Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Dis disturbing summer, so hot and more and it's not even over yet ....

Graves at Arlington National CemeteryImage via Wikipedia
On June 6, Wired's Kevin Poulsen and Kim Zetter reported about the arrest of an Army intelligence analyst who boasted of giving classified U.S. combat video and hundreds of thousands of classified State Department records to whistleblower site Wikileaks.
"SPC Bradley Manning, 22, of Potomac, Maryland, was stationed at Forward Operating Base Hammer, 40 miles east of Baghdad, where he was arrested nearly two weeks ago by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division. A family member says he’s being held in custody in Kuwait, and has not been formally charged."

Wired also quoted Manning in its report:
“Hillary Clinton, and several thousand diplomats around the world are going to have a heart attack when they wake up one morning, and find an entire repository of classified foreign policy is available, in searchable format, to the public,” Manning wrote.

A day later, Wikileaks on Twitter writes:
Allegations in Wired that we have been sent 260,000 classified US embassy cables are, as far as we can tell, incorrect.
9:44 AM Jun 7th  via bit.ly

On June 8 , The Daily Beast's Philip Shenon reported about The State Department's Worst Nightmare:
The State Department and American embassies around the world are bracing for what officials fear could be the massive, unauthorized release of secret diplomatic cables in which U.S. diplomats harshly evaluate foreign leaders and reveal the inner-workings of American foreign policy.
It seems like everyone was waiting for the shoe to fall ... and then nothing happens and summer continues to rattle on ...

Rattle ....rattle ...the sprinklers beckon...

  • Tea-party hearthrobs.  Heatwaves all over America 
  • BP's top kill, static kill, and the oil mess in the Gulf 
  • Russian spy swaps ...
  • Lindsay Lohan gets jail time.
  • ShakesPalin's "refudiate" threatens record of GWBush's "strategery" 
  • Lebron moves out
  • Levi and whatshername get back together, reportedly to try on abstinence once more....
  • Meanwhile, one general gets out and another one goes into Kabul
  • One ambassador gets out and another waiting to go into Baghdad ....
  • Packouts ... packouts in the four corners of the globe...
  • R&Rs up in full swing, homelessness abound while visiting the homeland.....
  • Damn the airline embargoes, pets and owners not happy-campers...   
  • Al Qaeda jailbreakers get chance a week after jail was turned over to the Ministry of Justice in Iraq... State Department plans own army, hilos and more...
  • Unemployment runs out for a bunch of folks.
  • Congress goes on vacation presumably to places far away from unemployed crowd
  • Shirley Sherrod loses job one day, gets job offer the next.
  • Chelsea Clinton's wedding, causes heart burns to non-invitees. Tums still cheaper than shrink.  
  • Clinton in Pakistan; $7.5 billion Dale Carnegie's aid to win friends and influence people makes the news again  

Another day, another suicide of another returnee from the war.

And July moves morbidly along as one of the highest month for casualties in Afghanistan ....  

Then -- Dana Priest and William Arkin threatened to ruin the rattling summer with their much anticipated investigative piece "Top Secret America"in WaPo.

The Atlantic's Marc Ambiner posted a copy of a memo sent out by Art House, director of communications for the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, to public affairs officers in the intelligence community about the Washington Post's upcoming series on contractors.

On July 16, The Cable's John Rogin writes that the State Department is bracing for a potentially explosive new feature on the Washington Post website that would publish the names and locations of agencies and firms conducting Top Secret work on behalf of the U.S. government. He reported that "The Diplomatic Security Bureau at State sent out a notice Thursday to all department employees warning them to protect classified information and reject inquiries from the press when the new web feature goes live." The Notice from DS/EX was published in full here.

Despite the headless chickens running around, Top Secret America appeared on July 19, with two other installments to less than shocking reception. Were you surprised to learn about the huge national security buildup in the United States after the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks or that contractors make a big part of that operation?  The new use of web tools in the presentation of the investigative piece probably grabbed more attention.

That's that.  Folks sigh. Folks go back to barbecue and summer sales ... until ...

Sunday.  Just when we thought the summer heat wave has finally receded, Wikileaks dumped online 75,000 apparently "secret US military reports covering the war in Afghanistan from 2004-2009."  This from about 91,000 documents it reportedly possessed.

Wikileaks was perfectly accessible Sunday but Monday, it was down.  The dedicated page for the documents are available at the Kabul War Diary -- http://wardiary.wikileaks.org/

The website says:
"We have delayed the release of some 15,000 reports from total archive as part of a harm minimization process demanded by our source. After further review, these reports will be released, with occasional redactions, and eventually, in full, as the security situation in Afghanistan permits."

Are these part of the allegedly 260,000 documents/cables reported earlier or is that the other shoe that is yet to fall?

Your guess is as good as mine.

Whether or not SPC Bradley Manning, 22, of Potomac, Maryland is the source of these documents remain to be seen. That is, if his case/hearing will be opened to the public. The Help Bradley Manning website has already sprung up as well as a Facebook pages here and here.

There is even a Facebook page in 中文(简体) to Bring Home Bradley Manning. In Chinese. 

Now, what do you make of that?

The HBM website includes the charge sheet which cited among other things -- unauthorized disclosures of more than 50 classified United States Department of State cables, exceed authorized access on a SIPRNET on more than 150,000 diplomatic cables and exceed authorized access on a SIPRNET on a classified United States Department of State cable titled “Reykjavik 13" -- at least one cable posted in the WikiLeaks website is allegedly from US Embassy Iceland and titled as such.

Today, the Christian Science Monitors reports that the former chief of Pakistan’s spy agency has derided as “malicious, fictitious, and preposterous” the leaked United States military documents implicating him in a string of attacks against US and NATO forces in Afghanistan: 
Hamid Gul’s name appears no less than eight times in documents leaked Sunday by the online whistle-blower WikiLeaks. In the reports, the retired general and former head of the Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) from 1987 to 1989 is accused of ordering IED attacks against Afghan and international forces in December 2006 and of plotting to kidnap United Nations staff to use as hostages in exchange for militant prisoners.

“This is utter nonsense,” Mr. Gul says in a telephone interview. Asked to respond to the various WikiLeaks reports in which his name appears, he replied: "Malicious, fictitious, and preposterous – and if this is the condition of US intelligence, then I am afraid it is no wonder they are losing in Afghanistan, and they will lose everywhere they try to poke their nose."
Gul, however, says that the US itself has orchestrated the latest WikiLeaks exposé to shift attention away from its own failings in Afghanistan. Speaking in an elevated tone and at times furious, he says he believes the US may now use the exposé as a way to force Pakistan's hand on policy in Afghanistan.

Oh, dear ---what's the world coming to?

National Security Advisor General James Jones released a statement on Wikileaks here strongly condemning "the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organizations which could put the lives of Americans and our partners at risk, and threaten our national security."

Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) also released the following statement in response to the New York Times story on the leak of classified documents concerning Afghanistan and Pakistan:
"However illegally these documents came to light, they raise serious questions about the reality of America's policy toward Pakistan and Afghanistan.  Those policies are at a critical stage and these documents may very well underscore the stakes and make the calibrations needed to get the policy right more urgent."

And now we have a problem.  There's still a few weeks left of summer.  But the Russian spies are back in Russia singing patriotic songs with Vlad, Lindsay Lohan is still in jail, the BP's thingy seems to be working miles under the sea...

And we're left with dat Mel and Oksana train wreck show. And this leaky mess.   

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