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The WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG FOR WEDNESDAY, Day 53

As I've done for more than seven weeks, I will be updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks all day, with new items added at the top. All times are ET in USA. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Information on some of my books here.

UPDATE: Go to the Thursday version of this blog here.

10:15  Hot new scam, according to Forbes blogger: Calling people and telling them they are in big trouble for visiting a WikiLeaks-related -- unless they pay up.  Better Business Bureau on it, including in Seattle:  "A caller reported she received an automated phone call telling her that her computer and IP address had been noted as having visited the Wikileaks site, and that there were grave consequences for this, including a $250,000 or $25,000 fine, perhaps imprisonment. It left an option for leaving a message as to how she was going to handle this and the fine payment." 

8:30  Major new piece in The Australian on the rather strained relationship -- "locked in a war of words," so thy say -- between Assange and The Guardian, charges of betrayal, the falling out with Nick Davies, and so on.  Not exactly new but a lot of fresh quotes from close observers.  .  "I think Julian is an extremely colourful character, he is very aware of that, he uses that very smartly, he is very aware that a picture of him will play well in a newspaper," Ian Katz said.

8:20  Political scientist Michael Busch has been blogging abo,ut some of the interesting but less-publicized cables at two sites.  His own WikiBlogged includes regular updates often darkly humorous,  such as one from yesterday on monitoring driving and cell phone distraction in...Armenia.    He blogs less often at IPS's Foreign Policy in Focus.

4:30  Reuters with details on the Elmer arrest (see below): "Swiss police on Wednesday arrested former banker Rudolf Elmer on fresh charges of breaching Swiss bank secrecy law for giving data to WikiLeaks, hours after he was found guilty of another secrecy offense.  'The state prosecutor's office is checking to see whether Rudolf Elmer has violated Swiss banking law by handing the CD over to WikiLeaks,' the Zurich cantonal (state) police and state prosecutor said in a joint statement."

3:45  The Guardian with news break at top of page just now with no details:  The Swiss apparently have arrested the ex-banker who handed over CDs with "tax cheat" records to Assange this week on charges related to that.  Earlier today (see below) he had been convicted and fined for other charges.

2:35  Unusual expert piece inspired by that flap awhile back over WikiLeaks releasing info on U.S.  "key metals" supply and facilties, alleged threat to our national security or invitation to terrorists, Assange should be arrest and/or shot over this, and so.    

2:00   JIm Ridgeway and Jean Casella at The Guardian with a piece that opens by hitting cruel prison conditions for Bradley Manning, then goes further:  "Bradley Manning's treatment undeniably deserves this attention. But while Manning's punishment is cruel, it is far from unusual. According to available data, there are some 25,000 inmates in long-term isolation in America's supermax prisons, and as many as 80,000 more in solitary confinement in other facilities. Where is the outrage – even among progressives – for these forgotten souls."

12:45  Andrew Sullivan notes yesterday's news on administration officials admitting, privately, that cables have done little damage to US, while painting different picture in public, and links it to Sarah Palin's attacks on Assange—and her recent use of "blood libel" term.

12:25  Great panel coming up next Monday in NYC from Personal Democracy Forum, in partnership with New York University's Interactive Technology Program, with speakers Clay Shirky, Icelandic MP Birgitta Jonsdottir, Floyd Abrams (who wrote that WSJ op-ed critical of WikiLeaks), Gabriella Coleman, John Hockenberry.

12:00  New piece by Kathleen Christison:  "CounterPunch has accessed Wikileaks' file of cables on Israel’s Gaza assault two years ago (Operation Cast Lead, December 27, 2008 through January 18, 2009). Though the cables often  simply rehash Israeli press reporting, providing  little new insight into Israel’s attack or the planning behind it, they show with pitiless clarity  the U.S. government to be little more than a handmaiden and amanuensis of the Israeli military machine. The cables make clear, were any further disclosure needed, exactly where the United States stands with respect to Israel’s unprovoked attacks on Palestinians and its other Arab neighbors."

11:30  That ex-banker who handed over CD on "tax cheating" to Assange this week found guilty today. "A judge at Zurich's Regional Court has sentenced Rudolf Elmer to a fine of over 6,000 Swiss francs ($6,000). Elmer claimed at the one-day trial in Zurich's banking capital Wednesday that he acted after being persecuted by his former employer Julius Baer." 

10:40  We've mentioned this in a preview, but now here's full piece on WikiLeaks browser, via Dazzlepod, coming to... Facebook.

10:00  Switzerland probing US spying there, after cables released.

9:05  Former Swiss banker Rudolf Elmer, who just handed over "tax cheat" CDS to Assange in London, appeared in court today to answer breach of secrecy charges.

8:45  TV drama NCIS: Los Angeles with WikiLeaks-inspired show last night! Excerpt from  full rundown: "Driscoll somehow got his hands on highly classified documents and was going to post them online. The problem is that no one knows the decryption key to actually open the files yanked from the Pentagon, and that a couple of mercenaries are willing to kill for it. As NCIS: LA battles the hired guns looking to snag the code and files for themselves, they also battle the FBI for jurisdiction over the case, and the clues within it."

8:35  Russia blocks Wikileaks site after it publishes photo of Putin's $1 billion palace. But maybe that is past tense, as I got to the site easily, with palace down the page a big (I think).

8:00  Mother Jones re-visits Rep. Peter King's "terrorism problem"—threatens Assange and WikiLeaks but aided IRA.

7:55: And we're back. Glenn Greenwald just out with new post on story we pushed very early on, following yesterday's late-afternoon Reuters report: "To say that the Obama administration's campaign against WikiLeaks has been based on wildly exaggerated and even false claims is to understate the case. But now, there is evidence that Obama officials have been knowingly lying in public about these matters.... One might express bewilderment that most American journalists never learn their lesson about placing their blind faith in government claims."

7:50  Reuters: New cables find US ordering "its Middle East diplomats in 2008 to gather data on encrypted Israeli communications and build financial and 'biometric' profiles of Palestinian leaders." Secret memo from Condi Rice. 

12:05  NYT reports on the new Rudolf Elmer / WikiLeaks  tax cheat bank leak: "The individuals and companies whose offshore account information may be detailed in Swiss banking documents disclosed to WikiLeaks could face American prosecutors—or go untouched, senior tax lawyers said on Tuesday.  

"Whether the more than 2,000 wealthy investors and companies from the United States, Europe, Asia and elsewhere get a knock on the door from the Internal Revenue Service or other American agencies will depend in large part on if the documents contain detailed records showing criminal tax evasion. 'It’s obviously tremendously worrisome for these people, because every time a whistle-blower has said he has the goods, he’s had the goods,' said Peter R. Zeidenberg, a white-collar criminal defense lawyer at DLA Piper."

From late Tuesday

The Center for Investigative Reporting looks at Bank of America secretly buying up domain names to counter WIkiLeaks criticism. This goes beyond the first words about this last month... Well, Bank of America was a little too slow getting to one domain name (see item below):  BankofAmericaSuck is up and running with pro-WikiLeaks articles, links and video. (h/t @emirjame at Twitter). 

Marcy Wheeler on the Reuters scoop below. When the truth "lies."

Reuters's Mark Hosenball with quite a revelation: "Internal U.S. government reviews have determined that a mass leak of diplomatic cables caused only limited damage to U.S. interests abroad, despite the Obama administration's public statements to the contrary.  A congressional official briefed on the reviews said the administration felt compelled to say publicly that the revelations had seriously damaged American interests in order to bolster legal efforts to shut down the WikiLeaks website and bring charges against the leakers. 'I think they just want to present the toughest front they can muster,' the official said.

"But State Department officials have privately told Congress they expect overall damage to U.S. foreign policy to be containable, said the official, one of two congressional aides familiar with the briefings who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity. 'We were told (the impact of WikiLeaks revelations) was embarrassing but not damaging,' said the official, who attended a briefing given in late 2010 by State Department officials."

 
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Blogging WikiLeaks News & Views for Tuesday, Day 52

As I've done for more than seven weeks, I will be updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks all day, with new items added at the top. All times are ET in USA. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Information on some of my books here.

UPDATE:  Go to Wednesday's live-blog here.

10:55   Ha, just got email from a gentleman inspired by the 9:39  post just below: "I am new to your site and love the important coverage of wikileaks especially the links, want to help any way i can and i was hoping you might know someone that can put this domain to good use.  i have it for sale at sedo.com but would transfer it to any independent knowlegeable journalists/bloggers that want to cover this story and could use a good domain to get the word out."  The domain, he says,  is: YouSuckBoa.

9:39  Well, Bank of America was a little too slow getting to one domain name (see item below):  BankofAmericaSuck is up and running with pro-WikiLeaks articles, links and video. (h/t @emirjame at Twitter). 

7:50  The Center for Investigative Reporting looks at Bank of America secretly buying up domain names to counter WIkiLeaks criticism.  This goes beyond the first words about this last month.

7:48  Marcy Wheeler on the Reuters scoop below.  When the truth "lies."

4:20  Reuters' Mark Hosenball with quite a revelation:  "Internal U.S. government reviews have determined that a mass leak of diplomatic cables caused only limited damage to U.S. interests abroad, despite the Obama administration's public statements to the contrary.  A congressional official briefed on the reviews said the administration felt compelled to say publicly that the revelations had seriously damaged American interests in order to bolster legal efforts to shut down the WikiLeaks website and bring charges against the leakers. 'I think they just want to present the toughest front they can muster,' the official said.

"But State Department officials have privately told Congress they expect overall damage to U.S. foreign policy to be containable, said the official, one of two congressional aides familiar with the briefings who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity. 'We were told (the impact of WikiLeaks revelations) was embarrassing but not damaging,' said the official, who attended a briefing given in late 2010 by State Department officials."

3:15  Charlie Gasparino at Fox Business reports on SEC keeping close tabs on WikiLeaks vs. Bank of America, wondering what BOA hid from them over the years. "If and when the document dump occurs, senior SEC officials will be examining the material to determine if BofA failed to include the emails and other documents in demands for information the commission has made as part of its many investigations into BofA activities."

2:30 More good stuff from the Guardian:  "The United States was advised to adopt a policy of  'covert sabotage'  of Iran's clandestine nuclear facilities, including computer hacking and "unexplained explosions", by an influential German thinktank, a leaked US embassy cable reveals.  Volker Perthes, director of Germany's government-funded Institute for Security and International Affairs, told US officials in Berlin that undercover operations would be 'more effective than a military strike' in curtailing Iran's nuclear ambitions.

"A sophisticated computer worm, Stuxnet, infiltrated the Natanz nuclear facility last year, delaying Iran's programme by some months. The New York Times said this week that Stuxnet was a joint US-Israeli operation. On Monday, Iran's top nuclear negotiator blamed the US for the cyber-attack."

2:20  New cables via The Guardian: "US diplomats in Turkey feared that a wave of arrests of senior military officers last year over an alleged plot to topple the country's Islamist-rooted government could trigger an'"unpredictable military reaction', according to a leaked diplomatic cable.  About 200 active and retired Turkish military officers, including former chiefs of the air force and dozens of generals and admirals, went on trial in December on charges of  'attempting to topple the government by force' as part of a plot dubbed Sledgehammer."

2:10  Support Julian Assange has launched a project to “interrupt the US government’s attempts to villainize and prosecute Julian Assange and bring down WikiLeaks." The site will produce a video that will feature 35 to 50  people from 12  countries reading an open letter to the U.S. government about WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. It  will be released days before Assange’s extradition hearing next month. (Kevin Gosztola)

12:55  Thanks to the Guardian for pointing us to WikiLeaks style even coming to the Canary Islands.  It's called KanariLeaks and it's worth visiting site just for the art work.

12:15  From Tech Dirt:  "Indoctrinating Children To Hate Freedom Of The Press?"

10:35  Okay, keep your excitement in check.  We warned yesterday not to expect the new tax cheat bank leak any time soon, based on Assange's comment that his org had a lot of other work to do.  Reuters confirms that now.

9:55  Friends, thanks to your interest, I am now crashing on an "instant" WIkiLeaks book, now over 26,000 words in and counting, and hope to have it available for you in  two weeks, selling for about 12 U.S. dollars.  It will closely track (nearly) everything important that's happened since the "Collateral Murder" video last April....

9:45  Good updates on Tunisia at Guardian blog.  And new from Juan Cole: : "New Tunisian Government Declares Total Liberty of Information, as the Opposition Demands more Change."

9:30  Slide show on my current Nation article on "Why WIkiLeaks Matters" (the article has even more revelations than the 18 in the slide show); somehow remains "most read" at the site for a third day.

8:25 Tunisian activist on Democracy Now! right now says Facebook and Twitter did have big effect there.

8:05  More evidence of  "panic" in some quarters over the tax cheat leak (see 7:35 below) comes from The Times of India:  "24 hours after WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange held up two CDs that contains 2000 prominent names of tax evaders, speculation is rife on the number of Indians to have been featured on the list. The fact that whistleblower Assange will very shortly reveal all the names on his list of 2000, is creating quite a stir in our political realm. Sources have told TIMES NOW that informal attempts are being made by the government to contact WikiLeaks, ahead of his explosive disclosure."

7:55 Latest from The Guardian's you-ask-we-search the cables:  U.S. embassy in Jakarta asked for $100,000 -- to boost its Facebook fans to one million before an Obama visit.

7:35  WikiLeaks as "The 21st Century Washington Post," at the popular 24/7 Wall St site.  Douglas A. McIntyre: "There is another round of outrage among businesses and banks because WikiLeaks has gotten hold of private documents from bank Julius Baer from one of its former executives....There is panic among some of these clients and the bank itself. The concern certainly spreads to other Swiss banks and perhaps their counterparts in other countries. Julius Baer accounts may have been used to cheat on taxes. Many wealthy people could face penalties or prosecution if that is so."

7:30  Roy Greenslade at The Guardian looks at mounting criticism from some journo members directed at the head of London's  Frontline Club showing  support for Assange.

7:20  Video of Assange at press conf yesterday re: the Tax Cheats of the Rich and Famous Leak.

7:15   The Guardian's blog has a report on a new cable, via Aftenposten on China, export controls, and illicit nuclear materials.  Also some reports from yesterday.

From late Monday

 Wonder how Fox News would cover State Dept ripping Assange but now promoting that film about Daniel Ellsberg.  Here's your answer.  Fox host and guest agree they nearly fell out of their chairs when they heard that.  They also compare Ellsberg to Manning, call him a "traitor" and introduce several factual error. 

A new, "comprehensive," Cablegate browser here.

News from BBC:  "The chief executive of one of Germany's leading space companies has lost his job because of the Wikileaks saga.  OHB Systems' Berry Smutny was reported in a cable to have told US diplomats that Europe's Galileo satellite-navigation project was a 'stupid idea.'  OHB, based in Bremen, is part of the consortium that will build Galileo's first 14 operational spacecraft. Although Mr Smutny has denied the cable's contents, OHB's board has decided to remove him from his post."

Late last night I linked to fun web contest to design, then select, Assange's next hair style.  You can now see the winner at upper left on that page.  A reader has emailed this comment to me:  "I guess it's no big deal, but I noticed with Google image search that the original image is shown to be a painting of Louis XVI of France, who got beheaded in 1793."  That's Louis the King at left here.

Provincial U.S. reporters and editors who have charged, from the beginning, that the cables have little true news, let alone historic,  value have been embarrassed time and time again, even as outlets, like The New York Times, quickly move away from publishing or even reporting on the cables.  Here, as just one of 100 examples from past couple weeks, is something just now from Korea:   "A US diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks over the weekend says North Korea has likely received 2-and-a-half million US dollars for weapons sold to Iran through the Seoul branch of Iran's Bank Mellat. According to the cable, Iran's Hong Kong Electronics transferred the money to the bank in November 2007."

 
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The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Monday, Day 51

As I've done for more than seven weeks, I will be updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks all day, with new items added at the top. All times are ET in USA. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Information on some of my books here.

UPDATE   Go to Tuesday's edition of this blogging here.

11:30  Wonder how Fox News would cover State Dept ripping Assange but now promoting that film about Daniel Ellsberg.  Here's your answer.  Fox host and guest agree they nearly fell out of their chairs when they heard that.  They also compare Ellsberg to Manning, call him a "traitor" and introduce several factual error. 

8:45  About 150 protested prison conditions for Bradley Manning today right at Quanitco.

8:40  A new, "comprehensive," Cablegate browser here.

7:10  Provincial U.S. reporters and editors who have charged, from the beginning, that the cables have little true news, let alone historic,  value have been embarrassed time and time again, even as outlets, like The New York Times, quickly move away from publishing or even reporting on the cables.  Here, as just one of 100 examples from past couple weeks, is something just now from Korea:   "A US diplomatic cable released by Wikileaks over the weekend says North Korea has likely received 2-and-a-half million US dollars for weapons sold to Iran through the Seoul branch of Iran's Bank Mellat. According to the cable, Iran's Hong Kong Electronics transferred the money to the bank in November 2007."

5:50  News from BBC:  "The chief executive of one of Germany's leading space companies has lost his job because of the Wikileaks saga.  OHB Systems' Berry Smutny was reported in a cable to have told US diplomats that Europe's Galileo satellite-navigation project was a 'stupid idea.'  OHB, based in Bremen, is part of the consortium that will build Galileo's first 14 operational spacecraft. Although Mr Smutny has denied the cable's contents, OHB's board has decided to remove him from his post."

5:25 Late last night I linked to fun web contest to design, then select, Assange's next hair style.  You can now see the winner at upper left on that page.  A reader has emailed this comment to me:  "I guess it's no big deal, but I noticed with Google image search that the original image is shown to be a painting of Louis XVI of France, who got beheaded in 1793."  That's Louis the King at left here.

5:15 John Kamfner piece at the Guardian: "WikiLeaks turned the tables on governments, but the power relationship has not changed."

4:10  Great one from Aftenposten, sent my way by a second reporter there who is now tipping me to things.  He sums it up this way:  "Afghan foreign secretary received $45 million bribe from Chinese, acc. to Afgh diplomat. 14 docs published by Aft."   The article is still in Norwegian.  But the Google translation goes something like this:   "Afghanistan's former foreign minister Rangeen DADF Spanta received 45 million U.S. dollars for a Chinese mining company would be entitled to recover the country's giant copper deposits, according to an Afghan diplomat.

"Nine international companies bidding then Afghan government in 2007 would open copper mines in Aynak in Logar province just south of the capital Kabul. The mine is considered one of the world's largest, and would give Afghanistan an annual dividend of several billionThe Chinese state-owned industrial giant China Metallurgical Group (MCC) won the contract."

3:55 The Guardian now on the revelation early today via German paper (see below at 1:00) about Turkey and U.S. rendition. "Turkey  allowed the US to use its airbase at Incirlik in southern Turkey as part of the "extraordinary rendition" programme to take suspected terrorists to Guantánamo Bay, according to a US diplomatic cable.Turkey's involvement in the controversial programme was revealed in a cable dated 8 June 2006, written by the then US ambassador to Turkey, Ross Wilson. The cable described Turkey as a crucial ally in the "global war on terror" and an important logistical base for the US-led war in Iraq."

3:10  Kevin Zeese, very active with Bradley Manning and WikiLeaks support groups, with a lengthy take at Huff Post on Manning's defense "and the rule of law."

2:10  Interesting piece by Josh Gerstein at Politico.  "Leaking classified information to the media is a more serious offense than spying, the Justice Department argued in a court filing last week.  The argument came in a motion supporting the detention of Jeffrey Sterling, a former CIA officer indicted for allegedly giving a reporter classified details about a CIA program aimed at interfering with Iran’s nuclear efforts.  'The defendant’s unauthorized disclosures…may be viewed as more pernicious than the typical espionage case where a spy sells classified information for money,'  the prosecution team wrote in a brief submitted by attorneys at Justice Department headquarters and the U.S. Attorney’s office in Alexandria, Va."

1:00 Early today we noted (before virtually anyone else) that Germany's daily paper Die Welt had gotten access to cables via Norway's Afternposten.  Then we reported on Die Welt  publishing revelations on Turkey's involvement with U.S. "rendition." Now here is the paper's editorializing on why it got engaged, though a bit too breast-thumping about breaking the newspaper "cartel"-- several others have long been publishing cables beyond the original core group.

11:45  Don't have translation on all this yet but apparently this Aftenposten piece today reveals that the U.S. tried to prevent "Baby Doc" Duvalier from returning to Haiti in 2006, according to cables. 

11:20  NYT now out with its piece on the Swiss banker "tax cheating of the rich and famous" leak to WIkiLeaks today.

10:50  I noted below  at 9:00 a tip from my friend at Aftenposten that his paper had shared its cache of cable with Germany's Die Welt.  And now we see that the German paper is publishing a bombshell:  "The US secret services used Turkey as a base to transport terrorism  suspects as part of its extraordinary rendition programme, German daily Die Welt reported today citing a WikiLeaks cable.

 "Some 24 CIA flights landed at Incirlik airport in southern Turkey between 2002 and 2006 with the knowledge of the Turkish military, according to a cable from the US embassy in Ankara dated June 8, 2006, the paper said.  'The Turkish military has since 2002 allowed us to use Incirlik as a refuelling stop for prisoner transport flights from 'Operation Fundamental Justice', but revoked permission in February this year,' said the cable, referring to the rendition programme.

"On June 14, 2006, a spokesman for Turkey's foreign ministry, Namik Tan, told reporters: 'The Turkish government and state never played a part (in the secret transfers) ... and never will.'"

9:55 Oh, jesus, the new Miss America, who had slammed (with facts wrong) Wikileaks during the contest, visited (naturally) Fox & Friends  today.    They reveal that she is a "home schooled conservative Christian."   She said the beauty contest provided a dose of "idealism" for Americans.

9:50   Valauble WL Central list of cablegate "advanced resource" sites.  Here's WL Central's report on this morning tax cheat leak / Assange press conf.

9:10  Fascinating piece at a WSJ site on article in Chinese current affair magazine: "We can predict: perhaps in the not-so-distant future, you, me, him, everybody could be Assange....  In recent weeks, leaks of information embarrassing to a number of government agencies and officials in various parts of the country suggest that plenty of Chinese Assanges have already emerged." Offers examples. 

9:00  My reporter friend at the Norwegian paper Aftenposten emails me this morning:  "More international cooperation between Aftenposten and international media partners. We are now also sharing our Cablegate dump with Germany's  Die Welt:. ... We are at this moment cooperating with four regional newspapers here,  in Norway, Danish Politiken, Swedish Svenska Dagbladet, Dutch NRC Handelsblad and TV station RTL + other partners in three more countries that will be presented later."

8:55 New piece from Glenn Greenwald on Applying U.S. Principles Internet Freedom." Declares, "the real agents of harnessing Interent and media technologies to promote freedom and human rights in Tunisia (and elsewhere) are either currently imprisoned by the U.S. (Manning), being harassed and on the verge of being prosecuted (WikiLeaks), or constantly demonized in the American media (Al Jazeera)."

8:45  Full story here on the "tax cheat leak" story and Elmer / Assange presser today (see more below).   AP's full take here.   "For its part, Julius Baer Bank has denied any wrongdoing and any allegations that it may have aided clients who wanted to avoid taxes by using offshore accounts. The bank has also accused Mr. Elmer of trying to discredit the bank because he was fired."

8:40   Pentagon adviser, a retired colonel, charges that Bradley Manning's homesexuality was factor in alleged leak.  "The reason he downloaded and gave away these files allegedly had something to do with a fractured relationship that he had had with a fellow soldier."

8:35  Brigitta Jonsdottir tweets on Twitter case :  "My lawyers at EFF have until the 26th to find ways to quash the DoJ subpoena. The IPU will be discussing my case this week."

8:30  Check out this live blog of this morning's wild "tax cheat leak" press conference (see more below), which includes photo of surprise speaker  Assange holding up disc.   (h/t @Asher_Wolf)   A critique there:  "What seems abundantly clear is that this is pure showmanship. The handover of CDs is a nominal event, it is unfathomable that the data has not been transferred to Wikileaks by another means, or that there are not several backups of the data made. Were this the sole transfer, it’s not unreasonable to assume that an arrest would be made today, with such a breach of data privacy being made in public."

8:20  Yes, we do sleep here, after a late night of Wiki blogging (as you will see below).  So, like you most likely, I am still catching up to the surprise press conference today in London tied to the "tax cheat" leak--on the "rich and famous" and the Caymans-- from the Swiss banking whistleblower Rudolf Elmer (left) that we wrote about over the weekend.   The Guardian's blog  (lucky guys, five hours ahead and working while I'm sleeping) covered it well.  Assange appeared after press was told only that an unnamed WIkiLeaks reps was coming but stuck in traffic!

Assange at press conf refused to talk about his own case, saying this was called to just announce the "tax cheat" leak.  Elmer had handed over two CDs (hopefully, not Lady Gaga related) but Assange said he didn't know who the original leaker was for sure.  Elmer had stressed that he was giving the CDs to WikiLeaks, not Assange.   The latter did not promise when anything would come out, noting that his organization was involved in other things right now and pointed out that only 2.3% of the State Dept. cables had come out so far.  He also said that WIkiLeaks had faced more legal thrats from banks than any other entity.   Elmer said,  I’m thankful to WikiLeaks for helping me get message out. I was close to becoming mentally sick, paranoid.

1:20  Guardian editorial on Tunisia revolt mentions, does not credit, WikiLeaks, as debate over its role continues.

12:50  Fun piece on Magnetic Island, where Assange spent some time as a baby and kid.  And what about that drive to build a statue in tribute to the hometown (island)  hero?  Maggie may.

12:15  Fun site gives you a chance to pick next Assange hairstyle. -- no, better than that, you can design nd submit your own. Some beauties. (h/t  @Asher_Wolf) 

12:10  Good wrapup here of protests in Libya, Algeria, Egypt,  elsewhere, sparked by Tunisia revolt which had been sparked -- or not -- by WikiLeaks release.

12: 05  The Nation has put together a slide show tied to my current article on "Why WikiLeaks Matters," which lists a few dozen revelations from the past few months that many have already forgotten.  The slide show sticks to 18.

From Late Sunday

More details on Assange's early hacking days and exploits from new documents, as reported by several papers in Australia, including here.

Okay, look for Assange to leak the Steelers' offensive game plan before next weekend.

Thanks to all who have started sending links and tips and more: Two people even offered to translate from Dutch to English.  Until this week, I did not include my email at the head of this blog (above), but once I did, the advice and suggestons started flowing.   Thanks again.

 

THE WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG: Special Weekend Edition!

As I've done for more than six weeks, I will be updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks all day, with new items added at the top. All times are ET in USA. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Information on some of my books here.

** SUNDAY ** 

11:00 If you haven't caught up to this yet:  The Nation has put together a slide show tied to my current article on "Why WikiLeaks Matters," which lists a few dozen revelations from the past few months that many have already forgotten.  The slide show sticks to 18.

9:35  More details on Assange's early hacking days and exploits from new documents, as reported by several papers in Australia, including here.

9:15  Okay, look for Assange to leak the Steelers' offensive game plan before next weekend.

1:45  Okay,  let's put the Obama White House in the camp of those rejecting the idea that WIkiLeak sparked the Tunisia revolt. Wash Post reports:  "The Obama administration is rejecting claims that revelations of rampant corruption in Tunisia in secret U.S. diplomatic documents sparked the popular revolt that overthrew the authoritarian leadership of the North African nation.  State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said Sunday that Tunisians were well aware of the graft, nepotism and lavish lifestyles led by ex-President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali and his family long before the WikiLeaks website published the diplomatic cables.

"Crowley said in a Tweet that the Tunisian people alone are the catalysts for the uprising that saw the autocratic Ben Ali flee the country on Friday."

12:15  This won't likely make the front-page of the NYT tomorrow but it's a good example of how WikiLeaks revelations often produce outsized, startling effects in small countries.  "Panama’s main opposition party has called for the removal from office of the head of the country’s tourism authority following Wikileaks revelations that the former U.S. Ambassador suspected links to drug traffickers."

11:30 Updating the story at 11:20 below: Aftenposten now has lengthy account of the Iran / nuclear cables in English.

11:25  Glenn Greenwald tweets on Miss America (see below):  "The new Miss America's winning anti-WikiLeaks answer would fit perfectly in any CNN or network news show:"  I should reveal here that back in 1974, I wrote a cover story for the legendary Crawdaddy (where I was an editor) on covering a Miss USA pageant, with title "Selling Boobs to the Rubes." 

11:20  My friend at Aftenposten send me this news earlier today but the article was in Norwegian.  Now Haaretz is out with a piece on new cables, published by Aftenposten, on Iran, according to the cables, racing to get nuclear material before sanctions make it impossible.

10:15  I covered this last night, but here's Business Insider take with groovy headline: "Tomorrow, Wikileaks Will Gets Tons Of Data On Millionaires Who Evade Taxes Using Offshore Accounts."

9:50  Thanks to all who have started sending links and tips and more: Two people even offered to translate from Dutch to English.  Until this week, I did not include my email at the head of this blog (above), but once I did, the advice and suggestons started flowing.   Thanks again.

8:20:   That Norwegian paper Afternposten just launched new cables that show U.S. knew all about massive corruption in Tunisia back in 2006 but went on supporting gov't anyway, making it "the pillar of its North Africa policy."    Juan Cole cover here.  Meanwhile,   Libya's Gaddafi (left), "saddened" by events in Tunisia, warns Tunisians against being tricked by "WikiLeaks which publishes information written by lying ambassadors in order to create chaos."

7:55  Last night I posted a tweet from a reader announcing that, lo and behold, a Miss America contestant had been asked about WIkiLeaks in the TV broadcast last night.  Now here's video  and transcript (h/t Vanessa Banti).   Oh, by the way, the young lady, Miss Nebraska, critical of WikiLeaks, won the contest.  Take that, Julian Assange!

Everybody's talking about the Wikileaks, how do we balance people's right to know with the need for government security?

"You know when it came to that situation it was actually based on espionage, and when it comes to the security of our nation we have to focus on security first, and then people's right to know. Because it's so important that everyone in our borders is safe, and so we can't let things like that happen and they must be handled properly... and I think that was the case."

** SATURDAY **

11:50  I've posted the sometimes combative Stephen Colbert interview with Assange from back in April before, but this version purports to be the "unedited" version.

11:40  Love this tweet from @HeyRatty, but no idea if true, anyone else see this?  "They just asked a Wikileaks question to one of the Miss America contestants. Her answer wasn't totally awful."   The way some in media have acted, I wouldn't be surprised to now see Assange asked about Miss America. 

8:30  Love this headline and story from The Guardian:   "Swiss whistleblower Rudolf Elmer plans to hand over offshore banking secrets of the rich and famous to WikiLeaks:  He will disclose the details of 'massive potential tax evasion' before he flies home to stand trial over his actions."

7:15  Juan Cole on Tunisia.

6:20  Full video of Assange interview now released (see below at 12:30).

4:20  Scott Shane's new piece at NYT puts him in the camp of those giving a good deal of credit to WIkiLeaks for Tunisia revolt.  Read whole thing, but he says the cables "helped fuel the anger on the streets that culminated Friday with Mr. Ben Ali’s flight after 23 years in power," adding, "the diplomats’ disgusted and lurid accounts of the kleptocratic ways of the president’s extended family helped tip the scales, according to many Tunisian commentators."

And it closes with these two key grafs:  

"[T]he cables’ role in whatPresident Obama lauded Friday as 'this brave and determined struggle for the universal rights' underscores the awkward dilemma the WikiLeaks cables have posed for the administration.

"Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has been pressing an '“Internet Freedom' initiative, emphasizing the power of the Web to expose injustice and promote democracy. But at the same time, the Justice Department is conducting a criminal investigation of WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, including using subpoenas to try to obtain the private Internet activity, credit card numbers and bank account details of Mr. Assange and his associates." 

3:25  The Nation has put together a slide show tied to my current article on "Why WikiLeaks Matters," which lists a few dozen revelations from the past few months that many have already forgotten.  The slide show sticks to 18.

2:05  Dahr Jamail at Truthout on "Bradley Manning and GI Resistance to U.S. War. Crimes."  Declres: "What Manning did by leaking this critical information has been to uphold his oath as a soldier in the most patriotic way. Now, compare that with how he has been raked over the coals by most of the so-called mainstream media."  (h/t Kevin Gosztola)

1:25  Amazing from AP: The State Dept., while ripping WikiLeaks, is promoting the recent acclaimed film about my old friend Dan Ellsberg, The Most Dangerous Man in America.  The State Department announced today that the film "has been selected as one of 18 films that will tour the world this year as part of its American Documentary Showcase program"

12:30 Still trying to keep up with, translate, and understand the massive leak of cables to the Dutch news outlets by Aftenposten, but there's a new Assange interview there (see video), and background on Dutch planning to stay in Afghanistan awhile may be key.  The headline on the Assange interview, I'm told, translates as: "Netherlands should know everything now" followed by text:  "The parliament of the Netherlands should know the cable information to make a fully informed decision to vote to send a 'police mission' to Afghanistan."  The video:  

 

12:05  ABC in U.S. catches up on the Jacob Appelbaum airport hassling (and see Glenn Greenwald below).

10:55   Young kids cartoons on WikiLeaks, some pretty funny.

10:25  New post by Evgeny Morozov at Foreign Policy on WikiLeaks and Tunisia, Clay Shirky, and "social media."

10:05  Just gimme some truth, he might have said?   Or just gimme a break? Well,  he did name his kid Julian.   John Lennon would have been an Assange fan, according to this.   "I think the internet has always been potentially a force for freedom of speech and it's proving itself right now. And Lennon would have been just loving that."

9:25  A Guardian blog re-creates the Tunisia revolt and crisis as it happened.  Still much debate over how much or how little it was sparked by WikiLeaks disclosures.

9:15   Glenn Greenwald interviews Rep. Loretta Sanchez about Homeland Security's seizure of citizens' laptops at airports, tied to recent cases involving WikiLeaks people.  He says, "When you really think about it, it's simply inconceivable that the U.S. Government gets away with doing this.  Seizing someone's laptop, digging through it, recording it all, storing the data somewhere, and then distributing it to various agencies is about the most invasive, privacy-destroying measure imaginable."

8:55  National Post Q & A  w/ Iceland MP Birgitta Jonsdottir.

8:00  Bank of America holding to explanation that yesterday's site outages for many not tied at all to hacking or other Anonymous type attacks.

12:25 a.m. Article in this week's New Statesman by Assange ally John Pilger re-fashioned here and given title "The War on WikiLeaks,"  including defense of Assange in the sex crime case.

LATE FRIDAY

11:20 p.m.  Hooray: The Wall Street Journal joins the now long list of top publications which, after the passing of many days, finally corrected earlier articles that alleged WikiLeaks had released many thousands of cables or even 250,000 of them. 

And The New York Times corrects a whopper of its own, pointed out by many of us today:  "An article on Friday about Pfc. Bradley Manning, the soldier accused of providing classified material to WikiLeaks, misstated the amount of money donated by WikiLeaks to Private Manning’s legal defense fund. It has donated $15,100, not more than $100,000."  Plus: "The article also misstated the association that David M. House, a friend who has visited Private Manning, has with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is a researcher there, not a graduate student." 

11:00  Amy Davidson of The New Yorker weighs in on WikiLeaks and Tunisia and raises this key point I've pushed myself for weeks: "Does any one person know enough about all of the countries mentioned in the cables to say for sure how significant they are? Unless someone does, it is rash to keep talking about how they add texture but 'no great revelations.'”    Th check a skeptic of the WikiLeaks role in Tunisia, follow @EvgenyMorozov at Twitter.

 10:55   One more time, allow me to direct your attention to my piece for The Nation's print issue next week, which was posted online Thursday afternoon, on   "Why WikiLeaks Matters."   I suggest that, in the end, what most people think of the leaks and the organization will be profoundly influenced by what value they believe rests in the content of the leaks.  And, too often, the media, and even U.S. officials, have charged, "nothing new, just move along."   There's been very little followup on most of the bombshell disclosures, at least in this country.  My long list of significant revelations in the past six months counters that view strongly.

The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Friday, Day 48

As I've done for more than six weeks, I will be updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks all day, with new items added at the top. All times are ET in USA. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Information on some of my books here.

11:00  Amy Davidson of The New Yorker weighs in on WikiLeaks and Tunisia and raises this key point I've pushed myself for weeks: "Does any one person know enough about all of the countries mentioned in the cables to say for sure how significant they are? Unless someone does, it is rash to keep talking about how they add texture but 'no great revelations.'”    Th check a skeptic of the WikiLeaks role in Tunisia, follow @EvgenyMorozov at Twitter.

4:55  Fast Company piece on new problems / threats cause by sudden surge in new "unredacted" cables -- and Shamir.  " Unredacted versions of censored WikiLeaks cables appear to be quietly (and widely) disseminating through the torrentsphere, conventional websites, and the murky subculture of conspiracy- and cryptography-oriented websites. Meanwhile, a controversial Russian figure associated with WikiLeaks has announced his intent to release further unredacted cables to the web."

4:30  Evgeny Morozov's first thoughts on the Tunisia revolt and the Internet and Wikileaks at the Foreign Policy blog.   New from Wired on this, and how U.S. helicopter sales could not save Tunisia leaders.

3:00  Rop Gonggrijp,  one of those at the center of DOJ move against Twitter for info on WIkiLeaks backers, has interesting blog post.   "Being involved in a criminal investigation, and especially one which is likely to have huge political pressure behind it, is a very serious matter. So I am talking to lawyers, trying to better understand what is going on and I am weighing my options."  Also:  "The entire process of releasing this [Collateral Murder] video is ridiculously well-documented as Raffi Khatchadourian, a journalist for The New Yorker, was with us the whole time. I recommend his article for an in-depth look at what happened. For a broader look at my life over the past year or so, I recommend reading a keynote speech I delivered in Berlin a few weeks ago."

 2:55   One more time, allow me to direct your attention to my piece for The Nation's print issue next week, which was posted online Thursday afternoon, on   "Why WikiLeaks Matters."   I suggest that, in the end, what most people think of the leaks and the organization will be profoundly influenced by what value they believe rests in the content of the leaks.  And, too often, the media, and even U.S. officials, have charged, "nothing new, just move along."   There's been very little followup on most of the bombshell disclosures, at least in this country.  My long list of significant revelations in the past six months counters that view strongly.

2:50  Bank of America still experiencing outages for some but they claim not WikiLeaks related.

1:45 I still don't have BOA problem but their twitter feed still apologizes for "disruption" and says they are still working on it.

12:50  No Anonymous threats that we know of, but flurry of interest   on outage at Bank of America site.  I can reach the site but just five minutes the help desk at BOA tweeted:  "We are aware of the issue and are working to resolve it as fast as possible. Please accept our apologies."

12:45  Bart Gellman, the former Wash Post journo now at Time, with "Techland" post on "Twitter, WikiLeaks and the Broken Market for Consumer Privacy."  One thing:  "The Obama administration, like those before it, promotes a disturbingly narrow interpretation of the Fourth Amendment, misapplying the facts of old analog cases to a radially different digital world." 

11:45   Wow,  Dutch paper gets, reports on,  3,000 new cables from U.S. embassy in the Hague back to D.C.,  thanks to sharing by Norwegian paper Aftenposten.   "The cables cover Iran, the JSF fighter jet, queen Beatrix's possible abdication, Islam critics Ayaan Hirsi Ali and Geert Wilders, the general election, parliamentary debates and how the US can influence them, the NRC said. One cable, published by the Telegraaf on Friday afternoon, focuses on a meeting between queen Beatrix and the new US ambassador Fay Hartog Levin in August 2009. During their talks, the queen reportedly tells the ambassador 'it will be difficult' to extend the Dutch military mission in Afghanistan.

11:40 Maybe it's NOT good to be King.  Rep. Peter King earlier this week called on the Treasury Dept. to ban all U.S. companies from having any dealings with WIkiLeaks.  Now this, just up at Wall Street Journal:  "The Treasury Department said it doesn’t have enough evidence to place sanctions on Wikileaks or its leader Julian Assange, Dow Jones Newswires reported..... the Treasury said none of its current programs can reach either Wikileaks or Assange. The Treasury administers but doesn’t create the criteria for sanctions; that power comes either legislatively or by executive order.   'We do not have evidence at this time as to Julian Assange or Wikileaks meeting criteria under which [Treasury] may designate persons and place them on the' sanctions list, a Treasury representative said in a statement."

10:55  We reported it virtually first here last night but now AP and others covering Manning's lawyer demand that he be released due to harsh conditions.  But military in major NYT story today (see way down on page below) refutes charges.  

10:35  The Guardian says all of those new court documents out of Australia (see below) emerged because of  The Guardian's request (ironically, the other papers beat them to covering them).    But: "To this, the Guardian can add the poignant detail that Assange lists his absent father, named in the court documents as John Shipton, who he has never met, as the nominal owner of WikiLeaks."  

10:30  To show how far this WikiLeaks-as-spark notion, true or not,  has penetrated into mainstream, note new tweet from the National Journal: "1st WikiLeaks revolution? RT @cnnbrk: President of #Tunisia dissolves government. http://on.cnn.com/dRGcXP  "

10:05  Ian Black of The Guardian in radio interview on WikiLeaks link to the Tunisia revolt.  I had noted provocative Foreign Policy posting on this last night.

10:00 I just tweeted this question, but again:  "Folks, key question for today: If I wrote an "instant book" reviewing past year in WikiLeaks, avail next week, price $12, would anyone buy?"   If you'd be so kind, please reply via email (see above), down below here in Comment, or at Twitter  @GregMitch    Thanks.

9:30  Marcy Wheeler at FDL  probes point made by Alexi Mostrous yesterday:  those widely report "insurance files" that Assange claims do not necessarily pertain to Murdoch or News Corp. (as also widely reported). 

9:00  BBC on Anonymous call for global protest on January 15, video, more.

8:50  I've never seen a shrink but, yes, some people called it Freudian when I tweeted a moment ago that I was once again "love-blogging WIkiLeaks."    My response:  Now, for sure, the DOJ will be after me.

8:20  Australia's The Age gets copies of  papers from 1996 court hearing for young Assange, releases some bio details today.   His computer his only friend, etc.   Love this:  ''He is clearly a person who wants the internet to be able to provide material to people that isn't paid for and he freely gives his services to that,'' Mr Galbally said.  Other news outlets there also got the documents, such as here.

8:15  Latest you-ask-we-search result at The Guardian from the cables:  The U.S. and the civil war in Nepal.

7:45:   Major new probe by Fred Branfman at Truthdig on what WikiLeaks has shown us about the nuke danger in Pakistan.  "The single most significant revelation of the State Department cables released by WikiLeaks is that U.S. policy is actually increasing the danger of a nuclear incident....These newly disclosed official U.S. cables, which strongly point to the growing threat to Americans from mismanaged U.S. policy, require urgent congressional hearings, greater media investigation and public protest."

7:40  The main WikiLeaks twitter feed today linked to this song for Bradley Manning.   Also this:  "US Congressman Mack (R) & FOX defend WikiLeaks http://youtube.com/watch?v=Uu6XAbnVqks ." 

 Late Thursday

Scott Shane of NYT with major new piece on Bradley Manning case (contrasted with Assange on 600 acre estate and with book deal).  Military again refutes all charges of ill treatment, claims he is not in solitary, and treated like other high-security risks there.  "He is the only person charged in the WikiLeaks case so far. And despite his supporters’ suspicions that he will be pressured to testify against Mr. Assange, the Army spokeswoman, Ms. Kelly, said that to date, Private Manning had not spoken with civilian investigators or prosecutors."

 Foreign Policy seriously  asks re: Tunisia: "The First WikiLeaks Revolution?"  Opens" "Tunisians didn't need any more reasons to protest when they took to the streets these past weeks -- food prices were rising, corruption was rampant, and unemployment was staggering. But we might also count Tunisia as the first time that WikiLeaks pushed people over the brink. These protests are also about the country's utter lack of freedom of expression -- including when it comes to WikiLeaks."

  Big news from the blog kept by Bradley Manning's attorney David Coombs related to lack of speedy trial and the conditions of his confinement.  First:  "On 9 January 2011, the defense filed a demand for speedy trial with the Government.  PFC Manning has been in pretrial confinement since 29 May 2010.  Since 12 July 2010, the case has been on Government requested excludable delay under R.C.M. 707(c).   This delay request by the Government was approved by the court-martial convening authority. The case is currently awaiting the start of a Rule for Courts-Martial (R.C.M.) 706 Board.   This board will likely begin its work in February."

And secondly:  "The defense has raised its objection to the documented confinement conditions of PFC Bradley Manning on multiple occasions with the Quantico confinement facility and the Staff Judge Advocate’s (SJA) Office.  On 5 January 2011, the defense filed a formal complaint with the commander of the Quantico Brig.  On the same day, PFC Manning also filed a formal complaint through the confinement grievance process.  Both complaints requested that the confinement facility remove PFC Manning from Prevention of Injury (POI) watch and that his classification level be reduced from 'Maximum'  to 'Medium Detention In.'  The confinement facility did not respond to either complaint.     

"Due to the lack of response from the confinement facility, the defense, pursuant to the provisions of Rule for Courts-Martial (R.C.M.) 305(g), filed a request earlier today with the Garrison Commander to direct the release of PFC Bradley Manning from pretrial confinement.  This request is based upon the fact that the confinement conditions currently being endured by PFC Manning are more rigorous than necessary to guarantee his presence at trial, and that the concerns raised by the government at the time of pretrial confinement are no longer applicable.  Further steps to address PFC Manning's confinement conditions will be taken, if necessary."

 
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Thursday DAYBOOK: Obama Speech, Palin's 'Libel,' Arrest in Threat Against Congressman, Much More

WELCOME TO DAYBOOK, our daily collection of media and politics hits/misses plus fun videos and (at the bottom) a music pick. Return for updates. Keep up with fresh items via @gregmitch at Twitter. E-mail me at: epic1934@aol.com.

MORNING ROAST

Of course, nothing apparently counts until we get Palin's reaction, but early reactions to the Obama speech: Generally very postiive, even from some at FOX. NYT editorial here. But, no surprise, Michael Gerson on CNN: an Obama "pep rally" and how dare he "lecture" about the "news cycle"? And "too long." David Gergen agreed on length and rally aspect.  Text of speech and key video clip here.

That Tucson community college releases file on Jared Loughner with its concerns about the "creepy" student.  On drugs? Nuts? 

Time mag cover story today: "Guns. Speech. Madness." Sure to have same effect as previous ones on same theme.

Down memory lane. Palin in 2008 was blamed by Secret Service over rise in death threats against Obama. 

Now the earlier Palin video Maybe TLC will do a 2nd season of Palin show after all and call it True Blood Libel... Gerson on CNN says Palin's talk was "7 minutes Reagan and 30 seconds Spiro Agnew." Pretty kind, no?... Is this the new standard? Lawrence O'Donnell on Palin: "When Perez Hilton & Krauthammer don't like your speech you are in serious trouble."

Tweet from @cdashiell: "The first rule of Hate Club: don't talk about Hate Club."

MoJo: Boehner Stymies Gun Reform

Ross Douthat attempts to dig out from Dems-benefit-from Tucson remark in recent column, digs deeper at the end.

Here's story on arrest in Rep. McDermott death threats but does not capture guy's right wing rhetoric in calls.  I refer you to FBI doc on rigthwinger arrested... Arrest also last year for man waving meat cleaver at Sen. Patty Murray backers, another wanted her "hung" and got applause... But threats against lawmakers rarely lead to charges...

Yes, I am live-blogging WIkiLeaks for a 47th day (isn't this how Nightline started?)... 

Meanwhile, Rep. Peter King wants Treasury Dept to ban US companies from having any deallings w/ WikiLeaks. Assanage has already responded (see my blog)...  Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins slam WikiLeaks in today's WSJ. They're all for "transparency, BUT... "  Assange needs to make video of him hunting or taking target practice on that estate, then he'd be much more popular in the USA.

Think Progress breaks today: "Arizona Republicans Resign After Giffords Shooting, Citing Threats From Local Tea Partiers." Wife of one worried about precinct workers' houses getting shot up.

BITS & PIECES  Huh? "Tillman" not among finalists for Directors Guild best doc prize... NOAA: 2010 ties 2005 as warmest year on record. Gotta love this: Stephen Baldwin apologizing to Sean Hannity for bashing him—after Sean ripped older brother Alec... NYT reviews Rodney Crowell's memoir... I'll be writing soon about upcoming Harper's cover story: some modern Don Drapers propose US gov't run image ads—during Super Bowl... With Ted Williams entering rehab, someone should take a look at how many in media reported his sobriety as fact. Legions.

TODAY's LAFF

Stephen on Palin and response to Tucson.

The Colbert Report Mon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
The Word - Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Angriness
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog Video Archive
 
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THE WIKILEAKS NEWS & VIEWS BLOG for Thursday, Day 47

As I've done for more than six weeks, I will be updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks all day, with new items added at the top. All times are ET in USA. Contact me at epic1934@aol.com. Information on some of my books here.

UPDATE   Friday's edition of this blog.

10:20  Scott Shane of NYT with major new piece on Bradley Manning case (contrasted with Assange on 600 acre estate and with book deal).  Military again refutes all charges of ill treatment, claims he is not in solitary, and treated like other high-security risks there.  "He is the only person charged in the WikiLeaks case so far. And despite his supporters’ suspicions that he will be pressured to testify against Mr. Assange, the Army spokeswoman, Ms. Kelly, said that to date, Private Manning had not spoken with civilian investigators or prosecutors."

10:00 Foreign Policy seriously  asks re: Tunisia: "The First WikiLeaks Revolution?"  Opens" "Tunisians didn't need any more reasons to protest when they took to the streets these past weeks -- food prices were rising, corruption was rampant, and unemployment was staggering. But we might also count Tunisia as the first time that WikiLeaks pushed people over the brink. These protests are also about the country's utter lack of freedom of expression -- including when it comes to WikiLeaks."

9:50  Evgeny Morozov tweets:  "Unpublished Wikileaks Cables Appear on State-Backed Belarusian Website" -> if true WL's Shamir problem is getting worse   http://goo.gl/epaKA "

8:05  Big news from the blog kept by Bradley Manning's attorney David Coombs related to lack of speedy trial and the conditions of his confinement.  First:  "On 9 January 2011, the defense filed a demand for speedy trial with the Government.  PFC Manning has been in pretrial confinement since 29 May 2010.  Since 12 July 2010, the case has been on Government requested excludable delay under R.C.M. 707(c).   This delay request by the Government was approved by the court-martial convening authority. The case is currently awaiting the start of a Rule for Courts-Martial (R.C.M.) 706 Board.   This board will likely begin its work in February."

And secondly:  "The defense has raised its objection to the documented confinement conditions of PFC Bradley Manning on multiple occasions with the Quantico confinement facility and the Staff Judge Advocate’s (SJA) Office.  On 5 January 2011, the defense filed a formal complaint with the commander of the Quantico Brig.  On the same day, PFC Manning also filed a formal complaint through the confinement grievance process.  Both complaints requested that the confinement facility remove PFC Manning from Prevention of Injury (POI) watch and that his classification level be reduced from 'Maximum'  to 'Medium Detention In.'  The confinement facility did not respond to either complaint.     

"Due to the lack of response from the confinement facility, the defense, pursuant to the provisions of Rule for Courts-Martial (R.C.M.) 305(g), filed a request earlier today with the Garrison Commander to direct the release of PFC Bradley Manning from pretrial confinement.  This request is based upon the fact that the confinement conditions currently being endured by PFC Manning are more rigorous than necessary to guarantee his presence at trial, and that the concerns raised by the government at the time of pretrial confinement are no longer applicable.  Further steps to address PFC Manning's confinement conditions will be taken, if necessary."

5:50  Foreign Policy looks at the WikiLeak cable dump today re: Iceland, with attention to how U.S. proposed helping it out during its recent financial crisis -- to keep the Russians at bay.  Talk about a cold war.

4:40  Wendy Kaminer with good piece at The Atlantic on Rep. Peter King's call for a ban on all U.S. companies dealing with WikiLeaks, and brigns up some fresh points.  "King is especially incensed that an American publisher, Knopf, has entered into a book deal with Assange (who is reportedly receiving over a million dollars for his memoir); and if he is now blacklisted, you could conceivably break the law merely by buying his book, or contributing to a WikiLeaks defense fund. In other words, King is not simply targeting Assange and Wikileaks; he is targeting all of us -- every American citizen and company. In his view, even a paying consumer of information and ideas from WIkiLeaks or Assange is collaborating in terrorism."

3:50  My piece for The Nation's print issue next week went  up online this afternoon, on  "Why WikiLeaks Matters."   I suggest that, in the end, what most people think of the leaks and the organization will be profoundly influenced by what value they believe rests in the content of the leaks.  And, too often, the media, and even U.S. officials, have charged, "nothing new, just move along."   There's been very little followup on most of the bombshell disclosures, at least in this country.  My long list of significant revelations in the past six months counters that view strongly.

3:35  Glenn Greenwald tweets: "The U.S. is detaining Americans & seizing their laptops when they re-enter the country - all without warrants - & nobody seems to mind much."

3:30  Love this title of essay in London Review of Books: "Good Manners in the Age of WikiLeaks."   Claims, "we face the shameless cynicism of a global order whose agents only imagine that they believe in their ideas of democracy, human rights and so on. Through actions like the WikiLeaks disclosures, the shame – our shame for tolerating such power over us – is made more shameful by being publicised."

2:20  Fast Company: No, if you are simply among the zillions following WikiLeaks on Twitter, the DOJ probably has no interest in you or your records.  Dang.

1:00  NYT with look at debate over Web privacy, and 1986 law, in wake of DOJ vs. Twitter move.

12:35  As the Guardian blog notes, giant update today, after long lull, of published cables at main WikiLeaks site—over 350 in all.

12:05  Hey, DOJ, why don't you lock up the Associated Press for disclosing documents on secret cyber war activities by the Pentagon in Iraq and Afghanistan, and maybe Somalia and Yemen?  

11:45  This appears to be a new site dedicated to exposing sites and registered domains that call for killing WikiLeaks people.

11: 40  I suppose I should note that I wrote one of the first books about whistleblowers, way back in 1980, titled Truth... and Consequences. It profiled a wide-ranging group, including the V.A. worker largely responsible for exposing Agent Orange, Maude DeVictor. One group I worked with at the time, the Government Accountability Project, or GAP, is still around and doing vital work, and recently linked to Bradley Manning updates at its site.

11:05  Fun cartoon on how Obama could really halt WikiLeaks (via Guardian blog, thanks).

10:30  A further report on what I noted earlier (see below) re: WikiLeaks delivering on $15,000 donation to Manning defense fund.

10:05  After its correction on the article yesterday still brought criticism, the Guardian returns today with a lengthy commentary from deputy editor Ian Katz. He admits critics have a point—

but only up to a point. Much of it reviews the longstanding confusion over assigning credit or blame for what is published, some of it fostered by the Guardian and other news outlets.

9:40  New York magazine only the latest to cover Assange's claim of having "insurance files" on Murdoch, but it does provide some good background.

9:35  Not sure that I've ever mentioned that I also do a daily Daybook for The Nation of links and video on broad newsy topics, not just WL.

9:15  I admit I don't know quite what to make of all this, but an FDL poster sums up new claims against attorney for accusers vs. Assange re: his ties to CIA and torture and rendition, plus an animated "interview" with him.

8:40  BBC: That guywho hacked Palin's email just went to prison—even though judge had suggested a halfway house at first. Seems the US government intervened. "The US Bureau of Prisons (BOP) would not comment on why Judge Phillips' recommendations had not been followed, but said decisions concerning inmates took into account a number of factors."

8:30  Live-stream of Democracy Now!: interview with Iceland MP Brigitta Jonsdottir, will also be available there later.

7:50  Don't miss new piece at The Atlantic by Reza Aslan who asks after perusing cables, "Do We Have Ahmadienjad All Wrong?" Thusly:  "Is it possible that Iran's blustering president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, long thought to be a leading force behind some of Iran's most hard-line and repressive policies, is actually a reformer whose attempts to liberalize, secularize, and even 'Persianize' Iran have been repeatedly stymied by the country's more conservative factions? That is the surprising impression one gets reading the latest WikiLeaks revelations, which portray Ahmadinejad as open to making concessions on Iran's nuclear program and far more accommodating to Iranians' demands for greater freedoms than anyone would have thought."

7:35  Last night we reported call by Rep. Peter King, newly-powerful GOP member of Congress, for ban on all US companies having any dealings with WikiLeaks. Now the org has responded with a long statement. Assange: "The Homeland Security Committee chair Peter T. King wants to put a Cuban style trade embargo around the truth—forced on US citizens at the point of a gun.... WikiLeaks is a publishing organization. It is time to cut through the bluster. There is no allegation by the US government or any other party, that WikiLeaks has hurt anyone, at any time during its four-year publishing history, as a result of anything it has published. Very few news organizations can say as much."

7:30  Here's a new report that WikiLeaks just donated, as promised, another $15,000 to the Bradley Manning defense fund, bringing total to $100,000.

7:25  The Guardian on the hotel resort Baha Marin the Bahamas that had the US so worried re: China. "American diplomats feared heavy Chinese investment in the Bahamas, including in a luxury hotel, would destabilise US influence in a post-Castro Caribbean, according to leaked state department cables."

7:20  The Norwegian paper Aftenposten continues to publish cables from its own batch. Today's include a couple on whaling, China and more. 

12:05 a.m.  We summarized excerpts on Wednesday but here is full New Statesman piece by John Pilger on Assange, the actual pages, with photos, in PDF form.

12:02 a.m.  WL Central notes that, following Assange promise this morning at hearing, cables are getting getting published at WikiLeaks site for first time in nearly a week. Others had appeared since then via newspapers on their own.

Late Wednesday

The latest on those recently discovered domain names julianassangemustdie, killjulianassange and so forth. None have content yet so hosters say don't much care.

Senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins w/ op-ed in WSJ tomorrow on how to prevent the next WikiLeaks dump. "We all support transparency, but these criminal leaks were not about open government. WikiLeaks's recklessness compromised our national security and could put the lives of our citizens, soldiers and allies at risk."  

Rep. Peter King wants to ban companies dealling with WikiLeaks at all. He "asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Wednesday to prohibit people and companies within the U.S. from doing business with the Wikileaks website that has publicized hundreds of thousands of secret government documents.

"King said the prohibition should also extend to Wikileaks' founder, Julian Assange. Both ought to be placed on the Specially Designated National and Blocked Persons List, which the Treasury Department can use to bar companies and individuals subject to U.S. jurisdiction from conducting business with a given entity, King said."

 
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DAYBOOK for Wednesday: Latest on Tucson, Threats and Guns, Jon Stewart & 'Huck Finn,' Much More

WELCOME TO DAYBOOK, our daily collection of media and politics hits/misses plus fun videos and (at the bottom) a music pick. Return for updates. Keep up with fresh items via @gregmitch at Twitter. E-mail me at: epic1934@aol.com.

MORNING ROAST

Just what we wanted to hear: VP Biden on surprise visit to Afghanistan assures corrupt Karzai that he will get plenty of US aid past promised 2014 "pullout." Money for nothing and his kicks for free?

CBS poll: 1 in 6 Americans say violence against gov't can be "justified," more than 1 in 4 GOPers say so (according to separate CBS response).

Think Progress breaks today: "Arizona Republicans Resign After Giffords Shooting, Citing Threats From Local Tea Partiers." Wife of one worried about precinct workers' houses getting shot up.

WSJ gets access to Jared Loughner postings at gaming site. Plenty of anger, craziness and misogny, plus "Kill Cops," but no overt poltiics... NYT: Police say they went to Loughner's home on numerous occasions, exactly why not yet revealed.

Huff Post takes down Cenk Uygur blog post on Tucsonyou can read it via here and judge yourself.

Palin finally speaks out today. Violent Rhetoric Doesn’t Inspire Violence

But Criticism Of Violent Rhetoric Does. Also, use of "blood libel" hit by some as anti-Semitic.

Now: Gun nuts, fit your weapon with a Rep. Wilson "You Lie" thingy.  Attached to your pistol. (Update: Site taken down.).... Would you sell a used carbine to this man? Jack Shafer: Jared Loughner, ready for his photo op... Craziness Is a Warm Gun, yes it is: Glock sales surge.

Threats against lawmakers rarely lead to charges... Talking Points Memo: "Before Shooting, A Campaign Season Rife With Gun Rhetoric."

Even Matt Taibbi suggesting he'll turn down the rhetorical bomb throwing in wake of Tucson... MIchael Kinsley recalls Bill O'Reilly's wish that he get his head cut off. Good column overall...

Down memory lane from 2008: "Another Man Yells 'Kill Him!' About Obama At Palin Rally."

Yes, I am live-blogging all things WikiLeaks for a 46th day. Now, I know how Joe DiMaggio felt. You can catch with the yesterday's Wiki news and views here.

New from Glenn Greenwald: Why Assange, and others, rightly fear "American justice."

pourmecoffee tweets: "Kathleen Parker is like Bruce Willis in Sixth Sense now

she's gone but doesn't quite know it yet."

GottaLaff tweets: "Sarah Palin shops at Target, but calls it Surveyors."

TODAY's LAFF

The Daily Show probes the Huck Finn no-N-word deletion. Yeah, restore the edits and change author's name to Li'l Twain.

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon - Thurs 11p / 10c
Mark Twain Controversy
www.thedailyshow.com
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor & Satire Blog</a> The Daily Show on Facebook

 

 

TODAY's MUSIC

The greatest, or in any case, my favorite 25 notes in the history of music (also first-ever solo introduction to a concerto of symphony). Or if you prefer, the greatest recent full live performance.

 
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The WikiLeaks News & Views Blog for Wednesday, Day 46

As I've done for more than six weeks, I will be updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks all day, with new items added at the top.  All times are ET in USA.   Contact me at   epic1934@aol.com.  Information on some my books here.

10:05  Senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins w/ op-ed in WSJ tomorrow on how to prevent the next WikiLeaks dump.  "We all support transparency, but these criminal leaks were not about open government. WikiLeaks's recklessness compromised our national security and could put the lives of our citizens, soldiers and allies at risk."  

9:55 Rep. Peter King wants to ban companies dealling with WikiLeaks at all.   He "asked Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner Wednesday to prohibit people and companies within the U.S. from doing business with the Wikileaks website that has publicized hundreds of thousands of secret government documents.

"King said the prohibition should also extend to Wikileaks' founder, Julian Assange. Both ought to be placed on the Specially Designated National and Blocked Persons List, which the Treasury Department can use to bar companies and individuals subject to U.S. jurisdiction from conducting business with a given entity, King said."

6:30  Fresh video interview with Icelandic MP in DOJ / Twitter case (now in Canada).

5:50  Given current events, obviously a good time to re-visit the leaked cable on Tunisia.

5:30  The Atlantic and Boing Boing cover the hassling of Appelbaum (see just below).

4:35  Amazing but true:  Remember print? I will  actually have a piece on WikiLeaks in the next issue of The Nation.

4:10  Jeff Jarvis tweets re: the below:   "Note that @ioerror is not a security threat. He is an information threat."   My view:   Appelbaum you should have given them a thumb drive marked Lady Gaga, might have blown their minds. 

3:45  Jacob Appelbaum (left), connected to WIkiLeaks and involved in the DOJ vs. Twitter move, tweeting now on again being subjected to search and harassment at Seattle airport.   @ioerror

2:35  Despite correctons today from The Guardian and Politico, Chris Albon of The Atlantic more or less stands by his story blaming possible Zimbabwe setbacks mainly on WikiLeaks.

2:10  Forbes blogger with amusing (? ) take on Assange's offhand remark in New Statesmen interview that he has "insurance" files to be released in an emergency,  possibly relating to News Corp and Murdoch.  So the Forbes guy riffs on this -- hey, taking on Bank of America is one thing, but going after Rupe and Fox, well, watch out!

1:30  Now Politico has added its own correction on that WikiLeaks / Zimbabwe report.  It's at bottom and exceedingly brief and mild.   For background see below at  11:00 and 9:25. 

12:05  Deep thought: Assange needs to make video of him hunting or taking target practice on that estate, then he'd be much more popular in USA.

11:25  And now, for a change in pace:  Florida trailer park resident sues Assange for $1.5 for causing mental stress due to raising fears of nuclear war.   Guy still hasn't collected on his suit against bin Laden.

11:20 EFF looks at 5 major overlooked cable revelations.  Note: In next week's print edition of The Nation I list or discuss about 30 in all from 2010.  

11:00  Greenwald with update to below (see 9:25):  " Beyond the falsehood documented here, Aaron Bady of Berkeley's PhD program describes how Albon, Richardson and others are completely simplifying -- distorting -- the situation in Zimbabwe in order to demonize WikiLeaks over this cable.   And Politico's Keach Hagey -- who wrote one of the above-referenced pieces repeating this falsehood -- has emailed me to say that she's now working to directly address these matters.  So credit where it's due.  We'll see if The Atlantic's Albon and The Wall Street Journal are similarly willing to acknowledge their serious errors."

 10:25  Assange attorney Mark Stephens in interview with German paper charges Sweden in cahoots with USA, simply drawing out case and extradition to give America chance to build case against his client.

10:00 U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg quits after just a year, denies link to WikiLeaks but one cable re: Gitmo had caused concern.

9:25  We noted this last night (see way below on this page) and now Glenn Greenwald with lengthy take slamming The Guardian, The Atlantic and many others with carry false claim about WIkiLeaks responsible for possible "collateral murder" in Zimbadwe.  "At the very least, the outlets that published this serious -- and seriously false -- accusation owe their readers a prominent, clear retraction."  Second half of column gets at why this and other media behavior unacceptable.

9:10  New Statesman bills this new interview with Assange by his friend John Pilger as an exclusive.  Covers Manning, Murdock and China, more.  "We have never published as much as we are now. WikiLeaks is now mirrored on more than 2,000 websites. I can't keep track of the spin-off sites - those who are doing their own WikiLeaks... If something happens to me or to WikiLeaks, 'insurance' files will be released."

The contents of these files? According to Assange, "[t]hey speak more of the same truth to power....There are 504 US embassy cables on one broadcasting organisation and there are cables on Murdoch and News Corp." 

9:05  Conservative in Australia's  Sydney Morning Herald admits: "Can't Hide Love for WikiLeaks." 

8:50  Oxford student who interned with WIkiLeaks at key moment in October writes about it.   Denies having crush on Assange.  BBC has summary and link to the Isis magazine piece.

8:40  When news broke over the weekend that our DOJ was after Twitter re: WikiLeaks, several thousand people stopped following the main WikiLeaks feed there, which then had about 637,000 such fans. Some experts have since suggested that no one in that mass group had anything to fear, and The Guardian notes today that the total has actually now climbed to 647,000.  Maybe it's the I Am Spartacus principle at work.

8:15  Terrific summary and video from yesterday's big forum at London's Frontline (which we noted yesterday), with valuable discussion of WikiLeaks featuring journos,  Assange lawyer Mark Stephens and more.  (h/t @Asher_Wolf) 

8:05  And, finally, a Julian Assange Coloring Book.  Have fun with Thoughtful Julian, Gagged Julian, Julian at Christmas,  as "Che" and more!  Online now!

8:00 Founder of whistleblowing site in China  not only denies link to WikiLeaks--but claims he operates with local official approval!

12:05 a.m. Tuesday's coverage of the Assange hearing critiqued, found to focus too strongly on his fears about rough justice in U.S. as prime part of his argument against extradition, when it was, allegedly, a minor one.

From late Tuesday

  As we've noted, Birgitta Jonsdottir,  the Icelandic MP (left)  involved in the DOJ / Twitter case is speaking in Canada this week, and here she sits for a lengthy Q & A with Toronto's Globe & Mail.

Jason Ching analysis in The National Law Journal:  "Bradley Manning will likely be prosecuted and convicted under the Espionage Act, but not Julian Assange because he is joined at the hip with news organizations."

Several Twitter friends have pointed out re: the item below that the original subhed remains unchanged on The Guardian piece with WikiLeaks still the sole recipient of Mugabe's "gratitude," not mentioning The Guardian. Also, the piece appears at the Comment Is Free part of The Guardian site, Richardson is not a Guardian columnist or op-ed writer in normal sense.

Last week The Guardian published a piece by James Richardson that charged WL with "collateral murder"  in Zimbadwe and earning "the ignominy of Robert Mugabe's gratitude."   Even though many bloggers, including yours truly, quickly pointed out that, in fact, it was The Guardian itself that first published the fateful cable, the paper did nothing to revise or amend or correct the article -- for eight days.  Finally, today, it happened with a rewritten photo caption, a slight edit,  and this at the end of the piece: "This article was amended on 11 January 2011 to clarify the fact that the 2009 cable referred to in this article was placed in the public domain by the Guardian, and not as originally implied by WikiLeaks. The photo caption was also amended to reflect this fact."


DAYBOOK for Tuesday: More Reactions to Tucson Massacre, Happiness Not a Warm Gun, More

WELCOME TO DAYBOOK, our daily collection of media and politics hits/misses plus fun videos and (at the bottom) a music pick. Return for updates. Keep up with fresh items via @gregmitch at Twitter. E-mail me at: epic1934@aol.com.

MORNING  MADNESS

We will spend one more day with special focus on items about the Tucson massacre and related stories.  Yes, I'm liveblogging WikiLeaks news and views again today, including Assange court hearing and arguments made there. Catch up on Monday in WikiLeaks wildness here.

Talking Points Memo: Before Shooting, A Campaign Season Rife With Gun Rhetoric.

David Brooks, no surprise: political rhetoric had zero to do with Tucson massacre. In fact, the media and lefties had it all wrong. Bob Herbert focuses on overall violence in USA.

Lawrence O'Donnell and Rachel Maddow last night with a strong focus on guns and violence. And Steve Yelvington tweets: "Gun nuts love everything about 2nd Amend except 'well-regulated militia' part, which seems to be written in invisible ink."

Jon Stewart's sincere, if rambling, five-minute opening comments on Tuscon shootings. Rest of show, the usual.

A lot here from Greg Sargent on some in GOP hitting Palin now. Plus he cites: "Dana Milbank argues the criticism of Palin and her 'chief spokesman' Glenn Beck is well deserved: 'Both are finally being held to account for recklessly playing with violent images in a way that is bound to incite the unstable.'"

Andy Borowitz tweets: "BREAKING: Fox Urges Hosts to Dial Down Rhetoric to 'Hateful'."

McClatchy: A year after earthquake, Haiti's recovery remains gridlocked.

89% of non-hospital abortion providers have experienced harassment.

Evgeny Morozov broke it yesterday this way: "Wow! julianassangemustdie.com is registered to melissaclouthier.com. Clouthier is a blogger for RightWingNews and StopTheACLU." Proof was here. This morning the domain registration has suddenly been removed. She tweets @Melissatweets. Clouthier recently wrote that the "ultimate truth" is: Obama is a "lazy moron." And she does joint podcasts with Andrew Malcolm, the former Laura Bush aide and longtime LA Times blogger. "Malcolm & Melissa."

Mother Jones: Some Dems ready to roll on filibuster reform but is Harry Reid on board?

LA Times in surprisingly tough editorial calls treatment of Bradley Manning "indefensible." 

TODAY's LAFF

Life story of Assange, newsreel style. (h/t  @Asher_Wolf).  Also checkout Vanity FairRe-capping the Lost Second Season of "Sarah Palin’s Alaska." 

 

 
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