Of all places to grant Julian Assange of Wikileaks asylum, Ecuador! President Correa of Ecuador, not to be bullied by England, granted him asylum early today. Not a very comfortable place for Assange as it appears he is sleeping on an air mattress in a converted office in a very small embassy.
That England would threaten Ecuador with revoking their embassy status is ludicrous to the extreme in any circumstance. It is a violation of the Geneva Convention and accepted International Law. If this does happen we are all in for a very rough time. I suspect that many English and perhaps American embassies across the world would be faced with a severe backlash and see many embassies’ status revoked and closed. At least I hope this is what would happen.
It just doesn’t make sense that such measures would even be talked about in this case. He hasn’t been charged with a crime! This is all about the U.S. and others wanting to exact some revenge on Mr Assange and nothing else. He would most certainly be whisked away to the U.S. and face trial on some trumped up charges of espionage.
I for one think that the U.S. is pissed because what we have paid for in services, delivered by various departments of state and military, is not up to the price we paid. In short, we are getting ripped off, lied to and controlled by the very government we pay for! Enough is enough.
I say let Mr. Assange leave the embassy and go to live in Ecuador! Let him continue to publish these ‘top secret’ cables and let us and the world know what is really taking place in the upper echelons of government! It is time for the covers to be drawn back, no more secrets.
In the video you are about to watch below, learn more of how we are not just being observed now but have been for some 70 plus years and what’s more one of our biggest US companies was instrumental in doing this and at the expense of countless lives.
The embedded video here is an excellent discussion of many things and concentrates a lot of time on GMO seeds and Monsanto and how this is tantamount to ‘crack’ for other countries, creating debt and reliance on Monsanto forever for their food. Max terms it another form of fiat currency.
Please listen to this Max Keiser interview and expand your horizons!
I totally agree on many points Max makes here. I am also thumbs up on his Wikileaks views. We have to support this effort to make government more transparent, something which is absolutely lacking at this point…from the FED to Congress to the DOD.
I feel that this has been one of the best things to happen to this country and the world for quite some time. Many say that it is a breach of national security etc…my problem with this is that I just don’t agree with the propaganda that is fed to the American People on a daily basis. As we are seeing what the diplomats actually see and think is mostly contrary to what we hear…does that make any sense to you at all? If not I would hope that you are able to confront reality and realize that we are being lied to on a daily basis.
Many times I feel that We the People are being led, like Pigs to the Slaughter, to an unfortunate destination. I am not casting stones nor judging the competency of our illustrious leaders, only stating a conclusion that I am drawing based upon the ‘factual evidence’ being presented by Wikileaks and portrayed in the documents compared to the ‘news’ as we get it from any source.
Just doesn’t add up.
Well if the latest Wikileak is true and the ‘real’ intel from the field, not the propaganda being fed to us by central government, is even kinda accurate-then we should pack up and get the heck out of Afghanistan today!
We have lost far too many of our young men and women in these fruitless geo-political wars and if we are just fighting and dying for such a people I believe it is time to get out.
Of course, not to be hypocritical, this would also mean that we as a people should ‘throw’ the criminals on Capitol Hill out. Seems the longer we allow this system to perpetuate itself the more the crooks are allowed to give away to ‘constituents’(read lobbyist and their well heeled corporate clients) and take for themselves (read salaries, health care plans, retirement packages and of course all those contributions). We get nothing but a load of debt that looks like will never be paid back!
Cables Describe Scale of Afghan Corruption
WASHINGTON — From hundreds of diplomatic cables, Afghanistan emerges as a looking-glass land where bribery, extortion and embezzlement are the norm and the honest man is a distinct outlier.
Describing the likely lineup of Afghanistan’s new cabinet last January, the American Embassy noted that the agriculture minister, Asif Rahimi, “appears to be the only minister that was confirmed about whom no allegations of bribery exist.”
One Afghan official helpfully explained to diplomats the “four stages” at which his colleagues skimmed money from American development projects: “When contractors bid on a project, at application for building permits, during construction, and at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.” In a seeming victory against corruption, Abdul Ahad Sahibi, the mayor of Kabul, received a four-year prison sentence last year for “massive embezzlement.” But a cable from the embassy told a very different story: Mr. Sahibi was a victim of “kangaroo court justice,” it said, in what appeared to be retribution for his attempt to halt a corrupt land-distribution scheme.
It is hardly news that predatory corruption, fueled by a booming illicit narcotics industry, is rampant at every level of Afghan society. Transparency International, an advocacy organization that tracks government corruption around the globe, ranks Afghanistan as the world’s third most corrupt country, behind Somalia and Myanmar.
But the collection of confidential diplomatic cables obtained by WikiLeaks and made available to a number of publications, offers a fresh sense of its pervasive nature, its overwhelming scale, and the dispiriting challenge it poses to American officials who have made shoring up support for the Afghan government a cornerstone of America’s counterinsurgency strategy in Afghanistan.
The cables make it clear that American officials see the problem as beginning at the top. An August 2009 report from Kabul complains that President Hamid Karzai and his attorney general “allowed dangerous individuals to go free or re-enter the battlefield without ever facing an Afghan court.” The embassy was particularly concerned that Mr. Karzai pardoned five border police officers caught with 124 kilograms (about 273 pounds) of heroin and intervened in a drug case involving the son of a wealthy supporter.
The American dilemma is perhaps best summed up in an October 2009 cable sent by Ambassador Karl W. Eikenberry, written after he met with Ahmed Wali Karzai, the president’s half brother, the most powerful man in Kandahar and someone many American officials believe prospers from the drug trade.
“The meeting with AWK highlights one of our major challenges in Afghanistan: how to fight corruption and connect the people to their government, when the key government officials are themselves corrupt,” Ambassador Eikenberry wrote.
American officials seem to search in vain for an honest partner. A November 2009 cable described the acting governor of Khost Province, Tahir Khan Sabari, as “a refreshing change,” an effective and trustworthy leader. But Mr. Sabari told his American admirers that he did not have “the $200,000-300,000 for a bribe” necessary to secure the job permanently.
Ahmed Zia Massoud held the post of first vice president from 2004 to 2009; the brother of the famous Northern Alliance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud, he was discussed as a future presidential prospect. Last year, a cable reported, Mr. Massoud was caught by customs officials carrying $52 million in unexplained cash into the United Arab Emirates.
A diplomatic cable is not a criminal indictment, of course, and in an interview, Mr. Massoud denied taking any money out of Afghanistan. “It’s not true,” he said. “Fifty-two million dollars is a pile of money as big as this room.” Yet while his official salary was a few hundred dollars a month, Mr. Massoud lives in a waterfront house on Palm Jumeirah, a luxury Dubai community that is also home to other Afghan officials. When a reporter visited the dwelling earlier this year, a dark blue Rolls-Royce was parked out front.
The cables describe a country where everything is for sale. The Transportation Ministry collects $200 million a year in trucking fees, but only $30 million is turned over to the government, according to a 2009 account to diplomats by Wahidullah Shahrani, then the commerce minister. As a result, “individuals pay up to $250,000 for the post heading the office in Herat, for example, and end up owning beautiful mansions as well as making lucrative political donations,” said Mr. Shahrani, who also identified 14 of Afghanistan’s governors as “bad performers and/or corrupt.”
Then again, another cable reports “rumors” that Mr. Shahrani himself “was involved in a corrupt oil import deal.” He denied the rumors, saying that they were inventions by two rivals who were “among the most corrupt in Afghanistan,” the cable said.
Articles in this series will examine American diplomatic cables as a window on relations with the rest of the world in an age of war and terrorism.
Pity the diplomat who must sort out whose version of reality to believe. One cable reported the American ambassador’s attempt to size up Mr. Shahrani, who later became the minister of mines. “Ambassador Eikenberry noted Shahrani’s extravagant home, suggesting that the Afghans knew best who is corrupt,” the cable said.
The cables lay out allegations of bribes and profit-skimming in the organization of travel to Saudi Arabia for the hajj, or pilgrimage; in a scheme to transfer money via cellphones; in the purchase of wheat seed; in the compilation of an official list of war criminals; and in the voting in Parliament.
Dr. Sayed Fatimie, the minister of health, told American diplomats in January that members of Parliament wanted cash to confirm his appointment. “Expressing shock at the blatancy of these extortion attempts, Fatimie said MPs had offered their own votes and the votes of others they could purportedly deliver for $1,000 apiece,” a cable said.
The case of the Kabul mayor, Mr. Sahibi, shows how complicated it can be to sort out corruption charges. A Jan. 7 cable signed by Ambassador Eikenberry gave an account sharply at odds with media reports, which treated the prosecution as a landmark in the campaign for honest government.
The cable, referring to embassy interviews with Mr. Sahibi, said the charges against him were based on a decision to lease a piece of city property to shopkeepers. Three months after the lease was signed, another bidder offered $16,000 more. The “loss” of the potential additional revenue became the “massive embezzlement” described by prosecutors, the cable said.
Mr. Sahibi told the Americans he had been summoned to appear in court on Dec. 7 to be assigned a hearing date. Instead, he said, he was given a four-year sentence and a $16,000 fine.
As for the motive behind his prosecution, Mr. Sahibi said that in less than two years as mayor “he had found files for approximately 32,000 applicants who paid for nonexistent plots of land in Kabul city.” He said he halted the land program and “invalidated the illegal claims of some important people,” who took their revenge through the bogus criminal case.
The embassy cable largely supported Mr. Sahibi’s version of events, saying that the mayor’s “official decision may have antagonized powerful people who then sought the power of the state to discredit him.” Far from being a blow against corruption, the cable suggested, the case was a travesty of justice.
The widespread corruption is made possible in part by a largely unregulated banking infrastructure and the ancient hawala money transfer network that is the method of choice for politicians, insurgents and drug traffickers to move cash around the Muslim world.
Last year, a cable signed by Ambassador Eikenberry said that the hawala favored by the Afghan elite, New Ansari, “is facilitating bribes and other wide-scale illicit cash transfers for corrupt Afghan officials” and providing financial services to narco-traffickers through front companies in Afghanistan and the United Arab Emirates. He asked Washington to send more investigators and wiretap analysts to assist nascent Afghan task forces that were examining New Ansari.
The anticorruption task forces already faced significant obstacles. For instance, Afghanistan’s interior minister asked that the American government “take a low profile on the New Ansari case” to avoid the perception that investigations were being carried out “at the behest of the United States.”
Months later, when the New Ansari investigators carried out a predawn raid on the house of a top aide to President Karzai whom investigators heard soliciting a bribe on a wiretap, Mr. Karzai intervened to release the man from jail and threatened to take control of the anticorruption investigations. In November, the Afghan government dropped all charges against the aide.
The resulting standoff between Kabul and Washington forced the Obama administration to take stock of its strategy: was trying to root out corruption, at the risk of further alienating Mr. Karzai, really worth it? And with American troops set to begin leaving Afghanistan next summer, and the American public having long ago lost the appetite for nation-building, was trying to root out corruption a Sisyphean task?
In September, President Obama acknowledged the dilemma. “Are there going to be occasions where we look and see that some of our folks on the ground have made compromises with people who are known to have engaged in corruption?” he asked. “There may be occasions where that happens.”
A February cable described exactly such a compromise, reporting on a police chief at a border crossing in southern Afghanistan, Col. Abdul Razziq, who was reputed to be corrupt — and good at his job.
Western officials, it said, “walk a thin tightrope when working with this allegedly corrupt official who is also a major security stabilizing force.”
So folks time again, or is it still?, to voice your opinions…vote these bums out whenever you have the chance. Pick up a sign and protest when you have the chance.
Wikileaks has to be the bombshell that the government doesn’t want anyone to see…yet the people will certainly benefit from the ‘lack of spin’. Hopefully we will have a chance to look at the raw info clearly and come to some conclusions on our own instead of waiting for the government hacks to present us the ‘evidence or information’ once it has been thoroughly cleaned.
This intel on the N Korean/China situation is particularly enlightening given the state of affairs in that region at present. Aircraft carriers, war games and such are an indication of some real power plays. The cable would seem to portray a much more complex issue IF China is in fact trying to move away from their historical alliance with the North and are opting for S Korea to ‘take over’.
We shall see what transpires over the next days and weeks. I am looking for more cables on the ‘economic/currency’ situation as it relates to many of the countries where the cables originated. As I find them you can bet I will be commenting.
Wikileaks cables reveal China ‘ready to abandon North Korea’
Leaked dispatches show Beijing is frustrated with military actions of ‘spoiled child’ and increasingly favours reunified Korea
A protest by South Korean war veterans after the North Korean artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island South Korean war veterans protest after North Korea attacked Yeonpyeong Island. The WikiLeaks cables reveal Beijing believes such actions are those of a ‘spoiled child’. Photograph: Kim Kyung-Hoon/Reuters
China has signalled its readiness to accept Korean reunification and is privately distancing itself from the North Korean regime, according to leaked US embassy cables that reveal senior Beijing figures regard their official ally as a “spoiled child”.
News of the Chinese shift comes at a crucial juncture after the North’s artillery bombardment of a South Korean island last week that killed four people and led both sides to threaten war. China has refused to condemn the North Korean action. But today Beijing appeared to bow to US pressure to help bring about a diplomatic solution, calling for “emergency consultations” and inviting a senior North Korean official to Beijing.
China is sharply critical of US pressure tactics towards North Korea and wants a resumption of the six-party nuclear disarmament talks. But the Guardian can reveal Beijing’s frustration with Pyongyang has grown since its missile and nuclear tests last year, worries about the economic impact of regional instability, and fears that the death of the dictator, Kim Jong-il, could spark a succession struggle.
China’s moves to distance itself from Kim are revealed in the latest tranche of leaked US embassy cables published by the Guardian and four international newspapers. Tonight, the US secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, said the US “deeply regrets” the release of the material by WikiLeaks. They were an “attack on the international community”, she said. “It puts people’s lives in danger, threatens our national security and undermines efforts to work with other countries to solve shared problems,” she told reporters at the state department.
The leaked North Korea dispatches detail how:
• South Korea’s vice-foreign minister said he was told by two named senior Chinese officials that they believed Korea should be reunified under Seoul’s control, and that this view was gaining ground with the leadership in Beijing.
• China’s vice-foreign minister told US officials that Pyongyang was behaving like a “spoiled child” to get Washington’s attention in April 2009 by carrying out missile tests.
• A Chinese ambassador warned that North Korean nuclear activity was “a threat to the whole world’s security”.
• Chinese officials assessed that it could cope with an influx of 300,000 North Koreans in the event of serious instability, according to a representative of an international agency, but might need to use the military to seal the border.
In highly sensitive discussions in February this year, the-then South Korean vice-foreign minister, Chun Yung-woo, told a US ambassador, Kathleen Stephens, that younger generation Chinese Communist party leaders no longer regarded North Korea as a useful or reliable ally and would not risk renewed armed conflict on the peninsula, according to a secret cable to Washington.
Chun, who has since been appointed national security adviser to South Korea’s president, said North Korea had already collapsed economically.
Political collapse would ensue once Kim Jong-il died, despite the dictator’s efforts to obtain Chinese help and to secure the succession for his son, Kim Jong-un.
“Citing private conversations during previous sessions of the six-party talks , Chun claimed [the two high-level officials] believed Korea should be unified under ROK [South Korea] control,” Stephens reported.
“The two officials, Chun said, were ready to ‘face the new reality’ that the DPRK [North Korea] now had little value to China as a buffer state – a view that, since North Korea’s first nuclear test in 2006, had reportedly gained traction among senior PRC [People's Republic of China] leaders. Chun argued that in the event of a North Korean collapse, China would clearly ‘not welcome’ any US military presence north of the DMZ [demilitarised zone]. Again citing his conversations with [the officials], Chun said the PRC would be comfortable with a reunified Korea controlled by Seoul and anchored to the US in a ‘benign alliance’ – as long as Korea was not hostile towards China. Tremendous trade and labour-export opportunities for Chinese companies, Chun said, would also help ‘salve’ PRC concerns about … a reunified Korea.
“Chun dismissed the prospect of a possible PRC military intervention in the event of a DPRK collapse, noting that China’s strategic economic interests now lie with the United States, Japan and South Korea – not North Korea.”
Chun told Stephens China was unable to persuade Pyongyang to change its self-defeating policies – Beijing had “much less influence than most people believe” – and lacked the will to enforce its views.
A senior Chinese official, speaking off the record, also said China’s influence with the North was frequently overestimated. But Chinese public opinion was increasingly critical of the North’s behaviour, the official said, and that was reflected in changed government thinking.
Previously hidden tensions between Pyongyang and its only ally were also exposed by China’s then vice-foreign minister in a meeting in April 2009 with a US embassy official after North Korea blasted a three-stage rocket over Japan into the Pacific. Pyongyang said its purpose was to send a satellite into orbit but the US, South Korea and Japan saw the launch as a test of long-range missile technology.
Discussing how to tackle the issue with the charge d’affaires at the Beijing embassy, He Yafei observed that “North Korea wanted to engage directly with the United States and was therefore acting like a ‘spoiled child’ in order to get the attention of the ‘adult’. China encouraged the United States, ‘after some time’, to start to re-engage the DPRK,” according to the diplomatic cable sent to Washington.
A second dispatch from September last year described He downplaying the Chinese premier’s trip to Pyongyang, telling the US deputy secretary of state, James Steinberg: “We may not like them … [but] they [the DPRK] are a neighbour.”
He said the premier, Wen Jiabao, would push for denuclearisation and a return to the six-party talks. The official also complained that North Korea “often tried to play China off [against] the United States, refusing to convey information about US-DPRK bilateral conversations”.
Further evidence of China’s increasing dismay with Pyongyang comes in a cable in June 2009 from the US ambassador to Kazakhstan, Richard Hoagland. He reported that his Chinese counterpart, Cheng Guoping. was “genuinely concerned by North Korea’s recent nuclear missile tests. ‘We need to solve this problem. It is very troublesome,’ he said, calling Korea’s nuclear activity a ‘threat to the whole world’s security’.”
Cheng said Beijing “hopes for peaceful reunification in the long term, but he expects the two countries to remain separate in the short term”, Hoagland reported. China’s objectives were “to ensure they [North Korean leaders] honour their commitments on non-proliferation, maintain stability, and ‘don’t drive [Kim Jong-il] mad’.”
While some Chinese officials are reported to have dismissed suggestions that North Korea would implode after Kim’s death, another cable offers evidence that Beijing has considered the risk of instability.
It quoted a representative from an international agency saying Chinese officials believed they could absorb 300,000 North Koreans without outside help. If they arrived “all at once” it might use the military to seal the border, create a holding area and meet humanitarian needs. It might also ask other countries for help.
The context of the discussions was not made explicit, although an influx of that scale would only be likely in the event of regime failure. The representative said he was not aware of any contingency planning to deal with large numbers of refugees.
A Seoul embassy cable from January 2009 said China’s leader, Hu Jintao, deliberately ducked the issue when the South Korean president, Lee Myung-bak, raised it at a summit.
“We understand Lee asked Hu what China thought about the North Korean domestic political situation and whether Beijing had any contingency plans. This time, Hu apparently pretended not to hear Lee,” it said. The cable does not indicate the source of the reports, although elsewhere it talks about contacts at the presidential “blue house” in South Korea.
Stay tuned for more developments. My bet is that N Korea will not go down without a serious fight of some kind. If this ‘leak’ is close to the truth, leaders in N Korea might begin to feel as if they have nothing to lose!
I don’t really care if you agree or disagree with the leaking of the Afghanistan papers. What I do want to point out is the ‘backlash’ against the founder of Wikileaks. His arrest on rape charges, kept overnight and then released with all charges dropped and warrant cancelled.
This can only be the long arm of Big Brother reaching out to Sweden to show its displeasure. Think about it, you could be next especially if you upset the apple cart so to speak. I could be next for writing this…where does it stop?
Swedish authorities have withdrawn an arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, stating that the accusation of rape against him was unfounded.
The move came just a day after a warrant was issued by Sweden’s prosecutors’ office in Stockholm in response to accusations of rape and molestation in two separate cases.
“I don’t think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape,” the chief prosecutor, Eva Finne, said.
She made no comment on the status of the molestation case, a less serious charge that would not lead to an arrest warrant.
Assange has denied both accusations, first reported by the Swedish tabloid Expressen, which were described as dirty tricks on the Wikileaks’ Twitter account.
He implied that they were linked to the release by the whistleblowers’ website of a huge cache of US military records on the Afghan war, which were published in collaboration with the Guardian and two other newspapers.
Assange wrote: “The charges are without basis and their issue at this moment is deeply disturbing.”
Earlier postings on the Twitter account implied the accusations were part of a dirty tricks campaign against the Wikileaks founder, who has been strongly criticised by the Pentagon.
“Expressen is a tabloid; No one here has been contacted by Swedish police. Needless to say, this will prove hugely distracting.
“We were warned to expect ‘dirty tricks’. Now we have the first one.”
Last month Wikileaks released around 77,000 secret US military documents on the war in Afghanistan.
US authorities criticised the leak, saying it could put the lives of Nato troops and Afghan informants at risk.
Assange has said that Wikileaks intends to release a further 15,000 documents in the coming weeks – a pledge condemned by the Pentagon, which has demanded the deletion of the files from the website.
Assange, an Australian citizen, was in Sweden last week to apply for a publishing certificate to make sure the website, which has servers in Sweden, can take full advantage of Swedish laws protecting whistleblowers.
He also gave a talk about his work and defended the decision by Wikileaks to publish the Afghan war logs
It is time we stood up for the constitution here and now!