This war needs to end! Warning-some Language
US soldiers come clean about atrocities in Iraq
American soldier “I killed innocent people”
This war needs to end! Warning-some Language
August 12, 2009 update – Kimberly Rivera wins another temporary stay in Canadian court!
By Courage to Resist. Posted July 13, 2009
Courage to Resist and supporters delivered 6,000 signatures in support of Kimberly Rivera and all war resisters seeking refuge in Canada on July 8th. After a vigil in front of the Canadian Consulate in downtown San Francisco, the gathering made their way upstairs to make their case directly to a representative of the consulate. Watch Bill Carpenter’s 6:30 min. video below.
The following day in Toronto, Canada, the federal judge in Kimberly Rivera’s appeal to remain in Canada "reserved his decision." Following the hearing, Kimberly stated, "I shouldn’t have to destroy my family for deciding not to destroy somebody else’s family."
I want to stay in Canada, with my family, because the Iraq War is immoral, illegal and I couldn’t in good conscience go back. The amount of support I’m getting from Canadians is amazing. The parents of my kids’ friends, MPs and even strangers on the street keep telling me that they can’t believe the votes in Parliament aren’t being respected.
–Kimberly Rivera, Iraq War resister
Kimberly Rivera is the first outspoken female Iraq War resister to publicly and legally seek refuge in Canada. Kimberly, along with her partner Mario, son Christian (7 years old) and daughter Rebecca (4 years old), fled to Canada in January 2007 when Kimberly refused redeployment. In late November 2008 Kimberly gave birth to her Canadian daughter Katie (8 months old). She served in Iraq in 2006 and experienced, firsthand, the reality of this ongoing illegal war and occupation.
The conservative Harper government has been trying to deport Kimberly for months, defying Canada’s longstanding tradition of providing sanctuary to U.S. war resisters. On July 8th, Kimberly went to Canadian federal court, to appeal the decision in her Pre-Removal Risk Assessment. If her appeal fails, she will be asked to leave Canada, or be forcibly removed – and delivered into the custody and jurisdiction of the United States Army where Kimberly will face charges that could carry up to a four month sentence in the stockade. So far, three Iraq War resisters have been deported from Canada.
By Susan Lindauer, 9/11 Whistleblower indicted on the Patriot Act
I confess that since November I’ve been holding my breath, watching the clock for how long Tea Party newcomers could hold out against the entrenched Republican elite on Capitol Hill. Collapse was inevitable, however I admit to feeling bitterly surprised at how rapidly they have thrown in the towel.
For the record, most of the Tea Party quit their principles of liberty on February 14, 2011—20 days into the new Congress—when Tea Party leaders abruptly abandoned their opposition to the Patriot Act and voted to extend intrusive domestic surveillance, wire tapping and warrantless searches of American citizens. In so doing, they exposed the fraud of their soaring campaign promises to defend the liberty of ordinary Americans, and fight government intrusions on freedom. All those wide eyed speeches that flowed with such thrilling devotions, all of it proved to be self-aggrandizing lies.
The Tea Party didn’t even put up a fight. Briefly they rejected a sneak attack to renew three surveillance clauses of the Patriot Act on a suspension vote. That filled my heart with hope. One push from the Republican elite, however and they went down with a loud thud.
My disappointment is particularly acute. Rather notoriously, I am distinguished as the second non-Arab American to face indictment on the Patriot Act, after Jose Padilla.
My status was pretty close to an enemy non-combatant. One would presume that I must have joined some terrorist conspiracy? Or engaged in some brutal act of sedition, such as stock piling weapons and munitions to overthrow those crooks in Congress?
You would be wrong. I got indicted for protesting the War in Iraq. My crime was delivering a warm-hearted letter to my second cousin White House Chief of Staff, Andy Card, which correctly outlined the consequences of War. Suspiciously, I had been one of the very few Assets covering the Iraqi Embassy at the United Nations for seven years. Thus, I was personally acquainted with the truth about Pre-War Intelligence, which differs remarkably from the story invented by GOP leaders on Capitol Hill.
More dangerously still, my team gave advance warnings about the 9/11 attack and solicited Iraq’s cooperation after 9/11. In August 2001, at the urging of my CIA handler, I phoned Attorney General John Ashcroft’s private staff and the Office of Counter-Terrorism to ask for an “emergency broadcast alert” across all federal agencies, seeking any fragment of intelligence on airplane hijackings. My warning cited the World Trade Center as the identified target. Highly credible independent sources have confirmed that in August, 2001 I described the strike on the World Trade Center as “imminent,” with the potential for “mass casualties, possibly using a miniature thermonuclear device.”
Thanks to the Patriot Act, Americans have zero knowledge of those truths, though the 9/11 Community has zoomed close for years. Republican leaders invoked the Patriot Act to take me down 30 days after I approached the offices of Senator John McCain and Trent Lott, requesting to testify about Iraq’s cooperation with the 9/11 investigation and a comprehensive peace framework that would have achieved every U.S. and British objective without firing a shot. Ironically, because of the Patriot Act, my conversations with Senator Trent Lott‘s staff got captured on wire taps, proving my story.
You see, contrary to rhetoric on Capitol Hill, the Patriot Act is first and foremost a weapon to bludgeon whistleblowers and political dissidents. Indeed, it has been singularly crafted for that purpose.
The American people are not nearly as frightened as they should be. Many Americans expect the Patriot Act to limit its surveillance to overseas communications. Yet while I was under indictment, Maryland State Police invoked the Patriot Act to wire tap activists tied to the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, an environmental group dedicated to wind power, solar energy and recycling. The DC Anti-War Network was targeted as a “white supremacist group.” Amnesty International and anti-death penalty activists got targeted for alleged “civil rights violations.”
All of these are American activists engaged in lawful disputes of government policy. All of them got victimized by the surveillance techniques approved by Tea Party leaders, because they pursued a policy agenda that contradicted current government policies. The Tea Party swore to defend the freedom of independent thinking in Congressional campaigns. One presumes those promises are now forgotten until the next election.
I cannot forget. I cannot forget how I was subjected to secret charges, secret evidence and secret grand jury testimony that denied my right to face my accusers or their accusations in open court, throughout five years of indictment. I cannot forget my imprisonment on a Texas military base for a year without a trial or evidentiary hearing.
I cannot forget how the FBI, the US Attorneys Office, the Bureau of Prisons and the main Justice office in Washington — independently and collectively verified my story— then falsified testimony to Chief Justice Michael Mukasey, denying our 9/11 warnings and my long-time status as a U.S. intelligence Asset, though my witnesses had aggressively confronted them. Apparently the Patriot Act allows the Justice
Department to withhold corroborating evidence and testimony from the Court, if it is deemed “classified.”
I cannot forget threats of forcible drugging and indefinite detention up to 10 years, until I could be “cured” of believing what everybody wanted to deny— because it was damn inconvenient to politicians in Washington anxious to hold onto power.
Some things are unforgivable in a democracy. The Patriot Act would be right at the top of that list. Nobody who has supported that wretched law should ever be allowed to brag of defending liberty again. That goes for the Tea Party. By voting to extend surveillance of American citizens, they have abandoned the principles of freedom that brought about their rise to power. They have shown their true face.
It is a face that we, the people, will remember. I, for one, have no intention of allowing them to forget.
Susan Lindauer is the author of Extreme Prejudice: The Terrifying Story of the Patriot Act and the Cover Ups of 9/11 and Iraq | Audio interview | Book review
Copyright © 2011 The People’s Voice
Recently by Laurence M. Vance: The Greatest Christian Warmonger of All Time
Unfazed by the disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, there can still be found Christian warmongers who defend these fiascos. But Bryan Fischer, who blogs for the American Family Association, is not your typical Christian warmonger. He is a Christian warmonger on steroids.
Fischer is the director of Issue Analysis for Government and Public Policy at the American Family Association and host of the daily “Focal Point” radio talk program on American Family Radio. But he should also be a member of the Christian axis of evil.
I first discovered Mr. Fischer when a reader alerted me to a recent column of his (“The Feminization of the Medal of Honor“) about the awarding of the Medal of Honor to a soldier for heroism in Afghanistan. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta took a bullet, pulled a soldier to safety, rescued another one from Taliban, and lived to receive his medal in person – the only one of the eight Medal of Honor winners during the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to do so.
Fischer maintains that “we have feminized the Medal of Honor.” This is a “disturbing trend” that he has noticed, but “which few others seem to have recognized.” He laments that “every Medal of Honor awarded during these two conflicts has been awarded for saving life.” He is upset that “not one has been awarded for inflicting casualties on the enemy.” Fischer wants U.S. soldiers to do one thing – kill:
So the question is this: when are we going to start awarding the Medal of Honor once again for soldiers who kill people and break things so our families can sleep safely at night?
I would suggest our culture has become so feminized that we have become squeamish at the thought of the valor that is expressed in killing enemy soldiers through acts of braver
We rightly honor those who give up their lives to save their comrades. It’s about time we started also honoring those who kill bad guys.
The reaction to Fischer’s column was fierce. The comments posted were overwhelmingly negative. I made the mistake of printing out the article without checking to see how long the comment section was. The comments actually took up fifty-one pages versus the one page taken up by the article. The reaction was so fierce that two days later Fischer wrote about the subject again in another column (“The Feminization of the Medal of Honor – Part II“) in which he complained that the comments about his first piece were “angry, vituperative, hate-filled, and laced with both profanity and blasphemy.” (I read them all and saw very little profanity and blasphemy). Fischer deludes himself by accusing “readers who have reacted so viscerally to what I wrote” of not reading all of his 600-word piece or not reading it at all and just relying on “what others said about the column.”
In his second column, Fischer begins by clarifying that “it is altogether right that we honor heroism and bravery when it is expressed in self sacrifice” and emphasizing that he believes in honoring soldiers for “exceptional bravery in defense of our own troops.” But then he brings up his passion again – killing:
What I am saying is that I am observing a trend in which we single out bravery in self-defense and yet seem hesitant to single out bravery in launching aggressive attacks that result in the deaths of enemy soldiers.
It is striking that a certain amount of the criticism I have received actually verifies my thesis. In response to my call to also honor those who have killed bad guys in defense of our country, I have been called everything from savage to brute to bloodthirsty to anti-American to un-American to traitor to “expletives deleted” to the antichrist himself.
Surely some of this supports my contention that we have become too squeamish to honor such valor. It’s almost as if it embarrasses us, as if we feel there is something inappropriate about awarding our highest honor to those who kill the enemy in battle.
It apparently is easier for us to honor valor when exhibited in self-defense, but we find ourselves reluctant to honor killing the enemy when we are the aggressor in a military setting.
I guess Fischer’s ideal candidate for the Medal of Honor would be Lt. William Caley or a worker on the Manhattan Project.
After trying to justify his unholy desire with Scripture, which arguments I will examine in due course, Fischer closes his second column thusly:
War is certainly a terrible thing, and should only be waged for the highest and most just of causes. But if the cause is just, then there is great honor in achieving military success, success which should be celebrated and rewarded.
The bottom line here is that the God of the Bible clearly honors those who show valor and gallantry in waging aggressive war in a just cause against the enemies of freedom, even while inflicting massive casualties in the process. What I’m saying is that it’s time we started imitating God’s example again.
There are two issues here that need to be addressed. One, Fischer’s support for U.S. soldiers killing in Iraq and Afghanistan. And two, Fischer’s attempt to justify, with Scripture, his passion for killing.
Fischer just takes it as a given that the current wars the United States is embroiled in are just wars. The truth, of course, is that they are two of the most unjust wars the United States has ever fought. See, for example, five hundred random articles on the Internet, many of them mine. And, to rephrase Fischer: If the cause is unjust, then there is great dishonor in achieving military success and such success should be condemned and punished. A war that is not justifiable is nothing short of mass murder.
The mentality of Fischer and other Christian warmongers is that the enemies of the United States are enemies of freedom and if the U.S. military is doing the killing then the cause is just. But why are Iraq and Afghanistan even considered to be bad guys that are our enemies? Did Iraq and Afghanistan attack the United States on 9/11? Did any of the men that are claimed to be the 9/11 hijackers even come from Iraq and Afghanistan? Oh, but we didn’t go to war just because of 9/11. Right, the Bush administration, congressional war hawks, and their willing accomplices in the media gave twenty-seven different rationales for the Iraq war alone. No Iraqi or Afghan was ever or is presently a threat to any American in the United States. And no Iraqi or Afghan was ever a threat to any American solder until the United States invaded their countries and started unleashing the full force of its military. And neither can soldiers be said to be acting in self-defense because the war itself was not for self-defense. It was an act of naked aggression that was supposed to be a cakewalk, but it backfired with disastrous results for the United States.
My greatest problem with Fischer is his misuse of Scripture. As Wilma Ann Bailey remarks in her book You Shall Not Kill or You Shall Not Murder? The Assault on a Biblical Text (Collegeville, Minnesota: Liturgical Press, 2005): “People want to kill people, and they want biblical permission to do so.”
Regarding Fischer’s contention that “we have become too squeamish to honor such valor” as killing our enemies, he says that “the Scriptures certainly know nothing of such squeamishness.” He then gives the example of King David, a man who had slain “his ten thousands” (1 Samuel 18:7), “fought with the Philistines, and brought away their cattle, and smote them with a great slaughter” (1 Samuel 23:5), smote the Amalekites “from the twilight even unto the evening of the next day: and there escaped not a man of them, save four hundred young men, which rode upon camels, and fled” (1 Samuel 30:17), “smote the Philistines from Geba until thou come to Gazer” (2 Samuel 5:25), and warred against the Philistines, Moab, Zobah, Syria, and Edom (2 Samuel 8:1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 13, 14). And remember, says Fischer, that David was a man after God’s own heart (1 Samuel 13:14).
But as I have pointed out many times, it is wrong to invoke the Jewish wars of the Old Testament against the heathen as a justification for the actions of the U.S. military. Although God sponsored these wars, and used the Jewish nation to conduct them, it does not follow that God sponsors American wars or that America is God’s chosen nation. The U.S. president is not King David, America is not the nation of Israel, the U.S. military is not the Lord’s army, and God never commanded any Christian to war on his behalf. The fact that King David did what he did under divine sanction has absolutely no bearing on anything the U.S. military does.
And Fischer is not giving us the whole story of King David:
Then David the king stood up upon his feet, and said, Hear me, my brethren, and my people: As for me, I had in mine heart to build an house of rest for the ark of the covenant of the LORD, and for the footstool of our God, and had made ready for the building: But God said unto me, Thou shalt not build an house for my name, because thou hast been a man of war, and hast shed blood. (1 Chronicles 28:2-3)
I guess King David is not a good example after all.
Fischer also invokes John the Baptist’s conversation with Roman soldiers: “Christianity is not a religion of pacifism. Remember that John the Baptist did not tell the soldiers who came to him to lay down their arms, even when they asked him directly, ‘what shall we do?’ (Luke 3:14).” True, but neither is Christianity a religion of murder. I have discussed John the Baptist’s rules for soldiers here.
Fischer’s desire for “massive casualties” to be inflicted while being honored by one’s god is reminiscent of a Muslim suicide bomber that Fischer would label a bad guy and our enemy.
Aside from theological differences, it is because of warmongering chickenhawk Christians like Fischer that non-Christians, nominal Christians, Catholic Christians, Orthodox Christians, and mainline Protestant Christians often have an unfavorable opinion of evangelical Christians. Fischer has also further damaged the image of the American Family Association.
Bryan Fischer is not the greatest Christian warmonger of all time, but he is without doubt a Christian warmonger on steroids.
February 11, 2011
Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from central Florida. He is the author of Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State and The Revolution that Wasn’t. His newest book is Rethinking the Good War. Visit his website.
Copyright © 2011 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.
December 31, 2010 7:50 AM
WikiLeaks has brought to light a series of disturbing insinuations and startling truths in the last year, some earth-shattering, others simply confirmations of our darkest suspicions about the way the world works. Thanks to founder Julian Assange‘s legal situation in Sweden (and potentially the United States) as well as his media grandstanding, it is easy to forget how important and interesting some of WikiLeaks’ revelations have been.
WikiLeaks revelations from 2010 have included simple gossip about world leaders: Russia’s PM Vladimir Putin is playing Batman to President Dmitri Medvedev’s Robin; Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is crazy and was once slapped by a Revolutionary Guard chief for being so; Libya’s Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi has a hankering for his voluptuous blond Ukrainian nurse; and France’s President Nicholas Sarkozy simply can’t take criticism.
However, WikiLeaks’ revelations also have many major implications for world relations. The following is a list of the more impactful WikiLeaks revelations from 2010, grouped by region.
The United States
– The U.S. Army considered WikiLeaks a national security threat as early as 2008, according to documents obtained and posted by WikiLeaks in March, 2010.
– Then-Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his top commanders repeatedly, knowingly lied to the American public about rising sectarian violence in Iraq beginning in 2006, according to the cross-referencing of WikiLeaks’ leaked Iraq war documents and former Washington Post Baghdad Bureau Chief Ellen Knickmeyer’s recollections.
– The Secretary of State’s office encouraged U.S. diplomats at the United Nations to spy on their counterparts, including collecting data about the U.N. secretary general, his team and foreign diplomats, including credit card account numbers, according to documents from WikiLeaks U.S. diplomatic cable release. Later cables reveal the CIA draws up an annual “wish-list” for the State Department, which one year included the instructions to spy on the U.N.
– The Obama administration worked with Republicans during his first few months in office to protect Bush administration officials facing a criminal investigation overseas for their involvement in establishing policies that some considered torture. A “confidential” April 17, 2009, cable sent from the US embassy in Madrid obtained by WikiLeaks details how the Obama administration, working with Republicans, leaned on Spain to derail this potential prosecution.
– WikiLeaks released a secret State Department cable that provided a list of sites around the world vital to U.S. national security, from mines in Africa to labs in Europe.
– A U.S. Army helicopter allegedly gunned down two journalists in Baghdad in 2007. WikiLeaks posted a 40-minute video on its website in April, showing the attack in gruesome detail, along with an audio recording of the pilots during the attack.
– Iran’s military intervened aggressively in support of Shiite combatants in Iraq, offering weapons, training and sanctuary, according to an October, 2010, WikiLeaks release of thousands of secret documents related to the Iraq war.
– According to one tabulation, there have been 100,000 causalities, mostly civilian, in Iraq – greater than the numbers previously made public, many of them killed by American troops but most of them were killed by other Iraqis, according to the WikiLeaks Iraq documents dump.
– U.S. authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished, according to the WikiLeaks Iraq documents dump.Afghanistan
– U.S. special-operations forces have targeted militants without trial in secret assassination missions, and many more Afghan civilians have been killed by accident than previously reported, according to the WikiLeaks Afghanistan war document dump.
– Afghan President Hamid Karzai freed suspected drug dealers because of their political connections, according to a secret diplomatic cable. The cable, which supports the multiple allegations of corruption within the Karzai government, said that despite repeated rebukes from U.S. officials in Kabul, the president and his attorney general authorized the release of detainees. Previous cables accused Karzai’s half-brother, Ahmed Wali Karzai, of being a corrupt narcotics trafficker.
– Pakistan’s government has allowed members of its spy network to hold strategy sessions on combating American troops with members of the Taliban, while Pakistan has received more than $1 billion a year in aid from Washington to help combat militants, according to a July, 2010, WikiLeaks release of thousands of files on the Afghanistan war.
– A stash of highly enriched uranium capable of providing enough material for multiple “dirty bombs” has been waiting in Pakistan for removal by an American team for more than three years but has been held up by the country’s government, according to leaked classified State Department documents.
– Despite sustained denials by US officials spanning more than a year, U.S.military Special Operations Forces have been conducting offensive operations inside Pakistan, helping direct U.S. drone strikes and conducting joint operations with Pakistani forces against Al Qaeda and Taliban forces in north and south Waziristan and elsewhere in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, according to secret cables released as part of the Wikileaks document dump.
– China was behind the online attack of Google, according to leaked diplomatic cables. The electronic intrusion was “part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government.”
– Secret State Department cables show a South Korean official quoted as saying that North Korea’s collapse is likely to happen “two to three years” after the death of the current dictator, Kim Jong Il. The U.S. is already planning for the day North Korea implodes from its own economic woes. China has “no will” to use its economic leverage to force North Korea to change its policies and the Chinese official who is the lead negotiator with North Korea is “the most incompetent official in China.”
– North Korea is secretly helping the military dictatorship in Myanmar build nuclear and missile sites in its jungles, according to a leaked diplomatic cable. Although witnesses told the embassy that construction is at an early stage, officials worry Myanmar could one day possess a nuclear bomb.
– Five years ago, the International Committee of the Red Cross told U.S. diplomats in New Delhi that the Indian government “condones torture” and systematically abused detainees in the disputed region of Kashmir. The Red Cross told the officials that hundreds of detainees were subjected to beatings, electrocutions and acts of sexual humiliation, the Guardian newspaper of London reported Thursday evening.
– The British government has been training a Bangladeshi paramilitary force condemned by human rights organisations as a “government death squad”, leaked US embassy cables have revealed. Members of the Rapid Action Battalion (RAB), which has been held responsible for hundreds of extra-judicial killings in recent years and is said to routinely use torture, have received British training in “investigative interviewing techniques” and “rules of engagement”.
– Secret U.S. diplomatic cables reveal that BP suffered a blowout after a gas leak in the Caucasus country of Azerbaijan in September 2008, a year and a half before another BP blowout killed 11 workers and started a leak that gushed millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico.
– Saudi Arabia’s rulers have deep distrust for some fellow Muslim countries, especially Pakistan and Iran, despite public appearances, according to documents from the late November, 2010, WikiLeaks U.S. diplomatic cable dump. King Abdullah called Pakistan’s president Asif Ali Zardari “the greatest obstacle” to the country’s progress and he also repeatedly urged the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program to stop Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon.
– Iranian Red Crescent ambulances were used to smuggle weapons to Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group during its 2006 war with Israel, according to the leaked U.S. diplomatic memos.
– In a leaked diplomatic memo, dated two weeks after elections that landed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in office, a senior American diplomat said that during a meeting a few days before “Netanyahu expressed support for the concept of land swaps, and emphasized that he did not want to govern the West Bank and Gaza but rather to stop attacks from being launched from there.”
– The United States was secretly given permission from Yemen’s president to attack the al Qaeda group in his country that later attempted to blow up planes in American air space. President Ali Abdullah Saleh told John Brennan, President Obama’s counterterrorism adviser, in a leaked diplomatic cable from September 2009 that the U.S. had an “open door” on terrorism in Yemen.
– Contrary to public statements, the Obama administration actually helped fuel conflict in Yemen. The U.S. was shipping arms to Saudi Arabia for use in northern Yemen even as it denied any role in the conflict.
– Saudi Arabia is one of the largest origin points for funds supporting international terrorism, according to a leaked diplomatic cable. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged U.S. diplomats to do more to stop the flow of money to Islamist militant groups from donors in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi government, Clinton wrote, was reluctant to cut off money being sent to the Taliban in Afghanistan and Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) in Pakistan.
– The U.S. is failing to stop the flow of arms to Middle Eastern militant groups. Hamas and Hezbollah are still receiving weapons from Iran, North Korea, and Syria, secret diplomatic cables allege.
– A storage facility housing Yemen’s radioactive material was unsecured for up to a week after its lone guard was removed and its surveillance camera was broken, a secret U.S. State Department cable released by WikiLeaks revealed Monday. “Very little now stands between the bad guys and Yemen’s nuclear material,” a Yemeni official said on January 9 in the cable.
– Israel destroyed a Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007, constructed with apparent help from North Korea, fearing it was built to make a bomb. In a leaked diplomatic cable obtained by the Israeli daily Yedioth Ahronoth, then-US secretary of state Condoleezza Rice wrote the Israelis targeted and destroyed the Syrian nuclear reactor just weeks before it was to be operational.
– Diplomatic cables recently released by WikiLeaks indicate authorities in the United Arab Emirates debated whether to keep quiet about the high-profile killing of a Hamas operative in Dubai in January. The documents also show the UAE sought U.S. help in tracking down details of credit cards Dubai police believe were used by a foreign hit squad involved in the killing. The spy novel-like slaying, complete with faked passports and assassins in disguise, is widely believed to be the work of Israeli secret agents.
– WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Al Jazeera network that some of the unpublished cables show “Top officials in several Arab countries have close links with the CIA, and many officials keep visiting US embassies in their respective countries voluntarily to establish links with this key US intelligence agency. These officials are spies for the U.S. in their countries.”
– Of the 500 or so tactical nuclear weapons in the U.S. arsenal, it is known that about 200 are deployed throughout Europe. Leaked diplomatic cables reveal that dozens of U.S. tactical nuclear weapons are in Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium.
– NATO had secret plans to defend the Baltic states and Poland from an attack by Russia, according to a leaked diplomatic cable. NATO officials had feared “an unnecessary increase in NATO-Russia tensions,” and wanted no public discussions of their contingency plans to defend Baltic states from Russian attack.
– The Libyan government promised “enormous repercussions” for the U.K. if the release of Abdel Baset al-Megrahi, the Lockerbie bomber, was not handled properly, according to a leaked diplomatic cable. The Libyan government threatened “harsh, immediate” consequences if the man jailed for the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 died in prison in Scotland.
– Pope Benedict impeded an investigation into alleged child sex abuse within the Catholic Church, according to a leaked diplomatic cable. Not only did Pope Benedict refuse to allow Vatican officials to testify in an investigation by an Irish commission into alleged child sex abuse by priests, he was also reportedly furious when Vatican officials were called upon in Rome.
– Sinn Fein leaders Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness carried out negotiations for the Good Friday agreement with Irish then-prime minister Bertie Ahern while the two had explicit knowledge of a bank robbery that the Irish Republican Army was planning to carry out, according to a WikiLeaks cable. Ahern figured Adams and McGuinness knew about the 26.5 million pound Northern Bank robbery of 2004 because they were members of the “IRA military command.”
– Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell PLC has infiltrated the highest levels of government in Nigeria. A high-ranking executive for the international Shell oil company once bragged to U.S. diplomats, as reported in a leaked diplomatic cable, that the company’s employees had so well infiltrated the Nigerian government that officials had “forgotten” the level of the company’s access.
– Mozambique is fast on its way to becoming a narco-state because of close ties between drug smugglers and the southeastern African nation’s government, according to U.S. Embassy cables released by WikiLeaks. The cables say cocaine, heroin and other drugs come in from South America and Asia, and are then flown to Europe or sent overland to neighboring South Africa for sale.
– Zimbabwe’s Robert Mugabe-appointed attorney general announced he was investigating Mugabe’s chief opposition leader on treason charges based exclusively on the contents of a WikiLeaks’ leaked cable. The cable claimed Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai encouraged Western sanctions against his own country to induce Mugabe into giving up some political power.
– Mexican President Felipe Calderon told a U.S. official last year that Latin America “needs a visible U.S. presence” to counter Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez’s growing influence in the region, according to a U.S. State Department cable leaked to WikiLeaks.
– A newly released confidential U.S. diplomatic cable predicts Cuba’s economic situation could become “fatal” within two to three years, and details concerns voiced by diplomats from other countries, including China, that the communist-run country has been slow to adopt reforms.
– The Honduran military, Supreme Court and National Congress conspired in 2009 in what constituted an illegal and unconstitutional coup against the Executive Branch, according to a leaked diplomatic cable. However, the constitution itself may be deficient in terms of providing clear procedures for dealing with alleged illegal acts by the President and resolving conflicts between the branches of government.
– Venezuela’s deteriorating oil industry and its growing economic problems are taking a toll on President Hugo Chavez’s popularity. In one confidential leaked diplomatic cable dated Oct. 15, 2009, the U.S. Embassy said “equipment conditions have deteriorated drastically” since the government expropriated some 80 oil service companies earlier that year. It said safety and maintenance at the now state-owned oil facilities were in a “terrible state.”
– China has been reselling Venezuela’s cheap oil at a profit, according to a classified U.S. document released by WikiLeaks. President Hugo Chavez was upset that China apparently profited by selling fuel to other countries, fuel that it had sold China at a discount in order to gain favor. The cable also describes falling crude output in Venezuela caused by a host of problems within the national oil company Petroleos de Venezuela SA, or PDVSA.
– Jamaica’s counter-drug efforts have been so sluggish that exasperated Cuban officials privately griped about their frustrations to a U.S. drug enforcement official, according to a U.S. diplomatic cable. The communique released by WikiLeaks said Cuban officials painted their Caribbean neighbor to the south as chronically uncooperative in stopping drug smugglers who use Cuban waters and airspace to transport narcotics destined for the U.S.
– A leaked U.S. diplomatic cable published Saturday depicts the leader of Mexico’s army “lamenting” its lengthy role in the anti-drug offensive, but expecting it to last between seven and 10 more years. The cable says Mexican Defense Secretary Gen. Guillermo Galvan Galvan mistrusts other Mexican law enforcement agencies and prefers to work separately, because corrupt officials had leaked information in the past.
– McDonald’s tried to delay the US government’s implementation of a free-trade agreement in order to put pressure on El Salvador to appoint neutral judges in a $24m lawsuit it was fighting in the country. The revelation of the McDonald’s strategy to ensure a fair hearing for a long-running legal battle against a former franchisee comes from a leaked US embassy cable dated 15 February 2006.
In 2010, WikiLeaks released only about 2,000 of the approximate 250,000 cables it claims to possess, and the pace of those releases dropped dramatically as the holidays approached. If Assange’s promises are to be believed, 2011 will be another important year for learning about the hidden forces that drive our world.
WEDNESDAY, JAN 19, 2011
Whenever the U.S. Government wants to demonize a person or group in order to justify attacks on them, it follows the same playbook: it manufactures falsehoods about them, baselessly warns that they pose Grave Dangers and are severely harming our National Security, peppers all that with personality smears to render the targeted individuals repellent on a personal level, and feeds it all to the establishment American media, which then dutifully amplifies and mindlessly disseminates it all. That, of course, was the precise scheme that so easily led the U.S. into attacking Iraq; it’s what continues to ensure support for the whole litany of War on Terror abuses and the bonanza of power and profit which accompanies them; and it’s long been obvious that this is the primary means for generating contempt for WikiLeaks to enable its prosecution and ultimate destruction (an outcome the Pentagon has been plotting since at least 2008).
When WikiLeaks in mid-2010 published documents detailing the brutality and corruption at the heart of the war in Afghanistan, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, held a Press Conference and said of WikiLeaks (and then re-affirmed it on his Twitter account) that they “might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family.” This denunciation predictably caused the phrase “blood on their hands” to be attached to WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange, in thousands of media accounts around the world. But two weeks later, the Pentagon’s spokesman, when pressed, was forced to admit that there was no evidence whatsoever for that accusation: “we have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the WikiLeaks documents,” he admitted. Several months later, after more flamboyant government condemnations of WikiLeaks’ release of thousands of Iraq War documents, McClatchy‘s Nancy Youssef — in an article headlined: “Officials may be overstating the danger from WikiLeaks” — reported that “U.S. officials concede that they have no evidence to date” that the disclosures resulted in the deaths of anyone, and she detailed the great care WikiLeaks took in that Iraq War release to protect innocent people.
The disclosure of American diplomatic cables triggered still more melodramatic claims from government officials (ones faithfully recited by its servants and followers across the spectrum in Washington), accusing WikiLeaks of everything from “attacking” the U.S. (Hillary Clinton) and “plac[ing] at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals” and “ongoing military operations” (Harold Koh) to being comparable to Terrorists (Joe Biden). But even Robert Gates was unwilling to lend his name to such absurdities, and when asked, mocked these accusations as “significantly overwrought” and said the WikiLeaks disclosures would be “embarrassing” and “awkward” but would have only “modest consequences.”
Since then, it has become clear how scrupulously careful WikiLeaks has been in releasing these cables in order to avoid unnecessary harm to innocent people, as the Associated Press reported how closely WikiLeaks was collaborating with its newspaper partners in deciding which cables to release and what redactions were necessary. Indeed, one of the very few documents which anyone has been able to claim has produced any harm — one revealing that the leader of Zimbabwe’s opposition privately urged U.S. officials to continue imposing sanctions on his country — was actually released by The Guardian, not by WikiLeaks.
To say that the Obama administration’s campaign against WikiLeaks has been based on wildly exaggerated and even false claims is to understate the case. But now, there is evidence that Obama officials have been knowingly lying in public about these matters. The long-time Newsweekreporter Mark Hosenball — now at Reuters — reports that what Obama officials are saying in private about WikiLeaks directly contradicts their public claims:
Internal U.S. government reviews have determined that a mass leak of diplomatic cables caused only limited damage to U.S. interests abroad, despite the Obama administration’s public statements to the contrary.
A congressional official briefed on the reviews said the administration felt compelled to say publicly that the revelations had seriously damaged American interests in order to bolster legal efforts to shut down the WikiLeaks website and bring charges against the leakers. . . .
“We were told (the impact of WikiLeaks revelations) was embarrassing but not damaging,” said the official, who attended a briefing given in late 2010 by State Department officials. . .
But current and former intelligence officials note that while WikiLeaks has released a handful of inconsequential CIA analytical reports, the website has made public few if any real intelligence secrets, including reports from undercover agents or ultra-sensitive technical intelligence reports, such as spy satellite pictures or communications intercepts. . . .
National security officials familiar with the damage assessments being conducted by defense and intelligence agencies told Reuters the reviews so far have shown “pockets” of short-term damage, some of it potentially harmful. Long-term damage to U.S. intelligence and defense operations, however, is unlikely to be serious, they said. . . .
Shortly before WikiLeaks began its gradual release of State Department cables last year, department officials sent emails to contacts on Capitol Hill predicting dire consequences, said one of the two congressional aides briefed on the internal government reviews.
However, shortly after stories about the cables first began to appear in the media, State Department officials were already privately playing down the damage, the two congressional officials said.
In response to Hosenball’s story, Obama officials naturally tried to salvage the integrity of their statements, insisting that “there has been substantial damage” and that there were unspecified “specific cases where damage caused by WikiLeaks’ revelations have been assessed as serious to grave.” But the only specific cases anyone could identify were ones where the U.S. was caught by these documents lying to its own citizens or, at best, concealing vital truths — such as the far greater military role the U.S. is playing in Yemen and Pakistan than Obama officials have publicly acknowledged.
And this, of course, has been the point all along: the WikiLeaks disclosuresare significant precisely because they expose government deceit, wrongdoing and brutality, but the damage to innocent people has been deliberately and wildly exaggerated — fabricated — by the very peoplewhose misconduct has been revealed. There is harm from the WikiLeaks documents, but it’s to wrongdoers in power, which is why they are so desperate to malign and then destroy the group.
Just as was true in 2003 — when the joint, falsehood-based government/media demonization campaign led 69% of Americans tobelieve that Saddam Hussein participated in the planning of the 9/11 attacks(the Bush era’s most revealing fact about American politics) — this orgy of anti-WikiLeaks propaganda has succeeded, with polls reliably showing the American public largely against the group and even favoring its prosecution (citizens in countries not subjected to this propaganda barrageview the group far more favorably). As has been demonstrated over and over, when the U.S. Government and its media collaborate to propagandize, its efficacy is not in doubt. And as Marcy Wheeler notes, these lies were told not only to distort public opinion and justify prosecuting WikiLeaks for doing nothing more than engaging in journalism, but also to coerce private corporations (MasterCard, Amazon, Visa, Paypal) to cut all services to the group.
The case against WikiLeaks is absolutely this decade’s version of the Saddam/WMD campaign. It’s complete with frivolous invocations of Terrorism, grave public warnings about National Security negated by concealed information, endlessly repeated falsehoods, a competition among political and media elites to advocate the harshest measures possible, a cowardly Congress that (with a few noble exceptions) acquiesces to it all on a bipartisan basis and is eager to enable it, and a media that not only fails to subject these fictions to critical scrutiny, but does the opposite: it takes the lead in propagating them. One might express bewilderment that most American journalists never learn their lesson about placing their blind faith in government claims, but that assumes — falsely — that their objective is to report truthfully.
UPDATE: Kevin Drum, Dan Drezner and Daniel Larison all cite this report as evidence that the WikiLeaks disclosures have been insignificant. They seem to equate a finding of “no harm to national security” with “nothing of significance,” but not only are those two concepts not the same, they’re hardly related. Many revelations are very significant even though they do not harm national security.
When The New York Times revealed that the Bush administration was eavesdropping on Americans’ communications without the warrants required by law, that revelation was extremely important even though it entailed no national security harm. The same is true of The Washington Post‘s exposure of the CIA “black site” program, or David Barstow’s exposé on the Pentagon’s propaganda program, and countless other investigative reports. The WikiLeaks disclosures — like most good investigative journalism — harm those in power who do bad things (by exposing their previously secret conduct), but do not harm the national security of the United States. I’d be interested in hearing anyone who wants to argue that the WikiLeaks disclosures contain “nothing new” dismiss the actual revelations (here and here).
As for the comparison of this deceit to Saddam/WMD: obviously, the magnitude of the consequences are not similar, but the misleading tactics themselves — for the reasons I enumerated — are. Moreover, prosecution of WikiLeaks would hardly be inconsequential; it would likely be the first time in history that a non-government employee is convicted of “espionage” for publishing government secrets and, as such, would constitute one of the greatest threats to press freedom in the United States in a long time.
Monday, January 10, 2011
Deranged mass murderer Vladimir Lenin, agreeing in principle with Wilson.
Jared Loughner reportedly posed that question to Rep. Gabrielle Giffords at a forum two years ago. Perhaps unwittingly, Loughner answered that question himself by murdering six people and attempting to murder fourteen others, including Giffords. In doing so, the young nihilist effectively privatized government’s central function.
Shorn of the sophistries that provide it with a moral disguise, pared down to its essentials, political government is the systematic use of exactly the same kind of criminal violence employed by Loughner, only on a much grander scale. This was illustrated the day before Loughner’s murderous rampage, when agents of the government ruling us used a remote-controlled drone operated from the safety of an office building in Nevada to murder six people in Pakistan’s North Waziristan region.
Americans were not admonished to observe a moment of chastened silence in memory of the victims of that exercise in criminal violence. This is, in part, because observances of that kind would quickly become tedious: Since 2008, Pakistan — a country with which the government ruling us is not formally at war — has endured at least 250 drone attacks, in which roughly 1,400 people have been killed.
According to the most conservative estimate of “collateral damage,” only a tithe of those slaughtered through drone strikes are “militants.”
For those who worship at the altar of the omnipotent State, mass murder of this kind is an exercise in sanctified violence. In a 2009 interview with Foreign Policy magazine, Bill Clinton– who has repeatedly denounced “anti-government” speech as a form of criminal sedition –defined terrorism as “killing and robbery and coercion by people who do not have state authority.” (Emphasis added.) What this means, of course, is that “killing and robbery and coercion” by duly authorized agents of the State isn’t terrorism, it’s policy.
You see, bombs and drones may demolish homes, but only “anti-government” words can harm us. This is why one of the political elite’s most urgent priorities is the control and criminalization of anti-government speech.
Thus Rep. Robert Brady, a Pennsylvania Democrat, announced that he would propose legislation criminalizing verbal or symbolic expression that could be perceived as conveying a threat against a federal official, or an incitement to violence against such exalted personages.
“The president is a federal official,” observed Brady. “You can’t do it to him; you should not be able to do it to a congressman, senator, or federal judge…. The rhetoric is just ramped up so negatively, so high, that we have got to shut this down.”
That last statement, of course, is an oblique but unmistakable threat: How else would federal officials “shut this down” without the involvement of armed functionaries authorized to kill those who would resist?
The same priorities were on display in the charges filed against Loughner in his arraignment: One count of attempting to assassinate a member of Congress, two counts of unlawfully killing a federal employee, and two counts of attempting to kill a federal employee. The crime committed in Tucson is covered by Arizona’s state laws, of course, and the victims — including all four who were murdered, not merely the federal judge and congressional aide — were all residents of the state.
But in death, as in life, those on the federal payroll are to be regarded as consecrated beings. This is why an attack them is not merely a crime of violence, but — in the words of FBI Director Robert Mueller — an “attack on our institutions and our way of life,” or, as totalitarian theologian Jim Wallis put it, an attack on the “soul of the nation.”
Wallis could be considered the Obama administration’s court prophet. Economist andinvestigative journalist Bill Anderson points out that neither Wallis nor his publication,Sojourners ever so much as mentioned — let alone condemned — the 1993 federal massacre at Mt. Carmel, in which scores of innocent people (including seventeen young children) were either immolated or slaughtered by automatic gunfire when they tried to escape their burning sanctuary.
“The people who were shot and immolated at the Branch Davidian location were not real people to Wallis, who sees literally everything in political symbolism,” observes Anderson. “So, the rule of thumb is that if he cannot find a way to put an incident into his worship of the State, it simply doesn’t happen.”
aberration; the concept of the state as “God walking on the earth” has been around since Hegel. Its first significant American expression may have come in the form of a February 1, 1863 sermon entitled “Unconditional Loyalty,” which was preached — and later published as a pamphlet — byRev. Henry W. Bellows, the immensely influential Unitarian minister of New York City’s All Souls Church.
Bellows insisted that Abraham the Destroyer, as “head of the nation,” was literally “a sacred person…. You cannot rudely assail the personal character or judgment of a Chief Magistrate, without weakening public respect for the office he holds…. To rally round the President — without question or dispute — is the first and most sacred duty of loyal citizens….”
Rev. Bellows extolled the U.S. President as a literally messianic figure; his text was the messianic prophecy of Isaiah 9:6, which contains the phrase “and the government shall be upon his shoulder.” Those who condemned Lincoln’s crimes against the Constitution, he insisted, were made of the same wretched stuff from which were formed “the enemies of our Saviour, who were always flinging in his blessed face the authority of the Mosaic law.”
Bellows granted that Lincoln violated the Constitution in countless ways, but maintained that just as Jesus was the incarnate Lawgiver, Lincoln should be regarded as the living Constitution. Were the actual written document to prove an insuperable impediment to Lincoln’s divine mission, “the sooner it were abandoned, the better.”
But Rev. Bellows wasn’t content to hymn the praises of the Divine Lincoln and heap anathemas on the heads of those who failed to recognize his transcendent magnificence. Indeed, his purpose was to plead “the sacred cause of Government itself.” He shuddered with pious disapproval at the spectacle of “Government despised, sneered at and distrusted by its own children.”
Those in the employ of the Federal Government, Bellows insisted, are men “whose characters and reputation ought at this time to be under the shield of every patriotic citizen’s allegiance and gratitude.” Yes, at one point they were mere Mundanes, commonplace human beings burdened with the same weaknesses that afflict all of us. Now, however, “the lightning of God has touched them, and rendered them sacred,” Bellows pontificated. They are entitled not only to dispose of the lives and property of the lesser beings they rule, but to their praise and worship as well.
“Thus, brethren, do I commend to you the cause of unconditional loyalty,” Bellows summarized, issuing an idolatrous grand commission to his congregation to become “missionaries” of the divine State “wherever you go, and with whomsoever you are conversant. Let our women and children become the propagandists of unconditional loyalty. The country needs not only the fealty of her sons, but of her daughters who sing the songs of patriotic devotion at your hearth-stones…. Frown on every syllable of distrust, of wavering, of disrespect, that pollutes the air you breathe. Require of all your friends to be first the friends of the nation! Have nobody’s love that does not love the country more! Make a religion of patriotism.”
Bellows’ oration was one of many he made in the service of what he called the “holy war” to vindicate the power of the central government over those who had withdrawn their consent to be ruled by it. In coming decades, the themes and tropes he expressed would be embroidered and delivered by other acolytes of the Total State — in Russian, German, Italian, Korean, and other languages. And the Bellows Estate should collect a royalty payment every time critics of government are accused of fomenting “violence” by speaking irreverently of the Holy State.
Occasions like the Safeway Massacre should prompt condemnation of all criminal violence against the innocent. Instead, they prompt public liturgies that celebrate the Divine State and its monopoly on the “legitimate” use of lethal violence — and offer the President an opportunity to carry out his ceremonial function as Pontifex Maximus of the civil religion. Some people describe this kind of thing as an “Oklahoma City moment,” in which an episode of mass bloodshed inspires an altar call for Americans who have lost their faith in the divine State: The prodigals are given an opportunity to “Come to Molech,” as it were.
Shortly after winning re-election in November 1996, Bill Clinton confided to reporters on Air Force One that his political recovery began with the Oklahoma City bombing: “It broke a spell in the country as people began searching for our common ground again.” That “common ground,” as Rev. Bellows put it, is found in unqualified submission to the central government.
Rep. Peter King, Chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee and former bagman for the IRA, plans to introduce legislation proscription wouldn’t apply to those employed to protect those sanctified personages, of course. that would make it a federal crime for Mundanes to carry firearms within 1000 feet of a federal official. This
The facts in those cases are not disputed, yet Miller has not been charged with a crime. However, he is being sued by Jason Anthony Graber, one of his victims. In light of Miller’s documented history of criminal violence, the plaintiff’s attorney has demanded that the assailant not be permitted to bring a firearm while being deposed.
Miller protests that this is an unconscionable act of “oppression.” With the aid of the Denver City Attorney, Miller — an Officer with the Denver Police Department — has filed a petition with the U.S. District Court seeking a “protective order” allowing him to be armed during the depositions.
The Department’s Operation Manual requires that officers be “armed at all times” — a provision that poses some interesting challenges for officers who choose to bathe, assuming that there are any who do. “Requiring a uniformed or non-uniformed police officer to disarm when he is compelled to give a deposition at an attorney’s office, or at any other unsecured location, presents a significant officer safety issue,” whines an affidavit provided by Lt. Dikran Kushdilian of the Denver PD.
The Denver Police Department has a well-earned reputation for brutality and corruption, and Lane has deposed more than a few abusive cops, and those proceedings “can get very contentious. When I’m cross-examining cops about their misconduct, past and present, they get angry, and I don’t wish to depose angry people who have a long history of violent behavior while they’re wearing a gun strapped to their waist.”
In other words, it’s not quite the case that Denver officers have to be “armed at all times”; the critical issue is the preservation of the government’s monopoly on the “legitimate” use of force in all circumstances. Lane should counter Denver’s demand by offering to permit Miller to carry his firearm to the deposition, while specifying that he and his associates would also be armed. The official response to that counter-proposal would be instructive.
While Lane most likely wouldn’t choose that approach, he is sensible enough to recognize that the State’s agents of armed coercion are the most dangerous element in society, and prudent enough to act on that understanding.
Owing to the tireless efforts of the organs of official indoctrination, a large portion of the public assumes that the opposite is true, and as a result can be easily convinced that only those commissioned to commit violence on behalf of government can be entrusted with the means to do so.
A splendid example of this deadly agitprop is offered by the “Toy Gun Bash,” which was first inflicted on Providence, Rhode Island seven years ago by the criminal clique running the municipal government.
The Providence event, continues the Globe, is “a version of the gun buyback program in which adults trade firearms for gift certificates.”
In fact, gun “buyback” programs are a form of what Dr. Edward J. Laurance of the UN’s Register of Conventional Arms calls “micro-disarmament” — or, more to the point, civiliandisarmament.
The expression “buyback” assumes that government has a monopoly on the use of force, and that only duly authorized agents of officially sanctioned violence should be permitted to own guns and other weapons — and thus the State is taking back from Mundanes a privilege to which they’re not entitled.
Gun “buyback” and turn-in programs are a common feature of military occupations, both here and abroad. U.S. military personnel in Haiti, Somalia, the Balkans, Iraq, and Afghanistan have employed that tactic (as David Kramer notes, this helps the occupiers to acquire a useful hoard of “drop guns” that can be used to frame innocent people as “terrorists” or “insurgents”). The same approach was used to disarm American Indians as they were cattle-penned on reservations.
Over the past decade, UN-aligned activists in several countries have staged events in which guns confiscated from civilians have been destroyed, a ritual sometimes called the “Bonfire of the Liberties.” This is in keeping with UN-promoted dogma (expressed most forcefully in its 2000 agitprop film Armed to the Teeth) that the only “legal” weapons are those “used by armies and police forces to protect us,” and that civilian ownership of firearms is “illegitimate.”
The UN’s campaign for civilian disarmament — which, just like matters of national disarmament, is assigned to the world body’s Office for Disarmament Affairs — was inaugurated in 2000 as part of the “human security” agenda promoted by then-UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. In late 1993 and early 1994, Annan — who at the time was head of the world body’s “peacekeeping” operations — presided over the disarmament, and subsequent annihilation, of roughly 1.1 million Rwandans.
Annan was actually an accessory before the fact to that genocide: Informed in early 1994 of the impending slaughter by Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian officer commanding UN peacekeeping troops, Annan ordered Dallaire to pass along his intelligence to the same government that was planning the massacre.
Dallaire, who had been ordered to disarm the future victims, was ordered not to raid the government arms caches that were later used to carry out the murder rampage.
Most of the killing was carried out by machete-wielding mobs acting as government subcontractors. But it would have been impossible to butcher hundreds of thousands ofarmed people, nor would the mobs have been able to round up and annihilate the targeted population without the active support provided by the regime’s armies and police forces — you know, the armed agents of state violence who were there to “protect” those who were hacked to pieces.
Children should learn what happened in places like Germany, Cambodia, and Rwanda(as well as places like Sand Creek and Wounded Knee) when people willingly surrendered their guns to their rulers — but a government school classroom is no place for lessons of that kind.
One of the cases used to promote the Toy Gun Bash in Providence actually underscores the reliably fatal consequences of a government monopoly on force. The Globe points out that as children were herded toward the Bash-O-Matic, they were told the cautionary tale “of a 14-year-old boy who police nearly shot after they confused his air pistol with a real gun.” For rational people, this incident illustrates the compelling need to disarm the police, rather than swipe toys from innocent children.
The same schools that use DARE programs to recruit children into the Pavlik MorozovBrigade consistently force psychotropic drugs on children who display unfortunate symptoms of non-conformity. This principle applies to the issue of firearms: In the name of “Zero Tolerance,” children are routinely punished for such supposed offenses as bringing toy “weapons” to school (including — I am not making this up — candy canes), improvising them from school supplies, or even drawing pictures of guns, yet they are routinely encouraged to write letters to members of the imperial military who are “serving our country” by killing people who have done us no harm.
Those who insist that religion has no place in the government-run school system aren’t paying attention: The entire purpose of “public” education is to catechize youngsters in the worship of the Divine State. Rituals like Providence’s Toy Gun Bash serve a sacramental function; they are the equivalent of a child’s first communion in the government-sponsored church of collectivist self-destruction.
The Las Vegas Review-Journal recently described how recruits at the Metropolitan Police Department Academy are indoctrinated into perceiving the world as a 360 degree battlefield, where they are perpetually under siege and should be prepared to employ lethal force without hesitation.
“When you put that badge on, there are people who want to kill you,” intoned Officer Wil Germonsen, who — like a large and growing number of local police officers, has a military background.
The Review-Journal plays an extended riff on the familiar, fatuous, and entirely false assumption that law enforcement is a spectacularly dangerous occupation:
“After some time on the street, the recruits will never see the world the same way. They’ll always be on guard — carrying a gun on duty and off, checking out fellow shoppers at the grocery store, thinking about those worst-case scenarios while having dinner with the family. It’s like a switch that flips on and never turns off….”
“I believe every single recruit here, when they put that badge on, they are warriors,” insists Germonsen. “We’re fighting a war.”
What this means, of course, is that the state-created armed tribe to which Germonsen belongs is an army of occupation — primed to kill, given broad discretion in the use of lethal force, and trained to consider all of us who don’t belong to their tribe as potentially lethal enemies. Some way had better be found — and pretty damned soon — to de-fang those wolves in sheepdog disguise. Meanwhile, it would be wise to do what we can to avoid placing ourselves at a potentially fatal disadvantage when dealing with those who belong to the Brotherhood of Sanctified Violence.
UPDATE: Bringing the War Home
Second Update: Seattle as a Battlefront
Courtesy of commenter QB we see the following video of 27-year-old Seattle Police Officer Ian Birk gunning down John T. Williams, an artisan who was carrying a carving knife and a block of wood. No more than four seconds pass between Birk’s demand (it wasn’t a lawful order, because Williams was threatening no one) that he drop the knife, and the first of several gunshots fired by the officer. The entire encounter lasted roughly eight seconds.
Williams had a troubled past, but was not known to be violent. He had some emotional problems and, most importantly, was functionally deaf — which meant that he couldn’t hear the demand that he drop his knife — which was closed when photographed by crime scene investigators, despite Birk’s claim that it was open at the time of the shooting.
A peace officer in this situation would have taken at least a little more time to resolve the situation without drawing his gun, let alone discharging it. But, as we’ve seen on numerous occasions, contemporary law enforcement officers are on a war footing, which means that their default setting is “overkill.”
It’s worth noting that one of the officers who responded to Birk’s “shots fired” report tells him that he did the “right thing” — even though the official review subsequently ruled that the shooting wasn’t justified.
by Ralph Nader
Thomas Blanton, the esteemed director of the National Security Archive at George Washington University described Washington’s hyper-reaction to WikiLeaks‘ transmission of information to some major media in various countries as “Wikimania.”
In testimony before the House Judiciary Committee last Thursday, Blanton urged the Justice Department to cool it. WikiLeaks and newspapers like The New York Timesand London’s Guardian, he said, are publishers protected by the First Amendment. The disclosures are the first small installment of a predicted much larger forthcoming trove of non-public information from both governments and global corporations.
The leakers inside these organizations come under different legal restrictions than those who use their freedom of speech rights to publish the leaked information.
The mad dog, homicidal demands to destroy the leaders of WikiLeaks by self-styled liberal Democrat and Fox commentator, Bob Beckel, the radio and cable howlers and some members of Congress, may be creating an atmosphere of panic at the politically sensitive Justice Department. Attorney General Eric Holder has made very prejudicial comments pursuant to his assertion that his lawyers considering how they may prosecute Julian Assange, the WikiLeaks leader.
Mr. Holder declared that both “the national security of the United States” and “the American people have been put at risk.” This level of alarm was not shared by the public statements of defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of States Hillary Clinton who downplayed the impact of these disclosures.
The Attorney General, who should be directing more of his resources to the corporate crime wave in all its financial, economic and hazardous manifestations, is putting himself in a bind.
If he goes after WikiLeaks too broadly using the notorious Espionage Act of 1917 and other vague laws, how is he going to deal with The New York Times and other mass media that reported the disclosures?
Consider what Harvard Law Professor Jack Goldsmith, who was head of the Office of Legal Counsel in George W. Bush’s Justice Department just wrote:
“In Obama’s Wars, Bob Woodward, with the obvious assistance of many top Obama administration officials, disclosed many details about top secret programs, code names, documents, meetings, and the like. I have a hard time squaring the anger the government is directing towards WikiLeaks with its top officials openly violating classification rules and opportunistically revealing without authorization top secret information.”
On the other hand, if Mr. Holder goes the narrow route to obtain an indictment of Mr. Assange, he will risk a public relations debacle by vindictively displaying prosecutorial abuse (i.e. fixing the law around the enforcement bias.) Double standards have no place in the Justice Department.
WikiLeaks is also creating anxiety in the corporate suites. A cover story in the December 20, 2010 issue of Forbes magazine reports that early next year a large amount of embarrassing material will be sent to the media by WikiLeaks about a major U.S. bank, followed by masses of exposé material on other global corporations.
Will these releases inform the people about very bad activities by drug, oil, financial and other companies along with corruption in various countries? If so, people may find this information useful. We can only imagine what sleazy or illegal things our government has been up to that have been covered up. Soon, people may reject those who would censor WikiLeaks. Many people do want to size up what’s going on inside their government in their name and with their tax dollars.
Wasn’t it Jefferson who said that “information is the currency of democracy” and that, given a choice between government and a free press, he’ll take the latter? Secrecy-keeping the people and Congress in the dark-is the cancer eating at the vitals of democracy.
What is remarkable about all the official hullabaloo by government officials,who leak plenty themselves, is that there never is any indictment or prosecution of government big wigs who continually suppress facts and knowledge in order to carry out very devastating actions like invading Iraq under false pretenses and covering up corporate contractors abuses. The morbid and corporate-indentured secrecy of government over the years has cost many American lives, sent Americans to illegal wars, bilked consumers of billions of dollars and harmed the safety and economic well-being of workers.
As Cong. Ron Paul said on the House floor, why is the hostility directed at Assange, the publisher, and not at our government’s failure to protect classified information? He asked his colleagues which events caused more deaths, “Lying us into war, or the release of the WikiLeaks papers?”
Over-reaction by the Obama administration could lead to censoring the Internet, undermining Secretary Clinton’s Internet Freedom initiative, which criticized China’s controls and lauded hacktivism in that country, and divert attention from the massive over classification of documents by the Executive Branch.
A full throttle attack on WikiLeaks is what the government distracters want in order to take away the spotlight of the disclosures on their misdeeds, their waste and their construction of an authoritarian corporate state.
Professor and ex-Bushite Jack Goldsmith summed up his thoughts this way: “The best thing to do….would be to ignore Assange and fix the secrecy system so this does not happen again.”
That presumably is some of what Peter Zatko and his crew are now trying to do at the Pentagon’s famed DARPA unit. That secret initiative may ironically undermine the First Amendment should they succeed too much in hamstringing the Internet earlier advanced by that same Pentagon unit.
December 24, 2010
Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. Visit his website.
Copyright © 2010 Ralph Nader
by Ron Paul
Recently by Ron Paul: Don’t Meddle in China
WikiLeaks’ release of classified information has generated a lot of attention world-wide in the past few weeks.
The hysterical reaction makes one wonder if this is not an example of killing the messenger for the bad news.
Despite what is claimed, information so far released, though classified, has caused no known harm to any individual, but it has caused plenty of embarrassment to our government. Losing a grip on our empire is not welcomed by the neo-conservatives in charge.
There is now more information confirming that Saudi Arabia is a principle supporter and financier of Al Qaeda and this should set off alarm bells since we guarantee its Sharia-run government.
This emphasizes even more the fact that no Al Qaeda existed in Iraq before 9/11, and yet we went to war against Iraq based on the lie that it did.
It has been charged, by self-proclaimed experts, that Julian Assange, the internet publisher of this information, has committed a heinous crime deserving prosecution for treason and execution or even assassination.
But should we not at least ask how the U.S. government can charge an Australian citizen with treason for publishing U.S. secret information, that he did not steal?
And if WikiLeaks is to be prosecuted for publishing classified documents, why shouldn’t the Washington Post, New York Times, and others that have also published these documents be prosecuted? Actually, some in Congress are threatening this as well.
The New York Times, as a result of a Supreme Court ruling, was not found guilty in 1971 for the publication of the Pentagon Papers. Daniel Ellsberg never served a day in prison for his role in obtaining these secret documents.
The Pentagon Papers were also inserted into the Congressional Record by Senator Mike Gravel with no charges being made of breaking any National Security laws.
Yet the release of this classified information was considered illegal by many, and those who lied us into the Vietnam War and argued for its prolongation were outraged. But the truth gained from the Pentagon Papers revealed that lies were told about the Gulf of Tonkin attack which perpetuated a sad and tragic episode in our history.
Just as with the Vietnam War, the Iraq War was based on lies. We were never threatened by Weapons of Mass Destruction or Al Qaeda in Iraq, though the attack on Iraq was based on this false information.
Any information that challenges the official propaganda for the war in the Middle East is unwelcome by the administration and supporters of these unnecessary wars. Few are interested in understanding the relationship of our foreign policy and our presence in the Middle East to the threat of terrorism. Revealing the real nature and goal for our presence in so many Muslim countries is a threat to our empire and any revelation of this truth is highly resented by those in charge.
Questions to consider:
1. Do the American people deserve to know the truth regarding the ongoing war in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Yemen?
2. Could a larger question be: how can an Army Private gain access to so much secret material?
3. Why is the hostility mostly directed at Assange, the publisher, and not our government’s failure to protect classified information?
4. Are we getting our money’s worth from the $80 billion per year we spend on our intelligence agencies?
5. Which has resulted in the greatest number of deaths; lying us into war, or WikiLeaks’ revelations or the release of the Pentagon Papers?
6. If Assange can be convicted of a crime for publishing information, that he did not steal, what does this say about the future of the First Amendment and the independence of the internet?
7. Could it be that the real reason for the near universal attacks on WikiLeaks is more about secretly maintaining a seriously flawed foreign policy of empire than it is about national security?
8. Is there not a huge difference between releasing secret information to help the enemy in the time of a declared war – which is treason – and the releasing of information to expose our government lies that promote secret wars, death, and corruption?
9. Was it not once considered patriotic to stand up to our government when it’s wrong?
Thomas Jefferson had it right when he advised: “Let the eyes of vigilance never be closed.”
December 11, 2010
Dr. Ron Paul is a Republican member of Congress from Texas.
By RT America
October 27, 2010
The U.S. news media is framing the debate about the WikiLeaks revelations of the Iraq War‘s savagery as a story about the alleged misconduct of WikiLeaks’ founder Julian Assange, in an attempt to destroy the message by discrediting the messenger, says former CIA analyst Ray McGovern.
In an interview with RT America, McGovern criticized the U.S. media‘s focus on Assange and whether he should be prosecuted for releasing the secrets, rather than on the grisly details about the war contained in nearly 400,000 secret military field reports that WikiLeaks released last weekend.
(The story summary continues below.)
McGovern suggests that the reason for this concentration on Assange instead of what the documents reveal is that otherwise the U.S. press corps would have to come to grips with the fact that the U.S. government committed “the supreme international crime” by invading Iraq and thus touching off the barbarity that the documents recount.
AGAIN-It is Time to put an end to the madness and bring our troops home. If we don’t, we deserve whatever retribution, from those we have needlessly attacked, that is forthcoming.
I love this country but it’s government is completely out of control
BTW-notice the pic hanging on the wall behind this ravager of women and children. More evidence that this is about control and power and not islamic terrorists! (E)
Xeni Jardin at 1:58 PM Friday, Oct 22, 2010
The 391,832 reports document the war and occupation in Iraq, from 1st January 2004 to 31st December 2009 (except for the months of May 2004 and March 2009) as told by soldiers in the United States Army. Each is a ‘SIGACT’ or Significant Action in the war. They detail events as seen and heard by the US military troops on the ground in Iraq and are the first real glimpse into the secret history of the war that the United States government has been privy to throughout. The reports detail 109,032 deaths in Iraq, comprised of 66,081 ‘civilians’; 23,984 ‘enemy’ (those labeled as insurgents); 15,196 ‘host nation’ (Iraqi government forces) and 3,771 ‘friendly’ (coalition forces). The majority of the deaths (66,000, over 60%) of these are civilian deaths.That is 31 civilians dying every day during the six year period.
The Guardian is among the first news orgs to publish analysis, and leads with the statement that the files show how the US turned a blind eye to torture in Iraq, and “expose serial abuse of detainees, 15,000 previously unknown deaths, and a full toll of Iraq’s five years of carnage.”
The archive is alleged to have been sourced from Pfc. Bradley Manning, the same US army intelligence analyst who is believed to have also leaked a smaller cache of 90,000 logs chronicling incidents in the Afghan war. According to the Guardian’s early analysis, the new logs detail how:
• US authorities failed to investigate hundreds of reports of abuse, torture, rape and even murder by Iraqi police and soldiers whose conduct appears to be systematic and normally unpunished.
• A US helicopter gunship involved in a notorious Baghdad incident had previously killed Iraqi insurgents after they tried to surrender.
• More than 15,000 civilians died in previously unknown incidents. US and UK officials have insisted that no official record of civilian casualties exists but the logs record 66,081 non-combatant deaths out of a total of 109,000 fatalities.
As of 1:46pm PT, Al Jazeera’s coverage is live online and on-air. Here is their inforgraphic/data-mapping effort. A statement regarding redactions ends with an indication of which other news orgs were granted early access by Assange: “But working alongside the New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, and the UK’s Channel 4 TV, Al Jazeera is clear that releasing the Iraq files – despite their secret nature – is vital to the public interest.”
So, which other news organizations had embargoed access to the documents? Again, from @wikileaks: “TBIJ, IBC, Guardian, Spiegel, NYT, Le Monde, Al Jazeera, Chan4, SVT, CNN, BBC and more in the next few hours. We maximise impact.”
Update, 2:05pm PT: The New York Times coverage is now live in multiple parts. An A-1 placement story is due in Saturday’s paper edition, and a profile of Assange is due out over the weekend as well. From the NYT overview:
A close analysis of the 391,832 documents helps illuminate several important aspects of this war:¶ The deaths of Iraqi civilians — at the hands mainly of other Iraqis, but also of the American military — appear to be greater than the numbers made public by the United States during the Bush administration.
¶ While the abuse of Iraqi prisoners by Americans, particularly at the Abu Ghraib prison, shocked the American public and much of the world, the documents paint an even more lurid picture of abuse by America’s Iraqi allies — a brutality from which the Americans at times averted their eyes.
¶ Iran’s military, more than has been generally understood, intervened aggressively in support of Shiite combatants, offering weapons, training and sanctuary and in a few instances directly engaging American troops.
¶ The war in Iraq spawned a reliance on private contractors on a scale not well recognized at the time and previously unknown in American wars. The documents describe an outsourcing of combat and other duties once performed by soldiers that grew and spread to Afghanistan to the point that there are more contractors there than soldiers. [An article on this topic is scheduled to appear in The New York Times on Sunday.]
Update, 2:08pm PT: Le Monde‘s infographic and full coverage is now live.
Update, 215pm PT: Swedish television network SVT’s data visualization effort goes live.
Update, 230pm PT: BBC items are going up now. Blog coverage at the BBC about Pentagon reaction here. And Der Spiegel‘s infographic package is now up, here. Notably, nothing of substance is up yet at CNN, Fox News, Washington Post, or Wired; all were presumably left out of early access by Wikileaks.
Update, 3:10pm PT: In a press release pre-dated for tomorrow, Amnesty International demands that the US investigate how much military commanders knew of torture documented in the leaked secret documents.
Update, 3:17pm PT: CNN publishes an “exclusive interview” with Assange, in which the Wikileaks founder says the leaks contain “compelling evidence of war crimes” committed by U.S.-led coalition and Iraqi government forces.
Update, 414pm PT: Wired News analysis is here.