Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Venom Directed Towards Julian Assange And WikiLeaks Proves We Are Supposed To Know Nothing…Screw That!

The Venom Directed Towards Julian Assange And WikiLeaks Proves We Are Supposed To Know Nothing…Screw That!


"The action I am taking is no more than a radical measure to hasten the explosion of truth and justice. I have but one passion: to enlighten those who have been kept in the dark, in the name of humanity which has suffered so much and is entitled to happiness. My fiery protest is simply the cry of my very soul. Let them dare, then, to bring me before a court of law and let the enquiry take place in broad daylight!"
- Emile Zola, J'accuse! (1898) –

Noam Chomsky: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal "Profound Hatred for Democracy on the Part of Our Political Leadership"

Bill Quigley: Why Wikileaks is Good for Democracy

Wikileaks:  Armenia  Sent  Iran  Arms  Used  To  Kill  U.S.  Troops

State Expressed 'Deep Concerns'

Bottom of Form
U.S. diplomats concluded in late 2008 that the government of Armeniahad supplied Iran with rockets and machine guns later used to kill American troops in Iraq, according to State Department cables disclosed by WikiLeaks.
John D. Negroponte, deputy secretary of state at the time, wrote a December 2008 letter to Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan expressing "deep concerns about Armenia's transfer of arms to Iran which resulted in the death and injury of U.S. soldiers in Iraq."
The cable, based on U.S. intelligence, includes the text of a classified letter labeled "secret" from Mr. Negroponte. It says "in 2007 some of these weapons were recovered from two Shia militant attacks in which aU.S. soldier was killed and six others were injured in Iraq."
The disclosure of the re-export of arms by Armenia is one example of how the leaked archive of U.S. diplomatic traffic totaling more than 250,000 reports reveals an extensive U.S. government effort to stop allies and adversaries alike from arming Iran with even conventional weapons.
In Tehran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Monday that the documents made public by WikiLeaks is part of a campaign by the CIAand the Israeli Mossad. While many cables showed heads of Arab states urging the United States to take military action against IranMr. Ahmadinejad dismissed them as propaganda. "The countries in the region are like friends and brothers," he said. "These acts of mischief will not affect their relations."
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said in Washington that the leaks will not affect U.S. relationships with allies. Yet she also said that the disclosures would endanger people in closed societies who had spoken with U.S. diplomats.
"There is nothing laudable about endangering innocent people, and there is nothing brave about sabotaging peaceful relations between nations on which our common security depends," Mrs. Clinton said.
Mrs. Clinton said WikiLeaks acted illegally in posting the classified document and that the Obama administration is taking "aggressive steps to hold responsible those who stole this information."
At the Justice Department, Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. said thegovernment had launched a criminal probe, while Pentagon officials said security is being tightened to better control digital storage devices such as CDs and flash drives.
The Armenian incident was part of a wider U.S. effort to block Iran's access to the global arms and weapons technology market. For example, a 2010 cable revealed covert U.S. efforts to persuade China's government to block a sale from a Malaysian firm, Electronics Component Ltd., to sell gyroscopes to an Iranian front company.
The cables also show U.S. diplomatic efforts to stop German sales of high-technology equipment to Iranian front companies and block conventional arms sales from Turkey to Iran. Both countries are NATO allies.
In some cases though, the cables show the inefficacy of the American effort. North Korea, according to one cable in 2007, successfully shipped missile components to Iran despite U.S. efforts to seek Chinese help in blocking the transfer.
"This shows the breadth of the U.S. effort to quietly shut down all the various spigots and channels that the United States was using to bleed the United States in Iraq and Afghanistan," said Kenneth Katzman, anIran specialist at the Congressional Research Service. "We have seen a recent example in Nigeria of arms pipelines being exposed, these cables show more of a sweep to it than most Americans were aware of, which is usually limited to public discussion of U.N. sanctions votes."
Mr. Katzman said the worldwide U.S. effort reminded him of Operation Staunch in the 1980s. "It hearkens back to U.S. efforts during theIran-Iraq war to prevent conventional arms deliveries to Iran, which had a degree of success but was not a complete hermetic seal," he said.
The disclosures about Armenian government links to Iran arms supplies are surprising. Armenia has drawn closer to the United States in recent years as the United States has sought to quietly broker Armenia's disputes with Turkey and Azerbaijan.
A Western diplomat familiar with the incident said the United States had multiple streams of intelligence connecting the Armenian arms shipment to Iran with the deaths of U.S. soldiers in 2007 in Iraq.
When Mr. Sargsyan was first confronted with this intelligence in 2008 on the sidelines of the U.N. General Assembly by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, he denied knowing anything about the matter, the cable says.
Mr. Negroponte, however, lays out the consequences to Armenia in the letter.
"Notwithstanding the close relationship between our countries, neither the Administration nor the U.S. Congress can overlook this case," Mr. Negroponte said in his letter to the Armenian president.
"By law, the transfer of these weapons requires us to consider whether there is a basis for the imposition of U.S. sanctions. If sanctions are imposed, penalties could include the cutoff of U.S. assistance and certain export restrictions," he said.
After leveling the threat, Mr. Negroponte told Mr. Sargsyan that in order to avoid sanctions he had to provide a written assurance to the United States that Armenia would update its export-control laws, establish teams of customs specialists at the border to check for contraband and dual-use exports and allow U.S. spot inspections of these checkpoints and make public its export-control lists.
The Armenians appear to have agreed to these measures as the United States never leveled any sanctions against Mr. Sargsyan's government. The Armenian Embassy declined to comment for this article.
A December 2009 cable revealed that U.S. intelligence in June 2009 uncovered two Iranian front companies that offered to sell missile test equipment manufactured by the German firms Rohde & Schwarz and Hottinger Baldwin Messtechnik (HBM) to Iran's main developer of liquid-fueled ballistic missiles, the Shahid Hemmat Industrial Group.
"We want to share this new information with German officials and encourage them to continue their efforts to prevent SHIG or other Iranian entities of proliferation concern from procuring sensitive items from Rohde & Schwarz and HBM," the cable said.
A March 2009 cable from the U.S. Embassy in Baku, Azerbaijan, stated that a network of Iranians had been identified in the Azerbaijani capital who were engaged in illicit activities.
"Some [of the Iranians] are also said to be significant actors in obtaining spare parts and equipment for the Revolutionary Guard, raising revenues and managing money for it and/or regime figures, or managing Iran-origin narcotics trafficking," the cable said.

by John V. Walsh, November 30, 2010

John Tyner triggered a wave of protest against the Transportation Security Administration when he recorded himself saying, “If you touch my junk, I’m gonna have you arrested,” pithily paraphrased as “Don’t touch my junk!” But this protest was anathema to the thought police at The Nation, because after all it is now Obama’s TSA, and the virtue of the Messiah’s works is not to be doubted. On top of that, Tyner is (gasp!) a self-declared libertarian.
A smear was in order, and so The Nation quickly served up an innuendo-laden piece attacking Tyner by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine. And it has quite properly provoked a chorus of disapproval. Glenn Greenwald writing at Salon.com was first to criticize Ames and Levine, calling their smear of Tyner a shoddy, fact-free, and reckless hit piece.” Next up was Justin Raimondo, who chided Ames (“I spit on libertarians“) and Levine for their “implausible fiction.” Raimondo suggested a modicum of competence would serve them well and that if they wished to be “the ‘go to‘ team for the dirt on libertarians … they ought to learn their subject.” By now the critique of Ames and Levine’s trash must be turning into a cottage industry on the Web.

That is all to the good, but too many critics have excused the Ames-Levine smear as an aberration. Greenwald calls The Nation “a magazine which generally offers very good journalism,” actually faint praise, and another says she knows “the editors and many of the writers and have nothing but respect for their work.” She is correct about many of the writers, but unfortunately the editorial leadership does not deserve such respect. With the attack on Tyner, The Nation‘s editorial leadership overreached, leaving their dismal editorial policy too exposed to be ignored. The editorial leadership determines not only editorial positions but the politics of the articles printed or solicited – and therein lies the significance of the Tyner smear. Quite simply it fits in with the politics of the editorial leadership there. Certainly some of the writing in The Nation is of great merit, for example the perfectly paced prose of Alexander Cockburn’s invaluable “Beat the Devil,” which I suspect is tolerated simply because without it many subscriptions would vanish, along with considerable income. My sub would vanish for sure.

But the editorial policy of The Nation for a long time now has been slowly strangling the magazine. The underlying problem is that this once great journal has become a house organ for the Democratic Party. Nowhere is this more evident than in the editorial stance of The Nation on the wars in Iraq and Af-Pak, especially at the all-important moment to our politicians, election time. While the editorial problems atThe Nation affect virtually every issue of importance to its readers, let’s simply focus on the question of war and empire to see the nature of the fault.
In 2004, The Nation endorsed John Kerry on its cover despite the fact that he ran as a pro-war candidate. Ralph Nader was also turned into a non-person in the pages ofThe Nation for daring to run again as an independent. The unappealing and egotistical Kerry may have lost the election because of his pro-war position, as the polls shifted against the war in October 2004 to a near majority, too late for Kerry to make the switch. Had he taken on the war and opposed it, that shift might have turned into a majority against the war and Kerry might have been the victor.
Then came 2006, when the Dems promised impeachment hearings against Bush for his wars should they win control of the House. The Nation urged us to vote Democratic, but when the hearings did not materialize, silence fell over the magazine. John Conyers was the Democrats’ poster boy for the promise of impeachment, but after the election he folded at once. The much ballyhooed impeachment hearings never materialized, and Conyers slunk away.
In 2008, The Nation backed Obama, the candidate of the most “progressive” wing of the Democratic Party and of “Progressive” Democrats of America. The endorsement was proffered despite the fact that Obama was promising to step up the war in Afghanistan. When Obama won and the wars continued and military spending increased above Bush levels, The Nation went limp in its criticism of empire. Yes, there were exhortations to Obama to do the right thing, implying that he wants to do so, a proposition so lame at this point as to be comic, but never attacks like the well-deserved salvos fired at Bush for the very same policies on war and civil liberties.
Principled voices on both Left and Right are necessary in this country if war and empire are to be defeated. The Democrats are a party of war, and the The Nationclaims to be a journal of peace. The two cannot be reconciled. Regrettably, under the current editorial leadership at The Nation, party has been chosen over principle. When will the subscribers to The Nation and those of its writers who remain true to principle revolt and install new editorial leadership? On its present course The Nation is doomed to sink into irrelevance, eliminating it as a platform for the worthwhile voices that manage to survive on its pages. A mutiny is long overdue.
Bank of America is down over 1.7% right now, far underperforming the rest of the banking sector, as fears spread that it's the target of a forthcoming Wikileak.
Last night the news broke that Wikileaks founder Julian Assange said the next leak would be a bank, and today it was discovered that in 2009 he said he had 5GB of data on the bank. Ominously in the interview he warned that new revelations could take down a bank.
By comparison, Citigroup is up 1.8%, and Wells Fargo is flat right now.

Is the target of the Wikileaks "Big Bank" exposé going to be Bank of America?
As the Huffington Post points out, Julian Assange talked about BofA last year in an interview with Computer World, claiming "he had acquired a large cache of information from Bank of America."
He specified that he has 5GB of material on the company.
In the interview Assange said:
"At the moment, for example, we are sitting on 5GB from Bank of America, one of the executive's hard drives. Now how do we present that? It's a difficult problem. We could just dump it all into one giant Zip file, but we know for a fact that has limited impact. To have impact, it needs to be easy for people to dive in and search it and get something out of it."
Yesterday, a Forbes interview revealed that early next year, Assange will drop a trove of documents that could take down "one or two banks."
He confirmed that the information comes from a U.S bank.
Speculation that BofA is the bank in question is not unexpected, especially in the wake of the robo-signing scandal, which exposed an uncontrolled, often messy operation within the bank's finance and mortgage divisions.
At the same time, if he's been sitting on this treasure trove of damning evidence - why hasn't he released it already?
Assange told Forbes that the Big Bank leak will include thousands of internal documents, which have "an overlap between corporate and government leaks."
In typical Assange fashion, he emphasized the information "will be exposed on Wikileaks.org with no polite requests for executives’ response or other forewarnings. The data dump will lay bare the finance firm’s secrets on the Web for every customer, every competitor, every regulator to examine and pass judgment on."

WikiLeaks: Saudi King: Use Force to Surgically Implant Microchips in Guantanamo Detainees 28 Nov 2010 King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia told a senior White House official to consider surgically implanting homing devices under Guantanamo Bay detainees’ skin. That’s one of the many potentially embarrassing comments from diplomatic back rooms now being made public by WikiLeaks. During a March 2009 meeting with John Brennan, President Obama’s closest counterterrorism adviser, Abdullah proposed shooting electronic chips into the residual Guantanamo population, "allowing their movements to be tracked with Bluetooth." Abdullah appears to have come up with the idea on the fly during their meeting -- "I’ve just thought of something," the cable quotes him saying -- and considered forced subcutaneous chip implantation uncontroversial, since it’s already "done with horses and falcons." Brennan appears to have gingerly waved him off: "[H]orses don’t have good lawyers," he replied...

WikiLeaks on the Middle East
ROBERT DREYFUSS | Why, exactly, should the United States care if a collection of corrupt Arab rulers in oil-rich kingdoms want America (or Israel) to bomb Iran? 

The new cable dump includes a State Department directive to have diplomats spy on UN officials. The UN has been a playground for spies since its origin—but this recent order goes further than before.

200 Israeli War Criminals Better Hope for Palestinian Amnesty ...
A few days ago, British Chief of Defence Staff General Sir David Richards admitted that victory in Afghanistan is unachievable. In conventional war,” said ...

International Lawyers Debate U.S. Policy on International Criminal ...
By Jenna Greene
In Kampala, the U.S. delegation ”arrived very focused on definitional issues” related to aggression, said David Scheffer, a professor at Northwestern University School of Law who served as Ambassador at Large for War Crimes Issues from ...
The BLT: The Blog of Legal Times - http://legaltimes.typepad.com/blt/

The Stench Of The Police State At US Airports


Monday, November 29, 2010

SaneVax Team asks Senator Grassley to Expand Ethics Investigation

SaneVax Team asks Senator Grassley to Expand Ethics Investigation
Ethics investigation launched into allegations of National Cancer Institute employee’s extensive travel with the expenses for multiple international trips being donated by private corporations. SANE VAX Team pledges their support.

TROY, Mont.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--In a letter addressed to U.S. Senator Charles Grassley, the SaneVax Team congratulated the senator on his recent efforts to examine ethical questions raised by National Cancer Institute (NCI) employees accepting extensive travel sponsored by private companies and identified two senior NCI scientists who knowingly promote unreliable human papillomavirus (HPV) tests for patient care, and the development/monitoring of genotype-specific HPV vaccines to promote an unproven virology-based cervical cancer prevention business agenda.
One of the two NCI senior scientists recently admitted that he works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the NCI in the human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine trial project, as well as working on the development of HPV tests, which were previously marketed by Digene Corporation and are now by Qiagen Corporation, a Dutch company.
These two senior NCI scientists have co-authored, with the chief scientific officer of Digene Corporation, a total of 36 articles endorsing the only FDA-approved Digene HC2 HPV test in the U.S. The NCI endorsements undoubtedly boosted the final sales price of Digene Corporation to Qiagen at $1.6 billion, said Ms. Erickson.
However, the Digene HC2 HPV test is not a reliable HPV genotyping test, as well known in the NCI. A public document titled “HPV genotyping,” identified as Solicitation Number: NCI-100143-MM, reveals the NCI acknowledges a reliable genotyping of HPV is a method based on “PCR system with short target sequences,” a methodology the NCI and FDA do not encourage to develop in this country. They prefer to pay $13.5 million to contract a foreign laboratory to test 230 biopsy samples using this reliable HPV genotyping, an exorbitant amount of our companies tax money for a small number of tests, Ms. Erickson pointed out in her letter to the Senator.
“The NCI scientists responsible for the HPV project have apparently maintained a double standard, a reliable HPV test for good science; and unreliable HPV tests for patient care and vaccine development/monitoring. The unreliable Digene HC2 HPV test has sent numerous American women to harmful cervical biopsies, 95% of which are unnecessary, at a great cost to individuals and society,” said Ms. Erickson.
The letter outlines 12 evidence-based reasons that the NCI-promoted virology-based program, which depends on massive HPV vaccination of young American girls, HPV screening and colposcopic biopsies, to replace the traditional Papanicolaou test for cervical cancer prevention is highly speculative, and should not be adopted prematurely.
Because the SaneVax Team received no response to letters expressing their concerns to Dr. Margaret Hamburg, FDA Commissioner, or Dr. Harold Varmus, NCI director, on this very important women’s health care issue, they feel it is necessary to seek assistance from the office of a concerned U.S. Senator.

PRLog (Press Release) – Nov 28, 2010 – 22 October 2010, Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa launched an ethics investigation into allegations of National Cancer Institute employees extensive travel with the expenses for multiple international trips being donated by private corporations. The SaneVax Team sent the following letter to Senator Grassley to express our support for his efforts to demand ethical conduct within government agencies:

Dear Senator Grassley:

The SaneVax Team read your October 22, 2010 letter to Dr. Harold E. Varmus, director of the National Cancer Institute (NCI), with great interest. We would like to congratulate you on your efforts to examine the ethical questions raised by NCI employees accepting extensive travel sponsored by private companies. NCI is the nation’s top institute in cancer science. 

Publications and opinions from its intramural scientists have great impact on national health care policies affecting American consumers. Because their influence carries so much weight in the medical community, their reputation should be beyond reproach. We appreciate your office initiating this investigation into the ethics of those NCI employees who are apparently accepting excessive travel funds from private companies. 

Along the same line, the SaneVax Team would like to bring to your attention another even more disturbing issue involving two senior NCI scientists who knowingly promote an unreliable human papillomavirus (HPV) test for patient care, and the development and monitoring of genotype-specific HPV vaccines in promoting a virology-based business agenda.

In a recently published financial disclosure[1] Dr. Mark Schiffman, a NCI senior investigator, stated that he “works with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as well as the National Cancer Institute (NCI). He is the medical monitor of the independent human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccine trial of Cervarix being conducted by the NCI, for which he does not receive compensation. GlaxoSmithKline pays costs related to regulatory use of the data. He also works on the development of HPV tests for low-resource public health settings and is collaborating with Qiagen on this effort. Qiagen is providing free test supplies for this research effort but has no role in the evaluation of performance.”

In this disclosure, Dr. Schiffman did not mention that a similar Qiagen test has also been used in the U.S. as the only FDA-approved HPV test for American women for the past 20 years. Digene Corporation with its HC2 HPV test kit was sold to Qiagen, a Dutch company for $1.6 billion in 2007[2], with a 5-times value appreciation over less than 5 years.

During the past 20 years, Dr. Mark Schiffman and Dr. Philip Castle, the two senior NCI officials promoting the virology-based agenda, have co-authored numerous articles with Dr. A. Lorincz, the chief scientist employed by Digene Corporation[3] as scientific literature endorsing the Digene HC2 test. A PubMed search revealed that Dr. Schiffman and Dr. Lorincz coauthored 34 such articles from 1988 to 2005[4], and that Dr. Castle and Dr. Lorincz coauthored 15 similar articles from 2001 to 2007[5]. The NCI endorsement has undoubtedly boosted the sales value of Digene Corporation.

However, the Digene HC2 HPV test is not a reliable HPV genotyping test, as well known in the NCI. A public document titled “HPV genotyping”, identified as Solicitation Number: NCI-100143-MM, https://www.fbo.gov/index?s=opportunity&mode=form id=da396b97ad6eb7ec4f7d511f85d9e325&tab=core&_cview=0, reveals the NCI acknowledges that a reliable genotyping of HPV is a method based on “PCR system with short target sequences,” a methodology the NCI and the FDA do not encourage companies to develop in this country. They prefer to pay $13.5 million to contract a foreign laboratory to test 230 biopsy samples, an exorbitant amount of our tax money for a small number of tests.

The obvious conclusion is that these two NCI scientists have been promoting a test kit which the NCI knows is not as reliable as “a PCR system with short target sequences” for patient care. The NCI scientists responsible for the HPV project have apparently maintained a double standard, a reliable HPV test for good science and another unreliable HPV test for patient care. The unreliable Digene HC2 HPV test has sent numerous American women to harmful cervical biopsies, 95% of which are unnecessary, at a great cost to individuals and society.[6]

We believe that the NCI-promoted virology-based program, which depends on massive HPV vaccination of young American girls, HPV screening and colposcopic biopsies, to replace the traditional Papanicolaou test for cervical cancer prevention[7] is highly speculative for the following reasons:

The currently marketed HPV vaccines lack proven efficacy in cervical cancer prevention and are associated with potentially serious side effects.
They can only protect against a fraction of high-risk HPV genotypes, provided there is no prior vaccine-related HPV infection.

Cervical cancer is not a contagious disease.

There is no epidemic of cervical cancer in the United States.

The perceived cervical cancer crisis in the United States is obviously man-made news.

Cervical cancer can be prevented with good gynecological care. This is a proven fact.

Progression from persistent HPV infection to cervical cancer is a complicated pathological process which is not well understood, even among scientists.

Clinical trials for efficacy of HPV vaccines used the wrong endpoint to prove their value to medical consumers.

Reliable HPV genotyping methods were not used in the development of HPV vaccines.

Reliable HPV genotyping methods are not currently available to American medical practitioners, or consumers for post-marketing monitoring.

At least two National Cancer Institute employees have co-authored promotional articles with a senior employee of a private company to promote an unproven virology-based cervical cancer prevention program to the American public while knowing the device being promoted is unreliable.

The NCI virology-based program is apparently being advanced by individuals with a personal agenda, rather than any interest in national health.

Therefore, the SaneVax Team believes medically and scientifically the currently marketed HPV vaccines’ benefits do not justify the costs and the potential side effects for medical consumers in the United States.

The SaneVax Team has expressed our concerns to the FDA Commissioner, Dr. Margaret Hamburg and the NCI director, Dr. Harold Varmus, respectively [see attached letters in references #8 and #9]. We have not received a response from either of these two government agencies.

We respectfully request that the ethics investigation of your Senate Committee extend to examine the appropriateness of the two senior NCI officials named above and their efforts to promote an HPV test kit the NCI knows to be not a reliable genotyping method and the circumstances surrounding the FDA approval of two currently approved HPV vaccines, Gardasil and Cervarix.

I am looking forward to receiving your response to this request on behalf of American medical consumers.

Yours respectfully,
Norma Erickson, President
S.A.N.E. Vax, Inc.
154 Cecil Drive
Troy MT 59935 

Sunday, November 28, 2010


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American intelligence assessments say that Iran has obtained advanced missiles from North Korea based on a Russian design that are much more powerful than its other missiles.
November 28, 2010

The articles published today and in coming days are based on thousands of United States embassy cables, the daily reports from the field intended for the eyes of senior policy makers in Washington.
November 28, 2010

State Department personnel were told to gather the credit card and frequent-flier numbers, schedules and other personal data of foreign officials.
November 28, 2010
Cables show how two presidents have dealt with Iran and how President Obama built support for harsher sanctions.
November 28, 2010

A huge trove of State Department communiqués offers an extraordinary look at the inner workings, and sharp elbows, of diplomacy.
November 28, 2010

The Swedish prosecutor’s office said that Julian Assange is being sought for questioning on months-old charges of rape and other offenses.
November 19, 2010

Sarah E. Shourd, a teacher freed in September after nearly 14 months in Tehran’s Evin prison says the group inadvertently crossed into Iran.
November 1, 2010

Among The Times’s challenges in handling the “War Logs”: keeping distance between itself and WikiLeaks.
October 31, 2010

Allegations of abuse surfaced last week in a cache of secret United States military documents released by the Web site WikiLeaks.
October 29, 2010
Responses to “The War Logs” articles about the trove of secret field reports from Iraq obtained by the group WikiLeaks.
October 26, 2010

Responding to the release of documents by WikiLeaks, the deputy prime minister said that any abuses committed by British troops “need to be looked at.”
October 25, 2010

Julian Assange is used to being denounced, but now some of his own comrades are abandoning him for what they see as erratic and imperious behavior.
October 24, 2010

Julian Assange and Daniel Ellsberg, who leaked the Pentagon Papers, lashed out at the Obama administration’s aggressive pursuit of whistle-blowers.
October 24, 2010

A trove of documents describes episodes in which private contractors killed civilians and were themselves killed.
October 24, 2010

The documents on the Iraq and Afghan wars suggest that while each conflict is different, Afghans have lost faith in the Americans’ ability to protect them.
October 24, 2010

New York Times editors said Sunday that although the paper's reporters had been digging through WikiLeaks trove of 250,000 State Department cables for "several weeks," the online whistleblower wasn't the source of the documents.

But if WikiLeaks—which allegedly obtained the cables from a 22-year-old army private—wasn't the Times source, than who was? Apparently, The Guardian—one of the five newspapers that had an advanced look at the cables—supplied a copy of the cables to The Times.

David Leigh, The Guardian's investigations executive editor, told The Cutline  in an email that "we got the cables from WL"—meaning WikiLeaks—and "we gave a copy to the NYT."

The Times, in an editor's note, said that the cables "were made available to The Times by a source who insisted on anonymity." A Times article on the cables said they were provided to the paper by an "intermediary." So presumably, the Guardian acted as intermediary and the Times agreed to the same embargo as the other publications involved.

On Sunday, Leigh wrote on The Guardian's site that his paper's staff spent months going through the cables. In an email, Leigh specified that The Guardian received the cables in August.

Leigh said that all the publications involved Sunday—including Spain's El Pais, France's Le Monde and Germany's Der Spiegel—"talked to each other in order to coordinate timing, and the papers talked to each other in an effort [not completely successful!] to avoid scooping each other."

It's unclear exactly why The Guardian passed along a copy of the cables to The Times, and whether it was at the suggestion of WikiLeaks or not. (Leigh did not respond to a follow-up email, perhaps because it's the middle of the night in England).

Both The Times and the Guardian were among the newspapers that WikiLeaks provided the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs to prior to publishing online. But the WikiLeaks-Times relationship has been a bit rocky of late.

WikiLeaks founder and editor-in-chief Julian Assange harshly criticized The Times in October for a front-page profile of him that ran alongside the Iraq logs coverage.
Bill Keller, executive editor of the New York Times, declined to comment on Leigh's statement about providing a copy to the Times.

“This Is What Diplomats ... Have Done For Hundreds Of Years.”' State Department Says

(CNN) -- WikiLeaks, the whistle-blower website sitting on a giant trove of U.S. diplomatic cables, didn't expect the papers to reveal as much espionage as they apparently do, a spokesman said Monday.

"I was surprised at (the) extent of the spying," Kristinn Hrafnsson told CNN.

The leaked papers include what seems to be an order from U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to American diplomats to engage in intelligence-gathering.

Clinton directed her envoys at embassies around the world to collect information ranging from basic biographical data on diplomats to their frequent flyer and credit card numbers, and even "biometric information on ranking North Korean diplomats."

Typical biometric information includes fingerprints, signatures, and iris recognition data.
The cable, simply signed 'CLINTON', is classified S/NF - or 'Secret/No Foreign' - and was sent to 33 embassies and the U.N. mission offices in New York, Vienna, and Rome.

"Is it a natural part of diplomatic activity to have diplomats collecting biometric data?" WikiLeaks spokesman Hrafnsson asked Monday, calling it "a contravention of how diplomats are supposed to conduct business."

The State Department denied its diplomats were spies.
"Contrary to some Wikileaks' reporting, our diplomats are diplomats. They are not intelligence assets," State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said on Twitter.

He further downplayed the cable's significance by writing in a separate tweet:

"Diplomats collect information that shapes our policies and actions. Diplomats for all nations do the same thing."

WikiLeaks spokesman Hrafnsson denied that Sunday's release of papers harmed United States security.

"I don't believe anything in these cables are national security concerns," he said.
"If we are talking about strained relations or embarrassment, that does not fall into national security concerns," he said with a shrug.

WikiLeaks claims it has 251,288 cables sent by American diplomats between the end of 1966 and February 2010, which it will release piecemeal over the course of weeks or months, Hrafnsson said.

Of those, 8,017 originated from the office of the secretary of state, and more than 15,600 are classified as secret, WikiLeaks said as began releasing the papers Sunday.

"Secret" is not the highest level of classification, Hrafnsson pointed out. WikiLeaks does not have any top secret documents, he added.

More than half are unclassified, he said.

Top U.S. officials were quick to denounce the publication of the leaked documents Sunday.

White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said publishing the documents would jeopardize "our diplomats, intelligence professionals and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government."
And the British Foreign Office followed suit Monday, saying it condemned any release of classified documents.

"They can damage national security, are not in the national interest and, as the U.S. (has) said, may put lives at risk," the office said in a statement.

A spokesman for Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari weighed in with a statement about documents mentioning Zardari and Saudi King Abdullah, saying the "so-called leaks are no more than an attempt to create misperceptions between two important and brotherly Muslim countries."

The office of Afghan President Hamid Karzai downplayed the significance of the revelations.

"The things that have been said about President Karzai are not new. They've been alleged in the media in the past and we are not surprised," a spokesman for Karzai told reporters.

The New York Times and four European newspapers that had received the documents in advance began publishing excerpts earlier Sunday.

Many of them detail conversations on sensitive issues between American officials and leaders in the Middle East, Afghanistan and elsewhere.

Major topics in the documents include pressure from U.S. allies in the Middle East for decisive action to neutralize Iran's nuclear program, conversations about military action against al Qaeda militants in Yemen and Washington's efforts to have highly enriched uranium removed from a Pakistani research reactor.

"The cables show the U.S. spying on its allies and the U.N.; turning a blind eye to corruption and human rights abuse in 'client states'; backroom deals with supposedly neutral countries; and lobbying for U.S. corporations," the site's editor-in-chief and spokesman, Julian Assange, said in a statement released Sunday evening.

(CBS)  A leading Republican Congressman called WikiLeaks' release of secret U.S. State Department documents "catastrophic" which would make other governments question whether America can be trusted. 

Rep. Peter Hoesktra, R-Mich., Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, said the more than a quarter-million diplomatic messages released by the whistleblower organization and published by news media organization in the U.S. and Europe contain "a whole number of time bombs." 

Appearing on CBS' "The Early Show" this morning, Hoekstra said the embassy cable messages and directives to diplomatic staff represents "a range of information getting into the public domain that was never intended to be there. Some of it is gossip, some of it is about the political sausage [-making] of getting to a deal." 

And in the case of cables referencing Pakistan, some is "very, very sensitive negotiations between the U.S. and one of our allies, dealing with nuclear weapons and nuclear proliferation." 

Hoekstra said that from what he has seen so far, there has been no single piece of information that is potentially catastrophic in terms of damage. But what he believes what is catastrophic about the leak is a breakdown in trust. 

"There's just a lot of countries that are going to be out there, they are going to see stuff that they never thought was going to be public. It's now in the public domain, it's on the front page of the newspapers, it's all over TV, it's all over the Internet. They are just going to wonder: Can the U.S. be trusted? Can the United States keep a secret?" Hoekstra told anchor Harry Smith. 

Also awkward: Revelations that State Department employees were asked to spy on U.N. delegations and certain foreign officials and collect not just biographical information but also biometric information (including fingerprints and DNA), credit card numbers, even frequent flyer numbers. 

"A very, very awkward position, I would think, for diplomats to be put in," said Hoekstra. 

He said that during his work on the Intelligence Committee, "the CIA has never really asked us to, you know, to spy on the people that we've been meeting with or those kinds of things, because they recognize that it may compromise our position as being a congressman. I think it does the same thing for diplomats - it compromises or potentially compromises their position and their relationship with the people that they work with." 

Hoekstra said the fact that so much information was collected in a database to which "hundreds of thousands of people across the government" has access represents "a massive failure within the intelligence community. 

"I think the real surprising thing here is that it never happened before," he added. 

More on WikiLeaks: 

Links to Leaked Cables: 

The US Embassy Cable (Guardian) 

A Superpower's View of the World (Spiegel, in English) 


Wikileaks   report  stokes  anti-US  hardliners  in  Pakistan

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US  Embassy  Cables: Even Disapproving  Newspapers  Publish  The  Revelations

US embassy cables offer frank insights; State Dept. scurries to ease tensions

Google China offices in Beijing. A leaked cable said China’s Politburo directed an intrusion into Google computer systems. (Gemunu Amarasinghe/ Associated Press)

New York Times / November 29, 2010

WASHINGTON — A cache of a quarter-million confidential US diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at back room bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders, and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats.

Some of the cables, made available to The New York Times and several other news organizations, were written as recently as late February, revealing the Obama administration’s exchanges over crises and conflicts. The material was originally obtained by WikiLeaks, an organization devoted to revealing secret documents. WikiLeaks posted the first installment of the archive on its website yesterday.

The disclosure of the cables is sending shudders through the diplomatic establishment and could strain relations with some countries, influencing international affairs in ways that are impossible to predict.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and US ambassadors around the world have been contacting foreign officials in recent days to alert them to the expected disclosures. A statement from the White House yesterday said: “We condemn in the strongest terms the unauthorized disclosure of classified documents and sensitive national security information.

“President Obama supports responsible, accountable, and open government at home and around the world, but this reckless and dangerous action runs counter to that goal. By releasing stolen and classified documents, WikiLeaks has put at risk not only the cause of human rights but also the lives and work of these individuals.’’

The cables, a huge sampling of the daily traffic between the State Department and some 270 embassies and consulates, amount to a secret chronicle of US relations with the world in an age of war and terrorism. Among their revelations, to be detailed in coming days:

■ A dangerous standoff with Pakistan over nuclear fuel: Since 2007, the United States has mounted a highly secret effort, so far unsuccessful, to remove from a Pakistani research reactor highly enriched uranium that US officials fear could be diverted for use in an illicit nuclear device. In May 2009, Ambassador Anne Patterson reported that Pakistan was refusing to schedule a visit by US technical experts because, as a Pakistani official said, “if the local media got word of the fuel removal, ‘they certainly would portray it as the United States taking Pakistan’s nuclear weapons,’ he argued.’’

■ Planning for an eventual collapse of North Korea: US and South Korean officials have discussed the prospects for a unified Korea, should the North’s economic troubles and political transition lead the state to implode. The South Koreans even considered commercial inducements to China, according to the US ambassador to Seoul. She told Washington in February that South Korean officials believe the right business deals would “help salve’’ China’s “concerns about living with a reunified Korea’’ that is in a “benign alliance’’ with the United States.

■ Bargaining to empty the Guantanamo Bay prison: When US diplomats pressed other countries to resettle detainees, they became reluctant players in a State Department version of “Let’s Make a Deal.’’ Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if it wanted to meet with Obama, while the island nation of Kiribati was offered incentives worth millions of dollars to take in Chinese Muslim detainees, cables from diplomats recounted.

■ Suspicions of corruption in the Afghan government: When Afghanistan’s vice president visited the United Arab Emirates last year, local authorities working with the Drug Enforcement Administration discovered he was carrying $52 million in cash. A cable from the US Embassy in Kabul called the money “a significant amount’’ that the official, Ahmed Zia Massoud, “was ultimately allowed to keep without revealing the money’s origin or destination.’’ (Massoud denies taking any money out of Afghanistan.)

■ A global computer hacking effort: China’s Politburo directed the intrusion into Google’s computer systems in that country, a Chinese contact told the US Embassy in Beijing in January, one cable reported. The Google hacking was part of a coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts, and Internet outlaws recruited by the Chinese government. They have broken into US government computers and those of Western allies, the Dalai Lama, and US businesses since 2002, cables said.

■ Mixed records against terrorism: Saudi donors remain the chief financiers of Sunni militant groups like Al Qaeda, and the tiny Persian Gulf state of Qatar, a generous host to the US military for years, was the “worst in the region’’ in counterterrorism efforts, according to a State Department cable last December. Qatar’s security service was “hesitant to act against known terrorists out of concern for appearing to be aligned with the United States and provoking reprisals,’’ the cable said.

The 251,287 cables, first acquired by WikiLeaks, were provided to the Times by an intermediary on the condition of anonymity. Many are unclassified, and none are marked “top secret,’’ the government’s most secure communications status. But some 11,000 are classified “secret,’’ 9,000 are labeled “noforn,’’ shorthand for material considered too delicate to be shared with any foreign government, and 4,000 are designated both secret and noforn.
Many more cables name diplomats’ confidential sources, from foreign legislators and military officers to human rights activists and journalists, often with a warning to Washington: “Please protect’’ or “Strictly protect.’’

The Times has withheld from articles and removed from documents it is posting online the names of some people who spoke privately to diplomats and might be at risk if they were publicly identified. The Times is also withholding some passages or entire cables whose disclosure could compromise US intelligence efforts.

The cables show that nearly a decade after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the dark shadow of terrorism still dominates the United States’ relations with the world. They depict the Obama administration struggling to sort out which Pakistanis are trustworthy partners against Al Qaeda, adding Australians who have disappeared in the Middle East to terrorist watch lists, and assessing whether a lurking rickshaw driver in Lahore, Pakistan, was awaiting fares or conducting surveillance of the road to the US Consulate.

They show US officials managing relations with a China on the rise and a Russia retreating from democracy. They document years of painstaking effort to prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon — and of worry about a possible Israeli strike on Iran with the same goal.
Even when they recount events that are already known, the cables offer remarkable details.
For instance, it has been previously reported that the Yemeni government has sought to cover up the US role in missile strikes against the local branch of Al Qaeda. But a cable’s fly-on-the-wall account of a January meeting between the Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and General David Petraeus, then the US commander in the Middle East, is nonetheless breathtaking.

“We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours,’’ Saleh said, according to the cable sent by the US ambassador, prompting Yemen’s deputy prime minister to “joke that he had just ‘lied’ by telling Parliament’’ that Yemeni forces had carried out the strikes.

The cables also disclose frank comments behind closed doors. Dispatches from early this year, for instance, quote the aging monarch of Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, as speaking scathingly about the leaders of Iraq and Pakistan.

Speaking to another Iraqi official about Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, King Abdullah said, “You and Iraq are in my heart, but that man is not.’’ The king called President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan the greatest obstacle to that country’s progress. “When the head is rotten,’’ he said, “it affects the whole body.’

© Copyright 2010 Globe Newspaper Company.

US Tries To Contain Damage From Leaked Documents
BY MATTHEW LEE : Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Bristling over the unauthorized release of more than a quarter million classified State Department documents, the Obama White House on Monday ordered a government-wide review of how agencies safeguard sensitive information.

The weekend release of documents reflecting, in some cases, unflattering assessments of world leaders has caused embarrassment to the administration. The director of the White House's Office of Management and Budget, Jacob Lew, said in ordering the agency-wide assessment Monday that the disclosures are unacceptable and will not be tolerated.

The U.S. cables contained raw comments normally muffled by diplomatic politesse: Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah pressing the U.S. to "cut off the head of the snake" by taking action against Iran's nuclear program. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi described as "feckless" and "vain." German Chancellor Angela Merkel dismissed as "risk averse and rarely creative."

Publication of the secret memos and documents made public by the online whistle-blower Wikileaks Sunday amplified widespread global alarm about Iran's nuclear ambitions. It also unveiled occasional U.S. pressure tactics aimed at hot spots in Afghanistan, Pakistan and North Korea. The leaks disclosed bluntly candid impressions from both diplomats and other world leaders about America's allies and foes.

It was, said Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, the "Sept. 11 of world diplomacy."

In the wake of the massive document dump by online whistleblower WikiLeaks and numerous media reports detailing their contents, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton was expected to address the diplomatic repercussions later Monday. Clinton may have to confront the fallout first hand after she leaves Washington on a four-nation tour of Central Asia and the Middle East - a region that figures prominently in the leaked documents.

Most of the disclosures focused on familiar diplomatic issues that have long stymied U.S. officials and their foreign counterparts - the nuclear ambitions of Iran, North Korea and Pakistan, China's growth as a superpower, the frustrations of combating terrorism.

But their publication could become problems for the officials concerned and for any secret initiatives they had preferred to keep quiet. The massive release of material intended for diplomatic eyes was quickly ruffling feathers in foreign capitals despite efforts by U.S. diplomats in recent days to shore up relations with key allies in advance of the leaks.

At Clinton's first stop in Astana, Kazakhstan, she will be attending a summit of officials from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a diplomatic grouping that includes many officials from countries cited in the leaked cables.

In London, Steve Field, a spokesman for British Prime Minister David Cameron, said "it's important that governments are able to operate on the basis of confidentiality of information." French Foreign Ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said "we strongly deplore the deliberate and irresponsible release of American diplomatic correspondence by the site Wikileaks.:"

Pakistan's foreign ministry said it was an "irresponsible disclosure of sensitive official documents" while Iraq's foreign minister, Hoshyar Zebari, called the document release "unhelpful and untimely." In Australia, Assange's home country, Attorney General Robert McClelland said law enforcement officials were investigating whether WikiLeaks broke any laws.

In Washington, Rep. Peter Hoekstra of Michigan, the senior Republican on the House Intelligence Committee, called the release very damaging.

"The catastrophic issue here is just a breakdown in trust," he said Monday, adding that many other countries - allies and foes alike - are likely to ask, 'Can the United States be trusted? Can the United States keep a secret?' "

The encrypted e-mails and other documents unearthed new revelations about long-simmering nuclear trouble spots, detailing U.S., Israeli and Arab world fears of Iran's growing nuclear program, American concerns about Pakistan's atomic arsenal and U.S. discussions about a united Korean peninsula as a long-term solution to North Korean aggression.

The documents published by The New York Times, France's Le Monde, Britain's Guardian newspaper, German magazine Der Spiegel and others laid out the behind-the-scenes conduct of Washington's international relations, shrouded in public by platitudes, smiles and handshakes at photo sessions among senior officials.

The White House immediately condemned the release of the WikiLeaks documents, saying "such disclosures put at risk our diplomats, intelligence professionals and people around the world who come to the United States for assistance in promoting democracy and open government."

U.S. officials may also have to mend fences after revelations that they gathered personal information on other diplomats. The leaks cited American memos encouraging U.S. diplomats at the United Nations to collect detailed data about the U.N. secretary general, his team and foreign diplomats - going beyond what is considered the normal run of information-gathering expected in diplomatic circles.

State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley played down the diplomatic spying allegations. "Our diplomats are just that, diplomats," he said. "They collect information that shapes our policies and actions. This is what diplomats, from our country and other countries, have done for hundreds of years."

The White House noted that "by its very nature, field reporting to Washington is candid and often incomplete information. It is not an expression of policy, nor does it always shape final policy decisions."

"Nevertheless, these cables could compromise private discussions with foreign governments and opposition leaders, and when the substance of private conversations is printed on the front pages of newspapers across the world, it can deeply impact not only U.S. foreign policy interests, but those of our allies and friends around the world," the White House said.

On its website, The New York Times said "the documents serve an important public interest, illuminating the goals, successes, compromises and frustrations of American diplomacy in a way that other accounts cannot match."

Le Monde said it "considered that it was part of its mission to learn about these documents, to make a journalistic analysis and to make them available to its readers." Der Spiegel said that in publishing the documents its reporters and editors "weighed the public interest against the justified interest of countries in security and confidentiality."

WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange claimed the administration was trying to cover up alleged evidence of serious "human rights abuse and other criminal behavior" by the U.S. government. WikiLeaks posted the documents just hours after it claimed its website had been hit by a cyberattack that made the site inaccessible for much of the day.

But extracts of the more than 250,000 documents posted online by news outlets that had been given advance copies of the documents showed deep U.S. concerns about Iranian and North Korean nuclear programs along with fears about regime collapse in Pyongyang.

The Guardian said some cables showed King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia repeatedly urging the United States to attack Iran to destroy its nuclear program. The newspaper also said officials in Jordan and Bahrain have openly called for Iran's nuclear program to be stopped by any means and that leaders of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Egypt referred to Iran "as 'evil,' an 'existential threat' and a power that 'is going to take us to war,'" The Guardian said.

Those documents may prove the trickiest because even though the concerns of the Gulf Arab states are known, their leaders rarely offer such stark appraisals in public.

The Times highlighted documents that indicated the U.S. and South Korea were "gaming out an eventual collapse of North Korea" and discussing the prospects for a unified country if the isolated, communist North's economic troubles and political transition lead it to implode.

The Times also cited diplomatic messages describing unsuccessful U.S. efforts to prod Pakistani officials to remove highly enriched uranium from a reactor out of fear that the material could be used to make an illicit atomic device. And the newspaper cited exchanges showing Yemen's president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, telling Gen. David Petraeus that his country would pretend that American missile strikes against a local al-Qaida group had come from Yemen's forces.

The paper also cited documents showing the U.S. used hardline tactics to win approval from countries to accept freed detainees from Guantanamo Bay. It said Slovenia was told to take a prisoner if its president wanted to meet with President Barack Obama and said the Pacific island of Kiribati was offered millions of dollars to take in a group of detainees.

It also cited a message from the U.S. Embassy in Beijing that included allegations from a Chinese contact that China's Politburo directed a cyber intrusion into Google's computer systems as part of a "coordinated campaign of computer sabotage carried out by government operatives, private security experts and Internet outlaws."

Le Monde said another memo asked U.S. diplomats to collect basic contact information about U.N. officials that included Internet passwords, credit card numbers and frequent flyer numbers. They were asked to obtain fingerprints, ID photos, DNA and iris scans of people of interest to the United States, Le Monde said.

The Times said another batch of documents raised questions about Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and his relationship with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. One cable said Berlusconi "appears increasingly to be the mouthpiece of Putin" in Europe, the Times reported.

Der Spiegel reported that the documents portrayed German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle in unflattering terms. It said American diplomats saw Merkel as risk-averse and Westerwelle as largely powerless.

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi, meanwhile, was described as erratic and in the near constant company of a Ukrainian nurse who was described in one cable as "a voluptuous blonde," according to the Times.

The State Department's top lawyer warned Assange late Saturday that lives and military operations would be put at risk if the cables were released. Legal adviser Harold Koh said WikiLeaks would be breaking the law if it went ahead. He also rejected a request from Assange to cooperate in removing sensitive details from the documents.

Hoekstra was interviewed Monday on ABC's "Good Morning America" and CBS's "The Early Show."
Associated Press writers Anne Gearan in Washington; Juergen Baetz in Berlin; Don Melvin in London; Angela Doland in Paris; Robert H. Reid in Cairo; Brian Murphy in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Mark Lavie in Jerusalem and Nicole Winfield in Rome contributed to this report.