Wikileaks has just disseminated a press release, found below, regarding its editors'recent confrontations with members of the U.S. intelligence community, with these incidents having occurred a little over a week after the organization published a leaked and formerly-secret 2008 Army Intelligence report focused on Wikileaks itself. Among other interesting things, the document includes passages in which are proposed non-too-imaginative methods by which Wikileaks could be marginalized. The full press release may be found below; I'll have more on this later today after I get some sleep, along with some early analysis of the contents of the Army Intel report. I was also interviewed on this and related subjects yesterday afternoon by Scott Horton of Antiwar.com radio's syndicated news program; I'll post the segment when it's made available. Available here
Please, consider writing your own diary on this subject. My post yesterday didn't make it very far, and there are almost certainly quite a few readers here who would be interested in taking action on this if they were only aware of what was going on; media attention has been pretty sparse thus far, which is ironic insomuch as that a number of prominent outlets have been more than happy to use the information that the editors of Wikileak provide at the expense of their own security. Bloggers need to be covering this; it is extraordinarily important in terms of our ability to access the best information possible on what governments and other entities would prefer remain unknown.
If you're interested in ensuring that major outlets are prompted to report on such things as this in the future, consider assisting with Project PM, if only by telling a competent blogger about it or otherwise spreading the word; we'll be launching in a couple of months, while further details will be available soon.
Update 5:54 am EST
I appreciate everyone's assistance in getting this on the recommended list, and I'm sure the folks at Wikileaks will be grateful as well. I'll stay up a bit longer in order to take best advantage of the opportunity to give this story wider play and to answer any questions, although I believe the summary linked above should cover most everything at this point. Thanks again.
Update 6:06 am EST
Daily Kos is frequented by a number of U.S. congressmen and their interns. It would not be amiss for one of our elected representatives to address one of the most substantial assaults on free speech from the direction of Washington in recent memory. This move on the part of certain segments of the U.S. intelligence community comes amidst a campaign to make Iceland a safe haven for information freedom at a time when a very large portion of humanity has no legal assurances of being able to access knowledge regardless of whether or not various governments deem it appropriate for mere citizens. Wikileaks admins have been involved in drafting this potential legislation, the Modern Media Initiative, which would help to ensure that individuals across the globe will have the option to disseminate and consume information as they see fit. These recent incidents, coupled with the attitude made clear in the 2008 Army Intelligence report, are a slap in the face to humanity's legitimate aspirations for the 21st century, which one would hope to be an improvement on the 20th.
Wikileaks runs on donations, and they're going to need all the resources they can get in the run-up to their planned National Press Club conference on April 5th, at which point they'll be releasing the decrypted video that they've been referencing of late and which allegedly depicts the killing of civilians and journalists.
Update 6:44 am EST
Veteran activist Ben Masel is now going about the crucial business of making phones ring in D.C. this morning, and he could certainly use help. I'm busy harassing my various editors about this at the moment, but if people could post the pertinent contact info in the comments I will add them here. Numbers for the offices of chairmen of relevant House committees, NGOs with an interest in the issue, and other potentially sympathetic parties would all be extraordinarily useful right now.
Update 7:18 am EST
Mr. Masel has provided us the names of congressmen sitting on the intelligence committees of both chambers; I have pasted them below the press release. We are still in need of numbers; if you have a moment to pitch in, please help by posting whatever contact info you can in the comments and I will try to add it in as it is received. Remember that NGOs are also very helpful, though they need not be contacted more than once, whereas congressional Democrats would assuredly like to break up the monotony of nonsensical angry calls from people who are upset about our Islamic atheist dictator and his healthSCARE program. I'd find these numbers myself but I have to update some other posts elsewhere and hassle more editors.
Update 8:11 am EST
Someone has been kind enough to provide us with some contact info for Feinstein, which is posted at this comment. Tl;dr - Her D.C. office number is (202) 224-3841. Other office numbers available at the link.
Update 9:40 am EST
Care of the comments, the chief of police of Reykjavik just denied that Iceland police were involved in any of the U.S. operations. He does acknowledge the detainment of what would seem to be the fellow Wikileaks identifies as a "volunteer" in the press release below. From the article:
An assistant to the Minister of Justice said the ministry and its staff would like to distance themselves from the Wikileaks editor’s allegations and said that any such action, if it took place, would have been a police matter, Visir.is reports.Will update with any more specifics as they come up.
Update 2:25 p.m. EST
My interview with Antiwar.com's syndicated program from yesterday is now up along with other recent interviews in the last 48 hours featuring former Newsweek Baghdad corespondent Michael Hastings and Chairman of the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation Lt. General Robert G. Card, Jr. Aside from the specifics of this matter, we discuss the deficits of the media and how these may be addressed. I apologize in advance for my accent.
Over the last few years, WikiLeaks has been the subject of hostile acts by security organizations. In the developing world, these range from the appalling assassination of two related human rights lawyers in Nairobi last March (an armed attack on my compound there in 2007 is still unattributed) to an unsuccessful mass attack by Chinese computers on our servers in Stockholm, after we published photos of murders in Tibet. In the West this has ranged from a police raid in Germany over an Australian censorship list, to an ambush by a "James Bond" character in a Luxembourg car park, an event that ended with a mere "we think it would be in your interest to...".*
Developing world violence aside, we've become used to the level of security service interest in us and have established procedures to ignore that interest.
But the increase in surveillance activities this last month, in a time when we are barely publishing due to fundraising, are excessive. Some of the new interest is related to a film exposing a U.S. massacre we will release at the U.S. National Press Club on April 5.
The spying includes attempted covert following, photographng, filming and the overt detention & questioning of a WikiLeaks' volunteer in Iceland on Monday night.
I, and others were in Iceland to advise Icelandic parliamentarians on the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a new package of laws designed to protect investigative journalists and internet services from spying and censorship. As such, the spying has an extra poignancy.
The possible triggers:
(1) our ongoing work on a classified film revealing civilian casualties occurring under the command of the U.S, general, David Petraeus.
(2) our release of a classified 32 page US intelligence report on how to fatally marginalize WikiLeaks (expose our sources, destroy our reputation for integrity, hack us).
(3) our release of a classified cable from the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik reporting on contact between the U.S. and the U.K. over billions of euros in claimed loan guarantees.
(4) pending releases related to the collapse of the Icelandic banks and Icelandic "oligarchs".
We have discovered half a dozen attempts at covert surveillance in Reykjavik both by native English speakers and Icelanders. On the occasions where these individuals were approached, they ran away. One had marked police equipment and the license plates for another suspicious vehicle track back to the Icelandic private VIP bodyguard firm Terr ( h ). What does that mean? We don't know. But as you will see, other events are clear.
U.S. sources told Icelandic state media's deputy head of news, that the State Department was aggressively investigating a leak from the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik. I was seen at a private U.S Embassy party at the Ambassador's residence, late last year and it is known I had contact with Embassay staff, after.
On Thursday March 18, 2010, I took the 2.15 PM flight out of Reykjavik to Copenhagen--on the way to speak at the SKUP investigative journalism conference in Norway. After receiving a tip, we obtained airline records for the flght concerned. Two individuals, recorded as brandishing diplomatic credentials checked in for my flight at 12:03 and 12:06 under the name of "US State Department". The two are not recorded as having any luggage.
Iceland doesn't have a separate security service. It folds its intelligence function into its police forces, leading to an uneasy overlap of policing and intelligence functions and values.
On Monday 22, March, at approximately 8.30pm, a WikiLeaks volunteer was detained by Icelandic police for over 20 hours on an insignificant matter. The police then apparently took the opportunity to detain the volunteer over night, without charge--an unusual act in Iceland. The next day, during the course of interrogation, the volunteer was shown covert photos of me outside the Reykjavik restaurant "Icelandic Fish & Chips", where a WikiLeaks production meeting took place on Wednesday March 17, 2010--the day before individuals operating under the name of the U.S. State Department boarded my flight to Copenhagen.
The spied on production meeting used a discreet, closed, backroom. The subject: a concealed, scandalous, U.S. military video showing civilian kills by U.S. pilots. During the interrogation, a specific reference was made by police to the video---which could not have been understood from that day's exterior surveillance alone. Another specific reference was made to "important", but unnamed Icelandic figures. References were also made to the names of two senior journalists at the production meeting.
Who are the Icelandic security services loyal to in their values? The new government of April 2009, the old pro-Iraq war government of the Independence party, or perhaps to their personal relationships with peers from another country who have them on a permanment intelligence information drip?
Only a few years ago, Icelandic airspace was used for CIA rendition flights. Why did the CIA think that this was acceptable? In a classified U.S. profile on the former Icelandic Ambassador to the United States, obtained by WikiLeaks, the Ambassador is praised for helping to quell publicity of the CIA's activities.
Often when a bold new government arises, bureaucratic institutions remain loyal to the old regime and it can take time to change the guard. Former regime loyalists must be discovered, dissuaded and removed. But for the security services, that first vital step, discovery, is awry. Congenitally scared of the light, such services hide their activities; if it is not known what security services are doing, then it is surely impossible to know who they are doing it for.
Potential Contact List:
John D. Rockefeller IV
Barbara A. Mikulski
Russell D. Feingold
Christopher S. Bond
Olympia J. Snowe
Silvestre Reyes, Chairman Democrat Texas
Alcee L. Hastings Democrat Florida
Anna G. Eshoo Democrat California
Rush D. Holt Democrat New Jersey
C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger Democrat Maryland
John Tierney Democrat Massachusetts
Mike Thompson Democrat California
Jan Schakowsky Democrat Illinois
Jim Langevin Democrat Rhode Island
Patrick Murphy Democrat Pennsylvania
Adam Schiff Democrat California
Adam Smith Democrat Washington
Dan Boren Democrat Oklahoma
Peter Hoekstra, Ranking Member Republican Michigan
Elton Gallegly Republican California
Mac Thornberry Republican Texas
Mike Rogers Republican Michigan
Sue Myrick Republican North Carolina
Roy Blunt Republican Missouri
Jeff Miller Republican Florida
K. Michael Conaway Republican Texas
Pete King Republican New York