Is WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange a Hero? Glenn Greenwald Debates Steven Aftergood of Secrecy News

3 December, 2010 — Democracy Now!

WikiLeaks is coming under attack from all sides. The U.S. government and embassies around the world are criticizing the whistleblowing group for releasing a massive trove of secret State Department cables. The WikiLeaks website is struggling to stay online just days after Amazon pulled the site from its servers following political pressure. The U.S. State Department has blocked all its employees from accessing the site and is warning all government employees not to read the cables, even at home. “These attacks will not stop our mission, but should be setting off alarm bells about the rule of law in the United States,” said WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange. We host a debate between Steven Aftergood, a transparency advocate who has become a leading critic of WikiLeaks, and Glenn Greenwald, a constitutional law attorney and legal blogger for Salon.com.


Partial Transcript follows:

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WikiLeaks Shows Diplomats Lie to Themselves Before They Lie to Journalists By Peter Hart

2 December, 2010 — FAIR Blog

nyt-logo.jpgToday (12/2/10) the New York Times has another report based on the latest WikiLeaks cables. The focus is on U.S. policy toward the former Soviet republic of Georgia, and the upshot is that diplomats based there exercised little to no scrutiny of the claims made by Georgian government regarding South Ossetia and Russia. The conflict there led eventually to a brief war in 2008, which was often inaccurately portrayed in U.S. media as unprovoked Russian aggression against a U.S. ally. The Times reports:

The cables show that for several years, as Georgia entered an escalating contest with the Kremlin for the future of Abkhazia and South Ossetia, two breakaway enclaves out of Georgian control that received Russian support, Washington relied heavily on the Saakashvili government’s accounts of its own behavior. In neighboring countries, American diplomats often maintained their professional distance, and privately detailed their misgivings of their host governments. In Georgia, diplomats appeared to set aside skepticism and embrace Georgian versions of important and disputed events.

By 2008, as the region slipped toward war, sources outside the Georgian government were played down or not included in important cables. Official Georgian versions of events were passed to Washington largely unchallenged.

The last cables before the eruption of the brief Russian-Georgian war showed an embassy relaying statements that would with time be proved wrong.

The conventional storyline at the time was that Georgia was attacked by South Ossetian forces, and thus forced to retaliate, which brought a Russian onslaught. The U.S. embassy’s line–that the Times says ‘would with time be proved wrong’–was echoed in the media, as FAIR documented at the time. There was little skepticism shown toward Georgian claims, or its shelling of civilian areas of South Ossetia (which Russia pointed to as a justification for its military intervention).

The fact that U.S. diplomats and U.S. media were mostly in step is not a coincidence. It reminds me of that Karl Kraus quote: ‘How is the world ruled and led to war? Diplomats lie to journalists and believe these lies when they see them in print.’

In this case, the WikiLeaks cables provide the basis for a useful corrective. And anyone who thinks the WikiLeaks cables mostly show that U.S. diplomats are doing good work should note this story as an example of just the opposite.

Wikileaks News Roundup 2-3 December, 2010

3 December, 2010 — Creative-i.info

3 December, 2010

As I predicted, the heat is on Julian Assange.


2 December, 2010

The “Hi Tech” Corporate Police State: “Reengineering” the Internet … for Persistent Surveillance By Tom Burghardt

2 December, 2010 — Global ResearchAntifascist Calling…

Ghost in the Machine: Secret State Teams Up with Ad Pimps to Throttle Privacy

The secret world of “cyber situational awareness” is a spymaster’s wet dream, made all the more alluring by the advent of ultra high speed computing and the near infinite storage capacity afforded by massive server farms and the ubiquitous “cloud.”

Within that dusky haze, obscured by claims of national security or proprietary business information, take your pick, would you bet your life that the wizards of misdirection and deception care a whit that you really are more than a disembodied data point?

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Climate Inaction Conference By Chris Williams

3 December, 2010 — The Bullet Socialist Project • E-Bulletin No. 435
Socialist Worker

“If Cancún delivers nothing, or not much, then the UN process is in danger.” So said Connie Hedegaard, the European commissioner for climate action, ahead of the UN-sponsored climate change summit taking place in Mexico through December 10. The negotiations are known as COP-16, short for 16th Conference of the Parties. What does the “16” stand for? If you’re a freshman in college this year, you were probably alive, but still an infant, when the first international climate talks took place 16 years ago.

In other words, the world’s governments have been negotiating for more than half a generation. And what progress has there been in those intervening years?

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VTJP Palestine/Israel Newslinks 2 December, 2010: US Unable to Stop Jerusalem Settlements; Peace Talks to “Collapse”

2 December, 2010 — VTJP

News

International Middle East Media Center

Israel Arrests Man Believed To Be Collaborating With Hamas
IMEMC – 2 Dec 2010 – Thursday December 02, 2010 – 11:28, Israeli sources reported that the Israeli Security Forces have recently detained an Arab man from al-Fredees Arab village, north of the country, who is suspected to be collaborating with the Hamas movement and of committing “security offensives”.

Haniyya: “We Will Accept Any Referendum That Includes All Palestinians”
IMEMC – 2 Dec 2010 – Thursday December 02, 2010 – 10:31, During a meeting with international reporters working in the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister of the dissolved government in Gaza, Ismail Haniyya, stated that his government will accept the results of a public referendum on a peace deal with Israel as long as this referendum includes all Palestinians in the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and in exile.

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More on the Nigeria to charge Dick Cheney in $180 million bribery case By John Byrne

2 December, 2010 — Global ResearchRaw Story

The company that Dick Cheney ran prior to becoming Vice President of the United States was atop the tongue of liberals each time his company was awarded a contract in Iraq.

Now the company’s name, Halliburton, is being spoken somewhere else: Nigeria.

According to a story filed late Wednesday, Cheney will be indicted in a Nigerian bribery case as part of an investigation into an alleged $180 million bribery scandal.

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William Blum: Anti-Empire Report, Number 88

2 DEcember, 2010 — Anti-Empire Report, Number 88

If the house where Julian Assange of Wikileaks is staying is destroyed by a Predator drone, and the United States denies any involvement … Well, I’ll believe them.

One of the most common threads running through the Wikileaks papers is Washington’s manic obsession with Iran. In country after country the United States exerts unceasing pressure on the government to tighten the noose around Iran’s neck, to make the American sanctions as extensive and as painful as can be, to inflate the alleged Iranian nuclear threat, to discourage normal contact as if Iran were a leper.

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