Dave Gilson

Senior Editor

Senior editor at Mother Jones. Obsessive generalist, word wrangler, data cruncher, pun maker.

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Dave Gilson is a senior editor at Mother Jones. Previously, he has worked for the San Francisco Bay Guardian, the Center for Investigative Reporting, and the Northern California bureau of the New York Times.

Harry Reid vs. the Oath Keeper Wanna-Be

| Wed Jun. 9, 2010 2:51 AM EDT

Sharron Angle won yesterday's primary to become Nevada's Republican candidate for Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's seat. She may have never advocated bartering for health care with chickens, as her opponent Sue Lowden did, but Angle already has some issues. Beyond embracing the Tea Party, she's also reached out to the Oath Keepers, the fringe patriot group whose core membership of cops and soldiers are gearing up to resist the Obama administration's anticipated slide toward outright tyranny.

Back in April, Angle told TPM's Evan McMorris-Santoro that she was a member of the Oath Keepers. This Monday, Angle's husband Ted told TPM's McMorris-Santoro and Justin Elliott that "We support what the organization stands for" and that he and his wife "desire" to join it. Oath Keeper founder Steward Rhodes said that candidate Angle had paid a visit to the group's Southern Nevada chapter last fall. 

For the full scoop on the Oath Keepers and what they stand for, check out the in-depth investigation MoJo published about them this spring. In it, Justine Sharrock profiles Pvt. 1st Class Lee Pray, a young soldier who joined the group to prepare for the day when he might have to turn against his commander-in-chief to resist martial law and the mass detention of American citizens. Pray told Sharrock that he'd been recruiting buddies, running drills, and stashing weapons—just in case. Like all Oath Keepers, he's sworn to disobey any orders he considers unconstiutional or illegal.

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Alleged WikiLeaks Video Leaker Arrested

| Sun Jun. 6, 2010 11:21 PM EDT

Wired has an exclusive on the arrest of a young G.I. for allegedly being the source of WikiLeaks' Collateral Murder video, which depicted an American Army helicopter mowing down two Reuters journalists on a Baghdad street in 2007. US Army SPC Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old intelligence analyst stationed in Iraq, is reportedly in military custody awaiting charges. According to Wired, Manning was turned in by an online contact to whom he'd bragged about his leaking. Ex-hacker Adrian Lamo says that Manning told him that in addition to sending WikiLeaks the Iraq video, he had also supplied an Army Counterintelligence Center report on the whistleblower site (which it published here), a video of an American missile attack in Afghanistan (which the site has said it will publish), and 260,000 State Department cables.

Lamo told Wired he felt that Manning's actions had jeopardized national security. "I wouldn't have done this if lives weren't in danger," he said. "He was in a war zone and basically trying to vacuum up as much classified information as he could, and just throwing it up into the air."

BP's Favorite Politicians, By the Numbers

| Fri Jun. 4, 2010 3:50 PM EDT

Who's BP's favorite politician ever? If you're just going by the numbers, it's none other than President Barack Obama, who leads BP's lifetime campaign donation list with $77,051. That puts him just ahead of reliable oilmen such as Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young, his retired colleague Sen. Ted Stevens, and George W. Bush. According to data collected by the Center for Responsive Politics, BP and its employees have given more than $3.4 million to federal candidates since 1990, with much of their largesse going to these 20:

Candidate
Amount Received from BP
President Barack Obama
$77,051
Rep. Don Young (R-Alaska)
$73,300
Sen. Ted Stevens (R-Alaska, ret.)
$53,200
President George W Bush $47,388
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) $44,899
Sen. George Voinovich (R-Ohio) $41,400
Sen. Mike DeWine (R-Ohio, ret.) $37,550
Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) $31,000
Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.) $28,200
Rep. Joe Barton (R-Texas) $27,350
Sen. Daniel Coats (R-Ind., ret.) $25,000
Rep. Lynn Martin (R-Ill., ret.) $24,450
Sen. Frank Murkowski (R-Alaska) $24,000
Sen. Phil Gramm (R-Texas) $23,800
Sen. Don Nickles (R-Okla., ret.) $23,750
Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.) $22,300
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) $22,000
Rep. Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) $21,100
Rep. John Culberson (R-Texas) $20,950
Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) $20,800

 

WikiLeaks' Sketchy Origins

| Wed Jun. 2, 2010 6:56 PM EDT

The New Yorker has a fascinating new profile of Julian Assange, the mastermind behind WikiLeaks. Raffi Khatchadourian's piece is full of revelations about the enigmatic hacker-turned-"open-government activist", from details of his peripatetic childhood to an exclusive glimpse of Assange at work on the "Collateral Murder" video of an American Army helicopter shooting journalists and civilians in Baghdad.

Check it out—but also check out MoJo's controversial profile of Assange by David Kushner, which has just been updated and expanded. Like Kushner, Khatchadourian concludes that Assange's attempts to shine light on evildoers while lurking in the shadows is deeply contradictory: "The thing that he seems to detest most—power with accountability—is encoded in the site's DNA, and will only become more pronounced as WikiLeaks evolves into a real institution."

Perhaps the most interesting tidbit in the New Yorker story is its discussion of how WikiLeaks got its start. When WikiLeaks was in the planning stages in 2006, Assange said that he had more than 1 million documents; a claim that convinced Cryptome founder Jon Young that Assange was either exaggerating or up to no good. But now it seems that Assange did have his hands on a large, questionably obtained, cache of material. Khatchadourian reports that one WikiLeaks activist had access to a "tranche" of secret government documents obtained by Chinese hackers. The documents had been pulled off of Tor, the anonymizing network that WikiLeaks now encourages its leakers to use to stymie "internet spies." According to the New Yorker, WikiLeaks posted only a few of those swiped documents. If it's accurate, this anecdote raises some serious ethical and technical questions about how WikiLeaks operates. Does WikiLeaks condone this kind of online snooping? Has it relied upon it since its launch? Just how many of the senstive documents it's posted were genuinely leaked and how many were hacked?   

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