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The Wikileaks News & Views Blog for Tuesday, Day 129

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:  Check out Wednesday's edition of this blog here.

7:35  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 U.S. to 1) re-think how it is going after Assange and Manning and 2) find better way to treat Manning in the brig.

6:30  New cables on Libya show Gaddafi son submitted "wish list" of military purchases from U.S. 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.

3:45  And the hits keep coming: Ecuador just expelled U.S. 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."

1:30 From @WLLegal: ”Ecuador gives US Ambassador an explusion order over #WikiLeaks cable accusing police chief of corruption http://is.gd/fzAV6K .”

1:00 My colleague Kevin Gosztola notes in e-mail to me: In keeping track of books connected to WikiLeaks story, here’s new book just out by Jesse Ventura on April 4. One excerpt: “The WikiLeaks stuff is going to rank right up there with 9/11 and the murder of Kennedy. They’re using it to curtail our freedom of speech…. Is there any doubt that they’re running a blitz against every one of our civil liberties?”

10:40 Transcript of UK Parliament debate on Manning (and see below).

10:20 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.”

10:15 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. Plus, first excerpt from the book (“From Oklahoma to Baghdad to Prison”) right here.

10:10 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.

8:25 My colleague Kevin Gosztola seems to be ticking off 365 WikiLeaks revelations for the 365th day since the “Collateral Murder” video came out, via twitter @kgosztola and here. Also, don’t miss this piece from nearly a year ago by Iraq vet who was in Bravo company, with key “I was so happy” quote from David FInkel’s book.

8:00 Today marks 1st anniv of when WikiLeaks emerged in USA—with “Collateral Murder” video from Iraq. Here’s my piece.

7:45 We noted below debate in UK Parliament yesterday about treatment of Bradley Manning an renewed claims that he is British citizen. Now comes word that the foreign office there will indeed talk to US about it.

6:35 Julian Assange, who won Time’s poll for Person of Year last year (and then they gave it to some guy named Zuckerberg), slipping a bit but still doing well in the current “most influential” online voting, placing ninth. Rain leads (well, it is April), followed by Gaga, Beyonce, the Fukushima nuke workers and Ron (or is it Rand?) Paul. You can also vote for Bradley Manning. A Kardashian, Kanye West, Sarah Palin, Charlie Sheen and Snooki bring up the rear, so there is hope for American after all.

From late Monday

The Guardian: As promised, Welsh MP pushing defense of Bradley Manning in Parliament (remember, his mom from Wales and he was raised there, partly). Also, renewed claims that Manning, indeed, does hold British citizenship.

Open letter from academics in NY Review of Books protesting “the humiliation of Private Manning.” See link to list of over 250 signers, including Lawrence Tribe, Todd Gitlin, Jack Balkin.

Military tells Wired that Bradley Manning installed “data mining” software on his computers to help extract files. This, supposedly, adds to his legal woes, as it suggests “pre-meditation.” No comment from Manning attorneys. The theory is that the military is attempting to find evidence that someone (e.g., Assange) directed Manning in these actiivites. No evidence so far, apparently.

The Weekly Standard delights in claiming that Bill Keller, in latest column, and right-wing critic now close together on view of publishing national security leaks. “Prosecution is warranted in some circumstances, he acknowledges. This is essentially the argument that Schoenfeld makes in his book.”

My favorite headline so far: “WIKILEAKS: Buddha Calls Cable On Him Distorted.”

When 'The Age of Wikileaks' Began, One Year Ago, With 'Collateral Murder' in Iraq

Tuesday marks exactly one  year since WikiLeaks, which had been around for three years but earned only sporadic notice in America, stirred wide controversy around the world with the release of its Collateral Murder video, which showed the killing of Iraqi civilians, including two Reuters staffers, from U.S. helicopters.    This would be the first of four important leaks from WikiLeaks in the following months—the Iraq and Afghanistan "war logs" and Cablegate, all allegedly passed along by Pvt. Bradley Manning, who still sits in his Quantico cell in near-isolation. 

So let's return to how the Collateral Murder -- and The  Year of WikiLeaks -- came to be.  An excerpt from my new book, Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences. 

* * *

The first hint of what was to come came early in the year, when WikiLeaks at its Twitter feed made a public request for help in decrypting a video it described as “US bomb strikes on civilians.” For some reason, it suggested March 21 as a possible release date.

The organization, however, was scrambling for funds. Julian Assange, 38, had pleaded for donations so he could prepare what he described as hundreds of thousands of pages of documents relating to “corrupt banks, the US detainee system, the Iraq war, China, the UN,” and other topics.” A German foundation reportedly collected about $1 million for the WikiLeaks account, easing the way for a very busy 2010.

Intrigued by WikiLeaks’ activities, New Yorker writer Raffi Khatchadourian had e-mailed Assange, and then chatted with him on the the phone, establishing a certain level of trust. Assange mentioned the video, in somewhat vague terms. The writer knew it would make a splash if released. He’d wanted to write about WikiLeaks anyway and so, with an okay from his editor, he flew off to frigid Reykjavik, Iceland, in late March. Khatchadourian, author of The Kill Company (on Operation Iron Triangle in Iraq) and a profile of Adam Gadahn (an American who joined Al Qaeda), must have seemed to Assange like a good man for this job.

At a newly rented house soon dubbed the “bunker,” Khatchadourian found a team of half a dozen volunteers had joined the tall, silver-haired Assange, and were readying the release of the thirty-eight-minute cockpit video from Iraq, which they labeled Project B. Assange had told the owner of the house they were journalists covering the volcanic eruption then disrupting air travel in Europe. He had chosen Iceland for his secret task after spending time there helping to draft a law with strong free-speech provisions. Some people involved in that fight, including a member of parliament, Birgitta Jonsdottir, now were engaged with Project B.

Also involved was Rop Gonggrijp, a well-known Dutch hacker and businessman, who knew Assange well. As Khatchadourian described it in his lengthy New Yorker report two months later, Gonggrijp “became the unofficial manager and treasurer of Project B, advancing about ten thousand euros to WikiLeaks to finance it.”

The video, on a hard drive in the bunker, was still in the early stages of editing. Assange would not identify his source for the video, Khatchadourian later wrote, saying only that the person was unhappy about the helicopter attack in Iraq.

The writer captured Assange’s describing to his colleagues what was on the video: “In the first phase, you will see an attack that is based upon a mistake, but certainly a very careless mistake. In the second part, the attack is clearly murder, according to the definition of the average man. And in the third part, you will see the killing of innocent civilians in the course of soldiers going after a legitimate target.”

As days passed, Assange worked night and day, editing the footage and scrubbing any elements that might reveal the leaker, while trying to decide if he wanted to release the full video and/or a shorter version, with commentary, that would be more viewer-friendly. The video did not yet have a name. He considered “Permission to Engage” before choosing “Collateral Murder.” The New Yorker writer quoted him telling Gonggrijp, “We want to knock out this ‘collateral damage’ euphemism, and so when anyone uses it they will think, ‘collateral murder.’ ”

Much time was spent analyzing the video for evidence of Iraqi targets carrying rocket propelled grenades or AK-47s. Assange spotted what seemed to be weapons but in most cases it was not conclusive. He had declined to ask military experts for advice, since they were “not terribly cooperative” when he told them it was for a WikiLeaks release.

Breaking the code of secrecy, Assange dispatched two Icelandic reporters to Baghdad to notify the families of those killed or injured in the attack, including the mother of a boy and a girl who had been sitting in a van driven to the scene by their father. Assange wanted to prepare the families for publicity but also to gain some telling details on what happened that day.

Assange made a frank admission to Khatchadourian. Yes, he tried to foster “harm-minimization” to individuals in his work but WikiLeaks could not spend all of its time checking every detail. He was aware that some leaks risked harming the innocent—“collateral damage, if you will”—and that one day WikiLeaks members might get “blood on our hands.“

Finally, Assange finished the edited version, at eighteen minutes, which covered the first two attacks. He also picked an opening quote, from Orwell: “Political language is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give the appearance of solidity to pure wind.” The intro would also include information on the deaths of the two Reuters staffers and the Army’s investigation absolving crew members for that. It handled the delicate issue of guns on the ground by observing that “some of the men appear to have been armed [but] the behavior of nearly everyone was relaxed.”

In the bunker, Assange predicted: “The video shows what modern warfare has become and, I think, after seeing it, whenever people hear about a certain number of casualties that resulted during fighting with close air support, they will understand what is going on. The video also makes clear that civilians are listed as insurgents automatically, unless they are children, and that bystanders who are killed are not even mentioned.”

Truth and Consequences
By GREG MITCHELL
 

 

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The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Monday, Day 128

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: Tuesday edition of this blog.

9:30  The Guardian: As promised, Welsh MP pushing defense of Bradley Manning in Parliament (remember, his mom from Wales and he was raised there, partly). 

7:45 Tomorrow marks 1st anniv of when WikiLeaks emerged in USA--with "Collateral Murder" video from Iraq.   My piece. 

6:40  Open letter from academics in NY Review of Books protesting "the humiliation of Private Manning."   See link to list of over 250 signers, including Lawrence Tribe, Todd Gitlin, Jack Balkin.

5:10  Military tells Wired that Bradley Manning installed "data mining" software on his computers to help extract files.  This, supposedly, adds to his legal woes, as it suggests "pre-meditation."  No comment from Manning attorneys.  The theory is that the military is attempting to find evidence that someone (e.g. Assange) directed Manning in these actiivites.  No evidence so far, apparently.

5:00 Justin Elliot of Salon updates his story (see below) on PJ Crowley's latest views with words that DOJ spokesman tells him no big updates on their WikiLeaks probe but it is still "ongoing" for sure.

4:00  Top Dem, Rep. Silvesstre Reyes,  interviewed on resignation of U.S. ambassador to Mexico:  "Last summer when Wikileaks first came out, my first concern as chair of the Intelligence Committee is that we need to scrub all of those documents to make sure there aren’t going to be cables that identify people that had given us information in Mexico to take out some of the leaders that we’ve been able to take out.  In the process of the staff doing that, we came up with some of the assessments that the ambassador had made – all correct assessments, all issues that any ambassador needs to make to the president, his administration and Secretary (of State Hillary) Clinton. So, he did nothing wrong.

"Everything that was leaked out was correct and factual, but obviously not in the best interest of President Calderón and the things that he is having to manage. He’s got a tough job as it is. So, he lost confidence in the ambassador, and that’s why."

2:15 Weekly Standard delights in claiming that Bill Keller, in latest column, and right-wing critic now close together on view of publishing national security leaks. “Prosecution is warranted in some circumstances, he acknowledges. This is essentially the argument that Schoenfeld makes in his book.”

12:55 My favorite headline so far: “WIKILEAKS: Buddha Calls Cable On Him Distorted.”

12:50 I will be on Michael Signorile’s Sirius show at 4:30 today ET, apparently.

11:25 Assange supporter and society icon/activist Jemina Khan to guest edit issue of New Statesman next week and promises “exclusive” article by Julian.

10:00 Latest from P.J. Crowley via Justin Eliot at Salon. He had been strong advocate of prosecuting Assange and WikiLeaks (remember his tweets). Now says, “It is hard to distinguish what WikiLeaks did from what the New York Times did.” Still, he added, “I do not see WikiLeaks as journalism. It is a source of information.” And said prosecutors should focus on Manning.

9:00 Debate in British Parliament scheduled today on the : “Treatment of Bradley Manning”.

8:30 Interview with WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson in new issue of Iceland Review.

8:25 Why does Sweden really WANT Julian Assange?

8:20 And now a word from our sponsor: 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. Plus, first excerpt from the book (“From Oklahoma to Baghdad to Prison”) right here.

8:00 Assange awarded title “Honorary Guide to Humanity” by Raelian UFO Cult -

12:00 We covered last week but now NYT is on the story of Rove group doing a WikiLeaks number on Obama. It’s the Crossroaders with “Wikicountability.org, a collaborative website intended to create a database of freedom of information requests that scrutinize the actions of the Obama administration.” Crossroads prez says of Wikileaks, “Amid all of this bad behavior, there is a certain genius going on there.”

* From Late Sunday *

What, bringing down the Mets wasn’t enough for him? Brief Boston Globe hit on the, guess what, Bernie Madoff–Gaddafi connection. “One of the more intriguing near-misses involved Ponzi schemer Bernie Madoff, who, according to a 2010 State Department cable released by WikiLeaks, made a business proposition to Moammar Khadafy and his sons. When the Khadafys rebuffed Madoff, the world was denied an epic face-off between two big-time thieves.”

Love this story and headline: “Paranoia Meter: HBGary’s Plot to Find the Pentagon’s Next WikiLeaker.” And so: “Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that HBGary won’t create a rootkit to record your keystrokes, read your email, and track where you move your mouse.”

Excerpt from new book in Australia on Assange by Andrew Fowler, focusing on his early approaches to Ellsberg: “I didn’t get anything back and then I just put it out of my mind; I just didn’t think it would come to much,” he said. “I get a lot of nutty things, you know, in the mail, one way or another.”

NYT covers Chinese artist/activist Ai Weiwei now detained.

Jack Balkin posted his must-read Hugo Black Lecture at his blog, see lengthy take on WikiLeaks and more.

We noted this interview yesterday but now transcript posted: WLCentral: This Week in #WikiLeaks—Ethan McCord on Anniv. of Release of “Collateral Murder.”

P.J. Crowley, the ex–State Dept. flack who exited after protesting prison conditions for Manning, returns with tweet that repeats his long claim that Manning, in any case, should be harshly treated—by the law. “The #Manning prosecution, done right (his pre-trial treatment included), and improved data security are the proper responses to #Wikileaks.”

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog -- Special Weekend Edition!

As I’ve done for more than seventeen 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

SUNDAY *

UPDATED:  Go here for the Monday edition of this blog.

7:50  Love this story and headline:  "Paranoia  Meter: HBGary's Plot to Find the Pentagon's Next WikiLeaker."   And so:  "Just because you’re paranoid doesn’t mean that HBGary won’t create a rootkit to record your keystrokes, read your email, and track where you move your mouse."

6:40  Excerpt from new book in Australia on Assange by Andrew Fowler, focusing on his early approaches to Ellsberg:  “I didn’t get anything back and then I just put it out of my mind; I just didn’t think it would come to much,” he said. “I get a lot of nutty things, you know, in the mail, one way or another.”

6:30  NYT covers Chinese artist/activist Ai Weiwei now detained. 

6:20 And now a word from our sponsor: 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. Plus, first excerpt from the book (“From Oklahoma to Baghdad to Prison”) right here.

6:00  Jack Balkin posted his must-read Hugo Black Lecture at his blog, see lengthy take on WikiLeaks and more.

1:05  We noted this interview yesterday but now transcript posted:  WLCentral: This Week in #WikiLeaks - Ethan McCord on Anniv. of Release of 'Collateral Murder' 

12:20  PJ Crowley the ex-State Dept flack who exited after protesting prison conditions for Manning, returns with tweet that repeats his long claim that Manning, in any case, should be harshly treated--by the law. "The #Manning prosecution, done right (his pre-trial treatment included), and improved data security are the proper responses to #Wikileaks."

9:55  WikiLeaks fans still raising money for Chicago billboard, nearly made it.

8:10  Iceland seeks to become sanctuary for free speech.

8:05  Don't forget Wikileaks panel coming up this Friday morning at National Media Reform conf in Boston, with yours truly, Glenn Greenwald, Micah Sifry, Emily Bell, Amy Goodman.

8:00  From @AsherWolf tweets articles:  Fess up - or face a future of leaks. Heather Brooke. British Journalism Review March 16, 2011   ... An Emperor Without Clothes: Wikileaks and the Limits of American Power.... Welcome to the Age of Antidiplomacy - IEEE.... Leak and be damned. Nicholas Jones. British Journalism Review March 16, 2011....  Leaks and threats to patient data.... 

SATURDAY  * 

8:15  We mentioned earlier great showdown debate in Norway between two leading Assange critics at The Guardian, Nick Davies and David Leigh, and cheif WikiLeaks spokesman (and prominent journo) Kristinn Hrafnsson.  Now it's here in video.  "I'm ashamed of you."  "No, I'm ashamed of YOU."

11:50  WL Central's  This Week in WikilLeaks Podcast -- Iraq War Vet Ethan McCord on Anniversary of Release of 'Collateral Murder.'   He carried two injured  children from scene of the air strike, and featured in my "Age of WikiLeaks" book. . 

8:25 David House, Bradley Manning's friend who has visited him often in prison, tweets today @lockean:  "FBI sent two thugs to interrogate a West Coast friend at his place of work last Tuesday.  The interrogation ended when my friend, who is not involved in computers or activism, repeatedly refused to sign a Non-disclosure Agreement.   He was held for 4 hours after the interrogation, and was only released after repeatedly banging on the interrogation room's door.  He took notes of the encounter and began drafting a blogpost on the back of a scrap of magazine paper during his four-hour detention...and was forced to surrender this piece of paper before being allowed to leave the facility. 

"He related that the FBI agents were interested in what he knew about me, my beliefs, and my lifestyle. No questions were asked about Manning.  FBI, stop the hamfisted attempts to make informants of my friends. This is the second in two weeks that has come to me, fuming."

8:15  Update on story below, judge asked to recuse himself from trial involving Royal Navy medic who refused to serve in Afghanistan because of WikiLeaks revelations about killing of civilians there.

Late Friday

In the UK, a Royal Navy medic has applied for conscientious objector status  and refused to serve in Afghanistan on "moral" grounds after reading WikiLeaks documents on Afghanistan. "He was the first person to appear before the Advisory Committee on Conscientious Objectors in 14 years." 

New cable among latest in batch published by The Hindu: "No love lost between the Vatican and Pakistan."

This is NOT an April Fool's joke:  There's an online campaign underway to get Lady Gaga to speak up for Bradley Manning due to the "special role" she played in helping him allegedly leak all those documents to WikiLeaks.  If you've forgotten, he claimed, in the chat logs, that he used a thumb drive that supposedly held Lady Gaga songs as his "cover."   See report on that here.  Group at Brave Little Monster is getting people to send her tweets or Facebook message imploring her to act...

Great debate coming tomorrow, in a few hours, watch  a live video stream from SKUP-2011, the annual conference of Norway’s investigative journalists in Tønsberg, Norway, at 10.30 GMT.  "Two sides of the story" : Nick Davies & David Leigh of the Guardian  (now big critics of Assange) meets Kristinn Hrafnsson, Wikileaks.

We posted last night but if you missed:  Now we're really "getting down" to the important stuff -- leaked video of alleged Assange on the dance floor!

My new piece at The Nation on the parts left out of the PBS Frontline segment on Bradley Manning this week.

 

Chatting With Bradley Manning: The Parts Left Out of the 'Frontline' Segment

The PBS Frontline segment on Pvt. Bradley Manning, accused of massive disclosure of classified material to WikiLeaks, this past Tuesday suggested that turmoil in his "personal life" was the prime cause of his decision to leak, as I observed in a piece here  two days ago. In making this claim, the Frontline people ignored evidence to the contrary in the now famous chat logs turned over to federal authorities by Adrian Lamo, which allegedly document his online discussions with Manning over five days last May.

The most lengthy excerpts from these logs to appear in print so far are found in my new book, Bradley Manning: Truth and Consequences. Here are a few extracts  that reveal (if the chat logs are legit) Manning's stated motivation.

Manning: and god knows what happens now...hopefully worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms....if not than we're doomed as a species...i will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens

*

Manning: i want people to see the truth... regardless of who they are... because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public  Manning: if i knew then, what i knew now... kind of thing... Manning: or maybe im just young, naive, and stupid...

*

Manning: i dont believe in good guys versus bad guys anymore... i only a plethora of states acting in self interest... with varying ethics and moral standards of course, but self-interest nonetheless...

Manning: i guess im too idealistic

Manning: i think the thing that got me the most... that made me rethink the world more than anything

Manning: was watching 15 detainees taken by the Iraqi Federal Police... for printing "anti-Iraqi literature"... the iraqi federal police wouldn't cooperate with US forces, so i was instructed to investigate the matter, find out who the "bad guys" were, and how significant this was for the FPs... it turned out, they had printed a scholarly critique against PM Maliki... i had an interpreter read it for me... and when i found out that it was a benign political critique titled "Where did the money go?" and following the corruption trail within the PM's cabinet... i immediately took that information and *ran* to the officer to explain what was going on... he didn't want to hear any of it... he told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding *MORE* detainees...

Manning: everything started slipping after that... i saw things differently

Manning: i had always questioned the things worked, and investigated to find the truth... but that was a point where i was a *part* of something... i was actively involved in something that i was completely against...

*

 Manning: if its out in the open... it should be a public good...

Manning: im crazy like that....

Manning: i dont think of myself as playing "god" or anything, because im not... im just playing my role for the moment

*

 

Manning: crazy, almost criminal political backdealings... the non-PR-versions of world events and crises... uhm... all kinds of stuff like everything from the buildup to the Iraq War during Powell, to what the actual content of "aid packages" is...theres so much... it affects everybody on earth... everywhere there's a US post... there's a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed...

Manning: its Climategate with a global scope, and breathtaking depth... its beautiful, and horrifying... and... its important that it gets out... i feel, for some bizarre reason

Manning: it might actually change something

Manning: i just... dont wish to be a part of it... at least not now... im not ready... i wouldn't mind going to prison for the rest of my life, or being executed so much, if it wasn't for the possibility of having pictures of me... plastered all over the world press...

 

The "Bradley Manning" book is available as an e-book here and print here. Greg Mitchell has written a daily WikiLeaks live-blog at The Nation since last November. His previous book was "The Age of WikiLeaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond)." To reach him by email: epic1934@aol.com

 

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Friday, Day 125

As I’ve done for more than seventeen 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:  Weekend edition of this blog.

8:40  Great debate coming tomorrow, in a few hours, watch  a live video stream from SKUP-2011, the annual conference of Norway’s investigative journalists in Tønsberg, Norway, at 10.30 GMT.  "Two sides of the story" : Nick Davies & David Leigh of the Guardian  (now big critics of Assange) meets Kristinn Hrafnsson, Wikileaks.

2:20  We posted last night but if you missed:  Now we're really "getting down" to the important stuff -- leaked video of alleged Assange on the dance floor!

2:05  And now a word from our sponsor: 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. Plus, first excerpt from the book (“From Oklahoma to Baghdad to Prison”) right here.

2:00 New podcast interview with me here, at about the 1:04 mark, they say. 

10:50  This is NOT an April Fool's joke:  There's an online campaign underway to get Lady Gaga to speak up for Bradley Manning due to the "special role" she played in helping him allegedly leak all those documents to WikiLeaks.  If you've forgotten, he claimed, in the chat logs, that he used a thumb drive that supposedly held Lady Gaga songs as his "cover."   See report on that here.  Group at Brave Little Monster is getting people to send her tweets or Facebook message imploring her to act...

10:40  With a name like Motley Fool, you had to figure the long-running investor outfit would take advantage of April 1 to have some fun, and they do so via MSNBC by way of an alleged WikiLeaks "leak." 

9:35  My new piece at The Nation on the parts left out of the PBS Frontline segment on Bradley Manning this week.

9:25  Excerpt from new book in Australia on Assange by Andrew Fowler, focusing on his early approaches to Ellsberg:  “I didn’t get anything back and then I just put it out of my mind; I just didn’t think it would come to much,” he said. “I get a lot of nutty things, you know, in the mail, one way or another.”

8:10  NYT posts Bill Keller's upcoming Sunday column where he yet again tackles what he calls the WikiLeaks "phenomenon," this time how it affects keeping not revealing secrets. "Jack Goldsmith, who worked in the George W. Bush  Justice Department, argues that nothing undermines respect for secrecy like watching government officials disgorge their notes to Bob Woodward  and other inside-story writers. ''People in government won’t take classification decisions seriously when top officials who insist they are important don’t respect them half the time,' Goldsmith says."

 8:00  This we presume is the first of April Fool's WikiLeaks revelations -- or things are getting so wild in the cables that it could be true.  The Swiss allegedly bugging their cuckoo clocks given as gifts to diplomats.  “The latest addition to the living room is proving to be a good conversation piece, but I’m not sure we should be holding conversations around it,” the official wrote.  Who knew the Swiss had a sense of humor?

12:00 Well, one good thing, Bill Moyers eyes return to PBS.

From late Thursday

From ACLU blog: Bradley Manning's treatment just the "tip of the iceberg." 

Computer scientists hit ruling on "Twitter 3." 

 Jeremy Scahill in big Nation piece makes use of key WikiLeaks cables on Yemen.

 Michael Busch has now posted his lengthy interview with me up at the Institute for Policy Studies site.

Qaddafi “buxom Russian nurse,” allowed to leave him last month, now says she missed Libya: “According to Oksana, the Libyans seemed happy with their lives. Tripoli is a giant construction site today, she said. Gasoline is cheaper than water. In shops, they let you off if you are a couple of coins short—you can pay later.”

From the Norwegian paper Aftenposten: Norwegian soldiers only 500 yards away when six kidnapped in Afghanistan.

This bubbled up yesterday but now Fox News on it: Porn actors real names and HIV status leaked via a PornLeaks site. “This essentially ‘outed’ them to any passing Googler, which caused an uproar in the industry since many porn performers try to keep their real name secret, for obvious reasons,” Gawker’s Adrian Chen wrote. “That 15,000 names were on the list was significant, especially considering only about 1,200–1,500 performers are currently working in California’s Porn Valley.”

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Thursday, Day 124

As I’ve done for more than seventeen 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:  This blog for Friday.

7:50  Now we're really "getting down" to the important stuff -- leaked video of alleged Assange on the dance floor!

7:25   My new piece, “Chatting With Bradley Manning,” on how chat logs dispute Frontline claim that turmoil in his personal life main reason for alleged decision to leak.

7:20  Computer scientists hit ruling on "Twitter 3." 

5:15  Jeremy Scahill in big Nation piece makes use of key WikiLeaks cables on Yemen.

5:10  Michael Busch has now posted his lengthy interview with me up at the Institute for Policy Studies site.

3:25 Qaddafi “buxom Russian nurse,” allowed to leave him last month, now says she missed Libya: “According to Oksana, the Libyans seemed happy with their lives. Tripoli is a giant construction site today, she said. Gasoline is cheaper than water. In shops, they let you off if you are a couple of coins short—you can pay later.”

3:10 From the Norwegian paper Aftenposten: Norwegian soldiers only 500 yards away when six kidnapped in Afghanistan.

3:00 And now a word from my sponsor: 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. Plus, first excerpt from the book (“From Oklahoma to Baghdad to Prison”) right here.

2:00 This bubbled up yesterday but now Fox News on it: Porn actors real names and HIV status leaked via a PornLeaks site. “This essentially ‘outed’ them to any passing Googler, which caused an uproar in the industry since many porn performers try to keep their real name secret, for obvious reasons,” Gawker’s Adrian Chen wrote. “That 15,000 names were on the list was significant, especially considering only about 1,200–1,500 performers are currently working in California’s Porn Valley.”

10:40 BBC now covers story we had below on bombing that killed ten in Pakistan allegedly tied to recently released State Dept cable.

9:35 WikiLeaks releases US cable on Mussa Kussa, Libya foreign minister who just defected in London, suggesting he is man of “acumen” and intellect who we can work with. “He is Western-educated…and is seen as a strong supporter of re-engagement with the West…. Kussa is the rare Libyan official who embodies a combination of intellectual acumen, operational ability and political weight.”

9:25 @WLLegal tweets:Is there any news yet about the inevitable DOJ probe RE all the classified info leaked on Libya? Someone please alert me when its announced.”

8:05 Mulitple reports in the regional press claim that nine were killed in Pakistan, today in a suicide bomb attack on a MUslim leader exposed last week in Indian news outlets, thanks to a WikiLeaks cable, ”for his offer to the US to mediate with the Taliban. It was the second attack on him in two days.” The Jamiat Ulema-e-Islam chief, Maulana Fazlur Rehman, was unhurt. “Rehman also sought the assistance of the Americans to help him play his ‘rightful’ role in the Pakistan government.”

Will be interesting to see if this is spun as first documented case of a cable leading to someone’s death, although the target here is not the kind of low-level informer or operative that is usually the object of such fears.

12:00 Obama admin leaks like a sieve to reporters on Libya but goes after WIkiLeaks for other leaks to reporters.

From late Wednesday

You can still vote for WikiLeaks T-shirt winner.

Just out, via the great Carol Rosenbreg at McClatchy: US under Bush so intent on Gitmo detainees not setting foot, or body, in US that it shopped them around to other countries when they needed emergency medical care (and turned down). It “contradicts something the prison camp’s hospital staff has been telling visitors for years—that the U.S. can dispatch any specialist necessary to make sure the captives in Cuba get first-class treatment.”

 

Timothy Garton Ash at the Guardian calls for fewer, but better, leaks. Also reveals hat Domscheit-Berg told him yesterday that Open Leaks will not debut until late spring or summer and even then have very modest start. In fact, since Cablegate, despite much ballyhoo almost no major leaks from anywhere have appeared.

Dan Ellsberg at Harvard Law School, a report: “He posited that in fact, most US Government decisions to keep information secret are directed at keeping secrets not from other nations but from Congress, public courts, and citizens—‘the ones who have the votes and vote the budgets, and might possibly prosecute, and the ones whose blame is to be feared.’ ”

Wild piece about what cables show about Qaddafi and ownership of Fiat and Wyndham Hotels.

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Wednesday, Day 123

As I’ve done for more than seventeen 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 This here is the Thursday edition of this here blog.

8:00  You can still vote for WikiLeaks t-shirt winner.

5:35  Just out, via the great Carol Rosenbreg at McClatchy: U.S. under Bush so intent on Gitmo detainees not setting foot, or body, in U.S. that it shopped them around to other countries when they needed emergency medical care (and turned down).  It  "contradicts something the prison camp's hospital staff has been telling visitors for years — that the U.S. can dispatch any specialist necessary to make sure the captives in Cuba get first-class treatment."

5:20 Via libertarian site, Bradley Manning meets George Orwell in new posters. 

5:10  Assange must be arrested for leaking that Obama has signed secret ops order for Libya. Oh, wait, U.S. journos did it?

4:15 Timothy Garton Ash at The Guardian calls for fewer, but better, leaks. Also reveals hat Domscheit-Berg told him yesterday that Open Leaks will not debut until late spring or summer and even then have very modest start. In fact, since Cablegate, despite much ballyhoo almost no major leaks from anywhere have appeared.

1:50 Wild piece about what cables show about Gaddafi and ownership of Fiat and Wyndham Hotels.

1:05 Dan Ellsberg at Harvard Law School, a report: “He posited that in fact, most US Government decisions to keep information secret are directed at keeping secrets not from other nations but from Congress, public courts, and citizens—‘the ones who have the votes and vote the budgets, and might possibly prosecute, and the ones whose blame is to be feared.’ ”

12:45 Going on KALW in San Fran for most of an hour in twenty minutes.

12:35 Jay Rosen visited The Nation to talk about American media—and WIkiLeaks. Audio here.

11:40 We need a hard-hitting journo like Borat to get to bottom of this: Cable on Kazakhstan suggests gov’t tried to “squeeze” opposition. Once again US in position of backing gov’t versus opponents because of oil interests. “The diplomat noted that U.S. energy companies Chevron, ExxonMobil and ConocoPhillips had invested more than $8 billion in Kazakhstan’s oil and gas sectors. The country would become a top 10 oil exporter by the middle of this decade, helping diminish Russia’s supply monopoly in Eurasia.”

11:35 And now a word from my sponsor: 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. Plus, first excerpt from the book (“From Oklahoma to Baghdad to Prison”) right here.

11:25 Jewish Reform Movement sends letter to Robert Gates asking for “clarification” on treatment of Manning.

10:40 Science piece: “The Challenge to Plug the Human Leak.” Well, what did Nixon do? Call the plumbers! Just ask Ellsberg.

9:55 Someone needs to leak who will be the Charlie Wilson of this new war, and who will play him in the movie?

8:30 I’ll be on WikiLeaks panel a week from Friday at Media Reform conf in Boston w/ Glenn Greenwald, Amy Goodman, Emily Bell, Micah Sifry.

8:20 Q & A with Assange at Italian site, live.

7:40 Yet another book about Assange, which oddly (if aptly) borrows title from great film about Dan Ellsberg, “The Most Dangerous Man in the World.”

7:25 If you’ve missed it, BBC puts up audio of its P.J. Crowley interview, where he says “no regrets” over protesting Manning conditions.

7:20 My full critique of last night’s PBS “The Private Life of Bradley Manning” now posted here.

7:10 More good stuff from the Hindu in India, this time cable on racial attacks. See page for all sorts of other links in their continuing coverage.

From late Tuesday

Interesting piece in the other The Nation on State Department, while hitting Assange and Manning, refusing to publish key books of documents on the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Iran.

Former State Dept spokesman P.J. Crowley took to the airwaves yesterday (even with Shep Smith) to defend his attack on prison conditions for Bradley Manning and now he’s written a column in that vein for the Guardian. “Based on 30 years of government experience, if you have to explain why a guy is standing naked in the middle of a jail cell, you have a policy in need of urgent review. The Pentagon was quick to point out that no women were present when he did so, which is completely beside the point. The issue is a loss of dignity, not modesty.”

Ed Wasserman, the longtime McClatchy columnist, with strong defense of Manning that goes well beyond simply hitting the conditions of his incarceration. “If these news media believe they were right to publish the material Manning gave them, how can they stand aside as he faces life in prison for giving it to them? If they did right and the world benefited, did he do wrong? On what grounds can they say—as Keller and Guardian of London editor Alan Rusbridger have—that they would help defend WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange if the U.S. charges him, while they won’t lift a finger to protest Manning’s incarceration?…

“What I do understand is that the WikiLeaks material—especially the frank comments of U.S. envoys about the foreign thugs and despots with whom they do business—has been devoured by reading publics throughout the world, people stuck with lapdog media who are starved for reliable, insightful observations about their own corrupt leaders.”

Michael Busch, who also has terrific blog, interviews yours truly, dubbing me “The Marathon Man” of WikiLeaks…

 

PBS 'Frontline' Tonight on 'Private Life of Bradley Manning' Sure to Spark Debate

This morning, PBS Frontline scooped itself, posting online its promised ten-minute segment for tonight’s show on Bradley Manning’s early years, or as it’s billed (wink, wink) “The Private Life of Bradley Manning.” Also posted are a timeline, never-before-seen photos, part of an interview with his father and a 911 call from a heated dispute with his father and stepmother in 2006—the only fresh revelation in the entire segment.

The segment closes with a title card that simply reports that Manning is currently being held in the brig at Quantico—without describing the conditions he is held under, or mentioning that this has been roundly denounced by human rights organizations and even Hillary Clinton’s top spokesman at the State Department (who lost his job after protesting). In fact, the top story relating to Manning yesterday was that spokesman, P.J. Crowley, repeating his protest—and Shep Smith at Fox News agreeing with him.

Frontline says it will continue its report in May in a one-hour program which will, again, focus on Manning’s personal life and how this “led” to his alleged leak, and his new outbursts, this time in the Army (all reported elsewhere)—and how the Army still gave him access to top-secret documents.

While tonight’s segment focuses on his personal problems, and “aimless” life before joining the Army, it makes no mention whatsoever of his political or philosophical views (he was against the Iraq war, attended a gay rights rally and wore a “humanist” dog tag after joining Army).

What has already drawn the most attention is that one “scoop”—that Manning, after moving back home with his father (with whom he’d always had a difficult relationship) and stepmother in Oklahoma, got into a domestic quarrel with them one day in 2006 and apparently took out a knife. The 911 recording finds the woman reporting that Bradley had a knife and that his father was down, although it turned out he had fallen and Bradley is soon heard inquiring if he is okay.

Police did arrive, no charges were filed, and Bradley left home the next day. Later, urged on by his father (according to the elder Manning) he signed up with the Army. The segment closes promising more of the same in the coming report, focusing on problems in his personal life inspiring his alleged leaking. Again, this has already been widely reported (by myself and others), including being demoted from specialist to private first class after allegedly punching a fellow soldier.

The overall tone of tonight’s report is sure to spark debate. Consider that MIlitary Times opens its report today with this: “Could the global turmoil sparked by Wikileaks have started with a son’s anger for his father?”

For a fuller, more balanced, account of this same period in Manning’s life, see my article here drawn my new book on Manning. 

The “Bradley Manning” book is available as an e-book here and print here. Greg Mitchell has written a daily WikiLeaks live-blog at The Nation since last November. His previous book was The Age of WikiLeaks: From Collateral Murder to Cablegate (and Beyond). To reach him by e-mail: epic1934@aol.com.

Truth and Consequences
By GREG MITCHELL
 

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Tuesday, Day 122

As I’ve done for more than seventeen 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: The Wednesday edition of the blog here, now.

3:40  I am on Randi Rhodes' radio  show just after 4 p.m., they tell me.

3:30  @WLLegal:  Thomas Drake, whistleblower currently being prosecuted under the Espionage Act, wins truth-telling prize. 

2:00  And now a word from my sponsor:  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. Plus, first excerpt from the book (“From Oklahoma to Baghdad to Prison”) right here.

1:30  Off topic, but never off topic: Beethoven's funeral 184 years ago today. Schubert carried a torch. Now buried nearby. "Benedictus." 

11:15  Former State Dept spokesman PJ Crowley took to the airwaves yesterday (even with Shep Smith) to defend his attack on prison conditions for Bradley Manning and now he's written a column in that vein for The Guardian.  "Based on 30 years of government experience, if you have to explain why a guy is standing naked in the middle of a jail cell, you have a policy in need of urgent review. The Pentagon was quick to point out that no women were present when he did so, which is completely beside the point. The issue is a loss of dignity, not modesty."

10:00 Ed Wasserman, the longtime McClatchy columnist, with strong defense of Manning that goes well beyond simply hitting the conditions of his incarceration.  " If these news media believe they were right to publish the material Manning gave them, how can they stand aside as he faces life in prison for giving it to them? If they did right and the world benefited, did he do wrong? On what grounds can they say - as Keller and Guardian of London editor Alan Rusbridger have - that they would help defend WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange if the U.S. charges him, while they won't lift a finger to protest Manning's incarceration?... What I do understand is that the WikiLeaks material - especially the frank comments of U.S. envoys about the foreign thugs and despots with whom they do business - has been devoured by reading publics throughout the world, people stuck with lapdog media who are starved for reliable, insightful observations about their own corrupt leaders."

9:00  My full critique of tonight's PBS "The Private Life of Bradley Manning" now posted here.

8:10  Here's NPR's report on PBS show (below).  Wired review here.    And TechEye knocking it. Article on same "early years"  subject from my new Manning book here.

7:40  PBS Frontline posts online just now its entire segment for tonight's show on Bradley Manning's early years (and "the private life"). Plus a timeline, never before seen photos, and  a 911 call from a heated dispute with his father and stepmother in 2006.   It closes saying that it will continue report in May in a one-hour program which will, again, focus on his personal life and outbursts, this time in the Army--and how the Army still gave him access to top-secret documents.  No mention of his political or world views (he was against Iraq war and wore "humanist" dog tag after joining Army).  A final title card says simply that he is being held in the brig at Quantico without describing the conditions he is held under, roundly denounced by human rights organizations and even Hillary Clinton's top spokesman at the State Dept.   Article on same subject from my new Manning book here.

12:10  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. Plus, first excerpt from the book (“From Oklahoma to Baghdad to Prison”) right here.

12:00 Segment (not whole show) coming tonight on PBS Frontline on Bradley Manning's early days, interview with dad (part of it already aired on NewsHour).

From late Monday

Michael Busch, who also has terrific blog, interviews yours truly, dubbing me "The Marathon Man" of WikiLeaks...

Yahoo News with big piece tonight on The Guardian planning new push in USA, this time based out of NYC. But also includes some comments from editor on falling out with WikiLeaks:  "Rusbridger said he had not had any recent contact: 'I've heard that he's working on a new project with some different media partners, but I don't know what it is and he's obviously decided to move on from us.'  But Rusbridger did confirm that The Guardian has been in talks about a possible collaboration with OpenLeaks, a newer document-leaking platform launched in December by high-ranking WikiLeaks defector Daniel Domscheit-Berg. (New York Times executive editor Bill Keller also said recently that his newspaper is mulling an OpenLeaks venture.) On the other hand, The Guardian may develop an in-house document-leaking system, Rusbridger said--in the same vein as a project that the New York Times is reportedly planning.  'We haven't yet definitively worked out how effectively we could build the technology,'  he said."

Controversy grows over Homeland Security "political" vetting of releases to journos and citizens. Hearing coming on Thursday.  AP with big piece.

More hot cables relating to India, The Hindu always great source, and here's one on the Mumbai attacks, a pink box, and our FBI.

Shep Smith on Fox  interviews just now  PJ Crowley about the Manning episode (see much more below).  Shep obviously agrees with Crowley about his protest, asking "Doesn't accuracy ever save your hide?" Crowley says he he had strong views, and U.S. needs "to practice what we preach" and opinion "in this country and around the world" affected.  Shep closes with reference to Bush torture and now "mistreating someone who is mistreating us," and defense of whistleblowers. 

Now BBC has video of PJ Crowley saying no regrets on his Manning defense (see below).  "America must practice what it preaches."   Says "when it became public I clarified they were my own personal views...but as the day went on....I felt my actions had put the president in a difficult position."  Isn't the truth that the WH wanted it plain they wanted you to step down? He refuses to confirm WH, not Hillary, wanted him out.  "I  understood the reactions...so administration could move on."

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