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A Pentagon Papers and Wikileaks Sermon

By Rob Kezelis
July 26, 2010

1971 – Daniel Ellsberg provides the New York Times (back when it had a spine and a corporate conscience) with a DOD study (1945 through 1968), proving that the US had repeatedly and routinely lied to the US public about its actions and policies in South East Asia

2010 – Wikileaks provides 91,000 documents from the DOD  (2001 through 2010),  showing that the US goverment had repeatedly and routinely lied to the US public  about its actions and policies in Afghanistan

COINCIDENCE? I think NOT!

“Those of us who finally saw through the Vietnam war saw through this war, and all the actions that were necessary to end the Vietnam war will be necessary here. I think the American people will get us out of this (war).”

“Don’t do what I did. Don’t wait until the bombs are falling in Iran. Don’t wait until people are dying. Go to the press and reveal.”
Daniel Ellsberg

FROM THE CHURCH OF INEFFABLE STUPIDITY

Sometimes the past reveals much about our present. If only we open our eyes, and take notice.

If you haven’t seen it by now, there was a document dump of immense proportions and importance. 91,000 documents related to our invasion, occupation, and war crimes in Afghanistan were provided to several papers and released for general viewing by Wikileaks. (Please note that the US intel agencies tried to shut down Wikileaks by legal, and quite probably, not so legal means in 2008).

They describe actual combat and losses, compared to the glossy PR spin that we’ve been fed by the Bush, and unfortunately, by the Obama administrations. Who knew that the Taliban and Al Qaida had surface to air heat seeking missiles, and were using them against our airforce? Who knew just how many innocents we had killed, only to have a disengaged media ignore it, allowing the Pentagon to perfect its cover ups? Who knew that our policies were utter failures, and that we have no chance for success in Afghanistan? Who knew the Pakistan’s intelligence forces were actively supporting Afghan insurgents against us?

To answer these and other pesky questions, let’s do the time warp again:

For those too young, and for those who may have forgotten this nasty time in our history, the Pentagon initiated a detailed study of its policies in Viet Nam, dating back to the end of WWII. These documents proved that no less than four presidents actively lied to the American public about the nature, scope, techniques, cost, and reasons for our invasion and occupation of Viet Nam.

To say that they caused a firestorm would be like saying that the Atlantic Pond was wet.

The US DOD and DOJ scrambled to keep this information from being released by the Times, and later by the WaPo. Luckily, Mike Gravel (D-Alaska) made several thousand pages part of the public record in Congress, insuring that the debate would continue, regardless of what the Supreme Court did. William Rehnquist,  Assistant AG, spearheaded the legal campaign against the newspapers and Ellsberg. He won an injunction against the Times, precluding any publication of the Papers. See, New York Times Co. v. United States (403 U.S. 713).

Surprisingly, the Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision, held the  the injunctions constituted an unconstitutional prior restraint.  The majority agreed that the government failed to meet its burden of proof required for prior restraint injunction.

The resulting publication of the Pentagon Papers permanently sullied the reputations of several presidents, especially Lyndon Johnson, and showed just how the Pentagon (along with four administrations) had deliberately lied to congress and to the American public.  It had an  immediate impact on our occupation of Viet Nam, and eventually led to our leaving the country, our military defeated, our country dispirited, torn, and at odds with itself. Even today, some call Ellsberg a criminal, while others call him a hero.

Unless you lived through that era, you really cannot understand the impact the Papers had. People stopped believing everything the government said. Here was clear proof of deliberate lies, misdeeds, and possible crimes. For many, it was a shocking experience, one that they never got over.

– – –

Wikileaks is an operation dedicated to gathering improper government secrets and making them public. It was getting so good at this task, that our Intel Agencies tried hard to shut it down in 2008. Attacks on its servers, legal actions, and probably many things that we won’t ever learn, were our government’s policy. Unfortunately, it is likely that the Obama Administration continues these Bush policies, just as it has continued and expanded Bush’s Afghan occupation. According to Wikipedia, in the first year (2007) that it operated, Wikileaks had published or made available more than 1,200,000 documents from the US, Germany, China, UK, and other countries.

To give you an idea of how this current document dump of 91,000 DOD documents is piquing people’s interest, Wikileaks’ servers have been repeatedly swamped today, unable to provide responses or access to its site.

Several papers, including Der Spiegel and The Guardian (London) have started reviewing and publishing the “Afghan Papers.”  Already, we have learned of war crimes, horrific losses among Afghan civilians, and deceit being actively practiced against the American Public.

Predictably, the White House has acted exactly like the Nixon White House before it, claiming that the release of these documents puts US troops at risk.

The Wikileaks founder responded,

“We are familiar with groups whose abuse we expose attempting to criticise the messenger to distract from the power of the message.”

“We don’t see any difference in the White House’s response to this case to the other groups that we have exposed. We have tried hard to make sure that this material does not put innocents at harm. All the material is over seven months old so is of no current operational consequence, even though it may be of very significant investigative consequence.”

He added that the documents had clear evidence of thousands of war crimes.

The truth is often ugly and painful. The more painful it is, the more governments try to cover it up. Such is the case here. OUr country is involved in unbelievably expensive, wrong-headed, and ultimately unworkable nation building in a place that other world powers tried and repeatedly failed to nation build.

Afghanistan used to be a semi-modern country. It had a functioning parliament, three branches of government, and somewhat free elections. Then, after we goaded the Soviets sufficiently, the USSR invaded, attempted to change the country into something more soviet. The natives were restless, and after the US spent hundreds of millions arming, training, and providing intel to what we now know as the Taliban, they sent the USSR packing, with their tails between their legs.

History seems to be repeating itself.

Again.

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15 Responses to A Pentagon Papers and Wikileaks Sermon

  1. griff

    July 26, 2010 at 5:55 pm

    But we only wanna make ‘em love us!

    Maybe some day we’ll repeat a little history from..oh…say…1776?

    “Why of course the people don’t want war. Why should some poor slob on a farm want to risk his life in a war when the best he can get out of it is to come back to his farm in one piece? Naturally the common people don’t want war neither in Russia, nor in England, nor for that matter in Germany. That is understood. But, after all, it is the leaders of the country who determine the policy and it is always a simple matter to drag the people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the peacemakers for lack of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in any country.” – Hermann Goering

    • Rob Kezelis

      July 26, 2010 at 6:32 pm

      wise words, griff. History is like deja vu all over again.

      • griff

        July 26, 2010 at 8:55 pm

        Hey watch it Bub, I think you just copyright-infringed on a fellow poster.

  2. woody188

    July 26, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Who knew that the Taliban and Al Qaida had surface to air heat seeking missiles, and were using them against our airforce? Who knew just how many innocents we had killed, only to have a disengaged media ignore it, allowing the Pentagon to perfect its cover ups? Who knew that our policies were utter failures, and that we have no chance for success in Afghanistan? Who knew the Pakistan’s intelligence forces were actively supporting Afghan insurgents against us?

    I knew all except those heat seeking missiles, but was marginalized as a ‘conspiracy theorist’ by others. I don’t expect an apology or even a nod that I was right once again. It’s enough for me to know that I was right and not crazy as others have insinuated and alluded.

    How many of you know the policy of US convoys in Iraq in Afghanistan is to run over anyone, even little children that just happen into the street at the wrong time?

    How many know the policy is to shoot first and ask questions if anyone lives, and few ever survive?

    How many know predator drones have been ordered to attack wedding ceremonies and other ceremonial events killing hundreds and wiping out entire families? That they were ordered by Obama to assassinate just one supposed terrorist?

    How many know we used banned weapons like cluster bombs and white phosphorus in this Middle East campaign?

    How many know depleted uranium is deadly for millennium and the likely cause of Gulf War Syndrome, increased cancer rates, and deformities in children of parents exposed to it, but they won’t even issue the masks to protect our own troops from inhaling the stuff as is described in the Army’s own manual?

    I’ve always been wary of government. Part of it is because my father was drafted into Viet Nam. He came home shot up and screwed up for life and had not volunteered. He’s in his sixties now and they are still finding shrapnel in his body.

    Perhaps it’s because I grew up near Kent State University and never forgot how bad it can get. “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills, Nash, and Young is much more than just a song. At any rate, I’ll never trust government anymore than I’d trust a snake oil salesman. They are cut from the same cloth.

    It’s all out there, if you bother to look and not wrap yourself in the flag and feign ignorance. We can’t be ‘Good Germans’ because our foreign policy is already very much like Hitler’s and it has to stop or we will end up like Germany. “How can you run when you know?”

  3. AustinRanter - AKA Gregg

    July 28, 2010 at 9:13 am

    Our economy has changed from “oil” to “war”. That simple. Our fragile economy would collapse if the products and services of the MIC were substantially reduced.

    By the way…the late, great Texan, Charlie Wilson a member of the United States Congress helped Afghanistan acquire surface to air missiles to fight the Russians over the course of 8 years.

  4. DejaVuAllOver

    July 28, 2010 at 11:30 pm

    You’re right, Griff, people are easily manipulated. But the one thing I find striking and hopeful about this thing was this: By some clever and wise moves and perfect timing, Wikileaks managed to play the MSM press at its own game. The leaks really didn’t contain much we didn’t already know (those of us paying attention, anyway) but Julian Assange seems to be getting pretty good at the game. By releasing the data-dump to many papers, internationally, simultaneously and only after amassing a HUGE dossier of damaging material, he FORCED the neocon press in this country to publish things they would otherwise ignore or try to bury! He sort-of forced ‘the profit motive’ be a force for good, for change and for truth. This would not have happened if he had released everything piecemeal or to one or even two outlets. He also managed to get a HUGE audience that could not have happened on WikiLeaks alone, which has been publishing good stuff for years. Let’s hope it does some good and doesn’t get smothered like the WikiLeaks videos of the Apache drone journalist slayings did.

    Julian Assange IS the new Daniel Ellsberg, but a much more media-savvy one. Well done, sport.

    • woody188

      July 29, 2010 at 12:02 am

      I dunno, WikiLeaks might not be so great. Cryptome has been around forever and it’s founder does make some really relative points about WikiLeaks funding and how this all is unfolding. Could WikiLeaks be a front to catch and punish whistle-blowers?

  5. DejaVuAllOver

    July 29, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Thanks for the link, Woody. Seems fairly inconsequential to me, though. Ellsberg endured a HELL of a lot more reverse-propaganda and sidestepped more traps from Nixon and the press, it seems to me.

    Salon and Glenn Greenwald seem to think Bradly Manning was sold out by a computer hacker posing as a journalist who was, in fact, working for the FBI as part a a plea-bargain. He took all the leaked material straight to the FBI, who then took Manning straight to jail. The guy also had ties to Mossad. (sorry, I can’t find the link)

    These things are messy, for sure. Although, setting traps for whistle-blowers is not hard to imagine from our fascist government.

    • woody188

      July 29, 2010 at 8:28 pm

      Ya, the ex-hacker was Adrian Lamo. So far as I know, Manning never gave the material to Lamo, just bragged about it to him. That’s part of what Young found so suspicious, the only evidence is a chat session, which can be easily forged. And we know they will prosecute operatives to set up future stings.

      For me 9-11 truth is the litmus test, and Julian Assange failed that test. Not that WikiLeaks has not leaked accurate information, but it is starting to smell funny and things are not adding up.

  6. DejaVuAllOver

    July 30, 2010 at 11:01 pm

    Point well taken. I dunno, either. I also agree that 9/11 is the BIG test to know who’s side someone’s on. We did OUR part, though!

  7. DejaVuAllOver

    July 30, 2010 at 11:21 pm

    So, speaking of setups, the NYT reports today the Fed is now “worried” about deflation. This strikes me as a bold-faced lie, since the central banks have been printing and hoarding money at warp 6 for years, now. My take is that runaway INFLATION is their goal. Releasing those reserve funds, “ostensibly” to fight deflation, but in fact designed to trash the dollar, should be very a effective way to drive us to war with Iran, perhaps in conjunction with another “Al Qaeda” attack. Similar to Bolshevik Russia or pre-WWII Nazi Germany.

    Sorry for the off-topic comment, but maybe Mr. Kezelis has a column-in-waiting on this?

    • woody188

      July 31, 2010 at 12:35 am

      I got that too. Deflation is occurring despite the printing. That is why they are scared, because it means consumers are not buying, so prices are going down to try to entice them. And since consumers account for 70% of the economy, it means the second market crash is pretty much a sure thing once reality sets in on Wall Street. I’m guessing September/October/November, but I think they’ll try to hide it via volume trades and “plunge protection teams” in an effort to save Christmas shopping. If we have another bad holiday shopping season, it means another market dip, probably before Spring 2011.

      In other words, deflation now sets us up for 6-8 months of continued losses in the market. That is reason for concern because it means the stimulus has failed, the banks are in double or nothing in the market using our tax dollars from the bail-out and will be demanding more tax money, and they can no longer claim an improving economy right before the election. Add to that the twin deficits, and there is a very likely possibility of a US debt default by 2012, particularly when China dumps it’s reserves. And all the Fed can do is try to monetize the debt further ruining the dollar’s value. It’s a no win situation.

      But the big story no one wants to print is they have borrowed at least $280 billion more than was required to finance government operations and the deficit. So there is $280 billion out there that no one knows what is going with and is unaccounted for. Guess they figured no one would be checking on them.

      • griff

        July 31, 2010 at 8:33 am

        Although the Fed is printing wildly, the banks and other creditors are holding that “cash,” therefore we haven’t seen the kind of price inflation you would expect.

        But prices are rising and price inflation is being hidden in other ways.

        For instance, my two dogs eat 40 lbs of dog food in the span of exactly two weeks. So every other Friday I would buy another 40 lb bag. A couple of years ago I was paying around $30.00 per bag. The price rose steadily to about $42.00 per bag this past winter.

        So one week not long ago I stop to buy the food and I find that there is a “New Low Price!” for the food. Wow! Back down to $32.00 per bag! So I get home and fill the container I store it in, only to find that it doesn’t quite fill the container as it should. I look on the bag and find that it’s only 35 lbs of food now.

        So this “New Low Price!” isn’t because of price deflation – I’m still paying about the same per pound of food, they just put less in the bag now and tell you you’re getting a bargain. And now I have to stop and buy dog food every week and a half.

  8. DejaVuAllOver

    July 31, 2010 at 12:25 pm

    I hear ya’…… My dogs get their food no matter what and it’s ME who has to adjust to whatever trade imbalances our ‘economy’ has to offer!

    I still think this is a setup, though and I’ll try to explain why, hopefully without violating the off-topic protocol TOO badly! My apologies, once again.

    The problem is this: Deflation is mostly an academic or manufactured problem caused by too little money in the system. It can happen when a.) People SAVE too much (clearly not the case, here, since our savings rate is negative….. i.e. debt) b.) temporary cash flow problems caused by speculation, growth bursts, etc., but always temporary, for practical purposes. c.) Banks either printing too little or hoarding (in their reserves) too much. If this ‘deflation’ is real and long-term (not manufactured or temporary) , it can ONLY be caused by the central banks not releasing enough money into the system. This is what smells really funny, since it’s the opposite of what seems to be happening, i.e. too much printing. The other problem is this: Why in Hell would the banks feel the need to increase their reserves some 700% in the last six years, if they weren’t planning on dumping all that phony money, soon?

    This talk of ‘deflation’ is a setup to do just that, an excuse to release all the reserves, drive the dollar to near zero and force us to fight Israel’s latest wars or starve, IMHO.

    Thanks for indulging me. And hold on tight, folks……..

  9. Eve

    August 1, 2010 at 5:36 pm

    With respect:
    Yes, fighting Israel’s wars.

    I am not mocking you at all DejaVuAllOver, in fact I see this as being what it is … a very real probability.

    Concerning Wikileaks and Israel:

    http://www.sott.net/articles/show/212921-Wiki-Leaks-is-Israel-Like-We-All-Didn-t-Know-Lame-Leak-Site-Nothing-More-Than-Thin-Cover-For-The-Tel-Aviv-Tango-

    If an American has a disease, shouldn’t they know about it? Wouldn’t it benefit them to know so they could remedy the situation?

    One thing is for sure, concerning “fighting Israel’s wars” this is something the English should think twice about.
    Israel’s Shimon Peres just called the English anti-semitic.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/7920330/Fury-as-Israel-president-claims-English-are-anti-semitic.html

    That being said, concerning the Pentagon, it seems similar to what Pat Buchanan said of congress, the Pentagon is “Israeli occupied territory.”

    http://votersforpeace.us/press/index.php?itemid=4510

    Wikileaks seems to be no different, of Israeli origin.
    Decide for yourselves.