Friday, December 31, 2010
They Killed His Mom
For Typing -
Don't Let Them Do It To Your's
Democracy Now interviews Robert Meeropol, the son of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, the only U.S. citizens to be executed under the Espionage Act. He states:
Now, but it’s not surprising that the government would use conspiracy, whether it’s against my parents or whether it’s against the WikiLeaks people, because if you’re anybody who engages in conversation or discussion, and the government can get one person to testify that that discussion was to leak classified material, or to transmit information to the Soviet Union, in my parents case, they could be swept up in the dragnet. And you could get people to rat out their friends in order to get more lenient sentences. It sows distrust among the community of support. It scares other people into silence.
And so, what we see here is, if there is a criminal indictment for conspiracy, not an attack on just Julian Assange himself, but on the entire community of support that is seeking to promote the very revolutionary idea that the people have the right to know what their government is doing, that’s what this ultimately is all about. And every left-wing, every progressive organizer, every organizer, in general—how can you engage in organizing, in getting groups of people to protest and coordinating activities, without engaging in what the government would term a conspiracy? And so, it is a threat to all of us. And that is really why I issued my call for us to recognize this. This Espionage Act of 1917 has been the sword of Damocles, sitting quietly, mostly unused, ready to spring out and attack dissenters. And when you have it in the context of the growing secrecy that we face today ... and an authoritarian-oriented Supreme Court, it is a danger to us all.
The entire interview is very worth watching.
Thursday, December 30, 2010
Diplomacy is traditionally a game of alliance and compromise. Yet in the early hours of Saturday 11 December, Bolivia found itself alone against the world: the only nation to oppose the outcome of the United Nations climate change summit in Cancún. We were accused of being obstructionist, obstinate and unrealistic. Yet in truth we did not feel alone, nor are we offended by the attacks. Instead, we feel an enormous obligation to set aside diplomacy and tell the truth.
The "Cancún accord" was presented late Friday afternoon, and we were given two hours to read it. Despite pressure to sign something – anything – immediately, Bolivia requested further deliberations. This text, we said, would be a sad conclusion to the negotiations. After we were denied any opportunity to discuss the text, despite a lack of consensus, the president banged her gavel to approve the document.
Many commentators have called the Cancún accord a "step in the right direction." We disagree: it is a giant step backward. The text replaces binding mechanisms for reducing greenhouse gas emissions with voluntary pledges that are wholly insufficient. These pledges contradict the stated goal of capping the rise in temperature at 2C, instead guiding us to 4C or more. The text is full of loopholes for polluters, opportunities for expanding carbon markets and similar mechanisms – like the forestry scheme Redd – that reduce the obligation of developed countries to act.
Bolivia may have been the only country to speak out against these failures, but several negotiators told us privately that they support us. Anyone who has seen the science on climate change knows that the Cancún agreement was irresponsible.
In addition to having science on our side, another reason we did not feel alone in opposing an unbalanced text at Cancún is that we received thousands of messages of support from the women, men, and young people of the social movements that have stood by us and have helped inform our position. It is out of respect for them, and humanity as a whole, that we feel a deep responsibility not to sign off on any paper that threatens millions of lives.
Some claim the best thing is to be realistic and recognise that at the very least the agreement saved the UN process from collapse.
Unfortunately, a convenient realism has become all that powerful nations are willing to offer, while they ignore scientists' exhortations to act radically now. The UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has found that in order to have a 50% chance of keeping the rise in temperature below 1.5C, emissions must peak by 2015. The attempt in Cancún to delay critical decisions until next year could have catastrophic consequences.
Bolivia is a small country. This means we are among the nations most vulnerable to climate change, but with the least responsibility for causing the problem. Studies indicate that our capital city of La Paz could become a desert within 30 years. What we do have is the privilege of being able to stand by our ideals, of not letting partisan agendas obscure our principal aim: defending life and Earth. We are not desperate for money. Last year, after we rejected the Copenhagen accord, the US cut our climate funding. We are not beholden to the World Bank, as so many of us in the south once were. We can act freely and do what is right.
Bolivia may have acted unusually by upsetting the established way of dealing with things. But we face an unprecedented crisis, and false victories won't save the planet. False agreements will not guarantee a future for our children. We all must stand up and demand a climate agreement strong enough to match the crisis we confront.
• Pablo Solon is the ambassador of the Plurinational State of Bolivia to the United Nations. Republished from the Guardian
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
CNN Trashing CNN
With ‘Extreme Misinformation’ On Wikileaks
But They Don't Even Know They Did
By David Edwards, Tuesday, December 28th, 2010
Salon's Glenn Greenwald tore into two CNN personalities Monday for their framing of a discussion about secrets outlet WikiLeaks.
First, Greenwald blasted CNN's Jessica Yellin for suggesting that WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange was profiting from the disclosure of classified information. Assange has said that he agreed to a $1.3 million book deal to help defray legal costs.
Then he tore into CNN contributor and former Bush Homeland Security Advisor Fran Townsend, calling out her lie that WikiLeaks had dumped 250,000 US State Department cables without redacting sensitive information.
It was all downhill for CNN, right from the interview's start.
"Any qualm about the fact that he is essentially profiting from classified information and do you see any irony in the fact he is making money off of a corporate publisher?" Yellin asked.
"I would contest the premise of your question," Greenwald replied. "He is not profiting at all off classified information. The legal fees that he is facing already amount to $200,000. It is certain that his legal fees continue to sky rocket. He is clearly the leading target of governments around the world."
"There is no question that even with his $1.3 million book contract, at the end of the day, his legal fees are going to be vastly more than that. What this is a way for him to survive the legal onslaught that governments are launching," he said.
Assange is fighting extradition to Sweden where is he wanted for questioning in connection to alleged sexual assaults. He was free on bail in London at the time of this story's publication. The WikiLeaks founder has also said that he expects the US to charge him with espionage or conspiracy.
"He should also be prepared to go to jail for what he's done, as other revolutionaries have. No?" Yellin asked.
"Well, see, you're a journalist, so you should understand better than anybody that publishing classified information about what governments do is not actually a crime," Greenwald replied. "The New York Times exposed the Bush administration's top secret eavesdropping program, the CIA black site program. Wikileaks has never exposed a top secret. This is all secret, marked secret, a lower level designation and in the United States, again, journalists should know this better than anybody."
Yellin then asked Townsend if she agreed with Vice President Joe Biden's assertion that Assange is a "high-tech terrorist."
"There is no question," Townsend said.
"Your initial question was is he profiting from the commission of a crime and the answer to that is yes," she added. "This is a guy who committed a crime. He did not do what your standard journalists do and by the way, when your other guest refers to New York Times, even the New York Times, when they have very sensitive classified information, would come to the government and redact it."
"Fran Townsend can talk all she wants about how he has committed a crime," Greenwald shot back. "Many people believe that her [former boss President George W. Bush] has committed lots of crimes, but he hasn't been convicted of anything."
"[Assange] has not been charged with a crime and he has not been convicted of a crime in connection with these leaks and that's because you can say it all you want, but as a lawyer, I will tell you, and you ask any lawyer if this is true, it is not a crime in the United States to leak classified information if you don't work for the government."
"He didn't take any steps to understand the information," Townsend countered. "It was so vast, of what was public, whether or not it would be useful or not, he made no distinctions about the harm he might be doing to foreign governments, to the US government, to diplomats and soldiers around the world. He just wholesale threw this out there."
"That's totally false. That's just a lie," Greenwald said. "He has published less than 1 percent of the 250,000 diplomatic cables that he came into possession of, less than 2,000 of the 250,000."
Indeed, many of the cables released by WikiLeaks itself have been redacted to protect the identities of confidential sources.
"It's extraordinary how -- even a full month into the uproar over the diplomatic cable release -- extreme misinformation still pervades these discussions, usually without challenge," Greenwald wrote in his Tuesday column.
"There was Fran Townsend spouting the cannot-be-killed lie that WikiLeaks indiscriminately dumped all the cables. And I'm absolutely certain that had I not objected, that absolute falsehood would have been unchallenged by Yellin and allowed to be transmitted to CNN viewers as Truth," he continued.
"Do you think Jessica Yellin would ever dare speak as scornfully and derisively about George Bush or his top officials as she does about Assange? Of course not," he wrote. "Instead, CNN quickly hires Bush's Homeland Security Adviser who then becomes Yellin's colleague and partner in demonizing Assange as a 'terrorist.'"
This video is from CNN's John King, USA, broadcast Dec. 27, 2010
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Facts About Israel
Monday, December 27, 2010
Sunday, December 26, 2010
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Who Is Handala?
From approximately 1975 through 1987 Naji Al-Ali created cartoons that depict the complexities of the plight of Palestinian refugees. These cartoons are still relevant today and Handala, the refugee child who is present in every cartoon, remains a potent symbol of the struggle of the Palestinian people for justice and self-determination.
Naji Al-Ali wrote: “The child Handala is my signature, everyone asks me about him wherever I go. I gave birth to this child in the Gulf and I presented him to the people. His name is Handala and he has promised the people that he will remain true to himself. I drew him as a child who is not beautiful; his hair is like the hair of a hedgehog who uses his thorns as a weapon. Handala is not a fat, happy, relaxed, or pampered child. He is barefooted like the refugee camp children, and he is an icon that protects me from making mistakes. Even though he is rough, he smells of amber. His hands are clasped behind his back as a sign of rejection at a time when solutions are presented to us the American way.
Handala was born ten years old, and he will always be ten years old. At that age, I left my homeland, and when he returns, Handala will still be ten, and then he will start growing up. The laws of nature do not apply to him. He is unique. Things will become normal again when the homeland returns.
I presented him to the poor and named him Handala as a symbol of bitterness. At first, he was a Palestinian child, but his consciousness developed to have a national and then a global and human horizon. He is a simple yet tough child, and this is why people adopted him and felt that he represents their consciousness."
Everyone in Palestine knows the popular figure of Handala, the barefoot refugee boy who has turned his back on the world in protest against the existing situation. Here he is being bombarded by questions: “Are you Fatah? Or Hamas? Or PFLP? Or Jihad? Or . . . ?” Handala answers: “What a fool you are! I’m Palestinian.”
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Plethura Of Assanges
Getting Around In Place
Here are two news media video interviews of Wilileaks founder, Julian Assange. The first below is 24 minutes in length by David Frost and presented by Al Jazeera on 21 December 2010 and carries the following introduction.
Julian Assange, the co-founder of the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks - which is currently releasing over 250,000 confidential American diplomatic cables - is in the UK fighting extradition to Sweden where he is wanted on charges for sexual assault.
He joins Sir David to talk about a host of issues, from his personal situation to the role of WikiLeaks as a bastion of transparency, championing the right to reveal government secrets, when it is in the publics' interest.
When he co-founded WikiLeaks he saw that he could encourage, through successful examples, people to step forward to reveal abuses by governments - to produce more justice. Subscribing to the motto that 'courage is contagious', Assange claims not to be an anarchist, rather his modus operandi is to promote responsible governance.
Now his lawyers are concerned that he will end up in an American jail, either directly through extradition from the UK, or through extradition from Sweden.
Assange heavily implies that receiving a fair trial in Sweden is doubtful. Why was the most senior prosecutor in Sweden removed (and replaced) after he said there was "no evidence or even suspicion" of rape? Why do Swedish authorities refuse to provide British officials with any evidence of crimes Assange allegedly commited - including witholding the statements of the victims?
He is hesitant to blame his two accusers for their allegations against him, suggesting they could be innocently caught up in a greater political scheme.
The next interview appeared 22 December 2010 on MSNBC.
News World Order
The War On Journalism
Featuring Julian Assange
Who let the Logs out!? Wikileaks drops 400,000 classified documents shedding new light on the Iraq war—the biggest leak of classified military documents in history—sending shockwaves across the Fourth Estate. Rap News marks the occasion by inviting into the studio the former US Secretary of Offense, Donald Rumsfeld. But what starts out as a conventional Rap News interview soon descends into mayhem as the live feed is hijacked by News World Order, eager to spin the record like a disc jockey on crack. Enter Bill O'Really, the champion of Fair & Balanced journalism, dragging us screaming into the No Spine Zone. Only divine intervention can save us now, from a fate worse than death. But beware of imitators; not all is what it seems to be! Join us for a rollercoaster episode of Rap News, featuring a very very special guest appearance.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
WTF? OMG LOL! CIA
The CIA has launched a taskforce to assess the impact of 250,000 leaked US diplomatic cables. Its name? WikiLeaks Task Force, or WTF for short.
The group will scour the released documents to survey damage caused by the disclosures. One of the most embarrassing revelations was that the US state department had drawn up a list of information it would like on key UN figures – it later emerged the CIA had asked for the information.
"Officially, the panel is called the WikiLeaks Task Force. But at CIA headquarters, it's mainly known by its all-too-apt acronym: WTF," the Washington Post reported.
Given that its expanded version is usually an expression of extreme disbelief, perhaps the term is apt for the CIA's investigation.
Monday, December 20, 2010
As Honduras Ex-Prez Zelaya
Voices Anger After
Raul Castro, Manuel Zelaya, and Hugo Chavez.
By: Emile Schepers on December 2010 at People's World.
Most of what has come out of the "Wikileaks" uproar has not told us anything new. In the case of U.S. relations with Latin America, this is also true. Leaked U.S. diplomatic cables have largely confirmed the widely held opinion in the hemisphere that the United States tries to impose its will on Latin American nations by fair means or foul, hates Venezuela and Cuba, and that U.S. embassies are often centers of subversion which connive with local right-wing politicians, military officers and clergy to thwart democratic changes.
Former Honduran President Manuel Zelaya angrily blasted the U.S. State Department and especially former U.S. Ambassador Charles A. Ford for comments he is revealed to have made to his successor, Hugo Llorens, in a Bush-era cable, dated May 15, 2008.
Most of what Ford says to Llorens in this cable is simply gossip, vague rumors about corruption and links to the left-wing governments of Cuba and Venezuela, but he does reveal that the United States tried to dictate to Zelaya whom he should name to his cabinet, and to stop him from appointing Jorge Arturo Reina as Honduran Ambassador to the United Nations, because Reina had "lost his U.S. visa because of terrorist connections". Ford also makes clear that the U.S. expressed its displeasure with Zelaya for bringing Honduras into the Petrocaribe organization, which makes Venezuelan oil available to poor Latin American countries at discounted prices. Ford criticizes Zelaya for standing up for Honduran undocumented immigrants in the United States, and for avoiding participating in photo-ops with visiting U.S. dignitaries.
Zelaya, now living in exile in the Dominican Republic since being overthrown by a military coup on June 28, 2009, replied Dec. 12 to the Ford comments in a three-page statement. Zelaya revealed that Ambassador Ford had asked him for a Honduran visa for Luis Posada Carriles, a Cuban exile who is credibly accused of numerous terrorist acts including the blowing up of a Cuban passenger airliner in 1976, with 72 fatalities. Zelaya further said that when he was elected in 2005, Ambassador Ford gave him a list of individuals he expected him to appoint to his presidential cabinet, and became furious when Zelaya did not comply. Also: "[Ford] is the same person who accompanied me to the White House, where Bush railed against Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and attacked my friendship with him. And through my whole administration he dedicated himself to defending the frauds [committed by] U.S. petroleum transnationals in Honduras."
According to the former president, the Wikileaks revelations show how the United States "manufactures its enemies" by calculated smear campaigns. "It should powerfully call our attention [to the fact that] the words of Ford are the same as those which have been published for three and a half consecutive years by those who were permanently attacking me from Washington [namely] the Arcadia Foundation run by Otto Reich [a Bush administration official] and Robert Carmona."
As far as the Honduran UN ambassador, Reina, is concerned, his being labeled as having "terrorist" ties seems to derive from his opposition to the CIA's use of Honduras as a staging platform for attacks into Nicaragua and El Salvador during the "Contra Wars" of the 1980s. Reina was never convicted of any terrorist act.
Zelaya had previously issued an angry response to another leaked cable, in which Ambassador Hugo Llorens, Ford's successor, had informed his State Department superiors a month after the 2009 coup that the embassy's analysis showed that the coup was completely illegal and violated the Honduran constitution. Under U.S. law and the charter of the Organization of American States, the United States should have then immediately cut off all support to the coup government and joined other countries of the hemisphere in pressuring it to step down. Instead, the United States vacillated and ended up supporting the results of a deeply flawed election process.
Many other cables embarrassing to the United States and also to some political people in Latin American countries have come out of the Wikileaks revelations, though not all of the 250,000 documents have not yet been released.
Sunday, December 19, 2010
¡Viva WikiLeaks! Sicko Was Not Banned in Cuba
This was posted yesterday 18 December 2010 by Michael Moore on Huffington Post.
Yesterday WikiLeaks did an amazing thing and released a classified State Department cable that dealt, in part, with me and my film, 'Sicko.'
It is a stunning look at the Orwellian nature of how bureaucrats for the State spin their lies and try to recreate reality (I assume to placate their bosses and tell them what they want to hear).
The date is January 31, 2008. It is just days after 'Sicko' has been nominated for an Oscar as Best Documentary. This must have sent someone reeling in Bush's State Department (his Treasury Department had already notified me they were investigating what laws I might have broken in taking three 9/11 first responders to Cuba to get them the health care they had been denied in the United States).
Former health insurance executive Wendell Potter recently revealed that the insurance industry -- which had decided to spend millions to go after me and, if necessary, "push Michael Moore off a cliff" -- had begun working with anti-Castro Cubans in Miami in order to have them speak out and smear my film.
So, on January 31, 2008, a State Department official stationed in Havana took a made up story and sent it back to his HQ in Washington. Here's what they concocted:
XXXXXXXXXXXX stated that Cuban authorities have banned Michael Moore's documentary, "Sicko," as being subversive. Although the film's intent is to discredit the U.S. healthcare system by highlighting the excellence of the Cuban system, he said the regime knows the film is a myth and does not want to risk a popular backlash by showing to Cubans facilities that are clearly not available to the vast majority of them.
Sounds convincing, eh?! There's only one problem -- 'Sicko' had just been playing in Cuban theaters. Then the entire nation of Cuba was shown the film on national television on April 25, 2008! The Cubans embraced the film so much so it became one of those rare American movies that received a theatrical distribution in Cuba. I personally ensured that a 35mm print got to the Film Institute in Havana. Screenings of 'Sicko' were set up in towns all across the country.
But the secret cable said Cubans were banned from seeing my movie. Hmmm.
We also know from another secret U.S. document that "the disenchantment of the masses [in Cuba] has spread through all the provinces," and that "all of Oriente Province is seething with hate" for the Castro regime. There's a huge active underground rebellion, and "workers there readily give all the support they can," with everyone involved in "subtle sabotage" against the government. Morale is terrible throughout all the branches of the armed forces, and in the event of war the army "will not fight." Wow -- this cable is hot!
Of course, this secret U.S. cable is from March 31, 1961, three weeks before Cuba kicked our asses at the Bay of Pigs.
The U.S. government has been passing around these "secret" documents to itself for the past fifty years, explaining in painstaking detail how horrible things are in Cuba and how Cubans are quietly aching for us to come back and take over. I don't know why we write these cables, I guess it just makes us feel better about ourselves. (Anyone curious can find an entire museum of U.S. wish fulfillment cables on the website of the National Security Archive.)
So what do you do with about a false "secret" cable, especially one that involves you and your movie? Well, you wait for a responsible newspaper to investigate and shout what it discovers from the rooftops.
But yesterday WikiLeaks gave the 'Sicko' Cuba cable to the media -- and what did they do with it? They ran it as if it were true! Here's the headline in the Guardian:
WikiLeaks: Cuba banned Sicko for depicting 'mythical' healthcare system
Authorities feared footage of gleaming hospital in Michael Moore's Oscar-nominated film would provoke a popular backlash
And not one scintilla of digging to see if Cuba had actually banned the movie! In fact, just the opposite. The right wing press started to have a field day reporting a lie (Andy Levy of Fox -- twice -- Reason Magazine, Spectator and Hot Air, plus a slew of blogs). Sadly, even BoingBoing and my friends at the Nation wrote about it without skepticism. So here you have WikiLeaks, who have put themselves on the line to find and release these cables to the press -- and traditional journalists are once again just too lazy to lift a finger, point and click their mouse to log into Nexis or search via Google, and look to see if Cuba really did "ban the film." Had just ONE reporter done that, here's they would have found:
June 16, 2007 Saturday 1:41 AM GMT [that's 7 months before the false cable]
HEADLINE: Cuban health minister says Moore's 'Sicko' shows 'human values' of communist system
BYLINE: By ANDREA RODRIGUEZ, Associated Press Writer
Cuba's health minister Jose Ramon Balaguer said Friday that American filmmaker Michael Moore's documentary 'Sicko' highlights the human values of the island's communist-run government... "There can be no doubt this documentary by a personality like Mr. Michael Moore helps promote the profoundly human principles of Cuban society."
Or, how 'bout this little April 25, 2008 notice from CubaSi.Cu (translation by Google):
Sicko premiere in Cuba
The documentary Sicko, the U.S. filmmaker Michael Moore, which deals about the deplorable state of American health care system will be released today at 5:50 pm, for the space Cubavision Roundtable and the Education Channel.
Then there's this from Juventudrebelde.cu (translation by Google). Or this Cuban editorial (translation by Google). There's even a long clip of the Cuba section of 'Sicko' on the homepage of Media Roundtable on the CubaSi.cu website!
OK, so we know the media is lazy and sucks most of the time. But the bigger issue here is how our government seemed to be colluding with the health insurance industry to destroy a film that might have a hand in bringing about what the Cubans already have in their poverty-ridden third world country: free, universal health care. And because they have it and we don't, Cuba has a better infant mortality rate than we do, their life expectancy is just 7 months shorter than ours, and, according to the WHO, they rank just two places behind the richest country on earth in terms of the quality of their health care.
That's the story, mainstream media and right-wing haters.
Now that you've been presented with the facts, what are you going to do about it? Are you gonna attack me for having my movie played on Cuban state television? Or are you gonna attack me for not having my movie played on Cuban state television?
You have to choose one, it can't be both.
And since the facts show that the movie played on state TV and in theaters, I think you're better off attacking me for having my films played in Cuba.
votes necessary to ensure its passage in the US Senate. First introduced
in 2001, the Dream Act would have provided a pathway to legalization for
hundreds of thousands of undocumented young people who enroll in college
or join the US military.
The vote fell on December 18, which is celebrated around the world as
International Migrants Day.
Approved by a slim majority of 216-198 in the US House last December 8,
the Dream Act was supported by a broad array of national organizations and
individuals, including President Barack Obama, US Conference of Catholic
Bishops, AFL-CIO, Service Employees International Union, National Network
for Immigrant and Refugee Rights, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, law
enforcement leaders, and many others.
Pro-Dream Act supporters immediately expressed dismay at the Senate’s action.
“Senate Republicans and a handful of Democrats have forgotten the meaning
of Christmas,” said Angela M. Kelly of the Washington-D.C-based Center for
American Progress Action Fund. “Rather than offer tidings of comfort and
joy, they voted to shatter the hopes and dreams of hundreds of thousands
of young people by rejecting the DREAM Act, a limited measure for
immigrant youth that would also have strengthened our military and
Kelley termed the Senate vote a “Grinch-like rejection.”
As it was written, the DREAM Act would have opened to the door to
legalization for undocumented young people under 30 years of age who were
brought to this country before the age of 16 and count at least five years
of residency in the US.
Toddlers when they arrived, many of the so-called Dreamers have been
raised in US culture and speak English fluently. With the defeat of the
DREAM Act, such young people now face an increased risk of deportation to
countries they do not really know.
Outside the beltway, pro-immigrant groups mobilized in support of a
movement that picked up steam in recent months as groups of undocumented
students and pro-Dream Act youth staged sit-ins and demonstrations around
In New Mexico, for instance, the Las Cruces-based Task Force for Immigrant
Advocacy and Services (TIAS) released a statement prior to the vote on the
DREAM Act. Made up of social services providers, community advocates,
people of faith and academic researchers, TIAS noted that many DREAM
generation youth were productive and promising members of the southern New
Mexico community, participating in church activities, sports, school clubs
and the workplace.
On the other hand, DREAM Act opponents contended that the legislation's
passage would reward law-breaking and open the door to “amnesty” for other
On Capitol Hill, Republican Congressmen Lamar Smith of Texas objected to
the DREAM Act on the grounds that illegal immigrants would benefit from
public funds invested in university education.
“The Dream Act would mean fewer jobs for American workers,” further read a
statement posted on Smith’s website. “And the Congressional Budget Office
said it would cost taxpayers billions of dollars….”
Smith’s colleague, California Representative Dan Lungren maintained
approval of the DREAM Act would trigger a chain of new immigration to the
In the Senate, South Carolina Republican Lindsey Graham, who once
supported comprehensive immigration reform, came out as opposed to the
Graham accused the Democrats of playing political games with the
legislation, which he said would not fly until other conditions were
“We are not going to approve the DREAM Act or any other legalization
program as long as our borders are not secure,” Graham said.
Following the Senate’s December 18 failure to move the Dream Act forward,
supporters of the proposed law vowed to keep their eyes on the
legalization prize and target anti-DREAM Act legislators in future
In a statement blasting a “moral and political travesty,” the National
Council of La Raza (NCLR) declared that Republicans had lost a “golden
opportunity” to mend fences with Latinos.
“It is now crystal clear to Latinos who stood with them and who did not,”
said NCLR President and CEO Janet Murguia.
Earlier attracting wide interest in Mexico and other Latin American
countries, the death of the Dream Act in the 2010 Senate was played up on
the main Internet news websites south of the border.
On the eve of the Senate vote, La Jornada columnist Ana Maria Aragones
questioned whether US legislators were capable of grasping what was in the
best interests of their country.
“If the Senate doesn’t approve the Dream Act, an entire generation of
young people will be kept in legal limbo, and their potential could be
lost,” Aragones wrote. “Mexico already failed to take advantage of them,
to the shame of the country. Let’s hope the US and its lawmakers are at
least viewed as being more interested in their own country.”
- The Truth Is Out There
Juice Media Rap News with Robert Foster: Episode 6 of the Investigative Rap Journalism has dropped: December 2010 and Cablegate has burst open. With a steady trickle of Diplomatic communiques leaking out every single day, the Book of Revelations is expanding dramatically. In all the hubbub, the global community is forced to ask questions of its leaders. At the same time, perhaps a stronger focal point for international attention is the Wikileaks leader, the elusive Julian Assange, whose impact on the global scene is testing the limits of freedom of the press. How will governmental representatives from North America, Europe and the Middle East react to having their dirty laundry leaked? Is it all just an insidious Blue Beam Psi-Ops plot hypnotically seeded by MK Ultra, the Rhodes Scholars and the TriLateral Commission? Will the world ever be the same again? Join your affable host Robert Foster, as he executes a rhyme inquisition on some of the key players in the Wiki-saga. It's diplomatic Rhym-aggedon...
The previous five editions of Rap News can be seen here.
Friday, December 17, 2010
USA & Their Drugs
Afghanistan: Opium, the CIA and the Karzai Administration
According to Peter Dale Scott, there is no point in deploring the expansion of drug production in Afghanistan and the heroin epidemic gripping great parts of the world. Conclusions must be drawn from the established facts: the Taliban eradicated poppy cultivation; NATO promoted it; drug money corrupted the Karzai government but it is especially inside U.S. institutions that drug corruption is rife. Therefore, the solution does not lie with Kabul but with Washington.
In Afghanistan, NATO curbs poppy cultivation by the insurgents while protecting that of its allies. Alfred McCoy’s important new article for TomDispatch (March 30, 2010) deserves to mobilize Congress for a serious revaluation of America’s ill-considered military venture in Afghanistan. The answer to the question he poses in his title – “Can Anyone Pacify the World’s Number One Narco-State? – is amply shown by his impressive essay to be a resounding “No!” . . . not until there is fundamental change in the goals and strategies both of Washington and of Kabul.
He amply documents that the Afghan state of Hamid Karzai is a corrupt narco-state, to which Afghans are forced to pay bribes each year $2.5 billion, a quarter of the nation’s economy; the Afghan economy is a narco-economy: in 2007 Afghanistan produced 8,200 tons of opium, a remarkable 53% of the country’s GDP and 93% of global heroin supply.
Military options for dealing with the problem are at best ineffective and at worst counterproductive: McCoy argues that the best hope lies in reconstructing the Afghan countryside until food crops become a viable alternative to opium, a process that could take ten or fifteen years, or longer. (I shall argue later for an interim solution: licensing Afghanistan with the International Narcotics Board to sell its opium legally.)
Perhaps McCoy’s most telling argument is that in Colombia cocaine at its peak represented only about 3 percent of the national economy, yet both the FARC guerillas and the right-wing death squads, both amply funded by drugs, still continue to flourish in that country. To simply eradicate drugs, without first preparing for a substitute Afghan agriculture, would impose intolerable strains on an already ravaged rural society whose only significant income flow at this time derives from opium. One has only to look at the collapse of the Taliban in 2001, after a draconian Taliban-led reduction in Afghan drug production (from 4600 tons to 185 tons) left the country a hollow shell.
On its face, McCoy’s arguments would appear to be incontrovertible, and should, in a rational society, lead to a serious debate followed by a major change in America’s current military policy. McCoy has presented his case with considerable tact and diplomacy, to facilitate such a result.
The CIA’s Historic Responsibility for Global Drug Trafficking
Unfortunately, there are important reasons why such a positive outcome is unlikely any time soon. There are many reasons for this, but among them are some unpleasant realities which McCoy has either avoided or downplayed in his otherwise brilliant essay, and which have to be confronted if we will ever begin to implement sensible strategies in Afghanistan.
The first reality is that the extent of CIA involvement in and responsibility for the global drug traffic is a topic off limits for serious questioning in policy circles, electoral campaigns, and the mainstream media. Those who have challenged this taboo, like the journalist Gary Webb, have often seen their careers destroyed in consequence.
Since Alfred McCoy has done more than anyone else to heighten public awareness of CIA responsibility for drug trafficking in American war zones, I feel awkward about suggesting that he downplays it in his recent essay. True, he acknowledges that “Opium first emerged as a key force in Afghan politics during the CIA covert war against the Soviets,” and he adds that “the CIA’s covert war served as the catalyst that transformed the Afghan-Pakistan borderlands into the world’s largest heroin producing region.”
But in a very strange sentence, McCoy suggests that the CIA was passively drawn into drug alliances in the course of combating Soviet forces in Afghanistan in the years 1979-88, whereas in fact the CIA clearly helped create them precisely to fight the Soviets: "In one of history’s ironic accidents, the southern reach of communist China and the Soviet Union had coincided with Asia’s opium zone along this same mountain rim, drawing the CIA into ambiguous alliances with the region’s highland warlords."
There was no such “accident” in Afghanistan, where the first local drug lords on an international scale – Gulbuddin Hekmatyar and Abu Rasul Sayyaf – were in fact launched internationally as a result of massive and ill-advised assistance from the CIA, in conjunction with the governments of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. While other local resistance forces were accorded second-class status, these two clients of Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, precisely because they lacked local support, pioneered the use of opium and heroin to build up their fighting power and financial resources.  Both, moreover, became agents of salafist extremism, attacking the indigenous Sufi-influenced Islam of Afghanistan. And ultimately both became sponsors of al Qaeda. 
CIA involvement in the drug trade hardly began with its involvement in the Soviet-Afghan war. To a certain degree, the CIA’s responsibility for the present dominant role of Afghanistan in the global heroin traffic merely replicated what had happened earlier in Burma, Thailand, and Laos between the late 1940s and the 1970s. These countries also only became factors in the international drug traffic as a result of CIA assistance (after the French, in the case of Laos) to what would otherwise have been only local traffickers.
One cannot talk of “ironic accidents” here either. McCoy himself has shown how, in all of these countries, the CIA not only tolerated but assisted the growth of drug-financed anti-Communist assets, to offset the danger of Communist Chinese penetration into Southeast Asia. As in Afghanistan today CIA assistance helped turn the Golden Triangle, from the 1940s to the 1970s, into a leading source for the world’s opium.
In this same period the CIA recruited assets along the smuggling routes of the Asian opium traffic as well, in countries such as Turkey, Lebanon, Italy, France, Cuba, Honduras, and Mexico. These assets have included government officials like Manuel Noriega of Panama or Vladimiro Montesinos of Peru, often senior figures in CIA-assisted police and intelligence services. But they have also included insurrectionary movements, ranging from the Contras in Nicaragua in the 1980s to (according to Robert Baer and Seymour Hersh) the al Qaeda-linked Jundallah, operating today in Iran and Baluchistan. 
The Karzai Government, not the Taliban, Dominate the Afghan Dope Economy
Perhaps the best example of such CIA influence via drug traffickers today is in Afghanistan itself, where those accused of drug trafficking include President Karzai’s brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai (an active CIA asset), and Abdul Rashid Dostum (a former CIA asset).  The drug corruption of the Afghan government must be attributed at least in part to the U.S. and CIA decision in 2001 to launch an invasion with the support of the Northern Alliance, a movement that Washington knew to be drug-corrupted. 
The CIA cite, updated in 2008 states “Most Southwest Asian heroin flows overland through Iran and Turkey to Europe via the Balkans.” But in fact drugs also flow through the states of the former Soviet Union, and through Pakistan and Dubai. In this way the U.S. consciously recreated in Afghanistan the situation it had created earlier in Vietnam. There too (like Ahmed Wali Karzai a half century later) the president’s brother, Ngo dinh Nhu, used drugs to finance a private network that was used to rig an election for Ngo dinh Diem.  Thomas H. Johnson, coordinator of anthropological research studies at the Naval Postgraduate School, has pointed out the unlikelihood of a counterinsurgency program succeeding when that program is in support of a local government that is flagrantly dysfunctional and corrupt. 
Thus I take issue with McCoy when he, echoing the mainstream U.S. media, depicts the Afghan drug economy as one dominated by the Taliban. (In McCoy’s words, “If the insurgents capture that illicit economy, as the Taliban have done, then the task becomes little short of insurmountable.”) The Taliban’s share of the Afghan opium economy is variously estimated from $90 to $400 million. But the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that the total Afghan annual earnings from opium and heroin are in the order of from $2.8 to $3.4 billion. 
Clearly the Taliban have not “captured” this economy, of which the largest share by far is controlled by supporters of the Karzai government. In 2006 a report to the World Bank argued “that at the top level, around 25-30 key traffickers, the majority of them in southern Afghanistan, control major transactions and transfers, working closely with sponsors in top government and political positions.”  In 2007 the London Daily Mail reported that "the four largest players in the heroin business are all senior members of the Afghan government." 
The American media have confronted neither this basic fact nor the way in which it has distorted America’s opium and war policies in Afghanistan. The Obama administration appears to have shifted away from the ill-advised eradication programs of the Bush era, which are certain to lose the hearts and minds of the peasantry. It has moved instead towards a policy of selective interdiction of the traffic, explicitly limited to attacks on drug traffickers who are supporting the insurgents. 
This policy may or may not be effective in weakening the Taliban. But to target what constitutes about a tenth of the total traffic will clearly never end Afghanistan’s current status as the world’s number one narco-state. Nor will it end the current world post-1980s heroin epidemic, which has created five million addicts in Pakistan, over two million addicts inside Russia, eight hundred thousand addicts in America, over fifteen million addicts in the world, and one million addicts inside Afghanistan itself. Nor will it end the current world post-1980s heroin epidemic, which has created five million addicts in Pakistan, over two million addicts inside Russia, eight hundred thousand addicts in America, over fifteen million addicts in the world, and one million addicts inside Afghanistan itself.
The Obama government’s policy of selective interdiction also helps explain its reluctance to consider the most reasonable and humane solution to the world’s Afghan heroin epidemic. This is the “poppy for medicine” initiative of the International Council on Security and Development (ICOS, formerly known as The Senlis Council): to establish a trial licensing scheme, allowing farmers to sell their opium for the production of much-needed essential medicines such as morphine and codeine. 
The proposal has received support from the European Parliament and in Canada; but it has come under heavy attack in the United States, chiefly on the grounds that it might well lead to an increase in opium production. It would however provide a short-term answer to the heroin epidemic that is devastating Europe and Russia – something not achieved by McCoy’s long-term alternative of crop substitution over ten or fifteen years, still less by the current Obama administration’s program of selective elimination of opium supplies.
An unspoken consequence of the “poppy for medicine” initiative would be to shrink the illicit drug proceeds that are helping to support the Karzai government. Whether for this reason, or simply because anything that smacks of legalizing drugs is a tabooed subject in Washington, the “poppy for medicine” initiative is unlikely to be endorsed by the Obama administration.
Afghan Heroin and the CIA’s Global Drug Connection
There is another important paragraph where McCoy, I think misleadingly, focuses attention on Afghanistan, rather than America itself, as the locus of the problem:
At a drug conference in Kabul this month, the head of Russia’s Federal Narcotics Service estimated the value of Afghanistan’s current opium crop at $65 billion. Only $500 million of that vast sum goes to Afghanistan’s farmers, $300 million to the Taliban guerrillas, and the $64 billion balance "to the drug mafia," leaving ample funds to corrupt the Karzai government (emphasis added) in a nation whose total GDP is only $10 billion.
What this paragraph omits is the pertinent fact that, according to the U.N. Office on Drugs and Crime, only 5 or 6 percent of that $65 billion, or from $2.8 to $3.4 billion, stays inside Afghanistan itself.  An estimated 80 percent of the earnings from the drug trade are derived from the countries of consumption – in this case, Russia, Europe, and America. Thus we should not think for a moment that the only government corrupted by the Afghan drug trade is the country of origin. Everywhere the traffic has become substantial, even if only in transit, it has survived through protection, which in other words means corruption.
There is no evidence to suggest that drug money from the CIA’s trafficker assets fattened the financial accounts of the CIA itself, or of its officers. But the CIA profited indirectly from the drug traffic, and developed over the years a close relationship with it. The CIA’s off-the-books war in Laos was one extreme case where it fought a war, using as its chief assets the Royal Laotian Army of General Ouane Rattikone and the Hmong Army of General Vang Pao, which were, in large part, drug-financed. The CIA’s massive Afghanistan operation in the 1980s was another example of a war that was in part drug-financed.
Protection for Drug Trafficking in America
Thus it is not surprising that the U.S. Government, following the lead of the CIA, has over the years become a protector of drug traffickers against criminal prosecution in this country. For example both the FBI and CIA intervened in 1981 to block the indictment (on stolen car charges) of the drug-trafficking Mexican intelligence czar Miguel Nazar Haro, claiming that Nazar was “an essential repeat essential contact for CIA station in Mexico City,” on matters of “terrorism, intelligence, and counterintelligence.”  When Associate Attorney General Lowell Jensen refused to proceed with Nazar’s indictment, the San Diego U.S. Attorney, William Kennedy, publicly exposed his intervention. For this he was promptly fired.15
A recent spectacular example of CIA drug involvement was the case of the CIA’s Venezuelan asset General Ramon Guillén Davila. As I write in my forthcoming book, Fueling America’s War Machine, 
"General Ramon Guillén Davila, chief of a CIA-created anti-drug unit in Venezuela, was indicted in Miami for smuggling a ton of cocaine into the United States. According to the New York Times, "The CIA, over the objections of the Drug Enforcement Administration, approved the shipment of at least one ton of pure cocaine to Miami International Airport as a way of gathering information about the Colombian drug cartels." Time magazine reported that a single shipment amounted to 998 pounds, following earlier ones “totaling nearly 2,000 pounds.”  Mike Wallace confirmed that “the CIA-national guard undercover operation quickly accumulated this cocaine, over a ton and a half that was smuggled from Colombia into Venezuela.”  According to the Wall Street Journal, the total amount of drugs smuggled by Gen. Guillén may have been more than 22 tons." 
But the United States never asked for Guillén’s extradition from Venezuela to stand trial; and in 2007, when he was arrested in Venezuela for plotting to assassinate President Hugo Chavez, his indictment was still sealed in Miami.  Meanwhile, CIA officer Mark McFarlin, whom DEA Chief Bonner had also wished to indict, was never indicted at all; he merely resigned. 
Nothing in short happened to the principals in this case, which probably only surfaced in the media because of the social unrest generated in the same period by Gary Webb’s stories in the San Jose Mercury about the CIA, Contras, and cocaine.
Banks and Drug Money Laundering
Other institutions with a direct stake in the international drug traffic include major banks, which make loans to countries like Colombia and Mexico knowing full well that drug flows will help underwrite those loans’ repayment. A number of our biggest banks, including Citibank, Bank of New York, and Bank of Boston, have been identified as money laundering conduits, yet never have faced penalties serious enough to change their behavior.  In short, United States involvement in the international drug traffic links the CIA, major financial interests, and criminal interests in this country and abroad.
Antonio Maria Costa, head of the UN Office on Drugs and Crime, has said that “Drugs money worth billions of dollars kept the financial system afloat at the height of the global crisis.” According to the London Observer, Costa said he has seen evidence that the proceeds of organised crime were "the only liquid investment capital" available to some banks on the brink of collapse last year. He said that a majority of the $352bn (£216bn) of drugs profits was absorbed into the economic system as a result…. Costa said evidence that illegal money was being absorbed into the financial system was first drawn to his attention by intelligence agencies and prosecutors around 18 months ago. "In many instances, the money from drugs was the only liquid investment capital. In the second half of 2008, liquidity was the banking system’s main problem and hence liquid capital became an important factor," he said. 
A striking example of drug clout in Washington was the influence exercised in the 1980s by the drug money-laundering Bank of Credit and Commerce International (BCCI). As I report in my book, among the
highly-placed recipients of largesse from BCCI, its owners, and its affiliates, were Ronald Reagan’s Treasury Secretary James Baker, who declined to investigate BCCI;  and Democratic Senator Joseph Biden and Republican Senator Orrin Hatch, the ranking members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which declined to investigate BCCI. 
In the end it was not Washington that first moved to terminate the banking activities in America of BCCI and its illegal U.S. subsidiaries; it was the determined activity of two outsiders — Washington lawyer Jack Blum and Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. 
Conclusion: The Source of the Global Drug problem is not Kabul, but Washington
I understand why McCoy, in his desire to change an ill-fated policy, is more decorous than I am in acknowledging the extent to which powerful American institutions—government, intelligence and finance—and not just the Karzai government, have been corrupted by the pervasive international drug traffic. But I believe that his tactfulness will prove counter-productive. The biggest source of the global drug problem is not in Kabul, but in Washington. To change this scandal will require the airing of facts which McCoy, in this essay, is reluctant to address.
In his magisterial work, The Politics of Heroin, McCoy tells the story of Carter’s White House drug advisor David Musto. In 1980 Musto told the White House Strategy Council on Drug Abuse that “we were going into Afghanistan to support the opium growers in their rebellion against the Soviets. Shouldn’t we try to avoid what we had done in Laos?”  Denied access by the CIA to data to which he was legally entitled, Musto took his concerns public in May 1980, noting in a New York Times op-ed that Golden Crescent heroin was already (and for the first time) causing a medical crisis in New York. And he warned, presciently, that “this crisis is bound to worsen.” 
Musto hoped that he could achieve a change of policy by going public with a sensible warning about a disastrous drug-assisted adventure in Afghanistan. But his wise words were powerless against the relentless determination of what I have called the U.S. war machine in our government and political economy. I fear that McCoy’s sensible message, by being decorous precisely where it is now necessary to be outspoken, will suffer the same fate.
BBC Smears Assange
And Validates Its Position In Enemy Circles
This is a 13 minute 16 December interview of Julian Assange by BBC Newsnight's Kirsty Wark. Assange struggles throughout to talk of Wikileaks and coordinated actions against it, including ignoring principle to engage in personal smear. Wark wants to talk about rape, over and over and over. One might question if there is value to play by enemy rules on enemy turf. Allowing them to make it obvious they are might qualify.
Thursday, December 16, 2010
If You Rule By Code
You Will Fall By Code:
The Philosophy Of Wikileaks
This is by Luis de Miranda as posted 14 December 2010 on Open Democracy.
Diplomatic protocols and Internet protocols share rules but differ in their purpose. When the hacker ethic is applied to social code, as Wikileaks does, the result is good for democracy,
Humans are animals of protocol. Our behavior is determined by rules - conscious and not. Until recently, the protocol was an instrument of hegemonic power: the rule-ing elites were makers and masters of the protocols that were used to control the people. The writing and policing of protocol was reserved for the elite.
The Internet today is the place through which humanity is coming to realise that liberty will require that we – the collective we – take control of the building and re-design of protocol. Wikileaks is a real milestone in that process. The word “Wikileaks” has two components, each important. “Leaks”: the hermetically sealed circles of power, those that once seemed as solid as rock, are liquifying and losing their aura. “Wiki”: each and all of us can contribute to the process of active demystification of protocol.
In what way are the Internet and diplomacy similar? Both are governed by very strict protocols, but their strictures are somehow each others’ opposites. Diplomatic protocol lives on the surface of things, a layer of varnish that actually allows all the treachery, hypocrisy and dirty dealings to go on. The protocol is theatre, while shenanigans play out in the shadows. The rigor of the Internet, on the other hand, operates in all that is invisible: the source code, the programming language standards, the networking standards (TCP/IP, HTML, RFCs). What is on the surface on the web is joyful chaos, depravity, free expression, every manifestation of the kaleidoscope of humanity. We have all been somewhat aware of the stuffy old world of diplomatic protocol, the attention to etiquette and to the rank of governments and their envoys. We are less familiar with the new world of digital protocol.
Wikileaks was born of hacker culture. Hackers are not spotty, destructive teenagers who provoke a third world war while tinkering at their computers. Hackers work firmly in the real world: they try to reverse engineer the digital world around us. They try to understand how code has been built, especially code whose goal is to keep people out, to monopolistically restrict access. Once the code is understood, it can be mastered and directed to the hackers’ own uses, often open-sourcing the knowledge. The code becomes usable by anyone who puts the effort into understanding digital protocol. This hacking culture does not apply only to digital programs: the hacking digital natives have this attitude towards the whole world; our politics, society, behaviours, tastes, beliefs, identities, have all been assembled like code and are the instruments by which we are controlled.
The world of diplomacy, the world of the rulers, is certainly no sacred realm. The content of the leaked cables - as has been pointed out - is not all that surprising. But Marshall McLuhan strikes again here too: the message is the medium. The momentous nature of Wikileaks comes in its form, not its content: the digitalisation of our representations of the world around us is a new global DNA. And that digitalisation brings to the foreground – partly by contrast – another, complementary aspect of humanity: what I call crealism, the desire to become self-created, to establish a space of liberty outside the automata by seizing democratic control of of the protocols that rule us. Another word for this is empowerment.
The old, elitist, analog world of double-speak and counter-bluff, the worlds of diplomacy and political institutions, cannot hope to survive the two-pronged attack from digitalisation and empowerment. The message sent by Wikileaks to governments is this: “you are using the digital to organise the world and to control the people; but that means that the people will also have access to your mechanisms of control, the code and the data; the people will be able to hack you – to uncover and subvert your hegemonic uses.” The only way governments could stop this democratising force would be to imprison the coders – a temptation some seem to be tempted by.
Whosoever rules by code will fall by code. Those who expect to control the masses through biometric identification systems and other electronic controls, must expect that the digital will be turned back against them. And this as long as hackers have access to a free Web and a free press. The freedom needed is not just technical – it requires constructive crticism. Remember the lesson from Orwell: technocratic digitalism alone, without crealism - collective empowerment - will not deliver more democracy … but only the best of all possible worlds.
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Reflections of Fidel
The Empire Stands Accused
Havana. Dicember 15, 2010
JULIAN Assange, a man known only to a very few in the world some months ago, is demonstrating that the most powerful empire to have existed in history can be challenged.
The daring challenge did not come from a rival superpower; from a state with more than 100 nuclear weapons; from a country with millions of inhabitants; from a group of nations with vast natural resources which the United States could not do without; or from a revolutionary doctrine capable of shaking to its foundations the empire based on plunder and exploitation of the world.
He was just a person barely mentioned in the media. Although he is now famous, little is known about him, apart from the highly publicized accusation of having sexual relations with two women, without taking due precautions in these times of HIV. A book on his origins, his education, or his philosophical and political ideas has not as yet been written.
Moreover, the motivations which led him to the resounding blow that he delivered to the empire remain unknown. All that is known is that morally, he has brought it to its knees.
The AFP news agency reported today that the "creator of WikiLeaks is to remain in prison despite obtaining his release on bail [...] but he must remain behind bars until the appeal filed by Sweden, the country applying for his extradition for alleged sexual crimes, is resolved."
"…the attorney representing the Swedish state, [...] has announced her intention of appealing the decision to release him."
"…Judge Riddle established as conditions for the bond of $380,000, his use of an electronic bracelet and complying with a curfew."
The same cable noted that, in the event of his release, "… [Assange] must reside in a property belonging to Vaughan Smith, his friend and president of the Frontline Club, the London journalists club where WikiLeaks established its headquarters a few weeks ago…"
Assange stated, "My convictions are unfaltering. I remain true to the ideals I have expressed. If anything this process has increased my determination that they are true and correct…"
The valiant and brilliant U.S. filmmaker Michael Moore publicly offered the assistance of his website, his servers, his domain names and anything else he could do to "…keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars …"
Assange, Moore affirmed, "is under such vicious attack [...] because they have outed and embarrassed those who have covered up the truth."
"…And regardless of Assange's guilt or innocence [...] this man has the right to have bail posted and to defend himself. [... ] I have joined with filmmakers Ken Loach and John Pilger and writer Jemima Khan in putting up the bail money."
Moore’s contribution amounted to $20,000.
The United States government barrage against WikiLeaks has been so brutal that, according to ABC News/Washington Post surveys, two out of every three U.S. citizens want Assange to be taken before the U.S. courts for having disclosed the documents. On the other hand, nobody has dared to challenge the truths that they contain.
Details of the plan drawn up by the WikiLeaks strategists are not known. It is known that Assange distributed a significant volume of communications to five major media transnationals, which currently possess the monopoly of much of the information, some of them as extremely mercenary, reactionary and pro-fascist as the Spanish PRISA and the German Der Spiegel, which are utilizing news items to attack the most revolutionary countries.
World opinion will continue closely following everything that happens in the context of WikiLeaks.
Responsibility for being able to know the truth, or not, about the cynical politics of the United States and its allies will fall squarely on the right-wing Swedish government and the bellicose NATO mafia, who so like to invoke the freedom of the press and human rights.
Ideas can be more powerful than nuclear weapons.
Wikileaks Is Clean
- Are Those Claiming Otherwise?
The information that Wikileaks web sites are full of viruses, spyware, mal ware and other bad stuff is floating the web today. Spamhouse, a web protective system is supposedly the source.
Wikileaks issued a press release commenting on the Spamhouse action as follows:
Published 15-Dec-2010, 8:00 AM GMT
On Tuesday, 14-Dec-2010 Spamhaus has issued a statement wherein it labels wikileaks.info as "unsafe", as they consider our hosting company as a malware facilitator:
We find it very disturbing that Spamhaus labels a site as dangerous without even checking if there is any malware on it. We monitor the wikileaks.info site and we can guarantee that there is no malware on it. We do not know who else is hosted with Heihachi Ltd and it is none of our business. They provide reliable hosting to us. That's it.
While we are in favour of "Blacklists", be it for mail servers or web sites, they have to be compiled with care. Just listing whole IP blocks as "bad" may be quick and easy for the blacklist editors, but will harm hosters and web site users.
Wikileaks has been pulled from big hosters like Amazon. That's why we are using a "bulletproof" hoster that does not just kick a site when it gets a letter from government or a big company. Our hoster is giving home to many political sites like castor-schottern.org and should not be blocked just because they might have hosted some malware sites.
Fortunately, more responsible blacklists, like stopbadware.org (which protects the Firefox browser, for example), don't list us. We do hope that Spamhaus hasn't issued this statement due to political pressure.
Wikileaks.info will always be safe and clean. Promised.
We have written to Spamhaus to rectify the situation, but haven't heard back yet. You can contact them and voice your opinion (in a friendly manner) at:
Please cc us at wikileaks(at)wikileaks.info
The wikileaks.info Team
Advice: Always ask "Who is it that wants me to believe that and why?", while doubting everything gratuitously offered. Can you spell "propaganda"? If not, try "lie" or even "USA" if you are one of those they've brain tatoo'd to repress imagining beyond. Both are easier and get you the same thing.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Why I'm Posting
Bail Money for Julian Assange
Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that I have put up $20,000 of my own money to help bail Mr. Assange out of jail.
Furthermore, I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars.
We were taken to war in Iraq on a lie. Hundreds of thousands are now dead. Just imagine if the men who planned this war crime back in 2002 had had a WikiLeaks to deal with. They might not have been able to pull it off. The only reason they thought they could get away with it was because they had a guaranteed cloak of secrecy. That guarantee has now been ripped from them, and I hope they are never able to operate in secret again.
So why is WikiLeaks, after performing such an important public service, under such vicious attack? Because they have outed and embarrassed those who have covered up the truth. The assault on them has been over the top:
**Sen. Joe Lieberman says WikiLeaks "has violated the Espionage Act."
**The New Yorker's George Packer calls Assange "super-secretive, thin-skinned, [and] megalomaniacal."
**Sarah Palin claims he's "an anti-American operative with blood on his hands" whom we should pursue "with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders."
**Democrat Bob Beckel (Walter Mondale's 1984 campaign manager) said about Assange on Fox: "A dead man can't leak stuff ... there's only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch."
**Republican Mary Matalin says "he's a psychopath, a sociopath ... He's a terrorist."
**Rep. Peter A. King calls WikiLeaks a "terrorist organization."
And indeed they are! They exist to terrorize the liars and warmongers who have brought ruin to our nation and to others. Perhaps the next war won't be so easy because the tables have been turned -- and now it's Big Brother who's being watched ... by us!
WikiLeaks deserves our thanks for shining a huge spotlight on all this. But some in the corporate-owned press have dismissed the importance of WikiLeaks ("they've released little that's new!") or have painted them as simple anarchists ("WikiLeaks just releases everything without any editorial control!"). WikiLeaks exists, in part, because the mainstream media has failed to live up to its responsibility. The corporate owners have decimated newsrooms, making it impossible for good journalists to do their job. There's no time or money anymore for investigative journalism. Simply put, investors don't want those stories exposed. They like their secrets kept ... as secrets.
I ask you to imagine how much different our world would be if WikiLeaks had existed 10 years ago. Take a look at this photo. That's Mr. Bush about to be handed a "secret" document on August 6th, 2001. Its heading read: "Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US." And on those pages it said the FBI had discovered "patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings." Mr. Bush decided to ignore it and went fishing for the next four weeks.
But if that document had been leaked, how would you or I have reacted? What would Congress or the FAA have done? Was there not a greater chance that someone, somewhere would have done something if all of us knew about bin Laden's impending attack using hijacked planes?
But back then only a few people had access to that document. Because the secret was kept, a flight school instructor in San Diego who noticed that two Saudi students took no interest in takeoffs or landings, did nothing. Had he read about the bin Laden threat in the paper, might he have called the FBI? (Please read this essay by former FBI Agent Coleen Rowley, Time's 2002 co-Person of the Year, about her belief that had WikiLeaks been around in 2001, 9/11 might have been prevented.)
Or what if the public in 2003 had been able to read "secret" memos from Dick Cheney as he pressured the CIA to give him the "facts" he wanted in order to build his false case for war? If a WikiLeaks had revealed at that time that there were, in fact, no weapons of mass destruction, do you think that the war would have been launched -- or rather, wouldn't there have been calls for Cheney's arrest?
Openness, transparency -- these are among the few weapons the citizenry has to protect itself from the powerful and the corrupt. What if within days of August 4th, 1964 -- after the Pentagon had made up the lie that our ship was attacked by the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin -- there had been a WikiLeaks to tell the American people that the whole thing was made up? I guess 58,000 of our soldiers (and 2 million Vietnamese) might be alive today.
Instead, secrets killed them.
For those of you who think it's wrong to support Julian Assange because of the sexual assault allegations he's being held for, all I ask is that you not be naive about how the government works when it decides to go after its prey. Please -- never, ever believe the "official story." And regardless of Assange's guilt or innocence (see the strange nature of the allegations here), this man has the right to have bail posted and to defend himself. I have joined with filmmakers Ken Loach and John Pilger and writer Jemima Khan in putting up the bail money -- and we hope the judge will accept this and grant his release today.
Might WikiLeaks cause some unintended harm to diplomatic negotiations and U.S. interests around the world? Perhaps. But that's the price you pay when you and your government take us into a war based on a lie. Your punishment for misbehaving is that someone has to turn on all the lights in the room so that we can see what you're up to. You simply can't be trusted. So every cable, every email you write is now fair game. Sorry, but you brought this upon yourself. No one can hide from the truth now. No one can plot the next Big Lie if they know that they might be exposed.
And that is the best thing that WikiLeaks has done. WikiLeaks, God bless them, will save lives as a result of their actions. And any of you who join me in supporting them are committing a true act of patriotism. Period.
I stand today in absentia with Julian Assange in London and I ask the judge to grant him his release. I am willing to guarantee his return to court with the bail money I have wired to said court. I will not allow this injustice to continue unchallenged.
P.S. You can read the statement I filed today in the London court here.
P.P.S. If you're reading this in London, please go support Julian Assange and WikiLeaks at a demonstration at 1 PM today, Tuesday the 14th, in front of the Westminster court.
Monday, December 13, 2010
Exactly What You´r Getting For Christmas
Dan and Dan blow the whistle with their Wikileaks Christmas Song 2010. Looking for Christmas gift ideas? Worried about freedom of speech? Why not combine the two! Are they really going to expose all those Christmas lies?
No Military Option
For Israel Against Iran
By Gideon Levy in Haaretz.
Israeli leaders should understand that the attack option isn't really an option - a thousand new fire trucks and even the Iron Dome missile defense system will not provide protection.
Every cloud has a silver lining: Maybe lessons will be learned from the fire. Not only fire extinguishers, fire trucks and new planes, but also new thinking, and fire retardants that douse the really big fire.
The home front's weakness should teach us that Israel apparently has no military option. This is a much more fateful lesson than all the fire's other lessons, and it should be dealt with. The apocalyptic descriptions of a missile attack on the home front if Israel attacks Iran or Lebanon appear even more apocalyptic in light of Israel's conduct when handling a medium-sized forest fire. Discussions on our future, therefore, should move to the arena that Israelis favor: the security arena.
Leave aside human rights and the occupation, don't worry about morality and justice, forget about peace as a leftist delusion and ignore the Palestinian problem. The issue is Israel's security interests, perhaps even existential interests.
The next wars will be home-front wars. This time the Israeli home front will be hit in a way we have never experienced. The first Gulf war and the Second Lebanon War were only the movie trailer for what could happen. An attack of thousands of missiles, as predicted by experts, will create a reality Israel will find hard to withstand. It isn't equipped for it, as we saw on the Carmel, and it isn't prepared for it, as we saw in the Lebanon war.
Any Israeli leader, even an adventurist and a former commando, should understand that the attack option is not really an option. It's true that we succeeded in a few bombings in the past, but nothing lasts forever and the Scuds against us won't always be hollow. A thousand new fire trucks and even the Iron Dome missile defense system will not provide protection. You can't build a fortress for every citizen. This leads to the second, unavoidable conclusion, which should penetrate very deeply, not only among diplomats and commanders, but also among the many warmongers among us: the only existential option is integrating into the region (a term coined decades ago by Uri Avnery ).
Let the nationalists, settlers, rejectionists, militarists, security advocates, annexation backers, hawks, rightists, patriots, rabble-rousers and messianics look at what happened on the Carmel and tell us where they want to go with that. Let them explain what options Israel has when it says no to any chance for peace and its home front is so vulnerable. What hope does it have if it continues to live only by its sword, which was once strong and threatening, and is now rusting?
It was the late Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin who once acknowledged in a private conversation that the main consideration that got him to the Oslo process was the realization of the limits of Israeli power. We've weakened since then, not only because of the threats to the home front, but because of our international standing. If we recognize this and understand that the military option has become unrealistic, except as a deterrent or an act of desperation, we will understand that there is only the diplomatic option, no other, and it is still open to us.
Israel will not be destroyed. Its heavy armaments will be decisive in the next round as well, but apparently with thousands of Israeli dead, tens of thousands on the other side and a resolute global front that will impose a solution on us. The trauma of the Yom Kippur War will look like a midsummer night's dream, even if our complacent society again pretends that it was surprised. Then all Israelis will know that the diplomatic solution - which most Israelis said yes to in every poll before they went on watching "Big Brother" - was for years at their doorstep and the destruction was a destruction of choice.
Let any rightist politician and anyone who criminally wastes diplomatic time know the weight of the fateful responsibility he bears. For decades Israel persevered because of its strength (furtherleft edit: "Can you spell USA"). Now this power has critical limits. Last week a hint of them was sent from the Carmel. It should echo in every living room and ministry.
Let's Invade Mexico!
Let's take poison. Let's ride a motorcycle blind-folded, and other bright ideas
By Fred Reed at Fred On Everything.
November 26, 2010
Almost forever, the record for stupidity was held by Lumbo, a Cambrian trilobyte born to an early family of retarded trilobites. Lumbo also had Down’s Syndrome. It ws an unbeatable combination. Nobody and nothing was as slow as Lumbo. It was thought that he would hold the record for all time, but then came the governor of Texas, Rick Perry. He thinks it might be a good idea to invade Mexico.
Lumbo doesn’t come close.
The governor thinks, barely, that such a martial lunge might help rid Mexico of drugs, or do something about immigration. He thinks it should perhaps be done with the permission of the Mexican government. It is my hope that Washington will not adopt the governor’s idea, but, given America’s penchant for lurching into catastriphic wars, perhaps we should examine the notion for advisability.
The governor’s wise plan begins by embodying the mistake the Pentagon always makes when it sets out to lose a war, which seems to be every time it holds a war. He, and it, begin by having no faint grasp of the people to be invaded, or of people at all.
Soldiers have difficulty with the notion of people, of citizens, of populations, who are mere impediments to the proper management of a swell war. The military longs for mechanized battle in which men in machines destroy other men in other machines, tank against tank, fighter plane against fighter plane, in a spirit of simple-minded adolescentt romanticism. You know, battle-scarred tanks growling across the Algerian desert, against a flaming red sunset burning out to night, desert wind blowing scarves of heroic etc. People don’t figure in this dream, which is why the results are so regularly dismal.
Now, some practical considerations, a kind traditionally of little interest to military men:
You don’t just sort of invade Mexico as an abstraction. You have to invade an actual part of it. Which?
Well, you could try the cities thick with narcos: Tijuana, Juarez, Culiacan, Ciudad Victoria, all the gang. Good idea, that. As any intelligent officer will tell you—one was reported in Anhalt-Zerbst in 1654, but this was never confirmed—fighting in cities is not a lot of fun. The narcos have AKs and RPGs. They are expert at urban ambushes. They know the cities. They speak the language. They can fade into the population. Consequently frustrated Gis, quickly coming to view the population as subhuman, will begin killing people at random and…have we seen this before?
As an equally unwise plan, the good governor might advocate sending troops after the narcos in the wild, in the Sierra Madre Occidental, up around Copper Canyon, the Barranca del Cobre. Have you seen the barranca country? I have, on the Chihuahua Pacific railway from Los Mochis to Chihuahua. It is like Afghanistan, but with difficult terrain and tree cover. Roads are few. There are canyons in which you could drop the Grand Canyon and have trouble finding it the next day. Did I mention AKs and RPGs? Trees? Rocks? Things to hide behind?
Sefl-explanatory. I hope.
What the Pentaloons don’t understand, being armed Boy Scouts who believe their own propaganda—“Ooo-rah! Yes sir! Yes sir! Can do, sir!” is that they usually can’t. The chief reason is that people really, really do not like American soldiers invading their countries, wrecking cities and killing their children. The military, which thinks at right angles, cannot wrap its mind around this difficult thought. Thus Americans invariably begin by thinking, “We are right. We are for democracy. We are trying to help these people. Therefore they will love us.”
The second step to disaster is to set up a puppet government, by purchase or intimidation, declare it an ally, and assert that America is helping the legitimate government of a beloved fellow nation. Think Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and note that the Governor Perry says he wants to invade "with Mexico’s permission,” which means puppetizing the government. Of course no government that supports invaders who kill Pablo’s three-year-old and her dog is going to enjoy a whole lot of legitimacy.
The approach doesn’t work, this being regarded as a minor defect by military minds. It’s the glory of the thing, the swoosh and bang and zowwee that count, not practical concerns like winning. But…does it seem salient to you that in all of our hobbyist wars, our locals—our Khmers, our Viets, our Afghans, and so on—fight poorly, while our enemies are passionate and stubborn? Note that after ten years our Afghan soldiers aren’t ready and disappear with their rifles, the Pakis collaborate with the Taliban and hate us, and the Iraqi police are permanently incapable.
Why might this be? Because, when you force part of a country to kill the other part, not too much enthusiasm ensues.
An essential ingredient in our wars is underestimation of the enemy, reflecting a general American contempt for everybody else. Cheese-eating surrender monkeys, that sort of thing. The Viet Cong were rice-propelled paddy maggots who didn’t have a single B-52. Iraq would be a cake walk, the Afghans were louse-ridden towel-headed farmers, and so on.
Still, it is perhaps worth noting that as the US army lowers recruiting standards to reflect flabby American males, the Mexicans work construction. In the barranca country you find hard and hardy people, Tarahumaras and tough farmers who have trucks now thanks to the marijuana crop. Soft they are not. Mexicans have fought long and bloody wars—the Revolution, the Cristero War, the current drug wars in which 29,000 have died since 2006 in armed conflict (which suggests that there are a whole lot of them and not afraid to fight, doesn't it?). Sound like Afghans?
Further: Mexicans, all Mexicans, are violently hostile to any invasion, on any terms at all, by the US. They’ve been down that trail before. I mentioned the governor’s idea to my (Mexican) wife. I’ve never seen her face so hard. This is universal. If you want to see a united Mexico, send the Gis.
The Mexicans are not as reliably hostile to the traffic in drugs, or to the traffickers, as Washington would like. The common attitude is that if the gringos don’t want drugs, why do they buy them? Why is it Mexico’s problem? The traffic has brought relative prosperity to places formerly without electricity. In a country not enamored of a corrupt government, the narcos not infrequently are seen as Robin Hoods. Various bands make a living singing narcocorridos, songs glorifying the traffoclers: Los Tigres del Norte, Los Tucanes de Tijuana, La Sombra Norteña.
Here we come to the final error of American military interventions: the belief that everybody wants to be like America, that they want democracy or are capable of it, that we just have to show them how we want them to live and they will gratefully do it. Ah, fond hope. We are going to make Afghanistan into a democracy, an idea as probable as making a frog into a television set. In Afghanistan the military invaded Marjuh and said it was going to impose a “government in a box,” whereupon an Afghan town would be just like a village in Iowa. Oh sure. Any day now. And in Mexico the Mérida Initiative is going to produce honest police and judges, whereupon Mexico will resemble Switzerland.