No Wonder U.S. Was So Desperate To Capture Julian Assange


Have you been following the latest news on Wikileaks? Some very interesting information has been coming out in the past two days. I’m beginning to understand why the Obama administration–along with some foreign governments were so anxious to arrest Julian Assange and shut down Wikileaks. Thanks to Bradley Manning and Assange, news organizations are revealing plenty about what our government was been up to in the 1970s.

Yesterday, the Guardian published a shocking expose of the U.S. torture and death squad operations in Iraq. The article reveals direct connections between the Pentagon and Iraqi “torture centers.” In addition, Guardian researchers showed how Iraq policy grew out of America’s “dirty wars” in Vietnam and Latin America with a veteran of those past outrages, retired Army Colonel James Steele, leading the way.

The Pentagon sent a US veteran of the “dirty wars” in Central America to oversee sectarian police commando units in Iraq that set up secret detention and torture centres to get information from insurgents. These units conducted some of the worst acts of torture during the US occupation and accelerated the country’s descent into full-scale civil war.

Colonel James Steele was a 58-year-old retired special forces veteran when he was nominated by Donald Rumsfeld to help organise the paramilitaries in an attempt to quell a Sunni insurgency, an investigation by the Guardian and BBC Arabic shows.

After the Pentagon lifted a ban on Shia militias joining the security forces, the special police commando (SPC) membership was increasingly drawn from violent Shia groups such as the Badr brigades.

A second special adviser, retired Colonel James H Coffman, worked alongside Steele in detention centres that were set up with millions of dollars of US funding.

Coffman reported directly to General David Petraeus, sent to Iraq in June 2004 to organise and train the new Iraqi security forces. Steele, who was in Iraq from 2003 to 2005, and returned to the country in 2006, reported directly to Rumsfeld.

Where did all this information come from? You guessed it.

The Guardian/BBC Arabic investigation was sparked by the release of classified US military logs on WikiLeaks that detailed hundreds of incidents where US soldiers came across tortured detainees in a network of detention centres run by the police commandos across Iraq. Private Bradley Manning, 25, is facing a prison sentence of up to 20 years after he pleaded guilty to leaking the documents.

The Guardian also made available to a 51-minute documentary focused on “the mystery man of Iraq,” James Steele. It’s also posted on YouTube, so I’ve embedded it here. You can also watch it on the Guardian website. I watched it yesterday, and plan to watch it again.

If you can’t watch the whole thing right now, here’s a good summary and evaluation of the documentary by William Boardman at Op-Ed News.

As if that weren’t enough, today Wikileaks released “1.7m US diplomatic and intelligence reports covering every country in the world” in a searchable database called “Plus D.” The Daily Mail reports:

Whistleblowing website WikiLeaks today published more than 1.7million U.S. records covering diplomatic or intelligence reports on every country in the world. The data released today includes more than 1.7million U.S. diplomatic records from 1973 to 1976 – covering a traffic of cables, intelligence reports and congressional correspondence.
WikiLeaks described the Public Library of US Diplomacy (PlusD) as the world’s largest searchable collection of U.S. confidential, or formerly confidential, diplomatic communications.

Much of the work was carried out by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, 41, during his time in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London, where he has been staying since last summer….

The Ecuadorian Government has granted Mr Assange political asylum and has repeatedly offered Swedish prosecutors the chance to interview him at the embassy in Knightsbridge, central London.
Mr Assange said the information showed the ‘vast range and scope’ of U.S. diplomatic and intelligence activity around the world.

These cables weren’t even leaked! They came from the National Archives, but Wikileaks organized the material so that it could be used by news organization and individuals. According to, Plus D is ‘What Google should be like’, says Wikileaks founder Julian Assange.

Some examples of tidbits from the database that have been published today:

Salon — Kissinger: The illegal we do immediately; unconstitutional takes longer

HuffPo — WikiLeaks: Vatican Dismissed Pinochet Massacre Reports As ‘Communist Propaganda’

The Australian News — WikiLeaks reveals US Thatcher memo

The Atlantic — WikiLeaks ‘Kissinger Cables’ Reveal How Much Russians Loved Joni Mitchell

You can search the database yourself here.

42 Comments on “No Wonder U.S. Was So Desperate To Capture Julian Assange”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    I just plugged in a search for Nixon. I might have to get more specific–too many hits.

  2. hyperjoy says:

    I guess when you release documents by the millions it takes a while to get to the good parts.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Not when you put them in a searchable database. The media are concentrating mostly on Maggie Thatcher today.

  3. hyperjoy says:

    This is so odd. I can see under “recent comments” there’s a 3rd comment in this thread, but every time I click on it, it reverts to only 2 comments listed and visible. Why is that??

    • bostonboomer says:

      I don’t know what happened.

      • hyperjoy says:

        Now I see you! It’s happened before, only on this website and only some of the time. I don’t understand it.
        Sorry, I will stop spamming this thread,

    • hyperjoy says:

      Argh, it’s happening again. I know there’s a 6th comment, but I can’t see it. I will try to make it visible by posting this one.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Did you refresh the page?

      • hyperjoy says:

        Yes. The comment continues to be invisible for a period of time, at least 10 minutes (longest I’ve ever tried to see it by repeatedly refreshing). Then I give up and go do something else and when I return it’s visible. Another way of making the invisible comment visible is by making additional comments, but I don’t want to spam this site by doing that. The latest comment I was unable to see was ecocatwoman’s (I could see it listed in “recent comments” but clicking on it made it go away.) So I went away for a while, did something else, came back and there it was, plus other comments. It just seems that the last comment sometimes, not always, takes a while to become visible. So I guess the only thing I can do is be patient and it will become visible sooner or later.

      • bostonboomer says:

        That’s so strange. I’ve never noticed it.

  4. ecocatwoman says:

    bb, I could have sworn that I either read or heard (Chris Hayes/Rachel Maddow maybe) about those secret sectarian groups/torture cells trained by US military with links to Patraeus a week or two ago. Made me think Patraeus knew this info was coming out & figured a sex scandal was the easy way out of the spotlight. While horrible, is this stuff truly out of character when we look at the CIA crap that went on in South America years ago? Or removing a democratically elected leader in Iran & reinstating the Shah? Our gov’t has been playing kingmaker and been complicit in illegal activities , torture and/or murder around the world for years. What hypocrisy. While our gov’t wraps itself in the flag and shouts Freedom, Liberty, Democracy have our operatives been anything other than terrorists themselves? And most Americans wonder why so many other countries hate us.

    • bostonboomer says:

      It’s not completely new info. But the Guardian/BBC made specific connections. Be sure to watch the video. It’s well worth the time.

    • janey says:

      Graham Lindsay on the sunday shows while discussing NKorea said, ‘we have got to fix North Korea” sounding like we ought to go in and replace their government. Seems like our elected like to decide how other countries should run themselves. Some democracy, HUH?

  5. jawbone says:

    BB, fine writing, fine post. Thanks for all your work.

  6. jawbone says:

    The Young Ezra White House Conduit –aka, Young Ezra WH Con– appeared on The Brian Lehrer Show on WNCY this morning, and essentially said he agrees that SocSec and Medicare should be cut.

    So, any indications that there was daylight between his Wonk blog writings and what Obama wants to do is, well, mostly the effect of his writing being too clever by half.

    He spends some amount of time explaining that the Chained CPI is just a technical fix to make expenditures rise more slowly and thus cut the cost of SocSec, but he thinks it’s also being used because most of the public don’t understand it…which supposedly makes it easier for politicians to vote for it.


    Make sure those weasels know you know what they’re doing.

    OK, back to Young Ezra: His appearance runs about 22 minutes; audio, but no transcript.

  7. jawbone says:

    Just on ABC Evening News: An older boxer with severe age related bone and joint issues was given a new stem cell therapy and weeks later was romping and moving with energy and no pain.


    Uses stem cells from the stomach and can be used for all dogs.

    Now, of course, their humans may not be able to afford it…but, wow.

    • jawbone says:

      My first thought can this help my awful back/leg pain issues….

    • ecocatwoman says:

      Jawbone, my first thought was boxer, as in dog. Then I said, nahhhh, probably a professional boxer. Imagine my surprise that this was really about a boxer (dog), which I love, love, love. Hope the treatment lasts a long while. Boxers never live long enough – no dogs or cats do imho. Thanks for sharing – gave me a smile.

      • jawbone says:

        My brother and SOL used to raise Irish Wolfhounds, tried showing them but didn’t do all that well. At one point, iirc, they had three around the house! They sold most of the puppies but sometimes a dog’s personality was so wonderful they couldn’t let go of him or her.

        They loved those big dogs so very much, and they lived such short lives. Some had degenerative bone diseases and maybe this could have helped.

        But, the cost…. New guilt trip for owners?

        I think I saw that this is being tried on cats as well.

        • ecocatwoman says:

          Pretty much every purebred animal has some kind of congenital problem. Why? Because the AKC & many breeders care primarily (or entirely) for conformation (looks – like they are breeding a work of art & not a thinking, feeling living being). Boxers are dying younger due to cancer. Both of mine died from cancer but lived to be 12. That was many, many years ago. Most aren’t living that long now. All of my herd of cats and dogs have been & are “mutts.”

          Trust me if I had one dog or cat & this would help, I’d take out a loan if necessary. But then my critters are family. Sadly that isn’t true of so many, which is why they are so often thrown away, on the streets or in kill shelters.

    • jawbone says:

      Cost is $1800 to $3000, depending on area of country.

      YouTube of dog with hip dysplasia:

  8. liberaleb says:

    And the difference between Obama and Bush, Democrats and Republicans on Civil Liberties is……

  9. bostonboomer says:

    Did anyone watch the video? It’s hard for me to believe no one has anything to say about it or about James Steele.

    • dakinikat says:

      I’m eating dinner and watching it right now

    • dakinikat says:

      good goddess! what a psychopath!! and Rumsfeld should be in Leavenworth

      • bostonboomer says:

        I watched it yesterday, and while I knew this stuff was going on, it really made it more real. Rumsfeld is evil incarnate. Cheney too.

      • dakinikat says:

        no wonder Patreaus slide into the CIA … bless the woman and the blow job that brought him down!

    • Fannie says:

      James Steele has been in the business a long, long time, all the way back to Nam. All of you have put some excellent information to research………..I’m printing several to read later.

      After King was killed, his wife Coretta and children went back four days later, for a silent march, they took the route he would have walked, and Harry Belfonte took care of her and kids that day, and thousands, and thousands of children, poor children were in that march.

      I love the mountain speech.

    • BB,

      Thanks, I watched it and found hope in the Oregonian National Guard unit who blew the Whistle on the Torture, but saddened that the Bush military structure got James Steele up and running in the exact location. OUTRAGES! It is the likes of James Steele, all the Bush/Cheney Yes men, that have these wars continuing despite their ‘official’ end date.

      Pelosi too shares some blame and I am still in the belief that she knew or was briefed, but is pretending not to know. Obush is still leaving one disappointed in the Civil Liberties/Human Rights area….

      Any hoo… Thank for the post. I do believe the intent is to kill Assange (I think he knows that too) and as stated before, there is someone in the government that doesn’t like the abuse/torture nor what it is doing to the country’s image as a beacon of freedom and human rights…

    • RalphB says:

      Steele and Rumsfeld need to die a long drawn out and very painful death! Cheney 2!

  10. BB,

    I don’t know the original origin of the graph but it was just posted on twitter about Wikileaks PlusD :

    €nemy 0f T3h State ‏@olfashdeb 23m #wikileaks