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“Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” Abraham Lincoln

Posts Tagged ‘Searchlight

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 »

    The Lobbies, Rounding Up Before The Weekend.

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    I shall be away for a good few days and thought that rounding up news worthy bits and my random thoughts might be easier.

    I admit I can’t stand the NewStatesman, but if you have to read it then Kevin Maguire’s column is good and sharp on domestic British politics.

    A pessimistic Yaacov Lozowick says Peace Impossible; Progress Needed:

    “Compared to long periods of Jewish history, deligitimization is a reasonable problem to have. For that matter, deligitimization compounded with a low level of violence isn’t an existential threat, either. Yet Jews haven’t become one of history’s oldest living nations by passively suffering circumstances. They have always tried to improve their lot, often with surprising success; Zionism is merely one of the more spectacular improvements. The Zionist tradition of activism requires we confront the present threat, rather than wait. The way forward is to disable the weapons of our enemies. Since the single most potent weapon in their arsenal is our occupation of the Palestinians, we must do as much as we reasonably can to end it.

    Ending the occupation as a maneuver in an ongoing conflict is not the same as making peace. Making peace requires that all side to the conflict accept mutually agreed terms. There’s a reason this hasn’t yet happened, namely that the two sides cannot agree; even if they could, however, no Palestinian government could reconcile all Palestinians, Arabs and Muslims to Jewish sovereignty, nor convince the western supporters of ongoing violence to desist from aiding and abetting it. The aim of ending the occupation is to severely weaken the enemies of Jewish sovereignty by reducing the wind which currently blows in their sails.”

    I don’t agree with him on much but he too is worth a read.

    Meanwhile in Bahrain:

    “Bahraini opposition groups and rights organizations say hundreds of public employees were dismissed on the grounds that they took part in protests. Bahrain says it had taken steps only against those who committed crimes during the protests.”

    The yearly Orwell Prize is upon us, and bloggers haven’t been forgotten. I do find the self-promotional nature of this event somewhat disappointing, you have to submit your own work, rather than someone proposing you. It seems that the Orwell Prize has become another major happening, where the middle classes slap each other on the back and say what jolly good chaps/chappettes they are. Is this what Eric Blair really wanted? The Metropolitan elites congratulating each other? Probably not.

    Interested in the Middle East? Use Google’s Chrome and check out the BBC’s Arabic page, which Chrome will automatically translate into any appropriate language. It’s a good read and has a slightly different perspective than the English language one.

    Donald Trump and the Birther idiocy has compelled President Obama to release his birth certificate, view as a PDF. Gary Younge was good on the issue about 2 years ago, not much has changed since then. This is the White House blog on it, and I didn’t know it existed!

    Gulf leaders are worried about Egypt.

    Searchlight on the BNP’s Young, angry and on the rise.

    Howard Jacobson on Ofcom and The Promise, sharp as ever:

    “In a morally intelligent world – that’s to say one in which, for starters, Jews are not judged more harshly than their fellows for having been despatched to concentration camps – The Promise would be seen for the ludicrous piece of brainwashed prejudice it is. Ofcom’s rejection of complaints about the drama’s partiality and inaccuracy was to be expected. You can’t expect a body as intellectually unsophisticated as Ofcom to adjudicate between claims of dramatic truth and truth of any other sort. And for that reason it should never have been appealed to. That said, its finding that The Promise was “serious television drama, not presented as a historical and faithful re-creation”, is a poor shot at making sense of anything. You can’t brush aside historical re-creation in a work of historical re-creation, nor can you assert a thing is “serious television” when its seriousness is what’s in question. A work isn’t serious by virtue of its thinking it is. Wherein lies the seriousness, one is entitled to ask, when the drama creaks with the bad faith of a made-up mind.

    I’m an art man, myself. Aesthetics trump the lot. And “seriousness” is an aesthetic quality or it’s nothing. But you will usually find that bad intentions makes bad art, and bad art, while it might be solemn and self-righteous, forfeits the right to be called serious. From start to finish, The Promise was art with its trousers round its ankles. Yes, it looked expensive, took its time, was beautifully shot and well acted. But these are merely the superficies of art, and the more dangerously seductive for that. “Gosh, I never knew such and such had happened,” I heard people say after one or other simplifying episode, as though high production values guarantee veracity.”

    The Obama administration and Syria, conflicting policies?

    When people start shouting about Mosques, remember what company you’re in, BNP man arrested at mosque protest.

    In Bahrain Tweeters get a warning from the State:

    ““Think twice before posting, forwarding, or reTweeting messages. Are they mere propaganda or could they be libelous? Think Twice before posting, forwarding or reTweeting images. Are they appropriate in their content? Are they likely to cause offense? Could they cause harm?” “

    British Foreign secretaries are normally not that naive, but William Hague seems to think Bashar al-Assad is a reformer, even after 400+ Syrians were killed by the state security apparatus, police and army. Chronically stupid doesn’t even sum up Hague in this matter.

    Remember 9/11? Imagine that you were one of the first people on the scene, that you risked your life to help people. How would you be treated by Congress? Pretty damn poorly, Medialite has more:

    “Jon Stewart tonight tackled the absurdity of a provision in the recently passed 9/11 first responders bill that requires any potential beneficiaries to first have their name run through the FBI’s terrorism watch list before they could collect any money. Some commentators described it as “adding insult to injury,” but Stewart more bluntly called it Congress’ “final kick to the nuts” of the first responders.

    This issue is somewhat personal to Stewart given that many credited him with helping to get public support for the bill’s passage. Yet Stewart went to town, lampooning anyone who could possibly think a terrorist’s grand scheme after all of these years was to trick the U.S. government into handing over money to now pay for their cancer treatment.”

    HRW seems to think that Hamas will investigate itself concerning the death of Adel Razeq. Great idea, but it ain’t going to happen:

    “(Jerusalem) – Hamas authorities in Gaza should order a criminal investigation into the death of a man whose body was returned to his family five days after Hamas security officials arrested him, Human Rights Watch said today.

    Relatives of ‘Adel Razeq, a 52-year-old father of nine, told Human Rights Watch that when security officials arrested him on April 14, 2011, they did not present a warrant and took him away under false pretenses. Security officials would not tell his family where he was being held. When his brother examined the body, it was badly bruised and appeared to have broken bones, he told Human Rights Watch. That, if true, would cast doubt on a Hamas Interior Ministry statement that Razeq died of an unspecified illness. “

    Finally to a Lobby, but not one that you’d expect, the Syrian Lobby, extracted from the WSJ:

    “How does a small, energy-poor and serially misbehaving Middle Eastern regime always seem to get a Beltway pass? Conspiracy nuts and other tenured faculty would have us believe that country is Israel, though the Jewish state shares America’s enemies and our democratic values. But the question really applies to Syria, where the Assad regime is now showing its true nature.

    Washington’s Syria Lobby is a bipartisan mindset. “The road to Damascus is a road to peace,” said Nancy Pelosi on a 2007 visit to Syria as House Speaker. Former Secretary of State James Baker is a longtime advocate of engagement with the House of Assad. So is Republican Chuck Hagel, who in 2008 co-wrote an op-ed with fellow Senator John Kerry in these pages titled “It’s Time to Talk to Syria.” The Massachusetts Democrat has visited Damascus five times in the past two years alone.

    The argument made by the Syria Lobby runs briefly as follows: The Assad family is occasionally ruthless, especially when its survival is at stake, but it’s also secular and pragmatic. Though the regime is Iran’s closest ally in the Middle East, hosts terrorists in Damascus, champions Hezbollah in Lebanon and has funneled al Qaeda terrorists into Iraq, it will forgo those connections for the right price. Above all, it yearns for better treatment from Washington and the return of the Golan Heights, the strategic plateau held by Israel since 1967.

    The Syria Lobby also claims that whoever succeeds Assad would probably be worse. The country is divided by sect and ethnicity, and the fall of the House of Assad could lead to bloodletting previously seen in Lebanon or Iraq. Some members of the Lobby go so far as to say that the regime remains broadly popular. “I think that President Assad is going to count on . . . majoritarian support within the country to support him in doing what he needs to do to restore order,” Flynt Leverett of the New America Foundation said recently on PBS’s NewsHour.

    Now we are seeing what Mr. Leverett puts down merely to the business of “doing what he needs to do”: Video clips on YouTube of tanks rolling into Syrian cities and unarmed demonstrators being gunned down in the streets; reports of hundreds killed and widespread “disappearances.” Even the Obama Administration has belatedly criticized Assad, though so far President Obama has done no more than condemn his “outrageous human rights abuses.” ”

    It is something to see, how tanks, snipers and the slaughter of civilians doesn’t to rile policy makers in DC, or political activists in Britain as witnessed by the non-existence demonstrations outside the Syrian embassy by the usual suspects! And that something that has struck me over the pass few weeks coverage of events in the Middle East, how little real indignation they invoked in the West.

    The Far Right And The Lone Wolf Thesis.

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    I have masses of draft posts and forgot about this useful site, the Lone Wolf Project.

    It covers the false notion that Far Right bombers and terrorists are basically lone wolves, and should be treated as such.

    Whereas the reality is that they cooperate across the Internet and are of much greater danger than is often believed, as violence is intrinsic to the Far Right’s beliefs. Here is an extract from the report:

    “David Copeland’s two-week bombing campaign in spring 1999 brought the existence of far-right terrorism into the public eye. In fact he was not the first far-right terrorist to be convicted in Britain and many others have followed.

    Nevertheless the police, Crown Prosecution Service and courts have generally viewed far-right terrorists as isolated individuals inevitable consequence of the activities of several, often small, organisations that espouse a violent racist and fascist ideology.

    This has meant that the authorities have failed to put in place effective strategies to monitor these extreme-right groups with a view to early identification of those individuals who show signs of making the transition from racist abuse and threatening behaviour to terrorism and murder.

    This report includes case studies of nearly 40 individuals holding far-right political views who have been convicted for violence or terrorist offences.

    The details revealed in court showed that they were motivated, and obtained the knowledge and wherewithal to carry out their acts, through dangerous networks that introduced them to a perverse ideological world.

    Many of them used the internet to associate with likeminded people, exchange ideas and obtain information about how to acquire weapons or make explosives and deadly chemicals.”

    Lone wolves: myth or reality? [ a PDF download].

    Written by modernityblog

    21/04/2011 at 19:47

    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. “