Amazon pulled the plug on hosting WikiLeaks today amidst increasing political pressure.
The Associated Press reports:
Amazon.com Inc. forced WikiLeaks to stop using the U.S. company’s computers to distribute embarrassing State Department communications and other documents, WikiLeaks said Wednesday.The ouster came after congressional staff had questioned Amazon about its relationship with WikiLeaks, said Sen. Joe Lieberman, an independent from Connecticut.
WikiLeaks confirmed it hours after The Associated Press reported that Amazon’s servers had stopped hosting WikiLeaks’ site. The site was unavailable for several hours before it moved back to its previous Swedish host, Bahnhof.
WikiLeaks tweeted in response: “WikiLeaks servers at Amazon ousted. Free speech the land of the free–fine our $ are now spent to employ people in Europe,” and later, “If Amazon are so uncomfortable with the first amendment, they should get out of the business of selling books.”
Keep up with the latest WikiLeaks news in our continuously-updated live blog below.
The Guardian is focusing on Putin’s possible knowledge of plans to kill former KGB agent and Russian dissident Alexander Litvinenko. The paper reports:
Daniel Fried, the assistant secretary of state, questioned whether “rogue elements” in Russia’s security services could have carried out the hit without Putin’s direct approval.A scenario where the Kremlin was unaware of the Litvinenko plot was far-fetched “given Putin’s attention to detail”, Fried said. The Russians were behaving with “increasing self-confidence to the point of arrogance”, he told the French, arguing for a tougher stance towards Moscow.
Litvinenko was killed in November of 2006 from an overdose of polonium-210 in England. His death and the subsequent British attempts at extraditing the man they suspected was responsible resulted in strained U.K.-Russian relations.
In the latest round of cables, WikiLeaks looks at Russia and Vladimir Putin, Russia’s high profile president and former prime minister. Although there have been overtures towards warmer relations between Russia and the U.S., the cables show that the U.S. has a cynical view of the former Soviet Union and its leaders. According to the New York Times:
The cables portray Mr. Putin as enjoying supremacy over all other Russian public figures, yet undermined by the very nature of the post-Soviet country he helped build.Even a man with his formidable will and intellect is shown beholden to intractable larger forces, including an inefficient economy and an unmanageable bureaucracy that often ignores his edicts.
In language candid and bald, the cables reveal an assessment of Mr. Putin’s Russia as highly centralized, occasionally brutal and all but irretrievably cynical and corrupt. The Kremlin, by this description, lies at the center of a constellation of official and quasi-official rackets.
Relations between the two nations have been under some strain recently. This week, Russian Prime Minister Medvedev warned of a possible upcoming arms race if Russia and the West cannot come to an agreement on a missile defense shield. Today, Putin bluntly stated that U.S. failure to ratify a new nuclear agreement known as the START treaty would be “dumb.”
You can find the full transcript and audio from Time‘s interview with Julian Assange here.
From the WikiLeaks Twitter account:
WikiLeaks servers at Amazon ousted. Free speech the land of the free–fine our $ are now spent to employ people in Europe.
The CableGate website is allegedly down, possibly due to losing its host, Amazon.com. The AP reports:
The main website and a sub-site devoted to the diplomatic documents were unavailable from the U.S. and Europe on Wednesday, as Amazon servers refused to acknowledge requests for data.
UPDATE: From the AP:
The WikiLeaks website has left its U.S. Web host, Amazon.com, and moved back to a Swedish provider.
Additional information on Khaled El-Masri, who was the mistaken victim of “extraordinary rendition” by the CIA, has come out in the cables. A German citizen of Lebanese descent, El-Masri has repeatedly attempted to confront the CIA about his ordeal. Says Boing Boing:
When the CIA realized he was innocent, he was flown to Albania and dumped on a back road without so much as an apology.El-Masri’s futile efforts at receiving justice in the U.S. are well-known, but the cables published this week by Wikileaks include revelations the U.S. also warned German authorities not to allow a local investigation into his kidnapping and abuse.