Wikileaks: Media playing the man rather than the ball?

Mashable have a great intro to the Julian Assange walk out from a CNN interview on the basis that the interviewer had switched from the hard politics angle on his Iraq war leaks to the human interest angle of (he says false) allegations about him in his personal life.

Assange is a tough cookie not given to the game of ‘gaining friends and influencing people’ ways of the old media. He’s even turned up in the comments zone of Slugger to give it both barrels for suggesting the expenses scandal was not the eye-popping story it was being painted at the time.

But does he have a point? We’re so familiar with the old switcheroo tactic where journalists invite a politician in to talk about one thing when secretly you plan to ask him about something else that perhaps Assange’s seems like a bland evasion.

What do you think?

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Cynic

    I am in two minds on this one – genuinely torn.

    My problem is this. This was a war in a war lots of terrible things happen. i have read the Wikileaks entries and many of them are reportage eg the troops picking up what has happened / alleged to have happened. they are stream of consciousness material some of which will be true and some not.

    The Iraqi army tortured suspects (when hundreds of their men were being murdered every week). No shit! Really!
    I am so shocked.

    A lot of the coverage of this has therefore concentrated on the gruesome body fest.I don’t think that’s wrong but that is what happens when we have a war. Its now new or surprising

    What is clear here (much more revealing and noone is saying) is the politics and the clear evidence that much of that war has been fuelled by Iran. T Thats the real inconvenient truth and one that needs to be addressed, as does their buying the Afghani Government.

    Buy shares in cruise missile manufacturers

  • pippakin

    I think Wikileaks were right to publish. Journalists have very little real independence in a war zone, they travel with the troops and their access depends to an extent on what they report. Since the Iraq war ‘ended’ there has been great and hotly disputed debate about casualties, now everyone has confirmation of their worst fears. If Wikileak had not published the figures would still be denied.

    I’m not surprised by the torture accusations could anyone be?

    Assange is a tough cookie but so presumably is any journalist he faces. I find the timing of the charges suspicious but they must be answered. He can hardly say the questions were unexpected and he would certainly have made good use of any such accusations were they made of one of his adversaries.

    One of the changes that has happened in recent years is whilst some of the old deference has gone a new subservience seems to have replaced it, often the powerful demand and get the list of questions before the interview and refuse to answer any others, that is not good for journalism or the public right to know.

  • tacapall

    Here’s a different view on it Pippakin.

    The documents seem to paint a picture that very much favours official U.S. positions on the Iraq war. For example, the American media, which has a well documented history of shilling for the U.S. government highlighted two stories that it supposedly extrapolated from these documents. The first was the fact that the majority of civilian casualties in the Iraq war were caused by Iraqis. This directly contradicts a comprehensive study conducted by John Hopkins University in 2004. It found that “coalition” forces killed over 600,000 Iraqis, the majority of them killed in airstrikes. The leaked documents conveniently contradict this information. The second major story emanating from the “leaks” is that Iran was actively destabilizing Iraq by funding militants who were assassinating Iraqi officials. One AFP story even highlights the accusation that Iran tried to launch a poison gas attack on the “green zone,” an area where Iraqi and American officials are based. Another factor that makes this “leak” highly suspect is that the Times, a newspaper that played a leading role in validating the illegal invasion of Iraq and is well known for its pro Zionist policy, was one of “few” media outlets that was given “early” access to these “leaked” documents. This meant that the Times was able to weave a narrative around the leaked documents that was then picked up by all the major networks.

    The fact that the supposedly damaging leaks are in fact bolstering American accusations against Iran while minimizing American complicity in Iraqi deaths leads some to believe that the leaks are in fact engineered by the Pentagon to either discredit Wikileaks, or are in conjunction with Wikileaks which is a U.S. government outfit.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    There is a difference between “torture” and “battlefield justice”…..the first being “planned” the second a consequence of the heat/fog of battle, hatred and vengeance..
    In a major war like Iraq……both will happen.
    The guy at the centre of this is a Swede and presumably like me had no national interest/ideal involved in Iraq….and can afford like me to be neutral. Understandable of course that those from nations involved……notably USA and Britain should feel more worked up about the nature of these “leaks”.
    That this presents “extremists” (sic) with an excuse/reason to attack “the West” and its people is of course a concern… issue of “justice” even…..but clearly justice must also be done in respect of the victims. And clearly “the West” showed no great enthusiasm for bringing perpetrators of injustice to account.
    So clearly the wikipedia leaks are the only way.
    I am not very clear on the distinction to be made between old and new media here….I dont think the so called new media is any more enthused about these leaks than the old media……the fault line is nationality……or perhaps right/left politics.

    It was ever thus.
    In war……only the other side is capable of attrocity.
    The denial of justice or even the denial of truth cannot simply be explained away by “our boys are being put in danger”.
    Thats the problem with being selective about freedom of information.
    Watching the actual clip….it strikes me that Mr Assange was right to make a point about the nature of the questioning……probably walking out was not the better option……Id have preferred him to make the point that the question was not relevant ONCE……..and then remain silent during the rest of the questioning.

  • Rory Carr

    I must say that I am not taken with Prison Planet’s slant on this story which Tacapall has linked. If the purpose of the Wikileak information was to assist the U.S. in cleaning up its image in Iraq and Afghanistan and shifting the blame for what appear on prima facie evidence are war crimes (at least according to the Chief Rapporteur on War Crimes for the United Nations on BBC Radio 4 yesterday morning) away from the U.S., then it has failed miserably.

    Rather it has suceeded in reveaing what was long suspected – that casualities are much higher than the U.S. were claiming; that the great majority of deaths were of innocent civilians; that U.S. forces, mercenary contractors and Iraqi forces were all guilty of what would appear to be war crimes including.torture, the killing of innocents in air and helicopter strikes and the killing of hostiles offering surrender. Not really very helpful to the Pentagon I would have thought.

    As to the question raised by Mick in the introduction to this thread: does Assange have a point? Are the media deliberately swerving away from the main thrust of the story towards unsavoury personal tittletattle in order to create a smokescreen behind which the U.S. can cover its deep embarrassment (one would like to be able to say shame but that would be too much to ask) over these revelations?

    I am inclined to think that he does have a point and this instinct was reinforced when the very first news I had of the leaks was an e-mail news alert from the New York Times, the tone of which was decidedly spun towards discrediting Assange, pushing the blame for any nastiness onto contractors and away from the U.S. military (as if it had no involvement in the appointment of contract mercenaries) and throwing in concerns about growing Arab-Kurd hostilities.

    If the intention was to hide the real story they did a bad job as my immediate gut reaction was, “This is not the story. What are they trying to hide?”

    Now we know.

  • Rory Carr

    Apologies, I meant to include the NYT news alert above. Judge for yourselves.Here it is:

    Breaking News Alert
    The New York Times
    Sat, October 23, 2010 — 1:23 PM ET

    Use of Contractors Added to Chaos of Iraq War, Trove of Documents Shows

    A huge archive of documents from the Iraq war, released by
    WikiLeaks, shows a multitude of shortcomings with the
    military’s reliance on private contractors. The contractors
    lacked coordination with coalition forces and often shot with
    little discrimination — and few if any consequences — at
    unarmed Iraqi civilians, Iraqi security forces, American
    troops and even other contractors, stirring public outrage.

    The documents also portray the long history of tensions
    between Kurds and Arabs in the north of Iraq and reveal the
    fears of some American units about what might happen after
    American troops leave the country by the end of 2011.

    Facing denunciations from governments for the release of the
    classified documents, the founder of WikiLeaks, Julian
    Assange, is now finding some of his own comrades abandoning
    him for what they see as erratic and imperious behavior.

    Read More:

  • tacapall

    As the man said Rory

    “Another factor that makes this “leak” highly suspect is that the Times, a newspaper that played a leading role in validating the illegal invasion of Iraq and is well known for its pro Zionist policy, was one of “few” media outlets that was given “early” access to these “leaked” documents. This meant that the Times was able to weave a narrative around the leaked documents”.

    Bringing Iran into the limelight and suggesting they were contemplating a poison gas attack, assassinating Iraqi officials, funding terror groups along with the accusations of wanting to build nuclear weapons, seems like pre justifacation of possible future action against Iran.

  • Alias

    He was right to walk out on the principle that he said that is what he would do if, as he rightly suspected, the pro-state CNN would allow itself to be used as a vehicle to undermine the message by undermining the messenger, but he was obviously wrong not to trust his own instinct and fool himself into thinking that CNN wouldn’t do what he suspected they would do when this network has always been a propaganda tool for the US military.

    For example, the media hack focused on his personal life and then asked him if the media focusing on his personal life would mean that it would be better for his organisation if he resigned from it. If that isn’t a media agenda then what is?

    The US military has been calling for censorship on the basis that releasing this information puts its named collaborators in Iraq at risk. While it is undoubtedly true that that those who collaborate with a regime are not popular with those who oppose the regime, their security should have been better protected by that regime. The fact that regime cares nothing for those who collaborate with it should serve as a warning to collaborators not to collaborate or to do so entirely at their own risk. At any rate, state murder should not be covered up just to protect the security of those who engage in it.

  • pippakin


    Erm, well they would say that wouldn’t they? The problem is there are almost 400,000 documents, that’s a lot of reading and it’s a fairly safe bet that not many have read every page. So it is likely some will be quoting and misquoting for some time to come.

    I think it was worth it though, and if Mr Assange, who must have known he would become the centre of a lot of unwelcome questions, was not prepared for trouble – he should have been.

  • Alan Maskey

    C4 have a programme on the leaks and US war crimes right now with plenty of hired hacks to defend the US SS troops. American war criminals took part in a criminal invasion of a sovereign nation: stil, at least the SS were brave, something these gutlewss American killers could not be accused of, though they have been hired murderers for quite a long time now.
    I earlier watched the C4 News where the puppet president of Afghanistan was defending getting $$$$ in cash from Iran.

    Maybe the Chinese National Liberation are our last hope.

  • JJ Malloy

    US SS Troops? Are you insane?

    Have you not read the constant complaints about the absurdly stricts rules of engagement the US troops are under?

    Are US troops the ones that leave bombs in marketplaces?

    What do you think is going on over there right now?

  • tacapall

    Pippakin – Erm, well they would say that wouldn’t they?

    Who are you talking about ? These leaks rather than pointing the finger at Americans do the opposite and point the finger at everyone else.

  • slappymcgroundout

    “This directly contradicts a comprehensive study conducted by John Hopkins University in 2004. It found that “coalition” forces killed over 600,000 Iraqis, the majority of them killed in airstrikes.”

    Sorry, but Johns Hopkins says:

    • Males aged 15-44 years accounted for 59 percent of post-invasion violent deaths

    • About half of the households surveyed were uncertain who was responsible for the death of a household member

    • The proportion of deaths attributed to coalition forces diminished in 2006 to 26 percent. Between March 2003 and July 2006, households attributed 31 percent of deaths to the coalition

    Now, the fault in the methodology, which cannot help but to overrate number of fatalities:

    “The mortality survey used well-established and scientifically proven methods for measuring mortality and disease in populations.”

    War isn’t a disease and it doesn’t spread like the Black Death or the Swine Flu.

    “For the Iraq study, data were collected from 47 randomly selected clusters of 40 households each.”

    Ever been to Vegas? Went on a roll at the craps table? That can happen too with “47 randomly selected clusters of 40 households each”. I wonder how many Kurd locales were used, since the Kurds have their own “army” and they tend to keep the miscreants out (i.e., they’ve an intelligence network and unlike some folks in your part of the world, most have no trouble informing).

    Now, the 655,000, which was the total, well, what was the % again? 31%? So you’ll have to climb down from your statement on coalition inflicted fatalities. And note something else, all they asked was, was someone killed, and not, was he a combatant killed by an opposing combatant? So you get the point, was he one of those souls who wired himself to explode? Hard to blame anyone but him for that.

    Lastly, and by the way, some Arabs are “pro-Zionist”:

    A doctor applying for Israeli papers explained:

    The whole world seems to be talking about the future of the Arabs of Jerusalem, but no one has bothered asking us. The international community and the Israeli Left seem to take it for granted that we want to live under Mr. Arafat’s control. We don’t. Most of us despise Mr. Arafat and the cronies around him, and we want to stay in Israel. At least here I can speak my mind freely without being dumped in prison, as well as having a chance to earn an honest day’s wage.

    Hisham Gol of the Mount of Olives community council put it simply: “I prefer Israeli control.” An affluent West Bank woman called a friend in Gaza to ask about life under the PA. She heard an ear-full: “I can only tell you to pray that the Israelis don’t leave your town,” because “the Jews are more human” than Palestinians. One individual willing publicly to oppose Arafat was Zohair Hamdan of Sur Bahir, a village in the south of metropolitan Jerusalem; he organized a petition of Jerusalem Arabs demanding that a referendum be held before Israel lets the Palestinian Authority take power in Jerusalem. “For 33 years, we have been part of the State of Israel. But now our rights have been forgotten.” Over a year and a half, he collected more than 12,000 signatures (out of an estimated Jerusalem Arab population of 200,000). “We won’t accept a situation where we are led like sheep to the slaughterhouse.” Hamdan also expressed a personal preference that Sur Bahir remain part of Israel and estimated that the majority of Palestinians reject “Arafat’s corrupt and tyrannical rule. Look what he’s done in Lebanon, Jordan, and now in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. He has brought one disaster after another on his people.”

    When Prime Minister Ariel Sharon’s government released a trial balloon in February 2004 about giving the Palestinian Authority control over the Galilee Triangle, a predominantly Arab part of Israel, the response came strong and hard. As Mahmoud Mahajnah, 25, told Agence France-Presse, “Yasir Arafat runs a dictatorship, not a democracy. No one here would accept to live under that regime. I’ve done my [Israeli] national service; I am a student here and a member of the Israeli Football Association. Why would they transfer me? Is that logical or legitimate?”

    Let me interrupt, can you name one Arab govt that you would willing live under? So you can see Mahmoud’s point.

    Now to continue:

    One resident quoted what he called a local saying, that “the ‘evil’ of Israel is better than the ‘heaven’ of the West Bank.” Shu’a Sa’d, 22, explained why: “Here you can say whatever you like and do whatever you want—so long as you don’t touch the security of Israel. Over there, if you talk about Arafat, they can arrest you and beat you up.”

    The entrance to Umm al-Fahm, the largest Muslim town in Israel, sports the green flags of the Islamic Movement Party that rules the town, along with a billboard denouncing Israel’s rule over Jerusalem. That said, Hashim ‘Abd ar-Rahman, mayor and local leader of the Islamic Movement, has no time for Sharon’s suggestion: “Despite the discrimination and injustice faced by Arab citizens, the democracy and justice in Israel is better than the democracy and justice in Arab and Islamic countries.”

    He gets the reality, do you?

    Now to continue:

    Just 30 percent of Israel’s Arab population, a May 2001 survey found, agree to the Galilee Triangle being annexed to a future Palestinian state, meaning that a large majority prefers to remain in Israel. By February 2004, according to the Haifa-based Arab Center for Applied Social Research, that number had jumped to 90 percent preferring to remain in Israel. No less startling, 73 percent of Triangle Arabs said they would resort to violence to prevent changes in the border. Their reasons divided fairly evenly between those claiming Israel as their homeland (43 percent) and those cherishing Israel’s higher standard of living (33 percent).

    The issue arose a bit later in 2004 as Israel built its security fence. Some Palestinians, like Umm al-Fahm’s Ahmed Jabrin, 67, faced a choice on which side of the fence to live. He had no doubts. “We fought [the Israeli authorities so as] to be inside of the fence, and they moved it so we are still in Israel. We have many links to Israel. What have we to do with the Palestinian Authority?” His relative, Hisham Jabrin, 31, added: “We are an integral part of Israel and will never be part of a Palestinian state. We have always lived in Israel and there is absolutely no chance that that will change.”

    Hisham Jabrin, “Zionist”.

    Lastly, some in Jordan wish to be occupied by the “Zionists” as well:

    Victor, a Jordanian who once worked as advance man for a senior Saudi government minister, observed in 1994 that Israel was the only Middle Eastern country he admires. “I wish Israel would just take over Jordan,” he said, his brother nodding in vigorous agreement. “The Israelis are the only people around here who are organized, who know how to get things done. And they’re not bad people. They’re straight. They keep their word. The Arabs can’t do anything right. Look at this so-called democracy in Jordan. It’s a complete joke.”

  • pippakin


    I am saying that the leaks open the door! Of course the US is going to try to spin their way out of it! but if the records are accurate and honest, and as far as I know they are, the truth will be there to defeat the spin.

    Iraqi armed forces tortured their own. Tell me what is so earth shatteringly new worthy in that? The ‘news’ is the US knew about it and if they did not sanction it they did nothing to prevent it!

    It is too early to say what other little titbits may be extracted from the 400,000 odd pages but if you are telling me that the US somehow sanctioned the release of these papers, I find that hard to believe.

  • Alan Maskey

    Are they anything like the rules of engagement British troops operated under. If the Americans are so pure, why not have them liable too to be charged with war crimes?
    The invasion of Iraq was a criminal act. The Americans have a long history of committing war crimes. Do the crime, do the time. Unless you are American.

  • Alan Maskey

    This sick approach reminds me of when it was said Blacks and Micks were only good for singing and dancing |(as well as drinking and spreading the clap).
    Arabs are as capable as anyone else. It is just a pity Yanks and their Israeli puppets get off on killing them.
    Israel is a client state of the USA, subsidised to the hilt and could best bwe described as a serial killer nation.
    Lebannon was a great place (especially for Christians) until the 1976 Civil war. Saudi Aramco amongst the best run companies in the world even if the Kingdom is another client state.
    Egypt, which also gets a bundle of US military “aid”, is not only despotic but yet another client state of Great Satan.

    Iran, though not Arab, is to admired. Or chastised if you are American or an Israeil imperialist because it is not in the pocket of The Evil Empire.

    Still, the US still is number one in a number of areas: pornography, weapoins of mass destruction and Hollywood, which is obviously good at turning simple minds.

  • Alias

    Good article, but what does it have to do with Iraq? Israel isn’t proposing to take over governance of that country, so stating that the more progressive Arabs look upon Israel as a beacon of the personal freedoms and democracy they aspire to doesn’t add anything. Some of those Arab nations detest each other irrespective of progressive values so they wouldn’t want to live under the rule of other Arab nations anyway – which is what the engineered and utterly bogus ‘Palestinian nation’ actually is – a collective of disparate Arab nations with little in common with each other than a dependency of international subvention.

  • JJ Malloy

    Who said Americans are pure? To call American soldiers SS does a disservice to those of us who are critical of US foreign policy and, when warranted, the behavior of US troops.

    I don’t know if the war was legal or illegal. Regardless, it has been complete disaster and a horrible decision, and it set a terrible precedant. Only the bravery and dedication of the US troops and Iraqi people have been able to bring the situation to where it is now. Hopefully it will not get derailed by extremists hoping to start a secterian bloodbath. We don’t need another Samarrah shrine bombing now.

    I’ve been against the war from the beginning. My brother in law is an officer in the Army and has done a combined 4 tours in the Middle East. I have listened to his stories and his experiences, as I have to those of his brother (a marine enlisted men). Many of them are shocking. Generally, the level of evil and callousness of the Al Queda in Iraq was almost beyond belief. They are the only ones in this conflict who could be compared to the SS. They were so bad they turned their Iraq Sunni insurgent allies against them. (Which saved the country from complete civil war more than any “surge”)

    My main point…US troops are not plundering and murdering or carrying out genocide…they are trying to set up a working government so they can get out. Just because some of Bush’s cronies were wholly contemptible liars and deceivers, and deserve to be put on trial, doesn’t make US soldiers equivalent to the SS.

  • Nur Masalha

    which is what the engineered and utterly bogus ‘Palestinian nation’ actually is

    All nations are engineered.

  • pinni

    I don’t know if judging a man’s motives constitutes ‘playing the man’, but Christopher Hitchens makes a stab at trying to understand Assande’s objectives in releasing these sensitive documents.

    For a taster:

    Not long ago, I read an interview with Julian Assange in which he declared his ostensibly journalistic objective to be that of “ending” the war. Most edifying. The easiest way of ending it would be for one side to cease fighting it. (That almost happened in Iraq before the surge, when Abu Musab al-Zarqawi and al-Qaida claimed control of a province or two.) I have an intuition that I know which side Assange wishes would capitulate.

    Read the whole thing for yourself.

  • Alan Maskey

    Pinni: Most us us know where the chain smoking Hitchens stands. Assande is to be applauded for showing the American SS up for what they are. Of course, many do not want to know or cannot, despite well over a century of evidence, believe that the Americans are a lawless bunch of rapacious cut throats.
    Hitchens’ attack on the messenger is interesting for remind us of how the Americans play their horrible games.

  • slappymcgroundout

    “a sovereign nation”

    The Iraqi people are sovereign. Saddam Hussein and the Iraqi Ba’ath Party were a usurpation of that sovereignty. Just thought you should know.

    Next, the miscreant put the lives of humans in danger. He published the names of Afghans who had worked with coalition forces in Afghanistan. Next thing we know, he’ll be publishing US advance plans. By the way, that’s how much he values human life. Zero.

    Lastly, your man is being charged with rape. For the unmitigated gall of this megalomaniacal blot on our humanity, he publishes the Afghan names but cries foul when his name is published in relation to the alleged rapes. Apparently, transparency is okay when it concerns others but not when it concerns him. And that, believe it or not, makes the matter of rape fair game.

    Almost forgot, but some of the outrage is laughable. Re the folks who tried to surrender to a helicopter, well, that can’t work and so they were taken out. So mark it down, never ever be caught in the open when there’s a helicopter about. I’m going to out on a limb here and say that the PIRA know that truth all too well. And, here, some who were also not asked to surrender:

  • slappymcgroundout

    Nothing to do with Iraq. Simply a response to the one soul’s “drive by” on “Zionists” and “Zionism”. Well that, and also in reference to notion of “liberation”. As in what the gain to them if their “liberation” makes it worse for them in every respect that matters? Presumably, those seeking their “liberation” in your part of the world ought to be asking themselves the same question. As you can see, from the material I provided, some Arabs have asked that question and so aren’t looking for what the murals on Irish Catholic walls in NI call their “liberation”. I am fairly certain that those Irish Catholics in favor of union get the point (which isn’t to say that I agree with them or not, but they presumably have asked and answered the relevant question).

  • wee buns

    It is perfectly obvious that the game is to widen any cracks of internal dissent within the wikileaks organization with said rape accusations etc
    After all, this has been already stated in this US Counterintelligence Center report:

    ” uses trust as a centre of gravity by assuring insiders, leakers, and whistleblowers who pass information to personnel or who post information to the Web site that they will remain anonymous …

    “The identification, exposure, or termination of employment of or legal actions against current or former insiders, leakers, or whistleblowers could damage or destroy this center of gravity …”

    Assange showed correct protocol in walking away from the interview. A forelock tugger he is not. No oxygen should be given to those dumb spooks and sidekick hacks. Assange threatens certain power structures & has wide popular support for it.

  • Wilde Rover

    Mick Fealty,

    “…on the basis that the interviewer had switched from the hard politics angle on his Iraq war leaks to the human interest angle of (he says false) allegations about him in his personal life.”

    Obviously the interviewer would seek to distract from the “hard politics angle” and go onto a “human interest angle” (which seems like a delightful euphemism for ad hominem attack) as mainstream media colludes with the US government when it comes to war. The New York Times, mentioned earlier, for example, went along with describing water boarding as a form of legitimate interrogation.

    “We’re so familiar with the old switcheroo tactic where journalists invite a politician in to talk about one thing when secretly you plan to ask him about something else that perhaps Assange’s seems like a bland evasion.”

    Journalism 101: ask someone to deny something and then lead with the denial.

    If mainstream media groups had made an attempt to report on these wars rather than distort, distract, and confuse then perhaps they could have some moral justification on pursuing a “human interest angle.” Instead, the message seems to be that potential whistleblowers should be aware that there will be a lot of playing the man unless they keep their traps shut.

  • pippakin


    Don’t feed the troll and don’t take anything it says seriously. It is put here to annoy others and feed the trolls own sense of self importance.

  • Nur Masalha
  • RepublicanStones

    Seems like Faux News know wants to shoot the messengers…literally !

  • RepublicanStones

    The yanks have been know to engage in a bit of skullduggery – remember what their excuse for ‘Nam was 😉

  • pippakin


    Yes, but so have virtually every army there has ever been!

    Calling an army SS is a deliberate attempt to inflame and insult. I’m going to have a look at your link. If I remember correctly the Vietnam war was the last time the Brits told the Yanks they were on their own. If only Blair had the courage of Wilson.

  • RepublicanStones

    Slappy did you tip Pipes for that cut and paste? Quite obviously there are going to be Israeli-arabs who would prefer to stay in a country which has the backing of the worlds superpower, who throws billions at it each year. Why exile yourself to a poor template of a state, one which will could be on the receiving end of a battering from your bully of a neighbour every few years.

    Alias, Im sure i have mentioned this to you before, but all ‘nations’ are man-made constructs. And indeed the modern idea of what constitutes a nation is a european concept. Its beneath contempt to try and superimpose what is after all a european invention upon an non-european people and judge from that whether they have the right to call themselves a nation or a people, and by extension if they have a right to the land they are from. Infact if you use such a model, then the Palestinians have a greater claim to be a ‘nation’ than world Jewry does.
    You tried the same tactic a few months back, as can be seen here –

  • RepublicanStones

    Nice try Slappy,whilst I agree that people are sovereign, thats not how it works unfortunately. Saddam’s Iraq had representation at the UN. As do many other unsavoury regimes today. Saddam was an ally when it suited the Yanks and became expendable, simple.

    By the way, that’s how much he values human life. Zero.

    From the guy who wrote…

    Re the folks who tried to surrender to a helicopter, well, that can’t work and so they were taken out.

    Whilst surrending to aircraft does present difficulties, the killing of combatants who have offered themselves up for surrender is a war crime. Unless of course Slappy you can point me to the clause in the 1907 Hague regulations which stipulates that its okay to kill people because you’re in a helicopter, perhaps its in brackets somewhere….
    In any event those guys surrendering where probably muslims, isn’t that right Slappy 😉

  • “What is clear here (much more revealing and noone is saying) is the politics and the clear evidence that much of that war has been fuelled by Iran.”

    I do wonder what planet some folks live on, the US and its UK putrid puppy, cook up a big lie to justify an illegal war and somehow the bloodshed and chaos which flows from it becomes the fault of Iraq’s neighbour Iran.

    Those who opposed the war made it perfectly clear no country in the world would sit still whilst a foreign aggressor attempts to turn its neighbour into a basket case in which chaos and villainy reigns.

    It is impossibly to have a sensible debate on Iraq, or Afghanistan come to that, unless people stop playing the blame game with Iran and face up to the aforementioned facts.

  • pinni

    So, Mr Maskey, Hitchens is not to be listen to because he’s a chain smoker. Interesting.

  • slappymcgroundout


    (1) I don’t get my moral inspiration from the UN. If I did, I’d have to think that Libya has something to do with human rights. After all, Libya was on the UN’s human rights commission, elected to chair that not so august body. Other than the US, some Euro nations, Australia, a few in Asia and some Pacific island states associated with the US, the UN is largely nothing but a collection of dictators and despots.

    (2) you really don’t know how most Arabs feel about their governments do you. I mean, your claim is: it’s not that there isn’t an Arab govt that even so much as makes a pretense of human rights, it’s instead not wanting to be on the wrong side of the IDF. Grow up.

    (3) Saddam was our “ally” for a rather brief time, when it looked like the Iran that held our people hostage for a whlie there might win the war that Saddam had started. You might wish to speak instead with the former USSR (50%), China (18%), and France (13%), who were Saddam’s primary weapons suppliers from 1981 to 2001. The US of A was the 11th largest supplier of arms to Iraq, supplying approximately $200 million of Iraq’s weapons imports during the period 1981 to 2001. In contrast, Iraq owed France roughly $6 billion from arms sales.

    (4) They can’t surrender to a helicopter as the helicopter crew has no means of taking their surrender. By the way, combat aircraft, never mind attack helicopters, were otherwise unknown to the world in 1907, so that might be why the Convention doesn’t speak to the impossibility of combat aircraft and a helicopter gunship taking a surrender.

    (5) has nothing to do with Muslim or not. I wouldn’t otherwise play that game if I were you, seeing as how you grew up in the land of Roman Catholicism and Jew-hating is synonymous with Catholicism. Some of the world’s finest Jew-haters are Catholic “saints”. You can go all the way back to Saint Golden-Mouthed:

    How dare Christians have the slightest intercourse with Jews! They are lustful, rapacious, greedy, perfidious bandits: pests of the universe! Indeed, an entire day would not suffice to tell of all their rapine, their avarice, their deception of the poor, their thievery, and their huckstering.

    Are they not inveterate murderers, destroyers, men possessed by the devil? Jews are impure and impious, and their synagogue is a house of prostitution, a lair of beasts, a place of shame and ridicule, the domicile of the devil, as is the soul of the Jew. As a matter of fact, Jews worship the devil; their rites are criminal and unchaste; their religion a disease; their synagogue an assembly of crooks, a den of thieves, a cavern of devils, an abyss of perdition!

    That wouldn’t have anything to do with the vids on your YouTube channel, would it? Why pick on the Jews? The Basque claim to be occupied and oppressed. The Tibetans claim to be occupied and oppressed. So why just the one? Maybe you could be Slugger’s expert on this matter:

    The Karen, Karenni, Shan, Wa and Kachin all claim to be occupied by the Burmese, but I don’t see you and those murals on the wall shedding any tears for them. Again, why is that? Some good ole fashioned Jew-hating? I’ll end by borrowing the Jew-haters mantra, since you know it well: we haven’t gone away, you know.

  • JJ Malloy

    “Those who opposed the war made it perfectly clear no country in the world would sit still whilst a foreign aggressor attempts to turn its neighbour into a basket case in which chaos and villainy reigns.”

    America did not attempt to turn Iraq into a basket case, as you call it. They completely underestimated how hard it would be to try and build a Yugoslavia, with different sectarian groups who hate each other, on top of massive oil wells. The neocons were playing with fire in an attempt to make the Middle East the shning beacon of democracy of their dreams.

    Roughly 60-70% of casulaties in Iraq are caused by sectarian violence. If America had cut and run in 2006 it would have been much worse.

  • “Roughly 60-70% of casulaties in Iraq are caused by sectarian violence. If America had cut and run in 2006 it would have been much worse.”

    As I said some people live on another planet, remind me what happened in Basra when the UK military withdrew, I will tell you, after a short kerfuffle the shia groups made an agreement and things settled down.

    Besides, if the Bush administration had not gone to Iraq in the first place, the country would not have been in such a chaotic state in 2006. When the history of Iraq occupation is finally written, it will be interesting to see who actually encouraged and financed sectarian killer gangs.

    As it happens we have a historical benchmark in the six counties which allows us to make a good guess, as the US armies mates in the British armed forces and intelligence services were old hands at organising death squads in Cyprus, Kenya, Ireland and countless other places where the sun supposedly never set and the CIA and US army were no slouches at it in Vietnam.

    What type of human being blames the victims for the catastrophic situation the US/UK invading armies inflicted on the Iraqi people, and tell me who has benefited most from the invasion? Not the majority of the iraqi people that is for sure, but the multi national corporations, who have been sucking on the US and UK tax payers tit endlessly, as their greed and thirst is unquenchable.

  • RepublicanStones

    Slappy im well aware of the make-up of the UN, as I did mention earlier the likes of Iraq as well as other unsavoury regimes had representation. You must have missed that part. However, your rather childish attempt to portray the invasion of Iraq as not being against a ‘sovereign nation’ needed to be shown for the naive claim it was.
    Now as it seems you think you know how most arabs feel, to try and think that none of the would be fearful of being forced into a shadow of a state with a rather bullyish neighbour next door, prone to lashing ot every now and again, and remember that Bibi routinely insists on the need for a ‘demilitarized’ Palestinian state whilst ironiclly calling for no pre-conditions to negotiations, you are more naive than you seem.
    I am also well aware of who has provided weapons to Saddam’s Iraq, you concede the point, good man. Now please elaborate as to who ‘our people’ are? I wasn’t aware of Iran holding any irish people hostage, unless of course your world is polarized into an ‘Us’ (the west)and ‘Them’ (the muzzies) mentality?
    Im well aware that there were no combat aircraft in 1907, it has not been ammended to exclude them either. Unless you can show me the clause where it explicity states pilots have the right to murder combatants offering to surrender, I and everybody else will continue to think you are talking out of yer ass !

    Now to my supposed anti-jew hatred. A tired old tactic of your sort Slappy. Nevermind the fact that I left my catholicism back on the altar on my last day as an altar boy (after sinking the altar wine 😉 about 20 years ago. If you consider my anti-zionism to be anti-semitic, then thats your problem, what you seem to be suggesting by that conflation is that it is a moral impertaive to be anti-semitic.

    Now with regard to other conflicts round the world you mention, I don’t seem reams and reams of apologetics for the Burmese Junta and their treatment of the Karen, I don’t see so-called intellectuals excusing China’s behaviour in Tibet. Infact, I’d say there is a general consensus on the issue. Not so with Israel/Palestine. We don’t condemn the Karen fighters for terrorism, but those pesky Pallies lift a finger against the Zionist project and they are condemned as terrorists. I don’t ever recall a powerful Burmese lobby in the United States manipulating its foreign policy. Of course this is all common knowledge and easily answered, but the perpetual attempted inference of something more sinister bubbling away in everyone who opposes zionism, by people like you, is laughable.

  • RepublicanStones

    Indeed Mick, the odious Paul Bremer oversaw the wholesale rape and pillage of the Iraqi economy and its resources. Bush and buddies saw to it that their rich pals in the corporate offices outside of Iraq would reap the rewards !

    So in a sense it was a war of liberation, the US invaded and liberated the Iraqi people from having a stake in their own country.

  • Greenflag

    Here’s Mr Assange being interviewed

    At 34.30 in we get to see General Pace and Rumsfeld trip each other up. There is a strong case given the information leak by Mr Assange for the USA to be charged with war crimes -for they were the ultimate power in control of Iraq at the time. General Pace makes it clear that US troops will not turn a blind eye to Iraqis committing atrocities against other Iraqis whereas Rumsfeld says that as per order 242 they are not to physically intervene to stop it but merely report it to who ? so it can be further ignored ?

    The Iraq and Afghan wars are the first wars the Americans have fought using their credit card . The 3.5 trillion dollars already spent (as per American Nobel prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz ) were just dumped on the total deficit since 2003 to raise it to the present 13 trillion dollars . The Obama economic stimulus package which has the American right wing nutters frothing at the mouth amounted to 700 billion dollar or a fifth of the war cost to date .

    Interestingly towards the end of the interview Amy Goodman’s satellite contact with Assange in London was cut off . Must have taken the British spooks a while to find the switch 🙁

  • Greenflag


    ‘The Iraq and Afghan wars are the first wars the Americans have fought using their credit card ‘

    The Iraq and Afghan wars are the first wars the Americans have fought entirely by national credit card 🙁

    Quantitative easing on the way big time.

    And in another first the USA slips for the first time below the 20th rank in the list of the worlds most incorrupt countries . They come in at 22nd place .

    Here’s the table . Ireland (14th) 6 places higher than the UK (20th) . Somalia comes bottom of the table just behind Afghanistan and Iraq where the natives are still having a little local difficulty coming to grips with ‘democracy’ American style 🙁

    Obviously the Wall St and Corporate CEO ‘pigs’ have helped propel the USA down the league table . Under another GOP regime Americans can probably look forward to joining the likes of Ghana, Samoa , Rwanda and Italy in the lower 60’s if not indeed tying with Greece in joint 78th place 🙁

  • Ghost Bear

    meanwhile, with regard to wikileaks over at planet atw on its new shiny site, seems nothing changes much lol…..

    I do find some of the comments particularly hilarious 🙂

  • slappymcgroundout


    Since the rest isn’t worthy of a response, I’ll only concern myself with this:

    Unless you can show me the clause where it explicity states pilots have the right to murder combatants offering to surrender, I and everybody else will continue to think you are talking out of yer ass !

    The only one is thinking out of their ass is you. No statute will ever be interpreted to produce an absurd result. So no reason for any amendment. Asking some to take a surrender that cannot possibly be taken, or else war crime, is an absurd result. Lastly, please, read up:

    “Surrender may be made by any means that communicates the intent to give up. No clear rule as to what constitutes surrender. However, most agree surrender constitutes a cessation of resistance and placement of one’s self at the discretion of the captor.”

    That’s the problem, as there can be no discretion of the captor, i.e., the choice isn’t kill him or take him captive, as the Apache can’t take anyone captive (so there’s no discretion). And that’s why, by the way, we hear from some re the Wikileaks docs:

    TBIJ and Dispatches analysed numerous Iraq war logs which appeared to show suspected Iraqi combatants being shot down by US aircraft as they tried to surrender.

    Note that it’s only instances of aircraft. Shouldn’t that tell somebody something? Apparently, the notion, how do they work their capture is simply not considered. Our military lawyers understand the score:

    “So the Iraq war log clearly shows that the pilot thought the Iraqis were trying to surrender. He asked what he was able to do and the call came back from a lawyer to engage with the Iraqis because “they can not surrender to aircraft and are still valid targets”.

    Now, from Mark Ellis, proof that he ought to be disbarred (as incompetent):

    “However, it doesn’t make sense to me for the lawyer to make a distinction of how the individual can surrender (eg. surrendering to an aircraft). I think the lawyer’s assessment that ‘the individual in sight cannot surrender to an aircraft’ and thus ‘is still a valid target’, doesn’t sound right.

    “The Laws of War put the onus on the surrendering party to make his intentions ‘clear, unambiguous, and unequivocal to the capturing unit’. If the Apache pilot thought the individual was surrendering, whether to a soldier, a tank or an aircraft, the individual is protected and cannot be engaged.”

    Capturing unit? Again, that’s the problem, as the Apache can’t take anyone captive. And under that moron’s analysis he can’t be either engaged or captured. That’s about as absurd as it gets.

  • slappymcgroundout

    “Those who opposed the war made it perfectly clear no country in the world would sit still whilst a foreign aggressor attempts to turn its neighbour into a basket case in which chaos and villainy reigns.”

    Except that Iran wasn’t invaded. And you’re reading of the opposition is simply pathetic. The Sunni weren’t fighting against foreign invasion. The Sunni were fighting for their pre-war status are minority overlords (which is why they killed substantially more Shia than Coalition forces, to include blowing up Shia places of worship). To round out the chaos and villainy, throw in some al-Qaeda operatives, Syria and Iran.

  • slappymcgroundout


    So can’t help but get the point:

    “In one report is says: “## ## engaged the white truck with 8 rockets vicinity grid ## #### ####. The 2 x LNs (local nationals) got out of the truck and surrendered to ## ##. #######, alternate QRF (quick reaction force), responded and detained the 2 x LNs.”

    So when there’s someone nearby who can come on the scene and work the capture…

    Do you get it now?

  • wee buns

    BTW shlapp
    I do question how you foist yon anti-semetic-victimhood-rant as randomly as semtex into a discussion.

  • “Those who opposed the war made it perfectly clear no country in the world would sit still whilst a foreign aggressor attempts to turn its neighbour into a basket case in which chaos and villainy reigns.”


    I never said Iran was invaded, but its neighbour Iraq, as you well understood. I see you are unwilling to go near my point about turning victims into perpetrators, thought not, far better to blame the locals for the whole sorry mess the USA and UK created.

    Remind me who financed the ‘awakening’ sunni groups, which were in reality death squads with a patriotic name? Whilst the western media claimed they were at the forefront of the war against Al Qaeda, they were ethnic cleansing the Shia from their neighbourhoods, towns and villages.

    You will be telling us next the British armies presence in the six counties between 1969-2004 was to prevent sectarian war.

  • 3rdEarl

    Not one to be a pedant but while Aramco is indeed a very well run company, ‘twould be important to point out in a Yank bashing thread that it’s short for Ar(ab)Am(erican)Co(rporation) and was started as a joint venture between the Saudi Government who had the oil and Chevron Oil who knew how to find it and get it out of the ground.

  • RepublicanStones

    Since the rest isn’t worthy of a response, I’ll only concern myself with this:

    I wonder why, the rest isn’t worthy Slappy 😉

    now with regard to your support for slaughtering people offering themselves for surrender – as Prof Sir Adam Roberts has noted (he would have a bit more knowledge in this area than you or i slappy me aul flower 😉

    As the guardian has noted (I know you hate that ‘anti-semitic’ rag)

    Under the 1907 Hague regulations, it is forbidden “to kill or wound an enemy who, having laid down his arms, or having no longer means of defence, has surrendered at discretion”.

    Britain’s own official Ministry of Defence publication, the Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, says there are practical difficulties around surrenders to aircraft, but adds: “With the advent of close-support and ground-attack helicopter units, the surrender of ground troops … has become a more practical proposition.”

    One of Britain’s foremost experts on the subject, Professor Sir Adam Roberts, cast doubt on the legal advice given to the Crazyhorse 18 crew. “Surrender is not always a simple matter,” Roberts, emeritus professor of international relations at Oxford University and joint editor of Documents on the Laws of War, told the Guardian. But the reasoning given by the US military lawyer was “dogmatic and wrong”.

    “The issue is not that ground forces simply cannot surrender to aircraft,” he said. “The issue is that ground forces in such circumstances need to surrender in ways that are clear and unequivocal.”

    However, he added: “If the insurgents did indeed get back into the truck and drove off in the same direction as previously, then they probably acted unwisely, in a way that called into question their act of surrender … The US airmen might legitimately reckon that the truck contained weapons and that the men could be intending to rejoin the fight sooner or later.”

    Now then Slappy, nice try with the attempted revision of your position but, as your initial spurt of input into this issue was the following….

    Re the folks who tried to surrender to a helicopter, well, that can’t work and so they were taken out.

    Seems both the MoD Manual of the Law of Armed Conflict, and an expert on military law with loads of initials after his name (more than you or i presume 😉 demonstrates that your first input into this issue (seen above) was blatant horse-shit.

  • RepublicanStones

    Because its his attempted trump card, his little ace in the hole, or so he thinks.

  • RepublicanStones

    Mick Slappy is the kind of guy who holds arabs and muslims to a different standard. The USA would obviously get involved if Iran invaded Mexico, or Canada – hell it gets involved in its neighbours affairs without any of them being invaded, but how dare a muslim country get involved if the great beacon (the big one, not the wee one slappy) invades its next door neighbour !

  • joeCanuck

    To get back to Mick’s question, Yes, Mr. Assange quite properly walked out. It would seem that they offered the interview mainly to discredit him, thus his story.

  • Alias

    Isn’t that a conspiracy theory? Why would the media collude with the state to promote a state agenda by hoodwinking the gullible public with propaganda? Or is it only the US media but never the British media that would proffer the state’s agenda at the expense of the truth?

  • joeCanuck

    Perhaps you have a point, Alias. But no, I do not believe that the general news media in the US would collude with the State. Individual so called journalists certainly do both in the US and the UK. Planted stories are not uncommon.

  • RepublicanStones
  • wee buns

    Anywaaaay…..the charges against Assange have been dropped.
    Apologies to Assange…anyone? No didn’t think so.
    I agree with Wilde Rover, the message to whistleblowers from state & media, is shut up, or have your personal life dragged through the muck, or worse.
    Should the meeja (cherishers of free speech) not be champions of legislation for increased whistleblower protection??
    You know, so we can root out corruption within the most likely of places…i.e…Within the power structures.
    Not that Assange was ever guilty of lies, spouting bigoted opinions, incitement to hate etc.
    He merely published the US military’s OWN REPORTS.

    Congratulations to Assange. He is a brave one.
    No scalp this time you sad spooks.