The past 17th of September the world assisted almost unknowingly to the first taste of the new global protest of our time. Initially this was the date marked as the beginning of the Occupy Wall St. movement (now a nationwide phenomenon), however it also served to launch an international campaign of protests in front of local banks and stock exchanges dubbed as 'Antibanks Day'. For the first time, the rising global civil movement, based on democratic assemblies and structured around an ever-growing network of activists, tested its capacity to rally people worldwide and not only in a national framework. They created task-forces for media strategies, both online and offline, set up independent live-streams and coordinated globally for spreading information. Consequently, the start of Occupy Wall Street was used as an excuse by activists everywhere to prepare for the worldwide protest on October 15th, which will be the consolidation of this structure, and will set the standard for it's future success or failure.
“We’re not dreamers. We’re awaking from a dream turning into a nightmare. We’re not destroying anything. We’re watching the system destroy itself.”
One year ago you were opening a bridge connecting the Roma district in Tsarevo with the rest of the Black Sea town.
You were standing among the audience next to the town’s Mayor, Petko Arnaudov, and Regional Governor, Konstantin Grebenarov. Both are former members of a party, declared criminal by current Bulgarian legislation – the Bulgarian Communist Party, and are agents of the macabre Communist State Security, DS.
I stood behind you with a large portrait of Lenin. The following message was written on its back: “Уберите посла, верните Вождя. Агент ДС “Гоце” и Агент ДС “Иванов” град Мичурин” (In Russian, meaning “Take away the Ambassador, bring back the Leader. DS Agent Gotse (which is the alias of current Bulgarian President, Georgi Parvanov, as Communist State Security Agent) and DS Agent, Ivanov (which is the alias of the Mayor Petko Arnaudov), town of Michurin).
I was hoping that you, personally, and the attending media would notice the board and ask me why I was standing there and what this curious installation meant. But the first one to notice me, even before you, was the Mayor, who became outraged and said: “Who is the Gipsy with Lenin?”
Police arrived and took me away to the precinct where I received a citation for violating public order, even though I did not violate anything. They also confiscated my sign. I suppose meanwhile Agent Ivanov (Petko Arnaudov) took you to an official dinner where you proposed toasts for the integration of Roma.
Minutes before the policemen took me away, I saw you hugging and kissing Agent Ivanov. It was truly touching. The Roma applauded, the municipal female workers were taking deep breaths and were moved.
On the 1st of August 2008 Syrian General Muhammad Suleiman, who also bore the title of Special Presidential Advisor for Arms Procurement and Strategic Weapons for President Bashar al-Assad, was murdered in highly mysterious circumstances. General Suleiman was shot three times in the head, neck and stomach at his home in the exclusive Rimal al-Zahabieh resort in the Mediterranean city of Tartous. It was speculated then that the shots came from a sniper located on a boat, which explained how the top level security forces surrounding Suleiman were avoided. At this time relations between Syria and Israel were at their worst and the talk of war was in the air, particularly due to Syria’s intent on upgrading its nuclear and chemical weapons facilities, a strategy headed by Suleiman. Therefore, most of the international press, most notably The Sunday Times, stated as a fact that it was Israeli intelligence agency Mossad who was to blame.
An inside job
Recent cables published by Wikileaks, however, shed a new light on the assassination, revealing a very delicate multi-lateral diplomatic situation. The fact that this information came from the U.S. embassy in Paris is particularly revealing. In cable #08PARIS1717 Ambassador Stapleton, says that Boris Boillon, adviser at the French presidency, asserted to him that “the killing seemed to be some sort of inside job”.
Former Murdoch chief Rebekah Brooks was arrested and detained last night by British police on charges of conspiring to illegally intercept communications as well as corruption, in the form of bribing police.
Brooks was apprehended by detectives working on Operation Weeting – the UK Metropolitan Police’s phone hacking investigation, and Operation Elveden – the investigation into illicit payments to police officers, a July 18 Guardian article reported.
Until recently, Brooks had been defended by both Rupert and James Murdoch from the very outset of the now-widespread hacking scandal that began within the Murdoch-owned newspaper News of the World.
One of the most contentious cases in the scandal so far is that of teenager Milly Dowler, who was abducted on her way home from school and subsequently murdered. Milly Dowler’s family’s phone messages were illegally intercepted by News of the World staff.
Mark Lewis, the lawyer for Milly Dowler’s family has questioned the timing of the arrest, as Brooks is due to be questioned by a parliamentary committee next Tuesday.
“Undoubtedly, she will have the option of saying on Tuesday ‘I’m sorry I can’t answer that because I’m under police investigation ‘,” he said. “The timing stinks...it gives the impression that those questions can’t be asked [at this time]...it looks deliberate.”
Liberal Democrat MP Adrian Sanders has also expressed grave concerns over the timing of the arrest, according to a July 18 article in The Age.
The House of Commons select committee maintained that it would not canvass material that affected any criminal investigation and Brooks now appears to be protected by that. Brooks has been offering to help the police since January, yet two days before she is due to stand before a parliamentary committee she was arrested.
As any keen observer must have noticed, the world-wide social turmoil of the last year is closely linked with the availability of information, or in other words, the stark quest for transparency with which corrupt Governments and corporations around the globe have suddenly come face to face with. As philosopher Slavoj Žižek recently put it in a debate held in London with Julian Assange and Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman : “We may all know that the emperor is naked, but the moment somebody publicly says the emperor is naked: everything changes.
In this massive uncovering Wikileaks’ Cablegate has played a crucial role, not only providing an ongoing stream of secret information to the general public, but by showing that a better society, one working efficiently to reach its true idealistic goals, absolutely needs transparency. In an interview with Forbes Assange used a clear metaphor to illustrate the effects of transparency in a society by comparing them to those that would occur in a market situation: “To put it simply, in order for there to be a market, there has to be information. A perfect market requires perfect information”, he also added that “WikiLeaks is designed to make capitalism more free and ethical”. In other words if a Government is to work efficiently to achieve the goals it was elected for, citizens need clear and accurate reports on their leader’s actions; if they are failing to comply then they will be forced to do so by the general electorate. It is not to be implied, however, that Wikileaks and their sudden irruption in the scene have caused all the unrest directly: the emperor was already naked, they just called it out publicly and on a huge scale.
Bulgaria's former Chief of General Staff, Nikola Kolev, currently Chief of Staff of President, Georgi Parvanov, has provided valuable information to the US Embassy in the beginning of 2003.
The revelation comes from an US diplomatic cable, stamped as Secret, dated January, 10, 2003 and titled "Squaring the Lawyer's Circle – Leading Figures in Bulgaria's Ruling NMSP Party Come under Attack." The cable is signed by CDA Roderick Moore.
The cable was released by WikiLeaks and provided to the project for investigative journalism www.bivol.bg. It brings out new details about key figures from the party of former King and Prime Minister, Simeon Saxe-Coburg, National Movement for Stability and Prosperity (NMSP)
According to the cable, "Gen. Kolev has leveled charges of corruption within the Ministry of Defense, MOD, in a (thus far) still secret report delivered to the President and senior MOD leaders."
Kolev's name has emerged in connection with now former NMSP Defense Minister, Nikolay Svinarov.
The cable further tells about the so-called "Gnome" wiretapping scandal involving the then Chief Prosecutor, Nikola Filchev, the Speaker of the Parliament, Ognyan Gerdzhikov, the leader of the NMSP Parliamentary group, Plamen Panayotov, the Interior Minister, Georgi Petkanov, and Svinarov – all except the latter, known to be part of the powerful Lawyers' Circle.
The cable alleges they were all close to Saxe-Coburg's "notorious former Chief of Staff, Stoyan Ganev."
According to the cable, Svinarov also had ties with "reputed organized crime figure, Vasil Bozhkov."
Today at 13.30 hours the Spanish national police attacked protesters who had been occupying the steps of parliament since last night. This comes after the official page for the camp in Valencia called for a protest before the Corts Valencianes, the main legislative organ of the Comunitat Valenciana. Today the new members were to be sworn into their charges after being elected on the past 22nd of May, and many of them, mostly belonging to the right wing Partido Popular, did so even though they are currently facing serious corruption charges.
Despite the obfuscation of information by major outlets in traditional media and Internet, the movement born in Europe on the past 15th of May is spreading all across the continent, each day with more intensity and popular support. The repercussions, both in economic and political scenario are still unknown, in the same way the effects of the Cablegate episode of November 2010 were difficult to apprehend in that date but step by step shows its importance to contemporary society. The revolution lead by the European youth holds all Western economical and political structures as its enemy and is the type of social movement that does not have its shelter- an essential characteristic of a revolution. Relevant information of the gatherings, protests and projects are provided uniquely by independent media, and in some occasions these are being boycotted. The website for the Real Democracy Now platform in Berlin claimed that they were attacked, and the independent media site, www.europeanrevolution.com was finally put offline illegally, after having been blocked via DNS in, at least, France and Belgium. Below is a recollection of information from past events in different countries.
Bulgaria held European elections in June 2009, followed by the national parliament elections in July. The main political players are analysed by the american ambassador in Sofia Nancy McEldowney in two cables sent to Washington DC and reported by the investigative journalism site Bivol, a local partner of Wikileaks. [09SOFIA301] [09SOFIA264]
The cables give a rough picture of a political landscape plagued by corruption, shady businessmen, vote buying and accused criminals running for MP.
Bulgarian media stressed the direct translation of the title "Garbage in, Garbage out", adding that not all of the Bulgarian MPs deserve to be named "garbage", but many of them are looking after their private interests first, through heavy lobbying. "Now, it's up to them to reject this qualification. With a radical change" - popular daily "Troud" wrote in an OpEd.
English language site Novinite stressed the comparison of Ataka (Attack) party and the ethnic Turkish Movement for Rights and Freedoms. They are each other's "best enemies", according to the cable.
"Local analysts say Ataka and MRF need each other to frighten their constituents into voting." the cable says.
Currently, Ataka is the ruling centrist-right GERB's only parliamentary ally.
Bivol.bg (partial translation)
Bulgarian Chief Prosecutor, Boris Velchev, has painted an apocalyptic picture of the state of the prosecution services in the country at a meeting with American Ambassador, John Beyrle, held soon after Velchev’s election to the post. This has been revealed in a cable written by Beyrle, dated February 7, 2006, and leaked by Wikileaks [06SOFIA198].
The prosecutor’s office under the leadership of Velchev’s predecessor, Nikola Vilchev, was described by the new Chief Prosecutor as "some kind of terrorist organization" used to settle political and business scores, but totally incapable of fighting crime.
Empty files and hostile deputies, who did not even want to talk to him, is what Velchev stumbled upon at the prosecution services. He had described his priority of cleansing the institution from corrupt prosecutors as "some kind of a war".
Velchev’s “war,” however, has implications beyond the borders of Bulgaria – it must lead to effective guilty verdicts of organized crime bosses, one of the top requirements of the EU, monitoring Bulgaria before its accession to the Union.
Facing the outrageous failure of Bulgarian prosecutors and law enforcement to collect sound evidence against the leaders of organized crime, the Chief Prosecutor declares, according to Bayrle, his equally outrageous plan to seek “a contract with the Courts.” Ambassador Beyrle explains this means appealing to judges to sentence criminal bosses “based on evidence that otherwise might not pass muster“.
Corporate influence corrupts our political parties, our elections, and the institutions of government.
Bought by hard and soft dollars, disloyal, incompetent, and wasteful special interests have usurped our nation’s civil and military power, spawning a host of threats to liberty and our national security.
We have had enough.
Legitimate government is born of the self-interest and will of the people expressed by its citizens in free and fair elections. It does not spring from a tyranny of corporate or royal patronage, or a system or ideology that runs counter to the aims of life.
The institutions of government were designed to protect the principles of our democratic republic and to serve the will of citizens.
Corporations, even those owned by foreign shareholders, use money to act as the voices of millions, while individual citizens, the legitimate voters, are silenced and demoralized by the farce.
Free and fair elections inspire good citizenship and public service, because they engage the intelligence and genuine good will of the American people.
They produce the kind of stewardship our nation desperately needs, because they ensure that citizens can influence their destiny, and make genuine contributions to society.
and fair elections remedy the myriad ills and abuses of a corrupt and illegitimate government, which prey on the resources and spirits of citizens. (These abuses and ills are listed on the official US Day of Rage twitter hash tag #USDOR.)
Nigerian elections that had been postponed until Monday, April 4th, have been postponed yet again by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), which is headed by Professor Attahiru Jega. From the INEC headquarters, the rescheduling was announced by Jega, who said since announcing the rescheduling several requests made to the Commission have urged it to consult more widely and ensure the two-day postponement addresses all logistical issues.
The Commission consulted with the Chairmen of all the political parties in Nigeria and decided the best thing to do would be to reschedule the already rescheduled elections. Thus, the elections, assuming no more logistical problems (corruption) get in the way, will be held on the following dates: Saturday, April 9, Senate and House of Representatives Elections; Saturday, April 16, Presidential Elections, Tuesday, April 26, State of House of Assembly and Governorship Elections.”
This announcement undoubtedly means a tense pre-election social and political climate that has already seen hundreds killed in what Amnesty International calls “politically-motivated, communal and sectarian violence” will continue to persist.
When held, this will be Nigeria’s third general election since military rule ended in 1999. The country has held two previous elections in 2003 and 2007. Both elections resulted in allegations of rigging, voter intimidation and ballot vote snatching.
Two weeks after the publishing of the full, unedited version of a diplomatic cable exposing the total invasion of Bulgarian economics and politics by the organized crime, the topic seems to be closed for Bulgarian media.
Bulgaria is known to have one of the most censored media in the European Union. In the last press freedom index of Reporters without Borders, the country shares the 70th ranking with Benin, Kenya and Greece.
One of the reasons for such low freedom of speech standards is shady media ownership. As the US ambassador reports in the cable, figures connected to organized crime own, directly or indirectly, the country’s mainstream printed and electronic media. This results in censorship and self-censorship on topics about the ties between the Mafia and the politics.
The media reaction, after the cable on organized crime was published, went through the classic way of dealing with such scandalous information: 1. Ignore it 2. Ridicule it 3. Fight it... then return to number 1.
1. Ignore it: The initial publication of the unedited cable on the Bivol independent investigative journalism web site was only reprinted in few independent blogs and web sites, most of them edited from abroad: (Ivo Indzhev, Eurochicago, Kafene). Only one big Bulgarian newspaper printed a link to the publication in a short article. The content of the cable, however, was greatly commented on and cited in online forums.
India cables released to The Hindu have created a storm in the past days. Now, The Hindu reports that the US State Department warned the India government of the “existence of such communications on December 23, 2010. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and spoke to Krishna about WikiLeaks. She warned the government of “potentially embarrassing disclosures.”
On December 21, 2010, then-State Department spokesman P.J. Crowley said, “Those mutual interests are unchanged by any document that has been released by WikiLeaks. We are going to do this one day at a time, one action at a time. The Secretary continues to have regular contacts either in person or in phone calls with world leaders. This issue comes up, and without exception, the leaders reassure her that notwithstanding whatever ripples have been created by these revelations, our relations with these countries will continue because they're important.”
The key cable creating a massive political crisis in India was sent out from Consulate Chennai on May 13, 2009. A US diplomat writes:
The subject of politicians bribing voters, with either cash or gifts, was a recurring theme in the course of covering the 2009 election campaigns in South India. Wherever we went, journalists, politicians, and voters spoke of the bribes as a commonly accepted fact of the election process. Political insiders, and in some instances candidates themselves, admitted to us that candidates regularly violate India's election rules in the course of campaigning for office. This cable examines methods by which political parties bribe voters and how those bribes affect elections in India.
Aside from its own political and ideological conflicts, in 2004 Pakistan saw itself obligated to join a task force with the U.S. to fight Taliban and Al-Qaeda groups in its northern region. This created a relationship of mutual interests between the Pakistani political elite and U.S. military interests on the region - generally characterized by the hunt for Osama bin Laden and other terrorist leaders. This agreement seemed to complicate problems that already existed in Pakistan, mostly corruption in every sense, and a reliance on U.S. support also was originated. Based on leaked cables of U.S. Diplomacy, we selected some cases where this co-dependence shows its weaknesses and incapabilities to establish an honest and democratic Pakistan.
U.S. DRONE ATTACKS
Every day the constant flow of leaks reveals why the people are fighting so hard to tear down the regime and write a new constitution: they show Bahrain as a country based on media manipulation, government lobbying and all sorts of corruption and trafficking of influences.
Policies in Iraq
Bulgarian citizens concerned about a corruption scandal involving the country’s prime minister sent through the media today an appeal to EU employees to leak the report submitted by the Bulgarian Justice Ministry to the authorities in Brussels, because this report has been kept secret from the media and Bulgarian society.
This Day in Cable History. (May 12th 1986. Madrid)
QADHAFI RETALIATES AGAINST SPANISH EXPULSIONS.LIBYA MAY 12 RESPONDED TO FRIDAY'S EXPULSION OF ITS CONSUL GENERAL, CHARGED WITH PASSING FUNDS TO A SPANISH ARMY COLONEL ON THE ANTI-DEMOCRATIC RIGHT, BY PNG'ING THE SPANISH COMMERCIAL AND CULTURAL COUNSELORS IN TRIPOLI. MFA'S SUBDIRECTOR GENERAL FOR NORTH AFRICA TELLS US THAT THE GOS WILL NOT RETALIATE SPECIFICALLY FOR THESE EXPULSIONS; AS INVESTIGATIONS CONTINUE INTO THE LIBYAN ACTIVITIES HERE, HOWEVER, MORE EXPULSIONS ARE QUITE POSSIBLE.
This Cable, written on a Monday afternoon in 1986 describes some of the "realpolitik" between Spain and Libya at the time. Further, this cable was written 27 days after the United States bombed Tripoli and surrounding military bases. Though QADHAFI and his administration were not an innocent party to the events leading up to the raid; the raid-bombing itself was condemned by many countries.
By a vote of 79 in favor to 28 against with 33 abstentions:
Under the light of the killing of members of the WikiLeaks staff and the death threats Julian Assange has received in the last months, taken seriously by the British authorities, the website Committee to Protect Journalists dot Org published today (01-04-2011) an interactive tool that shows the 44 Journalists Killed in 2010 after Confirmed Motive. Below, extracts from a short article in The Wall Street Journal on the topic:
The Committee to Protect Journalists, or CPJ, which defends media workers around the world, tracks and investigates the circumstances surrounding the deaths of journalists, and it created an interactive infographic showing where, how and why most were killed last year. Thirteen of the 44, or 30%, were corruption beat reporters. Other top beats of journalists killed included politics, war, culture and crime. Some of the beats overlapped, however, causing the aggregated percentages to go far over 100%.