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So there's the news. And, no, it's not pretty. And it's really time to worry. People are struggling. People have lost jobs. People are scared of losing their jobs.
Tom Engelhardt's "Entering the Soviet Era in America" (Information Clearing House) opens with:
Mark it on your calendar. It seems we’ve finally entered the Soviet era in America.
You remember the Soviet Union, now almost 20 years in its grave. But who gives it a second thought today? Even in its glory years that “evil empire” was sometimes referred to as “the second superpower.” In 1991, after seven decades, it suddenly disintegrated and disappeared, leaving the United States -- the “sole superpower,” even the “hyperpower,” on planet Earth -- surprised but triumphant.
The USSR had been heading for the exits for quite a while, not that official Washington had a clue. At the moment it happened, Soviet “experts” like Secretary of Defense Robert Gates (then director of the CIA) still expected the Cold War to go on and on. In Washington, eyes were trained on the might of the Soviet military, which the Soviet leadership had never stopped feeding, even as its sclerotic bureaucracy was rotting, its economy (which had ceased to grow in the late 1970s) was tanking, budget deficits were soaring, indebtedness to other countries was growing, and social welfare payments were eating into what funds remained. Not even a vigorous, reformist leader like Mikhail Gorbachev could staunch the rot, especially when, in the late 1980s, the price of Russian oil fell drastically.
Looking back, the most distinctive feature of the last years of the Soviet Union may have been the way it continued to pour money into its military -- and its military adventure in Afghanistan -- when it was already going bankrupt and the society it had built was beginning to collapse around it. In the end, its aging leaders made a devastating miscalculation. They mistook military power for power on this planet. Armed to the teeth and possessing a nuclear force capable of destroying the Earth many times over, the Soviets nonetheless remained the vastly poorer, weaker, and (except when it came to the arms race) far less technologically innovative of the two superpowers.
The USSR spent itself into financial ruin as it attempted an arms race, the same appears to be happening here. And there was Robert Gates, Defense Secretary, begging Congress for more money. We're spending on all the wrong things and long have been and yet we're the ones who will have to 'cut back.' Our Social Security, for example, will be cut due to debt. But the wars we never wanted, the weapons we never cried out for will continue to be sink holes for our tax dollars.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Thursday:
Thursday, June 17, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, England continues forced deportations of Iraqi refugees, Sahwa members remain targeted in Iraq, Turkey and Iran shell northern Iraq, and more.
In Iraq, the targeting of Sahwa continues. Sahwa -- also known as "Awakenings" and "Sons Of Iraq" -- are Sunni (largely Sunni, though Gen David Petreaus told Congress in 2008 there were some Shi'ites as well) fighters who went on the US payroll after they agreed to stop attacking the US military in Iraq and to stop attacking their equipment. The Sahwa then were in charge of securing their own areas. Nouri al-Maliki was long ago supposed to have brought them into the Iraqi forces, put them on the payroll and paid them regularly. None of that happened.
Quick to feed our hungry hopes
A feast of our affections we were born anew
With open eyes we tried to make it work
And for a while the magic took
But cracks began to show as soon as things got hard
-- "Awakenings," written by Sarah McLachlan, from her new album Laws Of Illusion released this week and Sarah's on tour all summer with various artists on the traveling Lilith Fair festival
He was claiming in the summer of 2008 that too many of them could not be trusted. This month, he pulled Sahwa's right to carry firearms in Diayala Province. AFP reports that the latest attack on Sahwa took place today in a village outside Falluja (Al Anbar Province). Yasmine Mousa and Timothy Williams (New York Times) report it was a home invasion and the assailants used "automatic weapons" to kill Khudair Hamad al-Issawi, his wife and their three children and: "The killings occured about 10 days after responsibility for security in the village had been transferred from the Iraqi police to the Iraqi Army. Members of the Iraqi police complianed about the transfer, arguing that they knew the area better and that they were themselves former Awakening Council members." Kim Gamel (AP) notes, "The farmer, his wife, two daughters and a son were killed, according to local police chief Brig. Gen. Mahmoud al-Issawi. Another son was wounded." Leila Fadel and Aziz Alwan (Washington Post) add, "At least 47 members of the Awakening, or Sahwa, also known as the Sons of Iraq, and their family members have been killed across the country in the past 45 days, according to a Washington Post count."
The Economist notes that sectarian tensions continue to build in Iraq and that violence is rising while there is "no new government in sight" as the months drag by with no prime minister declared:
During this time, no new laws have been passed, no new national vision enunciated. Violence, though far less bloody than three years ago, has risen again. Worst of all, Iraq's ethno-sectarian divisions seem as deep as ever. No Iraqi equipped to appeal across them looks likely to emerge as prime minister. Indeed, though a party strongly backed by the Sunni Arab minority narrowly won the most votes and seats in the March election, the two biggest mainly Shia alliances, which came second and third, have agreed to gang up in a wider front to form a ruling coalition in which the Sunnis may not play much of a part. Since the two mainly Shia alliances teamed up only recently, it is unclear whether the constitution should treat them as the election winners and give them first shot at forming a government.
March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. Three months and two days later, still no government. 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance. Together, the two still lack four seats necessary (or so it is thought) to form the government.
Looking at the stalemate, Sami Moubayed (Middle East Online) sees a power struggle going on within the Iraqi National Alliance which doesn't involve Nouri. He sees the power struggle between Moqtada al-Sadr (whose bloc holds the most Parliament seats in the Iraqi National Alliance) and Ammar al Hakim, "For years, Al Sadr had accused Al Hakim's father of being an Iranian stooge, because he fought alongside the Iranians during the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. Al Sadr has always boasted that he never fled Iraq -- not for a single day during the heyday of the Saddam regime -- while the Al Hakim family spent years in Tehran, and were bankrolled and protected by the Iranians. [. . .] Now that Abdul Aziz Al Hakim is gone, the rivalry between the two turbaned young men is stronger than ever. They come from heavyweight families that have competed for leadership of the Shiite community for decades, are both sons of legendary figures, and happen to be only two years apart in terms of age." Hamza Hendawi and Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) focus on the rumors that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is no longer standing apart from politics but has now become a partisan and, on behalf of Iran, brokering political deals including the power-sharing coalition between State Of Law and Iraqi National Alliance.
In other news, Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) reports on US military 'team building efforts' between Kurdish and Arab security forces, "The deployment is a sign of how seriously U.S. commanders view the threat of an Arab-Kurdish conflict. An initiative of Army Gen. Ray T. Odierno, the commander of American troops in Iraq, the deployment of U.S., Arab and Kurdish forces was originally billed as a means to protect lightly guarded towns and villages on both sides of the line that were hit last summer by Al Qaeda in Iraq suicide bombings." But how effective these exercises can be in the best of times is unknown and certainly Kurdish forces are not experiencing the best of times as northern Iraq remains under assault by the Turkish and Iranian military. With at least two Turkish soldiers killed this week in border clashes with the PKK, the Turkish military has been bombing northern Iraq and sent in at least 800 soldiers on the ground. You really think 'team building' is going to take or this is the time?Ivan Watson and Yesim Comert (CNN) report that Turkish officials say they've pulled their soldiers out of Iraq and that "At least 12 Turkish soldiers and sailors have been killed by increasingly bold rebel attacks over the last three weeks. But the fighting has been upstaged by Turkey's rapidly deteriorating relations with former ally Israel." The fighting has been upstaged by whom? By a media that can't cover more than one story at a time? By a feeding frenzy resulting from a bunch of chicken s**t producers and editors who are so scared of losing their jobs that they cover exactly what everyone else is covering because everyone else is covering it?And Iran? Ranj Alaaldin (Guardian) notes: Over the past month Iran has continuously and relentlessly shelled villages along its border with Iraqi Kurdistan, displacing thousands, wounding many and killing one 14-year-old girl. The ostensible target of these attacks is the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan, an Iranian-Kurdish militant movement known as Pejak. However, the decision to send military units across the border and establish bases (according to Kurdish sources) could be part of a broader Iranian strategy to maintain a long-term physical presence inside Kurdish territory. At the very least it is a provocative measure that Iran may justify on the basis of what it considers to be a threat posed by Pejak, but the reasons may go beyond this. Cross-border incursions (shelling included) have been a convenient way for neighbouring states to send a subtle message to Iraq's political actors. This includes reminding them of the limitations on the level of success they can achieve, particularly as American troops withdraw. The 14-year-old he's mentioning was Basouz Jabbar Agha. And the Iranian military entered Iraq and set up a base in northern Iraq. (Which Iran will no doubt insist -- if outlets produce photos -- is really on the Iranian side of the border and that Iraq is trying to advance into their territory. Similar to the 'explanations' offered when Iran attempted to seize an Iraqi oil well (last December). Meanwhile Middle East Newsline reports that the "U.S." military has asserted that Iraq does not intend to shut down an Iranian opposition camp." That's Camp Ashraf. US Lt Col Bob Owen is quoted stating, "United States Forces-Iraq has absolutely no control over Camp Ashraf. Camp Ashraf is in the complete hands of the government of Iraq. Camp Ashraf is not closing on July 1st." Camp Grizzly, the US base, is closing and it's said to have 'protected' the MEK residents of Camp Ashraf. Said to? The assault last July by Nouri's forces was carried out in full of the US military and they did nothing to stop it. Earlier the US government and military had promised the residents protection and led them to believe this was protection with no end-date. Whereas the Bush administration was not afraid to press on this issue, the Obama administration has never known what the hell was going on in Iraq. (Call it "Chris Hill Syndrome.") A year after the deadly assault, Camp Grizzly is closing and the US military's flacks are insisting to the press that Camp Ashraf, like a Celine Dion song, will go on. This in contrast to a report Press TV is carrying which has Iraq eager to crack down on the MEK. The report is filled with laughable assertions about 'terrorist operations' in Iran -- current and future -- when the MEK in Iraq is not shuttling back and forth to Iran. The Iranian government has also accused the United Kingdom of backing the MEK (under the Bush Doctrine and the Obama Doctrine, that allegation alone gives Iran the 'right' to bomb the United Kingdom). Sify reports the UK Foreign Office denies the charges. Reuters notes that Iran is also accusing "France, Sweden and other Western nations" of the same support and claiming that they arrested MEK from Iraq on Saturday in Tehran while residents of Camp Ashraf deny the charge. As all the above takes place, Benjamin Harvey (Bloomberg News) reports Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan denies that Iran is an ally of his country. The article avoids the two countries (Turkey and Iran) attacking northern Iraq and Kurdish terrorists or 'terrorists.' The Kurdish region was the subject of a report issued yesterday. Human Rights Watch released "They Took Me and Told Me Nothing: Female Genital Mutilation in Iraqi Kurdistan" (link goes to HTML overview, report is in PDF format). The 80-page report documents the continued and widespread practice of FGM in the KRG. Besides the wire services, the New York Times' Namo Abdulla and Timothy Williams, CNN and BBC's Jim Muir covered the report. At Babylon & Beyond (Los Angeles Times blog), Becky Lee Katz and Asso Ahmed note: Nadya Khalife, a Middle East and North Africa researcher at Human Rights Watch, called for action from the Kurdish authorities. "FGM violates women's and children's rights, including their rights to life, health, and bodily integrity. It's time for the regional government to step up to the plate and take concrete actions to eliminate this harmful practice because it simply won't go away on its own," Khalife said. "Eradicating it in Iraqi Kurdistan will require strong and dedicated leadership on the part of the regional government, including a clear message that FGM will no longer be tolerated." Stephen Jones (Epoch Times) also covers the report: The World Health Organization (WHO) defines FGM as comprising "all procedures that involve partial or total removal of the external female genitalia, or other injury to the female genital organs for nonmedical reasons." FGM is recognized internationally as a violation of the human rights of girls and women, says the WHO. The practice is relatively uncommon in the rest of Iraq, but has taken root in Kurdistan, where it is sometimes advocated by local Sunni Muslim clerics. You can also refer to Jason Van Boom's "Call for Kurdistan to Ban Female Genital Cutting" (Illume). Turning to some of the violence reported today (in addition to the home invasion which killed the Sahwa member and his family) . . .
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing targeting a US convoy with no dead or wounded reported and, dropping back to Wednesday for all that follows, a Tikrit sticky bombing which injured one person and Iran continue to shell villages in Erbil
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 man was shot dead in Baquba yesterday and anotehr wounded. Reuters notes a Kirkuk shooting which left a teacher injured.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse was discovered in Baghdad yesterday.
Naaser is an Iraqi refugee who left his country for Lebanon due to violence. He shares his story with the Guardian and notes, "Iraq is destroyed. There is death everywhere. There was a lot of talk about democracy when the Americans first came but it is the same as it was under Saddam [Hussein]. Democracy is something we only hear about, it's something I might see when I'm an old man. What kind of democracy is that? Killing, stealing, torturing; the old government, and the new. There is no protection in Iraq. The fear will turn your hair grey. All I wanted to do was get out of Iraq. There is so much poverty there, I was providing for six members of my family but earning only $2 a month."
So far, Nasser hasn't been sent by to Iraq. Others haven't been so lucky. England and other European countries have apparently decided the best way to celebrtae World Refugee Day this year was forced deportations. Which makes you fear just how they might choose to observe November 20th (Universal Children's Day). Jim Muir (BBC News) reports that the UK, Sweden and the Netherlands deported Iraqis last week. Some of the forced returns remain in custody of Iraqi security forces at the airport still. What a welcome. Muir explains that the terminology is "enforced return" and that "Those on the list for deportation told the BBC they had already been moved to short-term holding centres ready for a flight they do not want to take." And flights that the UNHCR, Amnesty International and others have warned should not be taking place. Sam Jones (Guardian) reports:
Keith Best, the chief executive of the Medical Foundation for the Care of Victims of Torture, said the charity shared the UNHCR concern about the violence in the region, and had seen evidence of torture. "With the highly-volatile security situation and continuing human rights abuses in Iraq, I'd ask how the government can assure the safety of those being returned," Best said. "The Medical Foundation has provided care and treatment to a significant number of Iraqis … who have fled to Britain having been tortured in Iraq. Their health and security depends on adequate rehabilitation and stability."The charity's own experience, he said, suggested torture still happened in Iraq. "The UK Border Agency should be identifying torture survivors … and not sending anyone back unless it can be demonstrated their human rights will be respected."Iraqi refugee Ziad al-Dulaimi is an Iraqi refugee in England -- at least for now -- and he tells Al Jazeera that the deportations are taking place at the request of Nouri al-Maliki, according to what he's been told by British government officials:The batch that was deported last week had difficult times, I know two of them. They called me and said they refused to leave the plane and security forces climbed on board and beat them. How can we go back to humiliation? On the other side, what are we costing the British government? Nothing. When I came to the UK five years ago, I was detained in Dover. They would not release me until I signed a paper saying I would never ask any financial help from the British government. Why can't they be patient until things are really better in Iraq?
Last week on Inside Story (Al Jazeera), Iraqi refugee Arevan Mohammed explained what his proceeding at the United Kingdom Border Agency (Arevan remains in England at present). We'll excerpt this section.
Mike Hanna: Let me go back to Arevan Mohammed and we understand that when you had your interview about deportation, there were Iraqi members present during that interview. Is that correct?
Arevan Mohammed: Is that correct? Yes. Basically when I had an interview, an immigration officer denied me access to my representative -- legal representative. I pleaded with him to just let me bring my legal representative with me because you are forcing me to be interviewed with some peoples which you are putting my life in danger with. But basically he denied that. After when I went to the interview I basically told them I live in the UK and I would prefer the interview has to run with an English language. The [Iraqi] Interior Minister diplomat, he became annoyed in some point in the interview and he shouted at me [. . .] "I know what I'm going to do with you by the time you're returning back home and I will put you -- I know where I will put you and how I will treat you." So don't you think that's a threat? In the middle of a democracy, like the country of UK, Iraqi diplomats threatening me by the time I will return back to Iraq, he's simply telling me, I will put you in hidden prison or secret prison and I will kill you later on."
Meanwhile Helsingin Sanomat reports that they've learned Air Finland is transporting the refugees and:The Finnish airline Air Finland Ltd has its head office in the Helsinki-Vantaa Airport complex.More than half of the airline is owned by Berling Capital Ltd., belonging to CEO Esa Karppinen and his family, while 45 per cent of the airline is owned by its executive management.In 2009, Air Finland posted a sales profit of more than EUR 2 million.In the current year, the airline has started the sales of package tours to a number of destinations, including Turkey.The airline's package tours use the same planes as those used for the repatriation of asylum-seekers. Iraq is a failed state as the Fund for Peace's report [PDF format warning] "Iraq On The Edge: Iraq Report #10 2009 - 2010" makes clear (see yesterday's snapshot for overview). And that's what Iraqis are being sent back to.
World Refugee Day is this Sunday (June 20th). Yesterday, Mike Hanna (Inside Story, Al Jazeera) spoke with Stop Deportations To Iraq's Richard Whittle, Euro Council On Refugees and Exiles' Bjarte Vandvik and UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards. We'll excerpt the following:
Richard Whittel: Iraq continues to suffer from the consequences of war. Iraqi refugees leaving that and going to, for examples, countries like the UK. When they get to the UK, they're then faced with anti-immigrant -- I mean, hysteria is a fair word for it -- encouraged by governments and the right-wing media which is then leading to people being forcibly deported from the UK. For example, last week there was a flight from the UK and Sweden to Baghdad with 50 people on. There's another one scheduled for tomorrow back to Iraq which continues to suffer from the insecurity and violence caused by the war. [. . .] And a further compliction of this is that, for example, 13 of the people who were deported on the flight, I mentioned, last week from the UK and Sweden to Baghdad, are currently still in detention in Baghdad Airport because the authorities there say they do not have the right i.d., they do not have proof they're Iraqis which begs the question -- Well, it begs yet another question, why they were sent back there in the first place?
Mike Hanna: , many of those Iraqi refugees from Europe Does this point to the necessity for some kind of regional agreement? Some kind of standards that can be observed by the host countries in terms of when refugees should be returned and why?
Bjarte Vandvik: Well I think it's a very important point you're raising and the colleague in London as well because with the Iraqi situation -- which was the biggest refugee crisis in the Middle East since the Second World War -- we saw that a lot of European governments were actually shying away from their responsibility. On the one hand, some of the same states that were so eager to create peace, democracy, human rights in Iraq that they sent soldiers there, when people were fleeing because there was no peace and human rights were then turning their backs to them and saying, "Well go somewhere else." I think there is a very unfortunate and very politically hostile environment in many European states today when it comes to refugees in particular. And I think we, as Europeans, must really take a good look at ourselves when it comes to contributing as a very privileged part of the world to finding solutions for the world's refugees. We can't just build a wall around our part of the world and then pretend that these problems will disappear because they won't and we need to play a more active role -- both in helping countries in the region such as, in this example, Iraq and Jordan and also show by example that it's important to uphold the international standards, to respect human rights and that means the same things that European Union is built on to-to avoid persecution and to give shelter to people that are being persecuted. That is under threat in Europe today, I'm afraid.
Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7th, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Philip Shenon (Daily Beast) reported Friday that the US government is attempting to track down WikiLeaks' Julian Assange. Mike Gogulski has started a website entitled Help Bradley Manning. Yesterday, Shenon was interviewed by Deborah Amos (NPR's Morning Edition) on the news that WikiLeaks is planning to release video of a US assault on Afghan civilians.
AMOS: Let's talk for a minute about this second video. There are reports about what's on it. Can you tell us?
Mr. SHENON: The first video that was released involved an American airstrike in Baghdad in 2007. The one Assange is now talking about is an airstrike in Afghanistan that occurred last year that is apparently it is believed to have been, in terms of civilian casualties, the most lethal American attack in Afghanistan since the war began.
AMOS: So has anybody seen this second video of the aftermath of a bombing in Afghanistan?
Mr. SHENON: To the best of my knowledge, it's only been seen within the Defense Department. This will be the first time that it's had any sort of public viewing.
AMOS: And how do we know that this is the same one?
Mr. SHENON: Well, we only have at this point Assange's claims that he has it, and we also have these Internet chat logs in which the young soldier in Iraq boasts of having stolen that video.
Deborah Amos is the author of Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East. IPA (Institute for Public Accuracy) issued the following today [minus link to Wired whom we have not linked to on this story for obvious reasons]:
The British Guardian reports: "The whistleblowing website WikiLeaks says it plans to release a secret military video of one of the deadliest U.S. air strikes in Afghanistan in which scores of children are believed to have been killed." In April, Wikileaks released the "Collateral Murder" video showing U.S. soldiers in Iraq killing civilians including a Reuters photographer and then shooting at people, including children, in a van attempting to rescue the wounded. The following statement was released today by Coleen Rowley, an FBI whistleblower who was one of Time Magazine's people of the year in 2002; Ray McGovern, CIA analyst for 27 years; and Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers (top-secret government documents that showed a pattern of governmental deceit about the Vietnam War):"Today, Washington is trying to shut down what it clearly regards as the most effective and dangerous purveyor of embarrassing information -- Wikileaks, a self-styled global resource for whistleblowers. It is a safe bet that NSA, CIA, FBI and other agencies have been instructed to do all possible to make an example of Wikileaks leader, Australian-born Julian Assange, and his colleagues. Much is at stake -- for both Pentagon and freedom of the press."Those who own and operate the corporate media face a distasteful dilemma, both in terms of business decision and of conscience. They must choose between the easier but soulless task of transcribing government press releases, on the one hand; or, on the other, following Wikileaks into the 21st century by adapting high-tech methods to protect sources while acquiring authentic stories unadulterated by government pressure, real or perceived."Deference to the government seems largely responsible for the failure to explore the implications of particularly riveting reportage that gets millions of hits on the Web but has been, up to now, largely ignored by mainstream media. The best recent example of this is the gun-barrel video showing a merciless turkey-shoot of Baghdad civilians by helicopter gunship-borne U.S. soldiers on July 12, 2007. Like the humiliating and graphic but actual photos of Abu Ghraib, the publication of which Pullitzer-prize winning Seymour Hersh repeatedly defended as necessary to the story of Iraqi prisoner abuse, such raw footage is essential to people's understanding of what is happening. Like Daniel Ellsberg's copying of 7,000 pages of the 'Pentagon Papers,' such whistleblowers are a great means of exposing the lies upon which the current wars are based."Assange went public this week with an email announcement that Wikileaks is preparing to release a classified Pentagon video of a U.S. airstrike in Afghanistan in May 2009, which left as many as 140 civilians dead -- most of them children and teenagers. He added that Wikileaks has 'a lot of other material that exposes human rights abuses by the United States government.'"Wikileaks has also published a secret U.S. Army report of March 2008 evaluating the threat from Wikileaks itself and possible U.S. countermeasures against it. This will undoubtedly prompt American officials to redouble efforts to find Assange and to prevent Wikileaks from posting additional information they have classified to avoid embarrassment."Americans have a right to know what is being done in our name, and how important it is to protect members of the now-fledgling Fifth Estate so that it can continue to provide information shunned or distorted."Assange ended his email with an unabashed appeal for donations for his website. 'Please donate ... and encourage all your friends to follow the example you set; after all, courage is contagious.' His words sounded a bit like those of Edmund Burke: 'When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle.'"For the good to associate effectively, they need to know what is going on. It's our hope the old Fourth Estate press will recall the good and high-calling that Burke, Jefferson and other leaders of democracy have extolled through the centuries and catch some of that 'contagious courage'."See on Ellsberg.net: "Daniel Ellsberg Fears WikiLeaks Founder Julian Assange's Life In Danger"; (on MSNBC) and today on Democracy Now.Available for interviews:RAY McGOVERNMcGovern was a CIA analyst for 27 years.COLEEN ROWLEYRowley, an FBI whistleblower, was named one of Time Magazine's people of the year in 2002. She recently co-wrote the piece "Wikileak Case Echoes Pentagon Papers." [. . .] The New York Times reports today: "Iceland's Parliament, the Althing, voted unanimously in favor of a package of legislation aimed at making the country a haven for freedom of expression by offering legal protection to whistle-blower Web sites like WikiLeaks, which helped to craft the proposal." For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167
As noted in the release, Daniel Ellsberg was a guest on Democracy Now! today:
AMY GOODMAN: Daniel Ellsberg, let's go to you. The reports are that the Pentagon is searching for Julian Assange. They have already arrested the soldier in intelligence who says he was responsible for the release of the videotape. He's been held for three weeks without charge. What are your comments on this case?
DANIEL ELLSBERG: Well, of course, I was in the position of Bradley Manning, having decided that I was in the possession of information that the public deserved to know and the Congress deserved and it had been wrongfully withheld. And at my own risk, I released it, just as Manning has done. At the same time I was in the position of Julian Assange this week, eluding authorities while I was preparing to put out further secrets. Assange is more in the position of the New York Times and the Post and seventeen other newspapers who received classified information from me. But in my case, as I was putting it out to them, it was essential for me not to be apprehended, so that I could get those copies to them. I hope that Julian stays out long enough to give us, for example, the tape of the other massacre in Afghanistan, the Garani massacre, which allegedly killed some 140 civilians.
JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, Daniel Ellsberg, this whole issue of the 260,000 classified documents that include quite a bit of, apparently, cable communication between State Department officials and diplomats, what's the potential here in terms of --you're familiar with cable traffic between diplomats. What is the potential embarrassment that the United States faces here?
DANIEL ELLSBERG: Well, their potential embarrassment is foreshadowed by the leak of the cables from Lieutenant General Eikenberry, our emissary in Kabul, the ambassador to Kabul, whose cables were leaked by some patriot -- and I say that with consideration here -- someone who properly put out those cables showing that Eikenberry regarded the man to whom he was accredited as irredeemably corrupt, an inappropriate partner for pacification who held no promise of supporting any progress from our point of view there ever, and who was deeply involved in the drug trade, etc., etc. Since he was someone who was soon to be feted by the President personally in the Oval Office and given a tour of garden spots in Georgetown by Secretary of State Clinton, it was, of course, embarrassing to have cables from our ambassador there calling him a drug-dealing crook who had stolen the election and was totally incompetent and offered no possibility of progress. That kind of embarrassment could appear with our relations with most of the dictatorial regimes we've been supporting in the Middle East for years, as in Saudi Arabia, Egypt and elsewhere. Any candid assessments like that would, of course -- would actually recommend the realism to us of our own officials, that they their feet on the ground, even while they're lying to us about who it is they're supporting and what they hope to achieve.
Lastly (and I'll try to start with it in tomorrow's snapshot), we'll note this by Iraq Veterans Against the War's Adrienne Kinne:
The US Social Forum is taking place in Detroit, MI from June 22-26, 2010 and IVAW will be there!
1) IVAW will be leading a GI Resistance Workshop. Iraq and Afghanistan War Resisters will testify to the struggle and value of resisting militarism and discuss what support is needed to build the GI Movement. http://organize.ussf2010.org/ws/building-gi-resistance-movement
2) Building a Military Resistance Movement: Veterans, Service Members & Allies Organizing Together. This workshop, lead by IVAW and Civilian- Soldier Alliance will be an introductory training on supporting war resisters and being a strong and accountable ally to veterans and service-members organizing for change. http://organize.ussf2010.org/ws/building-military-resistance-movement-ve...
3) Veterans and Military Families: Impact of the Wars; Impact on Movements. An exploration of how veterans and military families use their unique voices and perspectives to end wars and promote peace and social change. http://organize.ussf2010.org/ws/veterans-and-military-families-impact-wa...
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