Archive for the Afghan War Diary Category

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

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Responsibility for War Deaths—U.S. Political Leaders or War Protesters? [ZCommunications]

Posted in Afghan War Diary, Anti-communism, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, George W. Bush, Historical myths of the US, Iraq, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Vietnam, Wikileaks on August 5, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

July 14, 2013

by Edward S. Herman

It has long been a practice of members of the war party, including people like New York Congressman Peter King, to assail critics of ongoing wars for allegedly doing injury to our fighting men by their hostile, unpatriotic and even traitorous actions and statements. The targets of the anti-war protesters may be the killing or torturing of foreign soldiers and civilians by U.S. military personnel, or telling lies about these and other actions, or questioning the military plans and intentions of U.S. leaders. These hostile criticisms are said to jeopardize our troops by disclosing military secrets. They also purportedly undermine public support of the war effort at home by calling into question its effects and rationale.

One difficulty with these lines of attack on war critics is that they may be easily applied to any disclosure of military events, even pro-war propaganda. Reports of battle casualties, even if understated, may cause the public to react negatively to the war, and some war propagandists have assailed the media for reporting straightforward facts, including official reports. Peter Braestrup’s Big Story: How the American Press and Television Reported and Interpreted the Crisis of Tet 1968 in Vietnam and Washington (Westview: 1977), a Freedom House-sponsored study of media coverage of the Tet offensive during the Vietnam War, was notable for its accusations of excessive media negativism and failure to actively support the war effort. Braestrup explicitly accused the media of responsibility for losing the war. In his view, a properly working media would suppress negative news, stress the positive, and serve as a propaganda arm of the military establishment. This book, highly regarded in the mainstream, would have made CBS’s Walter Cronkite and many of his media associates traitorous for reporting discouraging Pentagon handouts. Logically the high level military personnel who provided these handouts, or made even more pessimistic assessments of the war’s progress, should have kept quiet or lied, and they also should have been condemned and shared with the media the guilt of losing the war through failed news management. (For details on Braestrup’s errors and contradictions, and the warm and uncritical reception given him by the pundits, see Manufacturing Consent, pp. 211-221 and Appendix 3.)

U.S. governments have often lied about war casualties, underplaying both U.S. casualties and, especially, the number of civilians killed in “collateral damage.” If they do lie, the eventual uncovering of these lies may hurt the war effort, so that the lies themselves, likely to backfire, may possibly have been an antiwar move engineered by antiwar plotters intending to discredit government claims! In short, featuring the media’s role in military failures opens a Pandora’s box that can reach far into the media and military-political establishments.

Another difficulty with the claim that antiwar actions and disclosures are responsible for U.S. military casualties is the regular failure to show any such effects. The military has not been able to supply a single piece of evidence that the massive disclosures of U.S. diplomatic and military actions in its recent wars by WikiLeaks and Bradley Manning resulted in a single U.S. casualty. Those documents described events of the past, and apparently disclosed no military plans that would be of logistical interest to enemy forces.

The most dramatic release in the WikiLeaks trove was a video showing a U.S. helicopter marksman in Iraq machine-gunning civilians on the ground, and doing this gleefully. The war-makers would never have released and/or shown such a video, which displays the unpleasant reality of “collateral damage,” which in this case was clearly not very collateral (and Wikileaks gives it a more honest designation: “Collateral Murder,” April 5, 2010). This video would certainly not have enlightened the insurgents fighting U.S. forces in Iraq, but it might well have affected the public at home. It is just such kinds of reality and truth hidden behind the war party’s and media’s filtered and vetted version of U.S. wars that poses the real threat. Those hidden truths, if allowed to proliferate, might prevent, shorten, or terminate wars. But by the same token, if those hidden truths can be kept out of sight, wars can flourish.

So who was responsible for the 58,000 U.S. soldiers’ deaths during the Vietnam war? Hardly the protesters, who if they had any affect on U.S. casualties reduced them by their social disturbances and threats of greater disruption at home, which almost surely contributing to the decisions of the leaders to disengage (see Noam Chomsky, For Reasons of State [Vintage: 1973], chap. 5, “On the Limits of Civil Disobedience”; Gabriel Kolko, Anatomy of a War [Pantheon: 1985], chap, 25, “The Tet Offensive’s Impact on Washington”). The responsibility for the 58,000 U.S. military deaths, as well as that of several million Vietnamese, clearly must be allocated to the U.S. national leadership, from Truman to Johnson and Nixon and their top advisers and underlings like Walt Rostow and Robert McNamara. It was these men (and they were all men) who made the decisions to support the French reoccupation of Indochina after World War II, and then took over the task of imposing a minority government on that distant country by violence. These officials made up a substantial cohort of war criminals, if Nuremberg principles were universally applied, which they clearly are not.

This official cohort pursued a long war of aggression in Vietnam because the United States had great and superior military power and its leaders were determined to use it to prevent the spread of communism or any independent locus of power. They were (and remain) arrogant, ideological, and almost proudly ignorant, and they were (and remain) willing to expend very large resources and kill almost without limit in pursuit of domination. In their ideological system “communism” was an integrated global monolith seeking to control the world (a pretty case of transference). They underestimated the seriousness of the split between the Soviet Union and Communist China, as well as the strength of Vietnamese nationalism and distrust of China, points which they were prepared to recognize openly only after a long and costly war, the devastation and mass killing of Vietnamese, and the sacrifice of 58,000 Americans. (See David K. Shipler, “Robert McNamara and the Ghosts of Vietnam,” New York Times Magazine, August 10, 1997.)

While steadily escalating the violence in Vietnam, the U.S. leaders pretended to offer negotiations for a compromise settlement, but they were unwilling to make serious concessions because of the domestic political costs of losing to Communists, the weight they gave to “credibility,” and their belief that the enemy must eventually surrender to the vastly greater U.S. military and killing capability. This was an illustration of the “perils of dominance,” which impels a dominant power to underestimate the willingness of a target to resist and accept devastation and death. (See Gareth Porter, Perils of Dominance: Imbalance of Power and the Road to War in Vietnam [Univ. of California Press, 2006].) The U.S. leadership marveled at the willingness of the Vietnamese leaders to absorb large casualties, regarding this as a moral failing on their part, while never recognizing that the willingness to kill and devastate to avoid loss of face and the power to control a distant land had a moral component.

It was also part of the genius of the managers of the U.S. death machine, which included (and includes) a supportive mass media, that they were able to pretend that this country was combating North Vietnamese “aggression,” seeking to preserve an “independent South Vietnam,” and trying to allow the South Vietnamese populace “freedom of choice” and “self-determination.” They even coined the phrase “internal aggression,” that allowed the fact that South Vietnam and the South Vietnamese–the home and population base of the National Liberation Front, the main oppositional military force–were fighting the U.S. and mercenary forces, to constitute aggressing against the invader of their own territory!

The most quoted phrase arising from the Vietnam war was possibly that “It became necessary to destroy the town [BenTre] in order to save it.” (See Peter Arnett, Live From the Battlefield: From Vietnam to Baghdad, 35 Years in the World’s War Zones [Touchstone: 1995], p. 255). Save it for what? Control of any remnants by the real aggressor and his imposed minority regime! The free elections on integration of the artificially divided North and South Vietnam called for by the 1954 Geneva Accords were not held because Ho Chi Minh would have won and ruled the integrated segments, as Eisenhower conceded in his autobiography. But this could be expunged in a Free Press and the true aggressor could be combating that internal aggression in the interest of free choice. We may note that back in 1966 the State Department stated as regards Vietnam that “We seek to insure that the South Vietnamese have the right and opportunity to control their own destiny,” which it announced in the same time frame as U.S. forces helped crush Buddhist and other non-communist elements within South Vietnam that opposed the military puppets the U.S. military had installed. [See George Kahin, Intervention: How America Became Involved in Vietnam [Knopf: 1986], chap 16, “The Final Polarization”). And in the classic of Orwellian truth inversion, the New York Times’s James Reston could claim that we were in Vietnam to demonstrate “that no state [i.e., North Vietnam] shall use military force or the threat of military force to achieve its political objectives.” In fact, military force was all that the United States brought to that distant land in its pursuit of domination.

In the case of the Iraq invasion-occupation of 2003-2012, here again it was hardly the protesters who were responsible for the 4,488 U.S. military deaths (let alone the million or so Iraqi deaths), it was George Bush, Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, the politicians like Joseph Biden and Peter King who supported and voted for the war, and Bill Keller, Judith Miller, Rupert Murdoch and the rest of the media cohort that helped offset the opposition of the masses of protesters who didn’t want our boys to be sent abroad to participate in a war of aggression based on big lies, and get killed in the process. The weapons of mass destruction were not there, and the follow-up idea that the war was in the interest of Iraqi democracy was as laughably fraudulent as the U.S. quest for self-determination in Vietnam.

These issues have risen again with Edward Snowden’s release of National Security Agency documents showing that organization’s massive collection of electronic communications of U.S. and foreign citizens as well as officials at home and abroad. The position of NSA and other officials is that the NSA information-gathering programs were an instrument of the war on terror and aimed at terrorists, so they were therefore legitimate and Snowden’s action was not only illegal but traitorous. Secretary of State John Kerry said on CNN that “People may die as a consequence of what this man did. It is possible the United States will be attacked because terrorists may now know how to protect themselves, in some way or another, that they didn’t know before.” (“CNN Newsroom,” June 25, 2013.) Kerry, of course, is familiar with deaths in war, having admittedly killed women and children during his stint as al soldier in Vietnam. He offers no evidence now that Snowden’s released information is likely to aid the terrorists, and he does not discuss the possibility that what had been released might save lives by providing the public with war information that the war-makers try to keep under cover.

Congressman Peter King has also come forward with assertions that not only Snowden but his media interrogator and information transmitter Glenn Greenwald have been “putting American lives at risk” and that Greenwald himself should very possibly be subject to legal charges. (“Anderson Cooper 360°,” CNN, June 11, 2013.) King says that Greenwald has threatened to release the names of CIA agents abroad and “The last time that was done in this country, you saw a CIA station chief murdered in Greece.” In fact Greenwald has never made such a threat, and King is also wrong about the Greek killing of the CIA station chief, Richard Welch, which he attributes to the release of the victim’s name by Counterspy Magazine. But Welch’s cover was blown well before the Counterspy publication, among other reasons by his occupation of a residence well-known to be that of the CIA’s station chief. (“CIA Press Exploitation Scored,” Facts on File World News Digest, Jan. 13, 1978). But the Counterspy-Welch murder tie is a well-embedded patriotic untruth, and King can use it freely.

In sum, as with Vietnam and Iraq (among many others) those responsible for the deaths of American boys fighting wars in distant locales are not the protesters, whistleblowers, and journalists like Greenwald, who call attention to the bases of war decisions and the lies and suppressions that hide from the public the real reasons and results of those decisions. On the contrary, it is the decision-makers and their spokespersons and apologists who bear primary responsibility for American deaths.

Daniel Somers, a 30-year old Iraq war veteran who committed suicide on June 10, 2013, was also very clear in his suicide note that the blame for his own death and the horrors that he helped inflict on Iraqis go to the government deciders, and nobody else. He says that his recollections of what he had done were unbearable; that to resume ordinary life after what he did “would be the mark of a sociopath….To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand. Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me.” He went on to write, “Any blame rests with them.” (“I Am Sorry That It Has Come To This,” Gawker, June 22, 2013.) Daniel Somers confirms that the mainstream has the villains and heroes upside down.

Article link: http://www.zcommunications.org/responsibility-for-war-deaths-u-s-political-leaders-or-war-protesters-by-edward-s-herman

As Bradley Manning Trial Begins, Press Predictably Misses the Point [TaIBblog / Rolling Stone]

Posted in Afghan War Diary, Corporate Media Critique, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, USA, Wikileaks on June 13, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Matt Taibbi

June 6, 2013

Article exposes the corporate media acting as a kangaroo court for Bradley Manning, and deceitfully diverting the proper attention onto Manning away from the US government’s massive war — and other — crimes.

Full article link: http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/blogs/taibblog/as-bradley-manning-trial-begins-press-predictably-misses-the-point-20130605

Also see: “Bradley Manning on TV Network News” by Peter Hart [FAIR] – http://www.fair.org/blog/2013/06/04/bradley-manning-on-tv-network-news/

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FREE BRADLEY MANNING!

US Army charges accused WikiLeaks source Private Bradley Manning with capital offense [World Socialist Web Site]

Posted in Afghan War Diary, Afghanistan, Amnesty International, Hillary Clinton, Iraq, Obama, Torture, US imperialism, USA, Wikileaks on March 7, 2011 by Zuo Shou / 左手
By Barry Grey
3 March 2011

The United States Army late Wednesday notified Private First Class Bradley Manning, whom it suspects of being WikiLeak’s source for thousands of classified military reports and embassy cables, that it was filing an additional 22 charges against him.

The new charges in Manning’s court martial process include “aiding the enemy,” a capital offense.  A news release from the Army said the prosecution team has “notified the defense that the prosecution will not recommend the death penalty.” However, it is up to the commander overseeing the case to make the final decision about imposing the death penalty.

This means that Manning, who has already suffered through ten months of solitary confinement in a brig at the Marine base in Quantico, Virginia, now has the possibility of execution hanging over his head.  His alleged “crime” is facilitating the publication of documents and videos that expose war crimes committed by the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan and some of the diplomatic conspiracies carried out by the US government.

Manning, who was serving as an intelligence specialist in Iraq, was first charged in May with 12 counts of downloading without authorization a secret video of US attack helicopters shooting down civilians in Baghdad (posted last April by WikiLeaks) as well as military and diplomatic files, and sharing them.

The military has held him since then under abusive conditions that amount to torture, even though he has been convicted of no offense and has no history of violence.  He is confined to his cell 23 hours a day, allowed out but one hour for exercise, not permitted to sleep during the day, and severely restricted in the use of his glasses and his access to reading material.

Amnesty International, among other human rights groups, has denounced his treatment as “inhumane,” and the United Nations is investigating whether it constitutes torture.

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Who is Behind Wikileaks? – Chinese dissidents, Tibetan refugees and more: China is one of the organization’s “primary targets” [Globalresearch.ca]

Posted in 9/11, Afghan War Diary, Afghanistan, Australia, Black propaganda, China, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, George W. Bush, Germany, Iran, Iraq, Julian Assange, Media smear campaign, Nukes, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, State Department, Taiwan, Torture, UNSC, US "War on Terror", US drone strikes, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes, Wikileaks on December 26, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

December 13, 2010

by Michel Chossudovsky

Wikleaks is upheld as a breakthrough in the battle against media disinformation and the lies of the US government.

Unquestionably, the released documents constitute an important and valuable data bank. The documents have been used by critical researchers since the outset of the Wikileaks project. Wikileaks earlier revelations have focussed on US war crimes in Afghanistan (July 2010) as well as issues pertaining to civil liberties and the “militarization of the Homeland” (see Tom Burghardt, Militarizing the “Homeland” in Response to the Economic and Political Crisis, Global Research, October 11, 2008)

In October 2010, WikiLeaks was reported to have released some 400,000 classified Iraq war documents, covering events from 2004 to 2009 (Tom Burghardt, The WikiLeaks Release: U.S. Complicity and Cover-Up of Iraq Torture Exposed, Global Research, October 24, 2010). These revelations contained in the Wikileaks Iraq War Logs provide “further evidence of the Pentagon’s role in the systematic torture of Iraqi citizens by the U.S.-installed post-Saddam regime.” (Ibid)

Progressive organizations have praised the Wikileaks endeavor. Our own website Global Research has provided extensive coverage of the Wikileaks project.

The leaks are heralded as an immeasurable victory against corporate media censorship.

But there is more than meets the eye.

Even prior to the launching of the project, the mainstream media had contacted Wikileaks.

There are also reports from published email exchanges (unconfirmed) that Wikileaks had, at the outset of the project in January 2007, contacted and sought the advice of Freedom House. This included an invitation to Freedom House (FH) to participate in the Wikileaks advisory board:

“We are looking for one or two initial advisory board member from FH who may advise on the following:

1. the needs of FH as consumer of leaks exposing business and political corruption
2. the needs for sources of leaks as experienced by FH
3. FH recommendations for other advisory board members
4. general advice on funding, coallition [sic] building and decentralised operations and political framing” (Wikileaks Leak email exchanges, January 2007).

There is no evidence of FH followup support to the Wikileaks project. Freedom House is a Washington based “watchdog organization that supports the expansion of freedom around the world”. It is chaired by William H. Taft IV who was legal adviser to the State Department under G. W. Bush and Deputy Secretary of Defense under the Reagan administration.

Wikileaks had also entered into negotiations with several corporate foundations with a view to securing funding. (Wikileaks Leak email exchanges, January 2007):

The linchpin of WikiLeaks’s financial network is Germany’s Wau Holland Foundation. … “We’re registered as a library in Australia, we’re registered as a foundation in France, we’re registered as a newspaper in Sweden,” Mr. Assange said. WikiLeaks has two tax-exempt charitable organizations in the U.S., known as 501C3s, that “act as a front” for the website, he said. He declined to give their names, saying they could “lose some of their grant money because of political sensitivities.”

Mr. Assange said WikiLeaks gets about half its money from modest donations processed by its website, and the other half from “personal contacts,” including “people with some millions who approach us….” (WikiLeaks Keeps Funding Secret, WSJ.com, August 23, 2010)

Acquiring covert funding from intelligence agencies was, according to the email exchanges, also contemplated. (See Wikileaks Leak email exchanges, January 2007)

At the outset in early 2007, Wikileaks acknowledged that the project had been “founded by Chinese dissidents, mathematicians and startup company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa…. [Its advisory board] includes representatives from expat Russian and Tibetan refugee communities, reporters, a former US intelligence analyst and cryptographers.” (Wikileaks Leak email exchanges, January 2007).

Wikileaks formulated its mandate on its website as follows: “[Wikileaks will be] an uncensorable version of Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. Our primary interests are oppressive regimes in Asia, the former Soviet bloc, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle East, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the west who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations,” CBC News – Website wants to take whistleblowing online, January 11, 2007, emphasis added).

This mandate was confirmed by Julian Assange in a June 2010 interview in The New Yorker:

“Our primary targets are those highly oppressive regimes in China, Russia and Central Eurasia, but we also expect to be of assistance to those in the West who wish to reveal illegal or immoral behavior in their own governments and corporations. (quoted in WikiLeaks and Julian Paul Assange : The New Yorker, June 7, 2010, emphasis added)

Assange also intimated that “exposing secrets” “could potentially bring down many administrations that rely on concealing reality—including the US administration.” (Ibid)

From the outset, Wikileaks’ geopolitical focus on “oppressive regimes” in Eurasia and the Middle East was “appealing” to America’s elites, i.e. it seemingly matched stated US foreign policy objectives. Moreover, the composition of the Wikileaks team (which included Chinese dissidents), not to mention the methodology of “exposing secrets” of foreign governments, were in tune with the practices of US covert operations geared towards triggering “regime change” and fostering “color revolutions” in different parts of the World.

~ The Role of the Corporate Media: The Central Role of the New York Times ~

Wikileaks is not a typical alternative media initiative. The New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel are directly involved in the editing and selection of leaked documents. The London Economist has also played an important role.

While the project and its editor Julian Assange reveal a commitment and concern for truth in media, the recent Wikileaks releases of embassy cables have been carefully “redacted” by the mainstream media in liaison with the US government. (See Interview with David E. Sanger, Fresh Air, PBS, December 8, 2010)

This collaboration between Wikileaks and selected mainstream media is not fortuitous; it was part of an agreement between several major US and European newspapers and Wikileaks’ editor Julian Assange.

The important question is who controls and oversees the selection, distribution and editing of released documents to the broader public?

What US foreign policy objectives are being served through this redacting process?

Is Wikileaks part of an awakening of public opinion, of a battle against the lies and fabrications which appear daily in the print media and on network TV?

If so, how can this battle against media disinformation be waged with the participation and collaboration of the corporate architects of media disinformation?

Wikileaks has enlisted the architects of media disinformation to fight media disinformation: An incongruous and self-defeating procedure.

America’s corporate media and more specifically The New York Times are an integral part of the economic establishment, with links to Wall Street, the Washington think tanks and the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR).

Moreover, the US corporate media has developed a longstanding relationship to the US intelligence apparatus, going back to “Operation Mocking Bird”, an initiative of the CIA’s Office of Special Projects (OSP), established in the early 1950s.

Even before the Wikileaks project got off the ground, the mainstream media was implicated. A role was defined and agreed upon for the corporate media not only in the release, but also in the selection and editing of the leaks. In a bitter irony, the “professional media”, to use Julian Assange’s words in an interview with The Economist, have been partners in the Wikileaks project from the outset.

Moreover, key journalists with links to the US foreign policy-national security intelligence establishment have worked closely with Wikileaks, in the distribution and dissemination of the leaked documents.

In a bitter irony, Wikileaks partner The New York Times, which has consistently promoted media disinformation is now being accused of conspiracy. For what? For revealing the truth? Or for manipulating the truth? In the words of Senator Joseph L. Lieberman:

“I certainly believe that WikiLleaks has violated the Espionage Act, but then what about the news organizations — including The Times — that accepted it and distributed it?” Mr. Lieberman said, adding: “To me, The New York Times has committed at least an act of bad citizenship, and whether they have committed a crime, I think that bears a very intensive inquiry by the Justice Department.” (WikiLeaks Prosecution Studied by Justice Department – NYTimes.com, December 7, 2010)

This “redacting” role of The New York Times is candidly acknowledged by David E Sanger, Chief Washington correspondent of the NYT:

“[W]e went through [the cables] so carefully to try to redact material that we thought could be damaging to individuals or undercut ongoing operations. And we even took the very unusual step of showing the 100 cables or so that we were writing from to the U.S. government and asking them if they had additional redactions to suggest.” (See PBS Interview; The Redacting and Selection of Wikileaks documents by the Corporate Media, PBS interview on “Fresh Air” with Terry Gross: December 8, 2010, emphasis added).

Yet Sanger also says later in the interview:

“It is the responsibility of American journalism, back to the founding of this country, to get out and try to grapple with the hardest issues of the day and to do it independently of the government.” (ibid)

“Do it independently of the government” while at the same time “asking them [the US government] if they had additional redactions to suggest”?

David E. Sanger cannot be described as a model independent journalist. He is member of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) and the Aspen Institute’s Strategy Group which regroups the likes of Madeleine K. Albright, Condoleeza Rice, former Defense Secretary William Perry, former CIA head John Deutch, the president of the World Bank, Robert. B. Zoellick and Philip Zelikow, former executive director of the 9/11 Commission, among other prominent establishment figures. (See also F. William Engdahl, Wikileaks: A Big Dangerous US Government Con Job, Global Research, December 10, 2010).

It is worth noting that several American journalists, members of the Council on Foreign Relations have interviewed Wikileaks, including Time Magazine’s Richard Stengel (November 30, 2010) and The New Yorker’s Raffi Khatchadurian. (WikiLeaks and Julian Paul Assange : The New Yorker, June 11, 2007)

Historically, The New York Times has served the interests of the Rockefeller family in the context of a longstanding relationship. The current New York Times chairman Arthur Sulzberger Jr. is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, son of Arthur Ochs Sulzberger and grandson of Arthur Hays Sulzberger who served as a Trustee for the Rockefeller Foundation. Ethan Bronner, deputy foreign editor of The New York Times as well as Thomas Friedman among others are also members of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). (Membership Roster – Council on Foreign Relations)

In turn, the Rockefellers have an important stake as shareholders of several US corporate media.

~ The Embassy and State Department Cables ~

It should come as no surprise that David E. Sanger and his colleagues at the NYT centered their attention on a highly “selective” dissemination of the Wikileaks cables, focusing on areas which would support US foreign policy interests: Iran’s nuclear program, North Korea, Saudi Arabia and Pakistan’s support of Al Qaeda, China’s relations with North Korea, etc. These releases were then used as source material in NYT articles and commentary.

The Embassy and State Department cables released by Wikileaks were redacted and filtered. They were used for propaganda purposes. They do not constitute a complete and continuous set of memoranda.

From a selected list of cables, the leaks are being used to justify a foreign policy agenda. A case in point is Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, which is the object of numerous State Department memos, as well as Saudi Arabia’s support of Islamic terrorism.

~ Iran’s Nuclear Program ~

[This portion documents how faked intelligence about an purported Iran-N. Korea nuke missile was disseminated via Wikileaks and trumpeted by the mainstream press, in keeping with a State Department anti-Iran agenda. Edited for the sake of brevity.]

…While this issue of fake intelligence received virtually no media coverage, it invalidates outright Washington’s assertions regarding Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons. It also questions the legitimacy of the UN Security Council Sancions regime directed against Iran.

Moreover, in a bitter irony, the selective redacting of the Wikileaks embassy cables by the NYT has usefully served not only to dismiss the central issue of fake intelligence but also to reinforce, through media disinformation, Washington’s claim that Iran is developing nuclear weapons. A case in point is a November 2010 article co-authored by David E. Sanger, which quotes the Wikileaks cables as a source…

~ Wikileaks, Iran and the Arab World ~

The released wikileaks cables have also being used to create divisions between Iran on the one hand and Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States on the other:

“After WikiLeaks claimed that certain Arab states are concerned about Iran’s nuclear program and have urged the U.S. to take [military] action to contain Iran, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took advantage of the issue and said that the released cables showed U.S. concerns regarding Iran’s nuclear program are shared by the international community.” Tehran Times : WikiLeaks promoting Iranophobia, December 5, 2010)

The Western media has jumped on this opportunity and has quoted the State Department memoranda released by Wikleaks with a view to upholding Iran as a threat to global security as well as fostering divisions between Iran and the Arab world.

~ “The Global War on Terrorism” ~

The leaks quoted by the Western media reveal the support of the Gulf States and Saudi Arabia to several Islamic terrorist organizations, a fact which is known and amply documented.

What the reports fail to mention, however, which is crucial in an understanding of the “Global War on Terrorism”, is that US intelligence historically has channelled its support to terrorist organizations via Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. (See Michel Chossudovsky, America’s “War on Terrorism”, Global Research, Montreal, 2005). These are US sponsored covert intelligence operations using Saudi and Pakistani intelligence as intermediaries.

In this regard, the use of the Wikleaks documents by the media tends to sustain the illusion that the CIA has nothing to do with the terror network and that Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states are “providing the lion’s share of funding” to Al Qaeda, the Taliban, Lashkar-e-Taiba, among others, when in fact this financing is undertaken in liaison and consultation with their US intelligence counterparts:

“The information came to light in the latest round of documents released Sunday by Wikileaks. In their communiques to the State Department, U.S. embassies in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states describe a situation in which wealthy private donors, often openly, lavishly support the same groups against whom Saudi Arabia claims to be fighting.” ( Wikileaks: Saudis, Gulf States Big Funders of Terror Groups – Defense/Middle East – Israel News – Israel National News)

Similarly, with regard to Pakistan:

The cables, obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to a number of news organizations, make it clear that underneath public reassurances lie deep clashes [between the U.S. and Pakistan] over strategic goals on issues like Pakistan’s support for the Afghan Taliban and tolerance of Al Qaeda,…” (Wary Dance With Pakistan in Nuclear World, The New York Times December 1, 2010)

Reports of this nature serve to provide legitimacy to US drone attacks against alleged terrorist targets inside Pakistan.

The corporate media’s use and interpretation of the Wikileaks cables serves to uphold two related myths:

1) Iran has nuclear weapons program and constitutes a threat to global security.

2) Saudi Arabia and Pakistan are state sponsors of Al Qaeda. They are financing Islamic terrorist organizations which are intent upon attacking the US and its NATO allies.

~ The CIA and the Corporate Media ~

The CIA’s relationship to the US media is amply documented. The New York Times continues to entertain a close relationship not only with US intelligence, but also with the Pentagon and more recently with the Department of Homeland Security.

“Operation Mocking Bird” was an initiative of the CIA’s Office of Special Projects (OSP), established in the early 1950s. Its objective was to exert influence on both the US as well as the foreign media. From the 1950s, members of the US media were routinely enlisted by the CIA.

The inner workings of the CIA’s relationship to the US media are described in Carl Bernstein’s 1977 article in Rolling Stone entitled The CIA and the Media:

“[M]ore than 400 American journalists who [had] secretly carried out assignments for the Central Intelligence Agency, according to documents on file at CIA headquarters. [1950-1977] Some of these journalists’ relationships with the Agency were tacit; some were explicit. … Reporters shared their notebooks with the CIA. Editors shared their staffs. Some of the journalists were Pulitzer Prize winners,… Most were less exalted: foreign correspondents who found that their association with the Agency helped their work….;

Among the executives who lent their cooperation to the Agency were Williarn Paley of the Columbia Broadcasting System, Henry Luce of Tirne Inc., Arthur Hays Sulzberger of the New York Times, Barry Bingham Sr. of the LouisviIle Courier‑Journal, and James Copley of the Copley News Service. Other organizations which cooperated with the CIA include the American Broadcasting Company, the National Broadcasting Company, the Associated Press, United Press International, Reuters, Hearst Newspapers, Scripps‑Howard, Newsweek magazine, the Mutual Broadcasting System, the Miami Herald and the old Saturday Evening Post and New York Herald‑Tribune. (The CIA and the Media by Carl Bernstein)

Bernstein suggests, in this regard, that “the CIA’s use of the American news media has been much more extensive than Agency officials have acknowledged publicly or in closed sessions with members of Congress” (Ibid).

In recent years, the CIA’s relationship to the media has become increasingly complex and sophisticated. We are dealing with a mammoth propaganda network involving a number of agencies of government.

Media disinformation has become institutionalized. The lies and fabrications have become increasingly blatant when compared to the 1970s. The US media has become the mouthpiece of US foreign policy. Disinformation is routinely “planted” by CIA operatives in the newsroom of major dailies, magazines and TV channels: “A relatively few well-connected correspondents provide the scoops, that get the coverage in the relatively few mainstream news sources, where the parameters of debate are set and the “official reality” is consecrated for the bottom feeders in the news chain.” (Chaim Kupferberg, The Propaganda Preparation of 9/11, Global Research, September 19, 2002).

Since 2001, the US media has assumed a new role in sustaining the “Global War on Terrorism” (GWOT) and camouflaging US sponsored war crimes. In the wake of 9/11, Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld created the Office of Strategic Influence (OSI), or “Office of Disinformation” as it was labeled by its critics: “The Department of Defense said they needed to do this, and they were going to actually plant stories that were false in foreign countries — as an effort to influence public opinion across the world.'” (Interview with Steve Adubato, Fox News, 26 December 2002, see also Michel Chossudovsky, War Propaganda, Global Research, January 3, 2003).

Today’s corporate media is an instrument of war propaganda, which begs the question: why would the NYT all of a sudden promote transparency and truth in media, by assisting Wikileaks in “spreading the word”; and that people around the World would not pause for one moment and question the basis of this incongruous relationship.

On the surface, nothing proves that Wikileaks is a CIA covert operation. However, given the corporate media’s cohesive and structured relationship to US intelligence, not to mention the links of individual journalists to the military-national security establishment, the issue of a CIA sponsored PsyOp must necessarily be addressed.

~ Wikileaks Social and Corporate Entourage ~

Wikileaks and The Economist have also entered into what seems to be a contradictory relationship. Wikileaks founder and editor Julian Assange was granted in 2008 The Economist’s New Media Award.

The Economist has a close relationship to Britain’s financial elites. It is an establishment news outlet, which has, on balance, supported Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war. It bears the stamp of the Rothschild family. Sir Evelyn Robert Adrian de Rothschild was chairman of The Economist from 1972 to 1989. His wife Lynn Forester de Rothschild currently sits on The Economist’s board. The Rothschild family also has a sizeable shareholder interest in The Economist.

The broader question is why would Julian Assange receive the support from Britain’s foremost establishment news outfit which has consistently been involved in media disinformation?

Are we not dealing with a case of “manufactured dissent”, whereby the process of supporting and rewarding Wikileaks for its endeavors, becomes a means of controlling and manipulating the Wikileaks project, while at the same time embedding it into the mainstream media.

It is also worth mentioning another important link. Julian Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens of Finers Stephens Innocent (FSI), a major London elite law firm, happens to be the legal adviser to the Rothschild Waddesdon Trust. While this in itself does prove anything, it should nonetheless be examined in the broader context of Wikileaks’ social and corporate entourage: the NYT, the CFR, The Economist, Time Magazine, Forbes, Finers Stephens Innocent (FSI), etc.

~ Manufacturing Dissent ~

Wikileaks has the essential features of a process of “manufactured dissent”. It seeks to expose government lies. It has released important information on US war crimes. But once the project becomes embedded in the mould of mainstream journalism, it is used as an instrument of media disinformation:

“It is in the interest of the corporate elites to accept dissent and protest as a feature of the system inasmuch as they do not threaten the established social order. The purpose is not to repress dissent, but, on the contrary, to shape and mould the protest movement, to set the outer limits of dissent. To maintain their legitimacy, the economic elites favor limited and controlled forms of opposition… To be effective, however, the process of “manufacturing dissent” must be carefully regulated and monitored by those who are the object of the protest movement ” (See Michel Chossudovsky, “Manufacturing Dissent”: the Anti-globalization Movement is Funded by the Corporate Elites, September 2010)

What this examination of the Wikileaks project also suggests is that the mechanics of New World Order propaganda, particularly with regard to its military agenda, has become increasingly sophisticated.

It no longer relies on the outright suppression of the facts regarding US-NATO war crimes. Nor does it require that the reputation of government officials at the highest levels, including the Secretary of State, be protected. New World Order politicians are in a sense “disposable”. They can be replaced. What must be protected and sustained are the interests of the economic elites, which control the political apparatus from behind the scenes.

In the case of Wikileaks, the facts are contained in a data bank; many of those facts, particularly those pertaining to foreign governments serve US foreign policy interests. Other facts tend, on the other hand to discredit the US administration. With regard to financial information, the release of data pertaining to a particular bank instigated via Wikileaks by a rival financial institution, could potentially be used to trigger the collapse or bankrutpcy of the targeted financial institution.

All the Wiki-facts are selectively redacted, they are then “analyzed” and interpreted by a media which serves the economic elites.

While the numerous pieces of information contained in the Wikileaks data bank are accessible, the broader public will not normally take the trouble to consult and scan through the Wikileaks data bank. The public will read the redacted selections and interpretations presented in major news outlets.

A partial and biased picture is presented. The redacted version is accepted by public opinion because it is based on what is heralded as a “reliable source”, when in fact what is presented in the pages of major newspapers and on network TV is a carefully crafted and convoluted distortion of the truth.

Limited forms of critical debate and “transparency” are tolerated while also enforcing broad public acceptance of the basic premises of US foreign policy, including its “Global War on Terrorism”. With regard to a large segment of the US antiwar movement, this strategy seems to have succeeded: “We are against war but we support the ‘war on terrorism'”.

What this means is that truth in media can only be reached by dismantling the propaganda apparatus, –i.e. breaking the legitimacy of the corporate media which sustains the broad interests of the economic elites as well America’s global military design.

In turn, we must ensure that the campaign against Wikileaks in the U.S., using the 1917 Espionage Act, will not be utilized as a means to wage a campaign to control the internet. In this regard, we should also stand firm in preventing the prosecution of Julian Assange in the US.

Note: Minor changes were added to this article on December 14, 2010

[Edits by Zuo Shou 左手]

Full article link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22389

The WikiLeaks Release: U.S. Complicity and Cover-Up of Iraq Torture Exposed [Antifascist Calling / Globalresearch.ca / Sweet & Sour Socialism Essential Archives]

Posted in Afghan War Diary, Iraq, Julian Assange, Pentagon, Torture, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Vietnam, War crimes, Wikileaks on December 25, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

“The Frago 242 War Logs”

October 24, 2010

On October 22nd, the whistleblowing web site WikiLeaks released nearly 400,000 classified Iraq war documents, the largest leak of secret information in U.S. history.

Explosive revelations contained in the Iraq War Logs provided further evidence of the Pentagon’s role in the systematic torture of Iraqi citizens by the U.S.-installed post-Saddam regime.

Indeed, multiple files document how U.S. officials failed to investigate thousands of cases of abuse, torture, rape and murder. Even innocent victims who were targets of kidnapping gangs, tortured for ransom by Iraqi police and soldiers operating out of the Interior Ministry, were “investigated” in a perfunctory manner that was little more than a cover-up.

Never mind that the Pentagon was fully cognizant of the nightmare playing out in Iraqi jails and prisons. Never mind the beatings with rifle butts and steel cables, the electrocutions, the flesh sliced with razors, the limbs hacked-off with chainsaws, the acid and chemical burns on battered corpses found along the roads, the eyes gouged out or the bones lacerated by the killers’ tool of choice: the power drill.

Never mind that the death squads stood-up by American forces when the imperial adventure went wildly off the rails, were modeled on counterinsurgency methods pioneered in Vietnam (Operation Phoenix) and in South- and Central American during the 1970s and 1980s (Operation Condor) and that a “Salvador Option” was in play.

Never mind that the former commander of the U.S. Military Advisory Group in El Salvador, Col. James Steele, was the U.S. Embassy’s point-man for setting up the Wolf Brigade or the Iraqi Interior Ministry’s Special Police Commandos, notorious death squads that spread havoc and fear across Iraq’s cities, towns and villages.

The killings and atrocities carried out by American and British clients were not simply random acts of mayhem initiated by sectarian gangs. On the contrary, though sectarianism and inter-ethnic hatred played a role in the slaughter, from a strategic and tactical point of view these were carefully calibrated acts designed to instill terror in a population utterly devastated by the U.S. invasion. As researcher Max Fuller reported five years ago:

In Iraq the war comes in two phases . The first phase is complete: the destruction of the existing state, which did not comply with the interests of British and American capital. The second phase consists of building a new state tied to those interests and smashing every dissenting sector of society. Openly, this involves applying the same sort of economic shock therapy that has done so much damage in swathes of the Third World and Eastern Europe. Covertly, it means intimidating, kidnapping and murdering opposition voices. (“For Iraq, ‘The Salvador Option’ Becomes Reality,” Global Research, June 2, 2005)

Pentagon spokesperson Geoff Morrell denounced the leaks Friday evening, claiming the [usual deflecting — and proven wrong — BS – ‘leaks reveal nothing, yet are extremely dangerous’].

Playing down the significance the files lend to our understanding of the U.S. occupation, Morrell characterized them as “mundane.” To the degree that they chronicle the nonchalance, indeed casual indifference towards Iraqi life displayed by U.S. forces, Morrell is correct: they are numbingly mundane and therein lies their horror.

The logs paint a grim picture of life after the “liberation” of the oil-rich nation. As with the organization’s publication of some 75,000 files from their Afghan War Diary, 2004-2010, Friday’s release provides stark evidence of U.S. complicity–and worse–in the systematic abuse of prisoners.

According to the War Logs, in 2006 an unnamed U.S. Special Operations Task Force was accused of blinding a prisoner in their custody; we read the following:

ALLEGED DETAINEE ABUSE BY TF ___ IN ___ 2006-02-02 17:50:00

AT 2350C, IN ___, WHILE CONDUCTING OUT-PROCESSING, DETAINEE # ___ REPORTED THAT HE WAS ABUSED DURING HIS CAPTURE. DETAINEE IS MISSING HIS RIGHT EYE, AND HAS SCAR___ ON HIS RIGHT FOREARM. DETAINEE STATES THAT HIS INJURIES ARE A RESULT OF THE ABUSE THAT HE RECEIVED UPON CAPTURE. DIMS INDICATE THAT THE DETAINEE WAS CAPTURED ON ___ IN ___, AND THE CAPTURING UNIT WAS TASK FORCE ___. THE DETAINEES CAPTURE TAG NUMBER IS ___. IN PROCESSING PERSONNEL STATE THAT THE DETAINEE___ CAPTURE PHOTO DEPICTS A BANDAGE OVER HIS RIGHT EYE, AND INJURY TO HIS RIGHT FOREARM. THE DETAINEE HAS COMPLETED THE DETAINEE ABUSE COMPLAINT FORM, AND WE ARE SEEKING A SWORN STATEMENT FROM THE DETAINEE. PER ORDER OF Task force ___, THE DETAINEE ___ TRANSFERRED AS SCHEDULED, AND CONTINUE CID INVESTIGATION UPON ARRIVAL AT ___ GHRAIB.

File after gruesome file reveals that even when confronted by serious evidence of abuse, the outcome was as sickening as it was inevitable: “No further investigation.”

Called “Frago 242” reports for “fragmentary orders,” the military files summarized thousands of events. When alleged abuse was committed by an Iraqi on another Iraqi, “only an initial report will be made … No further investigation will be required unless directed by HQ.” Those directives never arrived.

In fact, in a hypermilitarized society such as ours’ where the “chain of command” is valued above basic human decency, never mind the rule of law, orders to be “discrete” always come from the top. Investigative journalist Robert Fisk recounted how during a November 2005 Pentagon press conference:

Peter Pace, the uninspiring chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, is briefing journalists on how soldiers should react to the cruel treatment of prisoners, pointing out proudly that an American soldier’s duty is to intervene if he sees evidence of torture. Then the camera moves to the far more sinister figure of Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, who suddenly interrupts–almost in a mutter, and to Pace’s consternation–“I don’t think you mean they (American soldiers) have an obligation to physically stop it. It’s to report it.” (“The Shaming of America,” The Independent on Sunday, October 24, 2010)

In essence, Frago 242 were the political means used by the U.S. administration to absolve themselves of command responsibility for the slaughter they had initiated with the March 2003 invasion. “We reported these horrors. What more do you want?”

Eager to pass security management onto their Iraqi puppets and cut their losses, the Pentagon and their political masters in Washington bypassed their obligations as the occupying power to ensure that human rights and the rule of law were respected by the clients whom they had installed to rule over the oil-rich nation. One file from 2006 tells us:

ALLEGED DETAINEE ABUSE BY IA AT THE DIYALA JAIL IN BAQUBAH

2006-05-25 07:30:00

AT 1330D, ___ REPORTS ALLEGED DETAINEE ABUSE IN THE DIYALA PROVINCE, IN BA’___ AT THE DIYALA JAIL, vicinity. ___. 1X DETAINEE CLAIMS THAT HE WAS SEIZED FROM HIS HOUSE BY IA IN THE KHALIS AREA OF THE DIYALA PROVINCE. HE WAS THEN HELD UNDERGROUND IN BUNKERS FOR APPROXIMATELY ___ MONTHS AROUND ___ SUBJECTED TO TORTURE BY MEMBERS OF THE /___ IA. THIS ALLEGED TORTURE INCLUDED, AMONG OTHER THINGS, THE ___ STRESS POSITION, WHEREBY HIS HANDS WERE BOUND/___ AND HE WAS SUSPENDED FROM THE CEILING; THE USE OF BLUNT OBJECTS (.___. PIPES) TO BEAT HIM ON THE BACK AND LEGS; AND THE USE OF ELECTRIC DRILLS TO BORE HOLES IN HIS LEGS. FOLLOW UP CARE HAS BEEN GIVEN TO THE DETAINEE BY US ___. THE DETAINEE IS UNDER US CONTROL AT THIS TIME. ALL PAPERWORK HAS BEEN SENT UP THROUGH THE NECESSARY ___ AND PMO CHANNELS. CLOSED: 260341MAY2006. Significant activity MEETS MNC- ___

Two days later, additional torture victims were found in the Diyala Jail, and U.S. military personnel report:

ALLEGED DETAINEE ABUSE BY IP IVO BA’: ___ DETAINEES INJ, ___ CF INJ/DAMAGE

2006-05-27 11:00:00

AT 1700D, ___ REPORTS ALLEGED DETAINEE ABUSE IN THE DIYALA PROVINCE, IN BA’___ AT THE DIYALA JAIL, vicinity. ___. 7X DETAINEES CLAIMS THEY WERE SEIZED BY IA IN THE KHALIS AREA OF THE DIYALA PROVINCE. THEY WERE DETAINED AROUND – ___ AND SUBJECTED TO TORTURE BY MEMBERS OF THE IA AND IP. THIS ALLEGED TORTURE INCLUDED, AMONG OTHER THINGS, STRESS POSITIONS, BOUND/___ AND SUSPENDED FROM THE CEILING; THE USE OF VARIOUS BLUNT OBJECTS (.___. PIPES AND ANTENNAS) TO BEAT THEM, AND FORCED CONFESSIONS. ALL DETAINEES WERE DETAINED FOR ALLEGED INVOLVEMENT IN AN ATTACK ON A IA Check Point IN KHALIS. FOLLOW UP CARE HAS BEEN GIVEN TO THE DETAINEES BY US ___. THE DETAINEES ARE UNDER US CONTROL AT THIS TIME. ALL PAPERWORK HAS BEEN SENT UP THROUGH THE NECESSARY ___ AND PMO CHANNELS. Serious Incident Report TO FOLLOW. CLOSED: 280442MAY2006. MEETS ___

Case closed.

WikiLeaks release prompted the UN’s chief investigator on torture, Manfred Nowak, to demand that the Obama administration “order a full investigation of US forces’ involvement in human rights abuses in Iraq,” The Guardian reported.

Nowak said that if the files demonstrate clear violations of the UN Convention Against Torture then “the Obama administration had an obligation to investigate them.”

A failure to investigate these serious charges “would be a failure of the Obama government to recognise its obligations under international law.” There’s little chance of that happening under our “forward looking” president.

On the contrary, as The Washington Post reported Sunday, that former CIA general counsel Jeffrey H. Smith, a current adviser to America’s top spook Leon Panetta, wants to hang the messenger.

Smith said, “‘without question’ he thought that [WikiLeaks founder Julian] Assange could be prosecuted under the Espionage Act for possessing and sharing without authorization classified military information.”

The Post informed us that Obama’s Justice Department “is assisting the Defense Department in its investigation into the leaks to WikiLeaks. Though Smith said he did not know whether efforts were underway to gain custody [of Assange], he said, ‘My supposition is that the Justice Department and Department of Defense are working very hard to see if they can get jurisdiction over him’.”

As I discussed in late 2009, perhaps the Pentagon is working feverishly to do just that, deploying a Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC) “Manhunting team” to run Assange and his organization to ground.

In Manhunting: Counter-Network Organization for Irregular Warfare, retired Lt. Col. George A. Crawford wrote in a 2009 monograph published by Joint Special Operations University, that “Manhunting–the deliberate concentration of national power to find, influence, capture, or when necessary kill an individual to disrupt a human network–has emerged as a key component of operations to counter irregular warfare adversaries in lieu of traditional state-on-state conflict measures.”

And with an administration that asserts the right to kill anyone on the planet, including American citizens deemed “terrorists,” it isn’t a stretch to imagine the Pentagon resorting to a little “wet work” to silence Assange, thereby disrupting “a human network” viewed as deleterious impediment to Washington’s imperial project.

After all, in Crawford’s view, “Why drop a bomb when effects operations or a knife might do?”

Be that as it may, there was already sufficient evidence before Friday’s release that American military personnel and outsourced “private security contractors” (armed mercenaries) had committed war crimes that warranted criminal investigations.

Even after 2004 revelations by investigative journalist Seymour Hersh in The New Yorker sparked the Abu Ghraib torture scandal, the files show that the systematic abuse and execution of prisoners, along with other serious war crimes, were standard operating procedure by the United States and their Iraqi “coalition” partners.

When Hersh’s investigation first landed on the doorstep of the Bush White House, we were told that detainee abuse was the work of a “few bad apples” on the “night shift” at the notorious Abu Ghraib prison.

While enlisted personnel were charged, tried, convicted and imprisoned for their crimes, senior Pentagon officials including Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and their top aides were exonerated by the White House and their accomplices in the corporate media.

“The truth is” Robert Fisk writes, “U.S. generals … are furious not because secrecy has been breached, or because blood may be spilt, but because they have been caught out telling the lies we always knew they told.”

Article link: http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=21604

Hackers strike at MasterCard to support WikiLeaks [People’s Daily]

Posted in Afghan War Diary, Germany, Iraq, Julian Assange, Russia, Sweden, US Government Cover-up, USA, War crimes, Wikileaks on December 9, 2010 by Zuo Shou / 左手

December 9, 2010

Hackers rushed to the defense of WikiLeaks Wednesday, launching attacks on MasterCard, Visa, Swedish prosecutors, a Swiss bank and others who have acted against the site and the jailed founder Julian Assange.

Internet “hacktivists” operating under the label “Operation Payback” claimed responsibility in a Twitter message for causing severe technological problems at the website for MasterCard, which pulled the plug on its relationship with WikiLeaks a day ago.

MasterCard acknowledged “a service disruption” involving its Secure Code system for verifying online payments, but spokesman James Issokson said consumers could still use their credit cards for transactions. Later Wednesday, Visa’s website was inaccessible.

The online attacks are part of a wave of support for WikiLeaks that is sweeping the Internet. Twitter was choked with messages of solidarity for WikiLeaks, while the site’s Facebook page hit 1 million fans.

Late Wednesday, Operation Payback itself appeared to run into problems, as many of its sites went down. It was unclear who was behind the counterattack, The Associated Press reported Wednesday.

MasterCard is the latest in a string of U.S.-based Internet companies — including Visa, Amazon.com, PayPal Inc. and EveryDNS — to cut ties to WikiLeaks amid intense U.S. government pressure. PayPal was not having problems Wednesday but the company said it faced “a dedicated denial-of-service attack” Monday.

WikiLeaks’ extensive releases of secret U.S. diplomatic cables have embarrassed the United States and angered many allies and rivals in the world. US officials say other countries have curtailed their dealings with the U.S. government because of WikiLeaks’ actions.

PayPal Vice President Osama Bedier said the company froze WikiLeaks’ account after seeing a letter from the U.S. State Department to WikiLeaks saying that the group’s activities “were deemed illegal [sic] in the United States.”

Offline, WikiLeaks was under pressure on many fronts. Assange is in a British prison fighting extradition to Sweden. Recent moves by Swiss Postfinance, MasterCard, PayPal and others that cut the flow of donations to the group have impaired its ability to raise money, The AP report said.

Neither WikiLeaks nor Assange has been charged with any offense in the U.S., but the U.S. government is investigating whether Assange can be prosecuted for espionage. Assange has not been charged with any offenses in Sweden either, but authorities there want to question him about the allegations of sex crimes.

Undeterred, WikiLeaks released more confidential U.S. cables Wednesday…

[A] U.S. memo described German leader Angela Merkel as the “Teflon” chancellor, but she brushed it off as mere chatter at a party. American officials were also shown to be lobbying the Russian government to amend a financial bill they felt would disadvantage U.S. companies Visa and MasterCard.

The most surprising cable of the day came from a U.S. diplomat in Saudi Arabia after a night on the town.

“The underground nightlife of Jiddah’s elite youth is thriving and throbbing,” the memo said. “The full range of worldly temptations and vices are available — alcohol, drugs, sex — but all behind closed doors.”

Ironically, the micro-blogging site Twitter — home of much WikiLeaks support — could become the next target. Operation Payback posted a statement claiming “Twitter you’re next for censoring WikiLeaks discussion.”

Some WikiLeaks supporters accuse Twitter of preventing the term “WikiLeaks” from appearing as one of its popular “trending topics.” Twitter denies censorship, saying the topics are determined by an algorithm.

WikiLeaks angered the U.S. government earlier this year when it posted a video showing U.S. troops on a helicopter gunning down two Reuters journalists in Iraq. Since then, the organization has leaked some 400,000 classified U.S. war files from Iraq and 76,000 from Afghanistan…

In the last few weeks, the group has begun leaking a massive trove of secret U.S. diplomatic cables…

Agencies

Article link: http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/90001/90777/90853/7225425.html