Wrong Side Of History

I found it ironic today that there are people viewing staying out of Iraq as being on the “wrong side of history”. I couldn’t think of a more perfect example of a battle fought in folly, than Canadian troops going to fight ISIS in Iraq with bombers.

Eleven years ago I was in an evening classroom learning about computer graphics when Bush and Cheney started the second Iraq War with “shock and awe” bombings. The ensuing destruction of that country left the Americans floundering for money at home, and Iraq awash in political instability and weapons. With the Americans weary of a decade long war, they pulled out of Iraq, leaving a power vacuum that was entirely predictable, but didn’t have a more workable solution.

Now Canada is graced with a war-hungry neo-con Prime Minister who’s not about to pass up a chance to bomb a Muslim country. I grew up when there were still WWI veterans at Remembrance Day ceremonies, and kids drew posters proclaiming, “Never Again”. Now, those veterans are all dead, and with them the idea of avoiding war to solve geopolitical struggles.

Powerful Canadian politicians instead sound like texting-teenagers looking for a cyber-fight.

Despite credible, and entirely reasonable warnings that air strikes are not a terror-suppression tactic, Canada will paint itself as some sort of bold defender of the Kurds, and charge into Iraq behind the Americans.

A 3rd Iraq War, with Canada more involved than the last time, is a mistake. Yes, ISIS is a terrible despotic government, but Canada doesn’t go around bombing every despotic government. There are specific reasons the Americans are focused on Iraq, and Canada doesn’t have to get wrapped up in them because a lunatic Prime Minister wants his legacy to be a war conducted in folly.

Good Ol’ American Sex Scandal

The American media is very primitive, which is why it avoids complex and important issues, and instead resorts to tabloid topics like sex scandals. While their country is embroiled in an unprovoked war in Iraq, occupies Afghanistan (along with Canada), and itches to bomb Iran for oil, they’re worried more about where the wiener Petraeus has been.

It pretty much doesn’t matter, and it’s par for the course, yet it’s popular to talk about because it involves powerful people being shamed. It’s not exactly Wikileaks’ level of interesting, yet it will lead to many old stories being looked at in a slightly new, sexy light.

So far it only offers scant hope to Republicans that they can somehow embarrass Obama or impeach him over an unrelated event in Benghazi, Libya, and a shirtless FBI male agent whose photo was published today with shot-up dummies. No photo bombing, or anything remotely interesting. Expect this scandal to blow over in a month if no new tie-ins are made.

It’s not directly related, but Greenwald had an interesting email exchange with a US Army Colonel years ago.

WikiLeaks: State Did It For Lulz

The State Department is one of those organizations that deems a hyperlink as “publication” of the material it links to. Publicity, almost certainly, but it’s impossible to knowingly and forever publicize what is being linked to, because websites are dynamic and links get broken due to their targets’ changes. And the State is eager to cover its connection with crimes, so it makes a big deal out of Denial of Service attacks, and lets murderers go free with coverups as serious as fake air-strikes.

Never mind the State Department has been a sieve, the enemy is supposedly a disgruntled soldier named Bradley Manning, who would possibly be free right now if he hadn’t blabbed to an untrustworthy hacker named Lamo. He’d also be free if the Rule of Law were respected and he was released for cruel and unusual punishment, and excessive detention without trial (months of phoney suicide watch treatment, being stripped naked and woken frequently to sleep deprive him).

And there’s sad news in other hacking circles, as some LulzSec hackers are busted by the FBI and face 15 years for DDoS, when they were only doing it for the Lulz (supposedly). Activist hackers are a thorn in the sides of corrupt governments who repress protests on the street, so while I’d rather businesses not have their online services disrupted, I’m not surprised when protests that cannot take place in the Real World, end up online. There is no legal online picket line, which is a major problem for activists in the future.

Ask yourself what is more traumatic: rape or DDoS? It’s quite possible that these hackers will get more jail time than rapists, yet all they’ve done is temporarily disrupt peoples’ non-life-threatening access to entertainment.

WikiLeaks: Biggest Cock-up Ever

A collection of diplomatic history since 1966 to the present day. This sentence is changing the world, unintentionally. The US State Department would have given its left testicle for this code phrase until last week. Maybe they didn’t have to, because it was published in a fracking book by an arrogant ass of a journalist named David Leigh. (The password was published in February 2010! Anyone in that time could have put 2 and 2 together to have all of the cables!)

The Internet is great because I can loudly and frequently proclaim how pissed off I am that The Guardian’s journalist Leigh published the password Assange gave him for decrypting cablegate files on his USB drive (and as it turned out, the file was on the Internet too). What a terrific effing moron of the highest possible class. It’s so shockingly stupid, I can’t really think of a comparable blunder as an analogy for laymen. Put simply it’s the biggest cock-up since the US Government gave disgruntled, justice seeking army men access to secret government cables and CD burners.

It’s a contender for the biggest arrogant “oops” in human history. The amount of egg on Leigh’s face will possibly suffocate him, doing the world a favour. If someone could die of shame and ill-will, Leigh could show us how it’s done.

And knowing how little most people understand the uber drama that is the Wikileaks story, Leigh will instead fade into obscurity instead of worldwide scorn. Since before Cablegate broke into the news last year, the story that has unfolded would make the most compelling action, spy, hacker, thriller movie script ever. And it’s all TRUE and happening still right now.

For almost a year, The Guardian has been running a smear campaign against Julian Assange and Wikileaks. Detractors of Wikileaks claim they’ve endangered lives, but as Greenwald points out, the US has TAKEN lives and detractors don’t seem to care about those dead people because they don’t benefit their invalid point!

FML = Fucking Moron Leigh

Leigh made a mistake and betrayed WikiLeaks and his supposed ideals of protecting government sources, DDB betrayed Wikileaks, WikiLeaks made a mistake in trusting Leigh and DDB, and the US Government made a mistake (or three thousand). If any one of those hadn’t screwed up, then we wouldn’t be in this mess of a situation now. As Wikileaks pointed out again recently, if the US would stop committing crimes and acting like pigs (ie. murdering a family and calling in an air-strike to cover it up), there’d be no need to squeal on them.

If you need to read more about WikiLeaks, a great place to start is anything by Greg Mitchell at The Nation.

UPDATE: Wikileaks published this video that expands on this topic:

December Reflection; the Month of Leaks and Risk to Bloggers

As you may have noticed, I’ve been writing extensively about WikiLeaks the last month. A month is certainly long enough for improved reflection on what was said 4 weeks ago. For instance, you can safely say that this person at the Globe and Mail got things entirely wrong. Cablegate has not amounted to a pile of gossip with no substance – unless you ignore the revealed crimes as the people recording them in secret documents did.

We saw peoples perceptions shaken. The United States, Sweden, and other democratic countries are not as incorruptible as assumed by average people who’ve watched the news for years.

Maddow doesn’t seem to realize, in the last seconds of the second part video on her blog, that leaks are used maliciously all the time. Assange makes a strong case that the Swedish government is using its power to smear him, likely to endear themselves to their American allies.

This whole news story is remarkably distant from Saskatchewan, and most of Canada, yet it affects my life more than many humans because I’ve been a political blogger for years. The Supreme Court of Canada has recently given bloggers some defense against civil legal challenges (responsible communication), but we’re particularly susceptible to criminal charges for political ends. Our accredited media peers are also at increasing risk, and Assange accuses them of selling him out even though he’s an accredited journalist too.

It’s not surprising that the only mention of western Canada, thus far, in Cablegate has been the Tar Sands. Even more surprising to me is that a Conservative cabinet minister was set to increase restrictions on oil production because he was concerned about the environmental impact. That could be just what he was telling the US officials, or maybe he really does have some good sense. Unfortunately Prentice’s sense didn’t extend to copyright issues when he was a minister partly in charge of that Act.

I’m writing this a week before you read it, let’s see if my analysis stands up to a week of perspective.

Wikileaks Iraq War Logs – illegal order Frago 242

Americans have been caught issuing an illegal order to overlook torture in Iraqi prisons, where they were turning over prisoners captured by American forces. No wonder Hillary Clinton was extra upset that this Secret database got leaked to the media through Wikileaks. If the law and justice were upheld, this could have some American politicians and military leaders swinging by their necks, literally. That’s how our grandparents’ generation dealt with some torturers, anyway.