From the Open-Publishing Calendar
From the Open-Publishing Newswire
Indybay Feature
Related Categories: Santa Cruz Indymedia
S.C. Town Clock Rally 3/19/11
by Walt Oicle
Saturday Mar 19th, 2011 8:50 PM
Additional info and photos
Speakers included Bob Patton, Bob Lamonica, Steve Pleich (co-organizer), Dennis Etler, Robert Norse, Steve Argue, Ann Simonton, Becky Johnson, Linda Lemaster, and Ed Frey, with letters of support from Bob Meola for "Courage to Resist" and James Cosner. Live music was provided by Tony Kuspa, the Raging Grannies (including Jan Harwood, Sherry Conable, and Susan Worth), Walt Oicle (co-organizer), and Woody Wood.
by Walt Oicle Saturday Mar 19th, 2011 8:50 PM
by Walt Oicle Saturday Mar 19th, 2011 8:50 PM
by Walt Oicle Saturday Mar 19th, 2011 8:50 PM
by Walt Oicle Saturday Mar 19th, 2011 8:50 PM
by Walt Oicle Saturday Mar 19th, 2011 8:50 PM
by Walt Oicle Saturday Mar 19th, 2011 8:50 PM
by Walt Oicle Saturday Mar 19th, 2011 8:50 PM
by Walt Oicle Saturday Mar 19th, 2011 8:50 PM
by Walt Oicle Saturday Mar 19th, 2011 8:50 PM

Comments  (Hide Comments)

by Simon Dumenco (posted by Norse)
Monday Mar 21st, 2011 8:46 AM
The truly shocking paragraph in the following story is this one:

As for the fact that U.S. Army Specialist Bradley Manning is being held in solitary confinement awaiting a possible court martial on suspicion of passing classified government materials to WikiLeaks? That stems largely from the testimony of a computer hacker who claims that Mr. Manning bragged to him about his alleged crime of espionage. Remarkably, in January, NBC News reported that "investigators have been unable to make any direct connection" between Mr. Manning and Mr. Assange and that there is "apparently no evidence he passed the files directly to Assange, or had any direct contact with the controversial WikiLeaks figure."

Published: February 27, 2011

How you feel about the presence of WikiLeaks on the 2011 Digital A-List may have a lot to do with the extent to which you can emotionally separate the controversial website from its lightning rod of a founder, Julian Assange.

The divide of opinion about the man could not be more pronounced, with some seeing him as an information-freedom fighter (Norwegian parliamentarian Snorre Valen nominated him for the Nobel Peace Prize for exposing "corruption, war crimes and torture") while others brand him a terrorist (he's "an anti-American operative," says Sarah Palin, "with blood on his hands"). Add in the personal drama that surrounds him -- including an ongoing Swedish sex-crimes investigation and the fact that he has a penchant for alienating even his closest allies -- and WikiLeaks can seem both overshadowed by, and inseparable from, its leader.

But forget Mr. Assange, the man, for a moment. One thing about WikiLeaks, the organization, is certain: In the past year, it's altered not only the media landscape, but the digital landscape, and the Digital A-List is about change agents who rewrite the rules -- or write their own rules from scratch -- for better or for worse. Governments have been destabilized by WikiLeaks, and given that Mr. Assange seems to regard governments and corporations as interchangeably evil, marketers could be next. For starters, WikiLeaks reportedly has the potentially explosive contents of a Bank of America executive's email archives.

Mr. Assange calls himself editor in chief of WikiLeaks -- which is to suggest that WikiLeaks is a publisher, and thus subject to the press protections afforded by various Western governments. In reality, it was WikiLeaks' partnerships with traditional publishing organizations willing to package and promote its leaks as page-one-worthy material -- including The Guardian and The New York Times -- that arguably gave WikiLeaks much of its heat in 2010.

It's perhaps more useful, then, to think of WikiLeaks as a technology platform: a way for parties in possession of sensitive documents to make them public in a way that is indelible and anonymous. Or, as WikiLeaks puts it, "an uncensorable system for untraceable mass document leaking."

The paradox of WikiLeaks is that it uses ultra-secrecy -- including so-called onion routing, which cloaks packets of data in multiple layers of anonymity as they traverse the web -- to destroy secrecy. The onion becomes a Pandora's Box.

As for the fact that U.S. Army Specialist Bradley Manning is being held in solitary confinement awaiting a possible court martial on suspicion of passing classified government materials to WikiLeaks? That stems largely from the testimony of a computer hacker who claims that Mr. Manning bragged to him about his alleged crime of espionage. Remarkably, in January, NBC News reported that "investigators have been unable to make any direct connection" between Mr. Manning and Mr. Assange and that there is "apparently no evidence he passed the files directly to Assange, or had any direct contact with the controversial WikiLeaks figure."

Combine that untraceability with an elusive, border-crossing (and thus legal-jurisdiction-defying) technological backbone with hundreds of duplicate or "mirror" sites spread out across the globe, and WikiLeaks begins to seem like the ultimate unstoppable force on a perpetual collision course with (formerly) immovable objects -- specifically, governments and corporations. Governments have, thus far, been unable to stop WikiLeaks; corporations are likely to be just as impotent.

As for the Bank of America emails, nobody -- possibly not even Mr. Assange -- knows just how revealing and damaging they may be. But it's telling that pro-WikiLeaks hackers have already released internal emails from computer security firm HBGary Federal, which helped put together a proposal for the law firm Hunton & Williams, which works for Bank of America. It was called "The WikiLeaks Threat," and it was a plan for bringing down WikiLeaks. Nice try, fellas.

In fact, the future of WikiLeaks itself may be beside the point. The organization depends on a worldwide network of volunteers and donors, and Mr. Assange seems to have pissed off a good number of them, including his former deputy, Daniel Domscheit-Berg. WikiLeaks alumni and allies seem eager to carry on Mr. Assange's legacy, regardless of whether or not he's prosecuted (or, as he fears, assassinated). For instance, Mr. Domscheit-Berg, when he wasn't working on his just-released tell-all, "Inside WikiLeaks," was preparing for the launch of WikiLeaks alternative OpenLeaks. As he explained it to The New York Times, OpenLeaks will "provide the technology to be able to receive documents and to protect the sources that send those documents, and it will provide that technology to existing organizations, like nongovernmental organizations and media entities and maybe labor unions or special interest groups."

Regardless of Mr. Assange's personal fate, what matters is the WikiLeaks Effect: a growing awareness, among both self-styled whistleblowers and saboteurs, that they now have multiple frictionless options for releasing sensitive information to the world.

As for deciding what that new reality could or should do to your corporate culture, start by asking yourself some questions: What would happen if a certain email or memo you've written were widely disseminated outside your company? And: What else is on your hard drive (or in your cloud), and who, other than everybody in your IT department, has ready access to it?
by WB
Monday Mar 21st, 2011 8:50 AM
Manning had no relationship at all with Assange. That's not shocking.
by Jeff Sparrow (posted by Norse)
Thursday Mar 24th, 2011 12:37 AM
March 23, 2011

Has there ever been a war justified more glibly? One supposes so but it’s hard to recall when. Even the invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan, as disastrous as they proved, involved the public articulation of a more-or-less coherent plan, something that’s patently lacking from the adventure unfolding in Libya.

The mission will last days rather than weeks, says Obama – and the French immediately warn of a long fight. The Americans say Gaddafi is not a target; the British briefly insist that he is but then almost instantly change their minds. The goal of intervention is – or perhaps isn’t – regime change, depending on who you listen to and when they’re speaking.

For a particularly grotesque example of where we’re now at, one need go no further than the New Republic, where Steven Metz advises the US to prepare both tactics against an insurgency (for use against pro-Gaddafi forces) and tactics for an insurgency (to assist anti-Gaddafi elements).

Would George W Bush, for all his Texas swagger, have dared to cowboy up a military conflict on such a crazy basis? Surely not -- and yet across the world, the Libya intervention, a conflict with contradictory aims, no discernable exit strategy, and little public support, has been lauded by progressives.

The war was sold – as these things always are – by neatly uncoupling the undeniably awful situation in Benghazi from the real world and its history, like one of those thought experiments in Philosophy 101, where only two choices exist to save someone from a runaway train. Here’s Obama: ‘Our military action is in support of an international mandate from the Security Council that specifically focuses on the humanitarian threat posed by Col. Gaddafi to his people. Not only was he carrying out murders of civilians but he threatened more.’

With Gaddafi at the gates, the dismal record of previous humanitarian invasions – all of which were, of course, launched for equally pressing reasons against equally despotic regimes (remember, Saddam Hussein and the Kurds; the Taliban and women, etc) – became of interest only to pedants or cowards. You were for a NFZ or you wanted Benghazi to burn. The massacre looming in Libya bore no relationship to massacres of the past, nor, for that matter, to other massacres taking place elsewhere (say, at the hands of US-backed regimes in Bahrain or Yemen).

No, with the fierce urgency of now replacing the inconvenient necessity of thought, Benghazi could be envisaged as a tabula rasa, with a fresh history of Western humanitarianism carved out by Tomahawk missiles and Stealth bombers.

Well, where are we at now? Yes, the rebel-held areas might enjoy some breathing space. But when the revolt was a social uprising, activists in Tripoli had some prospect of winning over Gaddafi’s supporters, even those in the army. Now UN intervention has fairly definitively transformed a revolution into a conventional civil war. So either the Western forces overthrow Gaddafi (which the UN mandate explicitly forbids, and which, in all probability, requires a Fallujah-style campaign into Tripoli, with all that entails) or, more likely, they cede him (at least temporarily) the capital – and thus the insurgent population living there.

This, presumably, leaves the rebels of Tripoli (and there are lots of them) facing whatever was previously in store for the rebels of Benghazi. Already the BBC reports from Tripoli that ‘everyone knows someone who has been beaten, detained for a day or two or "disappeared".’

Humanitarianism? No, not so much.

From here in Australia, the most likely long-term outcome seems to be Western-backed partition – that is, a Balkanization of an oil-rich country, enforced by foreign powers, which seems a recipe for generations of conflict.

Let’s look back at the progressive rationale for intervention, usually raised through a simple cry: ‘We must do something about Benghazi.’ And, though it was never spelled out, ‘we’, in that context, always meant the West.

But think about that for a minute.

The revolution in Libya was never inspired by the west. The war in Iraq, the occupation of Afghanistan: these salutary instances of Western-backed ‘liberation’ did not move Libyans to rebel. On the contrary, the revolt against Gaddafi followed the revolutions of Tunisia and Egypt, revolutions that not only didn’t involve the West but were, to a greater or lesser degree, fought against western-backed dictators.

So why then was the progressive debate about Libya in the English-speaking world so exclusively focused around the proposition that ‘we’ would save a revolutions in which ‘we’ had previously played no role whatsoever?

It’s not just the whiff of a colonial arrogance, it’s also that the emphasis inherently ruled out any solution to the Benghazi crisis other than imperial intervention. Had the debate shifted from one totally centered on the West to at least consider the agency of people who actually lived in the region, a few better options might have raised themselves. Was it not possible, for instance, that Benghazi might have been reinforced by activists from Egypt, rather than bombers from Washington? That might sound terribly naïve -- except, of course, that across the Arab world, the solidarity of ordinary people has brought more democracy in the space of a few weeks than decades of bombings and killings in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Yet, if pro-intervention liberals tended to ignore the agency of Arab people, they correspondingly overstated their own influence. On the left, the UN resolution on Libya was widely portrayed as a response to humanitarian pressure, with the Obama administration reluctantly acceding to grassroots demands to do the right thing.

Except that, as everyone knows, President Obama regards his grassroots with undisguised contempt. As Glenn Greenwald says, Republicans fear their base – and Democrats despise theirs. Yet we are supposed to believe that progressives who have singularly failed to shape administration policy on immigration, labor law or civil liberties or anything much else are somehow in the drivers’ seat when it comes to war.

In reality, the rhetoric about humanitarianism merely provided useful cover. Having been entirely sidelined during the Arab Spring, the US can, through this UN mandate, reassert itself as the key player in the region, while ensuring that events in that country don’t take on too radical a character. In the civil war now underway, the Obama administration has an opportunity link with the ex-Gaddafi ministers who have proclaimed themselves the leaders of the rebellion, so as to better shape the future of whatever regime eventually emerges from the bloodshed.

That’s why Obama’s prepared to risk a third military quagmire. If the mission in Libya seems incoherent, it’s because the real game’s being played out over the region as a whole. By making

itself indispensible to the Libyan rebellion, the White House has a chance to change the dynamic across the Arab world,. And if that means a Balkanized north Africa, well, you can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs.

The enthusiasm of the liberal left for humanitarian interventions has long resembled the famous running joke in Peanuts, in which Charlie Brown perpetually agrees to kick the football that Lucy perpetually whips out from under him. Except, of course, that, when it comes to war, it’s always someone else who does the falling down.

Isn’t it past time that progressives stopped playing that game?

Jeff Sparrow is the editor of Overland magazine and the author of Killing: Misadventures in Violence.
by Benjamin H. Friedman (posted by Norse)
Tuesday Mar 29th, 2011 6:17 PM
March 25, 2011

American wars require salesmanship, even when Congress surrenders its power to authorize them. Hawks collect justifications, which need not match their motivations. The Obama administration’s case for the war under way in Libya fits this model, except that this time the bombing preceded the PR.

The primary reason we are in Libya is to help replace an especially noxious dictator with something democratic. Though it requires heroic assumptions about the rebels’ liberalism, the apparent ease of this revolution is what excited interventionists.

Certainly humanitarian concerns influenced some Libya hawks, including the President and his advisors. But that rationale is more selling point than motivation. Libya’s is a not particularly brutal civil war compared to others we ignore.

Nor is it clear that bombing Libya serves humanitarian ends. True, absent outside intervention, the Libyan government would likely have reasserted its authority in the east, killing rebellious civilians. But the civil war that intervention prolonged will probably kill more. In his March 18 speech justifying war on humanitarian grounds, Obama quoted Qaddafi’s promise to show “no mercy and no pity,” but failed to note that the dictator was threatening rebel fighters, not civilians, and explicitly excluded rebels that surrendered. The point is not that we should bank on such promises but that the path to minimizing violence is uncertain.

Another of the president’s reasons for war is that Qaddafi “lost legitimacy” to rule. Luckily we have George Will to skewer that nonsense:

Such meretricious boilerplate seems designed to anesthetize thought. When did Gadhafi lose his people's confidence? When did he have legitimacy? American doctrine — check the Declaration of Independence — is that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed. So there are always many illegitimate governments. When is it America's duty to scrub away these blemishes on the planet? Is there a limiting principle of humanitarian interventionism? If so, would Obama take a stab at stating it?

The latest White House justification for war is credibility or demonstration effects. The idea is that attacking Qaddafi shows willingness to do so elsewhere, encouraging protesters and pushing dictators to capitulate to them. Hillary Clinton and Susan Rice apparently pushed this line in White House meetings, even including Iran in the list of regimes that would be deterred. Wilsonian pundits of both the neoconservative and liberal internationalist varieties agree.

Credibility arguments attach peripheral concerns to more important ones—hence the term “domino theory.” The Johnson administration claimed that leaving Vietnam would embolden Communists globally, undermining U.S. defense commitments. We bombed Serbia in 1999 partially in the name of bucking up NATO’s credibility for other wars. The Bush administration argued that deposing Saddam Hussein would deter other dictators from seeking nuclear and biological weapons or otherwise defying American and U.N. directives. Opponents of ending the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan often argue that leaving would damage our reputation for resolve and invite trouble elsewhere.

Credibility rationales for wars suffer two crippling deficiencies. First, there is little evidence credibility travels much. Second, even if it did, fighting limited wars of questionable value seems likely to damage one’s perceived willingness to fight elsewhere. Western intervention in Libya may encourage Middle-Eastern dictators to crush dissenters rather than accommodate them.

As Christopher Fettweis shows, political scientists are nearly unanimous in finding little evidence for the proposition that the believability of threats depends on the outcome of prior threats—Thomas Schelling’s game theory notwithstanding. Daryl Press’ case studies show that when leaders, Hitler included, consider going to war in the face of deterrent threats, they focus on the balance of power and the threat-maker’s interests. It’s not that past credibility does not matter at all, but that it matters far less than other factors.

Soviet leaders did not measure American commitment to defend Europe by its resolve in fighting a useless war in Vietnam. The stakes were obviously different. Whatever Hillary Clinton thinks, Iran’s leaders are not stupid enough to think that enforcing a no-fly zone over Libya means that the United States or United Nations would prevent it from attacking its citizens or Hezbollah from killing Lebanese. The action in Libya would be low on their list of considerations. If the press succeeds in its intellect-draining efforts to glean an “Obama doctrine” from his administration’s ad hoc decision to bomb Libya, the states it threatens are unlikely to give it much credence.

Our past credibility is especially useless where our threats mean to compel change rather than deter it, to use Schelling’s terminology. Saying “give up power by holding fair elections, or we bomb” asks for capitulation. Saying “if you attack your neighbor, we bomb” defends the status quo and requires less humiliation. Leaders clinging to power are unlikely to care what threats we issue to make them surrender it.

Let’s say that’s all wrong and credibility travels easily. We should then husband it, rather than risk it in circumstances where we lack other interests. If deterring the Soviets from attacking Western Europe or anywhere else depended on what we did in Vietnam, credibility would have encouraged American leaders to avoid fighting there and escalating and overstating our interests once we were. Keeping troops available and hence free of diversions that waste the public’s limited support for bloodshed would enhance credibility. Were it a real consideration, credibility would often encourage peace. The fact that only hawks make credibility arguments shows their phoniness.

Embroiling ourselves in Libya may do less to frighten other Middle East dictators then keeping our powder dry. Beyond tying up troops and public patience for war, the limited nature of our commitment—manifest in strict limits on the use of force and our stated desire draw back within days whether or not Qaddafi goes—might simply show dictators that they should hang tough, come what may. Whether or not he falls, if leaders like Bashar Assad fear his fate, they may simply heighten repression to prevent the sort of insurgency that brought western bombs to Libya.