David Cameron, WikiLeaks, history insurance & DA notices
November 28, 2010 By Tim Glanfield
A special relationship?
It looks likes there could be only hours to go until the WikiLeaks rumours start to become a reality … and it appears the Prime Minister David Cameron could be in for some awkward times when the revelations ‘go live’ around the world.
Speaking to BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show this morning, Simon Hoggart, a journalist for the Guardian – one of the newspapers around the world that has been working on the release of the information with WikiLeaks - said that some of the information will be an ‘embarrasement’ to the Prime Minister and his predecessor in Number 10.
Hoggart confirmed that the Guardian would be releasing extensive details of the leaked files on Monday … presumably along with other publications across the globe.
He explained: ‘It is going to give the candid American views of world leaders and indeed the reverse too,’
‘There is going to be some embarrassment certainly for Gordon Brown but even more so for David Cameron who was not very highly regarded by the Obama administration or by the US ambassador here.’
Whistleblower website WikiLeaks has been teeing the world up (via Twitter) throughout the week for the release of a huge raft of sensitive US State Department cables that are thought to contain full and frank assessments of foreign governments as well as information on security practices and arrangements with other nations.
The site has also tweeted out a link to what it calls ‘history insurance’, a 1.4GB encrypted torrent file via the file sharing portal The Pirate Bay. Although the contents of the file is unknown at this stage, it is understood that the encrypted password will be released to users around the world at some point (probably via Twitter), allowing downloaders to view the contents of what one assumes are more (or the same) leaked sensitive documents unedited should WikiLeaks website encounter legal or technical problems in the future.
The US State Department lawyer Harold Koh has reportedly contacted the WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange warning that the leaked documents could do tremendous harm to the United States by exposing secret military information.
Head of the US military, Admiral Mike Mullen, has also called on WikiLeaks to not publish the documents, telling CNN that Assange and his supporters should ’think about the responsibility that they have for lives that they’re exposing and the potential that’s there, and stop leaking this information.’
US officials have spent the last few days briefing foreign governments on what they might expect to hear when the leaked documents hit the public domain.
In the UK, a DA-Notice (Defence Advisory) has been issued to many newspaper editors (published in full by Guido Fawkes on order-order.com - see below) asking them to brief the Defence Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee on stories that could be deemed to relate to ‘DA Notice 1 (UK Military Operations, Plans and Capabilities)’ and ‘DA Notice 5 (UK Intelligence Services and Special Forces).’
A DA Notice is an advisory document and cannot (technically) be enforced by legal proceedings against a publication. It is designed as a reminder to journalists of their responsibility to not endanger national security by putting sensitive ‘information into obvious public prominence through its general publication or broadcast.’
The choice of Andrew Vallance, Secretary, Defence Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee to only serve this notice to national newspapers and a few major broadcasters has brought into question the use of such an order in the 21st Century.
Many critics argue that even if the ‘establishment press’ were to adhere to such a notice (which they almost certainly won’t), the wealth of online journals and influential blogs across the world which so many people look to for news and opinion will publish regardless … and if necessary, be damned.
In addition, WikiLeaks, a high profile and easily accessible website are promising to put all of these documents online in a searchable form (much like the Iraq and Afghanistan files), so it’s hardly as if the cat won’t be out of the bag for those who want to stroke it.
It is also unclear whether the majority of the content that is about to be released would in reality fall under the remit of DA Notice 1 (Plans and capabilities of the UK military) or DA Notice 5 (UK Intelligence Services and Special Forces). It is hard to see how documents that merely embarrass certain political figures or regimes would fall into either category … and that at present is what the Hoggart seems to be teeing up.
Alan Rusbridger, editor of the Guardian said on Friday, ‘I appreciate why the DA notice might make people anxious. But, from my reading of the WikiLeaks material, only a tiny part of it is covered or relevant.’
As we approach crunch time for the WikiLeaks, many newspapers are beginning to elude to documents that they have seen or ’sources’ have told them about, so the rumour mill (which is often wrong) has begun spinning at an alarming rate.
The Mail on Sunday are today claiming that the US criticised Nelson Mandela. The Telegraph say that Gordon Brown’s weak premiership will be highlighted. The Independent on Sunday says that Obama called David Cameron a ‘lightweight’ in a cable message.
Many critics argue that surely it would be better for the majority of this information (much of which appears to in no way to endanger life or liberty, just political pride) to be out in the open …
Although most fully support the idea that truly sensitive military data that could have widespread repercussions for individuals, groups or national security should be approached with care by journalists (and should be appropriately redacted by WikiLeaks), it is hard to see how mud slinging between US Ambassadors and British politicians is best kept a secret.
The mood online today seems to be that the sooner the information is in the public domain, the sooner the public will be able to decide what’s relevant, what’s important and what’s true … rather than relying on a few political hacks from the establishment press telling us all what to think.
This is the 21st Century, if it is openness that WikiLeaks stands for … maybe they should open the doors, and let the rest of us in.
That DA Notice as published on Order-order.com
From: Andrew Vallance
Sent: Fri 26/11/2010 12:42
To: Sunday Telegraph; Ian Martin; Sunday Telegraph; Channel Five; Caroline Wyatt; C4 News Desk; Sun; Kevin Brown; Sunday Mail; Mail on Sunday; Five TV; Associated Press TV; William Lewis; Tim Marshall; Press Gazette; Allister Heath; Jonathan Collett; Daily Telegraph; Daily Record; Evening Standard; Daily Star; Independent on Sunday; Observer; Foresight News; Daily Express; Sunday Times; Financial Times; Associated Press; Times; Spark FM; chris wissun; Sunday Mirror; Sunday Herald; News of the World; Tom Newton-Dunn; Stephen Abell; Scotsman; Press Association; BFBS Will Inglis; Will Gore; Mark Birdsall; Guardian; Daily Mail; Daily Mirror; People; Foresight News; Telegraph Legal; Glenmore Trenear-Harvey; Sunday Post; Reuters; ITV News Desk; Independent; Evening Times; Jonathan Grun; Glasgow Herald; Five TV
Subject: DA Notice Letter of Advice to All UK Editors – Further Wikileaks Disclosures
To All Editors
Impending Further National Security Disclosures by Wikileaks
I understand that Wikileaks will very shortly release a further mass of US official documents onto its internet website. The full scope of the subject matter covered by these documents remains to be seen, but it is possible that some of them may contain information that falls within the UK’s Defence Advisory Notice code. Given the large number of documents thought to be involved, it is unlikely that sensitive UK national security information within these documents would be recognised by a casual browser. However, aspects of national security might be put at risk if a major UK media news outlet brought such information into obvious public prominence through its general publication or broadcast.
Therefore, may I ask you to seek my advice before publishing or broadcasting any information drawn from these latest Wikileaks’ disclosures which might be covered by the five standing DA Notices. In particular, would you carefully consider information that might be judged to fall within the terms of DA Notice 1 (UK Military Operations, Plans and Capabilities) and DA Notice 5 (UK Intelligence Services and Special Forces). May I also ask you to bear in mind the potential consequential effects of disclosing information which would put at risk the safety and security of Britons working or living in volatile regions where such publicity might trigger violent local reactions, for example Iran, Iraq, Pakistan and Afghanistan?
As always, I am available 24/7 to offer DA Notice guidance…
Secretary, Defence Press and Broadcasting Advisory Committee
Mandela, Karzai, Gaddafi among WikiLeaks' new releasesSource:IANS Sun, Nov 28, 2010
iPads Sold for $33.33? - Today Only: iPads are Sold for Upto 95% Off. Buy Yours Today! http://www.Wavee.comAds by Google
London, Nov 28 (IANS) Whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks will release a whole cache of secret diplomatic messages to the US related to former South African president Nelson Mandela, Afghanistan's Hamid Karzai and Libya's Colonel Gaddafi, a media report said here Sunday.
Around three million secret US diplomatic messages obtained by WikiLeaks would expose the 'no-holds-barred' private cables to the White House from scores of US embassies, the Daily Mail reported.
Mandela, who stepped down as president in 1999, condemned George Bush over the Iraq war, saying the US president had ignored the UN's calls for restraint because the then secretary-general Kofi Annan was black.
He also called Tony Blair the 'foreign minister of the US' for supporting Bush over the Iraq war.
Around 800 messages are from the US embassy in London and some reportedly feature 'negative and hostile comments' about Gordon Brown and the then Labour government.
These are reportedly related to the British-US dispute after Britain freed Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al Megrahi from a Scottish jail to a hero's welcome in Libya last year.
The messages also reportedly include US assessments of Brown's personality and prospects of staying in power.
The secret messages, due to be published online Sunday, are believed to be from January 2006 to December 2009.
A boy with a coin he found in the weeds
With bullets and pages of trade magazines