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The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Monday, Day 51 | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Monday, Day 51

As I've done for more than seven 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   Go to Tuesday's edition of this blogging here.

11:30  Wonder how Fox News would cover State Dept ripping Assange but now promoting that film about Daniel Ellsberg.  Here's your answer.  Fox host and guest agree they nearly fell out of their chairs when they heard that.  They also compare Ellsberg to Manning, call him a "traitor" and introduce several factual error. 

8:45  About 150 protested prison conditions for Bradley Manning today right at Quanitco.

8:40  A new, "comprehensive," Cablegate browser here.

7:10  Provincial U.S. reporters and editors who have charged, from the beginning, that the cables have little true news, let alone historic,  value have been embarrassed time and time again, even as outlets, like The New York Times, quickly move away from publishing or even reporting on the cables.  Here, as just one of 100 examples from past couple weeks, is something just now from Korea:   "A US diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks over the weekend says North Korea has likely received 2-and-a-half million US dollars for weapons sold to Iran through the Seoul branch of Iran's Bank Mellat. According to the cable, Iran's Hong Kong Electronics transferred the money to the bank in November 2007."

5:50  News from BBC:  "The chief executive of one of Germany's leading space companies has lost his job because of the Wikileaks saga.  OHB Systems' Berry Smutny was reported in a cable to have told US diplomats that Europe's Galileo satellite-navigation project was a 'stupid idea.'  OHB, based in Bremen, is part of the consortium that will build Galileo's first 14 operational spacecraft. Although Mr Smutny has denied the cable's contents, OHB's board has decided to remove him from his post."

5:25 Late last night I linked to fun web contest to design, then select, Assange's next hair style.  You can now see the winner at upper left on that page.  A reader has emailed this comment to me:  "I guess it's no big deal, but I noticed with Google image search that the original image is shown to be a painting of Louis XVI of France, who got beheaded in 1793."  That's Louis the King at left here.

5:15 John Kamfner piece at the Guardian: "WikiLeaks turned the tables on governments, but the power relationship has not changed."

4:10  Great one from Aftenposten, sent my way by a second reporter there who is now tipping me to things.  He sums it up this way:  "Afghan foreign secretary received $45 million bribe from Chinese, acc. to Afgh diplomat. 14 docs published by Aft."   The article is still in Norwegian.  But the Google translation goes something like this:   "Afghanistan's former foreign minister Rangeen DADF Spanta received 45 million U.S. dollars for a Chinese mining company would be entitled to recover the country's giant copper deposits, according to an Afghan diplomat.

"Nine international companies bidding then Afghan government in 2007 would open copper mines in Aynak in Logar province just south of the capital Kabul. The mine is considered one of the world's largest, and would give Afghanistan an annual dividend of several billionThe Chinese state-owned industrial giant China Metallurgical Group (MCC) won the contract."

3:55 The Guardian now on the revelation early today via German paper (see below at 1:00) about Turkey and U.S. rendition. "Turkey  allowed the US to use its airbase at Incirlik in southern Turkey as part of the "extraordinary rendition" programme to take suspected terrorists to Guantánamo Bay, according to a US diplomatic cable.Turkey's involvement in the controversial programme was revealed in a cable dated 8 June 2006, written by the then US ambassador to Turkey, Ross Wilson. The cable described Turkey as a crucial ally in the "global war on terror" and an important logistical base for the US-led war in Iraq."

3:10  Kevin Zeese, very active with Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks support groups, with a lengthy take at Huff Post on Manning's defense "and the rule of law."

2:10  Interesting piece by Josh Gerstein at Politico.  "Leaking classified information to the media is a more serious offense than spying, the Justice Department argued in a court filing last week.  The argument came in a motion supporting the detention of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer indicted for allegedly giving a reporter classified details about a CIA program aimed at interfering with Iran’s nuclear efforts.  'The defendant’s unauthorized disclosures…may be viewed as more pernicious than the typical espionage case where a spy sells classified information for money,'  the prosecution team wrote in a brief submitted by attorneys at Justice Department headquarters and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Alexandria, Va."

1:00 Early today we noted (before virtually anyone else) that Germany's daily paper Die Welt had gotten access to cables via Norway's Afternposten.  Then we reported on Die Welt  publishing revelations on Turkey's involvement with U.S. "rendition." Now here is the paper's editorializing on why it got engaged, though a bit too breast-thumping about breaking the newspaper "cartel"-- several others have long been publishing cables beyond the original core group.

11:45  Don't have translation on all this yet but apparently this Aftenposten piece today reveals that the U.S. tried to prevent "Baby Doc" Duvalier from returning to Haiti in 2006, according to cables. 

11:20  NYT now out with its piece on the Swiss banker "tax cheating of the rich and famous" leak to WIkiLeaks today.

10:50  I noted below  at 9:00 a tip from my friend at Aftenposten that his paper had shared its cache of cable with Germany's Die Welt.  And now we see that the German paper is publishing a bombshell:  "The US secret services used Turkey as a base to transport terrorism  suspects as part of its extraordinary rendition programme, German daily Die Welt reported today citing a WikiLeaks cable.

 "Some 24 CIA flights landed at Incirlik airport in southern Turkey between 2002 and 2006 with the knowledge of the Turkish military, according to a cable from the US embassy in Ankara dated June 8, 2006, the paper said.  'The Turkish military has since 2002 allowed us to use Incirlik as a refuelling stop for prisoner transport flights from 'Operation Fundamental Justice', but revoked permission in February this year,' said the cable, referring to the rendition programme.

"On June 14, 2006, a spokesman for Turkey's foreign ministry, Namik Tan, told reporters: 'The Turkish government and state never played a part (in the secret transfers) ... and never will.'"

9:55 Oh, jesus, the new Miss America, who had slammed (with facts wrong) Wikileaks during the contest, visited (naturally) Fox & Friends  today.    They reveal that she is a "home schooled conservative Christian."   She said the beauty contest provided a dose of "idealism" for Americans.

9:50   Valauble WL Central list of cablegate "advanced resource" sites.  Here's WL Central's report on this morning tax cheat leak / Assange press conf.

9:10  Fascinating piece at a WSJ site on article in Chinese current affair magazine: "We can predict: perhaps in the not-so-distant future, you, me, him, everybody could be Assange....  In recent weeks, leaks of information embarrassing to a number of government agencies and officials in various parts of the country suggest that plenty of Chinese Assanges have already emerged." Offers examples. 

9:00  My reporter friend at the Norwegian paper Aftenposten emails me this morning:  "More international cooperation between Aftenposten and international media partners. We are now also sharing our Cablegate dump with Germany's  Die Welt:. ... We are at this moment cooperating with four regional newspapers here,  in Norway, Danish Politiken, Swedish Svenska Dagbladet, Dutch NRC Handelsblad and TV station RTL + other partners in three more countries that will be presented later."

8:55 New piece from Glenn Greenwald on Applying U.S. Principles Internet Freedom." Declares, "the real agents of harnessing Interent and media technologies to promote freedom and human rights in Tunisia (and elsewhere) are either currently imprisoned by the U.S. (Manning), being harassed and on the verge of being prosecuted (WikiLeaks), or constantly demonized in the American media (Al Jazeera)."

8:45  Full story here on the "tax cheat leak" story and Elmer / Assange presser today (see more below).   AP's full take here.   "For its part, Julius Baer Bank has denied any wrongdoing and any allegations that it may have aided clients who wanted to avoid taxes by using offshore accounts. The bank has also accused Mr. Elmer of trying to discredit the bank because he was fired."

8:40   Pentagon adviser, a retired colonel, charges that Bradley Manning's homesexuality was factor in alleged leak.  "The reason he downloaded and gave away these files allegedly had something to do with a fractured relationship that he had had with a fellow soldier."

8:35  Brigitta Jonsdottir tweets on Twitter case :  "My lawyers at EFF have until the 26th to find ways to quash the DoJ subpoena. The IPU will be discussing my case this week."

8:30  Check out this live blog of this morning's wild "tax cheat leak" press conference (see more below), which includes photo of surprise speaker  Assange holding up disc.   (h/t @Asher_Wolf)   A critique there:  "What seems abundantly clear is that this is pure showmanship. The handover of CDs is a nominal event, it is unfathomable that the data has not been transferred to Wikileaks by another means, or that there are not several backups of the data made. Were this the sole transfer, it’s not unreasonable to assume that an arrest would be made today, with such a breach of data privacy being made in public."

8:20  Yes, we do sleep here, after a late night of Wiki blogging (as you will see below).  So, like you most likely, I am still catching up to the surprise press conference today in London tied to the "tax cheat" leak--on the "rich and famous" and the Caymans-- from the Swiss banking whistleblower Rudolf Elmer (left) that we wrote about over the weekend.   The Guardian's blog  (lucky guys, five hours ahead and working while I'm sleeping) covered it well.  Assange appeared after press was told only that an unnamed WIkiLeaks reps was coming but stuck in traffic!

Assange at press conf refused to talk about his own case, saying this was called to just announce the "tax cheat" leak.  Elmer had handed over two CDs (hopefully, not Lady Gaga related) but Assange said he didn't know who the original leaker was for sure.  Elmer had stressed that he was giving the CDs to WikiLeaks, not Assange.   The latter did not promise when anything would come out, noting that his organization was involved in other things right now and pointed out that only 2.3% of the State Dept. cables had come out so far.  He also said that WIkiLeaks had faced more legal thrats from banks than any other entity.   Elmer said,  I’m thankful to WikiLeaks for helping me get message out. I was close to becoming mentally sick, paranoid.

1:20  Guardian editorial on Tunisia revolt mentions, does not credit, WikiLeaks, as debate over its role continues.

12:50  Fun piece on Magnetic Island, where Assange spent some time as a baby and kid.  And what about that drive to build a statue in tribute to the hometown (island)  hero?  Maggie may.

12:15  Fun site gives you a chance to pick next Assange hairstyle. -- no, better than that, you can design nd submit your own. Some beauties. (h/t  @Asher_Wolf) 

12:10  Good wrapup here of protests in Libya, Algeria, Egypt,  elsewhere, sparked by Tunisia revolt which had been sparked -- or not -- by WikiLeaks release.

12: 05  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.

From Late Sunday

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

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

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.

 

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