Monday, June 14, 2010

Daniel Ellsberg fears a US hit on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange

By Muriel Kane [Rawstory]

Update: A New York Times article Saturday notes, "In 17 months in office, President Obama has already outdone every previous president in pursuing leak prosecutions."

Scott Shane reports for the Times that the "Obama administration is proving more aggressive than the Bush administration in seeking to punish unauthorized leaks" and that "[h]is administration has taken actions that might have provoked sharp political criticism for his predecessor, George W. Bush, who was often in public fights with the press."

Steven Aftergood, head of the project on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, who has long tracked the uneasy commerce in secrets between government officials and the press, said Mr. Drake might have fallen afoul of a bipartisan sense in recent years that leaks have gotten out of hand and need to be deterred. By several accounts, Mr. Obama has been outraged by some leaks, too.

“I think this administration, like every other administration, is driven to distraction by leaking,” Mr. Aftergood said. “And Congress wants a few scalps, too. On a bipartisan basis, they want these prosecutions to proceed.”

More information on specific leakers being pursued by the Obama administration
at this link.

At Democratic Underground, one forum member called 'go west young man' complained, "They didn't trade secrets to the enemies of the United States. They exposed corruption from within. Leaking isn't the problem. Fucked up policies and the people who implement them are."

We need leakers when there is injustice. Mr. Obama is just trying to look tough. He might want to look for the real criminals. They are pretty easy to find as they were in the previous administration and the Republican Party. I'm an ex marine and I voted for Obama but at this point he can kiss my ass. I'm fed up with this "Good German" mindset in our military. We need more like these leakers."

Daniel Ellsberg, who gained fame when he leaked the Pentagon Papers in 1971 in hopes of ending the Vietnam War,
told MSNBC's Dylan Ratigan on Friday that he not only sees a parallel between himself and the person who recently leaked a video of an assault by US forces on Iraqi civilians but also fears for the safety of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, who published the video.

Army specialist Bradley Manning was recently arrested in the case, and according to reporter Philip Shenon, the Pentagon is "desperately" seeking Wikileaks founder Julian Assange in hopes of preventing further damaging revelations.

~ more... ~

Pentagon manhunt for Wikileaks founder

 By Philip Shenon [Daily Beast]

(This story has been updated to reflect new developments on Assange's whereabouts, including the cancelation of a scheduled appearance in Las Vegas.)

Pentagon investigators are trying to determine the whereabouts of the Australian-born founder of the secretive website Wikileaks for fear that he may be about to publish a huge cache of classified State Department cables that, if made public, could do serious damage to national security, government officials tell The Daily Beast.

The officials acknowledge that even if they found the website founder, Julian Assange, it is not clear what they could do to block publication of the cables on Wikileaks, which is nominally based on a server in Sweden and bills itself as a champion of whistleblowers.

American officials said Pentagon investigators are convinced that Assange is in possession of at least some classified State Department cables leaked by a 22-year-old Army intelligence specialist, Bradley Manning of Potomac, Maryland, who is now in custody in Kuwait.

And given the contents of the cables, the feds have good reason to be concerned.

As The Daily Beast reported June 8, Manning, while posted in Iraq, apparently had special access to cables prepared by diplomats and State Department officials throughout the Middle East, regarding the workings of Arab governments and their leaders, according to an American diplomat.

The cables, which date back over several years, went out over interagency computer networks available to the Army and contained information related to American diplomatic and intelligence efforts in the war zones in Afghanistan and Iraq, the diplomat said.

American officials would not discuss the methods being used to find Assange, nor would they say if they had information to suggest where he is now. "We'd like to know where he is; we'd like his cooperation in this," one U.S. official said of Assange.

~ more... ~

'They blow each other up by mistake...'

From The Case for Calling Them Nitwits by Daniel Byman and Christine Fair:

We've all become familiar by now with the stock footage of Talibs in black shalwar kameezes zipping across monkey bars or, more recently, perfecting kung fu kicks in some secret training camp. Even in the aftermath of the botched Times Square bombing earlier this spring, the perception persists that our enemies are savvy and sophisticated killers. They're fanatical and highly organized—twin ideas that at once keep us fearful and help them attract new members.

But this view of the jihadist community is wildly off the mark. To be sure, some terrorists are steely and skilled—people like Mohamed Atta, the careful and well-trained head of the 9/11 hijackers. Their leaders and recruiters can be lethally subtle and manipulative, but the quiet truth is that many of the deluded foot soldiers are foolish and untrained, perhaps even untrainable. Acknowledging this fact could help us tailor our counterterrorism priorities—and publicizing it could help us erode the powerful images of strength and piety that terrorists rely on for recruiting and funding.

Nowhere is the gap between sinister stereotype and ridiculous reality more apparent than in Afghanistan, where it's fair to say that the Taliban employ the world's worst suicide bombers: one in two manages to kill only himself. And this success rate hasn't improved at all in the five years they've been using suicide bombers, despite the experience of hundreds of attacks—or attempted attacks. In Afghanistan, as in many cultures, a manly embrace is a time-honored tradition for warriors before they go off to face death. Thus, many suicide bombers never even make it out of their training camp or safe house, as the pressure from these group hugs triggers the explosives in suicide vests. According to several sources at the United Nations, as many as six would-be suicide bombers died last July after one such embrace in Paktika.

Many Taliban operatives are just as clumsy when suicide is not part of the plan. In November 2009, several Talibs transporting an improvised explosive device were killed when it went off unexpectedly. The blast also took out the insurgents' shadow governor in the province of Balkh.

When terrorists do execute an attack, or come close, they often have security failures to thank, rather than their own expertise. Consider Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab—the Nigerian “Jockstrap Jihadist” who boarded a Detroit-bound jet in Amsterdam with a suicidal plan in his head and some explosives in his underwear. Although the media colored the incident as a sophisticated al-Qaeda plot, Abdulmutallab showed no great skill or cunning, and simple safeguards should have kept him off the plane in the first place. He was, after all, traveling without luggage, on a one-way ticket that he purchased with cash. All of this while being on a U.S. government watch list.

Fortunately, Abdulmutallab, a college-educated engineer, failed to detonate his underpants. A few months later another college grad, Faisal Shahzad, is alleged to have crudely rigged an SUV to blow up in Times Square. That plan fizzled and he was quickly captured, despite the fact that he was reportedly trained in a terrorist boot camp in Pakistan. Indeed, though many of the terrorists who strike in the West are well educated, their plots fail because they lack operational know-how. On June 30, 2007, two men—one a medical doctor, the other studying for his Ph.D.—attempted a brazen attack on Glasgow Airport. Their education did them little good. Planning to crash their propane-and-petrol-laden Jeep Cherokee into an airport terminal, the men instead steered the SUV, with flames spurting out its windows, into a security barrier. The fiery crash destroyed only the Jeep, and both men were easily apprehended; the driver later died from his injuries. (The day before, the same men had rigged two cars to blow up near a London nightclub. That plan was thwarted when one car was spotted by paramedics and the other, parked illegally, was removed by a tow truck. As a bonus for investigators, the would-be bombers' cell phones, loaded with the phone numbers of possible accomplices, were salvaged from the cars.)
Click here to find out more!

A similar streak of ineptitude has been on display in the United States, where many of those arrested on terrorism-related charges possess long criminal records and little sense of how to put a nefarious idea into action. A group of Miami men schemed (often while smoking marijuana) to attack targets in South Florida as well as the Sears Tower in Chicago, but they couldn't get their hands on explosives and were uncovered when the FBI easily penetrated their ranks.

If our terrorist enemies have been successful at cultivating a false notion of expertise, they've done an equally convincing job of casting themselves as pious warriors of God. The Taliban and al-Qaeda rely on sympathizers who consider them devoted Muslims fighting immoral Western occupiers. But intelligence picked up by Predator drones and other battlefield cameras challenges that idea—sometimes rather graphically. One video, captured recently by the thermal-imagery technology housed in a sniper rifle, shows two Talibs in southern Afghanistan engaged in intimate relations with a donkey. Similar videos abound, including ground-surveillance footage that records a Talib fighter gratifying himself with a cow.

~ more... ~

Israel’s greatest loss: Its moral imagination

If a people who so recently experienced such unspeakable inhumanities cannot understand the injustice and suffering its territorial ambitions are inflicting, what hope is there for the rest of us?

By Henry Siegman [Ha'aretz]

Following Israel's bloody interdiction of the Gaza Flotilla, I called a life-long friend in Israel to inquire about the mood of the country. My friend, an intellectual and a kind and generous man, has nevertheless long sided with Israeli hardliners. Still, I was entirely unprepared for his response. He told me—in a voice trembling with emotion—that the world's outpouring of condemnation of Israel is reminiscent of the dark period of the Hitler era.

He told me most everyone in Israel felt that way, with the exception of Meretz, a small Israeli pro-peace party. “But for all practical purposes,” he said, “they are Arabs.”

Like me, my friend personally experienced those dark Hitler years, having lived under Nazi occupation, as did so many of Israel's Jewish citizens. I was therefore stunned by the analogy. He went on to say that the so-called human rights activists on the Turkish ship were in fact terrorists and thugs paid to assault Israeli authorities to provoke an incident that would discredit the Jewish state. The evidence for this, he said, is that many of these activists were found by Israeli authorities to have on them ten thousand dollars, “exactly the same amount!” he exclaimed.

When I managed to get over the shock of that exchange, it struck me that the invocation of the Hitler era was actually a frighteningly apt and searing analogy, although not the one my friend intended. A million and a half civilians have been forced to live in an open-air prison in inhuman conditions for over three years now, but unlike the Hitler years, they are not Jews but Palestinians. Their jailers, incredibly, are survivors of the Holocaust, or their descendants. Of course, the inmates of Gaza are not destined for gas chambers, as the Jews were, but they have been reduced to a debased and hopeless existence.

Fully 80% of Gaza's population lives on the edge of malnutrition, depending on international charities for their daily nourishment. According to the UN and World Health authorities, Gaza's children suffer from dramatically increased morbidity that will affect and shorten the lives of many of them. This obscenity is a consequence of a deliberate and carefully calculated Israeli policy aimed at de-developing Gaza by destroying not only its economy but its physical and social infrastructure while sealing it hermitically from the outside world.

Particularly appalling is that this policy has been the source of amusement for some Israeli leaders, who according to Israeli press reports have jokingly described it as “putting Palestinians on a diet.” That, too, is reminiscent of the Hitler years, when Jewish suffering amused the Nazis.

~ more... ~

U.S. identifies vast riches of minerals in Afghanistan

The United States has discovered nearly $1 trillion in untapped mineral deposits in Afghanistan, far beyond any previously known reserves and enough to fundamentally alter the Afghan economy and perhaps the Afghan war itself, according to senior American government officials.

The previously unknown deposits — including huge veins of iron, copper, cobalt, gold and critical industrial metals like lithium — are so big and include so many minerals that are essential to modern industry that Afghanistan could eventually be transformed into one of the most important mining centers in the world, the United States officials believe.

An internal Pentagon memo, for example, states that Afghanistan could become the “Saudi Arabia of lithium,” a key raw material in the manufacture of batteries for laptops and BlackBerrys.

The vast scale of Afghanistan’s mineral wealth was discovered by a small team of Pentagon officials and American geologists. The Afghan government and President Hamid Karzai were recently briefed, American officials said.

While it could take many years to develop a mining industry, the potential is so great that officials and executives in the industry believe it could attract heavy investment even before mines are profitable, providing the possibility of jobs that could distract from generations of war.

“There is stunning potential here,” Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the United States Central Command, said in an interview on Saturday. “There are a lot of ifs, of course, but I think potentially it is hugely significant.”

The value of the newly discovered mineral deposits dwarfs the size of Afghanistan’s existing war-bedraggled economy, which is based largely on opium production and narcotics trafficking as well as aid from the United States and other industrialized countries. Afghanistan’s gross domestic product is only about $12 billion.

~ more... ~

German Jews sending aid ship to Gaza Strip

German Jews are preparing to send a ship loaded with humanitarian aid to the Gaza Strip at the end of July despite an Israeli  blockade, a representative of the initiative said Thursday.

"The list of passengers has not been drawn up yet but we have a lot of requests from around the world," said Edith Lutz, who is preparing the journey for the German chapter of European Jews for a Just Peace.

Lutz told Deutschlandfunk public radio that the group had collected donations for children in Gaza including binders with educational materials, games, clothing and musical instruments.

The Israeli raid on May 31 on a Gaza-bound activist aid flotilla, during which nine Turkish activists were shot dead, meant that: "Our ship is more urgent than ever," she said.

"We are going to go there and try to convince Israel that our ship is harmless," she said. "If Israel blocks the way, we will turn around. But we will return after that."

~ more... ~

Guantanamo video by Dimitris Panas


Guantanamo

Dimitris Panas | MySpace Music Videos

Halliburton Group asks Jonathan to prosecute Obasanjo

President Goodluck Jonathan has been urged to persecute former President Olusegun Obasanjo for allegedly using Halliburton bribery and corruption scandal to enrich himself.

The appeal was made by the Movement for All Nigerians (MAN) yesterday in Abuja saying that a serious probe should also be done on N360 billion tax-payer money channeled to Chief Tony Anenih when he was Minister of Works during Obasanjo administration.

In a statement signed by group's Chairman Publicity Committee, Barr. Dele Akindada Moses said President Jonathan should stop investing in "the power sector until the billions of Naira wasted by Obasanjo regime are recovered"

MAN also said President Jonathan should ensure that Obasanjo resigned for his position as the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chairman Board of Trustee since there are too many cases of corruption against him.

While calling on patriotic lawyers to join the group to ensure Obasanjo is properly arraigned, the group said "We call for an immediate probe into the controversial sell of NICON to Pentascope by Obasanjo regime, which leaves Nigerians embarrassed," the statement added.

~ Source: All Africa ~

Amazing Woman from Botswana plays a guitar like never before.avi

Vote Jesus, The Chronicles of Ken Stevenson



Vermin Supreme, a notorious political prankster goes undercover as a presidential candidate, Ken Stevenson to learn American Morals and Values.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1339193/

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image from http://www.spitting-image.net

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