As the U.S. is now an international aggressor, do Americans still owe it allegiance?

If a citizen releases information about crimes the U.S. commits, can he or she be legally punished? These questions arise in connection with the arrests of Australian Julian Assange and PFC Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army intelligence analyst believed to be the source of the secret government cables published by Assange’s WikiLeaks Web site.

Thanks to the long arm of Uncle Sam, Assange is now being held under house arrest by its UK criminal co-conspirator in the Middle East wars and Manning now resides in the U.S. Marine Corps brig at Quantico, Va. Although not convicted of any crime, Manning for seven months allegedly has been subjected to solitary confinement, perhaps the most diabolical punishment ever devised by American wardens. Studies of U.S. prisoners subjected to it show they suffer mental deterioration and insanity. This harsh punishment prior to any trial betrays the face of the tyrant state.

Under ordinary circumstances, the release of information labeled “secret” violates U.S. law, as intelligence specialist Manning undoubtedly knew. But if the U.S. is an aggressor state, as Germany was when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939, doesn’t that change everything? America under President George W. Bush attacked two small nations that posed no threat to it. Former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Annan told BBC the US-led invasion of Iraq was “illegal.” He said it contravened the UN Charter as the attack lacked Security Council approval. MIT Professor Noam Chomsky in his book “Imperial Ambitions,” (Metropolitan), called the U.S. invasion of Iraq as “open an act of aggression as there has been in modern history, a major war crime.” By ratifying the UN Charter the U.S. agreed to refrain “from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state…” And international law authority Francis Boyle of the University of Illinois, Champaign, called the invasion of Afghanistan “an illegal armed aggression that has created a humanitarian catastrophe” for its 22 millions. (Destroying World Order, Clarity Press.)

And as these invasions are criminal, why shouldn’t pertinent information about them not be brought to light? Whenever has it been wrong to expose a criminal enterprise? Public-spirited citizens go to the police and FBI every day to report crimes. “Under international law,” says Boyle, professor of that subject, “citizens  have a basic human right to resist the commission of international crimes by their own government, especially aggression…” And this is what PFC Manning did. He resisted aggression by informing Americans of how their government breaks laws. The Associated Press reports Manning told an associate, “I want people to see the truth…because without information you cannot make informed decisions as a public.” America’s Founders believed that, too, and made a free press a cornerstone of the new nation. Ann Medlock, Founder of the Giraffe Heroes Project, says, “In a perfect world, institutions would listen to their staffers when they point out errors, lapses of ethics, and outright chicanery within the organization. Then those holding power would correct those flaws. But…that hasn’t been the reality. Again and again authorities just blast away at the truthsayers rather than addressing the problems.” In a democratic society, wouldn’t the Pentagon commend Boyle for calling to attention the murder of innocent civilians and reporters by a helicopter gunship?

Webster’s (Random House) defines a patriot as one who “loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests.” The word “defends” here is critical. The wars the U.S. is waging in the Middle East are not defensive but offensive, thus it is unpatriotic to support them. In its highest sense, patriotism means citizen opposition to a totalitarian regime, not support for it. Looking back, who do Germans today honor and revere as “patriots” during the Hitler years if not the students of the White Rose Society? Ask yourself if those students were guilty of treason for passing out leaflets that denounced Hitler’s crimes? Hitler thought so and they were arrested, tortured and decapitated. Yet the students were only trying to reach their fellow Germans with truths Hitler tried to conceal. How different is PFC Manning’s actions from theirs? PFC Manning appears to be within his rights as any whistle-blower to divulge information that exposes U.S. crimes.

Today, the American warfare state is a tyranny that operates 800 military bases abroad (in addition to 1,000 on its own soil) and spends more for war than the next 15 nations combined. It kidnaps people off the streets around the world and dispatches them to remote prisons where they are held incognito and tortured. It is the world’s No. 1 Jailer, with tens of thousands imprisoned in the Middle East against whom no charges ever have been brought. It taps the telephones of UN officials and, as WikiLeaks disclosed, orders its diplomats to spy on their foreign counterparts. It leads the world in the sale of armaments to dictators. It violates anti-nuclear covenants and uses illegal irradiated ammunition on battlefields. It attacks small countries that have never attacked it and its CIA sows mayhem as it overthrows other countries (Iran and Chile are examples) by force and violence. President Obama’s decision not to prosecute his predecessor for making illegal wars turns the Constitution into toilet paper.

Chalmers Johnson wrote in “The Sorrows of Empire,”(Metropolitan/Owl Books), “the growth of militarism, official secrecy, and a belief that the United States is no longer bound, as the Declaration of Independence so famously puts it, by “a decent respect for the opinions of mankind” is probably irreversible. A revolution would be required to bring the Pentagon back under democratic control, or to abolish the Central Intelligence Agency…” Johnson does not advocate revolution; he means an earth-shaking change needs to occur. As revolutions involve violence and proceed by force rather than reason, in point of fact, Americans who feel obliged to restore democracy here would be better off following Dr. King’s example of exerting non-violent “soul force” to effect change. The American people have been led into wars based on lies, fictions, and secrets and should be grateful to Assange and Manning for revealing the truth of this misconduct. PFC Manning is no traitor but an American patriot. Like Julian Assange, he should be set free now. 

Sherwood Ross, who formerly reported for major dailies and wire services, is director of the Anti-War News Service. To contribute to his service, or comment, contact him at [email protected]

Palestinian Statehood on the Agenda

December 18th, 2010 by Muriel Mirak-Weissbach

The alacrity with which a lame duck U.S. Congress passed legislation against Palestinian aspirations to independence should cause alarm bells to ring, and loudly. That this Congress would so openly endorse the position of Benjamin Netanyahu’s intransigent government is not surprising. What is surprising is the message that the hastily passed bill sent regarding profound changes in the attitude of the “international community” towards an increasingly rogue state Israel. For, the Congress was not putting forward an objective statement regarding the Mideast conflict, it was reacting – hysterically — to the threat of punitive actions by powerful institutional forces against Israel. Increasingly, leading factors on the world political scene are signaling that they are fed up with Israel’s continuing sabotage of negotiations and are preparing to introduce corrective action if it continues.

The facts of the matter are the following: On December 15, the Congress passed Res. 1765 by a voice vote (http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=hr111-1765). Presented by Rep. Berman (with colleagues Poe, Berkley, Ros-Lehtinen, Ackerman, and Burton), the resolution ticks off a list of “Whereases”: on the one hand, the Palestinians are “pursuing a coordinated strategy of seeking recognition of a Palestinian state within the United Nations, in other international forums, and from a number of foreign governments;” and some Latin American governments are moving in that direction; and, on the other, Secretary of State Clinton has repeatedly said only negotiations can lead to a Palestinian state, a position endorsed by Israel; the Congress therefore opposes any such recognition strategy, calls on Palestinians to cease and desist from such efforts, and rather return to negotiations. The resolution ends with a call on the Administration to “affirm that the United States would deny recognition to any unilaterally declared Palestinian state and veto any resolution by the United Nations Security Council to establish or recognize a Palestinian state outside of an agreement by the two parties.”

The PLO Executive Committee denounced the bill as “blunt and completely biased in favor of Israel and occupation.” In a statement, the Palestinian Delegation to the US expressed its “deep disappointment,” and said the Congress was “misinformed as to the facts.” It said: “The Palestinian right to freedom and self-determination is not contingent on the approval of the state of Israel, which has been militarily occupying and colonizing the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem for more than 43 years in violation of international law and the policies of the United States and the international community.” The statement noted that “the state of Israel came into being in 1948 as a unilateral step.”

It is important to stress that the resolution did not come in response to the Palestinian Authority’s having made any such unilateral declaration of independence. However, discussion of such an initiative has been spreading since Israel rejected the “incentives” proposed by the Obama government for it to halt settlements: In addition to $3 billion more in military aid, the US government had reportedly offered Israel a mafia-style protection option, whereby Washington would shoot down any attempt in the United Nations to condemn or sanction Israel – or to act on a unilateral declaration of independence by the Palestinian Authority. The mere suggestion that any country should require such protection by a superpower is tantamount to a declaration of moral bankruptcy by that country, but that is not the point. The point is that Israel flatly rejected it, thus signaling its commitment to continue taking over Palestinian land in fulfillment of the radical Zionist vision of a Greater Israel. And “to hell with the rest of the world,” Netanyahu might have added.

The Palestinian side had no choice but to insist it would not restart direct talks until Israel froze the settlements. Despite Special Envoy George Mitchell’s good intentions, it is unlikely that anything will come of renewed “indirect” talks. By now, politically astute observers have understood that Israel’s willingness to engage in such indirect talks is merely a ruse to provide cover for continuing colonization.

Unilateral Declaration of Independence

What options are left for the Palestinians in this situation? One option is to abandon the format thus far unsuccessfully adopted, and explore a different venue for solving the conflict, to wit, the United Nations. On November 9, PressTV reported negotiator Saeb Erekat’s statement, “Israeli unilateralism is a call for immediate international recognition of the Palestinian state.” His remarks came on the heels of Israeli announcements that 1,300 new housing units in occupied East Jerusalem had been approved. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad, who has been feverishly working on the West Bank to establish the infrastructure for a future Palestinian state, indicated that if peace talks failed, a unilateral declaration of independence could be on the agenda. Later, on December 16, Erekat was quoted as saying that this was not the case and was indeed not necessary; in fact, he said, the Palestinians had already declared their independence in 1988. “Now it’s up to the international community to declare recognition of our independence.” Confirming the PA’s recognition of the state of Israel, he added that it was now “up to the international community to stand firm and recognize Palestine on the 1967 lines with Jerusalem as its capital.” Arab News reported on December 16 that Palestinian negotiator Nabil Shaath had just asked the EU and several member states to recognize a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders.

In point of fact, since that 1988 declaration, over 100 members of the United Nations have recognized Palestine as an independent state. Most recently, Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, and Norway declared their support. The Israelis predictably went through the roof. A Foreign Ministry statement said, “Recognition of a Palestinian state is a violation of the interim agreement signed by Israel and the Palestinian Authority in 1995, which established that the status of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be discussed and solved through negotiations.” It also claimed that such a stance violated provisions in the Oslo Accords and the Road Map – as if the Netanyahu government had ever respected the provisions of those agreements.

European Elder Statesmen Launch Challenge

The Israeli establishment is clearly panicked by the mere suggestion that the entire Middle East dossier might end up at the United Nations. And this is precisely what a group of august former political leaders in Europe – foreign ministers, prime ministers, and other luminaries – has urged the European Union and its member states to explore. In an intervention into current affairs which is as unusual as it is timely, the group of elder statesmen addressed an open letter to the EU Heads of Government and their Ministers of Foreign Affairs, as well as Herman van Rompey, EC President, and Lady Catherine Ashton, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy (http://www.ag-friedensforschung.de/regionen/Nahost/promis-letter.html). Among the members of the European Former Leaders Group who signed the letter are: Chris Patten, Hubert Vedrine, Giuliano Amato, Roland Dumas, Lionel Jospin, Romano Prodi, Helmut Schmidt, Clare Short, Javier Solana, and Richard von Weizsaecker. The letter makes reference to the twelve “Council resolutions on the Middle East peace process,” which the EU Foreign Affairs Council adopted on December 8, 2009, almost exactly one year ago. Since then, they write, “we appear to be no closer to a resolution” and the reason is that “developments on the ground, primarily Israel’s continuation of settlement activity in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), including in East Jerusalem pose an existential threat to the prospects of establishing a sovereign, contiguous and viable Palestinian state also embracing Gaza, and therefore pose a commensurate threat to a two-state solution to the conflict.”

The elder statesmen urge the EU therefore to “revisit the principles” and “establish new steps” in its December 2010 meeting. Specifically, the former leaders demand that EU “identify concrete measures to operationalize its agreed policy and thence move to implementation of the agreed objectives.” The text goes on to quote from the 2009 Council document, and to demand that the recommendations be enforced. But in every one of the twelve points referenced, the VIPs note that what had been agreed upon in 2009 has been sabotaged by Israel. For example: they recall earlier demands for resumption of negotiations, and add that they indeed welcomed the resumption of talks in September 2010, but “it gives us grave concern that the current talks lack a clear framework or terms of reference, and stalled as soon as they commenced on account of continued settlement construction by Israel.” Lamenting the “deterioration of the situation on the ground,” which jeopardizes the two-state solution, the document recommends that the EU, in cooperation with the US, UN, Russia, Arab League etc. “put forward a concrete and comprehensive proposal” to resolve the conflict.

The document states: “We believe the EU should at the December 2010 Council meeting set a date at which it will take further action. It should for example say that if there is no progress by its next meeting scheduled for April 2011, this will leave the Council with no alternative but to refer the matter to the international community to enable the latter to lead efforts to define a vision and a strategy for a resolution of this conflict.”

Who is the “international community” here? Obviously, the United Nations.

The VIP letter quotes further from the EU Council’s 2009 document to the effect that the EU “will not recognize any changes to the pre-1967 borders including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties.” Now, in response to unilateral measures by Israel, “we recommend that the EU reiterate its position that it will not recognize any changes to the June 1967 boundaries, and clarify that a Palestinian state should be in sovereign control over territory equivalent to 100% of the territory occupied in 1967, including its capital in East Jerusalem.”

In a later paragraph, the document reaffirms its commitment to Israel’s security and to developing bilateral relations, including its accession to the OECD. “Yet Israel has continued with settlement construction in the OPT, including East Jerusalem, and refused to negotiate seriously on terminating occupation and the establishment of an independent and sovereign Palestinian state.” The letter complains that, although the EU has always considered settlements illegal, it “has not attached any consequences for continued and systematic Israeli settlement expansion in the OPT, including East Jerusalem.” The elder statesmen propose that any further enhancement of bilateral relations with Israel be blocked until Israel freezes the settlements.  Furthermore, they recommend “in the strongest possible terms” that the EU review the legalities of agreements with Israel: specifically, they say that goods produced in the OPT (“prohibited by international law and considered unlawful by EU policy”) must not enjoy benefits; the EU must “bring an end to the import of settlement products which are, in contradiction with EU labeling regulations, marketed as originating in Israel.” Without masking irritation, they add: “We consider it simply inexplicable that such products still enjoy benefits under preferential trade agreements between the EU and Israel.”

Not only should the EU deny Israel such privileges, but it should punish it for having resumed settlements, which the EU has “for decades” declared to be illegal. “Like any other state, Israel should be held accountable for its actions,” the letter says. “It is the credibility of the EU that is at stake”– a notion repeated several times in the letter.

Moving on to the deterioration of the situation in East Jerusalem, the VIPs call for action: “We believe that a high-level delegation led by the High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy and including EU foreign ministers should visit East Jerusalem as a matter of urgency to draw attention to the erosion of the Palestinian presence there, and report back to the EU with an agenda of proposals to arrest and reverse the deterioration of the situation on the ground.”

Regarding Gaza, the letter calls for opening the borders to allow normal trade. It recommends the EU contribute to Palestinian internal reconciliation through offers of development assistance to the West Bank and Gaza equally. In conclusion, the document recalls that the EU has made “substantial” outlays of tax-payers’ money over the past two decades to promote a two-state solution. If no political progress is forthcoming from the Israeli side, then “Israel should be required to shoulder its obligations as the occupying power.”

The elder statesmen’s initiative is truly remarkable, and indicates that institutional forces in Europe, but also in the Arab world and the US, have decided to break taboos, and treat Israel like any other nation.(1) At the end of the text, the VIPs note the desire on the part of many Arabs “and prominent Israelis” to see the EU assume a more pro-active role in finding a solution. Significantly, they add: “Senior figures in the United States are also signaling to us that the best way to help President Obama’s efforts is to put a price tag on attitudes and policies that run counter to the positions that the US president himself has advocated.” The White House had, prior to the letter’s publication, acknowledged Israel’s refusal to stop settlements as a fait accompli.

Whether or not the EU leaders will welcome the recommendations of their senior peers is a question mark. But the fact that such prominent figures have spoken out in this form is important. They have essentially challenged the EU – and very publicly — to live up to its promises, as articulated in its 2009 document, and finally take political action vis-a-vis Israel. Predictably, the Israelis responded with a combination of hysterical denial and veiled threats. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor was quoted December 12 in the Jerusalem Post, saying, “It is difficult to see how the call for sanctions and Israel’s isolation will promote peace, but clearly this will diminish the EU’s capability to play a constructive role in promoting peace in the region.” He railed that “the settlements never constituted an obstacle to peace and to territorial withdrawal,” and said the EU, with such a posture, would only “totally sideline” itself from the process.

Back to the United Nations

The most intriguing question now on the table is: what would happen if the Mideast conflict were handed back to the UN? In the General Assembly there is little doubt that an overwhelming majority would vote to recognize a sovereign, independent Palestinian state within the 1967 borders. What about the Security Council? What would the US do?

About a year ago, on November 9, 2009, World Net Daily cited Israeli sources to the effect that Obama was considering the option of recognizing a Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza, regardless of what negotiations might bring. The article also referenced Palestinian sources who said the US president had agreed to PA Prime Minister Salam Fayyad’s plan to establish a state within two years, i.e. by 2011. According to Haaretz, Fayyad had made a secret agreement with Obama whereby the PA, together with the Arab League, would file a “claim of sovereignty” with the UNGA and Security Council. Fayyad had reportedly discussed the plan with representatives of the UK, France, Spain, and Sweden, and had told Israelis that the US president was not opposed. This account may or may not be accurate; but, Netanyahu, in Washington at the time, did pressure Clinton and Mitchell to do everything possible to sabotage such a scenario. And Defense Minister Ehud Barak also raised the issue while in Washington this December. Then came the Congressional Resolution.(2)

The noose is tightening around Netanyahu’s political neck. As these developments indicate, the “international community” is no longer willing to sit back and watch as Israel crosses one red line after another. Whatever Obama’s real sentiments and intentions, it is obvious that no American president can revel in being treated like an underling by a rogue state. If, as the European VIPs stressed in their letter, the credibility of the EU is at stake, then the credibility of the US, not to mention the UN, is as well.

Pressures are coming down on Israel from many sides and this can only enhance the process of breaking taboos and abandoning double standards. To mention one salient example: while Ehud Barak was lobbying in Washington for yet another round of sanctions against Iran, the Australian Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd called for Israel to join the NPT. As reported by PressTV on December 15, he said his government’s view was that “all states in the region should adhere to the NPT, and that includes Israel. And therefore,” he added, “their nuclear facility should be subject to IAEA inspection.”  His Israeli counterpart, Avigdor Lieberman, rejected it out of hand. But a consensus has been growing in the IAEA, as seen in its September meeting, for Israel to come clean on its nuclear program.

The former European leaders are right in stressing that time is of the essence, and their successors must intervene now, to avoid new conflict. The situation in Lebanon is deteriorating, with attempts to inculpate Hezbollah for the murder of Rafiq Hariri. Suicide bombings and assassinations of scientists organized by foreign-backed terrorist groups in Iran are creating a dangerous climate of tension at a time when a real possibility to solve the nuclear issue is emerging.  In Iraq, sectarian terrorism is threatening to thwart attempts at building a stable government.  And Israel, with its back against a wall, could very well lash out against any one of its perceived enemies: Hamas, Hezbollah, and/or Iran.

1.      A retired German diplomat Dr. Gerhard Fulda, presented a paper to the German-Arab Society last year in which he proposed a similar radical change in Germany’s and Europe’s approach to Israel, specifically suggesting that the EU impose economic sanctions on Israel and withhold development aid.

2.      Curiously, among the hundreds of thousands of diplomatic cables leaked by WikiLeaks, there have been none concerning US-Israeli relations, although they rank high on Washington’s foreign policy agenda. An article in Indymedia on December 7, “WikiLeaks ‘struck a deal with Israel’ over diplomatic cable leaks,’ cites Arab and other sources to the effect that Assange accepted payment to keep Israel out of the leaks (http://www.indybay.org/newsitems/2010/12/07/18665978.php). Such diplomatic correspondence would certainly shed interesting light on the debate around Palestinian statehood. 

The author can be reached at [email protected]

Former President George H.W. Bush and ex-Secretary of State James Baker were part of a negotiating team that convinced Nigerian government officials to drop bribery charges against Dick Cheney and Halliburton, the oil services firm he led prior to becoming vice president.

Bush and Baker, whose law firm was hired by Halliburton in 2004 to handle the bribery allegations, participated in conference call discussions with senior Nigerian government officials, including the country’s attorney general, Mohammed Adoke, last weekend on behalf of Cheney in an attempt to work out a settlement, according to a report published by an African news agency.

The negotiations took place in London and included Halliburton represenatives.

On Friday, Femi Babafemi, a spokesman for Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the agency that filed the 16-count indictment last week, said the case against Cheney, Halliburton and several other current and former executives has been “formally dropped.”

Earlier this week, Babafemi said Halliburton agreed during negotiation talks to a “plea bargain” and to “pay $250 million in fines in lieu of prosecution.” He said the Nigerian government accepted the terms of the settlement.

Last week, after the indictment was filed in Abuja, Nigeria’s capitol, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, “We do not believe that there will be a basis for further action (requiring Cheney to respond to the charges), but we will look into it.”

Moreover, Johnnie Carson, the US Assistant Secretary, Bureau of African Affairs, told reporters during a conference call last week that the US government was closely following the case against Cheney and had already engaged in discussions about it with Nigerian authorities.

As Truthout previously reported, the charges revolve around $180 million in bribes executives who worked for Halliburton’s former subsidiary, Kellogg, Brown & Root (KBR) paid to Nigerian government officials between 1994 and 2004 in exchange for $6 billion in construction contracts for the Bonny Island natural gas liquefaction plant. Nigeria is Africa’s largest crude oil producer. [Click here for a complete timeline.]

KBR, which also has handled lucrative US government support contracts for US troops in Iraq and elsewhere, was spun off from Halliburton in 2007 into a separate company. Nigerian officials had also charged KBR in the bribery case.

The bribes allegedly went to the notoriously corrupt Nigerian dictator Sani Abacha and some of his subordinates and were allegedly laundered through UK lawyer Jeffrey Tesler, who served as a consultant to KBR after it was formed in a 1998 merger that Cheney engineered between Halliburton and Dresser Industries. Tesler was hired in 1995 as an agent of a four-company joint venture that was awarded four engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contracts by Nigeria LNG Ltd., (NLNG). Tesler was indicted last year by the Department of Justice, which has been conducting its own probe into the matter, and he is fighting extradition to the US.

Baker’s alleged involvement in the settlement talks is not surprising given that his law firm, Baker Botts, was hired by Halliburton in 2004 to conduct an internal probe into the bribery scandal. During the investigation, James Doty, a partner at Baker Botts who led the probe, “discovered” notes written by former KBR employees indicating the firm “may” have bribed Nigerian government officials in exchange for lucrative contracts. Doty, served as general counsel of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) under Bush senior.

More recently, the SEC had questioned Cheney during its two-year-long probe of Halliburton’s accounting irregularities and concluded that he should not be held responsible for what went on behind the scenes at the company he ran between 1995 and 2000.

Truthout was unable to reach spokespeople for Bush and Baker. A Halliburton spokesperson declined to comment.

The payment to the Nigerian government will bring an immediate end to the bribery and corruption charges against Halliburton, Cheney and several of the company’s current and former executives.

Babafemi added that the payment consists of $120 million in penalties and the repatriation of $130 million “trapped in Switzerland,” and he expects Adoke to approve of the deal as early as today.

Earlier this month, the Justice Department announced that Tesler’s associate, Wojciech J. Chodan, the former vice president to KBR’s UK subsidiary, pleaded guilty to violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) for in his role in the bribery scandal.

Chodan, who was extradited to the United States from England, is scheduled to be sentenced in February and faces a maximum five years in federal prison.

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Albert “Jack” Stanley, who Cheney had named chief executive of KBR in 1998, was also named in the indictment filed by Nigerian anti-corruption officials. Charges against him have also been dropped.

Stanley was a close associate of Cheney’s. The former vice president promoted him in 1998 to head KBR and told the Middle East Economic Digest in 1999 that having Stanley at the helm of the Halliburton subsidiary “has helped us tremendously.”

In September 2008, Stanley pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire and mail fraud to settle charges related to a separate kickback scheme and for conspiring to violate FCPA in connection with bribery case.

According to the DOJ’s plea agreement, Stanley started paying bribes in 1995, the year Cheney was named chief executive of the corporation, and ended when Stanley was fired in 2004.  Stanley faces seven years in prison and nearly $11 million in restitution payments. He remains free on bail pending a sentencing hearing scheduled for January.

Last year, KBR pleaded guilty to violating FCPA and admitted that it paid $180 million in “consulting fees” to Tesler and a Japanese trading company for use in bribing Nigerian government officials. KBR paid a $402 million fine and Halliburton paid $177 million in civil penalties as part of its plea deal, which was handled by Baker’s law firm.

Nigerians Condemn Settlement

While Nigeria government officials may be satisfied with the settlement agreement, the same cannot be said for some of the country’s citizens and activists who had hoped to see the former vice president respond to the charges.

“I would have loved to see Dick Cheney in chains in our court and facing justice in our prisons,” said Celestine AkpoBari, program officer at Social Action Nigeria. “That would have been a very big point that would have lifted Nigeria out of its woes.”

In a statement, Emmanuel Ulayi, executive director of the Civic Duties Awareness Initiative (CIDAI), an organization that ensures “Nigerians adhere to their civic responsibilities, comdemned the decision.

Uliya said the settlement is evidence that “the fight against corruption is dead and have never been real in Nigeria.” He said if the Nigerian government was serious about rooting out corruption “it would not have reach this kind of understanding.”

Owei Lakemfa, a columnist for Nigeria’s Daily Vanguard, said Friday Cheney “is an international crook who should be in jail in his country, Iraq, Netherlands, Afghanistan, Britain, Azerbaijan or in Nigeria…But unfortunately, the scales of justice are not balanced, so he will escape justice with his loot

We are reproducing the Wikileaks emails initially posted by www.cryptome.org, with a view to ensuring that this archive is not lost or erased.

9 January 2006. Related: http://cryptome.org/wikileaks/wikileaks-leak2.htm Cc: wmreditor[a t]waynemadsenreport.com,
funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
From: Julien Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 21:07:48 -0600
To: John Young <jya[a t]pipeline.com>
Subject: [WL] Re: Wikileaks Suspects You
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
John, can you xxxx  the reference to “IQ.ORG” in that document near 
“my daughters photo”.

7 January 2007

A writes:

Just read the majority of the mailing list conversation and did not understand your, what I thought, sudden shift in direction. I imagine something that did not make its way onto the mailing list conversation prompted you to pull your support and then publish the emails? If so, can you fill us in?

Cryptome:

All the messages received were published. My objections had been building, shown in later messages, after initial support. The finally fed-up turnaround occurred with the publication today of the $5 million dollar by July fund-raising goal — see messages at the tail-end. I called that — along with a delay in offering a public discussion and critique forum and failure to provide a credible batch of leaked documents for public scrutiny — a surefire indication of a scam. This is the exact technique used by snake oilers, pols and spies. Requests to Cryptome to keep stuff quiet are regular fare and they always get published. Next up, the names and affiliations of the perps if they don’t reveal themselves in an open forum.

*** PGP Signature Status: unknown
*** Signer: xxxxxxxxxxxxx
*** Signed: 10/3/2006 8:16:00 PM
*** Verified: 10/4/2006 8:32:09 AM
*** BEGIN PGP DECRYPTED/VERIFIED MESSAGE ***
Dear John,
You knew me under another name from cypherpunk days. I am involved
in a project that you may have feeling for. I will not mention its
name yet incase you feel yu are not able to be involved.
The project is a mass document leaking project that requires someone
with backbone to hold the .org domain registration. We would like
that person to be someone who is not privy to the location of the
master servers which are otherwise obscured by technical means.
We expect the domain to come under the usual political and legal
pressure. The policy for .org requires that registrants details
not be false or misleading. It would be an easy play to cancel the
domain unless someone were willing to stand up and claim to be the
registrant. This person does not need to claim any other knowledge
or involvement.
Will you be that person?
[email protected]
—–BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—–
[Deleted by Cryptome]
—–END PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—–
*** END PGP DECRYPTED/VERIFIED MESSAGE ***

John Young agreed to do so by encrypted message, undecryptable by JY.

[A decrypted PGP message.]
Dear J,
The difficulties that confront a conspirator are infinite.
many have been the conspiracies, but few have been successful;
because he who conspires can not act alone, nor can he take
a companion except from those whom he believes malcontent,
and as soon as you have opened your mind to a malcontent
you have given him the material with which to content
himself. –Macchiavelli
wikileaks.org, wikileaks.cn, wikileaks.info done
Domain Name:WIKILEAKS.ORG (etc)
Created On:04-Oct-2006 05:54:19 UTC
Last Updated On:04-Oct-2006 06:45:38 UTC
Expiration Date:04-Oct-2007 05:54:19 UTC
Sponsoring Registrar:Dynadot, LLC (R1266-LROR)
Status:TRANSFER PROHIBITED
Registrant ID:CP-10335
Registrant Name:John Young c/o Dynadot Privacy
Registrant Street1:PO Box 1072
Registrant Street2:
Registrant Street3:
Registrant City:Belmont
Registrant State/Province:CA
Registrant Postal Code:94002
Registrant Country:US
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The privacy forwarding service is part of the dynadot.com rego.
Many thanks. Far from jya to be content :)

To: jya[a t]pipeline.com
From:
Subject: Welcome to list xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Date: Fri, 8 Dec 2006 23:48:40 -0800 (PST)
Welcome to list xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
Your subscription email is jya[a t]pipeline.com
Your password : xxxxxxxxxxxxx
This list is aimed at increasing water flow through the Santa Lucía River river system.
Everything about this list:
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

[Names and addresses, headers and redundant messages trimmed by Cryptome.]
To:
Resent-Date: Sat, 9 Dec 2006 20:50:32 +1100
From:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
I think they’re almost perfect and your efforts are prob. better 
spent doing something new, rather than perfecting mr. mole. I’m not 
sure how easy it is for you to modify. Are you doing all this freehand?
Comments from others:
germans seem to love the mole! I hadn’t realized before and neither 
do they, but smashing through walls with guard type figures above has 
special resonance for them! not sure how that effect can be enhanced 
further, without giving the game away, but it sure is interesting!
Comments from an american [I am not making this up!]
   Nice walrus!
   Err, ok, nice seal. What’s with the strange flippers?
   Otter?
   Oh, one of those strange marsupials? platypus?
[they eventually got it. how's that for the american education system?]
   – mole comes from dark into light but white around moles head? 
perhaps needs shading?
   – dudes above look like they can see mr mole and might get him, 
but mr mole can’t see them?
   – are they coming down stairs to get mr mole?
   – strongly prefer left hourclass wkileaks to hand form on right
Comments from me:
   – mr. mole’s attitude is perfect
   – logos look great, nothing to change. prefer hourglass 
artistically to hand, but  white hands
     cupping have historically found a lot of traction in people’s 
minds. possible confusion with global       warming – icecaps 
melting, but can’t think of anything that can be done about that 
other than leading with appropriate context, which should work. it’s 
not as if we’re sending out
     random letters in the post.
   – How about a “logo” sized mole with similar attitude? Be nice to 
get his lovability onto
      every page header, for example
   – As a “backing” organization we’re forming something like “centre 
for open democracy” or
      some such phrase of eminent and untouchable worth. any 
suggestions on the phrase?
      we can re-use one of the logos there, if mole-logo starts to 
dominate
   – 2d brickwork, 3d fallen bricks. difficult problem. maybe just 
cut at the bottom of the wall, since
     the image is pretty tall anyway? 2d wall, 3d mole is nice 
stylistically
   – perhaps some spreading cracks (not too gratuitous) in the 
brickwork to further suggest
     mr. moles impact on the rotten foundations of state power?
   – perhaps top of moles head should overlay brickwork for increased 
depth? not sure
   – moles snout might look seal like, though never thought of this 
till comment by americano.
      some real moles have amazing star noses. we can’t have our mr. 
mole have
      one of those, because it will de-humanize him. But iff you can do
      it without dehumanizing him, some variant, like a powerful 
glinting conical metal
      drill nose might be cool
   – perhaps angle black dudes eyes up a bit? or have them looking at 
each other?
   – be interesting to know how “leaks” and “mole” translate to other 
languages
   – we probably need fresh eyes now to see things objectively
On 20.11.2006, at 18:08, Ani Lovins wrote:
> Howdie, cowgirl!
>
> I take it I am just waiting now for any comments?
> Yes, well as you said – both cute and with attitude, the mole shall 
> be.

From:
Date: Sat, 9 Dec 2006 20:28:09 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g. Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'. This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer and plenty of backbone.]
Begin forwarded message:
> From:
> Subject: Re: fresh meat
>
> OK, so here are some further modifications:
>
> First of all I changed the font on the 2 logos so whatever one you
> decide to go with, I think this is better. ( I am guessing you’ll
> decide amongst yourselves what logo is appropriate)
>
> As to the mole: I disagree about several things.
>
> The dark figures are now looking beyond/ above the mole but they
> should NOT look at one another, as I want no bonding or feeling of
> togetherness about them.
> Moles have noses like little hearts (which makes them so cute), whilst
> seals dont really have a separate nose (it blends in with the skin). I
> tried a quick change with a drill but I don’t like it.
> Also added a version with a darker mole bckground, but that takes away
> from the picture, and I think your eye is no longer drawn to the
> center.
> Anyway, I will try to shrink the mole into some kind of logo sized
> icon over the next few days. Bit busy, cause of Christmas coming up
> but shall do my best.
>
> Hope  this is acceptable.
>
> Battle on!
> a
Begin forwarded message:
From:
Subject: Re: fresh meat
OK, so here are some further modifications:
First of all I changed the font on the 2 logos so whatever one you
decide to go with, I think this is better. ( I am guessing you’ll
decide amongst yourselves what logo is appropriate)
As to the mole: I disagree about several things.
The dark figures are now looking beyond/ above the mole but they
should NOT look at one another, as I want no bonding or feeling of
togetherness about them.
Moles have noses like little hearts (which makes them so cute), whilst
seals dont really have a separate nose (it blends in with the skin). I
tried a quick change with a drill but I don’t like it.
Also added a version with a darker mole bckground, but that takes away
from the picture, and I think your eye is no longer drawn to the
center.
Anyway, I will try to shrink the mole into some kind of logo sized
icon over the next few days. Bit busy, cause of Christmas coming up
but shall do my best.
Hope  this is acceptable.
Battle on!
a[][]

From:
Date: Sat, 9 Dec 2006 20:28:09 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g. Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'. This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer and plenty of backbone.]
Begin forwarded message:
> From:
> Subject: Re: fresh meat
>
> OK, so here are some further modifications:
>
> First of all I changed the font on the 2 logos so whatever one you
> decide to go with, I think this is better. ( I am guessing you’ll
> decide amongst yourselves what logo is appropriate)
>
> As to the mole: I disagree about several things.
>
> The dark figures are now looking beyond/ above the mole but they
> should NOT look at one another, as I want no bonding or feeling of
> togetherness about them.
> Moles have noses like little hearts (which makes them so cute), whilst
> seals dont really have a separate nose (it blends in with the skin). I
> tried a quick change with a drill but I don’t like it.
> Also added a version with a darker mole bckground, but that takes away
> from the picture, and I think your eye is no longer drawn to the
> center.
> Anyway, I will try to shrink the mole into some kind of logo sized
> icon over the next few days. Bit busy, cause of Christmas coming up
> but shall do my best.
>
> Hope  this is acceptable.
>
> Battle on!
> a
Begin forwarded message:
From:
Subject: Re: fresh meat
OK, so here are some further modifications:
First of all I changed the font on the 2 logos so whatever one you
decide to go with, I think this is better. ( I am guessing you’ll
decide amongst yourselves what logo is appropriate)
As to the mole: I disagree about several things.
The dark figures are now looking beyond/ above the mole but they
should NOT look at one another, as I want no bonding or feeling of
togetherness about them.
Moles have noses like little hearts (which makes them so cute), whilst
seals dont really have a separate nose (it blends in with the skin). I
tried a quick change with a drill but I don’t like it.
Also added a version with a darker mole bckground, but that takes away
from the picture, and I think your eye is no longer drawn to the
center.
Anyway, I will try to shrink the mole into some kind of logo sized
icon over the next few days. Bit busy, cause of Christmas coming up
but shall do my best.
Hope  this is acceptable.
Battle on!
a[]
Content-Id: Content-Type: image/jpeg; x-unix-mode=0644; name=Logos new font.jpg Content-Disposition: inline; filename=”Logos new font.jpg”

To:
From:
Date: Sat, 9 Dec 2006 20:42:37 +1100
This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g. Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to ‘WL’. This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer and plenty of backbone.
Dear Mr. Ellsberg.
We have followed with interest and delight your recent statements on
document leaking.
We have come to the conclusion that fomenting a world wide movement of
mass leaking is the most cost effective political intervention
available to us* We believe that injustice is answered by good
governance and for there to be good governance there must be open
governance. Governance by stealth is governance by conspiracy and
fear. Fear, because without it, secrecy does not last for long.
Retired generals and diplomats are vociferous, but those in active
service hold their tune.
Lord Action said, “Everything secret degenerates, even the
administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it
can bear discussion and publicity”.
This degeneration comes about because when injustice is concealed,
including plans for future injustice, it cannot be addressed. When
governance is closed, man’s eyes become cataracts. When governance is
open, man can see and so act to move the world towards a more just
state; for instance see
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reporters_Without_Borders which shows a
striking correlation between press freedom and countries known for
their quality of life.
us*: some attributes may have been swapped to protect selected 
identities,
     no particular order.
  1) Retired new york architect and notorious intelligence leak 
facilitator
  2) Euro cryptographer/programmer
  3) Pacific physicist and illustrator
  4) A pacific author and economic policy lecturer
  5) Euro, Ex-Cambridge mathematician/cryptographer/programmer
  6) Euro businessman and security specialist/activist
  7) Author of software than runs 40% of the world’s websites.
  8) US pure mathematician with criminal law background
  9) An infamous US ex-hacker
  10) Pacific cryptographer/physicist and activist
  11) US/euro cryptographer and activist/programmer
  12) Pacific programmer
  13) Pacific architect / foreign policy wonk
New technology and cryptographic ideas permit us to not only encourage
document leaking, but to facilitate it directly on a mass scale. We
intend to place a new star in the political firmament of man.
We are building an uncensorizable branch of Wikipedia for leaked
documents and the civic institutions & social perceptions necessary to
defend and promote it. We have received over 1 million documents from
13 countries, despite not having publicly launched yet!
We have approached you now for two reasons.
Firstly, we have crossed over from `prospective’ to `projective’. The
basic technology has been prototyped and we have a view as how we must
proceed politically and legally. We need to move and inspire people,
gain volunteers, funding, further set up the necessary political-legal
defenses and deploy. Since you have thought about leaking more than
anyone we know, we would like you on board. We’d like your advice and
we’d like you to form part of our political armor. The more armor we
have, particularly in the form of men and women sanctified by age,
history and class, the more we can act like brazen young men and get
away with it.
Secondly, we would like to award “The Ellsburg Prize for Courageous
Action” and “The Ellsburg Prize for Courageous Action (USA)”, for the
two leaks submitted in the past year which most assist humanity. The
regionalization of the second prize is to encourage patrons of similar
awards in other countries. Although it is premature to go into detail,
we have designed a scheme were this can be meaningfully awarded to
anonymous leakers. We have been pledged substantial initial funding.
Please tell us your thoughts. If you are happy, we will add you to our
internal mailinglist, contacts, etc.
Solidarity!
WL.

To:
From:
Date: Sat, 9 Dec 2006 22:45:09 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
I’ve registered us to present WL at the World Social Forum in Nairobi Jan 20-25th 2007! There should be 40-70 thousand people attending.
Anyone else feel like coming to Africa?
At the moment I’ve only registered us to present on the first day. However, we *can* register upto 5 presentations/workshops/roundtables etc. I’ve reserved a slot for a 200-300 audience, but it’s really quite hard to guess how many people will turn up. There’s 1000 other organizations jostling for time, but there are 40-70k people. Many people there must be net savy and even those that aren’t can’t but help hearing about the wikpedia. 
Does anyone have suggestions on how to best stagger the presentation types (you’ll have examine wsfprocess.net to see what’s available). At the moment, my intent is to register a similar sized slot on each day, with a slightly different label, so as to appeal to different character types.
The 7th edition of the World Social Forum brings the world to Africa as activists, social movements, networks, coalitions and other progressive forces from Asia-Pacific, Latin America, the Caribbean, North America, Europe and all corners of the African continent converge in Nairobi, Kenya for five days of cultural resistance and celebration.

http://www.wsfprocess.net/

You’ll need to create an account (easy) at wsfprocess in order to see us.

To:
From:
Date: Sat, 9 Dec 2006 16:05:06 -0500 (EST)
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Thanks for registering on Idealist!
To complete the registration process please click in the following link:

http://www.idealist.org/if/idealist/en/MyIdealist/UserVerification/activate?email=funtimesahead%40lists.riseup.nettoken=f8bbd3190dd90c4174cc2c7d197d5219

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Thanks, and all the best!
The Idealist.org Team
www.idealist.org

From:
Date: Tue, 12 Dec 2006 02:01:30 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
I may donate XX.ORG [now worth $30k] for the WL civic institution if 
someone can find a good acronym.
Some good words:
Quorum, Question, Quest, Quadrant, Quality, Qualification, Quantum, 
Quotient, Query, InQuiry… Quasimodo [ok, q's are hard]
I… Q… [french word order]
I, International, Idea, Ideal, Identify, Integrity, Illusion, Image, 
Imagination, Immortal, Immaterial, Impartial, Interesting, 
Impassioned, Impending, Imperial, Impetuous, Institute, Important, 
Impressive, Impunity, Incite, Inclusive, Incorrigible, Incredible, 
Identical,  Infamous, Infinite, Inform, Ingenous, Initiating, Inner, 
Institute, Insight, Intelligent, Intention,  Inter-, InterQuadrant,  
InterQuarter, Intra-, Intro-, Intri-, Intuitive, Invariant, Innocent, 
Invective, Investi-, Iconic, Independent, Irony, Island, In-
I like:
     Inter-Quadrant, Inter-Quarter, International Quorum/Question, 
(center for public) inquiry, Infinite Quest.
If there’s a great character from history who’s name begins with I, 
one can form something like:
           Isaac’s Question/Quest (“Behold the fire and the wood, but 
where is the lamb?” (Genesis 22: 7))
Which is lovely, since the open mind yearns to know what the question 
is as soon it hears the name, and a biblical character  may give 
christian sanctity (the answer to Isaaic is deeply moving. But the 
source of the pathos is horror. If we were to front as a Ploughshares 
style movement this might work).
Isaiah has many questions, of which 6:10 seems to be the most 
interesting:
           Isaiah 6:10-11 “10 Make the heart of this people fat, and 
make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they, seeing with 
their eyes, and hearing with their ears, and understanding with their 
heart, return, and be healed.’. Then said I: ‘Lord, how long?’ And He 
answered: ‘Until cities be waste without inhabitant, and houses 
without man, and the land become utterly waste.
Suggestions?

From:
Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2006 18:44:37 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Dear
How have you been? How’s xxxxxx and xxxxxx? From reading your
blog, it seems like the course you are on is sustaining you and
people you care about.
Other than to catching up, would you like to join the initial 
advisory board
of an organization that’s designing and deploying a censorship
resistant version of wikipedia (mediawiki) for mass document leaking? 
More about
that later. I want to give you time to think about what it may mean
(technically and politically) in the light of John Young’s proven 
ability to withstand
censorship of some very important, but smaller scale leaks on Cryptome.
3 FBI meetings, but no raids. What it doesn’t mean is lots of your 
time. I think even
your name would be a positive contribution.
There’s a recent picture of me and my daughter(!) on xxxxxxxxxxx, although
the rest is mostly decontexualised.
I see you’ve acquired an interest in motorcycles. Me too.
[I liked the following part of my letter to you so much, I took
the non personal bits and published them here
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx -- please excuse the style change!]
It seems like everyone I meet plans to follow the young Che Guavara,
and take off on their motorbike and adventure through the poverty
and pleasurs of South and Central American, now that seduction of
random latinos has been politically sanctified — and who can blame
them?
Last year I rode my motorcycle from Ho Chi Min City (Saigon) to
Hanoi, up the highway that borders the South China Sea.
The road to Hanoi is a Vietnamese economic artery but is nonetheless
dominated by potholes, thousands the size of bomb craters. There
are constant reminders of “The American War” all over Vietnam, and
perhaps this was one of them, but in a more indirect way.
To a physicist a pothole has an interesting life. It starts out as
a few loose stones. As wheels pass over, these stones grind together
and against the under surface. Their edges are rounded off and the
depression they are in also becomes rounder by their action. The
stones become pestles to the hole’s motor. Smaller stones and grit
move between the spaces of larger stones and add to the grinding
action. The hole enlarges, and deepens. Small stones are soon
entirely worn away, but in the process liberate increasingly larger
stones from the advancing edge of the hole. The increasing depth
and surface capture more and more energy from passing wheels. The
destruction of the road surface accelerates until the road is
abandoned or the hole is filled.
Road decay is, like a dental decay, a run away process. Utility
rapidly diminishes and costs of repair accelerate, and just like
teeth it is more efficient to fill a pothole as soon as it is
noticed.
But this measure of efficiency is not the metric of politics and
it is a political feedback process that lays behind the filling in
of potholes on almost every road on earth.
That process is driven by the behavior of politically influential
road users who are themselves motivated to action by psychologically
negative encounters with potholes.
When potholes are small, the resultant political pressures are not
sufficient to overcome the forces of other interests groups who
compete for labour and resources. Likewise, it is difficult to
motivate people who have other passions and pains in their life to
go to the dentist when their teeth do not ache. Both are caused by
limitations in knowledge and its distillation: foresight.
Why is this surprising? It is surprising because we are used to
looking at government spending through the lens of economic utility;
a lens which claims the political process as a derivative. This
vision claims that political forces compete for access to the
treasury to further their own utility. Hence, military intelligence
and public health compete with road maintenance for funding and so
should attempt to minimize the latter’s drain on the treasury. But
that drain is minimized by filling in potholes immediately!
Foresight requires trustworthy information about the current state
of the world, cognitive ability to draw predictive inferences and
economic stability to give them a meaningful home. It’s not only
in Vietnam where secrecy, malfeasance and unequal access have eaten
into the first requirement of foresight (“truth and lots of it”).
Foresight can produce outcomes that leave all major interests groups
better off. Likewise the lack of it, or doing the dumb thing, can
harm almost everyone.
Computer scientists have long had a great phrase for the dependency
of foresight on trustworthy information; “garbage in, garbage out”.
In intelligence agency oversight we have “The Black Budget blues”,
but the phrase is probably most familiar to us as “The Fox News Effect”.
of the world, cognitive ability to draw predictive inferences and
economic stability to give them a meaningful home. It’s not only
in Vietnam where secrecy, malfeasance and unequal access have eaten
into the first requirement of foresight (“truth and lots of it”).
Foresight can produce outcomes that leave all major interests groups
better off. Likewise the lack of it, or doing the dumb thing, can
harm almost everyone.
Computer scientists have long had a great phrase for the dependency
of foresight on trustworthy information; “garbage in, garbage out”.
In intelligence agency oversight we have “The Black Budget blues”,
but the phrase is probably most familiar to us as “The Fox News Effect”.
But back in the west and a land of cars, I noted that I knew only
10 people who had died; two murders, one suicide and six dead or
severely brain damaged in motorcycle accidents. None from old age,
which reflects my clans’ longevity and wanderlust on one hand and
fractiousness on the other. I stopped riding in the land of cars.
Cheers,

From:
Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2006 20:31:08 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
xxxxxxx says yes!
I wonder if that letter to Ellsberg has been routed to somewhere 
other than the spam bucket. Can someone step forward to chase down 
his postal address? Perhaps one of our bay area people?
Any other suggestions? xxxxxx noted that Psyphon [poorly chosen name!], 
a sort of poor mans tor/i2p lulled Soros and a bunch of others into 
giving them US$3,000,000 for development. As some of you may know we 
were recently leaked the entire Davos (World Economic Forum) 
attendees contacts list, which has Soros, Sergi-Brin, any many others 
on it.
Presumably one of the reasons Psyphon was able to get these $ was its 
affilication with some Canadian uni — makes donors feel safe. We 
have some people with affiliations, but that’s not quite the same thing.

From:
To:
Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2006 05:17:33 -0600
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
A simple googlestalking operation reveals his address to be:
90 Norwood Avenue
Kensington
CA 94707
USA

From:
To:
Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2006 22:55:25 -0800
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
WL cryptographic certificate. Valid for two years. Note that this is
for the top level domain only. Wild card certificats (*.wl.org)
necessary to handle language groups as per wikipedia.org e.g
en.wikipedia.org, de.wikepedia.org etc are quite expensive.
Since we haven’t even started on language regionalization yet,
we’ll leave that to later. CECERT will issue these certs for free,
but it’s not recognised in browsers yet. cecert certs will
*probably* find their way into browsers in the next six months.
John Young’s address in NY given as the rego address. Hope you’re
still feeling brave, John :)
—–BEGIN CERTIFICATE—–
[Deleted by Cryptome.]

  WikiLeaks.Org
  anon1984[a t]fastmail.to

http://www.fastmail.fm – I mean, what is it about a decent email service?

From:
To:
Date: Wed, 13 Dec 2006 23:00:22 -0800
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Hi xxxxxx,
We haven’t publically launched yet.
WL has developed and integrated technology to foment
untracable, unstoppable mass document leaking and discussion. 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. We aim for maximum political impact; this
means our technology is fast and usable by non-technical people. We have
received over a million documents of varying quality. We plan to
numerically eclipse the content the english wikipedia with leaked
documents. We believe that the increasing familiarity with wikipedia.org
provides a comfortable transition to those who wish to leak documents
and comment on leaked documents.
We feel that per hour spent this provides the greatest positive impact
on the world and ourselves that is within our means to achieve.
[...]
PS. We can always use additional assistance, any ideas, let us know.
    We are also looking for stable and trustworthy document drop-offs in
    different countries. There are two types of drop-offs:
   1) deniable
   2) regular
A deniable drop off will receive a leaked CD/DVD/thumbdrive with
encrypted information to which they do not have the key. Their job is to
simply upload this to WL. Since at no time do they have
access to the information they can not later be held to be knowingly
concerned with its contents.
A regular drop off is willing to receive and upload both deniable media,
regular digital media and printed documents. In the case of printed
documents, they are expected to scan/ocr the documents or if there prove
to be too many, forward some on to a regular drop off.
Is riseup interested in being the location of one of the US drop-offs?
We have one in NY, one in CA. Seattle and washington would probably make
a full US complement.

  WikiLeaks.Org
  anon1984[a t]fastmail.to

http://www.fastmail.fm – And now for something completely different…

To:
From:
Date: Fri, 15 Dec 2006 05:27:40 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
idealist.org is a volunteering intermediary. quite good — does anyone feel like combing them for assistants?
Thank you for getting back to me. Your application has been approved
and is now active. You may access it by logging in at http://www.idealist.org.
Email:
Password:
On your Control Panel, you will see a link to your organization,
Instructions on managing your account may be found at

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Best,
Chelsea
Idealist User Support Staff
Action Without Borders

http://www.idealist.org

Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2006 01:34:26 -0500
To:
From: Michael Ellsberg <ellsbergpress[a t]gmail.com>
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
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Subscription Confirmation
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From:
Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2006 17:43:24 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
xxxxxxxx,
I notice ellsberg also uses ellsbergd[a t]cs.com [compuserve]

From:
Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2006 18:07:01 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
xxxxxxxxxx,
xxxxxxxxxx [Telephone number deleted by Cryptome.]

From:
Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2006 18:44:10 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
xxxxxx/xxx
  ‘uncensorizable’ should probably be ‘uncensorable’.

From:
Date: Sat, 16 Dec 2006 19:05:34 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
I’ve sent a version of xxxxxxxxxx’s Ellsberg letter to John Gilmore.
Begin forwarded message:
> From:
> Date: 16 December 2006 19:00:14 GMT+11:00
> To: gnu[a t]eff.org, gnu[a t]toad.com
> Subject: document leaking
>
> Dear J,
>
> Are you interested in helping us build/support/get support for 
> this: www.wikileaks.org
>
> We have come to the conclusion that fomenting a world wide movement of
> mass leaking is the most cost effective political intervention
> available to us*. We believe that injustice is answered by good
> governance and for there to be good governance there must be open
> governance. Governance by stealth is governance by conspiracy and
> fear. Fear, because without it, secrecy does not last for long.
> Retired generals and diplomats are vociferous, but those in active
> service hold their tune.
>
> Lord Action said, “Everything secret degenerates, even the
> administration of justice; nothing is safe that does not show how it
> can bear discussion and publicity”.
>
> This degeneration comes about because when injustice is concealed,
> including plans for future injustice, it cannot be addressed. When
> governance is closed, man’s eyes become cataracts. When governance is
> open, man can see and so act to move the world towards a more just
> state; for instance see
> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reporters_Without_Borders which shows a
> striking correlation between press freedom and countries known for
> their quality of life.
>
> us*: some attributes may have been swapped to protect selected 
> identities,
> no particular order.
>
> 1) Retired new york architect and notorious intelligence leak 
> facilitator
> 2) Euro cryptographer/programmer
> 3) Pacific physicist and illustrator
> 4) A pacific author and economic policy lecturer
> 5) Euro, Ex-Cambridge mathematician/cryptographer/programmer
> 6) Euro businessman and security specialist/activist
> 7) Author of software than runs 40% of the world’s websites.
> 8) US pure mathematician with criminal law background
> 9) An infamous US ex-hacker
> 10) Pacific cryptographer/physicist and activist
> 11) US/euro cryptographer and activist/programmer
> 12) Pacific programmer
> 13) Pacific architect / foreign policy wonk
>
> New technology and cryptographic ideas permit us to not only encourage
> document leaking, but to facilitate it directly on a mass scale. We
> intend to place a new star in the political firmament of man.
>
> We are building an uncensorable branch of Wikipedia for leaked
> documents and the civic institutions & social perceptions necessary to
> defend and promote it. We have received over 1 million documents from
> 13 countries, despite not having publicly launched yet!
>
> We have approached you now for two reasons.
>
> Firstly, we have crossed over from `prospective’ to `projective’. The
> basic technology has been prototyped and we have a view as how we must
> proceed politically and legally. We need to move and inspire people,
> gain volunteers, funding, further set up the necessary political-legal
> defenses and deploy. Since you have created more successful 
> technical-political
> projects than anyone else we know of in the US, we would like you 
> on board. We’d like
> your advice and we’d like you to form part of our political armor. 
> The more armor we
> have, particularly in the form of men and women sanctified by age,
> history and class, the more we can act like brazen young men and get
> away with it.
>
> We state here our clear, bold goal. We will provide a catalyst 
> which will
> bring down government through stealth everywhere, not least that of 
> the Bushists.
>
> What do you say?
>

From:
To:
Date:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
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Just ran into this guy at bar camp.

http://www.rumor-mill.org/

dzetland[a t]gmail.com

xxxxxxxx

From:
Date: Mon, 18 Dec 2006 11:21:22 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Well, other than the V theme, what’s the low down xxxxxxxxx? ppt is causing me grief.
On 18.12.2006, at 08:02, xxxxxxxxx wrote:

http://www.rumor-mill.org

From:
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 19:35:54 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
This is great. I hang my head in shame for ever thinking you were not 
going to write it.
I have to go out, but I wanted to give you my (literally!) 5 minute 
take so you have something to work with. I have only skimmed the 
document. The time of year has some implications for political 
publishing i.e it has to be quite soon or we need to wait till, say 
3rd of jan when there’s a trade off between types of activity [long 
articles may be better received in the holidays once social events 
are over].
As usual with most people who write, the evenness of your tone and 
style, and consequent readability improves as the document goes 
along. but the first few paragraphs are the most important because 
people won’t read the rest unless they get hooked by them. so that’s 
what I’ll comment on. Keep in mind that my comments may be irrelevant 
since I have only read a small part.
1. remove most obscure acronyms from the first few paragraphs and try 
to reduce them using grammar in the subsequent few. maths people are 
good at holding definitions, others not so, but for both types linear 
reading is required; this can’t be assumed on the internet. I *know* 
you don’t want to use ‘government’ since it grants a right to 
authority which frequently does not exist.
2. place some questions and violent acts into the readers mind 
quickly so that they want to resolve them. Leak reads like a script 
for what happened — good plan or good post-facto forgery? Some 
readers are interested in that country. but many in China. Why was it 
being passed off to C in Oct (broaden political relevance, add chrono 
relevance)? Arms? C oil company (many interested in oil)? six killed 
in Sept assassination attempt on pres — any connection? (make 
violence / chrono relevant). Forged? It seems likely that this 
document is legitimate, but we don’t have to tell the reader that 
straight away, and notice that the 3rd jpg has been edited. If 
forged, why, and why pass it off now (Oct)? Probably worth putting in 
a call to what remains of the somali govt and asking where they got 
it [do they claim leaked, or seized in military operation?]. Do we 
not want to reveal that the S government has it? I think to be true 
to the truth we have to. So why haven’t they told the world? Have 
they? Why hasn’t the world followed up? Did no one have time to 
understand it/somalia (quite possible)? Or did no one trust that it 
wasn’t faked? Faking it seems a bit long temr and esoteric for the 
somalis govt, who fighting for their immediate survival, but assume 
it is a fake, then who’s the master?  CIA? But that’s it’s influence 
on the US seems to be where it would be the most useful. But not now. 
A year ago; so why is it being passed off now? Who’s “Captain WELI”, 
the translator? We assume someone in the somali military, not loyal 
to UIT.

From:
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 20:50:40 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
just noticed the amazing events that are happening on the ground. is 
that hitting the news wires? — if so we must act quickly. most 
importantly we must verify the integrity of that translation. first 
quote I’ve found was $300 for 1,000 words. cruising some irc channels 
that operate in that language may suffice. anyone have somali 
friends? in particular we can’t make claims about words like 
‘criminal’ without knowing the translation has integrity. i *assume* 
it has general integrity since that’ s something that’s easy to 
check, but there’s always give for word bias in translation
other notes:
emotive language (including amplifiers, like ‘massive’) that maybe 
justified, but not justified immediately preceeding text should go. 
The strongest position is say “murderous” when the facts provide 
carte blanche and otherwise keep quiet.
‘we’ should be ‘I’, unless you’re referring to yourself and the 
reader ‘we can see that’. Even then it’s better style to avoid those 
constructs (seductively easy way of roping the reader into your 
argument, I know).
give colorful bio of the author early — easy to do, if you’ve looked 
at his wiki page — there he is, flame on his chin, holy book in his 
hand and anti-aircraft cannon between his legs. this story is more 
powerful in a publishing venue which takes photos. those scanned 
jpgs, together with recent news and a photo of the author are a 
powerful combination!

From:
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 23:43:53 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Something worth noting about the unusual relative power of community 
building islamist movements when operating against well funded US led 
democracy wagons; the promise of better shopping does not move the 
heart to great acts of love or sacrifice. “Democracy” is a difficult 
abstraction that is easily abused (try drawing it). It is a means, 
not an end. There’s no instinct or desire for democracy. Consider the 
US Declaration of Independence (1776), a document which is the 
distillation of psychological forces that drove men to civil war and 
kept them there. What are those forces?
…God.. Creator.. Men are created equal… Life, Liberty,… pursuit 
of Happiness.. Safety and Happiness… [followed by 26(!) paragraphs 
of hatred for the abuses of King George].
In other words, religious feeling (x2), equality, life, liberty, 
happiness (x2),  safety and above all, an extreme hatred for the 
brutal acts, preferment, and corruption of foreign influenced or 
controlled government.
Not once does “democracy” or  “shopping” appear.
Doesn’t bode well for the Iraqi provisional authority — at least the 
British spoke the same language.

From:
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 01:32:09 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]

http://www.epochtimes.com/gb/6/2/1/n1208580.htm

From:
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 04:57:37 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
[xxxxxxxxxxx has an message size limit of 300k, my earlier post 
didn't go through, so I've split it up into three parts]
Given the recent dramatic turn of events in somalia, we have decided 
to rush forward with the first “Bourbaki” article based on a Somali 
diplomatic government leak (seized document?) handed over to the 
chinese in mid October (and then submitted to us). Nobody, amazingly 
writing it in under a day.
[] http://cryptome.org/wikileaks/som.zip

From:
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 08:46:25 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Hi all,
Can everyone on this list who has functional access to PGP [ i.e will 
not cause days of delay to encrypt/decrypt a message]  please send 
their public keys to this list? I’d like to keep our discussions on 
the path of least resistance and this this generally means, open and 
transparent, but there some matters we need to address soon where 
openness is better enabled through secrecy; we owe our sources, even 
through we keep no logs or other information that might identify 
them, to exercise mindful diligence (not paranoia) in response to 
their courage.
We’re on an exponential; we have no forces working against us yet, 
but there will many in a few months and these early discussions may 
take on an unexpected poignancy.
xxxxxxxxxxxx.

From:
To:
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 10:42:22 +1100
Subject: [WL] somali bourbaki article [.doc]
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
[xxxxxxxxxxx has an message size limit of 300k, my earlier post 
didn't go through, so I've split it up into three parts]
[] http://cryptome.org/wikileaks/inside_somalia.doc

To:
From:
Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 10:43:01 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
[] http://cryptome.org/wikileaks/inside_somalia.pdf

Date: Wed, 20 Dec 2006 06:26:14 -0800
To:
From: John Young <jya[a t]pipeline.com>
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
It would be prudent to attempt to verify that the Somali document
is not a forgery. The last threat about shooting anybody who reveals
the document smells like a smear of the author.
The spooks forge such documents as a matter of regular tradecraft,
and leaks of them are frequently through an alleged third party. The
more the reputation of a target would be damaged by a “leak,” greater
the likelihood of a forgery.
Verification, or the best that can done close to it, is probably
a basic requirement of this list. Or a disclaimer that no verification
has been done.
It should not be long before deliberate leaks start to appear here, as
they do around nearly all means of distributing information. Contaminating
these means is the nature of those who prowl for ways to insert lies and
duplicity into the search for truth and reliability.
This is not to suggest leaks are not to be trusted, just not blindly so, for
they are now standard tools for lying, smearing and stinging by
governments, corporations, persons of all demonics.

From:
Date: Fri, 22 Dec 2006 06:58:25 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
The situation in Somalia is still very tense.
Political map to understand what follows: http://upload.wikimedia.org/
wikipedia/commons/9/99/Somali_land_2006_12_02.png
The authenticity of the Islamic Courts’ document is difficult and 
extremely interesting. There are strong arguments in both directions 
and it is conceivable that the middle position of a document that’s 
slightly altered is also correct.
If this document is what it claims to be, the chance of ICU 
verification seems remote. Like many conjectures it is falsifyable, 
but not provable. Further, there doesn’t seem to be a direct way to 
contact the ICU.   Contact (for me) would require hopping through 
Somali refugee relationships. Looking instead to falsify the 
translation, I presented the first half page to a Somali reader (from 
Somaliland), but as soon as they saw “secret decision of islamic 
court”, their heart grew fearful and their hand’s restless enough to 
return it.
Looking at motivation:
There are only two items in the document damaging to the Islamic 
Courts Union, of these, only the first is substantive.
The ICU denies expansionist ambitions on the north of Somlia 
(Puntland and Somaliland) — though these ambitions are now clear to 
everyone, back before the ICU took Mogadishu, the perception was 
different.
Putland claims to be an autonomous region, while Somaliland [http://
www.somaliland.gov/], declared independence (unrecognised) in 1991 
and subsequently mandated by referendum in 2001. The UN/US/Ethiopian 
backed government — the Transitional National Assembly (TNA), is 
opposed to Somaliland, despite its success as an independent Kurdish-
style democracy over 15 years.
     Somalia’s new transitional government is staunchly opposed to 
the referendum. Its acting prime minister, Osman Jama Ali, described 
it on Wednesday as “a ploy to divide Somalia by the help of 
unfriendly foreign countries and opportunist individuals”. [http://
news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/africa/1361394.st]
We can see what must of been the threat structure last year, prior to 
the ICU capturing the capital  [in order, merging Ethopia into the TNA]
TNA: ICU, Somaliland, Puntland
ICU: TNA, Puntland
Somaliland: TNA, Puntland
Putland: TNA, ICU, Somaliland
So Somalia land and the ICU are natural allies and the ICU and 
Puntland are uneasy truce partners. That’s essentially how things 
were last year.
Since the ICU captured the capital, Mogadishu, perceptions and 
relationships have shifted:
TNA: ICU, omaliland, Puntland
ICU: TNA, Puntland, Somaliland
Somalialand: ICU, TNA, Puntland
Puntland: ICU, TNA, Somaliland
The document claims the imprimatur “Islamic Republic of Somalia”. The 
ICU never publically refers to itself using these words and nor does 
the press — to do so would be to STAKE AN ISLAMIST CLAIM ON ALL OF 
SOMALIA, including Puntland and Somalialand.
There are 4 pages of google references to “Islamic Republic of 
Somalia” (the Somali translation is a google whack), and most are of 
this form (June 2006):
     “The former head of the JIC, Sharif Sheikh Ahmed, will be the  
chairman of the council’s executive committee, which will be in  
charge of day-to-day running of the Islamic courts,” an Islamist 
official said.
     “This is one step short of calling for the official 
establishment of the Islamic Republic of Somalia,” said Ahmed Hassan, 
a Somali democracy advocate.  [http://mwcnews.net/content/view/
7835/207/]
Or this, also from June 2006:
     From the ashes will rise the Islamic Republic of Somalia modeled 
much like Iran where we are in a developing highly intelligent nation 
ran by Islamic Law. [http://www.esai.org/myESAi/viewtopic.php?
t=8964&sid=cd700d7cd0909f210b92841ab3dab9c3]
Behold the hidden darwiish of espionage — not the content, it’s the 
imprimatur itself.
When we look at the remaining references to “Islamic Republic of 
Somalia”, we hear half whispers; users registering themselves, 
claiming to be from that invisible republic: [http://
www.somalilife.com/member-viewprofile-36588.html] and the occasional 
Somali refugee using it informally to refer to UIC controlled areas. 
But examine this quote from July, not picked up by other wire 
services. Is it a slip of Aweys’ tongue or the reporter’s pen?
     The local Shabelle media group quoted on Monday the Islamists’ 
hardline leader, Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys, as saying bin Laden’s 
comments had “nothing to do” with his movement. “It’s nothing more 
than a friendly call because Osama shares the pain with the Islamic 
republic of Somalia,” he added. [http://www.hananews.org/
WholeArticle.asp?artId=6158]
The most we can say is that the imprimatur, however it got to be that 
way, is sufficient motivation for TNA to spread it around.
                                                                    —-
Now lets look at John Young’s smeary “Care has to be maintained all 
along to avoid leaking of this information. Whosoever leaks this 
information and is found guilty should be shot.”.  It enters the mind 
like a scripted dramatic effect. But our supposed author, Aweys, is 
all about dramatic effect and dramatic affect! His other statements 
often carry this flourish. Now consider the last four words; “and is 
found guilty” — an unusual thing for a forger who wished to 
discredit Aweys to say, but something Aweys, not as a general, but as 
a judge and scholar of islamic law, would find comfortable.
                                                                    —-
Forensic attack.
I had assumed that the English translation was produced by the TNA. 
Looking at the binary strings in the English “.doc” translation (word 
users can try “show document info”), we see:
ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF SOMALIA
Captain Weli
Normal
Microsoft Office Word
Department of State
Microsoft Office Word
MSWordDoc
Word.Document.8
The salient features are “Islamic Republic of Somalia”, “Captain 
Weli” and “Department of State”.  “Department of State” is 
cartoonish, but all over the world, the powerless ape the powerful. 
Yet some Word meta-information is easier to change than others — was 
the version of Word use to prepare this document licensed to a 
different DEPARTMENT OF STATE? Would the UIC bother filling out 
organization fields on its Windows installations? Was another 
country’s Department of State careless in its forgery? The US 
supports the TNA. It’s difficult to imagine the TNA, which is 
fighting for its very existence, producing such a forgery entirely on 
their own.
The translation, together with the jpg, was deliberately passed onto 
the Chinese at diplomatic level in mid October, BY THE TNA.
If the document is not a forgery, the TNA must have been leaked or 
captured the paper document or the jpegs AND an English translation 
by the UIC (in electronic form) or… THE LEAKER IS THE TRANSLATOR IS 
CAPTAIN WELI.
It is possible that both documents were flowing through the UIC 
electronically. Only 7.6 million, or about 50% of Somalia speaks the 
Somali language. In the south, where the UIC draws its support, there 
are a number of other language groupings [http://www.ethnologue.com/
show_country.asp?name=SO] the most popular of which is Maay [approx. 
1 million speakers]. Is English used as the second language for 
orders flowing through the UIC from Aweys? Islamic Judges can read 
Arabic. Why wasn’t the translation into Arabic? Or was it translated 
into a number of languages in the style of the European parliament? 
Are UIC regions networked enough for electronic distribution of Aweys 
orders?
If the Aweys leak is a forgery, then taking the extra effort to make 
the electronic translation to English appear to originate with the 
UIC is an act of the highest perceptual idiocy or very creative 
reverse psychology. Both nice phrases and both in full flower down 
Langley way.

Date: Thu, 21 Dec 2006 21:12:20 -0800
To:
From: John Young <jya[a t]pipeline.com>
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
This is a good analysis and suggests how to respond to doubts about
a document, or for that matter, for a document for which there are no
immediate doubts but probably should be questioned as a good practice
for a leak-promoting source like this: skepticism as a premise of providing
leaked documents.
The MSM all too often substitute a prefabricated authority for skepticism
of what it publishes. Whereas scholarly work, the best of it, presents
counterarguments as part of a presentation, on the assumption that
discourse is superior to pontification, or worse, infalliability.
Leaks should be doubted and doubts answered by leakers or those
who distribute the leakables. An iron-clad leak is a phony or a lie.
It does require more work to perform an exegesis of a leaked document
weighing the pros and cons, but that is what it takes to avoid the trap
of vainglorious pride in being a leaker and the subsequent lure of
leaking crap to remain in the spotlight — the politician’s disease.
Or the other trap is pretending authority where it is not deserved, indeed,
where reputation and reliability are marketed as come-ons, thus the
celebrated MSM and its bastard children, the nameish blogs seen as
sidebars to other nameish blogs, self-referencing one another into
triviality.
The spooks treat forging and forgeries as high art, producing and
challenging, some claim there is no higher purpose of the spies than
to masterfully forge and to undo a master forgery. Takes one to know
one.
The same is true of leakers: there is hardly a better means to get a
false and/or true story into the public domain, or better, into the most
secret caverns of suspicious noggins like that of James Jesus
Angleton and his ilk among the Soviets, Israelis, Brits, and so on.
Spooks practice this on each other, in training and in practice.
The saying is that analysts rule for their unquenchable disbelief,
and nothing that goes up the chain of command without powerful
dissent is believable, so biased are promoters that they are unable to
tell the full story, that is, preach.
Thanks for moving in the rightly dubitable direction.

From:
Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 23:15:45 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]

http://xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

To:
From:
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2006 13:32:45 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
A bit of affectionate rototilling:
1. slickify occasional wording, especially in the first few pages
2. following Skunk, cut words etc for size and style
3. cut/town down what could be painted as left wing bias using 
rhetorical tricks”It is” -> “Critics say” etc
4. tone down criticisms over shooting leakers. Shooting people who 
leak war cabinet documents is normal. Even the rosenbergs got it in 
the neck in peace time. If it’s fake it’s there to encourage 
distribution via the dramatic violation of spreading the damn thing, 
which btw, is working a treat. let me know if you disagree with this.
5. tone down some implicit value judgements which I suspect are 
actually cultural assumptions.
6. delete some things which I thought were true, but did not 
represent it statistically, since some things when mentioned are 
“instant moral death sentences” to the reader. e.g as soon as you 
know a man’s sheets have seen goat fur, even if it was 20 years ago, 
this will be the lens through which you see his every action
7. fix up a problem with the document analysis (“Islamic Republic of 
Somalia”)
8. add explicit WL reference.
Feels nice.  A perhaps too long in the middle, but the writing is 
strong and I couldn’t see any easy place to cut it. I’m sure I’ve 
dropped some words as seems to be my habbit. Anyone see them?
Not changed, but needs to be:
Today/yesterday/recently/this week etc references have to go. We can 
only ref “Tuesday” etc if we know it’s going to be published that 
same week, but “Today/Yesterday”, is very unlikely without prior 
arrangement. Also relative dates make updating / republishing painful.
Last some parts [esp, last] need updating to reflect the Ethiopian 
air attacks.
While final paragraphs are not as important as initial paragraphs, 
they rank#2. Haven’t done much with these as I assume xxxxxx will update.
Otherwise it’s ready to roll!
Hope you’re happy with that xxxxxxxxxxxxx.

To:
From:
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2006 13:33:21 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
[] http://cryptome.org/wikileaks/inside_somalia_v3.doc

Date: Sun, 24 Dec 2006 22:04:09 -0800
To:
From: John Young <jya[a t]pipeline.com>
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Quite an excellent report, much superior to what appears in the MSM. More
thoughtful about the first and continuing casualties of war, diplomacy and
commercial journalism: the truth about and critical examination of
information
sources.
Where, when and how is it to be made public along with the original
document?
While perhaps implicit, there could be an invitation for critical comment by
readers to continue the discourse. And if so, to what or whom are comments
to be sent?

From:
Subject: Re: [WL] new somali article(v3) more on Bourbaki
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2006 18:55:06 +1100
To: John Young <jya[a t]pipeline.com>
John, you set an example to us humble rabble and lift our spirits 
with your gentile tidings.
Keep up our hopes, our e-spirit de corpuscular; draw forth our anger, 
our courage — and our fire — to lick at the damp paper of 
uncivilization until it catches and our hearts are warmed by the 
conflagration of basement mendacities the world over. Let our smiles 
be woken by flowers of openness pushing through the ash from below.
We are compelled to act,  as we are best able, for a man who 
witnesses injustice but does not act, becomes a party to a cascade of 
injustice, via the iterative diminution and pacification of his 
character.
It is our plan to foment political and financial support for WL. To 
do that we need a commanding voice.
Everywhere we see professional sayers and professional knowers, but 
the demands of each mean little intersection and the world finds 
itself with brainless words and wordless brains. By uniting a handful 
of knowers together in harmony we can project our voice without 
devoting our minds to the preferments and petty intrigues of moguls. 
We have the collective sources, personalities and learning to be, or 
rather, appear to be, the reclusive ubermench of the 4th estate. We 
will take the non-linear blessing such a position affords and apply 
it to our great task of DIY universal open governance.
Our rules follow that of the French Bourbaki who through their 
allonym set the mathematical world to right in the first half of the 
20th C with internal agreement by exhaustion and the purification 
inherit in non-attribution of ego. Ben likes to quotes Woodruff thus 
“There is no limit to what a man can do or how far he can go if he 
doesn’t mind who gets the credit.”
For the Somali document I am not sure of the venue. I’ve had a couple 
of things published in Counterpunch recently, so have an in with 
Cockburn and the content and style is an easy fit. Suelette and I 
have had junk published in the London Independent, Age, SMH, 
Australian etc, but this article is a bone too big for the dailies to 
chew, and although it might be happy with fragments, my feeling is it 
will pick them from the Counterpunch midden without our efforts. My 
only hesitation vis-a-vis Counterpunch is the readership, which 
though large, tends to pal up on one pew and sometimes even sings and 
claps. We’re open to other venue suggestions, and very happy to take 
edits, since your are still a great stylist.
When WL is deployed, feedback will be, like Wikipedia, an act of 
creation and  correction; the Aweys document and those like it will 
eventually  face one hundred thousand incensed Somali refugees, blade 
and keyboard in hand, cutting, cutting, cutting apart its pages until 
all is dancing confetti and the truth.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
On 25 Dec 2006, at 17:04, John Young wrote:
> Quite an excellent report, much superior to what appears in the 
> MSM. More
> thoughtful about the first and continuing casualties of war, 
> diplomacy and
> commercial journalism: the truth about and critical examination of
> information
> sources.
>
> Where, when and how is it to be made public along with the original
> document?
>
> While perhaps implicit, there could be an invitation for critical 
> comment by
> readers to continue the discourse. And if so, to what or whom are 
> comments
> to be sent?

From:
To:
Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2006 08:24:05 -0600
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Your edits are great. Good to get more than one set of hands on the
document, to maximise rhetorical and stylistic flourishes.
With regard to the document analysis, I take it you discovered the same
thing I did: the “Islamic Republic of Somalia” is the *title* of the
document, not its location, and word automatically titles the document by
its first line. Need to adjust for this.
Venues: In addition to counterpunch, the following crossed my mind, though I
haven’t really thought them through. The Nation? Monthly Review? ZNet? Of
these, the first two would be great to get into, and ZNet might be good
regardless of where else we go… their massive and useful database of
essays would be great to be in, and a contribution to understanding amongst
the community there.
The longer we leave it, the more updating we have to do, so I propose
getting it out sooner rather than later.
Remaining edits: I’ll see what I can do. If somebody else can get in and do
them first, go right ahead. There’s not much to do now.

From:
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006 02:28:36 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
> With regard to the document analysis, I take it you discovered the 
same thing I > did: the “Islamic Republic of Somalia” is the *title* 
of the document, not its   location, and word automatically titles 
the document by its first line. Need to >adjust for this.
No! I don’t use Word. This very important observation of yours 
naturalizes the translation provenance and a couple of my edits need 
be reversed in light of it. Eg I XXXX’d out Weli’s name just in case 
he was the leaker, but now we can reveal it. It also makes the “State 
Department” label more interesting and confirms that the TFG’s angle 
on the document is what we thought i.e focus on the appellation. The 
US and others are paranoid about Iranification so we can see the 
motivation for spreading it outside Somalia. I think this slightly 
increases the chance that its a forgery, as the reverse psychology 
needed to have the UIC undertaking the english translation was too 
clever by half. We can now cut out the discussion as to the 
translation origin.
Venues: In addition to counterpunch, the following crossed my mind, 
though I haven’t really thought them through. The Nation? Monthly 
Review? ZNet? Of these, the first two would be great to get into, and 
ZNet might be good regardless of where else we go… their massive 
and useful database of essays would be great to be in, and a 
contribution to understanding amongst the community there.
The monthlies tend to have long lead times which may not suit us, but 
they’re worth hitting. Does anyone have contacts there? We need a 
mini bio (pick truths from all of us) for bourbaki and a less obvious 
name though “Jack Bourbaki” sure  is kind to the tongue. I have a 
washington voice mail service I’ll set up with the identity.

Date: Mon, 25 Dec 2006 11:57:05 -0800
To:
From: John Young <jya[a t]pipeline.com>
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Has the Word doc been subjected to the program which reveals
hidden revisions and their authors? I don’t have it but Richard Smith
says he’s written a program to show the concealed revisions:
http://www.computerbytesman.com/privacy/blair.htm
The original PDF might also reveal hidden information with a
bit of probing.
Recall that NSA and others now warn about sanitizing Word to PDF
conversions:
http://www.nsa.gov/snac/vtechrep/I333-TR-015R-2005.PDF
Beware of attributions like Department of State, they regularly
pop up along with TLA nyms. Even idiotic spammers use them.
None of this should hold up publication for that will set in motion
a slew of tests from a wide variety of skeptics eager to debunk.
The first debunkers will probably be the media approached to
lend credibility and provide exposure. They, rather their lawyers,
are ever eager to avoid liability and, worse, loss of reputation
marketability. The fret a lot about being stung by “leaks,” black
and white. The analysis could bring them around, but it also
conveys suspicion of authenticity. Too much caution, though,
sharply limits what gets published. This forum got to face the
fact it will be treated with caution until a strong bonafide is
established, maybe requiring a ride on the back of a gold plated
reputation, but that’s might hard to come by. Still, all the gold-plates
once were once fools gold and rejected by the old reputables,
then wham, a supernova of expose brought an invite into
the comfy club. Most exposers never make it, and most leakers
don’t get the attention they have dreamed of. I think the Net offers
opportunities the MSM just won’t provide until the gauntlet is
run.

From:
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006 16:44:15 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
The additional metadata:
$ catdoc -v Translation_of_Aweis_Letter_1_.doc
File Info block version 193
Found at file offset 128 (hex 80)
Written by product version 24689
Language 1033
This is document (DOC) file
File uses extended character set
File created on Windows
Using default character set
Textstart = 1536 (hex 600)
Textlen =   5908 (hex 1714)
No surprises there. Language 1033 is english. Can’t seem to find a 
ref to product version 24689. Might be interesting if that was US 
govt or African (font reasons) MS issue.
$ wvSummary Translation_of_Aweis_Letter_1_.doc
Metadata for Translation_of_Aweis_Letter_1_.doc:
         Editing Duration = 2009-04-22T19:33:48Z
         msole:codepage = 936
         Generator = “Microsoft Office Word”
         Last Modified = 2006-10-03T18:50:00Z
         Creator = “Captain Weli”
         Revision = “2″
         Number of Pages = 1
         Number of Words = 782
         Title = “ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF SOMALIA”
         Created = 2006-10-03T18:50:00Z
         Subject = “”
         Template = “Normal”
         Keywords = “”
         Description = “”
         Number of Characters = 4462
         Security Level = 4462
         Last Saved by = “hi”
         msole:codepage = 936
         Number of Lines = 37
         Number of Paragraphs = 10
         Unknown1 = 5234
         Company = “Department of State”
         Scale = FALSE
         Links Dirty = FALSE
         Unknown3 = FALSE
         Unknown6 = FALSE
         Unknown7 = 726502
Salient points here; The last modification date is Oct 03, though it 
is the second save. This is only Creation date == last modified. I’m 
not sure what that implies; perhaps the document was copied to 
another computer for the second edit. Can’t find an easy ref to 
security level 4462. The account name, ‘hi’ almost seems intended for 
us!
Timeline:
Sep 18 Attempted Assassination of President Abdullahi Yusuf in 
Baidoa. Brother and 5 guard killed.
Oct 03 Final edits to Aweys english translation
Oct 14ish Document sent to Chinese
Nov 02 President Yusef Arrives in Beijing
Nov 04 Forty eight African countries that have diplomatic relations 
with China participate in a two-day summit.

Subject: metadata dump for somali .doc and timeline analysis [chinese motivation]
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006 16:44:15 +1100
To:
The additional metadata:
$ catdoc -v Translation_of_Aweis_Letter_1_.doc
File Info block version 193
Found at file offset 128 (hex 80)
Written by product version 24689
Language 1033
This is document (DOC) file
File uses extended character set
File created on Windows
Using default character set
Textstart = 1536 (hex 600)
Textlen =   5908 (hex 1714)
No surprises there. Language 1033 is english. Can’t seem to find a 
ref to product version 24689. Might be interesting if that was US 
govt or African (font reasons) MS issue.
$ wvSummary Translation_of_Aweis_Letter_1_.doc
Metadata for Translation_of_Aweis_Letter_1_.doc:
         Editing Duration = 2009-04-22T19:33:48Z
         msole:codepage = 936
         Generator = “Microsoft Office Word”
         Last Modified = 2006-10-03T18:50:00Z
         Creator = “Captain Weli”
         Revision = “2″
         Number of Pages = 1
         Number of Words = 782
         Title = “ISLAMIC REPUBLIC OF SOMALIA”
         Created = 2006-10-03T18:50:00Z
         Subject = “”
         Template = “Normal”
         Keywords = “”
         Description = “”
         Number of Characters = 4462
         Security Level = 4462
         Last Saved by = “hi”
         msole:codepage = 936
         Number of Lines = 37
         Number of Paragraphs = 10
         Unknown1 = 5234
         Company = “Department of State”
         Scale = FALSE
         Links Dirty = FALSE
         Unknown3 = FALSE
         Unknown6 = FALSE
         Unknown7 = 726502
Salient points here; The last modification date is Oct 03, though it 
is the second save. This is only Creation date == last modified. I’m 
not sure what that implies; perhaps the document was copied to 
another computer for the second edit. Can’t find an easy ref to 
security level 4462. The account name, ‘hi’ almost seems intended for 
us!
Timeline:
Sep 18 Attempted Assassination of President Abdullahi Yusuf in 
Baidoa. Brother and 5 guard killed.
Oct 03 Final edits to Aweys english translation
Oct 14ish Document sent to Chinese
Nov 02 President Yusef Arrives in Beijing
Nov 04 Forty eight African countries that have diplomatic relations 
with China participate in a two-day summit.

To:
From:
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006 17:00:06 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Cyberspace reflections of political realities: Official Somali gov 
web-site:

http://somalia-gov.info

Bandwidth Limit Exceeded
The server is temporarily unable to service your request due to the 
site owner reaching his/her bandwidth limit. Please try again later.
Apache/1.3.36 Server at www.somali-gov.info Port 80

To:
From:
Date: Tue, 26 Dec 2006 17:49:10 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Based on the ministers etc, it looks like an oil for arms swap. 
[leaked via chinese intercept of Somali Govt communications]. trusted 
source.
Subject: The Great China Project
From: Faisal Ahmed Yusuf
Date: Mon, 16 Oct 2006 01:57:45 +0400
Dear Amb. Mohamed Awil and Abdirahman Haji;
YE, first of all I am very sorry about the sad happening at our 
Embassy premises and what the mindless people did to our national 
property. Also, this is to thank you for the continuous support and 
cooperation provided to us, in order to make this mission a 
successful one.
Brothers, as I was just talking to brother Syed Ali and Abdirahman, 
and having obtained now the consent, elderly blessing and directives 
of HE, the President, thanks to Syed Ali for that, it is about time 
to do the last few actions requested by CHEC.
The Preliminary delegate coming to Beijing for the meeting consist of:
Ministers:
1-Hon. Said Hassan Shire, Minister of Rebuilding and Resettlement. 
(Invitation letters, tickets, and hotel arranged already).
2-Hon. Abudlahi Yusuf Harare, Minister of Petroleum. (Please correct 
the name for me if Harare is just nickname and not the official third 
name)
Brothers, as CHEC requested, we need to officially request a meeting 
between our above mentioned ministers and:
1-With the Chinese Minister/Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
(international Cooperation liaison office)
2-With the Chinese Minister/Ministry of Commerce.
3-With the Governor of Export and Import Bank.
As indicated by the CHEC, a sample draft letter to each of the above 
dignitaries could be as attached (It is just a sample and you may 
amend it as deemed fit), as CHEC indicated, the president office 
could send this to the Chinese embassy at Nairobi, Kenya, while Amb. 
Mohd Awil could send the same directly to the Chinese ministries. 
Grateful if you could both make the request on urgent basis, please.
CHEC, believes we should send via to two channels at the same time, 
please.
YE, additionally, brothers there are some of us who are coming there 
to Beijing to lobby for the project, in a very SILENT manner we will 
be working from the background and support the Ministers, President 
delegates, Embassy so that the mission ends with the anticipated 
successes.
Sinosom delegates:
1-Mr. Isse Haji Farah
2-Mr. Kadir Abdulrahman Mohamud
3-Mrs. Mariam Abdulahi Yusuf
4-Mr. Feysal Ahmed Yusuf.
With lots of anticipation and forward looking, this is put for your 
kind cooperation and immediate action, please.
Best of Regards;
Faisal Hawar.

From:
Date: Wed, 27 Dec 2006 16:45:09 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Every time we witness an injustice and do not act, we train our 
character to be passive in its presence and thereby eventually lose 
all ability to defend ourselves and those we love. In a modern 
economy it is impossible to seal oneself off from injustice.
If we have brains or courage, then we are blessed and called on not 
to frit these qualities away, standing agape at the ideas of others, 
winning pissing contests, improving the efficiencies of the 
neocorporate state, or immersing ourselves in obscuranta, but rather 
to prove the vigor of our talents against the strongest opponents of 
love we can find.
If we can only live once, then let it be a daring adventure that 
draws on all our powers. Let it be with similar types whos hearts and 
heads we may be proud of. Let our grandchildren delight to find the 
start of our stories in their ears but the endings all around in 
their wandering eyes.
xxxxxxxx

To:
From:
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2006 04:46:20 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Begin forwarded message:
> From: wl-person
> Date: 28. Dezember 2006
> To:
> Subject: Re: somalia v4
>
> Please find attached two files.  The first is a proofed version 
> with errors corrected only where I was absolutely certain what the 
> changes should be (they are mostly typographical); you should be 
> able to use your software to compare this with the one sent to me.  
> The second file is a list of concerns about which I wasn’t 
> absolutely certain what the changes ought to be.  Negative numbers 
> are numberings from the end of the relevant paragraph, starting 
> from -1.  I’ve included explanations where I felt them necessary, 
> and recommendations where I have been able to think of some.  Given 
> the hour, many of them are probably more terse than they should be, 
> and I’ve probably missed a few things, but I hope you still find it 
> all useful.
>
>
[] http://cryptome.org/wikileaks/inside_somalia_v4_proofed.doc
[] http://cryptome.org/wikileaks/inside_somalia_v4_proofnotes.txt

To:
From:
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2006 05:16:11 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Changes:
1. adapted and smoothed intro in light of ethiopian invasion.
2. few other clean ups. not many
3. added hanna’s timeline and chinese oil for arms / african-china 
congress analysis, and further translation .doc forensics
4. purged discussion about translation source
Does NOT include the proofs sent by xxxxxxxxxxxxx to this list in the last 
half hour.
xxxxxxxxx, if you don’t hear from me again before reading this message, can 
you do the final put together (use merge changes)?
Nice work xxxxxxxxxxx, xxxxx, anonymous, xxxxxxxxxxxxx & JY. A  very promising
and timely result. Let’s hope it  gives the poor Somalis succor — they’re going 
to need it.
[] http://cryptome.org/wikileaks/inside_somalia_v5.doc

From:
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2006 08:08:44 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Changes:
1. v4.1 merged with v5
2. americaniZe spelling
3. beautify intro little more
Have a look. I like it. I’ll shop it around later today, barring the 
most dramatic discoveries.
Only 1.1 million – 2 leaks to go…

To:
From:
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2006 08:32:55 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
xxxxxxxx & interviewed xxxxxxxxx a few years back around the time of his 
work exposing Crypto AG. But JYA will find this amusing:
I’d be happy to help as an advisory board member.
I will think about others who may be also interested and provide you 
with their email addresses.
2 things come to mind — being able to separate bogus documents from 
actual ones — therefore it may be a good idea to have a forgery 
expert on the advisory board as well.
John Young of Cryptome.org has done yeoman’s work on publishing 
documents to the chagrin of a dozen or more intell agencies. He may 
also be a good person to approach. He is adept at anonymizing the 
sources of his documents.
for future ref: my snail mail address is: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx for more secure communications.
best for the New Year,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

From:
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2006 09:08:08 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Dear xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. I don’t know if you remember me or xxxxxxxxxxx, but yes, 
we are also on the WL advisory board.
Some of us are involved writing under a collective allonym for 
various strategic reasons (not revealed here) I enclose our first 
article. The article is long, but the subject is time sensitive. I 
know I can get material into counterpunch, and that venue reflects 
certain freedoms, but otherwise I don’t have a feel for the american 
MSM or quasi-MSM. Can you have a look at the article and suggest 
placements? In particular a venue that others thieve from may be 
unusually useful.
Happy new year!
[] http://cryptome.org/wikileaks/inside_somalia_v62.doc

From:
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2006 10:08:21 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Fixed several dropped words. Otherwise no change.
[] http://cryptome.org/wikileaks/inside_somalia_v7.doc

Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2006 11:09:29 +1100
From:
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Hi xxxxxxxxxxx,
Thank’s for the quick reply.
The technology prevents any form of direct censorship — including by
wikileaks itself. The visible wikileaks organisation can be deposed
and this will not directly effect document provision.
There is indirect communal “censorship” in the manner of wikipedia –
changes can be made to an entry, including deletions, however, those
changes can always be seen and reverted. This is effectively taking
the paper from the top of the pile and placing it on the bottom of the
pile. Still available, but less visible and a lot more hassle to get
to.
This hassle factor denies these items the oxygen of publicity or
convience, which we believe will create a social incentive to only
upload material which doesn’t suffer this fate, since there are more
convienent venues for such material.
On 12/28/06, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> Thanks for the fascinating message. Wikileaks sounds like a very exciting and promising undertaking with great potential for good.
>
> But I think there are some “philosophical” issues or principles that need to be clarified before your questions below can be answered, because they will define the character of your project and they will affect how it is perceived by friends and foes.
>
> These issues boil down to the following:
>
> Do you recognize any limits on what information may be published on your site?  (If so, what?)
>
> For example, would you publish personal private information (home addresses, childrens’ school names, etc.) about govt officials?  Information about how to use explosives with maximum impact?  Obscene or racist information, or information that incites to violence?
>
> Will you have a procedure for accepting and considering requests to delete information from your site?
>
> Of course, there are different ways to answer such questions.  For example, FAS is rather conservative in this respect– there are things we will not publish, and occasionally we will remove documents from online access on request.  By contrast, John Young at cryptome.org seems willing to publish just about anything.
>
> If you are seeking to be “sanctified” and to be perceived as a quasi-journalistic enterprise, then it would be helpful to articulate some editorial standards on these points.
>
> Anyway, I will think about this some more.  I hope you will keep me informed as it progresses.  Good luck!
>
>
> —–Original Message—–
> From:
> Sent: Tuesday, December 26, 2006 8:31 PM
> To:
> Subject: advisory board inquiry [wikileaks]
>
> xxxxxxx, please pass this around to the relevant folks (is that just you?).
>
> WikiLeaks is developing an uncensorable version of WikiPedia for untraceable mass document leaking and discussion. 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 unethical behavior in their own governments and corporations. We aim for maximum political impact; this means our technology is (like the WikiPedia) fast and usable by non-technical people.
> We have received over one million documents so far. We plan to numerically eclipse the content the English WikiPedia with leaked documents and analysis.
>
> [http://www.wikileaks.org/]
>
> We believe fostering a safe, easy, socially sanctified way for uncensorable mass document leaking, publishing and analysis is THE most cost effective generator of good governance. We seek good governance, because good governance does more than run trains on time.
> Good governance responds to the sufferings of its people. Good governance answers injustice.
>
> We are looking for initial advisory board members to advise us politically, since our strengths are in building large technical projects such as the WikiPedia. In particular we’d like your advice
> on:
>
>   1. How can WikiLeaks help you as a journalist and consumer of leaks?
>   2. How can WikiLeaks motivate, protect, and help your sources or people like them?
>   3. Who are some other good people to approach, of the figurehead variety and of
>       the will-actually-do-work variety?
>   4. What is your advice on political frame setting and possible funding bodies?
>
> We expect difficult state lashback unless WikiLeaks can be given a sanctified frame (“center for human rights, democracy, good government and apple pie press freedom project” vs “hackers strike again”). Our initial reputation is carried over form the success of the WikiPedia, but we do not feel this association is, by itself, enough to protect us. The public support of organisations like FAS, who are in some sense sanctified, is vital to our initial survival.
>
> Advisory board positions will. at least initially, be unpaid, but we feel the role may be of significant interest to you.
>
>
> ps. Have merry Christmass and a Happy New year!
>

From:
To:
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2006 10:31:47 -0600
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
So many minor adjustments, so little real change. This incorporates all
edits so far. Footnotes have been reattached (they got lost somehow). Some
grammar/typos have been fixed. Some smoothing of corners also.
Hopefully we’re there now.
[] http://cryptome.org/wikileaks/inside_somalia_v8.doc

Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2006 06:01:09 +1100
From:
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Hi xxxxxxxxx,
Thanks for your kind words.
We’ve thought long and hard about this.
It’s easy to percieve the connection between publication and the
complaints people make about publication. But this generates a
perception bias, because it overlooks the vastness of the invisible.
It overlooks the unintended consequences of failing to publish and it
overlooks all those who are emancipated by being in a climate where
bad governance cannot be concealed. Such a climate is a motivating
force to behave better in the first place and shifts structures and
individuals that generate bad governance away from positions where
they generate poor governance.
Injustice concealed cannot be answered. Concealed plans for future
injustice cannot be stopped until they are revealed by becoming
reality, which is too late. Administrative injustice, by defintion
affects many.
Government has ample avenues to abuse revelation, not limited to the
full force of intelligence, law enforcement, and complicit media.
Moves towards the democratisation of revelation are strongly biased in
favor of justice. Where democratised revelations are unjust they tend
to affect isolated individuals, but where they are just, they affect
systems of policy, planning an governance and through them the lives
of all.
You may point to a salicious main stream media, but that is not
democratised revelation. We point instead to the internet as a whole,
which although not yet a vehicle of universal free revelation, is very
close to it. Look at the great bounty of positive political change
pooring forth as a result.
WikiLeaks reveals, but it is not primarily a tool of revelation. There
are many avenues on the internet for revelation. What does not exist
is a social movement to that makes acting ethically by leaking a
virtue. What does not exist is a comfortable way for everyone to leak
safely and easily. What does not exist is a way to turn raw leaks into
into politically influential knowledge through the revoutionary mass
collaborative analysis of wikipedia.
Sufficient leaking will bring down many administrations that rely on
concealing reality –  including the US administration. Ellsberg calls
for it. Everyone knows it. We’re doing it.
In relation to timing; We intend to go live with a reduced system in
the next month. Untill then we are publishing selected analysis in
convential venues to get some material out and encourage assistance.
We’re gradually scaling up. At the moment we have certain asymmetries-
e.g more leaks than we can store or index. It’s just a matter of
gradually inspiring increasing commitment and resources from generous
people. Like yourself :)
12/29/06, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> I didn’t realize that, thanks.  From my perspective, I think this approach is problematic, since publication of information is not always an act of freedom.  It can also be an act of aggression or oppression.  Because it is so potent I don’t think it should be automated to the point that it goes beyond human editorial intervention. But I understand there are advantages to doing so.
>
> The Somalia piece looks very interesting (though I am not an expert on the subject matter) and it seems like a good opening move for wikileaks.
>
> Do you have a date in mind for when you will start publishing?  I could probably help spread the word.
>

From:
Date: Thu, 28 Dec 2006 20:07:56 -0600
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Gotta go now, will do rest later.
counterpunch
Electronic form only
Submit to counterpunch[a t]counterpunch.org
Length: you have a better chance with 500-2000 words.
Editors don’t guarantee any response to submissions.
Phone 1(707) 629-3683 or 1(800) 840-3683
znet
Article and graphic submissions to chris.spannos[a t]zmag.org or 
sysop[a t]zmag.org (different addresses given on different pages on their 
site)
No requirements seem to be given. I’ve Mike Albert says they’ll 
publish almost anything that fits with their general philosophy and 
politics.
zmag
Article submissions to zmag[a t]zmag.org or lydia.sargent[a t]zmag.org  
(different addresses given on different pages on their site)
Unsolicited submissions welcome.
Letters should be succinct and may be edited for length.
Article submissions due 25th of each month — the 25th of January for 
the March issue, and so on.
Best to email articles.
Articles should include a short, two sentence, biography.
No guarantees.
Address: 18 Millfield Street, Woods Hole, MA 02543
Phone: +1 508 548 9063
Fax: +1 508 457 0626
csmonitor
Length 500 (for fairly simple stories) to 1,400 words (for more in-
depth pieces).
“When you file a story with us, it is assumed that the piece is 
original and exclusive to us for 90 days from the date of publication.”
“we accept a new writer’s work “on spec” only. That means you give us 
the opportunity to read your piece before we decide whether to accept 
it; and our agreeing to look at something on spec implies no 
financial obligation on our part. We try to render verdicts on pieces 
quickly, but we are often inundated, and you should feel free to 
pester us for an answer on a perishable story.”
basic rate for a story is $200 to $225.
“Monitor coverage ­ though you may have to write it before 
journalists from other US dailies file their day-one stories ­ almost 
always has to read like a day-two analysis.”
Copy deadline for news is 7 a.m. EST the day before publication.
Email for inquiries: regional editor for Latin America/Africa Matt 
Clark http://www.csmonitor.com/cgi-bin/encryptmail.pl?
ID=CDE1F4F4A0C3ECE1F2EB, phone +1 617 450-2433, with copy to Amelia 
Newcomb newcomba[a t]csps.com
village voice, aljazeera
Couldn’t find any submission guidelines. Don’t take unsolicited 
submissions, I guess.

From:
Date: Fri, 29 Dec 2006 21:15:17 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Search space constraints:
  1. memorable
  2. only one or two valid spellings, obvious to all
  3. gender neutral or masculine
  4. preferably two syllables (first) one second
  5. preferably first name errors checks last name etc
  6. clever and inducing pride in insiders
  7. no or very few google references to full name
  8. preferably no or few references even to last name
e.g like famous ALP insider, “Hillary Bray”, Spi Ballard,  Lee 
Kline., Harry Harrison, Jack Lovejack, Larry Lovedocs, etc. However 
none of these fill all constraints.

Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2006 01:38:03 +1100
From:
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
We enourage people to act ethically. If, like Ellsberg they believe
that involves disclosing classified information, then we can only
respect their courage and do what we can to make their bravery
meaningful. We’re in a better position to that faced by the NYT with
Ellsberg. We have no direct editorial control, the climate is laxer
and the technology grants us great freedom as to jurisdiction. I seem
to recall US tax deductability having clauses about not advocating
violation of US laws? Is this what you were referring to? What’s that
law like in practice?
Your comment on our make up is salient vis Eurasia. Do you have advice
on who to approach? Most of are not from US but Tiawan, Europe, and
Oceania. We’ve only just started approaching additional people. The
relative wealth and tolerance of the west gives us opportunities to be
involved in such a project — I’m pretty sure it doesn’t reflect any
dissonanance with our stated objectives — but it’s interesting that
that is your perception.
On 12/29/6, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> Most of these distinguished individuals are of course associated with leaks in the U.S., not in Eastern Europe, China or Russia.  And they more or less openly advocate defiance of U.S. laws on disclosure of classified information.  That may be your position too.  But if so, it would probably disqualify the effort from U.S. foundation support…
>
> —–Original Message—–
> From:
> Sent: Thursday, December 28, 2006 2:58 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: advisory board inquiry [wikileaks]
>
> Hi xxxxxxxxxx. Thanks for your Soros suggestion. As you might know, one of the first things such organisatons look for is who is on your advisory board ;)
>
> So far, among the people who may be known to you, we have xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx,  John Young, and xxxxxxxxxxxxxx and I suspect Dan Ellsberg, but this has yet to be confirmed.
>
> On 12/29/06, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> > Thanks very much.  I can see you have given this some serious thought, and I believe that I understand your argument.  I imagine that I am neither the first nor the last to raise questions.
> >
> > Anyway, I will continue to think about this, and let’s see how things unfold.
> >
> > One of your questions concerned possible funding sources.  One potential source might be the Soros Open Society Institute:
> >
> >         http://www.soros.org/

From:
Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2006 23:52:14 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Hey xxxxxxxxxx,
We’ve taken the liberty, at least I hope that’s the word, of 
subscribing you to one of our internal  mailinglists. The name is 
deliberately obscure, but you should have received the subscription 
info by now.
Please checkout the archives. There’s no overview document yet, in 
part because we still working out what the problem is and what the 
solution looks like. I think we’re substantially there, but this 
maybe a lack of perspective(s).
You may want to read http://xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
and http://xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx; an obscure motivational 
document, almost useless in light of its decontextualization and 
perhaps even then. But if you read while thinking about how different 
structures of power are differentially affected by leaks (the 
defection of the inner to the outer) its motivations may be clearer.
The more secretive and unjust  an organization is, the more leaks 
induce fear and paranoia in its leadership and planning coterie. This 
must result in minimization of efficient internal communications 
mechanisms (an increase in cognitive “secrecy tax”) and consequent 
system-wide cognitive decline and hence the ability to hold onto 
power as the environment demands adaption.
Hence in a world where leaking is easy, secretive or unjust systems 
are nonlinearly hit relative to open, just systems. Since unjust 
systems, by their nature induce opponents, and in many places barely 
have the upper hand, mass leaking leaves them exquisitely vulnerable 
to those who seek to replace them with more open forms of governance.
Only revealed injustice can be answered; for man to do anything 
intelligent he has to know what’s actually going on.
Best,

From:
Date: Mon, 1 Jan 2007 04:21:43 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
I’ve shopped the somali article around to the usual places, but no 
bites or rejections yet. My feeling is that this is due to
    1. time of year
    2. length
    3. new byline with no rep
I’ve asked xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx to go intermediary.

From:
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 2007 08:56:55 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
It’s clear to me that as i2p, tor, anonnet and freenet evolves, other 
p2p programs become more anon and file-sharing web-sites become more 
popular the anon + can’t get the cat in the bag part aspects of the 
internet will become fait acompli with its general in speed and 
sophistication.
There will be real free speech — that also means an inability to 
enforce copyrights, which is great since otherwise we will find all 
economic growth diverted into the entertainment industry as the 
ability to falsify sense-data becomes ever more sophisticated, but 
human eyes and brains remain the same.
Of course, this’ll only pause things slightly — those companies will 
move instead to the supply of mmorg like sense falsification, but the 
regime of better governance that true free expression gives will 
enable all manner of positive interventions. Although there is some 
argument to be make that speech is still shackled until financial 
transactions are free. [otherwise unmonetized free speech competes 
with monetized censored speech]
WL can advance the political/governance aspects of these developments 
by several years which will have all sorts of positive cascades, not 
the least of which is total annihilation of the current US regime and 
any other regime that  holds its authority through mendacity alone.

To:
From:
Date: Tue, 2 Jan 2007 18:34:21 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Our Chinese sources have submitted proof of the electronic monitoring of the xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
We invited the president to join our cause and he has accepted with characteristic buddhist grace.
Begin forwarded message:
From:
Date: 2. Januar 2007 06:32:23 GMT+11:00
To:
Subject: Re: Advisory board position
Dear xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx,
 
Happy New Year 2007. May the year be more meaningful to your noble activities.
 
Thank you for writing to me. It will be a pleasure to be  part of such important mission.
 
If it is of some benefit in someway, I am pleased to accept your invitation to serve as initial
advisory board member.  I am doing so in my personal capacity and donot represent the organization
I belong to. Should you want someone to represent the organization, please let me know so that we
can discuss with my other board members.
 
Best wishes,
 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
 
————– Original message ————–
From:
>
> We’re looking for initial advisory board members. We think someone
> from your organization may be interested.
>
> WikiLeaks is developing an uncensorable version of WikiPedia for
> untraceable mass document leaking and discussion. 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 unethical behavior in their own governments and
> corporations. We aim for maximum political impact; this means our
> technology is (like the WikiPedia) fast and usable by non-technical
> people.
> We have received over one million documents so far. We plan to
> numerically
> eclipse the content the English WikiPedia with leaked documents and
> analysis.
>
> [http://www.wikileaks.org/]
>
> We believe fostering a safe, easy, socially sanctified way for
> uncensorable mass document leaking, publishing and analysis is THE
> most cost effective generator of good governance. We seek good
> governance, because good governance does more than run trains on time.
> Good governance responds to the sufferings of its people. Good
> governance answers injustice.
>
> We are looking for initial advisory board members to advise us
> politically and technically. In particular we’d like your advice
> on:
>
> 1. How can WikiLeaks help the xxxxxxxxxx cause?
> 2. How can WikiLeaks motivate, protect, and help your sources or
> people like them?
> 3. Who are some other good people to approach, of the figurehead
> variety and of the will-actually-do-wo rk variety?
> 4. How can we best support xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx sourced leaks? What are
> the local issues?
>
> Advisory board positions will. at least initially, be unpaid, but we
> feel the role may be of significant interest to you.
>
> ps. Happy New year!
>

To:
From:
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 11:59:48 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Begin forwarded message:
From:
Date: 4. Januar 2007 09:47:02 GMT+11:00
To:
Subject: Media Request
Your website got me intrigued. Can I talk to someone about the project?
Thanks!
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
This electronic message transmission contains information from Forbes.com, Inc. which may be confidential or privileged. The information is intended for the use of the individual or entity named above. If you are not the intended recipient, be aware that any disclosure, copying, distribution or use of the contents of this information is strictly prohibited. If you have received this electronic transmission in error, please notify the sender by telephone (+1-212-366-8900) or by electronic mail by replying to this transmission immediately. Thank you very much.

To:
From:
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 12:00:04 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Begin forwarded message:
From:
Date: 4. Januar 2007 08:59:35 GMT+11:00
To:
Subject: Reporter wondering…
..who are you? I cover various topics for science magazine and am
interested in your aims and background for perhaps a short article on
the effort.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Reporter
Science Magazine
xxxxxxxxxxx

From:
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 12:00:24 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Begin forwarded message:
From:
Date: 4. Januar 2007 08:54:04 GMT+11:00
To:
Subject: Questions from Federal Times
Dear Sir or Madam,
I am trying to reach someone from Wikileaks for a short article I am writing for tomorrow (1/4). My questions include: How long has the site been in the works? When will it go live? What portion of the 1.1 million documents you mention is from the U.S. government? How do you respond to criticism that automated leaking of documents is irresponsible? Aren’t some leaks, such as one designed to mislead, bad?
 
Thanks very much. My deadline is 12pm Thur.
 
Regards,
 
xxxxxxxxxxxxx
Staff Writer
Federal Times

To:
From:
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 12:10:08 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Wikileaks and Untraceable Document Disclosure
A new internet initiative called Wikileaks seeks to promote good 
government and democratization by enabling anonymous disclosure and 
publication of confidential government records.
“WikiLeaks is developing an uncensorable version of WikiPedia for 
untraceable mass document leaking and analysis,” according to the 
project web site.
“Our primary targets are highly oppressive regimes in China, Russia, 
central eurasia, the middle east and sub-saharan Africa, 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.”
“A system [that] enables everyone to leak safely to a ready audience 
is the most cost effective means of promoting good government — in 
health and medicine, in food supply, in human rights, in arms control 
and democratic institutions.”
Wikileaks says that it has already acquired over one million 
documents that it is now preparing for publication.
The project web site is not yet fully “live.” But an initial offering 
– a document purportedly authored by Sheikh Hassan Dahir Aweys of 
Somalia’s radical Islamic Courts Union — is posted in a zipped file 
here.
An analysis of the document’s authenticity and implications is posted 
here.
Wikileaks invited Secrecy News to serve on its advisory board. We 
explained that we do not favor automated or indiscriminate 
publication of confidential records.
In the absence of accountable editorial oversight, publication can 
more easily become an act of aggression or an incitement to violence, 
not to mention an invasion of privacy or an offense against good taste.
So we disagree on first principles? No problem, replied Wikileaks: 
“Advisory positions are just that — advisory! If you want to advise 
us to censor, then by all means do so.”
While Wikileaks seeks to make unauthorized disclosures 
technologically immune to government control, an opposing school of 
thought proposes to expand U.S. government authority to seize control 
of information that is already in the public domain when its 
continued availability is deemed unacceptably dangerous.
“Although existing authorities do not directly address the subject, 
it appears that reasonable restrictions upon the possession and 
dissemination of catastrophically dangerous information can be 
constitutionally implemented,” suggests Stewart Harris of the 
Appalachian School of Law. See “Restrictions are justifiable,” 
National Law Journal, December 11, 2006.

To:
From:
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 12:10:47 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Begin forwarded message:
From:
Date: 4. Januar 2007 06:18:09 GMT+11:00
To:
Subject: RE: advisory board inquiry [wikileaks]
Thanks xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx.  xxxxxxxxxxxxxxa blog entry on WL here:
 
    http://www.fas.org/blog/secrecy/2007/01/wikileaks_and_untraceable_docu.html
 
From:
Sent: Tuesday, January 02, 2007 9:39 PM
To:
Subject: Re: advisory board inquiry [wikileaks]
Hi xxxxxxxxxxxx,
The site is not yet live in the way it will be (i.e like wikipedia). You can write about it’s developments (we’re interested in more volunteers etc) if you like.
We now have the washington tibet association on board (we received a leak about their chinese penetration). Other than our .tw people we’re still looking for appropriate (i.e hopefully more than just figurehead) chinese dissidents.
The document is available as /som.zip
Take care,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
 
From:
Sent: Sunday, December 31, 2006 11:20 PM
To:
Subject: Re: advisory board inquiry [wikileaks]
Hi xxxxxxxxxxx. Thanks again for your comments. Rather than probing positions on censorship, let’s take a rest and look at why we approached you.
Advisory positions are just that — advisory! If you want to advise us to censor, then by all means do so. If you feel you must, you can tell the world that was your advise.
An advisory board that has a uniformity of opinion does not give good advise.
We (board) are all young people. We’re not rusted on. You will be heard. Since the role is only advisory we may do something else. You may resign at anytime.
On 30.12.2006, at 02:22, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
We may have a basic disagreement that I would describe this way by analogy:  I respect and admire John Young and I check his cryptome.org website every day.  But I also think he is irresponsible when he publishes maps and images of the homes of government officials.  If such actions were “automated,” that would not be an improvement.
This is an argument for doing away with the camera or the internet.
Whether you buy such an argument depends, not on such stuff happening, not even on it happening more, but rather the ratio of good outcomes to bad. At least, so it seems to us.
Wikipedia has true material people would rather was not universally known. Yet, we can see, like the camera, the great reach of these inventions has been a boon for mankind.
We think WL will be far less “sectarian” than Cryptome so the above ratio will be more favourable to us than Cryptome. I know you would prefer JY to censor, but given that he doesn’t — what’s your position? Qualified support, or desire for its abolishment?

To:
From:
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 12:29:51 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx’s blog entry seems to have triggered off media 
interest. This premature and may distract us from our goals. We need 
to think quickly and carefully about how to channel it.

From:
To:
Date: Wed, 03 Jan 2007 21:01:01 -0600
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
There are benefits to exposure even at this early stage: greater publicity,
widespread knowledge of the project, scaring oppressive power wherever it
resides. Attract more potential users and board members. Obtain more
respect.
And costs: greater chance of govt surveillance/attacks. At this stage not
much cover from respectable advisory board. Without proper launch and
clarifications, all sorts of unfounded attacks can be made. Lose respect.
On the one hand, freedom of information is a respected liberal value, and we
may get some sympathy, but I wouldn’t count on it. On the other,
institutionally residing within and sympathetic to authoritarian
hierarchical structures, corporate media will tend towards pillorying the
project as a threat, for any number of potential reasons: for being
irresponsible, derailing war on terrorism, undermining perceived good work
by governments, whatever.
Our options include:
Make a press release or something equivalent.
Don’t respond.
Respond to particular inquiries.
I’m not sure what is the best approach here. Posting a press release on the
website is maybe best? Also, maybe we should think about posting some sort
of statement of principles eventually? Though it’s maybe a bit early for
this?
Corporate media will shy away from or distort nuanced arguments. Need to
make a few clear points and hold to them. I suggest the following, as a
start, all up for discussion. (In particular, we could be more specific, or
more vague about details.)
1. Ethics. We favour, and uphold, ethical behaviour in all circumstances. We
do not believe in unquestioning obedience to authority in all circumstances.
Every person is the ultimate arbiter of justice in their own conscience.
Where injustice reigns and is enshrined in law, there is a place for
principled civil disobedience. Where the simple act of distributing
information may embarrass authoritarian power structures or expose
oppression or major crimes, we recognise a right, indeed a duty, to perform
that act. Such whistleblowing often involves major personal risk. Just like
whistleblower protection laws in some jurisdictions, this project provides
means and opportunity to minimise such risks.
2. Under construction. The project is not yet fully under way. Membership of
our advisory board is not yet settled. Website/editorial policies are not
yet fully formulated. No agreed statement of principles is yet published.
3. Gauntlet. We are no friends of oppressive regimes, dictators,
authoritarian governmental institutions or exploitative corporations. We
fully intend to expose injustice and make the world a better place; this is
our overarching goal and all policy will be formulated with this goal in
mind.
4. Wikipedia gives reassurance. Concerns raised here regarding privacy and
irresponsibility also arise with wikipedia. The wikipedia project has proved
remarkably successful at providing accurate, relevant and up-to-date
information without breaches of privacy. On wikipedia, irresponsible posting
or editing of material, or posting of false material, can be reversed by
other users, and the results have been extremely satisfying and reassuring.
There is no reason to expect any different from WL. Indeed, as discovered
with wikipedia to the surprise of many, there is hope that the collective
wisdom of an informed community of users may provide rapid and accurate
dissemination, verification and analysis.
5. Room for debate. There is the possibility of false or malicious leaks.
Despite the example of wikipedia, there is the possibility of leaks
encroaching upon the privacy of innocent individuals. There are legitimate
questions to be asked and discussions to be had. On the one hand censorship
is a hallmark of oppressive power structures. On the other, if an absolutely
free forum for information distribution is used for irresponsible purposes,
it undermines its own goals. In some sense any forum for freely posting
information involves the potential for abuse, but measures can be taken to
minimise any potential harm. In conjunction with the advisory board, policy
will be formulated in line with these considerations. The overriding goal is
to provide a forum where embarrassing information can expose injustice;
beyond this, no particular method or policy is set in stone.

From:
Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 15:05:34 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Hi xxxxxxxxxxxxx,
Thank you for your letter. We’re surprised by the very early press interest , which we would have welcomed later, but which is now difficult for us, as it will affect our delicate negotiations with the Open Society Institute and other funding bodies.  But as several journalists have contacted us now, there’s clearly no stopping it, so we’ll try do our best to help you.
1. WL was founded by chinese dissidents, mathematicians and startup company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa. 
1.1 Our advisory board, which is still forming, includes representatives from expat Russian and Tibetan refugee communities, reporters, a former US intelligence analyst and cryptographers. 
2. There are currently 22 people directly involved in the project.
3. We haven’t sought public feedback so far, but dissident communities have been been very gracious with their assistance.
4. The wiki does not require registration and the users behaves in the same manner as the Wikipedia. You can’t see the wiki on www.wikileaks.org, because the public launch date is at least a month away.
5. Wikileaks integrates a number of cryptographic technologies into Wikipedia to create anonymity and censorship resistance while retaining most of Wikipedia’s ease of use and performance including modified versions of http://freenetproject.org, http://tor.eff.org, PGP and software of our own design. 
6. The prototype has been successful in testing, but there are still many demands required before we have the scale required for a full public deployment. These include additional funding, the support of further dissident communities, human rights groups, reporters and media representative bodies (as “consumers” of leaks), language regionalization, volunteer editors/analysts and server operators.
7. Our roots are in dissident communities and our focus is on non-western authoritarian regimes. Consequently we believe a politically motivated legal attack on us would be seen as a grave error in western administrations. However, we are prepared, structurally and technically to deal with all legal attacks. We design the software, and promote its human rights agenda, but the servers are run by anonymous volunteers. Because we have no commercial interest in the software, there is no need to restrict its distribution. In the very unlikely event that we were to face coercion to make the software censorship friendly, there are many others who will continue the work in other jurisdictions.
We favour, and uphold, ethical behaviour in all circumstances. We do not believe in unquestioning obedience to authority in all circumstances. Every person is the ultimate arbiter of justice in their own conscience. Where injustice reigns and is enshrined in law, there is a place for principled civil disobedience. Where the simple act of distributing information may embarrass authoritarian power structures or expose oppression or major crimes, we recognise a right, indeed a duty, to perform that act. Such whistleblowing often involves major personal risk. Just like whistleblower protection laws in some jurisdictions, this project provides means and opportunity to minimise such risks.
All the best for the new year,
On 04.01.2007, at 08:35, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
Hi,
I’m a reporter at National Journal’s Technology Daily. For tomorrow’s edition, I’m working on a story about your “Wikileaks” venture. Since you created the site, your input is critical to the story.
 
***THE DEADLINE IS 1:00 P.M. ET TOMORROW (THURSDAY)***
 
Do you think you can meet the deadline? If so, here are my questions. Thanks.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Who founded Wikileaks? What kind of background does the founder(s) have?
How many people are operating the Web site?
What kind of feedback have you gotten so far?
I’m still learning about wikis. Does your wiki require registration or passwords? Why did you make this decision?
From a technological standpoint, what makes your wiki “uncensorable?”
What’s next for the site?
Are you concerned about any legal consequences to attempting this sort of project? Why or why not?
Feel free to add anything.
xxxxxxxxxxxx, National Journal’s Technology Daily
 

Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2007 05:41:07 -0800
To:
From: John Young <jya[a t]pipeline.com>
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Aftergood’s report was unexpected, particularly for showing
wikileaks.org was active and the first document was available.
When did access become public, and was that announced here?
Or did Aftergood release private information, say in disagreement
with WL purposes.
His comments on WL were disdainful, and appear to have
been made to buttress his own endeavor as more honorable and
respectable — he has a habit of doing that, but so do others who
cherish their reputation (and carefully nuture support of those
who really have a problem with uncontrolled information as if
it is “dangerous to go too far, yadda, yadda.”).
Reporters, and keep in mind they are competitors with WL as
much as any keepers of secrets and peddlers of inside
information, (all obsessed with appearing to be “responsible”
arbiters of what information gets published) will most certainly
dig for unfriendly aspects of WL to gain reader attention and to
show they are not complicit in WL unrespectable intentions.
Some will promise one thing to get information and do the opposite
for publication. Some will fuck you for failing to do what they
asked.
Expect agents of the authorities to pry into WL by way of
journalists, supporters, funders, advisory board members;
that is customary for those hoping to smoke out opposition.
Expect smears, lies, forgeries, betrayal, bribes, and the host
of common tools used to suppress dissent.
Expect taunts, insults, ridicule, praise, admiration, obsequiousness,
arrogance, skepticism, demands for who the fuck are you, I need
the information for an urgent deadline.
Expect accusations that someone else associated with WL has
already told me such and such so why are you being so coy?
Expect much flattery and disdain.
Beware of disclosing private information as a means to recruit.
Beware of releasing information about WL founders and supporters,
that will be grist for the truth twisters. Keep anonymous as possible
or WL is doomed.
This discussion list is going to be leaked. Anonymize, anonymize
every communication with the press and potential recruits.
Somebody is going to come at me as the name on the NSI registry.
The less I know about WL people the better. And I know for sure that
everyone associated with WL is a bald-faced liar, an agent of the
authorities and the worst of the worst.

To:
From:
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 02:07:36 +1100
Subject: [WL] Re: Reporter wondering…
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Deadline not till next week…xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxx Reporter
Science Magazine
>>> xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 01/03 11:25 PM >>>
Some answers to other questions:
On 04.01.2007, at 15:08, Wikileaks wrote:
> Hi xxxxxxxxxxxx. We’re surprised  and unprepared by all the early media
> interest. What’s your deadline? We’re mostly mathematicians. We
> like Science.
>
> On 04.01.2007, at 08:59, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
>
>> ..who are you? I cover various topics for science magazine and am
>> interested in your aims and background for perhaps a short article
on
>> the effort.
>>
>> xxxxxxxxxxxx, Reporter
>> Science Magazine
>>
I am trying to reach someone from Wikileaks for a short article I am
writing for tomorrow (1/4). My questions include: How long has the
site been in the works? When will it go live? What portion of the 1.1
million documents you mention is from the U.S. government? How do you
respond to criticism that automated leaking of documents is
irresponsible? Aren’t some leaks, such as one designed to mislead,
bad?
Dear xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. I hope the following helps. Presently none of the 1.1
million documents are directly from western governments. However,
because of the inter-connectedness of governments  around the world,
there are documents sent from the US and other western governments to
other governments in our collection.
Misleading leaks — already well placed in the main stream media. WL
is of no additional assistance to them. If they’re of political
significance, they will be very closely collaboratively analyzed by
hundreds of wikipedia editors in a way main stream media leaked
documents could never dream of. See our somali leak for an early
example.
Best for the new year,
Thank you for your letter. We’re surprised by the very early press
interest , which we would have welcomed later, but which is now
difficult for us, as it will affect our delicate negotiations with
the Open Society Institute and other funding bodies.  But as several
journalists have contacted us now, there’s clearly no stopping it, so
we’ll try do our best to help you.
1. WL was founded by chinese dissidents, mathematicians and startup
company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and
South Africa.
1.1 Our advisory board, which is still forming, includes
representatives from expat Russian and Tibetan refugee communities,
reporters, a former US intelligence analyst and cryptographers.
2. There are currently 22 people directly involved in the project.
3. We haven’t sought public feedback so far, but dissident
communities have been been very gracious with their assistance.
4. The wiki does not require registration and the users behaves in
the same manner as the Wikipedia. You can’t see the wiki on
www.wikileaks.org, because the public launch date is at least a month
away.
5. Wikileaks integrates a number of cryptographic technologies into
Wikipedia to create anonymity and censorship resistance while
retaining most of Wikipedia’s ease of use and performance including
modified versions of http://freenetproject.org, http://tor.eff.org,
PGP and software of our own design.
6. The prototype has been successful in testing, but there are still
many demands required before we have the scale required for a full
public deployment. These include additional funding, the support of
further dissident communities, human rights groups, reporters and
media representative bodies (as “consumers” of leaks), language
regionalization, volunteer editors/analysts and server operators.
7. Our roots are in dissident communities and our focus is on non-
western authoritarian regimes. Consequently we believe a politically
motivated legal attack on us would be seen as a grave error in
western administrations. However, we are prepared, structurally and
technically to deal with all legal attacks. We design the software,
and promote its human rights agenda, but the servers are run by
anonymous volunteers. Because we have no commercial interest in the
software, there is no need to restrict its distribution. In the very
unlikely event that we were to face coercion to make the software
censorship friendly, there are many others who will continue the work
in other jurisdictions.
We favour, and uphold, ethical behaviour in all circumstances. We do
not believe in unquestioning obedience to authority in all
circumstances. Every person is the ultimate arbiter of justice in
their own conscience. Where injustice reigns and is enshrined in law,
there is a place for principled civil disobedience. Where the simple
act of distributing information may embarrass authoritarian power
structures or expose oppression or major crimes, we recognise a
right, indeed a duty, to perform that act. Such whistleblowing often
involves major personal risk. Just like whistleblower protection laws
in some jurisdictions, this project provides means and opportunity to
minimise such risks.
All the best for the new year,
Who founded Wikileaks? What kind of background does the founder(s)
have?
How many people are operating the Web site?
What kind of feedback have you gotten so far?
I’m still learning about wikis. Does your wiki require registration
or passwords? Why did you make this decision?
  From a technological standpoint, what makes your wiki “uncensorable?”
What’s next for the site?
Are you concerned about any legal consequences to attempting this
sort of project? Why or why not?
Feel free to add anything.

To:
From:
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 02:16:45 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Hello Wikileaks
 
I just read about your project in the Federation of American Scientists’ “Secrecy News” newsletter and was wondering if you could answer a few questions.
 
If so, here goes:
 
1. Who is behind the Wikileaks project (although that is probably a very dumb question for an anonymizing service for leaked data).
 
2. Is this a project backed by Wikipedia?
 
3. Will Wikileaks vet leaked documents to ascertain a genuine public interest defence in hosting the leaked documents or whether the leak is purely malicious, such as a business plan leaked by a disgruntled employee? If so, who will do the vetting and decide on its “genuineness”?
 
If you’d rather talk, my number is below. If you don’t know New Scientist, it is a science and technology newsweekly (50 years old last November) and we have 2 million print and online readers, half of them in the US.
 
My deadline is noon Friday GMT.
 
best regards
 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
 
 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx | Chief Technology Correspondent | New Scientist | London |
 
r===================== DISCLAIMER ======================
This message is intended only for the use of the person(s)
(\”Intended Recipient\”) to whom it is addressed. It may contain
information, which is privileged and confidential. Accordingly
any dissemination, distribution, copying or other use of this
message or any of its content by any person other than the Intended
Recipient may constitute a breach of civil or criminal law and is
strictly prohibited. If you are not the Intended Recipient, please
contact the sender as soon as possible.
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Date: Thu, 4 Jan 2007 12:12:52 -0500
From:
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Thanks. One quick question:
1. Will the public be able to discuss and contextualize the documents, visibly, on Wikileaks, similar to the way people can post replies to blog entries online? (Some folks I’ve been interviewing wondered whether the public will be able to participate in a discussion of the authenticity of the documents, contextualize the documents and point people to related documents)
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx 
National Journal’s Technology Daily

From:
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 07:35:00 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Dear xxxxxxxxxxxx. Thank  very much for your support, which coming from Pogo means a great deal to us.
Although we are primarily targeted at non-western governments, we think Pogo may have important advice for us on what is needed in the US. We would like to invite Pogo to join our initial advisory board either in an organizational or individual capacity.
Warmly, 
On 05.01.2007, at 03:23, xxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
Hello wikileaks, I am so glad you are doing this. I had the same idea a month or so ago but know nothing about wiki so wouldn’t even know where it start.
Please keep us informed of your progress. We will send leaks your way!
Founded in 1981, the Project On Government Oversight is an independent nonprofit which investigates and exposes corruption and other misconduct in order to achieve a more accountable federal government.
 

From:
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 07:35:18 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Begin forwarded message:
From:
Date: 5. Januar 2007 03:47:59 GMT+11:00
To:
Subject: interviews?
Is anyone available to do a radio interview regarding this project?
– 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
“Friday Morning After”
CKUT Radio, Montreal

To:
From:
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 07:35:56 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Begin forwarded message:
From:
Date: 5. Januar 2007 04:55:02 GMT+11:00
To:
Subject: inquiry from the washington post
Hello, I’d like to write an item on Wikileaks for the Washington Post.  Could someone please contact me with more information about the site? My numbers are below.
Many thanks,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
The Washington Post

To:
From:
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 07:50:28 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
  Web site aims to post government secrets
By DANIEL FRIEDMAN
January 04, 2007
Forget parking garages. Tomorrow’s Deep Throats can go wiki.
A new Web site that aims to encourage large-scale leaking of 
confidential government documents by allowing anonymous disclosure 
could launch as early as next month.
Beneath a quotation from famed Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel 
Ellsberg, www.Wikileaks.org says it seeks to increase government 
transparency around the world by using “an uncensorable version of 
Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis.”
Founded by a group that includes technologists and Chinese 
dissidents, Wikileaks would promote democracy and prevent corruption, 
and is aimed primarily at oppressive foreign regimes, according to 
organizers. But the site says it also wants “to be of service to 
those in the West who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their own 
government and corporations.”
The site is online but not yet operating. In an e-mail, Wikileaks 
spokeswoman Hanna De Jong said that about 22 people involved in the 
project are still testing the prototype and seeking funding from 
groups like the Soros Foundation’s Open Society Institute, which 
promotes democracy and human rights. De Jong said Wikileaks’ advisory 
board includes journalists, cryptographers, a former U.S. 
intelligence analyst and expatriates from Russian and Tibetan refugee 
communities.
The group says it has already received more than 1 million documents. 
De Jong said none of those come directly from Western governments, 
but documents sent from the United States to other states are 
included. The site uses various cryptographic technologies to allow 
anonymity while maintaining Wikpedia’s easy use, she said.
Spurred by the success of the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, Web 
sites nicknamed “wikis” that allow collaborative authoring by letting 
anyone edit content are proliferating, even within government.
Ohio’s Hamilton County, which includes Cincinnati, recently launched 
an online directory of local agencies that will be publicly 
maintained, allowing citizens to add and delete information, for 
example. In October, the federal Office of the Director of National 
Intelligence unveiled Intellipedia, intended to improve intelligence 
sharing by letting authorized analysts collaboratively edit content 
on the government’s classified Intelink Web site.
But Wikileaks is radically different. The site makes broad claims 
regarding the value of unauthorized disclosures.
“Historically the most resilient form of open government is one where 
leaking and publication is easy,” it says. “Public leaking, being an 
act of ethical defection to the majority, is by nature a 
democratizing force. Hence a system [that] enables everyone to leak 
safely to a ready audience is the most cost effective means of 
promoting good government.”
But the initiative, sure to concern U.S. officials who want to 
restrict access to documents, may go too far even for government 
transparency advocates.
Wikileaks’ intention to allow anonymous publication of confidential 
records without oversight by an accountable editor could cause leaks 
that invade privacy or incite violence, Steven Aftergood, head of the 
Federation of American Scientists’ Project on Government Secrecy, 
wrote Jan. 3 in his online newsletter, Secrecy News.
“I’m sort of waiting to see how it works in practice,” Aftergood said 
in an interview. “But in principle I think it’s much too 
indiscriminate and susceptible to abuse.”
“There’s a difference in unauthorized disclosure from an 
authoritarian state versus disclosure from a democracy,” he said. “In 
a democratic system, people have the opportunity to define their own 
disclosure standards. If you violate those standards or encourage 
others to do so then you are in effect undermining the democratic 
process.”
De Jong, however, said misleading leaks “are already well-placed in 
the mainstream media. [Wikileaks] is of no additional assistance.”
Politically significant leaks will be “collaboratively analyzed by 
hundreds of [Wikileaks] editors in a way mainstream media-leaked 
documents could never dream of,” she said.
She said the group is prepared for legal attacks.
“We design the software and promote its human rights agenda, but the 
servers are run by anonymous volunteers,” she wrote. “Because we have 
no commercial interest in the software, there is no need to restrict 
its distribution. In the very unlikely event that we were to face 
coercion to make the software censorship-friendly, there are many 
others who would continue the work in other jurisdictions.”
E-mail: dfriedman[a t]federaltimes.com
Email this story to a friendf

To:
From:
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 10:48:14 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Begin forwarded message:
> From:
> Date: 5. Januar 2007 09:30:21 GMT+11:00
> To:
> Subject: RE: [WL] RE: article: wikileaks
>
> Hi xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx,
>
> Thanks much. Here’s what we published this afternoon:
>
> Civil Liberties
> Forthcoming ‘Wiki’ Aims To Leak, Analyze Documents
> by Aliya Sternstein
>
>      A group of Chinese dissidents and technologists from across 
> the world is designing an “uncensorable” version of Wikipedia to 
> encourage untraceable, mass leaks and analysis of documents from 
> authoritarian regimes, the U.S.   government and corporations.
>      Wikileaks.org, still under construction, combines a 
> collaborative “wiki” software interface with cryptographic 
> technologies to hide contributor identities and block censors, said 
> Hanna De Jong, the organization’s spokeswoman. The protective 
> programming includes modified versions of the Tor toolset from the 
> Electronic Frontier Foundation, The Free Network Project, PGP and 
> Wikileaks’ custom software.
>      Wikileaks’ primary targets are closed societies in Africa, 
> Asia and the Middle East. “We also expect to be of assistance to 
> those in the West who wish to reveal unethical behavior in their 
> own governments and corporations,” the site reads.
>      A wiki is basically a public Web log that anyone with an 
> Internet browser can add to or modify. Wikipedia is an online, self-
> evolving encyclopedia updated by a community of users.
>      Wikileaks was founded by Chinese dissidents, mathematicians 
> and startup techies in the United States, Australia, Europe, South 
> Africa and Taiwan. Its growing advisory board contains 
> representatives from Russian and Tibetan refugee communities, 
> reporters, one former U.S. intelligence analyst and cryptographers, 
> De Jong said.
>      “We are prepared, structurally and technically to deal with 
> all legal attacks,” she said.
>      “In the very unlikely event that we were to face coercion to 
> make the software censorship friendly, there are many others who 
> will continue the work in other jurisdictions,” De Jong added. The 
> servers are run by anonymous volunteers, and Wikileaks’ software 
> will be disseminated for free, if necessary.
>      Some e-democracy advocates question the value of publishing 
> documents without attribution or authentication.
>      “The government could be putting up information to discredit 
> dissidents,” said Leslie Harris, executive director   at the Center 
> for Democracy and Technology. “In an oppressive government, we have 
> no way to know if it’s an attempt at disinformation.” She also 
> noted the dangers of posting libelous information or sensitive, 
> personal information on an unmediated site.
>      Harris said she hopes the public will be able to discuss and 
> contextualize the documents on Wikileaks in a manner similar to the 
> way people can make criticisms on blog entries.
>      “I think it’s very important that there be opportunities for 
> people to discuss whether the document is authentic,” she said. 
> “You should be able to comment visibly about the document and point 
> people to other documents.”
>      Wikileaks recently invited Steven Aftergood, a government 
> secrecy researcher at the Federation of American Scientists, to 
> serve on its advisory board. He publishes the e-mail newsletter, 
> “Secrecy News,” which often provides links to hard-to-obtain 
> documents.
>      Aftergood said he has not yet decided whether to get involved 
> with the venture. “I still want to see how they launch, what the 
> focus is and if they’re putting out good material … and if the 
> positive outweighs the negative,” he said.
>
> xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
>
> National Journal’s Technology Daily
> From:
> Sent: Thursday, January 04, 2007 3:18 PM
> To:
> Subject: Re: [WL] RE: article: wikileaks
>
> Dear xxxxxxxxxxxx,
>
> I like your summery.
>
> Yes, this is WIKIleaks. The protective aspects are there merely to 
> remove the fear of involvement in this worthy activity. For 
> instance, in the case of the example Somalia analysis we expect 
> thousands of refugees from the Somali, Ethiopian and Chinese expat 
> communities to easily outstrip our example analysis. In this manner 
> the political relevance of the documents and their verisimilitude 
> will be revealed by a cast of thousands.
>

To:
From:
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 10:48:48 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Begin forwarded message:
From:
Date: 5. Januar 2007 10:08:10 GMT+11:00
To:
Subject: Media request
I’m a freelance reporter who writes for Wired News, Salon, and other publications. I’m interested in writing a story about the Wikileaks site and was wondering if there’s someone available to speak with me about it. You can reach me at 510.601.0948 or send me a number where I can reach you and I’ll call you.
Regards,
xxxxxxxxxxxxx

From:
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 13:36:51 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
We can turn this unexpected difficulty into a great blessing by being 
crafty and exuberant in our attentions over the next few days.
The hunger for freedom and truth is clearly so intense that despite 
having little more than “we’re working on it” and a nice example 
(that few seem bother to read in their quest for the salacious) off 
it goes on its own exponential of media read, write and rewrite.  
Random quotes (not from us) and rephrasing will lead to the most 
salacious evolving in the galapagos of quote, edit and requote.
What this means is that we have to answer questions before they’re 
asked and we have to answer them with statements that optimize max
(journalistic lazynes + quote sexyness).
Analogously, the public sphere is warm milk, into which has leaked 
our culture. Bacterial growth follows an exponential — left 
unmolested it would become the congealed yogurt of our desires, but 
random innocents and malefactors alike are injecting their their own 
bacterial strain into the mix. The impact of early strains of 
information release (ours and others) will be fantastically amplified 
by the exponential process. Consequently we must expend as much 
energies on this IMMEDIATELY as we have inorder to set path of future 
perceptions, which will otherwise require far more energies to 
correct even a day later.
Since we can not seal the public sphere from the influence of others, 
our only recourse is to continually inject our informational strain 
into the ferment. If we keep our strain (our public positioning ) 
consistent and quotable we should come to dominate the culture when 
opposed by relatively random influences of others.
And despite JYAs seasoned fears, our opponents thus far are 
essentially uncoordinated; they do not strike with vigor at the same 
point. Here follows our blessing.
Because WL has not yet generated ANY specific enemies (at least 
outside of China and Somalia), attacks are generalized (“pro-
censorship”) , unmotivated, limp-wristed and lack precision and 
common direction.
This will not be the case once we release substantial material. That 
will invoke enemies with specific grievances. Our previous desire to 
splash forth only with a fully operational system with content would 
have generated both specific opposition and fears by example.
Hence we have a great opportunity — to push our desired perceptions 
of what WL is into the world, to set the key in which future bars of 
our song are to be played by the public orchestra, BEFORE it faces 
any serious opposition.

Date: Thu, 04 Jan 2007 20:16:24 -0800
To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net,Wikileaks <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org>
From: John Young <jya[a t]pipeline.com>
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Certainly all these inquiries should be answered, perhaps by Hanna, or others
using that wonderfully anonymizing and untraceable name, could provide
inconsistent responses to the consistent questions sounding so much alike.
The wikileak ethical statement is a marvel, totally unbelievable in the manner
of professional peddlers of responsible leakages.
Is there a target date for wikileaks.org becoming interactive, hyperactive,
flooded with spam and attacks and demands to name names or else?
Any advisory board members jumped ship yet?

Subject: Re: [WL] Fwd: inquiry from the washington post
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 15:38:03 +1100
To: John Young <jya[a t]pipeline.com>
From:
John — no ship jumps, plank walks or keel hauls. Though some here 
may want to feed the sniveling holier than thou After Good Comes Bad 
to the swirling creatures of the deep, we will continue to project 
puppy dog eye rolls and the greatest generosity, acceptance and respect.
Can you reveal further analysis and advice on which “ethical 
statement” you
are referring to?

To:
From:
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 16:09:38 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Dearest friends,
We have decided to pre-empt questions diverted to others under the 
less obvious (than a press release) projection of  a FAQ.
Please quickly google stories (including news/blog search) for wl 
(many now!). Find all the gut directly asked questions and extract 
the real question in the reporters mind that motivated the quote and 
send them in.
For example if a story quotes ‘Farrah believes the impact on Iran 
will be X’ , derive the reporters internal question “What will be the 
impact on Iran/Islamic countries/axis of evil?”
What other questions do you predict will be asked?
Answer some if you have time, but send questions quickly!
xxxxxxxxxxxxxx

From:
To:
Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2007 00:36:01 -0600
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Including snippets from recent emails which sounded cool.
Notes:
The first question is really general, perhaps too general, but perhaps it’s
worth putting in something like an FAQ, I don’t know, if only as a framing
for saying what we want to say.
Rhetoric is generally overblown, and deliberately so. Feel free to tone
down. On the other hand perhaps there are sufficiently sexy statements for
the press. :P
I put in the figure of 22 people, but we might want to delete this, since
it’s liable to change.
I put in an approximate launch date of February/March 2007. But we might not
want to put anything like that in. Please revise, more techie people.
Please discuss, particularly the privacy/irresponsibility question, which is
important to the corporate press.
Feel free, in fact, to rearrange/dismember/redo. It’s more a matter of
getting the appropriate words out.
What is WL? Why “wikify” leaking?
WL is an uncensorable version of wikipedia for untraceable mass document
leaking and analysis. It combines the protection and anonymity of
cutting-edge cryptographic technologies with the transparency and simplicity
of a wiki interface.
Principled leaking has changed the course of history for the better; it can
alter the course of history in the present; it can lead us to a better
future.
Consider Daniel Ellsberg, working within the US government during the
Vietnam War. He comes into contact with the Pentagon Papers, a meticulously
kept record of military and strategic planning throughout the war. Those
papers reveal the depths to which the US government has sunk in deceiving
the population about the war. Yet the public and the media know nothing of
this urgent and shocking information. Indeed, secrecy laws are being used to
keep the public ignorant of gross dishonesty practiced by their government.
In spite of those secrecy laws and at great personal risk, Ellsberg manages
to disseminate the Pentagon papers to journalists and to the world. Despite
facing criminal charges, eventually dropped, the release of the Pentagon
papers shocks the world, exposes the government, and helps to shorten the
war and save thousands of lives.
But this is just one example. The power of principled leaking to embarrass
governments, corporations and institutions is amply demonstrated through
recent history. Public scrutiny of otherwise unaccountable and secretive
institutions pressures them to act ethically. What official will chance a
secret, corrupt transaction when the public is likely to find out? What
repressive plan will be carried out when it is revealed to the citizenry?
When the risks of embarrassment through openness and honesty increase, the
tables are turned against conspiracy, corruption, exploitation and
oppression. Open government answers injustice rather than causing it. Open
government exposes and undoes corruption. Open governance is the most cost
effective method of promoting good governance.
Today, with authoritarian governments in power around much of the world,
increasing authoritarian tendencies in democratic governments, and
increasing amounts of power vested in unaccountable corporations, the need
for openness and democratization is greater than ever.
WL is a tool to satisfy that need.
WL is cutting out the middleman, reducing the risk to potential leakers, and
improving analysis and dissemination of leaked documents.
WL provides simple and straightforward means for anonymous and untraceable
leaking of documents.
At the same time, WL opens leaked documents up to a much more exacting
scrutiny than any media organization or intelligence agency could provide:
the scrutiny of a worldwide community of informed wiki editors.
Instead of a couple of academic specialists, WL will provide a forum for the
entire global community to examine any document relentlessly for
credibility, plausibility, veracity and falsifiability. They will be able to
interpret documents and explain their relevance to the public. If a document
is leaked from the Chinese government, the entire Chinese dissident
community can freely scrutinize and discuss it; if a document is leaked from
Somalia, the entire Somali refugee community can analyze it and put it in
context. And so on.
WL may become the most powerful intelligence agency on earth, an
intelligence agency of the people. It will be an open source, democratic
intelligence agency. But it will be far better, far more principled, and far
less parochial than any governmental intelligence agency; consequently, it
will be more accurate, and more relevant. It will have no commercial or
national interests at heart; its only interests will be truth and freedom of
information. Unlike the covert activities of national intelligence agencies,
WL will rely upon the power of overt fact to inform citizens about the
truths of their world.
WL will resonate not to the sound of money or guns or the flow of oil, but
to the grievances of oppressed and exploited people around the world. It
will be the outlet for every government official, every bureaucrat, every
corporate worker, who becomes privy to embarrassing information which the
institution wants to hide but the public needs to know. What conscience
cannot contain, and institutional secrecy unjustly conceals, WL can
broadcast to the world.
WL will be a forum for the ethical defection of unaccountable and abusive
power to the people.
WL will be an anvil at which beats the hammer of the collective conscience
of humanity.
How will WL operate?
To the user, WL will look very much like wikipedia. Anybody can post to it,
anybody can edit it. No technical knowledge is required. Leakers can post
documents anonymously and untraceably. Users can publicly discuss documents
and analyze their credibility and veracity. Users can discuss
interpretations and context and collaboratively formulate collective
publications. Users can read and write explanatory articles on leaks along
with background material and context. The political relevance of documents
and their verisimilitude will be revealed by a cast of thousands.
WL will also incorporate advanced cryptographic technologies for anonymity
and untraceability. Those who provide leaked information may face severe
risks, whether of political repercussions, legal sanctions or physical
violence. Accordingly, extremely sophisticated mathematical and
cryptographic techniques will be used to secure privacy, anonymity and
untraceability.
For the technically minded, WL integrates technologies including modified
versions of http://freenetproject.org, http://tor.eff.org, PGP and software
of our own design.
WL will be deployed in a way that makes it impervious to political and legal
attacks. In this sense it is uncensorable.
Who is behind WL?
WL was founded by Chinese dissidents, mathematicians and startup company
technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa.
Our advisory board, which is still forming, includes representatives from
expatriate Russian and Tibetan refugee communities, reporters, a former US
intelligence analyst and cryptographers.
There are currently 22 people directly involved in the project and counting.
What is your relationship to wikipedia?
WL has no formal relationship to wikipedia. However both employ the same
wiki interface and technology. Both share the same radically democratic
philosophy that allowing anyone to be an author or editor leads to a vast
and accurate collective intelligence and knowledge. Both place their trust
in an informed community of citizens. What wikipedia is to the encyclopedia,
WL will be to leaks.
Wikipedia provides a positive example on which WL is based. The success of
wikipedia in providing accurate and up-to-date information has been stunning
and surprising to many. Wikipedia shows that the collective wisdom of an
informed community of users may produce massive volumes of accurate
knowledge in a rapid, democratic and transparent manner. WL aims to harness
this phenomenon to provide fast and accurate dissemination, verification,
analysis, interpretation and explanation of leaked documents, for the
benefit of people all around the world.
What is WL’s present stage of development?
WL has developed a prototype which has been successful in testing, but there
are still many demands required before we have the scale required for a full
public deployment. We require additional funding, the support of further
dissident communities, human rights groups, reporters and media
representative bodies (as “consumers” of leaks), language regionalization,
volunteer editors/analysts and server operators.
We have received over 1.1 million documents so far. We plan to numerically
eclipse the content of the English wikipedia with leaked documents.
Anyone interested in helping us out with any of the above should contact us
by email at [insert address here].
When will WL go live?
We cannot yet give an exact date. We estimate February or March 2007.
Couldn’t leaking involve invasions of privacy? Couldn’t mass leaking of
documents be irresponsible? Aren’t some leaks deliberately false and
misleading?
Providing a forum for freely posting information involves the potential for
abuse, but measures can be taken to minimize any potential harm. The
simplest and most effective countermeasure is a worldwide community of
informed users and editors who can scrutinize and discuss leaked documents.
Concerns about privacy, irresponsibility and false information also arise
with wikipedia. On wikipedia, irresponsible posting or editing of material,
or posting of false material, can be reversed by other users, and the
results have been extremely satisfying and reassuring. There is no reason to
expect any different from WL. Indeed, as discovered with wikipedia to the
surprise of many, the collective wisdom of an informed community of users
may provide rapid and accurate dissemination, verification and analysis.
Furthermore, misleading leaks and misinformation are already well placed in
the mainstream media, as recent history shows, an obvious example being the
lead-up to the Iraq war. Peddlers of misinformation will find no assistance
from WL, equipped as it is to scrutinize leaked documents in a way that no
mainstream media outlet would dare. WL is immune from requirements for
headlines, sensations and scoops, along with the doctrinal, ideological and
political pressures of the mainstream media, replacing them with incentives
for skepticism, logical reasoning, and accuracy.
In any case, our overarching goal is to provide a forum where embarrassing
information can expose injustice. All policy will be formulated with this
goal in mind.
Is WL concerned about any legal consequences?
Our roots are in dissident communities and our focus is on non-western
authoritarian regimes. Consequently we believe a politically motivated legal
attack on us would be seen as a grave error in western administrations.
However, we are prepared, structurally and technically, to deal with all
legal attacks. We design the software, and promote its human rights agenda,
but the servers are run by anonymous volunteers. Because we have no
commercial interest in the software, there is no need to restrict its
distribution. In the very unlikely event that we were to face coercion to
make the software censorship friendly, there are many others who will
continue the work in other jurisdictions.
Is leaking ethical?
We favour, and uphold, ethical behavior in all circumstances. We do not
believe in unquestioning obedience to authority in all circumstances. Every
person is the ultimate arbiter of justice in their own conscience. Where
injustice reigns and is enshrined in law, there is a place for principled
civil disobedience. Where the simple act of distributing information may
embarrass authoritarian power structures or expose oppression or major
crimes, we recognize a right, indeed a duty, to perform that act. Such
whistleblowing often involves major personal risk. Just like whistleblower
protection laws in some jurisdictions, WL provides means and opportunity to
minimize such risks.
We propose that every authoritarian government, every oppressive
institution, every exploitative corporation, be subject to the pressure, not
merely of freedom of information laws, not even of quadrennial elections,
but of something far stronger: the individual consciences of the people
within them.
WL, we hope, will be a new star in the political firmament of humanity.

From:
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 18:15:37 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Mention forgot! Since most references are <24 hours new, they are not 
in the main google index! Search blogs + news + groups (under “more”)

From:
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 19:52:46 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Any idea what this may mean?
  Wikia Inc.
    200 2nd Ave. S
    Suite 306
    St. Petersburg, Florida 33701
    United States
    Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
    Domain Name: WIKILEAKS.NET
       Created on: 03-Jan-07
       Expires on: 04-Jan-09
       Last Updated on:
    Administrative Contact:
       Wales, Jimmy  jasonr[a t]bomis.com
       Wikia Inc.
       200 2nd Ave. S
       Suite 306
       St. Petersburg, Florida 33701
       United States
       17273886691

Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2007 10:08:36 +0000
From:
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
xxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> [This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
>  Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
>  This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
>  and plenty of backbone.]
>
> ————————————————————————
>
> Any idea what this may mean?
Either he wants to support WL and is registering those in order to do
so, or he wants to hedge so he’s registering them in order to run his
own version, or put his own views on them.
I’d ask, if I were you. Or perhaps I will.
>
>  Wikia Inc.
>    200 2nd Ave. S
>    Suite 306
>    St. Petersburg, Florida 33701
>    United States
>
>    Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
>    Domain Name: WIKILEAKS.NET
>       Created on: 03-Jan-07
>       Expires on: 04-Jan-09
>       Last Updated on:
>
>    Administrative Contact:
>       Wales, Jimmy  jasonr[a t]bomis.com
>       Wikia Inc.
>       200 2nd Ave. S
>       Suite 306
>       St. Petersburg, Florida 33701
>       United States
>       17273886691
>

Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2007 10:13:37 +0000
From:
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> [This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
>  Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
>  This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
>  and plenty of backbone.]
>
>
>
>
> ————————————————————————
>
> Thanks. One quick question:
>
> 1. Will the public be able to discuss and contextualize the documents,
> visibly, on Wikileaks, similar to the way people can post replies to
> blog entries online? (Some folks I’ve been interviewing wondered whether
> the public will be able to participate in a discussion of the
> authenticity of the documents, contextualize the documents and point
> people to related documents)
[-journo]
Interesting question. MySociety recently released
http://www.commentonthis.com/ – they’re a nice bunch, I’m sure they’d
share the code with us if we asked.

Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2007 10:18:29 +0000
From:
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
xxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> [This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
>  Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
>  This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
>  and plenty of backbone.]
>
> ————————————————————————
>
> Hi all,
>
> Can everyone on this list who has functional access to PGP [ i.e will
> not cause days of delay to encrypt/decrypt a message]  please send their
> public keys to this list? I’d like to keep our discussions on the path
> of least resistance and this this generally means, open and transparent,
> but there some matters we need to address soon where openness is better
> enabled through secrecy; we owe our sources, even through we keep no
> logs or other information that might identify them, to exercise mindful
> diligence (not paranoia) in response to their courage.
>
> We’re on an exponential; we have no forces working against us yet, but
> there will many in a few months and these early discussions may take on
> an unexpected poignancy.
>
[] [PGP key deleted by Cryptome.]

From:
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 22:13:54 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
My of most probable guess is he wants to protect them from scalpers, 
in order to do as ben suggest.
On 05.01.2007, at 21:08, xxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> xxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
>> [This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-
>> l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
>>  Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; 
>> refer instead to 'WL'.
>>  This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in 
>> Seattle with an established lawyer
>>  and plenty of backbone.]
>>
>> ———————————————————————
>>
>> Any idea what this may mean?
>
> Either he wants to support WL and is registering those in order to do
> so, or he wants to hedge so he’s registering them in order to run his
> own version, or put his own views on them.
>
> I’d ask, if I were you. Or perhaps I will.
>
>>
>>  Wikia Inc.
>>    200 2nd Ave. S
>>    Suite 306
>>    St. Petersburg, Florida 33701
>>    United States
>>
>>    Registered through: GoDaddy.com, Inc. (http://www.godaddy.com)
>>    Domain Name: WIKILEAKS.NET
>>       Created on: 03-Jan-07
>>       Expires on: 04-Jan-09
>>       Last Updated on:
>>
>>    Administrative Contact:
>>       Wales, Jimmy  jasonr[a t]bomis.com
>>       Wikia Inc.
>>       200 2nd Ave. S
>>       Suite 306
>>       St. Petersburg, Florida 33701
>>       United States
>>       17273886691
>>

From:
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 22:24:33 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
> I’d ask, if I were you. Or perhaps I will.
>
Feel free xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.

From:
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 22:30:35 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Provided Wales, Inc. doesn’t use these domains for content, the rego 
certainly aids us in projection.
It’s interesting they they seem to be directly registered by Wales, 
NOT by the Wikipedia foundation i.e compare the records to wikipedia.
{org,com,net} and mediawiki.{org,com,net}
What’s unusual is that he hasn’t notified us.

Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 03:31:57 -0800
From:
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
—–BEGIN PGP PUBLIC KEY BLOCK—–
[Deleted by Cryptome.]

From:
Date: Fri, 5 Jan 2007 12:41:58 +0100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
On Jan 5, 2007, at 12:30 PM, xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
> Provided Wales, Inc. doesn’t use these domains for content, the 
> rego certainly aids us in projection.
>
> It’s interesting they they seem to be directly registered by Wales, 
> NOT by the Wikipedia foundation i.e compare the records to 
> wikipedia.{org,com,net} and mediawiki.{org,com,net}
>
> What’s unusual is that he hasn’t notified us.
Read carefully. This doesn’t seem to be related to Wikipedia, but 
rather to Wikia, Inc.
From http://www.aboutus.org/Wikia.com:
“Free wiki hosting from Wikia, using the same MediaWiki software that 
runs Wikipedia. ”Wikipedia is the Encyclopedia. Wikia is the rest of 
the library.”
Wikia are wiki communities creating free content with the MediaWiki 
software. These are hosted for free by Wikia, Inc., the company which 
runs the project. Anyone is free to start a new Wikia in accordance 
with the creation policy and terms of use.
Wikia was founded by Angela Beesley and Jimmy Wales, originally under 
the name “Wikicities”, in October 2004. It celebrated its first 
birthday on November 2, 2005. Wikicities relaunched as “Wikia” in 
March 2006 (see the press release for details).
News about the site can be found at news and press releases. See also 
the reasons to use Wikia, what Wikia is not, and then explore or 
browse the site.”
Seeing this domain being registered to Wikia seems to indicate that 
he *IS* willing to help us. We should inquire nonetheless. The email 
address for the Admin contact looks valid (Jason Richey).
Cheers,

Date: Fri, 05 Jan 2007 05:40:02 -0800
To:
From: John Young <jya[a t]pipeline.com>
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Wales is attempting to protect his investment. He’s businessman
before all else, meaning without scruples. Consider his action an
attack on WL, perhaps to be followed by others if it threatens his
commercial operation of reputation building pretending to be a
public service — like giving out free cigarettes.
Spies and cops do that too with leaks and planted incriminating
material.
One of the happy consequences of WL is that participants will
be offered payoffs for inside information, bribes, job offers, fat
gov contracts, promises of being allowed into black chambers.
Dedicated public service offers those bountiful rewards and few
can resist the temptation when presented with alternative
consequences of possessing forbidden goods.
Not long after Cryptome was set up and got a bit of attention from
the authorities a woman called with an urgent request for help get
her boy friend out of a jam. Wanted to meet in an out of the way
place. Claimed she needed help hiding the guy’s computer files
before the cops found them. Said he was charged with suspicion
of downloading kiddie porn using his mom’s computer, had not done
so, only adult material, must have been somebody else, or the illegal stuff
was buried in the legal without his knowledge.
She cried, lots of tears, said she was desperate and terrified of being
arrested herself, had no one to turn to, didn’t understand computers,
could I help, heard about me from someone who read something on
the Internet. Sure I said, happy to oblige. God bless you, she said, I
didn’t know there were people like you.
She said she’d arrange to have the data sent to me. I said great, just
make sure there’s no kiddie porn in it. Nothing ever came, at least not
that I could identify.
There have been a couple of dozen other such sting attempts, and probably
a lot more than that made it past our inept filtering. Could be the planted
incriminating material is throughout our archives, ready to be harvested
when needed.
Some setups of targets run for years, even decades, or indefinitely. Some
are leaked to scare potential miscreants.
Airing means of suppressing dissent by a slew of tricks is a WL worthwhile.

From:
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2007 01:00:39 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
I think JY maybe right — Wales has scalped it for his commercial 
Wiki company, perhaps even automatically.

From:
To:
Subject: Re: [WL] Wales registers wl.net, wl.com, (others?)
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
xxxxxxxxxxxxxx wrote:
>
>> I’d ask, if I were you. Or perhaps I will.
>>
> Feel free xxxxxxxxxxxxxx.
I have.
BTW, the New Scientist person wants to talk to you. Is that
possible?

To:
From:
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2007 01:57:46 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Fairly sectarian (paranoids) but a couple of good question in the mix:
Some obvious questions which spring to mind about wikileaks.org:
1) Are you serious ?
2) Who are you ?
3) How can you be trusted ?
4) Who is funding you ?
5) Why is your website hosted on a Google server ?
6) How is anyone in, say, China, ever going to see it ?
7) How do you prove that you are not working for, or have been 
infiltrated  by United States (or other) intelligence or law 
enforcement agencies or by political parties or religious cults ?
8) How can document leakers and whistleblowers trust you are not 
simply running a honeypot intelligence gathering operation ?
9) Why do you mention a PGP public encryption  key, with some obscure 
GPG command line instructions, when your PGP key is not actually to 
be found on the major PGP public keyservers e.g.
ldap://keyserver.pgp.com

http://www.keyserver.net

http://pgp.mit.edu/

It can  be found on some but not all of the keyservers via

http://www.pgp.net

However, having to hunt through multiple PGP Keyservers is  not 
exactly user friendly,
10) Why not publish your PGP key on your website ?
11) If you are basing your system on Wikipedia, then how are you 
going to solve the problems such as Denial of Service attacks, and 
the editing        and counter editing / censorship  warfare which Wik
ipedia suffers from ?
It is disputable that a Wiki is “easy to use” for “non-technical 
people”  – formatting certainly is not trivial, for anybody used to a 
Word Processor or even HTML syntax.
12)What are you doing about Communications Data Traffic Analysis ?
13) What precautions do you take to anonymise the sources of your 
leaked documents, especially with regard to meta-data in Microsoft 
Word or Adobe .pdf files, Microsoft SmarTags, EXIF data in digital im
ages, embedded thumbnails in digital images,  characteristic wear 
patterns on facsimile or printed documents images, ineptly pixellated 
or digitally blacked out redacted or censored parts of documents e
tc. ?
Your Somali example includes meta data which mentions an easy to 
Google name “Captain Weli”, which could be a “Joe job” reputation 
attack on ex-captain of Somalia National Airlines, Sheikh Mohamed Moham
ud (Captain Weli)”
14)Why do you not have an SSL v3 / TLS v1 encrypted version of your 
website ?
15) Why should a document leaker or whistleblower use your service, 
in preference to, say
15) Why should a document leaker or whistleblower use your service, 
in preference to, say
a)Posting to a distributed Usenet newsgroup or groups
b) Sending a document to http://cryptome.org
c) Publishing a video on YouTube
d) Publishing their own blog
16) Why will your system succeed, when various anti-censorship 
schemes and software projects  such as those by Hactivismo or even 
Tor have failed to catch on in a very widespread fashion ?

To:
From:
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2007 03:13:08 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Disarming. FH along with NED are notorious US State/CIA money launderers.  The goal is not to get them to accept, although that might be rather interesting, but to make them feel we are on the same “side” by the early approach and enemy of my enemy is my friend.
Begin forwarded message:
From:
Date: 6. Januar 2007 02:31:36 GMT+11:00
To:
Subject: RE: advisory board inquiry
I find your project interesting; however, I would need to get a little
more information before I can discuss it with others in the
organization.  For example, who is currently involved in the project?
Are you affiliated with another organization, or is Wikileaks a new
group?  How do you plan on ensuring that the documents posted on
Wikileaks are legitimate documents and not forgeries?  
I look forward to your reply.
_______________________
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Freedom House
Website Coordinator
1301 Connecticut Ave. NW, Fl. 6
Washington, DC 20036
tel: 202.747.7017
fax: 202.293.2840
—–Original Message—–
From:
Sent: Tuesday, December 26, 2006 5:29 PM
To: Info
Subject: advisory board inquiry
Please pass this note around to the relevant good people at FH.
WikiLeaks is developing an uncensorable version of WikiPedia for
untraceable mass document leaking and discussion. 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 corruption in their own governments and
corporations. We aim for maximum political impact; this means our
technology is fast and usable by non-technical people. We have
received over a million documents so far. We plan to numerically
eclipse the content the english wikipedia with leaked documents.
[http://www.wikileaks.org/]
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 building and
decentralised operations and
     political framing
These positions will initially be unpaid, but we feel the role may be
of significant interest to FH.
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
ps. Merry Xmas and a Happy New year!

From:
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2007 10:43:44 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Hallo xxxxxxxxxxxxx,
I believe you spoke to xxxxxxxxxxxx? We can do an interview, but this won’t make your deadline. Here are some answers we’ve prepared for you. I hope you find them useful.
Kind Regards,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
What is WikiLeaks.org? Why “wikify” leaking?
WikiLeaks is an uncensorable version of wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. It combines the protection and anonymity of cutting-edge cryptographic technologies with the transparency and simplicity of a wiki interface.
Principled leaking has changed the course of history for the better; it can alter the course of history in the present; it can lead us to a better future.
Consider Daniel Ellsberg, working within the US government during the Vietnam War. He comes into contact with the Pentagon Papers, a meticulously kept record of military and strategic planning throughout the war. Those papers reveal the depths to which the US government has sunk in deceiving the population about the war. Yet the public and the media know nothing of this urgent and shocking information. Indeed, secrecy laws are being used to keep the public ignorant of gross dishonesty practiced by their government. In spite of those secrecy laws and at great personal risk, Ellsberg manages to disseminate the Pentagon papers to journalists and to the world. Despite facing criminal charges, eventually dropped, the release of the Pentagon papers shocks the world, exposes the government, and helps to shorten the war and save thousands of lives.
The power of principled leaking to embarrass governments, corporations and institutions is amply demonstrated through recent history. Public scrutiny of otherwise unaccountable and secretive institutions pressures them to act ethically. What official will chance a secret, corrupt transaction when the public is likely to find out? What repressive plan will be carried out when it is revealed to the citizenry, not just of its own country, but the world? When the risks of embarrassment through openness and honesty increase, the tables are turned against conspiracy, corruption, exploitation and oppression. Open government answers injustice rather than causing it. Open government exposes and undoes corruption. Open governance is the most cost effective method of promoting good governance.
Today, with authoritarian governments in power around much of the world, increasing authoritarian tendencies in democratic governments, and increasing amounts of power vested in unaccountable corporations, the need for openness and democratization is greater than ever.
WikiLeaks is a tool to satisfy that need.
WikiLeaksreduces the risk to potential leakers and improves the analysis and dissemination of leaked documents.
WikiLeaks provides simple and straightforward means for anonymous and untraceable leaking of documents.
At the same time, WikiLeaks opens leaked documents up to a much more exacting scrutiny than any media organization or intelligence agency could provide: the scrutiny of a worldwide community of informed wiki editors.
Instead of a couple of academic specialists, WikiLeaks will provide a forum for the entire global community to examine any document relentlessly for credibility, plausibility, veracity and falsifiability. They will be able to interpret documents and explain their relevance to the public. If a document is leaked from the Chinese government, the entire Chinese dissident community can freely scrutinize and discuss it; if a document is leaked from Somalia, the entire Somali refugee community can analyze it and put it in context. And so on.
WikiLeaks may become the most powerful “intelligence agency” on earth — an intelligence agency of the people. It will be an open source, democratic intelligence agency. But it will be far more principled, and far less parochial than any governmental intelligence agency; consequently, it will be more accurate, and more relevant. It will have no commercial or national interests at heart; its only interests will be truth and freedom of information. Unlike the covert activities of state intelligence agencies, WikiLeaks will rely upon the power of overt fact to inform citizens about the truths of their world.
WikiLeaks will be the outlet for every government official, every bureaucrat, every corporate worker, who becomes privy to embarrassing information which the institution wants to hide but the public needs to know. What conscience cannot contain, and institutional secrecy unjustly conceals, WikiLeaks can broadcast to the world.
WikiLeaks will be a forum for the ethical defection of unaccountable and abusive power to the people.
How will WikiLeaks operate?
To the user, WikiLeaks will look very much like wikipedia. Anybody can post to it, anybody can edit it. No technical knowledge is required. Leakers can post documents anonymously and untraceably. Users can publicly discuss documents and analyze their credibility and veracity. Users can discuss interpretations and context and collaboratively formulate collective publications. Users can read and write explanatory articles on leaks along with background material and context. The political relevance of documents and their verisimilitude will be revealed by a cast of thousands.
WikiLeaks will also incorporate advanced cryptographic technologies for anonymity and untraceability. Those who provide leaked information may face severe risks, whether of political repercussions, legal sanctions or physical violence. Accordingly, extremely sophisticated mathematical and cryptographic techniques will be used to secure privacy, anonymity and untraceability.
For the technically minded, WikiLeaks integrates technologies including modified versions of FreeNet, , PGP and software of our own design.
WikiLeaks will be deployed in a way that makes it impervious to political and legal attacks. In this sense it is uncensorable.
Who is behind WikiLeaks?
WikiLeaks was founded by Chinese dissidents, mathematicians and startup company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa.
Our advisory board, which is still forming, includes representatives from expatriate Russian and Tibetan refugee communities, reporters, a former US intelligence analyst and cryptographers.
There are currently 22 people directly involved in the project and counting.
What is your relationship to wikipedia?
WikiLeaks has no formal relationship to wikipedia. However both employ the same wiki interface and technology. Both share the same radically democratic philosophy that allowing anyone to be an author or editor leads to a vast and accurate collective intelligence and knowledge. Both place their trust in an informed community of citizens. What wikipedia is to the encyclopedia, WikiLeaks will be to leaks.
Wikipedia provides a positive example on which WikiLeaks is based. The success of wikipedia in providing accurate and up-to-date information has been stunning and surprising to many. Wikipedia shows that the collective wisdom of an informed community of users may produce massive volumes of accurate knowledge in a rapid, democratic and transparent manner. WikiLeaks aims to harness this phenomenon to provide fast and accurate dissemination, verification, analysis, interpretation and explanation of leaked documents, for the benefit of people all around the world.
What is WikiLeakss present stage of development?
WikiLeaks has developed a prototype which has been successful in testing, but there are still many demands required before we have the scale required for a full public deployment. We require additional funding, the support of further dissident communities, human rights groups, reporters and media representative bodies (as consumers of leaks), language regionalization, volunteer editors/analysts and server operators.
We have received over 1.1 million documents so far. We plan to numerically eclipse the content of the English wikipedia with leaked documents.
Anyone interested in helping us out with any of the above should contact us by email at [insert address here].
When will WikiLeaks go live?
We cannot yet give an exact date. We estimate February or March 2007.
Couldnt leaking involve invasions of privacy? Couldnt mass leaking of documents be irresponsible? Arent some leaks deliberately false and misleading?
Providing a forum for freely posting information involves the potential for abuse, but measures can be taken to minimize any potential harm. The simplest and most effective countermeasure is a worldwide community of informed users and editors who can scrutinize and discuss leaked documents.
Concerns about privacy, irresponsibility and false information also arise with wikipedia. On wikipedia, irresponsible posting or editing of material, or posting of false material, can be reversed by other users, and the results have been extremely satisfying and reassuring. There is no reason to expect any different from WikiLeaks. Indeed, as discovered with wikipedia to the surprise of many, the collective wisdom of an informed community of users may provide rapid and accurate dissemination, verification and analysis.
Furthermore, misleading leaks and misinformation are already well placed in the mainstream media, as recent history shows, an obvious example being the lead-up to the Iraq war. Peddlers of misinformation will find themselves undone by WikiLeaks, equipped as it is to scrutinize leaked documents in a way that no mainstream media outlet is capable of. An analogus example is this excellent unweaving of the British government’s politically motivated additions to an intelligence dossier on Iraq. The dossier was cited by Colin Powell in his address to the United Nations the same month to justify the pending US invasion of Iraq.
In any case, our overarching goal is to provide a forum where embarrassing information can expose injustice. All policy will be formulated with this goal in mind.
Is WikiLeaks concerned about any legal consequences?
Our roots are in dissident communities and our focus is on non-western authoritarian regimes. Consequently we believe a politically motivated legal attack on us would be seen as a grave error in western administrations. However, we are prepared, structurally and technically, to deal with all legal attacks. We design the software, and promote its human rights agenda, but the servers are run by anonymous volunteers. Because we have no commercial interest in the software, there is no need to restrict its distribution. In the very unlikely event that we were to face coercion to make the software censorship friendly, there are many others who will continue the work in other jurisdictions.
Is leaking ethical?
We favour, and uphold, ethical behavior in all circumstances. Every person is the ultimate arbiter of justice in their own conscience. Where there is a lack of freedom and injustice is enshrined in law, there is a place for principled civil disobedience. Where the simple act of distributing information may embarrass a regime or expose crime, we recognize a right, indeed a duty, to perform that act. Such whistleblowing normally involves major personal risk. Just like whistleblower protection laws in some jurisdictions, WikiLeaks provides means and opportunity to minimize such risks.
We propose that every authoritarian government, every oppressive institution, and even every corrupt corporation, be subject to the pressure, not merely of international diplomacy or freedom of information laws, not even of quadrennial elections, but of something far stronger: the individual consciences of the people within them.
On 05.01.2007, at 02:16, Wikileaks wrote:
Hello Wikileaks
 
I just read about your project in the Federation of American Scientists’ “Secrecy News” newsletter and was wondering if you could answer a few questions.
 
If so, here goes:
 
1. Who is behind the Wikileaks project (although that is probably a very dumb question for an anonymizing service for leaked data).
 
2. Is this a project backed by Wikipedia?
 
3. Will Wikileaks vet leaked documents to ascertain a genuine public interest defence in hosting the leaked documents or whether the leak is purely malicious, such as a business plan leaked by a disgruntled employee? If so, who will do the vetting and decide on its “genuineness”?
 
If you’d rather talk, my number is below. If you don’t know New Scientist, it is a science and technology newsweekly (50 years old last November) and we have 2 million print and online readers, half of them in the US.
 
My deadline is noon Friday GMT.
 
best regards
 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
 
 
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx | Chief Technology Correspondent | New Scientist | London |
 
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(\”Intended Recipient\”) to whom it is addressed. It may contain
information, which is privileged and confidential. Accordingly
any dissemination, distribution, copying or other use of this
message or any of its content by any person other than the Intended
Recipient may constitute a breach of civil or criminal law and is
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From:
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2007 10:43:53 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Hello xxxxxxxxxxxx, here are some notes/answers we’ve prepared. We can do an interview to if you have time, over the weekend if need be.
Kind Regards,
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
What is WikiLeaks.org? Why “wikify” leaking?
WikiLeaks is an uncensorable version of wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. It combines the protection and anonymity of cutting-edge cryptographic technologies with the transparency and simplicity of a wiki interface.
Principled leaking has changed the course of history for the better; it can alter the course of history in the present; it can lead us to a better future.
Consider Daniel Ellsberg, working within the US government during the Vietnam War. He comes into contact with the Pentagon Papers, a meticulously kept record of military and strategic planning throughout the war. Those papers reveal the depths to which the US government has sunk in deceiving the population about the war. Yet the public and the media know nothing of this urgent and shocking information. Indeed, secrecy laws are being used to keep the public ignorant of gross dishonesty practiced by their government. In spite of those secrecy laws and at great personal risk, Ellsberg manages to disseminate the Pentagon papers to journalists and to the world. Despite facing criminal charges, eventually dropped, the release of the Pentagon papers shocks the world, exposes the government, and helps to shorten the war and save thousands of lives.
The power of principled leaking to embarrass governments, corporations and institutions is amply demonstrated through recent history. Public scrutiny of otherwise unaccountable and secretive institutions pressures them to act ethically. What official will chance a secret, corrupt transaction when the public is likely to find out? What repressive plan will be carried out when it is revealed to the citizenry, not just of its own country, but the world? When the risks of embarrassment through openness and honesty increase, the tables are turned against conspiracy, corruption, exploitation and oppression. Open government answers injustice rather than causing it. Open government exposes and undoes corruption. Open governance is the most cost effective method of promoting good governance.
Today, with authoritarian governments in power around much of the world, increasing authoritarian tendencies in democratic governments, and increasing amounts of power vested in unaccountable corporations, the need for openness and democratization is greater than ever.
WikiLeaks is a tool to satisfy that need.
WikiLeaksreduces the risk to potential leakers and improves the analysis and dissemination of leaked documents.
WikiLeaks provides simple and straightforward means for anonymous and untraceable leaking of documents.
At the same time, WikiLeaks opens leaked documents up to a much more exacting scrutiny than any media organization or intelligence agency could provide: the scrutiny of a worldwide community of informed wiki editors.
Instead of a couple of academic specialists, WikiLeaks will provide a forum for the entire global community to examine any document relentlessly for credibility, plausibility, veracity and falsifiability. They will be able to interpret documents and explain their relevance to the public. If a document is leaked from the Chinese government, the entire Chinese dissident community can freely scrutinize and discuss it; if a document is leaked from Somalia, the entire Somali refugee community can analyze it and put it in context. And so on.
WikiLeaks may become the most powerful “intelligence agency” on earth — an intelligence agency of the people. It will be an open source, democratic intelligence agency. But it will be far more principled, and far less parochial than any governmental intelligence agency; consequently, it will be more accurate, and more relevant. It will have no commercial or national interests at heart; its only interests will be truth and freedom of information. Unlike the covert activities of state intelligence agencies, WikiLeaks will rely upon the power of overt fact to inform citizens about the truths of their world.
WikiLeaks will be the outlet for every government official, every bureaucrat, every corporate worker, who becomes privy to embarrassing information which the institution wants to hide but the public needs to know. What conscience cannot contain, and institutional secrecy unjustly conceals, WikiLeaks can broadcast to the world.
WikiLeaks will be a forum for the ethical defection of unaccountable and abusive power to the people.
How will WikiLeaks operate?
To the user, WikiLeaks will look very much like wikipedia. Anybody can post to it, anybody can edit it. No technical knowledge is required. Leakers can post documents anonymously and untraceably. Users can publicly discuss documents and analyze their credibility and veracity. Users can discuss interpretations and context and collaboratively formulate collective publications. Users can read and write explanatory articles on leaks along with background material and context. The political relevance of documents and their verisimilitude will be revealed by a cast of thousands.
WikiLeaks will also incorporate advanced cryptographic technologies for anonymity and untraceability. Those who provide leaked information may face severe risks, whether of political repercussions, legal sanctions or physical violence. Accordingly, extremely sophisticated mathematical and cryptographic techniques will be used to secure privacy, anonymity and untraceability.
For the technically minded, WikiLeaks integrates technologies including modified versions of FreeNet, , PGP and software of our own design.
WikiLeaks will be deployed in a way that makes it impervious to political and legal attacks. In this sense it is uncensorable.
Who is behind WikiLeaks?
WikiLeaks was founded by Chinese dissidents, mathematicians and startup company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa.
Our advisory board, which is still forming, includes representatives from expatriate Russian and Tibetan refugee communities, reporters, a former US intelligence analyst and cryptographers.
There are currently 22 people directly involved in the project and counting.
What is your relationship to wikipedia?
WikiLeaks has no formal relationship to wikipedia. However both employ the same wiki interface and technology. Both share the same radically democratic philosophy that allowing anyone to be an author or editor leads to a vast and accurate collective intelligence and knowledge. Both place their trust in an informed community of citizens. What wikipedia is to the encyclopedia, WikiLeaks will be to leaks.
Wikipedia provides a positive example on which WikiLeaks is based. The success of wikipedia in providing accurate and up-to-date information has been stunning and surprising to many. Wikipedia shows that the collective wisdom of an informed community of users may produce massive volumes of accurate knowledge in a rapid, democratic and transparent manner. WikiLeaks aims to harness this phenomenon to provide fast and accurate dissemination, verification, analysis, interpretation and explanation of leaked documents, for the benefit of people all around the world.
What is WikiLeakss present stage of development?
WikiLeaks has developed a prototype which has been successful in testing, but there are still many demands required before we have the scale required for a full public deployment. We require additional funding, the support of further dissident communities, human rights groups, reporters and media representative bodies (as consumers of leaks), language regionalization, volunteer editors/analysts and server operators.
We have received over 1.1 million documents so far. We plan to numerically eclipse the content of the English wikipedia with leaked documents.
Anyone interested in helping us out with any of the above should contact us by email at [insert address here].
When will WikiLeaks go live?
We cannot yet give an exact date. We estimate February or March 2007.
Couldnt leaking involve invasions of privacy? Couldnt mass leaking of documents be irresponsible? Arent some leaks deliberately false and misleading?
Providing a forum for freely posting information involves the potential for abuse, but measures can be taken to minimize any potential harm. The simplest and most effective countermeasure is a worldwide community of informed users and editors who can scrutinize and discuss leaked documents.
Concerns about privacy, irresponsibility and false information also arise with wikipedia. On wikipedia, irresponsible posting or editing of material, or posting of false material, can be reversed by other users, and the results have been extremely satisfying and reassuring. There is no reason to expect any different from WikiLeaks. Indeed, as discovered with wikipedia to the surprise of many, the collective wisdom of an informed community of users may provide rapid and accurate dissemination, verification and analysis.
Furthermore, misleading leaks and misinformation are already well placed in the mainstream media, as recent history shows, an obvious example being the lead-up to the Iraq war. Peddlers of misinformation will find themselves undone by WikiLeaks, equipped as it is to scrutinize leaked documents in a way that no mainstream media outlet is capable of. An analogus example is this excellent unweaving of the British government’s politically motivated additions to an intelligence dossier on Iraq. The dossier was cited by Colin Powell in his address to the United Nations the same month to justify the pending US invasion of Iraq.
In any case, our overarching goal is to provide a forum where embarrassing information can expose injustice. All policy will be formulated with this goal in mind.
Is WikiLeaks concerned about any legal consequences?
Our roots are in dissident communities and our focus is on non-western authoritarian regimes. Consequently we believe a politically motivated legal attack on us would be seen as a grave error in western administrations. However, we are prepared, structurally and technically, to deal with all legal attacks. We design the software, and promote its human rights agenda, but the servers are run by anonymous volunteers. Because we have no commercial interest in the software, there is no need to restrict its distribution. In the very unlikely event that we were to face coercion to make the software censorship friendly, there are many others who will continue the work in other jurisdictions.
Is leaking ethical?
We favour, and uphold, ethical behavior in all circumstances. Every person is the ultimate arbiter of justice in their own conscience. Where there is a lack of freedom and injustice is enshrined in law, there is a place for principled civil disobedience. Where the simple act of distributing information may embarrass a regime or expose crime, we recognize a right, indeed a duty, to perform that act. Such whistleblowing normally involves major personal risk. Just like whistleblower protection laws in some jurisdictions, WikiLeaks provides means and opportunity to minimize such risks.
We propose that every authoritarian government, every oppressive institution, and even every corrupt corporation, be subject to the pressure, not merely of international diplomacy or freedom of information laws, not even of quadrennial elections, but of something far stronger: the individual consciences of the people within them.
On 05.01.2007, at 02:07, Wikileaks wrote:
Deadline not till next week…xxxxxxxxxxxxx
xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx, Reporter
Science Magazine
202 326 6446

From:
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2007 14:04:49 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
For ongoing “social proof” reasons, we need someone to google out 
20-30 news/blog articles with their urls and titles which will then 
be incorporated into the home page.
Anyone?

Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2007 17:26:45 -0800
From:
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Here are some, see attached file. You probably don’t want to include all of
these, as some are quite vacuous.
[] http://cryptome.org/wikileaks/wlurls.txt

From:
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 17:03:34 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
the wl.org front page + blurb is seeing many, many  quotes and 
reposts (including of the logo). I understand it was done quickly and 
needs thoughtful polishing to have the needed psychological effect. 
e.g there is an obvious missing word. Please send in comments / 
modification suggestions.
A lot of people are requoting/posting/blogging based on this first 
page only, and using the ease of ignorance to promote their agenda. 
Most attacks are along the lines of “will be used to leak forgeries 
etc”, which is robustly answered in the faq. This should probably go 
into the front page.
Thoughts?

From:
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 17:33:40 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Can someone volunteer or find someone trustworthy who will to help 
update / maintain the current website?
In addition we need to rapidly transition the current holding website 
into a regular (i.e not wikileak style)  mediawiki website, so it’s 
easy for all of us to add and correct content, but also for 
psychological reasons.
Is someone happy to run that on a reliable server they control?

From:
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 17:47:28 +1100
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
> Interesting question. MySociety recently released
> http://www.commentonthis.com/ – they’re a nice bunch, I’m sure they’d
> share the code with us if we asked.
That’s great! Although it needs careful thought about how to 
integrate it with mediawiki.
I wonder if they’d help integrate it?

To:
From:
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 18:46:09 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Some people may be wondering about the unusual names on this list. 
There are xxxxxxxxxxxxx people on this list. Everyone is personally known and 
trusted by, or is, the founding group.
How much will YOU pledge to WL (in matched pledging or otherwise) for 
its next six months of activities? We can succeed at a slower / scale 
limited way with under $50,000 / year & volunteers, but it is our 
goal to raise pledges of $5m by July.  Smaller pledges can be used in 
ways that will generate larger ones, so there’s an amplification on 
any early contribution.
We’ve noticed at least one blog saying that we appear to be a 
stalking horse for Soros. This is excellent and part of our strategy 
for division and support. When the media blitz hits next week, we’d 
like to make concurrent initial requests to many funding bodies. 
Additionally, we have a Davos leak with personal contact details for 
all attendees.
We need people to: 1) investigate the contraints various funding 
bodies place on organizational structures
                                     2) write draft letters of 
initial approach
                                     3) work on a statement of 
principals / constitution which
                                          will satisfy donors, 
confuse and disarm opponents,
                                          yet at the same time will 
prevent the WL public organizations
                                          from being enslaved by the 
source of their beads.
                                     4) we want to incorporate in 
multiple jurisdictions — where?
                                          how will these bodies 
relate to each other?
                                     5) the people who worked on the 
prototype are now
                                          completely diverted by 
managing the politics.
                                          That’s ok for a couple of 
weeks, but we can not expect
                                          the political demands to 
return to the level they were
                                          before. They need help in 
both worlds.
                                     6) More work on the FAQ, keeping 
up the face of inspiration
                                          without antagonism
Solidarity!
WL

To:
From:
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 19:29:23 +1100
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Fwd from xxxxxxxxxxxxxx:
We should be consistent in our use and invention of language. A word 
or a phrase extracts meaning from its resonance with other usages and 
our experiences.  For instance in the FAQ we sometimes use the phrase 
“ethical leaking”. Should we always use this phrase? ‘leak’ by itself 
carries a negative. ‘ethical’ a strong positive. ‘ethical leaking’ a 
positive. But it does isolate ‘leaks’ as being non-ethical unless we 
stick ‘ethical’ on them. Can we make a movement from this phrase and 
others? ‘The ethical leaking movement’. Powerful. Can it survive the 
heat of our vision?
We must find our own ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ s — blessings and 
sanctifications that even our most diseased and demonic opponents 
will find themselves chanting to each other in the night.
We need a phrases for ‘leak facilitator’, ‘mail drop volunteer’, 
‘ethical leaker’, ‘wl server operator’ etc, etc.

To:
From:
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 06:09:19 -0500
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
For the coming media storm next week, we need time zone local 
telephone contact points, with number (but not name) listed
on WL.ORG.
In interviews, this just means explaining/interpreting the “official 
position” that’s written up on wl.org. You always represent yourself 
– someone who’s an interested party “on the advisory board”, but do 
not speak for wl as a whole. If they ask what about X and it’s not on 
WL.ORG etc, then give can your personal opinion if you think it’s 
helpful, but re-iterate that you’re speaking for yourself.
This delegation carries some risks (to wl), but we are in a romance 
with journalists hearts; if our voices sweet are not easily reachable 
on the phone when their desire and deadlines peek, others voices, 
less honeyed but always, always available will replace them.
[Names below deleted by Cryptome.]
xxxxxx, are you happy to handle the UK?
xxxxxx / xxxxxx — central europe?
xxxxxx / xxxxxx us west coast?
jya, is there someway we can obscure you for the east coast?
xxxxxx/xxxxxx are you happy to handle Tiawan/SEA and Mandarin language 
interviews? Lim, do you speak cantonese too?
xxxxxx — africa?
xxxxxx / xxxxxx / xxxxxx — oz/english asia?
xxxxxx, are you still busy with your conference?

Date: Sun, 07 Jan 2007 06:58:04 -0800
To:
From: John Young <jya[a t]pipeline.com>
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Announcing a $5 million fund-raising goal by July will kill this effort. It
makes WL appear to be a Wall Street scam. This amount could not be
needed so soon except for suspect purposes.
Soros will kick you out of the office with such over-reaching. Foundations
are flooded with big talkers making big requests flaunting famous names
and promising spectacular results.
I’d say the same about the alleged 1.1 million documents ready for
leaking. Way too many to be believable without evidence. I don’t believe
the number. So far, one document, of highly suspect provenance.
Instead, explain what funding needs there are and present a schedule
for their need, avoid generalities and lump sums. Explain how the funds
will be managed and protected against fraud and theft.
Instead, operate on a shoe-string for a few months, best, for a couple
of years, establish WL bonafides by publishing a credible batch of
documents for testing public feedback and criticism. Show how to
handle the heat of doubt and condemnation. Use that to support
fund-raising.
At moment there is no reason to believe WL can deliver on its
promises. Big talk no action, the skeptics say.
BTW, the biggest crooks brag overmuch of how ethical their operations
are. Avoid ethical promises, period, they’ve been used too often to fleece
victims. Demonstrate sustained ethical behavior, don’t preach/peddle it.

Date: Sun, 07 Jan 2007 07:21:34 -0800
To:
From: John Young <jya[a t]pipeline.com>
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Addendum:
The CIA would be the most likely $5M funder. Soros is suspected
of being a conduit for black money to dissident groups racketeering
for such payola.
Now it may be that that is the intention of WL because its behavior
so far fits the pattern.
If fleecing the CIA is the purpose, I urge setting a much higher
funding goal, in the $100M range and up. The US intel agencies
are awash in funds they cannot spend fast enough to keep the
Congressional spigot wide open. Academics, dissidents, companies,
spy contractors, other nation’s spy agencies, whole countries, are
falling over themselves to tap into this bountiful flood. But competition
is fierce, and accusations of deception are raging even as the
fleecers work in concert.
Chinese dissidents — a brand name among many — are already
reaping huge benefits from covert funding from the US and from
the PRC, along with others in the former Soviets, in Africa and
South America, inside the US, UK and Europe, in the Middle East
and the Koreas, who know how to double-cross ditzy-rich Dads
and Moms.
In solidarity to fuck em all.

From:
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 11:26:00 -0500
To:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Advice noted. We’ll polish up our sheers for cutting fleeces golden.
> Addendum:
>
> The CIA would be the most likely $5M funder. Soros is suspected
> of being a conduit for black money to dissident groups racketeering
> for such payola.
>
> Now it may be that that is the intention of WL because its behavior
> so far fits the pattern.
>
> If fleecing the CIA is the purpose, I urge setting a much higher
> funding goal, in the $100M range and up. The US intel agencies
> are awash in funds they cannot spend fast enough to keep the
> Congressional spigot wide open. Academics, dissidents, companies,
> spy contractors, other nation’s spy agencies, whole countries, are
> falling over themselves to tap into this bountiful flood. But 
> competition
> is fierce, and accusations of deception are raging even as the
> fleecers work in concert.
>
> Chinese dissidents — a brand name among many — are already
> reaping huge benefits from covert funding from the US and from
> the PRC, along with others in the former Soviets, in Africa and
> South America, inside the US, UK and Europe, in the Middle East
> and the Koreas, who know how to double-cross ditzy-rich Dads
> and Moms.
>
> In solidarity to fuck em all.
>

[This message was not distributed by the closed wikileaks list.]
To: Wikileaks <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org>
From: John Young <jya[a t]pipeline.com>
Subject: Re: [WL] Funding / who is on this list.
Date: Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 11:47:00 -0500
Cryptome is publishing the contents of this list, and how I was induced to
serve as US person for registration.
Wikileaks is a fraud:
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Fuck your cute hustle and disinformation campaign against legitimate
dissent. Same old shit, working for the enemy.

From:
Subject: Re: [WL] Funding / who is on this list.
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 12:36:29 -0500
To: John Young <[email protected]>
Heh.
John, please do not do that. If you’re wondering about the WL, the 
list has grown and there were enough accidental wl mentions [e.g in 
the somali document and a cc] that not mentioning it became of little 
additional obscurity especially since you’re receiving the mail. No 
one has bothered to change the warning which after all doesn’t really 
hurt.
Even if you think we are CIA stooges, you can’t treat everyone on the 
list that way.

21 February 2007. Name, email address and phone number removed at request of one correspondent.

10 January 2007. Name, email address and phone number removed at request of one correspondent.

9 January 2007

Related: http://cryptome.org/wikileaks/wikileaks-leak.htm

To: John Young <jya[a t]pipeline.com>
From: Wikileaks <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org>
Subject: martha stuart pgp
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 12:20:25 -0500
—–BEGIN PGP MESSAGE—–
Version: None
J. We are going to fuck them all. Chinese mostly, but not entirely a feint. Invention
abounds. Lies, twists and distorts everywhere needed for protection. Hackers monitor
chinese and other intel as they burrow into their targets, when they pull, so do we.
Inxhaustible supply of material. Near 100,000 documents/emails a day. We’re going to
crack the world open and let it flower into something new. If fleecing the CIA will
assist us, then fleece we will. We have pullbacks from NED, CFR, Freedomhouse and
other CIA teats. We have all of pre 2005 afghanistan. Almost all of india fed. Half
a dozen foreign ministries. Dozens of political parties and consulates, worldbank,
apec, UN sections, trade groups, tibet and fulan dafa associations and… russian
phishing mafia who pull data everywhere. We’re drowing. We don’t even know a tenth
of what we have or who it belongs to. We stopped storing it at 1Tb.

Date: Sun, 07 Jan 2007 18:22:16 +0000
From: Ben Laurie <ben[a t]links.org>
To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net, Hanna <snow[a t]xs4all.nl>
Subject: Re: [WL] What words and phrases should we be using?
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Hanna wrote:
> [This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
>  Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
>  This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
>  and plenty of backbone.]
>
>
>
>
> ————————————————————————
>
>
> Fwd from Julian:
>
> We should be consistent in our use and invention of language. A word or
> a phrase extracts meaning from its resonance with other usages and our
> experiences.  For instance in the FAQ we sometimes use the phrase
> “ethical leaking”. Should we always use this phrase? ‘leak’ by itself
> carries a negative. ‘ethical’ a strong positive. ‘ethical leaking’ a
> positive. But it does isolate ‘leaks’ as being non-ethical unless we
> stick ‘ethical’ on them. Can we make a movement from this phrase and
> others? ‘The ethical leaking movement’. Powerful. Can it survive the
> heat of our vision?
Ethical leaking has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it? The obvious attack on
this is that WL cannot distinguish ethical from unethical leaking.
However, emphasising that WL seeks to enable ethical leaking is a good
idea, it seems to me.
>
> We must find our own ‘Operation Iraqi Freedom’ s — blessings and
> sanctifications that even our most diseased and demonic opponents will
> find themselves chanting to each other in the night.
>
> We need a phrases for ‘leak facilitator’, ‘mail drop volunteer’,
> ‘ethical leaker’, ‘wl server operator’ etc, etc.
>
>

http://www.apache-ssl.org/ben.html           http://www.links.org/
“There is no limit to what a man can do or how far he can go if he
doesn’t mind who gets the credit.” – Robert Woodruff

Date: Sun, 07 Jan 2007 19:19:08 +0000
From: Ben Laurie <ben[a t]links.org>
To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net, Wikileaks <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org>
Subject: Re: [WL] media contact volunteers
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Wikileaks wrote:
> [This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
>  Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
>  This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
>  and plenty of backbone.]
>
>
>
>
> ————————————————————————
>
>
> For the coming media storm next week, we need time zone local telephone
> contact points, with number (but not name) listed
> on WL.ORG.
>
> In interviews, this just means explaining/interpreting the “official
> position” that’s written up on wl.org. You always represent yourself –
> someone who’s an interested party “on the advisory board”, but do not
> speak for wl as a whole. If they ask what about X and it’s not on WL.ORG
> etc, then give can your personal opinion if you think it’s helpful, but
> re-iterate that you’re speaking for yourself.
>
> This delegation carries some risks (to wl), but we are in a romance with
> journalists hearts; if our voices sweet are not easily reachable on the
> phone when their desire and deadlines peek, others voices, less honeyed
> but always, always available will replace them.
>
> Ben, are you happy to handle the UK?
Yes, but not so sure about having my phone number posted. How about an
email address I can alias? ukrep[a t]WL, say.
Being the geek I am, I like to talk about the (potential/vague)
technical architecture, too. Is this to be avoided? I personally think
its a good idea, especially for more technical publications (e.g. New
Scientist).
BTW, I was rather enjoying the fact that I didn’t really know who else
was on this list, given the mission, but gradually that’s being eroded.
It’s not too late to fix, though (I must blog about this: people keep
claiming you can’t refund privacy. It’s not true) – we could restart the
list with some unknown subset of the current subscribers plus some new
people all using anonymous email addresses. OTOH, I’m guessing the path
from me to any of you is pretty damn short, so perhaps not worth the
effort :-)
> R / Jake — central europe?
>
> pde / dvm us west coast?
>
> jya, is there someway we can obscure you for the east coast?
>
> Chen/Lim are you happy to handle Tiawan/SEA and Mandarin language
> interviews? Lim, do you speak cantonese too?
>
> Jamie — africa?
>
> Julian / Sue / John S — oz/english asia?
>
> David, are you still busy with your conference?
>
>

http://www.apache-ssl.org/ben.html           http://www.links.org/
“There is no limit to what a man can do or how far he can go if he
doesn’t mind who gets the credit.” – Robert Woodruff

To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
From: Hanna <snow[a t]xs4all.nl>
Date: Sun, 7 Jan 2007 22:13:32 -0500
Subject: [WL] We’re all CIA stooges, apparently.
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
John Young has leaked the content of this list, sans most identifying 
info to cryptome.org
It’s clear from his recent messages that he’s been losing it for some 
time. We should have
checked his current mental state more thoroughly rather than relying 
on previous experience.
The impact maybe positive. It’s certainly very mysterious and 
exciting to read. I don’t think there’s
much dissonance between our public and private positions.

Date: Mon, 08 Jan 2007 09:36:00 +0000
From: Ben Laurie <ben[a t]links.org>
To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net, Hanna <snow[a t]xs4all.nl>
Subject: Re: [WL] We’re all CIA stooges, apparently.
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Hanna wrote:
> [This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
>  Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
>  This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
>  and plenty of backbone.]
>
>
>
>
> ————————————————————————
>
>
> John Young has leaked the content of this list, sans most identifying
> info to cryptome.org
Not in my case, for the astute reader, assuming New Scientist publish
the interview.
> It’s clear from his recent messages that he’s been losing it for some
> time. We should have
> checked his current mental state more thoroughly rather than relying on
> previous experience.
>
> The impact maybe positive. It’s certainly very mysterious and exciting
> to read. I don’t think there’s
> much dissonance between our public and private positions.
Why was his final message to this list filtered?
And does anyone understand wtf it means?

http://www.apache-ssl.org/ben.html           http://www.links.org/
“There is no limit to what a man can do or how far he can go if he
doesn’t mind who gets the credit.” – Robert Woodruff

To: jya[a t]pipeline.com
From: sympa[a t]lists.riseup.net
Subject: Removed from funtimesahead
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 04:35:54 -0800 (PST)
Your address (jya[a t]pipeline.com) has been removed from list
funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net, probably because we received
non-delivery reports for your address.
You can subscribe again :
mailto:sympa[a t]lists.riseup.net?subject=sub%20funtimesahead

Date: Mon, 08 Jan 2007 11:21:19 +0000
From: Ben Laurie <ben[a t]algroup.co.uk>
To: Wikileaks <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org>, funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
Subject: [WL] [Fwd: MySociety's Comment on This and wikileaks]
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]

http://www.apache-ssl.org/ben.html           http://www.links.org/
“There is no limit to what a man can do or how far he can go if he
doesn’t mind who gets the credit.” – Robert Woodruff
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Subject: MySociety’s Comment on This and wikileaks
Hey Ben,
A long shot, but do you have anything to do with wikileaks?
There’s a conversation in their cryptome posted log about
commentonthis.com, and, if they’re credible (John Young
suggests not), I’d would be happy to have a conversation
if they had questions or wanted to engage with CoT.
Regards
Sam

Mistakes: It could be that the purpose of your life is only
to serve as a warning to others

To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
From: Wikileaks <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 07:20:09 -0500
Subject: [WL] Fwd: The Times of London/Request
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Ben, you want the first bite?
Begin forwarded message:
From: “Richards, Jonathan” <jonathan.richards[a t]thetimes.co.uk>
Date: 8. Januar 2007 05:08:32 GMT-05:00
To: <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org>
Subject: The Times of London/Request
Hi,
 
I’m a tech reporter at The Times of London.
 
I heard about your initiative. Sounds v. interesting.
 
Would any ‘Wikileaker’ be available for a chat at some point today (Mon)?
 
I’d like to know when you’re planning to post the first of your 1.1 million documents. Not to mention where they all came from. But there’s a couple of other things too – where the idea sprang from etc. Just a general interview about the site, I guess.
 
I look forward to hearing from you.
 
Kind Regards,
 
Jonathan Richards
Reporter, The Times
+44 207 782 5303
 
 
The Newspaper Marketing Agency:  Opening Up Newspapers:
 
www.nmauk.co.uk
 
This e-mail and all attachments are confidential and may be privileged. If you have received this e-mail in error, notify the sender immediately. Do not use, disseminate, store or copy it in any way. Statements or opinions in this e-mail or any attachment are those of the author and are not necessarily agreed or authorised by News International (NI). NI Group may monitor emails sent or received for operational or business reasons as permitted by law. NI Group accepts no liability for viruses introduced by this e-mail or attachments. You should employ virus checking software. News International Limited, 1 Virginia St, London E98 1XY, is the holding company for the News International group and is registered in England No 81701

From: Julian Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 13:40:14 +0000
To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
Subject: [WL] cryptome disclosure
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
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and plenty of backbone.]
No idea what JYA was saying!
It’s clear to me however, that he was not trying to protect people’s 
identities with his xxxxx’ing, but rather trying to increase the 
sexiness of the document. Perhaps he feels WL is a threat to the 
central status mechanism in his life? I think he just likes the 
controversy.
He may have done us a great favor. There’s a lot of movement in that 
document. It’s a little anarchist, but I think it generally reads 
well and sounds like people doing something they care about.
Btw, I suggest we be careful with Wayne Madsen too. He seems to be 
another case of someone who was fantastic a few years ago, but 
recently has started to see conspiracies everywhere. Both cases 
possibly age related.
I am not spending any more thought on it. Next week is going to be 
busy. The weeks earlier stories will be already done and that’ll set 
the agenda for the rest of the week, not jya’s attention seeker.
I’m willing to handle calls for .au, although my background may make 
S a better bet.

From: Julian Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 14:01:13 +0000
To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
Subject: [WL] Venezuela
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
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and plenty of backbone.]
This guy any good?
Begin forwarded message:
> From: “Klaus Jaffe” <kjaffe[a t]usb.ve>
> Date: 8 January 2007 00:26:44 GMT+00:00
> To: “Julian Assange” <me[a t]iq.org>
> Subject: Re: Wikileaks needs you.
>
> I congratulate you, Julian, for your work
> We very much need an outlet for transparency, shining onto the 
> arbitrary oppressions of our authoritarian regime in Venezuela. I 
> am happy to help in whatever I can
> Cheers
> Klaus Jaffe
> http://atta.labb.usb.ve/Klaus/klaus.htm

From: Julien Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 14:11:35 +0000
To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
Subject: [WL] Andrew Clausen
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
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Begin forwarded message:
> From: Andrew Clausen <clausen[a t]econ.upenn.edu>
> Date: 8 January 2007 07:10:38 GMT+00:00
> To: Julian Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
> Hi Julian,
>
> This photo might remind you of who I am:
>
> www.econ.upenn.edu/~clausen
>
> (I am from Melbourne.)
>
> Interesting project, even if the hyperbole is a little excessive!
>
> Have you got a mailing list?
>
> I wonder if there are any interesting economics research projects 
> to be
> done here.
>
> If you don’t have good democratic institutions — like most of Africa
> and China — how does good information help?  (Got any examples?)
>
> What are the potentially perverse effects of leaks?  Blackmail?
> (Is anonymity in blackmail a big deal?  To effectively blackmail
> someone, you need to collect regular small payments, which makes it 
> easy
> to trace anyway.)
>
> Cheers,
> Andrew

From: Julien Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 14:14:37 +0000
To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
Subject: [WL] Amir Butler (www.amitbutler.com)
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
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and plenty of backbone.]
Muslim (british/indian) public affairs guy. phd comp. sci. speaks in 
arabic. former hacker
Begin forwarded message:
>
> I don’t know how much or what I can do, but I’m interested in 
> learning more as it certainly seems like a worthwhile and 
> beneficial project. I can help with analysis of Middle East/Muslim 
> issues etc. and promote the site to others who might have something 
> to contribute.

To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
From: Hanna <snow[a t]xs4all.nl>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 16:48:25 +0000
Subject: [WL] web pages updates
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and plenty of backbone.]
updates look good

From: Julien Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 23:10:37 +0000
To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
Subject: [WL] Fwd: [E-SPCH] Julian Assange: Wikileaks needs you.
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Begin forwarded message:
> From: “Danny O’Brien” <danny[a t]eff.org>
> Date: 8 January 2007 21:09:09 GMT+00:00
> To: Julian Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
> Subject: Re: [E-SPCH] Julian Assange: Wikileaks needs you.
> Reply-To: danny[a t]eff.org
>
> Julian -
>
> Danny O’Brien from EFF here. Is there anything specific we can help 
> out
> with? Our key competence is legal assistance within the United States,
> but there may be other contacts and resources we can throw your way.
>
> Best,
>
> d.
>
>
> On Jan 7, 2007, at 5:28 PM, John Gilmore wrote:
>>
>>> EFF should consider helping — they need all kinds of help.
>>>
>>>     John

From: Julien Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 23:11:55 +0000
To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
Subject: [WL] advice from publicist
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
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and plenty of backbone.]
Obvious really, but interesting to note another vote for “ethical 
leaking”
Begin forwarded message:
> From: [Cryptome removed at request of author.]
> Date: 8 January 2007 22:49:21 GMT+00:00
> To: Julian Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
> Subject: Re: Wikileaks needs you.
>
> I’d say just pass over it with a fine tooth comb and try to 
> eliminate all the segments that could be misquoted by the press.  
> In other words whenever you say leaks, say ethical right next to 
> it, so they would need to make a very concerted effort to misquote 
> you.
>
> Best of luck,
> [Cryptome removed at request of author.]
>
>
> On Jan 8, 2007, at 8:56 AM, Julian Assange wrote:
>
>> Zero budget for the next few months! But we’d appreciate any 
>> comments you may have on the website [it's not production -- a 
>> holding page to deal with the intense media interest]
>>
>> On 7 Jan 2007, at 19:55, wrote:
>>
>>> Hi Julian,
>>>
>>> I received your email (though I’m not sure how we are 
>>> connected).  Regardless, your project is very interesting.  I’m a 
>>> professional publicist, and my business  (Group 113) does Total 
>>> Branding through: Public and Media Relations (including crisis 
>>> management), Marketing Strategy and Implementation, Event 
>>> Production and Design (Graphic, Web, Interactive, and 
>>> Traditional).  I don’t know if you’re looking to keep everything 
>>> in house and what kind of a revenue stream you’re working with, 
>>> but I’d be happy to discuss our services with you.  All of my 
>>> info is below.
>>>
>>> best of luck,
>>> [Cryptome removed at request of author.]
>>>

To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
From: Wikileaks <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 17:16:34 -0600
Subject: [WL] Fwd: RSS Feed Please
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
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and plenty of backbone.]
Begin forwarded message:
From: “Jordet, Trevor” <TJordet[a t]seic.com>
Date: 8. Januar 2007 19:02:10 GMT+00:00
To: “wikileaks” <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org>
Subject: RSS Feed Please
I love the idea for wikileaks.  If you pull it off the right way it will definitely be a massive success!!!
 
One thing you really need to add is an RSS feed for your articles.  I tried to find one and could not. (Maybe because you have not officially launched the site yet)
 
Trevor
 

To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
From: Wikileaks <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 17:38:50 -0600
Subject: [WL] Dan ellsberg responds
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and plenty of backbone.]
Can someone craft a delicate witty reply to the following. In doing so, perhaps discover what Dan thought about Abbie (they would have crossed circles — Abbie has a large ego, it’s not clear Dan would have taken to him — similar politics, but I suspect Dan would have thought Abbie showy)
Begin forwarded message:
From: Daniel Ellsberg <ellsbergd[a t]cs.com>
Date: 8. Januar 2007 15:04:01 GMT-06:00
To: wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org
Cc: “P. Jeffrey Black” <airmarshalwhistleblower[a t]gmail.com>
Your concept looks terrific and I wish you the best of luck with it.  I am honored to be quoted but that quotation is actually from Abbie Hoffman.  I may have been foolish and arrogant, but I was not that young in the period Abbie was talking about.
Yours,
Dan Ellsberg

To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
From: Wikileaks <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 17:39:09 -0600
Subject: [WL] Fwd: COX NEWSPAPERS INTERVIEW REQUEST
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Begin forwarded message:
From: Rebecca Carr <rebeccac[a t]coxnews.com>
Date: 8. Januar 2007 15:36:08 GMT-06:00
To: <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org>
Subject: COX NEWSPAPERS INTERVIEW REQUEST
Wikileaks:
I am a national correspondent based in Washington with Cox Newspapers.
 I am interested in interviewing the founder of wikileaks about your
website and plan to disclose government leaks to the public.
 I write about government secrecy issues and would like to highlight your
site in a story that I am writing about leaks. Here is backgrounder on me:

http://www.coxwashington.com/reporters/content/reporters/carr_r.html

Can you please call me?
I can be reached at 202-887-8362.
Thanks.
Rebecca Carr
Rebecca Carr
National Correspondent
Cox Newspapers
400 N. Capitol Street, NW
Suite 750
Washington, D.C. 20001-1536
202.887.8362-direct
202.744.9911-cell

To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
From: Wikileaks <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 17:39:24 -0600
Subject: [WL] Fwd: Media request
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Begin forwarded message:
From: [Cryptome removed at request of author.]
Date: 8. Januar 2007 16:24:46 GMT-06:00
To: Wikileaks <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org>
Subject: Re: Media request
Hi,
Sorry for the tardy reply. I’ve been on deadline with another story. You can reach me at [Cryptome removed at request of author.] (the number reaches me at home as well when I’m there).
[Cryptome removed at request of author.]
On 1/5/07, Wikileaks <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org> wrote:
On 05.01.2007, at 10:08, [Cryptome removed at request of author.] wrote:
I’m a freelance reporter who writes for Wired News, Salon, and other publications. I’m interested in writing a story about the Wikileaks site and was wondering if there’s someone available to speak with me about it. You can reach me at [Cryptome removed at request of author.] or send me a number where I can reach you and I’ll call you.
Regards,
[Cryptome removed at request of author.]
Hi [Cryptome removed at request of author.]. We’d be happy to talk to you. Are you working over the weekend? Can you give us weekend contact details and we’ll get someone to call you? What is your deadline?
Best,
WL
Here are some answers to questions you might have:
What is WikiLeaks.org? Why “wikify” leaking?
WikiLeaks is an uncensorable version of wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis. It combines the protection and anonymity of cutting-edge cryptographic technologies with the transparency and simplicity of a wiki interface.
Principled leaking has changed the course of history for the better; it can alter the course of history in the present; it can lead us to a better future.
Consider Daniel Ellsberg, working within the US government during the Vietnam War. He comes into contact with the Pentagon Papers, a meticulously kept record of military and strategic planning throughout the war. Those papers reveal the depths to which the US government has sunk in deceiving the population about the war. Yet the public and the media know nothing of this urgent and shocking information. Indeed, secrecy laws are being used to keep the public ignorant of gross dishonesty practiced by their government. In spite of those secrecy laws and at great personal risk, Ellsberg manages to disseminate the Pentagon papers to journalists and to the world. Despite facing criminal charges, eventually dropped, the release of the Pentagon papers shocks the world, exposes the government, and helps to shorten the war and save thousands of lives.
The power of principled leaking to embarrass governments, corporations and institutions is amply demonstrated through recent history. Public scrutiny of otherwise unaccountable and secretive institutions pressures them to act ethically. What official will chance a secret, corrupt transaction when the public is likely to find out? What repressive plan will be carried out when it is revealed to the citizenry, not just of its own country, but the world? When the risks of embarrassment through openness and honesty increase, the tables are turned against conspiracy, corruption, exploitation and oppression. Open government answers injustice rather than causing it. Open government exposes and undoes corruption. Open governance is the most cost effective method of promoting good governance.
Today, with authoritarian governments in power around much of the world, increasing authoritarian tendencies in democratic governments, and increasing amounts of power vested in unaccountable corporations, the need for openness and democratization is greater than ever.
WikiLeaks is a tool to satisfy that need.
WikiLeaksreduces the risk to potential leakers and improves the analysis and dissemination of leaked documents.
WikiLeaks provides simple and straightforward means for anonymous and untraceable leaking of documents.
At the same time, WikiLeaks opens leaked documents up to a much more exacting scrutiny than any media organization or intelligence agency could provide: the scrutiny of a worldwide community of informed wiki editors.
Instead of a couple of academic specialists, WikiLeaks will provide a forum for the entire global community to examine any document relentlessly for credibility, plausibility, veracity and falsifiability. They will be able to interpret documents and explain their relevance to the public. If a document is leaked from the Chinese government, the entire Chinese dissident community can freely scrutinize and discuss it; if a document is leaked from Somalia, the entire Somali refugee community can analyze it and put it in context. And so on.
WikiLeaks may become the most powerful “intelligence agency” on earth — an intelligence agency of the people. It will be an open source, democratic intelligence agency. But it will be far more principled, and far less parochial than any governmental intelligence agency; consequently, it will be more accurate, and more relevant. It will have no commercial or national interests at heart; its only interests will be truth and freedom of information. Unlike the covert activities of state intelligence agencies, WikiLeaks will rely upon the power of overt fact to inform citizens about the truths of their world.
WikiLeaks will be the outlet for every government official, every bureaucrat, every corporate worker, who becomes privy to embarrassing information which the institution wants to hide but the public needs to know. What conscience cannot contain, and institutional secrecy unjustly conceals, WikiLeaks can broadcast to the world.
WikiLeaks will be a forum for the ethical defection of unaccountable and abusive power to the people.
How will WikiLeaks operate?
To the user, WikiLeaks will look very much like wikipedia. Anybody can post to it, anybody can edit it. No technical knowledge is required. Leakers can post documents anonymously and untraceably. Users can publicly discuss documents and analyze their credibility and veracity. Users can discuss interpretations and context and collaboratively formulate collective publications. Users can read and write explanatory articles on leaks along with background material and context. The political relevance of documents and their verisimilitude will be revealed by a cast of thousands.
WikiLeaks will also incorporate advanced cryptographic technologies for anonymity and untraceability. Those who provide leaked information may face severe risks, whether of political repercussions, legal sanctions or physical violence. Accordingly, extremely sophisticated mathematical and cryptographic techniques will be used to secure privacy, anonymity and untraceability.
For the technically minded, WikiLeaks integrates technologies including modified versions of FreeNet, , PGP and software of our own design.
WikiLeaks will be deployed in a way that makes it impervious to political and legal attacks. In this sense it is uncensorable.
Who is behind WikiLeaks?
WikiLeaks was founded by Chinese dissidents, mathematicians and startup company technologists, from the US, Taiwan, Europe, Australia and South Africa.
Our advisory board, which is still forming, includes representatives from expatriate Russian and Tibetan refugee communities, reporters, a former US intelligence analyst and cryptographers.
There are currently 22 people directly involved in the project and counting.
What is your relationship to wikipedia?
WikiLeaks has no formal relationship to wikipedia. However both employ the same wiki interface and technology. Both share the same radically democratic philosophy that allowing anyone to be an author or editor leads to a vast and accurate collective intelligence and knowledge. Both place their trust in an informed community of citizens. What wikipedia is to the encyclopedia, WikiLeaks will be to leaks.
Wikipedia provides a positive example on which WikiLeaks is based. The success of wikipedia in providing accurate and up-to-date information has been stunning and surprising to many. Wikipedia shows that the collective wisdom of an informed community of users may produce massive volumes of accurate knowledge in a rapid, democratic and transparent manner. WikiLeaks aims to harness this phenomenon to provide fast and accurate dissemination, verification, analysis, interpretation and explanation of leaked documents, for the benefit of people all around the world.
What is WikiLeakss present stage of development?
WikiLeaks has developed a prototype which has been successful in testing, but there are still many demands required before we have the scale required for a full public deployment. We require additional funding, the support of further dissident communities, human rights groups, reporters and media representative bodies (as consumers of leaks), language regionalization, volunteer editors/analysts and server operators.
We have received over 1.1 million documents so far. We plan to numerically eclipse the content of the English wikipedia with leaked documents.
Anyone interested in helping us out with any of the above should contact us by email at [insert address here].
When will WikiLeaks go live?
We cannot yet give an exact date. We estimate February or March 2007.
Couldnt leaking involve invasions of privacy? Couldnt mass leaking of documents be irresponsible? Arent some leaks deliberately false and misleading?
Providing a forum for freely posting information involves the potential for abuse, but measures can be taken to minimize any potential harm. The simplest and most effective countermeasure is a worldwide community of informed users and editors who can scrutinize and discuss leaked documents.
Concerns about privacy, irresponsibility and false information also arise with wikipedia. On wikipedia, irresponsible posting or editing of material, or posting of false material, can be reversed by other users, and the results have been extremely satisfying and reassuring. There is no reason to expect any different from WikiLeaks . Indeed, as discovered with wikipedia to the surprise of many, the collective wisdom of an informed community of users may provide rapid and accurate dissemination, verification and analysis.
Furthermore, misleading leaks and misinformation are already well placed in the mainstream media, as recent history shows, an obvious example being the lead-up to the Iraq war. Peddlers of misinformation will find themselves undone by WikiLeaks , equipped as it is to scrutinize leaked documents in a way that no mainstream media outlet is capable of. An analogus example is this excellent unweaving of the British government’s politically motivated additions to an intelligence dossier on Iraq. The dossier was cited by Colin Powell in his address to the United Nations the same month to justify the pending US invasion of Iraq.
In any case, our overarching goal is to provide a forum where embarrassing information can expose injustice. All policy will be formulated with this goal in mind.
Is WikiLeaks concerned about any legal consequences?
Our roots are in dissident communities and our focus is on non-western authoritarian regimes. Consequently we believe a politically motivated legal attack on us would be seen as a grave error in western administrations. However, we are prepared, structurally and technically, to deal with all legal attacks. We design the software, and promote its human rights agenda, but the servers are run by anonymous volunteers. Because we have no commercial interest in the software, there is no need to restrict its distribution. In the very unlikely event that we were to face coercion to make the software censorship friendly, there are many others who will continue the work in other jurisdictions.
Is leaking ethical?
We favour, and uphold, ethical behavior in all circumstances. Every person is the ultimate arbiter of justice in their own conscience. Where there is a lack of freedom and injustice is enshrined in law, there is a place for principled civil disobedience. Where the simple act of distributing information may embarrass a regime or expose crime, we recognize a right, indeed a duty, to perform that act. Such whistleblowing normally involves major personal risk. Just like whistleblower protection laws in some jurisdictions, WikiLeaks provides means and opportunity to minimize such risks.
We propose that every authoritarian government, every oppressive institution, and even every corrupt corporation, be subject to the pressure, not merely of international diplomacy or freedom of information laws, not even of quadrennial elections, but of something far stronger: the individual consciences of the people within them.

Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 16:07:46 -0800
From: “David Zetland” <dzetland[a t]gmail.com>
To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
Subject: [WL] Suggestions for reputation-building…
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Hi WL Folks,
I am the David “at the conference”. I have just skimmed ~30 emails.
Congratulations on your success to date. I have a few suggestions:
1) $5million is a bad idea. $1 million or less. This project will get
respect if it’s shoestring — not dotcom — in financial dimensions.
2) You MUST get a working site. The reporters will lose interest if
there is nothing to see — ie, hot air/vaporware. wl.org doesn’t seem
to have anything up…
3) The wiki format is attractive for ease of use and group editing. I
have not seen a working version, but there are (potential) significant
problems with edit-wars, spamming, agents-provocateurs. The idea of an
online archive, OTOH, is EXCELLENT. (How is it different than
http://www.thememoryhole.org/, btw?
4) I have emailed Julian my own idea, which has significant overlap
with yours. The disadvantage of mine (http://www.rumor-mill.org/) is
that it requires monitors. The good news is the reputation feature
(which will choke forgery) and far lower threshold of leak (ie, a
rumor, not just a document). I was originally thinking that WL could
be the archive and RM could be the discussion. In any case, I claim NO
OWNERSHIP of my idea, so I am happy to merge interets. I am alone,
with few resources, so even getting RM loaded would be great.
I am happy to be “in the open” (many details via links below) and talk
to folks, but I have less knowledge than any of you.
Julian — I’ll be back in Davis on Wed. We can skype/PGP after I get back.
There is a huge demand for a WL-type thing WITHIN the US these days
due to (sad) abrogations of whistleblowers rights. I have contacted
POGO, et al in the past, but never gotten far. They are likely to be
interested but not to offer (material/real) help. EFF is likely to be
an exception…
Just a few initial thoughts.
David

Necessity is the plea for every infringement of human freedom.  It is
the argument of tyrants; it is the creed of slaves.    — William Pitt
(1759-1806)
David Zetland (david[a t]primal.ucdavis.edu; 530-848-9208)
PhD Candidate, Agricultural and Resource Economics, UC Davis
http://www.kysq.org ~~  http://www.rumor-mill.org/

Cc: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
From: Julien Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 19:03:09 -0600
To: “David Zetland” <dzetland[a t]gmail.com>
Subject: [WL] Re: Suggestions for reputation-building…
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
On 8 Jan 2007, at 18:13, David Zetland wrote:
> 1) $5million is a bad idea. $1 million or less. This project will get
> respect if it’s shoestring — not dotcom — in financial dimensions.
I agree. I think this is just an internal feel of what we could use 
for a
full deployment, not what we need and not something to be quoted
around the place.
> 2) You MUST get a working site. The reporters will lose interest if
> there is nothing to see — ie, hot air/vaporware. wl.org doesn’t seem
> to have anything up…
Absolutely. Can you help? The unexpected press coverage has 
completely diverted people from
that task. That’s a reality we can’t easily change. We have more 
volunteers now,
but this doesn’t scale and in the short term reduces productivity as 
someone
has to brief them. We could put up a few more dramatic leaks. One
option is to take the thing unsecured (faster) and see what happens
to it as we build the full version. Having it go down briefly might 
be useful
to us.
> 3) The wiki format is attractive for ease of use and group editing. I
> have not seen a working version, but there are (potential) significant
> problems with edit-wars, spamming, agents-provocateurs. The idea of an
> online archive, OTOH, is EXCELLENT. (How is it different than
> http://www.thememoryhole.org/, btw?
It is the edit-wars etc that keep people motivated
and form community! Truth is the only constant in these wars, which
are otherwise random, so people will converge to it. If the wars can be
toned down (through exhaustion or otherwise) as something develops
then peturbations from it become smaller and smaller. In this way
we can see it as an annealing process. Where opinions diverge too
much for this process, new pages are created.
We must also understand the zeitgeist. The reason we’re getting such
publicity, despite having almost nothing up is that we’re resonating off
wikipedia’s and wiki infludence more generally. AFAIK, this was 
deliberate
strategy.
> 4) I have emailed Julian my own idea, which has significant overlap
> with yours. The disadvantage of mine (http://www.rumor-mill.org/) is
> that it requires monitors. The good news is the reputation feature
> (which will choke forgery) and far lower threshold of leak (ie, a
> rumor, not just a document). I was originally thinking that WL could
> be the archive and RM could be the discussion. In any case, I claim NO
> OWNERSHIP of my idea, so I am happy to merge interets. I am alone,
> with few resources, so even getting RM loaded would be great.
We can easily have an automated linking between these two.
We could also lower the threshold to accept “rumor” leaks into
the wiki process, however, I suspect, that at least early on, that 
would pollute
us. Having to have a document erects a necessary entry barrier.
> due to (sad) abrogations of whistleblowers rights. I have contacted
> POGO, et al in the past, but never gotten far. They are likely to be
> interested but not to offer (material/real) help. EFF is likely to be
> an exception…
Prescient. We have a pogo staff member (in a personal capacity only) and
eff has just offered assistance. What we want them to do is an 
interesting
question. Will they take donations for us?

Date: Mon, 08 Jan 2007 21:31:45 -0800
To: wmreditor[a t]waynemadsenreport.com
From: John Young <jya[a t]pipeline.com>
Cc: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net,Julien Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
Subject: [WL] Wikileaks Suspects You
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Hi Wayne,
A Wikileaks message today, below, for your collection of whine.
Regards,
John
———-
From: Julian Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 13:40:14 +0000
To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
Subject: [WL] cryptome disclosure
Content-type: multipart/mixed; boundary=”———-=_1168263685-5925-9095″
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for
w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer
instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with
an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
No idea what JYA was saying!
It’s clear to me however, that he was not trying to protect people’s 
identities with his xxxxx’ing, but rather trying to increase the 
sexiness of the document. Perhaps he feels WL is a threat to the 
central status mechanism in his life? I think he just likes the 
controversy.
He may have done us a great favor. There’s a lot of movement in that 
document. It’s a little anarchist, but I think it generally reads 
well and sounds like people doing something they care about.
Btw, I suggest we be careful with Wayne Madsen too. He seems to be 
another case of someone who was fantastic a few years ago, but 
recently has started to see conspiracies everywhere. Both cases 
possibly age related.
I am not spending any more thought on it. Next week is going to be 
busy. The weeks earlier stories will be already done and that’ll set 
the agenda for the rest of the week, not jya’s attention seeker.
I’m willing to handle calls for .au, although my background may make 
S a better bet.

From: Julien Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 21:03:59 -0600
To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
Subject: [WL] manning the phones
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
I’ve set up some coms. who’s happy to be in the daisy chain 
forwarding chain from the washington number? please send me skype / 
other details. It’s getting a call every 20 minutes.

Cc: wmreditor[a t]waynemadsenreport.com,
funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
From: Julien Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 21:07:48 -0600
To: John Young <jya[a t]pipeline.com>
Subject: [WL] Re: Wikileaks Suspects You
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
John, can you xxxx  the reference to “IQ.ORG” in that document near 
“my daughters photo”.
On 8 Jan 2007, at 23:31, John Young wrote:
> S a better bet.

Cc: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
From: Julien Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2007 21:08:50 -0600
To: Julien Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
Subject: [WL] Re: manning the phones
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
By “other” I mean phone
On 8 Jan 2007, at 21:03, Julien Assange wrote:
> I’ve set up some coms. who’s happy to be in the daisy chain 
> forwarding chain from the washington number? please send me skype / 
> other details. It’s getting a call every 20 minutes.
>

From: Julien Assange <me[a t]iq.org>
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2007 00:03:50 -0600
To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
Subject: [WL] draft replacement front page
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Journalist friend drafted this (“more positive”) front page. I think 
it’s good, although
needs some of the strength of the original in the first sentence.
WikiLeaks is a vehicle for the unfettered communication of things 
that ought to
be in the public domain.
It is an uncensored, untraceable open channel for the large-scale 
dissemination
of information that should be made public. We aim to develop and 
support a
mechanism that will allow the average person to release documents or 
other
information that is in the public interest without fear of censorship or
recrimination.  Because some public interest information may be 
personally risky
for a whistleblower to release, WikiLeaks also aims to make 
submissions to the
site untraceable.
You don’t need advanced technical skills to use WikiLeaks. We have 
based our
interface on the user-friendly WikiPedia because it is so well known 
and easy to
use.
We believe that the open dissemination of information is vital for a 
healthy
democracy. That is why WikiLeaks provides free, anonymous publication of
information that ought to published in the public interest, 
regardless of the
source.
The idea for the creation of WikiLeaks came from the desire to 
support open
government, particularly in Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Middle 
East.  We
believe that transparency in government activities leads to reduced 
corruption,
better government and stronger democracies. Many governments in these 
geographic
areas would benefit from increased scrutiny from the world community, 
as well as
their own people. We believe this scrutiny requires information. 
Often that
information is costly – in terms of human life and human rights. We hope
WikiLeaks will protect whistleblowers with the public interest at 
heart so it
will not be so costly in future.
In its landmark ruling on the Pentagon Papers, the US Supreme Court 
ruled that
“only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in
government.” We agree.
The ruling stated  that “paramount among the responsibilities of a 
free press is
the duty to prevent any part of the government from deceiving the 
people and
sending them off to distant lands to die of foreign fevers and 
foreign shot and
shell.”
We believe that it is not only the people of one country that keep their
government honest, but also the people of other countries who are 
watching that
government. That is why the time has come for an anonymous global 
avenue for
disseminating documents the public should see. Welcome to WikiLeaks.

Cc: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
From: Wikileaks <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org>
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2007 01:46:48 -0600
To: Ben Laurie <ben[a t]links.org>
Subject: Re: [WL] media contact volunteers
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
>
> Yes, but not so sure about having my phone number posted. How about an
> email address I can alias? ukrep[a t]WL, say.
How about a 3 month skype in diversion? Only cost 10 euros + forwarding
costs (minimal). That would anon your number, but get the sort of 
real-timeism
we’re looking for.
> Being the geek I am, I like to talk about the (potential/vague)
> technical architecture, too. Is this to be avoided? I personally think
> its a good idea, especially for more technical publications (e.g. New
> Scientist).
Think this is ok. We still have some tricks in the bag. Since we’re 
trying
to move to a position of open development and anonymous deployment
(for efficiency) we’re going to have to do something like this 
eventually.
> BTW, I was rather enjoying the fact that I didn’t really know who else
> was on this list, given the mission, but gradually that’s being 
> eroded.
> It’s not too late to fix, though (I must blog about this: people keep
> claiming you can’t refund privacy. It’s not true) – we could 
> restart the
> list with some unknown subset of the current subscribers plus some new
> people all using anonymous email addresses. OTOH, I’m guessing the 
> path
> from me to any of you is pretty damn short, so perhaps not worth the
> effort :-)
We’re ok. We just need to keep the path to .cn and similar sources 
high. Also
a little anon now gives room for movement later (we’re not sure why we
might need it, but some necessary actions maybe difficult without it)

To: funtimesahead[a t]lists.riseup.net
From: Wikileaks <wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org>
Date: Tue, 9 Jan 2007 03:24:39 -0600
Subject: [WL] Fwd: Your Going On Newsreal
[This is a restricted internal development mailinglist for w-i-k-i-l-e-a-k-s-.-o-r-g.
Please do not mention that word directly in these discussions; refer instead to 'WL'.
This list is housed at riseup.net, an activist collective in Seattle with an established lawyer
and plenty of backbone.]
Begin forwarded message:
From: Sean Kennedy <Newsreal[a t]Rantradio.com>
Date: 9. Januar 2007 03:19:14 GMT-06:00
To: wikileaks[a t]wikileaks.org
Subject: Your Going On Newsreal
Hey!!
 
Good idea crew!
 
I’m going to yell about you on my radio show Newreal on 2007-01-16
 
 
Sean Kennedy

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sean_Kennedy

WASHINGTON — Attorney General Eric Holder announced Wednesday that the United States is filing a lawsuit against BP and its partners in the Deepwater Horizon oil well in the Gulf of Mexico, claiming their negligence led to the massive spill that sent millions of barrels of crude into the Gulf during the spring and summer.

Holder said a months-long investigation by the Justice Department had found that BP, which was the primary operator of the well, its partners in the well, which included Aandarko and the MOEX subsidiary of Mitsui & Co., and Transocean, which BP had hired to drill the well, had failed to secure the well properly, failed to maintain drilling equipment and failed to monitor the well, and that those failures had caused the spill.

Holder also said the massive spill was a violation of the Clean Water Act, and that the defendants will be held liable for fines for each barrel of oil that spilled into the gulf.

Holder did not detail how the defendants had failed to secure the well, maintain the equipment or monitor the well. But a presidential commission investigating the disaster as well as BP’s own internal investigation found that the crew aboard the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig misread the results of pressure tests and failed to notice that hydrocarbons were surging into the well until just minutes before a huge cloud of methane enveloped the drilling rig and exploded. Eleven workers were killed in the initial explosion, which set the rig ablaze. It sank 36 hours later, taking a mile of drilling pipe with it.

Investigators also have found that the rig’s last line of defense against a massive spill, the blowout preventer, had been altered and that BP engineers were unable to close its valves and seal the well.

One company not named in the lawsuit is Halliburton, the Houston-based oil services firm that poured the concrete that was intended to seal the well. There was no immediate explanation for its exclusion.

Holder noted that the case filed Wednesday was a civil suit and that it does not preclude future criminal charges.

 

We’ve seen behind the curtain, as the Fed waved its magic liquidity wand over Wall Street.  Now it’s time to enlist this tool in the service of the people.

The Fed’s invisible hand first really became visible with the bailout of AIG.  House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said in June 2009:   

“Many of us were, shall we say, if not surprised, taken aback when the Fed had $80 billion to invest — to put into AIG just out of the blue. All of a sudden we wake up one morning and AIG has received $80 billion from the Fed. . . . So of course we’re saying, Where’s this money come from? ‘Oh, we have it. And not only that, we have more.’”

How much more — $800 billion?  $8 trillion? 

The stage magician smiles coyly and rolls up his sleeves to show that there is nothing in them.  “Try $12.3 trillion,” he says.  
 

That was the figure recently revealed for the Fed’s “emergency lending programs” to bail out the banks.    

“$12.3 trillion of our taxpayer money!” shout the bemused spectators as pigeons emerge from the showman’s gloved hands.  “We could have used that money to build roads and bridges, pay down the state’s debts, keep homeowners in their homes!”

 

“Not exactly tax money,” says the magician with his mysterious Mona Lisa smile.  “When did you have $12.3 trillion in tax money sitting idle?” 

Not only did he not use “tax money;” it seems he hardly used “money” at all.  He just advanced numbers on a computer screen, amounting to credit against collateral, replacing the credit that would have been advanced by the money market before the Fatal Day the Money Market Died.  According to CNNMoney

“[T]he Federal Reserve made $9 trillion in overnight loans to major banks and Wall Street firms during the Wall Street crisis . . . . All the loans were backed by collateral and all were paid back with a very low interest rate to the Fed — an annual rate of between 0.5% to 3.5%. . . .

“In addition to the loan program for bond dealers, the data covered the Fed’s purchases of more than $1 trillion in mortgages, and spending to back consumer and small business loans, as well as commercial paper used to keep large corporations running. . . .

“Most of the special programs set up by the Fed in response to the crisis of 2008 have since expired, although it still holds close to $2 trillion in assets it purchased during that time.  The Fed said it did not lose money on any of the transactions that have been closed, and that it does not expect to lose money on the assets it still holds.”

Or so it is reported in the media. . . . 

The pigeons slip back up the sleeve from whence they came, a sleeve that was empty to start with.  

The Central Bank as Lender of Last Resort

Where did the Fed get this remarkable power?  Central banks are “lenders of last resort,” which means they are authorized to advance as much credit as the system requires.  It’s all keystrokes on a computer, and the supply of this credit is limitless. According to Wikipedia:

“A lender of last resort is an institution willing to extend credit when no one else will. Originally the term referred to a reserve financial institution, most often the central bank of a country, that secured well-connected banks and other institutions that are too-big-to-fail against bankruptcy.”

Why is this backup necessary?  Because, says Wikipedia matter-of-factly, “Due to fractional reserve banking, in aggregate, all lenders and borrowers are insolvent.”  The entry called “fractional reserve banking” explains:

“The bank lends out some or most of the deposited funds, while still allowing all deposits to be withdrawn upon demand. Fractional reserve banking necessarily occurs when banks lend out funds received from deposit accounts, and is practiced by all modern commercial banks.”

All commercial banks are insolvent.  They are unable to pay their debts when they come due, because they have double-counted their deposits.  A less charitable word, if this hadn’t all been validated with legislation, might be “embezzlement.”  The bankers took your money for safekeeping, promising you could have it back “on demand,” then borrowed it from the till to clear the checks of their borrowers.  Modern banking is a massive shell game, and the banks are in a mad scramble to keep peas under the shells.  If they don’t have the peas, they borrow them from other banks or the money market short-term, until they can come up with some longer-term source.

Ann Pettifor writes, “the banking system has been turned on its head, and become a borrowing machine.”  Rather than lending us their money, they are borrowing from us and lending it back.  Banks can borrow from each other at the fed funds rate of 0.2%.  They get the very cheap credit and lend it to us as much more expensive credit. 

They got away with this shell game until September 2008, when the Lehman Brothers bankruptcy triggered a run on the money markets.  Panicked investors pulled their short-term money out, and the credit market suddenly froze.  The credit lines on which businesses routinely operated froze too, causing bankruptcies, layoffs and general economic collapse. 

The shell game would have been exposed for all to see, if the Federal Reserve had not stepped in and played its “lender of last resort” card.  Quoting Wikipedia again:

“A lender of last resort serves as a stopgap to protect depositors, prevent widespread panic withdrawal, and otherwise avoid disruption in productive credit to the entire economy caused by the collapse of one or a handful of institutions. . . .

“In the United States the Federal Reserve serves as the lender of last resort to those institutions that cannot obtain credit elsewhere and the collapse of which would have serious implications for the economy. It took over this role from the private sector ‘clearing houses’ which operated during the Free Banking Era; whether public or private, the availability of liquidity was intended to prevent bank runs.

“. . . [T]his role is undertaken by the Bank of England in the United Kingdom (the central bank of the UK), in the Eurozone by the European Central Bank, in Switzerland by the Swiss National Bank, in Japan by the Bank of Japan and in Russia by the Central Bank of Russia.”

If all central banks do it, it must be okay, right?  Or is it just evidence that the entire international banking scheme is sleight of hand?  All lenders are insolvent and are kept in the game only by a lender-of-last-resort power given to central banks by central governments — given, in other words, by we-the-people.  Yet we-the-people are denied access to this cornucopia, and are forced to pick up the tab for the banks.  Most states are struggling with budget deficits, and some are close to insolvency.  Why is the Fed’s magic wand not being waved over them?

QE3: Some Creative Proposals

According to financial blogger Edward Harrison, that might soon happen.  He quotes a Bloomberg article by David Blanchflower, whom Harrison describes as “a former MPC [Monetary Policy Committee] member at the Bank of England but also an American-British dual citizen professor who is very plugged in at the Fed.”  Blanchflower wrote on October 18:

“I was at the Fed last week in Washington for one of its occasional meetings with academics . . . .

“The Fed is especially concerned about unemployment and the weak housing market. . . .

“Quantitative easing remains the only economic show in town given that Congress and President Barack Obama have been cowed into inaction.

“Quantitative easing” (QE) involves central bank purchases with money created on a computer screen.  Blanchflower asked:

“What will they buy? They are limited to only federally insured paper, which includes Treasuries and mortgage-backed securities insured by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. But they are also allowed to buy short-term municipal bonds, and given the difficulties faced by state and local governments, this may well be the route they choose, at least for some of the quantitative easing. Even if the Fed wanted to, it couldn’t buy other securities, such as corporate bonds, as it would require Congress’s approval, which won’t happen anytime soon.”  [Emphasis added.]

You don’t need to understand all this financial jargon to pick up that a central banking insider who has sat in on the Fed’s meetings says that for the Fed’s next trick, it could and “may well” fund the bonds of local governments.  Harrison comments:

“The Fed can legally buy as many municipal bonds as it wants without congressional approval. . . . This is a big story. Blanchflower is essentially saying that the U.S. government can bail out both the housing market via Fannie and Freddie paper purchases and the state governments via Muni purchases. And, of course, the banks get to dump these assets onto the Fed who will hold them to maturity. I guarantee you this will have a very nice kick since it is the states where the biggest employment cuts are.”

A big story indeed, opening very interesting possibilities.  The Fed could use its QE tool not just to buy existing assets but to fund future productivity and employment, stimulating the depressed economy the way Franklin Roosevelt did but without putting the nation in debt at high interest to a private banking cartel. 

The Fed could, for example, buy special revenue bonds issued by the states to finance large-scale infrastructure projects. They might build a high-speed train system of the sort seen in Europe and Asia.  The states could issue special revenue bonds at 0% or 0.5% interest to finance the project, which could be repaid with user fees generated by the finished railroad.  The same could be done to build modern hospitals, develop water projects and alternative energy sources, and so forth.  All this could be done at the same extremely low interest rates now afforded to the banks, saving the states enormous sums in taxes. 

Wouldn’t that sort of program be inflationary though?  Not under current conditions, says author Bill Baker in a recent post.  He notes that over 95% of the money supply is created by bank lending, and that when credit is destroyed, the money supply shrinks.  The first round of QE did not actually increase the money supply, because the money printed by the Fed was matched by the destruction of money caused by debt default and repayment.  To replace the debt-money lost in a shrinking economy, the Fed has already elected to embark on a program of quantitative easing.  The question addressed here is just where to aim the hose.

Closing the Social Security Gap

Another interesting idea for QE3 was proposed by Ted Schmidt, associate professor of economics at Buffalo State College.  Writing in early November, Schmidt anticipated the cut in social security taxes now being debated in Congress.  Worried observers see these cuts as the first step to dismantling social security, which will in the future be called “underfunded” and too expensive for the taxpayers to support.  Schmidt notes, however, that social security is a major holder of federal government bonds.  The Fed could finance a $400 billion tax cut in social security by buying bonds directly from the social security trust fund, allowing the fund to maintain its current level of benefits.  Among other advantages of this sort of purchase:

“[I]t does not raise the gross national debt, because it simply transfers bonds from one government entity (the Social Security trust fund) to a semi-government entity (the Fed); and . . . it gives the Fed the extra ammo (treasury bonds) it will need when the time comes to restrain inflationary pressures and pull reserves out of the banking system. (It does this by selling bonds to banks.)”

Schmidt concludes: “Enough is enough, Dr. Bernanke!  It’s time to inject the patient with money that gets into the hands of working people and small businesses.”

The Fed’s lender-of-last-resort power has so far been used only to keep rich bankers rich and the rest of the population in debt peonage, a parasitic and unsustainable endeavor.  If this power were directed into projects that increased productivity and employment, it could become a sustainable and very useful tool.  We the People do not need to remain subject to a semi-private central bank that was ostensibly empowered by our mandate.  We can take our Money Power back.

Ellen Brown is an attorney and the author of eleven books, including WEB OF DEBT: The Shocking Truth About Our Money System and How We Can Break Free.  Her websites are webofdebt.com, ellenbrown.com, and public-banking.com.

Read Ellen Brown;s chapters in this recently released Global Research book:

The Global Economic Crisis

Michel Chossudovsky
Andrew G. Marshall (editors)
This book can be ordered directly from Global Research 

Financial Shocks in Europe and America: Explosion of the Western Public Debt Bubble

December 17th, 2010 by Global Europe Anticipation Bulletin

The second half of 2011 will mark the point in time when all the world’s financial operators will finally understand that the West will not repay in full a significant portion of the loans advanced over the last two decades. For LEAP/E2020 it is, in effect, around October 2011, due to the plunge of a large number of US cities and states into an inextricable financial situation following the end of the federal funding of their deficits, whilst Europe will face a very significant debt refinancing requirement (1), that this explosive situation will be fully revealed. Media escalation of the European crisis regarding sovereign debt of Euroland’s peripheral countries will have created the favourable context for such an explosion, of which the US “Muni” (2) market incidentally has just given a foretaste in November 2010 (as our team anticipated last June in GEAB No. 46 ) with a mini-crash that saw all the year’s gains go up in smoke in a few days. This time this crash (including the failure of the monoline reinsurer Ambac (3)) took place discreetly (4) since the Anglo-Saxon media machine (5) succeeded in focusing world attention on a further episode of the fantasy sitcom “The end of the Euro, or the financial remake of Swine fever” (6). Yet the contemporaneous shocks in the United States and Europe make for a very disturbing set-up comparable, according to our team, to the “Bear Stearn ” crash which preceded Lehman Brothers’ bankruptcy and the collapse of Wall Street in September 2008 by eight months. But the GEAB readers know very well that major crashes rarely make headlines in the media several months in advance, so false alarms are customary (7)!

 

Net cash outflows from Mutual Funds investing in « Munis » (2007-11/2010) (in USD billions) - Withdrawals were higher than in October 2008 - Source: New York Times, 11/2010
Net cash outflows from Mutual Funds investing in « Munis » (2007-11/2010) (in USD billions) – Withdrawals were higher than in October 2008 – Source: New York Times, 11/2010
In this GEAB issue, we therefore anticipate the progression of the terminal crash of Western public debt (in particular US and European debt) as well as ways to protect oneself. Furthermore, we analyze the very important structural consequences of the Wikileaks revelations on the United States’ international influence as well as their interaction with the global consequences of the US Federal Reserve’s QE II programme. This GEAB December issue is, of course, the opportunity to assess the validity of our anticipations for 2010, with a of 78% success rate for the year. We also develop strategic advice for Euroland (8) and the United States. And we publish the GEAB-$ index that will now allow us to synthetically follow the progress of US Dollar against major world currencies every month (9).

In this issue, we have chosen to present an excerpt of the forecast on the explosion of the Western public debt bubble.

Thus, the Western public debt crisis is growing very rapidly under the pressure of four increasingly strong limitations:

. the absence of economic recovery in the United States which strangles all public bodies (including the federal state (10)) accustomed to an easy flow of debt and significant tax revenues in recent decades (11)

. the accelerated structural weakening of the United States in monetary, financial as well as diplomatic (12) affairs which reduces their ability to attract world savings (13)

. the global drying up of sources of cheap finance, which precipitates the crisis of excessive debt in Europe’s peripheral countries (in Euroland like Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Spain, … and the United Kingdom as well (14)) and is starting to touch key countries (USA, Germany, Japan) (15) in a context of very large European debt refinancing in 2011

. the transformation of Euroland into a new “sovereign” that gradually develops new rules for the continent’s public debts.

These four constraints generate varying phenomena and reactions in different regions / countries.

The European context: the price of the path from laxity to austerity will be partly paid for by investors

From the European side, we have thus witnessed the difficult, but ultimately incredibly fast, transformation of the Eurozone into a sort of semi-state entity, Euroland. The delays in the process weren’t only due to the poor quality of the political individuals concerned (16) as the interviews of the “forerunners” such as Helmut Schmidt, Valéry Giscard d’Estaing or Jacques Delors hammered on at length. They themselves never having had to face a historic crisis of this magnitude, a little modesty would have done them good.

These delays are equally due to the fact that current developments in the Eurozone are on a huge political scale (17) and conducted without any democratic political mandate: this situation paralyzes the European leaders who consequently spend their time denying that they are really doing what they do, i.e. namely, building a kind of political entity with its own economic, social and fiscal constituent parts, …. (18) Elected before the crisis erupted, they do not know that their voters (and the economic and financial players at the same time) would be largely satisfied with an explanation about the decisions being planned (19). Because most of major decisions to come are already identifiable, as we analyze in this issue.

Finally, it is a fact that the actions of these same leaders are dissected and manipulated by the main media specializing in economic and financial issues, none of which belong to the Eurozone, and all of which are, on the contrary, entrenched in the $ / £ zone where the strengthening of the euro is considered a disaster. This same media very directly contributes to blur the process underway in Euroland (20) even more.

However, we can see that this adverse effect decreases because between the “Greek crisis” and the “Irish crisis”, the resulting Euro exchange rate volatility has weakened. For our team, in spring 2011, it will become an insignificant event. This only leaves, therefore, the issue of the quality of Euroland’s political personnel which will be profoundly changed beginning in 2012 (21) and, more fundamentally, the significant problem of the democratic legitimacy of the tremendous advances in European integration (22). But in a certain fashion, we can say that by 2012/2013, Euroland will have really established mechanisms which will have allowed it to withstand the shock of the crisis, even if it’s necessary to legitimize their existence retrospectively (23).

 

Comparison of yields on Euroland 10 year government bonds - Source: Thomson Reuters Datastream, 11/16/2010
Comparison of yields on Euroland 10 year government bonds – Source: Thomson Reuters Datastream, 11/16/2010
In this regard, what will help accelerate the bursting of the Western public debt bubble, and what will occur concomitantly for its US catalyst, is the understanding by financial operators of what lies behind the “Eurobligations” (or E-Bonds) (24) debate which has begun to be talked about in recent weeks (25). It is from late 2011 (at the latest) that the merits of this debate will begin to be unveiled within the framework of the preparation for the permanent European Financial Stabilisation Fund (26). Although, what will suddenly appear for the majority of investors who currently speculate on the exorbitant rates of Greek, Irish,… debt is that Euroland solidarity will not extend to them, especially when the case of Spain, Italy or Belgium will start being posed, whatever European leaders say today (27).

In short, according to LEAP/E2020, we should expect a huge operation of sovereign debt transactions (amid a government debt global crisis) which will offer Euroland guaranteed Eurobligations at very low rates in exchange of national securities at high interest rates with a 30% to 50% discount since, in the meantime, the situation of the entire Western public debt market will have deteriorated. Democratically speaking, the newly elected Euroland leaders (28) (after 2012) will be fully authorized to effect such an operation, of which the major banks (including European ones (29)) will be the first victims. It is highly likely that some privileged sovereign creditors like China, Russia, the oil producing countries,… will be offered preferential treatment. They will not complain since the undertaking will result in their sizeable assets in Euros being guaranteed.

 

Sovereign Debt Default/Bailout and Contagion Risk Analysis (in blue: default or bailout risk / in red: contagion risk) - Source: Market Oracle, 11/2010
Sovereign Debt Default/Bailout and Contagion Risk Analysis (in blue: default or bailout risk / in red: contagion risk) – Source: Market Oracle, 11/2010
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IMPORTANT: The English and German of Franck Biancheri’s book “The World Crisis: The Path to the World afterwards – Europe and the World in the 2010-2020 Decade” are now available. They can be ordered directly from the publishers, Anticipolis Editions (www.anticipolis.eu).

 

Notes

(1) Worth more than € 1,500 billion per year in 2011 and 2012, including of course the United Kingdom.

(2) The US municipal bond market (” Munis “) is used to fund the local transportation, health, education and sanitation infrastructure, … It’s worth nearly 2,800 billion USD.

(3) Source : Reuters, 11/08/2010

(4) In a 11/20/2010 article Safehaven tonne indeed openly expressed surprise over the “silence” of the major financial media on the issue.

(5) The Financial Times, for example, has for the last month, begun to publish two or three articles per day on its website’s homepage on the so-called “Euro crisis” and to manipulate news, such as the statements of German leaders, to artificially create feelings of anxiety. Finally, even some of the French media are beginning to realize what an incredible political propaganda machine the Financial Times has become, as this recent article by Jean Quatremer in the Libération shows.

(6) By way of comparison, no investor has lost money in the “Greek and Irish episodes” of the “Euro crisis”, whilst tens of thousands have lost considerable sums in the recent US Muni crash… yet the media covers the first and not the second.

(7) LEAP/E2020 would like to remind readers of previous GEAB analyses that the discussion over the “Euro crisis” is of the same order as the Swine fever outbreak a year ago, namely a large-scale manipulation of public opinion to serve two purposes: first, to divert public attention from more serious problems (with Swine fever it was the crisis itself and its socio-economic consequences; with the Euro it is simply to divert attention from the situation in the United States and the United Kingdom), and secondly, to serve the goals of players with a major interest in creating this situation of fear (as regards Swine fever it was pharmaceutical laboratories and other related service providers; as regards the Euro, financial players are earning a fortune by speculating on the public debt of the countries concerned (Greece, Ireland, …)). But just as the Swine fever crisis ended in a masquerade with governments stuck with colossal stockpiles of now worthless vaccines and masks, the so-called Euro crisis is going to end up with players who will have to redeem their so “profitable” bonds for next to nothing whilst their dollars will continue to fall in value. The summer of 2010 has already shown, however, the direction of events. Source: Bloomberg, 11/18/2010

(8) Following the methodology of political anticipation, in the past years our team has, of course, looked at the possibility that the Euro might disappear or collapse. Its conclusion is cut and dried because we have identified only one set-up where such a development would be feasible: at least two major Eurozone states must be headed by political forces wishing to revive intra-European conflicts. According to our team, this prospect has zero probability of taking place in the next two decades (our maximum anticipation span in political matters). So, exit this scenario, even if it makes some with nostalgia for the Deutschmark and Franc sad…, some economists who believe that reality pays little attention to economic theories, and some Anglo-Saxons who cannot imagine, without pain, a European continent which carves out its economic and financial path without them. According to Wikileaks even Mervyn King, head of the Bank of England, believes in an accelerated integration in the Eurozone as a result of the crisis, which recounts his conversations with US diplomats (source: Telegraph, 12/06/2010). Our work on the Euro therefore focuses on the anticipation of the Eurozone’s laborious journey in adapting to its new status as Euroland in the context of the global systemic crisis. Incidentally, it is worth noting that this orgy of criticism and analysis that essentially the US and especially British media lavish has an undeniable value for Euroland leaders: it throws light on all the obstacles laid along the Eurozone path, a sine qua non for avoiding pitfalls. It’s paradoxical, but it’s an advantage not enjoyed by British or US leaders … except when they read the GEAB.

(9) And not in relation to “made to measure” currencies as is the case for the Dollar Index.

(10) The New York Times has posted a very informative game called “You solve the budget problem” on its website which allows each player to try and restore the state of federal public finances according to its socio-economic priorities and policies. Feel free to put yourself in the shoes of a Washington decision maker in and you will see that only political will is lacking to solve the problem. Source: New York Times, 11/2010

(11) Sources: CNBC, 11/26/2010; Le Temps, 12/10/2010; USAToday, 11/30/2010; New York Times, 12/04/2010

(12) The United States funds its deficits by a huge daily grab of available global savings. The country’s diplomatic credibility and effectiveness are therefore two essential features for its financial survival. But Wikileaks’ recent revelations are very damaging to the credibility of the State Department, whilst the recent complete failure of the new Israeli-Palestinian negotiations illustrates a growing ineffectiveness of US diplomacy, already very sensitive at the last G20 in Seoul. See the more detailed analysis in this issue. Sources: Spiegel, 12/08/2010; YahooNews, 12/07/2010; YahooNews, 12/08/2010

(13) Even Chinese officials consider that the US fiscal situation is markedly worse than Euroland’s. Source: Reuters, 12/08/2010

(14) Iceland, Ireland … the United Kingdom, the United States, was the accursed follow-on of sovereign insolvency that LEAP/E2020 anticipated more than two years ago. Events are moving slower than we expected, but 2011 risks proving to be a “catch up” year. The United Kingdom is currently trying to save itself at the cost of huge and drastic socio-economic cuts of which student violence, including that against the Royal Family (a rare event), testifies to their unpopularity. But the size of its debt, its financial isolation and the State rescue of its banking debacles (as did Ireland) makes this headlong rush very dangerous, socially, economically and financially. As for the United States, their leaders seem to do everything (by “doing nothing”) to ensure that 2011 is truly the year of the “Fall of the Dollar Wall ” as LEAP/E2020 anticipated in January 2006.

(15) As Liam Halligan pointed out in The Telegraph of 12/11/2010, this development on interest rates does not bode well for US debt, expressing what LEAP/E2020 anticipated over two years ago now: we are reaching the moment of truth when available global savings are insufficient to meet the needs of the West, particularly the gargantuan need of the United States.

(16) A factor emphasized by the GEAB team for over four years.

(17) European Financial Stabilization Fund, hedge fund regulation, strict limits on bank bonuses, strict regulation of rating agencies, budget monitoring, next reinforcement of the whole of the European internal market financial regulation, first Euroland rating agency, … Sources: European Voice, 10/26/2010; Deutsche Welle, 11/05/2010; Reuters, 07/13/2010; ABBL, 12/08/2010; BaFin, 11/16/2010

(18) Wolfgang Schauble, the German Finance Minister, is currently the only politician who dared to clearly show his colours in his recent interview with Bild magazine, in which he states that during the next ten years, Euroland countries will have accomplished a genuine political integration. Karl Lamers, his colleague in charge of European affairs at the core of the CDU, identifies the crisis as an opportunity for Europe and Germany, as wel as as the too rarely heard American voice of Rex Nutting in the Wall Street Journal of 12/08/2010. On the technocratic side, the ECB President, Jean-Claude Trichet, called for a “budgetary federation” in Euroland. Sources: EUObserver, 12/13/2010; DeutschlandFunk , 12/09/2010; EUObserver, 12/01/2010

(19) For over a decade, public opinion in the Euroland countries has been, in effect, much more “integrationist” than their élite. Thus, rejection of the draft European Constitution in 2005 in France and the Netherlands would not have happened without some “pro-Europeans” voting “No”, rejecting a draft that they considered too timid, politically, democratically and socially.

(20) European leaders are like the tortoise in the Jean de La Fontaine fable “The Hare and the Tortoise ” … but the race would be described by hares!

(21) By the way, the Eurozone’s future political leaders would be well advised to practice, as quickly as possible, how to manage Euroland through two interactive games, Economia and Inflation Island, that the European Central Bank has made available to the public.

(22) As LEAP/E2020 has repeated for nearly two years, European austerity is politically viable only if accompanied by unquestionable social and fiscal equity and the implementation of major democratic and social projects throughout Euroland. It is here that the real medium to long term weakness of the Eurozone can be found, not in the sovereign debt of the peripheral countries. To illustrate this point, it is useful to watch the very interesting video coverage made by the New York Times during the summer of 2010, called “The Austerity Zone: Life in the New Europe “.

(23) Given the obvious difficulty of the American élite to understand the developments taking place in Europe, LEAP/E2020 wishes to contribute to the debate currently raging on US college campuses where budget austerity has led to heavy cuts in language teaching. As always, behind budgetary justifications, several “hidden agendas” can be identified as well as candid lack of understanding of what’s going on in the rest of the world regarding languages. A perfect example of both trends seems to be Richard N. Haas, former key official of the US State Department in the G.W. Bush administration, and now the president of the influential Council of Foreign Relations, who strongly advocates pushing French, German and Russian languages out of US campuses. With such ‘enlightened and fair’ advisers (qualified as having « an intellectual deficit » to understand the 21st century world at the GlobalEurope seminars in The Hague and Washington in 2004/2005), US students are doomed to be less and less able to understand tomorrow’s world. Therefore, LEAP/E2020 finds it timely to circulate its 2007 anticipation entitled ‘Which languages will the Europeans speak in 2025?‘ again.

(24) These will be the bonds used by all Euroland countries and other EU member states who wish to participate as the other countries, except the United Kingdom, did in May 2010 for the European Financial Stabilization Fund.

(25) Despite the denials of French and German officials, these Eurobonds are on the agenda of all the informal discussions of Euroland leaders. Source: Euroinvestor, 12/10/2010

(26) It is also probable that the rise in strength of the political renewals expected in France from Spring 2012, and perhaps also in Germany at that time, will make these issues real campaign topics from the end of Summer 2011.

(27) Liam Halligan, definitely one of the best British watchers of the global crisis, is thus completely right to stress in The Telegraph of 11/27/2010 that Angela Merkel (and other Euroland leaders as well) has every intention of making investors pay for significant share of their Irish and Greek bets. But that will happen in an organized manner, as an effective and forceful strategy which the strong States are used to; not in a panic, in the context of a mini-crisis.

(28) And we repeat that, according to our anticipations, they will probably be the political leaders most independent from banking lobby since the 1990s.

(29) This will also take place in an organized manner of “forcibly” cutting back the damaged balance sheets of the major European banks.

To Learn about The Global Economic Crisis, consider purchasing Global Research’s most recent book.

The Global Economic Crisis

Michel Chossudovsky
Andrew G. Marshall (editors)
This book can be ordered directly from Global Research   

WIKILEAKS: Selection of Global Research Articles

December 17th, 2010 by Global Research

We bring to the attention of our readers an archive of  Global Research Articles on Wikileaks:

The WikiLeaks Release: U.S. Complicity and Cover-Up of Iraq Torture Exposed. - by Tom Burghardt – 2010-12-17

Iran’s Foreign Minister Sacked: Did WikiLeaks End Mottaki’s Career? - by Rannie Amiri – 2010-12-17

Wikileaks Beyond Wikileaks? – by Saroj Giri – 2010-12-16

WikiRebels: Swedish docufilm on WikiLeaks chronicles a new form of global resistance – by Rady Ananda – 2010-12-12

PBS Interview; The Redacting and Selection of Wikileaks documents by the Corporate Media – 2010-12-12

US Indictment of WikiLeaks Founder Said to be Imminent – by Bill Van Auken – 2010-12-11

WikiLeaks documents show Shell Oil domination of Nigeria – by Patrick Martin – 2010-12-10

Stating the Obvious: WikiLeaks Indicts and Vindicates U.S. Diplomats – by Ramzy Baroud – 2010-12-09

Ex-Intelligence Officers, Others See Plusses in WikiLeaks Disclosures – 2010-12-09

WikiLeaks Cable Exposes NATO War Plan Against Russia – by Bill Van Auken – 2010-12-09

Australia: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal Secret Ties Between Rudd Coup Plotters and US Embassy – by Patrick O’Connor – 2010-12-09

The Wikileaks Arrest: Unfolding Epic Drama – by Eric Walberg – 2010-12-08

Europeans Accused of “Paranoia” Over Fears of U.S. Economic Espionage, Wikileaks Documents Reveal – by Tom Burghardt – 2010-12-08

Wikileaks and Media Disinformation - by Gearóid Ó Colmáin – 2010-12-08

Criminalizing Whistleblowers: Wikileaks and America’s SHIELD Legislation - by Rady Ananda – 2010-12-08

WikiLeaks founder jailed in London on bogus charges – by Patrick Martin – 2010-12-08

Death Squads versus Democracy: Tom Flanagan’s “Joke” directed against Wikileaks Julian Assange – by Prof. Michael Keefer – 2010-12-07

Wikileaks and the Worldwide Information War – by Andrew Gavin Marshall – 2010-12-06

Wikileaks News Roundup - by William Bowles – 2010-12-05

Arrest Warrant for “Sex Crimes” Against Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange - by Washington’s Blog – 2010-12-03

Obama Administration Seeks to Criminalize WikiLeaks – by Patrick Martin – 2010-12-01

VIDEO: Top Canadian Advisor Calls for Assassination of Wikileaks Director – 2010-12-01

Censors block WikiLeaks website; Interpol issues arrest order; Canada demands Assange be killed – by Rady Ananda – 2010-12-01

Wikileaks and the New Global Order: America’s Wake-up Call – by Jonathan Cook – 2010-11-30

New WikiLeaks Documents Expose US Foreign Policy Conspiracies – by David Walsh – 2010-11-29

WikiLeaks has announced release of State Department Secret Correspondence - 2010-11-26

The Privatization of War: Mercenaries, Private Military and Security Companies (PMSC) – by Jose L. Gomez del Prado – 2010-11-08

Wikileaks Docs Underestimate Iraqi Dead – by Prof John Tirman – 2010-11-01

Extensive War Crimes: Wikileaks Iraq War Logs: Legal Action is Unavoidable – by Ad Hoc Committee for Justice for Iraq – 2010-10-30

Deaths Revealed by Wikileaks Are the “Tip of the Iceberg” – by Nicolas Davies – 2010-10-25

The Secret War Between Wikileaks and the Pentagon – by Danny Schechter – 2010-10-25

The WikiLeaks Release: U.S. Complicity and Cover-Up of Iraq Torture Exposed – by Tom Burghardt – 2010-10-24

WikiLeaks CIA Red Cell Memo: Orwellian Mindset exposed - by Larry Chin – 2010-08-30

Wikileaks Posts Classified CIA Memo - 2010-08-25

Hidden Intelligence Operation Behind the Wikileaks Release of “Secret” Documents? - by F. William Engdahl – 2010-08-11

WikiLeaks to Publish New Documents – 2010-08-09

US “Sparked Russian Spy Sensation” in the Wake of WikiLeaks Broadside – by Robert Bridge – 2010-08-02

Daniel Ellsberg’s WikiLeaks wish list – 2010-08-01

The Political Spinning of the WikiLeaks Release: Anti-war Whistleblowing or War Propaganda - by Larry Chin – 2010-07-30

The Political Spinning of the WikiLeaks Release: Anti-war Whistleblowing or War Propaganda? – by Larry Chin – 2010-07-29

US “Sparked Russian Spy Sensation” in Wake of WikiLeaks Broadside – by Robert Bridge – 2010-07-28

WikiLeaks Founder Drops ‘Mass Spying’ Hint – by Andrew Fowler – 2010-06-24

VIDEO: Wikileaks to Publish Secret State Dept. Cables: Daniel Ellsberg Fears Pentagon Hit on Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange – by Daniel Ellsberg – 2010-06-14

WikiLeaks Plans to Post Video Showing US Massacre of Afghani Civilians – by John Byrne – 2010-04-15

VIDEO: Journalists Killed in Iraq: Does it Reveal a U.S. Military Cover Up? – by Zahid Jilani – 2010-04-08

VIDEO: Collateral Murder in Baghdad - 2010-04-06

Big-Time College Sports is Big Business

December 17th, 2010 by Kéllia Ramares

Congratulations to Cam Newton of Auburn, who won the 2010 Heisman Trophy, and to the voters who selected him on the basis of the caliber of his play, despite the season-long rumors concerning his eligibility. The NCAA’s amateurism rules are a hypocritical and anachronistic exploitation of students who are, in fact, workers.

 

Cam Newton’s father allegedly tried to get Mississippi State to pay money in return for a commitment by his son to play there. Toward the end of this season, Auburn University declared Newton ineligible to play but it was reversed the next day by the NCAA on the ground that the NCAA had insufficient evidence to find that Cam knew what his father was doing. Still, prominent figures such as nationally-syndicated sports talk show host Jim Rome have said that Newton should have been declared ineligible even if he knew nothing.

This story is the latest in a series of  “pay to play” incidents involving high-profile college players in “revenue” sports such as O.J. Mayo in basketball, and Reggie Bush, who returned his Heisman Trophy earlier this year. But the shame should not be on the players, or their parents, for looking to get paid. The shame should be on the universities and the NCAA for profiting from these players’ talents, yet not sharing the money with the people who made it for them, all in the name of some 19th Century notion of amateurism and the “student-athlete.”

College sports, especially men’s basketball and football, are big-time businesses today. A university makes money and gains prestige by having a big time sports program. Often the revenue made by these programs allows the university to field teams in the “non-revenue” sports such as baseball and tennis, and to have intramural sports for the true amateurs. Sports teams help keep the alumni in touch with their schools. An alum who stays connected to the school is more likely to donate to it. 

Conferences and even individual schools, such as Notre Dame, whose football team is currently under a “pay to play” cloud, have created their own lucrative broadcast networks. Despite the argument that a longer season would interfere with the players’ studies, conferences have added post-season basketball tournaments. More games mean more revenue. Each year, there is talk of adding more teams to the NCAA’s March Madness, which now ends in April. Why? Money. And when last I counted, there were 34 football bowl games. Why? Money.

Yet the players are expected to be satisfied with tuition, room and board, and books. They may be Big Men On Campus but if they don’t have family money to supplement the scholarship, they don’t have the pocket money for a decent date. They see the university making money from their efforts and all they have is the hope that they don’t get injured before they can finally sign that professional contract. Is it any wonder the very best of them try to cash in earlier?

When the hypocritical NCAA punishes a school, the punishment falls heaviest on innocent parties: the other members of the team, or even future players, who are banned from the post season or denied scholarships because the school has had its scholarships reduced as part of the punishment. There is some embarrassment for the school and maybe the player involved, but others serve as the whipping boy. This is neither justice nor deterrence as the school and possibly the player directly involved already got their payday. The tickets were sold; the games were played. Professional teams like those that signed Mayo and Bush and will sign Newton, care only that the player will help them make more money in the future. 

If the universities and the NCAA want to stress the importance of integrity to the players, it is high time they owned up to the fact that big time college sports are no longer just extracurricular activities. They prepare certain young men for careers in professional sports just as other college subjects prepare students for professional careers. You can do professional work while you are a student. If an art student sells a sculpture, or a film student wins a documentary prize or an English major publishes a best-seller or a business major founds a profitable company, they don’t get thrown out of school for making money from what they’re studying.

Professional sports today is as viable a career choice for certain people as medicine or law is for others. Other nations, as we are reminded during the Olympics, have schools of “physical culture”. The fact that many hopefuls do not succeed in a sports career does not make sports an an illegitimate academic pursuit.  Not everybody who dreams of being an actor is successful in that career, but no one suggests that Yale University should disband its prestigious drama program for that reason.

Some people may argue that these examples are different than selling your talents to the highest bidder in a “pay to play” scheme. But that sort of thing goes on all the time anyway, in the form of full-ride scholarships and offers of playing time. “Come to my school and you’ll be a starter your freshman year,”  is as valuable an offer to some players as cold, hard cash is to others. It’s just that the most lucrative offers to play are banned by the very institutions that stand to make the most money from their student-gladiators.  Imagine two teams from the same conference vying for the same prospect and he says he is willing to play for whomever offers the most money. That opens a can of worms called capitalism. He’s charging what the market will bear. Welcome to the real world. Perhaps such an arrangement is frowned upon because it would enable the owner of the skill to determine where that skill will be employed and at what price. Bosses hate that.

We could just ditch monetary systems altogether and then many activities, including how college athletes are recruited and retained, would not be considered as sordid as they are viewed when money is involved. But as long as we have a money-based world, not letting the people who do the work benefit monetarily from their labor is simply unjust.

As for the argument that even if I’m right, the rules are what they are now, so Cam Newton should have been declared ineligible to play, Auburn should not be in the BCS title game, and Newton should not have been voted the Heisman Trophy, I say better to take the opportunity to ditch outmoded rules than to continue them simply because they are the rules. Maybe the NCAA was taking some tentative steps down that path when they reinstated Newton the day after Auburn declared him ineligible. If so, I say, keep going, NCAA. 

Where the NCAA does need to come down hard on the students involved is in issues of academic eligibility.  No one should be in college who does not belong academically. Players must realize that academic eligibility, even if they are going to be in school only one year, as basketball players do today, is their responsibility. They should consider it a part of their training. Professional athletics involves endorsement deals, public appearances and many other things beyond the game itself. It  behooves a player to have some education. The schools should also know whom they are getting and should be prepared to help those who need it. Reports of functionally illiterate students in school primarily for athletics, who are then abandoned by the system when they get injured or their sports eligibility ends, are the true disgraces for the universities and the NCAA.

As for the sordid business of “pay to play”, make it legal and regulate it fairly. This is one of those cases in which the cover-up is worse than the crime.

Bruised egos, embarrassed faces, pubic and private indignation at the audacity of Julian Assange, clarifications offered and apologies extended; until now, these have been the reactions of world leaders and diplomats to the unprecedented release of WikiLeaks cables. But on Monday, they may have claimed their first victim.

In the middle of an official state visit to Senegal , Manouchehr Mottaki was unceremoniously dismissed as Iran ’s foreign minister by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. He only learned of it through media reports. The MIT-educated head of the country’s Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Akbar Salehi (always Ahmadinejad’s preferred candidate for the position) was quickly named interim foreign minister.

Mottaki was sacked exactly one week after Iran held its first talks in over a year with the P5+1 powers in Geneva (the five members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany), and six months after yet another round of economic sanctions were imposed by the U.N. Security Council over Iran’s contentious nuclear program. Presciently, Mottaki was absent from the Geneva summit.

The indecorous manner in which he was ousted aside, what was the reason behind Mottaki’s dismissal?

Ahmadinejad’s office provided no official explanation, but several theories exist.

One was that Mottaki was a bit too compromising for Tehran ’s liking.

In early December, both Mottaki and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton attended the Manama Dialogue, a three-day security conference organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies in Bahrain . There, Clinton mentioned that Iran is entitled to enrich uranium and develop a civilian nuclear energy program provided it was done in a “responsible manner.” Mottaki characterized this as a “step forward.” On a subsequent visit to Athens , he remarked there were “certain shared positions” where cooperation could take place.

A second and more credible supposition is that Ahmadinejad wants to fill his cabinet with loyalists and sycophants.

“Mottaki is the one and only man (in the cabinet) who does not belong to Ahmadinejad’s group of ministers with mostly intelligence and IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) background,” said Massoumeh Torfeh of London ‘s School of Oriental and African Studies as quoted by Reuters.

Ahmadinejad wasted little time in finding ways to undermine Mottaki. By appointing six foreign envoys that report directly to him, Ahmadinejad managed to bypass the foreign ministry entirely (they were eventually downgraded to advisors after Ayatollah Khamenei intervened).

Mottaki is also a close associate of current parliament speaker Ali Larijani, who has butted heads with Ahmadinejad on more than one occasion. Among other complaints, Larijani argues that power is being increasingly consolidated by the president at the expense of parliamentary consultation and oversight.

It may be, as Iran ’s Press TV reported, that Mottaki’s exit was long in the works. This is likely correct, but is it coincidence that it came on the heels of WikiLeaks cables that revealed the Arab regimes’ estrangement and hostility toward Tehran and its nuclear ambitions? (Feelings not shared by the Arab public incidentally). To hide his embarrassment, Ahmadinejad was forced to assert the divulged memos were part of an “American conspiracy” in a game of “an intelligence and psychological” warfare.  

It is true that the comments made by Arab potentates to U.S. officials, repeatedly goading the U.S. to attack Iran , belied their public declarations of friendship and brotherhood.

The Saudi ambassador to the U.S., Adel al-Jubeir, relayed that King Abdullah urged Washington to “cut the head of the snake” while Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed said Ahmadinejad—whom he referred to as “Hitler”—was “going to take us to war” and must be stopped at all costs. “Bomb Iran or live with an Iranian bomb” was the exhortation that came out of Jordan .

The real fear of nations like Bahrain , Kuwait , Egypt , Jordan and Saudi Arabia is that Iran will inspire oppressed Arab Shia Muslims to rise against monarchy and dictatorship as their co-religionists did in 1979 across the Persian Gulf . They also fear that the growing popularity of Iranian-backed groups like Hezbollah will erode their own authority and influence. This repression is particularly severe in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia .

What the Arab regimes fail to realize is that instead of regarding Arab Shia as fifth columnists for Iran, they should treat them with the same respect and dignity as they do Sunni citizens (however small that may be) and grant them equals rights to practice their religion. The myth of Shia disloyalty would disappear overnight were that to happen.

There was little Mottaki could due to convince the Persian Gulf monarchies they first need to address and rectify troubles within their borders, not outside of them. Nevertheless, the cables release may have been the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back and culminated in the quick end to his five-year tenure as Iran ’s foreign minister.

Mottaki sudden removal is multifactorial: it points to the battle between conservatives who believe power should be vested in the Supreme Leader, clergy and parliament; and Ahmadinejad supporters, namely the IRGC, who are slowly gnawing away at their control and power. His alleged foreign policy shortcomings, like the failure to stave off a fourth round of sanctions at the U.N. or win the Arab states’ confidence, were pretexts needed to expeditiously sack him.

A foreign minister who can forestall additional punitive economic measures or reassure Iran ’s jittery neighbors is unlikely to be found at present; the negative political climate is simply too great for one person to overcome. But a minister who will acquiesce to a foreign policy dictated by Ahmadinejad’s inner circle and the IRGC can be. In Salehi, a willing accomplice was hired. 

Rannie Amiri is an independent Middle East commentator.

France: Not Victorious, But Not Defeated

December 17th, 2010 by Murray Smith

It is now possible to begin to draw a tentative balance sheet of the vast movement against the reform (or more exactly, counter-reform) of the pension system in France over the last few months. We need to look at the depth and breadth of the movement, the forms that it took and the positions adopted by its various components. And finally at what might be the repercussions and consequences.

The immediate aim of the reform proposed by President Nicolas Sarkozy and his government seemed quite clear. It was to raise the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 and the age for retiring with a full pension from 65 to 67, with corresponding increases in the number of years of contribution required. But behind this immediate aim lies the ongoing objective of slowly undermining the public pension system, with the aim of pushing workers toward subscribing to private pension plans, to the greater profit of the pension funds.

Private funds have never been able to develop in France to the extent that they have elsewhere.

This is not the first pension reform: previous ones in 1993 and 2003 lengthened the periods of contribution for the private then the public sector, changed the method of calculating and indexed pensions on the evolution of prices rather than wages. Since 1993 the value of a pension has dropped by around 20 per cent. A million pensioners live below the poverty line and 50 per cent receive less than 1000 euros a month. (The minimum wage in France is currently 1337.70 euros a month.) Nor will this reform be the last. A further review of pensions will take place in 2013, conveniently after the next presidential elections.

Movement Grows

The movement against the reform began as soon as it was clear that there was going to be one, even before the exact details were published. The first one-day strike was on March 23, 2010, followed by two others on May 27 and June 24. After the summer break the movement took off again and indeed intensified, with 2.5 million demonstrators in the streets on September 7, reaching its highest point in mid-October, with days of action that put up to 3.5 million people onto the streets. And since they were not all the same people, the newspaper Le Monde has calculated that up to 8 million people were involved in the mobilizations at some point.

The days of action were called by the Intersyndicale, a coordinating committee of the French trade union confederations, all of which were represented on it, from the biggest to the smallest, from the most moderate to the most radical. The Intersyndicale continued to function throughout the eight months of the movement and had the undisputed authority to determine the timing of the big national days of action/one-day strikes.

This was not the first time that such an Intersyndicale had functioned. It was already the case, partially, in the movement over pension reform in 2003 (although the moderate Confédération française démocratique du travail – CFDT – French Democratic Confederation of Labour pulled out early after an agreement with the government and the radical Solidaires federation was excluded) and again in the movement in 2006 that defeated the CPE (an attempt to introduce a cut-rate minimum wage for young workers entering the job market). Very significantly, given the nature of the movement in 2006, the Intersyndicale was broadened out to include the student and school student unions. The Intersyndicale functioned again in the one-day strikes against austerity at the beginning of 2009.

Trade Unions’ Role

The central role played by the trade unions is no accident. In the present period, they have a unique authority. Whatever may be thought of their errors, their failures, their weaknesses and their limits, individually and collectively, they are considered by millions of workers as instruments of defence. No political party has the ability to put millions of people into the streets. Not the Socialist Party (SP), despite its electoral support, nor the forces to the left of the SP. This central role of the unions has something to do with the traditions of the French workers’ movement, but not only that. The unions played a central role during the general strikes of 1936 and 1968 and in many other movements, but behind the main union federation, the General Confederation of Labour (Confédération Générale du Travail, CGT), stood the French Communist Party (PCF), which was hegemonic in the working class. No party has such hegemony today.

It was the unity of the trade unions, which was not always the case in the past – far from it – that made possible a movement on this scale. None of them could have done it on their own. The CFDT in particular had a strong reason to stay on board. Its desertion of the movement in 2003 cost it many members, mainly to the benefit of the CGT and Solidaires. But the unity that made the movement possible inevitably imposed some limits on it. The Intersyndicale was never going to call a full-scale, ongoing general strike to defeat the reform. Not only the CFDT and the smaller moderate unions, but also the CGT (as was already shown clearly in 2003) were not ready for that. It would certainly have been the most effective weapon to defeat the government but the trade union leaderships as they are were never going to do it.

Only the Solidaires federation consistently defended such a line but it was very much in a minority. Over and above the question of the general strike, the Intersyndicale as a whole did not take a position of calling for the withdrawal of the reform; Intersyndicale’s main components proclaimed their willingness to negotiate, complaining of not being consulted.

Left Parties’ Response

Although the parties of the left could not themselves mobilize millions, they all supported the actions initiated by the Intersyndicale. For the Socialist Party this was done with not a few hesitations, qualifications and false notes. The official position of the SP was to defend the right to retire at 60 but to accept prolonging the years of contribution necessary for that to 41.5 years, which rather emptied it of its content. Dominique Strauss-Kahn, president of the International Monetary Fund and a potential SP presidential candidate in 2012, distanced himself from the party’s opposition to raising the retirement age, as did other figures on the right of the party. Even the SP’s first secretary, Martine Aubry, had to do a quick about-turn after initially approving of raising the retirement age to 62.

The forces to the left of the SP took a position of outright refusal of the reform, crystallized from the beginning by a petition launched by ATTAC and the Fondation Copernic (a left-wing think tank) on April 7, 2010, and signed by individuals representing a spectrum of parties and associations. These included many representative trade unionists, intellectuals and representatives of all the parties to the left of the Socialist Party (PCF, Greens, New Anti-Capitalist Party, Left Party…). There were also a significant number of SP members, including some leading ones. Collectives established on the basis of this appeal played a role in explaining the reform and winning public support, especially in the early stages, and unitary meetings were held all over the country.

The depth and breadth of the movement were such that, inevitably, comparisons have been made with past movements. From the point of view of the extent of the movement and the numbers of people involved, this was the biggest movement since 1968. In 1995 the strike movement was much more powerful, spearheaded by the rail workers. But the movement was less broad.

Why No Ongoing General Strike?

But when you make the comparison with 1968, the question arises: why was there no ongoing general strike? Of course as we have seen the union leaderships were not ready to call one, but the two massive general strikes in 1936 and 1968 were not called by the union leaderships. They began in the workplaces and spread, only being taken in charge by the unions at national level later on. Why did that not happen this time?

There is no simple answer to that, but a large part of the reason lies in the changes that have taken place in the working class. Although there are still some large concentrations of workers and some strategic sectors where a strike can have a big impact (as was seen in the recent movement), the situation of the working class bears no comparison with 1968. Many of the big bastions of the working class and of the trade unions in heavy industry have gone, in France as elsewhere. Privatizations have been pushed through. Workers are much more atomized, work units are smaller, there are more non-unionized workplaces, there is more precarious work, there is unemployment and the threat of it, there is growing household indebtedness. This was reflected in the fact that many rank-and-file militants who, unlike the union leaderships, did want a general strike were sceptical about the possibility. Another factor was certainly the absence of a credible perspective of social change, which was there both in 1936 and in 1968. Socialism may not have been an immediate perspective but it was a long-term one for millions.

Rather than comparisons with 1968, it is more interesting to situate the 2010 movement in the chain of resistance to neoliberalism over the last fifteen years, marked on a national scale by the movements in 1995, 2003 and 2006, and last but not least by the European referendum campaign of 2005. If we look at the multiple facets and forms of struggle of the movement we will see that it draws on these experiences while developing them. In the first place, like previous movements, the movement had massive public support, which increased rather than diminished as it progressed, reaching over 70 per cent in the autumn. That was among the general public. Among workers it was higher. In September a CSA poll showed that 89 per cent of public sector workers and 76 per cent of workers in the private sector were opposed to pension reform.

The backbone of the movement was the series of one-day strikes and demonstrations that built up from 800,000 demonstrators in March to 3.5 million on October. But around that backbone many other things were happening. On each national day of action many workers not only marched but went on strike. Some sectors could be counted on to take strike action every time, rail workers and teachers among others. The decision to have some demonstrations on a Saturday, the first one on October 2, was not well received by many militants. But it made possible the participation of many workers, especially in the private sector, who supported the movement but were not ready to go on strike, in many cases because it would have cost them their job. On top of the national days of action there were many local initiatives in areas that were bastions of the movement, above all but not only, in the area around Marseilles. And at a local level, the militants were often well to the left of the national union leadership, and the call was not to renegotiate the reform but for it to be withdrawn.

High Point of Radicalization

The movement reached its high point in the second half of October. Following a day of action on October 12 many sectors remained on strike, either continuously or in a rolling fashion, and this continued after the day of action on October 19. The focus was now on the most militant actions. Key sectors engaged in ongoing strikes. All the oil refineries in France were out, as were port workers and lorry drivers (who in France are largely wage earners rather than being self-employed). Some of these sectors had their own specific motives to strike – plans for the privatization of ports, danger of closure and delocalisation of refineries. Another key factor was the massive mobilization in the movement of school students, who struck and blockaded their high schools, and to a lesser extent university students, though the universities were only just starting again after the holidays.

At this stage of the movement the strikes were accompanied by forms of direct action. The oil refineries were not just on strike but blockaded, as were the ports. Dozens of tankers blocked off Marseille. There were blockades of motorways (especially by the lorry drivers), railway lines and industrial zones. These actions were conducted by workers from different sectors and by students. Perhaps the most striking thing is that as the movement radicalized so did public support for it. Financial support for the strikers poured in.

At the height of the movement a poll taken on October 20-21 (Harris-Marianne) showed some remarkable results: 69 per cent approved of the strikes and demonstrations (92 per cent among those on the left); 52 per cent supported public transport strikes (77 per cent on the left); 46 per cent approved of blocking the refineries (70 per cent on the left, 57 per cent of manual workers). The combination of forms of struggle, from mass demonstrations to more militant strikes and direct action, not only gave the movement its breadth and depth. It also made it possible to escape from the “all or nothing” trap – either a general strike or demoralisation and demobilization. The forms of action that appeared in this movement will be seen again.

`Not Victorious, Not Defeated’

The movement was in the end not victorious. The government camped on its position, the law went through, the police broke the blockades of the refineries and imported oil from other countries. The movement began to lose impetus toward the end of October. But in the first place what happened was not inevitable. Even short of a full-scale general strike, a continuation of the movement at the level it had reached in mid-October could have made the economic and political price too high for the government to pay. And “not victorious” does not mean crushingly defeated. This was not Britain in 1985. Sarkozy may want to be France’s Thatcher but he certainly is not. This was a tactical defeat, which may turn out to have been a Pyrrhic victory for Sarkozy. It was not by any means the kind of defeat which demoralizes and deters people from fighting again.

The strength of the movement is an indication of profound dissatisfaction with Sarkozy and his government. It crystallized around the issue of pensions, about which people have strong feelings. They think, entirely reasonably, that they have a right to retire on a decent pension at an age when they can still enjoy their retirement. But there are also other factors at work. There is a widespread feeling that this is one neoliberal measure too far, that after this there will be others, and that it has to stop somewhere. There is a questioning of what sort of society this is leading to. This is true even among young people. Probably many of the school students who demonstrated did not understand the fine details of the law on pensions. But they know they will have difficulty finding any kind of decent job, they wonder why people will have to work until they are 67 when there is so much youth unemployment, and in a more diffuse way they wonder what kind of society they are growing up into. There is also a widespread feeling, in France as in other countries, that it is ordinary people, workers, the poor, young people, who are being made to pay for the crisis, while bankers and brokers continue to rake in the money.

There has been resistance to neoliberalism in other countries and at present popular resistance against austerity is spreading across Europe. But it is certainly in France that resistance has been greatest over a long period. There is a long history of popular revolt in France, combined with deep-seated attachment to equality, solidarity, the defence of the “general interest” against particular interests, which flows from the French Revolution. The proclaimed aim of Sarkozy when he came to power in 2007 was to put a stop to this “French exception” and get France up to speed with its European partners. The progress that he has made has been in the face of considerable opposition and remains fragile. To this should be added the perception of Sarkozy himself.

Under neoliberalism, governments have tended increasingly to act not only as guarantors of the capitalist order in general but as direct servants of the rich and in particular of the sphere of finance. But up until now no French president has so blatantly and shamelessly paraded his links with the rich as Sarkozy. Indeed a recent book about him is simply entitled The President of the Rich. No further explanation is required. It is symptomatic of the Sarkozy regime that the minister who steered the pension reform through (and was dropped in the subsequent government reshuffle), Eric Woerth, is himself up to his eyes in a scandal centred on France’s richest woman, Liliane de Bettencourt. Another example is the fact that Guillaume Sarkozy, elder brother of the president and a prominent businessperson, planned to cash in on the reform by launching a private pension fund on January 1, in partnership with public financial institutions that are ultimately controlled by his brother. The plan appears to have been stymied for the moment, but its existence, over and above the family connection, illustrates the close links between the Elysee Palace and business circles.

What Now?

What is the situation now that the movement is effectively over? One striking feature of it was that in spite of massive rejection of Sarkozy there was no sign of a political alternative. The few calls that were made for a dissolution of parliament and new elections received little echo. That reflects the fact that at the moment the only alternative to Sarkozy and his Union for a Popular Movement (Union pour un Mouvement Populaire, UMP) party is the Socialist Party. People may vote for it as a lesser evil than Sarkozy, but in most cases without great enthusiasm. The fact that the SP candidate in the 2012 presidential elections could well be IMF president Dominique Strauss-Kahn speaks volumes about the absence of any alternative to neoliberalism from that quarter.

All the political forces in France are now positioning themselves for 2012. The recent government reshuffle, the re-appointment of Francois Fillon as prime minister, the departure of most of the centrist and ex-left ministers and the realignment of the government on the UMP is a sign that Sarkozy is battening down the hatches and trying to mobilize the core vote of the traditional right.

After being united in the movement over pension reform, how the left, specifically the forces to the left of the Socialist Party, prepares future electoral confrontations will be of great importance. On that level, things will become clearer over the next few months.

But many things can happen between now and 2012. A British prime minister once said that a week is a long time in politics. In the present international social and economic climate, particularly in Europe, the period that separates us from the 2012 elections are an eternity. What is certain is that the combativeness and inventiveness that were demonstrated in the movement will be reflected in many partial, local struggles. Indeed they already are.

Whether we see a new generalized movement depends on many things: what measures the government dares to take, what miscalculations it may make, what is forced on it by, for example, the crisis of the eurozone.

Outside the arena of social struggles, and apart from elections, other political initiatives are possible. During the movement, calls were made for a referendum on pensions, in particular by Left Party leader Jean-Luc Melenchon. The idea did not really take off, perhaps it was not the right moment to raise it in the heat of the struggle. But it seems to be gathering some support now, and it could be one way of keeping the issue of pensions alive. There is a precedent in the success of the unofficial, popular referendum against the privatization of the Post Office in 2009.

Whatever the precise developments over the coming months, the forces that were brought into action over the last eight months will continue to manifest themselves, and the French working class will continue to be in the vanguard of resistance to neoliberalism and austerity in Europe. •

Murray Smith lives in Luxembourg and is a member of the anti-capitalist party Dei Lenk. He is a former leading member of the Scottish Socialist Party. This article appeared in Links.

Violence in Cinema: “Torture Porn”: World Cinema at its Lowest Ebb

December 17th, 2010 by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin

Interrogation by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin (Oil on canvas)

You walk in to a very large darkened room with a high ceiling. There is a large audience watching in anticipation. A story unfolds before your eyes, in vivid colour. It is the story of a good person who was captured and tortured. The torture is shown in 3D and in metaphor. The audience is hushed and contemplative. Despite the horrors of the torture the protagonist of the story eventually escapes and returns to his friends who are overjoyed, if not a bit shocked at his wounds. But his return signals to all in the audience that there is hope in this world despite the daily horrors.

Of course, the possibly of hope is one of the main differences between the Catholic Mass and certain modern films.

While torture is not new in cinema its depiction has become progressively (or should I say regressively?) more realistic and graphic.

A Serbian Film

What were once vices are the fashion of the day.  Seneca

The relatively new genre of torture porn is being highlighted once again by the arrival of A Serbian Film, a film of unspeakable horrors with absolutely no hope. This film has been described as a film about politics as the director defended “his choices by saying that the film represents the molestation of the Serbian people and that you have to feel the violence to understand it”.  According to The Guardian:

“the British Board of Film Classification were less convinced and demanded 49 individual cuts that amount to nearly four minutes of screen time. ‘The film-makers have stated that A Serbian Film is intended as an allegory about Serbia itself,’ admitted a BBFC spokeswoman. ‘The board recognises that the images are intended to shock, but the sexual and sexualised violence goes beyond what is acceptable under current BBFC guidelines [for an 18-certificate].’”  [1]

The extreme nature of the film has even caused it to be dropped from the Film4 Frightfest film festival, “the UK’s premiere fantasy and horror film festival.” [2] (For those with a very strong stomach here is a link to a review of A Serbian Film, but be warned, it doesn’t have two disclaimers for nothing:http://www.moviesonline.ca/2010/12/torture-porn-redefined-dressing-serbian-film/). Calls for censorship have come from reviewers and groups that would normally be quite liberal about such films. The consensus seems to be that the extreme nature of the content of the film undermines any political message.

There have been many films in this genre over the past few years: Saw (2004) [3], Hostel (2005) [4], Wolf Creek (2005) [5] etc. Torture porn has been creeping into mainstream films for some years now with The Life of David Gale (2003) [6], The Passion of Christ (2004) [7] and Casino Royale (2006) [8].

Changing aesthetic

The changing aesthetic of violence can be seen in Steven Spielberg’s Saving Private Ryan (1998) [9] with three kinds of violence occurring throughout the film. There is an opening 30-minute war scene of the D-Day invasion of Normandy which is executed in a gritty realistic manner and a final battle scene of the soldiers holding off a German counter-attack with a more typical Hollywood war movie aesthetic.

However, there is a scene before the final battle of hand to hand warfare in the ruined houses where one soldier sticks a knife in another lying on the floor and talks quietly to him as he slowly pushes the knife in. This is a different aesthetic from the other two scenes as one starts feel like a voyeur watching how a person dies rather than why. The voyeur aspect is a strong element of the torture porn genre where victimisation, pain and suffering are lingered over.

There has been much discussion about the desensitizing effects of such violence in mainstream cinema on society on the one hand and the grip of the nanny state on the other. However, we live in an unfair society and there is no doubt that whether cinema begets violence or not is an important subject necessitating constant debate. The organisation of society itself creates many frustrations and these can be expressed in many kinds of violence: state violence (e.g. riot police), political violence, sexual violence, criminal violence, blood sports, bullying, structural violence etc.

Aerial Bombardment by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin (Oil on canvas)

Rather than looking at the affects of watching violence on audiences, I would like to look at the ideological impact of violence in films in the context of power and social control in society in general.

In this sense, it is fruitful to look at the prevalence of violence in films from the perspective of the asymmetrical power relations between the victims and the perpetrators. Instead of questioning whether there should be violence or not, we can examine if the violence is justified or not, who ultimately benefits from the violence and whether the violence used is excessive or not.

For example, in Hostel II wealthy men bid for the opportunity to torture and kill. In one scene in Hostel II:

“[Stuart] takes the sack off Beth’s head and explains about Elite Hunting. Stuart tells Beth that the group is a worldwide secret society where wealthy members come to Slovakia to kill people that the organization abducts as a twisted satisfaction for the psychopath members to kill people in various fantasy-like ways for the sole purpose to watch them die and to get the satisfaction of killing a human. All the members are important people of society in every country in the world (politicians, lawyers, doctors, policemen, directors, actors, businessmen, etc).” [10]

Hostel II describes the ultimate ‘service industry’ where the most extreme fantasies can be ‘enjoyed’ if you have enough dough. Thus, in the film it is the elite of society who are seen to enjoy any kind of activity they desire to be indulged in. They can ‘buy’ a victim upon whom they can conduct  extreme forms of torture and murder. It is unjustified, excessive violence perpetrated on unknowing victims.

In films where it is ordinary people engaging in violence (aside from violent criminality), it tends to be revenge violence or revolutionary violence.

Aftermath of Suicide Bomber, Morgue in Rawalpindi, Pakistan by Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin (Oil on canvas)

Revenge violence

Revenge is a kind of wild justice, which the more man’s nature runs to, the more ought law to weed it out. Sir Francis Bacon

The problem with revenge violence is that it is anarchic and so can be difficult to stop from spiraling out of control. A lynch mob is an example of violence that is carried out in anger and may result in the group murder of an innocent person.

In cinema, revenge violence can express a collective unconscious of revenge on someone who it was felt had never properly faced justice for their crimes. For example, in Inglourious Basterds (2009) a fantasy of revenge is created through violence which is used against Hitler:

“On her cue, Marcel flicks his cigarette into the pile of nitrate film behind the screen, igniting it. The fire bursts through the screen, causing pandemonium in the auditorium. Just then, Donowitz and Ulmer burst into Hitler’s box and gun down Hitler, Goebbels and the other Nazi leaders.” [11]

Thus a violent retribution is enacted upon those who caused much suffering and death to millions of Jews but who in reality escaped justice through suicide. In The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (2009) [12] we see a different form of revenge violence when the torture and violent rape of a woman leads her to seek revenge through reciprocal violence and then becomes a ‘saviour’ of all women when she tracks down a serial killer of young women and refuses to pull him from his burning car.

Revolutionary violence

It is organized violence on top which creates individual violence at the bottom. It is the accumulated indignation against organized wrong, organized crime, organized injustice, which drives the political offender to act. Emma Goldman

Ken Loach’s “The Wind That Shakes the Barley” (2006) [13]

In The Battle of Algiers (1966) frustrations caused by colonial oppression result in political violence by the oppressed, whereby “the torture used by the French is contrasted with the Algerian’s use of bombs in soda shops.”  [14]

The Battle of Algiers

“The Battle of Algiers” (1966) [15]

In other films there is the calculated revolutionary violence that is used to bring about social and political change in films such as The Wind That Shakes the Barley (2006) (The Irish War of Independence)  [16], Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) (The Spanish Civil War) [17] and Che: Part One (2008) (The Cuban Revolution) [18]. In these films violence is contextualised, directed at specific targets for specific reasons, and always with a long term goal in mind. Whether these films are anti-colonial, anti-fascist or stories of popular uprising they counteract the negative ideology of individualised suffering and torture without hope.

“Che: Part II” (2008) [19]

New cathedrals

It has often been stated that shopping malls are the new cathedrals of society yet the process of film-making has much more in common with church rituals.  In the church the mass goers learn of the Christian narrative through the Stations of the Cross (unfolding picture story of  the crucifixion), stained glass windows (vivid colour), the Crucifix hanging behind the altar (3D), Breaking of the Bread and Communion (metaphor), Eucharistic Prayer and Apostles’ Creed (the Good News) ending with the Blessing and Dismissal. [20]

In cinemas we watch multi-million dollar block buster movies that are based around a core of a few well-known actors who are the focus of attention over and above minor actors and extras around them. These films follow quite rigid narrative structures that are usually ideologically conservative. The films are then shown all over the world in cinemas with audiences soaking in an ideology which is legitimised by the fame of the primary ‘A-list’ actors.

In the church, the story of capture and torture is balanced by the idea of hope and redemption. The cinema can do the same. It is possible to reject the torture of despair and question the actors and directors who indulge in such film-making while, at the same time, continually asserting our desire for a cinema of hope, of stories that show heroism and courage in the face of the multi-faceted forms of violence and oppression in modern society.

Notes

[1] http://www.guardian.co.uk/film/2010/aug/27/a-serbian-film-frightfest

[2] http://www.frightfest.co.uk/ 

[3] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0387564/synopsis

[4] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0450278/synopsis

[5] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0416315/synopsis

[6] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0289992/

[7] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0335345/

[8] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0381061/

[9] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0120815/

[10] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0498353/synopsis

[11] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0361748/synopsis

[12] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1132620/synopsis

[13]http://internetservices.readingeagle.com/blog/moviehouse/2007/06/the_one_movie_you_should_see_t_19.html

[14] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058946/plotsummary

[15] http://www.offoffoff.com/film/2004/battleofalgiers.php

[16] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0460989/synopsis

[17] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0457430/synopsis

[18] http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0892255/

[19] http://www.munster-express.ie/files/2009/05/che-3.jpg

[20] See: http://catholic-resources.org/ChurchDocs/Mass.htm

Caoimhghin Ó Croidheáin is a prominent Irish artist who has exhibited widely around Ireland. His work consists of drawings and paintings and features cityscapes of Dublin, images based on Irish history and other work with social/political themes (http://gaelart.net/). He is also developing a blog database of Realist and Social Realist art from around the world. These paintings can be viewed country by country on his blog at http://gaelart.blogspot.com/.

Operation Apollo, Operation Athena, Operation Archer, Operation Accius, Operation Altair … since Canada first entered the war on Afghanistan in 2001 the list of extensions, renewals and “spin-offs” has gone on and on and on. Originally scheduled to end in 2003, Canada’s involvement in this imperialist aggression threatens to continue until 2014 if Prime Minister Stephen Harper gets his way.

Campaign Against Nato

Afghanistan has been the central preoccupation of Canadian foreign policy over the past decade. It has also been a main focus of peace movement activity. Mobilizations against the war in Afghanistan have not been nearly as spectacular as those against the invasion of Iraq in 2003. The build up was slower, and it took more time to locate a basis of unity upon which to build mobilizations.

But, for the entire decade, opinion polls have repeatedly shown that a majority of Canadians disagree with the war. Despite massive spending on huge PR campaigns to “sell” the war to the public, and the constant ideological bombardment from the government, the military and its allied industries, and the corporate media, Canadians remain opposed to this war.

Yet successive Canadian governments (both Liberal and Conservative) have pursued a policy of war. Clearly, the state has an interest in the Afghanistan war that surpasses (and diminishes) the electoral concerns of any individual party or government. Examining and understanding this interest is key to strengthening both the anti-war effort and the broader movement for peace and progress.

Not A Localized Conflict

The advanced sections of the peace movements have long understood that the war in Afghanistan was never a localized conflict. From the get-go, it was part of a regional campaign that includes the war against Iraq and Israel’s role in the Middle East.

To overly simplify the situation, the war in Afghanistan was a key component in the drive by the United States (and its Canadian and British allies) to recolonize a huge, resource-rich area of the world. While this view is quite correct, it is obviously a truncated assessment of a much more complicated issue.

A related way of looking at things is to view the war in Afghanistan as the crucible in which a new direction in Canadian foreign policy is being tested and clarified. There are a number of elements to this policy shift:

  • a deliberate and dramatic shift away from UN-oriented multilateralism toward an “ad-hoc” multilateralism. (There are many problems with the United Nations, but to replace it with makeshift “coalitions of the willing” is nothing short of gangster politics on a global scale);

  • a heightened emphasis on NATO and identifying a new role for that military alliance;

  • a definite move away from “traditional peacekeeping” (again, there are plenty of problems with this role and these missions, but Canada is certainly not moving toward an improved model);

  • a more aggressive posture in foreign policy, with greater emphasis on military action, sanctions, terror lists, etc., instead of development, diplomacy, cooperation, and peace;

  • a more brash statement of Canadian economic interests as key to foreign policy developments.

These changes are deeply at play in Canada’s involvement in Afghanistan. Perhaps the clearest example is the Canada First Defence Strategy (CFDS), the Harper government’s blueprint for defence and foreign policy. The following excerpts from a 2008 Canadian Peace Congress statement on CFDS provide a sense of the scope of the reorientation in Canadian foreign policy, how tightly related it is to the war in Afghanistan, and the profound implications it has for domestic policy:

“CFDS is the manifesto of the most aggressive circles of Canadian finance capital seeking with a bigger military budget to strengthen its influence at the round tables in Washington and Brussels.

“The CFDS flaunts military power as the essential ingredient of Canadian diplomacy in international affairs. CFDS promotes the growth, modernization and combat readiness of the Canadian military and its interoperability with U.S. military forces for one main reason, to commit Canada to current and future U.S.-NATO wars, interventions and occupations as the first principle of Canadian government foreign policy. CFDS boasts of the experience gained by Canadian forces in Afghanistan as a `military that can operate far from home on a sustained basis.’ According to Prime Minister Harper the ability to wage war is the path that will return Canada to the international stage as a `credible and influential country.’

“CFDS elevates commitments to NATO, NORAD, ORTHCOM, the Security and Prosperity Partnership (SPP) and the Civil Assistance Plan, the latter permitting U.S. troops on Canadian soil in the event of a `civil emergency,’ above all other Canadian international obligations and treaties. As such CFDS actually weakens Canadian sovereignty by subordinating Canadian defense policy to the global military strategy of the U.S. and NATO.

“Fear-mongering about alleged threats to Canadian security is the method used by the Conservative government to justify massive transfers of public finances, without Parliamentary approval, to foreign and domestic defence speculative expansion of the economy. This is what is meant by the `military partnership with Canadian industry.’

“CFDS is profoundly undemocratic and was implemented without seeking Parliamentary approval and commits $492-billion over 20 years on top of the $5.3-billion already allocated in 2006, approaching 2.2% of GDP, all to guarantee the profits of defence contractors and investors. The Canadian government policy of the rapid militarization of the economy is the only job creation project the Government has to offer youth, the unemployed and the under-employed. CFDS cannot be implemented without sacrificing the needs of public health care, pensions, childcare, seniors’ needs, low cost housing and the peaceful development of the country.”

To understand why the state is so committed to this sweeping reorientation of Canadian foreign policy, it is useful to review events of the past two decades.

In the early 1990s, Canada experienced a huge economic recession, exacerbated by “free trade.” The comprehensive restructuring of the Canadian economy meant that some entire sectors were decimated, while some new sectors of Canadian capital emerged and grew. Globalization in general (related to huge developments in technology) was on the rise, sparking extensive discourse about how to reorient in order to identify and exploit new global opportunities.

But the central development at this time was the sudden, unexpected collapse of the USSR and massive geopolitical changes which followed. Huge areas of the world were now “opened up” to Western capitalism (whose members were fighting amongst themselves for key positions – for a slice of the pie). At the same time, the end of the Cold War meant the sudden loss of NATO’s raison d’être. NATO embarked on a long search for a new identity and role, taking it to the war on Yugoslavia (which, at least immediately, was a disaster in terms of consolidating Western states around a new role for the alliance).

A key moment in the “post-Soviet” era policy debates is represented by the 1999 Symposium of the Conference of Defence Associations. The CDA advocacy group, whose membership is made up of over 50 military organizations, is large, well-funded and well-connected. Part of its funding comes from the Department of National Defence, so when CDA speaks, DND listens.

The 1999 symposium was focused on changing strategic assessment within the context of massive geopolitical shifts. Specifically, the symposium identified the following strategic issues:

  • the pressing need for reorientation in Canadian foreign policy (military and economic) in light of the collapse of the USSR;

  • the rise of China as a political and economic world power, a rise characterized as “the most serious challenge to Western interests in the Pacific”;

  • the importance of retaining and developing NATO as a counter-balance to changing geopolitics that challenge Western interests;

  • the destabilization of the central Asian states as a strategic and economic opportunity, and specific opportunities for Canada in the vast energy reserves of the central Asian region;

  • the necessity for Canada to integrate military and economic issues within foreign policy discussions, in order to exert global influence and reap economic benefit;

  • the government of Iraq – characterized as a “rogue state” as a barrier to securing Western interests in the central Asian region.

Virtually every one of these concerns have assumed a central place in Canadian foreign policy over the past ten years, and every one has been addressed to significant extents in the arena of the war on Afghanistan.

The Canadian state uses the war to justify, implement, test and clarify new foreign policy directions whose scope ranges far beyond that one country. For this reason, the stakes are critically high for a government that seeks to extend the war. By the same token, when the peace and anti-war movements confront the war in Afghanistan, we are engaged in a much more profound struggle, one that ultimately has a decisive role in determining our country’s role in the world. Mobilization against the war must continue – it is the war that must end, now. •

David McKee is President of the Canadian Peace Congress. First published in People’s Voice, December 1-15, 2010.

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When a copy of William A. Cook’s latest book, The Plight of the Palestinians arrived in my mailbox, I initially felt a little worried. The volume, featuring the work of over 30 accomplished writers, is the most articulate treatise on the collective victimization of Palestinians to date. From Cook’s own introduction, ‘The Untold Story of the Zionist Intent to Turn Palestine into a Jewish State’ to Francis Boyle’s summation of ‘Israel’s Crimes against the Palestinians’, it takes the reader through an exhaustive journey, charting the course of Palestinian history prior to and since al-Nakba, the Catastrophe of 1947-48.

Still, I feared that something might be missing in this noble and monumental undertaking: Palestinian people’s own responses to the cruelties they’ve suffered. Would Palestinians be presented yet again as merely poster-child victims, eager for handouts?

The photograph on the cover was telling: a kindly old man with a white beard, who could have been any Palestinian or Middle-Eastern grandpa, is lovingly touching the hair of a toddler. The two are crouching before a small, stained tent. Al-Nakba was still recent, and the two Palestinians, separated by two generations appear tired and haggard as they are caught in this hopeless scene. Yet, somehow the grandfather insists on preserving his right to love his grandson. This insistence on one’s humanity has been the key strength which has allowed the Palestinian people to preserve their struggle and resistance before the wicked arm of occupation and oppression for nearly 63 years.

Do most academics know this? Do they truly comprehend what it is that makes an old man from a West Bank village face the brutality of Jewish settlers, year after year, as he returns to harvest his few remaining olive trees? Or a Palestinian woman from Gaza who keeps coming back to hold a vigil before the Red Cross office with a framed photo of her once-young son, now ailing in some Israeli jail?

What keeps them going is something that cannot be dissected scientifically or analyzed intellectually. It can only be felt, experienced, and partially understood. This understanding is essential, for without it much more time and effort would be wasted, discounting the most important component in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict: the Palestinian people.

Some intellectuals, although well-intentioned, often conflate the understandable weakness of the current Palestinian leadership and the steadfastness of the Palestinian people. They write about both entities as if they are one and the same. One of the best authors on Palestine rightly pointed at the huge discrepancies of power between Palestinians and Israel, noting that such an imbalance could not possibly lead to an equitable platform for negotiation. To demonstrate the point, the author refers to Palestinians as “almost totally powerless people”, negotiating with a “powerful occupier.”

But the Palestinian people are currently negotiating with no one. Their representatives merely represent themselves and their own interests. It is important that we preserve that distinction – between the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah and Palestinian people, who have held on to their rights for so many years, and unleashed two of the greatest expressions of people’s power and resolve: the First Uprising of 1987 and al-Aqsa Intifada of 2000. A whole population taking on the self-celebrated “greatest army in the Middle East” is hardly “powerless”. The Palestinian people have printed themselves on the practical discourse of this conflict, and they have proved themselves to be powerful players in determining their own fate.

Jeff Halper, the Director of the Israeli Committee against House Demolitions, understands this fact well. The peace and justice activist has spent decades working for a just settlement to the conflict, a journey that’s allowed him to work with numerous Palestinians. He has thus grasped something many politicians have intentionally or inadvertently missed. “Until they – the Palestinian people as a whole, not the PA – say the conflict is over, it’s not over.” He further states, in a recent article entitled ‘Palestine 2011’, that “Israel and its erstwhile allies have the ability to make life almost unbearable for the Palestinians, but they cannot impose apartheid or warehousing.”

Halper is correct, and history has repeatedly validated his assertion. There are limits to the power of the “powerful occupier”. It can kill, confiscate, destroy and burn, but it can never force the other into submission. Thus to speak of Palestinian victimization without discussing their collective resistance presents an incomplete version of the story.

The Plight of the Palestinians turned out to be an essential read, and a full and authoritative discourse. It offers a grim and detailed story of suffering and the ‘slow motion genocide’, which is important in order to appreciate the harshness of the Palestinian experience. Without this, one can never understand the anger, resentment and pain that are shared by several generations of Palestinians, in Palestine and in the Diaspora.

‘The Human Tragedy’ is laid bare in Part I. Every paragraph confronts the reader with gory details. But if such violence is the reality of the history of this conflict, why do many people understand it differently? The answer lies in Part 2: ‘Propaganda, Perception and Reality’. It starts with a quote, the Israeli Mossad’s own pre-2007 slogan: “By way of deception, thou shalt do war.” It seems that such a slogan has defined Israeli official conduct. However, civil society cannot be misled forever, and the powerful initiatives carried out by ordinary people around the world are what give Part 3 its value. ‘Rule by Law or Defiance’ is an uplifting introduction to activist efforts, with topics ranging from ‘The Russell Tribunal on Palestine’ to the ‘Necessity of the Culture Boycott’.

 

The Plight of the Palestinians is not just another chronicle of the history of a defenseless nation. While it is an unhesitant acknowledgment of that reality, it is far from being a celebration of victimhood. Rather, it documents the logical evolution from suffering to resistance.

In the essay, ‘Does It Matter What You Call It?’ two of my personal favorite authors, Kathleen and (late) Bill Christison write: “Palestinian resistance does figure in this dismal story. In the same small village where one is uprooting his family, others are building…”

It is the very balance between destruction and rebuilding, despair and hope, occupation and perseverance that makes the Palestinian people powerful. Their power cannot be demonstrated in numbers, but it can be felt, experienced, and understood. The Plight of the Palestinians: A Long History of Destruction spreads the seeds of understanding, which is so essential to any meaningful and lasting change.

 

Ramzy Baroud (www.ramzybaroud.net) is an internationally-syndicated columnist and the editor of PalestineChronicle.com. His latest book is My Father Was a Freedom Fighter: Gaza’s Untold Story (Pluto Press, London), now available on www.Amazon.com.

Support Georgia Prisoners Strike

December 16th, 2010 by Global Research

Emergency Demonstration

FRIDAY, Dec 17, 5 to 6pm

 

SUPPORT GEORGIA PRISONERS STRIKE

 

CNN HQ in NYC – 59th St & 10 Columbus Circle

(Subways A, B, C, D, 1) 

Tell CNN: “Cover the prisoners’ demands of the largest

 prison strike in U.S. history.” 

 For over week, since December 9, 2010, thousands of Georgia prisoners have refused to work, stopped all activities and locked down in their cells in a peaceful protest for their human rights. It is urgent to support this heroic act of resistance to inhuman prison conditions and racism. 

CNN headquarters is based in Atlanta Georgia. CNN, owned by Time Warner, is one of the largest media conglomerates in the world. As of Dec 16, CNN and most of the major corporate media has censored this historic struggle for human rights. Demand of CNN:

STOP the censorship! Report on the Strike! 

Thousands of men, from Augusta, Baldwin, Hancock, Hays, Macon, Smith and Telfair State Prisons went on strike to press the Georgia Department of Corrections (“DOC”) to stop treating them like animals and slaves and institute programs that address their basic human rights.  Prisons in the U.S. are not rehabilitation centers; in reality, they are concentration camps for the poor and people of color.

The prisoners set forth the following demands: 

•       · a living wage for work

•       · educational opportunities

•       · decent health care

•       · an end to cruel and unusual punishments

•       · decent living conditions

•       · nutritional meals

•       · vocational and self-improvement opportunities

•       · access to families

•        · just parole decisions

While the prisoners were non-violent, the DOC violently attempted to force the men back to work—claiming it was “lawful” to order prisoners to work without pay, in defiance of the 13th Amendment’s abolition of slavery.  

Inmate leaders, Black, Latino, white, Muslim, Rastafarian, Christian, have united together and vowed to strike until their demands are addressed. Together, using cell phones they coordinated this state-wide prison strike.

CNN, other media and elected officials have already received thousands of email messages of concern from an internationally circulated petition:  www.iacenter.org/prisoners/gaprisonstrikepetition

 

Sign the petition, attend the emergency demonstration and help spread the word of support and solidarity with the Georgia prisoners strike

Called by: International Action Center, 55 West 17th Street, NY, NY 10011     212-633-6646

The details of an elaborate KLA-run human organ harvesting ring, broadly known for years, have been confirmed by a Council of Europe report published on January 15. The report, “Inhuman treatment of people and illicit trafficking of human organs in Kosovo” identifies the province’s recently re-elected “prime minister” Hashim Thaçi as the boss of a “mafia-like” Albanian group specialized in smuggling weapons, drugs, people, and human organs all over Europe. The report reveals that Thaçi’s closest aides were taking Serbs across the border into Albania after the war, murdering them, and selling their organs on the black market. In addition, the report accuses Thaçi of having exerted “violent control” over the heroin trade for a decade.

 
Deliberate Destrution of Evidence – Long dismissed in the mainstream media as “Serbian propaganda,” the allegations of organ trafficking – familiar to our readers – were ignored in the West until early 2008, when Carla Del Ponte, former Prosecutor at the International Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) at The Hague, revealed in her memoirs that she had been prevented from initiating any serious investigation into its merits. She also revealed – shockingly – that some elements of proof taken by ICTY field investigators from the notorious “Yellow House” in the Albanian town of Rripe were destroyed at The Hague, thus enabling the KLA and their Western enablers to claim that “there was no evidence” for the organ trafficking allegations.
 
In April 2008, prompted by Del Ponte’s revelations, seventeen European parliamentarians signed a motion for a resolution calling on the Assembly to examine the allegations. The matter was referred to the Assembly’s Committee on Legal Affairs and Human Rights, which in June 2008 appointed Swiss senator Dick Marty as its rapporteur. He had gained international prominence by his previous investigation of accusations that the CIA abducted and imprisoned terrorism suspects in Europe.
 
“Genuine Terror” – In his Introductory Remarks Marty revealed some of the “extraordinary challenges of this assignment”: the acts alleged purportedly took place a decade ago, they were not properly investigated by any of the national and international authorities with jurisdiction over the territories concerned. In addition, Marty went on,
 

… efforts to establish the facts of the Kosovo conflict and punish the attendant war crimes had primarily been concentrated in one direction, based on an implicit presumption that one side were the victims and the other side the perpetrators. As we shall see, the reality seems to have been more complex.  The structure of Kosovar Albanian society, still very much clan-orientated, and the absence of a true civil society have made it extremely difficult to set up contacts with local sources. This is compounded by fear, often to the point of genuine terror, which we have observed in some of our informants immediately upon broaching the subject of our inquiry.  Even certain representatives of international institutions did not conceal their reluctance to grapple with these facts: “The past is the past”, we were told; “we must now look to the future.” 

The report says Thaçi’s links with organized crime go back to the late 1990’s, when his Drenica Group became the dominant faction within the KLA. By 1998 he was able to grab control of “most of the illicit criminal enterprises” in Albania itself. Thaçi and four other members of the Drenica Group are named as personally guilty of assassinations, detentions and beatings: 

In confidential reports spanning more than a decade, agencies dedicated to combating drug smuggling in at least five countries have named Hashim Thaçi and other members of his Drenica Group as having exerted violent control over the trade in heroin and other narcotics… Thaçi and these other Drenica Group members are consistently named as “key players” in intelligence reports on Kosovo’s mafia-like structures of organised crime. I have examined these diverse, voluminous reports with consternation and a sense of moral outrage. 

Marty notes that the international community chose to ignore war crimes by the KLA, enabling Thaçi’s forces to conduct a campaign of murdereous terror against Serbs, Roma, and Albanians accused of collaborating with the Serbs. Some 500 of them “disappeared after the arrival of KFOR troops on 12 June 1999,” about a hundred Albanians and 400 others, most of them Serbs. Some of these civilians had been secretly imprisoned by the KLA at different locations in northern Albania, the report adds, “and were subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, before ultimately disappearing.” Captives were “filtered” in ad-hoc prisons for their suitability for organ harvesting based on sex, age, health and ethnic origin. They were then sent to the last stop – a makeshift clinic near Fushë-Krujë, close to the Tirana airport:

As and when the transplant surgeons were confirmed to be in position and ready to operate, the captives were brought out of the ‘safe house’ individually, summarily executed by a KLA gunman, and their corpses transported swiftly to the operating clinic. 

Thaçi the Untouchable – The report states that Thaçi’s Drenica Group “bear the greatest responsibility” for the prisons and the fate of those held in them. It criticizes the governments supportive of Kosovo’s independence for not holding to account senior Albanians in Kosovo, including Thaçi, and of lacking the will to effectively prosecute the former leaders of the KLA. The diplomatic and political support by such powers “bestowed upon Thaçi, not least in his own mind, a sense of being untouchable.”
 
Marty concludes that “[t]he signs of collusion between the criminal class and the highest political and institutional office holders are too numerous and too serious to be ignored,” but “the international authorities in charge of the region did not consider it necessary to conduct a detailed examination of these circumstances, or did so incompletely and superficially.”

Following Marty’s presentation of the report to the Council of Europe in Paris on December 16 it will be debated by the Parliamentary Assembly in Strasbourg on January 25.
 
Media Reaction – Within days of the publication of Marty’s report, numerous of excellent articles were published in the mainstream media Europe linking his revelations with the broader problem of NATO’s war against the Serbs in 1999, the precedent it had created for Afghanistan and Iraq, and the nature of the “Kosovar” society today.
 
Neil Clark in The Guardian assailed “the myth of liberal intervention.” Far from being Tony Blair’s “good” war, he wrote, the assault on Yugoslavia was as wrong as the invasion of Iraq: 

It was a fiction many on the liberal left bought into. In 1999 Blair was seen not as a duplicitous warmonger in hock to the US but as an ethical leader taking a stand against ethnic cleansing. But if the west had wanted to act morally in the Balkans and to protect the people in Kosovo there were solutions other than war with the Serbs, and options other than backing the KLA – the most violent group in Kosovan politics… Instead, a virulently anti-Serb stance led the west into taking ever more extreme positions, and siding with an organisation which even Robert Gelbard, President Clinton’s special envoy to Kosovo, described as “without any question, a terrorist group.” 

Clark reminds us that it was the KLA’s campaign of violence in 1998 which led to an escalation of the conflict with the government in Belgrade. “We were told the outbreak of war in March 1999 with NASTO was the Serbian government’s fault,” he adds, yet Lord Gilbert, the UK defence minister, admitted “the terms put to Miloševic at Rambouillet [the international conference preceding the war] were absolutely intolerable … it was quite deliberate.” Then came the NATO occupation, under which an estimated 200,000 ethnic Serbs and other minorities from south Kosovo, and almost the whole Serb population of Pristina, have been forced from their homes. But as the Iraq war has become discredited, Clark concludes, 

so it is even more important for the supporters of “liberal interventionism” to promote the line that Kosovo was in some way a success. The Council of Europe’s report on the KLA’s crimes makes that position much harder to maintain. And if it plays its part in making people more sceptical about any future western “liberal interventions”, it is to be warmly welcomed. 

Tony Blair has some very bizarre friends, wrote Stephen Glover in The Daily Mail, but a monster who traded in human body parts beats the lot. The prime minister of ­Kosovo is painted by the report as a major war criminal presiding over a corrupt and dysfunctional state, Glover says, and yet this same Mr Thaci and his associates in the so-called Kosovo ­Liberation Army were put in place after the U.S. and Britain launched an onslaught in March 1999 against Serbia, dropping more than 250,000 and killing an estimated 1,500 blameless ­civilians: “This was Mr Blair’s first big war, and it paved the way for the subsequent Western invasion of Iraq. The crucial difference is that while the Left in ­general … opposed the war against Saddam ­Hussein, both were among Mr Blair’s main cheerleaders as he persuaded President Bill Clinton to join forces with him in crushing Serbia.” Both London and Washington tended to ignore atrocities committed by Hashim Thaci’s KLA, Glover concludes, and offered unacceptably draconian terms to the Serbs “because by that stage Blair and Clinton preferred war”: 

Those were the days, of course, when most of the media thought Tony Blair could do no wrong. His military success in 1999 convinced him that Britain could and should play the role of the world’s number two policeman to the U.S. A ­messianic note entered his rhetoric, as at the 2001 Labour party conference, when he raved that ‘the kaleidoscope has been shaken… Let us ­­re-order this world about us.” … What happened in Kosovo helped shape subsequent events in Iraq and Afghanistan. It is richly ironic that ‘liberated’ Kosovo should now be a failed, gangster state… With his messianic certainties, the morally bipolar Tony Blair liked to divide the world into ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’, having presumptuously placed himself in the first category. How fitting that this begetter of war after war should end up by receiving the Golden Medal of Freedom from a monster who traded in body parts.

U.S. Damage Limitation and Self-Censorship – Such commentary is light years away from the feeble and half-hearted reporting in the American mainstream media. The Chicago Tribune, for instance, did not deem it fit to publish a story about the Council of Europe report itself. It published two related items critical of the report instead, on the European Union expressing doubt about its factual basis and on the “government” of Kosovo planning to sue Dick Marty for libel. No major daily has published a word of doubt about Bill Clinton’s wisdom of waging a war on behalf of Thaçi and his cohorts a decade ago, or perpetuating the myth of it having been a good war today.
 
That Thaçi aka “The Snake” is a criminal as well as a war criminal is no news, of course. The intriguing question is who, on the European side, wanted to end his “untouchable” status, why now, and what is the U.S. Government – his principal enabler and abettor – going to do about it.
 
Unsurprisingly, Thaçi’s “government” dismissed the report on December 14 as “baseless and defamatory.” On that same day Hashim Thaçi wrote in a telegram to President Obama that “the death of Richard Holbrooke is a loss of a friend.” “The Snake” has many other friends in Washington, however, people like US senator (and current foe of WikiLeaks) Joseph Lieberman, who declared back in 1999 at the height of the US-led war against the Serbs that “the United States of America and the Kosovo Liberation Army stand for the same human values and principles … Fighting for the KLA is fighting for human rights and American values.” Thaçi’s photos with top U.S. officials are a virtual Who’s Who of successive Administrations over the past 12 years: Bill and Hillary Clinton, Albright, Bush, Rice, Biden, Wesley Clark…
 
Thaçi’s American enablers and their media minions are already embarking on a bipartisan damage-limitation exercise. Its pillars will be the assertion that the report rests on flimsy factual evidence, an attempt to discredit Dick Marty personally, and the claim the Council of Europe as an irrelevant talking shop.

Wikileaks Beyond Wikileaks?

December 16th, 2010 by Saroj Giri

                                                                    

Corporate media most likely tries to buy you off only if you pose a real danger – radical and subversive to ‘power’. While attacking Wikileaks for corporate collusion, therefore, its original radical potential cannot be overlooked.

Wikileaks’ close collaboration with big corporate media (including The New York Times and Guardian) and the ‘redactions’ raise serious doubts over whether information is actually flowing freely (Michel Chossudovsky, ‘Who is Behind Wikileaks?’ Dec 13, 2010, Global Research). And yet the Wikileaks’ intervention cannot be cast away in a cynical manner – the only way to welcome it however is by saving it from Wikileaks itself, in particular from its liberal slide. Let us problematise the kind of politics or the ‘attacks on power’ which Wikileaks represents, even as stories circulate about corporate-funding and CIA-backing. Indeed one gets deeply suspicious when for example The Guardian reports that, for the hackers, ‘the first global cyber-war has begun’, ‘the first sustained clash between the established order and the organic, grassroots culture of the net’. On the other hand, for someone like Jemima Khan typical of a whole swathe of liberal supporters, Wikileaks stands for something far less dramatic. In her already apologetic piece, ‘Why did I back Assange?’, she states that it is only about ‘a new type of investigative journalism’, about freedom of information and so on. What is it really?

Let us ask a counter-intuitive question: what if instead of (only) hacking the internet sites of Mastercard, Paypal and Visa, our ‘Anonymous’ hackers had (instead) attempted to connect with the rank and file employees of the company to go on strike or at least voice their concerns, perhaps issue a collective statement deploring the action of their company? And this would not have really asked of our hackactivists to come out in public and expose themselves to possible reprisals and court cases – just releasing a statement making such a call would have worked or at least showed what they are thinking. And yet they did not do anything like that, nor have Wilileaks itself tried to widen their struggle in any way. Instead of calling upon people to come out and protest, the statement of ‘Anonymous’, responsible for the attacks on these companies, displays an unmistakeable, strong and un-self-reflexive behalfism, of acting on behalf of the people or citizens. In typical V for Vendetta style, Anonymous declares: “we are here for all of you, campaign for all of you”. Thus while Wikileaks seems committed to fight ‘power’, and not just fight those in power, they also at the same time display a profound disconnect with ‘people’, even as they claim to fight for the people’s right to know.

Lets stretch things a bit more by asking another counter-intuitive question: why is it that students in London protesting against fee hike but also against every symbol of authority they come across, against ‘power’ even when not directly related to the hike, somehow did not turn their wrath against the government for arresting Assange even though it was happening in the same city at the same time? Is the problem with the students, with the people that they get charged up about what looks like a trivial issue of ‘fee hike’ than about the evil workings of US power revealed through nothing less than the ‘9/11 of diplomatic history’? Not at all. Indeed, if the student protests or similar ‘single-issue’ protests often are unable to break out of this single-issueness and place the movement in terms of the larger dynamics of the system as a whole or of the logic of capital and state power, then the problem with Wikileaks is its exceedingly abstract notion of power.

Power is identified only at the top, and it is as though it is in place only through hiding the truth, through manipulation, deceiving the public. It is as though power is on the outside, and is parasitic on society – more seriously, it is as though society functions autonomously (of capitalism), as though society is not internally determined and configured by this power. In the world of Wikileaks, society and power do not meet: ‘power’ is dissociated from the entire mode of organizing production, distribution and consumption in society, and concentrated to some power-mongers and conspirators. Without any such basis, power becomes an excrescence, an absolute deadweight from without, the handiwork of conspirators and CIA agents whose workings can be deciphered only through secret diplomatic cables. From this it of course follows that power can be fought only through dramatic leaks, exposes and revealing truth. From this, it also follows that ‘real struggles’ like the student protests or workers struggles are merely doing shadow boxing and hence not worthy allies in the fight against power.

What such a notion of power forgets is that to the extent that people live, work, consume, enjoy, die and so on in this society, they are invested into it, into capitalism – they are ‘subjectivated’ by it, to borrow a term from psychoanalysis. However this subjectivation is never complete and there is always a remainder – this is where a radical intervention, a transformative politics is always possible, is always already written, as it were, into the script. But radical resistance is not really triggered off as soon as the truth is exposed to all, as soon as citizens know that those in power are this corrupt – for it is not a problem of awareness, not an ‘idealist’ problem of knowledge. Perhaps this is why the Wikileaks revelations themselves did not let loose a social campaign or a movement even though those in power were embarrassed and jolted into anger – the protests in support of Assange that have taken place, as I will explain, follow from the other events that followed the revelations and not from the revelations themselves.

And yet the actions of Wikileaks carried a tremendous radical political charge
, which even lot of the mass mobilizations and social movements totally lack. And here we must hand it to Wikileaks that their subversiveness came precisely from the fact that even though they tend to espouse liberal ideas of free flow of information or, in semi-anarchist mode, think of power as merely conspiratorial their attack really came from outside the normal channels professing free flow of information and citizens right to know: they challenged power by challenging the normal channels of challenging power and revealing the truth, even though they are perhaps getting suckered now into the hands of corporate houses and other suspicious players. 

Radically subversive
 

This subversiveness comes from the fact that not only was the truth revealed about power but even those trusted bodies meant to ensure ‘citizens right to know’ were cast aside, transgressed and rendered pointless by the Wikileaks operation. Thus while Sarah Palin and other right-wingers might have asked for Julian Assange’s real head, those whose professed objective is to promote ‘citizens’s right to know’ like Amnesty International were not really welcoming of Wikileaks either. The Wall Street Journal reported that ‘Wikileaks and Mr. Assange risk being isolated from some of their most natural allies in the wake of the documents’ publication’.

Amnesty International, Campaign for Innocent Victims in Conflict, The Open Society Institute, the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, and the International Crisis Group have severely criticised Wikileaks for releasing material which might risk the lives of many. However this is not the only ground for their opposition to Wikileaks. In an Open Letter to Assange, Reporters Sans Frontieres faulted Wikileaks for ‘imprudence’ and ‘incredible irresponsibility’, saying ‘you cannot claim to enjoy the protection of sources while at the same time, when it suits you, denying that you are a news media.’ Wikileaks in turn derided the ‘human rights groups’ as US-led and refused to be identified as ‘media’, ‘human rights group’ and so on. John Pilger is quite right when he said that “WikiLeaks has shamed those in the media whom George Bush’s press spokesman once called ‘complicit enablers’”.

It is not media, it is not human rights group, so what is Wikileaks? This tussle over finding a proper place for Wikileaks, a given assigned place within the normal functioning of the system is what brings us to the role of big ‘complicit enablers’ like New York Times and Guardian. Writes Michel Chussudovksy, ‘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?’

Hard-pressed to justify their decision to publish the leaks, these media houses are presenting Wikileaks’ actions as, predictably, mere extension of ‘investigative journalism’ and the right of the citizens to know what their governments are doing. In ‘A Note to Readers: the Decision to Publish Diplomatic Documents’, the Times tries to make the Leaks seem very normal and not all that dramatic. One way it is done in the piece is by stressing a lot on the negotiations the Times had with the Obama administration over ‘redactions’ and how Wikileaks were informed about the administration’s views: looks like all three groups had a common point of understanding. It says, ‘After its own redactions, The Times sent Obama administration officials the cables it planned to post and invited them to challenge publication of any information that, in the official view, would harm the national interest.’

Add to this Jemima Khan’s explanation that ‘WikiLeaks offers a new type of investigative journalism”. That is, the leaks are already part of what big corporate media houses have always espoused for and there is nothing dramatic, anarchist or dangerously political about it. Well, is it? This is where one must assert that no matter what Wikileaks or Assange might claim subsequently, what they have done do not seem to follow from liberal concerns of the citizen’s right to know or the emphasis on transparency, responsible government and an active citizenry. For the liberal idea is also of citizens who are not overly politicized and who merely wants ‘negative liberty’ – non-interference by the state.

In contrast, the Wikileaks expose leads us to assume a highly politicized citizenry, who cannot and do not want to restrict themselves to their private lives and allow a handful of people to rule over them, typical of representative democracy. And further the subversive intent of the Leaks amount to a call for people to bring down those up there –not just know the truth and take legal recourse or wait till the next elections to vote the government out of power!  And now, with Mastercard and Visa hitting back at Wikileaks and a cyber-war declared, it does clearly seem that what is at stake is much more than transparency and accountable government. Hacktivists in turn attacking these two companies completes the picture of daggers drawn and the ‘two warring sides’ well-defined – the liberal idea of consensus and a shared ground in which all classes and both the powerful and the powerless can supposedly converge did disappear for good, even if temporarily!

It must therefore be stated in no uncertain terms that Wikileaks clearly embodies a radical rupture in US imperialism’s normal functioning and also from the normal channels of dissent and ‘citizen activism’ set up by imperialism. As it stands, Wikileaks cannot be contained and even understood as part of an impeccably liberal idea of an active citizenry, transparency, accountability and so on. Wikileaks is not just demanding the right of citizens to know about the decisions and actions of those in power but is challenging the very legitimacy of that power. ‘Knowing the truth’ through Amnesty or Reporters Sans Frontieres that are established groups engaging with states through established procedures and legal battles is one thing. Knowing, in terms and conditions that are themselves illegitimate from the standpoint of power, is however another thing – it radicalizes the very meaning and significance of the ‘right to know’. Wikileaks’ action is therefore at one level a purely formal gesture, the audacity of the act, which stands on its own irrespective of how damning the actual contents of the leaks have been for the US and other governments, irrespective of the diplomatic fall-out and embarrassment caused. At least in the way it was received by large majority of people in the world, its action seems to carry an insurrectionary force, highly dissonant and subversive for the ‘established order’.

The later collusion with corporate media does not take away the fact that the original Wikileaks espousal of the free flow of information was less a routine, incremental process of democratization than an open attack on power before it could readjust and absorb this free flow in its normal functioning. It was a deadly sting operation which turned around the ‘citizen’s right to know’ from its decorative functions to an open assault on power – right which is not given but taken, an unconditional right. 

Elite radicalism
 

Thus US officials are not entirely off the mark in declaring that what Wikileaks did was ‘not journalism but anarchism’ – that Wikileaks was challenging the very legitimacy of power, including the manipulations of Empire and the established order. And yet the fact of the matter is that Wikileaks is quickly becoming part of business as usual – anarchism is slowly morphing into journalism! In his recent piece in The Australian, Assange himself has shifted his positions from raising the question of the illegitimacy of power to giving liberal arguments that he was only defending the right of citizens to know. He comes down to quoting the US Supreme Court decision that ‘only a free and unrestrained press can effectively expose deception in government”. Worse, he declared Wikileaks as part of the media and that ‘the media helps keep governments honest’.

Assange might continue this liberal slide further but we should not be surprised about this ‘compromise’. For one cannot conceive of another outcome given Wikileaks’ methods and forms of activism purportedly challenging power and undermining US domination through the hacktivism of a handful of tech-hippies. The faceless bohemian tech-libertarians, so long as they remain an underground hacker-elite, must increasingly rely on spectacular releases and big ticket actions: it is through such actions that they will try to short-circuit themselves into prominence. This makes them dramatic as well as vulnerable at the same time. (Wikileaks dissident Daniel Domscheit-Berg has on occassion expressed his dissatisfaction with the over-emphasis on big exposes.) V for Vendetta can inspire Wikileaks, giving us W for Wikileaks, as the Anonymous releases have announced. However even though V too is a rupture, a subjectivity miraculously intervening from the outside and against ‘power’, it is W which is much more vulnerable than V since W is not in a movie but in the real world! And so it is not entirely surprising that the corporate media has already entered the picture.

Some have even argued that in being an elitist cyber-vanguard Wikileaks start becoming a mirror image of the CIA or Pentagon-run spy networks supposed to be as shady. This is an untenable argument even though one can see that it derives plausibility from the fact that the development of the internet was itself part of the military-industrial complex, and the hacking and military computing industry closely competed with each other in their development. That challenging power by constituting oneself as another power, will lead not to the elimination of power as such but only to its replication, is an old argument. Such arguments are however facile, precisely since, as Wikileaks declares, “WikiLeaks needs to be completely opaque in order to force others to be totally transparent”. Perhaps not ‘completely opaque’ but they definitely cannot last a day if they were to come out openly in the name of being transparent and democratic, given the highly organised secretive forces that will hunt them down – or coopt them into defending liberal values.

Wikileaks’ spectacular, high voltage attack was in a way a sign of their weakness, proving that at the end of the day, this is not the way you can accomplish change. In declaring that US foreign policy is not decided on the basis of diplomatic cables, Hillary Clinton was perhaps hinting that these leaks will not affect business as usual. Anyways, the masses are not coming out on the streets to overthrow their rulers whose corruption and despotism have been exposed. No point embarrassing the system and the rulers so much, if at the end of the day you have to live with them – that seems to be the attitude of ordinary people who cannot all withdraw into underground hacker sub-cultures even as they realize that this system is built on a lie and mere accountability of the government is not going to really help. We have heard of fears that the revolution will be killed if you expect it to be televised. But with Wikileaks’ crusade against ‘power’, it is clear that the revolution will not be televised – worse, it will be digitized, cyberised!

We can safely conclude that Wikileaks have by now become yet another fact of life, yet another spectacle – in fact journalism and not anarchism! And yet the rupture that is Wikileaks must be upheld in these times of the exhaustion of utopian and radical energies. 

Wikileaks beyond Wikileaks

The pure subversive power of Wikileaks’ actions catalysed two developments which, paradoxically, took things beyond Wikileaks, perhaps even in spite of them. One, that ‘power’ is not just a conspiratorial exercise at the top became clear as companies like Amazon, Mastercard, Visa and Paypal turned hostile towards Wikileaks. Here we see that it is not really coded diplomatic cables that are oozing out power in secrecy, but ‘popular’ companies (oops, Visa cards present in every pocket and wallet) revealing where they stand. This brought ‘power’ closer home, as it were, so that the battle got a continuity beyond the initial cable leaks and involved a wider spectrum of forces and people. ‘Anonymous’ cyber-attacks against these companies are of course still shrouded in the style of elite and reclusive hackers and yet the targets now are clearer than just attacking ‘power’. Further the arrest of Assange made the fight concrete with people getting involved in gatherings, campaigns and other mobilizations in London. While this still largely comprises mostly well-known left-wingers (John Pilger, Jemima Khan) and not for example the mass of protesting students in London, Australia has already seen enthusiastic protestors in the streets of Melbourne and Sydney.

It looks like the radical empty subversive action can precipitate a ‘content’, viz., wider more concrete struggles beyond the confines of the elite hacker sub-cultures. Wikileaks’ empty radical gesture can potentially get a life of its own and mobilize people in communities and streets, offices, factories and universities. And that, rather than any major ‘diplomatic fall-out’, is what the powers really fear. For it is by now clear that so far as the diplomatic world is concerned Cablegate was yet another ‘-gate’ – it gets absorbed as one knows from the past. Rather than the revelations or the actual content of Cablegate, what is interesting is the train of events after that, the widening of the fight and the struggle carrying in newer ways.

Once power is no longer understood as flowing out of a secret den of conspirators and manipulators, hiding truth from the people, but is seen as working in and through real people and their aspirations, the mode of struggle too will no longer be ‘Anonymous’, secretive and self-contained but will involve the power of ‘ordinary people’. But bringing in ‘ordinary people’ is not a plea to make the fight loose, dispersed and hence ‘popular’ and ineffective, easily anticipated and neutralised – this is where the radicalism and insurrectionary moment of Wikileaks must be upheld. And yet: Wikileaks beyond Wikileaks. 

 
State Department documents published by Wikileaks evidence Washington’s plans to “contain” Venezuela’s influence in the region and increase efforts to provoke regime change


A substantial portion of the more than 1600 State Department documents Wikileaks has published during the past two weeks refer to the ongoing efforts of US diplomacy to isolate and counter the Venezuelan government.

Since Hugo Chavez won the presidency for the first time in 1998, Washington has engaged in numerous efforts to overthrow him, including a failed coup d’etat in April 2002, an oil industry strike that same year, worldwide media campaigns and varios electoral interventions. The State Department has also used its funding agencies, USAID and the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), to channel millions of dollars annually to anti-Chavez NGOs, political parties, journalists and media organizations in Venezuela, who have been working to undermine the Chavez administration and force him from power.
When these interventionist policies have been denounced by the Chavez government and others, Washington has repeatedly denied any efforts to isolate or act against the Venezuelan head of state.

Nonetheless, the State Department cables published by Wikileaks clearly evidence that not only has Washington been actively funding anti-Chavez groups in Venezuela, but it also has engaged in serious efforts during the past few years to convince governments worldwide to assume an adversarial position against President Hugo Chavez.

“CONTENTION” PLAN AGAINST A “FORMIDABLE FOE”

In a secret document authored by current Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Craig Kelly, and sent by the US Embassy in Santiago in June 2007 to the Secretary of State, CIA and Southern Command of the Pentagon, along with a series of other US embassies in the region, Kelly proposed “six main areas of action for the US government (USG) to limit Chavez’s influence” and “reassert US leadership in the region”.

Kelly, who played a primary role as “mediator” during last year’s coup d’etat in Honduras against President Manuel Zelaya, classifies President Hugo Chavez as an “enemy” in his report. “Know the enemy: We have to better understand how Chavez thinks and what he intends…To effectively counter the threat he represents, we need to know better his objectives and how he intends to pursue them. This requires better intelligence in all of our countries”. Further on in the memo, Kelly confesses that President Chavez is a “formidable foe”, but, he adds, “he certainly can be taken”.

In 2006, Washington activated a Director of National Intelligence (DNI) Mission Manager for Venezuela and Cuba. The mission, headed by clandestine CIA veteran Timothy Langford, is one of only four such intelligence entities of its type. The others were created to handle intelligence matters relating to Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan/Pakistan, evidencing the clear priority that Washington has placed on Venezuela as a target of increased espionage and covert operations.

Another suggestion made by Kelly in the secret cable, is a recommendation to increase US presence in the region and improve relations with Latin American military forces. “We should continue to strengthen ties to those military leaders in the region who share our concern over Chavez”.

Kelly also proposed a “psychological operations” program against the Venezuelan government to exploit its vulnerabilities. “We also need to make sure that the truth about Chavez – his hollow vision, his empty promises, his dangerous international relationships, starting with Iran – gets out, always exercising careful judgment about where and how we take on Chavez directly/publicly”.

Kelly recommended US officials make more visits to the region to “show the flag and explain directly to populations our view of democracy and progress”. Kelly also offered details on how Washington could better exploit the differences amongst South American governments to isolate Venezuela:

“Brazil…can be a powerful counterpoint to Chavez’s project…Chile offers another excellent alternative to Chavez…We should look to find other ways to give Chile the lead on important initiatives, but without making them look like they are our puppets or surrogates. Argentina is more complex, but still presents distinct characteristics that should inform our approach to countering Chavez’s influence there”.

PRESSURING MERCOSUR

Kelly also revealed the pressure Washington has been applying to Mercosur (Market of the South) to not accept Venezuela as a full member in the regional trade bloc. “With regard to Mercosur, we should not be timid in stating that Venezuela’s membership will torpedo US interest in even considering direct negotiations with the trading bloc”.

MEXICO, BOGOTA & OTHERS ASK TO “FIGHT” CHAVEZ

The cables published by Wikileaks not only reveal US hostility towards Venezuela, but also the requests made by regional leaders and politicians to work against President Chavez.

One secret document from October 2009 referring to a meeting between Mexican President Felipe Calderon and US Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair tells of how Calderon confessed he was “trying to isolate Venezuela through the Rio Group”. The Mexican head of state also appealed to the US intelligence chief, “The region needs a visible US presence…the United States must be ready to engage the next Brazilian president. Brazil, he said, is key to restraining Chavez…The US needs to engage Brazil more and influence its outlook”.

URIBE REQUESTS “MILITARY ACTION” AGAINST CHAVEZ

In several secret documents authored by the US Embassy in Colombia, efforts by ex President of Colombia, Alvaro Uribe, to convince Washington to take action against Venezuela are evidenced.

In one cable from December 2007, the US Ambassador in Colombia recounts a meeting between Uribe and a delegation of US congress members, including Senate Majority Leader, Harry Reid. According to the text, Uribe “likened the threat Chavez poses to Latin America to that posed by Hitler in Europe”.

And in yet another report summarizing a January 2008 meeting between Uribe and the Head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, Uribe is quoted as recommending military action against Venezuela.

“The best counter to Chavez, in Uribe’s view, remains action – including use of the military”.

Later in that same secret cable, Uribe urged Washington to “lead a public campaign against Venezuela…to counter Chavez…”

OPPOSITION BISHOP REQUESTS US ACTION

In addition to regional politicians and US diplomats urging plans against President Chavez, one cable reveals how during a meeting between a Venezuelan Archbishop and the US Ambassador, the religious leader asked for Washington to act against his own government. At the meeting, which took place in January 2005 according to the document, Archbishop Baltazar Porras told Ambassador William Brownfield that the “US government should be more clear and public in its criticism of the Chavez administration” and that the “international community also needs to work and speak out more to contain Chavez…”

The plans and strategies revealed through these official documents confirm what other evidence has already corroborated regarding Washington’s increase in aggression towards Venezuela. The US continues to fund opposition groups that act to undermine Venezuelan democracy while escalating its hostile discourse and policies against the Chavez government.

This week’s Senate affirmation of Larry Palmer as Ambassador to Venezuela will only make matters worse. Palmer was rejected by the Venezuelan government after he made negative statements about the Chavez administration in August. Washington’s insistence of sending Palmer appears to be an effort to provoke a rupture in diplomatic relations.

VIDEO: US Collusion with Kosovo’s Mafia: Corruption Running Rampant

December 16th, 2010 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

Is Warmaking Irrational?

December 16th, 2010 by David Swanson

The following has been excerpted from David Swanson’s new book, “War Is A Lie” http://warisalie.org.

Those who constitute the real driving force behind wars know exactly what they are lying about and why.”

Most of what we’re told about wars is not true, and many of the real reasons for wars are easily discovered: economic reasons, control of domestic populations, control of resources like oil, extension of empire, profiteering by the weapons industry, electoral calculations, etc. But these explanations do not explain wars that are pursued despite being understood as doomed to failure on their own terms. In trying to understand the mad pursuit of ever more war by those who call the shots, rationality and cynicism take us only so far.


MACHISMO

Men and women cannot live by bread alone. Wars fought against a global menace (communism, terrorism, or another) are also wars fought to display one’s prowess to bystanders, thus preventing the toppling of dominoes — a danger that can always be precipitated by a loss of “credibility.” Remarkably,in warmongerspeak “credibility” is a synonym for “bellicosity,” not “honesty.” Thus, nonviolent approaches to the world lack not only violence but also “credibility.” There is something indecent about them. According to Richard Barnet,

“Military officers in the [Lyndon] Johnson Administration consistently argued the risks of defeat and humiliation were greater than the risks of mining Haiphong, obliterating Hanoi, or bombing ‘selected targets’ in China.”

They knew the world would be outraged by such actions, but somehow there is nothing humiliating about the prospect of being ostracized as murderous madmen. Only softness can be humiliating.

One of the most dramatic news stories that came out of Daniel Ellsberg’s release of the Pentagon Papers was the news that 70 percent of the motivation of the people behind the War on Vietnam was “to save face.” It wasn’t to keep the communists out of Peoria or to teach the Vietnamese democracy or anything so grand. It was to protect the image, or perhaps the self-image, of the war makers themselves. Assistant Secretary of “Defense” John McNaughton’s March 24, 1965, memo said U.S. goals in horrifically bombing the people of Vietnam were 70 percent “to avoid a humiliating U.S. defeat (to our reputation as guarantor),” 20 percent to keep territory out of Chinese hands, and 10 percent to permit people a “better, freer way of life.”

Somehow there is nothing humiliating about the prospect of being ostracized as murderous madmen.”

McNaughton was concerned that other nations, wondering whether or not the United States would have the toughness to bomb the hell out of them too, might ask questions like: “Is the U.S. hobbled by restraints which might be relevant in future cases (fear of illegality, of U.N., of neutral reaction, of domesticpressures, of U.S. losses, of deploying U.S. ground forces in Asia, of war with China or Russia, of use of nuclear weapons, etc.)?”

That’s a lot to prove you’re not afraid of. But then we did drop a lot of bombs on Vietnam trying to prove it, over 7 million tons, as compared to the 2 million dropped in World War II. Ralph Stavins argues in Washington Plans an Aggressive War that John McNaughton and William Bundy understood that only withdrawal from Vietnam made sense, but backed escalation out of fear of seeming personally weak.

In 1975, after defeat in Vietnam, the masters of war were even touchier about their machismo than usual. When the Khmer Rouge seized a U.S.-registered merchant vessel, President Gerald Ford demanded the release of the ship and its crew. The Khmer Rouge complied. But U.S. jet fighters went ahead and bombed Cambodia as a means of showing that, as the White House put it, the United States “still stood ready to meet force with force to protect its interests.”

Such displays of toughness are understood in Washington, D.C., to not only advance careers but also to enhance reputations in perpetuity. Presidents have long believed they could not be remembered as great presidents without wars. Theodore Roosevelt wrote to a friend in 1897, “In strict confidence…I should welcome almost any war, for I think this country needs one.”

According to novelist and author Gore Vidal, President John Kennedy told him that a president needed a war for greatness and that without the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln would have been just another railroad lawyer. According to Mickey Herskowitz, who had worked with George W. Bush in 1999 on thelatter’s “autobiography,” Bush wanted a war before becoming president. One disturbing thing about all this longing for war is that, while many of the motivations seem base, greedy, foolish, and despicable, some of them seem very personal and psychological. Perhaps it’s “rational” to want world markets to buy U.S. products and to produce them more cheaply, but why must we have “supremacy in world markets?” Why do we collectively need “self-confidence?” Isn’t that something each individual person finds on their own? Why the emphasis on “preeminence”? Why is there so little talk in the back rooms about being protected from foreign threats and so much about dominating foreigners with our superiority and fearsome “credibility”? Is war about being respected?

When you combine the illogic of these motivations for war with the fact that wars so often fail on their own terms and yet are repeated time and time again, it becomes possible to doubt that the masters of war are always masters of their own consciousness. The United States did not conquer Korea or Vietnam or Iraq or Afghanistan. Historically, empires have not lasted. In a rational world we would skip the wars and go straight to the peace negotiations that follow them. Yet, so often, we do not.

Presidents have long believed they could not be remembered as great presidents without wars.”

During the War on Vietnam, the United States apparently began the air war, began the ground war, and proceeded with each step of escalation because the war planners couldn’t think of anything else to do other than ending the war, and despite their high confidence that what they were doing would not work. After a lengthy period during which these expectations were fulfilled, they did what they could have done from the start and ended the war.

ARE THESE PEOPLE CRAZY?

As is familiar from the current Iraq War, warmakers debate what purpose the public should be told a war is serving. But they also debate what purpose to tell themselves a war is serving. According to Pentagon historians, by June 26, 1966, “the strategy was finished,” for Vietnam, “and the debate from then on centered on how much force and to what end.” To what end? An excellent question. This was an internal debate that assumed the war would go forward and that sought to settle on a reason why. Picking a reason to tell the public was a separate step beyond that one.

President George W. Bush at times suggested that the War on Iraq was revenge for Saddam Hussein’s alleged (and likely fictitious) role in an assassination attempt against Bush’s father, and at other times Bush the Lesser revealed that God had told him what to do. After bombing Vietnam, Lyndon Johnson supposedly gloated “I didn’t just screw Ho Chi Minh, I cut his pecker off. ” Bill Clinton in 1993, according to George Stephanopoulos, remarked about Somalia: “We’re not inflicting pain on these fuckers. When people kill us, they should be killed in greater numbers. I believe in killing people who try to hurt you. And I can’t believe we’re being pushed around by these two-bit pricks.” In May 2003, New York Times columnist Tom Friedman said on the Charlie Rose Show on PBS that the purpose of the Iraq war was to send U.S. troops door-to-door in Iraq to say “Suck on this.”

Are these people serious, crazy, obsessed with their penises, or drugged? The answers seem to be: yes, yes, of course, and they’ve all drunk alcohol as needed. During the 1968 presidential campaign, Richard Nixon told his aide Bob Haldeman that he would force the Vietnamese to surrender by acting crazy (this while successfully running for president, whatever that may say of our electorate):

“[The North Vietnamese will] believe any threat of force that Nixon makes, because it’s Nixon…. I call it the Madman Theory, Bob. I want the North Vietnamese to believe I’ve reached the point where I might do anything to stop the war.”

Are these people serious, crazy, obsessed with their penises, or drugged?”

One of Nixon’s madman ideas was to drop nukes, but another was saturation bombing of Hanoi and Haiphong. Whether he’d been pretending to be crazy or not, Nixon actually did this, dropping 36 thousand tons on two cities in 12 days before agreeing to the same terms that had been offered prior to that fit of mass murder. If there was a point to this, it may have been the same one that later motivated “surge” escalations in Iraq and Afghanistan — the desire to look tough before leaving, thus transforming defeat into a vague claim of having “finished the job.” But maybe there was no point.

In chapter five we looked at the irrationality of violence outside of wars. Can the making of wars perhaps be equally irrational? Just as someone may rob a store because they need food but also be driven by an insane need to murder the clerk, can the masters of war fight for bases and oil wells but also be driven by what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., called the madness of militarism?

If Barbara Ehrenreich is right to trace the pre-history of war-lust to humans as the prey of larger animals, to hunting bands turning the tables on those predators, and to early religions of animal worship, animal sacrifice, and human sacrifice, war may lose some of its glory and pride but become more easily understandable. Even those who defend current practices of torture, even torture for the sake of extracting false grounds for war, cannot explain why we torture people to death. Is this part of the spectacle of war that is older than our history? Are the warmongers proving to themselves the ultimate importance of their cause by mutilating their enemy? Are they reveling in fear and horror of the great forces of evil that were once leopards and are now Muslims, and glorying in the courage and sacrifice needed for the good to triumph? Is war, in fact, the current form of human “sacrifice,” a word we still use without recalling its long history or pre-history? Were the first sacrifices simply humans lost to predators? Did their survivors comfort themselves by describing their family members as voluntary offerings? Have we been lying about life and death that long? And are war stories the current version of that same lie?

Konrad Lorenz noted a half century ago the psychological similarity between religious awe and the arousal experienced by an animal facing mortal danger. “What is known in German as the heiliger Schauer, or ‘holy shiver’ of awe, may be a ‘vestige,’ he suggested, of the widespread and entirely unconscious defensive response which causes an animal’s fur to stand on end, thus increasing its apparent size.”

Lorenz believed that “to the humble seeker of biological truth there cannot be the slightest doubt that human militant enthusiasm evolved out of a communal defense response of our prehuman ancestors.” It was thrilling to band together and fight off a vicious lion or bear. The lions and bears are mostly gone, but the longing for that thrill is not. As seen in chapter four of “War Is A Lie,” many human cultures do not tap into that longing and do not engage in war. Ours, thus far, is one that still does.

Even those who defend current practices of torture cannot explain why we torture people to death.”

When faced with danger or even the sight of bloodshed, a person’s heart and breathing increase, blood is drawn away from the skin and viscera, the pupils dilate, the bronchi distend, the liver releases glucose to the muscles, and blood clotting speeds up. This may be terrifying or exhilarating, and no doubt the culture of each person has an impact on how it is perceived. In some cultures such sensations are avoided at all cost. In ours, this phenomenon contributes to the motto of nightly news shows: “If it bleeds, it leads.” And even more exciting than witnessing or facing danger is joining together as a group to confront and conquer it.

I don’t doubt that crazed longings drive the masters of war, but once they have adopted the attitude of sociopaths, their statements sound cool and calculating. Harry Truman spoke in the Senate on June 23, 1941: “If we see that Germany is winning we ought to help Russia, and if Russia is winning we ought to help Germany, and that way let them kill as many as possible, although I don’t want to see Hitler victorious under any circumstances.”

Because that Hitler had no morals.

SPREADING DEMOCRACY AND MANURE

The masters of war tell their lies to win public support, but keep their wars going for many years in the face of strong public opposition. In 1963 and 1964 as the war makers were trying to figure out how to escalate the war in Vietnam, the Sullivan Task Force analyzed the matter; war games conducted by the joint chiefs of staff and known as the Sigma Games put the war makers through possible scenarios; and the United States Information Agency measured world and congressional opinion only to learn that the world would oppose an escalation but Congress would go along with anything. Yet, “. . . conspicuously absent from these surveys was any study of American public opinion; the war makers were not interested in the views of the nation.”

It turned out, however, that the nation was interested in the views of the war makers. The result was President Lyndon Johnson’s decision, similar to Polk and Truman’s earlier decisions, not to run for reelection. And yet the war rolled on and escalated at the command of President Nixon. Truman had a 54 percent approval rating until he went to war on Korea and then it dropped into the 20s. Lyndon Johnson’s went from 74 to 42 percent. George W. Bush’s approval rating fell from 90 percent to lower than Truman’s.

In the 2006 congressional elections, the voters gave a huge victory to the Democrats over the Republicans, and every media outlet in the country said that exit polls were finding that the number one motivation of voters was opposition to the war in Iraq. The Democrats took over the Congress and proceeded to immediately escalate that war. Similar elections in 2008 also failed to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Opinion polls in between elections likewise seem not to immediately influence the conduct of those making wars. By 2010 the War on Iraq had been scaled back, but the War on Afghanistan and the drone bombing of Pakistan escalated.

The Democrats took over the Congress and proceeded to immediately escalate the war.”

For decades, the U.S. public has largely gone along with wars if they are short. If they drag on, they may stay popular, like World War II, or become unpopular, like Korea and Vietnam, depending on whether the public believes the government’s arguments for why the war is necessary. Most wars, including the 1990 Persian Gulf War, have been kept short enough that the public didn’t mind the ludicrous rationales.

The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq that began in 2001 and 2003, in contrast, dragged on for several years without any plausible justification. The public turned against these wars, but elected officials appeared not to care. Both President George W. Bush and Congress hit all-time record lows in presidential and congressional approval ratings. Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign used the theme of “Change,” as did most congressional campaigns in 2008 and 2010. Any actual change, however, was fairly superficial.

When they think it will work, even temporarily, war makers will simply lie to the public that a war isn’t happening at all. The United States arms other nations and assists in their wars. Our funding, weapons, and/or troops have taken part in wars in places like Indonesia, Angola, Cambodia,Nicaragua, and El Salvador, while our presidents claimed otherwise or just said nothing. Records released in 2000 revealed that unbeknownst to the American public, the United States had begun massive bombing of Cambodia in 1965, not 1970, dropping 2.76 million tons between 1965 and 1973, and contributing to the rise of the Khmer Rouge.190 When President Reagan fueled war in Nicaragua, despite Congress having forbidden it, a scandal played out in 1986 that acquired the name “Iran-Contra,” because Reagan was illegally selling weapons to Iran in order to fund the Nicaraguan war. The public was fairly forgiving, and the Congress and the media were overwhelmingly forgiving, of the crimes uncovered.

SO MANY SECRETS

The masters of war fear, above all, two things: transparency and peace. They do not want the public to find out what they are doing or why. And they do not want peace to get in the way of their doing it. Richard Nixon believed the “most dangerous man in America” was Daniel Ellsberg, the man who had leaked the Pentagon Papers and exposed decades of war lies by Eisenhower, Kennedy, and Johnson. When Ambassador Joseph Wilson, in 2003, published a column in the New York Times debunking some of the Iraq war lies, the Bush White House retaliated by exposing the identity of his wife as an undercover agent, placing her life at risk. In 2010, President Obama’s Justice Department charged Private First Class Bradley Manning with crimes carrying a maximum penalty of 52 years in prison. Manning was charged with leaking to the public a video of an apparent murder of civilians by a U.S. helicopter crew in Iraq and information on the planning of the War on Afghanistan.

Peace offers have been rejected and hushed up prior to or during World War II, Korea, Afghanistan, Iraq, and many other wars. In Vietnam, peace settlements were proposed by the Vietnamese, the Soviets, and the French, but rejected and sabotaged by the United States. The last thing you want when trying to start or continue a war — and when trying to sell it as a reluctant action of last resort — is for word to leak out that the other side is proposing peace talks.

MAKE SURE AMERICANS DIE

If you can start a war and claim aggression from the other side, nobody will hear their cries for peace. But you will have to make sure that some Americans die. Then a war can be not only begun but also continued indefinitely so that those already killed shall not have died in vain. President Polk knew this in the case of Mexico. So did those war propagandists who “remembered the Maine.” As Richard Barnet explains, in the context of Vietnam:

“The sacrifice of American lives is a crucial step in the ritual of commitment. Thus William P. Bundy stressed in working papers the importance of ‘spilling American blood’ not only to whip up the public to support a war that could touch their emotions in no other way, but also to trap the President.”

Who was William P. Bundy? He was in the CIA and became an advisor to Presidents Kennedy and Johnson. He was exactly the kind of bureaucrat who succeeds in Washington, D.C. In fact he was considered a “dove” by the standards of those in power, people like his brother McGeorge Bundy, National Security Advisor to Kennedy and Johnson, or William Bundy’s father-in-law Dean Acheson, Secretary of State for Truman. The warmakers do what they do, because only aggressive war makers advance through the ranks and keep their jobs as high-level advisors in our government. While resisting militarism is a good way to derail your career, no one seems to have ever heard of a D.C. bureaucrat’s being sidelined for excessive warmongering. Pro-war counsel may be rejected, but is always considered respectable and important.

The warmakers do what they do, because only aggressive war makers advance through the ranks and keep their jobs as high-level advisors in our government.”

One can become known as soft without recommending any course of action whatsoever. All that is required is that one question information that is being used to justify hard policies. We saw this in the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, as bureaucrats learned that information disproving claims about weapons in Iraq was not welcome and would not advance their careers. Similarly, State Department employees in the late 1940s who knew anything about China and dared to point out Mao’s popularity (not to approve it, just to recognize it) were branded as disloyal and their careers were derailed.192 War makers find it easier to lie if they arrange to be lied to themselves.

CATAPULTING THE PROPAGANDA

The dishonesty of war makers can be found in the contrast between what they say publicly and what they actually do, including what they say in private. But it is also evident in the very nature of their public statements, which are designed to manipulate emotions.

The Institute for Propaganda Analysis, which existed from 1937 to 1942 identified seven useful techniques for tricking people into doing what you want them to do:

1. Name-calling (an example would be “terrorist”)
2. Glittering generalities (if you say you’re spreading democracy and then explain that you’re using bombs, people will have already agreed with younbefore they hear about the bombs)
3. Transfer (if you tell people that God or their nation or science approves, they may want to as well)
4. Testimonial (putting a statement in the mouth of a respected authority)
5. Plain folks (think millionaire politicians chopping wood or calling their gargantuan house a “ranch”)
6. Card stacking (slanting the evidence)
7. Bandwagon (everyone else is doing it, don’t be left out)
There are many more. Prominent among them is simply the use of fear. We can go to war or die horrible deaths at the hands of fiendish beasts, but it’s your choice, entirely up to you, no pressure, except that our executioners will be here by next week if you don’t hurry it up!

The technique of testimonial is used in combination with fear. Great authorities should be deferred to, not just because it’s easier, but also because they will save you from danger if you obey them, and you can start obeying them by believing them. Think of the people in the Milgram experiment willing to administer electric shocks to what they believed was the point of murder if an authority fi gure told them to do so. Think of George W. Bush’s popularity shooting from 55 percent to 90 percent approval purely because he was the nation’s president when airplanes flew into buildings in 2001 and he let out a war whoop or two. The mayor of New York City at the time, Rudy Giuliani, went through a similar transformation. Bush (and Obama) didn’t include 9-11 in their war speeches for no reason.

Those who constitute the real driving force behind a war know exactly what they are lying about and why. Members of a committee like the White House Iraq Group, whose task was to market a war on Iraq to the public, carefully choose the most effective lies and set them on their course through the welcoming ears and mouths of politicians and pundits. Machiavelli told tyrants that they must lie to be great, and would-be great ones have been heeding his advice for centuries.

Arthur Bullard, a liberal reporter who urged Woodrow Wilson, to employ dishonesty rather than censorship, argued that “Truth and falsehood are arbitrary terms.…There is nothing in experience to tell us that one is always preferable to the other.… There are lifeless truths and vital lies.…The force of an idea lies in itsinspirational value. It matters very little whether it is true or false.”

A Senate committee report in 1954 advised, “We are facing an implacable enemy whose avowed objective is world domination by whatever means and at whatever cost. There are no rules in such a game. Hitherto acceptable norms of human conduct do not apply.”

Philosophy professor Leo Strauss, an influence on Neoconservatives associated with PNAC, backed the idea of the “noble lie,” of the need for a wise elite to lie to the general public for its own good. The trouble with such theories is that, in practice, when we find out we’ve been lied to we’re not just irrationally more angry about the lies than grateful for all the good they’ve done us, we’re justifiably outraged because they’ve never done us any good.

For more information on David Swanson’s new book, “War Is A Lie,” go to http://warisalie.org.

David Swanson is the author of “War Is A Lie” 

http://warisalie.org

http://davidswanson.org

Ronald Reagan gave big tax cuts to the wealthy.

So it is dramatic that Reagan’s director of Office of Management and Budget – David Stockman – calls the Bush tax cuts “the biggest fiscal mistake in history”.

Specifically, Stockman told Dylan Ratigan that Bush’s advisers forecast a $5 trillion surplus over 10 years. But “two unfunded wars and a Fed engineered housing bubble later”, we’re in a $ 5 trillion cumulative deficit. So Bush made a $10 trillion mistake.

Stockman said extending the Bush tax cuts won’t stimulate the economy, the fact that the tax cut extensions will expire on the eve of the 2012 elections will panic politicians and force them to renew them yet again, and that “we’re destroying the economy on Uncle Sam’s credit card.

US spy agencies paint grim picture of Afghan war

December 16th, 2010 by Bill Van Auken

Two reports produced by US intelligence agencies sharply contradict the American military’s claims of success in the nine-year-old war in Afghanistan.

The National Intelligence Estimates on Afghanistan and Pakistan were recently presented in secret to members of the Senate and House intelligence committees. They represent the consensus view of Washington’s 16 separate intelligence agencies, led by the Central Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, the State Department and the various arms of military intelligence.

Coming on the eve of the formal presentation by the Obama White House of its review of the US policy in Afghanistan and Pakistan, the reports stand in sharp contradiction to the rosy estimates being peddled by the US military.

This month marks one year since President Barack Obama, in a speech at West Point, ordered his military “surge” in Afghanistan. This escalation saw the deployment of 30,000 more US troops into the impoverished, war-torn country, bringing the total US force there to nearly 100,000. Another 50,000 NATO and other foreign troops are participating in the US-led colonial-style war.

On Tuesday, President Obama signed off on a report prepared by Gen. David Petraeus, the top US military commander in Afghanistan, which claims that the escalation of the war has proved successful.

Previewing the report, which will be formally presented by the president today, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said Wednesday, “There has been some important progress in halting the momentum of the Taliban in Afghanistan.” He also claimed that the US has “seen greater cooperation over the course of the past 18 months, with the Pakistani government.”

According to unnamed senior government officials quoted in the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday, however, US intelligence agencies challenge the veracity of such claims.

The classified intelligence reports contend that large swaths of Afghanistan are still at risk of falling to the Taliban, according to officials who were briefed on the National Intelligence Estimates,” the Los Angeles Times reported.

The paper also reported that the reports, presented at a closed-door hearing of the Senate Intelligence Committee recently, state that the Pakistani government “remains unwilling to stop its covert support for members of the Afghan Taliban who mount attacks against US troops from the tribal areas of the neighboring country.”

According to the New York Times, the reports conclude that “there is a limited chance of success unless Pakistan hunts down insurgents operating from havens on its Afghan border.”

The Washington Post carried an article Wednesday indicating that the administration’s own review, at least in regard to Pakistan, appears to concur in part with the intelligence estimates. It quoted an official familiar with the review as stating that Pakistan has not “fundamentally changed its strategic calculus” regarding the use of the country’s Federally Administered Tribal Areas by armed Afghan opposition groups as sanctuary.

The Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus has longstanding ties to the Taliban, which it views as a counterweight to the attempt by its regional rival, India, to exert its influence in Afghanistan.

The logic of this shared assessment of the role played by Pakistan is the escalation of US pressure on the government in Islamabad and the increasing extension of the US military intervention into Pakistani territory.

White House spokesman Gibbs advised that the results of the policy review will “not surprise” anyone who has been familiar with the administration’s policies.

Indeed, the long-awaited review has become virtually a non-event. The Obama administration already spelled out its intentions at the NATO summit in Lisbon last month, where it embraced a new timeline that effectively jettisoned the pledge made by the US president last December to begin withdrawing US troops from Afghanistan in July of 2011.

The new deadline embraced in Lisbon is the end of 2014 when, supposedly, Afghan security forces would be capable of taking over most combat operations in the country. July 2011 will, at most, see a token withdrawal, that will leave the bulk of US forces in the country. And military commanders have indicated that they expect American troops to remain in Afghanistan well past 2014.

The inability of the Obama administration to hold off announcing this new policy until its policy review was formally presented is indicative of the crisis gripping the US enterprise in Afghanistan, and in particular the fear that any illusion that Washington planned a major withdrawal by next year would only strengthen the Taliban and other armed opposition groups.

The extreme sensitivity of the US military to any questioning of its claims of success was expressed in the Pentagon’s reaction to the National Intelligence Estimates.

Both the New York Times and the Los Angeles Times quoted an unnamed senior Pentagon official as dismissing the intelligence reports as out-of-date and irrelevant, having been produced by Washington bureaucrats unfamiliar with the situation on the ground in Afghanistan.

“They are not on the ground living it day in and day out like our forces are, so they don’t have the proximity and perspective,” the official told the Times.

But, as the New York Times pointed out, the CIA has built its largest station since the Vietnam War in Kabul and is commanding secret armies and death squads that number in the thousands in Afghanistan.

The Los Angeles Times article included an angry retort from an unnamed senior intelligence official. “The notion that intelligence officers aren’t on the ground in Afghanistan and on the front lines in the fight against terrorism is preposterous,” he said.

This kind of backbiting within the US military-intelligence apparatus is symptomatic of the crisis atmosphere pervading the entire imperialist venture in Afghanistan.

The military’s claims of progress in Afghanistan are linked to what is referred to by the Pentagon as the rise in “kinetic activity,” i.e., the escalating use of deadly force that has accompanied the Obama surge. It has resurrected the discredited method of “body counts,” claiming, for example, to have killed 952 “insurgents” during a 90-day period ending December 2. Many of these were the victims of special forces death squads, which have frequently assassinated unarmed civilians in the course of controversial night raids.

The US military has also sharply escalated the use of aerial bombardment, having dropped 5,465 bombs and missiles on Afghanistan in the first 11 months of this year. This already considerably outpaces the 4,184 that were dropped in all of 2009.

Now, for the first time, the Pentagon is bringing heavy battle tanks into Afghanistan, a move that will significantly increase the US military’s firepower and the overall carnage.

The predictable result of this increased violence is a rise in civilian casualties, a sharp deterioration in economic and social conditions and growing popular anger against the foreign occupation.

More than 2,400 civilians have been killed in Afghanistan between the months of January and September alone, the most intense bloodshed since the US invaded the country in 2001. The UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan reported a 31 percent rise in civilian casualties for the first six months of this year compared to the same period in 2009.

In the latest incident, NATO acknowledged on Wednesday that it is investigating a bombing by a US warplane in the Marjah district of Helmand province in which an Afghan civilian was killed and two children were wounded. “We are here to protect the Afghan people and initial indications are that in this case we may have failed,” a military spokesman said. Marjah was supposedly one of the “success” stories after the US Marines carried out a major offensive there earlier this year.

The International Committee of the Red Cross organized a press conference in Kabul Wednesday to decry what the agency said was the worst violence it has seen in Afghanistan in 30 years.

The proliferation of armed groups threatens the ability of humanitarian organizations to access those in need,” said Reto Stocker, head of the ICRC in Afghanistan. “Access for the ICRC has over the last 30 years never been as poor.”

Stocker said that the agency had called the press conference because it is “extremely concerned of yet another year of fighting with dramatic consequences for an ever-growing number of people in by now almost the entire country.” While the US has concentrated its surge in the southern provinces of Helmand and Kandahar, the Red Cross representative said that the growth of the insurgency had cut off its access to the previously peaceful north of the country.

This assessment was shared by a group of aid workers and others working in Afghanistan who addressed an open letter to President Obama last week.

The situation on the ground is much worse than a year ago because the Taliban insurgency has made progress across the country,” they wrote. “It is now very difficult to work outside the cities or even move around Afghanistan by road. The insurgents have built momentum, exploiting the shortcomings of the Afghan government and the mistakes of the coalition.”

The growing hostility of the Afghan people to the US occupation produced by the Obama surge found expression in a poll conducted earlier this month by the Washington Post, ABC News, the British Broadcasting Corporation and Germany’s ARD television.

The survey found that more than half of the Afghan population wants the US and other foreign forces to begin their withdrawal by mid-2011, if not immediately. Three-quarters of those surveyed supported negotiations between the Afghan government and the Taliban, the insurgent force that the US military is attempting to annihilate. And support for the Taliban in Kandahar province, the main focus of the ongoing US surge, has increased markedly, with 45 percent saying that they view the movement favorably.

Given the inherent dangers in expressing hostility to the US occupation and support for the Taliban, there is no doubt that the poll is a pale indication of both the popular outrage over the US military offensive and the level of support for the armed groups fighting against the occupation.

Canada’s Role in Afghanistan

December 16th, 2010 by John Riddell

Mike Skinner, co-founder of the Afghanistan-Canadian Research Group and a researcher at the York Centre for International and Security Studies in Toronto, believes a simple question is being left out of the debate about Canada’s continued military involvement in Afghanistan: ”Why are we there?” It is a no-brainer to ask this but there are no easy answers it appears.

To understand the goals of Canada’s role, he said, we need to examine the forms of intervention under current consideration as alternatives to Ottawa’s combat mission in Kandahar. During extensive travels in Afghanistan in 2007, Skinner studied firsthand Canada’s intervention, assisted by Afghan-Canadian reporter Hamayon Rastgar, and has written widely on this question. The two men formed, along with fellow-researcher Angela Joya, the Afghanistan-Canadian Research Group.

When considering the example of Canada’s supposed “humanitarian” aid projects, which the New Democratic Party and the Bloc Québécois propose as an alternative to a military mission, Skinner emphasises the limitations of the approach and the bad feelings it can engender.

“Canadian aid agencies in Afghanistan have to follow the orders of the military,” he says. “Aid is meted out as rewards to co-operative communities and withdrawn from others as punishment.”

It was not always the case. “Canadian development and aid agencies – like Care Canada and the Red Cross – had been working in Afghanistan, through all the upheavals in government, the Soviet occupation, and then, after 1992, the Mujahedeen period, and, after 1996, under the Taliban regime. They operated in very difficult conditions, negotiating with the government in power,” Skinner says.

NGOs Conscripted to Military Service

“In 2008, these organizations were told that humanitarian operations had to serve military purposes. If they did not, they would be in ‘very threatening circumstances,’” Skinner says. In effect, the non-governmental organizations were constrained to become part of the U.S. military’s counterinsurgency program.

NGOs also were imperilled by “special ops” – secret strike forces of the Canadian and U.S. armies. “U.S. special forces have impersonated NGO workers, posing as civilians,” Skinner says. When fighters resisting the U.S.-led occupation see this, all NGO workers become suspect in their eyes.

The Ghazi High School, in Kabul.

“NGOs began protesting against these practices as early as 2004.” In 2008, “many NGOs, including Care Canada and the Red Cross, pulled out from conflict zones in Afghanistan.”

Under the Obama presidency, U.S. military control of “humanitarian aid” was heightened. Eight NGOs including Care and OXFAM criticized the use of “aid as a weapons system” in a joint statement released in January 2010. In February, United Nations aid officials refused to co-operate with U.S.-led military operations, which the UN officials describe as the “militarization” of Afghan Aid.

In the early stages of the war, the occupation of Afghanistan consisted of two separate operations, Skinner explains. “There was OEF (Operation Enduring Freedom) – the original invasion carried out by the Anglo-Saxon states: the U.S., Britain, Canada, and Australia.” OEF, organized under the umbrella of GWOT (Global War on Terror), operates worldwide: it directs the war in Somalia and the decades-old U.S. involvement in civil conflicts in the Philippines. Ominously, OEF/GWOT started up operations in 2008 in the Caribbean and Central America.

“A second parallel mission, sanctioned by the United Nations and under NATO leadership, is the International Security and Assistance Force (ISAF), which is supposed to conduct ‘peace’ operations and help stabilize the Hamid Karzai government. But Obama rolled both operations into one under the command of General David Petraeus,” strengthening U.S. military control of “aid” projects.

‘Training’ For What?

As for the military ‘training’ mission favoured by the Conservative and Liberal parties, Skinner asks, “just what are we training Afghan soldiers to do?”

Here we must examine, he said, the record of U.S. training missions around the world in recent decades. “They have immense experience around the world, in the Vietnam war, elsewhere in southeast Asia, and in Latin America. This ‘training’ has had devastating results for the people of these regions.”

The U.S. military have ‘trained’ more than 60,000 Latin American soldiers in their notorious Fort Benning, Georgia, School of the Americas, now renamed WHINSEC (Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Co-operation). The school’s alumni include prominent supporters of rightist military coups, repression, torture, and killings directed against democratic movements.

The U.S. and its allies have been ‘training’ Afghan soldiers for almost a decade, Skinner noted. “What is this army for? Simply to control the population by military means,” he suggests. The intent is to ensure that people will consent to massive projects to extract and ship raw materials, which will displace large numbers of residents – “like in North America in the 18th and 19th centuries, except that now extermination is not an acceptable option.”

Secret Military Operations

Unmentioned in the present debate on Canada’s Afghanistan involvement is its Special Operations forces – the 600-member JTF 2 (Joint Task Force Two) and two recently formed units. Such elite units carry out special strike missions, “avoiding any kind of accountability.”

“They are never mentioned in the press or official documentation. Are they operating with the U.S. in covert actions in Pakistan? Probably. But a member of parliament can’t get an answer to that question.”

When Canada ends its “combat mission” in Afghanistan next year, will JTF 2 and other special ops groups be withdrawn? Not necessarily. “It’s not clear,” said Skinner

A Worm’s Eye View of the Occupation

During his 2007 travels in Afghanistan, Skinner interviewed more than a hundred Afghans on their view of the occupation – intellectuals, farmers, miners, university students, shopkeepers, and human rights activists.

“Afghans don’t see Canada’s involvement as a sudden rush to their aid. Their urgent needs – fresh water, sanitation, basic infrastructure, electricity, telephone – they see little of that. Instead, they see construction of infrastructure for large-scale commercial development,” he notes.

“They are sceptical of electrical development, for example, which is more likely to provide power for smelters, not meet people’s needs.”

Canada’s signature development project, he said, was the rebuilding of a dam in the Helmand river valley – repairing a U.S.-sponsored development project of the 1950s that had a devastating impact on local farmers and the environment. The repair project “has now been apparently abandoned – a boondoggle for SNC-Lavalin,” the major contractor.

Opinion polls in Afghanistan have shown a majority against the invasion of the country, Skinner adds.

Opening Afghanistan for Capitalism

“What was the goal of the invasion?” Skinner asks. “Liberation of women? If that was the goal, it has failed. Build the state? A failure. But on other issues, the invasion has been very successful, and Afghans are quite perceptive of this.”

Afghanistan is “important real estate,” Skinner says. “It sits astride the shortest route between China and Europe, between India and Russia.” Iran, China, and Turkey are all active in Afghanistan, “and they have great economic and social advantages over the Western countries.”

The U.S.-led invasion is part of a two-track policy articulated in the 2008 U.S. National Defense Strategy. The first and preferred track, Skinner notes, is to engage China and Russia within the globalization of capitalism. Failing this, the second track is a “containment policy reminiscent of the Cold War. Occupying Afghanistan serves both purposes of engagement and potential containment.” Previously, “Afghanistan was cut off as a buffer zone; today it is a bridgehead into Eurasia.” For the invading powers human welfare is secondary to the “opening up of Afghanistan to capitalist development.”

What Should Canada Do?

In Skinner’s opinion, under present conditions – foreign occupation, all-out war, and a puppet government – none of the forms of involvement now being considered by Canada’s political parties will serve the needs of the Afghan people.

What should Canada do? “Ask Afghans what would help them. Don’t ask Karzai, ask the people. That is easy to say but hard to do. We need to open up communications with Afghan organizations on the ground.” There are many such organizations, isolated by the language barrier and silenced by repression. “We have a task here of human solidarity.”

But the first step, Skinner says, is clear: “The Canadian state needs to dissociate itself from the U.S. imperial project in Afghanistan – fully and completely.” •

John Riddell is a Toronto-based activist and co-editor of Socialist Voice. This article was first published in rabble.ca.

In the American press, the death of U.S. Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan, Richard Holbrooke has been universally hailed as an immense tragedy for the people of the United States and the world at large. TIME magazine described the longtime Democratic Party advisor and foreign diplomat as “tactically brilliant and capable of the finest strategic judgment” while also “possessing high principles and real, deep compassion.”1  New York Times columnist, Nicholas Kristof—well known for his ultra-dovish politics and passion for humanitarianism—praised Holbrooke as “a man of heart” who served as an “inspiration” to us all.2  The Washington Post joined in the chorus of admiration, warmly painting Holbrooke as a “towering, one-of-a-kind presence” who “move[d] with equal confidence through Upper East Side cocktail parties, the halls of the White House and the slums of Pakistan.”3

One by one, each newspaper and major television network lionized Holbrooke as a man of peace, great intelligence, compassion, and foresight. Humorous anecdotes and interpersonal stories were shared, serving to humanize him as a family man and great personality. Media outlets and intellectuals doted on Holbrooke’s supposed achievements surrounding the establishment of the 1995 Dayton Accords—praise that is dubious at best.4

What they left out is that Richard Holbrooke was as Special Envoy, in a many regards, a war criminal; an exporter of misery and suffering to millions of people.

Over the course of nearly five decades, Holbrooke supported and took part in—often playing quite substantial roles—some of the most horrifying crimes of the latter half of the twentieth century. For six years in the 1960s he worked to advance the brutal U.S. pacification of South Vietnam. In addition to serving as an aide to multiple U.S. ambassadors in the Saigon embassy, Holbrooke worked as a USAID operative in the Mekong Delta. USAID programs provided training for South Vietnamese police, intelligence agents, and death squads to help these U.S.-directed forces ruthlessly terrorize and slaughter hundreds of thousands of South Vietnamese peasants in an effort to stop the population from supporting Ho Chi Min and the National Liberation Front (also known as the “Viet Cong”).

USAID also played a significant role in facilitating CIA involvement in “Operation Phoenix”—the infamous program of mass torture and political murder which claimed several tens of thousands of victims. In all, the U.S. and its surrogate forces in Vietnam ended up killing upwards of three to four million human beings throughout the war, including many children. Holbrooke also helped implement this campaign by serving as a high level advisor to then-President Lyndon Johnson. . 

In the late 1970s, Holbrooke served as President Jimmy Carter’s Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs. The unprovoked Indonesian invasion and occupation of East Timor, beginning in 1975, was largely a U.S. project designed to maintain traditional U.S. political and economic interests in the region. The U.S. provided Indonesia with upwards of 90 percent of their military hardware and, until 1999, successfully blocked all international efforts in the United Nations to bring about an Indonesian withdrawal from East Timor.

Holbrooke served as the top Carter administration official responsible for U.S. policy in Indonesia and East Timor. On the military end, Holbrooke authorized crucial arms shipments to Indonesia which allowed the invading forces to attack largely undefended, civilian targets. As part of the political campaign to conceal these genocidal atrocities, Holbrooke testified before Congress in 1979, lying to the American people about the mass starvation the U.S.-backed Indonesian forces were imposing on the East Timorese general public. According to sources from the UN, Amnesty International, and the Catholic Church, some 200,000 East Timorese were killed, with hundreds of thousands more tortured and rendered homeless in what amounted to, proportionally, one of the most comprehensive genocides since the Nazi Holocaust.5

Holbrooke also served as a major Carter administration apologist for the hideous crimes of the U.S. favorite in The Philippines, Dictator Ferdinand Marcos. His hatred for popular movements, grassroots struggles, and democracy was not limited, however, to Vietnam, East Timor, and The Philippines. Holbrooke successfully convinced Carter to authorize South Korean troops under effective U.S. control to crush a pro-democracy uprising in Kwangju, South Korea, resulting in the killing of hundreds of young activists.6

As an advisor to President Bill Clinton, Holbrooke supported and often spoke out in defense of the U.S.-sponsored ethnic cleansing and brutalization program of Turkish Kurds. Tens of thousands of Kurds were killed, thousands of villages were razed, countless women raped, and millions rendered homeless, largely as a result of U.S. diplomatic and military support. Unsurprisingly, Holbrooke also took a hard line against the Palestinian struggle for freedom from Israel’s foreign military occupation, voicing support for America’s policy of financing Israeli crimes while also urging the UN Security Council to abstain from criticizing Israel.

In more recent years, Holbrooke is known for being a prominent and powerful Democratic Party supporter of the March 2003 invasion of Iraq—an invasion and occupation which has thus far resulted in the killing of over 1,000,000 people and the torture, mutilation, brutalization, and devastation of many more millions of Iraqis.7

At the time of his death, Holbrooke was serving as the Obama administration’s Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan. In this capacity, he led the push for Obama’s military surge in Afghanistan which has been closely accompanied by a drastic increase in death and destruction. House raids by U.S. Special Forces, aerial bombings, and increased fighting with insurgents has made life for the Pashtun population a living nightmare, according to leading independent journalists in Afghanistan, such as Anand Gopal. In addition to crimes and humiliations committed by NATO troops, Gopal writes, the daily atrocities committed by U.S.-backed Afghan forces and paramilitary death squads continue to increase support for the Taliban-led insurgency while fostering hatred for the United States.8 In Pakistan, Holbrooke has overseen an unprecedented increase in remote-controlled drone bombings in the tribal regions. Thousands of Pakistanis have been killed by these strikes and it is widely believed that civilians are bearing the brunt of the bloodshed.9

Falsifying history is one of the most important functions of the establishment media. Whenever a statesman or lap-dog intellectual dies,10 it is important that the documentary record is suppressed in favor of telling comforting narratives that perpetuate the harmful myths of the dominant political culture.


Max Kantar is a Michigan-based independent writer and human rights activist. He can be reached at
[email protected]

Notes

1 Massimo Calabresi, “Richard Holbrooke: Archetype of American Diplomacy,” TIME, December 14, 2010, http://www.time.com/time/nation/article/0,8599,2036851,00.html (December 14, 2010).

2 Nicholas Kristof, “Richard Holbrooke, RIP,” New York Times, December 14, 2010, Opinion Pages, http://kristof.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/12/13/richard-holbrooke-rip/ (accessed December 14, 2010).

3 Ranjiv Chandrasekaran, “Richard Holbrooke Dies: Veteran U.S. diplomat brokered Dayton peace accords,” Washington Post, December 13, 2010.

4 Edward Herman, “Inhumanitarian Intervention,” Z Magazine, May 2007, http://www.zcommunications.org/inhumanitarian-intervention-by-edward-herman (accessed December 14, 2010).

5 On Holbrooke’s role in the East Timor genocide, see, for example, Sunil Sharma, “200,000 Skeletons in Richard Holbrooke’s closet,” Dissident Voice, March 22, 1999, http://dissidentvoice.org/Articles/Sharma_Holbrooke-Timor.htm (accessed December 14, 2010); Joshua Frank, “Obama’s Necon: The Curious Case of Richard Holbrooke,” Counterpunch, January 27, 2009, http://www.counterpunch.org/frank01272009.html (accessed December 14, 2010). For more on blocking international efforts to stop the genocide, see Daniel Patrick Moynihan, A Dangerous Place (Boston: Little Brown, 1978), 247-53.

6 Tim Shorrock, “Kwangju Declassified: Holbrooke’s Legacy,” May 31, 2010, http://timshorrock.com/?p=435 (accessed December 14, 2010).

7 For sources on the death toll in Iraq, see, for example, Patrick McElwee, “A Million Iraqi Dead?,” Extra! January/February 2008, http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3321 (accessed December 14, 2010). 

8 Anand Gopal, “The Battle for Afghanistan: Militancy and Conflict in Kandahar,” New America Foundation, November 2010, http://newamerica.net/sites/newamerica.net/files/policydocs/kandahar_0.pdf (accessed December 14, 2010).

9 For sources and analysis on U.S. drones and civilian casualties, see Max Kantar, “International Law: The First Casualty of the Drone War,” Global Policy Forum, May 30, 2009, http://www.globalpolicy.org/home/163-general/48551-international-law-the-first-casualty-of-the-drone-war.html (accessed December 14, 2010). For a more recent report, see “US criticized in Pakistan Drone Report,” BBC News, December 9, 2010, http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-south-asia-11963632 (accessed December 14, 2010). 

10 Another prime example is the media coverage of the death of longtime racist, William F. Buckley. For an excellent analysis, see Steven Rendall, “William F. Buckley: Rest in Praise,” Extra!, May/June 2008, http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=3406 (accessed December 15, 2010).

 

Yugoslavia: How Holbrooke Lied His Way into a War

December 15th, 2010 by Sam Husseini

This is an article originally published in December 9, 2008, while Holbrooke was being considered for the position he held in the Obama administration.

Shortly before the bombing of Yugoslavia began in late March 1999, Richard Holbrooke met with Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic. By his own account, Holbrooke delivered the final ultimatum to Milosevic — that if Yugoslavia didn’t agree to the Rambouillet text, NATO would begin bombing.

The Rambouillet text called for a de facto occupation of Yugoslavia. On major U.S. media, after the bombing of Yugoslavia began, Holbrooke claimed that what was called for in the Rambouillet text, despite Serbian protests, “isn’t an occupation”. Several weeks later, when confronted by a journalist familiar with the Rambouillet text, Holbrooke claimed: “I never said that”. This was a lie, it was also a tacit admission that the Rambouillet text did call for an occupation (why else would Holbrooke deny saying it when he had?) So the U.S. demanded that Yugoslavia submit to occupation or be bombed — and Holbrooke lied about this crucial fact when questioned about the cause of the war.

Here are the specifics:The Rambouillet text of Feb. 23, 1999, a month before NATO began bombing, contained provisions that provided for NATO to basically occupy the entire Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (FRY), not just Kosovo. Excerpts from Appendix (B) (I attempted to draw attention to this at the time when I became aware of it.):

7. NATO personnel shall be immune from any form of arrest, investigation, or detention by the authorities in the FRY.

8. NATO personnel shall enjoy… free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access throughout the FRY including associated airspace and territorial waters.

11. NATO is granted the use of airports, roads, rails and ports without payment…

15. [NATO shall have] the right to use all of the electromagnetic spectrum…

On April 6, 1999, about two weeks after the bombing began, Holbrooke appeared on the Charlie Rose show and was asked about what started the war. (Video is here, approximate times in the interview are provided):

[3:45] “The 81 pages of the Rambouillet agreement, which the Serbs rejected, contain all the elements of a really solid interim solution. … Although Rambouillet itself was rejected, the principles embodied in the Rambouillet agreement make a hell of a lot of sense. …”

[13:00] “The [Yugoslavian government] decision was to trigger the bombing of their own country instead of accepting this very reasonable political offer.” …

[14:00] Asked how to explain the actions of the Serbs, Holbrooke claims the Serbs said: “The choice you’ve given us is to have our sacred soil violated by an invading force. I said this isn’t an invasion, it isn’t an occupation, it’s an international peacekeeping force that will save the Serb minority in Kosovo. …”

[15:00] “We walked the last mile for peace.”

[17:00] “The bombing must continue and must intensify until the Yugoslav leadership realizes they have to change their positions.”

On April 23, 1999, journalist Jeremy Scahill of Democracy Now questioned Richard Holbrooke as he was leaving the Overseas Press Club’s 60th anniversary dinner:

 

Holbrooke: “One question.”

Jeremy Scahill: “You’ve said, since you gave the ultimatum to President Milosevic, that the Rambouillet accords do not call for the occupation of Yugoslavia. In –”

Holbrooke: “I never said that. That’s the end of that. You got the wrong person and the wrong quote. That’s your question.”

Scahill: “Do the Rambouillet accords … Are the the Rambouillet accords a call for the occupation of Yugoslavia — how do you reconcile that with Appendix B?”

Holbrooke: “I was not at Rambouillet. You’ll have to address it to the people –”

Scahill: “You delivered the ultimatum, you’re familiar with with the text –”

Holbrooke: “I did not discuss that detail with him. That’s your question.”

Scahill: “You haven’t answered the question though.”

Holbrooke: “I have answered the question. Good night.” (See the April 23, 1999 Democracy Now, especially beginning at 29:00.)

It’s tempting for many to think that the current Bush administration and the 2003 invasion of Iraq are totally unique. They’re not, the methods of the U.S. government lying its way into a war are long standing and many of the culprits are still very much part of the political structure.

The movement to isolate Israel through boycott, divestment and sanctions resonates from Canada to the Indo-Pakistani border, notes Eric Walberg

Last month Canada’s controversial Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper continued his campaign to support Israel through thick and thin at an international conference hosted by the Canadian Parliamentary Coalition to Combat Anti-Semitism (CPCCA), where he solemnly warned participants, “History shows us, and the ideology of the anti-Israel mob tells us all too well, that those who threaten the existence of the Jewish people are in the longer term a threat to all of us.”

His goal was to produce a protocol, to be adopted by all Canadian political parties, expanding the definition of anti-Semitism to include criticism of Israel. But Harper’s vocal support for Israel right-or-wrong over the past three years has backfired. The Bloc Quebecois withdrew from the CPCCA in March, citing “the refusal of the Steering Committee to hear groups with opposing viewpoints”. The New Democratic Party has been under intense pressure to do the same.

I’m not sure about a “threat” to the Jewish people in Canada, but “the anti-Israel mob” is very much a threat to Harper’s neocon programme, not only in its warlike foreign policy, but its elitist domestic one. In any case, the proposed declaration never appeared, as it became clear that it would not be possible to submit such a declaration to parliament, and it would only add further fuel to the Canadian grassroots activists who are appalled at Canadian complicity with Israel’s behaviour.

As Canadians turn their thoughts to Noel feasts, boycott divestment sanction (BDS) activists are finding that what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. Harper’s over-the-top obsession with Israel has been a boon to educating Canadians about Israeli apartheid. George Galloway made several speaking tours speaking to packed audiences this year criticising the bias of the Canadian government, after he was barred from entry last year as a security risk. 

Omar Barghouti, a founder of the Palestinian BDS campaign, toured Canada last month after attending the Montreal BDS conference at the end of October. He is “very optimistic” about the effect the growing global BDS is having, which a Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) delegate at the Montreal conference called “an unstoppable movement”.

Barghouti dubbed Montreal “the capital of the BDS campaign in the Francophone world”. “The Old Order is going. BDS is skyrocketing, well-anchored in international law and in the universal principles of freedom, justice and equal rights. We are absolutely anti-racist and we reject anti-Semitism. We believe in ourselves, in our heritage, in our roots. The once ‘invincible’ US-Israeli axis is now shaking. You’d think Netanyahu and Lieberman were working for the BDS movement!” He was too polite to add “and Harper”, but his listeners got the message. “Besiege your siege,” exhorted Barghouti, echoing the cry of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish.

Despite the presence of trade unionists representing COSATU, Quebec unions, the Canadian Union of Postal Workers and Canadian Union of Public Employees, Canadian unions still have long-established links with the Israeli labour federation Histadrut, and resistance among union leadership to BDS continues. The International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC) world congress in June 2010 in Vancouver rejected calls to support BDS, and even elected Histadrut head Ofer Eini one of its vice presidents.

“COSATU lost a few friends in Canada when it raised the BDS issue at the ITUC conference. Its international officer was even threatened with the withdrawal of his Canadian visa. But the attack has only strengthened world solidarity behind the BDS campaign,” said the COSATU representative in Montreal.

Barghouti said the world order was changing rapidly, seconding Kenyan writer Ngugi wa Thiongo’s argument that “decolonising the minds” is even “more important than decolonising the lands”. “Canada kept it quiet, but it did refuse, with many other countries, to attend the OECD Tourism conference held in Jerusalem,” Barghouti said. “At the 2009 AIPAC conference, it was stressed that the BDS campaign was becoming mainstream, and Israel’s Hasbara (Propaganda) campaign was failing. The Knesset is now looking to criminalise Jewish support for BDS inside Israel.”

Barghouti’s colleague Areej Jaafari, a young woman activist from the Dheisheh refugee camp near Bethlehem, told the conference “Boycott of Zionism is nothing new for us. It goes back 100 years. We have Gandhi, the US civil rights movement and South Africa on our side.”

There was a strong presence of Canadian First Nations at the Montreal conference, including the Mohawk Nation, once dwellers on the land that is now Montreal. Canadian apartheid was condemned alongside Israeli apartheid. Judy Dassylva of the Grassy Narrows First Nation in northwestern Ontario compared Israeli actions to the contamination of First Nation lands through clear-cutting and mercury poisoning. “To us, apartheid is one and the same whether in South Africa, Israel or Canada. Our kids were brainwashed in residence schools. Our women raped. It’s a miracle I am alive and sitting here in front of you. But we are not as powerful as you, we need our own BDS campaign,” she beseeched Barghouti and Jaafari.

One of the BDS groups that Harper has inadvertently helped most is Canadians for Justice and Peace in the Middle East (CJPME), which recently inaugurated an impressive Boycott Centre at cjpme.org, providing activists around the world with resources and tools to promote the campaign to bring Israel to its senses. It features Talking Points, a “Why boycott Israel?” Factsheet, a Consumer Boycott Network and City Activist Network.

Each month CJPME features an active consumer boycott campaign of a company supporting Israel through economic ties. Last month it was the turn of Aroma Espresso Bars, part of an Israeli-owned chain which operates in Maaleh Adumim, an Israeli settlement built on the site of several Palestinian and Bedouin villages, strategically located near Jerusalem, part of a clear plan by Israel to expand and annex East Jerusalem. 

CJPME is setting its sites next on Mountain Equipment Co-op, which uses Israeli military contractors as suppliers. Western Union, Ahava, H&M, Office Depot and Pizza Hut are on their list for the new year. The BDS movement in Canada targets more than 120 brands and labels linked to Israel, including Coca Cola, Estee Lauder and Indigo-Chapters bookstores.

Another CJPME focus is artists, asking those who contemplate performing in Israel or have been there recently to rethink their actions. They can point to such stars as Meg Ryan and Dustin Hoffman, who refused to attend the Jerusalem film festival in July to protest the Israel raid against the Freedom Flotilla, and director Mike Leigh, who last month cancelled his plan to teach at the Sam Spiegel Film & Television School in Jerusalem, citing the new loyalty oath.

Far from wintry Canada, a poignant meeting took place on 5 December on the Pakistan-Indian frontier, when 28 Indians and one Japanese peace activist crossed the Wagah border to hand over a Palestinian flag to Pakistani participants in the Asian Gaza Solidarity Caravan.

India-Pakistan is a sad testament to another failed two-state solution imposed by colonial Britain following WWII, and the Indian activists were forced to return to New Delhi to take a flight to Tehran where they will join their Pakistani comrades to continue their journey of solidarity and peace to beleaguered Gazans.

Muthu Krishnan, a Hindu journalist from Tamil Nadu, said the caravan had touched the hearts of millions of Indians of all faiths. “Palestine and Yasser Arafat are household names in India,” despite the fact that current Indian leaders toe a US-Israeli line. The caravan is scheduled to reach the West Bank on 27 December after passing through Iran, Jordan, Turkey and Syria.

Eric Walberg writes for Al-Ahram Weekly http://weekly.ahram.org.eg/ You can reach him at http://ericwalberg.com/ 

For all the talk of strategic counterinsurgency that oozes out of Washington, and all the manuals explaining that 80% of our investment in a nation-building operation should be civilian, we’ve been investing about 3% of our efforts in Afghanistan into a civilian project the leader of which has described it as a way to support the military. That leader was, until he died yesterday, Richard Holbrooke.

Asked at a U.S. Senate hearing earlier this year what in the world he was doing and toward what end in Afghanistan, Holbrooke repeatedly failed to produce an answer. That could explain his deathbed conversion and his final words to his surgeon: “You’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.” As if his doctor could do what he refused to play any role in.

Before any more makers of war break their own hearts and beg for forgiveness, they should follow the examples of people like Ann Wright and Matthew Hoh and get out of this dirty business themselves while they have some life left in them.

This short excerpt from War Is A Lie is relevant here:

When, in 1995, Croatia had slaughtered or “ethnically cleansed” Serbs with Washington’s blessing, driving 150,000 people from their homes, we weren’t supposed to notice, much less drop bombs to prevent it. The bombing was saved for Milosevic, who — we were told in 1999 — refused to negotiate peace and therefore had to be bombed. We were not told that the United States was insisting on an agreement that no nation in the world would voluntarily agree to, one giving NATO complete freedom to occupy all of Yugoslavia with absolute immunity from laws for all of its personnel.

In the June 14, 1999, issue of The Nation, George Kenney, a former State Department Yugoslavia desk officer, reported:

“An unimpeachable press source who regularly travels with Secretary of State Madeleine Albright told this [writer] that, swearing reporters to deep-background confi dentiality at the Rambouillet talks, a senior State Department official had bragged that the United States ‘deliberately set the bar higher than the Serbs could accept.’ The Serbs needed, according to the official, a little bombing to see reason.”

Jim Jatras, a foreign policy aide to Senate Republicans, reported in a May 18, 1999, speech at the Cato Institute in Washington that he had it “on good authority” that a “senior Administration official told media at Rambouillet, under embargo” the following: “We intentionally set the bar too high for the Serbs to comply. They need some bombing, and that’s what they are going to get.”

In interviews with FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy in Reporting), both Kenney and Jatras asserted that these were actual quotes transcribed by reporters who spoke with a U.S. official.

Negotiating for the impossible, and falsely accusing the other side of noncooperation, is a handy way to launch a “defensive” war. Behind that scheme in 1999 was special U.S. envoy Richard Holbrooke.

Embassy Cables Reveal US Operations in Brazil

December 15th, 2010 by Bill Van Auken

Scores of cables between the US State Department and the American embassy in Brasilia released by WikiLeaks have laid bare the ruthless pursuit of US imperialist interests in Latin America’s largest country.

What emerges from the messages sent from the embassy in Brasilia to Washington is a policy aimed at subordinating Brazil to US interests by promoting “counter-terrorism” as the decisive issue and by pursuing back-channel relations with Brazilian military and security officials.

This orientation, the cables indicate, is based on a barely concealed contempt for civilian control. In a country that was ruled for two decades by a military dictatorship backed by Washington, the implications of these relationships are sobering.

Speaking before an audience of lawyers in São Paulo last week, US Ambassador to Brazil Thomas Shannon condemned WikiLeaks’ actions as “very dangerous,” while comparing their impact on US-Brazilian relations to problems in a marriage.

“If someone were to knock on your door and tell you that they have tapes of all of your conversations with your wife and that they are prepared to publish them, would you think that this transparency is something useful or something harmful?” Shannon said.

Media reports of Shannon’s speech gave no indication of how his audience reacted to the Brazilian government being portrayed as Washington’s “wife.”

One of the more revealing cables among those released by WikiLeaks describes a luncheon meeting between then-US Ambassador John Danilovich and Gen. Jorge Armando Felix in May 2005.

General Felix, who rose through the officer corps under the dictatorship, is now the chief minister of the Institutional Security Cabinet (known by the Portuguese acronym GSI) of the presidency, a position that is roughly equivalent to the US national security adviser. He is also chief of the Brazilian National Intelligence Agency. He personifies the continuity of the National Information Service or SNI, the hated secret police of the military dictatorship that ruled Brazil from 1964 to 1985.

The document, which was marked “secret,” details a discussion that began on the so-called “tri-border region” where Brazil, Argentina and Paraguay meet. It has been an obsession of US foreign policy in the region for the last decade, with Washington’s claims that it is a hotbed of terrorism.

While the Brazilian government has publicly rejected the US view of an alleged threat, “General Felix admitted that there were serious problems in the region and that the illegal movement of arms, money, drugs and the like through the region was of concern to the Brazilian Government,” the cable states.

The US ambassador then turned the discussion to Venezuela and the government of President Hugo Chavez, Washington’s other major obsession in the region. Danilovich “noted that Chavez was disrupting Brazil’s efforts to play a leading role politically and economically in South America,” the cable recounts.

It continues: “General Felix nodded his head and appeared to be very carefully measuring his response. He then said that he had his own personal opinions about Chavez (which he did not share) that were different from the Brazilian Government’s position.”

The cable concludes: “General Felix has always been a straightforward interlocutor, and his term at GSI has been highlighted by very cooperative, joint CT [counter-terrorism] operations…. All in all, his continued presence at GSI bodes well for U.S. interests.”

Such is the confidential diplomacy that Washington wants to conceal. A right-wing American ambassador elicits a brief statement from a leading military and intelligence official that his position and that of the elected government do not coincide. On that basis, a conclusion is reached that this is man who can serve Washington’s interests.

Ironically, when General Felix was asked by the US ambassador what assistance he might need from the US, the general responded that the Brazilian government “was falling behind in protecting its own classified and unclassified computer systems. Felix said that he would welcome any assistance (courses, visitors, etc.) in this area.” This was, of course, five years before hundreds of thousands of classified US cables were delivered into the hands of WikiLeaks.

Many of the subsequent cables also centered on the issue of terrorism and complaints by US officials over the alleged failure of the Brazilian government to treat it with due importance.

One chief grievance expressed by the US diplomats has been the Brazilian government’s failure to enact anti-terrorism legislation.

General Felix’s Institutional Security Cabinet had initiated a move toward creating such legislation in 2004, but it has been repeatedly shelved.

A November 2008 cable from Ambassador Sobel cites a conversation between the embassy’s “poloff,” or political officer—generally a cover for the CIA—and an individual identified as “Soloszyn,” a strategic intelligence analyst at Brazil’s Superior War College. The real name of the individual in question was Maj. André Luis Woloszyn, a Brazilian officer who underwent advanced training in the US.

Woloszyn told the US official that “there was little chance that this particular government, stacked with leftist militants who had been the object of military dictatorship-era laws designed to repress politically-motivated violence, was going to put forth a bill that would criminalize the actions of groups it sympathizes with, such as the Landless Movement (MST).”

The Brazilian officer insisted that “there is no a way to write an anti-terrorism legislation that excludes the actions of the MST,” which has led land occupations that have ended in violent confrontations.

The brief report provides a window into the mindset of the Brazilian military, which upholds the savage repression unleashed by the dictatorship against the Brazilian left, the unions, students and peasant movements in the name of combating “terrorism,” and which views movements of social struggle and opposition today through a similar prism.

While Brazil has no specific anti-terror law—and has publicly opposed Washington’s branding of political movements like Hamas and Hezbollah as “terrorist”—its security forces have surreptitiously introduced their own means of dealing with alleged terror suspects, according to the cables.

A secret cable sent by Ambassador Sobel to Washington in January 2008 spells out this frame-up technique employed by the Brazilian security forces.

“The Federal Police will often arrest individuals with links to terrorism, but will charge them on a variety of non-terrorism related crimes to avoid calling attention of the media and the higher levels of the government,” the cable states. “Over the past year, the Federal Police has arrested various individuals engaged in suspected terrorism financing activity but have based their arrests on narcotics and customs charges.”

The statement that these frame-up methods are employed to avoid calling the attention of “higher levels of the government” would suggest that elements in the military-police apparatus are secretly collaborating with the US anti-terror campaign directed at individuals whom the Brazilian government officially does not consider terrorists.

Another key concern reflected in the cables was Washington’s campaign to win an $8 billion contract to provide 36 new fighter planes to Brazil’s Air Force. The US government was acting as the agent for the aerospace giant Boeing, which was trying to sell its F/A-18 Super Hornet, in competition with the French firm Dassault, which was selling its Rafale jet. After a year of intense competition, outgoing President Lula has announced that no decision will be made before he leaves office in January, and it is widely believed that the planned purchase will be scrapped.

The cables provide insight into the way in which the US embassy sought to work through figures in the Brazilian military establishment to promote the Boeing sale. In particular, Brazil’s Defense Minister Nelson Jobim and the chief of the Brazilian Air Force, Brigadier Juniti Saito, were seen as in Washington’s camp. In one cable sent by then-Ambassador Clifford Sobel last January, Saito was described as “a key ally in our FX2 [fighter jet] bid.” Jobim is referred to as “one of the most trustworthy leaders in Brazil.”

Jobim apparently earned this trust by providing inside information on his colleagues in the Brazilian government. He is quoted in one of the cables as confiding to Ambassador Sobel that Samuel Pinheiro Guimarães, the former secretary-general of Brazil’s foreign ministry and current minister for strategic affairs, was someone who “hates the United States” and “creates problems” between the two countries.

Similar financial calculations were expressed in cables dealing with the Brazil’s plans for the exploration of the pre-salt reserves off the country’s Atlantic coast. The embassy’s concerns were the same as those of Chevron and Exxon-Mobil that the rules for the participation of foreign corporations would be more restrictive and less lucrative.

Another thread that runs through the cables, despite their revelations of the maneuvers with the military and other officials seen as more amendable to Washington’s demands, is Washington’s view of the ruling Workers Party (PT) as posing no threat to capitalist interests in Brazil and elsewhere in the hemisphere.

This is spelled out in one of the earliest cables dating from November 2002, which details meetings in Brasilia between then Assistant Secretary of State Otto Reich and President-elect Lula da Silva and his principal advisors.

Reich, an extreme right-wing anticommunist Cuban exile, takes the measure of these supposed “workers’ ” representatives and clearly sees them as people with whom he can do business.

“We are not afraid of the PT and its social agenda,” Reich told Lula.

The cable quotes Lula as saying how eager he is to meet then-President George W. Bush and that he is sure that “two politicians like us will understand each other when we meet face to face.” He and his advisers stressed to Reich that they would uphold all agreements between previous governments and the US, the IMF and other international financial institutions.

Subsequent cables build upon this initial understanding, with Brazilian officials making it clear that the US should not take any stray left rhetoric from the Workers Party seriously.

Thus, a cable from November 2006, after Lula’s election to a second term as president, cites a discussion with his personal chief of staff Gilberto Carvalho who “asked for the ambassador’s understanding if rhetoric during the election campaign had occasionally seemed critical of the US.”

A September 2009 cable chronicles a frank exchange of views between top Brazilian officials and the visiting US national security adviser, Gen. James Jones.

The visit followed the announcement that the US had obtained several new bases in Colombia, giving it the capacity to deploy military forces throughout the hemisphere.

Dilma Rousseff, then the president’s chief of staff and now the president-elect, was the first to speak. She told General Jones that the Brazilian government “finds it disconcerting to be faced with questions from the press regarding why the United States needs such bases.”

The cable continues, “According to Rousseff, issues such as this open the door for radicals who want to create problems in the region.”

She was followed by Defense Minister Nelson Jobim, who sounded a similar theme, saying that issues like the Colombian bases became a problem when the Brazilian government “learns of them through the press.” Jobim added, however, that the PT government “is often surprised by the sensitivities of ‘Spanish America’ regarding issues that would be considered innocuous elsewhere.”

Jones responded by urging Jobim to call him if he had any “doubts about US intentions.”

The Resurgence of Nationalism in the European Union

December 15th, 2010 by Stefan Steinberg

The latest stage of the European debt crisis has seen the emergence of the most serious divisions in the history of the European Union.

Editorialists and economic commentators are publicly speculating about a collapse of the continent’s common currency, and only a few weeks ago German Chancellor Angela Merkel warned that a failure of the euro would mean the end of the European Union itself.

The acrimony between European leaders over the future of the continent climaxed in the criticism made of Germany’s role in the crisis by the chairman of euro zone finance ministers, Jean-Claude Juncker. Following Berlin’s rejection of his proposal for a euro-bond last week, Juncker, long regarded as a close ally of Germany, was unusually blunt in his response. “Germany is thinking a little simply,” he said, adding that it dealt with European affairs in an “un-European manner.”

Within Germany, a new nationalist campaign has been launched to disengage the continent’s largest economy from its commitment to Europe. In his new book Rescue Our Money, the former head of the German business federation, Hans-Olaf Henkel, argues in favour of splitting the euro zone in two, with northern Europe (Germany, the Netherlands, Austria) in one camp and southern countries such as Spain, Italy and France in the other.

Henkel’s proposal, if carried out, would be a prelude to the breakup of the euro and the fracturing of Europe as a whole. His thesis of a two-tier Europe has the backing of the notorious social democrat Thilo Sarrazin, who recently published his own book advancing racist arguments against Muslim immigrants. Presenting Rescue Our Money at its official launch was none other than the German finance minister, Rainer Bruederle.

Forces are coalescing in Germany for the emergence of a new pseudo-populist right-wing party based on nationalism, the defence of the interests of the ruling elite, and an uncompromising onslaught on the past social gains of the working class.

In a number of other European countries, including Italy, Austria, Denmark, Holland and Hungary, ultra-right and racist political formations are already either in government or playing a leading role in determining policy. In France, President Sarkozy has sought to steal the colours of the neo-fascist National Front with campaigns against the country’s Muslim and Sinti and Roma communities.

In every case, the rise to prominence of the extreme right is closely linked to the offensive launched by the ruling elite against the living conditions of European workers and the welfare state system.

Having made trillions of euros available to rescue the continent’s banks, the ruling elites insist that the working population be made to pick up the tab. Now the governments in Berlin and France, along with the EU bureaucracy in Brussels, are dictating punitive austerity programs across the continent that will decimate what remains of existing welfare provisions and plunge additional millions into poverty.

The encouragement of right-wing populism is aimed at dividing workers along nationalist lines and creating the best conditions for this offensive. This is also the source of the chauvinist campaigns by many European governments against the most oppressed social layers.

As the historian Tony Judt points out in his recent history of Europe, the founders of the European Union and the European welfare state system were in the main conservative politicians who had directly experienced and could vividly recall the slaughter of the First and Second World Wars.

Confronted with a radicalisation of the working class after the Second World War, they set about establishing minimum conditions for the welfare of the broad masses of the continent’s citizens. Their aim was to create favourable conditions for European businesses to secure markets, while ensuring against a return to the type of destructive nationalism that had plunged Europe into war.

Now all of these props of the postwar order are being systematically dismantled by the European political elite. The final blow to the political framework sustaining the project of a united capitalist Europe was delivered by the financial crisis of 2008, which exposed the parasitic relationship between European governments, whether conservative or social democratic, and the banks.

Now, economic nationalism is increasingly the order of the day. One European government after another, with the full support of its respective trade union apparatus, has elevated national interest at the expense of workers from other countries to be the highest political principle.

In the final analysis, the current crisis reveals the complete incapacity of the European ruling classes to integrate Europe in a peaceful and progressive manner. The rise of nationalism throughout Europe places back on the agenda all the unresolved issues of the Twentieth Century.

In his writings on the European question in the 1920s, Leon Trotsky warned that should the working class fail to resolve the crisis of European society with its own methods, the solution “will be undertaken by reaction.”

Trotsky’s brilliant assessment of European relations at that time has lost none of its relevance. In his 1926 essay “Europe and America,” Trotsky concluded that only the European working class could unite Europe. He wrote: “Bourgeois economists, pacifists, business sharpers, daydreamers and mere bourgeois babblers are not averse nowadays to talk about a United States of Europe. But that task is beyond the strength of the European bourgeoisie, which is utterly corroded by contradictions. Europe can be unified only by the victorious European proletariat.”

The explosive emergence of profound fault lines in European politics makes clear that Trotsky’s perspective of the United Socialist States of Europe remains the only progressive alternative to the rise of nationalism and the threat of dictatorship and a new world war.

The Illusion of Economic Recovery in America

December 15th, 2010 by Mark Provost

According to a recent CNN poll, three out of four Americans believe the recession is not over. Unemployment has not been this high for this long in most Americans’ lifetime. By every measure, the U.S. economy is failing to recover from the Great Recession.

Every measure except one.

In the last 18-20 months, corporate profits climbed at the fastest pace on record. Non-financial companies are reporting the highest free cash flow (profits after dividends and capital expenditures) in a half-century. Profit margins at S&P 500 companies are now above 9%, approaching uncharted territory. Joseph Lavorgna, chief U.S. economist of Deutsche Bank, stresses, “Not only are we seeing a tremendous V-shaped recovery in corporate profits, but we are in fact seeing the biggest corporate profit recovery ever.”

The Obama recovery is turning the traditional formula on its head; corporate profits have not been a leading indicator of economic recovery, but a lagging indicator of Main St. impoverishment. The Greatest Recovery in corporate profits and the Great Recession are two sides of the same coin.

Worker-advocacy group Change to Win released the results of a recent survey which found that wage stagnation ranks as the most common impact of the Great Recession. Workers will believe in the recovery narrative when they see a raise in their paychecks. For now, productivity gains are going straight to their employers’ bottom line. Andrew Sum, professor of economics at Northeastern University, concludes that the current expansion “has seen the most lopsided gains in corporate profits relative to real wages in our history.”

The Greatest Recovery marks corporate executives’ latest triumph in their decades-long campaign against labor. Since the Reagan expansion, U.S. corporate profits exhibited a permanent tendency to soar at the expense of wages. The top one percent of income earners accrued nearly two-thirds of all economic growth. Profit margins expanded in an unprecedented super-cycle while workers struggled through increasingly lopsided, jobless recoveries. The last three expansions presaged the Greatest Recovery and defined its precise shape.

The unequal distribution of income between profits and wages is ultimately reflective of an unequal distribution of power between business and labor—at the workplace and in Washington.

President Obama signaled his commitment to continuity early on. Despite underestimating the rise of unemployment in late 2008 and early 2009, Obama’s advisors rejected the public employment option swifter than its counterpart in healthcare reform. President Obama initially defended the stimulus on the specific grounds that the private sector would create 95% of the jobs.

Some critics of the plan correctly argued that, given the decline in demand, the stimulus should have been larger. Size was not the only problem. Larry Summers, Obama’s former chair of economic advisors, designed the stimulus to maximize GDP rather than employment—job creation, private sector included, was at best an incidental goal.

Twenty-six million Americans are presently unemployed or underemployed. According to Economic Policy Institute’s Heidi Schierholz, “If the rate of job growth were to continue at October’s rate, the economy would achieve prerecession unemployment rates (5% in 2007) in roughly 20 years.”

The Obama administration’s laissez-faire attitude towards the reeling labor market contrasts sharply with the direct assistance it provided to the financial industry. The two-dozen Treasury and Federal Reserve policies implemented during the financial crisis shared one overriding goal: prevent prices from falling in the real estate, bond, and equity markets. Yet, the Obama administration ignored the Employee Free Choice Act even as the price of labor (wages and salaries) suffered the sharpest decline in 50 years. The administration’s economic policy regime compels workers to the free market while protecting banks from its ruinous fallout.

President Obama’s refusal to resolve the unemployment crisis provides the corporate sector with a crucial, often overlooked, subsidy. High unemployment permits management to extort wage concessions and productivity gains from their anxious employees. An article in the December issue of The Economist explains, “Since the end of 2008 business-sector productivity has grown at an impressive annualized rate of 4.2% while hourly compensation has crept ahead by just 2.1%. Unit labor costs have fallen at an annualized 2% rate, the steepest cumulative decline since the 1950s. Profits owe their V-shape in great part to employment’s L-shape.”

The unemployment crisis qualifies as a national emergency; it’s also the foundation of the Greatest Recovery.

Mark Provost is a freelance writer from Manchester, NH. He can be reached at [email protected]. This article originally appeared online at Dissident Voice.

Sources:

Alan Silverleib, “CNN Poll: Nearly three-fourths say recession not over,” Political Ticker, Sept. 26, 2010;
Catherine Rampell, “A High-Water Mark for Profits,” Economix, Nov. 12, 2010;
Bob Herbert, “A Sin and a Shame,” New York Times, July 30, 2010;
Heidi Shierholz, “Job growth improves, but pace leaves full employment 20 years away,” Economic Policy Institute, Nov. 5, 2010; The Economist, “Corporate Profits in America: “Gimme a ‘V,’” Dec. 2, 2010;
Matt Yglesias, “Maximizing GDP or Maximizing Employment,” Think Progress, July 3, 2009; Mark Thoma, “Hire the Unemployed,” Economist’s View, July 2, 2009.

Apartheid Israel-style

December 15th, 2010 by Jonathan Cook

The pretty two-storey home with a red-tiled roof built by Adel and Iman Kaadan looks no different from the rows of other houses in Katzir, a small hilltop community in northern Israel close to the West Bank.
 
But, unlike the other residents of Katzir, the Kaadans moved into their dream home this month only after a 12-year battle through the Israeli courts.
 
The small victory for the Kaadans, who belong to Israel’s Palestinian Arab minority, dealt a big blow to a state policy that for decades has reserved most of the country’s land for Jews.
 
Katzir is one of 695 so-called “co-operative associations”, communities mostly established since Israel’s creation in 1948, whose chief purpose is to bar non-Jews from residency.
 
In October, the Israeli parliament moved to enshrine in law the right of these associations, comprising nearly 70 per cent of all communities in Israel, to accept only Jews.
 
The Constitution, Law and Justice Committee approved a private members’ bill that will uphold the right of the communities’ admissions committees to continue excluding Arab citizens, who make up one-fifth of the population. The bill is expected to pass its final reading in the coming weeks.
 
Commentators have compared the legislation with South Africa’s notorious apartheid laws such as the Group Areas Act. A leading jurist, Mordechai Kremnitzer, of Hebrew University in Jerusalem, said the bill gave off the “foul odour of racism”.
 
The legislation, both its supporters and opponents are agreed, is a rearguard action to prevent the possibility that other Arab citizens might be inspired to follow the Kaadans’ example.
 
Israel Hasson, of the centrist Kadima party, who was among the bill’s formulators, said it reflected “the state’s commitment to the realisation of the Zionist vision” in Israel. That vision is embodied in a decades-old “Judaisation” programme to settle as many Jews as possible in the heavily Arab-populated north.
 
Suhad Bishara, a lawyer with the Adalah legal centre for the Arab minority, said that the long-standing practice of using admissions committees to weed out applications from Arab citizens was being given legal standing for the first time.
 
“This legislation makes clear in very blunt fashion that the thrust of policy in Israel is towards maintaining segregation in housing between Jewish and Arab citizens,” she said.
 
The question of control over land, Ms Bishara said, was felt especially keenly by the Arab minority, because the state had nationalised 93 per cent of all territory inside its recognised borders.
 
Co-operative associations, which are limited to no more than 500 families each, have jurisdiction over most of the country’s habitable land and are regarded by the authorities as a bulwark against an Arab takeover, she said.
 
Arab citizens, meanwhile, are largely restricted to living in 124 towns and villages, and control 2.5 per cent of Israel’s territory.
 
Planning and building laws confine the development and expansion of Arab communities, leading to overcrowding. Tens of thousands of Arab families, forced to build in non-zoned areas, live in homes under demolition orders.
 
Mr Kaadan, 54, a hospital nurse, said he had wanted to move to Katzir to improve his family’s quality of life. Baqa al Gharbiyya, an Arab town 10km from Katzir where they previously lived, was densely populated and lacked public services, while the local schools for his five children were underfunded and crumbling.
 
Typically, Arab municipalities receive only one third of the budget of Jewish communities.
 
Mr Kaadan said he had applied to Katzir when he learnt that plots of land there for house-building were heavily subsidised by the state, selling for a fifth of the price demanded in Baqa al Gharbiyya.
 
The family’s legal fight to win a place in Katzir has been arduous. It took five years for the Supreme Court to rule on the community’s decision in 1995 to reject the Kaadans on the grounds that they were Arab.
 
Making “one of the most difficult decisions in my life”, Aharon Barak, the court’s president, ordered Katzir’s admissions committee to consider the family’s application, warning that it could not reject them because of their ethnicity.
 
Katzir, therefore, imposed a new criterion for admission – “social suitability” – that the Kaadans also failed. It was clear to everyone, Mr Kaadan said, that “suitability” referred to the fact that they were not Jews.
 
When the Kaadans appealed to the court again, the Lands Authority, a state body that manages territory in Israel, relented and sold the family a plot in 2007.
 
However, the case has continued to reverberate.
 
Other exclusive Jewish communities in the Galilee sought their own solution to barring the entry of Arab families after Ahmed and Fatina Zbeidat, from the Arab town of Sakhnin, applied to the co-operative association of Rakafet in the Misgav region.
 
Rakafet’s admissions committee ruled in 2006 that the Zbeidats were unsuitable: Fatina was too “individualistic”, while her husband lacked “knowledge of sophisticated interpersonal relations”. Like the Kaadans, the Zbeidats have appealed to the Supreme Court.
 
Several Jewish communities near Rakafet hastily changed their bylaws last summer to include a loyalty oath. Typical was Manof’s, which requires applicants to share “the values of the Zionist movement, Jewish heritage, settlement of the Land of Israel … and observance of Jewish holidays”.
 
Ms Bishara, who represents the Zbeidats, said the couple was seeking a ruling against the use of admissions committees in the allocation of land and housing. The judges ordered the government to justify the practice at a hearing next month.
 
The new legislation, known as the Admissions Committee Bill, is designed to pre-empt any ruling by the court.
 
Gush Shalom, an Israeli peace group, said it would petition the Supreme Court to strike down the bill if, as expected, it becomes law in the next few weeks.
 
The liberal Haaretz newspaper called the bill an “outrageous” attempt to preserve “Jewish purity” in communities such as Katzir and Rakafet.
 
But the rightwing Jerusalem Post newspaper backed the legislation, saying Israeli Jews “should have the right to live in a community where they are not threatened by intermarriage or by becoming a cultural or religious minority”.
 
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.
 
A version of this story first appeared in the National (www.thenational.ae).

Kosovo’s prime minister is the head of a “mafia-like” Albanian group responsible for smuggling weapons, drugs and human organs through eastern Europe, according to a Council of Europe inquiry report on organised crime.

Hashim Thaçi is identified as the boss of a network that began operating criminal rackets in the runup to the 1999 Kosovo war, and has held powerful sway over the country’s government since.

The report of the two-year inquiry, which cites FBI and other intelligence sources, has been obtained by the Guardian. It names Thaçi as having over the last decade exerted “violent control” over the heroin trade. Figures from Thaçi’s inner circle are also accused of taking captives across the border into Albania after the war, where a number of Serbs are said to have been murdered for their kidneys, which were sold on the black market.

Legal proceedings began in a Pristina district court today into a case of alleged organ trafficking discovered by police in 2008. That case – in which organs are said to have been taken from impoverished victims at a clinic known as Medicus – is said by the report to be linked to Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) organ harvesting in 2000. It comes at a crucial period for Kosovo, which on Sunday held its first elections since declaring independence from Serbia in 2008. Thaçi claimed victory in the election and has been seeking to form a coalition with opposition parties.

Dick Marty, the human rights investigator behind the inquiry, will present his report to European diplomats from all 47 member states at a meeting in Paris on Thursday. His report suggests Thaçi’s links with organised crime date back more than a decade, when those loyal to his Drenica group came to dominate the KLA, and seized control of “most of the illicit criminal enterprises” in which Kosovans were involved south of the border, in Albania.

During the Kosovo conflict Slobodan Miloševic’s troops responded to attacks by the KLA by orchestrating a horrific campaign against ethnic Albanians in the territory. As many as 10,000 are estimated to have died at the hands of Serbian troops.

While deploring Serb atrocities, Marty said the international community chose to ignore suspected war crimes by the KLA, “placing a premium instead on achieving some degree of short-term stability”. He concludes that during the Kosovo war and for almost a year after, Thaçi and four other members of the Drenica group named in the report carried out “assassinations, detentions, beatings and interrogations”. This same hardline KLA faction has held considerable power in Kosovo’s government over the last decade, with the support of western powers keen to ensure stability in the fledgling state.

The report paints a picture in which ex-KLA commanders have played a crucial role in the region’s criminal activity. It says: “In confidential reports spanning more than a decade, agencies dedicated to combating drug smuggling in at least five countries have named Hashim Thaçi and other members of his Drenica group as having exerted violent control over the trade in heroin and other narcotics.”

Marty says: “Thaçi and these other Drenica group members are consistently named as ‘key players’ in intelligence reports on Kosovo’s mafia-like structures of organised crime. I have examined these diverse, voluminous reports with consternation and a sense of moral outrage.”

His inquiry was commissioned after the former chief prosecutor for war crimes at the Hague, Carla Del Ponte, said she had been prevented from investigating senior KLA officials. Her most shocking claim, which she said required further investigation, was that the KLA smuggled captive Serbs across the border into Albania, where their organs were harvested.

The report, which states that it is not a criminal investigation and unable to pronounce judgments of guilt or innocence, gives some credence to Del Ponte’s claims.

It finds the KLA did hold mostly Serb captives in a secret network of six detention facilities in northern Albania, and that Thaçi’s Drenica group “bear the greatest responsibility” for prisons and the fate of those held in them.

They include a “handful” of prisoners said to have been transferred to a makeshift prison just north of Tirana, where they were killed for their kidneys.

The report states: “As and when the transplant surgeons were confirmed to be in position and ready to operate, the captives were brought out of the ‘safe house’ individually, summarily executed by a KLA gunman, and their corpses transported swiftly to the operating clinic.”

The same Kosovan and foreign individuals involved in the macabre killings are linked to the Medicus case, the report finds.

Marty is critical of the western powers which have provided a supervisory role in Kosovo’s emergence as a state, for failing to hold senior figures, including Thaçi, to account. His report criticises “faltering political will on the part of the international community to effectively prosecute the former leaders of the KLA”.

It concludes: “The signs of collusion between the criminal class and the highest political and institutional office holders are too numerous and too serious to be ignored.

“It is a fundamental right of Kosovo’s citizens to know the truth, the whole truth, and also an indispensable condition for reconciliation between the communities and the country’s prosperous future.”

If as expected the report is formally adopted by the committee this week, the findings will go before the parliamentary assembly next year.

The Kosovo government tonight dismissed the allegations, claiming they were the produce of “despicable and bizarre actions by people with no moral credibility”.

“Today, the Guardian published an article that referred to a report from a member of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Dick Marty, which follows up on past reports published over the last 12 years aiming at maligning the war record of the Kosovo Liberation Army and its leaders,” it said in a statement.

“The allegations have been investigated several times by local and international judiciary, and in each case, it was concluded that such statements have were not based on facts and were construed to damage the image of Kosovo and the war of the Kosovo Liberation Army.

“It is clear that someone wants to place obstacles in the way of prime minister, Hashim Thaçi, after the general election, in which the people of Kosovo placed their clear and significant trust in him to deliver the development programme and governance of our country.

“Such despicable and bizarre actions by people with no moral credibility, serve the ends of only those specific circles that do not wish well to Kosovo and its people.”

The experts’ keep telling us how great shopping is this Christmas Season when only 17% of shoppers are using credit cards. That is a drop of 50% from last year, and the lowest usage in 27 years. We guess buyers have unloaded the cookie jar and pulled their savings from under the mattress. The consumer sentiment index has risen 2.6, but we will wait to see if attitudes turn into sales. Home buying intentions continue to fall as interest rates hit 4.66% for a 30-year fixed mortgage this past week, putting a further damper on future sales.

           
By many yardsticks it looks like the stock market is topping out again. If for no other negative fundamental or technical reason then the fact that all strategists are bullish. GS believes profits will rise 25%. We don’t, we see GDP growth at 2% in 2011 including a tax compromise and a net of $800 billion and the Feds addition of $1.7 trillion. This is what happened in the last stimulus effort. Besides from our point of view shares are already overpriced. The market will be helped by a relatively stable dollar due to the turmoil in Europe and Japan. As the year moves on we see an eventual weaker dollar in spite of sovereign credit problems in Europe reflected in the euro. As 2011 wears on the developing world will have inflation problems caused in part by imported dollar inflation. During the course of the year barriers will be erected as they have been in Brazil.

           
The Fed will continue to monetize, as the deflationary undertow remains strong. Money velocity will rise, as will inflation and the prices of gold and silver. In spite of dollar strength on a relative basis the struggle between the dollar and gold for mastery will be ongoing as the dollar loses the pitched battle versus gold for monetary supremacy. Underlying deflation will be aided by ever falling prices in residential and commercial real estate. Household de-leveraging will continue at a moderate pace as it has for the past 2-1/2 years. Personal savings are back down to 4%, a reflection of debt pay down.

           
If you were curious as to one of the reasons the market has held up, just go to what corporations have been doing with revenues, bond issuance and loans. They have bought back more than $368 billion of equity, but internally-generated funds are falling rapidly.

           
We don’t as yet see a double dip recession, but on the other hand wait until the public realizes that for another $2.5 trillion we are going to buy time and move sideways again. That was also the cost of QE1. The risks are again being papered over.

           
Wait until Americans realize that most states in the US are broke and radical changes are immediately ahead at these levels never mind what the federal government has to eventually cut. If it is any consolation, Europe is in the same fix. Is it any surprise then that nations want to commandeer pensions, as Argentina, Hungry and France have already done. Fifty percent of Americans feel they are worse off now then they were two years ago. Wait until 2012 ends, they’ll wish they were living on another planet. By that time we should be involved in another major war. That means they will be more concerned about dying than they will be about economic and financial issues. The elitists’ hope is that war will lead to forced world government. Two-thirds of Americans believe their nation is headed in the wrong direction and they are right. Their consensus and that of professions regarding tax cuts are correct. They do not favor full extension of tax cuts, but they know if they are terminated the economy will fall. That would take down most of the financial institutions and much of business and industry.  The big question is when will they ever be prepared to face the music? Never we suppose, but it has to come anyway, even if by WWIII. Read history, it is all there. This has happened over and over again. Even if continued GDP growth will be only 2% for 2011, down from 3% in 2010. Unemployment via U3 is 9.8%. The best that could possibly be hoped for is 9.5%. The funds that are being spent under the tax package are for banking, Wall Street and corporate America, not for the Americans on main street. That would put U6 at 16-5/8% and real unemployment at 22-1/4%. Passage of a tax package will insure that government won’t drag the economy down between now and 9/30/11, the end of the fiscal year.

           
The stock market is overpriced and due for correction. The bond market is in the process of a correction. How far it will go remains to be seen. Commodities and gold and silver are in their respective bull markets. Some contend they have overreached. Commodities began their bull market in 1999 and gold and silver in 2000. Commodities are still a long way from their highs of 2-1/2 years ago. There is no way anyone who understands market history can say gold and silver are over priced, when one considers the price suppression by the “President’s Working Group on Financial Markets” for the past 22 years. Official inflation would have gold at $2,400 based on figures from January of 1980, when gold was $850. Real inflation shows gold should be trading at $7,700. Gold and silver are climbing a wall of worry and that won’t end for a long time.

           
It looks like the US 10-year Treasury note is headed to 4% whether the Fed likes it or not, and it could go to 5%. That will be tough on real estate and business in general. Gold and silver will continue to rise as rates rise. Even when we reach a higher plateau they both will continue to rise. Higher inflation will help, but the real reasons for continued higher prices will be the unwinding of years of suppression, but more importantly, that gold is again the real world reserve currency. The official position of government and Wall Street is that inflation is 1.2%. They can tell that to Giant ticket holders that can pay $380 to watch a football game, as the average American watches his economic and financial world collapse. As an afterthought, the 30-year T-bond, which is finally again being used as a benchmark, could go to 6%.   

That could cause unexpected austerity because the rise let’s say over the next six months to a year would come from a far lower economic base than say in 2000.  That makes a 4% to 5% 10-year T-note yield or a 6% 30-year yield, events that could stagger the economy even further. Those higher rates alone could easily neutralize the positive affects, if you view it in the light of government and Fed stimulus of $2.5 trillion. Those rates, if they materialize, could have a killer affect on the economy.            

Those events would strengthen the positions of gold and silver as the only real money, as the US dollar and all other currencies fall against gold and silver. This is why Wall Street, professionals and the public investor have not figured out what is going on. They haven’t a clue about monetary, fiscal, economic, financial, social and political history. If they did it would be a no-brainer. Unfortunately, that also includes many newsletter writers who continually miss the boat. Almost all Wall Street pundits are looking for 12,600 to 13,000 on the Dow. When the entire herd believes the same thing it is not going to happen. Recently bulls were over 56% and bears fell to just over 21%. Higher rates and continuing high unemployment and lower real estate wealth values will definitely not serve to produce a better economy. Companies are still not hiring and that will continue even with a favorable tax package. In time Wall Street and investors will discover that gold, silver and commodities are surrogates for fiat currencies, particularly the dollar. They will as well eventually come to terms with the notion that even with a giant amount of money and credit entering the system, all America and Europe can hope to see is ten or more years of little growth and stagnation, just as Japan has experienced. 

           
The tax crisis and still growing federal deficits are taking their political toll. The Democrats, as we saw in the latest election, lost control of the House. That means with a 42% approval the President has serious lame duck problems. He probably is looking out at two years of near gridlock. As a result of this and facts we mentioned earlier December should be a good month, but after that things could get dicey. A market fully priced; a President with a House divided and the unthinkable – a President who no longer has a political base.

           
The administration would like to dip into Social Security revenues, but there is barely enough to pay the recipients. That means it is only a matter of time before government goes after private pension plans. They may not follow the lead of Argentina and Hungary, but that of France. Legislators may allow pilfering of government pension plans, which they call loans, which, of course, never get repaid. oHo    

        
Moody’s says the tax bill will cost almost $1 trillion, which means the Fed will only have to come up with $1.5 trillion this fiscal year to make the economy go sideways. This one bill alone has destroyed the President’s reputation and it will only add 1%, or 1-1/4% to GDP. Normally during a second year expansion the economy would have gone from 3% to 5%. In fact for the past six months the economy has been decelerating and had it not been for the Fed’s activities in the Treasury and Agency markets since June, the economy would have worsened. Between the Fed, which really only represents Wall Street and banking, and a President with no financial background, one can see neither factor has any intention, including Congress, of bringing some sort of sanity to the financial sector.

           
All you Americans out there that do not believe your government will move in on your pension plans just take a look at these facts. In 1997, the UK’s Labor government abolished the dividend tax credit for pension funds, which cost pensioners $157 billion.

           
Just last month the French Parliament agreed to transfer assets of the French pension fund from equities to cash and government bonds.

           
In Ireland, their PM agreed to take half of the National Pension Reserve fund of $16.5 billion and apply it to the IMF-EU bank bailout. These funds are to be used as a backup to the bank rescue package.

           
Recently Hungary announced the nationalization of assets and contributions into the country’s supplementary “private pension scheme.” The funds will go into government bonds to help meet the budget deficit targets of its IMF-EU bailout.

           
In 2008, Argentina set the precedent, when $30 billion of assets in the country’s ten “private” pension funds, were nationalized.

Estonia has cut state contributions into private sector pension schemes, while Poland is considering similar action.

           
These events are not fantasy, but reality. The UK government is currently eyeing the pension assets of the Royal Mail of some $30 billion.

In England, it is believed a government guarantee would be next to worthless and a partial default on pensions and welfare are inevitable. England is close to broke having bailed out its banks.

           
The BIS estimates that even with fiscal improvement and a freezing of age-related spending to GDP at projected 2011 levels, debt to GDP in France, Ireland, the UK and the US will continue to spiral upwards and end in massive shortages of funds. By then many governments will be bankrupt.

           
Just two months ago Senate Democrats held a recess hearing covering a taxpayer bailout of union pensions and a plan to seize private 401Ks and IRAs to more fairly distribute taxpayer-funded pensions to everyone. 

           
Under the GRA system, government would not only seize the private plans, but also add an additional 5% mandatory payroll tax to distribute a “fair” pension. This would be operated like the Ponzi scheme known as Social Security. $6 trillion in assets would be seized plus the ongoing income to fund government’s out of control spending.           

        
Now that the Democrats have lost control of the House the possibility of nationalization and confiscation of 401Ks and IRAs has lessened, but it is not going to go away. There are a number of Republicans who agree with the Democrats and given the right set of circumstances would roll and vote for such legislation. The call would be we need the equity as collateral to balance the deficit, or to guarantee holders of government debt, that the debt would be backstopped by the assets in 401Ks and IRAs. In turn pension owners would be given a government guaranteed annuity, that wouldn’t be worth the paper it was written on. In mid-September in meetings held between the Labor and Treasury departments we saw an agenda labeled, “Lifetime Income Options for Retirement Plans.” Their plan was to take your funds and replace them with US Treasury bonds, paying 3% annually. Once you die, the value of your account would become the property of government. In this process you would immediately lose about 60% of your retirement to your government. If you refuse to roll your IRAs and 401Ks you would lose your sheltered tax benefits. The taxes that would have to be paid would cost you 1/3rd of your savings. Then stuck in these vehicles you could lose 50% or more if the stock and bond markets fall.

           
Somewhere along the line such action by Washington at the behest of banking and Wall Street will become inevitable. If you stay in these retirement vehicles hold only gold and silver shares, bullion and coins. If you cannot access your 401K, borrow against it and use those funds as we have recommended. One should be thinking seriously of phasing out of 401Ks and IRAs, paying the taxes and penalties if necessary. It is better to do that than to lose it all to a criminal enterprise known as your government. Consult with your CPA to determine the tax ramifications. If you do not act now you may be very sorry. These crooks mean business and they care not one wit about your future, or the future of America. You can see the precedents have been set in other countries. A world to the wise should be sufficient.

The Global Economic Crisis

Michel Chossudovsky
Andrew G. Marshall (editors)
This book can be ordered directly from Global Research 

‘Climate Capitalism’ Won At Cancun – Everyone Else Loses

December 15th, 2010 by Prof. Patrick Bond

CANCUN, MEXICO. The December 11 closure of the 16th Conference of the Parties – the global climate summit – in balmy Cancun was portrayed by most participants and mainstream journalists as a victory, a ‘step forward.’ Bragged U.S. State Department lead negotiator Todd Stern, “Ideas that were first of all, skeletal last year, and not approved, are now approved and elaborated.”

The elites’ positive spin is based on reaching an international consensus (though Bolivia formally dissented) and establishing instruments to manage the climate crisis using capitalist techniques. Cancun’s defenders argue that the last hours’ agreements include acknowledgements that emissions cuts must keep world temperature increases below 2°C, with consideration to be given to lowering the target to 1.5°C.

Negotiators also endorsed greater transparency about emissions, a Green Climate Fund led by the World Bank, introduction of forest-related investments, transfers of technology for renewable energy, capacity-building and a strategy for reaching legally-binding protocols in future. According to UN climate official Christiana Figueres, formerly a leading carbon trader, “Cancun has done its job. Nations have shown they can work together under a common roof, to reach consensus on a common cause.”

Status Quo or Step Back?

But look soberly at what was needed to reverse current warming and what was actually delivered. Negotiators in Cancun’s luxury Moon Palace hotel complex failed by any reasonable measure. As Bolivian President Evo Morales complained, “It’s easy for people in an air-conditioned room to continue with the policies of destruction of Mother Earth. We need instead to put ourselves in the shoes of families in Bolivia and worldwide that lack water and food and suffer misery and hunger. People here in Cancun have no idea what it is like to be a victim of climate change.”

Our climate. Not your business

Most specialists agree that even if the unambitious Copenhagen and Cancun promises are kept (a big if), the result will be a cataclysmic 4-5°C rise in temperature over this century, and if they are not, 7°C is likely. Even with a rise of 2°C, scientists generally agree, small islands will sink, Andean and Himalayan glaciers will melt, coastal areas such as much of Bangladesh and many port cities will drown, and Africa will dry out – or in some places flood – so much that nine of ten peasants will not survive.

The politicians and officials have been warned of this often enough by climate scientists, but are beholden to powerful business interests which are lined up to either promote climate denialism, or to generate national-versus-national negotiating blocs destined to fail in their race to gain most emission rights. As a result, in spite of a bandaid set of agreements, the distance between negotiators and the masses of people and the planet grew larger not smaller over the last two weeks.

To illustrate, smaller governments were “bullied, hustled around, lured with petty bribes, called names and coerced into accepting the games of the rich and emerging-rich nations,” says Soumya Dutta of the South Asian Dialogues on Ecological Democracy. “Many debt-ridden small African nations are seeing the money that they might get through the scheming designs of Reduced Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD), and have capitulated under the attack of this REDD brigade. It’s a win-win situation, both for the rich nations, as well as for the rich of the poor nations. The real poor are a burden in any case, to be kept at arms length – if not further.”

REDD as Wedge

Besides Bolivian leadership, the world’s best hope for contestation of these power relationships rests with civil society. Along with La Via Campesina network of peasant organizations, which attracted a Mexico-wide caravan and staged a militant march that nearly reached the airport access road on the morning of December 7 as heads of state flew into Cancun, the most visible poor peoples’ representatives were from the Indigenous Environmental Network (IEN). On December 8, IEN spokesperson Tom Goldtooth was denied entry to the UN forum due to his high-profile role in non-violent protests.

According to Goldtooth, Cancun’s ‘betrayal’ is “the consequence of an ongoing U.S. diplomatic offensive of backroom deals, arm-twisting and bribery that targeted nations in opposition to the Copenhagen Accord.” For Goldtooth, an ardent opponent of REDD, “Such strategies have already proved fruitless and have been shown to violate human and Indigenous rights. The agreements implicitly promote carbon markets, offsets, unproven technologies, and land grabs – anything but a commitment to real emissions reductions. Language ‘noting’ rights is exclusively in the context of market mechanisms, while failing to guarantee safeguards for the rights of peoples and communities, women and youth.”

In the same way, the Green Fund was promoted by World Bank president Robert Zoellick, whose highest-profile speech to a side conference promised to extend the REDD commodification principle to broader sectors of agriculture and even charismatic animals like tigers, in alliance with Russian leader Vladimir Putin. On December 8, protests demanded that the World Bank be evicted from climate financing, in part because under Zoellick the institution’s annual fossil fuel investments rose from $1.6-billion to $6.3-billion, and in part because the Bank promotes export-led growth, resource extraction, energy privatization and carbon markets with unshaken neoliberal dogma.

According to Grace Garcia from Friends of the Earth Costa Rica, “Only a gang of lunatics would think it is a good idea to invite the World Bank to receive climate funds, with their long-standing track-record of financing the world’s dirtiest projects and imposition of death-sentencing conditionalities on our peoples.”

Unfortunately, however, some indigenous people’s groups and Third World NGOs do buy into REDD, and well-funded Northern allies such as the market-oriented Environmental Defense Fund have been using divide-and-conquer tactics to widen the gaps. The danger this presents is extreme, because the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) strategy set in place by Al Gore in 1997 – when he mistakenly (and self-interestedly) promised that the U.S. would endorse the Kyoto Protocol if carbon trading was central to the deal – may well continue to fracture climate advocacy.

REDD is one of several blackmail tactics from the North, by which small sums are paid for projects such as tree-planting or forest conservation management. In some cases, as well as through CDMs such as methane-extraction from landfills, these projects result in displacement of local residents or, in the case of Durban’s main CDM, the ongoing operation of a vast, environmentally-racist dump in the black neighbourhood of Bisasar Road, instead of its closure. Then the Northern corporations which buy the emissions credits can continue business-as-usual without making the major changes needed to solve the crisis.

Climate Debt and Command-and-Control

Many critics of REDD and other CDMs put the idea of Climate Debt at the core of a replacement financing framework. They demand that the carbon markets be decommissioned, because their fatal flaws include rising levels of corruption, periodic chaotic volatility, and extremely low prices inadequate to attract investment capital into renewable energy and more efficient transport.

Having spent an afternoon at Cancun debating these points with the world’s leading carbon traders, I’m more convinced that the markets need closure so we can advance much more effective, efficient command-and-control systems. These worked well in the ozone hole emergency, when CFCs were banned by the Montreal Protocol starting in 1996. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency now has command-and-control power over GreenHouseGas emissions, and administrator Lisa Jackson can alert around 10,000 major CO2 point sources that they must start cutting back immediately.

But without more protest against the Agency, as pioneered by West Virginians demanding a halt to mountaintop coal removal, Jackson has said that she will only begin this process in 2013 (after Obama’s reelection campaign). On the bright side, IETA’s lead Washington official, David Hunter, confirmed to me that the U.S. carbon markets were in the doldrums because of the Senate’s failure to pass cap-and-trade legislation this year. Thank goodness for Washington gridlock.

However, Washington’s Big Green groups have admitted that they pumped $300-million of foundation money into advocacy for congressional carbon trading, in spite of Climate Justice Now! members’ campaigning against this approach. Critique has included the film “The story of cap and trade” (www.storyofstuff.org), which over the past year had three quarters of a million views. The vast waste of money corresponded to a resource drought at the base.

In October, three well-resourced environmental groups – 350.org, Rainforest Action Network and Greenpeace – concluded that more direct action would be needed. It’s happening already, of course. Two dozen U.S. groups, including IEN, Grassroots Global Justice and Movement Generation, argued in an October 23 open letter that “Frontline communities, using grassroots, network-based, and actions-led strategies around the country have had considerable success fighting climate-polluting industries in recent years, with far less resources than the large environmental groups in Washington, D.C. These initiatives have prevented a massive amount of new industrial carbon from coming on board.”

Climate Justice Instead of Climate Capitalism

But by all accounts, one reason the climate capitalist fantasy moved ahead at Cancun so decisively was the fragmented nature of this kind of resistance. Crucial ideological and geographical divides were evident within Mexico’s progressive forces, a problem which must be avoided in the coming period as the healing of divisions over market-related strategies proceeds. Grassroots activists are unimpressed by Cancun’s last-gasp attempt at climate-capitalist revivalism.

Indeed, the limited prospects for elite environmental management of this crisis confirm how badly a coherent alternative is needed. Fortunately, the People’s Agreement of Cochabamba emerged in April from a consultative meeting that drew 35,000 mainly civil society activists. The Cochabamba conference call includes:

  • 50 percent reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2017

  • stabilising temperature rises to 1°C and 300 Parts Per Million

  • acknowledging the climate debt owed by developed countries

  • full respect for Human Rights and the inherent rights of indigenous people

  • universal declaration of rights of Mother Earth to ensure harmony with nature

  • establishment of an International Court of Climate Justice

  • rejection of carbon markets and commodification of nature and forests through REDD

  • promotion of measures that change the consumption patterns of developed countries

  • end of intellectual property rights for technologies useful for mitigating climate change

  • payment of 6 percent of developed countries’ GDP to addressing climate change

The analysis behind these demands has been worked out over the past few years. But now the challenge for climate justice movements across the world is to not only continue – and dramatically ratchet up – vibrant grassroots activism against major fossil fuel emissions and extraction sites, ranging from Alberta’s tar sands to the Ecuadoran Amazon to San Francisco refineries to the Niger Delta to West Virginia mountains to the Australian and South African coalfields. In addition, if Cancun revives financial markets for the purposes of Northern manipulation of the climate debate, then Goldtooth’s warning is more urgent: “Industrialized nations, big business and unethical companies like Goldman Sachs will profit handsomely from the Cancun Agreements while our people die.”

Durban will offer the next big showdown between unworkable capitalist strategies on the one hand, and the interests of the masses of people and the planet’s environment. The latter have witnessed long histories of eco-social mobilization, such as the 2001 World Conference Against Racism which attracted a protest of 15,000 against Zionism and the UN’s failure to put reparations for slavey, colonialism and apartheid on the agenda.

It will be a challenge to maintain pressure against REDD and the carbon markets, but by next November it should be clear that neither will deliver the goods. Hence, as versed by Friends of the Earth International chair and Niger Delta activist Nnimmo Bassey, a winner of the Right Livelihood Award this year:

The outside will be the right side in Durban
What has been left undone
Will properly be done
Peoples’ sovereignty
Mass movement convergence
Something to look forward to! •

Patrick Bond is based at the Centre for Civil Society at the University of KwaZulu-Natal – ccs.ukzn.ac.za – and is on sabbatical at Cal-Berkeley Department of Geography.

“Ya sea un demonio, ya sea negro o blanco, tiene el corazón puro, es todo inocencia. Roba en el mercado un pastel, una naranja, y le persiguen, hay que atraparlo. Se da la alerta, se detiene a un ángel. Y se pone a llorar para defenderse. ¡Ay de aquel que hace daño a un niño!”, Enrico Macias

El sábado y domingo pasados [ 4 y 5 de diciembre] se celebró en Argel un coloquio sobre la condición del los presos palestinos en relación al derecho internacional. ¡tema vasto donde los haya! En esta contribución vamos a abordar la cuestión de una categoría particular de presos, los niños. ¡Qué crimen tan abominable! Es conocida la acusación principal contra ellos, lazar piedras contra vehículos israelíes, incluso contra los soldados. Las penas a las que se exponen, en cambio, varían en intensidad, en duración y en… horror. Ramsey Clark, ex-ministro de Justicia de Estados Unidos, consideró que “el derecho internacional, la simple justicia y la decencia humana exigen que Israel se retire de las tierras palestinas definidas por la Resolución 181 de la Asamblea General de la ONU de 1948, y que abandone todas las colonias y estructuras que ha construido”. También considera que Israel debe al gobierno palestino reparaciones por las persecuciones, la explotación de todo tipo y las injurias padecidas por el pueblo palestino durante décadas. El ex-diputado británico George Galloway subrayó “la necesidad de apelar a la comunidad internacional y a la ONU a que debatan la cuestión de los presos políticos” y considera imperativo “que este apoyo empiece a partir del mundo árabe” (1).

¿Cómo se traduce en la práctica el sionismo que lucha contra unos niños que no han conocido sino la guerra, los bombardeos y el ruido de los helicópteros Apache o de los F16? Uno no puede menos que sentirse desconcertado ante el alarde de imaginación del ejército de ocupación para aterroriza sin distinción tanto a niños, mujeres, ancianos como a adultos. Esta contribución publicada en Haaretz, el periódico israelí de izquierda, es más elocuente que cien discursos. En él leemos:

“Unos soldados israelíes testifican: Seis de la mañana. Rafah está bajo toque de queda. No hay un alma por las calles, sólo un niño de cuatro años que juega en la arena. Construye una especie de torre en el patio de su casa. Este [soldado] se pone de pronto a correr y corremos con él. Era del cuerpo de ingenieros. Todos corremos con él. Atrapa al crío.(…). Le rompió el brazo, aquí, en la articulación. Le rompió el brazo a la altura del codo. Le rompió la pierna aquí. Y se puso a patalearle el vientre, tres veces. Después se fue. Nos quedamos todos con la boca abierta mirándole, impactados… A la mañana siguiente vuelvo a salir a patrullar con él y los soldados ya habían empezado a hacer como él» (2).

Situación del calvario de los niños detenidos

En 1973 un folleto oficial destinado a los piadosos militares contenía las siguientes recomendaciones: “Cuando en el curso de una guerra o durante una persecución armada o de una redada nuestras fuerzas se encuentre ante civiles de los que no se puede estar seguro de que no nos harán daño, según el Halakhah [compendio de leyes religiosas judías], pueden e incluso deben asesinarlos. [...] En ningún caso se puede confíar en un árabe, aunque tenga aspecto civilizado. [...] En guerra, cuando nuestras tropas emprenden un ataque final, les está permitido y se lo ordena el Halakhah matar incluso a los civiles buenos, es decir, a los civiles que se presentan como tales”. Jacqueline Rose escribe en la misma línea: “Hoy, como política constante, el ejército israelí rompe los huesos de los palestinos. Al principio de la primera Intifada [Isaac] Rabin había dado esta orden al ejército: “Rompedles los huesos’’. Y los soldados ejecutan con disciplina la orden que se les había dado: romper con la culata de sus armas los brazos y piernas de los palestinos”. También informa de que los soldados y los oficiales israelíes “ejecutan sumariamente a niños palestinos y se justifican proclamando que el recuerdo del Holocausto les lleva a perpetrar, de forma rutinaria, lo que se considera patentes crímenes de guerra perpetrados contra civiles que no representan peligro alguno” (3).

Cuando Israel no mata a los niños como hizo durante la carnicería de Gaza en 2008-2009, los aterroriza, los tortura, los mata de hambre, provoca su deterioro. Vamos a relatar en primer lugar la situación actual y después abordaremos el problema de las violaciones graves de la IV Convención de Ginebra relativa a los presos y a los niños tratando de describir las derivas más flagrantes del “ejército más moral del mundo”. En agosto de 2006 Israel mantenía a 10.073 presos palestinos en más de treinta prisiones y centros de detención. Desde 1967 se ha detenido a más de 650.000 palestinos, esto es, ¡a cerca del 20% de la población de los Territorios Palestinos Ocupados! En septiembre 2006 la mayoría de estos presos palestinos eran hombres, pero había también 115 mujeres y 450 niños. Están encarcelados en Israel despreciando la IV Convención de Ginebra que lo prohíbe. La ocupación de los Territorios Palestinos por parte del ejército israelí y la violencia de la represión que acompaña a la ocupación afectan plenamente a los niños. Así, desde el principio de la Segunda Intifada se ha detenido a más de 4.000 niños palestinos. En septiembre de 2006 450 presos en las cárceles y centros de detención israelíes eran menores de 18 años.

“Promulgada el 24 de septiembre de 1967, la Orden Militar 132 decreta que desde la edad de 12 años un niño palestino puede ser perseguido, detenido, encarcelado y condenado por una jurisdicción militar y verse así expuesto a penas reservadas a los adultos. Se detiene a los niños durante las manifestaciones, pero también en sus hogares, generalmente en plena noche, basándose en fotos, en testimonios de terceros o de confidentes. Los niños encarcelados también son alumnos que han sido arrancados de sus escuelas. Ahora bien, no disponen de medio alguno de seguir su escolarización, ni siquiera para jugar. En las cárceles no hay bibliotecas ni material educativo que les permita preparar los exámenes para terminar la secundaria. (…) Un tema que con frecuencia se ignora o que a penas se aborda es la tortura. (…) En 1967 se legalizaron en Israel las técnicas de tortura” (4).

Eric Silverman cuenta por lo que tienen que pasar los padres que quieren visitar a sus hijos presos:

“Nabil y Huda Ward iban a visitar con sus dos hijas adolescentes a su hijo Naseem, de 26 años, por primera vez desde que fue encarcelado en abril de 2002.. [Nabil y Huda Ward ] son personas veteranas del sufrimiento bajo la ocupación israelí: en 2001 las fuerzas israelíes mataron a la hija de Ward, Riham, de diez años, cuando estaba en su aula en la escuela de niñas Al-Ibrahim en Jenin. (…) En noviembre de 2006 Israel tenía a unos 700 palestinos en situación de detención administrativa [sin cargos ni jucio]. (…) El CICR vigila las condiciones de detención y el trato de todos los presos palestinos, que se calcula que son 11.500, de los cuales 400 son niños y 120 mujeres” (5).

En el Día Nacional de los Presos Palestinos, el 17 de abril, la Delegación General de Palestina en Francia redactó el siguiente informe en el que leemos:

“La cuestión de los presos palestinos en las cárceles israelíes no se limita a unas cifras o estadísticas sino que para conocer su situación hay que conocer cuántos hay, dónde están detenidos y sus condiciones de vida. La cantidad de detenidos durante el año 2009 llegó a 5.200, esto es, una media de 14 detenciones al día. Estos miles de presos, hombres, mujeres y niños, son retenidos en 13 cárceles y 3 centros de detención situados por todo Israel… (…) Según un reciente informe de Friends Of Humanity International pubicado el 1 de abril de 2010, el año 2009 ha sido uno de los años más difíciles para los presos palestinos. (…) Durante 2009 las fuerzas de ocupación han seguido practicando todo tipo de detenciones, registros y secuestros. (…) Hay más de 1.000 presos en las cárceles israelíes que padecen enfermedades crónicas y que padecen la negligencia médica. (…) Considando que en virtud de la Convención de la ONU relativa a los derechos del niño, de la que Israel es signataria, se entiende por niño todo ser humano de menos de 18 años, considerando que los presos palestinos, niños incluidos, son sometidos a tratos humillantes y degradantes, considerando que durante los interrogatorios las autoridades israelíes siguen recurriendo tanto a la coacción física como a las amenazas físicas y psicológicas que llegan hasta la tortura, sobre todo para intimidar a los presos y obtener declaraciones de ellos, la Delegación General del Palestina en Francia exige que se respete la prohibición absoluta de la tortura como lo impone el derecho internacional” (6).

El nuevo suplicio

El ministro palestino de los Presos, Issa Qaraqa’, informa de un nuevo escándalo entre estos excesos: unos soldados israelíes orinaron sobre dos niños de 13 años y les obligaron a permanecer desnudos en los cuartos de baño durante dos días. Sin embrago, afirma que lo peor sucedió cuando volvieron los soldados y en vez de utilizar los retretes, orinaron sobre la cabeza y cara de los dos niños. Después los soldados se burlaron de ellos y se rieron mientras sacaban fotos. Tras dos días de este trato cruel llevaron a los niños a la colonia de Binyamin y los interrogaron desde las 10 de la mañana hasta las 3 de la madrugada, y después los llevaron al campo militar de Ofer, donde permanecieron tres meses antes de ser trasladados a la prisión para niños de Rimonim. Nunca han sido llevados ante la justicia (7).

En la misma línea, el responsable de Asuntos de los Presos ante la Autoridad Palestina y ex-preso Abdul Nasir Farawneh declaró el pasado lunes [6 de diciembre] en Argel durante el Coloquio Internacional de Apoyo a los Presos Palestinos que Israel seguía utilizando a los presos para probar los efectos de diferentes medicamentos:

“Israel no ha dejado de hacerlo ni un solo día”, dijo Farawneh. “Al contrario, ha aumentado sus crímenes y autorizado al ministerio de Sanidad a aumentar un 15% su cuota anual de medicamentos. Progresivamente se expone a cada vez más presos a estos tratamientos, lo que explica el aumento de la cantidad de presos enfermos en las cárceles de la ocupación israelí y la emergencia de nuevas enfermedades extrañas”. Según Farawneh, aproximadamente 3.000 presos palestinos en las cárceles de Nafaha, Ramon y Negev (esto es, el 45% del total de los presos) son sometidos a estas pruebas de medicamentos y los presos de la cárcel del Negev son expuestos a toxinas nocivas debido a la proximidad del reactor de [el Centro de Investigación Nuclear de] Dimona. (…) Farawneh afirma que desde 2007 las autoridades penitenciarias israelíes tratan a los palestinos como “cobayas” (8).

Pero hay cosas peores. Stephen Lendman da cuenta de una información publicada el pasado 10 de septiembre en la página web israelí Ynetnews.com, “Las IDF (Fuerzas de Defensa Israelíes [ejército israelí]) han cometido abusos sexuales con niños palestinos”, donde se leía: “Unos informes demoledores de CNN (9 de septiembre) dan cuenta de acusaciones no corroboradas de abusos sexuales de niños palestinos detenidos por las IDF”. Los oficiales militares se han negado “a responder a estas acusaciones de abusos sexuales porque no se ha dado ninguna precisión sobre ellas”, declaró un portavoz. CNN habló de un niño palestino no identificado que afirmaba que unos soldados de las IDF habían tratado de introducirle un objeto en el recto y que docenas de oficiales lo observaban riendo. La fuente de CNN era la asociación Defense of Children International (DCI). En mayo de 2010 esta organización pido al Relator Especial sobre la Tortura de la ONU que investigara los 14 casos de abusos sexuales de los había tenido conocimiento y que habían sido cometidos por soldados, interrogadores y policías desde enero de 2009 a abril 2010. Los niños que habían sido víctimas de estos abusos tenían entre 13 y 16 años, y habían sido detenidos por arrojar piedras que no habían herido a nadie. En su informe de abril de 2008 el ministerio palestino de Asuntos de los Presos y Ex-presos se afirma que desde septiembre de 2000, fecha del inicio de la segunda Intifada, se había detenido a más de 7.000 niños (9).

Aproximadamente 360 niños, algunos de los cuales sólo tiene 10 años, continúan detenidos y son tratados con tanta dureza como los adultos, en violación del derecho internacional que prescribe un trato especial para los niños. De estos 360 niños, 145 han sido condenados, 200 están en espera de juicio y 15 en detención adminsitrativa. El informe señala que aproximadamente 500 jóvenes habían cumplido los 18 años estando detenidos. Unos 75 habían enfermado y no habían sido tratados y casi todos ellos habían sido torturados y víctimas de malos tratos. Cada años se detiene a unos 700 niños, la mayoría de ellos por lanzar piedras, y después son interrogados sin la asistencia de un abogado y condenados. Más del 80% de ellos han firmado confesiones forzadas, una tercera parte de las cuales están escritas en hebreo, lengua que no comprenden. El 10 de mayo la periodista de Haaretz, Amira Hass, escribió (…): “ 69 niños se ha denunciado haber sido golpeados, 4 haber sido víctimas de abusos sexuales y otros 12 han afirmado haber recibido amenazas de abusos sexuales”. Añadía que durante su detención se había aterrorizado, brutalizado e insultado a la mayoría de ellos, antes y durante los interrogatorios. Además, se les privaba de comida y bebida durante horas y se les martirizaba constantemente para que dieran nombres. (…) De hecho, tanto niños como adultos permanecen detenidos durante semanas e incluso meses antes de ser juzgados o de poder negociar su pena (plea bargain). No hay justicia en Israel para quien no es judío, aunque sólo tenga 9 o 10 años” (9). Está todo dicho, no hay justicia para los niños palestinos. ¿Hasta cuándo esta impunidad?

Notas:

1. Foro sobre el apoyo a los presos palestinos APS 05-12-2010.

2. “Unos soldados israelíes testifican”, Haaretz, 21 de septiembre de 2007.

3. Jacqueline Rose, La Question de Sion, Presses universitaires de Princeton, 2005

4. http://www.association-belgo-palestinienne.be/ 13 de julio de 2009, IV Convención de Ginebra, Presos políticos.

5. http://www.palestine-diplo.com/spip.php?article327, Presos políticos.

6. Erica Silverman, “Prisonniers palestiniens en Israël: perdus dans la machine” www.info-palestine.net/article.php3?id_article=705 , 25 de enero de 2007.

7. http://www.legrandsoir.info/Nouveau-scandale-de-torture-d-enfants-prisonniers-Des-soldats-urinent-sur-des-enfants-de-13-ans.html , PNN, 10 de noviembre de 2010.

8. “Israël continue de tester des médicaments sur les prisonniers palestiniens”, PNN, 06.12.10. http://english.pnn.ps/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=9236&Itemid=68

9. Stephen Lendman, http://www.legrandsoir.info/Des-soldats-israeliens-coupables-d-abussexuels-sur-des-enfants-palestiniens.html, 18.09.2010

Texto en francés : http://www.mondialisation.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=22351

Traducido del francés para Rebelión por Beatriz Morales Bastos

Del 8 al 17 de diciembre de 2010 varios ex altos responsables del régimen militar dirigido por el general chileno Augusto Pinochet –trece chilenos y un argentino- serán juzgados por la detención y desaparición forzosa de cuatro franco-chilenos: Georges Klein, Etienne Pesle, Alfonso Chanfreau y Jean-Yves Claudet. Un proceso inédito.

«A pesar de la muerte de Augusto Pinochet, este juicio póstumo no dejará de ser el del dictador chileno, así como del conjunto del sistema de represión establecido [por las dictaduras de Sudamérica] (1). Con estos términos los magistrados William Bourdon, Claude Katz, Benjamin Safati y Sophie Thonon han planteado el proceso ante el Tribunal de lo Criminal de París, la más alta jurisdicción criminal francesa.

«Llevamos esperando desde hace mucho, mucho tiempo, casi toda nuestra vida», declaraba el lunes 6 de diciembre Natalia Chanfreau, quien era un bebé cuando su padre desapareció (2). Previsto inicialmente en mayo de 2008, el proceso fue aplazado por primera vez por el juzgado general. Entonces se interrogó a algunos militantes de los derechos humanos: ¿

Aquel aplazamiento sine die fue el resultado de presiones políticas, como cuando Pinochet todavía estaba vivo? La razón invocada entonces por la justicia fue el deseo de organizar un juicio «irreprochable», teniendo en cuenta «las dificultades encontradas en la expedición de las citaciones de las numerosas personas que residían en el extranjero» (3). Hacer que vengan de varios lugares del mundo los testigos vinculados con las cuatro víctimas –así como los «grandes testigos» internacionales (que permitirían poner el juicio en contexto)- requería una logística complicada (4). Pero la ausencia de jueces dedicados en exclusiva a este asunto y la falta de voluntad política también influyeron.

Así pues el juicio se abre después de doce años de procedimiento. Si se lleva a cabo, probablemente forjará un precedente histórico, hecho posible gracias a la movilización sin descanso de las familias de víctimas y de organizaciones sociales chilenas e internacionales. Los decenios de lucha contra la impunidad, el olvido y para obtener verdad y justicia… desde el golpe de Estado del 11 de septiembre de 1973.

El 16 de octubre de 1998 el general Augusto Pinochet fue arrestado en Londres por orden de las autoridades judiciales españolas y del juez español Baltasar Garzón. Casi inmediatamente las familias de detenidos-desaparecidos franceses presentaron una denuncia contra los responsables del régimen. Desde julio de 1999, la Federación Internacional de las Ligas de Derechos Humanos (FIDH) y la Liga Francesa de los Derechos del Hombre y el Ciudadano (LDH), se constituyeron en parte civil. Así como la Corporación Chilena para la Defensa y la Promoción de los Derechos del Pueblo (CODEPU-Chile), la Asociación de ex presos políticos chilenos-Francia y la asociación France Amérique Latine (FAL) hicieron lo mismo.

El arresto del dictador abrió un resquicio, a pesar de una inmensa frustración. «El mundo, y Europa en particular, veía en la posibilidad de un juicio contra el viejo dictador –en España y Francia especialmente- el advenimiento de una justicia internacional en materia de violaciones de los derechos humanos. Pero el juicio no tuvo lugar y Pinochet, después de haber visto multiplicarse durante los años 2000 las persecuciones contra antiguos responsables de la represión militar y haber sido él mismo encausado por ciertas investigaciones, murió libre y sin haber sido juzgado el 10 de diciembre de 2006» (5). Poco después la jueza Sophie Clément cerró la instrucción, abriendo «la audiencia» (es decir, «la inscripción») del dossier ante la Corte de lo Criminal de París.

Si este proceso se puede realizar en París es porque la ley penal francesa, a título de la competencia jurisdiccional extraterritorial, es aplicable a los crímenes cometidos por extranjeros contra personas de nacionalidad francesa fuera del territorio nacional (según el artículo 113-7 del código penal y de la «competencia personal pasiva» de las víctimas).

Por otra parte no es la primera vez que la justicia francesa deberá pronunciarse con base en esa competencia en un juicio sobre el terrorismo de Estado en Sudamérica. El verdugo argentino Alfredo Astiz, conocido como «el ángel de la muerte», fue condenado a cadena perpetua en rebeldía en marzo de 1990 por la desaparición forzada de dos religiosas francesas durante la última dictadura (1976-1983).

3.197 víctimas de desapariciones o ejecuciones y 28.461víctimas de torturas: éstas son las cifras oficiales de la represión chilena. Cifras muy por debajo de la realidad. Varios historiadores y asociaciones de defensa de los derechos humanos hablan de 200.000 a 300.000 personas arrestadas y torturadas. Sin embargo este reconocimiento oficial da una medida de la violencia del régimen militar.

Con este proceso es la arquitectura de la máquina infernal del terrorismo de Estado lo que se juzgará: su funcionamiento, sus cadenas de mandos y sus lógicas institucionales. Los distintos itinerarios de las víctimas ponen de manifiesto diferentes aspectos del sistema represivo. También evidencian la resistencia de los militantes de izquierda (6).

Georges Klein, de 27 años, era el médico y asesor del presidente socialista Salvador Allende durante la Unidad Popular (1970-1973). Estaba junto al «compañero presidente» el día del bombardeo de La Moneda, desde ese día está desaparecido. Etienne Pesle, 46 años, ex sacerdote, era militante del Movimiento de los Cristianos por el Socialismo. Ferviente defensor de la reforma agraria, trabajaba como funcionario del Instituto de Desarrollo de la Agricultura. También desapareció en las dos primeras horas de la dictadura cuando se encontraba en Temuco, al sur del país. Alfonso Chanfreau, de 23 años, militaba en el Movimiento de la Izquierda Revolucionaria (MIR). Fue arrestado el 30 de julio de 1974 por la Dirección General de Inteligencia (DINA), la policía política bajo el mando de Manuel Contreras. Encarcelado y torturado durante más de un mes, después le transfirieron a la «Colonia Dignidad», una comunidad sectaria fundada por un antiguo nazi, Paul Schaeffer, hoy fallecido (7). Finalmente Jean-Yves Claudet, 34 años, ingeniero, estaba encargado de las relaciones internacionales del MIR. Detenido en dos ocasiones tras el golpe de Estado y después expulsado a Francia volvió a Argentina al año siguiente para organizar la resistencia. Fue secuestrado por la DINA el 1 de noviembre de 1975, en una operación efectuada en el marco del «Plan Cóndor», plan de coordinación y cooperación internacional de las dictaduras del Cono Sur en su «lucha contra la subversión», según el lenguaje consagrado por los militares golpistas.

Este proceso, por otra parte, no podrá pasar por alto la implicación de Estados Unidos en el apoyo a las dictaduras de Sudamérica, empezando por la de Henry Kissinger, ex asesor de la Seguridad Nacional estadounidense, Premio Nobel de la Paz en 1973, que fue citado a comparecer en calidad de testigo durante la instrucción, sin éxito.

«No esperamos un milagro», concede Jacqueline Claudet, la hermana de Jean-Yves Claudet. Pero «éste es un primer paso hacia la justicia» (8). El juicio es esencialmente simbólico. Pero muchas veces los símbolos son poderosos.

Los acusados, con edades de entre 59 y 89 años, no se presentarán. Ni siquiera han solicitado representantes legales, negando cualquier legitimidad al procedimiento. Cinco murieron durante la instrucción (entre ellos Augusto Pinochet, Osvaldo Romo, verdugo célebre por sus confesiones, y el antiguo nazi Paul Schaefer). De los catorce restantes, en la actualidad la mayoría cumple penas de prisión, empezando por el ex general del ejército Manuel Contreras. Otros, convertidos en hombres de negocios, circulan libremente, como por ejemplo el capitán reservista de la fuerza aérea Emilio Sandoval Poo. «Chile será su prisión», afirma Sophie Thonon, «en el momento en que intenten cruzar una frontera serán detenidos» (9).

¿Pero por qué se realiza este juicio en Francia y no en Chile? Durante los años sombríos de la dictadura las familias pidieron a la justicia chilena que investigara esas desapariciones, pero como señala el acta de acusación, aquélla «falló en su misión y mostró una dependencia total con respecto al régimen establecido». Todavía hoy, según la FIDH, «se comprueba que esta justicia choca contra las reminiscencias de la estructura de impunidad creada por Pinochet y los suyos al preparar la transición». Cuando la condena tiene «una levedad de las penas, al aplicar desde hace varios años la regla de la ‘prescripción a la mitad’, es absolutamente desproporcionada con respecto a la gravedad de los crímenes. Teniendo en cuenta en particular la antigüedad de los hechos y el comportamiento actual de los actores de los crímenes perseguidos, esta regla supone en realidad que en muchos casos los condenados salen libres desde que se dicta la sentencia» (10). De momento 171 personas han recibido condenas de encierro por crímenes contra la humanidad, pero sólo 53 de ellas están en la cárcel o en residencia vigilada. Hay varios centenares de juicios en curso de instrucción.

Por otra parte, las diferentes comisiones nacionales de «verdad y reconciliación», de «diálogo» o de «reparación» creadas tras la transición democrática de 1990 no se han enfocado a hacer justicia. Sus atribuciones restringidas, los testimonios anónimos de los militares, el mantenimiento del decreto-ley de amnistía de 1978, los numerosos «enclaves autoritarios» surgidos de la dictadura (entre ellos la constitución de 1980, ¡que todavía rige las instituciones del país!) o el mantenimiento del modelo económico neoliberal, explican esta situación. Veinte años durante los que los gobiernos de la Concertación (coalición de demócratas cristianos y el centro izquierda) nunca han tenido la voluntad de cuestionar la impunidad que gangrena el país e hipoteca el futuro. En nombre de la unidad nacional, las élites se niegan a afrontar ese «pasado demasiado rápidamente pasado» (11). Y se puede estar casi seguro que el presidente actual (Sebastián Piñera), que se enriqueció durante la dictadura y es aliado de la Unión Democrática Independiente (UDI), la formación política surgida del «pinochetismo», seguirá el mismo camino. De ahí la importancia histórica de la iniciativa que está en curso en París.

El cineasta Patricio Guzmán, autor de una delicada y poética «Nostalgia de la luz» (actualmente en pantalla), señalaba en una entrevista a propósito de su película «El caso Pinochet» su voluntad de «que se agarrase bien la información que transmitían las voces de los testigos, esas personas vivas que escaparon de aquel período tenebroso». Y concluía: «En una palabra: hacer que se oigan las voces vivas. Poner la palabra de los testigos contra la dictadura, mostrar la dictadura en la palabra de esos testigos» (8). Éste es un poco el objetivo de ese juicio.

Texto en francés : La dictature du général Pinochet devant la justice à Paris

Traducido para Rebelión por Caty R., Rebelión.

Notas:

(1) Fédération internationale des ligues des droits humains, «Procès de la dictature de Pinochet », 3 de diciembre de 2010, http://fidh.org/Proces-de-la-dictature-de-Pinochet.

(2) Conferencia de prensa «Ouverture du procès à Paris de 14 hauts responsables de la dictature chilienne», Centre de acogida de la prensa extranjera en París, lunes 6 de diciembre (audio en línea en su totalidad: http://www.capefrance.com/audio/2010/12/2056.mp3).

(3) Fédération internationale des ligues des droits humains, «Un nouvel affront de la justice aux victimes de violations des droits de l’Homme au Chili», 7de mayo de 2008, www.fidh.org/Report-du-proces-contre-les-anciens-responsables.

(4) Se escuchó especialmente al abogado chileno y ex relator de las Naciones Unidas Roberto Garretón, Martín Almada, «descubridor» paraguayo de los archivos del Plan Cóndor, el magistrado francés Louis Joinet y al periodista de investigación estadounidense John Dinges.

(5) Asociation d’ex prisonniers politiques chiliens-France; France Amérique Latine, «Dans l’ombre de Pinochet. Procès contre la dictature chilienne», Dossier de prensa, diciembre de 2010. Ver: http://franceameriquelatine.org/index.php?m=9&theme=29 y www.chiliveriteetmemoire.org.

(6) Para más detalles consultar el blog del periodista Jac Forton, dedicado al proceso de la junta chilena en Francia: http://jac.forton.free.fr/blog_fr/index.php.

(7) Frédéric Ploquin y Maria Poblete, La colonie du docteur Schaefer, une secte nazie au pays de Pinochet, Fayard, 2004.

(8) Conferencia de prensa, lunes 6 de diciembre, op. cit.

(9) Ibid.

(10) Fédération internationale des ligues des droits humains, Ibid.

(11) Olivier Compagnon, Franck Gaudichaud, «Chili: un passé trop vite passé», en Pascal Blanchard, Marc Ferro e Isabelle Veyrat-Masson (dir.), Les guerres de mémoires dans le monde, revue Hermès, Paris, 2008.

(12) Entrevista con Anthony Dufraisse, 12 octubre de 2001, www.fluctuat.net/cinema/interview/guzman.htm

Franck Gaudichaud es profesor de Civilización Hispanoamericana en la Universidad Grenoble 3, especialista en Chile contemporáneo.

A shift of power toward the wealthy

December 14th, 2010 by Dick Lilly

A shift of power toward the wealthy and corporations is the result of 40 years of conservative and libertarian campaigning, and it’s likely to continue.

It looks like the Bush tax breaks for the rich and very rich are with us for awhile, as the price paid for extending unemployment insurance and sprinkling tax breaks around to everyone else — moves that President Obama hopes will create spending and shift the economy out of neutral. That’s the deal, anyway. And it sure proves that what’s necessary — or just possible — isn’t always good policy.

I don’t think it’s outrageous to say that. There are strong, relatively broadly supported arguments for extending unemployment insurance. Compassion, helping families stay together, that sort of thing. Short-term tax cuts for people who spend most — or all — of their paychecks will produce the intended effect: consumer spending. (Reduced payroll taxes — lower Social Security trust-fund receipts — leave behind a ticking bomb, though.)

On the other hand, there is no comparable level of need in the rationale for continuing the lowered tax rates at the high end. Trickle-down theory is about it, and that’s an argument badly weakened by counter example: times such as the 1990s and most of the postwar period up until the mid-’70s, when robust growth occurred despite higher taxes on higher incomes and corporations.

That the lower Bush tax rates will be retained for awhile yet is nothing more than successful special pleading by the rich and powerful. Of course, that’s not news. But step back a moment and consider what that means. What we’re seeing is a raw, unhidden, and unembarrassed demonstration of a huge shift in the balance of power in the United States.

This is not just the usual see-sawing of control back and forth between Republicans and Democrats. This is the rich and well-connected, the leadership and powerful interests of corporate America, getting exactly what they want, just as they did under Bush in 2001. Hey, we all want lower taxes (not perfectly true). But we don’t always get what we want.

Now, however, with the shift of money and power up the income scale at a new high, the very rich — a group which clearly includes many of today’s top corporate executives and certainly those from Wall Street — for all practical purposes may hold the veto power in American politics, able to block any political course not to their liking.

In addition to their raw lobbying power (convincingly on display in the push back against health-care reform), thanks to the Supreme Court’s decision in Citizens United, corporations can now spend almost without restriction on electoral politics. In fact, given the fiduciary responsibility to their companies’ bottom lines required of corporate officers and board members, they likely will feel entirely justified if not actually driven to spend on candidates who pledge to repeal worker protections and environmental regulations.

The political power shift toward the wealthy and corporations is real, the successful outcome of 40 years of conservative and libertarian campaigning, and it’s likely to continue as businesses and very wealthy ideologues exploit the opportunities presented by Citizens United. It’s hard not to see this trend as a split along class lines, unlike anything seen in the U.S. for more than a century.

Sadly, though, this is the “class warfare” battle of today’s and future headlines, not just a split along class and income lines exposed or exacerbated by the Great Recession. A glance at unemployment rates among groups with various levels of education reveals a stark disparity between the college-educated and everyone else.

The unemployment rate among workers 25 and older with a four-year college education topped 5 percent (hitting 5.1 percent) for the first time only last month, and it’s been running around 4.5 percent or less for most of the recession. For those with only a high-school diploma, the rate has been steadily twice that, and for those who never finished high school, it’s triple — nearly 16 percent in November.

What those figures say — and this is likely confirmed by readers’ experiences visiting crowded retail stores and high-end restaurants in the Seattle area — is that this actually hasn’t been, and isn’t now, much of a recession for the educated middle class. But for a lot of others, these have and continue to be tough times.

The scary outcome of these unemployment disparities if the Great Recession persists is a new and greater split within the middle class, a gulf between the comfortable and an increasing number of those truly struggling for a little economic security. That’s not the way things have been in the country I remember.

Dick Lilly served on the Seattle School Board from 2001-05 and earlier covered the Seattle Public Schools as a reporter for The Seatle Times. You can reach him in care of [email protected].

Opening the Door to GM Crops in Europe

December 14th, 2010 by Rady Ananda

In a January 2008 meeting, US and Spain trade officials strategized how to increase acceptance of genetically modified foods in Europe, including inflating food prices on the commodities market, according to a leaked US diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks.

During the meeting, Secretary of State for International Trade, Pedro Mejia, and Secretary General Alfredo Bonet “noted that commodity price hikes might spur greater liberalization on biotech imports.”

It seems Wall Street traders got the word. By June 2008, food prices had spiked so severely that “The Economist announced that the real price of food had reached its highest level since 1845, the year the magazine first calculated the number,” reports Fred Kaufman in The Food Bubble: How Wall Street starved millions and got away with it.

The unprecedented high in food prices in 2008 caused an additional 250 million people to go hungry, pushing the global number to over a billion.  2008 is also the first year “since such statistics have been kept, that the proportion of the world’s population without enough to eat ratcheted upward,” said Kaufman.

All to boost acceptance of GM foods, and done via a trading scheme on which Wall Street speculators profited enormously.

Mass food riots in several nations ensued, as did an investigation by the U.S. Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, resulting in a finding that, yes, unrestricted speculation in food commodities caused soaring prices.

In a comment at the end of the cable, the diplomat also revealed a level of pessimism about Spain’s willingness to help force GM foods on Europe:

“This was a very good substantive discussion. However, it is clear that while Spain will continue sometimes to vote in favor of biotechnology liberalization proposals, the Spaniards will tread warily on this issue given their own domestic sensitivities and other equities Spain has in the EU.”

That pessimism was largely unfounded, as “Spain planted 80 percent of all the Bt maize in the EU in 2009 and maintained its record adoption rate of 22 percent from the previous year,” noted a report by the International Service for the Acquisition of Agri-biotech Applications (ISAAA).

The leaked cables, amounting to over 1,300 right now, reveal US obsession with expanding the biotech market:

One leaked cable confirms US concern with promoting GM foods in Africa, which Richard Brenneman described as “a significant item on the State Department’s agenda.”

  • In another leaked cable describing the potential to expand US interests in “isolationist” Austria, that nation’s ban on GM foods is highlighted. 
  • According to a leaked cable from 2007, of concern was French President Sarkozy’s desire to implement a ban on GM foods in line with populist sentiment. According to GM Free Regions, France maintains its opposition to GM foods today. 

More may be revealed in the remaining cables. 

Profiteering Leaves World open to Future Price Manipulation

Food commodity speculation was enabled in 2000 by the Commodity Futures Modernization Act.  Deregulation handyman Senator Phil Gramm (R-TX) introduced the bill, coauthored by financial industry lobbyists and cosponsored by Senator Richard Lugar (R-IN), the chairman of the Agriculture Committee.

Mother Jones describes the legislative climate when the bill passed: 

“As part of a decades-long anti-regulatory crusade, Gramm pulled a sly legislative maneuver that greased the way to the multibillion-dollar subprime meltdown….

 “Gramm’s most cunning coup on behalf of his friends in the financial services industry—friends who gave him millions over his 24-year congressional career—came on December 15, 2000. It was an especially tense time in Washington. Only two days earlier, the Supreme Court had issued its decision on Bush v. Gore. President Bill Clinton and the Republican-controlled Congress were locked in a budget showdown. It was the perfect moment for a wily senator to game the system. As Congress and the White House were hurriedly hammering out a $384-billion omnibus spending bill, Gramm slipped in a 262-page measure called the Commodity Futures Modernization Act.”

Not only did that Act enable the subprime meltdown that crashed the economy and put tens of millions into foreclosure, it also enabled Wall Street investors to artificially spike the price of food.

“Bankers had taken control of the world’s food, money chased money, and a billion people went hungry,” Kaufman clarified.

After a year long investigation, he confirmed that price hikes in food from 2005 thru the peak in June 2008 had nothing to do with the supply chain, but instead occurred as a result of a Wall Street investment scheme known as Commodity Investment Funds. The first to develop the idea was Goldman Sachs, which took 18 different food sources, including cattle, coffee, cocoa, corn, hogs and wheat, and created an investment package. Kaufman explains:

“They weighted the investment value of each element, blended and commingled the parts into sums, then reduced what had been a complicated collection of real things into a mathematical formula that could be expressed as a single manifestation, to be known thenceforward as the Goldman Sachs Commodity Index. Then they began to offer shares.”

(Kaufman summarizes his report in this June 2010 interview by Thom Hartmann, and in this July Democracy Now interview.)

Kaufman points out that also in 2008, ConAgra Foods was able to sell its trading arm to a hedge fund for $2.8 billion.  The world’s largest grain trader and GMO giant, Cargill, recorded an 86% jump in annual profits in the first quarter of 2008, attributed to commodity trading and an expanding biofuels market. The Star Tribune calculated that Cargill earned $471,611 an hour that quarter.

The investment bubble burst in June 2008 and “aggregate commodity prices fell about 60% by mid-November 2008,” notes Steve Suppan of the Institute for Agricultural and Trade Policy. Though the US House of Representatives introduced a regulatory bill, “legislative loopholes will exempt at least 40-45%” of such trades.  Supporting the loopholes is Cargill, among other multinational corporations. Suppan concludes:

“The outlook for a sustainable and transparent financial system to underwrite trade dependent food security is not good… [T]he budget for the just launched congressional Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, scheduled to report December 15, [2010] is just $8 million.  The Wall Street lobbying budget for defeating financial reform legislation is thus far $344 million…”

The final bill was signed into law in July 2010 (summarized by the New York Times), and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission continues to issue new rules purportedly aimed at regulating financial markets. “But big banks influence the rules governing derivatives through a variety of industry groups,” notes another New York Times piece.

Did the artificial price hike open EU doors to GM foods?

No, in fact ISAAA noted that: “Six European countries planted 94,750 hectares of biotech crops in 2009, down from seven countries and 107,719 hectares in 2008, as Germany discontinued its planting.”

A closer look at EU member state actions on GM foods after June 2008 details some of the GM-free battle in Europe:

In December 2008, after a ten-year hiatus, Italy agreed to open field tests of GM crops.

  • The Czech Republic became the second largest grower of Bt corn in the EU in 2008, nearly doubling the acreage planted in 2007. The USDA characterized it as being an investment target not only in agriculture but also in vaccine development.
  • At the EU level, “In an apparent U-turn in his attitude as one of EU executive’s most GM-wary commissioners, environment chief Stavros Dimas” wrote draft approvals for two more varieties of GM corn, reported Reuters in December 2008. 
  • Though pressured by the European Commission, in January 2009 Hungary refused to lift its ban on GM foods. Its sovereign right to reject GMOs, along with Austria’s, was later upheld by an EU vote with 20 member states supporting such bans. 
  • In March 2009, Luxembourg became the fifth EU nation to ban GM foods, following France, Hungary, Greece and Austria.

For updates and a more thorough history of EU actions on GM foods, see GMO-Free Europe. European states handle the issue differently than in the US, allowing regions within a nation to maintain GM-free zones. Each step a nation takes toward GM approval invariably draws regional resistance. 

Biotech Crops Expand Globally in 2009

Though the strategy to hike food prices to spur European acceptance of GM foods failed, it worked elsewhere.  Globally, biotech crops expanded by 7% in 2009 over 2008 figures, according to this chart by ISAAA: 

In fact, ISAAA asserted GM expansion was due to the 2008 price hikes, as noted by chairman and founder Clive James: “With last year’s food crisis, price spikes, and hunger and malnutrition afflicting more than 1 billion people for the first time ever, there has been a global shift from efforts for just food security to food self-sufficiency.”

Poorer nations hardest hit by hunger — in Africa and South America — are more vulnerable to price hikes.  But even after the geologically unusual earthquake in January, Haitian farmers rejected Monsanto’s “gift” of GM seeds.  However, the big push remains in Africa and China.

A Wary Future

Although it is now widely accepted that Wall Street speculation caused the food bubble, starving hundreds of millions, regulators have so far failed to curb the practices that allow international banksters to manipulate food prices.

Meanwhile, the biotech industry continues to repeat its mantra that GM food can cure world hunger.  This claim is not backed by the science and it seems to hold less sway in the GM food debate, especially with the Pope recognizing what many others assert: There is no shortage of food; hunger expanded because of price hikes.

Why I’m Posting Bail Money for Julian Assange

December 14th, 2010 by Michael Moore

Tuesday, December 14th, 2010

Friends,

Yesterday, in the Westminster Magistrates Court in London, the lawyers for WikiLeaks co-founder Julian Assange presented to the judge a document from me stating that I have put up $20,000 of my own money to help bail Mr. Assange out of jail.

Furthermore, I am publicly offering the assistance of my website, my servers, my domain names and anything else I can do to keep WikiLeaks alive and thriving as it continues its work to expose the crimes that were concocted in secret and carried out in our name and with our tax dollars.

We were taken to war in Iraq on a lie. Hundreds of thousands are now dead. Just imagine if the men who planned this war crime back in 2002 had had a WikiLeaks to deal with. They might not have been able to pull it off. The only reason they thought they could get away with it was because they had a guaranteed cloak of secrecy. That guarantee has now been ripped from them, and I hope they are never able to operate in secret again.

So why is WikiLeaks, after performing such an important public service, under such vicious attack? Because they have outed and embarrassed those who have covered up the truth. The assault on them has been over the top:

**Sen. Joe Lieberman says WikiLeaks “has violated the Espionage Act.”

**The New Yorker‘s George Packer calls Assange “super-secretive, thin-skinned, [and] megalomaniacal.”

**Sarah Palin claims he’s “an anti-American operative with blood on his hands” whom we should pursue “with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders.”

**Democrat Bob Beckel (Walter Mondale’s 1984 campaign manager) said about Assange on Fox: “A dead man can’t leak stuff … there’s only one way to do it: illegally shoot the son of a bitch.”

**Republican Mary Matalin says “he’s a psychopath, a sociopath … He’s a terrorist.”

**Rep. Peter A. King calls WikiLeaks a “terrorist organization.”

And indeed they are! They exist to terrorize the liars and warmongers who have brought ruin to our nation and to others. Perhaps the next war won’t be so easy because the tables have been turned — and now it’s Big Brother who’s being watched … by us!

WikiLeaks deserves our thanks for shining a huge spotlight on all this. But some in the corporate-owned press have dismissed the importance of WikiLeaks (“they’ve released little that’s new!”) or have painted them as simple anarchists (“WikiLeaks just releases everything without any editorial control!”). WikiLeaks exists, in part, because the mainstream media has failed to live up to its responsibility. The corporate owners have decimated newsrooms, making it impossible for good journalists to do their job. There’s no time or money anymore for investigative journalism. Simply put, investors don’t want those stories exposed. They like their secrets kept … as secrets.

I ask you to imagine how much different our world would be if WikiLeaks had existed 10 years ago. Take a look at this photo. That’s Mr. Bush about to be handed a “secret” document on August 6th, 2001. Its heading read: “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US.” And on those pages it said the FBI had discovered “patterns of suspicious activity in this country consistent with preparations for hijackings.” Mr. Bush decided to ignore it and went fishing for the next four weeks.

But if that document had been leaked, how would you or I have reacted? What would Congress or the FAA have done? Was there not a greater chance that someone, somewhere would have done something if all of us knew about bin Laden’s impending attack using hijacked planes?

But back then only a few people had access to that document. Because the secret was kept, a flight school instructor in San Diego who noticed that two Saudi students took no interest in takeoffs or landings, did nothing. Had he read about the bin Laden threat in the paper, might he have called the FBI? (Please read this essay by former FBI Agent Coleen Rowley, Time’s 2002 co-Person of the Year, about her belief that had WikiLeaks been around in 2001, 9/11 might have been prevented.)

Or what if the public in 2003 had been able to read “secret” memos from Dick Cheney as he pressured the CIA to give him the “facts” he wanted in order to build his false case for war? If a WikiLeaks had revealed at that time that there were, in fact, no weapons of mass destruction, do you think that the war would have been launched — or rather, wouldn’t there have been calls for Cheney’s arrest?

Openness, transparency — these are among the few weapons the citizenry has to protect itself from the powerful and the corrupt. What if within days of August 4th, 1964 — after the Pentagon had made up the lie that our ship was attacked by the North Vietnamese in the Gulf of Tonkin — there had been a WikiLeaks to tell the American people that the whole thing was made up? I guess 58,000 of our soldiers (and 2 million Vietnamese) might be alive today.

Instead, secrets killed them.

For those of you who think it’s wrong to support Julian Assange because of the sexual assault allegations he’s being held for, all I ask is that you not be naive about how the government works when it decides to go after its prey. Please — never, ever believe the “official story.” And regardless of Assange’s guilt or innocence (see the strange nature of the allegations here), this man has the right to have bail posted and to defend himself. I have joined with filmmakers Ken Loach and John Pilger and writer Jemima Khan in putting up the bail money — and we hope the judge will accept this and grant his release today.

Might WikiLeaks cause some unintended harm to diplomatic negotiations and U.S. interests around the world? Perhaps. But that’s the price you pay when you and your government take us into a war based on a lie. Your punishment for misbehaving is that someone has to turn on all the lights in the room so that we can see what you’re up to. You simply can’t be trusted. So every cable, every email you write is now fair game. Sorry, but you brought this upon yourself. No one can hide from the truth now. No one can plot the next Big Lie if they know that they might be exposed.

And that is the best thing that WikiLeaks has done. WikiLeaks, God bless them, will save lives as a result of their actions. And any of you who join me in supporting them are committing a true act of patriotism. Period.

I stand today in absentia with Julian Assange in London and I ask the judge to grant him his release. I am willing to guarantee his return to court with the bail money I have wired to said court. I will not allow this injustice to continue unchallenged.

Yours,
Michael Moore
[email protected]
MichaelMoore.com

P.S. You can read the statement I filed today in the London court here.

P.P.S. If you’re reading this in London, please go support Julian Assange and WikiLeaks at a demonstration at 1 PM today, Tuesday the 14th, in front of the Westminster court.

Paul Volcker is worried about the future of the dollar and for good reason. The Fed has initiated a program (Quantitative Easing) that presages an end to Bretton Woods 2 and replaces it with different system altogether. Naturally, that’s made trading partners pretty nervous. Despite the unfairness of the present system–where export-dependent countries recycle capital to US markets to sustain demand—most nations would rather stick with the “devil they know”, then venture into the unknown.  But US allies weren’t consulted on the matter.  The Fed unilaterally decided that the only way to fight deflation and high unemployment in the US, was by weakening the dollar and making US exports more competitive. Hence–QE2. 

But that means that the US will be battling for the same export market as everyone else, which will inevitably shrink global demand for goods and services.  This is a major change in the Fed’s policy and there’s a good chance it will backfire. Here’s the deal: If US markets no longer provide sufficient demand for foreign exports, then there will be less incentive to trade in dollars. Thus, QE poses a real threat to the dollar’s position as the world’s reserve currency.   

Here’s what Volcker said:  “The growing sense around much of the world  is that we have lost both relative economic strength and more important, we have lost a coherent successful governing model to be emulated by the rest of the world. Instead, we’re faced with broken financial markets, underperformance of our economy and a fractious political climate…..The  question is whether the exceptional role of the dollar can be maintained.”  (Bloomberg)

This is a good summary of the problems facing the dollar. And, notice that Volcker did not invoke the doomsday scenario that one hears so often on the Internet,  that China–which has more than $1 trillion in US Treasuries and dollar-backed assets–will one day pull the plug on the USA and send the dollar plunging.  While that’s technically true, it’s not going to happen. China has no intention of crashing the dollar and thrusting its own economy into a long-term slump.  In fact, China has been adding to its cache of USTs because it wants to keep its own currency weak and maintain its hefty share of the global export market.  Besides, China didn’t become the second biggest economy in the world by carrying out counterproductive vendettas against its rivals.  It’s going to stick with the strategy that got it to where it is today.  

Still, as Volcker points out, there are real threats to the dollar, and they’re getting more serious all the time. For example, if the deficits continue to balloon as they have recently ($1.3 trillion in 2010) or if Fed chairman Ben Bernanke follows QE2 with QE3, QE4, QE5 ad infinitum, then foreign investors and central banks will begin to lose confidence in the US’s ability to manage its finances and they will begin to ditch the dollar. That will increase the cost of funding government operations by many orders of magnitude. In fact, it looked like something like that was happening just last week when President  Obama announced his approval for extending the Bush tax cuts. The markets figured that extending the cuts would swell the deficits which would force the Treasury to issue more debt. That triggered a flight out of USTs that sent yields up sharply.  The bond market suffered its biggest 2-day selloff since 2009. The incident provided a snapshot of what’s in store when the economy begins to recover and the government has to pay higher rates to service the debt.

In any event, the one-two punch of bigger deficits and QE cannot help but push the dollar lower, but that does not necessarily imply that the dollar will lose its top-spot as reserve currency. It’s more complicated than that.

Here’s how  economist Menzie Chinn summed it up when he was asked how it would effect the US economy if the dollar lost its position as the world’s reserve currency:

   “If the dollar does indeed lose its role as leading international currency, the cost to the United States would probably extend beyond the simple loss of seigniorage narrowly defined. We would lose the privilege of playing banker to the world, accepting short-term deposits at low interest rates in return for long-term investments at high average rates of return. When combined with other political developments, it might even spell the end of economic and political hegemony.”

Maintaining reserve status is the great imperative, because reserve status is the cornerstone upon which the empire rests. Lose that, and the whole superpower phenom begins to teeter. So, quirky, untested policies, like QE, are not initiated without a great deal of thought. (and apprehension) The Fed tries to anticipate what could go wrong and work out an exit strategy. Kevin Warsh, who is a member of the Board of Governors at the Fed, gave a good rundown of the potential problems with QE in an article in the Wall Street Journal. Here’s an excerpt:

  “The Fed’s increased presence in the market for long-term Treasury securities also poses nontrivial risks. The Treasury market is special. It plays a unique role in the global financial system. It is a corollary to the dollar’s role as the world’s reserve currency. The prices assigned to Treasury securities–the risk-free rate–are the foundation from which the price of virtually every asset in the world is calculated. As the Fed’s balance sheet expands, it becomes more of a price maker than a price taker in the Treasury market. And if market participants come to doubt these prices–or their reliance on these prices proves fleeting–risk premiums across asset classes and geographies could move unexpectedly. The shock that hit the financial markets in 2008 upon the imminent failures of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac gives some indication of the harm that can be done when assets perceived to be relatively riskless turn out not to be.” (“The New Malaise”, Kevin Warsh, Wall Street Journal)

This is an astonishing admission for an acting member of the Fed.   Warsh is basically conceding that the Fed is price-fixing on a global scale (“more of a price maker than a price taker”) and he worries that this could undermine confidence in the bond market.  The danger, as he sees it, is that investors will see through the ruse of government guarantees (like those for Fannie and Freddie) and exit the asset class altogether sinking the dollar on their way out. This is the grimmest scenario I’ve seen yet, but it seems much more plausible than the “China will dump its Treasuries all at once” theory.

The administration’s support for Bernanke’s “weak dollar” policy  is evident in the way that Obama keeps reiterating his promise to double exports in 5 years. This simply can’t be done without ripping the dollar to shreds, which appears to be Obama’s intention. QE will lower the dollar’s value against a basket of currencies which will make US exports cheaper than the competition. Bernanke sees it as a way to narrow the output gap and lower unemployment by cranking up the printing presses. 

Foreign trading partners see it as beggar-thy-neighbor monetary policy at its worst, and they are deeply resentful. They’d rather see Congress do what it’s done in the past, and push through a second round of fiscal stimulus to boost  demand. They don’t care about how big the US deficits are as long as they are used for a good purpose. And pulling the world out of a global slump is a good purpose. But that’s not going to happen because the new GOP majority wants to implement their madcap “austerity” scheme which will bankrupt the states and dismantle popular social programs. They’re as committed to  “starve the beast” as ever, and they’re convinced it’s a winning strategy for retaking the White House in 2012.  But belt-tightening reduces demand which makes American markets less attractive for foreign products. If the US economy continues to  underperform, there will be less reason for foreign investors and central banks to stockpile dollars. The Fed’s QE, Obama’s export strategy, and the GOP’s plan for debt consolidation are creating ideal conditions for an unexpected plunge in the dollar.

But there are other problems facing the dollar besides falling value and droopy demand. As Volcker says, “We have lost a coherent successful governing model to be emulated by the rest of the world. Instead, we’re faced with broken financial markets, underperformance of our economy and a fractious political climate.”

Indeed. Public confidence in US markets has steadily eroded as one scandal follows the other and the people involved are never held accountable. So far, not one CEO or CFO of a major investment bank or financial institution has been charged, arrested, prosecuted, or convicted in what amounts to the largest incident of securities fraud in history. In the much-smaller Savings and Loan investigation, more than 1,000 people were charged and convicted. As Volcker points out, the system is broken and the old rules no longer apply. The small gains that were  recently made in Dodd-Frank financial regulation, are now under attack by the new majority in congress. The GOP has pledged to either roll back entire provisions of the bill or do what they can to make the law unenforceable. Here’s a quick look at two of the Republican leaders who will be leading the effort to “defang” Fin-Reg:

  “A heated battle is underway between Rep. Spencer Bachus, R-Ala., who is in line to become the next chairman of the House Financial Services Committee, and Rep. Ed Royce, R-Calif., who is challenging him for the post currently held by Democrat Barney Frank of Massachusetts….More than half the $1.25 million donated to Royce’s Road to Freedom political action committee (PAC) over the last two election cycles came from banks, auditors and insurance companies, according to the Center for Public Integrity.

Bachus… too, has deep financial ties to the industry, which contributed more than half the $2.7 million in PAC money he received in the past four years.   (“Defang and Delay—Wall Street Plans to Neuter FinReg”, Merrill Goozner, The Fiscal Times)

 There’s no doubt that Royce and Bachus are in Wall Street’s pocket and are ready to do their bidding.  Whatever inroads were made on the main issues– Too Big To Fail, resolution authority, central clearinghouses and capital standards for derivatives, securitization, funding for the Consumers Financial Protection Agency (CFPA) etc.—will either be  sabotaged or challenged by financial industry agents working from within the congress and senate.

Here’s a blurp from a post by Zach Carter who hangs some big numbers on congressional influence peddling:

“A full 90 members of Congress who voted to bailout Wall Street in 2008 failed to support financial reform reining in the banks that drove our economy off a cliff. But when you examine campaign contribution data, it’s really no surprise that these particular lawmakers voted to mortgage our economic future to Big Finance: This election cycle, they’ve raked in over $48.8 million from the financial establishment. Over the course of their Congressional careers, the figure swells to a massive $176.9 million…. When it comes to dealing out economic damage, no special interest group has been able to wreak more havoc that Big Finance…(“Crony Capitalism: Wall Street’s Favorite Politicians”, Zach Carter, ourfuture.org)

Wall Street is the epicenter of global corruption; the world’s biggest sewer. It’s multi-trillion dollar Ponzi-mortgage scheme brought down the global financial system which was hastily resurrected by blanket Fed guarantees on fraudulent bonds and securities generated by undercapitalized financial institutions. But as bad as the bailout was, the Fed’s ongoing meddling in the equities markets is even worse because shows to what extent the markets are being juiced. Consider this excerpt from an article on Bloomberg on Monday that shows the connection between the Fed’s purchases of US Treasuries (QE) and the predictable surge in stock prices:

  “Nine of the S&P 500’s 10 main industry groups, led by shares of financial companies, rose more on days when the Fed opened its checkbook for, or announced results of, what it calls Permanent Open Market Operations. The group of 81 banks, insurers and investment firms, including New York-based JPMorgan Chase & Co. and Wells Fargo & Co. of San Francisco, climbed an average 0.32 percent, compared with a 0.04 percent drop on non- POMO days….

FX Concepts LLC, the world’s largest currency hedge fund, buys higher-yielding assets such as stocks and the Australian dollar when the Fed is purchasing bonds, said John R. Taylor, who manages about $8 billion as chairman of the New York-based firm. The days have become “incredibly important for the market,” Taylor said.” (“Stocks Rally With Bernanke Bond Purchases as QE Buoys S&P 500″, Bloomberg)

This phenomenon has long been a topic of debate on economics blogs, but now that it’s in the mainstream,  people are likely to sit up and take notice.  Bernanke’s money is going in one end and coming out the other in the form of “frothy” stocks.  Just like high-frequency trading, dark pools, off-balance sheets operations, shadow banking, securitization, and the billions in unreported mark-to-fantasy toxic assets; this latest discovery by Bloomberg will further confirm that Wall Street is a murky underworld of insider trading, criminal activity and Fed-sanctioned grand larceny.  

DOOMSDAY FOR THE BUCK 

The dollar’s days as reserve currency may be coming to an end, but it won’t be because China decided to jettison its pile of US Treasuries. Oh, no. It will be because austerity measures in the US reduced demand for imports making it less necessary to trade in dollars. And, it will be because Obama’s “weak dollar” policy led to the demise of Bretton Woods 2 which kept interest rates low by recycling capital into the US. And, it will be because Congress and the White House were incapable of fixing the financial system, reigning in Wall Street, or restoring credibility to the markets. These are the real reasons the greenback is toast.

As Volcker opines, “We’re faced with broken financial markets, underperformance of our economy and a fractious political climate” because we no longer have “a successful governing model” that the rest of the world admires.  Absent radical restructuring and a new regulatory regime, the dollar will be unable to maintain its “exceptional role” as the world’s reserve currency.  It’s only a matter of time.

The Global Economic Crisis

Michel Chossudovsky
Andrew G. Marshall (editors)
This book can be ordered directly from Global Research 

Kosovo: Prime Cause of Instability in the Balkans

December 14th, 2010 by Živadin Jovanović

Transcript of Speech at the German Peace Congress held in Kassel 4th and 5th of December 2010.

Stable and prosperous Balkans are of paramount interest to the Balkan peoples as well as all Europeans.[1] The situation in the region, however, remains complex with grave political, security and socio-economic tensions and problems which should not be neglected.

During the last twenty-year period, the Balkans have been the testing-ground for new doctrines, becoming a region of dramatic changes and precedents in international relations:

- The second Yugoslavia (SFRY) was destroyed in 1992, the third Yugoslavia in 2006, both in conjunction with internal and external factors;
- NATO aggression against Serbia (Yugoslavia) in 1999 was the first war on European soil after the Second World War, presented as “humanitarian intervention”, contrary to basic principles of International Law and without approval of UNSC,
- The unilateral proclamation of the independence of Kosovo and Metohija in 2008, while the province was under UN mandate, was another precedent, again without UNSC approval and contrary to the Constitution of Serbia;
- Seven new, hardly sustainable states have been created, some even through severe civil wars, the consequences of which will be felt over decades to come[2].

In spite of progress in the normalization of relations, mistrust is still limiting efforts to revive economic, social, cultural and other ties. After over 70 years of common life, these ties were abruptly cut during the secessions and conflicts. There is a great need to remove all politically motivated obstacles and encourage the widest possible cooperation based on recognition of mutual interests. The free flow of goods, people, ideas, culture and capital would certainly push overall development ahead, diminish dependence on foreign assistance and help dealing with the consequences of the global economic and financial crisis.

New international borders, while not a general problem, are still to be defined in a number of cases, including parts of the Serbia-Croatian border on the Danube, and the Serbian-Bosnian border on the Drina River. The best way to resolve these issues is to apply international standards.

New national minorities have appeared in addition to old ones. Throughout history, the Balkans, renowned as a region with a mixture of nations, cultures and religions (and certainly of conflicts, after extensive territorial fragmentation during the last two decades), have “enriched” themselves by producing even more national minorities, languages and even religions. For the greater good? It is doubtful. Standards of human, political and national rights are not respected in a number of instances. 

Serbia is still hosting about 220 000 displaced persons from Kosovo and Metohija, mainly Serbs, and about 300 000 Serb refugees from Croatia and Bosnia and Herzegovina. This is the highest figure of refugees and displaced persons in any one European country. This causes not only serious socio-economic problems but also political issues. Members of neither of the two groups are permitted to return to their places of origin freely and safely. Serbs in Croatia, although promised territorial autonomy, are deprived of even basic individual rights such as the right to private ownership of their houses, apartments and farms.

One of the potential sources of destabilization is Bosnia and Herzegovina, which is occasionally termed a “failed state”. The constitutional set-up of Bosnia and Herzegovina is defined by the Dayton-Paris Peace Agreement (1995), guaranteeing sovereign equality of the three constituent peoples (Moslems, Serbs and Croats) and equality of the two entities – the Bosnia and Herzegovina federation (Muslims and Croats) and Republika Srpska. Contrary to the Dayton-Paris Peace Agreement, attempts by the High Representative to change the federal structure and impose a unitary system by annuling the consensus in decision-making and introduce majorization are counter productive, to say the least. They tend to turn the stabilization process back to the beginning of 90s and are therefore very dangerous for the very existence of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a state. After the recent elections in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Croat community came to openly ask for a creation of own, third entity. This reveals that both Serbs and Croats have the same fear – of facing discrimination within Muslim-dominated Bosnia.

In my opinion, Serbia does not and cannot recognize the illegal secession of Kosovo and Metohija. Therefore, this remains an open issue yet to be resolved. Solutions should be sought respecting the basic principles of international law, UN decisions and the Constitution of Serbia as a sovereign state. Such a position is supported by a major part of the international community, including some of the permanent members of UNSC (Russia and China) as well as some members of the EU (Spain, Greece, Romania, Slovak Republic and Cyprus). New negotiations on the status seem to be unavoidable. Any expectation on further softening the official Serbian government’s position could turn out to be counterproductive. Perhaps not so much because of the government’s firmness in defending territorial integrity and sovereignty, but primarily because compromise is the only away to to guarantee Serbia’s internal stability which, in turn, is important for lasting peace and stability of the Balkans. 

It has been repeatedly noted that the future of the Balkans lies in the hands of the Balkan countries. This is true, but mainly theoretically. In reality, one of the general problems in the region is excessive involvement of out-of-region power centers. Considering that Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Province of Kosovo and Metohija continue to be international protectorates, that the governments in most of the countries in the region owe their loyalty to the West (which helped them in various ways to come to power via the “color revolutions”), it is rather unclear what the regional factors can do themselves, what are the real margins for them to work out needed compromises.

The international community, essentially being limited to NATO and the EU, lacks the capacity and political will for compromised solutions and continue to impose their own solutions which, sooner or later, appear not to be sustainable. This perhaps explains why NATO and the EU maintain substantial military, police and civil presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina, FYR Macedonia and particularly in the Province of Kosovo and Metohija where about 10 000 NATO troops are deployed, including one of the biggest military bases in the world (Bondsteal).

No doubt that the key source of destabilization of the Balkans today remains Kosovo and Metohija. The apparent massive violation of human rights of Albanians in Kosovo and Metohija was just an excuse for NATO aggression against Serbia. The NATO aggression in 1999 was a historic mistake of the West, especially of Western Europe and Germany. It set a precedent, the first ring in a chain of aggressions and occupations which ensued after. Ever since, Europe has been obliged to take part in other military interventions outside of its zone of defense. With the recent Lisbon documents, such practice has been codified and formalized. The aggression was a blunder towards the United Nations and particularly towards the Security Council and its role in maintaining peace in the world. It gave a push to separatist tendencies in the region, Europe and the World. New military bases mushroomed from Kosovo to Bulgaria, Romania and the Baltic states. Economic destruction, including some of the strategic European corridors, has been valued at over 100 billion US dollars.

The unilateral secession of Kosovo and Metohija in February this year was also a dangerous precedent. Whether it encouraged the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia may be debated, but the general effect of Kosovo’s “unique case” should not be disputable.

Last month, Albanians representatives from Kosovo and Metohija, FYROM, Greece, Montenegro and three southern districts of Serbia (Presevo, Bujanovac and Medvedja) gathered in Tirana to announce their devotion to the “natural Albania”. This gathering was preceded by repeated declarations of highest Albanian officials that Albanians have the right to live together, and was followed by the declaration of the former chief of the OSDE Kosovo Verification Mission, American ambassador William Walker, that Albanians have the right to unite.

“Side” effects of Prishtina’s unilateral secession may be summed up in one word: divisions. Divisions within the EU, UN, OSCE, between EU/NATO-Russia, divisions in the Balkans and divisions within Serbia itself.

Apart from the fact that the province is faced with dramatic socio-economic problems and unemployement, it is a safe heaven and a jumping board for extremists and clans of organized crimes whose real aim is to operate in the EU area. It is assesed that over 60 percent of the total marketing of heroin in Europe is controlled by Albanian mafia. Trafficking of human beings, their vital organs and smuggling of armaments is also under their control.
 
Putting an end to the protectorate status of Bosnia and Herzegovina would be important step in the right direction. After 15 years of peace and international governance, local institutions and politicians must be given a chance to work together, comprome and run the country without the almighty so-called High Representative. Reopening negotiations on the status of Kosovo and Metohija after the opinion of the International Court of Justice is announced later this year is quite a reasonable expectation. Compromise must be based on the respect of International Law, particularly. The UN SC resolution 1244 (1999) must be considered a lasting legal document, starting point and corner stone of any future solution for the Kosovo and Metohija problem. This is the most important precondition to peace and stability in the Balkans. Foreigners come and go, their interests vary, but the Balkan nations will stay here forever. For this reason they should rely on compromises of their long-term interests.

The EU appears to be a key partner of the Balkan states. How long will the current financial, economic and institutional crisis in the EU last? What conclusions did Brussels draw from the recent enlargements of EU membership? Answering these questions would certainly help to realistically asses the prospects for EU membership of a number of Balkan countries. To continue submitting to endless demands of Brussels bureaucracy, in exchange for repeated promises of “European perspectives”, may turn out to be a loss of time and vital interests.

Democratization and transition has left, among others effects, profound social divisions and tensions, extremely high rates of unemployment, corruption, and organized crime. These tendencies are not assets for peace and stability. To alleviate the roots of these tendencies requires political will, strategies, recourses (including financial) and – time. 

Western benevolence towards the obvious rise of separatism and territorial fragmentation (especially where it affects Serbia and the Serbian nation) and clear support for centralization, unitarization of certain other countries (notably Bosnia and Herzegovina) are examples of a double-standards policy. Putting aside the motives and interests of the West, it must be noted that such a policy would surely hinder prospects of peace and stability today, up to 2020 and beyond.

The effects would include: the proliferation of puppet sates with unsustainable economies; national minorities with uneven levels of rights; political parties based on ethnic and religious criteria; refugees and displaced persons with the lack of political will to secure conditions for free and safe return to their homes; and expansion of Islam not as a religion or culture, but as an overall social and governmental system. Indeed some Muslim leaders do consider the Balkans a springboard for further expansion (Wahhabist groups, Islamic extremist organizations, have been uncovered recently in a number of Balkan countries).

Serbia, with its geostrategic position and resources, is capable and willing to play its role in achieving sustainable stability, peace and development in the Balkans. But Serbia is faced with serious problems: stagnation of socio-economic development, about one million unemployed persons, 700 000 living below the poverty line, and disregard of legitimate national interest.

Serbia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty is not jeopardized by the illegal unilateral secession of Kosovo and Metohija only, but such tendencies are present in some other parts (namely, Vojvodina, Raska, Southern districts).

Recently “The Group of Friends of Sandzak” (Raska) was established in Belgrade, composed of the ambassadors of USA, Germany, Britain and Italy! What would be the real political objective of such a move? These ambassadors have long-since been welcomed to Belgrade as friends of Serbia and they are expected to behave as such. Forming a “Group of Friends” of these states is a well-known practice at the UN Headquarters in New York, usually to show strong support to a country with certain problems that are pending consideration within the UN. But, forming a “Group of Friends” of any particular part (region) of a sovereign country by diplomats accredited to such a country is neither diplomatic nor respecting the partnership or hospitality of that particular country and nation.

Serbian public and civil society should like to see everybody investing in mutual understanding and respect so that the the Balkans become a region of integration, peace and stability, leaving behind divisions, distrust and confrontation.

Zivadin Jovanovic is President of the Belgrade Forum for a World of Equals, Former Federal Minister of Foreign Affairs of FR of Yugoslavia          
 

Notes

1 Speech at the German Peace Congress held in Kassel 4th and 5th of December 2010.

2 Kosovo and Metohija’s self-proclaimed secession from Serbia has not been recognized in the region by Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Cyprus

Bill Gross, Nouriel Roubini, Laurence Kotlikoff, Steve Keen, Michel Chossudovsky and the Wall Street Journal all say that the U.S. economy is a giant Ponzi scheme.

Virtually all independent economists and financial experts say that rampant fraud was largely responsible for the financial crisis. See this and this.

But many on Wall Street and in D.C. – and many investors – believe that we should just “go with the flow”. They hope that we can restart our economy and make some more money if we just let things continue the way they are.

But the assumption that a system built on fraud can continue without crashing is false.

In fact, top economists and financial experts agree that – unless fraud is prosecuted – the economy cannot recover.

Fraud Leads to a Break Down in Trust and Instability in the Markets

As Alan Greenspan said recently:

Fraud creates very considerable instability in competitive markets. If you cannot trust your counterparties, it would not work


Similarly, leading economist Anna Schwartz – co-author of the leading book on the Great Depression with Milton Friedman – told the Wall Street journal in 2008:

“The Fed … has gone about as if the problem is a shortage of liquidity. That is not the basic problem. The basic problem for the markets is that [uncertainty] that the balance sheets of financial firms are credible.”

So even though the Fed has flooded the credit markets with cash, spreads haven’t budged because banks don’t know who is still solvent and who is not. This uncertainty, says Ms. Schwartz, is “the basic problem in the credit market. Lending freezes up when lenders are uncertain that would-be borrowers have the resources to repay them. So to assume that the whole problem is inadequate liquidity bypasses the real issue.”

***

Today, the banks have a problem on the asset side of their ledgers — “all these exotic securities that the market does not know how to value.”

“Why are they ‘toxic’?” Ms. Schwartz asks. “They’re toxic because you cannot sell them, you don’t know what they’re worth, your balance sheet is not credible and the whole market freezes up. We don’t know whom to lend to because we don’t know who is sound. So if you could get rid of them, that would be an improvement.”

And economics professor and former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich wrote in 2008:

The underlying problem isn’t a liquidity problem. As I’ve noted elsewhere, the problem is that lenders and investors don’t trust they’ll get their money back because no one trusts that the numbers that purport to value securities are anything but wishful thinking. The trouble, in a nutshell, is that the financial entrepreneurship of recent years — the derivatives, credit default swaps, collateralized debt instruments, and so on — has undermined all notion of true value.

Robert Shiller – one of the top housing experts in the United States – said recently that failing to address the legal issues will cause Americans to lose faith in business and the government:

Shiller said the danger of foreclosuregate — the scandal in which it has come to light that the biggest banks have routinely mishandled homeownership documents, putting the legality of foreclosures and related sales in doubt — is a replay of the 1930s, when Americans lost faith that institutions such as business and government were dealing fairly.

Nobel prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz says about the failure to prosecute Wall Street fraud:

The legal system is supposed to be the codification of our norms and beliefs, things that we need to make our system work. If the legal system is seen as exploitative, then confidence in our whole system starts eroding. And that’s really the problem that’s going on.

***

I think we ought to go do what we did in the S&L [crisis] and actually put many of these guys in prison. Absolutely. These are not just white-collar crimes or little accidents. There were victims. That’s the point. There were victims all over the world.

***

Economists focus on the whole notion of incentives. People have an incentive sometimes to behave badly, because they can make more money if they can cheat. If our economic system is going to work then we have to make sure that what they gain when they cheat is offset by a system of penalties.

Wall Street insider and New York Times columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin writes:

“They will pick on minor misdemeanors by individual market participants,” said David Einhorn, the hedge fund manager who was among the Cassandras before the financial crisis. To Mr. Einhorn, the government is “not willing to take on significant misbehavior by sizable” firms. “But since there have been almost no big prosecutions, there’s very little evidence that it has stopped bad actors from behaving badly.”

***

Fraud at big corporations surely dwarfs by orders of magnitude the shareholders’ losses of $8 billion that Mr. Holder highlighted. If the government spent half the time trying to ferret out fraud at major companies that it does tracking pump-and-dump schemes, we might have been able to stop the financial crisis, or at least we’d have a fighting chance at stopping the next one.

Economics professor James Galbraith says:

There will have to be full-scale investigation and cleaning up of the residue of that, before you can have, I think, a return of confidence in the financial sector. And that’s a process which needs to get underway.

No wonder Galbraith says that economists should move into the background, and “criminologists to the forefront”

Failure to Stop Fraud and Prosecute Criminals Causes a Loss of Trust in Government, Which Makes Government Less Effective

As Shiller stated in the quote above, the failure of government officials to stop fraud and prosecute the financial fraudsters has caused a lack of trust in government itself.

Indeed, polls show that people no longer trust our economic “leaders”. See this and this.

A psychologist wrote an essay published by the Wharton School of Business arguing that restoring trust is the key to recovery, and that trust cannot be restored until wrongdoers are held accountable:

According to David M. Sachs, a training and supervision analyst at the Psychoanalytic Center of Philadelphia, the crisis today is not one of confidence, but one of trust. “Abusive financial practices were unchecked by personal moral controls that prohibit individual criminal behavior, as in the case of [Bernard] Madoff, and by complex financial manipulations, as in the case of AIG.” The public, expecting to be protected from such abuse, has suffered a trauma of loss similar to that after 9/11. “Normal expectations of what is safe and dependable were abruptly shattered,” Sachs noted. “As is typical of post-traumatic states, planning for the future could not be based on old assumptions about what is safe and what is dangerous. A radical reversal of how to be gratified occurred.”

People now feel more gratified saving money than spending it, Sachs suggested. They have trouble trusting promises from the government because they feel the government has let them down.

He framed his argument with a fictional patient named Betty Q. Public, a librarian with two teenage children and a husband, John, who had recently lost his job. “She felt betrayed because she and her husband had invested conservatively and were double-crossed by dishonest, greedy businessmen, and now she distrusted the government that had failed to protect them from corporate dishonesty. Not only that, but she had little trust in things turning around soon enough to enable her and her husband to accomplish their previous goals.

“By no means a sophisticated economist, she knew … that some people had become fantastically wealthy by misusing other people’s money — hers included,” Sachs said. “In short, John and Betty had done everything right and were being punished, while the dishonest people were going unpunished.”

Helping an individual recover from a traumatic experience provides a useful analogy for understanding how to help the economy recover from its own traumatic experience, Sachs pointed out. The public will need to “hold the perpetrators of the economic disaster responsible and take what actions they can to prevent them from harming the economy again.” In addition, the public will have to see proof that government and business leaders can behave responsibly before they will trust them again, he argued.

Government regulators know this – or at least pay lip service to it – as well. For example, as the Director of the Securities and Exchange Commission’s enforcement division told Congress:

Recovery from the fallout of the financial crisis requires important efforts on various fronts, and vigorous enforcement is an essential component, as aggressive and even-handed enforcement will meet the public’s fair expectation that those whose violations of the law caused severe loss and hardship will be held accountable. And vigorous law enforcement efforts will help vindicate the principles that are fundamental to the fair and proper functioning of our markets: that no one should have an unjust advantage in our markets; that investors have a right to disclosure that complies with the federal securities laws; and that there is a level playing field for all investors.

If people don’t trust their government to enforce the law, government will become more and more impotent in addressing our economic problems. If government leaders take action, the market will not necessarily respond as expected. When government leaders make optimistic statements about the economy, people will no longer believe them.

Trying to Cover Up the Truth Extends Financial Crises

Elizabeth Warren, William Black and others say that attempting to cover up the truth extended Japan’s financial problems into an entire “Lost Decade”.

As Joseph Stiglitz said about Wall Street fraud:

So the whole strategy of the banks has been to hide the losses, muddle through and get the government to keep interest rates really low.

***
As long as we keep up this strategy, it’s going to be a long time before the economy recovers ….

Pam Martens – who worked on Wall Street for 21 years – writes:

The massive losses by big Wall Street firms, now topping those of the Great Depression in relative terms, have yet to be adequately explained. Wall Street power players are obfuscating and Congress is too embarrassed or frightened to ask, preferring to just throw money at the problem and hope it goes away. But as job losses and foreclosures mount and pensions and 401(k)s shrink, public policy measures to address the economic stresses require a full set of unembellished facts…

It was four years after the crash of 1929 before the major titans of Wall Street were forced to give testimony under oath to Congress and the full magnitude of the fraud emerged. That delay may well have contributed to the depth and duration of the Great Depression. The modern-day Wall Street corruption hearings in Congress … must now resume in earnest and with sworn testimony if we are to escape a similar fate.

To the extent that the government tries to cover up – instead of openly discuss – financial fraud, it will only extend America’s economic malaise.

Failing to Prosecute Fraud Encourages Financial Players to Take Bigger and More Blatantly Illegal Actions

Nobel prize winning economist George Akerlof has demonstrated that failure to punish white collar criminals – and instead bailing them out- creates incentives for more economic crimes and further destruction of the economy in the future. Joseph Stiglitz, Professor Black, and many others agree. See this, this and this.

It was largely fraud which brought down the financial system in 2008. Unless we prosecute the fraudsters, they will do even bigger, stupider and more blatantly illegal things in the future which will lead to even bigger crises.

Failure to Prosecute Fraud Exacerbates the Sovereign Debt Crisis

The governments of the world have spent trillions trying to paper over the fraud and prop up the big, insolvent banks, instead of forcing them to restructure and forcing bondholders and shareholders to take a haircut.

A study of 124 banking crises by the International Monetary Fund found that propping banks which are only pretending to be solvent drives up the costs to the country:

Existing empirical research has shown that providing assistance to banks and their borrowers can be counterproductive, resulting in increased losses to banks, which often abuse forbearance to take unproductive risks at government expense. The typical result of forbearance is a deeper hole in the net worth of banks, crippling tax burdens to finance bank bailouts, and even more severe credit supply contraction and economic decline than would have occurred in the absence of forbearance.

Cross-country analysis to date also shows that accommodative policy measures (such as substantial liquidity support, explicit government guarantee on financial institutions’ liabilities and forbearance from prudential regulations) tend to be fiscally costly and that these particular policies do not necessarily accelerate the speed of economic recovery.

***

All too often, central banks privilege stability over cost in the heat of the containment phase: if so, they may too liberally extend loans to an illiquid bank which is almost certain to prove insolvent anyway. Also, closure of a nonviable bank is often delayed for too long, even when there are clear signs of insolvency (Lindgren, 2003). Since bank closures face many obstacles, there is a tendency to rely instead on blanket government guarantees which, if the government’s fiscal and political position makes them credible, can work albeit at the cost of placing the burden on the budget, typically squeezing future provision of needed public services.

The American banks and government have certainly pretended that all of the big banks are solvent. As ABC wrote in October 2009:

The Treasury Department and the Federal Reserve lied to the American public last fall when they said that the first nine banks to receive government bailout funds were healthy, [the special inspector general for the Troubled Asset Relief Program] states in a new report released today.

Similarly, the stress tests were a complete and utter sham.

The government has given the giant banks huge amounts in loans and guarantees based upon their false representations about their financial health. The Fed has larded up its balance sheet with toxic assets from the banks.

Debt levels are also getting dangerously close to the level that they become a drag on the economy. See this and this. When Keynesian economists argue that debt does not harm the economy, they are talking about debt incurred to pay for stimulus and productive things for the economy. But throwing trillions at the giant banks – who are mainly using the money to gamble – is not stimulus. It helps the executives of the big banks and their shareholders and bondholders, but not the broader economy.

Indeed, attempting to prop up big, insolvent banks is preventing stimulus from getting out into the economy.

Fraud Causes Growing Inequality, Which Undermines the Economy

Growing inequality is very harmful to our economy. Indeed, if wealth is concentrated in too few hands, the “poker game” ends, as only too few fat cats are left with all of the chips. See this, this, this and this.

Fraud benefits the wealthy more than the poor, because the big banks and big companies have the inside knowledge and the resources to leverage fraud into profits. Joseph Stiglitz noted in September that giants like Goldman are using their size to manipulate the market. The giants (especially Goldman Sachs) have also used high-frequency program trading (making up between 40- 70% of all stock trades) which not only distorts the markets, but which also lets the program trading giants take a sneak peak at what the real traders are buying and selling, and then trade on the insider information. See this, this, this, this and this.

Similarly, JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America, Goldman Sachs, Citigroup, and Morgan Stanley together hold 80% of the country’s derivatives risk, and 96% of the exposure to credit derivatives. They use their dominance in the market to manipulate the market.

Fraud disproportionally benefits the big players (and helps them to become big in the first place), increasing inequality and warping the market.

Fraud Increases the Severity of Boom-Bust Cycles

More and more people – such as the Bank of International Settlements and Barons – are saying that bubbles inevitably lead to busts, thus destabilizing the economy.

Professor Black says that fraud is a large part of the mechanism through which bubbles are blown.

Without strong laws against fraud, bubble after bubble will be blown, guaranteeing that the financial system cannot be stabilized in a fundamental sense.

Failure to Prosecute Fraud Is Worsening the Housing Crisis

Finally, failure to prosecute mortgage fraud is arguably worsening the housing crisis. See this and this.

The Global Economic Crisis

Michel Chossudovsky
Andrew G. Marshall (editors)
This book can be ordered directly from Global Research 

I became a physician because I care about people’s health. Specifically, I became a pediatrician because children are our future and I wanted to be part of the community that gives each child tools for a healthy, productive and fulfilling life.

Sadly, I discovered during my pediatric practice that the health environment in this country, unlike every other industrialized nation, is heavily corporatized and so places tremendous barriers to care. This makes high quality care difficult for physicians to provide and patients to receive.  Now I advocate full-time for a national health program, Medicare for all, so that every person living in the United States will have access to the same standard of high quality medical care.

Each of us has an issue that we care deeply about. Each of us works in our own way to create change. We call our members of Congress, send emails, educate others about our issue, attend rallies and fundraisers. Yet despite this, the social wellbeing of our nation continues to deteriorate.  Our resources are used to build bases and weapons of war while at home education, access to health care and jobs are declining and incarceration rates, homicide rates and stress levels are soaring.

Our current state of permanent war is killing us. There are the consequences of sending our people out to kill and the psychological harm which may lead to violence at home. There are the injuries from which many of our military members will never fully recover and the resulting costs to them and to their families, including bankruptcy and foreclosure from medical bills.

There is the squandering of our youth who, unable to afford college or to find a job, are lured by the promises of recruiters and see no other option but to join the military. Imagine if instead of spending one million dollars a year to send one soldier to Afghanistan we spent the money to provide twenty people with an education or jobs at home. Imagine if that person were employed not to kill but to create, to improve conditions at home.

I’m certain you could find many other ways that issues of peace and social and economic justice are interrelated. The point is that it is time to stand together in solidarity and to demand the social changes that we require. Those who are most affected are the ones with the greatest moral authority to speak out and we must stand behind them in their actions.

This is why I will stand behind the veterans on December 16th at the White House and will join them in their action. They know the ravages of war. And they are laying the path that we must take of non-violent resistance, actions increasing in size and frequency.

All of the signs point to tougher times ahead, economically and also the consequences we will face because of our actions. History tells us that we can expect that as Power feels threatened, our civil liberties will be further stolen from us and some will be treated harshly and unjustly for speaking out such as Bradley Manning and Julian Assange are experiencing at present. The propaganda and attacks against those who dare to speak out will increase.

However, in these times, it is more important than ever that we do speak out. To be silent is to be complicit. We must not be complicit. We must stand together strongly on the side of justice so that one day justice will prevail.

Visit Veterans for Peace, http://www.veteransforpeace.org.

Margaret Flowers is a pediatrician from Baltimore who volunteers as Congressional Fellow for Physicians for a National Health Program and sits on the board of Healthcare-Now.

 

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Full report into the death of Dr David Kelly
 

By Daily Mail Reporter
Last updated at 10:45 AM on 13th December 2010

 

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EXCLUSIVE: Published for the first time, the papers which could finally force full inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly

Questions: Campaigners have been attempting to get a full inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly since 2004

Questions: Campaigners have been attempting to get a full inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly since 2004

Today, the Daily Mail publishes for the first time the legal document which could trigger a full coroner’s inquest into the death of Dr David Kelly.

The document, formally known as a memorial was written by group of campaigning doctors who have been trying to secure an inquest since 2004.

It lists the sequence of events which led up to Dr Kelly’s death and the legal reasons they believe an inquest ought to be held.

It was sent to Attorney General Dominic Grieve QC by the doctors’ lawyers, Leigh Day & Co., in September. Mr Grieve, who has read the document, is now considering whether to allow an application to the High Court for an inquest. The Mail has learnt that he has recently appointed a medical expert to assist him. His decision is expected shortly.

Dr Kelly, a world-renowned weapons inspector, is said to have killed himself after being named as the prime source of a BBC report accusing Tony Blair’s government of lying to take Britain into war.

His body was found in woods close to his home in Oxfordshire on July 18 2003. Uniquely, for an unexpected death such as his, no coroner’s inquest has ever been held.

The Hutton inquiry into his death found that he killed himself after slashing his wrist with a blunt knife and overdosing on painkillers.

On Monday the Mail revealed that no fingerprints were found on the blister packs of pills which Dr Kelly supposedly took. No fingerprints were recovered either from the knife or a bottle of water found by his side. He was not wearing gloves when his body was found, nor were there gloves anywhere near the body.

The memorial argues that Dr Kelly’s death was not sufficiently investigated and claims that there are a large number of irregularities surrounding it.

It names Lord Falconer, once Tony Blair’s flatmate and in June 2003 appointed Lord Chancellor, as the architect of the public inquiry into Dr Kelly’s death chaired by Lord Hutton.

More…

It was Falconer who proposed the controversial decision to abandon a coroner’s inquest, where witnesses would be cross-examined under oath, and replace it with a non-statutory examination of the circumstances leading to Dr Kelly’s death. As a result no witness, including Tony Blair and his press secretary Alastair Campbell, swore an oath or was cross-examined.

Dr Nicholas Hunt, the Home Office forensic pathologist who carried out the autopsy on Dr Kelly, is also criticised in the memorial for having breached professional guidelines by giving a newspaper interview earlier this year in which he called Dr Kelly’s death a ‘textbook suicide’. His failure to properly carry out his duties at the scene where Dr Kelly’s body was found is outlined.

The memorial addresses – and answers – each of the six legal points necessary for a coroner’s inquest to be re-opened. Under section 13 of the Coroners Act 1988 only one of these points has to be satisfied for an inquest to take place.

The 10,000-word document was co-authored by doctors Stephen Frost, Martin Birnstingl, Christopher Burns-Cox, David Halpin and Andrew Rouse.

It also requests that if an inquest is held a new coroner should be appointed to oversee it, replacing Oxfordshire coroner Nicholas Gardiner.

Dr Michael Powers QC, who has been instructed to represent the doctors in their legal action, said: ‘The circumstances of this case are highly unusual. Evidential issues have been debated in public for want of an inquest.

‘The Attorney General’s department has had  three months to consider the matter. The time has come for the doctors’  Memorial also to be put into the public domain.

‘It is vital that as many people as possible are aware of the process and the legal reason why there should be an inquest.’

Italian PM Warns Israel May Nuke Iran

December 13th, 2010 by Global Research

Berlusconi Insisted Obama Couldn’t Stop Preemptive Nuking by Jason Ditz, December 12, 2010 Email This | Print This | Share This | Antiwar Forum In a meeting with Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi warned that he believed “no one including Obama” could stop Israel from launching an attack against Iran once it had made up its mind.

Berlusconi, who has publicly said previously that he absolutely believes Israel will ultimately attack Iran, was revealed in the new comments, part of a WikiLeaks cable, to be concerned that Israel was planning to use nuclear weapons in the attack.

Though it continues to officially take a position of “ambiguity,” Israel has a large nuclear weapons arsenal and is indeed the only nuclear weapons power in the Middle East. Israeli officials have repeatedly threatened to attack Iran over its civilian nuclear program, claiming it constitutes an “existential” threat.

Berlusconi was said to have been briefed about a 2008 Israeli Air Force exercise in which warplanes flew a mock bombing run over Greece, apparently an attempt to simulate a flight to and attack against Iran. Others, including Australia’s intelligence community, have expressed similar concerns about the possible attack recently.

Israel’s war on Jerusalem children

December 13th, 2010 by Jonathan Cook

Israeli police have been criticised over their treatment of hundreds of Palestinian children, some as young as seven, arrested and interrogated on suspicion of stone-throwing in East Jerusalem.
 
In the past year, criminal investigations have been opened against more than 1,200 Palestinian minors in Jerusalem on stone-throwing charges, according to police statistics gathered by the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI). That was nearly twice the number of children arrested last year in the much larger Palestinian territory of the West Bank.
 
Most of the arrests have occurred in the Silwan district, close to Jerusalem’s Old City, where 350 extremist Jewish settlers have set up several heavily guarded illegal enclaves among 50,000 Palestinian residents.
 
Late last month, in a sign of growing anger at the arrests, a large crowd in Silwan was reported to have prevented police from arresting Adam Rishek, a seven-year-old accused of stone-throwing. His parents later filed a complaint claiming he had been beaten by the officers.
 
Tensions between residents and settlers have been rising steadily since the Jerusalem municipality unveiled a plan in February to demolish dozens of Palestinian homes in the Bustan neighbourhood to expand a Biblically-themed archeological park run by Elad, a settler organisation.
 
The plan is currently on hold following US pressure on Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister.
 
Fakhri Abu Diab, a local community leader, warned that the regular clashes between Silwan’s youths and the settlers, termed a “stone intifada” by some, could trigger a full-blown Palestinian uprising.
 
“Our children are being sacrificed for the sake of the settlers’ goal to take over our community,” he said.
 
In a recent report, entitled Unsafe Space, ACRI concluded that, in the purge on stone-throwing, the police were riding roughshod over children’s legal rights and leaving many minors with profound emotional traumas.
 
Testimonies collected by the rights groups reveal a pattern of children being arrested in late-night raids, handcuffed and interrogated for hours without either a parent or lawyer being present. In many cases, the children have reported physical violence or threats.
 
Last month 60 Israeli childcare and legal experts, including Yehudit Karp, a former deputy attorney-general, wrote to Mr Netanyahu condemning the police behaviour.
 
“Particularly troubling,” they wrote, “are testimonies of children under the age of 12, the minimal age set by the law for criminal liability, who were taken in for questioning, and who were not spared rough and abusive interrogation.”
 
Unlike in the West Bank, which is governed by military law, children in East Jerusalem suspected of stone-throwing are supposed to be dealt with according to Israeli criminal law.
 
Israel annexed East Jerusalem following the Six-Day war of 1967, in violation of international law, and its 250,000 Palestinian inhabitants are treated as permanent Israeli residents.
 
Minors, defined as anyone under 18, should be questioned by specially trained officers and only during daylight hours. The children must be able to consult with a lawyer and a parent should be present.
 
Ronit Sela, a spokeswoman for the Association of Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI), said her organisation had been “shocked” at the large number of children arrested in East Jerusalem in recent months, often by units of undercover policemen.
 
“We have heard many testimonies from children who describe terrifying experiences of violence during both their arrest and their later interrogation.”
 
Muslim, 10, lives in the Bustan neighbourhood and in a house that Israeli authorities have ordered demolished. His case was included in the ACRI report, and in an interview he said he had been arrested four times this year, even though he was under the age of criminal responsibility. On the last occasion, in October, he was grabbed from the street by three plain-clothes policemen who jumped out a van.
 
“One of the men grabbed me from behind and started choking me. The second grabbed my shirt and tore it from the back, and the third twisted my hands behind my back and tied them with plastic cords. ‘Who threw stones?’ one of them asked me. ‘I don’t know,’ I said. He started hitting me on the head and I shouted in pain.”
 
Muslim was taken into custody and released six hours later. A local doctor reported that the boy had bleeding wounds to his knees and swelling on several parts of his body.
 
Muslim’s father, who has two sons in prison, said the boy was waking with nightmares and could no longer concentrate on his school studies. “He has been devastated by this.”
 
Ms Sela said arrests had risen sharply in Silwan since September, when a private security guard at a settler compound shot dead a Palestinian man, Samer Sirhan, and injured two others.
 
Clashes between the settlers and Silwan youths came to prominence in October when David Beeri, director of settler organisation Elad, was shown on camera driving into two boys as they threw stones at his car.
 
One, Amran Mansour, 12, who was thrown over the bonnet of Mr Beeri’s car, was arrested shortly afterwards in a late-night raid on his family’s home.
 
Also in October, nine rightwing Israeli MPs complained after stones were thrown at their minibus as they paid a solidarity visit to Beit Yonatan, a large settler-controlled house in Silwan. Israel’s courts have ordered that the house be demolished, but Jerusalem’s mayor, Nir Barkat, has refused to enforce the order.
 
In the wake of the attack, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, the public security minister, warned: “We will stop the stone-throwing through the use of covert and overt force, and bring back quiet.”
 
Last month police announced that house arrests would be used against children more regularly and financial penalties of up to $1,400 would be imposed on parents.
 
B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, reported the case of “A.S.”, a 12-year-old taken for interrogation following an arrest at 3am.
 
“I sat on my knees facing the wall. Every time I moved, a man in civilian clothes hit me with his hand on my neck … The man asked me to prostrate myself on the floor and ask his forgiveness, but I refused and told him that I do not bow to anyone but Allah. All the while, I felt intense pain in my feet and legs. I felt intense fear and I started shaking.”
 
In a statement B’Tselem said: “It is hard to believe that the security forces would have acted similarly against Jewish minors.”
 
Micky Rosenfeld, a police spokesman, denied that the police had violated the children’s rights. He added: “It is the responsibility of parents to stop this criminal behaviour by their children.”
 
Jawad Siyam, a local community activist in Silwan, said the goal of the arrests and the increased settler activity was to “make life unbearable and push us out of the area”.
 
The 60 experts who wrote to Mr Netanyahu warned that the children’s abuse led to “post-traumatic stress disorders, such as nightmares, insomnia, bed-wetting, and constant fear of policemen and soldiers”. They also noted that children under extended house arrest were being denied the right to schooling.
 
Last year the United Nations Committee Against Torture expressed “deep concern” at Israel’s treatment of Palestinian minors, saying Israel was breaking the UN Convention on the Rights of Children, which it has signed.
 
Over the past 12 months, Defence for Children International has provided the UN with details of more than 100 children who claim they were physically or psychologically abused while in military custody.
 
Jonathan Cook is a writer and journalist based in Nazareth, Israel. His latest books are “Israel and the Clash of Civilisations: Iraq, Iran and the Plan to Remake the Middle East” (Pluto Press) and “Disappearing Palestine: Israel’s Experiments in Human Despair” (Zed Books). His website is www.jkcook.net.
 
A version of this story appeared in The National (www.thenational.ae).

Who is Behind Wikileaks?

December 13th, 2010 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

 

“World bankers, by pulling a few simple levers that control the flow of money, can make or break entire economies. By controlling press releases of economic strategies that shape national trends, the power elite are able to not only tighten their stranglehold on this nation’s economic structure, but can extend that control world wide. Those possessing such power would logically want to remain in the background, invisible to the average citizen.” (Aldous Huxley)

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, focussing 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

The leaked cables are used to feed the disinformation campaign concerning Iran’s Weapons of Mass Destruction. While the leaked cables are heralded as “evidence” that Iran constitutes a threat, the lies and fabrications of the corporate media concerning Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program are not mentioned, nor is there any mention of them in the leaked cables. 

The leaks, once they are funnelled into the corporate news chain, edited and redacted by the New York Times, indelibly serve the broader interests of US foreign policy, including US-NATO-Israel war preparations directed against Iran.

With regard to “leaked intelligence” and the coverage of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program, David E. Sanger has played a crucial role. In November 2005, The New York Times published a report co-authored by David E. Sanger and William J. Broad entitled “Relying on Computer, U.S. Seeks to Prove Iran’s Nuclear Aims”.

The article refers to mysterious documents on a stolen Iranian laptop computer which included  “a series of drawings of a missile re-entry vehicle” which allegedly could accommodate an Iranian produced nuclear weapon:

“In mid-July, senior American intelligence officials called the leaders of the international atomic inspection agency to the top of a skyscraper overlooking the Danube in Vienna and unveiled the contents of what they said was a stolen Iranian laptop computer.

The Americans flashed on a screen and spread over a conference table selections from more than a thousand pages of Iranian computer simulations and accounts of experiments, saying they showed a long effort to design a nuclear warhead, according to a half-dozen European and American participants in the meeting.

The documents, the Americans acknowledged from the start, do not prove that Iran has an atomic bomb. They presented them as the strongest evidence yet that, despite Iran’s insistence that its nuclear program is peaceful, the country is trying to develop a compact warhead to fit atop its Shahab missile, which can reach Israel and other countries in the Middle East.”(William J. Broad and David E. Sanger Relying on Computer, U.S. Seeks to Prove Iran’s Nuclear Aims – New York Times, November 13, 2005, emphasis added)

These “secret documents” were subsequently submitted by the US State Department to the International Atomic Energy Agency IAEA, with a view to demonstrating that Iran was developing a nuclear weapons program. They were also used as a pretext to enforce the economic sanctions regime directed against Iran, adopted by the UN Security Council.

While their authenticity has been questioned, a recent article by investigative reporter Gareth Porter confirms unequivocally that the mysterious laptop documents are fake. (See Gareth Porter, Exclusive Report: Evidence of Iran Nuclear Weapons Program May Be Fraudulent, Global Research, November 18, 2010).

The drawings contained in the documents leaked by William J. Broad and David E. Sanger do not pertain to the Shahab missile but to an obsolete North Korean missile system which was decommissioned by Iran in the mid-1990s. The drawings presented by US State Department officials pertained to the “Wrong Missile Warhead”:

In July 2005, … Robert Joseph, US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security, made a formal presentation on the purported Iranian nuclear weapons program documents to the agency’s leading officials in Vienna. Joseph flashed excerpts from the documents on the screen, giving special attention to the series of technical drawings or “schematics” showing 18 different ways of fitting an unidentified payload into the re-entry vehicle or “warhead” of Iran’s medium-range ballistic missile, the Shahab-3. When IAEA analysts were allowed to study the documents, however, they discovered that those schematics were based on a re-entry vehicle that the analysts knew had already been abandoned by the Iranian military in favor of a new, improved design. The warhead shown in the schematics had the familiar “dunce cap” shape of the original North Korean No Dong missile, which Iran had acquired in the mid-1990s. … The laptop documents had depicted the wrong re-entry vehicle being redesigned. … (Gareth Porter, op cit, emphasis added)

David E, Sanger, who worked diligently with Wikileaks under the banner of truth and transparency was also instrumental in the New York Times “leak” of what Gareth Porter describes as fake intelligence. (Ibid)

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:

“Iran obtained 19 of the missiles from North Korea, according to a [Wikileaks] cable dated Feb. 24 of this year…. (WikiLeaks Archive — Iran Armed by North Korea – NYTimes.com, November 28, 2010).

These missiles are said to have the “capacity to strike at capitals in Western Europe or easily reach Moscow, and American officials warned that their advanced propulsion could speed Iran’s development of intercontinental ballistic missiles.” (Ibid, emphasis added). 

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. The Economist’s Editor-in-Chief, John Micklethwait was a participant in the June 2010 Bilderberg conference. 

The Economist also 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. Former Editor of The Economist (1974-86), Andrew Stephen Bower Knight is currently Chairman of the J. Rothschild Capital Management Fund. He is also reported to have been member of the Steering Group (1986) of the Bilderberg.

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 and 26, 2010

The Global Economic Crisis

Michel Chossudovsky
Andrew G. Marshall (editors)
This book can be ordered directly from Global Research 

Military Staffer Knew About Attacks in Stockholm

December 13th, 2010 by Global Research

A Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) employee warned an acquaintance to stay clear of an area in central Stockholm on Saturday where, several hours later, two explosions went off in what is being called a terrorist attack.Later the Swedish military said it was now “preparing how the issue will be dealt with”.

“If you can, avoid Drottninggatan today. A lot can happen there…just so you know,” the message said, according to the TT news agency.

Armed Forces spokesperson Jonas Svensson told TT on Sunday he was unaware of the message.

“I haven’t heard about this at all. Now I’m going to check out the information,” he told TT when confronted with the news.

Later the Swedish military said it was now “preparing how the issue will be dealt with”.

“The Swedish Armed Forces did not know ahead of time about the plans or the circumstances surrounding the events which have taken place. If that had been the case, (Swedish security service) Säpo, which is the responsible agency in these types of cases, would have been informed immediately,” said military spokesperson Erik Lagersten in a statement.

Swedish intelligence agencies may have known that something was in the works, Wilhelm Agrell, a professor in intelligence analysis, told TT.

“A warning is a slippery term and nothing concrete. Warnings can consist of very precise information that can be acted on, but it’s common that warnings are more diffuse and can’t be acted on,” Agrell said.

On Saturday night, TT spoke with John Daniels, head of security for Swedish military intelligence agency MUST. But he refused to comment, instead directing all inquiries to Säpo.

Säpo said on Sunday it was taking over the investigation of the two blasts, which occurred within minutes of one another and about 200 metres apart on Drottninggatan, a busy shopping street in central Stockholm.

The agency considers the explosions to be a terrorist crime.

One man believed to be a suicide bomber was killed in the second blast, while the first explosion injured two others.

Shortly before the explosions, Säpo and the TT news agency received a message from a 29-year-old man from southern Sweden who claimed that the prophet Mohammed was being degraded.

VIDEO: Double Standards: The Nobel Prize and Julian Assange

December 13th, 2010 by Prof Michel Chossudovsky

A Secretive Banking Elite Rules Trading in Derivatives

December 13th, 2010 by Louise Story

On the third Wednesday of every month, the nine members of an elite Wall Street society gather in Midtown Manhattan.

The men share a common goal: to protect the interests of big banks in the vast market for derivatives, one of the most profitable — and controversial — fields in finance. They also share a common secret: The details of their meetings, even their identities, have been strictly confidential.

Drawn from giants like JPMorgan Chase , Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley , the bankers form a powerful committee that helps oversee trading in derivatives, instruments which, like insurance, are used to hedge risk.

In theory, this group exists to safeguard the integrity of the multitrillion-dollar market. In practice, it also defends the dominance of the big banks.

The banks in this group, which is affiliated with a new derivatives clearinghouse, have fought to block other banks from entering the market, and they are also trying to thwart efforts to make full information on prices and fees freely available.

Banks’ influence over this market, and over clearinghouses like the one this select group advises, has costly implications for businesses large and small, like Dan Singer’s home heating-oil company in Westchester County, north of New York City.

This fall, many of Mr. Singer’s customers purchased fixed-rate plans to lock in winter heating oil at around $3 a gallon. While that price was above the prevailing $2.80 a gallon then, the contracts will protect homeowners if bitterly cold weather pushes the price higher.

But Mr. Singer wonders if his company, Robison Oil, should be getting a better deal. He uses derivatives like swaps and options to create his fixed plans. But he has no idea how much lower his prices — and his customers’ prices — could be, he says, because banks don’t disclose fees associated with the derivatives.

“At the end of the day, I don’t know if I got a fair price, or what they’re charging me,” Mr. Singer said.

Derivatives shift risk from one party to another, and they offer many benefits, like enabling Mr. Singer to sell his fixed plans without having to bear all the risk that oil prices could suddenly rise. Derivatives are also big business on Wall Street. Banks collect many billions of dollars annually in undisclosed fees associated with these instruments — an amount that almost certainly would be lower if there were more competition and transparent prices.

Just how much derivatives trading costs ordinary Americans is uncertain. The size and reach of this market has grown rapidly over the past two decades. Pension funds today use derivatives to hedge investments. States and cities use them to try to hold down borrowing costs. Airlines use them to secure steady fuel prices. Food companies use them to lock in prices of commodities like wheat or beef.

The marketplace as it functions now “adds up to higher costs to all Americans,” said Gary Gensler, the chairman of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, which regulates most derivatives. More oversight of the banks in this market is needed, he said.

But big banks influence the rules governing derivatives through a variety of industry groups. The banks’ latest point of influence are clearinghouses like ICE Trust, which holds the monthly meetings with the nine bankers in New York.

Under the Dodd-Frank financial overhaul, many derivatives will be traded via such clearinghouses. Mr. Gensler wants to lessen banks’ control over these new institutions. But Republican lawmakers, many of whom received large campaign contributions from bankers who want to influence how the derivatives rules are written, say they plan to push back against much of the coming reform. On Thursday, the commission canceled a vote over a proposal to make prices more transparent, raising speculation that Mr. Gensler did not have enough support from his fellow commissioners.

The Department of Justice is looking into derivatives, too. The department’s antitrust unit is actively investigating “the possibility of anticompetitive practices in the credit derivatives clearing, trading and information services industries,” according to a department spokeswoman.

Indeed, the derivatives market today reminds some experts of the Nasdaq stock market in the 1990s. Back then, the Justice Department discovered that Nasdaq market makers were secretly colluding to protect their own profits. Following that scandal, reforms and electronic trading systems cut Nasdaq stock trading costs to 1/20th of their former level — an enormous savings for investors.

“When you limit participation in the governance of an entity to a few like-minded institutions or individuals who have an interest in keeping competitors out, you have the potential for bad things to happen. It’s antitrust 101,” said Robert E. Litan, who helped oversee the Justice Department’s Nasdaq investigation as deputy assistant attorney general and is now a fellow at the Kauffman Foundation. “The history of derivatives trading is it has grown up as a very concentrated industry, and old habits are hard to break.”

Representatives from the nine banks that dominate the market declined to comment on the Department of Justice investigation.

Clearing involves keeping track of trades and providing a central repository for money backing those wagers. A spokeswoman for Deutsche Bank , which is among the most influential of the group, said this system will reduce the risks in the market. She said that Deutsche is focused on ensuring this process is put in place without disrupting the marketplace.

The Deutsche spokeswoman also said the banks’ role in this process has been a success, saying in a statement that the effort “is one of the best examples of public-private partnerships.”

Established, But Can’t Get In

The Bank of New York Mellon’s origins go back to 1784, when it was founded by Alexander Hamilton. Today, it provides administrative services on more than $23 trillion of institutional money.

Recently, the bank has been seeking to enter the inner circle of the derivatives market, but so far, it has been rebuffed.

Bank of New York officials say they have been thwarted by competitors who control important committees at the new clearinghouses, which were set up in the wake of the financial crisis.

Bank of New York Mellon has been trying to become a so-called clearing member since early this year. But three of the four main clearinghouses told the bank that its derivatives operation has too little capital, and thus potentially poses too much risk to the overall market.

The bank dismisses that explanation as absurd. “We are not a nobody,” said Sanjay Kannambadi, chief executive of BNY Mellon Clearing, a subsidiary created to get into the business. “But we don’t qualify. We certainly think that’s kind of crazy.”

The real reason the bank is being shut out, he said, is that rivals want to preserve their profit margins, and they are the ones who helped write the membership rules.

Mr. Kannambadi said Bank of New York’s clients asked it to enter the derivatives business because they believe they are being charged too much by big banks. Its entry could lower fees. Others that have yet to gain full entry to the derivatives trading club are the State Street Corporation , and small brokerage firms like MF Global and Newedge.

The criteria seem arbitrary, said Marcus Katz, a senior vice president at Newedge, which is owned by two big French banks.

“It appears that the membership criteria were set so that a certain group of market participants could meet that, and everyone else would have to jump through hoops,” Mr. Katz said.

The one new derivatives clearinghouse that has welcomed Newedge, Bank of New York and the others — Nasdaq — has been avoided by the big derivatives banks.

Only the Insiders Know

How did big banks come to have such influence that they can decide who can compete with them?

Ironically, this development grew in part out of worries during the height of the financial crisis in 2008. A major concern during the meltdown was that no one — not even government regulators — fully understood the size and interconnections of the derivatives market, especially the market in credit default swaps, which insure against defaults of companies or mortgages bonds. The panic led to the need to bail out the American International Group, for instance, which had C.D.S. contracts with many large banks.

In the midst of the turmoil, regulators ordered banks to speed up plans — long in the making — to set up a clearinghouse to handle derivatives trading. The intent was to reduce risk and increase stability in the market.

Two established exchanges that trade commodities and futures, the InterContinentalExchange, or ICE, and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, set up clearinghouses, and, so did Nasdaq.

Each of these new clearinghouses had to persuade big banks to join their efforts, and they doled out membership on their risk committees, which is where trading rules are written, as an incentive.

None of the three clearinghouses would divulge the members of their risk committees when asked by a reporter. But two people with direct knowledge of ICE’s committee said the bank members are: Thomas J. Benison of JPMorgan Chase & Company; James J. Hill of Morgan Stanley; Athanassios Diplas of Deutsche Bank; Paul Hamill of UBS ; Paul Mitrokostas of Barclays ; Andy Hubbard of Credit Suisse; Oliver Frankel of Goldman Sachs; Ali Balali of Bank of America; and Biswarup Chatterjee of Citigroup.

Through representatives, these bankers declined to discuss the committee or the derivatives market. Some of the spokesmen noted that the bankers have expertise that helps the clearinghouse.

Many of these same people hold influential positions at other clearinghouses, or on committees at the powerful International Swaps and Derivatives Association, which helps govern the market.

Critics have called these banks the “derivatives dealers club,” and they warn that the club is unlikely to give up ground easily.

“The revenue these dealers make on derivatives is very large and so the incentive they have to protect those revenues is extremely large,” said Darrell Duffie, a professor at the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, who studied the derivatives market earlier this year with Federal Reserve researchers. “It will be hard for the dealers to keep their market share if everybody who can prove their creditworthiness is allowed into the clearinghouses. So they are making arguments that others shouldn’t be allowed in.”

Perhaps no business in finance is as profitable today as derivatives. Not making loans. Not offering credit cards. Not advising on mergers and acquisitions. Not managing money for the wealthy.

The precise amount that banks make trading derivatives isn’t known, but there is anecdotal evidence of their profitability. Former bank traders who spoke on condition of anonymity because of confidentiality agreements with their former employers said their banks typically earned $25,000 for providing $25 million of insurance against the risk that a corporation might default on its debt via the swaps market. These traders turn over millions of dollars in these trades every day, and credit default swaps are just one of many kinds of derivatives.

The secrecy surrounding derivatives trading is a key factor enabling banks to make such large profits.

If an investor trades shares of Google or Coca-Cola or any other company on a stock exchange, the price — and the commission, or fee — are known. Electronic trading has made this information available to anyone with a computer, while also increasing competition — and sharply lowering the cost of trading. Even corporate bonds have become more transparent recently. Trading costs dropped there almost immediately after prices became more visible in 2002.

Not so with derivatives. For many, there is no central exchange, like the New York Stock Exchange or Nasdaq, where the prices of derivatives are listed. Instead, when a company or an investor wants to buy a derivative contract for, say, oil or wheat or securitized mortgages, an order is placed with a trader at a bank. The trader matches that order with someone selling the same type of derivative.

Banks explain that many derivatives trades have to work this way because they are often customized, unlike shares of stock. One share of Google is the same as any other. But the terms of an oil derivatives contract can vary greatly.

And the profits on most derivatives are masked. In most cases, buyers are told only what they have to pay for the derivative contract, say $25 million. That amount is more than the seller gets, but how much more — $5,000, $25,000 or $50,000 more — is unknown. That’s because the seller also is told only the amount he will receive. The difference between the two is the bank’s fee and profit. So, the bigger the difference, the better for the bank — and the worse for the customers.

It would be like a real estate agent selling a house, but the buyer knowing only what he paid and the seller knowing only what he received. The agent would pocket the difference as his fee, rather than disclose it. Moreover, only the real estate agent — and neither buyer nor seller — would have easy access to the prices paid recently for other homes on the same block.

An Electronic Exchange?

Two years ago, Kenneth C. Griffin, owner of the giant hedge fund Citadel Group, which is based in Chicago, proposed open pricing for commonly traded derivatives, by quoting their prices electronically. Citadel oversees $11 billion in assets, so saving even a few percentage points in costs on each trade could add up to tens or even hundreds of millions of dollars a year.

But Mr. Griffin’s proposal for an electronic exchange quickly ran into opposition, and what happened is a window into how banks have fiercely fought competition and open pricing. To get a transparent exchange going, Citadel offered the use of its technological prowess for a joint venture with the Chicago Mercantile Exchange, which is best-known as a trading outpost for contracts on commodities like coffee and cotton. The goal was to set up a clearinghouse as well as an electronic trading system that would display prices for credit default swaps.

Big banks that handle most derivatives trades, including Citadel’s, didn’t like Citadel’s idea. Electronic trading might connect customers directly with each other, cutting out the banks as middlemen.

So the banks responded in the fall of 2008 by pairing with ICE, one of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s rivals, which was setting up its own clearinghouse. The banks attached a number of conditions on that partnership, which came in the form of a merger between ICE’s clearinghouse and a nascent clearinghouse that the banks were establishing. These conditions gave the banks significant power at ICE’s clearinghouse, according to two people with knowledge of the deal. For instance, the banks insisted that ICE install the chief executive of their effort as the head of the joint effort. That executive, Dirk Pruis, left after about a year and now works at Goldman Sachs . Through a spokesman, he declined to comment.

The banks also refused to allow the deal with ICE to close until the clearinghouse’s rulebook was established, with provisions in the banks’ favor. Key among those were the membership rules, which required members to hold large amounts of capital in derivatives units, a condition that was prohibitive even for some large banks like the Bank of New York.

The banks also required ICE to provide market data exclusively to Markit, a little-known company that plays a pivotal role in derivatives. Backed by Goldman, JPMorgan and several other banks, Markit provides crucial information about derivatives, like prices.

Kevin Gould, who is the president of Markit and was involved in the clearinghouse merger, said the banks were simply being prudent and wanted rules that protected the market and themselves.

“The one thing I know the banks are concerned about is their risk capital,” he said. “You really are going to get some comfort that the way the entity operates isn’t going to put you at undue risk.”

Even though the banks were working with ICE, Citadel and the C.M.E. continued to move forward with their exchange. They, too, needed to work with Markit, because it owns the rights to certain derivatives indexes. But Markit put them in a tough spot by basically insisting that every trade involve at least one bank, since the banks are the main parties that have licenses with Markit.

This demand from Markit effectively secured a permanent role for the big derivatives banks since Citadel and the C.M.E. could not move forward without Markit’s agreement. And so, essentially boxed in, they agreed to the terms, according to the two people with knowledge of the matter. (A spokesman for C.M.E. said last week that the exchange did not cave to Markit’s terms.)

Still, even after that deal was complete, the Chicago Mercantile Exchange soon had second thoughts about working with Citadel and about introducing electronic screens at all. The C.M.E. backed out of the deal in mid-2009, ending Mr. Griffin’s dream of a new, electronic trading system.

With Citadel out of the picture, the banks agreed to join the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s clearinghouse effort. The exchange set up a risk committee that, like ICE’s committee, was mainly populated by bankers.

It remains unclear why the C.M.E. ended its electronic trading initiative. Two people with knowledge of the Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s clearinghouse said the banks refused to get involved unless the exchange dropped Citadel and the entire plan for electronic trading.

Kim Taylor, the president of Chicago Mercantile Exchange’s clearing division, said “the market” simply wasn’t interested in Mr. Griffin’s idea.

Critics now say the banks have an edge because they have had early control of the new clearinghouses’ risk committees. Ms. Taylor at the Chicago Mercantile Exchange said the people on those committees are supposed to look out for the interest of the broad market, rather than their own narrow interests. She likened the banks’ role to that of Washington lawmakers who look out for the interests of the nation, not just their constituencies.

“It’s not like the sort of representation where if I’m elected to be the representative from the state of Illinois, I go there to represent the state of Illinois,” Ms. Taylor said in an interview.

Officials at ICE, meantime, said they solicit views from customers through a committee that is separate from the bank-dominated risk committee.

“We spent and we still continue to spend a lot of time on thinking about governance,” said Peter Barsoom, the chief operating officer of ICE Trust. “We want to be sure that we have all the right stakeholders appropriately represented.”

Mr. Griffin said last week that customers have so far paid the price for not yet having electronic trading. He puts the toll, by a rough estimate, in the tens of billions of dollars, saying that electronic trading would remove much of this “economic rent the dealers enjoy from a market that is so opaque.”

“It’s a stunning amount of money,” Mr. Griffin said. “The key players today in the derivatives market are very apprehensive about whether or not they will be winners or losers as we move towards more transparent, fairer markets, and since they’re not sure if they’ll be winners or losers, their basic instinct is to resist change.”

In, Out and Around Henhouse

The result of the maneuvering of the past couple years is that big banks dominate the risk committees of not one, but two of the most prominent new clearinghouses in the United States.

That puts them in a pivotal position to determine how derivatives are traded.

Under the Dodd-Frank bill, the clearinghouses were given broad authority. The risk committees there will help decide what prices will be charged for clearing trades, on top of fees banks collect for matching buyers and sellers, and how much money customers must put up as collateral to cover potential losses.

Perhaps more important, the risk committees will recommend which derivatives should be handled through clearinghouses, and which should be exempt.

Regulators will have the final say. But banks, which lobbied heavily to limit derivatives regulation in the Dodd-Frank bill, are likely to argue that few types of derivatives should have to go through clearinghouses. Critics contend that the bankers will try to keep many types of derivatives away from the clearinghouses, since clearinghouses represent a step towards broad electronic trading that could decimate profits.

The banks already have a head start. Even a newly proposed rule to limit the banks’ influence over clearing allows them to retain majorities on risk committees. It remains unclear whether regulators creating the new rules — on topics like transparency and possible electronic trading — will drastically change derivatives trading, or leave the bankers with great control.

One former regulator warned against deferring to the banks. Theo Lubke, who until this fall oversaw the derivatives reforms at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, said banks do not always think of the market as a whole as they help write rules.

“Fundamentally, the banks are not good at self-regulation,” Mr. Lubke said in a panel last March at Columbia University. “That’s not their expertise, that’s not their primary interest.”

This story originally appeared in the The New York Times

Genetically Modified Mosquitos

December 13th, 2010 by Brandon Turbeville

While “scientists” have been genetically modifying insects for years, only in the last few have they begun to openly discuss releasing them into the environment. As always, the fact that public discussion has just now begun to take place on the issue means that the project has already been initiated. This much has been borne out by the facts in that the release of the insects has already been announced.

Under the guise of eradicating Dengue fever, GM mosquitoes were released into the environment in the Cayman Islands in 2009. Dengue fever is a mosquito-borne, virus-based disease that has largely been non-existent in North America for several decades. Dengue fever can morph into a much more dangerous form of the illness known as Dengue Hemorrhagic fever. Symptoms of Dengue fever are high fever, headache, pain behind the eyes, easy bruising, joint, muscle, bone pain, rash, and bleeding from the gums. There is no known cure or treatment for Dengue fever besides adequate rest and drinking plenty of water.
 
Generally speaking, it is one specific type of mosquito, Aedes aegypti, which transmits the virus.

The publicly given method for using these GM mosquitoes in the eradication of Dengue fever was that the genetically modified mosquitoes were “engineered with an extra gene, or inserted bacterium, or have had a gene altered so that either their offspring are sterile and unable to spread dengue, or simply die.” More specifically, the male GM mosquitoes are supposed to mate with natural females which produce larvae that die unless tetracycline, an antibiotic, is present. Without the antibiotic, an enzyme accumulates to a level that is toxic enough to kill the larvae.
 
It is important to note that these GM mosquitoes, known as OX513A, necessarily have to be of the Aedis aegypti type in order to achieve the goals publicly stated by the developers. Therefore, the millions of male mosquitoes that were released into the open-air environment in 2009, and again in 2010, were all of the dengue fever carrying type.
 
The OX513A mosquitoes were developed by a British biotechnology company named Oxitec and their subsequent release was overseen by the Mosquito Research and Control Unit (MRCU) in the Cayman Islands, a British overseas territory.
 
Although Oxitec Limited was the developer who engaged in most of the groundwork for the GM insects, the project was not theirs alone. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the World Health Organization, The PEW Charitable Trusts, and government agencies in the United States, England, Malaysia, and others were all involved in the development and promotion of the GM mosquitoes.

What has been quite suspicious, however, is the fact that Dengue fever, which has been nonexistent in North America for decades, has recently surfaced in Florida. Initially, the fever was found in 2009, but by 2010 the cases had vastly increased. In July 2010, a CDC study was released to very little media attention indicating that about 10 percent of the population of Key West had been infected with Dengue fever. This had doubled from 2009 where 5 percent had been infected. One might wonder what caused a virus that had been almost entirely eradicated to suddenly reappear with such vigor. That is, one might wonder if the answer weren’t so blatantly obvious. Of course, official reports do not address whether or not the Dengue fever is connected to the millions of mosquitoes capable of carrying the fever which were released just miles away in the Cayman Islands.
 
While Dengue fever had been eradicated in terms of naturally occurring outbreaks in the United States, cases that were research-related and laboratory-generated have occurred in the country for many years. This is because Dengue fever has been of particular interest to the United States government, US Army, and CIA since at least the middle part of the 20th century. There is a great deal of evidence suggesting that the biochemical research facilities at Fort Detrick were conducting tests on Dengue fever as a bio-weapon as far back as 1942. It is generally known that in the 1950s the CIA partnered with Ft. Detrick to study Dengue fever and other exotic diseases for use as biological weapons.

It is also interesting to note that, according to CIA documents as well as a 1975 congressional committee, the three locations of Key West, Panama City, and Avon Park (and two other locations in central Florida) were testing sites for Dengue fever research.

As is generally the case, the experiments in Avon Park were concentrated in low-income neighborhoods, in areas that were predominantly black with newly constructed housing projects. According to H.P. Albarelli Jr. and Zoe Martell of Truthout, CIA documents related to the MK/NAOMI program revealed that the agency was using the Aegis aegypti type of mosquito in these experiments as well. In one of these experiments, 600,000 mosquitoes were released over Avon Park and in another 150,000 insects were released in specially designed paper bags that were designed to open up when they hit the ground.
 
Truthout interviewed residents (or test subjects) of Avon Park still living in the area who related that there were at least 6 or 7 deaths resulting from the experiments. As quoted by Truthout, one resident said, “Nobody knew about what had gone on here for years, maybe over 20 years, but in looking back it explained why a bunch of healthy people got sick quick and died at the time of those experiments.”  Truthout goes on to point out that around the same time of the Avon Park experiments “there were at least two cases of Dengue fever reported among civilian researchers at Fort Detrick in Maryland.”

In 1978, a Pentagon document titled, “Biological Warfare: Secret Testing & Volunteers” revealed that similar experiments were conducted in Key West by the Army Chemical Corps and Special Operations and Projects Divisions at Fort Detrick.
 
Like the current situation, U.S. government agencies teamed with NGOs, academia, and other organizations to conduct mosquito-related projects. Operation Bellweather, a 1959 experiment consisting of over 50 field tests, was conducted over several states including Georgia, Maryland, Utah, and Arizona, and Florida. Operation Bellweather was coordinated with the Rockefeller Institute in New York; the facility that actually bred the mosquitoes. What’s more, the experiment was aided by the Armour Research Foundation, the Battelle Memorial Institute, Ben Venue Labs, Inc., the University of Florida, Florida State University, and the Lovell Chemical Company.
 
The military and CIA connections to Dengue fever outbreaks do not end with these experiments, however. It is widely believed that the 1981 outbreak in Cuba was a result of CIA and U.S. military covert biological attacks. This outbreak occurred essentially out of nowhere and resulted in over one hundred thousand cases of infection. Albarelli and Martell write:

American researcher William H. Schaap, an editor of Covert Action magazine, claims the Cuba Dengue outbreak was the result of CIA activities. Former Fort Detrick researchers, all of whom refused to have their names used for this article, say they performed ‘advance work’ on the Cuba outbreak and that it was ‘man made.’

In 1982 the CIA was accused by the Soviet media of sending operatives into Pakistan and Afghanistan for the purposes of creating a Dengue epidemic. Likewise, in 1985 and 1986, authorities in Nicaragua made similar claims against the CIA, also suggesting that they were attempting to start a Dengue outbreak.

While the CIA has characteristically denied involvement in all of these instances, army researchers have admitted to having worked intensely with “arthropod vectors for offensive biological warfare objectives” and that such work was conducted at Fort Detrick in the 1980s. Not only that, but researchers have also admitted that large mosquito colonies, which were infected with both yellow fever and Dengue fever, were being maintained at the Frederick, Maryland facility.
 
There is also evidence of experimentation with federal prisoners without their knowledge. As Truthout reports:

Several redacted Camp Detrick and Edgewood Arsenal reports indicate that experiments were conducted on state and federal prisoners who were unwittingly exposed to Dengue fever, as well as other viruses, some possibly lethal.

With all of the evidence that CIA and military tests have been conducted regarding Dengue fever, there is ample reason to be concerned when one sees a connection like the recent release of mosquitoes and the subsequent outbreak of Dengue fever in Florida, a traditional testing site for these organizations. 

The response to the Dengue outbreak should also be questioned as aerial spraying campaigns were intensified. While these sprayings were claimed to be for the eradication of the Dengue-carrying mosquitoes, the number of people who contracted the illness actually rose.
 
Another questionable incident related to mosquito-borne Dengue fever and the sudden outbreak occurred on November 15, 2010. A University of South Florida molecular biologist apparently committed suicide by drinking cyanide at a Temple Terrace hotel.  Dr. Chauhan, had studied mosquitoes and disease transmission at the University of Notre Dame. While ordinarily this would not be cause for concern, when one considers the level of interest maintained in mosquito-borne illnesses by both the military and intelligence agencies, the death of Dr. Chauhan might well be something that should be investigated further.
 
Until her death, she was a post-doctoral researcher in the Global Health department in the College of Public Health. Those who knew her described her as both very bright and very enthusiastic. Maybe this is a coincidence, but regardless, it is one that sh