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John Dolva

WikiLeaks cloned

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New WikiLeaks website not available in most of UAE

US State department warns staff and students not to discuss Wikileaks as it could 'endanger' job prospects

By

  • Joseph George

Published Monday, December 06, 2010 The Wikileaks website, hosted in Switzerland, is not available in most parts of the UAE.

Subscribers of etisalat were unable to log on to wikileaks.ch the new domain of the whistleblowers site.

Subscribers of du however, were able to log on as of Monday morning.

Several other governments have also blocked access to the website accusing it of jeopardizing countries' security and foreign policy.

China on Sunday blocked access to the website. France says it would block Wikileaks from using French servers. According to reports French Industry Minister Eric Besson wrote a letter to business and technology leaders calling for ways to ban WikiLeaks from using servers in France. Amazon, an online retailer, stopped hosting for Wikileaks and Paypal has cancelled all donations to the website using its services.

"I have been trying to unsuccessfully access the new website since Saturday. Thanks to the dozens of mirror sites, the access has become easier," said Sudarshan a UAE resident.

Abdul Rahman who works in the publishing industry said he has also started to download the files uploaded on torrents.

WikiLeaks has posted a 1.4GB file encrypted with a 256-digit key said to be unbreakable. The file is titled "insurance.aes256", and contains all the US cables said to be in WikiLeaks' possession. The file can be decrypted only after the key is supplied.

Switzerland meanwhile has rejected growing international calls to force the site off the internet. The site's new Swiss registrar, Switch, today said there was "no reason" why it should be forced offline

In Pakistan, Lahore High Court has dismissed a petition seeking a ban on the Wikileaks website.The judge dismissed the petition and called it 'non-maintainable'. The judge added, "We must bear the truth, no matter how harmful it is."

WikiLeaks moved its website address to the Swiss http://wikileaks.ch on Friday after two US Internet providers withdrew their services.

Meanwhile, mirror websites, which replicate WikiLeaks's data, have emerged across the globe. A message on its Twitter says, "WikiLeaks strikes back. Cut us down and the stronger we become," along with links to more than two dozen mirrors.

The US State department was the latest to urge its staff and Columbia University students not to discuss Wikileaks. "Talking about WikiLeaks on Facebook or Twitter could endanger your job prospects," a State Department official warned students at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs this week, reports said.

But support has been pouring in from Facebook and Twitter users. On Facebook alone it has more than 781,000 followers and another 380,000 plus followers on Twitter. Last night the numbers were increasing by the hour.

In one Twitter entry, a user said he/she would stop using paypal henceforth.

Some of the interesting tweets:

"All the censoring of WikiLeaks is more alarming than the actual content of the leaks. It only further justifies WL's actions."

"It's not wrong to lie, cheat, steal, corrupt, and torture. It's wrong to let people know about it."

"We elect Governments, not to dictate our freedoms, but to support our liberty. They serve us, we do not serve them."

"My Swedish girlfriend cannot do LIKE Wikileaks on Facebook. It's been removed shortly after added. Social censorship is coming!

http://www.emirates2...-12-06-1.325478

boycott amazon

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lisf of mirrors

http://wikileaks.se/mirrors.html

archive 3.1 meg : http://wikileaks.se/...eaks_archive.7z

..............................................

to open file 7z : http://shell.windows...edir.asp?Ext=7z

...............................................

Interesting. That's led to firewall probes from all over the planet.

I'm suspecting that the financial files to be released is the main reason for this massive coverup attempt by corrupt regimes.

Corruption is legal. Exposing it is not.

At least we can see the 'free' world for what it is (for a while).

Soon, no doubt, it will be back to business as usual.

Thank you Julian. You have opened many eyes to the real world we live in, however, for many, no doubt, ignorance is bliss and censorhip a must.

.....................................................

Tom : Entrenched wealth and power are aligned only in their common interests to hold on to what they have and to build on it, and not to any flag or state. We only have to watch how they behave in lockstep in reaction to their common enemy, the freeflow of information and those who work to expose the secrets of the powerful.

The professional news gatherers were long ago bought out or put out of business by the powerful. The powerful taught the journalism "profession" that there is no money or career advancement resulting from exposing their secrets. From time to time, those who are not motivated by personal gain to expose secrets , must be made examples of, as Daniel Ellsberg was, nearly 40 years ago.

From the son of Gen. Joseph Carroll, first director of the DIA:

Quote

http://www.boston.co...y_over_history/

The peril of valuing celebrity over history

By James Carroll | July 30, 2007

......It was my host's house that "had history," but not my host. The shallowness of contemporary public discourse, devoid of history, is everywhere visible -- from the "eternal now" of celebrity journalism to the absurdity of an "antiwar" rhetoric that assumes, in fact, a permanent US war machine in Iraq. In the emerging Democratic consensus, forged by Congressional leaders and presidential front-runners, supposedly in opposition to Bush's war, "out now" is becoming "out when conditions permit" -- which is, of course, Bush's exact position. Such conditions will never come; therefore -- Garrison Forever.

Yet, speaking of history, this conjuring of the appearance of opposition where none actually exists has been mandated by the American political system since the onset of the Cold War. The quadrennial political puppet show, highlighting not opposition but its appearance, is essential to keeping the captive-taking war machine running and to inoculating the American people from the viral knowledge that they themselves were first to be captured.

A minimal acquaintance with history, including dissections of American culture already performed by both Sinclairs, would undermine our national complacency. Upton Sinclair, for example, showed the rapaciousness of capitalism, the vampire-like appetite with which it feeds on the blood of human beings. Even with "reforms" ("The Jungle" led to the establishment of the Food and Drug Administration), the profit-worshipping economy to this day eludes controls that would protect majorities of citizens in this country and across the world.

Sinclair Lewis, for his part, showed how the simultaneously banalizing methods of capitalist enterprise (false advertising, consumerism, pieties of affluence, amoral bureaucracy) are exactly what that enterprise created to keep from being criticized. Then inhale the crack cocaine of celebrity.

The US conflagration in the oil well of the globe was ignited without attention to history, which is why it flares out of control. But that war, fought by GIs, mercenaries, and proxies, will continue indefinitely, because, under the martial law that implicitly governs the United States, history can never be invoked except for its celebrity value -- not even history in the making. Therefore, it is certain that the staggering failures of Washington's current policy, so evident today, will be forgotten tomorrow, even as that policy is reaffirmed. Or, as they say, what's the dif?

Blocking firewalls will be replaced by government issued licenses required to access the internet. The licenses will be a privilege, not a right. We are nearing the end of the internet honeymoon period. Look for much greater restrictions. Sites like this one are probably a short lived phenomena. We may live to rue the day we were critical of Cass Sunstein's proposal to insert government monitors and provocateurs into internet forums. Maybe Cass correctly forecasted that it was either government monitoring and manipulation, or... no forums in the future, challenging and exposing the powerful, at all.

..............................................

http://wikileaks.se/

Wikileaks Mirrors

Wikileaks is currently under heavy attack.

In order to make it impossible to ever fully remove Wikileaks from the Internet, you will find below a list of mirrors of Wikileaks website and CableGate pages.

If you want to add your mirror to the list, see our Mass Mirroring Wikileaks page

Mirror List

Wikileaks is currently mirrored on 729 sites (updated 2010-12-06 22:32 GMT)

..................................

http://www.abc.net.a...4.html#comments

07 December 2010

Open letter: To Julia Gillard, re Julian Assange

'We wrote the letter below because we believe that Julian Assange is entitled to all the protections enshrined in the rule of law – and that the Australian Government has an obligation to ensure he receives them.

The signatures here have been collected in the course of a day-and-a-half, primarily from people in publishing, law and politics. The signatories hold divergent views about WikiLeaks and its operations. But they are united in a determination to see Mr Assange treated fairly.

We know that many others would have liked to sign. But given the urgency of the situation, we though it expedient to publish now rather than collect more names.

If, however, you agree with the sentiments expressed, we encourage you to leave your name in the comments section.

Dear Prime Minister,

We note with concern the increasingly violent rhetoric directed towards Julian Assange of WikiLeaks.“We should treat Mr Assange the same way as other high-value terrorist targets: Kill him,” writes conservative columnist Jeffrey T Kuhner in the Washington Times.

William Kristol, former chief of staff to vice president Dan Quayle, asks, “Why can’t we use our various assets to harass, snatch or neutralize Julian Assange and his collaborators, wherever they are?”

“Why isn’t Julian Assange dead?” writes the prominent US pundit Jonah Goldberg.

“The CIA should have already killed Julian Assange,” says John Hawkins on the Right Wing News site.

Sarah Palin, a likely presidential candidate, compares Assange to an Al Qaeda leader; Rick Santorum, former Pennsylvania senator and potential presidential contender, accuses Assange of “terrorism”.

And so on and so forth.

Such calls cannot be dismissed as bluster. Over the last decade, we have seen the normalisation of extrajudicial measures once unthinkable, from ‘extraordinary rendition’ (kidnapping) to ‘enhanced interrogation’ (torture).

In that context, we now have grave concerns for Mr Assange’s wellbeing.

Irrespective of the political controversies surrounding WikiLeaks, Mr Assange remains entitled to conduct his affairs in safety, and to receive procedural fairness in any legal proceedings against him.

As is well known, Mr Assange is an Australian citizen.

We therefore call upon you to condemn, on behalf of the Australian Government, calls for physical harm to be inflicted upon Mr Assange, and to state publicly that you will ensure Mr Assange receives the rights and protections to which he is entitled, irrespective of whether the unlawful threats against him come from individuals or states.

We urge you to confirm publicly Australia’s commitment to freedom of political communication; to refrain from cancelling Mr Assange's passport, in the absence of clear proof that such a step is warranted; to provide assistance and advocacy to Mr Assange; and do everything in your power to ensure that any legal proceedings taken against him comply fully with the principles of law and procedural fairness.

A statement by you to this effect should not be controversial – it is a simple commitment to democratic principles and the rule of law.

We believe this case represents something of a watershed, with implications that extend beyond Mr Assange and WikiLeaks. In many parts of the globe, death threats routinely silence those who would publish or disseminate controversial material. If these incitements to violence against Mr Assange, a recipient of Amnesty International’s Media Award, are allowed to stand, a disturbing new precedent will have been established in the English-speaking world.

In this crucial time, a strong statement by you and your Government can make an important difference.

We look forward to your response.

Dr Jeff Sparrow, author and editor

Lizzie O’Shea, Social Justice Lawyer, Maurice Blackburn

Professor Noam Chomsky, writer and academic

Antony Loewenstein, journalist and author

Mungo MacCallum, journalist and writer

Professor Peter Singer, author and academic

Adam Bandt, MP

Senator Bob Brown

Senator Scott Ludlam

Julian Burnside QC, barrister

Jeff Lawrence, Secretary, Australian Council of Trade Unions

Professor Raimond Gaita, author and academic

Rob Stary, lawyer

Lieutenant Colonel (ret) Lance Collins, Australian Intelligence Corps, writer

The Hon Alastair Nicholson AO RFD QC

Brian Walters SC, barrister

Professor Larissa Behrendt, academic

Emeritus Professor Stuart Rees, academic, Sydney Peace Foundation

Mary Kostakidis, Chair, Sydney Peace Foundation

Professor Wendy Bacon, journalist

Christos Tsiolkas, author

James Bradley, author and journalist

Julian Morrow, comedian and television producer

Louise Swinn, publisher

Helen Garner, novelist

Professor Dennis Altman, writer and academic

Dr Leslie Cannold, author, ethicist, commentator

John Birmingham, writer

Guy Rundle, writer

Alex Miller, writer

Sophie Cunningham, editor and author

Castan Centre for Human Rights Law

Professor Judith Brett, author and academic

Stephen Keim SC, President of Australian Lawyers for Human Rights

Phil Lynch, Executive Director, Human Rights Law Resource Centre

Sylvia Hale, MLC

Sophie Black, editor

David Ritter, lawyer and historian

Dr Scott Burchill, writer and academic

Dr Mark Davis, author and academic

Henry Rosenbloom, publisher

Ben Naparstek, editor

Chris Feik, editor

Louise Swinn, publisher

Stephen Warne, barrister

Dr John Dwyer QC

Hilary McPhee, writer, publisher

Joan Dwyer OAM

Greg Barns, barrister

James Button, journalist

Owen Richardson, critic

Michelle Griffin, editor

John Timlin, literary Agent & producer

Ann Cunningham, lawyer and publisher

Alison Croggon, author, critic

Daniel Keene, playwright

Dr Nick Shimmin, editor/writer

Bill O'Shea, lawyer, former President, Law Institute of Victoria

Dianne Otto, Professor of Law, Melbourne Law School

Professor Frank Hutchinson,Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies (CPACS), University of Sydney

Anthony Georgeff, editor

Max Gillies, actor

Shane Maloney, writer

Louis Armand, author and publisher

Jenna Price, academic and journalist

Tanja Kovac, National Cooordinator EMILY's List Australia

Dr Russell Grigg, academic

Dr Justin Clemens, writer and academic

Susan Morairty, Lawyer

David Hirsch, Barrister

Cr Anne O’Shea

Kathryn Crosby, Candidates Online

Dr Robert Sparrow, academic

Jennifer Mills, author

Foong Ling Kong, editor

Tim Norton, Online Campaigns Co-ordinator, Oxfam Australia

Elisabeth Wynhausen, writer

Ben Slade, Lawyer

Nikki Anderson, publisher

Dan Cass

Professor Diane Bell, author and academic

Dr Philipa Rothfield, academic

Gary Cazalet, academic

Dr David Coady, academic

Dr Matthew Sharpe, writer and academic

Dr Tamas Pataki, writer and academic

Miska Mandic

Associate Professor Jake Lynch, academic

Professor Simon During, academic

Michael Brull, writer

Dr Geoff Boucher, academic

Jacinda Woodhead, writer and editor

Dr Rjurik Davidson, writer and editor

Mic Looby, writer

Jane Gleeson-White, writer and editor

Alex Skutenko, editor

Associate Professor John Collins, academic

Professor Philip Pettit, academic

Dr Christopher Scanlon, writer and academic

Dr Lawrie Zion, journalist

Johannes Jakob, editor

Sunili Govinnage, lawyer

Michael Bates, lawyer

Bridget Maidment, editor

Bryce Ives, theatre director

Sarah Darmody, writer

Jill Sparrow, writer

Lyn Bender, psychologist

Meredith Rose, editor

Dr Ellie Rennie, President, Engage Media

Ryan Paine, editor

Simon Cooper, editor

Chris Haan, lawyer

Carmela Baranowska, journalist.

Clinton Ellicott, publisher

Dr Charles Richardson, writer and academic

Phillip Frazer, publisher

Geoff Lemon, journalist

Jaya Savige, poet and editor

Johannes Jakob, editor

Kate Bree Geyer; journalist

Chay-Ya Clancy, performer

Lisa Greenaway, editor, writer

Chris Kennett - screenwriter, journalist

Kasey Edwards, author

Dr. Janine Little, academic

Dr Andrew Milner, writer and academic

Patricia Cornelius, writer

Elisa Berg, publisher

Lily Keil, editor

Jenny Sinclair

Roselina Rose

Stephen Luntz

PM Newton

Bryan Cooke

Kristen Obaid

Ryan Haldane-Underwood

Patrick Gardner

Robert Sinnerbrink

Kathryn Millist

Anne Coombs

Karen Pickering

Sarah Mizrahi

Suzanne Ingleton

Jessica Crouch

Michael Ingleton

Matt Griffin

Jane Allen

Tom Curtis

John Connell

David Garland

Stuart Hall

Meredith Tucker-Evans

Phil Perkins

Alexandra Adsett

Tom Doig, editor

Beth Jackson

Peter Mattessi

Robert Sinnerbrink

Greg Black

Paul Ashton

Sigi Jottkandt

Kym Connell, lawyer

Silma Ihram

Nicole Papaleo, lawyer

Melissa Forbes

Matthew Ryan

Ben Gook

Daniel East

Bridget Ikin

Lisa O'Connell

Melissa Cranenburgh

John Bryson

Michael Farrell

Melissa Reeves

Dr Emma Cox

Michael Green

Margherita Tracanelli

David Carlin, writer

Bridget McDonnell

Geoff Page, writer

Rebecca Interdonato

Roxane Ludbrook-Ingleton

Stefan Caramia

Ash Plummer''

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LLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL

U.S. Twitter Subpoena on WikiLeaks Is `Harassment,' Lawyer Says

By Erik Larson - Jan 10, 2011 10:49 PM GMT+0800 Mon Jan 10 14:49:43 GMT 2011 U.S. prosecutors' demand that the microblogging service Twitter Inc. hand over data about users with ties to WikiLeaks amounts to harassment, said a lawyer for Julian Assange, the website's founder.

The Justice Department subpoena, approved last month in federal court and later unsealed, also violates the U.S. Constitution's Fourth Amendment, which prohibits unreasonable government searches, Assange's lawyer Mark Stephens said today in a telephone interview in London. WikiLeaks is an organization that publishes leaked documents on its website.

"The Department of Justice is turning into an agent of harassment rather than an agent of law," Stephens, of the firm Finers Stephens Innocent LLP, said. "They're shaking the tree to see if anything drops out, but more important they are shaking down people who are supporters of WikiLeaks."

The Justice Department is investigating the posting by WikiLeaks of thousands of classified U.S. diplomatic communications and military documents''', U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said Nov. 29. Lawyers have said the U.S. will likely charge Assange with espionage.

The agency's subpoena of Twitter is "grossly overbroad" and would give prosecutors access to data on a member of Iceland's parliament and more than 634,000 people who follow WikiLeaks' so-called tweets on the site, Stephens said. Similar information was sought from Google Inc., Facebook Inc. and EBay Inc.'s Skype unit, he said.

A copy of the Jan. 5 order, from Magistrate Judge Theresa Buchanan in federal court in Alexandria, Virginia, unsealing the December subpoena was posted by online magazine Salon.

'More Attention'

"What they will then do is take that data and analyze it in conjunction with data they get from Google, Facebook and the other social media, so that they can ascertain individuals that they feel they want to pay more attention to," Stephens said.

Stephens regularly represents media organizations, including Bloomberg News.

Justice Department spokeswoman Tracy Schmaler declined to comment, citing the ongoing investigation. An e-mail message to Twitter press representatives wasn't immediately returned.

Assange, an Australian who was arrested last month in London and is free on bail, is facing extradition to Sweden to face unrelated allegations of sexual misconduct against two women. A hearing in the case is scheduled for tomorrow.

Stephens, who is representing Assange as he fights the extradition, has previously suggested the case is politically motivated and somehow related to WikiLeaks.

Sally Aldous, an outside spokeswoman for Facebook declined to comment. Calls to the U.K. press offices for Google and EBay weren't immediately returned.

To contact the reporter on this story: Erik Larson in London at elarson4@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Aarons at aaarons@bloomberg.net.

'' huh???

WL is a whistleblowers service. It made the docs axailable to newspapers around the world. Those Newspapers ''posted'', and continue to. If the standards applied to whistleblowers were equally applied in the US the whiterouse would be empty.

Hypocrites

Edited by John Dolva

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Tom : Quote

http://www.salon.com...eaks/index.html

...Gitlin -- in the course of denouncing Julian Assange -- bolsters this falsehood: "Wikileaks’s huge data dump, including the names of agents and recent diplomatic cables, is indiscriminate" and Assange is "fighting for a world of total transparency."

The reality is the exact opposite -- literally -- of what Gitlin told TNR readers. WikiLeaks has posted to its website only 960 of the 251,297 diplomatic cables it has. Almost every one of these cables was first published by one of its newspaper partners which are disclosing them (The Guardian, the NYT, El Pais, Le Monde, Der Speigel, etc.). Moreover, the cables posted by WikiLeaks were not only first published by these newspapers, but contain the redactions applied by those papers to protect innocent people and otherwise minimize harm. Here is an AP article from yesterday detailing this process:

[T]he group is releasing only a trickle of documents at a time from a trove of a quarter-million, and only after considering advice from five news organizations with which it chose to share all of the material.

"They are releasing the documents we selected," Le Monde's managing editor, Sylvie Kauffmann, said in an interview at the newspaper's Paris headquarters. . . .

...To recap "Obama justice": if you create an illegal worldwide torture regime, illegally spy on Americans without warrants, abduct people with no legal authority, or invade and destroy another country based on false claims, then you are fully protected. But if you expose any of the evils secretly perpetrated as part of those lawless actions -- by publishing the truth about what was done -- then you are an Evil Criminal who deserves the harshest possible prosecution....

....Journalists cheering for the prosecution of Assange are laying the foundation for the criminalization of their own profession, or at least of the few who actually do investigative journalism. There is simply no coherent way to argue that what WikiLeaks did with these cables is criminal, but what the NYT, the Guardian and other papers did is not.

Finally, in light of all of this, I challenge anyone to get through this State Department Press Release without repeatedly cackling aloud. I don't believe it can be done.

More: Glenn Greenwald

http://www.state.gov...0/12/152465.htm

Press Statement

Philip J. Crowley

Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Public Affairs

Washington, DC

December 7, 2010

The United States is pleased to announce that it will host UNESCO’s World Press Freedom Day event in 2011, from May 1 - May 3 in Washington, D.C. UNESCO is the only UN agency with the mandate to promote freedom of expression and its corollary, freedom of the press.

The theme for next year’s commemoration will be 21st Century Media: New Frontiers, New Barriers. The United States places technology and innovation at the forefront of its diplomatic and development efforts. New media has empowered citizens around the world to report on their circumstances, express opinions on world events, and exchange information in environments sometimes hostile to such exercises of individuals’ right to freedom of expression. At the same time, we are concerned about the determination of some governments to censor and silence individuals, and to restrict the free flow of information. We mark events such as World Press Freedom Day in the context of our enduring commitment to support and expand press freedom and the free flow of information in this digital age.

Highlighting the many events surrounding the celebration will be the awarding of the UNESCO Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize at the National Press Club on May 3rd. This prize, determined by an independent jury of international journalists, honors a person, organization or institution that has notably contributed to the defense and/or promotion of press freedom, especially where risks have been undertaken.

The Newseum will host the first two days of events, which will engage a broad array of media professionals, students, and citizen reporters on themes that address the status of new media and internet freedom, and challenges and opportunities faced by media in our rapidly changing world.

The State Department looks forward to working with UNESCO and the U.S. executive committee spearheaded by the Center for International Media Assistance at the National Endowment for Democracy, IREX, and the United Nations Foundation and the many civil society organizations they have brought together in support of the organization of events unfolding in Washington.

For further information regarding World Press Freedom Day Events for program content, please visit the World Press Freedom Facebook page http://www.connect.c...ok.com/WPFD2011

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Wikileaks is currently mirrored on 1005 sites (updated 2010-12-07 21:55 GMT)

http://wikileaks.se/mirrors.html

me now " In the interim I have maintained a self imposed media blackout. Instead I have been listening to various am and fm radio stations that are receivable here. One thing that stands out is the very much oz oriented news and commentary. Local events areheavily reported, like the flooding of southern Queensland and interestingly on the stations more poppy heavily pushing facebook at every opportunity.'''

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Interesting. Granma International seems to be blocked from here now.

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Granma is no longer blocked. It's series on the Bay of Pigs continues with the tenth installment current.

--------------------

Bradley Manning deserves to be free

Sunday, January 23, 2011 By Kate Ausburn

bradley_manning_placard_sydney_rally_mat_ward_0.jpg

Placard at ‘Defend Wikileaks’ rally, Sydney, January 15. Photo by Mat Ward. More Wikileaks coverage:

John Pilger interviews Julain Assange

Critics failing to silence Wikileaks

Wikileaks case studies: US cynical complicity with killers revealed

Wikileaks: Lies and secrets shows our power

Phillip Adams: Resist attempts to silence Wikileaks

Wikileaks exposes secret diplomace

Israel: Wikileaks reveals US, Arab elite complicity

Hundreds rally for Wikileaks

Resistance defends Wikileaks

Time magazine chose to crown Facebook creator Mark Zuckerberg as its Person of the Year for 2010. But for so many people, it was Julian Assange, who won the popular vote, who was more definitive of the year that was.

In 2010, the WikiLeaks editor-in-chief came to symbolise the struggle for government transparency, accountability and freedom of information.

His profile escalated as the media began to take a closer look at Assange himself, and not just the whistle-blowing website he helps run. A media frenzy now surrounds Assange’s every movement, with photographers snapping grainy photographs through darkened car windows.

The facts and rumours of Assange’s personal and professional life have collided to create a sensational story of a persecuted crusader for freedom, or a person for whom calls of assassination seem reasonable, depending on where your news comes from.

But while the media focuses on Assange, a 23-year-old US army private from Potomac, Maryland, is hidden from the world’s eye — barred from any communication with media.

Bradley Manning has been held in maximum security at Quantico Marine Corps Base in Virginia since July. In the two months previous to that, immediately after his arrest in May, Manning was held in a military jail in Kuwait.

Manning, an army intelligence analyst, was stationed at Forward Operating Base Hammer, east of Baghdad in Iraq, when he was arrested on suspicion of leaking classified military information to Wikileaks. If convicted, Manning faces up to 52 years in jail.

Among the things Manning is accused of leaking is the horrific Collateral Murder video. This video, released by Wikileaks last April, showed US soldiers in occupied Iraq shooting 11 civilians dead, including two foreign journalists, from a helicopter.

As a member of the military, Manning will be tried by court-martial, rather than in a civilian court.

Held for eight months already, Manning is awaiting a pre-trial hearing, known as an Article 32. This is a routine proceeding in cases heard by a general court-martial, the most serious type of military trial.

David Coombs, a US army court-martial defence specialist and Manning’s lawyer, said on his website that the Article 32 hearing is meant to serve as an impartial investigation into the charges, in order to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of the case.

Unless the case is dismissed during pre-trial (Article 32) proceedings, Manning will go to trial and have his case heard by either a military judge or a jury made up of military officers and enlisted service-members.

In most cases of trial by jury, conviction requires a two-thirds majority.

These proceedings are still in the future and Manning has been convicted of no crime.

Yet he remains in solitary confinement. For 23 hours a day, Coombs said on his website, he is held in a six foot by 12 foot cell with the light on at all times. In the cell is a bed, a water fountain and toilet.

A January 8 Alternet.org article said that he is not allowed basic items such as sheets or pillows.

Manning’s daily activities are severely restricted. He is not permitted to do any form of exercise in his cell, if he attempts exercise he is instructed to stop. He is allowed one hour of exercise outside his cell daily, where Coombs said he is “taken to any empty room and allowed only to walk”.

He is not allowed to sleep at any time between 5am and 8pm, if he tries to sleep during these hours he is made to sit up or stand. All of Manning's meals must be consumed in his cell.

No personal items are permitted, but Manning is allowed to watch some local television stations for a period of one-to-three hours on weekdays and three-to-six hours on weekends.

He is allowed to have up to 15 books or magazines, which he must request by name. All publications are reviewed for “suitability”. He is allowed to receive letters only from those on his approved list and his legal counsel; any other letters sent for him are either returned or destroyed.

Manning has had no episodes of self-harm or disciplinary problems since being in custody. Despite this, Coombs said Manning remains detained under “prevention of injury” watch.

Guards check on him every five minutes asking if he is okay. He is required to respond in “some affirmative manner”.

Many individuals and organisations have voiced concern for Manning’s pre-trial conditions, including US non-profit organisation Psychologists for Social Responsibility (PSR).

In a January 3 open letter to US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, PSR called Manning’s treatment “sufficiently harsh as to have aroused international concern”.

PSR said: “We therefore call for a revision in the conditions of PFC Manning’s incarceration while he awaits trial, based on the exhaustive documentation and research that have determined that solitary confinement is, at the very least, a form of cruel, unusual and inhumane treatment in violation of U.S. law.”

It is unlikely Manning will enjoy a reprieve from his current conditions any time soon.

Coombs said: “Private First Class (PFC) Bradley Manning, unlike his civilian counterpart, is afforded no civil remedy for illegal restraint ... Thus, the only judicial recourse that is available is under Article 13 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.

“Article 13 safeguards against unlawful pre-trial punishment and embodies the precept that an accused is presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

Further, Article 13 provides that confinement imposed upon service-members awaiting trial not to be “any more rigorous than the circumstances required to insure his presence”.

However, an Article 13 motion cannot be raised at this stage in proceedings. In a statement on his website, Coombs said the defence will continue to work through military channels and the Army Staff Judge Advocate’s (SJA) Office to remove the harsh conditions of confinement, until such time that an Article 13 motion can be made for Manning.

The story of how Manning came to be held in solitary confinement is as extraordinary as the conditions he has been placed under at the military prison.

Last May, Manning is said to have contacted Adrian Lamo, a former hacker who now works as a security analyst and journalist, BBC.co.uk said on June 8.

After having an online conversation with Manning in which he allegedly confessed to leaking information to Wikileaks, Lamo contacted the FBI. This resulted in Manning’s arrest.

It is unclear why Manning sought contact with Lamo in the first place. Lamo said it was due to his public support of Wikileaks on the social networking site Twitter.

Before their online chats, Lamo says he received a number of encrypted emails from Manning. The content of the emails is unknown.

Journalist Glenn Greenwald said in a December 27 Salon.com article that Lamo told him he was not able to read the emails before he turned them over to the FBI.

It is possible that these emails hold the key as to why Manning felt safe to divulge to Lamo explicit information detailing data he allegedly leaked to Wikileaks.

After sending the encrypted emails, Lamo said Manning contacted him on May 21 via AOL Instant Messenger (IM), a June 10 Wired.com article reported.

Chat logs supplied by Lamo and partially published on Wired.com indicate Manning identified himself as an army intelligence analyst and posed the question to Lamo: “If you had unprecedented access to classified networks 14 hours a day 7 days a week for 8+ months, what would you do?”

The chat logs indicate that during the course of their chats, Manning revealed himself as being a “high profile” Wikileaks source, including having leaked the Collateral Murder video, as well as a video of an airstrike in Afghanistan and 260,000 US embassy cables.

The logs record that Manning said he hoped the reaction to the cables would “hopefully [be] worldwide discussion, debates, and reforms”.

“If not,” Manning said, “then we're doomed, as a species, I will officially give up on the society we have if nothing happens.”

He said: “The reaction to the [Collateral Murder] video gave me immense hope … CNN’s iReport was overwhelmed … Twitter exploded … People who saw, knew there was something wrong.

“I want people to see the truth … regardless of who they are … because without information, you cannot make informed decisions as a public.”

Speaking in the logs of his motivation to blow the whistle and leak classified documents, Manning describes the point at which he started to question his complicity in a military process he was “completely against”.

“I think the thing that got me the most … that made me rethink the world more than anything was watching 15 detainees taken by the Iraqi Federal Police (FP) … for printing ‘anti-Iraqi literature’.

“The Iraqi Federal Police wouldn’t cooperate with US forces, so I was instructed to investigate the matter, find out who the ‘bad guys’ were, and how significant this was for the FPs.

“It turned out, they had printed a scholarly critique against PM Maliki … I had an interpreter read it for me … and when I found out that it was a benign political critique titled ‘Where did the money go?’ and following the corruption trail within the PM’s cabinet, I immediately took that information and *ran* to the officer to explain what was going on … he didn’t want to hear any of it … he told me to shut up and explain how we could assist the FPs in finding *MORE* detainees…”

Soon after Manning allegedly revealed he had leaked classified information to Wikileaks, Lamo contacted the FBI.

Lamo told Wired.com on June 6 that he had “agonized over the decision to expose Manning”. He said: “I wouldn’t have done this if lives weren't in danger.”

Lamo gave a similar justification when speaking on the Risky Business podcast on June 10: “I made a conscious decision to severely affect the life of another human being in order to prevent the lives of other human beings from being seriously and adversely effected by the leakage of classified material.”

However, talking to the BBC on June 8, Lamo’s decision to turn government informant seemed to be a more self-serving decision as opposed to an agonising effort to save hypothetical lives.

“At the moment he gave me the information,” Lamo said, “it was basically a suicide pact. I didn’t want any more FBI agents knocking at the door.”

In 2004, Lamo found himself in trouble with US authorities when he was convicted for hacking into the New York Times, Greenwald reported in a June 15 Salon.com article.

Whereas Manning speaks of his motivation to turn whistleblower as wanting “people to see the truth” about “damning” incidents, Lamo’s reasons for hacking into private business networks come with less honourable justification.

“I've never made an argument that there’s any particular right or moral principle that makes the exploration of private domains OK,” Lamo told Information Week in a 2002 interview. “I’m not saying it’s right. It's what I do.”

After turning Manning in to US authorities, Lamo told the June 9 Yahoo News that the FBI requested he continue chatting with Manning.

Lamo quizzed Manning on the process of submission to Wikileaks, how to contact Assange (“does he use AIM or other messenging services?”), and the physical and technical method of leaking data from the military workstations.

Several days after their first contact, and likely after Lamo had approached the FBI, he asked Manning: “What would you do if your role [with] WikiLeaks seemed in danger of being blown?”

To which Manning responded: “Try and figure out how I could get my side of the story out … before everything was twisted around to make me look like Nidal Hassan.”

He continued: “I don’t think it's going to happen. I mean, I was never noticed.”

In a taunting forewarning Lamo told him: “I’d be one paranoid boy in your shoes.”

Manning’s candid comments to Lamo appear to indicate a level of trust and lead to an obvious speculation about assumed confidentiality. Lamo insists no confidentiality was implicit in his conversations with Manning.

“I was a private citizen in a private capacity — there was no source, journalist relationship,” Lamo told the BBC.

Lamo also told Yahoo News that he was not acting as a journalist when talking with Manning, and further claimed that Manning turned down an offer to have his identity protected.

At present, US prosecutors are looking to build a case against Wikileaks and Assange. To do so, they require proof that Assange worked actively to assist Manning in extracting the classified information — rather than simply acting in the capacity of a journalist working with a source.

Wired.com has published just 25% of the Manning/Lamo chat logs, but Wired.com editor in chief Evan Hanse said on Twitter: “I just reviewed the full text and all descriptions of Manning’s relationship with Assange and WikiLeaks are already public.”

Commenting on the likelihood of charges being levelled against Wikileaks based on information already public, Sean Bonner said in a December 29 BoingBoing.net article that said there was “little to suggest the degree of collaboration between Pvt. Manning and WikiLeaks that prosecutors may need to pursue charges”.

With Manning held in solitary confinement, there is a question that poses itself and was raised by Greenwald in a June 18 Salon.com piece: “Why would he contact a total stranger, whom he randomly found from a Twitter search, in order to ‘quickly’ confess to acts that he knew could send him to prison for a very long time, perhaps his whole life?

“And why would he choose to confess over the Internet, in an unsecured, international AOL IM chat, given the obvious ease with which that could be preserved, intercepted or otherwise surveilled?”

“These are the actions of someone either unbelievably reckless or actually eager to be caught.”

It is hard to imagine someone being “eager to be caught” and facing a long prison sentence. And if Manning was responsible for the transfer of more than 250,000 classified files from US authorities to Wikileaks, it is hard to imagine such a feat could have been achieved by someone “unbelievably reckless”.

With Manning prohibited from making statements to the press, the nature of his relationship with Lamo, and the truth of statements made by Lamo, remain unverified.

The case of Manning and Lamo is highly unusual. If the Manning/Lamo chat logs are authentic, then we are left with no choice but to trust the process of US military judicial system to reveal in time the reasons why Manning felt he could trust Lamo to the extent he did.

In the meantime, whatever the truth of the matter, Manning remains subject to inhumane treatment in his tiny cell by US authorities — despite not having been found guilty of a crime.

But even if Manning is guilty of what he is accused of, he should not be in prison. The information he is alleged to have released reveals very serious war crimes. The release of this information is in the interests of humanity.

It is the war criminals, whose crimes are being increasingly exposed by Wikileaks, who should be standing trial

It is important that the movement that has sprung up around the world to defend Wikileaks in a variety of ways also takes up the case of Bradley Manning — and demands his freedom.

[For more information, or for ways to support Manning, visit www.bradleymanning.org .]

Below: Daniel Ellsberg, a US whistleblower who leaked the "Pentagon Papers" to the media during the Vietnam War, talks about Bradley Manning. The Pentagon Papers revealed that the US government knew early on that the Vietnam War was not likely winnable and would lead to many times more casualties than ever admitted.

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From GLW issue 865

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Pilger, Wilkie, Burnside to defend WikiLeaks

Sunday, February 6, 2011

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John Pilger.

As momentous events in Egypt demonstrate, much of the world is calling to account an “old order”. These are exciting times for the possibilities of real change in the way our societies are run.

One of the catalysts of the “people power” we see on our TV screens is the extraordinary disclosure of secret information that tells us how wars begin and governments manipulate and deceive in our name.

In the tradition of courageous investigative journalism, WikiLeaks has blown the whistles that alert us to these injustices and lies, serving a basic democratic need.

The founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, is an Australian.

Instead of democratic governments praising such a spectacle of empowering information — what Thomas Jefferson called the “currency” of democracy — this Australian citizen has been attacked, his life threatened.

Among the attackers has been the Australian Prime Minister.

A unique public forum, “Breaking Australia’s Silence: WikiLeaks and Freedom” will take place on March 16 at Sydney Town Hall.

It is staged by the Sydney Peace Foundation, Amnesty International, Action for Peace, GetUp, the Stop the War Coalition, and supported by the City of Sydney.

The Sydney event will feature three renowned speakers: award-winning journalist John Pilger, whistle-blowing Andrew Wilkie, the only serving Western intelligence officer to break cover and expose the truth about the invasion of Iraq, and the human rights lawyer Julian Burnside QC.

Broadcaster Mary Kostakidis will moderate the public forum.

The goal of the Town Hall meeting is to both ignite and engage a public forum that will break Australia’s silence on the responsibilities of our own government towards its citizens, and, above all, the right of all of us to free speech, based on information that calls to account those who claim to speak in our name.

[The public forum will take place on March 16, 6.30pm at Sydney Town Hall. Admission is free.]

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From GLW issue 867

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Corporate plot to silence WikiLeaks revealed

Sunday, February 20, 2011 By Ash Pemberton

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Leaked emails have revealed a plot by private internet security firms to bring down WikiLeaks. The plot was allegedly created on behalf of the Bank of America — the largest bank in the US.

WikiLeaks editor-in-chief Julian Assange has said Bank of America will be the subject of future leaks.

Computer-hacker group Anonymous revealed the plot after stealing 50,000 internal emails from internet security company HBGary Federal.

The hackers attacked the HBGary Federal website after executive Aaron Barr boasted to the media that the company was working to expose members of WikiLeaks, the New York Times said on February 11.

Anonymous supported WikiLeaks in December by shutting down the websites of Visa, Mastercard and PayPal after those companies cut off WikiLeaks' ability to raise funds via their services.

The emails included a report commissioned by law firm Hunton & Williams, apparently on behalf of Bank of America, Thetechherald.com said on February 7.

The report, titled The WikiLeaks Threat, detailed a broad plan on how three internet security companies — HBGary Federal, Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies — could bring down WikiLeaks.

The report named the companies "Team Themis".

The report suggested a number of tactics. These included giving fake documents to WikiLeaks and then attacking their credibility when they were published, fuelling internal feuds within WikiLeaks and manufacturing concern over the security of the site.

It also advised launching cyber attacks on the WikiLeaks site to steal data on sources of information and a "media campaign to push the radical and reckless nature of wikileaks activities".

The report also contains a chart of people, including journalists and WikiLeaks supporters, whose careers could be threatened to scare them into silence.

"These are established professionals that have a liberal bent," the report said, "but ultimately most of them if pushed will choose professional preservation over cause, such is the mentality of most business professionals".

On February 14, Wired.com reported an email from Barr saying that Team Themis, "[a]lso need to get people to understand that if they support the organization we will come after them. [Financial] transaction records are easily identifiable."

The report also speculates on alleged weaknesses of WikiLeaks: "There is a fracture among the followers because of a belief that Julien [sic] is going astray from the cause and has selected his own mission of attacking the US.

"Despite the publicity, WikiLeaks is NOT in a healthy position right now. Their weakness are causing great stress in the organization which can be capitalized on."

The emails also show Team Themis were preparing to discredit activist groups campaigning against the US Chamber of Commerce, Salon.com said on February 15.

Bank of America and the US Chamber of Commerce have denied any involvement with the plans, Wired.com said. However, their lawyers Hunton & Williams have refused to comment on the matter.

Palantir Technologies and Berico Technologies tried to place the blame on HBGary Federal by claiming to have no knowledge of the sinister aspects of the plan.

However, they were quickly exposed when leaked emails between Barr and a Palantir employee showed discussions about targeting outspoken journalist Glenn Greenwald, Salon.com said on February 15.

The report also contained Palantir's logo on each page.

Palantir and Berico have since broken ties with HBGary Federal, Salon.com said.

Penny Leavy, president of HBGary, an affiliate to HBGary Federal, said that the actions of Anonymous were "criminal".

"Anonymous should be regarded as the criminal group it is," Leavy told the British Guardian on February 15. "They have shown that they will go after security companies and anyone who works with the government."

These companies, along with Hunton & Williams, have deep connections with the US government and the US's largest corporations.

Salon.com said on February 11: "Hunton & Williams was recommended to Bank of America's General Counsel by the Justice Department — meaning the U.S. Government is aiding Bank of America in its … attacks on WikiLeaks."

Greenwald, who has campaigned for alleged leaker of the WikiLeaks cables Bradley Manning, said of being targeted: "My initial reaction to all of this was to scoff at its absurdity …

"But after learning a lot more over the last couple of days, I now take this more seriously — not in terms of my involvement but the broader implications this story highlights.

"The real issue highlighted by this episode is just how lawless and unrestrained is the unified axis of government and corporate power."

John Cole at Balloon-juice.com said on February 11: "One thing that even the dim bulbs in the media should understand by now is that there is in fact a class war going on, and it is the rich and powerful who are waging it.

"Anyone who does anything that empowers the little people or that threatens the wealth and power of the plutocracy must be destroyed.

"There is a reason they are targeting wikileaks and Glenn Greenwald … You have to understand the mindset — they are playing for keeps."

This plot comes as the US government attempts to find evidence that WikiLeaks encouraged or helped with the theft of secret documents.

Civil liberties groups have challenged a US government subpoena of social networking site Twitter to force the site hand over account information from people associated with WikiLeaks.

Information is being sought from the accounts of Assange and Manning, among others, the Washington Post said on February 15.

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Others whose accounts are under subpoena are Icelandic parliamentarian Birgitta Jonsdottir, and WikiLeaks volunteers Jacob Applebaum and Rop Gonggrijp, the February 17 Age said.

They are alleged to have taken part in preparing the leaked "Collateral Murder" video for release, which featured US soldiers in a helicopter slaughtering unarmed civilians and journalists in Iraq.

The US government is also demanding Twitter "disclose the names, dates and locations of all persons who have used its services to receive messages from WikiLeaks or Mr. Assange", the February 15 ,em>Australian said.

The Australian said Assange slammed the orders against Twitter, saying: "This is an outrageous attack by the Obama administration on the privacy and free speech rights of Twitter's customers."

A lawyer representing one of the Twitter clients said in court that giving the government access to the accounts would essentially end free speech online, by allowing the government to trace all those connected with WikiLeaks, the Post said.

Assange has also said the Australian government is helping the US investigate Australians involved with WikiLeaks. He told Dateline on February 13: "There is assistance being afforded to the United States, and that is something that really needs to come out.

"[PM Julia] Gillard and [Attorney-General Robert] McClelland need to disclose all the assistance they have afforded foreign countries against Australians involved in WikiLeaks."

From GLW issue 869

http://www.greenleft.org.au/node/46764

Edited by John Dolva

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David Hicks: Torture ‘an everyday experience’

Sunday, March 6, 2011

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David Hicks was one of the first “war on terror” detainees to be sent to the US military prison at Guantanamo the day it opened in January 2002.

In a February 16 article, Truth-out.org’s Jason Leopold introduced Hicks as “the Australian drifter who converted to Islam, changed his name to Muhammed Dawood and ended up at training camps in Afghanistan the US government said were linked to al-Qaeda, one of which was visited by Osama bin Laden several times.

“Hicks was picked up at a taxi stand by the Northern Alliance in November 2001 and sold to US forces for about $1,500. Hicks was detainee 002, the second person processed into Guantanamo on January 11, 2002, the day the facility opened.

“Hicks was brutally tortured. Psychologically and physically for four years, maybe longer. He was injected in the back of his neck with unknown drugs. He was sodomized with a foreign object. He spent nearly a year in solitary confinement. He was beaten once for ten hours.

“He was threatened with death. He was placed in painful stress positions. He was subjected to sleep deprivation. He was exposed to extremely cold temperatures, loud music and strobe lights designed to disorient his senses. He was interrogated on a near daily basis.”

Hick’s memoir Guantanamo: My Journey was published in 2009. Below is an abridged version of Hick’s interview with Leopold, his first interview since his release from Guantanamo in 2007.

*****

Can you describe for me what you felt, emotionally, as you were writing Guantanamo and having to relive the torture you were subjected to?

At times I wrote as a third person, as if I was writing a chronological research report as part of my day job. At other times I had moments of vivid clarity. I would stop typing, sit back, and stare into nothing.

The smells, sounds, the feeling of actually being there came flooding back as if had been transported to the camps of Guantanamo, clearly remembering what it was like to have actually been there.

Solitary confinement appears to be among the worst of all the terrible experiences prisoners faced at Guantanamo. Can you explain what it does to you in a way that Americans, with no experience of such things, can understand what such isolation, especially with no knowledge of how long it will last, does to a person?

Solitary and indefinite detention are two different things and are devastating when combined. Isolation has a powerful impact on the mind, especially when coupled with incommunicado detention as in Guantanamo.

Everything outside the four walls is quickly forgotten. With no mental stimulation, the mind becomes confused and dull. That state of mind is an advantage to interrogators, who manipulate every aspect of your environment. They create a new world reality.

Time ceases to exist. Talking becomes difficult, so when conversations do take place, you cannot form words or think.

Even when hostility is not present such as during a visit with a lawyer or International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) visit, coherent sentences become elusive and huge mental blanks become common, as though you are forgetting the very act of speaking.

Everything you think and know is dictated by the interrogators. You become fully dependent, with a childlike reliance on your captors. They pull you apart and put you back together, dismantling into smaller pieces each time, until you become something different, their creation, when eventually reassembled.

Indefinite detention is draining and cruel. Only after five and a half years when I had been promised a date of release did the intense battle with insanity subside, and that I started to feel a little more normal again.

I finally had some certainty and felt a glimmer of control return. I began to remember that another world existed and could once again dream about what that world used to feel like.

Indefinite detention is draining because you are taken prisoner and thrown into a cage. No reason is given or any relevant information or explanation offered.

There are no accusations, no courtrooms or judges. Nobody informs “you will be here for amount of time”.

It's an impossible situation to accept and every minute is spent silently asking and hoping, "this cannot last forever, I will have to be released soon".

But when the mind is so desperate, when you are on your last legs, you can't let go of the thought that you could be released any moment, even if all seems lost and hopeless.

In a strange way it is one of those things the mind latches onto for a source of strength, a reason to keep going: false hopes and dreams are better than nothing.

What do you believe gave you the strength to survive in such terrible conditions? Have you sought medical or psychological help since returning? If so, has it helped you?

I survived because I had no choice, as many of us may unfortunately experience at some time in our lives. It was a psychological battle, a serious and dangerous one.

It was a constant struggle not to lose my sanity and go mad. It would have been so easy just to let go: it offered the only escape.

I have attended regular counselling since being released. It has helped but the passing of time has been just as helpful. Being exposed to such a consuming environment for five and a half years leaves a stain that cannot be removed overnight.

It will take longer to reverse the consequences but even so, some experiences, especially one so prolonged, can never be entirely forgotten. I shudder to think what state of mind those who are still detained in Guantanamo must be in, and wonder how damaged they will be upon release. If they are released.

At the time of writing, the US government is seriously considering enacting indefinite detention into law. It is hard to comprehend that they will effectively sentence someone to life in prison, without ever being charged, accused of breaking a law, or not even being told why they are being held.

As with medical experimentation, indefinite detention on its own is a form of torture which causes mental anguish.

At what moment in your mind did you begin to realise or understand that you were being tortured?

I was beaten by US forces the first time I saw them and realised straight away that torture was going to be a reality, it was very scary. As I say in my book, I could not help thinking of the saying, "like trying to get blood from a stone," and I was afraid of becoming that stone.

What do you think makes a human being torture another human being?

In Guantanamo torture was driven by anger and frustration. It seemed like a mad fruitless quest to pin crimes on detainees, to extract false confessions, and produce so-called intelligence of value.

The guards were desensitised and detainees dehumanised. Soldiers were not allowed to engage us in conversation. They were told to address us by number only and not by name.

They were constantly drilled with propaganda about how much we supposedly hated them and wanted them dead and how much they needed to hate us.

On occasion, when some groups of soldiers jogged around the camp perimeters I heard them sing lyrics such as, “you hate us and we hate you”.

One time in the privacy of Camp Echo a male soldier broke down when we were alone repeating, "what have I become?", after having arrived from an interrogation of a detainee in another camp.

Can you describe for me the facial expressions of the interrogators and /or the guards as you were being abused? How did they react to your pain?

Usually the guards seemed cold and indifferent. They deployed a "just doing my job" attitude, such as when they chained me to the floor in stress positions or made me sleep directly on a metal or concrete floor in a very cold air-conditioned room in only a pair of shorts.

However, some soldiers displayed discomfort and embarrassment. Usually guards were only used to restrain detainees, move them about, or help in the back ground with equipment.

It was the interrogators who did the dirty work, expressing, hatred and frustration. At times soldiers did participate directly in beatings however, such the beatings I received before I arrived in Guantanamo (in Afghanistan, in transit, or when I was rendered to the two ships). These soldiers made a sport of it.

Did any US soldier or any US official present at Guantanamo during your interrogations ever speak out about your torture or the torture of other detainees?

If you mean protest during the act of torture, never. Many soldiers in private however apologised for what their government was doing to us and emphasised that not all Americans were like that or agreed with such treatment.

Were you ever interrogated by anyone from the CIA?

Some interrogators stated which agencies they represented, some didn't, while others lied about who they worked for.

To the best of my knowledge I was seen by the CIA, FBI, US military intelligence, MI5 from the UK, ASIO and the AFP from Australia. There were other organisations working in Guantanamo, some I had never heard of before.

In your book you write: "These beatings and other activities were systematic and ordered from above, not the result of low- ranking MPs looking for ways to have some fun." Did anyone ever state who from above ordered the beatings?

The soldiers were very open about where their orders came from and interrogators never allowed us to forget that they controlled every aspect of our lives; whether it was torturing us, allowing us a shower, clothing, or a letter from home.

Then there were examples such as when General [Geoffrey] Miller took over camp procedures in early 2003. He unleashed a new wave of interrogation techniques upon us.

Each new general, and wave of interrogators who were accompanied by experts from various professions, brought newly signed orders from Department of Justice employees allowing ever-harsher techniques.

Have you read the torture memos written by former Justice Department attorneys John Yoo and Jay Bybee? Were you ever subjected to torture techniques described in those memos?

I have read them, but it was some time ago and I cannot currently recollect all that they contained. Some of the techniques I was subjected to from the memos were being chained to the floor, known as "stress positions".

Sleep deprivation was an everyday occurrence during all of the years I spent in Guantanamo.

Noise manipulation also happened often depending on what camp I was in. They used chainsaw motors and loud music in Camp Delta.

They used temperature extremes on me, which meant subjecting me to the freezing cold because they knew I have a low tolerance to the cold.

Sensory deprivation, prolonged isolation and other psychological manipulation techniques were also used on me (injecting me with substances, giving me cold and sometimes green food such as eggs, putting cameras up on the ceiling). They also used techniques that exploited my fears.

You write that at Camp Echo guards were placed to observe you constantly and that they wrote notes about your every behavior. Did you ever ask these guards what their instructions were, or if they knew what their superiors did with these notes? Did they ever tell you?

We were observed in all camps. Guards always carried a pen and notebook having been ordered to write down everything we did, including the trivial, such as what we did to pass the time and what we spoke about when other detainees were around.

They even recorded how we went to the bathroom – that is, did we shield ourselves from neighboring detainees or guards and if so, how? Nothing went un-noted.

This information was combined with personality traits learnt from interrogations, ranging from how we spoke to how we responded to the so called “enhanced interrogation techniques”.

The end result was the US government compiling files on each of us, including a micro level psychoanalysis. They knew our likes and dislikes, fears and weaknesses. These files were then used against us in interrogation and in daily camp life.

It was about crushing and defeating us, to make us become so desperate that we would do and agree to anything to escape. Collecting this information and what they used it for was no secret and some guards explained this program when in private.

In Camp Echo, guards who sat outside our cages, staring at us twenty-four hours a day, had to write what we were doing every 15 minutes night and day.

The interrogation rooms of Camp Delta had an entire wall as a one-way observation glass.

Behind these walls sat teams of so-called experts: Intelligence officers, behavioral scientists, psychologists; people who made conclusions upon which they decided what techniques were to be employed.

By this I mean what programs the detainee would be subjected to in his cage such as sleep deprivation, noise or food manipulation.

There was no shortage of ideas, resources, expertise, or personnel. A lot of effort went into these customised interrogations. Nothing was private. We were violated internally, psychologically, spiritually.

They probed and tinkered in recesses so deep; parts of ourselves we are not conscious of or in touch with in our daily lives and may not even connect with and discover in our lifetimes.

Did you ever meet separately with a psychologist or psychiatrist when at Guantanamo, for ostensibly psychological reasons, either a psychological test or assessment, or for supposed treatment of any sort?

No, but they did approach me occasionally during the last year or so I spent in Guantanamo to see if I would talk and cooperate.

Apart from their contributions in interrogations they were always lurking in the back ground, waiting to "help a detainee," but to really act as another prong to interrogation.

If a detainee even whispered for such medical intervention a "mental health expert," would appear with a pocket of unknown medication and a long list of probing questions. They were not there to help, but to harm.

We knew this and so I always refused to speak with them when they offered. If I did speak with them, such as the period when I eventually, after two years, had limited access to a lawyer for example, the questions would have been centered on how I intended to defend myself and any court actions I was considering.

All they wanted was information, or to find a new way to defeat you.

Were psychologists and/or medical professionals present at all interrogations? Were the interrogations ever stopped to check your heart rate and/or pulse?

The major physical beatings I endured occurred in Afghanistan, during transportation and enroute to Guantanamo. During those sessions, one was around 10 hours, my vital signs were checked often.

In Guantanamo, medical personnel were not in the same room as me during actual interrogations but from my understanding they were monitoring my interrogations from behind the one way glass in Camp Delta.

For other detainees, such as those being shocked or water-boarded, medical personnel were present, or if drugs were being administrated during interrogation, as I describe in my book when they extracted false confessions from one of the UK detainees.

They were present when I was injected in the spine, but that experience is one that I don’t like to talk about.

Have your lawyers tried to get a copy of your medical records?

Yes, but with no luck. We gave up thinking we might be allowed to see them long ago. Even upon return to Australia where I was forced to spend the first seven months in isolated detention as part of the agreement to get out of Guantanamo.

My family requested an independent blood test be taken on my return to Australia. They were refused without an excuse. It was nearly eight months since Guantanamo and about a year since being given medication before I was allowed to have my first blood test. I was informed that too much time had passed to see what I had been given.

During your interrogations, did the interrogators ever ask you questions about Iraq?

No, the policy of incommunicado was strictly enforced, for years we knew absolutely nothing about the outside world. We weren't even meant to know the time of day, let alone our location, especially any news.

The first time I learnt about the war in Iraq was the end of 2003. A guard was kind enough to allow me to read his copy of FHM magazine and it contained an article about the US invasion, otherwise I would not have known.

Rumors of a war in Iraq did not begin to circulate amongst the detainees until 2004 and was viewed with skepticism by most.

The military did not inform us officially of the Iraq invasion until late 2006 by placing large posters of Saddam hanging from a noose around the camps with slogans splashed across the front like, "this could be you."

It was only then that detainees believed that the war had taken place.

You have written eloquently of your terrible experience with what you say was medical experimentation, calling it the worst and darkest of your experiences there. Have you talked with any other detainees about whether they had similar experiences? How do you think about it now?

When I was injected in the back of the neck I was being held in isolation, so I was unable to discuss what had happened with other detainees.

A year passed before I was eventually able to see and communicate with fellow detainees, and I am unable to remember today if I discussed that particular personal experience with them. We did discuss medical experimentation in general, however.

A detainee with UK citizenship described being injected daily, resulting in one of his testicles becoming swollen and racked with pain.

Along with these daily injections he was subjected to mind games by interrogators, medical personnel and guards, who worked as a team. Under these conditions they were able to extract written false confessions from him.

How I experienced the injection at the base of my neck is described in detail in my book. In a nutshell, I felt my soul had been violated. That is just one experience I had with medication.

There were many pills and injections, plus constant blood tests over the years. Everybody, regardless of their citizenship, should acknowledge that medical experimentation, whether on human beings or animals, is unacceptable.

As with animals, we were held as prisoners when these procedures were forced upon us against our will. And as with animals, we were voiceless.

Did any interrogator or other official working for the US government ever use the word "torture" or "experiment" as you were being interrogated?

I don't remember the word torture being used but there were many ways to imply it. After a torture session for example an interrogator would just say, “the treatment you have recently endured can always be repeated," and threats were often made referring to past treatment or what was happening to other detainees.

Guards often alluded to Guantanamo as being a big laboratory where we were subjected to their government's well-honed techniques.

I remember in the early days while being held aboard a US ship when a soldier said: "Be strong man no matter what they do to you, just keep your head in God man." It didn't leave me with much confidence.

Did you ever sign any document stating that you consented to the medications/injections you received? Did anyone ever ask you to sign such a document?

I had two surgeries while in GTMO. One was for a double hernia, while the other was to remove painful golf ball size lumps on my chest. The cause of the lumps or what they were was never explained to me but research since my release indicates that it was either the mediations I was forced to take or the extreme stress levels may have been responsible.

On the two occasions I was operated on I was asked to sign a consent form, which I did.

However, my permission was not sought nor had I any choice when it came to being forced fed tablets, or the numerous injections that we were all given. Many blood tests were also taken consistently over the years I was detained.

How typical was it, do you think, that interrogators attempted to get prisoners to become agents for their government?

Interrogators attempted to bribe detainees with food, bed sheets, toilet paper and other "luxuries‚" to become spies and to give information about other detainees.

On occasion, some detainees in Guantanamo became so drained and broken that they would succumb to the temptation.

Interrogators tried everything to make detainees "confess," including being asked to lie via imagination or simply to agree to an interrogator's theories. Interrogators became desperate with the passing of time to find and pin actual crimes on detainees, and paper trails have shown they were willing to manipulate evidence in their favor.

There was one time in 2003 when we were all asked if we would work for the US government performing secret operations off the island, somewhere abroad. Nearly every detainee laughed at this question and word quickly spread so we knew we weren't alone.

Apparently the proposition was a part of their profiling system. Interrogators worked around the clock to break us. Once broken, detainees were asked to agree to anything by interrogators, to repeat after them, to sign confessions, to be false witnesses, or to sow discord amongst detainees.

When did you become aware that journalists were writing about torture at Guantanamo and at prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Not until the photos from Abu Ghraib in Iraq had become public. I found the public debate interesting. At first it was, "are they being tortured or not". Then once torture was confirmed, the debate evolved to, "is it acceptable, is it justified, is it legal?"

I am surprised by how many people still try to justify torture and support it as government policy, as an extra "necessary" tool to tackle terrorism.

Do you know if any prisoners ever died at Guantanamo while you were there?

Four died during my time in Guantanamo.

Have you heard about the three prisoners who allegedly committed suicide in June 2006? Do you know anything about them? Do you believe they committed suicide?

Suicide is possible in that situation, but evidence has emerged in various forms and from various sources suggesting foul play.

Some witnesses are soldiers and have said that they believe that the detainees were “accidentally” killed during an interrogation at a secret camp on the island called “Camp No” as in no, it doesn't exist. It seems they pushed their dangerous techniques too far.

The fact that the organs were removed from the bodies so that an independent autopsy could not be carried out raises more questions than answers. This topic is covered in detail in my book with researched references pointing to foul play.

Did you ever interact with Shaker Aamer, the last British resident still held at Guantanamo?

I saw him on the odd occasion over the years and exchanged greetings, otherwise I never had the chance to talk or interact with him. The military has often kept him separated from other detainees and I believe subjected him to horrific treatment.

When I left Guantanamo in early 2007, I knew that he was being held in isolation in Camp Echo because that is where I was.

Whenever I saw him he always looked so skinny, weak, and tired. I cannot understand why they continue to hold him and the nearly 200 men still detained there.

Were dogs ever used to invoke fear in you? You describe the use of chainsaws in your book. What was the purpose of this?

Not personally. Dogs were mainly used against detainees known to have a fear of them. Our individual fears and weaknesses were used against us as customised interrogations.

The chainsaw engines kept at full revs were used as part of their noise manipulation program. It prevented detainees from communicating with each other, prevented sleep, and basically drove us mad.

Can you tell me whether you have any flashbacks and if so what triggers it? When that happens, what do you start to feel?

Day time flashbacks consist of those moments of vivid clarity as I described previously, but it is the dreams that are the worst.

I see myself having to begin the long process of imprisonment again accompanied with vivid feelings of hopelessness and no knowledge of the future or how long it will last.

The other dreams consist of gruesome medical experimentations too horrible to describe.

Losing my personality, my identity, memories and self is much more frightening to me than any physical harm. It is these dreams that are the most common and terrifying.

Do you remember former Guantanamo guards Brandon Neely and Albert Melise?

Unfortunately, I don't remember Neely from Camp X-ray, it was a very confusing time for me. We established contact last year, but I became aware of Neely some time ago when he flew to the UK and publicly met some of the former UK detainees.

He apologised for what he and his government had done. He is a brave man and I admire his courage and moral values, so it was an honour to speak with him.

I remember the polite and respectful soldiers, and the bad, but especially the good men and women I spent time with privately, such as in Camp Echo.

One of those good men is Albert Melise who made contact with me to apologise, to offer help, and to see if I was alright. I remember him well because he did what he could in that controlled high security environment to help slow the deterioration of my sanity for the few months I spent with him.

He is another brave man that I respect and admire, to add his voice to the growing number of witnesses that are coming forward to publicly share the truth and expose that shameful time in our history.

Melise did a lot to help me in those dark times, and it was a joy to hear his voice that first time as a free man. I hope to gather enough funds so I can fly these two men to Australia to thank them personally and show my gratitude for their friendship and trust.

I'd like to show them my hospitality and my country, and to show them how much I appreciate their past kindness and current bravery.

Neely and Melise were not alone in covertly showing humanity to myself and other detainees whenever they had the opportunity.

A handshake, an apology (though that responsibility shouldn't have to have been shouldered by them), even a simple hello and a smile goes a long way in an environment drowning in hostility and hatred.

There were other soldiers who helped me in their own way and apologised for what was happening when no one else was around. As bad as that place was, and some of the people who worked there, they were all human and there is good in all of us.

A good percentage of the soldiers were very young and most were only reservists who had never expected to be deployed. It was always interesting to watch the shock on their faces when they first entered the camps, a scene they had often seen only in old war movies and the realisation that their government "did torture".

Some of these poor souls suffered greatly as they experienced the "other" America and struggled to carry out questionable orders. It is not just the tortured who suffer.

What do you think should happen, if anything, to the individuals who tortured you and the government officials who sanctioned it?

As for the soldiers I don't think "following orders" is an excuse. Interrogators should be disciplined and charged if found to have acted illegally.

All medical personnel who participated in interrogations, whether doctors, nurses, corpsman, psychologists and psychiatrists should be investigated and banned from practicing, even if they only gave advice or kept silent if aware of what was happening.

I also think that the highest ranking military officials, politicians, and lawyers who created and supported the system need to go in front of an international court.

But these are not the only issues. Guantanamo should be closed, torture abolished, military commissions scrapped, renditions ceased, indefinite detention should be a thing of the past, and people (including children) should no longer be made to "disappear" into unknown black site prisons.

Justice is coming slowly however. Former Guantanamo soldiers, translators, FBI and other US employees, even prosecutors, have gone public to expose the truth of Guantanamo and many documents have made it into the public realm.

Spain and Germany had begun the process of prosecuting former president Bush and members of his regime but after being pressured by the US they dropped the proceedings.

The latest country said to be exploring the possibility of prosecuting US officials is Poland for the US using its soil in its rendition program.

Last year Italy convicted 26 CIA agents in absentia for their involvement in kidnapping an Italian citizen and then dumping him in the woods near his home in the middle of the night a year later.

The former UK detainees were recently paid just over 1 million pounds each in compensation and the Australian government has just paid compensation to the other Australian [Mamdough Habib] who was held in Guantanamo after being tortured in Egypt.

In both instances these men were required to drop their court cases against the state.

WikiLeaks has been another vehicle shedding light on what took place at Guantanamo and beyond, exposing those responsible for illegal acts.

Sometime this year about 1300 diplomatic cables are to be released concerning Australia. I have been told to look out for information concerning my case.

Especially cables that talk about the treatment I was receiving, and who was involved with the political interference and creation of the plea deal that I was forced to sign if I was ever to come home. I will be watching with great interest once all that information comes to light.

Is there anything the US government or the Australian government told you that you can never speak about?

There was a one year gag order upon my release and I had to sign a plea agreement that said I had never been mistreated by US officials or their employees while in US detention.

I am also not allowed to challenge or "collaterally attack‚" my conviction, seek compensation or other remedies, or sue anyone for my illegal imprisonment and treatment. I have been advised that no court would uphold the plea agreement.

There aren't many Caucasians at Guantanamo? How were you treated by the other detainees? And now that you've been released, how have you been treated by the public?

There weren't many Caucasians at Guantanamo but I wasn't the only one. Before the release of detainees began there must have been close to forty European citizens spread between eight or nine western European countries.

Usually most detainees treated each other the same regardless of their geopolitical or cultural background. The Australian public has been wonderful; very welcoming, glad to see me home and very helpful. I often have people approach me to say hello.

How did you and your wife Aloysia meet?

Aloysia has been involved in human rights activism for years and in her efforts for social justice became involved in the Australian campaign to see me released from Guantanamo bay. Over the years she came to know my dad quite well, and he played a part in our relationship.

You have a long life ahead of you. What would you like to accomplish? What are your hopes and dreams?

When I was released I wondered if refugees newly arrived in a country felt similar. I had to begin a new life from the beginning, from collecting a set of identification papers to such privileges as a vehicle license and obtaining a Medicare card.

Despite long-term plans such as owning a home I have been taking a day at a time, receiving treatment for physical and mental injuries, finding employment and working, and when I get the chance or in the mood fishing or socialising.

Writing my book for two years took up a lot of my time, as does keeping abreast of all the continuous developments regarding Guantanamo, the so called war on terror and its related policies, and those whose lives (detained or not) they continue to effect, including my own.

Life is very busy for me. Finding the love of my life has been my biggest accomplishment, of course! And then writing my book.

Otherwise there is a lot of work left to do and in the years to come I will continue to rebuild my life, seek normality, and to live in peace with the hardships of the past far behind me.

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From GLW issue 871

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