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Thread: Julian Assange & the Wikileaks Phenomenon

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    Julian Assange & the Wikileaks Phenomenon

    The man behind whistleblower website Wikileaks says he is not in a position to record an interview amid claims his life is in danger.

    Julian Assange, the Australian-born founder of Wikileaks, is said to be under threat with reports that the site has hundreds of thousands of classified cables containing explosive revelations.

    There was an international uproar in April when the website released classified US military video which officials had been refusing to make public for three years.

    The leaked video showed a US helicopter crew mistaking a camera for a rocket-propelled grenade launcher before firing on a group of people in Iraq.

    Mr Assange has also told his supporters he is planning to release a video of a US air strike in Afghanistan that killed many civilians.

    The 2007 video of the US army helicopter shooting civilians has already led to a chain of events which reportedly has Mr Assange in hiding.

    A hacker blew the whistle on the US army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, who allegedly handed that video to Wikileaks.

    Mr Manning is now reported to be in custody in Kuwait.

    The hacker says Mr Manning bragged to him about having thousands of diplomatic cables that would embarrass US secretary of state Hillary Clinton and several thousand diplomats around the world.

    It has since been reported that American officials are searching for Mr Assange to pressure him not to publish the cables.

    But an unnamed source in the Obama administration has told Newsweek that the US government is not trying to convince Mr Assange not to release the cables, but it is trying to contact him.

    The World Today has also received an email from Mr Assange which says: "Due to present circumstances, I am not able to easily conduct interviews".

    In an email to supporters this week, Mr Assange denies Wikileaks has 260,000 classified US department cables.

    But he confirms the website has a video of a US air strike on a village in western Afghanistan in May last year.

    The Afghan government said at the time of the attack that 140 civilians died.

    Life in danger


    Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked Pentagon papers in the 1970s showing government deceit over the Vietnam War, says he believes Mr Assange has reason to keep his whereabouts secret.

    "I think it's worth mentioning [that there is] a very new and ominous development in our country," he said.

    "I think he would not be safe, even physically, entirely wherever he is.

    "We have, after all, for the first time ever perhaps in any democratic country... a president who has announced that he feels he has the right to use special operations operatives against anyone abroad that he thinks is associated with terrorism."

    Mr Ellsberg told a US TV network Mr Assange's life may be in danger.

    "I was, in fact, the subject of a White House hit squad in November on May 3, 1972," he said.

    "A dozen Cuban assets were brought up from Miami with orders, quoting their prosecutor 'to incapacitate Daniel Ellsberg totally' on the steps of the Capitol.

    "It so happens when I was in a rally during the Vietnam war and I asked the prosecutor 'what does that mean - kill me?' He said the words were to incapacitate you totally, but you should understand these guys, meaning the CIA operatives, never use the word 'kill'."

    Professor Amin Saikal, director of the centre for Arab and Islamic studies at the Australian National University, says the US government has strong motivations for keeping video of the strike under wraps.

    "That NATO operation in western Afghanistan caused quite a number of civilian casualties which caused outrage among the Afghan leaders," he said.

    "The issue was also raised very strongly in the Afghan parliament.

    "I suppose that the American authorities would be very adverse at the release of the video at this point which could cause more problems in the relationship between Afghanistan and Washington."

    As far fetched as Mr Ellsberg's claim sounds, the national president of Whistleblowers Australia, Peter Bennett, agrees Mr Assange's life may be at risk.

    "There is a lot of money to be made from wars. There is a lot of people who will become very, very wealthy through the course of this Afghan war," he said.

    "To stop anybody raising questions about its conduct would put those profits at risk and profit is a high motivation to stop somebody interfering with those profits.

    "It is possible that there are vested interests - military, political and certainly economic, possibly even criminal - who would rather him not release that information.

    "There is a serious chance that his wellbeing could be at risk. If I was in his shoes, I would be taking all necessary precautions to make sure that my whereabouts and my wellbeing were being protected."

    Source http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2...section=justin

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    Wikileaks Founder Assange Denied Residency in Sweden



    The founder of the Wikileaks website, Julian Assange, has been denied residency in Sweden, the country's migration board officials say.

    They declined to give the reason, saying it was confidential.

    Mr Assange, an Australian national, had hoped to create a base for Wikileaks in the Nordic country due to its laws protecting whistle-blowers.

    The rejection comes ahead of the expected publication of some 400,000 Iraq war documents on Wikileaks.

    The US military has already assembled a 120-member team to prepare for the publication of the documents which are thought to concern battle activity, Iraqi security forces and civilian casualties.

    Wikileaks' release in July of thousands of documents on the war in Afghanistan prompted US military officials to warn that the whistleblower website might cause the deaths of US soldiers and Afghan civilians because some of the documents contained the names of locals who had helped coalition forces.
    'Smear campaign'

    "We have decided not to grant him (Mr Assange) a residence permit," Sweden's Migration Board official Gunilla Wikstroem told the AFP news agency.

    "He did not fulfil the requirements," she added without giving any further details.

    Mr Assange applied for a residence permit on 18 August.

    He is currently being investigated in Sweden over an alleged sex crime.

    Mr Assange denies any wrongdoing and says the allegations are part of a smear campaign by opponents of his whistle-blowing website.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11570283

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    Good riddance to bad rubbish.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Zogbot View Post
    Good riddance to bad rubbish.
    Could you explain in further detail? A reply like this does not explain your reasoning.

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    This guy risked the lives of Western soldiers and is being investigated in Sweden over an alleged sex crime.

    So good riddance but we dont want him back

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    Wikileaks

    There is a fine line between "Whistle Blowing" and the release of sensitive military/politico documents. Wikileaks and Assange have clearly stepped over the line. Do you think for a moment that the Taliban and Al Qaeda and its operatives are not going to peruse the documents closely and modify their strategy and tactics accordingly in order to make them more efficient and deadly? Not too mention, adjusting their stance during this time of sensitive negotiations?

    Assange and Wikileaks? Just another self produced and promoted "Intelligence agent" out to enrich himself at the expense of World Peace and Security.

    As for the American who released the documents originally, he needs to be Court Martialed and executed for espionage, along with Assange if the Documents are released...

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    The last time he posted documents I decided to read them myself to see what all the fuss what about.

    I think he did a terrible job censoring the data. There was many names of people and even names of small villages that helped the coalition forces by giving information about Al-Quidea or Taliban whereabouts.

    This data can easily be accessed by Al-Quidea and used to find and terrorize the native Afghans that helped us.

    Not only that but it might make the Afghans of today more hesitant of telling us information for fear of that information getting into the hands of Al-Quidea.

    I don't like what he is doing- he could at least asked the U.S. government which names and towns should be censored- but he didn't.

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    Wikileaks' Assange to face international arrest warrant

    Sweden is to issue an international arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange in a rape case.

    Prosecutors said they would seek the warrant after a court ruled he should be held for questioning. An initial inquiry had been dropped in August.

    Mr Assange, an Australian who does not live in Sweden, says the allegations are part of a smear campaign.

    Wikileaks has published confidential material relating to US military activities in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Mr Assange, 39, denies allegations of rape, sexual molestation and unlawful coercion, which stem from a visit to Sweden in August.

    A Stockholm prosecutor started an investigation shortly afterwards, but the case was dropped by the chief prosecutor a day later.

    In September, Sweden's Director of Prosecution, Marianne Ny, reopened the investigation, but did not request Mr Assange's detention at the time.
    'Complete innocence'

    Ms Ny says Mr Assange needs to be questioned. "So far, we have not been able to meet with him to accomplish the interrogations," she says.

    On Thursday the Stockholm District Court issued an order to detain him.

    Ms Ny said that "to execute the court's decision, the next step is to issue an international arrest warrant".

    Mr Assange's lawyer, Bjorn Hurtig, said his client "maintains his complete innocence".

    Mr Hurtig would not say where Mr Assange was but added: "Sooner or later he has to come to Sweden if this continues."

    When the allegations first emerged, Mr Assange said their appearance - at a time when Wikileaks had been criticised for leaking Afghan war documents - was "deeply disturbing".

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-11785281

    Truth breeds hatred. ~Bias of Priene, Maxims

    So sweden only investigates rape when a white man is accused?...

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    WikiLeaks Cables Expose Pakistan Nuclear Fears


    US and UK diplomats warn of terrorists getting hold of fissile material and of Pakistan-India nuclear exchange


    American and British diplomats fear Pakistan's nuclear weapons programme could lead to fissile material falling into the hands of terrorists or a devastating nuclear exchange with India.

    The latest cache of US embassy cables released by WikiLeaks contains warnings that Pakistan is rapidly building its nuclear stockpile despite the country's growing instability and "pending economic catastrophe".

    Mariot Leslie, a senior British Foreign Office official, told US diplomats in September 2009: "The UK has deep concerns about the safety and security of Pakistan's nuclear weapons," according to one cable classified "secret/noforn [no foreign nationals]".

    Seven months earlier, the US ambassador to Islamabad, Anne Patterson, cabled to Washington: "Our major concern is not having an Islamic militant steal an entire weapon but rather the chance someone working in government of Pakistan facilities could gradually smuggle enough material out to eventually make a weapon".

    The leak of classified US diplomatic correspondence exposes in fine detail the deep tensions between Washington and Islamabad over a broad range of issues, including counter-terrorism, Afghanistan and finance, as well as the nuclear question. US concern over Pakistan's bomb programme was spelled out in an intelligence briefing in 2008. "Despite pending economic catastrophe, Pakistan is producing nuclear weapons at a faster rate than any other country in the world," the secret cable said.

    Leslie, director general of defence and intelligence at the Foreign Office, made clear the UK shared these anxieties when she spoke to US diplomats at a London arms control meeting in September 2009. The Pakistanis were worried the US "will drop in and take their nukes", she said, according to a US cable to Washington. Pakistan was now prepared to accept "nuclear safety help" from British technicians, but only under the auspices of the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    The cable said Leslie thought nuclear proliferation was the greater danger to the world, but it "ranks lower than terrorism on the public's list of perceived threats".

    Another senior British official at the meeting, Jon Day, the Ministry of Defence's director general for security policy, said recent intelligence indicated Pakistan was "not going in a good direction".

    The Russians shared concerns that Pakistan was "highly unstable". Yuri Korolev, from the Russian foreign ministry, told US officials: "Islamists are not only seeking power in Pakistan but are also trying to get their hands on nuclear materials."

    Speaking in February in Washington, he called for the problem of Pakistani nuclear sites to be addressed in ongoing missile control talks, claiming: "Over the last few years extremists have attacked vehicles that carry staff to and from these facilities. Some were killed and a number were abducted and there has been no trace seen of them."

    He said: "There are 120,000-130,000 people directly involved in Pakistan's nuclear and missile programmes There is no way to guarantee that all are 100% loyal and reliable."

    He claimed extremists were now recruiting more easily: "Pakistan has had to hire people to protect nuclear facilities that have especially strict religious beliefs, and recently the general educational and cultural levels in Pakistan has been falling."

    These fears are expressed in the secret state department files against a backdrop of Pakistani determination to build more nuclear warheads.

    A Chinese foreign minister, He Yafei, sought to explain to the Americans why Pakistan was blocking fissile material control talks. At a London meeting in 2009, he said: "The underlying problem is that India and Pakistan view each other as enemies. Nuclear weapons are crucial to Pakistan. Indeed, a Pakistani military leader said his army was no match for the Indian army."

    US diplomats in Islamabad were told Pakistan was working on producing smaller, tactical nuclear weapons that could be used on the battlefield against Indian troops.

    "The result of this trend is the need for greater stocks of fissile material Strategic considerations point Pakistan in the direction of a larger nuclear force that requires a greater amount of fissile material, Pakistani officials argue."

    The US conducted its own secret analysis of India's military contingency plans, which are codenamed Cold Start. India has said that if sufficiently provoked, it would mount a rapid invasion of Pakistan.

    The US said in a cable that it doubted the Indian army was capable of doing so: "It is the collective judgment of the mission that India would likely encounter very mixed results. Indian forces could have significant problems consolidating initial gains due to logistical difficulties and slow reinforcement."

    But the US ambassador to India, Tim Roemer, warned in February that for India to launch Cold Start, would be to "roll the nuclear dice". It could trigger the world's first use of nuclear weapons since Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

    "Indian leaders no doubt realise that, although Cold Start is designed to punish Pakistan in a limited manner without triggering a nuclear response, they cannot be sure whether Pakistani leaders will in fact refrain from such a response."
    Pakistan 'in tatters'

    A senior US intelligence official was "unrelentingly gloomy" about Pakistan, the current safe haven for al-Qaida in the Afghanistan war, during a private briefing of Nato representatives.

    Peter Lavoy, national intelligence officer for south Asia, concluded in November 2008 that nuclear-armed Pakistan's economy was "in tatters" and the country could "completely lose control of its Pashtun territories over the next few years", according to a leaked US cable.

    More than a third of people were unemployed or underemployed, he said.

    "Pakistan's population is becoming less and less educated, the country lacks sufficient energy and clean water resources to serve its population, and there is minimal foreign investment."

    A few months later, in April 2009, Patterson was slightly less gloomy, saying Pakistan was not a "failed state".

    "We nonetheless recognise that the challenges it confronts are dire. The government is losing more and more territory every day to foreign and domestic militant groups; deteriorating law and order in turn is undermining economic recovery. The bureaucracy is settling into third-world mediocrity, as demonstrated by some corruption and a limited capacity to implement or articulate policy."

    She said: "Extremism is no longer restricted to the border area. We are seeing young Punjabi men turn up in [the tribal areas] and Afghanistan as fighters recruited from areas of southern Punjab where poverty, illiteracy and despair create a breeding ground for extremism."

    The good news was that President Asif Ali Zardari "while far from perfect", was "pro-American and anti-extremist; we believe he is our best ally in the government", she said.

    This January, however, the US special envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke, told Indian government officials in Delhi that: "the army was the key decision-maker while President Zardari was increasingly sidelined". He said the civilian government had a limited capacity to move against groups behind the Mumbai terror attacks in 2008.

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    If its true then why not expose it. U.S. has long been the country others looked up to but no more, U.S. is a thing of the past

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