WikiLeaks update

This video from the USA is called WikiLeaks CableGate.

The lawyer for Julian Assange accuses Sweden of acting as a stalking horse for the US government in bringing trumped-up sexual assault charges against the WikiLeaks founder: here.

Australian media organisations, Labor MPs attack persecution of Julian Assange: here.

Scores of cables between the US State Department and the American embassy in Brasilia released by WikiLeaks have laid bare the ruthless pursuit of US imperialist interests in Latin America’s largest country: here.

From the USA, on the persecution of WikiLeaks: Kieran Manjarrez, Woodchip Gazette: “After a quarter century of listening to sociologists, distressed mothers, sobbing victims and ‘at risk groups,’ Americans may have forgotten that a ‘risk’ is simply a conjectural possibility of harm. Some risks may be more probable or more direct than others but all risks are simply a speculative harm which might or might not actualize. With this in mind, it can be seen that the Administration is seeking to prosecute and imprison anyone who is unfortunate enough to have done something that some official decides is potentially injurious to the interests of the State. This principle is not unheard of; it just happens to be a principle insisted upon by tyrants and totalitarian regimes”: here.

The former United States ambassador to France suggested “moving to retaliation” against France and the European Union (EU) in late 2007 to fight a French ban on Monsanto’s genetically modified (GM) corn and changes in European policy toward biotech crops, according to a cable released by WikiLeaks on Sunday: here.

US to Vatican: Genetically Modified Food Is a “Moral Imperative”. Mike Ludwig, Truthout: “Secret United States diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks detail efforts to promote genetically modified (GM) crops and biotechnology across the globe, including the Vatican, where US diplomats pushed the Roman Catholic Church to support biotech food in developing nations. Cables from embassies in Spain, Austria and even Pakistan reveal the US diplomats have clearly sided with the biotech industry, even as court cases and public debates over GM food raged in the US and abroad”: here.

WikiLeaks and banking: here.

The Nation magazine in the US, with its publication of “The Case of Julian Assange” by columnist Katha Pollitt, has joined the right-wing campaign against the WikiLeaks co-founder: here.

Nation readers’ name Julian Assange ‘Person of the Year’ followed by Bernie Sanders and Bradley Manning: here.

Manning tortured: here.

Floyd Abrams, who played a significant role in the legal defense of the New York Times’ publication of the Pentagon Papers, has endorsed the government’s campaign against WikiLeaks and its editor Julian Assange: here.

Ellsberg on WikiLeaks: here.

Francis Shor, Truthout: “Given the battered economic and military standing of the United States over the past several years, the hysterical reaction of the American political class over the recent release of State Department cables by WikiLeaks is not surprising…. The abuses heaped on Julian Assange and the threats against him, especially, but not exclusively, from politicians in the United States, reflects this hollowing out of democracy and a fear of the new virtual world of free speech”: here.

McClatchy Newspapers: “A U.S. magistrate in San Francisco has ordered Twitter to turn over to the Justice Department account whatever information it was about four of its users, including WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and Army PFC Bradley Manning, the one-time Baghdad-based intelligence analyst accused of unauthorized downloading of hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. government documents”: here.

WikiLeaks documents have illuminated the underhand foreign policy shenanigans of governments worldwide. The cables also demonstrate that many states are intent on halting meaningful progress on the environment: here.

White House creating ‘insider threat’ programs to prevent new WikiLeaks: here.

Bradley Manning deserves to be free: here.

Amnesty International opposes US abuse of Private Manning: here.

2 thoughts on “WikiLeaks update


    Protect Assange, don’t abuse him
    John Pilger

    Published 15 December 2010

    “Rape is being used in the Assange prosecution in the same way that women’s freedom was used to invade Afghanistan. Wake up!”

    “Guardians of women’s rights” in the British liberal press have rushed to condemn the WikiLeaks founder. In fact, at every turn in his dealings with our justice system, his basic human rights have been breached.

    People wear masks with the face of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange as they demonstrate against his arrest in Barcelona, on December 11, 2010. Photograph: Getty Images.

    Forty years ago, a book entitled The Greening of America caused a sensation. On the cover were these words: “There is a revolution coming. It will not be like revolutions of the past. It will originate with the individual.” I was a correspondent in the United States at the time and recall the overnight elevation to guru status of the author, a young Yale academic, Charles Reich. His message was that political action had failed and only “culture” and introspection could change the world. This merged with an insidious corporate public relations campaign aimed at reclaiming western capitalism from the sense of freedom inspired by the civil rights and anti-war movements. The new propaganda’s euphemisms were postmodernism, consumerism and “me-ism”.

    The self was now the zeitgeist. Driven by the forces of profit and the media, the search for individual consciousness all but overwhelmed the spirit of social justice and internationalism. A new deity was proclaimed; the personal was the political.

    In 1995, Reich published Opposing the System, in which he recanted almost everything in The Greening of America. “There will be no relief from either economic insecurity or human breakdown,” he now wrote, “until we recognise that uncontrolled economic forces create conflict, not well-being . . .” There were no queues in the bookstores this time. In the age of economic neoliberalism, Reich was out of step with the rampant individualism of the west’s new political and cultural elite.
    False tribunes

    The revival of militarism in the west and the search for a new “threat” following the end of the cold war depended on the political disorientation of those who, 20 years earlier, would have formed a vehement opposition. On 11 September 2001, they were silenced finally, and many were co-opted into the “war on terror”. The invasion of Afghanistan in October 2001 was supported by leading feminists, especially in the US, where Hillary Clinton and other false tribunes of feminism made the Taliban’s treatment of Afghan women the rationale for attacking a stricken country and causing the deaths of at least 20,000 people while giving the Taliban new life. That the warlords backed by America were as medievalist as the Taliban was not allowed to interrupt such a right-on cause. The zeitgeist, the years of “personal” depoliticising and distracting true radicalism, had worked. Nine years later, the disaster that is Afghanistan is the consequence.

    It seems the lesson must be learned all over again as a group of media feminists joins the assault on Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, or the “Wikiblokesphere”, as Libby Brooks abuses it in the Guardian. From the Times to the New Statesman, apparent feminist credence is given to the chaotic, incompetent and contradictory accusations against Assange in Sweden.

    On 9 December, the Guardian published a long, supine interview by Amelia Gentleman with Claes Borgstrom, the “highly respected Swedish lawyer”. In fact, Borgstrom is foremost a politician, a powerful member of the Social Democratic Party. He intervened in the Assange case only when the senior prosecutor in Stockholm dismissed the “rape” allegation as based on “no evidence”. In Gentleman’s Guardian article, an anonymous source whispers to us that Assange’s “behaviour towards women . . . was going to get him into trouble”. This smear was taken up by Brooks in the paper that same day. Ken Loach and I and others on “the left” are “shoulder to shoulder” with the misogynists and “conspiracy theorists”. To hell with journalistic inquiry. Ignorance and prejudice rule.

    The Australian barrister James Catlin, who acted for Assange in October, says that both women in the case told prosecutors that they consented to have sex with Assange. Following the “crime”, one of the women threw a party in honour of Assange. When Borgstrom was asked why he was representing the women, as both denied rape, he said: “Yes, but they are not lawyers.” Catlin describes the Swedish justice system as “a laughing stock”. For three months, Assange and his lawyers have pleaded with the Swedish authorities to let them see the prosecution case. This was denied until 18 November, when the first official document arrived – in the Swedish language, contrary to European law.
    Unveiled threat

    Assange still has not been charged with anything. He has never been a “fugitive”. He sought and got permission to leave Sweden, and the British police have known his whereabouts since his arrival in this country. This did not stop a London magistrate on 7 December ignoring seven sureties and sending him to solitary confinement in Wandsworth Prison.

    At every turn, Assange’s basic human rights have been breached. The cowardly Australian government, which is legally obliged to support its citizen, has made a veiled threat to take away his passport. In her public remarks, the prime minister, Julia Gillard, has shamefully torn up the presumption of innocence that underpins Australian law. The Australian minister for foreign affairs ought to have called in both the Swedish and the US ambassadors to warn them against any abuse of human rights against Assange, such as the crime of incitement to murder.

    In contrast, vast numbers of decent people all over the world have rallied to Assange’s support: people who are neither misogynists nor “internet attack dogs”, to quote Libby Brooks, and who support a very different set of values from those espoused by Charles Reich. They include many distinguished feminists, such as Naomi Klein, who wrote: “Rape is being used in the Assange prosecution in the same way that women’s freedom was used to invade Afghanistan. Wake up!”


  2. Commentary
    An accountable world with WikiLeaks

    By Roland G. Simbulan
    Philippine Daily Inquirer
    First Posted 06:25:00 12/27/2010

    HAVE WE really come to terms with the impact and implications of WikiLeaks on the security and safety of our planet?

    Dubbed by many as the “biggest intelligence leak in history,” the global balance of power has now been altered with a devastating toll on the planet’s sole superpower: the United States. It is ironic that the greatest challenge to the world’s No. 1 superpower did not come from any rival military and economic behemoth. It came from an emerging international social movement, of which WikiLeaks is a part, that envisions technology as a tool for political change through freedom of information. Contrary to the opinion of those who have ordered public fatwas on WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the world with WikiLeaks will be a more secure, safe, transparent and accountable one. WikiLeaks seeks to foment a worldwide movement of what its founder Assange calls “mass leaking,” because he says “governance by conspiracy and fear depended on concealment.”

    US imperial diplomacy was indeed recently dealt an “epic blow,” as one US official described it, when an entire database―containing 251,287 diplomatic dispatches, or the equivalent of 1.6 gigabytes of text files, to and from the US State Department at Foggy Bottom and the 250 US Embassies and consulates worldwide―was released into cyberspace by Internet whistle-blowers, insiders having access to these highly classified and top secret material. Indeed, these are a smorgasbord of frank intelligence assessments by US Embassy listening posts on foreign leaders and governments.

    In early 2010, at least 76,607 US military reports from Afghanistan and 391,832 from Iraq were released to WikiLeaks by a military analyst working for the Pentagon. Until WikiLeaks came along, many did not know that there were many unreported shootings of civilians by US Coalition Forces, and that the US military still encourages the torture of suspected “terrorist” prisoners.

    For students and specialists on diplomacy and international relations, the WikiLeaks State Department cables are the scholar’s ultimate goldmine. They are a documentary history of both past and current diplomacy as conducted by the world’s most powerful superpower today. How can we use WikiLeaks to understand our own country and its international relations? There are accounts of corruption on foreign countries both friendly and unfriendly, which are assessed, analyzed and presented with impressions by the classified US diplomatic cables.

    World public opinion, even inside the United States, is generally sympathetic to Assange. But governments and states who thrive on lies and deceit, or tyrannical states, are one in condemning this as a breach of national security and a threat to states. WikiLeaks has also spawned and encouraged other similar forms of cyber activism such as IndoLeaks, which has now pledged through documents and multimedia a full accounting and documentation of the Suharto military dictatorship (1965-1997).

    The world with WikiLeaks will be more insecure and threatening for military superpowers who wage aggression and occupation of other countries using dubious if not manufactured intelligence reports. It will also be less secure for governments that send their young men and women to fight and die in foreign lands cloaked in a cause based on lies and deceit, when those wars are really for the cause of oil companies and the weapons industries.

    We have not yet really come to terms with the impact of WikiLeaks. The most secret of governments, states, institutions, will not be secret anymore. What were once secret intelligence, political, military and economic information, analysis and strategy will not anymore be just for the eyes only of a few decision-makers and officials of governments and corporations. If we knew how our governments spent the money that we contributed through our taxes, perhaps there would be less waste, less misuse and abuse of the state’s vast resources and even less corruption.

    This presages the decline, not only of the US imperial power, but of states and governments who rule based on secrecy because they feel that they are not accountable to their people. It is obvious why states which rule as tyrannies and even corporations that plunder without accountability, are afraid if not terrified by WikiLeaks and what it stands for.

    Assange reminds me of the demigod Prometheus who stole fire from the gods so that he could share it with all mortal people. Now the offended gods want to tie him to a cliff to be devoured by vultures. What a sight to now see the tables turned around: they daily read our emails, Facebook, text and listen to our private calls. Now that we are the ones reading their mail, what gall they have to say this is a criminal offense!

    I agree with the observation made by Heather Brooke, a prominent British freedom of information activist, when she wrote:

    “The amount of knowledge in the world is now so vast and technology so adept at zero-cost duplication that no government, company or organization can hope to keep control.”

    Total transparency will bring down autocracies and bad governance. Fortunately, with WikiLeaks in our midst, our world will now be more secure and safe from the unaccountable.

    [Roland G. Simbulan is professor in Development Studies and Public Management at the University of the Philippines. He is a senior fellow of the Center for People Empowerment in Governance (CenPeg).]


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