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Counting On Apathy

March 31, 2010

From Glenn Greenwald at Salon:

A newly leaked CIA report prepared earlier this month (.pdf) analyzes how the U.S. Government can best manipulate public opinion in Germany and France — in order to ensure that those countries continue to fight in Afghanistan. The Report celebrates the fact that the governments of those two nations continue to fight the war in defiance of overwhelming public opinion which opposes it — so much for all the recent veneration of “consent of the governed” — and it notes that this is possible due to lack of interest among their citizenry: “Public Apathy Enables Leaders to Ignore Voters,” proclaims the title of one section.

But the Report also cites the “fall of the Dutch Government over its troop commitment to Afghanistan” and worries that — particularly if the “bloody summer in Afghanistan” that many predict takes place — what happened to the Dutch will spread as a result of the “fragility of European support” for the war. As the truly creepy Report title puts it, the CIA’s concern is: “Why Counting on Apathy May Not Be Enough”…

It’s both interesting and revealing that the CIA sees Obama as a valuable asset in putting a pretty face on our wars in the eyes of foreign populations. It is odious — though, of course, completely unsurprising — that the CIA plots ways to manipulate public opinion in foreign countries in order to sustain support for our wars. Now that this is a Democratic administration doing this and a Democratic war at issue, I doubt many people will object to any of this. But what is worth noting is how and why this classified Report was made publicly available: because it was leaked to and then posted by WikiLeaks.org, the site run by the non-profit group Sunshine Press, that is devoted to exposing suppressed government and corporate corruption by publicizing many of their most closely guarded secrets…

In 2008, the U.S. Army Counterintelligence Center prepared a secret report — obtained and posted by WikiLeaks — devoted to this website and detailing, in a section entitled “Is it Free Speech or Illegal Speech?”, ways it would seek to destroy the organization…

The Pentagon report also claims that WikiLeaks has disclosed documents that could expose U.S. military plans in Afghanistan and Iraq and endanger the military mission, though its discussion is purely hypothetical and no specifics are provided…

[A] volunteer, a minor, who works with WikiLeaks was detained in Iceland last week and questioned extensively about an incriminating video WikiLeaks possesses relating to the actions of the U.S. military. During the course of the interrogation, the WikiLeaks volunteer was not only asked questions about the video based on non-public knowledge about its contents (i.e., information which only the U.S. military would have), but was also shown surveillance photos of [editor] Assange exiting a recent WikiLeaks meeting regarding the imminent posting of documents concerning the Pentagon…

WikiLeaks editors, including Assagne, have spent substantial time of late in Iceland because there is a pending bill in that country’s Parliament that would provide meaningful whistle blower protection for what they do, far greater than exists anywhere else. Why is Iceland a leading candidate to do that? Because, last year, that nation suffered full-scale economic collapse…

The American media are largely co-opted, and their few remaining vestiges of real investigative journalism are crippled by financial constraints. The U.S. Congress is almost entirely impotent at providing meaningful oversight and is, in any event, controlled by the factions that maintain virtually complete secrecy.

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