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Posts Tagged ‘Russia

A Question For Julian Assange At Hay on Wye.

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Julian Assange will be appearing at the Hay on Wye festival on Saturday 4 June 2011, 2.30pm, Venue: Llwyfan Cymru – Wales Stage.

Apparently, Assange is taking questions at hay@telegraph.co.uk.

Rosie has submitted a good one, it deserves an answer. Not sure if Assange will have the guts to reply on this particular topic:

“[To Julian Assange] What is your relationship with Israel Shamir? In a statement to Private Eye Wikileaks said that Israel Shamir has never been an “agent” of Wikileaks, and generally minimises your relationship.

Could you please explain then the recent article on the Swedish anti-fascist site Expo which stated that you had been in contact with him to recommend potential associates in Sweden for analysing the Wikileaks data.

In an interview with Agora Vox you have echoed his own view of himself that he is persecuted like Salman Rushdie and according to a Panorama programme you emailed him, going along with one of his aliases “Adam” and describing his work as “strong and compassionate”.

Do you still hold that view of Shamir and his writing?

An Antisemite Helped Build WikiLeaks’ Network In Sweden.

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I covered this a few days ago, but thankfully Jonathan Leman has released a good quality English translation:

The cooperation between Julian Assange and the Swedish antisemite Israel Shamir is closer than has previously been reported. Expo revieved e-mail correspondence revealing that Shamir was actively involved in shaping Wikileaks’ Swedish network.

According to WikiLeak’s spokesperson, Kristinn Hrafnsson, the role of Israel Shamir has been that of a freelance writer working with a “a project that came and went”.

– We have not been scanning all the thousands of journalists that we have been associated with in some way, he tells Expo.

However, e-mails between Shamir and Assange that Expo have gotten hold of reveal that the two have cooperated for several years. In 2008 Shamir was asked to recommend potential associates in Sweden.

Shamir answered by recommending his son, Johannes Wahlström, without mentioning anything about their kinship:

”He is Swedish citizen, and lives in Sweden. Probably he’ll be able to give advice about press freedom”

In an e-mail dated June 2010 shows that Shamir at that point still played a part in the Swedish WikiLeaks-network. Shamir wrote:

”I have a lot of good guys who can help to analyse the treasure, and it would be good to start spreading the news. I am now in Paris, and people want to know more! Tuesday I go to Sweden, and there is a whole operation for your benefit!”

Assange replied:
”There certainly is! Tell the team to get ready; Give them my best; We have a lot of work to do.”

Israel Shamir and his son Johannes Wahlström have both been criticized for antisemitic writings. Shamir has said that ”every person who adheres to God should deny the Holocaust”. Wahlström wrote an article in 2005 with claims that ”Israel’s regime controls Swedish media”. Wahlström has repeatedly defended his father and he is presented on Shamir’s website as a ”distinguished contributor”. “

JONATHAN LEMAN

Closer Links: Julian Assange And The Far Rightist, Israel Shamir.

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Rosie has provided an invaluable link to the Swedish ant-fascist site, Expose.se.

They have information showing that Julian Assange’s links to the Far Rightist, Israel Shamir, are much closer and more extensive than had been first thought.

Readers will remember how the BBC had a confidential email exchange between the two, which indicated a friendly relationship, with Assange suggesting Shamir might use an alias to hide his connection to Wikileaks.

Wikileaks’ subsequent statement on Israel Shamir was decidedly unsatisfactory. Basically, they said he was just another journalist and they treated him as such.

However, it is clear from the Expose.se article that Wikileaks’ response was very far from the truth.

Below is an extract taken from the Expo magazine and a Google translation from the original Swedish, which is not perfect but sufficient to explain the issues:

“Cooperation between Julian Assange and the Swedish anti-Semite Israel Shamir is denser than previously stated. Expo has taken note of several emails that show that Assange Shamir asked for help to build Wikileaks Swedish network.

According to Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson traded contacts between Julian Assange and Israel Shamir on a project.

– We have not checked the political and personal views of the thousands of journalists we worked with, “he told the Expo.

But e-mails as part of the Expo has shown that cooperation lasted for years. Back in 2008, Shamir was asked to provide proposals to potential partners in Sweden.

Shamir responds by proposing his son, John Wahl, without mentioning anything about their relationship:

“He is a Swedish citizen, living in Sweden. Probably he will be able to advise you on press freedom – in the journal [tornado / red.anm.] Is startling revelations about the media assaults.”

In an email dated June 2010 shows that Shamir and Assange still had a role in Wikileaks Swedish network .. “Tell the team to be prepared; Health them from me: We have much work to do,” writes Assange in response to Shamir. “

Again, the points are:

  • There was an email exchange between Israel Shamir and Wikileaks.
  • That exchange dates back three years, to 2008.
  • Shamir was asked by Wikileaks to suggest potential partners in Sweden.
  • Assange was communicating with Shamir as late as June 2010 concerning Wikileaks in Sweden.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

    Wikileaks Publishing Around The World.

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    Wikileaks has released a list of media outlets around the world publishing their material.

    I was interested to see if any publications in Belarus were covered, and not unsurprisingly they are missing.

    However, they still have:

    Russian Reporter, Russia
    Sov.Sekretno, Russia
    Koms Pravda, Russia

    I wonder if Israel Shamir is still filtering the Wikileaks material before providing it to news outlets in Russia and Belarus.

    Will Wikileaks ever let us know? I doubt it, after all the relationship between Assange and Shamir is a nasty secret 🙂

    Interfax’s piece on Shamir (Google translation):

    “MINSK. December 19. INTERFAX.RU – Head of Administration of the incumbent president of Belarus Vladimir MacKay met with the trustee creator of the site Wikileaks Israel Shamir.

    Photojournalist portal http://www.interfax.by managed to photograph on the steps of the presidential administration, the only accredited journalist at the Russian-language website Wikileaks Israel Shamir, who arrived in Belarus to observe the presidential elections in the country on December
    19.

    In the presidential administration refrained from comments on a matter of fact conversation Makey and attorney Assange. However, given that the Russian media have already begun to distribute information about posting on the site Wikileaks data secret correspondence, the U.S. State Department concerning the position of Alexander Lukashenko on the war in Georgia and the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline, we can assume that the conversation was about the Belarusian dossier Wikileaks.
    In an interview with Interfax-West “I. Shamir confirmed the existence of the Belarusian dossier. According to him, the website Wikileaks has several thousands of secret documents, which are more or less related to Belarus. He clarified that “the Belarusian dossier – that Americans write from Belarus, the Belarus. There may also be interesting stuff.” “

    Rather worrying.

    BBC’s Panorama, Julian Assange And Israel Shamir.

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    There was a recent Panorama programme on BBC 1, WikiLeaks: The Secret Story and towards the end of it is an interesting bit about Julian Assange and his association with Israel Shamir.

    This shorten clip on Youtube is the last 6:40 minutes of the programme, and from 01:40 you will hear about specific deals which Julian Assange was making on his own, without telling others at Wikileaks.

    One such deal was with Israel Shamir, well-known Far Rightist and active antisemite, 02:10 into the clip.

    Assange had been warned about Shamir, but didn’t seem too troubled when dealing with this renowned Holocaust denier.

    Later on in the clip you will hear the contents of an email between Assange and Shamir, where he says:

    “Dear Israel/Adam,

    Someone wrote saying they refuse to associate with an organisation that would work with an antisemite like Israel Shamir.

    From a brief sampling of your writing I did not find the allegation born out. ”

    [Assange then makes the suggestion that Shamir write under an alias.]

    Watch it, listen to Shamir’s weird and racist views and then wonder why Julian Assange couldn’t find much wrong with him.

    Read Seachlight’s article from 2004 on Shamir.

    (H/T: Rosie)

    Update 1: Some previous posts on Shamir, etc:

    Conspiracies, The CIA And The Racist, Israel Shamir.

    Shamir, Stupidity And Julian Assange.

    Assange And Tales of Jewish Conspiracies?

    The Antisemite Israel Shamir and Wikileaks, Telling Lies.

    Update 2: Martin Bright asks some good questions:

    “Ian Hislop did not have to write an editorial in Private Eye. He clearly felt that he needed to place his conversation in the public domain.

    He was right to do so for one reason in particular. Julian Assange has yet to explain his relationship with the Holocaust denier and antisemite Israel Shamir. The statement issued by WikiLeaks that said it dealt with Mr Shamir as it would have done with any other journalist does not wash. WikiLeaks should not have dealt with him at all. Mr Shamir is not like any other journalist. Index on Censorship, which has been a consistent supporter of WikiLeaks on freedom of speech principles, has failed to secure the reassurances it has asked for on the Israel Shamir issue. This is especially worrying for dissidents in Belarus, where Mr Shamir is alleged to have passed cables to the authoritarian president Alexander Lukashenko.

    The Shamir issue is becoming increasingly difficult to explain away. Until he does, Julian Assange cannot ask to be taken seriously as a campaigner for freedom. If you choose to tolerate or defend a nasty antisemite, it is only a matter of time before people begin to wonder whether you are a nasty antisemite yourself. “

    Update 3:John Kampfner add his voice to things:

    “Index’s association with Assange goes back some time. In 2008 WikiLeaks won the new media prize at our annual awards. We were pleased to host him in a debate in London last September, but his combative demeanour that evening was a surprise. Throughout the past few months we have been at the heart of the tussle. Two of Index’s trustees are Assange’s lawyer, Mark Stephens and his agent, Caroline Michel. Whenever asked, particularly in the US, about reconciling Stephens’s two roles, I have pointed out that Index is a broad church, and that Stephens has been a longstanding battler for free speech.

    It has often felt like treading on egg shells. We were asked in December to channel Assange’s defence fund through our bank account. Our chairman, the broadcaster Jonathan Dimbleby, and I thought it inappropriate for a charity to become involved in the personal allegations against Assange. So we declined.

    When urged at the start of January by Assange’s publisher to help him write his memoirs I said I was ready to assist, but only if I had strong editorial input and that no subject was off-limits. This, I was told, was not acceptable. Roughly at the same time our organisation started asking questions about Israel Shamir, a man accused of Holocaust denial and of being a close associate of Belarus’s autocratic leader Alexander Lukashenko. Index is one of the founders of the Belarus Committee. Despite repeated but polite requests to WikiLeaks, our team was stonewalled, so we went public with our concerns. “

    Update 4: Index on Censorship asks questions about Wikileaks, Belarus And Israel Shamir:

    “It has been reported that an “accredited” journalist for Wikileaks, Israel Shamir, met with Uladzimri Makei, the Head of the Presidential administration in Belarus. Subsequently, it was reported in the Belarus Telegraf that a state newspaper would be publishing documents about the Belarusian opposition.

    Wikileaks has always maintained it takes care to ensure that names of political activists are redacted from cables before publication on its website. Index on Censorship is concerned that some of the Wikileaks cables relating to Belarus that have not appeared on the main Wikileaks website are now in the public domain.

    There are various “commercial crimes” in Belarus that make it a criminal offence to run an unregistered organisation. In turn, many NGOs are prohibited from registering their organisations. This places a lot of civil society in Belarus in a legal grey area which can mean political activists, who cannot register, are placed in breach of the law for accepting foreign funding. It is rumoured in Belarus that many of the Wikileaks cables outline foreign support for opposition groups. Our worry is that this information could be used to prosecute some of the political prisoners currently held by the KGB.

    In the immediate aftermath of the discredited Belarusian elections, Index on Censorship made repeated attempts to contact Wikileaks in order for them to clarify its relationship with Shamir. “

    The Antisemite Israel Shamir and Wikileaks, Telling Lies.

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    For some inexplicable reason Wikileaks has decided to release a statement on Israel Shamir:

    “On Tuesday 1st March 2011, @wikileaks said:

    WikiLeaks statement that was given to, but not used by, the UK satirical current-affairs magazine, Private Eye:

    Israel Shamir has never worked or volunteered for WikiLeaks, in any manner, whatsoever. He has never written for WikiLeaks or any associated organization, under any name and we have no plan that he do so. He is not an ‘agent’ of WikiLeaks. He has never been an employee of WikiLeaks and has never received monies from WikiLeaks or given monies to WikiLeaks or any related organization or individual. However, he has worked for the BBC, Haaretz, and many other reputable organizations.

    It is false that Shamir is ‘an Assange intimate’. He interviewed Assange (on behalf of Russian media), as have many journalists. He took a photo at that time and has only met with WikiLeaks staff (including Asssange) twice. It is false that ‘he was trusted with selecting the 250,000 US State Department cables for the Russian media’ or that he has had access to such at any time.

    Shamir was able to search through a limited portion of the cables with a view to writing articles for a range of Russian media. The media that subsequently employed him did so of their own accord and with no intervention or instruction by WikiLeaks.

    We do not have editorial control over the of hundreds of journalists and publications based on our materials and it would be wrong for us to seek to do so. We do not approve or endorse the the writings of the world’s media. We disagree with many of the approaches taken in analyzing our material.

    Index did contact WikiLeaks as have many people and organisations do for a variety of reasons. The quote used here is not complete. WikiLeaks also asked Index for further information on this subject. Most of these rumors had not, and have not, been properly corroborated. WikiLeaks therefore asked Index to let us know if they had received any further information on the subject. This would have helped WikiLeaks conduct further inquiries. We did not at the time, and never have, received any response.

    END”

    There’s a large piece on WLCentral, Who is Israel Shamir?

    Probably written by him or one of his supporters. I quickly skimmed it, not too clear, seemed written in some postmodernist speak, this is the concluding paragraph:

    His material, at any rate, does not evince a hatred of people to whom the cultural label “Jews” attaches in normal parlance, but appears to demonstrate an aversion to a specific religious cultural programme. It is certainly, to my mind, a problematic body of work. While there is quite a lot of historical precedent for writers performing collective psychoanalysis of this sort, it isn’t an enterprise that can be afforded much scientific respect. Attempts to impute collective ideological traits to vast groups of people, as a method of explanatory history, has been employed with various levels of fruitfulness, by thinkers like Hegel and Marx, Schopenhauer and Nietzsche, Voegelin, Arendt and Strauss, Husserl, Heidegger, Gadamer and Ricouer.

    It is possible that Shamir’s example appears particularly objectionable because it purports to study a “Jewish Weltanschauung.” But as a parting comment on this, without wishing to diminish the sense in which this way of thinking is flawed and undesirable, it would be fortunate if we could take this opportunity to consider how tacitly acceptable this manner of thinking is when applied on cable news networks, for instance, to “Arabs,” or “Muslims.” Where Shamir’s material is rightly, and uncontroversially, considered problematic, a close relative of it enjoys endorsement in mainstream media such as FOX news, but is no less tacitly racist. It embarks on the same enterprise of cultural generalization, attributing to “Arabs” or “Muslims” (considered interchangeable) a hatred of the West, its freedoms and peoples, religious conquest of the West for Islam, and all of the flawed and hateful discourse that flows from that. It is not limited to commercially viable circus-acts like Ann Coulter, but is instead pervasive and widely accepted.

    In whatever form we find it when it it rears its head, whether in the writings of fringe anti-semites, or the observations of news anchors, this sort of thinking should be repudiated in detail, and everyone should be given the appropriate intellectual resources to see its flaws for themselves.”

    WikiLeaks Central has various links to Shamir’s articles.

    This is an extract from Andrew Brown’s piece from December 2010:

    “He also denied that he had any special connection with WikiLeaks, though the group’s spokesman, Kristinn Hrafnsson, confirmed that he was their representative in Russia, just as his son is in Scandinavia. Expressen also published a photograph of him standing behind Julian Assange at a computer, published in the Russian paper, which has been reprinting the WikiLeaks cables he passed to them.”

    Another key bit:

    “Shamir claims to be a renegade Russian Jew, born in Novosibirsk, but currently adhering to the Greek Orthodox church. He is notorious for Holocaust denial and publishing a string of antisemitic articles. He caused controversy in the UK in 2005, at a parliamentary book launch hosted by Lord Ahmed, by claiming: “Jews … own, control and edit a big share of mass media.” Internal WikiLeaks documents, seen by the Guardian, show Shamir was not only given cables, but he also invoiced WikiLeaks for €2,000 (£1,700), to be deposited in a Tallinn bank account, in thanks for “services rendered – journalism”. What services? He says: “What I did for WikiLeaks was to read and analyse the cables from Moscow.”

    I feel we should be told what’s what, Wikileaks should open their books for external scrutiny!

    Michael C. Moynihan summarises Shamir’s views:

    “So let us quickly recap the foulness of Shamir’s political views.

    As I noted last week, he has called the Auschwitz concentration camp “an internment facility, attended by the Red Cross (as opposed to the US internment centre in Guantanamo),” not a place of extermination.

    He told a Swedish journalist (and fellow Holocaust denier) that “it’s every Muslim and Christian’s duty to deny the Holocaust.”

    The Jews, he says, are a “virus in human form” and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion is real. “

    [My emphasis.]

    And this was the foul racist, Israel Shamir, that Wikileaks chose to associate with.

    Update 1: Please can I remind any posters who wish to take up Israel Shamir’s cause and are now stuck in my moderation queue that:

    1) No one is restricting his freedom of speech, quite the opposite he has access to numerous web sites and the journal Counterpunch for his views.

    2) That Shamir is a Far Rightist and pusher of Holocaust denial and he needs no encouragement particularly from any posters. Also they should see my comments policy.

    Assange And Tales of Jewish Conspiracies?

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    First, on twitter there was a suggestion that Assange had told Private Eye that his woes were caused by a Jewish conspiracy.

    Soon after Liberal Conspiracy posted a scan of the article, confirming it.

    I can’t say I’m surprised. That was his trajectory.

    Once Assange was found in the company of Israel Shamir, a Far Rightist and active anti-Semite, you had to wonder.

    Conspiracy theories and racist lies about Jews go hand-in-hand, so where you find one the other is often found.

    That’s not to say that all conspiracy theorists are anti-Jewish racists, but most anti-Jewish racists tend to believe in conspiracy theories, even if they don’t realise it.

    I am sure this is probably just the start of Assange’s racist outbursts.

    Written by modernityblog

    01/03/2011 at 19:50