The war on WikiLeaks heats up

Perhaps the most important single website for the press and public who want to expose the inner workings of the institutions which govern our lives through increasingly intrusive means is WikiLeaks.

An Internet site which publishes classified documents from the world’s intelligence agencies and the inner sanctums of the corporateers, WikiLeaks has been under increasing attack—which they have demonstrated by posting such documents as a 32-page U.S. intelligence study [pdf warning] on just that.

Thanks to WikliLeaks, Iceland’s citizens were able to see a secret report from one of the banks whose reckless practices brought down that nation’s economy.

Julian Assange, the site’s creator, has detailed apparent esponage efforts by the U.S. and other nations in his latest post, an editorial available here. Assange writes:

Over the last few years, WikiLeaks has been the subject of hostile acts by security organizations. In the developing world, these range from the appalling assassination of two related human rights lawyers in Nairobi last March (an armed attack on my compound there in 2007 is still unattributed) to an unsuccessful mass attack by Chinese computers on our servers in Stockholm, after we published photos of murders in Tibet. In

the West this has ranged from the overt, the head of Germany’s foreign intelligence service, the BND, threatening to prosecute us unless we removed a report on CIA activity in Kosovo, to the covert, to an ambush by a “James Bond” character in a Luxembourg car park, an event that ended with a mere “we think it would be in your interest to…”.

Developing world violence aside, we’ve become used to the level of security service interest in us and have established procedures to ignore that interest.

But the increase in surveillance activities this last month, in a time when we are barely publishing due to fundraising, are excessive. Some of the new interest is related to a film exposing a U.S. massacre we will release at the U.S. National Press Club on April 5.

The spying includes attempted covert following, photographng, filming and the overt detention & questioning of a WikiLeaks’ volunteer in Iceland on Monday night.

I, and others were in Iceland to advise Icelandic parliamentarians on the Icelandic Modern Media Initiative, a new package of laws designed to protect investigative journalists and internet services from spying and censorship. As such, the spying has an extra poignancy.

The possible triggers:

  • our ongoing work on a classified film revealing civilian casualties occurring under the command of the U.S, general, David Petraeus.
  • our release of a classified 32 page US intelligence report on how to fatally marginalize WikiLeaks (expose our sources, destroy our reputation for integrity, hack us).
  • our release of a classified cable from the U.S. Embassy in Reykjavik reporting on contact between the U.S. and the U.K. over billions of euros in claimed loan guarantees.
  • pending releases related to the collapse of the Icelandic banks and Icelandic “oligarchs”.

Iceland’s legislature, the Althing, will be considering legislation [previously] to protect sites like WikiLeaks from the pernicious practice of “libel tourism,” which allows targets of the leaks to search the globe for nations with courts most likely to punish sites with the heaviest fines and, sometimes, prison terms.

WikiLeaks is struggling to survive, and running well short of the funds needed to keep the operation afloat. Anyone with the cash to spare should contribute to their mission.

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