Posted by: quiscus | December 10, 2010

December 10, 2010

1.  “US Eyes Espionage Act Charges Against Assange
attempts to restrict previous coverage of the Pentagon Papers and to charge Daniel Ellsberg under the same act failed in court. Subsequent acts have never been successfully brought to a guilty verdict.

Its Constitutionality now in serious doubt, the Obama Administration is falling back on the nearly century old law primarily for lack of anything better to charge Assange with, as his activities are clearly not illegally under any other laws. But whether the Espionage Act can even be said to apply to a foreign national whose “crime” was committed outside of the US is even less clear, perhaps, than the Pentagon Papers case, which the government lost in 1971.”

2.  ” Islamic ‘Pipeline to Extremism’ Turns Out to Be Mostly FBI Set-Ups

The railroading of suspects into the justice system is reminiscent of tactics used by the FBI and prosecutors during the era of McCarthyism and COINTELPRO.”

3.  “Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: White House Cabinet Member Suggested Killing an American Service Man to Justify War

On Monday, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Hugh Shelton told told Jon Stewart that a Clinton cabinet member proposed letting Saddam kill an American pilot as a pretext for war in Iraq

This might seem, at first glance, like just an odd, one-off suggestion.

However, as Reported by the New York Times and other newspapers, George W. Bush also suggested to Tony Blair that a U.S. plane be painted in United Nations colors so that – if Saddam shot it down – it would create a casus belli. As the Times wrote in 2006:

The memo [confirmed by two senior British officials as being authentic] also shows that the president and the prime minister acknowledged that no unconventional weapons had been found inside Iraq. Faced with the possibility of not finding any before the planned invasion, Mr. Bush talked about several ways to provoke a confrontation, including a proposal to paint a United States surveillance plane in the colors of the United Nations in hopes of drawing fire ….

And it’s not just the current war in Iraq. As I’ve previously pointed out, war is always sold to it’s people by artificially demonizing the enemy:

Countries need to lie about their enemies in order to demonize them sufficiently so that the people will support the war.

That is why intelligence “failures” – such as the following – are so common:

  • It is also now well-accepted that the Gulf of Tonkin Incident which led to the Vietnam war was a fiction (confirmed here).

And governments from around the world have admitted that – for many years – they have used false flag incidents to sell their people on the wars they wish to launch.”

4.  “WikiLeaks Cable Exposes NATO War Plan Against Russia

US State Department cables released by WikiLeaks have unveiled secret NATO plans for a US-led war against Russia over the Baltic states.

The cables, first reported by the Guardian newspaper Tuesday and posted on the WikiLeaks site, underscore the growing geo-strategic tensions between the US and Russia even as the Obama administration has emphasized a “reset” in relations that was supposed to overcome the conflicts left over from the Bush administration.

The secret plans spell out preparations for a full-scale war with Russia that would see the immediate deployment of nine divisions of US, British, German and Polish troops in the event of any Russian incursion into the former Soviet Baltic republics.

The plans also specify German and Polish ports that would be used to receive naval assault units and US and British warships destined for battle with Russian forces.”

5.  “The media’s authoritarianism and WikiLeaks

As I wrote yesterday, WikiLeaks has every right to publish more cables than these newspapers decide to publish, and even to publish all of them — if it does that, that won’t change the legal issues one iota — but since they haven’t done that, media outlets have a responsibility not only to refrain from saying they have, but to state clearly that those who make this claim are spouting falsehoods. That’s what “journalism” is supposed to be: stating what the facts are for one’s readers and viewers. Time‘s “correction” explicitly refuses to do that (though the magazine’s response is at least mildly better than the gross irresponsibility of The New Republic, which published at least two columns promoting this falsehood — one by James Rubin and the other by Todd Gitlin — and then did nothing other than publish a piece by Gitlin days later which devotes a couple of paragraphs to insisting he bears no responsibility whatsoever for his factually false statements and then the rest of the piece to attacking me for pointing them out).

* * * * *

Beyond the need to destroy this pervasive zombie lie about WikiLeaks’ conduct in the diplomatic cables disclosure, the broader point here is crucial: the media’s willingness to repeat this lie over and over underscores its standard servile role in serving government interests and uncritically spreading government claims. NYU journalism professor Jay Rosen has an excellent analysis today documenting how, in the wake of 9/11, they dropped all pretenses of checking those in political power and instead began explicitly proclaiming — as The New York Times‘ chief stenographer and partner-of-Judy-Miller, Michael Gordon, suggested — that “capturing the dominant view within the government was the job [of journalists], even if that view was wrong.” As Rosen writes, “our press has never come to terms with the ways in which it got itself on the wrong side of secrecy as the national security state swelled in size after September 11th,” and thus: “To understand Julian Assange and the weird reactions to him in the American press we need to tell a story that starts with Judy Miller and ends with Wikileaks.”

Identically, note how few object to the fact that the DOJ is investigating the pro-WikiLeaks attacks, but not — of course — the ones directed at WikiLeaks. That’s because we collectively believe — with the establishment media leading the way — that the most powerful authorities have the unfettered right to do whatever they want to anyone who is sufficiently demonized as Bad, while the worst sin is to do anything outside of approved (i.e., impotent) means to protest establishment power and authority, no matter how destructive and criminal the ends are to which that power and authority is being applied.

This is the same mentality that expresses such self-righteous outrage over the mere prospect that disclosures of the truth by WikiLeaks might hypothetically one day lead to the death of a single innocent person, while barely uttering any real anger over the massive numbers of innocents actually being killed right now by the U.S. Government. And it’s the same mentality that purports to acknowledge the massive secrecy abuses, deceit and pervasive crimes of the U.S. Government, while demanding that one of the very few people who apparently risked something to do anything meaningful to stop all of that — Bradley Manning — be severely punished, or that Julian Assange be punished. This is authoritarianism in its classic form — an instinctively servile loyalty to power even when it is acting corruptly, lawlessly and destructively — and it finds its purest and most vigorous expression in those who most loudly claim devotion to checking it: our intrepid adversarial journalists.”


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