News Archive - 2011-09 (September 2011)

2011-09-02 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression.

Cablegate2 release
WikiLeaks' full Cablegate archive became available online, primarily due to the negligent publishing of its password in a book authored by Guardian journalist David Leigh.

Now the 251.287 US Embassy cables are also available through WikiLeaks and in searchable format at
The whistleblowing organization urges the public to download and mirror the Cablegate2 archive and to continue the disclosure of the important information contained in the cables, by helping Al-Jazeera search the documents and sharing information via twitter using the hashtag #wlfind.


WikiLeaks has released a Statement on the circumstances leading to the disclosure of the archive:

…‘Every day that the corrupt leadership of a country or organization knows of a pending WikiLeaks disclosure is a day spent planning how to crush revolution and reform.

Guardian investigations editor, David Leigh, recklessly, and without gaining our approval, knowingly disclosed the decryption passwords in a book published by the Guardian. Leigh states the book was rushed forward to be written in three weeks—the rights were then sold to Hollywood.’…, the Statement reads.

…‘WikiLeaks severed future projects with the Guardian in December last year after it was discovered that the Guardian was engaged in a conspiracy to publish the cables without the knowledge of WikiLeaks, seriously compromising the security of our people in the United States and an alleged source who was in pre-trial detention. Leigh, without any basis, and in a flagrant violation of journalistic ethics, named Bradley Manning as the Cablegate source in his book.’…

Niger Parry, an independent journalist, has also published a careful analysis of the events leading to the release of Cablegate in its entirety.

On this incident, Glenn Greenwald commented, in a piece titled 'Facts and myths in the WikiLeaks/Guardian saga':
"The accidental release of these unredacted cables will receive far more attention and more outrage than the extreme, deliberate wrongdoing these cables expose."

Various important stories that WikiLeaks and #wlfind participants have uncovered in the past few days have, however, been gaining a certain amount of exposure. Below are a few examples.

WikiLeaks disclosures have prompted Iraq to investigate the massacre of an Iraqi family by U.S. troops in 2006
A cable that was recently published by WikiLeaks, consisting of a letter written by Philip Alston addressed to Condoleeza Rice, details the brutal killing of a family of 10 people, which included 2 children and 3 infants, by U.S. troops and its subsequent coverup.
The document, the AP reports, is said by some officials to be ‘reason enough for Iraq to force the American military to leave instead of signing a deal allowing troops to stay beyond a year-end departure deadline.’.

United Nations peacekeepers in Ivory Coast traded food for sexual acts with underage girls
According to a cable from January 2010, a random poll of 10 underage girls in Toulepleu by aid group Save The Children U.K. in 2009 found that eight performed sexual acts for Benin peacekeepers on a regular basis in exchange for food or lodging.

IDF uses drones to assassinate Gaza militants
An unmanned aircraft armed with missiles was used by the IDF to conduct an attack on a group of Hamas members who were standing next to a mosque in Gaza, leading to the death of 16 Palestinians who were inside the mosque as the attack occurred, a cable detailing a meeting between IDF Advocate-General Maj. Gen. Avichai Mandelblit and U.S. Ambassador to Israel James Cunningham reveals.

120 Chinese Children Disappeared in Stockholm
The disappearance of 120 Chinese children from Swedish immigration centers within a period of 18 months, in 2006 – reported in a U.S. diplomatic cable from the same year - is believed to have been managed by organized traffickers residing in several European countries.

More information on WikiLeaks latest releases is currently being compiled in the @wlfind twitter account and unveiled under the #wlfind hashtag.

2011-09-02 Did the CIA know where Imad Mughniyeh was all the time?

ImagePhoto credit GlobalVoicesOnline.

Who said that CIA didn’t know where Imad Mughniyeh was, or what was his job, or didn’t have any hints!?

This is from Wikileaks 95BEIRUT2749 cable released 3 days ago, in its para 8:

"for what it is worth, papers also report trends which suggest business as usual for Hizballah. The often inaccurate daily ‘Nida Al-Watan’ reported the re-election of Imad Mughniyah as the central security chief, with four assitants named Mustafa Badr Ad-Dine …"

Have you noticed who was mentioned too? Yep, the suspect in Rafiq Hariri’s murder as per the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (as of 2011), Mustafa BadrEddine. What a coincidence!

Ironically, the partisan newspaper Nida Al-Watan was right in this reporting. The cable is written in a tone suspecting this report, with no further comment on Mughniyeh who was one of the most wanted men by the CIA at the time. For me, it seemed business as usual to the cable author.

It’s not clear why the US didn’t make a big fuss out of it in Lebanon or with its government. It may be because they knew they couldn’t reach him in diplomatic means as they would have had to go via Syria, Iran and Hezbollah. And they may have simply waited for 9 years before they got him in their democratic way.

2011-09-02 Extrajudicial killings in the Philippines: What we can learn from WikiLeaks

From 2004-2010, the Philippines witnessed one of the worst waves of human rights violations in its history. Hundreds of activists were killed or abducted. Hundreds more were arrested and faced with trumped-up charges. The magnitude of the abuses caught the attention of the international community. The issue also further isolated the regime of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo. The main suspects in the killings and disappearances were state security forces.

There were numerous embassy cables on the US position regarding extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. My own estimate is that there were more than 40 cables that referenced extrajudicial killings in the Philippines. These cables ranged from scenesetters for visiting US officials, to actual reports on the actions taken by the US embassy and the Philippine government on EJK’s.

But while there were strong statements of concern to address the killings of activists and journalists, the US continued to provide economic and military aid to the Arroyo government. While the US said “there’s more that needs to be done”, the US also noted progress in the human rights situation as well as Arroyo’s “seriousness” in addressing the problem.

The Philippines remains the biggest recipient of military aid in this region of Asia, receiving some $30 million annually in Foreign Military Financing, education and training as well as Excess Defense Articles. Human rights issues in the country must be taken in the context of US support for Philippine security forces. With the nationwide phenomenon of extrajudicial killings in the Philippines, a feat that can only be accomplished by state security forces, there is a valid perception that US tax dollars funding of human rights abuses committed by the AFP.

The US seemed content with how the Arroyo government explained and addressed the issue of extrajudicial killings. The US embassy did not seem perturbed by the lies peddled by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Philippine National Police, the Armed Forces of the Philippines, Department of National Defense and the Executive Secretary when asked of the causes of these killings. (See US gov’t inquired about PH efforts vs. extrajudicial killings — WikiLeaks cable)

Here’s how Executive Secretary Ermita explained the killings in one of the cables dated April 20, 2007:

“In discussing unlawful killings of leftist activists, Ermita provided a detailed historical account of the communist insurgency. He argued that the killings did not take place in a vacuum but instead occur in the context of the Philippines’ war against the terrorist Communist insurgency. He underscored that the National (sic) People’s Army (NPA), the armed component of the Communist Party of the Philippines, routinely ambushes and kills members of the AFP. “There is a war going on,” he emphasized.”

Here, Ermita actually affirms our long-held view that the killings occur in the context of the Philippine government’s counter-insurgency program, which in this case is Oplan Bantay Laya. However, Ermita is saying is that while the killings occur in the context of the counter-insurgency program, whose main implementor is the AFP, the military cannot be blamed for the EJK’s.

The US was in fact supportive of Oplan Bantay Laya. “While total victory over the CPP/NPA in the foreseeable future remains unlikely, the new campaign could over the next couple of years contribute to improvements on the ground,” Kenney said in one cable. (Ref ID 06MANILA2777).

Another official, DND Usec Ric Blancaflor commented that killings have resulted from the “intensification of anti-insurgency and anti-terrorist drives.”

The same official even tried to explain and justify the targeting of activists from partylist groups. “Blancaflor added that many within the AFP believe the NPA has taken advantage of the initiative to include Communist elements in the political process,” the cable said.

The DFA meanwhile sought to contain the international impact of the killings. “Department of Foreign Affairs Assistant Secretary for the Americas Rey Carandang told the Staffdel that the unlawful killing issue had been greatly exaggerated. “We are not in a state of war,” he claimed”.

The US seemed to take everything at face value, even the discredited line that the killings were the result of an internal purge by the New People’s Army. This view has been discredited by the government’s own Melo Commission as well as the report of UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killings Philip Alston. There was in fact no evidence produced to support this view, except for an alleged document called “Oplan Bushfire” produced by the AFP itself, allegedly taken from a raid against the NPA.

In cable dated February 9, 2007 (07MANILA458) entitled PROGRESS AGAINST POLITICAL KILLINGS, the PNP’s General Avelino Razon “confirmed suspicions that the Luzon killings may be linked to the then-presence of controversial Major General Jovito Palparan, nicknamed “the Butcher” by activists, although he noted that “there was little or no hard evidence directly linking Palparan or units under his command to such killings”. Truth is, TF Usig never really investigated Palparan. The PNP claimed that Palparan was not under PNP jurisdiction. (Meanwhile, the AFP said that they won’t be investigating Palparan for EJK’s because that’s the PNP’s job).

Perhaps the best summary of the US position on EJK appears in a scenesetter for US Congressman Steve Chabot. In this February 15 2007 cable signed by Kristie Kenney, the US wanted to send the message that the Philippines needs to “control the problem” of EJK’s.

“We press the government at every opportunity to resolve these killings, and I have discussed them with President Arroyo and key members of her cabinet, as well as the Armed Forces Chief of Staff and the Chief of the Philippine National Police. They all tell me they are as appalled as we are, but we remain insistent that they must get control of this problem,” Kenney said.

Here the issue was not really achieving justice for the victims or correcting the wrongs done by the AFP. The issue was the containment of a problem: avoiding international fall-out, the further degeneration of the AFP and the further complications in US involvement in Philippine counter-insurgency efforts.

In a scenesetter for visiting General Bryan Brown (Ref ID 07MANILA977), Kenney’s concern on EJK’s focused on “the need to take decisive action to resolve the issue of unlawful killings, which threaten to tarnish the impressive victories the AFP is winning in the field”.

In March 16, 2007 cable (07MANILA863) issued by Kenney, visiting US State Department official Scot Marciel warned the Philippine government that that unresolved, unlawful killings have the potential to become “a cloud in the relationship” between the two countries.

In the other cables, the US will claim to have helped resolve the issue of extrajudicial killings and other human rights abuses by providing training, funding and capacity-building for Philippine institutions. The US also claims that its Philippine Defense Reform and other actions by the Joint US Military Assistance Group (JUSMAG) also have positive effects on the AFP.

A new counter-insurgency program has been put in place, one that takes its cue from the US counter-insurgency guide (COIN) of 2009. The new plan combines the “hard” and “soft” approaches to insurgency. Despite the new plan, human rights violations still persist. Under the Aquino administration, human rights groups have documented 50 cases of extrajudicial killings. Meanwhile, convictions of perptrators from the past regime have been dismally low.

2011-09-02 Polish CIA prison: US and Poland had been trying to "put story to rest" #wlfind [Update 2]

A new Wikileaks release 05WARSAW4030 finally proves that the United States and Poland colluded in their efforts to silence questions about a CIA prison in Masovia.

This is what the cable says:

"[FM] Meller's staff expects that the renditions and "CIA prisons" issue will continue to dog the Polish government, despite our and the Poles' best efforts to put this story to rest. In response to sustained media pressure, PM Marcinkiewicz announced December 10 that his government will order an internal probe "to close the issue." Meller anticipates being asked about renditions by the Polish press while in Washington, and the MFA has asked that we remain in close contact to coordinate our public stance."

In another cable 05WARSAW4037 from the same year, the issue is brought up again:

"[Polish government official Schnepf] noted the GOP's need to find tangible benefit from the mission to gain public support for a continued Polish presence in Iraq. Schnepf also suggested that media reports about alleged CIA prisons in Poland might further undercut this public support."

In hindsight, the assessment that this issue will continue to dog the Polish government was certainly right. Earlier this year, a complaint against Poland was filed with the European Court of Human Rights, amongst others for a failure to investigate the CIA prison. A criminal case which was launched in Poland in 2008 is still ongoing.

The wording of the cable strongly suggest that the US and Poland were trying to influence the press coverage on the matter. How this was to be carried out is not detailed. In fact, very few cables on the topic exist, compared to, for instance, a similar case in Lithuania.

When looking at this text, two events come to mind that would fit the bill. A few months ago, a Warsaw investigator was removed from the case, after it became known that he was planning to file charges, amongst others for crimes against humanity. A part of his case files were subsequently obtained and covered by Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza, which triggered a criminal investigation that involved interrogations of journalists.

For our previous coverage please see this page.


A few hours after this story appeared, it was summarized by Polish Press Agency PAP, and then published by various news outlets. It has now led to independent reports in the two leading publications of the country, one in conservative newspaper Rzeczpospolita, the other in left of center Gazeta Wyborcza. The latter appears as featured article on the internet edition of the paper. Moreover, it has been covered, in English, by


In the meantime, also Polish public broadcaster TVP and legal publication Gazeta Prawna covered the story.

On Monday, Council of Europe human rights commissioner Thomas Hammarberg called on Poland, Lithuania and Romania to investigate their role in secret detention and torture. This story appeared on PAP and AP and - finally, after months of deafening silence - made it into the major international news outlets such as for instance Forbes and CNN.

2011-09-02 Secret Manila Embassy cables reveal conspiracy to declare state of emergency amid “Garci” scandal

Today’s release of all Wikileaks cables included the complete set of cables from the US embassy in Manila. Most interesting are the cables that deal with meetings between the Philippine government and the US embassy in the context of Gloria Macapagal Arroyo’s fight for political survival amid allegations of election fraud. Cables reveal that ranking Arroyo government officials were already contemplating the declaration of a state of emergency to crackdown on opposition groups.

In 2005, wiretapped phone conversations involving the president and an election official were leaked to the public. Malacanang at first tried to deny the authenticity of the tapes yet at the same time sought to suppress their dissemination. In the tapes, Arroyo was asking Comelec commissioner Virgilio Garcillano to help secure her 1 million vote lead over nearest rival Fernando Poe, Jr.

In a confidential US embassy cable dated June 17, 2005, the US embassy candidly acknowledged that the voice on the “Garci tapes” was that of the president. “Garcillano could be a key witness. He is apparently the person President Arroyo is speaking with in the audiotape,” the cable said.

“Snippets of the tapes featuring what certainly seems to be the President’s voice have even been re-mixed with music to make what is becoming a very popular ring tone for cell phones,” the embassy noted.

However, in an earlier cable, the US embassy said it received transcripts of the “Garci tapes” several weeks before their release, but noted there was no smoking gun to link Malacanang to election fraud.

In the same cable, it was revealed that the Arroyo government, through two officials, suspected the US of involvement in the release of the Garci tapes but the US embassy was quick to deny this.

Thousands took to the streets to demand Arroyo’s ouster or resignation. A broad anti-Arroyo united front had taken shape.

Emergency rule now an option

Possibly the earliest cable mentioning the Arroyo government’s option to declare a state of emergency to deal with the Opposition came out in November 6, 2005. The cable entitled ASSESSMENT OF POTENTIAL THREATS TO DEMOCRACY IN THE PHILIPPINES confirmed that based on the US’ own intel, “senior advisors are considering — and perhaps have begun drafting — possible measures to implement emergency rule of some sort in the Philippines.”

The Philippine government went as far as seeking US help for the measure via an aide memoire (non-paper) submitted to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and US intel chief John Negroponte. In the document, Philippine officials claimed that “political opportunists and destabilizers have forged understandings with Communists, terrorists and Al-Qaeda-linked terrorists to remove the President” and urged “vocal support for our President (Arroyo)” from the US government to help with this “increasingly serious and dangerous situation.”

The US embassy however said that it “did not share the analysis in the aide memoire or believe circumstances would justify extreme measures.”

“We have made clear in our meetings with senior-level GRP officials, also including during CDA’s October 21 meeting with President Arroyo and a separate meeting with Foreign Secretary Romulo on November 3, our firm opposition to emergency rule or martial law,” it added. The US embassy also expressed concern that Arroyo’s advisers “may be increasingly successful in convincing her.”

But the US did not completely shut its doors to the idea of emergency rule.

“In the current political environment, any emergency rule could only be justified by a blatant attempt to overthrow the government, which we do not see as forthcoming,” it said.

In another cable dated November 14, 2005, the US again registered its “firm opposition” to emergency rule to Arroyo, DFA’s Romulo and defense officials. According to the cable, Arroyo replied that the ‘Constitution defines what we can do’ and asserted that her administration may legally invoke certain emergency measures.

Visiting State Department official Eric John also told Arroyo said that “emergency measures could trigger a review of U.S. defense-related and other assistance to the Philippines”. To this remark, Arroyo “responded only with a defiant stare,” the cable said.

The cable also reported that “Chairman of the Mindanao Economic Development Council “Jess” Dureza told Charge that emergency rule plans were in place to respond quickly to any extra-constitutional attack on the government. He acknowledged that some top officials, such as National Security Advisor Gonzales and Justice Minister Gonzalez, believed the government was already under siege by communists, terrorists and political opponents, but he doubted that the President would use emergency powers in the absence of a strong provocation”.

In his meeting with an embassy official, House Speaker Jose de Venecia said that emergency rule was being considered because the “alliance of party list leftists in Congress, the New People’s Army, and Opposition figures might make such a step necessary”. JDV then asserted that his push for charter change “was actually aimed in part at undermining the temptation to resort to such (emergency) measures”.

The US embassy concluded that “it is clearer than ever that consideration of such emergency measures is ongoing at very senior levels”. What is not clear, it said, was if a decision has been made.

Bert Gonzales’ agenda

In November 21, the US embassy also met with National Security Adviser Norberto Gonzales who said that he had proposed to Arroyo to invoke a constitutional provision that would “allow her to order the military and police to arrest leftist politicians and suspected Communist forces whom Gonzales believes are now coordinating with the Opposition to overthrow the government.” He further suggested a “six-month duration” for emergency rule to significantly weaken the CPP, before the next impeachment complaint is filed by June of 2006.

According to the cable, “Gonzales said that the GRP would use such powers to arrest all CPP Central Committee members, which he believes includes party list Congressman Satur Ocampo, and other members of Congress whom he believes to be front men for the CPP/NPA. He admitted that there was no specific plan to date, but noted many things in the Philippines happen without a plan”.

Gonzales apparently saw the political crisis as a way to advance his own ideologically-motivated agenda of ridding the country of leftists and communists. “He said that he had told President Arroyo that, for the good of the country, she should take this step in order finally to get rid the Philippines of the Communist presence, noting that all of the Philippines’ neighbors had already done so,” the cable said.

However, the US embassy official told Gonzales that “the U.S. would not support emergency rule, that we did not share his analysis of the threat posed by the NPA, and that a campaign against the NPA would be seen as detracting from genuine counter-terrorism activities for domestic political reasons”.

Again on January 30, the US met with House Speaker de Venecia and he reiterated his support for emergency rule but acknowledged that the US is not supportive. In his meeting with a US official, JDV said that “emergency rule was needed to deal with the threat posed by the New People’s Army (NPA), but the U.S. “keeps saying no.” JDV said the government needed special powers to arrest individuals in the media and elsewhere who are paid and controlled by the NPA.”

February 24 declaration

One month later, the Philippine government would indeed declare a state of emergency over what it viewed as fresh destabilization attempts from an alliance of the “extreme left” and “military adventurists.”Arroyo declared a state of emergency in a televised address at 1120 am on February 24, 2006. JDV told the US embassy that he supported the move and that meetings were conducted up to 3am that day to iron out the declaration.

Prior to the declaration on TV, Gonzales phoned a US embassy official at 6am to inform him that “President Arroyo had approved a draft declaration of a State of Emergency. The US embassy did acknowledge that there were threats to the government from soldiers mounting a coup. There was no “firm opposition” to emergency rule aired by the US, only a call to the Philippine government to respect fully the rule of law, protect civil liberties and human rights, and reject violence”. But even this statement displeased Philippine officials who were expecting greater understanding and support from the US.

Gonzales indicated that “the government planned to arrest members of the military and civilians involved in the plot”. Indeed arrests took place. The PNP released a list of some 50 activists and known CPP members who were to be arrested and charged with rebellion. Included in the list were partylist representatives and other legal personalities. Crispin Beltran would be arrested and brought to Camp Crame. The Batasan 5 partylist lawmakers would eventually be given protective custody by the House of Representatives, which was ironically headed by JDV.

Apart from the arrest of opposition leaders, government attempted to crack down on protest actions and even the media.

In another cable dated March 1, Defense Secretary Avelino Cruz and NSA’s Gonzales said that the government “had decided some four months ago to develop judicial cases against persons suspected of rebellion. Cases were almost ready for submission to judicial authorities when the attempted coup of February 24 was uncovered. The first charges were brought February 27 against at least 50 individuals, including six Members of Congress. The six legislators are under the temporary custody of the House of Representatives, while others named in the cases have gone underground, they said. All members of the secret Central Committee of the Communist Party would be charged and arrested,” the two officials told the embassy.

These declarations by Cruz and Gonzales could indeed be true since the government formed the Interagency Legal Action Group (IALAG) which specialized in the filing of trumped-up charges against activists.

“They also intend to re-open old cases, including a case against Congressman Satur Ocampo from 1989. They will pursue cases against members of the political party Bayan Muna, which they consider a front organization for the CPP/NPA. They said the government will not pursue cases against other left-wing organizations that neither espouse violence nor associate with the CPP, such as Akbayan”, the cable said.

It should be noted that the people fiercely resisted the declaration of emergency rule and that it was lifted after one week. It should also be stressed that the trumped-up charges of rebellion orchestrated by Gonzales, Cruz et al, and based on ridiculous assertions and inadmissible documents , were all dismissed by the Supreme Court.

But what of the conspirators of emergency rule and the proponents of warrantless arrests and trumped-up charges? What of those who laid the ground work for the violation of civil liberties and human rights? Those who raided the newspaper Tribune and threatened broadcast stations covering the protest actions?

They should all be made accountable. It’s never too late to demand justice for all the wrongs that they did.

2011-09-02 WikiLeaks and the anti-Hezbollah militias

In my ‘Lebanon, the medieval Ottoman country’ post, I described 14March leaders as a bunch of sectarian warlords. I was not indicating only to their history during the Lebanese civil war, but rather to their current and recent history in peace time.

These leaders are currently advocating building a civil unarmed society in Lebanon (which is their main argument against Hezbollah), but in reality they do not mind getting armed to fight Hezbollah. I think they surely serve foreign interests in a way or another too, or at least they accept to be used. Let’s be practical here, we know how international politics is conducted, and politicians have to exploit international balances and political opportunities, and this is fine. But to ‘exploit’ opportunities to go back to civil war? I am not sure about that.

So the biggest scandal of all, which was revealed by the recently released American diplomacy cables by Wikileaks (and Al-Akhbar newspaper in Lebanon), was their readiness, intention and initiative to seek arms. I don’t deny that Hezbollah was acting like a militia then and still, but this problem surely can’t be solved by having other ‘too many militias’. After 25 years of civil war (1975-1990), 200,000 estimated fatalities, 1 million wounded, and 350,000 displaced person, I am completely baffled that some Lebanese leaders and their supporters still believe that military fights can sort out political and social problems on the ground.

I list below the released cables with links to the original source, which show the Lebanese leaders hypocritical and stupid mentality:

25 Jan 2007 – Cable: 07BEIRUT133 – Para 4: Saudi Arabia ambassador in Lebanon Khoja ‘whispered’ to the US ambassador that they must help 14March leaders with money and arms. Please note this was before 07 May 2008, which was the date when Hezbollah moved militarily in Beirut & Mount Lebanon, and tried to occupy them (in response to a 5 May government decision to remove Hezbollah’s secret communication network).

08 Apr 2008 – Cable: 08BEIRUT490 – Para 8: Walid Jumblatt (the PSP – Porgressive Socialist Party – & Druze leader) confessed to the Americans that Saad Hariri (Future movement leader) was training a Sunni militia in Beirut and Tripoli. The same for Samir Geagea’s Lebanese Forces, and Suleiman Franjieh’s Marada who were due to start training – Franjieh is pro-Hezbollah).

09 May 2008 – Cable: 08BEIRUT642 – Para 5: Samir Geagea Head of Lebanese Forces (Christian militia during the war) privately informed Washington that he had between 7,000 – 10,000 Christian fighters ready to fight. They just needed arms.

11 May 2008 – Cable: 08BEIRUT652 – Para 8: Nayla Mouawad (a MP) and Amin Al-Gemayel (ex-president) suggested to the American diplomacy to arm 14March, and informed them that they are ready for fighting. They just need ‘quiet support’ in the next 5 to 6 days to defeat Hezbollah (during their Beirut invasion on 07 May 2008)

12 May 2008 – Cable: 08BEIRUT669 – Para 11: Samir Geagea followed up on his previous request for ammunition. What was more dangerous about this request, was that he disclosed he was coordinating his efforts with the Lebanese Head of Internal security Forces Asharaf Rifi. He disclosed too that he was looking to buy arms at ‘list price’ from the market for him and Walid Jumblatt.

15 May 2008 – Cable: 08BEIRUT698 – Para 9 & 10: Walid Jumblatt said that he wanted to prepare for round 2 with Hezbollah. And he planned to liaise with Saad Hariri, to check if the Saudis can arm his supporters. He even asked the American Charge and Defense Attache for land mines!

22 Dec 2008 – Cable: 08BEIRUT1780 – Para 1: Although you might think it was less important, but it shows how the state establishments suffer on the expense of militias or vested interests. Defense Minister Elias Murr confessed to the Americans how he was trying to avoid receiving the Russian military support with the 10 MiG-29 fighter jets to the Lebanese Army. He (and the Americans) did not want to support the Army from Russia. It was all about internal politics and manoeuvres against Hezbollah.

I think the Americans were more sensible on these occasions, and we did not see direct military support. I am sure though there are more unsaid about the ridiculous, crazy, and criminal plans for these Lebanese leaders, and others on the other side. I just wonder when the Lebanese people will wake up to the truth. Similar cables have sparked revolutions somewhere else.

Are we just repeating the 1975 film, by just replacing the Palestinian PLO with Hezbollah? In all cases, they really earned their title: ‘warlords’.

2011-09-03 And WikiLeaks tells us also why Hezbollah won’t disarm

ImagePhoto credit AFP.

We all know the reasons why Hezbollah is keeping its arms in Lebanon, despite the liberation of the South from Israeli occupation (except Sheba’s farms). This is directly related to an Iranian decision facilitated by Syria, so it’s much more than a matter of pure ‘national interest’. We, in Lebanon are too nice that we serve the ‘whole region’s interests’, and we have been doing so for almost centuries.

But it’s different when you hear it from the Speaker Nabih Berri straight to the American Ambassador. Anyway, this is what the US cable 01BEIRUT3057 released by Wikileaks told us. By the way, our politicians don’t tell us this in public, or when they stand for elections, although we know it, but they are proud to admit to the big powers that they are not masters of their own destiny, and they are just pawns for other ‘big powers’. Ironically, Nabih Berri accuse his Lebanese political opponents of being pawns to their American masters (which is true in some examples). Is this some type of schizophrenia?

The cable goes back to 2001, 18 months after the Israeli withdrawal from South Lebanon. In it, Berri said that the path Hizballah chooses (supposedly provocative or passive, or to disarm or not) would depend on the course of US-Iranian relations…then Bla bla bla on Sheba’ farms…then Berri predicated that there would be no end to cross-border attacks until there was a comprehensive peace agreement. Ok, I don’t know, they keep tell us that Hizballah’s arms are there to defend Lebanon (yes, but may be on the way).

Then Berri asserted that “the issue is with the Syrians”, and given Syria’s influence in Lebanon, our “brotherly relations” and the two countries’ rejection of the separate peace agreements, a cessation of attacks was unlikely. This is really fun, too brotherly we are, but always in one way; we just do favours in Lebanon.

Interestingly, Berri said in the same meeting that Israel has inflated Hizballah’s standing by crediting it with acts committed by Amal or other groups. According to the cable, Berri volunteered that Amal was responsible for all “actions” prior to the 1984 Israeli withdrawal from Beirut.

Oops, is he claiming responsibility for the 1983 US Marines bombing? actually, I don’t want to go there…

PS1: You might find it relevant to know that Nabih Berri’s early career was with the CIA.

PS2: the photo (AFP) is NOT from the civil war, but it’s a recent history; from the infamous day of May 7th 2008 when they defended ‘the arms with the arms’.

2011-09-03 Anonymous Operation Tarmageddon - Press Release

Anonymous #OpTarmageddon Official Press Release - For Immediate Release:

Early in July, deep below the radar of the Tar Sands Oil Industry, Anonymous and GreenSec boarded the LulzSub and began a journey of environmental justice. This journey had only one endpoint: success. With all the attention Anonymous recently had received , a sub was the sure choice to ensure maximum impact and minimum damage to the fleet. When Big Brother watches, you go under the surface.

All July, we supported a protest against the Tar Sands oil industry, which ended in protesters dancing on the meeting table of the Governor of Montana. We networked like ants in the internets to get word out about this civil disobedience, and about the issue at hand. Anonymous, the world's greatest think tank, then spent weeks researching the corporations involved, uncovering mountains of email addresses and contact info for employees who work to destroy our planet for profit.

Anonymous then brought the LulzSub to the surface for air and snacks. We immediately caught wind of Tar Sands industry representatives creating fake Twitter and Facebook profiles to spread false enthusiasm about the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, we created an Orinoco Flow of facts and links, sustaining a week-long information campaign. We widely spread word of the upcoming Washington D.C. protests, where now, over 850 people have been arrested at the White House for peaceful sit-ins. By mirroring the actions of these "astroturfers" we hoped to provide a true counterpoint to the artificial hurrahs of the fake accounts.

Our beautiful journey has manifested into a full-on conquest to expose the corruption in the companies who plan to mine this oil and build the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico. We will be releasing the ballast of hundreds of corporate emails that we have obtained from the servers of oil industry websites. We encourage people to write personal letters to these people, telling them what you think. The mailservers of Transcanada have been down for two days, and we will continue that fine tradition, hoping to show the world that business as usual stops when the security of the environment is concerned.

The recent release of Wikileaks cables put more raw crude in the tank of the LulzSub, as we continued our voyage. We have found cables that directly prove that Statoil corporation, a major player in the Tar Sands industry, has fired workers in Venezuela for their political leanings, in collusion with state-owned petroleum company PDVSA. Another cable shows that Statoil was paid far more in a compensation package from PDVSA than was reported in the press. Another quotes Canadian Environmental Minister Prentice in saying he is deeply concerned with the effect of the Tar Sands on the image of Canada. We are unearthing much in our deep-sea voyage

We stand in solidarity with the almost 900 brave and civil protesters who have been arrested in front of Obama's temporary home, the indigenous people of Canada, environmental groups around the world, and those of you who dream of new energy sources and a healthier environment.

Anonymous and GreenSec invite you to join us on our IRC Saturday September third, as we launch our own form of sit-in. We will join together to shut down the websites of Tar Sands corporations and oil lobbying firms. This is a non-violent form of dissent that, for us, waves a flag to others, saying "Here. Here is the problem:

As billionaires wage a war on the environment, Anonymous stands up with donated time and energy to make a stance before our chance is over. No one can be allowed to sacrifice the air, water, forests, and the health of world citizens for profit. The Earth is worth more than the organic matter we exploit from it. As the protest in Washington D.C. comes to its end, we shall step up and do our part.

There are many unknowns in the climate issue, many things yet to be understood. As for corporate corruption and the destruction of the natural environment in the pursuit of profit, it is everywhere, and that
is well understood. Help us stop it. Saturday, September Third, HIGH NOON Alberta time (GMT -5)Join us at port 6667 channel #OperationGreenRights Get involved one way or another, but get involved.

Follow @OpGreenRights

Wikileaks cables: Sincor Deputy General Manager Jane Nagy, a Statoil employee, in collusion with Venezuelan state-owned oil company, fires employees for political leanings in Venezuela:

Statoil recieves far larger compensatory payment from Venezuelan State-owned petroleum company for "its lost equity in the Sincor strategic association". Fallout from firings and Public lies from the Energy Minister of Venezuela regarding the payment. and

Canadian Environmental Minister Prentice says |he would step in and regulate the sands if Canada's [sic] image in the world gets further tarnished by negative coverage.

Corporate and company Emails:

Dedicated to the Aboriginal People of North America in their struggle.

2011-09-03 New York City Police Department's secret CIA force targeted minorities

U.S. media outlets have recently been abuzz about new documents showing that, for the past decade, the New York City Police Department (NYPD) ran a secret anti-terrorism unit headed by Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) officials. Not only did this "Intelligence Division" -- which some have described as the NYPD's "own version of the CIA" -- blur the lines previously separating domestic law enforcement and national security, but the Division's "Demographics Unit" deliberately targeted racial minorities as part of a "human mapping" system modeled on Israel's operations in the West Bank.

The Huffington Post reported:

"Since the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, the NYPD has become one of the country's most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies. A months-long investigation by The Associated Press has revealed that the NYPD operates far outside its borders and targets ethnic communities in ways that would run afoul of civil liberties rules if practiced by the federal government. And it does so with unprecedented help from the CIA in a partnership that has blurred the bright line between foreign and domestic spying. ...

"The department has dispatched teams of undercover officers, known as 'rakers,' into minority neighborhoods ... according to officials directly involved in the program. They've monitored daily life in bookstores, bars, cafes and nightclubs. Police have also used informants, known as 'mosque crawlers,' to monitor sermons, even when there's no evidence of wrongdoing."

Although the CIA is legally prohibited from conducting intelligence-gathering operations domestically, retired CIA veteran David Cohen was tapped to run the NYPD's secret program. Police department spokesman Paul Browne at first denied that the program existed; that, however, was before the Associated Press released copies of internal NYPD documents describing the Demographics Unit and its mission. According to these documents, the unit's main objectives were to "Identify and map ethnic residential concentrations" in New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, and to "Identify and map ethnic hot spots."

The documents show that the Demographics Unit used statistical data to identify New York's "ethnic" neighborhoods, then sent in undercover officers to visit local businesses, strike up conversations with store owners, and determine their ethnicities and political leanings. Police specifically targeted businesses heavily staffed by certain minority groups, such as taxi companies that employed Pakistanis. When asked by the U.S. Senate "how the NYPD spots signs of radicalization," Intelligence Division official and CIA agent Larry Sanchez replied that "the key was viewing innocuous activity, including behavior that might be protected by the First Amendment, as a potential precursor to terrorism."

Among the list of 28 (mostly Islamic) "Ancestries of Interest" to the Demographics Unit were India, Somalia, Albania, and "American Black Muslim." In response to these revelations, Congresswoman Yvette Clarke stated that "Americans would be outraged if police infiltrated Baptist churches looking for evangelical Christian extremists." The Intelligence Division has gone to great lengths to keep information about these programs out of court; former officials stated that the NYPD "regularly shredded documents discussing rakers."

Congresswoman Clarke has called for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the Intelligence Division and its Demographics Unit. Joining in Clarke's request are The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the New York Civil Liberties Union, and other civil rights and Muslim organizations. Their request is reportedly under review.

2011-09-03 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression.

>> Updates on WikiLeaks news from #wlfind twitter hashtag (as curated by @wikileaks):

* FBI Director asked Mubarak for Egyptians' fingerprint records for FBI 'global fingerprint database'.

* Saudi King Abdullah "must have had a hand" in forced divorce verdict, maybe to "set an example".

* An entire report of the involvement of Greece and Souda bay military base on the Iraq war.

* Palestine Authority pursuit of Israel through the ICC would be viewed as war by Israel.

* Greeks were told that US base in Crete had no involvement with NATO bombing. Truth: it supplied fuel to B52.

* Israeli official: "We don't do Gandhi well" in reference to how Israel deals with nonviolent protests.

* "Unrest December 2009 Athens - What happened" : A full report from US embassy cables.

* U.S. Ambassador : "Singapore elects, um selects its President".

Al-Jazeera reports on a cable with new information on the riots that took place in Sednaya, Syria in 2008.

According to the testimony of various credible sources, Sednaya prisoners had been trained and sent to fight American troops in the Iraq war before being imprisoned once again and rioting.
From July until October 2008, prisoners were in control of Sednaya. A military intervention in December of the same year resulted in numerous deaths and, according to Amnesty International, 52 disappearances.

WL Central has also been covering the latest WikiLeaks’ releases, listed below are the most recent analysis of U.S. Embassy cables to be found on this website:

- A cable finally offers proof of a cooperation between Poland and the United States to silence questions about a CIA prison in Masovia.

- Did the CIA know where Imad Mughniyeh was all the time?
"for what it is worth, papers also report trends which suggest business as usual for Hizballah. The often inaccurate daily ‘Nida Al-Watan’ reported the re-election of Imad Mughniyah as the central security chief, with four assitants named Mustafa Badr Ad-Dine …", reads a cable.

- Diplomatic cables provide insight on the United States’ position regarding extra-judicial killings in the Philippines.

- Secret Manila Embassy cables reveal conspiracy to declare state of emergency amid “Garci” scandal

2011-09-04 "Who is WikiLeaks?...A huge lie!" Bulgarian PM Borisov comments on the cables


Bulgarian Prime Minister, Boyko Borisov, in an interview for the political TV show “Face to Face” with host, Tsvetanka Rizova, September 4, 2011. (Video here):

TR: There was information, released by WikiLeaks, showing your position on GMO had been quite hypocritical.

BB: Released by whom?

TR: Hmm, I don’t know if you are aware that your ministers went to…

BB: I do not read them.

TR: Well, let me tell you. Your ministers…

BB: I do not read them.

TR: Your ministers went there and have said that due to public pressure we will not plant GMO crops, but otherwise we want them and count on Europe to make us do it.

BB: I think that…

TR: What are our guarantees that you are sincere when it comes to the environment?

BB: (thinking) What minister went there?

TR: Miroslav Naydenov (Agriculture Minister) is cited there.

BB: I asked him; he said he did not go. And he did not discuss any such matter.


BB: And about GMO… The way you presented it, it looks like someone had been a hypocrite.

TR: Yes, this is how it looks like, according to WikiLeaks; it was simply hypocritical.

BB: Who is WikiLeaks?

TR: How come, who is WikiLeaks? (BB: Who does it represent; who decides…) The ones who release the cables…no one has denied these cables so far.

BB: Yes, because no one wants to deal with them, because once they start denying them…

TR: Don’t you think that if this was a lie, there would have been some official statement? Everyone keeps quiet; it means they are true.

BB: If they were true, they would have published them all, from A to Z, not selectively, to choose and release depending on when and what is convenient… in connection…I am talking about those on Bulgaria.

TR: We must come to conclusion now.

BB: I have inquired about them and I would not comment because to comment on them means making them legitimate.


BB: See, this is a huge lie. I do not care what a petty American white collar worker had written...

The cable about the GMO in Bulgaria [10SOFIA105] says:

¶3. (SBU) The Bulgarian Green Movement and other opponents of biotechnology immediately launched a campaign against the draft law. Under heavy pressure to amend the draft legislation, the current government suggested adding a five-year moratorium for releasing GMO products into the environment or for farming purposes. Minister of Agriculture Miroslav Naydenov admitted in a meeting with Ambassador February 11 that this moratorium is a tactical approach in order to achieve the strategic goal of passing the draft law. He expected that once the new legislation is passed, the European Commission would view the moratorium as a delay in the implementation of the law and Bulgaria would be forced to lift it. In Naydenov's view, it would be easier to lift a moratorium under pressure from the EC than to change the legislation.

In 2006, in a secret cable [06SOFIA647], with the highest degree of classified information, “petty white collar worker” Ambassador John Beyrle, together with representatives of the FBI and CIA, had written the following about Borisov:

The Dirt

13. (S/NF) Accusations in years past have linked Borisov to oil-siphoning scandals, illegal deals involving LUKoil and major traffic in methamphetamines. Information from SIMO tends to substantiate these allegations. Borisov is alleged to have used his former position as head of Bulgarian law enforcement to arrange cover for criminal deals, and his common-law wife, Tsvetelina Borislavova, manages a large Bulgarian bank that has been accused of laundering money for organized criminal groups, as well as for Borisov's own illegal transactions. Borisov is said to have close social and business ties to influential Mafia figures, including Mladen Mihalev (AKA "Madzho"), and is a former business partner of OC figure Roumen Nikolov (AKA "the Pasha").

In other diplomatic reports, signed by Beyrle and Ambassador, Nancy McEldowney, Borisov is described as “an Armani-clad tough guy,” while his dark past is constantly mentioned.

Borisov’s comments on the cables with statements such as: “I do not read WikiLeaks…I do not read tabloids,” triggered a wave of ridicule and sarcastic remarks in the largest social network Facebook, after WikiLeaks Facebook published these statements on their page.

2011-09-04 The "Gipsy with Lenin" writes to the US ambassador Warlick


Your Excellency,

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.

At the time I also wrote you a letter, published in a number of Bulgarian media. In it I asked if you were kissing Agent Ivanov because the protocol requires it, or over the impervious interests of the USA – the Great Enemy of Communism and tyranny or over some other reasons.

I never received an answer and reconciled with you imperial disdain.

However, several days ago, I saw you visiting Lukoil in the company of Valentin Zlatev, showering with compliments this business which violates Bulgarian laws by failing to install measuring devices for the excise goods it processes and exports.

You predecessor at the post, James Pardew, in a classified cable, writes the following about Valentin Zlatev [05SOFIA1207]:

“LUKOIL’s representative in Bulgaria is VALENTIN ZLATEV. The Russian petroleum company is estimated to be the largest corporate taxpayer in Bulgaria. It also controls Russian oil exports to Bulgaria. Lukoil's Bulgarian operations, through Zlatev, are suspected of strong ties to Russian intelligence and organized crime.

Ambassador John Beyrle fills in the picture with the following words [06SOFIA647]:

"¶14. (S/NF) Borisov has close financial and political ties to LUKoil Bulgaria Director Valentin Zlatev, a vastly influential kingmaker and behind-the-scenes power broker. Borisov's loyalty (and vulnerability) to Zlatev play a major role in his political decision making."

The unprecedented selflessness you demonstrated in shielding Bulgaria’s Prime Minister, busted by Beyrle for participating in illegal traffic in methamphetamines, will remain in history as one of the most curious reactions (globally) of an American Ambassador to information released from the cables. We are yet to learn if there was a personal reason for such “blind” and emotional defense or if you were motivated by the mention of the mysterious SIMO, which confirmed the information about Borisov.

After your joint appearance with Zlatev, I anticipate your arrival at the construction site of the Trakiya highway in the company of Vassil Bozhkov aka The Skull, whom your assistants at the Embassy consider to be the most dangerous gangster in Bulgaria [09SOFIA508], to praise the work done by his company and to point out that Bozhkov is a key businessman for Bulgaria’s economy.

I would not be surprised to also see you at a meeting of the “Vuzrazhdane” club, reinstated on your initiative. I toss to you the idea to initiate the mounting of a modest monument of the gunned down banker, Emil Kyulev, called by your Services “the top money launderer” in Bulgaria [05SOFIA1847].

With the arrival of the winter season, I have no doubt you will take a trip on Tseko Minev’s illegal ski lifts and will praise the large-scale investments of his Yulen company in the Pirin Mountain. Minev’s First Investment Bank is listed in a cable, prepared by John Beyrle, as the money laundry for the capital of the mafia. [06SOFIA1652]

In anticipation of all these events, in the upcoming days, I intend to provide the Bulgarian public with all diplomatic reports, available to WikiLeaks, signed by you and by your pious wife, who is US Ambassador in Belgrade.

Regretfully, I cannot say that your prose is shining with talent on the backdrop of cables sent by your predecessors from Sofia. You reports are definitely inferior in style, precision and substance even to the texts of your spouse, Lady Warlick.

However, I have no doubt that next year you will compensate for this deficit by your shining presence at fashion, social and cultural events in our country, unless something unforeseen happens with your career, such as being promoted Ambassador in Podgorica, for example.

The Gipsy with Lenin
Atanas Tchobanov - Journalist with, a partner site of WikiLeaks for the Balkans.

2011-09-04 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.

09:30 PM U.S. Embassy cables published by WikiLeaks regarding pharmaceutical drugs and the U.S. Government’s efforts to raise medicine prices in developing countries are the subject of a piece authored by James Love, where he also comments on media reaction to the publication of Cablegate2 by WikiLeaks:

While I join those who are greatly saddened by this lapse in security, and aware of the consequences, I am also shocked at the bitter attacks on WikiLeaks, which seem unbalanced, under the circumstances.

After reading these cables, it is difficult to stomach the defenses of US secrecy. Forcing developing countries to raise the price of drugs has predictable and well known consequences -- it kills people, and increases suffering. Many people could care less -- including reporters and editors of newspapers. How much of this ends up in the Washington Post, the New York Times or the Guardian these days? But others who do care now have more access to information, and more credibility in their criticisms of government policy, because of the disclosures of the cables.

09:00 PM Cables show that former Blackwater employees continued to work in Iraq after the firm was banned from the country following a shooting in 2007, during which guards hired by the company killed 17 Iraqi citizens.

08:20 PM A detailed analysis of the technical aspects surrounding the disclosure of the full Cablegate archive concludes:

"The clear cryptographic answer is: Guardian is to blame. When we use encryption, it is entirely expected and normal for the encrypted text to be visible to the public. If the encrypted text isn’t visible to the public, it can’t possibly be transmitted. (…) the entire point of cryptography is that we don’t divulge the encryption key. So WikiLeaks was in the right to make the encrypted file public (however that happened), assuming that the passphrase would be kept private. The Guardian was in the wrong to make the passphrase public, assuming that the encrypted file would be kept private. By definition, the encrypted file was public because it was available from a public server for at least a few hours."

08:10 PM Following WikiLeaks’ revelations, the Indian Government is being accused by the Opposition of "succumbing to American pressures" and "completely failing" to grab the opportunity to extradite David Headley, a member of Islamist terrorist organization Lashkar-e-Taiba.

08:00 PM Cables confirm Nigeria’s House of Representatives agreed to represent Shell’s interest on the petroleum bill.

07:40 PM Al Jazeera reports on a diplomatic cable detailing Israel’s measures to counter peaceful protests in the West Bank.

"In the cable, the US ambassador to Israel noted that government officials considered any rally as grounds for use of military force.
In a meeting held between US officials and Avi Mizrachi, head of Israel's central command, the latter warned the Israeli army will be more assertive in how it deals with West Bank demonstrations and will start sending trucks "with 'dirty water' to break up protests, even if they are not violent".
As the US cable pointed out, “dirty water is a reference to the IDF's chemically treated water that duplicates the effects of skunk spray"."

07:20 PM "China is buying gold with the intention of weakening the dollar’s reserve currency status and gold prices will keep going up", suggests a cable from 2009.

07:05 PM "The 2,000-strong private army of a powerful clan suspected of carrying out the Philippines' worst political massacre was better armed than the military and police", according to leaked U.S. cables.

06:30 PM An article in Green Left Weekly WikiLeaks strikes again: New crimes, lies exposed sums up the release of Cablegate2, and contains ", references to a few recent WikiLeaks’ revelations:

"…an August 2007 cable from the US embassy to the UN that warned against attempts by Cuba and other, unnamed, countries, to move a motion in the UN General Assembly to classify violence against women by US forces in Iraq as human rights abuses.
The cable warned that “to advocate a human rights approach to issues of violence against women may be contrary to larger US foreign policy aims in the sphere of human rights law”."

05:00 PM Hezbollah members repeatedly harassed a Lebanese reporter known for his disdain for the Shiite organization. A cable details how Taher Abbas, reporter for London-based newspaper Asharq al-Awsat, was constantly pursued and threatened by the Hezbollah.

2011-09-05 Caracas Cables Pt I: Hugo’s Former Wife and “Half Brother,” Contentious Environmental Politics

Authored by Nikolas Kozloff

Chávez's Former Wife Herma Marksman

At the U.S. Embassy in Caracas, diplomatic staff routinely spoke to the rightist Chávez opposition during the Bush years. But in 2004, an odd encounter occurred between the Americans and Chávez's former wife, Herma Marksman, who held a rather disparaging view of the Venezuelan president. Marksman, a history professor who was married to Chávez between 1984 and 1993, told U.S. diplomats that the firebrand populist was ambitious from an early age and "even thought of running the country as a 20 year-old."

Later, as a junior officer, Chávez fell under the influence of Douglas Bravo, a former Communist and guerrilla leader from the 1960s. According to Marksman it was Bravo, and not Chávez, who developed the political philosophy of the Bolivarian Revolution. Though Marksman cast Chávez as an intellectual lightweight, she added that he "should not be underestimated." The Venezuelan was "an excellent storyteller, who often characterizes his opponents as devils, which is a powerful religious symbol to the poor."

According to Marksman, Chávez was unscrupulous, "trusted few people" and "does not have true friends." If he had a problem, Marksman added, Chávez would only confide in his brother Adan or Cuban leader Fidel Castro. Marksman remarked cryptically that several individuals within the Chávez government were "dangerous," including some figures in the inner circle such as Diosdado Cabello (for more on him, stay tuned for future posts).

Could the disgruntled Marksman have had some kind of personal or political axe to grind, and why did she agree to speak to the U.S. Embassy in the first place? It's unclear why the couple split in the 1990s, but diplomats wrote that Marksman may have been unhappy with Chávez's failed coup in 1992 against then president Carlos Andrés Pérez. "While Marksman's statements may be biased," the Americans wrote, "she does offer a unique perspective into the current president."

Chávez's "Half Brother"?

Another intriguing cable relates to Jesus Arnaldo Pérez, who was promoted to head the Ministry of Foreign Relations in 2004. According to U.S. diplomats, Pérez was Hugo's childhood friend, and "rumors abound that he is in fact the President's illegitimate half brother" and had the same father [I can't comment on the veracity of such claims, but for a photo of Pérez, who like Chávez has a wide face, click here]. The Americans wrote that Pérez was born in the town of Veguita in the provincial state of Barinas, close to Hugo's birthplace, and during Pérez's swearing in ceremony the president mentioned that the two had attended school together in Barinas.

Typically, U.S. diplomats refer to figures in the Chávez government in a rather smug and condescending fashion, and their report on Pérez was no exception. Commenting on Pérez, they remarked that the new Foreign Minister "is neither a convincing orator nor seems to possess a great intellect." "We see the appointment of Perez as Chávez's desire to surround himself with people who are loyal above all," the embassy concluded.

Perhaps, diplomats such as U.S. ambassador Charles Shapiro simply did not care for officials who would talk back to them. In March, 2004 Shapiro met with Pérez, who said the U.S.-Venezuelan relationship "could not get worse." Shapiro tried to reassure Pérez that there was no Bush plan to overthrow the Chávez regime, but "relations could indeed get much worse unless Chávez tempers his anti-U.S. remarks, personal insults and invective." Predictably, the meeting did not progress much from there amidst recrimination and a cloud of mutual suspicion.

Controversial Environmental Record

On another, unrelated note certain cables reveal the environmental dimension in Venezuelan politics. In 2009, the non-governmental organization Conservation International (or CI) decided to close its doors in Venezuela, "saying it wanted to focus on countries where it can have an impact on host government environmental policies." Speaking to U.S. officials, CI staff said that Venezuela was the only office Conservation International decided to shutter in Latin America. CI's partners, meanwhile, declared that the outfit's decision to leave represented "an enormous loss" for Venezuela, and left "more than 100 environmental experts with nowhere to go for funding."

According to CI, it would be impossible to re-enter Venezuela as long as Chávez remained in office and, in fact, another group called the World Conservation Society had been trying to obtain permission to operate in Venezuela for over a year without success. Moreover, CI claimed that a proposed "Law on International Cooperation" which would allow the central government to "manage and distribute" all international funding for NGOs, would be "devastating" to environmentalists operating in Venezuela.

Furthermore, CI was obliged to take a "low profile" in Venezuela, otherwise "the government would not have allowed CI to continue its work." At CI headquarters meanwhile, the top brass was "disgruntled with its inability to work with the Venezuelan government on programs or policy." Going off on a rant, CI officials stated that the "Ministry of Environment is staffed by radical, anti-US politicians focused on ideology with no funding for, or understanding of, environmental programs." To add insult to injury, the Venezuelan Park Service had changed directors six times in 12 months and there were "rumors it will be eliminated and not replaced."

Even worse, the Venezuelan head of U.S.-based The Nature Conservancy (TNC) said the Chávez regime "would gladly sacrifice US NGO's expertise if they dare to adopt higher profiles in Venezuela as 'the anti-yankee discourse is more important to the government than its work on the environment.'" TNC was reportedly the only major environmental organization left in Venezuela, and foundations simply did "not trust the Venezuelan government and would not fund projects without an internationally recognized NGO to manage the money." As a U.S.-based NGO, TNC could not lobby the Venezuelan government, and staffers declined to comment for a New York Times article focusing on the group's work due to "fear of government retaliation."

Perhaps, Venezuela should have encouraged more NGO's to come to the country. According to a local environmental professor who spoke to the U.S. Embassy, Venezuela had experienced a "dramatic increase in deforestation" as "a direct result of government policies." Nevertheless, the expert conceded that it was difficult to come by official figures on deforestation because the government did not publish statistics on the matter. Environmentalists also believed that oil spills were on the increase, but similarly such claims were impossible to verify due to lack of official data.

Sarcastically, the U.S. Embassy wrote Washington that "claims that Chávez would be
Venezuela's 'first green president' now ring hollow." Perhaps, but the U.S. has failed to transfer clean technology to Latin America so as to head off dramatic climate change, and in fact has inveighed against those countries, including Venezuela, which press for tougher legislation to rein in global warming. Maybe, if Washington is so concerned about protecting the environment, it should help to move Venezuela and others beyond their petroleum-based economies and stop its addiction to Venezuelan oil [for more on the Chávez government's record on the environment, click here].

Stay tuned for more....

Nikolas Kozloff is the author of Revolution: South America and the Rise of the New Left, and No Rain in the Amazon: How South America's Climate Change Affects the Entire Planet. Visit his web site at

For the past year or so, I've been writing steadily about WikiLeaks and U.S. diplomatic correspondence between various American embassies in Latin America and the State Department in Washington, D.C. For a full inventory of these pieces, you may head to my web site, which complements and further contextualizes my two books, Revolution: South America and the Rise of the New Left, and Hugo Chávez: Oil, Politics and the Challenge to the U.S.

It's a bit difficult for one person to stay on top of all the communication back and forth, and WikiLeaks' recent decision to place all of the remaining cables online has made the researchers' work even more of an uphill climb. In an effort to stay afloat, I decided to sift through many of these cables, taking note of intriguing, incendiary or just plain odd documents which may be worthy of further investigation. In coming weeks, I'll be publishing my own guide to the "Caracas cables" which may aid journalists, researchers or activists. In the interest of saving time, I've opted not to insert too much of my own commentary or analysis but have added in links to the original documents where useful.

2011-09-05 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.
The @wikileaks twitter account is constantly being updated with the latest WikiLeaks/Cablegate2 news.

08:40 PM Extraterrestrial life confirmed, by Tajik leader.

05:20 PM Both U.S. Embassy in Tashkent and UNICEF opposed a boycott to child labor in the cotton industry in Uzbeskistan, seemingly in an attempt to keep good relations with the country. Cables show both institutions overlooked NGOs reports regarding exploitation of children, preferring to rely on information from ‘staff of international organizations on the ground in Uzbekistan’.

Despite NGO findings of coercion and intimidation, in a cable dated January 9, 2009, the Embassy still continued to report its belief that child labor was not forced, prefering to use the term "mobilized" versus "forced labor" and that school-children's cotton picking was "an ingrained part of the local culture" and was an "exhausting rite of passage":

"Many students look forward to the annual mobilization to pack their guitars, trail mix-equivalent snacks, vodka (for university students), and head out to the farms. The work can be exhausting, but they make the best of it. Students sometimes have campfires and enjoy evening entertainment, which provide opportunities to mingle with members of the opposite sex more freely than at home."

05:00 PM No plans to prosecute Julian Assange ‘at this stage’ in Australia over the identification of an ASIO officer in documents published by WikiLeaks, despite Robert McClelland’s threats, declared a representative of McClelland’s Office.

04:40 PM Two people in Mexico are facing possible 30-year sentences for terrorism and sabotage as a result of comments made via twitter.

04:05 PM A step-by-step analysis of a cable published by WikiLeaks shows how Sweden’s Internet civil liberties were compromised due to influence of the United States when the Swedish Government agreed to implement a list of measures commissioned by the U.S.:

"Among the treasure troves of recently released WikiLeaks cables, we find one whose significance has bypassed Swedish media. In short: every law proposal, every ordinance, and every governmental report hostile to the net, youth, and civil liberties here in Sweden in recent years have been commissioned by the US government and industry interests." via

04:00 PM Microsoft aided former Tunisian regime: the U.S. company agreed to set up a "program on cyber criminality" that covered training of law enforcement officials in Tunisia and provided the Ben Ali regime with source code.

"In theory, increasing GOT law enforcement capability through IT training is positive, but given heavy-handed GOT interference in the internet, Post questions whether this will expand GOT capacity to monitor its own citizens", a cable dated 22 September 2006 reads.

"Ultimately, for Microsoft the benefits outweigh the costs".

03:50 PM Chief Minister of Uttar Pradesh, India, Mayawati’s ‘eccentric ways’ are detailed in a cable where she is described as a "paranoid dictator with a fetish for shoes and items of extravagance, similar to former Philippines first lady Imelda Marcos in the 80's". She is said to employ "nine cooks (two to cook, the others to watch over them)" and to have sent a jet to get sandals from Mumbai. This clip offers a good summary of CM Mayawati’s extravagances.

02:45 PM Al Jazeera selects The five funniest cables about the 'war on drugs'.

See Al Jazeera’s WikiLeaks liveblog for regular updates on their Cablegate coverage.

2011-09-06 Caracas Cables Pt II: Drug Trafficking Venezuelan Airline? Senator Dodd’s Meeting with Chávez; Wild West Border Region

Authored by Nikolas Kozloff

Drug Trafficking Airline?

More incendiary revelations from WikiLeaks: now comes a cable from 2008 reporting on U.S. wariness of Aeropostal, an airline whose owners, the Makled family, were "Venezuela's preeminent drug traffickers." When Aeropostal sought to extend its flights to the U.S., the American Embassy in Caracas recommended that the request be denied. Furthermore, diplomats believed that the Chávez government's decision to allow the Makleds to purchase Aeropostal "sheds further doubt on Venezuelan aviation security."

The Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) was so worried about Walid Makled that it issued a report entitled "Venezuela: Business Entrepreneur Dominates Cocaine Trade." The report asserted that Makled leveraged "his involvement in the transportation industry to facilitate drug shipments and provide cover for his own illicit activities."

Speaking to the Americans, an Aeropostal representative rejected the allegations but admitted that the new owners of the airline "know nothing about aviation." U.S. diplomats however were unconvinced, remarking that "this claim of ignorance about aviation seems odd, when according to the DIA report, the Makleds own a small airport they use to ferry drugs to Mexico twice a week."

Dodd to Chávez: Give Peace Corps a Chance

In other news, WikiLeaks is filling in the gaps surrounding the tumultuous state of U.S.-Venezuelan relations during the Bush years, and there are some surprises in new cable releases. Take for example one report from 2005 detailing an unusual meeting between Chávez and Democratic Connecticut Senator Christopher Dodd. In an effort to dial back much of the ill will between Caracas and the Bush administration, Dodd met with the Venezuelan president at his headquarters in Miraflores palace.

Dodd spoke in Spanish, and by the end of the meeting an "effusive" Chávez was addressing the Senator on a first name basis. When Dodd however suggested that Chávez visit the United States and speak with members of Congress, the Venezuelan president "responded cautiously, saying a visit was unlikely asserting concerns about security."

Chávez added that "there were Venezuelans in the U.S. who called for his murder on public radio, others who engaged with paramilitary organizations to plan his overthrow, and former Venezuelan military officers who attempted to blow up foreign embassies in Caracas." What is more, the U.S. had not granted visas to some members of his security detail.

In a rather unlikely aside, the idealistic Dodd then suggested that Chávez invite the Peace Corps into Venezuela so as to heal relations with the United States. Dodd himself had been a Peace Corps worker at one time, and thought the organization could "assist poor communities in essential areas such as health and education." Hardly biting at the suggestion, Chávez responded "elliptically," commenting that "perhaps the governments of Latin America should consider a regional effort to fight poverty that would include the Peace Corps."

Wild West Border Region

If you thought Jesse James and the Wild West was chaotic, take a look at another WikiLeaks cable from 2003 detailing the state of the Colombian-Venezuelan frontier. In the Venezuelan border state of Táchira, ranchers were concerned about the Bolivarian Liberation Forces or FBL, which they accused of conducting kidnappings. The right wing Chávez opposition claimed the FBL had ties to the Venezuelan government, a charge vehemently denied by Caracas.

So far more or less easy enough to understand, but according to the U.S. Embassy in Caracas the porous border region had become increasingly anarchic and confused, with fellow leftists turning against each other in nasty internecine battles. Specifically, leftist camaraderie had broken down between the FBL, operating on the Venezuelan side of the border, and the ELN or Colombian National Liberation Army, operating from the other side of the frontier.

U.S. diplomats spoke with a local police chief who said that "terrorist groups had previously respected each others' turf as 'leftist brothers,' but this respect is breaking down, largely the fault of the FBL's 'disregard for business.'" Local ranchers had become so befuddled by this state of affairs that they now paid extortion money to "multiple groups" but even so still got kidnapped.

Speaking to the Americans, the local Chávez opposition in Táchira claimed that Infrastructure Minister Diosdado Cabello had purchased a farm in the area which was used for training purposes. When asked to clarify, the Chávez government again vehemently denied the charges. In concluding, the U.S. ambassador declared "increasingly active and publicized, the FBL is making it difficult for government of Venezuela officials to deny its existence."

Nikolas Kozloff is the author of , and Hugo Chávez: Oil, Politics and the Challenge to the U.S. Visit his web site,

For the past year or so, I've been writing steadily about WikiLeaks and U.S. diplomatic correspondence between various American embassies in Latin America and the State Department in Washington, D.C. For a full inventory of these pieces, you may head to my web site, which complements and further contextualizes my two books, Revolution: South America and the Rise of the New Left, and Hugo Chávez: Oil, Politics and the Challenge to the U.S.

It's a bit difficult for one person to stay on top of all the communication back and forth, and WikiLeaks' recent decision to place all of the remaining cables online has made the researchers' work even more of an uphill climb. In an effort to stay afloat, I decided to sift through many of these cables, taking note of intriguing, incendiary or just plain odd documents which may be worthy of further investigation. In coming weeks, I'll be publishing my own guide to the "Caracas cables" which may aid journalists, researchers or activists. In the interest of saving time, I've opted not to insert too much of my own commentary or analysis but have added in links to the original documents where useful.

2011-09-06 Iran threatened Poland with CIA prison #wlfind

In early 2006, Polish government officials visited Iran, and subsequently related their impression to US diplomatic staff. A detailed report can be found in the diplomatic cable 06WARSAW203.

MFA Director for Security Policy Robert Kupiecki provided the most in depth account: he describes how he was confronted with a number of rather disturbing arguments, including a biased understanding of the Middle East peace process, holocaust denial and conspiracy theories about the West trying to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear facilities.

One part of his lengthy negotiations with Iranian officials, however, is related in more detail:

"Foreign Minister Mutaki first raised the issue of Ali Ashgar Manzarpour, a British-Iranian citizen now in Polish custody awaiting extradition to the U.S. for violation of the ban on exports to Iran. Mutaki demanded Manzarpour be released and warned of a deterioration in bilateral relations should he be extradited to the U.S. Then Mutaki criticized Poland for voting in favor of a UN third Committee resolution regarding Iran's human rights record. He warned Iran would "open a file" on Poland's alleged hosting of a CIA "secret prison.""

In all likelihood, Mutaki refers to Stare Kiejkuty (see this link for our previous coverage).

This fragment proves that Iran strongly believed the CIA prison existed. It also proves that the Polish side considered it worth reporting the incident, and that the US perceived this piece of information to be important enough to be included in a cable. The latter is perhaps the most telling aspect of this story, and it fits into the general context of US diplomacy in this period. CIA rendition and detention are one of the leitmotivs of Cablegate.

2011-09-06 Norwegian envoy’s meeting with US officials raises questions on peace role

Various media outlets since yesterday have reported on a secret US embassy cable showing a Norwegian third-party facilitator in the peace process between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines and the Philippine government discussing details of the peace talks with a representative of the US embassy in Manila. The cable puts to question Norway’s avowed impartiality in the peace processes it is involved in.

In the cable marked “Secret” because of the sensitivity of the conversation, Norwegian Special Envoy Vegar Brynildsen met with US embassy political officers on February 3, 2010 to discuss Norwegian efforts to facilitate peace talks between the Philippine government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines. (10MANILA235)

The cable carried a “Strictly protect” clause since Brynildsen was seriously concerned that discussion of his meeting “could call into question the discretion of the Norwegian facilitators”.

Media outlets who reported on this particular cable focused on Byrnildsen’s observations on the peace process, the NDFP, its chief political consultant Jose Ma. Sison and the Left’s participation in 2010 Philippine presidential elections. Byrnildsen commented that Sison appeared “not in control” of the movement in the Philippines, citing alleged differences between the Europe-based negotiators and the Philippine-based leadership.

The NDFP represents the revolutionary movement that has been waging a four-decade long “people’s war” against the Philippine government and US imperialism. Sison, the NDFP’s chief political consultant, was previously listed as a “terrorist” by the US and EU. In 2009, the European Court of First Instance removed Sison’s name from the EU list.

Byrnildsen said it was a “real challenge” to work as facilitator while not knowing the inner workings of the NDFP. He also said that he was not “positively impressed with the quality of Philippine government intelligence on the NDFP”.

What media outlets have not reported on is the more obvious and potentially more embarrassing nature of the conversations. Norway’s third-party facilitator in the peace process, one who is supposed to be neutral, was reporting to the US embassy intimate details of the peace process between the NDFP and the Philippines.

Byrnildsen was right in asking the US embassy to “strictly protect” his identity because his meeting with the US embassy raises not just matters of discretion but also questions as to Norway’s avowed impartiality in its peace role.

The news of the cables came out, coincidentally, on the day the Norwegian government’s new facilitator Ture Lundh visited the Philippines to help jumpstart the talks between the GPH and the NDFP. Lundh would be speaking to representatives of both the GPH and NDFP from September 5-7 in Manila.

Byrnildsen’s “indiscretion” may raise concern among other countries and revolutionary groups engaged in peace talks that have Norway as facilitator. It is not clear if Norwegian envoys regularly share such reports to the US government, of if Byrnildsen case is just an exception. Questions will also arise on how the US will use such information on the peace processes, especially in conflict-affected areas where there are US interests involved.

Norway and peace processes

“Since the early 1990s, Norway has been involved in various ways – and to different degrees – in peace and reconciliation processes around the world. This is an important Norwegian foreign policy priority,” according to Norwegian foreign minister Jan Petersen in a speech delivered in Canada in 2005.

“We are also regarded in many quarters as impartial. Norway has no colonial past, and we are usually perceived as not having ulterior political or economic motives or agendas,” Petersen said.

Norway has been involved in varying capacities in peace processes in Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Aceh in Indonesia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Somalia, Guatemala, Colombia and Haiti as well as in the Middle East via the “Oslo Channel”. According to Petersen, Norway’s peace process role enjoys domestic political support as well as resources.

It can be said that Norway has had a positive role in peace processes over the years, even if these processes do not always end in a successful resolution of the conflict. In the Philippines, the Royal Norwegian Government helped set up and funded the Joint Monitoring Committee to monitor human rights compliance of the GPH and the NDFP. The formation of the JMC is part of the agreements forged in the GPH and NDFP talks. The talks however still have to hurdle other substantive issues such as socio-economic reforms and political and constitutional reforms before a final peace accord is reached. Norway also continues to be the host of the GPH-NDFP peace talks which require a foreign, neutral venue for its meetings.

US perspective

The US describes Norway’s peacemaking role as part of “Norwegian exceptionalism”. In a confidential cable issued by the US embassy in Oslo in June 2009 (09OSLO386), the US said “Norwegians truly believe that there is something inherently good about being Norwegian and that Norway has a special role in promoting peace globally”

“Those who do not agree with Norway's priorities are viewed as, at best misguided and at worst morally wrong. USG policy makers should be aware of this approach as what makes Norway a driven and dedicated partner can also make it a loose cannon” the cable said.

The US has expressed interest in Norway’s role in peace processes worldwide and sought to find ways of cooperation. In another confidential Oslo embassy cable issued in November 3, 2006 (06OSLO1359), Charge d'Affaires Kevin M. Johnson wrote that Norway’s Foreign Ministry - Peace and Reconciliation Section (PRS) “strongly value(s) U.S. engagement, describing the combination of Norwegian quiet diplomacy and U.S. influence as an effective tool”.

“They see (the US) as having similar values and often working in the same places. PRS Director General Tore Hattrem noted that the U.S. and Norway played key roles in bringing the Sudan peace agreement to fruition and that we should continue to find areas for close cooperation,” the cable said.

“The PRS is also interested in our philosophical approach to conflict areas and in identifying ways to reinforce each other's efforts,” Johnson wrote.

In a side comment, Johnson wrote that “other Norwegian officials stress that whatever our differences, both the U.S. and Norway are transformational rather than "status quo" nations”.

The same US embassy cable cited Norway’s interest in working with the US State Department’s Office of the Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization. The CRS is an entity that coordinates US government efforts in reconstruction and stabilization work in conflict-affected areas. The S/CRS was put up in 2004 as a response to reconstruction and stabilization needs in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The US S/CRS believes that “failing and post-conflict states pose one of the greatest national and international security challenges of our time”. The US “philosophical approach” to conflict areas is premised on the view that “struggling states have become breeding grounds for terrorist activity, violent crime, trafficking, and humanitarian catastrophes, which all possess the significant potential to spread and destabilize entire regions of the globe”.

US involvement in peace processes is aimed at “stabilizing” areas for US economic and security interests. If this is the “shared value” that the Norwegian and US governments are intent on pursuing, then there may be some cause for concern. US involvement in conflict resolution may carry an agenda that is not always in the best interests of the affected sectors.

The US for example supported a peace plan with Moro rebels Southern Philippines that would allow foreign governments and business to enter into economic agreements with a “juridical entity” that enjoys relative independence from the national government. While the idea of a Moro ancestral domain and juridical entity was progressive and consistent with Moro demands for self-determination, it was also suspected that the US pushed for the agreement so that it can reap economic benefits especially in mining and oil exploration in mineral-rich Mindanao.

The RNG has not publicly commented on the cable about Byrnildsen, but it might be forced to do so if only to address the issue of impartiality and to clarify the extent of its dealings with the US insofar as peace processes are concerned. ###

2011-09-06 US Day of Rage | NYC & Nat Occupation Plan for #horizontal #mesh-protest #Sept17 #occupywallstreet #usdor

The First Amendment prohibits Congress from making any law "abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances."

A redress is a means to set right, to remedy or rectify; or a satisfaction for wrong done.

On #Sept17 US Day of Rage has peaceable assemblies of people planned in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle.  We call on the rest of the nation to join us and #occupywallstreet.



Wall Street is a huge contributor to the political machine, which in turns enables Wall Street's corporate plunder of our nation. Both the Democratic and Republican parties set the bankster agenda because of the MONEY. When we at US Day of Rage speak of 'taking the MONEY out of politics', we have no choice but to focus on the sources of the MONEY.

Bought by hard and soft dollars, disloyal, incompetent, and wasteful interests have usurped our nation’s civil and military power, spawning a host of threats to liberty and national security.

We demand satisfaction for the wrongs done to our nation and its people.


The Plan

US Day of Rage has a plan that will overcome even the most totalitarian attempts to suppress the First Amendment.

We are taking the high ground on the public sidewalks.

Citizens have been prevented from exercising their right to peaceable assembly in New York City because the force established to serve and protect civil society, the NYPD, has become a counter-intel paramilitary force. CIA training has turned their operations into one of the "most aggressive domestic intelligence agencies". Just last week the New York's police commissioner confirmed that a CIA officer is even working out of police headquarters.

We do not need the NYPD to protect us from the First Amendment. We need First Amendment protection.


The Tactics

    1. Find space on a PUBLIC SIDEWALK in NYC on Wall Street or as close to Wall Street as possible. If the street is occupied or blocked, move to the next possible block.

      According to a 2000 federal court ruling, the use of "public sleeping as a means of symbolic expression" is allowed on public sidewalks in New York City as long as you do not block pedestrians. See METROPOLITAN COUNCIL, INC., Plaintiff, -against- HOWARD SAFIR, Commissioner of the New York City Police Department, et al., June 12, 2000 [99 F. Supp. 2d 438; 2000 U.S. Dist.]

      Camping, however, is prohibited. DO NOT SET UP A TENT.

      Keep in mind that permits are legally required for assemblies of more than 20 or more people within the confines of NYC public parks, which close at 10pm. YOU DO NOT NEED A PERMIT TO OCCUPY OR PEACEABLY ASSEMBLE ON PUBLIC SIDEWALKS.

    2. Once you have found a available space on a PUBLIC SIDEWALK form or join a block assembly. An assembly is a group of two or more people on a NYC PUBLIC SIDEWALK.
    3. Establish rules of order and rotating roles for each block's assembly. Roles like facilitator, secretary, and time keeper should rotate regularly. See suggested rules of order for assemblies.
    4. First order of business, decide on a back up block location should the assembly be illegally disbanded by the NYPD police or other government agents.
    5. Once assemblies are formed we suggest that they establish specific demands for the block occupation by consensus, for instance, 'One citizen. One dollar. One vote'.
    6. Send the block location in the subject line of an email and your groups' demands to, or post your location and demands on a block assembly's twitter profile using twit longer with the hash-tag #usdor, a Facebook Page established for the assembly, or on meetup,
    7. If your assembly is dispersed or disbanded, reform at the backup location or join an available one.
    8. The assemblies are a way to empower ordinary citizens to have their voices heard. US Day of Rage will collate each assemblies' demands and publish them on our web site to foster wider discussion across the nation.

This land is OUR land...

New York City is the financial capital of the world. We consider the entire island of Manhattan and even the Citicorp building in Long Island City, Queens to be 'Wall Street'. The NYPD may kettle or blockade Wall Street, but they cannot kettle or blockage Manhattan.

If they shut us down, we will re-establish our assemblies at the nearest possible block up, down, east, or west.

If the NYPD kettle or blockades every PUBLIC street in Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, or the Bronx, they only reveal what we at US Day of Rage already know: Our government is corrupt, its powers are in the hands of treasonous and tyrannical forces, and, together, WE THE PEOPLE will prevail.

The American Revolution is alive and well. It's a group of non-violent citizen nobodies who believe in the radical notion that Americans have a right to freedom of speech and the right to peaceable assembly, in deed the right to engage in politics through free and fair elections unsullied by disloyal, incompetent, and wasteful special interests that are destroying our democratic republic and preying on the resources and spirits of citizens.



Together we can build assemblies of people along every street of lower Manhattan from Wall Street to Washington Heights; and on every street in every town in every state.

US Day of Rage is fighting a war for the soul of our nation, its people. Stand and be counted at 2:00 PM EST on any public sidewalk across America. Post your pictures on Twitter or YouTube with the hashtag #usdor or tag US Day of Rage on Facebook.

As Americans we may bang our head on other matters, but on this we surely agree. In a democracy: progressives; unions; conservatives; tea party; and unaffiliated Americans can govern and work things out. In a kleptocracy, controlled by the banksters, we cannot. We must stop their influence, their motives, and their tricks, from continuing to destroy our democratic republic, and together we can do it.

US Day of Rage ( demands that money be removed from the buying of politicians who feed the Wall Street beast. We demand that the resources of our nation no longer be used to coddle and benefit banksters and their minions. We demand that the US Government diligently reign in the parasitic destruction wreaked by Wall Street. We demand that our nation no longer be held hostage to 'too big to fail' banks. We demand that solutions be found that stop the Federal Reserve from stealing our future.

2011-09-06 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.

>> Updates on WikiLeaks news from #wlfind twitter hashtag (as curated by @wikileaks):

* Absolutely extraordinary cable on Indian extrajudicial assassinations 'encounter killings'.

* Georgia expresses concern over 2010 increase in Russian arms shipments to Armenia.

* WikiLeaks Cable Shows US Embassy Believed Jakarta Election Was ‘Rigged’.

* Tantawi sucking up to centcom in 2006, said "simple" Egyptians don't understand benefits of US-Egypt relationship.

10:35 PM Muammar Gaddafi was a key financier of the Communist Party of the Philippines and its military wing and offered support to terrorist groups world wide.
Excerpt of a U.S. diplomatic cable from 1991:

"On rare occasions the Libyans have used couriers to deliver money to terrorist organizations; the transfer usually occurs in a third country"

"Trainees from Asia, Latin America, and Africa often go to Libya legally, usually pretending to be students. Sometimes, third world nationals travel to Libya for what they believe to be legitimate schooling, such as technical or religious training," it added. "When they arrive, however, they find themselves met at the airport by soldiers, placed on a truck, and transported to a terrorist/dissident training camp."

09:50 PM Documents released by WikiLeaks regarding U.S. pressure over Canada’s copyright law paint an alarming picture, according to a statement issued by the NDP.

09:25 PM Kenya trained Somalia fighters:
"Kenya Army was involved in training Kenyans of Somali origin in efforts to topple al-Shabaab from Gedo and the lower and middle Juba region. The United States cables released by whistle blower website, Wikileaks, say the recruitment of up to 4,000 soldiers took place in 2009. (…)" via The Standard

09:15 PM Bollywood funded by gangsters, politicians.

07:15 PM Julian Assange spoke this morning at Medienwoche@IFA in Berlin, via satellite. He commented on The Guardian’s role in the events that lead to the accidental release of the full unredacted Cablegate archive, and defended the publication of the unredacted documents by WikiLeaks after they were already circulating online.

"Let us look at this case properly, he said, - the Guardian newspaper revealed the entire encryption password including that component they were instructed never to write about, and did so in breach of their contract"


In an interview for the New Scientist, Julian elaborated on WikiLeaks’ motives to publish the unredacted cables:

"The reason being that a race commenced between the governments who need to be reformed and the people who can reform them using the material," says Assange.

"Additionally, for harm minimisation, there are people who need to know that they are mentioned in the material before intelligence agencies know they are mentioned – or at least as soon after as possible.

"By the time we published the cables, the material was already on dozens of websites, including Cryptome, and were being tweeted everywhere. And even a searchable public interface had been put up on one of them."

Another motive for publishing the tranche, Assange claims, was the provision of a reliable source for the leaks. In the field of leak publishing, he says. WikiLeaks has become a trusted brand. Although versions of the cable tranche were appearing online, "there was not an authorised version of the cables that the public could rely on".

"By 'authorised' I mean a version that is known to be true – it doesn't have another agenda. The unauthorised versions that were being tweeted everywhere – although as far as we can determine they were accurate, the public and journalists couldn't know they were accurate."

A video of the Medienwoche event is can be viewed on this page, and live updates on twitter were compiled into a chirpstory.

05:05 PM Chief Minister Mayawati accuses ‘the WikiLeaks owner’ of having gone ‘mad’ following the release of a diplomatic cable a detailing her eccentricities (which include sending a empty jet to Mumbai to get a pair of sandals) and corruption.
Julian Assange responded with a statement

04:00 PM Raw notes on Ghana’s leaked U.S. Embassy cables.

2011-09-07 Caracas Cables Pt III: “Loco Chávez Time,” Chinese Ambassador in Venezuela & “Fascist Military Elements”

Authored by Nikolas Kozloff

"Loco Chávez Time"

Underscoring the highly sensitive political environment in Venezuela, U.S. diplomats alerted Washington in 2008 to an odd incident which had occurred at the Caracas airport. One evening, the manager for American Airlines in Venezuela called the U.S. Embassy to report that the captain and crew of flight 903 were being held at the airport. What was the reason? Apparently, upon landing a crew member had remarked "'Welcome to Venezuela. Local Chávez time is' X."

One year earlier, Venezuela had created its own time zone, and most likely the crew member was simply reminding the passengers of this fact so as to turn their clocks back 30 minutes. However, one passenger thought the crewmember had actually said "loco Chávez time" while Venezuelan immigration officials claimed the actual quote was "the hour of the crazy Chávez and his women." American Airlines diffused the situation by flying the captain and crew out of Venezuela shortly thereafter and offering profuse apologies to Chávez authorities.

"Fascist" Elements Within Chávez's Coalition?

In another unrelated cable, the U.S. Embassy made explosive and incendiary charges regarding Chávez's inner circle. During a lunch, a "well respected political economist" told embassy staff that Minister of Public Works and Housing Diosdado Cabello "was expanding his network of corruption into the financial sector." Cabello, the source claimed, had joined with several other veterans of Chávez's 1992 attempted coup and this "fascist and military" trend "was gaining ascendancy within Chavismo" to the detriment of older leftists.

Indeed, according to the embassy source "the traditional left was becoming increasingly disenchanted, at least in private, with Chávez's Bolivarian revolution, largely due to blatant corruption and the realization that desire for power, rather than achievement of socialist goals, was its driving force." In a damning aside, the economist described Cabello as a potential "Montesinos-like" figure within the Chávez regime, referring to the sinister Peruvian intelligence chief Vladimiro Montesinos who aided the Fujimori regime back in the 1990s. Going further, the economist claimed that Cabello was "amassing great power and control over the regime's apparatus as well as a private fortune, often through intimidation behind the scenes."

Perhaps, Chávez himself had grown concerned about Cabello but "was unable to diminish" his colleague's influence. Personally, the source was hoping to expose Cabello's dealings but had to proceed carefully given how "dangerous" the minister was. Embassy staff was unable to confirm all of the reports about Cabello, but believed "that people close to the government have been buying, or trying to buy several small banks, and we would not be surprised if Diosdado Cabello and his associates were involved."

I have not followed this story, but I wouldn't be surprised if the right wing media makes a lot of hay over the cable. More interesting perhaps would be to observe the reaction of the traditional left in Venezuela, and to gauge whether it is concerned about assorted figures within Chávez's amorphous political coalition. Historically, Latin American populism has often been associated with an authoritarian streak and hopefully Chávez rule in Venezuela will not come to resemble Perón's Argentina.

China Bowing to U.S. in Venezuela?

Recently, commentators have made much of China's rise on the world stage and suggested that the Asian Tiger is challenging the U.S. in all kinds of ways. Yet, if this 2006 cable is indicative, Chinese officials are hardly acting combatively toward Washington in Latin America and, indeed, are all too willing to inveigh against Chávez in private in an effort to reassure U.S. diplomats.

Writing his superiors in Washington, American ambassador in Caracas William Brownfield recounted a meeting with Chinese ambassador Jiu Yijie. Brownfield had effusive praise for Jiu, remarking that his counterpart "is the best Chinese diplomat I have dealt with...He speaks Spanish well. He understands Latin American culture. He has wide experience in the region."

Nevertheless, Brownfield wrote that Yijie was "very careful with me, holds me at arm's length, and clearly does not intend to give anything away for free. He correctly assesses that our meetings are higher risk for him than for me." Jiu, who had a "close relationship" with Chávez, was "wary of close contact with the U.S. Embassy" and was "quietly pensive" at the suggestion that China might apprise the U.S. in advance of its sales of communications satellites to Venezuela.

Nevertheless, when Brownfield asked whether the U.S. and China could "work together to avoid surprises on Venezuela," Jiu responded somewhat positively. Within certain left circles, China still enjoys some political support but if this cable is any indication the Asian Tiger has no ideological principles: at one point, when asked if China had any other interests in Venezuela besides energy, Jiu answered in the negative. Moreover, Jiu went overboard in an effort to please Browning, remarking "emphatically" that China was not "looking for confrontation in the region" and "recognized that Latin America, and Venezuela in particular, were regions of importance to the United States."

When asked again if it were true that "China did not agree with Chávez, confrontational approach to the United States, and sought to restrain him at times," Jiu "said it was so" and "could not associate with Chávez' U.S.-bashing." The Chinese diplomat also agreed that China would be extremely careful to engage in security issues in Venezuela. Overall, Brownfield was very pleased with the meeting, declaring that he would "keep hammering away at Jiu and his embassy" in an effort to influence Chinese activity in Venezuela and "annoy the Bolivarian Gentleman." Even if such efforts did not bear fruit, Brownfield said, "just meeting with the Chinese will make Chávez' paranoid mind suspect the worst."

Though some leftists may hold outdated views about China as a champion of Third World interests, this cable casts considerable doubt on such claims. Far from espousing any political agenda, China seems focused on narrow-minded business in Latin America and hardly seems interested in counteracting the U.S. or overtly taking the side of the embattled Chávez regime.

Nikolas Kozloff is the author of Revolution: South America and the Rise of the New Left, and Hugo Chávez: Oil, Politics and the Challenge to the U.S. Visit his web site,

For the past year or so, I've been writing steadily about WikiLeaks and U.S. diplomatic correspondence between various American embassies in Latin America and the State Department in Washington, D.C. For a full inventory of these pieces, you may head to my web site, which complements and further contextualizes my two books, Revolution: South America and the Rise of the New Left, and .

It's a bit difficult for one person to stay on top of all the communication back and forth, and WikiLeaks' recent decision to place all of the remaining cables online has made the researchers' work even more of an uphill climb. In an effort to stay afloat, I decided to sift through many of these cables, taking note of intriguing, incendiary or just plain odd documents which may be worthy of further investigation. In coming weeks, I'll be publishing my own guide to the "Caracas cables" which may aid journalists, researchers or activists. In the interest of saving time, I've opted not to insert too much of my own commentary or analysis but have added in links to the original documents where useful.

2011-09-07 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.

10:00 PM Companies working with the Khartoum government enabled the perpetration of atrocities against civilians in Darfur.

09:20 PM A round-up of WikiLeaks news by newspaper The Zimbabwean:

The late army commander General Solomon Mujuru allegedly sent an emissary to the MDC without President Robert Mugabe’s knowledge in 2000 to warn the party about a planned violent crackdown.
Goodson Nguni, a well known Zanu (PF) activist, was named as the emissary. It is alleged that he negotiated a pact with the MDC whereby they agreed to an amnesty for current and past government officials, in return for an open dialogue about the possibility of forming a coalition government.
It has also been revealed that African diplomats have called for President Robert Mugabe’s ‘graceful’ exit from power. Leaders who, in the past, have stood by the octogenarian leader, have, according to Wikileaks, grown impatient with the Zimbabwean situation. (…)

08:50 PM Canadian multiculturalism policies were believed by Canadian officials to have affected the efficacy of anti-terrorism and anti-radicalization efforts.

"Government representatives have commented that they felt people around the world understood what it meant to be 'American,' but that Canada lacked a similar sense of identity, making it more difficult to create a feeling of one unified society in Canada — and hence creating greater susceptibility to radicalization", reads a cable dated June 2008.

08:40 PM The release of cable on Taiwanese President Ma Ying-jeou’s U.S. green card status by WikiLeaks stirs Taiwan’s tense political climate, prior to the Presidential election.

08:30 PM U.S. cable says Israeli intelligence analysts infiltrate online forums to identify terrorists often claim responsibility for attacks to bolster their credibility. via Computer World

08:00 PM Namibian Police staged uranium theft from a Rio Tinto mine in 2009, purportedly to determine if there is a black market syndicate for uranium oxide. A leaked report written by U.S. Ambassador to Namibia Denise Mathieu in early 2010 reads:

"Namibian police (Nampol) initiated the illicit purchase with the goal of determining if uranium could be smuggled out of the mine. Nampol appears to have targeted Rossing employees (and presumably employees with access to the FPR) and offered them exorbitant amounts of money (several thousands of dollars per kilo) to purchase U3O8."

08:05 PM Reuters Africa reports on another U.S. Embassy cable released by WikiLeaks, revealing profit by Nigeria’s political elite and military ‘from large-scale oil theft in the Niger Delta that may cost the country up to a tenth of its production’.

07:50 PM WikiLeaks exposes skeletons in Nepal’s closet, a piece summarizing various WikiLeaks revelations concerning Nepal.

07:30 PM Daniel Domscheit-Berg, the founder of OpenLeaks and a former WikiLeaks spokesperson, admits to have provided information to Freitag, OpenLeaks’ media partner, on the existence of an encrypted Cablegate file and its password.
(Translation by @HomoCarnula for the translation. The original article, in German, can be read here)

07:15 PM "Guantanamo suicides spur new cries in Australia for David Hicks' release", a cable dated 20th June 2006.

07:00 PM A 2008 diplomatic cable, from the then US ambassador Anne Patterson, to Washington, confirmed news reports that Nato planes had been using Pakistan`s airspace with Islamabad`s consent. via Dawn

06:45 PM Iraqi-American blogger Raed Jarrar discusses the coverup of the execution of an Iraqi family by U.S. troops in 2006, on Russia Today. The murder of 10 civilians, which was recently confirmed in a diplomatic cable published by WikiLeaks, was not reported by U.S. media, but it did receive coverage in Iraq at the time.

06:40 PM Upcoming Free Bradley Manning demo in Berlin, on the 10th September (next Saturday), more information at

2011-09-08 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.

10:50 PM WikiLeaks releases continue to receive significant coverage in Taiwan.
Newspaper United Daily News reports: "The leaked AIT (American Institute in Taiwan) cables are like a magnifying glass in which politicians' abilities to enchant their voters has been removed and hence, the leaked information has set a time-bomb for next year's presidential and legislative elections".

09:00 PM According to a U.S. Embassy cable from October 2006, three bomb explosions may have been orchestrated by the Government of Ethiopia in an attempt to justify its crackdown on Oromo political activists:

"The National Intelligence and Security Service (NISS) said that the intended terror plot had failed and the bombs had mistakenly gone off while the suspects were preparing them while hiding out at an illegally built house. Two of the suspects died immediately, while another died on the way to the hospital. One other is in critical condition. The police task force reported having others in custody related to the plot and that evidence shows the terrorists had ties to Oromo groups (…)", the cable reads.
However, a reliable source reported "that the deceased had not died not while constructing a bomb, but rather at the hands of GoE cadres. The men were allegedly "picked up by police a week prior, kept in detention and tortured (…) police then left the men in a house and detonated explosives nearby, killing 3 of them."

08:10 PM A cable dated 22nd October 2007 concerning Blackwater’s unprovoked attack on unarmed civilians at Nisoor Square, in September of the same year, which resulted in the death of 17 Iraqi civilians.

08:05 PM Expecting Civilian Deaths, US Embassy Approved of Deadly Attack on Crowded Haitian Slum
During a meeting on the 4th January 2006, Reginald Boulos, a prominent Haitian businessman and a top U.S. Embassy official urged UN occupation troops to launch an attack on armed groups in Port-au-Prince slum Cité Soleil knowing it would "cause unintended civilian casualties":

The battle for Cité Soleil continued for the next year and a half, producing scores of “unintended civilian casualties.” Today, Carney, now retired, says that he has no regrets “whatsoever” about the advice he gave Boulos and the UN, although he admits to learning that “there's no such thing as a surgical operation.” via Haiti Liberté

08:00 PM Various online reactions to leaked Zimbabwe cables.

07:00 PM A video of Julian Assange speaking at Medienwoche 2011 can now be seen on vimeo.

06:45 PM Alex Gibney’s documentary about WikiLeaks, produced by Universal, is expected to be out ‘sometime next year’. (Note that contrary to what is stated in the article, no charges have been made against Julian Assange.)

06:40 PM Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah is a decade older than previously assumed; consumed Viagra at age 92.

06:05 PM Sandal queen Mayawati wants Julian Assange committed, newspaper The Australian reports on the heated and humorous public exchange between Indian Chief Minister Mayawati and WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

06:00 PM A piece from December, 2010, in which journalist Philip Dorling recounts how he obtained U.S. Embassy cables from WikiLeaks.

03:00 PM "The Council of Europe, an international organization separate to the EU, has released a document that seeks to hold secret services accountable for their actions."
The report, titled Abuse of State Secrecy and National Security, praises both WikiLeaks and alleged whistleblower Bradley Manning, while condemning the ‘cult of secrecy’ that allows for abuses to be covered.

The following text is an excerpt from the report:

"…we cannot ignore that according to the very accusations made against him we are indebted to him for the publication both of a recording of a helicopter attack in Iraq, in which the crew seems to have intentionally targeted and killed civilians. The video recording seemingly indicates a deliberate criminal act which deserves at least an investigation, which, without this indiscretion, would have never been requested. This is a classic example of an illegitimate secret. In addition, the publication of a large number of embassy reports has allowed us to learn significant details of important recent events and which are obviously of general interest. We must not forget either that these publications have brought numerous confirmations of findings included in the Assembly’s reports of 2006 and 2007 on the CIA flights and secret prisons. All those who at the time called for “proof, proof!” have in any case been well served."

2011-09-09 Caracas Cables Pt IV: Infiltrating the DEA, Expropriated Golf Course, Halliburton’s Ties to Venezuelan Oil Company

Authored by Nikolas Kozloff

"Ambivalent" Relationship on Drug War

As the political relationship deteriorated between the Bush administration and Chávez, so, too, did collaboration on the U.S.-sponsored drug war. Recently released cables document the testy and "ambivalent" dynamic, with U.S. ambassador William Brownfield commenting that Chávez's anti-drug czar Luis Correa appeared to be "penalizing" a non-governmental organization called Alianza "for having too close of a relationship with us."

Brownfield was rather suspicious of Correa, noting to his superiors that the Venezuelan was a professional intelligence officer. Before taking up his post heading up anti-drug efforts, Correa directed a technical unit that targeted the U.S. Mission. Correa was responsible for monitoring U.S. Embassy communications with teltap and cellular intercept equipment. "Notches on Correa's belt" included turning a U.S. government informant and "penetrating an unclassified email system." Correa, Brownfield explained, directed a computer hacker who was able to obtain Embassy staff's e-mails and conducted surveillance of DEA agents, infiltrating the organization in the process and sabotaging equipment.

Not surprisingly, bilateral anti-drug cooperation almost hit rock bottom, and the only active joint project consisted of a port security project. After months of delay, the Venezuelans authorized U.S. officials to conduct an anti-drug training session. However, several no-shows failed to attend as they had become "apprehensive" about political persecution. Correa also snubbed the U.S. by refusing to attend the event, claiming that a Chávez coup plotter served on the board of directors of Alianza which sponsored the event.

Two years later, the situation had not improved much, with Venezuelan legislators accusing the U.S. of trying to make "colonial slaves" out of Latin American countries through its anti-drug policies. To what extent was Venezuela cooperating in seizing drugs? The director of Chávez's National anti-drug office, Néstor Reverol, claimed that Venezuela had the third highest rate of drug seizures in the world. However, a DEA attaché approached Reverol to "admonish" the official, claiming that Venezuelan drug seizures had been on a downward spiral over the previous three years, "while neighboring countries had shown steady increases in narcotics raids."

Golf Course Expropriation

On a more offbeat note, another cable deals with Chávez's feud with the affluent owners of local golf courses. For the Venezuelan president, golf was a "bourgeois sport" and golf courses took up much needed space which could be used for housing. In 2006, Caracas mayor Juan Barreto tried to seize control of the 18-hole course at the Caracas Country Club to build thousands of homes for the poor.

However, golf course owners believed that the government would more likely turn the properties into parks rather than housing units as the terrain was unsuitable for urban development. In addition, the owners thought that "most Venezuelans would rather belong to the Country Club than destroy it." In the final analysis, some observers believed that Barreto's actions might have backfired and actually cost Chávez some political support.

The issue was of direct concern to U.S. diplomats, as the government sought to expropriate land which lay within the American ambassador's future residence as well as another property leased by the U.S. government. After a legal battle, however, Barreto backed down from his golf course threat.

Halliburton in Venezuela

Recent WikiLeaks cables also touch on oil politics and U.S. oil services company Halliburton. According to the American Embassy, the Chávez government was suspicious of the firm, which had historic ties to Dick Cheney. For that reason, and coupled with the fact that Halliburton owed $300 million to Venezuelan state oil company PdVSA, company bigwigs feared that Chávez authorities might actually expropriate the firm's holdings in Venezuela. Overall, U.S. diplomats noted, the company "perceives itself as being a good political target."

In order to navigate tough financial straits, Halliburton was obliged to reduce its operations and fire staff. Meeting with Halliburton's Venezuelan President, PdVSA officials said they had no intention of expropriating the company. However, the authorities added, Halliburton should revamp its public image and might consider drafting a carefully worded letter to Chávez, in which the firm would offer to break with its past leadership and "connections with former U.S. government officials."

Though the American Embassy believed that Chávez policymakers were under-informed about Halliburton, and did not understand the full implications of expropriation and what the loss of the company would mean to the oil services sector, the government did not move against the firm. Perhaps, as in the case of the golf owners, the authorities guessed that for whatever reason, it would not pay to be confrontational in this particular case.

Nikolas Kozloff is the author of Revolution: South America and the Rise of the New Left, and Hugo Chávez: Oil, Politics and the Challenge to the U.S. Visit his web site,

2011-09-09 Grifters of 'Al Saud, Inc.': How Saudi royals get their wealth

"Revenues from 'one million barrels of oil per day' go entirely to 'five or six princes'."
-- Cable from the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

A secret 1996 cable -- sent from the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia and released by Wikileaks -- offers a detailed account of the mechanisms of wealth distribution and waste within Saudi Arabia's royal family. Despite the considerable riches doled out to "thousands" of Saudi princes and princesses, the cable observes that Saudi royals "seem more adept at squandering than accumulating wealth." (The embassy notes that the country has more commoner billionaires than royal billionaires.) As reported in the cable, corruption also abounds largely unchecked.

Oil revenue is said primarily to enrich the Al Saud. The embassy explains that Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Finance distributes a portion of the country's oil proceeds to each Saudi royal family member in the form of monthly stipends. At the time the secret cable was issued, every royal reportedly received a monthly allowance from birth, on a sliding pay scale of US$ 800 (for distant royals) to US$ 270,000 (for sons and daughters of King Abd Al-Aziz). The embassy calculated these stipends to total more than US$ 2 billion of the Saudi government's US$ 40 billion annual budget. For this and other reasons, the embassy concludes that "getting a grip on royal family excesses is at the top" of priorities for Saudi Arabia.

In addition to the state-budgeted stipend, the cable reports, a royal may obtain a bonus of as much as US$ 3 million, as reward for getting married or building a palace. The existing stipend-and-bonus system provides Saudi royals with a significant incentive to procreate, particularly since stipend distributions begin at birth. It was stated that the central life aspiration of one Saudi prince was to have more children, so as to increase his monthly allowance.

According to the cable, some members of the Al Saud resort to "royal rakeoffs" in order to supplement their already-substantial income. Such schemes may include confiscating land from commoners and reselling it to the government for a substantial profit; borrowing from the banks and defaulting on these loans; and acting as "sponsors" to "sometimes hundreds" of expatriate workers who are permitted to work locally as long as they pay monthly fees to the royals (this latter arrangement reportedly earns a single royal sponsor an average of US$ 10,000 per month from 100 ex-pats).

Al Saud land and asset grabs are said to have caused resentment among the populace. In one instance, Defense Minister Prince Sultan bin Abd Al-Aziz allegedly ordered Mecca officials to transfer to him a plot of land that had belonged to one family for centuries. Similarly, royals are said to routinely seize the assets of profitable businesses -- one reason, the cable explains, why some successful Saudis invest their money outside the country.

The embassy reports, however, that the most pervasive form of royal corruption consists of skimming from billions in off-budget spending that is controlled by Sultan and a few other princes. "In a recent meeting with the Ambassador," the cable states, "Saudi billionaire Prince Al-Walid bin Talal, alluding to these off-budget programs, lamented the travesty that revenues from "one million barrels of oil per day" go entirely to "five or six princes." According to the cable, many in the kingdom feel that royal greed "has gone beyond the bounds of reason."

But the embassy strikes a pessimistic tone in contemplating a solution to the situation, concluding:
"As long as the royal family views this country as 'Al Saud Inc.,' ever increasing numbers of princes and princesses will see it as their birthright to receive lavish dividend payments, and dip into the till from time to time, by sheer virtue of company ownership."

2011-09-09 How the US, Dutch and Philippine governments used "terrorist listing" to influence the peace process

The US used "terrorist-listing" as a way to influence the peace talks between the National Democratic Front of the Philippines (NDFP) and the Government of the Philippines (GPH)

Confidential and secret cables released by Wikileaks from the US embassies in Manila and The Hague in the Netherlands show how three governments worked together to designate as “terrorist” Jose Maria Sison, chief political consultant of the National Democratic Front of the Philippines in peace talks with the Manila government. The move may have been part of Philippine government’s pressure tactics on the NDFP during peace negotiations. However, the move did not yield the Philippine government’s desired results.

Sison, the Communist Party of the Philippines and New People’s Army were included in the US terror list in August 2002, right after the Manila visit of then Secretary of State Colin Powell. Sison was soon after also included on the EU “terrorist list” of organizations and individuals with sanctions upon the requests of the US and PH governments. His bank account was subsequently frozen, denying him social benefits accorded to refugees living in the Netherlands.

Terrorist-listing as leverage

The US, Dutch and Philippine governments engaged in acts that were inimical to the peace talks between the NDFP and the Philippine government. The Philippine government used the terrorist listing as leverage against the NDFP. There was intense pressure was brought to bear on Sison: from the deprivation of social benefits, threats to his life, and even arrest and detention. The matter of the terrorist listing became a prejudicial question in the peace talks.

In a 2005 meeting (05MANILA655) with US Ambassador Francis Ricciardone, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo said that the NPA’s “delisting as a foreign terrorist organization depended on a demonstration or proof of sincerity… such as entering into a cease-fire or new peace talks.”

The same leveraging tactic was echoed by Presidential Peace Adviser Annabelle Abaya in a discussion (09MANILA2393) with US Ambassador Kristie Kenney in November 2009. Abaya noted that Sison’s delisting by the EU “would eliminate some of the GRP’s leverage over him” and that “the GRP preferred Sison to remain designated as a terrorist” but admitted that “talks had not succeeded during his time in the EU list”.

US intervention, through the terrorist listing, had a very negative impact on the peace talks. It was a move that was aimed at forcing the NDFP to surrender to the Philippine government, even without addressing the roots of the armed conflict. This negates the inherent character of the talks which were primarily aimed at finding solutions to the root causes of the armed struggle. Arroyo appeared more interested in getting the NDFP to surrender than in addressing the substantial issues in the peace negotiations. These issue include human rights, socio-economic reforms, political and constitutional reforms, and the disposition of forces.

After a long legal battle, Sison was eventually removed from the EU “terrorist list” in November 2009 based on a ruling by the European Court of First Instance. It appeared that the Dutch “terrorist listing” was done only in relation to asylum proceedings and was not based on actual crimes or terrorist activities.

Prior to the delisting, the US and Dutch governments did everything they could to keep Sison on the list, according to the secret cables.

Sison was arrested and detained by the Dutch government in 2007 on suspicion of ordering the killings of two people in the Philippines. Sison was eventually released and the charges were dismissed for lack of evidence. As revealed in previous news, Foreign Affairs Secretary Alberto Romulo told the US ambassador in Manila that Philippine and Dutch governments reportedly collaborated for years to build a case against Sison, but even this could not stand judicial scrutiny.

US opposed de-listing despite lack of evidence

In a confidential 2009 cable (09MANILA1219) from the US embassy in Manila, US ambassador Kristie Kenney vehemently opposed the delisting of Sison by the EU, even if no new information or evidence was available to support his retention in the list.

“The absence of new information does not negate the very significant information we have had for some time regarding Sison. If Sison and the NPA were to reject their past actions and pledge not to engage in such activity again, there might be some grounds for revisiting their designations, but on the contrary they refuse to agree to a ceasefire and continue to carry out kidnappings and killings. Under the circumstances, removal of Sison’s terrorist designation is inadvisable,” Kenney said.

In a secret cable from the Netherlands in May 2009, the US embassy in The Hague sought advice from the US State Department on how keep Sison on the terror list amid the looming decision of the EU Court of First Instance nullifying his inclusion in the list. The cable said that the Dutch government was seeking US assistance because Sison was included in the terror list upon the request of the US government.(09THEHAGUE309)

The US embassy in The Hague cited the inability of the Dutch police, intelligence services and the US embassy in Manila to provide any new information that would justify keeping Sison in the list.

The absence of new evidence or information came despite the massive seizure of NDF documents and equipment during the raids on the NDF office and houses of NDF personnel in the Netherlands by the Dutch authorities in August 2007. The Dutch police seized everything they could get their hands on–computers, disks, papers related to the peace process, personal belongings– and still they could not produce a shred of evidence to support the terrorist listing. Sison was also arrested and detained in this raid.

In another cable (09THEHAGUE636) from The Hague dated October 2009, the US embassy again sought new information that could justify the retention of Sison in the terrorist list. The cable described a bilateral meeting between US and Dutch officials in Brussels where they discussed how to appeal an adverse EU ruling. The Dutch and US officials feared that the UK and German governments opposed the Dutch position and that majority of countries in the EU would not likely support a Dutch appeal.

The US embassy in The Hague also said that information provided by the Philippine government linking Sison to money-laundering activities was “insufficient to support prosecution in the Netherlands”.

In a separate cable issued from the US embassy in Manila, US authorities hinted at the possibility of rendition or deportation of Sison from the Netherlands to the Philippines, but cited as a stumbling block Sison’s status as a judicially recognized political refugee under the Refugee Convention and Article 3 of the European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms. (05MANILA5506)

In the end, both the US, Dutch and Philippine governments ended up failing to justify Sison’s inclusion in the “terrorist list”. They failed to use this as leverage in the peace process. The Dutch government in particular ended up holding an empty bag. The US terrorist-listing, in this case, was exposed as a sham, an apparently arbitrary process that had no requirement of evidence. The three governments merely succeeded in complicating an already complicated peace process. ###


2011-09-09 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.

10:20 PM A very comprehensive recent interview with Julian Assange by newspaper Russian Reporter where Julian discusses the strict bail conditions he is under, the financial blockade and other attacks against WikiLeaks, the possible return of the website’s anonymous electronic drop box and the present and future of the organization overall…

- Update: Another interview, published today in the printed version of German newspaper Sueddeutsche Zeitung, titled Julian Assange and how he sees the world covers similar topics. In it Julian mentions OpenLeaks founder and former WikiLeaks spokesperson Daniel Domscheit-Berg's possible cooperation with the Grand Jury investigation against WikiLeaks:

Assange: [Domscheit-Berg] took cash, hardware, material by our sources, e-mails, software and archive material written by me with him. This all happened in context with a workgroup of the CIA working against us and with the investigations by a Grand Jury in Washington.

SZ: Are you trying to say that Daniel Domscheit-Berg was part of that operation?

Assange: I think that Domscheit-Berg is an informant for the police.

SZ: Do you know that or think that?

Assange: His name appears nowhere in the documents of the Grand Jury while my own and the names of other individuals from our organization are listed there.

Read the full interview here, courtesy of @HomoCarnula.

09:30 PM WikiLeaks’ week of leaking Nigerian leaders: Nigeria’s most recently released diplomatic cables, summarized.

Some of the cables detail the inner workings of Nigerian government, the corruption of its leaders and policies re, how the personalities clashed for one reason or the other. Indeed, one is now let into how the destiny of the nation is shaped. The reports are confessional stamens by the leaders.
For example, the cable said some officials in the office of the National Security Adviser once offered the United States Government full access to the biometric information stored in the international passports of Nigerians in 2007(…) via Vanguard

09:00 PM U.S. Government is the largest population control promoter in the Philippines, backed controversial Reproductive Health Bill, currently under consideration.

08:00 PM Indian newspaper Tehelka reports on WikiLeaks’ latest releases concerning Kashmir that currently have "the political leadership running for cover":

What was being known in whispers or left embargoed by the local press has now come out in printed words in almost 1100 Kashmir cables leaked by Wikileaks recently.

07:40 PM A spokesman to Zimbabwe’s ruling party Zanu-PF referred to WikiLeaks’ revelations about private encounters between party officials and U.S. diplomats as disturbing and demoralising and hinted at a possible investigation as a result, according to press reports:

"One of the cables said central bank chief Gideon Gono told a US ambassador that Mugabe has prostate cancer and was advised by doctors in 2008 that he had less than five years to live.
In another cable, indigenisation minister Saviour Kasukuwere allegedly told former US ambassador Tom McDonald that Mugabe and his cronies should ‘phase out of their leadership role.’" via APF

07:15 PM An interview with WL Central writer icon, by antiperson. Topics include coverage of the latest WikiLeaks releases by bloggers and in the mainstream press:

"I believe bloggers will be the driving force, and Twitter users. There is a larger number of us going through cables and tweeting the results. It takes a while to recognize the patters, and to familiarize yourself with the style, so that you are able to find some interesting keywords, and stories. At present, it is mainly journalists from smaller, regional news outlets who seem to be receptive to cablegate coverage. The main stream press is far more lethargic, and waits for the story to be advertized or promoted by others first."

07:05 PM Parody: Julian Assange Agrees to Pose for Playgirl. An hilarious take on the relation between the press and Julian Assange by spoof newspaper ‘The Washington Fancy’.

"NYTimes: Mr. Assange, you’ve been voted Newsweek’s Man of the Year, you’ve been awarded the Sydney Peace Medal, and you’re nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Is it true that you hate democracy?

Assange: Why would–? Do you know what democracy means?

NYTimes: It means following rules, sir."

05:00 PM is now hosting Cablegate in its unredacted form.

This so those mentioned can see what is said about them easily and so media who abused our redaction contract can be held to account., WikiLeaks wrote in a twitter message yesterday.

Another two messages on the WikiLeaks twitter account draw attention to the deletion of the phrase "Tymoshenko hid her wealth in property and investments in the UK" from one of the cables by newspaper The Guardian.


The other tweet - Here is an example of "Cable cooking" from the Guardian. There are hundreds more. linked to a Counterpunch article from February, entitled Cable Cooking and the War on Assange denouncing and weighing in on the deletion:

"Why is Harding protecting Mrs. Baturina?
He does it again in cable 08KYIV2414, which chronicles a conversation between the Ukrainian businessman Firtash and the US Ambassador. Harding deleted one curious sentence: “he added that Tymoshenko hid her wealth in property and investments in the UK”.
Perhaps he did it with an eye toward British libel laws, the strictest in Europe? This explanation was suggested by several kind readers of my report in Counterpunch. Not likely. This consideration might justify deletion on The Guardian site, but in no way it would explain why Harding had to upload his redacted version to the Wikileaks site as well – but he did."

Update: Another tweet on this subject, linking to a U.S. Embassy cable about the semi-annual meeting of the Arab League Boycott group reads Guardian doesn't want you to know that Merrill Lynch and Estee Lauder were on the Arab League boycott list.

2011-09-10 The Vatican cables revisited. Just a matter of procedure?

A 2001 cable discusses the potential release of archive material on a highly sensitive topic, the dealings of Eugenio Pacelli, later pope Pius XII, during Second World War. This cable (01VATICAN4258) was first published in a redacted form by the Guardian. Its full text was later on released by Wikileaks. Both versions can be accessed here.

The cable describes a meeting between embassy staff and Peter Gumpel, SJ the keeper of the archive, to discuss a way forward, so that the existing material could be released without delay, while maintaining a "positive, productive dialogue".

According to the cable, Gumpel responded:


The following passage was redacted by the Guardian. According to the full Cablegate archive, it went on to say:


In the following, a passage describing this "political issue" has also been removed:


There is no obvious reason to redact these passages. No informants are named. Cardinal Keeler is a public figure, and it is not conceivable why his position in this very important matter should be kept secret. The cable does not name the Jewish members of the committee that allegedly insulted Gumpel. Overall, the only effect of these redactions is that they downplay the conflicts within the commission.

This primary source was edited in a way that its content was drastically altered. This fact is even more puzzling as it was far more discrete than the many newspaper reports on the matter, which have appeared over the years. For instance, the Telegraph named one of the members of the commission who disagreed with Gumpel.

2011-09-11 Bulgarian Ambassador in Washington - Trusted Informant of USA


Bulgarian Ambassador in Washington DC, Elena Poptodorova and former American Ambassador in Sofia, John Beyrle

A secret diplomatic cable [08SOFIA185], released by Wikileaks and dated March 27, 2008, reveals that Bulgarian Ambassador in Washington, DC, now serving a second term there, Elena Poptodorova and then Deputy Defense Minister, Sonya Yankulova, have informed American Ambassador in Sofia John Beyrle about plans to increase the Bulgarian contingent in Kandahar by fifty rangers, months before the official decision of the Bulgarian cabinet.

The cable is also shading light on the steady pressure exerted by US officials on the Government of Bulgaria to expand its Afghan contribution with new contingent.

In two separate meetings, Poptorova and Yankulova have stressed to Beyrle that this had been sensitive information while the diplomat wrote in the cable, classified as secret, that both ladies must be under a strictly protect status.

"Bulgaria is set to announce a decision to deploy an additional 50 soldiers to take over the Entry Control Point Number Four mission at Kandahar Airfield. It is keeping this decision under tight wraps for now. We expect the formal decision will be made just before the NATO Summit, and the announcement itself probably in Bucharest by the Prime Minister. Both Ambassador Poptodorova in Washington and Deputy Defense Minister Yankulova (strictly protect) have foreshadowed this outcome and the sensitivity of the decision and announcement timing," Beyrle informs in his report.

"While a formal decision is still days off, and there is still some scope for a mis-step, we would be surprised if Bulgaria does not come through," the Ambassador concludes.

The decision to increase the Bulgarian contingent in Afghanistan by 50 more rangers was not announced in Bucharest, but two months later, on June 10, 2008.

At the end of the cable, Beyrle gives high marks to then Prime Minister, Sergei Stanishev, and his Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivailo Kalfin, for the demonstrated significant political leadership in maintaining a pro-NATO course.

The directive "strictly protect" is mentioned 8 times in cables sent from Sofia while only three of the sources to be strictly protected are Bulgarian officials.

Another diplomatic cable, published in June, revealed that in 2003 then Chief of Staff, and now Chief of Staff of President, Georgi Parvanov, Gen. Nikola 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 is the third official designated to be strictly protected in diplomatic cables sent from Sofia. After the information was revealed, the Bulgarian State Agency for National Security, DANS, announced they are probing Kolev's case.

Before the whole Cablegate database was released, Bivol followed the guidelines for concealing the US sources according to the Wikileaks (and State Department) rules "to protect people in totalitarian societies or failed states who could be imprisoned or killed, or perhaps denied housing, schooling, food or other services if exposed as having helped the United States". This is not the case of the Bulgarian officials mentioned as "strictly protect" in the cables.

Ambassador Poptodorova told that she was aware of the text of the cable and has nothing to comment on it.

Former PM Stanishev has also been approached by Bivol. He said that "the cabinet's decision on Afghanistan had been made in June, but there were many discussions prior to it." He had no recollection of Poptodorova and Yankulova being authorized to inform the Americans, but pointed out it was very likely their move was approved by then Foreign Minister Kalfin and Defense Minister, Nikolay Svinarov.

Stanishev further told that he was satisfied his cabinet had been considered a predictable and reliable NATO partner all while being able to protect the lives and the health of Bulgarian rangers who were never sent to battle as were their Romanian counterparts.

Kalfin and Yankulova have not been available for comments.

2011-09-14 Caracas Cables Pt V: U.S.-Venezuela Journalist Exchange; Charitable View of Obama, Cash Seizure at Venezuelan Airport

Authored by Nikolas Kozloff

Chávez's "Charm Offensive"

Even during the darkest days of the Bush administration, Venezuela made efforts to mend relations with Washington. In 2005, for example, Chávez's Minister of Communications Andrés Izarra met with U.S. ambassador in Caracas William Brownfield. In an earlier meeting, Brownfield had suggested that Venezuelan journalists visit the U.S., an idea which Izarra had found lacking as "such visits might merely be indoctrination trips by the U.S. government." Nevertheless, during his follow up visit Izarra suggested that the two countries should explore the idea of conducting journalist exchanges, provided of course that the U.S. would follow up in kind and "invite U.S. journalists to Venezuela for reciprocal visits to poor Venezuelan communities where they might witness the government of Venezuela social missions."

Izarra's offer seems reasonable enough, yet the caustic and dismissive Brownfield was skeptical of Chávez's so-called "charm offensive." The ambassador remarked that Izarra had acted "very severely" toward several accredited U.S. journalists based in Venezuela. Izarra retorted that several American reporters, including the correspondent of the Miami Herald, had been "consistently and erroneously critical of the government of Venezuela and its policies," and therefore the Minister believed he "had a duty to criticize their errors."

Predictably, the meeting did not bear any fruit. It was unlikely, Brownfield remarked, that the U.S. Embassy would ever coordinate any journalist visits to Venezuela. Writing to his superiors in Washington after the meeting, Brownfield declared sarcastically "the charm offensive continues...Our judgment is still that the government of Venezuela offensive is tactical in nature."

Charitable View of Obama

In the summer of 2009, President Manuel of Zelaya, the president of Honduras as well as a Chávez protégé, was overthrown in a military coup d'etat. To this day, it's unclear whether Washington played a covert role behind the scenes in bringing about Zelaya's ouster, but in Venezuela diplomats gave the newly elected Obama the benefit of the doubt. Unlike the Bush era, when meetings such as the Brownfield - Izarra tete-a-tete ended in failure, the political climate seemed much improved during the first months of the incoming Obama administration.

Temir Porras, the chief of staff for Chávez's Foreign Minister, told the U.S. Chargé d'Affaires in Caracas that "elements within the U.S. government had been involved in the Honduras coup, but...President Obama has good intentions and was unaware of what his government was doing." Elaborating, Porras said that within the Chávez ranks there was "great debate" about the new administration in Washington and its intentions toward Venezuela.

Obama had taken a constructive approach toward Chávez, Porras said, but this had "irritated" and elicited pressure from other elements within the U.S. government. The American Chargé d'Affaires took issue with the notion that Obama was not firmly in control of American foreign policy, remarking that "the coup was in Honduras, not in Washington."

Note: to this day, the role of shadowy U.S. elements in the Honduras imbroglio remains something of a mystery [for full coverage of such groups, head to my web site for June and July, 2009]. Whatever the case about Honduras, the WikiLeaks cables suggest that Chávez was, at least initially, willing to give Obama the benefit of the doubt in Latin America. Unfortunately, however, relations took a sour turn subsequently.

Cash Seizure at Venezuelan Airport

On an unrelated note, this strange cable raises questions of U.S. government interference in Venezuelan political affairs. In 2004, customs authorities at the Caracas airport confiscated a shipment of $2.5 million in cash owned by Italcambio, Venezuela's largest exchange house. According to officials, Italcambio failed to properly declare the shipment. The money was aboard an American Airlines flight from Miami, seat of the anti-Chávez and anti-Castro crowd, and the owner of Italcambio, Carlos Dorado, was widely known as a Chávez critic. According to web site, Dorado was a columnist for right wing paper El Universal and funded opposition activities.

The pro-Chávez newspaper Diario VEA made a "public crusade" of the Italcambio case, floating theories that Dorado was conducting money laundering tied to U.S.-government "conspiracies." However, Dorado told the U.S. Embassy in Caracas that the seizure "was part of a pattern of government of Venezuela harassment of his firm in retaliation for his frequent anti-Chávez statements to the press," and that the cash shipment was a "routine activity" drawn from a Bank of America account not requiring any special advance customs notification.

Speaking to the Americans, Venezuelan officials remarked that the country's internal security service had proof that the shipment was "a funneling operation from the U.S. government," a claim rejected as patently "absurd" by embassy personnel. Other authorities stated that "on its face," Italcambio's actions were legal, but the firm could face legal problems if it failed to account for all of its imported dollars.

Mysteriously, I can't find any other news articles on the Italcambio cash seizure story for later years. If the Chávez government had any hard evidence against Italcambio it certainly backed away from its initial sensationalist claims, and predictably the U.S. embassy dismissed any conspiracy theories. Of course, this doesn't mean that other, more clandestine U.S. government agencies did not have an inkling of what was happening. For further revelations, we may have to wait for CIA leakers to come clean about what the U.S. government was up to in Venezuela.

Nikolas Kozloff is the author of Revolution: South America and the Rise of the New Left, and No Rain in the Amazon: How South America's Climate Change Affects the Entire Planet. Visit his web site at

2011-09-14 Clashes in front of the parliament after austerity vote in #Italy

Image At least 40 injured and Rome left billowing in smoke after anti-austerity protesters clash with riot police in front of Parliament for over two hours tonight.

After weeks of dithering on the precipice of his own downfall, Silvio Berlusconi tonight survived a crucial vote of confidence, by one of the narrowest possible margins, allowing his government it to push through its proposed package of deeply unpopular austerity measures.

The cutbacks and tax hikes had been demanded by the European Central Bank in exchange for its buy-up of Italian bonds on secondary markets, after markets turned their sights on Italy last month, pushing the government’s borrowing costs close to the level where Greece had previously required an EU bailout.

But as Parliament prepared to vote on the austerity measures, violent clashes broke out between protesters and riot police. Downtown Rome was left billowing in smoke and littered with debris as at least 40 protesters were injured by random rounds of police baton charges.

“The police displayed a disproportionate reaction,” one witness told La Repubblica. “They were hit with batons, even women. A mother, too, was pushed and fell to the ground.” Images on Italian TV showed several people with bleeding head wounds and other injuries.

“And all this,” lamented Luca Cafagna of Unicommon, “because they are protesting against a move that is not shared, that will affect precarious young people, and that will not contribute to development. We need mass mobilizations in the fall,” he concluded, “especially in light of October 15th.”

On that day, mass demonstrations are scheduled to take place around the world to demand global change and an end to the oligarchy of financial elites and their political patrons. Take the Square, the international wing of the 15-M movement in Spain, has transformed itself into the digital hub of these worldwide events.

As the Italian crisis deepens, the people finally appear to be waking up from their deep slumber of political apathy. Tonight’s violence begs the question if Italy may soon be headed down the same road as Greece, where mass resistance to the austerity memorandum has made its implementation virtually impossible.

Either way, whatever happens in coming days and weeks, one thing has now become abundantly clear: the wave of protests and clashes that has been shaking the Mediterranean since the beginning of this year has finally reached the Italian shores. Things could start to get very serious very soon indeed.

Pictures of the clashes here, video here and here (embedding disabled)

2011-09-14 Rudolf Elmer interview with India Today

In his first interview since being released from jail, Rudolf Elmer stated to India Today that:

- the investigation against him is still ongoing, and that he could not make any detailed statements because he would be arrested again.

- the CDs he handed over to Julian Assange in the Frontline Club were empty. He also said that it was only a symbolic handover, because it was a public place, and because the police could have intervened. He also said that Assange would not have come, had there not been information.

- that he would not have been released from prison had any data been published.

- that he cannot answer whether any Indian names are on a list he allegedly gave to Assange, as the investigation against him was still ongoing.

- it is possible to keep money out of reach of tax authorities. He also describes how this could be done, in hypothesis.

- that he cannot comment on whether any Indian cricket players have Swiss bank accounts because his investigation is still ongoing.

- that private investigators put pressure on him and his family, including his six year old daughter.

- that he filed a complaint at the European Court of Human Rights.

- that he will appear in court in November.

- that Assange protected him and his family. This statement was made in reply to a question whether there was a deal between Assange and the courts that Assange will not publish the data.

WL Central cannot verify these claims. The above is merely a summary of some key points in this interview. For our previous coverage of the topic please see this link.

2011-09-14 WikiLeaks statement regarding Argaw Ashene

Wikileaks just published the following statement:

"Recent statement by the New York based CPJ is misleading.

The Ethiopian journalist, Argaw Ashine, mentioned by the CPJ in its press release today, is not detailed by WikiLeaks cables as a US embassy informant. No journalistic source is named or identified in the cable. Rather, Mr. Ashine is mentioned, in passing, in relation to events in 2005 and 2006. Neither was Mr. Ashine named by the CPJ in a list of journalistic related redactions processed by us. While, it is outrageous for a journalist to feel the need to leave their country for a period, neither is it good for the CPJ to distort the facts for marketing purposes. Extraordinarily, the CPJ reserves more words for WikiLeaks, who has no influence on the situation, than it does for the Ethiopian government, or its military and intelligence backer, Washington.

The Guardian newspaper disclosed the Cablegate decryption password, and nearly a year of careful redactions, in a violation of our Memorandum of Understanding. The Guardian editor responsible has stated (to the Economist), that he "regrets" the error. Such issues are part and parcel of working with the mainstream press, which must be able to decrypt our material in order to read it. Understandably, we are reconsidering how we deal with such institutions, if at all.

In the last two weeks WikiLeaks has released details on the slayings of several journalists by U.S. forces. The CPJ has covered none of the new detail on these killings, or the dozens of other attacks on the press we have recently exposed in the last month. Nor has it spoken about the hundred raids or arrests on our supporters, or the unprecedented extrajudicial economic warfare levied against us. We hope that this is an oversight and not a reflection of CPJ's U.S. centric funding arrangements.

The broader issues are detailed in New Scientist:

And here:

Ethiopian-US relations:–_United_States_relations

And here:


Both the CPJ and Wikileaks refer to the journalist in question as "Mr. Ashine", who is not mentioned in Cablegate. Most likely, they mean Argaw Ashene, who is mentioned here.

2011-09-16 U.S. PSYOP programs expand on a global scale

"You may not be interested in psychological warfare, but psychological warfare is interested in you."
-Xu Hezhen

As the U.S. has increased its use of Psychological Operations (PSYOP), the acknowledged effectiveness of its methods has led to global use of PSYOPS tactics by both U.S. allies and enemies. Recent reports indicate that U.S. PSYOP has even extended to target U.S. citizens - which constitutes a violation of law.

According to the U.S. Army website, "the role of Psychological Operations [PSYOP] is to alter the behavior of foreign populations in a manner consistent with United States diplomatic, national security and foreign policy objectives." Upon assessing a target, a team of PSYOP specialists will "deliver the right message at the right time and place" to induce the desired psychological effect and behavior. PSYOP is often used during warfare to provoke dissension among the ranks of opposition forces and their supporters, and to otherwise disrupt and undermine an enemy's ability to mobilize. It may be either overt or secret, and its methods range from the dissemination of objective information to tactics of deception. Its first extensive use is said to have occurred during World War II, when U.S. radio engineers aimed to mislead and demoralize German troops by broadcasting the sound effects of large numbers of Allied military units on the battlefield. PSYOP has also allegedly been used against U.S. allies and neutral countries. Reportedly, during the 1980s, the U.S. and Britain deployed military vessels into Swedish waters, convincing the Swedish population that the ships were of Soviet origin. As intended, this persuaded Swedes of the supposed Soviet threat, and in the process turned many of them against the Soviet Union.

The 2003 toppling of a statue of Saddam Hussein in Baghdad was (contrary to popular belief) staged by a U.S. Army PSYOP team. According to cables released by Wikileaks, U.S. PSYOP units during the war in Iraq have organized "poetry readings, concerts and Koranic recitations," while also employing local television outlets to turn the public against Al Qaeda. Kabul embassy cables show that the U.S. has encouraged the use of PSYOP in Afghanistan's Public Protection Program, to generate "local support and responsibility for security."

PSYOP methods reportedly include: the dissemination of propaganda via leaflets, local television and radio stations, newspapers, and the internet; using prolonged noise harassment to demoralize targets; and telephoning the family members of enemy forces, in efforts to intimidate the opposition. The U.S. has portrayed PSYOP as an essential tool in the global War on Terror. As one cable explains:

Expanded Trans-Regional Program objectives are to encourage divisiveness amongst members of trans-regional terrorist organizations; discourage membership in trans-regional terrorist organizations; discourage financial and logistical support for trans-regional terrorists and their affiliates; deny sponsorship and support by unwitting supporters of trans-regional terrorist organizations; discredit trans-regional terrorist organizations; marginalize radical ideology and develop a favorable information environment to U.S. and participating nations.

Recently, the U.S. has expanded its global PSYOP efforts; embassy cables illustrate the extent to which allies have enlisted U.S. assistance in developing and implementing their own PSYOPS programs. One cable shows that the U.S. expanded its counter-terrorism campaign by deploying PSYOP personnel into Mexico. Cables issued from 2001-2007 show extensive coordination between the U.S. and Colombian governments in support of Colombia's efforts to rout alleged guerrilla groups and "narco-gangs."

However, U.S. PSYOPS activity has not been limited to the Americas. The U.S. has implemented, assisted, or recommended PSYOP within the national borders of such "critical partner[s]" as Nepal, Thailand, Indonesia, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. A 2008 Paraguay embassy cable reveals the use of PSYOP not only in response to actual conflicts, but as a pre-emptive measure: in the absence of any imminent terrorist threat, the government of Paraguay expressed an interest in using PSYOP to "deter the development of transnational narco-terrorism and terrorism" and "to support stability operations, whose purpose is to eliminate internal threats and deny conditions that could be exploited by terrorists through their enablers." Increasingly, the U.S. and its allies have contended with the successful use of PSYOP tactics by enemy nations and groups labeled as terrorist organizations. A 2006 cable complains that the Taliban had successfully made use of PSYOP to "misrepresent" the acts of coalition forces; other embassy cables lament the gains of "disinformation" campaigns waged by opposition groups in Turkey and Nepal.

More troubling to some have been indications that the U.S. may have recently overstepped its bounds by using PSYOP domestically. U.S. government personnel are legally prohibited from using PSYOP tactics against their fellow citizens. Nevertheless, earlier this year, a scandal ensued after accusations flew that a top general had illegally used PSYOP against U.S. senators -- allegedly so as to influence them to provide more troops and funding for the war in Afghanistan. Other recent reports revealed that, for at least a decade, the U.S. Army has allegedly used local U.S. television stations as PSYOP "training posts." With the ostensible aim of providing opportunities for its personnel to learn new skills, the U.S. military has also placed PSYOP forces in internships at major U.S. media outlets such as Cable News Network (CNN) and National Public Radio (NPR).

2011-09-17 @TakeTheSquare release: Why we are marching in Paris on September 17 #Antibanks #Sept17

This Saturday, tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of people will take to the streets in a global day of action against the banks. Here is why we march.

A New Season of Protest

The fall of discontent has begun. This Saturday, September 17th, tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of people will take to the streets and squares of financial districts in dozens of cities around the world in a global day of action against the excessive power of the banking sector -- and for a more just, more stable, and more sustainable global financial system.

On this exciting day, we will march, squat, block and occupy the physical domain of the financial terrorists who got us into this mess in the first place, and who have since kept the world enthralled to their self-interested prescription of brutally anti-social austerity measures. On this day, we will agitate against the giant vampire squid that, as Matt Taibbi so powerfully illustrated, continues to live parasitically off our economy, blatantly undermining the most basic principles of our democracy and social welfare system.

But our actions will not be merely antagonistic. We take to the streets and squares because we believe that another world is possible -- a world in which the interests of the people are upheld as the highest possible good; a world in which capital is equitably redistributed to where it is most needed; a world in which banks promote thrift, not profligacy; a world in which corrupt financial elites are held to account for their criminal behavior; a world in which the financial industry is subservient to the real job-creating economy; and a world in which governments are accountable to their people, not to the banksters.

A Global Day of Action

But in order to realize this vision, we need to unite across borders. As Slavoj Žižek once put it, “the reply to every crisis should be more internationalist and universalist than the universality of global capital.” To celebrate the beauty of transnational mobilization and to be a part of this historical moment, ROAR will join the much-anticipated action in Paris, which will be a particularly special occasion as hundreds of indignados are scheduled to arrive in the French capital this weekend as part of their long march from Madrid to Brussels. The marcha popular a Bruselas, which brings together activists from Spain, Italy, France, Greece and numerous other countries, will join thousands of French indignés for a march to the Bastille, passing the Banque de France along the way.

At the same time, activists around the world, coordinated by open-ended and fully autonomous platforms like Take the Square, European Revolution and US Day of Rage, have been building momentum for Tahrir-style tent camps in the financial districts of dozens of cities around the world -- from Athens to Amsterdam, from Madrid to Montréal and from Tel Aviv to Toronto. All of this will culminate in what is undoubtedly to be the most spectacular and most anticipated event of all: the attempted occupation of Wall Street following a call-to-action by the culture jammers at Adbusters.

The Banking Crisis That Never Went Away

As it turns out, the anti-banks demonstrations of September 17 could not have been timed better: as the “first world” turns another dark page in the modern-day tragedy of its rapidly escalating debt crisis, Western banks and governments suddenly find themselves staring into the abyss. Ever since S&P's downgrade of the US credit rating, trust on financial markets appears to have all but evaporated, and speculators have been making a run on governments and banks alike. Some experts now believe it will only be a matter of weeks (even days!) before wealthy banksters are once again “forced” to extend their begging bowl to the average citizen.

Just three years after the multi-trillion dollar bank bailouts of 2008 narrowly averted the total collapse of the global financial system, the situation looks just as gloomy as it did surrounding the collapse of Lehman Brothers. A month-long bloodbath on global stock markets has seen the value of some of the world’s most powerful banks -- the very core of the global capitalist economy -- decimated on a near-daily basis. Bank of America, for example, the largest bank in the US, lost over half of its stock value this year, at one point losing a whopping 20 percent in a single day of trading.

Meanwhile, the European debt crisis has finally been revealed for what it always already was: a banking crisis resulting from reckless lending to countries that -- given their exorbitant debt levels and anemic growth -- would clearly be incapable of repaying those loans in the first place. Just like the American banks that so greedily bought up subprime mortgage-backed securities, European banks overextended themselves on “subprime” bonds from peripheral economies, like Greece, Ireland and Portugal. This was never just a fiscal problem for the "lazy workers" of the European periphery, as the populists would have it -- this was a European banking crisis all along. Those in power just tried really hard to keep us from realizing it, by framing the discourse on the crisis in terms of Protestant moralism and nationalist superiority.

But this week, French banks, which were the most avid consumers of Greek debt, finally found themselves sucked into the turmoil, their stock value virtually evaporating overnight. Moody’s just downgraded the credit rating of Société Générale and Crédit Agricole, the country’s second and third largest bank, respectively, while the largest -- BNP Paribas -- has been put on review for a downgrade. President Sarkozy felt obliged to reiterate his support for the oligarchs: never would the pinnacles of French capitalism be allowed to fail, he said, even though the total assets of just these three banks amounts to a whopping 236 percent of the country’s GDP.

In the meantime, the Federal Reserve and European Central Bank have been buying up so many ‘toxic assets’ (the Fed in the form of mortgage-backed securities that no one knows the real value of; the ECB in the form of peripheral bonds) that even the two paragons of Western capitalism are now facing insolvency. Indeed, if the value of those securities were to fall 6 percent, the Fed could be tipped into bankruptcy, while a drop of 4.25 percent in the ECB’s asset base would literally lead to its demise. Since the inevitable Greek default will already chip off a lousy 2.5 to 3.7 percent, this no longer seems like a distant possibility but an actual threat. Once again, tax payers will be forced to step in, this time to save the central bankers.

Why We Are Marching

So why, you may ask, are we mobilizing again? Who cares? And what difference will it make? Well, the truth is that no one knows who cares and what difference it will make until we actually do it -- and that's exactly why we are doing it. It is not only our right but our duty to stand up in the face of such blatant injustice; to defend our democracy from the financial interests that are trying to hijack it for personal gain; to propose an alternative at a time when we are being falsely told that there is none.

We are mobilizing on September 17 because we know that the total cost of saving the US banking sector was higher than the total cost of WWI, WWII, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, the New Deal, the Marshall Plan and the Apollo Project, all added together and adjusted for inflation; and we know that the people are now being made to pay for that through years and years of austerity measures -- while the bankers themselves are getting away unscathed.

We are mobilizing because we know that Gary D. Cohn, president of Goldman Sachs, personally flew to Athens and conspired with the conservative government there in order to embezzle Greece's true debt levels. And, yes, we know that the Greek bailout was never there to help the Greek people, but rather served as an indirect subsidy to the European banks that had overextended themselves on Greek bonds in the lead-up to the crisis.

We are mobilizing because we know, furthermore, that Goldman Sachs was the second largest contributor to Barack Obama’s election campaign, and because we know that Joseph Ackermann, the head of Deutsche Bank and the Institute of International Finance, is a leading economic advisor to Angela Merkel. We are mobilizing because we know who pulls the strings behind our governments, central banks and international financial institutions.

We are also mobilizing because we know that the last three decades -- since Reagan and Thatcher embarked upon their neoliberal crusade with widespread capital account liberalization and radical financial deregulation -- have seen the most frequent and most severe financial crises in history. Indeed, we know that the current 'state of emergency' is not the exception but the rule; we know that East Asia, Argentina and countless others have gone before us.

We are mobilizing because we know that while hospitals are being closed, pensions cut, state assets privatized, cultural budgets slashed, workers’ rights abolished, and tuition fees raised, the banksters ran away with record profits and record bonuses last year -- higher than other year in history. We are mobilizing because we know that we are not in this all together; we know that a tiny fraction of society is directly gaining from the immiserization of everyone else.

We are mobilizing because we know that even the tiniest of taxes on financial transactions -- a so-called Tobin tax, or Robin Hood tax -- could easily pay for the social services that are being cut “out of necessity” right now. We are mobilizing because we know that austerity is a mere ideological ploy, that it’s all a big hoax, that we are being conned. Yes, we know that this is the greatest bank heist in history, and we know that it’s the bankers doing the robbing.

There Is An Alternative!

But we also know that there is an alternative: we know that cooperative banks, which are collectively owned by their customers, have weathered the crisis better than any other; we know that, prior to the abolition of the distinction between investment banks and retail banks, banking crises were far and between; we know that small credit unions have a much better record in promoting thrift and investing in small business than the large financial conglomerates that dominate the present landscape; we know that, by re-instituting capital controls, we can greatly diminish financial volatility and render the 'exit threats' that give the banks power largely meaningless.

And, finally, we have all read the news about Iceland: we therefore know that it is possible to hold the banksters to account for their criminal behavior; we know that it is possible to lock up the directors of even the largest and most successful financial institutions; we know that, with sustained pressure from civil society, with mass mobilization, and a grand outpouring of popular discontent, we can shift the dynamics of financial dictatorship back towards democracy. Indeed, we are well versed in the tactics of non-violence and the art of civil disobedience, and following the honorable Dr King, we know that the arc of the moral universe is long -- but that it bends towards justice.

So for these and countless other reasons, we will take back the streets this Saturday, September 17th, in a grand bid to reclaim our democracy from the dictatorship of financial capital and the ruthless logic of the market. Wherever you may be, we hope to see you there.

Posters, banners and promotion material here.

Actions #Antibanks #Sept17 #OccupyWallStreet

International Jammers!
We call on jammers across the world to occupy financial districts on September 17:

Other actions for 17th September

  • in Barcelona, Spain – Forum and Barcelona Hub International Meting. International meeting of social organizers in order to set a plan for a global rally on 15th October. (15-18th September)
  • Paris, France - Marches from Greece, France, Spain, Italy, etc. will arrive to Paris and there will be a big demonstration there. Read more in Road to Brussels, The marches to Brussels and Paris Reelle Democratie
  • Italy – Marches to Rome starts. Follow it in fb.
  • Athens, Greece proposes to boicott the banks withdrawing money for 4 days, still not clear when do they start (decided on Syntagma assembly on September 5th)
  • Cambridge, UK – Workshops on the financial crisis. Flyer here.

2011-09-19 Bodnar: Polish secrecy law might trigger mass protest and a coalition of NGOs

In an interview with press agency PAP, Adam Bodnar (Helsinki Foundation) called on Polish president Bronisław Komorowski to veto a proposed law that will prevent access to public records, if a release would have a negative impact on the economic interests of the government. Such a law would in effect prevent access to data on international negotiations.

He stated that NGOs might form a coalition to join forces in protesting against such a law. Based on discussion he read on the internet, he also predicts a mass protest, should this serious infringement of civil liberties be in fact be ratified.

As recent months have shown, this is not an unrealistic scenario; an online protest has recently led to increased press coverage of the investigation into a CIA prison in Masovia.

The Helsinki Foundation, which also runs the Observatory of the Dealings of the CIA on the Territory of the Republic of Poland, opposes the new legislation.

2011-09-19 Human Rights Roundup

Current news of any violations, legal progress, setbacks or other news in human rights as defined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

United States: Death Row inmate Troy Davis is scheduled to be executed September 21st, 2011 for the 1991 murder of an Atlanta police officer. Amnesty International has highlighted several inconsistencies in his case, Including a lack of physical evidence and contradictory witness testimony. Amnesty has lead a campaign asking for a stay of execution, stating that there is “Too Much Doubt” in his case to allow for a good-faith execution to take place. Among his supporters are former US President Jimmy Carter, former FBI Director William Sessions, and Pope Benedict XVI.

China: Dissident writer Yang Maodong has been freed after five years in prison. His release comes on the heels of a report by Wang Songlian, of China Human Rights Defenders in Hong Kong, detailing arrests and torture of Chinese activists. Among those profiled was Jiang Tianyong, a Beijing human rights lawyer who was held in a secret location and tortured for two months. The National Peoples' Congress in China is currently discussing amendments that would allow them to hold criminal suspects in secret locations for up to six months. Activists fear that such a change would increase the numbers of forced disappearances of public health and human rights activists.

Ethiopia: Amnesty International has released a statement saying that as many as 100 politicians and at least 5 journalists have been arrested for dissent in Ethiopia since March 2011. In August, 2 opposition leaders were arrested and charged with terrorist acts after meeting with an Amnesty International delegation in Addis Ababa. The Amnesty group was then expelled from the country.

Uganda: Human Right attorney Al-Amin Kimathi has been released from Kampala prison after nearly one year in detention. Kimathi was arrested in 2010 after requesting respect for due process in the case of fourteen terror suspects. Nine of the suspects were subject to illegal rendition, most report being subject to abusive interrogations, and two have made credible allegations of torture.

The Hague: Human Rights Watch has released a 50-page report titled “Unfinished Business: Closing Gaps in the Selection of ICC Cases.” In this report, HRW states that the appointment of a new prosecutor by year's end should allow the Iinternational Criminal Court to close gaps in its selection and prosecution of criminal cases.

Yemen: United Nations officials say that hundreds of Yemeni people have been killed in protest-related violence, and that thousands more have been injured. In a report, the UN mission accuses Yemeni officials of using excessive force while attempting to chill opposition protests. It goes on to detail the growing anti-government sentiment as a result of these actions and cautions that the situation may be devolving into a civil war.

Pakistan: Human rights activists in the city of Lahore have held demonstrations this week asking for human rights without regard to race, gender, or ethnic minority status. Past atrocities in Balochistan were given special attention, as was religious extremism. Center for Human Rights Education (CHRE) director Samson Salamat asked that Pakistan's laws be brought in line with international human rights standards, saying that we are all equal in dignity.

Palestine: In the lead-up to the UN's vote on recognition of a Palestinian state, some questions remain about democratic process and the explosive growth of Israeli settlements.

Sri Lanka: The UN Human Rights Council has received an in-depth report from UN leader Ban Ki-moon accusing the Sri Lankan military of killing tens of thousands of civilians from January to May 2009. Calls for an international inquiry are currently being considered by the Human Rights Council.

2011-09-21 'Korean-translated version of WikiLeaks' launches as a project

This article was originally published in the South Korean national newspaper, Hankyoreh, in September 20th, 2011. This is an English translation of the article.


‘Korean-translated version of WikiLeaks’ launches as a project
by Jongchan Park

Websites sharing Korean-translated versions of the U.S. embassy cables which were leaked through the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks are bursting out around the country.

The most well known one is ‘WikiLeaks Korea’. The main page of this website informs that it is “A project which accepts voluntary Korean-translation of cables related with South Korea”. It also presents the goal of “shedding light on the Truth rapidly, with the united power of Internet users.” It emphasized that “To assure volunteers in protecting their translated cables, this website provides not only privacy protection but also a secure system that can block any attempt of random deletion.” If some groups getting embarrassed by the ongoing translation project try deletion or attacks, it plans to instantly release the IPs publicly and block them, and the archive is constructed in a way that it can be swiftly restored by its real-time backup system.

WikiLeaks Korea has currently posted 25 translated cables and 12 cables which are in the process of translation. Among the 25 cables, raw materials of issues which had been reported partially in national press exist as follows: ‘Republic of Korea: 1987 Annual Terrorism Report’, ‘Lee Myung-bak Dreams Up A Canal Project’, ‘Senior KBS Correspondents See GNP's Victory Inevitable’.

Cables that are still in translation include ‘Korea FTA: Preparatory Discussions On Track’, ‘Kim Il Sung's Birthday And New Titles For Father And Son: Thoughts In The South’ and many others. Famous twitter user Daeyong Park, a journalist working in MBC’s Chuncheon district, whose twitter ID is biguse, and about 20 others including lukypd and methis4u are participating in the translation so far. Translated cables can be directly edited after logging in, and the website administrator also accepts and edits them through the email

The website administrator, Mr. Na, aged 45 and residing in California, wrote in an email interview with Hankyoreh that “Media control conducted in South Korea is at a truly appalling level in the eyes of citizens outside the country(the U.S. citizens).”

“I launched the website to spread the Truth to the public in the midst of false reporting and biased editions that profit certain groups,” wrote Na.

With regards to the security challenges, Na wrote: “I’m confident that I can handle them since I’ve run a company in Silicon Valley for a long time which deals with security problems in the Internet.”

“I’ve already collected several attempts of deletion and attacks, and currently plan to release them on Internet after the range of the attacker groups narrows down.” Mr. Na will report on the newly discovered truth dug up by collective translation efforts, using his twitter ID wikileakskrorg.

Apart from WikiLeaks Korea, twitter ID socoop is currently translating and posting ‘The Translated Titles of South Korean WikiLeaks Cables’. Journalist Daeyong Park also has opened a webpage on Google Docs in 17th September entitled “WikiLeaks translation, through Collective Intelligence” in which internet users can share both raw texts and the Korean translation of them. Currently about 16 cables which received translation requests are posted there, and websites where one can read WikiLeaks materials are linked.

“The person who translated the Translated Titles, socoop, suggested the full text translation, so I proposed collective working via twitter. About 10 people volunteered,” Park said. “I suggested the collective work because of limits which individual press organizations are facing.”

“Translation of high priority would be hot issues like Korea-US FTA,” Park said. “We will organize a supervising group to improve accuracy of the translation and release them officially with the National Trade Union of Media Workers, which would be a comprehensive collaborating efforts that goes on and off-line.”

WikiLeaks Korea and Park are currently concentrating the services to the website WikiLeaks Korea, because of the security and maintenance problems of Google Docs translation.

2011-09-22 Anonymous 'Day of Vengeance' Press Release

ImageNote: This is a press release from not a report by WL Central. WL Central does not condone or condemn this action.

On September 17, 2011 approximately 15,000 peaceful demonstrators in dozens of cities around the USA gathered, marched - and occupied public space to protest the unjust policies of the US government and the corruption in our financial institutions. The central protest site was in the financial district of New York City, where peaceful protesters faced phalanxes of heavily armed paramilitary police officers from local and federal jurisdictions. The arrests began almost immediately, many for violating the 1845 so called "mask" laws.

Later that day, and according to plan - many of these protests ended with a peaceful occupation of public space. Again, the central occupation occurred in NYC. More arrests continued to take place. All of this was expected, it is part of progressive activism. Anonymous was content to challenge these "mask" laws in court. Not only is the Guy Fawkes mask covered under freedom expression as a symbol of our movement, but we believe that everyone has a right to protest anonymously using bandanas, masks - etc.

But then on Tuesday - September 20, 2011 everything changed in a flash of police instigated violence. As rain began to fall on the NYC encampment, heavily armed police moved in; Removing tarps used to cover media equipment, arresting independent journalists, confiscating media equipment - and using excessive force against and arresting innocent peaceful protesters, several of whom were abused and injured.

This year, we heard President Barack Obama and Secretary Hillary Clinton say over and over in country after country from the Balkans through the mid-east to Africa that the right to peacefully protest and occupy public space is a right that MUST be respected in every instance. And they are correct, and this also applies to the USA. In fact, even more so. In the USA of all countries in the world, the police should have been deployed to PROTECT the protesters - not a giant brass bull that is the ultimate symbol of greed and corruption in the United States. And yet we were treated to the grotesque picture of dozens of armored police surrounding this brass bull, while thousands more police were deployed solely to harass, arrest - and abuse peaceful protesters.

Image Anonymous & the other cyber liberation groups around the world together with all the freedom loving people in the USA will NOT stand for this. We will peacefully yet forcefully resist the abuses of the NYC Police Department. And so Anonymous announces a nationwide "Day Of Vengence" to take place in dozens of cities across the USA on Saturday - September 24, 2011 at High Noon.

In coordination with these protests across the USA on September 24th, Anonymous and other cyber liberation groups will launch a series of cyber attacks against various targets including Wall Street, Corrupt Banking Institutions - and the NYC Police Department. We encourage the media to follow the Twitter feed @PLF2012 for ongoing reports throughout the day.

We Are Anonymous - We Are Everywhere - We Are Legion - We Never Forget - We Never Forgive

EXPECT US -- Anonymous

2011-09-22 US government secretly stored nuclear weapons in the Philippines

Just recently, the United States Ambassador in Manila inaugurated a $26 million dollar nuclear detection facility at the Port of Manila, a project aimed at combating the proliferation of nuclear weapons and radioactive material.

The public relations event however may be deemed as part of US nuclear hypocrisy when one considers the historical relations the Philippines had with the US and its nuclear weapons and military bases.

Based on a declassified document from the independent non-governmental organization National Security Archive based in the George Washington University, the US government had secretly stored nuclear weapons in the Philippines, during the time of the Marcos dictatorship.

According to the “Top Secret” document issued in 1969 from the US State Department, Marcos was informed of the storage of nuclear weapons in the Philippines (presumably in the former US bases) as early as 1966 but that the secret storage of nuclear weapons had been going on for "many years".

The memo said that “divulgence of the fact that nuclear weapons are stored in the Philippines, and have been there for many years without prior consultation with the Philippine government, would greatly jeopardize US-Philippine relations, particularly on the eve of presidential elections scheduled on October 11.”

The Philippines previously hosted two of the largest overseas military bases of the US, the Clark Air Base and the Subic Naval Base. Both were used extensively during the Vietnam War as well as the first Gulf War.

The memorandum was issued in response to a Senate inquiry led by Sen. Stuart Symington into CIA operations in Laos and the storage of US nuclear weapons anywhere in the world. The memo sought to provide instructions to State Department officials on how to deal with questions of nuclear weapons storage and what to do if sensitive information on nuclear weapons in the Philippines would be divulged to the media.

The State Department was concerned that giving a “no comment” reply to the US Senate probe would only confirm the existence of nukes in the Philippines. Exactly 20 years ago, the Philippine Senate voted not to renew the US bases treaty, thereby ending four decades of US bases in the Philippines.

The memo proposed that if there was a possibility that sensitive, and potentially embarrassing information, would be leaked to the media, the State Department and Secretary of Defense will– off the record — admit to the existence of nuclear weapons in the Philippines, but will request Senate committee members not to divulge the information.

According to the memo, since Marcos knew of the weapons and the US Senate sub-committee presumably knew as well.

The National Security Archive, which hosts a wide range of declassified US documents, “is an independent non-governmental research institute and library located at The in Washington, D.C. The Archive collects and publishes declassified documents acquired through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA),” according to its website.

Questions on US nuclear hypocrisy arise when the US acts as if it is concerned with the nuclear weapons entering the Philippines despite having secretly stored nuclear weapons in the country without informing the Philippine government.

This chapter of Philippine history should be revisited and the US should be called to task for its deception. The memorandum is also a reminder why activists had fiercely opposed the retention of US bases in the country 20 years ago.

In the inauguration of the nuclear detection facility, US Ambassador Harry Thomas said that “the US and the Philippines have a long history of cooperation and shared many bonds and common values. These shared values are shown here today with our mutual commitment to improve security and safety in the maritime shipping industry.” The so-called shared bonds and values however are tainted with US deception. The US also has a long history of connivance with the dictator Marcos in concealing the presence of nuclear weapons in the Philippines.

Problems with VFA

Under the RP-US Visiting Forces Agreement, Philippine authorities have no way of determining if US warships entering the country are carrying nuclear weapons. Philippine authorities are prohibited from inspecting US ships, both their contents and their personnel.

The US government’s hi-tech nuclear detection device in the Port of Manila does not apply to US warships that freely enter the Philippines under the past and present administrations. We will never know if these ships are bringing in nuclear weapons, nuclear waste or other weapons of mass destruction.

2011-09-24 Eurozone endgame: all that is solid melts into air

With Greece on the verge of default, Italy sucked into the storm, and French banks drawing ever closer to collapse, the euro has finally reached its endgame.

All that is solid melts into air. What we are experiencing at present will define our era for centuries to come. Precisely twenty years after the final collapse of the Soviet Union and the demise of state communism, we are now approaching the endgame for the European Union and the potential demise of European capitalism. The train of economic integration has come grinding to a halt. These are tectonic shifts in world history. But our leaders seem largely oblivious to it.

In many ways, this year has already made its mark upon history: 2011 is the year of revolution, war and crisis; of terror, truth and disaster; of revenge, revolts and riots. But, as we predicted in an article back in December 2010, it might yet be remembered as the year of collapse. None of the underlying causes of the enduring global financial crisis have been addressed. Indeed, the chosen policy response — draconian austerity measures — has only made matters worse.

Tales of Financial Armageddon

And so we find ourselves reading the news, day after day, with the headlines only becoming grimmer. “Greece Nears the Precipice, Raising Fear“, “Italy downgrade adds to eurozone contagion fears“, “The Euro Endgame“, “Eurozone: A nightmare scenario“, ”Global economy: it could be autumn 2008 all over again — but worse“. These are just some indications from the past couple of days, but it’s been going on like this for over a month now.

Amidst these tales of economic Armageddon, it is sometimes hard to dissect the broader dynamics. Some analysts claim we are seeing financial contagion writ large. But this is a bad analogy. Contagion implies the infection of a healthy host, while the European single market was fundamentally unhealthy to begin with. Indeed, neoliberal Europe was sitting on a time bomb of its own making all along. This is not contagion — it’s the unfolding of the inevitable.

The Inevitable Greek Default

We’ve pointed it out many times before (here, here, here and here, for example): a Greek default was inevitable from the very start. With public debt at 142.8 percent of GDP (in 2010), and the economy rapidly contracting as a result of brutal budget cuts, the idea that Greece could ever pay off its debts was always akin to a bad case of political psychosis. As Simon Jenkins of the Guardian mildly puts it, “The unthinkable may [now] be unavoidable. The priests are suddenly talking of “when, not if,” Greece defaults.”

It might happen as early as mid-October, when the Greek government is projected to run out of money. European leaders are withholding an 8 billion euro tranche of the 2010 bailout until the first week of October, citing unhappiness about the “speed of reforms”. The crucial change, however, is that a number of leading German politicians, including the Vice-Chancellor, appear to have embraced a Greek default, which some experts now believe is only weeks or months away.

The Inevitable Italian Sequel

Where the Greeks go, the Romans follow. This August, Italy got sucked into the heart of the European financial storm. As markets observed Europe’s failure to deal decisively with the Greek crisis, attention turned to Italy’s anemic growth and 120 percent public debt/GDP ratio. Standard & Poor’s just downgraded Italy’s credit rating, pushing yields back towards the 6 percent “this-means-trouble” mark, and weighing heavily on the country’s own banks.

Two weeks ago, a humiliated Berlusconi managed to push a series of ECB-imposed austerity measures through Parliament by the narrowest of margins. But if the Greek experience is anything to go by, austerity in Italy is bound to be just as counterproductive. The scary part is that, “except for German bonds, Italian debt is more widely held by European banks than any other government obligation. A default there could devastate Europe’s financial system.”

The Overleveraged Central Bank

So Italy is too large to fail — but it is also too large to bail. Which is why the European Central Bank was called upon to do the firefighting: this August, it swooped into secondary markets to start aggressively buying up Italian and Spanish bonds, both to suppress the borrowing costs for these two crucial dominoes and to clear the “toxic assets” off the balance sheets of European banks. The Keynesians now call for a more activist ECB to help solve the crisis.

But, as David Harvey rightly observed, capitalism never really solves its own crises; it merely moves them around in space and time. In truth, the ECB never put out any fires; it just moved the burning piles of peripheral debt into its own vaults, buying a few more ticks on the time bomb. But in the process, the ECB has become acutely exposed, making it extremely vulnerable to a cascading series of sovereign defaults. The ECB itself could now be tipped into insolvency.

The Run on European Banks

But, however embarrassing an ECB bankruptcy would be for Europe’s neoliberal elite, the gravest threat to the real economy is still the private banking system. Unlike U.S. banks, European banks never really re-capitalized in the wake of the 2008 collapse. Instead, they remained severely overleveraged and overexposed to peripheral debt. Realizing this, American banks simply froze their credit lines to their eurozone counterparts: an “institutional run on the banks.”

As a result, it has become impossible for European banks to obtain dollars. Again, central banks had to jump to the rescue, pumping dollars into the system. But this also failed to restore confidence. Spanish banks remain a total mess, and in the past three months, French banks, which are most acutely exposed to Greek debt, lost over half their stock value. No wonder IMF Chief and former French finance minister Lagarde urges Europe to bail out its banks again.

The Unfolding of the Inevitable

So what we are witnessing is not contagion, but the unfolding of the inevitable: the coming undone of an unsustainable Ponzi scheme of bad loans made to countries that simply weren’t competitive enough to grow their way out of debt. It is essentially a mirror image of the U.S. subprime mortgage crisis at the national level: with too much liquidity flushing around the system, the banks got carried away and started making ever riskier investments.

For a while, everyone seemed to benefit: the Greek people could live like real Europeans; their politicians could keep a restless population at bay; and the French and German banks could jot down fat profit margins. But just like the U.S. housing boom, all this prosperity was an illusion grounded in fictitious capital. At some point, somewhere, someone was going to prick that bubble. It turned out to be Greece. But the day of reckoning was forever a-comin’.

The Collapse of the Eurozone

Now, the response of our leaders hasn’t been particularly useful, to put it mildly. Beholden to a nationalist popular underbelly, a flawed free-market ideology, and a Germanic obsession with budgetary “rules”, Europe has quite literally driven Greece out of the euro. A year ago, a managed default and a sizable injection of productive investment could have allowed Greece to return to growth and pay off at least part of its debts, while looking after the needs of its people.

But today, after a year of disastrous austerity, the Greek economy is contracting faster than it could ever hope to grow — 7.3 percent last quarter. By now, the only way back to growth is by restoring competitiveness through exchange rate devaluation. That would mean an exit from the euro. But when Greece leaves, investors will panic and flee from the other peripheral economies too. A self-fulfilling prophecy could then see the entire South pushed towards the exit.

The Next Global Financial Crisis

Now that’s where it gets really serious. As Barry Eichengreen — the soft-spoken Berkeley economist, and a leading expert on the Great Depression — once wrote, a break-up of the eurozone would unleash the “mother of all financial crises“. Because the external debt of the seceding countries would still be denominated in euros, a euro exit and the consequent devaluation would make their real debt skyrocket — making a full-on disorderly default inevitable.

This, in turn, will make these country’s banking sectors collapse, requiring mass nationalization. If it’s just Greece that goes, the French and German banks might hold up with a minor bailout. But if Italy falls, which is not unlikely, many large European banks will be forced into bankruptcy, followed by instantaneous cascading failures in the U.S. The problem is that we have already spent most of our fiscal ammunition on the 2008-’09 bailouts and stimulus packages.

The Next Great Depression

But given the close ties between global finance and national governments, our leaders are unlikely to allow the banks to fail. Taking into account the precarious state of our public finances, their only option will be to put on the digital printing presses and start spewing out more artificial cash to pump into the system. In other words, we might go into inflation — and we all know what that means: unaffordable consumer products for everyone but the rich.

At the same time, the cost of bailing out the banks again will be reflected in further austerity measures, which in turn will further dampen demand. The IMF is now warning of another impending global recession. But by the time the global banking crisis hits, this recession risks becoming a depression. As credit dries up, demand will grind to a complete halt. If China doesn’t step up as a lender and consumer of last resort, history might very well repeat itself.

The Anatomy of Capitalist Collapse

And so we find ourselves in an extremely precarious situation. We stand on the eve of what could potentially become the most disastrous banking crisis in living memory — much worse than the near-collapse of the global economy in 2008, when the world was just 48 hours away from ATMs running out of money. Even mainstream economists now warn of another Great Depression — or worse. And remember that we did not emerge from the last one until we mobilized for war.

Whatever the future may hold, even right-wing, free-market publications like ForbesBusiness Insider, the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and the Harvard Business Review now admit it: Karl Marx might actually have been right about capitalism’s tendency to self-destruct. After all, it was Marx who first observed that the internal contradictions of the system, barring a number of countervailing factors, were simply unsustainable in the long run.

All That Is Solid Melts Into Air

It was also Marx, who, following the capitalist crisis of 1846-’47, and in the midst of the revolutionary wave sweeping across Europe in 1848, so presciently observed that “everything solid melts into air, all that is holy is profaned, and man is at last compelled to face with sober senses, his real conditions of life, and his relations with his kind.” As the global Ponzi scheme of fictitious finance capital comes undone, the real conditions of life are revealed at last.

While the soothing consumerist lifeline of cheap credit dries up, the real relations with our kind (in the form of stagnant wages, rapidly escalating inequality, regressive taxation and brutal austerity) will be brought back to the surface. What we are experiencing is not really a crisis — it is merely the crystallization of the system’s naked essence into a highly tangible reflection of its previously invisible self. The real exception is not today’s human suffering; the exception was the past twenty years of fake prosperity.

It Will End Where It Once Began

And so, what once seemed solid — our jobs, our homes, our studies, our pensions, our simple day-to-day existence in this world — will melt into thin air. At last, we might be faced with the realization that our democratic rights and economic well-being are nothing but privileges in the hands of the powerful, traded in the marketplace like commodities, discarded upon convenience. When that day arrives, violent confrontation will simply become inevitable.

So mark these words: it will end where it once began. In Athens. I hope I’m wrong. Because it certainly won’t be pretty.

2011-09-25 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


Resuming daily WikiLeaks notes after a two-week interruption, with Cablegate and WikiLeaks-related news published within the last two weeks having received significant coverage, ordered by date ; followed by a list of links to other Cablegate stories.

25/9 Canada paid ransom to free diplomats Robert Fowler and Louis Guay from al-Qaeda in 2009, cables show.

24/9 An unrevised draft of Julian Assange’s memoirs, ghost-written by Andrew O’Hagan, is being distributed without Julian Assange’s consent by Canongate.
In a statement Julian describes the circumstances that lead to the unauthorized publication:

...I am not “the writer” of this book. I own the copyright of the manuscript, which was written by Andrew O’Hagan. By publishing this draft against my wishes Canongate has acted in breach of contract, in breach of confidence, in breach of my creative rights and in breach of personal assurances. The US publisher, Knopf, withdrew from the deal when it learned of Canongate’s intentions to publish without my consent. This book was meant to be about my life’s struggle for justice through access to knowledge. It has turned into something else. The events surrounding its unauthorised publication by Canongate are not about freedom of information — they are about old-fashioned opportunism and duplicity—screwing people over to make a buck.

WikiLeaks encourages the purchase of products from its official store instead of the unauthorized book, as a means to support the whistleblowing organization :


The really large WikiLeaks Supporter stickers is now featuring may be the most efficient way to support WikiLeaks at the moment, due to the financial blockade against WikiLeaks.

They come in three different colors and prices (donation values) : 25 Euro, 50 Euro and 75 Euro.

20/9 A diplomatic cable released by WikiLeaks documents a request by Philip Alston (UN Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions) for a review of the Troy Davis case ; Firedoglake reports:

"The refusal of the courts to grant a rehearing with significant new evidence which casts doubt on the initial conviction appears to amount to a denial of the right to a genuine review as required. [Philip Alston wrote in an email to the US Mission in Geneva in 2008.]

Of the utmost concern to Alston was the following:

Such a genuine review would be particularly appropriate in this case in the light of information regarding the alleged failure of trial counsel to conduct an adequate investigation of the state’s evidence, to which I drew your Government’s attention in a previous communication regarding this case dated 16 July 2007. I also noted that the Georgia Resource Center, a post-conviction defender organization (PCDO) which represented Mr. Davis, reportedly had its budget reduced by two-thirds and the number of lawyers on its staff reduced from eight to two at the time it was engaged in Mr. Davis’ defense. A lawyer working on Troy Davis’ case stated in an affidavit that “I desperately tried to represent Mr. Davis during this period, but the lack of adequate resources and the numerous intervening crises made that impossible, we were simply trying to avert total disaster rather than provide any kind of active or effective representation.”

Citing international law, Alston concluded, “In the present case there are grounds for concern that poor legal representation afforded to Mr. Davis since 1989 has denied him both the right to a fair trial and the right to effectively appeal against conviction and the death sentence.

UN Special Rapporteur also considered Davis’ case to be an extraordinary abuse of the death sentence process (…)"

20/9 Al-Jazeera Network’s director Wadah Khanfar resigns after the publication of a cable where it is alleged the channel complied with a U.S. Government request to change the content of its website.

In a series of conjectural tweets, WikiLeaks provided insight on the circumstances that may have lead to Khanfar’s resignation after 8 years as Al-Jazeera’s director, and his replacement by Qatari Shaikh Ahmad Bin Jasem Al Thani :

"Speculation: Waddah, a Palestinian, was pushed as a result of Qatari adventurism in Libya and pressure from Saud. Replaced by Qatari Royal. (…)Waddah grew more influential than the al-Thani's; Arab Spring+Libya+Bahrain put this in relief; al-Thani's moved to keep power. (…)Waddah's secret meetings with US disclosed by WL then used by al-Thani's to show why they needed to keep the job in the family. (…) Interesting to note Khanfar's indirect call to al-Jazeera's audience to stop Qatari capture on his exit." (1, 2, 3)

19/9 "Newly released diplomatic cables from the whistleblower website WikiLeaks reveal extensive international efforts on the part of U.S. officials to defend the use of cluster bombs around the world. While 62 countries have signed on to an international treaty banning the use, development, production of cluster munitions, the United States has continued to maintain the weapons are legitimate when used properly. A series of cables from 2008 show the United States attempted to pressure the Afghan government not to sign the treaty reportedly because the United States feared the implementation could impede the ability of U.S. forces to use cluster munitions in Afghanistan. The efforts ultimately failed: Afghanistan ratified the agreement last week." via Democracy Now!

16/9 The first of four WikiLeaks fundraising auctions took place this week.

11/9 A WikiLeaks re-release: over half a million US national text pager intercepts dating from the 11th September 2001, documenting the terrorist attacks in Washington and New York were published at :

Text pagers are usualy carried by persons operating in an official capacity. Messages in the archive range from Pentagon, FBI, FEMA and New York Police Department exchanges, to computers reporting faults at investment banks inside the World Trade Center.
The archive is a completely objective record of the defining moment of our time. We hope that its entrance into the historical record will lead to a nuanced understanding of how this event led to death, opportunism and war., the description reads.

10/9 A review by the Associated Press finds no U.S. informants claim to be at risk following the publication of their names in full Cablegate documents. The survey focused on sources categorized by the US State Department as most risky.

Other Cablegate news:

- New Iraqi interrogators use acts of anal rape to induce confessions, force juveniles to fellate them.

- Ugandan First Lady Behind Anti-Homosexuality Bill

- WikiLeaks reveals it's past time to speak about human rights in West Papua, a piece written by Jennifer Robinson, who acts as a lawyer for WikiLeaks and Papuan independence leader Benny Wenda.

- Saudis tagged in funding terrorists in the Philippines.

- WikiLeaks exposes Cardinal Law’s work in Vatican-Vietnam relations.

- Ramos-Horta says Parliament is corrupt, Prime Minister Xanana Gusmão has an alcohol problem and former Prime Minister Mari Alkatiri is arrogant and abusive.

2011-09-26 #Occupywallstreet continues despite harsh police repression, as more occupations are planned across the U.S.

ImageThe popular occupation of Wall Street is now into it’s ninth day of camp in Zucotti Park, renamed as “Liberty Square”. The protesters have formed a General Assembly, which meets regularly in nearby Tompkins Park to discuss solutions, and exchange ideas on organization and goals, imitating the method used in similar actions worldwide (Spain, Egypt or Greece, for example). They claim to represent the forgotten 99% of the population, neglected by the ruling 1%. The amount of protesters has risen steadily peaking on Saturday as thousands marched on the streets. The local authorities reacted violently, with NYPD officers repeatedly using an excessive force against peaceful people. According to the New York Daily News at least 50 arrests were made, over 80, according to the protesters. Paul Browne, a police spokesman assured that "those arrested were engaged in disorderly conduct, namely impeding vehicular and/or pedestrian traffic, and in some instances resisting arrest, inciting to riot, obstructing governmental administration, and assaulting a police officer". This, however, seems to contradict many of the videos that appeared on the Internet. For example, the one below contains a slow motion analysis of a senior police officer using a spray canister (it is not known whether it is pepper or mace) against a group of women already kettled-in with police lines.

According to US Law’s analysis he “may have been agitated by the nearby arrest of a photographer as no officers appear to be under immediate threat and the women in greatest contact with the sprayed agent appear to have had no instant involvement in that arrest”. Even though Mayor Bloomberg stated that civilians were “free to express their opinion”, the images are obviously in contradiction with his words:

The controversy has given the movement a lot of publicity from the mainstream media, who were at first slow to cover (here you can find a collection of these sources), leading many to think it will find even more public support. This same reaction has already taken place in similar protests in Barcelona, Madrid and Athens, when thousands took to the streets after repression. As of now, several copy-cat protests have sprung up across the U.S. and are being tracked down in

Follow live from NYC:

Watch live streaming video from globalrevolution at

2011-09-26 Alleged terrorist financier escaped U.S. sanction

Recently-released embassy cables reveal that, just months after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Bush administration officials opted against freezing the assets of Ahmed Idris Nasreddin, the owner of the Nigerian corporation NASCO whom the U.S. and U.N. had identified as a significant financier of Al Qaeda.

Media reports state that evidence linked Nasreddin (a former bin Laden family employee) to the funding of international terrorism, primarily through Al Taqwa Bank, which Nasreddin directed. Described as "a major source and distributor of funds for Osama bin Laden's terrorist operations" and "the most important financial structure of the Muslim Brotherhood and Islamic terrorist organizations," the bank was said to boast shareholders including Arab royalty, two sisters of Osama bin Laden, and members of Hamas.

Large sums of cash were allegedly funneled through Al Taqwa Bank to Al Qaeda, Hamas, the Palestine Liberation Organization, and other groups labeled as terrorist organizations. Reportedly, Nasreddin also co-founded and financed the Islamic Cultural Institute, a "radical" Milan mosque and suspected Al Qaeda recruiting center that was allegedly connected to the 1993 World Trade Center attack and the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings. By August 2002, the Bush administration named Nasreddin as "a key moneyman for Al Qaeda's international network." U.S. Treasury Department documents designated Nasreddin a "terrorist financier" and pledged to freeze his assets; the U.S. contacted numerous embassies worldwide, from North and South America to Europe, Asia, and the Middle East. The Turkish government froze NASCO's local assets and deported Nasreddin and his family.

Yet left untouched was NASCO Nigeria -- Nasreddin's main enterprise, which manufactures and markets consumer products from detergents to breakfast cereals. By 2005, an NBC News report noticed this, and asked: "why is [Nasreddin] still in business?"

Embassy cables may provide some insight. Communiques from January and February of 2002 indicate that, although the U.S. government considered shutting down NASCO Nigeria, it worried less about the ramifications of letting Nasreddin continue to finance terrorist activity than about negative publicity that the Bush administration might garner if the U.S. closed down "one of the largest private employers in mostly-Muslim northern Nigeria," thereby leaving roughly 100,000 Nigerians destitute:

"The case of NASCO reflects the delicate balance we must strike between the national security imperative to confront and combat terror and our longer-term interests in minimizing the gulf between USG [U.S. government] perceptions of our efforts and those of Muslims and the developing world."

The embassy expressed concern that Nigerian media and power-players might characterize the shuttering of NASCO by the U.S. as a ploy to eliminate competition from a major Nigerian supplier, so as to increase U.S. exports into the country. Emphasizing the U.S. commitment to "increased industrial capacity," embassy officials also worried that debilitating NASCO would "seriously impair (possibly destroy) U.S. credibility as regards economic reform ..." Of further concern was the possibility that the Nigerian government could face accusations of being a "lackey of Western interests": "Many Nigerians sympathetic to the war against terror would view this as an example of the USG using its weight to overstep its bounds ... too many Nigerians would suspect an ulterior motive behind our action. The sympathy of many Nigerians, including some now positively disposed toward us and our anti-terror efforts, would turn against us ..."

NASCO Nigeria remained in operation. Meanwhile, in 2003 the Turkish government released its freeze on NASCO's local assets. Several years later, Nasreddin was removed from terrorist financier lists, without explanation.

ImageNasreddin's son Attia currently serves as NASCO's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. In recent years, NASCO has been the recipient of awards for business; in 2008, THISDAY Newspapers listed NASCO Nigeria as one of Nigeria's top six companies for social responsibility. That same year, Mr. Attia received a lifetime achievement award, and was congratulated for his contributions to the Nigerian economy.

2011-09-26 How an anti-Hezbollah newspaper spins WikiLeaks content

Aoun-wikileaks-hezbollah-lebanon-LBCI-Almustaqbal.JPGThe Lebanese daily newspaper Almustaqbal reported today that the head of Free Patriotic Movement (FPM) in Lebanon General Michel Aoun referred to Hezbollah as a ‘terrorist organisation’ in one of the Wikileaks cables (06Beirut413). Other media outlets reported the story referring to Almustaqbal, and one of them was Lebanese Broadcasting Corporation International (LBCI), where the author read this piece news (on their website).

Almustaqbal newspaper is owned by the business tycoon, Hezbollah’s political opponent and Former Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri. If this is true, it will be a blow to the current alliance that exists between Michel Aoun and Hezbollah. This alliance has been the corner stone of what’s known as ‘March 8’ camp in the Lebanese politics, which is basically a pro-Hezbollah alliance. Hariri is the leader of ‘March 14’ camp, which is an anti-Hezbollah alliance.

Hezbollah is a main player in Lebanese politics, and has a main regional dimension too. It represents a fore front extension of the alliance between Syria, Iran on the Lebanese borders which stands up to Israel. Going back to the subject cable 06Beirut413 and the story in Almustaqbal. The author actually read this cable before Almustaqbal, and soon after its release. The author decided then NOT to write about it, as he didn’t find anything unusual or already not available in the public domain.

This is one case where journalists take some cables out of their context to serve their political inclinations and objectives. Almustaqbal missed the point that American Ambassadors or the cables’ authors sometimes refer to Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation as a matter of principle and a style of reporting. Moreover, the cable doesn’t quote Aoun at all saying the term ‘terrorist organisation’, rather it comes in the context of referring to Hezbollah in a report from an embassy to its base.

This is a quotation from the cable, where the term ‘terrorist organisation’ was mentioned – appearing in 3 locations:

“When asked to explain the tortured language of Article 10, which appears to give open-ended license to Hizballah to retain its militia, Aoun argued just the opposite, saying the terrorist organization could keep its arms “only if national consensus allowed it.[…]The Ambassador reminded Aoun that just as Lebanon was finding its voice to question the rationale for Hizballah’s state-within-a-state status, the communique had done a good job of taking the wind out of everyone’s sails and given the terrorist organization an undeserved gift.[…]Even though the document represented “only a start,” Aoun said he was convinced that the terrorist organization eventually wanted to come in from the cold. In support of his theory, Aoun noted that the document even referred to Israel, not “Occupied Palestine.”

As you can see, the term ‘terrorist organisation’ was not placed in quotations all. On the contrary, this cable emphasizes Aoun’s position in reference to the ‘understanding’ or communique signed with Hezbollah, as he defends his move, which is totally opposite to what Almustaqbal tried to imply in its report.

Please dispute in the below comments section, if you interpret the above text in a different way. But the author thinks Almustaqbal misreported the cable, whether intentionally or by mistake.

The author initially believed LBCI were non-professional for not validating the cable content, but they were brave to correct their mistake. They responded to his complaint on twitter this morning saying they had looked into it, and agreed that Almustaqbal report was wrong…They said that the article was mere translation from the Arabic press without editing.

LBCI looking into the issue:!/LBCI_News_EN/status/118240712943861760

LBCI confirming Aoun didn’t call Hezbollah a terrorist organisation:!/LBCI_News_EN/status/118246234300497920

LBCI explaining that how the info appeared on their website – just a translation!/LBCI_News_EN/status/118246920853532672

LBCI thanking the author!!/LBCI_News_EN/status/118252340615725057

LBCI removed the article on their website

This post appeared in a slightly modified version to suit on Lebanon Spring Blog

2011-09-27 Market trader on BBC: "I go to bed every night and I dream of another recession"

Yesterday, market trader Alessio Rastani gave the BBC a eerily candid analysis of where we stand: “the euro market is gonna crash, and it’s gonna crash pretty hard. [Investors] know the market is toast; they know the stock market is finished; the euro, as far as they’re concerned, they don’t really care, they’re moving their money to safer assets.”

Rastani then goes on to frankly admit that he’s actually excited about this prospect. “If I see an opportunity to make money, I go with that … Personally, I’ve been dreaming of this moment for three years. I have a confession, which is, I go to bed every night and I dream of another recession, I dream of another moment like this.”

After the BBC anchorwoman tells him that the jaws of those in the studio have collectively dropped to the floor, Rastani, with a smirk on his face, decides to push their jaws down just a little further:

“This economic crisis is like a cancer … what I’d say to everybody is: get prepared … this is not a time right now [for] wishful thinking that government is gonna sort things out. The governments don’t rule the world. Goldman Sachs rules the world. Goldman Sachs does not care about this rescue package, neither [do] the big funds.”

Rastani ‘kindly’ concludes by saying he wants to help. “Prepare,” he says. “The first thing people should do is protect their assets, protect what they have. Because in less than twelve months, my prediction is the savings of millions of people [are] gonna vanish. And this is just the beginning. So I would say, be prepared and act now. The biggest risk people can take right now is not acting.”

2011-09-28 #OccupyWallStreet spreads: around 70 protests planned in the following weeks #occupytogether

ImageAs some predicted, the popular uprising known as Occupy Wall St. is already producing echoes all around the USA. The volunteer based website Occupy Together , whose aim is to create “a site that would help spread the word as more protests organize across the country”, counts over 70 registered protests in U.S. citie. Apart from the main occupations, currently on-going in New York, Chicago and Denver, many will start in the following weeks to coincide with the global protest day of October 15th. In the following days, parks and squares in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Kansas City, Houston, among others, will be occupied.

The movement has definitely gained momentum as more people show up at assemblies and hearings (organizers claim that around 2 thousand people attended a message of motivation from Dr. Cornell West last night). The individual hubs have organized fast, offering press services, handling donations -money and food- , offering legal advice, and posting content on the web. The Portland group has even created a series of guidelines to serve as a model for further occupations , where they collect advice, based on their own experience, on how to use Twitter and Facebook accounts hoping to create a General Assembly, where everyone can participate and become a unified movement. Another independent platform Occupy Info has created a micro-blog, collecting Twitter accounts for the smaller collectives.

2011-09-29 WikiLeaks Notes: Latest News on #Cablegate Releases & #WikiLeaks


This is a "WikiLeaks News Update", a daily news update of stories that are obviously related to WikiLeaks and also freedom of information, transparency, cybersecurity, and freedom of expression. All the times are GMT.

05:00 PM The case of a mentally ill Canadian-Egyptian man, Khaled Samy Abdallah Ismail, mistakenly held in a U.S.-run Afghanistan prison for more than 18 months has been uncovered by WikiLeaks.

11:00 AM US State Department employee Peter Van Buren is currently under investigation after linking to widely-available WikiLeaks content in his personal blog.
Read his testimony: For State Department Employees, Freedom Isn't Free.

07:00 AM Once this Free Bradley Manning petition reaches 5.000 signatures, the White House is due to issue an official response to his indefinite pre-trial detention.
Please take the time to sign it - signature goal has to be reached by the end of the month of October.

Bradley Manning, it was made public this week, is currently nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Julian Assange / WikiLeaks are also among the 241 candidates.

06:45 AM Further information on Julian Assange’s unauthorized memoir has been released by WikiLeaks ; at one point, in a transcribed recorded telephone conversation, Canongate publisher Jamie Byng denies rumors of a secret publication without Julian Assange’s consent in the following terms:

Julian, do not worry. My absolute number one desire is to publish a great book that you are happy with. It is going to be different to the one we contracted for the reasons we discussed.

Caroline Michel, literary agent to Julian Assange, protests the deceitful promotion of the unauthorized memoir in an email to Canongate dated 21 September 2011, also published by WikiLeaks:

"…releasing the manuscript to The Independent with a story which is factually untrue are designed to create the maximum confrontation. (…) There has been no ‘bitter and acrimonious row’ Julian at all times has been courteous. You are feeding the media myth and it is not worthy of comment."

Book sales have been surprisingly low – a mere 644 copies were sold in the first three days - possibly due to boycott encouraged by WikiLeaks.
Both German publisher Kiepenheuer & Witsch (KiWi) and American Knopf have refused to print the book.

06:30 AM A useful 30-page document providing "an overview of WikiLeaks initiated global reform and selected press references" prior to March 2009.

05:00 AM Bangladesh spy agency will possibly incur scrutiny following WikiLeaks release:

According to diplomatic cables released by the whistle blowing website Wikileaks, Bangladesh spy agency Directorate General of Forces Intelligence (DGFI) meddled in the media.
The cables disclosed how DGFI lied to control coverage of news and broadcasts by private television channels during the military-backed caretaker government during 2007-2008.

2011-09-30 Occupy Los Angeles on October 1st!

There was a spirited 3 hour meeting Thursday evening in Pershing Square in downtown Los Angeles that was attended by about 200 activist to plan Occupy Los Angeles which will begin 10:00am Saturday morning, October 1st with a peaceful occupation at the Los Angeles City Hall. This was the latest in a series of planning General Assemblies that have been meeting in the park regularly at 7:00PM to plan the Los Angeles movement in solidarity with the Occupy Wall St. action against corporate greed and the many other occupations that are taking place around the world that also include Occupy Boston, Occupy Chicago, Occupy Denver and dozens of others right here in the United States. Minutes for the four previous GAs can be read here. The last pre-occupation General Assembly will take place at Pershing Sq. Friday, September 30th and all who are interested are invited to attend.
Occupy Los Angeles General Assembly 9-29-11

This is the official Occupy Los Angeles website. Look here for all kinds of info about the protest in LA. Staring Saturday morning you will be able to see streaming video of the protest at City Hall here also. You may follow Occupy Los Angeles on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, YouTube and Delicious.

Obama Protest Rally in West Hollywood 26/09/2011
Like a preview of coming attractions, several hundred people showed up to "welcome" President Obama to Los Angeles on Monday and tell him what they thought. A General Assembly of Occupy LA took place after the rally.

VFP member mike chickey made this video OBAMA VISITS WEST HOLLYWOOD.

LA Activists Protest the Obama fundraisers outside the House of Blues, on the Sunset Strip and the Fig and Olive restaurant near Melrose in West Hollywood / Monday Sept. 26th 2011

Music: Talking Heads
"Burning Down the House (Live)" on: iTunes, AmazonMP3

For Your Information:

This is the Anonymous Operations website with lots of info and videos from Occupy Wall Street and Occupy Chicago among other things.

While Anonymous has come down from cyberspace to lead and support this struggle in the streets, they have continued to promote the struggle on the Internet as well. Yesterday they exposed the identity and history of the cop who sprayed pepper spray into the eyes of four women who were peacefully protesting on Wall Street:

The Anonymous activist collective today released personal information about a New York police officer who is believed to have sprayed pepper spray on women protesters on Wall Street.

The group released a phone number, addresses, names of relatives, and other personal data for a New York police officer that numerous Web sites identified as Deputy Inspector Anthony Bologna, as well as photos that appear to show him at the protest and a close-up of his badge.

Bologna was identified as the officer in a slow-motion video who sprayed pepper spray directly in the faces of a handful of women who had been penned in behind police netting at Wall Street protests on Saturday. The video shows no evidence of provocation on the part of the sequestered protesters.

Anonymous also release a statement about the incident:

"As we watched your officers kettle innocent women, we observed you barbarically pepper spray wildly into the group of kettled women. We were shocked and disgusted by your behavior. You know who the innocent women were, now they will have the chance to know who you are. Before you commit atrocities against innocent people, think twice. WE ARE WATCHING!!! Expect Us!"

This gave the NY Times something to report about Occupy Wall St.

On Tuesday, they did more than occupy Wall St, they cracked Wall St. cybersecurity and released personal data on Goldman Sachs CEO Lloyd Blankfein:

The document, posted to the Pastebin Web site, includes the CEO's age, recent addresses, details of litigation he has been involved in, as well as registration information for businesses, but no sensitive information such as financial data.

WLCentral has been building these events since March when it was called US Day of Rage. [USDOR]

One thing that Occupy Wall St. has already accomplished is showing the bankruptcy of the major media in the United States again. For the first week of the protest they have imposed a virtual news blackout on the protest. The best coverage has come from the foreign press, like this piece from the Guardian. Keith Olbermann slammed this media blackout on Countdown.

The MSM may be ignoring the Wall St. occupation but state security isn't. @anonymousIRC tweets "FBI surveillance of OWS run from 26 Federal Plaza, overseen by courts at 500 Pearl St, with detention cells at 150 Park Row."

Glenn Greenwald has a great article in Wednesday's Salon:

What's behind the scorn for the Wall Street protests?

It's unsurprising that establishment media outlets have been condescending, dismissive and scornful of the ongoing protests on Wall Street. Any entity that declares itself an adversary of prevailing institutional power is going to be viewed with hostility by establishment-serving institutions and their loyalists. That's just the nature of protests that take place outside approved channels, an inevitable by-product of disruptive dissent: those who are most vested in safeguarding and legitimizing establishment prerogatives (which, by definition, includes establishment media outlets) are going to be hostile to those challenges. As the virtually universal disdain in these same circles for WikiLeaks (and, before that, for the Iraq War protests) demonstrated: the more effectively adversarial it is, the more establishment hostility it's going to provoke.

Also Wednesday, Politics and Computers reports that journalist John Farley was arrested after trying to interview protesters on Wall St:

The actions of the NYPD in policing the Occupy Wall Street protests have again been called into question, after journalist John Farley claimed he was arrested when he tried to talk to female protesters who had been maced.

In a Metro Focus post titled Observations of a jailed journalist, Farley recounts how he was arrested while trying to conduct the interview, despite wearing a ‘WNET – New York Public Media’ badge.

But the #OccupyEveryTownUSA movement is continuing to grow and gain traction in spite of the police repression and media blackout. MikeElk tweets "seems like tide is turning on prog support for #occupywallstreet a lot of progressive starting to speak up in support." and Michael Moore, who visited Occup Wall St. Monday night said:

"This is literally an uprising of people who have had it," Moore says. "It has already started to spread across the country in other cities. It will continue to spread. ... It will be tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of people ... Their work ahead is not as difficult as other movements in the past ... The majority of Americans are really upset at Wall Street ... So you have already got an army of Americans who are just waiting for somebody to do something, and something has started."

Join us starting Saturday, October 1st @ Los Angeles City Hall. It has a nice lawn and we aim to make use of it!