WikiLeaks CableGate: December 14, Day 17

Julian Assange arrives in court in London for bail proceedings Tuesday.
Getty Images
Julian Assange arrives in court in London for bail proceedings Tuesday.
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 14, Day 17

Fact: Of the reported 251,287 U.S. diplomatic cables it claims to have in its possession, WikiLeaks has released 1,447. That is slightly more than one-half of one percent of the total. They have released 103 new cables since Monday.

[Guardian (U.K.)] Corrupt Ghana Police Tip-Off Cocaine Smugglers

"A British operation to stem the flow of cocaine through Ghana has been beset by corruption, with local drug police sabotaging expensive scanning equipment and tipping off smugglers to avoid detection, leaked US embassy cables reveal."

[Guardian (U.K.)] U.S. Fears Over West African Cocaine Route

"When an unidentified plane crashed into the desert in northern Mali in November 2009, it was immediately suspected of smuggling cocaine from Latin America. The west African route to the lucrative European markets had been growing in popularity for some time following successful anti-smuggling operations in the Caribbean."

[Guardian (U.K.)] Jamaica Accused of Aiding Drug Smugglers

"Cuban anti-drugs officials have accused Jamaica of giving drug smugglers free rein in Caribbean waters and skies, according to a secret US diplomatic cable."

[AP] President Hugo Chavez's government has sold China oil for as little as $5 a barrel. China in turn sold Chavez's cheap oil at a profit to other countries, upsetting the Venezuelan ruler, according to a classified U.S. document released by WikiLeaks. The report about Chinese companies diverting oil was one of several newly released documents that also describe falling crude output in Venezuela caused by a host of problems within the national oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA.

[ThinkProgress] A newly-elected Tea Party member of Congress has called on the U.S. Government to censor media organizations supporting WikiLeaks and Assange and who are reprinting leaked diplomatic cables. Rep.-elect Allen West (R-FL) told a radio station:

"I think that we also should be censoring the American news agencies which enabled him to do this and also supported him and applauding him for the efforts. So that's kind of aiding and abetting of a serious crime."

[Poynter] The staff of the Graduate School of Journalism at Columbia University sent a letter to President Barack Obama saying that prosecuting WikiLeaks "will set a dangerous precedent." The letter goes on to say:

"while we hold varying opinions of Wikileaks' methods and decisions, we all believe that in publishing diplomatic cables Wikileaks is engaging in journalistic activity protected by the First Amendment. Any prosecution of Wikileaks' staff for receiving, possessing or publishing classified materials will set a dangerous precedent for reporters in any publication or medium, potentially chilling investigative journalism and other First Amendment-protected activity. As a historical matter, government overreaction to publication of leaked material in the press has always been more damaging to American democracy than the leaks themselves."

[CBS/AP] Julian Assange has been granted bail in London while awaiting further hearings regarding his possible extradition to Sweden to face sexual assault charges. However, a lawyer representing Swedish prosecutors tell the Guardian they plan on appealing Asssange's bail. Assange will not be free from jail until that appeals process concludes, which may be sometime later today.

[The Guardian] British celebrities are lining up in support of Julian Assange during his London court appearance. The Guardian reports that the following celebrities have shown up to show their support:Mick Jagger's ex-wife Bianca Jagger,author and journalist Henry Porter, author and historian Tariq Ali, socialite Jemima Khan, niece of the former prime minister of Pakistan Fatima Bhutto, director Ken Loach and journalist John Pilger.

[Washington Post] A new Washington Post/ABC News poll reveals most Americans are turning against WikiLeaks. "Most of those polled - 68 percent - say the WikiLeaks' exposure of government documents about the State Department and U.S. diplomacy harms the public interest. Nearly as many - 59 percent - say the U.S. government should arrest Assange and charge him with a crime for releasing the diplomatic cables."

[CBS News] Famed activist filmmaker Michael Moore has offered $20,000 surety on Julian Assange's bond. On his website, Moore writes: "I support Julian, whom I see as a pioneer of free speech, transparent government and the digital revolution in journalism. His commitment to exposing the follies of government and business offers the greater society a chance to protect itself from these follies."

[AP] A look at the thinkers who influenced Julian Assange range from a German anarchist to American President Theodore Roosevelt, revealing a man incensed by the perceived injustices of big power and fearful of persecution.

Associated Press Writer Christopher Torchia delves into the literary and historic influences of the founder of WikiLeaks, and finds writers as diverse as George Orwell, Kurt Vonnegut and Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. Their writings on state power, personal freedom and the Soviet gulag proved to have a strong pull on the Australian of no fixed address.

[AP] WikiLeaks Founder Assange Due in U.K. Court - Julian Assange was scheduled to appear in a London court Tuesday seeking to fight his extradition to Sweden in a sex-crimes investigation and trying to secure bail after being held for a week in a British prison cell.

The 39-year-old Australian was ordered held in custody by a judge at a hearing a week ago after surrendering himself to Scotland Yard to answer a Swedish arrest warrant.

[] Jailed WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange has told his mother that the broad condemnation of his work by the U.S. government and its allies has "increased my determination" to continue publishing secret American diplomatic cables.

Christine Assange visited her son in a London prison Monday, a day before he was due to stand before a British magistrate deciding whether the Australian should be extradited to Sweden for questioning on rape and other sexual misconduct claims.

Australia's Seven Network asked Christine Assange to present her son with one question during their visit, according to the Reuters news agency; "was it worth it?"

"My convictions are unfaltering. I remain true to the ideals I have expressed. This circumstance shall not shake them," said Assange, according to his mother who supplied a written statement of her son's answer. "If anything this process has increased my determination that they are true and correct."

[AP]  Air Force blocks media sites that post WikiLeaks - The U.S. Air Force is blocking computer access to The New York Times and other media sites that published sensitive diplomatic documents released by the Internet site WikiLeaks, a spokeswoman said Tuesday.

DECEMBER 13, Day 16

[Time] Julian Assange wins Readers' Choice for TIME's Person of the Year 2010

"Readers voted a total of 1,249,425 times, and the favorite was clear. Julian Assange raked in 382,020 votes, giving him an easy first place. He was 148,383 votes over the silver medalist, Recep Tayyip Ergodan, Prime Minister of Turkey."

[CNET] WikiLeaks could be vulnerable to Espionage Act

"A CNET review of Espionage Act cases shows that judges have generally favored the government and, in a 1985 case, even allowed an extraterritorial prosecution of a non-U.S. citizen. In the 1978 case of U.S. v. Dedeyan, the Fourth Circuit upheld the Act against arguments that it was vague and overly broad. A year later, in U.S. v. Boyce, the Ninth Circuit ruled it was 'constitutionally sufficient.'"

[Guardian] WikiLeaks cables: Drive to tackle Islamists made 'little progress

"Britain made 'little progress' in reaching out to Muslim communities despite investing 'considerable time and resources' after the 7/7 London bombings in 2005, US diplomats concluded in cables passed to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks."

[Guardian] Inside 'Anonymous': tales from within the group taking aim at Amazon and Mastercard

"Though it sounds like a coordinated organisation, the reality is that it's more like a stampeding herd - and members are fearful of standing up and being counted."

[Washington Post] WikiLeaks drug corruption report hits Peru general

A document from the WikiLeaks U.S. diplomatic cable store speculated that Gen. Paul da Silva, the new head of Peru's military, was involved in drug corruption. The general denied the charges on Monday and said he is considering  legal action against the former U.S. ambassador, Michael McKinley.

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