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

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

THE WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG: Special Weekend Edition!

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.

** SUNDAY ** 

11:00 If you haven't caught up to this yet:  The Nation has put together a slide show tied to my current article on "Why WikiLeaks Matters," which lists a few dozen revelations from the past few months that many have already forgotten.  The slide show sticks to 18.

9:35  More details on Assange's early hacking days and exploits from new documents, as reported by several papers in Australia, including here.

9:15  Okay, look for Assange to leak the Steelers' offensive game plan before next weekend.

1:45  Okay,  let's put the Obama White House in the camp of those rejecting the idea that WIkiLeak sparked the Tunisia revolt. Wash Post reports:  "The Obama administration is rejecting claims that revelations of rampant corruption in Tunisia in secret U.S. diplomatic documents sparked the popular revolt that overthrew the authoritarian leadership of the North African nation.  State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Sunday that Tunisians were well aware of the graft, nepotism and lavish lifestyles led by ex-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his family long before the WikiLeaks website published the diplomatic cables.

"Crowley said in a Tweet that the Tunisian people alone are the catalysts for the uprising that saw the autocratic Ben Ali flee the country on Friday."

12:15  This won't likely make the front-page of the NYT tomorrow but it's a good example of how WikiLeaks revelations often produce outsized, startling effects in small countries.  "Panama’s main opposition party has called for the removal from office of the head of the country’s tourism authority following Wikileaks revelations that the former U.S. Ambassador suspected links to drug traffickers."

11:30 Updating the story at 11:20 below: Aftenposten now has lengthy account of the Iran / nuclear cables in English.

11:25  Glenn Greenwald tweets on Miss America (see below):  "The new Miss America's winning anti-WikiLeaks answer would fit perfectly in any CNN or network news show:"  I should reveal here that back in 1974, I wrote a cover story for the legendary Crawdaddy (where I was an editor) on covering a Miss USA pageant, with title "Selling Boobs to the Rubes." 

11:20  My friend at Aftenposten send me this news earlier today but the article was in Norwegian.  Now Haaretz is out with a piece on new cables, published by Aftenposten, on Iran, according to the cables, racing to get nuclear material before sanctions make it impossible.

10:15  I covered this last night, but here's Business Insider take with groovy headline: "Tomorrow, Wikileaks Will Gets Tons Of Data On Millionaires Who Evade Taxes Using Offshore Accounts."

9:50  Thanks to all who have started sending links and tips and more: Two people even offered to translate from Dutch to English.  Until this week, I did not include my email at the head of this blog (above), but once I did, the advice and suggestons started flowing.   Thanks again.

8:20:   That Norwegian paper Afternposten just launched new cables that show U.S. knew all about massive corruption in Tunisia back in 2006 but went on supporting gov't anyway, making it "the pillar of its North Africa policy."    Juan Cole cover here.  Meanwhile,   Libya's Gaddafi (left), "saddened" by events in Tunisia, warns Tunisians against being tricked by "WikiLeaks which publishes information written by lying ambassadors in order to create chaos."

7:55  Last night I posted a tweet from a reader announcing that, lo and behold, a Miss America contestant had been asked about WIkiLeaks in the TV broadcast last night.  Now here's video  and transcript (h/t Vanessa Banti).   Oh, by the way, the young lady, Miss Nebraska, critical of WikiLeaks, won the contest.  Take that, Julian Assange!

Everybody's talking about the Wikileaks, how do we balance people's right to know with the need for government security?

"You know when it came to that situation it was actually based on espionage, and when it comes to the security of our nation we have to focus on security first, and then people's right to know. Because it's so important that everyone in our borders is safe, and so we can't let things like that happen and they must be handled properly... and I think that was the case."

** SATURDAY **

11:50  I've posted the sometimes combative Stephen Colbert interview with Assange from back in April before, but this version purports to be the "unedited" version.

11:40  Love this tweet from @HeyRatty, but no idea if true, anyone else see this?  "They just asked a Wikileaks question to one of the Miss America contestants. Her answer wasn't totally awful."   The way some in media have acted, I wouldn't be surprised to now see Assange asked about Miss America. 

8:30  Love this headline and story from The Guardian:   "Swiss whistleblower Rudolf Elmer plans to hand over offshore banking secrets of the rich and famous to WikiLeaks:  He will disclose the details of 'massive potential tax evasion' before he flies home to stand trial over his actions."

7:15  Juan Cole on Tunisia.

6:20  Full video of Assange interview now released (see below at 12:30).

4:20  Scott Shane's new piece at NYT puts him in the camp of those giving a good deal of credit to WIkiLeaks for Tunisia revolt.  Read whole thing, but he says the cables "helped fuel the anger on the streets that culminated Friday with Mr. Ben Ali’s flight after 23 years in power," adding, "the diplomats’ disgusted and lurid accounts of the kleptocratic ways of the president’s extended family helped tip the scales, according to many Tunisian commentators."

And it closes with these two key grafs:  

"[T]he cables’ role in whatPresident Obama lauded Friday as 'this brave and determined struggle for the universal rights' underscores the awkward dilemma the WikiLeaks cables have posed for the administration.

"Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has been pressing an '“Internet Freedom' initiative, emphasizing the power of the Web to expose injustice and promote democracy. But at the same time, the Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, including using subpoenas to try to obtain the private Internet activity, credit card numbers and bank account details of Mr. Assange and his associates." 

3:25  The Nation has put together a slide show tied to my current article on "Why WikiLeaks Matters," which lists a few dozen revelations from the past few months that many have already forgotten.  The slide show sticks to 18.

2:05  Dahr Jamail at Truthout on "Bradley Manning and GI Resistance to U.S. War. Crimes."  Declres: "What Manning did by leaking this critical information has been to uphold his oath as a soldier in the most patriotic way. Now, compare that with how he has been raked over the coals by most of the so-called mainstream media."  (h/t Kevin Gosztola)

1:25  Amazing from AP: The State Dept., while ripping WikiLeaks, is promoting the recent acclaimed film about my old friend Dan Ellsberg, The Most Dangerous Man in America.  The State Department announced today that the film "has been selected as one of 18 films that will tour the world this year as part of its American Documentary Showcase program"

12:30 Still trying to keep up with, translate, and understand the massive leak of cables to the Dutch news outlets by Aftenposten, but there's a new Assange interview there (see video), and background on Dutch planning to stay in Afghanistan awhile may be key.  The headline on the Assange interview, I'm told, translates as: "Netherlands should know everything now" followed by text:  "The parliament of the Netherlands should know the cable information to make a fully informed decision to vote to send a 'police mission' to Afghanistan."  The video:  

 

12:05  ABC in U.S. catches up on the Jacob Appelbaum airport hassling (and see Glenn Greenwald below).

10:55   Young kids cartoons on WikiLeaks, some pretty funny.

10:25  New post by Evgeny Morozov at Foreign Policy on WikiLeaks and Tunisia, Clay Shirky, and "social media."

10:05  Just gimme some truth, he might have said?   Or just gimme a break? Well,  he did name his kid Julian.   John Lennon would have been an Assange fan, according to this.   "I think the internet has always been potentially a force for freedom of speech and it's proving itself right now. And Lennon would have been just loving that."

9:25  A Guardian blog re-creates the Tunisia revolt and crisis as it happened.  Still much debate over how much or how little it was sparked by WikiLeaks disclosures.

9:15   Glenn Greenwald interviews Rep. Loretta Sanchez about Homeland Security's seizure of citizens' laptops at airports, tied to recent cases involving WikiLeaks people.  He says, "When you really think about it, it's simply inconceivable that the U.S. Government gets away with doing this.  Seizing someone's laptop, digging through it, recording it all, storing the data somewhere, and then distributing it to various agencies is about the most invasive, privacy-destroying measure imaginable."

8:55  National Post Q & A  w/ Iceland MP Birgitta Jonsdottir.

8:00  Bank of America holding to explanation that yesterday's site outages for many not tied at all to hacking or other Anonymous type attacks.

12:25 a.m. Article in this week's New Statesman by Assange ally John Pilger re-fashioned here and given title "The War on WikiLeaks,"  including defense of Assange in the sex crime case.

LATE FRIDAY

11:20 p.m.  Hooray: The Wall Street Journal joins the now long list of top publications which, after the passing of many days, finally corrected earlier articles that alleged WikiLeaks had released many thousands of cables or even 250,000 of them. 

And The New York Times corrects a whopper of its own, pointed out by many of us today:  "An article on Friday about Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of providing classified material to WikiLeaks, misstated the amount of money donated by WikiLeaks to Private Manning’s legal defense fund. It has donated $15,100, not more than $100,000."  Plus: "The article also misstated the association that David M. House, a friend who has visited Private Manning, has with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a researcher there, not a graduate student." 

11:00  Amy Davidson of The New Yorker weighs in on WikiLeaks and Tunisia and raises this key point I've pushed myself for weeks: "Does any one person know enough about all of the countries mentioned in the cables to say for sure how significant they are? Unless someone does, it is rash to keep talking about how they add texture but 'no great revelations.'”    Th check a skeptic of the WikiLeaks role in Tunisia, follow @EvgenyMorozov at Twitter.

 10:55   One more time, allow me to direct your attention to my piece for The Nation's print issue next week, which was posted online Thursday 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.

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