“Traitors of the U.S.”? “C.I.A.
Some thoughts about Wikileaks
By December, 2010, an internet
site known as Wikileaks had made headlines and was under attack by the
U.S. government and many commentators in the mainstream media because it
had published video film material recorded in Iraq and a large number of
cables sent by the U.S. secretary of State as well as by U.S. diplomats
abroad. The material published was of considerable public interest. Why?
Because, taken as a whole and in context, it provided evidence of U.S.
war crimes as well as U.S. clandestine “fact gathering” or espionage that
didn’t even shy away from recruiting informers among the personnel of allied
The fact that the internet site
of Wikileaks was shut down in the U.S. and the other, rather revealing
fact that its ability to rely on donations transferred via PayPal was obstructed
are undisputed. What mainstream commentators, by and large if not across
the board, chose to be silent about is that obviously either undue and
unconstitutional pressure was exerted, in order to attain reactions, by
the two companies or corporations in question, that ran contrary to their
main goal, i.e. to do business and make a profit. Or such undue pressure
wasn’t even necessary because these U.S. corporations knew what they were
expected to do, without being explicitly told: and if that’s the case,
this should be cause to even greater concern because it implies to what
scandalous degree patterns of behavior worthy of an extremely authoritarian
if not dictatorial regime have been internalized.
As to the role of Wikileak, several
hypotheses have been offered. It is too early to form a conclusive opinion.
One hypothesis floated very early on was that Wikileaks is, in reality,
a mouthpiece of the C.I.A. destined to further U.S. psy-war efforts.
In view of the outrage displayed
by U.S. authorities after the publication of the Iraq videos and the cables,
and given that Mr. Assange, and even more Mr. Manning (who has been remanded
in custody because he is regarded as the likely leak of the videos) are
in serious trouble, we should be careful not to indulge in such speculation
Daniel Ellsberg, who showed great
courage in the 1970s, at a time when it was so obviously necessary to publish
the secret documents known as the Pentagon papers, has compared the publication
of the leaked cables by Wikileaks with the publication of the papers he
exposed to the U.S. public. In the context of the Vietnam war, the government
had lied and deceived the public. The Gulf of Tonking incident, for instance,
had never happened. This alleged North Vietnamese attack, in international
waters, on a U.S. warship nevertheless had served as a expedient pretext
for carrying the war to North Vietnam, which the U.S. government intended
to “bomb back to the stone age.” Both Daniel Ellsberg and Noam Chomsky
agree that, in spite of (and also, one may assume, because) of their often
trivial and even ridiculously naïve character, the questions posed
by the secretary of state and the “facts” supplied by informers linked
to U.S. diplomatic personnel overseas and transmitted by the latter to
superiors in Washington reveal a lot about U.S. diplomacy and the underlying
motivations. They enable the American public and concerned citizens in
much of today’s world to know something they have every right and
in fact, a duty to know.
As for the videos recorded in
Iraq, the matter is quite clear. They should oblige U.S. courts immediately
to take action against the perpetrators of these war crimes and against
those superiors who are, it seems, guilty of aiding and abetting such acts,
and who have been concerned above all to cover up the truth. This includes
high-ranking military personnel, but the buck stops ultimately in the White
House. If U.S. courts fail to open proceedings, the tapes should be given
immediately to the International Court in The Hague, which will be required
by its statutes to remand Mr. Cheney, Mr. Rumsfeld, Mr. George W. Bush
Junior, and others in custody for further questioning. A legally justified,
but very theoretical assumption, given the readiness of the U.S. superpower
to break the law. The most recent war on Iraq, as such, was not only justified
by lies, as even Mr. Blair candidly admitted post festum (along the tune
of – yes, we knew, there were no weapons of mass destruction, but it was
a good thing to destroy that regime anyway). It was described both by the
secretary general of the United Nations, at the time, and by a number of
members of the European Parliament, as “an illegal war.” It is a
fact the mainstream press and many politicians prefer to forget. But it
is good to compare the indifference of law-breakers in top government positions
when it’s merely an illegal war leading to a few hundred thousand direct
and indirect casualties with their outrage when “publication of military
secrets” (in the case of the videos) and “data theft” is alleged to have
been committed: Incidentally, acts that, in one case, PROVE WAR CRIMES
carried out in the aftermath of the illegal war and condoned as well as
camouflaged by those who started the illegal war. In the other case, an
often unethical, hegemonial, arm-twisting foreign policy that does not
shy away from illegal acts has been exposed.
So it is indeed strange that
the present U.S. administration IS CRYING FOUL AND POINTING ITS FINGERS
AT WIKILEAKS when it has, up to now, studiously refrained from having the
department of justice start proceedings against a number of high-ranking
defendants – among them the former president, who was embraced so cordially
by Mr. Obama when the one moved out of the White House and the other moved
in, keeping in office the former president’s secretary of illegal war.
It is also strange that U.S.
politicians and commentators in the mainstream media closely linked to
the political establishment should clamour about “betrayal,” or “treason”
committed by Mr. Assange of Wikileaks when the latter isn’t even a U.S.
citizen and thus unable to “betray” the U.S. because the United States
aren’t even his country. Or is Australia now a U.S. colony or dependency,
perhaps a 52nd state? I always assumed that this honor belonged to such
countries as South Korea, Taiwan, or Panama.
Still, the rumors that Wikileak
might be some instrument in a psy-war effort are perhaps not entirely unfounded.
It is necessary to assess the cables, one by one, in order to form an rational
opinion about the function of a given document and why it may have been
leaked, by whoever leaked documents to Wikileak. If the person leaking
the Iraq videos was undoubtedly a whisteblower, that is to say, an honorable
person honoring the demands of his conscience and also, objectively,
fulfilling his duty as defined during the Nuremberg trials, obviously this
person can hardly be expected to have been the only source of material
from the U.S. that was published by Wikileaks.
The question that we must pose
is, Were certain U.S. cables handed to Wikileaks on purpose by government
personnel posing as whistleblowers?
Three examples may suffice to
outline why such a suspicion is justified:
In the case of a cable seemingly
concerned with top government officials in Bolivia, the intention to create
distrust among Bolivian leaders can be surmised. Is it the old “divide
and rule” scheme that has prompted U.S. diplomats to “leak” SUCH A DOCUMENT
among other, obviously genuine but irrelevant documents?
In other words, is “leaking”
the document (so it may be published by Wikileaks) part of a psy-war effort
targeting a government and a largely indigenous movement that are seen,
in the U.S. and by their allies in Bolivia, the old, oligarchic strata,
as dangerous and as “anti-free enterprise”? And above all, as hostile to
foreign and especially U.S. economic (thus, corporate) AND geopolitical
interests? Reading the cable, the thought is indeed inescapable that this
may be a purposeful attack on the popular government. In other words, an
attempt to sow distrust among its members and and thus to confuse and weaken
the government of the miners, peasants, craftsmen, of people in the so-called
informal sector and also the industrial workers. The spokesmen of
a populace, in other words, which in its overwhelming majority has embraced
the goal of self-emancipation and of either gradual or rapid and
immediate liberation of Bolivia’s economy from foreign exploitation and
from bitter, poverty producing dependence.
In the case of cables relating
to German government officials, two persons, the German head of government,
Ms. Merkel and the secretary of State, are described in hardly flattering
terms as singularly inept. Clearly it was exceedingly damaging when these
cables were made public because it happened at a times when their respective
political parties, coalition partners in Berlin, were already losing voter
Why should we assume, however,
that the present U.S. administration, a presumed ally of Germany’s “elites,
” intended to undermine the position of both the German chancellor and
the German secretary of state by “leaking” such cables to Wikileak?
It is possibly to suggest an
answer: Ms. Merkel had just snubbed Mr. Obama at the G-20 meeting in Seoul
when the latter demanded that Germany reduce its exports to a predetermined
percentage of GNP and Ms. Merkel flatly refused. No U.S. administration,
no U.S. president and certainly not Mr. Obama, is amused when an underling
(ally or not) refuses to turn a cold shoulder to U.S. orders thinly disguised
as a proposal or request.
As for the German secretary of
state, he has shown similar single-mindedness when balking at the request
to step up German military involvement in the war waged for dubious (or
not so dubious but rather selfish geo-political and economic) reasons in
Afghanistan, against the poor Afghani people. In addition, he offended
a much closer U.S. ally than Germany will ever be: Israel. During
a recent visit to Israel, he was the first high-ranking European politician
stubborn enough to coerce the Israeli government not to block his visit
of war-devastated and destructively blockaded Gaza. Not even the British
lady who poses as foreign secretary of the European Union had succeeded
to press the Israeli government hard enough to let her visit Gaza. They
flatly refused. It is clear that, no matter what hardly deniable shortcomings
the present German secretary of state may have revealed during his political
career, it doesn’t come off well in the Obama administration if an “ally”
proves to be a noughty underling. So a tit for tat is not unlikely.
The third case that occasions
grave doubts as to the authentic leak quality of certain material published
by Wikileaks concerns quite a few of those cables referring, in one way
or another, to Iran. Discussing Iran clearly should not be influenced by
our stance with regard to non-secular republics. Whether or not we sympathize
with considerable (if not overwhelming) influence of Iranian clerics in
Iranian politics, we should certainly remember that the U.S. “Christian”
right wields a lot of influence in American politics, whereas the Vatican
is also represented, even though less obviously and, well, in a more indirect
way, by Christian Democratic parties in Europe, though admittedly it is
seeing its influence decline, even in Poland, Italy and Spain. But, as
I said, the extent “religion” and religious “leaders” are allowed to influence
politics is something for the respective population to decide. The campaign
of diverse U.S. administrations and Western mainstream media against Iran
has very much to do with the fact that the U.S. lost a trusted underling
when the Shah regime, which was resorting to more and more brutal repression
in the 1960s and 1970s, was finally toppled. Not only had the U.S. government,
in league with the British, toppled the democratic government of Mr. Mossadegh
soon after WWII when the latter violated British and American economic
interests by nationalizing the oil industry. Since their dictatorial quisling,
the Shah, was ousted, they have ommitted no chance to hurt the new republican
government and seriously wound the Iranian economy. A U.S. government instigated
a dictatorial Middle East “buddy,” dear Mr. Rumsfeld’s cherished friend
Saddam Hussein, to start war against the Iranian republic. And, as true
Macchiavellians, the American political elite and Western, above all American
and German corporations, saw to it that antrax and chemical weapons were
supplied to their Iraqi “friends” while they did not miss the chance to
sell large quantities of modern weapons to the Iranian republic, as well.
It was as if they rejoiced to see two countried bleed to death. Of course,
both their Iraqi “friends” and their Iranian republican foes were seen
with suspicion and suspected of becoming potential regional powers. And,
as such, of course, in the long run forces opposed to the West’s neo-colonialist
presence in the region. Enough of a reason to engage in games that sacrificed
several hundred thousand lives. This brief reminder how the Iraninans fared
at the hand of the U.S. should be ample reason to take their security concerns
serious. No person in his right mind is happy about nuclear weapons, regardless
of whether they are possessed by the U.S., Russia, China, or a few other,
minor military powers including Israel. But let’s put this straight: should
the Iranian republic really acquire nuclear weapons, it could only employ
them if the country or its leadership was prepared to commit suicide as
a nation. Their only likely use, if they possessed such weapons, would
be as a deterrent. And, as pointed out, historical evidence lets any seasoned
observer conclude that a quest to possess such a deterrent is rather understandable.
They have been and still are targets of aggressive U.S. policies. U.S.
warships operate in what is called the Persian Gulf and on other maps,
the Arabian Gulf. U.S. marines engage in exercises, at the shore of the
Emirates. U.S. landing crafts were seen, and U.S. troops are practicing
how to go ashore. But where if not in Iran? Open and veiled threats of
war abound. It is understandable that the Iranian government sees certain
among the released cables as part of a stepped-up U.S. psy-war operation.
Which may be a rational assessment.
If we assume, as we must, that
Mr. Assange and the other activists who keep alive Wikileaks are decent
and committed and, above all, concerned citizens, we must deduce that in
addition to publishing authentic material that reveals the criminal and
at the same time, often unspeakably naïve and characteristically mediocre
rather than intellectually impressive character of top U.S. political personnel,
the platform also happened to publish material that, regardless of its
authenticity, harms nations and governments that the so-called U.S. elites
intend to harm.
The quest for objectivity and
the ethos of investigative journalism, coupled with the commitment to provide
a public channel to whistleblowers, are undoubtedly deserving praise. But
naïve and in certain ways, politically neutral as the Wikileaks people
are, their practice of publishing everything without assessing its function
requires us, the readers, to think. Independently. Reading what is published,
as critical and awake contemporaries who know what we stand for. But that’s
what we need to do anyway, whether it concerns Wikileaks or not.
Occupy Wall Street
We Are Change
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Occupy Wall Street protests
Z Communications AND Z mag
of the U.S. Left", in: Z Communications
Occupy Wall Street Entreaty &
Spanish Anarchists Interview
(Z Communications, Sept.2011)
Local to global.org
Schneider, "From Occupy
Wall Street to Occupy Everywhere"
(The Nation, Oct. 31, 2011)
GERMAN LANGUAGE SITES
of the world, rise up"
Aufruf von K21 zur Demo am 15.Okt.
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GREEK SITES (HELLAS)
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Argyros on the general strike
Real.gr, Oct.20, 2011)
Students in Chile are protesting
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Al Ahram Weekly
Arab Spring and the crisis of the elite"
Azouz, Egypt govt mulls
raising workers' incentives
in bid to thwart labor strikes
Fouad Najem, "Forbidden"
Speech before U.S. Congress, March 31, 2011
(The Nation; April 4, 2011)
Hayden, "The Defunding
of the Peace Movement"
US Attorney General Testifies for Plowshares Activists"
Justice with Peace
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