Tag Archives | State Department

Whistleblower Who Predicted Retaliation Gets Axe from State Deptartment

We Meant WellAre we entering a “post-legal” era? Via Common Dreams:

In September of last year, Peter Van Buren, a 24 year veteran at the State Department and author of the book We Meant Well: How I Helped Lose the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of the Iraqi People, wrote a piece for the online journal TomDispatch entitled, “The Only Employee at State Who May Be Fired Because of WikiLeaks: Me”. Last week, that piece took on prophetic qualities when the State Department initiated official proceedings to fire Van Buren. The move was leaked by Van Buren himself to the Washington Post.

According to the Post, the charges against him are based on a 25-page investigation of Van Buren that the State Department concluded last December. He said he was not aware of the probe until the report was provided to him with his termination notice. From the Post:

Now the State Department is moving to fire [Van Buren] based on eight charges, ranging from linking on his blog to documents on the whistleblowing site WikiLeaks to disclosing classified information.

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China Tells U.S. to Quit As Human Rights Judge

Human Rights in ChinaChris Buckley reports for Reuters:
The United States is beset by violence, racism and torture and has no authority to condemn other governments' human rights problems, China said on Sunday, countering U.S. criticism of Beijing's crackdown. The row between Beijing and Washington over human rights has intensified since China's ruling Communist Party extended its clampdown on dissidents and rights activists, a move which has sparked an outcry from Washington and other Western governments. Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is the most prominent of the activists to be detained by police or held in secretive custody in the latest crackdown. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said on Friday she was "deeply concerned" about it, and cited "negative trends" including Ai's detention.
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WikiLeaks Gets … Leaked?

Leakers Gonna LeakAssange has only released around 2,000 of the U.S. embassy cables WikiLeaks obtained but now a Norwegian paper is claiming access to the 250,000 cable motherload. If this is true, prepare for all hell to break loose. Devin Dwyer reports on ABC News:

Norway’s main business newspaper reported Wednesday that the Aftenposten news service has obtained unfettered and unauthorized access to the entire cache of secret government documents held exclusively by Wikileaks and its founder, Julian Assange.

If true, Aftenposten would be the only international news organization to have direct possession of the entire trove of U.S. diplomatic cables and military records believed to have been originally leaked by U.S. Army Private Bradley Manning.

The paper does not reveal who leaked the documents from inside Wikileaks’ operations.

“I have no comments on how we have secured access to the documents. We never give our sources, even in this case,” Aftenposten news editor Ole Erik Almlid told the paper Dagens Naerings, according to a rough translation of his comments, which were in Norwegian.

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Ambassador Richard Holbrooke’s Dying Words: ‘You’ve Got to Stop This War in Afghanistan’

Richard HolbrookeJason Ditz writes on Antiwar.com:
Family members are reporting that the late Richard Holbrooke, the US Special Envoy to Afghanistan and Pakistan who died yesterday following heart surgery, gave as his last words “you’ve got to stop this war in Afghanistan.” The dying words stand in stark contrast to Holbrooke’s living words, which were almost uniformly supportive of President Obama’s repeated escalations of the Afghan War. They’re also a major inconvenience to the president at a time when he’s trying to spin the ever worsening war as a runaway success. Indeed, President Obama has already released a statement praising Holbrooke and saying he deserves much of the credit for the “progress” in the disastrous conflict, and reiterated that “he understood” how important the war is. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also issued a statement on Holbrooke, and it too centered on how important the escalation of the war was.
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WikiLeaks Revelation: The U.S. State Department Obstructed Spanish Torture Investigations

Coat of Arms of SpainMore from Scott Horton at Harper’s:

In Spain, the WikiLeaks disclosures have dominated the news for three days now. The reporting has been led by the level-headed El País, with its nationwide competitor, Público, lagging only a bit behind. Attention has focused on three separate matters, each pending in the Spanish national security court, the Audiencia Nacional: the investigation into the 2003 death of a Spanish cameraman, José Cuoso, as a result of the mistaken shelling of Baghdad’s Palestine Hotel by a U.S. tank; an investigation into the torture of Spanish subjects held at Guantánamo; and a probe into the use of Spanish bases and airfields for extraordinary renditions flights, including the one which took Khaled El-Masri to Baghdad and then on to Afghanistan in 2003.

These cables reveal a large-scale, closely coordinated effort by the State Department to obstruct these criminal investigations. High-ranking U.S. visitors such as former Republican Party Chair Mel Martinez, Senator Judd Gregg, and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano were corralled into this effort, warning Spanish political leaders that the criminal investigations would “be misunderstood” and would harm bilateral relations.

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The Jester, A ‘Hacktivist For Good’, Claims WikiLeaks Takedown

A Jester?Sounds like a comic book villain. Richard Allen Greene & Nicola Hughes report for CNN:
A computer hacker who calls himself "The Jester" claimed responsibility for the cyber attack which took down the WikiLeaks site Sunday, shortly before it started posting hundreds of thousands of classified U.S. diplomatic cables. The Jester, who describes himself as a "hacktivist for good," said he took the controversial site down "for attempting to endanger the lives of our troops, 'other assets' & foreign relations." He normally attacks Islamist websites, announcing "TANGO DOWN" on his Twitter account when claiming to have attacked a site. "Tango Down" is Special Forces jargon for having eliminated a terrorist. The Jester describes himself as "an ex-soldier with a rather famous unit, country purposely not specified." "I was involved with supporting Special Forces, I have served in (and around) Afghanistan amongst other places," he told the website threatchaos.com early this year.
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U.S. Embassy Cables Leak Sparks Global Diplomacy Crisis

U.S. Department Of StateNews Flash: Truth Told, Heavens Begin To Fall … David Leigh writes in the Guardian:

The United States was catapulted into a worldwide diplomatic crisis today, with the leaking to the Guardian and other international media of more than 250,000 classified cables from its embassies, many sent as recently as February this year.

At the start of a series of daily extracts from the US embassy cables – many of which are designated “secret” – the Guardian can disclose that Arab leaders are privately urging an air strike on Iran and that US officials have been instructed to spy on the UN’s leadership.

These two revelations alone would be likely to reverberate around the world. But the secret dispatches which were obtained by WikiLeaks, the whistlebowers’ website, also reveal Washington’s evaluation of many other highly sensitive international issues.

These include a major shift in relations between China and North Korea, Pakistan’s growing instability and details of clandestine US efforts to combat al-Qaida in Yemen.

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