not respond to either complaint.     

"Due to the lack of response from the confinement facility, the defense, pursuant to the provisions of Rule for Courts-Martial (R.C.M.) 305(g), filed a request earlier today with the Garrison Commander to direct the release of PFC Bradley Manning from pretrial confinement.  This request is based upon the fact that the confinement conditions currently being endured by PFC Manning are more rigorous than necessary to guarantee his presence at trial, and that the concerns raised by the government at the time of pretrial confinement are no longer applicable.  Further steps to address PFC Manning's confinement conditions will be taken, if necessary."

5:50  Foreign Policy looks at the WikiLeak cable dump today re: Iceland, with attention to how U.S. proposed helping it out during its recent financial crisis -- to keep the Russians at bay.  Talk about a cold war.

4:40  Wendy Kaminer with good piece at The Atlantic on Rep. Peter King's call for a ban on all U.S. companies dealing with WikiLeaks, and brigns up some fresh points.  "King is especially incensed that an American publisher, Knopf, has entered into a book deal with Assange (who is reportedly receiving over a million dollars for his memoir); and if he is now blacklisted, you could conceivably break the law merely by buying his book, or contributing to a WikiLeaks defense fund. In other words, King is not simply targeting Assange and Wikileaks; he is targeting all of us -- every American citizen and company. In his view, even a paying consumer of information and ideas from WIkiLeaks or Assange is collaborating in terrorism."

3:50  My piece for The Nation's print issue next week went  up online this afternoon, on  "Why WikiLeaks Matters."   I suggest that, in the end, what most people think of the leaks and the organization will be profoundly influenced by what value they believe rests in the content of the leaks.  And, too often, the media, and even U.S. officials, have charged, "nothing new, just move along."   There's been very little followup on most of the bombshell disclosures, at least in this country.  My long list of significant revelations in the past six months counters that view strongly.

3:35  Glenn Greenwald tweets: "The U.S. is detaining Americans & seizing their laptops when they re-enter the country - all without warrants - & nobody seems to mind much."

3:30  Love this title of essay in London Review of Books: "Good Manners in the Age of WikiLeaks."   Claims, "we face the shameless cynicism of a global order whose agents only imagine that they believe in their ideas of democracy, human rights and so on. Through actions like the WikiLeaks disclosures, the shame – our shame for tolerating such power over us – is made more shameful by being publicised."

2:20  Fast Company: No, if you are simply among the zillions following WikiLeaks on Twitter, the DOJ probably has no interest in you or your records.  Dang.

1:00  NYT with look at debate over Web privacy, and 1986 law, in wake of DOJ vs. Twitter move.

12:35  As the Guardian blog notes, giant update today, after long lull, of published cables at main WikiLeaks site—over 350 in all.

12:05  Hey, DOJ, why don't you lock up the Associated Press for disclosing documents on secret cyber war activities by the Pentagon in Iraq and Afghanistan, and maybe Somalia and Yemen?  

11:45  This appears to be a new site dedicated to exposing sites and registered domains that call for killing WikiLeaks people.

11: 40  I suppose I should note that I wrote one of the first books about whistleblowers, way back in 1980, titled Truth... and Consequences. It profiled a wide-ranging group, including the V.A. worker largely responsible for exposing Agent Orange, Maude DeVictor. One group I worked with at the time, the Government Accountability Project, or GAP, is still around and doing vital work, and recently linked to Bradley Manning updates at its site.

11:05  Fun cartoon on how Obama could really halt WikiLeaks (via Guardian blog, thanks).

10:30  A further report on what I noted earlier (see below) re: WikiLeaks delivering on $15,000 donation to Manning defense fund.

10:05  After its correction on the article yesterday still brought criticism, the Guardian returns today with a lengthy commentary from deputy editor Ian Katz. He admits critics have a point—

but only up to a point. Much of it reviews the longstanding confusion over assigning credit or blame for what is published, some of it fostered by the Guardian and other news outlets.

9:40  New York magazine only the latest to cover Assange's claim of having "insurance files" on Murdoch, but it does provide some good background.

9:35  Not sure that I've ever mentioned that I also do a daily Daybook for The Nation of links and video on broad newsy topics, not just WL.

9:15  I admit I don't know quite what to make of all this, but an FDL poster sums up new claims against attorney for accusers vs. Assange re: his ties to CIA and torture and rendition, plus an animated "interview" with him.

8:40  BBC: That guywho hacked Palin's email just went to prison—even though judge had suggested a halfway house at first. Seems the US government intervened. "The US Bureau of Prisons (BOP) would not comment on why Judge Phillips' recommendations had not been followed, but said decisions concerning inmates took into account a number of factors."

8:30  Live-stream of Democracy Now!: interview with Iceland MP Brigitta Jonsdottir, will also be available there later.

7:50  Don't miss new piece at The Atlantic by Reza Aslan who asks after perusing cables, "Do We Have Ahmadienjad All Wrong?" Thusly:  "Is it possible that Iran's blustering president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, long thought to be a leading force behind some of Iran's most hard-line and repressive policies, is actually a reformer whose attempts to liberalize, secularize, and even 'Persianize' Iran have been repeatedly stymied by the country's more conservative factions? That is the surprising impression one gets reading the latest WikiLeaks revelations, which portray Ahmadinejad as open to making concessions on Iran's nuclear program and far more accommodating to Iranians' demands for greater freedoms than anyone would have thought."

7:35  Last night we reported call by Rep. Peter King, newly-powerful GOP member of Congress, for ban on all US companies having any dealings with WikiLeaks. Now the org has responded with a long statement. Assange: "The Homeland Security Committee chair Peter T. King wants to put a Cuban style trade embargo around the truth—forced on US citizens at the point of a gun.... WikiLeaks is a publishing organization. It is time to cut through the bluster. There is no allegation by the US government or any other party, that WikiLeaks has hurt anyone, at any time during its four-year publishing history, as a result of anything it has published. Very few news organizations can say as much."

7:30  Here's a new report that WikiLeaks just donated, as promised, another $15,000 to the Bradley Manning defense fund, bringing total to $100,000.

7:25  The Guardian on the hotel resort Baha Marin the Bahamas that had the US so worried re: China. "American diplomats feared heavy Chinese investment in the Bahamas, including in a luxury hotel, would destabilise US influence in a post-Castro Caribbean, according to leaked state department cables."

7:20  The Norwegian paper Aftenposten continues to publish cables from its own batch. Today's include a couple on whaling, China and more. 

12:05 a.m.  We summarized excerpts on Wednesday but here is full New Statesman piece by John Pilger on Assange, the actual pages, with photos, in PDF form.

12:02 a.m.  WL Central notes that, following Assange promise this morning at hearing, cables are getting getting published at WikiLeaks site for first time in nearly a week. Others had appeared since then via newspapers on their own.

Late Wednesday

The latest on those recently discovered domain names julianassangemustdie, killjulianassange and so forth. None have content yet so hosters say don't much care.

Senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins w/ op-ed in WSJ tomorrow on how to prevent the next WikiLeaks dump. "We all support transparency, but these criminal leaks were not about open government. WikiLeaks's recklessness compromised our national security and could put the lives of our citizens, soldiers and allies at risk."  

Rep. Peter King wants to ban companies dealling with WikiLeaks at all. He "asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Wednesday to prohibit people and companies within the U.S. from doing business with the Wikileaks website that has publicized hundreds of thousands of secret government documents.

"King said the prohibition should also extend to Wikileaks' founder, Julian Assange. Both ought to be placed on the Specially Designated National and Blocked Persons List, which the Treasury Department can use to bar companies and individuals subject to U.S. jurisdiction from conducting business with a given entity, King said."

 
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