WikiLeaks Cablegate 3rd Anniversary – Solidarity Vigil outside the Ecuadorian Embassy
The Time: Thursday 28th November, 2013, 5:30 pm to 7:30 pm
The Place: Outside the Ecuadorian Embassy, 3 Hans Crescent, Knightsbridge, London
Join us in commemorating the 3rd Anniversary of Cablegate in an extended vigil outside the Ecuadorian Embassy, where Julian Assange, Editor of WikiLeaks, has found protective refuge.
As WikiLeaks continues to shine light into the darkest corners of our society and reveal what governments and corporations are up to behind closed doors, so will we light up the night as we commemorate Cablegate with 251 candles – one candle per 1000 cables!
We will be thanking Chelsea Manning for giving us the precious gift of truth, and renewing our determination to continue the fight for her release from an unjust incarceration. (More on action you can take to support her right now here.)
We will be standing in solidarity with Julian Assange; unable to set foot outdoors for nearly a year and a half, and thanking him and all who have been a part of the WikiLeaks vision-for-justice for their courage and faithfulness to that vision.
And we’ll be remembering that the existence of WikiLeaks made it possible for Chelsea Manning (who had no success when trying to interest the larger media organisations) to get the truth out to us. We will again celebrate the amazing effectiveness of such a tiny, practically fugitive, organisation in impacting our whole world for good and being such a cohesive inspiration – a steadfast hub for this revolution.
We’ll salute WikiLeaks and Julian himself for having the courage to publish Cablegate when it meant becoming the sworn enemy of the world’s most powerful government, being pursued by ours (and others), and being abandoned by his own.
And we’ll be applauding the ongoing success of the WikiLeaks mission, exemplified again by the latest scoop – the publication on 13th November of the leaked 95 page Intellectual Property section of the closely guarded secret Trans Pacific Partnership draft treaty (more here with map showing relative positions of countries on issues), reaction to which (see here, here, here and here for links helpfully provided by This Day in WikiLeaks; note this WaPo article ‘5 Key Q&A on leaked TPP‘; this on Alternet…) is still coming thick and fast!
As Scott Shane acknowledged in the New York Times when WikiLeaks proved to be instrumental in securing safety for Edward Snowden earlier this year – despite many adverse circumstances, WikiLeaks
remains a force to be reckoned with on the global stage.
And so say all of us!
Join us there!
More at Event Facebook Page.
How it all came about – the background to Cablegate
SUNDAY 28TH NOVEMBER: CABLEGATE PUBLISHED BY WIKILEAKS
This month, on Thursday 28th, we’ll be marking the third anniversary of the beginning of that epic document liberation which revealed so much about the political corruption of our world – the publication of 251,287 US State Dept Cables. On Sunday November 28th 2010 WikiLeaks began publishing the largest set of confidential documents ever to be released into the public domain – Cablegate.
WHAT WE FOUND OUT
Some of the revelations from the cables are listed in these early reports (here and here) from the Pvt. Manning Support Network, and there are a few more here compiled by Juan Cole in August this year and see also this list from Greg Mitchell; these all give some insight into why people consider the documents so important, and why the cables continue to be used by as journalistic source material all over the world.
We remember, of course, that the cables informed the Tunisian activists and assisted the sparking off of the Arab Spring of 2011, the second anniversary of which is soon, remarkably (synchronisitywise) falling on Chelesea’s birthday – 17th December – when she will be 26 and spending her fourth year in prison.
And it is also owing to one of the cables relating to an atrocity perpetrated by US soldiers that Obama had to pull US troops out of Iraq at the end of 2011. Because this cable was publicly accessible the Iraqi President had to refuse the usual immunity from prosecution for US troops, and they were accordingly withdrawn. (cf the current Afghan/US negotiations which don’t seem to be going the same way but are hanging on the same issue of immunity for US troops).
THE SOURCE, CHELSEA MANNING
Chelsea Manning (then known as Bradley) first became aware of these documents in mid 2008, when undergoing AIT (Advanced Individual Training) to become an Intelligence Analyst in the US Military during the Iraq War. Then, after arriving in Iraq in late 2009, the newly qualified analyst was directed (along with others) to study the cables as part of this role.
Captain Lim sent a section wide email to the other analysts and officer in late December 2009 containing the SIPRnet link to the portal along with the instructions to look at the cables contained within them and to incorporate them into our work product.
Based on this instruction the then Pfc Manning read ‘virtually every published cable concerning Iraq’, and ‘also began scanning the database and reading other random cables that piqued my curiosity’.
ICESAVE AND THE FIRST OF PFC MANNING’S LEAKS PUBLISHED
Having become interested in finding out about the Icesave issue through the WikiLeaks IRC conversations she had observed, Pfc Manning then (early to mid January 2010) searched the database for information on Iceland. She tells us that initially she didn’t find anything in the cables and researched the issue online to learn more, discovering
that Iceland was involved in a dispute with the United Kingdom and the Netherlands concerning the financial collapse of one or more of Iceland’s banks.
According to open source reporting much of the public controversy involved the United Kingdom’s use of anti-terrorism legislation against Iceland in order to freeze Icelandic access for payment of the guarantees for UK depositors that lost money.
Later, however, after returning from the leave during which she had decided to leak the Afghan War Diary and the Iraq War Logs to WikiLeaks (having failed to interest the Washington Post and new York Times in them), she found (on 14th February 2010) a pertinent cable dated Jan 2010 which indicated to her that in the face of Iceland ‘essentially being bullied diplomatically by two larger European powers’ the US were not inclined to respond to Iceland’s request for assistance because of the ‘the lack of long term geopolitical benefit to do so’.
Chelsea says she decided to leak the cable to WikiLeaks on 15th Feb 2010, because
I felt that I would be able to right a wrong by having them publish this document.
WikiLeaks duly published 10 Reykjavik 13 on 18th Feb 2010, and this was the first of Chelsea Manning’s historic leaks to be released into the public domain.
LEAKING THE CABLES
The soldier reports that through March of 2010
I read more of the diplomatic cables published on the Department of State Net Centric Diplomacy. With my insatiable curiosity and interest in geopolitics I became fascinated with them. I read not only the cables on Iraq, but also about countries and events that I found interesting.
The more I read, the more I was fascinated with the way that we [USA] dealt with other nations and organizations.
I also began to think the documented backdoor deals and seemingly criminal activity didn’t seem characteristic of the de facto leader of the free world.
Wondering about leaking some of the cables, Chelsea (contrary to what we have had rammed down our throats about her lack of discrimination in leaking this material) studied the classification system and how the cables were marked to indicate the level of classification.
Firstly it’s interesting to note that
the vast majority of the Net Centric Diplomacy Cables were not classified.
And then to note this
The SIPDIS or SIPRnet distribution caption was applied only to recording of other information messages that were deemed appropriate for a release for a wide number of individuals.
I was aware that thousands of military personel, DoD, Department of State, and other civilian agencies had easy access to these cables.
On 10th April 2010, Pfc Manning uploaded the cables to WikiLeaks ‘dropbox’. She explains:
The more I read the cables, the more I came to the conclusion that this was the type of information that should become public.
I once read and used a quote on open diplomacy written after the First World War about how the world would be a better place if states would avoid making secret pacts and deals with and against each other.
I thought these cables were a prime example of a need for a more open diplomacy, given all of the Department of State cables that I read, the fact that most of the cables were unclassified, and that all the cables have a SIPDIS caption.
[note: all the above quotes are taken from Pvt Manning’s statement to the court of 28th Feb 2013 and can be found here.]
MORE ON MOTIVATION FROM THE CHAT LOGS
Later, between 24th and 26th May, Pfc Manning confided in Adrian Lamo who specifically offered a confidential, in fact ‘confessional’ chat. Instead, however, on 26th May 2010, he reported the soldier, leading to Manning’s immediate arrest.
The young whistleblower (22 at the time), who was told nothing about what was happening to her and where she was headed, was caged in Kuwait till July 2010 (where she had a breakdown); then kept in severe, abusive and restrictive conditions in Quantico, Virginia till April 2011; and only moved into a more acceptable regime at Fort Leavenworth because of the extent of the worldwide public protest.
These are some of Manning’s words from that conversation in May 2010 which preceded the arrest.
Hypothetical question: if you had free reign over classified networks for long periods of time…say 8-9 months…and you saw incredible things, awful things….things that belonged in the public domain and not on some server stored in a dark room in Washington DC…
what would you do?
say, 260,000 state department cables from embassies and consulates all over the world, explaining how the first world exploits the third, in detail, from an internal perspective?
Hilary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and finds an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format to the public…
uhm… crazy, almost criminal political backdealings… the non-PR-versions of world events and crises… uhm… all kinds of stuff like everything from the buildup to the Iraq War during Powell, to what the actual content of “aid packages” is:
for instance, PR that the US is sending aid to Pakistan includes funding for water/food/clothing… that much is true, it includes that, but the other 85% of it is for F-16 fighters and munitions to aid in the Afghanistan effort, so the US can call in Pakistanis to do aerial bombing instead of Americans potentially killing civilians and creating a PR crisis
theres so much… it affects everybody on earth… everywhere there’s a US post… there’s a diplomatic scandal that will be revealed…
Iceland, the Vatican, Spain, Brazil, Madagascar, if its a country, and its recognized by the US as a country, its got dirt on it
it’s open diplomacy… world-wide anarchy in CSV format… its Climategate with a global scope, and breathtaking depth… its beautiful, and horrifying… and…
its important that it gets out…
i feel, for some bizarre reason
it might actually change something….
[note: all these above quotes are taken from the chat logs and can be found here]
Yes. Indeed. It would. It did. Much.
‘SHE BECAME A WORLD CHANGER': JEREMY HAMMOND
Later, Jeremy Hammond, another transparency advocate (as Chelsea has described herself) motivated by the desire for justice, who was also betrayed by someone posing as an ally but actually working for the authorities, would say
I saw what Chelsea Manning did. Through her hacking she became a contender, a world changer.
She took tremendous risks to show the ugly truth about war. I asked myself, if she could make that risk shouldn’t I make that risk?
Wasn’t it wrong to sit comfortably by, working on the websites of Food Not Bombs, while I had the skills to do something similar? I too could make a difference.
It was her courage that prompted me to act.
At the time of writing grief is, for this moment, the closest companion of many of us because Jeremy has just been given an exceedingly harsh sentence for his part in the Stratfor hack, published progressively from 27th Feb 2012 by WikiLeaks as the G.I. (or Global Intelligence) Files; information of great public interest, as WikiLeaks and other media around the world pointed out in a letter to the Judge.
WikiLeaks has just announced that, following Jeremy’s sentence on 15th Nov 2013, the remaining emails will shortly be released. [These are now on site at http://wikileaks.org/]
Stratfor is short for Strategic Forecasting Inc – a private intelligence company. WikiLeaks’ Feb 27th 2012 intro to the documents says:
The material shows how a private intelligence agency works, and how they target individuals for their corporate and government clients.
The Stratfor emails reveal a company that cultivates close ties with US government agencies and employs former US government staff.
It is preparing the 3-year Forecast for the Commandant of the US Marine Corps, and it trains US marines and “other government intelligence agencies” in “becoming government Stratfors”. Stratfor’s Vice-President for Intelligence, Fred Burton, was formerly a special agent with the US State Department’s Diplomatic Security Service and was their Deputy Chief of the counterterrorism division.
Despite the governmental ties, Stratfor and similar companies operate in complete secrecy with no political oversight or accountability.
Chris Hedges in an article headed ‘The Revolutionaries in our Midst’ (Truthdig) mainly about Jeremy Hammond, says that the hacked Stratfor emails
exposed the private security firm’s infiltration, monitoring and surveillance of protesters and dissidents, especially in the Occupy movement, on behalf of corporations and the national security state.
And, perhaps most important, the information provided chilling evidence that anti-terrorism laws are being routinely used by the federal government to criminalize nonviolent, democratic dissent and falsely link dissidents to international terrorist organizations.
References to Julian Assange and/or WikiLeaks alone number more than 4000, and one of the emails talks of a ‘sealed indictment’ relating to Assange, while, disgustingly, the emails also reveal that the Bhopal Medical Appeal, a very small charity formed to help victims of the horrendous Bhopal Chemical Disaster, was spied on at the behest of Dow Chemical Co, the company who now own Union Carbide (owners of the infamous chemical plant at the time of the disaster).
This picture speaks for itself about Dow’s legacy in Bhopal -
But back to Jeremy Hammond, himself.
In common with far too many people caught up in US ‘justice’, Jeremy felt he had no choice but to accept a plea deal of a maximum sentence of 10 years in order to avoid the serious risk of a far longer sentence.
Appallingly, the Judge – Loretta Preska, may-her-name-forever-be-synonymous-with-egregious-injustice (whose impartiality is also extremely dubious owing to her actually being married to one of the aggrieved ‘victims’ of the ‘crime’ ??!) has just sentenced Jeremy (whose life history to date positively teems with moral purpose) to the full bitter 10 years, plus a further 3 years supervised under such anachronistic restrictions as being forbidden the use of any anonymising tools such as Tor, and from associating with any ‘civil disobedience organisations’.
One thing is sure; he does not deserve this vindictive, vicious sentence, that, like Chelsea’s sentence of 35 years, is designed as both a warning to other beautiful people and a vindication of the ugly ways of the ugly minded. Thus do the bankrupt powers that strut their stuff over us always respond to moral and political action.
And, as Julian Assange said in the speech he prepared for 22nd July this year, which was the first anniversary of his having taken refuge in the Ecuadorian Embassy -
This isn’t how to fix things!
The Jeremy Hammonds of our world are
young, technically minded people from the generation that Barack Obama betrayed.
They are the generation that grew up on the internet, and were shaped by it.
And by trying to crush these young whistleblowers with espionage charges [note: or the arbitrarily applied Computer Fraud and Abuse Act – CFAA], the US government is taking on a generation, and that is a battle it is going to lose.
This isn’t how to fix things.
The US government is always going to need intelligence analysts and systems administrators, and they are going to have to hire them from this generation and the ones that follow it.
Stop eating the young:
Edward Snowden [exile], Barrett Brown [prison awaiting trial], Jeremy Hammond [prison – sentenced to 10 years], Aaron Swartz [driven to suicide], Gottfrid Svartholm [prison and being extradited to Denmark from his native Sweden to face further allegations], Jacob Appelbaum [exile], and Bradley (now Chelsea) Manning [prison – sentenced to 35 years].
All the above are young men who stand out as those who live/d by their principles. And obviously that says a helluva lot about the current order of things.
You should read Jeremy Hammond’s 15th Nov 2013 statement published by Sparrow Media after the sentence here.
November is a particularly dark month, and Jeremy’s persecution is a dark result that lowers our spirits, but we already know we are up against the darkness of cynical control structures – it’s not a surprise – and we do well to come together in solidarity because together we can support and encourage one another.
And you know what they say about the respective usefulness of cursing the dark and lighting one candle…
Yes. So, symbolically, on Thurs 28th Nov, let’s light 251 candles, and support one another.
Come and join us at the Ecuadorian Embassy to light up the night!