FAIR Supports WikiLeaks

14 December, 2010 — Fairness & Accuracy in Reporting

Stand with Daniel Ellsberg, Barbara Ehrenreich, Arundhati Roy, Noam Chomsky and others–sign FAIR’s petition in support of Wikileaks today.

As journalists, activists, artists, scholars and citizens, we condemn the array of threats and attacks on the journalist organization WikiLeaks. After the website’s decision, in collaboration with several international media organizations, to publish hundreds of classified State Department diplomatic cables, many pundits, commentators and prominent U.S. politicians have called for harsh actions to be taken to shut down WikiLeaks’ operations.

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EI: Israel thinks we’re “very powerful.” So keep us strong

14 December 2010 — The Electronic Intifada

Now we know why Israel is trying to shut down The Electronic Intifada.

Recently I wrote to you and other friends about the attack on The Electronic Intifada by NGO Monitor, an extremist Israeli group that works with the Israel’s far-right government and wants to shut us down.

At a 9 December press conference at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, hosted by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, the head of NGO Monitor said:

“… we also see this combination between a very powerful organization called the Electronic Intifada, and the people who are involved in that, a gentleman by the name of Ali Abunimah in particular, who appears on many, many campuses and frameworks, preaching the Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions and one-state, eliminate-the-State-of-Israel solution…”

Of course NGO Monitor distorts the truth, and tries to misrepresent what we as a publication do and what I as an individual say, but they are right about one thing: we are powerful, because the original news and analysis published by The Electronic Intifada empowers activists all over the world who are working for justice, equality and respect for universal rights in Palestine.

We’re a small publication, standing up to the might of Israel and making a big difference by educating thousands of people every day.

I am privileged to work with an incredible editorial team, and The Electronic Intifada counts on dozens of first class reporters, writers and activists. We can do this work and withstand these attacks only because of the support of people like you. You make us powerful and Israel has noticed.

To remain strong and independent in 2011 we must raise $100,000 by December 31. We’ve already raised almost $30,000, but we still have a long way to go. Be powerful and make a tax-deductible donation today!

With thanks on behalf of The Electronic Intifada Team

Ali Abunimah

PS: You can read more about our campaign, and revisit some of the great articles that have made Israeli so mad! Donate Now http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article2162.shtml . —

The following physical address is associated with this mailing list:

MECCS/EI Project 1507 E. 53rd Street, #500 Chicago, IL 60615, USA http://electronicIntifada.net

Wikileaks: Prelude to a new wave of ‘legal’ repression? By William Bowles

14 December, 2010

This Wikileaks thing is frustrating the life out of me! The release has, in theory at least, exposed the Machiavellian activities of the foreign arm of the US state in all its sordid and mundane expressions, not-to-mention the complete rubbish these ‘experts’ regurgitate, to the entire world. It really is a case of ‘doing your dirty laundry in public’. But right now the last thing we are learning about is the contents. Instead it’s been turned into a media circus all focused on the ‘rapist’, ‘traitor’ and ‘terrorist’ Assange.

Of course the corporate/state media has gone apeshit over Assange, there’s even a new word in the English language, to be ‘Wikied’, all assisted by his dramatic arrest and detention and all the rumours about how the Obama administration wants to get its blood-splattered hands on him.[1] (As I write, Assange has been released on bail of $310,000 or around £200,000, though apparently, he’s still in the slammer for another 48 hours while he raises the dosh).

The clearly trumped-up sexual assault charges, also regurgitated after several months, served to detract from the self-evident importance of the contents of the diplomatic cables and bring the focus of attention onto Assange instead (I bet as he sat in his cell in the awful Wandsworth Prison, he must have been kicking himself for that one-night stand).

The media has played its allotted role firstly by ‘celebritizing’ him, then castigating him and finally demonizing him. It works in a feedback loop with the state’s propaganda, one feeding off the other, back and forwards, until Assange and Wikileaks has nothing to do with blowing open the inner workings of Empire and it’s all to do with the ‘threat to lives’ linked of course to Assange not being able to keep his dick in his pants.

All the other stuff, death threats and other ravings of lunatic right-wing nuts is bullshit, serving only to reinforce the focus on Assange.

The cables and their contents are now clearly a sideshow.

And on the other hand, it does all fit together like one of those Chinese puzzles. Why did Wikileaks go to the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Speigel? Did Assange think the information would not reach public without such massive exposure or that the information wasn’t genuine and it needed the ‘official media’ stamp of approval? This is a troubling question to me. Assange says he chose the three because they were:

“the best newspapers in the world for investigative research.”[2]

But why not take them to the National Security Archive as well, surely the best place to make real sense of a quarter million cables and they would give us the BIG picture. This is what they do! So if what Assange says is true, then it speaks reams about his lack of political acumen.

We know that all three of these newspapers represent corporate interests first and foremost, so with these three representatives of international capital controlling the flow, we know that we only get what they want us to read. In any case, it comes down what they choose to run with, whether it be ‘Batman and Robin’ or the Saudis urging the US to attack Iran (and untrue, the cables said no such thing).

So is it a CIA/State department plot/setup/patsy/black-ops/hidden agenda kinda thing?

Well maybe it is as both Engdahl and now Chossudovsky assert, but it seems an awfully convulated way to attempt take control of the Internet, if this was its intention, which I doubt.

And I say attempt because to my knowledge, short of pulling the plug on every server connected to the Internet, there is no way of controlling the Internet, not for long anyway: as long as it takes to figure out a way around it, which in computer time is not long at all. Why do you think the NSA, CIA et al, hire whizzkid ‘hackers’ in a vain attempt to stay one jump ahead of all those kids out there who eat and sleep programming 24/7?

Back in the early days of computing, the late 70s-early 80s, I knew a few of the early ‘hackers’ and quite a few professional programmers and believe me they liked nothing better than a challenge and they’ve only gotten better in the intervening decades.

Even a country like China, where the WWW connection to the outside world is controlled by the state, it’s still porous. Anybody determined to get access to sites deemed dangerous to the Chinese state and blocked can, just as with the Wikileaks mirrors, access the content via a mirror. Technically speaking as each ip address appears it could be blocked but it would just pop up somewhere else. That’s the entire point of the exercise. Duh-

A far better way of taking control would be to engineer some really big attack on some critical (but not too critical) infrastructure, a kind of digital 9/11, but quite how that would work I don’t know, but it would require that the existing infrastructure be shut down and a new, alternative state-controlled network taking control of the existing infrastructure. What happens to the global circuit capital in the meantime is anybody’s guess. Hey, it might not be such a bad idea after all!

What is dangerous about the turn of events, and here I concur with both Chossudovsky and Engdahl, is that it if there is an ulterior motive it might be a new wave of repressive laws, in all likelihood under the infinitely expanding umbrella of the ‘war on terror’. Already, it’s illegal in many countries to ‘assist terrorists’ by putting up content that might be construed as giving ‘moral support’ to terrorism. So for example, if I put a link here for you donate to ‘al-Qu-eda’ (not sure how that would work as I don’t think they have a real Website), in theory I could be prosecuted as ‘aiding and assisting…blah-blah.

As to Assange’s motives? Who gives a shit? They’re not really relevant but judging by his writings, he strikes me as a very idealistic and naive person, easily duped by women and seduced by the allure of big media. This was why ‘celebritizing’ Assange was extremely important as it set him apart from us mere mortals. It’s a VIP, Access all Areas kinda thing.

Thus it’s vital that we continue to support Wikileaks and Assange and make sure that they don’t turn us all into outlaws by trying to write the truth.

Note

1. See: US grand jury to consider charges against Assange

2. For more on this, see ‘WikiLeaks uses old, new media to publish documents’, — Yahoo News, 26 July, 2010

Lowering Workers’ Wages is the Objective

14 December, 2010 — The Real News Network

Leo Panitch: Big Business opposed to government jobs programs, as their objective is to drive wages down through fear and global competition

Bio
Leo Panitch is the Canada Research Chair in Comparative Political Economy and a Distinguished Research Professor of Political Science at York University in Toronto. Panitch is also the author of “Global Capitalism and American Empire” and his most recent release “American Empire and the Political Economy of International Finance”. In addition to his university affiliation he is also a co-editor of the Socialist Register the latest volume of which is The Crisis This Time.

Operation: LeakSpin — A Message from Anonymous

14 December, 2010 — Operation Leakspin

This project has been founded with the purpose of sorting through recent WikiLeaks releases and raising awareness of potentially important and previously overlooked information. In order to review your research for errors or amend the content the Wikileaks release contained, we have created a small utility which allows contributors to submit and discuss potential content for the website. This idea is generally based on crowd-sourcing.


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Wikileaks, Imperialism and the Western Media By Sean Fenley

10 December, 2010 — The Anything and Everything

It’s odd that what has almost never been overlooked by a single Marxist commentator in human history, seems to be ‘outside of the box’ for many progressive ‘pundits’ and many in the progressive sphere. Of course, after Bush pushed — the MSM willing — for his debacle/bloodbath in Mesopotamia, there seemed to be a great deal of thought put into, apparently, what many had interpreted as a purported failure of the ‘mainstream’ press. Commentators who took this line of approach, one would almost have to wonder, if they had ever read any of the MSM’s scrawlings? And if such persons making such an argument have read the mainstream ‘news’ media; on U.S. foreign policy and a panoply of other things, and believed what it is that they are reading, then such commentators are surely living in a surreality of their own.

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Who is Behind Wikileaks? By Michel Chossudovsky

13 December, 2010 — Global Research

“World bankers, by pulling a few simple levers that control the flow of money, can make or break entire economies. By controlling press releases of economic strategies that shape national trends, the power elite are able to not only tighten their stranglehold on this nation’s economic structure, but can extend that control world wide. Those possessing such power would logically want to remain in the background, invisible to the average citizen.” (Aldus Huxley)

Wikleaks is upheld as a breakthrough in the battle against media disinformation and the lies of the US government.

Unquestionably, the released documents constitute an important and valuable data bank. The documents have been used by critical researchers since the outset of the Wikileaks project. Wikileaks earlier revelations have focussed on US war crimes in Afghanistan (July 2010) as well as issues pertaining to civil liberties and the “militarization of the Homeland” (see Tom Burghardt, Militarizing the “Homeland” in Response to the Economic and Political Crisis, Global Research, October 11, 2008)

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A New Bandung? Samir Amin Interviewed by Christophe Champin

14 December, 2010 — MRZine

Would you say that you’re among the pessimists who regard the five decades of African independence as five lost decades?

I’m not a pessimist and I don’t think that these have been five lost decades.  I remain extremely critical, extremely severe with respect to African states, governments, and political classes, but I’m even more critical about the world system, which is, largely, responsible for Africa’s setbacks.  You know that colonization which people brag about today has been a historic catastrophe.  At the end of its colonization, there were nine Congolese educated to university level in the Belgian Congo.  After 30 years of Mobutu’s regime — one of the vilest regimes ever — this figure grew to hundreds of thousands.  In other words, the worst African regime was 3,000, 5,000 times better than the wonderful Belgian colonization.  It’s important to remember these things.

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Socialism Is Dead!' Long Live the Commons and Social Accounting! By Tom Walker

13 December, 2010 — MRZine

In his essay, “Degrow or Die” in the December/January 2011 Red Pepper magazine, John Bellamy Foster criticized degrowth advocates’ proposals for shorter working hours as not “dealing with the unemployment problem directly” and as not being viable on a broad scale unless they were part of a transition to “a post-capitalist (indeed socialist) society.”  In his reply to Foster’s essay, Ted Benton defended the shorter working week as a potentially transformative innovation that would free time for “constructive, convivial and creative activities” as well as for expanded leisure.

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WikiLeaks founder to make another try to win bail — RT

14 December, 2010 — RT

A London court is to decide whether the founder of the whistleblower website WikiLeaks will be granted bail. Julian Assange is wanted in Sweden on charges of sexual assault, which many of his supporters call false.

On Tuesday, the City of Westminster Magistrates’ Court could be the scene of the final extradition hearing for Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.

Originally, when the case came before a prosecutor in Sweden, she threw it out. It was subsequently picked up by another prosecutor, who decided to take the case into court.

Assange’s supporters believe the charges against him are trumped up. They are believed to be linked to WikiLeaks’ release of US embassy cables, which is embarrassing for the US government and for other governments around the world.

It is expected that Assange, should he finally be extradited to Sweden, will then be almost immediately requested to appear in court in the US.

WikiLeaks’ lawyers are saying that the extradition documents for Assange to go to the US have either already been prepared or their preparation is in progress.

Assange’s supporters say that this is the case of huge double standards in the US – as they lecture other countries on their human rights situation whilst committing an act such as this.

‘WikiLeaks has managed to expose war criminals, corruption, humanitarian crimes, abuses of democracy, backroom dealings, and instead of those people being prosecuted, for what are serious crimes against humanity, instead we are trying to prosecute the person who is exposing these revelations,’ said Sharon Ward, a Justice for Assange campaigner.

Information Clearing House News Letter 13 December, 2010: No Act of Rebellion Is Wasted

13 December, 2010 — Information Clearing House

No Act of Rebellion Is Wasted
By Chris Hedges
Hope and justice live when people, even in tiny numbers, stand up and fight for them.
www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27055.htm

My Life With The Taliban:
By Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef
An excerpt from the fascinating autobiography of former Taliban government spokesman and ambassador to Pakistan, Mullah Abdul Salam Zaeef who spent four years imprisoned in Guantanamo.
www.informationclearinghouse.info/article27057.htm

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Of Wikileaks, Whistleblowers and Whipping Boys By William Fisher

10 December, 2010 — IPS ipsnews.net

NEW YORK, Dec 10, 2010 (IPS) – As pro- and anti-Wikileaks forces draw their battle lines, and Wikileaks’ impresario Julian Assange marks time in storied, overcrowded and very Victorian Wandsworth Prison in southwest London, a group of his supporters are taking a different tack.

assange-support.jpg

A poster in support of Julian Assange created for Wikileaks.org. Credit: creative commons license

No, they’re not hacking MasterCard or Sarah Palin. Instead they’re speaking out in no uncertain terms. Their message: On balance, the staggered release by Wikileaks of some 250,000 diplomatic cables from U.S. embassies around the world is providing a valuable public service for which some believe Assange is being persecuted with trumped up sex charges.

These champions of transparency and enemies of government secrecy are the small but vocal community known as the human rights and press freedom constituencies.

Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, told IPS, ‘Wikileaks has played a critical role in giving the American people the truth about the lies the U.S. government has told about its wars, especially those in the Middle East and Central Asia.’

Regarding Assange’s arrest, he added, ‘Yes, the charges for which he is being investigated need to be investigated. Yet the irregularities in the proceeding are glaring. Why was the case dropped originally? Why was he allowed to leave Sweden?’

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