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Di seguito gli interventi pubblicati in questa sezione, in ordine cronologico.
 
 
By Admin (from 07/12/2010 @ 01:00:18, in en - Global Observatory, read 2154 times)

(If you missed the previous installments in this series, please click here.)

New Zealand Herald: Editorial: Red alert over WikiLeaks unnecessary

"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has suggested the disclosure "puts people's lives in danger, threatens our national security and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems". Such language does not bode well for a cogent and calculated response. In fact, the intelligence information released so far contains nothing to substantiate Mrs Clinton's claims.[...]

Obviously, Washington is embarrassed. But, so far, that is all. There has, contrary to the Secretary of State's view, been no irresponsible naming and endangering of individual lives or national security.

Much of the credit for this must go to WikiLeaks' decision, as with military documents released this year, to rely on three major newspapers - the Guardian, the New York Times and Der Spiegel - for a reasoned analysis of the cables. This has been no anarchic exercise, based on a naive view that it is right and proper for all information to be in the public domain.[...]

The cork is out of the bottle. If WikiLeaks is silenced, others will pick up its ideas."
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Paul Craig Roberts, CounterPunch: What the Wiki-Saga Teaches Us

"The reaction to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange tells us all we need to know about the total corruption of our “modern” world, which in fact is a throwback to the Dark Ages.

Some member of the United States government released to WikiLeaks the documents that are now controversial. The documents are controversial, because they are official US documents and show all too clearly that the US government is a duplicitous entity whose raison d’etre is to control every other government.

The media, not merely in the US but also throughout the English speaking world and Europe, has shown its hostility to WikiLeaks. The reason is obvious. WikiLeaks reveals truth, while the media covers up for the US government and its puppet states."
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Guy Rundle, Crikey: Bob Brown supports WikiLeaks, is Phillip Adams in the frame?

"Greens leader Bob Brown has spoken out in support of WikiLeaks, following its Cablegate document release to major media that began last week. While urging the global whistleblowing website to be "diligent" in ensuring that its released documents do not put lives at risk, Brown told Crikey that "the documents have caused increased scrutiny on often controversial aspects of US foreign policy. Such scrutiny is a good thing."

Brown's statement comes as the Gillard Labor government, which remains in power with the support of Green MHR Adam Bandt, continues to explore ways in which it can prosecute Julian Assange. Attorney-General Robert McClelland stated yesterday that "... the Australian Federal Police are looking at whether any Australian laws have been breached," a repeat of earlier statements. However, he is yet to specify any crimes with which Assange might be charged.

McClelland has also raised the possibility of cancelling Assange's Australian passport, though again no grounds on which this might occur have been raised.[...] The move is reminiscent of actions by the Menzies government at the height of the Cold War, when passport cancellation or refusal to issue was one of several techniques of political censorship and repression."
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Jeff Jarvis, The Huffington Post: Transparency: The New Source of Power

"Government should be transparent by default, secret by necessity. Of course, it is not. Too much of government is secret. Why? Because those who hold secrets hold power.

Now WikiLeaks has punctured that power. Whether or not it ever reveals another document -- and we can be certain that it will -- Wikileaks has made us all aware that no secret is safe. If something is known by one person, it can be known by the world.

But that has always been the case. The internet did not kill secrecy. It only makes copying and spreading information easier and faster. It weakens secrecy. Or as a friend of mine says, the internet democratizes leaking. It used to be, only the powerful could hold and uncover knowledge. Now many can.[...]

Now, in WikiLeaks, we see a new concern: that secrecy dies. It does not; secrecy lives. But it is wounded. And it should be. Let us use this episode to examine as citizens just how secret and how transparent our governments should be. For today, in the internet age, power shifts from those who hold secrets to those who create openness. That is our emerging reality."
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Micah L. Sifry, Tech President: After Wikileaks: The Promise of Internet Freedom, For Real

"So, while I am not 100% sure I am for everything that Wikileaks has done is and is doing, I do know that I am anti-anti-Wikileaks. The Internet makes possible a freer and more democratic culture, but only if we fight for it. And that means standing up precisely when unpopular speakers test the boundaries of free speech, and would-be censors try to create thought-crimes and intimidate the rest of us into behaving like children or sheep.

And, as Mark Pesce argues brilliantly, it's not like we can make this all go away. The potential for a Wikileaks moment--where a dissenter with the genuine goods of how an imperial organization actually carries out its business leaks that information into the global communications grid--has been inherent for years; now it has arrived. We are all living in a new age. And it does feel like radical changes in how the world works may again be possible."
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Chris O'Brien, Mercury News: Why we should applaud Wikileaks

"The reaction has been fierce. Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., and ranking member of the Committee on Homeland Security, said this week that WikiLeaks should be labeled a terrorist organization. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called the disclosures an "attack on America's foreign policy interests."

But the reaction is misguided. Our government is undermining its own credibility with this overheated rhetoric. And this lashing out says more about our politicians than it does about Assange or WikiLeaks.[...]

The proper response to WikiLeaks should be a national conversation about what material should be kept secret -- and to keep that at an absolute minimum. No one is arguing that there aren't some secrets the government needs to keep. Even WikiLeaks has held back some of the documents it received. But the circle around the stuff that falls into this category should be drawn as small as possible.[...]

But there should be no doubt that WikiLeaks' efforts to expose government secrets have done a great public service by puncturing a hole in the government's arguments that it needs to keep expanding its bubble of secrecy to keep us safe."
Read more

 

PRESS RELEASE
Tue 7 Dec 15.55 GMT

Julian Assange Defense Fund frozen.

The Swiss Bank Post Finance today issues a press release stating that it had frozen Julian Assange's defense fund and personal assets (31K EUR) after reviewing him as a "high profile" individual.

The technicality used to seize the defense fund was that Mr. Assange, as a homeless refugee attempting to gain residency in Switzerland, had used his lawyers address in Geneva for the bank's correspondence.

Late last week, the internet payment giant PayPal, froze 60Keur of donations to the German charity the Wau Holland Foundation, which were targeted to promote the sharing of knowledge via WikiLeaks.

WikiLeaks and Julian have lost 100Keur in assets this week.

One of the most fascinating aspects of the Cablegate exposure is how it is throwing into relief the power dynamics between supposedly independent states like Switzerland, Sweden and Australia.

WikiLeaks also has public bank accounts in Iceland (preferred) and Germany.

Please help cover our expenditures while we fight to get our assets back.

http://wikileaks.ch/support.html

END

(Via @wikileaks. Source: http://www.twitlonger.com/show/7bg5kc )

 
By Admin (from 08/12/2010 @ 10:15:02, in en - Global Observatory, read 2120 times)

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AUSTRALIA: Discussion: Julian Assange, Law & Politics

Melbourne: A meeting to discuss Wikileaks' Julian Assange's legal and political position
Speakers: Julian Burnside AO QC, Peter Gordon, John Faine and Professor Spencer Zifcak
Date: Thursday 9 December 2010
Time: 5:30pm
Venue: the Law Institute of Victoria, 470 Bourke St, Melbourne
Details: http://www.law.monash.edu.au/castancentre/events/index.html

AUSTRALIA: National rallies to defend Julian Assange and WikiLeaks

Media release: http://wlcentral.org/node/556

Sydney: Friday, December 10, 1pm at Sydney Town Hall. Media contacts: Antony Loewenstein 0402 893 690; Simon Butler 0421 231 011. Rally information: Kylie Gilbert 0451 827 693
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=161656067211736

Melbourne: Friday, December 10, 4:30pm at the State Library Lawns, Melbourne. Contact: Vashti Jane 0423 407 910.
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=182297491780623

Brisbane: Thursday, December 9, 5.30pm Brisbane Square CBD
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=153885131325141

Brisbane: Friday, December 10, 12 noon at the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade, 295 Anne Street, Brisbane CBD
Rally information: Liam Hanlon 0435 266 613. Media contact: Jim McIlroy 0423 741 734
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=153885131325141&index=1#%21/event....

Hobart: Saturday, December 11, noon at the Hobart Parliament Lawns
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=171620612868329

Adelaide: Sunday, December 12, 1:00pm at Parliament House.
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=182236928453862

UNITED KINGDOM

London: Saturday, December 11: 11:00am - 6:00pm Location "Cumberland Gate" at Marble Arch Hyde Park. Nearest tube station - Marble Arch
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=175481195812657

UNITED STATES

Washington, DC: In front of the White House, Thursday, December 16, 10:00am
Event details: http://www.zcommunications.org/with-wikileaks-revelations-peace-communit...

New York, NY: Thursday, December 9th, 6:30pm - 0:30am
Location: New York Times Bldg, New York, NY 10018
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=155203287858724

Olympia, WA: Saturday, December 18th, 1:00pm - 4:00pm
Location: Heritage Park (5th Ave and Water St)
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Wikileaks-Support-Rally-Olympia-WA/1747382...

GERMANY

Hamburg: Saturday, December 11, 11:00am - 6:00pm
Location: To be announced
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=112899808778406

CANADA

Montreal: Sunday, December 12th, 1:00pm
Location: 1155 St-Alexandre Street (US consulate)

AUSTRIA

Vienna: Wednesday, December 22th, 8:00pm – 10:00pm
Location: In front of the Parliament
Event page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Demonstrations-for-freedom-of-speech-Wikil...

WikiLeaks protest group on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/WikiLeaks-Protests/146607388723655?v=wall

Are you organizing an event? Please contact us at admin@wlcentral.org and we will be happy to promote it!

 

Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, arrived on Tuesday where many of those affected by the revelations he published wanted him to be: in the hands of police. And that happened after the Swedish justice heeded pretty strange accusations made by two women whose activity put a lot of questions about the veracity of the facts claimed. The same Swedish court which issued an arrest warrant for Julian Assange for "sex by surprise", granted political asylum to the MISA leader, Gregorian Bivolaru, when he was investigated in Romania, among other things, for sexual perversion, sexual intercourse with a minor and trafficking of minors.

If last week Wikileaks founder was accused of "sex by surprise", the Swedish justice came back saying that, in fact, the statements of one of the women were poorly written. It seems that the crime of "sex by surprise" was the result of a condom that broke. Despite this, the founder of Wikileaks continued intercourse. Normally, for "sex by surprise" the Swedish law amends the guilty with 5,000 crowns (about $ 715).

But yesterday, when he presented at a London Police Headquarter, Julian Assange that had issued an international warrant on his name was arrested and found out that he must answer four counts of accusations: one for restraint, two for violent sex and one for rape.

On August 20, the Swedish women complained to the police accusing Assange of rape and sexual assault. In a note addressed to the Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, founder of Wikileaks denied the allegations, saying that he was never contacted by the police, and that on August 21 he was exempted by the Prosecution.
Assange was known at that time for making public a secret video recording of an U.S. attack in Baghdad, were many innocent civilians were killed. One of the women who accused Assange is Anna Ardin, a controversial feminist militant linked to notorious CIA operative. She is best known for writing a handbook on how women should take legal revenge on men and undermine a sexual relationship in seven stages. The other swedish woman says that the alleged facts happened during a threesomes in which she has been involved with Assange and, apparently, with Anna Ardin.

Assange said that it was consensual sex and the women's allegations are false; it is the first shot below the belt that he expected from those troubled by his revelations.

Tough with the founder of Wikileaks, which put fear into the americans, the swedish justice was particularly sympathetic to the romanian "guru" Bivolaru. Sweden refused to extradite Gregorian Bivolaru when asked by Romania in 2005. And it was not even remotely accused of "sex by surprise" but sexual perversion, sexual intercourse with a minor, trafficking with minors, human trafficking and illegal immigration. Bivolaru's orgies only brought him protection from Sweden and... political asylum.

Ford Turani for TurismoAssociati.it

 

Der Spiegel: Copenhagen Climate Cables: The US and China Joined Forces Against Europe

"Last year's climate summit in Copenhagen was a political disaster. Leaked US diplomatic cables now show why the summit failed so spectacularly. The dispatches reveal that the US and China, the world's top two polluters, joined forces to stymie every attempt by European nations to reach agreement.[...]

The cooperation began under the last US president, George W. Bush. In 2007 Bush's senior climate negotiator, Harlan Watson, organized a 10-year framework agreement with China on cooperation on energy and the environment. The two countries also agreed to hold a "Strategic and Economic Dialogue" -- backroom talks that neither the Americans nor the Chinese were willing to admit to at first.

Bush's successor, President Barack Obama, and the new secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, continued this dialogue. During Clinton's inaugural visit to China, Beijing agreed to the formation of a "new partnership on energy and climate change," according to a US embassy dispatch dated May 15, 2009. Here too the aim was to ensure the outcome of the climate talks in Copenhagen would be favorable to Washington and Beijing."
Read more

The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Vatican refused to engage with child sex abuse inquiry

"The Vatican refused to allow its officials to testify before an Irish commission investigating the clerical abuse of children and was angered when they were summoned from Rome, US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks reveal.

Requests for information from the 2009 Murphy commission into sexual and physical abuse by clergy "offended many in the Vatican" who felt that the Irish government had "failed to respect and protect Vatican sovereignty during the investigations", a cable says."
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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Pope wanted Muslim Turkey kept out of EU

"The pope is responsible for the Vatican's growing hostility towards Turkey joining the EU, previously secret cables sent from the US embassy to the Holy See in Rome claim.

In 2004 Cardinal Ratzinger, the future pope, spoke out against letting a Muslim state join, although at the time the Vatican was formally neutral on the question.

The Vatican's acting foreign minister, Monsignor Pietro Parolin, responded by telling US diplomats that Ratzinger's comments were his own rather than the official Vatican position.

The cable released by WikiLeaks shows that Ratzinger was the leading voice behind the Holy See's unsuccessful drive to secure a reference to Europe's 'Christian roots' in the EU constitution. The US diplomat noted that Ratzinger 'clearly understands that allowing a Muslim country into the EU would further weaken his case for Europe's Christian foundations'."
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Le Monde: Wikileaks : les Américains se demandent où se trouve le cœur du pouvoir en Algérie (Americans ask who holds real power in Algeria)

"Qui détient le pouvoir en Algérie? Les militaires ou les civils? Une poignée de généraux qui ont la haute main sur l'armée et les services de renseignements ou le président de la République élu au suffrage universel, Abdelaziz Bouteflika?

La question continue à diviser les chancelleries étrangères tant le cœur du pouvoir à Alger est impénétrable depuis des décennies. Pour le chef de l'Etat algérien, la réponse est évidente : l'armée algérienne respecte "absolument" l'autorité d'un président qui est un civil et non un militaire. "Ça n'est pas du tout comme en Turquie", assure-t-il lors de sa première entrevue avec le général William Ward, le chef de l'Africom, la structure de commandement américaine pour l'Afrique, en novembre 2009."
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The New York Times: China Resisted U.S. Pressure on Rights of Nobel Winner

"It was just before Christmas 2009, and Ding Xiaowen was not happy. The United States ambassador had just written China’s foreign minister expressing concern for Liu Xiaobo, the Beijing intellectual imprisoned a year earlier for drafting a pro-democracy manifesto. Now Mr. Ding, a deputy in the ministry’s American section, was reading the riot act to an American attaché.

Mr. Ding said he would try to avoid “becoming emotional,” according to a readout on the meeting that was among thousands of leaked State Department cables released this month. Then he said that a “strongly dissatisfied” China firmly opposed the views of the American ambassador, Jon Huntsman, and that Washington must “cease using human rights as an excuse to ‘meddle’ in China’s internal affairs.”"
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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Pfizer 'used dirty tricks to avoid clinical trial payout'

"The world's biggest pharmaceutical company hired investigators to unearth evidence of corruption against the Nigerian attorney general in order to persuade him to drop legal action over a controversial drug trial involving children with meningitis, according to a leaked US embassy cable.

Pfizer was sued by the Nigerian state and federal authorities, who claimed that children were harmed by a new antibiotic, Trovan, during the trial, which took place in the middle of a meningitis epidemic of unprecedented scale in Kano in the north of Nigeria in 1996."
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Der Spiegel: 'No and No Again': The Rocky US Relationship with Little Austria

"Austria may be small, but according to US Embassy dispatches from Vienna, the country causes big headaches in Washington. Not only are Austrian leaders seen as disconnected from international affairs, the country's neutrality means it is willing to do business with America's enemies.

The tone used by the US envoys in their reports to Washington ranges from resigned to openly hostile. Is it possible, they ask in bewilderment, for a tiny Alpine republic only half the size of the US state of Washington to ignore the primary objectives of American foreign policy? It would seem that it is."
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El Pais: EE UU considera Cataluña el "mayor centro mediterráneo del yihadismo" (The US considers Catalonia the "biggest mediterranean center for jihadism")

"La Embajada de EE UU en Madrid cree que Cataluña es el punto más caliente del islamismo radical en España , un escenario que debe vigilar y controlar como puente hacia el Mediterráneo. La fuerte implantación de la comunidad paquistaní y marroquí en Barcelona y la efervescente actividad de islamistas en localidades como Tarragona, Hospitalet, Badalona y Reus preocupan a los servicios de inteligencia estadounidenses que han convertido a esa comunidad en su primer objetivo de investigación. Los documentos secretos del departamento de Estado definen Cataluña como el principal centro mediterráneo de los islamistas."
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Le Monde: Guinée : Comment France et Etats-Unis ont écarté le chef de la junte (Guinea: How France and the US neutralized the chief of the junta)

"L'occasion était trop belle pour neutraliser un chef de l'Etat devenu très embarrassant. Français et Américains cherchaient à écarter le capitaine Moussa Dadis Camara depuis le massacre par des militaires de la garde présidentielle d'au moins 156 opposants à Conakry, en Guinée, le 28 septembre 2009.

Les événements du 3 décembre vont forcer le destin. Ce jour-là, le chef de la junte militaire au pouvoir depuis moins d'un an est victime d'une tentative d'assassinat. Grièvement blessé à la tête, le chef de la junte est envoyé d'urgence vers le Maroc pour y être hospitalisé. Dans la foulée, un diplomate américain en poste à Ouagadougou écrit : "La communauté internationale est d'une façon générale sur la même position. L'absence de Dadis a ouvert une fenêtre d'opportunité pour faciliter une transition démocratique."

"Bien qu'il ait été chassé de la scène violemment plutôt que par des moyens constitutionnels, il serait mieux pour la Guinée qu'il ne rentre pas dans son pays", ajoute l'ambassadrice américaine en poste à Conakry, Patricia Moller, dans un des télégrammes diplomatiques obtenus par WikiLeaks et révélés par Le Monde."
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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Former Croatia PM flees over corruption claims

"The former prime minister who dominated Croatian politics for most of the past decade fled the country today as state prosecutors moved to have him arrested in connection with a major sleaze investigation.

According to cables from the US Zagreb embassy released by WikiLeaks, Ivo Sanader, the centre-right politician who stood down suddenly as prime minister in summer last year, features in several of the corruption cases currently terrorising the Croatian political class.

The country's chief prosecutor told US diplomats in Zagreb this year he had evidence that Sanader had arranged a bank loan for a business crony in return for a kickback."
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Der Spiegel: The Nigeria Report: A Cesspool of Corruption and Crime in the Niger Delta

"The leaked US diplomatic cables reveal just what multinational oil companies are up against in the Niger Delta. Security forces are ineffective and involved in dubious oil deals. The government demands millions in bribes. Even university students have earned pocket money by working as kidnappers.

Bombs used against civilians; millions paid to corrupt officials; and a kidnapping industry that employs students during university vacations: The US diplomatic cables from the Nigerian cities of Abuja and Lagos paint an unusually bleak picture of the situation in the oil-rich Niger Delta. Hardly any of the international oil companies active in the delta publishes production figures, kidnappings and hostage-taking are a daily occurence and the civilian population is suffering -- not least because they too are occasionally targets of the Nigerian Army's special forces."
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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables: Serbia suspects Russian help for fugitive Ratko Mladiæ

"Russia may be withholding vital information about the whereabouts of the fugitive Bosnian Serb general and genocide suspect, Ratko Mladiæ, who faces war crimes charges in The Hague, senior Serbian government officials have privately told American diplomats in Belgrade.

In discussions detailed in a diplomatic cable marked "secret" and sent to Washington by US chargée d'affaires Jennifer Brush in September 2009, Miki [Miodrag] Rakiæ, chief of staff to the Serbian president, Boris Tadiæ, tells Brush it remains likely Mladiæ is hiding somewhere in Serbia.

But Rakiæ also suggests the fugitive is being assisted by "foreign sources" and hints darkly that Moscow may have better information about Mladiæ's exact situation than does the Serbian government."
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El Pais: Palomares: 50.000 metros contaminados con plutonio (50,000 sq.meters contaminated with plutonium)

"España y Estados Unidos tienen un problema enquistado desde 1966: el accidente nuclear en Palomares, en el que cuatro bombas atómicas cayeron en la pedanía almeriense. España decidió en 2004 descontaminar la zona e insiste en que EE UU pague parte de la limpieza y se lleve la tierra contaminada con plutonio. Así se lo transmitió el 14 de diciembre de 2009 el entonces ministro de Exteriores, Miguel Ángel Moratinos, a la secretaria de Estado, Hillary Clinton, en Washington. Moratinos reclamó, según un cable confidencial, que Clinton hiciera lo posible "para ayudar desde el punto de vista de la opinión pública española, de la que temió que se volviera en contra de EE UU si se divulgaran los resultados de un reciente estudio sobre la contaminación". Clinton no contestó. El estudio, a cuyas conclusiones ha tenido acceso EL PAÍS pero que no ha sido hecho público, concluye que en Palomares queda medio kilo de plutonio que ha contaminado unos 50.000 metros cúbicos de tierra -el volumen de 27 piscinas olímpicas-."
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The Guardian: WikiLeaks cables cast Hosni Mubarak as Egypt's ruler for life

"Hosni Mubarak, Egypt's long-serving president, is likely to seek re-election next year and will "inevitably" win a poll that will not be free and fair, the US ambassador to Cairo, Margaret Scobey, predicted in a secret cable to Hillary Clinton last year.

Scobey discussed Mubarak's quasi-dictatorial leadership style since he took power in 1981; his critical views of George Bush and American policy in the Middle East; and the highly uncertain prospects for a succession."
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Source: WLcentral.org

 
By Admin (from 12/12/2010 @ 17:05:34, in en - Global Observatory, read 1410 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.

 
By Admin (from 13/12/2010 @ 15:15:17, in en - Global Observatory, read 2773 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)."
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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."
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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."
Read more

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."
Read more

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.'"
Read more

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."
Read more

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."
Read more

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.'"
Read more

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."
Read more

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."
Read more

 
By Admin (from 13/12/2010 @ 22:00:34, in en - Global Observatory, read 2156 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."

 

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 15/12/2010 @ 16:00:52, in en - Global Observatory, read 1544 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

 
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