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Former WikiLeaks Employee James Ball Describes Working With Julian Assange

by James Ball
May 30, 2013 4:45 AM EDT

... He and Julian — unknown to us — had been in friendly contact for years ... Introduced .. under a false name, Shamir was given direct access to more than 90,000 of the U.S. Embassy cables ... This was, for quite some time, denied by WikiLeaks. But that’s never a denial I’ve found convincing: the reason I know he has them is that I gave them to him, at Assange’s orders, not knowing who he was.

... A pro-Putin outlet got in touch to say Shamir had been asking for $10,000 for access to the cables. He was selling the material we were working to give away free ...

... The NGO Index on Censorship sent a string of questions and some photographic evidence, suggesting Shamir had given the cables to Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus, Europe’s last dictator. Shamir had written a pro-Belarus article, shortly before photos emerged of him leaving the interior ministry. The day after, Belarus’s dictator gave a speech saying he was establishing a WikiLeaks for Belarus, citing some stories and information appearing in the genuine (and then unpublished) cables.

Assange ... blocked any attempts at investigation, and released public statements that were simply untrue ...


Posted by struggle4progress | Thu May 30, 2013, 12:51 PM (1 replies)

Let's Get It Right: No, Bradley Manning is NOT facing the death penalty

The Holy Saint and Blessed Martyr Julian of Assange, featured on Democracy Now! today, claims:

... Bradley Manning is making his statements under duress, presently. He is facing a capital offense, which Barack Obama would have to sign, so politically there is possibly only a 3 percent, say, chance that Barack Obama would sign a death certificate or that the judge would decide to promote a death certificate ...

Um, no. Let's get it right

Under the definitions of the Manual for Courts-Martial (800+ pp!),

... Rule 103. Definitions and rules of construction
“Capital case” means a general court-martial to which a capital offense has been referred with an instruction that the case be treated as capital ... “Capital offense” means an offense for which death is an authorized punishment under the code and Part IV of this Manual ...

See MCM p II-1. On the next page II-2 appears

... Notwithstanding any other rule, the death penalty may not be adjudged if ... The case has not been referred with a special instruction that the case is to be tried as capital ...

Bradley Manning is charged, among other things, with an Article 104 violation. Discussion of Article 104 begins in the MCM at page IV-41. An Article 104 violation is indeed a "capital offense" under the MCM definition above, meaning that in some circumstances a death sentence might result from conviction for an Article 104 violation. HOWEVER,

Bradley Manning's case is NOT a "capital case" under the MCM definition above, meaning that Manning CANNOT receive a death sentence if convicted -- because Manning's case was not "referred with a special instruction that the case is to be tried as capital"

... An Army spokesperson confirmed that Almanza endorsed proceeding with the case precisely as prosecutors urged. "The Investigating Officer also recommended against seeking the death penalty in this case" ...
Investigator urges court martial for WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning
By JOSH GERSTEIN | 1/12/12 3:09 PM EST

FORT LESLEY J. MCNAIR, D.C. – After reviewing the investigating officer’s report of charges under Article 32, Uniformed Code of Military Justice, the recommendations from the chain of command, and the case file, the general court martial convening authority, Maj. Gen. Michael S. Linnington, referred all charges and specifications to a general court martial today in the case of US vs Pfc. Bradley E. Manning ... If convicted of all charges, Manning would face a maximum punishment of reduction to the lowest enlisted pay grade, E-1; total forfeiture of all pay and allowances; confinement for life; and a dishonorable discharge ...
General Court Martial Conveyning Authority Refers Charges Against Pfc. Bradley E. Manning
DATE: February 3, 2012

Posted by struggle4progress | Wed May 29, 2013, 08:37 PM (5 replies)

Report on CIA rendition reveals massive scale of European assistance

Open Society research assembles long roster of nations willing to help the Bush administration with extra-legal program
Tom McCarthy
Tuesday 5 February 2013 14.24 EST
... Of pre-2004 European Union states, only three – France, Luxembourg and the Netherlands – apparently sat out the CIA's global kidnap-and-torture program ... A new report by the Open Society Justice Initiative names 54 foreign governments that participated in the CIA program ... The report also assembles the most comprehensive list to date of terror suspects caught up in the CIA program and tracks the fate of each suspect ... The report lists 136 suspects in all ... Italy has convicted officials on criminal charges for their involvement. Canada apologized to Canadian citizen Maher Arar, who was picked up at JFK airport in New York City and flown to Syria, where he was "imprisoned for more than ten months in a tiny grave-like cell, beaten with cables, and threatened with electric shocks" ... Canada, Sweden, Australia and the United Kingdom have issued compensation to extraordinary rendition victims ... The Danish government has reported "more than 100 flights credibly alleged to be involved in extraordinary renditions had passed through Danish airspace ... A 2007 European Parliament report "express<ed> serious concern about the 147 stopovers made by CIA-operated aircraft at Irish airports ... Finnish records show 150 landings in Finland by aircraft associated with the CIA program ...

The Open Society Initiatives report lists the two known cases (Ahmed Agiza and Muhammed al-Zery ) in Sweden, rendered in December 2001. These cases provoked public outcry in Sweden. According to the report

... in 2008, the Swedish chancellor of justice awarded Agiza and al-Zery approximately three million Swedish kronor (approximately $500,000) each as compensation for Sweden’s involvement in their rendition and torture. In July 2012, Ahmed Agiza was granted permanent residence in Sweden ...

The UK has been less forthcoming regarding its apparently longer term and more substantial involvement. The report indicates there is evidence implicating the UK in the renditions of a number of people, including Bisher al-Rawi and Jamil el-Banna (2002), Binyam Mohamed (2002), Omar Deghayes (2002), Sami al-Saadi (2004), Abu Abdullah al-Sadiq and his wife Fatima Bouchar (2004), and in several of these cases the UK also seems to have been involved in the torture. According to the report:

In November 2010, the U.K. government entered into a confidential settlement with Bisher al-Rawi, Jamil el-Banna, Richard Belmar, Omar Deghayes, Binyam Mohamed, and Martin Mubanga ... In June 2009, after MI6 itself referred one of its officers to the attorney general, the police commenced Operation Iden, an investigation into the actions of MI6 officers who interrogated suspects at the U.S.-run prison at Bagram, Afghanistan, in January 2002 ... In December 2012, the British government paid al-Saadi £2.23m to settle his lawsuit without admitting liability
Posted by struggle4progress | Tue May 21, 2013, 04:26 AM (0 replies)

Wikileaks Greatest Hits: the UFO Cables

Wikileaks has done so many great things by now -- such as reporting that Steve Jobs died of AIDS, attempting to extort cash from anyone who might have exchanged emails with Freddy Balzan, feeding the rightwing's phony Climategate scandal with East Anglia emails, faking a NYT column, or helping the dictator of Belarus identify his domestic enemies -- that it's getting hard for Assange fans to remember it all!

So let's refresh our memories about the UFO cables!

WikiLeaks: new diplomatic cables contain UFO details, Julian Assange says
New leaked diplomatic cables set to be published by Wikileaks will contain fresh details on UFOs, according to the website's founder Julian Assange
By Andrew Hough
11:00PM GMT 03 Dec 2010
The 39 year-old Australian, who is wanted by Interpol over a charge of rape and sexual assault in Sweden, said there were some references to extraterrestrial life in yet-to-be-published confidential files obtained from the American government ...

Julian Assange: UFO details found in WikiLeaks cables\
Saturday 4 Dec 2010 8:55 am
... ‘It is worth noting that in yet-to-be-published parts of the cablegate archive there are indeed references to UFOs,’ he said. Assange also took the opportunity to praise the person who leaked the documents to the website, stating that he should be viewed as an ‘unparalleled hero’ for his actions ...

WikiLeaks' UFO Cables: More About Raelian Cult Than Alien Life
Andy Greenberg, Forbes Staff
2/07/2011 @ 2:20PM
If WikiLeaks didn’t already have the attention of the world’s conspiracy theorists, its founder Julian Assange grabbed the X-files crowd by their tin-foil helmet antennae in December, when he mentioned that the site plans to publish leaked cables that reference UFOs ...


Julian Assange Talks About WikiLeaks UFO Disclosure Cables
WikiLeaks May Offer No New UFO Files or Evidence of Disclosure in Cables
The Portland Journal
Feb 9, 2011
... Even when questioned by Pierre Brunet in the WikiLeaks Roundtable video, Julian Assange seemed very coy with his answer regarding UFO files and any cable leaks ...

WikiLeaks’ UFO Cables: Assange Admits Hype, Cover up?
Wikileaks founder, Julian Assange, admitted today his previous claims about secret UFO cables were largely exaggerated. Two months after he stirred the hopes of UFO researchers worldwide, he is now stating the cables contain only “small passing references” to UFOs ...

What a guy!

Posted by struggle4progress | Fri May 17, 2013, 03:37 AM (15 replies)

There are differences between your views and mine, but I suspect you and I do not even agree

on exactly what the differences between our views are

First, we do not use the term "religion" in exactly the same way.

I think you wish to make general claims about "religion" without having any really good definition of it. I find "religion" as a sociological category to be a vague and ill-defined concept: having trained as a mathematician, I do not believe meaningful generalizations can be derived from vague ideas, so when "religion" is used in a sociological sense, I am often inclined to look sociological descriptions that seem to be more useful.

When I use "religion" as a theological category, I am referring to something rather like "the foundations of a person's being," and in that sense I expect everyone has a "religion" of some sort -- and I am sure you dislike any comments I make in that sense. "Religion" in this sense is not necessarily harmless in my view: people often behave rather badly for various reasons, springing from their choices of what will be important to them, and they are often quite good at providing high-minded-sounding rationalizations for their bad behavior, but their actual "religion" (even if they describe themselves as "religious" may not involve any traditional "gods" and their rationalizations do not necessarily involve any "god talk" -- the actual "gods" they worship (for example) may be themselves, and their actual "religious practice" may be their self-interested greed or it may be their own self-righteousness. In other words, I use the theological category "religion" to include a number of ways of being, many of which I regard as idolatrous and harmful, but in that case the conceptual overlap between your use of the word and my use of the word is rather slight

Second, we do not approach the sociological category "religion" from the same perspective. My development here was influenced by Marx, who is currently unpopular, despite his having had some rather profound insights:

... The foundation of irreligious criticism is: Man makes religion, religion does not make man ... But man is no abstract being squatting outside the world ... This state and this society produce religion, which is an inverted consciousness of the world, because they are an inverted world. Religion is the general theory of this world, its encyclopaedic compendium, its logic in popular form, its spiritual point d’honneur, its enthusiasm, its moral sanction, its solemn complement, and its universal basis of consolation and justification. It is the fantastic realization of the human essence since the human essence has not acquired any true reality. The struggle against religion is, therefore, indirectly the struggle against that world whose spiritual aroma is religion. Religious suffering is, at one and the same time, the expression of real suffering and a protest against real suffering. Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people. The abolition of religion as the illusory happiness of the people is the demand for their real happiness. To call on them to give up their illusions about their condition is to call on them to give up a condition that requires illusions ... Criticism has plucked the imaginary flowers on the chain not in order that man shall continue to bear that chain without fantasy or consolation, but so that he shall throw off the chain and pluck the living flower ...

A Contribution to the Critique of Hegel’s Philosophy of Right

Perhaps you have little interest in Marx, but this passage shines as a brilliant landmark in atheistic humanism. Marx is not content with the observation that religion is man-made, and he is not content simply to strip away religious belief: he wants to understand the actual source of religious belief, without losing his ethical stance and without losing his scientific perspective. His idea is to regard religious belief as a psychological projection, that allows people to discuss their hopes and disappointments in a fantastic language that represents both their current suffering and their protest against that suffering. Thus Marx maintains his sympathy with the oppressed in part by decoding their discussion of their oppression. He is not interested so much to destroy their illusions but rather to eliminate the conditions that necessarily produced the illusions

This provides an established atheistic-humanistic approach to the study of problems posed by various "religious" manifestations -- namely, one asks: What is really going on here? What are the underlying conditions that spawned this? That approach has the advantage of focusing attention on genuine material problems that real humans need solved

Third, I think I see interesting problems where you see none. When (for example) communities with a long history of religious tolerance splinter into violent competing factions, I think you feel everything important has been said once you have blame "religion" for the strife -- but since such "solution" seems glib and uninformative to me, I still want to know what has happened
Posted by struggle4progress | Mon May 6, 2013, 08:57 PM (0 replies)

Listen: Chris Hedges Interviews Julian Assange

Posted on May 5, 2013
... audio excerpts from their extended conversation in the Ecuadorean Embassy in London ...

Assange, here, as we should expect by now, rather carelessly misrepresents a number of matters:

... JA: Politically, it’s—the head of the Swedish Supreme Court came out and said that the case is a mess ...

Lindskog's 3 April 2013 talk at the University of Adelaide actually ranged over various legal issues surrounding Assange and Sweden, including the problems Swedish transparency law creates with respect to keeping current police investigation documents out of the newspapers and the issue of Assange's possible extradition to the US from Sweden, which Lindskog regards as more or less impossible. Lindskog's comment "It's a mess" occurs a bit after the 0:46 mark in the video, and when he makes it, he has been talking extradition, not about the Swedish criminal case. (If you decide to follow the link to the videotape, you'll want to skip the first 14 minutes which mostly show audience wandering into the auditorium)

Assange -- who (of course) had earlier condemned Lindskog's talk as “absolutely outrageous” (see http://www.news.com.au/national-news/julian-assange-safe-from-extradition-to-us-says-justice-stefan-lindskog/story-fncynjr2-1226612062993) -- has by now had ample time to learn what Lindskog actually said, if he were interested in what Lindskog actually said

...Assange’s assistant: So the U.S. ambassador to the U.K. said .... early 2011 that the U.S. was waiting to see what happened with the Swedish case ...
JA: If not, there’d be one in the queue, and then the other one would come in, and then it would be the plight of the home secretary to make a decision, a reviewable court decision, a politically reviewable decision, to swap the precedent for these ...

US ambassador to the UK Louis Susman was on the 20 February 2011 Andrew Marr Show, and he said no such thing. Watch it yourself: the clip is only a bit over one minute

Posted by struggle4progress | Mon May 6, 2013, 02:56 PM (16 replies)

Partial list of Assange's lawyers

Julian Burnside
Graeme Orr
Jennifer Robinson
Robert Stary

Baltasar Garzon

Bjorn Hurtig
Thomas Olsson
Per Samuelson

Susan Benn
Ben Emmerson
Gareth Peirce
Geoffrey Robertson
Dinah Rose
Mark Stephens

Alan Dershowitz
Michael Ratner
Posted by struggle4progress | Tue Apr 30, 2013, 11:20 PM (3 replies)
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