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Free Assange

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WikiLeaks started out with the professed goal of bringing transparency to government actions by releasing classified documents it obtained through acts of espionage on the part of US military and other employees. 

One of the first releases was of a video tape from Afghanistan of Americans accidentally firing on and killing two Reuters journalists, whom were mistaken for insurgents.   A terrible event.

He then released a bevy of Defense and State Department cables--little of which revealed anything particularly compromising that anyone who follows the  news did not know anyway.  But the action undermined the air of confidentiality and the ability to speak openly that all diplomatic corps the world over rely on in order to conduct state business with one-another.  And they may have exposed individuals who help the US, to retaliation by their oppressive governments, terrorists, the Taliban and others.  Certainly people will think twice about risking their lives to help the US now.

I might not have liked what WikiLeaks was doing, but from a legal perspective and from the perspective of  "public's right to know," I could not make a completely sound case against his actions beyond denouncing them as flagrantly insensitive, profoundly naive and dangerously reckless.  

However, by releasing lists of sensitive sites and engaging in blackmail of the government by threatening  to release even more dangerous material if he were arrested, he has now exhibited a clear case of  malevolence, and I do hope the legal case against him for espionage will be worked out.

The sex-charges out of Sweden emerged after he began leaking the massive caches of sensitive documents, and many of his supporters claim it is a trumped-up charge made out of government retaliation.  As far as I am concerned, there is no longer a need to "trump-up" any charges, even if this was, allegedly, what was being done.

Here is an article from today that does a pretty good job encapsulating the affair, and also highlighting the criminal actions now being perpetrated on his behalf by online hack squads.  Like I said, go on and add your names to the list of his supporters....please.

Hackers strike at MasterCard to support WikiLeaks

By RAPHAEL G. SATTER and JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press â€“ 4 mins ago

LONDON – Hackers rushed to the defense of WikiLeaks on Wednesday, launching attacks on MasterCard, Swedish prosecutors, a Swiss bank and others who have acted against the site and its jailed founder Julian Assange.

Internet "hacktivists" operating under the label "Operation Payback" claimed responsibility in a Twitter message for causing severe technological problems at the website for MasterCard, which pulled the plug on its relationship with WikiLeaks a day ago.

MasterCard acknowledged "a service disruption" involving its Secure Code system for verifying online payments, but spokesman James Issokson said consumers could still use their credit cards for secure transactions.

The online attacks are part of a wave of support for WikiLeaks that is sweeping the Internet. Twitter was choked with messages of solidarity for the group, while the site's Facebook page hit 1 million fans.

Late Wednesday, Operation Payback itself appeared to run into problems, as many of its sites went down. It was unclear who was behind the counterattack.

MasterCard is the latest in a string of U.S.-based Internet companies — including Visa, Amazon.com, PayPal Inc. and EveryDNS — to cut ties to WikiLeaks in recent days amid intense U.S. government pressure. Visa or PayPal were not having problems Wednesday but PayPal said it faced "a dedicated denial-of-service attack" on Monday.

WikiLeaks' extensive releases of secret U.S. diplomatic cables have embarrassed U.S. allies, angered rivals, and reopened old wounds across the world. U.S. officials in Washington say other countries have curtailed their dealings with the U.S. government because of WikiLeaks' actions.

PayPal Vice President Osama Bedier said the company froze WikiLeaks' account after seeing a letter from the U.S. State Department to WikiLeaks saying that the group's activities "were deemed illegal in the United States."

Offline, WikiLeaks was under pressure on many fronts. Assange is in a British prison fighting extradition to Sweden over a sex crimes case. Recent moves by Swiss Postfinance, MasterCard, PayPal and others that cut the flow of donations to the group have impaired its ability to raise money.

Neither WikiLeaks nor Assange has been charged with any offense in the U.S., but the U.S. government is investigating whether Assange can be prosecuted for espionage or other offenses. Assange has not been charged with any offenses in Sweden either, but authorities there want to question him about the allegations of sex crimes.

Undeterred, WikiLeaks released more confidential U.S. cables Wednesday. The latest batch showed the British government feared a furious Libyan reaction if the convicted Lockerbie bomber wasn't set free and expressed relief when they learned he would be released in 2009 on compassionate grounds.

Another U.S. memo described German leader Angela Merkel as the "Teflon" chancellor, but she brushed it off as mere chatter at a party. American officials were also shown to be lobbying the Russian government to amend a financial bill they felt would disadvantage U.S. companies Visa and MasterCard.

The most surprising cable of the day came from a U.S. diplomat in Saudi Arabia after a night on the town.

"The underground nightlife of Jiddah's elite youth is thriving and throbbing," the memo said. "The full range of worldly temptations and vices are available — alcohol, drugs, sex — but all behind closed doors."

The pro-WikiLeaks vengeance campaign on Wednesday appeared to be taking the form of denial-of-service attacks in which computers are harnessed — sometimes surreptitiously — to jam target sites with mountains of requests for data, knocking them out of commission.

Per Hellqvist, a security specialist with the firm Symantec, said a network of web activists called Anonymous — to which Operation Payback is affiliated — appeared to be behind many of the attacks. The group, which has previously focused on the Church of Scientology and the music industry, is knocking offline websites seen as hostile to WikiLeaks.

"While we don't have much of an affiliation with WikiLeaks, we fight for the same reasons," the group said in a statement. "We want transparency and we counter censorship ... we intend to utilize our resources to raise awareness, attack those against and support those who are helping lead our world to freedom and democracy."

The website for Swedish lawyer Claes Borgstrom, who represents the two women at the center of Assange's sex crimes case, was unreachable Wednesday.

The Swiss postal system's financial arm, Postfinance, which shut down Assange's bank account on Monday, was also having trouble. Spokesman Alex Josty said the website buckled under a barrage of traffic Tuesday.

"Yesterday it was very, very difficult, then things improved overnight," he told the AP. "But it's still not entirely back to normal."

Ironically, the microblogging site Twitter — home of much WikiLeaks support — could become the next target. Operation Payback posted a statement claiming "Twitter you're next for censoring Wikileaks discussion."

Some WikiLeaks supporters accuse Twitter of preventing the term "WikiLeaks" from appearing as one of its popular "trending topics." Twitter denies censorship, saying the topics are determined by an algorithm.

Twitter's top trending topics are not the ones people are discussing the most overall, but those they are talking about more right now than they did previously, Twitter explained in an e-mail Wednesday. If tweets were ranked by volume alone, the weather or other mundane topics would dominate the trends.

WikiLeaks angered the U.S. government earlier this year when it posted a video showing U.S. troops on a helicopter gunning down two Reuters journalists in Iraq. Since then, the organization has leaked some 400,000 classified U.S. war files from Iraq and 76,000 from Afghanistan, which U.S. military officials say could put people's lives at risk. In the last few weeks, the group has begun leaking a massive trove of secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

U.S. officials have directed their anger at Assange, but others have begun to ask whether Washington shares the blame for the diplomatic uproar.

"The core of all this lies with the failure of the government of the United States to properly protect its own diplomatic communications," Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said Wednesday, criticizing the fact that tens of thousands of U.S. government employees had access to the cables.

Assange, meanwhile, faces a new extradition hearing in London next week where his lawyers plan to reapply for bail. The 39-year-old Australian denies two women's allegations in Sweden of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion, and is fighting his extradition to Sweden.

In a Twitter message Wednesday, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson shrugged off the challenges.

"We will not be gagged, either by judicial action or corporate censorship ... WikiLeaks is still online," Hrafnsson said.

___

Malin Rising in Stockholm, Frank Jordans in Geneva, Jamey Keaten in Paris, Cassandra Vinograd in London, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Brian Murphy in Dubai, Tia Goldenberg in Jerusalem, Michelle Chapman, Peter Svensson and Barbara Ortutay in New York and Anne Flaherty in Washington contributed to this report.

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WikiLeaks started out with the professed goal of bringing transparency to government actions by releasing classified documents it obtained through acts of espionage on the part of US military and other employees. 

One of the first releases was of a video tape from Afghanistan of Americans accidentally firing on and killing two Reuters journalists, whom were mistaken for insurgents.   A terrible event.

He then released a bevy of Defense and State Department cables--little of which revealed anything particularly compromising that anyone who follows the  news did not know anyway.  But the action undermined the air of confidentiality and the ability to speak openly that all diplomatic corps the world over rely on in order to conduct state business with one-another.  And they may have exposed individuals who help the US, to retaliation by their oppressive governments, terrorists, the Taliban and others.  Certainly people will think twice about risking their lives to help the US now.

I might not have liked what WikiLeaks was doing, but from a legal perspective and from the perspective of  "public's right to know," I could not make a completely sound case against his actions beyond denouncing them as flagrantly insensitive, profoundly naive and dangerously reckless.  

However, by releasing lists of sensitive sites and engaging in blackmail of the government by threatening  to release even more dangerous material if he were arrested, he has now exhibited a clear case of  malevolence, and I do hope the legal case against him for espionage will be worked out.

The sex-charges out of Sweden emerged after he began leaking the massive caches of sensitive documents, and many of his supporters claim it is a trumped-up charge made out of government retaliation.  As far as I am concerned, there is no longer a need to "trump-up" any charges, even if this was, allegedly, what was being done.

Here is an article from today that does a pretty good job encapsulating the affair, and also highlighting the criminal actions now being perpetrated on his behalf by online hack squads.  Like I said, go on and add your names to the list of his supporters....please.

Hackers strike at MasterCard to support WikiLeaks

By RAPHAEL G. SATTER and JILL LAWLESS, Associated Press â€“ 4 mins ago

LONDON – Hackers rushed to the defense of WikiLeaks on Wednesday, launching attacks on MasterCard, Swedish prosecutors, a Swiss bank and others who have acted against the site and its jailed founder Julian Assange.

Internet "hacktivists" operating under the label "Operation Payback" claimed responsibility in a Twitter message for causing severe technological problems at the website for MasterCard, which pulled the plug on its relationship with WikiLeaks a day ago.

MasterCard acknowledged "a service disruption" involving its Secure Code system for verifying online payments, but spokesman James Issokson said consumers could still use their credit cards for secure transactions.

The online attacks are part of a wave of support for WikiLeaks that is sweeping the Internet. Twitter was choked with messages of solidarity for the group, while the site's Facebook page hit 1 million fans.

Late Wednesday, Operation Payback itself appeared to run into problems, as many of its sites went down. It was unclear who was behind the counterattack.

MasterCard is the latest in a string of U.S.-based Internet companies — including Visa, Amazon.com, PayPal Inc. and EveryDNS — to cut ties to WikiLeaks in recent days amid intense U.S. government pressure. Visa or PayPal were not having problems Wednesday but PayPal said it faced "a dedicated denial-of-service attack" on Monday.

WikiLeaks' extensive releases of secret U.S. diplomatic cables have embarrassed U.S. allies, angered rivals, and reopened old wounds across the world. U.S. officials in Washington say other countries have curtailed their dealings with the U.S. government because of WikiLeaks' actions.

PayPal Vice President Osama Bedier said the company froze WikiLeaks' account after seeing a letter from the U.S. State Department to WikiLeaks saying that the group's activities "were deemed illegal in the United States."

Offline, WikiLeaks was under pressure on many fronts. Assange is in a British prison fighting extradition to Sweden over a sex crimes case. Recent moves by Swiss Postfinance, MasterCard, PayPal and others that cut the flow of donations to the group have impaired its ability to raise money.

Neither WikiLeaks nor Assange has been charged with any offense in the U.S., but the U.S. government is investigating whether Assange can be prosecuted for espionage or other offenses. Assange has not been charged with any offenses in Sweden either, but authorities there want to question him about the allegations of sex crimes.

Undeterred, WikiLeaks released more confidential U.S. cables Wednesday. The latest batch showed the British government feared a furious Libyan reaction if the convicted Lockerbie bomber wasn't set free and expressed relief when they learned he would be released in 2009 on compassionate grounds.

Another U.S. memo described German leader Angela Merkel as the "Teflon" chancellor, but she brushed it off as mere chatter at a party. American officials were also shown to be lobbying the Russian government to amend a financial bill they felt would disadvantage U.S. companies Visa and MasterCard.

The most surprising cable of the day came from a U.S. diplomat in Saudi Arabia after a night on the town.

"The underground nightlife of Jiddah's elite youth is thriving and throbbing," the memo said. "The full range of worldly temptations and vices are available — alcohol, drugs, sex — but all behind closed doors."

The pro-WikiLeaks vengeance campaign on Wednesday appeared to be taking the form of denial-of-service attacks in which computers are harnessed — sometimes surreptitiously — to jam target sites with mountains of requests for data, knocking them out of commission.

Per Hellqvist, a security specialist with the firm Symantec, said a network of web activists called Anonymous — to which Operation Payback is affiliated — appeared to be behind many of the attacks. The group, which has previously focused on the Church of Scientology and the music industry, is knocking offline websites seen as hostile to WikiLeaks.

"While we don't have much of an affiliation with WikiLeaks, we fight for the same reasons," the group said in a statement. "We want transparency and we counter censorship ... we intend to utilize our resources to raise awareness, attack those against and support those who are helping lead our world to freedom and democracy."

The website for Swedish lawyer Claes Borgstrom, who represents the two women at the center of Assange's sex crimes case, was unreachable Wednesday.

The Swiss postal system's financial arm, Postfinance, which shut down Assange's bank account on Monday, was also having trouble. Spokesman Alex Josty said the website buckled under a barrage of traffic Tuesday.

"Yesterday it was very, very difficult, then things improved overnight," he told the AP. "But it's still not entirely back to normal."

Ironically, the microblogging site Twitter — home of much WikiLeaks support — could become the next target. Operation Payback posted a statement claiming "Twitter you're next for censoring Wikileaks discussion."

Some WikiLeaks supporters accuse Twitter of preventing the term "WikiLeaks" from appearing as one of its popular "trending topics." Twitter denies censorship, saying the topics are determined by an algorithm.

Twitter's top trending topics are not the ones people are discussing the most overall, but those they are talking about more right now than they did previously, Twitter explained in an e-mail Wednesday. If tweets were ranked by volume alone, the weather or other mundane topics would dominate the trends.

WikiLeaks angered the U.S. government earlier this year when it posted a video showing U.S. troops on a helicopter gunning down two Reuters journalists in Iraq. Since then, the organization has leaked some 400,000 classified U.S. war files from Iraq and 76,000 from Afghanistan, which U.S. military officials say could put people's lives at risk. In the last few weeks, the group has begun leaking a massive trove of secret U.S. diplomatic cables.

U.S. officials have directed their anger at Assange, but others have begun to ask whether Washington shares the blame for the diplomatic uproar.

"The core of all this lies with the failure of the government of the United States to properly protect its own diplomatic communications," Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said Wednesday, criticizing the fact that tens of thousands of U.S. government employees had access to the cables.

Assange, meanwhile, faces a new extradition hearing in London next week where his lawyers plan to reapply for bail. The 39-year-old Australian denies two women's allegations in Sweden of rape, molestation and unlawful coercion, and is fighting his extradition to Sweden.

In a Twitter message Wednesday, WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson shrugged off the challenges.

"We will not be gagged, either by judicial action or corporate censorship ... WikiLeaks is still online," Hrafnsson said.

___

Malin Rising in Stockholm, Frank Jordans in Geneva, Jamey Keaten in Paris, Cassandra Vinograd in London, Rod McGuirk in Canberra, Brian Murphy in Dubai, Tia Goldenberg in Jerusalem, Michelle Chapman, Peter Svensson and Barbara Ortutay in New York and Anne Flaherty in Washington contributed to this report.

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Hi.

 

So, I am going topost a couple of things here all at once.  

 

I noted that"Dirty Day" was played as the intercom music at the head of the showin Brisbanelast night.  I can't know the motivation behind that decision, but I canspeculate that it might be an embedded commentary on this Assange affair. So, I want to say a few things, in case this is so.  

 

First, I want toestablish what my thoughts are on internet journalism and the related freedomof speech issues.  I believe in and support both.  And I accept and support the arguments regardingpress freedom and the public's right to know.

 

However, Ithink Assange did terrible damage, not just to the US, but to efforts around the worldfor governments and people to navigate the terrible complexity and danger ofthe modern global environment.   When he released lists of sensitivesites--including factories that produce vaccines to counter biological weaponsattacks by terrorists-- I cannot see that this brings anything of value toanyone other than those who might want to launch such an attack.   Andwhen he threatened to release even more dangerous material if arrested, hecrossed, I feel, the line of constructive journalism and became an agent ofintentional destruction.  I must stop on this side of that line he hasdrawn.

 

Now there is aglobal campaign of cybercrime, in the form of hacking, going on.  This wasstarted by his supporters and  is being countered by others.  We arenow fully engaged in a cyberwar.  Great.  War is war.

 

When AmnestyInternational first awarded Assange, I could understand their case andposition.  But I do not see how they can, in good faith and integrity,continue to support him now.  I know U2 is a life-long partner withAmnesty, a partnership which, for the most part, I support.  I also know thatBono has been repeatedly nominated for a Noble Prize.  So, I understandwhere his/their loyalties lie. 

 

I have often hadto engage with myself in philosophical and political acrobatics to findcompromise and consensus with some of Bono/U2's positions.  For the mostpart, these have been very fruitful and valuable mental and spiritualexercises. But, I have to admit that if Dirty Day was in any way an oppositioncommentary against US efforts to reign in an individual who is abusing thebrilliance and promise of the internet to do incredible harm, and if U2'sposition will be to come down on the side of  Assange in this affair, then I thinkthis might be the irrevocable breach between me and these metaphorical loves-of-my-life, that I will not be able to overcome.

 

I would also liketo add two articles below.  Russia had opined that Assangeshould be awarded the noble prize for being a martyr to the "loss of pressfreedom."  I would like to post again the news of the journalistsbeaten terribly in Russiathat I placed in another thread about the Khimiki forest and Bono's meetingwith Medvedev, because I cannot believe Russia's hypocracy.

 

I also would liketo post a Guardian article that discusses the conflation of the sex-assaultallegations in Swedenwith the furor around Wikileaks.

 

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Hi.

 

So, I am going topost a couple of things here all at once.  

 

I noted that"Dirty Day" was played as the intercom music at the head of the showin Brisbanelast night.  I can't know the motivation behind that decision, but I canspeculate that it might be an embedded commentary on this Assange affair. So, I want to say a few things, in case this is so.  

 

First, I want toestablish what my thoughts are on internet journalism and the related freedomof speech issues.  I believe in and support both.  And I accept and support the arguments regardingpress freedom and the public's right to know.

 

However, Ithink Assange did terrible damage, not just to the US, but to efforts around the worldfor governments and people to navigate the terrible complexity and danger ofthe modern global environment.   When he released lists of sensitivesites--including factories that produce vaccines to counter biological weaponsattacks by terrorists-- I cannot see that this brings anything of value toanyone other than those who might want to launch such an attack.   Andwhen he threatened to release even more dangerous material if arrested, hecrossed, I feel, the line of constructive journalism and became an agent ofintentional destruction.  I must stop on this side of that line he hasdrawn.

 

Now there is aglobal campaign of cybercrime, in the form of hacking, going on.  This wasstarted by his supporters and  is being countered by others.  We arenow fully engaged in a cyberwar.  Great.  War is war.

 

When AmnestyInternational first awarded Assange, I could understand their case andposition.  But I do not see how they can, in good faith and integrity,continue to support him now.  I know U2 is a life-long partner withAmnesty, a partnership which, for the most part, I support.  I also know thatBono has been repeatedly nominated for a Noble Prize.  So, I understandwhere his/their loyalties lie. 

 

I have often hadto engage with myself in philosophical and political acrobatics to findcompromise and consensus with some of Bono/U2's positions.  For the mostpart, these have been very fruitful and valuable mental and spiritualexercises. But, I have to admit that if Dirty Day was in any way an oppositioncommentary against US efforts to reign in an individual who is abusing thebrilliance and promise of the internet to do incredible harm, and if U2'sposition will be to come down on the side of  Assange in this affair, then I thinkthis might be the irrevocable breach between me and these metaphorical loves-of-my-life, that I will not be able to overcome.

 

I would also liketo add two articles below.  Russia had opined that Assangeshould be awarded the noble prize for being a martyr to the "loss of pressfreedom."  I would like to post again the news of the journalistsbeaten terribly in Russiathat I placed in another thread about the Khimiki forest and Bono's meetingwith Medvedev, because I cannot believe Russia's hypocracy.

 

I also would liketo post a Guardian article that discusses the conflation of the sex-assaultallegations in Swedenwith the furor around Wikileaks.

 

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Hi.

 

So, I am going topost a couple of things here all at once.  

 

I noted that"Dirty Day" was played as the intercom music at the head of the showin Brisbanelast night.  I can't know the motivation behind that decision, but I canspeculate that it might be an embedded commentary on this Assange affair. So, I want to say a few things, in case this is so.  

 

First, I want toestablish what my thoughts are on internet journalism and the related freedomof speech issues.  I believe in and support both.  And I accept and support the arguments regardingpress freedom and the public's right to know.

 

However, Ithink Assange did terrible damage, not just to the US, but to efforts around the worldfor governments and people to navigate the terrible complexity and danger ofthe modern global environment.   When he released lists of sensitivesites--including factories that produce vaccines to counter biological weaponsattacks by terrorists-- I cannot see that this brings anything of value toanyone other than those who might want to launch such an attack.   Andwhen he threatened to release even more dangerous material if arrested, hecrossed, I feel, the line of constructive journalism and became an agent ofintentional destruction.  I must stop on this side of that line he hasdrawn.

 

Now there is aglobal campaign of cybercrime, in the form of hacking, going on.  This wasstarted by his supporters and  is being countered by others.  We arenow fully engaged in a cyberwar.  Great.  War is war.

 

When AmnestyInternational first awarded Assange, I could understand their case andposition.  But I do not see how they can, in good faith and integrity,continue to support him now.  I know U2 is a life-long partner withAmnesty, a partnership which, for the most part, I support.  I also know thatBono has been repeatedly nominated for a Noble Prize.  So, I understandwhere his/their loyalties lie. 

 

I have often hadto engage with myself in philosophical and political acrobatics to findcompromise and consensus with some of Bono/U2's positions.  For the mostpart, these have been very fruitful and valuable mental and spiritualexercises. But, I have to admit that if Dirty Day was in any way an oppositioncommentary against US efforts to reign in an individual who is abusing thebrilliance and promise of the internet to do incredible harm, and if U2'sposition will be to come down on the side of  Assange in this affair, then I thinkthis might be the irrevocable breach between me and these metaphorical loves-of-my-life, that I will not be able to overcome.

 

I would also liketo add two articles below.  Russia had opined that Assangeshould be awarded the noble prize for being a martyr to the "loss of pressfreedom."  I would like to post again the news of the journalistsbeaten terribly in Russiathat I placed in another thread about the Khimiki forest and Bono's meetingwith Medvedev, because I cannot believe Russia's hypocracy.

 

I also would liketo post a Guardian article that discusses the conflation of the sex-assaultallegations in Swedenwith the furor around Wikileaks.

 

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...Continued from above post...


RUSSIAN JOURNALIST BEATEN UP, SECOND ONE IN 2 DAYS

by�THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

text size�A�A�A
MOSCOW�November 8, 2010, 02:57 pm ET

A reporter for a suburban Moscow paper was beaten up Monday, two days after another Moscow journalist was bludgeoned on the head, arms and legs in a brutal attack that was captured on video and has caused a national uproar.

No motivation for either attack has been determined, but both men wrote about efforts to stop developers from cutting down trees in forests around Moscow to build highways. In addition, an opposition activist also trying to protect the Khimki forest near Moscow had his skull fractured in assault last week.

Road construction is considered one of the most corrupt sectors in Russia, offering huge profits to the businesses and officials involved who may see the journalists and activists as a direct threat to their bank accounts.

Police in the Moscow suburb of Zhukovsky said they were investigating the attack on Anatoly Adamchuk by two men outside his weekly newspaper office early Monday. Adamchuk was hospitalized with a concussion, a colleague wrote on the website of the paper, Zhukovskiye Vesti.

Kommersant reporter Oleg Kashin was beaten so badly early Saturday that he had to be put into a drug-induced coma, suffering a head injury, a shattered jaw and a broken leg. His hands were so mangled that a joint of his left pinky was missing.

capt.photo_1289229811390-1-0.jpg?x=213&y=184&xc=1&yc=1&wc=409&hc=353&q=85&sig=rOJdWYUSa53VNCc.qGZrig--

"The United States condemns the attack on" on Kashin, U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in Washington on Monday, "and calls on Russian authorities to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice."

Russia has seen a wave of assaults on journalists and activists, and in most cases the perpetrators are never found. President Dmitry Medvedev, who has promised to crack down on corruption and strengthen the rule of law, has ordered that Kashin's attackers be found and punished. On Monday he said it was clear that Kashin was attacked for his work.

"It's not the way wallets usually get stolen," Medvedev said on television.

Kommersant, which focuses on business and politics, is one of Russia's major mainstream papers.

Kashin's wife, Yevgeniya Milova, said doctors are being extremely cautious in their prognosis. "We have no idea how long he will remain in a coma," she said on television.

Security camera footage posted Monday on YouTube purportedly shows the horrific attack on Kashin, who was jumped by two men outside his apartment building when he came home.

The grainy video appears to show a man with a bouquet of flowers punching Kashin in the face. A second man emerges from the shadows and the two pound the journalist with at least 50 blows, some with an unidentified weapon. The attackers leave in a hurry and the man on the ground tries to stand up but falls back to the ground.

Kashin had written on a wide range of issues, but among the more contentious was the efforts by environmentalists and opposition activists to protect the Khimki forest from being cleared for a new highway. Medvedev in August ordered the highway construction suspended, but there has been no final decision on the fate of the highway.

If the highway project is killed or if the road is built elsewhere, those who have invested in the project stand to lose out financially. The Khimki administration may also need to compensate investors.

Kommersant editor-in-chief Mikhail Mikhailin said Monday that he suspects the attack on Kashin is connected with the Khimki forest controversy.

"If you look at the particular style and brutality of the attack, it could be connected with this," Mikhailin said.

Khimki journalist Mikhail Beketov, who was among the first to raise public awareness about the forest, was severely beaten in 2008.

The successes of the Khimki campaign have inspired similar efforts, including one in Zhukovsky, where another highway is planned through a forest.

Adamchuk's newspaper has published critical reports about the construction plans, and last week Adamchuk wrote about schoolchildren who were detained by police after tying ribbons around trees in the forest. A rally to protest the highway construction is planned for Sunday in Zhukovsky.

Kashin's most obvious connection to the Khimki controversy was an interview he did in August with an anonymous blogger who claimed to head a group that ransacked the Khimki administration building in July.

The Kremlin youth group Molodaya Gvardiya, or Young Guard, took exception to the interview at the time, saying journalists should turn in criminals rather than interview them. The headline of the youth group's website article was "Traitor Journalists Must Be Punished!"

After Kashin was attacked, the group rejected any suspicions it was involved, posting a note expressing its "extreme sorrow" at the "barbarous attack."

"There is a civilized political battle and then there is out-and-out criminality ... we call upon everybody to understand this," the note said.

Associated Press writers David Nowak and Lynn Berry in Moscow and Desmond Butler in Washington contributed to this report


Last Edited By: security_in_anonymity 11/20/2010 15:52:39. Edited 5 times.

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...Continued from above post...


RUSSIAN JOURNALIST BEATEN UP, SECOND ONE IN 2 DAYS

by�THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

text size�A�A�A
MOSCOW�November 8, 2010, 02:57 pm ET

A reporter for a suburban Moscow paper was beaten up Monday, two days after another Moscow journalist was bludgeoned on the head, arms and legs in a brutal attack that was captured on video and has caused a national uproar.

No motivation for either attack has been determined, but both men wrote about efforts to stop developers from cutting down trees in forests around Moscow to build highways. In addition, an opposition activist also trying to protect the Khimki forest near Moscow had his skull fractured in assault last week.

Road construction is considered one of the most corrupt sectors in Russia, offering huge profits to the businesses and officials involved who may see the journalists and activists as a direct threat to their bank accounts.

Police in the Moscow suburb of Zhukovsky said they were investigating the attack on Anatoly Adamchuk by two men outside his weekly newspaper office early Monday. Adamchuk was hospitalized with a concussion, a colleague wrote on the website of the paper, Zhukovskiye Vesti.

Kommersant reporter Oleg Kashin was beaten so badly early Saturday that he had to be put into a drug-induced coma, suffering a head injury, a shattered jaw and a broken leg. His hands were so mangled that a joint of his left pinky was missing.

capt.photo_1289229811390-1-0.jpg?x=213&y=184&xc=1&yc=1&wc=409&hc=353&q=85&sig=rOJdWYUSa53VNCc.qGZrig--

"The United States condemns the attack on" on Kashin, U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in Washington on Monday, "and calls on Russian authorities to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice."

Russia has seen a wave of assaults on journalists and activists, and in most cases the perpetrators are never found. President Dmitry Medvedev, who has promised to crack down on corruption and strengthen the rule of law, has ordered that Kashin's attackers be found and punished. On Monday he said it was clear that Kashin was attacked for his work.

"It's not the way wallets usually get stolen," Medvedev said on television.

Kommersant, which focuses on business and politics, is one of Russia's major mainstream papers.

Kashin's wife, Yevgeniya Milova, said doctors are being extremely cautious in their prognosis. "We have no idea how long he will remain in a coma," she said on television.

Security camera footage posted Monday on YouTube purportedly shows the horrific attack on Kashin, who was jumped by two men outside his apartment building when he came home.

The grainy video appears to show a man with a bouquet of flowers punching Kashin in the face. A second man emerges from the shadows and the two pound the journalist with at least 50 blows, some with an unidentified weapon. The attackers leave in a hurry and the man on the ground tries to stand up but falls back to the ground.

Kashin had written on a wide range of issues, but among the more contentious was the efforts by environmentalists and opposition activists to protect the Khimki forest from being cleared for a new highway. Medvedev in August ordered the highway construction suspended, but there has been no final decision on the fate of the highway.

If the highway project is killed or if the road is built elsewhere, those who have invested in the project stand to lose out financially. The Khimki administration may also need to compensate investors.

Kommersant editor-in-chief Mikhail Mikhailin said Monday that he suspects the attack on Kashin is connected with the Khimki forest controversy.

"If you look at the particular style and brutality of the attack, it could be connected with this," Mikhailin said.

Khimki journalist Mikhail Beketov, who was among the first to raise public awareness about the forest, was severely beaten in 2008.

The successes of the Khimki campaign have inspired similar efforts, including one in Zhukovsky, where another highway is planned through a forest.

Adamchuk's newspaper has published critical reports about the construction plans, and last week Adamchuk wrote about schoolchildren who were detained by police after tying ribbons around trees in the forest. A rally to protest the highway construction is planned for Sunday in Zhukovsky.

Kashin's most obvious connection to the Khimki controversy was an interview he did in August with an anonymous blogger who claimed to head a group that ransacked the Khimki administration building in July.

The Kremlin youth group Molodaya Gvardiya, or Young Guard, took exception to the interview at the time, saying journalists should turn in criminals rather than interview them. The headline of the youth group's website article was "Traitor Journalists Must Be Punished!"

After Kashin was attacked, the group rejected any suspicions it was involved, posting a note expressing its "extreme sorrow" at the "barbarous attack."

"There is a civilized political battle and then there is out-and-out criminality ... we call upon everybody to understand this," the note said.

Associated Press writers David Nowak and Lynn Berry in Moscow and Desmond Butler in Washington contributed to this report


Last Edited By: security_in_anonymity 11/20/2010 15:52:39. Edited 5 times.

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...Continued from above post...


RUSSIAN JOURNALIST BEATEN UP, SECOND ONE IN 2 DAYS

by�THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

text size�A�A�A
MOSCOW�November 8, 2010, 02:57 pm ET

A reporter for a suburban Moscow paper was beaten up Monday, two days after another Moscow journalist was bludgeoned on the head, arms and legs in a brutal attack that was captured on video and has caused a national uproar.

No motivation for either attack has been determined, but both men wrote about efforts to stop developers from cutting down trees in forests around Moscow to build highways. In addition, an opposition activist also trying to protect the Khimki forest near Moscow had his skull fractured in assault last week.

Road construction is considered one of the most corrupt sectors in Russia, offering huge profits to the businesses and officials involved who may see the journalists and activists as a direct threat to their bank accounts.

Police in the Moscow suburb of Zhukovsky said they were investigating the attack on Anatoly Adamchuk by two men outside his weekly newspaper office early Monday. Adamchuk was hospitalized with a concussion, a colleague wrote on the website of the paper, Zhukovskiye Vesti.

Kommersant reporter Oleg Kashin was beaten so badly early Saturday that he had to be put into a drug-induced coma, suffering a head injury, a shattered jaw and a broken leg. His hands were so mangled that a joint of his left pinky was missing.

capt.photo_1289229811390-1-0.jpg?x=213&y=184&xc=1&yc=1&wc=409&hc=353&q=85&sig=rOJdWYUSa53VNCc.qGZrig--

"The United States condemns the attack on" on Kashin, U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said in Washington on Monday, "and calls on Russian authorities to bring the perpetrators of this heinous crime to justice."

Russia has seen a wave of assaults on journalists and activists, and in most cases the perpetrators are never found. President Dmitry Medvedev, who has promised to crack down on corruption and strengthen the rule of law, has ordered that Kashin's attackers be found and punished. On Monday he said it was clear that Kashin was attacked for his work.

"It's not the way wallets usually get stolen," Medvedev said on television.

Kommersant, which focuses on business and politics, is one of Russia's major mainstream papers.

Kashin's wife, Yevgeniya Milova, said doctors are being extremely cautious in their prognosis. "We have no idea how long he will remain in a coma," she said on television.

Security camera footage posted Monday on YouTube purportedly shows the horrific attack on Kashin, who was jumped by two men outside his apartment building when he came home.

The grainy video appears to show a man with a bouquet of flowers punching Kashin in the face. A second man emerges from the shadows and the two pound the journalist with at least 50 blows, some with an unidentified weapon. The attackers leave in a hurry and the man on the ground tries to stand up but falls back to the ground.

Kashin had written on a wide range of issues, but among the more contentious was the efforts by environmentalists and opposition activists to protect the Khimki forest from being cleared for a new highway. Medvedev in August ordered the highway construction suspended, but there has been no final decision on the fate of the highway.

If the highway project is killed or if the road is built elsewhere, those who have invested in the project stand to lose out financially. The Khimki administration may also need to compensate investors.

Kommersant editor-in-chief Mikhail Mikhailin said Monday that he suspects the attack on Kashin is connected with the Khimki forest controversy.

"If you look at the particular style and brutality of the attack, it could be connected with this," Mikhailin said.

Khimki journalist Mikhail Beketov, who was among the first to raise public awareness about the forest, was severely beaten in 2008.

The successes of the Khimki campaign have inspired similar efforts, including one in Zhukovsky, where another highway is planned through a forest.

Adamchuk's newspaper has published critical reports about the construction plans, and last week Adamchuk wrote about schoolchildren who were detained by police after tying ribbons around trees in the forest. A rally to protest the highway construction is planned for Sunday in Zhukovsky.

Kashin's most obvious connection to the Khimki controversy was an interview he did in August with an anonymous blogger who claimed to head a group that ransacked the Khimki administration building in July.

The Kremlin youth group Molodaya Gvardiya, or Young Guard, took exception to the interview at the time, saying journalists should turn in criminals rather than interview them. The headline of the youth group's website article was "Traitor Journalists Must Be Punished!"

After Kashin was attacked, the group rejected any suspicions it was involved, posting a note expressing its "extreme sorrow" at the "barbarous attack."

"There is a civilized political battle and then there is out-and-out criminality ... we call upon everybody to understand this," the note said.

Associated Press writers David Nowak and Lynn Berry in Moscow and Desmond Butler in Washington contributed to this report


Last Edited By: security_in_anonymity 11/20/2010 15:52:39. Edited 5 times.

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yeah, he did cross a line

 

its so easy to support him when you're not feeling any pain yourself.

 

when these supporters lose loved ones to terrorism

 

they'll be on their knees crying for their momma.

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Today I found an interesting quote by Jeff Jarvis, posted in an Italian blog.

 

"I can use Visa and Mastercard to pay for porn and support anti-abortion fanatics, Prop 8 homophobic bigots, and the Ku Klux Klan. But I can’t use them or PayPal to support Wikileaks, transparency, the First Amendment, and true government reform.â€

 

What do you think about it?

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Here's what I think about it:

 

Just because other wrongs exist in the world doesn't make yet another wrong justifiable.

 

This argument is like the one where two little kids are arguing, "but, mom, Johnny did it first!!!"

 

So what?

 

It still doesn't make it right.

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He's a scumbag, cult figure head with lemmings for followers. This has nothing to do with free speech, get a grip.

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Here is the transcript of a good discussion on the potential legal cases against Assange, hosted by the PBS News Hour:

ANALYSIS   AIR DATE: Dec. 7, 2010

Legal Tangle Tightens Around WikiLeaks, Julian Assange

GWEN IFILL: Now, for a look at the legal questions surrounding the Assange case, we turn to Jeffrey Smith, a partner at the Arnold & Porter law firm. He served as general counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1995 to 1996.And Abbe Lowell, partner at the law firm McDermott, Will & Emery, he's been involved in a number of high-profile cases and has defended clients charged with espionage.

Welcome to you both, gentlemen. Jeff Smith, what jeopardy is Assange actually in?

JEFFREY SMITH, Arnold & Porter: I think he's in serious legal jeopardy. And I think he should be.

Obviously, the U.S. government is looking at a variety of charges, espionage being the most central. But there are a number of other things, as the attorney general said, for which he might be charged

GWEN IFILL: For instance?

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, there's a variety of possibilities, including mishandling of government property, theft, receipt of theft of government property, other things that I'm sure the government is looking at, possible disclosure of the identity of intelligence agents, any number of things.

GWEN IFILL: What kind of case can you imagine being made against him?

Is it one that could stick, Mr. Lowell?

ABBE LOWELL, McDermott, Will & Emery: Well, first, it's not hard to charge him, because grand juries do that with not such a high level of proof.

The question will be whether a charge sticks. And that's depending on a number of factors. One is, there's never been a prosecution of the recipient of this kind of information under the Espionage Act, when that entity claims to have First Amendment media protection.

So, one issue will be whether or not WikiLeaks is a media outlet, and whether or not Assange is a journalist. If so, it's one question as to whether that statute applies constitutionally. Secondly, if it does, there's cases that say that, again, it's easy to charge, but to convict, the government has to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt that he had the highest specific intent to do harm to the United States that you possibly can have.

And that may be something they can prove, but people shouldn't think that this is just a walkaway. It's not that easy.

GWEN IFILL: Not a slam-dunk. Define, first of all -- assuming that espionage is one approach which the Justice Department is pursuing, define what that means.

JEFFREY SMITH: In this context, as Abbe says, it's never been used, but the plain language of the statute does say that it is a crime for someone who has national defense information without authority to convey it to someone else, knowing that it will do harm to the United States.

Over the years, the courts have added to that, knowing that it will do harm, the requirement that the individual act in bad faith. And my own judgment is that that will be pretty easy to prove here. I do not think that what Assange did, this massive release of information, with no patina of journalism around it, I think it's hard to believe that that will be constitutionally protected activity.

GWEN IFILL: Let's talk -- let's just get that off the table, this whole question of whether he is a journalist and whether he is -- what he did was constitutionally protected.

In your opinion?

ABBE LOWELL: Well, here's what the government would say in bringing a case.

The government will say that this is just providing the vehicle of a site in which raw material is dumped out, with no editorial function and no real activity, ergo, it's not really journalism.

And what journalists likely will say, because the line is a very fuzzy one, and it's a dangerous one under the First Amendment, and Assange will say back, is, no, acquiring information by whatever means and disseminating it to the public is the definition of journalism.

It has not been tested. It is ironic that this issue of what is the new media, what is the Internet may be defined and tested under the auspices of a 1917 criminal statute called the Espionage Act.

GWEN IFILL: Because this is -- what we remember is the Pentagon Papers, for instance, the case of Daniel Ellsberg, who wasn't a journalist, but released these documents, which were hard-copy documents.

JEFFREY SMITH: Yes.

GWEN IFILL: They weren't electronic documents, so it wasn't as many. But does that make a difference in how we gauge this?

JEFFREY SMITH: I think there are a lot of differences.

First of all, the Pentagon papers case, as it went before the Supreme Court, was a prior-restraint case. That is to say, the government was trying to prevent The New York Times from publishing it, rather than prosecute Ellsberg for disclosing it.

And, even in that case, a majority of justices on the Supreme Court said, admittedly not central to the decision, but said that prosecution of journalists might be possible in some circumstances. Justice Douglas dissented.

But I think this may be a case -- I think he has no real hope to call himself a journalist. He even solicits people on his Web site for them to submit classified documents or secrets. So, in some respects, he's inducing others to violate the law. And I don't think the courts would look favorably on that.

ABBE LOWELL: Gwen, the thing is that, up until now, these have been very selective cases with very selective disclosures...

GWEN IFILL: Right.

ABBE LOWELL: ... whether or not it's a single potential document or whether or not it's a single specific disclosure, not hundreds of thousands, and not done in this fashion.

So, therefore, the WikiLeaks case is going to be the test at the outer limits of how far the First Amendment may protect. And what are those words in that very old statute, the Espionage Act, going to mean, when they were written in the wake of World War I for a phenomenon of maps and ledgers and diagrams, and being applied in 2010 to terabytes of information?

GWEN IFILL: Well, and also to kind of a post-terror environment, or which...

JEFFREY SMITH: Yes.

GWEN IFILL: But I'm curious, one little detail, which is, he's not a U.S. citizen. How liable is he under these laws?

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, there's one case in which an East German citizen was convicted under the statutes.

I don't think -- he undoubtedly would raise the question of extraterritorial application, but I don't think his citizenship makes any difference. It will have had an impact on the United States. And I think the courts won't give him any slack on that issue.

ABBE LOWELL: And he, if he wants to, will raise the defense of whatever he gets out of the First Amendment which would be applicable to him in the United States, even if he wasn't a U.S. citizen. So, it will cut both ways.

But, because he is not in the United States, there's the extra issue of whether he can be extradited. And that's a whole different set of obstacles for the U.S. to get. And, anyway, it's just not that simple, that he's done something and we're going to have him here the day after tomorrow to face charges.

GWEN IFILL: Nothing is terribly simple in this case.

What -- what about the idea that he has stolen government property, that he is in possession and is disseminating something that belongs to somebody else?

JEFFREY SMITH: I think there's a relatively minor dimension of this. It may be a case -- a charge brought against him, but the much more serious is the espionage harm to the national security.

And I think that I'm -- frankly, I'm hopeful that the government is able to obtain jurisdiction over him and successfully prosecute him.

ABBE LOWELL: I think that's what the attorney general was referring to, in part.

GWEN IFILL: Yes.

ABBE LOWELL: I mean, I -- it's an easier, in some ways, case to make than to sort through the First Amendment protection of the Espionage Act's application to the media.

And the wrinkle there is that he's not the one who stole the information, at least as far as what is being reported.

GWEN IFILL: Private Bradley Manning is alleged to have -- the Army private -- to have done it.

ABBE LOWELL: That's right. So, as to whether or not the normal theft of government information can be applied to him is yet another complication.Now, it is a serious crime. And it can be charged and punished as a felony. And it's always easier to go after the easier statute than it is to do the other.

So, if you're looking at -- to what the federal government could do, they will look at the Espionage Act. They will look at the theft of government information or government material. And we will see if there's even a more creative one that the attorney general had in mind.

GWEN IFILL: What is the difference, theoretically, between what Julian Assange did in this case and what newspapers did in publishing the information he gave them, The New York Times, The Guardian in London?

JEFFREY SMITH: I think it's a fundamental difference. What Assange did was solicit this young private, assuming that's -- he's the source of it, to give him the secrets. And then he just put it out or is proposing to put it out.

What the newspapers have done, in my judgment, is constitutionally protected.They looked at the material. They talked to the U.S. government. They asked the U.S. government what harm would result. They made certain redactions in the documents. They did other reporting surrounding the cables to see how it fit in the broader picture of what's going on.

And I think that's fundamentally different than what Assange did.

GWEN IFILL: And...

ABBE LOWELL: And from a...

GWEN IFILL: Go ahead.

ABBE LOWELL: ... First Amendment point of view, Gwen, though, not so fast.

GWEN IFILL: Well, that's what I was going to ask. Is there a broader definition of the First Amendment protection here that could be applied?

ABBE LOWELL: You know, Jeff is correct that, in terms of conduct, depending on what conduct is found, whether or not he did solicit the private or not, for example, would be a very big difference.

JEFFREY SMITH: Yes.

ABBE LOWELL: But -- but, putting that aside, let's just say that you are comparing apples to apples, and the apples were what he discloses to the public and what the other media disclosed. If it's the same cables with the same redactions, if it's the same kind of information, that will not distinguish his conduct well from what the other, let's say, more traditional media does.

And I will tell you, whether or not it changes the charge will be a very big part of his defense, to show that those two acts are the same.

GWEN IFILL: It sounds very much like, at least from a legal sense, this story is just beginning.

JEFFREY SMITH: Yes.

GWEN IFILL: Jeff Smith and Abbe Lowell, thank you both very much.

JEFFREY SMITH: You're very welcome.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law/july-dec10/wikileaks2_12-07.html

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Here is the transcript of a good discussion on the potential legal cases against Assange, hosted by the PBS News Hour:

ANALYSIS   AIR DATE: Dec. 7, 2010

Legal Tangle Tightens Around WikiLeaks, Julian Assange

GWEN IFILL: Now, for a look at the legal questions surrounding the Assange case, we turn to Jeffrey Smith, a partner at the Arnold & Porter law firm. He served as general counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1995 to 1996.And Abbe Lowell, partner at the law firm McDermott, Will & Emery, he's been involved in a number of high-profile cases and has defended clients charged with espionage.

Welcome to you both, gentlemen. Jeff Smith, what jeopardy is Assange actually in?

JEFFREY SMITH, Arnold & Porter: I think he's in serious legal jeopardy. And I think he should be.

Obviously, the U.S. government is looking at a variety of charges, espionage being the most central. But there are a number of other things, as the attorney general said, for which he might be charged

GWEN IFILL: For instance?

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, there's a variety of possibilities, including mishandling of government property, theft, receipt of theft of government property, other things that I'm sure the government is looking at, possible disclosure of the identity of intelligence agents, any number of things.

GWEN IFILL: What kind of case can you imagine being made against him?

Is it one that could stick, Mr. Lowell?

ABBE LOWELL, McDermott, Will & Emery: Well, first, it's not hard to charge him, because grand juries do that with not such a high level of proof.

The question will be whether a charge sticks. And that's depending on a number of factors. One is, there's never been a prosecution of the recipient of this kind of information under the Espionage Act, when that entity claims to have First Amendment media protection.

So, one issue will be whether or not WikiLeaks is a media outlet, and whether or not Assange is a journalist. If so, it's one question as to whether that statute applies constitutionally. Secondly, if it does, there's cases that say that, again, it's easy to charge, but to convict, the government has to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt that he had the highest specific intent to do harm to the United States that you possibly can have.

And that may be something they can prove, but people shouldn't think that this is just a walkaway. It's not that easy.

GWEN IFILL: Not a slam-dunk. Define, first of all -- assuming that espionage is one approach which the Justice Department is pursuing, define what that means.

JEFFREY SMITH: In this context, as Abbe says, it's never been used, but the plain language of the statute does say that it is a crime for someone who has national defense information without authority to convey it to someone else, knowing that it will do harm to the United States.

Over the years, the courts have added to that, knowing that it will do harm, the requirement that the individual act in bad faith. And my own judgment is that that will be pretty easy to prove here. I do not think that what Assange did, this massive release of information, with no patina of journalism around it, I think it's hard to believe that that will be constitutionally protected activity.

GWEN IFILL: Let's talk -- let's just get that off the table, this whole question of whether he is a journalist and whether he is -- what he did was constitutionally protected.

In your opinion?

ABBE LOWELL: Well, here's what the government would say in bringing a case.

The government will say that this is just providing the vehicle of a site in which raw material is dumped out, with no editorial function and no real activity, ergo, it's not really journalism.

And what journalists likely will say, because the line is a very fuzzy one, and it's a dangerous one under the First Amendment, and Assange will say back, is, no, acquiring information by whatever means and disseminating it to the public is the definition of journalism.

It has not been tested. It is ironic that this issue of what is the new media, what is the Internet may be defined and tested under the auspices of a 1917 criminal statute called the Espionage Act.

GWEN IFILL: Because this is -- what we remember is the Pentagon Papers, for instance, the case of Daniel Ellsberg, who wasn't a journalist, but released these documents, which were hard-copy documents.

JEFFREY SMITH: Yes.

GWEN IFILL: They weren't electronic documents, so it wasn't as many. But does that make a difference in how we gauge this?

JEFFREY SMITH: I think there are a lot of differences.

First of all, the Pentagon papers case, as it went before the Supreme Court, was a prior-restraint case. That is to say, the government was trying to prevent The New York Times from publishing it, rather than prosecute Ellsberg for disclosing it.

And, even in that case, a majority of justices on the Supreme Court said, admittedly not central to the decision, but said that prosecution of journalists might be possible in some circumstances. Justice Douglas dissented.

But I think this may be a case -- I think he has no real hope to call himself a journalist. He even solicits people on his Web site for them to submit classified documents or secrets. So, in some respects, he's inducing others to violate the law. And I don't think the courts would look favorably on that.

ABBE LOWELL: Gwen, the thing is that, up until now, these have been very selective cases with very selective disclosures...

GWEN IFILL: Right.

ABBE LOWELL: ... whether or not it's a single potential document or whether or not it's a single specific disclosure, not hundreds of thousands, and not done in this fashion.

So, therefore, the WikiLeaks case is going to be the test at the outer limits of how far the First Amendment may protect. And what are those words in that very old statute, the Espionage Act, going to mean, when they were written in the wake of World War I for a phenomenon of maps and ledgers and diagrams, and being applied in 2010 to terabytes of information?

GWEN IFILL: Well, and also to kind of a post-terror environment, or which...

JEFFREY SMITH: Yes.

GWEN IFILL: But I'm curious, one little detail, which is, he's not a U.S. citizen. How liable is he under these laws?

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, there's one case in which an East German citizen was convicted under the statutes.

I don't think -- he undoubtedly would raise the question of extraterritorial application, but I don't think his citizenship makes any difference. It will have had an impact on the United States. And I think the courts won't give him any slack on that issue.

ABBE LOWELL: And he, if he wants to, will raise the defense of whatever he gets out of the First Amendment which would be applicable to him in the United States, even if he wasn't a U.S. citizen. So, it will cut both ways.

But, because he is not in the United States, there's the extra issue of whether he can be extradited. And that's a whole different set of obstacles for the U.S. to get. And, anyway, it's just not that simple, that he's done something and we're going to have him here the day after tomorrow to face charges.

GWEN IFILL: Nothing is terribly simple in this case.

What -- what about the idea that he has stolen government property, that he is in possession and is disseminating something that belongs to somebody else?

JEFFREY SMITH: I think there's a relatively minor dimension of this. It may be a case -- a charge brought against him, but the much more serious is the espionage harm to the national security.

And I think that I'm -- frankly, I'm hopeful that the government is able to obtain jurisdiction over him and successfully prosecute him.

ABBE LOWELL: I think that's what the attorney general was referring to, in part.

GWEN IFILL: Yes.

ABBE LOWELL: I mean, I -- it's an easier, in some ways, case to make than to sort through the First Amendment protection of the Espionage Act's application to the media.

And the wrinkle there is that he's not the one who stole the information, at least as far as what is being reported.

GWEN IFILL: Private Bradley Manning is alleged to have -- the Army private -- to have done it.

ABBE LOWELL: That's right. So, as to whether or not the normal theft of government information can be applied to him is yet another complication.Now, it is a serious crime. And it can be charged and punished as a felony. And it's always easier to go after the easier statute than it is to do the other.

So, if you're looking at -- to what the federal government could do, they will look at the Espionage Act. They will look at the theft of government information or government material. And we will see if there's even a more creative one that the attorney general had in mind.

GWEN IFILL: What is the difference, theoretically, between what Julian Assange did in this case and what newspapers did in publishing the information he gave them, The New York Times, The Guardian in London?

JEFFREY SMITH: I think it's a fundamental difference. What Assange did was solicit this young private, assuming that's -- he's the source of it, to give him the secrets. And then he just put it out or is proposing to put it out.

What the newspapers have done, in my judgment, is constitutionally protected.They looked at the material. They talked to the U.S. government. They asked the U.S. government what harm would result. They made certain redactions in the documents. They did other reporting surrounding the cables to see how it fit in the broader picture of what's going on.

And I think that's fundamentally different than what Assange did.

GWEN IFILL: And...

ABBE LOWELL: And from a...

GWEN IFILL: Go ahead.

ABBE LOWELL: ... First Amendment point of view, Gwen, though, not so fast.

GWEN IFILL: Well, that's what I was going to ask. Is there a broader definition of the First Amendment protection here that could be applied?

ABBE LOWELL: You know, Jeff is correct that, in terms of conduct, depending on what conduct is found, whether or not he did solicit the private or not, for example, would be a very big difference.

JEFFREY SMITH: Yes.

ABBE LOWELL: But -- but, putting that aside, let's just say that you are comparing apples to apples, and the apples were what he discloses to the public and what the other media disclosed. If it's the same cables with the same redactions, if it's the same kind of information, that will not distinguish his conduct well from what the other, let's say, more traditional media does.

And I will tell you, whether or not it changes the charge will be a very big part of his defense, to show that those two acts are the same.

GWEN IFILL: It sounds very much like, at least from a legal sense, this story is just beginning.

JEFFREY SMITH: Yes.

GWEN IFILL: Jeff Smith and Abbe Lowell, thank you both very much.

JEFFREY SMITH: You're very welcome.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law/july-dec10/wikileaks2_12-07.html

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Here is the transcript of a good discussion on the potential legal cases against Assange, hosted by the PBS News Hour:

ANALYSIS   AIR DATE: Dec. 7, 2010

Legal Tangle Tightens Around WikiLeaks, Julian Assange

GWEN IFILL: Now, for a look at the legal questions surrounding the Assange case, we turn to Jeffrey Smith, a partner at the Arnold & Porter law firm. He served as general counsel of the Central Intelligence Agency from 1995 to 1996.And Abbe Lowell, partner at the law firm McDermott, Will & Emery, he's been involved in a number of high-profile cases and has defended clients charged with espionage.

Welcome to you both, gentlemen. Jeff Smith, what jeopardy is Assange actually in?

JEFFREY SMITH, Arnold & Porter: I think he's in serious legal jeopardy. And I think he should be.

Obviously, the U.S. government is looking at a variety of charges, espionage being the most central. But there are a number of other things, as the attorney general said, for which he might be charged

GWEN IFILL: For instance?

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, there's a variety of possibilities, including mishandling of government property, theft, receipt of theft of government property, other things that I'm sure the government is looking at, possible disclosure of the identity of intelligence agents, any number of things.

GWEN IFILL: What kind of case can you imagine being made against him?

Is it one that could stick, Mr. Lowell?

ABBE LOWELL, McDermott, Will & Emery: Well, first, it's not hard to charge him, because grand juries do that with not such a high level of proof.

The question will be whether a charge sticks. And that's depending on a number of factors. One is, there's never been a prosecution of the recipient of this kind of information under the Espionage Act, when that entity claims to have First Amendment media protection.

So, one issue will be whether or not WikiLeaks is a media outlet, and whether or not Assange is a journalist. If so, it's one question as to whether that statute applies constitutionally. Secondly, if it does, there's cases that say that, again, it's easy to charge, but to convict, the government has to have proof beyond a reasonable doubt that he had the highest specific intent to do harm to the United States that you possibly can have.

And that may be something they can prove, but people shouldn't think that this is just a walkaway. It's not that easy.

GWEN IFILL: Not a slam-dunk. Define, first of all -- assuming that espionage is one approach which the Justice Department is pursuing, define what that means.

JEFFREY SMITH: In this context, as Abbe says, it's never been used, but the plain language of the statute does say that it is a crime for someone who has national defense information without authority to convey it to someone else, knowing that it will do harm to the United States.

Over the years, the courts have added to that, knowing that it will do harm, the requirement that the individual act in bad faith. And my own judgment is that that will be pretty easy to prove here. I do not think that what Assange did, this massive release of information, with no patina of journalism around it, I think it's hard to believe that that will be constitutionally protected activity.

GWEN IFILL: Let's talk -- let's just get that off the table, this whole question of whether he is a journalist and whether he is -- what he did was constitutionally protected.

In your opinion?

ABBE LOWELL: Well, here's what the government would say in bringing a case.

The government will say that this is just providing the vehicle of a site in which raw material is dumped out, with no editorial function and no real activity, ergo, it's not really journalism.

And what journalists likely will say, because the line is a very fuzzy one, and it's a dangerous one under the First Amendment, and Assange will say back, is, no, acquiring information by whatever means and disseminating it to the public is the definition of journalism.

It has not been tested. It is ironic that this issue of what is the new media, what is the Internet may be defined and tested under the auspices of a 1917 criminal statute called the Espionage Act.

GWEN IFILL: Because this is -- what we remember is the Pentagon Papers, for instance, the case of Daniel Ellsberg, who wasn't a journalist, but released these documents, which were hard-copy documents.

JEFFREY SMITH: Yes.

GWEN IFILL: They weren't electronic documents, so it wasn't as many. But does that make a difference in how we gauge this?

JEFFREY SMITH: I think there are a lot of differences.

First of all, the Pentagon papers case, as it went before the Supreme Court, was a prior-restraint case. That is to say, the government was trying to prevent The New York Times from publishing it, rather than prosecute Ellsberg for disclosing it.

And, even in that case, a majority of justices on the Supreme Court said, admittedly not central to the decision, but said that prosecution of journalists might be possible in some circumstances. Justice Douglas dissented.

But I think this may be a case -- I think he has no real hope to call himself a journalist. He even solicits people on his Web site for them to submit classified documents or secrets. So, in some respects, he's inducing others to violate the law. And I don't think the courts would look favorably on that.

ABBE LOWELL: Gwen, the thing is that, up until now, these have been very selective cases with very selective disclosures...

GWEN IFILL: Right.

ABBE LOWELL: ... whether or not it's a single potential document or whether or not it's a single specific disclosure, not hundreds of thousands, and not done in this fashion.

So, therefore, the WikiLeaks case is going to be the test at the outer limits of how far the First Amendment may protect. And what are those words in that very old statute, the Espionage Act, going to mean, when they were written in the wake of World War I for a phenomenon of maps and ledgers and diagrams, and being applied in 2010 to terabytes of information?

GWEN IFILL: Well, and also to kind of a post-terror environment, or which...

JEFFREY SMITH: Yes.

GWEN IFILL: But I'm curious, one little detail, which is, he's not a U.S. citizen. How liable is he under these laws?

JEFFREY SMITH: Well, there's one case in which an East German citizen was convicted under the statutes.

I don't think -- he undoubtedly would raise the question of extraterritorial application, but I don't think his citizenship makes any difference. It will have had an impact on the United States. And I think the courts won't give him any slack on that issue.

ABBE LOWELL: And he, if he wants to, will raise the defense of whatever he gets out of the First Amendment which would be applicable to him in the United States, even if he wasn't a U.S. citizen. So, it will cut both ways.

But, because he is not in the United States, there's the extra issue of whether he can be extradited. And that's a whole different set of obstacles for the U.S. to get. And, anyway, it's just not that simple, that he's done something and we're going to have him here the day after tomorrow to face charges.

GWEN IFILL: Nothing is terribly simple in this case.

What -- what about the idea that he has stolen government property, that he is in possession and is disseminating something that belongs to somebody else?

JEFFREY SMITH: I think there's a relatively minor dimension of this. It may be a case -- a charge brought against him, but the much more serious is the espionage harm to the national security.

And I think that I'm -- frankly, I'm hopeful that the government is able to obtain jurisdiction over him and successfully prosecute him.

ABBE LOWELL: I think that's what the attorney general was referring to, in part.

GWEN IFILL: Yes.

ABBE LOWELL: I mean, I -- it's an easier, in some ways, case to make than to sort through the First Amendment protection of the Espionage Act's application to the media.

And the wrinkle there is that he's not the one who stole the information, at least as far as what is being reported.

GWEN IFILL: Private Bradley Manning is alleged to have -- the Army private -- to have done it.

ABBE LOWELL: That's right. So, as to whether or not the normal theft of government information can be applied to him is yet another complication.Now, it is a serious crime. And it can be charged and punished as a felony. And it's always easier to go after the easier statute than it is to do the other.

So, if you're looking at -- to what the federal government could do, they will look at the Espionage Act. They will look at the theft of government information or government material. And we will see if there's even a more creative one that the attorney general had in mind.

GWEN IFILL: What is the difference, theoretically, between what Julian Assange did in this case and what newspapers did in publishing the information he gave them, The New York Times, The Guardian in London?

JEFFREY SMITH: I think it's a fundamental difference. What Assange did was solicit this young private, assuming that's -- he's the source of it, to give him the secrets. And then he just put it out or is proposing to put it out.

What the newspapers have done, in my judgment, is constitutionally protected.They looked at the material. They talked to the U.S. government. They asked the U.S. government what harm would result. They made certain redactions in the documents. They did other reporting surrounding the cables to see how it fit in the broader picture of what's going on.

And I think that's fundamentally different than what Assange did.

GWEN IFILL: And...

ABBE LOWELL: And from a...

GWEN IFILL: Go ahead.

ABBE LOWELL: ... First Amendment point of view, Gwen, though, not so fast.

GWEN IFILL: Well, that's what I was going to ask. Is there a broader definition of the First Amendment protection here that could be applied?

ABBE LOWELL: You know, Jeff is correct that, in terms of conduct, depending on what conduct is found, whether or not he did solicit the private or not, for example, would be a very big difference.

JEFFREY SMITH: Yes.

ABBE LOWELL: But -- but, putting that aside, let's just say that you are comparing apples to apples, and the apples were what he discloses to the public and what the other media disclosed. If it's the same cables with the same redactions, if it's the same kind of information, that will not distinguish his conduct well from what the other, let's say, more traditional media does.

And I will tell you, whether or not it changes the charge will be a very big part of his defense, to show that those two acts are the same.

GWEN IFILL: It sounds very much like, at least from a legal sense, this story is just beginning.

JEFFREY SMITH: Yes.

GWEN IFILL: Jeff Smith and Abbe Lowell, thank you both very much.

JEFFREY SMITH: You're very welcome.

http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/law/july-dec10/wikileaks2_12-07.html

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thank you security so much. this information is very helpful and pretty easy to follow and understand.

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thank you security so much. this information is very helpful and pretty easy to follow and understand.

Not at all, Spicy.  You are welcome.

This is a landmark issue, I think....and the rulings that come out of this affair will set a series of frameworks with far-reaching implications that will touch on many areas.  I expect precedent-setting and groundbreaking policy decisions to be spawned.  

I am really very pleased to be alive and engaged right now.  I have spent the last 18 months pulling together my strategy for my start-up, which will focus on new media and new technologies, their convergence, and the policies needed to govern those.  And I will be running it from DC, where I will have access to the latest dialog and developments surrounding such issues. There are already two wikileaks-related  think-tank events scheduled for next week, which I will be attending.

This is an excellent point to be launching my site, and I just happened to have begun, finally, to design it within the last week and a half after a year of trying to figure out exactly how I wanted to proceed and what I want to ultimately do.  This timing is serendipitous, I guess.  I will let you guys know when the site is live, should anyone have interest.

I want the very best and most intelligent policies for the future....those that will encourage innovation, transparency, human rights, peaceful global development, and energy and ecological sustainability, while preventing the worst scenarios from emerging--like synthetic bioweapons being designed by teenagers in virtual wet-labs on their smart phones.  Yes, this is a credible futures scenario.  There are many more.

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thank you security so much. this information is very helpful and pretty easy to follow and understand.

Not at all, Spicy.  You are welcome.

This is a landmark issue, I think....and the rulings that come out of this affair will set a series of frameworks with far-reaching implications that will touch on many areas.  I expect precedent-setting and groundbreaking policy decisions to be spawned.  

I am really very pleased to be alive and engaged right now.  I have spent the last 18 months pulling together my strategy for my start-up, which will focus on new media and new technologies, their convergence, and the policies needed to govern those.  And I will be running it from DC, where I will have access to the latest dialog and developments surrounding such issues. There are already two wikileaks-related  think-tank events scheduled for next week, which I will be attending.

This is an excellent point to be launching my site, and I just happened to have begun, finally, to design it within the last week and a half after a year of trying to figure out exactly how I wanted to proceed and what I want to ultimately do.  This timing is serendipitous, I guess.  I will let you guys know when the site is live, should anyone have interest.

I want the very best and most intelligent policies for the future....those that will encourage innovation, transparency, human rights, peaceful global development, and energy and ecological sustainability, while preventing the worst scenarios from emerging--like synthetic bioweapons being designed by teenagers in virtual wet-labs on their smart phones.  Yes, this is a credible futures scenario.  There are many more.

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thank you security so much. this information is very helpful and pretty easy to follow and understand.

Not at all, Spicy.  You are welcome.

This is a landmark issue, I think....and the rulings that come out of this affair will set a series of frameworks with far-reaching implications that will touch on many areas.  I expect precedent-setting and groundbreaking policy decisions to be spawned.  

I am really very pleased to be alive and engaged right now.  I have spent the last 18 months pulling together my strategy for my start-up, which will focus on new media and new technologies, their convergence, and the policies needed to govern those.  And I will be running it from DC, where I will have access to the latest dialog and developments surrounding such issues. There are already two wikileaks-related  think-tank events scheduled for next week, which I will be attending.

This is an excellent point to be launching my site, and I just happened to have begun, finally, to design it within the last week and a half after a year of trying to figure out exactly how I wanted to proceed and what I want to ultimately do.  This timing is serendipitous, I guess.  I will let you guys know when the site is live, should anyone have interest.

I want the very best and most intelligent policies for the future....those that will encourage innovation, transparency, human rights, peaceful global development, and energy and ecological sustainability, while preventing the worst scenarios from emerging--like synthetic bioweapons being designed by teenagers in virtual wet-labs on their smart phones.  Yes, this is a credible futures scenario.  There are many more.

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Free Assange, thats something I've been thinking of. Transparency he says. I like clarity, truth, its the only way to expose those who are corrupted inside. I am neutral.  I like the USA to be clean from the white house out to the rest of the wold. Many are corrupted, their ideals, they want to pass their ideals to the rest of the world, make laws for each time someone ones to "bring on their own new thing, which might be a threat to marriages, the innocense of our youth, children, exposing things that defy our creators true intent for us all. Assange, God help him, surely, the USA government should speak to him and work out something. What is pushing to do this. I feel that it has free the United States, it is all out, and clear. No need for more lies, our holding our anger inside, it has been let out> I like clarity and transparency, now about the threat because Alqueida, "the base", well, I say, use the satelites to track him, where he is at, and just take care of what needs to be done for the world. We can't have these killers, the Taliban too, loose. There is law and order that needs to be upheld. It applies to them too. If they want a position in government, they shall have to earn the respect of the people and treat them with dignity and respect, not cutting womens ears off. If the Afghanistan Presiden hasn't put that man in jain, then he is not fit to be the leader.  He can't possible be a barbarian too. Even though he is a president, he is a man, and it is his duty as a man to protect the women and children from crazy men like the one who injure this woman, the one from the "Times" with the green eyes, I shall not look at him as a good leader if he does not jailed this criminal. Such a beautiful flower, injured like that, even I would have wacked him if I was there. Poor woman. Assange, has given the USA a relief valve, we can always protect the security of our country by having our protectors "Being Ready" not three hours away like when the planes attacked, being here in the East coast, west coast, south border and north border. Also, send help to the government of Mexico to bring down the drug lords and their influence to the young with it.

Assange, he is an interesting man, like a knife with two edges, he has provided the United States a clear view of the "others" other nations, I like that, they know us, we know them, clear path to follow. I like that. So, I think he has done the United States a great service, gave the USA an opportunity to see inside the minds of them, and them to us, I like this. Truth is better than lies. It comes down to that. It is such a good feeling that everyone knows each other now. Also, I feel that the United States and South Korea, have not acted right with North Korea. I think they should go and destroy what Kim has created, these nuclear things. Just go to the spot and shoot. No war needed, just one plane with minimum casualty. Stop him dead on his track. The world is tired of these wars, and the abuse of other countries being attacked, Israel, South Korea, someone has to do something about it. I think Barrack is very intelligent, no need for war, just use minimum force to destroy what they have created which is being used to provoke wars on others. Bring our soldiers home to protect the homeland. Let Afghanistan stand on their own two feet now. We assist them in what ever we can. Iraq too. And India, Pakistan, thats a knife with two edges. They protect the terrorist giving them a place to plan and execute their evil deeds, I think, we should double think our relationship with Pakistan. Stop giving so much money to these governments and the banks in the United States are evil, they betrayed the USA government and the people of the United States. I swear, they are evil. I think the United States should be grateful to Assange. Even though it is crazy what he did if you think about, for him he is thinking of clarity, transparency, thats something positive, I think the United States is in a better place today because of him. The path is clear now for all, not just the USA. Everyone better do their jobs now. Keep their eyes and minds in their jobs not their ties. Assange is an interesting man. I can't find a negative coming from him. This must have been predestined for this times to occur. A stowaway comes and open pandoras box, and everything is clear and the truth has set even the United States free. We should really think on how to handle him, he has done a wrong, misjudgement, anyone can make a mistake. He is only human. But, if you ask me, I think he has done the United State a great favor. China is exposed for who they are. I like that, since china is a power monger and they want to controll the entire planet from upthere, from space, or the moon, but thats what they have in mind. Thats what they are working on. Now, the USA has a clear view of them. Its about time and they owe it to Assange. China is the biggest threat to the United States of America because of their secret plans on contrll which they are working but not from down here, but from the heavens. If you ask me, I am neutral. If it is good for the USA and the US can see ahead, the path to follow, with new clarity, than, I say, punish him but remember, he is more of a "door that opened" and by this, it benefits the USA more than it hurts from now on.  Now, the President has a clear path, for sure, eliminate alquaeda, not by war, but by individual attacks, on each site they bring themselves too. Can't afford to have them loose. We are fighting an invisible war, with invisible warriors, because they walk amongst us as one of us, but inside, they are serving with a black soul, corrupted spirits, no feelings, no light, just blindness, even though they are awake, they can't see the truth of who they are actually serving;  because we are fighting, the spiritual corruption of these people, which is very hard to decifer, unless you are ONE who is in touch with the Energy of the Whole, the Source which is God, one can sense them, feel them, and even see them.

Realmawake

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