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Di seguito gli interventi pubblicati in questa sezione, in ordine cronologico.
 
 

It has come to my attention that various mainstream news organizations are beginning to run an association between my 2007 performance piece/film, “Zeitgeist: The Movie” and the tragic murders conducted by an extremely troubled young man in Tucson, Arizona. They are also slowly beginning to bleed the obvious line between my 2007 documentary work, my film series as a whole and The Zeitgeist Movement, which I am the founder. Frankly, I find this isolating, growing association tremendously irresponsible on the part of ABC, NBC and their affiliates - further reflecting the disingenuous nature of the America Media Establishment today.


 
It appears to have begun with a comment on NBC news referencing my film along with other “influential” films as well, such as Richard Kelly's film “Donnie Darko” and then spreading to ABC News where it singled out Zeitgeist: The Movie and the Series itself, stating: “Osler pointed to an online documentary series called "Zeitgeist" as a possible influence on the man.
 
The series rails on currency-based economics.
 
"I really think that this 'Zeitgeist' documentary had a profound impact on Jared's mindset and how he viewed that world that he lives in," Osler said.”
 
abcnews.go.com/US/tucson-shooting-friend-jared-loughner-speaks-motive-alleged/story?id=12597092
 
When we reflect on the history of seeming random violence or other forms of highly offensive, irrational, aberrant behavior, we see a common pattern of reaction from the public and media in their attempt to explain such extreme acts. Rather than deeply examining the Bio-Psycho-Social nature of human social development and the vast spectrum of influences that create and morph each of us in unique and sometime detrimental ways, they take the easy way out. The first thing do it simply ignore all modern scientific social understandings of what generates human motivation in both positive and negative regard, for to do so can only call into question the social system itself and hence the “zeitgeist” (meaning: spirit/intellectual climate of the time/culture) at large.
 
Generally speaking, it is historically accurate to say that the Mainstream Media simply isn't in the business of challenging the Status Quo. The limits of debate are firmly set. Virtually all ideas, persons or groups who have succeeded in changing the world for the better, later to be hailed as heros in the public mind, started out being condemn by those in the Mainstream Media who latch on to the dominant world view of the time. Even Martin Luther King Jr., a peaceful, loving, wonder of a man who contributed more to our social progress than likely any humanitarian in the US history, was followed by the CIA and publicly humiliated as a “Communist” which he even had to defend in front of a Congressional Committee. In fact, you can rest assured that if King was alive in the current paradigm today and seeking an equal form of justice- he would be given the name: “Terrorist”.
 
So, again, rather than taking the scientific view, the Mainstream Media often seeks out or implies one point of blame and runs with it. After all, it is much easier, presentable and more simplistic for the public to think that the troubling reality of seemingly random acts of mass murder is the result of a “singular influence” and hence the logic goes that if that one influence is removed, then the world will be back in balance. This gives the public a false resolve and position of focus in an otherwise ambiguous, complex world of social and biologic influences. And as far as the scapegoat itself, very often any group, media or dataset that is counter-culture or even hints at wishing to challenge the status quo, is a magnet for such blame.
 
For example, musical groups of a counter-culture nature have been a favorite scapegoat for acts of murder/violence historically. In 1990, the rock band Judas Priest was actually taken to court for their “role” in the self-inflicted gunshot wounds in 1985 of 20-year old James Vance and 18-year old Raymond Belknap in Reno, Nevada. In 2008, the band Slipknot was publicly tied/blamed to a high-school murder in South Africa. Even the Beatles song “Helter-skelter” was associated to the murders incited by Charles Manson. It goes on and on... and, frankly, it's simply pathetic - avoiding the true nature of the problem- which is the Socio-Economic Environment itself.
 
Make no mistake: The Social System is to blame for the rampage of Jared Loughner – not some famous online documentary which is known as the most viewed documentary of all time in internet history. Are the other 200 million people who have seen the film also preparing for murder sprees? I think not.
 
In my new film: Zeitgeist: Moving Forward, I feature a prominent Harvard Criminal Psychologist by the name of Dr. James Gilligan who headed the Centre for the Study of Violence at Harvard Medical School for many years. In his life work of personally engaging with the most dangerous, violent offenders the US system produces, he found some basic trends. The most common is the social issue of “shame”. Our socio-economic system inherently breeds social division and there is a natural demeaning of others generated as a result. It is a scientific fact that mass murderers and those who many just dismiss as “evil” today, are the product of years of being shamed, humiliated and demeaned. Their acts of violence is a reaction from these highly oppressive feelings and the real resolve to such acts can only come from removing the real source of such emotional hurt. You will notice that most other countries don't come close to the level of violence we see in the United States. The US is the capital of violence with 30-300 times more acts of violence than any other country. Why? We have produced more serial killers in America than all other countries combined. You will notice the Mainstream never asks this question.
 
If anyone would like to understand why more and more people in the modern world end up like Jared Loughner and why these patterns are only going to get worse as time goes in this system, I suggest the book “Violence” by Harvard Criminal Psychologist Dr. Gilligan.
 
In conclusion, let it be stated that the Zeitgeist Film Series is about critical thought regarding various social issues which challenge many erroneous notions held as fact in the modern culture. It also explicitly promotes non-violence, human unity and prosperous human development based on truth and science.
 
Anyone who wishes to really understand the works can view them for free online at zeitgeistmovie.com and my new film, which will detail how a new, humane social system can work, will be 315 theaters in 60 countries and 30 language starting Jan 15th 2011. www.zeitgeistmovingforward.com
 
Author: Peter Joseph

 

WikiLeaker Julian Assange celebrated his first day out on bail yesterday by vowing to keep spilling secrets like a sieve -- including insider information on banks around the world.

Assange also estimated there is an "80 percent" chance he'll be extradited to the United States to face espionage charges.

The Internet tattler, who is staying in a 10-bedroom mansion under house arrest for the next two months, boasted that he was ready to dump tens of thousands of additional documents that could "take down a bank or two."

"We have been attacked, primarily not by government . . . although things are heating up now, but by banks," he said.

"Banks from Dubai, banks from Switzerland, banks from the US, banks from the UK, so, yes of course, we are continuing to release material about banks," he told CNBC.

Assange, who yesterday said the media attention he has been getting made him "feel like Paris Hilton," earlier hinted that Bank of America would be a target.

While Assange believes he will be indicted in the United States, he insisted he couldn't be convicted of conspiring to steal diplomatic cables because he doesn't know who gave them to his group.

"Our technology means we don't know who is submitting us material," he told Katie Couric on the CBS Evening News.

Assange is charged with sexual assault in Sweden. He claims Swedish investigators have evidence that would exonerate him of charges he sexually attacked two women.

Source: nypost.com

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the media outside Ellingham Hall in Norfolk, England, the home of his friend, journalist Vaughan Smith. Photo: Reuters 

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the media outside Ellingham Hall in Norfolk, England, the home of his friend, journalist Vaughan Smith. Photo: Reuters

WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange says he fears the United States is getting ready to indict him, but insists the secret-spilling website will continue its work, despite what he has called a ''dirty tricks campaign''.

Mr Assange spoke on Friday from snowbound Ellingham Hall, a supporter's 10-bedroom country mansion close to the city of Norwich, about three hours' drive from London, where he is confined on bail as he fights Sweden's attempt to extradite him on allegations of rape and molestation.

Mr Assange insisted to television interviewers that he was being subjected to a smear campaign and ''what appears to be a secret grand jury investigation against me or our organisation''.

He has retained the services of an unnamed US law firm.

Mr Assange has repeatedly voiced concerns that American authorities are getting ready to press charges over WikiLeaks's continuing release of about 250,000 secret State Department cables, which have angered and embarrassed US officials worldwide.

US officials are investigating WikiLeaks and considering charges against Mr Assange, a case that, if pursued, could end up pitting the government's efforts to protect sensitive information against press and speech freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment.

A High Court judge freed Mr Assange on bail on Thursday on condition he live at the estate in eastern England, wear an electronic tag and report to police daily.

Mr Assange has described his bail conditions at the 18th-century mansion owned by former British Army officer Vaughan Smith as ''hi-tech house arrest''.

Although Mr Assange promised to focus on clearing his name, he said his first priority was to his work.

''Now that I am back to assist the directing of our ship, our work will proceed in a faster manner,'' he told the BBC.

Source: The Sydney Morning Herald

 
By Admin (from 18/12/2010 @ 10:00:51, in en - Global Observatory, read 1989 times)

“They weren’t bad people. They let me eat, they let me sleep, they gave me my life”

— A hostage from Flight 847

One way of describing this site would be “strange beliefs people have and how they got them.” A curious footnote that doesn’t seem to fit in nicely on any of the other pages is a phenomenon known as the Stockholm Syndrome.

In the summer of 1973, four hostages were taken in a botched bank robbery at Kreditbanken in Stockholm, Sweden. At the end of their captivity, six days later, they actively resisted rescue. They refused to testify against their captors, raised money for their legal defense, and according to some reports one of the hostages eventually became engaged to one of her jailed captors.

This struck some folks as weird, and as a way of coping with this uneasiness, as they started seeing more examples they named this class of strange behavior the “Stockholm Syndrome.”

Notorious in the United States is the case of Patty Hearst, who after being kidnapped and tortured by the Symbionese Liberation Army, took up arms and joined their cause, taking on the nom de guerre of “Tania” and helping the SLA rob banks.

The Stockholm Syndrome comes into play when a captive cannot escape and is isolated and threatened with death, but is shown token acts of kindness by the captor. It typically takes about three or four days for the psychological shift to take hold.

A strategy of trying to keep your captor happy in order to stay alive becomes an obsessive identification with the likes and dislikes of the captor which has the result of warping your own psyche in such a way that you come to sympathize with your tormenter!

The syndrome explains what happens in hostage-taking situations, but can also be used to understand the behavior of battered spouses, members of religious cults, Holocaust victims, household pets, and perhaps even users of Internet Explorer. I think it may also help explain the popularity of government and of the mass institutionalization of young people.


A reader responds...

Upon reviewing the actual events, it seems that much of the confusion centers around Clark Olafsson’s involvement. What really happened? A mentally disturbed individual (Olsson) tries to hold-up a bank, fails, and ends up taking four hostages. Olsson then tells the police that he wants his friend (Olafsson) to join him, and so, in the interest of a peaceful resolution, Clark agrees to become the second “captor.”

The original supposed victim of “Stockholm Syndrome” is Kristin Ehnemark, who appears to have kept her head while managing, with Olafsson’s assistance, to keep Olsson and an army of trigger-happy police from an all-out fire fight.

Here lies the source of the “syndrome.” Olafsson was initially arrested and convicted. Ehnemark was said to be mentally disturbed for trying to defend him. The idea that two calm, unarmed people were more effective than a highly trained and lethally outfitted police force was intolerable to 1970’s sensibilities.

Many people still have the event hopelessly confused with the terrorist kidnappings of the 1972 Munich Olympics (source of the misnomer, “Helsinki Syndrome”). The botched bank robbery is simply too mundane to be the source of such an exotic explanation, which really seems to have been more of an attack on the idea of peaceful resolution tactics, particularly when applied to mentally disturbed perpetrators (as if murderers, rapists and armed robbers were not severely dysfunctional).

As to whether Stockholm Syndrome applies to customers of abusive service providers (Microsoft, AOL, Blockbuster Video, etc.), I think this is much more akin to the behavior of a battered spouse. In order to justfy bad choices, people will often rationalize and defend their tormentors, even to the extent of projecting the same aspects onto other people’s spouses and providers: “Her husband really is mean to her, and her Mac crashes just as often as my PC.”

I have noticed that people usually love their new cars for at least a year, no matter what kind of lemon they’ve bought: “Yeah, my Saturn’s been in the shop a few times, but I still believe in the concept. By the way, have you seen my new Gateway PC?”

— MC

Source: sniggle.net

 
By Admin (from 16/12/2010 @ 21:12:05, in en - Global Observatory, read 1545 times)

 Ben Stansall/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images - The WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was released on bail on Thursday by the High Court in London.

Following the Crown Prosecution Service's decision to appeal the bail granted on Tuesday by the Westminster Magistrates' Court, another hearing will take place today at 11:30 GMT at the High Court.

Peter Alexander of NBC News noted on Twitter that "Assange lawyer says defense has collected $315K bail. He's free if appeal's denied." The court had requested on Tuesday that the full bail amount be presented in cash.

Journalists present at the court, including a team from The Guardian, report that Julian Assange and his legal team have already arrived at the court for the hearing, which is expected to take two hours. It is unclear at this point whether live updates via Twitter will be allowed from the courtroom, as was the case at Tuesday's hearing.

In the meantime, please don't miss Peter Kemp's continued legal analysis of the bail and extradition arguments: Extradition Part 2--Bail, and Bail Arguments and the Appeal.

Update 1: Justice Ouseley has ruled that no Twitter updates will be allowed from the courtroom today, reports The Guardian's Luke Harding.

Update 2: The Guardian's Luke Harding quoted Justice Ouseley as saying, "The history of the way it [the case] has been dealt with by the Swedish prosecutors would give Mr Assange some basis that he might be acquitted following a trial." According to Mr Harding, "the case is looking good" for Julian Assange.

Update 3: The prosecution's appeal has been denied, reports Channel 4. Julian Assange has been granted bail, on slightly modified conditions compared to those specified at Tuesday's hearing, namely additional sureties, reports Guy Rundle for Crikey.

The next extradition hearing will take place on January 11.

According to testimony at Tuesday's hearing, Julian Assange will stay at the estate of Captain Vaughan Smith, founder of the Frontline Club. You can read Mr Smith's exclusive piece in yesterday's Independent, explaining his support for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, concluding: "If to fight for this country we will have to fight for its fundamental principles of justice then I declare my position in the ranks."

Update 4: Guy Rundle reports that hearing costs have been awarded against the Crown Prosecution Service.

Update 5: After the formalities were completed, Julian Assange was released today at 6pm London time. He gave a short speech on the steps of the High Court, thanking supporters, his lawyers, members of the press "who were not all taken in," and the British justice system. He called on people to support those facing conditions harder than he did in prison, and promised to continue his work and reveal the evidence behind the allegations.

A video of the statement is available via the New York Times.

 

 

 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.

P.S. You can read the statement I filed today in the London court here.

Source: huffingtonpost.com

 
By Admin (from 15/12/2010 @ 16:00:52, in en - Global Observatory, read 1464 times)
Crikey: Doug Cameron joins Labor Left rally to support Julian Assange

Cameron said WikiLeaks went to the heart of the issue of freedom of the press to publish without fear or favour: ”I support press freedom and believe it is an important element of a democratic society… WikiLeaks seems to be operating consistent with other media outlets only on a massive scale.”

Cameron’s factional colleague, Calwell MP Maria Vamvakinou, who holds her northern Melbourne seat by a commanding 19.7%, also broke ranks, telling Crikey the equation was simple: ”If you believe in freedom of speech and transparency you can’t pick and choose.

“Where government may some concerns about some things not being in the public domain, the reality is a lot of the information WikiLeaks is revealing is of public interest.”

Cameron echoed Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd’s statements that the leaks are a product of US security failures, saying extremists calling for Assange to be prosecuted under domestic anti-terrorism laws needed to be reined in.

... The uprising within the Left — including Laurie Ferguson, Sharon Grierson and Melissa Parke — will increase pressure on the PM to mollify her public statements on WikiLeaks and comes after a weekend of protests defending Assange across Australia.

Read more

New York Times: Rep. Ron Paul, G.O.P. Loner, Comes In From Cold

As virtually all of Washington was declaring WikiLeaks’s disclosures of secret diplomatic cables an act of treason, Representative Ron Paul was applauding the organization for exposing the United States’ “delusional foreign policy.”

For this, the conservative blog RedState dubbed him “Al Qaeda’s favorite member of Congress.”

Read more

Rep. McDermott: Could WikiLeaks Have Prevented 9/11?

Jesse Freeston of The Real News joined us on the Stakeout this weekend, asking Congressman McDermott (D-Wash.) his views on WikiLeaks. The Congressman couldn’t speak to the specific nature of the cables Freeston pointed out, but expressed a general sense of openness to the idea that the cables and WikiLeaks work would likely benefit the public. McDermott referenced an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times by Coleen Rowley and Bogdan Dzakovic, endorsing the idea that had there been an entity like WikiLeaks in the past, public whistleblowing that might have prevented 9/11 would have been more readily facilitated.

Read more

Prosecute leakers, not Assange: Howard

"To publish some cables containing commentary about political figures, while it's very uncomfortable for the diplomat involved ... and uncomfortable to the subject, you can't expect a journalist to hold back on something like that," Mr Howard told ABC Radio in Darwin on Wednesday.

"I'm sure things had been said about me.

"It's embarrassing when it happens but ... you can't condemn the media for running this stuff."

Read more

 

Julian Assange, pictured through the heavily tinted windows of a police vehicle

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, pictured through the heavily tinted windows of a police vehicle as he arrives at Westminster magistrates court in London, on 14 December 2010. Photograph: Carl Court/AFP/Getty Images

5.44pm: Just to recap: Assange will remain in prison, at least until the appeal is heard. That seems to be the end of the excitement and confusion – for today at least. I'm off home. Thanks for all your comments.

5.36pm: Speaking again outside the court, Stephens says the Swedes will not abide by the umpire's decision. "They [the Swedish authorities] clearly will not spare any expense to keep Mr Assange in jail," he added.

"This is really turning in to a show trial. We will be in court in the next 48 hours, they haven't given us the courtesy to say when. It is an unfortunate state of affairs ... but given their history of persecuting of Mr Assange, it is perhaps not surprising."

Asked how Assange had taken the decision, Stephens said he was phlegmatic.

5.29pm: "I understand," Assange said, Sam Jones has tweeted.

5.28pm: The appeal will take place at the high court, BBC news reports.

5.26pm: Forget the last half an hour – the decision will be challenged by the Swedish authorities. There's going to be an appeal within 48 hours, Sam reports.

5.25pm: Assange is back in court, Sam Jones reports. "Stephens has passed his client a note. Discussion with QC, too," he tweets.

5.22pm: Sam Jones is tweeting from the court. You can read his updates here or on the right-hand side of the blog.

5.20pm: Confusion reigns outside the court. We had heard, via reporters briefed by Assange's lawyers, that the Swedish authorities would not appeal – but that is yet to be confirmed. "There's been confusion in the passing of messages to me," Stephens said.

They are all back in the court now. More Twitter court reporting to come?

5.15pm: Somewhere amid the confusion, Assange's mother, Christine, appeared outside the court and said she was "very very happy".

5.12pm: Stephens says the court will meet again at 5.15pm. At that point, the Swedish authorities will make it clear whether they will launch an appeal.

5.06pm: Stephens said it could take several days to raise the cash, but added: "Mr Assange believes in British justice, and he has been encouraged in that today."

4.59pm: More from Stephens about Assange's prospects of freedom:

 

Source: guardian.co.uk

 
By Admin (from 13/12/2010 @ 22:00:34, in en - Global Observatory, read 1978 times)
The Icelandic Parliamentary General Committee met yesterday to discuss the ban that Visa and Mastercard placed on donations to WikiLeaks, reports The Reykjavik Grapevine. In attendance were representatives of Icelandic electronic payment companies Valitor and Borgun, which work with Visa and Mastercard, The Consumers' Alliance, Amnesty International, and WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson, who joined via video link.

Róbert Marshall, the chairman of the committee, said that "People wanted to know on what legal grounds the ban was taken, but no one could answer it. They said this decision was taken by foreign sources." The committee has asked for more information from the companies, to prove that there were legal grounds for such a ban. Marshall added that it was the committee's opinion that Visa and Mastercard's operating licenses be "seriously reviewed," reports The Reykjavik Grapevine.

Datacell, the company handling credit card donations for WikiLeaks, has already declared that it would file legal action against Visa and Mastercard.

PostFinance, the banking arm of the Swiss Post, found itself under investigation as well for potentially breaching secrecy laws by publicly disclosing that it has closed Julian Assange's bank account, reports AFP. "We are investigating if, in relation to the Postfinance press statement, there has been punishable action," Hermann Wenger, examining magistrate of the Bern-Mittelland region, told Sonntags Zeitung.

As previously reported, the Wau Holland Foundation also initiated legal action against PayPal, resulting in PayPal agreeing to release the blocked funds. In an interview with Der Spiegel today, Hendrick Fulda, a board member of the foundation, said that "Every new publication by WikiLeaks has unleashed a wave of support, and donations were never as strong as now. More than €80,000 was contributed in one week via PayPal alone. We will have to see what impact the removal of PayPal has on our incoming funds."

 
By Admin (from 13/12/2010 @ 15:15:17, in en - Global Observatory, read 2583 times)
The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: US keeps Uzbekistan president onside to protect supply line

"The post-Soviet state of Uzbekistan is a nightmarish world of 'rampant corruption', organised crime, forced labour in the cotton fields, and torture, according to the leaked cables.

But the secret dispatches released by WikiLeaks reveal that the US tries to keep President Islam Karimov sweet because he allows a crucial US military supply line to run into Afghanistan, known as the northern distribution network (NDN)."
Read more

Der Spiegel: 'Bridges to Nowhere': America's Unsavory Friends in Central Asia

"The US is anxious to broaden its influence in Central Asia -- and limit that of Russia. The result, however, are questionable alliances with some of the strangest despots in the world.

The secret country assessment from the US Embassy in the Tajikistan capital of Dushanbe, prepared for General David Petraeus on Aug. 7, 2009 ahead of his visit later that month, described a country on the brink of ruin. Tajikistan, a country of 7.3 million people on the northern border of Afghanistan, is a dictatorship ruled by Emomali Rakhmon, a former collective farm boss and notorious drunkard. "Parliament acts as a rubber stamp, barely discussing important legislation such as the national budget," the dispatch noted.

Some of the state's revenues were from criminal sources: "Tajikistan is a major transit corridor for Southwest Asian heroin to Russia and Europe." The country had "chronic problems with Uzbekistan," its neighbor, and the impoverished former Soviet republic faced the prospect of civil war fomented by Islamists in the east of the country."
Read more

Le Monde: Le Pérou face à ses démons : le terrorisme et la corruption (Peru faces its demons: terrorism and corruption)

"A en croire des télégrammes diplomatiques américains obtenus par WikiLeaks et révélés par Le Monde, le Pérou n'arrive pas à conjurer ses vieux démons, le terrorisme et la corruption. La menace représentée par la guérilla maoïste du Sentier lumineux (SL) "a été contenue mais pas éliminée, et elle pourrait s'épanouir à nouveau", estime une note confidentielle de novembre 2009.

Pendant les années 1980 et 1990, le conflit armé interne provoqué par le SL avait fait 70 000 morts. Le principal dirigeant maoïste, Abimael Guzman, est emprisonné depuis 1992. En dépit de bons résultats macro-économiques, les causes sous-jacentes – la pauvreté, la corruption et les inégalités – n'ont pas disparu, reconnaissent les diplomates américains."
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El País: La retirada de Kosovo desató una crisis entre España y EE UU (The withdrawal from Kosovo sparked a crisis between Spain and the U.S.)

"Cuando las relaciones entre España y Estados Unidos parecían recuperadas tras la llegada de Obama a la Casa Blanca, una intempestiva retirada militar, esta vez de Kosovo, provocó la mayor crisis que han vivido los dos países en mucho tiempo. Los primeros resquemores comenzaron cuando Madrid se negó a reconocer la independencia de este territorio, bajo control de la comunidad internacional desde los bombardeos de la OTAN de 1999. Washington no aprobaba pero comprendía la posición española: la independencia en Europa de un territorio por motivos étnicos es un precedente preocupante. Pero, cuando la ministra Carme Chacón anunció el 19 de marzo 2009 la retirada de las tropas españolas sin haber consultado con los aliados, de resquemor se pasó a la crisis. Aunque en público se mantuvieron las formas, los despachos del Departamento de Estado muestran que la procesión iba por dentro: el vicepresidente Joseph Biden reprendió la retirada en su primer encuentro con el presidente Zapatero mientras que Hillary Clinton no dudó en hablar de "irritación" ante el ex ministro Moratinos."
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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: MI5 offered files on Finucane killing to inquiry

"MI5 has said that it is prepared to hand over sensitive files on one of the most high-profile murders during the Northern Ireland Troubles carried out by loyalist gunmen working with members of the British security forces.

The offer in the case of the Pat Finucane, the well-known civil rights and defence lawyer murdered in front of his wife and three young children in 1989, is contained in confidential US embassy cables passed to WikiLeaks.

Supporters of Finucane welcomed the revelation of the offer as "highly significant" and believe it could pave the way for a fresh inquiry into the killing that would be acceptable to the family."
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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: IRA used Irish boom to turn 'respectable'

"The IRA used the Celtic Tiger economic boom in the Irish Republic to diversify into "more sophisticated business enterprises" by buying up properties in London, Dublin and Spanish resorts, according to leaked US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.

A senior Irish police officer told the American embassy in Dublin that the IRA used the booming Irish economy to move on from 1970s-style racketeering as it turned to "apparently respectable businessmen" to raise funds.

The cables also show that the growth of the Celtic Tiger was so admired in Washington that the US treasury secretary travelled to Dublin in 2004 to discover the "secrets" of Ireland's success.

The IRA's changing business practices are revealed in a cable by Jonathan Benton, the then deputy chief of mission at the American embassy in Dublin, which reported on meetings with senior Irish police officers and senior officials from the department of justice."
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Der Spiegel: 'Boys and Their Toys' The US Befriends Azerbaijan's Corrupt Elite

"Azerbaijan is rife with corruption and comparisons to European feudalism in the Middle Ages are hardly a stretch. But with vast reserves of oil and natural gas at stake, the US is willing to risk the embarrassment that comes with courting the country.[...]

Azerbaijan, which lies in the Caspian basin and has a population of 9 million, is one of the US's strategic energy partners, despite being located within Russia's sphere of influence. The country boasts proven energy reserves of roughly 7 billion barrels of oil and 1.3 trillion cubic meters of natural gas. Millions of barrels of these natural resources flow to the West each year via a pipeline connecting the Azerbaijani capital with Ceyhan, a Turkish port on the Mediterranean Sea.[...]

The American documents leave no doubt that the diplomats know exactly who they are courting. Cables bear titles like 'Who owns what?' in which they provide portraits of the country's most powerful families. 'Observers in Baku often note that today's Azerbaijan is run in a manner similar to the feudalism found in Europe during the Middle Ages,' one such cable reads. 'A handful of well-connected families control certain geographic areas, as well as certain sectors of the economy.'"
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El País: Perú pide ayuda a EE UU ante el rebrote de Sendero Luminoso (Peru asks for US help, facing the resurgence of the Shining Path)

"Estados Unidos prestará asistencia militar a Perú para acabar con el terrorismo de Sendero Luminoso, que causó buena parte de los más de 69.000 muertos registrados en las décadas de los ochenta y noventa, según muestran los cables del Departamento de Estado. Esa guerrilla colocó al Estado contra las cuerdas, y ha resurgido en el Alto Huallaga y Valles del Apurímac y Ene, donde cobra peaje al narcotráfico y adoctrina a los empobrecidos habitantes de esas regiones andinas.

El salvajismo de la milicia maoísta fue tan intenso, y los nuevos ataques, tan alarmantes, que la Embajada norteamericana ha pedido a Washington más colaboración con el Ejército peruano y un programa contra las minas detonadas por Sendero Luminoso en las rutas transitadas por el Ejército, según un cable del pasado año. La prioridad del Gobierno es liquidar a Sendero en el Apurímac y para ello firmó un contrato de nueve millones de dólares con un especialista israelí, según otro despacho."
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Le Monde: Washington s'inquiète d’un possible programme nucléaire birman (Washington worried about a possible nuclear programme in Burma)

"Depuis 2002, les diplomates américains en poste à Rangoun reçoivent des indications sur la construction possible d'une installation nucléaire près de Minbu, dans la division de Magway, sur le fleuve Irawaddy. Plusieurs télégrammes diplomatiques, obtenus par WikiLeaks et consultés par Le Monde, font état de témoignages dans ce sens, émanant tantôt d'un homme d'affaires expatrié, tantôt d'un collaborateur birman ayant recueilli les confidences d'un proche.

Il a d'abord été question d'une coopération russe, puis, plus récemment, de la présence de "300 Nord-Coréens" pour participer à cette tâche. Chaque fois, l'ambassade prend les plus grandes précautions en rapportant ces témoignages, précisant qu'elle n'est pas en mesure de les confirmer de manière indépendante, ou que le chiffre de 300 lui paraît excessif."
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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables paint bleak picture of Tajikistan, central Asia's poorest state

"Tajikistan is losing the battle against the flow of drugs from neighbouring Afghanistan and is characterised by "cronyism and corruption" emanating from the president downwards.

A series of leaked US diplomatic dispatches released by WikiLeaks paint a bleak picture of Central Asia's poorest state. They note that it suffers from 'earthquakes, floods, droughts, locusts and extreme weather' and is situated next to 'obstructive Uzbekistan', 'unstable Afghanistan' and the 'rough, remote' Pamir mountains next to western China.

But Tajikistan's worst obstacle is the country's venal president Emomali Rahmon, diplomats say. A secret cable dated 16 February 2010, from the US embassy in Dushanbe, Tajikistan's capital, describes how Rahmon runs the ex-Soviet republic's economy for his own personal profit: 'From the president down to the policeman on the street, government is characterized by cronyism and corruption.'"
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Le Monde: WikiLeaks: dictatures et mafias d'Asie centrale (Dictatorships and mafias in Central Asia)

"L'Asie centrale: ses ressources naturelles, ses régimes autoritaires, ses aéroports essentiels pour le transit vers l'Afghanistan. Pas évident, pour les Etats-Unis – après étude par Le Monde des télégrammes diplomatiques américains obtenus par WikiLeaks – de défendre ses intérêts nationaux dans cette zone sensible, arrière-cour traditionnelle de la Russie."
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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables name UK banker as middleman in Kazakh corruption ring

"A British tycoon is identified by US diplomats as the man at the centre of one of America's worst recent corruption scandals, in which large bribes were allegedly handed over in the ex-Soviet state of Kazakhstan.

Robert Kissin, a UK banker and commodity trader, is alleged to be the key middleman who handled a $4m (£2.5m) secret payment.

According to leaked US diplomatic dispatches released by WikiLeaks, the cash was moved through a Barclays bank account set up in London on behalf of an offshore shell company registered in the Isle of Man, where true ownerships are easier to conceal.

The money was designed to help Texas oil services company Baker Hughes make corrupt payments to Kazakh state oil chiefs in return for a lucrative $219m contract, according to the company's subsequent admissions."
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By Admin (from 12/12/2010 @ 17:05:34, in en - Global Observatory, read 1343 times)
In an interview with The Daily Mail, Julian Assange's Swedish lawyer, Björn Hurtig, said that he had seen police documents that prove Mr Assange is innocent, and that the accusers had a "hidden agenda" when they went to the police:

"From what I have read, it is clear that the women are lying and that they had an agenda when they went to the police, which had nothing to do with a crime having taken place. It was, I believe, more about jealousy and disappointment on their part. I can prove that at least one of them had very big expectations for something to happen with Julian."

He has asked for the Swedish prosecutor's permission to disclose the evidence: "If I am able to reveal what I know, everyone will realise this is all a charade," he said. "If I could tell the British courts, I suspect it would make extradition a moot point. But at the moment I'm bound by the rules of the Swedish legal system, which say that the information can only be used as evidence in this country. For me to do otherwise would lead to me being disbarred."

Mr Hurtig added that he was ready to fly to London and present the evidence at the court hearing this Tuesday, if he was given permission. "That said, I’m convinced that as soon as the case is heard in Sweden it will be thrown out," he added.

You can read the full interview here.

Also, please do not miss Australian lawyer Peter Kemp's new post on the Swedish law and its implications in this case: Ignorance of the Law is No Excuse, But...., and part one of his analysis of the extradition case: Extradition Part 1.

 
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