Archive for the Wikileaks Category

Leaked documents detail NSA surveillance operations against WikiLeaks [World Socialist Website]

Posted in Australia, Canada, Internet Global Hegemony, Julian Assange, National Security Agency / NSA, New Zealand, NSA, Obama, U.K., US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Wikileaks on February 23, 2014 by Zuo Shou / 左手

By Thomas Gaist
19 February 2014

Documents from whistleblower Edward Snowden show that the US National Security Agency and British GCHQ have carried out political surveillance operations targeting WikiLeaks, its founder Julian Assange and readers of the whistle-blowing web site. In addition to the US and Britain, the operations also involved the other members “of the “Five Eyes” allied countries (New Zealand, Australia and Canada).

The documents were posted by Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher on the Intercept in an extensive expose titled “Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters.” Among other things, they show that the agency has collected IP addresses of computers visiting the WikiLeaks site, considered classifying WikiLeaks as “a malicious foreign actor,” and placed Assange on an NSA “manhunting” list that included alleged Al Qaeda terrorists.

The leaked documents have further exposed as lies the claims of the Obama administration that the NSA police-state apparatus is directed against “terrorists.” In reality, the NSA is using its illegal and secret access to the internet backbone to monitor the internet activity of its political adversaries and anyone considered a threat to the interests of the American ruling class.

The government of the UK has played a major role in the targeting of the web site. The leaked documents contained information about a GCHQ program called ANTICRISIS GIRL. The program is revealed in a Power Point slide prepared by the British spy agency for the 2012 SIGDEV Conference, an annual symposium held by the surveillance bureaucracies of the major powers. Under ANTICRISIS GIRL, GCHQ has been collecting IP addresses of individual computers that visit the WikiLeaks site, allowing them to identify and surveil individuals who access WikiLeaks.

As the Intercept wrote, “GCHQ used its surveillance system to secretly monitor visitors to a WikiLeaks site. By exploiting its ability to tap into the fiber-optic cables that make up the backbone of the Internet, the agency confided to allies in 2012, it was able to collect the IP addresses of visitors in real time, as well as the search terms that visitors used to reach the site from search engines like Google.”

“Illustrating how far afield the NSA deviates from its self-proclaimed focus on terrorism and national security,” the Intercept wrote, “the documents reveal that the agency considered using its sweeping surveillance system against Pirate Bay, which has been accused of facilitating copyright violations. The agency also approved surveillance of the foreign ‘branches’ of hacktivist groups, mentioning Anonymous by name…”

Excerpted; full article link: https://www.wsws.org/en/articles/2014/02/19/wiki-f19.html

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NSA Partnerships Invalidate Nordic Nations’ Neutrality [Strategic Culture Foundation]

Posted in Australia, CIA, Corporate Media Critique, France, Germany, National Security Agency / NSA, New Zealand, NSA, Obama, Russia, SCO Shanghai Cooperation Organization, Sweden, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR, Wikileaks, World War II on December 22, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Wayne Madsen

December 12, 2013

The revelations that Sweden’s equivalent of the U.S. National Security Agency (NSA), the National Defense Radio Establishment or Försvarets radioanstalt (FRA), helped the global NSA FIVE EYES alliance to eavesdrop on Russia’s political leadership invalidates Sweden’s long-claimed military neutrality, a status that was in place from the end of the Napoleonic Wars of the early 19th century and which survived the Second World War…

FRA has, ever since the days of the Cold War, been a top Third Party signals intelligence (SIGINT) partner for the NSA, even during times when Sweden’s foreign policy was aggressively neutral, such as during the term of Social Democratic Prime Minister, Olof Palme, assassinated in 1986 by what many suspect was a plot involving the CIA. The use of FRA by the United States as a secretive NSA alliance partner in a deal that was largely unknown to Sweden’s own prime minister evokes similar suspicions about the SIGINT services of two Second Party partners of the NSA. In 1975, after Australia’s Labor Prime Minister Gough Whitlam demanded information on NSA and CIA activities at the U.S. Pine Gap intelligence complex in Alice Springs, as well as the activities of Australia’s Defense Signals Directorate (DSD), he was deposed in a coup led by Governor General John Kerr, a CIA agent-of-influence.

Similarly, after New Zealand Labor Prime Minister David Lange inquired as to details of the intelligence relationship between New Zealand’s Government Communications Security Bureau (GCSB) and NSA, he was deposed in a 1989 backbencher coup engineered by U.S. intelligence.

Ever since Palme’s assassination on a Stockholm street, Sweden has been governed by a series of pro-U.S. prime ministers, in addition to other senior Cabinet ministers. Most notable among these is former Prime Minister and current Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, who has been identified by WikiLeaks as a longtime CIA asset…

…As a result of Snowden’s revelations, more details are now known about the NSA-FRA relationship. An April 18, 2013 TOP SECRET//COMINT//NOFORN [COMINT is Communications Intelligence and NOFORN [No Foreign Nationals] Information Paper with the subject heading, «NSA Intelligence Relationship with Sweden», states that «the FRA provided NSA . . . unique collection on high-priority Russian targets, such as leadership, internal politics.» The Swedish state-owned television broadcaster Sveriges Television (SVT), in reporting on the NSA documents, decided to blur out two key paragraphs: «What NSA Provides to Partner» and «What Partner Provides to NSA».

The fact that the news media, that has possessed varying numbers of classified NSA documents from Snowden has taken upon itself to redact and withhold from the public key information is emblematic of the close relationship of the global corporate press to the intelligence services of the FIVE EYES alliance and its third and fourth party partners. Such draconian censorship by the media has not been witnessed since World War II. Yet, many newspapers like The Guardian of the UK, The Washington Post, Le Monde of France, and Der Spiegel of Germany have patted themselves on the back for publishing excerpts of the classified documents against «pressure» from the NSA and Obama administration. Nothing could be more laughable as these media outlets have cooperated fully with U.S. government censors. And no media outlets have been more retentive about the Snowden leaks than have the disgustingly compliant Scandinavian press, particularly SVT and Norway’s Dagbladet newspaper…

…Today, Sweden and Finland are not as secretive about their relationships with NATO or the FIVE EYES alliance. Both countries are abandoning their traditional neutral status to integrate with a NATO that is ever more aggressive toward Russia and countries of the planned Eurasian Union and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)…

Excerpted by Zuo Shou

Full article link: http://www.strategic-culture.org/news/2013/12/08/nsa-partnerships-invalidate-nordic-nations-neutrality.html

NBC Misreports Collateral Murder Video [FAIR]

Posted in Corporate Media Critique, Iraq, Pentagon, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, War crimes, Wikileaks on August 18, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

by Peter Hart

July 31, 2013

As we’ve pointed out, corporate TV outlets haven’t shown much interest in the Bradley Manning trial. And then when they do, maybe you wish they didn’t.

Covering the verdict announcement on last night’s NBC Nightly News (7/30/13), anchor Brian Williams said that Pentagon correspondent Jim Miklaszewski had “covered this story from the start.”

But you’d have a hard time believing that when you heard the way he described the Collateral Murder video, one of the most talked-about aspects of Manning’s trial. It is the gunsight footage from a July 12, 2007, U.S. helicopter attack in Baghdad that killed two Reuters journalists, along with an unknown number of other Iraqis (FAIR Media Advisory, 4/7/10).

But Miklasziewski apparently knows who died, because he described that video this way:

In a pretrial statement to the court, Manning admitted he leaked this classified video of an Apache helicopter attack in Iraq that killed a number of insurgents and two innocent civilians.

But Manning did not describe the video as an attack on “insurgents,” because that is not what the video shows…

Excerpted; full article link: http://www.fair.org/blog/2013/07/31/nbc-misreports-collateral-murder-video/

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

The Anti-Empire Report #119 – “Nationalism and hypocrisy” [Williamblum.org]

Posted in Capitalist media double standard, Corporate Media Critique, Cuba, Ecuador, Iraq, National Security Agency / NSA, NSA, Obama, Russia, State Department, Tony Blair, Torture, U.K., US drone strikes, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, USA 21st Century Cold War, USSR, Venezuela, War crimes, Wikileaks on August 3, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

July 29, 2013
by William Blum

– That most charming of couples: Nationalism and hypocrisy –

It’s not easy being a flag-waving American nationalist. In addition to having to deal with the usual disillusion, anger, and scorn from around the world incited by Washington’s endless bombings and endless wars, the nationalist is assaulted by whistle blowers like Bradley Manning and Edward Snowden, who have disclosed a steady stream of human-rights and civil-liberties scandals, atrocities, embarrassing lies, and embarrassing truths. Believers in “American exceptionalism” and “noble intentions” have been hard pressed to keep the rhetorical flag waving by the dawn’s early light and the twilight’s last gleaming.

That may explain the Washington Post story (July 20) headlined “U.S. asylum-seekers unhappy in Russia”, about Edward Snowden and his plan to perhaps seek asylum in Moscow. The article recounted the allegedly miserable times experienced in the Soviet Union by American expatriates and defectors like Lee Harvey Oswald, the two NSA employees of 1960 – William Martin and Bernon Mitchell – and several others. The Post’s propaganda equation apparently is: Dissatisfaction with life in Russia by an American equals a point in favor of the United States: “misplaced hopes of a glorious life in the worker’s paradise” … Oswald “was given work in an electronics factory in dreary Minsk, where the bright future eluded him” … reads the Post’s Cold War-clichéd rendition. Not much for anyone to get terribly excited about, but a defensive American nationalist is hard pressed these days to find much better.

At the same time TeamUSA scores points by publicizing present-day Russian violations of human rights and civil liberties, just as if the Cold War were still raging. “We call on the Russian government to cease its campaign of pressure against individuals and groups seeking to expose corruption, and to ensure that the universal human rights and fundamental freedoms of all of its citizens, including the freedoms of speech and assembly, are protected and respected,” said Jay Carney, the White House press secretary. 1

“Campaign of pressure against individuals and groups seeking to expose corruption” … hmmm … Did someone say “Edward Snowden”? Is round-the-clock surveillance of the citizenry not an example of corruption? Does the White House have no sense of shame? Or embarrassment? At all?

I long for a modern version of the Army-McCarthy hearings of 1954 at which Carney – or much better, Barack Obama himself – is spewing one lie and one sickening defense of his imperialist destruction after another. And the committee counsel (in the famous words of Joseph Welch) is finally moved to declare: “Sir, you’ve done enough. Have you no sense of decency, sir? At long last, have you left no sense of decency?” The Congressional gallery burst into applause and this incident is widely marked as the beginning of the end of the McCarthy sickness.

US politicians and media personalities have criticized Snowden for fleeing abroad to release the classified documents he possessed. Why didn’t he remain in the US to defend his actions and face his punishment like a real man? they ask. Yes, the young man should have voluntarily subjected himself to solitary confinement, other tortures, life in prison, and possible execution if he wished to be taken seriously. Quel coward!…

“Every country in the world that is engaged in international affairs and national security undertakes lots of activities to protect its national security,” US Secretary of State John Kerry said recently. “All I know is that it is not unusual for lots of nations.” 3

Well, Mr. K, anti-semitism is not unusual; it can be found in every country. Why, then, does the world so strongly condemn Nazi Germany? Obviously, it’s a matter of degree, is it not? The magnitude of the US invasion of privacy puts it into a league all by itself.

Kerry goes out of his way to downplay the significance of what Snowden revealed. He’d have the world believe that it’s all just routine stuff amongst nations … “Move along, nothing to see here.” Yet the man is almost maniacal about punishing Snowden…

…Wow. Heavy. Unlimited power in the hands of psychopaths. My own country truly scares me.

And what country brags about its alleged freedoms more than the United States? And its alleged democracy? Its alleged civil rights and human rights? Its alleged “exceptionalism”? Its alleged everything? Given that, why should not the United States be held to the very highest of standards?

American hypocrisy in its foreign policy is manifested on a routine, virtually continual, basis. Here is President Obama speaking recently in South Africa about Nelson Mandela: “The struggle here against apartheid, for freedom; [Mandela’s] moral courage; this country’s historic transition to a free and democratic nation has been a personal inspiration to me. It has been an inspiration to the world – and it continues to be.” 5

How touching. But no mention – never any mention by any American leader – that the United States was directly responsible for sending Nelson Mandela to prison for 28 years. 6

And demanding Snowden’s extradition while, according to the Russian Interior Ministry, “Law agencies asked the US on many occasions to extradite wanted criminals through Interpol channels, but those requests were neither met nor even responded to.” Amongst the individuals requested are militant Islamic insurgents from Chechnya, given asylum in the United States. 7

Ecuador has had a similar experience with the US in asking for the extradition of several individuals accused of involvement in a coup attempt against President Rafael Correa. The most blatant example of this double standard is that of Luis Posada Carriles who masterminded the blowing up of a Cuban airline in 1976, killing 73 civilians. He has lived as a free man in Florida for many years even though his extradition has been requested by Venezuela. He’s but one of hundreds of anti-Castro and other Latin American terrorists who’ve been given haven in the United States over the years despite their being wanted in their home countries.

American officials can spout “American exceptionalism” every other day and commit crimes against humanity on intervening days. Year after year, decade after decade. But I think we can derive some satisfaction, and perhaps even hope, in that US foreign policy officials, as morally damaged as they must be, are not all so stupid that they don’t know they’re swimming in a sea of hypocrisy. Presented here are two examples:

In 2004 it was reported that “The State Department plans to delay the release of a human rights report that was due out today, partly because of sensitivities over the prison abuse scandal in Iraq, U.S. officials said. One official … said the release of the report, which describes actions taken by the U.S. government to encourage respect for human rights by other nations, could ‘make us look hypocritical’.” 8

And an example from 2007: Chester Crocker, a member of the State Department’s Advisory Committee on Democracy Promotion, and formerly Assistant Secretary of State, noted that “we have to be able to cope with the argument that the U.S. is inconsistent and hypocritical in its promotion of democracy around the world. That may be true.” 9

In these cases the government officials appear to be somewhat self-conscious about the prevailing hypocrisy. Other foreign policy notables seem to be rather proud.

Robert Kagan, author and long-time intellectual architect of an interventionism that seeks to impose a neo-conservative agenda upon the world, by any means necessary, has declared that the United States must refuse to abide by certain international conventions, like the international criminal court and the Kyoto accord on global warming. The US, he says, “must support arms control, but not always for itself. It must live by a double standard.” 10

And then we have Robert Cooper, a senior British diplomat who was an advisor to Prime Minister Tony Blair during the Iraq war. Cooper wrote:

The challenge to the postmodern world is to get used to the idea of double standards. Among ourselves, we operate on the basis of laws and open cooperative security. But when dealing with more old-fashioned kinds of states outside the postmodern continent of Europe, we need to revert to the rougher methods of an earlier era – force, pre-emptive attack, deception, whatever is necessary to deal with those who still live in the nineteenth century world of every state for itself. 11

His expression, “every state for itself”, can be better understood as any state not willing to accede to the agenda of the American Empire and the school bully’s best friend in London.

So there we have it. The double standard is in. The Golden Rule of “do unto others as you would have others do unto you” is out.

The imperial mafia, and their court intellectuals like Kagan and Cooper, have a difficult time selling their world vision on the basis of legal, moral, ethical or fairness standards. Thus it is that they simply decide that they’re not bound by such standards.

Excerpted; full report with footnotes here: http://williamblum.org/aer/read/119

Julian Assange: The May 2011 RT Interview – “Facebook is the most appalling spying machine” [RT / Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives]]

Posted in Corporate Media Critique, Guantanamo Bay concentration camp, Julian Assange, Obama, Oligarchy, Sweet and Sour Socialism Essential Archives, US Government Cover-up, US imperialism, USA, Wikileaks on August 2, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

Posted in light of the Snowden NSA revelations. – Zuo Shou

“I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again Facebook ain’t your friend. From the facile and shallow way it connects people to the awesome power it gives authorities to monitor and surveille, Facebook is a technology born not in the hallways of emancipation and freedom but in the byways of power and control. Or at least, that’s what Julian Assange founder of WikiLeaks thinks and frankly, I tend to agree. Never before in this history of this planet have so many been monitored by so few with so little responsible oversight.” – Dr. Michael Sosteric, “Facebook is a Spy Machine” [http://www.sociology.org/lead/facebook-spy-machine]

“WikiLeaks revelations only tip of iceberg – Assange”

May 2, 2011

([Apparent] transcript of video interview by Laura Emmett)

The man behind WikiLeaks says his website’s revelations are just the tip of the iceberg. In an exclusive interview with RT, Julian Assange said it is only a matter of time before more damaging information becomes known.

he publication of confidential cables proved deeply embarrassing for the US and other countries.

“If we look at our work over the last 12 moths, think about that. All these stories that have come out actually happened in the world, before 2010, but people didn’t know about it. So what is it that we don’t know about now? There’s an enormous hidden world out there that we don’t know about. It exists there right now.”

Assange claims the data released by WikiLeaks is not even the most important and calls on people not to believe that the information they receive from the media is all that is happening.

“We only released secret, classified, confidential material. We didn’t have any top secret cables. The really embarrassing stuff, the really serious stuff wasn’t in our collection to release. But it is still out there.”

RT: Julian, thank you for talking to RT…social networking, what role, do you think, sites like Facebook and Twitter, have played in the revolutions [sic] in the Middle East? How easy, would you say, is it to manipulate media like that?

JA: Facebook in particular is the most appalling spying machine that has ever been invented. Here we have the world’s most comprehensive database about people, their relationships, their names, their addresses, their locations and the communications with each other, their relatives, all sitting within the United States, all accessible to US intelligence. Facebook, Google, Yahoo – all these major US organizations have built-in interfaces for US intelligence. It’s not a matter of serving a subpoena. They have an interface that they have developed for US intelligence to use.

Now, is it the case that Facebook is actually run by US intelligence? No, it’s not like that. It’s simply that US intelligence is able to bring to bear legal and political pressure on them. And it’s costly for them to hand out records one by one, so they have automated the process. Everyone should understand that when they add their friends to Facebook, they are doing free work for United States intelligence agencies in building this database for them.

RT: OK, let’s talk about other latest WikiLeaks cables that have been released. They show the UK as a haven for extremism, with at least 35 Guantanamo detainees having at least passed through the UK. Is the UK still a haven for terrorists?

JA: You know it has been a haven for terrorists, and it is certainly a haven for oligarchs and former regime dictators that have come here. I mean, remember the famous Pinochet trial for the extradition of Pinochet from the UK, which Thatcher resisted – incredibly, using a lawyer that is involved in trying to extradite me from the United Kingdom. Now, part of that is, perhaps, good. It’s an example of true liberalism in the United Kingdom: everyone come here, and we’ll protect you. On the other hand, there does seem to be a disconnect. Is it really supporting free-speech activists like me who come to the UK?…

RT: The Guantanamo information… why has WikiLeaks released it now? I mean it seems sort of to be after the fact. Is it because Obama has recently announced his re-election campaign and obviously closing Guantanamo was one of his main election promises?

JA: There is a number of reasons why we released it now. The primary one is that we are a small organization, although a very committed one. Last year we came under extraordinary attack. All these things continue to go on. And so they’ve really dampened down our ability to move quickly and publish quickly.

The timing is good. Obama has given up on closing Guantanamo and has decided to re-open the trial process. And we now have a situation where even the Obama administration says that 48 of those people still in Guantanamo are completely innocent and they should be sent somewhere, and they are not being sent anywhere. So, completely innocent people are incarcerated for years and years and years with no trial and no hope of relief. No country would agree to house them, including the United States. But the United States has made them its problem.

The United States was involved in rounding up these innocent people, setting up a process that was from the very beginning corrupt. There is a reason why they are in Guantanamo and not on the US mainland and not in an allied country. And that reason was to hide them and to keep them outside of the law. Just like you have Caribbean islands engaged in money laundering, the United States is engaged in people laundering.

RT:Let me talk about your media partners, one of which is The Guardian, with whom you’re now involved in a dispute. But you chose them as your primary English-language partner for distributing the WikiLeaks cables. And now Guardian journalists have published this book on WikiLeaks, which you say is an attack on you. How would you describe, following that, The Guardian’s stance on whistleblowing and media freedom in general?

JA: They are a publishing organization, and so, of course, they want as much rights over publishing them as possible, that’s a natural self-interest. What they have done with this cable-cooking in this incredible over-redaction of cables is they have pushed the right of the people to know to the very, very edge. And what they are concerned about is any possible attack on them.

But we have seen this sort of abuse of the material that we have provided several times. The Guardian is the worst offender, but we saw it also by The New York Times…

…What happens in the West is that there is no border between state interest and commercial interest. The edges of the state, as a result of privatization, are fuzzed and blurred out into the edges of companies. So, when you look at how The Guardian behaves, or how The New York Times behaves, it is part of that mesh of corporate and state interests seamlessly blurring into each other. The Guardian is concerned predominantly about being criticized by these powerful interests, about lawsuits against it driven by oligarchs, driven by people powerful enough to push a court case forward…

…RT: And finally, Julian, who do you consider to be your No. 1 enemy?

JA: Our No. 1 enemy is ignorance. And I believe that is the No. 1 enemy for everyone – it’s not understanding what actually is going on in the world. It’s only when you start to understand that you can make effective decisions and effective plans. Now, the question is, who is promoting ignorance? Well, those organizations that try to keep things secret, and those organizations which distort true information to make it false or misrepresentative. In this latter category, it is bad media.

It really is my opinion that media in general are so bad that we have to question whether the world wouldn’t be better off without them altogether. They are so distortive to how the world actually is that the result is… we see wars, and we see corrupt governments continue on.

One of the hopeful things that I’ve discovered is that nearly every war that has started in the past 50 years has been a result of media lies. The media could’ve stopped it if they had searched deep enough; if they hadn’t reprinted government propaganda they could’ve stopped it. But what does that mean? Well, that means that basically populations don’t like wars, and populations have to be fooled into wars. Populations don’t willingly, with open eyes, go into a war. So if we have a good media environment, then we also have a peaceful environment.

RT: Thank you very much.

Excerpted; full interview/article link: http://rt.com/news/wikileaks-revelations-assange-interview/

On the prescience of perceiving Facebook as “Big Brother’s” spying tool, see also the Feb. 2012 article “Facebook is a surveillance engine, not friend: Richard Stallman, Free Software Foundation” [The Economic Times] – http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-02-07/news/31034052_1_facebook-users-mark-zuckerberg-richard-stallman

Bradley Manning Is Not a Royal Baby [FAIR]

Posted in Corporate Media Critique, Julian Assange, Media cover-up, Media smear campaign, U.K., US Government Cover-up, USA, Wikileaks on July 23, 2013 by Zuo Shou / 左手

July 17, 2013

by Peter Hart

“With a Royal Baby Due, News Outlets Are on High Alert” reported the New York Times (7/14/13) in a piece detailing the extensive planning that TV networks have done in order to cover the any-day-now arrival of the child of Prince William and Kate Middleton.

The Times said it “will be a spectacle unlike any other in the modern media age”; the ABC website has a special section (“sponsored by Nestlé”), while “NBC News has a site called RoyalBabyGuess.com, asking for predictions about name, birth time and weight. To make it more fun, the people whose guesses come closest might be mentioned on the Today show.” Both networks are sending anchors to cover the big event.

You can compare this treatment to an array of other, legitimately more important events in the world, of course. It’s not hard to come up with a list of things that are of greater consequence.

How about the trial of Bradley Manning? It only requires a trip to a military courtroom in Ft. Meade, Maryland. No corporations are likely to sponsor the Official Bradley Manning Trial website, but it’s impossible to argue that Manning isn’t news.

But network TV news has made that decision already.

As I noted before (FAIR Blog, 6/4/13) the evening newscasts briefly mentioned the start of the trial– with NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams calling it the “court martial of the man who may have put U.S. military secrets in the hands of Osama bin Laden.”

Inflammatory, sure– and also apparently the last time the trial was mentioned on NBC Nightly News. A similar brief summary aired on NBC’s Today.

The other networks were hardly any better. On ABC’s Good Morning America (6/4/13), viewers were told that Manning was an “Army private charged with the biggest leak of classified information in US history.” But apparently the biggest leak ever wasn’t big enough to merit much additional coverage; the only other mention of the trial on ABC came because WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange brought it up during an interview on the Sunday show This Week (6/30/13).

CBS Evening News briefly mentioned the Manning trial on June 3, but has never talked about it since then. The day before the CBS show Sunday Morning reported (6/2/13) this:

There is a look at the week ahead on our Sunday Morning calendar. Monday, the court-martial begins on remaining charges against Army intelligence analyst Bradley Manning, accused of passing government secrets to the WikiLeaks website. On Tuesday, Doctor Ruth Westheimer celebrates her eighty-fifth birthday. After fleeing Nazi Germany in her youth, Westheimer found success as a media sex expert.

Judging by the word count, the trial is slightly less important than Dr. Ruth’s birthday.

CBS This Morning had an interview with WikiLeaks’ Assange on June 7– which including this question from host Charlie Rose:

You know, let’s talk about the Bradley Manning case because everyday all of us who are in journalism believe that it’s the responsibility for the journalist to hold government accountable and that is the responsibility. But also there is a sense that you do not do things that threaten national security and endanger the lives of innocent Americans. That doesn’t seem to be a concern for you and Mister Manning.

Assange called that charge “completely false,” pointing out that U.S. government is not even making the case that individuals were harmed by the disclosures.

So that is the state of network television coverage of a whistleblower, held without trial for 3 years, who revealed information that made headlines in the most powerful news outlets around the world for months. That is how U.S. television networks are covering a trial where the U.S. government is attempting to argue that publishing information that finds its way into the hands of U.S. enemies is in fact “aiding the enemy”– a stunning legal strategy that holds the potential to criminalize investigative journalism.

No, all of that is apparently just barely newsworthy. But a baby born to the British royal family is news– and has already been the subject of more substantive network TV coverage (NBC Nightly News, 7/14/13).

And the same could be said for a cheesy, little-watched TV movie Sharknado, which was the subject of an NBC Nightly News report on July 12. Or the NBC reports about a new flavor of Hamburger Helper or a new hardwood floor cleaning tool.

Kevin Gosztola, one of the independent journalists covering the Manning trial, recently told Democracy Now! (7/16/13) that the trial “really is only being covered when the outlets in the U.S. media feel they have an obligation to cover something.”

Which, for the major TV networks, would seem to be basically never.

Article link: http://www.fair.org/blog/2013/07/17/bradley-manning-is-not-a-royal-baby/