Three days have passed since WikiLeaks started publishing its CableGate documents. But, so far, only about 600 of the reportedly 251, 287 cables have been published.
In the meantime, WikiLeaks has been under cyberattack fairly consistently; the site switched hosts to Amazon.com, only to be kicked off that server; an Ecuadorian political figure offered WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange protection; and INTERPOL has placed Assange on its most wanted list.
Read the latest in our ongoing coverage of WikiLeaks below:
Amazon & WikiLeaks
After congressional complaints, Amazon.com is no longer hosting WikiLeaks on its server. And, WikiLeaks is still facing cyberattacks. It is unknown who is behind them, although one “hactivist for good,” known as the Jester, has claimed Sunday’s cyberattacks.
WikiLeaks’ website went down again yesterday, MSNBC reported.
Further, today’s “scale” of attack was much larger than Sunday’s, MSNBC reported: “What’s notable about today’s attack is the scale. WikiLeaks tweeted this morning that the attack was ‘exceeding 10 Gigabits a second’ — two to five times as large as the initial attack on Sunday.”
According to MSNBC, Amazon decided to “cut off” WikiLeaks “after congressional staff questioned Amazon about its relationship with WikiLeaks.”
Talking Points Memo confirmed that Amazon “cut off” WikiLeaks. U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, who is the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee explained in a statement.
“This morning Amazon informed my staff that it has ceased to host the Wikileaks website. I wish that Amazon had taken this action earlier based on Wikileaks’ previous publication of classified material,” Lieberman said. “The company’s decision to cut off Wikileaks now is the right decision and should set the standard for other companies Wikileaks is using to distribute its illegally seized material.”
Further, Lieberman issued a “call” for anyone hosting WikiLeaks to “immediately terminate its relationship with them.”
“No responsible company – whether American or foreign – should assist Wikileaks in its efforts to disseminate these stolen materials,” Lieberman reportedly said. “I will be asking Amazon about the extent of its relationship with Wikileaks and what it and other web service providers will do in the future to ensure that their services are not used to distribute stolen, classified information.”
WikiLeaks tweeted about being kicked off Amazon: “WikiLeaks servers at Amazon ousted. Free speech the land of the free–fine our $ are now spent to employ people in Europe.” and “If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books.”
ComputerWorld reported it ran “reverse IP traces” on WikiLeaks website and discovered that “WikiLeaks is now hosted by a Swedish firm, Bahnhof Internet AB, which is headquartered in Uppsala, a city approximately 44 miles north of Stockholm.”
IMediaEthics has written to Bahnhof Internet AB asking about this and will update with any response.
Ecuador to WikiLeaks…No Asylum
Meanwhile, Ecuador rescinded the Monday offer to protect Assange.
Ecuador’s president Rafael Correa “dismissed” the offer made by Deputy Foreign Minister Kintto Lucas. According to Correa, Lucas’ offer “has not been approved by Foreign Minister Ricardo Patino — or the president.”
Correa explained that the invitation was “personal” not political, the Los Angeles Times reported.
“Kintto Lucas’s quoted comment was a spontaneous, personal response to a question from a local journalist and garnered attention due to the high international interest in the WikiLeaks story,” the Los Angeles Times reported the Ecuadorian embassy based in Washington, D.C. stated.
Assange, a Wanted Man…in Tampa FL?
As the Associated Press noted, Assange “disappeared from public view after a Nov. 5 press conference in Geneva.”
Sue Treccase, executive producer of “The Schnitt Show,” explained the reward money idea in an e-mail to iMediaEthics . Treccase stated that the idea to offer the reward “was entirely that of nationally syndicated talk show host, Todd Schnitt. He gave it serious thought last night, spoke with attorneys and financial folks this morning, and announced it on his program today (Wednesday).”
We asked if this reward was just a publicity stunt and if the reward is changed now that Britain reportedly knows where Assange is. Treccase denied that it is a stunt, indiciating that if Schnitt just wanted a publicity stunt, “there are a lot less expensive ways for a talk show host to get publicity other than committing $50,000 out of his own pocket.”
“Schnitt doesnt play games like that when credibility is at stake,” Treccase wrote. “However, publicity in and of itself is essential in order to get word out about the reward, in the hope that someone is incentivized to step forward.”
“Schnitt is putting up the entire $50,000 himself. He is placing the money in escrow,” Treccase wrote. She also explained that the reward “is not a contest” but “a legitimate offer to pay for credible, actionable information or intelligence leading directly to the apprehension and arrest of Julian Assange. If anyone knows of his whereabouts, they should email the information directly to Schnittshow.com. The information will be forwarded to Interpol. If it results in Assange’s capture, the individual who provided the info could be eligible for the $50,000.”
We also asking if any part of the reward changes given that Christian Science Monitor reported this morning that “Police in Britain know WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange’s whereabouts in the country, but have not acted on an international arrest warrant for him.”
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In response, Treccase explained “it does not alter Schnitt’s reward offer. First of all, we don’t even know if it’s true.”
But, “if the report is true, so be it. Schnit will save himself a lot of money. More importantly, Assange will be turned over to Swedish authorities to face justice,” Treccase wrote. “If, however, it turns out to [be] false, misleading or exaggerated, or if British authorities continue to drag their feet or make a misstep, then the hunt continues, and Schnitt’s offer stands.”
The AP also reported that “A German security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that a warrant for Assange has been issued in Germany.”
Meanwhile, Assange’s lawyer in the U.K., Mark Stephens, reiterated his claim that “this is a persecution and not a prosecution” regarding the Swedish government’s arrest warrant for Assange, the Hindustan Times reported.
Stephens is quoted as saying that the Swedish government’s actions are “highly unusual.”
“It is highly unusal for a red notice warrant to be issued in relation to the allegations reported as having been made, since Swedish law does not require custodial orders in relation to the allegation.”
iMediaEthics wrote to the Swedish prosecutor’s office asking if there is a warrant in Germany and asking for comment to Stephens’ claims. Communications director Karin Rosander responded that she cannot confirm regarding a warrant in Germany.
Regarding Stephens’ claims that the prosecutors have taken “unique action,” Rosander wrote:
“The warrant has been issued strictly to Swedish and international law. There is nothing unusual in this case, as far as the Swedish Prosecution Authority is concerned.”
And, despite Assange’s call for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to resign “if it can be shown that she was responsible for ordering U.S. diplomatic figures to engage in espionage in the United Nations,” the White House countered, both calling Assange’s statements “ridiculous and absurd” and claiming that U.S. diplomats don’t spy.
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs reportedly said on the Fox News program “Fox & Friends” that Assange isn’t one to be feared.
“We should never be afraid of one guy who plopped down $35 and bought a Web address,” Gibbs is quoted as saying. “Our foreign policy is stronger than that; we’re a stronger country than that. We’re not scared of one guy with one keyboard and a laptop.”
As the Associated Press reported, the U.S. State Dept. “severed its computer files from the government’s classified network,” in order to limit how many government workers can view diplomatic cables.
Is Bank of America next?
What’s next for WikiLeaks after it finishes eking out the diplomatic cables? Bank of America, perhaps. The bank has been suggested as WikiLeaks’ next target.
As the Huffington Post reported, Bank of America’s stock “took a hit” yesterday amidst rumors that it was next on WikiLeaks’ list. But, the bank’s stock “rebounded” and ended up “rising 50 percent.”
In a statement, Bank of America’s spokesperson Scott Silvestri countered Assange’s claims.
“More than a year ago WikiLeaks claimed to have the computer hard drive of a Bank of America executive. Aside from the claims themselves we have no evidence that supports this assertion. We are unaware of any new claims by WikiLeaks that pertain specifically to Bank of America.”
Assange had told Computerworld in Oct. 2009 that WikiLeaks had “5GB from Bank of America, one of the executive’s hard drives.”
See more iMediaEthics coverage of WikiLeaks here.
UPDATE: 12/2/2010 9:20 AM EST: Updated to clarify iMediaEthics questions.
UPDATE: 12/2/2010 9:59 AM EST: Updated to add comment from Karin Rosander of the Swedish Prosecutor’s Office. Also added in link and quote from Christian Science Monitor.
UPDATE: 12/2/2010 11:10 AM EST: Updated to include response from Schnitt Show executive producer Sue Treccase. We asked her if the reward was a publicity stunt and if the claims that British authorities know where Assange is affects the reward.
UPDATE: 12/2/2010 2:23 PM EST: iMediaEthics read in the Sydney Morning Herald that “British newspapers said police could not act as Sweden had filled out a European arrest warrant incorrectly.”
Swedish prosecutor’s office’s communications director Karin Rosander rejected those claims in an e-mail response to iMediaEthics. Rosander wrote:
“No, we did not fill it out incorrectly. But the British police has requested additional information concerning the maximum penalties for the other crimes, in addition to rape, that Mr. Assange was arrested for. See information on our web page: http://www.aklagare.se/In-English/“