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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Morcha hits out at rival revival plan ... Hills headed for turmoil .... guard killed by elephant ... Wikileaks founder Julian Assange arrested

unrest in rishihat
TT, Darjeeling, Dec. 7: The Gorkha Janmukti Morcha today hit back at the GNLF for its revival efforts by mobilising supporters for a public meeting in Darjeeling where the effigy of Subash Ghisingh was burnt.
Also, as part of the pressure tactics before December 20, the last date the party had set for the government to ink an agreement for the set-up, most offices in the hills were shut for the second day. The Morcha has told the government that the interim set-up for the hills must be in place by December 20, failing which it will call a 48-hour shutdown in the region.
Till then all government offices, barring a few like that of census, election and food and supplies, would not be allowed to function. Attendance was thin in all offices that were open today. Yesterday, for the first time in three years, the GNLF had held simultaneous meetings in nearly 16 places to celebrate the signing of the memorandum of settlement for Sixth Schedule status between the Centre, state and Ghisingh in 2005.
Today, hundreds of Morcha supporters took part in a public meeting at Chowk Bazar in Darjeeling. Although the rally was part of a series of agitation announced by the Morcha in November to press for the inclusion of the tauzi department — that keeps record of land — in the interim set-up, it assumed significance given yesterday’s development.
Members of the Morcha youth wing burnt the effigy of GNLF chief Ghisingh during the course of the meeting.
Sudeep Gurung, secretary of the Yuva Morcha, Darjeeling town committee, said: “People will never accept Subash Ghisingh. He was solely responsible for spoiling the future of an entire generation. And just when we are trying to give the generation a better future, he is again trying to destroy it.” Sudeep said there would be no stopping the interim set-up from being established in the hills. “Nothing can stall the implementation of the interim set-up.”
The GNLF in recent times has been clamouring for Sixth Schedule for the hills instead of the interim set-up. The GNLF chief was hounded out of the hills in June 2008. Since then, Ghisingh and other GNLF leaders have been staying in the plains of Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri district.
Given the Morcha’s posturing today, observers believe that there could still be unrest in the hills if Ghisingh decides to return immediately.
In fact, there was palpable tension yesterday after the GNLF hoisted its flags in more than a dozen places. Even though no major incidents of clashes were reported, police said a GNLF supporter from Risheehat, Kalu Singh, had to be rescued.
“Supporters of both the parties were in a state of panic and filed complaints against each other alleging intimidation. We did rescue one GNLF supporter from Risheehat who had been gheraoed as the Morcha alleged that he had firearms. The police team, however, did not find any firearms on him but we rescued him from the village to avoid any untoward incident,” said D.P. Singh, the superintendent of police of Darjeeling. The police chief was in Risheehat, 15km from here, the entire night because of tension.
Shivraj Thapa, the media and publicity secretary of the GNLF’s Darjeeling sub-divisional committee, alleged that the Morcha had run out of ideas. “Burning the effigy of our leader is laughable as in the past the Morcha had performed the last rites of our leader in Darjeeling. After performing last rites, they are burning the effigy,” said Thapa.
KalimNews: A report of GNLF informed that GNLF had activated its GNWO a ladies group and an executive committee consisting of 45 members is formed.
Mamta Banerjee, Railway Minister may visit Darl]jeeling during the last week of December.
Darjeeling Police arrested 10 GNLF supporters for attacking the house of Kalu Rai a GJMM member in Rishihat of Chungtung area
Brigadier NBS Bistha, President of Gorkha Sudhar Sangha, Dehradun speaking to a vernacular daily of Siliguri said that Gorkhas of Dehradun opt for Gorkhaland  and not any other body.
Hills headed for turmoil
Deep Gazmer, TNN, Dec 8, DARJEELING: The prolonged impasse over setting up of a new autonomous development agency in place of DGHC is again likely to push the volatile Hills into chaos and anarchy. 
Owing to various reasons, the Centre, the state government and the GJM have failed to have an understanding on the formation of the proposed Gorkhaland Regional Authority (GRA). Last year, New Delhi had offered to set up the GRA as a solution to the GJM's demand for a new state. Since then, the three sides have held several rounds of talks.
The main hurdle in creating the GRA has been the differences between the state government and the GJM over adding Nepali-dominated areas of the Terai and the Dooars to the GRA. Fearing opposition from non-Nepalis in the plains, the state government wants to confine the GRA's authority to the three hill subdivisions of Darjeeling, Kurseong and Kalimpong.
Of late, the state's refusal to allow the GJM to run the GRA without an election has also come up as a major irritant between the two principal stakehoders in the peace process. The GJM wants a nominated board to govern the GRA.
With the talks on the GRA in a limbo, anti-GJM parties like ABGL, CPRM and CPM have become more assertive than ever before. Prior to this, they were not allowed to carry out their activities openly by the GJM. They resumed their political programmes only after the GJM found itself in a tight spot following the May 21 assassination of ABGL chief Madan Tamang. At least a dozen GJM leaders, including Bimal Gurung, were named in the FIR.
Having found the GJM cornered, GNLF chief Subash Ghisingh has also lately begun to reactivate his organisation in the Hills. Considering the GJM's hardline stand on GNLF, Ghisingh's comeback bid may set the Hills afire again. On Tuesday, activists of the GJM's youth wing burnt Ghisingh's effigies in Darjeeling. A day earlier, Gurung's supporters had resisted when GNLF supporters raised their party flags in the Hills for the first time in four years. The GNLF was celebrating the fifth anniversary of the December 6, 2005 agreement between the state, the Centre and Ghisingh that proposed to put the Hills in the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution.
"It's a civil war-like situation. The Hills may be on fire any time if the Centre and the state do not immediately end the GJM's anarchy and restore some resemblance of law here," CPRM general secretary R B Rai said. Critical of the GJM for agreeing to accept the GRA in place of full statehood, Rai added, "The state and the Centre have been able to sidetrack the issue of Gorkhaland by appeasing the GJM as they did to Ghisingh in the past."
The ABGL, the region's oldest party, sounded equally disappointed both with the GJM and the state. "Our leader (Tamang) was murdered because he opposed the proposed interim set-up (GRA). The long-pending statehood issue needs to be solved politically," ABGL working president Dawa Sherpa said.
On the other hand, Ghisingh's insistence that Darjeeling be included in the Sixth Schedule, the very issue that caused his downfall four years ago, has added more to the confusion. In 2007, the GJM emerged as a force bigger than the GNLF after most Nepalis opposed the Sixth Schedule proposal fearing disintegration of the community on ethnic and religious lines. Ghisingh recently claimed that the Centre and the state cannot go back on the MoU signed with on the Sixth Schedule proposal.
The situation is likely to get murkier when parties prepare for the coming assembly polls. Nepalis play a key role in at least 10 assembly seats in Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri. Since both the Trinamool and the CPM have a weak base in the Hills, they may try to woo some local ethnic organisation to gain a foothold there during the elections.
Also, to keep its hold over the Hills intact, GJM recently began an aggressive campaign for the formation of the GJA. 

Rimpoche glare on Dalai’s hill visit
TT, Kalimpong, Dec. 7: A Buddhist organisation has cautioned the followers of the Dalai Lama against using the visit of the Tibetan spiritual leader to Kalimpong to install Tenzing Jigme Dhendup at Tharpa Choaling monastery here as the reincarnate of Domo Geyshe Rimpoche.
While the followers of the Dalai Lama claim Tenzing Jigme Dhendup is the Rimpoche’s reincarnate, others claim Lobsang Jigme Wangchuk, who was born in Sikkim in August 2006, to be the true Domo Geyshe Rimpoche. The second Domo Geyshe Rimpoche died in the US in 2001.
The Joint Action Committee (JAC), formed under the aegis of the Ghum Dun Gon Samten Choaling Association, based in Ghoom, near Darjeeling, said in a release that since the matter related to the true claimant of the Tharpa Choaling monastery was still pending before a Kalimpomg court, it hoped the followers of the Dalai Lama would not use the occasion to “carry out their hidden agenda”.
The relationship between the Dalai Lama and the second Domo Geyshe Rimpoche soured after the former decried the worship of the Dorjee Sheegden deity, which the Rimpoche and his followers consider holy. Since then a search was on to find his incarnate.
The identification of the true reincarnate of Domo Geyshe Rimpoche has been a bone of contention between the followers of the Dalai Lama and those who claim to be the followers of the Rimpoche.
The JAC release, however, welcomed the visit of the Tibetan leader to the region beginning December 12. The Dalai Lama is scheduled to leave for Sikkim on December 15.
The in-charge of the Tharpa Choaling Monastery, Lhowang Dorji, however, denied any motive behind the Dalai Lama’s visit. “His Holiness will stay in our monastery. We have no other motives than to pay our obeisance to him,” he said.
Elephants create panic and ...- ... Light moments
TT, Alipurduar, Dec. 7: Four persons had to spend around five hours on the roof of a building last night when around 25 elephants rampaged through a village outside Jaldapara forest.
The marauding animals also damaged a watchtower, food stall and dish antennas of a private resort at Madarihat. There were no tourists at the resort when the herd raided it.
Hours after the elephants had created panic at Madarihat, another herd, which had 15-20 calves, was giving some interesting moments to tourists near a garden in Salboni today.
Suten Das, who had taken refuge on the roof along with three others, said no forester had come forward to help them even though the office of the assistant wildlife warden, Madarihat, was a stone’s throw from the spot.
At 8pm, about 25-30 elephants appeared at the rear end of Madarihat police station. After roaming in the area for three hours, the herd reached Subhash Nagar, almost 500 metres from the police station. Few of the animals stood on NH31C, while others entered the resort.
More than 500 people came out of their houses and started bursting crackers and flashing search lights to drive the elephants away.
“But they were least scared. The animals, instead, rushed towards us on the highway and we ran helter-skelter. People travelling in both directions stopped their vehicles and parked them in front of an eatery along the highway,” said Das.
“Inside the resort, the elephants damaged a watchtower, a shed under which tourists take food and some dish antennas. Luckily, there were no tourists in the resort. Otherwise, there would have been casualties,” said Das.
When the elephants chased the people, Das and a family in his neighbourhood climbed atop the roof of a room adjacent to a defunct petrol pump.
“It was around 11.15pm. When some elephants were wreaking havoc on the resort, other members of the herd were targeting the petrol pump. The animals rummaged through bushes and broke open a godown, where huge quantities of corn were stored. The elephants feasted on it and went on uprooting plants on the petrol pump compound,” said Das.
Mantosh Saha, Sumoti Saha and seven-year-old Sayon Saha were also on the roof.
“We were praying to Lord Ganesha. No forester had come forward to help us. I tried to contact the elephant squad, but their cellphones were switched off. Then, I contacted Madarihat police who ultimately rescued us about 4.30am,” said Das.
The police chased the animals away by bursting crackers and beating drums.
Biswajit Saha, the owner of the resort, said he had tried to contact Madarihat and Jaldapara range offices and the assistant wildlife warden. But there was no response as the phones were switched off.
“Elephants were creating panic in the area from 8pm to 5am. Surprisingly, no forest officer had come to help us. Apart from my property, there are 15 other resorts in the locality,” said Saha, who is also the secretary of the Jaldapara Lodge Owners’ Association.
Madarihat is 50km from Alipurduar.
Omprakash, the divisional forest officer of wildlife III, said: “As the staff were busy at other places last night, they could not reach Madarihat. The guards visited the area this morning. We are annoyed as we are heckled by villagers regularly when we try to send elephants back to forests.”
The herd which was spotted near the Red Bank Tea Estate in Salboni was there till this evening. A large number of tourists from Lataguri reached the locality to see the herd which had 15-20 calves.
“I am very excited as this is the first time I am seeing a large number of elephants from such a close distance. But it is sad that elephants have damaged crops,” said Soma Sen, a tourist from Calcutta. 
The herd had around 50 members.
Jumbo kills guard
TT: A casual forest guard, the only earning member of his family, was killed by an elephant in the Champramari forest on Monday evening.
The 18-year-old Ranjan Munda was patrolling the forest on Monday evening when the jumbo carried him away on its trunk. The body was found around 5am on Tuesday.
Members of the Forest Watchers’ Association handed over the body for post-mortem only after the forest department had assured them that the victim’s family would be paid compensation.
Pay-up calls land mall guards in jail
Bulbul Ahmed being taken to court on Tuesday. Picture by Kundan Yolmo
TT, Siliguri, Dec. 7: Three security guards of a shopping mall here were arrested last night for allegedly making extortion calls to a hardware merchant for the past few days.
The trio — Bulbul Ahmed, Rezaul Islam and Mohesin Reza, all residents of Buniadpur in South Dinajpur — had hatched a plan to extort money from the businessman by making threat calls to him, police said.
“For the past three-four days, the three were making calls to the residential telephone of Mahadeblal Goyal, who stays in Khalpara and owns a hardware shop on Sevoke Road,” an officer of Siliguri police station said. “The callers demanded Rs 3 lakh and threatened to plant a bomb in his house to kill him and his family.”
The businessman informed the police and sought security for his family.
“We tapped the telephone for the past two days and waited for the calls. When the extortionists rang up, the calls were traced to a cellphone and a PCO booth in Haiderpara,” a police officer who was investigating the case said. “After verifying the facts, we came to the conclusion that Bulbul, who works as a security guard at a shopping mall on Sevoke Road, had made the calls. He had repeatedly asked Goyal to bring the money to Haiderpara.”
Investigations revealed that Bulbul stayed in a private boarding with Islam and Reza and the three were caught in a raid last night. “During interrogation Bulbul confessed to the crime. The other two, who are also security guards of the same shopping mall where Bulbul works, are suspected to have been involved in the plot to extort money from the businessman. The trio were arrested,” the officer said.
Bulbul, before being appointed the guard at the mall, used to work at a shop next to Goyal’s on Sevoke Road. “He had managed to get the businessman’s residential telephone number and the trio planned to make some fast bucks by extorting him,” he said.
Hardware merchants appeared relieved after the arrest. “It is good that the police acted promptly,” said Sandeep Sinhal, the secretary of the Hardware Merchants’ Association, Siliguri. “We have asked our members to be on alert.”
The trio, booked under Section 387 of the IPC (putting a person in fear of death or of grievous hurt to commit extortion), were remanded in judicial custody for 14 days by additional chief judicial magistrate Bibhuti Khesang.
Trio with fake lakhs arrested
TT, Malda, Dec. 7: Three armed men carrying fake currency over Rs 2 lakh were arrested from a bus terminus located a stone’s throw from a police station last night, the crackdown the latest in Malda town where there have been 43 such arrests this year.
Acting on a tip-off, a force from the Englishbazar police station arrived at North Bengal State Transport Corporation depot, a few metres away, around 9.30pm. They surrounded a Calcutta-bound bus and arrested Asiul Sheikh, Rintu Sheikh and Matiur Rehman who were on it.
While Matiur is a resident of a village in Baishnabnagar, the other two are from Kaliachak, police said. Fake notes with a face value of Rs 2.5 lakh, two 9mm pistols and 10 rounds of live ammunition were found in a bag they were carrying.
Malda police chief Bhuban Mondal said till last night this year the Englishbazar force has seized counterfeit notes with a face value of Rs 37.14 lakh and arrested 46 persons. The total amount of fake notes seized in the district so far is over Rs 66 lakh (face value) and the number of arrests, 78.
The trio have confessed during interrogation that the notes and the firearms were to have been handed over to a person in Esplanade in Calcutta.
The inspector-in-charge of Englishbazar police station, Bipul Chakrabarty, said the accused had collected the notes from a man named Zulfikar Ali in a village near the Bangladesh border in Baishnabnagar, 35km from here.
The district police chief said the name and address of the receiver in Calcutta were now with the cops.
“The men ferrying fake notes stopped using the railways after a severe crackdown on trains passing through Malda. Instead they have turned to road links. These people have been finding the bus route safe,” police chief Mondal said.
He said the maximum number of arrests and seizures had taken place in Englishbazar this year with the police registering 25 cases followed by 22 in Kaliachak and 10 in Baishnabnagar.
“The police had filed 22 chargesheets but not a single conviction was made despite the chargesheets being filed in court within 60 days. We have also seen in many cases that those released have rejoined the racket,” Mondal said.
In another incident, Mondal said, an arms manufacturer was arrested with an improvised double barrelled gun from the Jadupur bus stand in Kaliachak, 20km from here, this afternoon.
“The arrested man has been identified as Munna Kumar Pandey, a resident of Bihar’s Bhagalpur. The police are investigating why he had come to Jadupur with the firearm,” Mondal said.
Ritual alienates calf from herd - Elephant rejected after villagers worship it as ‘ganesh’
Pullock Dutta, TT, Guwahati, Dec. 7: An elephant calf was rejected by its herd after it was smeared with vermilion and mustard oil by villagers in an apparent attempt to worship “Ganesh Baba” after it was found near a village under Hojai forest division in Nagaon district yesterday.
Forest department personnel tried twice to reunite the calf with the herd but the latter refused to accept it because of the alien odours emanating from its body.
The nearly three-month-old calf had to be shifted to the Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation near Kaziranga after repeated attempts by the forest department personnel and International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India officials to reunite it with the herd failed.
“The smell of vermilion and oil smeared on the calf’s body could be the reason for the herd refusing to accept the calf. The smell of humans combined with that of oil and vermilion repulsed the herd,” noted wildlife expert and retired professor of Gauhati University, Parimal Chandra Bhattacharjee, told The Telegraph today.
The villagers spotted the calf in a sugarcane plantation at Lashkar Pathar early yesterday. They then informed the forest department but not before the ritual worshipping of Ganesh baba.
“We rushed to the spot immediately and took possession of the calf. Subsequently, we spotted the herd grazing in a nearby area and released the calf near the herd. We saw the calf running towards the herd and trying to mingle. We came back thinking that it was safe. But to our surprise the calf was found abandoned again after about an hour. We then washed its body with water and smeared it with elephant dung so that the herd accepts it, but only a female elephant, believed to be its mother, was seen welcoming the calf in the second attempt. The rest of the herd was not allowing the calf to be a part of it. Finally, the mother also left with the herd, leaving the calf behind,” said Jayanta Deka, assistant conservator of forests, Hojai division.
Bhattacharjee said there were mainly two reasons for the elephants refusing to accept a calf belonging to the herd — if the calf is separated from the herd for a long period and if it comes into contact with human beings.
Elephant herds also abandon calves when they fail to keep pace with the herd because of sickness.
“In the Nagaon incident, the calf was a healthy one and there was no sign of any sickness. It was only because of the human contact that the herd refused to accept the calf,” Bhattacharjee said.
Rathin Barman, the co-ordinator of IFAW-WTI (Northeast), said the intention of the local people who smeared the calf with vermilion and mustard oil sprang out of ignorance about animal habits.
“This was a total lack of awareness among the villagers who worshipped the calf as Ganesh Baba,” he said.
The abandoned calf was finally brought to the rehabilitation centre.
“It is doing fine, though it is suffering from moderate dehydration,” said Anil Deka, IFAW-WTI (International Fund for Animal Welfare-Wildlife Trust of India) vet, currently attending to the calf.
“We are feeding it with electrolyte now. We will start feeding it milk soon,” he added.
Missing girls rescued
TT, Malda, Dec. 7: Police rescued two minor girls who had been missing since November 30 from a house in Noida near Delhi yesterday and handed them over to their parents today.
Malda police chief Bhuban Mondal said the girls, aged 14 and 15, were students of a high school in Habibpur. They did not return home after they left home for tuition on November 30.
“We came to know about the girls’ whereabouts after arresting one Brojen Haldar, also a resident of Habibpur. The girls told us that they had been taken to Delhi by a man who had promised them jobs,” said Mondal.
Panel scrap
TT, Balurghat: South Dinajpur district child development project officer Brindaban Das on Tuesday cancelled a panel published on Monday to recruit 20 anganwadi workers in the Kusumundi block following allegations that graduates had made it to the list. According to rules, graduates are disallowed from applying for the posts of anganwadi workers.
Dowry murder
TT, Islampur: Nazneen Begum was murdered allegedly by her husband and parents-in-law at Sonakhoda near here on Monday night. Police said the 24-year-old woman had been strangled to death by her husband and his family for refusing to give dowry. Nakibul Rehman married Begum one and a half years ago. Rehman is missing but his parents have been arrested.
School gifts
TT, Jaigaon: The 17th battalion of the Sashastra Seema Bal posted on the India-Bhutan border presented school bags and pencils to 100 children studying at an sishu siksha kendra in Luksan under Nagrakata block on Tuesday.
Political tax prey and hunter dead
The wife of the slain CPM supporter. (Kaushik Pramanik)
TT, Behrampore, Dec. 7: A CPM activist who refused to pay up for staying in a Congress-dominated Murshidabad pocket was shot dead this morning, triggering a retaliatory attack that left his killer dead hours later.

The violence in Tarbagan village of the Domkol area is part of a larger cycle of CPM-Congress clashes that has claimed five lives, including today’s deaths, in the past four months.
Abul Hussain, the assailant who triggered this morning’s chain of attacks, is a local thug with alleged Congress links and is blamed for many of the previous incidents of violence.
Asok Das, secretary of the Congress’s Murshidabad unit, claimed today’s bloodshed was the fallout of a dispute over non-payment of wages under the rural job scheme NREGA to Congress supporters by the Tarbagan panchayat. The body is one the few run by the CPM in the area. The Congress has called a 12-hour bandh in Domkal tomorrow.
At Writers’ Building in Calcutta this evening, state panchayat minister Anisur Rahaman, who is the CPM MLA from Domkol, denied that the attacks were related to the NREGA wage payments.
Panchayats in Domkol, around 245km from Calcutta, had been under the control of the Left till the 2008 rural elections, after which the party started losing ground. Now, the Congress controls 11 of the 13 rural bodies in the area.
Hussain and his gang had been demanding Rs 1 lakh from each of the CPM workers for letting them return to the villages from where they had fled in the face of the Congress’s threats. This morning, Hussain demanded a similar sum from CPM worker Manik Mondal, 51, who had returned home to Tarbagan only last night.
Mondal refused, after which Hussain pulled out his revolver and shot him dead. His wife, son and daughter-in-law fled the house and raised the alarm.
Other villagers chased Hussain and attacked him with scythes and choppers. Hussain succumbed to his injuries in hospital this evening.
CPM district secretariat member Narayan Das alleged that police had done nothing to check the continuing violence.
The Arrest Of Julian Assange: Truth In Chains
Chris Floyd, 07 December, 2010,Counterpunch,London: Well, they got him at last. WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, the target of several of the world’s most powerful governments, turned himself into British authorities today and is now at the mercy of state authorities who have already shown their wolfish – and lawless – desire to destroy him and his organization.
It has been, by any standard, an extraordinary campaign of vilification and persecution, wholly comparable to the kind of treatment doled out to dissidents in China or Burma. Lest we forget, WikiLeaks is a journalistic outlet – just like The New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel, all of whom are even now publishing the very same material – leaked classified documents -- available on WikiLeaks. The website is also a journalistic outlet just like CNN, ABC, CBS, Fox and other mainstream media venues, where we have seen an endless parade of officials – and journalists! – calling for Assange to be prosecuted or killed outright. Every argument being made for shutting down WikiLeaks can – and doubtless will – be used against any journalistic enterprise that publishes material that powerful people do not like.
And the leading role in this persecution of truth-telling is being played by the administration of the great progressive agent of hope and change, the self-proclaimed heir of Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, the winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, Barack Obama. His attorney general, Eric Holder, is now making fierce noises about the “steps” he has already taken to bring down WikiLeaks and criminalize the leaking of embarrassing information. And listen to the ferocious reaction of that liberal lioness, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who took to the pages of Rupert Murdoch’s Wall Street Journal to call for Assange to be put in prison – for 2,500,000 years:
“When WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange released his latest document trove—more than 250,000 secret State Department cables—he intentionally harmed the U.S. government. The release of these documents damages our national interests and puts innocent lives at risk. He should be vigorously prosecuted for espionage.
“The law Mr. Assange continues to violate is the Espionage Act of 1917. That law makes it a felony for an unauthorized person to possess or transmit "information relating to the national defense which information the possessor has reason to believe could be used to the injury of the United States or to the advantage of any foreign nation." ... Importantly, the courts have held that "information relating to the national defense" applies to both classified and unclassified material. Each violation is punishable by up to 10 years in prison.”
So there you have it. Ten years for each offense; 250,000 separate offenses; thus a prison term of 2.5 million years. Naturally, tomorrow the same newspaper will denounce Feinstein for being such a namby-pamby terrorist-coddling pinko: “Why didn’t she call for Assange to be torn from limb to limb by wild dogs, as any right-thinking red-blooded American would do!?”
Meanwhile, corporate America and its international allies continue to do their bit. Joining PayPal and Amazon, who had already cut off their services to WikiLeaks, most of the remaining venues through which the internet journal is funded are also freezing out the organization -- MasterCard, Visa, and a Swiss bank that WikiLeaks used to process donations. All of these organizations are obviously responding to government pressure.
What is perhaps most remarkable is that this joint action by the world elite to shut down WikiLeaks – which has been operating for four years – comes after the release of diplomatic cables, not in response to earlier leaks which provided detailed evidence of crimes and atrocities committed by the perpetrators and continuers of Washington’s Terror War. I suppose this is because the diplomatic cables have upset the smooth running of the corrupt and cynical backroom operations that actually govern our world, behind the ludicrous lies and self-righteous posturing that our great and good lay on for the public. They didn’t mind being unmasked as accomplices in mass murder and fomenters of suffering and hatred; in fact, they were rather proud of it. And they certainly knew that their fellow corruptocrats in foreign governments – not to mention the perpetually stunned and supine American people – wouldn’t give a toss about a bunch of worthless peons in Iraq and Afghanistan getting killed. But the diplomatic cables have caused an embarrassing stink among the closed little clique of the movers and shakers. And that is a crime deserving of vast eons in stir – or death.
But before Assange was taken into custody, he fired off one last message to the world, in The Australian, a newspaper in his native land. With supreme irony, he tied WikiLeaks’ operation to the roots of the Murdoch media empire, which began by speaking truth to murderous and wasteful power – and now, of course, is one of the most powerful and assiduous instruments of murderous and wasteful power itself. Assange writes:
“IN 1958 a young Rupert Murdoch, then owner and editor of Adelaide’s The News, wrote: “In the race between secrecy and truth, it seems inevitable that truth will always win.” His observation perhaps reflected his father Keith Murdoch’s expose that Australian troops were being needlessly sacrificed by incompetent British commanders on the shores of Gallipoli. The British tried to shut him up but Keith Murdoch would not be silenced and his efforts led to the termination of the disastrous Gallipoli campaign.
“Nearly a century later, WikiLeaks is also fearlessly publishing facts that need to be made public. … Democratic societies need a strong media and WikiLeaks is part of that media. The media helps keep government honest. WikiLeaks has revealed some hard truths about the Iraq and Afghan wars, and broken stories about corporate corruption.
“WikiLeaks is not the only publisher of the US embassy cables. Other media outlets, including Britain ‘s The Guardian, The New York Times, El Pais in Spain and Der Spiegel in Germany have published the same redacted cables.
“Yet it is WikiLeaks, as the co-ordinator of these other groups, that has copped the most vicious attacks and accusations from the US government and its acolytes. I have been accused of treason, even though I am an Australian, not a US citizen. There have been dozens of serious calls in the US for me to be “taken out” by US Special Forces. Sarah Palin says I should be “hunted down like Osama bin Laden”, a Republican bill sits before the US Senate seeking to have me declared a “transnational threat” and disposed of accordingly. An adviser to the Canadian Prime Minister’s office has called on national television for me to be assassinated. An American blogger has called for my 20-year-old son, here in Australia, to be kidnapped and harmed for no other reason than to get at me.”
These, of course, are the defenders of Western Civilization, that pinnacle of human progress, that bulwark against savagery like murder and torture, that bastion of temperance and reason. But in his piece, Assange once more gives the lie to the ferocious canards of Feinstein, Holder, Obama and Palin about the “great harm” the leaks have done:
“WikiLeaks has a four-year publishing history. During that time we have changed whole governments, but not a single person, as far as anyone is aware, has been harmed. But the US, with Australian government connivance, has killed thousands in the past few months alone.
“US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates admitted in a letter to the US congress that no sensitive intelligence sources or methods had been compromised by the Afghan war logs disclosure. The Pentagon stated there was no evidence the WikiLeaks reports had led to anyone being harmed in Afghanistan. NATO in Kabul told CNN it couldn’t find a single person who needed protecting. The Australian Department of Defence said the same. No Australian troops or sources have been hurt by anything we have published.”
Yes, how many thousands of people, how many tens of thousands, have been killed by our bipartisan Terror Warriors in the four years of WikiLeaks’ existence? How many millions have been “harmed” not only by the direct operations of the Terror War, but by the ever-widening, ever-deepening violence, hatred and turmoil it is spreading throughout the world? (Not to mention the accelerating collapse of American society, which has been financially, politically and morally bankrupted by the acceptance of aggressive war, torture, elite rapine and authoritarian rule.)
But none of the perpetrators of these acts, past or present, are in jail, or have even been prosecuted, or investigated, or inconvenienced in any way. Yet Assange is in a British prison tonight – and it is certainly not for the “sexual misconduct” charges that were filed against him in August, which then became the basis of an unprecedented worldwide arrest order of the type ordinarily reserved for war criminals – for those, in fact, accused of aggressive war, torture, elite rapine and authoritarian rule. The judge refused to grant bail, saying that Assange had “access to financial means” and could flee the country – perhaps a bitter joke on milord’s part, aimed at a man whose means of financial support are being systematically shut down by the most powerful government and corporate forces in the world. Journalist John Pilger and filmmaker Ken Loach were among those who appeared in court ready to stand surety for Assange, but to no avail.
WikiLeaks will doubtless try to struggle on. And Assange says he has given the entire diplomatic trove to 100,000 people. By dribs and drabs, shards of truth will get out. But the world’s journalists – and those persons of conscience working in the world’s governments – have been given a hard, harsh, unmistakable lesson in the new realities of our degraded time. Tell a truth that discomforts power, that challenges its domination over our lives, our discourse, our very thoughts, and you will be destroyed. No institution, public or private, will stand with you; the most powerful entities, public and private, will be arrayed against you, backed up by overwhelming violent force. This is where we are now. This is what we are now.
Chris Floyd is an American writer and frequent contributor to CounterPunch. His blog, “Empire Burlesque,” can be found at
Assange ‘Rape’ Accuser Linked To Notorious CIA Operative
David Edwards, 07 December, 2010, Raw Story: One of the women that is accusing WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange of sex crimes appears to have worked with a group that has connections to the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
James D. Catlin, a lawyer who recently represented Assange, said the sex assault investigation into the WikiLeaks founder is based on claims he didn't use condoms during sex with two Swedish women.
Swedish prosecutors told AOL News last week that Assange was not wanted for rape as has been reported, but for something called "sex by surprise" or "unexpected sex."
One accuser, Anna Ardin, may have "ties to the US-financed anti-Castro and anti-communist groups," according to Israel Shamir and Paul Bennett, writing for CounterPunch.
While in Cuba, Ardin worked with the Las damas de blanco (the Ladies in White), a feminist anti-Castro group.
Professor Michael Seltzer pointed out that the group is led by Carlos Alberto Montaner who is reportedly connected to the CIA.
Shamir and Bennett also describe Ardin as a "leftist" who "published her anti-Castro diatribes (see here and here) in the Swedish-language publication Revista de Asignaturas Cubanas put out by Misceláneas de Cuba."
Shamir and Bennett noted that Las damas de blanco is partially funded by the US government and also counts Luis Posada Carriles as a supporter.
A declassified 1976 document (.pdf) revealed Posada to be a CIA agent. He has been convicted of terrorist attacks that killed hundreds of people.
Ardin is "a gender equity officer at Uppsula University – who chose to associate with a US funded group openly supported by a convicted terrorist and mass murderer," FireDogLake's Kirk James Murphy observed.
In August, Assange told Al-Jazeera that the accusations were "clearly a smear campaign."
"We have been warned that, for example, the Pentagon is planning on using dirty tricks to destroy our work," Assange told the Swedish daily newspaper Aftonbladet.
The WikiLeaks founder said he was told to be careful of "sex traps." Had Assange fallen for one of those traps? "Maybe. Maybe not," he said.
Catlin observed that both Ardin and Sofia Wilén, the second accuser, sent SMS messages and tweets boasting of their conquests following the alleged "rapes."
"In the case of Ardin it is clear that she has thrown a party in Assange's honour at her flat after the 'crime' and tweeted to her followers that she is with the 'the world’s coolest smartest people, it’s amazing!'" he wrote.
"The exact content of Wilén’s mobile phone texts is not yet known but their bragging and exculpatory character has been confirmed by Swedish prosecutors. Niether Wilén’s nor Ardin’s texts complain of rape," Catlin said.
Ardin has also published a seven step guide on how to get revenge on cheating boyfriends.
When the charges were first leveled in August, Gawker raised doubts that Ardin was working for the CIA.
"If anything, Ardin's outing tends to undercut Assange's conspiracy theory that one of his accusers is a major figure on Sweden's left fringe, freewheelingly indiscreet on her personal blog and, until her charges, an enthusiastic promoter of Assange's visit to the country," Gawker wrote.
After Interpol issued a digital "wanted" poster for Assange on Monday morning, an unnamed Scotland Yard source reportedly told Press Association it had been given the documents needed for the arrest. Police would not comment on the report publicly.
Several British news outlets speculated that Assange could be arrested as early as Tuesday.
On Monday evening, Mark Stephens, Assange's London lawyer, was negotiating with British authorities over an arrest warrant they'd received from their Swedish counterparts. Assange has vowed to fight extradition.

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