Saturday, December 10, 2011

Guardian Misleads Readers, Promotes Documentary

On December 5th, The Guardian posted an article entitled, "Bradley Manning team to highlight WikiLeaks suspect's fragile mental state." In the article they focus on three witnesses out of the forty-eight requested by Bradley Manning's lawyer David Coombs: a psychiatrist, a psychologist, and a fellow soldier of Bradley Manning's. They say that these witnesses "are set [to] be used to cast light on Manning's erratic behaviour in the run-up to his arrest." The Guardian also promotes its own documentary on Bradley Manning saying that "Manning's deeply troubled state of mind" was "first revealed in a Guardian documentary."

Today the Bradley Manning Support Network spoke out against this article calling it "misleading" and saying that it was written without seeking clarification from Bradley Manning's lawyer. They continue:

"While there is ample evidence to suggest Bradley Manning was coping with considerable emotional stress while serving in the Iraq War, as do many soldiers, we do not believe that this will play a large role in Coombs’ strategy of fighting the 22 charges against Bradley."

To say David Coombs planned to "highlight" Bradley Manning's mental state was most certainly misleading. With such a small percentage of the requested witnesses speaking on the subject, what caused the Guardian to assume Bradley's defense would focus on this issue? And why would they make such a strong claim without consulting Bradley's legal team?

During a Parliament meeting about Bradley Manning David Leigh said, "I would like to think we would go to the nth degree to protect [whistleblowers], because without them journalists are nothing." Though with the way The Guardian has presented Bradley Manning over the past yearcontinuously focusing on his sexuality and struggles within the military, rarely discussing any moral reasons that may have led him to allegedly leak military documentsit's difficult to think they care about much else than their own fame and promotion.

[Edit: We mustn't forget David Leigh's infamous tweet, "I like to think that if someone like #bradleymanning had first dealt with me at the #guardian, he wouldn’t now be in jail," which became a meme on Twitter.]

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Solidarity Events for Julian Assange

Here is a list of currently planned solidarity events for Julian Assange, coinciding with his next court hearing. The links will take you to further information on the specific event.

December 5th:

London - Royal Courts of Justice @ 8:30AM
Brisbane - Department of Foreign Affairs @ 11:00AM

December 6th:
(these vigils are scheduled IF Julian Assange is not granted further appeal)

Melbourne - US Consulate @ 5:30PM
Sydney - US Consulate @ 5:30PM
Brisbane - Brisbane Square @ 5:30PM

More information on the case:
UK/EU action:

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Support Julian Assange; Challenge the EAW

Julian Assange has made the decision to apply for an appeal to the UK Supreme Court regarding his extradition to Sweden. There are two points being made for the reason to appeal, both relating to the Extradition Act 2003:
  1. Whether the European Arrest Warrant was issued by a judicial authority.
  2. Whether someone can be called 'accused' if no decision to prosecute has been made.
Julian Assange must be supported in his further challenge against extradition. This is not just about his personal case, but about the re-evaluation of the EAW in its entirety.

In the framework of the European Arrest Warrant it is stated that it should be used "for the purposes of conducting a criminal prosecution or executing a custodial sentence or detention order." Julian Assange, who has not been accused with any crime, is only wanted for questioning which does not fall in to either intended use of the EAW.

Since its implement in 2004, the many people have faced injustice due to the European Arrest Warrant. In many instances, people have been arrested without ever being aware of the charges against them. In 2009, Mr. Edmond Arapi was arrested for a murder he could not have committed, for he was not even in the same country at the time of the crime. Mrs. Deborah Dark was arrested on multiple occassions over 20 years due to the fact that EAWs do not have to be withdrawn, even after multiple states have declined to enforce them. In other cases, EAWs have been issued against people for minor crimes such as the possession of .45 grams of cannibis or theft of a piglet.

Another prominent issue of the European Arrest Warrant is that people may face long bouts of pre-trial detention. When Michael Turner was extradited to Hungary in 2009, he was held in high security prison for four months and only interviewed once during this time. Even after his release, he had to return two months later for further interviews. This particular case applies strongly to Julian Assange, who is at risk of solitary confinement if extradited to Sweden, a country which has no limits to the length of pre-trial detention.

The UK Parliament will be holding a debate on extradition on 24 November. For those of you in the UK, I implore you to contact your MP and express your concerns about the European Arrest Warrant system.

We must fight this injustice.

Support the Julian Assange Defence Fund:

Sunday, November 6, 2011

US Government favors white supremacists over WikiLeaks

It seems that the United States has fewer issues with Neo-Nazi organizations than it does with WikiLeaks. While WikiLeaks has been under financial blockade since 6 December 2010 due to pressure by the US Government, the white supremacy group Aryan Nations can accept donations via Visa, MasterCard, American Express, and Discover Card.

To further assess the injustice of this, it must be re-asserted that neither WikiLeaks nor any of its employees has been charged with any crime in any country. Not to mention, the Pentagon has stated that no harm has come to any persons due to information that WikiLeaks has released. And, although multiple news organizations and public officials have called for WikiLeaks to be branded a terrorist organization, it has not been labeled as such.

Compare this to the Aryan Nations, which has had multiple members linked to violent crimes. The FBI has called Aryan Nations a “terrorist threat”, and the RAND Corporation has described the organization as the “first truly nationwide terrorist network.” Note that these are official statements by government-funded organizations, unlike the unsubstantiated claims against WikiLeaks by politicians. [edit: Members of the Aryan Nation also plotted to assassinate President Obama, as WikiLeaks tweeted.]

Furthermore, Neo-Nazis are allowed to openly serve in the US military. Such is not the case for WikiLeaks supporters. Government employees feel threatened to voice support and have lost their security clearance simply for linking to a WikiLeaks cable. Even families of US Air Force members were originally warned that they could be prosecuted as spies for reading information that WikiLeaks released.

Freedom of Speech has become a privilege in the United States. It is no longer an inalienable right, yet we see no guidelines on what overthrows the boundaries the US Government has established. The people must continue to voice their opinions, no matter what they may be, and force the government to respect their right to do such.

Related Link: WikiLeaks releases on Aryan Nations (2009)

Friday, November 4, 2011

8-Bit Art

I was playing with design ideas for WikiLeaks' t-shirt design contest and ended up making some little 8-bit style graphics:


Julian Assange: 

I also animated the logo into a looping GIF:

Monday, October 24, 2011

Highlights from WikiLeaks Press Conference

WikiLeaks held a press conference at the Frontline Club today, covering two major points:

1) Submissions will be temporarily postponed to focus on fundraising.
2) A new online submission system will be operational on 28 November, the one-year anniversary of Cablegate.

Here are some other highlights from the conference:

- United States Treasury found no reason why WikiLeaks should be blockaded.
- In Australia, a formal US-triggered investigation into WikiLeaks found no case to answer.
- $2 million USD was spent monthly to hack and smear WikiLeaks by three intelligence firms, one being HBGary.
- A survery conducted by Reuters in April of 2011 showed that 75% of people supported WikiLeaks' operations.
- After each major WikiLeaks release there was a dramatic spike in donations.
- WikiLeaks has lost 95% of donations because of the blockade.
- Before the blockade, the average monthly donation to WikiLeaks was €100,000, but has since been €6-7,000.
- In the 24 hours the banking blockade was suspended, WikiLeaks raised over 100,000.
- The first case against the banking blockade will be found in Denmark within a few weeks. Legal cases will proceed in Iceland, United States, Australia, and United Kingdom.
- Julian Assange states that if the blockade cannot be removed, WikiLeaks will be unable to carry on into 2012.
- WikiLeaks has over 100,000 pending publications.
- Bank of America engaged a crisis team after Forbes magazine article that mentioned WikiLeaks' possession of banking documents.
- WikiLeaks has nearly 100 media partners in 50 countries.
- WikiLeaks has opened up new donation methods, such as mobile phone SMS and foreign bank transfer.
- WikiLeaks funds have NEVER gone to Julian Assange's personal defense fund.
- The donation base of WikiLeaks is over 50,000 people. Therefore, they are unable to be influenced by any one person or group.
- The average donation to WikiLeaks is $25 USD. They do not rely on a few wealthy individuals.
- To continue for the next 12 months, WikiLeaks has projected a needed amount of $3.5 mil USD.
- HTTPS websites cannot be trusted, for they have been infiltrated by intelligence agencies. Example: Dutch certificate authority Diginotar was infiltrated by Iranian intelligence, and their certificates were fabricated.

New methods for donation are available on the WikiLeaks website:

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Did WikiLeaks help to end the Iraq War?

This Friday President Obama announced that all US troops would be withdrawn from Iraq, effectively ending the Iraq War. Though many news organizations reported on the president’s announcement, CNN was the only one to acknowledge any role WikiLeaks may have had in the decision, stating “negotiations were strained” following the release of a particular diplomatic cable.

Despite 31 December 2011 being established as the date for US withdrawal in the U.S.-Iraq Status of Forces Agreement, negotiation was opened in August of this year for US troops to stay past the original deadline.

It is possible that a WikiLeaks’ revelation aided in the refusal to extend the US military’s stay in Iraq. A cable released on 30 August told of at least 10 Iraqi civilians, including five children, who were handcuffed and executed by US troops. An airstrike was subsequently called in to destroy the evidence. This information caused a huge stir in Iraq, resulting in the investigation on the 2006 raid to be reopened. A Sunni lawmaker commenting on the news report stated that the crime would have impacton signing further contracts to keep US troops in Iraq.

In Obama’s speech, he did not mention why an extension contract was not signed. But, as Huffington Post reports, a major issue for the US was the Iraqi Government’s repeated refusal of immunity to US troops from prosecution in Iraqi courts. [edit: Another article by Associated Press says that the US' demand for immunity was the deal breaker in continued presence in Iraq.]

By withdrawing from Iraq, the Iraqi government is protecting its people from such crimes as these, and the US government is preventing its troops from being prosecuted for the same. Whether or not WikiLeaks played a role in this decision, we can only speculate.

Monday, September 5, 2011

#WLFind-ings for 9/5/2011

(created 2010-02-10)

Saif al-Qadhafi has expressed involvement in Palestinian reconciliation efforts. He has been visited by Hamas Political Chief Khaled Mish’al twice, and has traveled to Spain to meet with Mohammed Dahlan, member of the Fatah Central Committee, and former Gaza Security Chief. Saif was acting on behalf of the Qadhafi International Charity, not the Libyan government.
Saif found the Palestinians stubborn and difficult to advise. But Saif believes Libya stands a better chance than other Arab nations to broker reconciliation, saying that Libya holds a neutral position. Saif had attempted reconciliation with the release of Gilad Shalit, but was not successful. His chief of staff, Mohamed Ismail, has suggested that Saif serve as a liaison between Hamas and the United States Government.
“His efforts are all the more critical given the need for some Qadhafi family achievement after the AU debacle and in light of the upcoming Arab summit here.”

10KINGSTON27 - Jamaica: Fertile Soil for Terrorism?
(created 2010-02-25)

Jamaica has never been seen as a hub for terrorist activities, but over the past 10 years multiple attempted and successful terrorist attacks have been committed by Jamaican citizens or those of Jamaican descent.
Examples are as follows:
- Kevin Brown. Attempted to board a flight to Montego Bay with bomb-making materials. (April 2008)
- Stephen Fray. Entered a CanJet airplane in Montego held the plane’s crew and its 160 passengers at gunpoint. (April 2009)
- Richard Reid. Attempted to ignite a shoe bomb on American Airlines Flight 63. Has been linked to terrorist cells in Europe. (December 2001)
- Lee Boyd Malvo. Sentenced to life imprisonment due to his involvement in the Beltway sniper attacks in Washington D.C., which took the life of 13 people, and injured another12. (October 2002)
- Germaine Lindsay. Killed 26 people, as well as himself, in the coordinated suicide-bomb attacks on London. (July 2005)
- Sheikh Abdullah el-Faisal. Led a mosque in London which was attended by convicted terrorists. Returned to Jamaica in 2010 after four years in British prison for advocating the murder of Americans, Israelis, and Hindus. He is also suspected of having recruited suicide bombers for an attack on the 2010 World Cup.

(Reid, Lidnsay, and el-Faisal have links to Islamist extremism, while the others do not.)

Due to Jamaica’s low marriage and high unemployment rates, Isiah Parnell, charge d'Affaires, believes many Jamaican men are susceptible for Islamist extremism recruitment.

(created 2010-02-22)

A National Intelligence Cell (NIC) was created in Baghdad after the December 8 bombings. Its purpose is to consolidate information and work with units to prevent future attacks. It has since produced an after-action analytical account of security in Baghdad from the POV of various intelligence services, as well as accurately predicting four recent indirect fire attacks.
The NIC does have its issues though. A major weakness is the lack of properly trained personnel. Also, since its idea is based on information sharing, it has complications due to the fact that intelligence agencies do not share information. It also lacks an independent budget.
There is a feeling of optimism about the success of the NIC, but there is concern that it will suffer blame for election-related violence in Baghdad, or be the scapegoat after serious incidents.

(created 2010-02-24)

After the U.S. invasion of Iraq, the Syrian Arab Republic Government (SARG) offered inmates of Seidnaya prison (Damascus) military training to fight coalition forces in Iraq. Of those who returned to Syria afterwards, some remain at large, others were sent to Lebanon, and yet others were rearrested and placed back in Seidnaya.
Those who were rearrested felt cheated, and had expected better treatment or freedom. This led to the planning of the prison riots on July 5,2008. The SARG military cadets who were called in for assistance were only armed with batons, thus fell capture to the inmates, who had crafted swords from iron bedposts. The prisoners forced the cadets to darn prison uniforms and marched them to the rooftop. The military, believing them to be inmates, proceeded to open fire upon them. An unknown number of cadets were killed before the military realized its error. The Fourth Armored Brigade then entered the prison, killing between 50 and 60 inmates.
In December of 2008, the inmates regrouped and staged another riot that resulted in the death of 30 to 50 prisoners. 

(See Al Jazeera's reporting on this cable here.)

(created 2010-02-19)

Two military witnesses in “false positive” cases were killed, and another survived an attack. These murders were originally presented as combat kills. Although civilian witnesses in similar cases have been threatened and killed, this is the first example of targeting military witnesses. Armed Forces I.G. Major General Carlos Suarez testified as the head of the special commission that investigated the Soacha murders and other “false positive” cases.