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Wikileaks and anonymous Team Up to Bust STRATFOR

11:34 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Anonymous and Wikileaks appear to have teamed up in a move to release a helluva a lot of stuff hacked from STRATFOR:

Wikileaks dropped a bomb on Texas-based “global intelligence company” Stratfor late Sunday with “The Global Intelligence Files,” a dump of over 5 million hacked emails containing confidential information about Stratfor’s informers, psych ops, pay-offs and the methods they use to make the payments. Anonymous has proudly taken credit for the hack via @YourAnonNews.

Between Wikileaks and anonymous, twitter is getting swamped this evening, even as much of the twittersphere has been focused on the American Academy Awards, by little tweets linking to stuff that is getting flung out there in Monday’s big dump.

This is going to be very big.  Here’s STRATFOR’s statement, released just minutes ago:

In December, thieves compromised Stratfor’s data systems and stole a large number of company emails, along with other private information of Stratfor readers, subscribers and employees. Those stolen emails apparently will be published by Wikileaks. This is a deplorable, unfortunate — and illegal — breach of privacy.

Some of the emails may be forged or altered to include inaccuracies; some may be authentic. We will not validate either. Nor will we explain the thinking that went into them. Having had our property stolen, we will not be victimized twice by submitting to questioning about them.

For subscribers and friends of Stratfor, we stress that the disclosure of these emails does not mean that there has been another hack of Stratfor’s computer and data systems. Stratfor’s data systems, which we have worked hard to rebuild since the December hack, remain secure and protected.

As with last year’s hack, the release of these emails is a direct attack on Stratfor. This is another attempt to silence and intimidate the company, and one we reject. Under the continued leadership of founder and Chief Executive Officer George Friedman, Stratfor will not be silenced and will continue to publish the geopolitical analysis our friends and subscribers have come to rely upon.

As we have said before, Stratfor has worked to build good sources in many countries around the world, as any publisher of global geopolitical analysis would do. We have done so in a straightforward manner and we are committed to meeting the highest standards of professional conduct.

Stratfor is not a government organization, nor is it affiliated with any government. The emails are private property. Like all private emails, they were written casually, with no expectation anyone other than the sender and recipient would ever see them. They should be read as such.

Stratfor understands that this hack and the fallout from it, including the disclosures by Wikileaks, have created serious difficulties for our subscribers, friends and employees. We again apologize for any problems this incident has created, and we deeply appreciate the loyalty that has been shown to Stratfor since last year’s hack.

We want to assure everyone that Stratfor is committed to recovering from the hack and rebuilding trust with the public, and will continue to do what we do best: produce and publish industry-leading analysis of international affairs.

Good luck keeping your machine going, Stratfor.  You’re going to need it.   Here are the google entries for STRATFOR in the past hour.

I’ve been following the progress of hacking since 1971, when I participated in a radio interview with John T. Draper, then known as Cap’n Crunch.  He was one of the early hackers, previously known as “phone freax.”  I predict Monday’s dump will be one of the greatest accomplishments in the history of the “Hacker ethic.”

Here’s the hacker ethic, as described in 1984 by Steven Levy:

  1. Access to computers—and anything which might teach you something about the way the world works—should be unlimited and total. Always yield to the Hands-on Imperative!
  2. All information should be free.
  3. Mistrust authority—promote decentralization.
  4. Hackers should be judged by their hacking, not bogus criteria such as degrees, age, race or position.
  5. You can create art and beauty on a computer.
  6. Computers can change your life for the better.

That was 28 years ago.  We’ll see Monday how computers change life for the better for a fairly high number of powerful people.

David Rovics’ Song for Bradley Manning Gets a New Production in Oslo

9:37 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

David Rovics, one of America’s preeminent balladeers, came out with his Song for Bradley Manning in January.  Like a lot of David’s songs, the first version was done as a vocal solo with lone acoustic guitar.

Rovics has been touring Europe lately, and while in Oslo, he worked up a pro performance and video in a studio.   Rovics:

A team of professionals in Oslo finished editing the video a few days ago, and it kicks butt. Serious time, skill and money went into making this thing — but the cause is a darn good one, and hopefully the high quality of the video gets gobs of downloads, if people like it enough to share it a lot.

The lyrics: Read the rest of this entry →

Sen. Mark Begich’s Fatuous Reply to Our Open Letter to Him on Bradley Manning

12:49 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

I. Those of us here who have been attempting to get our elected officials to investigate the inhumane, illegal and unconstitutional pre-trial detention abuse of Army PFC Bradley Manning at the Marine Corps Base Quantico brig, should redouble our efforts, now that the New York Review of Books has decided to print a letter by Bruce Ackerman, of Yale Law School and Yochai Benkler, of Harvard Law School, with 295 co-signatories. The letter will be in their April 28th print edition, but is already getting wide notice on the web.

The letter has been around at the blog Balkanization, quietly gathering important signatures, for about four weeks, but it became much more widely discussed after The Guardian carried a short interview Sunday with one of the co-signatories, Laurence Tribe.  Tribe has been cited by Obama as a formative influence while the latter was his student at Harvard Law School.  There is a lot of material, dating back to mid-2007, when Tribe became one of Obama’s earliest and most ardent advocates, connecting the two together, with the praise going both ways.  Here’s Tribe being interviewed by the Harvard Crimson, on election day, 2008:

Tribe also emphasized the challenges that Obama would face should he win today’s election—“problems of such staggering complexity that they dwarf those confronted by any president since FDR in 1932,” which he said included “our economy in meltdown, our military stretched to the breaking point, the power of our example in the world at a nadir, our environment and our politics poisoned, our Constitution threatened, and our trust betrayed.”

Despite his avowed disappointment in the conduct of the American government in recent years—specifically regarding its use of torture—Tribe concluded his remarks with a sentimental evocation of his pride in becoming a naturalized American citizen, and his respect for the Constitution that “guarantees our freedom to challenge the practices that bring us shame—and to vote for a changed government.”

The Guardian interview shows a profoundly disappointed mentor:

He told the Guardian he signed the letter because Manning appeared to have been treated in a way that “is not only shameful but unconstitutional” as he awaits court martial in Quantico marine base in Virginia.

II. The Ackerman/Benkler letter, and its coverage by The Guardian couldn’t have come at a better time for those of us trying to get Alaska Sen. Mark Begich to use his position on the U.S. Senate Armed Forces Committee, to look into Manning’s abuse.  I’ve gotten co-signators to ask Begich to do this, and just over a month ago, his chief of staff, David Ramseur, wrote back to me, stating:


We got the letter and Senator Begich will have it today, if he doesn’t already. We’ll get you a response shortly.

Thanks – David

I never got a letter, but, apparently, Sen. Begich sent one on March 10th to my physical address, which has never been able to receive U.S. mail.  Where it ended up, I have no idea.  I’ve never used my physical address in any correspondence with Begich’s U.S. Senate staff, and his Wasilla office (I left my card there when I delivered my open letter there in early March) and campaign staff had oodles of information on my post office box address, much of it from our checks they so gladly cashed in the 2008 campaign.

Julie Hasquet, Begich’s press secretary just sent me a pdf of the March 10th letter, which I’ve transcribed below:

March 10, 2011

Mr. Philip Munger

Dear Mr. Munger:

Thank you for contacting me concerning the conditions of Pfc. Bradley Manning’s confinement at the Marine brig in Quantico, Virginia.  As you know, Private Manning was arrested in May 2010 on charges of transferring and communicating classified data and national defense information to an unauthorized source.

Because of the seriousness of these charges and the potential length of sentence, Private Manning is being held as a maximum security detainee with precautionary restrictions to prevent self-injury.  While I understand there has been no evidence presented that Private Manning is suicidal, under the circumstances, I believe there may be justifications for what are described by the Marines as non-punitive precautionary restrictions in accordance with brig rules.

Of course, pending a trial and conviction on the allegations made against him, Private Manning has the same presumption of being innocent until proven guilty all Americans in custody enjoy.  Even if he were to be convicted, I would expect his jailers to carry out his incarceration with the appropriate level of personal dignity and fair treatment that anyone in an American penal institution should be accorded.  As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, I will work to ensure his treatment is properly and regularly reviewed, and that any inappropriate treatment is not tolerated.

Again, thank you for contacting me regarding this matter.  Please let me know if I can be of further assistance.


Mark Begich

United States Senator

How fatuous is that, eh?  I’ve sent his chief of staff and press secretary links to the Ackerman/Benkler letter, and to this Youtube I made Saturday, of former Democratic Party Alaska U.S. senator Mike Gravel, appealing to current Democratic Party U.S. senator Mark Begich, to do his sworn duty, instead of fucking around like he seems to be doing:

How can we get through to these jerks, other than keep on pushing and pushing, before there’s nothing left of our Constitution to protect?

Mike Gravel on Bradley Manning – He Appeals to Sen. Mark Begich and Thanks Firedoglake

6:12 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Former U.S. Senator for Alaska, Mike Gravel, is here, appealing to Alaskans to join in his efforts to create citizens groups to revisit the 9/11 Commission’s errors and omissions from their report, and other matters pertaining to that set of tragedies.

Mike has been outspoken about PFC Bradley Manning, considering the young soldier to be a patriot, and comparing these times to those in which Gravel read the Pentagon Papers aloud on the Senate floor.

Here is Gravel, answering a question about Manning:

Mike Gravel:

“My admiration for Bradley Manning knows no bounds.  In fact the equivalent of being Bradley Manning would be being me, and [Daniel] Ellsberg being Assange.  That’s the comparison.

“And I was 41 years old when I released the Pentagon Papers [to the Senate].  You know, I’d been three days without sleep, and I was just afraid – scared to death – I didn’t know if I was going to go to jail or lose my senate seat, or what have you, and so I wound up, out of fatigue and fear and all of that, sobbing, when I’m putting the papers into the record.  I was sobbing.  I couldn’t get control of my emotions.  So, when Bradley Manning – and I was 41 years old – when Bradley Manning was arrested, they turned around and said, “Well, he’s unstable.”

“Unstable – Hell!I was unstable!

“He’s not unstable.  He has the clearest vision of what his responsibilities [are] – when you go into the military, you swear allegiance to the Constitution of the United States, not to the captain, not to the generals, not to the president or the White House.  You swear allegiance to the Constitution.

“Manning was sitting there, watching all these daily reports coming back, and seeing that what was being said there was different from what was being said by the White House.  And so, he had the guts and perspicuity to recognize “Do it, and do it right.”

“And – knows the risk, knows the risk.  If we don’t get him out some way…..”

After his talk, I showed Mike the first letter I wrote to current Alaska Senator Mark Begich, requesting Begich look into Manning’s treatment. Although Begich’s chief-of-staff, David Ramseur, promised those of us who signed my letter quick action from Begich, it has now been over a month since we asked for Mark’s help.

Here’s the appeal of a former Alaska Democratic Party Senator to our current one:

And here’s Mike’s shout out to the folks at Firedoglake who have been working so hard for justice in this matter.

Mike wants you to support fdl!

Will Senator Begich Have the Courage To Confront Obama on Manning?

11:50 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

With Obama‘s Saturday Night Massacre at the State Department, in the words of Andrew Sullivan:

By firing PJ Crowley for the offense of protesting against the sadistic military treatment of Bradley Manning, the president has now put his personal weight behind prisoner abuse. The man who once said that forced nudity was a form of torture, now takes the word of those enforcing it over a distinguished public servant.

Some of us have been asking Alaska Sen. Mark Begich to investigate the treatment of PFC Manning. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, the welfare of Manning is Begich’s responsibility. His chief-of-staff, David Ramseur assured constituents Tuesday that “We’ll get you a response shortly.”

Friday the president stated Manning’s torture is “appropriate and meeting our basic standards.” This was in response to multiple reports that his chief State Department spokesperson (after the Secretary of State), had characterized Manning’s treatment as “ridiculous and counterproductive and stupid.”

Crowley has been replaced by the chief spokesperson for the National Security Council, Mike Hammer, whose role in the intentional destabilization of the Bolivian government in 2008 has yet to be fully investigated.

Will Begich, as did Obama, defer to the bland and highly untruthful statements fed him by Defense Department shills like Geoff Morrell?

Please help us keep up the pressure on Mark to do the right thing in what is daily becoming a more hostile environment to those who seek to tell the truth:

Senator Mark Begich
144 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
phone. (202) 224-3004
toll free. (877) 501 – 6275*
fax. (202) 224-2354

Senator Begich’s Chief-of-Staff Promises Action from Mark on PFC Manning

2:05 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Tuesday afternoon, I delivered the letter signed by many here at FDL, and by 27 Alaskans, to Alaska Sen. Mark Begich, requesting he join Rep. Dennis Kucinich in investigating the abusive treatment of U.S. Army PFC Bradley Manning at the brig of Marine Corps Base Quantico.

My longtime friend who runs Begich’s Wasilla office, Mary Kvalheim, immediately unstapled the three-page document, copied it and shoved it through the fax connecting her office with Mark’s DC HQ. I thanked her and left to prepare to fly to Seattle overnight. Before I left Wasilla, I also emailed MS Word copies of the letter to Begich’s Press Secretary, Julie Hasquet, to his Chief-of-Staff, David Ramseur, and to his military affairs legislative aide, Lindsay Kavanaugh.

When I got to SeaTac Airport, I checked my email. Here’s what Ramseur had written to me overnight:


We got the letter and Senator Begich will have it today, if he doesn’t already. We’ll get you a response shortly.

Thanks – David

Though this is certainly good news, and a much more straightforward process than has been dealing with Mark’s Press Secretary, Julie Hasquet, we’ve yet to see how Mark will react.  Sen. John Kerry promised constituents on February 21st to look into Manning’s treatment:

A person in the back of the room asked about the alleged torture and solitary confinement of Pfc. Bradley Manning, who is accused of leaking a vast amount of information on the war in Afghanistan through the Web-based government watchdog organization WikiLeaks. The question led to a brief chant of “Free Bradley Manning.” In response, Kerry promised, “I will join with John McCain and we will make sure it stops,” to huge cheers.

Kerry doesn’t appear to have given it much of a shot, though. Yet:

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry was asked about the situation, and offered some defense for what’s going on.
“There are concerns about what is happening, but a strong argument is being made that they’re trying to preserve his safety, they don’t want him harming himself, and using his own clothing to hang himself, or do something like that,” said Kerry. “That’s happened in prison before. I think it is possible to protect him, I think, and there are some legitimate reasons to believe that that may be true also. But I think that a lot of people are now reviewing this very, very closely, people have weighed in, myself included, I think that analyses are being made. There was a big article in the newspapers today examining it. And I’m convinced that there will be real scrutiny with respect to that issue.”

Massachusetts Senator John Kerry was asked about the situation, and offered some defense for what’s going on.
Read the rest of this entry →

Welcome to All-Out CyberWar – Updated

2:40 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

I. In response to the new charges against PFC Bradley Manning that could result in capital punishment should he be convicted, the internet collective, Anonymous, has declared war on the U.S. military:

The clandestine hacker group known as Anonymous has been quite busy lately.

Yesterday we discussed how the group’s myriad operations might be affecting its overall impact – something an alleged member quickly countered in the comment section. Now we’re hearing new reports that the secretive members are focusing on military personnel in addition to the corporate executives they’ve long battled.

The New York Daily News wrote about Anonymous’ renewed efforts, citing a post at DailyKos. The statement made by Barrett Brown read, “The decision to charge Bradley Manning with a capital offense in addition to other charges is a provocation, and Anonymous is set to respond accordingly.”

Bradley Manning is the U.S. Army soldier charged with passing on classified, top-secret information to whistleblower site, WikiLeaks. More charges were recently added, including “aiding the enemy.” Manning faces life in prison if convicted.

In the past, Anonymous stood up for the controversial site created by the controversial man Julian Assange, going so far as to launch DDoS attacks against companies fighting against it – such as MasterCard. While the hacker collective promised to continue fighting against “corporate execs involved in plots against WikiLeaks,” its threat against the U.S. military for arresting and jailing Manning is certainly a new wrinkle in the ongoing story.

What type of cyber attack will be launched, and against whom? The statement specifies “military officials,” which suggests officers and other high ranking members.

Considering Anonymous’ recent shutdown of HBGary, a security company which saw CEO Aaron Barr resign last week thanks to a truly bizarre saga, there are no doubts the group will follow through with its promise. Just how much chaos it will cause is unknown.

One might hope that, in spite of the allegation that PFC Manning had managed to collect, load and dump a quarter million documents from a secure location at a U.S. base in Iraq onto the web without detection for many months, the U.S. military is capable of defending itself from such a cyber attack. The stuxnet cyber attack on Iran last year supposedly devastated that country’s network of centrifuges engaged in uranium enrichment.

Could “anonymous” gain access to stuxnet? I suspect they already have it, perhaps the most recent version. We will probably know by the middle of next week how deeply “anonymous” is going to engage the U.S. military. My prediction is that the attacks will be directed against the careers of generals and colonels who have been big supporters of attacks on free speech, foreign reporters and such. A likely early target will be the intensely dishonest Pentagon spokesperson, Geoff Morrell. Hang onto your hat, Geoff. It’s likely going to be a wild ride.

II. Marcy Wheeler, at her blog, emptywheel, conjuring Walt Kelly, observed yesterday, “We Have Met the Enemy, and He Is Us.” Parsing the new Department of the Army charges against Manning, she speculated (as have many others):

While we can’t be sure, I suspect the reference in Charge II, Specification 3 is to this information about the surveillance of Assange.

If I’m right about that, then it means the government is charging Manning with providing WikiLeaks with information about the surveillance being conducted, in real time, on WikiLeaks. And it would make it easy to prove both that “the enemy” got the information and that Manning intended the “enemy” to get it.

So if the government maintains that, by virtue of being an intelligence target, WikLeaks qualifies as an “enemy,” then they can also argue that Manning intentionally gave WikiLeaks information about how the government was targeting the organization. Which would make their aiding the enemy charge easy to prove.

But I also think that opens up the government to charges that it is criminalizing democracy.

As I noted above, the government’s own report on WikiLeaks describes its purpose to be increasing the accountability of democratic or corrupt governments. The government, by its own acknowledgment, knows that WikiLeaks’ intent is to support democracy. Furthermore, while the intelligence report reviews the debate about whether WikiLeaks constitutes protected free speech or criminal behavior (without taking a side in that debate), in a discussion of WikiLeaks’ efforts to verify an NGIC report on the battle of Fallujah, the report acknowledges that WikiLeaks did the kind of thing journalists do.

Is “anonymous”‘ response to the new charges against Manning likely to become criminal conduct? Wheeler’s research partner, attorney Bmaz, writes “Anonymous does no one any favors with these stunts, and certainly not Bradley Manning or WikiLeaks; this is criminal activity and it should be condemned not celebrated.”

That may be true, but it appears also to be true that Manning violated articles of the Uniform Code of Military Justice in his release of classified documents to Wikileaks. I’ve compared Manning to World War II heroine Sophie Scholl. I’m not sure what or who to compare “anonymous” to, but one needs to remember that they (and we) are fighting people and organizations who themselves willfully operate beyond or above the rule of law.  With increasing impunity.

Update – Sunday 1:00 p.m. PST: Discussion in the comments below questions what “anonymous” stands for.  Commenter Kelly Canfield posted a link to their manifesto, and posted its concluding part:

Our method of choosing targets is simple:

We are against anyone who supports censorship, such as those who are responsible for the silencing of Wikileaks.

We are against any entity that work towards the defilement of free speech and/or the free flow of information.

Our request of you is simple.

We ask you to consider the value of your natural Freedoms.

We ask you to consider the value of free information for you and future generations.

We ask you to consider the implications of information censorship, be it through the Internet or physical speech.

We ask you to consider the future of your own human rights, as those who wish to take these rights from you now will not stop with this.

YesIllKeepMyDayJob notes:

To answer one question asked in the post, it does appear that Anonymous has posted a partially decompiled version of Stuxnet that they pilfered from the website where top security people discuss/analyze malware.

Here and here.

You can be sure that if anonymous could get past supposedly hot-shot security experts, they’ll be able to find some sleepy military outpost where they get access to serious military systems (see the ars technica webpage above to find out exactly how they did the HBGary take down – it’s a well-written thriller).
Anyway, to those who wrote the Stuxnet worm – nice job! who could a thunk it being made public to be unleashed upon the world, what with millions of computers still running Windows 98 and such.

Rep. Kucinich to Def Sec. Gates: “It Is My Duty to Conduct Effective Oversight” – Wants to See PFC Manning

3:23 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Here is the text of a letter sent today by Rep. Dennis Kucinich to Secretary of Defense Robert Gates:

Dear Secretary Gates:

I write to request that I be able to visit Private First Class Bradley Manning at the Marine Corps Base in Quantico, Virginia.

As you know, I am concerned about reports of his treatment while in custody that describe alarming abuses of his constitutional rights and his physical health.  A March 2009 article by surgeon Atul Gawande discusses the effects of solitary confinement on prison inmates and prisoners of war: “Without sustained social interaction, the human brain may become as impaired as one that has incurred a traumatic injury.”  Studies highlighted that such prisoners, months after being released, revealed severe brain abnormalities mirroring those who had endured significant physical head trauma[1] .

Private Manning’s guilt or innocence is a question for adjudication and his treatment at Quantico severely undermines the presumption of innocence as enshrined in the U.S. Constitution and raises questions as to whether he is truly able to stand trial.  His care while in the custody of the Department of Defense is the responsibility of the U.S. Government and as a member of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform it is my duty to conduct effective oversight.

Thank you for your attention to this request.  I look forward to your prompt reply.


Dennis J. Kucinich
Member of Congress

On Thursday, Rep. Kucinich had made a detailed query to Gates, and there is no word as to whether or not anyone from the Pentagon responded, prompting today’s letter.  In Kucinich’s Thursday letter, he referenced reports indicating PFC Manning is not only undergoing severe psychological stress caused by the highly unusual routines the young soldier is forced to endure, but also to the recent report in the Washington Post that Manning “was known by the Army to have had mental health problems even before his deployment to Iraq.”  Yesterday’s letter from Kucinich to Gates concluded with this:

Now, reports indicate that the Army has taken Pfc. Manning, a soldier with documented mental health problems, and confined him under conditions that are almost guaranteed to exacerbate his mental health problems.  If true, the Army’s treatment would obviously constitute “cruel and unusual punishment” in violation of the Eighth Amendment to the United States Constitution.

If these reports are true, the Army must end the extreme conditions of Private Manning’s confinement, and provide him with the mental health treatment that the Army recognized he needed even before his deployment to Iraq.  At the very least, the Army must explain the justification for confining someone with mental health problems under conditions that are virtually certain to exacerbate those problems and explain the danger he now presents that only these extreme conditions of confinement can avoid.

Once Again – Glenn Greenwald, Standing Almost Alone Against the Wikileaks Myths – Updated x4

1:26 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Monday, on CNN‘s Politics, Glenn Greenwald endured 12 minutes of bizarre hostility from CNN host Jessica Yellin, who seemed to be setting Greenwald up for being pilloried by former Bush national security apparatchik, Fran Townsend.

Yellin opened up by questioning Assange’s motives in making a book deal.  From the start, she attempted to paint Assange’s motives for doing this as something that must be added to the list of things which prove Assange not to be someone we can trust.  It went downhill from there.

Greenwald was more combative than I’ve seen him in most media appearances of this magnitude.  The only thing about Glenn that amazes me more than the vast reservoir of facts he seems to be able to accurately throw out at media hacks without looking away from the Skype camera, is patience as he endures what essentially is one hostile talking head after another.

Townsend was challenged to say even one true thing.  Greenwald had to go beyond saying she was misstating or disambiguating or whatever.  He called her a liar.  He should have called her a Goddam fucking liar.

Greenwald is almost alone in being asked to do segments in visual media that are longer than ten minutes.  Hopefully, the degree of his mastery over these two shills Monday will gain him more media on this important subject, rather than less.

In passing, Greenwald paid tribute in his Monday blog post, as he has in the past, to firedoglake‘s efforts on this set of subjects.

Update: Greenwald uses this “debate” as the basis for his December 28th article, The merger of journalists and government officials.

Update 2:  Hotdog!

hotdog has transcribed this incredible exchange and posted it as a MyFdl diary.

Update 3: At John King’s CNN blog, Jessica Yellin has responded to Greenwald’s post  (link at update 1).  She’s less pissed than I thought she might be, but her denials in the post of calling Assange a terrorist are overshadowed by her not addressing the issue of  having characterized the latter as a criminal in the interview/panel.  She is taken to task for that in the comments.

Give her credit for at least responding to the small firestorm that the video of the segment has created.

Update 4: I missed this important essay yesterday (it is now the 29th) by Digby.   In it, she takes up “one zombie lie I’d really love to kill — the one that all of these so-called reporters seem to have absorbed as if it’s the received word of God — the one that says Wikileaks dumped 260,000 cables indiscriminately on the internet.”

The body of Digby’s piece is mostly details on how Wikileaks seriously and fully cooperated with news organizations on how to release information from the large body of diplomatic “cables” in its possession, and the lengths to which Wikileaks went to be, uh, careful.

Digby concludes with:

They originally thought there would be thousands of Marcy Wheelers combing through the documents and creating a narrative of events but found out that there were very few people of her caliber doing that kind of work and getting noticed. What they needed was professional journalism…..

The one real Marcy Wheeler writes this morning (the 29th) about Digby’s essay, and its premise as she also criticized the meretricious WSJ op-ed published today, by  Floyd Abrams, who was one of the NYT attorneys in the Pentagon Papers case:

Floyd Abrams’ entire argument about WikiLeaks is premised on his claim that these diplomatic cables demonstrate no abuse of power at all. No misconduct by the US. (Note, too, how he moves the bar with the Pentagon Papers, apparently revealing some uncertainty whether the Pentagon Papers revealed “lack of candor”–something abundantly exposed in the WikiLeaks cables–or outright “official wrongdoing.”)

There’s a lot that has been revealed in this dump that I would consider misconduct and even more that I would consider abuse of power.

But consider just the examples of the cables showing the US pressure on Germany and Spain to drop prosecutions of US rendition and torture (and if you haven’t already read Carol Rosenberg’s examinationof our pressure on Spain, I recommend it).

I don’t see how any person–much less a constitutional lawyer–can claim that US efforts to get other democracies to set aside rule of law in their countries to help the US avoid responsibility for its crimes is not an abuse of power. Unless you believe that torture is cool, that wrongful kidnapping is cool, that the US should not be bound by its own laws or international law, or that the US should be immune from law generally, I don’t see how you conclude that our efforts to bigfoot the legal systems of our allies does not constitute an abuse of our considerable international power.

And yet somehow Floyd Abrams suggests just that–that revealing the US’ double standards about rule of law, all in the service of avoiding any accountability for torture, does not constitute a valuable revelation.

Imagine Reading a Poem by Liu Xiaobo to President Obama

10:49 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Last Friday, as the U.S. State Department and Justice Department continued efforts to have Australian journalist, writer, blogger and global civil rights activist Julian Assange illegally transported from Europe to the U.S. or Guantanamo Bay, and as Sen. Bernie Sanders made his epic 8 hour and 35 minute speech against President Obama’s tax sellout to billionaires, Obama made what arguably was the most self-serving announcement ever on the awarding of the Nobel Peace Prize. It began, quite inappropriately, with:

One year ago, I was humbled to receive the Nobel Peace Prize — an award that speaks to our highest aspirations, and that has been claimed by giants of history and courageous advocates who have sacrificed for freedom and justice.

Obama went on:

We respect China’s extraordinary accomplishment in lifting millions out of poverty, and believe that human rights include the dignity that comes with freedom from want.


Mr. Liu reminds us that human dignity also depends upon the advance of democracy, open society, and the rule of law. The values he espouses are universal, his struggle is peaceful, and he should be released as soon as possible.

What a crock of horse shit.

While on the one hand, Obama touts “the advance of democracy,” his administration has stifled democracy in Honduras, burying the advice of our Honduran ambassador when a bunch of aqcuaintences of Attorney General Eric Holder (from Holder’s union busting for Chiquita Banana days) crushed democracy in that country, turning it back into a Nixonesque “banana republic.” If it weren’t for Julian Assange’s efforts, we wouldn’t know about that and a lot of other burying of democracy on Obama’s hands.

Open society and the rule of law? Again, as jailed open democracy and rule of law advocate Assange has shown us, Obama’s State Department routinely quashes open societies and could give a rat’s ass about the rule of law, both here and abroad. And an open society? Here’s Glenn Greenwald’s take when Assange initially appeared publicly to answer questions about the State Department WikiLeaks initial release:

This weekend, WikiLeaks released over 400,000 classified documents of the Iraq War detailing genuinely horrific facts about massive civilian death, U.S. complicity in widespread Iraqi torture, systematic government deceit over body counts, and the slaughter of civilians by American forces about which Daniel Ellsberg himself said, as the New York Times put it: “many of the civilian deaths there could be counted as murder.”

Predictably, just as happened with Ellsberg, there is now a major, coordinated effort underway to smear WikiLeaks’ founder, Julian Assange, and to malign his mental health — all as a means of distracting attention away from these highly disturbing revelations and to impede the ability of WikiLeaks to further expose government secrets and wrongdoing with its leaks. But now, the smear campaign is led not by Executive Branch officials, but by members of the establishment media. As the intelligence community reporter Tim Shorrock wrote today on Twitter: “When Dan Ellsberg leaked [the] Pentagon Papers, Nixon’s henchmen tried to destroy his reputation. Today w/Wikileaks & Assange, media does the job.”

Yesterday, Assange walked out of an interview with CNN, which he thought had been arranged to discuss the significance of the Iraq War revelations, because the CNN “reporter” seemed interested in asking only about petty, vapid rumors about Assange himself, not the substance of the leaks. The Nation‘s Greg Mitchell summarized that interview this way: “Assange to CNN: ‘Do you want to talk about deaths of 104,000 people or my personal life?’” CNN’s answer could not have been clearer: the latter, definitely.

Obama’s immense hypocrisy in his statement on the awarding of this prize to Liu Xiaobo will no doubt be matched as he and his legal and diplomatic department heads continue to paint Julian Asssange as some sort of Lord Haw-Haw, Tokyo Rose, Julius/Ethel Rosenberg or – as they may well be attempting – a more pathetic kind of character, such as Cynthia Murphy.

Obama did get one thing right in his statement on his Nobel Peace Prize successor:

Mr. Liu Xiaobo is far more deserving of this award than I was.

Here’s a poem by Liu Xiaobo. I’ll imagine I’m reading it to President Obama, after I’ve told him the reading is dedicated to Julian Assange:

A Small Rat in Prison
for little Xia

A small rat passes through the iron bars
paces back and forth on the window ledge
the peeling walls are watching him
the blood-filled mosquitoes are watching him
he even draws the moon from the sky,
shadow casts down
beauty, as if in flight

a very gentryman the rat tonight
doesn’t eat nor drink nor grind his teeth
as he stares with his sly bright eyes,
strolling in the moonlight