Wut up.

I find myself staring at a smattering of open browser tabs, each a reminder of a subject I had intended to write about this week.  Some of these tabs have been open so long now, I get the distinct impression they are purposefully mocking me and daring me to do something about it: you know, like, actually write something.  But when I reviewed them this morning, I realized the sources speak perfectly well for themselves.  There really is no need for some smart-ass blogger to pretend she has anything to contribute whatsoever.  So without further ado, I bring you:

IRIS’S OPEN BROWSER TABS.

A Frontline report, The Untouchables, investigates why there have been no prosecutions of Wall Street criminals.

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The Truth About the Deficit : It’s Not Very Big, And There’s Only One Way To Close It.  (See also: Deficit Hawks Down, a good piece by Paul Krugman.)

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UN launches inquiry into drone killings:

The inquiry will assess the extent of civilian casualties, the identity of militants targeted and the legality of strikes where there is no UN recognition of a conflict.

Some kinds of drone attacks – in particular “double tap” strikes where rescuers attending a first blast become victims of a second – could constitute a war crime…

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A Rape a Minute, a Thousand Corpses a Year: Hate Crimes in America (and Elsewhere).  I have a love/hate relationship with Rebecca Solnit’s writing.  For example, words cannot express the depth of my contempt for her grotesquely ill-informed condescension to lefties who do not partake of the Obama/Democratic Party KoolAid.  But this piece is outstanding, and deserves the widest possible audience.

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This piece by Julian Assange is from late November, but I had not seen it until recently.  It details quite explicitly the machinations of the U.S. government, as revealed by the State Department cables allegedly leaked by Bradley Manning and published by Wikileaks over the last two years.  Assange:

It is the case that WikiLeaks’ publications can and have changed the world, but that change has clearly been for the better. Two years on, no claim of individual harm has been presented, and the examples above clearly show precisely who has blood on their hands.

Indeed.  When U.S. foreign policy routinely includes war crimes, cover-ups, lies to the citizenry both here and abroad, support for death squads and brutal anti-democratic regimes, corruption, rendition for torture, and the deaths of untold numbers of civilians and children — to say nothing of dead, maimed, and psychologically destroyed American soldiers — the American public should damn well know the truth.  As you read it, consider whose interests U.S. foreign policy serves.  (SPOILER ALERT:  It is not We the People.)

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On a somewhat related note, here is a good Citizen Radio interview of former CIA officer John Kiriakou.  He has just been sentenced to 2 ½ years in prison for blowing the whistle on CIA torture, the latest casualty of President Obama’s unprecedented war on whistleblowers.  To date, no one who created, directed or participated in the U.S. torture regime has been charged by the DOJ with any crime.

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My WordPress stats page (which I cannot link you to) helpfully informs me that one of the week’s top search terms that brought people to the Palace is this:

it’s large phallus thrust deep into her virgin womb

I don’t really know what to say about that, except to point out for the sake of accuracy that a womb is a uterus, where no phallus should be found thrusting.  Like, EVAR.

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Finally, tomorrow is a travel day for me: I will be heading to London for a week.  Longtime Loyal Readers™ may recall my last trip to that lovely city, and the resulting groundbreaking journalism for which the Palace is deservedly renowned.  Our fearless and intrepid investigation into the pie-facing of Rupert Murdoch and the British government’s strategic response thereto still stands to this day as one of our proudest accomplishments.  Look for upcoming London dispatches — well, assuming the hotel wifi doesn’t suck.

3 thoughts on “Wut up.

  1. No prosecution of Wall Street criminals or, Bankers! There not necessarily the same. I find it annoying that the banks and Wall Street firms can pay huge fines because of their actions and at the same time, get away from prosecution with a “admitting no wrong” deal. Why is that? The fine does not hurt them, the shareholders pay the fine in reduced earnings. Seems that if a, let’s say Jamie Dimon – had to spend a few years behind bars, it might just make others like him think twice before ripping Taxpayers off. His “tempest in a tea pot” last year turned into something much bigger. To think he didn’t authorize the trades is laughable. The total loss – as reported, was over $6 billion, which the bank could withstand. What everyone ignored was the total bet – between $125 and $150 billion – yeah, billion! If it had all gone bad, the financial world would have gone into free-fall. But, no jail time for Mr Dimon! During the last banking collapse, the Savings and Loan mess in the early 80’s there were over 1,000 banking execs prosecuted, many went to jail. And the difference then was – not outright wrong doing, just sheer stupidity. But, the govt went after those guys with a vengeance. Perhaps we only prosecute stupid people.

    Julian Assange. Don’t really understand the interest in that guy. I think that many things should be made public, keeps the powers in check. But, he’s avoiding Sweden’s request that he present himself for an inquiry into possible sex abuse charges. I view it that he’s hiding behind the “conspiracy that the US is acting behind the scenes and after Sweden gets him, they’ll pas him off to the US for prosecution for releasing classified documents” I think NOTHING is below the US govt, but seriously? He’s really old news as far as I’m concerned. Let him stay in Ecuador’s UK Embassy forever. I’m more troubled by the prosecution and then suicide of Aaron Swartz. And none of the documents he was downloading then making available to everyone for free, were classified, just research papers that users had to pay for – 10 cents each. He downloaded 5 million docs, would of cost – $500,000. Some idiot US attorney was coming after him like he was a mass murderer. He was facing 35 years in jail, 35 years!

    Where’s the justice? Bankers rip off customers and taxpayers and get slapped on the wrist. Julian Assange possibly raped two women, but is avoiding prosecution creating theories of conspiracy. A young man commits suicide because of the way he was being prosecuted for making research documents available for all to read – for free.

  2. Julian Assange. Don’t really understand the interest in that guy. I think that many things should be made public, keeps the powers in check. But, he’s avoiding Sweden’s request that he present himself for an inquiry into possible sex abuse charges. I view it that he’s hiding behind the “conspiracy that the US is acting behind the scenes and after Sweden gets him, they’ll pas him off to the US for prosecution for releasing classified documents” I think NOTHING is below the US govt, but seriously? He’s really old news as far as I’m concerned. Let him stay in Ecuador’s UK Embassy forever.

    Mr. Born, may I remind you that your factually unsupported theories about Mr. Assange were thoroughly debunked here. Allow me to refresh your memory:

    But I am surprised at the Assange comment.

    I am surprised that you are surprised.

    Maybe you were torn between freedom of speech, a feeling of annoyance about how the US govt acts, world govt acts trying to keep some things secret, etc – but, an accused sexual abuser avoiding charges? I feel that he’s creating a smoke screen, ignoring the charges against him and hiding behind a big conspiracy theory, “Sweden wants him simply so they can ship him to the US” Seriously?

    Yeah. Seriously.

    First, I am not at all torn about freedom of speech, the abhorrent conduct of my own government and its allies, or the rule of law. I think my view about all of those things is pretty clear to regular readers of this blog, and I can assure you that none of them are presently in conflict with any other.

    Second, you can of course “feel” whatever you want to about Assange, or anything else—you’re entitled to your own opinion. But! You are not entitled to your own facts. And your claim that Assange is “avoiding charges” in Sweden is demonstrably false:

    [As] both Assange and the government of Ecuador have made clear, he is willing to return to Sweden to confront the allegations against him as long as Sweden guarantees that he will not be extradited to the United States to face other, far more grave charges stemming from WikiLeaks.

    The Swedish government has refused to give this minimum assurance, and has also refused numerous opportunities to question Assange on British soil without providing a rationale why.

    Third, Assange has every reason to be fearful of prosecution by the U.S.

    The evidence that the US seeks to prosecute and extradite Assange is substantial. There is no question that the Obama justice department has convened an active grand jury to investigate whether WikiLeaks violated the draconian Espionage Act of 1917. Key senators from President Obama’s party, including Senate intelligence committee chairwoman Dianne Feinstein, have publicly called for his prosecution under that statute. A leaked email from the security firm Stratfor – hardly a dispositive source, but still probative – indicated that a sealed indictment has already been obtained against him. Prominent American figures in both parties have demanded Assange’s lifelong imprisonment, called him a terrorist, and even advocated his assassination.

    Fourth, with respect to extradition, Sweden has an unfortunate track record:

    [T]hat country has a disturbing history of lawlessly handing over suspects to the US. A 2006 UN ruling found Sweden in violation of the global ban on torture for helping the CIA render two suspected terrorists to Egypt, where they were brutally tortured (both individuals, asylum-seekers in Sweden, were ultimately found to be innocent of any connection to terrorism and received a monetary settlement from the Swedish government).

    Fifth, it used to be that the American judicial system was not a Kafkaesque horror show, but it certainly is now:

    One need only look at the treatment over the last decade of foreign nationals accused of harming American national security to know that’s true; such individuals are still routinely imprisoned for lengthy periods without any charges or due process. Or consider the treatment of Bradley Manning, accused of leaking to WikiLeaks: a formal UN investigation found that his pre-trial conditions of severe solitary confinement were “cruel, inhuman and degrading”, and he now faces capital charges of aiding al-Qaida. The Obama administration’s unprecedented obsession with persecuting whistleblowers and preventing transparency – what even generally supportive, liberal magazines call ”Obama’s war on whistleblowers” – makes those concerns all the more valid.

    So yeah.

    Seriously.

    I think we’ve bigger fish to fry than someone who posts classified documents online.

    I really wish you were right about that. But unfortunately for all the reasons I noted above you are wrong.

    He is accused of breaking a law and he’s doing his best to avoid the consequences.

    An opinion, unsupported by facts.

    And if the UK charged the embassy, I did not read that anywhere. They said “they could” but as far as I know, they did not.

    Well, you read it here. They did indeed charge the embassy, in flagrant violation of the Vienna Conventions. (There is even a picture of the police action at that link. Which took me two seconds on Google to find. Ahem.) An interesting question is why you did not read that “anywhere,” especially since I consider you well-read as far as current events are concerned. But that is another topic for another day.

    His stance is like me doing an illegal substance and being caught and prosecuted, then saying the real issue is the govt is coming after me because I read blogs or articles that are anti current government actions and creating a huge smoke screen, hoping people wouldn’t notice that I actually DID use an illegal substance.

    It is not clear to me whether, in your analogy, your “doing an illegal substance” is meant to stand in for the sexual assault allegations against Assange, or for his activities in connection with Wikilieaks. If the former, your analogy breaks down because you are confessing to breaking the law whereas Julian Assange is not. (And this should go without saying: Assange should—like everyone else—be presumed innocent until proven otherwise in a fair trial.) If the latter, then your analogy breaks down because Assange and Wikileaks have done nothing more than Daniel Ellsburg did, or The New York Times does. In that case, your analogy fails because no crime has been committed at all.

    Shorter Iris: evidence for the claim that Assange’s asylum request is a “smoke screen” is nonexistent, at least as far as I am aware. I could of course be wrong about that, and you need only present some compelling evidence and sound reasoning in order to convince me that I am. On the other hand, my claim that Assange’s fear of extradition to the U.S. is entirely justified and a superior explanation for his actions has a ginormous mountain of compelling evidence to back it up.

    Seriously. ;)

    Those comments still stand unrebutted. I also note that your comment today is about Julian Assange, although I wrote nothing about him personally. My post was about the knowledge we now have of our government’s bad actions, thanks to Wikileaks and its source(s). Our soldiers are now out of Iraq because of Wikileaks, despite Obama’s attempts to extend the U.S. troop presence there. The Arab Spring was galvanized and received much international support because of what the State Department cables confirmed about U.S. dealings with despotic governments in the Middle East. I happen to think that’s a good thing. Of course if we had a minimally functional mainstream press, Wikileaks would not be necessary. As it is, over the last few years Wikileaks broke more (and more crucial) news stories than every U.S. news outlet combined. No wonder they all hate him, and have fixated like junior high schoolers on his personality to the exclusion of everything else about Wikileaks — as if that has anything to do with what Wikileaks is actually doing for the causes of transparency, anti-imperialism and democracy.

    I agree that if there is evidence that Assange committed sexual assault he should be charged and prosecuted like anyone else. I don’t know if he’s guilty or innocent of those accusations, and neither do you. (Frankly he comes off as kind of an asshole to me, and is probably someone whose company I would not enjoy. I still agree with his political goals regardless.) But the facts are these: he has offered to be interviewed by Swedish prosecutors at the Ecuadorean embassy, and alternatively to return to Sweden for questioning provided he receives assurance they will not extradite him to face the Kafkaesque U.S. judicial system, once the envy of the free world. And yet you think Assange is acting disingenuously?

    If Sweden’s only interest is in pursuing the sexual assault allegations, why would they not agree to question him in the UK, or give him the non-extradition assurance? On the other hand, if he is being pursued by U.S. authorities and their lapdog media hounds for nothing more than the “crime” of journalism, then “Let him stay in Ecuador’s UK Embassy forever” is manifestly unjust. And ironic, given that the rest of your comment speaks passionately about injustice and the rule of law.

    • I’m not aware of many people who when suspected or accused of committing a crime can say to the authorities, “why not interview me here, rather than me travel to your place. It’s terribly inconvenient for me to travel currently because there are other jurisdictions that are also after me for committing a crime or two and I fear after you’re finished with me, you’ll turn me over to them. So, what do you say Sweden, why not just interview me here in the Ecuadorian Embassy?”

      Innocent until proven guilty, I completely agree. But, he is – if nothing else, obstructing justice. And simply because he’s thumbing his nose at the EVIL United States, doesn’t make it right. Interesting he went to Ecuador, considering it’s track record on free speech. Had to shop around for a while I presume before he found a country to shelter him. Like Depardieu bouncing from country to country before he could find one that would allow him to avoid paying taxes in France. He’s settled for citizenship in Russia, another bastion of freedom!

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