Thursday, December 30, 2010

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Glenn Greenwald - Reason's Attack Dog

Mr. Greenwald addresses American corporate journalists.


It's about time that the Forces of Reason had a spokesman of informed ferocity. Mr. Greenwald takes on the obvious insanity of trying to fit Julian Assange up in some American kangaroo court like Guanatanamo, given that nobody can think up any crimes he's committed (leaving aside the Swedish circus, irrelevant to the American case).

The other obvious fact is that it's not clear what Bradley Manning could be guilty of, even if he were to be the leaker of the Iraq and Afghanistan documents, the Iraq helicopter video, and all the cables. It ain't treason, according to to the American Constitution Article III, Section 3:

Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying War against them, or in adhering to their Enemies, giving them Aid and Comfort.

Note from the US Constitution Online:

"The authors were concerned about the definition of treason. They thought that it was used too broadly to define any dissenting opinions. Their new country would be much stricter about what treason was, and how one would be accused and convicted of it.

"Treason, then, is defined only as going to war against the USA, or aiding the enemies of the USA. To be convicted, the accused must confess to treason, or be accused by two direct witnesses of the treason.

"The authors were also concerned that the person convicted of treason be the only one to suffer for the treasonous acts. The Constitution explicitly states that there may be no "corruption of blood," or that the children and relatives of the traitor not be considered traitorous simply by relation; the "no forfeiture" clause basically means that once the traitor dies, "payment" for the crime ends."


Nor has Bradley Manning been charged with treason. It might be shown that he disobeyed an order of his President, but what if he did so to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic"?

The wordings of the current oath of enlistment and oath for commissioned officers are as follows:

"I, _____, do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God." (Title 10, US Code; Act of 5 May 1960 replacing the wording first adopted in 1789, with amendment effective 5 October 1962).




"I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God." (DA Form 71, 1 August 1959, for officers.)



[emphasis added]

As I read it, not being an American, the oath is to the American Constitution, not to the President, the Armed Forces, or anybody else. If domestic enemies of the American Constitution turn out to exist in the Executive Branch (and how else can one interpret extrajudicial assassination, indefinite detention without trial, military trials outside the jurisdiction of the Constitution, invasion of a foreign country?), then Mr. Manning (or whoever was the leaker) was upholding his or her constitutional obligation.

Wilhelm Keitel was hung at Nuremberg because he failed to refuse an unlawful order.

Go, Glenn!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

WikiLeaks hasn't told us anything we didn't know...


...and for everything else, there's MasterCard.

Viewing cable 10ABUDHABI103, UAE REQUEST FOR USG ASSISTANCE IN INVESTIGATION OF KILLING


Excellency Sultan Al-Suwiadi

UAE Central Bank Governor

Subject: Credit Cards

MC 5115-2600-1600-6190

MC 5115-2600-1600-5317

MC 5301-3800-3201-7106

General Management of The State Security offers greetings, and asks
your Excellency to direct the money laundry and suspicious
transactions unit at the Central Bank to urgently obtain details of
the above credit cards, in addition to details for purchases,
accounts, and payments on those cards, as the users of those cards
were involved in the murder of Mahmoud Mabhouh. Those cards were
issued by META BANK at Storm Lake in the State of Iowa, USA.

"Take me to your Lizard."


From "So Long and Thanks For All the Fish"

"I come in peace," it said, adding after a long moment of further grinding, "take me to your Lizard."

Ford Prefect, of course, had an explanation for this, as he sat with Arthur and watched the nonstop frenetic news reports on television, none of which had anything to say other than to record that the thing had done this amount of damage which was valued at that amount of billions of pounds and had killed this totally other number of people, and then say it again, because the robot was doing nothing more than standing there, swaying very slightly, and emitting short incomprehensible error messages.

"It comes from a very ancient democracy, you see..."

"You mean, it comes from a world of lizards?"

"No," said Ford, who by this time was a little more rational and coherent than he had been, having finally had the coffee forced down him, "...nothing so simple. Nothing anything like so straightforward. On its world, the people are people. The leaders are lizards. The people hate the lizards and the lizards rule the people."

"Odd," said Arthur, "I thought you said it was a democracy."

"I did," said ford. "It is."

"So," said Arthur, hoping he wasn't sounding ridiculously obtuse, "why don't the people get rid of the lizards?"

"It honestly doesn't occur to them," said Ford. "They've all got the vote, so they all pretty much assume that the government they've voted in more or less approximates to the government they want."

"You mean they actually vote for the lizards?"

"Oh yes," said Ford with a shrug, "of course."

"But," said Arthur, going for the big one again, "why?"

"Because if they didn't vote for a lizard," said Ford, "the wrong lizard might get in. Got any gin?"

"What?"

"I said," said Ford, with an increasing air of urgency creeping into his voice, "have you got any gin?"

"I'll look. Tell me about the lizards."

Ford shrugged again.

"Some people say that the lizards are the best thing that ever happened to them," he said. "They're completely wrong of course, completely and utterly wrong, but someone's got to say it."

"The Clearest of Cases"

Why Canada won't become a police state...

...even though you can always find Canadians enthusing about a totalitarian North America. As Hermann Goering said at Nuremberg: " ....voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same way in any country."The Attorney General of Canada v. Khadr, 2010 ONSC 4338
"IV. The Clearest of Cases:

[150] I recognize that the collection of reliable intelligence is of the highest importance in protecting and securing a nation from the dangers of terrorism. It must also be recognized that there will always be a tension, especially in troubled times, in the balancing of intelligence and security issues with cherished democratic values, such as the rule of law and protection from human rights violations. In civilized democracies, the rule of law must prevail over intelligence objectives. In this case, the sum of the human rights violations suffered by Khadr is both shocking and unjustifiable. Although Khadr may have possessed information of intelligence value, he is still entitled to the safeguards and benefit of the law, and not to arbitrary and illegal detention in a secret detention centre where he was subjected to physical abuse. The United States was the driving force behind Khadr’s fourteen month detention in Pakistan, paying a $500,000 bounty for his apprehension. The United States intelligence agency acted in concert with the ISI to delay consular access by DFAIT to Khadr for three months, contrary to the provisions of the Vienna Convention. The United States, contrary to Canada’s wishes, pressured the ISI to delay Khadr’s repatriation because of its dissatisfaction with Khadr being released without charge, even though there was no admissible evidence upon which to base charges at that time. In my view, given this gross misconduct, there cannot be a clearer case that warrants a stay.

"[151] In issuing a stay of proceedings, it is not, in the words of Tobiass, a form of punishment to the requesting state, but rather a specific deterrent; that is, a remedy aimed at preventing similar abuse in the future. It is also aimed at this court dissociating itself with the conduct of the requesting state."


[emphasis added]

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Well, at least they got the map right...

The Wall Street Journal and Afghanistan

"U.S.-led coalition forces operate in Afghanistan under a U.N. Security Council mandate, and the U.N. works hand-in-hand with the coalition on building up Afghan government institutions. The Taliban have repeatedly attacked U.N. buildings and personnel, labeling the U.N. an instrument of American imperialism."

Wall Street Journal, December 26, 2010

This is inaccurate. UN Security Council Resolution 1386 authorizes only NATO's "ISAF", not "Operation Enduring Freedom". The US might be the unseen hand in ISAF, NATO, and the UN Security Council, but the law isn't beside the point. The Security Council has not authorized, for example, the existence of the American prison at Bagram nor has it authorized any military operations in Pakistan. To imply otherwise is an Orwellian deceit, one that "falls upon the facts like soft snow, blurring the outlines and covering up all the details."

Friday, December 24, 2010

Happy New Year, Peter MacKay.

There is real Anglo-Saxon genius for conveying truth in words of one syllable. I tried to say "Peter MacKay is full of shit" in fewer syllables but failed.

Peter MacKay is full of shit.

The only words of more than one syllable in that sentence are Peter and MacKay.

Most recently, he's purveying the NATO party line on Afghanistan:

MacKay acknowledged the Taliban insurgency is not yet defeated, and what victories there have been have come at enormous cost. But he insisted the gains on the ground show the sacrifice has been worth it.

"How do you quantify that?" he asked. "Millions of children now in school. Infant mortality rates coming down. That gives them a chance. Seeing young Afghan women now able to not just participate in democratic elections, but sit and serve in their parliament, open a business, interact in a more free and open way throughout the country."

Read more: http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2010/12/22/mackay-afghanistan-military.html#ixzz194k8lVKO

This is completely consistent with Obama's delusional review on Afghanistan conducted by the William Westmoreland Memorial "Tet Offensive is a Failure" cheering section at NATO, but completely inconsistent with the United Nations Security Council Report of December 10, 2010, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the American National Intelligence Estimate, and the Taliban's response quoted in the New York Times.

You know, the NATO and Canadian government party line on Afghanistan is an offence against common sense, and in fact an offence against common decency.

Afghanistan is a disaster. The country is - obviously - worse off than it was in 2001, and the fabled Western Crusader Democracies are no safer. In fact, the United States is bankrupt, broken by Iraq and Afghanistan and enabled only by the Chinese who are desperately trying to find ways of dealing with mountains of increasingly worthless American dollars without food riots breaking out all over China. The last to know about this are, apparently, the Americans who despite unemployment rates of somewhere between 10-20% and house prices that have yet to fall to their bottom, vote for people who want to make the military bigger and the government smaller so as to force American Mythology on the rest of the world.

The writing is on the wall, and not just at Facebook. The United States of America has 5% of the world's population, consumes 25% of the world's fossil fuels, and is broke. Americans might not have noticed this, but much of the rest of the world has.

NATO has no clothes. Happy New Year, Peter MacKay.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Who, exactly, is BAE Systems?

...or weasels in the House of Lords.

What we need is a British Bradley Manning, somebody close to the Serious Fraud Office investigation of the Saudi arms deal that was called off (the investigation, not the deal) by Tony Blair after some Saudi prince ended up in his kitchen, having a key to the back door of No. 10, claiming that the continuing investigation would stop all further Saudi co-operation on terrorism, that co-operation now seemingly useless in the face of WikiLeaks evidence that in fact Saudi money is funding terrorism in the first place. There would seem to be no further need to inhibit the investigation.

It's cute, but can it type?


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/8284073.stm

"Whether you love or hate that BAE is a world leader in defence, it is the biggest manufacturer in the UK and is a significant part of the British economy."


So apart from dubious armaments and even more dubious finance, and an absolutely hopeless air hub, what exactly does the British economy have to offer?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Pimp of Darkness


The American Secretary of State in the 21st Century

Like a lot or people, I've been impressed by the frank, fearless, and literate reporting found in American diplomatic cables.

On reflection however - as also noticed by many - the State Department seems to play no role in making American policy. Its job, apparently, is to tidy up after the more lawless parts of the American executive - acting like a very suave and sophisticated pooper-scooper - and try to soothe ruffled feelings after the outlaws who actually do make American foreign policy, if it can be called policy rather than institutional temper tantrums, have trampled whatever corner of the world is...how to say in English...diseased.

People have been reassured that American public policy and American diplomatic cables are consistent with one another. So the words match the words, but the words don't match what actually goes down, and that's why WikiLeaks - as opposed, say, to Judy Miller and the New York Times - is so important.

The pattern that emerges from these cables is that the State Department is a helpless spectator to rampant government corruption everywhere, including Britain and the United States:
  • the fixing of the Chilcot Inquiry
  • the fixing of a "marine preserve" in Diego Garcia
  • the pressuring of Germany to drop charges against the CIA
  • the blatant and frankly ludicrous subversion of diplomats to obtain credit card numbers (will they diplomatically rummage through wastebaskets in UN drawing rooms?)
  • the evidence that Somebody is still holding information on the murder of Pat Finucane
  • the former head of the Canadian Security Intelligence Service confided to an American official that the Candian judiciary were proving a time wasting interference in the fight for truth (except of course nobody can say what the truth is), justice (no, hang on, that's the problem with the courts), and the American Way (which seems pretty clear as long as it's secret.)

etc. etc.

It's the pattern of criminal secret policy, at odds with public policy, that is being revealed and lyrically described by the State Department cables.

Reading the Riot Act and other unAmerican activities

Reading proclamation

67. A person who is
(a) a justice, mayor or sheriff, or the lawful deputy of a mayor or sheriff,
(b) a warden or deputy warden of a prison, or
(c) the institutional head of a penitentiary, as those expressions are defined in subsection 2(1) of the Corrections and Conditional Release Act, or that person’s deputy, who receives notice that, at any place within the jurisdiction of the person, twelve or more persons are unlawfully and riotously assembled together shall go to that place and, after approaching as near as is safe, if the person is satisfied that a riot is in progress, shall command silence and thereupon make or cause to be made in a loud voice a proclamation in the following words or to the like effect:

Her Majesty the Queen charges and commands all persons being assembled immediately to disperse and peaceably to depart to their habitations or to their lawful business on the pain of being guilty of an offence for which, on conviction, they may be sentenced to imprisonment for life. GOD SAVE THE QUEEN.


R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 67; 1994, c. 44, s. 5.

I don't want to make it seem like I don't like Americans: some of my best friends are American and certainly the American Constitution is one of the great inventions of humanity, now unfortunately under attack. I have faith, but not as much faith as in British Parliamentary decmocracy which has evolved haphadardly over centuries, always in a direction of human rights and democracy, and is still alive. One would not know that by examining in isolation the arbitrary rule of Tony Blair's government of strategic communication.

But here it comes again, now in the guise of the British High Court, and in particular, Justice Ouseley who, after denigrating Julian Assange's less reliable supporters, set him free on the grounds that there was no reason not to. This was only after some 10 days in the Wandsworth nick, apparently in the cell occupied by Oscar Wilde when he was in the slammer for alleged sexual offences, a coincidence not likely to be believed were it portrayed on Masterpiece Theater.

Julian Assange might well have a case to answer in Sweden, but you wouldn't know that from the bizarre details of procedure involved with his European Arrest Warrant, a legal device enacted in panic after 9/11, and described in knowedgeable circles as an accident waiting to happen. I don't think one can be extradited in the European Union for parking fines, but I'm not sure about it.

The Swedish "charges" against Assange are not clear, at least in English, and the British Crown Prosecution Service seems to have no idea what it's doing or why, or who's in charge. The Swedes say the appeal in the High Court was an internal British matter, and the CPS says the Swedes put them up to it. Either way it looks terrible, and it's not clear, if the Swedish prosecutors want to interview Assange, why they can't do it via videoconferencing or directly at the Swedish Embassy. There seems to be a mindless driving need to have Assange's body in Sweden, even though it's not clear - despite assertions by The Guardian - that any charges have been laid.

The European Arrest Warrant reminds me powerfully of vile sections of the Canada Evidence Act (38.01 and 38.02) also passed in panic after 9/11, that allow arbitrary arrest and detention.

Me, I'm betting on habeas corpus and British parliamentary democracy. I'm wishing the Americans the best of British luck.

Is Julia Gillard on the take?


PS: Well, we're starting to get some information on Canada's duplicity in Cuba, but it seems a bit rich coming from a country that had participated in civil rights abuse in Chile, El Salvador, and Nicaragua.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Ellsworth Bunker Memorial Press Conference



Barack Obama: Afghanistan war is on track

Review of troop surge strategy concludes US has made progress, but is a long way from winning the conflict

Chris McGreal in Washington
guardian.co.uk, Thursday 16 December 2010 21.31 GMT


Tet Offensive: Turning Point in Vietnam War




At 3 o'clock in the morning of Jan. 31, 1968, North Vietnamese and Vietcong forces launched a wave of simultaneous attacks on South Vietnamese and American forces in major cities, towns and military bases throughout South Vietnam. The fighting, the heaviest and most sustained of the Vietnam War, coincided with the Lunar New Year, or Tet, and it has been called the Tet offensive ever since. It was a military turning point in the war, but it was far more than that in its painful demonstration of the limits of American power in Asia and in the psychological impact it was to have on Americans at home.

The daring of the Tet attackers extended into the heart of Saigon and, most startling, into the very confines of the American Embassy. A handful of Vietcong, wearing South Vietnamese uniforms, held parts of the embassy for the first six hours of the offensive.

Copyright 2010 The New York Times Company

Of course, Ellsworth and Westmoreland saw it all coming, as shown in this transcript of a November, 1967 press conference - less than 3 months before the Tet Offensive began - obtained from Salon; original post September 13, 2007



[OK, I had all the other pages here, but they somehow disappeared. I don't think Google is censuring me. Salon has the whole thing.]

However, here's good reading from the Bulletin of the American State Department in December, 1967.



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A diseased tree from corrupt fruit

The Brookings Institution




"Even a sick tree can bear fruit. But we shouldn't pretend that the tree is healthy".

Michael Fullilove is the director of the global issues program at the Lowy Institute in Sydney and a nonresident senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington, D.C. You can follow him on Twitter.


What? What's healthy about the Brookings Institution?

Sixth Leaflet of the White Rose Resistance



This was dropped over Germany by the RAF. Maybe we need the RAF again. The Crown Prosecution Service wants Assange in Wandsworth Gaol for no obvious reason, pending his extradition on a charge that hasn't been made. Bring back the RAF.

Fellow Fighters in the Resistance!
*
Shaken and broken, our people behold the loss of the men of Stalingrad. Three hundred and thirty thousand German men have been senselessly and irresponsibly driven to death and destruction by the inspired strategy of our World War I Private First Class. Fuhrer, we thank you!
*
The German people are in ferment. Will we continue to entrust the fate of our armies to a dilettante? Do we want to sacrifice the rest of German youth to the base ambitions of a Party clique? No, never! The day of reckoning has come - the reckoning of German youth with the most abominable tyrant our people have ever been forced to endure. In the name of German youth we demand restitution by Adolf Hitler's state of our personal freedom, the most precious treasure we have, out of which he has swindled us in the most miserable way.
*
We grew up in a state in which all free expression of opinion is unscrupulously suppressed. The Hitler Youth, the SA, the SS have tried to drug us, to revolutionize us, to regiment us in the most promising young years of our lives. "Philosophical training" is the name given to the despicable method by which our budding intellectual development is muffled in a fog of empty phrases. A system of selection of leaders at once unimaginably devilish and narrow-minded trains up its future party bigwigs in the "Castles of the Knightly Order" to become Godless, impudent, and conscienceless exploiters and executioners - blind, stupid hangers-on of the Fuhrer. We "Intellectual Workers" are the ones who should put obstacles in the path of this caste of overlords.

Soldiers at the front are regimented like schoolboys by student leaders and trainees for the post of Gauleiter, and the lewd jokes of the Gauleiters insult the honor of the women students. German women students at the university in Munich have given a dignified reply to the besmirching of their honor, and German students have defended the women in the universities and have stood firm.... That is a beginning of the struggle for our free self-determination - without which intellectual and spiritual values cannot be created. We thank the brave comrades, both men and women, who have set us brilliant examples.
*
For us there is but one slogan: fight against the party! Get out of the party organization, which are used to keep our mouths sealed and hold us in political bondage! Get out of the lecture rooms of the SS corporals and sergeants and the party bootlickers! We want genuine learning and real freedom of opinion. No threat can terrorize us, not even the shutting down of the institutions of higher learning. This is the struggle of each and every one of us for our future, our freedom, and our honor under a regime conscious of its moral responsibility.
*
Freedom and honor! For ten long years Hitler and his coadjutor have manhandled, squeezed, twisted, and debased these two splendid German words to the point of nausea, as only dilettantes can, casting the highest values of a nation before swine. They have sufficiently demonstrated in the ten years of destruction of all material and intellectual freedom, of all moral substance among the German people, what they understand by freedom and honor. The frightful bloodbath has opened the eyes of even the stupidest German - it is a slaughter which they arranged in the name of "freedom and honor of the German nation" throughout Europe, and which they daily start anew.

The name of Germany is dishonored for all time if German youth does not finally rise, take revenge, and atone, smash its tormentors, and set up a new Europe of the spirit. Students! The German people look to us. As in 1813 the people expected us to shake off the Napoleonic yoke, so in 1943 they look to us to break the National Socialist terror through the power of the spirit. Beresina and Stalingrad are burning in the East. The dead of Stalingrad implore us to take action. "Up, up, my people, let smoke and flame be our sign!"
*
Our people stand ready to rebel against the Nationals Socialist enslavement of Europe in a fervent new breakthrough of freedom and honor.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Madness at The Globe and Mail



Dear Diary,

I signed up for this job thinking I was a right thinking defender of fearless press freedom. I'm still signed up.

So The Globe, of which I am a part, particularly its editorial board, is coming to grips with the WikiLeaks leaks, and we're not sure how we feel about it. On the one hand we have Margaret Wente, fearless editorialist, who regards Julian Assange as a jerk. The evidence for the opinion isn't clear, but the opinion is unequivocal. Then we have Doug Saunders at the other end of the spectrum - or maybe not - who describes Assange's views as "government is conspiracy."

Somewhere, there's a middle ground, and the middle ground at The Globe always works out to Assange and WiliLeaks being a danger to the civilized world. How can this be?

It's a problem I deal with every working day that I'm not working for Thomson Reuters, Reuters being the organization that has been trying for years to get the helicopter video that demonstrates unquivocally that unarmed Reuters correspondents were machine gunned from the air in Baghdad, along with other civilians, the Reuters FOI application being unaccountably slow, but rendered irrelevant by the WikiLeaks "Collateral Murder" video, without which we wouldn't know anything, just like the Abu Ghraib pictures would have been meaningless without their publication by the New Yorker. The publication of both was illegal.

Help.

Nobody expects the Swedish Inquisition

You know, it's time to get back to Carl Bildt's mink. Carl was in charge of Sweden when he found Russian submarines, like, everywhere, some of which, maybe all of which, were mink. It's a good start.

Then, Carl got involved with the RAND Corporation, arguably a branch of the American military, and a thermonuclear opponent of mink.

Now, Carl is Sweden's Minister for Foreign Affairs in an Age of Terror, aloof presumably from the mad effort of...somebody... in Sweden to treat Julian Assange as a dangerous enemy of the state. As Tom Flanagan said, somebody should take this guy out.

Does Carl still have friends at RAND? Informal contacts? Consultancies?

They hung Keitel didn't they?



I get the impression some people think international law is a theoretical concept, and Julian Assange is a dangerous lunatic for telling the truth. The American diplomatic cables are very informative, but the Iraq war document leaks and the "collateral murder" video contain evidence of of war crimes.
Here's what the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg had to say about Field Marshall Wilhelm Keitel before they hung him:

M. DE VABRES:
Keitel is indicted on all four counts. He was Chief of Staff to the then Minister of War von Blomberg from 1935 to 4th February, 1938; on that day Hitler took command of the armed forces, making Keitel Chief of the High Command of the Armed Forces. Keitel did not have command authority over the three Wehrmacht branches which enjoyed direct access to the Supreme Commander. OKW was in effect Hitler's military staff.

Crimes against Peace

Keitel attended the Schuschnigg conference in February, 1938 with two other generals. Their presence, he admitted, was a " military demonstration," but since he had been appointed OKW Chief just one week before he had not known why he had been summoned. Hitler and Keitel then continued to put pressure on Austria with false rumours, broadcasts and troop manoueuvres. Keitel made the military and other arrangements and Jodl's diary noted " the effect is quick and strong." When Schuschnigg called his plebiscite, Keitel that night "briefed Hitler and his generals, and Hitler issued " Case Otto " which Keitel initialled.

On 21st April, 1938, Hitler and Keitel considered making use of a possible " incident," such as the assassination of the German Minister at Prague, to preface the attack on Czechoslovakia, Keitel signed many directives and memoranda on " Fall Gruen," including the directive of
30th May, containing Hitler's statement: "It is my unalterable decision to smash Czechoslovakia by military action in the near future." After Munich, Keitel initialled Hitler's directive for the attack on Czechoslovakia, and issued two supplements. The second supplement said the attack should appear to the outside world as " merely an act of pacification ,and not a warlike undertaking." The OKW Chief attended Hitler's negotiations with Hacha when the latter surrendered.

Keitel was present on 23rd May, 1939, when Hitler announced his decision " to attack Poland at the first suitable opportunity." Already he had signed the directive requiring the Wehrmacht to submit its " Fall Weiss " timetable to OKW by 1st May.

The invasion of Norway and Denmark he discussed on 12th December 1939, with Hitler, Jodl and Raeder. By directive of 27th January, 1940, the Norway plans were placed under Keitel's " direct and personal guidance." Hitler had said on 23rd May, 1939, he would ignore the neutrality of Belgium and the Netherlands, and Keitel signed orders for these attacks on 15th October, 20th November, and 28th November, 1939. Orders postponing this attack 17 times until Spring, 1940, all were signed by Keitel or Jodl.

Formal planning for attacking Greece and Yugoslavia had begun in November, 1940. On 18th March, 1941, Keitel heard Hitler tell Raeder complete occupation of Greece was a prerequisite to settlement, and also heard Hitler decree on 27th March that the destruction of Yugoslavia should take place with " unmerciful harshness."

Keitel testified that he opposed the invasion of the Soviet Union for military reasons, and also because it would constitute a violation of the non-aggression Pact. Nevertheless he initialled " Case Barbarossa," signed by Hitler on 18th December, 1940, and attended the OKW discussion with Hitler on 3rd February, 1941. Keitel's supplement of 13th March established the relationship between the military and political officers. He issued his timetable for the invasion on 6th June, 1941, and was present at the briefing of 14th June when the generals gave their final reports before attack. He appointed Jodl and Warlimont as OKW representatives to Rosenberg on matters concerning the Eastern Territories. On 16th June he directed all army units to carry out the economic directives issued by Goering in the so-called " Green Folder," for the exploitation of Russian territory, food and raw materials.

War Crimes and Crimes against Humanity

On 4th August, 1942, Keitel issued a directive that paratroopers were to be turned over to the SD. On 18th October Hitler issued the Commando Order which was carried out in several instances. After the landing in Normandy, Keitel reaffirmed the order, and later extended it to Allied missions fighting with partisans. He admits he did not believe the order was legal but claims he could not stop Hitler from decreeing it.


When, on 8th September, 1941, OKW issued its ruthless regulations for the treatment of Soviet POW's, Canaris wrote to Keitel that under international law the SD should have nothing to do with this matter. On this memorandum in Keitel's handwriting, dated 23rd September and initialled by him, is the statement: " The objections arise from the military concept of chivalrous warfare. This is the destruction of an ideology. Therefore I approve and back the measures." Keitel testified that he really agreed with Canaris and argued with Hitler, but lost. The OKW Chief directed the military authorities to cooperate with the Einsatzstab Rosenberg in looting cultural property in occupied territories.


Lahousen testified that Keitel told him on 12th September, 1939, while aboard Hitler's headquarters train, that the Polish intelligentsia, nobility and Jews were to be liquidated. On 20th October, Hitler told Keitel the intelligentsia would be prevented from forming a ruling class, the standard of living would remain low, and Poland would be used only for labour forces. Keitel does not remember the Lahousen conversation, but admits there was such a policy and that he had protested without effect to Hitler about it.


On 16th September, 1941, Keitel ordered that attacks on soldiers in the East should be met by putting to death 50 to 100 Communists for one German soldier, with the comment that human life was less than nothing in the East. On 1st October he ordered military commanders always to have hostages to execute when German soldiers were attacked. When Terboven, the Reich Commissioner in Norway, wrote Hitler that Keitel's suggestion that workmen's relatives be held responsible for sabotage, could work only if firing squads were authorised, Keitel wrote on this memorandum in the margin: " Yes, that is the best."


On 12th May, 1941, five weeks before the invasion of the Soviet Union the OKW urged upon Hitler a directive of the OKH that political commissars be liquidated by the Army. Keitel admitted the directive was passed on to field commanders. And on 13th May Keitel signed an order that civilians suspected of offences against troops should be shot without trial, and that prosecution of German soldiers for offences against civilians was unnecessary. On 27th July all copies of this directive were ordered destroyed without affecting its validity. Four days previously he signed another order that legal punishment was inadequate and troops should use terrorism.


On 7th December, 1941, as already discussed in this opinion, the so-called " Nacht und Nebel " decree, over Keitel's signature, provided that in occupied territories civilians who had been accused of crimes of resistance against the army of occupation would be tried only if a death sentence was likely; otherwise they would be handed to the Gestapo for transportation to Germany.


Keitel directed that Russian POW's be used in German war industry. On 8th September, 1942, he ordered French, Dutch and Belgian citizens to work on the construction of the Atlantic Wall. He was present on 4th January, 1944, when Hitler directed Sauckel to obtain four million new workers from occupied territories.


In the face of these documents Keitel does not deny his connection with these acts. Rather, his defence relies on the fact that he is a soldier, and on the doctrine of " superior orders," prohibited by Article 8 of the Charter as a defence.


There is nothing in mitigation. Superior orders, even to a soldier, cannot be considered in mitigation where crimes as shocking and extensive have been committed consciously, ruthlessly and without military excuse or justification.

Conclusion

The Tribunal finds Keitel guilty on all four counts.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Another Australian work of genius


We can't judge for ourselves if Philip Dorling has reported accurately or fairly, because Fairfax hasn't posted a single cable online. (7pm TV News NSW) It's an unusual event: an open letter to the Prime Minister signed by the editor or editor-in-chief of almost every significant mainstream news medium in the nation - radio, television and newspapers - with the sole exception, interestingly, of The Australian's Chris Mitchell.

Its essential point is that WikiLeaks 'is part of the media and deserves our support'; that prosecuting it or its editor, Julian Assange, because WikiLeaks has published confidential government documents would be unprecedented in the United States, and in Australia, 'would seriously curtail Australian media organisations reporting on subjects the Government decides are against its interests'.

In other words, the Walkley Foundation's letter is an elaboration of the attack made in his acceptance speech last Thursday night by Gold Walkley winner Laurie Oakes on the Government's reaction to WikiLeaks. All very admirable. And I want to make it clear, for what it's worth, that I agree with the letter's arguments as, he tells me, does Chris Mitchell.

But there are a few other points that bear repeating, lest the media get too carried away with the notion that by publishing the WikiLeaks cables it is exclusively serving 'the public interest'.
First, nobody seems to be defending the alleged leaker of this unprecedented trove of secret documents, Private First Class Bradley Manning of the US Army. It seems generally agreed that Private Manning is facing up to 50 years in prison for his indiscretion. Yet despite all the talk about whistleblowers, shield laws and the media's duty to let daylight into the processes of government, no-one is claiming, seriously, that Manning's actions could be justified under the law of the United States or almost anywhere else.

If the allegations against him are proven, Private Manning will be revealed as a leaker, not a whistleblower. With some notable exceptions (Hillary Clinton's requirement that her diplomats spy on the UN, for example) the vast mass of these documents do not reveal wrongdoing, corruption or malfeasance, but the normal activities of diplomats, reporting frankly under the understandable assumption that their reports would remain confidential.

Yes, of course their publication causes intense embarrassment, to the US State Department and to many of the subjects of the cables. Whether that embarrassment, and the effect it will have on the ability of diplomats everywhere (and anyone else who relies on the confidentiality of electronic communication) to report frankly to their superiors or colleagues, is 'in the public interest', is very much an open question.

Second, Private Manning went to WikiLeaks, presumably, because he felt that his identity would be better protected by that organisation than by any other. That may be the case. It does not seem to be through any action or negligence on WikiLeaks's part, but through his own indiscretions, that Bradley Manning came to the attention of the US authorities. However, one reason why neither Julian Assange, nor WikiLeaks, nor any of the great newspapers which are its collaborators in the document release, have been under any pressure to reveal their source, is that the US government has convinced itself (rightly or wrongly) that the source is already known and in custody. That being the case, the entire justification for WikiLeaks's existence - its ability to protect its sources through its unique information-laundering and encryption techniques - is irrelevant in this instance.

Third, Julian Assange has made another claim for WikiLeaks, which he says sets it apart from other media organisations. According to this op-ed in The Australian last week:
"WikiLeaks coined a new type of journalism: scientific journalism. We work with other media outlets to bring people the news, but also to prove it is true. Scientific journalism allows you to read a news story, then to click online to see the original document it is based on. That way you can judge for yourself: Is the story true? Did the journalist report it accurately? "
Well, WikiLeaks clearly doesn't insist on 'scientific journalism' being practised by all the media outlets with which it's working. The Age and the Sydney Morning Herald are still publishing story after story by Philip Dorling - stories that have deeply embarrassed or compromised Kevin Rudd, Mark Arbib, Joel Fitzgibbon, and Stephen Gumley, to name just a few, not to mention the US Embassy in Canberra. But we can't judge for ourselves if Dorling has reported accurately or fairly, because Fairfax hasn't posted a single cable online.

On Monday I sent an email to SMH editor-in-chief Peter Fray, asking him why not. His response (read it in full here) makes it clear that the primary reason is to protect not the public, but Fairfax's commercial, interest:

"...the volume of material in the Australian referenced cables means we are still mining the source documents. There are, for instance, several potential stories in each cable; to put the material online would be to give access to our competitors in the local market."

That's not a line of reasoning that has prevented The Guardian, the New York Times, Der Spiegel, Le Monde or any other of WikiLeaks's collaborators from posting cables online to support their stories; and it would seem to be in direct contravention of the principles espoused by Julian Assange. Perhaps he's been too preoccupied by other matters recently to have noticed.
Philip Dorling has undoubtedly scored a major scoop for Fairfax. Most of the stories he's writing - and there are goodness knows how many to come - are fascinating, especially to politics and foreign policy junkies. But we're having to take them on trust, and we shouldn't have to. And very few are telling us stuff we didn't already know (Kevin Rudd's a control freak; Defence Procurement is a mess; China doesn't like the Defence White Paper): what they are telling us is that the US Embassy knew it too, often before we did. Surprise, surprise.
Government ministers hold power because their party secured a majority of votes (or it did before August 2010). Nobody elected a single one of the signatories of the Walkley Foundation's letter.

So while we're all enjoying the humiliation of ministers and ex-ministers - a great Australian sport, which right now we seem to be better at than cricket - we should also remember to exercise towards the media's more grandiose claims that other talent for which Australians are supposedly famous: bullshit detection.

Jonathan Holmes is the presenter of ABC TV's Media Watch.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Bring me the heart of Diego Garcia



In a way, WikiLeaks isn't telling us anything in this American Diplomatic cable that we didn't already know, particularly in the light of this story in 2000 on the BBC website. There were really nice quotes from the properly confidential Foreign Office along the following lines:

A telegram sent to the UK mission at the United Nations in November 1965 summed up the problem:"We recognise that we are in a difficult position as regards references to people at present on the detached islands.
"We know that a few were born in Diego Garcia and perhaps some of the other islands, and so were their parents before them.
"We cannot therefore assert that there are no permanent inhabitants, however much this would have been to our advantage. In these circumstances, we think it would be best to avoid all references to permanent inhabitants."
Sir Paul Gore-Booth, senior official at the Foreign Office, wrote to a diplomat in 1966: "We must surely be very tough about this. The object of the exercise is to get some rocks which will remain ours... There will be no indigenous population except seagulls..."
The diplomat, Dennis Greenhill, replied: "Unfortunately along with the birds go some few Tarzans or Man Fridays whose origins are obscure and who are hopefully being wished on to Mauritius."
As far back as 1965, Colonial Secretary Anthony Greenwood had warned that it was "important to present the United Nations with a fait accompli".
Subsequently began a long legal process that ended up in the House of Lords [2008] UKHL 61 whose judgement said in part:

16. On 3 November 2000 the Divisional Court (Laws LJ and Gibbs J) gave judgment in favour of Mr Bancoult: see R (Bancoult) v Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs [2001] QB 1067 (“Bancoult (1)“) They decided that a power to legislate for the “peace, order and good government” of the Territory did not include a power to expel all the inhabitants. The relief granted was an order quashing section 4 of the Immigration Ordinance as ultra vires.
17. After the judgment had been given, the Foreign Secretary (Mr Robin Cook) issued a press release:
“Following the judgment in the BIOT Case on 3 November, Foreign Secretary Robin Cook issued the following statement:
‘I have decided to accept the Court’s ruling and the Government will not be appealing.
The work we are doing on the feasibility of resettling the Ilois now takes on a new importance. We started the feasibility work a year ago and are now well underway with phase two of the study.
Furthermore, we will put in place a new Immigration Ordinance which will allow the Ilois to return to the outer islands while observing our Treaty obligations.
This Government has not defended what was done or said thirty years ago. As Lord Justice Laws recognised, we made no attempt to conceal the gravity of what happened. I am pleased that he has commended the wholly admirable conduct in disclosing material to the Court and praised the openness of today’s Foreign Office.’”
This is the same Robin Cook who gave a memorable speech in the House of Commons immediately prior to the Iraq invasion, and immediately after resigning from the Cabinet on the grounds that the invasion was illegal and immoral. He was right of course, but he died anyway.
So it's all old news...except that the American cable in question was dated May of 2009 and quoted a British official, presumably from "today's Foreign Office," at a meeting of May 12, 2009, a decade after the Gibbs decision:

1. (C/NF) Summary. HMG would like to establish a “marine park” or “reserve” providing comprehensive environmental protection to the reefs and waters of the British Indian Ocean Territory (BIOT), a senior Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) official informed Polcouns on May 12. The official insisted that the establishment of a marine park -- the world’s largest -- would in no way impinge on USG use of the BIOT, including Diego Garcia, for military purposes. He agreed that the UK and U.S. should carefully negotiate the details of the marine reserve to assure that U.S. interests were safeguarded and the strategic value of BIOT was upheld. He said that the BIOT’s former inhabitants would find it difficult, if not impossible, to pursue their claim for resettlement on the islands if the entire Chagos Archipelago were a marine reserve. End Summary.

Thanks to WikiLeaks and whoever the leaker was, and despite the sympathetic words various British courts, we know that the beating heart of entitled, imperial extrajudicial Whitehall still has not had a stake driven through it, and not to put too fine a point on it, finds that keeping the wogs out of Diego Garcia so as to suck up to the Americans is perfectly acceptable, even if it means lying to the world, and of course, the British public about the purposes of the "marine park".

That's why we need WikiLeaks.

There is of course the entirely new sordid story of Diego Garcia being used for criminal purposes during the reign of Bush the Younger, which would make the UK complicit.

Reckless Disclosure and Louis B. Susman




http://diplopundit.blogspot.com/2009/05/officially-in-louis-b-susman-to-london.html

On May 27, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate Louis B. Susman, to be Ambassador to the United Kingdom of Great Britain & Northern Ireland. Official bio below:

Mr. Susman is retired and was Vice Chairman of Citigroup Corporate and Investment Banking, and was a Member of the Citigroup International Advisory Board. Prior to joining Salomon Brothers, Inc. in June 1989, Mr. Susman practiced law in the City of St. Louis for 27 years and was a senior partner at the St. Louis based law firm of Thompson & Mitchell. His practice focused on mergers and acquisitions and general corporate law, and as part of his practice, he was a member of the Board of Directors and Management Committee of the St. Louis Cardinals from 1975 to 1989. In 1988, Mr. Susman was appointed by President Ronald Regan to the U. S. Advisory Commission on Public Diplomacy, which provided oversight to the U.S. Information Agency. USIA’s mission was "to understand, inform, and influence foreign publics in promotion of the national interest, and to broaden the dialogue between Americans and U.S. institutions, and their counterparts abroad." He was a Director of the Center for National Policy in Washington, D.C. a nonpartisan organization that examines national public policy issues.

Mr. Susman holds an A.B. from the University of Michigan and a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.) from Washington University.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/cifamerica/2010/dec/09/wikileaks-reckless-disclosure-us-ambassador

SUBJECT: THE U.S. IN THE CANADIAN FEDERAL ELECTION -- NOT!

C O N F I D E N T I A L SECTION 01 OF 02 OTTAWA 001258

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 09/22/2018
TAGS: PREL PGOV CA
SUBJECT: THE U.S. IN THE CANADIAN FEDERAL ELECTION -- NOT!

REF: OTTAWA 1216

Classified By: PolMinCouns Scott Bellard, reason 1.4 (d)

¶1. (C) Summary. Despite the overwhelming importance of the
U.S. to Canada for its economy and security, bilateral
relations remain the proverbial 900 pound gorilla that no one
wants to talk about in the 2008 Canadian federal election
campaigns. This likely reflects an almost inherent
inferiority complex of Canadians vis-a-vis their sole
neighbor as well as an underlying assumption that the
fundamentals of the relationship are strong and unchanging
and uncertainty about the outcome of the U.S. Presidential
election. End Summary.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

"The geek who shook the world"




Suelette Dreyfus
Sydney Morning Herald
December 12, 2010 - 12:00AM


ONE of Julian Assange's favourite books is Darkness at Noon by Arthur Koestler. It is a bleak novel loosely based on the Stalinist purges and Moscow show trials of the late 1930s.

It tells the story of a Russian named Rubashov who was once a revered 1917 revolutionary, but who is cast out from his society. Suddenly he awakes in the middle of the night to find he is arrested and imprisoned. There are no charges, no due process and no justice. He can get no truth or explanation of what is going on. Eventually he is interrogated, and asked to sign a false confession admitting his guilt in a plot to assassinate the mysterious “No. 1”, the unknown and unnamed government leader.

He refuses.

He is isolated in his cell, but finds a way of communicating with another prisoner by tapping on pipes. Ever so carefully, they begin secretly passing information and stories back and forth.

In the gloomy prison, an interrogation begins. First, an old friend of Rubashov's is brought in to start a soft persuasion. When that fails, because Rubashov refuses to admit to a crime he did not commit, his friend is arrested and executed for going too easy on the prisoner.

Then a coarse and violent interrogator takes over. He believes that torture is a good way to extract confessions from prisoners. He hates Rubashov because the prisoner is educated: being enlightened through learning is clearly a dangerous thing.

At the novel's end, Rubashov is summarily executed.

It's a case of life imitating art, with obvious parallels between Julian Assange's predicament and that of his favoured novel.

The world's most mysterious and famous publisher of verboten secrets is sitting in a jail cell in Britain awaiting extradition to a place with a very alien legal system, Sweden, to face questioning about criminal charges he does not understand. He has said publicly that he is at a loss to know how he could be accused of sexual offences against two women with whom he had sex when they have admitted it was consensual.

Assange has always been an avid reader of books. I know this because we worked together for almost three years to create Underground, a book published in Australia in 1997 and again in an electronic version in 2001. Underground is the true story of hackers in Australia and around the globe. Assange, the former hacker, contributed exceptional technical skills and analysis, and I brought years of experience as a journalist and writer. The book has become something of a classic among computer enthusiasts and has been translated into Czech, Chinese and Russian. Books were the basis of Assange's self-education. He attended school off and on during his childhood, but he was continually frustrated by teachers who were at a loss about what to do with him.

A geek friend of his once described Assange as having an IQ "in excess of 170". I suspect this could be true. I can only imagine how hard it must have been for a teacher in 1970s Australia to teach her class of normal children while also dealing with one small blond-haired boy who was off the charts.

So Assange largely gave up on school, finding it more efficient to educate himself by reading books. He learned to tune out if people didn't feed him information fast enough.

I've watched Assange do this many times. It's not meant to be rude, though it can make him seem aloof. It is, I suspect, a habit learned from these early years. It can give him the air of an absent-minded professor. He's not really absent; it's just that his brain is running several processors in parallel, like a high-powered desktop computer.

If some information is of more interest, more processing power will be diverted to that to optimise the running of the machine. Sometimes he thinks he has told you something when he hasn't. This is probably because his brain moves so much faster than his voice; by the time he opens his mouth to speak, his thoughts have zoomed a million light years down the next thought path.

The computer geek in him always gravitated towards optimisation of everything. Some people are born engineers and the desire to optimise is a good test of this.

Once, when Assange was packing boxes to move house, he complained at how long it took. Most people just throw things in boxes and tape them up. Not Assange. He approached putting his books in boxes as though he was solving a puzzle aimed at using all the space in the box most efficiently. If there was dead space in the box, the packing had not been optimal and was a failure. He would empty the box and restart the packing again.

This desire for optimisation might be dismissed as the quirky trait of a geek, but it is far more important. It is part of the larger puzzle of how WikiLeaks has come to exist today.

The need for optimisation and the deep desire for justice, reflected by his choice of books, came together with a few other convictions.

One of these can be found in another favourite piece of writing, this time by the World War II pilot and author of The Little Prince, Antoine de Saint-Exupery. The quote, used by Assange to sign many of his emails, was this: "If you want to build a ship, don't drum up people to collect wood and don't assign them tasks and work, but rather teach them to long for the endless immensity of the seas."

The quote suggests that if you can show people why something is important, they will work to achieve that goal far more effectively than if you just tell them to tick off items on a banal to-do list. Large corporations spend hundreds of thousands of dollars every year trying to drum that message into their executives in high-end training courses. Assange knew it instinctively.

The final piece in the puzzle was curiosity. Like all good journalists, Assange has it in abundance. It is part of his clay. He understood that most people are curious and he spoke to me about the immense power of information to change the world for the better.

WikiLeaks is the picture that emerges when you lay the last puzzle piece in place.

If you want to improve the lot of the poorest, most oppressed people in the world, you can go to a destitute, corrupt African country and work in a community-aid program. It is a noble and self-sacrificing choice. But it only saves one village. Therefore, although it works towards greater justice (in this case economic justice) it is not optimal. A computer geek would consider it sub-optimal. To be optimal, it must be on a much larger scale. Larger than one village, larger than one country, even than one continent. The only way to do that is to use information which can be replicated endlessly – and cheaply – to promote change for the better. But it must be good information, not trashy information or PR spin. It must be the kind of information that plucks at those little threads of curiousity we all have in one measure or another.

It must be the kind of information news media organisations would publish for their readers.

Not everyone wants change, however. Tin-pot dictators like to steal money from their countries.

Average people may think they are happy in their ordinary lives: they don't want change. Yet imagine if there was a secret world these average people did not know about. What could be in that world? It could be a world of classified logs from the front line of a war. It could also be a world of secret diplomatic cables that tell the truth about what really happens behind the mahogany doors of power. The average people might actually want that information – if someone revealed it to them.

WikiLeaks has taught people to "long for the endless immensity of the seas". Who wants to go back to their cramped dog-box apartment now that they have tasted the salty air and seen the ocean's infinite horizon?

Yet Assange still sits in prison, waiting for answers and explanations, like Rubashov. It is more than likely the US will try to extradite him from Sweden if he is forced to leave Britain. Hints in the American media suggest that a secret grand jury investigation is under way or is even completed – without Assange even being in the country.

American politicians propose that Assange be assassinated. Forget a trial or jury. They are judge, jury and executioner, like the thuggish interrogator in Darkness at Noon.

The office of US senator Joseph Lieberman tried to gag WikiLeaks this week by making a phone call that forced Amazon to stop hosting the publisher. The New York Times has also released the diplomatic cables. Lieberman's office has called for an investigation but has not tried to order the paper to stop its presses. As if it could. There would be rioting in the streets of Manhattan.

In person, Assange is remarkably calm. He is sometimes dedicated to the cause of free speech in a pointed way that that affronts Americans, which is surprising, really, given their dedication to the right of free speech.

What matters is that WikiLeaks is changing the balance of power between average citizens and their governments like nothing else has this century. For the past decade the pendulum has swung towards government. WikiLeaks is pulling the pendulum back towards towards the citizens.

Suelette Dreyfus is a Melbourne-based technology journalist.

This story was found at: http://www.smh.com.au/technology/technology-news/the-geek-who-shook-the-world-20101211-18tep.html

Eisenhower's work of genius.

In the New Yorker, there is the story of a new document find which shows the arduous and passionate crafting of the "military-industrial complex" farewell speech.

Farewell Radio and Television Address to the American People,
January 17th, 1961

[Delivered from the President’s Office at 8:30 p.m.]

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Mark your calendars now for the 50th anniversary commemorating the historic farewell address given by Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Newseum
555 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C.

Moderator:
David Gergen
Sr. Political Analyst, CNN

Panel Members:
James Fallows - The Atlantic
Dana Priest - The Washington Post
Evan Thomas - Newsweek

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sinking the Good Ship Julia

Julian Assange vs. Julia Gillard


Truth by Fairey Swordfish.

Jonathan Pollard - a real spy



"In the course of my own interviews for this account, the officials who knew the most about Jonathan Pollard made it clear that they were talking because they no longer had confidence that President Clinton would do what they believed was the right thing -- keep Pollard locked up. Pollard, these officials told me, had done far more damage to American national security than was ever made known to the public; for example, he betrayed elements of four major American intelligence systems. In their eyes, there is no distinction between betraying secrets to an enemy, such as the Soviet Union, and betraying secrets to an ally.

"Officials are loath to talk publicly about it, but spying on allies is a fact of life: the United States invests billions annually to monitor the communications of its friends. Many American embassies around the world contain a clandestine intercept facility that targets diplomatic communications. The goal is not only to know the military and diplomatic plans of our friends but also to learn what intelligence they may be receiving and with whom they share information. "If a friendly state has friends that we don't see as friends," one senior official explained, sensitive intelligence that it should not possess -- such as that supplied by Pollard -- "can spread to others." Many officials said they were convinced that information Pollard sold to the Israelis had ultimately wound up in the hands of the Soviet Union."


Why Pollard Should Never Be Released (The Traitor)SEYMOUR M. HERSH

The New Yorker Magazine, January 18, 1999, pp. 26-33

So Pollard was convicted under United States Code; TITLE 18, PART I, CHAPTER 37, § 794.
Gathering or delivering defense information to aid foreign government


He was handing off suitcases full of stuff to the Israelis. The Israelis lied about it.

Pollard was, however, an American citizen, born in Texas, stealing stuff he had promised not to disclose, in order to "aid foreign government."

Julian Assange is not an American, was born in Townsville, Queensland, and has not gathered or delivered information to aid any foreign government. He has, rather, gathered information to aid the entire planet, so we can all know what the hell is going on.

Mr. Holder, the world is watching, just like it was watching Omar Kahadr's kangaroo court trial in Guanatamo. Good luck with that.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Watan Risk Management



Cool! The thugs protecting the Canadian "signature project" at the Dahla Dam turn out to be thugs. Also, they're related to the Karazi clan, and according to the USA, are Bad Guys. Also, there is some guy from Coquitlam, also historically connected to the Karzai clan, who is an agricultural expert trained at UBC, and very influential in Kandahar, and as it turns out, water from the Dahla Dam is going to be a very lucrative business in whatever mess Afghanistan turns into in the next decade, mainly because of agriculture.

Tell me the Afghan Fairy Story one more time.

The Corrupted Relationship

WikiLeaks Discombobulates Levers of Power



"The WikiLeaks documents challenge the entire corrupted relationship between media and political elites. Founder Julian Assange is an outsider and doesn’t attend exclusive and secret meetings where the furthering of US foreign policy goals are on the cards. He aims to disrupt that dynamic. Many in the media resent not being leaked the information themselves and are jealous. Others simply dislike a lone-wolf citizen with remarkable tech-savvy to challenge their viability."


Antony Loewenstein is a Sydney-based freelance journalist, author and blogger.
ABC Australia Online, December 10, 2010

Yeah, right


Australian minister 'not a spy' for US: colleagues

SYDNEY — Senior Australian politicians insisted Thursday the country's sports minister was not a "spy" for Washington after WikiLeaks cables reportedly revealed he was a "protected" source for the United States.

Mark Arbib, a key figure in June's overthrow of former leader Kevin Rudd, was a valued contact in Canberra and met US diplomats "repeatedly" according to WikiLeaks memos published exclusively by the Sydney Morning Herald.

Elevated from minor portfolios to the Sports Ministry following Australia's August elections, Arbib was described as a "right-wing powerbroker and political rising star" who was influential in Rudd's inner circle.

He kept US officials briefed on the inner workings of Australia's government and ruling Labor party, according to the Herald report, including candid commentary ahead of Rudd's overthrow by his deputy, Julia Gillard.

"(Rudd wants) to ensure that there are viable alternatives to Gillard within the Labor party to forestall a challenge," Arbib reportedly told US diplomats, some eight months before the coup.

Senior politicians were quick to defend Arbib, including fellow coup architect Bill Shorten, now the Assistant Treasurer.

"I completely reject the idea that he is a spy, I just think that's nonsense," Shorten told Sky News.

"I think that the commentary I've seen this morning in the newspapers is dinner party gossip masquerading as US intelligence... Each week someone's got to send a report off to America, so they jot down gossip and conversation," he added.

Health Minister Nicola Roxon said there was "nothing extraordinary about people meeting and talking with diplomats" and urged against reading "anything at all sinister into that".

The Herald said WikiLeaks cables also showed that the US took a keen interest in the rise of Gillard, now Australia's Prime Minister, and saw her as the "front-runner" to replace Rudd as early as June 2008.

"Many (party) figures" offered assurances of her pragmatism, according to the leaked memos, assuaging US concerns that she was ambivalent about Australia's alliance with Washington.

"Labor party officials have told us that one lesson Gillard took from the 2004 elections was that Australians will not elect a PM who is perceived to be anti-American," one cable reportedly read.

Rudd, now Australia's Foreign Minister, was himself the subject of an embarrassing cable published earlier this week in which he urged the US to use force against key trading partner China if "everything goes wrong".

Other diplomatic memos obtained from WikiLeaks by the Sydney Morning Herald described the foreign minister as a "mistake-prone control freak" who made hasty decisions and had micro-managing tendencies.

Mandarin-speaking former diplomat Rudd, known as a workaholic, shrugged off the stinging diplomatic criticism from his country's most important partner, saying it was "water off a duck's back".

"I'm sure much worse has been written about me in the past and probably much worse will be written about me in the future but frankly, mate, I don't care," Rudd said.

Gillard has slammed WikiLeaks, founded by Australian-born hacker Julian Assange, as "grossly irresponsible" and illegal, but Rudd says US diplomatic security is at fault, not the whistleblowing site.