Wikileaks: Obama Administration Secretly Worked To Prevent Prosecution of War Crimes By The Bush Administration

One of the little reported details from the latest batch of Wikileaks material are cables showing that the Obama Administration worked hard behind the scenes not only to prevent any investigation of torture in the United States but shutdown efforts abroad to enforce the Geneva Conventions and the Convention Against Torture. This includes threatening the Spanish that, if they did not derail a judicial investigation, it would have serious consequences in bilateral relations. I discussed these cables on Countdown.

For two years, President Obama has worked to block the investigation of torture under the Bush Administration — even as both Dick Cheney and George Bush publicly admit to ordering waterboarding of suspects.

David Corn in Mother Jones has an interesting posting today on the issue.

A “confidential” April 17, 2009, cable sent from the US embassy in Madrid to the State Department discloses how the Administration discarded any respect for the independence of the judiciary in Spain and pressured the government to derail the prosecution of Bush officials. Human rights groups around the world had called for such enforcement in light of Obama promise that no torturers would be prosecuted and Holder’s blocking of any investigation into war crimes.

The Association for the Dignity of Spanish Prisoners had filed a demand for prosecution with Spain’s National Court to indict former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales; David Addington, former chief of staff and legal adviser to Vice President Dick Cheney; William Haynes, the Pentagon’s former general counsel; Douglas Feith, former undersecretary of defense for policy; Jay Bybee, former head of the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel; and John Yoo, a former official in the Office of Legal Counsel. It had a compelled factual basis that these men ordered or facilitated war crimes — a record that has only become stronger since this confrontation.

American officials pressured government officials, including prosecutors and judges, not to enforce international law and that this was “a very serious matter for the USG.” It was Obama’s own effort at creating a “Coalition of the Unwilling” — nations unwilling to enforce treaties on torture and war crimes when the alleged culprits are American officials.

Sen. Judd Gregg (R-N.H.) joined the embassy’s charge d’affaires in the secret campaign to block the prosection of Judge Baltasar Garzón.

Corn notes that, during an April 14, 2009 White House briefing, he asked press secretary Robert Gibbs if the Obama administration would cooperate with any request from Spain on the investigation and prosecution. Gibbs insisted that this was nothing but “hypotheticals” and did not disclose that in fact the Obama Administration was working diligently to block the Spanish case.

Just as many conservatives abandoned their principles in following George Bush blindly, many liberals have chosen to ignore Obama’s concerted efforts to protect individuals accused of war crimes. Under our treaty obligations, the United States has the primary responsibility to prosecute torture by U.S. citizens. That responsibility rests with the Executive Branch – the prosecuting authority of the United States. What is particularly disgraceful is that Obama would refuse to fulfill this responsibility under our treaties and international law and then demand the same hypocrisy from our allies.

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212 thoughts on “Wikileaks: Obama Administration Secretly Worked To Prevent Prosecution of War Crimes By The Bush Administration

  1. Prof,
    I saw this news story and I was stunned. This would have been politically the best way for Obama to handle the torture problem. He could have let Spain handle it and Obama would not have taken as much heat from the Right. It is sad to think that people who authorize and approve and order torture are immune to the law, but if someone falls behind on their home payments due to job loss, sickness, etc, the law will come crashing down on their heads! Something is backwards here.

  2. >many liberals have chosen to ignore Obama’s concerted efforts to protect individuals accused of war crimes.

    Prof, who are these “many liberals”? Just give me two names. Every one that I’ve talked to on this issue is rightly pissed. I’m certainly not ignoring it. I am furious about it.

  3. Culheath, The Wife (BA, MA Political Science) informs me that this is Too Big To Prosecute, and that doing so would rip the country in two–more so than it is already, I suppose. She compares it to Ford’s pardon of Nixon in that regard.

    Intellectually I know she’s probably right, but this is still a god-damn travesty. It lays bare our hypocrisy and national moral turpitude. We are no longer a democratic republic and a nation of laws, but a plutocratic oligarchy.

    If you’re rich or powerful enough in this country, you can do anything you want, including treason, torture, murder. That’s America in the twenty-first century.

  4. milsapian,
    I must respectfully disagree with your wife and affirm your thoughts on the matter. I lived through the Nixon pardon and it would not have ripped the country in two. It would have shown everyone in the country that noone was above the law, not even a President.

  5. I agree millsapian 87. I don’t know any liberals that are not disappointed. Republicans, some independents and some blue dog democrats if there are any left after the election might be content but not liberals. We are stuck with Obama because Palin and her crew are extremely scary. Should someone challenge Obama in the primary some might be interested. No one has stepped up so far. The republicans are probably ooing to redistrict Kucinich out of existence so he might, but then again he said he won’t. Some of the advice on this blog in the last election was either to stay home or vote third party. It was not very constructive advice because the house committees are now being taken over by extreme right wing republicans. The next cycle will be beginning soon, and I am sure the advice from the same people will be stay home or vote third party n order to ensure Palin’s victory.

  6. Statements that Obama would not prosecute Bush or Cheney for torture and other war crimes were showing up even before the election. There has been complete continuity of criminality (aka, govt.) between Bush and Obama. When people claim Obama was left a mess and doesn’t have time to clean everything up, they must reconsider this excuse for his wrongdoing. Obama has found the time to thwart justice for torture victims on multiple counts from the beginning of his administration. He found time to cut deals with financial criminals, appointing them to run US economic policy. He found time to cut secret deals with Big Pharma and corrupt insurance lobbyists. He has found time to prosecute any whistle blower he can get his hands on. Look carefully at who he can find time to help and who he can find time to hurt. Look carefully at the alliances in Congress with the Executive. There you will find truth. Oppose wrongdoing because it is wrong.


    I do not think it is accurate to call Obama’s decisions simply poor/bad. They need to be called for what they are– criminal, depraved, illegal and immoral. Calling them poor/bad is like saying Bush ordering torture and instigating war under false pretense was just a poor/bad decision. It was bad, but it was much more than that. It was an impeachable offense. It was evil, it was illegal and it has caused great harm. It’s easy to see when the “other” side is wrong and to condemn it. I’ve seen you write poems about Republicans many times. I haven’t seen you write a poem about Obama’s wars– those on civilians, those on our young men and women in harm’s way, those on the poor of this nation. Are the suffering of civilians, soldiers, the poor, the tortured less under Obama than Bush?

  7. “She compares it to Ford’s pardon of Nixon in that regard.”

    Also a huge politically driven mistake. Ford later regretted his actions.

    Two wrongs do not make a right and actions are supposed to have costs. If the cost of enforcing the rule of law is that some people get pissed off that it’s their guy being punished? Too bad. That’s the cost of backing villains. The only way to stop the ever widening division is to address the primary cause and prosecute the internal enemies of the Constitution. Cruel to be kind, medicine can have unpleasant side effects, etc.

    Double standards are what got us into this mess in the first place. More double standards will only exacerbate the problem. Eventually to the point of political violence. So which is better? Discomfort and bitching now or blood in the streets later?

    The Constitution and the Declaration don’t provide for “justice for some”, but rather “justice for all”.

    Too big to prosecute is a poli-sci myth just as much as too big to fail is an economic myth regarding banks.

    Not only was William Gladstone right when he said, “Justice delayed is justice denied”, Martin Luther King drove the point home when he said, “Justice denied anywhere diminishes justice everywhere.”

  8. Our country is beginning to rot from the inside. Maybe it’s time to rip it open and cut out the decaying matter. Things will not get better unless we address the terrible wrongs our country has committed and begin to punish leaders who approved of the torture of human beings.

  9. He could have let Spain handle it and Obama would not have taken as much heat.

    Obama did exactly what he had to do. When I first came here I was intrigued with the birth certificate issue. For a person who ran on Hope and Change, Openness and Transparency there was absolutely no reason for him not to open his records up. He was already elected, but thats o.k. we’ve already had that argument.

    One of my first post here I made a comment to the effect that the office of the presidency is an office. The president is bound to protect that office and any past members after all it’s the highest in the land. It’s always done. It’s a club, the Hall of Fame. I made the comment that Bush would never be prosecuted for torture that it was Obama’s job to protect him. No need to tell you what I got from the peanut gallery but one of the first words in response was troll. Mike Spindell let me have it. I wish I could find the post.

    Think about this for a moment, could you imagine Bush being found guilty either here or anywhere and Obama being forced to pardon him or defend him with bullets. Obama was never gonna take the chance of that ever happening. He did what he had to do. But, if it wasn’t for Wiki Leaks, who would have known.

  10. Jill: I have never seen you criticize Palin, Bachmann, Boehner or McConnell. You seems to only criticize Obama and some unidentified liberals.

  11. Rafflaw, I respectfully disagree with The Wife on this issue too, and she’s more liberal than I am. And I should have been more concise when I wrote that she compared it to Nixon’s pardon. I should have said that she compared it to Ford’s justification for pardoning Nixon. I lived through it too and was pissed then (at 10 years old) and am still somewhat irked to this day.

    Here’s the thing about pardons: accepting a pardon is implicit acknowledgment (by the recipient) of committing the crime. I’d almost rather Obama pre-emptively pardon the torturers; then at least they’d be tainted by accepting. Too bad that seems to be a moot point now.

  12. millsapian87, I wonder if the Bush administration would have felt quite as confident in their lawlessness if Nixon had been brought up on charges?

    BIL: “Too big to prosecute is a poli-sci myth just as much as too big to fail is an economic myth regarding banks.”

    Exactly. if that’s the way the rules are going to be applied then why bother with even calling the top guy a President? Just crown him on inauguration day and start calling him Your Highness because that’s essentially what you are installing, serial Monarchs.

  13. Elaine M.: “Our country is beginning to rot from the inside. Maybe it’s time to rip it open and cut out the decaying matter. ..”

    It’s been doing so for a long time. I was thinking about Nixon being sent to jail, indicted and put under house arrest at least a while back but I was thinking about that again a couple of days ago and I started trying to fix the date the rot actually began, or close anyway, and a crazy as it sounded I put the blame on President Lincon.

    Jefferson Davis and his Generals should have been shot as traitors. In a Constitutional Democracy it just does not matter who you are, equality under the law is the only standard that matters. Lincon set a very bad precedent.

  14. Oh please,

    Someone regale me again with the tales of how Obama gets a free pass on this, and all the other tyrannical Bush policies he’s embraced, because of “the economy.”

  15. I am done with this man. I will actively work to defeat him in the primary, if there is one, and/or in the general election. He has lied over and over about who he is.

    As a liberal, I have no representation in Washington anyway.

  16. Eniobob thanks for the link.

    “ignores the fact that he is in a precarious political box”

    He was damned from the beginning.

    He was damned if you do, damned if you don’t. And speaking of Pardons like any past president understands, and now Obama he just might need a pardon himself when it’s all said and done. He just better hope it’s not Palin.

  17. Obama has committed war crimes too? Chomsky says so. Paul Craig Roberts says so. And Glenn Greenwald suggests it as well:

    That is why Obama will not pursue this.

    You can whine and cry, and rant and rave, but it ain’t gonna happen. The fix is in. It was in when Biden was put on the ticket.

    They are all filthy dirty.

    This is because they are all members of the same club: the Council On Foreign Relations. It is the most dangerous, extremist, and subversive organization in America (outside of the Department of Homeland Security) which the DHS will never tell you about.

    Even when not officially registered, Presidents are automatic pseudo-members because of their handlers or family members who belong to the club. Cheney under Bush 43, Bush 41 under Reagan, Biden under Obama, Kissinger under Nixon. JFK wasn’t CFR, but he wanted a debt-free monetary system. Oops, that was a no no. You cannot destroy America if it has a sound economic policy. LBJ canceled that executive order for sound money immediately. After JFK was murdered, that is.

    You get my drift?

    And every Secretary of State since the CFR was created is a CFR member. Hillary may have been the first one not to be (though Bill is). But I believe that now she is a member. She would be a tardy member therefore. Certainly she was very happy that the CFR was moving their offices nearby so she should could consult with them regularly.

    Did I mention that power corrupts? Did I mention it murders? Did I mention that that also means mass murder?

    Anyway, group together several hundred of the most powerful people in America whose power is unaccountable but absolute and what do you get? A group of benign but sincere citizens who just want to help themselves….I mean…help us out, or a group of demons with a like-minded goal of world dominion and the abolition of the nation-state throughout the world? I’ll bet you know what I think the answer is.

    Any way, David Lindorff (who wrote a book about prosecuting Bush and Cheney when they were still in office) now says the same thing about Obama.

    Biden continually guides the young Obama to the CFR goal of one world government. They all use the same tricks to achieve this goal: lawlessness, sedition, and subversion.

    Biden, who could win an Academy Award for pretending to be a hapless imbecile, is charged with the job of keeping his young Padawan apprentice on track to CFR goals. He makes sure the youngster doesn’t stray too far from it (like Kennedy did). Did I mention that our CIA directors are CFR members too? No? Well, you can bet it’s not a minor detail.

    Anyway. The goal of the CFR is world government. I’m not making this up, this is THEIR stated policy. They will do it in whatever way they can. Currently, they are leveling America so she doesn’t have power to lead the world, or even “co-lead” it. That is so she then becomes forced to comply with world governance. You have to destroy her economically to do that. (It’s working well right now, isn’t it?)

    The Constitution has to be rendered obsolete or invalid too. And for these people this can happen none too soon.

    Although, truth be told, government has been doing that for quite some time now, even before the CFR was created. Abe Lincoln began it in earnest.

    Lindorff’s comments:

  18. Bdaman: “He was damned from the beginning. He was damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”

    If the wheel is fixed
    I would still take a chance
    If we’re treading on thin ice
    Then we might as well dance
    So I play the fool
    But I can’t sit still
    Help me get this rock
    To the top of this hill

    Do it
    ‘Til we’re sick of it
    Do it ’till you can’t do it no more

    Friends will pity you
    I guess that’s what they’re for
    But they just take you like they find you
    When they find you on the floor

    But you do it
    Til you sick of it
    Do it til you can’t do it no more

    ©1972 Jesse Winchester
    From the LP “Third Down, 110 To Go”

  19. Do it Til we’re sick of it
    Do it ’till you can’t do it no more

    I prefer til I’m satisfied, what ever it is

  20. Here’s hoping we get a good third party candidate for President. There are some evils that “lesser of” just doesn’t apply.

  21. I don’t know Gyges, seems to me that that the blind eyes supporting Obama are just about the same percentage of the Democratic party as those Republicans that turned a blind eye to Bush.

  22. Gyges One thing to remember is that a candidate must get to 270 electoral votes to win. With three strong candidates no one would get to 270, so the GOP House gets to choose. It is a sure path to a republican victory.

  23. Would anybody like to respond to my friend Bob.

    Bob is a die hard Obama Fan.

    Here’s his reply via e-mail to this thread. All in caps


    I have not read his book/books. Does anybody know what Bob is talking about.

  24. Anyone who likes to watch Animal Planet such as myself will understand my analogy,The Republicans are like Hyenas they eat their prey alive,The Democrats on the other hand are like the African Wild Dogs it take a lot of them to track and get their prey.


    “Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others.” –Dostoevsky

  26. Swarthmore,

    And? There are some principles that aren’t worth compromising on, no matter what the cost. For me, torture is one of those issues. I won’t actively help a person who refuses to hold people who torture accountable hold office.

    Sometimes there are no good options.

  27. Gyges: I think Palin will become a very active torturer if she becomes president. Obama is just too passive.

  28. Swarthmore,

    I’ve never understood why people think Palin is going to run. She’s got a much cushier gig now. Not to mention, she wouldn’t win.

    I’m sorry, but the hypothetical threat of someone who’s unlikely to run, and even if she did wouldn’t win, is hardly going to sway me from my “not voting for people who condone torture” (and let’s not forget the Obama administration has admitted that it was torture) stance.

    If Obama starts to restore the rule of law, we can talk lesser of the two evils. Until then…

  29. apologies if this has been posted above.

    Wouldn’t a prosecution of Bush and members of his administration include congressmen and senators? Both democrats and republicans?

    Wouldn’t it be hard to find a jury to actually provide a fair trial? It would be a farce either way. I certainly would not want a sitting president to be sent over to the Hague for trial. Very bad precedent to set.

    How many bureaucrats would be involved? The entire government would circle the wagons and clamp down harder than they already have. It almost sounds like a French Revolution/McCarthy scenario. They would clamp down on us.

    It might make us feel good but the outfall might tear the country apart. To many people water boarding a few terrorists is the equivalent of taking a candy bar from a drugstore.

    I’m all for prosecuting a few people but who and what type of sentences. Obviously Bush and Chaney are at the top of the list but who else? It wasn’t only Goering and Himmler that were tried at Nuremberg.

  30. I wish I cold say that this is shocking news, but it totally fits with the political flow of this administration. It reaffirms my suspicion that Obama answers to the same “authority” as Bush did and whoever it is that is calling the shots, President Obama is being a grateful trooper.

    His position to protect the war crimes of his colleagues shows his allegiance to the corporate bosses that had him eating out of their hands when we were trying to get a health billed that made sense.

  31. Not punishing the guilty will tear this country apart just as surely. Sending a President (and his direct enablers) rightfully accused of war crimes to the international tribunal specifically set up to deal with war criminals is not only a precedent, it’s the right thing to do. It shows 1) that we as a nation respect international law, 2) domestic law and 3) that justice for all is still the American way. “We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice”. Justice requires equity. Justice requires that the guilty be punished without exception. Without justice, the rest of the Constitution becomes meaningless.

    If the price will be paid in any event, justice should be had. It’s the only way to put this country back on the path the Founding Fathers envisioned.

  32. rafflaw
    1, December 2, 2010 at 1:56 pm
    I must respectfully disagree with your wife and affirm your thoughts on the matter. I lived through the Nixon pardon and it would not have ripped the country in two. It would have shown everyone in the country that noone was above the law, not even a President.


    Hear, hear … I said it then and I agree with you now …

    A good friend of mine likes to tell audiences that racism is a fantasy of superiority and it’s impossible to dissuade others from their fantasies … I feel the same way about the “ripping the country apart fantasy”. It wouldn’t have done it then, and had Ford stuck to the Rule of Law, Bush and Cheney might have thought twice about their own culpability in ordering torture and Obama would have been wildly breaking precedent by not indicting them.

  33. Ha, ha, ha. And the worm turns. This should be no surprise at all as this President has lied from the beginning on just about everything. This is no exception. Say one thing on his high horse and give the “high hat” at the same time. Just a political hack with the highest level of B.S. skills with the lowest level of competence in running anything. We have all been duped.

    Can Hillary C. change parties and run against this guy? I have NEVER backed her but that would be a terrific turn of events. Bizarre, yet … workable. I know it’s crazy but something has to be done next time. Super name recognition, more international experience and competence (with or without the Bosnian bullets flying overhead) and the bonus of the return of Slick Willie. Happy Days (would be) here again ….

  34. Blouise,

    I too think the risk of “tearing the country apart” is vastly overstated in the case of prosecution. However, a lack of prosecution will eventually cause trouble.

  35. Buddha,

    Yes sir

    Failure to prosecute criminal actions allows criminality to prosper and grow. That’s no fantasy.

  36. What’s happening with this story not being on the news? I’ve looked everywhere and it simply isn’t on any major news network. Neither is the story on the Spanish camera man (Jose Couso) who was killed in an American tank attack on the journalist hotel in Iraq in 2003. There’s simply no Google news hits for name and there are many hits on the story when it originally happened.

    I saw NY Times had let the administration go over what it was going to leak and the administration singled out some it did not want to see published. NY Times agreed to extend that information to other news networks. Is this among the stories that are not to be run or what?

  37. This could have all been avoided had we just not taken any prisoners. We could have shot them all on site as spies since they were not, for the most part, wearing uniforms.

    And it would have been legal under the Geneva Convention.

    I am curious about that, does any one know if that is correct?

    Someone told me that a few years ago, I have never gotten a straight answer when inquiring as to it’s veracity.

  38. Although I strongly disagree with Obama’s decision not to prosecute Bush and the other torturers, I can understand his political motivation (and of course expect that politics would override any concerns about justice and deterring future presidents from torturing). What I cannot understand is why Obama fights so hard against others’ taking action against torturers, whether those others are foreign governments or torture victims who file civil suits against torturers.

  39. I am a just ordinary people that have 3 thoughts
    1. How could a country secret could be easily stolen? Answer is too easy.
    2. I think this is to gain support of people to blame prev. President’s policy
    3. Why do we have to be kind to the terrorist who killed thousands of people?

  40. What I cannot understand is why Obama fights so hard against others’ taking action against torturers, whether those others are foreign governments or torture victims who file civil suits against torturers.


    Intention is presumed from actions; actions are premised on fear or self-interest. Cui bono?

  41. Cui bono? I’d forgotten that there are claims that Obama authorized or allowed torture at a secret prison in Afghanistan.

  42. Here’s something that just crossed my mind on things I’ve said here. I’m reminiscing about Obama’s executive order, the first one on the first day of office.

    If my memory serves me correctly I stated that the first thing Bush did when he came into office was to sign executive order #13233. It allowed former presidents and even family members to declare executive privilege and block public access to White House records for virtually any reason. Alot of people then thought that this was Bush secrecy but going back to my earlier post above this was about protecting Clinton, now former president from any more embarrassment.

    Obama on his first day signed E0 #13489

    Obama said at the time

    “For a long time now, there’s been too much secrecy in this city. This administration stands on the side not of those who seek to withhold information but with those who seek it to be known,” Obama said after signing the order rescinding the Bush-era measure.

    “The mere fact that you have the legal power to keep something secret does not mean you should always use it. Transparency and the rule of law will be the touchstones of this presidency.”

    But yet

    High court questions broad use of FOIA exemption

    Anyone see the irony here.

  43. Any thing sound familiar here.

    When we get piled upon one another in large cities, as in Europe, we shall become as corrupt as Europe .

    The democracy will cease to exist when you take away from those who are willing to work and give to those who would not.

    It is incumbent on every generation to pay its own debts as it goes. A principle which if acted on would save one-half the wars of the world.

    I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them.

    My reading of history convinces me that most bad government results from too much government.

    No free man shall ever be debarred the use of arms.

    The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government.

    The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.

    To compel a man to subsidize with his taxes the propagation of ideas which he disbelieves and abhors is sinful and tyrannical.

    and finally

    Thomas Jefferson said in 1802: ?I believe that banking institutions are more dangerous to our liberties than standing armies. If the American people ever allow private banks to control the issue of their currency, first by inflation, then by deflation, the banks and corporations that will grow up around the banks will deprive the people of all property – until
    their children wake-up homeless on the continent their fathers conquered.?

  44. I know this bdaman. There’s some wicked, ugly stuff going on in these United States — things in which our government is involved. Dick Cheney’s fingerprints are all over it, IMO. He was reportedly working with the CIA on a daily basis after 9/11.

    With regard to Obama, I don’t know, but something seems to have changed. I had high hopes that the domestic operations that are going on would stop after Obama was elected, but it’s business as usual. Those involved act with a clear sense of impunity.

    In the early days of the Obama administration, I heard a veteran say, “We told the President. We can be your best friends or your worst enemies.” It resonated with me at the time. Having said this, I know that some of the things that were either put in play by the Bush administration (or at the very least, ramped up) have continued under this administration. While not a surprise to some, it’s become pretty clear to me that this country is being run by intelligence agencies, the military, corporate America, and/or the Pentagon, but it isn’t President Obama.

    About the Pentagon, my career-military father used to say, “It’s like thousands of pissants riding a log down the river and each one of them thinks it’s steering the log.”

  45. Franz Kafka, “Amerika: The Man Who Disappeared,” Michael Hofmann, tr., copyright 1996, the New Directions Publishing Corp. 2002 version printing. I have been re-reading portions thereof.

    Has Amerika utterly transcended the Kafkaesque?

    Has the President of Amerika, the person who supposedly won the 2008 election, been disappeared?

    If so, who disappeared him? And, how? And, why?

    Imagine a wild beast, more subtle and more clever than every other wild beast?

    Imagine a wild beast so subtle and clever as to be able to devour a person and leave the person devoured perfectly intact, except for having been devoured.

    Were I to attempt to name such a wild, clever, subtle beast, I might name it “deception,” for I find that deception deceives itself no less than it deceives all else.

    Who can truthfully be faulted for having been overcome by that which is impossible to overcome?

  46. bdaman Aren’t you the one that posted that Obama should not be president because of his association with Bill Ayers?

  47. About the Pentagon, my career-military father used to say, “It’s like thousands of pissants riding a log down the river and each one of them thinks it’s steering the log.”

    ROTFLMAO. Thats Great. Funny thing is as I was reading that the picture appeared in my head as I was acyually seeing the log with the ants on it. Thanks for that.

  48. bdaman Aren’t you the one that posted that Obama should not be president because of his association with Bill Ayers?

    Swathmore Mom I might have, you know how anti Obama I am so it would not surprise me if I did. A friend of mine told me that if one was to look hard enough you can find faults with Mother Theresa because of all the anti Obama stuff I would send.

  49. Imagine a wild beast, more subtle and more clever than every other wild beast?

    does it have 666 in the hairline, thats all I want to know.

  50. Anon Nurse:

    I am laughing my ass off, a log full of pissants funny stuff.

    I just disagree on one point, they dont think they are steering, they think they own the damn log.

  51. Anon Nurse:

    ” it’s become pretty clear to me that this country is being run by intelligence agencies, the military, corporate America, and/or the Pentagon, but it isn’t President Obama”

    If so, it is because he is perceived as weak. He probably is weak and so power is filling the vacuum. He does not have the requisite experience to do his job.

  52. No, it’s because thats the way it is. Although the president has the final say, one must look at his inner circle to see how he might decide. Thats why the Whitehouse visitor log is very important.

  53. The Obama administration is fighting to block access to names of visitors to the White House, taking up the Bush administration argument that a president doesn’t have to reveal who comes calling to influence policy decisions.

    He was then forced to begin releasing them and then when people found out Bill Ayers came to visit they said it was not the same Bill Ayers.

    The White House on Friday released a small list of visitors to the White House since President Barack Obama took office in January, including lobbyists, business executives, activists and celebrities.

    The White House warns that many names that may appear familiar — and controversial — do not in fact refer to the most famous people to carry those names. Jeremiah Wright is on the list, but it’s not the president’s former pastor. This Michael Jordan is not the basketball player. This Michael Moore is not a filmmaker. The William Ayers who took a group tour of the White House isn’t the former radical from Chicago who figured so prominently in the 2008 campaign. And the Angela Davis on the list has a different middle initial than the activist and former fugitive.

    I believe the Whitehouse don’t you

  54. “I just disagree on one point, they dont think they are steering, they think they own the damn log.” -Dick Luzack


    My father died earlier this year, but he would probably agree…

    (Re: “…power is filling the vacuum.” It is. In a manner that is truly Kafkaesque — or beyond Kafkaesque, as noted in an earlier comment.)

  55. Anon Nurse sorry for your loss. Mine died 19 years ago and old age is quickly catching up to my mother.

    Sure is quite today on the blog. Reminds me of the novel then movie, All’s Quite on the Western Front

  56. Tear the country apart? Hmmmm. What country do we have at this point to tear apart? It seems to me that if we accept what state of affairs these allegations represent then we are living in a place that is completely different than what we suppose and the constitution on which it is premised is a deceptive ruse. Tearing the country apart may be our only means of escape.

  57. Bdaman:

    Why do you bring that up on this thread? But now that you mention it, it is cold and overcast. Any idea as to why?
    I am in the South West.

    Also the weather around here is all over the map, cold and wet one year, dry and cold the next. It doesnt seem to get warmer around these parts.

    Any idea why?

  58. Everybody like to talk about the weather.

    Any idea why?

    Global Warming = Global Cooling = Climate Change = Global Climate Disruption. Who New

  59. culhealth,

    I agree. This country is already torn apart, not by prosecutions of war criminals but by the actions of war and financial criminals. The transfer of wealth to the top 1% of our population has been staggering. By the conservative estimates of the govt. itself 15% of our population has gone without enough food this past year. The class war is devastating everyone from the middle class down. Both parties seamlessly collude in the impoverishment of the many for the enrichment of the few. The permanent state of war declared by this govt. has rendered the US a nation without law. Laws are used as weapons against anyone the oligarchy finds a threat. So the work of dismantling our nation, our Constitution, is done. There are only a few things that would put it back to right, massive non violent resistance, insistence on the restoration of the rule of law, (which most certainly would include prosecution of the powerful who violate our laws) and a return in the population for a desire/demand for justice.

    Prosecution of the powerful who commit crimes shows a functioning society. The fact that we don’t see this tells you it is already lying in ruins.

  60. Bdaman

    “Anon Nurse sorry for your loss. Mine died 19 years ago and old age is quickly catching up to my mother.”


    Thanks, bdaman… and I, as well, about your parents. A friend of mine (also a nurse who works primarily with the elderly) feels that 85 is a sort of “tipping point” for many… My mother has dementia and, though she misses my father, she’s in a happy place most of the time.

    My father and I had our differences, especially when it came to politics, but I never doubted his love of country. With regard to our government’s use of torture, he couldn’t accept it — he was in complete denial about it. And he was so sick, that I didn’t press it. He kept saying, “No. I can’t believe it — we wouldn’t torture… ” He was too sick, and in a lot of pain — he couldn’t handle it… I just let it go.

  61. I’m just wondering if a Charge de Affaires appointed by the Bush administration and accompanied by two Republican Senators actually represented the Obama administration three months into Obama’s term. Obama’s Ambassador to Spain arrived in December 2009.

    From reading the cable (which at this time seem unaccessable) it seems a publicity hungry Spanish prosecutor, who was interested in making another international splash, was being reined in by another prosecutor and the Spanish Attorney General both of whom were uneasy about his insistence on prosecuting high profile persons under his determination that Spain has “international jurisdiction”. Apparently the ICC was not relevant. Sounds like more latin machismo to me. Shades of Ken Starr.

  62. buckeye,

    I hate to break this to you but torture is illegal according to US and International law. This was recently affirmed in Nov. by none other than the Obama administration itself. Failure to prosecute for torture is a violation of domestic and international law.

    Not only did Obama interfer in Spain’s investigation, he immunized those at the CIA who engaged in torture. Additionally, he leaned on the UK to not expose our role in torture. Further, at every step Obama has denied justice to our victims of torture. You may want to keep blaming everyone else for these decisions, but at a certain point I think the accumulation of evidence rules against the idea that it’s everyone’s fault except Obama’s.

    Remember also that the Obama administration has created a little slice of Bagram within Bagram for people it picks up anywhere in the world and would like to have some private rendition with no oversight. You really just can’t blame that on Bush or Republicans because that was an executive decision which the DOJ argued in a court of law.

    No, it’s time to come to terms with the illegalities of the current administration and it’s time to condemn them in no uncertain terms. Better still is peaceful opposition and I invite you to join the Veterans March for Peace at the WH on Dec. 16th of this year.

  63. The only way I see to change things is through campaign finance reform. The main proponent of CFR, Russ Feingold, was defeated by a tea party candidate. The election has moved us further to the right. I don’t see any chance of campaign finance reform now. The tea party worships corporations. It is education that they are against. The corporations are in control. They are using the weak economy to get more control.

  64. There are many ways of change. Here is one: “Real Hope Is About Doing Something

    By Chris Hedges

    On Dec. 16 I will join Daniel Ellsberg, Medea Benjamin, Ray McGovern and several military veteran activists outside the White House to protest the futile and endless wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of us will, after our rally in Lafayette Park, attempt to chain ourselves to the fence outside the White House. It is a pretty good bet we will all spend a night in jail. Hope, from now on, will look like this.

    Hope is not trusting in the ultimate goodness of Barack Obama, who, like Herod of old, sold out his people. It is not having a positive attitude or pretending that happy thoughts and false optimism will make the world better. Hope is not about chanting packaged campaign slogans or trusting in the better nature of the Democratic Party. Hope does not mean that our protests will suddenly awaken the dead consciences, the atrophied souls, of the plutocrats running Halliburton, Goldman Sachs, ExxonMobil or the government….”
    Article continued on

  65. Obama is Bush on Steroids, and the American people are being played by a government both Left & Right that do not give a damn about them. They are the opposite wing of the same bird. They are all bought and sold.

    Obama’s actions here are no different then when Bush basically pardoned Libby; this is obstruction of justice, and in doing this, Obama is now guilty of the same crimes. Soon he too will not be able to leave the country for fear the he will be arrested…we can only hope. The man is a joke.

  66. Jill: I like Chris Hedges a lot, but he is going to have to get more than middle age white leftists to go to the streets. I hope the rally attracts a very, very large number of people.

  67. Every action counts. If we do nothing the outcome is assured. Because Hedges is one of the people who recognizes the validity of right wing rage (while eschewing their hate filled rhetoric and evil solutions) I would say he has an actual chance of reaching other people than aging leftists. But aging leftist have been off duty for a while now. So if they show up, that’s a real good start for restoring democracy in the US.

  68. “But aging leftists have been off duty for a while now. So if they show up, that’s a real good start for restoring democracy in the US.” -Jill


    I agree.

  69. It’s all good but one needs to build coalitions for real change to occur, and the right wing is not anti-war so I would hope one is not looking to them for support.


    State Dept. Bars Staffers from WikiLeaks, Warns Students

    The U.S. State Department has imposed an order barring employees from reading the leaked WikiLeaks cables. State Department staffers have been told not to read cables because they were classified and subject to security clearances. The State Department’s WikiLeaks censorship has even been extended to university students. An email to students at Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs says: “The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. [The State Department] recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.”

  71. There are plenty of people in the right wing who are anti war. Ron Paul and his followers are just one example. Chomsky, Hedges, Nader and Scheer, none of whom could possibly be called right wing, have been urging liberals to take the anger of the right wing seriously. That would be a very good start towards coalition building.

    Liberals right now largely ally themselves with Obama and the Democratic party no matter how unjust, immoral, cruel or criminal these actors are. Liberals have to stop this. They must work for justice and oppose injustice. That is the way to form coalitions–by having real principles, state them clearly and stand up for them.

    There is no one right answer. Everyone should do what they can, however they can do it. But the one thing every liberal must cease is justifying illegal and depraved actions because they are done by Obama and other Democrats.

  72. Jill

    I’m quite aware that torture is illegal anywhere in the world by anyone. As you say, the current administration is also aware. Your confidence that only you have the moral high ground and all the facts is very off-putting. I am fully prepared to hold the current administration guilty of any torture condoned by this administration – once it is proven it was condoned.

    I am also fully prepared to condemn the current administration if they do not bring to justice those in the previous administation that condoned torture.

    I think that where we part ways is that you expect it to have already been done, where I expect that precipitous action can lead to an unsatisfactory conclusion. I want these guys nailed completely and that, or so it seems to me, takes a thorough and probably lengthy examination of the facts, given the seriousness of the charges. I’m not sure what the DOJ’s priorities are, but I’m willing for them to proceed at their own pace. It’s the DOJ’s job, not the President’s, to investigate and bring to trial any wrongdoing – even the President’s. After all, almost everything comes to light eventually; anyone that thinks they can control the information is fooling themselves – as Wickileaks is proving.

    It seems you are willing to accept anything that seems to verify your position; I’m more inclined to suspect the motivations of others – as in the case of this Spanish prosecutor. Perhaps that’s a result of having often seen what seemed to be a sure thing turn out to be not at all what was portrayed a la Mr. Breitbart.

    I have a some doubts about President Obama’s ability to govern effectively, but this area is not one of them – yet.

    Thank you for the invitation to join the Vetrans March for Peace, but I believe I’ll stick to my regimen of checking out facts and making my views known in other ways. Enjoy.

  73. Annie,

    Don’t forget his terrible economic views! My point is there are people on the right who are anti war. If you want to form a coalition on that basis, it is possible. If you do not want to do so, go with god! As I said, people can only do what they can do.

    The only requirement for real change is to stop condoning illegal and immoral actions because they are being done by people on your “side”. Consistent principles of right and wrong must be honestly and rigorously applied to our own actions. Many liberals have been failing this task miserably. This task was also failed by conservatives under Bush.

  74. Anon nurse, this is just to clarify what you posted. I work in a Government shop, and this is the justification for State’s policy.

    They are not forbidding us from reading Wikileaks, only from doing so using Government computers. The reason is the classification issue.

    If one reads Wikileaks and accesses a still-classified document, that information is downloaded and stored on the computer by the web browser. That computer is now storing classified information. If the asset is not cleared for classified info, then it must be disconnected from the network, sanitized and reloaded. That is THE LAW.

    So the over-arching intent is to prevent a hugely expensive fustercluck of having to sanitize and reload every damn workstation in the building because people were reading Wikileaks. People can lose their clearances and/or go to jail for storing classified data on unauthorized assets, inadvertently or no.

  75. Liberal? Conservative? No difference. Our government now is like professional wrestling. They put on a good show, get in the ring (Congress), and get the people divided, ranting, and hating one another. Then they do their fancy flips and flops with their useless bills–where the outcome was already known beforehand. It is all a smoke screen. Congress now is like musical chairs trading off one corrupt party with another. If does not matter who appears to be running the show.

    The proof is there was never any oversight to the crimes of the Bush administration. Not one in the last 4 years from the dems. No one is caring to look, or wants to look. They are all guilty. Obama’s actions here are also proof to this, and his resigning of blackwater’s billion dollar non-bid contract, the patriot act, and his healthcare bill that was written by the insurance lobby, and drug companies. And who is going to jail in regards to the banks? No one. He was a supposed washington outsider that surrounded himself with insiders.

  76. Here’s another war crime: “Interrogators subjected Gitmo detainees to dangerous psychoactive drug: report

    By Eric W. Dolan
    Friday, December 3rd, 2010 — 11:12 am

    Interrogators subjected Gitmo detainees to dangerous psychoactive drug: reportThe US military’s routine administration of high doses of a malaria drug, posing severe psychological side effects for Guantanamo Bay detainees, may have been the “psychological equivalent of waterboarding,” according to a published report.

    An investigation by the Seton Hall University School of Law, a leading law school in the New York metropolitan area, found that administering 1250mg of the malaria drug mefloquine to Guantanamo Bay detainees was a standard operating procedure, “whether or not any use of the drug was medically appropriate.”

    “Mefloquine was administered to detainees contrary to medical protocol or purpose,” Professor Mark P. Denbeaux, Director of the Seton Hall Law Center for Policy and Research, said. “The record reveals no medical justification for mefloquine in this manner or at these doses. On this record there appears to be only three possible reasons for drugging these men: gross malpractice, human experimentation or ‘enhanced interrogation.'”

    “At best it represents monumental incompetence,” he added. “At worst, it’s torture.” (see raw story)

  77. …an interesting site.


    Lariam was the trade name for mefloquine.

    It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that they were testing it…

    Four of many articles highlighted on the site:

    “Before Walter Reed. . .” Dan Olmsted updates his report on the military’s abusive treatment of wounded soldiers and their handling of Lariam toxicity, Nieman Reports Watchdog, March 5, 2007 pdf .

    Ordered Into Madness: The Military’s Use of Lariam, by Richard Currey, The Veteran, Nov-Dec 2005 pdf

    Analysis: Iraq casualties and causality, Dan Olmsted, UPI, May 23, 2005 pdf. Did mefloquine (Lariam) trigger a number of suicides among soldiers serving in Iraq in 2003?

    Consumer Reports, “Lariam’s Legacy,” March 2002. “The most-prescribed malaria drug could produce psychiatric side effects in more than one-quarter of all travelers who take it.”

  78. “A Lesson Learnt: the rise and fall of Lariam and Halfan, by Dr Ashley Croft, Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, April 2007.” Dr. Croft is one of the world’s experts on Lariam.

    (Larium was the trade name for mefloquine.)

    Links to all articles can be found at:

    I think that they were testing it…

  79. ‘Obama Is not God’

    US Drone Attack Raises Uncomfortable Questions for Germany

    A US drone attack in Pakistan in October is thought to have killed a German citizen. The government of Chancellor Angela Merkel would prefer the case to simply go away, but one parliamentarian is refusing to let it be forgotten.

    When a German citizen is killed in a foreign country under mysterious circumstances, one might expect an outcry from politicians and the media. But the case of Bünyamin E., a German of Turkish descent who is believed to have died in Pakistan on Oct. 4, has caused remarkably little fuss in Germany — partly because the 20-year-old was a suspected terrorist, but also because he was apparently killed by an American drone.

    The case is awkward for the German government, as it involves the country’s most powerful ally and also raises uncomfortable questions about whether Germany provided support for the targeted killing.,1518,732684,00.html

  80. WikiLeaks cables reveal how US manipulated climate accord

    Embassy dispatches show America used spying, threats and promises of aid to get support for Copenhagen accord

    Hidden behind the save-the-world rhetoric of the global climate change negotiations lies the mucky realpolitik: money and threats buy political support; spying and cyberwarfare are used to seek out leverage.

    The US diplomatic cables reveal how the US seeks dirt on nations opposed to its approach to tackling global warming; how financial and other aid is used by countries to gain political backing; how distrust, broken promises and creative accounting dog negotiations; and how the US mounted a secret global diplomatic offensive to overwhelm opposition to the controversial “Copenhagen accord”, the unofficial document that emerged from the ruins of the Copenhagen climate change summit in 2009.

    Negotiating a climate treaty is a high-stakes game, not just because of the danger warming poses to civilisation but also because re-engineering the global economy to a low-carbon model will see the flow of billions of dollars redirected.

  81. Henry,

    You said you didn’t understand why Obama was stopping the prosecution of Bush and or Cheney, etc.

    I explained why at my comment above Dec.2, 3:07 p.m. The posting has gotten long and so you might have missed it. There are two good links about the topic as well.

  82. My definition of the word “psychopath”, an individual who behaves like a nation.

    That nations behave completely unscrupulously may perhaps be explained by so many high officials being smart psychopaths, but it is also possible that institutional structures somehow select for and amplify psychopath-like behaviour.

  83. Carlyle Moulton, That’s why I have never been a big fan of the Senate. Once you start concentrating more and more power in the hands of increasingly fewer people the level of crazies needed to put a spanner in the works starts to become pretty small. Give me a Parliamentary Democracy.

  84. I never thought I would see it on this blog. Most are complaining that BHO and his admin are full of the same old same old bs of government corruption, inequities and secrecy. No different than what BHO was campaigning against while promising widespread change in the name of justice and righteousness. Nope. It’s the same old story with a new set of words. Here’s the killer … Michelle Malkin’s book “the Culture of Corruption …” was dead on in her assessment, according to the sentiment listed in this thread. Oh, the humanity!! And the blimp is toast.

    So while we are saddled with this denizen of iniquities let’s try to make the best of it Somehow. Can we?

  85. “I never thought I would see it on this blog. Most are complaining that BHO and his admin are full of the same old same old bs of government corruption, inequities and secrecy.”

    That would only be because you don’t actually read this blog, Kurt, just troll. Or more to the point, you read but you don’t comprehend. The “complaining” – actually criticism – has been going on since he said, “look forward not backwards” in regards to prosecution of our very own domestic war criminals, Bush and Cheney. This is not a partisan issue. Our traditional conservative commentators have voiced the same criticism.

  86. Thanks for that link, Bdaman,

    from the article:

    Wikileaks lawyer Mark Stevens denied that Wikileaks was putting people and facilities at risk.

    “I don’t think there’s anything new in that,” he told the BBC.


    A few things to come out of my own experiences over the past few years:

    Life truly is stranger than fiction.

    Things often aren’t what they seem to be. And not everyone is who they seem, or purport, to be.

    Great evil is dancing among us.

    The greatest threat right now is within our borders — the greatest threat is from homegrown, domestic terrorists some of whom look like fine, upstanding citizens…

    Distractions abound and will be our undoing, if we aren’t careful and vigilant.

    Violence is being provoked by some within our government. More violence = more fear = more money flowing to law enforcement, etc. = more oppression = a move towards a fascist state…

    And, from my perspective, we’ve arrived. We’re there.

  87. Has anyone stopped to consider that the Geneva Convention applies to warfare between Nations? We are NOT engaged in a war with another nation, we are engaged in a fight with terrrorists, which, by definition, are criminals.

    To quote Tom Clancy, “If you’re going to kick a tiger in the ass you’d better have a plan for his teeth.”

    Nothing these people do fall under the Rules of Land Warfare so they are NOT protecte by the Geneva Convention.

  88. Pride comes before the fall…….Just like the Egyptians of antiquity, the Greeks, Romans, etc….
    She’s circlin’ the drain folks.

  89. I thought when Obama said “we need to look forward and not backward”, he was openly preventing prosecution of war crimes.

    Of course, that now makes Obama a war criminal too. Hope he doesn’t want to take a trip to Europe anytime soon!

    Perhaps an investment in Paraguay real estate next to the Bushy estate?

  90. “millsapian87 1, December 2, 2010 at 1:50 pm

    Culheath, The Wife (BA, MA Political Science) informs me that this is Too Big To Prosecute, and that doing so would rip the country in two–more so than it is already, I suppose. She compares it to Ford’s pardon of Nixon in that regard.”

    But surely we all agree that Ford’s pardon of Nixon was a huge mistake that emboldened former Nixon administration officials to repeat Nixon’s crimes. Right?

  91. Many fail to see what most Americans understand subconsciencely, an American President that is willing to protect a past President that openly broke the law may be ready and willing to break the law him or her self and hope the next President will follow his lead. Presidents should be held accountable. We spent millions of dollars chasing Bill Clinton around for having sex and now we don’t mind Presidents who torchure and kill. What does that tell the world about us and U.S.? We can make this an issue now. During this political season, ask for accountability now! For us and for the next generation of Americans (our children).

  92. “What does that tell the world about us and U.S.? We can make this an issue now. During this political season, ask for accountability now! For us and for the next generation of Americans (our children).” -Steven

    There is a domestic program in play that has not yet been made public. Surely it would stop when Obama was elected, I naively thought. Until it is exposed and stopped, the rule of law is just an illusion and the Constitution meaningless, in spite of appearances. If we don’t demand openness, transparency and accountability, I fear for the next generation of Americans.

  93. rafflaw,

    A loss of privacy is the least of it…. I hardly know what to say anymore…, but we have to start somewhere, right?


    WikiLeaks Leaves Names of Diplomatic Sources in Cables

    Published: August 29, 2011

    WASHINGTON — In a shift of tactics that has alarmed American officials, the antisecrecy organization WikiLeaks has published on the Web nearly 134,000 leaked diplomatic cables in recent days, more than six times the total disclosed publicly since the posting of the leaked State Department documents began last November.

    A sampling of the documents showed that the newly published cables included the names of some people who had spoken confidentially to American diplomats and whose identities were marked in the cables with the warning “strictly protect.”

    State Department officials and human rights activists have been concerned that such diplomatic sources, including activists, journalists and academics in authoritarian countries, could face reprisals, including dismissal from their jobs, prosecution or violence.

    Since late 2010, The New York Times and several other news organizations have had access to more than 250,000 State Department cables originally obtained by WikiLeaks, citing them in news articles and publishing a relatively small number of cables deemed newsworthy. But The Times and other publications that had access to the documents removed the names of people judged vulnerable to retaliation.

    WikiLeaks published some cables on its own Web site, but until the latest release, the group had also provided versions of the cables that had been edited to protect low-level diplomatic sources.

    Government officials and journalists were poring over the newly released cables on Monday to assess whether people named in them might face repercussions. A quick sampling found at least one cable posted on Monday, from the American Embassy in Australia, had a name removed, but several others left in the identities of people whom diplomats had flagged for protection.

    Among those named, despite diplomats’ warnings, were a United Nations official in West Africa and a foreign human rights activist working in Cambodia. They had spoken candidly to American Embassy officials on the understanding that they would not be publicly identified.

    The new disclosures are likely to reignite a debate over the virtues and perils of making public the confidential views of American diplomats, some of whom have complained that the leaks have made their work more difficult. The disclosures take place as a federal grand jury in Alexandria, Va., continues to hear evidence in a criminal investigation of WikiLeaks for disclosing classified information.

    WikiLeaks said in a statement on Monday that the acceleration in disclosing the cables was “in accordance with WikiLeaks’s commitment to maximizing impact and making information available to all.” The statement suggested that it was intended to counter the “misperception” that the organization “has been less active in recent months.”

    The statement said that “crowdsourcing” the documents by posting them will allow people of different backgrounds and nationalities to interpret the cables. It was unsigned, but WikiLeaks’s founder, Julian Assange, generally drafts or approves the group’s statements.

    Even as WikiLeaks made its new postings, a German publication reported that an encrypted file containing all of the 251,287 diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks last year had been posted months ago on the Web, and that the password was also available on the Internet. It was unclear on Monday whether anyone had cracked the encrypted file described by the publication, Der Freitag, a small Berlin-based, left-leaning weekly, and had made public previously unpublished material.

    A State Department spokesman, Michael A. Hammer, said the department would not comment on the authenticity of the documents released. He said the United States “strongly condemns any illegal disclosure of classified information.”

    Last year, WikiLeaks was sharply criticized by human rights activists for disclosing the names of Afghan citizens who had provided information on the Taliban to the American military. It was far more cautious in subsequent releases, using software to strip proper names out of Iraq war documents and publishing versions of the cables after they had been edited by The New York Times and other publications.

    The publication of cables began slowly last year, with only 2,500 made public by year’s end, often with redactions. As of last week, the total had reached about 20,000.

    But the State Department has always acted on the assumption that all quarter-million cables might become public. A department task force worked with American embassies to review all the leaked cables, quietly warning people named in the cables that they might be in jeopardy. Some especially vulnerable people were given help to move, usually outside their home countries.

    Steven Aftergood, an expert on government secrecy at the Federation of American Scientists, said he had reviewed several dozen cables from the new batch — all among those classified “secret” by the State Department — and found only one redaction. He said the volume of the new release made it unlikely that all the information that might endanger diplomatic sources had been removed.

    “If these cables have not been carefully reviewed, it’s likely to be problematic for any number of people named in the cables,” Mr. Aftergood said.

    Ravi Somaiya contributed reporting from London.

  95. The tradition of peaceful turnover of Administrations in the United States is a precious tradition that is jeopardized with the promise of prosecution of outgoing officials. As much as I would like to see this done to the high officials of the Bush Administration, I am not sanguine about the repercussions.

    Because of these conflicting needs (one for justice and the other for civil peace) I think Senator Leahy’s Truth Commission is the proper course of action. Establish the facts and preserve the evidence (while there is still an opportunity) to brand the (now freely self-confessed) villains with the true extent of their crimes, much of which we only guess at now.

    Tearing the country apart? I don’t think much of this in this instance, but if there is a similar contemptuous group of people in high office that refuses to leave after an election, what could the results be?

    Especially when one of them is the Commander in Chief of the powerful military of the USA. Imagine for a moment the course of events in Libya, but happening in the USA.

  96. Two more… and that’s it… (And Greenwald’s column is a good one today…) Goodnight folks. May tomorrow be a better day for the Constitution and rule of law…

    The Spy Next Door Comes from New York
    Philip Giraldi

    August 26th, 2011


    At a minimum, the NYPD intelligence unit is overwhelmingly targeting one religious community and illegally collecting information on American citizens and residents who are innocent of any crime. They are justifying doing so due to suspicion that someone might be contemplating a crime, which criminalizes thoughts rather than deeds and violates the First Amendment. They are violating their own rules for initiating an investigation as well as the guidelines set down by the FBI and are operating far removed from their jurisdiction in New York City under no legal authority. The CIA, for its part, is clearly engaged in and supporting domestic spying. The Bureau and Agency are also collaborating in illegally using CIA resources, as most of the officers in question seconded to New York were paid out of Langley and were presumably able to tap into sensitive Agency data bases.

    I am waiting for Eric Holder to say something. Tell me Eric, will you launch a Justice Department investigation or will you ignore the whole matter, “looking forward” as your boss in the White House has so often recommended? If you choose to ignore it, presumably because you are interested in how New York City votes for 2012, it will be just one more chipping away at the liberties that we Americans used to enjoy. But we have become accustomed to that. (end excerpt)

    It is not just Muslims who are being targeted…


    Govt Will Not Declassify 2001 Opinion on Surveillance
    August 26th, 2011

    by Steven Aftergood

    The Department of Justice refused this month to declassify a 2001 legal Office of Legal Counsel opinion by John C. Yoo concerning the legality of the Bush Administration’s warrantless surveillance program.

  97. “I think Senator Leahy’s Truth Commission is the proper course of action. Establish the facts and preserve the evidence (while there is still an opportunity) to brand the (now freely self-confessed) villains with the true extent of their crimes, much of which we only guess at now.” -MarkFey

    I would love to see Leahy’s Truth Commission come to fruition, but it needs to have teeth…

  98. Anon nurse,
    You are correct that it must have teeth.
    Mark Fey,
    If government officials are immune from prosecution than governmental crimes will never stop. Maybe things need to get uncomfortable for awhile for the guilty to be held accountable.

  99. Personally, I’m not voting for the man again. He’s a war criminal, a serial liar, and a fraud. He talked a good game of lofty principles during his election, and he has turned out to be a team player–for the other team. I intend to throw my vote away–and keep my self respect. I can’t prevent millions of people from voting for whatever idiot from the Spanish inquisition that the right wing fringe and fascists like Rove dredge up, and frankly, it’s not my job to stop them by supporting a less enthusiastic war criminal. If there is anyone I can respect in the primaries, he or she gets my vote. If not, I’m leaving that space blank and only ticking the box on candidates and initiatives I can in good conscience support.

  100. I agree with MarkFey that there might be some danger to the tradition of peaceful transfer of power were we to go after former officials who commit crimes, but the alternative is at least as bad–officials who commit every type of crime since they know that no one will hold them to account. Such a government is already a democracy in name only and the appearance of elections then becomes a complete sham. Since our ‘elected’ officials, from the President on down, are increasingly wholly-owned by Wall Street and corporate America, what’s the point in living a comfortable lie and pretending that the will or interests of the citizenry carries any serious weight any longer? It is clear that the corporate finance/media vetting process that controls which candidates are allowed to make it as far as election day is under the control of the corporate/billionaire/CFR type elite that is determined to put boots on the ground around all the strategic resources on the planet before the looming competition for resources really gets going. If a President is willing to invalidate an election to avoid prosecution, he’ll be willing to break the law to avoid impeachment. In admitting our fear that a President might violate the Constitution if threatened with post-tenure prosecution, we must also admit that any President who has such a capability and followers willing to carry it out is already beyond control, and the Constitution is already a dead letter.

  101. Charell, Thanks for a little Bill Hicks this morning — it’s been awhile since I’ve heard that bit…

    Something is seriously amiss in these United States… As rafflaw said, we need to start prosecuting the high-level criminals in this country… or, IMO, it’s pretty much over…

    I think that Mark Fey and Erik are right. — if those who are really running this country are challenged in any serious way, it’s hard to say what might happen. By the time people wake up to what’s really going on in America, it could very well be too late, if it isn’t already.

  102. Charell,
    That short Bill HIcks clip was amazing.
    anon nurse, monsanto has some real inside connections. I wonder if they are part of Bill HIck’s ruling elite?!

  103. “monsanto has some real inside connections. I wonder if they are part of Bill HIck’s ruling elite?” -rafflaw

    One has to wonder, rafflaw…

  104. George Bush Conspired to Obstruct Justice with Congressional Republicans behind Closed Doors to pass the Military Commissions Act of 2006 Written by John McCain that provides Civilians in his Administration and under his Control (CIA) IMMUNITY from prosecution for War Crimes retroactive to 9-11-2001.

    Bush’s 5-4 Republican Supreme Court refused to hear any arguement related to that Clause in the Law.

    Pelosi and Democrats Claimed they would Repeal the MCA entirely ASAP; Funny how that was forgotten After Obama Became President?

    That law Still Stands uncontested or Repealed!

  105. Donald,

    Yes. And in the meantime, the state’s goon and thugs are going after Americans on American soil…, but who would believe it?

  106. Anon nurse,
    Greenwald’s article is an eye opener. There are a lot of Bush officials that should be doing the perp walk, instead of writing books.

  107. rafflaw,

    Of course you know that I agree with you about Cheney (and his ilk) doing the perp walk, as you say… I’m guessing that you read the cable…

    “Women and children had their hands tied behind their back and were shot in the head in house raid, which was covered up by the military
    by John Glaser, August 29, 2011
    Email This | Print This | Share This | Antiwar Forum

    As revealed by a State Department diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks last week, US forces committed a heinous war crime during a house raid in Iraq in 2006, wherein one man, four women, two children, and three infants were summarily executed.

    The cable excerpts a letter written by Philip Alston, Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary, or Arbitrary Executions, addressed to then Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. American troops approached the home of Faiz Harrat Al-Majma’ee, a farmer living in central Iraq, to conduct a house raid in search of insurgents in March of 2006.

    “It would appear that when the MNF [Multinational Forces] approached the house,” Alston wrote, “shots were fired from it and a confrontation ensued” before the “troops entered the house, handcuffed all residents and executed all of them.” Mr. Faiz Hratt Khalaf, (aged 28), his wife Sumay’ya Abdul Razzaq Khuther (aged 24), their three children Hawra’a (aged 5) Aisha ( aged 3) and Husam (5 months old), Faiz’s mother Ms. Turkiya Majeed Ali (aged 74), Faiz’s sister (name unknown), Faiz’s nieces Asma’a Yousif Ma’arouf (aged 5 years old), and Usama Yousif Ma’arouf (aged 3 years), and a visiting relative Ms. Iqtisad Hameed Mehdi (aged 23) were killed during the raid.

    Alston’s letter reveals that a US airstrike was launched on the house presumably to destroy the evidence, but that “autopsies carried out at the Tikrit Hospital’s morgue revealed that all corpses were shot in the head and handcuffed.”

    The details revealed in the cable are a valuable insight into how many of these house raids turn out. The raids, often carried out in the middle of the night, have become one of the primary strategies of the US war in Afghanistan, with tens of thousands orchestrated just in the last year.

    In one notable and comparable incident in February of 2010, US Special Operations Forces surrounded a house in a village in the Paktia Province in Afghanistan. Two civilian men exited the home to ask why they had been surrounded and were shot and killed. US forces then shot and killed three female relatives (a pregnant mother of ten, a pregnant mother of six, and a teenager).

    Instead of calling in an airstrike to hide the evidence, US troops, realizing their mistake, lied and tampered with the evidence at the scene. The initial claim, which was corroborated by the Pentagon, was that the two men were insurgents who had “engaged” the troops, and the three murdered women were simply found by US soldiers, in what they described as an apparent honor killing. Investigations into the incident eventually forced the Pentagon to retract its initial story and issue an apology.

    Civilian deaths are a common occurrence in these commonly occurring raid operations. In May, NATO killed another four civilians in a night raid, and another three in early August. No soldiers or US officials have been held to account.”

  108. @anon nurse

    Did you bother to take the time to read the cable, or was the story just too juicy to let a little thing like that get in the way?

    From the cable:

    Alston: “Without in any way wishing to pre-judge the accuracy of the information received, I would be grateful for a reply to the following questions:

    1. Are the facts alleged in the above summary of the case

    We wouldn’t want to let a little thing, like the fact that Alston considers the account provided to be an unsubstantiated allegation, get in the way of maligning the U.S. Military, would we? It didn’t matter to John Glaser either.

  109. @rafflaw

    Are you stupid? The author of the cable is the one asking if the story is true. If the person who wrote the story doesn’t know if it’s true, why would you consider it to be true?

  110. Noway,
    It is so much fun being insulted by you. All the author is asking is if it a true report. He does not say it wasn’t true. He is asking for verification of the alleged attack. You are the one who inferred it wasn’t true, not the author.

  111. rafflaw,

    Thanks for the assist — you handled it well.


    Your question — both it’s content and the way in which you phrased it — speaks volumes…

  112. @rafflaw

    I couldn’t come close to insulting you as badly as you do the men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces when you accept an allegation as true until proven otherwise.

    I don’t have to prove that a god-damned allegation is untrue. The burden is on the accuser, you ignorant pinko.

    As a member of the Patriot Guard, I have led the processionals to bury far too many who have made the ultimate sacrifice for this country. I have put up with the likes of the Westboro Baptist Church. I’ll gladly tell you to piss off before I put up with the likes of you.

    As I recall, you lost a son who was in the service of our country. Did he reflect so poorly on the men and women who serve that you consider any allegation made against them to be true until proven otherwise?


    Breakdown: The new WikiLeaks scoops
    A new batch of unredacted diplomatic cables drops

    By Peter Finocchiaro

    Wikileaks placeholder

    When it comes to making news, WikiLeaks is going it alone — and in a crowd.

    Last week, the whistle-blowing organization dropped 120,000 more diplomatic cables, apparently drawn from the cache of 250,000 first tapped last November. But whereas the group previously collaborated with newspapers such as the New York Times and the Guardian — and redacted potentially sensitive information — the new batch of documents is unredacted. Government sources worry that personal information might jeopardize the safety of diplomatic sources. Human rights activists worry that applicants for political asylum may face reprisals.

    Instead of partnering with senior editors in London and Washington, WikiLeaks is now engaging in social media crowd-sourcing — asking for recommendations of interesting cables at #wlfinds on Twitter. While the editorial process is slow, the new documents are yielding news stories such as:

    Iraq atrocity and coverup: Probably the most shocking cable, a message from the State Department’s Phillip Alston to then-Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in March 2006, details the summary execution by U.S. soldiers of an Iraqi family — including five children under the ages of 5, and a 74-year-old woman. “Alston’s letter reveals that a US airstrike was launched on the house presumably to destroy the evidence, but that ‘autopsies carried out at the Tikrit Hospital’s morgue revealed that all corpses were shot in the head and handcuffed.'”
    Al-Qaida Down Under: Unredacted cables identified close to two dozen Australian citizens whom that government suspected of having ties to al-Qaida. Australia’s attorney general, Robert McClelland, condemned WikiLeaks, saying “The publication of any information that could compromise Australia’s national security, or inhibit the ability of intelligence agencies to monitor potential threats, is incredibly irresponsible.”
    Diplomats as lobbyists: After Oracle’s announced acquisition of Sun Microsystems in 2009, several federal officials and agencies, “including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the U.S. Departments of Treasury, Justice, and Commerce, and the Federal Trade Commission,” pressured the European Union to allow the merger to go through.
    American settlers in Palestinian territory: Cables from Israel lent new insight into the motivations of Americans who uproot their families to live (illegally) in the West Bank. As Salon’s Justin Elliott pointed out last week, consular officers stationed at the U.S. embassy in Tel Aviv found that ” U.S. citizens’ reasons for moving to Jewish settlements in the area where Palestinians hope to establish a state were three-fold: social, economic, and ideological.”
    Sex traffickers in Sweden: A 2006 cable recounts the story of 120 Chinese children, between the ages of 10 and 18, who arrived in Sweden seeking political asylum — and, over the course of 18 months, disappeared. The cables, from the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm, suggest that disappearances were managed by “organized traffickers residing in other European countries.”

    WikiLeaks is also crowd-sourcing the redaction issue, by polling its Twitter followers on whether they favor releasing the remaining cables from its cache without any redaction. Respondent have “favored disclosure at a ratio of of 100 to one,” according to the Guardian.

    The unexpected info dump was apparently triggered after WikiLeaks discovered that an encrypted file has been floating around the Internet for months containing the entire database of U.S. diplomatic cables. The password necessary to unlock the files was apparently the same one mentioned by the Guardian in a book published about WikiLeaks in February. (The Guardian has a more complete explanation of the snafu here.) (end excerpt)

  114. No way,
    You are confusing my son with someone else. My son returned safely from his recent tour in Afghanistan. My Father was killed in the service during the Korean Conflict so maybe that was what you were confused about. You are once again incorrect that I insulted the military when I corrected your inaccurate statement. I never stated that you had to prove your claim. You may want to re-read my statements. That is if you are really interested in the truth.

  115. My family has a thousand year history of service that we know of. Two of my g^n-grandfathers fought at Kings Mountain and Yorktown. One died in the Peach Orchard at Shiloh and another at Pea Ridge in Arkansas. My paternal great-grandfather rode with Teddy Roosevelt in the firefight when TR earned the Medal of Honor. My sons served and one sleeps forever in the National Cemetery. The lament, “Flowers of the Forest” was written by a family member five hundred years ago for the ten thousand Scots who died at the bloody battle at Flodden Field. It was piped for my son and one day will be piped for me.

    Having said that, it is the ultimate naivete to believe that bad shit does not happen in wars. Like any other large group of people, the military has its share of both heroes and villains. There are always going to be troops on both sides who are sadistic psychopaths that create problems for their units and their country. Oftentimes, the military, like some law enforcement agencies, have a culture that almost instinctively protects their own when they have a rogue member. This is not right, but it is human nature and it happens.

    Regarding the WikiLeaks cable, I have no specific reason to believe or disbelieve whether that incident really happened because I do not have all the background information. Do such incidents actually happen? Yes they do. But as for that particular one, it is reported as a genuine cable and if true, I am both angry and sad. If it is false, I hope the truth eventually comes out. While I am a skeptic, I fear the report is true. But I hope not.

  116. OS,
    You should be very proud of your family. We are actually going to honor my Father with a full military honors ceremony and headstone at Arlington in the Spring. When I learned of this honor from the folks at Dover, I almost broke down on the phone. It is 60 years late, but it will help settle some of my longstanding demons.
    Your son lives on in your heart and he was blessed to have you and your wife as parents.

  117. rafflaw,

    “60 years late”, but what a lovely gesture for your father…


    Rafflaw said it best… I can only imagine how much you must miss your son and grandson.

  118. Raff, we had a ceremony at the National Cemetery here for my ggg-grandfather, who was one I referenced in the comment above. He joined at the age of 13 as a fife player. At fifteen he was conscripted as a private in the militia. Five or six weeks after his sixteenth birthday, he was fighting Major Patrick Ferguson’s loyalists at the Battle of Kings Mountain. Later he was at Cowan’s Ford, Beattie’s Creek and Cowpens. Then on to Yorktown to reinforce Washington there only a few days past his seventeenth birthday. He returned home to farm after the war, living to the age of 66. His son, my gg-grandfather volunteered for the war of 1812 and fought with Andrew Jackson at the Battle of New Orleans. His son, my great grandfather was a sergeant in the Confederate Army. That was on my mother’s side. On my father;s side my paternal great grandfather fought at San Juan Hill with TR.

    When we had the memorial service for him, he was honored with a memorial stone and full military honors. We had a piper who played several appropriate tunes, but the most appropriate was “The Minstrel Boy.” The old guy really was a minstrel boy when he went to war as a 13 year old fife player.

    I have two Presidential Memorial Certificates signed by President Obama, one for my son and one for my ggg-grandfather.

    THE MINSTREL BOY by Thomas Moore

    The Minstrel Boy to the war is gone
    In the ranks of death you will find him;
    His father’s sword he hath girded on,
    And his wild harp slung behind him;”
    Land of Song!” said the warrior bard,
    “Tho’ all the world betrays thee,
    One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
    One faithful harp shall praise thee!”

    The Minstrel fell! But the foeman’s chain
    Could not bring that proud soul under;
    The harp he lov’d ne’er spoke again,
    For he tore its chords asunder;
    And said “No chains shall sully thee,
    Thou soul of love and brav’ry!
    Thy songs were made for the pure and free,
    They shall never sound in slavery!”

  119. anon nurse sez: “Rafflaw said it best… I can only imagine how much you must miss your son and grandson.”


    Yes, we do. Seems that part of the family will suffer even more. My grandson’s mother, our 42 year old daughter, has been ill for several years. Yesterday, her attending doctor consulted Hospice for her. I fear it is only a matter of time before she joins her beloved Reed.

  120. OS,

    I am most troubled to hear about your daughter. Should you need a friendly ear or just a mindless distraction, you know my door is always open.

  121. Raff, if I can get away, I would be honored to come to the memorial service at Arlington next spring. Keep us posted and I will try to make it. It is a six hour drive from here, so that is not too bad.

  122. Thanks Gene. I probably will give you a call sometime in the next few days. I wish I could get away and just visit some people for relaxation and distractions. You would be right up there at the top of my list of folks to visit.


    Friday, Sep 2, 2011 07:03 ET

    Facts and myths in the WikiLeaks/Guardian saga
    by Glenn Greenwald

    From the article:

    “That said, there’s little doubt that release of all these documents in unredacted form poses real risk to some of the individuals identified in them, and that is truly lamentable. But it is just as true that WikiLeaks easily remains an important force for good. The acts of deliberate evil committed by the world’s most powerful factions which it has exposed vastly outweigh the mistakes which this still-young and pioneering organization has made. And the harm caused by corrupt, excessive secrecy easily outweighs the harm caused by unauthorized, inadvisable leaks.”

  124. No wonder it’s the criminals who caused this mess who are the one’s in charge of fixing it. I can’t breath with all these elephants in the room.

  125. We might as well say farewell to pictures like those of Paris crowds cheering U.S. soldiers after we pushed the Germans out. America had a good reputation around the world for compassionate treatment of political and military prisoners.

    This brings up a question: Why didn’t the Bush Administration come to the realization they could use kindness and freedom and justice as propaganda tools on individuals captured during the bloody wars?

    That said, I think the Republican Party, contrary to being the answer to moral decline, is actually a symptom of it.

  126. One correction to the above. Ford did not pardon Nixon, it was Nelson Rockefeller (the guy Nixon APPOINTED President). That in itself was illegal, according to the laws and constitution of the USA if the President is unable to fulfill his/her duties the Vice President is next, if he/she isn’t able the speaker of the House is next in line…but the Speaker was a Democrat, and the Cons didn’t want a Liberal as President so the law was ignored and Nixon made Rockefeller President (the only President to hold office that was not an elected official, then Rockefeller pardoned Nixon and ran as Fords’ VP. Looking in the list of names of Presidents I see Rockefeller isn’t even listed as President, but it does have a footnote “Nominated by R M Nixon whom he later succeeded as President)…that part of history seems to have been deleted from the public eye, and those in power probably hope everyone has forgotten about that little detail.)

  127. Nye,

    I do in fact think you are correct…that Rockefeller was VP but was Fords Veep…Not Nixon’s….So what you say makes logical sense if you are misconstruing facts….Must be a Bush Rep…..or Cheney Democrat….Facts never matter in the story….


    “A British court Monday gave WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange permission to continue his legal battle to avoid extradition to Sweden over sex crimes allegations.

    The decision means Assange does not face immediate deportation to Sweden. The court said he can apply to Britain’s Supreme Court in a bid to remain in the United Kingdom. (See a TIME video with Assange on history’s top leaks.)”

  129. AN,

    I did hear that on a segment of NPR….I seem to recall yesterday….That although he has the right to appeal….it is unlikely that he will be successful in the appeal….I see it as buying time….who knows how far this witch hunt started by Cheney will end…

  130. AY,

    Thanks for your insights, as always… And with regard to Cheney… the war criminal… Don’t get me started. ;-)

  131. I’m as liberal as one can get and I’m pissed off. And I know for a fact that if a Republican were in office, they would be throwing Americans in jail for even daring to prosecute the well-documented and well-known Bush admin war crimes.

    So, don’t anyone tell us that Obama is trash and a Rethuglican would do any different except to throw away the key after they disappeared any American who dared to question their authority.

  132. OS,

    That is why I said what I said…I think that being said….is enough reason for a real anarchy here in the states and abroad….The Stop Internet Piracy Act that is currently being debated in congress scare the dickens out of me…Although it deals with supposed protections of software….it could very easily be used by the government….just as the tool to restrict the internet…Just call me skeptical of our governments ability to misinterpret the existing laws and ignoring the Constitution….

    Just like a story I heard about how a Federal Judge was giving a Prosecutor for the SEC a difficult time for bringing inconsistent claims against a Brokerage Firm being criminally charged…..This is the first time in a long time I have heard of a Federal prosecutor not being able to do it….Now I understand that one or the other has to be selected before it hits Jury Deliberations….Oh well….put a drug dealer in the same court and I bet the call would be different….

    BTW thanks….

  133. AY, quid pro quo is not new. If you recall, none of the charges against German or Japanese war criminals involved bombing civilian targets. Not one charge about the bombing of London. None.

    Seems the Allies would have had a problem with General Curtis LeMay and Air Marshal Sir Arthur “Bomber” Harris had they done so.

    Nothing to see here. Move along.

  134. OS,

    I do not know if you have ever read the Ultra Secret by F. W. Winterbotham….If you haven’t and have some spare time….its as good as you can get about counter-intelligence being built up in bloody ole England by good old hand to hand espionage and double crossing..the olde fashion way ….before the age of the internet….

    (Fake “UK-English Accent” super imposed….)

  135. “How many of you who posted here are likely to vote in any case? Not too many is my guess. So, you are just wasting your time here.”

    Yeah, people who frequent a blog about law and politics and society are certainly less likely to vote than some presumptuous half-wit prone to irrational and hasty generalizations about a forum which – by its very nature – the people participating in it are more likely to be voters than not.

    That’s what you get for guessing instead of thinking before you speak.

  136. How anyone with rational discernment could have thought Obama keep his word is beyond me. His whole past was one of slippery Chicago maneuverings and political Machiavellian schemes.

    What a silly country to be blindsided by this “wonderful orator”: then shocked he’s the very same sociopathic slime as nearly every other president in history.. I put it down to the monopoly government school system, filling the heads of children with presidential heroism that is almost always wrong, mostly bullshit, and clearly brainwashing.

    Our system guarantees the one seeking office will likely be morally and ethically bankrupt, especially if they have a meteoric rise to the top. Democracy is the God that Failed, and yes, that is a book.

    Obama is a nicely tanned Bush Jr. His entourage of sycophantic court followers are just as evil and manipulative, and in many cases the same people that surrounded Bush. Many were resurrected from earlier dynastic regimes as advisers and confidants, like moths drawn to the flame.

    The shock that this slimeball politician is indeed a slimeball is truly an amusing wonder to behold, especially since he is worshiped by the so called “intellectual” class, who strangely love mass murderers as long as they murder for THEIR ideology, which explains the utter silence as Obama continues to strafe and rocket civilians, and now even his own citizens the world over.

  137. […] Furthermore, thanks to Wikileaks, we have solid evidence that he went out of his way to see that those men were not punished. Jonathan Turley writes: A “confidential” April 17, 2009, cable sent from the US embassy in Madrid to the State Department discloses how the Administration discarded any respect for the independence of the judiciary in Spain and pressured the government to derail the prosecution of Bush officials….Just as many conservatives abandoned their principles in following George Bush blindly, many liberals have chosen to ignore Obama’s concerted efforts to protect individuals accused of war crimes. Under our treaty obligations, the United States has the primary responsibility to prosecute torture by U.S. citizens. That responsibility rests with the Executive Branch — the prosecuting authority of the United States. […]

  138. Wonderful items from you, man. I’ve take note your stuff prior to and you’re simply too excellent. I really like what you’ve got right here, really like what you’re saying and the way wherein you say it. You are making it enjoyable and you continue to care for to stay it sensible. I can’t wait to learn much more from you. That is actually a tremendous site.

  139. […] I could go on for hours detaling the evidence and stories that show that this is bullshit from the Afghan Kill Team, to the bombing of wedding parties to the Haditha Massacre. But just consider this:    (1) Wikileaks revealed that civilian casualties in Afghanistan have been consciously  covered up and lied about by  those in  highest levels of the U.S. government. (2) Iraq and Afghanistan war era veterans have come forward to testify that these atrocities are daily occurences and are inherent to the overall charcter and protocol of the U.S military. (3) These types of atrocites were ORDERED from the Bush Administration and the Obama administration went to great lengths to make sure those war criminals were protected from any kind of prosecution. […]

  140. Friday, March 1, 2013

    WikiLeaks Whistleblower Bradley Manning Says He Wanted to Show the Public the “True Costs of War” (with video)

    For the first time, 25-year-old U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning has admitted to being the source behind the largest leak of state secrets in U.S. history. More than a thousand days after he was arrested, Manning testified Thursday before a military court. He said he leaked the classified documents to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks in order to show the American public the “true costs of war.” Reading for more than an hour from a 35-page statement, Manning said: “I believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information … this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general.” At the pretrial hearing at Fort Meade military base in Maryland, Manning pleaded guilty to reduced charges on 10 counts, which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. But even if the judge accepts the plea, prosecutors can still pursue a court-martial on the remaining 12 charges. The most serious of those is “aiding the enemy” and carries a possible life sentence. We are joined by Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a lawyer to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. He just returned from attending Manning’s hearing.


    Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a lawyer to Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. He returned last night from attending the pretrial hearing for Bradley Manning.


    AMY GOODMAN: For the first time, 25-year-old U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning has admitted to being the source behind the largest leak of state secrets in U.S. history. More than a thousand days after he was arrested, Manning testified Thursday before a military court. He said he leaked the classified documents to the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks in order to show the American public the “true costs of war.”

    Reading for over an hour from a 35-page statement, Manning said, quote, “I believed that if the general public, especially the American public, had access to the information … this could spark a domestic debate on the role of the military and our foreign policy in general.” He added, quote, “I believed that these cables would not damage the United States. However, I believed these cables would be embarrassing.” He said he took the information to WikiLeaks only after he was rebuffed by The Washington Post and The New York Times.

    At the pretrial hearing at Fort Meade military base in Maryland, Manning pleaded guilty to reduced charges on 10 counts, which carry a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. But even if the judge accepts the plea, prosecutors can still pursue a court-martial on the remaining 12 charges. The most serious of those is aiding the enemy and carries a possible life sentence.

    Over the course of the hearing, Bradley Manning took responsibility for leaking the so-called “Collateral Murder” video of an Apache helicopter attack in Iraq; some U.S. diplomatic cables, including one of the early WikiLeaks publications, the Reykjavik cable; portions of the Iraq and Afghanistan war logs; some of the files on detainees in Guantánamo; and two intelligence memos.

    For more, we’re joined by Michael Ratner, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, lawyer for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. He has just returned from attending that pretrial hearing last night for Bradley Manning.

    Michael Ratner, welcome back to Democracy Now! Well, this is explosive. Bradley Manning stands in court and accepts responsibility for releasing the documents, says he is guilty of doing that.

    MICHAEL RATNER: It was one of the more moving days I’ve ever spent in a courtroom. You’ve heard from Bradley Manning once before, which was when he testified about the torture that happened to him. I was crying through that. This was amazing. I mean, he actually didn’t stand; he sat at the defense table. And he read his 35-page statement, which, sadly, we do not have a copy of, even though there’s nothing classified about that statement. And hopefully we’ll get it, because that is something that should be taught in every school in America.

    He went through each of the releases that he took responsibility for, that you mentioned on the air, and he told us why he did it. And in each case, you saw a 22-year-old, a 23-year-old, a person of incredible conscience, saying, “What I’m seeing the United States do is utterly wrong. It’s immoral. The way they’re killing people in Iraq, targeting people for death, rather than working with the population, this is wrong.” And in each of these—each of these statements tells you about how he was doing it politically.

    AMY GOODMAN: Remind us of how he did this. He was actually serving in Iraq as a soldier.

    MICHAEL RATNER: Yes, he was a soldier. He was in—and he goes through that in his statement. He’s an intelligence analyst. And one of the things he worked with, what were called “significant activities reports,” which are the daily logs of what’s happening in Iraq and, attached to it, of course, in Afghanistan. And as he read those, I think he became appalled by what he saw: the killings, the targeted assassinations, the fact that people didn’t want the United States there, the fact that we weren’t really helping the country or helping individuals. And he said he wanted to lift the fog of war from it. And he got in touch with various organizations, including WikiLeaks. And that, he talks about. He talks about that. And—

    AMY GOODMAN: Explain. He actually said he didn’t go to WikiLeaks first.

    MICHAEL RATNER: No, that’s correct. He first—he had these documents on a disk that he eventually took out of—took out of the special secure room. He actually came to the United States with it. That’s the Iraq war logs and the Afghan war logs. And he tried to get it to The New York Times and The Washington Post. He calls up The Washington Post, has a five-minute discussion with somebody there.

    AMY GOODMAN: Does he know who?

    MICHAEL RATNER: He doesn’t recall who, or at least didn’t say it. He doesn’t take it—he said they don’t take him seriously, and then he feels he can’t get that. He calls the public editor at The New York Times and leaves a message on the answering machine of the public editor and doesn’t get a call back. He’s then thinking about: “How am I going to get this critical information out? Because I think what the U.S. is doing should be debated in the United States. We’re killing people without cause, essentially.”

    And then, he has already known about WikiLeaks, because he was aware of WikiLeaks in part because of their release of the text messages or the SMSes from the World Trade Center phones that were there on 9/11. So he’s aware of WikiLeaks. He’s in some communication, by chat or otherwise, with WikiLeaks. And they point him to a site where he can upload, upload the documents.

    One interesting point on that is what he mentions about WikiLeaks. Some papers have reported that he said he believes he was in communication with Julian Assange. He actually says it could have been Julian Assange, it could have been someone he calls “Daniel Schmitt,” which is probably Daniel Domscheit-Berg from Germany. And he says—and it also says it could have been someone high up in WikiLeaks. He really doesn’t know. And he says, “Whatever I did in this case, I did because I wanted to do it. I was not pressured to do it. I made the decision to do it.” So he tries these other media, and ultimately he sees that WikiLeaks has a way of uploading documents that’s anonymous, that he doesn’t know who’s on the other end, and they don’t know who’s on his end.

    AMY GOODMAN: He also said he was motivated by the Reuters FOIAs, right? Freedom of the Information Act requests to get the—what came to be known as the “Collateral Murder” video.

    MICHAEL RATNER: I mean, when we can get the transcript and put out the quotes of what he said, on that “Collateral Murder” video, which he saw the Reuters journalists killed, then he saw them attack the van that was trying to rescue people, in which children were injured, and he said, “What I heard them say in that helicopter as they were shooting was incredible bloodlust.” “Bloodlust,” that’s what he said.

    AMY GOODMAN: During that pretrial hearing on Wednesday, let’s talk about this, Michael. Bradley Manning spoke about the “Collateral Murder” video of an Apache helicopter attack in Iraq and admitted for the first time being the source of the leaked tape. Manning said, quote, “The most alarming aspect of the video to me was the seemingly delightful bloodlust the aerial weapons team happened to have.” He added, the soldiers’ actions, quote, “seemed similar to a child torturing ants with a magnifying glass,” describing the video as “war porn,” saying the crew’s “lack of concern for human life” and “concern for injured children at the scene” greatly bothered him. So, this is the video—it was shot July 12th, 2007—that Manning referenced. It shows U.S. forces killing 12 people, including two Reuters employees. Now, this video is taken by the U.S. military Apache helicopter. It is the camera that’s mounted within the helicopter. You hear the soldiers in the helicopter joking, cursing. And it is showing a target on the men who are walking in an area of Baghdad known as New Baghdad below. Among them, an up-and-coming Reuters videographer named Namir Noor-Eldeen and his driver, Saeed Chmagh.

    U.S. SOLDIER 1: I have individuals with weapons.

    U.S. SOLDIER 2: You’re clear.

    U.S. SOLDIER 1: Alright, firing.

    U.S. SOLDIER 3: Let me know when you’ve got them.

    U.S. SOLDIER 2: Let’s shoot. Light ’em all up.

    U.S. SOLDIER 1: Come on, fire!

    U.S. SOLDIER 2: Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’. Keep shootin’.

    U.S. SOLDIER 4: Hotel, Bushmaster two-six, Bushmaster two-six, we need to move, time now!

    U.S. SOLDIER 2: Alright, we just engaged all eight individuals.

    AMY GOODMAN: Reuters driver Saeed Chmagh survived that initial attack. He’s seen trying to crawl away as the helicopter flies overhead. U.S. forces open fire again when they see a van pulling up. The van comes to evacuate the wounded, like Saeed Chmagh.

    U.S. SOLDIER 2: The bodies.

    U.S. SOLDIER 1: Where’s that van at?

    U.S. SOLDIER 2: Right down there by the bodies.

    U.S. SOLDIER 1: OK, yeah.

    U.S. SOLDIER 2: Bushmaster, Crazy Horse. We have individuals going to the scene, looks like possibly picking up bodies and weapons.

    U.S. SOLDIER 1: Let me engage. Can I shoot?

    U.S. SOLDIER 2: Roger. Break. Crazy Horse one-eight, request permission to engage.

    U.S. SOLDIER 3: Picking up the wounded?

    U.S. SOLDIER 1: Yeah, we’re trying to get permission to engage. Come on, let us shoot!

    U.S. SOLDIER 2: Bushmaster, Crazy Horse one-eight.

    U.S. SOLDIER 1: They’re taking him.

    U.S. SOLDIER 2: Bushmaster, Crazy Horse one-eight.

    U.S. SOLDIER 4: This is Bushmaster seven, go ahead.

    U.S. SOLDIER 2: Roger. We have a black SUV—or Bongo truck picking up the bodies. Request permission to engage.

    U.S. SOLDIER 4: Bushmaster seven, roger. This is Bushmaster seven, roger. Engage.

    U.S. SOLDIER 2: One-eight, engage. Clear.

    U.S. SOLDIER 1: Come on!

    U.S. SOLDIER 2: Clear. Clear.

    U.S. SOLDIER 1: We’re engaging.

    U.S. SOLDIER 2: Coming around. Clear.

    U.S. SOLDIER 1: Roger. Trying to—

    U.S. SOLDIER 2: Clear.

    U.S. SOLDIER 1: I hear ’em—I lost ’em in the dust.

    U.S. SOLDIER 3: I got ’em.

    U.S. SOLDIER 2: Should have a van in the middle of the road with about 12 to 15 bodies.

    U.S. SOLDIER 1: Oh yeah, look at that. Right through the windshield! Ha ha!

    AMY GOODMAN: That is the video that WikiLeaks, when releasing it, dubbed “Collateral Murder,” of the July 12, 2007, attack. In that van, by the way, were two children who were critically wounded. Saeed Chmagh was killed. That is the video that we played first when it was released and also interviewed Julian Assange at the time here in the United States, interestingly. Michael Ratner with us, who is Julian Assange’s attorney. So this video Bradley Manning got in downloading, because it’s a U.S. military video, that Reuters, which had asked repeatedly for it, never got until WikiLeaks released it, to know the last seconds of their employees’ lives.

    MICHAEL RATNER: Not only did Reuters never get it, Amy, CENTCOM, which is I guess the central part of the Army, basically said, “We don’t think we have the video.” And yet, everybody that was in the room with Bradley Manning, everybody knew about the video. It was one of many, many videos. He says in this video—and he said it in court—he said, “What was amazing is, when they—after they hurt these children in the van,” he said, “they showed no remorse for the children. And when they saw someone crawling on the ground, they said, ‘I hope he picks up a gun,’ essentially, ‘because we can kill him then.'” So, these people—this was really here a 22- or 23-year-old man watching this. Most people would have said, “Well, I’ll just get through the Army, and that’ll be it.” He didn’t, and he’s a hero for that, because what he did is he acted on his moral conscience, and he exposed what the—the war crimes the U.S. was doing.

    AMY GOODMAN: So, what does this mean right now? Bradley Manning has pleaded guilty to uploading the largest trove of state secrets in U.S. history to WikiLeaks, which then released them. What does he face exactly?

    MICHAEL RATNER: Well, he faces a possible 20 years in prison. But the problem here, military is different than our regular courts in the U.S., which is to say that the plea does not have to be accepted by the government or by the judge—

    AMY GOODMAN: So why would he have agreed to plead guilty?

    MICHAEL RATNER: —or by the prosecutor, really. He did what’s called a “naked plea.” His hope, I think, is that when the government sees this and also the support he’ll get for acknowledging what he did and also the reasons and the moral reasons why he did it and the political reasons he did it, that the government won’t go on and try and prove aiding the enemy and the more serious espionage charges. What he really pleaded to was doing actions that were prejudicial to the good order and discipline of the military, by giving documents to someone not authorized or a group not authorized to get them. So he faces 20 years. I think he did it because he was otherwise facing, and he still could be facing, life imprisonment, if not the death penalty. So they’re trying to figure out—

    AMY GOODMAN: Because? Life imprisonment for?

    MICHAEL RATNER: For espionage, as well as the death penalty.

    AMY GOODMAN: Well, what about this charge, aiding the enemy?

    MICHAEL RATNER: Well, that’s the—

    AMY GOODMAN: What is the case for it?

    MICHAEL RATNER: Well, that’s the craziest. I mean, that’s just saying, because he gave documents to WikiLeaks and they were published by WikiLeaks — and they were published by The New York Times, I should say, and The Guardian and Der Spiegel — that al-Qaeda read those documents, and therefore WikiLeaks was essentially the transmittal means he used to get documents to al-Qaeda. So that the enemy there is al-Qaeda; some would say the enemy is even WikiLeaks, according to the U.S. government. But that’s the claim. It seems like a completely spurious, ridiculous claim. You can go after The New York Times for that every time it publishes and someone from a, quote, “terrorist” group reads those documents. So it’s a nonsensical claim.

    But he was facing life. And he made this statement that—you know, I just want to say that whatever people’s images were of Bradley Manning from the newspapers, which have reported on this, you know, disturbed human being, this disturbed individual, this man gave a political statement that should be read, I think, by every American and should certainly be taught in every one of our schools on what the moral obligations are of people in the military to stop, really, a killing machine of the United States.

    AMY GOODMAN: And what does this mean for Julian Assange? You’re his attorney. You were just recently there once again in London in the Ecuadorean embassy, where he is holed up and granted political asylum by Ecuador but can’t leave the embassy or Britain, the British authorities, will arrest him. The significance of this, Julian Assange, who believes the grand jury empaneled here could indict him for espionage and is afraid of being extradited here?

    MICHAEL RATNER: Well, there are two things that came out. One is, I would say that Bradley Manning’s testimony put WikiLeaks and Julian Assange in the same place that The New York Times would be or The Guardian, which is to say he gave documents or uploaded them to a website that is the equivalent of—you know, with The New York Times getting information about warrantless wiretapping from someone in the U.S. National Security Agency. So I think, in that sense, it tells us that the U.S. should get off his back, that Julian Assange should be getting the support of The New York Times and The Guardian and Der Spiegel, which used all of these—which used all of these documents. So I think it’s actually, in that sense, helpful to Julian Assange.

    On the other hand, there were two people who were identified to me as members—as lawyers on the grand jury that’s sitting in—that’s sitting in Virginia. Two of the prosecuting attorneys were there in the court.

    AMY GOODMAN: Yesterday, at the pretrial hearing of Bradley Manning.

    MICHAEL RATNER: Yes, yes, yes.

    AMY GOODMAN: So they’re there, and you’re there, Assange’s attorney.

    MICHAEL RATNER: They’re there, and I’m there. I didn’t have a chance to meet them, because they don’t come out and mix with the rest of us. They’re on the government’s side with—surrounded by camouflaged people. But they were there. And so, that tells us that that grand jury is still active and going on, and that they are still after Julian Assange and WikiLeaks. When I say “they,” the U.S. government. But for some reason, they’re thinking they can distinguish that from The New York Times and The Guardian. I don’t think they can. And I think it’s—you know, to me, it’s outrageous that The New York Times and The Guardian have not supported one of the people they worked with in revealing these documents.

    AMY GOODMAN: Well, Michael Ratner, I want to thank you for being with us, president emeritus of the Center for Constitutional Rights, lawyer for Julian Assange and WikiLeaks, returned last night from attending the pretrial hearing for Bradley Manning, who has been in detention now for more than 1,000 days.

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