WikiLeaks and the Belarus affair

Our post “Enough with the Julian Assange hero worship” has accrued nearly 3,000 hits in three days (compared with a typical 300 or less in this period), as well as 59 comments—overwhelmingly negative. Ironically, some readers have urged us to stick to our “typical” posts, implying that we have no right to air a dissenting opinion on the WikiLeaks affair. These same readers have never commented on (and probably rarely read) our painstaking daily reports on human rights in Western Sahara, environmental disasters in Guatemala, peasant uprisings in Peru, et cetera.

And they still fail to seriously address (or, mostly, to address at all) the most grave allegation against WikiLeaks, which has received virtually no coverage from the mainstream media—that WikiLeaks’ representative in Belarus, the notorious anti-Semite Israel Shamir, actively provided dictator Alexander Lukashenko with intelligence on dissidents who were then rounded up and tortured by the hundreds.

The original page now has so many comments that it is having trouble loading. The discussion will continue here, if Assange’s defenders care to keep posting. I have titled this page “WikiLeaks and the Belarus affair” in an effort (probably futile) to provoke some honesty on this issue.

Fire at will…

  1. Assange and illegitime arrests
    You are making Assange more powerfull than he is. In your earlier posts regarding Belarus you made some dubious comments, but has certaintly reported about the illegitime arrests in Belarus. You are the first one, who thinks that Assange could have prevented these arrests.
    Two young guys made a funny yoke about the elections in Belarus beforehand, ‘Steal your grandmothers passports’ and were also arrested. Elections are not the way to reach democracy. This anarchic message was clearer than your suggestion that Assange is (not) a ‘hero’ because he might have assaulted two women (even Fox news made in this case a better timeline and provided more balanced information) and Wikileaks did or didn’t provide information from a US State Diplomatic post.
    With all respect Bill, I do not consider it smart to provide any political information to any embassy, consulate or any other state institution. States arrests people, especially when it concerns protesters and dissenters. It happens altready for thousands of years and Sweden, Belarus, Israel, Iran, Colombia, Zimbabwe, Italy, USA, Guatemala ect. etc. are no exceptions. Much power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.

    Ps. You censure way to may posts.

    1. WikiLeaks cult and illiterate comments
      I never said Assange “could have prevented the arrests,” but he certainly appears to be deeply complicit with them. You guys are great at changing the subject.

      You evidently don’t know the difference between “censure” and “censor,” or “to” and “too.” We approve all posts that comply with our posting policy.

  2. baseless accusation of “hysteria”
    Doug Salzman writes:

    “And the Belarus case seems to be much worse than mere recklessness. It appears to constitute active collaboration between WikiLeaks and the Lukashenko dictatorship…”

    Honestly, Bill, that goes beyond mere hyperbole and into the realm of hysteria–deeply irresponsible hysteria, it should be unnecessary to add.

    There’s no point in continuing this if every response serves merely as a springboard for your next display of fact-free show-boating.

    1. No point, I agree
      You guys consider anything unflattering to Assange to be “baseless” and “hysteria.” You seem incapable of honest argument.

      It would appear to be a fact that Shamir is working for WikiLeaks. The claims have been reported repeatedly in The Guardian, New York magazine, Reason magazine, Radio Free Europe, the Belarussian dissident website Charter 97 (its staff now arrested by the dictatorship), and the Belarussian state media. And when given the opportunity, Assange refused to disavow him.

      If someone accused World War 4 Report of working with a Holocaust-denier, I would give a forthright answer. In fact, when it did emerge that we had run reportage from a Rwanda genocide-denier, we quickly disavowed him.

      Whether WikiLeaks actively collaborated with the Belarussian regime may not yet be an established fact, but it certainly appears to be a credible allegation—coming as it does from Lukashenko himself. Passive collaboration—putting dissidents at risk through the reckless release of information—looks pretty well established. Demanding an answer on these claims constitutes “hysteria” in your book?

      I find that quite terrifying.

      1. Belarus Opposition and wikileaks
        Why is this so problematic for anyone who considers himself/herself a “leftist” or progressive. At the risk of seeming to pontificate, I will just offer a few points which seem fairly straightforward to me. Let us first see which principles seem to be in contention here, and then we can argue about the facts to the extent that they are in dispute:

        (1) Julian Assange’s politics are in some ways admirable, and in many ways deplorable, and they deserve to be sharply criticized; Assange’s personality is none too charming, either.

        (2) Nonetheless, Assange must be vigorously defended against the official Washington campaign to demonize him, and to prosecute him under the Espionage Act, or similar “conspiracy” charges;

        (3) The politics of “Israel Shamir” are totally despicable. Assange, wikileaks, and everyone else who has relied on “Israel Shamir” should distance themselves from him, and disavow him;

        (4) The members of Charter-97, and all others who have been detained in Belarus in the wake of the election should be released immediately;

        (5) The authoritarian politics of Belarus dictator, Alexander Lukashenko, are insupportable;

        (6) Nevertheless, one cannot be naive about the nature of the opposition in Belarus, which consists of NGO’s and groupings that are clearly being orchestrated by Washington along the lines of the “color revolutions”; and these clearly follow a neo-liberal (pro-imperialist) agenda; see this article in the Guardian from 2004, which focuses not only on Ukraine but the “color revolutions”, in general. Concerning Belarus, the author states that:

        “Ten months after the success in Belgrade, the US ambassador in Minsk, Michael Kozak, a veteran of similar operations in Central America, notably in Nicaragua, organised a near identical campaign to try to defeat the Belarus hardman, Alexander Lukashenko.”

        Mention is also made in the article of the parallel student groups Zubr in Belarus, Otpor in Serbia, Kharma in Georgia, and Pora in Ukraine.

        The article’s author, Ian Traynor goes on to claim that:

        “The Democratic party’s National Democratic Institute, the Republican party’s International Republican Institute, the US State Department and USAid are the main agencies involved in these grassroots campaigns as well as the Freedom House NGO and billionaire George Soros’s open society institute.”

        As far as I know, these claims are credible, and have never been refuted.

        Consequently, in this whole Belarus quagmire, there seems to be no group whose politics progressives can support in a principled way, but there are many people whose human rights need to be defended.

        1. Belarus opposition is not astroturf
          I agree with all your points except the last one. The notion that the Belarus opposition is “orchestrated” is incredibly condescending. That the US is trying to exploit it is obvious. But there is no reason to assume that Lukashenko’s ugly regime will not give rise to a genuine opposition, which will take its allies where it can find them.

          Nor, contrary to Ian Traynor’s Nov. 26, 2004 story in The Guardian that you cite, was a “US campaign behind” Ukraine’s Orange Revolution. The US was riding events in Ukraine (and Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan, and Serbia), not controlling them.

          The Nicaragua analogy is way off base. The US “orchestrated” a right-wing armed insurgency against the Sandinstas, not a civil pro-democracy movement. However, I’ll point out that the Sandinista security service was receiving aid and oversight from the East Germans, and its military was receiving arms from the Soviets. All us leftists nonetheless avidly supported them, correctly noting that they were under assault by US imperialism. But the State Department supplies some cell phones and computers to NGOs in Belarus, and this delegitimizes the whole opposition movement? Absurd.

      2. scary, disturbing, deplorable – with one less convincing aspect
        I am disturbed by what I read here on Wikileaks’ role in Belarus repression. I take what Bill Weinberg is writing about it seriously, and intend to write a bit about negative aspects of Wikileaks etcetera, in Dutch. One point I find less convincing, however is this: “it certainly appears to be a credible allegation—coming as it does from Lukashenko himself.” Now , I would say that an accusation coming from the mouth of a lying dictator becomes, therefore, LESS, not more, credible. Still, I think that the Wikileaks-Belarus connection deserves much more critical attention than it has got up to now. The tendency to just dismiss it as “hysteria” is, to say the least, deplorable.

        1. WikiLeaks owes us an explanation
          Thank you, Peter. It was starting to feel lonely here. If you link to us, please let us know.

          I don’t mean to imply that Lukashenko is a truth-teller! But it isn’t like this accusation is coming from the US or critics of WikiLeaks. Lukashenko himself is using WikiLeaks to legitimize his repression. And since it appears that Shamir really met with members of his administration, Lukashenko’s claims seem all too plausible. WikiLeaks owes us all a forthright answer on this.

      3. IS aka JJ aka AE aka RD
        I agree with ypu completely that JA should and could have known that Israel Shamir aka Jöran Jermas aka Adam Ermash aka Robert David was not reliable and has to disavow him. Wikileaks and JA should take responsability for its actions. I don’t like to be dependable on information of Israel Shamir or Lukashenko to know wether Wikileaks has collaborated and has been instrumental in leaking information leading to arrests. Personally I haven’t seen a strategy behind the way Wikileaks releases these documents.

        1. US – Belarus relations?
          The relations between Belarus and the US are minimal. Outside a program involving nuclear materials (2009-2010: 70.000.000$), and some very small agricultural, NGOs and media projects (2009-2010: 1,500.000$ – 15.000.000$). This a not very sensitive/secret.

      4. Revenge, Jealousy and Proportionality?
        Dear Bill,
        Could you share your information and thoughts about the procedures and judicial systems mister Assange is going through and analyse the characters of Marianne Nye, Marie Kjellstrand, Anne Ardin and Sofia Wilén.

        http://thestandard.org.nz/marianne-ny-making-an-arse-of-swedish-law/
        http://www.newsmill.se/artikel/2010/12/21/assange-victim-of-a-swedish-circus-of-horrors
        http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/us/Sex-accusers-boasted

          1. For the imprinsoned
            Publish

            For the imprinsoned

            Publish extracts from letters anarchist Nicolas Dedkov, which has been almost four months in jail and detention center in Belarus who are persecuted for their political activities. Some time ago he was transferred from the detention center in Minsk in prison in Zhodino, where conditions are more stringent. None of the prisoners on the case of the embassy “does not receive visits from relatives, not all messages reach, and Dzyadok Olinevich lack access to the will of the book. The more important to help ensure that prisoners do not feel isolated – get as many letters from familiar and unfamiliar people.

            The address for sending cards and letters:

            Dedkov Nikolai prison № 8, str. Soviet 22a, room 152, 222160 Zhodino, Minsk region., Belarus

            Frantskevich Alexander k.46, jail-1, str. Volodarsky, 2, 220050 Minsk, Belarus

            Vetkin Maxim Ivanovich jail-1, str. Volodarskogo 2, room 20, 220050 Minsk, Belarus

            http://belarus.indymedia.org/

            Olinevichu Igor PO Box 8, General Post Office, 220050 Minsk, Belarus

            1. Support imprisoned Belarussian anarchists
              I’m having a hard time figuring out who’s side you’re on here, and your writing sounds like it’s been through Babelfish. But many thanks for posting this info, and especially the link to Belarus Indymedia. Great to see the anarchists marching in Minsk!

  3. The Cuban connection —or not?
    I believe that Machetera was the original “source” for the Cuban connection …

    On Anna Ardin, Israel Shamir and glass houses
    On Anna Ardin, Israel Shamir and glass houses

    “As far I can tell, the whole Israel Shamir/Anna Ardin business started back in September, when Counterpunch…announcing the ‘telltale signs of CIA connection surrounding Anna Ardin,’ one of the women involved with the Swedish complaint against Julian Assange…”

    “Evidently I missed the pingback at the time, but the part of the Shamir/Bennett article that linked to Machetera was the part about Las damas de blanco [Ladies in White] in Cuba, with whom Shamir says Ardin was associated. The Cuban Damas are a cynical U.S. sponsored public relations appropriation of the image created more than 30 years ago by Argentine mothers…”

    “The Shamir sourced rumors about Anna Ardin jump-started by Counterpunch are a repeat of the phenomenon, on a wider scale. The exponentially increasing pingbacks at Machetera as the rumors about Ardin go viral…”

    1. Dissing dissidents
      I’m having a little trouble following this. So Machetera is referencing herself in the third person, and saying Shamir got the Ardin-CIA angle from her? So the supposed connection here is Ardin’s support for Damas de Blanco? Sounds like the proverbial “looong stretch” to me. I have no doubt the CIA would leap at the opportunity to exploit the Damas, but calling them a “cynical” US creation is a little arrogant, doncha think? Machetera was likewise condescendingly dogmatic on Ingrid Betancourt.

    2. Less CIA, too much Swedish Alliance
      I don’t think miss Ardin is a paid CIA asset. Although she might have the right Cuba / career / social christian background, her twitters are too public…
      Her involvement in ‘Misceláneas de Cuba’ (largely funded by the Swedish State development budget) is full of politicians and media people. Sweden has a small population and is not known for Latin America specialists. Ardin studie on Cuba is a very mediocre thesis. The Swedish participants of ‘Misceláneas de Cuba’ are almost limited to liberal media and (very) high carreer politicians connected to national/EU governments:

      Cecilia Wigström, Cecilia Malmström, Birgitta Ohlsson, Mae Liz Orrego Rodriguez, Erik Ullenhag, Göran Hägglund, Jan-Ove Jerrestål, Laila Freivalds, Anders Forsberg, Jan Fröman, Henrik von Sydow, Ana Maria Narti, Enrique Palmkvist, Man-Yan Ng, Nina Larsson, Gunilla Carlsson, Rosita Runegrund, Gabriel Romanus, Kaj Nordquist, Helena Höij, Dan Alfjorden, David Wirmark, Magnus Krantz, Peter Götell, Malin Ekmark, Erik Jennische, Birger Thureson, Sara Malmgren, Paul Echaniz, Miriam Nordfors, Eva Birgitta Björklund (see below).

      see a specific policy/interests/politics

      Cecilia Wigström
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FRA_law

      These kind of European elite groups pretend to be interested in ‘human rights’, but have many members who are conneted to (Military) Secret Services with regimes which are even worse than Cuba.
      Alexis Gainza Solenzal, behind Misceláneas de Cuba
      http://www.ishr.org/Program-of-the-International-Cuba-Conference.834.0.html

      Sweden has also a more ‘popular’ group involved, the Swedish-Cuban Association:
      http://svensk-kubanska.se/cubava/sidor/kontakt.html
      Eva Birgitta Björklund (born November 12, 1942 in Lycksele, Västerbotten County) is a Swedish Left Party politician. She is currently a substitute to the board of the Left Party, and editor of the periodical Kuba (“Cuba”) which is published by the Swedish-Cuban Association. She is a former chairman of the Swedish-Cuban Association. She has also translated many texts by Che Guevara into Swedish.

      University Sweden
      http://www.globalstudies.gu.se/english/research/disciplines-subjects/regional-studies/

      1. Lessons from the 2010 Elections in Sweden
        1) Do not mess with a transnational media canon,
        2) Provide the right media-conections to a not so blond career feminist from the opposition,
        3) Give a non-blond a high-profile case which she can never win.

  4. U.S. diplomacy is imperialism by other means.
    As an earlier comment on this topic, WikiLeaks and the Pentagon Papers, Weinberg reproduced part of a Wall Street Journal opinion piece by the New York Times‘ Pentagon Papers lawyer, Floyd Abrams, that tries to justify protecting the secret diplomacy of the world’s premier imperial power. It includes such assertions as:

    [Ellsberg] made [a] critical decision […] to keep confidential the remaining four volumes of the study describing the diplomatic efforts of the United States to resolve the war.
    […]
    The diplomatic volumes were not published, even in part, for another dozen years. Mr. Ellsberg later explained his decision to keep them secret […] by saying, “I didn’t want to get in the way of the diplomacy.”

    That’s because Ellsberg was a reformist opponent of a U.S. war, and not a revolutionary or subversive opponent of the U.S. Empire. For those of us who unconditionally oppose the Empire, U.S. diplomacy is just another tool of U.S. imperialism the subversion of which is necessary and desirable.

    Can anyone doubt that [Assange] would have made those four volumes public on WikiLeaks regardless of their sensitivity? Or that he would have paid not even the slightest heed to the possibility that they might seriously compromise efforts to bring a speedier end to the war?

    I have no idea what Julian Assange would have done in that situation, but undermining the efforts of the U.S. to achieve by diplomacy what it couldn’t achieve by military means would have been a good thing!

    WikiLeaks […] revels in the revelation of “secrets” simply because they are secret. It assaults the very notion of diplomacy that is not presented live on C-Span. It has sometimes served the public by its revelations but it also offers, at considerable potential price, a vast amount of material that discloses no abuses of power at all.

    Sorry, but everything the United Snakes government and ruling class do to achieve their goals is an abuse of power!

      1. I wasn’t pretending to deal with Belarus.
        I was responding to something you posted in this same thread that made both general and specific claims about imperialist diplomacy that I wanted to refute.

        1. No, you certainly weren’t
          None of the Assange fans who have posted here have demonstrated any concern whatsoever with the grave impact on Belarussian dissidents of his reckless actions (or, perhaps, outright collaboration with the Lukashenko regime). However, it is rather relevant to your uncritical defense of his actions on “anti-imperialist” grounds.

          1. My defense of Assange’s actions?
            The only opinion I expressed here about Assange’s actions (or, in this case, a hypothetical action) was the sentence:

            I have no idea what Julian Assange would have done in that situation […]

            I then went on to say that, if Assange would in fact have done what Floyd Abrams speculated he would have done in that hypothetical situation, i.e., release the rest of the Pentagon Papers and thereby undermine U.S. diplomacy, he would have been doing the right thing. You are free to disagree with that, either quietly or vociferously, but it hardly constitutes a defense, either critical or uncritical, of Assange’s actual actions in the real world. There are many political issues I’m dealing with, as well as matters of everyday life, so it may be a while before I find time to learn enough about Belarus and whatever Assange and Wikileaks may have done in connection with it to comment on it.

            1. Right, screw the Belarussian dissidents
              Isn’t it funny how nobody on the “left” has the “time” to even get up to speed on them—as they all rally around the man who betrayed them into Lukashenko’s torture chambers.

              1. Since YOU have the time, Bill, please clarify!
                What information are you accusing Assange of giving, directly or indirectly, to Lukashenko? If the information about ‘dissidents’ in the cables was the result of the U.S.’ spying on such ‘dissidents’, I would agree that it shouldn’t be made available to those who might use it against them. However, if it consists of reports of what such ‘dissidents’ voluntarily told people known to be working for the U.S. government, it should be made public. In general, nobody anywhere should be allowed to feel safe from exposure when exchanging information with agents of the U.S. ruling class.

                I will, BTW, continue to defend Julian Assange against his imperialist persecutors without spending a lot of time worrying about all his merits and demerits, political or personal. I will continue to spend my time trying to expose and undermine the crimes of imperialism and its collaborators. Let the imperialists spend their own far greater resources in attacking the real or alleged crimes of those who find themselves in opposition to, or merely in conflict with, the Empire — unless those crimes are, as in the case of Chavez’ deportation of FARC supporters to Colombia, crimes that the imperialists support and that leftists and all anti-imperialists should denounce.

                1. I already did, Aaron
                  Why don’t you try scrolling back and reading? I have repeatedly laid out the facts of WikiLeaks’ active or passive collaboration with the Lukashenko regime. I am not going to write it all out yet again because you are too lazy to scroll back. I fail to see why you put “dissidents” in quotes (is that like “allegedly Palestinian“?). And if you think the dissidents should be ratted out to Lukashenko’s torture state because they passed on information about the human rights climate in Belarus to the US State Department, you are a moral monster and we have nothing more to talk about.

                  As for Assange’s “imperialist persecutors”—would that be Swedish imperialism?

                  1. No you haven’t!
                    You have not made clear what information, presumably from unreleased wikileaks files, Julian Assange is alleged to have shared, via Israel Shamir, with Lukashenko’s ‘torture state’. (Is it more of a ‘torture state’ than, e.g., the United Snakes?) If they only revealed information about communications with U.S. diplomats by people already known as opponents of the Lukashenko government, then it’s hardly likely to lead to more torture or repression overall.

                    I put ‘dissidents’ in quotes because the word is used almost exclusively to describe people who oppose governments that the imperialists also oppose. (I don’t remember leftist opponents of any imperialist-aligned regime ever being referred to as ‘dissidents’, although it probably has happened on rare occasion). The word should perhaps be written as ‘dissidents®’. (If it doesn’t display correctly, the last character is the circle-R.) And no, it is not like ‘allegedly Palestinian’, In the former case, it is the word, ‘dissident’, that is problematic, while in the latter it is the application of the word, ‘Palestinian’, to certain anonymous persons.

                    Although I think it would be correct to describe Sweden as an imperialist country, the issue is its collaboration with U.S. imperialism, which I think is indisputable.

                    BTW, Bill, although you did post a summary report last week on the California prisoners’ hunger strike, the brutal treatment of prisoners in California and the U.S. generally doesn’t seem to arouse in you even a fraction of the passion you display in response to people like Edward Hermann or Keith Harmon Snow who allegedly let their single-minded anti-imperialism distort their arguments. And no, I’m not questioning your right to criticize sloppy arguments by anti-imperialists, but I am questioning how you apportion your passions and energies.

                    1. “torture state”?
                      In quotes? Leave me alone and go read some Amnesty International reports.

                      A “dissident” is one who dissents, typically under an authoritarian regime. We have used the word a great deal this year to refer to opponents of the US-backed Mubarak dictatorship in Egypt. One red herring down.

                      Lukashenko himself cited WikiLeaks as providing the information on who to round up in the crackdown following the stolen elections. Another red herring down.

                      Sweden is neutral, not even a NATO member, and the case against Assange could be legitimate, so it is hardly “indisputable” that it is “collaborating” with US imperialism in this context. Another red herring down.

                      The vile spewings of Edward Hermann and Keith Harmon Snow are poisoning the progressive milieu in the US with genocide revisionism and I make no apology for my “passion” in opposing them.

                      I challenge you to name another progressive website that has covered the domestic torture state as aggressively as World War 4 Report. I’l be waiting. Till then, stop cluttering up my blog with tiresome red herrings.

                    2. Weinberg Hysteria
                      Bill Weinberg is hysterical as regards Africa — he regurgitates mainstream propaganda and then claims HE is world’s champion of independent “balanced” journalism. He people calls names (those vile genocide revisionists”) but he has no idea what happened in Rwanda, because he ate the mainstream propaganda lock-stock-and-machete. It’s too bad that Bill didn’t invest some of his life into understanding Africa, and his white supremacist ideas about it, like he did Latin America. Now he just parrots nonsense about it. Nothing progressive about that. I learned long ago that engaging with Bill Weinberg can be a nasty and painful affair — if he doesn’t believe what I believe. Ouch. No further commentary from me here. Let the name-calling invective begin.
                      keith harmon snow

                    3. Snowjob on Rwanda genocide
                      “Hysteria,” we have noted, has become the fave buzzword of “leftists” who seek to deny genocide in Rwanda or in Kosova, delegitimize Chinese dissidents, or insult critics of icons like Assange. When it is not backed up by any argument, it is just a cheap rhetorical trick, and (thankfully) not a very effectual one. It is especially ironic when the one who uses this word accuses his target of name-calling. For the record, I used the term “genocide revisionism,” not “genocide revisionist” as a noun to apply to an individual. (However, if the shoe fits, please do wear it.)

                      Nor did I ever claim to be a champion of “balanced” journalism. When it comes to genocide, I am on the side of the victims.

  5. Eating crow yet, WikiLeaks cultists?
    Remember how you all insisted WikiLeaks was not “indiscriminately” dumping documents on the Web, but responsibly vetting them first? What do you all have to say about this, nine months later? From The Guardian, Sept. 2:

    WikiLeaks has published its full archive of 251,000 secret US diplomatic cables, without redactions, potentially exposing thousands of individuals named in the documents to detention, harm or putting their lives in danger.

    The move has been strongly condemned by the five previous media partners—the Guardian, New York Times, El Pais, Der Spiegel and Le Monde—who have worked with WikiLeaks publishing carefully selected and redacted documents.

    “We deplore the decision of WikiLeaks to publish the unredacted state department cables, which may put sources at risk,” the organisations said in a joint statement.

    “Our previous dealings with WikiLeaks were on the clear basis that we would only publish cables which had been subjected to a thorough joint editing and clearance process. We will continue to defend our previous collaborative publishing endeavour. We cannot defend the needless publication of the complete data—indeed, we are united in condemning it.

    “The decision to publish by Julian Assange was his, and his alone.”

  6. Assange blames The Guardian
    And The Guardian blames Assange. Somebody is playing a cynical game here, and it smells to us like it is Assange. From CNN, Aug. 31:

    More than 250,000 secret U.S. diplomatic cables are now available in full and unfiltered online, exposing scores of U.S. diplomatic sources and informants that were meant to be protected often for their own safety, according to the website WikiLeaks.

    But this is not an official WikiLeaks release. Rather, what appears to be a string of errors has lead to both the raw file and the password that unlocks that file to be released into the public domain, without WikiLeaks control.

    In a statement posted on Twitter, WikiLeaks said, “Guardian investigations editor, David Leigh, recklessly, and without gaining our approval, knowingly disclosed the decryption passwords in a book published by the Guardian.”

    In February, Leigh released the book “WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War on Secrecy.” In it, he describes in detail how WikiLeaks editor Julian Assange gave him the password to unlock the massive archive of diplomatic cables.

    The London-based Guardian newspaper responded to the WikiLeaks tweet with its own statement: “It’s nonsense to suggest the Guardian’s WikiLeaks book has compromised security in any way. Our book about WikiLeaks was published last February. It contained a password, but no details of the location of the files, and we were told it was a temporary password which would expire and be deleted in a matter of hours.

    “It was a meaningless piece of information to anyone except the person(s) who created the database. No concerns were expressed when the book was published and if anyone at WikiLeaks had thought this compromised security they have had seven months to remove the files. That they didn’t do so clearly shows the problem was not caused by the Guardian’s book.”

  7. Media continue to ignore Wikileaks-Belarus scandal

    The Associated Press runs a story dated Sept. 10, "AP review finds no WikiLeaks sources threatened," which the Assange fan club is of course touting as vindication. Yet the text doesn't contain a single reference to the one case where WikiLeaks may be implicated in serious repression: Belarus. Towards the end, the piece does quote some opposition figures from various countries around the world who are miffed that their names were made public by WikiLeaks. Venezuelan journalist Nelson Bocaranda said, "I feel betrayed by WikiLeaks," and the report noted the possibility that Syrian opposition activists named in leaked cables "may be" targeted by the regime in the current crackdown. This is hardly the vindication of WikiLeaks that the article's title would imply. But why single out Venezuela, a country where there is no significant repression of the opposition, and hypothetical cases in Syria, when there is evidence that needs to be examined of actual WikiLeaks complicity in state repression in Belarus? Why are the media seemingly determined to ignore this story?