FacebookTwitterRedditEmail

Spike Lee Fans at the Pentagon?

A disgruntled Pentagon spokesman, Geoff Morrell, recently vented about WikiLeaks’s behemoth bequest to the media of 70,000 classified documents. Morrell told the Associated Press: “If doing the right thing is not good enough for them, then we will figure out what alternatives we have to compel them to do the right thing.”

I thought at once of Spike Lee’s film, “Do the Right Thing,” in which the owner of a Brooklyn pizzeria that has only Italian movie stars on its “Wall of Fame” is reprimanded by one of his black patrons for not including an African-American. All hell breaks out when the shop owner refuses to post a picture of a black celebrity on his wall. One wonders who the Pentagon might feature on its Wall of Fame—Osama bin Laden?

Its appeal, on Thursday, to WikiLeaks to “do the right thing” and hand over, or permanently delete, whatever classified documents remain in its possession is based on voiced concern by Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Admiral McMullen, and others in intelligence that these leaks jeopardize the safety of our troops in Afghanistan as they contain the names of Afghan informants.

Of course, it’s not just safety, but morale others piped in. After all, it’s not exactly good for morale to find out that your government is concealing the real number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan nor is it good not just for the troops, but for national morale to learn that Pakistani spies are lunching with Taliban leaders. In the end, it’s a real game changer to find out that all fire may be friendly fire, so the Pentagon wants accountability, and possible criminal liability, from WikiLeaks for their disclosures of secret material.

But, WikiLeaks is not the first to endanger covert intelligence operatives. Where is the Pentagon’s lust for holding those accountable who leaked the identity of an undercover CIA agent, Valerie Plame-Wilson? Was it good for the morale of intelligence agents to know that their identities, and their lives, have been politicized? Why is it that the congressional subpoena of Karl Rove was allowed to slip through the cracks? How is it that Rove, and those for whom he provided cover, managed to escape prosecution? Does the executive branch have lifetime immunity from criminal misconduct?

More to the point, placing the media spotlight on WikiLeaks, and its Australian founder, Julian Assange, provides effective cover for other news of potentially graver consequence. For instance, we now know from an AP exclusive report that a handful of so-called high value detainees were brought to Guantanamo Bay in 2003 ” years earlier than previously disclosed then “whisked” into secret overseas prisons deliberately so that they would be deprived of access to attorneys.

As a prominent lawyer says, “This was all just a shell game to hide detainees from the courts.”

And, speaking of shell games, all the Pentagon and media focus on WikiLeaks’ transgressions has managed to keep people from asking whatever happened to nearly $9 billion in Iraqi funds for which the U.S. Defense Department is unable to account.

In a recent audit of how DoD money has been spent, the U.S. Special Investigator for Iraq Reconstruction according to AP, now says that “over 95 percent of $9.1 billion in Iraqi oil money tapped by the U.S. for rebuilding the war-ravaged nation” has yet to be located. These funds are separate and distinct from more than $50 billion Congress appropriated for rebuilding that country.

Why is there no outrage over what amounts to a slush fund for military contractors, oil companies, and war manufacturers?

WikiLeaks has graciously offered to let the Pentagon review, and redact, more than 10,000 documents that they now have in their possession. The Pentagon doesn’t appear to be the least bit moved by their offer. A spokesman for the Pentagon reportedly said they are not interested in what they call “harm minimization,” so WikiLeaks told the Associated Press, on Saturday, that they are going forward with the release of another more classified documents because “that’s what we do.” Furthermore, WikiLeaks insisted that the release of this information is in the best interest of public safety.

This time I have to agree with the Penagon. WikiLeaks should “do the right thing” and stop releasing state secrets, when there are no more state secrets to release.

JAYNE LYN STAHL is a widely published poet, essayist, playwright, and screenwriter, member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA.

 

WORDS THAT STICK
?

 

More articles by:

JAYNE LYN STAHL is a widely published poet, essayist, playwright, and screenwriter, member of PEN American Center, and PEN USA.

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550
Weekend Edition
April 03, 2020
Friday - Sunday
Omar Shaban
Gaza’s New Conflict: COVID-19
Rob Urie
Work, Crisis and Pandemic
John Whitlow
Slumlord Capitalism v. Global Pandemic
Jonathan Cook
The Bigger Picture is Hiding Behind a Virus
Paul Street
Silver Linings Amidst the Capitalist Coronavirus Crisis
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Strange Things Happening Every Day
Evaggelos Vallianatos
The Control of Nature
Louis Proyect
COVID-19 and the “Just-in-Time” Supply Chain: Why Hospitals Ran Out of Ventilators and Grocery Stores Ran Out of Toilet Paper
Kathleen Wallace
The Highly Contagious Idea
Kenneth Good
The Apartheid Wars: Non-Accountability and Freedom for Perpetrators.
Andrew Levine
Democracy in America: Sorry, But You Can’t Get There from Here.
Ramzy Baroud
Tunisia Leads the Way: New Report Exposes Israel’s False Democracy
David Rosen
Coronavirus and the State-of-Emergency Pandemic
Matthew Stevenson
Will Trump Cancel the Election? Will the Democrats Dump Joe?
Ron Jacobs
Seattle—Anti-Capitalist Hotbed
Michael T. Klare
Avenger Planet: Is the COVID-19 Pandemic Mother Nature’s Response to Human Transgression?
Jack Rasmus
COVID-19 and the Forgotten Working Class
Werner Lange
The Madness of More Nukes and Less Rights in Pandemic Times
J.P. Linstroth
Why a Race is Not a Virus and a Virus is Not a Race
John Feffer
We Need a Coronavirus Truce
Thomas S. Harrington
“New Corona Cases”: the Ultimate Floating Signifier
John Grant
Is the Pandemic Patriarchal?
Victor Grossman
Corona and What Then?
Katie Fite
Permanent Pandemic on Public Lands: Welfare Sheep Ranchers and Their Enablers Hold the West’s Bighorns Hostage
Patrick Bond
Covid-19 Attacks the Down-and-Out in Ultra-Unequal South Africa
Eve Ottenberg
Capitalism vs. Humanity
Nicky Reid
Fear and Loathing in Coronaville Volume 2: Panic On the Streets of Tehran
Jonas Ecke
Would Dying for the Economy Help Anybody?
Jeff Mackler
Capitalism is the Virus!
Andrew Moss
Incarceration, Detention, and Covid-19
Farzana Versey
Prayers, Piffle and Privation in the Time of Pandemic
Will Solomon
In the New Dystopia
Dean Baker
The Relative Generosity of the Economic Rescue Package: Boeing vs. Public Broadcasting
Dr. Leo Lopez, III
We Need a Lot More Transparency From the CDC
Kollibri terre Sonnenblume
Reflections on a Glass of Homemade Cider
Rashid Nuri
Homegrown Crisis Response: Who Grows Your Food?
Mark Luskus
Worst Case Scenario: Healthcare Workers Need Masks, ASAP
Volker Franke
The Virus That May Bring us Together
Mitchell Zimmerman
A Q & A on the GOP’s Call for Elder Sacrifice
Olfat al-Kurd
COVID-19 Could Be Catastrophic for Us: Notes From Gaza
Eileen Appelbaum - Roesmary Batt
Hospital Bailouts Begin…for Those Owned by Private Equity Firms
Nabri Ginwa
Carcinogens
Jill Richardson
Efficiency vs. Resilience
Lee Ballinger
Eddie Van Halen and the Future of Humanity
David Yearsley
Beset by Bach
FacebookTwitterRedditEmail