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By Admin (from 06/12/2010 @ 22:00:14, in en - Global Observatory, read 1613 times)

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables portray Saudi Arabia as a cash machine for terrorists

"Saudi Arabia is the world's largest source of funds for Islamist militant groups such as the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba – but the Saudi government is reluctant to stem the flow of money, according to Hillary Clinton.

"More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al-Qaida, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups," says a secret December 2009 paper signed by the US secretary of state. Her memo urged US diplomats to redouble their efforts to stop Gulf money reaching extremists in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

"Donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide," she said. Three other Arab countries are listed as sources of militant money: Qatar, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates."
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The Guardian: Brazil denied existence of Islamist militants, WikiLeaks cables show

"Brazil's government covered up the existence of Islamist terrorist suspects in São Paulo and border areas in an apparent bid to protect the country's image, according to secret US documents released by WikiLeaks.

The administration of former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva publicly denied that militant Islamists were active in Brazil, even while its law enforcement agencies co-operated closely with the US in monitoring suspects.

"Despite publicly expressed sentiments of high-level officials denying the existence of proven terrorist activity on Brazilian soil, Brazil's intelligence and law enforcement services are rightly concerned that terrorists could exploit Brazilian territory to support and facilitate terrorist attacks, whether domestically or abroad," said a US embassy cable."
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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables claim al-Jazeera changed coverage to suit Qatari foreign policy

"Qatar is using the Arabic news channel al-Jazeera as a bargaining chip in foreign policy negotiations by adapting its coverage to suit other foreign leaders and offering to cease critical transmissions in exchange for major concessions, US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks claim.

The memos flatly contradict al-Jazeera's insistence that it is editorially independent despite being heavily subsidised by the Gulf state."
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Der Spiegel: At Sea in the Desert: US Diplomats Bewildered and Bamboozled in Baghdad

"Roughly 5,500 classified cables from the US Embassy in Baghdad paint a grim picture of why America's stunning military victory over Iraq devolved into disaster: The Americans allowed themselves to get entangled in the Sunni-Shiite conflict while being systematically outmaneuvered by the Iranians.[...]

Indeed, America's relations with the liberated Iraq have been anything but "friendly" and "constructive." Within just five years, the State Department went through five ambassadors and an army of analysts and consultants. And what made them fail can be gleaned from over 5,500 secret and confidential dispatches from the embassy in Baghdad."
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Der Spiegel: 'Redder than Red': An American Portrait of China's Next Leader

"It is thought that Xi Jinping will become China's next president. But who is he? A source close to Xi has provided US diplomats with a detailed portrait of the up-and-coming functionary -- and says he is neither corrupt nor a fan of democracy.

He isn't corrupt, and money seems unimportant to him. He apparently has enough. He likes the United States, and was at one time fascinated by the mysteries of Buddhism and Asian martial arts.

On October 18, the Central Committee of the Chinese Communist Party appointed 57-year-old Xi Jinping vice-president of the powerful Central Military Commission. This makes it all but certain that he has been chosen to succeed Hu Jintao as Communist Party leader and Chinese president in 2012 and thus become one of the most powerful men in the world, if not the most powerful.

But who is Xi Jinping?"
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Der Spiegel: US Dispatches from Beijing: 'True Democracy' Within China's Politburo?

"Is there any place in dictatorial China where votes are taken and discussions held -- rather than orders given and decrees issued? Indeed there is. And it is where one would least expect it: In the heart of Chinese power.

If one is to believe US diplomatic sources in Beijing, "true democracy" prevails in the Politburo of all places, within that little-known group of top apparatchiks consisting of 24 men and one woman.

No one outside China's ruling cadre knows who at the top of China's power structure decides what and why. No one knows who thinks what, who is allied with whom and who really has influence. Public debates are rare. But by talking to leading functionaries, experts from the US Embassy in Beijing managed to get a glimpse inside of China's inner circle."
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Der Spiegel: Saudi Prince Turki bin Faisal on WikiLeaks: 'People Will No Longer Speak to American Diplomats Frankly'

"The United States has suffered serious political damage as a result of the WikiLeaks publication of secret documents, says Prince Turki bin Faisal, 65, the former intelligence chief and ambassador of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in Washington. "America's credibility and honesty are the victim of these leaks," Turki said in an interview with the news magazine DER SPIEGEL. "People, including officials, will no longer speak to American diplomats frankly.""
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Le Monde: WikiLeaks : l'Arabie saoudite et le financement du terrorisme

"Le financement des activités terroristes ou des groupes considérés comme tels constitue une cible pour les experts américains dans la région du Golfe, tout particulièrement en Arabie saoudite.

Autant ils se félicitent de la réaction saoudienne contre ces groupes après les attentats d'Al-Qaida perpétrés dans le royaume, à partir de 2003, autant ils se plaignent des difficultés rencontrées pour convaincre le régime saoudien de la "priorité stratégique" que représentent les circuits de financement, selon une note de 2009 obtenue par WikiLeaks et consultée par Le Monde, pour Al-Qaida, les talibans afghans et leurs homologues pakistanais."
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Le Monde: WikiLeaks : Les ingérences de l'Iran en Irak tracassent les Etats-Unis

"Menaces et promesses, aide financière, manipulations politiques, espionnage tous azimuts, tentatives d'influence religieuse, fournitures d'armes et d'explosifs à des milices "pro" ou "anti" gouvernementales selon les périodes, incidents sporadiques plus ou moins provoqués sur les frontières communes, contacts et visites multipliées entre les deux pays…

A en croire les télégrammes diplomatiques écrits entre 2004 et février 2010 par l'ambassade américaine de Bagdad, obtenus par WikiLeaks et révélés par Le Monde, la stratégie iranienne en Irak a usé, au fil des ans, de tous les instruments possibles et imaginables pour influer sur les affaires intérieures de son voisin."
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Le Monde: WikiLeaks : France-Brésil, le couple, le sous-marin nucléaire et le Rafale

"La diplomatie américaine cherche à décortiquer les ressorts de la relation France-Brésil. Les évolutions du géant d'Amérique latine ne peuvent laisser Washington indifférent, pas plus que les transferts de technologie, notamment militaire, vers cette partie "émergente" du monde. En novembre 2009, dans un télégramme intitulé "la France et le Brésil : le début d'une histoire d'amour", l'ambassade américaine à Paris se penche sur le duo formé par Nicolas Sarkozy et le président du Brésil, Luis Inacio Lula da Silva.

Le constat le plus saillant est que derrière l'affichage très médiatisé d'amitié personnelle entre les deux chefs d'Etat, se nichent des enjeux stratégiques en termes de défense, avec une aide majeure apportée par la France au Brésil en matière de capacités militaires. Car au-delà du suspense – qui dure toujours – sur les perspectives de vente d'avions Rafale, une affaire plus discrète a été négociée : la livraison au Brésil du premier sous-marin à propulsion nucléaire du continent sud-américain."
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El Pais: Cómo nos ven los estadounidenses: "Zapatero lleva mal que le den clases de algo"

"José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero y los políticos españoles más poderosos del momento son descritos descarnadamente en los documentos secretos y confidenciales de la Embajada de Estados Unidos en Madrid, que dedican especial atención al presidente del Gobierno y a los integrantes de sus dos círculos más próximos. En el primero, la legación estadounidense sitúa al vicepresidente Alfredo Pérez Rubalcaba; al ministro de Fomento, José Blanco; al portavoz socialista en el Congreso de los Diputados, José Antonio Alonso, y al secretario general de la Oficina del Presidente, Bernardino León, al que llaman "el chico de oro del Gobierno". En el segundo mencionan al "impredecible" Miguel Ángel Moratinos, ex ministro de Exteriores, a la "inmadura" Carme Chacón, ministra de Defensa, y al embajador en Estados Unidos, Jorge Dezcallar."
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El Pais: Los lugares estratégicos de la Tierra

"Los cables secretos de la diplomacia estadounidense atestiguan el poderoso esfuerzo ejercido por la superpotencia en los rincones más lejanos y aparentemente insignificantes de la Tierra para proteger sus intereses y garantizar su seguridad, estabilidad y desarrollo. Uno de los ejemplos más esclarecedores del alcance de esa actitud global es la lista que el Departamento de Estado redacta cada año seleccionand o las infraestructuras civiles y recursos naturales del mundo que considera estratégicamente más relevantes.

La selección de 2008 contenía unos 300 elementos. Los puntos de interés suelen ser puertos, gasoductos, minas y empresas del sector químico, farmacéutico o de defensa. En España, por ejemplo, EE UU seleccionó tres elementos: el estrecho de Gibraltar, el gasoducto que une a la Península con Argelia y el laboratorio catalán Grifols. La importancia de los lugares es valorada por el grado de dependencia de ellos de EE UU, por el impacto que su eventual destrucción o alteración en el funcionamiento tendría sobre "la salud pública, la estabilidad económica y/o la seguridad nacional" estadounidense."
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El Pais: EE UU acusa a donantes saudíes de financiar el terrorismo islamista

""Los donantes en Arabia Saudí constituyen la fuente más significativa de financiación de los grupos terroristas suníes en todo el mundo", asegura un despacho diplomático enviado hace un año por la Secretaría de Estado a sus embajadas en Riad, Abu Dhabi, Kuwait, Islamabad y Doha (documento 242073). El texto, uno de los más claros exponentes de la preocupación de EE UU por el dinero del terrorismo, les pide que recaben la cooperación de esos Gobiernos para poner coto a la recaudación de fondos de Al Qaeda y los talibanes. Pero en los 1.110 cables que tocan el asunto se vislumbra que las prioridades de algunos de sus aliados van por otros derroteros. Las menciones al progreso llevado a cabo por éstos no logran eclipsar la frustración estadounidense por la lentitud de sus avances."
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El Pais: EE UU y Brasil colaboran en secreto contra los islamistas

"El Gobierno brasileño mantiene un doble discurso sobre la lucha antiterrorista en su propio país. Por un lado, niega que exista esa amenaza y protesta airadamente cuando se le menciona la triple frontera (entre Argentina, Paraguay y Brasil) como posible foco de apoyo a la organización islámista Hezbolá o de financiación de grupos extremistas, y por otro, colabora plenamente en el campo operativo con las agencias antiterroristas de Estados Unidos, no solo para investigar los indicios que le proporcionan, sino para intercambiar información propia. Así se desprende de los telegramas enviados por la Embajada de Estados Unidos en Brasil a lo largo de los últimos años."
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By Admin (from 06/12/2010 @ 20:18:49, in en - Global Observatory, read 1837 times)

"The first serious infowar is now engaged. The field of battle is WikiLeaks. You are the troops," wrote John Perry Barlow on Twitter.

The censorship vs. free speech battle is escalating. This week has seen Amazon, Tableau, EveryDNS and PayPal dropping WikiLeaks services in quick succession, DDoS attacks that caused the site to go offline multiple times, and mounting political pressure from the US (2), Australian and French governments.

The US government went so far as to warn Switzerland against granting Julian Assange political asylum, reports 20 Minuten. In an open letter in Der Sonntag, the US ambassador to Switzerland, Donald Beyer, wrote that "Switzerland will have to consider very carefully whether to provide shelter to someone who is a fugitive from justice." However Swiss politicians including Cédric Wermuth, president of the Young Socialist Party, Bastien Girod, president of the Greens National Council, and the Swiss Pirate Party have reiterated their support for Assange and willingness to grant him asylum.

The onslaught is creating growing resistance. "American pressure to dissuade companies in the US from supporting the WikiLeaks website has led to an online backlash in which individuals are redirecting parts of their own sites to its Swedish internet host," writes The Guardian. "At the same time, scores of sites "mirroring" WikiLeaks have sprung up – by lunchtime today, the list was 74-strong and contained sites that have the same content as WikiLeaks and – crucially – link to the downloads of its leaks of 250,000 US diplomatic cables." The mirror list counts now hundreds of domains.

WikiLeaks' Swiss host, Switch, said that there was "no reason" why the site should be forced offline, despite demands from France and the US, in a statement released by the Swiss Pirate Party. French host OVH declared that it was up to judges, and "not up to the politicians or OVH to request or decide the closure of the site," in a response to the French government.

Jon Karlung, the CEO of WikiLeaks's Swedish host, Bahnhof, told The Daily Beast that "The service is provided in Sweden — where Swedish law applies. We are not subject to American law, Chinese laws or Iranian laws either, for that matter. WikiLeaks is just a normal business client. We do not treat them any different than any other client." He said that the US had not contacted the company to ask it to cancel hosting for WikiLeaks, and when asked whether Bahnhof would comply if such a request were made, he answered "Of course not."

Evgeny Morozov has cautioned in The Financial Times that the US backlash against WikiLeaks and Julian Assange may have unintended consequences: "WikiLeaks could be transformed from a handful of volunteers to a global movement of politicised geeks clamouring for revenge. Today’s WikiLeaks talks the language of transparency, but it could quickly develop a new code of explicit anti-Americanism, anti-imperialism and anti-globalisation.[...] An aggressive attempt to go after WikiLeaks – by blocking its web access, for instance, or by harassing its members – could install Mr Assange (or whoever succeeds him) at the helm of a powerful new global movement able to paralyse the work of governments and corporations around the world."

Update: Internet activist group Anonymous has joined the fight, with a manifesto in support of Julian Assange and WikiLeaks.

The New York Times reports: "Gregg Housh, a prominent member of the group, said by telephone from Boston that an orchestrated effort was under way to attack companies that have refused to support WikiLeaks and to post multiple copies of the leaked material.[...] “The reason is amazingly simple,” Mr. Housh said of the campaign. “We all believe that information should be free, and the Internet should be free.” "

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In an interview with the BBC's Andrew Marr, lawyer Mark Stephens said:

"In Sweden it's quite bizarre though, because the chief prosecutor, the director of public prosecution in Sweden dropped the entire case against him, saying there was absolutely nothing for him to face, back in September. And then, a few weeks ago, after the intervention of a Swedish politician, a new prosecutor, not in Stockholm, where Julian and these women had been, but in Gothenburg, began a new case, which of course has resulted in these warrants and of course the Interpol red notice being put out across this week.

It does seem to be a political stunt, I mean, I have, and his Swedish lawyer, have been trying to get in touch with the prosecutors since August. Now, usually, it's the prosecutor who does the pursuing, not the pursued. And in this particular case, Julian Assange has tried to vindicate himself, has tried to meet with the prosecutors, to have his good name restored."

He remarked that "A warrant was issued on Thursday by reports. We've asked for it. We've been ignored at this point," adding that "He's only wanted for interview, why not have that interview by consent, rather than this show trial?"

He also talked about the calls for assassination coming from "credible sources around the world," and particularly the United States, including people as high up as Sarah Palin. He said that Julian Assange would certainly fight deportation to Sweden on the grounds that it could lead to him being handed over to the US, where senior politicians have called for him to be executed.

Stephens added: "I'm really rather worried by the political motivations that appear to be behind this (the Sweden case). It doesn't escape my attention that Sweden was one of those lickspittle states which used its resources and its facilities for rendition flights."

(You can watch part of the BBC interview here. The full interview is available on BBC's iPlayer for UK audiences only.)

Swedish attorney Björn Hurtig echoed the same concerns: Reuters: "I have seen the documents, and I can't say that I think it is a set-up by the CIA or something. But I suspect that there is someone else who is pushing Sweden to (take) these most unproportional measures that they are doing right now, and is pushing Sweden to push Interpol to make this arrest warrant public. I think somebody has an interest in getting Julian to Sweden and maybe asking for him to be extradited to another country (from there)."

In an earlier statement to the press, Mark Stephens wrote:

"Mr. Assange has repeatedly sought meetings with the Prosecutrix - both in Sweden and subsequently - in order to answer her questions and clear his name. It is relevant that Mr. Assange sought permission from the Prosecutrix to leave Sweden and she gave him her permission. Since leaving Sweden Mr. Assange has continued to seek meetings with the Prosecutrix, but his requests have either been ignored or met with a refusal."

"Bizarrely, the Prosecutrix - having ignored or rejected those offers of voluntary cooperation - instead sought an arrest warrant to have Mr. Assange held incommunicado without giving his Swedish lawyer sufficient notice, access to evidence or information to take proper instructions from Mr. Assange. This action is all the more peculiar as she has not even issued a formal summons for his interrogation or brought charges against Mr. Assange," the statement added.

"Since the rape charge has been dropped, the current allegation he faces does not - as a matter of Swedish law - justify an arrest warrant for Mr. Assange. The sole ground for the warrant is the Prosecutor's blatantly false allegation that he is on the run from justice: he left Sweden lawfully and has offered himself for questioning," Stephens said.

"At this point in time we have no evidence pointing to a link between these allegations from August and the issue of the Interpol alert just two days after the WikiLeaks first release of US diplomatic cables. However, it is highly unusual for a red notice warrant to be issued in relation to the allegations reported as having been made, since Swedish law does not require custodial orders in relation to the allegation - indeed to our knowledge this is a unique action by the Swedish prosecuting authorities in applying for a red notice on the basis of these allegations," Stephens’ statement concluded.

"We are also investigating whether the Prosecutor's application to have Mr. Assange held incommunicado without access to lawyers, visitors or other prisoners - again a unique request - is in any way linked to this matter and the recent, rather bellicose US statements of an intention to prosecute Mr. Assange."

In an interview with Sweden's TV4, prosecutor Marianne Ny has categorically refused to meet with Julian Assange in the UK, despite repeated offers from Assange's lawyers, reports Expressen.

Update 1: Jennifer Robinson and Mark Stephens told The Guardian that they had been watched by people parked outside their houses for the past week.

"I've noticed people consistently sitting outside my house in the same cars with newspapers," said Robinson. "I probably noticed certain things a week ago, but mostly it's been the last three or four days."

Stephens said he, too, had had his home watched. Asked who he thought was monitoring him, he said: "The security services."

Robinson said the legal team was also experiencing "other forms of pressure" from Washington," including an inappropriate attempt by the State Department to "elide client and lawyer" in correspondence: "It's quite a serious situation," she said, adding that, according to the UN's Basic Principles on the Role of Lawyers, governments should ensure that lawyers "are able to perform all of their professional functions without intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference" and that "lawyers shall not be identified with their clients or their clients' causes as a result of discharging their functions."
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For our full Sweden case coverage, please click here.

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By Admin (from 06/12/2010 @ 10:00:35, in it - Scienze e Societa, read 1664 times)

I castelli di Bellinzona si annoverano fra le più mirabili testimonianze dell'architettura fortificata medievale in Svizzera. E oggi sono tra gli elementi trainanti del turismo. La configurazione odierna si deve sostanzialmente alla complessa attività edilizia promossa dai duchi di Milano nel Quattrocento.

Franco Ruinelli, direttore di Bellinzona Turismo, non ha dubbi: il riconoscimento Unesco non ha solo portato a Bellinzona gente di tutto il mondo e volti nuovi. "È come se all'improvviso – spiega a swissinfo – i ticinesi, bellinzonesi compresi, abbiano riscoperto i castelli".

L'Unesco non ha solo riavvicinato i castelli alla gente del luogo. "C'è stato anche un radicale cambiamento nello sguardo, nel modo di vedere questi castelli. Il loro inserimento nella lista dei siti patrimonio dell'umanità – continua Ruinelli – è stata anche l'occasione per promuovere in modo diverso il territorio, le sue ricchezze, i suoi valori".

Alla rinascita dei vecchi castelli - ormai noti in tutto il mondo grazie anche ai nuovi mezzi di comunicazione come internet - hanno contribuito, secondo Ruinelli, anche le riuscite ristrutturazioni di due dei tre castelli, che hanno acquistato un nuovo splendore.

 

Castelgrande, "il Castello vecchio"

 Ristrutturato con grande maestria dall'architetto ticinese Aurelio Galfetti, Castelgrande è il primo dei tre castelli. È chiamato anche "Castello vecchio" dal XIV/XV secolo, castello d'Uri dal 1506 e castello di San Michele dal 1818.
Situato in centro città, il Castelgrande è un silenzioso ed elegante testimone della vita quotidiana della città: ai piedi della sue pareti rocciose, in Piazza del Sole, la gente si incontra, si organizzano feste e concerti. Funge anche da cornice per ricevimenti ufficiali e internazionali.
Si può accedere al castello a piedi oppure in ascensore, incastonato nella roccia. Sono parti integranti della struttura un museo storico, un ristorante, un grottino e uno spazio multifunzionale. Il castello è protetto verso nord da pareti rocciose quasi verticali.

Montebello, il "Castello di mezzo"

 L' imponente complesso di Montebello - detto anche nel 300 e nel 400 "Castello piccolo", "nuovo" o "di mezzo", dal 1506 castello di Svitto e dal 1818 castello di San Martino - sorge su uno spuntone roccioso a est del nucleo urbano di Bellinzona. Le sue origini risalgono al tardo XIII secolo.
Caduto in abbandono nel XIX secolo, intorno al 1900 Montebello offriva un quadro di sfacelo ormai imminente. Importanti restauri sono stati avviati a partire dal 1903, mentre tra il 1971 e il 1974 sono stati ristrutturati gli ambienti interni a scopi espositivi.
"La struttura del castello di Montebello – precisa Franco Ruinelli – è molto delicata. Ci sono progetti di restauro anche per questa struttura, ma dovranno essere valutati con estrema attenzione".
Oggi il castello ospita il Museo civico con la collezione archeologica; i reperti n mostra, comprendenti pezzi unici, provengono da necropoli preistoriche del Ticino. Il castello di Montebello – forse quello che ricorda di più i castelli delle favole - è spesso teatro di numerose feste ed è visitato per il suo museo.


Sasso Corbaro, il "Castello di cima"

 

È il più alto dei tre castelli, sovrasta l'intera città offrendo ai visitatori un panorama davvero impressionante. Chiamato anche castello d'Untervaldo dal 1506 e castello di Santa Barbara dal 1818, il Castello di Sasso Corbaro si trova a sudest della città ed è situato nel punto più alto del dosso roccioso ed è sontuosamente immerso nel verde.
Affidato all'architetta ticinese Paola Piffaretti, il progetto di valorizzazione dell'intera fortificazione ha ridato lustro e luce ad un edificio che nel 1894 fu ritenuto "un rudere in procinto di crollare".
Oggi il castello, che ospita anche un ristorante e degli spazi espositivi, ha ritrovato l'antico splendore attraverso interventi semplici, sobri, funzionali ed innovativi. La fortezza è valorizzata anche dal punto di vista paesaggistico, grazie ad una rete di sentieri e alla ripulitura dell'intera collina.


Le mura cittadine e la murata

 

"Diversamente che in altre città, in cui le fortificazioni sono disposte concentricamente intorno alla superficie abitata - spiega Werner Meyer nella guida dedicata ai castelli -, le mura di Bellinzona consistono in due linee separate. Le loro estremità salgono a fondersi con le strutture difensive di Castelgrande e di Montebello, in modo tanto stretto che di fatto non si capisce dove comincino le mura cittadine e dove cessino le strutture esterne dei castelli".
Le mura originarie, oggi ancora sopravvissute nella misura del 60%, sono state molto modificate negli ultimi cent' anni, sia da interventi di risanamento, sia dall'apertura di passaggi per pedoni e per veicoli.
Alla periferia occidentale del Castelgrande si raccorda, seguendo un costolone roccioso naturale, la cosiddetta murata, possente muro di sbarramento che un tempo proseguiva sino a incontrare il fianco della montagna sulla riva destra del Ticino.
"Purtroppo nel corso degli anni – fa notare ancora Meyer - parti cospicue della murata, sono andate perdute, tanto che oggi quest'opera di sbarramento risulta gravemente mutila, lasciando aperti importanti quesiti sul progetto globale dell'impianto di difesa".

Autore: Françoise Gehring, Bellinzona/ Fonte: swissinfo.ch

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By Admin (from 06/12/2010 @ 09:00:33, in en - Global Observatory, read 1463 times)

ImageJulian Assange: "Geopolitics will be separated into pre and post 'Cablegate'"

El Pais features an interview with Julian Assange in the December 5th edition. He talked about the numerous death threats he has been receiving, the attacks against WikiLeaks, the significance of the Cablegate release, and fighting the Swedish case allegations.

On death threats: "We have hundreds of specific death threats from US military militants. That is not unusual, and we have become practiced from past experiences at ignoring such threats from Islamic extremists, African kleptocrats and so on. Recently the situation has changed with these threats now extending out to our lawyers and my children. However it is the specific calls from the elites of US society for our assassination, kidnapping and execution that is more concerning. These range from a US senate bill by John Ensign which seeks to declare us a "transnational threat" to assassination calls from former Bush speechwriters such as Marc Thiessen in The Washington Post and Bill O'Reilly of Fox News."

On the consequences of Cablegate: "It is too early to say yet. The ripples are just starting to flow throughout the world. But I believe geopolitics will be separated into pre and post Cablegate phases."

On the Swedish charges: "We will fight them and expose them, naturally. That there is something "wrong" with this case is now obvious to everyone."

Read the full interview in English or Spanish

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Head Turned

[Photo by Ayres no graces]

"I have been primarily interested in how and why ordinary people do unusual things, things that seem alien to their natures. Why do good people sometimes act evil? Why do smart people sometimes do dumb or irrational things?" --Philip Zimbardo

Like eminent social psychologist Professor Philip Zimbardo, I'm also obsessed with why we do dumb or irrational things. The answer quite often is because of other people - something social psychologists have comprehensively shown.

Over the past few months I've been describing 10 of the most influential social psychology studies. Each one tells a unique, insightful story relevant to all our lives, every day.

The 'halo effect' is a classic finding in social psychology. It is the idea that global evaluations about a person (e.g. she is likeable) bleed over into judgements about their specific traits (e.g. she is intelligent). Hollywood stars demonstrate the halo effect perfectly. Because they are often attractive and likeable we naturally assume they are also intelligent, friendly, display good judgement and so on.

» Read on about the halo effect -»

The ground-breaking social psychological experiment of Festinger and Carlsmith (1959) provides a central insight into the stories we tell ourselves about why we think and behave the way we do. The experiment is filled with ingenious deception so the best way to understand it is to imagine you are taking part. So sit back, relax and travel back. The time is 1959 and you are an undergraduate student at Stanford University...

» Read on about cognitive dissonance -»

The Robbers Cave experiment, a classic study of prejudice and conflict, has at least one hidden story. The well-known story emerged in the decades following the experiment as textbook writers adopted a particular retelling. With repetition people soon accepted this story as reality, forgetting it is just one version of events, one interpretation of a complex series of studies.

» Read on about Sherif's Robbers Cave experiment -»

The famous 'Stanford Prison Experiment' argues a strong case for the power of the situation in determining human behaviour. Not only that but this experiment has also inspired a novel, two films, countless TV programs, re-enactments and even a band.

» Read on about Zimbardo's Stanford prison experiment -»

What psychological experiment could be so powerful that simply taking part might change your view of yourself and human nature? What experimental procedure could provoke some people to profuse sweating and trembling, leaving 10% extremely upset, while others broke into unexplained hysterical laughter?

» Read on about Milgram's obedience studies -»

Many people quite naturally believe they are good 'intuitive psychologists', thinking it is relatively easy to predict other people's attitudes and behaviours. We each have information built up from countless previous experiences involving both ourselves and others so surely we should have solid insights? No such luck.

» Read on about the false consensus bias -»

People's behaviour in groups is fascinating and frequently disturbing. As soon as humans are bunched together in groups we start to do odd things: copy other members of our group, favour members of own group over others, look for a leader to worship and fight other groups.

» Read on about why groups and prejudices form so easily -»

Bargaining is one of those activities we often engage in without quite realising it. It doesn't just happen in the boardroom, or when we ask our boss for a raise or down at the market, it happens every time we want to reach an agreement with someone. This agreement could be as simple as choosing a restaurant with a friend, or deciding which TV channel to watch. At the other end of the scale, bargaining can affect the fate of nations.

» Read on about how communication and threats affect bargaining -»

In social psychology the 'bystander effect' is the surprising finding that the mere presence of other people inhibits our own helping behaviours in an emergency. John Darley and Bibb Latane were inspired to investigate emergency helping behaviours after the murder of Kitty Genovese in 1964.

» Read on about bystander apathy -»

We all know that humans are natural born conformers - we copy each other's dress sense, ways of talking and attitudes, often without a second thought. But exactly how far does this conformity go? Do you think it is possible you would deny unambiguous information from your own senses just to conform with other people?

» Read on about Asch's classic conformity study -»

Source: spring.org.uk
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By Admin (from 06/12/2010 @ 07:00:39, in en - Global Observatory, read 2487 times)

ImageIFJ Condemns United States "Desperate and Dangerous" Backlash over WikiLeaks

The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today condemned the political backlash being mounted against the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks and accused the United States of attacking free speech after it put pressure on the website's host server to shut down the site yesterday.

The website's host Amazon.com blocked access to WikiLeaks after United States officials condemned the torrent of revelations about political, business and diplomatic affairs that has given people around the world unprecedented access to detailed information from United States sources, much of it embarrassing to leading public figures.

"It is unacceptable to try to deny people the right to know," said Aidan White, IFJ General Secretary. "These revelations may be embarrassing in their detail, but they also expose corruption and double-dealing in public life that is worthy of public scrutiny. The response of the United States is desperate and dangerous because it goes against fundamental principles of free speech and democracy."

The IFJ has taken no position on the justification for the release of hundreds of thousands of internal documents which have made headlines around the world in the last few days, but it has welcomed the decision of WikiLeaks to use respected channels of journalism including Der Spiegel, The Guardian, the New York Times, Le Monde and El Pais to filter the information.

"This information is being processed by serious, professional journalists who are well aware of their responsibilities both to the public and to people implicated in these revelations," said White. "It is simply untenable to allege as some people have that lives are being put at risk here. The only casualty here is the culture of secrecy that has for too long drawn a curtain around the unsavory side of public life."

The IFJ is also concerned about the welfare and well-being of Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks founder and Bradley Manning, the United States soldier in Iraq who is under arrest and suspected of leaking the information. Both men are the target of a growing political campaign mounted by government officials and right-wing politicians.

Assange has been forced into hiding and is the subject of an international police investigation over allegations concerning sexual offences in Sweden. The IFJ says that calls by right wing commentators for Manning to be executed and that Assange be hunted down as a spy, as demanded by former Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin, show a mood of intolerance and persecution that is dangerous not just for the two men but for all journalists engaged in investigating public affairs.

"The IFJ and its members support the rights of whistle-blowers and the responsible reporting of information in the public interest," said White. "This over-reaction by politicians and their allies illustrates that they have not understood the historical significance of these events. The people's right to know is not something that can any longer be willfully ignored. They have to adjust to the fact journalists have a duty to report, fairly and accurately and with due respect for the rights of all parties in the public interest."

For more information, please contact IFJ on + 32 2 235 22 07

The IFJ represents more than 600.000 members in 125 countries

Source

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By Darren Bailey, Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of South Australia

Submitted on 04 December 2010

Subject: Julian Assange

Dear Prime Minister,

I wish to strongly associate myself with the letter addressed to you from NSW Supreme Court solicitor Peter Kemp, dated 4 December 2010, concerning the treatment of Mr Julian Assange.

His rights as an Australian citizen are clearly being infringed and should be vigorously protected "though the heavens may fall". As this nation's Prime Minister, and as a lawyer yourself, you ought to know this fact far better than your official statements would indicate.

Please address this issue as a matter of urgency. Demonstrate that to be an Australian citizen actually counts for something.

Sincerely,

Darren Bailey
Solicitor of the Supreme Court of South Australia

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By Admin (from 05/12/2010 @ 22:00:53, in en - Global Observatory, read 1291 times)
The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables blame Chinese government for Google hacking

"The hacking of Google that forced the search engine to withdraw from mainland China was orchestrated by a senior member of the communist politburo, according to classified information sent by US diplomats to Hillary Clinton's state department in Washington.

The leading politician became hostile to Google after he searched his own name and found articles criticising him personally, leaked cables from the US embassy in Beijing say.

That single act prompted a politically inspired assault on Google, forcing it to "walk away from a potential market of 400 million internet users" in January this year, amid a highly publicised row about internet censorship."
Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Spanish PM helped GE beat Rolls-Royce to helicopter deal

"Rolls-Royce lost a lucrative contract to supply helicopter engines to the Spanish military because of a personal intervention by Spain's prime minister, José Luis Zapatero, following vigorous lobbying from US diplomats, according to a secret cable from the US embassy in Madrid.

Eduardo Aguirre, the departing US ambassador to Spain, recounts behind-the-scenes diplomatic machinations that helped General Electric snatch a deal away from Rolls-Royce to provide engines for a state-of-the-art fleet of helicopters bought by the Spanish armed forces, a contract estimated by industry experts to be worth more than Ł200m.

Details of how Britain's best-known engineering company lost out to the Americans will fuel concerns that the so-called UK-US special relationship does not always deliver results."
Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks: Hillary Clinton's question: how can we stand up to Beijing?

"Hillary Clinton revealed America's deep anxiety over China's growing economic power and hold on US finances by asking Australia's then prime minister: "How do you deal toughly with your banker?"

The question, at a lunch with Kevin Rudd last March and reported in a US Department of State cable, underscores the evolving and often difficult relationship between the world's superpower and an increasingly mighty China. It is the largest holder of US treasury bonds, with around $870bn. Tensions are also highlighted in an economic dispatch, written by the US ambassador to Beijing last January, warning of a "rough" year for relations between the two countries and accusing China of hubris."
Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables reveal fears over Chinese cyber warfare

"The US fears China is plotting internet warfare via private companies that are known to have recruited top hackers.

According to leaked cables, the state department is concerned about Beijing's close working relationship with two major providers of information security in China. The companies have hired experienced hackers, who include Lin Yong, aka Lion, who founded the Honker Union of China, a Chinese hacker group that emerged after the US bombing of the Chinese embassy in Belgrade in 1999 and launched a series of cyber attacks on US government-related websites."
Read more

The New York Times: U.S. Aided Mexican Drug War, With Frustration

"More than a year ago — before drug cartels killed a gubernatorial candidate and began murdering mayors, before shootings and kidnappings in Mexico’s industrial capital, Monterrey, surged to the point that the State Department ordered children of American diplomats there to leave the country — a Mexican official admitted that the government feared it could lose control of parts of the nation.[...]

In the account of the meeting, which was included in the American diplomatic cables made public by WikiLeaks and posted on Mexican news Web sites, Mr. Gutiérrez was quoted as saying: “We have 18 months and if we do not produce a tangible success that is recognizable to the Mexican people, it will be difficult to sustain the confrontation into the next administration.” "
Read more

The New York Times: Cables Discuss Vast Hacking by a China That Fears the Web

"As China ratcheted up the pressure on Google to censor its Internet searches last year, the American Embassy sent a secret cable to Washington detailing one reason top Chinese leaders had become so obsessed with the Internet search company: they were Googling themselves.[...]

But the cables also appear to contain some suppositions by Chinese and Americans passed along by diplomats. For example, the cable dated earlier this year referring to the hacking attack on Google said: “A well-placed contact claims that the Chinese government coordinated the recent intrusions of Google systems. According to our contact, the closely held operations were directed at the Politburo Standing Committee level.”"
Read more

The New York Times: Yemen Sets Terms of a War on Al Qaeda

"One Obama administration security official after another was visiting to talk about terrorism, and Yemen’s redoubtable president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, seemed to be savoring his newfound leverage.

The Americans are “hot-blooded and hasty when you need us,” Mr. Saleh chided one visitor, Daniel Benjamin, the State Department’s counterterrorism chief, but “cold-blooded and British when we need you.” [...]

Mr. Saleh said coyly that while he was “satisfied” with the military equipment the United States was supplying, he “would like to be more satisfied in the future,” according to an account of the meeting sent to Washington."
Read more

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By Admin (from 05/12/2010 @ 15:20:53, in en - Science and Society, read 3841 times)

Wikileaks is currently under heavy attack.

In order to make it impossible to ever fully remove Wikileaks from the Internet, we need your help.

if you have a unix-based server which is hosting a website on the Internet and you want to give wikileaks some of your hosting resources, you can help!

Please follow the following instructions:

 

  • Setup an account where we can upload files using RSYNC+SSH (preferred) or FTP
  • Put our SSH key in this server or create an FTP account
  • Create a virtual host in your web server, which, for example, can be wikileaks.yourdomain.com
  • send the IP address of your server to us, and the path where we should upload the content. (just fill the form below)

 

We will take care of all the rest: Sending pages to your server, updating them each time data is released, maintaining a list of such mirrors. If your server is down or if the account don't work anymore, we will automatically remove your server from the list.

Our content is only html/css/javascript/png static files, so we don't require much resource to host it.

The complete website should not take more than a couple of GB at the moment (with base website and cablegate data)

To add your mirror to the list, please download the SSH key you will find below, then fill the following form to add your website to our mirror list :


Share a Wikileaks release with a friend. Spread our wallpapers. Donate to support vital infrastructure. If you believe democracy and transparency go hand in hand, now is the time to stand and say: "The world needs Wikileaks."

DONATE

WikiLeaks brings truth to the world by publishing fact-based stories without fear or favor. You can help support our independent media by donating financially.

Our organisation exists because of the work of many volunteers who have contributed thousands of hours to building WikiLeaks from the ground up. But we still need donations to pay for computers, expert programmers and other bills. You choose how much you can donate, we don't recommend any particular amount. Just do what you think is right.

There are four ways to donate:

  • Donate to Julian Assange Defence Fund

  • Online Transfer via Credit Card

  • Bank Transfer [option 1: everyone]

  • Bank Transfer [option 2: tax deductible in Germany]

  • Paypal via Wau Holland Foundation

  • Postal Mail

1. Julian Assange Defence Fund


Swiss cut off bank account for WikiLeaks' Assange. And here is why


2. Online Transfer via Credit Card


Using our friendly credit card processing partner Datacell Switzerland.


3. Bank Transfer - Option 1: via Sunshine Press Productions ehf:

Skulagötu 19, 101 Reykjavik, Iceland
Landsbanki Islands Account number 0111-26-611010
BANK/SWIFT:NBIIISREXXX
ACCOUNT/IBAN:IS97 0111 2661 1010 6110 1002 80

4. Bank Transfer - Option 2: via the not-for-profit Wau Holland Stiftung Foundation:


This support is tax deductible in Germany
Bank Account: 2772812-04
IBAN: DE46 5204 0021 0277 2812 04
BIC Code: COBADEFFXXX
Bank: Commerzbank Kassel
German BLZ: 52040021
Subject: WIKILEAKS / WHS Projekt 04

5. PayPal via Wau Holland Foundation

We don't accept paypal donations anymore. And here is why
 
6. Via Postal Mail


You can post a donation via good old fashion postal mail to:

WikiLeaks
(or any suitable name likely to avoid interception in your country)
BOX 4080
Australia Post Office - University of Melbourne Branch
Victoria 3052
Australia

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