Saturday, June 12, 2010

US government targets whistle blowers

Witnesses said that the explosion on Friday could be heard far outside town, which is surrounded by foothills in the northeast of the fertile province. In the confused aftermath, gunfire erupted, sending survivors running from a scene that was littered with body parts. The blast collapsed several homes, witnesses said.
"They claim they are fighting the Americans, but the Americans are withdrawing now," said Zuhair Fadhil Hassan, a 61-year-old resident whose son was wounded in the chest. "All they're doing is directing their attacks at the hearts of Iraqis."

The above is from Anthony Shadid's "Suicide Car Bomber Kills 5, Including 2 U.S. Soldiers, in Iraq" (New York Times) on yesterday's bombing whose victims included 2 US service members. We noted the article in the snapshot and I wanted to note it today because it was a strong article. NYT is not known for their ability to provide context (the last 48 hours is not context) and this article did that, provided eye witness statements and much more.

Monday April 5th, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. Bradley Manning has been accused of leaking the video and arrested. Now the Pentagon is hunting WikiLeaks' Julian Assange. Stuart Wavell (Times of London) reports:

Audio of the US air crew mocking the dead caused an international outcry and embarrassed the Pentagon — but it could do nothing. On YouTube alone the film promptly got more than 7m hits. Furious, the US military detained Bradley Manning, a military analyst in Kuwait, on suspicion of leaking the footage.
Investigators are now hunting Assange himself, who is thought to have been given a huge cache of classified State Department cables by Manning. Assange, in hiding, has promised to help Manning with his defence.
He'll need money and support to make good his promise: fortunately both seem plentiful. Assange is the founder of WikiLeaks, the whistle-blowing website that calls itself the “uncensorable Wikipedia for untraceable mass document leaking and analysis”. Within days of putting the video out, it received £137,000 in donations and the figure increases daily.

And file it under the attacks on whistle blowers by the Obama administration. Scott Shane (New York Times) reports:

Hired in 2001 by the National Security Agency to help it catch up with the e-mail and cellphone revolution, Thomas A. Drake became convinced that the government’s eavesdroppers were squandering hundreds of millions of dollars on failed programs while ignoring a promising alternative.
He took his concerns everywhere inside the secret world: to his bosses, to the agency’s inspector general, to the Defense Department’s inspector general and to the Congressional intelligence committees. But he felt his message was not getting through.
So he contacted a reporter for The Baltimore Sun.
Today, because of that decision, Mr. Drake, 53, a veteran intelligence bureaucrat who collected early computers, faces years in prison on 10 felony charges involving the mishandling of classified information and obstruction of justice.

Meanwhile Press TV reports on a Karbala attack Friday in which US forces shot a man and his wife on the rooftop of their home and then went into the home and killed three more civilians.

The following community sites -- plus -- updated last night and today:

And we'll close with the opening of Matthew Rothschild's "Judge Sides with Guantanamo Detainee" (The Progressive):

If you haven't noticed, Obama is still holding prisoners down at Guantanamo Bay, even though he promised to have the place shut down by six months ago.
And leaving aside his upcoming shell game, whereby he’s going to shuffle prisoners over to Bagram Air Base in Afghanistan, consider for the moment the case of one individual still held at Guantanamo.
His name is Mohammed Hassan Odaini. He's been at Guantanamo for eight years now. He was just 18 when he was taken there, having been plucked by Pakistani police while he was at university and when he had spent one night at a guest house.

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thomas friedman is a great man

oh boy it never ends