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PJ Crowley: No regrets on Manning March 28, 2011

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Mr Crowley said he did not think the controversy would go as far as it did

Ex-US state department spokesman PJ Crowley, who quit after criticising the treatment of the man accused of leaking secret cables to Wikileaks, has told the BBC he has no regrets.

Mr Crowley told the HARDtalk programme that the treatment of Bradley Manning was undermining “a very legitimate” effort to prosecute him.

Pte Manning has been held in shackles in solitary confinement.

Mr Crowley left the department after calling his treatment “stupid”.

Obama’s ‘difficult position’

“I thought the treatment of Bradley Manning was undermining what I considered to be a very legitimate prosecution of an individual who has profoundly affected US national security,” Mr Crowley said in his first public remarks since stepping down on 13 March.

He said he had not anticipated his criticism of another arm of the US government – the military – would spark such a controversy, and said it was appropriate for him to step down because his remarks had put President Barack Obama in a “difficult position”.

“Quite honestly I didn’t necessarily think the controversy would go as far as it did but I don’t regret saying what I said,” Mr Crowley said.

Mr Crowley, a former Air Force officer and national security aide to former President Bill Clinton, declined to say whether he had been asked to resign.

Analysis




 

The Crowley controversy was the first, very public expression of the intense debate and tension that the Wikileaks Cablegate caused within the administration, including between the state department and the Pentagon.

For his first media interview since resigning, Mr Crowley spoke to the BBC and showed how strongly he feels about the military’s handling of the Wikileaks suspect.

While many liberals took Mr Crowley’s comments as a defence of Pte Manning, the former official makes clear he believes Pte Manning is in the right place.

He doesn’t say why the DoD may be acting the way it is and steers clear from any criticism of President Barack Obama, who said he had been assured by the Pentagon that Pte Manning’s treatment was appropriate.

Pte Manning is being held at the US Marine Corps base in Quantico in the US state of Virginia, pending trial on 34 charges related to the leaking of 720,000 secret US military and diplomatic documents to the Wikileaks website.

Supporters say he has been held under harsh conditions, confined to a spartan cell for for 23 hours a day without a pillow, sheets, and personal possessions, and forced regularly to disrobe.

‘Ridiculous, counterproductive, stupid’

At a forum at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this month, Mr Crowley was asked to comment on the matter.

“What is happening to Manning is ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid, and I don’t know why the DoD [Department of Defence] is doing it,” he said. “Nevertheless, Manning is in the right place.”

Mr Crowley affirmed his remarks were on the record but later clarified the opinions were his own, not those of the state department.

“I’m a believer in something like strategic narratives,” he told HARDtalk on Monday, “that the US, as an exceptional country in the world, has to be seen as practicing what we preach.”

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Crowley quits over Manning comments March 23, 2011

Crowley, centre, resigned over comments he made regarding the Pentagon’s detention of a US soldier [Reuters]

US state department spokesman PJ Crowley has resigned from his post following controversial comments involving the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks.

The news on Sunday came three days after Crowley was reported to have criticised the Pentagon’s treatment of detained US soldier Bradley Manning.

Crowley said the defence department’s handling of Manning, who is accused of leaking thousands of confidential US documents to WikiLeaks, was “stupid” and “counterproductive”. 

He was speaking at a private event, after being asked about claims that Manning is being harshly treated in US military custody. The state department said the comments were his personal opinion.

But in a resignation statement on Sunday, Crowley said he took full responsibility for the “impact” of his remarks.

“The unauthorised disclosure of classified information is a serious crime under US law,” he said.

“My recent comments regarding the conditions of the pre-trial detention of Private First Class Bradley Manning were intended to highlight the broader, even strategic impact of discreet actions undertaken by national security agencies every day and their impact on our global standing and leadership.

“The exercise of power in today’s challenging times and relentless media environment must be prudent and consistent with our laws and values.

“Given the impact of my remarks, for which I take full responsibility, I have submitted my resignation as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Spokesman for the Department of State.”

‘Served with distinction’

Hillary Clinton, the US secretary of state, said she had accepted Crowley’s resignation with “regret”. 

“PJ has served our nation with distinction for more than three decades, in uniform and as a civilian,” she said in a statement.

“His service to country is motivated by a deep devotion to public policy and public diplomacy, and I wish him the very best.”

Clinton named principal deputy assistant secretary Michael Hammer to replace Crowley temporarily.

Allegations of torture

Bradley Manning is facing life in prison if found guilty of more than 22 charges, which include aiding the enemy.

Manning is accused of leaking US secrets [EPA]

Manning allegedly downloaded and distributed more than 250,000 confidential state department cables as well as
a deluge of Iraq and Afghanistan war logs. Thousands of the documents have been published on the WikiLeaks website.

While thousands of the cables have been released, the bulk of those downloaded have not been made public.

The army has not ruled out charging others in the case, pending results of a continuing review. Army leaders have suggested that there may have been supervisory lapses that allowed the breach to occur.

Trial proceedings against Manning have been on hold since July, pending the results of a medical inquiry into Manning’s mental capacity and responsibility.

Manning is being held in maximum custody at the Marine Corps base in Virginia. His supporters say his solitary confinement amounts to torture, and are calling on the UN to investigate.

Treatment appropriate

Barack Obama, the US president, said on Friday that he had been assured by the Pentagon that its treatment of Manning was appropriate.

Asked at a news conference about Crowley’s remarks, Obama said Manning’s treatment reflects the department of defence’s concerns about the young soldier’s safety.

Al Jazeera’s Rosiland Jordan, reporting from the White House, said the administration has been trying to deal with the problem of leaks.

“In this case, we’re talking about a president who has said that the US government does not engage in anything resembling torture.”

But she said the detention of Manning has raised questions about whether the administration is actually keeping its word.

“Certainly the other message that is being sent to other members of the government with the resignation of PJ Crowley is that if think that you might be privy to information that we don’t want out in the general public, you need to keep your mouth shut.”

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Obama Officials Caught Deceiving About WikiLeaks… January 21, 2011

Whenever the U.S. Government wants to demonize a person or group in order to justify attacks on them, it follows the same playbook: it manufactures falsehoods about them, baselessly warns that they pose Grave Dangers and are severely harming our National Security, peppers all that with personality smears to render the targeted individuals repellent on a personal level, and feeds it all to the establishment American media, which then dutifully amplifies and mindlessly disseminates it all. That, of course, was the precise scheme that so easily led the U.S. into attacking Iraq; it’s what continues to ensure support for the whole litany of War on Terror abuses and the bonanza of power and profit which accompanies them; and it’s long been obvious that this is the primary means for generating contempt for WikiLeaks to enable its prosecution and ultimate destruction (an outcome the Pentagon has been plotting since at least 2008).

by Glenn Greenwald

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Coffee Talk!

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Israel and nuclear strike capability… October 17, 2010

Nuclear-Weapon-Free Zones Nuclear weapons stat...
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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Sunday that Tehran was ready to restart talks with world powers on its nuclear program in November in exchange for a statement on Israel’s atomic capability.

If this is a concern of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad then it is justified.

“Israel is widely suspected to have nuclear weapons, but has refused to either confirm or deny their existence.”

From what I have picked up here and there in web articles from 2006 to present day and there may even be a reference in the web article, Life After the Oil Crash, Israel has one of the largest nuclear arsenals in the world.

These nuclear weapons have been created in a secret but approved Israeli nuclear weapons program. They exist in Israel as a deterrent against nations attacking the oil fields in the region of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, UAE, and so on and as a deterrent to attacking Israel itself.

I thought it odd that this statement from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would come up in an article because I thought it was widely known around the world that Israel has the third largest nuclear strike capability in the world.

1. United States
2. Russia
3. Israel

When I first came across this information I was pretty surprised. I could have been doing some research to understand the political relationship between the United States and Israel and why the two countries were so close politically. It just did not make any sense to me why Israel and the United States were so close politically.

Once again there are political ties between both countries that go back to World War II if not before.

I believe these ties became more formal after the Holocaust in Europe, when many Jews fled to the United States for freedom and safety.

After discovering that Israel was thought to have the third largest nuclear arsenal in the world I simply attributed it to both protection of oil assets of the United States in the Middle East and protection for the Jewish population living in Israel so that they would not have to go through another Holocaust scenario. Both reasons justified a strong nuclear deterrent.

A quick search on the internet reveals these articles on the subject

1. Israeli Nuclear Weapons
http://www.fas.org/nuke/guide/israel/nuke/

“Israel has not confirmed that it has nuclear weapons and officially maintains that it will not be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons into the Middle East. Yet the existence of Israeli nuclear weapons is a “public secret” by now due to the declassification of large numbers of formerly highly classified US government documents which show that the United States by 1975 was convinced that Israel had nuclear weapons.

History
Israel began actively investigating the nuclear option from its earliest days. In 1949, HEMED GIMMEL a special unit of the IDF’s Science Corps, began a two-year geological survey of the Negev desert with an eye toward the discovery of uranium reserves. Although no significant sources of uranium were found, recoverable amounts were located in phosphate deposits.
The program took another step forward with the creation of the Israel Atomic Energy Commission (IAEC) in 1952. Its chairman, Ernst David Bergmann, had long advocated an Israeli bomb as the best way to ensure “that we shall never again be led as lambs to the slaughter.” Bergmann was also head of the Ministry of Defense’s Research and Infrastructure Division (known by its Hebrew acronym, EMET), which had taken over the HEMED research centers (HEMED GIMMEL among them, now renamed Machon 4) as part of a reorganization. Under Bergmann, the line between the IAEC and EMET blurred to the point that Machon 4 functioned essentially as the chief laboratory for the IAEC. By 1953, Machon 4 had not only perfected a process for extracting the uranium found in the Negev, but had also developed a new method of producing heavy water, providing Israel with an indigenous capability to produce some of the most important nuclear materials…”

2. Israel and weapons of mass destruction
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israel_and_weapons_of_mass_destruction

“Israel is widely believed to possess weapons of mass destruction, and to be one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).[1] The US Congress Office of Technology Assessment has recorded Israel as a country generally reported as having undeclared chemical warfare capabilities, and an offensive biological warfare program.[2] Officially Israel neither confirms nor denies possessing nuclear weapons.

Although no official statistics exist, it has been estimated that Israel possesses up to 400 thermonuclear weapons, believed to be of Teller-Ulam design, including strategic warheads in the megaton-range.[3][4][5] Delivery mechanisms include Jericho intercontinental ballistic missiles, with a range of 11,500 km.[6] Additionally, Israel is believed to have an offshore nuclear second-strike capability, using submarine launched nuclear-capable cruise missiles.[7] The Israeli government maintains a policy of deliberate ambiguity on whether it has nuclear weapons, saying only that it would not be the first to “introduce nuclear weapons in the Middle East.”[8] Former International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei regarded Israel as a state possessing nuclear weapons.[9]

Israel has not signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. However, on July 13, 2008, Israel took part in a regional conference of the Union for the Mediterranean which pledged to pursue a Middle East Zone free of weapons of mass destruction.[10]”

3. Nuclear weapons and Israel
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_and_Israel

Israel is widely believed to be the sixth country in the world to have developed nuclear weapons[5] and to be one of four nuclear-armed countries not recognized as a Nuclear Weapons State by the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the others being India, Pakistan and North Korea.[6] Former International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei regarded Israel as a state possessing nuclear weapons,[7] but Israel maintains a policy known as “nuclear ambiguity” (also known as “nuclear opacity”). Israel has never officially admitted to having nuclear weapons, instead repeating over the years that it would not be the first country to “introduce” nuclear weapons to the Middle East, leaving ambiguous whether it means it will not create, will not disclose, or will not make first use of the weapons. Israel has refused to sign the NPT despite international pressure to do so, and has stated that signing the NPT would be contrary to its national security interests.[8]

Israel started investigating the nuclear field soon after its founding in 1948 and with French support secretly began building a nuclear reactor and reprocessing plant in the late 1950s. Although Israel first built a nuclear weapon in the late 1960s, it was not publicly confirmed from the inside until Mordechai Vanunu, a former Israeli nuclear technician, revealed details of the program to the British press in 1986. Israel is currently believed to possess between 75 and 400 nuclear warheads with the ability to deliver them by intercontinental ballistic missile, aircraft, and submarine.[2]

4. Israel’s Nuclear Weapons Program
http://nuclearweaponarchive.org/Israel/index.html

Israel is believed to possess the largest and most sophisticated arsenal outside of the five declared nuclear powers. Israel has never admitted possessing nuclear weapons, but abundant information is available showing that the capability exists.
A short essay on the history of Israel’s nuclear weapons program
April 1997 revelations about Israeli-South African nuclear collaboration
The center of Israel’s weapons program is the Negev Nuclear Research Center near the desert town of Dimona (the center is usually identified simply as “Dimona”). A nuclear reactor and plutonium production facility was built by France at this facility in the late 1950s and early 60s. All of the production and fabrication of special nuclear materials (plutonium, lithium-6 deuteride, and enriched and unenriched uranium) occurs at Dimona although the design and assembly of nuclear weapons occurs elsewhere.

So based on these four articles, it can be safely assumed that Israel is a non-recognized nuclear power.

The reason why Israel has political ambiguity in not confirming their nuclear weapons is that it would lead to an escalation of nuclear weapons in the Middle East.

If there was a nuclear war between Israel and another Middle East country it would lead to the destruction of the entire Middle East area and its oil producing capabilities.

Therefore in recognition of the past Holocaust atrocities against the Jewish people during World War II Israel has been allowed to develop its nuclear program and develop nuclear weapons in order to protect itself from future transgressions.

The nuclear weapons program was allowed as long as Israel kept silent about its nuclear strike capabilities. This it has done to date and will do so in the foreseeable future.

Iran will not be allowed to have nuclear weapons or a nuclear arsenal based on the above information. In this particular case, a balance of power will not be allowed in the Middle East due to the extreme danger of a nuclear war destroying the oil facilities in the Middle East.

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Pakistan Warns NATO against Conducting Military Operations… September 28, 2010

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Pakistani government warned the NATO and the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) to refrain from performing any military operations and attack inside the country under the pretext of chasing Afghan militants.

“The ISAF and NATO forces were urged to refrain from any military operations which violate the UN laws and Pakistan’s sovereignty,” Pakistani Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abdul Basit told FNA on Tuesday.

Basit also strongly protested at the recent violation of the country’s air space by the ISAF and NATO forces, and described it as obvious violation of the UN laws.

He reiterated that the UN has allowed the NATO forces to chase the outlaws merely in Afghanistan territory and they are not permitted to conduct military operations in other neighboring countries, like Pakistan.

“Any violation of the laws is unacceptable for Pakistan,” Basit stressed.

Pakistan’s protest came after the U.S.-led international force in Afghanistan confirmed that its helicopters staged cross-border air strikes Saturday against what they said Pakistan-based Afghan militants “in self-defense.”

Pakistan said the ISAF helicopters intruded into its territory twice from Khost, eastern Afghanistan, and the incidents were a clear violation and breach of the UN mandate under which ISAF operates.

ISAF said it had operated under NATO’s rules of engagement in following the insurgents across the border after they attacked a remote Afghan National Security Force outpost.

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