Tuesday, December 14, 2010

News Concentrate: Do Not Dilute: Granted Bail But Still In Jail?

News Concentrate: Do Not Dilute: Granted Bail But Still In Jail?

Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange Granted Bail But Sent Back To Prison As Swedish Prosecutors Appeal Against Decision

Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1338468/WikiLeaks-founder-Julian-Assange-granted-bail-sent-prison.html#ixzz188y6TGEt

from-http://mail.google.com/mail/images/cleardot.gifMichael Moore 


date-http://mail.google.com/mail/images/cleardot.gifTue, Dec 14, 2010 at 8:19 AM
subject-http://mail.google.com/mail/images/cleardot.gifWhy I'm Posting Bail Money for Julian Assange (A Statement from Michael Moore)
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Why I'm Posting Bail Money for Julian Assange (A statement from Michael Moore)
Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that I have put up $20,000 of my own money to help bail Mr. Assange out of jail.

Furthermore, I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars.

We were taken to war in Iraq on a lie. Hundreds of thousands are now dead. Just imagine if the men who planned this war crime back in 2002 had had a WikiLeaks to deal with. They might not have been able to pull it off. The only reason they thought they could get away with it was because they had a guaranteed cloak of secrecy. That guarantee has now been ripped from them, and I hope they are never able to operate in secret again.

So why is WikiLeaks, after performing such an important public service, under such vicious attack? Because they have outed and embarrassed those who have covered up the truth. The assault on them has been over the top:

**Sen. Joe Lieberman says WikiLeaks "has violated the Espionage Act."

**The New Yorker's George Packer calls Assange "super-secretive, thin-skinned, [and] megalomaniacal."

**Sarah Palin claims he's "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands" whom we should pursue "with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders."

**Democrat Bob Beckel (Walter Mondale's 1984 campaign manager) said about Assange on Fox: "A dead man can't leak stuff ... there's only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch."

**Republican Mary Matalin says "he's a psychopath, a sociopath ... He's a terrorist."

**Rep. Peter A. King calls WikiLeaks a "terrorist organization."

And indeed they are! They exist to terrorize the liars and warmongers who have brought ruin to our nation and to others. Perhaps the next war won't be so easy because the tables have been turned -- and now it's Big Brother who's being watched ... by us!

WikiLeaks deserves our thanks for shining a huge spotlight on all this. But some in the corporate-owned press have dismissed the importance of WikiLeaks ("they've released little that's new!") or have painted them as simple anarchists ("WikiLeaks just releases everything without any editorial control!"). WikiLeaks exists, in part, because the mainstream media has failed to live up to its responsibility. The corporate owners have decimated newsrooms, making it impossible for good journalists to do their job. There's no time or money anymore for investigative journalism. Simply put, investors don't want those stories exposed. They like their secrets kept ... as secrets.

I ask you to imagine how much different our world would be if WikiLeaks had existed 10 years ago. Take a look at this photo. That's Mr. Bush about to be handed a "secret" document on August 6th, 2001. Its heading read: "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US." And on those pages it said the FBI had discovered "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings." Mr. Bush decided to ignore it and went fishing for the next four weeks.

But if that document had been leaked, how would you or I have reacted? What would Congress or the FAA have done? Was there not a greater chance that someone, somewhere would have done something if all of us knew about bin Laden's impending attack using hijacked planes?
But back then only a few people had access to that document. Because the secret was kept, a flight school instructor in San Diego who noticed that two Saudi students took no interest in takeoffs or landings, did nothing. Had he read about the bin Laden threat in the paper, might he have called the FBI? (Please read this essay by former FBI Agent Coleen Rowley, Time's 2002 co-Person of the Year, about her belief that had WikiLeaks been around in 2001, 9/11 might have been prevented.)

Or what if the public in 2003 had been able to read "secret" memos from Dick Cheney as he pressured the CIA to give him the "facts" he wanted in order to build his false case for war? If a WikiLeaks had revealed at that time that there were, in fact, no weapons of mass destruction, do you think that the war would have been launched -- or rather, wouldn't there have been calls for Cheney's arrest?

Openness, transparency -- these are among the few weapons the citizenry has to protect itself from the powerful and the corrupt. What if within days of August 4th, 1964 -- after the Pentagon had made up the lie that our ship was attacked by the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin -- there had been a WikiLeaks to tell the American people that the whole thing was made up? I guess 58,000 of our soldiers (and 2 million Vietnamese) might be alive today.
Instead, secrets killed them.

For those of you who think it's wrong to support Julian Assange because of the sexual assault allegations he's being held for, all I ask is that you not be naive about how the government works when it decides to go after its prey. Please -- never, ever believe the "official story." And regardless of Assange's guilt or innocence (see the strange nature of the allegations here), this man has the right to have bail posted and to defend himself. I have joined with filmmakers Ken Loach and John Pilger and writer Jemima Khan in putting up the bail money -- and we hope the judge will accept this and grant his release today.

Might WikiLeaks cause some unintended harm to diplomatic negotiations and U.S. interests around the world? Perhaps. But that's the price you pay when you and your government take us into a war based on a lie. Your punishment for misbehaving is that someone has to turn on all the lights in the room so that we can see what you're up to. You simply can't be trusted. So every cable, every email you write is now fair game. Sorry, but you brought this upon yourself. No one can hide from the truth now. No one can plot the next Big Lie if they know that they might be exposed.

And that is the best thing that WikiLeaks has done. WikiLeaks, God bless them, will save lives as a result of their actions. And any of you who join me in supporting them are committing a true act of patriotism. Period.
I stand today in absentia with Julian Assange in London and I ask the judge to grant him his release. I am willing to guarantee his return to court with the bail money I have wired to said court. I will not allow this injustice to continue unchallenged.
Michael Moore
P.S. You can read the statement I filed today in the London court here.
P.P.S. If you're reading this in London, please go support Julian Assange and WikiLeaks at a demonstration at 1 PM today, Tuesday the 14th, in front of the Westminster court. 

This is about as good as it gets for the United States of America. Backed by the righteous anger of lawmakers and commentators, hundreds -- perhaps thousands -- of the nation's brightest brains are working toward the goal of making Julian Assange answer for his alleged crimes in a US court.

Those engaged in this effort should enjoy the thrill of the chase. If Assange is successfully extradited to the US, a sobering experience will follow. Prosecuting the founder of WikiLeaks could very easily turn into a nightmare. In formal terms, Julian Assange will be the man standing trial. But the participant with the most to lose will be the US government. Victory, if it arrives in any formal sense, will feel pyrrhic.

The US government's position is weak because it possesses relatively few reliable legal tools. Prosecuting Assange under The Espionage Act of 1917, America's version of Britain's Official Secrets Act, still looks like the best option.
Ranging far more widely than its title suggests, the Espionage Act criminalises the communication of "information relating to the national defense", which "the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States." The act theoretically makes criminals of Julian Assange, thenewspaper editors working with WikiLeaks and anyone who reads, or even Tweets, about the contents of a classified cable.

The law's sweeping nature has troubled judges for the best part of a century. As a result, administrations have become reluctant to deploy it.
A civilian *recipient* of classified data has never been convicted under this law. Nor has someone like Assange, who will claim to be protected by the First Amendment to the US Constitution, which protects freedom of speech and freedom of the press.
When the White House went after Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers to The New York Times in 1971, it used The Espionage Act. But Assange's position isn't analogous to that of Ellsberg. Instead, it's closer to that of The New York Times, which published Ellsberg's documents. Even the Nixon administration held back from prosecuting The Times, preferring instead to injunct the newspaper while it pursued Ellsberg through the criminal courts.

The Nixon administration was trying to circumvent the First Amendment. Yet in order to prosecute Assange, the Obama administration may have to confront the First Amendment head on. It may be forced to argue that WikiLeaks isn't a media organisation, but merely a web site, devoid of editorial functions, that publishes raw data.

The argument that only "established" media outlets can count on First Amendment protection is profoundly at odds with the reality of media production and consumption in the 21st century. Any prosecution on these grounds will provoke storms of criticism and ridicule.
Neither has Assange made this argument easy for prosecutors. WikiLeaks asked Washington for assistance with redacting the cables and met with a refusal. Yet when The New York Times asked the US government for advice on what to censor, it received suggestions. "The other news organizations supported these redactions," New York Times editor Bill Keller recently wrote in an online discussion. "WikiLeaks has indicated that it intends to do likewise. And as a matter of news interest, we will watch their website to see what they do."

If Assange has been sensible, WikiLeaks is exercising the same editorial judgements as the world's leading newspapers. It's

instructive to listen to what Sylvie Kauffmann, executive editor of
 Le Monde(which also collaborated with WikiLeaks) has to say about this:

"Even the political classes [in France] recognised that the newspapers who had been working on these cables had behaved in a responsible way. They acknowledged that we had been doing our job of selecting the material in an expert way. There was a complete evolution of the public view."
The prospect of the editors of Der Spiegel, El Pais, the Guardian, Le Monde andThe New York Times testifying about how they limited unacceptable side-effects should worry the White House. Perhaps Assange's defence team will also want to question US defence secretary Robert Gates about his claim that the damage inflicted by Cablegate has been " fairly modest". If this is the case, perhaps WikiLeaks and its collaborators were a good deal more responsible than critics suggest.

The US government could choose another route to court: it could prosecute WikiLeaks and the news organisations with which it collaborated. This option has been floated by Senator Joe Lieberman, the influential chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. It has also beendescribed by Steve Vladeck, professor of law at American University, as "crossing a proverbial Rubicon that even the most secrecy-obsessed, First Amendment-indifferent administrations have consistently refused to attempt to bridge". The results would include a full-blown constitutional crisis. 

Further risks lie in wait. Thanks to one of the best-known judge-led modifications of The Espionage Act, the US will also need to demonstrate, in the words of one prominent free speech lawyer, that Julian Assange possessed the "highest specific intent to do harm to the United States that you possibly can have".

This is easier said than done. Assange's defence team will argue that his target wasn't the US government per se, but its culture of secrecy and the way in which it conducts foreign wars. Moreover, WikiLeaks has published documents that have irritated many governments. It could be argued that Assange and his colleagues haven't singled out the US for special treatment.
How will the US government prove that WikiLeaks threatened national security? Dianne Feinstein, the Democrat who chairs the Senate Foreign Intelligence Committee, argues that this is "beyond question". But the US courts will require proof. As the former federal prosecutor Baruch Weiss noted recently, thisraises difficulties: "You have to disclose more classified information to explain to the jury the damage brought about by the disclosure."

As a result, parts of any trial may be held in secret. Yet if this happens, the credibility of any prosecution will be diminished.
Much is being made of the possibility that Assange "solicited" 251,287 secret documents from Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old US Army private who was serving with the 2nd Brigade 10th Mountain Division in Baghdad before his arrest in June.
If Assange encouraged Manning, it might be easier to prosecute him. Yet the US government may also have encouraged the theft of secrets. As many as three million state employees may have access to SIPRNet, the "completely secure" database at the Department of Defense and State Department from which Manning is alleged to have stolen classified documents. Manning hasdisclosed how, while working in his office, he downloaded documents on to "a CD-RW labelled with something like 'Lady Gaga'". (To evade suspicion, Manning has said, he "listened and lip-synced to Lady Gaga's Telephone while exfiltratrating possibly the largest data spillage in American history".)  

The White House finds itself in the position of a homeowner who has been burgled after leaving his front and back doors wide open. A jury may still convict the thief and those who received stolen goods. But public opinion is likely to marvel at the laxness with which the US government handled secret material that it now describes as so important.
Yet perhaps the biggest risk of all resides in the actions of the US government to date. Daniel Ellsberg leaked the Pentagon Papers, but didn't go to jail. The case was dismissed after evidence emerged of "prosecutorial misconduct". These efforts included an attempt to bribe the presiding judge. White House operatives were also despatched to break into the offices of Ellsberg's doctor in an effort to steal medical records that could be used to discredit him.
It would beggar belief if the Obama administration sabotaged its case in such a crude fashion. Yet errors of judgement become a distinct possibility when the atmosphere gets this febrile.
Already, there are straws in the wind. Solicitors representing Assange in London have spoken of intimidating letters from the State Department and heavy-handed surveillance. In September, according to The New York Times, three laptops that Julian Assange checked into the hold of a nearly-empty flight from Stockholm to Berlin went missing. They have never been recovered.

Most of all, the courts will be interested in any evidence that the US government authorised denial of service attacks against WikiLeaks. US judges tend to take a dim view of extrajudicial attempts to restrain publication.
Sit back and add it all up: if the founder of WikiLeaks enters a US courtroom, his options will multiply. The government's will diminish. This looks like a classic ju-jitsu moment in which an underpowered defendant can turn the sheer body weight of a prosecutor to his advantage.
Putting Assange behind bars will merely make him a martyr. In 1918, Eugene Debs, the leader of the Socialist Party, was convicted under The Espionage Act and imprisoned. He promptly ran for president from his prison cell. Clearly, Assange cannot run for the White House. But he has a talent for dramatising his context that cannot be underestimated.
Senator Joe Lieberman has floated the idea of prosecuting The New York Times as well as WikiLeaks. Lieberman should be careful what he wishes for. At this stage, the best possible result for the White House would be the failure of any attempt to extradite Julian Assange to the US.

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has been granted conditional bail if his team of celebrity backers can find a total of £240,000 in security and surety and he can see off an appeal by Swedish prosecutors.

After his initial application was refused, Assange attended a second hearing this afternoon, where a group of celebrities once again united to provide financial backing. 
Two backers put up sureties of £20,000 each, thought to be restaurant designer Sarah Saunders and Assange's friend Vaughan Smith, but the court requires £200,000 in cash to be paid before he can be released.

However, after initial indications that they would not appeal the decision, the Swedish authorities met the 5.30pm deadline for their appeal.

Assange's lawyer Mark Stephens said of the decision: 'After two hours the Swedes wont abide by the umpire's decision and they want to put Mr Assange through more trouble and expense.

The clearly will not spare any expense to keep Mr Assange in jail and it is now turning into a show trial.

'But given their history of persecuting Mr Assange it's perhaps not surprising.
'We will be back in court in the next 48 hours'.

Mr Stephens had earlier said that if Sweden did pursue an appeal, it would indicate the case is 'persecution, not prosecution.'

Prior to the announcement that the  Swedes would appeal, Mr Assange's team had set about trying to raise £200,000 in cash to meet his bail requirements.

The film-maker Michael Moore had revealed via his website this morning that he had promised $20,000 in surety - to be paid if Assange absconds on bail - but the court's requirement was for £200,000 in security, which has to be paid in cash up front. 
Mr Stephens said: 'The begging bowl is out.' 

He added that a number of the high profile names backing Mr Assange had gone away to see if they can help raise the sum. 

Chaos: International media mingle police and protesters outside court

So who can he ask for cash? Celebrity friends at court

An ever-growing cast of left-wing lovies were attracted to Julian Assange's court hearing this afternoon.

Film director Ken Loach, socialite Jemima Khan and journalist John Pilger made their second appearance in the public galleries at the City of Westmister Magistrates' Court.

They all turned up for last week's hearing, offering to stump up cash to secure the Australian's bail.

But today they were joined by human rights advocate Bianca Jagger, authors Tariq Ali and Hanif Kureshi, one-time Taliban captive Yvonne Ridley and restaurant designer Sarah Saunders.

Gay activist Peter Tatchell was also at court. He said: 'I'm just here to show solidarity with someone who exposed people who committed war crimes.'

American documentary film maker Michael Moore was there in spirit, offering to throw $20,000 into the pot to secure his release.

Assange's legal team was also considerably beefed up. In addition to media lawyer Mark Saunders, fellow Finers Stephens Innocent solicitor Jennifer Stephens came on board.

Also involved are human rights QCs Geoffrey Robertson and Helena Kennedy, together with specialist extradition advisor John Jones.

Mr Robertson is the founder and head of the left wing Doughty Street Chambers.

He sprang to prominence in the early 1970s when he acted as defence counsel in the Oz obscenity trial.

If the money can be found, and the appeal won, the further conditions of Assange's bail are that he has to wear an electronic tag, surrender his passport and not apply for international travel, remain at an address in Sussex with his friend Vaughan Smith, who runs the Frontline Club, and obey a curfew.

District Judge Howard Riddle also ordered Assange to report to a local police station every evening.

He is due to appear at the same court on January 11.

At the hearing Assange appeared in the dock in a black suit and white shirt.

He waved to his lawyer as he entered the packed court room and spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and address in Victoria, Australia.

Lawyer Gemma Lindfield, on behalf of the Swedish authorities, reminded the court it had 'already found that Mr Assange is a flight risk'.

She said: 'It's submitted that nothing has changed since last week to allay the court's fears in this regard.'

But Judge Riddle disagreed, telling the court that in fact two matters had changed since he made his decision to remand Assange in custody last Tuesday.
Firstly, the former hacker's address had not been verified by the police when he appeared in the dock last week, whereas the matter of his residence had 'now been dealt with completely and entirely to my satisfaction', he said.

Secondly, a question mark hung last week over his entry into the country, with Ms Lindfield saying there was no trace of him coming into the UK.

But the judge said this matter had also been cleared up now and no longer troubled him.

Assange will reside at the address of Captain Vaughan Smith, founder of the Frontline Club in Paddington, west London.

Cpt Smith, who described Assange as 'hugely courageous', offered a surety of £20,000.
It is a significant step for Assange and there were cheers from protesters outside court when the decision was announced.

During the hearing ten distinguished figures were reported to have offered money towards the surety. It is unclear exactly who comprises that ten, but Jemima Khan, John Pilger and Ken Loach were all present at court. 

Bianca Jagger, who attended in her capacity as a human rights campaigner, confirmed after the hearing that she had not provided any money.

'I am very concerned that this case is becoming politicised,' she told the media.
'If there are valid accusations against him then let them be heard.

Placards: An organised protest grew in numbers as the morning wore on

Doubt: A protestor makes her feelings known with a placard

Aren't judges supposed to be behind the times? 

In a shock ruling today the judge at Julian Assange's bail hearing allowed reporters to Twitter in court.

Court reporting is usually governed by very strict rules on what can and can't be done. 

You cannot, for instance, record sound, take photographs or even make sketches in court of judges or jurors under The Contempt of Court Act 1981. 

But District Judge Howard Riddle allowed the request to be allowed to Twitter during proceedings at City of Westminster Magistrates Court, because he couldn't find a reason not to. 

The Act allows for reports that are 'fair and accurate' and which have been 'published contemporaneously and in good faith'.

Here, Judge Riddle appears to have taken advantage of the fact that there is no statutory ban on creating text by means of electronic devices in a court. Indeed, many judges now make their own notes on proceedings on laptops.

It meant thousands of people following freedom of information campaigner Heather Brooke and Times reporter Alexi Mostrous on the mini blogging website were treated to snippets of information throughout the hearing.

The Lord Chief Justice Lord Judge recently addressed the subject of live blogging from court during a lecture to the Judicial Studies Board of Northern Ireland.

He said: 'Twitter technology has come into existence long after the law of contempt and reporting of proceedings was developed or enacted.'

Lord Judge said that he was not giving legal advice but added: 'I could not find a statutory prohibition on the use of text-based remote transmission of material from a courtroom, whether transmitted by an internet-enabled mobile phone, or a laptop computer, or in any other way.'

He continued: ‘If a reporter of member of the public is permitted to write notes to himself or herself in court, and then “file them” from a telephone outside the court, what is the qualitative difference if they are permitted to do so when sitting in court, say, by sending an email.’

A spokesman for the Judicial Communications Office said: 'The questions raised by the Lord Chief Justice in his recent lecture to the Judicial Studies Board in Northern Ireland regarding the use of twitter and the principles of open justice are under active consideration by the senior judiciary.'

'I don't agree with everything he has done but the most important thing in law is justice, due process and freedom of expression.'

Film director Ken Loach said: 'If the Swedish government oppose bail it will show there is some vindictive element beyond this case.'

Socialite Jemima Khan, who earlier offered a surety on behalf of Assange, said: 'It's great news. I can hear them all cheering outside.'

Novelist Tariq Ali said: 'I'm very pleased that he is out. I think the extradition charges should now be dealt with in the same way.

'His barrister made the same point, that this is not rape under English law and there is absolutely no reason for extradition.

'We are delighted he is out and he should never have been locked up in the first place'
Author Yvonne Ridley said: 'It is a victory for common sense. If he had been refused bail, it would have meant the court had become a political arena.'

Gavin MacFadyen, of the Centre for Investigative Journalism, said: 'I am very pleased and it is about time.

'We do not know what the prosecution will do now. And there is still a possibility of an appeal.'

Prior to the hearing today Michael Moore had called for supporters to attend a demonstration outside court.

It said: 'If you're reading this in London, please go support Julian Assange and WikiLeaks at a demonstration at 1pm today, Tuesday the 14th, in front of the Westminster court.'

Many people took up the invitation and protested outside the court with banners and signs, while some even brandished copies of the current edition of Time Magazine, which features Assange on its cover.

The scene outside the court was controlled bedlam as the protesters and police mixed with international media.

The crowds made the small, staired entrance to the court almost impassable.

Dozens of police officers corralled a vocal and diverse protest behind metal fencing on the other side of the road.

A squad of officers helped celebrity Jemima Khan as she walked into court amid chaotic scenes to again offer a cash surety, as was the case with veteran journalist and campaigner John Pilger.

Among those leading the protest were gay rights activist Peter Tatchell and Lindsey German of the Stop the War campaign group.

Some demonstrators wore masks representing comic book hero V, from V for Vendetta, and others used scarves to conceal their identity.

Many carried placards mocking the British and Swedish authorities as well as black and white images of Assange.

One read: 'Sweden, puppets of the US', another said 'There is something rotten in the state of Sweden' and many said 'Exposing war crimes is not a crime'.

Others gave out leaflets campaigning for an end to the 'unfair' European Arrest Warrant and outlining support for the free flow of information.

As the man himself arrived in a prison van photographers rushed to the side of the van to snap pictures of him through the windows, resulting in the image above. 

As that picture shows, being in custody is no bar to Assange getting messages out through the media. 

Earlier today he backed the cyber attacks on Visa, Mastercard and PayPal from his prison cell, branding the companies 'instruments of U.S. foreign policy'.

He gave a written statement to his mother, Christine, when she visited him in London where he is in custody fighting extradition to Sweden for alleged sex offences.

Internet activists launched 'Operation Payback' to avenge WikiLeaks against those perceived to have obstructed its operations by refusing to process payments to the website.

Photographers try to photograph WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange as he is believed to arrive in a prison van at the Magistrates Court in Central London this morning
The campaign temporarily brought down the websites of credit card firms Visa and MasterCard, as well as that of PayPal and the Swedish government, last week.

Assange's statement said: 'We now know that Visa, Mastercard, PayPal and others are instruments of U.S. foreign policy. 

'It's not something we knew before. 

'I am calling for the world to protect my work and my people from these illegal and immoral attacks.'         

A 'Free Julian Assange' protestor demonstrates outside the City of Westminster Magistrates Court before his arrival this morning.

d0connor: NSW police are opposing tonight's Wikileaks Support Rally in Sydney.
NSW Police oppose latest Wikileaks rally - Communications - News - zdnet.com.au
Twitter - 43 seconds ago

wikileaks: Columbia Journalism Faculty call for Government to recognise Wikileaks' First Amendment Rights |
Columbia j-school staff: WikiLeaks prosecution ‘will set a ... - poynter.org
Twitter - 1 minute ago

How Will This End?

Assange's lawyer has claimed that a grand jury is currently investigating Assange for violating the Espionage Act of 1917 and that he expects his client to be indicted at any moment. If that happens, it's unclear what's next. England is likely to grant Sweden's extradition request ahead of any filed by the U.S. And once he's in Sweden, it's not a slam-dunk that the U.S. could get its hands on him. Extradition treaties often require that the crime being allege have occurred in the jurisdiction of the country requesting extradition. In this instance, there's no evidence that Assange or any Wikileaks personnel or servers (which are in Sweden) were in U.S. territory or subject to its laws when they released the records. Extradition treaties also often bar extradition for political crimes, and Assange could make a fairly convincing case to a Swedish judge that any charges coming down the pike are political in nature.
If the U.S. does lay hands on Assange and prosecutes him under the Espionage Act or any other statutes restricting the distribution of classified information, it would constitute the most aggressive government attack on the press since the Nixon Administration's attempt to bar publication of the Pentagon Papers.
As for what's next for Wikileaks itself, that's even less clear. While it has established a backlog of submissions that is has yet to release—including, Assange has suggested, material relating to Russia and China—it remains to be seen whether it can continue to attract the leaks that it needs. The site is completely dependent on the willingness of whistleblowers to come forward. It doesn't conduct enterprise reporting of its own. The publicity of the last few months have clearly been a boon in terms of generating those submissions, but the concomitant turmoil means that it's submissions page has been down "due to re-engineering improvements" for several months, so no new data has been coming into the system. Once it cycles through its current backlog, who knows if there will be any fresh revelations to make governments quake?
And that is the story of Mendax, the rapey pasty hacker who, with the help of a transsexual soldier and an anonymous army of teenagers, launched the first global infowar. The story ends when he becomes data and disappears into the internet.

Here Come The WikiLeaks Copycats: IndoLeaks, BrusselsLeaks And ...
By Andy Greenberg
When Daniel Domscheit-Berg defected from WikiLeaks in September to create his own leak-focused project, he told Der Spiegel that "there must be a thousand WikiLeaks." The four that launched in just the last few days aren't a bad start.The Firewall - http://blogs.forbes.com/andygreenberg/

Wikileaks.org domain comes back online, helped by new DNS providers
By Matt Brian
We noticed Wikileaks.org had come back online when website monitoring company Pingdom tweeted that the Wikileaks.org domain had returned to service at 4:23am CET on Saturday. Currently the domain points to a Wikileaks mirror page ...The Next Web - http://thenextweb.com/

OpenLeaks: A Kinder, Gentler WikiLeaks?
By Richard Adhikari
Dissident staff members at WikiLeaks, led by that site's former spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg, reportedly plan to launch a spinoff to be named " OpenLeaks." This may be unveiled as early as next week. Like WikiLeaks, OpenLeaks will ...TechNewsWorld - http://www.technewsworld.com/

 Did Tony Blair Simply Ignore The Attorney General’s Legal  Advice On Invading Iraq When It Didn’t Suit Him?


The recall of Tony Blair to the Chilcot inquiry, announced last week, is likely to prove the major credibility test for him and his record on Iraq – and for the inquiry itself.

The focus of the cross-examination, which will be held in public towards the end of next month, is his relationship with the attorney general, Lord Goldsmith, and his handling of Goldsmith's legal advice about going to war.

One eminent lawyer I have spoken to said: "He [Blair] just seemed to think he could treat Goldsmith as his private counsel, his personal brief, and not a senior law officer serving the government and parliament as a whole."

Why, for instance, did the attorney general never fully address the Cabinet on the legality of what British forces were ordered to do in Iraq? He attended the full meeting of Cabinet on March 13, 2003 - two days before the invasion - but was not asked to speak.
There is more than a whiff of a suspicion that the Chilcot panel has been prompted to recall Blair and other key witnesses, including his then foreign secretary Jack Straw, by less than flattering reports contained in the WikiLeaks revelations.

A US dispatch from a member of the Bush administration during a visit to UK, published by WikiLeaks at the end of November, said that he had received assurances from a British MoD official, John Day, the director of policy, that "US security interests would be protected" in the Chilcot report. This has led to concerns that the inquiry would be accused of being a whitewash - a charge which has stuck to both the Hutton and Butler reports on Iraq.

But whatever the reason, Chilcot has now decided to extend the deadline for publishing the report to the spring. And because of powerful representations made to him personally by members of the legal profession as well politicians, he will examine more closely the role and record of the attorney general, and ask why Blair and Straw apparently chose to ignore his legal advice when it didn't suit them.

Since the first round of interviews by Chilcot, several key documents have come to light. One is a memo from Lord Goldsmith in early January 2003 in which he states that a second UN resolution would be needed, in addition to UNSCR 1441 of the previous November, to make action against Iraq legal. Blair himself pencilled on the note, "I just don't understand this," to which an aide added, "Specifically said we did not need further advice on this matter".

By early March, Lord Goldsmith was writing that after consulting US colleagues he now realised that a second UN resolution would not be needed to support action after all - though the UK could still be open to international indictment.

Goldsmith put his new view in summary form, which was put in a folder for the Cabinet to peruse at its March 17 meeting. Goldsmith attended that meeting but was not invited to rehearse the legal argument, it is understood.

The inquiry is now being pressed to obtain all Lord Goldsmith's legal opinions on the war in full - including the long one where he thought it illegal without an enabling UN resolution, and the full argument about his change of mind two months later.

It is also being asked to inquire why the attorney general did not brief the Cabinet and parliament fully about the legal argument in the run-up to the incursion into Iraq.
This is particularly important because the legal officer at the Foreign Office, Elizabeth Wilmshurst, had written that the operation without UN mandate was illegal - as she eloquently explained at one of the Chilcot hearings - and resigned the moment battle was joined.

Nick Clegg is mistaken on limiting private prosecutions for crimes against humanity, argues Mark McDonald

The Liberal Democrats have spent the past decade pointing their accusing finger at Labour, questioning the party’s human rights record. In some areas, they were right to have done so. But now they are in power. Now they have to make the big decisions on foreign policy. And, on their first test, they have failed.
In a recent speech to Lib Dems Friends of Israel, Nick Clegg declared his support for the removal of an individual’s right to obtain an arrest warrant for people accused of the most serious humanitarian crimes. It is proposed that before a warrant can be issued, consent must first be obtained from the Director of Public Prosecutions. This is a fundamental change to our constitutional right to bring those accused of war crimes before the courts.
Clegg’s premise for the removal of this right is factually and legally wrong. The Deputy Prime Minister said an arrest warrant is obtained on the basis of flimsy evidence in front of a local magistrate. This is not the case. An arrest is always obtained from the most senior district judge in the country sitting in the central London Magistrates Court. The test for issuing a warrant has to be stringent and the evidence produced rightly needs to stand up to scrutiny. In the most recent cases where arrest warrants have been issued, the evidence of involvement in suspected war crimes atrocities was overwhelming.
By removing the right to apply for an arrest warrant, the effectiveness of universal jurisdiction is significantly undermined.
History is littered with atrocities committed by tyrants in their own countries and abroad. Those responsible were free to act with impunity in the knowledge that they would never be brought to justice. The murder of six million Jews during the Second World War brought an end to this immunity.
The principle of universal jurisdiction gives power to the state or an individual to claim criminal jurisdiction over persons alleged to have committed crimes outside the boundaries of the state. Since the Second World War, the United Nations has instituted a number of International Treaties. Most important were the Geneva conventions that finally codified the offence of war crimes. Over the past two decades, we have seen the UN, by direction of the Security Council, bring to justice some of those responsible for atrocities in Rwanda, the former Yugoslavia and Sierra Leone.
In recognising that impunity exists, mainly when the national authorities of countries affected by the crimes fail to act, it is important that the criminal justice system of other nations can step in to prosecute the crimes on behalf of the international community and award reparations to victims.
Up to now, more than 15 countries have exercised universal jurisdiction in investigations or prosecutions of persons suspected of crimes under international law. An example of this was highlighted by Kenneth Roth, who argued that Israel’s prosecution of Adolf Eichmann in 1961 was a recognition of universal jurisdiction. Another example was Israel’s application for an arrest warrant for Yasser Arafat in a Belgium court. In the United Kingdom, there was the arrest of former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet. Last March saw the arrest of Ejup Ganic, the former president of Bosnia who is accused of war crimes. Following a request from the Serbian government, he was detained at Heathrow Airport.
Under the current proposals, a private prosecution could still take place if the DPP consents to an arrest warrant. If he does not, it is unlikely that a person would voluntarily surrender to a court. As someone cannot be tried in their absence unless they have first been charged, the effect would be to end to an individual’s right to bring a private prosecution against a non-UK national for an offence committed outside the jurisdiction of this country.
The power to issue an arrest warrant has always been with a judge. The Government, through its appointed officer, the DPP, will now have to consent – effectively assuming that power. There is no guidance as to what test should be applied. It is unclear whether it will be same as the test for initiating a prosecution. If it is, it would be difficult to obtain consent and most – if not all – applications will be unlikely to succeed.
Like many of the recent major constitutional changes, the Government intends to rush this through Parliament. It is essential that the question of arrest warrants under universal jurisdiction should first go before a select committee for full consultation before any changes are made.  The current proposals are seriously flawed. No consideration has been given to the test the DPP should apply before giving consent to an application for a warrant.
One answer is not to seek the consent of the DPP before applying for an arrest, but to give notice to the prosecution of the application and thereby given them an opportunity to make representations before the court. This would allay any fears that the court is being misled or that there are hidden motives for obtaining an arrest warrant.
Mark McDonald is a barrister and vice-chair (policy) of Labour Friends of Palestine and the Middle East

By Matthew Balan | December 13, 2010 | 18:32

CNN's Roland Martin went on a tirade against Rush Limbaugh on his "Washington Watch" program on TV One on Sunday, labeling the conservative talker a "right-wing blowhard" and "absolute idiot" for pretending not to know anything about the black-oriented TV network. Martin claimed that he was "more fair and sensible" than Limbaugh, but his list of guests alone betrays a definite liberal bias.

The CNN contributor went after the talk show host in his "Call 'Em Out" segment, which lasted just under three minutes during the 11 am Eastern hour program. In a teaser for the segment, Martin trumpeted how "that right-wing blowhard Rush Limbaugh needs some schooling about this show, 'Washington Watch,' and TV One. Trust me, I'm gonna give it to him."

During the actual segment (video available here), the TV One host led with his "absolute idiot" label for Limbaugh and played a clip from the December 6, 2010 edition of the conservative's show, where he needled Martin and his network (audio of Limbaugh available here):

LIMBAUGH: And then, on TV One's Washington Watch with Roland Martin- what the hell network- TV One?  What is TV One?  Is anybody- can somebody tell me what TV One is? Well, I know Roland used to be on CNN- used to be angry on CNN all the time.  TV One just comes on at night in some places? Well, I know what New York One is, and this isn't it.  I never heard of TV One. I'm not trying to offend anybody here.  I don't know what it is, but obviously, it's there because we found it. (laughs) You probably never heard of it either.
Martin ended the clip right before the radio host chuckled, which hinted that his statement above was tongue-in-cheek. But that nuance went right over the CNN contributor's head, as he went on the attack, focusing mainly on Limbaugh's perceived racial slights (but didn't cite one example):

MARTIN: Okay. First of all, Rush, let me try to line up so much of your stupidity in a very small area of time. TV One is a cable network, so for you to say, 'we found it-' which means that we actually exist. It is the fastest growing cable network in history, idiot.

Second, for you to sit here and suggest that you don't know what it is, why they're there, makes no sense because we're here just like you are here, and that is to communicate, although we do a much better job of being fair and sensible, as opposed to making a lot of racially-inflammatory comments like you do.

Thirdly, Rush, I'm still on CNN. It's called having another job. Now, sorry, I don't get to sit on my butt like you in a chair making a hundred million dollars making kind of racial comments to black folks. So, therefore, I have multiple opportunities.
The host then bragged that "here at TV One, a partnership between Radio One and Comcast, we're about showcasing the best and the brightest in black America." If one examined Martin's guest list since September 19, which is when his "Washington Watch" program resume after an extended hiatus for the summer, one might get the distinct that impression that "best and the brightest in black America" equals left of center (the guests are listed on the first page of the show transcripts, available here).

Martin's guests are veritable who's who of liberal and Democratic African-Americans, appearing on his program by a 25 to 4 margin. They include Attorney General Eric Holder; Valerie Jarrett; Cecilia Rouse of the President Obama's Council of Economic Advisors; Representatives James Clyburn, Barbara Lee, and Bobby Scott; Senator Roland Burris; NAACP Chairman Ben Jealous; Van Jones; former Obama social secretary Desiree Rogers; and liberal journalists Soledad O'Brien, Deborah Mathis, George Curry, Jonathan Capehart, and Cynthia Tucker.

The only black conservatives/Republicans that appeared during this time period were Deborah Simmons of the Washington Times (who appeared twice), Independent Women Forum's Michelle Bernard (also appeared two times), RNC Chairman Michael Steele, and former Republican staffer Robert Traynham (who actually appeared 5 times, probably because he is now a host on the Comcast Network).

Martin ended the segment with further charges of racism against Limbaugh:

MARTIN: You have a long history, Rush, of playing footloose when it comes to race. I think you have a fundamental problem. And so, here's what I'm going to do: I'm going to send you a nice TV One care package so you actually know, and if you have Direct TV, simply turn to the cable lineup and you can actually watch TV One every single week and you might actually learn something, Rush. Because you know what? You need a lesson in the reality of black America.
The host blasted "Rush Limbaugh and his racist language" during a July 14, 2010 appearance on CNN's Rick's List. Martin also used the cliched "fat idiot" label against the conservative talk show host on the October 21, 2008 edition of the defunct Election Center program.

Wikileaks Editor Faces Grand Jury Indictment?

In another sign that a U.S. indictment of WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange may be imminent, his lawyer has said that a grand jury in Alexandria, Va., is currently weighing criminal charges.

"We have heard from the Swedish authorities that there has been a secretly impaneled grand jury in Alexandria," said Mark Stephens, an attorney at the London-based FSI law firm.

Stephens told Al-Jazeera over the weekend that he believes that there is "collusion" between the Swedish government, which has accused Assange of sexual assault, and the United States. "We understand [Swedish authorities] have said that if he comes to Sweden, they will defer their interest in him to the Americans," the attorney said.

While the U.S. Justice Department hasn't confirmed the existence of a grand jury, Attorney General Eric Holder said recently that a criminal probe into WikiLeaks is ongoing. A CNET analysis published today shows that Assange could be prosecuted under the Espionage Act, which previously was used in the extraterritorial prosecution of a non-U.S. citizen, though he would likely claim the law is unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

A State Department spokesman today declined to comment on questions about the grand jury. An extradition hearing on the charges from Sweden has been scheduled for tomorrow in a London courtroom.

Some of the more hawkish members of Congress have called for Assange to be prosecuted under the portion of the Espionage Act that, in some cases, prohibits the disclosure of "national defense" information. Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), the incoming head of the House Intelligence Committee, asked Holder to charge Assange under the Espionage Act, as did Senate Intelligence Committee heads Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Kit Bond (R-Miss.). Senate Homeland Security Chairman Joseph Lieberman (I-Conn.) is publicly wondering why an indictment and extradition "hasn't happened yet."

Also today:

• A Reddit.com discussion thread saying -- without any evidence -- that the CIA set up a WikiLeaks mirror was a hoax. But Techdirt.com reported it as apparently true, as did BoingBoing, which deleted its original story and then ran a retraction.

• Speaking of Wiki-hoaxes, the U.K. Guardian's Declan Walsh in Islamabad has a report saying that two Pakistani newspapers admitted they were duped by a fake account of the WikiLeaks cables that portrayed Indian generals as vain, "geeky," and engaged in a "genocide" against Muslims in Kashmir. And a Twitter note purporting to be from an Australian member of Parliament calling for Assange to be "aggressively interrogated" also appears to be a hoax.

• There's a ballad of Julian Assange up on YouTube. And look for more WikiLeaks-based games soon.

• Here's a profile of Geoffrey Robertson, the Australian-born, London-based lawyer who stands between Assange and deportation.

• Netcraft.com has a list of sites hit by outages in the last 24 hours. At the top: warlogs.wikileaks.org, cablegate.wikileaks.org, anonops.net and anonops.eu (used by Anonymous), sarahpac.com, wikileaks.de, wikileaks.nl, marketplace.mastercard.com.

• Time magazine has closed its poll for Person of the Year. Assange came in first place, and the results will be announced Wednesday morning on the "Today" show.

• Australian journalists are backing WikiLeaks. A Washington Post editorial on Saturday called such Espionage Act prosecutions "a bad idea."

• The Wikileaks.org domain name (Wikileaks.ch is now the primary one) is back online after EveryDNS yanked it about a week ago. Wikileaks.org is now using San Mateo, Calif.-based Dynadot.com for DNS and is being hosted at Silicon Valley Web Hosting in San Jose. The site currently redirects to the Wikileaks.info site, which is offshore, with hosting and DNS in Russia.

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