Wikileaks news is coming thick and fast.
Some “highlights” over the last 24 hours.
[Israeli] Defense Minister Ehud Barak Tuesday told the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that a deal was never reached with the United States on a renewed settlement freeze because the US is preoccupied with the mass of documents being released by WikiLeaks.
Barak said, “At the moment, it has been completely halted” because of what he called a loss of American attention and concentration, saying they were “very busy with North Korea and the WikiLeaks releases.”
Several large Australian web-hosting companies said today they would be unlikely to host the Wikileaks repository if asked to by a customer, for a number of reasons.
Bulletproof Networks has earned a reputation for stability and reliability with its customers. The Australian company hosts several large Australian sites which attract record amounts of traffic — and sometimes controversy.
For example, the hosting provider houses broadband information site Whirlpool, one of Australia’s most controversial customer forums. Whirlpool has attracted numerous legal threats over the years, as well as denial-of-service attacks not dissimilar to the attacks that have targeted Wikileaks over the past several weeks as it released 250,000 US diplomatic cables to the public.
Bulletproof Networks director Lorenzo Modesto said his group hadn’t been approached, but that he would have to seriously consider ethical, political, commercial and “the most obvious” legal or potentially criminal implications of hosting a Wikileaks mirror for a customer if requested to do so.
“More than $1 billion per annum worth of transactions are served by Bulletproof’s mission-critical hosting infrastructure. As such, given potential issues with any number of the above considerations, we would probably kindly refuse, but refer them to another hosting partner like Rackspace,” he said. “The issue will be that the commercials required would preclude local public managed cloud hosting without the provider sponsoring it in some way.”
Another local web-hosting provider not known to shy away from controversy is Netregistry, run and co-founded by chief executive officer Larry Bloch.
Today, Bloch said that in many ways his sympathies were with the Wikileaks organisation, as he believed in transparency, but he thought the organisation had overstepped the mark in terms of the diplomatic cable release. “For the effective functioning of many sorts of relationships, you do need a bit of diplomatic secrecy,” he said.
In addition, the CEO said that typically Netregistry would tend not to make decisions about customers based on the content they wanted to host — as long as it wasn’t obviously illegal or unethical.
However, Bloch noted that the Wikileaks case was special, because of the scale of the situation from a technical perspective.
“It’d be suicide to put forward a hosting service other than one that is tailored absolutely to them,” he said, noting issues like the denial-of-service attacks could cause “ancillary damage”, and that Netregistry wasn’t set up for such needs.
Less than a month before a battle erupted in Beirut between Hezbollah and members of the ruling anti-Syrian coalition in May 2008, senior officials in the Lebanese government sent the U.S. embassy detailed intelligence that the militant group was operating an independent communications network across the country.
The uncovering of the network and the demand to shut it down were a central cause of the domestic rift in Lebanon.
A classified cable published by the online whistleblower WikiLeaks reveals that Minister of Telecommunications Marwan Hamadeh told U.S. diplomats that “Iran Telecom is taking over the country!”
The classified cable, sent by Charge d’Affaires Michele Sison in April 2008 from the embassy in Beirut to Washington, underscores the drama taking place in Lebanon over the course of those months and led to a “mini” civil war in Beirut.
The American diplomat wrote that Minister Hamadeh had asked to meet her urgently and disclosed to her a detailed survey of what he described as the complete fiber optic system that Hezbollah had established throughout Lebanon.
The previous evening, the Lebanese television station LBC had aired a program on Hezbollah’s telecommunications network, but Hamada told Sison that its existence had already been widely known.
Four (Glenn Greenwald in Salon):
Just look at what the… U.S. Government and its friends are willing to do and capable of doing to someone who challenges or defies them — all without any charges being filed or a shred of legal authority.… They’ve blocked access to their assets, tried to remove them from the Internet, bullied most everyone out of doing any business with them, froze the funds marked for Assange’s legal defense at exactly the time that they prepare a strange international arrest warrant to be executed, repeatedly threatened him with murder, had their Australian vassals openly threaten to revoke his passport, and declared them “Terrorists” even though — unlike the authorities who are doing all of these things — neither Assange nor WikiLeaks ever engaged in violence, advocated violence, or caused the slaughter of civilians.