All Articles Tagged "wikileaks"
-A study by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York found that merely 13 percent of the small businesses in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut that applied for bank loans in April and May got the full amount they requested. Another 36 percent got a partial amount. More than half of applicants asked for a “microloan,” a loan of less than $100,000. “But lenders were more likely to turn down microloan applications than larger loan applications, likely because they were skittish about lending to newer firms and more likely to turn down startups,” reports The Huffington Post.
-A Pennsylvania judge upheld that state’s voter ID law. Liberal groups are already planning their appeals on the grounds that the laws will unfairly impact minority and poor voters. Judge Robert Simpson, a Republican, said the law is “a reasonable, nondiscriminatory, nonsevere burden when viewed in the broader context of the widespread use of photo ID in daily life.”
-Interactive Product Group, a division of fashion mag publisher Condé Nast, has created a new video game meant to appeal to the ladies. ”Fashion Hazard” places fashion models on the runway with the goal of avoiding obstacles that could ruin the show, like a flying cup of latte. The game will be available for iPhones and iPads starting today for 99 cents. Women and girls make up about half of the gamers today. In 2011, about $16.6 billion worth of games were sold in the U.S.
-Research conducted by Policy Studies, a liberal think tank, found that 26 large U.S. companies paid their CEOs $20.4 million on average, but paid little to no taxes on their profits. The average net income of those companies was more than $1 billion in the U.S. For example, James McNerney Jr., CEO of Boeing, made $18.4 million last year and the company got a $605 million tax refund. How do we get in on that deal?
-Big news lighting up Twitter this morning is the decision by the government of Ecuador to grant Wikileaks founder Julian Assange political asylum. Not sure what it’s all about? Here’s a good summary.
(Christian Science Monitor) — At 87, President Robert Mugabe isn’t the oldest serving president of Africa, nor the longest-serving. But the rumor that Mr. Mugabe may be in ill-health has been an open secret among Zimbabwe’s political elite for years. That secret has been given increasing attention with the release of US diplomatic cables by the whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks. But perhaps the most surprising aspect of this latest WikiLeaks release is not what has been said, but who is saying it. Members of Mugabe’s own inner circle, including Mugabe’s hand-picked Reserve Bank Governor,Gideon Gono, are shown to have talked regularly with US diplomats, sharing insights into the rivalries within Mugabe’s long-ruling ZANU-PF Party and between the top ministers of Mugabe’s coalition-government cabinet.
Even China admits that they may not have the most liberal of governments. But at least, they say, they are not as hypocritical as the United States.
According to the Guardian, last week Secretary of State Hillary Clinton criticized China for detaining artists such as AI Weiwei and others in the annual state department survey of the human rights situation around the world.
Well, China has a report of its own to refute U.S. criticism. State news agency Xinhua said the report “turned a blind eye to its own terrible human rights situation” and points to the U.S. government’s treatment of Wikileaks. The report also makes mention of domestic problems in the U.S. such as poverty, crime and racism. Furthermore, the report holds the U.S. responsible for the large number of civilian deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as the prisoner abuse accounts.
The report concludes that the U.S. imposes double standards by “requesting unrestricted ‘internet freedom’ in other countries, which becomes an important diplomatic tool for the United States to impose pressure and seek hegemony, and imposing strict restriction within its territory.”
Unless you’re plugged into the feeds of international news organizations or you get your news directly from the Wikileaks site, you wouldn’t know that many of the Wikileaks cables delve deeply into issues which impact the continent of Africa and other brown and black countries. You wouldn’t know because the brown and black mouthpieces responsible for connecting the dots have been – by in large, well…silent.
In the last few weeks, we’ve learned that the cables reveal that the Saudi government believes that Hezbollah is setting up bases in Africa and that China is operating on the continent in partnership with ‘unsavory’ regimes. No surprises here. Africa has become a veritable wasteland to an array of world leaders for whom the road to economic dominance meanders through Africa’s limitless pool of slave labor and mineral-rich resources.
It is also no surprise that, as usual, the global community doesn’t give a rat’s behind about the plight of the dark continent or its inhabitants. For the most part, establishment journalists have gone on the hunt for Wikileaks founder Assange in lockstep with the governments that he offended by leaking the official diplomatic cables. Instead of directing their critical voice at the corrupt governments who lie, steal, and break both national and international laws, pseudo-journalists have their crossairs aimed at Assange. Mixed in with the meshing of pretend journalists and administration officials, however, is the deafening silence of African American leadership (if such a thing still exists) on the Wikileaks revelations on Africa.
Rev. Jesse Jackson said that the release of some decades old cables in which Mandela’s attorneys expressed concerns that Jackson was working too closely with the South African government to secure Mandela’s release unearthed painful memories (Note: Mandela’s attorneys were probably right). Here we are in the midst of what may be the largest dump of raw government information in American history and our default civil rights leader is worried about his emotions, further undergirding the false narrative pushed by the establishment media that the Wikileaks releases are merely gossip. Move on folks…nothing to see here.
In order for the life’s blood of truth to pump through the veins of a fully functioning democracy, the organism’s fitness must be maintained by a steady intake of information revealed which can only be revealed through investigative journalism. And actions must taken by active dissident factions to follow up on those revelations. These dual functions are necessary to enrich truth. In America, we have neither. Flatline.
Those who are coming to the defense of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange are not the familiar copycats who boldly go where every rebel has gone before. They are not rioting in the streets, risking having their brains splattered on the concrete, or peacefully marching arm in arm as a show of civil disobedience. They are hackers.
At a gathering of hackers in Germany for the annual Chaos Computer Club (CCC) meeting, the group reiterated their core beliefs: “All information should be free. Mistrust authority. Computers can be used to create art, beauty and help transform life for the better. Access to computers, and to information that shows how the world functions, should be limitless and complete.” As we speak, hackers are mirroring the Wikileaks site and working to build new alternatives such as Openleaks, a project started by former CCC attendee and Wikileaks spokesman Daniel Domscheit-Berg.
Unlike the relics of the civil rights era, hackers are doing more than just going on the record about Wikileaks. They are actively preparing for a new generation of struggle and oppression. Whether we agree or disagree with their methods, we must acknowledge that hackers recognize the chaos afoot and are plotting a new way forward. Increasingly, we must examine the ever apparent reality that people like Jesse Jackson and Rev. Al Sharpton, who appear on cable news shows only to tell us what we already know and leverage their own financial interests, are relics of days long gone. They are not only expendable, but detrimental to the causes for which we care about so deeply.
We’ve seen Jackson and his cadre jettison off to South Africa and to a variety of other locations as surrogate diplomats for the U.S. government. But whatever happened to standing up to – not on behalf of – government? Well, it still happens. It’s happening now. If you don’t smell revolution in the air, it’s probably because you’re sniffing around in dead grass. The revolution will not be televised, probably won’t be tweeted, and most certainly won’t be instigated by the sames names and faces which we relate to the 1960′s Civil Rights movement. It’s time to move on.
Yvette Carnell is a former Capitol Hill Staffer turned political blogger. She currently publishes two blogs, Spatterblog.com and GoGirlGuide.com.
Over the weekend, the Internet and mainstream press went berserk over the release of nearly 250,000 confidential state department cable and diplomatic directives by the infamous whistle-blowing website, WikiLeaks.
Many papers, including the New York Times, The Guardian UK and the German-paper Der Spiegel, have turned their online editions into interactive archives for the few hundred cables that have been released thus far. With over 250,000 cables to reviews, media outlets are saying that it may take days, if not weeks, before they are all published.
Needless to say, disposal of this information has made Julian Assange, WikiLeaks co-founder, public enemy number one. At least one member of Congress has declared the group a ‘foreign terrorist organization.’ Even presidential hopeful Sarah Palin has labeled Assange an “anti-American operative with blood on his hands.”
Fearing how this incident could damage the nation’s image, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been making the rounds to various world leaders to reaffirm the U.S.’ commitment to “diplomatic relations.”
Yesterday, Clinton went to the national airwaves to strongly condemn the release of the cables. She described it as not just an attack on America’s foreign policy interest, but also an attack on the international community.
So, with WikiLeak’s latest information release, are we as a country less safe than what we previously were?
According to Der Speigel, about half of the documents are unclassified, 40.5 percent are “confidential” and six percent (15,652 documents) are classified as “secret.” There are no “top secret” documents in the cache.
However, there is another unclassified category-gossip, which includes the salacious details of the budding “bromance” between Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and Italian President Silvio Berlusconi. It also includes Libyan President Mumammar al-Qadhafi’s apparent fondness for a “voluptuous Ukrainian blonde.”
Though these exchanges are very unflattering chitchat, it is almost similar to getting caught talking about someone behind their backs—more embarrassing than dangerous. Clinton has said that our allies understand that backbiting is a part of the game, telling her, “well, don’t worry about it; you should see what we say about you.”
However, there is some good information that has come out of the gossip. For example, now we know that North Korea is selling Iran 12 long-range missiles with enough range to reach Russia and parts of Western Europe. We also know about countries such as Israel, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, secretly urging the U.S. to bomb Iran.
Of course, none of this is actual “news” considering that the U.S. has been very vocal about concerns over Iran’s increased arms cache. However, the information is insightful because it reveals how other countries use the U.S. an international attack dog, while evading responsibility for any involvement.
Perhaps the cable leaks might allow America to gracefully bow out of a third costly war which we are in no position to afford and probably have no business being involved with anyways.
(New York Times) — A cache of a quarter-million confidential American diplomatic cables, most of them from the past three years, provides an unprecedented look at back-room bargaining by embassies around the world, brutally candid views of foreign leaders and frank assessments of nuclear and terrorist threats. Some of the cables, made available to The New York Times and several other news organizations, were written as recently as late February, revealing the Obama administration’s exchanges over crises and conflicts. The material was originally obtained by WikiLeaks, an organization devoted to revealing secret documents. WikiLeaks posted 220 cables, some redacted to protect diplomatic sources, in the first installment of the archive on its Web site on Sunday.
(The Fresh Xpress) — PROLOGUE (if you can call it that): Before you get into the letter, make sure to check out ‘The War Logs’, a series of previously-classified military documents outlining many inconsistencies in what the government has told us, and what is really going on in Afghanistan and Iraq. – via The New York Times
(The Nation) — What WikiLeaks did was brilliant journalism, and the bleating critics from the president on down are revealing just how low a regard they have for the truth. As with Richard Nixon’s rage against the publication of the Pentagon Papers, our leaders are troubled not by the prospect of these revelations endangering troops but rather of endangering their own political careers. It is our president who unnecessarily sacrifices the lives of our soldiers and not those in the press who let the public in on the folly of the mission itself.