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Posts Tagged ‘Wikileaks’

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Manning Is Acquitted of Aiding the Enemy (NYT)
A military judge on Tuesday found Pfc. Bradley Manning not guilty of “aiding the enemy” for his release of hundreds of thousands of military and diplomatic documents to WikiLeaks for publication on the Internet, rejecting the government’s unprecedented effort to bring such a charge in a leak case. HuffPost The verdict in the Manning trial did not receive the kind of rolling network coverage afforded to other recent court cases. Whereas trials like George Zimmerman’s or even Jodi Arias’ were treated to hours of analysis, dissection and attention, the news that the man responsible for the biggest leak of classified material in American history had been hit with charges that could keep him in prison for more than 100 years was deemed worthy of one, or at most two, segments during the hour following the verdict. Mediaite Jeremy Scahill, reporter for The Nation and author of the book Dirty Wars, joined Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman on Tuesday where he reacted to the verdict of a military court which found Manning guilty of a number of charges relating to the release of classified national security documents. Scahill lambasted the news media for largely ignoring what he called one of the most important cases in national history. National Journal Depending on your point of view, Manning is either a tragic hero or a traitor, or maybe something in between. The now 25-year-old’s personal problems were numerous, coming from an unstable, abusive home, dealing with being a gay member of the military under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, also questioning his gender identity. The military assessed him as having an anxiety disorder. Three years ago, he was arrested after sending what is regarded as the largest leak of classified information in U.S. history to WikiLeaks, including a video showing U.S. military personnel shooting down two Reuters employees and 250,000 diplomatic cables. The Guardian / Comment Is Free Had the judge found Manning guilty of aiding the enemy, she would have set a terrible precedent. For the first time, an American court — albeit a military court — would have said it was a potentially capital crime simply to give information to a news organization, because in the Internet era an enemy would ultimately have been able to read what was leaked. However, if journalism dodged one figurative bullet, it faces many more in this era. TVNewser The three general cable news channels previewed the impending verdict at the top of the hour, with Fox News reporting the verdict at 1:05, followed by MSNBC at 1:08 and CNN at 1:09. No cameras were allowed in the courtroom, and journalists were unable to report the verdict until they were released from the room.

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AP Partners with WikiLeaks for ‘Syria Files’ [Update]

WikiLeaks is at it again. Today the site announced a partnership with multiple news outlets (the Associated Press in the United States) to present stories based on a trove of over two million emails from Syrian political officials, ministries and more.

The documents — titled the Syria Files — contain a “range of information extends from the intimate correspondence of the most senior Baath party figures to records of financial transfers sent from Syrian ministries to other nations,” according to WikiLeaks.

“The material is embarrassing to Syria, but it is also embarrassing to Syria’s opponents,” said Julian Assange. “It helps us not merely to criticise one group or another, but to understand their interests, actions and thoughts. It is only through understanding this conflict that we can hope to resolve it.”

The data was taken from August 2006 through March 2012.

The Huffington Post reports that the AP has been removed from the list of organizations partnering with WikiLeaks.

Wall Street Journal Issues Statement on its WikiLeaks Clone SafeHouse’s Lack of Safety

FishbowlNY wrote earlier about SafeHouse, the Wall Street Journal‘s WikiLeaks clone, that has been getting some flak for not actually being like WikiLeaks at all with regard to its most important feature: anonymity. As Gawker noted, SafeHouse has this caveat in its Terms of Use: “we reserve the right to disclose any information about you… without notice…” for a whole host of reasons.

Kind of misses the whole point! This story pretty much spoiled the party of WSJ‘s entire SafeHouse announcement. In fact, the lack of protection for SafeHouse sources in many ways became a bigger story than SafeHouse. So in response, the WSJ has already issued a clarifying statement, which says this about anonymity:

There is nothing more sacred than our sources; we are committed to protecting them to the fullest extent possible under the law. Because there is no way to predict the breadth of information that might be submitted through SafeHouse, the terms of use reserve certain rights in order to provide flexibility to react to extraordinary circumstances. But as always, our number one priority is protecting our sources.

Not entirely comforting. While saying that nothing is more sacred that sources is undoubtedly a fine gesture on WSJ‘s behalf, it’s not quite the same thing as actual contractual language.

The Wall Street Journal Launches WikiLeaks-Like Site ‘SafeHouse’

The Wall Street Journal has launched a new website in the same vein as WikiLeaks, called SafeHouse. According to a press release obtained by Poynter, the site is located on secure servers, and is designed to attract tips and information from random sources, that will be then vetted by the Journal’s staff. Like WikiLeaks, if it’s something worth publishing, it will then be broadcasted to the masses.

A statement on SafeHouse explains that any kind of file can be submitted, but obviously, the bigger the news, the better:

If you have newsworthy contracts, correspondence, emails, financial records or databases from companies, government agencies or non-profits, you can send them to us using the SafeHouse service.

Creating the site is a great move by News Corp. The New York Times - which has been debating launching a WikiLeaks clone since last January – now looks a step slow, which only lends more credibility to SafeHouse. And if it gets a big story before the Times even launches their WikiLeaks site, it might be game over.

New York Times Debating a Drop Box for Leakers

The New York Times is considering launching a system that would allow people to anonymously submit large files which would be vetted by the paper, and if deemed worthy, published to the public.

Michael Calderone gets Bill Keller to admit that the Times is looking into something like Al Jazeera’s Transparency Unit, which launched earlier this month, and has been publishing previously classfiied information on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Keller says:

A small group from computer-assisted reporting and interactive news, with advice from the investigative unit and the legal department, has been discussing options for creating a kind of EZ Pass lane for leakers.

Given that Al Jazeera’s system has already been a success, you can expect these discussions Keller mentions to progress very quickly. Al Jazeera has effectively cut out the middle man with their Transparency Unit, and the Times knows this. The paper also hasn’t had the best relationship with Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, so what better way to stick it to Assange than to cut him, and Wikileaks, out of the picture forever?

And you thought Assange was already kind of paranoid. Just wait until he hears this.

Catching Up on the Feminist Twitter Flamewar with Michael Moore, Keith Olbermann

Keith Olbermann and Michael Moore recently found themselves at the center of a controversy over statements made about the sexual assault charges against Wikileaks founder Julian Assange. Last week on MSNBC’s Countdown with Keith Olbermann, Moore dismissed the sexual assault charges against Assange as “a bunch of hooey” and suggested Assange was the victim of a politically motivated smear campaign. Moore said, inaccurately, that the charge against Assange was that “his condom broke during consensual sex.”

The charges are a bit more serious than that, as you can read here. That respected media professionals would perpetuate misinformation and dismiss rape allegations got under some people’s skin. And so, a Twitter activist campaign was born. Using the hashtag #MooreandMe, twitterers expressed their frustration with Moore and Olbermann.

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Bill Keller Comments on WikiLeaks

Bill Keller, Executive Editor for the New York Times spoke today at a conference hosted by Harvard’s Nieman Journalism Lab. The title of the forum was “From Watergate to WikiLeaks: Journalism and Secrecy in the New Media Age,” so naturally Keller reflected on WikiLeaks and Julian Assange. As is often the case when WikiLeaks gets brought up, ambiguity reigns supreme.

Jeff Bercovici at Forbes has some choice quotes from Keller, who one minute sounds like he’s a fan of WikiLeaks, and in the next breath puts it down:

They have gone from an absolutist view of transparency with an at least suggested motive of embarrassing or bringing down bad governments to an organization that has been leaking out the documents in a more journalistic fashion, [including] redacting them. I don’t think they’ve become my kind of news organization, but they have evolved.

Keller went on to say that he didn’t think of Assange as a fellow journalist, only a source, and a comical one at that:

Throughout this experience, we have regarded Julian Assange and his merry band of provocateurs and hackers as a source. I will not say a source pure and simple, because, as any reporter or editor can attest, sources are rarely pure or simple.

If you’re picturing Assange in tights prancing around like Robin Hood right now, please know that we are too.

Air Force Bans Access To The New York Times And Other WikiLeak-ed Sites

An AP report states the Air Force is restricting personnel from viewing The New York Times and other websites that posted material released by Wikileaks.  Air Force Major Toni Tones notes that over 25 media sites have been blocked on authorized computers, however the ban does not extend to personal computers.   Tones said these types of measures are not uncommon and were put into place by the 24th Air Force under the supervision of Major General Richard Webber — the man in charge of security and “cyberwarfare.”

While the Times is the only major American paper affected, other international titles have been blocked.  German newspaper Der Spiegel, Britain’s Guardian, and Le Monde in France all have been placed off limits.  The Times responded to the Air Force ban with a refreshingly honest display of disappoinment:

It is unfortunate that the U.S. Air Force has chosen not to allow its personnel access to information that virtually everyone else in the world can access.

First the House of Representatives gets blocked from Perez Hilton, and now this?  It has to make you wonder how government employees will ever get their gossip anymore.