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Blogging WikiLeaks News & Views for Tuesday, Day 52 | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Blogging WikiLeaks News & Views for Tuesday, Day 52

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 Wednesday's live-blog here.

10:55   Ha, just got email from a gentleman inspired by the 9:39  post just below: "I am new to your site and love the important coverage of wikileaks especially the links, want to help any way i can and i was hoping you might know someone that can put this domain to good use.  i have it for sale at sedo.com but would transfer it to any independent knowlegeable journalists/bloggers that want to cover this story and could use a good domain to get the word out."  The domain, he says,  is: YouSuckBoa.

9:39  Well, Bank of America was a little too slow getting to one domain name (see item below):  BankofAmericaSuck is up and running with pro-WikiLeaks articles, links and video. (h/t @emirjame at Twitter). 

7:50  The Center for Investigative Reporting looks at Bank of America secretly buying up domain names to counter WIkiLeaks criticism.  This goes beyond the first words about this last month.

7:48  Marcy Wheeler on the Reuters scoop below.  When the truth "lies."

4:20  Reuters' Mark Hosenball with quite a revelation:  "Internal U.S. government reviews have determined that a mass leak of diplomatic cables caused only limited damage to U.S. interests abroad, despite the Obama administration's public statements to the contrary.  A congressional official briefed on the reviews said the administration felt compelled to say publicly that the revelations had seriously damaged American interests in order to bolster legal efforts to shut down the WikiLeaks website and bring charges against the leakers. 'I think they just want to present the toughest front they can muster,' the official said.

"But State Department officials have privately told Congress they expect overall damage to U.S. foreign policy to be containable, said the official, one of two congressional aides familiar with the briefings who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity. 'We were told (the impact of WikiLeaks revelations) was embarrassing but not damaging,' said the official, who attended a briefing given in late 2010 by State Department officials."

3:15  Charlie Gasparino at Fox Business reports on SEC keeping close tabs on WikiLeaks vs. Bank of America, wondering what BOA hid from them over the years. "If and when the document dump occurs, senior SEC officials will be examining the material to determine if BofA failed to include the emails and other documents in demands for information the commission has made as part of its many investigations into BofA activities."

2:30 More good stuff from the Guardian:  "The United States was advised to adopt a policy of  'covert sabotage'  of Iran's clandestine nuclear facilities, including computer hacking and "unexplained explosions", by an influential German thinktank, a leaked US embassy cable reveals.  Volker Perthes, director of Germany's government-funded Institute for Security and International Affairs, told US officials in Berlin that undercover operations would be 'more effective than a military strike' in curtailing Iran's nuclear ambitions.

"A sophisticated computer worm, Stuxnet, infiltrated the Natanz nuclear facility last year, delaying Iran's programme by some months. The New York Times said this week that Stuxnet was a joint US-Israeli operation. On Monday, Iran's top nuclear negotiator blamed the US for the cyber-attack."

2:20  New cables via The Guardian: "US diplomats in Turkey feared that a wave of arrests of senior military officers last year over an alleged plot to topple the country's Islamist-rooted government could trigger an'"unpredictable military reaction', according to a leaked diplomatic cable.  About 200 active and retired Turkish military officers, including former chiefs of the air force and dozens of generals and admirals, went on trial in December on charges of  'attempting to topple the government by force' as part of a plot dubbed Sledgehammer."

2:10  Support Julian Assange has launched a project to “interrupt the US government’s attempts to villainize and prosecute Julian Assange and bring down WikiLeaks." The site will produce a video that will feature 35 to 50  people from 12  countries reading an open letter to the U.S. government about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. It  will be released days before Assange’s extradition hearing next month. (Kevin Gosztola)

12:55  Thanks to the Guardian for pointing us to WikiLeaks style even coming to the Canary Islands.  It's called KanariLeaks and it's worth visiting site just for the art work.

12:15  From Tech Dirt:  "Indoctrinating Children To Hate Freedom Of The Press?"

10:35  Okay, keep your excitement in check.  We warned yesterday not to expect the new tax cheat bank leak any time soon, based on Assange's comment that his org had a lot of other work to do.  Reuters confirms that now.

9:55  Friends, thanks to your interest, I am now crashing on an "instant" WIkiLeaks book, now over 26,000 words in and counting, and hope to have it available for you in  two weeks, selling for about 12 U.S. dollars.  It will closely track (nearly) everything important that's happened since the "Collateral Murder" video last April....

9:45  Good updates on Tunisia at Guardian blog.  And new from Juan Cole: : "New Tunisian Government Declares Total Liberty of Information, as the Opposition Demands more Change."

9:30  Slide show on my current Nation article on "Why WIkiLeaks Matters" (the article has even more revelations than the 18 in the slide show); somehow remains "most read" at the site for a third day.

8:25 Tunisian activist on Democracy Now! right now says Facebook and Twitter did have big effect there.

8:05  More evidence of  "panic" in some quarters over the tax cheat leak (see 7:35 below) comes from The Times of India:  "24 hours after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange held up two CDs that contains 2000 prominent names of tax evaders, speculation is rife on the number of Indians to have been featured on the list. The fact that whistleblower Assange will very shortly reveal all the names on his list of 2000, is creating quite a stir in our political realm. Sources have told TIMES NOW that informal attempts are being made by the government to contact WikiLeaks, ahead of his explosive disclosure."

7:55 Latest from The Guardian's you-ask-we-search the cables:  U.S. embassy in Jakarta asked for $100,000 -- to boost its Facebook fans to one million before an Obama visit.

7:35  WikiLeaks as "The 21st Century Washington Post," at the popular 24/7 Wall St site.  Douglas A. McIntyre: "There is another round of outrage among businesses and banks because WikiLeaks has gotten hold of private documents from bank Julius Baer from one of its former executives....There is panic among some of these clients and the bank itself. The concern certainly spreads to other Swiss banks and perhaps their counterparts in other countries. Julius Baer accounts may have been used to cheat on taxes. Many wealthy people could face penalties or prosecution if that is so."

7:30  Roy Greenslade at The Guardian looks at mounting criticism from some journo members directed at the head of London's  Frontline Club showing  support for Assange.

7:20  Video of Assange at press conf yesterday re: the Tax Cheats of the Rich and Famous Leak.

7:15   The Guardian's blog has a report on a new cable, via Aftenposten on China, export controls, and illicit nuclear materials.  Also some reports from yesterday.

From late Monday

 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. 

A new, "comprehensive," Cablegate browser here.

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."

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.

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."

 
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