Tag Archives: us embassy cables

Politico: Amid WikiLeaks battle, Clinton to assert US support for internet freedom

Hilary Clinton is due to give a speech on internet freedom later today. In the wake of Egypt’s shutting off of internet access during recent protests, and in the midst of her department’s ongoing battle with WikiLeaks, it has the potential to be interesting.

Politico has published extracts from the speech Clinton is expected to give. Certain parts closely resemble previous attempts by the US administration to carefully chastise China for its severe curtailments of internet freedom:

History has shown us that repression often sows the seeds for revolution down the road. Those who clamp down on internet freedom may be able to hold back the full impact of their people’s yearnings for a while, but not forever… Leaders worldwide have a choice to make. They can let the internet in their countries flourish, and take the risk that the freedoms it enables will lead to a greater demand for political rights. Or they can constrict the Internet, choke the freedoms it naturally sustains—and risk losing all the economic and social benefits that come from a networked society…

While others are clearly there to speak to the problem of WikiLeaks, and clarify the pro-freedom stance of an administration currently attempting to subpoena private information from Twitter accounts belonging to members and affiliates of the whistleblowers’ site.

Our allegiance to the rule of law does not dissipate in cyberspace. Neither does our commitment to protecting civil liberties and human rights. The United States is equally determined to track and stop terrorism and criminal activity online and offline, and in both spheres we pursue these goals in accordance with our values… Liberty and security. Transparency and confidentiality. Freedom of expression and tolerance. There are times when these principles will raise tensions and pose challenges, but we do not have to choose among them. And we shouldn’t. Together they comprise the foundation of a free and open Internet…

See more on Politico at this link.

AP: WikiLeaks looking to enlist up to 60 more media partners

WikiLeaks is seeking up to 60 additional media partners to help speed up the publication of its massive cache of US embassy cables, the Associated Press reports.

Editor-in-chief of the whistleblowers’ site Julian Assange told the AP that he wants to reach beyond traditional media organisations such as the Guardian, the New York Times and der Spiegel, with which he has worked on previous releases.

Assange has previously expressed frustration with the slow pace of the release of the secret diplomatic cables, and said releasing country-specific files to selected local media would serve to push them out faster.

Sometimes, that could mean doing what Assange called “triangulating the politics of a country” — giving documents to a left-wing paper in a country with a right-wing government, or offering cables to conservative titles in countries with a left-leaning administration.

Full story on Associated Press at this link.

h/t: Jon Slattery

Guardian forced to print embarrassing correction over WikiLeaks cable

The Guardian was forced to publish an embarrassing clarification on Tuesday after an article in its Comment is Free section heavily criticised WikiLeaks for publishing a US embassy cable that was put in the public domain by the newspaper.

The 2009 cable shows that the prime minister of Zimbabwe, Morgan Tsvangirai met with American and European ambassadors, whose countries had imposed travel sanctions and asset freezes on the country’s president Robert Mugabe and his top political lieutenants, and private agreed with them that the sanctions should remain in place.

Tsvangirai’s private discussions over the sanctions could leave him open to being charged with treason and, if convicted, sentenced to death.

The original Guardian article, written by former Republican National Committee communications manager James Richardson, claims that: “WikiLeaks may have committed its own collateral murder, upending the precarious balance of power in a fragile African state and signing the death warrant of its pro-western premier.”

But the Guardian was forced to later admit that the cable “was placed in the public domain by the Guardian, and not, as originally implied, by WikiLeaks”.

The headline of the article has been amended from “WikiLeaks’ collateral damage in Zimbabwe” to “US cable leaks’ collateral damage in Zimbabwe” and the image caption has also been amended.

But the main body of the article still includes numerous strong criticisms of WikiLeaks over the publication:

And so, where Mugabe’s strong-arming, torture and assassination attempts have failed to eliminate the leading figure of Zimbabwe’s democratic opposition, WikiLeaks may yet succeed …

Before more political carnage is wrought and more blood spilled – in Africa and elsewhere, with special concern for those US-sympathising Afghans fingered in its last war document dump – WikiLeaks ought to leave international relations to those who understand it – at least to those who understand the value of a life.

Read the full Guardian article on Comment is Free at this link.

Update: Guardian deputy editor Ian Katz has published a blog post today explaining the error.

Some critics saw malice in the publication of the Richardson piece in the first place: why would the Guardian point the finger at WikiLeaks knowing it had published the cable? In fact, neither Richardson, a first-time contributor to our comment website, nor the US-based editor who handled it, were aware of the somewhat complicated process through which (most) cables were published. The piece was posted on the bank holiday after Christmas. The Guardian’s WikiLeaks editing team was not around. They were taking a well-earned break after months of working on the documents.

Full post by Katz at this link.

Norwegian newspaper claims to have access to full trove of WikiLeaks cables

An Oslo-based newspaper has reportedly gained full access to WikiLeaks’ trove of more than 250,000 secret US embassy cables.

An article published today on Views and News from Norway (VNN), “WikiLeaks experiences leak itself”, claims that Aftenposten has possession of all the documents, despite WikiLeaks’ strategy of drip-feeding them on its own website and through select media partners.

WikiLeaks has only published 1,862 cables so far out of 251,287, according to its dedicated embassy cables site but according to VNN, Aftenposten news editor Ole Erik Almlid told Norway’s main business newspaper Dagens Næringsliv: “We’re free to do what we want with these documents…We’re free to publish the documents or not publish the documents, we can publish on the internet or on paper. We are handling these documents just like all other journalistic material to which we have gained access.”

Full story at this link…

Video: I would have published leaks, says Harry Evans

Veteran journalist Sir Harry Evans, the former Sunday Times editor who presided over many controversial investigations by the newspaper, including the Kim Philby espionage case, said this week he would have published the WikiLeaks embassy cables.

He was critical of WikiLeaks though, which he said had not done a responsible job with redacting their leaks.

The full video, courtesy of the 92nd Street Y, New York.

Original post at this link.