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Offline 2010newbie

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Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« on: November 25, 2010, 12:57:34 »
From cbc.ca

Quote
The U.S. government has notified Ottawa that the WikiLeaks website is preparing to release sensitive U.S. diplomatic files that could damage U.S. relations with allies around the world.

U.S. officials say the documents may contain accounts of compromising conversations with political dissidents and friendly politicians and could result in the expulsion of U.S. diplomats from foreign postings.



Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/technology/story/2010/11/24/wikileaks-ottawa.html#ixzz16JluRGO3


More here:

http://english.aljazeera.net/news/americas/2010/11/201011257272126324.html

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2010-11-24/pentagon-warns-house-senate-defense-panels-of-more-wikileaks-documents.html


Offline George Wallace

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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #1 on: November 26, 2010, 15:31:55 »
Looks like Canada gets to follow the US in the latest round of leaks from WikiLeaks, and some people seem to think this is a good thing.

Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.

Coffee Talk
More WikiLeaks on the way, and Canada may be involved
26/11/2010 8:30:00 AM

by Greg & Daniela

LINK

In this installment of He Said/She Said, we take on the impending release of more classified documents by muckraking site WikiLeaks. This time Ottawa may be involved.

He Said:
Daniela, the word on the street is that either late today or tomorrow, the muckraking site WikiLeaks is going to release its biggest batch of classified documents yet - reportedly more than two million of them.

It was only back in July that WikiLeaks' first round was released: some 77,000 docs on the Afghan War. In October, a bigger batch dropped, as 400,000 papers about the Iraq War - most of them originating from Pentagon reports - stirred up a major frenzy both in the U.S. and across the globe.

Now we're up to two million? That's a lot of secret documents. With those kinds of numbers, it stands to reason that there are going to be a lot of upset people out there - and many of them, surely, with egg on their face.

One thing's for sure: the anticipation is intense - all the more so because at press time the WikiLeaks.org site is actually down, presumably owing to massive traffic loads and/or anticipatory maintenance as we count down to the site's latest release.

In other words, it's an ironic possibility that the world is so keen to get at the hidden truths about to be revealed that the site won't actually be able to reveal them. At least not as quickly as it had hoped.

Why all the anticipation? Haven't previous WikiLeaks releases already told us just about everything the U.S. government - and particularly its military - doesn't want us to know?

The rumour is that this time around, many of the classified documents may reveal "accounts of compromising conversations with political dissidents and friendly politicians," potentially damaging relations with U.S. allies and/or exacerbating tension with its enemies.

Even Canada may not emerge unscathed: Defense Minister Peter MacKay admits that he's "worried," but only if the leaked information reveals anything that would compromise the safety of our troops overseas - which is, of course, a very laudable concern.

There is also speculation that the leaked docs might reveal the extent to which the U.S. put pressure on other countries to repatriate foreign-born combatants held at Guantanamo Bay. One of the most famous of these detainees, of course, is Omar Khadr, who was born in Toronto.

Whatever this new batch of documents reveals, one thing's for sure: WikiLeaks has emerged as a very polarizing force in modern society.

Daniela, what do you think? Is WikiLeaks doing a good thing by getting all these Top Secret documents out there in the public eye? Or is it being irresponsible?

Seems to me that as long as we're living in a democratically-elected country, we have a right to know what's being undertaken by our government. And I certainly think that it was important, if deeply disturbing, for the world to see the shocking "Collateral Murder" video, which showed U.S. forces knowingly firing on civilians in Baghdad - a misadventure that ultimately led to the death of 12 innocents, including a pair of Reuters journalists. 

But what if there's something to what Mr. MacKay says about the possibility that our safety might be compromised? Do you have any fears that any of the upcoming leaks might put people in harm's way? Soldiers, say, or political dissidents? Or is the mission of WikiLeaks - shining daylight on the black ops that tend to envelop international relations - unassailable, no matter what happens as a result?

Daniela, it's tough to weigh in when we don't know what info the documents contain. Or maybe it isn't. But I'm definitely interested to hear what you think.

She Said:  Greg, WikiLeaks is absolutely essential to democracy. If not for whistleblowers, we may never get to the truth of many political or social wrongdoings.  I don't often agree with CNN but when the Afghanistan documents were released they wrote that WikiLeaks is a 'triumph of data journalism' and I couldn't agree more. In all cases the website should be seen as progressive in terms of politics and definitely in terms of journalism. It changes the face of journalism in the best possible way.

Previously, what may have taken painstaking years to uncover through a news outlet's private investigation is now being released for all to see. Journalist's have more access to information than ever before and this can only be a good thing. Free and open dissemination of all information should be first priority, regardless of consequence.

Of course the leaks cause some people to be nervous about the safety of our troops, but if Defense Minister Peter MacKay was truly concerned for their safety, wouldn't he just pull them out? Obviously it's not that simple, but the argument regarding safety of the troops is moot when you consider the harm they are put in by being there in the first place.

If WikiLeaks goes away, another website or outlet will pop up to take its place; it's here to stay. I particularly love the founder Julian Assange's declaration that his website will not respond to threats or lawsuits and that the site is impenetrable. He assures us that it's an "uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking and public analysis." The man is committed to being a purveyor of truth, or at least of documents that give us additional insight into the truth.

A while back, WikiLeaks released secret manuals from the church of Scientology and Scientology lawyers threatened Assange. His response was to release more of the manuals and also this statement, "WikiLeaks will not comply with legally abusive requests from Scientology any more than WikiLeaks has complied with similar demands from Swiss banks, Russian offshore stem-cell centers, former African kleptocrats, or the Pentagon."

This is a powerful declaration and one that should be celebrated. Those in government who are nervous by WikiLeaks need to wake up and smell the ink on those documents.
 
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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #2 on: November 26, 2010, 15:38:32 »
As someone smarter than me said elsewhere, one has to wonder about "speaking the truth to power" if it's at risk of being leaked out of context.....
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Offline Mr. Bumpy

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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #3 on: November 26, 2010, 16:24:45 »
And when will the local ski team be visiting WikiLeaks? I guess it's a need to know bases.  :pop:

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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2010, 21:35:40 »
The danger I see with Wikileaks is it's falling into the same trap that leads all those who wish to do good astray: I am good, my motive is good so my actions are good. This is a logical fallacy as actions stand on their own and regardless of intentions or source are evil or good on their own. My view is we are going to have more Rwandas out of this than anything else as those with the will to act grow tired of the complaints and criticism from those on the sidelines. As the quote goes "All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." and with the US facing so much backlash they will be doing nothing more often. That is a loss for us all. What replaces it won't be better, it will be much worse.

Reminds me of Animal Farm. Getting rid of something isn't the hard part, replacing it with something better is and is often where failure looms. Farmer gone, pigs in charge and good old Boxer on his way to the glue factory.
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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2010, 08:41:11 »
Assange and his die-hard supporters seems to me to be idealists that believe in, and ONLY in, the truth setting us all free and the consequences be damned. While they no doubt still have their own personal agendas as well in choosing to do so, I serious doubt what they hope to realistically accomplish at the end of the day; except maybe embarrass the heck out of certain people in positions of power. Perhaps they do know that's all they will really accomplish and don't care otherwise. They certainly got the attention they wanted.

I agree with DBA with respect to the fact that they may end up unintentionally doing more harm than good. What if the fallout from all this end up being that gov't around the world tightening up their flow if information to the public, including material that is not necessary harmful to state security? It's human nature to want to lock the barn door after the horse is gone, which does nothing about the 1st horse, but it sure might stop you from losing any more horses (info).  This would be the exact opposite of what Assange & Co. is advocating for with their actions: Information ends up being less free than before.
« Last Edit: November 28, 2010, 08:50:00 by IBM »

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2010, 10:28:48 »
I agree with DBA with respect to the fact that they may end up unintentionally doing more harm than good. What if the fallout from all this end up being that gov't around the world tightening up their flow if information to the public, including material that is not necessary harmful to state security? It's human nature to want to lock the barn door after the horse is gone, which does nothing about the 1st horse, but it sure might stop you from losing any more horses (info).  This would be the exact opposite of what Assange & Co. is advocating for with their actions: Information ends up being less free than before.

The various governments around the world already have security protocols in place to keep secrets from their population.  The public doesn't need to know the who, what, where and when of how or why the government protects them, only that they have policies and agencies in place to protect them.  What we are seeing is not a laxness on the part of these governments, but the morals and ethics of some of the people who have been chosen to enforce these policies.   Human nature will always produce someone who feels they are morally superior to others and do not have to follow security protocols implaced to protect the public.
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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2010, 10:34:03 »
The saga continues.  Now the UK gets to follow the US in the latest round of leaks from WikiLeaks.


Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.


U.K. government wants WikiLeaks media briefing: report

27/11/2010 2:04:04 PM
CBC News

LINK

Britain's government, anticipating another WikiLeaks dump, has issued a notice to British news editors, saying it wants to be consulted before they publish the classified documents, according to the whistleblower's website.

On its Twitter page, WikiLeaks said the government has issued a DA-notice (Defence Advisory Notice), asking to be briefed by British media outlets that gain access to the sensitive files.

More than two million diplomatic cables, sent between Washington and its embassies and consulates around the world, could be released as early as this weekend.

U.S. officials, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, have been trying to brief allies on what may be in the documents. The U.S. ambassador to Canada, David Jacobson, has phoned Minister of Foreign Affairs Lawrence Cannon to inform him of the matter.

This would be the third time such a large number of previously classified documents assembled by WikiLeaks has been made available to major media outlets. In July, it released 77,000 papers on the Afghan war. Then in October, it went public with 400,000 papers on Pentagon reports about the Iraq war.

This time WikiLeaks said the report will be on Afghanistan, Russia and other former Soviet republics, suggesting huge embarrassments, as well as classified U.S. discussions revealing corruption allegations against foreign government leaders. That's what has the U.S. worried.

Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian, said Saturday that judging from his reading of the WikiLeaks material, only a small portion of the documents is covered by the British government's DA-notice.

In previous dumps, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has chosen the Guardian, the New York Times and Der Spiegel as the recipients.


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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2010, 10:37:02 »
This is so stupid. They've had these "files" for weeks, and keep milking publicity from their impending release. In all reality, the 100,000 files they have are probably 999,999 requests for toner for secure printers.

Offline George Wallace

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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2010, 11:46:08 »
Doubt this will do any good, but they tried:



Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.


US warns Wikileaks' Assange on possible leak
28 November 2010 Last updated at 10:59 ET
BBC News

LINK

The US has written to the founder of whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, Julian Assange, urging him not release a batch of diplomatic files.


The release of classified state department documents is against US law and will put "countless" lives at risk, the letter warns.

Wikileaks says it is set to unveil a new set of documents, bigger than past releases on Afghanistan and Iraq.

Mr Assange has said the US authorities are afraid of being held to account.

The latest leak is expected to include documents covering US dealings and diplomats' confidential views of countries including Australia, Britain, Canada, Israel, Russia and Turkey.

"The material that we are about to release covers essentially every major issue in every country in the world," Mr Assange told reporters by video link.

A journalist with Britain's Guardian newspaper, which has been working with Wikileaks on publishing the files, said they would include an unflattering US assessment of UK PM David Cameron.

No-one has been charged with passing the diplomatic files to the website but suspicion has fallen on US Army private Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst arrested in Iraq in June and charged over an earlier leak of classified US documents to Mr Assange's organisation.

'Seven times larger'

The letter from the US state department's legal advisor Harold Koh was a response to correspondence from Mr Assange, who had written to the US ambassador to Britain, Louis Susman.

A senior American official told the BBC that Mr Assange was offering to negotiate over limited redactions.

In response, Mr Koh demanded that Wikileaks return official documents to the US government.

"We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained US government classified materials," Mr Koh stated in the letter.

Mr Koh's letter adds that the publication of the documents would endanger the lives of "countless" individuals - from journalists to human rights activists and bloggers - and put US military operations at risk.

Correspondents say the letter is a rare move for the US administration, and reflects the government's concern about the implications of the possible leak.

Wikileaks earlier this week said that the next release would be nearly seven times larger than the nearly 400,000 Pentagon documents related to the Iraq war it published in October.

It has not confirmed when the documents will be made public, but there is some speculation that the release will take place on Sunday. Guardian journalist Simon Hoggart said the paper would publish extensive details on Monday.

He told the BBC: "There is going to be some embarrassment certainly for Gordon Brown but even more so for David Cameron who was not very highly regarded by the Obama administration or by the US ambassador here."

The Sunday Times also quoted an official who warned that British citizens in Muslim countries could be targeted in a backlash against perceived "anti-Islamic" views.

The UK Ministry of Defence has urged newspaper editors to "bear in mind" the national security implications of publishing any of the files.

Wikileaks argues that the site's previous releases shed light on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They included allegations of torture by Iraqi forces and reports that suggested 15,000 additional civilian deaths in Iraq.


More on LINK

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Offline MPgonnabe

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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2010, 14:39:18 »
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/world/middleeast/29missiles.html

Iran Fortifies Its Arsenal With the Aid of North Korea

Secret American intelligence assessments have concluded that Iran has obtained a cache of advanced missiles, based on a Russian design, that are much more powerful than anything Washington has publicly conceded that Tehran has in its arsenal, diplomatic cables show.

Iran obtained 19 of the missiles from North Korea, according to a cable dated Feb. 24 of this year. The cable is a detailed, highly classified account of a meeting between top Russian officials and an American delegation led by Vann H. Van Diepen, an official with the State Department’s nonproliferation division who, as a national intelligence officer several years ago, played a crucial role in the 2007 assessment of Iran’s nuclear capacity.

The missiles could for the first time give Iran the capacity to strike at capitals in Western Europe or at Moscow, and American officials warned that their advanced propulsion could speed Iran’s development of intercontinental ballistic missiles.

There has been scattered but persistent speculation on the topic since 2006, when fragmentary reports surfaced that North Korea might have sold Iran missiles based on a Russian design called the R-27, once used aboard Soviet submarines to carry nuclear warheads. In the unclassified world, many arms control experts concluded that isolated components made their way to Iran, but there has been little support for the idea that complete missiles, with their huge thrusters, had been secretly shipped.

The Feb. 24 cable, which is among those obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to a number of news organizations, makes it clear that American intelligence agencies believe that the complete shipment indeed took place, and that Iran is taking pains to master the technology in an attempt to build a new generation of missiles. The missile intelligence also suggests far deeper military — and perhaps nuclear — cooperation between North Korea and Iran than was previously known. At the request of the Obama administration, The New York Times has agreed not to publish the text of the cable.

The North Korean version of the advanced missile, known as the BM-25, could carry a nuclear warhead. Many experts say that Iran remains some distance from obtaining a nuclear warhead, especially one small enough to fit atop a missile, though they believe that it has worked hard to do so.

Still, the BM-25 would be a significant step up for Iran.

Today, the maximum range of Iran’s known ballistic missiles is roughly 1,200 miles, according to experts. That means they could reach targets throughout the Middle East, including Israel, as well as all of Turkey and parts of Eastern Europe.

The range of the Russian R-27, launched from a submarine, was said to be up to 1,500 miles.

Rocket scientists say the BM-25 is longer and heavier, and carries more fuel, giving it a range of up to 2,000 miles. If fired from Iran, that range, in theory, would let its warheads reach targets as far away as Western Europe, including Berlin. If fired northwestward , the warheads could reach Moscow.

A range of 2,000 miles is considered medium or intermediate. Traditionally, the United States has defined long-range or intercontinental ballistic missiles as having ranges greater than 3,400 miles.

The fuel for the advanced engines goes by the tongue-twisting name of unsymmetrical dimethylhydrazine, according to the secret cables. It is a highly toxic, volatile clear liquid with a sharp, fishy smell.

International concern about advances in Iran’s missile program increased last year, after Tehran sent its first satellite into space. Experts said it was clear that the second stage of the rocket, known as the Safir, had employed a new, more powerful class of engines that took advantage of some elements of the Russian technology. American government experts say the engines of the Russian R-27 represent an improvement of roughly 40 percent in lifting force over the kerosene-fired engines that power most Iranian missiles.

“Without this higher-energy output, the Safir would have failed in its mission to orbit a small satellite,” said a report issued in May by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, an arms analysis group in London.

The London group’s report, though, gives no indication of access to the American intelligence assessment. Indeed, the report argued that while Iran had some elements of the R-27 technology, the available public evidence suggested that it had made no purchase of either the complete North Korean missile or its Russian parent.

The cables say that Iran not only obtained the BM-25, but also saw the advanced technology as a way to learn how to design and build a new class of more powerful engines.

“Iran wanted engines capable of using more-energetic fuels,” the Feb. 24 cable said, “and buying a batch of BM-25 missiles gives Iran a set it can work on for reverse engineering.”

The cable added that Tehran could use the BM-25 technologies as “building blocks” for the production of long-range missiles. But it offered no information to back up that assessment.


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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2010, 14:46:46 »
This is so stupid. They've had these "files" for weeks, and keep milking publicity from their impending release. In all reality, the 100,000 files they have are probably 999,999 requests for toner for secure printers.
That may be true if you were looking at ALL the cables, but we don't know how many have been left out, what they say, or the thinking/motivation of the person who picked/chose what got leaked to Wikileaks.  Same as the AFG and IRQ leaks - what they show may be interesting, but what we don't seek/know may make a HUGE difference in what they mean.
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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2010, 15:05:40 »
Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.


WikiLeaks reveals undiplomatic U.S. critiques
CBC News

LINK

A large batch of U.S. diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and given to several media outlets reveals unflattering views of several world leaders.

Some details of the latest WikiLeaks dump were published Sunday by the weekly German magazine Der Spiegel, which was reportedly placed on newsstands too early.

According to tweets from German-speaking Twitter users who picked up the embargoed issue, Der Spiegel said Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is compared to Hitler in U.S. diplomatic files.

French President Nicolas Sarkozy was nicknamed "the emperor with no clothes" and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is described as "driven by paranoia."

German Chancellor Angela Merkel is praised as "Teflon."

A number of other publications, including the French newspaper Le Monde, the New York Times, England's Guardian newspaper and the Spanish newspaper El Pais have been given access to the cache of 250,000 documents and were expected to release details Sunday and throughout the week.

The New York Times said the files cover three years of communications between U.S. diplomats and Washington.

===============================================================================

WikiLeaks Reports Attack on Its Web Site
November 28, 2010, 12:46 pm 
By ROBERT MACKEY
The LEDE

LINK

WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowers’ Web site that has announced plans to begin publishing another tranche of secret American documents, reported on Sunday that its Web site was under attack. The message posted on Twitter said: “We are currently under a mass distributed denial of service attack.”

No more details about the nature of the denial of service attack have yet been made public, but WikiLeaks.org is currently accessible, about one hour after the Twitter alert was posted.

On Saturday night, the State Department released the text of a letter sent by its legal adviser, Harold Hongju Koh, to Julian Assange, the Web site’s public face, and his lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, concerning its intended publication of secret State Department documents. The full text of the letter, which was posted online by Reuters, can be read below.

 
Dear Ms. Robinson and Mr. Assange:

I am writing in response to your 26 November 2010 letter to U.S. Ambassador Louis B. Susman regarding your intention to again publish on your WikiLeaks site what you claim to be classified U.S. Government documents.

As you know, if any of the materials you intend to publish were provided by any government officials, or any intermediary without proper authorization, they were provided in violation of U.S. law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action. As long as WikiLeaks holds such material, the violation of the law is ongoing.

It is our understanding from conversations with representatives from The New York Times, The Guardian and Der Spiegel, that WikiLeaks also has provided approximately 250,000 documents to each of them for publication, furthering the illegal dissemination of classified documents.

Publication of documents of this nature at a minimum would:

* Place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals — from journalists to human rights activists and bloggers to soldiers to individuals providing information to further peace and security;

* Place at risk on-going military operations, including operations to stop terrorists, traffickers in human beings and illicit arms, violent criminal enterprises and other actors that threaten global security; and,

* Place at risk on-going cooperation between countries – partners, allies and common stakeholders — to confront common challenges from terrorism to pandemic diseases to nuclear proliferation that threaten global stability.

In your letter, you say you want — consistent with your goal of “maximum disclosure” — information regarding individuals who may be “at significant risk of harm” because of your actions.

Despite your stated desire to protect those lives, you have done the opposite and endangered the lives of countless individuals. You have undermined your stated objective by disseminating this material widely, without redaction, and without regard to the security and sanctity of the lives your actions endanger. We will not engage in a negotiation regarding the further release or dissemination of illegally obtained U.S. Government classified materials. If you are genuinely interested in seeking to stop the damage from your actions, you should: 1) ensure WikiLeaks ceases publishing any and all such materials; 2) ensure WikiLeaks returns any and all classified U.S. Government material in its possession; and 3) remove and destroy all records of this material from WikiLeaks’ databases.

.

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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2010, 15:16:10 »
From SPIEGEL ONLINE:


Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.

The US Diplomatic Leaks
A Superpower's View of the World
11/28/2010
By SPIEGEL Staff

LINK

251,000 State Department documents, many of them secret embassy reports from around the world, show how the US seeks to safeguard its influence around the world. It is nothing short of a political meltdown for US foreign policy.

What does the United States really think of German Chancellor Angela Merkel? Is she a reliable ally? Did she really make an effort to patch up relations with Washington that had been so damaged by her predecessor? At most, it was a half-hearted one.

The tone of trans-Atlantic relations may have improved, former US Ambassador to Germany William Timken wrote in a cable to the State Department at the end of 2006, but the chancellor "has not taken bold steps yet to improve the substantive content of the relationship." That is not exactly high praise.

And the verdict on German Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle? His thoughts "were short on substance," wrote the current US ambassador in Berlin, Philip Murphy, in a cable. The reason, Murphy suggested, was that "Westerwelle's command of complex foreign and security policy issues still requires deepening."

Such comments are hardly friendly. But in the eyes of the American diplomatic corps, every actor is quickly categorized as a friend or foe. King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia? A friend: Abdullah can't stand his neighbors in Iran and, expressing his disdain for the mullah regime, said, "there is no doubt something unstable about them." And his ally, Sheikh bin Zayed of Abu Dhabi? Also a friend. He believes "a near term conventional war with Iran is clearly preferable to the long term consequences of a nuclear armed Iran."

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's emissaries also learn of a special "Iran observer" in the Azerbaijan capital of Baku who reports on a dispute that played out during a meeting of Iran's Supreme National Security Council. An enraged Revolutionary Guard Chief of Staff Mohammed Ali Jafari allegedly got into a heated argument with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and slapped him in the face because the generally conservative president had, surprisingly, advocated freedom of the press.

A Political Meltdown

Such surprises from the annals of US diplomacy will dominate the headlines in the coming days when the New York Times, London's Guardian, Paris' Le Monde, Madrid's El Pais and SPIEGEL begin shedding light on the treasure trove of secret documents from the State Department. Included are 243,270 diplomatic cables filed by US embassies to the State Department and 8,017 directives that the State Department sent to its diplomatic outposts around the world. In the coming days, the participating media will show in a series of investigative stories how America seeks to steer the world. 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.

For example, one can learn that German Defense Minister Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg, the Germany's most beloved politician according to public opinion polls, openly criticizes fellow cabinet member Guido Westerwelle in conversations with US diplomats, and even snitches on him. Or that Secretary of State Clinton wants her ambassadors in Moscow and Rome to inform her whether there is anything to the rumors that Italian President Silvio Berlusconi and Vladimir Putin have private business ties in addition to their close friendship -- whispers that both have vehemently denied.

America's ambassadors can be merciless in their assessments of the countries in which they are stationed. That's their job. Kenya? A swamp of flourishing corruption extending across the country. Fifteen high-ranking Kenyan officials are already banned from traveling to the United States, and almost every single sentence in the embassy reports speaks with disdain of the government of President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

Weighing Public Interest against Confidentiality

Turkey hardly comes away any less scathed in the cables. Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the cables allege, governs with the help of a cabal of incompetent advisors. Ankara Embassy officials depict a country on a path to an Islamist future -- a future that likely won't include European Union membership.

As with the close to 92,000 documents on the war in Afghanistan at the end of July and the almost 400,000 documents on the Iraq war recently released, the State Department cables have also been leaked to the WikiLeaks whistleblower platform -- and they presumably came from the same source. As before, WikiLeaks has provided the material to media partners to review and analyze them.

With a team of more than 50 reporters and researchers, SPIEGEL has viewed, analyzed and vetted the mass of documents. In most cases, the magazine has sought to protect the identities of the Americans' informants, unless the person who served as the informant was senior enough to be politically relevant. In some cases, the US government expressed security concerns and SPIEGEL accepted a number of such objections. In other cases, however, SPIEGEL felt the public interest in reporting the news was greater than the threat to security. Throughout our research, SPIEGEL reporters and editors weighed the public interest against the justified interest of countries in security and confidentiality.

It is now possible to view many political developments around the world through the lens of those who participated in those events. As such, our understanding of those events is deeply enriched. That alone is often enough to place transparency ahead of national regulations regarding confidentiality.

Following the leaks of military secrets from Afghanistan and Iraq, these leaks now put US diplomats on the hot seat. It is the third coup for WikiLeaks within six months, and it is one that is likely to leave Washington feeling more than a bit exposed. Around half of the cables that have been obtained aren't classified and slightly less, 40.5 percent, as classified as "confidential." Six percent of the reports, or 16,652 cables, are labelled as "secret;" and of those, 4,330 are so explosive that they are labelled "NOFORN," meaning access should not be made available to non-US nationals. Taken together, the cables provide enough raw text to fill 66 years worth of weekly SPIEGEL magazines.

Gossip and the Unvarnished Truth

Much in the material was noted and sent because those compiling the reports or their dialogue partners believed, with some certainty, that their transcripts would not be made public for the next 25 years. That may also explain why the ambassadors and emissaries from Washington were so willing to report gossip and hearsay back to State Department headquarters. One cable from the Moscow Embassy on Russian first lady Svetlana Medvedev, for example, states that she is "generating tensions between the camps and remains the subject of avid gossip." It then goes on to report that President Medvedev's wife had already drawn up a list of officials who should be made to "suffer" in their careers because they had been disloyal to Medvedev. Another reports that the wife of Azerbaijan leader Ilham Aliyev has had so much plastic surgery that it is possible to confuse her for one of her daughters from a distance, but that she can barely still move her face.

What makes the documents particularly appealing, though, is that many politicians speak the unvarnished truth, confident as they are that their musings will never be made public.

What, though, do the thousands of documents prove? Do they really show a US which has the world on a leash? Are Washington's embassies still self-contained power centers in their host countries?

In sum, probably not. In the major crisis regions, an image emerges of a superpower that can no longer truly be certain of its allies -- like in Pakistan, where the Americans are consumed by fear that the unstable nuclear power could become precisely the place where terrorists obtain dangerous nuclear material.

There are similar fears in Yemen, where the US, against its better judgement, allows itself to be instrumentalized by an unscrupulous leader. With American military aid that was intended for the fight against al-Qaida, Ali Abdullah Saleh is now able to wage his battle against enemy tribes in the northern part of the country.

Insult to Injury

Even after the fall of Saddam Hussein, it still remained a challenge for the victorious power to assert its will on Iraq. In Baghdad, which has seen a series of powerful US ambassadors -- men the international press often like to refer to as American viceroys -- it is now up to Vice President Joe Biden to make repeated visits to allied Iraqi politicians in an effort to get them to finally establish a respectable democracy. But the embassy cables make it very clear that Obama's deputy has made little headway.

Instead, the Americans are forced to endure the endless tirades of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek, who claims to have always known that the Iraq war was the "biggest mistake ever committed" and who advised the Americans to "forget about democracy in Iraq." Once the US forces depart, Mubarak said, the best way to ensure a peaceful transition is for there to be a military coup. They are statements that add insult to injury.

On the whole, the cables from the Middle East expose the superpower's weaknesses. Washington has always viewed it as vital to its survival to secure its share of energy reserves, but the world power is often quickly reduced to becoming a plaything of diverse interests. And it is drawn into the animosities between Arabs and Israelis, Shiites and Sunnis, between Islamists and secularists, between despots and kings. Often enough, the lesson of the documents that have now been obtained, is that the Arab leaders use their friends in Washington to expand their own positions of power.

Editor's note: DER SPIEGEL's full reporting on the WikiLeaks US diplomatic cables will be published first in the German-language edition of the magazine, which will be available on Monday to subscribers and at newsstands in Germany and Europe. SPIEGEL ONLINE International will publish extended excerpts of SPIEGEL's reporting in English in a series that will launch on Monday
« Last Edit: November 28, 2010, 15:21:39 by George Wallace »
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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #14 on: November 28, 2010, 15:24:30 »

WikiLeaks Reports Attack on Its Web Site
This from Twitter re:  the "can't get thru to Wikileaks"....
Quote
www.wikileaks.org - TANGO DOWN - for attempting to endanger the lives of our troops, 'other assets' & foreign relations #wikileaks #fail #js


More from "The Jester" (who, in the past, has claimed responsibility for blocking jihadi forums and web pages 20-30 minutes at a time) :
http://twitter.com/th3j35t3r
and
http://th3j35t3r.wordpress.com/
and about the Jester:
http://information-security-resources.com/2010/02/04/2010/01/27/q-a-with-anti-jihadi-hacker-the-jester/
http://information-security-resources.com/2010/02/04/more-talks-with-anti-jihadi-hacker-the-jester/

Heh, heh, heh...
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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2010, 15:40:55 »
From BBC:


Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.


Wikileaks cables: key issues
28 November 2010 Last updated at 14:38 ET
BBC

LINK

The controversial whistle-blowing site Wilileaks has released a cache of 250,000 secret messages sent by US diplomatic staff. Here are some of the key issues the documents reveal, as reported by the New York Times and Guardian newspapers.

Pakistan stand-off

The cables show US concern over radioactive material in nuclear power stations in Pakistan, with fears it could be used in terror attacks. They reveal the US has been attempting to remove highly enriched uranium from a research reactor in Pakistan since 2007.

In a May 2009 cable, US ambassador Anne W Patterson says Pakistan had refused a visit from US experts. She quotes a Pakistani officials as saying removing the fuel would be seen in Pakistan "as the United States taking Pakistan's nuclear weapons".

China hacking

There is concern over the alleged growing use of large scale computer hacking by the Chinese government. Cables reports claims that a network of hackers and private security experts has been employed by China since 2002and that it has hacked into US government and business computers, those of Western allies and the Dalai Lama.

The cables quote a Chinese contact telling the US embassy in Beijing that the Chinese government had been behind the hacking of Google's computer systems in the country in January.

Iran attack

Several Arab leaders and their representatives are quoted as urging the US to carry out an attack on Iran to bring an end to its suspected nuclear weapons programme.

King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia is reported to have "frequently exhorted" the US to attack Iran in order to bring an end to its nuclear programme.

In a report of a 2008 meeting with US General David Petraeus, the Saudi ambassador to Washington, Adel al-Jubeir, said King Abdullah wanted the US to "to cut the head off the snake".

King Hamad bin Isa al-Khalifa of Bahrain is reported to have told the US to stop Iran "by whatever means necessary", while the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed, told the US he believed Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was "going to take us to war".

Biometric spying on UN

A cable to US diplomats issued under US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's name tells them to collect "biographic and biometric" information - including iris scans, DNA samples and fingerprints - on key officials at the UN. They are also ordered to find credit card details, email addresses and passwords and encryption keys used for computer networks and in official communications.

The officials covered include "undersecretaries, heads of specialised agencies and their chief advisers, top SYG [secretary general] aides, heads of peace operations and political field missions, including force commanders".

At least nine similar directives covering various countries are included in the Wikileaks release, both under the name of Mrs Clinton and her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice.

Korea plans

US and South Korean officials have discussed plans for a united Korea, should North Korea collapse.

The US ambassador to Seoul said South Korea would consider offering commercial incentives to China to "help salve" Beijing "concerns about living with a reunified Korea".

Guantanamo

The cables appear to reveal discussions between various countries on whether they would take prisoners released from the Guantanamo Bay detention facility.

Slovenia is offered the chance to meet President Barack Obama if it takes a prisoner, while Kiribati, in the South Pacific, is offered millions of dollars of incentives. Brussels is told taking prisoners could be "a low-cost way for Belgium to attain prominence in Europe".

World leaders

Various world leaders are covered by the documents - showing the diplomats' less than flattering views of them.

Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is referred to as "feckless, vain, and ineffective as a modern European leader" by a US diplomat in Rome.

In 2008, the Moscow embassy describes Russian President Dmitry Medvedev as playing "Robin to (Prime Minister Vladimir Putin's) Batman.

The cables also comment on the extremely close relationship between Mr Berlusconi and Mr Putin.

North Korea's Kim Jong-il is a "flabby old chap" suffering from trauma from a stroke, while Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is referred to as "Hitler".

South Africa's international relations and cooperation minister refers to President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe as "the crazy old man".

========================================================================

Wikileaks release of embassy cables reveals US concerns
28 November 2010 Last updated at 15:15 ET
BBC

LINK

Whistle-blowing website Wikileaks has released 250,000 secret messages sent by US embassies which give an insight into current American global concerns.

They include reports of some Arab leaders - including Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah - urging the US to attack Iran and end its nuclear weapons programme.

Other concerns include the security of Pakistani nuclear material that could be used to make an atomic weapon.

The widespread use of hacking by the Chinese government is also reported.

The US government condemned the release of the documents, saying they put the lives of diplomats and others at risk.

The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange, countered by saying the US authorities were afraid of being held to account.

The leaked US embassy cables, published at length in newspapers including the New York Times and the UK's Guardian, also reportedly include accounts of:

- Iran attempting to adapt North Korean rockets for use as long-range missiles

- Corruption within the Afghan government, with concerns heightened when a senior official was found to be carrying more than $50m in cash on a foreign trip

- Bargaining to empty the Guantanamo Bay prison camp - including Slovenian diplomats being told to take in a freed prisoner if they wanted to secure a meeting with President Barack Obama

- Germany being warned in 2007 not to enforce arrest warrants for US Central Intelligence Agency officers involved in an operation in which an innocent German citizen with the same name as a suspected militant was abducted and held in Afghanistan

- US officials being instructed to spy on the UN's leadership by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

- The very close relationship between Russian PM Vladimir Putin and his Italian counterpart Silvio Berlusconi

- Alleged links between the Russian government and organised crime

- Yemen's president talking to then US Mid-East commander General David Petraeus about attacks on Yemeni al-Qaeda bases and saying: "We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours"

- Criticism of UK politicians including Prime Minister David Cameron

- Faltering US attempts to prevent Syria from supplying arms to Hezbollah in Lebanon

- The leaked embassy cables are both contemporary and historical, and include a 1989 note from a US diplomat in Panama City musing about the options open to Panamanian leader Manuel Noriega and referring to him as "a master of survival" - the author apparently had no idea that US forces would invade a week later and arrest Noriega.

In a statement, the White House said: "Such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals, and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government.

"President Obama supports responsible, accountable, and open government at home and around the world, but this reckless and dangerous action runs counter to that goal."

Earlier, Wikileaks said it had come under attack from a computer-hacking operation.

"We are currently under a mass distributed denial of service attack," it reported on its Twitter feed.

No-one has been charged with passing the diplomatic files to the website but suspicion has fallen on US Army private Bradley Manning, an intelligence analyst arrested in Iraq in June and charged over an earlier leak of classified US documents to Mr Assange's organisation.

Wikileaks argues that the site's previous releases shed light on the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.



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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #16 on: November 28, 2010, 16:03:47 »
<related tangent>
And if you don't think people will die from Wikileaks, this, from a Taliban mouthpiece, following the Afghan Wikileaks document diarrhea:
Quote
…. Qari Yousef Ahmadi, a spokesman for the Taliban told the Daily Telegraph. "We read everything and we will read these documents.  "We will look for the names of people, but it will be a judge who decides. We won't act unless we are 100 per cent sure. We are not just going to trust these documents, we will make our own inquiries.  "I cannot tell you what the judge will do." ….
Any guesses what a Taliban judge will do to what they consider a spy?  I'm guessing no house arrest for them....
</related tangent>
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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #17 on: November 28, 2010, 16:06:33 »
Reproduced under the Fair Dealings provisions of the Copyright Act.


U.S. braces for diplomatic crisis over leaked files
28/11/2010 3:02:56 PM
CTV.ca News Staff
 

LINK

The United States rushed into damage control Sunday as media around the world began reporting on thousands of classified diplomatic documents set to be released by WikiLeaks.

The White House said WikiLeaks had committed a "reckless and dangerous action" that threatened the lives of officials.

The documents, numbering more than 250,000, use unsparing language when describing foes and friends alike. In the weeks leading up to the release, the U.S. State Department had contacted countries -- including Canada -- to mitigate the potential fallout.

Among the revelations contained in the files:

Allegations that the Russian government has ties to organized crime
Fears over enriched uranium in a Pakistani nuclear reactor
Deals with countries like Slovenia to take Guantanamo Bay detainees upon release
WikiLeaks gave the leaked documents to a few news organizations, including Britain's Guardian newspaper and the New York Times, weeks ahead of the release. That meant stories emerged even as WikiLeaks said its website came under an apparent cyber attack meant to delay release of the files.

One potentially damaging revelation is that U.S. diplomats were ordered to gather the personal information of foreign dignitaries -- essentially doing the work of spies.

According to the New York Times, one U.S. State Department cable asked diplomats abroad to look for "internet and intranet ‘handles', internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs; credit card account numbers; frequent-flier account numbers; work schedules, and other relevant biographical information."

Another cable says U.S. officials should also gather "biographic and biometric information" at the United Nations headquarters.

The leaked documents also give a glimpse into the frank language used by diplomats, as they report back to the U.S. State Department on countries and foreign leaders.

Germany's Der Spiegel, another publication given access to the files, reports that one document describes the relationship between Russia's President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. Medvedev is described as "pale and hesitant" and lacking the "bravado" of the other man.

Meanwhile, French President Nicolas Sarkozy is called the "emperor of no clothes," Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is likened to Hitler, and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai is called paranoid.


VIDEO on LINK


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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #18 on: November 28, 2010, 16:16:52 »
And a bit information on the scale of Canadian content, from QMI/Sun Media:
Quote
Nearly 2,000 diplomatic cables from the U.S. embassy in Ottawa are among the quarter-million pieces of sensitive diplomatic correspondence obtained by the group WikiLeaks and being dribbled out this week.

There are 1,958 diplomatic cables from the embassy in Ottawa included in the information that has either been released or is expected to be released through the coming week. In addition to the notes from the embassy, there are hundreds of cables from American consulates across Canada – 145 from Toronto, 136 from Halifax, 82 from Montreal, 52 from Quebec City, 44 from Vancouver and 14 from Calgary ....
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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #19 on: November 28, 2010, 17:53:01 »
Ha, I knew it was just a matter of time before something like this got out:

http://www.businessinsider.com/galyna-kolotnytska-2010-11

If Assange's true goal is to beat the paparazzi at their own game, he's certainly done it. lol ;D

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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #20 on: November 28, 2010, 18:02:29 »
I am loving these leaks. Especially the NOFORN. Guilty pleasure. Best locker room gossip ever.

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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #21 on: November 28, 2010, 20:40:10 »
Heh....they all do...

Obama ordered diplomats to spy on Canada
By BRIAN LILLEY, Parliamentary Bureau November 28, 2010
Article Link
 
OTTAWA - The Obama administration ordered diplomats to spy on foreign governments and dignitaries – including here in Canada – as a way to provide key biographical data to the Central Intelligence Agency.

The July 2009 directive to embassies around the world, including the one in Ottawa, asked diplomats to go beyond collecting the usual information of name, title and phone number. Diplomats were also asked to pass along “Internet and intranet ‘handles,’ Internet e-mail addresses, web site identification-URLs, credit card account numbers, frequent flyer account numbers, work schedules and other relevant biographical information.”

The directive was one of thousands of diplomatic cables made public Sunday by WikiLeaks and media partners the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel.

In addition to that very personal information, the directive also asked American diplomats to gather the views of their hosts or other dignitaries on a whole range of issues from hot security topics such as Darfur, Afghanistan and North Korea to issues such as climate change policy ahead of the Copenhagen negotiations that took place late last year.

The news that President Barack Obama and his secretary of state Hillary Clinton wanted diplomats to spy on their Canadian hosts could strain the relationship between the U.S. embassy and Parliament Hill, especially in the short term.

“Long-standing relations such as those with Canada and the U.K. will no doubt weather the storm. Relationships that are troubled, such as those with Turkey and Russia, could see some resettling,” said James Jay Carafano, a foreign policy expert with Washington’s Heritage Foundation.

Carafano told QMI Agency that if there is credible evidence that Turkish officials gave material support to al-Qaida or that the U.S. was secretly negotiating side deals on missile defence with Russia, the White House will have some explaining to do.
More on link
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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #22 on: November 28, 2010, 21:53:31 »
I am loving these leaks. Especially the NOFORN. Guilty pleasure. Best locker room gossip ever.

Got a link? I don't like indulging these sensationalist idiots, but reading some of the stuff would sure be laugh-worthy.

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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #23 on: November 29, 2010, 09:15:07 »
http://cablegate.wikileaks.org/

It's like all those unflattering things your best friend told the wife about his mother in law got posted on the internet. Not many real secrets to be had. But interesting none the less.

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Re: Wikileaks and Julian Assange Mega-thread
« Reply #24 on: November 29, 2010, 10:03:51 »
Where the WikiLeaks likely came from-and what they show
http://unambig.com/where-the-wikileaks-likely-came-from/

Mark
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