We believe that not only does WikiLeaks need to survive, it must be joined by an array of others like it, edited transparency media that have so far failed to emerge, self-censoring victims of the chilling effects of the WikiLeaks blockade. Moreover, the watchdogs that do exist struggle for backers as brave as they are. The old media fear the fears of their advertisers. The new ones often depend on a few large foundations or donors, who, being from the elite themselves, may hesitate to part its curtains.
The answer, we believe, is to crowd-fund transparency, making it easy and relatively anonymous for the public to support the best watchdogs in one place, setting up a kind of United Way for the Truth.
I'm proud to serve as a board member for the newly-launched Freedom of the Press Foundation, dedicated to helping promote and fund aggressive, public-interest journalism focused on exposing mismanagement, corruption, and law-breaking in government. The project accepts tax-deductible donations to an array of journalism organizations dedicated to government transparency and accountability. The board includes Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg, EFF co-founder John Perry Barlow, actor and activist John Cusack, and other journalists and activists with whom I'm honored to serve.
The New York Times finally gets around to covering the Bradley Manning hearings at Fort Meade, MD. The accused private faces a life sentence if convicted on charges he supplied WikiLeaks with hundreds of thousands of confidential military and diplomatic documents.
But for now, his attorney "has grilled one Quantico official after another, demanding to know why his client was kept in isolation and stripped of his clothing at night as part of suicide-prevention measures." — Xeni
The Associated Press has details on the unusual plea deal being considered in the case of Bradley Manning, the Army private accused of passing classified documents to Wikileaks.
On Thursday, a military judge, Col. Denise Lind, accepted the terms under which Private Manning would plead guilty to eight charges for sending classified documents to WikiLeaks.
The judge’s ruling does not mean the pleas have been formally accepted. That could happen in December.
But she approved the language of the offenses to which Private Manning would admit, which she said would carry a total maximum prison term of 16 years.
Private Manning made the offer as a way of accepting responsibility for the leaks. Government officials have not said whether they would continue prosecuting him for the other 14 counts he faces, including aiding the enemy. That offense carries a maximum penalty of life in prison.
David Kravets at Wired News writes about the 2-year-old federal grand jury probe into WikiLeaks, which is still “ongoing,” according to a brief ruling by a federal judge in Virginia this week. The statement is the first official word on the investigation since Assange's Ecuadorean asylum plea last August.
U.S. District Judge Liam O’Grady of Alexandria, Virginia, noted the investigation in a legal flap surrounding three WikiLeaks associates who lost their bid to protect their Twitter records from U.S. investigators. The three had asked the court to unseal documents in their case. In May, O’Grady ordered the documents remain under seal for six months. On Wednesday he renewed that order, based on a government filing.
“For reasons stated in the memorandum of the United States, unsealing of the documents at this time would damage an ongoing criminal investigation,” O’Grady ruled. (.pdf)
The Justice Department served Twitter with a records demand in December 2010 as part of the investigation into WikiLeaks. The targets of the records demand are WikiLeaks’ official Twitter account, and the accounts of three people connected to the group: Seattle coder and activist Jacob Appelbaum; Birgitta Jonsdottir, a member of Iceland’s parliament; and Dutch businessman Rop Gonggrijp. Jonsdottir and Gonggrijp helped WikiLeaks prepare the release of a classified U.S. Army video published last year, “Collateral Murder,” and Appelbaum was the site’s U.S. representative.
Ars Technica reports on the very! major! internet drama brewing between Anonymous and Wikileaks, who once were besties, over Wikileaks/Assange's recent decision to use a front door takeover ad demanding donations from anyone who wanted to access their newest dump. Here's the statement from Anonymous, or at least, some faction thereof. — Xeni
Here's the video trailer for my new book "This Machine Kills Secrets" about the history and future of anonymous information leaks.
The book, which started when I interviewed Julian Assange in London two years ago, aims to trace how the Cypherpunk movement used cryptography and anonymity tools to alter the act of spilling secrets and bring create a world where anyone can leak secrets with impunity. In the second half of the book, I set out to find the *next* WikiLeaks among the crowd of copycat and spinoff sites that are seeking to replicate and systematize WikiLeaks' work. In the process, I also scored the first ever interview with the Architect, the secretive engineer who built WikiLeaks' revamped submission system and then led a mutiny within the group's ranks from which it never fully recovered.
A Reuters piece on the ongoing Julian Assange Ecuador Asylum Saga, with a focus on the freedom of speech and press transparency issues that make Ecuador an odd place for a whistleblower to seek asylum right now. Not that America or the UK are much better. But it seems that Assange and Correa have bonded over a shared loathing of "big media organizations," as Assange put it, and "false stereotypes" of "courageous journalists and news outlets," as Correa (who has led attacks against media in Ecuador) put it.
Photo: the scene outside the Ecuadorean embassy in London at this hour, via @wiseupforBM.
The president of Ecuador, Rafael Correa, has accepted Wikileaks founder Julian Assange's bid for asylum. Whether the UK will allow the Wikileaks founder to exit the South American country's embassy in London to enter exile is another matter entirely. The scene around the embassy over the last 24 hours has grown increasingly intense: police vans circling, cops entering the building where the embassy is located, protesters upset that the UK would seemingly violate decades of diplomatic precedent to grab a man who has not yet been charged with a crime. Assange is wanted for questioning in Sweden over accusations of sexual assault against two Swedish women.