The political spinning of the WikiLeaks exposé

Moderators: Elvis, DrVolin, Jeff

The political spinning of the WikiLeaks exposé

Postby Montag » Sun Aug 01, 2010 3:49 pm

The political spinning of the WikiLeaks exposé: Antiwar whistle-blowing or war propaganda?
by Larry Chin

Jul 30, 2010 ... 6171.shtml


Since the release of classified US military papers by WikiLeaks, the material has been aggressively spun by various political factions. Meanwhile, virtually no attention has been devoted to investigating the source of this “leak,” or questioning the agenda behind it.

According to the Associated Press, a US official who spoke on condition of anonymity stated that the US government is not certain who “leaked” the 91,000 documents to the online whistle-blowing web site, other than suspicion again falling on Pfc. Bradley Manning.

Unlike a previous WikiLeaks exposing the murder of Iraqi civilians in a US airstrike, nobody has been apprehended, arrested or pressured by the Pentagon, the CIA or any US agency.

The White House has expressed no intense concern. It did not block the release or deny the material. Government officials, led by President Obama, have almost casually dismissed the exposé as nothing new.

The major mainstream newspapers that had full early access to the material -- The New York Times, Der Spiegel and the Guardian -- also had ample time to frame and steer the discourse surrounding it, and (particularly in the case of the White House-friendly New York Times) conduct damage control.

Leak as antiwar fodder

The new material obviously adds to what is already known for years: US forces are mired in a dirty and horrific war, and committing atrocities and war crimes. Corruption is rampant, allies are despicable and untrustworthy, and there appears no end in sight.

For critics of US policy, the exposé reinforces their tired call for the war to end. However, the value of these particular papers (in terms of turning public opinion against the war) is questionable. This is not a potent high-level Pentagon Papers-type leak, and today’s society is a far cry from the 1970s.

Today’s acquiescent, ignorant and grossly manipulated mass populace -- one that fully embraces and supports the manufactured “war on terrorism” -- wholeheartedly supports any and all means to “prevent another 9/11.” A decade of Bush-Cheney criminality and mass murder failed to trigger any interest from a general US population that has been shocked into servitude, and further brain-addled by ubiquitous corporate right-wing media. Another day, another massacre.
User avatar
Posts: 1259
Joined: Sun Oct 11, 2009 4:32 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The political spinning of the WikiLeaks exposé

Postby seemslikeadream » Sun Aug 01, 2010 4:44 pm

Kiss This War Goodbye
Published: July 31, 2010

IT was on a Sunday morning, June 13, 1971, that The Times published its first installment of the Pentagon Papers. Few readers may have been more excited than a circle of aspiring undergraduate journalists who’d worked at The Harvard Crimson. Though the identity of The Times’s source wouldn’t eke out for several days, we knew the whistle-blower had to be Daniel Ellsberg, an intense research fellow at M.I.T. and former Robert McNamara acolyte who’d become an antiwar activist around Boston. We recognized the papers’ contents, as reported in The Times, because we’d heard the war stories from the loquacious Ellsberg himself.

But if we were titillated that Sunday, it wasn’t immediately clear that this internal government history of the war had mass appeal. Tricia Nixon’s wedding in the White House Rose Garden on Saturday received equal play with the Pentagon Papers on The Times’s front page. On “Face the Nation” the guest was the secretary of defense, Melvin Laird, yet the subject of the papers didn’t even come up.

That false calm vanished overnight once Richard Nixon, erupting in characteristic rage and paranoia, directed his attorney general, John Mitchell, to enjoin The Times from publishing any sequels. The high-stakes legal drama riveted the nation for two weeks, culminating in a landmark 6-to-3 Supreme Court decision in favor of The Times and the First Amendment. Ellsberg and The Times were canonized. I sold my first magazine article, an Ellsberg profile, to Esquire, and, for better or worse, cast my lot with journalism. That my various phone conversations with Ellsberg prompted ham-fisted F.B.I. agents to visit me and my parents only added to the allure.

I mention my personal history to try to inject a little reality into the garbling of Vietnam-era history that has accompanied the WikiLeaks release of the Afghanistan war logs. Last week the left and right reached a rare consensus. The war logs are no Pentagon Papers. They are historic documents describing events largely predating the current administration. They contain no news. They will not change the course of the war.

About the only prominent figures who found serious parallels between then and now were Ellsberg and the WikiLeaks impresario, Julian Assange. They are hardly disinterested observers, but they’re on the mark — in large part because the impact of the Pentagon Papers on the Vietnam War (as opposed to their impact on the press) was far less momentous than last week’s chatter would suggest. No, the logs won’t change the course of our very long war in Afghanistan, but neither did the Pentagon Papers alter the course of Vietnam. What Ellsberg’s leak did do was ratify the downward trend-line of the war’s narrative. The WikiLeaks legacy may echo that. We may look back at the war logs as a herald of the end of America’s engagement in Afghanistan just as the Pentagon Papers are now a milestone in our slo-mo exit from Vietnam.

What was often forgotten last week is that the Pentagon Papers had no game-changing news about that war either and also described events predating the then-current president. By June 1971, the Tet offensive and Walter Cronkite’s famous on-air editorial were more than three years in the past. The David Halberstam article that inspired “The Best and the Brightest” had already appeared in Harper’s. Lt. William Calley had been found guilty in the My Lai massacre exposed by Seymour Hersh in 1969. Just weeks before the Pentagon Papers surfaced, the Vietnam veteran John Kerry electrified the country by asking a Senate committee, “How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?” Most Americans had long been telling pollsters the war was a mistake. By the time the Pentagon Papers surfaced, a plurality also disapproved of how Vietnam was handled by Nixon, who had arrived in office promising to end the war.

The papers’ punch was in the many inside details they added to the war’s chronicle over four previous administrations and, especially, in their shocking and irrefutable evidence that Nixon’s immediate predecessor, Lyndon Johnson, had systematically lied to the country about his intentions and the war’s progress. Though Nixon was another liar, none of this incriminated him. His anger about the leak would nonetheless drive him to create a clandestine “plumbers” unit whose criminality (including a break-in at the office of Ellsberg’s psychiatrist) would lead to Watergate. Had Nixon not so violently overreacted that June — egged on by Henry Kissinger and fueled by his loathing of The Times and the antiwar movement — the story might have ebbed. Yes, the Pentagon Papers were labeled “top secret” — as opposed to the Afghanistan war logs’ “secret” status — but, as Richard Reeves writes in his book “President Nixon,” some 700,000 people in and out of government had clearance to read “top secret” documents. Compelling as the papers were, they were hardly nuclear code.

The public’s reaction to the Afghanistan war logs has largely been a shrug — and not just because they shared their Times front page with an article about Chelsea Clinton’s wedding. President Obama is, to put it mildly, no Nixon, and his no-drama reaction to the leaks robbed their publication of the constitutional cliffhanger of their historical antecedent. Another factor in the logs’ shortfall as public spectacle is the fractionalization of the news media, to the point where even a stunt packaged as “news” can trump journalistic enterprise. (Witness how the bogus Shirley Sherrod video upstaged The Washington Post’s blockbuster investigation of the American intelligence bureaucracy two weeks ago.) The logs also suffer stylistically: they’re often impenetrable dispatches from the ground, in contrast to the Pentagon Papers’ anonymously and lucidly team-written epic of policy-making on high.

Yet the national yawn that largely greeted the war logs is most of all an indicator of the country’s verdict on the Afghan war itself, now that it’s nine years on and has reached its highest monthly casualty rate for American troops. Many Americans at home have lost faith and checked out. The war places way down the list of pressing issues in every poll. Nearly two-thirds of those asked recently by CBS News think it’s going badly; the latest Post-ABC News survey finds support of Obama’s handling of Afghanistan at a low (45 percent), with only 43 percent deeming the war worth fighting.

Perhaps more telling than either these polls or the defection of liberal House Democrats from last week’s war appropriations bill are the signs of wobbling conservative support. The gung-ho neocon axis was predictably belligerent in denouncing WikiLeaks. But the G.O.P. chairman Michael Steele’s recent “gaffe” — his since-retracted observation that “a land war in Afghanistan” is doomed — is no anomaly in a fractured party where the antiwar Ron Paul may have as much currency as the knee-jerk hawk John McCain. On the night of the logs’ release, Fox News even refrained from its patented shtick of shouting “Treason!” at the “mainstream media.” Instead, the go-to Times-basher Bernie Goldberg could be found on “The O’Reilly Factor” telling Laura Ingraham, a guest host, that the war “has not been going well” and is a dubious exercise in “nation-building.”

Obama was right to say that the leaked documents “don’t reveal any issues that haven’t already informed our public debate in Afghanistan,” but that doesn’t mean the debate was resolved in favor of his policy. Americans know that our counterinsurgency partner, Hamid Karzai, is untrustworthy. They know that the terrorists out to attack us are more likely to be found in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia than Afghanistan. And they are starting to focus on the morbid reality, highlighted in the logs, of the de facto money-laundering scheme that siphons American taxpayers’ money through the Pakistan government to the Taliban, who then disperse it to kill Americans.

Most Americans knew or guessed the crux of the Pentagon Papers, too. A full year earlier the Senate had repealed the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin resolution; no one needed a “top secret” smoking gun by 1971 to know that L.B.J. had lied about the Tonkin incident. The papers didn’t change administration war policy because we were already pulling out of Vietnam, however truculently and lethally (the Christmas 1972 bombing campaign, most notoriously). In 1971, the American troop level was some 213,000, down from a peak of 537,000 in 1968. By 1973 we were essentially done.

Unlike Nixon, Obama is still adding troops to his unpopular war. But history is not on his side either in Afghanistan or at home. The latest Gallup poll found that 58 percent of the country favors his announced timeline, with its promise to start withdrawing troops in mid-2011. It’s hard to imagine what could change that equation now.

Certainly not Pakistan. As the president conducts his scheduled reappraisal of his war policy this December, a re-examination of 1971 might lead him to question his own certitude of what he is fond of calling “the long view.” The Times won a Pulitzer Prize for its 1971 Pentagon Papers coup. But another of the Pulitzers that year went to the columnist Jack Anderson, who also earned Nixon’s ire by mining other leaks to expose the White House’s tilt to Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistani War. The one thing no one imagined back then was that four decades later it would be South Asia, not Southeast Asia, that would still be beckoning America into a quagmire.
Mazars and Deutsche Bank could have ended this nightmare before it started.
They could still get him out of office.
But instead, they want mass death.
Don’t forget that.
User avatar
Posts: 32090
Joined: Wed Apr 27, 2005 11:28 pm
Location: into the black
Blog: View Blog (83)

Re: The political spinning of the WikiLeaks exposé

Postby MinM » Thu Aug 05, 2010 2:04 pm

Montag wrote:The political spinning of the WikiLeaks exposé: Antiwar whistle-blowing or war propaganda?
by Larry Chin

Jul 30, 2010 ... 6171.shtml


Today’s acquiescent, ignorant and grossly manipulated mass populace -- one that fully embraces and supports the manufactured “war on terrorism” -- wholeheartedly supports any and all means to “prevent another 9/11.” A decade of Bush-Cheney criminality and mass murder failed to trigger any interest from a general US population that has been shocked into servitude, and further brain-addled by ubiquitous corporate right-wing media. Another day, another massacre.

Leak as imperial war propaganda

Where the WikiLeaks papers gain significance is in the detail revealed about the operations of Pakistan’s Inter-Services Intelligence directorate (ISI) and, more specifically, the manner in which leading government figures and the media have interpreted these items.

The ISI is being accused of “undercutting” US operations, “conspiring with’ and aiding the “powerfully resurgent” Taliban and Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, aiding the killing of US forces, and organizing “networks of militants” across the region. An all-out propaganda attack against Pakistan led by the White House is underway.

Essentially, Pakistan is being branded as a terrorist state and a worthy target of military attack, along with Iran, which is also fingered by the WikiLeaks’ leaks for backing Taliban militants within Afghanistan.

Hamid Gul, former ISI chief and major regional player, accuses the US of orchestrating the exposé to shift attention away from the US government’s “own failings,” in order to “force Pakistan’s hand on policy in Afghanistan.”

According to Gul “they [the Americans] want to bash Pakistan, at this time to come up with this leak. I refuse to believe it is not on purpose.”

The Obama administration, eager for a pretext to escalate the Central Asia/Middle East (resource) war into Pakistan and Iran, has certainly found ammunition with the WikiLeaks exposé.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the “leak” occurred just prior to a new $33 billion/30,000 troop surge for Afghanistan was approved by the US House, and ahead of a possible military attack on Iran, which former CIA Director Michael Hayden says is “inexorable”.

The glaring omission

As accusations and attacks on Pakistan and its “terrorist ISI” rise in intensity, not one mainstream media report mentions the fact that the ISI is a virtual branch of the CIA, and one that operates on behalf of Anglo-American policy.

It is fact that the ISI, with full Anglo-American direction, has long been a driving force behind “Islamic militants” and “terrorists” throughout the world, including “Al-Qaeda.” The CIA and ISI have cooperatively fomented instability and tension throughout Central Asia and the Middle East, playing all sides for geostrategic gain. This “strategy of tension” is one of the hallmarks of the “war on terrorism.” The ISI was also directly involved with the false flag operation of 9/11.

According to Michel Chossudovsky of the Centre for Research on Globalization, “The ISI actively collaborates with the CIA. It continues to perform the role of a ‘go-between’ in numerous intelligence operations on behalf of the CIA. The ISI directly supports and finances a number of terrorist organizations, including Al Qaeda.”

If the ISI is responsible for terrorism, the funding and aiding of “Islamic militants,” and the killing of US forces, logic dictates that its big brethren -- the CIA and officials in Washington -- are also guilty and involved.

The manner in which the ISI is under fire, while omitting any mention of the ISI’s guiding superiors in Washington, speaks to a deliberate anti-Pakistan/pro-US bias.

Whose political weapon?

Until the source of this WikiLeaks is revealed, along with the motive for the “leak,” all that remains is a political Rorschach test, open to interpretation.

The ultimate beneficiary is whatever faction controls the interpretation.

In the end, only Pakistan and Iran have been politically damaged, while the Obama administration has a new pretext to escalate and intensify its continuing resource war.

Copyright © 1998-2007 Online Journal
Email Online Journal Editor

As with -- Johnny Carson, Watergate, 7/7, and 9/11 -- Larry Chin nails it again.
User avatar
Posts: 3276
Joined: Wed Jun 04, 2008 2:16 pm
Location: Mont Saint-Michel
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The political spinning of the WikiLeaks exposé

Postby Joe Hillshoist » Thu Aug 05, 2010 6:41 pm

Larry Chin is working for the US government to cover up the wikileaks information on the rogue US assassination unit with the number 373 in its title.

Thats the glaring omission in his article.

He didn't even mention it. He's continuing the spin the US govt wants. Make this all about someone else and not about the US government and its violent brutal assassination squad, its piss poor management of the war and its continued support for corrupt operastors whose corruption actually threatens the war effort and the troops that have been sent there.

Plus it makes leaking govt documents seem bogus as a bonus. Obviously the US govt is in control of everything including this leak, AND THERE'S NOTHING YOU CAN DO.

Nice subtext.

Then again given the response to these documents ... its not like anyone in the US deserves better. Otherwise they'd be organising right now, be making a fuss, trawling through the documents for every little thing that makes the war look bad etc etc.
Joe Hillshoist
Posts: 9723
Joined: Mon Jun 12, 2006 10:45 pm
Blog: View Blog (0)

Re: The political spinning of the WikiLeaks exposé

Postby 82_28 » Fri Aug 06, 2010 8:52 am

Pentagon demands WikiLeaks remove classified Afghan war documents from website

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon demanded Thursday that WikiLeaks "do the right thing" and remove from its website tens of thousands of classified documents about the war in Afghanistan and return to the military thousands of others that it has not yet made public.

Geoff Morrell, the Pentagon press secretary, said the website's disclosure last week of a six- year archive of about 77,000 documents gave the Taliban and other militant groups insights into American military tactics and techniques, showed how the United States protects its troops in war zones and revealed the names of Afghan informants and how the military cultivates them.

Most of Morrell's briefing focused on the information Wiki Leaks had already made public.

* View an interactive map and photo galleries of the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan.
* View video and a timeline of the Afghan war.

But Pentagon officials are especially concerned about 15,000 additional documents that Wiki Leaks has withheld so far to remove identifying information.

Documents vetted

Morrell said the Pentagon had formed a team of 80 analysts from the military and the FBI who are working around the clock to vet the 77,000 released documents for damaging information. The team is expected to increase to about 125 people in the coming days.

When the teams find information "of concern," the Pentagon notifies the foreign government involved, he said. If the information identifies Afghans who provided information to allied troops or otherwise associate with the troops, the military notifies its headquarters in Kabul, which in turn is taking undisclosed steps to safeguard those people.

"I can't say we've seen any direct impacts here yet," an American officer in eastern Afghanistan said this week of the disclosure. "On the other hand, this is pure gold if you know how to read them and what you're looking for. Without confirming or denying anything posted, it amounts to our playbook for the past several years. If we had similar insight into insurgent operations, we could use it to great effect."

Morrell acknowledged that given WikiLeaks' history of disclosing confidential information, he did not have high hopes that the organization would comply with the Defense Department's demand. Morrell said that if asking WikiLeaks respectfully did not work, the Pentagon would resort to other steps, which he did not describe.

When asked why the Pentagon waited until now to ask WikiLeaks to return the undisclosed documents and remove the posted information from its website, Morrell said senior officials had been deliberating about what steps to take.

"The only acceptable course is for WikiLeaks to take steps immediately to return all versions of all of these documents to the U.S. government and permanently delete them from its website, computers and rec ords," he said.

WikiLeaks stays silent

Neither Julian Assange, an Australian computer specialist who founded WikiLeaks, nor a spokesman for the website replied to e-mail messages Thursday requesting comment about the Pentagon demand.

Last week, WikiLeaks posted a 1.4-gigabyte file on a file-sharing network and on the Web page where it published the Afghan war logs. The file is encrypted and titled "insurance file."

Cryptome, another website that posts government documents, said it was making a copy of the encrypted file and speculated that it might contain other confidential documents, "pre-positioned for public release" via a password that would be made public in the event that WikiLeaks was taken down.

The military has charged an intelligence analyst, Pfc. Bradley Manning, with downloading large amounts of classified information from a computer at a base in Iraq and sending it to WikiLeaks, which operates from servers scattered across multiple countries and solicits "classified, censored or otherwise restricted material of political, diplomatic or ethical significance."

Is "the Pentagon" stupid or are they just playing the role of the idiot for some other purpose? Is this not digital information? If it is, how could they possibly think this data could be "returned", it's been copied thousands of times one would imagine -- this newer "unreleased" information?
There is no me. There is no you. There is all. There is no you. There is no me. And that is all. A profound acceptance of an enormous pageantry. A haunting certainty that the unifying principle of this universe is love. -- Propagandhi
User avatar
Posts: 11194
Joined: Fri Nov 30, 2007 4:34 am
Location: North of Queen Anne
Blog: View Blog (0)

Return to General Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 11 guests