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Assange Comments on Aftenposten Wikileaks Access

Last month, Swedish Radio, Medierna, uncovered the fact that Johannes Wahlström, son of Israel Shamir, ‘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.’

In the light of this, it is peculiar that Aftenposten editor, Hilde Haugsgjerd, won’t own up as to where her paper obtained the documents. It would be welcome if Wikileaks could clarify, particularly since Hilde is claiming that Assange is “angry” about Aftenposten’s access.

The editor of Oslo-based newspaper Aftenposten was fending off reaction Tuesday to a commentary she wrote on her paper’s access to all of the more than 250,000 diplomatic cables initially leaked to the non-profit organization WikiLeaks. She had called it a “paradox” that WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange reportedly is angry that Aftenposten now can report freely from the leaked cables.

Aftenposten’s editor-in-chief, Hilde Haugsgjerd, elaborated on her media company’s access to the WikiLeaks documents.

“Paradoxically enough, the chief of one of our times’ biggest leaks is angry because there was a leak from his own leak,” editor-in-chief Hilde Haugsgjerd wrote in her commentary in Monday’s edition of Aftenposten. She wrote that Aftenposten’s own access to the cables, with no strings attached, “destroyed Assange’s own strategy for when and how documents about international conficts and themes should be made public.”

WikiLeaks, Haugsgjerd claimed, had a media plan to “secure themselves the best possible coverage and contribute to the most international debate possible around the leak’s content.” Aftenposten, she noted is not adhering to WikiLeaks’ plan, which she referred to as a “news monopoly” that involved a consortium of international media outlets.

“We have not signed the confidentiality clause that hinders (the media outlets) from publishing stories without an explicit agreement with WikiLeaks,” Haugsgjerd wrote.

That sparked a reaction from journalists at The Guardian in the UK, which has been among the media outlets that secured access to the cables from WikiLeaks. Nick Davies of The Guardian’s editorial staff told the web site for Norway’s journalists’ union, Journalisten, that Assange has had “zero influence” on The Guardian’s editorial decisions regarding its use of the WikiLeaks cables.

The Guardian also scotched Aftenposten’s boast about having exclusive access to all the documents.

Davies claimed that the agreement signed between The Guardian and WikiLeaks determined, in fact, that Assange would not have any influence, and he has not.

David Leigh, another editor at The Guardian, told Journalisten on Tuesday that his paper has all the cables as do the other newspapers in the original agreement with WikiLeaks. Leigh told Journalisten that the papers themselves have decided what they will publish, and when. After writing their stories, he said, edited copies of the relevant cables are sent to WikiLeaks (with some identities deleted, for example, for security reasons) so that WikiLeaks can publish the documents at the same time.

I’m equally curious about Karl Rove’s relationship with the Swedish government and attempts to extradite Julian Assange to the US.

Amongst other striking releases, Aftenposten has published cables relating to German commercial spy satellite development.

12.2.2009: GERMANY SEEKS U.S. PARTNER TO DEVELOP OPTICAL SPACE IMAGERY CAPABILITIES – “Eckardt said that DLR explored various scenarios for international partnerships, but in the end came to the conclusion that a U.S. partnership (DG) made the most “business sense.” “Should DLRs partnership with DG materialize, DLR indicated that the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) would be the “prime customer identified”, with DG serving as the U.S. market entry point.”
15.2.2009: GERMANY EXPANDING OVERHEAD RECONNAISSANCE PROGRAMS AND EYE CLOSER USG PARTNERSHIP
“(S//NF) On 8 April 2009, US National Geospatial Intelligence Agency (NGA) officers met with German Intelligence Service (BND) officials to discuss Germanys plans for expanded nationally operated overhead reconnaissance resources.”

This cable above is weird because the contents refers to a meeting in April, 09 whereas the cable is dated 15th Feb 09. The date for removal of embargo is 05/14/2034 … so the cable may really be dated 05/14/09.

20.5.2009: GERMAN COMPANY MARKETING SATELLITE IMAGERY TO US DESPITE FRENCH OPPOSITION – “Without going into details, Walati claimed that a German/US cooperative agreement on HiROS would fend off the French opposition.”
3.9.2009: GERMANY TO FRANCE: STAY OUT OF OUR COMMERCIAL SATELLITE AFFAIRS
10.9.2009:GERMAN INTELLIGENCE VIEWS ON OPTICAL RECONNAISSANCE CAPABILITIES – “The BND has come to the conclusion that having complementary optical imagery along side Germanys SAR-Lupe data is essential and is actively promoting HiROS. BND advocates a HiROS partnership with the US as a way to share costs/risk and well as provide some political cover from the French.”
11.9.2009: GERMAN OPTICAL SATELLITE REMOTE SENSING: THE PATH FORWARD Satellite sensors can ‘see’ potentially down to 25 – 40 cm. There goes the neighbourhood.
30.9.2009: GERMAN SPACE AGENCY SEEKING USG SUPPORT ON OPTICAL SATELLITE COOPERATION – “DLRs two primary objectives for this meeting were to float the idea of combining the military aspects of the GPS and Galileo Position, Navigation and Timing (PNT) systems under the framework of NATO (reporting SEPTEL) and to solicit USG support for cooperation on HiROS. ”

UPDATE 7/1/11

Shoeless Assange claims Aftenposten is a Wikileaks media partner, Aftenposten disagrees. What the hell is going on?

Neither Wikileaks commander or his spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson have so far wanted to comment on his relationship to Aftenposten. The newspaper claims to have gotten all the so-called “Cable Street” – over 250,000 diplomatic documents – without having to enter into any agreement with Wikileaks. . It has, however, the site’s so-called media partners – reject as El País, The Guardian and Le Monde – concluded.

COLD FEET? Even though the temperature was around freezing, went Assange in the base stone. DN is not aware whether it was a conscious choice or a consequence of bad times.

– Aftenposten is currently a media partner of Wikileaks, says Julian Assange to DN before reporting to the police.

– However, Aftenposten said that it is not it?

– Events are treated as other media partners.

– It’s amazing to hear him say it. We are not a media partner of Wikileaks, says chief editor of Aftenposten Hilde Haugsgjerd.

“Lite content”

December, it is not known whether the leak of Wikileaks documents to Aftenposten has happened alerts directly from the site, from one of its media partners or others with access to the material.

Commenting on Monday wrote Hilde Haugsgjerd that Wikileaks “after what we know, to say the least [is] unhappy with the newspaper Aftenposten also has received the so-called” Cable Street “with 251 287 U.S. diplomatic documents from a source” . Haugsgjerd stressed that “the Aftenposten is not included in the Assange refers to as the consortium, the few international editors who from the start was invited to participate in the publication of all documents,” and that the newspaper is free to publish cases from the documents without having to deal with Wikileaks.

– I can not comment. I have not read the comment, “said Assange.

Assange would not say anything more about the relationship to Aftenposten – a relationship which, however, has become more and more inflamed in the past two weeks. The reason for Haugsgjerd comment will be telephone calls between journalists in Aftenposten and Wikileaks few days before Christmas. In the calls attempted and Julian Assange spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson to conduct negotiations to bring Aftenposten publication of documents in controlled circumstances.

Would negotiate

– I know Assange have had contact with a few reporters with us. I do not know the details of these conversations, except that he has expressed a desire that we should be included as one of Wikileaks’ media partners. He has also expressed a desire to talk to me, but I have not heard from him, “said Hilde Haugsgjerd.

She denied that anyone in Aftenposten has entered into any agreement with Assange, and stressing that the newspaper is free to use the Wikileaks material.

– Since he has not spoken with either me or the other of the Aftenposten editors, it goes without saying that the newspaper has not entered into any agreement with him.

– Assange claims the now, however, that you are a media partner. What do you think about it?

– It seems as if Assange wish and believe that we will be media partners. Men at han ønsker og mener det, betyr jo ikke at vi er en mediepartner. But he wants and believes it, does not mean that we are a media partner.

– So what are you then?

– We have not had access to this material from Wikileaks. And I know that we have gained access to the material without having entered into any agreement on use. We are now keen to use the material in a responsible manner, “said Haugsgjerd.

Newspapers gossip

The agreements between Wikileaks and media partners have never been made public, and the details in them are not known.. But Julian Assange said himself to The Guardian, 3 December that part of the agreement is that the media partners will review and contribute to sladding of the documents that the papers reviews before they are published on the Wikileaks website. . In this way, Wikileaks escaped much of it is very time consuming skidding work. It has been known that the agreement also contained a release date for when the first cases could be released.

After the DN understand the Evening Post’s journalists have refused to acquiesce to the demands of Assange. They showed that the Event has been given access to the documents without any prior agreement.

Aftenposten has the last three weeks published cases each day from the disputed documents, but Wikileaks has little posted the documents referred to Aftenposten, the site makes such alerts when the other media partners publish cases based on diplomatic documents

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