360 thoughts on “Back in Ghana

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  • Jon

    Craig – another call from me to increase moderation here. First the spam needs to be dealt with, then there are two or three firmly banned individuals who insist on posting.

    That all said: I am pleasantly surprised by Larry’s December 6, 2010 3:30 AM post. Worthwhile, discursive and diatribe-free. But his racist attacks on Suhayl, his bating of Roderick, and his aggressive sniping generally make most of his input frustrating and unproductive.

  • Larry from St. Louis

    Could you please inform me of my racist attack on Suhayl? Really? What are you talking about?

  • Alfred

    Larry,

    Interesting comment on the legal status of an Australian leaking US Classified docs.

    It would be interesting to know the status of an American newspaper, e.g., the NYTimes that publishes classified documents. Presumably, the NYTimes believes that it is not in legal jeopardy by doing so, but is there no legal issue at all?

    It would also be interesting to know the legal implications where the distribution of information, classified or otherwise, harms American security? In this connection, the Canadian lawyer, Ezra Levant, wrote in the Toronto Sun:

    “Assange published the names of Afghan human rights activists and others who have co-operated with the U.S. ?” giving out names of villages and GPS coordinates.

    “That’s not journalism. That’s not whistleblowing. That’s setting up “deadly revenge attacks,” says Reporters Without Borders.

    “Zabihullah Mujahid is grateful. He’s a Taliban spokesman who says “we know how to punish them.”

    “Assange published details about technology used to stop improvised explosive devices (IEDs) from being detonated. WikiLeaks calls roadside bombs a “rebel investment,” proudly pointing out for every dollar spent by the terrorists, the U.S. and Canada have to spend a thousand to defend against them. So Assange published those anti-IED details online.”

    Today, apparently, Wikileaks has published a list of worldwide infrastructure ‘critical’ to security of U.S.

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40526224/ns/us_news-security/

    It is reports of this kind that seem to justify calls for Assange’s assassination — assassination being now a standard US policy tool apparently.

    Thus, for example, Ezra Levant writes:

    “Assange and his colleagues act like spies, not journalists. WikiLeaks could have its assets seized, just like the Taliban has. And U.S. President Barack Obama could do what he’s doing to the Taliban throughout the world.

    “He doesn’t sue them or catch them. He kills them. Because it’s war.

    “Obama has even ordered the assassination of an American citizen, Anwar al-Awlaki.

    “How does Obama see Assange any differently?”

    I don’t advocate assassinating Assange, but I find it difficult to challenge the logic of those who do.

  • Alfred

    “U.S. Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is calling the founder of the online site WikiLeaks a “high-tech terrorist” for releasing classified material from the U.S. government.

    “McConnell said that the online release of secret diplomat exchanges has done “enormous damage” to the country and to its relationship with its allies.

    “McConnell told NBC’s “Meet the Press” that he hopes WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange will be prosecuted for the disclosures.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/12/05/ap/congress/main7119787.shtml

    It seems to me that information distributed by Wikileaks has either done significant harm to United States interests, in which case Assange is likely to suffer the consequences, or as many have supposed, Wikileaks is some kind of U.S. propaganda operation, the information released containing sufficient titillating gossip to conceal the taste of rat poison.

  • Jon

    “I don’t advocate assassinating Assange, but I find it difficult to challenge the logic of those who do. ”

    Alfred, either someone is posting in your name, or you have just gone off the deep end. I understand why elites and members of the elite might be opposed to the release of the cables – they are worried about the levers of power slipping from their hands. I can understand why ordinary people and a few well-motivated diplomats might also be opposed – they believe that diplomacy is delicate and needs to be conducted in secrecy. But do you find it genuinely difficult to challenge calling for an assassination?

    Assange and his team have, as far as we know, not broken any laws. In particular, he is not treasonous – since he is not an American citizen. I am not convinced that he is ‘giving aid and comfort to the enemy’ since many governments are exposed by the cables as duplicitous, not just the United States. Indeed, at times, the US image has been helped by the cables; they appear to have been a moderating influence on the Saudi dictatorship’s militarism.

    The US establishment has not yet shown that the release of the cables has harmed anyone, but the serial lying and deception that is routinely practised by neoliberal governments has murdered millions. For the first time in some years, I have a glimmer of optimism that international politics is about to get a great deal more honest, and I applaud that.

    Meanwhile your statement sounds like you’re not thoroughly opposed to the United States killing a journalist they don’t like. Even though you’ve taken a view on a number of topics that I’ve found regressive, this is extremely disappointing.

  • MJ

    “I have a glimmer of optimism that international politics is about to get a great deal more honest”

    I don’t think I’ve ever seen that sentence before. Are you feeling OK?

  • Jon

    @anno, I thought I’d remembered correctly that you were a Sharia supporter, but didn’t want to rely on that too much in my last post lest I be viewed as making an negative ethnic assumption.

    But: you must be stark raving mad to support such a system, but then you’ve probably heard that before, and shielded your religious fervence from the cognitive dissonance you should experience from coming here. I’ve talked to Islamic extremists preaching in Birmingham, and like you they appear to have thrown the democracy baby out with the neoliberal bathwater. They can be animated and excited about Sharia, but don’t see how unfair it is to put decisions in the hands of religious nutters who most of us don’t recognise as ‘authorities’ anyway. Why swap one form of murderous anti-democracy with another?

    I think you could make the conversion from Sharia apologist to democratic idealist if you wanted to: democracy is broken, but then perhaps we’ve not yet achieved it? You should read more, and not just the Qu’ran: what do you think of Marx? Anti-capitalism and anti-globalisation? Social democratic ideals? Socialism? Participatory Economics from Michael Albert? The Letts currency system? Are you so frustrated with human output that you think we can’t solve the worldwide economic and environmental crises, and that the levers of power cannot be wrenched from the hands of the elite?

  • Jon

    @MJ – feeling pretty good today (though not getting much work done!).

    Do you think I am being premature in my statement, or are you personally convinced that the cables as misinformation deliberately leaked by the US? I find the latter an interesting suggestion, but I’ve not seen anything to support it, and whilst I am no fan of the Iranian leadership, I think they’ve blinded themselves to Saudi mendacity.

  • MJ

    Jon: I’m agnostic on the true status of the leaks but yes, the proposition that the Wikileaks is being used, either wittingly or not, to disseminate planted disinformation is a compelling one. For the time being however I’m happy to give the benefit of the doubt.

    Whatever the truth of the matter however I feel no optimism. On the contrary, I am a little fearful that one upshot of all this might be that our internet freedoms will be curtailed – and all for sake of some rather dull diplomatic cables.

  • Jon

    OK, yeah, I see where you’re coming from.

    I don’t think the cables are dull, but they are not the primary issue here. The issue, which the global elite see all too well, is that the nature of secret exchange may be forced to be more open and accountable simply by virtue of the demonstrated power of leaks to force governments to act more honestly. Given that (in my view) the hidden hand of the market forces the elite towards secrecy and mendacity, an enforced move towards honesty is the same as capital losing a portion of its selfish control to the democratic majority.

    I am also impressed by Assange’s years-old essays on the nature of reducing the power of a conspiracy by preventing its ability to hide its crimes. If that theoretical and intellectual idea proves correct in the real world – where of course unforeseen variables may change its predicted course – then the power of capital may be substantially weaker than we’d all previously assumed.

    I am happy to hear that I am being naive, but the glimmer remains.

  • anno

    Alfred

    I am working tonight 100 miles away from home. The machines we are installing use lots of copper and last 10 years. Economies are possible, but it would be nice if that gave the African continent which produced the copper ore a cut.

    Jon

    The Creator wrote the manual, so why should I try and discard it for a hotch-potch of human ideas?

  • Clark

    Anno, the problem is, God doesn’t enforce Sharia; that always falls to people. I’ve no problem with you living, voluntarily, in accordance with Sharia law, but I certainly don’t want some self appointed “representative of God” telling everyone how to live. Where would we find the perfect humans that we could trust?

    Jon; I, too, feel cautiously optimistic about these leaks. I agree that they’re likely to increase honesty. It is also highly illustrative to see assorted governments towing the US line, and amusing to find the US in agreement with China etc.

  • Jon

    anno – and you’d force that system on (a) people who believe in a different creator/manual to you, (b) people who don’t believe in a creator at all, or (c) people who believe in a creator of any kind, but are quite attached to the idea of democracy as well? Perhaps you regard your views as more important than theirs, backed up as you are by The Word Of God!

    I’d like to see you comment on the anti-democratic nature of Sharia, as well as perhaps illustrating that you have genuinely read about some of the things I’ve mentioned with an open mind.

  • Clark

    Yes, Somebody. Apparently, the Creator’s manual was written in evolved human language, complete with all its ambiguities and inaccuracies. I don’t know of any passage that says something like “WARNING! The thoughts of the Creator cannot be accurately expressed in human language, nor even fully comprehended by the human brain. Please check your interpretation of these scriptures against your God-given, built-in sense of empathy before telling anyone else what God’s laws. Remember that your interpretation is just as likely to be flawed as theirs.”

  • Alfred

    Jon,

    When I said

    “I don’t advocate assassinating Assange,” I meant just that.

    and when I said, “but I find it difficult to challenge the logic of those who do.”

    I meant that, for the reasons I had given, the logic of those who advocated assassination was difficult to challenge.

    Specifically, those who advocate assassination believe:

    (a) that information provided by Assange, .e.g, on IED defenses and the location of human rights advocates, has likely caused death to American soldiers or American citizens in Afghanistan or soldiers of American allies, including the son of my doctor, killed recently by an IED.

    (b) Assange’s actions aid the enemy, therefore he should be treated as an enemy.

    That’s the logic. I didn’t say I accept the premises. However, if I did, I would probably accept the logic also. In fact, I still think it most probably that Assange is a stooge or a dupe of some disinformation operation.

    But then it might be all about that $5 million he’s trying to raise — not bad for a few months work and no need for an audited account.

    Although it is always tiresome to listen to Alex Jones, a recent interview with Webster Tarpley provides background to the thesis that Wikileaks is a US operation intended to damage enemies, both American and foreign.

    http://tarpley.net/2010/12/05/assange-targets-cia-enemies/

    This reference may generate particular derision from those one might suspect of being engaged in cognitive infiltration.

  • technicolour

    “This reference may generate particular derision from those one might suspect of being engaged in cognitive infiltration.”

    You what?

    Loved your 6.27 post, Clark, interesting stuff all round in fact.

  • Suhayl Saadi

    Going back to anno’s copper cabling:

    Copper is very much in demand these days. Junkies steal boilers from uninhabited flats in order to sell the copper on the black market. I once worked in a place which got flooded one midsummer morning because of that; in an inner-city irony somehow typical of Glasgow, other junkies helped us clear it up (as otherwise they wouldn’t have got their methadone script). Right now, the sweeping white space-age concrete and metal of the 2014 Commonwealth Stadium and Village is being constructed near there – interesting juxtaposition. I hope the people in the area benefit.

    And so, in an almost absurdist semantic, we have lots of coppers chasing lots of copper.

    Congo, Democratic Republic of. Dalmarnock, Glasgow. Mines. Necolonialism. Organised crime. War. It’s all there, in front of our eyes, every day on every street-corner.

  • Jon

    Alfred,

    On the links you’ve previously provided regarding “finding WMDs”, I echo other voices here to say I’m unimpressed. I would welcome speculation why, if they thought it was significant, this was not run as a major story by the MSM. Given that it supports corporate capital very well, I am inclined to think they didn’t think it was significant enough to wake that particular giant.

    On the IED and human rights advocates issue, I’m not aware of that, and I will look into it. Thanks. If what you say is true, would you support WL if it had not done these things? I should appreciate any links on this topic, from anyone, and I will think on it.

    I am totally in favour of WL redacting things where there are safety issues at stake. But I am still frustrated at the imbalance of this argument: the power of global capital has killed hundreds of thousands (or millions) of Iraqis, and thousands of Western troops, and the counterbalancing action (release of secret documents) is criticised for putting a much smaller group of people at risk. I am not diminishing the importance of protecting human rights workers – just unhappy that some people are furiously protecting a rotten system, and wondering why those people – perhaps, respectfully, you included – are not furious at the system in the first place.

  • Jon

    And: become an enemy of the United States and all its aggressive security assets for an unknown portion of 5m USD? No thanks from me! Do people here regard this as a tempting offer?

  • Alfred

    Jon,

    “On the links you’ve previously provided regarding “finding WMDs”, I echo other voices here to say I’m unimpressed. ”

    I wasn’t impressed either. My point was that significant US media outlets including, not only Wired Mag, but also the NY Post, took the Wikileaks documents as proof of existence of the long-sought Iraqi WMD’s.

    The second sentence of the Wired story states:

    “But WikiLeaks’ newly-released Iraq war documents reveal that for years afterward, U.S. troops continued to find chemical weapons labs, encounter insurgent specialists in toxins and uncover weapons of mass destruction.”

    What more do you want in justification of the war?

    True the rest of the story essentially rebuts the initial claim. But the point is many more people will have read the first couple of sentences than the whole story.

    The NY Post begins its story “US did find Iraq WMD’s” with the blunt statement “There were weapons of mass destruction in Iraq after all,” and provides none of the details that would lead one to realise that the story was BS.

    Re: the IED jammers, Assange even admits he probably has blood on his hands.

    http://tech.mit.edu/V130/N58/wikileaks_p.html

  • Steelback

    Those readers who still give WikiLeaks any credence at all I suspect are those whose critical faculties have already been irreparably damaged by their reliance on corporate and gate-keeper sources.

    To those who read widely and are more selective re-which sources are reliable the phoniness of WikiLeaks has been abundantly apparent from its inception.

    Since when do websites revealing very embarrassing things re-the doings of the US govt. receive tons of publicity in the tightly controlled propaganda organ known as the mainstream media?

    Give me a break!

    If the same info was coming out of vetstoday there would never be a peep about it in the kept press.

    Wake up you dimwits!

  • Apostate

    Steelback

    You sound like me! These guys are so slow it’s incredible. They just babble on at length about precisely nothing.

    Pavlovian dogs trained to say nothing re-anything that matters and attack anyone who tells the truth about Israel and its international subversions as an “anti-semite”.

    Look what happened to 90 year old veteran White House reporter Helen Thomas:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HvmDZ05nMCM

    She wouldn’t last long as a corporate media correspondent in this country at all either.

    Funny thing is the video has been filed by a Zionist website claiming she is recorded saying something “anti-semitic”.

    Forgive me-I’m not as quick as the PC Pavlovian dogs here but I missed the anti-semitism completely. I heard her talking re-the Zionist cabal controlling US Presidents and forcing them into wars against people who are really friends not enemies-but anti-semitism no way!

    Given Thomas has Lebanese Arab ancestry the idea that Ashkenazi Jews have some God-given right to denounce her as an “anti-semite” is positively obscene.

    It’s Pavlovian as well!

  • Jon

    Hi Albert,

    OK, interesting. On WMD, you were unimpressed and so therefore you think Assange/WL is a security asset? I’m not so sure, since I don’t see any great win for the United States yet (perhaps a split in the Arab world aside, but isn’t it split already? Would the Palestinians regard the Saudi dictatorship better if it wasn’t for the cables?). Personally I was unimpressed because, if the story was genuinely newsworthy in favour of the establishment – which sounds like it could have been – it would have reached British shores and we would have heard it LONG and LOUD. We just didn’t get it here as far as I know – at a volume to be noticeable, at least.

    In any case, it is worth us both considering nefarious US groups within the power elite (CIA?) inserting significant battlefield finds for Washington to discover, and to subsequently offer to the media as “proof” they were right all along. This could happen without the knowledge of most of the establishment, and certainly without the foreknowledge that the cables would be leaked (or, indeed, “leaked”).

    I should be interested to know more about what you see as Assange’s cavalier attitude to putting people at risk deliberately. I’m afraid the article you proffer, however, is rotten to the core – it could have easily been written by McCain or Lieberman, and it looks like the author is gunning for a well-paid post on Capitol Hill. I don’t think reactionary student demagoguery should be offered as evidence here, even if it is labelled ‘opinion’. There was not even a hint of balance or discursiveness in that piece.

    To the author’s (very minor) credit, he at least attempts to tackle the awkward issue regarding Assange’s nationality – that he is not a US citizen ought to pose some problems for a law-abiding American establishment. But your nutter reverts to Palin type quickly: apparently this doesn’t matter, nor is violating the sovereignty of another country a problem. It is not the “first obligation” of the government to defend some “vague conception of international law”, and worrying about this is “obsessing”. Assange should either be extradited or “snatch[ed]” since “we do not need the permission of foreigners to defend our country”.

    I see the point you’ve extracted from this article, and I am interested in reading about this further. My enthusiasm for the +purpose+ of Wikileaks is undimmed, even though I am not in favour of putting civilians at risk. I’d want to see several good reports on this topic, however, if I were to take Wikileaks to task on it.

    But I think there is a larger point to be taken from the article, and you seem to have missed it entirely. The essence of Wikileaks and the massive global support they have received comes about +precisely+ because people like the author have got themselves in government, with their violence, their arrogance, their disregard for international law, and their appalling city-on-a-hill exceptionalism. Without a hint of irony, your author calls Assange a fanatic! 🙂

    This brings me back to the last paragraph in my last post, which you’ve not commented on. +If+ Wikileaks has endangered, say, hundreds of people, should we not consider the million dead from US foreign policy – just in Iraq – as well? How about the deaths – signficantly more than could be posited as at risk from Wikileaks releases – that are happening +right now+ in Afghanistan? Drone strikes on Pakistan or Somalia? The supply of military aid to Israel?

    In fact, my penultimate paragraph is also important, I think: if it were not for issues where some data should have been redacted for safety’s sake, would you be in favour of Wikileaks generally, to reign in the power of the US establishment? If not, why not? Do you see the US political elite, in sum, as generally well-meaning?

  • Mark Golding - Children of Iraq

    Here here Alfred, amongst the fog of diplomatic chatter we note the Iraq WMD issue taken up by the NY Post and spoon-fed to the American public. We note that Assange lawyer ‘is being watched’ by ‘dark actors’ in cars, hiding behind newspapers outside his house??

    Wikileaks is being approved and publicised by every TV network and press group and governments around the world are giving Assange and his site official recognition.

    There have been countless numbers of independent journalists, bloggers and other websites that have exposed similar information revealed on Wikileaks… Where’s their media coverage?

    Now there’s the demonisation of Assange, the incessant bleatings of compromised national security and the inevitable branding of ‘terrorist’. A new kind of terrorist, an Internet Terrorist which by extention, a Global Terrorist.

    Now the Globalists can call for international cooperation to put an end to the threat of this form of Global Terrorism and at the same time the last bastion of free information will be breached.

    This whole charade is part of a staged attack on the free internet and a precursor to a top secret strike on Iran’s underground nuclear plants already supported by a British and America task force in the Straits of Hormuz.

    US Attorney General Eric Holder played his part today by announcing, “The American people themselves have been put at risk by these actions that I *believe* are arrogant, misguided and ultimately not helpful in any way.”

    It is noticeable that he does not say illegal, expressing only a judgmental “belief”. Meanwhile Bradley Manning is being kept in complete isolation (the psych squad are doing their brain-washing).

    http://www.bradleymanning.org/

  • tony_opmoc

    A Collage…

    First of all a Cure For Depression…

    Merry Christmas

    http://vimeo.com/17406812

    This may not work in America. It apparently doesn’t work in France and has already been deleted from Youtube.

    I suppose we could always host it on wikileaks then you would be sure to see it.

    With regards to Mr. Assange turning up at the cop shop to answer the charges that have already been dismissed at least once in Sweden…

    He should tell the truth. So far as I am aware, the UK Police don’t normally torture Australians, and in general we tend to really appreciate Aussie’s sense of humour – though I’m not sure Julian falls into the category of your typical “Bruce”

    But from what I gather – after he shagged them – and FFS who wears a condom these days? The Pope’s legalised them????

    After he had shagged them, they went out to get some bacon and eggs and cooked him breakfast and did it again?

    Now how the fuck can that be rape???

    I mean – I reckon they must have really enjoyed it – otherwise why did they cook him bacon and egg and say – do it again Julian…

    So I reckon the charges are ridiculous and so will the UK Police.

    “A Wildfire Is Burning All Illusions in Israel”

    I presume this means no more Jaffa Oranges

    Incidentally, I hate Oranges

    I am not supposed to say what I think

    Particularly when it comes to Israeli’s

    But I Think We Should Piss On Them and Take Their Fire Away

    Tony

    Have a Nice Day

  • dreoilin

    A little snippet (and I’ll be back later):

    “It’s war! Earlier today we noted how the Swiss bank Switzerland Post Finance (a bank associated with the Swiss post office) had frozen Julian Assange’s bank account for his defense fund.

    “Well, payback. As NYT reports, their site has now been taken offline, and a group calling itself Operation Payback on Twitter claims credit for the DDOS.”

    http://www.businessinsider.com/the-bank-that-froze-julian-assanges-bank-account-has-now-been-taken-down-by-hackers-2010-12#ixzz17NpydWOR

    Whatever about Assange being legit or not, or a dupe or not, that item made me grin.

    Twitter has rapidly spread the word about mirror sites and earlier today there were (at least) 208 hosting the full Wikileaks site/contents. It’s not going anywhere. And as Clark pointed out earlier, assassinating Assange or imprisoning him won’t make a blind bit of difference.

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