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Posts Tagged ‘Jane Fonda’

I began the day thinking a soft post on life in Seychelles might be a good weekend time-filler, especially after all the attention yesterday’s post got, thanks to WordPress sending readers my way by the thousands. I even started putting one together, a little ditty about how somethings translate here, specifically the fact that many Seychellois think the terror on the high seas in our neck of the Indian Ocean is perpetuated by “smiley pirates”, but that will have to wait.

Yet again something shiny fluttered by … ooooh, pretty … and I’m tripping after it with some hope of figuring out what it’s all about.

Okay. Maybe Julian Assange isn’t everyone’s idea of pretty fluff … or anyone’s, for that matter … but we have already established that I think he’s cute and have extended a blogitty invite to share my view.

Turns out such an eventuality could get me in BIG trouble.

No doubt I’m right pissed off that the US Homeland Secutiry Committee could be messing with my chance for a date for New Year’s Eve, but that unwrapping an Assange under my Christmas tree would see me prosecuted under the Patriot Act! WTF?

It took this from Tom Hayden to make that point in a letter he wrote to Rep. Peter King:

I am hoping you will reconsider your call to place WikiLeaks on the list of foreign terrorist organizations. I would hope that as chair of the Homeland Security Committee you would take a more responsible approach than many of your Republican and conservative colleagues who are calling for the assassination of Julian Assange.

You and I remember the time a few short years ago when there were extreme voices opposed to a visa for Gerry Adams and calling for the designation of Sinn Fein as a terrorist organization. And you and a bipartisan coalition were willing to take a risk for peace and conflict resolution, a process that is still ongoing and regarded as a great success.

The comparison, you may say, is incorrect. In one respect, there is a huge difference, which only strengthens my point: Sinn Fein was leading a republican movement that included years of armed struggle, with thousands of British and Irish casualties. WikiLeaks is a nonviolent whistleblower organization whose only weapon is the Internet. Despite weeks of dire warnings, the WikiLeaks disclosures have caused no deaths or suffering so far, nor provoked any terrorist attacks anywhere. The organization, and its media intermediaries, have made conscious efforts to redact any references to individuals which might cause harm.

The current controversy is less about national security than about securing the official reputations of officials conducting secret warfare. As a result of the WikiLeaks documents, the American public has learned, for example, that:

* our government is deceiving the public and Congress by denying our secret bombing of Yemen;
* our Special Forces are in Pakistan;
* the CIA has directed a secret army in Afghanistan;
* there is a secret Task Force 373 conducting assassinations in Afghanistan.

These revelations do no damage to our national security. Instead, they helpfully add to public and Congressional awareness of improper and arguably illegal behavior undertaken under the cover of secrecy.

If your proposal to list WikiLeaks as a terrorist group is adopted, my understanding is that anyone offering nonviolent “material support” to WikiLeaks could be prosecuted under the Patriot Act. As you told MSNBC on Nov. 28, “we’d be able to stop anyone from helping them in any way, whether it’s making contributions, giving free legal advice, or whatever.”

Do you remember when you stood up again and again for lawyers in Northern Ireland trying to defend republicans in court? Do you remember those lawyers like Pat Finucane and Rosemary Nelson being assassinated as a result of their brave legal advocacy? Are you seriously recommending that any American lawyers “giving free legal advice” to Julian Assange should be prosecuted?

The New York Times has provided page upon page of coverage of the WikiLeaks materials over a period of months. Is the Times “assisting in terrorist activity” because the information is “being used by Al Qaeda”, as you put it?

Where does this end? If thousands of Americans join in the legal defense of Julian Assange or WikiLeaks will they be defined as accessories to terrorism?

I urge that you and your colleagues not overreact, not turn to scapegoating, not contribute to a climate of violence, but instead respect freedom of the press, freedom of dissent, and the right to due process under a system of law. We all need more light shed on our secret policies, not greater limitations on the public’s right to know.

Sincerely,

TOM HAYDEN 

Bravo, Tom, and I’m happy to see he’s still around even though I lost track of him way back when. Seems those years with Jane keeps him mindful of how a girl likes the idea of a date now and then without the threat of treason hanging around … or maybe his point is a bit broader. Yeah … we’ll go with that thought.

I know I’m by far not the only one appalled by the reaction to Wikileak’s latest offerings … thank the gods for that! … but although outrage is wending its way around the globe and popping up in a lot of reasonable publications, I subscribe to the Arlo Guthrie theory that says: If ya wanna end war and stuff, ya gotta sing loud.

La, la, la, la LA!

Here’s another voice, hopefully preaching to more than the choir, James Moore:

Secrecy tends to lead to disaster and there are several object lessons to study as a result of American adventures abroad. Saddam Hussein was Donald Rumsfeld’s and Ronald Reagan’s secret friend as long as he was bombing and gassing Iranians to the east. Secrecy led to Iran-Contra and back door dealing in arms to Iran to fund the Contras in Nicaragua, who did not have the support of the country’s population and were eventually defeated. There are, of course, countless other examples ranging from the Gulf of Tonkin to the Bay of Pigs and the information contained in the Pentagon Papers, and, uh, of course, the lies about WMD that propagated our current misadventure in Iraq. Democracy ought not be bribing and lying in the name of democracy.

The horror over WikiLeaks, which is being expressed mostly by inept diplomats, is disingenuous in the extreme. The consistent claims that lives are being endangered by the information borders on the hilarious. How many lives have been lost to erroneous, yet secret information that led to our invasion of Iraq? If WikiLeaks had been around in 2003 the public might have been well armed with information to create political resistance to W’s folly in the ancient deserts. It is, of course, of equal absurdity to suggest there is no need for clandestine operations. But taxpayers and voters tend to acquire their information after the consequences of secret government endeavors, and, obviously, that is a bit late to be of preventive value.

This debate on Democracy Now over whether or not Julian is a hero is an interesting exchange between Steven Aftergood from the “Secrecy News” and constitutional and civil rights litigator Glenn Greenwald that illustrates how even those touting transparency decide to fog the glass when it comes to Julian Assange.

The hunt is on for the man, his website is under attack, anyone helping him in any way may end up facing grave consequences … and what has he done to set the dogs on him as or more assiduously than the hounds of Bin Laden? Words. He did words. Not his words, but those written by people in positions of power now embarressed too have them read.

From the presenter of the debate:

University students are being warned about WikiLeaks. An email from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, that we read in headlines, reads—I want to do it again—quote, “Hi students,

“We received a call today from a SIPA alumnus who is working at the State Department. He asked us to pass along the following information to anyone who will be applying for jobs in the federal government, since all would require a background investigation and in some instances a security clearance.

“The documents released during the past few months through Wikileaks are still considered classified documents. He recommends that you DO NOT post links to these documents nor make comments on social media sites such as Facebook or through Twitter. Engaging in these activities would call into question your ability to deal with confidential information, which is part of most positions with the federal government.

“Regards, Office of Career Services.”

… and …

Democracy Now! has obtained the text of a memo that’s been sent to employees at USAID. This is to thousands of employees, about reading the recently released WikiLeaks documents, and it comes from the Department of State. They have also warned their own employees. This memo reads, quote, “Any classified information that may have been unlawfully disclosed and released on the Wikileaks web site was not ‘declassified’ by an appopriate authority and therefore requires continued classification and protection as such from government personnel… Accessing the Wikileaks web site from any computer may be viewed as a violation of the SF-312 agreement… Any discussions concerning the legitimacy of any documents or whether or not they are classified must be conducted within controlled access areas (overseas) or within restricted areas (USAID/Washington)… The documents should not be viewed, downloaded, or stored on your USAID unclassified network computer or home computer; they should not be printed or retransmitted in any fashion.”

That was the memo that went out to thousands of employees at USAID. The State Department has warned all their employees, you are not to access WikiLeaks, not only at the State Department, which they’ve blocked, by the way, WikiLeaks, but even on your home computers. Even if you’ve written a cable yourself, one of these cables that are in the trove of the documents, you cannot put your name in to see if that is one of the cables that has been released. This warning is going out throughout not only the government, as we see, but to prospective employees all over the country, even on their home computers.

If nothing else about the persecution of Assange scares the shit out of you, that should. ANYONE can be a target. And what directs the aim? Words.

As Captain Jack Sparrow said: Sticks and stones, Luv.

Or … for a bit more gravitas, how about this:

“In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.”
~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Julian Assange … pallid and silver-haired … ‘shiny’ and New Year’s Eve go so well together, and before that he’d look great under my tree!

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