WikiLeaks CableGate: December 17, Day 20

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the press, Dec. 16, 2010, as he arrives at Ellingham Hall in Ellingham, Norfolk, in southern England. Getty Images

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange speaks to the press, Dec. 16, 2010, as he arrives at Ellingham Hall in southern England.
Getty Images

Check and update this page often for the latest news and views on the WikiLeaks saga, as well as our special report.

DECEMBER 17, Day 20

Fact: Of the reported 251,287 U.S. diplomatic cables it claims to have in its possession, WikiLeaks has released 1,618. That is slightly more than one-half of one percent of the total. They have released 274 new cables since Monday.

[Guardian (U.K.)] Steven Spielberg Was Target of Arab League Boycott

"Steven Spielberg was blacklisted by the Arab League's Central Boycott Office after making a $1m donation to Israel during the 2006 conflict in Lebanon."

[CNET] Assange Legal Case Could Hang on Alleged Chat Log Comments Attributed to Pfc. Manning

Julian Assange says he never met Bradley Manning, the Army Private accused of providing thousands of documents to WikiLeaks. But CNET's Declan McCullagh notes that Manning has indicated otherwise.

"I had never heard of the name Bradley Manning before it was published in the press," Assange told ABC News today. "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 contradicts a chat log that appears to show Manning's conversations before his arrest -- and before his name ever appeared in the media -- in which he described having a close relationship with Assange as a confidential source.

The could influence whether Julian Assange ultimately faces conspiracy charges in the United States, notes McCullagh. Federal prosecutors are reportedly exploring filing conspiracy charges against Assange on the theory that he collaborated with Manning on transferring secret documents obtained from the Army's internal computer network. That would allow them to avoid charging him under the Espionage Act.

[Guardian (U.K.)] Sudanese President "Stashed $9B in UK Banks"

"Omar al-Bashir, the Sudanese president, has siphoned as much as $9bn out of his impoverished country, and much of it may be stashed in London banks, according to secret US diplomatic cables that recount conversations with the chief prosecutor of the international criminal court."

[Guardian (U.K.)] US Criticizes Court that May Decide on Julian Assange Extradition

"US officials regard European human rights standards as an 'irritant', secret cables show, and have strongly objected to the safeguards which could protect WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange from extradition."

[Guardian (U.K.)] Cables Reveal US Concerns Over Timing of Former Liberian Leader's Trial

"Judges in one of the world's most controversial war crimes trials have been deliberately slowing down proceedings, senior US officials believe, causing significant delays to proceedings."

[Guardian (U.K.)] Cuba's "Best Friends Forever" Ignore Human Rights

"Australia, Canada and several European countries have stopped pressuring Cuba over human rights in the hope of winning commercial favors from Havana, according to confidential US diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks."

[CBS News/AP] The founder of WikiLeaks said Friday he fears that the United States is getting ready to indict him, but insisted that the secret-spilling site would continue its work despite what he has called a dirty tricks campaign. U.S. officials are investigating WikiLeaks and considering charges, a case that if pursued could end up pitting the government's efforts to protect sensitive information against press and speech freedoms guaranteed by the First Amendment. The government suspects WikiLeaks received the documents from an Army private, Bradley Manning, who is in the brig on charges of leaking other classified documents to the organization.



[The Guardian] WikiLeaks may be breaking new ground to promote freedom of information by releasing leaked US diplomatic cables, but Arab governments have been resorting to old tricks to ensure that nothing too damaging reaches their subjects. Censorship, cyberattacks and other forms of denial of access to information have permeated throughout Arab countries' media outlets since CableGate began.

[NiemanJournalismLabs] The New York Times Executive Editor said in a recent interview: "I don't regard Julian Assange as a kindred spirit. If he's a journalist, he's not the kind of journalist that I am. I don't think (WikiLeaks has) become my kind of news organization, but they have evolved."

[BigDeadPlace] The U.S. Government has banned WikiLeaks in Antarctica. Technically, the WikiLeaks cables are classified documents, therefore government employees can't look at it. However, also technically, nearly 2,000 cables are now in the public domain. The U.S. government does not care about that nuance, however.

[The Guardian] Accused cable leaker Bradley Manning is having serious health issues, supporters say. Currently locked up 23 hours a day in solitary confinement and not allowed to exercise. Those who visit regularly say they have noticed a serious and steady decline in his physical and mental well being.

[New Statesman] Comedian Russell Brand took issue with the official response to the WikiLeaks CabelGate scandal, writing in their Christmas issue:

"The spectacle of implicated governments trying to stifle WikiLeaks is futile and undignified; like watching a duplicitous Victorian widow struggling to keep a fart beneath her petticoats. Alas, the stink is out and cannot be chased back into the burrow by any amount of protest, lavender scent or coy blushing."
_

[CBS] Assange said this morning that WikiLeaks by its very nature does not know the identities of its sources, and that he never conspired with the U.S. Army private who is the alleged source of classified U.S. Embassy cables, which WikiLeaks then passed on to other media organizations.

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."

[CBS/AP]WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was released on bail Thursday -- confined to a supporter's 600-acre estate but free to get back to work

spilling U.S. government secrets on his website as he fights Sweden's attempt to extradite him on allegations of rape and molestation.

DECEMBER 16, Day 19

Fact: Of the reported 251,287 U.S. diplomatic cables it claims to have in its possession, WikiLeaks has released 1,606. That is slightly more than one-half of one percent of the total. They have released 262 new cables since Monday.

[Guardian (U.K.)] India Accused of Systematic Use of Torture in Kashmir

"US officials had evidence of widespread torture by Indian police and security forces and were secretly briefed by Red Cross staff about the systematic abuse of detainees in Kashmir, according to leaked diplomatic cables".

[Guardian (U.K.)] Dalai Lama Called for Focus on Climate, Not Politics, in Tibet

"The Dalai Lama told US diplomats last year that the international community should focus on climate change rather than politics in Tibet because environmental problems were more urgent, secret American cables reveal."

Click here to see more WikiLeaks news from Thursday and before.

  • CBSNews.com

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.