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From Glenn Greenwald on Twitter

2011 is turning out to be a really bad year to be a US-supported tyrant
about 5 hours ago via web
Contrast (a) consensus that WL cables taught us nothing with (b) how often they're cited by news reports as relevant

Iraq protests info w/ above video

Hundreds of protesters stormed political headquarters in Iraqi Kurdistan and were fired on by police. Reports have two dead and 40-53 others injured. The office of the president issued a statement which said, "Enemies of Kurdish people still continue destabilize Kurdistan, but we will not allow that will happen. People of Kurdistan should be aware of what are at stake and calmly and wisely deal with the situation."

The people were protesting against corruption and unemployment and attacked KDP and PUK, the two major political parties who have controlled power since 1991.

Yemen portest news w/ above video

RTE News reports “around 40 people have been wounded in fierce clashes between protestors and government loyalists.” It adds, “Fighting broke out in the capital Sanaa after around 800 government loyalists armed with daggers and clubs confronted about 1,500 protestors, who responded by hurling rocks.”

Lybia portests w/video above

1:30 AM Derna: Snipers on rooftops shooting at protesters with rocks

Jake Tapper: A Wikileaks Primer on the Cozy US-Bahrain Relationship

In December 2009, the then-US Ambassador to Bahrain, Adam Ereli, cabled to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton his great regard for the rulers of that country. The US-Bahrain relationship as seen through Wikileaks cables is quite cozy, and focused quite a bit on areas of mutual security.

King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, Ereli wrote, “is personable and engaging” and “rules as something of a ‘corporate king,’ giving direction and letting his top people manage the government.”

King Hamad was given high marks for ushering in governmental reforms. Ereli sad King Hamad had “overseen the development of strong institutions with the restoration of parliament, the formation of a legal political opposition, and a dynamic press.” King Hamad, Ereli said, “is committed to fighting corruption and prefers doing business with American firms because they are transparent.” Ereli noted that King Hamad had awarded U.S. companies major contracts, including Gulf Air buying 24 Boeing 787 Dreamliners.

In a July 2008 cable to General David Petraeus , the Embassy wrote that the general should expect the rulers  of Bahrain to be “focused first on defending against potential Iranian missile threats.” He said that regional tensions “may be adding to long-standing domestic tensions as well, contributing to the stridency of sectarian voices in Bahrain. The majority of Bahraini citizens are part of the Shi’a underclass, and their grievances, expressed both in legal political activity and in street skirmishes between youths and police, are at the center of all domestic politics here.”

King Hamad, the cable said, had recently taken a more aggressive role in domestic affairs, departing “from his traditional detached style and intervene(ing) personally in several controversies arising from Bahrain’s Shi’a-Sunni tensions. He has publicly, both personally and through his ministers, summoned communal leaders, newspaper editors and bloggers to warn them against crossing red lines against discussion of issues like royal family disputes and criticism of judges who have sentenced Shi’a rioters to prison terms.”

In August 2008, Ereli wrote about Petraeus’s visit, noting that King Hamad expressed hope that U.S. forces would remain in Iraq until the Iraqi government “was clearly capable of fending off Iranian-backed extremists.”

In September 2008 Ereli described the leading political groupings in Bahrain. The Wifaq party “remains the most popular party among the majority Shi’a underclass and advocates non-violent political activism on behalf of the Shi’a community. Two Islamist parties dominate the Sunni side of the political scene” – Al Asala, “closely associated with Salafist ideology,” and Al Minbar Al Islami, “Bahrain’s branch of the Muslim Brotherhood.”

Ex-W. Bush aide Matthew Dowd with a Dec. 2nd article on Wikileaks

As I was sitting with my three grown sons over the post-Thanksgiving weekend watching football at their place (where they have lived together for nearly a year without a major fight, the place burning down, or the police showing up), my oldest son, who served in the Army for five years and was deployed in Iraq for nearly a year and half, turned to me and asked, “When as a country did we become a place where the government gets upset when its secrets are revealed but has no problem knowing all our secrets and invading our privacy?”

When did we decide that we trust the government more than its citizens? And that revealing the truth about the government is wrong? And why is the media complicit in this? Did we not learn anything from the run-up to the Iraq war when no one asked hard questions about the justifications for the war and when we accepted statements from government officials without proper pushback?

My own sense is that we should err on the side of telling the truth, even when it’s inconvenient or when it makes our lives—or the business of government—more complicated. And that people who tell the truth should at the very least not be denigrated. That’s something I learned when I was young, and that I tried to impart to my three boys when they were growing up. As Albert Einstein is reported to have said long ago, “The search for truth implies a duty. One must not conceal any part of what one has recognized to be true.”

If we want to restore trust in our government, maybe we can start by telling the truth, keeping fewer secrets, and respecting the privacy of average citizens a little more. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “God offers to every mind its choice between truth and repose. Take which you please; you can never have both.”

Anonymous Op-Ed at Al Jazeera

When a release by WikiLeaks revealed the depravity of just how corrupt and horrid the Tunisian government really was, it prompted Tunisians to step up active dissent and take to the streets en masse for the first time.

In response, a loose network of participants within the international Anonymous protest organisation attacked non-essential government websites - those not providing direct services to Tunisians - at the prompting of our contacts.

Several such sites were replaced with a message of support to the Tunisian people, while others were pushed offline via distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, involving thousands of computer users who request large amounts of data from a website simultaneously, overwhelming it.

Other assistance programmes followed, even after the deposed Ben Ali fled the nation that reviled him, with Anonymous and other parties working with Tunisians - both in-country and abroad - to provide the nation's people with the tools and information resources they needed to begin building up new, reasonable political institutions capable of ensuring a freer civic life.

Our "Guide to Protecting the Tunisian Revolution" series - a collaboration between hundreds of veterans of traditional revolutionary movements as well as practitioners of "new activism" - were disseminated both online and in print; aside from tips on safety during confrontation and the like, these also explain how to establish secure yet accessible networks and communications for Tunisians, as well as instructions on establishing neighbourhood syndicates capable of uniting in common cause.

The revolution will be broadcast

Whatever effort is required, such a goal is not only possible, but rather unambitious.

There is a reason, after all, that those of us who have seen the movement up close have dedicated our lives to what it stands for, and have even violated the modern Western taboo of believing in something.

I have been involved with Anonymous in some capacity or another for about six years.

Looking back at my writing over that time, I have found that my predictions, while always enthusiastic, nonetheless turned out to have been conservative; when Australia became the first state to come under attack by this remarkable force, I proposed that we would someday see such allegedly inevitable institutions begin to crumble in the face of their growing irrelevance.

Someday turned out to be this year.

Today, I predict that Anonymous and entities like it will become far more significant over the next few years than is expected by most of our similarly irrelevant pundits - and this will, no doubt, turn out to be just as much of an understatement as anything else that has been written on the subject.

The fact is that the technological infrastructure that allows these movements has been in place for well under a decade - but phenomena such as WikiLeaks and Anonymous have already appeared, expanded, and even become players within the geopolitical environment; others have come about since.

This is the future, whether one approves or not, and the failure on the part of governments and media alike to understand, and contend with the rapid change now afoot, ought to remind everyone concerned why it is that this movement is necessary in the first place.

12:55  Re: that NYT scoop today on Obama ordering secret study of unrest in Middle East last year, @WLLegal tweets:  "Will the govt officials who talked about the contents of this classified report w/ NYT be arrested & held in solitary?

The Forgotten Man: Bradley Manning (2011) 1/3

The Forgotten Man: Bradley Manning (2011) 2/3

The Forgotten Man: Bradley Manning (2011) 3/3

Remember to ask me for an invite to the Wikileaks Informationthread group. It's all the rage.

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