Quantcast

Greg Mitchell | The Nation

  •  
Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

Preview of CNN's WikiLeaks Special Coming This Sunday: 'Mission' Implausible

CNN’s ballyhooed WikiWars: The Mission of Julian Assange special airing this Sunday evening is an odd amalgam, blending quick cuts, pounding music,  and a casually dressed host (at left below) with an attempt at a serious overview of WikiLeaks. Yet, like the recent PBS Frontline probe, it is fatally unbalanced.  

This is a list of Assange / WikiLeaks  critics interviewed (and quoted more than once): David Leigh, Nick Davies, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Adrian Lamo, Brigadier Gen. Mark T. Kimmitt (Ret.).   Here is a list of Assange / WikiLeaks supporters interviewed: one unnamed and masked  allegedly activist from Anonymous.  Other critics who get face time:  Hillary Clinton, Robert Gates, even Newt Gingrich.

Like the PBS Frontline producers, the CNN team appears to believe that quoting Assange alone balances a brigade of critics.   This, of course, is silly.  Many viewers, naturally, take anything the subject of criticism says with huge grains of salt especially when no one else rises to his or her defense (besides figures in masks). 

In addition, the hour-long film focuses on WikiLeaks revelations regarding Iraq and Afghanistan – with plenty of time for repudiations  – with scant mention of Cablegate, which swung open more than six months ago.   And it's amazing the time, talent and resources that poured into both the Frontline and now CNN specials, with virtually no fresh news or insight gained.

The correspondent / host Kaj Larsen, whose credibility has been questioned by some based on his 10-year military background, partly as a Navy SEAL,  appears to bend over backward to be fair here (and in his current essay at CNN site) but the deck is still stacked in the film. He even cites his own military background in a chat with Gen. Kimmitt but inevitably gives the general the last word in strong denunciations of Assange and WikiLeaks. 

Larsen clearly aims to appeal to a younger demographic, as he is dressed throughout in tight t-shirt, or shirt hanging out of pants, and/or pea coat.  He fails to interview Assange but stands outside a court house and gushes, “I just caught my first glimpse of Julian Assange.” The closest we get to the WikiLeaks leader is in informal footage (“rare candid moments” ) shot by freelance journalist Mark Davis during Assange’s pre-rock star travels. We even get to see him in happier times working with allies-turned-critics Leigh and Davies inside The Guardian bunker.

Actually the first words from Assange in the program, as he enters a press gathering, are a bleeped out “holy shit.”   Larsen says he is leading “a whistleblowing insurgency” as “a maverick and game changer.” His goal: “a new world order….on a mission to change the world one week at time.”  We briefly visit Julian's boyhood home on Magnetic Island. Assange recalls that he once sold his horse to buy a computer. Then on to his arrest as a pony-tailed teenage hacker. 

For the many Americans who think WikiLeaks began only last year and as an anti-American organization, we get some helpful background info on the positive leaks relating to Kenya and woeful Icelandic bank.

Then we get a few glimpses of the Collateral Murder video from Baghdad but Larsen allows Gen. Kimmit to not only fully absolve the conduct of U.S. troops – the general even charges that the Reuters photographer “shares much of the blame” for his own death for daring to use a long-range lens that could be mistaken for a weapon. The nerve of that guy!  The blasting of a van carrying the wounded and children from that  scene? It could have had “fighters” inside who might have killed our soldiers,  Gen. Kimmit explains.   This might be the closest host Larsen has come to torture since he willingly underwent waterboarding back in his Current TV days.

For a change, it is Davies, not Leigh, who gets to claim that Assange said that if informers were killed it was no big deal because they may “deserve to die.” Although Davies, unlike Leigh, says that Assange said this "in effect," which seems to qualify the quote (Assange denies saying it and keeps promising legal action). Gen. Kimmitt hits Assange’s claim that no one has yet been harmed by the war leaks by saying that surely U.S. troops have been put at risk.

Domscheit-Berg agrees with Davies' assessment that Assange is a hypocrite for protesting The Guardian publishing leaks  of lurid police docs on the Swedish sex case.  Then it's on for a sitdown with Lamo in the usual "undisclosed location." We don't meet his goldfish this time, however, as we did via PBS and Al Jazeera.

Unlike the PBS Frontline program, Bradley Manning gets relatively little play (though he's clearly treated as the leak source) but the program's  final segment on Anonymous should have been reduced and a few minutes given to the dozens of important Cablegate revelations beyond the Middle East. The good that WikiLeaks might do or has done remains hopelessly vague without that.

After Newt Gingrich denounces Assange as a terrorist, Larsen concludes that the WikiLeaks founder “dropped a nuclear warhead of information” and no matter how he is viewed, as devil or angel,  his “war against secrecy rages on.”

Greg Mitchell’s current books on this subject are The Age of WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning, Truth and Consequences, in book and e-book, form.

Like this blog post? Read it on The Nation’s free iPhone App, NationNow.

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Friday, June 10

As I’ve done for over six months (with one week off recently), I’m updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning all day, with new items added at the top. All times ET. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about my books The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, and Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here.

12:20  My review of ths CNN WikiLeaks special now posted.

10:00 Got screener of this Sunday's CNN "WikiWars" special, will watch now, review this morning.

9:35  Essay at CNN by guy behind this weekend's CNN WikiLeaks special.  Concludes that Assange may be "out of secrets" but his greatest secret is, he has already "won." 

8:45  Today is first anniversary of Wired publishing lengthy excerpts from the Manning-Lamo "chat logs."  Controversy followed over what was edited out, but they remain key to prosecution's case, no doubt, and revealing Manning's state of mind--and polical / transparency goals.   Here's one of my recent columns about them and detailed excerpt.

8:05  Three alleged "Anonymous" hackers busted in Spain.

8:00  Assange to be interviewed in forum at London's Frontline Club on July 2, moderated by Amy Goodman.

7:15  Great: A "leak collecting" van has been spotted around D.C. and known as the WikiLeak Truck, stirring up trouble.

7:00  Here's a snippet of this weekend's CNN special on WikiLeaks.  I am getting a screener of full show this morning and will quickly review.

12:10  For full background on Manning and Assange and more:  my book The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, or  Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here, both hailed by Glenn Greenwald, Dan Ellsberg,  Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman etc.

12:00 So now there's a writer for the HBO / BBC planned WikiLeaks flick: It's Rowan Joffe, son of the director Roland Joffe and writer of "28 Days Later" and "The American."   Charles Ferguson still set to direct.

From late Thursday

Andy Greenberg of Forbes with report on highly unusual ACLU move, using gov't to declassify now-published WikiLeaks cables.  "The State Department cables expose, for instance, secret drone strikes by U.S. forces in Yemen, and American pressure on Spain and German to comply with CIA extraordinary rendition of terrorist suspects. The ACLU says it selected the 23 cables out of the thousands already published because they were kept secret to avoid government embarrassment rather classified for purposes of national security, and because they show human rights violations. Given that all those memos have already been covered by the news media, why bother to declassify them anyway? 'The point is to expose the legal fiction that the secrecy system rests on,' says Ben Wizner, a staff attorney for the ACLU. 'The government uses this formality of secrecy to avoid having to answer for real violations of the law.'”

  NYT asked readers to tweet guesses on what 11 words were to be cut out of declassified Pentagon Papers.  Fun results here.  Yes, people still unsure whether it is Viet-Nam or Vietnam. My submission circa 1968: "We'll be out of Vietnam before Mets  win a World Series." 

Remember when his critical comments exposed in cables cost U.S. ambassador to Mexico his post there? Finally a new diplomat named.

Bart Gellman tweets on whistleblower case falling apart:  "Prosecutors offer NSA leaker Drake *misdemeanor* plea bargain--& he refuses http://bgell.me/myYFTO ." 

New Wikileaks cables passed to Reuters reveal more nuclear “weak links” beyond Japan. Including Vietnam. Who knew?

Woman who made great film on Dan Ellsberg calls Obama worst president for whistleblowers. “Speaking at a session on WikiLeaks at the Sheffield Doc/Fest on Thursday, she said that whistleblowing has become more dangerous than ever.” She also praised Bradley Manning for his “courage.”

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog Returns!

As I’ve done for over six months (with one week off recently), I’m updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning all day, with new items added at the top. All times ET. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about my books The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, and Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here.

UPDATE:  For Friday's edition of this blog, go here.

6:20  Andy Greenberg of Forbes with report on highly unusual ACLU move, using gov't to declassify now-published WikiLeaks cables.  "The State Department cables expose, for instance, secret drone strikes by U.S. forces in Yemen, and American pressure on Spain and German to comply with CIA extraordinary rendition of terrorist suspects. The ACLU says it selected the 23 cables out of the thousands already published because they were kept secret to avoid government embarrassment rather classified for purposes of national security, and because they show human rights violations. Given that all those memos have already been covered by the news media, why bother to declassify them anyway? 'The point is to expose the legal fiction that the secrecy system rests on,' says Ben Wizner, a staff attorney for the ACLU. 'The government uses this formality of secrecy to avoid having to answer for real violations of the law.'”

6:15  NYT asked readers to tweet guesses on what 11 words were to be cut out of declassified Pentagon Papers.  Fun results here.  Yes, people still unsure whether it is Viet-Nam or Vietnam. 

6:10  Remember when his critical comments exposed in cables cost U.S. ambassador to Mexico his post there? Finally a new diplomat named.

4:15  Bart Gellman tweets on whistleblower case falling apart:  "Prosecutors offer NSA leaker Drake *misdemeanor* plea bargain--& he refuses http://bgell.me/myYFTO ." 

2:00 New Wikileaks cables passed to Reuters reveal more nuclear “weak links” beyond Japan. Including Vietnam. Who knew?

1:55 Woman who made great film on Dan Ellsberg calls Obama worst president for whistleblowers. “Speaking at a session on WikiLeaks at the Sheffield Doc/Fest on Thursday, she said that whistleblowing has become more dangerous than ever.” She also praised Bradley Manning for his “courage.”

1:50 Major Birgitta Jonsdottir (Icelandic MP, ex-Wikileaks, “Twitter 3”) interview here.

12:05 Latest on seemingly never-ending Ireland leaks from Irish Echo.

10:40 Glenn Greenwald on WikiLeaks grand jury probe “widening.” David House latest to get subpoena “compelling his testimony before the Grand Jury next Wednesday. The subpoena and accompanying documents received by House can be viewed here and here. This latest subpoena reveals how active the criminal investigation is and how committed the Obama administration is to criminally pursuing the whistleblowing site. Also receiving subpoenas in addition to House and the Cambridge resident have been ex-Manning boyfriend Tyler Watkins, and a cryptography expert at Princeton, Nadia Heninger (whose Princeton photo is credited to Jacob Appelbaum, the persistently harassed American once identified as a WikiLeaks spokesman). But it also highlights a very important potential controversy: the refusal of numerous witnesses to cooperate in any way with this pernicious investigation.”

10:35 Dan Ellsberg (years ago, I could barely get him before a typewriter, let alone a computer) joins Facebook. And he tweets: “Pentagon Papers declassified- 40 years late. Their lessons are more timely than ever http://ow.ly/5d2Fp .”

10:30 Andy Worthington, Gitmo expert, with part IV of his five-parts series on revelations.

10:15 I’m just catching up with James Russell’s Truthout piece on pro-Manning protest in Kansas a few days ago.

7:05 Al Jazeera video on latest from Haiti leaks.

7:00 From CNN press release of this weekend’s WikiLeaks show (hosted by ex-Navy SEAL): “We’ve been given access to rarely seen footage and interviews shot by Australian journalist Mark Davis. Davis spent weeks filming with Julian Assange on the road, capturing candid moments as he traveled throughout Iceland, Sweden and the UK.

“CNN has requested an interview with Assange. We have interviewed WikiLeaks defector, Daniel Domscheit-Berg—who has just written a book ‘Inside WikiLeaks.’ We also shot interviews with journalists from the Guardian, who worked with Assange for weeks on the war log releases. Mark Davis also delivers insight and details into who Assange really is. We delve into Bradley Manning’s story, and interviewed Adrian Lamo, who turned him. We also look at the Swedish sex assault allegations against Assange, the defections and internal tensions inside WikiLeaks and fallout over the explosive leaks. We end with the fate of Julian Assange…”

4:00 (Hey, I’m still on Europe time): Josh Gerstein at Politico on developments in Twitter/WikiLeaks case. “A federal magistrate in Virginia has rejected a request that her court make public detailed dockets regarding orders seeking information from internet services. In a June 1 opinion, Magistrate Theresa Buchanan said she’d ‘exhaustively researched’ the issue. She concluded: ‘Although a docket entry must note that a sealing order has been entered, there exists no right to public notice of all the types of documents filed in a sealed case.’ ”

From late Wednesday

Folks, after breaking my 185-day WikiLeaks blogging streak one week ago, with a much-needed vacation, I am back to (like Joe DiMaggio) start a brand new streak today. A guy leaves the country and suddenly Weinergate overwhelms WikiLeaks. Thanks to my Nation colleague Kevin Gosztola (@kgosztola) for keeping the effort going with daily items and links over at WL Central. And thanks for the many tribute pages in honor of “The Streak.”

So to start with new items…

Calgary Cross: One of the things I posted back in late November when The Streak started was that Canadian prof, and former adviser to PM Harper, calling for the assassination of Assange. Now the Calgary police have concluded their probe and decided not to bring any charges. Here’s story and video of his original remarks. (h/t Craig Silverman)

Latest from The Nation’s WikiLeaks and Haiti series—on US and fraudulent election. New York Obsever covers The Nation’s efforts here.

New ad for IAmBradleyManning.org. And Bradley Manning “Hero” street art in Brooklyn.

From our friend @WLLegal “CNN WL doc done by fmr SEAL ‘which seems like an odd choice to helm a documentary about massive leaks of military docs’ http://bit.ly/lOzvFS “ And KIm Zetter of Wired adds that there’s nothing new in the doc and Navy Sela host “has a loose and unsophisticated method of delivery that seems better suited for MTV or CurrentTV than CNN.” WikiLeaks has already condemned the doc.

Alternet reviews 5 WikiLeaks “hits” from 2011.

 

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Wednesday, Day 185

As I’ve done for nearly six months, I’m updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning all day, with new items added at the top. All times ET. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about my books The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, and Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here.

3:30  Editor's Note: Greg Mitchell is now on vacation, but his article on newly-released WikiLeaks diplomatic cables was just posted. Read it here: On Background: From WikiLeaks to WikiHaiti: Now that WikiLeaks is collaborating with media organizations across the globe, a huge trove of previously-unpublished State Department cables are coming to light.

12:20  As I get ready to head out the door (see below), note:  my Nation colleague @KGosztola, who has been covering all things WikiLeaks for months, and helping me here,  will be doing frequent "blog" type items re: WikiLeaks while I'm gone at:  http://wlcentral.org/

10:55 Can hardly believe there is now a tribute site for end of 185-day WikiLeaks blogging streak.  Man, they know about me and baseball all too well.  Thanks to all.  I am outta here about 1 pm, might be some news breaking about then....

7:50  BBC summarizes 2nd day of Irish Leaks.

7:45  Folks, I am off to Paris this afternoon and then on to visit with daughter, husband and new grandson in Nantes.   So that will be it for the consecutive day streak for this WikiLeaks blog, ending streak (for now) at 185 days -- starting with the run-up to the first cable releases back in late November.   Well, it lasted more than three times as long as Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak -- and what few know is that the day after Joe D's streak stopped, he started another long one....So this is not end of the blog but the (first) streak. ... Thanks to one of the great contributors to the WikiLeaks (and other) cultural scenes,  @ExiledSurfer, for tribute to my streak at left, as I am pictured with Assange (his write-up here).  Not sure who is Joe D and who is Lou Gehrig. 

7:40  Jacob Appelbaum, often hassled at airports on arrival, gets new "passport," which once belonged to a parrot, in Vienna.

7:30  CNET: Adrian Lamo has "no regrets."

7:25  Famed photog David Bailey claims he refuse to take pix of Assange on assignment because there's "nothing in his eyes."

12:00 Interesting new cable from Canada shows U.S. pressuring Canada to help get heavy fuel to North Korea as part of "controvesial" deal to get them to dismantle nukes. 

From late Tuesday

 Belfast Telegraph joins The Independent in Dublin in covering the new IrishLeaks.   Too bad Bloody Sunday predates.  Includes lengthy Assange interview, video and summary.

Heritage Foundation writer, in wake of WikiLeaks and related hacking, calls for "cyber-counter-insurgency" drive.

My book The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, or Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here, both hailed by Glenn Greenwald, Dan Ellsberg, Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman.

Wash Post:  Latest WikiLeaks cables on Panama causing huge stir again there. "In diplomatic cables released this week on the WikiLeaks website, embassy officials said they had 'credible and compelling information' that Supreme Court Justice Winston Spadafora took bribes to influence court cases."

New 7-minute video from Demooracy Now:  former Honduras president Zelaya on what he learned about coup from WikiLeaks.

Editor of The Independent explains how his paper got the WikiLeaks cables, why, the sometimes “infuriating” process, and what they mean for unbalanced relations with US.

 Part II of my colleague Kevin Gosztola’s interview with Raza Rumi on the Pakistan Papers.

Film About Bobby Fischer—Chess Champ, Fugitive, Anti-Semite—Comes to HBO Next Week

Long before he won the title of chess champion of the world—and then became a fugitive , a raving anti-Semite and anti-American, and secluded in Iceland, Bobby Fischer was a part of my childhood. Starting in 1958, when Bobby became the youngest grandmaster in history at age 14 (he was about four years older than I), he was frequently in the news and in magazines and on TV.

Then, in 1972, with his showdown against Boris Spassky, he became an international superstar, challenging Muhammad Ali as the most famous person on the planet. That was his high point, but he remained in the public eye for years after, almost as well known for his failure to defend his crown (his mental health, and confidence, rapidly slipping) as he was in winning it.

The paranoid rantings began, and when he finally met Spassky again it was in Bosnia, defying an international ban—earning a US indictment and making him a wanted man. Hence: evading arrests in a return to Iceland, where he had defeated Spassky, forever, until his death in 2008 at the age of 64. .

Now, an excellent full-length film about his wild life, Bobby Fischer Against the World, directed by Liz Garbus, comes to HBO on June 6, with four more air dates after that. It unearths dozens of clips of Fischer over the years, from gawky prodigy to international man of mystery to sad geezer maniac, with a special focus on the epic 1972 match, complete with references to George McGovern and a soundtrack of musical hits from that year (when was the last time you heard Blood, Sweat and Tears?).

This becomes a geopolitical tale, a cold war thriller, as the eccentric American takes on the wily Russian. I was not aware that a Russian had always held the title in the modern era making this a possible propaganda victory for the USA. Henry Kissinger recalls that he practically demanded that Fischer play, and humble, Spassky. It would be, in a way, Moon Landing II.

Yes, his mother and father, in Brooklyn, were Jewish. Mom was a leftwing activist (possibly a Communist). The man Bobby thought was his father was not. In any case, he hardly had a childhood, so fanatical was his devotion to chess. He was, in a sense, checkmated early in life. The anti-Semitism: that's another story.

Garbus has also directed the Oscar-nominated The Farm:Angola, USA and Emmy-winning Ghosts of Abu Ghraib, among other films. Among those interviewed in the new documentary: Malcolm Gladwell, Dick Cavett, famed photographer Harry Benson and various chess champs, including Gary Kasparov.

Greg Mitchell's latest books are The Age of WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences, also available as e-books at Amazon.

Like this blog post? Read it on The Nation’s free iPhone App, NationNow.

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Tuesday, Day 184

As I’ve done for nearly six months, I’m updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning all day, with new items added at the top. All times ET. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about my books The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, and Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here.

UPDATE:  Here is Wednesday edition of this blog.

7:50  Belfast Telegraph joins The Independent in Dublin in covering the new IrishLeaks.   Too bad Bloody Sunday predates.

6:00 Folks, I am off to Paris tomorrow afternoon and then on to visit with daughter, husband and one-year-old grandson in Nantes.   So that will be final day of the consecutive day streak for this WikiLeaks blog, ending streak (for now) at 185 days -- starting with the run-up to the first cable releases back in late November.   Well, it lasted more than three times as long as Joe DiMaggio's 56-game hitting streak -- and what few know is that the day after Joe D's streak stopped, he started another long one....So this is not end of the blog but the (first) streak. 

5:50  Heritage Foundation writer, in wake of WikiLeaks and related hacking, calls for "cyber-counter-insurgency" drive.

5:30  My book The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, or Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here, both hailed by Glenn Greenwald, Dan Ellsberg, Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman.

2:25  Wash Post:  Latest WikiLeaks cables on Panama causing huge stir again there. "In diplomatic cables released this week on the WikiLeaks website, embassy officials said they had 'credible and compelling information' that Supreme Court Justice Winston Spadafora took bribes to influence court cases."

1:50  New 7-minute video from Demooracy Now:  former Honduras president Zelaya on what he learned about coup from WikiLeaks.

11:00 Part II of my colleague Kevin Gosztola’s interview with Raza Rumi on the Pakistan Papers.

9:00 Editor of The Independent explains how his paper got the WikiLeaks cables, why, the sometimes “infuriating” process, and what they mean for unbalanced relations with US.

7:00 You, too? WikiLeaks’s Irish leak launches via Independent : How US got Ireland’s secrets. Whole package covers thirteen pages and you can see brief video that probably was the Assange TV ad some spotted yesterday..

6:55 Pentagon says hacking can be act of war.

6:00 Another Wikileaks game.

12:05 Wall Street Journal covers PBS hack attack, and broader view.

12:00 Taking his hacks: Tupac announces he’d rather be dead than live in New Zealand, “like those Conchord dudes,” disappears again.

From late Monday

Frontline site appears back to normal—for now. See below for the wild hacking of past day.

A correspondent e-mails: “Thought you’d like to know that Julian Assange has been appearing in a TV ad running in Ireland today. In the ad, he says that the Ireland Wikileaks cables will be published this week in the Irish Independent. There’s also this tweet from Irish Independent journalist: http://twitter.com/#!/fionnansheahan/status/75290599019913216.”

After Frontline and PBS issue statement on hacking (se below)—disappears and hacked again.

PBS and Frontline issue statement denouncing hacking of their site, calling it “chilling, “but say nothing essential compromised. However, Frontline chooses to also use this as a defense of its WikILeaks show. Note wording: program got both praise and criticism but critics were “supporters” of Manning and Assange, not anyone with legit journalist issues. Also, they suggest they sought out comments from Assange and David House—when what actually happened was that they weighed in out of the blue during an online chat.

More on the PBS hack, from Parmy Olson at Forbes. Before the fake Tupac story was taken down it had gotten a lot of “likes.” Hacker, not affilitated with Anonymous (as reporter earlier), claims he/she was not happy with that Frontline WikIleaks saga. Also posted some user names and more )see below)..

Andy Worthington on the Guardian articles and film this weekend on Bradley Manning, lax security, bullying and mental instability.

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog—Special Holiday Weekend Edition!

As I’ve done for nearly six months, I’m updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning all day, with new items added at the top. All times ET. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about my books The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, and Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here.

UPDATE: The Tuesday edition of this blog here.

*MONDAY *

8:30 Frontline site appears back to normal—for now. See below for the wild hacking of past day.

5:50 A correspondent e-mails: “Thought you’d like to know that Julian Assange has been appearing in a TV ad running in Ireland today. In the ad, he says that the Ireland Wikileaks cables will be published this week in the Irish Independent. There’s also this tweet from Irish Independent journalist: http://twitter.com/#!/fionnansheahan/status/75290599019913216 .”

5:20 After Frontline and PBS issue statement on hacking (se below)—disappears and hacked again.

3:35 PBS and Frontline issue statement denouncing hacking of their site, calling it “chilling,” but say nothing essential compromised. However, Frontline chooses to also use this as a defense of its WikILeaks show. Note wording: program got both praise and criticism but critics were “supporters” of Manning and Assange, not anyone with legit journalist issues. Also, they suggest they sought out comments from Assange and David House—when what actually happened was that they weighed in out of the blue during an online chat.

9:30 More on the PBS hack, from Parmy Olson at Forbes. Before the fake Tupac story was taken down it had gotten a lot of “likes.” Hacker, not affilitated with Anonymous (as reporter earlier), claims he/she was not happy with that Frontline WikIleaks saga. Also posted some user names and more )see below)..

9:20 My book The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, or Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here, both hailed by Glenn Greenwald, Dan Ellsberg, Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman.

9:15 Andy Worthington on the Guardian articles and film this weekend on Bradley Manning, lax security, bullying and mental instability.

9:00 Stir It Up: Jamaica’s prime minister blasts newpaper’s airing of WikiLeaks cables as one-sided and like publishing what man and wife say in bedroom. Really.

2:00 PBS site hacked in apparent retaliation for Manning/WikiLeaks Frontline doc.

* SUNDAY *

11:10 Virginia Heffernan of NYT declares Bradley Manning guilty, with no pretense of “allegedly.”

9:10 ABC News: Bradley Manning’s dad says his worst fear is that his son is guilty. Also says he sometimes denies that he is the father. Video included with Richard Clarke comment. Lamo (no goldfish this time) claims Manning just wanted fame, though he was humble. Terry Moran: military looking into whether Manning “mentally fit for trial.”

9:00 From The Hindu: Behind Pakistan’s F-16 deal

10:40 University study of media coverage of WikiLeaks in US w/ some interesting findings relating to digital vs. print, political views, and wide negative view of WikiLeaks and/or Assange.

* SATURDAY *

6:30 The Guardian has now posted a full Q&A with a soldier colleague of Bradley Manning featured in its new film and print report (see below). Yes, chickens came home to roost: endless US wars and lack of trained soldiers led to assigning people to war zone who maybe should have been kept at home.

9:25 France and UK have expressed fears about nuclear security in Pakistan, cables show.

12:30 From cables: Saudi Arabia pressured by US to let women drive!

* FRIDAY *

8:20 Major new “investigation” of Manning from the Guardian—his background, how the Army ignored warnings about him, “beatings,” and more. Very little new, beyond him “wetting himself” when picked on in the Army, but at least a few new voices heard. The bullying was profound, more details here, but we knew that. Second Guardian story looks at security in Iraq while he worked there and again finds little really new. Lot of people had access to files but, again, a given. Something new about people posting passwords on Post-it notes, which could help his legal defense. And now: a nineteen-minute “investigative film.”

Embarrassing for them to claim at this late date after much has already emerged: Guardian exclusive: Soldier held over US intelligence leak was known to be mentally fragile and unsuited to army life.”

12:00 Peter Tatchell on Manning—one year in prison, and counting, without trial.

9:40 US ambassador backs Bulgarian leader exposed by latest WikiLeaks cables.

8:30 A “Dear Chaos” take on the PBS Frontline show on Wikileaks.

2:00 State Dept names new chief spokeswoman to replace PJ Crowley, who exited after protesting prison treatment of Bradley Manning. And she is former adviser to… Dick Cheney.

12:00 Eleven words in the Pentagon Papers still classified and will not be disclosed when the papers are released.

From late Thursday

Read it and weep: PBS ombudsman Michael Getler, who has done some good work in the past, applauds the Frontline doc on WikiLeaks this week, raises few questions, and says he actually got little mail about it, though all of it negative, and reprints some. Says all of this indicates Frontline lived up to its “tough but fair” reputation.

Theatre pieces about Assange and Manning.

“Risen” up angry: From Huff Post—“Obama Comes for the Journalists”

From The Atlantic: “Obama and Whistleblowers: Leak for Me but Not for Thee”

Kevin Gosztola at FDL with commentary and critique of yesterday’s PBS Frontline online chat.

@WLLegal: “TIME on Obama’s “Manning broke the law” gaffe & Assange’s comments on the Espionage Act & investigative journalism http://bit.ly/mlkYws .”

Huff Post reporter with good update on what “sources” say about current status of the WikiLeaks grand jury in Virginia— supposedly three recent subpoenas now. Also latest on court martial plans.

 

Gil Scott-Heron—Poet, Musician, Social Critic—Dies at 62

Sad to say, it wasn't exactly a shock to read last night about the passing of poet, songwriter and social critic Gil Scott-Heron at the age of 62.  His struggles with drugs and illness and the law in recent years have been well documented.  Still, one should reflect on his contributions, mainly during the 1970s.

I knew Gil a little.  When I was senior editor at Crawdaddy -- for most of the 1970s -- I convinced Gil to become an occasional columnist.   He was well-known, in certain circles, for his "The Revolution WIll Not Be Televised" and for a later cult hit "The Bottle" and excellent album Winter in America from which it emerged, but he was hardly a commercial superstar.  Crawdaddy never cared about that and was always eager to promote any kind of lefty musician.  His antinuclear epic "We Almost Lost Detroit" remains relevant to this day (I linked to it here after the Fukushima disaster this year).

I only met Gil a couple of time, including once backstage at a Central Park concert where I picked up a column (it seemed the only way I'd ever get it).  But we chatted on the phone a few times, again, often surrounding an overdue piece.   He was a bright and engaging guy, and about to go a little more mainstream with his song "Johannesburg" -- which he wrote about for Crawdaddy (if memory serves, it was based on his trip there, with Mandela a long way from being freed) and gave us the lyrics before the single came out.  "Hey brother have you heard the word -- Johannesburg!" 

Anyway, here are a few key YouTube songs by GIl, via the Common Dreams site.   R.I.P. at last , Gil.

Greg Mitchell's latest books are "The Age of WikiLeaks" and "Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequeces," available both as e-books via Amazon and in print at blurb.com.

 

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Thursday, Day 180

As I’ve done for nearly six months, I'm updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning all day, with new items added at the top. All times ET.  Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about my books The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, and Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here.

UPDATE:  Friday's blog here.

10:00 Read it and weep: PBS ombudsman Michael Getler, who has done some good work in the past, applauds the Frontline doc on WikiLeaks this week, raises few questions, and says he actually got little mail about it, though all of it negative, and reprints some.  Says all of this indicates Frontline lived up to its "tough but fair" reputation.

8:30  Theatre pieces about Assange and Manning.

6:25  "Risen" up angry: From Huff Post -- Obama Comes for the Journalists 

5:30  From The AtlanticObama and Whistleblowers: Leak for Me but Not for Thee 

2:45  Kevin Gosztola at FDL with commentary and critique of yesterday's PBS Frontline online chat.

1:00 @WLLegal: "TIME on Obama's "Manning broke the law" gaffe & Assange's comments on the Espionage Act & investigative journalism http://bit.ly/mlkYws ."

10:35 Huff Post reporter with good update on what "sources" say about current status of the WikiLeaks grand jury in Virginia-- supposedly THREE recent subpoenas now.  Also latest on court martial plans.

10:20  In an item here yesterday, I reported Bradley Manning's father, Brian Manning, in the PBS online chat, denying that protest in the U.S., including by P.J. Crowley, had much to do with his son's transfer to Leavenworth -- it was mainly, or solely, due to pressure from the UK after it emerged that Bradley had UK citizenship.  I observed parenthetically that this was "news" to me.  Now Naomi Colvin,  who directs the influential UK Friends of Bradley Manning sends me an email.  Here's an excerpt worth reading, though it does not prove that the UK pressure was THE prime reason for the move:  

 "The British Government did indeed put significant pressure on the United States to bring the treatment of their citizen Bradley Manning in line with international standards.  During an adjournment debate in Parliament on 4th April, Parliamentary Under-Secretary at the  Foreign Office Henry Bellingham confirmed that, not only had a senior official at the British Embassy in Washington already "called on" their counterpart in the State Department to let them know that concerns were being expressed in the UK, they would be doing so for a second time in light of their official acknowledgement that Bradley is, indeed, a citizen of the United Kingdom. 

"My report on this debate, which includes a link to video footage and the official Hansard transcript is here:  http://blog.ukfriendsofbradleymanning.org/2011/04/05/today-in-parliament-bradley-mannings-citizenship-status-confirmed/  In my third update to that post, I also include links to the international press coverage of this development - of which there was quite a lot....The pressure we have been able to apply together clearly had a significant impact on the decision to move Bradley to Fort Leavenworth - which is not to say that other factors, such as P.J Crowley's breaking rank, weren't important."

9:10 David Leigh of The Guardian tweets response to Assange claiming in PBS online chat that he lies and is libelous in continuing to say that the WikiLeaks leader said informers "deserved to die."  Assange now says two people from Der Spiegel were at same meeting and did not hear him say that.  Here's Leigh today: " Sorry to read #Assange frantic denials on PBS Frontline chat of what he said to me . Be a man: admit yr error http://to.pbs.org/k7Wckr ." 

8:50  Fascinating developments in Jamaica, as the leader of country demands that the WikiLeaks media partner there release all of the cables it has started publishing this week, rather than cherry picking, even as he denies he will seek legal action against the paper.

8:40  More from the Pakistan Papers here -- this time on money from U.S. meant for "war on terror" being used by military for other purposes, and other military vs. civilian conflict.

8:30  In India, The Hindu, WikiLeaks partner, with piece on American diplomats considering  the Indian government "unwilling and unable" to "end the exploitation and victimisation" of the country’s 84 million tribal people .  More here.

12:05  WikiLeaks: Saudi's warned about US oil speculators.

12:00 Rally for Manning in NYC on June 4th -- in Times Square.

From late Wednesday

 We covered the Assange/Ellsberg teleconference for Manning earlier today (see below) but here's Mike Calderone's lengthier report at Huff Post.

In answer to my query, @WikiLeaks feed at twitter confirms that it was indeed Assange in the PBS chat (see below) and that a second question or statement by him was "torched."

Now Assange, or someone claiming to be him (but sounds credible) has joined in the PBS online chat on last night's WikiLeaks program.  He writes,  "Why did Frontline not do basic fact checking on the false and libelous statement 'Julian said 'Informants deserve to die'?  This has had substantial re-reportage based on its airing by Frontline. Its speaker, David Leigh is well known to be locked into tawdry personal vendetta against WikiLeaks (as any check of his twitter feed davidleigh3 would show). The statement has been repeatedly denied by me, is the subject of pre-litigation legal action and two Spiegel reporters who were at the table, John Goertz and Marcel Rosenbach (the only independent witnesses) deny it. Is this Frontline's standards for journalism? Similarly, Why did Frontline present Daniel Domschiet Berg's claims about WikiLeaks content sales as credible, when two thee prior accusations (in relation to Aftonposten, Aftonbladet and Al Jazeera) have been demonstrated to be wholesale inventions?"

The creators of show then replied:  "We did talk with others about David Leigh’s allegation. Several people confirmed that you had initially wanted to publish all the Afghan War Logs without redacting names. We also allowed you to deny the charge. As for content sales, you mentioned in your interview that you had explored financial incentives to improve the reception of the Collateral Murder video." This, of course, does not address the alleged "lie" of Leigh's statement. 

David House apparently  just showed up at the online Frontline chat to respond to charges by Manning's dad (see below).  House, or someone claiming to be him, typed: "This is David House. You say I was using Bradley for 15 minutes of fame... this is very hurtful and surprising to hear. In earnest, on what basis do you make the remark?"   Manning's father then responds:  "Please clean your own house. Bradley told us. If you do not belive me ask him" And House replies to that: "I highly doubt that; Bradley asked me to return before you removed me from his visitor list. Thanks for the response, though, Brian."

Some interesting, if sometimes wild,  claims in online chat at PBS featuring creators of last night's WikiLeaks program.  So far: 1) they say they okayed Assange taping their full interview (he put it up on WikiLeaks sites before show aired) and are not surprised he hated the show, as he made up his mind before hand  2)  Bradley Manning's dad says he kicked Manning friend and frequent visitor David House off the visitor's list at Quantico because he doubted his motives, thought he was just trying to "suck up" info from Bradley and was just out for his "15 minutes" of fame  3) Brian Manning also claimed that protests by House and many others were not the main reason for his son's transfer to Leavenworth -- but rather (this is news to us) pressure from the UK government after it emerged that Bradley had UK citizenship.

  My review of last night's Frontline yawner on WikiLeaks: "No Meat, Just a Goldfish."  And WikiLeaks has posted correspondence between an Assange associate and Frontline producer about the ground rules for his interview -- see very bottom of this page.  My Nation colleague Kevin Gosztola has his own review here.

For full background on Manning and Assange and more:  my book The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, or  Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here, both hailed by Glenn Greenwald, Dan Ellsberg,  Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman.

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Wednesday, Day 179

As I’ve done for nearly six months, I'm updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning all day, with new items added at the top. All times ET.  Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about my books The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, and Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here.

UPDATE:  The Thursday edition of this blog.

9:20 We covered the Assange/Ellsberg teleconference for Manning earlier today (see below) but here's Mike Calderone's lengthier report at Huff Post.

3:10  In answer to my query, @WikiLeaks feed at twitter confirms that it was indeed Assange in the PBS chat (see below) and that a second question or statement by him was "torched."  I am seeking more on that.

2:45  Wow, now Assange, or someone claiming to be him (but sounds credible) has joined in the PBS online chat on last night's WikiLeaks program.  He writes,  "Why did Frontline not do basic fact checking on the false and libelous statement 'Julian said 'Informants deserve to die'?  This has had substantial re-reportage based on its airing by Frontline. Its speaker, David Leigh is well known to be locked into tawdry personal vendetta against WikiLeaks (as any check of his twitter feed davidleigh3 would show). The statement has been repeatedly denied by me, is the subject of pre-litigation legal action and two Spiegel reporters who were at the table, John Goertz and Marcel Rosenbach (the only independent witnesses) deny it. Is this Frontline's standards for journalism? Similarly, Why did Frontline present Daniel Domschiet Berg's claims about WikiLeaks content sales as credible, when two thee prior accusations (in relation to Aftonposten, Aftonbladet and Al Jazeera) have been demonstrated to be wholesale inventions?"

The creators of show then replied:  "We did talk with others about David Leigh’s allegation. Several people confirmed that you had initially wanted to publish all the Afghan War Logs without redacting names. We also allowed you to deny the charge. As for content sales, you mentioned in your interview that you had explored financial incentives to improve the reception of the Collateral Murder video." This, of course, does not address the alleged "lie" of Leigh's statement. 

2:05  David House apparently  just showed up at the online Frontline chat to respond to charges by Manning's dad (see below).  House, or someone claiming to be him, typed: "This is David House. You say I was using Bradley for 15 minutes of fame... this is very hurtful and surprising to hear. In earnest, on what basis do you make the remark?"   Manning's father then responds:  "Please clean your own house. Bradley told us. If you do not belive me ask him" And House replies to that: "I highly doubt that; Bradley asked me to return before you removed me from his visitor list. Thanks for the response, though, Brian."

2:00 Some interesting, if sometimes wild,  claims in online chat at PBS featuring creators of last night's WikiLeaks program.  So far: 1) they say they okayed Assange taping their full interview (he put it up on WikiLeaks sites before show aired) and are not surprised he hated the show, as he made up his mind before hand  2)  Bradley Manning's dad says he kicked Manning friend and frequent visitor David House off the visitor's list at Quantico because he doubted his motives, thought he was just trying to "suck up" info from Bradley and was just out for his "15 minutes" of fame  3) Brian Manning also claimed that protests by House and many others were not the main reason for his son's transfer to Leavenworth -- but rather (this is news to us) pressure from the UK government after it emerged that Bradley had UK citizenship.

 

1:40  For full background on Manning and Assange and more:  my book The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, or  Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here, both hailed by Glenn Greenwald, Dan Ellsberg,  Bill Moyers, Amy Goodman.

1:35  My Nation colleague Kevin Gosztola gives me this report on today's Support Manning teleconference:  "Manning Support Network reports legal expenses at least $170,000. Support network has managed to raise $137,000 to put into a legal trust for Manning. 

"Daniel Ellsberg argued most journalists look at case of Bradley Manning and think law was broken. 'That’s wrong.'  The legal situation is 'murky and uncertain.'  He noted the Obama Administration is trying to use the Espionage Act as if it is an Official Secrets Act (what exists in the UK).

"Julian Assange called the past year a 'year of journalistic miracles' and the ' most important year since World War II'  for journalism. He described how WikiLeaks has been troubled by the treatment of Manning. Manning was under intense pressure to comply with interrogators. The government was trying to use a 'sledgehammer'  to 'crack a nut.'  But, Manning like all heroes,  apparently did not crack.

"Jesselyn Radack, with the Government Accountability Project, outlined the difference between 'whistleblowing' and 'leaking.'   Valerie Plame’s identity was 'leaked'  whereas Manning’s alleged release of information was 'whistleblowing'  because Manning sought to expose war crimes. Under the Military Whistleblower Protection Act, he would be covered, as it allows for disclosure of war crimes.... Ann Wright, retired colonel and former diplomat stationed at the US Embassy in Afghanistan, expressed her concern with how the military might use their authority over personnel to do a court martial to undercut protections Manning should be afforded." 

10:40  The Atlantic reviews the reactions, including mine,  to the Frontline show.

8:15 Martin Smith doing live chat at PBS Frontline site about last night's program at 1 pm.

8:10  Cables show Pakistani military in training getting schooled in....anti-Americanism.

8:05  WikiLeaks' Iraq War Logs wins 2011 Amnesty International award

7:40  My review of last night's Frontline yawner on WikiLeaks: "No Meat, Just a Goldfish."  And WikiLeaks has posted correspondence between an Assange associate and Frontline producer about the ground rules for his interview -- see very bottom of this page.  My Nation colleague Kevin Gosztola has his own review here.

7:30  The 14 oddly missing Guantanamo files 

12:05 More from the Pakistan Papers: U.S. deeply tracks Pakistan's nuclear weapons program, despite assurances.

12:00  Bradley Manning's friend David House tweets about the Frontline show (see below):  "This year I've been calm despite being stalked, surveilled, bribed, detained, & having my computer seized, car towed, and friends punished....  The first substantive anger I felt throughout these months arose tonight after watching the stridently propagandized @frontlinepbs special....Indignation is the only orienting sense after gawking through the twisted pro-Washington hallucination called WikiSecrets."

From late Tuesday

True to from -- though you wonder why more people don't do this -- WikiLeaks has just "leaked" the full interview conducted by PBS Frontline's Martin Smith with Assange in advance of their show tonight.  Viewers can then judge what was fairly or unfairly discarded.  WikiLeaks states: "In the tape, Assange scolds Martin Smith for his previous coverage of Bradley Manning and addresses a number of issues surrounding the 1917 Espionage Act investigation into WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning.  The Frontline documentary will include footage of a number of individuals who have a collective, and very dirty personal vendetta, against the organization. These include David Leigh, Adrian Lamo, Daniel Domscheit-Berg, Eric Schmitt and Kim Zetter. While the program filmed other sources, such as Vaughan Smith who provided a counter-narrative, these more credible voices have been excluded from the program presented to the US public."

 One year ago this week, Adrian Lamo was in the middle of his five days of "chatting" with Bradley Manning online, and now comes news from Wired.com that he has been summoned to Washington appear before the military prosecutors preparing Manning's courtmartial.   "I’m finally going to meet with the JAG officer to go over the preliminaries for the actual testimony and how they want to play out my role,” Lamo said. “It’s the first time I’ve met with them.”  Wired points out:The meeting is set for June 2nd and 3rd in Washington D.C., and marks the first outward sign that Manning’s court martial case is proceeding apace now that a lengthy inquiry into his mental health has concluded.

New concerns raised in UK  by leading MP, also Index on Censorship official, that Obama's now-famous statement at fundraiser "prejudiced" case against Manning.

  Day 2 of the El Salvador cables.

That pro-Manning billboard we've mentioned before, for D.C. area, now fully funded.

Syndicate content