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THE WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG for Wednesday, Day 60 | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

THE WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG for Wednesday, Day 60

As I've done for more than eight 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 the Thursday blog here.

11:15  Assange to appear on "60 Minutes" this Sunday. "Steve Kroft spent two days with Assange on the grounds of the private residence in England where he is under house arrest as he fights attempts to extradite him to Sweden to answer allegations of sexual assault. In the interview, he discusses the United States' attempts to indict him on criminal charges and the torrent of criticism directed at him. He also talks about his itinerant childhood in Australia and his introduction to the world of computers at the age of 13."

11:10  Bradley Manning's attorney responds to Pentagon claims in their press conf today.

8:10  Glenn Greenwald tweets: "Bill Keller mocks Assange for being paranoid & conspiratorial, then strongly insinuates WL hacked into the NYT's emails." See my comments on article below.   And here's Wired's review.

7:00  Transcript of press briefing by Pentagon spokesman today, lot of questions on Manning conditions.  linking him to Assange, and more.

5:40  Honestly, I have to laugh over Bill Keller in his big NYT piece today (see below) repeatedly calling Assange "thin-skinned" and the like.  When I was editor of Editor & Publisher, he would not talk to us for years -- and we were the so-called "Bible of the Newspaper Industry" -- because of our strong criticism of Judy Miller, both for her Iraq reporting and her involvement in the Plame case.   Keller, of course, later cut ties with the disgraced Miller, but no matter.  He once bragged that he simply tossed our phone call-back notes in the waste basket.  (At the time, E&P  was receiving more awards than virtually any other trade magazine.)  Also possibly causing tension with Assange?  Keller back the invasion of Iraq, even in a widely-read piece called himself a "liberal hawk." 

5:25  I had my own critique of the massive NYT piece by exec ed Bill Keller today (see below), but now WikiLeaks via Twitter has added its own review:  "NYTimes does another self-serving smear. Facts wrong, top to bottom. Dark day for US journalism.” 

And Andy Greenberg at Forbes, who has interviewed Assange and stuck close to this subject for weeks, notes Keller in the piece is adding to recent claims of WikiLeakers as active  hackers -- which Greenberg pretty much discounts.  Indeed, Keller's own claim -- based on three people covering WikiLeaks whose email accounts suffer abnormal activity -- seem like a huge stretch.  By that logic, I guess they are hacking me too.  And millions of others every day. 

Plus, here's a very friendly new interview with Keller about all this by Howard Kurtz, including Assange doesn't "get" journalism at all.

4:30  Now NYT posts video to go with giant Bill Keller piece on WikiLeaks that we reviewed  below.    They've also sent me preview of their e-book coming next week, which I will look at -- when  my own damn book (for print) is published tomorrow or Friday.  

4:25  In what sounds like an amazing move, the City University of New York's (CUNY) Graduate School of Journalism   has unveiled a "drop box" for leaks, "an anonymous leak submission box that allows users to submit tips to over 1400 local and state news organizations, as a feature of its MediaLobby project.."

3:03 More on Keller piece:  He pays a lot of attention to Assange's rage about that John Burns hit-piece on him -- he demanded a front-page apology --  but then Keller himself compares Assange to a character from a novel that mixes "hacker counterculture, high-level  conspiracy and sex as both recreation and violation."  Keller does come out against government prosecution.

2:50  Just finished reading the Bill Keller piece at NYT  on his WikiLeaks dealings since last June (see below).  Too long to detail but provides a lot of behind the scenes stuff not previously known, including extent of showing stuff to State Dept or administration in advance, harsh attacks on Assange personally,  skepticism that this really changes journalism (oddly, on day after Keller himself said paper was considering opening its own leak platform), and more.  Keller at various points calls Assange "volatile," "eccentric," "arrogant," "conspiratoria," "oddly credulous," "manipulative."  When reporter Eric Schmitt meets Assange in London he compares him to a "bag lady."

2:10  NYT  posts massive piece by Executive Editor Bill Keller on his WIkiLeaks dealings since last June (will be in this Sunday's mag).   Is actually intro to a TImes e-book coming out next week, "Open Secrets," which collects much of its coverage. Their page for that books touts John Burns' controversial profile of Assange, among other features, including some cables never before published. 

2:05  CNN:  There's a new commander at Quantico, where Bradley Manning is being held, but they say the move had been planned since October and not related to current charges about how he is confined.  Manning's attorney, in any case, expresses hope this may be good sign for changes in his confinement.

1:05  We reported this heavily when cables first emerged and now there's a grim update via The Guardian: A Bangladeshi paramilitary unit that receives training from British police has resumed killing people in so-called 'crossfire'  incidents that human rights groups say are extrajudicial killings."  Had stopped after cables published last month.  U.S. prohibited from training due to human rights abuses. 

 

11:55:  First WikiLeaks game released as app, for 99 cents.  It's called "WIkiLeaks Defender" and here's description:  "The government has failed to stop Wikileaks from releasing hundreds of thousands of classified documents. As a measure of last resort, the government has called in the most thorough defenders our country has to offer... the TSA!  Play as the TSA agent whose job it is to prevent the leaked diplomatic cables from getting onto the internet, where they will cause unforeseeable damage to America's reputation!  Do you have what it takes to stop Wikileaks?"  Well,  no one else has.

11:35  From AP in London:  After probe is commissoned, VISA is told that WikiLeaks not breaking any laws.  VISA responds: Still going to block payments to them until we do another study.

11:05  Andy Greenberg at Forbes on GlobalLeaks: "Few of these copycats and spinoffs can claim quite as much wild, conceptual ambition as an early-stage project called GlobaLeaks, which bills itself as 'a worldwide distributed leak amplification network.'"  (h/t Kevin Gosztola)

10:55  The Guardian with no Wiki blog today but it does maintain its great blog on the Palestine Papers.

10:40  No comment yet from Will Smith on Assange picking him to play him in a movie.

10:10  Assange attorney, in New York to receive award, warns that U.S. " risked irrevocable damage to its reputation if it pursued Assange" by "aiming the blunderbuss of its 1917 Espionage Act, death penalty and all, at a publisher who is a citizen of a friendly nation."

9:00  Anonymous now asks for help in attacking Egyptian gov't sites.

8:35  In same interview where Assange picks Will Smith to play him in the movie (see below) he was asked if he was a "leftist."  His reply:  "While there is an imbalance of power between the rulers and people, we'll be on the side of people.  This is usually associated with the rhetoric of the left, which gives rise to the view that we are an exclusively leftist.  It is not correct.  We are an organization exclusively for truth and justice - and this is in many places and trends." 

8:10 New FeatureThe Overnight Report (by Asher Wolf)   Assange takes questions in Brazil via blog.  Among other things, jokes that he'd liked to be played by Will Smith in the movie and it should be titled,  WikiLeaks, Film Noir .... Professor Inderjeet Parmar, from The University of Manchester argues  "WikiLeaks has damaged American power." Apparently the damage will be "acutely felt" when US State Department hosts UNESCO’s world press freedom day May 2011....  Tom Malinowski of Human Rights Watch reports Tunisians didn't need American diplomats to tell them how bad their government was, but  "the cables did have an impact." ....Meanwhile, Klaus Schwab  of the World Economic Forum, says he would have liked to invite Assange to Davos--but he's not ;  permitted to leave Britain under conditions of his bail.

8:00  From Der SpiegelCables show U.S. fears nuclear material left at massive ex-Soviet nuclear bomb test site could be taken by terrorists.

12:10  The PBS NewsHour site offers its review and assessment of 10 cables that reveal why Tunisians revolted.

12:05   CNN:  Quantico military official defends putting Manning on suicide watch. 

12:00 Turns out, my WikiLeaks book will be available by Friday, a few days ahead of schedule.  Thanks again for critique of cover, it has been changed a bit.

From late Tuesday

In the Palestine Papers leaks today, U.S. general who helped train Palestinian security was aware that they tortured people.

Charlie Savage at NYT with new update on Manning case and comparisons to the Bush-era, scandalous Yee episode years ago. But as Glenn Greenwald tweets:  "difference: no Dems defended" the Yee "travesty."

Assange tells AP in London that WIkiLeaks now seeking SIXTY media partners to spread the release of the almost 99% of cable still not published.   Would be dramatic expansion of its collaborative efforts and in line with much else happening this week.  But outlets would have to agree to full redaction of names.  "Sometimes, that could mean doing what Assange called 'triangulating the politics of a country' — giving documents to a left-wing paper in a country with a right-wing government, or offering cables to conservative titles in countries with a left-leaning administration."

Dispatches from the Digital Frontier on the era of leaks brought in by WikiLeaks, the Al Jazeera impact, and more.

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