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Atlantic Free Press OP/ED





If Wikileaks Were A Movie Would It Be "Wag The Dog"... Or "Idiocracy"?
Sunday, 05 December 2010 13:56
by Gianluca D'Agostino Ph.D.

Is Wikileaks just the usual American propaganda or a new form of Communication?

Are world's media just a flock of sheeps who love being sodomized by America's propaganda? Or is Wikileaks bringing world politics to a new communication level?

Beyond all these questions what's really amazing is the fact that every newspaper in the world today is publishing Wikileaks documents treating them as the commandment tablets brought down by Moses from Mount Sinai. As a general rule, if you are a professional journalist, before printing something out you always should pose yourself a question: "Is this damn wikileaks a credible source?" Indeed the real matter here about all this story of Wikileaks is all about credibility. In other words, the question is: who gave wikileaks the title of "credible source?"

Let's put the case that an hypotetical journalist today would question his boss on Wikileaks credibility. This could be a hypotetical newsroom dialogue:

Journalist: "who gave wikileaks the title of "credible source?"

Boss: "What? wake up dude! That's Wikileaks! the most credible source on the planet!"

Journalist:"Who told you that?"

Boss: "Are you blind? Don't you see everybody is printing Wikileaks' documents?"

Journalist: "Well, ok but who told everybody Wikileaks is a credible source?"

Boss: "The Pentagon and the US government and Hillary Clinton and CNN and these are all credible sources dude! don't you think? Then there's that Manning guy, down in Kuwait,he's in the military so he's definitely credible"

Journalist: "Yes but nobody has ever seen him right?"

Boss: "...are you saying you don't trust the department of defense? Now go back to work and never pose such stupid questions again!"

Journalist:"Alright boss I won't ask it ever again"

So Wikileaks has an infinite credibility by default, without being credited by history, experience, or any former result, other than releasing thousands of pseudo-classified documents. Wikileaks credibility comes just from the fact that major American institutions like Pentagon and State Department are taking it as gospel....I mean basically it´s their creature, because Wikileaks exists thanks to some pentagon documents they received from a still undisclosed source.

Yes because the "source" who apparently stole and then leaked all these documents to Wikileaks is Private First Class Bradley E. Manning, that in practice is just a name on a piece of sheet as nobody has ever seen him and obviously he´s not available for comments as at the moment he´s confined to a military base in Kuwait.

If these facts weren´t real, probably it would have been the perfect plot for a Robert Ludlum´s novel, or better if it were a movie was definitely Wag the dog, as this Private sounds very much like Sergeant William "Old Shoe" Schumann. Actually Private Manning could resemble also to Cpl. Joe Bauers, a.k.a. "Not Sure", the protagonist of the movie "Idiocracy" by Mike Judge.

So Wikileaks releases hundreds of thousands of documents and immediately takes the spotlight with top credibility. So strange.

Steven Greer, the head of Disclosure Project had been working on the disclosure project for more than 15 years, he gathered more than 800 alive witnesses among Intelligence, military, politics and the scientific community and he was able to gather them all at the Washington Press club and make them testify under oath about extraterrestrial existence from their direct work experience. These witnesses basically were government employees who had direct contact with ET classified material because of their job.

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Amnesia As A Way Of Life: WikiLeaks Amid The "Careless People"
Sunday, 05 December 2010 07:39
by Phil Rockstroh

As many wags have noted, the disclosures of Wikileaks have subjected the US Empire and its operatives to a full-body scan. Turnaround is fair play, because, until now, in the US, the powerless masses are subject to arbitrary pat downs and body scans, while the powerful and connected are massaged by privilege and ensconced in immunity.

In hindsight, one realizes, when the Obama administration promised transparency and accountability in government, National Security State enabler that Barack Obama has proven himself to be, that his administration's definition of transparency would entail the countenancing of said body scans at the nation's airports, revealing the private bits of the hoi polloi, as, all the while, his administration was engaged in stonewalling the hidden agendas and felonies of the corporate and governing elite. Recent events should remove any doubt regarding who stands exposed and who will remain cloaked by official aegis.

Unlike Julian Assange at Wikileaks, when the Democratic Congress had the opportunity to create an atmosphere of openness and transparency, they demurred. Once granted positions of authority, the Democrats didn't exercise their constitutionally granted powers to initiate investigations, hold hearings, nor issue subpoenas. This failure of will and integrity amounts to complicity by omission. Withal, Democrats gave their tacit support and approval to the last administration's (as well as to the present one's continuation of more of the same) constitution-shredding, morally repugnant policies.

On most occasions, existing within the tacit repression and the benumbing, virtual reality carnival of the corporate/National Security State leaves an individual with a sense of being stranded in anonymity … cast into circumstances wherein one feels the necessity to follow the unspoken dictates of a nebulous form of authority that remains hidden, both by physical distance and organizational insularity. In contrast, when one is introduced to the apparatus of the National Security State, by means of a full body search, this unnerving intrusion upon the body can bring clarity to the mind as to how the elite and apparatchik of the US government regard that mass annoyance known as its citizenry and any quaint notions those wretches clutch pertaining to their constitutional granted rights and liberties. 

These present outrages will flair up and spiral through the news cycle. Yet, the practices will remain in place, and, after a time, become normalized. This has proven to be the case with other previously revealed excesses of the so-call War on Terror and the attendant assaults against civil liberties and breaches of international law incurred in the name of this ongoing, seemingly endless, national psychotic episode e.g., the existence of the "detention camp" at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, the illegal invasions and occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan and those operations concomitant litany of war crimes and affronts to human dignity, such as the acts of torture committed at Abu Ghraib prison -- as well as -- the whole blood-sodden laundry list of outrages and excesses of present day US imperium. 

If there is any hope for the US to ever function as a democratic republic, the revelations, unearthed by Wikileaks, should constitute the beginning of a long, painful process of grim discovery.

First, one must ask: Why is it the corporate media is so deeply invested in promulgating distracting and miss-the-point narratives, hyper-adrenaline arguments of narrowed context and little consequence -- and, in general, trafficking in piffle packaged as news and public debate -- rather than showing even a passing interest, much less an avidity, for the pursuit of stories that confront power and might present a challenge to the present order?

As with any criminal enterprise, the essential question to ask is: who benefits from the crime (and the subsequent coverup) and who gets the payoff? Although most of human existence is constituted by ambiguity, this situation is not. The evidence of war crimes and fiscal malfeasance committed by the nation's political and financial elite are so pervasive that it cannot be missed, and that is precisely the reason the corporate media, as well as a large percentage of the general public, works so hard to ignore the situation.

Lord Northcliffe's aphorism provides a clue:

"News is what somebody somewhere wants to suppress; all the rest is advertising." ~ Lord Northcliffe, British publisher 1865-1922

Accordingly, at present, there arrives a paucity of news, but, hour after hour, comes a drowning deluge of advertising. Enveloped in this commercially dominated hologram, on a cultural basis, it has proven difficult to arrive at a common lexicon to tell the tale of truths buried and freedoms imperiled.

The weightless, insubstantial quality of the consumer age engenders a state of mind wherein consequences cannot be grasped then processed. As a result, a sense of drift prevails. Yet below the surface churns a nebulous dread -- a feeling of being propelled towards a time of unbearable reckoning.

But such enervating thoughts must be banished from the mind; hence, amnesia, as a way of life, becomes the prevailing mindset of psyches minted in the media age hologram i.e., a manner of perceiving the world in which official accountability becomes as evanescent as last season's advertising campaign roll-out.

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Iran is the most important country in world politics today: Erri De Luca
Sunday, 28 November 2010 13:09
by Kourosh Ziabari in Iran

Erri De Luca is an internationally-renowned Italian poet and writer. "Corriere della Sera" literature critic Giorgio De Rienzo has called him "the writer of the decade". He started writing since he was 20; however, his first book was published in 1989, when he was 39 years old. Upon graduating from high school in 1968, he joined the newly-established far-left, extra-parliamentary organization of Lotta Continua. The political activities of the organization were terminated early in 1976. Erri De Luca speaks several languages, including English, French, Hebrew and Yiddish.

He is the author of several books including "Montedidio" which has won him The Prix Femina award. Erri De Luca has translated several books of Bible into Italian, including Exodus, Jonah, Ecclesiastes and Ruth. His works have been translated and published in various countries such as Spain, Iran, Portugal, Germany, Holland, USA, Brazil, Poland, Norway, Danmark, Romania, Greece and Lithuania.

De Luca joined me in an exclusive interview and answered my questions on his works and his views on literature, culture, politics and society.

Kourosh Ziabari: What made you interested in literature for the first time? You published your first novel when you were 39; however, you had experienced various professions and jobs before that. You experienced carpentry, masonry and apprenticeship and then moved to writing. What were the first motives which moved you towards literature?

Erri De Luca: I owe my approach to my father's library. I spent my childhood in a small room with books to the ceiling, I slept surrounded by books. I've been reading and writing since I was a kid, books have been the best company. I published my first book late because I wasn't looking for a publisher. I wrote and write personal stories, always with me telling the story and I thought these would never interest anybody else.

KZ: Our world is filled with materialistic approaches to life. Morality is losing its place in the interpersonal relationships. People disregard the principles of honesty and decency very easily. Is this world compatible with the ideal world which you have portrayed for yourself?

EDL: I'm used to sit at table for lunch where one eats the fruit of one's work. At these tables, which are the majority on the planet, my principles are not ideals but daily practice.

KZ: Naples is the prominent setting of your novel. Its people speak a variety of Italian language which is even unintelligible to a number of Italians. What's the significance of Naples for you? How do you seek your desires and ambitions in this ancient city?

EDL: Naples is my place of origin and  Napolitan my mother tongue. Italian came later, with books and conversations with my father, who wanted to teach me perfect Italian. In Naples, I had my sentimental education - not to love, but to the sentiments of compassion, anger and shame which are the fundaments of any human being. Naples is not a birth town, but it is a "cause town" and I am one of its effects.

KZ: You speak several languages including French, English, Hebrew and Yiddish. How is the sense of being a multilingual writer? Jock London believes that every book is a gateway to a new world. Do you agree that every language is also a gateway to a new world? With several languages which you know, do you usually feel that you live in different worlds?

EDL: I learnt languages to read them rather than to speak them. My desire was to follow the authors of pages which touched me in their vocabulary and their combination of syllables. Thus I find a personal extract, a glass [of wine] and I go directly to the source. The world which attracts me is that of an author rather than of a people. That's why I'm not interested in geographically visiting countries whose language I know. I can read in Russian out of love for its poets and writers but I have no desire to find myself in Odessa or Moscow. With the languages I have learnt I have no need to move from where I am.

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Remembering Chalmers Ashby Johnson (8/6/31 - 11/20/10)
Sunday, 28 November 2010 12:59
by Stephen Lendman

A personal note. 

It's no way to begin a Sunday or any day. An email explained. My first thought was: damn, we lost another good one when we urgently need him and many others, given the state of today's America - out-of-control militarism, imperial arrogance, and homeland repression at a time of economic crisis for millions. Johnson knew the threat, challenging it brilliantly in his important writings and outspokenness. Now he's gone.

A former cold warrior, Chal, as friends called him, turned activist critic of US foreign policy, an imperial agenda doomed to fail. When the Cold War ended, he saw no further logic to US global bases, continued heightened militarism, and occupation of Japan, South Korea, Germany and elsewhere.

Peace breaking out was glorious. "Give Peace A Chance," wrote John Lennon, his Rock and Roll Hall of Fame song predated it by a decade. 

In a March 2006 Tom Engelhardt interview, Johnson said:

"I was a cold warrior. There's no doubt about that. I believed the Soviet Union was a genuine menace. I still think so....As I saw it, the only justification for our monster military apparatus, its size, the amounts spent on it, the growth of the Military-Industrial Complex....was the existence of the Soviet Union and its determination to match us."

After it imploded, he thought: "What an incredible vindication for the United States. Now it's over, and the time has come for a real victory dividend, a genuine peace dividend. The question was: Would the US behave as it had in the past when big wars came to an end?" Instead, we "began to seek an alternative enemy. Our leaders simply could not contemplate dismantling the apparatus of the Cold War. That was, I thought, shocking....I was flabbergasted and felt the need to understand what had happened."

Maintaining heightened militarism "suggest(ed) that the Cold War was, in fact, a cover for something else; that something else being an American empire intentionally created during World War II as the successor to the British Empire. The Cold War was not the clean-cut conflict between totalitarian and democratic values that we had claimed it to be."

Most ominous about US imperialism is that "militarism is so central to ours....not (for) national defense....but as a way of life, as a way of getting rich or getting comfortable. (Yet it's) bankrupting the country...This is not free enterprise. (It's) state socialism," heading us for ruin. "And the precedents for this should really terrify us."

Johnson ended the interview quoting Pogo's observation, saying: "We have met the enemy and he is us."

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NATO Arctic Security and Canadian Sovereignty in the Far North
Sunday, 28 November 2010 12:56
by Dana Gabriel
In many ways, the Arctic has become a geopolitical game with mixed messages being sent from all sides. There appears to be a real contradiction in what is being said and what is actually being done to safeguard sovereignty. While Arctic countries have emphasized the importance of resolving conflicting boundary claims through enhanced cooperation, at times, rhetoric has served to fuel rivalries in the resource-rich area. NATO has declared the Arctic a strategically important region with northern member nations individually or collaboratively conducting military and naval operations to showcase their capabilities.

Some have called the release of Canada's Arctic Foreign Policy statement in August, a significant shift from the Conservative government’s often hostile approach in addressing sovereignty issues in the far north. The policy paper declared that, “Canada’s vision for the Arctic is of a stable, rules-based region with clearly defined boundaries.” It plans to pursue its interests through leadership, stewardship, diplomacy and respect for international law. Canada also seeks a more strategic engagement with the U.S. in the Arctic. Over the summer, they conducted their third joint continental shelf survey. The U.S. and Canada are gradually moving towards merging their Arctic policies and further adopting a more North American strategy. While Canada is placing more emphasis on cooperation and appears ready to resolve boundary disputes, absent is any concrete suggestion on how to engage Russia. Both have claimed the Lomonosov Ridge under the Arctic as an extension of their respective continental shelves. Any aggressive moves to enforce sovereignty in the area could jeopardize future bilateral relations and lead to a possible confrontation.

During Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Arctic tour several months back, he announced support for Canada’s next generation of satellites known as RADARSAT Constellation Mission. The system consists of three advanced remote sensing satellites which will increase the ability to monitor activities in the region. Harper stated, “The RADARSAT project has consistently allowed us to defend our Arctic sovereignty, protect the Arctic ecosystem, and develop our resources.” He went on to say, “This new phase of RADARSAT will ensure we stay at the forefront of these priorities.” Enhancing surveillance capabilities is an important part of safeguarding Canada’s security and economic interests in the region. In addition, Harper also announced a new High Arctic Research Station. The year round facility will house scientists and is intended to further, “strengthen Canada’s Arctic sovereignty, promote economic and social development.” The prime minister has been accused of using his annual northern treks as photo opportunities and criticized for failing to deliver on some past Arctic promises. While on his trip, Harper also focused on security issues and observed military maneuvers.

This year's Operation Nanook, an annual Canadian Forces (CF) sovereignty exercise took place from August 6 to 26 in Canada's eastern and high Arctic area. It was important as for the first time, the Canadian-led exercise included military participation from fellow NATO members, the U.S. and Denmark. Canadian Navy, Army and Air Force personnel, collaborated with naval and air assets from the U.S. Second Fleet, along with the Royal Danish Navy, performing various security drills. The joint war games were intended to, “strengthen preparedness, increase interoperability and exercise a collective response to emerging challenges in the Arctic.” In March of this year, NATO troops also participated in Exercise Cold Response which was held in Norway. It included some 9.000 soldiers from 14 countries and focused, “on cold weather maritime/amphibious operations, interoperability of expeditionary forces, and special and conventional ground operations.” As Canada and other nations promote diplomacy, development and science as a means to assert sovereignty in the Arctic, at the same time they continue to expand military operations in the region.

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