Archive for November, 2010

“Cablegate” Raises Question: How Does a Superpower Dominate?

“Cablegate,” the huge leak of U.S. Embassy cables from 1966 to this year, began coming from Wikileaks.org Sunday.  This ongoing project, building on the leaks from earlier this year about the U.S. occupations of Iraq & Afghanistan, is huge not only for the amount of information released, but for its import.  I suspect we won’t know that fully until we have a chance to dig into more.  Wikileaks has helpfully organized the search by country, date, and topic.

What does the leak reveal?  More than just one administration’s practices; more than dirty tricks, individual opinions, “rogue” spies and diplomats, what I’ve seen already confirms a pattern, a system, of an un-checked superpower conducting “business as usual” behind secrecy, using diplomacy as yet another weapon.

Der Spiegel described it as “a political meltdown for American foreign policy” that leaves “the trust America’s partners have in the country … badly shaken.”  USA Today reports Hillary Clinton

“condemned the WikiLeaks release of once-classified diplomatic documents as nothing less than an attack on the United States and its allies.”

Private individuals are entitled to privacy, despite the actions of the Bush & Obama administrations, and governments may be entitled to secrecy.  But everything from “dirty tricks” ala Dick Nixon  to CIA assasinations are crimes by governments, and should be exposed.

Once again, we owe a debt to Wikileaks and the source of the leaks, for providing us the basis to see behind the lies. Bradley Manning is charged with these leaks, and sits in military prison at Quantico VA, awaiting a court martial. It is up to us to defend Manning, and do good with the revelations, by acting to stop the crimes through visible, vocal, public protest, just what World Can’t Wait exists for.

But the pro-war Congress leader Peter King wants Julian Assange tried for espionage as a “terrorist.”  Harold Koh, the State Department legal counsel who defends the Obama administration’s targeted assassination as compatible with international law, says the leaks will

“place at risk the lives of countless innocent individuals,” and “place at risk on-going military operations.”

Nancy A. Youssef, in Officials may be overstating the danger from WikiLeaks, challenges that assertion.

“American officials in recent days have warned repeatedly that the release of documents by WikiLeaks could put people’s lives in danger.But despite similar warnings ahead of the previous two massive releases of classified U.S. intelligence reports by the website, U.S. officials concede that they have no evidence to date that the documents led to anyone’s death.”

Glen Greenwald wrote earlier today on damage to civilians,

“Many of the same people who supported the invasion of Iraq and/or who support the war in Afghanistan, drone strikes and assassination programs — on the ground that the massive civilians deaths which result are justifiable “collateral damage” — are those objecting most vehemently to WikiLeaks’ disclosure on the ground that it may lead to the death of innocent people.  For them, the moral framework suddenly becomes that if an act causes the deaths of any innocent person, that is proof that it is not only unjustifiable but morally repellent regardless of what it achieves.  How glaringly selective is their alleged belief in that moral framework.”

The danger to civilians is in being militarily occupied, economically controlled and dominated by an unchecked superpower.  Everything we can do to rouse people living in the United States to act to end these occupations is needed, now!

worldcantwait.net will be covering the ongoing revelations.

Wednesday December 1: 2pm EST/11 am PST

Live From Frontline Club, London, a webcast on Wikileaks: The U.S. Embassy Cables

Following the release this weekend of 251,287 confidential United States embassy cables, this month’s First Wednesday debate will focus on the revelations of this latest leak from whistle-blower website WikiLeaks. We will be joined by:  WikiLeaks spokesperson Kristinn Hrafnsson; James Ball a data journalist who has been working with WikiLeaks; Nicky Hager, author and Investigative journalist; Additional panelists to be confirmed.

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Reactionary Attack on Civil Liberties Lawyers in al-Awlaki Suit

The courageous attorneys at the Center for Constitutional Rights who are challenging the government’s targeted killing order on Anwar al-Awlaki are getting criticism from right wing ideologues who backed the Bush regime’s war on terror for nine years now.

The Washington Legal Foundation published an ad in The New York Times yesterday, posted online today, and transcribed below.

The ACLU and CCR were retained by Nasser Al-Aulaqi to bring a lawsuit in connection with the government’s decision to authorize the targeted killing of his son, U.S. citizen Anwar Al-Aulaqi, whom the CIA and Defense Department have targeted for death.  World Can’t Wait published our own ad on the subject, October 7 in The New York Times, from a completely different standpoint: Crimes are Crimes, No Matter Who Does Them.

Pardiss Kebriaei, for CCR, spoke on October 20 on the al-Aulaqi case, and against yesterday on the WBAI radio program, “Law and Disorder.” She said yesterday,

“The sum and substance of the government’s arguments is that there should be no rule for the court at all in the question we presented… They have not got into the merits of why they believe they should have this authority.  They assert the US is involved in a global war against Al-Qaeda, by virtue of the war the US has the ability to target any suspect of Al-Qaeda.”

The Obama administration’s position is echoed by the far-right, in plain sight:

“In All Fairness”

Hijacking Our Courts for Terrorists

Earlier this year, U.S. national security officials authorized lethal action against Anwar al-Awlaki, a military Islamic cleric based in Yemen.
Al-Awlaki and his al Qaeda-affiliate group have been linked to the massacre at Fort Hood, the attempted Christmas Day airplane bombing over Detroit, and the recent plot to blow up Chicago-bound cargo planes.  Remarkable, al-Awlaki’s formal designation as a “Global Terrorist”: not only made him a high-priority target, it also made him the recipient of the pro bono legal assistance of American activists in a federal court action.

This lawsuit, which requests an injunction preventing attacks on al-Awlaki, opens an alarming new front in the activist campaign to judicially impose a myopic view of “civil liberties” on U.S. anti-terror decisions.  Since 9/11, these ideologues have, with the help of our courts, secured criminal defendant rights for enemy combatants; invalidated parts of the USA Patriot Act; and forestalled invaluable surveillance activities.  As a result, those who work tirelessly to keep America safe have fewer tools with which to do their job.

Now, the ACLU and the Center for Constitutional Rights (CCR), the architects of al-Awlaki’s suit, are going one step further — they seek direct judicial involvement in military strategy.  Their suit argues that no U.S. operation can go after al-Awlaki unless officials prove he poses an imminent threat and that no means other than lethal force can reasonable neutralize the threat.

The unconventional war thrust upon American provided activists a long-awaited opportunity to advance their radical legal theories — previously relegated to scholarly journals — in court, where they can directly undermine national security.  For instance, suits like the one brought on behalf of al-Awlaki could severely curtail the use of unmanned Predator drones, leading to increased U.S. military and civilian casualties once courts force anti-terror operations to rely on more land assaults.  Additionally, successful civilian court challenges to the detainment of terror suspects can return enemy soldiers to the battlefield.  In fact, numerous former Guantanamo Bay detainees already populate the upper ranks of the Yemen-based al Qaeda group’s leadership.

America has reached a fork in the road, and the time has come for us to make a decisive choice.  We can treat terrorists like common criminals who are entitled to Miranda rights and criminal trials, providing them an unparalleled platform for propaganda,and a rich source of intelligence for the architects of future attacks.  Or we can be fully committed to ensuring the security of our nation by rejecting misguided legal campaigns and returning control over national and homeland security decisions to the executive and legislative branches.

With so little margin for error, can America afford to have the judiciary and agenda-driven lawyers deciding how to keep us safe from foreign terrorism?

The Washington Legal Foundation  wlf.org

This political attack should be answered.

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United Response to George W. Bush Memoir

With the publication of George Bush’s book, Decision Points, we, the undersigned, set the record straight. Instead of being rewarded with a lucrative book contract and treated by the media as a distinguished statesman, Bush should be indicted and prosecuted for the crime of aggressive war, the supreme crime against peace in occupying Iraq and Afghanistan; devastation of the civilian population and civil society; the institutionalization of torture and denial of due process to detainees; massive illegal spying against people in the U.S.; and perjury before Congress and the people. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have been sent to an early grave because of Bush. Thousands of people have endured the most gruesome torture and abuse because of Bush. Tens of thousands of US service members have either died or suffered horrendous physical and mental injuries because of Bush. Trillions of dollars have been spent in the commission of criminal acts, abroad and at home.

It is the responsibility of the people of the United States to demand the investigation, indictment and prosecution of crimes committed by George W. Bush, Dick Cheney and other high officials.

It is up to each and every one of us to act. Unless high officials are held accountable for criminal acts, it sends a clear message to future administrations – including the current one — that they are not required to uphold the basic tenets of human rights and international law. Today, in fact, we see that many of Bush’s illegal actions have become codified as a new norm.

George W. Bush is recognized by the people of the world as a criminal. We, inside the United States, understand that too and thus we must demand that Attorney General Eric Holder and the Obama administration uphold the law and appoint a Special Prosecutor for the prosecution of Bush and his principal accomplices. We also encourage individuals to take creative measures to stop Bush’s rewriting of history: speak out at his appearances, go to bookstores and move his book to the Crime Section, and challenge the media to cover our message.  War criminals may write books, but we—the people—must speak the truth.

Brian Becker, ANSWER Coalition

Medea Benjamin, Code Pink

Elaine Brower, military mother, World Can’t Wait

Mike Ferner, President, Veterans for Peace

Susan Harman, Code Pink & Progressive Democrats of America

Nancy Mancias, Code Pink

Ray McGovern, Veterans for Peace

Stephanie Rugoff, War Criminals Watch

David Swanson, War is a Crime

Debra Sweet, World Can’t Wait

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