Curiouser and Curiouser – How Deep is the Rabbit Hole?

Michael C. Moynihan at the rightwing libertarian Reason magazine suggests Wikileaks has been infiltrated by Israel Shamir aka Jöran Jermas, Adam Ermash, Adam Shlessing, Izrail Schmerler, Vassili Krasevsky, Jorge Gold and Robert David, inveterate anti-semite, and son Johannes Wahlström, ‘himself accused of anti-Semitism and falsifying quotes’. Moynihan already pinpointed Shamir for spreading disinformation about the CIA orchestrating sex crime allegations against Julian Assange.

Strip away the caginess and the obfuscation—remember, no one is allowed secrets but WikiLeaks – and Hrafnsson, who took over spokesman duties when Assange was jailed last week, confirms that WikiLeaks chose Shamir to work with their Russian media partners. After its investigation, the Swedish Radio program Medierna concluded flatly that “Israel Shamir represents WikiLeaks in Russia.”

Moynihan, senior editor at Reason, gained notoriety himself from involvement in ‘the protest movement “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” which began in May 2010. The movement grew in response to censorship by Comedy Central of an episode of South Park which depicted the Prophet Muhammad’.

For verification of the Wikileaks/Shamir story, I’ve trawled through Moynihan’s source material.

According to Magnus Ljunggren, Professor Emeritus of Russian Literature at the University of Gothenburg [TR]

In an extensive commentary, jointly signed by the editor and Shamir and bearing the title “How the world will explode in the air of a great Wikileaks’, explained that the latter has exclusive access to Assanges documentation – in the same way, therefore, that the son in Sweden.

Ljunggren continues, saying that a photo of Shamir with Assange prompted

Yulia Latynina, based in Anna Politkovskaya of Novaya Gazeta to go out on the radio station Echo Moskvy with the question: What does it mean that Assange let themselves be represented by an extremist? She said that Shamir also offered their materials to the newspaper Kommersant, but met with a cold shoulder, for it would not take him with pliers.

Her conclusion was that it is a shame that Wikileaks documents in other countries were analyzed by experienced journalists, but in Russia by a total incompetent and deceitful Jew hater.

Karin Olsson notes on her blog at Expressen:

Expressen Kultur’s article today has P1’s media put out Saturday’s program in advance. There Wikileaks spokesperson confirms that Israel Shamir is working for them and that they know of his anti-Semitic background. De har också en intervju där Israel Shamir förnekar sitt faderskap till Wahlström. Hör inslaget här. They also have an interview with Israel Shamir denies his paternity of Wahlstrom.

On Swedish Radio:

It is Wikileaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson confirming the media Israel Shamir involvement with Wikileaks – but would not accept that there would be no problem for the organization.

Moynihan, who has lived in Sweden, annotates the radio interview:

Wahlström and Shamir, father and son, are the WikiLeaks representatives for two rather large geographic areas. According to Swedish Radio’s investigation, Wahlström is the gatekeeper of the cables in Scandinavia, and “has the power to decide” which newspapers are provided access and what leaks they are allowed to see. (At the time of filing, Wahlström had yet to respond to an email request for comment.)

In Russia, the magazine Russian Reporter says that it has “privileged access” to the material through Shamir, who told a Moscow newspaper that he was “accredited” to work on behalf of WikiLeaks in Russia. But Shamir has a rather large credibility problem, so Swedish Radio put the question directly to WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson.

Swedish Radio: Israel Shamir…Are you aware of him? Do you know him?

Kristinn Hrafnsson, Wikileaks spokesman: Yes. Yes, he is associated with us.

SR: So what is his role?
Hrafnsson: Well, I mean, we have a lot of journalists that are working with us all around the world. And they have different roles in working on this project. I won’t go into specifics into what each and everybody’s role is.

SR: Are you aware of how controversial Israel Shamir is in an international context?

Hrafnsson: There are a lot of controversial people around the world that are associated with us. I don’t really see the point of the question.

SR: Are you aware of the allegations that he is an anti-Semite?

Hrafnsson: I have heard those allegations…yes, yes. [Pause] What is the question really there?

SR: The question is, do you that that would [sic] be a problem?

Hrafnsson: No, I’m not going to comment on that.

The Moscow Times investigates the Russian Reporter’s association with Shamir:

Shpak refuted criticism that Russian Reporter, which belongs to the Kremlin-friendly Expert publishing group, was withholding material damning to the authorities.

“You can read allegations arguing the exact opposite — that we just publish damning material — in the patriotic press,” he said by phone.

The magazine has cooperated with Israel Shamir, a Russian-born Israeli journalist, on WikiLeaks.

But Shpak denied that Shamir alone was responsible for the magazine’s access to WikiLeaks.

Shamir said by phone that he was a freelancer who was “accredited” to WikiLeaks. “This means I have working relations with them but does not mean going to the banya together,” he said.

He also denied allegations that one of the cables quoted by Russian Reporter was forged.

Writing in The Moscow Times earlier this week, liberal journalist Yulia Latynina said the magazine had made up quotes from a report about EU diplomats’ instructions before a speech by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

“The cable is real, it has just not been published yet,” Shamir said.

RFE/RL (Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) is funded by the U.S. Congress) says:

According to the magazine “Russky Reporter,” for example, the famous walkout by Western diplomats during Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad’s speech to the United Nations in September 2009 was not spontaneous and had in fact been planned by Washington.

The magazine, citing WikiLeaks documents, claimed in a December 2 article that U.S. officials gave detailed instructions to EU representatives on when to leave the room during Ahmadinejad’s speech. The claim, if substantiated, could be deeply embarrassing to the United States.

But unlike other media reporting on the WikiLeaks revelations, “Russky Reporter” provided no documents to back up its allegations. An extensive search of the WikiLeaks database fails to yield relevant U.S. cables, causing some analysts to suggest the magazine might be exploiting WikiLeaks to propagate false information.

“The problem is that what should be backed by the cables does not actually appear in the published cables,” says Yulia Latynina, one of several Russian journalists to have voiced doubts over the credibility of “Russky Reporter,” which claims to have a privileged relationship with WikiLeaks. “This allegation is left hanging in the air, to put it mildly.”

WikiLeaks did not respond to repeated requests for comment about the existence of the cables and its relationship with “Russky Reporter.”

“Russky Reporter” claims to be one of the few media outlets that were given early access to WikiLeaks’ quarter-million U.S. cables.

Only four media organizations, however, are known to be collaborating directly with WikiLeaks: “The Guardian” in Britain, “Le Monde” in France, “El Pais” in Spain, and “Der Spiegel” in Germany.

“The Guardian” has shared the material with “The New York Times” and the five newspapers have been advising WikiLeaks on which documents to release, what redactions to make, and when to publish.

Unlike “Russky Reporter,” these newspapers have carried stories relating exclusively to cables that have been simultaneously released by WikiLeaks and coordinated with the publication in question.

In an interview with RFE/RL’s Russian Service, Leibin says that his magazine’s collaboration with WikiLeaks is slightly different.

“To be accurate, we’re not cooperating in the same way as ‘The Guardian’ or ‘The New York Times.’ Their staff journalists worked together with WikiLeaks activists going through this vast database to find things they were interested in publishing,” Leibin says. “In our case, a freelance journalist worked for us: Israel Shamir, who has been an activist with WikiLeaks. It simply turned out that we knew an activist from WikiLeaks.”

Shamir could not be reached for comment.

In an apparent attempt to dispel any doubt about its ties with the secret-leaking website, the magazine has posted a photo of Shamir standing next to WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange on its website.

The Russian Reporter article containing the photo of Shamir and Assange is penned by Israel Shamir and Vitaly Leibin.

That the materials were able to reach interested readers, the publication will be implemented in concert with the leading magazines of the world, the main partner in Russia – “Russian Reporter”.

Head and founder of Wikileaks Julian Assange fled from persecution in northern Europe. Next to him is now a journalist Israel Shamir , thanks to his work “Russian reporter” gets preliminary materials before they become public.

Is this photo bona fide? there’s no exif information. The shadow on Shamir ends before it crosses the red on his right side. The edge of the shadow cast by Assange on Shamir’s clothing is very sharp compared with the shadow on Assange’s clothing. There’s some odd pixelation on the right side of Assange’s face.

Is Wikileaks and in particular Julian Assange aware of Shamir and son’s dubious affiliations? what is Shamir hoping to gain through his involvement in Wikileaks? is RFE/RL running a counter campaign?

UPDATE MARCH 2011

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.

Shamir Links

Israel Shamir and Julian Assange’s cult of machismo
On Anna Ardin, Israel Shamir and glass houses
Russian Reporter – How exactly Wikileaks will blow the world
Medierna – Confirmed for the media: notorious anti-Semite working on Wikileaks
Karin Olsson Blog – Wikileaks messenger – Wahlstrom and Shamir – must be reviewed
Daddy’s Boy?
THE ISRAEL SHAMIR CASE
Israel Shamir exposed! A fake or a plant?
E-mail: SERIOUS CONCERNS ABOUT ISRAEL SHAMIR
Lord Ahmed’s unwelcome guest
Putin Bristles Over Leaked U.S. Cables
Critics Allege Russian Magazine Is Misrepresenting WikiLeaks Cables
Israeli writer is Swedish anti-Semite
WikiFakes watch: Russia
Israel Shamir: Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing
WikiLeaks employs Israeli-Swedish Holocaust-denier
Opinion: WikiLeaks and its anti-Semitic spokesmen
Victims, jilted lovers or undercover agents
Head of the Belarusian President’s Administration Uladzimri Makei had a meeting with Israel Shamir, representative of WikiLeaks website’s founder.
Telling Shamir quote? “For a smear that really sticks, you need to get it from an ex-apostle. An accusation by a Caiaphas does not impress. If you are targeting a leftist, hire leftists.”

Today’s Wikilinks

Uncle Sam vs Wikileaks – game
WIKILEAKS – UK
XKCD Wikilinks comic (don’t miss the ALT text)
A Bayesian Take on Julian Assange

Most Americans critical of WikiLeaks dump: poll
Don’t let the evidence get in the way of a good conspiracy theory
Spamhaus’ False Allegations Against wikileaks.info
Julian Assange’s bail challenged in high court by Sweden

Today’s Australian Wikilinks

Link to Wikileaks cables at The Age – ‘The Age believes it is acting in the public interest by publishing both news reports on these matters and selected cables on which those reports are based.’ Good 🙂
The Age Australian Wikileaks cables
Reader riposte: WikiLeaks
Secrets And Leaks
WikiLeaks exposes the two faces of America
Out of the war: policies for an Australian contribution to a sustainable peace in Afghanistan
WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange may not have broken the law by publishing leaked diplomatic cables, Treasurer Wayne Swan has conceded.

Today’s Palestine / Israel Links

‘We’ll Wipe Israel Off the Map’ and Other Things Ahmadinejad Never Said
Danny Ayalon Plays a Losing Blame Game
The Press Release ADC Never Issued About FBI Raids
Instead of befriending neo-fascists, Israel should make peace
Hussein Ibish And The Good Old Days
BDS hits the Sydney suburbs

Other Links

Scientists Figure Out How to Erase Pathological Fear
Australian Coastlines after global warming

62 Replies to “Curiouser and Curiouser – How Deep is the Rabbit Hole?”

  1. Belarus resigned to EU sanctions after Ashton meeting

    Lavrov supports Council of Europe resolution on Belarus

    The Newest WikiLeaks Problem: Unredacted Cables

    Fast Company reported previously on the activities of Israel Shamir, a Russian associate of WikiLeaks who has come under fire following charges of anti-Semitism. Shamir recently published an article in the website of the left-wing magazine CounterPunch which reproduced unredacted cables relating to high-level corruption and government-organized crime links in Central Asia. These cables implied the identities of American sources and implicated Western corporations in government corruption. In the article, Shamir accuses The Guardian– which published the original cables–of pursuing a political agenda in redacting the cables.

    Contacted by email by Fast Company, Shamir gave his reasoning in releasing unredacted cables that hinted at the names of State Department sources and presumably put them at risk: “Handing confidential and secret information to everybody is the thing of Wikileaks. That’s what it is about. Your question is like asking police why they catch thieves. That is what they are for.”

    Shamir’s personal website also contains the claim that “we also hand confidential information to everybody without discrimination.”

    Meanwhile, a torrent alleging to show edits and redactions made to WikiLeaks cables is being distributed by a Ukranian website and gaining wide dissemination on Torrent directories and bulletin boards frequented by both cryptography and conspiracy theory enthusiasts.

    The website, which is associated with the Twitter account privet_bank and maintains a theme involving cute cats, distributes and is responsible for a ~560k .RAR file containing HTML files which claim to be before-and-after versions of edited WikiLeaks diplomatic cables, with changes keyed to dates. Due to the sensitivity of the unredacted WikiLeaks cables, Fast Company has opted not to link to the site or to the torrent. However, the torrent’s current wide distribution and relatively easy availability make it newsworthy.

    Establishing accuracy in these cases is, of course, impossible. However, the WikiLeaks cable torrents keyed to in the .RAR file are legitimate and a spot inspection of cables showed a correspondence between the cable identifications shown in the Torrents and those on the actual WikiLeaks site. This applied to the location of the retractions as well.

    While most of the redactions were grammatical corrections, stylistic corrections, or deletions of time/date information, many of the redactions appear to involve sensitive information concerning State Department sources or assets. Many of the deletions also appear to be related to American corporations or business interests. For the tabloid gossip factor, the files also appear to name Muammar Gadaffi’s infamous ‘Ukranian nurse.’

    When contacted for email comment by Fast Company, the website’s operator gave a description of their methods, which involves a series of custom programming tools that monitor torrents, autogenerate databases of added/redacted information and a data scraping tool that targets several of the major publications involved in the WikiLeaks disclosures. The site’s operator also gave this explanation, which implies the belief that WikiLeaks is following a private political agenda:

    [The] content of cables was already released by WikiLeaks. Torrents are published at thepiratebay and many others websites. WikiLeaks has claimed regularly that nobody was hurt by releases, why should somebody else be worried about releasing information with changes between cables? Even more – if WikiLeaks and it’s partners has own agenda and hide more then just names – why should fact should not be made public?

    The most important takeaway here is that WikiLeaks’ intent to make classified information free appears to be defeating the attempts of both the United States government and WikiLeaks’ journalistic partners to mitigate fallout from the more sensitive portions of the disclosed cables. If a 14-year-old with a minimal knowledge of Google can obtain copies of unredacted cables just by browsing The Pirate Bay or isoHunt, so can people with darker intentions.

    Moreso, the difficulty barrier towards creating fake unredacted cables appears surprisingly low. There have been cases of fake WikiLeaks diplomatic cables in the past and, given that only 2428 of the 251,287 cables in WikiLeaks’ possession have been released by press time, it appears that the spread of WikiLeaks torrents will make verifying information contained therein increasingly challenging.

    Most surprisingly, if the cables contained on the unredacted torrent and the alleged timeframe are indeed correct, this means that WikiLeaks has been posting unredacted cables to their website before their media partners edit them. If this is correct, this hints at an interesting intent on the part of WikiLeaks.

  2. Belarusian Helsinki Commitee & Frontline, HR organisations, targeted by Lukashenka

    The Belarusian Ministry of Justice has sent an official written warning to the Belarusian Helsinki Committee (BHC), the oldest human rights group in Belarus for the diffusion of false information that discredits law enforcement bodies and judicial institution of the Republic.

    he BHC recently sent a communication to the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Ms Gabriela Knaul, detailing violations of the rights to legal assistance of individuals arrested, accused and convicted following participation in the protest rally in Minsk on 19 December 2010 as well as pressure on their lawyers.

    On 12 January 2011, information concerning the communications sent by the BHC to the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers was published on the BHC’s website. A few hours later, the head of Departement of non-commercial organisations of the Ministry of Justice, Mr A. Kirychenka, reportedly sent a fax to the BHC ordering them to provide him with the text of the communication within 30 minutes.

    The same day, the Ministry of Justice stated that it considers the information the BHC sent to international organisations as non-objectively relating the work of State institutions and law enforcement agencies that maintain stability and rule of law in the Republic and intentionally distorting the real situation in the country and as an attempt to discredit the Republic of Belarus before the international community and issued a warning to the BHC for ”violation of the legislation on NGOs and mass media, diffusion of unreliable information disrediting the law enforcement agencies and judicial institutions of the Republic, and violations of its own Statute”.

    Under the pretext that investigations are confidential, Belarusian lawyers have been forbidden from revealing grave violations of the rights of their clients, their state of health in detention, and the fact that some of them have been able to meet with clients only once since 19 December – and have been unable to meet their clients in private at all.

    On 5 January 2011, the Ministry of Justice issued a warning to the lawyers of two opposition Presidential candidates imprisoned since 19 December, for denouncing alleged violations of their clients’ rights and those of other individuals before the media. The BHC’s communication also mentions several cases of intimidation against lawyers who are afraid to lose their State licences should other violations become public.

    On 29 December 2010, the Ministry of Justice published information accusing some lawyers of misusing their professional role by ”presenting information about the investigation, their clients’ opportunities to avail of legal assistance, their clients’ health status and prison conditions, and the work of law enforcement bodies of the country in a biased manner”.

    The Belarusian Helsinki Commitee is one of very few Belarusian organisations which has not lost its registration with the Ministry of Justice and Front Line fears that the present warning may lead to its closure. According to Article 28 of the Law On NGOs, activities of an organisation which receives an official warning can be suspended for a term of 1 to 6 months by a court decision based on an appeal from the Ministry of Justice, if the organisation does not redress the violation mentioned in the warning within 1 month. If an organisation is found guilty of violating laws or its statutes within one year of the date of the previous warning, it can be officially closed down.

    Front Line believes that the warning issued against the BHC is a direct reprisal for their legitimate exercise of the right to make complaints before international human rights bodies. Furthermore, Front Line believes that these measures form part of a campaign of repression against Belarusian civil society following the Presidential Elections.

  3. Government-controlled newspaper accuses EU countries of plotting Lukashenka’s overthrow

    The government-controlled newspaper Sovetskaya Belorussiya on Friday published what it called “previously classified” documents containing discrediting information about Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s opponents and their ties with foreign governments, as well as accusing European Union countries of plotting to overthrow Belarus’ government, BelaPAN said.

    Opening the five-page unbylined article, the paper said that the documents had been provided by law enforcement agencies on the instructions of Mr. Lukashenka.

    The piece included a compilation of what is described as documents related to the “Tell the Truth!” campaign and fragments of conversations involving prominent opposition figures and NGO activists.

    According to the article, the “Tell the Truth!” campaign, which was led by former presidential candidate Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, received financial support from the West.

    The paper reported with reference to Mr. Nyaklyayew’s aide Alyaksandr Fyaduta that Syarhey Haydukevich, leader of the Liberal Democratic Party, had offered assistance to the “Tell the Truth!” campaign and expressed readiness to drop his presidential bid and publicly support Mr. Nyaklyayew in exchange for $1 million.

    The paper also mentioned the late journalist Aleh Byabenin, who it said arranged foreign funding for http://www.charter97.org, a popular opposition news site. In particular, he was reported to have received $211,000 from Catherine Fitzpatrick of the “US Helsinki Group” and €6,000 from the “Frontline international fund.”

    Mr. Byabenin was found hanged in September last year in his summer house in the village of Pyarkhurava in the Dzyarzhynsk district near Minsk. Police said that the journalist committed suicide, but his associates insisted that he had no reason to kill himself and described the circumstances of the incident as suspicious.

    Sovetskaya Belorussiya also claimed that the United Civic Party’s presidential nominee Yaraslaw Ramanchuk had been provided with $150,000 to $200,000 for “carrying out local events” and later traveled to Germany and the United States to secure more financial aid.

    The paper lashed out at foreign media outlets for their coverage of the presidential election and the opposition’s protest, mentioning Anton Vyarnitski, head of the news unit at Russia’s Channel One. “The biased press came in a coordinated manner to provide coverage of another ‘color’ revolution, although no preconditions for this had been seen in Belarus and Western politicians had publicly recognized this,” Sovetskaya Belorussiya said.

    “Under the guise of polite smiles and assurances of polite conduct hundreds of thousands of dollars were literally carried to Minsk in suitcases. Some EU ambassadors literally saddled themselves with the duties of instructors and curators for those who were to change the government in Belarus through force and tricks,” the article said. “At the time when Messrs. Sikorski and Westerwelle were visiting Minsk and officially assuring the Belarusian government of a sincere wish to help the development of democracy, official figures from some embassies were playing the unseemly role of instigators.”

    “It is beyond any doubt that the secret services of above all Poland and Germany, which planned and organized the ‘Tell the Truth!’ campaign that was meant to become a new opposition force capable of changing the government in the country, had a hand in the December 19 events,” the paper concluded. “Poland became a training ground for the organizational creation of a force capable of changing the lawful government in Belarus. Special and training camps for ‘activists’ were set up there, a new ruling class was trained there, the main foreign policy decisions were discussed with diplomats there.”

    The paper said that more article on the subject would follow.

    More opposition activists have homes searched by KGB

    More opposition activists across Belarus had their homes raided by officers of the Committee for State Security (KGB) on Thursday as the government`s crackdown on opponents showed no signs of relenting.

    At least three people`s homes were searched as part of an investigation launched in connection with opposition forces` post-election demonstration in Minsk, despite the fact that none of them attended the December 19 protest.

    In particular, KGB officers seized two computers, a few USB flash drives and discs from the Minsk apartment of Alena Famina, who was a campaign aide of presidential candidate Dzmitry Uss. The woman, who was an election observer at a polling station in Vitsyebsk on December 19, was also told to visit a KGB office on Friday for questioning.

    In Haradok, Vitsyebsk region, three KGB officers searched the home of Leanid Awtukhow, taking away 20 DVDs and two USB flash drives. The man`s computer was seized by court officers about a month ago for unpaid fines that had been imposed on him for participation in unsanctioned events.

    Mr. Awtukhow was an election observer and did not leave Haradok on December 19, the main voting day.

    Syarhey Parsyukevich, a Vitsyebsk-based activist of the “Tell the Truth!” campaign, also had his home searched by KGB officers, who seized a computer and some campaign flyers.

    Mr. Parsyukevich attempted to travel to Minsk on December 19 but was arrested twice within hours in Vitsyebsk on that day — first on suspicion of murder and later on suspicion of robbery. He was eventually released late at night. //BelaPAN

  4. Belarus: pressure grows for release of detained dissidents

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called on Jan. 10 for the release of opposition candidates, journalists and others detained in Belarus during the crackdown on protests following the Dec. 19 election. Police beat and arrested protesters and rounded up opposition candidates after the vote, which officially handed a fourth term to President Alexander Lukashenko. As of last week, some 200 of the estimated 650 detainees were still being held. (Reuters, Jan. 10)

    Some two dozen of those still detained are being held in special KGB political prisons, facing charges of masterminding last month’s protests. These include former presidential candidates Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, Andrey Sannikaw and Mikalay Statkevich, and journalist Natallya Radzina, who is said to be in need of urgent medical attention. In a statement, relatives of the detained called for an international probe of the repression, and sanctions against the Lukashenko regime. (Naviny.by, Jan. 11)

    Last month UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay voiced deep concern over the post-election violence, and called for the immediate release of those detained. “I urge all parties to refrain from violence and demonstrate full respect for human rights,” Pillay said.

    Pillay cited one incident in which a leading opposition candidate was attacked on his way to a rally in Minsk, hospitalized and later abducted by unidentified persons. She also cited attempts by supporters of opposition candidates to break into a government building, which was followed by the mass detentions. (UN News Centre, Jan. 10)

    On Jan. 10, four apartments belonging to opposition activists in the city of Brest were searched by KGB officers. Among those searched was the apartment of Artsyom Tserashonak, who collected signatures for opposition presidential candidates Yaraslau Ramanchuk and Uladzimer Nyaklyaeu in the run-up to the election. Tserashonak was also summoned for interrogation on Jan. 11. Dozens of offices and homes of journalists, activists and opposition supporters have been searched over the past several days. (RFE/RL, Jan. 10)

    The Lukashenko government has also warned that it might seize custody of the three-year-old son of a jailed opposition presidential candidate. Authorities say they are investigating the status of the child, who is now living with his grandmother, and are expected to make a decision by the end of the month. The child, Danil Sannikov, is the son of Andrei Sannikov, a leading opposition presidential candidate, and Irina Khalip, a journalist, who were both among those arrested—seized from their car while Khalip was giving a telephone interview to a Moscow radio station. Andrei Sannikov was severely beaten, and his legs broken, according to his lawyer. (NYT, Jan. 10)

    Silence of the “left” on WikiLeaks in Belarus

    Amidst the repression in Belarus, the only thing the so-called “left” in the West has had to say is predictable prattle about how the US is behind the opposition movement there. Now, even if we accept the frankly absurd proposition that the entire opposition movement is an astroturf illusion created by the US embassy—does that justify the kind of repression documented above?

    The Western left’s silence is all the more atrocious given claims that lefty cause célèbre WikiLeaks provided intelligence on the dissidents to the Lukashenko regime. As we have noted, WikiLeaks’ man in Belarus and the ex-USSR, the notorious anti-Semite Israel Shamir, makes no secret of his avid enthusiasm for Lukashenko. His recent piece on the execrable CounterPunch, “The Minsk Election in a Wikileaks Mirror,” promises in its opening paragraph to demonstrate “proof positive” from WikiLeaks documents that the December protests were “orchestrated” by the US State Department. Instead, the piece consists almost entirely of shameless pom-pom-waving for the Lukashenko regime, portraying it as a virtual socialist utopia, while implicitly apologizing for the repression (“The people of Belarus expect and demand an orderly, law-abiding society”). The only actual information on WikiLeaks evidence incriminating the opposition movement? One short paragraph. To wit:

    Wikileaks has now revealed how this undeclared cash flows from US coffers to the Belarus “opposition”. In the confidential cable VILNIUS 000732, dated June 12, 2005, an American diplomat informs the State Department that Lithuanian customs detained a Belarusian employee of a USAID contractor on charges of money smuggling. The courier was arrested as she attempted to leave Lithuania for Belarus with US$25,000. In addition, she admitted that had moved a total of US$50,000 out of Lithuania on two prior trips.

    This is his “proof positive” that the whole opposition movement was “orchestrated” by the US? What a bait-and-switch. Why does the supposed organ of the “left” CounterPunch print this twisted propaganda? And when will the Western “left” hold WikiLeaks to account for its association with Shamir, and seeming collaboration with Belarussian dictatorship?

  5. Shamir is now publishing unredacted cables in Counterpunch.

    Unredacted WikiLeaks Cables Leaked to Internet

    BY Neal UngerleiderToday

    Several WikiLeaks cables giving details of high-level collaboration by Central Asian governments with organized crime and implying the identity of American assets have been leaked to the Internet by a left-wing website.

    A controversial associate of WikiLeaks has begun posting unredacted versions of U.S. State Department cables on a left-wing magazine’s website. These cables contain the names of specific corporations accused of corruption and of individuals implied to be involved in bribery on behalf of western companies in Kazakhstan and Uzbekstan. In one case, they also give highly suggestive clues to the identity of an American informant on organized crime activities.

    The cables were posted to CounterPunch by Israel Shamir, a WikiLeaks associate who has served as the organization’s informal Russian liaison. Shamir has also posted reprinted material from Holocaust denial websites on his personal webpage and come under public fire for a series of anti-Jewish statements.

    Shamir describes himself as “a freelance writer accredited with WikiLeaks”; the organization came under fire for his past anti-Semitic writings in December 2010. In one infamous statement, Shamir accused Jews “of being a virus in human form.”

    Fast Company has opted not to reprint excerpts from the unexpunged cables published to CounterPunch.

    Shamir’s article on CounterPunch accuses British newspaper The Guardian of censoring WikiLeaks cables and states that he is merely reprinting WikiLeaks cables in full that were originally censored by them:

    Although we are treated to daily accounts of how the net tightens around WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the contents of the US embassy cables have been doled out to us in spoonfuls. To add insult to injury, it is now clear that The Guardian edits and distorts the cables in order to protect their readers from unflattering remarks about how their corporations behave overseas. The Guardian has deliberately excised portions of published cables to hide evidence of corruption.

    However, Shamir was not being completely acccurate. These cables were also censored by the primary WikiLeaks website and all of its mirrors.

    One of the uncensored WikiLeaks cables he posted to CounterPunch, ASTANA 72, also appears in censored form on the WikiLeaks website itself. Two other cables posted by Shamir, TASHKENT 465 and TASHKENT 902, do not appear on the WikiLeaks website as of January 12, 2011. 902 was published as an extremely limited excerpt on The Guardian’s website and 465 is not even labeled by its number. In all three cases, it appears Shamir violated an internal WikiLeaks decision to censor a cable in one case and embarked on a rogue cable release in two others.

    TASHKENT 465 implies links between high-level Uzbekstan officials and organized crime, while TASHKENT 902 discusses the role of organized crime in helping businessmen secure government tenders and jobs on the government payroll inside Uzbekstan. The second cable also gives highly suggestive clues to the identity of an American informant who gave highly sensitive information on organized crime.

    The fact that Shamir was doing an end-run around WikiLeaks was noted in a post on the British blog Hurry Up Harry by author “Joseph W”:

    WikiLeaks’ Israel Shamir, who has in his possession all of WikiLeaks’ unredacted cables, has written a polemic in CounterPunch against The Guardian’s editorial policy. He claims that The Guardian is redacting WikiLeaks cables for political reasons. Yet The Guardian’s redacted cables match the cables you can already read on Wikileaks.ch.”

    As in all things WikiLeaks, the details of the story remain murky. Shamir has close ties to the Belarus government and recently visited Belarus, which has an infamously repressive government. Given that detail, it is seems extremely interesting that all the unredacted cables he leaked had to do with former Soviet states.

  6. WikiLeaks on Lukashenka in Vilnius (Google Tr):

    Wikileaks: Lukashenko in Vilnius “educate” Grybauskaite

    Belarussian dictator, Alexander Lukashenko, in Vilnius, without any hesitation “educate” the Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite

    Despite the fact that she invited him to remind us of human rights. This is stated in the document Wikileaks, wrote Kauno diena.

    According to the document, presidential adviser Darius Semaška American diplomat said that the response to the demands of democratization Lukashenko put forward by the EU, was “a quiet, it’s aggressive, depending on the tone of conversation, “according to Delfi.

    Another Lithuanian diplomat Laurynas Yonushauskas allegedly gave the Americans the words Lukashenka: “If the EU does not want us, us, and he does not see. ”

    The paper quoted Semashko, who argued that human rights were the main reason that Lukashenko was invited to Vilnius.

    Recall that Lukashenko paid a working visit to Lithuania on Sept. 15, 2009.

  7. From the Guardian, Dec 30, 2010, Jailed Belarus editor ‘bleeding from ears’:

    I reported 10 days ago on the police beating handed out to Belarus editor Natalia Radzina. Though rescued by friends at the time, she was subsequently arrested.
    radzina

    Now there are reports of her suffering from ill-treatment in jail. According to a lawyer who visited her in jail, her ears were bleeding. Radzina, left, is charged with organising mass riots, a charge related to the protests by thousands of people in Minsk on 19 December against the allegedly rigged re-election of President Alexander Lukashenko’s.

    Radzina, editor-in-chief of Charter97.org, was arrested along with all her co-workers at the website’s editorial offices.

    In the latest move by the authorities, a warrant has been issued for the arrest of former journalist Nikolai Khalezin, co-founder of the Belarus Free Theatre. He has gone into hiding.

    The theatre is a high-profile thorn in the side of Lukashenko’s authoritarian regime.

    Before launching the theatre, Khalezin was a renowned journalist who was fired from various newspapers for articles criticising Lukashenko. He was also a mentor to Radzina and Oleg Bebenin, who was found dead in suspicious circumstances three months before the elections.

    At present, 23 people are under detention by the Belarus KGB. They include presidential candidates Andrei Sannikov and Uladzimir Nyaklyaeu.

  8. More on Israel Shamir, John Wahl, and Wikileaks. (this post is linked from the Pirate Party):

    This is nothing to take lightly. I know quite a few even what Israel Shamir stands for. Israel defends the Protocols of Zion, talk about Jewish conspiracies (which Bonnier in Sweden is considered to be a part of, for example), he rub shoulders with Holocaust deniers and has worked at the Russian anti-Semitic newspaper Zavtra .

    If Wikileaks had obtained Ahmed Rami, or mad Omar in Uppsala as its spokesman, Swedish, and Ahmed Rami went to Belarus to defend Lukashenko using Wikileaksdokument Wikileaks had been dead and buried in Sweden directly. No one took them seriously again!

    Israel Shamir is ten times worse than Ahmed Rami, in their political message and in its political importance!

    I support Wikileaks efforts to publish papers, but feel more and more ambivalent. Wikileaks working with Israel Shamir and his son and co-workers John Wahl? Is it perhaps even to Shamir created the myth that the Swedish women who accuse him of sexual abuse are CIA agents?

  9. From Zavtra [TR]:

    Israel Shamir, a publicist and public figure, a confidant Julian Assange in CIS countries.

    For all the apparent contradictions made here of expert assessments, at once I must say that we are not so radically differ in our views on the discussed phenomenon.

    Let’s look at what is happening in terms of professional journalists. Only amateurs may feel that here is a Dispatch, you have it printed – and all. In fact – nothing like that. Dispatch those for man in the street totally understandable. They need to explain, they should be interpreted. Such a machine interpretation, the interpretation of facts – this is New-York Times, Guardian and so on. In Russia there is a severe shortage, one might even say – the absence of such powerful tools of interpretation. Yes, they are generally not present anywhere in the world except the leading Western countries.

    That is why very many there paranoid feeling that the Dispatch WikiLeaks – it is against us, against Russia. Well, if not today then tomorrow through this channel will merge the information that “will blow up Russia.” In fact, materials WikiLeaks – a powerful blow to U.S. global web, the American sphere of influence. And if I comment on them, I would say that the first time we have highlighted, through whom the Americans take the information, through whom they spend their influence and so on. If we were such a thing in 1990 – there would be 1991, there would be no collapse of the Soviet Union.

    Unfortunately, too many people who are supposedly on our side, lack of gray matter in your head and do not know how to analyze events. Take, for better understanding, so that was less emotion, not an example of the Russian experience.

    That is Turkey. We have the Dispatch, in which the Israeli ambassador responds very sharply to Turkish Prime Minister, and these reviews the U.S. ambassador sends his leadership. How is it interpreted by ignorant people? That the Israeli point of view on Turkey wins. And I would, for example, has interpreted this Dispatch quite different: that Israel is trying to incite America against Turkey.

    Or when we open the pages devoted to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, we see there, like a bunch of America with Israel is active in favor of its exacerbation, in favor of the war in the Caucasus, primarily by creating a strong pro-US base in Baku.

    But we must understand that all the leading newspapers of the West are working closely with the Israeli lobby. Therefore, there is no need to make a special selection of documents – because their interpretation would be more than gentle towards Israel. But the facts must be susceptible to our interpretation. If we are able to reinterpret them, then all will turn out very differently.

    I, for instance, now sit and deal with Estonian documents. They are very interesting, and I interpret them in a certain way. I see that the Dispatch fully confirms Russia’s position in Estonia. There you’ll find that even within the conversations between Estonian ministers and American diplomats that the riots after the dismantling of the Bronze Soldier is not specially prepared, and emerged spontaneously after the violent dispersal of protesters by police. I believe that this could be the headline of the day. But we have with you is not New-York Times, have you no Guardian – so the headlines of the day are quite different. But we must understand that when using a machine interpretation and based on the materials WikiLeaks we could already begin dismantling the global U.S. empire.

    Nevertheless, Russia – Russia as a country, not as a “power vertical” – the full benefit from the publications WikiLeaks.

  10. From NiqNaq:

    there are no cables from vilnius on the wikileaks site

    The Minsk Election in a Wikileaks Mirror (extract)
    Israel Shamir, Counterpunch, Dec 31 2010

    … Wikileaks has now revealed how this undeclared cash flows from US coffers to the Belarus “opposition”. In the confidential cable VILNIUS 000732, dated Jun 12 2005 (sic. Shamir means July; the line ‘DECL: 07/12/2015? is ten years later when the cable classification would lapse, also note the cable dates the arrest as July 8 – RB), a US diplomat informs the State Dept that Lithuanian customs detained a Belarusian employee of a USAID contractor on charges of money smuggling. The courier was arrested as she attempted to leave Lithuania for Belarus with $25,000. In addition, she admitted that had moved a total of $50,000 out of Lithuania on two prior trips.

    This is what the cable apparently looks like (Source):

    C O N F I D E N T I A L VILNIUS 000732 SIPDIS STATE FOR EUR/NB AND EUR/UMB E.O. 12958: DECL: 07/12/2015 TAGS: PREL, PGOV, EAID, BO, LH, HT7 SUBJECT: GOL EAGER TO DEAL QUIETLY WITH DETAINED BELARUSIAN COURIER Classified By: Political/Economic Officer Alexander Titolo for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)

    1. (C) Summary: Senior GOL officials are focused on managing the detention by Lithuanian authorities of a Belarusian employee of a USAID contractor on charges of money smuggling. The courier was arrested as she attempted to leave Lithuania for Belarus with US$25,000, well over the limit set by Lithuanian law. The arrest puts the GOL in a delicate position as it seeks to balance its commitments to the rule of law and heightened anti-terrorism measures (established in large part at USG urging) with the desire not to hand the Minsk regime an excuse to further crack down on civil society and externally funded projects. End Summary.

    2. (C) The July 8 arrest of ————— by the Lithuanian Financial Crimes Investigation Service touched off a series of phone calls between Embassy Minsk, Embassy Vilnius, and various GOL law enforcement and MFA officials over the weekend. ———— was detained, along with two unidentified males, after GOL officials found US$25,000 hidden in their car. The money was intended for use by the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX), which operates a USAID-funded project in Belarus. Anti-terrorism provisions requiring banks to notify the GOL of withdrawals exceeding US$10,000 likely tipped GOL investigators off to ————’s activities. GOL officials told us they have records indicating that she had moved a total of US$50,000 out of Lithuania on two prior trips.

    3. (C) We discussed this situation on July 11 with Jonas Paslauskas, Director of the MFA’s America’s Department who previously served for six years as the GOL’s top envoy in Minsk. Paslauskas told us that the MFA’s leadership and other top GOL officials were working intensively on the issue. He said the GOL was keen to avoid giving the Lukashenko regime an excuse to make it harder for foreign governments and NGOs to operate in Belarus. Paslauskas stressed that moving large amounts of money across the border in such a matter is dangerous for several reasons. He offered to coordinate with the USG and other organizations to avoid similar circumstances in the future. Paslauskas said the GOL uses a variety of individuals and routes to send money to groups in Belarus, including its diplomats.

    4. (C) We also discussed the issue with the Acting Minister of Interior Stanislovas Liutkevicius. Liutkevicius confided that he had spoken to Foreign Minister Valionis and will be in touch with the Prosecutor General as a result of his conversation with the Minister. He said “I think we can resolve this, and it could be positive for her (————-).” Liutkevicius said he is prepared to coordinate with the USG in the future if necessary to ensure that couriers do not face similar problems.

    5. (C) Comment: It is still unclear what fate awaits ————–, though we think it unlikely that the Prosecutor General will seek a stiff punishment against someone who is working in support of the GOL’s overarching interest of bringing democracy to Belarus. The GOL understands the stakes involved in this case, and is eager to avoid repeating it. To that end, it is eager to work with the USG and aid providers to avoid similar incidents in the future.

    Kelly

  11. From the Guardian:

    WikiLeaks’s behaviour in Belarus confirms the impression that it is foolish to try to divide authoritarian movements into arbitrary categories. I guess most readers think of it as a left-wing enterprise and of Julian Assange as a buccaneering fighter for free speech. Yet in Belarus and Russia, WikiLeaks is represented by Israel Shamir, an antisemite and Holocaust-denier, who is not the first to come forward when tyrannies in Moscow and Minsk need exposing, to put the case for the prosecution at its mildest.
    The Belarusian opposition has published circumstantial evidence that he may have handed confidential information to Lukashenko’s goons, charges that Assange’s gormless British admirers should force him to answer, but probably won’t.

  12. Journalist Evgeny Morozov

    @evgenymorozov
    Lukashenka once again threatens to publish “statements from foreign diplomats”. A new champion of transparency, no less. #

    @evgenymorozov
    I have a feeling that Shamir leaked some embarrassing cables to Luka – hence his meeting with the head of his administration yesterday #

    @evgenymorozov
    Lukashenka just mentioned WikiLeaks and threatened to publish all classified memos about the opposition #

    @evgenymorozov
    Shamir so far: a) anti-Semitic b) supports Lukashenka c) charges pubs $ for access to cables.Why hasn’t WL addressed its Shamir problem yet? #

  13. From the Guardian:

    Assange defended one of WikiLeaks’ collaborators, Israel Shamir, following claims Shamir passed sensitive cables to Belarus’s dictator, Alexander Lukashenko. Lukashenko has arrested 600 opposition supporters and journalists since Sunday’s presidential election. The whereabouts and fate of several of the president’s high-profile opponents are unknown.

    Of Shamir, Assange said: “WikiLeaks works with hundreds of journalists from different regions of the world. All are required to sign non-disclosure agreements and are generally only given limited review access to material relating to their region. We have no reason to believe these rumours in relation to Belarus are true.”

    Over the past month the Guardian has published more than 200 articles based on the trove of US diplomatic dispatches obtained by WikiLeaks, and 739 of the cables themselves. All cables published by the Guardian and the four other international news organisations who had exclusive early access to the material have been carefully redacted to protect sources who could be placed in danger, and the redacted versions have been passed to WikiLeaks.

    WikiLeaks now plans to begin sharing the cables with a wider group of regional news organisations. Julian Assange says all future cables released by WikiLeaks will either be redacted by other partner news organisations, or by WikiLeaks itself. The Guardian and its partners in the project, the New York Times, Der Spiegel, El Pais and Le Monde, will continue to share redactions with WikiLeaks for any cables they publish in future.

  14. Bank of America Prepares to Get WikiLeaked by Buying Up Negative Domain Names

    And now it looks like former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev has joined in. Novaya Gazeta, a Moscow newspaper controlled by Gorbachev and Russian billionaire Alexander Lebedev, the 488th richest billionaire in the world, has joined forces with WikiLeaks and agreed to make public some material on Russia that has yet to be published.

    Novaya Gazeta is known for its muckraking coverage on the Kremlin, exposing bribes under Vladimir Putin and military abuses in Chechnya. In fact, the paper is so good at exposing injustices that one of its reporters discovered that Israel Shamir, WikiLeaks’s anti-Semitic content aggregator in Russia, faked some information in a cable about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. We would say the plot thickens, but really at this point, the WikiLeaks saga could use some thinning out.

  15. Cable: Belarus leader tied to crime :

    Released on Tuesday, just one day after the Belorussian presidential election, the February 2007 memo connects Alexander Lukashenko, the winner of Monday’s vote, to organised crime:

    A Russian-based internet newspaper has been publishing a series of reports on alleged criminal rackets organised and/or headed by Lukashenko’s former Minister of Interior Sivakov and commander of the President’s personal special forces unit Pavlichenko. Reliable Embassy contacts asserted that the allegations are true and provided more details on the corrupt dealings of these notorious characters.

    Indeed, the cable confirms what was reported in the Belaruskiy Paritizan in late 2006 in stories that linked former members of government with money laundering, smuggling, the disappearance of opposition activists and more.

    About 600 people have been arrested in recent days, 400 of which have already been given jail sentences of anywhere between five to 15 days.

    Even more unsettling: Seven of the nine opposition candidates have been arrested and charged in post-election violence by BKGB, and could face up to 15 years in jail.

  16. Here’s a translation of the Al Jazeera story accompanying the interview with Assange provided to me by a fluent friend:

    “The founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange denied what was recently circulated about a secret deal that he might have made with israel in return for not publishing anything about it in the series of the leaked American diplomatic documents that his website publishes.

    Assange said Wednesday evening in “Without Limits” on Al-Jazeera that he didn’t make any deal with israel and revealed that his site would publish hundreds of documents relating to israel in the coming months. He stated that he has 3700 documents and 2700 of these documents originated from israel alone.

    He added, “we did not have direct or indirect contact with the israelis, but the israeli intelligence (mossad) and other intelligence agencies are following us and attempt to predict what we will do. And I’m sure that the israeli intelligence is interested in us, but it did not contact us. It might have contacted individuals that used to work for our organization, but at the moment, there are no communications between them [israeli intelligence] and us.

    He added that what was published about israel represents 1% or 2% of the documents concerning israel. But he stated that international newspapers that he made a deal with to publish the documents chose what they wanted to publish based on their interest in them. He said that that reflects the “bias” of some of these newspaper and that his site would publish all the documents it has and are related to israel.

    Assange revealed that there are sensitive and classified documents that deal with israel’s war on Lebanon in 2006. Others deal with the assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud Al-Mabhouh in Dubai and the diplomatic telegrams regarding the passports used by the mossad in the operation.

  17. Daniel Domscheit-Berg Denies Rumor of Assange-Israeli Deals

    Daniel Domscheit-Berg writes [with permission to publish]:

    21 December 2010

    I have been notified about the general rumour a few weeks ago, and shortly after about the appearance of me as involved in those allegations. I have never spoken to anyone at syriatruth or that reporter that is making these claims, nor do I know anything about any deals JA has allegedly made with Israelis.

    Given what is appearing in the Scandinavian area with the involvement of Shamir and Wahlstrom I wouldn’t actually expect that to happen either. In any case, this latter statement is just my personal judgement.

    I once received a test mail from a nizar.nayouf@syriatruth.net, and then a followup regarding OpenLeaks questions. A contact request to him after hearing of the allegations was not replied to.

    In the last week or so I have been contacted by Israeli TV about this, as well as French Le Point today. Those are the only media outfits so far that seem to have taken interest. Other than that it seems to be mainly spreading via weird Russian and religious forums, at least from as much as I am aware of.

    As I read somewhere that this alleged reporter I allegedly talked to works for Hareetz, I have asked the folks from Israeli TV if they could help find out who that is, and how to contact her. They replied that there doesn’t seem to be anyone by that name. So obviously, which was my gut feeling also, that person does not exist. Why that rumour is circulated, I dont know. I have my feelings about that and think we should give it some more time to uncover itself.

    __________

    Sample of many reports of the allegation:

    http://beforeitsnews.com/story/308/209/WikiLeaks_Struck_a_Deal_to_Keep_Away_Anything_Damaging_to_Israel.html

  18. WikiLeaks experiences leak itself

    An Oslo-based newspaper reportedly has become the only medium in the world that’s secured unlimited access to more than 250,000 documents initially leaked to the non-profit organization WikiLeaks. The leak from WikiLeaks seems to have spoiled the organization’s strategy to retain control over the vast array of classified material mostly originating from US embassies around the globe.
    LONDON, ENGLAND – DECEMBER 16: WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange waves legal papers as he leaves The High Court on December 16, 2010 in London, England. Julian Assange has been released after being granted bail by the High Court. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid-WPA Pool/Getty Images)

    Newspaper Aftenposten has earlier disclosed that it had gained access to all the WikiLeaks documents that started being made public last month. WikiLeaks itself had intended to control their distribution through exclusive agreements with several major media outlets — The Guardian in the UK, El Pais in Spain, Le Monde in France, The New York Times in the US and Der Spiegel in Germany — which had been invited to participate in their publication. Those media outlets have since been releasing documents and writing about their contents in cooperation with WikiLeaks.

    On Wednesday, Norway’s main business newspaper Dagens Næringsliv (DN) reported that now WikiLeaks seems to have lost that control. Aftenposten, according to DN, gained access to all 251,287 documents with no strings attached and has been publishing stories about the contents of many over the past several days, without always publishing the original documents themselves.

    “I have no comment on how we secured access to the documents,” Aftenposten’s news editor Ole Erik Almlid told DN. “We never reveal our sources, not in this case either.” DN also reported that WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson had no immediate comment.

    The odd game of Russian partner of Wikileaks

    “When all the world’s major newspapers published articles in an in-depth report at Wikileaks, Russia Russkij the reporter published an article which claimed that the Georgia was to have marked the beginning of ‘aggression (against Russia, ed.) Since the report of the American diplomats was the exact opposite, the ‘economist Andrei Illarionov has even suggested that the newspaper article that is part of a new campaign of disinformation. ”

    It ‘s so that Pljuš?ev Alexander, a journalist of Echo Moskvy, said the strange direction taken in Russia’ s business WikiLeaks.

    Indeed, while worldwide newspapers publish the new Wikileaks documents on the conflict between Russia and Georgia, reported that several witnesses in support of Georgia, the Russian partner of Wikileaks, the magazine Russkij Reporter, follows a completely different thread markedly -Russian.

    Russkij Reporter is a magazine journalism ‘s investigation of some dispute. Wikileaks was founded by the collaboration with the mediation of the Palestinian reporter Israel Shamir , the first time involved in a lengthy report by the magazine dedicated to Palestine.

    In an ‘interview with Echo Moskvy radio in early December Lejbin Vitaly, director of the magazine, explained in this way the relationship with Wikileaks.

    ‘The idea is this: at first we point out a number of tags and applications to the database and Friday (two days before the primary publication) receive a series of documents of interest to us, based on what we write then the article.

    We agreed that in Moscow in the night and we could publish only, it seems, just us, we followed. We decided that until mid-week we would not have published the original document. But then it became clear that all were already doing so and we started ourselves. ”

    The collaboration with Russkij Reporter was born later, perhaps because in the first four years of existence, Wikileaks published documents had not really relevant to Russia. E ‘has emerged in recent weeks that the more difficult issues such as relations between Russia and in particular those that were the boundaries of so-called’ empire, Georgia and Azerbaijan in the first place.

    “The dossier on Azerbaijan is truly scandalous. Really. They are obviously very articulate, with good privacy survey “Lejbin says, adding:” So far we have tried a lot even though we did not find documents relating to the period of the Orange Revolution, which would seem to be very interesting. Why is the embassy intervened very heavily. ” And this is explained by the fact that the database file and in recent times have been digitized and placed in another location. ”

    But the most serious issue is surely the Russian-Georgian war.

    Sums up the issue Pljuš?ev Alexander, a journalist of Echo Moskvy, “When all the world’s major newspapers published articles in an investigation in relation to Wikileaks, in Russia,” Russkij reporter published an article which claimed that Georgia had been to have given beginning of the aggression. Since the report of the American diplomats was the exact opposite, economist Andrei Illarionov has even suggested that the newspaper article that is part of a new campaign of disinformation. ”

    In his personal blog on November 29 Illarionov wrote: “Russkij magazine reporter and / or those who have prepared materials are active part of a new information campaign antigeorgiana.

    A conscious choice and focused, therefore, according to the economist.

    Even Julia Latynina, a journalist of Echo Moskvy, Novaya Gazeta and Moscow Times, attacked pretty hard choices of the magazine (and particularly the so-called “dossier of Georgia”) and said that more than a matter of misinformation is just the quality of journalism .

    Lejbin instead defends the use of renewable Russkij Reporter stressing that both the editorial and Shamil are responsible for what is published and thus responds to Latynina: “It ‘s obviously not read the article and has no intention of doing so, has not Georgia said the dossier, he recalls … (…). For part (part of Latynina, ndt), which concerns the accusation of bias in reference to the war with Georgia, I remain in my mind: this issue we’ve got it complete, they are all the documents of the Georgian consulate, which exist and can be analyzed as desired. ”

    In particular, referring to the written report Lejbin August 7, 2010 by John Tefft, ambasciatoreamericano in Georgia, concerning troop movements toward the Georgian border.

    “It is not clear: either the ambassador had to gauge the movement of troops and did not realize that the war would begin, or if these documents are not talking about that.”

    “The method of work of Julia Latynina, the way I see it (review confirmed many times), is to bring the voices of anonymous sources on the basis of these and create a sort of journalistic fiction.”

    A modus operandi for the Director of Reporter Russkij would conflict with the same professional ethics:

    “Julian Assange public documents naked and raw, no comments on them. And we publish them as they are, and comments put them just to give references to the reader and to kick off the discussion. (…) Julia Latynina is based on rumors, even without reference to the source of information. ”

    Julia Latynina’s response came swiftly in an editorial published on December 8 from Moscow Times, which accused the newspaper of distorting the reality of the documents, such as when he said “based on reports of U.S. ambassadors to Georgia” that “no the world had no illusions that it was Saakashvili to start the war. ”

    On 17 December Russkij Reporter returned to the topic of the war between Russia and Georgia, not to reconsider its position or major joints but to bring new elements to their position.

    The article entitled “Lukashenko: Russia has caused the war in Georgia,” is accompanied by the subtitle, rather than targeted, “What games played behind the Belarusian President of Russia” and the application of the hat “(…) They are documents made available from the website Wikileaks, which show the ingenuity with Aleksandr Lukashenko is spreading its anti-Russian feelings, trying to get from Western economic aid and political support. ”

    Why Russkij Reporter is continuing on a line so sharp and liable to a little objectivity?

    The answer it gives Julia Latynina back to the lack of credibility of Isral Shamir: “(Shamir, ndt) is known for denying the ‘Holocaust”(…), as saying that many Jews would receive text messages that they would be warned in advance of ‘terrorist attack on the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. (…) (…)

    The respectable newspapers have chosen a completely different and more responsible for the leaks of the founder of Wikileaks, Julian Assange. They have carefully perused the archives made public and published by Wikileaks balanced and analytical depth articles that examined the content of what they had found. In contrast, Russkij Reporter has published articles written by a well-known anti-Semite who does not even bother to read the original documents. ”

    Whether or not you agree with the position of Julia Latynina, the case Russkij Reporter also poses a big question on the use of sources: the extent to which use certain materials rather than others is a selection of journalism and when it becomes opposed to the practice of good journalism and to ‘ontology professional?

    As of today, “Novaya Gazeta” became an official partner WikiLeaks

    Persecution began to familiar Assange – partner WikiLeaks in Sweden – Johannes Wahlström. He published a despatch from which it follows that the Swedish security services secretly monitor citizens. And here in the country, said an apologist for the freedom of speech, leading newspapers and radio stations are beginning to seriously accuse Wahlström that he was the son of his father – a controversial man, known for his anti-Semitic statements.

  19. Buzek leads EU condemnation of Belarus elections

    Parliament’s president Jerzy Buzek has condemned the weekend’s presidential elections in Belarus and called for an “immediate end” to the violence against activists.

    He said, “The election night was overshadowed by violent clashes in Minsk and detentions and beatings of hundreds of Belarusian activists, journalists and civil society representatives.”

    The Polish MEP was speaking after the Belarus authorities jailed 600 demonstrators for up to two weeks in a crackdown on protests against the re-election of president Alexander Lukashenko.

    Some detainees may face longer terms – as much as 15 years – if found guilty of taking part in “mass disturbances”.

    At least seven presidential candidates were among those detained. Some of them were also reportedly beaten by police.

    Observers called the poll “flawed” and the US and EU have condemned the crackdown.

    President Lukashenko, in power since 1994, was re-elected for a fourth term with almost 80 per cent of the vote. He accused opposition supporters of “banditry”.

    Police dispersed at least 10,000 anti-Lukashenko demonstrators in Minsk on Sunday night.

    Reaction was swift with Buzek saying “Despite some limited improvements, once again the elections in Belarus fell short of meeting international standards of free, fair and transparent elections.

    “Major irregularities were noted by the observers during the vote count on the election day. Moreover, the election night was overshadowed by violent clashes.”

    Buzek said the Lukashenko government “clearly lacks democratic legitimacy and continues, regrettably, as one of the last authoritarian states in Europe.”

    Business as usual for EU and Belarus despite violence

    The OSCE, the Vienna-based pro-democracy watchdog, in its preliminary verdict on the presidential vote said on Monday that Belarus “still has a considerable way to go” to meet international standards, pointing to the vote-counting process as the most corrupt element.

    The diplomatic source said Poland, the main custodian of EU policy on Belarus, a neighbouring country, is not interested in punishing President Aleksander Lukashenko because Warsaw believes it would achieve nothing in terms of democratic transformation or protecting Belarus’ independence from Russia.

    For his part, Mr Lukashenko on Monday derided the protesters as being unmanly for complaining about police beatings. “And you want to be President? You have to bear it!” he said.

    He also threatened to publish details of financial donations made to opposition candidates in a Belarus-style WikiLeaks move designed to show foreign hands at work and to highlight the power of the KGB.

    Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan move closer to economic union

    If all these plans are implemented, a new geo-economic center of power will emerge in the middle of Eurasia, in between the EU and China. This economic project is being carried out on a sound and pragmatic basis. The Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC) is rapidly getting on its feet and is viewed by most economic players as an important trading partner, according to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. This means that on Dec. 9, the leaders of Kazakhstan, Russia, and Belarus made, if not a breakthrough, then a very important step towards a common dream – the establishment of a real integrated economic space in the midst of what used to be the Soviet Union.

  20. From 2004, in Swedish online news – Israel Shamir is lying about his history:

    Israel Shamir official biography is in many ways pure fabrications. His real name is Joran Jermer and has for years been a Swedish citizen. Of course he does not want to answer some questions of the Expo. According to the official version posted on the Israel Shamir’s website, he is a freelance journalist in Israel and lives in Jaffa. In fact, he is a Swedish citizen and official residence in Stockholm.

    Israel Shamir was born in Novosibirsk in Russia in 1947 and emigrated to Israel 1969. There he attended the 1973 war as a parachute soldier. After the war he should have commenced his journalistic career. He reported from Southeast Asia and elsewhere. In 1975, Shamir moved to London to work for the BBC. Between 1977 and 1979 he wrote from Japan. 1980 he moved back to Israel. There he must have worked for the newspaper Haaretz. At that time he will also have been the spokesperson for the now defunct socialist party Mapam.

    Shamir moved from Israel back to Russia. From there he reported between 1989 and 1993. In 1993 he returned to Israel and settled in Jaffa. So far the official history.

    Swedish citizen

    On his own website describes itself Shamir as a respectable and experienced journalist. But there are several questions surrounding Shamir biography.
    One thing Shamir forgot to tell you is that he has long been a Swedish citizen and that Israel Shamir is no longer his real name. In April 2001, a few months before his site was registered, he changed his name to Joran Jermer. In 1984, when Jermer as its official history was in Israel, where he actually lives in Sweden where he received a Swedish personal identity. The data from the population register can be inferred that he’s since been written in an address in Stockholm. 1992, when his own admission he was residing in Russia, he was in fact a Swedish citizen.

    1993, at the time of the alleged Shamir’s return to Israel, he emigrated under the Swedish population register to Russia.

    Emigrant official

    In September 1998, Jermer officially back to Sweden. He came from Israel where he had married another woman. She later emigrated from Sweden in 2001. Var Jermas har befunnit sig sedan dess är osäkert. Be Jermer has been since then is uncertain. He said himself that he had been in Israel since 1993, but according to the Swedish population register, he is still living in Sweden.

    What Jermer made during his time in Sweden is unclear. Since 1991, he has no registered income. He has two sons with a Swedish woman. The youngest son was one of the Swedish activists who were arrested by Israeli forces in the context of the Israeli siege of the Nativity in Bethlehem in early May 2002.

    Different identities

    To comply with Joran Jermer history is complicated. Not only did several of his own data do not match. He has spent his life using several different identities. In an interview in the newspaper Ma’ariv declares Jermer mother that her son was in fact born with the surname Schmerling. Over time he also started to use the name Robert David when he wrote articles. However, under the name of Israel Shamir, he has become famous.

    Journalism Career

    Joran Jermer journalistic career is, if you judge by his own figures, impressive. On the Israeli newspaper Haaretz which Jermer asserts that he worked one feels, however, does not recognize his name. After further studies confirm the that he has written several freelance articles for the magazine.

    What is clear is that Joran Jermer often on the move. Not long ago he was back home in Sweden at the release party for his book. When the Expo is in contact with him, he is in Spain to promote the Spanish edition of the book. He would not answer questions Expos. In an email he replied irritably:

    – It is misrepresentation to describe oneself a journalist when one works as a spy for ADL, as Expo is just a front for ADL. If you are a journalist so are the investigators of Abu Ghraib and Muskabiye.* Please refrain from snooping into my private life, otherwise you will hear from Swedish police.

    * Anti-Defamation League, ADL, is an American jew organization that reviews and monitors right-wing extremism and anti-Semitism. Abu Ghraib, the Iraqi prison where U.S. soldiers torturing Iraqi prisoners revealed.

  21. Daniel Domscheit-Berg Denies Rumor of Assange-Israeli Deals

    Daniel Domscheit-Berg writes [with permission to publish]:

    21 December 2010

    I have been notified about the general rumour a few weeks ago, and shortly after about the appearance of me as involved in those allegations. I have never spoken to anyone at syriatruth or that reporter that is making these claims, nor do I know anything about any deals JA has allegedly made with Israelis.

    Given what is appearing in the Scandinavian area with the involvement of Shamir and Wahlstrom I wouldn’t actually expect that to happen either. In any case, this latter statement is just my personal judgement.

    I once received a test mail from a nizar.nayouf@syriatruth.net, and then a followup regarding OpenLeaks questions. A contact request to him after hearing of the allegations was not replied to.

    In the last week or so I have been contacted by Israeli TV about this, as well as French Le Point today. Those are the only media outfits so far that seem to have taken interest. Other than that it seems to be mainly spreading via weird Russian and religious forums, at least from as much as I am aware of.

    As I read somewhere that this alleged reporter I allegedly talked to works for Hareetz, I have asked the folks from Israeli TV if they could help find out who that is, and how to contact her. They replied that there doesn’t seem to be anyone by that name. So obviously, which was my gut feeling also, that person does not exist. Why that rumour is circulated, I dont know. I have my feelings about that and think we should give it some more time to uncover itself.

    __________

    Sample of many reports of the allegation:

    http://beforeitsnews.com/story/308/209/WikiLeaks_Struck_a_Deal_to_Keep_Away_Anything_Damaging_to_Israel.html

  22. Shamir is still in there batting for Lukashenko:

    According to Interfax, the representative of the WikiLeaks, Mr. Israel Shamir, suspected cases to the streets in Minsk has been funded by cash flows from the U.S.. Mr. Shamir’s presence in Minsk with international observers. He said financial support mechanism for the opposition Belarus is a complex system link between government funds and financial independence to their form. “National Foundation for American democracy is one of several such organizations” – he indicated.

    Belarus Foreign Ministry also learn why ambassadors of some countries also joined a group of demonstrators. Earlier, in a speech, he mentioned that will launch in a few days to documents “top secret” about the relationship between the West and the opposition in Belarus. “In order for people to see the Western partners of ours, and those who called the opposition” – Ria Novosti quoted Lukashenko.

    Related to 639 protesters were arrested on 19 and 20-12 for allegedly “organizing and participating in mass disturbances,” immediate Belarus police said they detained to 15 days.

  23. Belarus Updates: US Declares Elections Illegitimate

    State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said, “The United States concurs with the assessment of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe). We cannot consider the election results yesterday as legitimate.”

    White House spokesman Robert Gibbs added, “The United States strongly condemns the actions that the government of Belarus has taken to undermine the democratic process and (the use of) disproportionate force against political activists, civil society representatives and journalists.”

    Gibbs called for the “immediate release” from detention of hundreds of protestors, including six or seven of the nine opposition candidates, and noted disruption of the Internet in the days before the election. He said, “The actions taken over the last 24 hours…are a clear step backwards on issues central to our relationship with Belarus.”

    Russia has set out a very different position on the elections: President Dmitry Medvedev described the situation as an “internal affair”.

  24. Belarus’ Lukashenko Wants Credit for Not Recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia

    Belarus’s strongman leader, Alexander Lukashenko, just reelected on December 19, feared that his 2009 gas bill from Russia would come in the form of a request to recognize breakaway Abkhazia and South Ossetia, according to alleged US embassy cables published by The Guardian.

    The documents claim that Lukashenko, who described Russia’s 2008 war with Georgia as “planned . . . years in advance,” complained that the European Union, often critical of his government policies, failed to give him due credit for resisting purported Russian pressure to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia as independent states. The documents were provided by WikiLeaks to The Guardian.

    Regional media has long reported that Moscow, which has troops stationed in both breakaway regions, is trying to press Belarus into joining Venezuela, Nicaragua and Nauru by recognizing Abkhazia and South Ossetia as countries separate from Georgia. The Kremlin has denied the reports.

    But Lukashenko’s resistance to Moscow only went so far, apparently. The documents allege that he decided against accepting an invitation from Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili to visit Tbilisi.

  25. Democracy on the run

    The Belarusian election is a ritual. The winner is already known because Alyaksandr Lukashenka, the first and only president of Belarus, is assured of victory in the first round over nine opponents. Every facet of the election has been under government control, and the nine alternative candidates are dismissed as “enemies of the people.” They were introduced on national television as “nine identical candidates.”

    However, Lukashenka’s situation was uncertain for several weeks because of a well-publicized spat with Russia. On Dec. 9, this ended during his visit to Moscow when President Dmitry Medvedev, who had accused Lukashenka of crossing all boundaries of human decency during the recent trading of barbs, decided after all that he was the best candidate from Russia’s perspective.

    In return, Lukashenka has agreed to join a common economic space with Russia and Kazakhstan, and to accept the Russian ruble as the sole currency, effective Jan. 1, 2012. He is also under severe pressure to recognize the independence of South Ossetia and Abkhazia (shunned by most of the world), and heavily reliant on Russia and the IMF for future loans. Belarus, however, is back into the Russian fold, though the European Union had not rejected him.

    The EU’s Eastern Partnership badly needs Belarus because few of its members are very reliable. One is Ukraine, where the democratic structure is crumbling rapidly. President Viktor Yanukovych and his Regions Party are constructing a power base while trying to ensure the complete demise of the opposition.

  26. Lukashenka Compromises to Gain Moscow’s Support

    The election has been notably open, with several opposition candidates reaching out for support from Moscow, and the European Union offering encouragement to the incumbent president conditional on some basic requirements for a democratic process.

    However, belatedly the president has reached a pre-election agreement with Moscow on oil and gas imports to gain qualified support, at a high price.

    Opinion polls suggest that although Alyaksandr Lukashenka leads his rivals, he lacks a clear majority. Lukashenka’s electoral rating two weeks before the election was between 31 and 48 percent. Indeed, Lukashenka’s closest rivals trailed: Uladzimir Nyaklayeu, leader of the “Speak the Truth” campaign on 15.1 percent to 16.8 percent, Andrei Sannikau, 8.6 percent to 10.6 percent, and Yaraslav Ramanchuk a respectable fourth (6.1 percent to 8.2 percent), with the remainder of the field well behind. According to the poll conducted by the Ukrainian agency SOCIUM, approximately one-third of voters were still undecided (http://nekliaev.org/en/news/actual/socopros-v-belorussii-lukashenko-vinoven-453-ego-prezidentskiie-reieting-314.html, http://www.belmy.by, December 8).

    The recent rift between Belarus and Russia appeared to make Lukashenka more vulnerable. Moscow made it clear that it would not necessarily guarantee another “elegant” Lukashenka victory and last September on his video-blog, President Dmitry Medvedev commented that the Belarusian leader had broken all the rules of decency (www.rt.com, October 4). The language was ominously similar to the letter with which he severed relations last fall with former Ukrainian President, Viktor Yushchenko (Interfax, August 11).

    The Belarusian authorities had to act promptly to censor several Russian television programs that attacked and ridiculed their president. However, Lukashenka received unexpected backing from the Lithuanian President, Dalia Grybauskaite (www.charter97.org, November 23), and after a November visit to Minsk, Guido Westerwelle and Radoslaw Sikorski, the Foreign Ministers of Germany and Poland respectively, informed Lukashenka that if the election was conducted fairly, they would use their influence to solicit a $3.8 billion EU loan for Belarus, with the assistance of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) (www.thenews.pl, November 22).

    Thus, the election campaign for several weeks turned Belarusian politics on its head. The EU appeared to be behind Lukashenka, while the opposition candidates, particularly Sannikau and Neklyayeu appealed to Russia. However, Moscow declined to endorse any of the nine candidates, despite support for them at lower levels of the Russian hierarchy. It left the door open for negotiations in the knowledge that Lukashenka would be in Moscow in early December for talks on the introduction of a common economic space (along with Kazakhstan), as well as meetings of the Eurasian Economic Community, the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) and the CIS (Belorusskiy Partizan, December 10).

  27. Vladimir Neklyayev, 64.

    A well-known poet, author of many popular songs, Neklyayev is a mysterious candidate. After falling foul of Belarussian authorities, he lived in Poland and Finland from 2001 to 2005 but recently appeared as head of the Govori Pravdu (Tell the Truth) social movement.

    Pollsters say he is in second place behind Lukashenko, though far behind in percentage terms. Analysts say his organization appears to rely heavily on funding from Moscow but that it is not clear whether this is from the Kremlin or from other sources in Moscow.

    Andrei Sannikov, 56.

    A former deputy foreign minister, Sannikov quit the post in 1996 to protest a constitutional referendum and went into opposition against Lukashenko. He heads the most popular Belarussian opposition site, Charter 97, and the European Belarus movement. He has campaigned on taking Belarus into the European Union and improving ties with Russia. He says he funded his election campaign out of proceeds from selling his Minsk apartment.
    Grigory Kostusev, 53.

    Kostusev is deputy head of the strongest nationalist party, the Belarussian National Front. In his election campaign, he has said he would restore the border with Russia, which was symbolically “removed” in 1995 as part of moves toward a union, and would drop Russian as a state language. In public speeches, he has made harsh attacks not only on Lukashenko but also on Sannikov and Neklyayev, accusing them of being stalking horses for Russia.
    Yaroslav Romanchuk, 44.

    Deputy head of the liberal United Civic party, Romanchuk was known as an economic analyst until his candidacy for the presidency emerged. He supports a market economy model.
    Nikolai Statkevich, 54.

    A retired colonel, Statkevich has headed the Belarussian Social-Democrat party since the mid-1990s. At the end of the 1990s, he headed the opposition’s biggest street rallies. He says he is not taking the election seriously but sees it “as a good reason to bring people out on to the streets.”
    Vitaly Rymashevsky, 35.

    One of the leaders of the Belarussian Christian Democratic party, Rymashevsky has been an active participant in opposition street protests in recent years.

  28. 08WARSAW1409 2008-12-12 06:06

    ¶9. (C) Tusk and Sikorski see engagement with Belarusian
    authorities as the lesser of two evils. In the Poles’ view,
    an isolated Belarus could become completely ensnared by
    Russia, with or without Lukashenka in power. Russian
    domination would jeopardize democratic transformation and —
    more importantly, in Warsaw’s view — would dash hopes that
    Belarus could become a buffer state between Poland and
    Russia. The GoP is betting that Lukashenka enjoys enough
    power to resist the elimination of independent Belarusian
    institutions and maintain his freedom of maneuver. MFA
    officials tell us that in response to the lifting of EU visa
    sanctions, Belarus has signaled Brussels that Minsk would
    ease some media restrictions.

    CHALLENGES AHEAD
    —————-

    ¶10. (C) MFA officials understand Poland’s eastern policies
    could elicit a sharp Russian reaction, but they see a greater
    danger in doing nothing since they believe a resurgent,
    aggressive Russia is here to stay. Poland has sought to
    mitigate the risk of a backlash by maintaining a cordial
    dialogue with Moscow and pursuing a united US-EU front
    vis-a-vis Russia on sensitive energy and security issues.
    President Lech Kaczynski, the Prime Minister’s top political
    rival, takes a more confrontational approach to Russia; he
    often visits Georgia and makes pronouncements there without
    coordinating with the government. To a certain extent,
    Kaczynski’s lurching east takes pressure off the Tusk
    Government to be tough in public with Russia, but the two
    leaders’ divergent approaches could also hamper their ability
    to achieve the shared goal of extending European and
    trans-Atlantic institutions eastward.

  29. Secret US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks puts Lukashenka’s personal fortune at $9 billion

    A confidential US diplomatic cable from Minsk puts Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s personal fortune at $9 billion, said the British newspaper Guardian in a report published on December 17 with reference to WikiLeaks.

    The cable suggests that Mr. Lukashenka is the wealthiest individual in Belarus and “comfortably tops a list of the country’s richest 50 oligarchs,” which is dominated by his “cronies,” the paper said.

    Sent on June 16, 2006 by George Krol, the US ambassador to Belarus between 2003 and 2006, the cable said that the embassy had recently received a list “purporting to show Belarus’ top 50 oligarchs and their net worth.”

    “An internet search found another, slightly older list that is nearly identical to the first,” the cable said. “Post cannot confirm the sources or exact information in these lists, but rates the information as being highly credible. These lists read as a ‘who’s who’ of the Lukashenko regime, past and present. Those listed had the opportunity to enrich themselves, and evidence indicates that many did so.”

    “Firstly, this is complete rubbish,” Pavel Lyohki, head of the Belarusian leader’s press office, commented to BelaPAN. “It is highly significant that the sources of the information were not disclosed. It is obvious that there could be no sources of such information. Secondly, Alyaksandr Lukashenka once wrote to the then US president, George Bush, that if any money belonging to the Belarusian president was found, he might take it all. Thirdly, I want to ask how it is possible to steal such a huge sum of money in Belarus. So that US diplomatic cable, if it really existed, is really fantastic nonsense.”

  30. The ‘850 people’ has to be a misprint:

    Lukashenko gains 78% of the vote in St. Petersburg

    20.12.2010 00:22

    MOSCOW, 20 December (BelTA) – 78% of voters in St. Petersburg voted for Alexander Lukashenko in the presidential election, BelTA learnt from the chairman of the precinct election commission Oleg Tabaniukhov.

    Vladimir Neklyaev gained 5.5% of the vote in Russia’s northern capital, Andrei Sannikov – 4.8%, Yaroslav Romanchuk – 4.0%. Other candidates gained less than 2%.

    Belarus represents interesting of alternative development, Israel Shamir says

    19.12.2010 23:08

    MINSK, 19 December (BelTA) – Belarus represents an interesting option of alternative development, famous Israeli political writer Israel Shamir told reporters in Minsk.

    “Belarus represents an interesting variant of alternative development, especially now,” said Israel Shamir. According to him, the model that was imposed by Washington and Chicago on the rest of the world went bankrupt and insolvent. The political analyst said: The world has changed cardinally today. A search for further ways of development is now underway. Monetarism is bankrupt. Military aggression, on which Bush relied, has failed. We live in the post-crisis era. Now people are starting to think: what about the alternative variants of development? Therefore Belarus should not be afraid of alternatives,” Israel Shamir said.

    One of Belarus’ major achievements, according to Israel Shamir, is that the country prevented large international companies from absorbing the market. “For the 20 years of western raids around the world, Belarus has managed to preserve its assets. This is a very important lesson for many countries,” said the analyst.

    Preservation of socialist principles is also among the positive factors in the development of Belarus, he said. “Belarus has managed to preserve and develop the elements of socialism, which in the early 1990s were discredited,” said Israel Shamir. He is convinced: Today such a thing as socialism is back with a confident gait, in new clothes and with a new meaning. “It is wonderful that Belarus has managed to preserve and maintain the elements of socialism. Belarus is a shining lamp of socialism,” Israel Shamir said.

    The turnout in St. Petersburg was 98% (850 people).

    BELARUS 19 Dec 2010 Former Soviet state holds presidential election

    RFERL reports that Lukashenko has taken the precaution of becoming friendlier with the European Union. In November Brussels sent the message to Minsk that if he holds an election Brussels can accept as democratic, the European Union will disburse 3 billion euros (US $3.9 billion) to support his regime.

    The European Union and the and United States have long shunned Lukashenko. They accuse him of maintaining power through illegitimate elections and harshly suppressing dissent, but the Europeans have softened their stance in recent years.

  31. The implication at the end of this Guardian story on Shamir and Wikileaks is sinister:

    ‘Given the tight if murky links between the Russian security apparatus and the quasi-fascist Nationalist movement with which Shamir is associated there, it has worrying implications for the security of anyone named in the cables. This is not because the cables themselves are inaccurate, but because they are not.’

Comments are closed.