Chelsea Manning on the end of U.S. ban on transgender people in the military

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From her prison cell, whistleblower Chelsea Manning has written a beautiful piece for the Guardian about the Pentagon's announcement that it will end a longtime ban on transgender people serving in the Armed Forces, and the implications this has for ordinary trans Americans who serve our country, just like her.

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Jacob Appelbaum, Tor developer and Wikileaks staffer, resigns amid sex abuse claims

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Appelbaum, whose work has put him in the crosshairs of his own government and foreign states, resigned from the Tor project on Friday, accompanied by a short note from Tor executive director Shari Steele. Read the rest

Iceland's Prime Minister asks to dissolve Parliament

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Depending on whose estimate you believe, as much as 10% of the population of Iceland demonstrated outside Parliament yesterday, and everyone agrees that they were the largest demonstrations in Icelandic history (and possibly the largest demonstrations, proportionally of any country in history). Read the rest

Wikileaks: NSA spied on UN Secretary General and world leaders over climate and trade

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In less than an hour, Wikileaks will publish a set of TOP-SECRET/COMINT-GAMMA documents -- "the most highly classified documents ever published by a media organization" -- that document NSA spying on UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, former Italian prime minister Silvio Berlusconi, former French leader Nicolas Sarkozy, and key Japanese and EU trade reps in an attempt to gain an advantage in negotiations regarding climate change and global trade. Read the rest

Listen: Chelsea Manning speaks to Amnesty International's podcast

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Chelsea Manning appears in the current episode of Amnesty International's "In Their Own Words" podcast, voiced by actor Michelle Hendley.

Chelsea tells us, "The awesome thing about this podcast is that Michelle Hendley speaks in my own voice, telling my story and memories in my own words and in my own style. It's the closest thing to actually interviewing me as we could possibly get, given the rules of the prison. I was able to listen to it on the phone by having it played from laptop speakers into a friend's cell phone, and I think she sounds like me." Read the rest

Julian Assange had promised to turn himself if the UN ruled his detention lawful

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When a UN panel from the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention upheld Julian Assange's claim that he was being unlawfully detained in London's Ecuadorean embassy, they also stopped Assange from turning himself in to the London police. Read the rest

UN panel determines Assange "arbitrarily detained"

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A UN panel has concluded that Julian Assange is being "arbitrarily detained," reports the BBC

Assange has been holed up in the Ecuadorean embassy in London since 2012, knowing that he will be arrested if he leaves. Originally detained in connection to rape and sexual assault claims out of Sweden, Assange says the claims are false and crafted to disrupt his whistleblowing work.

Downing Street said the panel's ruling would not be legally binding in the UK while a European Arrest Warrant remained in place.

"We have been consistently clear that Mr Assange has never been arbitrarily detained by the UK but is, in fact, voluntarily avoiding lawful arrest by choosing to remain in the Ecuadorean embassy," he added.

"The UK continues to have a legal obligation to extradite Mr Assange to Sweden." The Swedish foreign ministry said in a statement that it noted the UN panel's decision "differs from that of the Swedish authorities".

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Chelsea Manning interview: DNA, big data, official secrecy, and citizenship

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Artist Heather Dewey-Hagborg creates portraits from DNA samples, usually working from found samples -- chewing gum, cigarette butts -- of people she's never met. But this year, she's done a pair of extraordinary portraits of Chelsea Manning, the whistleblower currently serving a 35-year sentence in Fort Leavenworth for her role in the Wikileaks Cablegate publications.

DoJ forced Google to turn over Jacob Appelbaum's email, then gagged Google

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Google's lawyers fought strenuously against the DoJ's demands for access to the Gmail account of Jacob Appelbaum, a journalist, activist and volunteer with the Wikileaks project; they fought even harder against the accompanying gag order, arguing that Appelbaum had the right to know what was going on and have a lawyer argue his case. Read the rest

It's Chelsea Manning's birthday and you can send her a card

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Evan writes, "Today is WikiLeaks whistleblower Chelsea Manning's 28th birthday. She's been imprisoned since she was 22, and is serving a 35 year sentence for exposing some of the U.S. government's worst abuses." Read the rest

Wikileaks hosting files from CIA director John Brennan's AOL account

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Wikileaks has posted a collection of documents ganked from CIA director John Brennan's email account, which was reportedly hacked by a "teen stoner" earlier this week. Read the rest

Police end round-the-clock Assange detail at London's Ecuadorian embassy

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Three years and £12 million later, London's Metropolitan police has ended its 24/7 surveillance of the Ecuadorian embassy, through which officers kept vigil for the day that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange would leave the building. Read the rest

Leaked (final?) TPP Intellectual Property chapter spells doom for free speech online

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Wikileaks has published a leaked draft -- dated Oct, 5, and thus possibly the final text -- of the "Intellectual Property Chapter" of the Trans Pacific Partnership, and it's grim reading. Read the rest

Assange allegations dropped, but he's not going anywhere

Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, 2011. Toby Melville/Reuters

Two allegations of sexual assault leveled against Julian Assange by Swedish police were dropped Thursday due to that nation's statute of limitations.

But he still faces a more serious rape allegation and remains subject to if ever he leaves the Ecuadorian embassy in London.

“Julian Assange, on his own accord, has evaded prosecution by seeking refuge in the embassy of Ecuador,” Swedish chief prosecutor Marianne Ny said in a statement. “As the statute of limitation has [expired] … I am compelled to discontinue the investigation.”

Assange, the founder of Wikileaks, has not been charged in connection to the allegations and denies them, maintaining that they amount to politically motivated retaliation for his work exposing embarrassing government misdeeds. His lawyers say that should he travel to Sweden, he will be extradited to the U.S., which recently sentenced whistleblower (and Assange source) Chelsea Manning to 35 years' imprisonment.

“I am an innocent man. I haven’t even been charged," Assange told The Guardian. "From the beginning I offered simple solutions. Come to the [Ecuadorian] embassy to take my statement or promise not to send me to the United States. This Swedish official refused both.”

Since Assange entered Ecuador's embassy in 2012 and was granted asylum, the UK government has spent more than £12m maintaining a round-the-clock police presence at its doors to prevent him leaving.

The situation is a bureaucratic farce: Swedish prosecutors say they are willing to interview Assange in London, but Ecuador will not permit them to do so within their embassy. Read the rest

Chelsea Manning threatened with 'indefinite solitary confinement' for expired toothpaste and asking for a lawyer

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The infractions she's charged with are so minor, it's hard to believe.

Journalists around the world voice support for Netzpolitik after outrageous 'treason' investigation

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Reporters and press freedom advocates from around the world have signed on to support Netzpolitik and condemn the German government's outrageous investigation.

NSA conducted commercial espionage against Japanese government and businesses

New leaked documents published by Wikileaks show that the US spy agency conducted surveillance operations against Japan's top government officials, prioritizing finance and trade ministers, as well as the Japanese central bank and two private-sector energy companies. Read the rest

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