by Peter Ludlow on 23/09/10 at 7:40 pm
Urizenus Sklar unretires (again) and explains!!!
Picture this. It was Sept. 17 and I was kicking back with a glass of Ransom Gin on ice
while celebrating the publication of my article on WikiLeaks in The Nation, when the mojo
wire crackled to life. I had incoming email via an anonymous remailer routed through
Belgium. “Hi, I’m Julian Assange” it began. I poured more gin and began to read.
Julian liked the article, it seems, but objected to two points, one of which concerns us
now (the other is a topic for another missive).
the "five human rights groups including Amnesty" is misleading and has fooled
many. One man a US national at the Asian office in the UK national office
of Amnesty, rounded up a few contacts at four other organizations, and then
sent us an email repeating the Pentagon line — already well aired –, which was
then also concurrently leaked to an known "opposing" reporter at the Wall St
Journal. Amnesty was forced to state it was not an official statement, just an email
After digesting the memo, the fact checker at The Nation and I looked into the matter. In
the first place, while talk of the letter from the human rights organizations was all over
the media and Internet, all roads led back to a story by Jeanne Whalen in the Wall Street
Journal. Furthermore, Amnesty International did deny being a signatory. More curious,
however, was that the signatory for the Open Society Institute (a Soros operation) had
just received her law degree from Harvard in 2007 and was listed as a program officer on
the Open Society Foundation website. Was she really speaking for OSI (OSF), as the
Wall Street Journal had claimed? I wrote to the reporter with these questions. Following
is her response in full.
Hello. I heard from your colleague Kate yesterday, and can’t say more than I
told her, sorry — that we don’t share details of our reporting with other news
The Wall Street Journal
10 Fleet Place
London EC4M 7QN, U.K.
office: +44 207 842 9217
mobile: +44 7747 117 486
I replied at some length in my friendly Midwestern way:
To reiterate. I do not work for The Nation. I teach philosophy at Northwestern
University. While I wrote an article that recently appeared in The Nation, that is
the only time I have written for The Nation and I am not now writing an article
for The Nation, or anyone else. I do, however, plan on teaching about these
events in the future and I would like to have the facts right. If Kate is the same
Kate that fact checked my article then she is a lovely person but she is not my
colleague. If she is investigating the matter I assume it is because The Nation
wants to prevent further errors in reporting.
I am not asking for details of your reporting. I am asking you to tell me what is
actually the case. It is my understanding that Amnesty International did *not*
sign the joint letter. Is that now also your understanding? It is my understanding
that the person associated with OSI that signed the letter, Erica Gaston, was
a minor player that was not authorized to speak for OSI. Is that also your
understanding? It is also my understanding that there were only four signatories
to the letter in question. Can you confirm that?
Finally, I am unclear on what "details of our reporting" means, but I don’t see
why that should prohibit you from sharing the letter in question. Maybe I’m just
working on the academic model of inquiry here, but what good would be served
by hoarding that document? Would somebody be put in danger by its release?
She has yet to respond.
Yesterday, finding myself at a dead end I turned to the only person you really can turn to
in a situation like this – that most baller of baller journalists, the infamous founder of the
Alphaville Herald – Urizenus Sklar. I caught up with him in google chat.
Ludlow: Uri babez are you there? I need your help!
Urizenus: Yeah I’m here. Luddie you should be here too. The Herald Yacht is just now
cruising through the Bosphorus. We are picking up Burcu Bakioglu in a few hours and
are then going to play Set with Moot and some of his 4chan friends.
Ludlow: That’s great Uri, but I have a problem here.
Urizenus: Do tell.
I filled Uri in on the stonewalling from the WSJ, and Uri paused to think for a bit.
Urizenus: Hmmm, you know Luddie, I hate to say it but there are two possibilities here.
Either Jeane was played, or she is part of the game.
Ludlow: Played? Wait… what game?
Urizenus: You see Ludz, the government is smart enough to already know exactly what
you said in your article – that killing Julian would be pointless. WikiLeaks is a robust
and dynamic network with thousands of “nodes”. It’s like fighting the hydra – you cut of
one of its heads and two more grow in its place. The only option is to change the subject.
So, instead of having people talk about the war and evidence of war crimes in the leaked
documents you get them to talk about something else – like how Julian put innocent
civilians at risk.
Urizenus: But how to do that… It is not persuasive to get a government official to do it
so you Astroturf something using well-known and respected human rights organizations.
Ludlow: How do you do that?
Urizenus: Well, obviously you aren’t going to get the organizations to officially sign off
on something like that, but human rights organizations are full of thousands of people,
and many of them are conservative and others are, frankly, plants.
Urizenus: Ludmeister, you have been in the Midwest for too long. Absolutely. Human
rights organizations are full of intelligence agents and people that would like to get
into positions of power in, for example the U.S. State Department. Do you think they
wouldn’t do a favor for Hillary or Barak?
Urizenus: Let’s back up a bit and start with the Wall Street Journal. Who owns it?
Ludlow: Rupert Murdoch
Urizenus: Yes, my old nemesis Rupie. We had some great sailboat races in the
day …*sigh*… but I digress. Do you know who the signatories of the letter were?
Ludlow: Well yes, I know two: Sarah Holewinski of the Campaign for Innocent Victims
in Conflict (CIVIC) and Erica Gaston of the Open Society Foundation.
Urizenus: And you already know that Gaston got her degree in 2007 and is not likely
authorized to speak on behalf of Soros’ foundation.
Urizenus: But did you know that she had co-authored a paper with Holewinski and was a
protégée of Holewinski? She also worked with CIVIC for a while.
Ludlow: Um, no…
Urizenus: Luddie you need to know these things. Reporting 101. Connect the dots!
Ludlow: Right, dots.
Urizenus: So I assume you didn’t know that Holewinski was a fellow of the Truman
National Security Project
Ludlow: What’s that?
Urizenus: It is an organization that pushes the Democrats’ view on intelligence and
Ludlow: Is that bad?
Urizenus: It is what it is. But if you want a taste of what they are about you should read
the Christian Science Monitor op/ed that Holewinski wrote with Jim Morin, who is “a
2001 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he majored in military
history, focusing on counter-insurgency and low-intensity conflict”, is also a member
of the Truman National Security Project, and was an Infantry Platoon Leader and then
Company Commander in Iraq and Afghanistan. Here is the quote from their op/ed that
got my attention.
Protecting the population isn’t political correctness; it’s a vital military objective
and a distinct advantage over an enemy that uses civilians as shields. The drop in
civilian casualties is a mark of success.
Ludlow: It’s all so confusing. These people look like human rights advocates on paper,
but then it seems that on closer inspection their political agendas are more complex.
And then what was the role of the WSJ reporter Jeanne Whalen? Was she in on the
astroturfing or did someone use her? I still don’t know. It’s such a mess we may never
get to the bottom of it.
Urizenus: Lud, what is the first thing I taught you when you came to work for the
Ludlow: In the hall of mirrors that is the interwebs, we may never know the truth.
Urizenus: And what is the first question I asked you?
Ludlow: How big is your game?
Urizenus: Luddie, the game just got bigger.