Monday, December 06, 2010

Speaking out on behalf of WikiLeaks

WikiLeaks remains under attack but more defenders are stepping forward and common sense might yet win out. Max Calloway (Daily Collegian) weighs in, "What these cables represent, however, is a level of hypocritical foreign and domestic policy that even the most paranoid conspiracy theorists couldn't have foreseen. We are fighting two wars for freedom and democracy, but heaven forbid another country contests our actions – cough, Spain, cough. Foreign policy aside, these cables and the international reaction surrounding them are unbelievably frightening. Since the end of the Vietnam War, our government has relied on increasing secrecy in order to pursue agendas which often stand in direct opposition to public opinion. If there was ever any doubt to this statement, these cables should serve as proof of our representative body's true motives." Luke Cherney (Daily Titan) contrasts Hillary Clinton's bad spin last week with reality, "She argued that this kind of reporting is dangerous to individuals and state representatives alike saying, 'There is nothing laudable about endangering innocent people, and there is nothing brave about sabotaging the peaceful relations between nations on which our common security depends.' One of the functions of news is to be a watchdog for the public, not the administration, not diplomats or government agents. That means that there should be news that can be antagonistic to the current administration or whatever the party. The ability to disclose unfavorable documents is part of our freedom of the press." Thomas Harvey (St. Louis Beacon) argues, "WikiLeaks directly threatens the power and credibility of both government and media. Governments seek to control information and bristle when anyone threatens their dominion. While the media historically played this role, (and ended up on enemies lists as a result) they now see their role as patriotic defenders of government secrecy. At its best, WikiLeaks lays bare government lies as well as the media's failure to point them out to us. Ultimately, the unseemly collusion between government and media in the defense of secrecy threatens more than just WikiLeaks and Julian Assange; it threatens our democracy."

AFP reports that the latest cables released include one on Iraq where the State Dept gets a report on Saddam Hussein's execution, with Saddam being told to "go to hell" by the man walking him to the hanging platform, with observers videotaping and filming the hanging, with attempts to interrupt "his final prayer" with chants of "Moqtada, Moqtada, Moqtada."

Nick Collins (Telegraph of London) offers an overview of the latest cables. Meanwhile Tariq Ali (whom I've known for yeras, disclosure) is a longterm leftist who never drank the Kool Aid or offered excuses for Barack. Tariq's latest book is The Obama Syndrome: Surrender At Home, War Abroad. Watching America translates an interview Christophe Ventura did with Tariq for Paris' Marianne newspaper:

Christophe Ventura: In the newspapers, Barack Obama is referred to as the new hope for the United States, the embodiment of hope for peace in international relations. Your criticism toward him is clear: He’s an opportunist and wily politician, “a president of rhetoric” who practices “the politics of slogans” and tries “to bring together contradictions.” What does it mean?

Tariq Ali: It means he’s good at useless things and bad at setting true policies capable of helping the unemployed and the non-privileged. The disparities regarding access to health care arose again in 2009. Obama’s first year in power favored the rich! As in Europe, there was austerity for workers and the poor, but luxury for the rich. The background music has changed at the White House. But that’s all, as the background music has no effect on those 15 million unemployed Americans and the Iraqi, Afghan and Palestinian population. Yet, there are few illusions left with the American liberals and their European “avid followers” from the moderate left. The Europeans thought that if they had to grovel to the hegemonic great power on the other side of the ocean, it would have been better for it to have happened with the emperor of the Holy Roman Europe rather than his disastrous predecessor. For the European élite, the change in the background music counts more than any other real change.

The latest Law and Disorder Radio (begins airing this morning on WBAI at 9:00 am EST and on various stations throughout the week) features many segments worth note but of primary interest for a lot of people will be the fact that Noam Chomsky is one of hosts Michael Ratner, Michael S. Smith and Heidi Boghosian's guests. Bonnie reminds that Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Hiding Behind The Leg Of Her Pantsuit" went up last night.

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