Posts Tagged “Cablegate”
Can you imagine the conversation in the Obama administration since the cables have been released by Wikileaks.org? Attorney General Eric Holder, who can’t find a reason to prosecute anyone for actual torture, says ominously, referring to the legal difficulties in possible U.S. prosecution of Julian Assange,
“To the extent there are gaps in our laws, we will move to close those gaps, which is not to say that anybody at this point, because of their citizenship or their residence, is not a target or a subject of an investigation.”
But Robert Gates, whose Pentagon has been threatening Wikileaks openly since the Afghan War Diaries release in July, said on November 30:
“I’ve heard the impact of these releases on our foreign policy described as a meltdown, as a game-changer, and so on. I think those descriptions are fairly significantly overwrought… Many governments — some governments — deal with us because they fear us, some because they respect us, most because they need us. We are still essentially, as has been said before, the indispensable nation…Is this embarrassing? Yes. Is it awkward? Yes. Consequences for U.S. foreign policy? I think fairly modest.’’
The refrain from the government goes: Wikileaks is guilty of terrible crimes which “endanger national security;” they have blood on their hands…but, for damage control purposes, it’s not such a big deal when what they revealed. Yet pressure was placed on Amazon.com this week to remove Wikileaks from its servers. The site is up now, after being removed from Amazon.com’s servers Wednesday December 1.
The Department of Justice no doubt exerted pressure on Interpol to put out a warrant for Julian Assange on sexual misconduct charges from a prosecutor in Sweden that have been off and on again. Jennifer Robinson, one of Assange’s British attorneys, said the warrant from Sweden was highly unusual for the charges, and that Assange is not in hiding, but is taking care of his personal safety, given threats by people in power against him. See more today on Democracy Now.
Glenn Greenwald, on Salon.com writes about the kinds of attacks on Assange and takes them on:
“The group demanding that Julian Assange be murdered without any charges, trial or due process. There was Sarah Palin on on Twitter illiterately accusing WikiLeaks — a stateless group run by an Australian citizen — of “treason”; she thereafter took to her Facebook page to object that Julian Assange was “not pursued with the same urgency we pursue al Qaeda and Taliban leaders” (she also lied by stating that he has “blood on his hands”: a claim which even the Pentagon admits is untrue). Townhall’s John Hawkins has a column this morning entitled ”5 Reasons The CIA Should Have Already Killed Julian Assange.” That Assange should be treated as a “traitor” and murdered with no due process has been strongly suggested if not outright urged by the likes of Marc Thiessen, Seth Lipsky (with Jeffrey Goldberg posting Lipsky’s column and also illiterately accusing Assange of “treason”), Jonah Goldberg, Rep. Pete King, and, today, The Wall Street Journal.
Those who demand that the U.S. Government take people’s lives with no oversight or due process as though they’re advocating changes in tax policy or mid-level personnel moves — eradicate him!, they bellow from their seats in the Colosseum — are just morally deranged barbarians. There’s just no other accurate way to put it. These are usually the same people, of course, who brand themselves “pro-life” and Crusaders for the Sanctity of Human Life and/or who deride Islamic extremists for their disregard for human life.”
In addition to the New York Times and other US mainstream media who are spinning the story of the cables in support of US domination of other countries, there are journalists analyzing the content of the cable leaks from the standpoint of justice. Scott Horton, on Democracy Now December 1, talked about what was revealed over the last years, when the U.S. strongly pressured Spain not to prosecute Bush regime officials over rendition and indefinite detention. Democracy Now summarizes:
U.S. officials were especially alarmed when prosecutors in Spain and Germany began comparing notes on their investigations into CIA extraordinary rendition flights. U.S. officials said, quote, ‘This co-ordination among independent investigators will complicate our efforts to manage this case at a discreet government-to-government level.’ The investigation in Germany was in regard to the CIA abduction and rendition of German citizen Khaled El-Masri. He was wrongly abducted and flown to Afghanistan, where he was held for months without charge. When it looked like 13 CIA agents might be charged in the case, the U.S. embassy in Berlin stepped in and, according to one leaked cable, threatened, quote, that ‘issuance of international arrest warrants would have a negative impact on our bilateral relationship.’
Gareth Porter dug into the disinformation U.S. diplomats put out on Iran in Russians Refuted U.S. Claim of Iranian Missile Threat to Europe. Glen Ford takes apart US policy towards Iran in American Racism on Display in WikiLeaks Iran Cable:
Jeremy Scahill, this morning on Democracy Now, spoke to the open lies of the United States, specifically the Obama administration, in denying that the U.S. has military operations going on now in Pakistan. The cables show otherwise. Democracy Now. Scahill exposes the Pakistani government’s blatant lies to its own people, while the U.S. behind the scenes, orchestrates two drone programs in Pakistan, allegedly a sovereign country.
Julian Assange, Wikileaks, and Brad Manning – whose execution is now being demanded by Mike Huckabee — must be defended, as a really key part of our movement to end the wars and war crimes. This is just the beginning, on both sides of this battle over truth and empire.
We — all of us– need to keep digging into those cables and exposing the real crimes they cover.
I signed this statement, New Evidence Demands End to Wars, and urge you to come out to The White House on Thursday, December 16.
“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.