Posts Tagged ‘Julian Assange’

Murdered DNC leaker to Wikileaks is latest addition to the Bill and Hillary body count

August 11, 2016

The “Bill & Hillary body count” is unusually long. It is more reminiscent of that of a dictator of a banana republic than of a leading “democratic” country. Now one more joins the list.

The number of people from the Bill & Hillary Clinton “inner circle” who have died mysteriously is between 50 and about 80. It seems that potential “whistleblowers” who may have had information implicating the Clintons are particularly vulnerable. I recall the apparent suicide of White House Counsel, Vince Foster in 1993 and the strong speculation that, in fact, he was eliminated because he had found something incriminating while investigating Bill Clinton’s finances.

Seth Rich, a DNC worker, was murdered on 10th July, apparently the victim of an armed robbery. But now it seems – from what Julian Assange says – that Rich was the source of the leak of information from the DNC to Wikileaks. And, he implies, Rich was murdered to prevent his testifying to the FBI. The speculation continues that he had information about the Clinton campaign’s activities (via the DNC) against Bernie Sanders and his murder was to shut him up.


Seth Conrad Rich


Seth Rich Murdered For Leaking DNC Emails?

Seth Rich may have been the source of the DNC email leak, the founder of WikiLeaks suggested this week about the murdered Democratic National Committee staffer.

Rich, who was murdered in Washington, D.C., back in July, has been the subject of a number of conspiracy theories. There were reports that he was planning to speak to the FBI about potential election fraud being committed in the Democratic primary, a report that turned out to have no basis, and now there are reports that he was the one who supplied the organization WikiLeaks with access to tens of thousands of emails from the DNC.  

Speculation had started to build that Seth Rich could have some connection to WikiLeaks when the organization’s founder, Julian Assange, announced this week that he was offering a $20,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest in his death.

Assange took the speculation a step further, insinuating in an appearance on a Dutch television show that Seth Rich was a “source” to the organization. The Gateway Pundit had a transcript of Assange’s appearance and his reference to Rich.

Julian Assange: Whistleblowers go to significant efforts to get us material and often very significant risks. As a 27 year-old, works for the DNC, was shot in the back, murdered just a few weeks ago for unknown reasons as he was walking down the street in Washington.

Reporter: That was just a robbery, I believe. Wasn’t it?

Julian Assange: No. There’s no finding. So… I’m suggesting that our sources take risks.

The statements from Julian Assange kick-started a new round of speculation that Seth Rich may have been murdered for his role in uncovering fraud on the part of the DNC. While the allegations about election fraud during the Democratic Primary have been debunked as a misunderstanding about the nature of exit polling, the possibility that Rich was an informant opened up a new avenue for conspiracy theories. is maintaining a list of the “Clinton body count”.

Their list has well over 50 names and they have the following entries about Vince Foster and Seth Rich:

Vincent Foster

Deputy White House Counsel

Died: July 21, 1993

Found dead in Ft. Marcy Park in Washington, DC, of a supposed suicide by gunshot. A suicide note was supposedly found a few days later, torn into several pieces, in his briefcase, after his office had been entered by White House staff and materials removed. The “suicide” note, (leaked despite official efforts to keep it from view) has since been revealed to be a forgery.

The gun which he supposedly used to kill himself was reported to be still in his hand, but the person who first found the body reports that there was no gun at that time. Many irregularities surround the death and the investigation of it. For one thing, neither Foster’s fingerprints or blood were on the gun he supposedly inserted into his mouth and fired. There was no blood on Foster’s hands.

Foster was also from Hope, Ark., like Clinton, and also worked for the Rose Law firm. Foster had intimate knowledge of the Clintons’ personal finances. Foster was involved in an investigation of their finances, and reportedly made a phone call to Hillary Clinton, in Los Angeles, just hours before his death. Foster had been called to testify to Congress about the records Hillary refused to turn over. Another possible motive for the murder relates to the Clinton Presidential Blind Trust, being prepared by Foster, but six months late. Testimony during the Whitewater hearings suggestsd the trust was fraudulent, with the Clintons retaining control over much of their finances, in order to profits from inside information.

Recently, the signed report of M.E. Dr. Donald Haut was uncovered at the National Archives, proving that Foster had a previously unreported gunshot wound to his neck.

Finally, an FBI memo surfaced dated the day after the date of the official autopsy, in which the autopsist informed the FBI that there was NO exit wound.

Seth Conrad Rich

DNC Voter Expansion Data Director

Died: July 10, 2016

Seth Conrad Rich was shot several times in the back a block from his home in D.C.’s neighborhood of Bloomingdale. The police declared it a roberry gone bad, but nothing had been taken; Seth still had his wallet, watch, and cell phone.

One possible motive for his assasination lies with the WikiLeaks dump of 20,000 DNC emails which proved the DNC was rigging the primaries to favor Hillary Clinton. The scandal forced DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Shultz to resign. Although Hillary’s people tried to portray this as a hack by Russia, to cast Hillary as a victim of international intrigue, WikiLeaks, while not identifying the leak, denied it was Russia, and stated it was an “internal” leak. If Seth (who was in a perfect position to acquire the data) were the leak, that would be ample motive to murder him, as a warning to others inside the DNC not to blow any whistles.

Shortly after the killing, Redditors and social media users were pursuing a “lead” saying that Rich was en route to the FBI the morning of his murder, apparently intending to speak to special agents about an “ongoing court case” possibly involving the Clinton family.

A reward has been offered for information on this murder.

Whatever the truth is, it is clearly not healthy to be allowed into the Clinton circle and then try to leave.


Danish revelations about Snowden suggest Swedish charges against Assange were trumped up for rendition to the US

February 5, 2016

The ridiculousness of the Swedish charges against Assange have always left with me with a sneaking suspicion that there is a very murky back story lurking somewhere. On the surface it just seems like Swedish feminism gone mad. But the Swedish Justice system does not pursue even murderers with the viciousness with which it has pursued Assange. It has seemed like just another crazy, paranoid, conspiracy theory to think that it was all engineered at the request of the US authorities to try and get Assange (by extraordinary rendition) to the US. But it does not look like such a crazy theory any more.

Assange and Wikileaks have been a thorn in the side of the US authorities. Just as Snowden and his associates were. The UK government was very active in helping the US authorities try to get hold of Snowden and his associates. It has now been revealed that by the Danish Justice minister that the Danish government of the time led by Social Democratic prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt was also ready to allow the rendition of Edward Snowden to the US on the flimsiest of paperwork. The FBI had requested the assistance from all the Scandinavian countries and it is pretty clear that Sweden and Norway and probably Finland would also have cooperated.

With the level of Danish cooperation with the FBI for the possible rendition of Snowden now being admitted, it does not seem that far fetched that Sweden, with its desire to join NATO, would also go to extraordinary lengths to be in the “good books” of the US.

The clear intention of the Danish government to cooperate with the US over Snowden suggested that Scandinavian governments “would probably do the same with Julian Assange”, were he to travel to Sweden to face rape allegations

I begin to suspect that the framing of charges against Assange – on extremely flimsy grounds – after the prosecutor’s office had first declined to proceed was a ruse devised at the highest levels of Reinfeld’s government to get Assange to the US via Sweden and gain a number of brownie points while doing so. Perhaps Assange has good reason to be paranoid.

The Guardian:

A US government jet was lying in wait in Copenhagen to extradite the whistleblower Edward Snowden if he had come to Scandinavia after fleeing to Moscow in June 2013, the Danish government has revealed.

……. Søren Pind, the justice minister, wrote to Danish MPs (pdf): “The purpose of the aircraft’s presence in Copenhagen airport is most likely to have been to have the opportunity to transport Edward Snowden to the United States if he had been handed over from Russia or another country.”

“I must note that my answer was not adequate at this point,” he wrote in the letter, dated Thursday 4 February and revealed by MPs on Friday. “Usually, information of this nature is confidential because of Denmark’s relations with foreign states. In view of the impression that my earlier answer may have created, I think it proper to inform parliament thereof. The US authorities have also been informed.”

Nicholaj Villumsen, MP and foreign affairs spokesman for the Red Green Alliance, said: “It is grotesque that the then government put the interests of the United States above citizens’ freedoms. They violated fundamental democratic rights. We owe Edward Snowden a big thank you for his revelations of illegal US mass surveillance. Denmark should therefore in no way participate in the hunt for him.”

The clear intention of the Danish government to cooperate with the US over Snowden suggested that Scandinavian governments “would probably do the same with Julian Assange”, were he to travel to Sweden to face rape allegations, Villumsen said. Assange’s insistence that he faces a risk of extradition was a central aspect of his appeal to the UN working group on arbitrary detention, which on Friday ruled in his favour.

Clinton Foundation got millions from Swedish firms to avoid being blacklisted for Iran involvement

June 3, 2015

That the Clinton Foundation functioned as a channel for lobbyists to get access to Hilary Clinton is an open secret. But I certainly had not expected that there were such large money flows from Sweden and Swedish firms to the Clinton Foundation which apparently allowed them to carry on business in Iran without being blacklisted. Some payments were even made directly to Bill Clinton. It seems almost as if the Clinton Foundation may have specifically targeted firms and countries susceptible to US actions as sources for lobbying money.

So far I don’t see this being covered by the Swedish media but the Washington Times has a very long article. There is a clear Wikileaks connection since much of this information is obtained from diplomatic cables revealed by Wikileaks.

Update: Swedish Radio is now carrying the story but just quoting the Washington Times article. The radio report points out that they have not been able to check the story and imply that it is not reliable since it is from a right wing paper which is opposed to Hilary Clinton. But I note also that Swedish radio is generally very biased in favour of the Democrats in the US (and the Social Democrats/Greens at home).

The Wikileaks connection is interesting. I cannot help thinking that there must be a hidden back story as to why Assange has been hunted and prosecuted by the Swedish authorities for a quite ridiculous molestation/rape allegation. The allegations are by two women who shared a bed with him – quite willingly by their own accounts. The prosecutors first declined to take the matter further and there is surely also a hidden back story as to why the whole prosecution was restarted. Maybe this story is one of the reasons. But why does the Swedish prosecution based on what seems to be rather flimsy “statements” continue? What other Swedish – US connections are there that the Swedish government did not or does not want revealed?

Washington Times:

Bill Clinton’s foundation cashed in as Sweden lobbied Hillary on sanctions

– The Washington Times – Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Bill Clinton’s foundation set up a fundraising arm in Sweden that collected $26 million in donations at the same time that country was lobbying Hillary Rodham Clinton’s State Department to forgo sanctions that threatened its thriving business with Iran, according to interviews and documents obtained by The Washington Times.

The Swedish entity, called the William J. Clinton Foundation Insamlingsstiftelse, was never disclosed to or cleared by State Department ethics officials, even though one of its largest sources of donations was a Swedish government-sanctioned lottery.

As the money flowed to the foundation from Sweden, Mrs. Clinton’s team in Washington declined to blacklist any Swedish firms despite warnings from career officials at the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm that Sweden was growing its economic ties with Iran and potentially undercutting Western efforts to end Tehran’s rogue nuclear program, diplomatic cables show.

“Sweden does not support implementing tighter financial sanctions on Iran” and believes “more stringent financial standards could hurt Swedish exports,” one such cable from 2009 alerted Mrs. Clinton’s office in Washington. Separately, U.S. intelligence was reporting that Sweden’s second-largest employer, telecommunications giant Ericsson AB, was pitching cellphone tracking technology to Iran that could be used by the country’s security services, officials told The Times. …….. 

Mr. Clinton’s Swedish fundraising shell escaped public notice, both because its incorporation papers were filed in Stockholm — some 4,200 miles from America’s shores — and the identities of its donors were lumped by Mr. Clinton’s team into the disclosure reports of his U.S.-based charity, blurring the lines between what were two separate organizations incorporated under two different countries’ laws.

……… At the time of Mr. Clinton’s foray into Swedish fundraising, the Swedish government was pressing Mrs. Clinton’s State Department not to impose new sanctions on firms doing business with Iran, including hometown companies Ericsson and Volvo.

Mrs. Clinton’s State Department issued two orders identifying lists of companies newly sanctioned in 2011 and 2012 for doing business with Iran, but neither listed any Swedish entities.

Behind the scenes, however, the U.S. Embassy in Stockholm was clearly warning the State Department in Washington that Sweden’s trade was growing with Iran — despite Swedish government claims to the contrary.

“Although our Swedish interlocutors continue to tell us that Europe’s overall trade with Iran is falling, the statements and information found on Swedish and English language websites shows that Sweden’s trade with Iran is growing,” the U.S. Embassy wrote in a Dec. 22, 2009, cable to the State Department that was released by WikiLeaks. The cable indicates it was sent to Mrs. Clinton’s office.

At the time of the warning, Mrs. Clinton was about a year into her tenure as Mr. Obama’s secretary of state and the two were leading efforts in Washington to tighten sanctions on Iran.

……… The Swedes were resistant to new sanctions, telling State Department officials repeatedly and unequivocally that they were worried new penalties would stifle the business between its country’s firms and Tehran. At the time, Iran was Sweden’s second-largest export market in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia.

“Behind the Swedish government’s reluctance to support further sanctions in Iran, especially unilateral European measures, is a dynamic (though still fairly small) trade involving some of Sweden’s largest and most politically well-connected companies: Volvo, Ericsson and ABB to name three,” the U.S. Embassy wrote in one cable to Washington.

Several top Swedish officials made the case against proposed U.S. sanctions in successive meetings in 2009 and 2010, according to classified cables released by WikiLeaks.

“[Swedish] Sanctions coordinator [Per] Saland told us that Sweden does not support implementing tighter financial sanctions on Iran and that more stringent financial standards could hurt Swedish exports,” one cable reported. Other cables quoted Swedish officials as saying they were powerless to order banks in their country to stop doing business with Tehran.

Sweden’s foreign trade minister, Ewa Bjroling, met with State officials and said even though her government was obeying all existing United Nations and European Union sanctions, “Iran is a major problem for the GOS (Government of Sweden) because Swedish businesses have a long-standing commercial relationship in the trucks and telecom industries.”

Eventually, Swedish Foreign Affairs Minister Carl Bildt — Mrs. Clinton’s equal on the diplomatic stage — delivered the message personally to top State Department officials, who described him as “skeptical” about expanded Iran sanctions.

“Overall, I’m not a fan of sanctions because they are more a demonstration of our inability than our ability,” Mr. Bildt was quoted as telling State officials in a cable marked “secret.”

………. Current State Department officials and outside experts who advised the department on Iran sanctions told The Times that Sweden, and more specifically Ericsson, was a matter of internal discussion from 2009 to 2011 before new sanctions were finally issued. “The Ericsson concerns were well-known, but in the end many of the sanction decisions were arbitrary and often involved issues beyond the actual business transactions,” one adviser directly involved in the talks told The Times, speaking only on the condition of anonymity because he was describing private deliberations.

U.S. intelligence officials told The Times that they kept the Obama administration apprised of Ericsson’s activities inside Iran, including the fact that the Swedish firm had provided Iran’s second-largest cellular provider with location-based technology to track customers for billing purposes. The technology transfer occurred in late 2009, shortly after Tehran brutally suppressed a pro-democracy movement in that country, the officials said.

U.S. intelligence further learned that Ericsson in 2010 discussed with Iran’s largest cellular firm providing tracking technology that could be used directly by Iranian security authorities but never formally pursued the contract, officials said.

Read the full story.

Swedish appeals court frees 6 of gang rape: Another case of when the law is an ass

October 2, 2013

Swedish rape law is an ass in many ways. Prosecutions are often brought or sought even in trivial and ridiculous cases (as in the case of Julian Assange for example). But real rapists generally go free. And apparently even in a case of gang rape ( 6 of them) where a teenage girl was raped and the rapists found guilty, they are set free by a higher court “because she was not sufficiently incapacitated”! 

Of course even with asinine laws it needs a judge to confirm and compound the law’s failings. According to the judge who released the rapists “The intercourse that took place can very well have happened against her stated will but if it didn’t take advantage of an incapacitated state it’s not rape.”

The rapists were all apparently immigrants. So was their victim it seems.

I wonder if that had any part to play in the judge’s determination?

The Local:  … six teenage boys were cleared by an appeals court of the alleged gang rape of a 15-year-old, ….

The boys admitted to having sexual intercourse with the girl at a party in Tensta, northern Stockholm, in March this year. Five were convicted of aggravated rape by the Solna District Court later that month. The sixth boy, who had given out condoms to the other boys, was convicted of attempted aggravated rape.

Sweden’s sex-crime legislation was amended on July 1st of this year, however, and included a rewrite of the term “incapacitated state” to “particularly vulnerable situation”, which in effect re-classifies certain types of sexual assault as rape.

But the Svea Court of Appeal (Svea hovrätt) ruled according to the old law as it was phrased prior to July 1st, 2013, arguing it was the law that applied at the time of the incident. In its ruling, the court found that the girl could not have been deemed to be in an “incapacitated state,” although it did recognize that she was in a vulnerable situation.

“She could have very well said no, but even if that was the case, that doesn’t automatically mean it’s rape,” judge Sven Jönsson told the Aftonbladet newspaper.

“The intercourse that took place can very well have happened against her stated will but if it didn’t take advantage of an incapacitated state it’s not rape.”

… “I said no,” the victim told the Aftonbladet newspaper over the weekend, saying she no longer went out but only spent time with her closest friends. “Do they mean it’s my fault?” 

With this kind of law the Delhi rapists could have been convicted of murder but not of rape. And the four surviving adult rapists received the death sentence because it was considered a particularly heinous crime. Without the rape conviction they would have escaped that sentence.

Next target for Wikileaks will be a megadump of banking information

November 30, 2010

The information paradigm is changing, whether in the political or industrial or commercial or academic world. We are now in the age of megadumps of information and megaleaks from Wikileaks and its inevitable successors.

While the world’s governments threaten legal action against Wikileaks, and bemoan the damage to diplomacy, Australia is considering whether to revoke Julian Assange’s passport. Media which were not in the group of 5 who received the documents in advance are writing heavyweight editorials about the dangers to society of publishing “confidential” information. Some politicians want Wikileaks to be declared a terrorist organisation and many are warning of the “number of lives that will be put at risk”. Professors are weighing in with the dangers to history ! They are all attacking the messenger but “methinks they do protest too much”.

The risk, if any, emanates ultimately from the information or action that is the subject of the document released, not from the release in itself. Diplomats – or others – who are involved in “speaking with a forked tongue” must accept that their duplicity may be revealed. When governments – in the name of the society they represent – take upon themselves the right to tap telephones, intercept documents divert emails, search or arrest members of that society to collect “confidential” information then they will just have to live with the fact that members of that society may feel – technology permitting – the necessity to access and disseminate “confidential” government information. The information world has changed irreversibly and megadumps of information is a reality. It is not a genie which can be stuffed back into the bottle — though some politicians will try.

Attacking the messenger is essentially counter-productive.

I am sure that the self-righteous (and self-serving) indignation currently being exhibited by many politicians and diplomats as their dirty laundry becomes visible will not be present with the next megadumpaccording to Forbes – of Wikileaks revelations – concerning the banking sector. I find that this information may be of greater public interest than some of the secrets of governments – but that is because I have such low expectations of politicians and diplomats. I have the belief that being in government is inherently corrosive (the corruption of power) and all who attain “positions of power” will always engage in hypocrisy and double-talk. Forbes writes:

Early next year, Julian Assange says, a major American bank will suddenly find itself turned inside out. Tens of thousands of its internal documents will be exposed on with no polite requests for executives’ response or other forewarnings. The data dump will lay bare the finance firm’s secrets on the Web for every customer, every competitor, every regulator to examine and pass judgment on.

Sitting for a rare interview in a London garden flat on a rainy November day, he compares what he is ready to unleash to the damning e-mails that poured out of the Enron trial: a comprehensive vivisection of corporate bad behavior. “You could call it the ecosystem of corruption,” he says, refusing to characterize the coming release in more detail. “But it’s also all the regular decision making that turns a blind eye to and supports unethical practices: the oversight that’s not done, the priorities of executives, how they think they’re fulfilling their own self-interest.”

The diplomatic cable megadump is already a reality. The banking megadump will follow. And after banking it may be Energy.

The full transcript of Assange’s interview with Andy Greenberg is here.

Former head of India’s counter-terrorism division expects next Wikileaks release to be about corruption

November 28, 2010


2030 hrs CET, 28th November,

The Wikileaks release has started and will likely continue through the night. The Guardian, Der Spiegel, The New York Times, El Pais and Le Monde have received the material in advance under embargo and have all started releasing the  US State Department cables.

Wikileaks has been subjected to a cyber-attack today and its site is currently inaccessible.

Link to Guardian ability to download all cables


The BBC headline is

US warns Wikileaks’ Assange on possible leak

The US has stepped up its threats of legal action against Wikileaks while at the same time rushing to contact all “friendly” governments to try and defuse some of the expected fallout of such a release. The flurry of US government activity seems almost panicky and constant repetition of the claim that “countless lives could be put at risk” does not carry much credibility. Instead of taking responsibility for whatever might have been done or written in the past – and presumably they had good reason to believe it was the right and proper thing to do at the time – the strategy seems to be one of “shooting the messenger”.  But in the current paradigm of ease of information dissemination and increased covert operations by governments around the world, attacks on the messenger only reduce the credibility of the attacker and are counter-productive.

B. Raman: image

B. Raman is a former Additional Secretary (retired), Cabinet Secretariat of the Government of India. He is the former head of the counter-terrorism division of India’s external intelligence agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW). He has been applying his mind to the imminent release of confidential US State Department information by Wikileaks and he expects the main subject to be corruption in high places. His thoughts make fascinating reading.

B. Raman writes on his blog:

1. Wikileaks announced through Twitter on November 22,2010, that it will be shortly releasing its third instalment of classified US documents.

2. The first instalment of 77,000 documents related to Afghanistan. The second instalment of 400,000 documents related to Iraq. According to the Twiiter message, its third instalment will contain a much larger number of documents.

3. Wikileaks did not say in its message what will be the subject-matter of the third instalment. However, a Reuters despatch from Washington DC said that classified US diplomatic cables reporting corruption allegations against foreign governments and leaders are expected in the official documents that Wikileaks plans to release. It added: “Three sources familiar with the US State Department cables held by Wikileaks say the corruption allegations in them are major enough to cause serious embarrassment for foreign governments and politicians named in them. They said the release was expected next week, but it could come earlier. The detailed, candid reports by US diplomats also may create foreign policy complications for the administration of US President Barack Obama, the sources said. Among the countries whose politicians feature in the reports are Russia, Afghanistan and former Soviet republics in Central Asia. But other reports also detail potentially embarrassing allegations reported to Washington from US diplomats in other regions, including East Asia and Europe. State Department spokesman Philip J. Crowley said Washington was assessing the implications of what Wikileaks may reveal and was notifying foreign governments about the possible release. “We wish that this would not happen, but we are obviously prepared for the possibility that it will,” he said.

4.The media has reported that the US has warned India and other key governments across the world about the expected release. Crowley has been quoted as saying: “We have reached out to India to warn them about a possible release of documents.” Among other Governments reportedly cautioned are those of Israel, Russia, Turkey, Canada and the UK.

5. After October last year when Wikileaks reportedly developed electronic access to the data bases of the US State Department and the Pentagon and the US military formations in Afghanistan and Iraq, the US authorities were reported to have tightened document security to prevent further leaks. If this tightening has been effective, it is likely that the latest load of documents acquired by Wikileaks (is) related to the period before October last year.

6.While corruption allegations as collected by the US Embassis in these countries could form a part of these documents, it is likely that considering the large number of documents mentioned by Wikileaks, the documents also cover US Embassy reporting on other subjects. Previously, Pakistan’s relations with the US were the focus of Wikileaks. It now seems to be focusing on India’s relations with the US too. It is, therefore, possible that in addition to corruption involving Indian personalities, the documents about India which have reached Wikileaks also relate to India’s policies on Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran.

7. Among the various events relating to Afghanistan, Iraq and Iran in which India figured during this period, four could be sensitive from India’s point of view. Firstly, the pressure on the Atal Behari Vajpayee Government by the administration of George Bush to send a Division of the Indian Army to Iraq. By July,2003, the Vajpayee Government had decided to say no to Washington DC, but there was a lot of voices in Delhi in favour of accepting the US request. Secondly, the papers captured by the US intelligence after the occupation of Iraq from the Iraqi Government Departments showing or corroborating the alleged involvement of a leader or leaders of the Congress (I) in contacts with the Saddam Hussein Government for acquiring preferential quotas for the import of oil from Iraq (the oil for food scandal). Thirdly, the pressure exercised by the Bush Administration on the Manmohan Singh Government for voting against Iran in the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna. The Government of India succumbed to this pressure as a quid pro quo for the Indo-US civil nuclear co-operation agreement of July,2005. Fourthly, the analysis and assessment made in the State Department and the Pentagon regarding Pakistani allegations of Indian involvement in Balochistan.

8. Is it possible that Wikileaks might have also got hold of diplomatic cables between the US Embassy in New Delhi and Washinton DC on Indian political leaders, bureaucrats and policy-making? Has it also got hold of messages sent by the US Embassy in New Delhi to Washington DC about the escape of Major Rabinder Singh, the mole of the Central Intelligence Agency in the Research & Analysis Wing, to the US in 2004 and about the detection by the Indian counter-intelligence of a US mole in the sensitive National Security Council Secretariat in 2006? The documents to be released by Wikileaks need to be carefully scrutinised.. ( 28-11-10)

Shooting the messenger to discredit the message

November 27, 2010

From ancient times, envoys, messengers, heralds and town criers have all had to live with the risk of the messages they delivered incensing their audiences sufficiently to cause a backlash against the messenger. “Shooting the messenger” is then the metaphoric expression of this illogical but understandable lashing out against the bearer of bad news. Envoys and heralds were sometimes arrested or beheaded and sent back not just because the message was disliked but to create and transmit a new message by the action itself.

But it is only in modern times with the advent of readily available duplication (micro-film, photocopiers, magnetic tapes, electronic scanning and now cut-and-paste) and of easy dissemination across the globe (fax, computers, email and internet) that the leaking of confidential documents has come into its own. That confidential documents have always existed and will always exist is axiomatic and it is not only governments that have an interest in keeping documents secret. While the act of keeping some information secret may well be to hide some wrongdoing, it is not in itself indicative of illegality. Nevertheless the judgement that something needs to be kept secret is in itself  acknowledgement that the information would cause harm – to someone – if disclosed.

“Whistleblowing” – defined as revealing wrongdoing which is being kept secret – is now taken to be  admirable whether the wrongdoings are by politicians or governments or corporations.  Legislation is in place in many countries ostensibly to “protect” whistleblowers but is usually quite ineffective in preventing reprisals against the whistleblower. Often the legislation is intentionally ineffective and the only purpose is to project an image of “open government” but not actually to permit the disclosure of government secrets. Reprisals have often been crude and violent. In India, whistleblowers have even been killed out of hand. So-called Freedom of Information legislation also strives to maintain this balance of creating an impression of openness but where what is desired to be kept secret can be maintained secret (either by rejection of the request or by introducing delays or by deletion of sensitive information).

The messengers today are often a part of the message. Whistleblowing may have a political agenda. Whistleblowers may be political activists trying to mobilise the forces of public opinion. “Shooting the messenger” in the form of discrediting the messenger or his objectives has now come to be seen as a legitimate method of trying to discredit the message. This was attempted in the Climategate disclosures. Numerous articles were written to label the disclosure the work of a “hacker” (and therefore an illegal act) rather than that of a “leaker” (and therefore the act of an internal whistleblower). In the event the substance of the revelations carried their own weight and even so called “whitewash” enquiries carried out to downplay the substance of the revelations have not been very successful.

Logo used by Wikileaks

Wikileaks: image via Wikipedia

In October this year Wikileaks disclosed the Iraq War Logs. Governments around the world first tried to prevent the release by claiming that people would be in danger of their lives and security would be undermined. Nobody denied that the information was authentic. Once the material had been released, the objectives of the release and the people behind the release were attacked. Governments across the world cooperated to try and discredit the messages. “National Security concerns” became the common theme for the governments in the US and Australia and the UK. The Swedish authorities have accused the Wikileaks founder (Julian Assange) of rape and attempted rape in a crude and rather bizarre incident – but presumably as part of a concerted effort to prevent further revelations. But the information revealed about the number of civilians killed in Iraq and the manner of their killing can no longer be kept secret.

Now, further revelations of confidential US State Department information are expected from Wikileaks. The attacks on the messenger have started. The US government has contacted scores of other governments to try and defuse and discredit the information before it is disclosed. As the BBC writes:

The plan by whistleblower website Wikileaks to release millions more classified US documents will put lives at risk and damage national security, the state department has warned. A spokesman said it would do harm to US international relations if the leaks contained diplomatic cables.

The Pentagon said US military interests could also be damaged. The Wikileaks website said the US authorities were afraid of being held to account.

The state department spokesman, PJ Crowley, said the release of confidential communications was “harmful to our national security. It does put lives at risk. It does put national interests at risk”. Mr Crowley said that diplomatic cables involved discussions with governments and private citizens, and their release could erode trust in the US as a diplomatic partner. “They are going to create tension in relationships between our diplomats and our friends around the world,” he said. “When this confidence is betrayed and ends up on the front pages of newspapers or lead stories on television or radio, it has an impact,” Mr Crowley said.

It is notable that when information is disclosed there is not much effort expended in denying the authenticity of the information. Instead the focus is more and more on attacking the purpose of the disclosure and on attacking the messengers. But even the most horrifying disclosures do not seem to have increased the accountability of governments or their desire to justify their behaviour. “National Security” is the new mantra they can hide behind.

But I cannot help thinking that this tendency of governments, politicians and officials increasingly to attack the messenger is ultimately due to an inability to stand up for one’s own behaviour. It boils down to a lack of courage.

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