Activists intent on releasing evidence of crimes committed by a powerful government are harassed and followed by police and intelligence agents: a restaurant in which they are meeting comes under surveillance, and, subsequently, one of their number is detained by the police for 21 hours. Their leader is followed on an international flight by two agents: and, in a parking lot of foreign soil, one of their number is accosted by a "James Bond character" and threatened. Computers are seized, and on the group’s Twitter account the following message appears:
Well, then, who is responsible? Surely it must be some totalitarian regime – say, the Chinese, or one of the Arab autocracies – but no. The culprits are the Americans, and their target is Wikileaks – the web site of record for leaked government and other official documents, which has so far done more real investigative reporting in the last few years to unnerve and expose the Powers That Be than the New York Times and the Washington Post, combined.
From the dicey activities of major banks, to the "Climate-gate" e-mails that revealed attempts by government scientists to falsify or "sex up" data to make the case for global warming, to the war crimes committed by US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, Wikileaks is fearlessly exposing the evil that stalks the world – and they, in turn, are being relentlessly stalked by the US government and its minions.
A US government document [.pdf] posted on Wikileaks, and authored by Michael D. Horvath, of something called the "Cyber Counterintelligence Assessments Branch," apparently a division of the Army Counterintelligence Center, declared Wikileaks to be a danger to national security. The report explored several ways to track the provenance of documents posted on the Wikileaks site, and take down the site itself. Horvath cites a supposed lack of "editorial review" which means "the Wikileaks.org Web site could be used to post fabricated information; to post misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda; or to conduct perception management and influence operations designed to convey a negative message to those who view or retrieve information from the Web site."
Furthermore, "it must be presumed that Wikileaks.org has or will receive sensitive or classified DoD documents in the future. This information will be published and analyzed over time by a variety of personnel and organizations with the goal of influencing US policy."
Shocking! Why, how dare these perfidious personnel and obviously subversive organizations presume to imagine they could possibly influence US policy! Horvath lists a number of "foreign" intelligence agencies – the Russians, the British, the Israelis – who have the technical capacity to shut Wikileaks down, and alludes to a more subtle effort by averring:
"Efforts by some domestic and foreign personnel and organizations to discredit the Wikileaks.org Web site include allegations that it wittingly allows the posting of uncorroborated information, serves as an instrument of propaganda, and is a front organization of the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA)."
Horvath goes on to detail all the criticism of Wikileaks that have appeared in the general media, including the blogosphere, and now that the "Collateral Murder" video has been released – with another one, showing similar atrocities in Afghanistan, on the way – the techniques described by Horvath are being implemented by the Obama administration’s media shills to discredit and marginalize Wikileaks, particularly targeting its founder, Julian Assange.
First up is Mother Jones magazine, a citadel of Bay Area high liberalism and the left-wing of the Obama cult, with a long article by one David Kushner. The piece is essentially a critical profile of Assange, who is described as an egotist in the first few paragraphs, and it goes downhill from there. Most of the article is a collection of dishy quotes from various "experts" – including from the apparently quite jealous (and obviously demented) editor of Cryptome.org, a similar site, who says Wikileaks is CIA front. Steven Aftergood, author of the Federation of American Scientists’ Secrecy News blog, "says he wasn’t impressed with WikiLeaks’ ‘conveyor-belt approach’ to publishing anything it came across. ‘To me, transparency is a means to an end, and that end is an invigorated political life, accountable institutions, opportunities for public engagement. For them, transparency and exposure seem to be ends in themselves,’ says Aftergood. He declined to get involved."
To begin with, quite obviously Assange and the Wikileaks group have a political goal in, say, publishing the Iraq massacre video – which is to stop the war, end the atrocities, and expose the war crimes of this government to the light of day. Surely the video, and the ones to come, will continue to "invigorate" our political life – perhaps a bit more than the Aftergoods of this world would like.
Kushner contacted a few members of the Wikileaks advisory board who claim they never agreed to serve – and gets one of them, computer expert Ben Laurie, to call Assange "weird." Kushner adds his own description: "paranoid: and yet Laurie’s own paranoia comes through loud and clear when he avers:
"WikiLeaks allegedly has an advisory board, and allegedly I’m a member of it. I don’t know who runs it. One of the things I’ve tried to avoid is knowing what’s going on there, because that’s probably safest for all concerned.”
This is really the goal of harassing and pursuing government critics: pure intimidation. With US government agents stalking Assange as he flies to a conference in Norway, and one attempted physical attack in Nairobi, Assange is hated by governments and their shills worldwide. And Mother Jones certainly is a shill for the Obama administration, a virtual house organ of the Obama cult designed specifically for Bay Area limousine liberals who’ll gladly turn a blind eye to their idol’s war crimes – and cheer on the Feds as they track Assange’s every move and plot to take him down.
Kushner asks "Can WikiLeaks be trusted with sensitive, and possibly life-threatening, documents when it is less than transparent itself?" Oh, what a good question: why shouldn’t Wikileaks make itself "transparent" to the US government, and all the other governments whose oxen have been viciously gored by documents posted on the site? Stop drinking the bong water, Kushner, and get a clue.
Kushner quotes one Kelly McBride, "the ethics group leader" at the Poynter Institute for Media Studies, as saying Wikileaks suffers from "a distorted sense of transparency.” This Orwellian turn of phrase is an indicator of how the mind of a government shill works. Says McBride: “They’re giving you everything they’ve got, but when journalists go through process of granting someone confidentiality, when they do it well, they determine that source has good information and that the source is somehow deserving of confidentiality.”
I want to ask this "ethics group leader" if someone who works for the US government and has evidence of war crimes committed by that government, "is somehow deserving of confidentiality?" Yes or no? If no, then you had better reexamine the "ethics" upheld by you and the Poynter Institute. By the way, nothing about McBride’s views are at all surprising, given that the Poynter Institute is promoting the idea of government subsidies to the American media. If McBride & Co. aren’t already on the government payroll, then they should be. Same goes for the ubiquitous Lucy Dalglish, executive director of the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, who "thinks WikiLeaks’ approach gives fresh ammunition to those who seek to pressure journalists to cough up the names of their unnamed sources. She forbids her staff from using the site as a source."
Ms. Dalglish has her head screwed on backwards: that’s the only possible explanation for an organization ostensibly devoted to press freedom joining the government’s pushback against Wikileaks. She should resign – or be impeached – forthwith. Far from pressuring journalists, Wikileaks is an essential asset to the profession: it provides them not only with more sources, but also with a convenient fallback: "I got it from Wikileaks." This decreases pressure on journalists pressed to identify their sources: they can always blame it on Assange and his fellow Scarlet Pimpernels of the Internet.
A child could understand this, but it’s way beyond the executive director of the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press, and also far beyond the comprehension of the "liberal" Mother Jones magazine, which ought to change its name to Encounter. Kushner "reports" this nonsense uncritically, and even cites the loony John Young, of Cryptome.org, who rants:
"’WikiLeaks is a fraud,’ [Young] wrote to Assange’s list, hinting that the new site was a CIA data mining operation. ‘Fuck your cute hustle and disinformation campaign against legitimate dissent. Same old shit, working for the enemy.’"
Kushner has all bases covered: the white-wine-and-brie liberals who would rather look the other way while their hero Obama slaughters children on the streets of Baghdad, and the tinfoil hat crowd who can be convinced Wikileaks is a "false flag" operation.
The positive impact of Wikileaks is "debatable," avers Kushner – especially if you’re an Obamaite intent on covering up the fact of US war crimes, because of the political damage it might inflict on your "progressive" coalition. As evidence of this "debatability," Kushner tries to blame the assassination of two Kenyan dissidents on the publication of documents on Wikileaks exposing Kenyan corruption – which seems a blatant case of diverting the real blame from where it really belongs, and that is on the Kenyan government and its death squads. No, it just won’t wash – and this is certainly a curious argument for an ostensibly liberal magazine, supposedly devoted to human rights, to make. But then again, anything is possible if you’ve decided to become a government apologist and errand boy.
Speaking of government apologists and errand boys, Steven Colbert of The Colbert Report on Comedy Central had Assange on Monday night, and it was the Mother Jones piece with a snarky grin and a laugh track. Colbert dropped the comic mask, and let his true face as a loyal Obamaite shine through, reciting Pentagon lies and attacking Assange for having edited "Collateral Murder," and even for giving it that title. He then opined Assange was "emotionally manipulating" people – an echo of Horvath’s analysis, which denounced Wikileaks as "disinformation" and "propaganda." "Collateral Murder" was "an editorial," not real reporting, said Colbert, but looked a bit surprised when Assange calmly pointed out that the assertion of a nearby firefight is "a lie." "We have classified information" to the contrary, Assange said, with calm assurance. You could hear a pin drop when he said that the report of "some gunfire" preceded the killings by twenty minutes and miles away from the reported location.
What was supposed to have been a "gotcha" interview turned into a triumph for Wikileaks. Colbert, the court jester in King Obama’s court, missed his target by a country mile. This failed ambush, coupled with the Mother Jones hit piece, tell us all we need to know about what political discourse in Obamas America is going to be like. Obama’s political police are after Wikileaks, and specifically Assange, and the liberal smear brigade is going to go after him hammer and tongs. The Obamaites know that a great chunk of their liberal base opposes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and their Dear Leader could easily find himself in the same position as Lyndon Baines Johnson in 1968. No wonder there were two US State Department officials following Assange on that international flight: will Hillary Clinton, their boss, tell us what they were doing, and on what authority?
The spying on Wikileaks, and attempts by the US government to take down and/or discredit this valuable Internet resource, is taking place on Obama’s watch, and under the direction of his appointed officials. The entire apparatus of surveillance and repression developed under the Bush administration has been adopted by and expanded on by the Obamaites This is a regime that has now decided it’s okay to assassinate American citizens, but foreign-born terrorists plotting to kill Americans must be tried in a US court and given free lawyers.
While Assange is being tailed by Hillary’s gendarmes, and a brazen campaign of intimidation is being carried out by government agencies against a legal organization and web site, the "liberals" over at Mother Jones are doing their bit by trying to discredit Assange, and Wikileaks, in progressive circles. Judging from the comments attached to Kushner’s piece, it isn’t working all that well.
When are conservatives going to wake up and smell the coffee? Probably when Obama’s thugs come after them and their dinky little web sites, if ever they become a threat to the regime. This is blowback, guys: the very spying and surveillance you wanted as weapons in the "war on terrorism" are now being turned on critics of a liberal Democratic administration. They’re going after the web site that published the "Climate-gate" emails and youre next!
And when are liberals going to wake up and smell the fact that their Dear Leader has betrayed the Revolution, and is in many ways worse than his predecessor? At least you knew Bush was an authoritarian. Obama puts a "reasonable" and even "liberal" face on what is, essentially, the same doctrine of executive and governmental supremacism. What’s interesting is to listen to liberals now sounding like the once-hated neocons, smearing anyone who stands in their way and justifying an increasingly unpopular and costly war. The real Mother Jones must be spinning in her grave.