Sunday, January 23, 2011


Julian ASSANGE has your number...
and WIKILEAKS...will leak and leak until your boat sinks...


The New Yorker recently ran a terrific article by Peter Maass about one of the most-reported moments in the Iraq war: the toppling of the statue of Saddam Hussein in Firdos Square, opposite the Palestine Hotel in Baghdad. You will doubtless recall the TV footage – a mob of excited Iraqis, helmeted US marines, an M88 Hercules tow truck equipped with a crane, the noose around Saddam's neck, a gentle tug from the M88 and – bingo! – the evil dictator's likeness crashes to the ground. The Iraqis gather round, shouting exultantly and slapping the brazen head with their shoes.

The message was clear: the Iraqis welcomed their liberation – and their liberators. The neocon mantra about US forces being greeted with flowers by a grateful populace was right after all. Job done; next step democracy.

Er, not quite. Maass's article tells the whole story of what was, effectively, a pseudo-event that took place in front of the hotel housing the majority of the media then in Baghdad. "Very few Iraqis were there," he writes. "If you were at the square, or if you watch the footage, you can see, on the rare occasions long shots were used, that the square was mostly empty. You can also see, from photographs as well as video, that much of the crowd was made up of journalists and marines."