Sunday, December 12, 2010

It’s Getting To Look A Lot Like Censorship Everywhere I Go!

It’s Getting To Look A Lot Like Censorship Everywhere I Go!

And Assange’s Incarceration sounds a lot like vengeance, not some legal process.

US To Federal Workers: If You Read Wikileaks, You're Breaking The Law

In the view of the US government, many of the WikiLeaks documents are still classified, and reading classified documents without clearance is illegal. Critics say the warning is censorship.
Some US government warning have suggested that a federal employee would be breaking the law by reading one of these newspapers reporting on classified State Department documents published on the WikiLeaks website. 
Imagine you’re a soldier in Iraq seeking to keep up with world events, so you forgo the TMZs of the cyber world in favor of real news on a site like CBS or CNN or Fox. You click on a story about the WikiLeaks release of thousands of State Department cables – and up pops a government-placed box informing you that if you proceed to the story you will be breaking the law.
Huh? Welcome to one of the more bewildering tangents of the WikiLeaks information dump: the clash between the principle of a censorship-free Internet and the government’s need to protect certain information – and the sources of that information.
The federal government reasons that, published or not, the cables released by WikiLeaks are still classified documents. So it is warning employees from the Library of Congress to its far-flung foot soldiers not to access WikiLeaks and the mirror sites it and other information activists are feverishly setting up.
In some cases the warnings have extended even to accessing media reports about the disclosures. Accessing classified information without clearance is tantamount to breaking the law, the warnings go, and could damage one’s government career or even end it.
Federal agencies are not blocking WikiLeaks and mirror websites, but some government employee advocates deem the warnings a form of censorship.
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton has made censorship-free Internet access a top priority of her dealings with authoritarian countries like China, some rights activists note. But now that the shoe is on the other foot, they add, the US government is violating its own policies.
The State Department was drawn into the censorship controversy after at least two universities warned students that they could be jeopardizing future diplomatic careers by accessing WikiLeaks documents still considered classified by the government.
A State Department employee and alumnus of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs warned school officials that students interested in a diplomatic career should not access the documents, according to an e-mail sent to students last week. The State Department employee said that accessing or disseminating the documents “would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information,” according to the e-mail.
The State Department employee also advised against discussing the documents on social network sites like Facebook or Twitter, the e-mail said.
The Boston University School of Law's career services office issued a similar warning. It said the security clearances needed for many government jobs could be jeopardized by the unauthorized accessing of classified documents.
The State Department is stressing that any such warnings are not the official policy of the department. Spokesman P.J. Crowley says the action “sounds like an over-zealous employee.” Mr. Crowley told The Huffington Post that State Department employees were instructed "not to access the WikiLeaks site and download posted documents using an unclassified network, since these documents are still classified.”
But he said “no advice” had been given to anyone beyond the department.
The Office of Budget and Management sent out a memo Friday instructing federal agencies to review clearance levels, ensure that employees not have more access than necessary, and restrict the use of equipment such as flash drives.
The lengthy memo concludes with the rather Orwellian suggestion that “federal employees and contractors who believe they may have inadvertently accessed or downloaded classified or sensitive information on computers that access the web via non-classified government systems, or without prior authorization, should contact their information security offices for assistance.”

Julian Assange Supporters Plan Protests Worldwide

Detention of WikiLeaks founder is focus of demonstrations today as speculation grows over legal move by US authorities

Protests will be held around the world today against the detention of Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

Demonstrations are planned in the capitals of Spain, the Netherlands, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico and Peru to demand Assange's release, the re-establishment of the WikiLeaks domain name and the restoration of Visa and Mastercard credit services to allow supporters to donate money to the whistleblowing site.
A statement on the Spanish-language website Free WikiLeaks said: "We seek the liberation of Julian Assange in United Kingdom territory." The website called on protesters to gather at 6pm (17.00 GMT) in Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia and Seville and three other Spanish cities.
It also calls for "the re-establishment of the WikiLeaks ( internet domain," and the restoration of Visa and MasterCard credit card services to enable the "freedom to move money" because no one has "proved Assange's guilt", nor charged WikiLeaks with any crime.
Assange is in Wandsworth prison in south London after being refused bail on Tuesday. Sweden is seeking his extradition over allegations of sexual assault.
His lawyers said yesterday they were preparing for a possible indictment by the US authorities.
Jennifer Robinson said her team had heard from "several different US lawyers rumours that an indictment was on its way or had happened already, but we don't know".
According to some reports, Washington is seeking to prosecute Assange under the 1917 act, which was used unsuccessfully to try to gag the New York Times when it published the Pentagon Papers in the 1970s. However, despite escalating rhetoric over the past fortnight, no charges have yet been lodged, and government sources say they are unaware any such move is being prepared.
Robinson said Assange's team did not believe the US had grounds to prosecute him but understood that Washington was "looking closely at other charges, such as computer charges, so we have one eye on it".
Earlier this week, the US attorney general, Eric Holder, said the US had been put at risk by the flood of confidential diplomatic documents released by WikiLeaks and he authorized a criminal investigation.

Assange Lawyer: US Wants To Get Their "Mitts" On Wikileaks Founder

CBS News
Julian Assange's lawyer, Mark Stephens, discussed the fate of the jailed WikiLeaks founder with Sir David Frost on Al Jazeera TV, maintaining that US ...See all stories on this topic »

Assange's Lawyer: He's Upbeat, Surprised By Cyber-Attacks 

"Man is least himself when he talks in his own person. Give him a mask, and he will tell you the truth." - Oscar Wilde (a quote repeated by Julian Assange in the introduction to "Underground: Tales of Hacking, Madness and Obsession on the Electronic Frontier," a book he co-authored in 1997)

Since he first landed in a London jail upon his arrest on Tuesday, the only thing that WikiLeaks chief Julian Assange has been requesting is access to a computer.

Of course -- what else would you expect the mastermind behind the online whistleblowing operation that has exposed the closely-guarded secrets of the world's most powerful countries to want?

In a wide-ranging telephone interview with The Huffington Post on Friday, Assange's lawyer Mark Stephens described his jailhouse visit with his client, claimed that the U.S. State Department may be prepared to work out a deal with Swedish prosecutors amid reports of a grand jury meeting in Virginia to consider charges against Assange and expressed his fears that his own family is being intimidated by unknown security personnel. And Stephens said he has not discussed the allegations of rape and sexual molestation made by two women with Assange yet, though he criticized the Swedish prosecutors for resurrecting the charges after they were initially dropped by the country's chief prosecutor.

Assange, who has been kept in the same cell once occupied by Oscar Wilde, is in good spirits and upbeat, "though he's not chuffed to be in jail where he's being kept in Victorian conditions," according to Stephens, who visited his client on Thursday at London's Wandsworth prison, where he was recently transferred from the main section to an isolation unit. Since he didn't bring three sets of clothes, as required in the British penal system, Assange wears a grey tracksuit provided by the jail. He has no material to read -- "it hasn't been library day" and the jail removed several treadmills in recent years so he has been unable to exercise, says Stephens -- and British daytime TV bores him ("he's not a TV watcher anyway").

Stephens, who isn't allowed to visit Assange again until Monday, the day before a court hearing in his case, says that he has not been contacted by the U.S. Justice Department or the State Department, both of which are reportedly seeking to get him extradited to the U.S. to face possible espionage charges.

Stephens says that he has heard that the State Department -- 250,000 of whose diplomatic cables have been leaked by WikiLeaks to the great embarrassment of the U.S. and its allies -- has obtained permission from a federal judge to disclose the grand jury's existence "to the Swedes and the Swedes are proposing to effectively drop their charges if more significant charges come through from the grand jury," though he admits that he has no firsthand knowledge of such a deal.

The Justice Department declined comment to The Huffington Post and a State Department spokesman said he was unaware of such a deal with Swedish prosecutors. Swedish officials, including the lawyer for the two women making the allegations against Assange, did not return calls for comment.

Though U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has said that prosecutors are exploring a range of possible charges against Assange, whose other lawyer Janet Robinson told reporters that an indictment of her client is imminent, the case could be a difficult one. Any U.S. prosecution of Assange would face unprecedented legal and diplomatic challenges, according to a report by the Congressional Research Service.

"We are aware of no case in which a publisher of information obtained through unauthorized disclosure by a government employee has been prosecuted for publishing it," the report said.

Such a prosecution creates First Amendment and diplomatic hurdles "based on concerns about government censorship," the report said.

Next Thursday, the House Judiciary Committee will hold a hearing on the potential application of U.S. espionage laws to the WikiLeaks case -- the first such congressional hearing since the organization made headlines by leaking documents on U.S. foreign policy and military operations earlier this year.

In addition, leaders in Russia, Brazil, and Assange's native Australia have rallied to support him, calling him a political prisoner. Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd recently said, "The blame for any violations of the law should fall on the persons who gave the documents to Wikileaks. The Americans are responsible for that."

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, whose Russia is portrayed as a relentlessly corrupt country in some of the diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks, said it was hypocritical of the U.S. government to try to prosecute Assange. "If it is full democracy, then why have they hidden Mr. Assange in prison," Putin said during a press conference Thursday. "That's what, democracy?"

Meanwhile, several loosely-affiliated Internet hackers continue their cyber-attacks against companies such as Mastercard and Visa, which have turned off the money spigot that has been helping fund WikiLeaks' operations -- without the cooperation of Assange, says Stephens. "He was surprised by these attacks -- he says he had nothing to do with it."

Stephens said that he has not explicitly discussed the particulars of the Swedish allegations with his client. "He hasn't expressed anything to me about the women... there have been reports about this, but I try to keep his mind off of this." He described his frustration that the case was revived after Sweden's director of public prosecutions dropped the case in early November after reviewing the files. "She said there was not a shred of evidence," said Stephens.

WikiLeaks and Stephens have insisted that the charges are politically motivated -- the lawyer says that Assange has not expressed his opinion on whether he was set up. "A number of people have told me that it's like "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo," but he has not said anything about it," says Stephens.

A lawyer for the women accusing Assange said that his clients are annoyed at the suggestion that their claims are politically motivated. "They were attacked by Mr. Assange and then they are treated like perpetrators themselves," attorney Claes Borgstrom told ABC News. "He has molested them and then sacrificed them for his own interests."

One woman claims that Assange "forcibly parted her legs, preventing her from moving... then had intercourse without a condom," according to prosecutors. The second woman accused Assange of having unprotected sex with her while she was sleeping.

As for the steady drip of diplomatic cables that continue to be published every day by WikiLeaks, they will continue no matter what happens to Assange, says Stephens. "Before he went in [to jail], there was a discussion within WikiLeaks and their traditional media partners and the releases will continue according to a preset schedule, with or without him."

Sinister Attack on WikiLeaks to Cover Up Imperialist Crimes

Democrat Diane Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, notorious for covering up CIA torture, called for Assange to be prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act. Democratic turncoat Joe Lieberman, head of the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee, wants to investigate the New York Times as well. And Attorney General Eric Holder vows to “close the gaps in current U.S. legislation” by enacting new laws infringing on freedom of speech. But that may take some time. They yearn for an Official Secrets Act like in Britain, so they could stop publication of anything by slapping a “D Notice” on it. They wish they were back in the post-9/11 days when they rammed through the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act with a near-unanimous vote before anyone bothered to read it.
The December 7 arrest in London of Julian Assange, the founder and editor-in-chief of the Internet investigative site WikiLeaks, is a threat to freedom of the press and an attempt to silence critics who expose the bloody deeds of imperialism. We are convinced, along with many others, that Assange is innocent of the trumped up accusations of the crimes of rape and sexual molestation that are being manipulated by Swedish authorities to request his detention and extradition. It is clear that sinister forces are pushing the persecution of this courageous man, and his life could be in danger.
We have no hesitation in naming the criminal forces who are behind this frame-up: first and foremost, the United States government of Barack Obama and its military and spy agencies. They have enlisted U.S. corporations such as Amazon, MasterCard, PayPal and others, Swiss banks and the complaisant Swedish, British and Australian governments in their war on WikiLeaks. They seek to silence whistleblowers who have not only caused them diplomatic embarrassment but also lifted a corner of the veil on Washington’s Murder, Inc. If the would-be masters of the world cannot stop the leakage of information through judicial/police methods, they will surely resort to other means.
Despite the arrest of its leader, the shutdown of some of its websites by service providers due to U.S. threats and cutoff of donations by payments companies, WikiLeaks has vowed to keep publishing. It is urgent that all defenders of civil liberties and opponents of imperialist war stand up in defense of Julian Assange, demanding that he be immediately freed and that all charges against him be dropped, including those that are in the works. It is also necessary to defend his comrades who are at risk for their dedication to shining a light into the dark corners where the capitalist rulers hide their dirty secrets. And we must oppose all efforts by the U.S. and its allies to enact gag laws to enforce police-state controls. We demand: Hands off WikiLeaks!
For the last nine months, U.S. imperialism has been smarting over a series of revelations of a small proportion of its crimes by WikiLeaks. The website won global fame and attention when it released the video “Collateral Murder” last April, showing the crews of U.S. helicopter gunships nonchalantly mowing down with machine-gun and rocket fire two reporters, several first aid responders and even children in Baghdad in 2007. Millions of viewers watched in horror as they saw the massacre unfold before their eyes.
The Pentagon, stung by the worldwide outrage, responded by arresting Private First Class Bradley Manning, a military intelligence analyst stationed in the Iraqi capital, charging him with leaking the incriminating footage. In our article, “Defend PFC Bradley Manning!” (The Internationalist No. 31, Summer 2010), we wrote:
“If Bradley Manning did indeed help to uncover evidence of U.S. imperialism’s war crimes in Afghanistan and Iraq, and if he did try to bring to light the secret dealings of U.S. diplomats and spies, these were justified acts evidencing rare moral courage. Class-conscious workers and all defenders of democratic rights should hail Manning as a hero. Exposing U.S. imperialism’s crimes and tearing the curtain of secrecy from its plots can save the lives of innocent people by helping to put an end to the Pentagon’s reign of terror in Afghanistan, Iraq and around the world.”
We also warned that Julian Assange, the founder and editor-in-chief of WikiLeaks, was at risk of arrest or even assassination: “Make no mistake, Julian Assange is in real danger from the same imperialist war criminals that have Bradley Manning in a military jail. Hands off Julian Assange and WikiLeaks!”
In July, WikiLeaks followed up by releasing over 90,000 documents from the U.S. occupation of Afghanistan spanning the six-year period from 2004 through 2009. The Afghanistan War Logs were provided in advance to several leading news media, including the New York Times, the London Guardian and the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel, which published excerpts. Naturally, the Times downplayed some of the most egregious war crimes – for example, suppressing a story by its correspondent on the hit squads of Task Force 373, professional assassins responsible for numerous massacres in Afghanistan – alleging lack of space and other implausible excuses. Der Spiegel (26 July), at least, put the story on its cover.
In October, Wikileaks released 350,000 documents about the Iraq war, showing, as Assange summarized them, that it was “a bloodbath on every corner.” It also documented 15,000 civilian deaths that the U.S. never publicly admitted. Then at the end of November, WikiLeaks began releasing documents from a trove of 251,000 secret State Department and CIA cables. As rad-lib journalist Alexander Cockburn noted in an article titled “Julian Assange: Wanted by the Empire, Dead or Alive” (Counterpunch, 3-5 December), the “communications released by WikiLeaks contain no earth-shaking disclosures that undermine the security of the American empire.” The latest stash of documents published so far mainly illustrate the prejudices and stupidities of the diplomatic corps. Most of the yelps are coming from the governments being reported on, not from the U.S. If anything, as a columnist for an Israeli liberal Zionist paper noted:
“They depict the fall of the American empire, the decline of a superpower that ruled the world by dint of its military and economic supremacy…. The days when American ambassadors were received in world capitals as ‘high commissioners’ are long since gone. The diplomats who wrote the WikiLeaks documents are tired bureaucrats: Nobody rises in their honor and clicks their heels when they enter a room. They spend their days listening wearily to their hosts’ talking points, never reminding them who is the superpower and who the client state that needs military or financial aid from America.”
–Aluf Benn, “WikiLeaks Cables Tell the Story of An Empire in Decline,” Haaretz, 1 December
That certainly describes Israel’s dismissal of any pressure from the Obama administration.
No doubt, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton felt put-upon to excuse U.S. envoys’ denigrating comments about their “allies,” and to explain why the Foreign Service and even ambassadors had been tasked with ferreting out the cellphone, credit card and frequent flier numbers of their counterparts. Or to explain about the list of facilities in other countries that the U.S. considers its own (“critical foreign dependencies”). Moscow was irate about a secret NATO treaty to defend Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. “Against whom else could such a defense be intended? Against Sweden, Finland, Greenland, Iceland? Against polar bears, or against the Russian bear?” asked the Russian ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin. Russian president Dmitry Medvedev suggested perhaps Assange should be nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
U.S. spokesmen keep repeating that the leaks will get their secret informants killed, for which there is not a shred of evidence. After getting heat for releasing the names of Afghan informers collaborating with the NATO occupiers (what about the identities of Nazi collaborators in occupied Europe?), WikiLeaks is so intent on appearing responsible that it has taken to excising the names of such covert operatives themselves. At least former CIA agent Philip Agee named names when he broke with “The Company” in the 1960s. Still, official Washington is fit to be tied. Democrats and Republicans alike fear that the U.S.’ ability to dictate to the world will be gravely compromised unless it clamps down on “unauthorized disclosures.” “The empire can’t exist without secrecy,” said Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers history of the Vietnam War, in defending Assange and WikiLeaks.
Democrat Diane Feinstein, head of the Senate Intelligence Committee, notorious for covering up CIA torture, called for Assange to be prosecuted under the 1917 Espionage Act. Democratic turncoat Joe Lieberman, head of the Senate’s Homeland Security Committee, wants to investigate the New York Times as well. And Attorney General Eric Holder vows to “close the gaps in current U.S. legislation” by enacting new laws infringing on freedom of speech. But that may take some time. They yearn for an Official Secrets Act like in Britain, so they could stop publication of anything by slapping a “D Notice” on it. They wish they were back in the post-9/11 days when they rammed through the U.S.A. PATRIOT Act with a near-unanimous vote before anyone bothered to read it.
For now, they want to defame the WikiLeaks founder, to take away Assange’s moral authority by smearing him so that he looks dirtier than they are – a pretty tall order. So we get this persecution on sex charges. Not prosecution yet, for curiously no charges have been filed. In fact, the allegations against him were not even described to Assange and his lawyers before he was arrested on an Interpol alert and held for deportation to Sweden. No evidence has ever been presented. Everything about this legal vendetta stinks to high heaven of state provocation. Briefly:
Assange is supposedly being held only for questioning. Yet he stayed in Sweden for 40 days after the allegations were first made, seeking to speak to the prosecutor, who would not see him and finally let him leave the country legally. He offered to be questioned at the Swedish embassy in London, to no avail. 
The allegations were first made on August 20 by a prosecutor in Stockholm. But, as Assange’s attorney in London, Mark Stephens, said in an interview with Channel 4 News (7 December), “the most senior prosecutor in all of Sweden looked at them, and she said there is not a shred of evidence here that warrants an investigation” of rape or sexual harassment. So in less than a day, the main accusations against him were dropped. 
Weeks went by, and then “a politician got involved with these women and took them off to another prosecutor, in Gothenberg, and we’re now seeing these warrants coming out suspiciously close in time to the date of the release of the cables.” This kind of “witch-hunt,” Stephens said, suggests that this affair is “politically motivated, there are darker forces at work.” 
Indeed there are. And what are those “darker forces?” the interviewer asks. Assange’s lawyer responds that “Sweden is one of those lickspittle states that allowed for ‘extraordinary rendition’ and torture flights to go through their country.” Good point. Not only did Sweden dispatch asylum seekers to Egypt where they were imprisoned, beaten and tortured, as well as allowing CIA “rendition” flights, under Prime Minister Göran Perrson of the Social-Democratic Labor Party (SAP), despite its professed neutrality, Sweden sent troops to join in the occupation of Afghanistan.
This points to the crucial social-democratic connection in this affair. Sweden’s social democracy has long been a handmaiden of U.S. intelligence agencies. During the 1980s, much of the CIA’s clandestine aid to the anti-Soviet Polish Solidarność was channeled through Sweden with the blessing of SAP prime minister Olaf Palme. This was hardly novel. The CIA financed social-democratic parties throughout Western Europe after World War II in order to break their wartime alliances with the pro-Moscow Communist parties. It is particularly significant in the case of Assange, because the politician/lawyer who contacted the prosecutor in Göteborg was Claes Börgstrom, who is the SAP’s chief spokesman on gender equality issues.
This brings us to Anna Ardin, one of the two women who made the accusations against Assange. Ardin is a well-known feminist activist who was a gender equality officer for Uppsala University, the Harvard of Sweden. She is also the press secretary of the Christian Social Democratic Association, commonly referred to as the Brotherhood Movement. Former prime minister Persson is likewise a member of this association. Anna Ardin worked at the Swedish embassy in Buenos Aires for a time when the Social Democrats were in power, and also reportedly at the Swedish embassy in the U.S. But most particularly, Ardin has been active on the issue of Cuba, as a social-democratic operative keeping in touch with anti-Castro “dissidents” (see box on “Anna Ardin’s Gusano Connection”).
Anna Ardin was the person who invited Julian Assange to speak at the Stockholm meeting on August 14, hosted by the Christian Social Democrat Brotherhood organization. An article by Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett (“Assange Bersieged,” Counterpunch, 14 September) noted that while Assange went to Stockholm hoping to shield WikiLeaks from legal persecution, “the moment Julian sought the protection of Swedish media law, the CIA immediately threatened to discontinue intelligence sharing with SEPO, the Swedish Secret Service.” It turns out that Ardin has a brother who works in Swedish intelligence, and who was a liaison in Washington to U.S. spy agencies. Nothing but a strange coincidence?
Ardin offered to let Assange stay at her flat, and the night before the meeting they had sex. This sure smells like a classic intelligence agency “honey trap,” but with a Swedish twist. The usual pattern is to lure the target into bed with an attractive woman, photograph the tryst and then use the pictures to blackmail the mark into cooperating. In this case, after the sex come accusations of rape and howls about male chauvinism. At this point it’s sounding like the plot of a Stieg Larssen novel, perhaps “Wikileaks: The Man Who Kicked the Hornet’s Nest,” as the London Guardian (8 December) titled its editorial.
Although no formal charges have been brought, or evidence presented, the content of the prosecution dossier against Assange were handed over to a major Swedish tabloid, Aftonbladet, which published a special supplement detailing the accusations. The affidavit read in court in London provided some detail of the allegations, but although it claimed to buttress accusations of a sexual assault, they could also be interpreted as “a frivolous case of miscommunication during consenting sex acts,” as the Toronto Globe & Mail (7 December) put it. There are numerous aspects that cast doubt on the claims by the two women.
Ardin now asserts that Assange has a “warped view of womanhood and can’t take no for an answer.” Yet by all accounts their sexual encounter was consensual, although apparently the condom split. Still, the two appeared to be on friendly terms at the meeting the next day. That same day Ardin twice posted “tweets” on her accounts gushing about “Julian” and a party she threw for him, telling the world at 2 a.m. that she was “with the world’s coolest smartest people, it’s amazing.” Later, when she went to the police she deleted the tweets from one account, but forgot another. In any case, cybersleuths retrieved them from the Google cache.1
The second woman admits that she actively pursued Assange, landing an invitation to the meeting, sitting in the front row, hanging around afterward like a groupie to get invited to dinner, calling him repeatedly for two days, then taking him home where they had sex in the evening, and again in the morning, first with a condom then without. They parted amicably. She asked Assange if he would call again, he says he would. But two days later when he didn’t, she called Ardin to say she was worried about getting pregnant or a sexually transmitted disease. Earlier both women sent out text messages that police describe as “exculpatory” toward Assange. Now the two text each other about going to the scandal sheet Expressen to get back at him.
Then they go to the police. The second woman tells police that Assange “had sex with her against her wishes” while she was asleep. Ardin now tells the police that Assange “deliberately” ripped the condom during their sexual encounter. The police officer and prosecutor on duty classify the former as rape, the latter as sexual molestation, and open an investigation (only to have it dropped in 24 hours, and then suspiciously reopened weeks later). Details of the case are immediately leaked. Editors are tipped off, top reporters are called in the middle of the night to hop on the story. By the next morning it is splashed across the pages of Sweden’s tabloid press. Within a day the news is shot around the world via the Internet.
That there was calculation here seems clear. Ardin’s deletion of the “tweets” from her blogs looks like an effort to make her story more plausible. Call it cover-up. The fact that the women don’t make a formal complaint and let the police do it shows that the Uppsala gender equity officer knows how the law works. Is there more to it? On her blog, Ardin has posted a “Seven-Step Program for Getting Revenge,” for women whose boyfriends have been unfaithful. Step 7: “Ensure that your victim will suffer the same way he made you suffer.” That much they have achieved, whether it’s what they were after or not: Assange is certainly suffering now.
Assange is accused of (but not yet charged with) rape, sexual molestation, and molestation. Rape is an extremely serious crime, overwhelmingly against women, involving violence and coercion. For centuries, women have been intimidated from bringing charges of rape, fearing that they will be subjected to humiliation, or far worse persecution (as in U.S.-occupied Afghanistan, where a woman who has been raped can be stoned to death for her “sin”). However, under Swedish law, a complaint of sex without a condom can be the basis for a charge of rape – of the lowest of three categories, which is what is alleged against Assange (but which still carries a sentence of up to four years in jail). This trivializes the horrible nature of this crime. And as spokesman for the British group Woman Against Rape wrote to the Guardian (9 December):
“Many women in both Sweden and Britain will wonder at the unusual zeal with which Julian Assange is being pursued for rape allegations…. Though Sweden has the highest per capita number of reported rapes in Europe and these have quadrupled in the last 20 years, conviction rates have decreased…. In 2006 six people were convicted of rape though almost 4,000 people were reported….
“There is a long tradition of the use of rape and sexual assault for political agendas that have nothing to do with women’s safety. In the south of the US, the lynching of black men was often justified on grounds that they had raped [the Scottsboro Boys] or even looked [Emmett Till] at a white woman. Women don’t take kindly to our demand for safety being misused, while rape continues to be neglected at best or protected at worst.”
Criminal cases involving sex are notoriously difficult and messy (often no witnesses, complex relations between the individuals). However, in this case it is evident that there was no violence or coercion. None has been alleged, and whatever they may have felt afterwards, indications are the sex was consensual at the time. Add to this the judicial mishandling of the case: immediately leaking it to the press, switching prosecutors in order to reinstate the investigation, refusing to meet with Assange, then demanding his extradition. Throw in a connection with intelligence agencies, and Cold War anti-Communist connections via Swedish social democracy. Plus the overriding determination of the U.S. empire to strike back at, and shut down, WikiLeaks.
The conclusion can only be that Julian Assange is the victim of a political frame-up. The purpose of that frame-up: to staunch the flow of information about imperialism’s crimes and machinations.
Was it a “honey trap”? Was it two women who felt they had been wronged getting “revenge”? We don’t know. At the very least, the two are being used by sinister forces who will use any excuse to nail the founder of WikiLeaks: start by defaming him, and go from there.
Julian Assange is not guilty of rape, but there is plenty of serious criminality here. There have been highly publicized death threats against the WikiLeaks founder. A former aide to Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper, Tom Flanagan, said on CBC Television that “Assange should be assassinated.” Former Nixon staffer and convicted Watergate criminal G. Gordon Liddy says that Assange should be put on a “kill list.” Conservative pundit William Kristol calls to “neutralize Assange and his collaborators.” Another, Jonah Goldberg, asks “Why isn’t Julian Assange dead?” A Washington Times columnist calls to “treat Mr Assange the same way as other high-value terrorist targets: Kill him.”
People who make such death threats should be behind bars. They would be if they made them against top capitalist politicians. But they won’t be when they are made against the man who is No. 1 on the Obama administration’s “enemies list.” Moreover, while liberal luminaries headed up by Noam Chomsky are circulating an open letter to Australian prime minister Julian Gillard citing these threats by vicariously murderous conservatives, the real danger to Assange comes from the liberal Democrats now wielding state power in the U.S. – and from their “lick-spittle” social-democratic allies, and partners in war crimes in Afghanistan, from Australian Labor Party to Swedish social democracy.
Assange is in potentially mortal danger. As the material published by WikiLeaks shows, and as he is well aware, the U.S. government is in the assassination business big time. It has multiple apparatuses to “terminate” opponents “with extreme prejudice,” as the Nixonians used to put it. Alexander Cockburn recently published excerpts from the CIA’s 1950s “how to” guide to pushing people out of windows. Then there was the Reagan administration’s illustrated Everyman’s Guide to “Selective Violence,” issued in Spanish for the Nicaraguan contras and subsequently translated into Arabic for use by Al Qaeda. Or the Bush administration’s secret Waterboarding for Dummies memos. One way or another, the masters of American imperialism would dearly like to “take out” the troublesome website’s founder and editor-in-chief.
The work that WikiLeaks has been doing has been useful in exposing a tiny proportion of the bloody crimes of U.S. rulers. But there should be no illusion that “leakers” from within the government will ever be able to show in all its horror what the imperialists are up to. For that, it will be necessary to carry out a revolution, as in October 1917 when the Russian workers seized power, and opened the archives and the dungeons of the tsarist autocracy. Bolshevik leader Leon Trotsky was named Commissar for Foreign Affairs and proceeded to publish the secret treaties of the tsar and the other Great Powers. Only when U.S. imperialism is brought down by international socialist revolution will we be able to really delve into the vast secrets of Washington and Langley.
For now, it is urgent to demand that Assange be immediately freed and all charges against him be dropped, and that Bradley Manning be freed. They will be awarded their justly earned medals for uncommon valor, and the war criminals brought to justice, when the workers rule.

Question Is, Can We Handle The Truth?

 When WikiLeaks published thousands of confidential diplomatic communications, it exposed the systematic mendacity, insincerity and hypocrisy of foreign diplomacy.
But was anyone really surprised by these revelations? They were more entertaining than shocking. Worldwide and throughout history politicians and the ruling elite have practiced deception to manipulate the masses and each other.

Truth is so uncompromising, so indifferent to consequences and, therefore, so rare. We all have secrets we would rather not share with the world, but should institutions that involve and affect so much of society have a right to keep secrets, especially those that misrepresent and manipulate?

Is the world better off living in lies or knowing the truth?

With the growing use and application of the Internet, that question may be academic. The truth will out more now than ever. The more appropriate question may be, can we handle it?

The U.S. and other world governments are certainly having trouble handling it. They are furious with Wiki-Leaks and are quickly retaliating by bullying websites and Internet providers to remove the embarrassing diplomatic documents.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is the target of an international fatwa by infuriated governments. He is being accused of everything from rape to espionage.
Those folks who share their government’s condemnation of WikiLeaks believe national security justifies the suppression of truth. They argue that the lives of citizens, spies and military personnel are jeopardized by exposing the truth.

However, what endangers any nation’s citizens and troops is war — and America is fighting two very dubious wars now, one started by lies and both perpetuated with propaganda. It can be argued that the suppression of truth is more detrimental to human life than is the exposure of truth.

Confusing patriotism with government is one of the more effective tools used by governments to manipulate and mislead their citizens.

Those who defend government skullduggery and censorship as practical realities necessary for national welfare are willing to live with lies, trust the liars, and consider both to be acts of patriotism. But governments are no more trustworthy or entitled to sanctioned secrecy than are other institutions.

The Catholic Church actively sought to conceal the truth about its pedophiliac priests, even as children continued to fall victim to sex abuse. With no apparent compunction, the church fights court decisions ordering it to release information regarding these heinous crimes.

Would any reasonable person argue that this institution is entitled to keep its dirty secrets?  Had WikiLeaks been around to expose the church, how many children would have been spared, and this depravity ended?

How many big corporations have betrayed public trust and endangered the health, welfare and safety of employees, customers and society, by and while concealing the truth? Toyota, Massey, BP, many large banks — the list could fill a metropolitan city’s phone book.

Government, because it is bigger and more powerful than any other institution, has a greater affect on society. It needs to be watched closely — one reason why free speech, e.g., a free press, was so important to America’s founding fathers, and one reason why tyrants’ first move is to curtail it.

The publication of the Pentagon Papers exposed the truth about the Vietnam War and hastened the end of that tragic debacle. How many people died to maintain government subterfuge?

With the decline of newspapers and broadcast, Internet media like WikiLeaks provide the sunlight needed to keep the machinations of government visible. The new media appears less restrained and timid about exposing government than the old media.
Imagine a world where truth is unavoidable because lies and deceptions are quickly uncovered. How would nations and all institutions behave in such a world? Certainly, judgment would be more accurate.

If truth becomes unavoidable, we all better learn how to handle it.
Randy Alcorn is a Santa Barbara County resident.

Who's Googling WikiLeaks The Most? (PICTURES)


UK Should Have Investigated US War Crimes Instead Of Arresting Assange – Champika :
December 10, 2010, 8:20 Pm

UK Should Have Investigated US War Crimes Instead Of Arresting Assange – Champika :

December 10, 2010, 8:20 Pm
by Harischandra Gunaratna

Minister Patali Champika Ranawaka (JHU) on Thursday, commenting on the arrest of the WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange, said that what the United Kingdom should have done was not to arrest, but to investigate the alleged war crimes by the US in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"It is the usual practice of this block of western countries to torture the person who exposes their wrong doings and WikiLeaks case is a clear example of such actions," Ranawaka pointed out 

Addressing a news conference in Colombo the Minister said that the US has used cluster bombs in Iraq and Afghanistan and 650,000 persons had died in these two countries in particular as a result.

"Today the CIA is spying on the activities of United Nations and its Secretary General Banki kiMoon but they felt the pinch when WikiLeaks exposed them.

Ranawaka warned that the pro-LTTE Tamil expatriates in the west are trying to raise their ugly head again and have to be nipped in the bud before reaching alarming proportions.

He accused the opposition of conniving with the pro- LTTE elements in the UK, USA, Norway and some other western countries. He said the governments of those countries, depended on the LTTE because of their votes in their home electorates and the money contributed by them for their election campaigns.

"David Milliband had openly said that he supported the LTTE mainly because of the vote base of the Sri Lankan Tamil expatriates and the money contributed by them to his party coffers," he said.

Ranawaka said "I wouldn’t accept the commonly used term ‘Tamil Diaspora’ because these people are not without a country but have migrated to the West for economic gains. Now, they are demanding a separate state in Sri Lanka, living luxurious lives in Western countries."

"Now, there is no freedom of speech or expression in the UK," he said. In time to come Sri Lankans would need to obtain a visa from Nidiyavan, the self proclaimed leader of the pro LTTE Tamil Community in Norway, to visit the western countries," the Minister said.

WikiLeaks neither supports nor condemns the cyber attacks that have targeted its critics, it said Friday, just as it appears the attackers are mounting a fresh operation against

The whistleblowing website wrote on its Twitter feed that it is not affiliated with Anonymous, a group of online activists that have attacked websites of companies that cut off services to WikiLeaks.
On its website, WikiLeaks went further.
"There has been no contact between any WikiLeaks staffer and anyone at Anonymous," said a statement there. "WikiLeaks has not received any prior notice of any of Anonymous' actions."
"We neither condemn nor applaud these attacks. We believe they are a reflection of public opinion on the actions of the targets," the statement continued, attributing the remarks to WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson.
Meanwhile, those with Anonymous appear to be looking for more computing power to use in attacks on websites such as
Early on Friday, "Anonymous Operations" wrote on its Twitter feed that they had begun targeting, which banned WikiLeaks from using its services in August. Anonymous has been targeting companies that have halted business with WikiLeaks, including Visa, MasterCard, PayPal, and PostFinance, a Swiss financial institution.
The attacks against have been somewhat successful, with data showing the site was unavailable for some time on Friday morning, said Paul Mutton , a security analyst with Netcraft.
One of the tools used to attack is the LOIC (Low Orbit Ion Cannon), which is a denial-of-service tool that sends garbage traffic to a website.
Those behind the attacks have set up command-and-control servers that can automatically issue instructions to computers running LOIC. Those command-and-control servers can issue commands via IRC chat channels and even Twitter, Mutton said. There is also a Web-based version of LOIC that can be manually configured to attack websites.
Security researchers have been monitoring chatter on IRC between those involved in Anonymous. There are indications that other people who control vast numbers of computers owned by people who are not aware they are infected with botnet code are interested in joining the action, said Amichai Schulman , chief technology officer for the security vendor Imperva.
Other research suggests that Anonymous would like to harness as many as 100,000 computers for an attack. still appears to be on the attack radar after other attempts to knock it offline failed.
"We have seen they were attempting to do it but they realized they don't have enough horsepower," Schulman said.
So far the attacks have not resulted in consistent disruption, as those websites are likely working with their ISPs and to have taken defensive measures.
"I don't really believe they will be able to knock down Amazon even if they use involuntary botnets," Schulman said. Amazon has "so much redundancy" built into its systems, he said.
Last updated at 1:44 AM on 12th December 2010

Accused: Julian Assange is in a British jail, fighting extradition to Sweden
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s lawyer says he has seen secret police documents that prove the whistleblower is innocent of rape claims made against him by two women in Stockholm.

Björn Hurtig, who is representing Mr Assange in Sweden, said the papers, which form part of the official Swedish investigation, reveal both women had ‘hidden agendas’ and lied about being coerced into having sex with Mr Assange, 39.

The freedom of information crusader is being held in Wandsworth jail in London while fighting extradition to face the accusations, which his defenders say are part of a plot to stop him releasing more embarrassing information on his website about governments worldwide.

Australian Mr Assange met both women at a seminar in Stockholm last August. After having intercourse with each, at different times, he faced sex charges – which he strenuously denies – that were withdrawn and then reinstated. 

Mr Hurtig said in an exclusive interview from his Stockholm office: ‘From what I have read, it is clear that the women are lying and that they had an agenda when they went to the police, which had nothing to do with a crime having taken place.
‘It was, I believe, more about jealousy and disappointment on their part. I can prove that at least one of them had very big expectations for something to happen with Julian.’
He has asked for Swedish prosecutors’ permission to disclose more ‘sensational’ information.

‘If I am able to reveal what I know, everyone will realise this is all a charade,’ he said. ‘If I could tell the British courts, I suspect it would make extradition a moot point. 
‘But at the moment I’m bound by the rules of the Swedish legal system, which say that the information can only be used as evidence in this country. For me to do otherwise would lead to me being disbarred.’
Mr Hurtig, a top sex-crime defence lawyer, is ready to fly to London and present the evidence when Mr Assange appears in court this week – if he is given the all-clear.

Campaign: Supporters of WikiLeaks founder, Julian Assange, hold posters with his photo during a protest in Madrid, Spain, this weekend. The protesters are wearing masks depicting anti-establishment figure from the movie 'V for Vendetta'

Mr Assange has not been charged yet. Mr Hurtig said that when they met, ‘I was struck by how good-looking he was. He gave off an aura of someone who was very self-assured and comfortable with himself – the way famous people do. 

‘He denied vehemently that he had raped or in any way indulged in non-consensual sex. He was very upset. He kept saying, “How can they do this to me? I’ve done nothing wrong. They are trying to destroy my credibility.” He kept saying it was a witch-hunt and we must fight it.’ 

One of the women, a political activist in her 30s described as Miss A, claims she was unlawfully coerced and subjected to sexual molestation and deliberate molestation. The other woman, Miss B, who is in her 20s, has alleged he had sex with her without a condom while she was sleeping. 

Mr Assange told Mr Hurtig he had a brief affair with Miss A – who had organised a seminar for the Centre-Left group Brotherhood Movement – while staying in her flat. 
Miss B admitted in her police statement that she sought out Mr Assange after seeing him on TV and, clearly infatuated, attended the seminar he was giving. They had a ‘sexual encounter’ in a cinema on their first meeting and two days later had protected sex at her flat, 40 miles from Stockholm. But the woman told police that she woke up next morning to find him having sex with her without a condom.

‘This is what they are saying is rape,’ said Mr Hurtig. He said Mr Assange and Miss B parted on good terms, with Miss B buying his train ticket back to Stockholm. But Mr Hurtig said that after Mr Assange reneged on his promise to call her and failed to return her phone calls over the next few days, the drama took a ‘bizarre’ turn.

Miss B called the office of Miss A, whom she had briefly met at the seminar, asking the whereabouts of Mr Assange. During the conversation they realised that they had both been ‘victims of his charms’.

Mr Assange told Mr Hurtig he refused their request to take a test for sexually-transmitted diseases. 

He said Miss B was especially anxious about the possibility of HIV and pregnancy. It was then that she and Miss A walked into a police station and told their stories. 
Mr Hurtig said: ‘I don’t believe Miss B felt she had been raped until she went to the police station. She was encouraged by a policewoman and a junior female prosecutor to think that way.

While I don’t think there was any conspiracy, Julian says he is being victimised because of his role with WikiLeaks. The fact that he has a high profile has made him a target for opponents.’

Mr Hurtig said that before leaving Sweden to lecture in Britain at the end of September, Mr Assange tried in vain several times to arrange an interview with Stockholm police.
The strong sense of women’s rights in Sweden means 53 rape allegations are reported per 100,000 people, the highest rate in Europe. 

Also, under Swedish law there are gradations of rape. There is the most serious kind, involving major violence, ‘regular rape’, which could include a degree of violence, and ‘unlawful coercion’, which might involve putting emotional pressure on someone.

The case may turn on whether consensual sex turned into non-consensual sex – and whether a man’s decision not to use a condom can amount to a crime.

But Mr Hurtig remains confident that Mr Assange will get a fair hearing in Sweden. 
‘This is not a banana republic,’ he said. ‘It’s just that when it comes to sex crimes, the police and prosecutors and members of the court seem to lose their ability to think logically. That said, I’m convinced that as soon as the case is heard in Sweden it will be thrown out.’

No War Crimes Arrests, Thank You

Sunday 12 December 2010
By Paddy Mcguffin

Human Rights campaigners accused the government yesterday of attempting to change the law to protect foreign war criminals from prosecution.
The Police Reform and Social Responsibility Bill, set to be debated by MPs today, contains a raft of proposals including new legislation to make it more difficult to get arrest warrants for offences such as war crimes.
The Bill calls for the amendment of "the process for issuing private arrest warrants for universal jurisdiction offences to ensure that they are issued only where there is a reasonable prospect of successful prosecution."
Universal jurisdiction offences incude crimes such as torture, human rights abuses and war crimes deemed so grave that they can be tried in a country even if the offences were committed elsewhere.
It is believed the proposal is directly related to an incident last year when an arrest warrant was issued for then Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni for alleged war crimes during Operation Cast Lead in Gaza.
The warrant was granted by City of Westminster magistrates' court after it was ruled that sufficient evidence had been provided.
Then foreign secretary David Miliband condemned the issuing of the warrant and vowed to change the law to prevent it happening again.
The new Bill would remove the power to issue such warrants from magistrates and give them to the Director of Public Prosecutions under the supervision of the Attorney General.
The Attorney General would have the right to veto requests for arrest warrants regardless of the strength of the evidence. Campaigners argue that this is a political move and in breach of international law.
The Palestine Solidarity Campaign (PSC) is calling on people to write to their MPs urging them to vote against the Bill.
PSC campaigns director Sarah Colborne said: "The government have not managed to produce evidence of even one arrest warrant that was granted on insufficient evidence of war crimes.
"Our justice system should not be altered according to the wishes of senior politicians from Israel who are fearful of arrest because of decisions they have personally taken."
She added that the government "has a responsibility to uphold international law and bring those responsible for crimes, such as the massacre of over 1,400 Palestinians in Gaza and destruction of UN and civilian infrastructure, to justice."

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