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Blogging WikiLeaks News & Views for Thursday, Day 61 | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Blogging WikiLeaks News & Views for Thursday, Day 61

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 Friday's blog here.

7:50  FBI serves 40 warrants throughout U.S. looking for "hacktavists" who may have attacked sites to help WikiLeaks. "The FBI statement announcing the search warrants was the first indication that the U.S. intends to prosecute the so-called "hacktivists" for their actions in support of WikiLeaks."

6:10  Ret. Gen. Stanley McChrystal offers his own take on Wikileaks' release of military reports and State Department cables at the Net-Centric Warfare Conference. He says he hates how there are a bunch of people who want to "pull back" on information-sharing and WikiLeaks provides justification for that. He does not want government agencies to stop sharing information. And, he calls release of cables "unconscionable" cause WikiLeaks is unable to "evaluate that information" and understand what damage it might do to U.S. troops.

5:30 Nancy Youssef of McClatchy:  Probe finds Army was warned not to deploy Bradley Manning to Iraq.  Heads may roll.   "Pfc. Bradley Manning's direct supervisor warned that Manning had thrown chairs at colleagues and shouted at higher-ranking soldiers in the year he was stationed at Fort Drum, N.Y., and advised that Manning shouldn't be sent to Iraq, where his job would entail accessing classified documents through the Defense Department's computer system."

2:30  Barrett Brown at The Guardian finds it  "ironic" that Anonymous activists were arrested today when those type of  people helped aid the revolt in Tunisia at least in a small way.

2:22 Defense Department building database "to cull traffic from networks across government and other sectors, which will participate on a voluntary basis, to develop a fuller view of online threats." And to presumably discourage future individuals from sending information to WikiLeaks.

1:48 Hacktivist group Anonymous writes UK government an open letter in response to the arrest of five of the group's members: "It has come to our attention that you deemed it necessary to arrest five of our fellow anons for their participation in the DDoS attacks against PayPal, Mastercard, and others, that have been carried out in our name in retaliation for those organisations’ actions against WikiLeaks...Anonymous believes, however, that pursuing this direction is a sad mistake on your behalf. Not only does it reveal the fact that you do not seem to understand the present-day political and technological reality, we also take this as a serious declaration of war from yourself, the UK government, to us, Anonymous, the people."

1:33 Special Court for Sierra Leone grants Liberian ex-president Charles Taylor, who is charged with committing war crimes, permission to reopen his case to admit documents obtained by Wikileaks and published in the Guardian in December.

1:20  Interesting new addition to Wiki blogging:  "WikiLeaks Watch" from Energy Intelligence, reviewing the cables as they relate to oil and energy.  Top item now, for example, on Shell in Iran.

 

12:40  We mentioned this last night, but here's a  CNN report on WIkiLeaks first "town hall" next week.

12:10  I confess, I don't fully understand this sort of stuff, but good story here:  "WikiLeaks ISP anonymizes all traffic to neutralize data retention laws."  (h/t Kevin Gosztola)

11:25 A new cable published by Norwegian paper Aftenposten on cash flow problems for Hamas -- and they responded with new... traffic laws?

11:15  Thousands protest the country's leader Saleh in Yemen.  You may recall the fuss caused by the cables showing that he allowed the U.S. military to run wild, while falsely claiming that it was the Yemeni military that was carrying out bombings.

10:05  Useful summary of the Palestine Papers revelations to date, in two parts, at WL Central.

10:00 Latest from The Guardian on arrest of the five alleged "Anonymous" activists.

9:20  New piece at Vanity Fair traces "the origins of the Assange - NYT feud."  But adds nothing.  See our coverage and links below, and more yesterday.

9:00 Russian president Medvedev at Davos said WikiLeaks is a healthy phenomenon, even if some of the cables proved embarrassing for his government.

8:00  Five young Brits arrested in UK this morning on suspicion ot taking part in "Anonymous" DDoS attacks on companies related to WikiLeaks.

7:55  The Overnight Report (Asher Wolf) :  Ex-C.I.A. Operative Valerie Plame Wilson in speech says she believes in keeping some secrets classified but questions the U.S. media's condemnation of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks : "Are they really believers in freedom of the press?" she asks. "Or is it only if they get the leak it's good, if he gets the leak it's bad?"  ...  Joseph Zernik,of Human Rights Alert, a Los Angeles organization,  is suggesting U.S. judges may be exposed in an upcoming Wikileaks release of Swiss banking documents....New Scientist has noted the "Wikileaks business model is gaining traction with big media"... From AP:  "Davos Looks for Answers from WikiLeaks."

6:40  Jeff Jarvis on the panel at DAVOS yesterday with OpenLeaks guy Domscheit-Berg AND New York Times publisher Sulzberger.   Talked transparency.  Much agreement on transparent government.  But on business, uh, no.

6:30  WikiLeaks and Assange will be taking YOUR questions via its web site, with video conferencing and so on, starting February 1.  Learn more here.

12:40  A key talk at Davos: Hiding less is best.   "What are the lessons of WikiLeaks? The secret-spilling site has been the subject of debate at the World Economic Forum, and one respected historian on Wednesday urged businesses and governments to think hard about what information really needs to be protected, and then protect it better. "I do not believe that the online world ... means that there can be no secrecy and everyone will know everything about everyone," said Timothy Garton Ash, a professor of European Studies at Oxford University. However, he added, "it makes much more information easily available. Every organization should think very hard about what it is you really need to protect. You're probably protecting a whole lot you don't need to. And then do everything you can to protect that smaller amount." 

12:10   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."

12:05   Bradley Manning's attorney responds to Pentagon claims in their press conf today.

Late Wednesday

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.

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