Appearing on ABC's "Good Morning America," the founder of WikiLeaks said, "I had never heard of the name Bradley Manning before it was published in the press. Wikileaks' technology [was] designed from the very beginning to make sure that we never know the identities or names of people submitting us material. That is, in the end, the only way the sources can be guaranteed that they remain anonymous, as far as we are concerned."
To that end, Assange also denied that he had solicited any material from Manning or others, or had helped in the taking of material classified secret by the U.S. government.
The whistleblower who has been both praised and vilified for leaking sensitive government documents, also alleged that Swedish officials are withholding evidence that would prove the sexual assault accusations against him represent a "set-up."
He said the case being brought forth by Swedish prosecutors seeking his extradition from England is "entirely exotic and unusual."
Assange also said charges that he'd sexually assaulted two women were dropped for lack of evidence before being revived by politicians. He claims Swedish officials are withholding evidence that could clear his name.
We'll never know, but Vladimir Putin has now done something no other Russian leader is known to have done, at least in public: Croon an American pop classic that's been the thrill of generations of music fans.
The 58-year-old Russian Prime Minister-pilot-hunter-judo black belt added another line to his resume during a charity event in St. Petersburg Friday night, when he sang "Blueberry Hill" to an appreciative audience that realized they had not seen it all.
The U.K. Daily Mail reports that Putin was urged to the stage by the event's host, and modestly admitted, "Like an overwhelming majority of people, I can neither sing nor play, but I very much like doing it."
He proceeded to tickle the ivories on a piano stumbling a bit on a Soviet-era patriotic song, "From Where the Motherland Begins" before the band played the introduction to "Blueberry Hill."
Putin stepped up to the microphone and sang.
The 1940 song (music by Vincent Rose, lyrics by Al Lewis and Larry Stock), has been recorded dozens of times by such artists as Glenn Miller, Louis Armstrong, Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, Cliff Richard, the Everly Brothers, Led Zeppelin and Elton John.
According to the Mail, Putin's spokesman explained the former KGB head and president learned the song's lyrics as part of his English language studies.
The event was a charity concert for children suffering from eye diseases and cancer. Spotted in the crowd: Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Kevin Costner and Sharon Stone.
The Saudi government, Clinton wrote, was reluctant to cut off money being sent to the Taliban in Afghanistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Pakistan.
"While the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) takes seriously the threat of terrorism within Saudi Arabia, it has been an ongoing challenge to persuade Saudi officials to treat terrorist financing emanating from Saudi Arabia as a strategic priority," the memo states.
Progress was cited by the Saudi government (due in part to "intense focus" by the United States) to proactively investigate and detain financiers of concern. "Still, donors in Saudi Arabia constitute the most significant source of funding to Sunni terrorist groups worldwide."
"In contrast to its increasingly aggressive efforts to disrupt al Qaeda's access to funding from Saudi sources, Riyadh has taken only limited action to disrupt fundraising for the UN 1267-listed Taliban and LeT-groups that are also aligned with al Qaeda and focused on undermining stability in Afghanistan and Pakistan."
"More needs to be done since Saudi Arabia remains a critical financial support base for al Qaeda, the Taliban, LeT and other terrorist groups," according to the memo signed by Clinton.
The messages, written by U.S. diplomats to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were among the cables leaked by WikiLeaks and published today by the British Guardian newspaper.
According to the text of the undated cable sent from the embassy in Beijing to Washington, " . . . closely held Chinese government operations against Google had been coordinated out of the State Council Information Office."
Government operations against Google were quoted as being " 'one hundred percent' political in nature," and were not seen at simply attempts to remove Google as a competitor to native Chinese search engines, such as Baidu.
The plan is to be discussed at this week's NATO summit in Lisbon.
Writing in the Times Monday, Peter Baker and Rod Nordland describe it as the most concrete plan yet by the Obama White House for transitioning control of security in Afghanistan.
One official said the transfer strategy closely resembles that of the Iraq war, where a troop surge by President Bush was followed by handovers of security region by region, and a subsequent troop drawdown.
"Iraq is a pretty decent blueprint for how to transition in Afghanistan," an anonymous U.S. official told the Times, adding that the key to success would be "constructing an Afghan force that is truly capable of taking the lead."
One thing the plan will not be, according to officials, is a dictate from Washington, but rather a process predicated by conditions on the local level. "This will be ground-up," one official told The Times.
In a 48-minute video posted today on militant websites, Adam Gadahn said that it is a duty and an obligation of Muslims to defend Islam.
"It is the duty of everyone who is sincere in his desire to defend Islam and Muslims today, to take the initiative to perform the individual obligation of jihad ... by striking the Zio-Crusader interests," he said, referring to Western and Jewish interests.
Gadahn, who has been hunted by the FBI since 2004, also tried to discredit attempts by moderate Muslim leaders to suppress the "jihadi awakening."
The video was made available by the U.S.-based SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors extremist activity.
Gadahn grew up on a farm in California and converted to Islam before moving to Pakistan in 1998 where he reportedly attended an al-Qaida training camp.
In a joint statement issued Friday by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius, released in English and Spanish, the government apologized to Guatemala and to those involved in the study, conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service (PHS) between 1946 and 1948.
The results of the Sexually Transmitted Disease Inoculation Study were uncovered by a Wellesley College researcher, Susan Reverby.
The story is uncomfortably similar to the "Tuskegee" Syphilis Study in the 1960s, in which the PHS monitored, but did not treat, hundreds of African American men suffering from syphilis.
Unlike that case, however, subjects in the Guatemala study were intentionally infected with sexually transmitted diseases, and then given penicillin, to help determine the efficacy of the drug to cure or even vaccinate against STDs.
Reverby wrote that the Guatemala syphilis inoculation project was run by a PHS physician, Dr. John C. Cutler (who would later oversee the Tuskegee, Ala., study two decades later).
The study's doctors chose as subjects men incarcerated at the Guatemala National Penitentiary, as well as army service members, and men and women confined in the National Mental Health Hospital. There was a total of 696 people in the study. Guatemalan authorities (and not the individuals themselves) granted permission, in exchange for supplies.
According to Reverby, who studied Cutler's records in the University of Pittsburgh archives, doctors used infected prostitutes to pass the disease on to prisoners (conjugal visits were allowed in Guatemalan jails). Direct inoculations of syphilis bacteria were made to other subjects. Treatment by penicillin was also administered, though not always successfully.
Cutler seemed to recognize the delicate ethical quandaries their experiments posed, particularly in the wake of the Nuremberg "Doctors' Trials," and was concerned about secrecy. "As you can imagine," Cutler reported to his PHS overseer, "we are holding our breaths, and we are explaining to the patients and others concerned with but a few key exceptions, that the treatment is a new one utilizing serum followed by penicillin. This double talk keeps me hopping at time."
Cutler also wrote that he feared "a few words to the wrong person here, or even at home, might wreck it or parts of it ... "
PHS physician R.C. Arnold, who supervised Cutler, was more troubled, confiding to Cutler, "I am a bit, in fact more than a bit, leery of the experiment with the insane people. They can not give consent, do not know what is going on, and if some goody organization got wind of the work, they would raise a lot of smoke. I think the soldiers would be best or the prisoners for they can give consent."
Apparently difficulties in transmission, as well as in replicating results, added to concerns over the study, and it was dropped after two years.
Cutler went on to participate in another Syphilis Study at Sing Sing Prison in Ossining, N.Y. (although in that case the subjects were informed about the nature of the inoculations administered to them).
"Although these events occurred more than 64 years ago, we are outraged that such reprehensible research could have occurred under the guise of public health," today's State Dept./DHS statement said. "We deeply regret that it happened, and we apologize to all the individuals who were affected by such abhorrent research practices.
"The conduct exhibited during the study does not represent the values of the United States, or our commitment to human dignity and great respect for the people of Guatemala. The study is a sad reminder that adequate human subject safeguards did not exist a half-century ago."
The officials also announced an investigation into the specifics of the case from 1946, and will also convene a meeting of international experts to devise methods that effectively ensure all human medical research meets rigorous ethical standards.
Video footage captured by dozens of cameras with motion sensors, which had been left in the mountains of Bhutan, showed the animals - usually found in jungle habitats - at altitudes above 13,000 feet.
"These are the highest living tigers in the world," said BBC cameraman Gordon Buchanan.
The footage was obtained by the BBC's Natural History Unit for the series, "Lost Land of the Tiger," which debuts on British television this week.
The British documentary group had traveled to the Himalayas to investigate claims by locals that there were tigers in the area - well above the tree line.
"If that's true, that's a really big deal," naturalist Steve Backshall told the BBC.
Experts say it is the first proof that tigers can live and breed at extremely high altitudes.
The footage shows the destruction of several London landmarks, including the flagship John Lewis store on Oxford Street, and of bombing victims being treated by medical personnel.
The film was released Monday by Westminster City Council to mark the anniversary of the devastating German bombing campaign that began September 7, 1940, and continued until May 1941.
The footage was taken by an air raid warden and mayor of Marylebone, A.E. Reneson Coucher. It was recently found by his family in their attic, unseen for decades.
Since demonstrations erupted last week, street battles have claimed the lives of at least 37 people.
More than a thousand have been wounded.
In his video report, Winn shows the chaos of Bangkok a no-man's land of defiant protesters, plumes of black smoke, cowering people seeking shelter from bullets, and medical personnel waiting to assist them when they are felled by sniper fire.
To view the video click on the player below.Continue »
Numerous flights are canceled in and out of the airport in St. John's because of the threat of ash from the volcanic eruption that has grounded air traffic above Europe. A light fog this morning is adding to poor conditions.
The web site for St. John's International Airport lists most departing flights as either canceled or delayed up until 9 a.m. local time.
There's no word yet on whether the cancellations will be extended beyond that time, although all late morning, afternoon and evening flights are currently listed as on time.
Airport spokeswoman Marie Manning says Transport Canada is closely monitoring the affects on Canadian airspace.
Meanwhile, the Canadian Meteorological Centre says there is a low probability of risk because satellite imagery does not support ash presence in high concentrations.
CBC reports that no order has been issued to close airspace, and an airport spokeswoman said airlines would decide themselves whether to resume operations later today.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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Washington is betting heavily on a native security force to keep the peace in Afghanistan if American and NATO armed forces are to withdraw and not have the country descend into chaos. But as T. Christian Miller, Mark Hosenball and Ron Moreau write in Newsweek, America's investment in building an Afghan police force which since 2002 has meant more than $6 billion spent to buy weapons, build training centers and hire instructors has been "a disaster."
The public's distrust of the police a U.N. poll last year showed a majority of Afghans believed the police to be corrupt, and there have been accusations of local police committing crimes from drug trafficking and extortion to rape means it will be that much more difficult for the U.S. to extricate itself from the country.
When President Obama conducted a review of the situation in Afghanistan earlier this month, Newsweek reports he was stunned when Lt. Gen. William Caldwell (who took over the training program last November) informed him that police hadn't been trained in the eight years since the U.S. invaded. "All we did was give [recruits] a uniform," he said.
"Eight years? And we didn't train police? It's mind-boggling," the president replied.
Newsweek reports that, according to Caldwell, three-quarters of the ANP's 98,000-member force has received no formal instruction, and whatever training they did receive came at the hands of hired contractors, many of whom were American ex-cops or sheriffs working without direction or oversight, in a program with no accountability held by any single agency or official.
For more read the Newsweek story, "The Gang That Couldn't Shoot Straight."
The European Union's top diplomat arrived in Damascus late Monday for talks with Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad, as part of a regional tour to try to give the EU more clout on the world's diplomatic stage.
Catherine Ashton, who has faced criticism in Europe for not being visible enough since she was appointed the EU's foreign and security affairs chief last November, flew from Cairo, where she kicked off her first Middle East tour since assuming her post, reports CBS News' George Baghdadi from Damascus.
The top diplomat, who is also vice president of the European Commission, arrives in the region at a time when international efforts to restart even indirect talks between Israelis and its Arab neighbors are in peril.
"This region does not need more conflict. It needs peace. Peace based on international law. Peace now because any delay will only make it harder to achieve," Ashton said in her speech to the League of Arab States today.Continue »
Relatives of the girl, identified as "MM," carried out an "honor killing," reports The Guardian.
Police discovered the girl's remains — in a sitting position, her hands tied — under a chicken pen.
Reuters reports that, due to growing difficulty is shipping cocaine from South America directly to the U.S. and Europe, drug traffickers are now transiting their goods through Africa, with the help of al Qaeda and other groups with links to terrorism.
(Left: Bags of cocaine confiscated in the West African Republic of Guinea.)