Category Archive 'Spiegel'

29 Jul 2010

The Art of Leaking, According to Julian Assange

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Wikileaks’ Julian Assange released the stolen Afghan documents to the Guardian, the New York Times, and Der Spiegel in a private arrangement, allowing those major news organizations to use their enormously greater staff and resources to research and develop the material in advance of an agreed upon simultaneous publication date.

The British Guardian put the leaked documents into a functional database. The German Spiegel fact-checked the logs against German Army reports. The New York Times got in touch with the Obama administration, then declined to link to the Wikileaks “a gesture to show [the Times was] not endorsing or encouraging the release of information that could cause harm.” Julian Assange described the Times as “pusillanimous.”

(Columbia Journalism Review link)

(Beltway Beast link)


The London Times (behind subscription firewall) reported yesterday that the Wikileaks leak of those 90,000 documents revealed the names and locations of hundreds of Afghan civilian informants exposing them to Taliban reprisals.

(CBS Worldwatch link)


Julian Assange boasted today that the Wikileaks organization doesn’t know who leaked the Afghan documents, hinting at his own firewall arrangements intended to deny information on his sources to government agencies and law enforcement.

(Google News link)

02 Dec 2009

Obama Visits “the Enemy Camp” and Gets Horrible Reviews

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Even Chris Matthews recognizes that what West Point cadets are all about, Barack Obama is against. For Obama, the United States Military Academy at West Point, New York is “the enemy camp.”

Greta van Susteren has fun by feigning astonished incomprehension of Matthews’ remark, yet displays relish of the implicit sting as well.

I watched those cadets, they were young kids, men and women who are committed to serving their country professionally, it must be said, as officers, but I didn’t see much excitement. But among the older people there I saw, if not resentment, skepticism. I didn’t see a lot of warmth on that crowd out there that the president chose to address tonight. And I thought that was interesting. He went to maybe the enemy camp tonight to make his case. …I thought it was a strange venue.

1:33 video

Ouch! indeed.


Those West Point cadets didn’t like him. I saw several inconspicuously catching a nap in preference to listening to their commander in chief. Many cadets stared at Obama with looks of icy contempt.

The German news magazine Spiegel, on the other hand, really did not like him. I don’t know that I have ever read so scathing a review of a Presidential speech, not even in Southern newspapers commenting on remarks by Abraham Lincoln.

Never before has a speech by President Barack Obama felt as false as his Tuesday address announcing America’s new strategy for Afghanistan. …

The academy commanders did their best to ensure that Commander-in-Chief Barack Obama’s speech would be well-received.

Just minutes before the president took the stage inside Eisenhower Hall, the gathered cadets were asked to respond “enthusiastically” to the speech. But it didn’t help: The soldiers’ reception was cool.

One didn’t have to be a cadet on Tuesday to feel a bit of nausea upon hearing Obama’s speech. It was the least truthful address that he has ever held. He spoke of responsibility, but almost every sentence smelled of party tactics. He demanded sacrifice, but he was unable to say what it was for exactly.

An additional 30,000 US soldiers are to march into Afghanistan — and then they will march right back out again. America is going to war — and from there it will continue ahead to peace. It was the speech of a Nobel War Prize laureate. …

It was a dizzying combination of surge and withdrawal, of marching to and fro. The fast pace was reminiscent of plays about the French revolution: Troops enter from the right to loud cannon fire and then they exit to the left. And at the end, the dead are left on stage.

But in this case, the public was more disturbed than entertained. Indeed, one could see the phenomenon in a number of places in recent weeks: Obama’s magic no longer works. The allure of his words has grown weaker

Hat tip to the Barrister.

27 Oct 2009

Barack Obama is like Brazil

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Charles Krauthammer discusses Barack Obama with the German news magazine Spiegel.

SPIEGEL: Mr. Krauthammer, did the Nobel Commitee in Oslo honor or doom the Obama presidency by awarding him the Peace Prize?

Charles Krauthammer: It is so comical. Absurd. Any prize that goes to Kellogg and Briand, Le Duc Tho and Arafat, and Rigoberta Menchú, and ends up with Obama, tells you all you need to know. For Obama it’s not very good because it reaffirms the stereotypes about him as the empty celebrity.

SPIEGEL: Why does it?

Krauthammer: He is a man of perpetual promise. There used to be a cruel joke that said Brazil is the country of the future, and always will be; Obama is the Brazil of today’s politicians. He has obviously achieved nothing. And in the American context, to be the hero of five Norwegian leftists, is not exactly politically positive. …

SPIEGEL: What major mistakes has Obama made?

Krauthammer: I don’t know whether I should call it a mistake, but it turns out he is a left-liberal, not center-right the way Bill Clinton was. The analogy I give is that in America we play the game between the 40-yard lines, in Europe you go all the way from goal line to goal line. You have communist parties, you have fascist parties, we don’t have that, we have very centrist parties.

So Obama wants to push us to the 30-yard line, which for America is pretty far. Right after he was elected, he gave an address to Congress and promised to basically remake the basic pillars of American society — education , energy and health care. All this would move America toward a social democratic European-style state. It is outside of the norm of America.

SPIEGEL: Yet, he had promised these reforms during the campaign.

Krauthammer: Hardly. He’s now pushing a cap-and-trade energy reform. During the campaign he said that would cause skyrocketing utility rates. On healthcare, the reason he’s had such resistance is because he promised reform, not a radical remaking of the whole system.

SPIEGEL: So he didn’t see the massive resistance coming?

Krauthammer: Obama misread his mandate. He was elected six weeks after a financial collapse unlike any seen in 60 years; after eight years of a presidency which had tired the country; in the middle of two wars that made the country opposed to the Republican government that involved us in the wars; and against a completely inept opponent, John McCain. Nevertheless, Obama still only won by 7 points. But he thought it was a great sweeping mandate and he could implement his social democratic agenda.

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