John Pilger: Why are wars not being reported honestly?

10 December, 2010 — The Guardian

The public needs to know the truth about wars. So why have journalists colluded with governments to hoodwink us?

Watch a preview of John Pilger’s powerful new film, The War You Don’t See, including interviews with Rageh Omaar and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange Link to this video

In the US Army manual on counterinsurgency, the American commander General David Petraeus describes Afghanistan as a “war of perception . . . conducted continuously using the news media”. What really matters is not so much the day-to-day battles against the Taliban as the way the adventure is sold in America where “the media directly influence the attitude of key audiences”. Reading this, I was reminded of the Venezuelan general who led a coup against the democratic government in 2002. “We had a secret weapon,” he boasted. “We had the media, especially TV. You got to have the media.”

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Information Clearing House Newsletter 10 December, 2010: Halliburton May Pay $500 million to Keep Cheney out of Prison: Report

10 December, 2010 — Information Clearing House

Why Are Wars Not Being Reported Honestly?
By John Pilger
The public needs to know the truth about wars. So why have journalists colluded with governments to hoodwink us?

Lebanon Holds its Breath Over Leaked Revelations
By Robert Fisk in Beirut
The Hezbollah party is using the cables as proof of UN involvement with Washington – and thus, by extension, with Israel – and politicians are desperately denying that they gave intelligence information to the Americans about Hezbollah’s secret communications system.

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Incredible – over 500,000 signatures in one day for press freedom! Join the massive outcry and spread the word…

11 September, 2010 — Avaaz

The chilling intimidation campaign against WikiLeaks (when they have broken no laws) is an attack on freedom of the press and democracy. We urgently need a massive public outcry to stop the crackdown — let’s get to 1 million voices and take out full page ads in US newspapers this week!


Dear friends,
The massive campaign of intimidation against WikiLeaks is sending a chill through free press advocates everywhere.

Legal experts say WikiLeaks has likely broken no laws. Yet top US politicians have called it a terrorist group and commentators have urged assassination of its staff. The organization has come under massive government and corporate attack, but WikiLeaks is only publishing information provided by a whistleblower. And it has partnered with the world’s leading newspapers (NYT, Guardian, Spiegel etc) to carefully vet the information it publishes.

The massive extra-judicial intimidation of WikiLeaks is an attack on democracy. We urgently need a public outcry for freedom of the press and expression. Sign the petition to stop the crackdown and forward this email to everyone — let’s get to 1 million voices and take out full page ads in US newspapers this week!

WikiLeaks isn’t acting alone — it’s partnered with the top newspapers in the world (New York Times, The Guardian, Der Spiegel, etc) to carefully review 250,000 US diplomatic cables and remove any information that it is irresponsible to publish. Only 800 cables have been published so far. Past WikiLeaks publications have exposed government-backed torture, the murder of innocent civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan, and corporate corruption.

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An ugly video to get Jews to support war with Iran – Blog Post

11 December, 2010 — Palestine Note

A friend just sent me this video. It’s posted on the website of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, one of the largest mainstream Jewish organizations with offices in every major city and many small town across America.

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It’s historic goal is the defense of American Jews.

It has numerous constituent organizations including AIPAC, American Jewish Committee, Hadassah, the Union of Reform Judaism, the Orthodox Union, B’nai B’rith and pretty much ever “mainstream” organization you can name. (I thought the Reform Jewish movement was progressive).

It does everything by consensus including putting this garbage up on its website which, I have to say, reminds me of the the anti-Israel and anti-Jewish propaganda found in radical sectors of the Arab world today. Pure incitement.

What gives? I mean, these guys are entitled to be worried about an Iranian bomb. Who isn’t. But why the ugly fear-mongering? To put it simply, this video — endorsed by the so-called mainstream Jewish organizations — is clearly not designed to advance diplomacy. It is designed to advance war?

And I ask: in whose name?

VTJP Palestine/Israel Newslinks 10 December, 2010: Israel to Destroy Electric Infrastructure Near Hebron

10 December, 2010 — VTJP


International Middle East Media Center

Arab Store Owners In East Jerusalem Forced To Write Store Names In Hebrew
IMEMC – 10 Dec 2010 – Saturday December 11, 2010 – 05:53, The Jerusalem Municipality is trying to oblige store owners in Arab East Jerusalem neighborhoods to change the language of their store signs into Hebrew, and informed the owners that, unless they do so, their stores will not be licensed and they will have to be shut down.

Soldiers Attack Bil’in Weekly Protest
IMEMC – 10 Dec 2010 – Saturday December 11, 2010 – 05:26, As Palestinian residents of Bil’in village, near Ramallah, accompanied by Israeli and international Peace activists, held their weekly nonviolent protest against the Annexation Wall and settlements, Israeli soldiers violently attacked them and kidnapped two activists.

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A conspiracy to silence? By William Bowles

10 December, 2010

‘Wikileaks has not been charged with a single US crime…and here the country’s financial institutions are taking action on behalf of our state department to extinguish this whistleblower’s website.’ — Jeff Paterson, Project Director of Courage to Resist, ‘KKK OK but not WikiLeaks for some payment processors

“What is emerging from all the sound and Wikileaks fury in Washington is that the entire scandal is serving to advance a long-standing Obama and Bush agenda of policing the until-now free Internet. Already the US Government has shut the Wikileaks server in the United States though no identifiable US law has been broken.” — ‘Wikileaks: A Big Dangerous US Government Con Job?‘, F. William Engdahl, Global Research

And even as the corporate/state media attack Wikileaks and Julian Assange, they continue to (selectively) publish the leaked cables.

‘One other incredible thing about the persecution is that so many people are falsely reporting that WikiLeaks has dumped 250,000 documents but it’s not true at all. They were only putting stuff up on their webpage, when the New York Times, Der Spiegel, The Guardian or El Pais were putting them up. They were very useful to the US government in some ways’ — Sam Husseini, Institute for Public Accuracy

In fact only some .047% of the documents have so far been published and in any case, has Assange really broken the law by publishing the cables?

Here’s what Australian legal experts have to say on the subject:

A member of Mr Assange’s legal team, Jennifer Robinson, says the Prime Minister’s assertion that the website’s publication of the documents is illegal goes too far.

JENNIFER ROBINSON: Well her comments were made outside of Parliament so they’re certainly not privileged and I think it was misguided to suggest that he had committed a crime in England and, indeed, defamatory. Though I think that Prime Minister Gillard’s account will probably come at the ballot box.

SIMON LAUDER: US and Australian authorities are working to find any laws which may have been violated by WikiLeaks.

The President of Liberty Victoria, Spencer Zifcak, says the website doesn’t seem to have done anything illegal.

SPENCER ZIFCAK: All WikiLeaks have done is publish documents that have been given to it. Now the interesting thing about that is WikiLeaks is publishing these documents in association with some of the great newspapers of the world.

So if WikiLeaks is to be charged with the disclosure of official information then presumably these major newspapers will also be in the guns. But I can’t see the authorities, either in Australia or the United States, pursuing those newspapers. — ‘Law experts say WikiLeaks in the clear’, ‘The World Today‘, 7 December, 2010

Could it be, as F. William Engdahl asserts, a con job by the US government to take control of the Internet?

On the face of it, just as with the use of the ‘War on Terror’ to clamp down on freedom of expression and our civil liberties, there is something to be said for Engdahl’s assertion.

That said, the very fact that over half-a-million people have already signed a petition calling for hands off Wikileaks, only a couple of days after the petition went live, reveals that whatever the truth of the leaks, it has stirred up a lot people. If as Engdahl asserts it was actually the US government that released the cables, so far it has had the opposite effect by galvanizing opposition to any attempt to censor the Web, let alone expose US diplomats as bunch of ignorant and arrogant louts.

This is part of what Engdahl has to say on the subject:

“It is almost too perfectly-scripted to be true. A discontented 22-year old US Army soldier on duty in Baghdad, Bradley Manning, a low-grade US Army intelligence analyst, described as a loner, a gay in the military, a disgruntled “computer geek,” sifts through classified information at Forward Operating Base Hammer. He decides to secretly download US State Department email communications from the entire world over a period of eight months for hours a day, onto his blank CDs while pretending to be listening to Lady Gaga.”

Put this way, it does sound somewhat far-fetched, yet what is the source Engdahl’s assertion that it’s a put-up job? He offers no source for us to check so I have no idea if Manning is the source of the cables or how he acquired them (if indeed it was Manning who released the cables), and as Manning is languishing in a Federal slammer, we can’t ask him.

But then judging by the halfwits who wrote these cables, maybe they did think they could pull off a Web version of 9/11? The question then is, can they do it?

Already there are more than 1500 Wikileaks mirror sites so short of shutting down the entire global Internet, it’s difficult to see how censoring the Web can be achieved but again it reveals just how ignorant the ruling elite is about how things actually work.

So, US government conspiracy or not, ultimately it makes no difference how the cables came into the public domain (and so far it’s only a eight hundred of the over 250,000), the damage has been done. The legitimacy of the state has been challenged by their release and things will never be the same again. No longer will we take at face value anything the ruling elite say about the reasons for their actions in public even if all 250,000 cables were actually invented which clearly they’re not. Though of course, 99% are not even confidential let alone secret. These are mostly the day-to-day ramblings of bored diplomatic staff.

So it is conceivable that the selection of the releases was engineered by the US government but clearly whatever they intended to happen as a result seems to have backfired big time. But as they don’t even have a firm grasp on how the internet works, what with over 1500 Wikileaks mirror sites in dozens of countries, it shouldn’t be a surprise to us (the law of unintended consequences eg, the Israeli attack on the Mavi Marmara, which did more to bring the focus on the plight of the Palestinians into the public eye than even Operation Cast Lead).

Made in Dagenham: Lessons for Today from the Golden Age of Factory Unrest? by Steve Early

9 December, 2010 — MRZine

In 1968, the world was transfixed by global student unrest.  Less attention was paid to factory uprisings that occurred at the same time and overlapped with campus protests in places like France.  In one small corner of the Ford Motor Company’s huge production complex in Dagenham, England, several hundred women did their part in the “year of revolt.”  Toiling in their own-sex-segregated department, the only females in a plant of 55,000 had walked out many times in the past, over strike issues dear to their male co-workers.  Now, it was their turn to shut down sewing machines, stop production of seat covers, and picket Ford over a pay dispute with broader social implications.

Made in Dagenham is the story of their strike — born of working-class feminist consciousness in a labor movement even more dominated by “the lads” forty years ago than it is today.  Schmaltzy, upbeat, and out of synch with our current workplace gestalt of hopelessness and defeat, this filmis just what the head doctor ordered for holiday entertainment.  It is, by far, the best popular depiction of union activist creation since Ken Loach’s Bread and Roses and Martin Ritt’s Norma Rae.  If unions don’t use it to train shop stewards and bargaining committee members, that failure of labor education imagination will be understandable because Made in Dagenham captures the frequent tension between labor’s full-time officialdom and its working members, particularly during strikes.

The strike leader played by Sally Hawkins in Nigel Cole’s new movie is a very British version of the Southern textile worker portrayed so famously by Sally Fields in 1979.  Rita O’Grady is not even a union steward in the film’s early scenes of shop-floor life and work.  She steps into that role only because her older co-worker, Connie, is dealing with the suicidal depression of her husband, a damaged survivor of wartime duty in the RAF.  Unlike the mill where Norma Rae toiled, the Dagenham plant is completely organized.  Unfortunately, with the exception of Albert, a loveable chief steward ally (wonderfully played by Bob Hoskins), the union, which is a composite of several actually involved, seems to function as an arm of Ford’s HR department, a labor-management relationship not unknown to autoworkers in this country.

The political traditions of British trade unions give this arrangement humorous left cover.  In one memorable scene, a clutch of worried officials, in jackets and ties, are trying to talk Rita out of strike action that might upend some murky, big-picture strategy the leadership is pursuing.  While condescending to the only worker in the room, they address each other as “comrade” and invoke Marx as the final authority on what should and should not be done!

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WikiLeaks News Roundup 11 December, 2010

11 December, 2010 —

11 December, 2010