Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe may be suffering from prostate cancer.
A fake uranium heist in Namibia.
Nigerian politicians are making money off of oil theft.
Is Uzbekistan using its supply route to Afghanistan to mess with Russia?
150 NATO flights cross into Pakistani airspace each day.
Singaporean journalists claim they're restricted from reporting bad news about the government.
Even more revelations about Thailand's royal family.
China wanted to invest in U.S. banks during the 2008 financial meltdown.
Vladimir Putin's beef with Estonia.
Saudi Arabia wants the United States to give it Predator drones to use in Yemen.
Israeli military official: "We don't do Gandhi very well."
Robert Mugabe has reportedly been badly shaken by the WikiLeaks revelations.
Has WikiLeaks lost its mojo now that the State Department cables are all out?
Assange accuses the Guardian of "negligence" for its role in the inadvertent release of the unredacted State Department cables.
Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
They're all here now.
U.N. peacekeepers traded food for sex with underage girls in Ivory Coast.
Rwanda's police defend extra-judicial killings.
Private oilfield security companies in Sudan are "essentially a militia controlled by the government."
The miserable lives of children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's mining industry.
Nigeria's oil-drenched Niger River Delta is even worse than you thought.
Imprisoned U.S. government contractor Alan P. Gross is not doing well in Havana.
Oh great, the world is running out of helium, too.
Former U.S. Ambassador (and current presidential hopeful) John Huntsman: China's one-child policy causes instability and sex-trafficking.
The politics of Wal-Mart's trade unions in China.
U.S. embassy staff in Belarus are accused of espionage by the state media.
Bad blood in the European aerospace business.
Why Greeks don't like the United States.
Israeli President Benjamin Netanyahu told U.S. Ambassador James Cunningham in November 2008, "I can deliver two thirds of the Israeli right-wing on anything we agree with the Palestinians, whether on process or interim agreements."
Armenian President Robert Kocharian in a letter to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan: "[W]e both must work to find ways to live together in harmony."
Are telecom providers in the United Arab Emirates installing spyware on BlackBerries?
A Syrian governor invited Shakira and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley to a hot-air balloon competition.
The deluge. WikiLeaks blames (and sues) the Guardian. The Guardian blames WikiLeaks. The U.S. State Department calls the action "irresponsible, reckless, and frankly dangerous." Der Spiegel explains what exactly happened.
Julian Assange could face arrest in Australia for outing intelligence officials in the new batch of unredacted cables.
THE BIG PICTURE
How WikiLeaks learned the value of secrecy the hard way.
The Obama administration urged McCain and Lieberman not to bring up the Lockerbie bomber at the meeting. (They did anyway.)
Qaddafi's weird inauguration letter to Barack Obama.
The U.S. Embassy in Manama requested talking points for answering questions about an allegedly tortured Bahraini Guantanamo detainee in 2005.
Meet the Coast Guard officer who serves as a back-channel emissary to Havana.
A U.S. diplomat went undercover as a Korean tourist to visit a Chinese tiger farm.
Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou told U.S. embassy officials in 2009 that People's Liberation Army activity in the Taiwan Strait could push Taiwan and China toward political talks.
An April Fools Day cable from the U.S. Embassy in Delhi.
WikiLeaks drops a giant tranche of nearly 100,000 new cables -- we're still working through them -- and is reportedly unhappy with the media's mounting disinterest in its work. (A bit of advice from your humble Wikiblogger: Not releasing thousands of cables during the fall of Tripoli might help.)
WikiLeaks dissident Daniel Domscheit-Berg tells Wired he destroyed thousands of WikiLeaks documents "in order to ensure that the sources are not compromised."
Iran shipped UAVs to Venezuela (via Turkey) in 2009.
The collapse of the Venezuelan opposition.
Cuban doctors working in Venezuela complained to embassy officials of being "politically manipulated" and underpaid.
Did WikiLeaks out a Malaysian politician as gay?
Another day, another WikiLeaks e-book, this one by a British journalist who seems to have been a bit too into Julian Assange.
Russian intelligence services used dirty tricks to intimidate American democracy-promotion NGO workers.
U.S. embassy officials in Damascus asked the Bush and Obama administrations to sanction Syria, to no avail.
Vaughan Smith (above right, with Assange in January), who's hosting Assange under the terms of his release, says the WikiLeaks founder "is like a moody teenager … hunted by pushy groupies."
THE BIG PICTURE
What WikiLeaks has in common with Rupert Murdoch.
A graphic novel tells the story of WikiLeaks (in Italian).
BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
The hand of U.S. officials in Haitian politics from 2004 to 2006.
The United States is anxious about China's growing influence in Cambodia.
U.S. officials worried that Norway was unprepared for a terrorist attack.
Lithuania's wayward press.
Is Prince Andrew the latest WikiLeaks casualty?
Fourteen people are arrested for a cyberattack on PayPal in solidarity with WikiLeaks.
How two LulzSec hackers got caught.
Julian Assange lawyer Mark Stephens may have been a target of News of the World's phone hacking.
Slavoj Zizek: Julian Assange "is like the boy who tells us the emperor is naked."
The U.S. Library of Congress no longer classifies WikiLeaks as an "extremist" website.
BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
U.S. Embassy officials cautioned the Kenyan government to restrain itself in the violence following the country's 2007 election.
The U.S. State Department's energy envoy urged Canada in 2009 to improve its "messaging" on a proposed oil-sands pipeline to the United States, including promoting "more positive news stories."
U.S. officials accused the leader of a pro-Cuban government peace group of threatening to pull U.S. medical students' scholarships if they met with the U.S. mission on the island in 2007.
Julian Assange's extradition appeal decision is deferred. After his hearing -- complete with another round of more-than-you-wanted-to-know details about Assange's sex life -- Swedish prosecutors blast the Assange legal team's "19th Century" view of sexual consent.
U.N. torture investigator Juan Mendez says the U.S. government is violating U.N. rules in refusing him access to Manning.
Blocking WikiLeaks donations prompts a competition complaint against MasterCard and Visa in Europe.
Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images
Members of Haiti's elite complained to the U.S. Embassy in 2005 about eroding security in the country.
A Taliban representative told U.S. officials in 1996 that the Taliban had shut down "Arab" training camps in Afghanistan, and had no idea where Osama bin Laden was. A U.S. embassy official met with a Taliban representative the following year to discuss the Afghan drug trade and the group's sheltering of bin Laden.
A 1999 State Department meeting with future Afghan President Hamid Karzai, identified here as the "son of an important Afghan tribal leader."
The U.S. Embassy in Islamabad sizing up the Taliban's Mullah Omar, circa 1997.
Beijing was unhappy about North Korean nuclear tests in 2006, but powerless to stop them.
The Japanese island of Okinawa, host to a longstanding U.S. military presence, is tilting toward China and away from the United States.
Bahrain's recent crackdown on its Shiite minority came out of Saudi Arabia's playbook.
Julian Assange is reportedly backing off of plans to publish his memoirs.
A medic in Britain's Royal Navy has been sentenced to seven months' detention for refusing to train on account of WikiLeaks-inspired moral objections.
An excellent telling of the sad saga of Pfc. Bradley Manning from New York. (The online friend whose chats with Manning provide much of the new information in the piece has also made their correspondence available for download.)
SAEED KHAN/AFP/Getty Images
Was the former Chinese finance minister caught in a Taiwanese honey trap?
A Cuban cardinal pushed to close a Cuban magazine critical of the Castro regime.
The journalists who could make a fortune off of WikiLeaks.
FP rounds up WikiLeaks' recent greatest hits.
A theatrical adaptation of the WikiLeaks saga (above) debuts in Australia.
WikiLeaks parodies MasterCard's "Priceless" ads:
TORSTEN BLACKWOOD/AFP/Getty Images
U.S. diplomats condemned the "appalling greed" of Moroccan King Mohammed VI's inner circle.
The George W. Bush administration supported Catholic clergy in Venezuela who protested against Hugo Chávez (and defied the pope in so doing).
A 2008 survey found that half of Cubans couldn't identify any of the major dissidents on the island that receive U.S. backing.
Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman was an influential player in Obama's China policy during his tenure as ambassador.
Gaming out the internal power dynamics of China's Politburo Standing Committee.
Julian Assange revamps his legal team.
GOP presidential hopeful and former Arizona Gov. Gary Johnson is pretty much the only Republican willing to defend WikiLeaks.
WikiLeaks thinks Bitcoin is too dodgy for donations.
Remember those cameras that Assange supporters claimed were being used to spy on him? They're actually there to monitor traffic.
THE BIG PICTURE
Has WikiLeaks ushered in an era of no government secrets?
Salvadorans are not into the idea of other people investigating Salvadorans.
U.S. officials in 2006 were concerned about the security of Saudi Arabia's oil infrastructure.
The granddaddy of WikiLeaks is officially released at last.
THE BIG PICTURE
Trying to make sense of the LulzSec hackers' motives.
How WikiLeaks begat the Sarah Palin email frenzy.
CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images, Tom Pennington/Getty Images, Flickr user Andy Miah
The U.S. government, Chevron, and Exxon Mobil joined forces to kill a Venezuelan oil deal in Haiti.
The frightening state of the developing world's nuclear energy programs.
China told U.S. officials it wasn't selling nuclear reactors to Pakistan, then did it anyway.
The British government worried that Russian gas behemoth Gazprom was being run by spies.
Julian Assange says WikiLeaks "played a significant role" in the Arab Spring, but that "there are no official allegations in the public domain" of anyone being hurt by the site's document dumps.
President Barack Obama nominates a replacement for the WikiLeaks-deposed U.S. ambassador to Mexico.
The American Civil Liberties Union is suing the U.S. government to officially release WikiLeaked cables about the war on terror.
Al Jazeera's WikiLeaks-inspired document-sharing site isn't much safer than the Wall Street Journal's.
The Swedish Bar Association chastises Assange's lawyer.
Of course you want to know what Jesse Ventura thinks about WikiLeaks.
THONY BELIZAIRE/AFP/Getty Images
Guantánamo detainees threatened to unleash a "nuclear hellstorm" in Europe if Osama bin Laden were ever killed.
The WikiLeaked Guantánamo file that (pseudo)named Osama bin Laden's courier.
Canada admits its nuclear terrorism defenses are not ready for prime time.
Hugo Chávez's war on American fast food chains.
U.S. officials voiced concerns over Japan's disaster preparedness.
Why were U.S. officials lobbying New Zealand on behalf of the recording industry?
Julian Assange: Facebook is "the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented."
Are major news organizations tech-savvy enough to pull off their WikiLeaks-imitating projects securely?
WikiLeaks has a new media partner, this one in Japan.
The Washington Post profiles Bradley Manning.
WikiLeaks has caught a lot of grief from the media in the past year for its relative lack of concern for safeguarding the identities of individuals put at risk by its document dumps, so the organization is entitled to at least a small measure of Schadenfreude over the flak the Wall Street Journal has been getting today over the rollout of its own online drop box for leaked documents. The Journal site, SafeHouse, is the first of several WikiLeaks-inspired ventures that media organizations are launching (the New York Times and the Guardian, among others, have their own in the works) with the none-too-subtle aim of reaping the benefits of WikiLeaks without having to deal with its mercurial management.
In practice, this isn't necessarily any less protection than a newspaper source would have under other circumstances in the United States -- most states don't have shield laws for journalists, and leakers basically have to take it on faith that the reporters they talk to are willing to go to jail if necessary to protect their anonymity (and reporters have a good track record of doing exactly that). All the same, it's a little chilling to see it in writing.
The second problem is on the technical end of things. As the Atlantic's Alexis Madrigal reports, the Journal did build a number of safeguards into its submitting system:
SafeHouse runs on its own servers, separate from the servers that run the WSJ.com. File transfers occur through an encrypted connection and the documents themselves are encrypted, too. (Only a few Journal staffers will have the keys to unlock them.) Finally, the time that uploaded documents spend stored on computers with connections to the public Internet will be minimized by "a fairly complicated" internal document flow system.
But SafeHouse has taken a lot of heat from Internet security types on Twitter today for design flaws that make it less secure for anonymous users than the Journal suggests. Many of them have been pointed out by Internet anonymity guru Jacob Appelbaum -- who, it should be noted, has worked closely with WikiLeaks for years -- and are well-summarized here by Forbes's Andy Greenberg. Among other things, Appelbaum argues that users switching between unencrypted and encrypted versions of SafeHouse are vulnerable to programs that trick users into continuing to use the unencrypted version, rendering their data potentially accessible to third parties. None of the problems that have been pointed out are un-fixable kinks, but they're a reminder that the buyer has to beware in the age of radical transparency.
Update: The Journal has posted a response to criticism of SafeHouse:
We take these issues very seriously. Development for eliminating the flash dependency, which is required for Tor compatibility, is complete, and we expect to implement the update within 48 hours. In addition, our system has been updated to limit the types of less secure connections it will accept. As is standard procedure, we will continue to assess new specifications and analyze any potential situation that may impact the privacy of our users.
Our priority is to ensure that SafeHouse fulfills its mission as a secure location that provides sources with access to highly skilled, experienced journalists.
The United States' quasi-embassy in Havana was in the dark about the U.S. Agency for International Development's activities in Cuba.
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice tried to block a U.N. investigation into possible Israeli war crimes during the 2008-2009 Gaza invasion.
The United States secretly backed Syrian opposition groups.
Singing pro-Manning protesters interrupt Obama at a fundraiser in San Francisco.
WikiLeaks may have scared diplomats, but it hasn't stopped them from talking smack about each other.
THE BIG PICTURE
The backstory of P.J. Crowley's dissent over Manning, well-told by Politico.
Has the Obama administration actually started listening to its critics on Manning's treatment?
WikiLeaks-based reporting didn't take home any Pulitzers this week, but newspapers didn't even bother to submit it.
CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images
The U.S. government plays cat and mouse with Chinese hackers.
Basically everyone is terrified of Yemen becoming Al Qaeda's home base.
Israeli military leaders told U.S. officials they decided against striking Iran's nuclear facilities in 2005.
The chief of Israel's Mossad grapples with a changing Middle East.
An interview with an intelligence school classmate of Manning's.
The friends of WikiLeaks targeted by a U.S. Justice Department suit are fighting back.
The United Nations representative for torture reprimands the U.S. government for blocking access to Pfc. Bradley Manning. The German Parliament's human rights committee also protests Manning's treatment, as does President Barack Obama's law school mentor.
Computer science students use the WikiLeaks cables as data to graphically map U.S. diplomatic relations.
Muammar al-Qaddafi's Ukrainian nurse (or one of them, at least) tells all.
RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images
U.S. diplomats' relationship with Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi's government wasn't always so cold.
Is Chinese demand for ivory killing Kenyan elephants?
An Israeli settlement leader tells U.S. officials he's willing to move, for a price.
Bahrain's king is proud of intelligence ties to Israel, wants his government to drop references to the "Zionist enemy."
Israel and Egypt locked horns over smuggling on the Gaza strip.
Israel suspects that Turkey is helping Iran skirt international sanctions.
What the WikiLeaks cables tell us about the United States' relationship with embattled Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh.
Ecuador kicks out U.S. Ambassador Heather Hodges (above) over a WikiLeaks cable.
The Pentagon won't let anyone -- including U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich and investigators from the United Nations and Amnesty International -- meet with Pfc. Bradley Manning in private. The British government is also raising concerns over Manning's treatment.
Julian Assange has another court date.
The U.S. Senate Intelligence Committee proposes new penalties for leakers.
The feds won't leave friend of WikiLeaks Jacob Applebaum alone.
Karl Rove is copping WikiLeaks' style.
Qaddafi's Ukrainian nurse tells all.
Pentagon contractor (and Anonymous nemesis) HBGary's ambitious scheme to catch the next WikiLeaker.
RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images
Julian Assange has another court date. This one's for a two-day hearing in Britain's High Court, which will consider Assange's appeal of the February ruling that paved the way for his extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges. The BBC reports that Assange is still at the country estate of the journalist Vaughan Smith, to which he was released on bail in December. Other than that, he's been laying low -- as has WikiLeaks, which hasn't posted a new State Department cable in nearly two weeks. (They're occasionally cropping up elsewhere, however.)
BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images
This weekend, the U.S. government finally threw Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh under the bus, with administration officials telling the New York Times on background that it was increasingly clear Saleh was incapable of reforming his government and had to go. On Tuesday, the Pentagon made it official, with spokesman Geoff Morrell saying the United States was "urging a negotiated transition [of power] as quickly as possible."
All of this would have been unthinkable even a month ago, when it seemed relatively likely that Saleh would survive the wave of unrest sweeping his country, at least through the end of his current term. The Yemeni president is a Hosni Mubarak-style survivor, who has managed to hold onto power for three decades in one of the Arab world's most reliably restive countries -- a longevity that is in no small part guaranteed by the United States, which has viewed Saleh as a crucial, if unreliable, ally in the fight against Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP).
No one ever pretended it was an uncomplicated relationship, and the WikiLeaks cables show the United States making extraordinary, often unreasonable demands of counterterrorism allies such as Saleh. But you don't have to agree with the U.S. government's actions here to ask whether the $155 million the United States gave Yemen in military aid last year alone was worth the investment. A tour through the WikiLeaks cables from the U.S. Embassy in Sanaa -- of which the Times offered a very good overview in December -- is instructive. The cables, of course, present the State Department's view of the situation, not the U.S. intelligence community's -- but the diplomats seem to have trusted Saleh about as far as they could throw him.
WikiLeaks has claimed another WikiLoser: U.S. Ambassador Heather Hodges, who was kicked out of Ecuador today over a cable detailing alleged corruption in President Rafael Correa's government. "It is unfortunate that the published documents on WikiLeaks have made it impossible to continue collaborating with the current ambassador to Quito, but we hope to work with a new ambassador," Ecuador's Washington embassy said in a statement today, according to the Associated Press.
The offending cable, which was signed by Hodges (above, with Correa in happier times) in July 2009 and published on Monday by the Spanish newspaper El Pais, concerns Jaime Hurtado, the former commanding general of Ecuador's National Police. "The Embassy has multiple reports that indicate [Hurtado] used his positions to extort bribes, facilitate human trafficking, misappropriate public funds, obstruct investigations and prosecutions of corrupt colleagues, and engage in other corrupt acts for personal enrichment," Hodges wrote.
Hodges is the third U.S. ambassador to be forced out of an embassy post by an inconvenient cable; Carlos Pascual resigned from the U.S. Embassy in Mexico City last month, and Gene Cretz was called back from Tripoli in January (though he's back in action now that the U.S. government is somewhat less concerned about Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi's feelings). Of course, it's also worth noting that Correa -- like his regional allies -- drops U.S. diplomats like they're going out of style.
RODRIGO BUENDIA/AFP/Getty Images
Has Hugo Chávez been selling missiles to Muammar al-Qaddafi?
The Kenyan government wanted to arrest a prominent opposition leader in 2007.
The Colombian military maintains a 100-man counter-guerrilla force inside Venezuela.
Colombia has been using U.S. drones to fight the FARC for five years.
A staffer in Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's Congress Party shows U.S. embassy aides chests full of cash being used to buy votes.
India faces a "growing Naxalite menace."
U.S. diplomats viewed Mohamed ElBaradei as "part of the problem" in the Middle East in 2009.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has a "hunger for absolute power and for the material benefits of power".
U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual steps down over WikiLeaks-fueled flap with Mexican President Felipe Calderón.
Damning corruption allegations in the WikiLeaks cables have India's Manmohan Singh on the ropes.
Protesters demonstrating over Pfc. Bradley Manning's treatment are arrested at Quantico.
An art group in Russia's Ural region is building a monument to Julian Assange.
Is Michael Bay basing the villains in the next Transformers movie on Julian Assange?
THE BIG PICTURE
FP tallies the biggest losers so far in the Cablegate saga.
More on the role of WikiLeaks in the Arab revolutions.
Bradley Manning's long road to WikiLeaks.
Julian Assange, houseguest: a reenactment.
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
As you've probably heard, U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual stepped down from his post in Mexico City over the weekend following his WikiLeaks-based falling out with Mexican President Felipe Calderón. In noting his departure, we thought it would be worth looking back over the arc of the U.S. State Department's slow-rolling PR catastrophe -- now rounding out its fourth month -- and tallying the casualties. The results are here.
The WikiLeaks unfortunates are a pretty varied group -- the expected array of diplomatic officials and WikiLeaks associates, plus a few politicians, a CEO, a university administrator, and a dictator -- and it's hard to draw much of a trend line through the circumstances of their respective scandals. The first and last of them were both genuine scandals: A German party official passing documents to American embassy officials, the prime minister of India's party allegedly buying votes with chests full of rupees.
But what strikes me as most noteworthy is how un-noteworthy most of the cables that got a lot of these people in trouble really were. U.S. ambassadors were pulled from their posts for noting that Mexico's drug war was going badly and that Muammar al-Qaddafi was rather eccentric. The fact that Tunisia's Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali was a fantastically corrupt ruler was not exactly news to anyone in Tunisia. Europe's still-incomplete satellite system really is a boondoggle. There have been a few bombshells in the WikiLeaks cables -- some of them literal -- but these weren't them. They were significant only because they confirmed that the U.S. government knew what everyone else knew.
LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images
Sierra Leonean military officials blew $1.9 million in British aid money on big-screen TVs and hunting rifles.
U.S. officials helped in a corruption case against Tanzanian banking executives.
Kenyan officials told U.S. diplomats that an investigation into the country's 2007-2008 election violence would risk provoking civil war.
Nigerian politician Joseph Ibori wanted to create a "trust fund" with his stolen wealth.
The owner of Japan's currently imperiled Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant falsified inspection records for the facility.
U.S. diplomats say British defense contractor BAE bribed a Saudi prince to secure a fighter jet deal.
U.S. State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley
is fired quits after
calling the Defense Department's treatment of alleged WikiLeaks source Pfc.
Bradley Manning "ridiculous
and counterproductive and stupid."
The Pentagon says its own security weaknesses enabled the leaking of the WikiLeaks documents.
Mexican President Filipe Calderón is "barely on speaking terms" with the U.S. ambassador to Mexico over WikiLeaks disclosures.
A federal judge rules that Twitter must hand over its records in WikiLeaks case.
Gawker goes inside Anonymous's war room.
Jihadist cleric Anwar al-Awlaki praises WikiLeaks.
The top lawmaker on the U.S. House of Representatives' intelligence committee says WikiLeaks have been "devastating" to diplomacy.
THE BIG PICTURE
Julian Assange: WikiLeaks sparked the Arab revolt.
How the WikiLeaks documents helped reporters covering Japan's nuclear woes.
WikiLeaks suffers the most damaging leak of them all: pictures of Julian Assange dancing.
Things just got even worse for Pfc. Bradley Manning, the alleged source for WikiLeaks' cache of U.S. military and State Department documents. The Army announced today that it has filed 22 new charges against Manning, in addition to the 12 counts he was initially charged with after his arrest in May.
Wired's Threat Level blog reports that the charges, which were filed Tuesday, "include aiding the enemy, theft of public property or records, computer fraud, transmitting defense information and wrongly causing intelligence to be published on the internet knowing it would be accessible to the enemy." Although the first charge is a capital offense, the Army has said it will not seek the death penalty. Even so, Manning is still looking at the possibility of life in prison. (Politico has the charge sheet here.)
Manning's lawyer, David E. Coombs, said in a blog post today that he and Manning had been expecting the additional charges for several weeks:
The decision to prefer charges is an individual one by PFC Manning's commander. The nature of the charges and the number of specifications under each reflects his determination, in consultation with his Staff Judge Advocate's office, of the possible offenses in this case. Ultimately, the Article 32 Investigating Officer will determine which, if any, of these additional charges and specifications should be referred to a court-martial.
As Threat Level notes, the capital offense charge could play into the deliberation over WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition to Sweden on sexual assault charges, which Assange's lawyers are in the process of appealing. A British judge ruled in favor of the extradition last week, and his ruling made virtually no mention of the political context of the case, effectively dismissing as implausible Assange's lawyers' arguments that an extradition -- even on unrelated charges -- would pave the way for their client's extradition to the United States on capital charges. Now that Manning has been charged with a capital offense, such arguments will be harder to dismiss.
Proceedings against Manning, meanwhile, are still on hold pending a psychiatric review sought by his lawyers. Politico reports that that review is expected to be completed in the next two to six weeks.
Qaddafi worried about a U.S. military presence in Africa.
Bernie Madoff once discussed investment opportunities with Qaddafi.
Colombian President Alvaro Uribe OK'd "clandestine operations" against FARC rebels across the border in Venezuela.
U.S. Ambassador to Colombia (and later Afghanistan) William Wood was not aware of the top Colombian military leader's dodgy résumé.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce tried to take down Nicaragua's Daniel Ortega.
China used U.S. debt obligations to pressure the United States on arms sales to Taiwan.
For the first time since World War II, Japan is building a full-blown foreign intelligence agency.
U.S. diplomats pushed Norway to buy American-made fighter jets.
Britain blocked an arms sale to Swaziland over fears the weapons could end up in Iran.
Bahrain's crown prince is not a big fan of the whole democracy thing.
A British judge rules in favor of Julian Assange's extradition to Sweden.
George W. Bush doesn't like the idea of sharing a stage with Assange.
Gaddafi's "voluptuous nurse" has had enough of Libya.
WikiLeaks cable revelations are factoring in Peru's 2011 elections.
PayPal freezes the account of a group raising defense funds for Pfc. Bradley Manning.
More on HBGary, the cybersecurity firm that tried to take down WikiLeaks' supporters.
WikiLeaks now has a gift shop.
Anonymous makes "The Colbert Report" (slightly NSFW)
THE BIG PICTURE
A British judge has authorized WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange's extradition to Sweden on rape charges. From the Australian:
The Australian founder of the WikiLeaks website instantly appealed to the British High Court against last night's verdict in the Belmarsh Magistrates Court, but Judge Howard Riddell had earlier made it clear he had no doubt about the validity of Sweden's extradition case.
Mr Assange had faced being extradited within 10 days and held in jail in Stockholm with no possibility of bail but his barrister, Geoffrey Robertson QC, signalled an appeal process that could take many months.
The New York Times has the text of the ruling here. Riddell makes no explicit mention of the broader context of the case, or the frequent claims by Assange and his lawyers that extradition on the sex assault charges is the first step toward extradicting Assange to the United States over WikiLeaks' U.S. government document leaks. Pretty much all there is is a pro forma note on p. 26 in which Riddell says he believes neither Assange's arrest warrant or prosecution was the result of considerations about his political opinions.
Assange's lawyers said immediately that they planned to appeal the decision.
As Libya spiraled further out of control today, WikiLeaks posted two new cables from the U.S. Embassy in Tripoli detailing the family squabbles of strongman Muammar al-Qaddafi's family. Both are from March 2009, and both are signed by U.S. Ambassador Gene Cretz, the United States' first ambassador in Libya since 1972, who lost his job last month following the release of the infamous "voluptuous blonde" cable (and/or other more serious dispatches) he had signed.
The cables date from an eventful period in the life of the Qaddafi family. The previous July, Hannibal al-Qaddafi, the Qaddafi son best known for getting in trouble in Europe on a semi-regular basis, had been arrested in Switzerland for beating his servants at a Geneva hotel. Meanwhile, Saif al-Islam, Muammar's heir-apparent and the best-regarded Qaddafi outside of Libya, was fuming over the growing closeness between his father and his brother Muatassim (above, with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in April 2009), the elder Qaddafi's national security adviser and Saif's only real competition for the family business. According to the cable, "Saif reportedly bridled at the fact that Muatassim accompanied Muammar al-Qadhafi on the latter's visit to Moscow, Minsk and Kiev last year..., and played a key role in negotiating potential weapons contracts."
All of this, plus a verboten trip to Rome by Qaddafi son Saadi, prompted a family meeting in August, at which the siblings aired their grievances:
At the meeting, Saadi reportedly criticized his father for having ignored him, and specifically cited the fact that his (Saadi's) efforts to establish an Export Free Trade Zone near the western Libyan town of Zuwara had not enjoyed the kind of support that Muatassim's activities as National Security Adviser or Saif al-Islam's high-profile efforts under the Qadhafi Development Foundation and Libya Youth Forum. As reported ref C, Muammar al-Qadhafi subsequently made an unusual visit to Zuwara last September and significant work on the development project began within a few days of his visit.
The cable relates that Qaddafi assigned his daughter Aisha "the task of monitoring the activities of ne'er-do-wells" in the family: Saadi, Hannibal, and the less notorious Saif al-Arab. But interestingly, the cable suggests that Aisha may have been part of the problem in the case of Hannibal's arrest, which blew up into an international incident when the irate Qaddafi pere threw Swiss diplomats out of his country in retaliation. According to the cable:
XXXXXXXXXXXX have told us that Aisha played a strong role in urging a hardline Libyan position with respect to the Swiss-Libyan contretemps over Hannibal's arrest. Separately, the Swiss Ambassador told us that Aisha's less than accurate rendering to her father of the events surrounding Hannibal's arrest and treatment by Swiss authorities helped stoke Muammar al-Qadhafi's anger, limiting the extent to which Libyan and Swiss officials could maneuver to find an acceptable compromise. The Swiss have told us that in the most recent effort between the two sides to resolve the issue in Davos, Saif had approved an agreement that had the Swiss literally bending over backwards to assuage Libyan demands. After making a phone call (to either Aisha or the leader), Saif returned somewhat chastened after several minutes to rescind the aproval.
Meanwhile, back in the present, Saif seems to have embraced his family tradition of giving long, weird, paranoid speeches, and it seems clear that, whatever his Davos and LSE credentials, the Qaddafi apple doesn't fall far from the tree.
Alex Wong/Getty Images
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THE BIG PICTURE
Free speech advocate and celebrity attorney Alan Dershowitz, now Julian Assange's lawyer, tells FP why WikiLeaks is "the Pentagon Papers case for the 21st Century."
WikiLeaks' Asia cables could be a whole lot worse.
JOHANNES EISELE/AFP/Getty Images
WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange hasn't been charged with any crime in the United States yet, but he is preparing for the possibility that he will be sooner or later -- in a statement released via Twitter on Monday, WikiLeaks announced that Assange had secured the assistance of Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz.
Dershowitz has been a staunch civil liberties advocate for decades -- he represented Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel in the Supreme Court in 1972 after Gravel read the Pentagon Papers into the congressional record -- although he's as well known today for his work as a celebrity attorney (he's represented O.J. Simpson, Mike Tyson, and Leona Helmsley, among others) and his outspoken defense of Israel. "This is the Pentagon Papers case for the 21st Century," he told me today. "This is a very important test case, because it tests the reach of the First and Fourth Amendments to new electronic media. It's every lawyer's dream to help shape the law, not just react to it."
Dershowitz says he was enlisted in Assange's legal team by Geoffrey Robertson, an Australian attorney who cuts a similar profile in his own country and Britain -- he helped hide his client Salman Rushdie after the Ayatollah Khomeini issued his fatwa against him in 1989 -- and who signed on to Assange's case in December. "I've been involved for a while now," Dershowitz says. "I've been quietly advising them over the past weeks. I've spoken myself with Assange on several occasions."
The U.S. Justice Department's case against Assange, if it can make one, hinges on demonstrating some sort of collaboration between the WikiLeaks leader and his alleged source for his cache of U.S. government documents, Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is currently being held in a Marine Corps jail. A federal judge in Virginia agreed today to consider an order from the Justice Department compelling Twitter to hand over account information for Assange, Manning, and several other people associated with WikiLeaks -- which Twitter has so far resisted -- in an attempt to prove that the parties were communicating before Assange received the documents. Dershowitz wasn't involved in today's hearing, but says that "we will do what we can in this country to minimize the chances that [Assange] can be prosecuted here."
"In a situation like this, you're waiting to see what moves the government makes," he says. "But I never wait passively. I always wait actively."
ANJA NIEDRINGHAUS/AFP/Getty Images