Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Wikileaks Story Downplayed By Media While The White House Goes Into Attack Mode

So anyway the mainstream media in the US and here in Canada are doing all they can to convince the public that Wikileaks releasing of files to public was "Much ado about nothing".
If they are unimportant documents why did the White House so quickly begin an attack on Wikileaks and will go after the whistleblower.
Me thinks they protest too much.

US criticises Wikileaks release of Afghan war documents

and from MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show we get more of the same old dog and pony show in which the criminals are those who pass on secret documents and not those who mass murder innocent civilians or abuse detainees or those who spread lie and propaganda in order to gain support for a disastrous war which is an ongoing War Crime.
Any who dare speak the truth Bush and Cheney oh sorry Obama and Biden will find them and execute them on the spot or maybe they , the Whistleblowers will have convenient accidents as they do in Banana Republics which America is quickly becoming.

Rachel Maddow Show on Wikileaks
Submitted by davidswanson on Tue, 2010-07-27 03:26

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

If these documents are worrying to the Obama administration what can we conclude or surmise.
Is It some sort of Faux outrage or lashing out because of the principle of keeping as many secrets as possible-
Whisleblowers are in effect the enemy of any government .
But Whistleblowers more often than not do a great service for our society ie the peoples right to know.
Obama's supporters had hoped that Obama would allow for more transparency instead the Obama Administration is as paranoid and secretive as the Bush Regime had been.
Many had believed that Obama would insist on legislation to protect Whistleblowers . Because even in the best of governments there maybe a department which has gone awry is inept or corrupt or have gone rogue. But no Obama believes in the status quo after all is said and done.
Rest of the world including the Western nations need to realize American Exceptionalism and its desire for Empire has not ended and that the Obama administration will stoop to any tactic to protect American interests.
For what does it matter to the people who's villages are destroyed and the population wiped out by American bombs and Reaper Drones if the orders are given by a Democratic or Republican President. As Obama and Bush Gibbs Biden Condi Rice and Hilary Clinton have few tears to shed for the common people of these countries which America has set aflame.
Note Gibbs tries to claim there is nothing new in these released documents yet lashes out that these released documents put American troops in harm's way-so which is it-they reveal nothing new or present a threat to the troops???
In the video the Mainstream Media focuses on Pakistan and avoids talking about the US Military's callous disregard for the unnecessary deaths of civilians.
This is to be expected since from the get go after 9/11 attacks the Media has shown a callous disregard itself for the deaths on Non-Americans including terrorists suspects and innocent civilians -MSM's attitude is no better than the likes of Ann Coulter or Glenn Beck or Michael Savage and their slogan of "Kill'em all " that is Muslims, Arabs,Pashtun, or the peoples of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iraq etc.(Next stop Iran???)

And so Obama for all his rhetorical flourishes and talk of Hope & Change in this regard there is no change except that he has ginned up the war in Afghanistan and is preparing to attack Iran and other Middle East countries to appease the angry mob of American citizens who have successfully been whipped up into hatred and fear of all Muslims and Arabs & Middle Easterners by the Government & Media's steady diet of lies and Propaganda.

Another possibility is that the Faux Outrage is a political move to appease the right and the Pentagon & the Military etc.

A more damning possibility that the documents could provide evidence for laying criminal charges on military personnel , the Pentagon and the members of the Bush Regime.
And this is a problem?
Yes because Obama still doesn't want to take on the members of the Bush Regime and so feels he may get boxed in if the public realizes how important these leaked files are.

And an even more damning possibility is that these files have evidence pertaining not just to criminal actions carried out during the Bush Regime but also under Obama's Regime.
For instance Obama right from the Get go has been using Reaper Drones which are unintelligent flying bombs controlled by some guy in Nebraska. They have been responsible for large numbers of civilian casualties - they like to target weddings ,funerals, family gatherings etc.

Or is there the possibility that the military is continuing to act as it did during Bush's term and do not see themselves as obliged to change their tactics or their attitude towards the civilians of Iraq or Aghanistan .
But Obama has knowingly put Uberconservative Hawks and neocons some of whom were part of the Bush Regime in key positions so they in effect are controlling how the War on Terror is to be fought.
Did he appoint such people as part of his reconciliation and his obsession with bipartisanism and having everybody get along.
It may be nice for many Americans but it is having a deadly effect on people in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Palestine & Gaza or the populace in Iran waiting for a little shock and awe American style.
This America is not a video game.

Joshua Holland in his latest article argues that the Wikileaks disclosure of some 92,000 us military files is important since it gives a more detailed version of events revealing that the war is going badly and that the whole operation is an ongoing War Crime . So it is revealed that particular bombing was less than successful as portayed by the Pentagon or Washington. They report no civilian casualties but the truth is that 300 civilians were killed in a single attack .So how many other attacks turned out as disastrous as the one cited. Did the military simply mess up or is it an indictment against the military, the Pentagon's attitude which suggest a callous and even criminal disregard for civilian casualties.

Why Wikileaks’ Doc-Dump Is Such a Big Deal (Even if There’s Nothing New Within) by joshua holland via july 27, 2010

There is a tendency among People Who Pay Close Attention To Things to think other Americans are also paying attention — to decent information — and are therefore somewhat in the know.

That leads to people trying to get away with ridiculous claims, such as this:

ANYONE who has spent the past two days reading through the 92,000 military field reports and other documents made public by the whistle-blower site WikiLeaks may be forgiven for wondering what all the fuss is about. I’m a researcher who studies Afghanistan and have no regular access to classified information, yet I have seen nothing in the documents that has either surprised me or told me anything of significance. I suspect that’s the case even for someone who reads only a third of the articles on Afghanistan in his local newspaper.

That paragraph was from an op-ed piece by Andrew Exum, a fellow with the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) — a pro-Afghanistan war think-tank — in The New York Times. Exum’s message seems to be, ‘move along, folks, there’s nothing to see here.’ Understandable — CNAS, according to a WaPo report last year, “may emerge as Washington’s go-to think tank on military affairs” in the Obama era. CNAS staff have “filled key posts in the new administration (such as former CNAS president Michele Flournoy, who is now undersecretary of defense for policy), and its top people include John Nagl, who helped draft the Army’s counterinsurgency manual, and David Kilcullen, a former adviser to Gen. David H. Petraeus.”

And his suspicion that everyone already knows this stuff is bullshit. In 1997, the government conducted a huge survey on American adults’ civic participation. Almost a third of the public couldn’t say what “job or political office” Al Gore held — after he had spent five years serving as vice-president. Around a third didn’t know which party held the majority in Congress at the time. Perhaps most shockingly, at least to political buffs like myself, was that 49 percent of Americans surveyed didn’t know “which party is more conservative at the national level.” That’s domestic politics — a subject that Americans tend to have a better grasp on than foreign affairs. Two years after the attacks of 9/11, 70 percent of the public believed in a conspiracy theory which held that Saddam Hussein had had a connection to the attacks.

So, this document dump pushes what a few war-nerds may have grasped from a thousand stories on page B-6 onto the front page, revealing not a series of “unfortunate incidents” but a pattern of disregard for civilian casualties that disproves a central tenet of our COIN strategy — that war can be fought in a kinder, gentler, more progressive way thus helping win the hearts and minds of the local population.

Here’s a report from the Times’ news section that completely contradicts Exum’s ‘ho-hum’ narrative:

The disclosure of a six-year archive of classified military documents increased pressure on President Obama to defend his military strategy as Congress prepares to deliberate financing of the Afghanistan war.

The disclosures, with their detailed account of a war faring even more poorly than two administrations had portrayed, landed at a crucial moment. Because of difficulties on the ground and mounting casualties in the war, the debate over the American presence in Afghanistan has begun earlier than expected. Inside the administration, more officials are privately questioning the policy.

In Congress, House leaders were rushing to hold a vote on a critical war-financing bill as early as Tuesday, fearing that the disclosures could stoke Democratic opposition to the measure. A Senate panel is also set to hold a hearing on Tuesday on Mr. Obama’s choice to head the military’s Central Command, Gen. James N. Mattis, who would oversee military operations in Afghanistan.

Administration officials acknowledged that the documents, released on the Internet by an organization called WikiLeaks, will make it harder for Mr. Obama as he tries to hang on to public and Congressional support until the end of the year, when he has scheduled a review of the war effort.

Exum isn’t alone arguing that ‘there’s no there there,’ but I don’t think that’s going to cut it. Recent history certainly suggests it won’t:

The [Pentagon] papers revealed that the U.S. had deliberately expanded its war with carpet bombing of Cambodia and Laos, coastal raids on North Vietnam, and Marine Corpsattacks, none of which had been reported by media in the US. The revelations widened the credibility gap between the US government and the people, allegedly hurting President Richard Nixon’s war effort.

And here is an example of why it is a big deal- at least the deaths of 300 civilians should be a big deal. But it may be the propaganda of the last nine years have mad the public immune to such a death toll of Afghans or Muslims. Afterall the government and Media including Television Dramas like "24" or various movies where Middle Easterners and Muslims and Arabs etc. have been demonized as ruthless heartless terrorists who"do not value life as we in the West do". Such an attitude is the very foundation of of Ethnic Cleansing or Genocide in this case referred to as Protecting American Interests and National Security .

Is it not written that Killing one man it is as if you killed all of mankind.
and Do they not bleed when cut or wounded or blown to pieces.

US Attack Killed 300 Civilians In Afghanistan: Report Wikileaks: US forces hit target 'with no civilian deaths' – but Afghans tell different tale:

Special forces ensured 'no innocent Afghans in area', but villagers say up to 300 civilians died in attack

By David Leigh July 27, 2010 "The Guardian" Via Information Clearing House

-- On 2 August 2007, a US special forces team mounted what they hoped would be an assassination spectacular in the Baghni valley, in the mountains of northern Helmand. They called it Operation Jang Baz.

Special operations troops, the war logs report, "tracked and fixed 2 senior Taliban commanders" to the remote spot. The files reveal their names were Mullah Ikhlas, and his deputy, known as Qalandari. Both were listed as "High Value Individuals tier 2", putting them near the top of the US "kill or capture" list. Ikhlas was believed to run the entire Taliban fighting machine in southern Afghanistan.

The special forces command claimed that Ikhlas was "conducting a major Shura" – a conference of top Taliban. After dropping six 2,000lb GBU-31 guided bombs on the meeting from a B1 jet, the coalition reported "effectively destroying the primary target location" and killing 50 "Taliban senior commanders, security and fighters". Lt Gen John Mulholland, of the special operations command, later claimed "over 150 Taliban fighters" had been killed.

It was later realised that despite "multiple forms of positive identification" Ikhlas had in fact probably never been there at all. The US was to claim to have killed him again in another air strike on 2 December 2007, and subsequently arrested a Mullah Ikhlas many months later, on 7 May 2008, in Garmsir, further south in Helmand.

A statement released from Bagram air base on the day of Operation Jang Baz said the bombs had been dropped "after ensuring there were no innocent Afghans in the surrounding area".

Within 24 hours, however, villagers were telling a very different story from the one presented in the war logs. Locals told Reuters that up to 300 civilians – as well as a number of Taliban – were killed in the air strike after they had been rounded up to watch a Taliban-organised public hanging of two suspected spies. No mention of such a "Taliban court" appears in the official war logs , where it might have flagged up the prospect of civilian deaths.

The local police chief was reported as claiming more than 20 wounded civilians were sent to a hospital in Lashkar Gar and others transferred to hospitals in Kandahar. A doctor at the Lashkar Gar hospital was quoted as saying he was treating at least 18 civilians, including an eight-year-old.

War Logs are No Surprise to Afghans The Real Question Afghans Want Answering is the Extent its Allies Knew of Pakistan's Involvement in Undermining Nato by Nushin Arbabzadah The Guardian/UK July 27, 2010 via Common

Julian Assange's remarkable service to truth, transparency and democracy are appreciated on the ground in Afghanistan. Yet there was little in the WikiLeaks revelations that came as a surprise to Afghans and the local media mostly refrained from commenting, limiting their effort to reporting news of the publication of secret files.

Only a few papers tried to take a clear stance in reaction to the story. This silence could be interpreted in different ways. Given that the WikiLeaks revelations primarily compromise Afghanistan's key ally in Washington by showing that the US army has little regard for civilian casualties, the papers might have feared backlash by the Kabul administration and hence refrained from comment to avoid confrontation. Alternatively, the silence might have a mundane explanation: nothing in the published secret files was news to Afghans.

If anything, the WikiLeaks files substantiated Afghan authorities' much-repeated concern that the neighbouring states played a key role in systematically undermining Nato's efforts in Afghanistan.

In the words of presidential spokesman Wahid Omer, "the sheer number of the reports might be surprising, but not so their content". The spokesman added: "There are two issues that appear repeatedly in the secret files and that are a matter of concern to us: the issue of civilian casualties and the role of the Pakistani intelligence ISI in actively undermining stability in Afghanistan."

Echoing his words, the pro-government Hewad daily said the WikiLeaks revelations substantiated the Afghan authorities' views that the root-causes of terrorism were not Afghan, but lay elsewhere, outside of the country. The paper added that the reports prove President Hamid Karzai right that little has been done to protect Afghan civilians' lives and property.

Among the few papers that commented was the independent daily Hasht-e Sobh. In an editorial entitled "The secrets that were not so secret after all", the paper said: "Despite much international uproar, hype and fuss, there is hardly anything in the reports that we have not yet known about." Islamabad's active and determined support for the Taliban and other terrorist groups that create horrific violence in Afghanistan; the fact that the Taliban have now gained access to advanced weaponry or that the ISI staff attend terrorists' meetings and provide them with logistic, financial and moral support are issues that ordinary people and Afghan authorities have long suspected and known about it. In the words of Hasht-e Sobh: "If anything, Pakistani authorities have hardly tried to conceal all this."

For Afghans, the more pertinent question that arises from the WikiLeaks revelations is the degree in which Kabul's international allies have been aware of Pakistan's involvement in actively undermining Nato's success in Afghanistan. Hasht-e Sobh was sceptical about Washington's innocence: "To assume that by carrying out such secret activities Pakistan has been trying to fool Washington is naive if not downright silly."

But what about the rest of the Nato countries whose troops are currently based in Afghanistan? In the words of Hasht-e Sobh: "Bearing in mind that throughout the many years of the jihad against the Soviets the international community has been working together and sharing intelligence, and the fact that they had chosen Pakistan to act on their behalf and fight the Soviets on the ground in Afghanistan, we find it hard to believe that the revelations have taken them fully by surprise."

"New York Times reporters met with White House before publishing WikiLeaks story The administration "praised" New York Times reporters for their handling of leaked Afghan war material"

By Alex Pareene
July 27, 2010 "Salon" -- The White House was very upset with WikiLeaks for its decision to publish thousands of pages of classified reports and documents describing our mission in Afghanistan. But according to Yahoo's Michael Calderone, it was very pleased with how the New York Times dealt with its semi-exclusive access to the documents.

Times Washington bureau chief Dean Baquet took reporters Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt to the White House last week to brief the administration on what they planned on publishing. And they all got gold stars.

“I did in fact go the White House and lay out for them what we had,” Baquet said. “We did it to give them the opportunity to comment and react. They did. They also praised us for the way we handled it, for giving them a chance to discuss it, and for handling the information with care. And for being responsible.”

The Times redacted some information in the name of "national security" and protecting the safety of individual soldiers, but the White House doesn't seem to have told the Times that publishing stories based on these documents would in any real way harm our troops.

So, uh ... why was all of this information classified and top secret? If it's old news, and it just confirms what "everyone" already knows, what was the rationale for keeping it classified and calling WikiLeaks all sorts of mean names for publishing it?

and another example of journalist missing the point that these documents provide evidence of abuse of power, negligence and a callous disregard of the wounding and killing of civilians and other War Crimes . So even some self-proclaimed progressives may get it wrong.

Leaked Reports Make Afghan War Policy More Vulnerable
by Gareth Porter via July 27, 2010

The 92,000 reports on the war in Afghanistan made public by the whistleblower organisation WikiLeaks, and reported Monday by the Guardian, The New York Times and Der Spiegel, offer no major revelations that are entirely new, as did the Pentagon Papers to which they are inevitably being compared.

But they increase the political pressure on a war policy that has already suffered a precipitous loss of credibility this year by highlighting contradictions between the official assumptions of the strategy and the realities shown in the documents - especially in regard to Pakistan's role in the war.

Unlike the Pentagon Papers, which chronicle the policymaking process leading up to and during the Vietnam War, the WikiLeaks documents chronicle thousands of local incidents and situations encountered by U.S. and other NATO troops that illustrate chronic problems for the U.S.-NATO effort.

Among the themes that are documented, sometimes dramatically but often through bland military reports, are the seemingly casual killing of civilians away from combat situations, night raids by special forces that are often based on bad intelligence, the absence of legal constraints on the abuses of Afghan police, and the deeply rooted character of corruption among Afghan officials.

The most politically salient issue highlighted by the new documents, however, is Pakistan's political and material support for the Taliban insurgency, despite its ostensible support for U.S. policy in Afghanistan.

and so it goes,

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