Posted by: quiscus | June 18, 2010

June 18, 2010

1.  “The Snitch Syndrome

The more one looks at the Bradley Manning case, the stranger the whole thing seems.

SPC Manning, you’ll recall, is the 22-year-old intelligence analyst arrested for … well, there still haven’t been any charges filed, after three weeks, but what we know is this: He is the “leaker” who got his hands on the “Collateral Murder” video that showed US pilots chortling as they shot down Iraqi civilians in cold blood.

According to this mystery author, Manning is “a naive, isolated and disillusioned idealist who may have had altruistic motives — traits that are common among whistleblowers, according to research on the subject.” We are then treated to a dissertation-style compendium of “expert” opinions on the subject of whistleblowers, which types them as oddballs. “Difficult” people who are “rather rigid” and afflicted with “low self-esteem.”

Yeah, sure, tell that to Dan Ellsberg, who I know doesn’t have low self-esteem: and, indeed, this whole concept of the whistleblower as having little sense of self-worth seems crazily counterintuitive. After all, here you are going up against a powerful force – the government – and its sycophants and supporters, who will do exactly what they are doing now: smearing Bradley as a “traitor” and a “spy” – when in fact he was spying on behalf of the American people, on a government that perpetually keeps them in the dark. It seems to me that one would have to have an oversupply of self-esteem in order to pull it off as Bradley is doing, i.e.  virtually alone.  ”

2.  “Israel’s Flotilla ‘Investigation’

The New York Times, whose regional bureau chief has a son in the Israeli militaryreports that Israel has just appointed a panel charged with investigating its attack on an aid flotilla that killed nine aid volunteers, including a 19-year-old American.

Isabel Kershner, who is an Israeli citizen and has refused to answer questions about her possible family ties to the Israeli military, writes the report.

In other words, in its “even-handed” style, the New York Times covered fifty percent of the reports on human rights abuses committed by Palestinians, while covering under three percent of those detailing human rights abuses perpetrated by Israelis. ”

3.  “Wikileaks Soldier Reveals Orders for “360 Rotational Fire” Against Civilians in Iraq

Ethan McCord, one of the soldiers seen in the now-famous Wikileaks video in which two American Apache helicopters fire upon a relaxed, unhurried gaggle of men in Baghdad, has stated in an interview with World Socialist Website that he witnessed numerous times the indiscriminate slaughter of civilians in Iraq after IED attacks. McCord is on of the soldiers seen helping two wounded children after the attack. He has stepped forward with open opposition to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and written a letter of apology for his part in the incident to the mother of the children, who has accepted his apology. The mother’s husband was killed in the attack and found with his body shielding that of one of his children.

McCord said to reporter Bill Van Auken:

“we had a pretty gung-ho commander, who decided that because we were getting hit by IEDs a lot, there would be a new battalion SOP [standard operating procedure].He goes, “If someone in your line gets hit with an IED, 360 rotational fire. You kill every motherf*cker on the street.” Myself and Josh and a lot of other soldiers were just sitting there looking at each other like, “Are you kidding me? You want us to kill women and children on the street?” And you couldn’t just disobey orders to shoot, because they could just make your life hell in Iraq. So like with myself, I would shoot up into the roof of a building instead of down on the ground toward civilians. But I’ve seen it many times, where people are just walking down the street and an IED goes off and the troops open fire and kill them.”

The deliberate killing of civilians is a war crime (Nanking 1937, Hankow 1938, German Invasion of Poland 1939.)

4.  “WikiLeaks and similar sites are a check on institutional misbehavior.

The second criticism hasn’t come up as often as you might expect. When WikiLeaks publishes an article analyzing the documents on the site, the writer’s claims are dissected and denounced as widely as any other arguments on the Internet. But with rare exceptions, the documents themselves tend to be accepted as legitimate. Pundits may debate the meaning of the Baghdad video, the climategate emails, or the Guantanamo prison manual, but their provenance has been well-established. Given the enemies that WikiLeaks has made, you might expect that by this time someone would have attempted to discredit the outfit by feeding it phony data. But if this has been tried, there’s no sign yet that the site has taken the bait. As a means of distributing raw information, WikiLeaks works.

But concealing information can be risky as well. Thanks to WikiLeaks, Chinese citizens have access to information about unrest in Tibet; thanks to WikiLeaks, Kenyans can read about the extrajudicial killings committed by their own police. Thanks to WikiLeaks, we have evidence of corruption in the Kaupthing Bank in Iceland, and of deadly toxic dumping off the coast of Africa. WikiLeaks has expanded our knowledge of how prisoners are treated at Guantanamo, how the CIA tries to manage public opinion in Europe, and how some prominent climate scientists talk about their critics. And if Thomas Drake had revealed the NSA’s illicit surveillance program to WikiLeaks instead of the Baltimore Sun, he might not be facing a prison sentence today. You can complain about some of the editorial decisions that WikiLeaks’ managers have made, but as with the free press in general, we’re better off with the site than without it.

Above all, we’re better off now that the large, hierarchical institutions where potential leakers dwell have one more reason to look over their shoulders. At some point, even the most thick-headed, slow-moving bureaucratic dinosaurs just might recognize that they’re living in a new environment, one where corrupt corporations and government agencies are no more able to control the flow of embarrassing information than record companies can control the flow of digital music files. Just as the online MP3 swap meet continued to thrive after downloaders started landing in court and Napster was effectively destroyed, the revolution that WikiLeaks represents won’t die even if Manning is imprisoned and Julian Assange’s site shuts down. Thanks to the Internet, a new wave of grassroots journalists, and a global network of human rights activists, it’s less risky than ever before to release incriminating information anonymously. The result will be a world where it’s easier not just to expose misbehavior but to deter it.”

5.  “The greatest threat to the Western Way of Life is the Western Way of Life itself.

The Age of Enlightenment was born sometime around the beginning of the eighteenth century. A mere three-quarters of a century later, industrialization ushered in the Age of Endarkenment, and human life has grown more and more perilous ever since. Natural disasters can be catastrophic, but their destructiveness is usually limited, and the really horrendous ones are rare. Manmade disasters are ubiquitous, very extensive, and difficult, perhaps impossible, to repair. Had mankind been wise rather than merely smart, most manmade calamities could have been avoided. ”

6.  “Twenty-Two Reasons Why American Working People Hate the State

State personnel, policy makers and enforcement officials are attentive to and responsive and deferential to the rich and   hostile and indifferent or arrogant toward workers.

In summary the real issue is not that people are anti-state, but that the state is anti the majority of the people.  In the face of the economic crises and prolonged imperial wars, the state becomes more brazenly aggressive in slashing living standards in order to channel record levels of public funds toward Wall Street speculators and the military industrial complex.

liberal-progressives’ remain embedded in ‘neo-keynsian’ statest ideology, outmoded in the face of a state thoroughly embedded in corporate networks”

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