Archive for the Wikileaks Category

The Anti-Empire Report #130: Japan’s Pacifist Constitution Undermined at US’ behest [William Blum.org]

Posted in Afghanistan, Anti-communism, China, CIA, Encirclement of China, Hillary Clinton, Iraq, Japan, NATO, Pentagon, Russia, State Department, U.K., US foreign occupation, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, Wikileaks, World War II on October 14, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

“…[Japan’s current ultra-right prime minister] Abe, it should be noted, is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, with which the CIA has had a long and intimate connection, even when party leaders were convicted World War 2 war criminals…”

by William Blum

July 12, 2014

Article 9 of the Japanese Constitution, 1947, words long cherished by a large majority of the Japanese people:

“Aspiring sincerely to an international peace based on justice and order, the Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as means of settling international disputes.

“In order to accomplish the aim of the preceding paragraph, land, sea, and air forces, as well as other war potential, will never be maintained. The right of belligerency of the state will not be recognized.”

This statement is probably unique amongst the world’s constitutions.

But on July 1, 2014 the government of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, without changing a word of Article 9, announced a “reinterpretation” of it to allow for military action in conjunction with allies. This decision can be seen as the culmination of a decades-long effort by the United States to wean Japan away from its post-WW2 pacifist constitution and foreign policy and set it back on the righteous path of being a military power once again, only this time acting in coordination with US foreign policy needs.

In the triumphalism of the end of the Second World War, the American occupation of Japan, in the person of General Douglas MacArthur, played a major role in the creation of this constitution. But after the communists came to power in China in 1949, the United States opted for a strong Japan safely ensconced in the anti-communist camp. For pacifism, it’s been downhill ever since … step by step … MacArthur himself ordered the creation of a “national police reserve”, which became the embryo of the future Japanese military … visiting Tokyo in 1956, US Secretary of State John Foster Dulles told Japanese officials: “In the past, Japan had demonstrated her superiority over the Russians and over China. It was time for Japan to think again of being and acting like a Great Power.” … various US-Japanese security and defense cooperation treaties, which called on Japan to integrate its military technology with that of the US and NATO … the US supplying new sophisticated military aircraft and destroyers … all manner of Japanese logistical assistance to the US in Washington’s frequent military operations in Asia … repeated US pressure on Japan to increase its military budget and the size of its armed forces … more than a hundred US military bases in Japan, protected by the Japanese military … US-Japanese joint military exercises and joint research on a missile defense system … the US Ambassador to Japan, 2001: “I think the reality of circumstances in the world is going to suggest to the Japanese that they reinterpret or redefine Article 9.” … Under pressure from Washington, Japan sent several naval vessels to the Indian Ocean to refuel US and British warships as part of the Afghanistan campaign in 2002, then sent non-combat forces to Iraq to assist the American war as well as to East Timor, another made-in-America war scenario … US Secretary of State Colin Powell, 2004: “If Japan is going to play a full role on the world stage and become a full active participating member of the Security Council, and have the kind of obligations that it would pick up as a member of the Security Council, Article Nine would have to be examined in that light.” …

In 2012 Japan was induced to take part in a military exercise with 21 other countries, converging on Hawaii for the largest-ever Rim of the Pacific naval exercises and war games, with a Japanese admiral serving as vice commander of the combined task force. 4 And so it went … until, finally, on July 1 of this year, the Abe administration announced their historic decision. Abe, it should be noted, is a member of the Liberal Democratic Party, with which the CIA has had a long and intimate connection, even when party leaders were convicted World War 2 war criminals. 5

If and when the American empire engages in combat with China or Russia, it appears that Washington will be able to count on their Japanese brothers-in-arms. In the meantime, the many US bases in Japan serve as part of the encirclement of China, and during the Vietnam War the United States used their Japanese bases as launching pads to bomb Vietnam.

The US policies and propaganda not only got rid of the annoying Article 9, but along the way it gave rise to a Japanese version of McCarthyism. A prime example of this is the case of Kimiko Nezu, a 54-year-old Japanese teacher, who was punished by being transferred from school to school, by suspensions, salary cuts, and threats of dismissal because of her refusal to stand during the playing of the national anthem, a World War II song chosen as the anthem in 1999. She opposed the song because it was the same one sung as the Imperial Army set forth from Japan calling for an “eternal reign” of the emperor. At graduation ceremonies in 2004, 198 teachers refused to stand for the song. After a series of fines and disciplinary actions, Nezu and nine other teachers were the only protesters the following year. Nezu was then allowed to teach only when another teacher was present…

Other sections of article, all worthwhile:

* “What would a psychiatrist call this? Delusions of grandeur?” — US political elite’s obsession with projecting hegemonic “American leadership” despite global perceptions of the US as the most dangerous nation in the world

* “Yankee blowback” — Central/South American child immigrant influx into the US a demonstrable outcome of undemocratic ‘free trade’ agreements and foreign policy skulduggery imposed by the US empire on those countries

* “M’lady Hillary” — the sociopathy of the former Secretary of State and nominal Democratic candidate for US president

Excerpted; full article link: http://williamblum.org/aer/read/130

Footnotes available on original webpage

After Feigning Love for Egyptian Democracy, U.S. Back To Openly Supporting Tyranny [The Intercept]

Posted in Bahrain, Bill Clinton, Corporate Media Critique, Egypt, Hillary Clinton, Media cover-up, Obama, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, State Department, UAE - United Arab Emirates, US imperialism, USA, Wikileaks on October 9, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Glenn Greenwald

2 October 2014

It is, of course, very difficult to choose the single most extreme episode of misleading American media propaganda, but if forced to do so, coverage of the February, 2011 Tahrir Square demonstrations in Egypt would be an excellent candidate…

Excerpted; full article link: https://firstlook.org/theintercept/2014/10/02/feigned-american-support-egyptian-democracy-lasted-roughly-six-weeks/

The US and Thailand’s military coup [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Afghanistan, Encirclement of China, George W. Bush, Iraq, Japan, Korean War, Obama, Pentagon, south Korea, Thailand, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Vietnam, Wikileaks on May 31, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

26 May 2014

The US response to last week’s military coup in Thailand was utterly cynical. Secretary of State John Kerry declared that he was “disappointed by the decision of the Thai military to suspend the constitution and take control of the government,” urged “a return to democracy” and warned that military and other assistance programs would be reviewed.

Kerry’s “disappointment” had nothing to do with any concern for the democratic rights of the Thai people. Rather the Obama administration’s overriding concern throughout seven months of political upheaval in Bangkok has been to preserve its close, longstanding relations with the Thai military as part of its broader “pivot to Asia” and military build-up against China throughout the region…

…Last week’s coup follows the same pattern as the military’s ousting of Thaksin in 2006. WikiLeaks cables later revealed that US ambassador Ralph Boyce had been briefed about the military takeover several weeks in advance and had given the nod of approval. Both sides understood there would be cosmetic US aid cuts. However, US funding continued for law enforcement, counterterrorism and non-proliferation programs. Thailand kept its preferential treatment as a major non-NATO ally and the joint Cobra Gold military exercises, one of the world’s largest, went ahead as planned in 2007 under the junta. The Obama administration undoubtedly gave the green light for the latest coup as the Bush administration did in 2006.

The military’s actions are not aimed primarily against the pro-Thaksin faction of the ruling class, but against the working class and the rural poor. The fear in Thai ruling circles, and also in Washington, is that the protracted factional infighting could open the door for a movement of workers and peasants in conditions of negative economic growth, rising social tensions and corporate demands for austerity.

While giving tacit support to the coup, the US is also seeking to minimise the impact on relations with the military. Thailand is a formal military ally and has sent troops to fight in neo-colonial US wars in Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan and Iraq. During the Vietnam War, 50,000 American troops were based in Thailand and US bombing raids took off from Thai airbases.

The importance of Thailand to the Pentagon’s war plans were underscored by a 2009 WikiLeaks cable from US ambassador Eric John which noted that “our military quietly access the [Utapao] air base over 1,000 times per year for flights in support of US operations, including missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.” He also noted that the US military used the same air base “for flights on targets of intelligence interest, and we received permission for these operations as a matter of routine, without having to answer questions to the purpose of the flights. It is hard to imagine another Asian nation so easily permitting such operations. While we avoid publicising our use of Utapao to avoid Thai sensibilities regarding the perception of foreign basing, Utapao and other Thai air fields and seaports remain vital to our force projection objectives in Southeast Asia.”

Washington’s implicit support for last week’s military coup in Thailand is a warning to the working class throughout Asia and internationally. Far from being a champion of democracy, US imperialism is increasingly relying on right-wing regimes, such as the Japanese government of Shinzo Abe and South Korea’s President Park Geun-hye, daughter of former US-backed dictator Park Chun-hee, as it seeks to reassert US hegemony through the “pivot to Asia” and prepares for war against China. The Thai junta is the latest…

Peter Symonds

Excerpted; full article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/05/26/pers-m26.html

WikiLeaks, Assange targets of active FBI probe [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Afghan War Diary, Afghanistan, Corporate Media Critique, FBI, Iraq, Julian Assange, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, Obama, Pentagon, War crimes, Wikileaks on May 28, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Bill Van Auken
21 May 2014

Court documents released this week confirm that the FBI and US Justice Department are continuing an active “criminal/national security” investigation against WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

The documents were provided to the US District Court in Washington, DC in response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) lawsuit filed by the US-based Electronic Privacy Information Center (EPIC). They prove that the Obama administration’s political persecution of Assange and WikiLeaks continues, more than four years after the media organization first provoked Washington’s ire with the publication of the “Collateral Murder” video, a US attack helicopter’s gunsight footage from a 2007 Baghdad airstrike in which Iraqi children, journalists and other civilians were shot and killed.

The “Collateral Murder” posting was followed by the publication of thousands of documents detailing US war crimes in Afghanistan and then of diplomatic cables exposing Washington’s machinations around the globe.

EPIC filed the suit in November 2011 after the US government opened its criminal investigation against WikiLeaks and pressured web hosts and payment processors into severing all relations with the organization. It also become public that the government was attempting to identify those who accessed the documents and was issuing direct orders to US military and civilian government employees not to do so.

The US investigation was initiated following the May 2010 arrest of Private First Class Chelsea Bradley Manning, who was tried on charges of espionage and “aiding the enemy.” Manning was subsequently sentenced to 35 years in prison, the most draconian punishment ever for a government whistleblower.

The FOIL suit sought all records regarding “individuals targeted for surveillance” in connection with WikiLeaks, all lists of names compiled of individuals who had supported or indicated interest in the media organization and all records of communications between the government and social media companies, such as Facebook and Google, as well as financial service companies, including Visa, MasterCard, and PayPal, regarding WikiLeaks.

Since the suit was filed, revelations by National Security Agency whistleblower Edward Snowden established that the NSA was spying on everyone, US citizens included, who visited the WikiLeaks web site.

In a document filed with the Washington, DC court on Monday, US prosecutors said that making public the requested documents would cause “articulable harm” to the Justice Department’s and FBI’s ongoing investigation and should remain secret “pending prosecution.”

The document gives the lie to the story leaked by Justice Department officials last November to the Washington Post that there was no intention of prosecuting Assange, because trying him would raise the question of why other major newspapers and news organizations that published stories based on the WikiLeaks documents were not also in the dock…

Excerpted; full article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/05/21/wiki-m21.html

The firing of the New York Times’ Jill Abramson [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Afghanistan, Anti-China media bias, Anti-China propaganda exposure, Black propaganda, China, China-bashing, CIA, Fascism, George W. Bush, Julian Assange, National Security Agency / NSA, Nazism, New York Times lie, NSA, Obama, Pentagon, Psychological warfare, State Department, Syria, Ukraine, US drone strikes, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Wall Street, War crimes, Wikileaks on May 28, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By David Walsh
21 May 2014

The firing of Jill Abramson as executive editor of the New York Times May 14 lifted the lid on the US media establishment. Displayed for all to see was the money-grubbing, careerism and egotism that dominates this filthy little world.

The New York Times is a principal mouthpiece of the American corporate elite. It has become one of the most dishonest publications on earth, since its editors and reporters are assigned an impossible task: framing the interests of a predatory, crisis-ridden elite in the vestiges of traditional liberal terminology.

One makes sense of many articles in the Times these days either by reading between the lines and calculating what has been deliberately omitted, or through a process of deciphering that involves reading backward from the obvious ideological slant and a priori conclusions of the author to the details and arguments offered as “unbiased” facts. The unsubtle hand of the State Department, the Pentagon or the CIA — or some combination thereof — can often be perceived in the Times’ news gathering and commentary.

Over the past decade, the Times has defended the neo-colonial operations of the Bush and Obama administrations, while firmly backing the onslaught against constitutional and elementary democratic rights carried out by the American state, with an inevitable degree of handwringing and the occasional caveats. All the time it has cheered on the stock market boom, the parasitism and swindling of the financial aristocracy and the resulting immiseration of wide layers of the US population.

The newspaper’s leading personnel, including Jill Abramson, her predecessor and her successor at the helm of the Times, have all emerged out of these profoundly reactionary social and economic processes.

Controversy surrounds the immediate circumstances of Abramson’s dismissal. Her defenders claim that Abramson recently discovered she was receiving less in pay and benefits than Bill Keller, the executive editor before her, and had “pushed” to remedy that situation. In this scenario, Abramson is a martyr to the cause of equal pay for women.

The Times ’ publisher Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr., insisted in an email on May 15 that, in fact, in 2013, Abramson’s “total compensation package was more than 10 percent higher than that of her predecessor, Bill Keller, in his last full year as Executive Editor, which was 2010. It was also higher than his total compensation in any previous year.”

The pay in question, equal or otherwise, put Abramson (and Keller) in the top fraction of income earners in the US. According to Ken Auletta of the New Yorker: “As executive editor, Abramson’s starting salary in 2011 was $475,000, compared to Keller’s salary that year, $559,000. Her salary was raised to $503,000, and—only after she protested—was raised again to $525,000.” In addition to her salary, Abramson was eligible for “bonuses, stock grants, and other long-term incentives.”

Sulzberger, in a statement, asserted that Abramson’s departure had “nothing to do with pay or gender.” Rather, he insisted, the firing resulted from “a series of issues, including arbitrary decision-making, a failure to consult and bring colleagues with her, inadequate communication and the public mistreatment of colleagues.”

According to Auletta’s account, the final straw involved Abramson’s offering a position to Janine Gibson of Britain’s Guardian newspaper as a second managing editor of digital operations at the Times without consulting Dean Baquet, the first managing editor and now Abramson’s successor.

Whatever the circumstances, Abramson’s firing instantly became an immense and powerfully felt issue for certain small circles in the US.

Her dismissal was followed by much lamentation and gnashing of teeth by feminist and left-liberal critics of the move. Was she fired “because she was a woman?” The “ugliness of being a woman boss” or “a woman leader” was on certain minds. “We’re back to square one” as far as women in the upper echelons of journalism are concerned, suggested another commentator.

Frida Ghitis, writing at CNN.com, observed, “You can draw your own conclusions about why Jill Abramson was fired, but as we look at the history of her tenure as executive editor of The New York Times, the world’s most prestigious and influential newspaper, and learn details about how it came to an end, women everywhere are shaking their heads.”

Really? Women everywhere were shaking their heads?

“The departure of Jill Abramson,” commented Rebecca Traister of the New Republic, “is a bigger and far grimmer story about a uniquely powerful woman, whose rise and whose firing will now become another depressingly representative chapter in the story of women’s terribly slow march toward social, professional and economic parity.”

Michelle Goldberg, of the Nation, headlined her comment, “Jill Abramson was right,” although the reader discovers that Abramson was “right,” according to Goldberg, about relatively trivial internal issues at the Times. The Nation columnist takes note of the claim that Abramson was fired for being “pushy,” and goes on: “The Times denies this, but unless it’s disproven, women across the country have reason to find it chilling.”

Again, which women?

At the Progressive, Ruth Conniff assured us in the headline of her comment that the “NY Times Firing of Abramson Hurts Women.” She concluded the piece by arguing that the manner of Abramson’s firing by the Times is “not good for women as a group.”

How so? Is there the slightest proof that the employment of a female executive editor by the New York Times, for somewhere between $525,000 and one million dollars a year (or more), had the slightest impact on the conditions of women “as a group”?

On the contrary, there is considerable evidence that the gap between the Abramsons and others in her income group, on the one hand, and the vast majority of women, on the other, is growing ever wider…

…According to a review in the New York Review of Books, Alison Wolf in The Women at the Top, a study of upper middle class “professional women” across the globe, argues that “couples at the top lead very different lives, not only from the lower classes, but from previous generations. Within the households, husbands and wives are virtually interchangeable. Both tend to be high earners, and both tend to be equally competent at childcare and household tasks. … They now have more in common with each other than either has with members of their own sex in the lower classes.”

Of course, upper middle class members of both sexes have always had “more in common” with each other than with anyone in the “lower classes,” but the exacerbation of this situation is clearly a noteworthy social phenomenon, with definite political and ideological implications.

In the comments from many of Abramson’s defenders, one hears the angry collective voice of this layer of well-heeled women whose considerable gains have only made it more selfish, more rapacious and more envious of the male-dominated corporate and financial aristocracy to whose exalted realm it aspires. For this social grouping, the Times ’ executive editor was “a role model and beacon of hope,” in the words of Barbara Cochran, the Curtis B. Hurley Chair in Public Affairs Journalism at the Missouri School of Journalism.

This stratum of well-paid professional women is also one of the key constituencies of the pseudo-left, and helps explain the obsession of groups such as the International Socialist Organization (ISO) with gender and identity politics. A great deal of wealth and privilege is at stake in the struggle for “gender parity” in journalism, academia, unions, business and government.

Even a scoundrel, of course, can be the victim of an undemocratic attack and worthy of defense. But there is nothing progressive that attaches itself to Abramson’s case, nothing that elicits sympathy. Nor is there anything exceptional in her entire career — she has not been identified even by her defenders with any exposé or journalistic coup. To be blunt, she is a journalistic and intellectual zero.

The entire sordid affair at the Times is about money, with perhaps the added element of ferocious personal ambition and ego. Abramson is the product of right-wing feminism, the fitting progeny of Gloria Steinem and Margaret Thatcher…

As for the editorial content and reporting of the New York Times, Abramson’s reign marked the further integration of the newspaper into the misinformation apparatus of the White House, Defense Department and various intelligence agencies.

What was the record of the Times during her two years and eight months as executive editor? A brief recapitulation would have to include the newspaper’s vociferous backing for economic and military aggression against Iran, Syria and China; its defense of drone murder and the military lockdown of Boston; its contributions to the smear campaigns against Bradley (Chelsea) Manning, Julian Assange and Edward Snowden; its support for the privatization of Medicare, defense of Obamacare and continued campaign against “overtesting” (i.e., its indefatigable support for reducing health care costs at the expense of the working class population); and, most recently, the Times ’ especially vile cover-up of the fascist-led coup in Ukraine, its publication of fake photos supposedly claiming to prove Russian intervention in the eastern part of the country and its suppression of ultra-right atrocities in Odessa and elsewhere.

A record to be proud of … ! Of course Abramson wasn’t fired for any of this, no portion of which will hinder her from finding a new lucrative source of income.

She belongs to the wealthy, anti-democratic media and political establishment in the US, which has swung dramatically to the right in recent decades. The distasteful and unseemly squabble between Abramson, Baquet, Sulzberger and the rest will serve a useful purpose to the extent that it further discredits the state-run propaganda organ that the Times has become.

Excerpted; full article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/05/21/abra-m21.html

US collecting all cell phone calls in Afghanistan [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Afghanistan, Iraq, Julian Assange, Kenya, Mexico, National Security Agency / NSA, NATO invasion, NSA, Obama, Pakistan, Pentagon, Philippines, Somalia, US drone strikes, US foreign occupation, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes, Wikileaks, Yemen on May 24, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Thomas Gaist
24 May 2014

WikiLeaks on Friday revealed that the US has been surveilling all cell phone conversations in Afghanistan as part of its SOMALGET mass data collection program. SOMALGET is one component of a broader NSA effort, including a program called MYSTIC, which collect communications data in Mexico, Kenya, the Philippines, Iraq and elsewhere.

Millions of voice clips and reams of telephone metadata are collected and stored as part of the SOMALGET/MYSTIC program, which taps into entire national cellular networks. Three days ago, Glenn Greenwald’s The Intercept, revealed that SOMALGET was being used to collect phone calls made from the Bahamas and an unknown country, now revealed to be Afghanistan.

Greenwald said at the time that revealing the second country would “lead to deaths,” and complied with demands from top US security officials that he not publicize the information. The Washington Post also chose to preserve the secrecy of the surveillance against Afghanistan.

In a “statement on the mass recording of Afghan telephone calls by the NSA” published Friday, WikiLeaks rejected the “national security” rationale for concealing the country’s identity. A statement from WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange stated, “The Intercept stated that the US government asserted that the publication of this name might lead to a ‘rise in violence’. Such claims were also used by the administration of Barack Obama to refuse to release further photos of torture at Abu Ghraib in Iraq… WikiLeaks has years of experience with such false or overstated claims made by US officials in their attempts to delay or deny publication.”

“WikiLeaks has confirmed that the identity of the victim state is Afghanistan. This can also be independently verified through forensic scrutiny of imperfectly applied censorship on related documents released to date and correlations with other NSA programs,” the statement said.

The mass spying against Afghanistan underscores that a primary function of the spying apparatus is to identify and target opponents of the neocolonial agenda being pursued by the US ruling elite, while terrorizing the civilian population into submission. As noted by the WikiLeaks statement, the US government’s targeted drone program relies heavily on information gathered from NSA surveillance operations.

“We know from previous reporting that the National Security Agency’s mass interception system is a key component in the United States’ drone targeting program. The US drone targeting program has killed thousands of people and hundreds of women and children in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia in violation of international law. The censorship of a victim state’s identity directly assists the killing of innocent people,” the WikiLeaks statement said…

Julian Assange tells SXSW audience: ‘NSA has grown to be a rogue agency’ [Guardian]

Posted in CIA, Ecuador, Glenn Greenwald @ Salon, Julian Assange, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, Obama, Pentagon, US imperialism, USA, Wikileaks on March 16, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

• Wikileaks founder: ‘All of us have to do something’
• Interview conducted from Ecuador’s London embassy
• Snowden and Greenwald also set to appear at SXSW

by Stuart Dredge

8 March 2014

The Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on Saturday told an audience in Texas that people power is the key to rolling back the power of the National Security Agency and other surveillance agencies…

Full article link: http://www.theguardian.com/media/2014/mar/08/julian-assange-wikileaks-nsa-sxsw

(c) Guardian News & Media Ltd