Monday, April 08, 2013

Iraq snapshot

Monday, April 8, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, Nouri signs his name to a laughable column, Nouri's push for majority government and for early parliamentary elections continue, political prisoners Lynne Stewart and Bradley Manning get some attention, WikiLeaks releases new documents, and more.

Starting in the US,  Lynne Stewart is a political prisoner.  As we noted at Third yesterday, the 'change' of 2008 has brought about many political prisoners.  Lynne is an attorney, a grandmother, a breast cancer survivor.  She's in prison because --

Well why is she in prison?

We're taught you will go to prison if you break a law.  So what law did Lynne break?  She broke no law.  She broke an agreement with the Justice Dept when she gave Reuters a press release from one of her clients.  This was when Bill Clinton was president.  Then-Attorney General Janet Reno and the Justice Dept examined it and saw no law had been broken -- because there was no law -- said, "Lynne, don't do this again" and that was it.  Then the Supreme Court put Bully Boy Bush in the White House and the bully picked John Ashcroft to be the Attorney General.  For those who've forgotten, Arianna Huffington found John Ashcroft charming and used to rave -- as late as 2004 -- over his singing voice.  So if you wonder why Huffington Post never takes up Lynne's case, there you go.  Ashcroft went after Lynne.  Despite the Justice Dept having already ruled on the matter, he decided he was going to take her to trial and he would used Ground Zero as the location for the trial and he would use 9-11 as the backdrop.  The same way this lying administration linked Iraq to 9-11?  That's how they linked Lynne to 9-11. 

It's shameful and it's shameful that so few have had the courage to speak up for Lynne.  As bad as it was under Bully Boy Bush, Lynne was able to remain free on bail when he occupied the White House.  It's nearly a year after Barack Obama is sworn in as president that the Justice Dept insists Lynne go to prison while the appeals are being ruled on.  Lynne's already had breast cancer and been treated during this process.  But that doesn't matter to Barack.

No, Barack only cares about a woman's health if he's lying about his mother Stanley and using her death to try to scare up votes.  In addition, it's Barack's Justice Department that fought Judge John G. Koeltl's sentence of 28 months, forcing the judge to resentence Lynne (in July 2010) to ten years.  As Stephen Lendman has pointed out, "Obama Wants Lynne Stewart Dead" (People's Voice).  Lynne's cancer has returned.

On this week's Law and Disorder Radio,  an hour long program that airs Monday mornings at 9:00 a.m. EST on WBAI and around the country throughout the week, hosted by attorneys Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) topics addressed include political prisoner Lynne Stewart.

Michael S. Smith:  Michael, we sorely miss our friend Lynne Stewart who's in prison serving a really unjust ten year sentence.  And, of course, as we've reminded our listeners over the last few weeks, Lynne has taken ill again.  And there's a petition for her and I know you want to talk about it and get as many active because we want to get Lynne out of prison on a compassionate release.  So tell our listeners how they can help and what the situation is now for Lynne.

Michael Ratner: Well we're going to link to how you can sign the petition.  Lynne's got Stage IV Cancer as a lot of you know.  That is, her initial cancer which was in remission when they put her in prison three years ago is now in full bloom.  It's spread to her bones.  It's spread to her legs. It's spread to her lungs.  It's spread to her lymph nodes.  And it really is fatal.  We all want to get her out and get her some better medical care that she can get.  She's in a seven person cell down in Fort Worth, Texas.  Get her up to New York, better medical care and be surrounded by her family and friends.  And in order to do that, the Bureau of Prisons, the people with the key have to make a motion to Judge Kotel to ask that she be given a compassionate release.  It's possible.  You can get that.  They don't do it very often.  But with all the friends and supporters that Lynne has, we're hopeful that we can accomplish that.  6,000 people have signed the petition so far.  And I want to read you what Lynne said in thank you to these people -- two of them were Dick Gregory and Desmond Tutu and I'll read you something that Tutu said also. But here's this from Lynne:  "I want you individually to know how grateful and happy it makes me to have your support.  It's uplifting to say the least.  And after a lifetime of organizing, it proves once again that the People can rise.  The acknowledgment of the life-political and solutions brought about by group unity and support, is important to all of us.  Equally, so is the courage to sign on to a demand for a person whom the Government has branded with the "T" word -- Terrorism.  Understanding that the attack on me is a subterfuge for an attack on all lawyers who advocate without fear of Government displeasure, with intellectual honesty guided by their knowledge and their client's desire for his or her case, I hope our effort can be a crack in the American bastion.  Thank you, Lynne."  Pete Seeger wrote her back and said, "Lynne Stewart should be out of jail."  And he signed the postcard "Old Pete Seeger" accompanied by a drawing of a banjo.  Bishop Desmond Tutu, this was his esprit de corps.  He said, "It is devastating.  Totally unbelievable.  In this democracy, the only superpower?  I am sad.  I will sign praying God's blessing on your reference. Desmond Tutu."  Let's hope Lynne gets out on compassionate release while she's still able to at least be part of her community.  And if you'll go to Law and, we'll put the link where you can sign the petition.  And if you'll grab a pencil, I'll give you the name and address of the Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons  because a well-aimed letter at him is not going to hurt.  His name is:

Charles E. Samuels Jr.
Federal Bureau of Prisons
320 First Street, NW
Washington, DC 20534

Please send a letter.  Go to Law and -- our website -- sign the petition. We'll be updating you every week on how Lynne is doing.

We'll return to the topic of political prisoners but let's stay with radio for a moment.  On this week's Progressive Radio, Ruth Conniff fills in for Matthew Rothschild and her guest is author and activist Aruhdahti Roy.  Excerpt.

Ruth Conniff:  I want to segue to the Iraq War anniversary that we just passed.  And you were an opponent of the invasion of Iraq ten years ago and now that we've passed this anniversary, I'm curious to know what you think Americans should take away from this experience of the Iraq War?  You said recently that the psychosis of US foreign policy prevails even though George W. Bush is gone.  What did you mean by that?  And do you think that President Obama is as bad as George W. Bush from a global perspective?

Arundhati Roy:  Well from a global perspective I don't think that there's much to choose between him and Bush.  I mean President Obama has expanded the war into the sovereign territory of Pakistan and Pakistan is now being torn apart, you know?  So you have Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria, now they've -- two days ago they started talking about "a game changer" in Syria because they don't know who's using chemical weapons -- though they probably supplied it to both sides.  So you have -- you have a situation where it looks like it's a psychosis which is -- You know, look at -- look at what's going on with Tony Blair says that it was one of the better decisions he made in his life and now he's getting paid $500,000 a lecture to go and talk about morality and ethical behavior and God, and so on, you know?  Bush is painting self-portraits of himself in the shower and [former US Secretary of Defense Donald] Rumsfeld is congratulating people who participated in the war -- after killing 134,000 people and the sanctions were more than a million.  So what are American citizens to do?  I think, well, perhaps it's a good question for all of us because all of us seemed to be strapped into some kind of straight jacket and the idea is that, "Are you going to again go out and vote for a Democrat or Republican or Democrats and Republicans when we know that this is what is going on?"  So until, in some way, we are able to at least -- at least not participate so enthusiastically in what these governments are doing with us.  It is the same thing in India, though people don't actually participate so enthusiastically. I mean in India the current government has actually 10% of the population voted for it in this great majority that it claims it has.  And I think more people vote for the American Idol than vote for the American president.  But the problem is that we are faced with a crisis in our idea of democracy because governments who claim to represent us, do not.  I mean, before the Iraq War, millions of people marched against it.  None of the governments in any way cared about what people really wanted.  So, to answer your question, I think the danger of somebody like Obama is that he smokes up the mirrors and a lot of the opposition just thinks "Oh, he's better than Bush!" and so then it divides the opposition -- whereas he's actually doing things in terms of foreign policy which are sometimes worse than Bush.

Since Arundhati mentioned War Hawk Tony Blair, let's move over to England for the latest on him.    Over the weekend,  Jonathan Owen (Independent) reported on a new development in the Iraq which has still not released its final report:

Hitherto unseen evidence given to the Chilcot Inquiry by British intelligence has revealed that former prime minister Tony Blair was told that Iraq had, at most, only a trivial amount of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and that Libya was in this respect a far greater threat.
Intelligence officers have disclosed that just the day before Mr Blair went to visit president George Bush in April 2002, he appeared to accept this but returned a "changed man" and subsequently ordered the production of dossiers to "find the intelligence" that he wanted to use to justify going to war.
This and other secret evidence (given in camera) to the inquiry will, The Independent on Sunday understands, be used as the basis for severe criticism of the former prime minister when the Chilcot report is published.

Press TV picks up on the report and notes Blair ordered intell to be cherry-picked to make the case.  The Daily Mirror emphasizes that "the inquiry heard that the day before Mr Blair went to see Mr Bush in the States, he appeared to accept Iraq did not pose a threat to Britain."  Jason Groves (Daily Mail)  adds, "By contrast, one senior MI6 officer said it was clear 12 months before the war that Saddam Hussein had no nuclear weapons and no significant WMD at all."  The Scottish National Party issued the following statement:

New reports in today’s Independent on Sunday reveal even more evidence of Tony Blair's dishonesty in his planning for the illegal invasion of Iraq.
According to media reports evidence given to the Chilcot inquiry by British intelligence has revealed the former Labour Prime Minister conceded Libya was more of a threat than Iraq and more likely to have weapons of mass destruction, but that following a meeting with George Bush, Blair ordered the production of the dodgy dossiers to find the evidence to go to war.
SNP Defence spokesperson Angus Robertson MP said:
"The case against Tony Blair is mounting day by day, and we look forward to seeing the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry.
“We know the UK’s participation in the illegal invasion of Iraq was based on a massive deception by the former Labour Prime Minister and the Westminster system.
"Despite intelligence that Libya was a greater threat than Iraq Tony Blair led the UK into war with Iraq, but into business deals in the desert with Libya.
"The lives of 179 UK service personnel and many tens of thousands of innocent Iraqi civilians were needlessly lost because of Blair’s determination to blindly back George Bush.
"The most important lesson of Iraq is that our foreign and defence should be conducted according to the rule of international law, and that is the prospect offered by an independent Scotland.
“Those who supported the illegal Iraq war can be in no doubt about their own culpability, and the Iraq war is a graphic example of why Scotland should not leave these decisions to Westminster.”

Today Tony Blair has his own unofficial statement.  Speaking at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania today, Tom Coombe (Patch) reports, Blair declared the present to be "the toughest times to be a leader."  He also issued a statement today praising Empire Thug Margaret Thatcher -- praise that should bother Labour Party members with any real memory.  Thatcher was a thug all by herself but she raised a thug as well.  In fact, her son Mark carried out her empire lust in the '00s.  You can refer to Morning Edition's January 13, 2005 report about the $563,000 fine Mark Thatcher was able to pay to escape prison in South Africa or to Michael Wines' "Thatcher's Son Pleads Guilty in Coup Plot, Avoiding Prison" (New York Times, January 14, 2005) or, months later,  to Harvey McGavin's "Thatcher is refused US visa over coup plot conviction"  (Independent):

Sir Mark Thatcher has been refused a visa to live in the United States following his conviction for involvement in the failed coup attempt in Equatorial Guinea. Sir Mark, the son of Baroness Thatcher, the former prime minister, had intended to join his wife and their two children in the US after being given a four-year suspended jail sentence and fine at his trial in January, but immigration authorities turned down his visa application, it was confirmed yesterday.
"It is quite true that my visa application has been rejected," Sir Mark said in a statement. "It was always a calculated risk when I plea-bargained in South Africa."
Sir Mark was fined £265,000 by a South African court but escaped jail as part of a deal in which he admitted to having "unwittingly" financed the attempted overthrow of the government in Equatorial Guinea.

At least she lived long enough to see her son carrying out her own empire lust be publicly disgraced around the globe.  At least there is that.

Today, Dahr Jamail (Al Jazeera) reports that the Iraq War has been the deadliest war ever for journalists.  Excerpt.

"The media were not welcome by the US military," Soazig Dollet, who runs the Middle East and North Africa desk of Reporters Without Borders told Al Jazeera. "That is really obvious."
Unfortunately for Al Jazeera and Tareq Ayoub, Dollet's statement was all too true.
Al Jazeera bore a constant barrage of bellicose verbiage from Bush administration officials during the invasion and occupation. Then Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld labeled Al Jazeera Arabic's reportage as "vicious, inaccurate and inexcusable."
But the verbal attack had been preceded by bombs in Afghanistan.
The US bombed Al Jazeera's office in Kabul during the 2001 US invasion of Afghanistan, and attacked the media outlet multiple times during the 2003 Iraq invasion, including the killing of Ayoub, despite the fact that Al Jazeera supplied the Pentagon with their headquarter's coordinates in Baghdad in February 2003.
On the same day Ayoub was killed a US tank shelled the Palestine Hotel, home and office to more than 100 unembedded international journalists operating in Baghdad at the time. The shell smashed into the Reuters office, killing two cameramen, Reuters' Taras Protsyuk and Jose Couso of Spain's Telecinco. That day there was also an attack on an Abu Dhabi TV office by US forces.
In a chilling statement at the end of that bloody day in Iraq, then-Pentagon spokesperson Victoria Clarke spelled out the Pentagon's policy on journalists who were not embedded with US troops when she warned them that Baghdad "is not a safe place. You should not be there."

As noted in Tuesday's snapshot, Monday evening saw  Dar Addustour, Al-Parliament, Al-Mustaqbal and Al-Nas  attacked in Baghdad, their employees threatened (five people stabbed, more left with bruises and fractures), offices destroyed and cars set on fire (a fifth Baghdad newspaper, Al Mada, was threatened but not attacked).  Al Mada notes that the National Union of Iraq Journalists have condemned the attacks.  All Iraq News adds that Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi denounced the attacks, "Nujaifi assured that targeting the journalists is a dangerous issue and against the dialogue and democracy in Iraq.  He stressed that the repetition of such attacks is a justification for the ignorant of the performance of the press in Iraq."

Saturday, Reporters Without Borders found the words to call out the attack:

Reporters Without Borders condemns the attacks that around 50 men armed with clubs and knives carried out on four Baghdad-based newspapers – Al-Nass, Al-Barlaman, Al-Dustour and Al-Mustaqbal Al-Iraqi ­– on 1 April. The assailants smashed computer equipment and furniture and assaulted employees. Six journalists were hospitalized. It is still not known for sure who was behind the attacks.
Various theories have been proposed. Al-Dustour editor Bassam Al-Sheikh said he thought the attackers were members of a radical Shiite militia led by Mahmoud Al-Hassani Al-Sarkhi, who had been criticized in all four newspapers in connection with his suspected ambition of controlling the Shiite holy city of Karbala. Al-Mustaqbal Al-Iraqi editor Ali Al-Darraji told Reporters Without Borders he thought the attacks were carried out with the aim of intimidating and “gagging independent voices.”
They are the latest and most serious in a string of cases of harassment and violence against journalists. While the interior ministry condemned this week’s attacks, Reporters Without Borders is concerned about the lack of concrete measures by the authorities to protect media personnel. “We deplore the increase in abuses targeting journalists and the fact that the Iraqi security forces are often involved in cases of reporters being harassed and prevented from doing their work,” Reporters Without Borders said.

The so-called Committee to Protect Journalists has still not said one word.  By contrast, last Thursday the International Press Institute issued a statement condemning the attacks which included:

"The armed assault against journalists and newspaper offices in Baghdad is unacceptable. We condemn this barbaric attack in the strongest terms," said IPI Executive Director Alison Bethel McKenzie. "This latest act of violence shows that Iraq continues to be a tremendously dangerous country for the media. We call on the government to guarantee the safety of all journalists, as is their responsibility."

Today, UNAMI released a statement  which includes:

UNAMI remains concerned at the rise in violence in Iraq and the increasing toll on lives of Iraqi civilians and its detrimental impact on civilian infrastructure, Iraqi continues to suffer from attacks perpetrated by a number of terrorists groups, among them Al-Qaeda in Iraq and the Islamic STate of Iraq.  The most affected areas remain Baghdad, and the governorates of Anbar, Salahuddin and the disputed areas of Ninewa and Kirkuk.

Through Saturday, Iraq Body Count counts 123 violent deaths so far this month.   Violence continues today.  National Iraqi News Agency notes that a Hilla roadside bombing has claimed 1 life and left another person injured, a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi soldiers and left three more injured, a Mosul roadside bombing claimed the lives of 2 police officers and left a bystander injured, a Falljua attack left two police officers injured, and a Samarra rocket attack left two police officers injured.  Alsumaria notes a Kirkuk Province bombing has left two people injured,  a sticky bombing in south Baghdad claimed the life of 1 person, and a Kirkuk sticky bombing claimed the life of Sahwa leader Abboud Mahmoud LhalboiAll Iraq News adds that a Falluja sticky bombing has left one Sahwa injured.

All Iraq News reports, "The Ministry of Justice implemented seven death sentences to terrorists according to the article (4) of Anti-Terrorism law."  IANS notes, "The increasing of executions in Iraq sparked calls by the UN mission in Iraq, the European Union and some international human rights groups to stop Baghdad's use of capital punishment, criticising the lack of transparency in the proceedings of the country's courts.Friday the United Nations Human Rights Commissioner Rupert Colville issued a statement on the death penalty which included:

On Iraq, we continue to have serious reservations about the criminal justice system, including with regard to due process, conviction based on forced confessions and trial proceedings that fall short of international standards. Even the best legal systems cannot be guaranteed to be free of error, and any miscarriage of justice cannot be undone.

Still on the topic of violence, Thug Nouri al-Maliki signed his name to a column the Washington Post runs in tomorrow's paper.  It includes:

Iraq is building an inclusive political system, with free multiparty elections, a multiethnic government and an independent judiciary. Our gross domestic product is expected to grow by an average of at least 9.4 percent annually through 2016. Last year, we surpassed Iran to become OPEC’s second largest producer of crude oil.

Aaaahhhhh.  Inclusive political system, free multiparty elections and a multiethnic government and an independent judiciary.  What sweet fictions.  The reality is far different.  Nouri gave a speech three days ago asserting that the 2010 elections were fraudulent.  He also decried quotas to guarantee representation.  But in the column that he signed his name to, he believes in so much.  If only.

Last week, Nouri al-Maliki, chief thug and prime minister of Iraq, was supposed to appear before Parliament; however, he refused to do so -- apparently another way to show respect for an "inclusive political system."   Nouri insisted that he should host just a few select members of Parliament and take questions from them.  That's not what the Constitution dictates but Nouri never follows the Constitution (which is why he should be removed from office).  All Iraq News reports today that MP Abdul Hussein Raysan, with the Sadr bloc, declared, "Maliki's request to host him outside the parliament, if being related to his latest statements over forming majority government, it will collapse the national partnership in Iraq."  Oh, yeah, Nouri's Friday speech.  Ignored by AFP, Reuters, AP, CNN, BBC,, etc, etc.  That speech wasn't minor and it's not going away.  It has major implications and if you doubt it look at how the western media scurries from the light to avoid covering it.

NINA reports today that Kurdistan Alliance MP Mahmoud Othman states it is impossible for Nouri to get his wish to have a majority government and that "it would fail because of the political conflicts and problems among the blocs."

Nouri was supposed to appear before Parliament today but again was a no-show.  All Iraq News notes he says he was too "busy with preparing the documents of the security file."

We covered Nouri's Friday speech on Friday.  So most reading should have already been aware what Nouri spoke of.  For those late to the party -- try to find a seat quickly without making a lot of noise, please -- Nouri announced that he would be forming a majority government and it was the only way to solve the political problems in Iraq.  He also stated that he will call for early parliamentary elections within two months.  This was a major speech putting forward major issues. 

Parliamentary elections are scheduled for March 2014.  April 20th, provincial elections are supposed to take place in 12 of Iraq's 18 provinces.  Provincial elections determine who runs the provinces.  Parliamentary elections determine who runs the country.

Today Mushreq Abbas (Al-Monitor) becomes the first journalist for a non-Iraqi publication to report on the speech:

Maliki’s electoral proposals reveal the nature of Iraq’s political divide. He said, “The political process has entered into the recovery room. Relations between our partners was based on disruption, which necessitates early elections that will draw a new political map to revive the country...Security and development will not be achieved unless there is political stability, which is achieved by forming a majority government...What exists now is not a partnership, but quotas, and this is very harmful to the political process as long as there is no political majority that supports the local and federal governments.”
Maliki, who is both the prime minister and head of the State of Law coalition, had previously called for a “majority government” by asserting that his coalition will win “a majority of the seats in all Iraqi cities.” He also asserted that his opponents’ attempts to prevent his nomination for a third term as head of government (2014-2018) were “desperate” and “unconstitutional.”

Abbas' article suffers from a lack of context.  For example, third term?  It should probably be noted that Nouri al-Maliki, in February 2011, publicly swore he wouldn't seek a third term.  That's context. 

Context is also, when talking about the results of the April 20th elections and what they will mean for Nouri, noting that only 12 of Iraq's 18 provinces will be voting.  And noting that Nouri has refused to allow Anbar or Nineveh -- where protests against him are strongest -- to vote in the elections.  When you purge the voter rolls, don't pretend you'll be getting an objective result.

 All Iraq News reports Speaker of Parliament Osama al-Nujaifi met today with Martin Kobler. Kolber is United Nations Secretary-General Ba Ki-moon's Special Representative to Iraq.  Kobler raised the issue of Nouri's push for early parliamentary elections.  Nujaifi replied not happening without a tempoary government being formed.  NINA quotes from a statement:  "Nujaifi answered Kobler about the possibility of early parliamentary elections, saying, 'This matter is conditioned with the necessity forming an interim government that does not represent any political party and its members do not aspire to nominate for election'."  Kitabat cover it here.

 Why is Nujaifi proposing what he's proposing?  Because that's what was needed in 2010.  Some realized ahead of time.  The then top-US commander in Iraq, Gen Ray Odierno knew it.  The idiot ass Chris Hill shot it down.  He emerged from one of his bi-polar, manic depressive episodes long enough to whine to the White House that Odierno was taking the spotlight away from him.  Odierno wasn't the only one who saw a problem.  (Though credit him with realizing Nouri wouldn't step down if his political slate lost.) (For those who didn't pay attention, Iraqiya beat Nouri's State of Law in 2010.  Nouri refused to step down.)  France led with the proposal for a caretaker government as the political stalemate dragged on (it would eventually last eight months).  They attempted to get the UN to appoint one but the Susan Rice, representing Barack, stopped it at the UN and ensured the plan died.

That's how the Iraqi people were stripped of their votes, how the US government stole democracy from the Iraqi people.  A caretaker government should be a non-neogotiable demand for the next parliamentary elections.

Al Rafidayn reports that today WikiLeaks  published 1.7 million US diplomatic documents from the seventies (1973 - 1976).  The paper notes that WikiLeaks angered the US government in 2010 with the publication of government documents but, unlike those, these documents came from the US National Archives and a large number were from or to former US Secretary of State and War Criminal Henry Kissinger. 

The 89-year-old War Criminal associated with many War Criminals.  Marcus Gee (Toronto Globe and Mail) noted some of Kissinger's War Crimes last June:

It was a rainy day in spring when they brought Charles Horman home.
The U.S. journalist and filmmaker had been abducted and killed after the Chilean military overthrew president Salvador Allende in September, 1973. Six months later, his body arrived by plane in a crude wooden crate with "Charles Horman from Santiago" scrawled on the side.
As the makeshift coffin was unloaded at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, N.Y., the driving rain washed the words away, sending trails of black ink down the box. It was April 13, 1974.
Even before Mr. Horman's widow, Joyce, found herself standing in the rain that day, she had vowed that no one would ever erase the memory of what had been done to her husband.
She has been true to her word.
In the chaos that followed General Augusto Pinochet's decision to depose Mr. Allende on Sept. 11, 1973, hundreds of the leftist president's supporters were taken away to be tortured, beaten or killed. Mr. Horman, an Allende sympathizer living in Santiago, was one of them.
In the month that followed, Ms. Horman, then 29, and her father-in-law, Ed, searched frantically for Mr. Horman -- an ordeal dramatized in the Oscar-winning 1982 film Missing, starring Sissy Spacek and Jack Lemmon.
[. . .]
Now, prosecutors in Chile, Argentina, Spain and France want him to testify about what happened in Chile. Last month, a Chilean judge staged a re-enactment of the Horman killing at Santiago's National Stadium, and now wants Mr. Kissinger at least to answer written questions about U.S. involvement in the coup.


Last year, Reed Brody penned, "If Charles Taylor Can Be Tried for War Crimes, Why Not Kissinger?" (The Nation).  Anna Maria Tremonti interviewed the War Criminal for The Current (CBC) and asked about "the issues that won't go away."  When she brought up War Crimes, Kissinger got uncomfortable.

Anna Maria Tremonti:  Couldn't you also be vulnerable to those type of charges?

Henry Kissinger:  Who?

Anna Maria Tremonti:  You.

Henry Kissinger:   I personally?

Anna Maria Tremonti:  Mmm-hmm.

Henry Kissinger:  You know, that's one of those questions on which one ends the interview but just for your information if you read the, uh, the provisions of the-the International Criminal Court, it does not have retrospective, uh, jurisdiction.  And on this page, we'll end the interview.

Anna Maria Tremonti:   Well can I talk to you, sir -- Hello?  Dr. Kissinger walked away from the microphone. Henry Kissinger is a former US Secretary of State, he was in New York.  The argument now put forward by some prominent writers and activists is that Kissinger is vulnerable to the possibility of International War Crimes trials for the bombings in Vietnam that annihilated entire villages in the search for guerrilla fighters, for similar secret bombings in Cambodia and for the secret US support of the coup in Chile that led to the assassination of Salvador Allende and the take over by General Augusto Pinochet.

Kissinger longs for the glory days when he dated Jill St. John, Candice Bergen and Marlo Thomas and commanded some respect.  Those days aren't coming back.   WikiLeaks issued a press release which includes:


"The illegal we do immediately; the unconstitutional takes a little longer." -- Henry A. Kissinger, US Secretary of State, March 10, 1975:
The Kissinger Cables comprise more than 1.7 million US diplomatic records for the period 1973 to 1976, including 205,901 records relating to former US Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger. Dating from January 1, 1973 to December 31, 1976 they cover a variety of diplomatic traffic including cables, intelligence reports and congressional correspondence. They include more than 1.3 million full diplomatic cables and 320,000 originally classified records. These include more than 227,000 cables classified as "CONFIDENTIAL" and 61,000 cables classified as "SECRET". Perhaps more importantly, there are more than 12,000 documents with the sensitive handling restriction "NODIS" or 'no distribution', and more than 9,000 labelled "Eyes Only".
At around 700 million words, the Kissinger Cables collection is approximately five times the size of WikiLeaks' Cablegate. The raw PDF data is more than 380 Gigabytes in size and is the largest WikiLeaks publication to date.
WikiLeaks' media partners will be reporting throughout the week on their findings. These include significant revelations about US involvements with fascist dictatorships, particularly in Latin America, under Franco's Spain (including about the Spanish royal family) and in Greece under the regime of the Colonels.
The documents also contain hourly diplomatic reporting on the 1973 war between Israel, Egypt and Syria (the "Yom Kippur war"). While several of these documents have been used by US academic researchers in the past, the Kissinger Cables provides unparalled access to journalists and the general public.

The documents are raising attention to efforts by government servants to subvert their own country's best interests, the efforts to spy for the US, and much more.  Take India where the son of Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, Rajiv Gandhi (who became prime minister when she was assassinated) is said to have secretly done the bidding of a corporation.  Murali N. Krishnaswamy (The Hindu) reports:

Much before he became Prime Minister, during his years as an Indian Airlines pilot, Rajiv Gandhi may have been a middleman for the Swedish company Saab-Scania, when it was trying to sell its Viggen fighter aircraft to India in the 1970s.
The astonishing revelation that he was the “main Indian negotiator” for a massive aircraft deal for which his “family” connections were seen as valuable, is contained in the Kissinger Cables, the latest tranche of U.S diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and accessed by The Hindu as part of an investigative collaboration. The cables will be released on Monday.

 CNN-IBN report the immediate response from the Indian Congress, "The Congress has rejected the WikiLeaks revelation that named late former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi in a scandal." The Times of India and other outlets including BBC News and Zee News are reporting on this scandal but Zee News is also reporting on an October 18, 1973 cable that reveals the Vatican's immediate response to the slaughters and massacres launched by thug Augusto Pinochet when he took over Chile as false and "Communist propaganda."  There are embarrassments and exposures.  Australia will focus on the latter.  Paul Bleakley (Australian Times) reports:

AUSTRALIAN Foreign Minister Bob Carr has been revealed as a long-term source of intelligence to the United States of America in previously secret diplomatic reports released by WikiLeaks today.
The reports show Senator Carr began communicating with American diplomats over forty years ago when he was still a rising star in the New South Wales Labor Party. It is understood that American officials approached Carr to gather information regarding internal Labor politics during the mid-1970s, at a time when the left-wing Whitlam government threatened to undermine the US-Australian alliance.

The foreign minister of Australia was also a spy for a foreign government.  That's rather shocking.  Other documents in the release have historical value.  Sofia News Agency explains:

The site for investigative journalism, official partner of WikiLeaks for Bulgaria, has analyzed the records from the latest whistle-blowing project "The Kissinger Cables."
The 1.3 million US diplomatic cables from the period of the Cold War, 1973 – 1976, released by WikiLeaks, contain 4 226 diplomatic cables from the US Embassy in Sofia. 574 of them are classified as "CONFIDENTIAL" and just 31 are classified as "SECRET." The key word (tag) Bulgaria is found in 16 389 texts, 405 of which have the grief "SECRET."

The revelations are not of a time that the US government has moved beyond -- it continues to try to put its fingers in everything.  Last week, WikiLeaks released a cable regarding Venezuela -- a cable from the current administration.  RT reported:

In a secret US cable published online by WikiLeaks, former ambassador to Venezuela, William Brownfield, outlines a comprehensive plan to infiltrate and destabilize former President Hugo Chavez' government.
Dispatched in November of 2006 by Brownfield -- now an Assistant Secretary of State -- the document outlined his embassy’s five core objectives in Venezuela since 2004, which included: “penetrating Chavez’ political base,” “dividing Chavismo,” “protecting vital US business” and “isolating Chavez internationally.

Whistle blower Bradley Manning supplied WikiLeaks with documents for their 2010 release.  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.  At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, 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 before November 2012 but was postponed until after the election.  Februrary 28th, Bradley explained he leaked the documents so that US citizens could know what was actually going on,  "I felt we were risking so much for people who seemed unwilling to cooperate with us, leading to frustration and hatred on both sides. I began to become depressed at the situation we found ourselves mired in year after year. In attempting counterinsurgency operations, we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists.  I wanted the public to know that not everyone living in Iraq were targets to be neutralized."

Bradley's court-martial is currently expected to begin in June.  Matthew Fleischer (Take Part) reports:

In effect, Manning is being formally tried as a traitor because Al Queda can read the information he leaked on the Internet.
"This charge is incredibly troubling," Trevor Timm, cofounder and executive director of the Freedom of the Press Foundation, tells TakePart. "The charge is so vague, it doesn’t exclusively encompass classified information. It's any information that could be accessed by 'the enemy.' That means it doesn't just affect Manning, or even just future whistleblowers. Any active military member who writes an op-ed critical of U.S. policy could be aiding an enemy. It could affect military members on Twitter or Facebook."

Bradley was noted in the roundtable for Third Sunday:
Betty I want to drop back a second, to when Bradley Manning spoke in the military court about why he passed on documents to WikiLeaks.  He said, "I felt we were risking so much for people who seemed unwilling to cooperate with us, leading to frustration and hatred on both sides.  I began to become depressed at the situation we found ourselves mired in year after year.  In attempting counterinsurgency operations, we became obsessed with capturing and killing human targets on lists.  I wanted the public to know that not everyone living in Iraq were targets to be neutralized."  I agree with Mike, it's dishonest to write or talk about Bradley and leave out counterinsurgency.  That is what repulsed and motivated him.

And being a whistle blower turned Bradley into a political prisoner.

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