Friday, July 30, 2010

NewYorker UPDATE: WIKILEAKS: We have met the enemy and he is us. (Reader Supported News)

photo: Getty Images)
White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs
facing WikiLeaks firestorm, 07/26/10.

Off Site report from The New Yorker Sunday August 7, 2010 here

Update: Also see Stephen Lendman here for Friday, July 30, 2010 Damage Control: Downplaying WikiLeaks Revelations "Truths are too disturbing to conceal, downplay them, change the subject, and blame others, not responsible Washington officials and key allies, culpable politicians and media misinformation masters suppressing and misreporting the facts, their well-oiled spin machine counterattacking WikiLeaks - revelations too sensitive to explain, a potential game-changer otherwise, so pundits and reporters duck them./Above all, WikiLeaks "Afghan War Diaries" are a powerful indictment of wars, their true face, the mindless daily slaughter and destruction too disturbing to reveal...One day after their release, following the Senate's passage days earlier on top of $130 billion already approved this year, the House overwhelmingly passed a $60 billion supplemental spending bill, including $37 billion for America's wars, mostly for 30,000 additional troops in Afghanistan. Obama tripled the force since taking office, now around 100,000 and increasing by about 2,000 a month, their numbers exceeded by private military and other contractors, making the annual cost per US soldier $1 million and rising, reason enough to end both wars and bring them home...A day after the WikiLeaks release, (Obama/Admin) ignored old promises, evaded indictable war crimes evidence and a deepening unwinnable quagmire, urging the House authorize more supplemental funding, then engaged in contradictory, deceitful damage control saying:

"While I'm concerned about the disclosure of sensitive information from the battlefield that could potentially jeopardize individuals or operations, the fact is these documents don't reveal any issues that haven't already informed our public debate about Afghanistan. Indeed, they point to the same challenges that led me to conduct an extensive review of our policy last fall."

Instead of withdrawing as earlier promised, he plans escalation, the same Vietnam misjudgment, force levels there reaching 540,000 in December 1969, yet not enough to win, resulting in drawdowns, withdrawal and defeat, now repeating in Afghanistan, then Iraq no matter each country's troop level. Mindless of history, Obama added:

"We've substantially increased our commitment there, insisted upon greater accountability from our partners in Afghanistan and Pakistan, developed a new strategy that can work and put in place a team, including one of our finest generals, to execute that plan. Now we have to see that strategy through," no matter its illegality and futility, what he and Pentagon brass know but won't say, what Congress and the media won't address, supporting a killing machine in violation of US and international law, explained in this writer's July 28 article, accessed through the following link - GO here

Deceitful Media Misinformation

Released in advance to the Guardian, Der Spiegel, and New York Times, the "paper of record" collaborated with White House officials to sanitize it, clearing it in advance before publishing. Its Washington bureau chief, Dean Baquet, confirmed that he and two reporters (Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt) "did in fact (tell them) what we had," Obama officials "prais(ing) us for the way we handled it, giving them a chance to discuss it, and for handling the information with care. And for being responsible."

Responding to readers, Times editor Bill Keller wrote:

"The administration, while strongly condemning (the release), did not suggest (we not) write about them. On the contrary, in our discussions....while challenging some of (our) conclusions....thanked us for handling the documents with care (read sanitizing disturbing truths), and asked us to urge WikiLeaks to withhold information that could cost lives. We did pass along that message."

In addition, he concealed daily war crimes, including mass civilian deaths, many willfully committed. Also, Task Force 373, death squad assassins killing suspected insurgents, cold-blooded murder The Times suppresses, collaborating with imperial lawlessness.

Instead, it focused on "Pakistan's Double Game," a July 27 editorial "confirm(ing) a picture of Pakistani double-dealing that has been building for years," saying "If Mr. Obama cannot persuade Islamabad to cut its ties to, and then aggressively fight, the extremists in Pakistan, there is no hope of defeating the Taliban in Afghanistan," The Times, of course, supporting the Afghan and Iraq wars.

For many decades, it's suppressed disturbing truths, functioning like a propaganda ministry, masquerading as real news, commentary and analysis - why WikiLeaks gave the Guardian and Der Spiepel its documents for more accurate reporting if three papers, not one, had them.

A wise decision given The Times history of supporting privilege, backing corporate interests, knowingly ignoring CIA efforts to topple elected governments, letting the Agency use its correspondents as covert assets, turning a blind eye to electoral fraud, and promoting imperial wars.

In the run-up to attacking Iraq, its star reporter, Judith Miller, by-lined daily Pentagon handouts, scamming the public as a complicit Bush administration agent, a weapon of mass destruction against truth and real journalism by transmitting lies, deceit and agitprop, standard New York Times fare.

For months in 2004, it also concealed the Bush administration's illegal domestic spying program, delaying its report until after the November election, and in 2000 endorsed Bush v. Gore, the first time in US history that the High Court ignored electoral fraud, annulled the popular vote (and final Electoral College count), installing its own preferred candidate over the winner.

The Wall Street Journal is unapologetic about supporting corporate interests, and under Rupert Murdoch the lunatic fringe, neocon extremism, and imperial wars, its July 29 editorial titled "WikiLeaks 'Bastards'" ... Read rest at above links.

...Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at Also visit his blog site at and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.

here posted by Steve Lendman

WikiLeaks Reveals the Enemy ... and It's Us
By Lawrence Davidson, Reader Supported News
29 July 2010


There is the old argument put forth by the National Rifle Association that it is not guns that kill, it is the people who pull the trigger. This, of course, is at best a half-truth. What does the NRA think guns are manufactured for? The downing of clay pigeons? Nonsense. They are made to kill and maim. Be the targets men or lesser animals, be they used in the course of defense or offense, guns are designed and manufactured to inflict deadly harm.

One can say the same thing for armies. They are not put together for marching in parades. They are designed to kill and maim on a large scale. You can change the name of that part of the government that manages professional carnage from the Department of War to the Department of Defense (as the US government did in 1949) but it makes no real difference. Once the military is engaged, the inevitable consequence (and the consequence clearly known to those who run the show) is mayhem. Ask anyone who has gone through basic training about the amount of effort given to learning how not to kill civilians. It will not be insignificant or irrelevant because, unless the fighting is in a desert or on the moon, it is virtually impossible within the framework of modern warfare not to kill non-combatants. Ask a platoon leader what priority he gives to assuring that his targets are not civilians. If the answer is an honest one it will be a rare event when such a consideration even approaches the standard priorities of achieving the mission while "taking care of your men." You might say that this is just how war is. Historically speaking this is true. In terms of ethics it is a flat out indefensible position.

Just how indefensible was revealed this week by the courageous work of WikiLeaks, a website that has carried on the work begun by Daniel Ellsberg when he leaked the Pentagon Papers during the Viet Nam War. This week saw the release of 92,000 records detailing the bloody savagery of American military action in Afghanistan. If one is old enough, this revelation brings on a disturbing episode of deja vu. For those who lived through Viet Nam know that what these records reveal is nothing new. It has all happened before. No doubt it will all happen again. In fact, it must happen again and again as long as war is waged as it is now.

That is why one can only feel nausea when the professionals, from military spokesmen, to "embedded" journalists, to politicians talk of "collateral damage," as if the pulverized bodies of civilians that the US military (and all similar armies the world over) leaves in its wake are somehow accidents. They are not. No matter what the so-called "rules of engagement," the nature of the weapons used and the training of the average enlistee (which emphasizes ever more ruthlessness as one is brought into "special forces") guarantees these civilian deaths. In the modern age of warfare their fate follows like 2+2=4.

Thus, it is significant, and so revealing of our national mentality, that the savagery revealed in the leaked reports is not what most of our leaders are focusing on. Rather, it is the accusation that the reports suggest that the war is being lost. Thus, from the White House to Congress, to the media talk shows, their defense is that this is old data, reflecting the state of the war prior to the president's introduction of a new strategy and a surge in troop strength. While I believe that the war in Afghanistan is, just like Viet Nam, an unwinnable affair, this sort of debate misses the point of these revelations. It is not about winning or losing. It is about utter destruction. It is about the tens of thousands of human beings who have already irredeemably lost this war.

In the United States, war is a massive industry. We ignored Dwight Eisenhower's warning about the growing military-industrial complex and so this vast interlinked network is now one of the foundations of the US economy. The vested interests involved here are of every class and every ethnicity. To rapidly dismantle this complex risks depression for the nation. To come to a clear recognition of this situation is like looking into the abyss. Indeed, the vast majority of people will refuse to look. And they will support the hunting down of those who have invited them to look (Julian Assange, co-founder of WikiLeaks, is now a wanted man). The government will label them traitors, put them in prison and throw away the key.

Frederic Nietzsche tells us the parable of the death of god. A madman shows up in a town one day and proclaims the death of god and identifies the murderers as we the people. The implication here is that the modern age is what really did god in. Moderns have ceased to pay anything but lip service to god and so he, she or it is really just a dead idol. We can extend the parable to ethics. The people at WikiLeaks are the madmen who have come to town to tell us that we have no ethics; that our pitiful claim to be civilized is just an act of self-delusion because the nature of modern warfare has murdered ethics. By the way, in Nietzsche's story the messenger is simply dismissed as insane. As noted above, the WikiLeaks people will have a much rougher time of it.

Finally, on Armistice Day in 1948, a colleague of Dwight Eisenhower, General Omar Bradley, made a speech in which he said "The world has achieved brilliance without wisdom, power without conscience....." It was not a particularly original observation, for in one form or another it has been said many times before and many times since. The implication is that tomorrow will probably look very much like today. And so it will. As a wise swamp possum once observed, "We have met the enemy ... and he is us."

Lawrence Davidson is a professor of Middle East history at West Chester University in Pennsylvania, and author of the works listed below.

Contributing Editor: Logos: A Journal of Modern Society & Culture

"Foreign Policy Inc.: Privatizing America's National Interest"

"America's Palestine: Popular and Offical Perceptions from Balfour to Israeli Statehood"

"Islamic Fundamentalism"



    The Guantánamo Effect: Exposing the Consequences of US Detention and Interrogation Practices by Laurel Fletcher and Eric Stover
    California , 210 pp, £10.95, October 2009, ISBN 978 0 520 26177 8

    As Deborah points out, it provides good food for thought about compensation owed by Aero Contractors and the CIA for those whose lives have been destroyed by torture and ER. From Fletcher and Stover’s interviews with 62 former Guantanamo detainees:

    “Only six of the 62 respondents said they were in full-time work; 34 had no work at all. A majority believe that the US government should offer them compensation for ‘wrongful imprisonment’. ‘If they have any proof regarding my case,’ one remarked, ‘and even if they find me guilty now, I’m ready to be punished; otherwise they should compensate me.’ Fletcher and Stover tend to agree. They call for a non-partisan commission to investigate the detention policy in Guantánamo and all the so-called ‘black sites’, and go on to raise the possibility of compensation when rights have been clearly violated. Which covers most of the cases in this study.”

  2. Massive National Security Leak Exposes Afghan War Secrets

    On Sunday, WikiLeaks released some 90,000 plus documents exposing many previously secret details of the Afghan War. "The number of official stories which have turned out to be complete lies is absolutely staggering," said Jason Ditz. Quoted at the New York Times blog "At War," Justin Raimondo said, "What's particularly bad, from the perspective of the Obama administration officials charged with selling this war to the American people, is the dramatic portrayal of the sheer chaos enveloping our military effort. ... Oh, and by the way, the Taliban is apparently armed with portable heat-seeking missiles -- a fact the administration has been covering up."

    While Bradley Manning -- the alleged leaker of the "Collateral Murder" video -- remains in jail in Kuwait, the Pentagon has launched a manhunt to identify others responsible for the most recent leak. Sen. Lindsey Graham admonished WikiLeaks for "undermining the war effort," and the FBI is working to assist the Defense Department with its criminal investigation.

    WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange told Antiwar Radio's Scott Horton on Wednesday that he has another 15,000 documents under review and still has plans to release the Garani video. Pentagon Papers leaker Daniel Ellsberg also made an appearance on the show to discuss how WikiLeaks has changed the face of both journalism and government transparency. He urged other leakers to follow suit, saying now is the time to come forward.

    To hear more about this development, listen to Horton's interviews with author James Bovard, Birgitta Jonsdottir of the Icelandic parliament, former CIA analyst Ray McGovern, columnist Eric Margolis, Mike Gogulski of, and Jason Ditz.

    NOTE: Transcripts are now available for Assange, Ellsberg, and Ditz.

    To read more about the "Afghan War Diaries," please see:

    * Why We Need WikiLeaks, by Justin Raimondo
    * State of Denial, by Norman Solomon
    * Leaked Reports Make Afghan War Policy More Vulnerable, by Gareth Porter
    * Obama's Afghanistan Strategy Increasingly Under Siege, by Jim Lobe
    * Leaky Vessels, by Chris Floyd

    MEDIA ALERT! Justin Raimondo will be on Fox Business Channel Freedom Watch with Judge Andrew Napolitano this weekend to discuss WikiLeaks! Air dates and times:

    * Saturday 7/29 10 a.m. ET
    * Saturday 7/29 8 p.m. ET
    * Sunday 7/30 7 p.m. ET
    * Sunday 7/30 11 p.m. ET

    House Ignores Leak, Approves War Funding

    Leave it to the House to completely disregard this week's embarrassing dump of the "Afghan War Diaries" and charge ahead with a $59 billion bill, more than $33 billion of which will be directly dedicated to continuing the war in Afghanistan.

    Bringing to light "the grim realities of the war ... in ways that nothing before ever could," the leaked documents provided "excruciating detail, showing just how poorly the war has been going, how many civilians have been killed, and how aware of both of these facts the military has been, despite its official claims to the contrary," said Ditz in the Herald News of Fall River, Mass.

    "Yet when it came down to it, with all excuses gone, and with no ability to credibly claim the war is anything but an unmitigated disaster, the hawkish members of Congress did what they always do; voted for the war and condemned the leaks on general principle."

    In "Afghan War Leaks Expose Costly, Deceitful March of Folly," Ray McGovern asked: "Would you say yes to an additional $33.5 billion for this fool's errand?"