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Live Chat: Robert Scheer on the WikiLeaks Revelations

Posted on Jul 29, 2010

(Page 2)

11:17 Comment From Jason
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:17:07 GMT
Comment: We praise whistle-blowers and I understand they have led to some incredible changes (just look at Jeffrey Wigand and what that did to big tobacco), but it seems to me there are two issues: 1) Is our country (or the world) that deaf/blind that it takes some massive leak, like the current one, to get people’s attention? and 2) Why does the media blow it out of proportion, as if nobody knew what was going on? Every major contributor’s latest article on Truthdig this week has to do with this leak. Is this leak really going to change anything?; didn’t we already know the two wars were lost causes, especially Afghanistan?

11:19 twtrix via twitter
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:19:19 GMT

 According to the secret documents released by WikiLeaks, there were repeated instances in recent years where US for (cont.)

11:20 jamesfehon via twitter
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:20:19 GMT

 Wonder if the White House not responding to @WikiLeaks shows their tactic is marginalise & discredit, prohibiting engaging #lateline

11:20 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:20:43 GMT

 (To Jason) Well I disagree with the assumption that we haven’t learned much from this leak. It is true, as with the Pentagon Papers, there were few surprises, but there was validation to what we were able to figure out without having raw material. I have been reading it whenever I get a chance and I find it fascinating in the detail, because what it shows is that everyone in that country is on the take, whether it being on God and pushing that agenda, or Pakistan or one warlord or another, but everyone has a scam and at almost no point do they care about the US and their plans. I don’t think you realize just how ludicrous this is until you read those documents, and those saying it is irrelevant are wrong; it shows you how dangerous, and the cost of this experiment. 


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11:21 Truthdig
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:21:23 GMT

 From D.H. Kerby in Philadelphia
Mr. Scheer, Phil Kerby’s son, David, here. The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that WikiLeaks’ Julian Assange says he has a source in the U.S. government who has told him that there has been discussion in official circles of charging him as a co-conspirator to espionage. Given the administration’s hostility to whistle-blowers and with a federal shield law for journalists still in process, how best can a man who does what Assange does defend himself against an administration which fails to distinguish between openly releasing information to the people and secretly providing information to an enemy? Superb column, by the way.

11:24 BenColdagelli via twitter
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:24:34 GMT

 Obama has had quite a handful lately. Oil leaks, wiki leaks. Where is Joe the Plumber when you need him?

11:25 Comment From radson
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:25:12 GMT
Comment: Why not let India solve this Pakistani problem?; after all ‘Pakistan’ is a British invention along with the Durand Line, which in essence is a major cause of the ethnic tensions in the region, not to mention Kashmir.

11:25 probert06 via twitter
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:25:39 GMT

 Obama says prior known info in wiki leaks docs motivated decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan

11:27 Oregonrr via twitter
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:27:11 GMT

 I am on the side of wiki leaks, as I think the common man should be.

11:27 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:27:31 GMT

 (To D.H. Kerby) For those who don’t know your father’s reputation, he won the Pulitzer Prize for writing editorials which practice freedom of the press, for the LA Times, and I think it’s the spirit that has to inform the current debate. We have to defend the whistle-blowers, they didn’t jeopardize the troops; the president who sent them, who continues the war, is responsible. And the whistle-blowers, whether it be Ellsberg or in this case, people who can show them the necessary documents, end up protecting troops. We have to help them because they don’t have the money or lawyers to defend themselves. Better free press and no government than a government and no free press. Let me just add one point: the government leaks secret information all the time. The best foreign policy stories are from the US government, or other governments leaking otherwise classified information and documents to their purpose. But they are angry when information that is leaked is uncomfortable to them.

11:27 Comment From erniesfo
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:27:39 GMT
Comment: Bob: I may not put this right, but Gary Wills recently wrote an article about “what he told Obama” at a secret meeting with prominent historians in NYRB. Turns out they all told Obama not to go in on Af-Pak, to get out. He was warned about his economic advisers—Summers, Geithner, Goolsby, et at, that they were retreads who had never made a correct economic assessment in their careers. Yet here we are. Could it be that Obama is such an ideologue, and, it must be said, such an elitist (fawning over folks from Ivy League schools, etc.)  that this degrades any native intelligence that he might possess?

11:28 MUmarMuzaffar via twitter
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:28:22 GMT

 RT @TheWUC: A shameful defeat in Afghanistan causing a “Panic-Attack” in US Forces & especially CIA, results in stupid moves like “Wiki-Leaks”.

11:29 LifeScientology via twitter
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:29:49 GMT

 great @truthdig cartoons about #afghanistan #wardiary by @wikileaks and

11:32 Comment From Joshua W.
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:32:56 GMT
Comment: Anything to kick the oligarchy in the shin!

11:33 Comment From Jason
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:33:02 GMT
Comment: Do you think the hype and attention these sorts of leaks get prevents others from coming forward, even if it wouldn’t mean prosecution and jail time? Corporations and our government go to great lengths to discredit and destroy people who tell the truth. What does this say of the larger issue of “the people” actually finding the courage to rise up and do something about our failing democracy and corrupt government and corporate systems?

11:33 SocialistViews via twitter
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:33:05 GMT

 The mainstream media is willing to talk about how badly #Afghanistan war is going, but won’t discuss US war crimes revealed by #wikileaks

11:33 Robert Scheer
Thu, 29 Jul 2010 19:33:14 GMT

 (To erniesfo) I don’t think I could put it better myself. I do think, sadly, because I still find the guy quite appealing, but sadly I think you nailed it. The elitism, the unwarranted respect for someone like Summers, even screwed up being head of Harvard, has a terrible track record, is responsible for the deregulation, why would he have such a high position in the White House, it’s mind boggling. On Afghanistan, it started as a ploy, we were not attacked by Iraq, had no relations with Bin Laden, it is true that Bin Laden had a home in Afghanistan with the Taliban, what was left out is that they were part of a US government to recruit Arabs to go to Afghanistan because there weren’t enough Arabs there. Has any Afghan ever attacked the US outside of Afghanistan? No, I mean we turned it into a place of fanaticism, and we didn’t like it when the pro Soviet secular people took over there and we joined with the fanatics to get rid of him. It’s true that people we recruit turn against us, but that was a bizarre accident of history and something we helped engineer and during the campaign it seemed to work. If you want to stop terrorism you have to do police work, that would have stopped it.


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RayLan's avatar

By RayLan, July 31, 2010 at 1:10 pm Link to this comment

The US needs to stop engaging in pre-emptive illegal wars - promoting them as defensive just wars of necessity can only convince those who need no justification because they have ulterior agendas or those who are logic challenged.
That is a sufficient scandal - any other leaking of corrupt dealings are secondary.

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By sgt_doom, July 31, 2010 at 11:33 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

I noted the report from the Special IG on Iraq Reconstruction mentioning that missing portion (96%) of $9 billion in funds slated for Iraq reconstruction.

I can’t help but remember those funds, similarly as noted in the report, went from Iraq to the NY Fed (headed at the time by one Timothy Geithner, now secretary of the US Treasury) then supposedly back to Iraq, where it went unaccounted.

At that time, Philip Merrill was head of the Ex-Im Bank and involved with the Iraqi Trade Bank, where those funds were supposed to be from and returned to.

Now too long afterwards, when Merrill was rumored to be giving an interview with a journalist, he became the victim of a most unusual “suicide” which went uninvestigated.

Interesting to review that matter…..

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By Richard Nixon, July 30, 2010 at 1:17 pm Link to this comment


Yeah I guess you’re right. I could try to look at the positive part that more people
are voting against it.

I still don’t know about the public and how much it will change their mind. It
seems like people either knew this information, people hear it - but don’t feel
they can really do anything about it or people hear it and are upset that it leaked
because they feel it is messing up our path to victory.

In coming months it will be interesting to see polls on approval rating.

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JDmysticDJ's avatar

By JDmysticDJ, July 30, 2010 at 12:03 pm Link to this comment

Richard Nixon (No comment)

Last year 32 Reps. voted against funding. this year 114 Reps. voted against funding. Are we looking at a change in attitudes.

As sheer said,

“It took a long time to end Vietnam even after the publication of the Pentagon Papers, what, 3 years later. It doesn’t turn on a dime, but the fact is that the Vietnam War could NOT be defended through the Pentagon Papers. And this latest disclosure doesn’t have the same angle as the Pentagon Papers. it seems to me that the cynicism and corruption that is exposed and that we are being played by Pakistan shamelessly, and our so-called allies turn out to be our enemies and I think this is a very important leak that will give strength to those critical about the war and it is a teaching occasion and will increase enlightenment in the American public, and I think this will hasten our exit.

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By Mark, July 30, 2010 at 10:29 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

To erniesfo and Rbt. Scheer:

Summers, Geithner and Bernanke occupy the positions they do BECAUSE OF their respective track records, NOT IN SPITE OF THEM.

To hold otherwise ignores the facts and gives the POTUS cover.

BTW, BHO occupies the position he does because a substantial “constituency”, one that thinks that Summers, Geithner and Bernanke are just dandy, concluded that BHO could be relied upon to serve their needs. 18 months in, and he has yet to disappoint them.

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By tedmurphy41, July 30, 2010 at 5:39 am Link to this comment

I have been reading The Red Orchestra by V.E.Tarrant
and, while not wishing to compare the behaviour of
Nazi Germany to the present wars involving American
forces, the revelation that disparate people were
prepared, by whatever means available, to oppose what
they saw as an affront to decent human standards,
then be prepared for further disclosures that are not
in the National interest, in other words, they are
deeply embarrassing to those in charge of military
affairs in America, from the President
downwards,exposing utter incompetence and murderous
behaviour within the coalition’s armed forces.
Keep on disclosing.

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By Richard Nixon, July 29, 2010 at 6:35 pm Link to this comment

Really disappointed I missed this talk because here is one question I did not see

Will this make any difference in our Afghanistan approach?

My vote is no. I mean didn’t anyone see a day or two after this was released, the
house voted 3:1 to approve 59 billion dollars more funding there?

I mean after this and the rolling stones general story, I would think it would be at
least a closer vote to not fund it anymore.

This is why I would have answered Truthdig’s last question as, no, this isn’t really
a big deal because things will go on as usual.

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