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30 December 2010

Many Arab officials have close CIA links: Assange

Top officials in several Arab countries have close links with the CIA, and many officials keep visiting US embassies in their respective countries voluntarily to establish links with this key US intelligence agency, says Julian Assange, founder of the whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks.

“These officials are spies for the US in their countries,” Assange told Al Jazeera Arabic channel in an interview yesterday.

The interviewer, Ahmed Mansour, said at the start of the interview which was a continuation of last week’s interface, that Assange had even shown him the files that contained the names of some top Arab officials with alleged links with the CIA.

Assange or Mansour, however, didn’t disclose the names of these officials. The WikiLeaks founder said he feared he could be killed but added that there were 2,000 websites that were ready to publish the remaining files that are in possession of WikiLeaks after “he has been done away with”.

“If I am killed or detained for a long time, there are 2,000 websites ready to publish the remaining files. We have protected these websites through very safe passwords,” said Assange.

Currently, his whistle-blowing website is exposing files in a ‘responsible’ manner, he claimed. “But if I am forced we could go to the extreme and expose each and every file that we have access to,” thundered the WikiLeaks founder. “We must protect our sources at whatever cost. This is our sincere concern.”

Some Arab countries even have torture houses where Washington regularly sends ‘suspects’ for ‘interrogation and torture’, he said.

WikiLeaks is receiving sensitive files from Afghanistan, Kenya, Russia and China, among other countries. For nine years the US and Nato forces have failed to silence people in Afghanistan because the people there are loyal and truthful. The US marines fighting in Afghanistan are not happy being there and don’t really know why they are there and fighting for what, said Assange.The US is trying to use latest technology to disrupt his website but in vain.

“Washington is also projecting me as a terrorist and wants to convince the world that I am another Osama bin Laden,” he said. According to Assange, he will be put on a trial for his various expose in a special court in London from January 11, 2011 and this court deals with terror-related cases.

“If the UK (where I am based right now) decides to hand me over to Sweden for alleged cases of sexual abuse, they (Stockholm) would hand me over to the US,” he said. Assange said he feared that the US might slap laws declaring him as a spy who had been acting against Washington. The Pentagon has set up a ‘war room’ manned by 120 officials and their job is just to disrupt and destroy WikiLeaks, he said.

“We have more files dealing with defense issues of Central Europe, but I or my staff didn’t have the time to go through all of them.” What is being published by the five media partners of WikiLeaks are publishing only those details which they think are interesting for their readers. There are some Arab officials who are ‘stealing’ oil of their countries.

“We need these media partners to focus more on this issue,” Assange said in this extensive, interesting and last version of his interface with Doha-based Aljazeera. US embassies around the world are very anxious about Israel, Iran, Labour unions, arms dealings (mainly selling of American arms), and spying through high-tech devices.

28 December 2010

UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection
the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression

Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression

Joint Statement On Wikileaks

December 21, 2010 – In light of ongoing developments related to the release of diplomatic cables by the organization Wikileaks, and the publication of information contained in those cables by mainstream news organizations, the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Opinion and Expression and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) Special Rapporteur for Freedom of Expression see fit to recall a number of international legal principles. The rapporteurs call upon States and other relevant actors to keep these principles in mind when responding to the aforementioned developments.

1. The right to access information held by public authorities is a fundamental human right subject to a strict regime of exceptions. The right to access to information protects the right of every person to access public information and to know what governments are doing on their behalf. It is a right that has received particular attention from the international community, given its importance to the consolidation, functioning and preservation of democratic regimes. Without the protection of this right, it is impossible for citizens to know the truth, demand accountability and fully exercise their right to political participation. National authorities should take active steps to ensure the principle of maximum transparency, address the culture of secrecy that still prevails in many countries and increase the amount of information subject to routine disclosure.

2. At the same time, the right of access to information should be subject to a narrowly tailored system of exceptions to protect overriding public and private interests such as national security and the rights and security of other persons. Secrecy laws should define national security precisely and indicate clearly the criteria which should be used in determining whether or not information can be declared secret. Exceptions to access to information on national security or other grounds should apply only where there is a risk of substantial harm to the protected interest and where that harm is greater than the overall public interest in having access to the information. In accordance with international standards, information regarding human rights violations should not be considered secret or classified.

3. Public authorities and their staff bear sole responsibility for protecting the confidentiality of legitimately classified information under their control. Other individuals, including journalists, media workers and civil society representatives, who receive and disseminate classified information because they believe it is in the public interest, should not be subject to liability unless they committed fraud or another crime to obtain the information. In addition, government "whistleblowers" releasing information on violations of the law, on wrongdoing by public bodies, on a serious threat to health, safety or the environment, or on a breach of human rights or humanitarian law should be protected against legal, administrative or employment-related sanctions if they act in good faith. Any attempt to impose subsequent liability on those who disseminate classified information should be grounded in previously established laws enforced by impartial and independent legal systems with full respect for due process guarantees, including the right to appeal.

4. Direct or indirect government interference in or pressure exerted upon any expression or information transmitted through any means of oral, written, artistic, visual or electronic communication must be prohibited by law when it is aimed at influencing content. Such illegitimate interference includes politically motivated legal cases brought against journalists and independent media, and blocking of websites and web domains on political grounds. Calls by public officials for illegitimate retributive action are not acceptable.

5. Filtering systems which are not end-user controlled – whether imposed by a government or commercial service provider – are a form of prior censorship and cannot be justified. Corporations that provide Internet services should make an effort to ensure that they respect the rights of their clients to use the Internet without arbitrary interference.

6. Self-regulatory mechanisms for journalists have played an important role in fostering greater awareness about how to report on and address difficult and controversial subjects. Special journalistic responsibility is called for when reporting information from confidential sources that may affect valuable interests such as fundamental rights or the security of other persons. Ethical codes for journalists should therefore provide for an evaluation of the public interest in obtaining such information. Such codes can also provide useful guidance for new forms of communication and for new media organizations, which should likewise voluntarily adopt ethical best practices to ensure that the information made available is accurate, fairly presented and does not cause substantial harm to legally protected interests such as human rights.

Catalina Botero Marino
Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Special Rapporteur on Freedom of Expression

Frank LaRue
UN Special Rapporteur on the Promotion and Protection of the Right to Freedom of Opinion and Expression

24 December 2010

WTF? – CIA enters WikiLeaks war

The CIA has set up a unique task force dedicated to assessing the impact of the recent deluge of leaked diplomatic cables and military files from the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

Reports in the US media describe how the WikiLeaks Task Force - which has quickly earned the acronym “WTF” - has been established to provide an “extensive inventory” of all the information that has come out through a number of high profile leaks of classified information.

Julian Assange – espenmoe/flickr

The task force is thought to be involved in calculating the immediate effects of the releases, such as the US ability to recruit informants.

This new role was widely unexpected given that the CIA is one of the government agencies least effected by the leaks, whose source remains unknown despite the continuing imprisonment of former intelligence officer Bradley Manning.

A reluctance on the part of senior CIA staff to share their intelligence on the same platform from which the leaks were taken has meant that only a few files out of hundreds of thousands refer to CIA activities.

The CIA’s system has always been separate from “SIPRNET” – the Pentagon’s classified worldwide three million-strong network from which the leaks were taken – despite most of the reports having a similar secret-level status.

To some within the agency, the leaks have justified the policy of separation – one that came under severe scrutiny after failed inter-agency communications led in part to the terrorist attacks in New York on September 11 2001.

“[The CIA] has not capitulated to this business of making everything available to outsiders. They don’t even make everything available to insiders. And by and large the system has worked,” an unnamed CIA veteran WAS quoted in the Washington Post.

“The consensus was that there were simply too many people potentially who had access [to SIPRNET],” another source is quoted as saying.

Julian Assange, editor-in-chief and co-founder of Wikileaks, remains on bail in the UK pending an extradition hearing in relation to an alleged case of sexual assault in Sweden.

04 December 2010

Geography of a Woman

Between 18 and 22 a woman is like Africa... half discovered, half wild, naturally beautiful with fertile deltas.
Between 23 and 30 a woman is like America... well developed and open to trade, especially for high financed investors.
Between 31 and 45 a woman is like India... very hot, relaxed and convinced of her own beauty.
Between 46 and 55 a woman is like France... gently aging but sensual with an appreciation for the finer things.
Between 56 and 60 she is like Yugoslavia... lost the war, haunted by past mistakes and in need of massive reconstruction.
From 61 on, a woman is like Afghanistan... everyone knows where it is, but no one wants to go there.

Geography of a man

Between 15 and 60 a man is like Ireland... ruled by a DICK.