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‘War on whistleblowers must end!’ – Assange speech at Ecuador Embassy

Julian Assange makes his first public appearance in two months, ever since he took refuge in the Ecuadorian embassy in London. The WikiLeaks founder was granted political asylum on Thursday — a decision that ignited a wave of international responses, with the UK and Sweden opposing the verdict and Latin American countries strongly supporting Ecuador’s move. MORE INFO & PHOTOS: http://on.rt.com/2gkwzk

Julian Assange tells students that the web is the greatest spying machine ever

The WikiLeaks founder says he also believes the internet is not a technology that favours freedom of speech

Assange to address Cambridge Union

Julian Assange told students at Cambridge that the internet is 'the greatest spying machine the world has ever seen'. Photograph: Lewis Whyld/PA

The internet is the “greatest spying machine the world has ever seen” and is not a technology that necessarily favours the freedom of speech, the WikiLeaks co-founder, Julian Assange, has claimed in a rare public appearance.

Assange acknowledged that the web could allow greater government transparency and better co-operation between activists, but said it gave authorities their best ever opportunity to monitor and catch dissidents.

“While the internet has in some ways an ability to let us know to an unprecedented level what government is doing, and to let us co-operate with each other to hold repressive governments and repressive corporations to account, it is also the greatest spying machine the world has ever seen,” he told students at Cambridge University. Hundreds queued for hours to attend.

He continued: “It [the web] is not a technology that favours freedom of speech. It is not a technology that favours human rights. It is not a technology that favours civil life. Rather it is a technology that can be used to set up a totalitarian spying regime, the likes of which we have never seen. Or, on the other hand, taken by us, taken by activists, and taken by all those who want a different trajectory for the technological world, it can be something we all hope for.”

Assange also suggested that Facebook and Twitter played less of a role in the unrest in the Middle East than has previously been argued by social media commentators and politicians.

He said: “Yes [Twitter and Facebook] did play a part, although not nearly as large a part as al-Jazeera. But the guide produced by Egyptian revolutionaries … says on the first page, ‘Do not use Facebook and Twitter’, and says on the last page, ‘Do not use Facebook and Twitter’.

“There is a reason for that. There was actually a Facebook revolt in Cairo three or four years ago. It was very small … after it, Facebook was used to round-up all the principal participants. They were then beaten, interrogated and incarcerated.”

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Facing Threat From WikiLeaks, Bank Plays Defense

NYTIMES
By NELSON D. SCHWARTZ
Published: January 2, 2011

By the time the conference call ended, it was nearly midnight at Bank of America’s headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., but the bank’s counterespionage work was only just beginning.

Julian Assange of Wikileaks

Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press Julian Assange has never said explicitly that the data he possesses comes from Bank of America, though he did say that the disclosure would take place sometime early this year.

A day earlier, on Nov. 29, the director of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange, said in an interview that he intended to “take down” a major American bank and reveal an “ecosystem of corruption” with a cache of data from an executive’s hard drive. With Bank of America’s share price falling on the widely held suspicion that the hard drive was theirs, the executives on the call concluded it was time to take action.

Since then, a team of 15 to 20 top Bank of America officials, led by the chief risk officer, Bruce R. Thompson, has been overseeing a broad internal investigation — scouring thousands of documents in the event that they become public, reviewing every case where a computer has gone missing and hunting for any sign that its systems might have been compromised.

In addition to the internal team drawn from departments like finance, technology, legal and communications, the bank has brought in Booz Allen Hamilton, the consulting firm, to help manage the review. It has also sought advice from several top law firms about legal problems that could arise from a disclosure, including the bank’s potential liability if private information was disclosed about clients.

The company’s chief executive, Brian T. Moynihan, receives regular updates on the team’s progress, according to one Bank of America executive familiar with the team’s work, who, like other bank officials, was granted anonymity to discuss the confidential inquiry.

Whether Mr. Assange is bluffing, or indeed has Bank of America in its sights at all, the bank’s defense strategy represents the latest twist in the controversy over WikiLeaks and Mr. Assange.

The United States government has been examining whether Mr. Assange, an Australian, could be charged criminally for the release by WikiLeaks of hundreds of thousands of classified Pentagon and State Department diplomatic cables that became the subject of articles in The New York Times and other publications last month.

The Swedish government is also seeking to question Mr. Assange about rape accusations against him. As he fights extradition from Britain in that case, he remains under house arrest in an English mansion. Mr. Assange has said the timing of the rape accusations was not coincidental, and that he was the victim of a smear campaign led by the United States government.

Despite his legal troubles, Mr. Assange’s threats have grown more credible with every release of secret documents, including those concerning the dumping of toxic waste in Africa, the treatment of prisoners held by the United States at Guantánamo Bay, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and, most recently, the trove of diplomatic cables.

That Mr. Assange might shift his attention to a private company — especially one as politically unpopular as Bank of America or any of its rivals, which have been stained by taxpayer-financed bailouts and the revelation of improper foreclosure practices — raises a new kind of corporate threat, combining elements of law, technology, public policy, politics and public relations.

“This is a significant moment, and Bank of America has to get out in front of it,” said Richard S. Levick, a veteran crisis communications expert. “Corporate America needs to look at what happens here, and how Bank of America handles it.”

Last month, the bank bought up Web addresses that could prove embarrassing to the company or its top executives in the event of a large-scale public assault, but a spokesman for the bank said the move was unrelated to any possible leak.

Then, on Dec. 18, Bank of America may have antagonized Mr. Assange further when it said it would join other companies like MasterCard and PayPal in halting the processing of payments intended for WikiLeaks, citing the possibility the organization’s activities might be illegal.

Mr. Assange has never said explicitly that the data he possesses comes from Bank of America, which is the nation’s largest bank, though he did say that the disclosure would take place sometime early this year.

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On the 25th Day of Wikileaks, My Government Gave to Me

By davidswanson - Posted on 25 December 2010

On the first day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: the military in every embassy.

On the second day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: two criminal presidents.

On the third day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: three  illegal wars.

On the fourth day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: four covered up crimes.

On the fifth day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: five plutocracies (1, 2, 3, 4, 5).

On the sixth day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: six sycophants (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6).

On the seventh day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: seven suicide attacks.

On the eighth day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: eight enemy combatants.

On the ninth day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: nine NATO divisions.

On the tenth day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: ten years of pollution.

On the eleventh day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: more profits for credit card companies.

On the twelfth day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: drug company immunity.

On the thirteenth day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: thirteen theocratic thugs.

On the fourteenth day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: yet another war.

On the fifteenth day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: fifteen happy followers.

On the sixteenth day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: sixteen sadistic sanctions.

On the seventeenth day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: seventeen infuriating peace makers.

On the eighteenth day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: eighteen months of ignorance.

On the nineteenth day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: Bollywood-Pentagon partnerships.

On the twentieth day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: corporate muscle for diplomacy.

On the twenty-first day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: black market nukes.

On the twenty-second day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: congressional prostitution.

On the twenty-third day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: twenty-three convicted kidnappers.

On the twenty-fourth day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: twenty-four million McDollars.

On the twenty-fifth day of Wikileaks, my government gave to me: killing the messenger.