It looks like Dreamworks have bought the rights to Inside WikiLeaks: My Time with Julian Assange at the World's Most Dangerous Website by Daniel Domscheit-Berg and WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange's War on Secrecy written by David Leigh and Luke Harding. Sounds a little dubious to me, no doubt it will continue spreading debunked myths about Wikileaks and Assange as does the article. Still, a very interesting topic, perhaps the next Social Network, and perhaps more truthful movies on the subject will follow (yeah I'm dreaming...).
CNET had a roundtable "discussion covers how WikiLeaks is forcing editors and reporters to rethink traditional journalistic practices" which you can watch at the link. I haven't actually watched it yet myself, hope to have time tomorrow, so apologies if it sucks.
I have no idea whether Assange said some, all or none of what's attributed to him by Hislop. In my multiple interactions with him, I've never detected even a smidgen of such sentiments; that doesn't mean he didn't say these things: it merely means what it means. But The New York Times also has no idea whether Assange said any of this, yet they categorically announce in their headline -- as though it's a proven fact -- that Assange "Complain[ed] of a Jewish Smear Campaign." Whether that actually happened is very much in dispute, and -- unlike the "torture" controversy, where it was established by decades of case law and the U.S.'s own pronouncements that Bush officials authorized torture -- the NYT has no basis whatsoever for resolving this dispute in favor of the accuser. While the body of the article does note Assange's denial, the whole story is told from the perspective of Hislop, and the headline constitutes a baseless NYT endorsement of his version...Sunday Greenwald also had a great piece on the media's subserviance to power and willing to discredit critics here.
In his statement today, Assange suggested the various campaigns to discredit him (including the new one today) are similar in kind to the recently revealed HB Gary schemes to destroy the reputations of his group and its supporters. About that story, there are several recent developments: (1) Aaron Barr, the CEO of HB Gary Federal resigned yesterday as a result of his involvement in this scandal; (2) The Washington Post reports today that numerous House Democrats have called for a Congressional investigation into the role played in these schemes by D.C. powerhouse lobbying and law firm Hunton & Williams; and (3) several ethical grievances have now been filed against Hunton & Williams partners involved in these schemes, which -- now that they are forced to respond -- should result in the disclosure of far more detailed information about what that firm did and what happened with these proposals.
HBGary Federal CEO Aaron Bar has resigned, doubtless cheering members of the elusive "hacktivist" group Anonymous who have targeted him in the past month. The hacker group gained wide attention last year with its large-scale attack on e-commerce companies that severed ties with WikiLeaks. In February, the group turned its attention to Barr after he told the Financial Times his plans to reveal the identities of its leaders.I doubt an investigation under Issa will get very far, still it's nice to see Democrats taking this seriously.
In response, Anonymous members hacked HBGary Federal's website and unleashed 71,000 internal company e-mails, including one revealing that Barr's wife had threatened to divorce him. They also hijacked Barr's Twitter account, changing his profile photo and announcing that he was, in fact, a "sweaty ballsack of caterpillars."
But that was just the beginning. As journalists picked through HBGary Federal e-mails it became apparent that the company was offering to sell services to Bank of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce that were possibly illegal. Among other things, the firm proposed creating fake online identities to infiltrate and discredit progressive groups such as U.S. Chamber Watch.
Now, as Barr steps down from his post, House Democrats are calling for an investigation of HBGary Federal's "use of subversive tactics" to target progressive groups.
The news that Julian Assange is seeking to register his name as a trademark will surprise those who imagine the besieged WikiLeaks founder might have grown weary of his infamy – and of lawyers.
Turning your name into a trademark is an increasingly common legal move for celebrities seeking to protect the commercial use of their name to sell goods and services. Everyone from Lady Gaga to Alan Titchmarsh has done it. The tactic can look more self-aggrandising when deployed by free speech campaigners or politicians, who supposedly move in less nakedly commercial worlds. But that hasn't stopped Sarah Palin and her daughter, Bristol, who are currently seeking to register their names as trademarks in the United States. "It's a bizarre thing for someone associated with freedom of information to do," says David Allen Green, head of media practice at Preiskel & Co and the New Statesman's legal correspondent.
According to Abida Chaudri, an associate of trademark attorneys Grant Spencer , however, Assange's application, through his own law firm, Finers Stephens Innocent, is "quite logical". "I suspect the application is more to do with his going it alone and using his WikiLeaks website to publish material, as opposed to somebody else pretending to be Julian Assange, which is probably unlikely," says Chaudri.
The Sunday Morning Herald recently had an article on the most famous Australian since Errol Flynn:
Just how Assange came to be a globetrotting uber-geek is nowhere more vividly illustrated than in Underground. First published in 1997, and subsequently made available as a free download by Suelette Dreyfus, a Melbourne-based academic, this seminal history of the early years of computer hacking tells the story of the Australian scene in which the rootless, rebellious teenage Assange, under the name Mendax, become a prime mover and legendary figure.You can get your free copy of Underground here, have any of you read it yet? There are also free podcasts of it here. There's also a movie, In the Realm of the Hackers, based upon it.
Assange is not only a major figure in Underground — in the original edition he is also credited with research. In the new version he has been elevated to the status of co-author, even though the text has not been altered except for a new introduction and afterword written by Dreyfus.
As Dreyfus, who notes that the original eBook version of Underground has been downloaded more than 400,000 times, points out, "the early hacking world portrayed in this book seems innocent by today's standards of organised crime and military vigilante hacking groups".
A Wikileaks copycat, Unileaks, has formed:
Inspired by the international success of WikiLeaks, activists in Australia created a forum for restricted or censored material about higher education. UniLeaks launched this month and universities from the United Kingdom, Australia and the United States, including MSU, already are listed on the site.I think their new project is awesome and hope it takes off, who knows what other successful copycats Wikileaks will inspire...
Other Midwest universities, such as the University of Michigan and Purdue University, also are listed.
UniLeaks is meant to provide transparency in higher education. The site provides an outlet for anonymous sources to publish private documents and information about universities and colleges.
Of course this should come as no surprise as the powerful scurry to protect each other from embarrassment or worse: Wikileaks: Principals accused of covering up scandals:
President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga took little action to punish people linked to scandals last year because they were close to them, leaked US embassy cables claim.
The cables claim the two principals “sacrificed” some permanent secretaries to hoodwink the public that action was being taken.
“It seems the maize scandal touches the families of both President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga and key members of their teams,” US ambassador Michael Ranneberger wrote.
Mr Ranneberger was referring to the suspension of four permanent secretaries among other top government officials in February last year over the maize and free primary education funds scandals.
No members of the principals’ families were publicly implicated in subsequent investigations.
On March 19, the eighth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq, I will join a coalition of U.S. military veterans from Iraq Veterans Against the War, March Forward!, Vietnam Veterans Against the War and Veterans for Peace who will gather in Lafayette Park across from the White House. The veteran-led action will result in numerous arrests, as did a Dec. 16 protest organized by Veterans for Peace. It will seek, because it is all we have left, to use our bodies to challenge the crimes of the state.(h/t Greg Mitchell)
It does not matter if this protest or any other does not work. It does not matter if we are 500, as we were in December, or 50. It does not matter if the event is covered in the press or ignored. It matters only that those of us who believe in the rule of law, who find the organized sadism of war and militarism repugnant and who seek to protect the sanctity of life rise up. If we do not defend these virtues they will be extinguished. No one in power will defend them for us. Protests are rending the fabric of the U.S.-backed dictatorships in Tunisia, Yemen, Jordan, Egypt and Libya. They are flickering to life in the U.S. in states like Wisconsin. And they are beginning to convulse Iraq. Iraqis, for whom eight years of war and occupation have brought nothing but misery and death, are surrounding government buildings to denounce their puppet government. They are rising up to demand jobs, basic services including electricity, a reining in of our mercenary killers, some of whom have been used to quell restless crowds, and a right to determine their own future. These protesters are our true allies, not the hired thugs we pay to repress them.
Bradley Manning, who allegedly downloaded thousands of documents and videos that confirmed war crimes by U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and passed them on to WikiLeaks, is being held in a military brig in Quantico, Va. He has been kept in solitary confinement for 23 hours a day and denied exercise, a pillow or sheets for the last nine months. His prolonged isolation is designed to break him physically and psychologically. There will be a protest outside Quantico on March 20 in support of Manning, another soldier from another war whom Thompson would have understood.
After leaks revealed the huge payments to pop stars to entertain the lavish parties of Gaddafi's family, Nelly Furtado is going to donate her $1 million dollar payment.
The eye-opening Noam Chomsky gives an incredible interview discussing Wikileaks, Egypt, Libya, and Tunsia:
Press TV : Right, so what is your opinion then, professor, on the fact that the US director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, was criticized that the US intelligence services missed the warning signs of turmoil in Egypt? Was that, do you think, just a public facade in a sense, that behind the scenes the administration knew what was going on or was that some in genuine?(h/t Greg Mitchell)
Chomsky : I think it was genuine. They had some sense of what was going on surely but they obviously didn't expect any uprising of this nature and they certainly knew about the labor protests, the oppression and so on. In the case of Tunisia, which is kind of an interesting case, Tunisia was held as (the) very beacon of democracy and progress in the region. Some of the articles that appear kind of embarrassing to read now. But they knew. In fact one of the interesting WikiLeaks disclosures was series of cables by the American ambassador in Tunisia who said, very straight out, look this is a police state, there is no freedom of speech or association, the public is extremely angry at the corruption of the ruling family. So they knew but the … doctrine prevailed. It was quiet so everything was fine.
Press TV : Let me go back to the Egypt, if I may, just for a moment. Considering as I mentioned that revolution has not yet, in a sense, succeeded to fulfill the complete demands of the people who brought it about, do you believe that if that revolution were to succeeded in a way if the people have envisioned it, how much of an impact, do you believe, that would have on not only North Africa but obviously the Middle East region?
Chomsky: Well, Egypt is an important country. I mean, there is a long interesting history but if we have time to go it, in the early 19th century, Egypt was poised for an industrial revolution. It might have actually carried it out. It was a situation not very much unlike the US at the same time but the US had been liberated to do what it wanted. Egypt was under control of primarily England which would not permit it and the story continues up to the present.
I think that the United States and its European allies will do everything they can to prevent full flourishing democracy in Egypt for exactly the reason I mentioned. In Egypt even more than the rest of the Arab world, the United States is considered the main enemy. They do not go along with the US policy on Iran; in fact they are strongly opposed to it in most other issues. Furthermore, this is one tradition during the period of secular nationalism in Egypt which was very much opposed by the Unites States and Britain, as you know, there was a threat that Egypt might spearhead an effort to use the energy recourses of the region for the benefit of its own population not for Western investors, Western powers and our ruling elite. That is a real threat. I mean that is why Britain and the United States have traditionally supported the radical Islamic fundamentalism, Saudi Arabia primarily, in opposition to secular nationalism. That provides them with, I think, stability.
The most common mechanism for distributing Saudi Arabia's wealth to the royal family is the formal, budgeted system of monthly stipends that members of the Al Saud family receive, according to the cable. Managed by the Ministry of Finance's "Office of Decisions and Rules," which acts like a kind of welfare office for Saudi royalty, the royal stipends in the mid-1990s ran from about $800 a month for "the lowliest member of the most remote branch of the family" to $200,000-$270,000 a month for one of the surviving sons of Abdul-Aziz Ibn Saud, the founder of modern Saudi Arabia...(h/t Greg Mitchell)
But the stipend system was clearly not enough for many royals, who used a range of other ways to make money, "not counting business activities."
"By far the largest is likely royal skimming from the approximately $10 billion in annual off-budget spending controlled by a few key princes," the 1996 cable states. Two of those projects — the Two Holy Mosques Project and the Ministry of Defense's Strategic Storage Project — are "highly secretive, subject to no Ministry of Finance oversight or controls, transacted through the National Commercial Bank, and widely believed to be a source of substantial revenues" for the then-King and a few of his full brothers, according to the authors of the cable.
Another popular money-making scheme saw some "greedy princes" expropriate land from commoners. "Generally, the intent is to resell quickly at huge markup to the government for an upcoming project." By the mid-1990s, a government program to grant land to commoners had dwindled. "Against this backdrop, royal land scams increasingly have become a point of public contention."
In Egypt, WikiLeaks publications provided democracy activists with the information needed to spark protests, provided background that explained the Egyptian uprising, described the suppression of opinions critical of the regime by arrest and harassment of journalists, bloggers and a poet; showed the common use of police brutality and torture ; the abuse of the 1967 emergency law to arrest and indefinitely detain journalists, activists, labor leaders and members of the Muslim Brotherhood; as well as how rivals were removed to ensure Gamal Mubarak succeeded his father . Traditional media publications like the New York Times relied on WikiLeaks to analyze the causes of the uprising.(h/t Greg Mitchell)
Another set of documents described how Israel and the U.S. wanted Omar Suleiman to replace Mubarak. Suleiman, a military intelligence officer for three decades, was described by Secretary of State Clinton, as the preferred successor. WikiLeaks wrote an article describing Suleiman's close relationship with the United States . Suleimen described Egypt as "a partner" with the U.S. and the U.S. described him as "the most successful element of the relationship" with Egypt. The long history of Suleiman working with Israel to suppress democracy in Gaza , keeping the people of Gaza hungry and being in constant contact with Israel through a hotline was revealed. WikiLeaks also showed that Suleiman shared U.S. and Israeli concern over Iran , and was disdainful of Muslims in politics as well as the Muslim Brotherhood . All of this made Suleiman very popular with Israel and the U.S., but unacceptable to democracy advocates.
The United States used some WikiLeaks publications to show that it had been critical of Egypt and exerted private pressure , as well as support for democracy activists like Mohammad ElBaradei. Despite what has been portrayed in the traditional media, WikiLeaks published materials with an agenda for transparency and an informed public, not an intent to harm the U.S.
Really great article with lots of links.
Not enough for ya? Make sure to check out previous Wikileaks Informationthreads. Peace and good night!