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Blogging WikiLeaks News & Views for Wednesday, Day 95 | The Nation

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Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Blogging WikiLeaks News & Views for Wednesday, Day 95

As I’ve done for more than 13 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. You can contact me at epic1934@aol.com, Read about or order my new book, The Age of WikiLeaks, just updated to early February, in print or an e-book.

UPDATE:  The Thursday edition of this blog.

9:30  Lot of response to new Manning charges at FireDogLake from Marcy Wheeler, quotes from charge sheet on aiding "enemy," and Manning friends and visitor David House compared harsh charges to what Nixon admin did to  Ellsberg.

9:25  NYT piece on new Manning charges finds some new details in the full "charge sheet," including allegations of when he used software, more on "the enemy" -- but not explaining if WikiLeaks the enemy, or Iraqi insurgents, terrorists, or what.

7:55 On new Manning charges, Wired's Threat Level makes key point re: Assange, even though no Manning direct link to Assange yet found: "The capital offense charge could have an impact on the extradition case of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, who is currently battling attempts to extradite him from England to face sex-crime allegations in Sweden. Assange’s attorneys have argued that if extradited to Sweden, the U.S. could seek to extradite him to this country, where he could be charged with a capital offense.

"The assertion was considered an exaggeration at the time since even Manning himself was not facing a capital offense. But the issue is sure to figure more prominently now in Assange’s appeal of UK court’s extradition order."

6:20  @Wikileaks responds to new Manning charges by suggesting that key "aiding the enemy" claim actually asserts that WikiLeaks itself is the enemy.  British journalist Alexi Mostrous seems to agree in his latest tweet:  "By charging #Manning, US asserts that wikileaks, a publisher, is an enemy. Sets dangerous precedent for other media."

5:30  Bradley Manning's lawyer responds to new charges (see below) at his blog.  Also, separate take on easily the most serious charge: "aiding the enemy."    He quotes from Article 104: “Intelligence” means any helpful information, given to and received by the enemy, which is true, at least in part.... “Enemy” includes (not only) organized opposing forces in time of war(but also any other hostile body that our forces may be opposing)...." 

5:00  NBC reports that following a 7-month investigation, the Army today filed 22 additional charges against Bradley Manning.  Includes hyper-significant "aiding the enemy."   But chooses not to press for death penalty.  UPDATE from full NBC story:  No mention of WikiLeaks in charges at all.  Life in prison recommended but judge could rule for death penalty.  Pentagon says informants names released, most rounded up for proetection, some not found yet.  "Pentagon and military officials also report that investigators have made no direct link between Manning and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange."

4:30  Spanish court allows key Gitmo case to go forward, WikiLeaks gets credit.

4:00  Don't miss:  Good summary by Mother Nature Network on 5 top cable revelations on environmental issues.

3:55 Rabbi writing at Huff Post considers new charges of Assange alleged  "anti-Jewish" views and concludes: "Julian Assange's comments seemed to be more paranoia than anti-Semitism. He suggested that British journalists were conspiring to smear his organization....While Assange's accusation does sound like the age-old charge that the Jews own and run the media, it might not be anti-Semitic. Rather, Assange is probably feeling like everyone is out to get him after the recent WikiLeaks dumps of classified information."

3:00    Still going strong, print edition of my "The Age of  WikiLeaks" book here and e-book (also for phones, iPad) here.

2:10  Following up on item below:  My new piece, excerpt from my book, on one soldier in Collateral Murder video who helped two kids that day and has been haunted since.

12:45  @Wikileaks connects what happened in Afghanistan today (9 boys collecting firewood mistaken for insurgents and killed by NATO air gunners) with its Collateral Murder video from a year ago:  "No one punished after WikiLeaks video and surprise! happens again,  '9 Afghan Boys Killed' http://nyti.ms/e2D6FI ."   Also notes Fox News "bald-faced lies" yesterday in report on that video and the Nobel Peace Prize nomination for WikiLeaks:  "FOX bald faced lies http://youtube.com/watch?v=jag4XYV3om8 vs. reality: http://collateralmurder.com/ ."

11:50  @WikiLeaks responds to Spielberg and company optioning two WikiLeaks books (not mine) for possible flick (join the crowd, guys):  "This is how bullshit ends up being history: Spielberg lines up WikiLeaks film based on books by opportunists http://t.co/bommDn6 ."   The books are by Domscheit-Berg and The Guardian.

11:35  Assange responds to claims about him "trademarking" his name and WikiLeaks, says it's merely a "defensive" move as others have tried to do so with perhaps evil intent, and he blames media for not checking out the full picture via simple search.

10:35  Just posted:  lengthy video interview (plus written summary and quotes) with Daniel Domscheit-Berg,  by the "Exiled Surfer" dude.  Covers a lot of ground, including offer to return materials to Assange and why it allegedly has not happened yet.  DD-B:  "Two misunderstandings: First of all, i believe that every public project needs public faces; that's the same for OpenLeaks as it is for WikiLeaks. So we're not looking at some sort of organization that has some sort of Max Headroom figure, just a virtual representative or so, but there's nothing wrong about having public faces. That was not the problem with WikiLeaks either. The problem was that Julian decided that WikiLeaks is all HIS."

10:15  @WikiLeaks twitter feed has some, given Assange's legal problems with Sweden: "Qaddafi Military Spending Below Sweden | Bloomberg http://is.gd/0OXaKD ."

9:35  QuebecLeaks launches next week after slight delay.

8:55  Just got email from Ian Hislop, the editor of Private Eye, whose phone chat with Assange is drawing wide attention (see below):  "I wanted to correct a point in a Tweet that went out under your name yesterday (1 March) re Private Eye magazine and WikiLeaks. The magazine, which is published in the UK every fortnight, did not “refuse” to publish a statement from WikiLeaks on the organisation’s relationship with Israel Shamir. I wrote to Julian Assange on Wednesday 16 February, following a lengthy telephone conversation, inviting a response or a letter for publication from him or indeed from his lawyers regarding the piece to which he had objected (but said he had not yet read). A response, by email, finally arrived 13 days later, in the early hours of 1 March – some six hours after we had gone to press.

"Hope that clears things up. It will appear in next issue."

8:20 I am leaking this:  @Charlie Sheen in one day about to pass @WikiLeaks in number of followers on Twitter.

 7:55  Assange defense team's appeal of extradition ruling could extend case for up to a year.

7:50  From the Arab Times "Kuwaiti human rights activist, Khaled Al-Hajeri, launched on Tuesday a website entitled Kuwait Wikileaks. Following in the footsteps of the infamous whistleblower site, Kuwait Wikileaks is dedicated to gathering, analyzing and publishing classified documents on the state of Kuwait."

7:45  The Guardian's take on the Private Eye / Assange controversy (see below).  It actually has more fair tone than NYT.

From late Tuesday

Glenn Greenwald on the Assange / Private Eye case.   Hits magazine's reporting -- and NYT's coverage of it.  As he points out, the NYT original headline remains: "Assange Complains of Jewish Smear Campaign." Even though he denies he said that and, more important, the accuser has no corroboration whatsoever. 

Bradley Manning's lawyer with update, though not much change: says client still in "maximum" confinement and on "injury watch."   And here he says he doesn't expect Article 32 case to begin until May or June.

More Assange backlash:  James Ball, ex-WikiLeaker, now with the Guardian tweets about the WikiLeaks statement on Shamir (see below): "The #Wikileaks statement on Israel Shamir (http://tl.gd/92ichb) is categorically untrue. I speak from firsthand experience."  ... AOL lumps Assange with Charlie Sheen and Galliano in new feature:  "Who's Really Anti-Semitic?"   It opens with:   "When did anti-Semitism become fashionable again?"   Recounts Private Eye quotes without Assange response. (h/t Kevin Gosztola) 

As we know, claims about  Assange's  link to the controversial Israel Shamir set off the chain of events culminating in today's back-and-forth regarding a sensational Private Eye story -- see items below.  Now WikiLeaks has released what it says is a statement re: Shamir that Private Eye has not run.  An excerpt:  "It is false that Shamir is 'an Assange intimate'. He interviewed Assange (on behalf of Russian media), as have many journalists. He took a photo at that time and has only met with WikiLeaks staff (including Assange) twice. It is false that 'he was trusted with selecting the 250,000 US State Department cables for the Russian media' or that he has had access to such at any time."

WikiLeaks responds to Private Eye story (below).  Notes it has several Jewish staff members and this and other factors has often led it to be smeared as pro-Jewish or pro-Israel.  Blasts The Guardian's David Leigh.  Notes article based on what writer Hislop "remembered"  (not notes or recording).  Then concludes  with quotes from Assange:  "Hislop has distorted, invented or misremembered almost every significant claim and phrase. In particular, 'Jewish conspiracy' is completely false, in spirit and in word. It is serious and upsetting. Rather than correct a smear, Mr. Hislop has attempted, perhaps not surprisingly, to justify one smear with another in the same direction. That he has a reputation for this, and is famed to have received more libel suits in the UK than any other journalist as a result, does not mean that it is right..... We treasure our strong Jewish support and staff, just as we treasure the support from pan-Arab democracy activists and others who share our hope for a just world."

1:20  This account of alleged Assange rant about Jewish writers out to get him is gaining a lot of play online and on Twitter, particularly hailed by Guardian editors and reporters, and often suggesting he used expression "Jewish conspiracy," though he did not (what's there is bad enough, if accurate).  It's printed in  (however) Private Eye.  My question, here in NY and out of touch these days with the magazine, is: What is journalistic credibility of Private Eye these days?

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