Tag Archives: Wikileaks

10/22/2011 Avoiding Hiroshima Obama could send a vivid message about proliferation with one visit

MARK PERNICE FOR THE BOSTON GLOBEMODERN HIROSHIMA is a contradiction, a profoundly futuristic city unwilling to turn away from its past. So when Hiroshima’s schoolchildren and its senior citizens staged a letter-writing campaign to persuade Barack Obama to visit the city, their intention seemed clear: Before the atomic bombing of 1945 passes beyond human memory, they want a sitting American president to bear witness to the city’s recovery - and, perhaps, express some remorse for the conflagration that preceded it.

10/22/2011 Avoiding Hiroshima – Obama could send a vivid message about proliferation with one visit By Peter S. Canellos: MODERN HIROSHIMA is a contradiction, a profoundly futuristic city unwilling to turn away from its past. So when Hiroshima’s schoolchildren and its senior citizens staged a letter-writing campaign to persuade Barack Obama to visit the city, their intention seemed clear: Before the atomic bombing of 1945 passes beyond human memory, they want a sitting American president to bear witness to the city’s recovery – and, perhaps, express some remorse for the conflagration that preceded it.

So I assumed when, early this year, the Foreign Press Center of Japan conveyed an invitation from a group of high-school students to visit the city as a journalist and learn, firsthand, about their desire to have President Obama visit.

Apparently, both the US government and the Japanese government jumped to the same concluson – that the people of Hiroshima wanted an American president to see what an American atomic bomb had wrought. In a 2009 State Department cable recently released by WikiLeaks, US Ambassador to Japan John Roos reported to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton that Japanese officials believed “the idea of President Obama visiting Hiroshima to apologize for the atomic bombing during World War II is a ‘non-starter.’ While a simple visit to Hiroshima without fanfare is sufficiently symbolic to convey the right message, it is premature to include such a program in the November visit.’’

Obama did not go to Hiroshima that November. But Roos, the Japanese government, and perhaps even the White House seem to have misunderstood the nature of this invitation, as I did.

In Hiroshima, both elderly survivors and schoolchildren made the same points: No apology is requested. A meeting with survivors of the bombing would be useful, but not to bridge any gap between the American government and the people of Hiroshima. The city is impressively in touch with its complex history, and doesn’t primarily blame the United States for its fate. Japanese militarism, and Japanese wartime atrocities, are on full display at the city’s Peace Museum and are discussed in the mandatory “peace curriculum’’ at schools. The real focus in today’s Hiroshima is on nuclear proliferation.

Young and old, the people of the city where more than 100,000 died in an atomic attack share a special sense of mission to rid the world of nuclear weapons.

That happens to be Obama’s goal, too – one he coupled with a promise that the United States would lead the way. That’s what got the people of Hiroshima excited. Obama made his vow in 2009, but hasn’t made much progress since.

In fact, the problem of nuclear proliferation is on the verge of getting much worse. If Iran and North Korea join the list of nuclear nations without serious consequences, the entire non-proliferation regime that has checked the world’s nuclear ambitions for four decades will fall apart. Egypt, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, and many other non-nuclear nations – among them Japan – will start exploring nuclear options of their own. The genie will truly be out of the bottle.

Unfortunately, the international peace movement that has its moral and spiritual roots in Hiroshima maintains its Cold War fixation on the United States and Russia, the countries with the largest arsenals. If Obama were to go to Hiroshima, he’d hear a lot of idealistic, and perhaps simplistic, pleas to just stop the nuclear insanity. But he could, and should, turn the conversation around: The United States and Russia, at the very least, share a commitment to arms control; the danger of nuclear weapons spreading among rogue states and terrorist groups is a far greater threat to world safety. It’s something the international peace movement needs to focus on, just as Obama needs to engage the rest of the world in a moral quest to stop North Korea and Iran.

A visit to Hiroshima by Obama would, of course, prompt some blowback at home. Though many presidents, starting with Harry Truman himself, have expressed misgivings about the American role in introducing nuclear weaponry, most Americans, including hundreds of thousands of World War II veterans, still support Truman’s decision to order the atomic bombing of Japan. Obama probably couldn’t say anything to prevent at least some Americans from suggesting a visit would be tantamount to an expression of regret. But most people would understand that no apology was being offered, and no regrets expressed. There would be plenty of occasions for Obama to make his views perfectly clear.

Meanwhile, the inherent drama of a sitting president going to Hiroshima would make the visit a worldwide event, providing the kind of stage for an Obama foreign policy speech that he’s lacked since his Nobel Prize address in the first year of his presidency. And a forceful speech aimed at rallying the world against the nuclear ambitions of Iran and North Korea – and reminding people in every country of how threats have evolved since the Cold War – could have lasting impact.

There’s another reason he should go: A lot of the world wants and expects that kind of vivid, symbolic leadership from him, and he’s made far too few dramatic gestures in foreign policy. If it’s surprising to Americans how prosaic the Obama administration has been, it’s been even more baffling to the world. The billions of people overseas who chafed at the America-first swagger of George W. Bush pinned their hopes on Obama. Many are still waiting for his call to action.

And a visit to Hiroshima inevitably concentrates the mind — all minds — on the dangers of nuclear war. The stories of melting faces, of square miles of cityscape erased in moments, of the “black rain’’ that brought radiation poisoning and cancer to those even outside the city center, of the cases of leukemia decades later, the young women deemed unmarriageable because of radiation exposure — all are there, waiting for the world to hear.

This is the issue Obama wanted to make central to his presidency, the one that transcends all the crackdowns and liberation movements and peace negotiations of a fractious world. If Obama wants to send a strong message about the dangers of nuclear proliferation, he should go to Hiroshima.

9/9/2011 CENSORED NEWS: Peru: New Indigenous Law as Wikileaks Exposes US Spying and Paranoia

9/9/2011 CENSORED NEWS: Peru: New Indigenous Law as Wikileaks Exposes US Spying and Paranoia – Peru passes new indigenous law, as an unredacted cable released by Wikileaks reveals US spying and US paranoia in Peru By Brenda Norrell: Photo by Sofia Jarrin: Miguel Palacin Quispe, Coordinador, CAO, on left. Peru’s new indigenous law will ensure “free, prior and informed consent,” as stated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The law was signed this week by Peru’s president as Wikileaks published unredacted versions of US diplomatic cables. Those cables reveal the US spying on Indigenous activists in Peru and that the US feared Indigenous Peoples reclaiming their lands and halting mining.

The cables reveal the US paranoia over the popularity of Bolivian President Evo Morales in the Andes. The unredacted cables include spying on Peru’s Andean leader Miguel Palacin, who joined with American Indian and First Nations activists at the climate summits in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and Cancun, Mexico, in 2010.

Wikileaks cables hold special meaning this week as Peru enacts its new indigenous law, bringing to reality what the US Embassy in Peru feared most two years ago, and what Palacin worked hard to achieve. The cable below is dated June 26, 2009, and was written by James Nealon. Nealon served as Deputy Chief of Mission at the US Embassy in Peru, 2007-2010, before transferring to the US Embassy in Ottawa on August 14, 2010.

Peru’s new president, Ollanta Humala, signed into law a measure this week requiring that indigenous groups are consulted prior to any mining, logging, or oil and gas projects on their land, Mongabay News reported.

“What we want to do with this law is have the voice of indigenous people be heard, and have them treated like citizens, not little children who are not consulted about anything,” President Humala said.

The indigenous organization, AIDESEP, applauded the new legislation prior. However, it stated that it was only a first step. “We mustn’t fall into false triumphalism. It is now up to the government to form a national indigenous organization […] that will uphold strict compliance with this new law,” the group said in a statement.

In the Wikileaks cables, the US revealed its furor over the popularity of Bolivian President Evo Morales, and the momentum Morales and indigenous activists were gaining in Peru, in a US diplomatic cable from Peru, titled, “Morales is our President.”

It is a telling cable of US spying and paranoia over the role of Indigenous Peoples protecting their lands from mining and colonialism.

The US Embassy describes the Indigenous Peoples defending their lands in Peru as “anti-system radicals.” The US Embassy is especially concerned over protests which urged stopping a “planned hydroelectric project, repealing a new water law and ending concessions relating to mining and other extractive industries.”

The US Embassy’s summary states, “Its economic success of recent years notwithstanding, Peru remains fertile terrain for anti-system radicals, with persistent endemic poverty and social inequality, the absence of the state from large swaths of national territory, and clumsy, sometimes jarring public action when the state does intervene. But if these kinds of structural factors have played a role in recent protests (refs), so has a radical anti-system political project that is seeking to take political advantage of them to undermine Peru’s progress, weaken the government and lay the groundwork for a more systematic assault on the pro-growth model. Public and private statements by the diverse and not necessarily unified leaders of the anti-system movement paint a compelling portrait of their real aims, which can be summarized in the words of one Peruvian indigenous leader that “Evo Morales is our President.” Foreign participation in this anti-system movement, including from Bolivia, is real but maybe not as central as some analysts maintain.”

The cable continues, “Public and private statements by the diverse and not necessarily unified leaders of the anti-system movement — who are many, of different stripes and often local in their immediate focus — paint a compelling picture of their real aims. Miguel Palacin, who leads a pan-Andean indigenous group based in Lima, is one of the movement’s leading figures, organizing parallel anti-summits (during the Peru-based EU-LAC and APEC events of 2008) and painstakingly building links to bring the disorderly diversity of the anti-system opposition under one banner. Tellingly, Palacin’s office displays Bolivian flags and a presidential portrait of Evo Morales. Palacin recently told us he sees Bolivia as a model for Peru, and that indigenous people consider Morales “our president.” Palacin said his organization was working to repeal the remaining contentious legislative decrees (refs) and to press for the overhaul of Garcia’s cabinet. In the longer term, Palacin said his group aimed to procure property titles for all indigenous land (hinting that once this had occurred there would be no land left for private development), and ultimately to write a new constitution incorporating language from the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

Previously released cables from Bolivia and Peru have just been released in the unredacted form, with names of sources.

Read US Embassy cable from Peru: http://wikileaks.org/cable/2009/06/09LIMA924.html

9/8/2011 CENSORED NEWS: Wikileaks: US feared Indigenous self-rule and land claims with UN Declaration

9/8/2011 CENSORED NEWS: Wikileaks: US feared Indigenous self-rule and land claims with UN Declaration: The United States feared, and fought, passage of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples By Brenda Norrell Photo by Michelle Cook, Navajo/Cochabamba, Bolivia, Climate Conference 2010 Wikileaks has exposed a US diplomatic cable revealing why the United States feared, and fought, the passage and implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The US reveals in this cable that its fears Indigenous Peoples will use the UN Declaration to expand self-government, sovereign rule, and initiate new land claims to ancestral lands. Further, the US is alarmed over the potential for Indigenous Peoples gaining control of renewable and non-renewable resources.

The US is alarmed over the right for Indigenous to be consulted on any law pertaining to them. This is now known as the “right to free, prior and informed consent,” as stated in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. The cable is from the US Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia, dated Jan. 28, 2008.

“Although most indigenous leaders seem to view the UN Declaration as a ‘feel good’ document that will give them more inclusion in the public sector, some leaders are citing the Declaration in support of concrete aims like self-governance and control over land and resources,” states the US Embassy in La Paz, Bolivia.

“Post will watch for further developments, particularly with regards to property rights and potential sovereignty or self-rule issues.”

In previous US diplomatic cables exposed by Wikileaks, prior to its passage, the United States threatened Iceland about its relations with the US, if Iceland supported the UN Declaration. Further, other cables revealed that the US undertook an education campaign in an attempt to dissuade Ecuador from voting in favor of the UN Declaration.

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples was adopted by the UN General Assembly on Sept. 13, 2007. The United States, the last country in the world to signal support, gave provisional support in 2010. The US was preceded by Canada, which gave provisional support.

Wikileaks released the following US diplomatic cable on Sept. 1, 2011. The US Ambassador called it “Bolivia: Repercussions of UN DRIP.”

The cable is written by then US Ambassador Phillip Goldberg, President Bush’s choice, who arrived from Kosovo with questions rising about his role in ethnic cleansing. Goldberg’s role in Bolivia was short-lived. President Evo Morales expelled Goldberg in September of 2008, eight months after Goldberg wrote this cable.

8/27/2011 CENSORED NEWS: New Wikileaks: Forced Exiles of Native Americans and Palestinians

8/27/2011 CENSORED NEWS: New Wikileaks: Forced Exiles of Native Americans and Palestinians: While the US media censored the truth, the world was watching By Brenda Norrell: The release of thousands of Wikileaks cables includes the comparison of how the colonial United States government forcibly drove Native Americans from their homes, while Israel forcibly expels Palestinians from their homes. The new Wikileaks cables reveal that while the US media was censoring the truth, the world was watching. In a diplomatic cable from the US Embassy in Kuwait released Friday, dated June 21, 2004, the US Embassy in Kuwait provides this quote from the media:

¶3. “Journey Of Tears” Mohammed Musaed Al-Saleh wrote in independent Al-Qabas (6/19): “The way the United States was founded is identical to the way the Zionist entity was founded. In America, Native Americans were forcibly driven away from their homes. Israel in 2004 is doing the same thing by forcibly expelling Palestinians from the West Bank, east of Jerusalem and Gaza. According to author Muneer Al-Akesh, America’s idea of exchanging a nation and a culture with another, through forcible evacuation and unjustified explanations, is in fact Israel’s historical raison d’etre. While Sharon is in Palestine, Bush is in Iraq. There is no difference.”

It is the second cable released in the past few days where US Embassies refer to media quotes about the atrocities committed by the US government and the exile of Native Americans.

A second Wikileaks cable revives an article censored by Indian Country Today. While the newspaper censored an article stating that the war in Iraq is a continuation of the atrocities inflicted on American Indians — the truth was already known around the world in Turkey.

The US Embassy in Turkey quoted Omer Ozturkmen in 2004, in the Wikileaks cable: “The Iraqi people were expecting to watch Saddam’s trial on TV while the president of the US focused on his re-election bid. Now, the torture photos from Iraq have recalled for the American people the long forgotten atrocities faced by American Indians.”

It is an important fact that Turkey knew this truth at the beginning of the Iraq war, because in the United States, this fact was being censored.

Louise Benally of Big Mountain, Ariz., longtime Navajo resister of relocation, was among the most vocal from the beginning opposing the war in Iraq. When Benally compared the war in Iraq to the forced exile and imprisonment of Navajos on the Long Walk by the US Calvary, the newspaper Indian Country Today, where I served as a staff writer, censored Benally’s comments in 2005.

Pressed to publish a correction, the newspaper refused.

Here are the censored comments:

Navajos at Big Mountain resisting forced relocation view the 19th Century prison camp of Bosque Redondo and the war in Iraq as a continuum of U.S. government sponsored terror.

Louise Benally of Big Mountain remembered her great-grandfather and other Navajos driven from their beloved homeland by the U.S. Army on foot for hundreds of miles while witnessing the murder, rape and starvation of their family and friends.

“I think these poor children had gone through so much, but, yet they had the will to go on and live their lives. If it weren’t for that, we wouldn’t be here today.

“It makes me feel very sad and I apply this to the situation in Iraq. I wonder how the Native Americans in the combat zone feel about killing innocent lives.”

Looking at the faces of the Navajo and Apache children in the Bosque Redondo photo, Benally said, “I think the children in the picture look concerned and maybe confused. It makes me think of what the children in Iraq must be going through right now.

“The U.S. military first murders your people and destroys your way of life while stealing your culture, then forces you to learn their evil ways of lying and cheating,” Benally said.

We know now that not only were Benally’s comments censored at the time, but Native Americans and other peace activists were being stalked and spied on by law enforcement throughout the United States. The spy files of the Denver Police Department, made public, revealed that activists at Big Mountain were among those on the police watch list.

Meanwhile, in Turkey, the truth was known that when American Indians viewed torture photos in Iraq, they recalled the atrocities inflicted on Native Americans.

A US diplomatic cable in Turkey, dated May 21, 2004, states:

“The US is in Trouble in Iraq”

Omer Ozturkmen observed in the conservative Turkiye (5/21): “The fact is, US diplomacy was mistaken in planning for the post-war scenario in Iraq. The US could never imagine the kinds of problems they were going to face there. The Iraqi people were expecting to watch Saddam’s trial on TV while the president of the US focused on his re-election bid. Now, the torture photos from Iraq have recalled for the American people the long forgotten atrocities faced by American Indians. Let us see how the president will explain the loss of American lives in Iraq during his campaign. When put next to the torture the Iraqi people have suffered at the hands of the coalition, Saddam’s Halapja massacre looks mild by comparison. Those obscene photos are already being circulated among international terrorist groups to recruit fighters against the United States. The Bush Administration, which at one time put sacks over the heads of allied troops, now buries its own head to hide its shame. The US is paying the price for excluding Turkey in its policies in Eurasia. It looks that that price will continue to be paid.”
Reference id: 04ANKARA2881 Origin: Embassy Ankara Time: Fri, 21 May 2004 16:38 UTC
Classification: UNCLASSIFIED

Finally, here are more of Benally’s comments from 2005:

Suffering and strength at Bosque Redondo
By Brenda Norrell
2005

BIG MOUNTAIN, Ariz. – Viewing a photo of Navajo children at Bosque Redondo for the first time, Louise Benally wondered which ones were her great-grandparents who endured the Long Walk to Fort Sumner, N.M. and suffered in the prison camp for four years.

”On my mother’s side they went: and my great-grandfather was just 5 years old. He had seen a lot of hard times, where parents and other relatives were killed,” Benally said.

”My grandma passed on three years ago – she was 116 years old. When she left, she would tell us that they did some healing ceremonies which were called ‘Without Songs.’ She would sometimes have me perform this one: ‘The Blacken Way.”’ She remembered her great-grandfather and other Navajos who were driven from their beloved homeland by the U.S. Army on foot for hundreds of miles while witnessing murders, rapes and starvation.

One-third of the 9,000 Navajo and Mescalero Apache who suffered at the prison camp from 1863 – ’68 succumbed to pneumonia, dysentery, starvation and exposure.

She also said that some Navajos who eluded capture secretly helped others. ”On my father’s side of the family, they didn’t go on this march. But, as supporters from the outside, they brought food in the night and other health supplies.”

Benally is among the Navajos who are resisting forced relocation from her home on Big Mountain. The Navajo descendants of Long Walk survivors at Big Mountain gained strength and fortitude from their ancestors for their 30-year struggle to remain on the land as protectors, she noted.

Benally pointed out that the so-called ”Navajo and Hopi land dispute” resulted from legal maneuvers, documented by Colorado professor Charles Wilkinson, to remove Navajos from the land to make way for the expansion of coal mining on Black Mesa.

8/27/2011 CENSORED NEWS New Wikileaks: UN: China scolded US treatment of Native Americans

8/27/2011 CENSORED NEWS New Wikileaks: UN: China scolded US treatment of Native Americans: US human rights abuses exposed by world leaders at the UN, previously censored, are revealed in new Wikileaks cable By Brenda Norrell: A new Wikileaks cable provides the scope of US human rights abuses in testimony by world leaders before the United Nations in 2007. Much of the information was censored by the US media at the time. World leaders described the human rights abuses of the United States, including secret torture centers, targeted assassinations, “people hunting” on the Mexican border and the use of biological weapons in Vietnam. China described the racism and xenophobia on the rise in the United States and the US violations of the rights of Native Americans and ethnic groups.

“China said the United States had turned a blind eye to China’s progress in human rights, but had failed to examine its own human rights record, citing the September 16 Blackwater security incident in Iraq. He stated that the United States has increased its monitoring and control of the Internet and suppressed anti-war expression and gatherings. He alleged that racism and xenophobia are on the rise in the United States, as are violations of the human rights of Native Americans and ethnic groups. He called on the United States to remember its own ‘bad and sad’ human rights record,” according to the US diplomatic cable.

The cable released yesterday, Friday, is from Dr. Zalmay Khalilzad, Permanent Representative to the UN. The cable is dated Nov. 15, 2007, seven months after Dr. Khalilzad began his UN position. Dr. Khalilzad was previously an Ambassador in both Iraq and Afghanistan, and served the Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld trio.

Dr. Khalilzad was the US Ambassador to Iraq from 2005 to 2007, after serving as the U.S. Ambassador to Afghanistan, 2003 to 2005. Dr. Khalilzad headed the Bush-Cheney transition team for the Department of Defense and has been a Counselor to Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, according to the US State Dept.

Here’s the US atrocities, in the United States’ own words:

Diplomatic Cable:
http://wikileaks.org/cable/2007/11/07USUNNEWYORK1019.html

¶1. (U) Speaking Oct. 31 in the annual debate on promotion and protection of human rights in the UN General Assembly’s Third Committee, Ambassador Khalilzad emphasized the value the United States places on human rights, described the important role these rights play in building societies, cited examples of progress in human rights (Indonesia, Sierra Leone, Guatemala, Morocco and Lebanon) and addressed situations of human rights violations (Zimbabwe, Cuba, North Korea, Burma, Belarus, Iran and Syria). He noted U.S. concern for the situation of human rights in Russia and China. (Full text of Ambassador Khalilzad’s statement is available at www.usunnewyork.usmission.gov press releases/20071031 278.html).

¶2. (U) Several delegations responded to the U.S. statement. Iran’s representative regretted that the Third Committee is frequently misused to name and blame, which he said divides the group into two blocs, the claimants vs. the defendants. He noted that no country has a perfect record and pointed to Guantanamo, secret detention centers, mistreatment of migrants in the United States, Europe, and Canada, and the inhumane treatment of the Palestinian people, which, he alleged, is supported by Europe and the United States.

¶3. (U) The Cuban delegate boasted of Cuba’s successes in the area of human rights and said the same countries that criticize Cuba commit numerous violations of human rights, singling out the United States for what she said was torture of prisoners by U.S. soldiers in Guantanamo and Iraq, sexual abuse of prisoners in Abu Ghraib, police violence, the death penalty for minors, election fraud, “people-hunting” on the Mexican border, and violations of civil and political rights of American citizens, including wiretapping and banning travel to Cuba.

¶4. (U) North Korea’s delegate said the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan were the cause of “more than a million” deaths and an increase in sectarian violence. He called for “non-selectivity” in addressing human rights, stating that issues such as the unlawful acts of Israel in the Occupied Territories and the CIA’s alleged overseas secret prisons are ignored, while developing countries are SIPDIS the target of accusations. “The United States is the number one invader and killer of other nations” said the North Korean, and “must clean its untidy house inside and out.”

¶5. (U) Syria’s delegate said the “American sermon” was an attempt to divide the Third Committee into good vs. bad. He argued that the vote against the U.S. trade embargo of Cuba in this year’s General Assembly showed the isolation of the American position when it comes to human rights. He said U.S. human rights violations include the Guantanamo prison, secret extrajudicial executions, targeted killings, use of SIPDIS biological weapons in Vietnam, racial discrimination, and even movies that promote violence around the world.

¶6. (U) China said the United States had turned a blind eye to China’s progress in human rights, but had failed to examine its own human rights record, citing the September 16 Blackwater security incident in Iraq. He stated that the United States has increased its monitoring and control of the Internet and suppressed anti-war expression and gatherings. He alleged that racism and xenophobia are on the rise in the United States, as are violations of the human rights of Native Americans and ethnic groups. He called on the United States to remember its own “bad and sad” human rights record.
Khalilzad
.
Read more at Censored News: