Posts tagged ‘Diplomacy’

February 9, 2012

Analysis: US house committee hearing on Balochistan, Oversight and Investigations

by Mureed Bizenjo

Let’s think about creating a Balochistan in southern part of Pakistan, said Congress republican Louie Gohmert, who completely backed the idea of independant Balochistan. Many people in Pakistan at present are not aware of the fact that Balochistan was invaded and forcibly annexed on March 27, 1948 (Seven and a half months after the creation of Pakistan), against the wishes of Baloch people and the two houses of Baloch parliaments who voted unanimously against the accession with Pakistan. That very day is mourned and marked as “Black day” in the land of miseries (Balochistan)

December 5, 2010

WikiLeaks founder threatens to release entire cache of unfiltered files

by admin


At the centre of a tightening web of death threats, sex-crime accusations and high-level demands for a treason trial, WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange threatened to unleash a “thermonuclear device” of completely unexpurgated government files if he is forced to appear before authorities.

Mr. Assange, the 39-year-old Australian Internet activist whose online document-leaking service has embarrassed the United States and other countries by publishing hundreds of thousands of secret diplomatic and military documents, has referred to the huge, unfiltered document as his “insurance policy.”

The 1.3-gigabyte file, distributed through file-sharing services this summer and protected with an unbreakable 256-bit encryption key, contains full versions of all the U.S. documents received by WikiLeaks to date – including those that have been withheld from publication or have had names and details removed in order to protect the lives of spies, sources and soldiers.

Silent for the better part of a week as WikiLeaks made daily headlines around the globe, Mr. Assange has been increasingly vocal in recent days, defending his actions, decrying his critics and defying world leaders.

Mr. Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens warned that if Mr. Assange were to be brought to trial on rape accusations he faces in Sweden, or for treason charges that have been suggested by U.S. politicians, he would release the encryption key. The tens of thousands of people who have downloaded the file would instantly have access to the names, addresses and details contained in the file.

WikiLeaks, Mr. Stephens said, has “been subject to cyberattacks and censorship around the world and they need to protect themselves … This is what they believe to be a thermonuclear device in the information age.”

He uttered that threat as his client was believed to be in hiding in Britain, with prominent U.S. and Saudi officials calling for Mr. Assange’s arrest or death, justice officials attempting to shut down his websites in many countries, and the Swedish justice system seeking him for questioning on the sexual-crime allegations.

Mr. Assange has denied the accusation, made by two women who hosted a party for him in Stockholm in August. He has acknowledged having had consensual sex with the complainants. Reports say the sex became non-consensual over disagreements about condom use.

This weekend he refused to respond to a European arrest warrant issued by Sweden, and an Interpol alert related to the accusation. His lawyers argued that the accusations amount to a smear campaign and suggested that U.S. officials might be behind them.

The Swedish prosecutor took the unusual step of going before the news media to say she has received no pressure or communication of any sort from international or political authorities and that the charges are unrelated to the leaks scandal.

“This investigation has proceeded perfectly normally without any political pressure of any kind,” prosecutor Marianne Ny told the Agence France-Presse wire service. “It is completely independent.”

A number of high-profile U.S. figures, including Republicans Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, have called for the prosecution of Mr. Assange.

“Julian Assange is engaged in warfare,” Mr. Gingrich said, echoing similar words spoken by Ms. Palin and others last week. “Information terrorism, which leads to people getting killed, is terrorism. And Julian Assange is engaged in terrorism. He should be treated as an enemy combatant and WikiLeaks should be closed down permanently and decisively.”

However, U.S. charges against Mr. Assange are unlikely: He is not a U.S. citizen and, because he did not steal the documents himself, but only participated in their publication, he would likely be protected under the U.S. Constitution’s free-speech provisions.

The documents were reportedly stolen from a U.S. military installation by Bradley Manning, a former private in the U.S. Army who copied years of secret Pentagon and State Department communiqués and passed them to Mr. Assange, who in turn brokered deals with worldwide media outlets to publish details from them. Those details, despite some censorship by Mr. Assange and the publishers, have shaken relations between the United States and Gulf countries, Russia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Mr. Manning is already being held in solitary confinement, and will likely face treason and espionage charges. This has not stopped a growing chorus of U.S. and foreign figures from pushing for punishment for Mr. Assange.

U.S. newspapers reported that a team of Justice Department and Pentagon investigators is looking into the possibility of charges against Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act. Attorney-General Eric Holder said “this is not sabre-rattling” when asked by reporters about the possibility of charges. Justice officials in Australia, where Mr. Assange was born, are reportedly also looking into a prosecution.

That did not stop more figures from suggesting that Mr. Assange should be harmed or killed – a circle that includes Canadian Tom Flanagan, a former campaign manager to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who told a TV interviewer last week that Mr. Assange should be assassinated (he later apologized for the remark).

In an online interview with the Guardian newspaper, Mr. Assange said Mr. Flanagan “should be charged with incitement to commit murder.”

He also told reporters Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, should resign if they are shown to have authorized an operation to spy on United Nations top officials – one of the many secrets revealed in the leaked State Department cables.

“Obama must answer what he knew about this illegal order and when. If he refuses to answer or there is evidence he approved of these actions, he must resign,” the WikiLeaks founder told the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

He suggested, not for the first time, that he believes his document service has had a profound effect on world history: “I believe geopolitics will be separated into pre- and post-Cablegate phases.”

The 1.3-gigabyte file, distributed through file-sharing services this summer and protected with an unbreakable 256-bit encryption key, contains full versions of all the U.S. documents received by WikiLeaks to date – including those that have been withheld from publication or have had names and details removed in order to protect the lives of spies, sources and soldiers.

Silent for the better part of a week as WikiLeaks made daily headlines around the globe, Mr. Assange has been increasingly vocal in recent days, defending his actions, decrying his critics and defying world leaders.

Mr. Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens warned that if Mr. Assange were to be brought to trial on rape accusations he faces in Sweden, or for treason charges that have been suggested by U.S. politicians, he would release the encryption key. The tens of thousands of people who have downloaded the file would instantly have access to the names, addresses and details contained in the file.

WikiLeaks, Mr. Stephens said, has “been subject to cyberattacks and censorship around the world and they need to protect themselves … This is what they believe to be a thermonuclear device in the information age.”

He uttered that threat as his client was believed to be in hiding in Britain, with prominent U.S. and Saudi officials calling for Mr. Assange’s arrest or death, justice officials attempting to shut down his websites in many countries, and the Swedish justice system seeking him for questioning on the sexual-crime allegations.

Mr. Assange has denied the accusation, made by two women who hosted a party for him in Stockholm in August. He has acknowledged having had consensual sex with the complainants. Reports say the sex became non-consensual over disagreements about condom use.

This weekend he refused to respond to a European arrest warrant issued by Sweden, and an Interpol alert related to the accusation. His lawyers argued that the accusations amount to a smear campaign and suggested that U.S. officials might be behind them.

The Swedish prosecutor took the unusual step of going before the news media to say she has received no pressure or communication of any sort from international or political authorities and that the charges are unrelated to the leaks scandal.

“This investigation has proceeded perfectly normally without any political pressure of any kind,” prosecutor Marianne Ny told the Agence France-Presse wire service. “It is completely independent.”

A number of high-profile U.S. figures, including Republicans Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich, have called for the prosecution of Mr. Assange.

“Julian Assange is engaged in warfare,” Mr. Gingrich said, echoing similar words spoken by Ms. Palin and others last week. “Information terrorism, which leads to people getting killed, is terrorism. And Julian Assange is engaged in terrorism. He should be treated as an enemy combatant and WikiLeaks should be closed down permanently and decisively.”

However, U.S. charges against Mr. Assange are unlikely: He is not a U.S. citizen and, because he did not steal the documents himself, but only participated in their publication, he would likely be protected under the U.S. Constitution’s free-speech provisions.

The documents were reportedly stolen from a U.S. military installation by Bradley Manning, a former private in the U.S. Army who copied years of secret Pentagon and State Department communiqués and passed them to Mr. Assange, who in turn brokered deals with worldwide media outlets to publish details from them. Those details, despite some censorship by Mr. Assange and the publishers, have shaken relations between the United States and Gulf countries, Russia, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Mr. Manning is already being held in solitary confinement, and will likely face treason and espionage charges. This has not stopped a growing chorus of U.S. and foreign figures from pushing for punishment for Mr. Assange.

U.S. newspapers reported that a team of Justice Department and Pentagon investigators is looking into the possibility of charges against Mr. Assange under the Espionage Act. Attorney-General Eric Holder said “this is not sabre-rattling” when asked by reporters about the possibility of charges. Justice officials in Australia, where Mr. Assange was born, are reportedly also looking into a prosecution.

That did not stop more figures from suggesting that Mr. Assange should be harmed or killed – a circle that includes Canadian Tom Flanagan, a former campaign manager to Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who told a TV interviewer last week that Mr. Assange should be assassinated (he later apologized for the remark).

In an online interview with the Guardian newspaper, Mr. Assange said Mr. Flanagan “should be charged with incitement to commit murder.”

He also told reporters Barack Obama and his Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, should resign if they are shown to have authorized an operation to spy on United Nations top officials – one of the many secrets revealed in the leaked State Department cables.

“Obama must answer what he knew about this illegal order and when. If he refuses to answer or there is evidence he approved of these actions, he must resign,” the WikiLeaks founder told the Spanish newspaper El Pais.

He suggested, not for the first time, that he believes his document service has had a profound effect on world history: “I believe geopolitics will be separated into pre- and post-Cablegate phases.”

Source:

December 4, 2010

American diplomacy of contempt – by Shiraz Paracha

by admin


The mastermind as well as the motive behind the WikiLeaks release of US diplomats’ official correspondence with Washington is not known yet. However, the material released so far shows that George W. Bush was not the only mediocre with inferiority complexes. The whole State Department and policy makers in the United States have IQ problems.

Electronic letters and emails of U.S diplomats are symbols of bad taste and indicate that writers were carried away by prejudices and even anger.
Diplomats are supposed to be objective and measured in their assessments and analysis. But U.S ambassadors have been writing  low quality sloppy assessments of very crucial and sensitive international issues and situations.
Such information is supposed to be evaluated and written by serious and responsible professionals; however, U.S embassies emails confirm recklessness and irresponsible behaviour at the very heart of the U.S foreign policy. There is a pattern of ridicule of other cultures and an arrogance that exposes shallow U.S pride.

A much serious issue, however, is that information gathering processes are not very sophisticated and developed at the U.S State Department. A large volume of the so-called classified information is not well sourced and well evaluated. Most of the material is based on hearsay, rumours and careless personal opinions of the officials.

It is obvious that the depth required for dealing with delicacies and sophistications of diplomacy is lacking among the vast majority of the senior U.S foreign policy officials.

Another important point is that U.S ambassadors have been acting as spies. Spooks do use diplomatic cover but ambassadorial level positions are different. Ambassadors have access to places and information which spy agents do not have.

Ambassadors are symbols of trust between two nations. They cultivate friendship and goodwill on the behalf of their states. Some U.S ambassadors, however, have not been meeting the minimum standards of decent and professional behaviour.

Anne Patterson, a former U.S ambassador to Pakistan, for example, was involved in the wheeling and dealings of the Pakistani politics. She was engaged in activities that were beyond her scope and job as a neutral envoy.
And in the opinion of the U.S Ambassador to Afghanistan, President Hamid Karzai is a weak person with personality disorders. Let us not that forget the U.S had imposed Mr. Karzai on Afghanistan after the removal of the Taliban.
The U.S diplomats see the Russian government as a mafia. The current Russian leadership is the most popular among the Russian public and the United Russia Party is in power since 2000 as the Russian voters have shown full confidence in the Party and its leadership but U.S diplomats see them as corrupt criminals. One can only feel pity for the low calibre of U.S diplomats. The U.S Ambassador to Kazakhstan is said to have communicated derogatory remarks about politicians of the host country and the same was done to people and leaders in other countries.

It is worrying to realize that the United States foreign policy and key strategic decisions are based on such childish assumption and analysis. It should not be surprising why the U.S is hated around the world. The United States uses military means to maintain control because of the inefficiency of its diplomatic corps and insensitivities of its political leadership.

Diplomacy means cultivating friendships and the truth is that United States has failed the test because the U.S believes in master-salve type of international relationships, while friendship is earned by treating others with equality and respect, not contempt.

Shiraz Paracha is a journalist and analyst. His email address is: shiraz_paracha@hotmail.com

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