WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is set to remain in custody until Dec. 14, but his lawyers are now stating that they anticipate spying charges to be filed against Assange. His lawyers also say Assange is “not happy” about cyberattacks against those who hackers believe are enemies of Wikileaks.
Meanwhile, he’s still in the front-running for Time’s person of the year, Web Newser reported Dec. 8. Amazon, which kicked WikiLeaks off its servers, is now selling an e-book version with the cables.
Assange to be Charged with Spying?
The Daily Mail reported that Julian Assange’s lawyer, Jennifer Robinson, said “imminent” charges of spying will be filed by the United States against her client.
According to the Mail, there is speculation that Assange could be charged under the Espionage Age, which “makes it a crime to receive national defence information if it is known to have been obtained illegally and could be used ‘to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation.'”
Another option could be claiming Assange stole government property, the Mail reported that unnamed “legal experts in Washington” said.
OpenLeaks, an Alternative to WikiLeaks, Coming Soon
CNN reported that “several of Julian Assange’s ex-colleagues say they’re launching a WikiLeaks-like site called OpenLeaks next week.”
Daniel Domscheit-Berg, a former WikiLeaks staff member, is one of the people behind OpenLeaks. As Forbes reported, OpenLeaks “will allow leakers to anonymously submit information to a secure online dropbox.” However, instead of publishing the information, the source can send the information to “any media or non-governmental organization he or she chooses and have that information passed on for fact-checking, redaction and publication.”
As Forbes reported, OpenLeaks “will initially partner with five newspapers worldwide, but soon expand to anyone who wants to participate.”
Domscheit-Berg explained that if the recipient of the leak doesn’t do anything with the leak, the information will “be shared” with another media outlet. He left WikiLeaks a few months ago, and also stated “you can’t imagine how happy I am to be out” of WikiLeaks, given the controversy surrounding WikiLeaks.
Read more about OpenLeaks here.
Journalists Sheltered Assange–Literally
Assange was out of the public eye for several weeks prior to turning himself in to London police this week. Apparently, he was at London’s Frontline Club, MSNBC reported. Frontline Club founder Vaughan Smith claimed Assange is “not some kind of evil plotter in a bunker.”
The Frontline Club is a journalists club and describes itself as “championing independent journalism.” Smith reportedly said that the club “liked having him here because he’s made us a more interesting venue.” As MSNBC wrote, when Assange needed somewhere to avoid the spotlight this month, the journalists’ club “closed ranks and kept his whereabouts to themselves.”
Smith didn’t report where Assange was because he said he didn’t believe “it was my job to announce where he’s been. I feel if journalists or the security services want to find him, they can do the work.”
The National Union of Journalists’ and Reporters without Borders came to Wikileaks defense as well, MSNBC reported. The NUJ’s general-secretary, Jeremy Dear, reportedly called WikiLeaks “a vital source of information for journalists.”
Reporters without Borders’ UK representative, Heather Blake, called WikiLeaks journalism and explained that Reporters without Borders stands by WikiLeaks because “it’s about press freedom and transparency.” But, she did note that her organization “had criticized WikiLeaks” for possibly putting people at risk via its leaks.
“We want a strong, free press, but we want a responsible press as well,” she is quoted as saying.
Amazon sells Wikileaks Documents
In an ironic twist, Amazon, which booted WikiLeaks off its servers amidst governmental pressure, started offering part of WikiLeaks cables for sale as an e-book, the Los Angeles Times reported.
According to the Associated Press, “excerpts from some of the 250,000 sensitive documents were contained in a Kindle e-book self-published by an author listed as Heinz Duthel. The book isn’t available in the U.S.; people in the U.K. can buy it for 7.37 pounds ($11.60).”
The book is both “commentary and analysis” as opposed to complete, raw document leaks, the AP reported a disclaimer on the book reads.
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Further, the AP noted that Amazon fueled controversy after publishing “a self-published guide that offered advice to pedophiles.”
“The book later disappeared, but it wasn’t clear whether Amazon or the author had pulled it.” As the Los Angeles Times detailed, the book was titled “The Pedophile’s Guide to Love and Pleasure.”
PayPal Admits US Govt. Intervened
PayPal, which froze WikiLeaks accounts last week, confirmed that its decision came as a result of “an intervention from the U.S. State Department.”
“State Dept. told us these were illegal activities. It was straightforward,” PayPal’s vice president of platform Osama Bedier is quoted by the Hindu as saying. “We … comply with regulations around the world making sure that we protect our brand.”
Technology Review’s WikiLeaks Round-Up
Technology Review provided a round-up and analysis of WikiLeaks.
It noted that, prior to 2006, Assange was referred to as an advisor to WikiLeaks — but not founder or editor-in-chief, as he is currently.
Technology Review also redirected to Aaron Bady’s blog analyzing Assange’s 2006 essays that reportedly describe his “political philosophy.” The essays, according to Technology Review, indicate that “Assange’s personal philosophy” is more about “throwing grit in the machine” than opening closed doors.
Technology Review identified “three phases” that WikiLeaks has worked thorugh.
- With 2008 leak of Kenya documents, WikiLeaks served as a “standard wiki” in which anyone could “actively post and edit materials.” Further, the public “had a say in the types of materials that were accepted and how such materials were vetted.”
- The April 2010 publication of “Collateral Murder” “was a highly curated, produced and packaged political statement.”
- Currently, WikiLeaks coordinates with news outlets “to analyze, redact and release the cables in a curated manner.”
Technology Review also noted that “each of the five news organizations hosts a different selection of the released documents, in different forms, which may or may not overlap.”
Readers can search the cables published on Le Monde, El Pais and the Guardian’s websites. While the New York Times doesn’t offer search.
Assange Is “Not Happy” About Cyber-Attacks
Fox News reported that Assange has been “distancing himself from the cyber-attacks on MasterCard, Visa, and other organizations deemed hostile to him and WikiLeaks.”
Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens reportedly told Fox News that Assange claims “he did not order the attacks and that he was surprised by them.”
“He said he was not happy about the cyber-attacks…because he believes in openness and free speech,” Stephens is quoted as saying.
The cyberattacks have been orchestrated by a group called “Anonymous,” Fox News reported. Anonymous stated in a press release Friday that:
“We do not want to steal your personal information or credit card numbers. We also do not seek to attack critical infrastructure of companies such as MasterCard, Visa, PayPal or Amazon. Our current goal is to raise awareness about WikiLeaks and the underhanded methods employed by the above companies to impair WikiLeaks’ ability to function.”
Read more about “Anonymous” here on the BBC’s website.
Sarah Palin, Visa, MasterCard
According to ABC News, “A SarahPAC.com technical aide said that the ‘DOS attackers, a group loosely known as Anon_Ops, used a tool called LOIC (Lower Orbit Ion Cannon) to flood sarahpac.com. The attackers wanted us to know that they were affiliated with wikileaks.org through an obscure message in our server log file” (See here). The word wikileaks is repeated zillions of times.
Visa and MasterCard’s websites were also attacked this week, ComputerWorld reported.