Beyond “Mainstream Journalism”; Not Everyone Holds The Truth As Treasonous.
“It used to be said that: The Truth Will Set You Free; Today It Will Get You Tossed In Jail Or Assassinated.”
Thanks to the mainstream media for more than its share of the spotlight, WikiLeaks has become something of a household word. It’s been around since 2006, and is basically a non-profit media outlet that gathers its data from otherwise unavailable documents and anonymous news sources. Its current director, Julian Assange, is now being held by British authorities for possible extradition to Sweden, supposedly on charges of sexual abuse. But a closer look at the accusations being levied against the organization he directs suggests that some things are being kept out of the public forum, and these are things that We the People ought to know about.
If we hear only the story as told by ABC, we are led to believe that WikiLeaks is compromising national security with its release of secret diplomatic documents, and that media outlets such as the New York Times, the Guardian, and others, which make use of information from WikiLeaks vast data base, could be prosecuted under the Espionage Act.
But what goes unsaid is that WikiLeaks is helping provide the world with a perspective on the changing world situation totally lacking in mainstream media coverage.
It continues to detail the invasion and occupancy of Iraq, providing accurate figures on civilian deaths, and releasing accounts of U.S. complicity in the torture of detainees by Iraqi security forces. In April 2010, it posted Collateral Murder, a video from a 2007 incident in which Iraqi civilians and journalists were killed by U.S. forces.
WikiLeaks is also giving attention to the war in Afghanistan. It has made available a compilation of more than 76,900 documents dealing with America’s Afghanistan experience, much of it unflattering, but all of it based on painstakingly gathered fact.
The latest WikiLeaks expose’ spotlighted U.S. efforts to torpedo the climate talks recently held in Mexico.
Among documents released that the State Department was trying to keep under wraps were certain messages sent to American negotiators. The negotiators were instructed to “neutralize” Bolivia, whose President Evo Morales has been outspoken in his criticism of American indifference to climate change, and to the human suffering that climate change has entailed.
A free press is essential to every democracy. Americans need to be very suspect of any effort used to impede the free flow of information, and unless clearly established that censorship of certain facts is necessary for national security, these facts should not be kept from the people.
Roland Micklem - Savannah
Chico Enterprise-Record : Posted: 12/26/2010 12:00:00 AM PST
I enjoyed the perspective that John Nichols bought to the discussion of targeting Wikileaks in the December issue of The Nation. Instead of responding to the revelations contained in the U.S. diplomatic cables, one member of Congress wants to shoot the messenger.
Pentagon Papers whistleblower (the great) Daniel Ellsberg notes that the leaks are more embarrassing than threatening and argues that those involved have performed a public service so that "the American people can begin to get a grip on our incoherent policy and enforce a more humane and productive thrust to it."
This response recalls the values celebrated by President John F. Kennedy when he declared, "The very word 'secrecy' is repugnant in a free and open society."
Now, it seems, information leaks about torture are a worse offense than torture itself. Bush boasts of breaking the anti-torture conventions that are the law of the land. No indictments for him are forthcoming.
How are Wikileaks leaks about agents any different than what the Bush administration did to Valerie Plame?
Rather than criminal charges, I suggest we owe Wikileaks and Bradley Manning our thanks and our support for the opportunity for a more moral response to the acts that have been revealed.
A democracy is in danger when the voters don't know the truth about their government.
— Charles Withuhn, Chico
A `Long War' Over The 'Net
BY EDWARD WASSERMAN : www.edwardwasserman.com
News may be the first draft of history, but as all writers know, most first drafts end up in the trash. Nobody knows which major happenings of the moment will have lasting importance. Who can say how much weight historians will assign even to 9/11; for all its seemingly epoch-making importance it may be eclipsed by developments we can't foresee, and may get only a nod when the histories of our day are written.
So too Time magazine's decision to crown Mark Zuckerberg, the wunderkind behind Facebook, as its Person of the Year, while bypassing Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who the magazine's editor declared would be no more than ``a footnote five years from now.''
Whether Time is right, only time will tell. But I think not. To me, the continuing WikiLeaks affair has the makings of a watershed moment in media history, the opening salvo in a war over information supremacy in the Digital Age.
This is a big deal. The quiet ferocity of the U.S.-led reprisal against Wikileaks for publishing government secrets attests to how seriously authorities are taking this:
• The presumed leaker of the material that annoyed Washington is a young Army private named Bradley Manning; though not formally charged, Manning has been jailed for months in a brutal solitary confinement usually reserved for irredeemable multiple offenders and apparently intended to destroy his mind.
• Assange has been hunted down in Britain with a zeal so exceptional it would be surprising if he'd been accused of genocide, not some borderline misconduct in a Swedish bedroom. He may yet be charged with espionage.
• Global paymasters Visa, Mastercard and PayPal suddenly decided duty compelled them to cut off financial services to Wikileaks, and a bank account it maintained in Geneva was shut down by Swiss authorities, a rare departure from Switzerland's ancestral embrace of absolutely anyone whose checks clear.
Beyond that, one can only imagine the secret countermeasures being undertaken -- securing files, deterring and tracking down would-be pilferers, monitoring WikiLeaks visitors, feeding the site bogus information to undermine its credibility.
WikiLeaks is tough and resourceful. It has been embarrassing governments worldwide since its launch in December 2006, a nimble, carefully engineered global network with 20 servers and hundreds of domain names, intended, as Assange told the New Yorker magazine this year, to be ``an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking and public analysis.'' Its designers say removing material from WikiLeaks would practically require dismantling the Internet itself.
In reprisal for the financial services cutoff, WikiLeaks' allies targeted the companies with a denial-of-service attack meant to incapacitate them with a flood of traffic. So-called hacktivist initiatives such as Anonymous and the Swiss Pirate Party have mobilized hyper-sophisticated networks of committed geeks rallying to the cause. Like WikiLeaks itself, these networks are smart and elusive, and reside in shifting constellations of encrypted computers all but impossible to detect, let alone silence.
In a thoughtful column in The Washington Post, Tim Hwang, an Internet researcher formerly with Harvard's Berkman Center, proposes ``long war'' as a metaphor for the faceoff between a freewheeling, decentralized Internet culture and the forces of an offline world built on centralization -- between those, he says, who want to remake the world in the Internet's image and those who want the Internet reshaped in the world's image.
To me, the effort to develop, populate and control the rich new digital space has been a kind of colonization. Spearheaded by the military -- the Internet began as a computer network designed to survive nuclear attack -- powerful institutions from government and business implanted their operations online as a way to extend their offline dominion. But the New World casts a spell of its own over the settlers, some of them anyway, intoxicated by the promise of an informational universe of greater freedom, egalitarianism and accountability. Thus do decolonization movements arise.
What should be clear is just how politically agnostic the digital world really is. True, the technologies enable unification of control over oceans of secret information and permit breathtaking surveillance and unparalleled intrusions into hitherto private realities.
But the Internet also arrived shrink-wrapped in millennialist promise, as a transformative and emancipatory event offering an unprecedented universalization of the capacity to know, to speak and to be heard, an equalization of expressive rights that enables every schnook with a laptop to be a broadcaster.
That tension will be at the core of fierce conflicts for years to come, regardless of today's success of WikiLeaks or of those who want to delete it.
What we are seeing is diplomacy and statecraft laid bare. And the results are devastating. We are lied to on a daily basis.
And what of the countless corporate journalists taken on embedded trips to Afghanistan, simply “reporting” futile battles and tiny details that ignore the big picture? They’ve been on the drip-feed and it shows:… Australia knows Afghanistan is a mess
Anorak News » Vince Cable, Wikileaks Lockerbie Are Beyond Journalism
Journalism is a verb, a doing word, and right now it is difficult to know who is doing what to whom and why..Anorak News - http://www.anorak.co.uk/
Jamaica Observer - - 1 Hour Ago
THE Wikileaks Saga Continues Here In Britain, With Founder Julian Assange Released On Bail. But The Most Recent Name To Surface, As The Secret Cables From ...
Published: December 25, 2010The whistle-blowing Web site WikiLeaks has not been convicted of a crime. The Justice Department has not even pressed charges over its disclosure of confidential State Department communications. Nonetheless, the financial industry is trying to shut it down.
Visa, MasterCard and PayPal announced in the past few weeks that they would not process any transaction intended for WikiLeaks. Earlier this month, Bank of America decided to join the group, arguing that WikiLeaks may be doing things that are “inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments.”
The Federal Reserve, the banking regulator, allows this. Like other companies, banks can choose whom they do business with. Refusing to open an account for some undesirable entity is seen as reasonable risk management. The government even requires banks to keep an eye out for some shady businesses — like drug dealing and money laundering — and refuse to do business with those who engage in them.
But a bank’s ability to block payments to a legal entity raises a troubling prospect. A handful of big banks could potentially bar any organization they disliked from the payments system, essentially cutting them off from the world economy.
The fact of the matter is that banks are not like any other business. They run the payments system. That is one of the main reasons that governments protect them from failure with explicit and implicit guarantees. This makes them look not too unlike other public utilities. A telecommunications company, for example, may not refuse phone or broadband service to an organization it dislikes, arguing that it amounts to risky business.
Our concern is not specifically about payments to WikiLeaks. This isn’t the first time a bank shunned a business on similar risk-management grounds. Banks in Colorado, for instance, have refused to open bank accounts for legal dispensaries of medical marijuana.
Still, there are troubling questions. The decisions to bar the organization came after its founder, Julian Assange, said that next year it will release data revealing corruption in the financial industry. In 2009, Mr. Assange said that WikiLeaks had the hard drive of a Bank of America executive.
What would happen if a clutch of big banks decided that a particularly irksome blogger or other organization was “too risky”? What if they decided — one by one — to shut down financial access to a newspaper that was about to reveal irksome truths about their operations? This decision should not be left solely up to business-as-usual among the banks.
WASHINGTON — The Drug Enforcement Administration has been transformed into a global intelligence organization with a reach that extends far beyond narcotics, and an eavesdropping operation so expansive it has to fend off foreign politicians who want to use it against their political enemies, according to secret diplomatic cables.
In far greater detail than previously seen, the cables, from the cache obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to some news organizations, offer glimpses of drug agents balancing diplomacy and law enforcement in places where it can be hard to tell the politicians from the traffickers, and where drug rings are themselves mini-states whose wealth and violence permit them to run roughshod over struggling governments.
Articles in this series examine American diplomatic cables as a window on relations with the rest of the world in an age of war and terrorism.
Diplomats recorded unforgettable vignettes from the largely unseen war on drugs: …
Jailed Soldier Has Support Of Resisters
By AARON GLANTZ
Published: December 25, 2010
The small office of Courage to Resist, a nonprofit group in Oakland, is full of items featuring the smiling face of Pfc. Bradley Manning, the Army intelligence analyst accused of passing secret government documents to WikiLeaks. Bradley Manning T-shirts, buttons, bumper stickers — even whistles — are for sale.
A nonprofit, nonpartisan news organization providing local coverage of the San Francisco Bay Area for The New York Times. To join the conversation about this article, go to baycitizen.org.
Jeff Paterson, the project director of the organization, which has supported dozens of service members who have refused deployments to Iraq or Afghanistan, said the group began to raise money for Private Manning’s legal defense after he was arrested in May.
WikiLeaks was not supporting the 23-year-old private first class “who gave them all this information,” said Mr. Paterson, 42, a lanky former Marine, who was himself jailed for refusing to board a plane bound for Saudi Arabia after Iraq invaded Kuwait in 1990.
The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, has said he has never spoken with Private Manning and does not know who is behind the leaks. WikiLeaks technology was “designed from the very beginning to make sure that we never know the identities or names of people submitting us material,” Mr. Assange told ABC News.
But Private Manning’s arrest by the Army, which came after he told a computer hacker that he had leaked video of a helicopter attack that killed two Reuters photographers and Iraqi civilians, along with 260,000 diplomatic cables and intelligence reports on the war in Afghanistan, is proof enough for Mr. Paterson.
Daniel Ellsberg, the former military analyst who leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971, is also a supporter. “What I read from his motives seems very familiar to me based on my own experience,” Mr. Ellsberg said.
Courage to Resist has raised more than $100,000 to support Private Manning’s legal fund, Mr. Paterson said. An activist with the group visits Private Manning in prison every two weeks.
“He has supporters all over the world,” said Adam Seibert-Szyper, 39, a staff member who deserted the Marine Corps in 1996. He leafed through envelopes mailed from Brazil, South Africa and Thailand. One envelope, from British Columbia, included a stick of incense and a piece of crystal.
But helping Private Manning has been tricky. He has never publicly defended himself in political or moral terms, and questions remain about what Private Manning may have leaked.
The lack of clarity surrounding Private Manning’s involvement has made building public support a challenge, even in friendly forums like the Berkeley City Council, which last week declined to back a measure calling Private Manning a hero.
Robert Meola, an activist who drafted the resolution as chairman of Berkeley’s Peace and Justice Commission, said he would fight for Private Manning.
“If he didn’t do it, then he’s in pretrial confinement in isolation for several months, and he should be freed,” Mr. Meola said.
“If he did do it, I definitely feel that he’s a hero,” Mr. Meola added, arguing that revelations contained in the leaked documents “could potentially stop the immoral and illegal wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.”
Wikileaks Is A Real Contender For The History Books
Bradenton Herald - Edward Wasserman - 7 hours ago
So too Time magazine's decision to crown Mark Zuckerberg, the wunderkind behind Facebook, as its Person of the Year, while bypassing Wikileaks founder ...Le Monde: Julian Assange Man Of The Year - allvoices all 2 news articles »
Not since former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson pulled off a $700 billion raid of taxpayer dollars to shore up Wall Street have Washington regulators scurried so quickly to ferret out evidence of collusion between the feds and the nation's major banks and other financial services firms.
The last minute push by regulators comes ahead of a threatened WikiLeaks data dump.
According to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the soon-to-be-released materials will focus on a major American bank -- possibly Bank of America. Mr. Assange claims to have enough incriminating evidence to force the resignation of top bank executives.
But sources in Washington say they expect there will be very little surprising in the WikiLeaks disclosures, which were apparently taken from a computer hard drive.
"As far as any bank is concerned, we're probably in for another 'Casablanca' moment," said one source. He was referring to the famous film starring Humphrey Bogart in which a police inspector is "shocked" to discover gambling going on in Boggie's supper club.
"The [WikiLeaks] dump may turn up a few new cons, or some old ones. We know how the banks operate. The material may be embarrassing to a bank only because the media will make a big deal of it. But don't count on seeing lots of red faces in a shameless environment."
The federal regulators, however, do anticipate no small degree of harsh exposure. Especially sensitive to the possibility of embarrassment is the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and its rumored links to Ponzi swindler Bernard Madoff. Both Mary Schapiro, current head of the commission, and former SEC Chairman Christopher Cox are in line for possible charges of conflict of interest or willful negligence.
The industry group formerly headed by Ms. Schapiro, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, also may be in the crosshairs for more than a few potential shockers, including the apparent insider sale of nearly $600 million in auction rate securities before the market crashed in February 2008.
Andrew Ross Sorkin, writing in The New York Times Dealbook, speculated that the big surprise would be that such "chicanery" was documented "and that regulators haven't found it yet -- or worse, they found it and did nothing about it."
"Imagine the public relations hassle," suggested one source. "How do explain away what's been there, right in front of you, in black and white, and yet you did nothing about it?"
Robert A. Mintz, a former public prosecutor, says much of the dumped information, when and if it is made public, will not be well understood by the public. And then there's the problem of the material as actual court-worthy evidence. WikiLeaks documents may not hold up as legally sound.
Attorney General Eric Holder, now at the helm of the somewhat embarrassing Project Broken Trust, has promised to investigate State Department documents released earlier by WikiLeaks. But General Holder has lost face running Project Broken Trust, which thus far has netted about 300 small time con artists and other swindlers while neglecting the $136 billion auction-rate securities fraud.
General Holder has remained relatively silent on WikiLeaks presumed financial disclosures.
"We don't know the details of the documents," a Capitol Hill source said. "It's possible much of the information will date back to the Bush years and the 2008 meltdown. If that's the case, republicans will have quite a mess to deal with."
For now, however, Mr. Assange holds the high ground, despite threats from General Holder to seek prosecution for the State Department leaks. None of this has shaken the determination of Mr. Assange, who promises to go public in early 2011 with the financial disclosures.
Halliburton executive's comments reveal tensions between security firms, oil companies and the Baghdad government.
The Rumala oil field, south of Basra: the cables reveal tensions between oil companies, security firms and Baghdad. Photograph: Atef Hassan/ReutersHalliburton's senior executive in Iraq accused private security companies of operating a "mafia" to artifically inflate their "outrageous prices", according to a US cable.
Written by a senior diplomat in the US's Basra office, the confidential document discloses the tensions between private security firms, oil companies and the Iraqi government as coalition forces withdraw from protecting foreign business interests.
John Naland, head of the provincial reconstruction team in Basra, wrote in January this year that several oil company representatives complained of "unwarranted high prices" given an improving security situation since 2008.
"Halliburton Iraq country manager decried a 'mafia' of these companies and their 'outrageous' prices, and said that they also exaggerate the security threat.
"Apart from the high costs for routine trips, he claimed that Halliburton often receives what he says are 'questionable' reports of vulnerability of employees to kidnapping and ransom. He said that he recently saw an internal memo from their security company which tasked its employees to emphasize the persistent danger faced by IOCs [international oil companies]." Naland wrote.
The memo, written nine months after British troops handed over control of their base in Basra to the US army, does not name the Halliburton manager.
According to the cable, it cost around $6,000 (£3,900) to hire a security firm for four hours in Basra in January. A typical trip would include four security agents, drivers, and three or four armoured vehicles. A recent visit by a member of Iraq's government from Baghdad to Basra and back cost about $12,000 (£7,800), the cable claimed.
Tensions between private security companies and the Baghdad government had increased in Iraq following the decision by the US courts in December 2009 not to prosecute anyone for the Blackwater killings of 17 Iraqis in Baghdad in September 2007.
The source for this information was a British security company boss, whose name has been redacted.
"According to [the British national] a China National Petroleum Company (CNPC) security team was stopped in Basrah [sic] city by the Iraqi police in a 'clear attempt to disrupt and cause panic to the clients.' [The British national] said that the Iraqi police stopped the convoy and showed a letter from the Ministry of Interior (MOI) stating that as of January 12, personal security teams now faced a more restrictive weapons regime. The situation was eventually resolved, and the convoy was released, but [the British national] said that this episode could presage a more restrictive posture towards security firms 'in retaliation or the Blackwater verdict'," wrote Naland.
The cable also says that security companies are being encouraged by the Iraqi government and the oil companies to employ more Iraqis and less westerners in frontline jobs.
"According to XXXXXXXXXX, the GOI [government of Iraq] is anxious to 'get rid of all the white faces carrying guns' in their streets," it reads.
Afghan authorities last week arrested a British private security company employee and sentenced him to eight months in jail, the latest move in the government's crackdown on private security firms. Global Strategies Group consultant Michael Hearn was arrested last Wednesday for allegedly failing to register weapons with the government.
wikileaks.org - Official Wikileaks Page [220.127.116.11, 18.104.22.168, 22.214.171.124]
chat.wikileaks.org - Secure SSL Chat Page [126.96.36.199]
sunshinepress.org - Secure Document Submission Page [188.8.131.52]
wikileaks.com - Points to Official Site [184.108.40.206]
wikileaks.net - Points to Official Site [220.127.116.11]
wikileaks.biz - Points to Official Site [18.104.22.168]
wikileaks.de - Points to Official Site [22.214.171.124]
wikileaks.eu - Points to Official Site [126.96.36.199]
wikileaks.fi - Points to Official Site [188.8.131.52]
wikileaks.mobi - Points to Official Site [184.108.40.206]
wikileaks.nl - Points to Official Site [220.127.116.11]
wikileaks.pl - Points to Official Site [18.104.22.168]
wikileaks.us - Points to Official Site [22.214.171.124]
ljsf.org - Points to Official Site [126.96.36.199]
Real mirrors on different IP Addresses
wikileaks.info - Mirror hosted in Switzerland [188.8.131.52]
wikileaks.se - Mirror hosted in Sweden [184.108.40.206]
nyud.net - Mirror hosted in the United States [220.127.116.11]
Important Wikileaks Links
twitter.com/wikileaks - Official Wikileaks Twitter Page