Posts Tagged ‘William Assange’

Will Wikileaks’ Assange end up in Ecuador?

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

The Swedes are investigating him, and the Australians are “studying whether he’d broken any laws there”, so here comes Rafael Correa to the rescue,
Ecuador offers a home for founder of WikiLeaks

Deputy Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas said in audio posted online by the EcuadorInmediato news site that “we are open to giving him residence in Ecuador, without any kind of trouble and without any kind of conditions.”

“We think it would be important not only to converse with him but to listen to him,” Lucas added, saying Ecuador wanted to invite Assange to “freely expound” and see what it’s like in “friendly countries.”

He praised people like Assange “who are constantly investigating and trying to get light out of the dark corners of (state) information”

Lucas said Ecuador’s government was “very concerned” by revelations that U.S. diplomats have been involved in spying in the first of the more than 250,000 U.S. diplomatic cables and directives that WikiLeaks has begun to release.

Assange was interviewed by Forbes and talked about “his profile”

You mean as your personal profile rises?

Yeah, the rising profile of the organization and my rising profile also. And there’s a network effect for anything to do with trust. Once something starts going around and being considered trustworthy in a particular arena, and you meet someone and they say “I heard this is trustworthy,” then all of a sudden it reconfirms your suspicion that the thing is trustworthy.

So that’s why brand is so important, just as it is with anything you have to trust.

Assange’s profile’s ought to be prosecuted. Today’s WSJ,

What WikiLeaks has done is use the betrayal by the original leaker to expose American secrets and thus destroy trust in America’s reliability. For an administration whose policy choices have already done so much to erode global confidence in the U.S., these leaks are a disaster. How should the administration go about regaining confidence? It’s astonishing that Iceland, a member of NATO, is where WikiLeaks is headquartered. Don’t we have an embassy there? It’s astonishing that the Australian government has yet to receive a request from the U.S. to take action against Mr. Assange, an Australian national. It’s astonishing that Pfc. Bradley Manning, the suspected leaker, has yet to be court-martialed. It’s astonishing that Mr. Assange should be described by National Public Radio as a “whistleblower,” while in fact he’s conducting a form of cyberwarfare against the United States.

Assange promises more megaleaks to come regarding the private sector because

there will be some flagrant violations, unethical practices that will be revealed, but it will also be all the supporting decision-making structures and the internal executive ethos that cames out, and that’s tremendously valuable. Like the Iraq War Logs, yes there were mass casualty incidents that were very newsworthy, but the great value is seeing the full spectrum of the war.

You could call it the ecosystem of corruption. But it’s also all the regular decision making that turns a blind eye to and supports unethical practices: the oversight that’s not done, the priorities of executives, how they think they’re fulfilling their own self-interest. The way they talk about it.

Assange says he’s got stuff on Russia, too, even when he claims,

It’s not right to say there’s going to be a particular focus on Russia.

One can easily conclude that Assange is an optimist if he believes that the Russians are going to take anything sitting down, and that he’ll be enjoying a nice comfortable existence under the aegis of Rafael Correa.

Cross-posted at The Green Room

Ed’s got more on how the Russians may approach Wikileaks.


Wikileaks: A weak presidency, made weaker UPDATED

Monday, November 29th, 2010

The Wikileaks story is front and center in today’s news, and the deleterious consequences will linger for a very long time.

At first glance, the point of Wikileaks is to weaken America’s stance as the only superpower. That it has: as Der Speigel (via both Gateway Pundit and PowerLine) points out,

The development is no less than a political meltdown for American foreign policy.

Never before in history has a superpower lost control of such vast amounts of such sensitive information — data that can help paint a picture of the foundation upon which US foreign policy is built. Never before has the trust America’s partners have in the country been as badly shaken. Now, their own personal views and policy recommendations have been made public — as have America’s true views of them.

The leak occurred during the Obama administration. Allahpundit:

Under Dubya, this sort of mega-clusterfark could be spun internationally as further evidence of his personal incompetence, recklessness, malignancy, etc, but under Obama — who famously framed his foreign policy as, er, “smart power” — it’ll be proof that, as a systemic matter, U.S. national security isn’t nearly as secure as it should be. If you’re a foreign diplomat of whatever level, but especially among the higher ranks with political exposure at home, I don’t know how you’d trust the State Department to keep your confidence after this. Remarkable impotence indeed.

Considering that the Obama administration focuses its foreign policy on going through diplomatic channels and the State Department, this is catastrophic. Jeff Dunetz:

Whether or not someone gets killed because of these Wikileaks disclosures, the damage to our country is severe, as allies and sources among enemies will stop cooperating with us for fear of exposure, our diplomats will be hesitant to speak openly with headquarters, and our intelligence on al-Qaeda and others will be compromised.

The fact that it really was that easy to get to diplomatic cables strains credulity. The guy was allowed to carry a rewriteable CD into a secured communications area?? Are you pulling my leg?!

And what is the Obama administration’s response to Wikileaks? Jeff again,

We are the laughingstock of the world, we look impotent. The United States is supposedly a superpower whose only response to the Wikileaks disclosure is pathetically, a sternly worded letter.

William Jacobson spells it out, Wikileaks Completes Obama’s Transformation Into Jimmy Carter.


James Carafano on damage control:

The administration can, however, do two things to repair the damage wrought by WikiLeaks. First, it can embrace a foreign policy that our adversaries fear and our friends respect. Nobody gets more cooperation than a winner. For starters, the president should dump the New START treaty — its one-sidedness makes the U.S. look like a lousy negotiator in the eyes of the world… and a patsy in the eyes of the Russians. He should also reject out of hand calls to gut the defense budget and just flat out declare that America will stick it out in Iraq and Afghanistan until the job is done. And while he’s at it, he could stand up to China and stop extending the hand of friendship to regimes interested in a world without freedom or America.

Second, the administration can hunt down any American connected with these leaks, try them for treason, and seek the death penalty. They deserve nothing less. Ordered liberty rejects the notion that any one citizen can jeopardize lives and give away America’s secrets — just because they feel like it.

Both approaches would require spine.

Drudge verses, under the top story CYBER MONDAY: WIKILEAKS TURNS ON OBAMA with photo of Obama with fat lip,

250,000 State Dept. cables cover Iran, NKorea, Putin... MORE
Reveal: Iran 'smuggled arms' to Hezbollah on ambulances...
Reveal: Clinton Orders Diplomats to Spy on Other Countries at UN...
Reveal: Iran obtained missiles from NKorea -- capable of striking Europe...
WIKILEAKS: We've been hit with 'mass distributed denial of service attack'...
Reveal: China conducting computer sabotage...
Saudis are chief financiers for al Qaeda...

Reveal: Saudis repeatedly urge US attack on Iran...
Now Australian police investigate WIKILEAKS founder...
France says leaks threaten democracy...


Wikileaks: The Middle East, part 1

Monday, November 29th, 2010

(part 1 because there surely will be more, much more on the Middle East)

Barry Rubin summarizes how the information leaked by Wikileaks confirms points he has made over the years,

1. Iran steadily smuggled arms to Hizballah using various means including in ambulances and medical vehicles during the 2006 war. This violates the laws of war. At times, the media has condemned Israel for attacking ambulances though it showed Hamas was also using such vehicles for military and arms-smuggling operations. Moreover, the postwar UN force proved consistently ineffective in stopping smuggling while the U.S. government did not denounce Iran, Syria, and Hizballah for breaking the ceasefire arrangements.

2. Israeli leaders have repeatedly made clear in diplomatic discussions their acceptance of a two-state solution but warned that the Palestinian leadership sought Israel’s destruction.

3. Arab states have constantly been warning the United States about the threat from Iran as their highest priority, even urging the United States to attack Iran itself. Note that Arab leaders did not condition their oppositon to Iran or call for a U.S. attack on settling the Arab-Israeli or Israel-Palestinian conflicts. This is contrary to what Administration officials, academia, and parts of the mass media who argue these issues are basically linked and that is why the conflicts must be ”solved”  before doing much else. As I’ve told you, the Arab regimes worry first and foremost about Iran and have greatly downgraded their interest in the conflict or antagonism toward Israel.

4. Iran and North Korea cooperated to provide Tehran with long-rang missiles that were shipped to Hizballah.

5. One week after President Bashar al-Asad promised a top State Department official that he would not send “new” arms to Hizballah, the United States complained that it had information that Syria was providing increasingly sophisticated weapons to the group. Yet the U.S. government did not take strong action.

(Reminds me of how Bashar promised the Bush Administration that he would stop buying oil from Iran in violation of UN sanctions but continued doing so; and how Yasir Arafat promised that he had nothing to do with terrorism and arms smuggling from Iran and then was shown to have lied. Is there a pattern here?)

6. Israel has been warning the United States about how Iran obtaining nuclear weapons would destabilize the region, not just create a danger of an Iran-initiated attack on Israel.

7. U.S. Officials in Turkey think that the current government is in fact an Islamist one, though the U.S. government (and media) keeps insisting it is some kind of democratic-reform-minded centrist regime.

8. The U.S. government ignored repeated pleas from Israel to press Egypt to block smuggling of military equipment into the Gaza Strip.

Indeed, Anti-Israel Foreign Policy Experts Got Saudi Arabia, Other Arab Countries 100% Backward On Iran Attack.

And, yes,

It’s quite a blow to conspiracy theorists, is it not, that the combined weight of two of their favor bogeymen, “the Zionists” and “the Arabs” haven’t been able to get the U.S. to take military action against Iran.


The Professional Left and WikiLeaks

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

What is the professional left?

The term “Professional Left” denotes a growing industry that specializes in converting other people’s money into an ideological product, while making a good living out of it in the process.

The term “Professional Left” hasn’t been in open circulation before, but it deserves to stick. The casual way in which [White House Press Secretary Robert] Gibbs dropped the phrase suggests that it is part of the inner circle’s jargon, and that the White House residents are fully aware of its meaning, function, and implication: there is a class of people with radical leftist views who have made it their job – with the help of abundant grants, foundations, and trusts – to carry out propaganda campaigns, indoctrinate, subvert, and plant the seeds of the leftist worldview in people’s minds through the arts, media, education, blogging, and street protests. For many it’s the only income they’ve had in years. As with most professional enthusiasts, after a while the pre-paid idealism gives way to cynicism, and the quest for truth turns into a mechanical repetition of talking points.

Richard Fernandez connects the Professional Left and WikiLeaks in his post The Inner Circle

Take Wikileaks. Although it styles itself as a rag-tag organization, Wikileaks  funds itself through a system that is professionally designed to cover its tracks, sources of funding and modes of direction. The Wall Street Journal says “the controversial website WikiLeaks, which argues the cause of openness in leaking classified or confidential documents, has set up an elaborate global financial network to protect a big secret of its own—its funding.” Using methods familiar to sharp operators and money launderers, they’ve set up shell organizations in juristidictions which prohibit disclosure; created levels of cutouts and cultivated unnamed private donors. Although the media describes Wikileaks as an idealistic, whistle-blowing organization it has the form, if not the function, of a criminal organization.

The linchpin of WikiLeaks’s financial network is Germany’s Wau Holland Foundation. WikiLeaks encourages donors to contribute to its account at the foundation, which under German law can’t publicly disclose the names of donors. Because the foundation “is not an operational concern, it can’t be sued for doing anything. So the donors’ money is protected, in other words, from lawsuits,” Mr. Assange said. …

The German foundation is only one piece of the WikiLeaks network.

“We’re registered as a library in Australia, we’re registered as a foundation in France, we’re registered as a newspaper in Sweden,” Mr. Assange said. WikiLeaks has two tax-exempt charitable organizations in the U.S., known as 501C3s, that “act as a front” for the website, he said. He declined to give their names, saying they could “lose some of their grant money because of political sensitivities.”

Mr. Assange said WikiLeaks gets about half its money from modest donations processed by its website, and the other half from “personal contacts,” including “people with some millions who approach us and say ‘I’ll give you 60,000 or 10,000,’ ” he said, without specifying a currency.

Read both posts, and keep in mind that, as Richard says,

The most revolutionary thing in the world is to try to live your life as you want to

Not simply to try, but to actually live it, free from institutional interference.
That is the existential question of our times.


WikiLeaks’ Assange accused of rape in Sweden UPDATE: No longer wanted for rape

Saturday, August 21st, 2010

4:30PM Eastern,
Barcepundit posts that

NBC says the molestation charges remain, though:

“I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape,” chief prosecutor Eva Finne said, in announcing the withdrawal of the warrant. She did not address the status of the molestation case, a less serious charge that would not lead to an arrest warrant.

But Karin Rosander, a spokeswoman for the Swedish Prosecution Authority, told NBC News that the allegation of molestation remains. However, Rosander said that after a new prosecutor looked at the allegations, the arrest warrant was withdrawn because the severity of the case does not require an arrest at this stage.

More at Sweden’s TheLocal.

This just in,
WikiLeaks Founder No Longer Wanted for Rape

Here’s the WSJ report in its entirety:

Swedish police said Saturday that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was “no longer wanted” for rape, reversing its position just hours after saying his arrest was being sought.

In an update on the Web site of the Swedish Prosecution Authority, the agency said that “chief prosector Eva Finné has come to the decision that Julian Assange is not suspected of rape.”

Mr. Assange said in a posting on the WikiLeaks Twitter account in response to the initial allegation by police: “The charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing.”

WikiLeaks last month published 76,000 classified U.S. military documents about the war in Afghanistan. Mr. Assange, an Australian, has been in Sweden in recent days, where WikiLeaks has some infrastructure.

The Pentagon has sharply criticized Mr. Assange for publishing the documents, saying it could put the lives of solidiers and Afghan civilians at risk. Mr. Assange has said he planned to publish up to 15,000 more documents about the war soon. He defends the publications, saying greater transparency is needed about civilian casualties, U.S. military tactics and other issues.

In a statement posted on the WikiLeaks site, the organization said:”On Saturday 21st of August, we have been made aware of rape allegations made against Julian Assange, founder of this project and one of our spokespeople. We are deeply concerned about the seriousness of these allegations. We the people behind WikiLeaks think highly of Julian and and he has our full support. While Julian is focusing on his defenses and clearing his name, WikiLeaks will be continuing its regular operations.”

In an earlier Twitter posting, WikiLeaks said it had been warned to expect “dirty tricks.”

Earlier today,

An interesting turn – the man with blood on his hands is now being investigated for rape:
WikiLeaks Founder Accused of Rape in Sweden

The founder of WikiLeaks was accused of rape in a Swedish arrest warrant Saturday that turned the spotlight onto the former hacker who has infuriated governments with his self-proclaimed mission to make secrets public.

The accusation was labeled a dirty trick by Julian Assange and his group, who are preparing to release a fresh batch of classified U.S. documents from the Afghan war.

Swedish prosecutors urged Mr. Assange—a 39-year-old Australian whose whereabouts were unclear—to turn himself in to police to face questioning in one case involving suspicions of rape and another based on an accusation of molestation.

They issued a warrant for his arrest, a move that doesn’t necessarily mean that criminal charges will be filed. Investigators want him in custody because they believe there is a risk he will obstruct the probe by destroying evidence, said Karin Rosander, a spokeswoman for the Swedish Prosecution Authority.

“The next step is that we interrogate him,” she said. “Then we’ll see what happens.”

Mr. Assange has no permanent address and travels frequently—jumping from one friend’s place to the next. He disappears from public view for months at a time, only to reappear in the full glare of the cameras at packed news conferences to discuss his site’s latest disclosure.

He was in Sweden last week seeking legal protection for the whistleblower website, which angered the Obama administration for publishing thousands of leaked documents about U.S. military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Why Sweden?

Mr. Assange was in Sweden last week partly to apply for a publishing certificate to make sure the website, which has servers in Sweden, can take full advantage of Swedish laws protecting whistleblowers.

CNN says Assange is wanted in Sweden after accusations of rape and molestation.

Blogger reaction:
Dan Riehl:

given the little that’s being reported, I can’t help but agree with him that the charges are disturbing. Welcome to the intelligence big leagues, Assange. I suspect you’re about to get knocked out of the park. Be very afraid. I suspect that, more than anything, is what the charges are meant to convey. That, and to provide grounds for your arrest

James Joyner:

In all seriousness, while I view Assange as substantially lower than pond scum, this story is incredibly murky.  While I’m happy to see him discredited and silenced, bogus rape charges are beyond the pale.  One trusts that there’s substantive probable cause he for issuing the warrant.

Sister Toldjah:

Wonder how the anti-war left will treat the news about one of their WikiLeaks heroes? Will they treat him like they do the troops and assume guilt before innocence, or will they rush to his defense and assert that this is a smear campaign designed to take down a snake who cares nothing about the fate of the hundreds, possibly thousands of Afghan and American lives he put in even more danger with the publishing of the WikiLeaks information?

Another question: Will the Hollywood left embrace Assange like they did child molestor Roman Polanski? Will Whoopi assert that what Assange allegedly did was not really “rape-rape“?

As Drudge says, “developing.”

The Telegraph has more on the complaint,

The complaints are said to have come from two Swedish women aged between 20 and 30, and relate to alleged incidents that occurred in a Stockholm apartment and in the city of Enköping outisde Stockholm. Neither police nor the newspaper have named the complainants.

Much more to come?


Blood in his hands

Wednesday, July 28th, 2010

WikiLeaks Reportedly Outs 100s of Afghan Informants

Hundreds of Afghan civilians who worked as informants for the U.S. military have been put at risk by WikiLeaks’ publication of more than 90,000 classified intelligence reports which name and in many cases locate the individuals, The Times newspaper reported Wednesday.

Click here to see The Times article, but note, it’s behind a subscription firewall.

The article says, in spite of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s claim that sensitive information had been removed from the leaked documents, that reporters scanning the reports for just a couple hours found hundreds of Afghan names mentioned as aiding the U.S.-led war effort.

Richard Fernandez is eloquent in his outrage:

The news came as Wikileaks founder Julian Assange expressed fears he could be arrested. The Telegraph says he “has been warned by ‘inside sources in the White House’ not to return to the US as he could be arrested.”

He’s had more warning than the individuals in Afghanistan who will more than likely be identified by al-Qaeda support cells in Western Europe or the Middle East who will pore through the Wikileaks documents. The names of the traitors to radical Islam will be duly transmitted to the avengers who will then go out severally into the night to on their missions of revenge. Recently Radio Netherlands described what Afghans who are suspected by the Taliban can expect to endure. The Taliban have cut off the hands of construction workers who build government-funded projects; sent a suicide car bomb against a district chief believed to have been working with US special forces.  Death in many forms will be their lot. One informant Radio Netherlands described “holds a thick yellow sheet tightly around his face”  to preserve his anonymity. Now it turns out he shouldn’t have bothered. If the London Times is right, his name might be one of the several hundred the British reporter has found in just a few hours.

Yet the dead are the lucky ones. The more unfortunate may wind up in a torture chamber similar to one found by Coldstream Guards. It features such amenties as chains to hang prisoners from walls. Not that the inmates would want to walk on the floor: that features broken glass. And there is limb amputation, kneecapping with an electric drill, eye gouging, bone-breaking or ritual rape to smash the will. Where the offender is not himself available punishment will be visited on his relatives.

When Julian Assange released these documents he assured the public that it had been carefully reviewed to avoid putting people at risk.  He said it with the greatest apparent confidence. Now it emerges that either he didn’t know how to avoid putting innocents in the line of fire or didn’t care to. But competence is not required to sit in judgment of others. Not today.  All it really takes is enough self-righteousness to impose your amateurish viewpoint on the world because on the theory that nobody else has ever been as clever as you. We are always the people we’ve been waiting for.

Yet Assange can be forgiven for thinking that viewpoint and style were the sum total of qualification needed to engage in the life and death business of publshing secrets in time of war. White House spokesman Robert Gibbs, explaining that the White House didn’t try to stop the publication said he met with reporters from the New York Times and sent a message through its reporters to Assange asking that he redact information in the documents that could harm US military personnel. As for the Afghans? Well what about them? Wikileaks made its pathetic effort to sanitize the data didn’t they? And if it was good for the Times and Gibbs, why shouldn’t Assange have concluded it was good enough period?

One or more of those connected with this story may in the next few weeks, under questioning from critics, express their sincerest and most heartfelt regret at the death or danger which their leak has exposed men,  women and children to. But poise your finger on the pause button; watch for it carefully before it flashes past to the standard peroration on the noble purposes of showing the “true nature” of war. Because the regret may last all of five seconds, though for those who will lose a loved one to Taliban reprisal the pain will last much longer. But the wretched of the earth will endure, as only those who have accustomed themselves to being the moral guinea pigs and butt of jokes of the great and good can endure.

Assange will sleep safely hiding behind the skirts of the Swedish government, which allows Assange to publish classified material with no consequences.

Elsewhere, people will die for Wikileaks’ Nobel Prize.

Gerard lets it rip on Assange, and on traitor Pfc. Bradley Manning, and it’s NOT SUITABLE FOR WORK.

I just remembered, traitors earned a place in Dante’s ninth circle of hell. While Liberals may applaud Manning and Assange, betraying the Afghans who risked their lives in a futile hope for a better life has earned Manning and Assange places in the 9th circle.

Post updated with photo