Quantcast

Greg Mitchell | The Nation

  •  
Greg Mitchell

Greg Mitchell

Media, politics and culture.

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Thursday, Day 138

As I’ve done for more than nineteen 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. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about or order my book The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, or brand-new Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here.

UPDATED:   Go here for Friday edition of this blog.

10:00 Winning designs for WikiLeaks t-shirts revealed!

4:30  Good Wash Post wrapup today on latest controversy surrounding Manning not allowed unmonitored visit by UN prober.

3:45  Wired:  The "Twitter 3" hit back at DOJ move.  Next court hearing April 22.

3:40:   One day only: updated print editions of my 2 WikiLeaks and Manning books on sale for paltry.$7.95!

3:20 It's official, Assange memoir delayed indefinitely.  Was due last week.  Publisher says, pub dates change all the time.   Still listed as April 7 at Amazon.  Assange has had to deal with legal case since signing $1 million deal, plus continuing release of cables. 

1:40  Round-up on what cables show on Israel and Hamas in Gaza via WLCentral

1:20  Lengthy Q & A with Glenn Greenwald coming out of our "standing room only" panel at the big Media Reform conference last weekend. Glenn also talks about "corporate media," the NYT and torture, and his daily reading habits.

1:10  WikiLeaks lays bare the extent of US-Israeli relations | Jewish Chronicle .

12:20  Helena Kennedy in the New Statesman on "conundrum" posed by sex crime case against Assange.   Perhaps wrong choice of headline, with reference to "one size fits all."

11:35 Reuters: Assange privately worried BoA material is "dated and difficult to interpret," despite earlier statements -- supposedly from 2006 and hard to make sense of.  Reuters cites three unnamed sources, hard to say if Assange critics or others who have not spoken out before.

9:30  Sorry, power out here, should resume soon.

8:45  As you may know, New Statesman featured articles on WikiLeaks last week -- including one by Assange.  But only just now is it available online.  Here's the Assange piece.  Takes a couple hits at NYT, then: "In the long view of history, WikiLeaks is part of an honourable tradition that expands the scope of freedom by trying to lay "all the mysteries and secrets of government" before the public. We are, in a sense, a pure expression of what the media should be: an intelligence agency of the people, casting pearls before swine."

4:45  Cables suggest Syria put chemicals weapons on missiles to strike back against Israel after the latter hit Syria's alleged nuclear plant.  Syria did not fire.  And much more here.

12:00  Latest on political turmoil in Israel after cable reveals seemingly racist statement by top politico.  U.S. ambassador now claims he did not hear remarks, even though his name on the cable.

From late Wednesday

The Guardian:  Manning's mother says   in letter to British foreign secretary Hague that British consular officials need to "visit him in military prison to check on his physical and mental health, which she said was deteriorating."   Manning has no British passport but his mom is Welsh and UK recently ruled that he indeed can claim British citizenship.

In interview , Jesse Ventura actually is asked, "Are you the new Julian Assange?"

Rep. Dennis Kucinich at Huff Post on “Kafkaesque” experience in being denied chance to meet with Bradley Manning. Includes: “I was also told that I could be subpoenaed to testify about the contents of my conversation with Pfc. Manning. This is a clear subversion of the constitutionally protected oversight process and it severely undermines the rights of any Member of Congress seeking to gather information on the conditions of a detainee in U.S. custody.”

 My new book, Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences, just published as e-book here and print here. My book The Age of WikiLeaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond) also out in print and e-book. Books are only $9.95 print and $3.99 electronic.

 The German Parliament’s human rights commitee protests treatment of Manning in the brig. Even sends protest letter to Obama.

 Giant controversy in Israel over allegedly “racist” statements by Knesset member. Now US ambassador has stuck up for accused. Latest from Haaretz. Herzog, the figure quoted, already disputes it. But Haaretz followed by publishing full doc.

 

 

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Wednesday, Day 137

As I’ve done for more than nineteen 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. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about or order my book The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, or brand-new Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here.

UPDATED:  Here's the Thursday edition of this blog.

3:55  The Guardian:  Manning's mother says   in letter to British foreign secretary Hague that British consular officials need to "visit him in military prison to check on his physical and mental health, which she said was deteriorating."   Manning has no British passport but his mom is Welsh and UK recently ruled that he indeed can claim British citizenship.

3:45  In interview , Jesse Ventura actually is asked, "Are you the new Julian Assange?"

12:50 Rep. Dennis Kucinich at Huff Post on “Kafkaesque” experience in being denied chance to meet with Bradley Manning. Includes: “I was also told that I could be subpoenaed to testify about the contents of my conversation with Pfc. Manning. This is a clear subversion of the constitutionally protected oversight process and it severely undermines the rights of any Member of Congress seeking to gather information on the conditions of a detainee in U.S. custody.”

 11:40 The German Parliament’s human rights commitee protests treatment of Manning in the brig. Even sends protest letter to Obama.

11:30 Hack In The Box—a presentation on new whistleblower website, OpenLeaks, by Assange critic Daniel Domschiet-Berg.

10:55 A kind of daily auto–Bradley Manning “journal.”

10:30 Giant controversy in Israel over allegedly “racist” statements by Knesset member. Now US ambassador has stuck up for accused. Latest from Haaretz. Herzog, the figure quoted, already disputes it. But Haaretz followed by publishing full doc.

10:00 “Networks of Power, Degrees of Freedom”—new paper by Yochai Benkler

9:00 Assange praises use of cables by the Hindu—huge impact in India.

7:40 Latest from Haaretz and “Israel Files.” And a figure quoted already disputes it.

7:30 My new book, Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences, just published as e-book here and print here. My book The Age of WikiLeaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond) also out in print and e-book. Books are only $9.95 print and $3.99 electronic.

3:30 Inside look by New Zealand writer who helped in release of cables last year. A “geek vs. geek” battle as he helped fight off hack attack. Claims more blockbuster stuff in cables still not released.

12:05 I covered reports on the Berkeley panel over the weekend with Bill Keller, live, battling with Assange, via remote, and now here’s good report from SF Weekly. Again, I must point out Keller trying to claim that the NYT merely gave State Dept. and others a chance to respond to cables, which is journo style, when in reality the paper actually showed all of the cables to the officials, and killed or changed stories afterward.

12:00 P.J. Crowley, ousted over Manning protest, now tweets: “The Defense Department, playing by its own rules, declines the #UNSpecialRapporteur an interview with an American in custody in #Quantico.”

From late Tuesday

Attendee at that Assange “debate” in London over the weekend hits the Guardian’s coverage of it.

Bradley Manning climbs from 26th to 8th in Time mag’s “most-influential” poll—between Hitchens and Lady Gaga!

My colleague Kevin Gosztola interviews Marcy Wheeler about Pentagon leaks after Manning. Why did they wait so long to take action to close gaps? Thumb drives, infection, Lady Gaga, hearings.

Part II of lengthy Assange interview with the Hindu, which has been breaking WikiLeaks stories for two weeks. Closes by thanking Indians for “speaking better English than the English.” Earlier: “Most of the early reporting on cables that have released, by our media partners and others, is what I call cable reporting. It is to read a cable, to pick out a few quotes, to say who the principal characters are, and then to publish that story. It is not cable journalism. Cable journalism is to read the cables, correlate them with other cables, with interviews of people, with archive searches, with record searches, and investigate the whole situation. And produce something that is more complex, describes a more complex situation. It takes longer but ultimately is the only way to really get at complex situations or situations that occur multiple times in the cable history.“

Jacob Appelbaum, WikiLeaks supporter (and one targeted by DOJ for Twitter info), detained yet again at an airport, denied lawyer, and he live-tweeted it. “So of course, I was held until nearly the exact time of my flight departure and then let go with the expectation of sleeping in Houston.” All tweets here.

My piece: One year ago tonight: the epic confrontation—Stephen Colbert and Julian Assange.

One Year Ago Tonight: Stephen Colbert vs. Julian Assange

Last week marked the first anniversary of the day WikiLeaks started to become a household name in America—with its release of the “Collateral Murder” video that showed a US Apache helicopter crew firing on and killing Iraqi civilians, including two Reuters staffers, along with possible insurgents. Private Bradley Manning has been accused of leaking the video.

Exactly one week later, on April 12, Stephen Colbert hosted on his Colbert Report the then little-known (in America) Julian Assange. This came long before the release of the Afghan and Iraq “war logs” and “Cablegate” revelations, and sex crime charges would land Assange in trouble in Sweden. The uncharacteristically hostile (off and on) Colbert interview is worth a revisit now. It’s drawn from my new book and e-book, The Age of WikiLeaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond).

During this first week of publicity for WikiLeaks after the release of the “Collateral Murder” video, most Americans had only met Assange in brief snippets on the nightly news or on one of the cable programs, if they were really paying attention. For a few million people (via its original airing and then on the web), a more revealing and intense introduction came from an unusual platform: Comedy Central’s Colbert Report. On April 12, Assange appeared for the trademark, show-closing interview with its host.

Sitting across from Assange, who was wearing a light-colored, open-necked shirt and his usual brown blazer, Colbert goofed around for a minute, his own face pixilated and voice modified to protect against a drone attack. (Some reports in the media suggested, with little evidence, that the United States was conducting a manhunt for Assange and seeking to detain him.) When that charade ended, he gave his guest a chance to explain US constitutional guarantees on freedom of speech and the press and the need for “the flow of information.”

Maintaining a light manner, Colbert said, “If we don’t know what the government is doing, we can’t be sad about it. Why are you trying to make me sad?” This produced a boyish grin from Assange. “You are trying to bum us out about the world. All of these terrible things are going on behind closed doors and you decided I needed to hear about it.”

“That’s just an interim state, Stephen, you’ll be happier about it later on,” Assange said, smiling again.

So far, a typical Colbert interview segment. But now Colbert got serious. “Let’s talk about this footage that has gotten you so much attention recently,” he said. “This is footage of an Apache helicopter attack in 2007. The army described this as a group that gave resistance during the fight, and that doesn’t seem to be happening. But there are armed men in the group, they did find a rocket-propelled grenade among the group, the Reuters photographers who were regrettably killed were not identified as photographers. And you have edited this tape, and you have given it a title called ‘Collateral Murder’. That’s not leaking, that’s a pure editorial.”

Assange, no smile this time, explained, “the promise we make to our sources is that…we will attempt to get the maximum political impact for the materials they give to us.”

“So ‘Collateral Murder’ is to get it political impact?”

“Absolutely. Our promise to the public is that we will release the full source material.… it’s there for them to analyze and assess.”

“Actually I admire that,” Colbert said. “I admire someone who is willing to put ‘Collateral Murder’ on the first thing people see knowing that they probably won’t look at the rest of it.”

Assange grinned again, but Colbert continued: “That way you have manipulated the audience into the emotional state you want before something goes on the air. That is an emotional manipulation…. That’s journalism I can get behind,” he added, obviously tongue-in-cheek.

“That’s true,” Assange replied, “only one in ten people did actually look at the full footage.”

“So 90 percent of the people accept the definition of collateral murder?”

“Yes.”

“Congratulations.”

“Thank you.”

“Do you believe it was collateral murder?”

“Yes.”

“You do? Did you get to make that call?”

“Yes. That was our call.”

“Really?” Turning to the audience, Colbert announced, “I want the Pentagon to know he is actually not in my studio right now.” After laughs from the crowd, Stephen returned on point: “How can you call that collateral murder?” Then hitting an uncharacteristic low blow, Colbert asked, “What branch of the service did you serve in, sir? Huh?”

Assange pointed out, “Well, I’m an Australian, actually.”

“You guys don’t fight down there? How can you call it collateral murder? I watched the entire thing, I’m one of that 10 percent. And you did not reveal there was a firefight that had gone on nearby.”

“Because that’s a lie.”

Colbert, caught off guard, paused, then replied, “That’s a lie?”

“We have records that showed all that there was, twenty-eight minutes before, was a report of small arms fire, the person involved and location not identified.”

“What were these men doing in the streets, uh, carrying rifles and rocket-propelled grenades?”

Assange said “it appears that possibly” one man was carrying an AK-47 and one carrying an RPG, “although we’re not 100 percent sure of that…. However, the permission to engage was given before the word ‘RPG’ was ever used and before the Reuters cameraman ever pulled up his camera.”

Colbert backed off and returned to witticisms. “What is the purpose of letting the public know—it’s as if you’re saying it is better to know than not to know. Have you not heard the expression, ignorance is bliss?”

“All too frequently,” Assange said with a laugh and perfect timing.

Sensing the news value of the interview, Colbert’s people put the entire unedited segment online, at more than eleven minutes. As it turned out, there were a few choice moments rescued from the cutting room floor. Assange disclosed that twenty minutes were already missing from the middle of the video when WikiLeaks received the tape.

Then there was this exchange:

Colbert: “War is war. I haven’t fought in a war therefore I don’t judge it. How can you judge it?”

“You can make the justification that, well, a lot of bad things happen in war, but what is war?” Assange replied. “Well, this is what it is.”

When his guest said he’d sent people to Baghdad to notify victims’ families about the video, Colbert asked about the soldiers in the helicopters. Does Assange think only civilians are harmed by war?

Assange replied rather eloquently: “Soldiers are debased in war, and this is one thing this video shows, that the character of these young soldiers in the air has been corrupted by the process of war. We should have some sympathy for these soldiers who go to war, but understand that it is an inevitable outcome in sending them, and stop sending them.”

Mitchell’s WikiLeaks book is available in print here and as e-book here. His new book “Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences” now out in print and e-book.

From Collateral Mur…

By GREG MITCHELL

 

 

Like this Blog Post? Read it on the Nation’s free iPhone App, NationNow.

 

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Tuesday, Day 136

As I’ve done for more than 19 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. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about or order my book The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, or brand-new Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here.

UPDATE:  Here's the Wednesday edition of this blog.

9:45 Attendee at that Assange "debate" in London over the weekend hits The Guardian's coverage of it.

7:50  Bradley Manning climbs from 26th to 8th in Time mag's "most influential poll" -- between Hitchens and Lady Gaga! 

6:05  My colleague Kevin Gosztola interviews Marcy Wheeler about Pentagon leaks after Manning.  Why did they wait so long to take action to close gaps?   Thumb drives, infection, Lady Gaga, hearings.

5:00 Part II of lengthy Assange interview with The Hindu, which has been breaking WikiLeaks stories for 2 weeks.  Closes by thanking Indians for "speaking better English than the English."  Earlier:  "Most of the early reporting on cables that have released, by our media partners and others, is what I call cable reporting. It is to read a cable, to pick out a few quotes, to say who the principal characters are, and then to publish that story. It is not cable journalism. Cable journalism is to read the cables, correlate them with other cables, with interviews of people, with archive searches, with record searches, and investigate the whole situation. And produce something that is more complex, describes a more complex situation. It takes longer but ultimately is the only way to really get at complex situations or situations that occur multiple times in the cable history."

1:10 I noted yesterday, but here again, FDL campaign   "Stop the Secrecy: Join Our Call for Official Visits to Bradley Manning" 

11:10  Jacob Appelbaum, WikiLeaks supporter (and one targeted by DOJ for Twitter info), detained yet again at an airport, denied lawyer, and he live-tweeted it.   "So of course, I was held until nearly the exact time of my flight departure and then let go with the expectation of sleeping in Houston."  All tweets here.

11:05  Folks, they've just now launched special one-day sale on my "Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences" e-book -- just 99 cents for all electronic editions, Kindle, phones, iPad, PC, etc.  Also in print here.

11:o0 Latest from the "Israel Files":  Bahrain made contact with the Mossad.

9:45  My pieceOne year ago tonight: the epic confrontation -- Stephen Colbert and Julian Assange. 

9:35 Gaddafi's nurse, made famous in a cable, speaks out at Daily Beast:  No harem, the only time they touched him was to take his blood pressure.

9:30  WikiLeaks inspires Atari Teenage Riot song 'Digital Decay' 

9:20  Update from Politico on State Dept pressed by AP and Reuters reporters on UN rep denied visit with Bradley Manning.   The military says it will allow visit only if fully monitored--and any statements by Mannning used against him in court.  Excerpt:    "It seems to me that the only person who was forthright in discussions of his treatment resigned several days after making those comments," Lee said.

8:35  Radio interview with NYT's Scott Shane on how the paper quit its partnership with WikiLeaks but keeps reporting on big changes it has sparked abroad.

8:30  Assange interview in leading India paper that has been breaking cable stories for two weeks now,  The Hindu.  Defends veracity of cables under attack by gov't there.

8:20  Photos of a Bradley Manning Solidarity Bike Ride in Pittsburgh.

From late Monday

The Guardian covers UN rep's protest over not getting allowed to see Manning (see my links below), and Glenn Greenwald notes: "It's quite telling how one has to go to a British newspaper to read about U.S. abuse of a U.S. servicemember."

Full report on the 'Israel File."  Much more to come from Haaretz.

Excellent report on our WikiLeaks panel this past weekend with Glenn Greenwald, Amy Goodman, Micah Sifry, Emily Bell, yours truly, plus video of Glenn and Amy.

1:00  (AP)  " A U.N. torture investigator says he is frustrated at being denied an unmonitored visit to a U.S. Army private suspected of giving classified material to WikiLeaks.  Juan Mendez says the U.S. government "has not been receptive to a confidential meeting" with Pfc. Bradley Manning.

"Mendez said in a statement Monday that a monitored conversation would be counter to the practice of his U.N. mandate. Officials at the U.S. mission in Geneva said they weren't immediately able to comment.  Manning is being held in solitary confinement in Quantico, Virginia, for all but an hour every day." UPDATE:  Fire Dog Lake launching protest drive, petition, about all of this, plus similar refusal to let Rep. Kucinich visit.

My book The Age of WikiLeaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond) out in print and e-book. Books are only $9.95 print and $3.99 electronic.

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Monday, Day 135

As I’ve done for more than 19 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. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about or order my book The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, or brand-new Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here.

UPDATE:  Go to Tuesday edition of this blog here.

5:20  The Guardian covers UN rep's protest over not getting allowed to see Manning (see my links below), and Glenn Greenwald notes: "It's quite telling how one has to go to a British newspaper to read about U.S. abuse of a U.S. servicemember: http://is.gd/AZhzPN ."

3:20  Folks, they've just now launched special one-day sale on my "Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences" e-book -- just 99 cents for all electronic editions, Kindle, phones, iPad, PC, etc. 

2:05  Update to below: UN guy now says he would "reluctantly" agree to a "monitored" visit with Manning although demands unmonitored.

1:00  (AP)  " A U.N. torture investigator says he is frustrated at being denied an unmonitored visit to a U.S. Army private suspected of giving classified material to WikiLeaks.  Juan Mendez says the U.S. government "has not been receptive to a confidential meeting" with Pfc. Bradley Manning.

"Mendez said in a statement Monday that a monitored conversation would be counter to the practice of his U.N. mandate. Officials at the U.S. mission in Geneva said they weren't immediately able to comment.  Manning is being held in solitary confinement in Quantico, Virginia, for all but an hour every day." UPDATE:  Fire Dog Lake launching protest drive, petition, about all of this, plus similar refusal to let Rep. Kucinich visit.

 

12:20  Revealing the dangers of relying on formerly "secret" documents as gospel: Media taken in by FBI doc that is based on  60-year-old UFO crash hoax.  Interesting reading about the twisting and twisted trail.  "Several news outlets have repotted the memo as "proof" that the government knew about crashes of alien spacecraft in Roswell. But not only does the memo say no such thing, it isn't even connected to the town of Roswell."  (h/t Kevin Gosztola)

11:45 My colleague Kevin Gosztola files report on WikiLeaks issues raised at the National Conference for Media Reform -- not our panel, but related concerns, wide-ranging.

11:30 My new book, Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences, just published as e-book here and print here. E-book also means phones, iPad, PC reading, etc.  My book The Age of WikiLeaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond) also out in print and e-book. Books are only $9.95 print and $3.99 electronic.

10:45  Not earth shaking at all but shows the reach: First cable on Malta published and The Times of Malta covers it as big deal.  Involves China.

9:50  As voting nears it end this week in annual TIME mag "most influential" poll, Julian Assange remains at #9 and Bradley Manning has gained three spots since yesterday, to #26.    The top three, to give you some perspective, remain Rain, Jay Chou and Susan Boyle.  Christopher Hitchens does come in #7.   Ron Paul is #10.  Somehow Manning tops Stewart and Colbert, even as a tandem they can do no better than #29.    Manning also tops Obama, Hillary, and Steve Jobs....

9:45 We've covered this for a few days but now it's gained such prominence that even Politico is looking at it:  the protest letter signed by over 250 academics and scholars re: brig conditions for Bradley Manning. And Glenn Greenwald with new column here, with special mention of Obama being singled out, a huge embarrassment coming from Laurence Tribe and others.

9:25  We've covered the debate in several posts (see below) but now the New Statesman, a sponsor, has posted the full video of Assange speaking (11 minutes) .  But responses to him also worth checking out.

9:20  AP:  New cables show politicians and the military are actually the chief culprits in oil thefts in Nigeria-- not the militants.

8:30  Ouch: China hits back at complaints about its human rights record by citing U.S. going after WikiLeaks and haltign "free flow" of info.    Not sure what this means, but it also said  Washington "wants to practice diplomacy by other means, including the Internet, particularly the social networks."

8:20  Lengthy interview with Assange in Australia, with video and transcript.  Among much else, he again responds to Guardian claim that he said informants may deserve to die:   "No, and we are suing them for libel  and we have witnesses to show that is a libellous claim, and is an ongoing dispute, so there's a lot of vitriol in the top end of the news business and a lot of back-stabbing, and unfortunately we happen to be on the receiving end of it from this individual." "So you're saying that that statement was completely fabricated?"  "It is completely fabricated."  He also challenges view that WikiLeaks is "polariziing," claiming it is far more popular than not.

8:00  Ha, now he's really made the big time.  Special issue of Benetton's "Colors" magazine will feature "super heroes" from around the world,  and Assange made the cut.

12:05 Full report on new cables on Yemen from Yemen news outlet, including warning from 2009 that current gov't in trouble, Yemen as new main base for al-Qaeda, and much more.

12:00 If you missed DOJ defending its Twitter probe for info and calling "absurd" concerns about privacy and free speech.

Late Sunday

Haaretz with another "Israel Files" Wikileaks exclusive: "We're doomed if Hamas takes power."  And a columnist there:   "A reading of the so-called Israel file found among the WikiLeaks documents reveals the stuff of which Israel's 'leadership' is made. To sum it up, an Israeli leader apparently carries two basic genes: one of aggression and one of charlatanism." And guess who is the "king of charlatans"? 

@WikiLeaks tweets:  "15 day backlog cleared: hundreds of new cables released: http://wikileaks.ch/cablegate.html ."

I noted the "Open Letter" a few days ago -- academics protesting treatment of Bradley Manning -- but Ed Pilkington on it today at The Guardian.  Robert Reich a new signee, joining Laurence Tribe, 250 others.

New Statesman just posted Part II of its report on debate it sponsored in London last night with Assange and critics on whistleblowing.  (See part I below.)  Wild affair, with charges back and forth and audience participation.  "If anyone had feared that interest levels would drop after Julian Assange finished his speech, they were about to be proved wrong. The debate got more heated as the evening progressed."

TIME magazine's "100 Most Influential" poll (largely a popularity contest) still finds Assange in #9 slot but big surprise is Bradley Manning jumping up to #29.

New Statesman posts first half of its report, photos, video on last night's big debate in London featuring Assange.  "In a catchy turn of phrase, he spoke of the 'original sin of censorship'. Could a leaker have prevented the Vietnam war? If David Kelly had not just spoken to Andrew Gilligan, but more widely, could the 'dodgy dossier' have been exposed in time to prevent the Iraq war? He then argued that whistleblowers prevented an attack on Iran in 2007." 

Excellent summary of our WikiLeaks panel at Media Reform conf, with Greenwald, Amy Goodman, Sifry, Emily Bell, yours truly, plus video of Glenn G.    By the way, hundreds there, standing room only, good to see interest and reaction.

 

The WikiLeaks News & View Blog—Special Weekend Edition!

As I’ve done for more than 19 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. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about or order my book The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, or brand-new Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here.

UPDATED:  Go here for Monday blog.

SUNDAY *

7:35  Haaretz with another "Israel Files" Wikileaks exclusive: "We're doomed if Hamas takes power."  And a columnist there:   "A reading of the so-called Israel file found among the WikiLeaks documents reveals the stuff of which Israel's 'leadership' is made. To sum it up, an Israeli leader apparently carries two basic genes: one of aggression and one of charlatanism." And guess who is the "king of charlatans"? 

7:25 @WikiLeaks tweets:  "15 day backlog cleared: hundreds of new cables released: http://wikileaks.ch/cablegate.html ."

7:20  Another, perhaps more complete, video of Assange defending whistleblowing at hot debate last night.

3:20   I noted the "Open Letter" a few days ago -- academics protesting treatment of Bradley Manning -- but Ed Pilkington on it today at The Guardian.  Robert Reich a new signee, joining Laurence Tribe, 250 others.

12:00 New Statesman just posted Part II of its report on debate it sponsored in London last night with Assange and critics on whistleblowing.  (See part I below.)  Wild affair, with charges back and forth and audience participation.  "If anyone had feared that interest levels would drop after Julian Assange finished his speech, they were about to be proved wrong. The debate got more heated as the evening progressed."

11:00 TIME magazine's "100 Most Influential" poll (largely a popularity contest) still finds Assange in #9 slot but big surprise is Bradley Manning jumping up to #29.

10:45  New Statesman posts first half of its report, photos, video on last night's big debate in London featuring Assange.  "In a catchy turn of phrase, he spoke of the 'original sin of censorship'. Could a leaker have prevented the Vietnam war? If David Kelly had not just spoken to Andrew Gilligan, but more widely, could the 'dodgy dossier' have been exposed in time to prevent the Iraq war? He then argued that whistleblowers prevented an attack on Iran in 2007." 

10:35  Excellent summary of our WikiLeaks panel at Media Reform conf, with Greenwald, Amy Goodman, Sifry, Emily Bell, yours truly, plus video of Glenn G.    By the way, hundreds there, standing room only, good to see interest and reaction.

8:40  My new book, Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences, just published as e-book here and print here. E-book also means phones, iPad, PC reading, etc.  My book The Age of WikiLeaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond) also out in print and e-book. Books are only $9.95 print and $3.99 electronic.

* SATURDAY *

10:30 Big piece out of Israel tonight, via Haaretz which is (finally) publishing cables re Israel. Now: cables from 2005 showed that, contrary to wide belief, Israelis were ruling out attack on Iranian nukes. “Levite said that most Israeli officials do not believe a military solution is possible,” the telegram ran.

9:40 Now they’ve posted three short videos of Assange addressing panelists at big Berkeley forum (see below) on WikiLeaks (with Bill Keller still criticiziing him). Larry Wright of The New Yorker asks from the audience, “What’s in the fourth packet?” A. “We don’t talk about our forthcoming publications.”

8:40 Haaretz on its publication of cables yesterday as “Israel Files” released—they exposed “doublespeak.” Much more to come.

8:20 Some fireworks at annual symposium on investigative reporting in Berkeley (Lowell Bergman a honcho), since one panel featured NYT exec editor Bill Keller and they had Assange coming in via Skype. Keller defended his attacks on Assange by, hopelessly, stating that he was just going on what his sources (that his, his staffers) told him. At some point today he attacked Assange for claiming that US press not much interested in abroad. Assange hit the Times for claiming they did not have a “collaboration” (perhaps to avoid legal trouble). Keller denies it and then downplays the extent of the Times sharing cables with the government before publishing (he did much more than discuss what was in them, as they says here). Someone asks Keller why he called Assange smelly—“is that any way to treat a source?” And so on

6:15 Esther Addley of the Guardian out with first report on Julian Assange taking part in first debate for first time in months today, in London. New Statesman, a sponsor, with “live [blog] replay” here. Assange says WikiLeaks more accountable than governments, but his opponent charges that he is unelected so where does he get off? The Guardian story is weak, however, with few notable quotes (he only spoke forseven minutes) and too much on Assange claims of suing the Guardian, criticism of him for that, and seeking comment from his lawyer and spokesman on the same subject.  Assange himself had to leave early due to conditions of his bail release.

6:10 At Media Reform conference today I saw the hot upcoming doc, which debuted at Sundance, Page One, on NYT battling the revenue hits and digital threat. Stars the always-welcome David Carr (left), with Brian Stelter, Tim Arango and several comments from our own Katrina. Got a good reception. Features a good deal on WikiLeaks—inside the newsroom as they decided how to cover WikiLeaks, first with the “Collateral Murder” video as it broke and then the Afghanistan war logs. Some revealing attitudes.

5:55 Howdy folks, just back home after drive from Boston and two full days the National Conference for Media Reform. They’ve posted the video of our WikiLeaks panel yesterday (played in an SRO crowd in large hall) with Glenn Greenwald, Emily Bell, Amy Goodman, Micah Sifry and yours truly—it starts at out 7:00 mark. Good wrapup by our colleague Kevin Gosztola. The Nation will have its own version by Monday, along with interviews with me and others. I also did a book(s) signing, and “The Age of WikiLeaks” sold out and I had to hand over some personal copies. Bradley Manning may be sold out by now. Thanks to all who bought or just visited!

5:50 My new book, Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences, just published as e-book here and print here. Remember, e-book also means phones, iPad, PC reading, etc. My book The Age of WikiLeaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond) also out in print and e-book. Books are only $9.95 print and $3.99 electronic.

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Friday, Day 132

Folks, we'll be taking a bit of a WikiLeaks break on Friday, at least here at the blog. In the non-virtual world, I am appearing Friday at 11 am on a WikiLeaks panel at the National Conference for Media Reform in Boston, along with Glenn Greenwald, Emily Bell, Amy Goodman and Micah Sifry. Check the conference site for possible live-streaming or audio or whatever. I will also be doing a signing for my books "The Age of WikiLeaks" and "Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences," at 3:45 at the conference (with Bernie Sanders at the same time).

Chances are I will do some tweeting but not blogging the usual hourly updates (partly due to weak computer connection in hotel). Also check live tweet feed from my colleague Kevin Gosztola, @kgosztola. He'll be on top of things.

From late Thursday

Bradley Manning’s attorney David Coombs just posted at blog: Rep. Kucinich, Amnesty Int’l and UN reps denied visits to Manning, as Quantico brig ignores “own rules,” he charges.

My new piece here: “Dan Ellsberg and Saving Private Manning.” And from SF Chronicle more Ellsberg here. He turns 80 today.

Open letter backing WikiLeaks “right to publish” signed by notables such as Noam Chomsky, Susan Sarandon, Tom Stoppard, Oliver Stone, Mike Leigh, Michael Moore, Richard Eyre, Patrick Cockburn, Dan Ellsberg, many more.

We noted (below) that we’re finally getting more cables from Israel, with controversy already, and Haaretz has another major one today. ”Peace Now has urged the US to pressure Israel into evacuating West Bank outposts, according to an American diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, adding that the group regularly updated both Washington and the Defense Ministry on ongoing settlement construction.”

My new book, Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences, just published as e-book here and print here. Remember, e-book nowadays also means phones, iPad, PC reading, etc. My book The Age of WikiLeaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond) also out in print and e-book. Books are only $9.95 print and $3.99 electronic.

That New Statesman guest-edited by Jemima Khan now out, with piece by Assange. Also, Hugh Grant.

From Esther Addley of the Guardian via Twitter: “To those expecting Julian #Assange autobiography today (incl Amazon—publishers some time ago pushed back pub date.” She says at least six weeks delay.

 

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Thursday, Day 131

As I’ve done for more than eighteen 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. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about or order my book The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book, or brand-new Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here.

11:40 Bradley Manning’s attorney David Coombs just posted at blog: Rep. Kucinich, Amnesty Int’l and UN reps denied visits to Manning, as Quantico brig ignores “own rules,” he charges.

11:15 Folks, I am exiting now for Boston and the big National Media Reform Conference. Info on my WikiLeaks panel on Friday w/ Greenwald, Sifry, Emily Bell, Amy Goodman, more. Perhaps it will be streamed? Also doing book(s) signing there at 3:45 Friday along with, at that same time, Bernie Sanders!

11:05 My new piece here: “Dan Ellsberg and Saving Private Manning.” And from SF Chronicle more Ellsberg here. He turns 80 today.

11:00 Birgitta Jonsdottir: when to stay quiet and when to speak up.

9:45 Open letter backing WikiLeaks “right to publish” signed by notables such as Noam Chomsky, Susan Sarandon, Tom Stoppard, Oliver Stone, Mike Leigh, Michael Moore, Richard Eyre, Patrick Cockburn, Dan Ellsberg, many more.

8:35 We noted (below) that we’re finally getting more cables from Israel, with controversy already, and Haaretz has another major one today. ”Peace Now has urged the U.S. to pressure Israel into evacuating West Bank outposts, according to an American diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks, adding that the group regularly updated both Washington and the Defense Ministry on ongoing settlement construction.”

8:15 My new book, Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences, just published as e-book here and print here. Remember, e-book nowadays also means phones, iPad, PC reading, etc. My book The Age of WikiLeaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond) also out in print and e-book. Books are only $9.95 print and $3.99 electronic.

8:10 That New Statesman guest-edited by Jemima Khan now out, with piece by Assange. Also, Hugh Grant.

7:40 From Esther Addley of the Guardian via Twitter: “To those expecting Julian #Assange autobiography today (incl Amazon—publishers some time ago pushed back pub date.” She says at least six weeks delay.

7:30 Interview with Andrew Fowler, author of new Assange book.

12:05 Well-known journalist and Assange backer John Pilger has produced a new film for TV questioning embedded reporting in Afghan and Iraq, and includes interview with Dan Rather and… Assange.

From late Wednesday

Are we finally going to get more WikiLeaks cables on Israel? Haaretz with new story on cable suggesting some Israeli settlers on West Bank said they’d move back to Israel if received financial compensation. And more here.

A rally in support of Manning and WikiLeaks tomorrow at City Hall in NYC, organized in part by Barrett Brown, sometimes described as an “Anonymous spokesman.” Other events this week.

Very good piece at Foreign Polcy by Charles Homans on US finally throwing Saleh “under the bus” in Yemen—despite or because of many revelations and demands from WikiLeaks cables, going back to the first day of release. “But in general there’s a uniquely sardonic tone to the 31 Sanaa embassy cables released so far.”

Julian Assange won’t be extradited to Sweden any time soon. Date for his appeal to start finally set—for July.

 

Dan Ellsberg and 'Saving Private Manning'

After many months in the shadows, Pvt. Bradley Manning, who sits in the brig at the Quantico base in Virginia in near-solitary confinement, has recently drawn some high-level defenders, from Hillary Clinton’s former chief spokesman at the State Department to editors at the New York Times and the Guardian. But none of them stand by Manning for his alleged crimes—he’s accused of leaking a massive number of classified documents to WikiLeaks—but instead protest the conditions of his harsh confinement.

One person, however, has spoken up for Manning for his actual (alleged) actions as a whistleblower ever since his arrest last May. That would be Daniel Ellsberg, the man who leaked the Pentagon Papers four decades ago. He was even arrested twice in two days last month as part of his pro-Manning activism.

I’ve known Ellsberg pretty well for almost thirty years (and he turns 80 tomorrow), so this doesn’t surprise me one bit. But I’ll let Dan explain. Here are a few excerpts from my new book, Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences, charting Ellsberg’s support for Manning during the past month or so.
*

When new charges against Bradley Manning were announced by the military on March 2, 2011, one that stuck out was the claim that he had passed classified information to “the enemy.” The “aiding the enemy” charge was terribly serious but “the enemy” was not identified. It might have been terrorists, insurgents, the left-wing media or Julian Assange. But this much was known: It could carry the ultimate penalty of execution. The military suggested that it would not seek the death penalty, but this would not stop a judge from overruling the Army.

Daniel Ellsberg said he was struck by the thought that Manning could be the first American to be executed for giving information to Americans since Nathan Hale. And he recalled that Nathan Hale said, “I regret that I have but one life to give,” comparing him to Manning who in the chat logs with Adrian Lamo (the convicted hacker who turned him in) indicated he was prepared to go to jail for life or be executed.

And the logs, Ellsberg noted, indicate that Manning had no intention of aiding any enemy. Rather, he believed that he would be promoting discussion on issues that were being kept secret.

About ten days later, P.J. Crowley, the State Department spokesman, spoke out against how the military was mistreating Manning in the brig, and when that caused controversy, he quit under pressure. Asked at a press conference to comment, President Obama revealed that he had talked to Pentagon officials about this, and they assured him Manning was being treated like others and there was no reason for concern.

Ellsberg, never known for his speed-writing, managed to get a response up at the Guardian by the end of the afternoon. “President Obama tells us,” he observed, “that he’s asked the Pentagon whether the conditions of confinement of Bradley Manning, the soldier charged with leaking state secrets, ‘are appropriate and are meeting our basic standards. They assure me that they are.’

“If Obama believes that, he’ll believe anything. I would hope he would know better than to ask the perpetrators whether they’ve been behaving appropriately. I can just hear President Nixon saying to a press conference the same thing: ‘I was assured by the White House Plumbers that their burglary of the office of Daniel Ellsberg’s doctor in Los Angeles was appropriate and met basic standards.’

“But if President Obama really doesn’t yet know the actual conditions of Manning’s detention ….then he’s being lied to, and he needs to get a grip on his administration…. If he does know, and agrees that it’s appropriate or even legal, that doesn’t speak well for his memory of the courses he taught on constitutional law….

“The fact that Manning’s abusive mistreatment is going on at Quantico—where I spent nine months as a Marine officer in basic school—and that Marines are lying about it, makes me feel ashamed for the Corps. Just three years as an infantry officer was more than enough time for me to know that what is going on there is illegal behavior that must be stopped and disciplined.”

A few days later, Ellsberg would appear on Democracy Now! “The conditions under which Manning is being held clearly violate the Eighth Amendment of the Constitution against cruel and unusual punishment—even for someone being punished, having been convicted,” he said. “This is something that is likely to drive a person mad, and may be the intent of what’s going on here.”

Then he made an important point often overlooked: “The WikiLeaks revelations that Manning is charged with having revealed, having to do with Iraq, show that in fact the US military in which Manning was a part, turns over suspect to the Iraqis with the knowledge that they will be and are being tortured. Turning these suspects over, with that knowledge, is a clear violation of our own laws and of international law. It makes us as much culpable for the torture as if we were doing it ourselves.

“Moreover, the Wikileaks logs show, the order is given: ‘Do not investigate further.’ That’s an illegal order, which our president could change and should change and must change with one call.

“Reportedly, Manning was very strongly motivated, at one point, to try to change this situation, because he was involved in it actively, and knew that it was wrong. He found that it was not being investigated within the government and was not being dealt with at all. That’s a big difference between the Pentagon Papers and the Wikileaks logs. The former were higher level things which didn’t reveal field-level war crimes. The Wikileaks actually do.”

Then, on March 19, Ellsberg was arrested with dozens of others outside the White House in a civil disobedience action in support of Bradley Manning, a prelude to pro-Manning rallies held in dozens of cities around the world the next day. Ellsberg would give a speech that day outside the Quantico base—and get arrested again, with nearly three dozens others.

Interviewed by CNN, Ellsberg said, recalling his own famous leak back in the early 1970s, “I was willing to go to prison. I never thought, for the rest of my life, I would ever hear anyone willing to do that, to risk their life, so that horrible, awful secrets could be known. Then I read those logs and learned Bradley was willing to go to prison. I can’t tell you how much that affected me.”

He added, again looking back forty years: “I was that young man—I was Bradley Manning.”

Mitchell also wrote “The Age of WikiLeaks.” His new book about Manning is available both in print and as an e-book.

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Wednesday, Day 130

As I’ve done for more than eighteen 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. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Read about or order my book The Age of WikiLeaks in print or as an e-book., or brand-new Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences as e-book here and print here

UPDATE:  For Thursday blog, go here.

7:35  Are we finally going to get more WikiLeaks cables on Israel?  Haaretz with new story on cable suggesting some Israeli settlers on West Bank said they'd move back to Israel if received financial compensation.  And more here.

5:00 Info on my WikiLeaks panel at Media Reform conf on Friday w/ Greenwald, Sifry, Emily Bell, Amy Goodman, more.  ALso doing book(s) signing at 3:45 Friday along with, at that time, Bernie Sanders! 

2:15 A rally in support of Manning and WikiLeaks tomorrow at City Hall in NYC, organized in part by Barrett Brown, sometimes described as an “Anonymous spokesman.” Other events this week.

1:25 Very good piece at Foreign Polcy by Charles Homans on US finally throwing Saleh “under the bus” in Yemen—despite or because of many revelations and demands from WikiLeaks cables, going back to the first day of release. “But in general there’s a uniquely sardonic tone to the 31 Sanaa embassy cables released so far”

11:20 First Assange doc to make it to DVD? Won’t be last.

10:30 Panel debate coming up May 4, 6:30 pm, at Columbia University. “Life After WikiLeaks: Who won the information war?” Organized by Index on Censorship.

9:00 Julian Assange won’t be extradited to Sweden any time soon. Date for his appeal to start finally set—for July.

8:25 BBC: The true WikiLeaks threat —“every company has something to hide.”

8:20 More from Guardian editor Alan Rusbridger after winning big award (see below) last night. ” I think there will be more revelations to come and I think lots of papers are going to be developing their own mini versions of WikiLeaks. One thing WikiLeaks has taught us is the importance of working out how to get information securely and publish securely and I think that’s been a valuable lesson for us all.”

8:00 My new book, Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences, just published as e-book here and print here. Remember, e-book nowadays also means phones, iPad, PC reading, etc. My book The Age of WikiLeaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond) also out in print and e-book. Books are only $9.95 print and $3.99 electronic.

7:55 Salon: Karl Rove’s new “WikiLeaks” site shows the right wing doesn’t undertstand journalism at all.

12:05 Info on my WikiLeaks panel at Media Reform conf on Friday w/ Greenwald, Sifry, Emily Bell, Amy Goodman, more. I’ll also be signing copies of my books at 3:45. Come by and say hello.

12:00 Wild Gawker story about top CBS (former ABC) News guy who allegedly snitched on a source to FBI—which he now denies.

From late Tuesday

The Guardian wins top Newspaper of the Year award in UK, partly for WikiLeaks work, and editor Rusbridger goes out of his way in accepting to call on US to (1) rethink how it is going after Assange and Manning and (2) find better way to treat Manning in the brig.

New cables on Libya show Gaddafi son submitted “wish list” of military purchases from US in 2009. It included F-16s that are now pounding the country. Perhaps he was emboldened by visits of McCain and Lieberman and their promises of help.

And the hits keep coming: Ecuador just expelled US ambassador over WikiLeaks leak—“a 2009 diplomatic cable divulged by WikiLeaks in which the envoy accuses Ecuador’s newly retired police chief of corruption and recommends he be stripped of his U.S. visa. Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino announced the expulsion of Ambassador Heather Hodges at a news conference.”

Transcript of UK Parliament debate on Manning (and see below).

As I noted yesterday, Assange friend Jemima Khan is guest-editing this week’s New Statesman and they are just out with the promised “exclusive” article by Assange, with claim that WikiLeaks is the “intelligence agency of the people.” And there’s this: “Assange argues that the New York Times’s hostility to WikiLeaks stems from the newspaper’s illiberal tradition of failing to back organisations or figures which challenge established elites. He highlights the newspaper’s failure to support the American pacifist and anti-war campaigner Eugene Debs, who was imprisoned for ten years for making an anti-war speech in 1918.”

My new piece on Ethan McCord for first anniversary of “Collateral Murder” release—soldier who was there that day, rescued kids, and spoken out since. Info on new film, interview, excerpt from book.

Syndicate content