Monthly Archives: November 2010

Chomsky on WikiLeaks

from “Noam Chomsky: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal ‘Profound Hatred for Democracy on the Part of Our Political Leadership'” at DemocracyNow!, 11/30/10:

…We should understand- and the Pentagon Papers is another case in point- that one of the major reasons for government secrecy is to protect the government from its own population. In the Pentagon Papers, for example, there was one volume- the negotiations volume- which might have had a bearing on ongoing activities and Daniel Ellsberg withheld that. That came out a little bit later. If you look at the papers themselves, there are things Americans should have known that others did not want them to know. And as far as I can tell, from what I’ve seen here, pretty much the same is true. In fact, the current leaks are- what I’ve seen, at least- primarily interesting because of what they tell us about how the diplomatic service works….

…the main significance of the cables that are being released so far is what they tell us about Western leadership. So Hillary Clinton and Benjamin Netanyahu surely know of the careful polls of Arab public opinion. The Brookings Institute just a few months ago released extensive polls of what Arabs think about Iran….

With regard to nuclear weapons, rather remarkably, a majority – in fact, 57–say that the region would have a positive effect in the region if Iran had nuclear weapons. Now, these are not small numbers. 80, 77, say the U.S. and Israel are the major threat. 10 say Iran is the major threat. This may not be reported in the newspapers here- it is in England- but it’s certainly familiar to the Israeli and U.S. governments, and to the ambassadors. But there is not a word about it anywhere. What that reveals is the profound hatred for democracy on the part of our political leadership and the Israeli political leadership. These things aren’t even to be mentioned. This seeps its way all through the diplomatic service. The cables to not have any indication of that….

To tell the world– well, they’re talking to each other- to pretend to each other that the Arab world regards Iran as the major threat and wants the U.S. to bomb Iran, is extremely revealing, when they know that approximately 80% of Arab opinion regards the U.S. and Israel as the major threat, 10% regard Iran as the major threat, and a majority, 57%, think the region would be better off with Iranian nuclear weapons as a kind of deterrent. That is does not even enter. All that enters is what they claim has been said by Arab dictators – brutal Arab dictators. That is what counts.

How representative this is of what they say, we don’t know, because we do not know what the filtering is. But that’s a minor point. But the major point is that the population is irrelevant. All that matters is the opinions of the dictators that we support. If they were to back us, that is the Arab world. That is a very revealing picture of the mentality of U.S. political leadership and, presumably, the lead opinion, judging by the commentary that’s appeared here, that’s the way it has been presented in the press as well. It does not matter with the Arabs believe….

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Filed under Iran, Iraq, Mid East other / S Asia

Chomsky to Obama

from “Noam Chomsky: WikiLeaks Cables Reveal ‘Profound Hatred for Democracy on the Part of Our Political Leadership'” at DemocracyNow!, 11/30/10:

AMY GOODMAN: …I wanted ask if you were President Obama’s top adviser, what would you tell him to do right now?

NOAM CHOMSKY: I would tell him to do what FDR did when big business was opposed to him. Help organize, stimulate public opposition and put through a serious populist program, which can be done. Stimulate the economy. Don’t give away everything to financiers. Push through real health reform. The health reform that was pushed through may be a slight improvement but it leaves some major problems untouched. If you’re worried about the deficit, pay attention to the fact that it is almost all attributable to military spending and this totally dysfunctional health program.

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Filed under US President

WikiLeaks in 2 quotes

1) the good news and the “but”

“…President Obama supports responsible, accountable, and open government at home and around the world, but…”

— from “White House Statement on WikiLeaks Release, 11/28/10, at Reader Supported News

2) the poetry version:

posted by DaveW, 2010-11-28:

Hear the wheels of empire…squeak
When so greased by Wiki…Leaks
Our government says…Julian
Is portentous, loose-lipped…hooligan
If truth’s the elixir that we…seek
It’s high time that we got a…peek
Diplomatic secrets…swept
Under rug is tyranny…kept
Transparency is a “two way”…mirror
Honest gains or…perpetual fear?

— from “WikiLeaks Site Under ‘Attack’
as Diplomatic Cables Go Public,” by Steven Musil, cnet News, at Reader Supported News, 11/28/10

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Filed under National govt & politics, US President

Bombing not war?

from SCOTT SHANE and ANDREW W. LEHREN, “Cables Obtained by WikiLeaks Shine Light Into Secret Diplomatic Channels,” New York Times, 11/28/10:

…it has been previously reported that the Yemeni government has sought to cover up the American role in missile strikes against the local branch of Al Qaeda. But a cable’s fly-on-the-wall account of a January meeting between the Yemeni president, Ali Abdullah Saleh, and Gen. David H. Petraeus, then the American commander in the Middle East, is nonetheless breathtaking.

“We’ll continue saying the bombs are ours, not yours,” Mr. Saleh said, according to the cable sent by the American ambassador, prompting Yemen’s deputy prime minister to “joke that he had just ‘lied’ by telling Parliament” that Yemeni forces had carried out the strikes….

later the same year…

WASHINGTON: Defense Secretary Robert Gates said on Tuesday the United States wanted to help Yemen battle Al-Qaeda’s affiliate in the country instead of entering “another war.” Providing equipment and training to Yemeni security forces offered the best way to counter the threat posed by Al-Qaeda militants, Gates said.

“We don’t need another war,” he told a conference organized by The Wall Street Journal newspaper.

With more than 100,000 US troops fighting Al-Qaeda’s allies in Afghanistan and public skepticism in Yemen over the US military’s role there, Gates and other US officials have stressed that Sanaa will lead the fight against militants….

“Our biggest tools particularly with respect to Yemen are the partnership capacity of the Yemenis themselves, and enabling them to go after these guys,” he said.

He said the Yemenis “have shown a willingness” to take the fight to the militants….

from “US will help Yemen but no plans for ‘another war’: Gates,” Yahoo!News, 11/16/10

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Filed under Mid East other / S Asia