Thursday, December 02, 2010

WikiLeaks

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"President Obama's pledge to have the most transparent administration in history has come true. Thanks to WikiLeaks." —Jay Leno
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Who is Behind Wikileaks?
By Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, December 13, 2010
"World bankers, by pulling a few simple levers that control the flow of money, can make or break entire economies. By controlling press releases of economic strategies that shape national trends, the power elite are able to not only tighten their stranglehold on this nation's economic structure, but can extend that control world wide. Those possessing such power would logically want to remain in the background, invisible to the average citizen." (Aldus Huxley)
Wikleaks is upheld as a breakthrough in the battle against media disinformation and the lies of the US government.
Unquestionably, the released documents constitute an important and valuable data bank. The documents have been used by critical researchers since the outset of the Wikileaks project. Wikileaks earlier revelations have focussed on US war crimes in Afghanistan (July 2010) as well as issues pertaining to civil liberties and the "militarization of the Homeland" (see Tom Burghardt, Militarizing the "Homeland" in Response to the Economic and Political Crisis, Global Research, October 11, 2008)
In October 2010, WikiLeaks was reported to have released some 400,000 classified Iraq war documents,
covering events from 2004 to 2009 (Tom Burghardt, The WikiLeaks Release: U.S. Complicity and Cover-Up of Iraq Torture Exposed, Global Research, October 24, 2010). These revelations contained in the Wikileaks Iraq War Logs provide "further evidence of the Pentagon's role in the systematic torture of Iraqi citizens by the U.S.-installed post-Saddam regime." (Ibid)
Progressive organizations have praised the Wikileaks endeavor. Our own website Global Research has provided extensive coverage of the Wikileaks project.
The leaks are heralded as an immeasurable victory against corporate media censorship.
But there more than meets the eye.
Even prior to the launching of the project, the mainstream media had contacted Wikileaks.
There are also reports from published email exchanges that Wikileaks had entered into negotiations with several corporate foundations for funding. (Wikileaks Leak email exchanges, January 2007).
The linchpin of WikiLeaks's financial network is Germany's Wau Holland Foundation. ... "We're registered as a library in Australia, we're registered as a foundation in France, we're registered as a newspaper in Sweden," Mr. Assange said. WikiLeaks has two tax-exempt charitable organizations in the U.S., known as 501C3s, that "act as a front" for the website, he said. He declined to give their names, saying they could "lose some of their grant money because of political sensitivities."
Mr. Assange said WikiLeaks gets about half its money from modest donations processed by its website, and the other half from "personal contacts," including "people with some millions who approach us...." (WikiLeaks Keeps Funding Secret, WSJ.com, August 23, 2010)
At the outset in early 2007, Wikileaks acknowledges that it was "founded by Chinese dissidents, mathematicians and startup company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa".... [Its advisory board] includes representatives from expat Russian and Tibetan refugee communities, reporters, a former US intelligence analyst and cryptographers." (Wikileaks Leak email exchanges, January 2007).
Wikileaks formulated its mandate on its website as follows: [Wikileaks will be] "an uncensorable version of Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interests are oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations," CBC News - Website wants to take whistleblowing online, January 11, 2007, emphasis added).
This mandate was confirmed by Julian Assange in June 2010 interview in the New Yorker:
"Our primary targets are those highly oppressive regimes in China, Russia and Central Eurasia, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the West who wish to reveal illegal or immoral behavior in their own governments and corporations. In an invitation to potential collaborators in 2006, he wrote, “Our primary targets are those highly oppressive regimes in China, Russia and Central Eurasia, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the West who wish to reveal illegal or immoral behavior in their own governments and corporations...." (quoted in WikiLeaks and Julian Paul Assange : The New Yorker, June 7, 2010, emphasis added)
Assange also intimated that "exposing secrets" "could potentially bring down many administrations that rely on concealing reality—including the US administration." (Ibid)
From the outset, Wikileaks' geopolitical focus on "oppressive regimes" in the former Soviet Union, the Middle East and Central Asia was "appealing", i.e. consistent with US foreign policy.
The composition of the Wikileaks team, not to mention the methodology of "exposing secrets" of foreign governments, were in line with the practices of US covert operations geared towards triggering "regime change".
The Role of the Corporate Media: The Central Role of the New York Times
Wikileaks is not a typical alternative media initiative. The New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel are directly involved in the editing and selection of leaked documents. The Economist and Time Magazine have also played an important role.
While the project and its editor Julian Assange reveal a commitment and concern for truth in media, the recent Wikileaks releases of embassy cables have been carefully "redacted" by the mainstream media in liaison with the US government. (See Interview with David E. Sanger, Fresh Air, PBS, December 8, 2010)
This collaboration between Wikileaks and selected mainstream media is not fortuitous; it was part of an agreement between several major US and European newspapers and Wikileaks' editor Julian Assange.
The important question is who controls and oversees the selection, distribution and editing of released documents to the broader public?
What US foreign policy objectives are being served through this redacting process?
Is Wikileaks part of an awakening of public opinion, of a battle against the lies and fabrications which appear daily in the print media and on network TV?
If so, how can this battle against media disinformation be waged with the participation and collaboration of the corporate architects of media disinformation.
Julian Assange has enlisted the architects of media disinformation to fight media disinformation: An incongruous and self-defeating procedure.
America's corporate media and more specifically the New York Times are an integral part of the economic establishment, with links to Wall Street, the Washington think tanks, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
Moreover, the US corporate media has developed a longstanding relationship to the US intelligence apparatus, going back to "Operation Mocking Bird", an initiative of the CIA's Office of Special Projects (OSP), established in the early 1950s.
Even before the Wikileaks project got off the ground, the mainstream media was implicated. A role was defined and agreed upon for the corporate media not only in the release, but also in the selection and editing of the leaks. In a bitter irony, the "professional media" to use Julian Assange's words in an interview with The Economist, have been partners in the Wikileaks project from the outset.
Moreover, key journalists with links to the US foreign policy-national security intelligence establishment have worked closely with Wikileaks, in the distribution and dissemination of the leaked documents.
In a bitter irony, Wikileaks partner, The New York Times which has consistently promoted media disinformation is now being accused of conspiracy. For what? For revealing the truth? Or for manipulating the truth? In the words of Senator Joseph L. Lieberman:
“I certainly believe that WikiLleaks has violated the Espionage Act, but then what about the news organizations — including The Times — that accepted it and distributed it?” Mr. Lieberman said, adding: “To me, The New York Times has committed at least an act of bad citizenship, and whether they have committed a crime, I think that bears a very intensive inquiry by the Justice Department.” (WikiLeaks Prosecution Studied by Justice Department - NYTimes.com, December 7, 2010)
This "redacting" role of The New York Times is candidly acknowledged by David E Sanger, Chief Washington correspondent of the NYT:
"[W]e went through [the cables] so carefully to try to redact material that we thought could be damaging to individuals or undercut ongoing operations. And we even took the very unusual step of showing the 100 cables or so that we were writing from to the U.S. government and asking them if they had additional redactions to suggest." (See PBS Interview; The Redacting and Selection of Wikileaks documents by the Corporate Media, PBS interview on "Fresh Air" with Terry Gross: December 8, 2010, emphasis added).
Yet he also says later in the interview:
"It is the responsibility of American journalism, back to the founding of this country, to get out and try to grapple with the hardest issues of the day and to do it independently of the government." (ibid)
"Do it independently of the government" while at the same time "asking them [the US government] if they had additional redactions to suggest"?
David E. Sanger cannot be described as a model independent journalist. He is member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Aspen Institute's Strategy Group which regroups the likes of Madeleine K. Albright, Condoleeza Rice, former Defense Secretary William Perry, former CIA head John Deutch, Robert.B. Zoellick (president of the World Bank), and Philip Zelikow (formerly executive director of the 9/11 Commission) (among other prominent establishment figures). (See also F. William Engdahl, Wikileaks: A Big Dangerous US Government Con Job, Global Research, December 10, 2010).
Several American journalists, members of the Council on Foreign Relations interviewed Wikileaks, including Time Magazine's Richard Stengel (November 30, 2010) and The New Yorker's Raffi Khatchadurian. (WikiLeaks and Julian Paul Assange : The New Yorker, June 11, 2007)
Historically, The New York Times has served the interests of the Rockefeller family in the context of a longstanding relationship. The current New York Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, son of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger and grandson of Arthur Hays Sulzberger who served as a Trustee for the Rockefeller Foundation. Ethan Bronner, deputy foreign editor of The New York Times as well as Thomas Friedman among others are members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).
In turn, the Rockefellers have an important stake as shareholders of several US corporate media. (Membership Roster - Council on Foreign Relations)
The Embassy and State Department Cables
It should come as no surprise that David E. Sanger and his colleagues at the NYT centered their attention on a highly "selective" dissemination of the Wikileaks cables, focussing on areas which would support US foreign policy interests: Iran's nuclear program, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan's support of al Qaeda, China's relations with North Korea, etc. These releases were then used as source material in NYT articles and commentary.
The Embassy and State Department cables released by Wikileaks were redacted and filtered. They were used for propaganda purposes. They do not constitute a complete and continuous set of memoranda.
From a selected list of cables, the leaks are being used to justify a foreign policy agenda. A case in point is Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program, which is the object of numerous State Department memos, as well Saudi Arabia's support of Islamic terrorism.
Iran's Nuclear Program
The leaked cables are used to feed the disinformation campaign concerning Iran's Weapons of Mass Destruction. While the leaked cables are heralded as "evidence" that Iran constitutes a threat, the lies and fabrications of the corporate media concerning Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program are not mentioned, nor is there any mention of them in the leaked cables.
The leaks, once they are funnelled into the corporate news chain, edited and redacted by the New York Times, indelibly serve the broader interests of US foreign policy, including US-NATO-Israel war preparations directed against Iran.
With the regard to "leaked intelligence" and the coverage of Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program, David E. Sanger has played a crucial role. In November 2005, The New York Times published a report co-authored by David E. Sanger and William J. Broad entitled "Relying on Computer, U.S. Seeks to Prove Iran's Nuclear Aims".
The article refers to mysterious documents on a stolen Iranian laptop computer which included "a series of drawings of a missile re-entry vehicle" which allegedly could accommodate an Iranian produced nuclear weapon:
"In mid-July, senior American intelligence officials called the leaders of the international atomic inspection agency to the top of a skyscraper overlooking the Danube in Vienna and unveiled the contents of what they said was a stolen Iranian laptop computer.
The Americans flashed on a screen and spread over a conference table selections from more than a thousand pages of Iranian computer simulations and accounts of experiments, saying they showed a long effort to design a nuclear warhead, according to a half-dozen European and American participants in the meeting.
The documents, the Americans acknowledged from the start, do not prove that Iran has an atomic bomb. They presented them as the strongest evidence yet that, despite Iran's insistence that its nuclear program is peaceful, the country is trying to develop a compact warhead to fit atop its Shahab missile, which can reach Israel and other countries in the Middle East."(William J. Broad and David E. Sanger Relying on Computer, U.S. Seeks to Prove Iran's Nuclear Aims - New York Times, November 13, 2005)
These "secret documents" were subsequently submitted by the US State Department to the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA, with a view to demonstrating that Iran was developing a nuclear weapons program. They were also used as a pretext to enforce the economic sanctions regime directed against Iran, adopted by the UN Security Council.
While their authenticity has been questioned, a recent article by investigative reporter Gareth Porter confirms unequivocally that the mysterious laptop documents are fake. (See Gareth Porter, Exclusive Report: Evidence of Iran Nuclear Weapons Program May Be Fraudulent, Global Research, November 18, 2010)
The drawings contained in the documents leaked by William J. Broad and David E. Sanger do not pertain to the Shahab missile but to an obsolete North Korean missile system which was decommissioned by Iran in the mid-1990s. The drawings presented by US State Department officials pertained to the "Wrong Missile Warhead":
In July 2005, ... Robert Joseph, US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, made a formal presentation on the purported Iranian nuclear weapons program documents to the agency's leading officials in Vienna. Joseph flashed excerpts from the documents on the screen, giving special attention to the series of technical drawings or "schematics" showing 18 different ways of fitting an unidentified payload into the re-entry vehicle or "warhead" of Iran's medium-range ballistic missile, the Shahab-3. When IAEA analysts were allowed to study the documents, however, they discovered that those schematics were based on a re-entry vehicle that the analysts knew had already been abandoned by the Iranian military in favor of a new, improved design. The warhead shown in the schematics had the familiar "dunce cap" shape of the original North Korean No Dong missile, which Iran had acquired in the mid-1990s. ... The laptop documents had depicted the wrong re-entry vehicle being redesigned. ... (Gareth Porter, op cit, emphasis added)
David E, Sanger, who worked diligently with Wikileaks was also instrumental in the New York Times "leak" of what Gareth Porter describes as fake intelligence.(Ibid)
While this issue of fake intelligence received virtually no media coverage, it invalidates outright Washington's assertions regarding Iran's alleged nuclear weapons.
In a bitter irony, the selective redacting of the embassy cables by the NYT has usefully served not only to dismiss the issue of fake intelligence but also to reinforce Washington's claim that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. A case in point is a November 2010 article co-authored by David E. Sanger, which quotes the Wikileaks cables as a source;
"Iran obtained 19 of the missiles from North Korea, according to a [Wikileaks] cable dated Feb. 24 of this year.... (WikiLeaks Archive — Iran Armed by North Korea - NYTimes.com, November 28, 2010).
These missiles are said to have the "capacity to strike at capitals in Western Europe or easily reach Moscow, and American officials warned that their advanced propulsion could speed Iran’s development of intercontinental ballistic missiles." (Ibid, emphasis added).
Wikileaks, Iran and the Arab World
The released wikileaks cables have also being used to create divisions between Iran on the one hand and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States on the other:
"After WikiLeaks claimed that certain Arab states are concerned about Iran’s nuclear program and have urged the U.S. to take [military] action to contain Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took advantage of the issue and said that the released cables showed U.S. concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program are shared by the international community." Tehran Times : WikiLeaks promoting Iranophobia, December 5, 2010)
The Western media has jumped on this opportunity and has quoted the State Department memoranda released by Wikleaks with a view to upholding Iran as a threat to global security as well as fostering divisions between Iran and the Arab world.
"The Global War on Terrorism"
The leaks quoted by the Western media reveal the support of the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia to several Islamic terrorist organization, a fact which is known and amply documented.
What the reports fail to mention, however, which is crucial in an understanding of the "Global War on Terrorism", is that US intelligence historically has channelled its support to terrorist organizations via Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. REF These are covert intelligence operations using Saudi and Pakistani intelligence as intermediaries.
The use of the Wikleaks documents by the media tend to sustain the illusion that the CIA has nothing to do with the terror network and that Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are "providing the lion's share of funding" to Al Qaeda, the Taliban Lashkar-e-Taiba, among others, when in fact this financing is undertaken in liaison with their US intelligence counterparts.
"The information came to light in the latest round of documents released Sunday by Wikileaks. In their communiques to the State Department, U.S. embassies in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states describe a situation in which wealthy private donors, often openly, lavishly support the same groups against whom Saudi Arabia claims to be fighting." ( Wikileaks: Saudis, Gulf States Big Funders of Terror Groups - Defense/Middle East - Israel News - Israel National News)
Similarly, with regard to Pakistan:
The cables, obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to a number of news organizations, make it clear that underneath public reassurances lie deep clashes [between the U.S. and Pakistan] over strategic goals on issues like Pakistan's support for the Afghan Taliban and tolerance of Al Qaeda,..." (Wary Dance With Pakistan in Nuclear World, The New York Times December 1, 2010
The corporate media's use and interpretation of the Wikileaks cables serves to uphold two related myths:
1) Iran has nuclear weapons program and constitutes a threat to global security.
2) Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are state sponsors of Al Qaeda. They are financing Islamic terrorist organizations which are intent upon attacking the US States and its NATO allies.
The CIA and the Corporate Media
The CIA's relationship to the US media is amply documented. The New York Times continues to entertain a close relationship with not only with US intelligence, but also with the Pentagon and more recently with the Department of Homeland Security.
"Operation Mocking Bird" was an initiative of the CIA's Office of Special Projects (OSP), established in the early 1950s. Its objective was to exert influence on both the US as well as foreign media. From the 1950s, members of the US media were routinely enlisted by the CIA.
The inner workings of the CIA's relationship to the US media are described in Carl Bernstein's 1977 article in Rolling Stone entitled The CIA and the Media:
[M]ore than 400 American journalists who [had] secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. [1950-1977]Some of these journalists’ relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. ... Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners,... Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work....;
Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were Williarn Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Tirne Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the LouisviIle Courier‑Journal, and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps‑Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald‑Tribune. The CIA and the Media by Carl Bernstein
Bernstein suggests, in this regard, that "the CIA’s use of the American news media has been much more extensive than Agency officials have acknowledged publicly or in closed sessions with members of Congress" (Ibid).
In recent years, the CIA's relationship to the media has become increasingly complex and sophisticated. We are dealing with mammoth propaganda network involving a number of agencies of government.
Media disinformation has become institutionalized. The lies and fabrications have become increasingly blatant when compared to the 1950s. The US media has become the mouthpiece of US foreign policy. Disinformation is routinely "planted" by CIA operatives in the newsroom of major dailies, magazines and TV channels:
"A relatively few well-connected correspondents provide the scoops, that get the coverage in the relatively few mainstream news sources, where the parameters of debate are set and the "official reality" is consecrated for the bottom feeders in the news chain."(Chaim Kupferberg, The Propaganda Preparation of 9/11, Global Research, September 19, 2002)
Since 2001, the US media has assumed a new role in sustaining the Global War on Terrorism and camouflaging US sponsored war crimes. In the wake of 9/11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld created the Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), or "Office of Disinformation" as it was labeled by its critics: "The Department of Defense said they needed to do this, and they were going to actually plant stories that were false in foreign countries -- as an effort to influence public opinion across the world. (Interview with Steve Adubato, Fox News, 26 December 2002, see also michel Chossudovsky, War Propaganda, January 3, 2003).
Today's corporate media is an instrument of war propaganda, which begs the question as to why the NYT would all of a sudden promote transparency and truth in media, by assisting Wikileaks in "spreading the word"; and that people around the World would not pause for one moment and question the basis of this incongruous relationship.
On the surface, nothing proves that Wikileaks was a CIA covert operation. However, given the corporate media's cohesive and structured relationship to US intelligence, not to mention the links of individual journalists to the military-national security establishment, the issue of a CIA sponsored PsyOp must necessarily be addressed.
Wikileaks Social and Corporate Entourage
Wikileaks and The Economist have also entered into what seems to be a contradictory relationship. Wikileaks founder and editor Julian Assange was granted in 2008 The Economist's New Media Award.
The Economist has a close relationship to Britain's financial elites. It is an establishment news outlet, which has consistently supported Britain's involvement in the Iraq war. It bears the stamp of the Rothschild family. Sir Evelyn Robert Adrian de Rothschild was chairman of The Economist from 1972-1989. His wife Lynn Forester de Rothschild currently sits on The Economist's board. The Rothschild family also has a sizeable shareholder interest in The Economist.
The broader question is why would Julian Assange receive the support from Britain's foremost establishment news outfit which has consistently been involved in media disinformation?
Are we not dealing with a case of "manufactured dissent", whereby the process of supporting and rewarding Wikileaks for its endeavors, becomes a means of controlling and manipulating the Wikileaks project, while at the same time embedding it into the mainstream media.
It is also worth mentioning another important link. Julian Assange's lawyer Mark Stephens of Finers Stephens Innocent (FSI), a major London elite law, happens to be the legal adviser to the Rothschild Waddesdon Trust. While this in itself does prove anything, it should nonetheless be examined in the broader context of Wikileaks' social and corporate entourage: the NYT, the CFR, The Economist, Time Magazine, Forbes, Finers Stephens Innocent (FSI), etc.
Manufacturing Dissent
Wikileaks has the essential features of a process of "manufactured dissent". It seeks to expose government lies. It has released important information on US war crimes. But once the project becomes embedded in the mould of mainstream journalism, it is used as an instrument of media disinformation:
"It is in the interest of the corporate elites to accept dissent and protest as a feature of the system inasmuch as they do not threaten the established social order. The purpose is not to repress dissent, but, on the contrary, to shape and mould the protest movement, to set the outer limits of dissent. To maintain their legitimacy, the economic elites favor limited and controlled forms of opposition... To be effective, however, the process of "manufacturing dissent" must be carefully regulated and monitored by those who are the object of the protest movement " (See Michel Chossudovsky, "Manufacturing Dissent": the Anti-globalization Movement is Funded by the Corporate Elites, September 2010)
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What this examination of the Wikileaks project also suggests is that the mechanics of New World Order propaganda, particularly with regard to its military agenda, has become increasingly sophisticated.
It no longer relies on the outright suppression of the facts regarding US-NATO war crimes. Nor does it require that the reputation of government officials at the highest levels, including the Secretary of State, be protected. New World Order politicians are in a sense "disposable". They can be replaced. What must be protected and sustained are the interests of the economic elites, which control the political apparatus from behind the scenes.
In the case of Wikileaks, the facts are contained in a databank; many of those facts, particularly those pertaining to foreign governments serve US foreign policy interests. Other facts tend, on the other hand to discredit the US administration.
All these facts are selectively redacted, they are then "analyzed" and interpreted by a media which serves the economic elites.
While the numerous facts contained in the Wikileaks data bank are accessible, the broader public will not normally take the trouble to consult and scan through the Wikileaks databank. The public will read the redacted selections and interpretations presented in major news outlets.
A partial and biased picture is presented. The redacted version is accepted by public opinion because it is based on what is heralded as a reliable source, when in fact what is presented in the pages of major newspapers and on network TV is a carefully crafted and convoluted distortion of the truth.
Limited forms of critical debate and "transparency" are tolerated while also enforcing broad public acceptance of the basic premises of US foreign policy, including its "Global War on Terrorism". With regard to a large segment of the US antiwar movement, this strategy seems to have succeeded: "We are against war but we support the "war on terrorism".
What this means is that truth in media can only be reached by dismantling the propaganda apparatus, --i.e. breaking the legitimacy of the corporate media which sustains the broad interests of the economic elites as well America's global military design.
In turn, we must ensure that the campaign against Wikileaks in the U.S., using the 1917 Espionage Act, will not be utilized as a means to wage a campaign to control the internet.
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WikiLeaks cyber war heats up
By Simon Lauder and staff
Thursday Dec 9, 2010
The attack came after the firms began blocking payments to WikiLeaks. (wikileaks.org)
There are warnings today that a cyber war over the WikiLeaks cable dump could intensify, after hackers targeted the websites of credit giants Visa and Mastercard.
The visa.com website went down this morning as members of a hackers' group, called Anonymous, launched a coordinated cyber attack announced on their Twitter feed @Anon_Operation.
The attack, and a similar denial-of-service attack targeting Mastercard, came after the firms began blocking payments to WikiLeaks.
And the battle moved into the commercial sphere overnight with allegations the US government is pressuring companies to stop dealing with WikiLeaks.
Online payment service Paypal is the first to admit it froze the WikiLeaks account based on the US government's stance against WikiLeaks.
The Paypal move, as well as Visa and Mastercard's withdrawal of services, are a problem for WikiLeaks because it relies on many small donations to keep going.
WikiLeaks spokesman Kristinn Hrafnsson called the block on payments "despicable" and accused the
three companies of bowing to US government pressure.
"We are looking at new measures to open up a gateway so people can continue supporting us," he said.
"It is an attack on a media organisation and should be of concern to the general public. And indeed it is, as we can feel by the reaction of the general public condemning the decision of these companies."
Hackers have also targeted the website of the Swedish authority which is prosecuting the sexual assault case against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and are reportedly considering attacks on Paypal and/or Twitter.
A man who calls himself 'Cold Blood' says he is a spokesman for the activists behind the attacks.
"There's roughly about 1,000 people taking part in the attacks," he said.
"It involves people downloading a tool and becoming part of what's called a voluntary botnet. So they download the software and run it to allow people to control them and attack the same target at the same time."
Experts say it is extremely difficult to track down the authors of denial-of-service attacks, which are illegal in some countries.
More attacks likely
Deakin University's School of Information Systems head Matthew Warren says it is likely the attacks will escalate.
"A number of organisations around the world are refusing payments," he said.
"And I would expect that those organisations themselves would become victims of these type of cyber attacks during the next couple of days. It actually only needs a few people to coordinate those zombie nets."
Professor Warren says large companies are vulnerable to such attacks because of the "sheer volume of information that floods the server [and] slows down the operation".
"What we've seen with these attacks [is] that some have been successful for only a small amount of time, actually sort of impacting operations, slowing it down rather than bringing the site down," he said.
He says today's attacks can be judged a success because they have attracted more attention to the
WikiLeaks cause.
"From that point it's been very successful because questions will now be asked. Why is it that they're stopping payments to WikiLeaks but they'll accept payments for pornography sites or for other services that people may question?"
Institute of International and European Affairs senior researcher Johnny Ryan has just finished a study for the European Commission on how to regulate illegal internet content.
He says the WikiLeaks scandal shows governments may not be able to control what is on the internet.
"We are seeing states and governments trying to get to grips with an entirely new digital order, a new system of communications," he said.
"The state is going to have to adapt. And the same goes for business and culture. There are seismic disruptions happening to all of these actors who are used to the old industrial order, and they're going to have to change in the digital era."
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Obama’s Complacency on WikiLeaks Revelations is the Real Scandal
By Attorney Eugene J. Koprowski
December 9, 2010
NewsWithViews.com
President Barack Obama has remained strangely mum on the biggest scandal in U.S. diplomatic history, the leak of secret State Department cables by the mysterious Marxist Internet activist, Julian Assange.
Why is that? Not since Alger Hiss conspired with his communist handlers during the 1940s to disclose FDR’s negotiating strategy for the Yalta conference to the Soviet Union and Josef Stalin has the U.S. taken this kind of a strategic hit, without a bullet or bomb being expended.
Unlike the 1940s, however, the establishment liberals in the U.S. are outraged about Assange.
“We’re leaking power,” said Thomas Friedman, The New York Times foreign affairs columnist, on Meet
the Press, on Sunday. “That’s my view of it.”
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) is even calling on the Obama Justice Department to prosecute Assange under the Espionage Act of 1917 which makes it a felony to transmit “information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage” of any foreign nation.
“No doubt aware of this law, and despite firm warnings, Mr. Assange went ahead and released the cables on Nov. 28,” Sen. Feinstein wrote in Monday’s edition of The Wall Street Journal.
State Department legal counsel Harold Hongju Koh told Assange, and his lawyer, the documents had been obtained "in violation of U.S. law and without regard for the grave consequences of this action."
Koh's Nov. 27 letter to Assange said that publication of the documents would:
• Place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals, including U.S. soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan;
• Interfere with operations to stop terrorists, traffickers in illicit arms, other drug traffickers;
• Damage on-going cooperation between countries to confront common challenges, like nuclear proliferation, that threaten global stability.
Yet, Assange went ahead and released the documents anyway, insouciantly portraying himself as some sort of global hero, when he’s really the information age equivalent of domestic terrorist William Ayres.
Therein lies the problem for Obama. During the 2008 election campaign, and shortly thereafter, many theories were floated that former Weather Underground terrorist Ayers was the ghostwriter for Obama’s best-selling book, Dreams from My Father.
Obama identifies with guys like Ayers, and Assange, anti-establishment radicals who want to take down the U.S. a peg.
During the 1970s, Ayers tried to blow up the Pentagon. Assange seems willing to complete the project by destroying the credibility of the U.S., revealing the secret musings, negotiating strategies, and operational plans of the military.
Obama spent much of his first year in office apologizing to the U.S. He famously made apology tours to visit Islamic sultans, and other foreign leaders, taking it upon himself to demean his predecessors in the Oval Office for their supposed “arrogance” and for other imagined sins of the U.S.
Obama was raised by a hippie mother, and is the son of a foreign Marxist government official, and even
campaigned with Marxist-Leninist politician Raila Odinga in Kenya, on foreign soil, just months after he was sworn-in to the U.S. Senate in 2007. This was reported by CBS News affiliate in Chicago, but never given the national media coverage it deserved.
So as President, Obama is, as they say in pop psychology, emotionally conflicted. He has the duty as commander-in-chief to defend the U.S. and uphold the Constitution of the U.S. But as an academic radical himself – he seems to be detachedly observing this whole leak scandal, and no doubt reckoning that the U.S. may well be getting what it deserved, another come-uppance.
Former Education Secretary Bill Bennett, who served in the Reagan administration, said on Monday on Fox News that the word on the street in Washington is that Assange is about to release a list of weapons caches held by the U.S. around the world, and details about secret U.S. government facilities in Europe and Asia.
“This is almost like a James Bond movie,” said Bennett. “This guy is an accessory to terrorism. Nab him using the espionage act.”
It is probable that the pressure from the Left and the Right will force Obama to do the proper thing, and send the CIA or the U.S. Special Forces to track down Assange, shackle him, and send him to GITMO. Obama has stopped apologizing – at least in public – for the U.S. and is continuing to prosecute the war on terrorists in Afghanistan and Iraq. He’s even stepped up the Predator drone attacks instrumental in killing leading terrorists. Pressure from the establishment – Pentagon Secretary Gates has been a major influence on Obama, as has Gen. Jim Jones – has forced Obama to grow up a bit and, whether he likes it or not, do his job as commander-in-chief.
The rest of us need to continue to remind this unlikely successor to George Washington and Ronald Reagan that the U.S. is a great country, and is worthy of defense, no matter what his old friends at Harvard and University of Chicago may think and say during faculty cocktail parties.
“We have to remind ourselves that we are the strong party,” said Bennett. “The kind of posture this president has taken, who can be satisfied with the position? This is not Reagan’s world anymore. But it can be.”
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Law experts say WikiLeaks in the clear
Simon Lauder reported this story on Tuesday, December 7, 2010
ELEANOR HALL: As the leaks from the WikiLeaks website continue, the US government is again condemning what it calls the 'illegal' publication of state secrets.
But some Australian legal experts question whether the website's founder, Julian Assange, has broken any law.
Lawyers for Mr Assange say that instead Australia’s Prime Minister may have behaved illegally by defaming their client.
Simon Lauder has our report.
SIMON LAUDER: The WikiLeaks cables have lifted the lid on a world of two faced diplomacy. The uncomfortable revelations are set to continue and rather than deny them the Australian and US governments have turned the focus on the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian Assange.
A member of Mr Assange's legal team, Jennifer Robinson, says the Prime Minister's assertion that the website's publication of the documents is illegal goes too far.
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JENNIFER ROBINSON: Well her comments were made outside of Parliament so they're certainly not privileged and I think it was misguided to suggest that he had committed a crime in England and, indeed, defamatory. Though I think that Prime Minister Gillard's account will probably come at the ballot box.
SIMON LAUDER: US and Australian authorities are working to find any laws which may have been violated by WikiLeaks.
The President of Liberty Victoria, Spencer Zifcak, says the website doesn't seem to have done anything illegal.
SPENCER ZIFCAK: All WikiLeaks have done is publish documents that have been given to it. Now the interesting thing about that is WikiLeaks is publishing these documents in association with some of the great newspapers of the world.
So if WikiLeaks is to be charged with the disclosure of official information then presumably these major newspapers will also be in the guns. But I can't see the authorities, either in Australia or the United States, pursuing those newspapers.
SIMON LAUDER: Mr Zifcak has written to the Prime Minister to express his concern about her comments.
SPENCER ZIFCAK: There is no charge and there has been no trial and even given all of those things the Prime Minister had the confidence to say that Mr Assange was guilty of illegality. Now that seems to me to be completely inappropriate.
SIMON LAUDER: How serious is it to say that someone has done something illegal or could be arrested when there is no proof of that?
SPENCER ZIFCAK: Well I think it is, it is quite a serious thing. But it's made even more serious by the fact that the statement is made by the Prime Minister of the country. The effect of the statement is to pre-empt the outcome of any legal proceedings.
SIMON LAUDER: The latest publications by WikiLeaks have prompted more accusations of crime.
The US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, says the release of a secret list of critical infrastructure is deeply distressing and the illegal publication of classified information poses real concerns and dangers.
The director of the Centre for International Law at the University of Sydney, Dr Ben Saul, says Mr Assange is the victim of an international smear campaign.
BEN SAUL: Julian Assange has become a target of a kind of global campaign to demonise him as a criminal, as a terrorist. I mean this is pretty serious stuff and the Australian Government hasn't said very much on the public record to suggest that they're looking out for his interests in any kind of serious way.
SIMON LAUDER: Dr Saul says the most likely avenue for prosecuting WikiLeaks is through the development of international laws which protect diplomatic correspondence, but even that would be problematic.
BEN SAUL: Now we know that some of the disclosures by WikiLeaks have genuinely been in the public interest. That is, disclosure has involved US war crimes, for example, in Afghanistan and Iraq. The disclosure that the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, ordered a campaign of espionage against the United Nations secretary general, I mean these are properly matters in the public interest.
So if the law on diplomatic inviolability is to be extended globally to all kinds of diplomatic information then there really needs to be a kind of exception or carve out for the disclosure of illegal conduct. It doesn't make sense to absolutely protect the inviolability of diplomatic information if that just becomes a shield for government lawlessness.
SIMON LAUDER: Do you think that the WikiLeaks scandal will lead to laws being tightened?
BEN SAUL: I'd say it's a fair estimate to suggest that a whole lot of other countries are going to be looking at their laws. Australia, no doubt, is doing that at the moment but it could be some time before those laws are changed.
But there's certainly great interest amongst governments to look at how they can tighten up the protection of classified information.
SIMON LAUDER: The only legal trouble the founder of WikiLeaks is in so far is an arrest warrant which is in the works, over allegations of sexual assault in Sweden.
ELEANOR HALL: Simon Lauder reporting.
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Death Squads versus Democracy: Tom Flanagan’s "Joke" directed against Wikileaks Julian Assange
By Prof. Michael Keefer
Global Research, December 7, 2010
Tom Flanagan, University of Calgary political science professor, right-wing pundit, and mentor and former senior advisor to Prime Minister Harper, has earned himself more international media attention during the past week than even he may have an appetite for.
On November 30th, Flanagan spoke as one of the regular panelists on CBC Television’s national political analysis program, Power and Politics with Evan Solomon. Staring into the camera, while across the bottom of the television screen there appeared a banner reading "WIKILEAKS LATEST: New document mentions PM Stephen Harper," Flanagan had this to say about Julian Assange, the founder and editor of Wikileaks:
"Well, I think Assange should be assassinated, actually. I think Obama should put out a contract and maybe
use a drone or something."
Evan Solomon’s reaction was delayed—and when it finally came, thumpingly stupid. After letting Flanagan outline for nearly ten seconds his reasons for advocating political murder, he broke in at last, saying: "Tom, that’s pretty harsh stuff, just for the record, that’s pretty harsh stuff."
Flanagan responded to this interruption with what appears to have been a joke: "Well, I’m feeling very manly today." But making it clear that his initial remarks were seriously intended, he wrapped up his contribution to the program with a parting shot: "I wouldn’t feel unhappy if Assange disappeared." This sounds rather as though, after proposing a murder contract and a drone attack, he was offering Obama a third form of assassination: how about a death-squad "disappearance"? Solomon responded, echoing his earlier feebleness: "Well, I’ve gotta say, Tom Flanagan calling for that, that’s pretty strong stuff...."
One of the most lucid comments to date on this disgusting episode has come from Calgary Herald journalist and University of Calgary alumnus Kris Kotarski, in a public letter calling on Dr. Elizabeth Cannon, the university’s President, "to condemn Dr. Flanagan in the harshest possible terms."
"Better than most," Kotarski writes, "a professor of political science should understand that academic freedom is not possible without political freedom, and that political freedom cannot survive in a climate where journalists and opponents of a ruling regime hear public intellectuals advocate for their assassination on the nightly news. If this were a Russian, Chinese or Iranian intellectual calling for the murder of a regime opponent, Canadians would be appalled. Considering Canada’s proud tradition of political freedom, it is all the more offensive to hear an active member of the University of Calgary faculty and the former chief of staff and campaign manager for the sitting Prime Minister do the same" (http://censureflanagan.wordpress.com/).
As one would expect, there have been attempts both by Flanagan and by his supporters in the media to
explain his remarks away as an ill-judged attempt at humour. For example, Sarah Petz has written in Macleans: "Joking about the assassination of a major public figure is terrible [...]. However, considering it was obviously a bad joke and not a serious incitation to commit violence, maybe it’s time for everyone to move on."
Petz likens Flanagan’s comments in the video footage to "something your conservative uncle would say in a drunken argument over an awkward family dinner" ("Let Flanagan’s remarks die," Macleans [4 December 2010]). But while there may have been a note of brutal flippancy in his tone, Flanagan was stone-cold sober. The only jest in his statement was the inane Neo-Con in-joke about "feeling very manly today." Some people of Flanagan’s political leanings—men like Dick Cheney, John Bolton, and George W. Bush—seem to find the quasi-erotic charge they get from making threats of violence invigorating, even amusing. Others might wonder how manly it is to find one’s pleasure in bullying and terrorizing people.
It’s perhaps just as well that the video footage of this CBC program has gone global, together with explanations of Flanagan’s close links to our current Prime Minister. Julian Assange, let us remind ourselves, is not just the "major public figure" that Macleans calls him: he has for several years taken a leading role in what is arguably the most courageous and the most significant journalistic work currently ongoing anywhere in the world.
In an age in which the "memory hole" imagined by George Orwell in his dystopian novel 1984 has become a literal reality, the work of Wikileaks is crucial. Assange has himself pointed out in public lectures and interviews that news reports are now routinely deleted by media corporations, both from their online archives and from their indexes, leaving behind nothing but a "document not found" message for search-engine inquiries; while in the UK some 300 news stories, including one about a deliberate chemical spill that injured over 100,000 people, are currently smothered by court orders that make it illegal even to mention the existence of a court order blocking publication of the facts.
Moreover, the US government has been moving steadily toward a situation in which its agencies possess something approaching what Admiral John Poindexter called "total intelligence awareness," while citizens are increasingly confined to a corresponding state of ignorance on all matters of importance. Lawrence Davidson explains the strategy:
"Democratic elites have learned that they do not need to rely on the brute force characteristic of dictatorships as long as they can sufficiently control the public media environment. You restrict meaningful free speech to the fringes of the media, to the ‘outliers’ along the information bell curve. You rely on the sociological fact that the vast majority of citizens will either pay no attention to that which they find irrelevant to their immediate lives, or else they will believe the official story line about places and happenings of which they are otherwise ignorant. Once you have identified the official story line with the official policy being pursued, loyalty to the policy comes to equate with patriotism. It is a shockingly simple formula and it usually works." ("On the Historical Necessity of Wikileaks," MWC News [4 December 2010], http://mcwnews.net/focus/editorial/7045-historical-necessity-of-wikileaks.html)
While it is undoubtedly embarrassing for American elites (whom one hesitates to grace with the word "democratic") to have the dirty linen of their diplomatic double-dealings exposed to the world, their most urgent concern seems to be to ensure that as little as possible of the Wikileaks material becomes known in any organized way to the American public. Hence the censorship being exercised by the New York Times (in contrast to the manner in which The Guardian and Der Spiegel are releasing the material that they all possess)—and hence also the vitriolic hatred expressed toward Julian Assange by Hillary Clinton, Newt Gingrich, and Bill O’Reilly, and the death-threats issued against him by Sarah Palin, Mike Huckabee, and William Kristol.
Noam Chomsky has remarked that "Perhaps the most dramatic revelation [of the leaked cables] is the bitter hatred of democracy that is revealed both by the U.S. government—Hillary Clinton, [and] others—and also by the diplomatic service" (http://chomsky.info/interviews/20101130.htm). The paroxysms of loathing now being directed at Julian Assange are another expression of that same hatred of democracy.
While most Canadians are already aware of our own government’s repeated demonstrations of contempt for democratic principles and practice, understanding the implications of Tom Flanagan’s behaviour remains important. Canada’s standards of public discourse have decayed to the point at which our national broadcaster is not ashamed to carry an open incitement to political murder made by the leading ideologue of the governing party, a former and for all we know continuing close associate of Prime Minister Harper. It is dismaying to recognize that our media system includes, at its centre, people for whom the open-eyed advocacy of lawless violence is something merely to shrug off, like an off-colour joke, as "pretty strong stuff."
But acceptance of that kind of dismissal is only possible so long as Canadians continue to believe that our governing elites have always operated at a safe distance from such totalitarian tactics as those recommended by Tom Flanagan. Is that in fact the case, or is our belief perhaps conditioned by effective control of what Davidson calls the "public media environment"?
How many of us know about Canada’s central role in the overthrow of Haiti’s duly elected democratic government in February 2004, or about the role of Canada’s military in facilitating—or at the very least doing nothing to prevent—the campaigns of political terror, massacre and rape that followed the coup? Or about the fact that Canada exercised effective control over a post-coup prison system in Haiti that even the Organization of American States condemned as horrifying? (The Deputy Minister of Justice who ran that system was both appointed and paid by the Canadian International Development Agency.) Or about the role
of the RCMP in providing training and tutelage for a reconstituted Haitian National Police that engaged in documented death-squad activities against civilians between 2004 and at least 2006, and is suspected of involvement in such crimes as the "disappearance" of human rights activist Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine in August 2007? (Should we not feel some degree of responsibility for these crimes? Might it be in any way significant that Lovinsky was "disappeared" just three weeks after having annoyed Canadian authorities in Haiti by trying to organize a demonstration against Stephen Harper’s brief visit to the island in July?)
The Wikileaks cables apparently include more than 1,800 documents emanating from Ottawa (whether from American diplomats posted there or from Canadian authorities communicating with the US is unclear). Their contents may be entirely confined to banal and routine matters. Or they may perhaps provide further substantiation of the fact that crimes of state terror of the kind Tom Flanagan thought it appropriate to recommend on CBC Television—far from being mere rhetoric, let alone a "joke"—touch Canadians more closely than most of us have been able to recognize.
Should the Wikileaks cables turn out to contain material of this kind, we might expect to hear angry
denunciations of Julian Assange from Liberal as well as from Conservative quarters—for Canada’s participation in the Haitian coup of 2004 was decided and acted upon by the governments of Jean Chrétien and Paul Martin, whose policies the Harper Conservatives have in this respect
merely continued.
One may hope that in such a case, Canadian public opinion would respond with a firm defence of our democratic right to know about and to control the doings of our elected representatives and public servants—and to ensure that their actions remain in conformity with domestic and international law.
As for the present, I note with interest that Vancouver lawyer Gail Davidson has filed a complaint against Tom Flanagan with the Vancouver police and the RCMP (see Charlie Smith, "Police complaint filed after Tom Flanagan calls for assassination of Wikileaks’ Julian Assange, Straight.com [4 December 2010], http://www.straight.com/article-362941/vancouver/lawyer-files-criminal-flanagan-assassination-wikileaks-julian-assan). I’m happy to endorse a comment posted by ‘Delmazio’ in response to this news: "We need more people like Mr. Julian Assange who are willing to speak truth to power, and encourage the free flow of information which directly affects public policy decisions. If we value freedom of information, transparency, openness, and democracy, we ought to praise not to condemn such efforts."
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Wikileaks and the Worldwide Information War
Power, Propaganda, and the Global Political Awakening
By Andrew Gavin Marshall
Global Research, December 6, 2010
Introduction
The recent release of the 250,000 Wikileaks documents has provoked unparalleled global interest, both positive, negative, and everywhere in between. One thing that can be said with certainty: Wikileaks is changing things.
There are those who accept what the Wikileaks releases say at face value, largely due to the misrepresentation of the documents by the corporate-controlled news.
There are those who see the documents as authentic and simply in need of proper interpretation and analysis.
Then there are those, many of whom are in the alternative media, who approach the leaks with caution and suspicion.
There are those who simply cast the leaks aside as a ‘psy-op’ designed to target specific nations that fit into U.S. foreign policy objectives. Finally, then, there are those who deplore the leaks as ‘treason’ or threatening ‘security’. Of all the claims and notions, the last is, without a doubt, the most ridiculous. This essay aims to examine the nature of the Wikileaks releases and how they should be approached and understood. If Wikileaks is changing things, let’s hope people will make sure that it changes things in the right direction.
Media Propaganda Against Iran: Taking the Cables at Face Value
This perspective is perhaps the most propagated one, as it is largely influenced and undertaken by the
mainstream corporate media, which present the leaked diplomatic cables as ‘proof’ of the media’s take on major world issues; most notably among them, Iran’s nuclear program. As per usual, the New York Times steps center stage in its unbridled contempt for truth and relentless use of propaganda to serve U.S. imperial interests, headlining articles with titles like, “Around the World, Distress Over Iran,” which explained how Israel and the Arab leaders agree on Iran as a nuclear threat to the world, with the commentary in the article stating that, “running beneath the cables is a belief among many leaders that unless the current government in Tehran falls, Iran will have a bomb sooner or later.”[1] Fox News ran an article proclaiming that, “Leaked Documents Show Middle East Consensus on Threat Posed by Iran,” and commented that, “the seismic document spill by WikiLeaks showed one area of profound agreement -- that Iran is viewed in the Middle East as the region's No. 1 troublemaker.”[2]
This, it should be understood, is propaganda. Yet, we need to properly refine our understanding
of propaganda in order to assess what is specifically propagandistic about these stories. While one should remain skeptical of sources and disinformation campaigns (as those who critically analyze the media have known take place time and time again), one must also consider the personal perspective of the source and decipher between authenticity and analysis. These documents, I truly believe, are authentic. In this sense, I do not adhere to the notion that these are a part of a psychological operation (psy-op) or propaganda effort, in terms of the actual release of the documents. We must keep in mind that the sources for these cables are U.S. diplomatic channels, and thus the statements within them reflect the perspectives and beliefs of U.S. diplomatic personnel. The documents are an authentic representation of their statements and beliefs, but that does not imply that they are an accurate representation of reality.
This is where the media comes in to propagandize the information within the leaks. The two above examples claim that the leaks show that there is a “consensus” on Iran, and thus, that the U.S. and indeed Israeli positions on Iran for the past several years have been “vindicated,” namely in that they fear Iran is making nuclear weapons. This is nonsense. The media has essentially read and propagated the documents at face
value, meaning that because U.S. diplomats, Middle Eastern and Arab leaders all agree that Iran is a “threat” and is trying to make a “nuclear weapon,” it therefore must be true. This is a non sequitur. If a military general tells several soldiers to commit a raid on a house because there are “suspected terrorists” inside, the fact that the soldiers carry out the raid – and that they believe there are terrorists inside – does not make it so. In contextualizing this example with the current Wikileaks release, just because Middle Eastern and Arab leaders see Iran as a threat, does not make it so.
Again, consider the sources. What makes the Arab leaders trustworthy sources for ‘unbiased’ information?
For example, one ‘revelation’ that made its way around the world was the insistence of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah to America to “cut off the head of the snake” of Iran, and urging America to launch military strikes against Iran.[3] This has largely been interpreted in the media as “proof” that there is a “consensus” on the “threat” posed by Iran to the Middle East and the world. This has been the propaganda line towed by the New York Times, Fox News and the Israeli government, among many others. Yet, we need to properly contextualize this information, something which the New York Times has a long record of failing to properly do (intentionally, I might add). I do not doubt the authenticity of these statements or the beliefs of the Arab leaders that Iran is a ‘threat’. Iran, on the other hand, has claimed that the leaks are “mischievous” and that they serve US interests, and claimed that Iran is “friends” with its neighbours.[4] This too, is propaganda. Again, we need to contextualize.
Iran is a Shi’a nation, while the Arab nations, particularly Saudi Arabia, are predominantly Sunni. This presents a means of division among these nations in the region, at least on a superficial basis. The reality, however, is that Saudi Arabia and Iran are far from “friendly”, and have not been on good terms since the Shah was deposed in 1979. Iran is Saudi Arabia’s primary contender and competition for power and influence in the region, and thus Iran is, inherently, a threat to Saudi Arabia, politically. Further, the Arab states, whose claims against Iran have been widely publicized, such as those of Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Oman, the UAE and Egypt, must be understood in their relation to the United States. The Arab states are American proxies in the region. Their armies are subsidized by the American military industrial complex, their political regimes (all of which are dictatorships and dynasties), are propped up and supported by America. The same goes for Israel, although it has at least the public outward appearance of a democracy, much like the United States, itself.
The Arab nations and leaders know that the only reason they have and maintain their power is because the United States allows them and helps them to do so. Thus, they are dependent upon America and its political, financial and military support. Going against America’s ambitions in the region is a sure way to end up like Iraq and Saddam Hussein. The history of the Middle East in the modern era is replete with examples of how one-time puppets and personal favourites of the American Empire can so easily turn into new enemies and “threats to peace.” American sponsored regime change takes place, and a new puppet is installed. If Arab leaders said that Iran was not a threat to peace, they would soon find themselves targets of Western imperialism. Further, many, like King Abdullah in Saudi Arabia, are so virulent in their hatred and distrust of Iran simply because they are regional competitors for influence. One thing can be said of all states and their leaders, they are inherently self-interested and obsessed with self-preservation and personal power expansion.
Saudi Arabia, in particular, is not a passive actor in the regional battle of influence with Iran. In Yemen, Saudi Arabia is involved in another American imperial war of conquest, in suppressing secessionist and indigenous liberation movements in the
North and South of Yemen. Yemen, ruled by an American supported dictator, Saleh, who has been in power since 1978, is also working with the Americans to suppress its own population in order to maintain its hold on power. Much of the presentation of the conflict, however, is in propagandizing the conflict, portraying it as a regional battle for influence between Saudi Arabia and Iran. While there is no doubt, and clear admissions, of Saudi Arabia’s involvement in the war, there has been no information that Iran has had any involvement, yet it is constantly accused by both Saudi Arabia and
Yemen of being involved. This may be an attempt to draw Iran into a regional proxy war, if not to simply demonize the nation further. In the midst of this new Yemeni war, America made an arms deal with Saudi Arabia which broke the record as the largest U.S. arms deal in history, at $60 billion. The deal, of which it is no secret, is aimed at building up Saudi Arabia’s military capabilities in order to both engage more effectively in the Yemen war, but primarily to challenge and counter increased Iranian influence in the region. In short, America is arming its proxy nations for a war with Iran.
[For a detailed examination of the war in Yemen, see: “Yemen: The Covert Apparatus of the American Empire.” http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21306]
Israel did not denounce the arms deal as it was taking place, simply because it ultimately served Israel’s interest in the region as well, of which its main target is Iran. Further, Israel is left subdued to American interests, as an American proxy itself. If Israel’s military financing and hardware comes from America (which it does), thus making it dependent upon America for its own military power, Israel is in no position to tell America to not arm its other regional proxies. If indeed there is a regional war against Iran in the making, which it has appeared for some time that there is, it is certainly in Israel’s interest to have allies against Iran in the region.
Is Wikileaks a Propaganda Effort?
The leaders of Israel have been very adamant that the Wikileaks documents do not embarrass Israel to any
extent. Prior to the release, the U.S. government briefed Israeli officials on the type of documents that would be released by Wikileaks regarding Israel.[5] Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated, “there is no disparity between the public discourse between us and Washington, and the mutual understanding of each other’s positions.”[6] The Israeli Defense Minister, Ehud Barak, claimed that the documents “show a more accurate view of reality.”[7] One top Turkish politician stated that looking at which countries are pleased with the releases says a lot, and speculated that Israel “engineered the release” of documents in an attempt to advance its interests and to “pressure Turkey.”[8]
Further, the Internet and various alternative news organizations are abuzz with speculation that Wikileaks itself may be a propaganda front, perhaps even a CIA front organization, a method of “controlling the opposition” (which, historically we know, is no stranger to CIA activities). Yet, this speculation is based upon the use of the information that is released in the cables, and it strikes me as a lack of contextualizing the documents.
So, how should one contextualize this? Let’s begin with Israel. Certainly, Israel is without a doubt a criminal state (as all states essentially are), but its criminality is amplified more so than most states on this planet, possibly outdone only by America, itself. Israel’s ethnic cleansing of Palestinians is one of the most horrific and long-lasting crimes against humanity seen in the past 50 years, and posterity will view Israel as the vicious, war-mongering, dehumanizing and abhorrent state it is. Yet, for all that Israel is, one thing Israel is not, is subtle. When the Israeli PM states that the Wikileaks releases are not embarrassing to Israel, he is mostly correct. This is not because Israel has nothing to hide (remember, the Wikileaks documents are not ‘top secret’ documents, but merely diplomatic cables), but because the diplomatic exchanges Israel makes largely reflect the reality of the public statements Israel makes. Israel and its political elite are no strangers to making absurd public statements, to constantly threatening war with Iran
and other neighbours, or to propagandizing their beliefs that Iran is making nuclear weapons (something which has never been proven). Thus, the leaks do not ‘hurt’ Israel’s image, because Israel’s image, internationally, is already so abysmal and despicable, and because Israeli diplomats and politicians are generally as brazen in what they say publicly as they say to each other, that Israel’s image has largely remained the same. Of course, Israeli leaders – political and military – are using the leaks to suggest that it “vindicates” their perspective on Iran as a threat, which of course is an absurd propaganda ploy, the exact same technique taken on by the corporate media, in taking the cables at face value.
While Iran has slammed the Wikileaks releases as Western propaganda aimed at Iran, this statement itself should be taken as a form of propaganda. After all, Iran claimed that it is “friends” with all its neighbours, a claim which is an historical and present falsity. Iran, like all states, uses propaganda to advance its own interests. Iran is not by any means a wonderful nation. However, compared to the American favourites in the region (such as Saudi Arabia), Iran is a bastion of freedom and democracy, which isn’t saying much. Those who attempt to battle the spread of misinformation and propaganda, myself included, must remain highly critical of media representations and campaigns against Iran, of which there are many. Iran is firmly in the targets of America’s imperial ambitions, this is no secret. Yet, there is nothing in the current batch of Wikileaks releases that strikes me as inauthentic in relation to Iran, especially those documents pertaining to the perspectives of Western diplomats and Arab leaders in relation to Iran. No doubt, they have these perspectives simply because they reflect the policy priorities of America and the West, itself, not because they are factual in their substance. In this, we must decipher between authenticity and accuracy.
Iran stating that the Wikileaks documents are propaganda is a misnomer and is misleading. Analysts must
not only critically assess the authenticity of documents (and the sources from which they come), but also, and perhaps even more importantly, they must critically analyze the interpretation of those documents. So while I do not doubt the authenticity of documents pertaining to Western and Middle Eastern perceptions of Iran (as it fits in with the wider geopolitical realities of the region), it is the interpretation of the documents that I view as active propaganda efforts on the part of Western governments and media. The methods of this propaganda effort, however, are in depicting the documents as ‘factual assessments’ of the on-the-ground reality, which they are not. The documents are factual in how they represent the views of those who wrote them, which does not mean that they are factual in their substance. There is a difference, and acknowledging this difference is incredibly important in both the exposure of propaganda and assessment of truth.
The Truth About Diplomacy
Craig Murray is one voice that should be heard on this issue. Craig Murray was a former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan who made a name for himself in exposing intelligence from Uzbekistan related to al-Qaeda as entirely unreliable, due to the methods of torture used to get the information (such as boiling people alive). This intelligence was passed to the CIA and MI6, which Murray said was “factually incorrect.” When Murray expressed his concerns with the higher-ups in the British diplomatic services, he was reprimanded for talking about “human rights.”[9] The British Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) told Murray that he had one week to resign, and was threatened with possible prosecution or jail time for revealing “state secrets.”[10] He was subsequently removed from his ambassadorial position, and has since become something of a political activist. In short, Murray is exactly the type of diplomat a person should want: honest. But he was also exactly the type of diplomat that Western imperial powers don’t want: honest.
In the midst of the latest Wikileaks releases of diplomatic documents, Craig Murray was asked to write an article for the Guardian regarding his interpretation of the issue. As Murray later noted, the paper placed his article, largely reduced, hidden in the middle of a long article which was a compendium of various commentaries on Wikileaks. Murray, however, posted the full version on his website. In the article, Murray begins by assessing the claims of government officials around the world, particularly in the United States, that Wikileaks exposes the United States to “harm,” that it puts lives at risk, and that they will “encourage Islamic extremism,” and most especially, the notion that “government secrecy is essential to keep us all safe.” Murray explains that having been a diplomat for over 20 years, he is very familiar with these arguments, particularly that as a result of Wikileaks, diplomats will no longer be candid in giving advice, “if that advice might become public.” Murray elaborates:
Put it another way. The best advice is advice you would not be prepared to defend in public. Really? Why? In today's globalised world, the Embassy is not a unique source of expertise. Often expatriate, academic and commercial organisations are a lot better informed. The best policy advice is not advice which is shielded from peer review.
What of course the establishment mean is that Ambassadors should be free to recommend things which the general public would view with deep opprobrium, without any danger of being found out. But should they really be allowed to do that, in a democracy?[11]
Murray pointedly asked why a type of behaviour that is considered reprehensible for most people – such as lying – “should be considered acceptable, or even praiseworthy, in diplomacy.” Murray explained that for British diplomats, “this belief that their profession exempts them from the normal constraints of decent behaviour amounts to a cult of Machiavellianism, a pride in their own amorality.” He explained that diplomats come from a very narrow upper social strata, and “view themselves as ultra-intelligent Nietzschean supermen, above normal morality” who are socially connected to the political elite. In criticizing the claims made by many commentators that the release of the leaks endanger lives, Murray pointedly wrote that this perspective needs to be “set against any such risk the hundreds of thousands of actual dead from the foreign policies of the US and its co-conspirators in the past decade.” Further, for those who posit that Wikileaks is a psy-op or propaganda operation or that Wikileaks is a “CIA front”, Murray had this to say:
Of course the documents reflect the US view – they are official US government communications. What they show is something I witnessed personally, that diplomats as a class very seldom tell unpalatable truths to politicians, but rather report and reinforce what their masters want to hear, in the hope of receiving preferment.
There is therefore a huge amount about Iran's putative nuclear arsenal and an exaggeration of Iran's warhead delivery capability. But there is nothing about Israel's massive nuclear arsenal. That is not because wikileaks have censored criticism of Israel. It is because any US diplomat who made an honest and open assessment of Israeli crimes would very quickly be an unemployed ex-diplomat.[12]
Murray concluded his article with the statement that all would do well to keep in mind: “Truth helps the people against rapacious elites – everywhere.”[13]
World Order and Global Awakening
In attempting to understand Wikileaks and its potential effects (that is, if the alternative media and citizens activists use this opportunity), we must place Wikileaks within a wider geopolitical context. Our human world exists as a complex system of social interactions. As powerful and dominating as elites are and have always been, we must understand that they are not omnipotent; they are human and flawed, as are their methods and ideas. There are other forces at work in the human social world, and these various interactions created and changed the world into what it is, and will determine where it is going. In effect, nothing is preordained; nothing is exact. Plans are made, certainly, by elites, in designing ideas and reshaping and controlling society. However, society – and in the globalized world, a ‘global society’ – react and interact with elite forces and ideas. Just as the people must react to and experience repercussions from changes in elite processes, so too must the elite react to and experience repercussions from changes in social processes. Today, we can conceptualize this dichotomy – the geopolitical reality of the world – as ‘The Global Political Awakening and the New World Order’:
There is a new and unique development in human history that is taking place around the world; it is unprecedented in reach and volume, and it is also the greatest threat to all global power structures: the ‘global political awakening.’ The term was coined by Zbigniew Brzezinski, and refers to the fact that, as Brzezinski wrote:
For the first time in history almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive. Global activism is generating a surge in the quest for cultural respect and economic opportunity in a world scarred by memories of colonial or imperial domination.
It is, in essence, this massive ‘global political awakening’ which presents the gravest and greatest challenge to the organized powers of globalization and the global political economy: nation-states, multinational corporations and banks, central banks, international organizations, military, intelligence, media and academic institutions. The Transnational Capitalist Class (TCC), or ‘Superclass’ as David Rothkopf refers to them, are globalized like never before. For the first time in history, we have a truly global and heavily integrated elite. As elites have globalized their power, seeking to construct a ‘new world order’ of global governance and ultimately global government (decades down the line), they have simultaneously globalized populations.
The ‘Technological Revolution’ involves two major geopolitical developments. The first is that as technology advances, systems of mass communication rapidly accelerate, and the world’s people are able to engage in instant communication with one another and gain access to information from around the world. In it, lies the potential – and ultimately a central source – of a massive global political awakening. Simultaneously, the Technological Revolution has allowed elites to redirect and control society in ways never before imagined, potentially culminating in a global scientific dictatorship, as many have warned of since the early decades of the 20th century. The potential for controlling the masses has never been so great, as science unleashes the power of genetics, biometrics, surveillance, and new forms of modern eugenics; implemented by a scientific elite equipped with systems of psycho-social control.
Brzezinski has written extensively on the issue of the ‘Global Political Awakening,’ and has been giving speeches at various elite think tanks around the world, ‘informing’ the elites of this changing global dynamic. Brzezinski is one of the principle representatives of the global elite and one of the most influential elite intellectuals in the world. His analysis of the `global politicl awakening`is useful because of his repesentation of it as the primary global threat to elite interests everywhere. Thus, people should view the concept of the `global political awakening`as the greatest potential hope for humanity and that it should be advanced and aided, as opposed to Brzezinski`s perspective that it should be controlled and suppressed. However, it would be best for Brzezinski to explain the concept in his own words to allow people to understand how it constitutes a `threat`to elite interests :
For the first time in human history almost all of humanity is politically activated, politically conscious and politically interactive. There are only a few pockets of humanity left in the remotest corners of the world that are not politically alert and engaged with the political turmoil and stirrings that are so widespread today around the world. The resulting global political activism is generating a surge in the quest for personal dignity, cultural respect and economic opportunity in a world painfully scarred by memories of centuries-long alien colonial or imperial domination... The worldwide yearning for human dignity is the central challenge inherent in the phenomenon of global political awakening.
...America needs to face squarely a centrally important new global reality: that the world's population is experiencing a political awakening unprecedented in scope and intensity, with the result that the politics of populism are transforming the politics of power. The need to respond to that massive phenomenon poses to the uniquely sovereign America an historic dilemma: What should be the central definition of America's global role? ... The central challenge of our time is posed not by global terrorism, but rather by the intensifying turbulence caused by the phenomenon of global political awakening. That awakening is socially massive and politically radicalizing.
... It is no overstatement to assert that now in the 21st century the population of much of the developing world is politically stirring and in many places seething with unrest. It is a population acutely conscious of social injustice to an unprecedented degree, and often resentful of its perceived lack of political dignity. The nearly universal access to radio, television and increasingly the Internet is creating a community of shared perceptions and envy that can be galvanized and channeled by demagogic political or religious passions. These energies transcend sovereign borders and pose a challenge both to existing states as well as to the existing global hierarchy, on top of which America still perches.
... The youth of the Third World are particularly restless and resentful. The demographic revolution they embody is thus a political time-bomb, as well. With the exception of Europe, Japan and America, the rapidly expanding demographic bulge in the 25-year-old-and-under age bracket is creating a huge mass of impatient young people. Their minds have been stirred by sounds and images that emanate from afar and which intensify their disaffection with what is at hand. Their potential revolutionary spearhead is likely to emerge from among the scores of millions of students concentrated in the often intellectually dubious "tertiary level" educational institutions of developing countries. Depending on the definition of the tertiary educational level, there are currently worldwide between 80 and 130 million "college" students. Typically originating from the socially insecure lower middle class and inflamed by a sense of social outrage, these millions of students are revolutionaries-in-waiting, already semi-mobilized in large congregations, connected by the Internet and pre-positioned for a replay on a larger scale of what transpired years earlier in Mexico City or in Tiananmen Square. Their physical energy and emotional frustration is just waiting to be triggered by a cause, or a faith, or a hatred.
Brzezinski thus posits that to address this new global “challenge” to entrenched powers, particularly nation-states that cannot sufficiently address the increasingly non-pliant populations and populist demands, what is required, is “increasingly supranational cooperation, actively promoted by the United States.” In other words, Brzezinski favours an increased and expanded ‘internationalization’, not surprising considering he laid the intellectual foundations of the Trilateral Commission. He explains that “Democracy per se is not an enduring solution,” as it could be overtaken by “radically resentful populism.” This is truly a new global reality:
Politically awakened mankind craves political dignity, which democracy can enhance, but political dignity also encompasses ethnic or national self-determination, religious self-definition, and human and social rights, all in a world now acutely aware of economic, racial and ethnic inequities. The quest for political dignity, especially through national self-determination and social transformation, is part of the pulse of self-assertion by the world's underprivileged.
Thus, writes Brzezinski, “an effective response can only come from a self-confident America genuinely committed to a new vision of global solidarity.” The idea is that to address the grievances caused by globalization and global power structures, the world and America must expand and institutionalize the process of globalization, not simply in the economic sphere, but in the social and political as well. It is a flawed logic, to say the least, that the answer to these systemic problems is to enhance and strengthen the systemic flaws that created them. One cannot put out a fire by adding fuel.
Brzezinski even wrote that, “let it be said right away that supranationality should not be confused with world government. Even if it were desirable, mankind is not remotely ready for world government, and the American people certainly do not want it.” Instead, Brzezinski argues, America must be central in constructing a system of global governance, “in shaping a world that is defined less by the fiction of state sovereignty and more by the reality of expanding and politically regulated interdependence.” In other words, not ‘global government’ but ‘global governance’, which is simply a rhetorical ploy, as ‘global governance’ – no matter how overlapping, sporadic and desultory it presents itself – is in fact a key step and necessary transition in the moves toward an actual global government structure.
[See: Andrew Gavin Marshall, The Global Political Awakening and the New World Order, Global Research, 24 June 2010 http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?aid=19873&context=va]
Conceptualizing Wikileaks
I feel that Wikileaks must be conceptualized within our understanding of this geopolitical reality we find ourselves in today. While indeed it is necessary to be skeptical of such monumental events, we must allow ourselves to remember that there are always surprises – for everyone – and that the future is nothing if not unknown. Anything, truly, can happen. There is of course logic behind the automatic skepticism and suspicion about Wikileaks from the alternative media; however, they also risk losing an incredible opportunity presented by Wikileaks, to not only reach more people with important information, but to better inform that information itself.
For those who view Wikileaks as a conspiracy or plot, as a psy-op of some kind, while indeed these things have taken place in the past, there is simply no evidence for it thus far. Every examination of this concept is based upon speculation. Many nations around the world, particularly in the Middle East and South Asia, are pointing to the Western nations as engaging in a covert propaganda campaign aimed at creating disunity between states and allies. Iran, Turkey, Pakistan and Afghanistan have made such claims. It is no surprise that most of these are nations, particularly Iran, are targets of U.S. imperial policy. Since, however, the Wikileaks releases speak heavily and negatively about Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Russia, China, Venezuela, etc., one must remember that these are ‘diplomatic cables’, and represent the ‘opinions and beliefs’ of the diplomatic establishment, a social group which is historically and presently deeply enmeshed and submissive to elite ideology and methodology. In short, these are the foreign imperial envoys, and as such, they are ideological imperialists and represent imperial interests.
As has been the case both historically and presently, imperial objectives are hidden with political rhetoric. Since, politically, these are target nations of the American imperial elite, America’s diplomatic representatives will focus on these nations, and adopt the same ideas and beliefs. How many people have ever been given a raise by questioning and then disregarding their superior’s management technique? Thus, in their respective nations and operations, the diplomats will seek information that targets these nations or serve specific American imperial objectives. If all the information they come up with are rumours and conjectures and repeated talking points, that is what will be seen in the diplomatic cables. Indeed, that was exactly the case. The cables are full of rumours and unsupported allegations. So naturally, they would target these specific nations – deemed geopolitically significant by American imperial interests – and why there would be far less information on Israel and other allied nations. This is why it seems to me that these cables are authentic. They seem to represent the reality of the ‘diplomatic social group’, and thus they are a vivid exploration in the study of imperialism. We have been given the opportunity to see the ‘communications’ of imperial diplomacy. It is in this, that we are presented with an incredible opportunity.
Further, in regards to many Middle Eastern and Asian nations framing Wikileaks as a “Western plot,” as critical thinkers we must take note of the geopolitical reality of the ‘global political awakenng.’ All states are self-interested, that is the nature of a state. Elites all over the world are aware of the reality and potential political power of the ‘global political awakening’ and thus, seek to suppress or co-opt its potential. States which are often viewed by the critical press as ‘targets’ by Western imperial powers (such as Iran), may seek to use this power to its own advantage. They may attempt to steer the ‘global awakening’ and the ‘alternative media’ to their favour, which gives them political power. But the alternative media must not ‘pick sides’ in terms of global elites and power structures, we must remain critical of all sides and all actors.
Wikileaks is receiving an incredible readership and is reaching out to new audiences, globally, in the American homeland itself, and to the youth of the world. People’s perceptions are beginning to change on a variety of issues. The question is: will the alternative media ignore Wikileaks and isolate itself, or will they engage with Wikileaks, and prevent the mainstream corporate media from having a ‘monopoly of interpretation’, which becomes inherently propagandistic. Wikileaks is having global repercussions, and has been very good for the newspaper and mainstream news industries, which have been on a steady decline. This too, can be an issue to reach out to this new and growing audience, and to bring them to a new perspective. If we do not reach out, we are left talking to each other, further isolating ourselves, and ultimately becoming subverted and ineffective for change. We need to reach out to new audiences, and this is an incredible opportunity to do so. People are interested, people are curious, people are hungry for more.
Wikileaks and the Media
Instead of deriding Wikileaks as “not telling us anything we didn’t know” before, perhaps the alternative media should use the popularity and momentum of Wikileaks to take from it the documentation and analysis that further strengthens our arguments and beliefs. This will allow for others, especially new audiences of interested people worldwide, to place the Wikileaks releases within a wider context and understanding. The reports from Wikileaks are ‘revelations’ only to those who largely adhere to the ‘illusions’ of the world: that we live in ‘democracies’ promoting ‘freedom’ around the world and at home, etc. The ‘revelations’ however, are not simply challenging American perceptions of America, but of all nations and their populations. The fact that these people are reading and discovering new things for which they are developing an interest is an incredible change. This is likely why the corporate media is so heavily involved in the dissemination of this information (which itself is a major source of suspicion for the alternative media): to control the interpretation of the message. It is the job of the alternative media and intellectuals and other thinking individuals to challenge that interpretation with factual analysis. The Wikileaks releases, in fact, give us more facts to place within and support our interpretations than they do for the corporate media.
We must ask why the Wikileaks releases were ‘revelations’ for most people? Well, it was surprising simply for the fact that the media itself has such a strong hold on the access, dissemination and interpretation of information. They are ‘revelations’ because people are indoctrinated with myths. They are not ‘revelations’ to the alternative media because we have been talking about these things for years. However, while they may not necessarily be ‘revelations’, they are in fact, ‘confirmations’ and ‘vindications’ and bring more information to the analysis. It is in this, that a great opportunity lies. For since the leaks support and better inform our perspectives, we can build on this concept and examine how Wikileaks adds to and supports critical analysis. For those who are newly interested and looking for information, or for those who are having their previous perceptions challenged, it is the alternative media and critical voices alone who can place that information in a wider context for everyone else. In this, more people will see how it is the alternative media and critical perspectives which were more reflective of reality than say, the mainstream media (for which Wikileaks is a ‘revelation’). Thus, more people may soon start turning to alternative media and ideas; after all, our perspectives were vindicated, not those of the mainstream media (though they attempt to spin it as such).
We are under a heavy propaganda offensive on the part of the global corporate and mainstream media to spin and manipulate these leaks to their own interests. We, as alternative media and voices, must use Wikileaks to our advantage. Ignoring it will only damage our cause and undermine our strength. The mainstream media understood that; so too, must we. Wikileaks presents in itself a further opportunity for the larger exposure of mainstream media as organized propaganda. By ‘surprising’ so many people with the ‘revelations’, the media has in effect exposed itself as deeply inadequate in their analysis of the world and the major issues within it. While currently it is giving the mainstream media a great boost, we are still immersed in the era of the ‘Technological Revolution’ and there is still (for now, anyway) Internet freedom, and thus, the tide can quickly turn.
Like the saying goes, ‘the rich man will sell you the rope to hang him with if he thinks he can make a buck on it.’ Perhaps the mainstream media has done the same. No other organized apparatus was as capable of disseminating as much material as quickly and with such global reach as the mainstream media. If the leaks initially only made it into alternative media, then the information would only reach those whom are already reading the alternative press. In that, they would not be such grand ‘revelations’ and would have had a muted effect. In the mainstream media’s global exposure of Wikileaks material (never mind their slanted and propagandistic interpretations), they have changed the dynamic and significance of the information. By reaching wider and new audiences, the alternative and critical voices can co-opt these new audiences; lead them away from the realm of information ‘control’ into the realm of information ‘access’. This is potentially one of the greatest opportunities presented for the alternative and critical voices of the world.
Wikileaks is a globally transformative event. Not simply in terms of awakening new people to ‘new’ information, but also in terms of the effect it is having upon global power structures, itself. With ambassadors resigning, diplomats being exposed as liars and tools, political rifts developing between Western imperial allies, and many careers and reputations of elites around the world at great risk, Wikileaks is creating the potential for an enormous deterioration in the effectiveness of imperialism and domination. That, in itself, is an admirable and worthy goal. That this is already a reality is representative of how truly transformative Wikileaks is and could be. People, globally, are starting to see their leaders through a lens not filtered by ‘public relations.’ Through mainstream media, it gets filtered through propaganda, which is why it is an essential duty of the alternative media and critical thinkers to place this information in a wider, comprehensive context. This would further erode the effectiveness of empire.
With the reaction of several states and policing organizations to issue arrest warrants for Julian Assange, or in calling for his assassination (as one Canadian adviser to the Prime Minister suggested on television), these organizations and individuals are exposing their own hatred of democracy, transparency and freedom of information. Their reactions can be used to discredit their legitimacy to ‘rule’. If policing agencies are supposed to “protect and serve,” why are they seeking instead to “punish and subvert” those who expose the truth? Again, this comes as no surprise to those who closely study the nature of the state, and especially the modern phenomenon of the militarization of domestic society and the dismantling of rights and freedoms. However, it is happening before the eyes of the whole world, and people are paying attention. This is new.
This is an incredible opportunity to criticize foreign policy (read: ‘imperial strategy’), and to disembowel many global power structures. More people, now, than ever before, will be willing to listen, learn and investigate for themselves. Wikileaks should be regarded as a ‘gift’, not a ‘distraction.’ Instead of focusing on the parts of the Wikileaks cables which do not reflect the perspectives of the alternative media (such as on Iran), we must use Wikileaks to better inform our own understanding not simply of the ‘policy’ itself, but of the complex social interactions and ideas that create the basis for the ‘policy’ to be carried out. In regards to the diplomatic cables themselves, we are better able to understand the nature of diplomats as ‘agents of empire,’ and so instead of discounting the cables as ‘propaganda’ we must use them against the apparatus of empire itself: to expose the empire for what it is. Wikileaks helps to unsheathe and strip away the rhetoric behind imperial policy, and expose diplomats not as ‘informed observers’, but as ‘agents of power.’ The reaction by nations, organizations and institutions around the world adds further fuel to this approach, as we are seeing the utter distaste political leaders have for ‘democracy’ and ‘freedom of information’, despite their rhetoric. Several institutions of power can be more widely exposed in this manner.
A recent addition to this analysis can be in the role played by universities not in ‘education’ but in ‘indoctrination’ and the production of new ‘agents of power.’ For example, Columbia University is one of the most “respected” and “revered” universities in the world, which has produced several individuals and significant sectors of the political elite (including diplomats). In reaction to the Wikileaks releases, Columbia University has warned “students they risk future job prospects if they download any of the material,” which followed “a government ban on employees, estimated at more than two-and-a-half million people, using work computers and other communication devices to look at diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks.” The University “emailed students at the university's school of international and public affairs, a recruiting ground for the state department.”[14] Good for Columbia! What do they think university is for, ‘education’ or something? How dare students take education into their own hands, especially students who will likely be future diplomats. This university reaction to Wikileaks helps call into attention the role of universities in our society, and specifically the role of universities in shaping the future ‘managers’ of the imperial apparatus.
Wikileaks as an Opportunity
If Wikileaks is a psy-op, it is either the stupidest or most intelligent psychological operation ever undertaken. But one thing is for sure: systems and structures of power are in the process of being exposed to a much wider audience than ever before. The question for the alternative media and critical researchers, alike, is what will they do with this information and this opportunity?
Julian Assange was recently interviewed by Time Magazine about Wikileaks, in which he explained to the inadequately informed editor of Time Magazine that organizations which are secretive need to be exposed:
If their behavior is revealed to the public, they have one of two choices: one is to reform in such a way that they can be proud of their endeavors, and proud to display them to the public. Or the other is to lock down internally and to balkanize, and as a result, of course, cease to be as efficient as they were. To me, that is a very good outcome, because organizations can either be efficient, open and honest, or they can be closed, conspiratorial and inefficient.[15]
Assange further explained some of his perspectives regarding the influence of and reactions to Wikileaks, stating that the Chinese:
appear to be terrified of free speech, and while one might say that means something awful is happening in the country, I actually think that is a very optimistic sign, because it means that speech can still cause reform and that the power structure is still inherently political, as opposed to fiscal. So journalism and writing are capable of achieving change, and that is why Chinese authorities are so scared of it. Whereas in the United States to a large degree, and in other Western countries, the basic elements of society have been so heavily fiscalized through contractual obligations that political change doesn't seem to result in economic change, which in other words means that political change doesn't result in change.[16]
In the interview, Assange turned to the issue of the Internet and community media:
For the rise of social media, it's quite interesting. When we first started [in 2006], we thought we would have the analytical work done by bloggers and people who wrote Wikipedia articles and so on. And we thought that was a natural, given that we had lots of quality, important content... The bulk of the heavy lifting - heavy analytical lifting - that is done with our materials is done by us, and is done by professional journalists we work with and by professional human-rights activists. It is not done by the broader community. However, once the initial lifting is done, once a story becomes a story, becomes a news article, then we start to see community involvement, which digs deeper and provides more perspective. So the social networks tend to be, for us, an amplifier of what we are doing. And also a supply of sources for us.[17]
As researchers, media, and critics, we must realize that our perspectives and beliefs must be open to change and evolution. Simply because something like this has never happened before does not mean that it isn’t happening now. We live in the era of the ‘Technological Revolution,’ and the Internet has changed economics, politics and society itself, on a global scale. This is where the true hope in furthering and better informing the ‘global political awakening’ will need to take speed and establish itself. True change in our world is not going to come from already-established or newly-created institutions of power, which is where all issues are currently being addressed, especially those of global significance. True change, instead, can only come not from global power structures, but from the global ‘community’ of people, interacting with one another via the power unleashed by the ‘Technological Revolution.’ Change must be globally understood and community organized.
We are on the verge of a period of global social transformation, the question is: will we do anything about it? Will we seek to inform and partake in this transition, or will we sit and watch it be misled, criticizing it as it falters and falls? Just as Martin Luther King commented in his 1967 speech, Beyond Vietnam, that it seemed as if America was “on the wrong side of a world revolution,” now there is an opportunity to remedy that sad reality, and not simply on a national scale, but global.
Despite all the means and methods of power and domination in this world, for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. As things progressively get worse and worse, as any independent observer of the world has noticed, life has a way of creating means and methods to counter these regressions. As ‘globalization’ has facilitated the emergence of a global elite, and several global institutions and ideologies of global power, so too has this process facilitated the ‘globalization of opposition.’ So while elites, globally, actively work to integrate and expand global power structures, they are inadvertently integrating and expanding global opposition to those very same power structures. This is the great paradox of our time, and one which we must recognize, for it is not simply a factual observation, but it is a hopeful situation.
Hope should not be underestimated, and it is something that I have personally struggled with in my views of the world. It is hard to see ‘hope’ when you study so much ‘horror’ in the world, and see how little is being done about it. But activism and change need hope. This is very evident from the Obama campaign, which was splashed with rhetoric of ‘hope’ and ‘change’, something that all people rightfully want and need. However, Obama’s ‘hope’ and ‘change’ were Wall Street brands and patents, it was a glorious practice in the art of propaganda, and a horrific blow to true notions of ‘hope’ and ‘change’. There is a reason why the Obama campaign took the top prizes in public relations industry awards.[18]
Hope is needed, but it cannot be misplaced hope, as it was with Obama. It must be a hope grounded not in ‘blind faith’ but in ‘honest analysis.’ While indeed on most fronts in the world, things are getting progressively worse, the alternative media has focused almost exclusively on these issues that they have blinded themselves to the positive geopolitical developments in the world, namely the ‘global political awakening’ and the role of the Internet in reshaping global society. While these issues are acknowledged, they are not fully understood or explained within the wider context: that these are in fact, hopeful developments; that there is hope. Wikileaks strengthens this notion, if it is to be taken as an opportunity. A critique without hope falls on deaf ears. No one wants to hear that things are ‘hopeless’, so while an examination of what is wrong in the world is integral to moving forward, so too is an examination of what is hopeful and positive. This spreads the message and builds its supporters. The Internet as a medium facilitates the spread of this message, and after all, as one of the foremost media theorists, Marshall McLuhan, noted, “The medium is the message.”
Appendix of ‘Revelations’ and ‘Vindications’: A Call to Action for Alternative Media
So what are some of the supposed ‘revelations’ which can be used as ‘vindications’ by the alternative media? Well, for one, the role of royalty as a relevant and powerful economic and political actor in the world today. And by this I do not simply refer to states where monarchs remain as official rulers, such as in Saudi Arabia, but more specifically to West European and notably the British monarchs. For those who have studied institutions like the Bilderberg Group and the Trilateral Commission, the relevance of European royalty in international affairs is not a new concept. For the majority of people (who haven’t even heard of the Bilderberg Group or Trilateral Commission), these monarchs are largely viewed as symbolic figures as opposed to political actors. This is, of course, naïve, as all monarchs have always been political actors, however, it is a naivety that has now been challenged on a much wider scale and to a much wider audience. There was a time when I would discuss the relevance of monarchs in the modern world, and it would be a subject that would be treated by many others as an absurd notion: “but the Queen has no real power, she’s a figurehead,” etc. Wikileaks has exposed that notion as a falsity, and it should be an issue that is expanded upon.
For example, within the Wikileaks cables, take the British Prince Andrew, Queen Elizabeth’s second son, who has been subject to many cable ‘revelations.’ The U.S. Ambassador to Kyrgyzstan wrote a cable regarding a meeting she attended with several British and Canadian businessmen and Prince Andrew, who is a special U.K. trade representative to the Middle East and Central Asia. At the meeting, Prince Andrew ranted against “those [expletive] journalists ... who poke their noses everywhere,” and he “railed at British anticorruption investigators, who had had the 'idiocy' of almost scuttling the al-Yamama deal with Saudi Arabia,” particularly “referencing an investigation, subsequently closed, into alleged kickbacks a senior Saudi royal had received in exchange for the multi-year, lucrative BAE Systems contract to provide equipment and training to Saudi security forces.” When he ranted against the media – specifically the Guardian paper – for making it harder to do business abroad, the U.S. Ambassador noted that the businessmen in attendance “roared their approval” and “practically clapped.”[19] Again, evidence for how elites despise true representations of democracy and freedom.
At that same meeting, Prince Andrew made another startling claim, and one which had not been as widely publicized in the media to date. He stated that to the U.S. Ambassador that: “the United Kingdom, Western Europe (and by extension you Americans too) were now back in the thick of playing the Great Game,” and, “this time we aim to win!” Further, Prince Andrew – the ‘Duke of York’ – “then stated that he was very worried about Russia's resurgence in the region,” and referred to Chinese economic and political expansion in the region as “probably inevitable, but a menace.” On the way out of the meeting, one British businessman said to the U.S. Ambassador, “What a wonderful representative for the British people! We could not be prouder of our royal family!”[20] Well, there you have it, a rich prince running around the world with rich businessmen promoting their economic interests in foreign countries and referring to it as the age-old imperial competition between Britain and Russia in the “Great Game” for dominance over Central Asia. And we call our countries ‘democracies’ and exporters of ‘freedom’?
This is quite typical behaviour of the royal family, however, as a former South African MP and anti-corruption campaigner, Andrew Feinstein, explained, “the royal family has actively supported Britain's arms sales, even when corruption and malfeasance has been suspected,” and that, “the royal family was involved in trying to persuade South Africa to buy BAE's Hawk jets, despite the air force not wanting the planes that cost two and a half times the price of their preferred aircraft. As an ANC MP at the time, I was told that £116m in bribes had been paid to key decision-makers and the ANC itself. The royal family's attitude is part of the reason that BAE will never face justice in the UK for its corrupt practices.”[21]
The British royals are also very close with Arab monarchs, which makes sense, considering it was the British Empire (and the ‘Crown’ behind it) that created the Arab monarchs and gave them power in the first place. Prince Andrew went on hunting trips with the King of Jordan and the Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces of the UAE.[22] Further, Prince Charles is considered a strategic diplomatic figure in regards to Saudi Arabia, as the cables reveal. The British media headlined with the ‘revelation’ that Prince Charles is not as “respected” as Queen Elizabeth, but the real story was buried in the same article beneath the royal gossip, as cables revealed that Prince Charles and his wife “have helped to overcome ‘severe strains’ following Saudi Arabia's imprisonment and torture of five Britons from December 2001 to August 2003 and the UK's official fraud investigations of British Aerospace operations in Saudi Arabia in 2004.” As one U.S. diplomatic cable explained, the British royals “helped re-build UK-Saudi ties” as “the House of Saud and the House of Windsor build upon their royal commonality.” In other words, they both represent unelected and unaccountable elite dynastic power, and so they should naturally work together in ‘their’ own interests. How ‘democratic’ of them. Further, a Saudi royal threw a lavish party for Prince Charles in Saudi Arabia with the help of an unnamed British businessman.[23]
It looks, however, like the British royals will have to again move in to “smooth out” ties with Saudi Arabia, as ‘revelations’ about the country and its monarch paint a picture of a not-so-helpful Western ally. In short, Saudi Arabia and its monarch have received one of the largest public relations disasters in recent history. The British monarch may be too busy cleaning up their own mess, or have too much light on them at the moment, to be able to ‘gracefully’ maneuver through yet another ‘imperious’ royal visit. What am I referring to here in terms of bad PR for the Saudis? It’s quite simple, the Saudi royals, good friends of the British monarch, are incidentally the principle financiers of Sunni terrorists (which includes what we commonly refer to as ‘al-Qaeda’) worldwide.
While this comes as no surprise to those who have critically analyzed al-Qaeda or the “war on terror,” it is indeed a ‘revelation’ to the majority of people. While Western governments and media propaganda machines have for years blamed terrorist financing and support on ‘target’ nations like Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran and more recently, Pakistan and Yemen, the Wikileaks cables ‘vindicated’ the historical and present reality that it is in fact the main Western allies in the region, especially Saudi Arabia, but also the other major Gulf Arab states (and their monarchs), who are the main financiers and supporters of terrorism, and most notably, al-Qaeda. A memo signed by Hillary Clinton confirmed that Saudi Arabia is understood to be “the world's largest source of funds for Islamist militant groups such as the Afghan Taliban and Lashkar-e-Taiba,” as well as al-Qaeda itself. Further, three other Arab states, Qatar, Kuwait, and the United Arab Emirates are listed as other chief terrorist financiers. As the Guardian put it, “the cables highlight an often ignored factor in the Pakistani and Afghan conflicts: that the violence is partly bankrolled by rich, conservative donors across the Arabian Sea.” While Pakistan is largely blamed for aiding the Taliban in Afghanistan, it is in fact Saudi Arabia as well as UAE-based businesses which are its chief financiers. Kuwait, another staunch U.S. ally, is a “source of funds and a key transit point” for al-Qaeda.[24]
While the New York Times was busy declaring Wikileaks as providing a “new consensus” on Iran, with the Saudi King urging America to attack and “cut the head off the snake,” they mentioned only in passing, how “Saudi donors remain the chief financiers of Sunni militant groups like Al Qaeda.”[25] Now, while these are indeed ‘revelations’ to many, we must place these facts in their proper context. This is not simply to be taken as Saudi Arabia and Arab states being responsible, alone, for support of terrorism and al-Qaeda, but that they are simply playing the role they have always played, and that diplomacy is sidelined and kept in the dark on this issue as it always has been.
What I mean by this is that the contextualization of these facts must be placed in a comprehensive historical analysis. Looking at the history of al-Qaeda, arising out of the Soviet-Afghan War, with major covert support from America and other Western allies, the center of this operation was in the ‘Safari Club,’ which constituted a secret network of Western intelligence agencies (such as those of France, Britain and America) and regional intelligence agencies (such as those of Saudi Arabia and Pakistan), in carrying out the financing, training, arming and operational support of the Mujahideen, and subsequently the Taliban and al-Qaeda. The ‘Safari Club’ was established in 1976 (with the help of CIA director at the time, George H.W. Bush, another close friend of the Saudi royals), and was designed to respond to increasing political oversight of intelligence operations in America (as a result of the Church Committee investigations on CIA operations), and so the Safari Club was created to allow for a more covert and discreet network of intelligence operations, with no oversight. Diplomats were kept in the dark about its operations and indeed its existence, while the quiet covert relationships continued behind the scenes. This network, in some form or another, exists up to the present day, as I recently documented in my three-part series on “The Imperial Anatomy of al-Qaeda.”
[See: The Imperial Anatomy of Al-Qaeda. The CIA’s Drug-Running Terrorists and the “Arc of Crisis”; Empire, Energy and Al-Qaeda: The Anglo-American Terror Network; 9/11 and America’s Secret Terror Campaign http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20944]
In short, there is a reason that while diplomats complain quietly about Saudi and Arab financing and support for al-Qaeda, nothing is actually done: because through other avenues, the American imperial structure and apparatus supports and facilitates this process. Diplomacy is more overt in its imperial ambitions, thus the reality of the cables reflecting a focus on Iran and Pakistan, yet intelligence operations are a much more covert means of establishing and maintaining particular imperial relationships. This information again should not be taken “at face value,” but rather placed within its broader geopolitical context. In this sense, the information is not ‘disinformation’ or ‘propaganda’, but rather additional factual ‘vindication’ and information.
While Western governments and media publicly scorn Iran and accuse it of “meddling” in the affairs of Iraq, and of supporting terrorism and destabilization of the country, the reality is that while Iran certainly exerts influence in Iraq, (after all, they are neighbours), Saudi Arabia is a far greater source of destabilization than Iran is accused of being, and this is from the mouths of Iraqi leaders themselves. Iraqi government officials, reported the Guardian, “see Saudi Arabia, not Iran, as the biggest threat to the integrity and cohesion of their fledgling democratic state.” In a cable written by the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, it was explained that, “Iraq views relations with Saudi Arabia as among its most challenging given Riyadh's money, deeply ingrained anti-Shia attitudes and [Saudi] suspicions that a Shia-led Iraq will inevitably further Iranian regional influence.” Further, “Iraqi contacts assess that the Saudi goal (and that of most other Sunni Arab states, to varying degrees) is to enhance Sunni influence, dilute Shia dominance and promote the formation of a weak and fractured Iraqi government.” In short, that would mean that Saudi Arabia is actually doing what the West accuses Iran of doing in Iraq. So while Iran certainly has been promoting its own interests in Iraq, it is more interested in a stable Shi’a government, while Saudi Arabia is more interested in a weak and fractured government, and thus promotes sectarian conflict. One interesting fact to note that came out of the cables, is the increasing perspective among Iraqi youth rejecting foreign interference from any government, with diplomatic cables articulating that, “a 'mental revolution' was under way among Iraqi youth against foreign agendas seeking to undermine the country's stability.”[26]
It should come as no surprise, then, that one top Saudi royal (in fact the former head of Saudi Arabia’s intelligence agency and thus the man responsible for handling Saudi Arabia’s relationship with terrorists), Prince Turki al-Faisal, said that the source of the diplomatic leaks should be “vigorously punished.” Turki, who has also been the Saudi Ambassador to the U.K. and America, said, “the WikiLeaks furor underscored that cyber security was an increasing international concern.”[27]
What other areas can Wikileaks be used to further inform and ‘vindicate’ the critical media? Well, start with Saudi Arabia’s neighbour to the south, Yemen. Whether or not most Americans (or for that matter, most people in general) are aware that America is waging a war in Yemen, just across the water from where America is waging another war against Somalia (since 2006/07). This past October, I wrote an article about the imperial war in Yemen as a war being fought under the auspices of the “War on Terror” and fighting al-Qaeda (financed by the Saudi elite); but which in reality is about America and other Western imperial powers (such as the U.K.) propping up a despotic leaders who has been in power since 1978, by supporting him in his campaign to eliminate a rebel movement in the North and a massive secessionist movement in the South. Saudi Arabia entered the conflict in August of 2009 by bombing rebel holdouts in the North along the Saudi border, as the Saudi elite are afraid of the movement spreading to disaffected groups within Saudi Arabia itself.
America inserted itself into the war by increasing the amount of money and military aid given to Yemen (in effect, subsidizing their military, as they do heavily with Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Israel, all the Arab states, and dozens of other states around the world), as well as providing direct special forces training and assistance, not to mention carrying out missile strikes within Yemen against “al-Qaeda training camps” which American intelligence officials claimed killed 60 ‘militants’. In reality, 52 innocent people died, with over half of them being women and children. At the time, both Yemen and America claimed it was an al-Qaeda training camp and that the cruise missile was fired by the Yemeni government, despite the fact that it had no such weapons in its arsenal, unlike the U.S. Navy patrolling the coastline. The missile strike was carried out by America “on direct presidential orders.”
Several days later, there was the bizarre “attempted terrorist attack” in which a young Nigerian man was arrested attempting to blow up his underwear (who was helped onto the plane by a mysterious Indian man in a suit who claimed he was a diplomat, according to witnesses), and who was subsequently linked to “al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula” (an organization which started up not much earlier when a Guantanamo inmate returned to Saudi Arabia only to ‘escape’ Saudi custody, and flee to Yemen to start a new al-Qaeda branch). This provided the justification for America to dramatically increase its military aid to Yemen, which more than doubled from $67 million to $150 million, and came with increased special forces training and assistance, as well as increased CIA activity, discussing using drone attacks to kill innocent people (as they do in Pakistan), and more missile strikes.
This previous September, the Yemen government “laid siege” to a town in the South while the Obama administrations top counter-terrorism official, John Brennan, was in Yemen for ‘talks’ with President Saleh. The town was claimed to be a “sanctuary for al-Qaeda,” but it has key strategic significance as well. It is just south of a major new liquid natural gas pipeline, and the town happened to be home to many people involved in the Southern secessionist movement. The Yemeni government “barred” any outside or independent observers from witnessing the siege, which lasted days. However, for the many who fled the conflict and “siege,” they were claiming that the Islamic militants were working with the government against the rebel movement in the North and secessionist movement in the South, and according to one NPR reporter, “this is more about fighting or subduing the secessionist movement than it is about al-Qaida.”
[See: Andrew Gavin Marshall, “Yemen: The Covert Apparatus of the American Empire,” Global Research, 5 October 2010 http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21306]
The Wikileaks ‘revelations’ further inform and confirm much of this analysis. In regards to the missile strike that killed innocent women and children on Obama’s orders, Wikileaks cables revealed that Yemeni President Saleh “secretly offered US forces unrestricted access to his territory to conduct unilateral strikes against al-Qaida terrorist targets.” As Saleh told John Breannan in September of 2009, “I have given you an open door on terrorism. So I am not responsible.” Regarding the December 21 strike that killed the innocent civilians, a cable explained, “Yemen insisted it must 'maintain the status quo' regarding the official denial of US involvement. Saleh wanted operations to continue 'non-stop until we eradicate this disease,” and days later in a meeting with U.S. Central Command head, General David Patraeus, “Saleh admitted lying to his population about the strikes.” He told the General, “We'll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours.”[28]
In regards to Pakistan, while it is important to be highly critical of the validity of the ‘perspectives’ within the cables in regards to Pakistan and the Taliban, since Pakistan is a current and escalating target in the “War [OF] Terror,” there are things to keep in mind: historically, the Pakistani ISI has funded, armed and trained the Taliban, but always with U.S. assistance and support. Thus, we must examine the situation presently and so historically. Wikileaks revealed (as I mentioned previously), that Arab Gulf states help fund the Taliban in Afghanistan, so the common claim that it is Pakistan ‘alone’ is immediately made to be erroneous. Is it possible that Pakistan is still working with the Taliban? Of course. They have historically through their intelligence services, the ISI, and while they have never done it without U.S. support (mostly through the CIA), the ISI still receives most of its outside funding from the CIA.[29] The CIA funding of the ISI, a reality since the late 70s, picked up dramatically following 9/11, the operations of which the ISI has been itself complicit in financing.[30] Thus, the CIA rewarded the financiers of 9/11 by increasing their funds.
The trouble with discounting information that does not fit in with your previously conceived ideas is that it does not allow for evolution or progress in thinking. This should never be done in regards to any subject, yet it is commonly done for all subjects, by official and critical voices alike. With Pakistan, we must understand that while historically it has been a staunch U.S. ally in the region, propping up every government, supporting every coup, American geopolitical ambitions have changed as a result of the changing geopolitical reality of the world. Pakistan has drawn increasingly close to China, which built a major seaport on Pakistan’s coast, giving China access to the Indian Ocean. This is a strategic threat to India and the United States more broadly, which seeks to subdue and control China’s growing influence (while simultaneously attempting to engage in efforts of international integration with China, specifically economically). India and Pakistan are historical enemies, and wars have been fought between them before. India and America are in a strategic alliance, and America helped India with its nuclear program, much to the distaste of the Pakistanis, who drew closer to China. Pakistan occupies an area of the utmost strategic importance: with its neighbours being Afghanistan, China, India and Iran.
American policy has changed to support a civilian government, kept weak and subservient to U.S. interests, while America covertly expands its wars inside Pakistan. This is creating an incredible potential for absolute destabilization and fragmentation, potentially resulting in total civil war. America appears to be undertaking a similar policy in Pakistan that it undertook in fracturing Yugoslavia throughout the 1990s. Only that Pakistan has a population of 170 million people and nuclear weapons. As America expands its destabilization of Pakistan, the risk of a nuclear war between Pakistan and India dramatically increases, as does the risk of destabilization spreading regionally to its neighbours of India, China, Afghanistan and Iran. The American-urged separation of the Pakistani military from official power in Pakistan (as in, it’s not a military dictatorships), was designed to impose a completely U.S. dependent civilian government and isolate an increasingly frustrated and antagonized Pakistani military.
As the Wikileaks cables revealed, General Kayani, head of the Pakistani military, threatened to depose the Pakistani government in a coup in March of 2009, and he discussed this in meetings with the U.S. Ambassador to Pakistan, Anne Patterson. The cables revealed that the Pakistani Army Chief disliked the civilian government, but that they disliked the opposition even more, which was rallying people in the streets.[31] This reveals the intimate nature the U.S. has with the Pakistani military, as it always has. The U.S. did not support this proposal, as it currently favours a weak civilian government, and therefore a strong military dictatorship is not in America’s (or India’s) interest. Thus, there was no coup. Hence, Wikileaks can be used to further inform and vindicate analysis of Pakistan. For those who have been speaking about the destabilization of Pakistan for years, and there have been many, Wikileaks provides more resources to a critical analysis, and suddenly more people around the world might be interested in new ideas and perspectives, as Wikileaks has challenged so many of their previously held beliefs.
The list of examples surfacing from the Wikileaks cables is endless in the amount of additional information it can add in the alternative media’s dissemination of information and analysis. These were but a few examples among many. Make no mistake, this is an opportunity for the spread of truth, not a distraction from it. Treat it accordingly.
Andrew Gavin Marshall is a Research Associate with the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG). He is co-editor, with Michel Chossudovsky, of the recent book, "The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century," available to order at Globalresearch.ca. He is currently writing a book on 'Global Government' due to be released in 2011 by Global Research Publishers.
Notes
[1] David E. Sanger, James Glanz and Jo Becker, Around the World, Distress Over Iran, The New York Times, 28 November 2010: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/world/middleeast/29iran.htmlin
[2] Fox, Leaked Documents Show Middle East Consensus on Threat Posed by Iran, Fox News, 29 November 2010: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2010/11/29/leaked-documents-middle-east-consensus-threat-posed-iran/
[3] Ross Colvin, "Cut off head of snake" Saudis told U.S. on Iran, Reuters, 29 November 2010: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6AS02B20101129
[4] FT reporters, Iran accuses US over WikiLeaks, The Financial Times, 29 November 2010: http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/940105fc-fbd1-11df-b79a-00144feab49a.html?ftcamp=rss#axzz16zUOP500
[5] Barak Ravid, Netanyahu: Israel will not stand at center of new WikiLeaks report, Ha’aretz, 28 November 2010: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/netanyahu-israel-will-not-stand-at-center-of-new-wikileaks-report-1.327416?localLinksEnabled=false
[6] Jerrold Kessel and Pierre Klochendler, Unexpectedly, Israel Welcomes WikiLeaks Revelations, IPS News, 1 December 2010: http://ipsnews.net/news.asp?idnews=53731
[7] JPOST.COM STAFF, Barak: 'Wikileaks incident has not damaged Israel', Jerusalem Post, 30 November 2010: http://www.jpost.com/DiplomacyAndPolitics/Article.aspx?id=197357
[8] Haaretz Service, Senior Turkey official says Israel behind WikiLeaks release, Ha’aretz, 2 December 2010: http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/senior-turkey-official-says-israel-behind-wikileaks-release-1.328373
[9] Craig Murray, Extraordinary Rendition, CraigMurray.org, 11 July 2005: http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2005/07/extraordinary_r_1.html
[10] Nick Paton Walsh, The envoy who said too much, The Guardian, 15 July 2004: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2004/jul/15/foreignpolicy.uk
[11] Craig Murray, Raise A Glass to Wikileaks, CraigMurray.org, 29 November 2010: http://www.craigmurray.org.uk/archives/2010/11/raise_a_glass_t.html
[12] Ibid.
[13] Ibid.
[14] Ewen MacAskill, Columbia students told job prospects harmed if they access WikiLeaks cables, The Guardian, 5 December 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2010/dec/05/columbia-students-wikileaks-cables
[15] RICHARD STENGEL, Transcript: TIME Interview with WikiLeaks' Julian Assange, Time Magazine, 30 November 2010: http://news.yahoo.com/s/time/20101201/wl_time/08599203404000
[16] Ibid.
[17] Ibid.
[18] Matthew Creamer, Obama Wins! ... Ad Age's Marketer of the Year, AdAge, 17 October 2008: http://adage.com/moy2008/article?article_id=131810; Mark Sweney, Barack Obama campaign claims two top prizes at Cannes Lion ad awards, The Guardian, 29 June 2009: http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2009/jun/29/barack-obama-cannes-lions
[19] David Leigh, Heather Brooke and Rob Evans, WikiLeaks cables: 'Rude' Prince Andrew shocks US ambassador, The Guardian, 29 November 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/29/wikileaks-cables-rude-prince-andrew
[20] US embassy cables: Prince Andrew rails against France, the SFO and the Guardian, The Guardian, 29 November 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/175722
[21] Rob Evans and David Leigh, WikiLeaks cables: Prince Andrew demanded special BAE briefing, The Guardian, 30 November 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/30/prince-andrew-wikileaks-cables
[22] US embassy cables: Prince Andrew hunts with Arab leaders, The Guardian, 29 November 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/us-embassy-cables-documents/8446
[23] Robert Booth, Wikileaks cable: Prince Charles 'not respected like Queen', The Guardian, 29 November 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2010/nov/29/wikileaks-cable-prince-charles-queen
[24] Declan Walsh, WikiLeaks cables portray Saudi Arabia as a cash machine for terrorists, The Guardian, 5 December 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/05/wikileaks-cables-saudi-terrorist-funding
[25] SCOTT SHANE and ANDREW W. LEHREN, Leaked Cables Offer Raw Look at U.S. Diplomacy, The New York Times, 28 November 2010: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/world/29cables.html
[26] Simon Tisdall, WikiLeaks cables: Saudi Arabia rated a bigger threat to Iraqi stability than Iran, The Guardian, 5 December 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/05/wikileaks-cables-saudi-meddling-iraq
[27] William Maclean, Saudi royal: Punish WikiLeaks source "vigorously", Reuters, 5 December 2010: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSTRE6B41VA20101205
[28] Robert Booth and Ian Black, WikiLeaks cables: Yemen offered US 'open door' to attack al-Qaida on its soil, The Guardian, 3 December 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/03/wikileaks-yemen-us-attack-al-qaida
[29] Greg Miller, CIA pays for support in Pakistan, Los Angeles Times, 15 November 2009: http://articles.latimes.com/2009/nov/15/world/fg-cia-pakistan15
[30] Andrew Gavin Marshall, 9/11 and America’s Secret Terror Campaign, Global Research, 10 September 2010: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=20975
[31] David Batty and Declan Walsh, Pakistan army reacts to WikiLeaks cables with democracy pledge, The Guardian, 4 December 2010: http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/dec/04/pakistan-army-supports-government-wikileaks
*******
Enforcing accountability
Assange is a jerk. Our people are incompetent and stupid. Which is worse?
Richard J. “Sarge” Garwood
Friday, December 3, 2010
Everything is gray. One part of me wants to skin the Wiki Leaks publisher for cyber-publishing stolen privileged information. It was taken to embarrass the people enacting the play we’re enduring now. The other part wants to congratulate him for his expose’ of the liars initiating the offensive actions. These people claimed allegiances to honesty, integrity and transparency while steadily moving the mirrors behind the smoke they’re regularly blowing upward under our kilts. All politicians do it.
All communication relies on the expression of ideas in words. Words assure accurate historical recordation for future generations. The strengths and weaknesses of the historical data rest on the accuracy of the record. That same accuracy can vilify or beatify the players. There it becomes a matter of subjective interpretation and political axe-grinding. Nothing more; nothing less.
As the play is acted out, the problem is elevated to the level of high drama. But this script is weak, hackneyed and trite. Little people doing little, busy-work, directing the mundane mechanics of their professional drudgery are the ones caught in this idiocy. Some of this latest dumpster full of information is of a maturity only going back to late February. Its “freshness” seems to display no more dangerous information gathering than asking low-level embassy workers to collect business cards and gather personal intelligence on foreign government workers.
So far there are no smoking guns. It’s more a supply of embarrassing little firecrackers searing the back
pockets of people in high places caught inflating their importance from a selfish stand point. After 9/11, everybody complained because one government intelligence operation (GIO) had information it failed to transmit to others. (I know a GIO is oxymoronic but what can I say?) Then everybody opened the floodgates, sharing intelligence without vetting the people handling this Confidential/Secret/Top Secret info.
This allowed a little dude upset about “don’t ask-don’t tell” to allegedly transmit the info to Julian Assange. The rest is history.
The government should be brought to task for failing its duty to control these people. No, I’m not talking about possibly gay people but immature, unprincipled and petulant children masquerading as adults by virtue of their simple ascension to electoral majority (18 years of age). Just because a kid knows how to field-strip an M-4 doesn’t mean he has the maturity to wield it properly and safely in society.
The charges of Espionage and Treason should be leveled against the government employed individuals gave Assange the information. Those people violated their oath to defend the Constitution and the United States from foreign and domestic enemies. Assange is the “tool” (the nitwit if you will) seeking massive international attention and acclaim for the faux-altruistic goal of spreading truth, justice and all American secrets.
But it’s American prestige that’s been crushed. Our enemies and allies now witness our duplicity. This damage is in the words our minions spoke and transcribed under the cloak of anonymity. It’s their failure to protect their assets and their ascents to inspection by putting certain communications on the flippin’ Internet.
Assange is a jerk. Our people are incompetent and stupid. Which is worse?
These dumb basses never heard of “CODE”? They never heard of “EYES ONLY” correspondence? They can’t grasp the idea any third grader is aware of: if it’s on the Internet, if it’s in a computer - it’s fair game? And, it’s available for everlasting periods of time? What numb butts are we entrusting our most secret information to?
Wiki Leaks is more a boil on a body crease than a real problem unto itself. You can lance a boil. The real problem is the moronic manner self-inflated Dipschlitzs direct the security of our nation’s most important bargaining tool: privileged information.
The kid gave the stuff to Assange should be tried, and if found guilty, hanged. Period. Assange will get his soon enough.
But after the rope’s relaxed and left to stand in the cooling light of day for all to see; nobody will be able to say there’s NO penalty for treason and there is a penalty for failing to do your duty to the best of your ability.
Thanks for listening
*******
In Defense of Hillary Clinton Against the WikiLeaks, and Why She Should Resign
There is a time for diplomacy, there is a time for taking the effort of tracking someone accused of espionage
By Jim Byrd
Friday, December 3, 2010
Three may keep a secret, if two of them are dead--Benjamin Franklin
In the days following the WikiLeaks release of illicitly appropriated documents from the State Department, Hillary Clinton, who is portrayed in the documents as the antagonist of righteousness, has been subjected to a plethora of calls to resign. Julian Assange, proprietor of the malignant WikiLeaks, is leading the charge for her resignation. Assange said to Time Magazine, “It’s very important to remember the law is not what, not simply what, powerful people would want others to believe it is. The law is not what a general says it is. The law is not what Hillary Clinton says it is. She should resign.”
Even Venezuela’s kooky dictator, Hugo Chavez, chimed in with his two céntimos worth: “The empire stands naked… Mrs. Clinton should resign. It’s the least you can do. Resign, along with those other delinquents working in the State Department. Somebody should study Mrs. Clinton’s mental stability. Whatever was left of its mask has finally dropped away.”
Clinton’s crimes: She directed diplomats at American embassies to gather intelligence. She directed U.S. diplomats to spy on high ranking diplomats at the U.N., to gather biographical data including names, addresses, frequent flier numbers, credit card numbers, iris scans, fingerprints—generally all available biometric information. She did this through written directives simply signed, “CLINTON.”
Do you really appreciate your unalienable rights? To what lengths should this county go to protect your unalienable rights?
Current Democratic Party at best despicable, and at worst anti-American
I am not a Democrat, never have been; never liked Hillary Clinton, still don’t. But in one regard, she
deserves respect for at least trying to protect America’s interests. I find the current Democratic Party at best despicable, and at worst anti-American, with an agenda that is antithetical to what this country was founded upon. But after reading the WikiLeaks regarding the State Department and Hillary Clinton, bravo for her. Bravo for Hillary Clinton. What the WikiLeaks revealed was that she has done what should be expected from the Secretary of State regarding national security. Hopefully there were more justifiably devious exploits she employed that were not captured on paper, and hopefully they will never emerge from their cryptic resting place.
War and national security is a dirty business; dirty business is necessary to win a war, to protect national security. War is a dirty business, and America has experienced the evil and degenerating conditions of fighting and winning against enemies who hate America and wish her destruction. And regarding those sacred unalienable rights, be grateful and obligated to those willing to engage in the dirty and sometimes immoral business of keeping the horror of war from being waged within our borders. It is the naive and unsophisticated naysayers who demand that our national security efforts be put under a microscope, readily available to peruse. Their ignorance, their mindless illiterate view of the world in which we live, and the consequences of remotely adhering to their ideas of a forthright and open State Department, would have cost this country and your unalienable rights long ago. And it is the political correctness, openness, liberalism, and multiculturalism within our very borders, and the weakness it breeds, and the politicians and judges that it produces, that are far more dangerous threats to your unalienable rights than all the enemies and terrorists the world can produce. Again, bravo, Hillary Clinton, bravo!
Unfortunately, the pugnacious and necessary action taken by Hillary Clinton regarding America’s national security is overwhelmed by the reckless, naive, and irresponsible paper trail of her commendable actions—actions that are available the 6.8 billion people populating Earth either through internet access or newspapers to read at their leisure. Clinton’s taking any and all action in the name of national security is still
commendable, but her impotent and impoverished corpus as Secretary of State cannot be augmented by ambitious effort. As Secretary of State, she has failed to produce quantitative results, and she represents Obama’s bizarre and nonsensical foreign policy—which to her bane, is counterproductive to this country’s national security. This WikiLeaks debacle underscores the wholesale incompetence of the Obama administration, the failures of each of his appointed cabinet members, and that Clinton and her State Department is just another tumbling domino.
As far as matters of national security, an A+ in effort and an F in results will always be trumped by an F in effort and an A+ in results
On Obama’s watch, and Clinton’s State Department, Bradley Manning, a 22-year-old Private First Class,
had unconditional access to SIPRNet, the classified computer network of the Department of Defense, and was able to access the State Department’s internal database of classified files. Manning used a $10 1.6 gigabyte flash-drive to download 250,000 of the State Department’s classified documents. There was never a warning of a security breach because the protection of the State’s classified files is safeguarded by the most unsophisticated and jejune firewall designable. Clinton’s unsophisticated firewall. For this, and her incompetence as Secretary of State, she should resign. As far as matters of national security, an A+ in effort and an F in results will always be trumped by an F in effort and an A+ in results.
WikiLeaks has globally disseminated copious copies of classified chronicles from the State Department. These are the facts, and the documents contain the facts. Facts are a quirky thing, because facts do not always equal truth. All facts need perspective and context to manifest the truth. What the illicitly obtained facts, WikiLeaks, and Julian Assange do not present to the intended targets, is context and perspective. What Assange and his abettors around the world—and within the United States—do not comprehend, is that diplomacy, if done properly, is a science and an art form. In diplomacy it is often not what is said, but how it is said and in what context, something that is absent in the WikiLeaks documents. WikiLeaks and Julian Assange do not possess a smoking gun.
What Julian Assange presented was his objective: to embarrass the United States, put our military and soldiers in preventable danger, put the lives of various allies in danger, and to destroy the fragile arrangements keeping balance in the wildly chaotic world of diverse morality, power, covetous, mistrustful, dominating, and genocidal nations.
Unites States Attorney General, and sectarian saber-rattler, Eric Holder, said the following about the WikiLeaks debacle: “To the extent that we can find anybody who was involved in the breaking of American law, who put at risk the assets and the people I have described, they will be held responsible; they will be held accountable. This is not saber-rattling.”
Where were Eric Holder and Obama when earlier this year WikiLeaks distributed, twice, documents that identified Afghanistan informants aiding the United States at their personal peril, and video of Iraqi collateral deaths, including two Reuters’s photographers killed by a U.S. Apache helicopter. It is an absolute tragedy, and a sometimes preventable tragedy, when collateral damage happens, and it will, during a war. Not to diminish the horror of civilian deaths, but, like the WikiLeaks recent document dump, there is no context accompanying the video. Involvement in war at the battle, scene level, has the assumptive risk of death. War is vile, war is dirty, war is hell, war is death, and sometimes that death is indiscriminate. This is where Eric Holder was: the Obama administration was not embarrassed, the State Department was not embarrassed, Holder was directed to act. That is where Eric Holder was when lives and our military were put at risk by WikiLeaks the first two times.
Below is a random selection of four of the expected repugnant comments supporting WikiLeaks and Julian Assange from the Leftist media around the country, such as Daily Kos, Huffington Post, et al.:
“A liberal, democratic state such as the United States with freely-elected representatives and a free media should have CONSENT in “liberating” such documents.”
“I think that Wikileaks is a good source for the hidden “truth” and all it implies. From the few leaks I have read so far, USA citizens should be ashamed of their hiddin [sic] greedy government.”
“All people everywhere rejoice that the time for secrets is over. Those with dark agendas will have light shined on them. Hooray !!!!!!!!!!”
The fourth and morally and intellectually illiterate opinion was published in the Christian Science Monitor in an
article written by Sheldon Richman. Richman parades around as an erudite libertarian, but he is actually a not so well concealed anarchist, and if implemented, his bizarre libertarian policies would have dismantled this county from inception:
“Many are condemning Bradley Manning for allegedly providing WikiLeaks with sensitive reports about US foreign policy. But a government that can make war while keeping essential information about its justification and conduct secret is neither open nor fit for free people.”
"I say hero. When a government secretly engages in such consequential activities as aggressive wars justified by at best questionable and at worst fabricated intelligence, covert bombings and assassinations, and diplomatic maneuvering designed to support such global meddling, the people in whose name that government acts—and who could suffer retaliation—have a right to know.”
“Or is “government of the people, by the people, for the people” so much pabulum to keep us contentedly ignorant?”
“WikiLeaks critics will say that foreign policy cannot be conducted in public. As stated, that assertion is false. It is only an imperial foreign policy that cannot be conducted in public.”
The first two paragraphs demonstrate his moral illiteracy; no explanation needed, as the consequences are axiomatic. The last two paragraphs demonstrate his intellectual illiteracy, and the puerile foreign policies espoused by libertarianism in the treacherous world in which we exist. He seems to allude that a quote by Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address is a foundational principle of the this country’s original design, and there can be no reasonable explanation as to his opinion that only non-imperialistic foreign policy can be conducted openly in public. He does not have the evidence to support this claim, as it logically and plausibly does not exist.
Julian Assange is a terrorist
Make no mistake about it, Julian Assange is a terrorist. Can Julian Assange be indicted, extradited to the
 U.S., then prosecuted under the Espionage Act as a foreigner? What he did qualifies as espionage under the act. What he did qualifies as terrorism. What the New York Times did by printing the material was aiding and abetting treason, terrorism, and espionage. Assange did not steal the documents, Manning did. But Assange is just as culpable, and so is the New York Times.
In one of the documents leaked by Julian Assange, he outs a secret black ops unit of the American military, Task Force 373, working with a NATO coalition, that targets Taliban and Al-Qaeda figures in Afghanistan. They work off a 2,000 person kill or capture list known as Jpeli. They hunt their prey, and destroy it.
Julian Assange has exposed the lives of America’s military personnel, Afghanistan informants, and other valuable assets of the United States. He has leaked classified State Department documents involving other countries around the globe. There is a time for diplomacy, there is a time for taking the effort of tracking someone accused of espionage, there is a time for formal indictments, there is a time for a lengthy extradition process, there is a time for a lengthy trial, and there is a time for action when our national security is at risk.
The point of mentioning Task Force 373 is why this question is not being asked, assuming the current WikiLeaks fiasco never happened: What ever happened to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks? They have been eerily silent since dumping documents and video several months ago.
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Contrasting Views WikiLeaks’ Impact: Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and UN Ambassador Susan Rice
Will the WikiLeaks Scandal Push Hillary Over The Cliff?
By Joseph A. Klein
Thursday, December 2, 2010
In a wide-ranging press conference at United Nations headquarters on December 2nd, the United States’ UN ambassador Susan Rice continued to play down any negative impact from WikiLeaks’ release of sensitive State Department documents. She also denied that any of the U.S. diplomats, at least those under her control, had done anything improper. She carried over the same theme that she relayed to reporters earlier in the week on November 29th when the State Department leaks were first published. Responding to reporters’ questions on both occasions, Rice said that “our diplomats are just that - diplomats. That’s what they do every day. They do the work of diplomats and nothing else.”
Rice did manage during her December 2nd press conference to go beyond her previous bland remarks in one respect. This time she used the words “reprehensible” and “inexcusable” to describe the leaks. However, this rhetorical slap on WikiLeaks’ wrist hardly compares with her boss, Secretary of State
Hillary Clinton, who on November 29th told reporters in Washington that “this disclosure is not just an attack on America‚Äôs foreign policy interests, it is an attack on the international community.‚Äù Hillary also claimed that the latest leaks put “people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security, and undermines our efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems.”
Rice does not appear to be on the same page as Clinton. She believes that everything is fine in UN paradise irrespective of WikiLeaks.
One would think that the disclosure of State Department cables instructing U.S. delegates at the United Nations and at embassies abroad to collect highly personal information concerning foreign diplomats and UN officials, right up to Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, would have fazed Ambassador Rice. But even that did not faze her.
Rice refused to make any comment on the substance of these explosive cables, referring to them as “alleged classified material.”
As for the impact of their disclosure, Rice’s attitude was essentially ‘no worries.’ She told reporters that,
aside from a bit of “unpleasantness” and “awkwardness” after the news first came out, she was gratified to have received the support of many of her colleagues in other UN delegations. “They understand,” Rice said, “we are here to work with them as partners and colleagues.” She expressed confidence that American diplomats at the United Nations and around the world would continue “excellently the work they do every day in supporting and advancing the interests of the United States.”
Hillary Clinton appears to be far more worried than Rice, or maybe Rice is just a much better actress.
In any case, Rice has put as much distance between herself and Clinton on the WikiLeaks issue as she could without appearing too obvious.
For example, when asked to comment about discussions, held on the sidelines of an Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe summit in Kazakhstan, between Clinton and Ban Ki-moon focusing on “complications” caused by the WikiLeaks disclosures detailing alleged U.S. spying on the UN Secretary General, she demurred. Rice claimed that she wasn’t aware of what “complications” were discussed and suggested to reporters that they ask Hillary herself. Is Rice truly out of the loop even on the handling of the sensitivities of the United States’ relationship with Ban Ki-moon following the embarrassing disclosures, or is she perfectly happy to leave Hillary Clinton alone twisting in the wind?
In another development, Rice, who is presiding as the president of the UN Security Council this month,
announced to reporters that Vice President Joe Biden would be chairing a high-level Security Council event on Iraq on December 15th. That seems a bit odd considering that high level foreign policy discussions involving Iraq should be part of Hillary Clinton’s portfolio as Secretary of State.
Rice also responded in the affirmative to my question whether the Obama administration supports Japan as well as India in their quest to occupy new permanent seats on the UN Security Council, if reforms are approved to expand the size of the Council. That is interesting in light of the fact that, in one of the cables released by WikiLeaks, Hillary Clinton allegedly described both India and Japan as “self-appointed front-runners” for any new permanent Security Council seats. She also allegedly directed U.S. diplomats to collect minute details about their counterparts from the “self-appointed front-runners” who were stationed at UN headquarters. So while Rice is talking up Japan to join India as new permanent members of the Security Council, Hillary was supposedly investigating their diplomats.
One has to wonder whether Hillary Clinton is being marginalized in addition to being saddled with the burden of explaining away the embarrassing leaked State Department documents? Is Rice eyeing her job?
Recall that during the 2008 Democratic presidential primary campaign, Susan Rice was a key Obama foreign policy advisor. She was part of the campaign team that criticized Hillary’s lack of any substantive foreign policy experience. Rice on the other hand is a Rhodes scholar who earned a doctorate in international relations at Oxford University, joined President Clinton’s National Security Council staff in 1993 and served in a senior capacity as an Assistant Secretary of State.
Even while serving in the Obama administration representing the United States at the United Nations, Rice shuttles between New York and Washington. She considers Washington as her home and has occupied an office at Hillary Clinton’s State Department. She has also been a member of the National Security Council Principals Committee.
The Clintons are famous for watching their backs and being political survivors. Only this time Hillary may be facing her Waterloo.
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How Lieberman Got Amazon To Drop Wikileaks
Rachel Slajda, TPM
Dec. 2, 2010
Early this week, after hacker attacks on its site, Wikileaks moved its operation, including all those diplomatic cables, to the greener pastures of Amazon.com's cloud servers. But today, it was down again and mid-afternoon we found out the reason: Amazon had axed Wikileaks from its servers.
The announcement came from Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), the chairman of the Senate Homeland Security Committee. Lieberman said in a statement that Amazon's "decision to cut off Wikileaks now is the right decision and should set the standard for other companies Wikileaks is using to distribute its illegally seized material."
Committee staff had seen news reports yesterday that Wikileaks was being hosted on Amazon's servers, a committee spokeswoman told TPM. The service, we should note, is self-serve; as with services like YouTube, the company does not screen or pre-approve the content posted on its servers.
Staffers then, according to the spokeswoman, Leslie Phillips, called Amazon to ask about it, and left questions with a press secretary including, "Are there plans to take the site down?"
Amazon called them back this morning to say they had kicked Wikileaks off, Phillips said. Amazon said the site had violated unspecified terms of use.
Amazon has not responded to requests for comment. Its terms of acceptable use include a ban on illegal activities (it's not yet clear whether Wikileaks has broken any laws) and content "that may be harmful to our users, operations, or reputation." It also prohibits using Amazon's servers "to violate the security or integrity of any network, computer or communications system," although Wikileaks obviously obtained the cables long before hopping on Amazon's servers.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a group that advocates for Internet freedom of speech by defending
court cases, said the axing certainly doesn't violate the First Amendment. But it is, according to senior staff attorney Kevin Bankston, "disappointing."
"This certainly implicates First Amendment rights to the extent that web hosts may, based on direct or informal pressure, limit the materials the American public has a First Amendment right to access," Bankston told TPM.
Wikileaks is reportedly back on servers based in Sweden. Lieberman, in his statement today, called on "any other company or organization that is hosting Wikileaks to immediately terminate its relationship with them."
Phillips said Lieberman has no plans to reach out to other web-hosting services that may host Wikileaks, and has not contacted the Swedish government to discuss servers in its country.
"Sen. Lieberman hopes that the Amazon case will send the message to other companies that might host Wikileaks that it would be irresponsible to host the site," she said.
Alex Sciuto contributed reporting.
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WikiLeaks: a “staged” crime scene
Why no direct governmental action was taken when there was ample opportunity to do so
By Doug Hagmann
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
http://canadafreepress.com/index.php/article/30576
In the realm of criminal investigation, there are instances where a crime has been committed but the criminal,
in an attempt to confuse investigators and redirect the investigation away from themselves or conceal their true intent, will alter the crime scene. That’s called “staging,” and is often indicated when investigators encounter details that initially appear baffling when viewed in the larger context of the crime scene.
Based on my professional analysis of the available facts surrounding the WikiLeaks controversy, “staging” is exactly what has taken place.
Over the weekend, WikiLeaks 39 year-old founder Julian Assange dumped about a quarter of a million classified State Department documents on the internet. This was reportedly accomplished through the efforts of 22-year-old Army Pfc. Bradley E. Manning. The most cursory investigation will find that Manning did not act alone, and that WikiLeaks, which first published restricted documents in 2006, has been under government surveillance, if not some level of control since then.
Given the “chaos” allegedly created by the document dump, including the reported threat to matters of national security and even the personal security of our operational assets, several indicators exist that point to the WikiLeaks data dump as being a staged event.
Consider that while the WikiLeaks documents were being dumped, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, in a coordinated effort with the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency were tasked with seizing over 80 websites for copyright infringement. If there was a genuine administrative concern over the publication of sensitive documents, it would hardly seem reasonable to direct intelligence assets in that manner.
Since the government had knowledge of the document “theft” for several months, had time to investigate and
identify digital fingerprints of those involved as well as the documents themselves, it is reasonable to question why no direct governmental action was taken when there was ample opportunity to do so.
In criminal matters, it is also important to address motive. In this case, the question “who benefits” must be asked. After careful review of many of the released documents, it can be reasonably established that the primary beneficiaries of this exposure are the progressives, globalists and members of the power elite. The documents appear to assault our democratic process and ultimately, our national sovereignty.
When all of the factors behind the WikiLeaks data dump are analyzed, I suspect that it this event will serve as a catalyst for this administration to advance their known objectives to regulate the internet. With Cass Sunstein as the head of the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs , the organized chaos created by WikiLeaks will certainly provide the requisite fodder to control the type of information available through the internet.
Amid the controversy involving the data dump, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange is also accused of rape and has made it onto Interpol’s wanted list. Considering the obvious staging of the data damp, it is of little surprise to also learn that Assange is the current globalists’ version of “six degrees of Kevin Bacon.” In this case, it is many degrees fewer, and it’s not actor Kevin Bacon, but George Soros who serves as the trivia link. Soros linked attorney Mark Stephens, who does pro bono work for the Open Society Institute, appears to be representing Assange as he remains in hiding in the UK.
Indeed, a thorough forensic analysis of the digital DNA of this leak is in order.
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250,000 Classified Documents Stolen, Disclosed: Still Trust Big Government?
Can an administration that cannot manage classified documents be trusted with 17 percent of the domestic economy?
By John Lillpop
Monday, November 29, 2010
In light of the unbelievable, mind-boggling story about 250,000 classified documents of recent vintage being stolen and released for public consumption, even the most ardent supporter of big government must be thinking twice about that position.
At least with respect to the Obama administration.
Even the usually-supportive Washington Post is taking Obama to task for the latest fiasco. As reported, in part, at Washington Post.com:
Is the United States of America really powerless to stop a nomadic cyber-hacker - who sleeps on people’s couches and changes his hair color to avoid surveillance - from causing enormous damage to our national security?
Apparently, in the age of Obama, we are.
Four months ago, the criminal enterprise WikiLeaks released more than 75,000 stolen classified documents that, among other things, revealed the identities of more than 100 Afghans who were cooperating with America against the Taliban. The Obama administration condemned WikiLeaks’ actions. The Justice Department said it was weighing criminal charges against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. The Pentagon warned that if WikiLeaks did not stand down and return other stolen documents it possessed, the
government would “make them do the right thing.”
And then nothing happened.
Now, WikiLeaks has struck a third time with what may prove to be its most damaging disclosures yet - a cache of more than 251,287 American diplomatic cables and directives, including more than 117,000 that are classified.
Is the Obama administration going to do anything - anything at all - to stop these serial disclosures of our nation’s most closely guarded secrets? Just this past week, the federal government took decisive action to shut down more than 70 Web sites that were disseminating pirated music and movies. Hollywood is safe, but WikiLeaks is free to disseminate classified documents without consequence.”
Given Obama’s endless incompetence, the whole question of ObamaCare must be carefully re-examined.
Specifically, Can an administration that cannot manage classified documents be trusted with 17 percent of the domestic economy?
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