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Elementary Moral Truisms

This is a poor attempt at character assassination by an apologist for the current administration. It is a desperate attempt, too as is usually the case where someone tries to play the Nazi card.

First, you very unjustly ascribe extreme views to Mr. Snowden when there is no evidence that he actually holds those views. Snowden applied a principle from Nuremburg (‘Individuals have international duties which transcend the national obligations of obedience.’) to his own actions, but that obviously does not equate to him saying that ‘those who followed the law were nothing better than Nazis.’ a belief which you ascribe to him.

Second, there is, in fact, very good reason to believe that laws have been broken. Director of National Intelligence James Clapper’s testimony to Congress troubled Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Carl Levin, because it was misleading. Carl Levin was being polite; simply stated, Clapper lied. How else would we know that that testimony was misleading? Isn’t perjury a law that should be respected, and when that perjury is to Congress on a matter of public importance, doesn’t that rise to a level that whistle-blowing is justified? The only way that lie can be justified is a belief in a paternalistic and hypocritical state that would be antithetical to a modern, democratic state in which a free press exists.

Leaving aside Mr. Clapper’s perjury, the several programs that Mr Snowden publicized each can, to a reasonable person, appear unjustifiably broad and, judging by the widespread outrage that the information about these programs has engendered, many in U.S. and other countries share this view. To retreat to the legal rationalizations of the present administration, which seem to have been distilled to: “if it is written down somewhere, even in a secret court, it must be legal” is a slippery slope that could ultimately be used to defend anything, including—since you asked for it—Nazism.

However, what I find very disturbing about this piece is that it attempts to rationalize the extra-legal and immoral actions of the nascent U.S. police state, a police state that calls for journalists and intellectuals to criticize rather than defend. Let it be noted that, at this important time, you defended, and did not criticize.

As of this evening (December 4th 2010)I could still get wikileaks here: http://wikileaks.nl/

It seems there is a meme out there that wikileaks founder Julian Assange should be hunted down and killed. This noise is being spouted by US right-wing hate groups, as well as some semi-mainstream press figures (although the difference between those two groups is getting paper thin), and they seem to forget that freedom of speech is, like, in the Constitution. I won’t link to any of the pundits that are out there brazenly advocating murder, except to make the very obvious comment that they are very evil, and if anything should happen to Julian, they would obviously bear a great deal of the responsibility and should therefore also bear some punishment if Julian were to be harmed. Of course I am only advocating legal punishment, not extra-judicial killing or anything like that. That would be wrong.

But before anyone goes out and kills Julian they should take note of how very popular he is. Look at the comments from the BBC sound-off board. Pro-wikileaks comments are running about 10 to 1. And I feel quit certain that of the 10% of the population that doesn’t like what wikileaks has done, the majority would not favor his extra-judicial killing.

So, think before you sic your goons on Julian.

Don’t believe me? Just check below…

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BP will surely lose much more money than most analysts are predicting. The so-called responsible environmental movement is not very well connected to popular sentiment, which clearly has a long way to go.  The Facebook group Boycott BP will easily be at 300,000 before tomorrow morning.

Facebook, Twitter Users Vent Wrath Over Oil Spill
Web users have turned to social media sites to channel anger, frustration, and even humor over the Gulf oil disaster, particularly at BP

By Douglas MacMillan

Web users dismayed by the BP oil leak are using Facebook and Twitter to channel outrage, organize cleanups, and poke fun at the public relations crisis facing the company behind the largest-ever U.S. spill.

A Facebook group called “Boycott BP,” which encourages people to stop using BP (BP) products, has drawn more than 250,000 fans. U.S. government agencies have set up pages on Facebook, Twitter, Google’s (GOOG) YouTube, and Yahoo!’s (YHOO) Flickr to field questions about the cleanup effort. An anonymously managed Twitter account that makes glib comments, purportedly on BP’s behalf, has more than 97,000 followers.

And then from the “please tell us what you really think” department is this gem:

Sheila Williams, a spokeswoman for London-based BP, says the company is monitoring sentiment on social media sites, although she says online outreach is a lower priority than containing the spill in the Gulf of Mexico. “Our view is that people are entitled to their views,” she says. “Our major area of concern is to try and control the leak.”

How quaint! BP still believes in the Freedom of the Press! Really?

And here is a quote from the Wanna bet? department:

Hayward reduced BP’s net debt ratio to 19 percent in the first quarter from 23 percent a year earlier, giving him greater ability to meet cleanup costs and related liabilities. The company has an AA credit rating from Standard & Poor’s and made a record $6 billion profit in the first quarter on $73 billion of revenue.

“The liability could be tens of billions of dollars, but I do think BP has the balance sheet capacity to be able to handle a hit like that,” said Jason Gammel, an analyst at Macquarie Securities USA Inc. in New York. “It’s too early to say it’s a takeover candidate because no one wants to own an unquantifiable liability.”

The issue here goes far beyond claims related to economic losses. The loss to the Biosphere far exceeds the market capitalization of the entire stock market. BP will have to pay for that. They will have to be bankrupted, and all of their assets seized. Anyone who stands in the way of that is not part of the solution, but part of the problem.

Link to video regarding the murders in El Salvador, of those who have opposed Pacific Rim’s Gold Mine development in Cabañas.   When the video was made, only one person had been killed.  Now, three anti-mining activists have been killed, and it is very difficult to make a case that these deaths have been unrelated to the mining interest.

Hat Tip: Mining Monitor

Sign the Petition to have his death fully investigated.

See also:

http://voiceselsalvador.wordpress.com/2009/12/24/more-threats-following-the-ramiros-assassination/

http://voiceselsalvador.wordpress.com/2009/12/27/the-assassinations-continue-in-cabanas/

I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country; corporations have been enthroned, an era of corruption in High Places will follow, and the Money Power of the Country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the People, until the wealth is aggregated in a few hands, and the Republic is destroyed.

Abraham Lincoln

Of course there needs to be the obligatory post about Amazon deleting the stuff from the kindle that they didn’t like.  The bigger questions, that Amazon has not answered, are:

Do you want to buy something that can be monitored & controlled by some central entity?

Why did Amazon build that feature into the Kindle in the first place?

Do you trust them when they say we won’t do it again?

Who else can use the features in the Kindle to monitor what you are reading?

Just don’t buy a Kindle. My strong recommendation:  Buy a netbook that has GNU/linux (for less than the $299 the Kindle sells for), and download what you want. When you tire of reading you can play some chess* or travel through the solar system (and this is all using free software…)

Oh, and by the way 1984 is in the public domain in Australia and Russia, so take a look at these sites:

http://ebooks.adelaide.edu.au/o/orwell/george/

http://orwell.ru/library/novels/index_en

Here are some free fonts to use when reading your downloaded books:

http://exljbris.wordpress.com/

And here are some free software packages with which to read your .pdf’s:

http://sourceforge.net/projects/pdfcreator/

http://www.foolabs.com/xpdf/

And here are 100 of the top book downloads from Project Gutenberg:

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The news coverage of the election in Iran makes little note of how anomalous support of elections in the Middle East is in the West. So I believe the real story is being missed. The headlines should read “US supports elections in Iran.”

I say the support of elections in Iran by a Western government is an anomaly because it is exactly that. In 1953 Iran had an elected government, but the big Anglo-American oil companies didn’t like that so out went the elected government and in went the fascist government that the oil companies wanted:

In 1951 Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh was elected prime minister. As prime minister, Mossadegh became enormously popular in Iran after he nationalized Iran’s oil reserves. In response, Britain embargoed Iranian oil and, amidst Cold War fears, invited the United States to join in a plot to depose Mossadegh, and in 1953 President Dwight D. Eisenhower authorized Operation Ajax. The operation was successful, and Mossadegh was arrested on 19 August 1953. After Operation Ajax, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s rule became increasingly autocratic. With American support, the Shah was able to rapidly modernize Iranian infrastructure, but he simultaneously crushed all forms of political opposition with his intelligence agency, SAVAK.

The Shah continued in power until he was evicted by a popular revolution, not supported by the USA. Furthermore, those who had overthrown the Shah quickly instituted an Republic, leading up to the elections we are now seeing. Recall also that the present president would probably not have been elected were it not for the anti-US backlash in the wake of the US invasion of Iraq. So Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is our man, like it or not. So strange that after we have done everything to foil democracy in Iran and then doing everything in our power to make sure that Ahmadinejad is elected, the US has suddenly found a liking for free and fair elections in Iran.

In the UK an officer is arrested for disclosing civilian death statistics to Human Rights Watch. Remember the good old days when Human Rights watch was the enemy of a few Central American dictatorships and countries that were on the other side of the Iron Curtain?

confidential NATO report from January reveals that civilian deaths from the war in Afghanistan have increased by 46% over the past year. 

The disclosure follows the unrelated arrest of Colonel Owen McNally earlier this month for passing older civilian death toll figures to Human Rights Watch analyst and former BBC radio reporter Rachel Reid. Human Rights Watch published a report based around that data, which covered 2006-2007, last September.[1]

The London Times, stated that American military officials were “seething” over the leaks.

A UK Ministry of Defence source reportedly told the Daily Mail:

“What McNally passed on will not cost lives in the sense that it doesn’t give specific military details. But the whole point of defeating the Taliban is winning hearts and minds and stopping the population joining their cause. If they think we’re lying to them, it could become a very dangerous place. This has caused a diplomatic row and the Americans are not happy at all.”[2]

Wikileaks legal spokesperson Jay Lim stated “We deplore the arrest of Colonel McNally for revealing civilian death figures. It is clear that Col. McNally’s actions are of the highest moral calibre. His example has encouraged others to step forward.”

Of if you want the report here it is:  http://wikileaks.org/leak/nato-afghan-metrics-2008.pdf

Oh, and if you want evidence that American military officials were actually seething over the leaks look here:

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