Thursday, October 18, 2012

The administration springs their own little WikiLeak


As noted in yesterday's snapshot, for some unknown reason US Ambassador to Turkey Frank Ricciardone (above) decided to reveal secrets that now leaves the Turkish government in an uncomfortable position.  Press TV explains:

On Tuesday, Francis Ricciardone revealed to Turkish journalists that the US had offered Turkey its military technology to hunt down the PKK leaders.
However, the Turkish government turned down the offer, saying it would continue battling with the PKK “on the basis of its laws and experiences.”

This is leading to charges by opposition parties that Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is a puppet.  Ricciardone's revelations are causing problems within Turkey and will most likely result in Erdogan having to maintain -- if not increase -- the dropping of bombs on northern Iraq in order to not appear 'weak' at a time when the opposition is attacking him as a puppet.  Please remember, 1980 is not that long ago.  That's when Turkey has a military coup.

In addition, the PKK issue is a huge issue for the region.  Aaron Hess (International Socialist Review) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk."

This is a decades long conflict and war and more war hasn't been the answer.  Tomorrow, we won't all wake up to a world where magically war and more war suddenly becomes the answer.

What is needed is efforts for the two sides to come to some sort of understanding.  But it's a little hard for Erdogan to do that now without looking 'weak' and risking another military coup for Turkey.  The Kurdistan Regional Government Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani is calling for talks between the PKK and the Turkish government (it's in yesterday's snapshot and Press TV covers it this morning).  That actually could have resulted in something.

Erdogan implemented a number of measures in an attempt to bring Turkey's Kurds into the political process.  Most of them were cosmetic but it was a step more than had been made prior.  Talks with the PKK might have led to something more substantial from the Turkish government that could allow Turkey's Kurds to have full inclusion.

This is not a minor issue.  Nor is it just an issue about the PKK fighting the Turkish military and the Turkish military unleashing all this modern warfare on a rebel group.  This is an issue that effects the entire region.  Though the governments in the KRG and Turkey have become closer, it's still true that the Turkish government fears a truly independent Kurdistan Regional Government (it's semi-autonomous currently) and especially fears what that will mean to Kurds in Turkey and elsewhere.  The Kurds have historically been oppressed in the region.  In Turkey, they are oppressed and the oppression was written into the legal system.  The PKK came to be in response to that oppression.  The PKK doesn't vanish from bombs or bullets.  In fact, that bombs and bullets just build the PKK and recruit more members.  The Kurds are a wronged people.  Until efforts are made to address that, support for the PKK and membership in the PKK will grow.

Into this complex regional issue strolls Frank Ricciardone shooting off his mouth about an offer to use more war power on the PKK that Erdogan rejected.

Did the relationship between the governments of Turkey and the US suddenly change?

If so, it's not reflected at the US State Dept's website where you'll find the following statements:

U.S.-Turkish friendship dates to the late 18th century and was officially sealed by a treaty in 1830. The present close relationship began with the agreement of July 12, 1947, which implemented the Truman Doctrine. As part of the cooperative effort to further Turkish economic and military self-reliance, the United States has loaned and granted Turkey more than $7 billion in economic aid and more than $14 billion in military assistance over several years.

U.S.-Turkish relations focus on areas such as strategic energy cooperation, trade and investment, security ties, regional stability, counterterrorism, and human rights progress. Relations were strained when Turkey refused in March 2003 to allow U.S. troops to deploy through its territory to Iraq in Operation Iraqi Freedom, but regained momentum steadily thereafter, and mutual interests remain strong across a wide spectrum of issues. Turkey currently allows the use of Incirlik Air Base for the transport of non-lethal cargo in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. On July 5, 2006, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul signed a Shared Vision Statement to highlight the common values and goals between the two countries and to lay out a framework for increased strategic dialogue. During a November 5, 2007 meeting in Washington with Prime Minister Erdogan, President George W. Bush committed to provide greater assistance to Turkey in its fight against terrorism from the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK or Kongra Gel), which he characterized as a "common enemy" of Turkey, Iraq, and the United States. He reiterated this commitment during President Gul's January 8, 2008, White House visit.

President Barack Obama paid a historic visit to Turkey April 5-7, 2009, the first bilateral visit of his presidency. During the visit, he spoke before the Turkish Parliament and outlined his vision of a model U.S.-Turkish partnership based on mutual interests and mutual respect. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has also prioritized the U.S.-Turkey relationship, and visited Turkey in March 2009 and July 2011. On December 7, 2009, Prime Minister Erdogan and President Obama launched the Framework for Strategic Economic and Commercial Cooperation (FSECC), a new cabinet-level initiative focused on boosting trade and investment ties. The inaugural FSECC meeting was held in Washington in October 2010. In addition to the new framework, the U.S. and Turkey hold meetings of the Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA) Council and Economic Partnership Commission (EPC). In 2011, bilateral trade reached record levels, increasing by 35% year on year from $14.8 billion to $19.9 billion, with U.S. exports to Turkey up 39% from $10.5 billion to $14.6 billion and Turkish exports to the U.S. up 24% from $4.2 billion to $5.2 billion.

It's really hard to believe Ricciardone would say something so stupid and inflamtory without the go-ahead from the administration.  So is the US government trying to burn the relationship with Turkey?  Seems rather strange since the White House wants war on Syria and Turkey's been their biggest regional ally and assister there.

If Ricciardone spoke without approval, where's the outrage?

His statements are very damaging to a US ally.  He revealed secret talks.

Bradley Manning been tossed into a dark hole for being accused of that.  But no one's even supposed to bat an eye over what Ricciardone has told the Turkish press?

On the political prisoner Bradley Manning, AFP reports that military Judge Denise Lind has ordered the government to release approximately 600 e-mails that "discuss the military's plans to respond to queries from reporters about Manning's detention, preparing for protests, changes to Manning's list of visitors and other details, according to the judge."

Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December.  February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial.  Bradley has yet to enter a plea and has neither affirmed that he is the leaker nor denied it.  The court-martial was supposed to begin this month has been postponed until after the election. 
As the election approaches, the White House really hopes you forget about Bradley Manning.  That was the point in pushing the court-martial back to after the election.

While Bradley's punished without trial, Ricciardone has created an international problem and no one in the US government seems bothered or surprised.  And what of the US press?  Are they so accustomed to incompetence on the part of the administration that when an ambassador throws lit matches on a pool of gasoline they don't even bat an eye or ask a question?

The following community sites -- plus NPR, Ms., Jane Fonda,, Pacifica Evening News, Tavis Smiley, Susan's On the Edge and The Diane Rehm Show -- updated last night and this morning:


President Obama is continuing developmental work on the controversial Strategic Defense Initiative ("Star Wars") plan begun in 1983 by President Reagan, and quietly pushed by each of Reagan's successors, a distinguished geopolitical analyst warns.

President George W. Bush executed "the first phase of establishing the ground-based components of this system," writes Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya in his new book The Globalization of NATO, published by Clarity Press, Atlanta. "Under the Obama Administration," the Canadian sociologist adds, "this work is continuing and branching out globally on land and at sea."

The "Star Wars" scheme, broadly denounced in Reagan's day as both illegal and a costly failure,  was advertised as a "defensive" global missile shield based on the ground, at sea and in space. However, there is nothing to stop the Pentagon from using space components of the missile shield to shoot at other things besides missiles, the author points out.

Violating the 1967 Outer Space Treaty and the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty, the missile shield, Nazemroaya writes, "will make the world much more unstable by creating an arms race." He says if the Russians and their allies did not feel threatened "they would not draw the lines in the sand that they have. Nor should it be forgotten that the door has been opened wide for the internationally illegal use of space for military applications."

"The Kremlin regards the missile shield project as a serious threat to its national security," Nazemroaya writes, claiming it is a pretext to encircle and neutralize Russia, part of the U.S. military doctrine of full spectrum dominance, "a revamped nuclear first strike policy that now includes the concept of nuclear primacy, and NATO expansion onto the borders of Russia---despite NATO's guarantees that it would not expand beyond the borders of Germany."

Prior to assuming his role as Defense Secretary under George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld headed the Commission to Assess United States National Security Space Management and Organization, frequently called the "Rumsfeld Space Commission." The commission's report, issued on Jan. 11, 2001, warned  ("absurdly," the author writes), that the U.S. is threatened by a "Space Pearl Harbor" and thus called for the U.S. to militarize space as a means of "projecting power" around the globe.

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