Is Wikileaks Going to Get Someone (Besides its Founder) Killed?

Reasonable readers could agree that the headline, “U.S. Sends Warning to People Named in Cable Leaks,” would lead to the same conclusion expressed in this blog post heading. However, a closer reading reveals that the threat may be less severe that the U.S. government claims. A list of people that the NYTimes reports the U.S. government has cautioned about threats to safety as a result of Wikileaks’ cable releases:

  • “hundreds of human rights activists, foreign government officials and businesspeople identified in leaked diplomatic cables” (Maybe)
  • “Gene A. Cretz, the ambassador to Libya, who was recalled from his post last month after his name appeared on a cable describing peculiar personal habits of the Libyan leader, Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi.” (Not in danger)
  • “one midlevel diplomat has been moved from his post in an undisclosed country” (Not in danger)
  • “the ambassador to Russia, John R. Beyrle, whose name was on cables critical of Prime Minister Vladimir V. Putin” (Not in danger)
  • “An American diplomat in Central Asia said recently that one Iranian contact, who met him on periodic trips outside Iran, told him he would no longer speak to him.” (Not in danger)

Note: Administration officials said they were not aware of anyone who has been attacked or imprisoned as a direct result of information in the 2,700 cables.

Note (additionally): A Pentagon spokesman, Maj. Chris Perrine, said Thursday that the military was not aware of any confirmed case of harm to anyone as a result of being named in the Afghan war documents.

Separately, isn’t it only a matter of time before the Russians slip some polonium 210 into Assange’s soup?

From the NYTimes.


Wikileaks Book Deal

Everyone knows that legal representation is costly. Julian Assange claims that he’s already spent $300k on attorneys and that’s just to avoid going back to Sweden. Now, book publisher Random House has offered a staggering $1.3 million book deal to Assange, which will keep the legal machine going for long into the future. From the Times:

Mr. Assange will reportedly be paid $800,000 by Random House’s Alfred A. Knopf division for the American rights and another $500,000 by Canongate for the British rights. He stands to make more money from subsequent translations and serializations.

From the NYTimes.

Man hides veins to escape death row, State gets a second shot

Romell Broom, the only person in modern history to survive an execution, was convicted and sentenced to death for the 1984 rape and murder of a 14-year-old girl.

Last year, Ohio executioners spent two hours sticking Broom with a needle a total of 18 times unable to find a vein. That execution was stopped by Governor Ted Strickland and Broom’s lawyers took the case all the way to the Ohio Supreme Court, arguing 8th amendment and double jeopardy violations (ha!).

Unfortunately for Broom, the Court would hear none of it and gave the State the go ahead to try and execute Broom again. Broom’s in good company:

From the Chron.

Prop 8 and the 9th Circuit

Orin Kerr of the Volokh Conspiracy has penned a novel take on the Ninth Circuit review panel which includes Judge Stephen Reinhardt, “the most-reversed Court of Appeals judge in the land.” As Kerr points out, Reinhardt’s liberal leanings are good for Prop 8 opponents at the appellate level but bad in the end game:

But the word “Reinhardt” is radioactive at 1 First Street. Reinhardt writes like there is no Supreme Court, and as a result his opinions have a remarkable ability to annoy the Justices. In return, the Supreme Court loves to reverse Reinhardt. They love to reverse opinions he signs, and they love to reverse opinions he participates in. So the fact that he’ll likely be involved in the panel decision probably hurts opponents of Prop 8 in the long run.

While it would be nice to imagine that a losing track record plays as big a role as Kerr suggests, it’s absurd. The idea that because Justices “love” to reverse Reinhardt will have any impact on the decision of whether to acknowledge civil rights held by millions of Americans is reaching at best. To suggest that a grudge (if it is that at all) would affect the most important ruling of the 21st century is asinine.

Via the Volokh Conspiracy.