US vs Wikileaks

 US aggressively attacks Wikileaks over leaked cables



3rd December
2010
  

Update: Wikiprats...

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US senator proposes a bill censoring publishers of leaked data

jor lieberman With Amazon dumping Wikileaks due to pressure from Senator Joe Lieberman, it seems to have only emboldened Lieberman to shred more of the First Amendment he's supposed to be protecting.

First, he has continued pressuring other companies to not host Wikileaks content.

This has resulted in Tableau Software removing a graph of embassies most often appearing in the Wikileaks Cable data. People have pointed out that there was no sensitive data in what it had published, but because of Lieberman's grandstanding, the company felt the need to remove the chart.

Lieberman has now introduced an anti-Wikileaks bill, which would expand the Espionage Act to make it a criminal act if you publish the name of a US intelligence source. Note that it is already illegal to leak such a name, but this bill seeks to make it illegal to publish the names after they've been leaked.

This seems like a classic violation of the First Amendment. As Wired notes, something like this would make it illegal for a newspaper to publish the fact that former Panamanian dictator Manuel Noreiga was once a paid CIA intelligence source.

 

5th December
2010
  

Updated: Wikileaks Under Attack...


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Attacked on several fronts

Wikileaks Wikileaks has been disrupted after the company providing its domain name cut off its DNS service.

The website main domain name at wikileaks.org is no longer associated with the underlying IP address of  http://213.251.145.96/

EveryDNS.net claimed it had terminated services because Wikileaks.org had come under massive cyber attacks.

But Wikileaks has already reappeared using a Swiss web domains name wikileaks.ch . In a surprising twist, the .ch address is also hosted by EveryDNS.

Wikileaks has also used the micro-blogging site Twitter to urge its fans to redistribute its IP address so it can be viewed at any time.

Experts say it is likely that Wikileaks has done deals with lots of web hosting companies, although many are likely to back away from dealing with the controversial site in the light of recent web attacks.

In France, Industry Minister Eric Besson has called for a ban of Wikileaks on French servers. One of the mirror sites, Wikileaks.ch, is currently hosted on servers in France.

Paul Mutton, a security analyst at internet services firm Netcraft said using a Swiss domain could be Wikileaks anticipating the next line of attack - having its IP address de-registered: Moving to a non-US domain makes sense. Its previous domain was registered with a US company and as such has to work within US laws, with potential for the government to lean on it and get it suspended.

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange is currently reported to be staying at a secret address in the UK. In a question-and-answer session on the website of the Guardian newspaper, he said there had been threats against his life: We are taking the appropriate precautions to the degree that we are able when dealing with a super power.

Wikileaks initially used the online store Amazon to host its site but the company ended the agreement on Wednesday - a move 'welcomed' by US officials. Amazon claimed that it had not removed Wikileaks because of a government inquiry. Instead it said Wikileaks had failed to adhere to its terms of service.

Meanwhile the press have been reporting that there is now some sort of international arrest warrant issued against Julian Assange on supposed rape charges.

But the Daily Mail has researched the Swedish cases and has found that they are very minor indeed. It seems that the 'crime' is sex by surprise, carrying a penalty of $715, and is related to condom use. See article from dailymail.co.uk

Update: Not So Pally

5th December 2010. Based on article from  guardian.co.uk

Paypal logo PayPal has frozen WikiLeaks' account in the latest action against the whistleblower website, which has been posting leaked US embassy cables online.

The decision by the online payment site – which WikiLeaks had used to raise funds for web hosting and other costs – has been announced with a posting on PayPal's blog.

PayPal said: PayPal has permanently restricted the account used by WikiLeaks due to a violation of the PayPal acceptable use policy, which states that our payment service cannot be used for any activities that encourage, promote, facilitate or instruct others to engage in illegal activity. We've notified the account holder of this action.

Update: Visa Denied

8th December 2010. Based on article from  observer.com

Ethically Correct Visa Mastercard and Visa have declared they are suspending payments to Wikileaks, effectively blocking their customers from donating to the organization.

As Jeff Jarvis points out over at HuffPo, 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.

There is a difference, of course, between being an ideological outsider, or even a proponent of hate speech, and the #1 enemy of the state.

Update: Money is No Longer Safe in a Swiss Bank

9th December 2010. Based on article from  guardian.co.uk

Switzerland flag The Swiss post office's bank, PostFinance, has frozen the accounts of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

The whistle-blowing website says the freeze includes a defence fund and personal assets worth 31,000 euros.

Update: Bank of America Censors

19th December 2010. Based on article from  telegraph.co.uk

Bank of America has halted all transactions for WikiLeaks, joining other institutions that refuse to process payments for the website that has exposed a trove of US government cables.

Bank of America joins in the actions previously announced by MasterCard, PayPal, Visa Europe and others and will not process transactions of any type that we have reason to believe are intended for WikiLeaks, the largest US bank said in a statement.

This decision is based upon our reasonable belief that WikiLeaks may be engaged in activities that are, among other things, inconsistent with our internal policies for processing payments. [yeah yeah]

Update: Pipped by Apple

23rd December 2010. Based on article from  gamepolitics.com

Apple logo The Wikileaks app has been censored by the iOS App Store because it 'violates the company's developer guidelines', Apple claimed.

The $1.99 WikiLeaks app was only up on the App Store for three days. The developer had promised to donate $1 from every sale to groups that support online democracy.

Apple's statement echo those of governments around the world who claim that Wikileak's activities put people's lives in danger.

Offsite: Mirror sites taken down

24th December 2010. See  article from  thetechherald.com

Wikileaks In at least three separate cases, sites hosting mirrors of diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks have been taken down due to pressure from the hosting provider. The reason for the takedowns is said to be severe violations of the host's Terms of Service (ToS), illegal activities, or the potential for DDoS attacks related to the mirror's contents.

The host in question, SiteGround, appears to be suspending the WikiLeaks mirrors on behalf of its upstream provider SoftLayer. In all three cases, SoftLayer reported domains hosting mirrored Cablegate content as being in violation of the Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) and ToS. As a result, SiteGround suspended the accounts and gave mixed reasons for doing so.

...Read the full article

 

8th December
2010
  

Update: Arrested Over a Condom Leak?...

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Julian Assange arrested and held without bail in London

Metropiltan Police badge The whistleblowing website WikiLeaks said last night it would not to be gagged by the imprisonment of its founder, Julian Assange, after a judge refused him bail at a dramatic extradition hearing in London.

Assange who is wanted in Sweden over claims he 'sexually assaulted' two women, was in Wandsworth prison last night after district judge Howard Riddle claimed there was a risk he would fail to surrender if granted bail. Assange denies the allegations.

Despite Jemima Khan, former wife of Pakistan cricket captain Imran Khan, the campaigning journalist John Pilger, the film director Ken Loach and others offering to stand surety totalling £180,000, the judge said the Australian Assange's weak community ties in the UK, and his means and ability to abscond, represented substantial grounds for refusing bail.

He was remanded until 14 December, when the case can be reviewed at the same court. His legal team said he would again apply for bail at that hearing.

Last night Kristinn Hrafnsson, a spokesman for WikiLeaks, confirmed it would continue publishing US diplomatic cables. In a statement he said: This will not stifle WikiLeaks. The release of the US embassy cables – the biggest leak in history – will still continue. We will not be gagged, either by judicial action or corporate censorship.

The refusal to grant Assange bail came on a day when increasing pressure was brought to bear in the US on companies and organisations with ties to WikiLeaks. As Joe Lieberman, chairman of the Senate's homeland security committee, urged businesses to sever their ties with the website, Visa suspended the payment of donations to the website through its credit card.

Michael Mukasey, a former US attorney general, said last night that American lawyers should try to extradite Assange to the US for betraying government secrets. Mukasey implied that the Swedish sexual accusations may only be a holding charge. When one is accused of a very serious crime, he said, it's common to hold him in respect of a lesser crime … while you assemble evidence of a second crime.

After the ruling – with supporters waving A4 printouts reading Character Assassination and Protect Free Speech – his solicitor, Mark Stephens, emerged from court to claim the prosecution was politically motivated and pledged WikiLeaks would not be cowed. Assange was entitled to a high court appeal, he said, adding the judge was impressed with the number of people prepared to stand up on his client's behalf. [Those supporters] were but the tip of the iceberg, he said. This is going to go viral. Many people believe Mr Assange to be innocent, myself included. Many people believe that this prosecution is politically motivated.

Assange was arrested by appointment at a London police station at 9.20am after a European arrest warrant was received by the Metropolitan police extradition unit. He appeared in court at 2pm, where he spoke to confirm his name and date of birth and to tell the court: I do not consent to my extradition.

Update: Britain not Sweden opposes bail

16th December 2010. Based on article from  guardian.co.uk

The decision to have Julian Assange sent to a London jail and kept there was taken by the British authorities and not by prosecutors in Sweden, as previously thought, the Guardian has learned.

The Crown Prosecution Service will go to the high court tomorrow to seek the reversal of a decision to free the WikiLeaks founder on bail, made yesterday by a judge at City of Westminster magistrates court.

It had been widely thought Sweden had made the decision to oppose bail, with the CPS acting merely as its representative. But today the Swedish prosecutor's office told the Guardian it had not got a view at all on bail and that Britain had made the decision to oppose bail.

Lawyers for Assange reacted to the news with shock and said CPS officials had told them this week it was Sweden which had asked them to ensure he was kept in prison.

Karin Rosander, director of communications for Sweden's prosecutor's office, told the Guardian: The decision was made by the British prosecutor. I got it confirmed by the CPS this morning that the decision to appeal the granting of bail was entirely a matter for the CPS. The Swedish prosecutors are not entitled to make decisions within Britain. It is entirely up to the British authorities to handle it.

Update: Bail granted

17th December 2010. bbc.co.uk  Based on article from  bbc.co.uk

The founder of whistle-blowing website Wikileaks, Julian Assange, has vowed to continue my work and to protest my innocence after being freed on bail.

Mr Justice Ouseley ordered Assange be released on payment of £240,000 in cash and sureties and on condition he resides at an address in East Anglia.

Assange's solicitor, Mark Stephens, said after the court appearance the bail appeal was part of a continuing vendetta by the Swedes .

Assange is accused of having unprotected sex with a woman, identified only as Miss A, when she insisted he use a condom. He is also accused of the unlikely sounding offence of having unprotected sex with another woman, Miss W, while she was asleep.

The judge imposed strict bail conditions including wearing an electronic tag, reporting to police every day, observing a curfew and residing at a specified residence.

A full extradition hearing should normally take place within 21 days of the arrest. Mr Assange was arrested on 7 December, so this should be by 28 December. However, in such a high profile case, it is possible that a full extradition hearing will not take place for several months.

Update: Weak Case

6th February 2011. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

Rape case against the WikiLeaks chief weak

Details in a police file of the rape case against Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, reveal a series of apparent contradictions and inconsistencies in the evidence against him.

Assange faces extradition to Sweden on a European Arrest Warrant. He has not been charged but is wanted for further questioning.

Mark Stephens, Mr Assange's lawyer, said: This is the third time people have sought to prejudice the outcome of Julian Assange's case by leaking information.

Kirsty Brimelow, a barrister asked by Stephens to independently review the evidence against Assange, said: I do not consider that the evidence would reach the charge threshold in this country; let alone sustain a prosecution.

Update: Automatic Extradition

28th February 2011. See  article from  telegraph.co.uk

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has criticised the unjust European arrest warrant system after a judge ruled he should be extradited to Sweden to face sex offence charges.

The ruling against him came as a result of a European arrest warrant system run amok , he claimed.

He said: There was no consideration during this entire process as to the merit of the allegations made against me, no consideration or examination of even the complaints made in Sweden and of course we have always known we would appeal.

Launching into a criticism of the system, he said 95% of European arrest warrants were successful and he welcomed a pending review of UK extradition procedures due in June.

Update: Extradited

6th November 2011. See  article from  huffingtonpost.co.uk

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has lost his High Court bid to block extradition to Sweden, where he faces rape allegations.

Lord Justice Thomas and Justice Ouseley said that Assange must return to Sweden on a European arrest warrant to face rape and sexual assault allegations made by two Swedish women after a visit to Stockholm in August 2010.

The Australian could now be sent to Sweden within 10 days, unless as expected he decides to appeal the decision.

Update: Ecuador grants political asylum

17th August 2012. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

A major diplomatic row over the fate of the fugitive Julian Assange erupted after the WikiLeaks founder was offered political asylum by Ecuador to escape extradition from Britain over allegations of serious sexual assaults.

The foreign secretary, William Hague, responded by warning the Ecuadorean government that diplomatic immunity should not be used to harbour alleged criminals. He said Assange would be arrested if he leaves the embassy in London where he has lived for nearly two months.

Ecuador's decision has also angered the Swedish authorities, who wish to question Assange and the two women who claim he assaulted them during a trip to the country in 2010. Assange denies the assault claims and says he fears being sent on to the United States where he could face political persecution for releasing thousands of secret US cables.

 

9th December
2010
  

Update: Safe in Swiss Hands...

Swiss domain registrar keeps Wikileaks on the web

Switzerland flag WikiLeaks received a boost when Switzerland rejected growing international calls to force the site off the internet.

The whistleblowers site, which has been publishing leaked US embassy cables, was forced to switch domain names to WikiLeaks.ch after the US host of its main website, WikiLeaks.org, pulled the plug following mounting political pressure.

The site's new Swiss registrar, Switch, today said there was no reason why it should be forced offline, despite demands from France and the US. Switch is a non-profit registrar set up by the Swiss government for all 1.5 million Swiss .ch domain names.

The Swiss Pirate Party, which registered the WikiLeaks.ch domain name earlier this year on behalf of the site, said Switch had reassured the party that it would not block the site.

Laurence Kaye, leader of the UK-based Pirate Party, tonight told the Guardian: International Pirate Parties now have an integral role in allowing access to WikiLeaks. I wish some of our other politicians had the same guts.We support the WikiLeaks project as access to information is the prerequisite for an informed and engaged democracy.

 

9th December
2010
  

Update: Student Warning...

US students warned that online discussions related to Wikileaks may endanger future security clearance

us dept of state logo A State Department official warned students at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs this week that discussing WikiLeaks on Facebook or Twitter could endanger their employment prospects.

The official, a former student of the school, called the career services office of his alma mater to advise students not to post links to Wikileaks documents, nor to make comments on social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.

The school careers office passed on the message to students:

From: Office of Career Services

We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance.

The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.

 

9th December
2010
  

Update: An Anonymous Attack...

Activists target credit card companies who denied service to Wikileaks

Anonymous Anti-censorship activists have attacked the websites of credit card giants Mastercard and Visa.

The attacks came after the Anonymous group pledged to pursue firms that have withdrawn services from Wikileaks.

Mastercard payments were disrupted but the firm said there was no impact on people's ability to use their cards.

Visa's website also experienced problems. The attacks came after both companies stopped processing payments to the whistle-blowing site.

Entries on the Twitter page of Operation Payback, the Anonymous campaign, said the Visa site had been taken down. Visa's website was later restored and spokesman Ted Carr said its processing network, which handles cardholder transactions, was working normally.

But in a day of fast-moving developments, the Anonymous Twitter page then went down, replaced by a message from Twitter saying the account had been suspended.

An Anonymous member told AFP news agency the group would extend their campaign to anyone with an anti-Wikileaks agenda .

PayPal, which has stopped processing donations to Wikileaks, has also been targeted. The firm claimed the Wikileaks' account had violated its terms of services. But PayPal's Osama Bedier told the Le Web conference

On 27 November the State Department, the US government, basically wrote a letter [to Wikileaks] saying that [its] activities were deemed illegal in the United States.

And as a result our policy group had to make the decision of suspending their account. It's honestly, just pretty straightforward from our perspective and there's not much more to it than that.

Anonymous is also helping to create hundreds of mirror sites for Wikileaks, after its US domain name provider withdrew its services.

Coldblood of Anonymous said that the group was beginning to wind down the DDoS attacks so that it could concentrate on using other methods which are more focused on supporting Wikileaks and making sure the Internet stays a free and open place .

 

14th December
2010
  

Update: Iceland Cools on Visa and MasterCard...

Iceland speaks of action against Wikileaks censorship by credit card companies

Ethically Correct Visa Credit card companies that prevented card-holders from donating money to WikiLeaks could have their operating licenses taken away in Iceland, according to members of the Icelandic Parliamentary General Committee.

Representatives from Mastercard and Visa were called before the committee to discuss their refusal to process donations to the website, reports Reykjavik Grapevine.

People wanted to know on what legal grounds the ban was taken, but no one could answer it, Robert Marshall, the chairman of the committee, said: They said this decision was taken by foreign sources.

The committee is seeking additional information from the credit card companies for proof that there was legal grounds for blocking the donations.

Marshall said the committee would seriously review the operating licenses of Visa and Mastercard in Iceland.

WikiLeaks' payment processor, the Icelandic company DataCell ehf, said it would take immediate legal action against the companies to make donations possible again.

 

15th December
2010
  

Update: US News Censorship...

Newspaper websites blocked at the US Air Force

China flag The US air force has blocked employees from accessing the websites of the Guardian, the New York Times and other news organisations carrying the WikiLeaks US embassy cables.

At least 25 sites that have posted WikiLeaks files had been barred, said Major Toni Tones of the US air force's space command in Colorado. He siad this was on grounds of hosting inappropriate materials .

According to the Wall Street Journal, staff who attempt to access the blocked sites instead see an on-screen message saying: Access denied. Internet usage is logged and monitored.

The air force's move follows instructions by the government that staff should not access the cables.

Update: Twitter supporters under US pressure

12th January 2011. See  article from  guardian.co.uk

An Iceland MP who is also a former WikiLeaks volunteer says the US justice department has ordered Twitter to hand over her private messages.

Birgitta Jonsdottir, an MP for the Movement in Iceland, said on Twitter that the USA government wants to know about all my tweets. Do they realize I am a member of parliament in Iceland?

She said she was starting a legal fight to stop the US getting hold of her messages, after being told by Twitter that a subpoena had been issued. She wrote: department of justice are requesting twitter to provide the info – I got 10 days to stop it via legal process before twitter hands it over.

 

7th January
2012
  

Update: Leaked Judgement...

Court confirms requirement for Twitter to hand over data about supporters of Wikileaks

doj logoTwitter has to provide the U.S. Department of Justice with all account information for three users who allegedly support WikiLeaks, a federal judge has ordered. The data will be used in the investigation into WikiLeaks and its leader, Julian Assange.

U.S. District Judge Liam O'Grady denied a motion to suspend previous orders that would allow the DOJ access to the Twitter account information of three people who are suspected of having ties to WikiLeaks.

The information the Department of Justice requested is extensive as Salon reported: It includes all mailing addresses and billing information known for the user, all connection records and session times, all IP addresses used to access Twitter, all known email accounts, as well as the 'means and source of payment,' including banking records and credit cards.

In December 2010, a magistrate judge granted the Department of Justice permission to seek the three account holders' Twitter information under a secret order.  The ACLU took the case before a magistrate judge who ruled in favor of the Department of Justice. The case was then presented to an appeals court, presided by Judge O'Grady who upheld the ruling. This most recent decision allows investigators into WikiLeaks to move forward with their request for Twitter account information.

 

 Update: Plugging Leaks with a Large Mallet...

Bradley Manning found guilty of most charges related to revelations published on Wikileaks


Link Here 31st July 2013  full story: US vs Wikileaks...US aggressively attacks Wikileaks over leaked cables

doj logoBradley Manning , the source of the massive WikiLeaks trove of secret disclosures, has been convicted of most charges on which he stood trial.

Colonel Denise Lind, the military judge presiding over the court martial of the US soldier, delivered her verdict in curt and pointed language. Guilty, guilty, guilty, guilty, she repeated over and over, as the reality of a prolonged prison sentence for Manning dawned.

The one ray of light in an otherwise bleak outcome for Manning was that he was found not guilty of the single most serious charge against him, that he knowingly aided the enemy . the soldier was found guilty in their entirety of 17 out of the 22 counts against him, and of an amended version of four others.

WikiLeaks and Julian Assange were mentioned repeatedly during the trial by the US government which tried to prove that the anti-secrecy organisation had directly steered Manning in his leaking activities, an allegation strongly denied by the accused. Prosecutors drew heavily on still classified web conversations between Manning and an individual going by the name of Press Association , whom the government alleges was Assange.

Update: 35 years

22nd August 2013. See  article from  en.rsf.org

Reporters Without Borders condemned the 35-year prison sentence meted out today to U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning on charges including 10 counts of espionage and theft .

Reporters Without Borders expressed the hope that the sentence will be reversed on appeal. The press freedom organization said:

Following the targeting of Edward Snowden , the disproportionate sentence for Manning hits hard at whistleblowers and shows how vulnerable they are. The Army is sending a clear message to them and to all journalists who dare to report whistleblowers' disclosures: the United States will strike back severely at anyone who uncovers information of public interest concerning the exercise of official powers.

The sentence strikes a blow against American democracy, in which the press must be free to report government abuses.

 


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