US Air Force Blocks Sites That Post Leaked Cables


The Chinese block stuff that the rest of the world can read, too.

From the NYT:

When Air Force personnel on the service’s computer network try to view the Web sites of The Times, the British newspaper The Guardian, the German magazine Der Spiegel, the Spanish newspaper El País and the French newspaper Le Monde, as well as other sites that posted full confidential cables, the screen says “Access Denied: Internet usage is logged and monitored,” according to an Air Force official whose access was blocked and who shared the screen warning with The Times. Violators are warned that they face punishment if they try to view classified material from unauthorized Web sites.

Split 0033, originally uploaded by pirano.

Naomi Wolf: Sex charges against Assange an insult to rape victims worldwide


From Wolf’s analysis:

In other words: Never in twenty-three years of reporting on and supporting victims of sexual assault around the world have I ever heard of a case of a man sought by two nations, and held in solitary confinement without bail in advance of being questioned — for any alleged rape, even the most brutal or easily proven. In terms of a case involving the kinds of ambiguities and complexities of the alleged victims’ complaints — sex that began consensually that allegedly became non-consensual when dispute arose around a condom — please find me, anywhere in the world, another man in prison today without bail on charges of anything comparable.

Of course ‘No means No’, even after consent has been given, whether you are male or female; and of course condoms should always be used if agreed upon. As my fifteen-year-old would say: Duh.

But for all the tens of thousands of women who have been kidnapped and raped, raped at gunpoint, gang-raped, raped with sharp objects, beaten and raped, raped as children, raped by acquaintances — who are still awaiting the least whisper of justice — the highly unusual reaction of Sweden and Britain to this situation is a slap in the face. It seems to send the message to women in the UK and Sweden that if you ever want anyone to take sex crime against you seriously, you had better be sure the man you accuse of wrongdoing has also happened to embarrass the most powerful government on earth.

Boccace Lisant le Decameron a la Reine Jeanne de Naples, by Gustaf Wappers, originally uploaded by pirano.


Do you think Sarah Palin knows the story behind the Espionage Act?

Not likely. But that’s no big surprise.

Naomi Wolf reminds us:

The Espionage Act was crafted in 1917 — because President Woodrow Wilson wanted a war and, faced with the troublesome First Amendment, wished to criminalize speech critical of his war. In the run-up to World War One, there were many ordinary citizens — educators, journalists, publishers, civil rights leaders, union activists — who were speaking out against US involvement in the war. The Espionage Act was used to round these citizens by the thousands for the newly minted ‘crime’ of their exercising their First Amendment Rights.

And, more specifically to applying it to Julian Assange as the publisher of the cables on wikileaks:

If you prosecute journalists — and Assange, let us remember, is the New York Times in the parallel case of the Pentagon Papers, not Daniel Ellsberg; he is the publisher, not the one who revealed the classified information — then any outlet, any citizen, who discusses or addresses ‘classified’ information can be arrested on ‘national security’ grounds. If Assange can be prosecuted under the Espionage Act, then so can the New York Times; and the producers of Parker Spitzer, who discussed the WikiLeaks material two nights ago; and the people who posted a mirror WikiLeaks site on my Facebook ‘fan’ page; and Fox News producers, who addressed the leak and summarized the content of the classified information; and every one of you who may have downloaded information about it; and so on.

A Week in the Life of Julian Assange

All things considered, it’s difficult to imagine that any organization, and by default, its face, has ever had such a week. International affairs and diplomacy is now officially in the uncharted waters of ‘pre’ and ‘post’ wikileaks,  and there’s no turning back.

Glenn Greewald summarizes via Democracy Now:

Whatever you think of WikiLeaks, they have not been charged with a crime, let alone indicted or convicted. Yet look what has happened to them. They have been removed from Internet … their funds have been frozen … media figures and politicians have called for their assassination and to be labeled a terrorist organization.

What is really going on here is a war over control of the Internet, and whether or not the Internet can actually serve its ultimate purpose – which is to allow citizens to band together and democratize the checks on the world’s most powerful factions.

Assange is now in jail in London after surrendering himself to the police yesterday, and awaiting possible extradition to Sweden to face sex crimes charges. The Americans want him as well, despite the lack of any legal grounds to have him extradited.

Meanwhile and predictably, the rape claims against Assange are sparking a particularly ugly infowar; a good summary of the charges and subsequent frenzy is here. And here’s a bit more on one of Assange’s accusers in Sweden, who apparently had ties to the CIA.

In the meantime, Wilileaks, which is now mirrored on more than 500 websites, released a statement following Assange’s detainment, saying it ‘will not be gagged‘. As of early this morning the cablegate site has published 1060 documents.

To keep track of a story that will not go away anytime soon, keep tabs on WL Central and The Guardian’s Daily Blog and News Summary.

Cablegate – First Slovenia Cable Uploaded – 09STATE62397

Posted below for posterity’s sake (and in case the wikileaks/cablegate sites go down again), 09STATE62397, S) REPORTING AND COLLECTION NEEDS: SLOVENIA, sent on 16 June 2009.  (Nicely done, by the way. I only picked up one typo!)

It’s a version of the “REPORTING AND COLLECTION NEEDS” memo which US Secretary of State Clinton apparently sent everywhere, one which requests State Department staff to collect, among other things: credit card numbers, mobile phone numbers, frequent flier numbers, work schedules, email addresses and directories (in compact disc or electronic format if available) and other personal information. This kind of info gathering, it was believed, was previously the job of the CIA, FBI, and other intel agencies.

Marked SECRET, NOFORN (no foreigners).

read it!

Amazon’s odd explanation about pulling their plug on Wikileaks


Update 10:30 CET: Pengovsky has just informed that Wikileaks has moved to Switzerland this morning. Cablegate site is here:

Here’s Amazon’s statement on caving in to higher powers. Does this mean that they won’t sell books that will include excerpts from leaked cables?

There have been reports that a government inquiry prompted us not to serve WikiLeaks any longer. That is inaccurate.

There have also been reports that it was prompted by massive DDOS attacks. That too is inaccurate. There were indeed large-scale DDOS attacks, but they were successfully defended against.

Amazon Web Services (AWS) rents computer infrastructure on a self-service basis. AWS does not pre-screen its customers, but it does have terms of service that must be followed. WikiLeaks was not following them. There were several parts they were violating. For example, our terms of service state that “you represent and warrant that you own or otherwise control all of the rights to the content… that use of the content you supply does not violate this policy and will not cause injury to any person or entity.” It’s clear that WikiLeaks doesn’t own or otherwise control all the rights to this classified content. Further, it is not credible that the extraordinary volume of 250,000 classified documents that WikiLeaks is publishing could have been carefully redacted in such a way as to ensure that they weren’t putting innocent people in jeopardy. Human rights organizations have in fact written to WikiLeaks asking them to exercise caution and not release the names or identities of human rights defenders who might be persecuted by their governments.

We’ve been running AWS for over four years and have hundreds of thousands of customers storing all kinds of data on AWS. Some of this data is controversial, and that’s perfectly fine. But, when companies or people go about securing and storing large quantities of data that isn’t rightfully theirs, and publishing this data without ensuring it won’t injure others, it’s a violation of our terms of service, and folks need to go operate elsewhere.

We look forward to continuing to serve our AWS customers and are excited about several new things we have coming your way in the next few months.

— Amazon Web Services

Meanwhile, both the cablegate and general wikileaks sites are down again. My guess is that the Russians had something to do with it.

Batavernas trohetsed till Claudius Civilis (The Conspiracy of the Batavians under Claudius Civilis), by Rembrandt van Rijn – detail, originally uploaded by pirano.

Balkans Cablegate #2 – getting the story right (?)

[Updated 19:00]

If was good to see Slovenia get its fleeting 15 minutes of Wikileaks fame in the cablegate maelstrom over the past 36 hours, even if just in passing. But the thrust of the story, in this case as an example of Washington’s wheeling and dealing in relocating Guantanamo detainees, wasn’t quite correct. At all.

As mentioned here, the reports yesterday were all along these lines:

From The NY Times

Slovenia was told that taking a prisoner was the price for a meeting with President Obama.

From The Irish Times

The US offered Slovenia a meeting with President Obama in exchange for taking a prisoner.

From The Guardian

Slovenia was promised more “high-level attention” if it helped with detainees

You get the idea. In short, widely reported references seemingly based upon talking points set up prior to the initial document dump. But the truth was actually the reverse.

According to the January 5, 2010 cable sent by Bradley Freden, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Ljubljana, it was Slovenia’s Prime Minister Borut Pahor, not the US Embassy, who suggested the deal. From the cable published in El Pais:

Pahor reiterated that he would be willing to make the case,but in a one-on-one pull-aside with CDA, the PM gently – but unambiguously – linked success on detainee resettlement to a meeting with President Obama. He said that “a 20-minute meeting” with POTUS would allow him to frame the detainee question as an act of support for Slovenia’s most important ally and evidence of a newly-reinvigorated bilateral relationship.

The cable in its entirety, based upon a meeting on December 30, 2009 requested by Pahor, is here. Interestingly, it was Freden who reminded Pahor of the legal hurdles that exist in Slovenia with regards to bringing in GITMO detainees.

Oslo 064, originally uploaded by pirano.

Cablegate in the Balkans – And the winner is:

Croatia, apparently.

[NOTE: New link to cablegate site is ]

Of the 251,287 secret US Embassy cables which Wikileaks began making public yesterday, 2,053 relate to Croatia, according to the ‘Cables by Country‘ graphic on Wikileaks Cablegate website. Bosnia & Hercegovina is next at 1,419, followed by Serbia & Montenegro, with 1,244. Slovenia comes in a distant fourth with 947, with Macedonia (783) and Montenegro (503) bringing up the rear.

While it’s not as high on the list as its southern neighbors, Slovenia-related cables were the first to score points in the media avalanche which began last night CET. Advance material supplied to The Guardian, Der Speigel, Le Monde, and The New York Times included in passing a mention of a strongarm deal the US offered to Slovenia. Most of the accounts went something like this:

The (New York Times) also cited documents showing the U.S. used hardline tactics to win approval from countries to accept freed detainees from Guantanamo Bay. It said Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if its president wanted to meet with President Barack Obama and said the Pacific island of Kiribati was offered millions of dollars to take in a group of detainees.

Milan Balažic, spokesperson for Slovenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, denied that any such deal making transpired, insisting that Slovenia cannot accept Guantanamo detainees on legal grounds and that PM Borut Pahor does still have a  visit to the US scheduled for next year. The statement I read didn’t specifically say however, that Pahor would be meeting with Obama. [See update for the ‘real’ story in this, according to the actual cable.]

As of 19:30 CET today only 243 documents have been published so far; nothing Slovenia-related has been posted yet. According to the Cablegate site, the documents will be released in stages over the next few months.

Updated 30-Nov @ 11:00 CET – Not sure how much time I’ll find for updates here; I’ll try to post any applicable (former Yugoslavia) links I come across via twitter.