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Protest: Free Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange and Bradley Manning
Date Saturday January 08
Time 1:00 PM - 1:00 PM
Location Details
Meet at the Clock Tower on Pacific Avenue
There will be speakers and a march
Event Type Protest
Organizer/AuthorSteven Argue
Free Wikileaks Founder Julian Assange and Bradley Manning!

U.S. Troops and Mercenaries Out of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Pakistan Now!

Meet at the Clock Tower on Pacific Avenue
Saturday January 8th
Starting at 1:00 PM
There will be speakers and a march


Frank Runninghorse
Organizer in Students for a Democratic Society, the Peace and Freedom Party, and the Oscar Grant Coalition

James Cosner
Professor of History

Bob Meola
From the Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission

Robert Norse
Activist in Homeless United For Friendship and Freedom and Freak Radio Santa Cruz DJ

Steve Pleich
Activist for the homeless, harm reduction, feeding the poor, and City Council candidate in past and future elections

Steven Argue
Activist with the Revolutionary League for a Workers’ Party and writer for Liberation News

Organized by the Santa Cruz Coalition to free Julian Assange and Bradley Manning, Endorsed by the Peace and Freedom Party, Students for a Democratic Society, the Bolshevik Tendency, the Oscar Grant Coalition, the League for a Revolutionary Party, and MDS.

For more info on Bradley Manning anf Julian Assange's cases, see our coalition's other flyer for the event:
Added to the calendar on Thursday Jan 6th, 2011 3:29 PM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by No Thank You
Thursday Jan 6th, 2011 8:54 PM
This Frank Runninghorse?:

The one convicted at age 49 for multiple counts of lewd acts with a 14 year old girl? The one convicted of possessing kiddie porn?

Tell me it's not him. I don't care what political affiliation one has, it never exonerates you from child abuse. I'll never partner with such a person.
by Steven Argue
Friday Jan 7th, 2011 1:13 AM
The first lie that you passed on was that Runninghorse assaulted a student. He did not. He was arrested for simply passing out literature. The cops want to pretend that he was doing this aggressively and want to pretend that this was assault. These are just typical police lies used to violate free speech.

You find cop accusations that were dutifully rewritten as "facts" by a little student newspaper and pretend you know what happened. And then you pass on those lies when they aren't even relevant to the real issue here which is freeing Bradley Manning and Julian Assange and getting U.S. troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan. Your smears, like those of Julian Assange, are simply cop lies to distract from the real issues.

As people who are familiar with the criminal injustice system can tell you, there is no such thing as a fair trial in America's capitalist courts. Especially for the poor, people of color, and leftists. Frank Runninghorse is all three. Police accusations and even convictions are no indication of guilt. And just because some little student newspaper repeats what the cops have told them about convictions that may or may not have happened doesn't mean a thing in terms of the hard work that brother Frank Runninghorse does in the struggle for a better world.

No evidence of kiddie porn was ever presented by the cops or prosecution. Those charges were immediately dropped. This was simply an attempt at character assassination as are all of the rest of the ridiculous accusations against him. This lie was also an attempt to have him murdered by fellow prisoners.

The reality is that the woman he had sex with never presented any evidence she was under-age in court, aggressively perused him, and was an emancipated prostitute at the time they had sex. Government set-up? Sounds like it. A minor? That sounds absurd and it's never been proven.
by FedUp !
Friday Jan 7th, 2011 2:23 AM
I would doubt that anyone here would waste their time reading The Nation magazine, considering what it has become. It's not surprising to me that The Nation magazine has joined the campaign AGAINST Assange....

Also, completely unrelated, anyone surprised by this:

Glenn Beck Hires Former Huffington Post Chief

(I haven't been on Huffington Post in years. I read comments about that site on occasion. I tried to comment there years ago and was censored and had comments deleted. So I left. Since then, I've heard they ban people, delete comments if one is not "Dem party line" and don't allow any discussion of 911. So I've said, screw them.)

Unbelievable, and not credible.

So let me see, we have a convicted child molester, a convicted blindside-attack cop puncher, and a Nazi salute thrower on the podium?

Julian would be cringing in his English manor of home arrest if he knew of the level of support he's receiving here.

I'll pass.
by history calling
Friday Jan 7th, 2011 9:31 AM
What university is James Cosner a "professor" at? Note: this article is entirely pro-Cosner, so cannot be written off as "propaganda from an insignificant community college".

...San Jose, Ca. Wielding a sledgehammer, justice activist James Cosner smashed a life-size statue of Christopher Columbus in front of dozens of witnesses at City Hall in San Jose, California on Thursday, March 8th. As the seven-types of marble chips flew from the blows, Cosner shouted "Genocide!" "This man rode our backs!" "This man murdered us!"

...Having smuggled the sledgehammer into City Hall, Cosner struck the marble statue breaking off the arm, both legs, and cracking pits into the face. He cracked off the top of the scroll held by Columbus, so that the torso only remained standing by the flowing waves of the marble cape, which was still connected to the pedestal.

One passerby, Jaime Nava approached Cosner and tried to talk him into stopping. As Nava tried to calm Cosner, plainclothes officer Chris Galios, Mayor Ron Gonzales' bodyguard, arrived and tried to persuade Cosner to stop. But it was only when three uniformed officers came through the front door with their guns drawn that Cosner ceased.

Nava used his body to shield Cosner, who had backed against a wall. Officers then handcuffed Cosner, who told them: ``I'm not fighting. I'm very calm. I'm very calm.'' San Jose Mayor Ron Gonzalez vowed to restore the statue, which will then be moved in front of the new City Hall when it opens downtown.

Cosner, a native American who has been active in protests against the injustice committed against the homeless in Santa Cruz under the Sleeping Ban, in the struggle to free Mumia Abu Jamal, and against the bombing in Yugoslavia. In 1996, he was one of six people who locked down at City Hall to protest the anti-homeless Sleeping Ban in Santa Cruz. In 1999 he was arrested in Rep. Sam Farr s office to protest the civilian bombing of Yugoslavia.

He was arrested at another protest on May 22nd in front of the McPherson Center where a Democratic Party fundraiser was held, supporting ex- President Clinton s "Bomb Belgrade" campaign. He, along with Steve Argue, became one of the Santa Cruz 5, arrested for resisting a police disruption of a legitimate political protest. Later in 1999, he attended the protests in Seattle against the WTO. Cosner remains in the Santa Clara County Jail, booked on suspicion of vandalism, making terrorist threats and destruction of a civic monument. His bail, originally set at $4,000 has been raised to $50,000.
by history calling
Friday Jan 7th, 2011 9:55 AM
The charges were reduced to a misdemeanor, so he is not on sex offender websites, which is reserved for those who commit felonies. However, this does not mean that it "wasn't proven that she was under-age". Why would the court give him ANY sentence if it "wasn't proven" as Steve claims. Orcutt himself admits in this article that he is a convicted sex offender who needed to register with DVC. His own quote "I'm taking care of it right away".

"A public record obtained by The Inquirer revealed that Runninghorse was charged in December 2005 with four counts of committing lewd acts with a minor aged 14-15 and one count of possessing sexual matter involving minors, commonly referred to as "child pornography."

By law, these crimes are felony-level offenses.

But Runninghorse's lawyer was able to get the charges reduced to a misdemeanor offense. Hence, his personal and identifying information is not required to be available on such public offender databases as the Megan's Law website, said Contra Costa Sheriff's Detective Kelly Challand. Challand said only felons' information appears on such public sites.

Farley said sex offenders who attend classes at DVC must register with campus police immediately.
Runninghorse refused to comment on his conviction or his failure to register, saying only that he was "taking care of it right away."
Friday Jan 7th, 2011 10:42 AM
by get real
Friday Jan 7th, 2011 12:01 PM
This is really pathetic. Where to begin? Sigh...

The Santa Cruz Coalition to free Julian Assange and Bradley Manning is anything but a coalition. How many local Santa Cruz organizations were contacted about joining this coalition? Let's see, no WILPF, no RCNV, no Women In Black, no Veterans for Peace, et al. The list is very telling by who wasn't contacted or included.

The list of endorsers misrepresents several organizations:

--The State Central Committee of the Peace and Freedom Party has not endorsed this event, and neither has the P&F Party Santa Cruz County Council. Neither of the above were approached for an endorsement. If anything, it should read, Contra Costa County Council of the Peace & Freedom Party.

--The Students for a Democratic Society should read Diablo Valley College chapter of SDS.

Both of the above endorsements were provided by Frank Runninghorse and do not accurately reflect any endorsement by the parent organizations. Frank Runninghorse's problematic history has already been addressed in previous posts.

--The League for a Revolutionary Party sounds like the Revolutionary League for a Workers’ Party, and is most likely Steve forgetting what he named his organization, membership of one.

As to the rest of the speakers...

James Cosner, a professor of history. Uh-huh... An adventuristic activist prone to solo actions that serve to discredit the causes he champions. Last sightings in Santa Cruz ... arrested for illegal postering in support of Mumia, and briefly ran a speaker's group at the Vet's Hall featuring ex-BLA, ex-AIM, and other 'overthrow the government' types.

Don't know Bob Meola. Perhaps Berkeley folks can enlighten us? He's certainly not keeping very good company at this event.

Everyone in Santa Cruz knows Robert Norse, and he, like Cosner, also engages in actions that serve to discredit the causes he champions. (I'm being very, very polite here.)

Steve Pleich, recently ran for SC City Council, with a decent platform. Possibly the least discredited activist on the speaker line-up, but if he associates with the rest of these guys any longer, all bets are off.

Steven Argue is the Revolutionary League for a Workers’ Party and Liberation News. To portray himself as a mere member of these so-called organizations is blatant chicanery. They are Steve and Steve respectively, and nothing more.

MDS is the Movement for a Democratic Society, and the parent organization was not contacted for an endorsement. Probably another Frank Runninghorse chapter and endorsement.

And, finally, where is the supposed march going? In this time of heightened tension downtown, Steve proposes a march to where? The "Coalition" doesn't say. Irresponsible, at the very least. In a flier sent out, there is mention of buses of people coming in from San Francisco and Oakland. My prediction is that there will be no buses, but the police will have a beefed up presence nevertheless, and crack down due to the un-permitted nature of the event. (Correct me if cop puncher Steve applied for a permit from the SCPD for his march, hah!)

If folks really want to support Bradley Manning, (and you should), then go to the official Bradley Manning support site and join their efforts. Also helping out with Manning's defense are Courage to Resist . These two organizations both have mailing lists and further info on how to get involved and are giving actual support. It is telling that neither of these organizations have endorsed the Santa Cruz event. Bradley Manning & Julian Assange deserve real support, not posturing from pseudo-revolutionaries.

If you want to go to the event, then by all means do so, but please do not donate any money at the event. There is absolutely no accountability with the individuals involved. Send your money to the above two legitimate organizations.

Stay informed and stay aware...

by Sacerdotti
Friday Jan 7th, 2011 12:14 PM
Bob Meola is an active member of Courage to Resist, which is located in Oakland, California.
by what the f?
Friday Jan 7th, 2011 12:20 PM
if he is so active in Courage to Resist, then where is the organization's endorsement for this event. The whole thing smells, and getting smellier...

by Sacerdotti
Friday Jan 7th, 2011 12:47 PM
Because the time I invited to him the event I didn't know about him belonging to Courage to Resist I knew he belong to Berkeley Peace and Justice Commission, in fact he wanted this corrected to show he belong to Courage to Resist. I believe he belongs to the Bradley Manning organization also but I cannot get a hold of him right this minute.

I am a member from the East Bay

F.... if you are so concerned why don't you check yourself and stop being a Passive Aggressive Whinner.
If you're for the insurrection or for the revolution or for a free society whether it be an anarchist society or a society free from the clutches of government tyranny, ear and capitalism, you should show up to this event. This event is not just about Julian Assange and Bradly Manning. It's about all they great anti-authoritarian work of wikileaks and others shortly to follow. It is dedicated to the victims of government and corporate banking harassment and terrorism.

Mind you that all the same corruption under the Bush Administration is being carried out under the Obama Administration and Obama is losing his beginning to lose his popularity The ELITES who control him and send us to war to kill and be killed know this. We must not support any president for the very reason that anybody working for the government is nothing but a puppet of the elite ruling class establishment.

Julian Assange and Bradly Manning are only two pieces of the movement for human-rights, truth and liberation and anybody who fights the system in anyway should have our full support. I find it funny how so many people who dedicate their lives to bring down the system end up getting slaped with some trumped up charge involving sex or something else to ruin their lives and make people distance them selves from that acvtivist.

Conspiracy? THINK ABOUT IT!


Mr. Molotov
by Seriously
Friday Jan 7th, 2011 5:03 PM
Despite my support of Julian, I don't think I'm interested in supporting an event that's featuring a pedophile, a guy whose mis-representing himself as a professor and goes on wacky commando raids, a guy throwing off Nazi salutes, etc.

I think I'll find other ways to show my support rather than climb into bed with this murky crew. And as an above poster said, with no organizations appearing as sponsors/collaborators, this sort of feels like an ego-gratification exercise where a bunch of guys who know each other invite each other to speak while they applaud each other.
by (posted by) Robert Norse
Saturday Jan 8th, 2011 12:32 AM
Justice Department orders Twitter to release WikiLeaks documents
By the CNN Wire Staff
January 8, 2011 2:31 a.m. EST

(CNN) -- A U.S. federal judge has ordered social media website Twitter to hand over documents connected to WikiLeaks to the Justice Department, according to court documents.

The San Francisco-based website must hand over information associated with WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and U.S. Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, along with several others, according to court documents unsealed recently.

Manning is under arrest and suspected of leaking information to the WikiLeaks site.

The court order, originating from the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, details many documents that it wants Twitter to hand over.

Among the items are "subscriber names, user names, screen names, mailing addresses, residential addresses," the court order says.


CNN's Greg Morrison contributes to this report.

Published on Thursday, January 6, 2011 by
Obama: No Whistleblowing on My Watch
The US Military Should Be Ashamed of Its Treatment of Pfc. Bradley Manning

by Ann Wright

Candidate Obama said "Government whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal."

As a U.S. presidential candidate in 2008, in referring to the Bush Administration's use of phone companies to illegally spy on Americans, Barack Obama said, "We only know these crimes took place because insiders blew the whistle at great personal risk ... Government whistleblowers are part of a healthy democracy and must be protected from reprisal." Candidate Obama was referring to the Bush Administration's use of phone companies to illegally spy on Americans.

President Obama says No whistleblowing on my watch!

Yet, Obama, as he has on so many issues as President, is taking a 180 degree turn from his comments as a candidate, comments on which the American people relied and elected him.

Now, the Obama administration's warning to Bradley Manning and to other whistle blowers is this: blow the whistle on government criminal actions and we will put you in solitary confinement before you are charged, much less go to trial. You will be treated as an "enemy combatant," in America's ongoing wars on about everything, including the truth.

Evidence of Murder of Civilians in Iraq by US military helicopter pilots

Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army Private First Class (PFC) intelligence analyst who turned 23 years old in late December, allegedly leaked a video of a US helicopter attack that killed at least eleven Iraqi civilians, including two Reuters reporters, to the website Wikileaks. Two Iraqi children were also severely wounded in the attack.

PFC Manning's alleged actions are just as important as those of the whistleblowers who informed us of the Bush administration's use of phone companies to illegally spy on Americans. The video taken from the U.S. military helicopter that fired the killing rounds of ammunition, graphically showed US military pilots firing on and killing innocent civilians in Iraq. In addition to this "Collateral Murder" video, PFC Manning is suspected by the government of leaking the "Afghan War Diaries" - tens of thousands of battlefield reports that explicitly describe civilian deaths and cover-ups, corrupt officials, collusion with warlords, and a failing US/NATO war effort.

Manning had the legal responsibility to disclose evidence, even classified evidence, of criminal actions conducted by government officials

If indeed, Manning did give the video to Wikileaks, his actions show clearly that he reasonably believed that war crimes were being covered up, and that he took action based on that belief. Exposing criminal actions done under the cover of government orders is a responsibility and duty of military personnel as codified in the Uniform Code of Military Justice as well as the Geneva conventions and the Nuremberg Principles.

Nuremberg Principle I

Principle I states, "Any person who commits an act which constitutes a crime under international law is responsible therefor and liable to punishment."

Principle II

Principle II states, "The fact that internal law does not impose a penalty for an act which constitutes a crime under international law does not relieve the person who committed the act from responsibility under international law."

Principle III

Principle III states, "The fact that a person who committed an act which constitutes a crime under international law acted as Head of State or responsible government official does not relieve him from responsibility under international law."

Principle IV

Principle IV states: "The fact that a person acted pursuant to order of his Government or of a superior does not relieve him from responsibility under international law, provided a moral choice was in fact possible to him".

This principle could be paraphrased as follows: "It is not an acceptable excuse to say 'I was just following my superior's orders'".

Classifying the evidence of criminal actions does not make the actions untouchable

Reporting criminal actions done by others and providing evidence of those criminal actions, especially when the evidence of criminal actions have been covered up by "classifying" the evidence, is not illegal, but in fact, is a very brave response.

Punishment before the Trial-Solitary Confinement

Manning has now been in prison in solitary confinement for 7 months and still neither the U.S. military nor the U.S. government has indicted him for any offense. Manning essentially is being treated by the U.S. government as an American citizen "enemy combatant."

Manning's treatment in detention, pre-trial confinement in prison is cruel and unusual. He is being kept in solitary confinement, alone in a cell for 23 hours a day. He is forbidden to exercise in his cell. He is deprived of sleep. He is not given a pillow or sheets for his steel bed, although recently after publicity about he conditions in the prison, he was given a mattress for the bed. Prison medical personnel now "administer regular doses of anti-depressants to Manning to prevent his brain from snapping from the effects of this isolation."

US Soldier Treated as Those Detained in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo

The U.S. military's treatment of Manning is tragically consistent with its treatment of persons detained in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo. America's military uses harsh conditions and torture, physical or mental, for those who have not been convicted of any crimes used to break the person to provide whatever information the military wants to receive. This type of treatment is inhumane, immoral and wrong for those in Iraq, Afghanistan and Guantanamo and is wrong for Bradley Manning.

Nothing to be Proud of

Nothing in this to be proud of, President Obama. Nothing in this to be proud of, US Military.

If you, the reader, are offended by this, please -- Raise Hell for Bradley, the undeclared American "enemy combatant."

Contribute to Manning's defense fund at

Ann Wright is a 29 year US Army/Army Reserves veteran who retired as a Colonel and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003 in opposition to the war on Iraq. She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. In December, 2001 she was on the small team that reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. She is the co-author of the book "Dissent: Voices of Conscience." (
by Jason Ditz (posted by Norse)
Saturday Jan 8th, 2011 12:38 AM
DoJ Subpoenas Twitter Over WikiLeaks Activists
Iceland MP Launches Legal Battle to Block Demand
by Jason Ditz, January 07, 2011

The US Justice Department has ordered online messaging site Twitter to hand over all the tweets and data they have on known WikiLeaks supporter Birgitta Jonsdottir from November 1st 2009 through the present.

Jonsdottir, who is also a sitting member of the Icelandic Parliament, has filed legal motions to protect all of her private messages. She also says she is demanding a meeting with the US ambassador to Iceland to complain about the move, which she says is about scaring people away from having ties with the whistleblower.

Jonsdottir volunteered with WikiLeaks in the past and was involved in the release of the Collateral Murder video by the group in early 2010, which showed a classified US military video of soldiers killing Iraqi civilians.

US officials have been condemning WikiLeaks for months, up to and including calling them terrorists and calling for founder Julian Assange’s assassination. There is said to be a Grand Jury empaneled to seek charges against Assange (which appears to be an uphill battle as officials can’t even figure out if he broke any laws), but it is as yet unclear if this request is related to that.
by Kelley B. Vlahos (posted by Norse)
Saturday Jan 8th, 2011 12:41 AM
WikiLeaks Highlights Drug War Mission Creep
by Kelley B. Vlahos, January 04, 2011

If you want to see what mission creep looks like, in all of its Kevlar-vested, helicopter-flying, door-kicking glory, there’s no need to look further than the recent WikiLeaks revelations about the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency as it operates throughout the globe.

According to The New York Times, which has access to a cache of DEA-related State Department cables, the DEA now has 87 offices in 63 countries – pretty much double the number of countries from 20 years ago, before 9/11. Today, the Global War on Terror has infused the drug interdiction agency with an expanded mission as a paramilitary and intelligence-gathering agency on par with the CIA and U.S. Special Forces overseas.

In fact, recent photographs and video coverage of DEA FAST (Foreign-Deployed Assistance and Support Teams) in Afghanistan indicate there is little difference between U.S. military soldiers and the drug agents deployed on the ground, save for the insignia patch on the sleeves of their fatigues. Both have their limitations – the DEA can’t directly arrest people on foreign soil, and the military is always in need of better “human intelligence,” so they work hand-in-glove, as this report last year from Pat Robertson’s CBN (Christian Broadcasting Network) gushingly conveys (any real surprise why CBN gets A-list treatment from the military?).

Welcome to Drug Hunters International, which, for all of the $2.1 billion in taxpayer funding the agency gets in a year, has accomplished very little by way of the metrics: the illegal drug industry is considered as lucrative and even more dangerous than ever, particularly in neighboring Mexico, while the situation in Afghanistan – counter-terror and counter-narcotic alike – is on a widely accepted downward trajectory.
The DEA in Afghanistan

But the doors keep on opening to the DEA despite their guns and helicopters and intrusive practices. To avoid violating federal law that precludes overall the DEA from arresting and apprehending foreign suspects, agents work directly alongside local authorities in foreign countries, sharing their methods, weapons and surveillance technology – a big boon to poor countries, and, as the WikiLeaks cables suggest, to corrupt, morally indistinguishable leaders and actors who want to use the DEA against their political enemies.

According to the NYT on Dec. 25:

“In far greater detail than previously seen, the cables … offer glimpses of drug agents balancing diplomacy and law enforcement in places where it can be hard to tell the politicians from the traffickers, and where drug rings are themselves mini-states whose wealth and violence permit them to run roughshod over struggling governments. …

“Like many of the cables made public in recent weeks, those describing the drug war do not offer large disclosures. Rather, it is the details that add up to a clearer picture of the corrupting influence of big traffickers, the tricky game of figuring out which foreign officials are actually controlled by drug lords, and the story of how an entrepreneurial agency operating in the shadows of the F.B.I. has become something more than a drug agency….

“In Venezuela, the local intelligence service turned the tables on the D.E.A., infiltrating its operations, sabotaging equipment and hiring a computer hacker to intercept American Embassy e-mails, the cables report.

“And as the drug agency has expanded its eavesdropping operations to keep up with cartels, it has faced repeated pressure to redirect its counternarcotics surveillance to local concerns, provoking tensions with some of Washington’s closest allies.”

Interestingly, back in 1999, the DEA told the Government Accountability Office [.pdf] that in addition to the limitations proscribed in the Mansfield Amendment, agents were also precluded from conducting electronic surveillance in “any foreign country, nor can they be present during foreign police operations without a letter from the ambassador.”

How quaint it all sounds today, especially when the DEA in Afghanistan practically brags that it is helping to target, raid and even kill suspects on foreign soil, not to mention its wiretapping all over the world.

It seems quite easy to get permission to override the old safeguards, and in fact, foreign leaders appear thrilled to participate, like the interior minister of Paraguay, who wanted to use the DEA’s spy program – which, according to the leaked cables, was deployed through Paraguay’s phone network – to spy on his leftist opposition. The DEA and the ambassador’s office reportedly refused, but eventually cut a deal allowing the interior ministry more access to their technology while turning a blind eye to the minister’s use of other spy technology to achieve its political goals.

“The Ambassador made clear that the U.S. had no interest in involving itself in the intercept program if the potential existed for it to be abused for political gain, but confirmed U.S. interest in cooperating on an intercept program with safeguards, as long as it included counternarcotics,” read the cable, published by WikiLeaks before Christmas.

Of course, that the U.S. has set up secret wiretapping programs with the aid of foreign governments all over the world, particularly in South America, where it has been operating heavily for years, is no surprise. The New York Times was perfectly right when it said the cables “do not offer large disclosures.” But they paint an interesting portrait of classic mission creep, of a bureaucracy constantly reinventing and recalibrating itself to maintain its significance in the annual budget; and most importantly, how the war on terror has been used to advance those goals for the DEA. By no means is it the only agency doing it, but it is certainly the most obvious.

“This is true of all bureaucracy,” said Chuck Pena, author of Winning the Un-War: A New Strategy for the War on Terrorism and a regular contributor to “They have to have a mission. If the mission that they had before, if it isn’t successful, if it goes away, then they’ve got to reinvent themselves, find a new mission, that’s how bureaucracy reinvents itself.”

It certainly happened after 9/11 when the Bush Administration first turned the counter-narcotics mission into a “counter-terror” mission in Colombia, and then started invoking an unholy nexus between illegal drug cartels south of the border, Al Qaeda and Hezbollah. This convenient scenario has been peddled by members of Congress like Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), the new chair of the House Foreign Relations Committee, and spread by a willing corporate (and right wing) press, for years. And it’s been a boon for the DEA.

“This is what government bureaucracies do, they link their mission to someone else’s mission, a more special mission that is seen as bigger and more important. They conflate the two and make it hard for their money to go away,” said Pena.

That poppy production and the illicit drug trade is funding insurgent groups in Afghanistan and Pakistan is no secret. No one really knows how much, but given that the industry is booming, fueled by user demands in Russia, Europe, China, Africa and North America (globally, a $55 billion annual market for heroin alone), there is no reason to believe it is not happening on a tremendous scale. According to the U.N.’s own annual drug report in early 2010, global opium production might be down slightly since a peak in 2007, but it’s still way higher than any year up to that point. Afghanistan still provides 85 percent of the planet’s morphine and heroin supply. It’s not difficult to imagine where the money is going.

Jerome Starkey, writing for the UK Independent two years ago, went as far as to say, “the heroin flooding Britain’s streets is threatening the lives of UK troops in Afghanistan.” NATO officials have estimated that profits from drugs fund 40 to 60 percent of the Taliban’s operations. But how is the DEA stopping it? A closer look reveals that it is no more effective in combating drugs there, than it has been here in the U.S. for the last 30 years.

“These days you hear multiple reports of Taliban commanders running their own drug labs, running processing centers that process the raw opium into morphine base, into heroin and in fact exporting those shipments and profiting at much higher levels than they were before,” says Gretchen Peters, author of Seeds of Terror: How Heroin Is Bankrolling the Taliban and al Qaeda, in a recent interview with NPR. “That would indicate that the Taliban is turning something much more along the lines of a drug cartel than a political movement.”

Ironically, the poppy production was cut significantly in Afghanistan in 2010, according to the United Nations this fall. But it was because of an infection in the plants, not anything the DEA or NATO did (NATO denies charges from farmers that the crops had been deliberately sprayed with a plant-devouring fungus). But this has only caused prices to skyrocket, yielding more profit for the corrupt tribal leaders, government officials, the Taliban and whoever else moving the product out of the country.

The official line, as usual, is much different. According to then-acting DEA Administrator Michele Leonhart, whose visit last April was afforded the deference of a colonial proconsul (with taxpayers footing the $125,000 chartered flight), there are now about 100 FAST agents there working with the (notoriously corrupt) local police in Afghanistan, and together they conducted some 82 operations in the preceding year, built a network of local informants (some of them the worst offenders in the country), and increased “opium seizures by 924 percent.” ABC reported back in May that the DEA finds the night raids “are working” and that the DEA are operating “hand in hand with the U.S. military to arrest and sometimes even kill traffickers responsible.”

So why are we still losing this war?

No need to look further than over the border in Mexico, or to Plan Colombia, which saw $5.6 billion in U.S. counter-narcotics aid, including all manner of State Department, DEA and military resources, flow into Colombia since 1996, to combat the cocaine, cartel and crime crisis there. But according to Adam Isacson at Just the Facts in October:

“None of these problems has been vanquished. The guerrillas are not defeated, and won’t be beaten on the battlefield for at least several more bloody years. The ‘new’ paramilitaries are growing, and responsible for an alarming spike in urban crime. Colombia is still the world’s largest cocaine producer, and drug mafias continue to enjoy great political and economic power. Meanwhile it is extremely rare to see a human rights abuse punished or stolen land returned to victims.”

Full chart of all U.S. counter-narcotics aid to Latin America here (total: $10.7 billion).

According to Isacson, then-President Bush used 9/11 to escalate aid to Colombia in the new spirit of “counterterrorism.” The failures of this approach portend an even greater catastrophe in Afghanistan, where the war is bleeding the U.S. – literally and figuratively – dry.

As far as the rest of the expanding DEA boot-print goes, it seems fairly clear from the leaked cables that this constantly feeding, ever-expanding and sustaining bureaucracy comes with a price – playing footsies with contemptible, petty foreign leaders, fan dancing with drug-trafficking officials and informants, and putting the eradication of drugs before all else, even the lives of innocent people, as we have seen in Colombia and Afghanistan.

Things are likely to get much worse with right-wing hawks like Ros-Lehtinen at the helm. She already has axes to grind with Cuba and Venezuela, and is all too happy to conflate the War on Terror with the War on Drugs. She certainly does not see that in places like Afghanistan, that conflation is getting us nowhere – that two wrong wars will never make a right, in fact, it will probably make things a lot worse.
by don't trust Assange
Saturday Jan 8th, 2011 9:27 AM

WikiLeaks and Israel Shamir

WikiLeaks is represented in Russia and Scandinavia by a father and son team with a disturbing record of antisemitism

WikiLeaks's spokesperson and conduit in Russia has been exposed in the Swedish media as an anti-semite and Holocaust denier; his son, who represents the organisation in Sweden and is handing out stories to selected papers there, has been involved in an earlier scandal where a story he wrote about the supposed Israeli control of Swedish media was withdrawn after several of the people in it complained of being misquoted.

While this does not affect the credibility of the WikiLeaks revelations, it does raise uncomfortable questions for the whistleblowers' organisation.
The two men involved are Israel Shamir, a Jew who has converted to Orthodox Christianity and passionate antisemitism, and his son Johannes Wahlström. Shamir was listed as a co-author of a story in Counterpunch, which suggested that the woman who brought a complaint of rape against Julian Assange was a CIA plant. But he has a longer and stranger past than this would suggest.

According to Magnus Ljunggren, a retired professor of Russian literature at Gothenburg University, Shamir has had at least six different names, among them Izrail Schmerler (as he was born in Novosibirsk, Siberia), Jöran Jermas, Adam Ermash, but is internationally known as Shamir. He has been a Swedish citizen since 1992.

In an interview with a Swedish Holocaust-denying creationist and Islamist named Mohamed Omar, headlined "The Holocaust is an idol", Shamir says:

"Antisemitism is an invented concept without any real meaning. I don't believe antisemitism exists at all. In the Jewish religion it is an article of faith that Jews and gentiles must hate one another. That's where so-called "antisemitism" comes from. It is a Jewish article of faith. I have met many so-called "anti-semites" and I haven't found a single one of them who hates Jews. I agree with Joseph Sobran, who said that an anti-semite is not someone who hates Jews, but someone whom the Jews hate. Most people don't care at all about Jews, let alone hate them. But, as I say, the idea that gentiles nurture a hatred of Jews is a Jewish article of faith, and has nothing to do with reality."

His latest book, in Russian, is called is called How to Break the Conspiracy of the Elders of Zion.

His son, Wahlström, is even more remarkable because he is more outwardly respectable. He has been employed in various journalistic capacities by the Swedish state broadcaster, SVT, by the newspaper Aftonbladet, and by the leftwing magazine Ordfront. The magazine was forced to retract and to apologise for a story he wrote in 2005 about supposed Israeli control of the Swedish media, which contained quotes attributed to three other journalists, which they denied ever making. None the less, Aftonbladet is paying him both as a researcher and a consultant, because he has exclusive access to the WikiLeaks cable dump in Sweden and is the gatekeeper who doles out stories to favoured media partners. This use of freelance journalists is the model used by WikiLeaks in countries where it does not have a large and established media partner like the Guardian or Der Spiegel.

The other recipients of Wahlström's stories are Uppdrag Granskning, a flagship current affairs programme on Swedish television, and Svenska Dagbladet, one of the main Stockholm newspapers (owned by the same concern as Aftonbladet).

Wahlström has described his father as a persecuted intellectual comparable to Salman Rushdie, but refused to talk to a Swedish radio programme investigating the story. His father was reached and conducted a bizarre interview with them in English. Asked if Wahlström was, in fact, his son, he replied: "I have heard such things. That's what they say. I have heard this kind of rumour, but I don't intend to talk about my personal, family things at all."

He also denied that he had any special connection with WikiLeaks, though the group's spokesman, Kristinn Hrafnsson, confirmed that he was their representative in Russia, just as his son is in Scandinavia. Expressen also published a photograph of him standing behind Julian Assange at a computer, published in the Russian paper, which has been reprinting the WikiLeaks cables he passed to them.

There, for the moment, the story rests. Given the tight if murky links between the Russian security apparatus and the quasi-fascist Nationalist movement with which Shamir is associated there, it has worrying implications for the security of anyone named in the cables. This is not because the cables themselves are inaccurate, but because they are not.
by jesthefacs
Saturday Jan 8th, 2011 9:31 AM
Also, let us not forget Assange's leak of what turned out to be a total fraud, "Climategate", which ended up hurting the public's knowledge of climate change.

In other projects, Assange published a trove of text messages sent in the US on September 11, 2001, and e-mails from the University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit, which led many to believe that scientists were suppressing anti-global warming research and results.
by Robert Norse
Saturday Jan 8th, 2011 10:35 AM
Whatever the difference of opinion over the credibility of specific leaks, some of the leaks have not been denied (the notorious helicopter killing, for instance) and are the kind of information that can cause profound change if broadly enough disseminated.

The point of the protest is to defend Manning and Assange from government assault. Hopefully that's something we can all agree on.
by P&F "To Get Real" Is Unreal
Saturday Jan 8th, 2011 11:22 AM
This post attacking the Santa Cruz protest for Assange and Manning attacks the protest for not being official enough and not having enough credibility. The anonymous writer while spending a large amount of time attacking the organizers of the defense protest leaves out an important fact. The Peace and Freedom Party leadership of which he is probably a part of has refused to endorse the defense of Assange and Manning. This "leadership" spends a lot of it's time attacking others for what they do rather than building anything themselves. It is true that Peace and Freedom state party has not endorsed but then it is not itself supporting the defense of Assange and Manning. So much for principles.
This is one of the reasons that Peace and Freedom party is not growing and those who have helped build chapters such as Frank Runninghorse are a threat to these who label themselves "To Get Real".
by (posted by) Robert NOrse
Saturday Jan 8th, 2011 10:37 PM

Call comes after revelation that US has tried to force Twitter to release WikiLeaks members' private details

WikiLeaks has demanded that Google and Facebook reveal the contents of any US subpoenas they may have received after it emerged that a court in Virginia had ordered Twitter to secretly hand over details of accounts on the micro-blogging site by five figures associated with the group, including Julian Assange.

Amid strong evidence that a US grand jury has begun a wide-ranging trawl for details of what networks and accounts WikiLeaks used to communicate with Bradley Manning, the US serviceman accused of stealing hundreds of thousands of sensitive government cables, some of those named in the subpoena said they would fight disclosure.

"Today, the existence of a secret US government grand jury espionage investigation into WikiLeaks was confirmed for the first time as a subpoena was brought into the public domain," WikiLeaks said in a statement.

The writ, approved by a court in Virginia in December, demands that the San Franscisco-based micro-blogging site hand over all details of five individuals' accounts and private messaging on Twitter – including the computers and networks used.

They include WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, Manning, Icelandic MP Brigitta Jonsdottir and Dutch hacker Rop Gonggrijp. Three of them – Gonggrijp, Assange and Jonsdottir – were named as "producers" of the first significant leak from the US cables cache: a video of an Apache helicopter attack that killed civilians and journalists in Baghdad.

The legal document also targets an account held by Jacob Appelbaum, a US computer programmer whose computer and phones were examined by US officials in July after he was stopped returning from Holland to America.

The court issuing the subpoena said it had "reasonable grounds" to believe Twitter held information "relevant and material to an ongoing criminal investigation".

It ordered Twitter not to notify the targets of the subpoena – an order the company successfully challenged.

The court order crucially demands that Twitter hand over details of source and destination internet protocol addresses used to access the accounts, which would help investigators identify how the named individuals communicated with each other, as well as email addresses used.

The emergence of the subpoena appears to confirm for the first time the existence of a secret grand jury empanelled to investigate whether individuals associated with WikiLeaks, and Assange in particular, can be prosecuted for alleged conspiracy with Manning to steal the classified documents.

The US attorney general, Eric Holder, has already said publicly that he believes Assange could be prosecuted under US espionage laws. The court that issued the subpoena is in the same jurisdiction where press reports have located a grand jury investigating Assange.

It has been reported that Manning has been offered a plea bargain if he co-operates with the investigation.

The emergence of the Twitter subpoena – which was unsealed after a legal challenge by the company – was revealed after WikiLeaks announced it believed other US Internet companies had also been ordered to hand over information about its members' activities.

WikiLeaks condemned the court order, saying it amounted to harassment.

"If the Iranian government was to attempt to coercively obtain this information from journalists and activists of foreign nations, human rights groups around the world would speak out," Assange said in a statement.

Jonsdottir said in a Twitter message: "I think I am being given a message, almost like someone breathing in a phone."

Twitter has declined to comment, saying only that its policy is to notify its users where possible of government requests for information.

The specific clause of the Patriot act used to acquire the subpoena is one that the FBI has described as necessary for "obtaining such records [that] will make the process of identifying computer criminals and tracing their internet communications faster and easier".

The subpoena itself is an unusual one known as a 2703(d). Recently a federal appeals court ruled this kind of order was insufficient to order the disclosure of the contents of communication. Significantly, however, that ruling is binding in neither Virginia – where the Twitter subpoena was issued – nor San Francisco where Twitter is based.

Assange has promised to fight the order, as has Jonsdottir, who said in a Twitter message that she had "no intention to hand my information over willingly".

Appelbaum, whose Twitter feed suggested he was travelling in Iceland, said he was apprehensive about returning to the US. "Time to try to enjoy the last of my vacation, I suppose," he tweeted.

Gonggrijp praised Twitter for notifying him and others that the US had subpoenaed his details. "It appears that Twitter, as a matter of policy, does the right thing in wanting to inform their users when one of these comes in," Gonggrijp said. "Heaven knows how many places have received similar subpoenas and just quietly submitted all they had on me."
by Robert Norse
Saturday Jan 8th, 2011 11:16 PM
Here is a longer version of the speech I gave at the Support Wikileaks/Whistleblowers Rally. Unfortunately I took the wrong folder, and so I had to wing it with a shorter version (perhaps mercifully for those listening). Here's the full-blown speech:

Governments don't reform themselves. That power corrupts and calcifies is now almost a cliché these days. It takes direct action by the community, legal pressure, streets protests, and—that vital Wikileaks component—exposure of information. Elections don't seem to help. Different parties all seem to want the same protected roost, shielded from accountability, transparency, and—sadly—humanity.

This is also true locally. Disfavored public assemblies are threatened, ticketed, and surveilled. We've seen this most recently with the DIY Last Night parade, We still wonder if the city attorney will use the police videos to give out citations in the months ahead as they did last year, sending in the City Attorney to prosecute activist Wes Modes. Even small counter-culture gatherings, like the Wednesday Evening Drum Circle face “gone or be jailed” edicts—as happened three days ago three blocks away on the levee.

The Town Clock has a history.. It used to be a 24-hour public space, city police moved to arrest people serving free food to the homeless in 1989. We resisted their crackdown and stopped those prosecutions. In 1991, to stop anti-war and homeless protests here at the Town Clock, City Council declared this area a “park” with closing hours at night after 1 PM—you can read the sign over there. That drove away homeless protesters trying to shame the City into ending its 11 PM to 8:30 AM Sleeping Ban.

Early in the morning of January 1, 1994, the SCPD's Patty Sepone's baton-wielding police physically assaulted people at the Town Clock to drive them away and stop the celebration. Ironically her herding of the fleeing people created a riot of windowbreaking downtown. Now during New Year's celebration the City fences off this clock area to establish their turf. Their turf in what used to be the community's turf.

The process of seizing public space to restrict and disperse public assemblies has been ongoing on Pacific Avenue with less and less of the sidewalk available for benches, sitting, performing, political tabling, or peaceful panhandling. Holding up a sign silently after dark in Santa Cruz is a $250 fine; doing so twice within 6 months may send you to jail for up to a year.

A few years ago Pastor Dennis Adams' Sunday meal for the homeless was driven away from here off to more secluded quarters at Highway 1 and Highway 9—thataway. Commercial interests and city staff were nervous being reminded of visible poverty in the community—particularly in hard times. Out of sight, out of mind.

For more than two decades I've dogged local government authorities fighting what I call “fascist creep”--the campaign to criminalize homeless people, marginalize and drive out the counterculture community, increase repressive police power, and remove public space.

Key to this struggle is information to pass on to the community.

Hence my showing up here—to support mission of Wikileaks and the example of whistleblowers and those who support them like Wikileaks.

We are here to support Bradley Manning and Julian Assange. To free them means to free ourselves. Even more important is to follow their example.

I try to do this in my small way by raising local issues on a twice-weekly pirate radio show—twice weekly Thursdays 8 PM and Sundays at 9:300 AM. I encourage any of you who have accounts, documents, information that you can't get out through the mainsttream media around issues of police and governmental misconduct to contact Free Radio, either my show or others.

Hearing of the corporate attacks on Wikileaks, I've tried to disintangle myself from the colluding institutions—whether it's Bank of America, Amazon, Paypal, Visa...

In Santa Cruz we have Mayors that refuse to reveal their schedule of public appearances, or acknowledge the lobbyists they've met with. Mayors who will arrest you for raising criticisms at City Council they find objectionable. My “dont' act like fascists” mock-Nazi lawsuit which the city has spent over $100,000 trying to suppress is headed for trial this spring. We want to change their repressive rules.

Back in December, I asked the Mayor to put a resolution on the agenda supporting Assange or Manning—as Berkeley has done. The Mayor refused. The City instead continues to crack down on peaceful homeless protesters—as the PC2010 trials begin next month. These are the protesters who did what the city wouldn't do—set up a safe and peaceful sleep-and-protest zone in front of the County Building and later City Hall against the City's homeless Sleeping Ban. The first hearing is 1:30 PM in Dept. 2 Friday afer next.

It's quite extraordinary the lengths to which the City government went to stop a small but persistent group of peaceful protesters from sleeping at City Hall and holding up their picket signs there. They set up concentration camp style Klieg lights, installed a loud sputtering generator that belched fumes all night, declared without a public hearing that all the public property except the sidewalk around city hall and the library would be “closed” at night, and then gave people tickets for “blocking the sidewalk.”

Persistent public records act requests have given us some information about these abuses, but inside reports from whistleblowers would be even better. A Santa Cruz Wikileaks, proposed a month ago—and actually set up as a barren website, is an excellent idea.

Why have more than half the public benches been removed downtown? At whose instigation? Dannettee Shoemaker, the head of Parks and Rec Dept., who now has the power to set “closing hours” on virtually any public space in town, claims there are no records. Where are the whistleblowers who will let the public know the real truth. It's not just homeless people and political protesters who are impacted by the city's gentrification polices. Elderly downtown residents, disabled folks, visiters, all find they have to pay to sit or be told by police officers they can't next to a building—even a vacant one.

In closing I want to remind us of a victory.

Anti-war military veterans and other activists celebrated a breakthrough victory in DC Superior Court when charges were dropped yesterday following arrests in front of the White House on December 16, 2010. Over 131 people were arrested in a major veteran-led protest while participating in non-violent civil resistance in a driving snowstorm.

US Park Police charged all 131 protesters with "Failure to Obey a Lawful Order" when they refused to move. All remained fixed to the White House fence demanding an end to the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and further US aggression in the region.

Among those arrested were members of the leadership of the national organization Veterans for Peace, Pentagon Papers whistleblower Dr. Daniel Ellsberg; Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Chris Hedges; former senior CIA analyst Ray McGovern; and, Dr. Margaret Flowers, advocate for single-payer health care.

Forty-two arrested opted to appear in court and go to trial with the first group appearing in DC Superior Court on January 4, 2011. Prosecutors from the DC Attorney General's office stated that the Government "declined to file charges due to missing or incomplete police paperwork." Presiding Magistrate Judge Richard Ringell confirmed that the cases were dropped and defendants were free to leave.

Those who participated in this action issued the following statement:

"This is clearly a victory for opposition to undeclared wars which are illegal under international law, have led to the destruction of societies in Iraq and Afghanistan, bled the US Treasury in a time of recession, and caused human rights violations against civilians and combatants.

Many of us will return to Washington, DC, to support an action on Tuesday, January 11, 2011 to protest the continued use of Guantanamo detention facility, including torture of detainees in violation of international law."

Another option is appearing at our own City Council—futile as that may seem. Oral Communications will be at 5:30 Tuesday January 11th where you can raise issues Mayor Coonerty is afraid to touch.

Tomorrow night at 7 PM Community TV will have an open studio discussion of the crackdown on Father Joel Roberts—who privides a meal for the homeless at the downtown Red Church across from the Nickelodeon. Former Vice-Mayor Cynthia Mathews is pressing eclesiastical authorities to remove Father Joel in order to eliminate his meal for the poor. Check it out.

I thank you for your patience in letting me roam over a variety of issues. I encourage you to support Manning and Assange by supporting whistleblowing and exposure of government misconduct locally.

If all else fails, you can always call in to Free Radio.
by Seriously
Sunday Jan 9th, 2011 2:59 PM
More and more frequently, your posts have become rambling diatribes that jump between a dozen perceived slights, plots, and issues. This is another case in point.

If you want to influence people, or even just express your viewpoint, you need to stop jumping all over the place and stay with a topic. Your recent posts are verging on madness. Seriously.
by Robert Norse
Monday Jan 10th, 2011 10:45 AM
In that last section of the speech, I'm referring to Father Joel Miller, not "Father Joel Roberts"--or I should be anyway.
by Steven Argue
Tuesday Jan 11th, 2011 8:47 AM
I find it interesting that those who opposed this action and passed on cop slanders of speakers also say it is irresponsible to march under the current climate. Under the current climate of government repression aimed at the New Year’s Parade? So we should let the petty dictators of the Santa Cruz City Council and their cops have their way violating First Amendment rights? I say it is irresponsible not to march under such a climate. And yes, despite a whole lot of whining and denials from that law and order liberal, real organizations did endorse the action and we had a real event that was a success.
by John Thielking
Tuesday Jan 11th, 2011 12:14 PM
I had to get dsl installed at my new residence at that exact moment. But there will be a related protest against the FBI raids against anti-war activists that will be held at the MLK library at 4th and San Fernando st in San Jose on Jan 25th from 4-6pm. I will likely be at that protest. Cosner, Argue and Norse are all good friends of mine and I respect them. The petty issues that posters here have with them are just that, petty. Runninghorse's record I have no comment on.
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