Monday, January 31, 2011
Sunday, January 30, 2011
Over the last few weeks, North Africans have expressed an ardent desire for liberty, democracy, and justice for both themselves, and for the world. While most in the West responded with a mild interest and cynicism for which our culture has become rightly reviled, Anonymous responded with action. Beginning with Tunisia and continuing on to Egypt, thousands of world citizens have dedicated their lives to securing the liberty of others, providing tools, expertise, and long-sought encouragement to those who have already earned their rights by virtue of fighting for them.
When Tunisians bristled in indignation at the chains that have bound them for far too long, the world was silent. Anonymous was not; and thus the online venues of state propaganda were taken down and in some cases replaced with our own clear message that those who want our help will get it.
When protests erupted upon the occasion of one fruit vendor's bravery, the media ignored it. Anonymous did not, and thus Tunisians were provided with the Guide to Protecting the North African Revolutions.
When Wikileaks confirmed the cruelty and corruption of the Ben Ali regime, Western governments did nothing. Anonymous organized hundreds of Tunisians directly and thousands more indirectly.
It was the Tunisian people themselves that overcame the tyranny to which they had been subjected. They did so in the context of the digital reformation, with unprecedented assistance provided over a mere few weeks. Others will follow. Some have already begun.
That the Egyptian regime has reacted to the yearning of its citizens by shutting down the nation's communications is the smoking gun that should tell the world that communications are the key to liberty. That we live in the communications age should, and has been, of great alarm to all who love their power more than their people, or who consider themselves to be the only ones capable of governing the world around them. That they have failed to provide any real security should remind all concerned that such people are not only unnecessary to true security, but a perpetual threat to same.
Anonymous is a machine that harnesses the talent that other, lesser institutions often fail to acknowledge or incorporate. Man is a creature that builds institutions and thereafter loses his grip on them. Anonymous cures institutions that are dying and destroys institutions that ought to have died long ago.
All significant human activity is the result of human collaboration - including this very press release. And the means by which humans may collaborate has exploded - not expanded, not increased, but exploded - in such a way as to allow any man on earth to talk and work with any other man.
Such issues will be explored soon enough. In the meantime, we demand that all normal communications be restored to the people of Egypt by January 29th, 12:00 midnight, Eastern Standard Time. That we have occasion to make such a demand in the first place should be enough to convince all good men that the world needs revolution. That we have made it in full view of all men should be enough to convince them that we now have the means to back it up - not just against this regime, but against any and all parties that continue to prop it up even after it has conceded that the truth is its enemy.
Saturday, January 29, 2011
Remember when you used to walk into a bus kiosk or a subway station and you needed to figure out where you were before you tried to go anywhere? There used to be these maps that had an arrow pointing at a spot, with a little dialogue box next to it that said, “You are here”. I think it’s ‘safe to say’ (poor choice of words) that you are now here. Here is the place we’ve been talking about for a good, long while. This is the place, quite possibly somewhere outside Cairo, where that specific camel finally breaks under the weight of the last, unforgiving straw. This is the place where the most unstable domino, finally tumbles into its neighbor and begins to operate like the Gulf Stream used to.
All over the Arab world, as a precursor to, all over the world period, the psychic locks that have held the populations in stasis have now been broken. We are standing before the walls of a metaphorical Jericho. The sound of magical trumpets fills the air but no one is directly aware of them. They’re hearing something but they can’t identify it. The effect of the sounds, is to open areas of awareness and action that do not depend on the reflection and judgment of the people involved. It’s always like this when the world goes into one of its dramatic change modes. All of a sudden everything is happening, as if it were detailed on a blueprint or in a book and no one questions it because they are in the middle of it. Suddenly, all the things they’ve been feeling, for longer than they can remember, have all come together in a defining moment.
Somewhere in the mystery of this process, which no one can delineate without losing some of the parts, lays the apprehension of the warp and woof, attended by the meaning, but it always slips away like sand through your fingers when you try to understand it. Life is like that. It seems we should have always known where we would wind up by where we were going but we never do. Later on, down the road, in the place where they decide which history we are supposed to remember, they add in the details the way they add the nutritional features and vitamins to the while flour they got removed from, so that the rats and cockroaches wouldn’t eat it. It’s a similar principle. They don’t want any inquisitive vermin rooting around in the evidence so… there shouldn’t be any evidence until they add the evidence later.
Looking at the initial mayhem, prior to the greater contagion, one might opt for the promise of positive change or… an indication of serious shit-storms on the horizon. There’s probably going to be a good amount of both. Whatever the damage done by whatever is taking place, it’s not necessarily going to be worse than what was happening before it burst upon the scene. There’s always a chance that we will be presented with various enduring icons, like Little Georgie Sorrows, hanging from a colored scarf in his closet. There’s an implication that the monsters, which have herded the willing and the stupid to this pass, are going to get theirs.
I keep thinking of Vladimir Putin, rotating a pair of Chinese stress balls in his hand, as he considers what to do about Israel bombing the Domodedovo airport. The fall of Egypt is close to some of the worst news that Israel can get. As we know by now, bad news for Israel is very good news for the rest of the world; to reverse paraphrase Netan-yahoo commenting after 9/11.
So, for myself, in this time of momentous transformation, soon to be joined in concert by Mother Nature, I look for positive signs of human potential, evolving up from all fours into something more observably humanoid. I think of bankers hanging from lampposts and the sacking of Goldman Sachs by an angry mob of thousands; we’ll never know what all those files contained, before Building 7 went down. As history and the moment will both prove, we don’t need no stinking paper. The guilt and culpability are written into the atmosphere. It doesn’t matter what crime you want to prosecute or what injustice you seek to adjust, if you locate an international banker, ...that will do for just about any crime or injustice presently extant.
The idea of the whole boards of directors of BP and Monsanto, doing stationary, facedown, water ballet in the Gulf of Mexico, creates an image that I am reluctant to let go of. The Queen of England and The Pope, chained to the wall of a Newark crack house, as the filmmakers from the San Fernando Valley set up their equipment, makes me wish I had been a little kinkier in my life, so that I could get a greater degree of satisfaction from the event. Oh, look, here come their co-stars. Now that’s impressive. As long as nobody calls PETA, we should be able to get the money shot in one afternoon.
This is why I made the decision to call for quarantine and permanent isolation among their fellows, for these viruses, masquerading in human form. I don’t like violent revolution and I don’t like the show trials being produced by the same people that do American Idol so that, while you are watching the entertainment, they are fabricating the back story that goes with the version of things they want you to live with after the tables are turned and the same people are still sitting there. This time that is not going to happen.
I understand that some heads have to roll and I understand that unless you tear something to the ground (Goldman Sachs?) they’ll just Hoseme, Hoseyou, Mubarak the thing into a ‘let’s all play nice now’ scenario, where they go right back to doing business as usual with new faces. You can’t put the fox in charge of the henhouse. The fox is a clever guy. He replicates too. He’s in and out and in and out, so that it looks like sex is what it is that he’s having. What you have to ask yourself is, “Am I having sex with the fox but I am unaware of it? It’s no surprise that they called the enterprise Fox News. It’s all Animal Farm, anthropomorphically speaking.
What’s happening today is like a chapter in a book. Tomorrow (metaphorically speaking), there will be new character development and possibly the more critical aspects, or even the original target might come into the crosshairs.
What is happening now is going to impact on the lives of everyone living. The force is on the move and everyone is going to have to consider what sort of adjustments they are going to make to the force. You might be looking at it like an offensive tackle and you might be looking at it like a defensive end. Heck, you might even be thinking you’re the quarterback, in search of a wide receiver. These are just postures and positions from which one can have a perspective and you may be sure there are any number of people looking at it in very similar ways. It translates into soccer, or Rugby; lawn tennis, badminton, possibly even croquet, with the aforementioned, rolling heads. Alice in Wonderland is not a bad fit for describing the transliteration of The Devic Realm into an active feature of the times. There were all sorts of beautiful landscapes and interesting magical creatures in wonderland. There were very interesting potions (something I might have a little curiosity about) available but, there was also a batshit crazy queen and an executioner with an axe. The point seems to be that they were just a pack of cards anyway. Is that what this is? Are we just a pack of cards?
Its happening right in front of your eyes and it’s no big deal, right? Can you imagine what is going on behind the scenes at the moment? Given that this is a cosmic event, everything TPTB does, will be the wrong thing and work to their disadvantage. Everything they don’t do, will be the right thing, mostly, but they haven't engineered themselves for that yet.
We are officially in operational mode. Don’t forget that all kinds of super-natural potencies and possibilities are also operational too. You’ve going to get the game you are watching. You’re going to get the game you are after. You are going to get the game you are playing, unless you change your game and that’s always an option and the one most people, most consistently forget. It’s a little cliché but, “May the force be with you and may you be with the force” because the alternative makes you something for demonstration purposes only, or does it just go on?. Deepen your love.
Tunisia To Egypt
Then On To Palestine
And Maybe Bring It On Home
Friday, January 28, 2011
What the Iran-P5+1 talks in Turkey lacked.
By Seyyed Mohammd Sadegh Kharrazi
The talks between Iran and the P5+1 [five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany] ended on Saturday afternoon in Istanbul, Turkey, and no date for the next round of negotiations have been announced so far. While from the beginning of the talks the Iranian delegation spoke of the positive mood of the talks, Western countries did not hide their dissatisfaction with the course of the dialogue. Catherine Ashton, EU foreign affairs commissioner and chief negotiator representing the P5+1, expressed her discontent with the negotiations on the final day and blamed Iran for setting prerequisites for continuation of the talks.
No details on the content of negotiations have been published so far, but what Western diplomats have stated is that the P5+1 proposed a nuclear fuel swap deal and called for a stronger inspection regime over Iran’s nuclear facilities. On the other hand, Iran demanded that the UNSC sanctions be lifted and Iran’s right to uranium enrichment be acknowledged by West, a stipulation ultimately rejected. Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili’s press conference held after the talks was basically a formal statement of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s official stance, and addressed no details of the talks. Several points on the Istanbul talks should be mentioned:
1.The meeting between Iran and P5+1 representatives in Istanbul could hardly be called ‘negotiations’, since there was no intention to entertain concessions or reconciliation by either side. Moreover, in genuine negotiations, both sides agree on an agenda based on which they begin their dialogue. Ahead of the talks, Iran stated that shared interests would be on the agenda, while the P5+1 aimed to talk about Iran’s nuclear program. It was clear that the talks in Istanbul would be fruitless since no shared agenda existed. The meeting in Istanbul could be labeled as a ‘dialogue’, in which each side only elaborated its own stance.
2.What is deduced from the meeting in Istanbul is that P5+1 felt no need to withdraw from its position, believing it had the upper hand with international and unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran and with the damaged inflicted upon Iran’s nuclear facilities by the Stuxnet virus. The Iranian delegation, aware of partial rift between members of the group of six and the fading possibility of military attack had no willing to show flexibility either. Of course, the issues addressed by the Iranian delegation about sanctions –that they are not befitting the dignity of the Iranian nation- and Iran’s right to enrichment enshrined in the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), absolutely hold true. The point overlooked is that both sides were aware of each others’ stances beforehand. Western countries knew that halting enrichment by Iran is impossible, and Iran was also aware that calling for the lifting of sanctions was not a realistic demand. If both sides were actually seeking ‘negotiations’ in its real sense, they needed shared sessions prior to the talks in order to draw up an agenda, based on which the senior representatives would advance the talks. This is a conventional procedure in diplomatic negotiations.
3.The Istanbul meeting showed that both sides believe that time is in their favor, so neither felt any urgency for flexibility and seemed to hope that the other side would withdraw from its stance. A genuine negotiation is one which benefits both sides. In this case, Iran would be allowed to continue its enrichment activities with no obstacles, and the international community would be assured of the nuclear program’s peaceful nature.
Both sides should use the experience of the Istanbul talks to develop an agenda by their experts prior to the next round of talks, pave the way for an agreement, and ultimately seal a mutually beneficial deal through real negotiations.
* Seyyed Mohammad Sadegh Kharrazi is Iran’s former ambassador to France and a former nuclear negotiator.
28 Friday January 2011 18:45
*Article Source : http://www.irdiplomacy.ir/
Thursday, January 20, 2011
And Iran's multifaceted talks In Turkey
Interview with François Nicoullaud, former French Ambassador in Tehran
Having in mind the oncoming meeting in Istanbul, how do you analyze the atmosphere surrounding the revival of the dialogue?
I am personally fairly optimistic about the outcome of the Istanbul meeting. There have been positive declarations on both sides, which indicate a desire to get out of the present deadlock of the nuclear file. And the tone of exchanges between the parties has been rather moderate. Each side seems to have understood the necessity of behaving carefully in order to give a chance to this negotiation.
What do you think about the results of the previous discussions, especially in Geneva?
The meeting of October 2009 in Geneva raised big hopes. An agreement seemed feasible around the idea of exchanging Iranian low enriched uranium for the nuclear fuel needed for the Tehran Research reactor. But people opposed to such an agreement have been able to stop it. There was again some hope after the intervention of Turkey and Brazil in May 2010. But this time again, we have been disappointed. Nevertheless the initiative of these two countries gave a new impetus to the discussions. Thanks mainly to this initiative, a new meeting took place in Geneva in December 2010, opening the way to the Istanbul encounter.
But how this new meeting could lead to a positive result for both parties? What is the formula for a “win-win” agreement?
As in every negotiation, each party must accept to make a few steps towards the other in order to reach a compromise. Recently, Mrs. Hillary Clinton hinted in Manama that the Iranian enrichment activities could be considered acceptable if Iran could generate full confidence on the peaceful nature of its nuclear program. On such a base, there is a possibility to build an agreement. I believe that Iran, without sacrificing its sovereign rights on nuclear energy, could still offer some additional guarantees in this field. Other great nations having important peaceful nuclear programs have accepted to give such guarantees to the international community. Therefore, Iran would not be humiliated or discriminated if it chose to go along the same way. In exchange, its right to develop an ambitious peaceful nuclear program could be fully recognized and Iran could benefit from an active international cooperation in support of such a program. This would be the perfect example of a “win-win” agreement.
Do you believe that it will be finally possible to reach a satisfactory solution about the Iranian peaceful nuclear activities?
Yes, the moment is now more favorable than ever, since everybody has had ample time to meditate upon all the drawbacks of the present deadlock. But one has also to remember from previous experience that it is very easy to derail such a complex process of negotiation, still quite fragile. Cautiousness and restraint will be necessary to create the most favorable atmosphere for the work of the negotiators.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Come On Anonymous
Break Down the Walls
We Want The Truth
credits video: http://youtube.com/IsaacSloan.
Official Music Video for the song We Want the Truth by Isaac Sloan. http://www.isaacsloan.com.
Its an anthem for the defenders of truth and a soundtrack for freedom of speech! Its a wake up call to the masters of war and a bane in the side of corruption. The truth will always prevail. Creative Commons license so use it however you wish. Let freedom ring through this anthem! Please tell everyone about this wikileaks song!
Its a protest song about wikileaks and the corrupt people trying to bring it down to hide their own criminal acts from the public eye. A song about freedom of speech, the press and the internet. Its a song about the people who use their position in the public eye to incite violence against innocent people. A nation can't consider its self democratic when all important issues are labeled as "Top Secret" and never released to the public. Brave men and women risk their lives to keep our country safe and are rewarded by being sent to die in childish squabbles over seas. Is this right?
Bradley Manning released a video of apache helicopters gunning down civilians and laughing about it. It came to be know on the internet as "Collateral Murder". What he did was was illegal and he's paying the consequences for it. We should be asking ourselves why this video was marked top secret in the first place though. It didn't contain information crucial for the security of our nation but rather just evidence of war crimes. Should information like that be hidden from the public? How can we be expected to vote if we don't actually know what our government is doing? So lastly this is a song for Bradley Manning who lost the most for the truth!
Isaac Sloan - Guitar, Piano, Organ, Lyrics and Vocals
Edgar Campos - Bass and Lead Guitar
Josh Kastleman - Drums
There was a man who wrote the truth
about governments and war
But the truth exposed the liers
for the criminals they were
We should hunt him down and murder him
Some like sarah palin swore
Then the credit cards and paypal
and webhosts joined the fight
But they only cared for money
Not free speech or peoples rights
So they choose to please the powerful
Instead of freedom, truth or light
So come on anonymous
bring down the walls
When knowledge is free
Humanity can stand tall
Well they say that your a traitor
But you are a hero to me
You risked your life and liberty
So the truth could be free
I wish you luck bradley manning
You were braver than me
Brave men died for their country
but the leaders didn't care
In their twisted lies and war games
these deaths were more than fair
now there's a site call wikileaks
That puts these secrets out to air
With Julian Assange in jail
some think the fight is lost
But we won't give up easily
We want the truth at any cost
Some scandals don't just go away
Dirty laundry can't be tossed
Please support Wikileaks by donating.
Click here: http://188.8.131.52/support.html.
A Shamefull Act
Opposing the Coca Chewing Amendment?
by Pien Metaal, Thursday, January 13, 2011
In March 2009, Bolivia's President Evo Morales chewed a coca leaf at the UN High Level session on drugs in Vienna. He announced he would seek the abolition of the articles in the 1961 UN Single Convention that stipulate that the chewing of coca leaves should be eliminated within 25 years, after the treaty entered into force.
He was applauded forcefully by those attending, and hope returned to me. Would rationality and justice finally find its way to this nerve centre of international drug control? Is there still a chance this extremely embarrassing mistake committed by the world community 50 years ago could be corrected, recognising human fallibility without fear.
Morales’ special mission in Vienna was meant to explain the officials present why Bolivia simply cannot accept the existing ruling framework. “If this a drug, then you should throw me in jail,” said Morales. “It has no harmful impact, no harmful impact at all in its natural state. It causes no mental disturbances, it does not make people run mad, as some would have us believe, and it does not cause addiction.” In order to finally rectify a historical mistake, he presented a formal amendment, asking for the removal of the articles.
In two weeks time, on January 31, the deadline ends for countries to present objections to this change; without any objections the amendment would automatically enter into force. And at this very last moment, the United States formed a “friends of the convention” group and announced it would object. Several other countries – notably the Russian Federation, Japan, Colombia, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Italy, Sweden, Bulgaria, Denmark and Estonia – have announced to present a formal objection as well. The exact arguments are yet to be known, but most likely bear no relation with the protection of the coca chewing population against the dangers of drugs abuse. The first case of intoxication of a person by consuming coca leafs is yet to be reported in the world, being more probable the fact it has brought benefits upon their health and their sense of identity and community.
The proposed amendment to the Single Convention by the Bolivian government is a very reasonable proposition, and represents a positive opportunity for countries to express their gained insight on mistakes from the past. Sixty years ago brief visit by the UN Commission of Inquiry on the Coca Leaf to Peru and Bolivia basically defined the case. On arriving in Lima in September 1949, the head of the Commission Howard B. Fonda gave an interview before beginning his work, in which he said: “We believe that the daily, inveterate use of coca leaves by chewing ... not only is thoroughly noxious and therefore detrimental, but also is the cause of racial degeneration in many centers of population, and of the decadence that visibly shows in numerous Indians - and even in some mestizos - in certain zones of Peru and Bolivia. Our studies will confirm the certainty of our assertions and we hope we can present a rational plan of action ... to attain the absolute and sure abolition of this pernicious habit.”
The conclusions of the Commission were already reached before the enquiry even began. Now a representative of those so-called “racial degenerates” that have chewed coca all their lives has become President of Bolivia and asks for the abolition of these backward racist provisions. So what is the problem, one might ask. You would assume that “friends of the convention” would like to get rid of the embarrassing provisions as soon as possible. Or do we still think of our indigenous brothers and sisters as backward and ignorant, in need for our help to understand the universe? Has progress in human and natural science gathered in these past decades not led to believe otherwise?
It seems that those who do not regularly chew coca have run mad. All recent efforts to establish support in international fora resulted in proof for the point made: a cultural heritage that harms no person, merits protection and a legal base. Outcomes of a WHO study on coca/cocaine in 1995, determined that the “use of coca leaves appears to have no negative health effects and has positive therapeutic, sacred and social functions for indigenous Andean populations.” Moreover, the UN Declaration on Indigenous Rights approved in September 2007 – recently endorsed by the United States on December 16, 2010 –, promises to uphold and protect indigenous cultural practices.
The proposed amendment by Bolivia implies a mere symbolic change: no new country will be facing masses of coca chewing citizens. Not objecting to this amendment simply recognizes coca chewing is there to stay. Time has come to repair a historical error responsible for including the leaf amongst the most hazardous classified substances, causing severe consequences for the Andean region. It is a sad fact that our governments are representing us citizens in disregard of facts, led by mere ignorance and fear. Still there is a chance now to come to our senses.
Republished from Drug Reform Law
Posted by Bolivia Rising on Saturday, January 15, 2011 0 comments
Labels: coca, UN
Sunday, January 16, 2011
Global Research, January 15, 2011
The Russian government's Itar-Tass news agency and Voice of Russia have confirmed the arms package with officials from the Russian special services and the Joint Staff of the armed forces.
An official from the second source responded to the proposed arms sale by stating: "We deeply regret that the reset of US-Russian relations declared by the administration of Barack Obama does not change anything in Washington's military support for the Georgian leadership, which began the war in the Caucasus in August 2008 and which is continuing to mastermind aggressive plans against the independent states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia." 
The Georgian-South Ossetian-Russian war of 2008 was preceded by Georgian artillery barrages against the South Ossetian capital of Tskhinvali on August 1 which killed six people including a Russian peacekeeper stationed there.
That attack occurred within hours of 1,000 U.S. Marines, airborne forces and other troops completing the two-week Immediate Response 2008 North Atlantic Treaty Organization Partnership for Peace exercise in Georgia.
Six days afterward the Saakashvili regime launched an all-out assault against South Ossetia, timed to coincide with the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing.
American troops and military equipment remained in the war zone throughout the five days of fighting between Georgia and Russia which began after the latter nation reacted to the deaths of Russian peacekeepers and South Ossetian civilians (who overwhelmingly hold Russian passports) caused by the Georgian onslaught.
U.S. military transport aircraft ferried home 2,000 Georgian troops deployed to Iraq - the third largest national contingent after those of the U.S. and Britain at the time - as the fighting was still raging.
Five days after the war ended, Joseph Biden - then senator and chairman of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, now vice president - rushed to the Georgian capital to support Saakashvili and offer $1 billion in "emergency aid" to the U.S. client.
After returning stateside, Biden, never reticent in respect to high-blown rhetorical excesses, stated:
"I left the country convinced that Russia's invasion of Georgia may be...one of the most significant event[s] to occur in Europe since the end of communism... .[T]he continuing presence of Russian forces in the country has severe implications for the broader region....Russia’s actions in Georgia will have consequences.”
Later in the month the U.S. dispatched the USS McFaul guided missile destroyer (part of the Aegis combat system designed to fire interceptor missiles), USS Mount Whitney (the flagship of the U.S. Sixth Fleet) and a Coast Guard cutter to the Georgian Black Sea coast, immediately south of Abkhazia and not much farther from the Russian shoreline. The heavily armed warships were, if one trusts Washington's account of their mission, engaged in a humanitarian operation. Russian President Dmitry Medvedev accused the U.S. of bringing weapons into Georgia.
The American ships, joined by as many as fifteen other NATO vessels, and Russian opposite numbers deployed to the region were only some ninety miles apart.
Georgia's head of state Mikheil Saakashvili, a graduate of Columbia Law School in New York City, was brought to power seven years ago on the back of an extra-constitutiona l putsch in 2003-2004 that he and his supporters and admirers in the West refer to as the Rose Revolution.
He remains the preeminent American political client in the world along with Kosovo's prime minister and president presumptive Hashim Thaci, recently accused in a report to the Council of Europe of being the ringleader of a grisly crime syndicate that trafficked in narcotics, weapons and human organs extracted from at least 500 ethnic Serbian and other civilians murdered for that purpose. An empire can be judged by the satraps it arms and in other manners indulges.
After Saakashvili' s Pyrrhic attempt to eliminate the two barriers remaining to dragging his country into NATO - unresolved territorial disputes and the presence of foreign troops on its soil (at the time a small number of Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia and Abkhazia) - with the invasion of South Ossetia and following that an offensive against Abkhazia, the U.S. and NATO hastened to shore up their outpost in the South Caucasus.
In mid-September NATO's Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer and its North Atlantic Council (the permanent representatives - ambassadors - of all its 26 member states at the time) visited Georgia and, guided by the host country's defense minister, inspected air force and infantry bases.
During the trip, the U.S.-controlled military bloc signed a framework agreement on creating the NATO-Georgia Commission, out of which developed an Annual National Program to further Georgia's integration into the Alliance, an exceptional measure to circumvent the standard stages through which a candidate nation passes to achieve full NATO accession.
The Russian Foreign Ministry responded by issuing a statement that said in part:
"Instead of drawing serious conclusions about the failed attempt by Saakashvili to forcefully resolve the many-year-old conflict [with South Ossetia], NATO has again demonstrated its support towards his [Saakashvili’s] campaign of disinformation, and has promised to rebuild the military infrastructure of this country.” 
Washington followed suit in December when then-Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Matthew Bryza announced a framework agreement on a U.S.-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership, which was formalized by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Georgian Foreign Minister Grigol Vashadze in Washington on January 9, 2009.
In October of 2008 Washington deployed the destroyer USS Mason to Georgia for training exercises and in the same month the Georgian defense minister met with U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates on the sidelines of a NATO defense chiefs meeting in Hungary, after which it was announced that "U.S. military assistance will be aimed at strengthening Georgian air defenses." 
At the same time the Pentagon sent "an assessment team to Georgia to determine what role the US should play in rebuilding that country’s military after its military conflict with Russia last August.
"After the assessment, Pentagon officials will review how the United States will be able to support the reconstruction of Georgia, including armed forces aid." 
Toward the end of the month a delegation headed by Frank Boland, head of Force Planning for the NATO Defense Policy and Planning Directorate, visited Georgia to meet with the country's top defense and military officials and prepare the nation for the next stage of NATO integration.
The month before, only weeks after the war had ended, Under Secretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman told the Senate Armed Services Committee that "Georgia, like any sovereign country, should have the ability to defend itself and deter renewed aggression, and there should be not be any question about whether Georgia is entitled to military assistance from the United States or, indeed, from NATO or any of the NATO allies.”
President George Bush supported Biden's call for $1 billion worth of non-military aid to Georgia, which at the time was remarked would "dwarf the 63 million dollars that Washington provided to Georgia last year. Excluding Iraq, the infusion would make Georgia one of the largest recipients of American foreign aid after Israel and Egypt."  Georgia has a population of 4.6 million, Egypt of 80 million.
Until now, however, the U.S. has been cautious about rebuilding and upgrading Georgia's military arsenal or at least acknowledging that it is doing so. If recent reports prove true, Georgia is to receive a large quantity of high-tech weapons from the U.S., including surface-to-air missile complexes, Stinger and other portable surface-to-air missiles, Javelin third generation guided missiles and Hellfire air-to-surface missiles, the latter two designed for penetrating armor.
Three weeks ago South Ossetian President Eduard Kokoity warned that "Georgia only pays lip service to peace, continues to rearm and refuses to sign non-aggression pacts that can avert another South Caucasus war." 
According to Russian military expert Victor Baranets, "Georgia is buying anti-missile and anti-tank weapons because the 2008 war showed that these are weak points of the Georgian army." 
In short, the U.S. will provide precisely the weapons Tbilisi needs for a new assault against South Ossetia and a new war with Russia.
Saakashvili is now in Washington, where "the purchase of weapons will be the main topic of his talks with American leaders." His trip is centered on attending a memorial to the late White House Afghanistan- Pakistan special representative Richard Holbrooke in Washington, D.C. on December 14 at which President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will pay tribute to the deceased.
On January 12 Saakashvili became the first foreign leader to meet with the new speaker of the House of Representatives, John Boehner. The latter released a statement after the meeting which said:
"The American people will continue to stand with others struggling for democracy over the forces of despotism, dignity over degradation, and freedom over subjugation. "  His statement also expressed appreciation to Georgia for supplying the Pentagon with 2,000 troops for the war in Iraq and 1,000 so far for that in Afghanistan.
The Georgian leader met with other lawmakers, including Senator Joseph Lieberman, upon whom he bestowed the St. George's Victory Order. Saakashvili announced last month that he - not the mayor of Tbilisi - would named a street in his nation's capital after Holbrooke, a "trusted friend and confidant" who co-authored a piece in the Washington Post during the 2008 war denouncing what he termed the "full-scale Russian invasion of Georgia."
While Washington's favorite foreign head of state is being hailed and regaled with attention and praise in the capital, his foreign minister referred to a recent agreement between Abkhazia and Russia as "fascism." 
The day before he arrived in the U.S., Saakashvili said in an interview to a Ukrainian television station:
"As for NATO, I am absolutely convinced that this is just a matter of time."
"Nobody can ensure their security on their own, especially small countries, but I think this concerns Ukraine as well," he added.
After seven years of mercurial, megalomaniacal, adventurist, dictatorial and murderous rule , Saakashvili remains the Washington political establishment' s pampered darling ne plus ultra.
At the NATO summit in November of last year, President Obama met privately with him the day before the NATO-Russia Council meeting with President Medvedev occurred.
Last July Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Georgia as Saakashvili' s guest and lambasted Russia for "occupying" Abkhazia and South Ossetia, described as Georgian territories although neither has ever been part of an independent Georgia. In her own words: "We, the United States, was appalled, and totally rejected the invasion and occupation of Georgian territory. I was in the Senate at the time, and, along with my colleagues and the prior Administration, made that view very clear. We continue to speak out, as I have on this trip, against the continuing occupation." 
At a joint press conference with Georgian Prime Minister Nikoloz Gilauri ahead of the second omnibus meeting of the U.S.-Georgia Charter on Strategic Partnership in October, she stated:
"The relationship between Georgia and the United States stands on a foundation of shared values and common interests... .The United States will not waver in its support for Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. That support is a core principle of our Charter on Strategic Partnership, and it is fundamental to our bilateral relationship. "
"The United States remains committed to Georgia’s aspirations for membership in NATO, as reflected in the Alliance’s decisions in Bucharest and Strasbourg-Kehl. We strongly support Georgia’s efforts related to its Annual National Program, which promotes defense reform and guides cooperation with NATO. And we continue to support Georgia’s efforts on defense reform and improving defense capabilities, including NATO interoperability and Georgia’s contributions to ISAF operations in Afghanistan. "
"We continue to call on Russia to end its occupation of Georgian territory, withdraw its forces, and abide by its other commitments under the 2008 ceasefire agreements." 
Her comments led the government of Abkhazia to challenge her to acknowledge countries like Afghanistan and Iraq as American-occupied territories.
Later in the month a NATO delegation inspected the Krtsanisi National Training Center and its Simulation Training Center - built by the U.S. - in Georgia (where U.S. Marines have trained Georgian soldiers and where three Georgian soldiers were killed and thirteen wounded in an explosion this month) as part of NATO Days events in the nation.
Also in October, Italian Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola, chairman of the NATO Military Committee, visited the Krtsanisi National Training Center and the simulation facility to view training exercises of the Georgian battalion that would replace one serving under NATO command in Afghanistan. He also toured the newly established NATO Liaison Office in the Georgian capital.
In November Assistant Secretary of State for European Affairs Phillip Gordon told BBC: "We...recognize Georgia's sovereignty and integrity. We are absolutely clear with Russia, we disagree on Georgia. [W]e want to see an end to Russian occupation and...we stand by Georgia`s sovereignty and territorial integrity." 
At the same time Georgian Deputy Minister of Defense Nikoloz Vashakidze was sequestered with top U.S. officials in closed-door meetings at the Pentagon. The "negotiations were held within the framework agreement on cooperation in the defence sector between the US and Georgia." 
As the Georgian deputy defense chief was in Washington, South Ossetian First Deputy Foreign Minister Alan Pliev warned:
"We are concerned about Georgia's intention to increase its military capacities. Now Georgia is planning to buy a number of Merkava 4 Israeli tanks, which are clearly not meant for defensive action.
"The activation of the Georgian Defense Ministry, increased flights of Georgian drones near the borders of South Ossetia, as well as the
maniacal opposition to signing a non-aggression agreement give rise to the reasonable assumption of a newly designed bloody venture by Georgian authorities. " 
The official also stated that due to assistance from the U.S. and other NATO states the military-technical capacity of the Georgian armed forces currently exceeds that at the start of the war in 2008.
On November 16 the NATO Parliamentary Assembly met in Poland and passed a resolution referring to Abkhazia and South Ossetia as "occupied territories. "
The Abkhazian Foreign Ministry issued a statement in response which included the following:
"The Abkhazian party considers this biased interpretation of the events yet another manifestation of NATO's pro-Georgian position.
"NATO is an organization that has been contributing to the intensive militarization of Georgia for many years, stirring up the revanchist mindset of the Georgian leadership, which led to the August 2008 bloodshed in South Ossetia." 
At their meeting during the Lisbon NATO summit, Obama "thanked his Georgian counterpart Mikheil Saakashvili for his country's participation in NATO-led international peace efforts in Afghanistan and reaffirmed the United States' support of Georgia's territorial integrity." 
Saakashvili offered more troops for the war in Afghanistan, pledged that his nation's contingent would remain there as long as NATO does, confirmed that Obama backed his country becoming a full NATO member ("President Obama has supported Georgia's course that will lead it to joining NATO") and said that the NATO summit declaration cleared the way for Georgia to join the military bloc without the customary Membership Action Plan requirement.
The Lisbon summit declaration affirms that NATO will "continue and develop the partnerships with Ukraine and Georgia within the NATO-Ukraine and NATO-Georgia Commissions, based on the NATO decision at the Bucharest summit 2008, and taking into account the Euro-Atlantic orientation or aspiration of each of the countries."
On December 1, at the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) summit in Kazakhstan, during which she met privately with Saakashvili, Hillary Clinton advocated "a meaningful OSCE presence in Georgia." In 1998 and until NATO's war against Yugoslavia commenced in March of the following year her husband's administration employed the OSCE's Kosovo Verification Mission, under the control of the notorious William Walker, to set the stage for the 78-day bombing of Yugoslavia and the wresting of Kosovo from Serbia. 
Also early last month, the NATO-Georgia Commission met in Brussels and Georgian Deputy Foreign Minister and Secretary of the National Security Council Giga Bokeria, representing his country at the meeting, stated:
"The resolution of the summit says that NATO continues to assist Georgia in carrying out reforms, recognizes its territorial integrity and sovereignty, and calls on Russia to abolish the decision in connection with recognition of the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia."
Afterwards, "issues of cooperation between Georgia and NATO were discussed at the headquarters of the Alliance, at a meeting of the Georgian National Security Council's Secretary Gigi Bokeria and the NATO Deputy Secretary General.
"The NATO Secretary General's Special Representative for the South Caucasus James Appathurai attended the meeting in his new status." 
As a footnote, "In 2003, after a visit to Serbia to study peaceful revolution techniques, Bokeria helped bring Serb activists from the youth movement Otpor to Georgia to train students in the same techniques. As a result, the youth movement 'Kmara' was established, which played a leading role in the November 2003 Rose Revolution." 
On December 3 the U.S. ambassador to Georgia, John Bass, was quoted as affirming: "The United States remains firmly committed to Georgia's sovereignty and territorial integrity. We enjoy a strong defense relationship, defense cooperation, and we're currently working closely with the Ministry of Defense and other Ministries in Georgia to improve Georgia's ability to defend itself." 
Three days later Bass visited the Krtsanisi National Training Center and "also took a tour of the Simulation Center and attended model exercises on the ground." 
The American envoy is routinely present at send-off and welcoming ceremonies for U.S. Marine Corps-trained Georgian troops deployed to Afghanistan.
In fact the Pentagon instituted the Georgia Train and Equip Program in 2002, first under Green Beret, then Marine, control in 2002 and later the Georgian Sustainment and Stability Operations Program three years later.
While still commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps, General James Conway visited Georgia in August of 2009 to inaugurate the latest Marine training of the host country's armed forces. At the time Associated Press reported that when asked if the preparation could be applied "to the possibility of another war with Russia," he answered, "In general, yes."
Last September Saakashvili addressed cadets graduating from a new training center at the Kutaisi Military Base and stated:
"[S]omeone may say: 'we have so many problems, our territories are occupied and there is no time now for going somewhere else to fight.' But because of these very same problems that we have, we need huge combat experience.. .and that [Afghan mission] is a unique combat and war school." 
On December 9 Associated Press, reporting on an interview with Georgian Vice Prime Minister Giorgi Baramidze, stated he was "raising the issue [of a "road map" to full NATO membership] in Washington this week with the Obama administration. " He further "said Georgia already behaves as if it were a member of NATO."
On the same day a bill crafted and introduced by Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Lindsey Graham, co-chairs of the Atlantic Council Task Force on Georgia, called "A resolution expressing the sense of the Senate with respect to the territorial integrity of Georgia and the situation within Georgia's internationally recognized borders," was presented to the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations. It refers to Abkhazia and South Ossetia as Georgian territories "occupied by the Russian Federation."
The next day Shaheen's and Graham's colleague Senator John McCain spoke at a conference titled "Forging a Transatlantic Consensus on Russia" at the Johns Hopkins Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International Studies at which he demanded the resumption and increase of arms sales to Georgia, stating:
"For two years, mostly out of deference to Russia, defensive arms sales have not been authorized for Georgia. This has to change. At a minimum we should provide Georgia with early warning radars and other basic capabilities to strengthen its defenses.
"Our allies in central and eastern Europe view Georgia as a test case of whether the United States will stand by them or not. Russia views Georgia as a test case, too - of how much it can get away with in Georgia, and if there then elsewhere. It is the policy of our government to support Georgia's aspiration to join NATO." 
Afterward, Robert Pszczel, the new director of the NATO Information Office in Moscow and formerly acting NATO Deputy Spokesman, confirmed that "NATO will continue its Eastward enlargement policy" and that "The NATO-Georgia Commission continues its work." 
In mid-December U.S. Deputy Defense Secretary Alexander Vershbow and Georgia's Vice Prime Minister and State Minister for Euro-Atlantic Integration Giorgi Baramidze met in Washington to plan Georgia's NATO accession. The Georgian official stated afterward that "Meeting with Vershbow is very important, as he is actively engaged in the issues of NATO enlargement, as well as personally ensuring Georgia's accession into the alliance." 
Baramidze, who studied at Georgetown University and was the country's defense minister in 2004, also met with members of the U.S. Senate on the bill discussed above.
U.S. troops were in Georgia during the five-day war with Russia in 2008 and later in the same month American warships were docked in the country's ports as ships from the Russian Black Sea Fleet were deployed within firing range.
Never before have military forces from the world's two major nuclear powers been on opposing sides of a battle line during wartime.
By increasing the provision of sophisticated weaponry to Georgia, Washington is taunting Russia on its southern border and running the risk of a military conflict that may draw it into a direct confrontation with its main nuclear rival.
Saturday, January 15, 2011
Drugs & CIA
Global Research, January 13, 2011
When Nixon first declared war on drugs in 1971, there were fewer than 500,000 hard-core addicts in the nation, most of whom were addicted to heroin. Three decades later, despite the expenditure of $1 trillion in tax dollars, the number of hard-core addicts is shortly expected to exceed five million. Our nation has become the supermarket of the drug world, with a wider variety and bigger supply of drugs at cheaper prices than ever before. The problem now not only affects every town on the map, but it is difficult to find a family anywhere that is not somehow affected.
The Chang Mai factory the CIA prevented me from destroying was the source of massive amounts of heroin being smuggled into the US in the bodies and body bags of GIs killed in Vietnam.
My unit, the Hard Narcotics Smuggling Squad, was charged with investigating all heroin and cocaine smuggling through the Port of New York. My unit became involved in investigating every major smuggling operation known to law enforcement. We could not avoid witnessing the CIA protecting major drug dealers. Not a single important source in Southeast Asia was ever indicted by US law enforcement. This was no accident. Case after case was killed by CIA and State Department intervention and there wasn’t a damned thing we could do about it. CIA-owned airlines like Air America were being used to ferry drugs throughout Southeast Asia, allegedly to support our “allies.” CIA banking operations were used to launder drug money.
In 1972, I was assigned to assist in a major international drug case involving top Panamanian government officials who were using diplomatic passports to smuggle large quantities of heroin and other drugs into the US. The name Manuel Noriega surfaced prominently in the investigation. Surfacing right behind Noriega was the CIA to protect him from US law enforcement. As head of the CIA, Bush authorized a salary for Manuel Noriega as a CIA asset, while the dictator was listed in as many as 40 DEA computer files as a drug dealer.
The CIA and the Department of State were protecting more and more politically powerful drug traffickers around the world: the Mujihadeen in Afghanistan, the Bolivian cocaine cartels, the top levels of Mexican government, Nicaraguan Contras, Colombian drug dealers and politicians, and others. Media’s duties, as I experienced firsthand, were twofold: first, to keep quiet about the gush of drugs that was allowed to flow unimpeded into the US; second, to divert the public’s attention by shilling them into believing the drug war was legitimate by falsely presenting the few trickles we were permitted to indict as though they were major “victories,” when in fact we were doing nothing more than getting rid of the inefficient competitors of CIA assets.
On July 17, 1980, drug traffickers actually took control of a nation. Bolivia at the time [was] the source of virtually 100% of the cocaine entering the US. CIA-recruited mercenaries and drug traffickers unseated Bolivia’s democratically elected president, a leftist whom the US government didn’t want in power. Immediately after the coup, cocaine production increased massively, until it soon outstripped supply. This was the true beginning of the crack “plague.”
The CIA along with the State and Justice Departments had to combine forces to protect their drug-dealing assets by destroying a DEA investigation. How do I know? I was the inside source. I sat down at my desk in the American embassy and wrote the kind of letter that I never myself imagined ever writing. I detailed three pages typewritten on official US embassy stationary—enough evidence of my charges to feed a wolf pack of investigative journalists. I also expressed my willingness to be a quotable source. I addressed it directly to Strasser and Rohter, care of Newsweek. Two sleepless weeks later, I was still sitting in my embassy office staring at the phone. Three weeks later, it rang. It was DEA’s internal security. They were calling me to notify me that I was under investigation. I had been falsely accused of everything from black-marketing to having sex with a married female DEA agent. The investigation would wreak havoc with my life for the next four years.
In one glaring case, an associate of mine was sent into Honduras to open a DEA office in Tegucigalpa. Within months he had documented as much as 50 tons of cocaine being smuggled into the US by Honduran military people who were supporting the Contras. This was enough cocaine to fill a third of US demand. What was the DEA response? They closed the office.
Sometime in 1990, US Customs intercepted a ton of cocaine being smuggled through Miami International Airport. A Customs and DEA investigation quickly revealed that the smugglers were the Venezuelan National Guard headed by General Guillen, a CIA “asset” who claimed that he had been operating under CIA orders and protection. The CIA soon admitted that this was true. If the CIA is good at anything, it is the complete control of American mass media. So secure are they in their ability to manipulate the mass media that they even brag about it in their own in-house memos. The New York Times had the story almost immediately in 1990 and did not print it until 1993. It finally became news that was “fit to print” when the Times learned that 60 Minutes also had the story and was actually going to run it. The highlight of the 60 Minutes piece is when the administrator of the DEA, Federal Judge Robert Bonner, tells Mike Wallace, “There is no other way to put it, Mike, [what the CIA did] is drug smuggling. It’s illegal [author's emphasis].”
The fact is – and you can read it yourself in the federal court records – that seven months before the attempt to blow up the World Trade Center in 1993, the FBI had a paid informant, Emad Salem, who had infiltrated the bombers and had told the FBI of their plans to blow up the twin towers. Without notifying the NYPD or anyone else, an FBI supervisor “fired” Salem, who was making $500 a week for his work. After the bomb went off, the FBI hired Salem back and paid him $1.5 million to help them track down the bombers. But that’s not all the FBI missed. When they finally did catch the actual bomber, Ramzi Yousef (a man trained with CIA funds during the Russia-Afghanistan war), the FBI found information on his personal computer about plans to use hijacked American jetliners as fuel-laden missiles. The FBI ignored this information, too.
Thursday, January 13, 2011
US Aircraft Sanctions
In the latest tragedy on 9 Jan 2011, IranAir’s 37-year-old Boeing 727, carrying 105
people, came down and broke into pieces killing at least 77 people with lifetime injuries for the others. Among the victims were 3 children.
US sanctions against Iranian civil aviation industry have been in place for over 30 years. Iran is also prevented from buying Airbus from Europe on the basis that US is manufacturing some of the key parts.
STOP THE SANCTIONS AGAINST INNOCENT PEOPLE. LET PEOPLE FLY SAFELY
Saturday, January 08, 2011
Are You Wikileaks?
You Better not shout
Or try to be sly
And don't stand out
In support of the spy
Since they've laws for snooping 'round
They're making a list
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out who's adding the spice
Since they've laws for snooping 'round
They see you when you're blogging
They know just what's your take
They know if you've been afraid or bold
So shut up for goodness sake!
O! You better not shout!
Or try to be sly
And don't stand out
In support of the spy
Since they've laws for snooping 'round
Since they've laws for snooping 'round
TodaysTodays Guadian reports the following.
WikiLeaks has demanded that Google and Facebook unseal any US subpoenas they may have received after it emerged that a court in Virginia had ordered Twitter secretly to hand over details of accounts and use of the micro-blogging site by five figures associated with the group, including Julian Assange.
Amid strong evidence that a US grand jury has begun a wideranging trawl for details of what networks and accounts WikiLeaks used to communicate with Bradley Manning, the US serviceman accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of sensitive government cables, some of those named in the subpoena said they would fight disclosure.
"Today, the existence of a secret US government grand jury espionage investigation into WikiLeaks was confirmed for the first time as a subpoena was brought into the public domain," WikiLeaks said in a statement today.
The writ, approved by a court in Virginia in December, demands that the San Franscisco based micro-blogging site hand over all details of accounts and private messaging on Twitter – including the computers and networks – used by five individuals.
Those include WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Manning, Icelandic MP Brigitta Jonsdottir and Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp. Three of those – Gonggrijp, Assange and Jonsdottir – were named as "producers" of the first significant leak from the US cables cache, a video of an Apache helicopter attack that killed civilians and journalist in Baghdad.
The broad-reaching legal document also targets an account held by Jacob Applebaum, a US computer programmer whose computer and phones were examined by US officials in July after he was stopped returning from Holland to the US.
The court issuing the subpoena said it believed that it believed that there were "reasonable grounds" to believe Twitter held information "relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation."
It also ordered Twitter not to notify the targets of the subpoena, which the company successfully challenged.
The court order crucially demands that Twitter hand over details of source and destination Internet Protocol addresses used to access the accounts, which would help investigators identify how the named individuals communicated with each other, as well as email addresses used.
The emergence of the subpoena appears to confirm for the first time the existence of a secret grand jury empanelled to investigate whether individuals associated with WikiLeaks, and Assange in particular, can be prosecuted for alleged conspiracy with Manning to steal the classified documents.
US attorney general Eric Holder has already said publicly that he believed that Assange could be prosecuted under the US Espionage Act. The court that issued the subpoena is in the same jurisdiction where press reports have located a grand jury investigating Assange.
It has also been reported that Manning has been offered a plea bargain if he co-operates with the investigation.
The emergence of the Twitter subpoena – which was unsealed after a legal challenge by the company – emerged after WikiLeaks announced that it believed other US Internet companies had also been ordered to hand over information about its activities.
WikiLeaks also condemned the court order, saying it amounted to harassment.
"If the Iranian government was to attempt to coercively obtain this information from journalists and activists of foreign nations, human rights groups around the world would speak out," Assange said in the statement.
"I think I am being given a message, almost like someone breathing in a phone," Jonsdottir said in a Twitter message.
Twitter has declined comment on the claim, saying only that its policy is to notify its users, where possible, of government requests for information.
The subpoena itself is an unusual one known as a 2703(d) which a recent Federal appeals court ruled was insufficient to order the disclosure of the contents of communication. Significantly, however, that ruling is binding in neither Virginia – where it was issued – or in San Francisco where Twitter is based.
Assange has promised to fight the order, as has Jonsdottir, who said in a Twitter message that she had "no intention to hand my information over willingly".
Appelbaum, whose Twitter feed suggested he was traveling in Iceland, said he was apprehensive about returning to the US. "Time to try to enjoy the last of my vacation, I suppose," he tweeted.
Gonggrijp praised Twitter for notifying him and others that the US had subpoenaed his details. "It appears that Twitter, as a matter of policy, does the right thing in wanting to inform their users when one of these comes in," Gonggrijp said. "Heaven knows how many places have received similar subpoenas and just quietly submitted all they had on me."
Tuesday, January 04, 2011
Unless the sources of the DDoS attacks being carried out by Anonymous are identified and stopped, there seems to be no end in sight for their deluge of operations. These 'AnonOps' are presented as global outreach operations of sorts, aimed at assisting individuals and organizations subjected to persecution by governments and other institutions aiming to silence free expression and dissent.
The Tunisian people are perceived by Anonymous to be in need of global support and the same can be said of Wikileaks. In particular, the consensus seems to be that governments and other powerful bodies have chosen to pursue Julian Assange and his collaborators for having exposed crimes committed by those same institutions. As Assange has often pointed out himself, it is a disturbing fact about the current situation that upon learning about the horrendous crimes exposed through the leaks, the first impulse has not been to pursue the culprits, but instead to punish individuals who acted on conscience to make those crimes known.
Whether the Anonymous group can succeed in its attempts to raise awareness of these issues and to discourage censorship hangs on the question of whether its members can be stopped. How likely is it that Anonymous members will be identified prosecuted?
While 2 DDoS attack-related arrests have apparently been made in December, deterrence does not seem to be in the cards, given the number of participants actively engaged in these operations. The situation is reminiscent of illegal peer-to-peer file sharing activities worldwide, for instance, in which innumerable users freely share illegitimate content without fear of legal repercussion. Although some arrests are occasionally made, the torrent of active users unleashed by Napster, Limewire and later BitTorrent technology, has become unmanageable for law enforcement.
A direct analogy can be drawn with respect to the now widespread use of LOIC software. As of mid December, one study estimated that the number of LOIC downloads topped 43,000 in just one week. The number has surely escalated dramatically since then. Interestingly, nearly one-third of the LOIC downloads are based in the United States. Other countries with significant numbers include UK, Germany, Netherlands, Canada, France, Spain, Poland, Russia and Australia. (Source)
With overflowing prisons and national defense spending becoming clearly unsustainable in the United States, for instance, it is natural to wonder whether government possesses the resources required to identify and pursue any significant number of hacktivist participants. As participant numbers grow and technology provides new methods of attack, the likelihood of deterrence and prosecution seems to approach negligible probabilities.
While the Anonymous self-imposed title of "Legion" may have seemed like little more than a cliché to the casual reader, the data indicate otherwise. And while popular headlines may suggest that "the world is at cyberwar with America" and other enemies of Wikileaks, the data show that a vast number of Americans are on board with Anonymous ideals. As numbers grow, use of the term "Legion" begins to look less like a metaphor than an accurate description.
Monday, January 03, 2011
Crisis Of Empire
- WikiLeaks, Ideological Legitimacy
And The Crisis of Empire
by: Francis Shor, t r u t h o u t, 2 January 2011.
While empires try to maintain their hegemony through economic and military prowess, they must also rely on a form of ideological legitimacy to guarantee their rule. Such legitimacy is often embedded in the geopolitical reputation of the empire among its allies and reluctant admirers. Once that reputation begins to unravel, the empire appears illegitimate.
The establishment of the US empire in the aftermath of World War II built upon its economic and military supremacy. That empire created an architecture of financial and geopolitical institutions that served not only its own interests, but also those of global capital and international legal and democratic structures. There were, of course, myriad contradictions that materialized throughout the earliest cold war period, but much of the West accepted the general framework and ideological legitimacy of the empire. While a crisis of legitimacy emerged around the Vietnam War and the undermining of the Bretton Woods agreement by the Nixon administration, it was not until the end of the cold war and the development of reckless unipolar geopolitics over the last decade that a real decline in US hegemony became apparent.
Given the battered economic and military standing of the United States over the past several years, the hysterical reaction of the American political class over the recent release of State Department cables by WikiLeaks is not surprising. However, it is instructive to note the response of those in the West to such "displays (of) imperial arrogance and hypocrisy" as reported by Steven Erlanger in The New York Times. Erlanger cites an important editorial from the Berliner Zeitung that underscores the question of ideological legitimacy: "The U.S. is betraying one of its founding myths: freedom of information. And they are doing so now, because for the first time since the end of the cold war, they are threatened with losing worldwide control of information."
Commenting in The Guardian on the hypocrisy of the United States, British columnist John Naughton points to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's January 21, 2010 address about Internet freedom and the remarkable subsequent about-face in denouncing such freedom as practiced by WikiLeaks. Naughton does not spare other officials in the West who have been clamoring for curtailment of such freedom of information on the Internet. As alleged by Naughton: "What WikiLeaks is really exposing is the extent to which the western democratic system has been hollowed out. … And when, finally, the veil of secrecy is lifted, their reflex reaction is to kill the messenger."
The abuses heaped on Julian Assange and the threats against him, especially, but not exclusively, from politicians in the United States, reflects this hollowing out of democracy and a fear of the new virtual world of free speech. Writing in the December 11, 2010 issue of the Melbourne Age, Assange's Australian attorney, Peter Gordon, opines:
The sight of the most prominent politicians in the world inciting either the prosecution, incarceration or assassination of Assange, or the persecution of his family, is a form of barbarism that demeans us all. Moreover, the phenomenon of companies as big as MasterCard and Visa being gangpressed into anti-trust violations of their commercial relations with WikiLeaks is truly frightening.
Beyond the critical matter of freedom of information, however, is the erosion of alliances by stalwart supporters of US global hegemony in the aftermath of the WikiLeaks publication of some of the hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables. When The Guardian released some of the documents dealing with Poland, even its conservative prime minister, Donald Tusk, declared that, "we have a serious problem … not with image, as some countries do, and not reputation, like the US does. It's a problem of being stripped of illusions about the nature of relations between countries, including such close allies as Poland and the US."
The Australian government has been buffeted by a series of revelations that surfaced when the United States rejected an appeal by that government to see all of the cables relating to US-Australian relations before WikiLeaks released them. Beyond the embarrassment to members of the Labor government, there is a growing sentiment that the US is both arrogant and incompetent.
Perhaps the drive to shut down WikiLeaks and prosecute Julian Assange is the last gasp of a dying empire to shore up its fading legitimacy in the world and among its own citizens. Hence, the hyperbolic criticism by US Attorney General Eric Holder that WikiLeaks has put "the lives of people who work for the American people at risk; the American people themselves have been put at risk." As the WikiLeaks publications make clear, the diplomatic corps is just another instrument of the US empire. Indeed, it is the empire itself that is putting its own citizens at risk through the reckless, illegal and immoral actions perpetrated around the globe.
In their desperation to retain the empire, the US political class is undermining the remaining vestiges of the empire's legitimacy over the WikiLeaks affair. They may also be preparing to expand the definition of treason to include those who are dedicated, as is Assange and WikiLeaks, to freedom of information, especially when it reveals the duplicities of empire. Beyond WikiLeaks, the crisis of empire, according to Filipino scholar-activist Walden Bello, "bodes well not only for the rest of the world. It may also benefit the people of the United States. It opens up the possibility of Americans relating to other people as equals and not as masters."
Given the panic of the US masters, it might be time for the serfs at home to revolt under the banner of "Treason to Empire is Loyalty to Humanity." If that seems a little too provocative, we should remember the first American struggle for independence from the British Empire. In defense of his anti-British Virginia Stamp Act Resolution, Patrick Henry is alleged to have declaimed: "If this be treason, make the most of it."
Sunday, January 02, 2011
Are Wildly Sprouting
All Over The World
Aside from the WikiLeaks site, the best source for updates of relative information is probably WL Central. Today it gives brief descriptions of and links to four recently sprouted leak gathering and releasing enterprises. Those are given below with notation that listing such a site in no way constitutes a recommendation of the site by WL Central or Wikileaks.
ScienceLeaks. This blog exists so that people may anonymously post links to peer-reviewed scientific papers that been liberated from behind journal-subscription paywalls.
GlobalLeaks is a project to create a worldwide distributed Leak Amplification Network supporting whistleblowers all around the world.
Crowdleak (formerly Operation Leakspin), is dedicated to summarization, translation and publication of the US state cables.
Wikispooks is building a comprehensive reference source of deep political structures and events, together with the people and organisations connected to them.
WL Central had previously lised several other such sites.
BalkanLeaks "The Balkans are not keeping secrets anymore." According to an article in Sofia Echo this site is set up by a Paris-based Bulgarian, Atanas Chobanov and seeks confidential documents related to political, criminal or financial topics.
BrusselsLeaks is seeking corporation, consultancy, institution or NGO information in "Brussels – the European Capital and the place where decisions are made which impact the globe". Many of these decisions happen behind closed doors and we have been working to make it more transparent for many years. Journalists, activists and communications professionals have now come together to form Brussels Leaks, a place to centralise intelligence gathered on the inner-workings of the EU.
IndoLeaks. The Jakarta Gobe says this appeared on December 10.
IsraeliLeaks "Requesting information on WikiLeaks Organization, Events, and Content, WikiLeaks/Israel Connection, Palestine/Israel history and current events, Hacktivism. Nothing is off limits. Linkage between otherwise divergent topics / regions / organizations / movements is highly valued. Please send any and all information that would be of interest to the public, including journalism, education, and research."
OpenLeaks Started by ex-Wikileaks member Daniel Domscheit-Berg, this site is still "Coming Soon!" It will serve only as a conduit between whistleblowers and their media destinations without being involved in the publishing.
Pinoy Leaks is dedicated to exposing corruption in the Philippine national and local governments. PinoyLeaks is similar to Wikileaks, except the mission is specifically focused on exposing corruption only, the scope is limited to the Philippines, and PinoyLeaks works with bloggers instead of traditional media. It is up to the bloggers whether to spread news about a leak. This site is launching on Rizal Day, 2010. Our goal is to start publishing leaks by February 1, 2011. Please help us reach this goal by spreading the word about PinoyLeaks.
Pirate Leaks started by the Czech Pirate Party to offer a service similar to Wikileaks but focusing on the Czech Republic and with transparent accounting, they want to tackle the network of political corruption and organized crime in the Czech Republic and are looking for classified materials related to crime or finance.
Rospil an extension of popular Russian blogger Alexei Navalny's website, he is actively seeking documentation of corruption in the higher echelons of the national government and economy.
thaicables is trying to combat the Thai government's censorship of over 300,000 websites. We do not believe in censorship and think that everyone in Thailand should get access to any information available on the internet, which also includes Wikileaks. This is the reason for this blog.
Thaileaks makes all Thai-related content from the Wikileaks website available for direct download and provides magnet links to Wikileaks material.
TuniLeaks seems, at least at present, to serve as a forum to post and discuss Wikileaks state cable releases as they relate to Tunisia, along with the Twitter hashtag #tunileaks . According to Global Voices Advocacy, they have been under heavy censorship threats and actions since they were started.
Then of course we have the 1426 mirror sites of Wikileaks of itself.